I was reading your “BAM A HUM YAM” article (or whatever the fuck its called) and while I agree with most of it (srsly put that thing on GYP) I still think that even a game whose combat system is supposed to make you: “feel like batman” can have difficulty and depth if you have lots of options which can all take out bad guys easily but some are more effective on various enemy types than others. Add a time trial mode kinda like MGS2’s VR missions (but with longer maps) AND BAM? Would that be a good game?

I’ll consider putting it up.
“Feel like batman” doesn’t mean anything. That’s a problem up front. There’s a bunch of different interpretations of batman, the animated series had an episode titled, “Legends of the Dark Night” That was specifically about the different interpretations of the batman character. If you want a character that feels invincible and can easily crush the opposition, then where is the difficulty coming from? Where is the fear of failure coming from?

Much as I hype up game modes about optimization (speed runs and score attacks), I don’t think they should be what a game’s difficulty is built around, because people don’t know how to intentionally design them, and they tend to be more interesting when they emerge from a system built to be complex for a different purpose. (that and the existing batman arkham games have pretty alright speedruns honestly, though I won’t say it saves them as games) I frankly don’t tolerate games that are good speedruns but not good games to just play (which is why even though I encourage you to watch the speedruns for the 3d zelda games, I still criticize them as the worst of the series).

And it’s called BAM A HAM YUM because I didn’t play BAM HAM CITY.


Trouble here is, that idea’s too vague. As in the prior post, what’s the failure condition? Being ground into a pulp? Being seen? not being fast enough? not getting enough bad guy beat-up points?

Not to mention there just aren’t enough details there for me to really work with. The existing batman arkham games have attacks that are more effective on various enemy types than others. The trouble is they chose a really weak differentiation between the enemy types.

How do you reconcile weak non-threatening enemies that you can speedily eliminate? Don’t think it’s really possible.

Perhaps the best route to take is to focus on the stealth sections, and traversal rather than the thug combat outright?

Rather than give him moves that are more or less effective on different enemy types, give him moves that let him move around space differently and take out enemies while moving differently. Focus on the dynamic between armed thugs and unarmed ones. Armed are lethal, unarmed are generally nonlethal. Unarmed search better, can climb better, armed try to oversee the unarmed, and occupy locations where they can see the most things. Getting seen is fine, but you’ll soon get shot, because the armed thugs have ranged superiority and are highly lethal. It’s about walking on the razor’s edge, much like Hotline Miami.

Instead of regular thugs doing HP damage to you, their role is to stun you so the armed thugs can take you down. When armed thugs are all taken out, unarmed thugs prioritize becoming armed. The core dynamic is essentially the unarmed thugs seeking you out so you get wrecked by the armed ones. Playing on this would of course be things that draw attention to a spot (like noise emitters), block line of sight (smoke grenades), burst movement with attack options (batman kick!), stealth takedowns, probably which require commitment for a period of time (charge your ability to knock them out before doing it), a dodge or quick evade option of some kind, multilayer multithreaded level design, no hiding spots or safe zones.

I dunno. That’s all that’s at the top of my head and I don’t want to do a full redesign of their combat system because I dunno where to even go with it. Most of the combat systems I come up with try to play on more specific ideas and Batman’s is just generic in the scheme of things.

What do you think of the stealth in the Arkham games?

It was the only part worth saving in any respect. It created a simple dynamic, you can’t stand up to dudes with guns at a distance, and you need to eliminate enemies quickly before their friends with guns are called over. That’s the heart of the game. It played with it by having enemies stand back to back so you couldn’t stealth kill them, and with the noise collars to bring other enemies over. But other than that, it didn’t really do much. This is why I said that if I were to redo it and couldn’t make a combat system that didn’t suck, I’d focus on that stealth element, because it’s all the game had going for it.

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