Rick Davidson & Tim Ruswick* are joined by Laurie (Avocado Fire) to discuss the “Aha Moment” in video games. You may recognise Avocado Fire from her participation in previous livecasts. Discover what the 'Aha! Moment' is as the gang plays Portal 2.

(*Rick has more than 14 years experience in the game dev industry, working on IP's that include Mario, Transformers, Captain America and Mortal Kombat. He's done it all, from Game Designer, Producer, Creative Director and Executive Producer to GameDev.tv's very own Instructor extraordinaire).

Listen to the whole chat here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLzm4s48DSo

Our 'AHA' moments

  • Watching Tim play Portal 2 may be a frustrating experience 😜
  • The ‘Aha!’ Moment vs Frustrating Moments
  • Why do some games have big yellow markers to guide the player?
  • The shortest answer to a question at 1:05:58
  • Rick, Tim and Laurie have their own ‘opinions’ on Construct 3 😂
Image from Steam

The 'Aha' Moment' in Portal 2 (6:53 - 9:35)

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Portal 2, it’s a puzzle game where you shoot orange and blue portals at walls to navigate and solve puzzles. It’ll be easier to watch this YouTube video than me attempting to explain it 😂

So what’s the 'Aha! Moment' in Portal 2? For many, it’s the moment they realise they’ve opened up a pathway to progress to the next chapter. This really engages your brain and makes you feel clever each time you pass difficult moments. Moments like this give you a different perspective on the games you’re playing, and other ideas on how to approach later levels within games.

Where Is The Line Between An 'Aha!' Moment and A Frustrating Moment? (18:59 - 21:48)

There’s a line between an 'Aha! Moment' and a frustrating moment. In Portal 2 there are frustrating moments that take a lot of brain power.

There’s a correlation between how frustrating something is and how satisfying it is. There comes a point when the game becomes frustrating and the 'Aha! Moment' seems far away. During moments like these, it’s sometimes best to step away from the game and come back to it later. Although, if you persevere the more frustration you have the bigger the aha is. Dark Souls is a good example of that.

Yellow Markers On Video Games (56:29 - 58:19)

Why do many new games use big yellow exclamation points or markers to guide players? Tim believes that this depends on the platform and audience that the game is made for.

Generally speaking, consoles are more for casual players who don’t want to spend time figuring things out and just want an easy pick up and play game.

The yellow markers help guide you through the game and give you big hints on the direction that you’ll need to go. Some games like Destiny offer a similar marker but not to the same extreme. In Destiny, you’re shown a general direction that you need to travel in but it’s up to you to find a way there.

Which is Better For An Endless Running Game? Unity or Unreal? (1:05:58 - 1:07:35)

Rick: Unity
Tim: Construct 3

Unity, Unreal and Construct can all be used to create an endless runner game 🙂

Image from Steam

We hope this livecast helps you understand the 'Aha! Moment' in games

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Until next time, happy dev'ing!