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Controlling Running.

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Personally, I dont like how most video games use an auto-run feature. For Run and Gun kill em up action like Half Life 2 or Contra or something, its fine. But not for Final Fantasy or Resident Evil games. I feel that running is sort of unrealistic. If you're alone in a huge mansion and you know zombies are waiting to eat you, yet youre forced to explore the mansion (already sort of unrealstic...), I think it takes away from the ambiance of the spooky feeling. Alternatively, If you're running through a town, people would react to that. Imagine running through your grociery store and picking up some milk and a two liter bottle of soda, then running to the check out, then running out the door, then running down the street, then getting into your home, and running to the fridge. You never see movie characters running unless they have to. This is especially noticable in horror films. they take it slow. the ambiance and suspense builds and the audience feels more attached to the character. However, disabling run is sort of dumb. Also, Stamina bars seem to be sort of annoying sometimes. Id want a method where the player will only run if they need to run, and otherwise walk. The biggest hurdle is that most people dont like walking in video games, especially when they have to go from poinnt X to point Y. Any thoughts?

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The problem with not having a run function (or making it difficult to run, or by disabling run in certain situations) is that it's no fun watching your character slowly make their way from point A to point B, especially if you've already seen the route from A to B a hundred times before. My opinion is the gameplay consideration of not frustrating the player trumps any artistic reasons for forcing slow movement. The only reason I can think of for forcing walking is, as you allude to in your zombie example, if such a situation helps create the ambience and tension required in stealth or horror games. In this case, I think the best way of dealing with that is incorporating stealthiness into the game (running makes noise, and draws attention to the player).

Another good gameplay solution is to eliminate travel times completely (just warp from point A to B if there's no reason to simulate the journey), or to just speed up time (the journey is represented in fast motion that stops when something interesting happens).

And I agree with stamina bars being annoying for running, especially in games like Morrowind where long travel times are core to the gameplay (in that game, I now find it almost unplayably annoying until you find the Blinding Boots of Speed to help with the travel times).

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Agreed. People don't run in movies; they teleport. They say, "Let's go to Chicago," and they get in the car, and then, thirty seconds of montage later, they pull up in Chicago. When Mr. Rogers goes to the bakery to see how bread is made, he puts on his sweater, walks out the door, and is there in about eight seconds (after the skycam follows his imaginary path through the model town).

I know running seems silly, but unless you can do the time-lapse for travel, you're pretty much stuck with it.

Maybe a good travel manager would be useful. You decide where you're going, set it as your destination, and then hit the "go there" button. You see three cinematic shots of your dude walking or sneaking or otherwise getting there, and then you take control at the destination.

For something like Resident Evil, I alwayst thought it would be cool to have a sort of auto-pilot system like this, so your guy would move fluidly through the level, getting to the destination via the shortest route. If you comes upon zombies, you take control and evade or destroy them, and then resume the trek. Big open areas could be skipped with a montage, and tight little corridor sections could be compressed into a few animations of doors opening and zombies not quite seeing you go by. It beats the crap out of using those crappy tank controls to try to avoid every immovable bucket and loose board in the freaking game.

Although, to be fair, Resident Evil 4 avoided this whole quagmire (mostly) with dynamite level design and good controls. You never feel like you have to run all the way back through the level for no good reason.

So, I guess the moral of this whole stupid post is that you should remember that you're designing a game, and don't be afraid to fudge it a little. If you have to get all the way back to the beginning of the level for story purposes, put a laundry chute there, or have a helicopter show up to extract you.

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