I’ve been told that I’m over-zealous about latency. Having spent more than 10 years working in the video-games industry as both an engineer and a designer, I’ve found latency to be one of easiest things to point out that differentiates a good experience from a bad one. It’s usually not easy to fix though.
I believe latency is one of the reasons why Call of Duty has been more successful than its competitors, why Apple now has such a huge chunk of the mobile space, and why Guitar Hero was just so good. And I do loathe navigating an interactive system and not knowing whether it actually registered my last button-press or not (I’m looking at you, stupid TV navigation menu!).
So, developing Colors!, I’ve always been very conscious about this. From experience I can tell you that sketching in 60 fps just feels so much better than doing it in 30 fps. I have no doubt that many people wouldn’t consciously see the difference, but it’s not about that – it’s about how good it feels when you paint that stroke – it’s about making it fun.
Colors! is all about that. Strokes should be instant, just like a pen on paper. The color palette should pop the instant you press that button, not a tenth of a second later. I believe this to be no different than pressing the attack button in a game – you want to stay immersed and not lose focus. And creativity is all about that – it’s about getting that idea down before the flow is lost.
Oh, and more thing. Instead of just hanging out on Facebook, I’ve also started up a Twitter account for all things Colors! and Collecting Smiles. Perhaps I will see you there!
8 thoughts on “Colors! 3D dev diary – latency, latency, latency”
Keep fighting the good fight against bad design, trooper. I look forward to reaping the benefits.
Pardo used to tell a good story about a 1 frame delay in the mouse cursor in one of the -Craft games that infuriated players but the engineers never believed existed for a long time. Until they found it and admitted the player experience was right
@David, I’m not surprised. Engineers have been known to turn the blind eye to things that the don’t want to believe. Trust me, I know. :)
Luckily, enough people have understood it’s importance, so nowadays we see those latency reports that some people put together using high-speed camera measurements.
Colors! is my favorite, small format program. It got me in a routine of painting digitally and I am forever grateful. Thanks.
I completely agree with you. Even a small bit of latency is very noticeable, and usually hardcore gamers will notice the problem instantly.
Happy to see you’re handling this seriously in Colors! 3D. Latency in a painting program is probably even worse than latency in an FPS videogame… :P
I will really appreciate your attention to latency. I am, as mentioned, a fighting games player and it indeed can break the game (flow). I am not a painter or designer, I have only so far attempted learning with Art Academy 1 & 2 for Dsiware and Flipnote Studio.
I never tried the Ds homebrew version either. Nonetheless,I am expecting your software very much. Both for me and for my son (now 2.10 years old, but he could get into it later).
I couldn’t agree more, especially with a drawing app, but it’s something many developers don’t give much thought to. Well done for bringing it to the fore.