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The Record: Now Straight: About three Earth years ago I reviewed a game called XGalaga++. I said that I prefered a predecessor game, XGalaga, because of "smoothness of gameplay". Yesterday XGalaga++ author Mark Mongenet emailed me to ask what the heck I meant by that. I had to admit that I don't remember.

Due to old-library problems I can't play XGalaga or an old version of XGalaga++ (which sucks in and of itself), but here's my guess. Smoothness of gameplay has to do with the feedback loop between the controller and the avatar. When I play Pac-Man, just nudging the joystick sends Pac-Man off in a different direction, and because Pac-Man moves fast, I can change directions quickly and tear through the maze. When I play a tile-based game like Dragon Warrior, I can't change direction until Dragon Warrior guy has traversed the tile he's currently walking. And he moves sloooowly. Games like Ghosts 'n' Goblins, where you can't change direction during a jump, are more realistic but less smooth than games like Mario where you can. You might or might not argue that thrust games like Asteroids are more realistic but less smooth than steering games like Defender.

A lot of open source games have smoothness problems, disconnects in this feedback loop, usually because their quantum of movement is large. The problem with this interpretation of my 2005 remarks is that XGalaga++ doesn't seem to be one of these games. The ship moves just as well as the ship in Galaga. So I'm not sure what I was saying.

It's true that the ship in XGalaga++ moves more slowly than I prefer. I like games like xkobo or PowerManga or more modern shmups where you can cross the screen in a second or less. And the XGalaga++ screen is wider then the Galaga screen so you really feel the low speed. So maybe that's what I was thinking. But there's no problem with the feedback loop.

[Comments] (8) Blogging Pro Tip: The string ", you know," can almost always be cut.

The exception? When giving examples of strings that can be cut.


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