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.


Cycle 1 – Activity 3 – Player Stories

Last week during discussion of PX Goals it was grounded that the main focus for the SHMUP would revolve around “Cognitive Player Experiences”.  

Following the rules that were created in Activity 2, we concluded that the player would traverse around the ocean floor in attempt to destroy the enemy object (in this case fish, however, for the more environmentally friendly players, perhaps enemy submarines or even bundles of garbage floating in the water.)

As such the player stories would stem from the rules created, incorporating our theme of underwater.  Hence some examples of these aforementioned stories may be:

  1. As a submarine, I want my torpedoes to destroy the fish to achieve a high score
  2. As a player, I want the submarine object to move to avoid enemies and remain alive
  3. As a submarine, I want my torpedoes to destroy the fish so I can stay alive
  4. As a submarine, I want to obtain powers to be able to destroy more enemies
  5. As a handler of the torpedo I want the enemies to come into the scene so I can destroy them
  6. As an object with a torpedo I want to be able to shoot the enemies so I can collect power ups later
  7. As a deep-sea diver, I want my bullets to perform destruction to achieve liberation of the seas
  8. As an explorer of the deep ocean I want nukes to vaporise the fish to sweep the oceans clean
  9. As a sea archaeologist, I want my torpedoes to destroy fish so I can leave with treasure (High score)
  10. As an operator of a submarine I want to traverse the ocean floor to explore the area and remain alive so I can achieve a higher score