Yacht Club Games

Category: Design

Plague of Shadows: Crafting Perfect Mechanics

Gather around, fellow scientists! Let’s talk about Plague of Shadows, the free update to Shovel Knight where you play as Plague Knight on his own adventure! Making games can be a winding road and we wanted to talk about where our travels have taken us while we put together the latest campaign. If you haven’t yet read about the mobility changes that went into Plague Knight, be sure to check out our previous articles.

Read

Plague Knight Mobility Tips and Tricks

We talked last time about creating character mobility that featured a learning curve for the player. Now that we have the basics established, we can show you some tips and tricks to master the mobility to get the most out of it.

During development, the basics being fleshed out allowed for us to design and implement more polish and tighter control. If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out part 1 to learn about the Plague Knight character’s core move set, or read the instruction manual to know more about Plague Knight’s campaign.

One thing to remember – these tricks are not required to beat the game! We designed the basic mobility so it was entirely enough to get you through the game without all the bells and whistles. But isn’t mastering mobility fun?

Read

Plague Knight Mobility Design

Developing the Plague of Shadows expansion to Shovel Knight has been quite the tricky experience for us here at Yacht Club Games. We’ve never had the pleasure of continuously building new content for a complete, existing title before. When we pitched an all new playable boss campaign during the game’s Kickstarter, we were thinking of something small along the lines of Mega Man Powered Up: a simple character swap with a slight mobility change or a new ability between the boss characters. Of course, we wanted it to be fun and exciting…so we decided to go bigger!

Read

Dance! The Story of a Useless Button!

Many fans of Yacht Club Games have noticed a weird trend in the games we’ve worked on: we almost always add an action, assigned to a specific button, that has little or no purpose for either the gameplay or the story. Initially, this may seem to fly in the face of our design sensibilities which favor simple gameplay and mechanics. Why would anyone design a mechanic that doesn’t benefit gameplay and instead adds another potentially confusing action.  “Games should be simple!  One action! Like jumping in Mario!  Why would anyone decide to do something so dumb?!” Today we’re going to try and explain why we add useless actions to games, and explain some of the weird and fun things we’ve done in the past.  This quirk might not fit every game, but it’s definitely a unique re-occurring element to us that adds a little bit of flavor!

Read

Breaking the NES

In case you missed it, this is a reposting of an article we wrote for Gamasutra.  Check out the original here!

Shovel Knight is a game that embraces the look of NES classics, but has some major differences when examined closely. When setting out to develop the game’s aesthetic and play style, we at Yacht Club Games had a few goals in mind. Instead of emulating the NES exactly, we would create a rose-tinted view of an 8-bit game.

Read