Yacht Club Games

Posts by Yacht Club Games

Checkpoint Design

Checkpoints are a contentious subject when it comes to gameplay design.  Especially in a retro style games, there are many schools of thought. First off, let’s define a checkpoint: for our purposes, it’s any mechanic that saves the player’s progress, allowing them to return to it in that position after dying or losing.

Some people think that repeating content is never good and copious checkpoints or even quicksaving should be implemented; think the quicksave ability in a game like Half Life, where you can save the game at any time. Other players are purists, and think progress shouldn’t be saved until you beat a stage!  The Yacht Club thinks there is no hard and fast rule: it depends on the game you are trying to create, the emotions you’re trying to evoke, and the experience you want your players to have.

For Shovel Knight, we knew from the beginning that losing, lives, and checkpoints would be important to get right.  Lack of checkpoints and hard limits can typically cause a lot of frustration in classic games. We wanted to retain the mechanic, but do away with the inherent frustration of having to repeat large swaths of content.

Iterating on checkpoint design was a slow and painful progression, but the result was worth it.  There were 3 main versions of the checkpoint mechanic, so let’s go through them!


Press Kit/Manual

If you’re part of the press, this might be a super exciting post for you….otherwise, it’s probably only a really exciting post for you! Today we’re making a press kit available for everyone to view, download, and enjoy.  There’s lots of new screens and art on the page, so be sure to check it out and make crazy fun collages out of the art! We’re going to be continuously updating the kit with new trailers, images, music, info, and more as we make and collect them; so keep your eyes peeled to the page for updates.

Without further ado, check out the kit:


Controller Suggestions

If you can’t tell by now, we’re obsessed with controllers.  If you were one of the lucky ones to check out our instruction manual for Shovel Knight, you may have noticed we included a link for a page we said would go into more detail about controller, recommendations, and more.  And we finally filled out that page!  Check it out and give us all your feedback.  We are controller snobs and love to talk about them as much as possible!


Keep letting us know if you have stuff you guys want us to talk about on the blog.  Until then, we’re going to keep posting about what makes us excited!

PS. If you’re still having trouble getting your controller to work, or you haven’t setup your controller in time, there is the option of setting it up through Big Picture Mode in Steam.  Open Steam, go into Big Picture Mode, open Settings, configure your controller bindings, and then boot Shovel Knight!


StreetPass Explained!

When building a game for a new platform, we like to accent the features of the platform that make it unique. The 3DS has a lot to offer — stereoscopic gameplay, Play Coins, and the dual screen/touch screen — but we were really excited to highlight StreetPass. StreetPass is a feature of the 3DS that allows multiple 3DSs to exchange data when the systems are in range of each other and powered on (including in sleep mode).  So for example, you collect a hat in one game, and then when you pass your friend on the street, your game could send that hat to your friend, all without either of you doing anything!  It’s a very cool feature that you can’t find on other systems, and we found it to be criminally underused.  There have been interesting uses of it, but it seems like most games either 1) don’t bother with it or 2) implement it more as a token system that unlocks gameplay. In other words, if you see more people in the real world, you’ll unlock more of the game or be allowed to continue playing the game – that kind of thing.


Treehouse Live

Nintendo was gracious enough to give us an opportunity to demo the 3DS version of Shovel Knight live today as part of their Nintendo Treehouse Live at E3 event.  Lots of cool games are being shown off all the time, so be sure to check it out on their channel!

We presented a demo showing off the previously unseen, lava ridden domain of Mole Knight – the  Lost City! It was really exciting for us to be able to show the game off on such a big stage, and I hope everyone enjoyed it, but if you guys missed it, the guys at Nintendo Everything were kind enough to post a recap of the footage on their YouTube channel.  It’s a little low quality so we’ll try to get an HD version for you soon, but in the meantime, be sure to check it out: