Cycle 1 – Activity 1 – PX Goals

During our first workshop, we were set the task of identifying the player experience goals within three renowned classic SHMUP games.


  • Anticipation
  • Reflexes
  • Analysing
  • Speed

Thunder Force IV

  • Anticipation
  • Visual Processing
  • Analysing

Geometry Wars

  • Surprise
  • Reflexes
  • Visual Processing
  • Experimenting (Strategy)

After analysing the games we drew a comparison between them and identified the commonalities.  It was apparent that Ikaruga and Geometry Wars were catered to play built around physical reactions and reflexes, whilst Thunder Force IV had a down-tempo pacing with an emphasis on details within the environment.  What separated Geometry Wars from Ikaruga was its strategic nature – the player would notice patterns in enemy movements and spawn locations and mould a playstyle around them.  Ikaruga drew on the classic bullet hell formula, where speed and fast decision making was necessary to advance the game.

Our next task was to conceptualise which player experiences we wanted in our game.

Our PX Goals

  • Predicting
  • Analysing
  • Reflexes

Our Focus, “Cognitive Player Experiences”

We decided we wanted our game to take the core-reflex oriented experience of many SHMUPs, but we wanted to incorporate an element of predicting into our game so that the player could appropriately control the environment until they were overwhelmed.  The game will still have a foundation of reflex and awareness that the player will quickly adapt to.  And thus we felt this game would stem mostly from cognitive player experiences; where analysing and adapting were the major ingredients to success.

What the Player Will Experience

“Players will predict a pattern within the game to formulate a strategy and manage the game world to their advantage.”

“Players will analyse the motion of the enemies and their surrounding environment to adapt to an increasingly difficult challenge.”

“Players will rely on quick reactions and reflexes to defeat an expanding number of enemies and obtain a high score.”

“Players will be tested in a gradually intensifying environment where analysing, planning and management of the game world will amount to survival and a high score.”

We felt that an emphasis on these types of player experience goals would result in an experience that felt different to the examples we looked at, and is our own experiment into designing a functional shoot em’ up.


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