The Difference a Frame Makes

A single frame can make all the difference, especially when it is strongly tied to gameplay. The first Beast added to BioBeasts, the classic Bio Hazard, has a very quick swipe attack that plays quickly and inflicts damage rapidly. The player can interrupt the animation by continually pressing the attack button so it feels responsive. You have probably played games in which the animations are very elaborate and long, but the developers deny actions until the animations are finished. This often leads to a game that feels very sluggish and unresponsive.

A major goal of BioBeasts is that all the beasts play differently. For the Salamancer, we tried to make the attack feel different from the Bio Hazard. As a projectile attacker, it made sense to us that there should be a delay as the creature puffs its chest and exhales a ball of fire. Since ranged attacks would make some enemies that are challenging for melee beasts trivial, we thought this delay would balance the advantage of the fireball attack.

In theory, this made sense, but in practice, it made the gameplay too challenging. The Salamancer felt sluggish compared to the Bio Hazard and was generally not much fun to play. Despite the advantage of the ranged attack, it would quickly be surrounded and decimated by foes. It was clear an adjustment was needed.

To improve responsiveness, we removed a frame and moved the action frame to the second frame rather than the last. Each frame represents a fraction of a second of time, but even that small movement made a huge difference. Now, the action is quick and snappy. The sluggishness is gone and the Salamancer can hold its own against an onslaught of enemies.

Although it won't be apparent until you actually get your hands on BioBeasts (which will be soon if all goes well), but all these seemingly minor changes have enormous impacts on gameplay. A major pillar of BioBeasts' development is that the game feels fun and fast, a pillar which requires a tremendous amount of polish to achieve. Sometimes this means sacrificing frames and hours of work in favor of the greater gameplay goals.

The world of BioBeasts is a dangerous place, and a fraction of a second can mean the difference between liberation and untimely destruction!