We've seen many Spider-Man games over the years, and the best of them capture something ineffable about the character: that feeling of zipping effortlessly through New York City, swinging between towers of glass and steel.
Treyarch did just that with its classic 2004 release Spider-Man 2, and at the 2019 Game Developers Conference in March you'll have the opportunity to hear how they did it firsthand.
In a very special "Classic Game Design Postmortem: Swinging with Spider-Man" Design track session, Spider-Man 2 technical director (and now Happion Laboratories' chief scientist) Jamie Fristrom will take you behind the scenes of developing and refining the classic game's iconic web-swinging mechanics.
He'll talk about the trade-offs the team made while developing the locomotion of Spider-Man 2, the lessons they learned the hard way, and compare them to other swinging games such as Bionic Commando: Rearmed and Insomniac's 2018 game Marvel's Spider-Man. Swinging mechanics are an interesting beast in that they tend to err on the side of *too* challenging, knocking players right out of a "flow" state, and Fristrom will reveal how developing Spider-Man 2 was mostly a process of finding ways to make a very difficult challenge accessible.
And of course there will be a ton of insightful GDC 2019 talks about Insomniac's Marvel's Spider-Man, which debuted this year to widespread acclaim. "Concrete Jungle Gym: Building Traversal in Marvel's Spider-Man" is an especially good complement to the Spider-Man 2 web-slinging postmortem, as it features Insomniac lead gameplay programmer Doug Sheahan offering an in-depth look at how the traversal system in Marvel's Spider-Man was created.
Sheahan will focus on how the swinging mechanic was originally executed and the process through which it evolved in order to increase usability and player engagement. This will include a discussion on the integration of additional mechanics, as well as how the camera was designed to increase the sense of speed, power, and enjoyment for the system. The final result suggests these efforts paid off in spades, so don't miss this talk!
Further details on these talks and many more are available now on the GDC 2019 Session Scheduler. There you can begin to lay out your GDC 2019, which takes place March 18th through the 22nd at the (newly renovated!) Moscone Center in San Francisco.
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