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beantas

Immersion

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What aspects of a game immerse a player into the gameworld? I'm sure everyone will mention sound and music so let's get that out of the way. Yes, good sound/music will immerse a player. And yes, a good story will too. And cutscenes will definitely immerse a player. These I think are pretty obvious and straightforward. But what else? Can better graphics immerse a player or do they actually work against immersiveness? Or is this all just a matter of opinion with no correct answer? Does it depend on genre and the game's underlying gameplay? Or is gameplay the only aspect that can immerse a player? What about voice acting versus text? I think back to games where I've completely been sucked in. Fallout 2, FF3, FFX, Half-Life, etc. They've all had varying aspects. I'm beginning to think there are different types of immersion. "Imaginative immersion" where your imagination takes over and fills gaps, and "non-imaginative immersion", where the game provides most of everything. We can quickly sort text games, older 2D games into the first. Newer games like FFX and Half-Life fall into the second. I guess a ton of games fall into a bit of both. What do you think? [edited by - beantas on November 8, 2002 9:55:31 AM]

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Showing the player that his actions make a difference. In Half-Life, the simple fact that you still lived was causing problems for the military dudes, in some RPGs a lot of things are optional but can greatly affect the game world.

A game doesn''t have to do this to be immersive, but it can be more fun that way.

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On a first stage it''s a storyine.

Good intro and clear goals helps a lot. (all ur listed games have that)

Than in addition great role playes graphic and sound (atmosphere).

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On a first stage it''s a storyine.

Good intro and clear goals helps a lot. (all ur listed games have that)

Than in addition great role playes graphic and sound (atmosphere).

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I find that cutscenes can actually spoil immersion.

If you are playing a game, and suddenly you lose control of your character or are forced to sit through some FMV it merely serves to remind you that you''re playing a computer game.

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quote:
Original post by Sandman
I find that cutscenes can actually spoil immersion.

If you are playing a game, and suddenly you lose control of your character or are forced to sit through some FMV it merely serves to remind you that you're playing a computer game.

Ah ha! So there's even more different types. Within "imaginative immersion" and "non-imaginative immersion" there is also "story immersion", or immersion into a story, which a cutscene helps provide. But there is also, like you mention, "game immersion" or the belief that you are not just playing a video game, which a cutscene can ruin.


[edited by - beantas on November 8, 2002 2:56:43 PM]

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quote:
Original post by Kugels
Showing the player that his actions make a difference. In Half-Life, the simple fact that you still lived was causing problems for the military dudes, in some RPGs a lot of things are optional but can greatly affect the game world.

A game doesn''t have to do this to be immersive, but it can be more fun that way.

So I guess this falls under "non-imaginative immersion", since the game changes itself for you rather than you imagine it changing. And also "game immersion", since it makes you feel like you''re in a real world where you can change things, rather than a video game.

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If you want the player to feel like he is part of a movie or book, it is crucial that the game rules and setting are consistent and believable IMHO.

You mentioned Fallout 2, which I think fail in doing this. For a humorous 1950''s style game with unrealistic rules, modern real-world weapons felt out of place. Adding FN FAL, M60, etc. just for the coolness factor was a poor design decision. If a game gives me a Desert Eagle .44 with hollow-point ammo and allow me to aim for the eyes, I expect it to kill if it hits. Not so in Fallout. Moreover, the chance-to-hit calculations felt simplistic and better suited for a pen-and-paper RPG. To me, the game ended up feeling like it aimed for some realism, which I usually like, but failed miserably.

I can make a similar case against Half-Life. The whole world seemed very real and life-like, very different from Quake and Unreal. But when I then shot a soldier in his unprotected forehead without him taking much notice, he just kept on shooting, well, the illusion shattered. Same thing when you pumped bullets into a guy''s legs and he still could run.

Nevertheless, both games tell their stories well and can be quite immersive at times.

And it''s OK to make games like Super Mario and Worms, of course.

-------------------
Aim for the horizon
but watch your step

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quote:
Original post by beantas
[quote]Original post by Sandman
I find that cutscenes can actually spoil immersion.

If you are playing a game, and suddenly you lose control of your character or are forced to sit through some FMV it merely serves to remind you that you''re playing a computer game.

Ah ha! So there''s even more different types. Within "imaginative immersion" and "non-imaginative immersion" there is also "story immersion", or immersion into a story, which a cutscene helps provide. But there is also, like you mention, "game immersion" or the belief that you are not just playing a video game, which a cutscene can ruin.

The other side of this coin is a device used from filmmaking for generations, which is very effective and we can freely borrow from: sometimes you can increase the immersion by giving the viewer (or player in this case) a break.

Example: After a kick tail shootout, the hero has a moment of rest where the lovely senorita dresses his wounds, and everyone in and out of the immersion experience gets a chance to breat after the action, something useful and oh, natural.

A cutscene where you get lose control of your character is a badly designed and thought out cutscene, a cutscene that you are glad you got to (remember our customers are not as good a player as we are; so don''t hold them to our sense of standards about gameplay) cause that level took a ton of effort (albeit gladly given) was a great cutscene that belonged there.

The bottom line here is that action after action after action will become artificial and your going to lose immersion commitment in the worst manifestation; the player quits the game.
Players are aging, and they are becoming more intense, as recent publications correctly indicate. Don''t mistake the intensity definition as blam after blam after blam, but more of the old storytelling concept proofer, "What''s at stake?"

Intensity is often gauged by context, such as, does the guy go looking for the murderer of his wife and child (Max Payne) or The empire is at stake (Star Wars) Both are valid intense conflicts, one internal and empathic, one external and destinic, but the levels of immersion are approached by all viewers being equally paying and interested based on individuality. Perhaps "omniplot" can save us in the long run, but for now, individual quirkiness is a big factor in choice to immerse or not, and to what degree.

I think the trend in realism we are all trying to get a handle on will actually immerse people more on a general scale.

Damn fine thread!

Addy

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if a game has a general feeling of intimacy, this should help. the details will be subtle eg a cut-scene camera at eye-level indicating you are a bystander, not watching on a screen (a tip i noticed is often used on TV, typically with a load of people around a table)

one surefire way to destroy immersion is to allow something unconvincing happen. suppose you have a time travel story, establish the rules of time travel as soon as possible. never break them or make them look even a little bent or dented.
if the rules change in favour of the enemy, the player thinks "than''s not fair!", if the rules change to benefit them, there is a lack of control

given that the methods for creating immersion are many and small in effect, and that the margin of error is nonexistant, a cynic might suggest the way to look immersive is to focus the effort on avoiding mistakes. the game won''t be very immersive but will stand out against others who tried and failed. ie it doesn''t matter wether the game sucks the player in as long as it doesn''t let them snap out of it.

********


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