Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

sniper game: player experience

This topic is 5001 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

Hi; we are currently designing (with two other people) a Sniper FP Shooter for the Master on Game Design we''re taking. We have designed a preliminar mission, but even though we like it, I would like to know what do other people would like to add to a game like this (playable situations, new interface uses, etc) in order to create a richer sniper feeling game experience. In the level we have designed (in wich there is a part of Splinter Cell style gaming and another with more action), the player will have to jump over near placed buildings (he will be all the time over destroyed buildings, searching good shooting positions). The ambientation is II World War, but the story is something about we have some ideas not yet defined. I think it could be interesting not to set any background to the carachter the players is embodying. The idea is that the player obtain the necessary narrative information accordingly to the phase of the game he is playing (possibly using the voice over) without stopping the action, so in some way, he will construct the carachters personality (by making relevant choices) without many backgroud information that could influence him and direct his choices. Ideally, the game will adapt his narrative to the serie of decisions the player does. I say ideally because more than probably, we could only finish one single level. Sorry for my poor english and thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Rent a movie called "Enemy At The Gates". It''s all about snipers in WW2. You should get a lot of inspiration and cool ideas from that

I think that you should really have a story, or there isn''t much point to the game. I mean, it''s easier to play a game for longer when it has a story that you wanna see until the end. Anyways, I hope you implement some stuff like the sniper in Splinter Cell, that''s always cool

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have seen Enemy at the gates various times, and although it''s a great movie, we want a experience with a little bit of more action. We want to include however, a playable situation similar to the scene in which Zaichev shoots five nazis with five shoots without beeing discovered.

There will be a story, of course, but the idea is that we don''t want a closed and predefined story, but a story with multiple possibilities depending on the player actions (although we will finish only one level, the complete game would try this), something that surely makes the resulted story less impactant and efective that if the story was conceived normally. We hope that, in this way (making the player to choice) the game will be much more interesting and immersive.

Another idea we are considerig is the option to make the player play as a german sniper, that is, as a nazi. I think that, even though it could be controversial, it is interesting for the player to experience the II WW from an unusual point of view.

I''m not sure about some people reaction in this sense, but I think that putting the player in the german side create a complex and global moral dilema that can provide some interesting (and new) effects in the game experience.

We don''t know exactly how, but for example, it could be great (or not, I don''t know) that the player could feel that, as I''m sure in a lot of cases it really was, they are fihting for something illegitimate, and consequently, that he would have the possibility to join the allieds side at some point of the game (let''s suppose we could finish the game), confronting the danger of beeing killed for the germans. In the other way, the player could decide to continue fighting with the germans without riskying his life, although not beeing sincere with his feelings and moral.

This is a pretty udefined idea, but I guess you understand what I want to say. What do you think about this?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There are lots of games, like Medal of Honour for example, that let you play on the german side. It''s just another set of levels and most people don''t have a problem with that; if they have, they simply don''t play those missions. So I guess they''re ok =) do whatever suits you best.

About the missions, that''s a bit too vague. I mean, what player choices are going to influence the next missions? The player must always follow some kind of orders or it won''t look like he/she is in the army at all. The generals/whatever make all the important choices like what the sniper is supposed to do and where. You should think a bit about that before saying "ok we''re gonna have open-ended missions". You could however have something like, chosing between different missions, or subtle effects like "if you don''t kill this commander during this mission, X happens". But generaly that has been done in other games and it''s not the kind of choice I know you wanna give to the players

That movie is great because it shows snipers as they really are: sometimes they have to wait for hours until someone shows up; if they miss one shot they gave away their position and must relocate with soldiers going after them; etc. It''s ok to make it more action-oriented but some of the other elements are what generates the most tension sometimes. Otherwise it''s just another shoot-em-up, just with a different name. That''s why I told you to get some inspiration from that movie - you should concentrate on cool/fun game mechanics, or you don''t have a game at all =)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
"The player must always follow some kind of orders or it won''t look like he/she is in the army at all. The generals/whatever make all the important choices like what the sniper is supposed to do and where. "

Ok, you are right, but I think that an appropiate narrative context could justify this freedom of the player in his acts. I have to say that the project we are doing is only about finishing one single level, so the ideas I expose in this forum about the global game design and narrative are not very elaborated. I have started thinking on these aspects to explore and know other people opinions about my preliminar suppositions.

Then; imagine the player is a member of a little group of germans soldiers that have survived to and allied attack or something like this (it should be an inteligent and believable fact). Let''s suppose that they''re incomunicated and should fight for themselves against the allieds without any kind of order to follow, in other words, they have to survive in the middle of the enemy territory. Obviously, this improvised fiction wouldn''t take place in an important city as Berlin or Paris (probably full of allied troops); it would happen in a less strategically important territory, so the number of soldiers to fight would be reasonable. In this narrative context, it would be possible (and I think interesting) to allow the player to become the leader of this small group of german soldiers, so he will be then capable to decide for himself in some points of the game.

The way in which the player would drive the narrative will be relatively simple, but imagine this case: you are awaiting an allied convoy above a destroyed building and you see that the truck that was in this convoy stops. Then, you see one of your soldiers, leaving from a near building; he has has been captured and an allied soldier is driving him to the truck with a gun in his hand. You know what kind of people he is (your german soldier), so you know that it''s possible that he could confess some important information about you and your little group of soldiers if he is tortured, for example.

Here is where you have to choice: if you kill the allied soldier, your german soldier could escape (or not) and rejoin your team later, if the case he escapes; if you don''t shoot you would be not discovered and could continue observing the situation, trusting your soldier not to give any information to the enemy; the last option would be to shoot your soldier, making sure he wouldn''t confess anything but losing one of your few soldiers.

That choice would imply that, in next "levels" you would have diferent narrative derivations. For example, if you shooted the allied soldier, your german soldier would finally escape and appear surprisingly in some of the next levels, helping you to eliminate some allied soldiers when you where in a really difficult moment. If you would have killed your soldier you would not have had this unexpected help in that dificult moment, so you feel that your choice, in that case, was good.

This is a simple example but it serves to explain the idea I would like to implement in a game like this.



Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, it''s a daunting writing task, to get all those cusps and consequences into the game design, and you run the risk of having a simple system of rewards for doing certain things. Make sure that there are costs and benefits in every instance, so that players won''t be able to read the FAQ and always do the "right" thing so that they get the absolute easiest ride through the rest of the game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I agree with you; this is a difficult task and it should be very carefully constructed in order to get believable, logical and not obvious rewards to the players actions.

The idea of allowing choice in some points or situations, though, is not not exactly to make the game easier or inverse, but to construct a world where the player have moral dilemas that afect him and his feelings,and at the same time the story.
So the costs and benefits predictible in an objective prism are not that easy to calculate because of the moral implication of the player with the elements involved in the choice.

For example, deciding about helping someone could depen of your afinity with this person; although objectively you could obtain some clear benefit of helping him, you will put on a balance how much risk it could take helping him. If the amount of risk is critical (you could die in the attemp) your decision will probably depend on your feelings respect this people. I believe this kind of setting enhances the gaming experience a lot so, in my opinion, it''s a necessary work if we want the computer games to grow.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Rather then playing as german soldiers it would make more sense for the player to play as one of the partisian groups figting against nazi occupation. It would make more sense for what your trying to achive.

-----------------------------------------------------
Writer, Programer, Cook, I''m a Jack of all Trades
Current Design project: Ambitions Slave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Please, please, implement REALISTIC ballistics : bullet spin & gyroscopic drift, gravity, drag, and where the bullet actually takes time to reach its target instead of going at ludicrous speed.

That makes any shooting game so much more interesting (example : moving targets are so much more of a challenge). Of course, you could also have an "easy mode" where bullets are lasers like it is in most games ATM, for FPS newbies.

If you choose a WW2 setting, then remember that the only belligerents who really placed any emphasis on sniping were Finland, the USSR and Germany. So please, no "american sniper in normandy" or worse : "american sniper parachuted in berlin to help to poor russians with his uber-skills" or you won''t have credibility for historical accuracy, if that''s important for you.

OTOH, I like technoGoth''s partisan-sniper idea a lot :D It also removes the problem of having "intelligent" AI behaviour since the german partisan-fighting units weren''t populated by the brightest crowd to say the least.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yeah I like the partisan fighting group idea too =) It's sooo cliche to play as a nazi or allied soldier. You would have so much more new stuff to work with if you used this idea.

I would also like to see realistic ballistics. In games where the bullets actually have a travelling speed, you have to take into account the velocity of a moving target (fire a few meters in front of the target so that the bullet intercepts it). No one does this in real life, that would be insane! What real snipers do is, lock the crosshair on the target, so that the rifle MOVES with the target. I'm sure you've seen this in the movies but it's not obvious how it works. This way when the bullet is fired, it will have some starting velocity that makes it follow the target. This only works if the target has a constant speed, which is usually the case. It's kinda hard to explain, if you want me to elaborate a bit I'll do it, but you need some basic physics knowledge to understand it (I mean relative movement and stuff like that).

Hmm... you should make some research and also find a real sniper to be your advisor, or this will be kinda hard

[edited by - Jotaf on April 7, 2004 9:02:35 AM]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
quote:
Original post by Jotaf

I would also like to see realistic ballistics. In games where the bullets actually have a travelling speed, you have to take into account the velocity of a moving target (fire a few meters in front of the target so that the bullet intercepts it). No one does this in real life, that would be insane! What real snipers do is, lock the crosshair on the target, so that the rifle MOVES with the target. I'm sure you've seen this in the movies but it's not obvious how it works. This way when the bullet is fired, it will have some starting velocity that makes it follow the target. This only works if the target has a constant speed, which is usually the case. It's kinda hard to explain, if you want me to elaborate a bit I'll do it, but you need some basic physics knowledge to understand it (I mean relative movement and stuff like that).



Sounds easy enough.. bullet is a particle with x,y,z velocities. Initial velocity is the movement of the mussle of the barrel. Then add mussle velocity to z. For each "tick" calculate new velocity based on gravity, wind, drag. Don't know how bullet spin & gyroscopic drift works though.. Anyway - by using the xyz velocity of the mussle, you'd get the bullet "moving with the target" effect.. Of course zig-zagging is always a nice counter-sniper tactic

Oh, and a nice tidbit: if you fire a bullet from a 100% horizontal barrel - the time it takes before it hits the ground is the same as if you'd dropped it from the height of the barrel. (flat ground of course). NOTE: the barrel must be level, not the sights - see next.
And another one: Most rifles are adjusted so that the bullet actually goes a bit UP from where you sight - it hit's the place you sight at fx 30m and 200m, but at 100m it's over the sigt (if you aim at the head, it'll probably go over his head.)

Oh - and PLEASE have realistic sound as well.. You never hear the shot that kills you! Speed of sound is about 340 meters/s


[edited by - frostburn on April 7, 2004 10:04:50 AM]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
All good observations. The problem with realistic ballistics in a game is that unless you either sight in your rifle under those conditions or have an absolute gift for making on-the-fly adjustments, the bullet isn''t going to hit where the crosshairs rest. That can be absolutely infuriating for gamers.

Don''t worry about magnus forces and such, their impact is negligible, and not even physics purists will notice that they''re not there. Stick with 3D kinematics, and include gravity, muzzle velocity, air resistance and wind, and you''ll be just fine. In fact, you can probably get away without air resistance.

frostburn''s observation about bullet trajectories is correct. In the absence of wind, a rifle bullet has two "points blank"--times when the bullet''s trajectory and the line-of-sight intersect. One is a few yards out of the barrel, and the other (hopefully) is at the point of aim. Between them, the bullet is above the line of sight.

If you''re going to include ricochets, there''s a strange phenomenon you should take notice of. When a bullet from a rifle strikes a hard surface, such as a wall or a road, it tends to bounce about eighteen inches off the surface and then travel parallel to it. It sounds weird, I know, but it''s a documented phenomenon, generally attributed to the effect of bullet spin. I''m sure there are reputable websites out there that will back me up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, usually you don''t actually MOVE sideways to "follow" the target, you just move your crosshair (rotating the rifle). I didn''t really think a lot about it but I thought that the physics for that would be a bit complex (involving trig and smoothing the crosshair movement over several frames, etc). I would REALLY like to play a game like this - "the only game where you actually learn how to be a sniper" =)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If you want to see a game that implemented proper sniping physics (at least, it''s the hardest sniping experience I ve had to this day), you can always look at Operation Flashpoint.

I still dont believe that I went on the American Army online library to learn how to properly use the sniper rifle sights... and it bloody worked in game when I followed their manuals !



Sancte Isidore ora pro nobis !

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have played Operation Flashpoint and sincerely, I didn''t realized it was so perfect in the shooting physics. I don''t know if all these real physics considerations are easy or difficult to implement on our game (I will ask to our programmer), and I don''t know neither if it''s necessary to achieve our goals.

Probably, the name of the thread "sniper gamelayer experience" is not the best one. We don''t want to do a Sniper simulator in which the player has to learn so many things to shoot properly. We will consider the shoot drag but we don''t want the player to be worried about how the wind blows, for example. This simplifies the real sniper experience, I know, but I am not sure about how many people would find this extreme realism really interesting and fun.

The idea is to do a non conventional FPS in which the patiece, observation, and overcoat, the possibility to chooice in some way the narrative evolution with emotionally complex dilemas could make playing this game a diferent experience than playing Call of Duty or MOHHA (I enjoyed both games a lot). We though that Sniper soldier allows this kind of non frenetic action usually proposed by the FPS, and that''s why the name of the thread. So, what situations you would find interesting to play in this way I described? Thanks for your comments

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Make it a REAL sniper game. All the fun of sitting still for hours upon hours, the excitement of peeing your pants so you dont have to move, and the thrills of cleaning out the whole gun!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites