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First person shooters - health packs and right mouse button

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Well, there''s this thing I think about health packs in first person shooters, it''s kinda like unrealistic. Since games are designed for entertainment and not realism, it''s ok, but I think we need more games with realism as one of the major considerations. What do you think? The right mouse button: Would it be better to use it for secondary fire? Or to throw grenades (with this option, the player won''t have to change his weapon to grenade using the number keys)? "Never met an American that didn''t like guns." "Santa Claus would pick up a gun to save his friend." InitGames Software | InitGames Software forums

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quote:
Original post by liquidAir
Well, there''s this thing I think about health packs in first person shooters, it''s kinda like unrealistic. Since games are designed for entertainment and not realism, it''s ok, but I think we need more games with realism as one of the major considerations. What do you think?

The whole concept of being able to function in any useful manner after being shot is unrealistic so health packs aren''t really changing the level of realism to any significant level. My opinion is that they add to the fun of the game.

quote:
The right mouse button: Would it be better to use it for secondary fire? Or to throw grenades (with this option, the player won''t have to change his weapon to grenade using the number keys)?

Like most things "better" would be a matter of opinion. I like the idea of a single button grenade toss but I also like MOHAAs system of having primary grenade (overarm) and secondary (underarm). Most FPS games have reconfigurable controls so if you want such a control you could create an alias/bind to allow it.

Dan Marchant
Obscure Productions (www.obscure.co.uk)
Game Development & Design consultant

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quote:
Original post by liquidAir
Well, there''s this thing I think about health packs in first person shooters, it''s kinda like unrealistic. Since games are designed for entertainment and not realism, it''s ok, but I think we need more games with realism as one of the major considerations. What do you think?

The right mouse button: Would it be better to use it for secondary fire? Or to throw grenades (with this option, the player won''t have to change his weapon to grenade using the number keys)?

"Never met an American that didn''t like guns."
"Santa Claus would pick up a gun to save his friend."

InitGames Software | InitGames Software forums



Well, do you want to have to deal with guns jamming, being shot in the hand and being unable to shoot, and being shot in the knee and being unable to move? No, they make it fun, by making it playable.

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I agree with the health pack thing to an extent, but really, there are plenty of games out there that are "realistic" in their portrayal of injury. The whole Rainbow Six series does that pretty well, and many mods observe it as well. I remember Infiltration for Unreal Tournament as being very good about that sort of thing.

Right mouse button isn''t always an option, since Macs, for instance, don''t have ''em. Regardless, most hardcore players will customize their controls to some degree. I''ve used the same control scheme in every PC FPS since Action Quake, which was the first one I played that required reloading and such. Muscle memory rules the day, and game design can only offer it new challenges to overcome.

Grenades are tricky. Halo had a "grenade button" that you could use at any time. It was fun, but that was a very fast-paced game with a lot of superhuman things going on, and I think the grenades were one of them. It''s hard to throw a grenade, and I''m sure you''d have to at least stop shooting to do it.

I''m no soldier, but in order to throw a grenade in combat, you''ve got to get it out, either from your pocket or from your vest, then pull the pin, which takes two hands (I''ve played with dummy training grenades, and if you use your teeth, you''re going to lose teeth. Those pins are really tough to get out), and then throw it. The "spoon" pops off in flight, and the grenade detonates after a fairly predictable delay of three to five seconds.

I can''t imagine anyone flinging grenades while they rake back and forth with an assault rifle. I think that in a game too realistic for health packs, you should have to sling or holster your weapon to use a grenade.

As to the overhand/underhand thing, I figure a simple charge-up bar would be appropriate. Rainbow Six showed a little bar at the bottom of the screen that slowly built up (not too slowly, though) and when it was where you wanted it, you released the "fire" button and your guy chucked the grenade. Up to about 50% power you threw it underhand, and thereafter it was overhand. GTA3 did the same thing, but didn''t show you the bar. It makes sense to me that to really whip a ''nade, you''d need a half second or so to wind up, and the brief delay is seldom a tactical catastrophe. Don''t mess with a good thing, I say.

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Ok, let''s imagine this, which would you prefer?

1. You stop firing, have to change your current weapon to grenades by pressing the corresponding number key, hurl, and then you have to change back to your former weapon by pressing the corresponding number key.

OR

2. You''re firing, you press the right mouse button, you stop firing automatically and the gun is down for about five seconds during which you pull out the pin from the grenade and hurl it, and then the weapon which you were using is restored.

Obivously, option 2 is more convenient.

And concerning having to deal with being shot in the leg, and being shot in the hand and all, we don''t have to. But when gamers begin to ask for more reality, then we''ll have to consider that as well.

"Never met an American that didn''t like guns."
"Santa Claus would pick up a gun to save his friend."

InitGames Software | InitGames Software forums

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Quake had a nice arrangement where if you needed health packs, you just went to where you know they existed. You get hurt, you run, and try to get to the health pack before your enemy blows you away. Or is it that you are supposed to go toe to toe with them because trying to get the health packs just gives them more opportunity to fire? I don't know, I never played twitch games much online against people.

Anyway, it's the simple paradigm of throwing off a simple effect to get a simple benefit. Just like opening a door or unlocking a chest. Picking up health packs was an easily acceptable way of handling the game mechanic. And I think games should be designed exactly as that - as games.

Personally, if I had such realism in a game, it would heopfully add to the experience and not take away from it.

On the right mouse button thing, Unreal Tournament had a nice variety in each weapon having a secondary fire mode. In half-life, the machine gun had a right button grenade launcher which was very powerful. You can expect that if your game has a right button grenade no matter which weapons are in hand, a LOT of grenades are going to be thrown and the whole idea might wear itself out. Unless it's a WWII simulation or something where combat is seen in spurts and not constantly, and grenades might have more use because they aren't used so often. Having to switch to a gun that fires a grenade makes it feel more specialized, and lets the player use it as a weapon of choice. It's all in the game design.

[edited by - Waverider on December 2, 2003 3:54:37 AM]

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Take a look at Americas Army for health packs. The whole game is based on realism. It''s supposed to be a training / recruitment tool. WHen you are shot, you bleed, a medic is there to stop the bleeding. You are still hurt but at least you won''t lose blood and get worse. Since this goes on for a round and eveything starts over, it''s fine.

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quote:
Original post by PlayGGY
Well, do you want to have to deal with guns jamming, being shot in the hand and being unable to shoot, and being shot in the knee and being unable to move? No, they make it fun, by making it playable.




And if you get killed, you can never play the game again. That would be great.

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Depends totally on design. If you make me press a KEY to use a secondary fire, I will revolt! However, in a design such as Halo, it can work out well.

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I''m not convinced realism is a good argument. As well as the various negatives that realism would bring (occasional gun jams, incremental crippling from damage, etc) there are things where realism could potentially assist the player - invisible walls round play areas, inability to fire in a direction other than where you''re looking, lack of kinaesthetic feedback, inability to "glance", inability to squirm through tight places, inability to converse freely (OK, some multiplayer games do let you voice chat freely)

At least a few of these unrealistic disadvantages appear to be inherent in current hardware limitations (roll on VR) or at least a consequence of the standard "single monitor" setup. Until there''s a way to overcome these, I think it''s inappropriate to add disadvantages to the player purely in the name or realism...

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