The Shoot – why we did what…

The way I like to describe The Shoot to people is ‘imagine if Universal Studios did shooting galleries’ and you pretty much get the idea. The game takes place on fake movie sets that are massively destroyable, that the player has to work their way through, shooting targets and getting the highest score possible whilst acting like an action hero in one of the movies. Things explode, shatter and collapse as you would expect to see in action movies. We worked closely with the guys at Havok to integrate their Destruction technology to get level of detail and interaction we wanted.

The game is light hearted and aimed at a wide audience; something the family can play, so all the targets are fake. They are made of wood, metal and mechanical parts, so no blood and guts or killing is involved. It’s the kind of thing you would find if you were allowed to run around with a gun in a theme park attraction. Targets and scenery are massively destroyable, and if you just want to have a bit of fun shooting things to bits you can. If you’re after the high scores then you need to consistently hit targets without missing, avoid shooting negative targets, whilst increasing your multiplier and strategically using power-ups to maximise your score.

The game has Sony’s PlayStation Move at its core, which allows the player to accurately aim and shoot at targets on the TV screen. We were lucky to get hold of this hardware very early on, and have used a number of iterations as well as other solutions during development of The Shoot – we actually started out on the Gun Con.

There are three big differences for us with Move; firstly it’s the ease of calibration. If you use something like the Gun Con which is a great bit of kit, it still requires a degree of skill to calibrate it. If you don’t get the calibration right it will ruin your experience. With the Move you just point at the screen and pull the trigger and it’s calibrated for you, which is quite important for more casual players.

Secondly it’s the accuracy – it’s like using a laser pointer and depending on the smoothing settings, the controller will actually pick up the tremors in your hand. So having an accurate and responsive controller is great for a game that is based around accuracy.

The third is the controller’s ability to accurately know where it is in 3D space. This allowed us to start looking at what we internally call ‘performance gameplay’. One of our early directions was “it’s not just what you shoot, but how you shoot it”. We’ve only just scratched the surface on this with The Shoot, but having what the player does in the real world influence the gameplay is pretty interesting. As an example the game can detect whether the player spins on the spot and shoots a target, and ducking, dodging and punching are easily detected.

What this allows you to do is detect not just if a player is shooting a target, but what they are doing while they are doing it. There is a lot of R+D work that didn’t make it into The Shoot, we initially had the multiplier directly linked to your performance, so for example if you shot a target doing a quickdraw you would get a 5 times multiplier, or if you spun on the spot and hit a target you got a 10 times multiplier. This was dropped because it was difficult to understand and not easily accessible, but in terms of exploring what you can do with motion control it was really interesting.

I’ve noticed a certain amount of negativity towards motion control, and I think a lot of it is misplaced. Motion control is not going to replace current well established control methods, and shouldn’t be seen as a threat to the types of games people already know and love. What it does do is increase the way players can interface with games, potentially providing new experiences which can only be a good thing.

Darran Thomas, CCO

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