299 Delayed Input

I recently saw the guys from Tested.com put on a live show here in San Francisco at the fabulous Castro Theatre (see what I did there?). During one of the experiments, the guys brought a remote-controlled toy truck on the stage, and someone drove it by issuing distance commands to someone else, who inputted them into an arduino system and then executed them.

Later in the demonstration, which was focused around how communication delay poses a very serious issue in space travel, they decided to alter the experiment to inject a little bit of simulated delay. It was, maybe obviously, much more difficult for the driver to navigate the toy truck correctly with such a large gap between giving commands and seeing results.

I wonder if this can be adapted into a type of game mechanic. Most of the games we play now are direct-control, and we’ve worked hard as an industry to get to the point where the input lag is nearly zero. But it might be interesting to play around with introducing designed input delay into a game. Brainstorm time:

  • A strategy game where you can make key decisions and maneuvers for one short windows of time, spaced out. Then watch the actions, and adapt on the fly.
  • Super Mario D: A regular mario platforming game, with your control inputs delayed by 0 - 10 seconds, depending on powerups you pickup throughout.
  • A conversation board game: players say phrases in conversation, but must wait 15 seconds for their responses.
  • An FPS with purposefully built-in lag
  • The Invisible Boy: play an entire level of a platformer with an invisible avatar. The game still gives you audio clues and the environment reacts to you, you just can’t see yourself.

[ Today I Was Playing: Super Time Force Ultra and Professor Layton and the Last Specter ]

October 26, 2015