Tag Archives: multiplayer

Switch Mario Kart has a cluttered minimap

I played a Switch for the first time today.  Mario Kart.  The on-screen minimap is cluttered and doesn’t need to be.   I hope there’s an option to change it.

I played a two-player VS AI using the Switch as the screen.   We had a three-player game, against AI.   Both were league races on a variety of tracks.

In both modes the minimap was in the centre of the screen, so everyone could see it.

Problem 1 –

Because it was shared, it didn’t rotate according to my position.  It’s easier to follow a map it turns and orients itself in the direction you’re travelling.   This shared map was confusing because I was constantly having to re-orient it in my head.
Not the game’s fault. I can’t think of an easy solution to having a map that’s supposed to rotate to show four players’ positions.  But the fact it didn’t move was compounded by…

Problem 2 –

Each player had a large icon on the map, so you could see people’s position.   But as players bunched up, which was all the time, it was hard to pick out your position from the group.

In a game that’s split across AI/humans, I don’t care about AI positions on the map.   It doesn’t matter much if I beat the AI, but it matters if I beat my friends.   I hope the game has an option to toggle whether I want to see everyone, nobody, AI or humans, then other players or friends.

Pushing that idea farther, there’s an argument that in racing games in general we don’t need to see players’ positions on the minimap.

Firstly, the map becomes less useful the longer you play.  You get used to tracks and stop relying on the map for information about turns and straights.

Second, if end up behind someone am I not going to overtake them?   What does the map add to my decision making in this situation?  (See above for decisions on when to overtake.)

Maybe it would be useful if they player on the map had a weapon and it was shown on the map, so I could know what to expect.  Or if I had a limited turbo boost and wanted a better idea of when to pop it.  (But again see two paragraphs up.)

But that’s not most racing games.   So exactly what information do we need to see on a minimap?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gears of War without the Gnasher

Gears of War 4 without Gnashers is a game about flanking and fixing, not running and gunning.

During my weekly Gears session, I suggested that the group play without the Gnasher shotgun.

The Gnasher is a force multiplier.  A good player can destabilise the game.

On the lobby screen – before the host chooses a game – we removed the shotgun from our loadouts, swapping it for a Hammerburst or Enforcer.

It forced everyone to play differently, calling out enemy positions and working together, instead of rushing in alone.

I was wondering what it would be like to assign a Gnasher to a player, making them the close-range attacker,  when the host had an idea: change the weapons that spawn on the map, replacing boomshots with shotguns.

Now Gnashers would be available, but we’d have to work for them.

We had to fix and flank, but the Gnasher took its rightful place as an special weapon.   It’s the only gun that can take out multiple players one after the other, without hampering the user’s movement or risking blowing themselves up (hello Boomshot).

By making  them weapons that spawn, the playing field is immediately fairer and there’s a sense of danger when the enemy team picks one up

It won’t be easy, but it will make the game feel fresh again.   Try it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to use the Gnasher in Gears of War.

Don’t aim down the sights.

If had a videogame spirit weapon – that is, a weapon that seems to suit better than any other, and perhaps more than in any other game – it would be the gnasher in Gears of War.

I think it was because of my kung fu training – the digital equivalent of sitting in horse stance with cups of boiling hot tea on my legs.

 

A lot of my time playing Gears on the 360 was with Americans, so I had to deal with lag.  Somehow though, I became lethal with it.  It wasn’t unknown for me to take out teams by myself, even as the last player on my side.

I’m not sure why or how it happened, but at some point I decided to stop aiming.  I’d walk around (I’d walk) and try to keep the end of the gun pointing at around chest/head level.

I picked up Gears of War 4 a couple of weeks ago, to join in with that same group of Americans.  Despite not really playing any of the titles in years (and the gnasher being borked), I soon warmed up.  Same story when I hopped into a public match.

Don’t aim down the sights.   You’re using a close-range weapon.  A cudgel.  By the time you’ve aimed down the site, the opponent has moved.  You then release aim, turn, then look down the barrel again.  Wasted time.

Walk around, use your stick to keep the gun pointed up a little and pull the trigger.  That’s how to use the gnasher in Gears of War.