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Strategic interface?

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Strategic interface: To illustrate the problem let's look at platform games. Look at a linear platform game , these are typicaly action based. You need to make a series of jumps to get to the end of the level. You do this by manipulating the joypad / buttons in the right way. What if the game did it for you instead? Most of the challenge would disappear immediately if you could just click to tell the character where to go and he did it for you. The problem being that the challenge lies in executing the jumps, not deciding where to jump*. What if instead we made the game more a question of deciding your strategy and the game executes it for you? Ie. Do you want to jump up in the air, hang from the rafters and shoot the gnomes with your arrow? Or jump on their heads individually? This is a 'problem' that I see in many games, that there isn't much thought to them a lot of the challenge lies in timing your keypresses. Is the problem that it is hard to allow the player to make their own strategy for a game. Because they can't easily express a plan of action in the same way as they can control the character's movements in a platform game. Is there a space for games that allow you to come up with your own strategies. a. rescue the princess. b. lure the bad guy out then rescue the princess. c. lay siege to the bad guy's castle. d. send in an assassin to kill the bad guy. e. sneak in through the back window. etc. How could we make a game around "planning a strategy" rather than executing a fixed goal. Ie. Rescue princess. (This isn't about platform games).

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I think this would be a spectacular way to handle stealth action games. Playing through Splinter Cell or Second Sight, I'm always blowing my terrific plans by lousy shooting, clumsy use of cover, and straight-up missing my melee attacks (I have lousy in-game depth perception).

If I could just tell John Vattic to use "charm" to sneak past the three guards and then telekinetically disable the camera and then get into the storage locker to recharge his psi energy, I could do it in one try. As it stands, I stumble into one of the guards, which fries my charm, so I have to fight them. Even if I manage to neutralize all three, the lousy camera spots me, and six SWAT dudes come through the door, so I have to run like the wind for the locker, where I'm promptly spotted and have to try to machinegun my way through the enemies.

It's infuriating for me when simple user error is responsible for ruining a sound plan. that's why I always played Rogue Spear on "Full Watch" mode. With a good plan, those guys can get the job done.

Full Spectrum Warrior is a good example of a tactical interface, and Ghost Recon and Navy Seals had goo features, too.

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But don't you think that things without a strategic interface are more challenging.. (I know they might get very annoying, especially if you're not patient).

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Quote:
Original post by Ali_B
But don't you think that things without a strategic interface are more challenging.. (I know they might get very annoying, especially if you're not patient).


It's getting back to the issue of different people wanting different things out of the game. Some people want the physical triumph of usng their own skills and reflexes to control every step of the game. Others are more interested in the intellectual challenge of figuring out how to overcome a given set of obstacles than in the mechanics of executing the plan.

If you're a physical player, you'll prefer to play games where your skills make the difference - where you can take on the horde of enemies head on and win. If you're an intellectual player, you'll prefer games where tackling the hordes head on is a quick way to get killed, but sneaking through the back way, or getting them to fight each other, or just luring them into a situation where you can pick them off will get you through.

It's like the difference between DOOM and XCOM: UFO - both released at about he same time, both involving facing down wave after wave of enemies, but DOOM's idea of stratey is finding the right colour key, while UFO allows you to perform flanking maneouvers, declare tactical victory on achieving limited objectives, and generally think your way out of trouble.


Yes, in general, adding a player-skill requirement to the interface will make any game more challenging. The question you should be asking is whether that type of challenge is desireable in context.

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