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It's All About the Competition / Dan Nanni

LawBreakers Rep: 1,655
Posts: 204
in General PC Discussion
Dan Nanni, Lead Designer of LawBreakers gives a talk about the game.


  • AccordinanceAccordinance
    LawBreakers Rep: 530
    Posts: 11
    Yeah, september 2017
  • FlickshotXXLFlickshotXXL
    LawBreakers Rep: 1,655
    Posts: 204
    Yeah, it's from September 2017. Patch 1.4 was released that month. Dan Nanni, like Cliffy B and Tramell Isaac, is a great speaker. The presentation itself was great.

    What I liked less was that during the conference, Dan made a lot of analogies to traditional sports. And I get it, Dan loves sports. So, whenever he wants to make an analogy, he is going to use sports as a reference. However, in traditional sports like Basketball, Football or else, we don't go around destroying our opponents. In FPS games, it's combat first, sport second. But you can tell from the design of LawBreakers and that conference that LawBreakers was designed around sport first and combat second. And the patch after 1.4 reinforces this statement.

    LawBreakers basically does what Halo did so wrong for so many years. Most gamers probably won't notice, because LawBreakers does it a little bit differently, but the principle is the same. In Halo, all the guns used to work a lot by range, meaning that if you had the right weapon in the right context, you were likely to win the outcome. I love playing Wraith, because it shows everything that is really great and really bad about LawBreakers. So, instead of giving us Heroes that have their own unique gameplay template, the dev team also tried really hard to make those Heroes play a very specific way instead, limiting the replay value and skill ceiling.

    And if you don't understand what I'm saying here, I'll break it down differently.
    • You start with Unreal Tournament where every player starts with the same movement template and an inventory for 10 guns.
    • You remove the inventory and only allow each player to carry 2 guns.
    • You add a quick melee button, but decide to go for something more meaningful and tactical like a kick that can knock back players, but doesn't inflict too much damage instead of add just a simple powerful melee attack (ex: Halo).
    • You add a double jump.
    • You remove crouch for no reason at all.
    • You add 2 abilities that players can quickly use during a match.
    • And when it comes down to Dodge/Walldodge, you want to offer more ways to move around the map. And players will be able to choose how they want to move around the map by selecting a different character. Some of them will fly, some other will sprint and pogo jump, some others will hover above the map, etc.
    • And then you decide that the 2 abilities and the special movement type will work on cool downs.
    • But you don't stop there.
    • You try force players to play your game a very very specific way with each role. You add fall off damage, modify health, modify melee range and width, you make some classes too good in certain situations, some classes inflict too much damage with certain attacks and all that ultimately creates handicaps, limits creativity, the replay value and it also lowers the skill ceiling.

    And the biggest mistake is that the dev team really worked hard to make the game feel more fast-paced and skillful by slightly improving the player movements and player physics. LawBreakers has some of the best player physics and movements we've ever seen in the FPS genre. How is this a mistake? The mistake is that the player movements and player movements alone won't define the amount of skills that it takes to play. How the weapon works also play a big role in how challenging and difficult it is to aim at our opponents, how easy or difficult it is for them to move skillfully to make us miss our shots. And the problem with LB is that 70% of the roles have full-automatic hitscan weapons which is basically the worst thing to do when you want to create a skillful fast-paced FPS. That's why Halo 2 gave players a Battle Rifle (3 rounds burst) as starting weapon and the Assault Rifle (Full-Auto) became a random crappy SMG. That's why Unreal Tournament doesn't allow you to start with a Machinegun and, instead, gives you a pistol that requires you to time your shots.

    Full-automatic weapons and Low Gravity is the death of skillful FPS gameplay. And then on top of that, the headshot damage multiplier is only at 1.5x (Wraith) and 1.75x (Enforcer + Harrier). Skillful FPS games need at least 2x and can even go to 3x, 4x and 5x. I would recommend 3x, because it gives us a nice learning curve and skill gap between beginners, advanced and pro players.

    If we remove the Low Gravity gameplay, the closest games to LawBreakers are Halo Reach (the Halo game with armor abilities) and Overwatch.
  • RealmjumperRealmjumper
    LawBreakers Rep: 1,325
    Posts: 123
    Good post Flickshot.