I came across this article, In Praise of Sticky Friction by Tim Rogers, about his concept of friction in game design. I appreciate his writing and games (well game, I've only tried Videoball) a lot, so I thought it could be a helpful tool to create an easy-to-refer-to version of his friction dictionary. I am already applying the concepts to The Girl Who Kicked a Rabbit.
[...] is when things collide, hold there for an instant, and then, in that instant of holding, a "winner" is determined, and it is that winner who proceeds beyond the loser. The best instance of crunch I can think of would be — well, real-life American football [...]
Good swishing is [...] scoring a headshot with a pistol in Gears of War. It's mainly because you can see the bullet traveling through the air. People love being able to see the bullet. You shoot at an enemy as he's starting to reload, and before he can duck behind cover to finish his reload, the bullet collides with his head.
[...] is when you press a button and something enormous and possibly impressive happens what feels, momentarily, beyond your cotrol. [...] Some games [...] expect you to be the kind of person to want to see something fantastic every time you press a button.
[...] So you get games like Dynasty Warriors, where you press the square button and your guy twirls around like a ballerina, swinging and swishing his spear through the air, knocking over and killing a dozen dudes at a time. [...] Bad swishing is what we call Soupy friction. [...] they should be Chunky. [...]
[...] Sonic Rush [...] That's a game with no chunk. You can just hold right on the D-pad and your guy just goes forever. Chunky games are games where you have to fight for your right to keep moving to the right. [...] Look at Dracula X: Rondo of Blood [...] and you'll see some terrifying, epic chunk. Every minor enemy you encounter requires a level of emotional investment that you just don't get from most modern action games. In Rondo of Blood, you find yourself against an axe knight early in the game. Your hero, Richter Belmont, is equipped with a whip and the abilities to whip high, whip low, walk forward, walk backward, jump, or crouch. That's all you get. [...]
Other games with high chunk levels include [...] Gears of War, and hey, even Halo — any game where you have to fight hard to gain ground to move forward. Ninja Gaiden and Devil May Cry are interesting in that they contain chunk within the context of single contests. You can feel the chunk as the character merely turns around, away from one stunned enemy, to risk the chance of stunning another, to save himself a nick of damage in the long run. [...]
[...] The point of sticky friction is that it lets the player savor the maybe-massive weight of what he just did. In the upper difficulties of a game like God of War, where the enemies can be some seriously tough mofos, any hit scored is a trophy-worthy achievement. You need to let the player feel it — then you need to let him do it again, and again, and again.
Here's a game I hate to give credit, because the game is actually pretty terrible: Star Fox Adventures. [...] Well, the brilliant friction in Star Fox Adventures sure as shit doesn't save it, though I am a generous, kind type of person, so I can't forget it. It's probably the single best standard-attack-based sticky friction I've ever seen in an action game. [...] the timing of the screen freezes was impeccable. [...] Depending on the location of the hit, sometimes the pause is shorter than it'll be with a stronger hit, and sometimes you score four or five hits all in a row. It's pretty marvelous. It's a shame that the game didn't, you know, do anything with its sublime frictions. [...]
is a specific type of sticky friction. [...] Maybe the best example of Velcro friction is when you chainsaw a guy in Gears of War. You come up behind him, clearly catching him with his pants (figuratively) down. You get him with the chainsaw, and everything freezes. [...] It's all about letting the player savor his big victory. [...] regular sticky friction is a chance to let the player enjoy still snippets of his awesomeness. Velcro friction is a way to awaken in the player the realization that his playing of the game is the story, that the on-screen action is a movie scene.
Juicy (also known as "jiggly" or "wiggly") Friction
[...] It's when stuff moves a lot. [...] Ratchet and Clank is probably the best example of a not-really-offensive juicy game. Juice is mostly for flash purposes. When Ratchet jumps up into the air, his hands flail in literally about 81 different directions before he lands. [...]
is evil juice. It's a kind of bad swoosh. Kingdom Hearts is the best example of this. [...] You press a button and your character twirls all the hell of the way around with his key-sword-thing corkscrewing all over; ultimately, he's only going to lunge it directly forward. [...]
is when you press a button and something Just Fucking Happens, and you go "That. Just. Happened!" [...] A premier example of Electric Snappy Friction is in God Hand, when you do the stock mule-kick attack: it takes maybe two whole breathless seconds to charge up, though once you let it go, it collides with the enemy and immediately sends him flying.
Chunk and snap go well together. You will be chunking forward in Rondo of Blood, for example, and dancing with a dry (not juicy) tango when, suddenly, the opportunity to attack presents itself, and you are perfectly in range. You press the button and BAM — "That! Just! Happened!" Compare this to the swishy friction of Space Invaders, where you press the button and wait. With snap, you press the button and you feel. [...]
[...] Meat manifests itself in sudden, jerky flinches. Boot up Street Fighter II and then watch Ryu block a low roundhouse from Zangief. [...]
[...] refers to anything that you don't really have to do in a game, though you definitely would rather keep doing it than stop doing it. [...] Katamari Damacy has that new snow feeling every time you roll your expanding ball of garbage over a pile of objects, hear that little sucking sound, and feel that tennis-racket-like vibration of the controller. [...]
is the Friction of building something up and then letting it go. This is one of my personal favorite frictions, as used famously in the Mega Buster, introduced in Mega Man 4. You hold down the button, and then you let go. The longer you hold the button, the bigger the shot. The bigger the shot, the more the damage. [...]
is a cousin of sticky friction, where the world continues to move while your player freezes in time. This is a peculiar friction. Probably the best example of it is the wall-climb in Megaman X: you jump at a wall, and Megaman grabs it with one hand, his back turned and feet pressed against it. He grinds down the wall with a pleasant enough (mid-rangey) sound. [...] It's the downward grind. It's so minutely tuned that its execution manages to walk into the brain and pull up a chair for years. [...]
[...] Perhaps the most famous jerky friction is the Alpha Friction, that of Super Mario Bros. The Alpha Friction is the friction that occurs when Mario is running one direction, and you attempt to quickly change directions. He doesn't do it right away. You can feel him still pulling in the direction he was going, before he stops, sticks, and then begins walking, then running, in the other direction. [...]
Then we had OutRun, a game about drifting — about steering and countersteering. [...]
is when you grab a game controller with the console turned off and just jag on it for a bit because — let's face it — game controllers are sometimes designed well enough for you to not really care if you're not playing a game. [...] just repeatedly inserting and removing a DS cartridge into and out of the slot. It makes such a delicious little click!
doesn't actually exist too much in games. Are there any games that maximize the videogame potential of firehoses? [...]
is a type of friction like, when you use a magic ability to push something through the air so it flies into something else. In most games, these days, it's used as a cheap go-to solution for puzzles. "That door's locked, so i guess I have to pick up a piece of debris with my telekinesis". This is a friction with much potential, though it's really just crunching and snapping and swishing and sticking kind of shoehorned together. I reckon someone will get around to doing something with it.