If you like this idea, you can help my prototype compete in the OUYA CREATE Game Jam by sharing this contest entry page on Twitter or Facebook. Thanks!
Ambidextrous activities, like playing piano and drums, require that you develop the ability to use both of your hands at the same time to do different things. My newest game prototype, 2 Hando Commando, does precisely that in the guise of a multiplayer top-down shooter.
You control a commando on the left with your left hand, and a commando on the right with your right hand.
At first, this is an absolute brain-bender of a control setup. I found out as much when I mocked up a very simple control prototype and moved two guys around a small map with a few obstacles. At first you think, OK, this is going to be way too tough to play.
Add in another human to play against, and that’s where the fun begins. It’s like watching drunk newbies play Halo, except you’re watching yourself, or rather, your two selves try desperately to coordinate their moves against an opponent that is also running hopelessly into walls. It’s hilarious at first – but then, if you’re like me, there’s something in the back of your mind that compels you to try again. If only you had slightly better control, you’d definitely have won that round!
The reason I’m really interested in the depth of this prototype is that your brain and muscle memory eventually do adapt! In my case, my mind started basically separating the movements of my characters into something akin to “rhythm” and “melody” – that is, I would keep close track of one character advancing through cover, while the other hand would pop out and give cover fire with a fixed back-and-forth strafing pattern while holding down the fire button.
I’m very interested in seeing what kind of weird proficiencies and strategies develop in this game. I’ve known gamers long enough to know that they’ll get good at some ridiculously difficult things in the name of competitiveness, and the multiplayer design of 2 Hando Commando makes it perfect for competitive masochists just like me. 🙂
Some More Game Details
Controls are limited currently to movement, firing your weapon, and changing your character’s target (characters auto-target, but rotate/track at different speeds). There are two classes of characters in the prototype – an agile mover with a single-shot pistol, and a slower mover with a 3-shot burst and higher damage.
Clearly the art is 100% programmer-made, so I’ve got my eyes open for a good artist and perhaps a sound person to collaborate with on this game. If you think you’ve got the skills to handle it, shoot me an email!
My plans are to flesh out a few more special character classes, get in a couple of maps, and also see if I can put together a webplayer or downloadable build and get people online and 2 Hando Commando’ing right away. Right now the OUYA Create entry is split-screen 2-player, but I’m definitely planning for online multiplayer as well.
I’m also open to feedback – feel free to post in my new forums, which are totally sparse and could use the activity. 🙂 If you register and don’t get confirmed, email me and I’ll clear it up.