Computational Features of Video Games

spaceInvaderIf you are confident enough with your Python skills, you might feel ready to move on to the next stage and start creating your own arcade video game.

To do so you will have to research and investigate existing video games to identify some of the key computational features of these games and see how these can be implemented.

For arcade games we advise you to investigate the classic games including:

When investigating these video games try to identify their main features:

  • What are the main sprites of the game,
  • How does the player interact with the game / control the main sprite,
  • How does the scoring system work,
  • Is the game making use of a timer,
  • Can the player play against the computer,
  • Is the game using real physics,
  • Is the game in first-person view,
  • How does the computer control the movement of other sprites,
  • How does the computer decide what move to play next,
  • What information is stored in the game,
  • What extra features are included in the games (e.g. leaderboard?),
  • What settings can be changed in the game,
  • Are there multiple levels of difficulty,
  • What makes a level more difficult to complete,
  • How is the stage generated,
  • What are the main characteristics of the Graphical User Interface,
  • etc.

You will then be able to research these characteristics further and identify the computational features that you could use to build your own game.

To help you getting started we have listed here a few blog posts from this blog describing a range of computation features further:

Controlling Movement of Sprites:


Main Program Loop (Frame Based Game)

Main Program Loop (Frame Based Game)

Controlling a Sprite using the arrow keys

Controlling a Sprite using the arrow keys

Edge Detection & Bouncing Algorithm

Edge Detection & Bouncing Algorithm

Scrolling/Falling Object Algorithms

Scrolling/Falling Object Algorithms

Closest Player Detection Algorithm

Closest Player Detection Algorithm

Projectile-Motion

Projectile Motion Formula

Pacman Ghost Algorithm

Pacman Ghost Algorithm

Stage Generation:


Random Background Generation Algorithm

Random Background Generation Algorithm

Parallax Scrolling Effect

Parallax Scrolling Effect

Battleship Grid Initialisation Algorithm

Battleship Grid Initialisation Algorithm

Collision Detection Algorithms:


Collision Detection Algorithm in a game of Curling

Collision Detection Algorithm in a game of Curling

Collision Detection between Sprites (PyGame)

Collision Detection between Sprites (PyGame)

Data Structures:


Connect4 Data Structure using a 2D-array

Connect4 Data Structure using a 2D-array

Othello Data Structure using a 2D-array

Othello Data Structure using a 2D-array

File Handling (CSV files) in a Monopoly Quiz

File Handling (CSV files) in a Monopoly Quiz

Using a 2D-array to implement a game of Tetris

Using a 2D-array to implement a game of Tetris

Artificial Intelligence? When the player plays against the computer!


Tic-Tac-Toe Challenge

Scoring Systems:


Scoring System in a Quiz

Scoring System in a Quiz

Archery Scoring System

Archery Scoring System

Darts Scoring System

Darts Scoring System

Grading System

Grading System

3D User Interface:


Oblique Projection Formula

Oblique Projection Formula

3D Rotation Matrix

3D Rotation Matrix

Vanishing Point Perspective

Vanishing Point Perspective

Additional Features of video games:


Leaderboard (using a CSV file)

Leaderboard (using a CSV file)

Off-side Detection Algorithm

Off-side Detection Algorithm

Login Algorithm

Login Algorithm


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