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Vlambeer co-founder shares advice on building better action games

January 2, 2014 | By Alex Wawro




Vlambeer co-founder Jan Willem Nijman took the stage during the Control Conference in Amsterdam last November to share some good advice for building better action games with an audience of students and up-and-coming developers.

Nijman worked with Vlambeer co-founder Rami Ismail to design games like Super Crate Box, Nuclear Throne and Ridiculous Fishing. His presentation -- coyly titled "The Art of Screenshake" -- was part of an INDIGO Classes series of educational talks at the conference.

Clocking in at almost 45 minutes, it's a lengthy talk that's worth watching for anyone seeking advice on how to design a fast-paced action game that just feels good to play. The premise is simple: Nijman shows off a fairly dull side-scrolling shooter, then demonstrates 30 minor tweaks that each make the game a bit better.

Watch the video and you can see how small changes -- like making the screen shake slightly in the opposite direction of the player's gunfire or adding a 33% chance of enemies exploding harmlessly on death -- can make a game feel far more exciting and engaging to watch, much less play.

It's good to see Vlambeer continuing to share knowledge with the development community, with Ismail contributing to the Game Developer Help List while the pair publicly share their development process on Nuclear Throne via regular streams of their work sessions.

If you're curious, INDIGO is a program that showcases new games from up-and-coming Dutch developers. run by the Dutch Game Garden, a nonprofit organization partially funded by the European Fund for Regional Development. DGG partners with Control Magazine to put on a series of educational talks at the Control Conference, which launched last year.


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