The Mimic Mechanic

For our recent project, our main mechanic was “mimicking”. After deciding to base the game around a stick insect name Stanley, our team knew we had to create this mimic mechanic from the ground up.

When deciding on how this mimic mechanic worked we went through a few different iterations of how this mimicking would work. In the original pitch, we said that each limb would be controlled separately using the keyboard. In this iteration of the game, the top 4 limbs each had 2 buttons to control the movement. These buttons were QA,WS,OK,PL. One button to move it up, and another to move it down. This would give the player complete control over where each limb would be, but we ran into the problem of this using far too many buttons and it ended up just being confusing for the player.

After some redesigning, the limbs were now moving by themselves. The limbs would start straight out, and slowly drop over time. When a player pressed the corresponding key, the limb would move upwards. The buttons we decided on were QWOP. Q and W would move the top limbs, and O and P would move the bottom limbs. This is the control scheme we decided on for our prototype. We chose this control scheme because it was more simple to learn and use than the original scheme, but still was a challenge for the player. The QWOP keys that we chose for the limb controls were chosen for no particular reason, other than those keys are familiar to some players because of the game QWOP. For the goal of the mimic mechanic, we originally wanted a silhouette of the goal figure to be overlayed on top of the character. Instead of going for this in the prototype, we decided on a dummy next to the character that the player would have to mimic.

Looking back now, the control scheme and buttons we chose is still far from perfected. The QWOP keys are okay for controlling the limbs but there are much better alternatives. A good suggestion we received was that a controller would be ideal for this control scheme. We could have used the analog sticks to control Stanley and the camera, while using the triggers and buttons on top of the controller to control the limbs. This would be a much more natural control scheme to use, rather than the player having to have to move their fingers and hands to different positions every time they switched from mimic mode to standard mode.