We can see the checkered flag! Lesson five of our Angry Birds Go Offensive Driving course focuses on Energy Management. This lesson was written by @les-toreadors of Pigineering and adapted for the ‘Nest by @AMslimfordy.
In galaxies far far away from our own, there typically is a rather gamey expectation that one super bird or pig will rule them all with his magical crown, leveling up from peasant to warrior king in mere hours. And that through epic adventures that one super-unit will magically conquer all the opposition like Fat Pig landing on the Earth 65 million years ago and wiping out all life, for no object on Earth, no matter how sturdy, could possibly survive such a massive hunk of bacon landing at a speed of 20 kilometers per second.
If only reality would be so simple! Superheroes, planet sized Fat Pigs and mass-extinction events aside, all successful ventures on modern Piggy Island were accomplished through the judicious utilization of varied Bird and/or Pig assets, and Angry Birds GO! is no exception. While the limited energy per character is highly restrictive and goes against common sense in game design (or so you thought), a Foreman Pig with certain degree of managerial acumen could use it to his further enjoyment of Angry Birds GO! instead.
Each character races 5 times before tiring out, at which point they need to recharge.
And you thought limited energy was a bad thing?
Let us not consider the existing complaints about the energy system. It’s bad, it’s restrictive, gamers should play however long they want, etc. The fact is a real racing driver doesn’t race 24/7, 365 days a year either. Nor does the lack of the energy meter make any sense if the creators of the game wanted players to master all possible combinations of birds, pigs and karts in a variety of events. Game creators also desire us to experiment with game mechanics and enjoy the game for a longer period of time than existing Angry Birds titles. Remember, it is meant as a companion product to all existing Bird and Pig games, and not a replacement or successor!
If there were no energy limitation then the best possible thing to do for every single race event would be to use the Blues all the way. Spam triple speed boosts for each race and leave every single competitor and bomb timer in the dust. Next, unlock Chuck and spam mega speed boosts all the way to game completion. That ‘powergaming’ approach is generally quite boring and not just in text.
And then once the game were ‘beaten’ by this ‘powergaming’ approach typically used in MMORPGs, we would then wait for future updates and some may even go so far as to uninstall the game until said updates arrive. Rinse and repeat until the next Angry Birds title appears. Not so good for longevity of the new title… And let’s not forget, if the Blues and Chuck (or your other favorite Birds) were so massively powerful and could be used for the majority of the game successfully, why put in “lesser” characters like Stella, Bomb, Red and the Pigs?
The simple answer is: Speed isn’t the answer for everything. Don’t pick on fat, lazy pigs too. Drive with a variety of characters, apply their strengths in different scenarios and more importantly, create and express your own unique character preferences per event! And in so doing, Rovio invites all of you to take part in their “Great Experiment”.
“I believe I can fly… Better than a Pig!”
Thoughs on the Great 3D Experiment
This is the first time Piggy Island has been rendered in all three dimensions, and for sure this new environment of battling birds and pigs is going to come with its own pluses and minuses. Add that to the usual quandary of a game designer (that it’s impossible to please everyone) and we get a rather interesting scenario. ABGO is not a game that you spend $50 on, play for 5 hours, complete its storyline and then trash or sell it.
It is designed to live a bit longer than that on your smartphone, with ambitious and very advanced updates scheduled to release by mid-2014. Angry Birds GO’s ambitious strategy of being a next-generation 3D and highly competitive multiplayer racer means it is going to have to be innovative and engage its fanbase in some way. While most will regard the energy limit per character as restrictive, it still is less problematic than other means of character management, because with the energy meter, you are allowed to experience the full power of the characters, rather than having to force in that absurd element of “game balance” and water down everything. I mean, if you were playing with futuristic wargames wielding nuclear weapons, you’d expect the nukes to behave like nukes and not firecrackers. Limiting access to strategic weapons then, would allow you, the player to experience the power of a Tsar Bomba and not some failed sub-critical lab event… And the same goes for ABGO. Have you seen how dominant a trio of Blue Birds can be? Or that mega speed boost from Chuck? And even more so the track-spanning bubble of invulnerability that surrounds mighty Stella?
All those would have been watered down to near-uselessness should they be exposed to conventional “game balancing” mechanics!
So give Rovio constructive advice if you would like the present energy implementation to be improved in some manner. For instance, a “Feeding” minigame would be very much welcome right now to give all of us something to do while we wait for the next character to recharge (or more smartly, just come back to the game a couple times a day, the energy thing is really not that bad once you have more than four characters unlocked).
Friendly, constructive feedback submitted to the right place at the right time will help to establish a crucial link between the game developer and you, the driver. It also helps the game creators to understand the true needs of the players, and with this culture of mutual appreciation (that few game companies outside of Rovio would maintain!) you could just have a hand in shaping the future of the Angry Birds universe, in ways both large and small.
All Offensive Driving Course Lessons
- Lesson 1: The Driving Line
- Lesson 2: Drifting
- Lesson 3: Wheel to Wheel Combat
- Lesson 4: Tuning Strategies
- Lesson 5: Energy Management