MHR Dev Entry 5 - "Grappling With Problems"

Hey guys, Jesse Humphry here, Game Designer for Mad House Rodeo. Today we're gonna talk about a struggle we've faced for a few months regarding the implementation of the grappling system. 

Our first major concern involved transitioning from VR. In the VR experience we'd initially started with, the grapples were controlled entirely by player movement and aim, and the view process was more critical to this since players could look up quicker than most gaming mice and analog sticks will allow. Because the locomotion was taken out of VR, we had to find different solutions for movement with the same mechanic. 

Originally we'd wanted the dual grapples to serve the same functions and both being contextual. Players would aim at objects and fire the grapple. The gearbox in the grappling component would then lock automatically, allowing the player to swing around the fulcrum point that the grapple hook created, or the player could reel in the line to force it to act like a zipline, etc. 

The problem with this approach, we found, was that it drastically steepened the learning curve necessary to make the game accessible to more players. We needed to find a solution that would still allow players a great deal of problem-solving freedom while also making it easier to pick up the mechanics. 

We've now worked out what we believe will be the defining method from this point forward. 

The players will be endowed with two grappling hooks, same as originally intended. However, each hook will serve different purposes so that players can work with either hook independently should they choose to. Players who prefer basic motion and avoidance tactics can utilize the dominant arm's hook, which fires grappling lines towards the top of the arena for swinging purposes. More aggressive players can utilize the off-hand hook, which fires at the player's point of aim for a multitude of functions including attacking other players. 

We've also solved a couple of issues with regard to player encounters. Initially, our arenas were facing a size problem where the stage monsters required large space to be effective. Meanwhile, the melee game was hindered due to the increased play space. This has been solved with the grappling methods currently available, as well as the physical response players will experience when grappling another player or being grappled. 

We still need to test all of this in-game, however. We're very excited to see whether or not our many hours of debate and deliberation have paid off, and hopefully you'll be equally as pleased when you get to experience it for the first time! Until then, cheers!

Jesse Humphry
Game Designer for Mad House Rodeo