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balohna

Encouraging players not to use an item

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Since this is my first thread ever, I'll make it clear that I am not presently working as a game designer. I'm not even a student yet, I start school in a couple weeks and even then it will just be art classes for the first few months. I've been told over and over again to start working on design documents right away as to develop and work out ideas early on. I have an idea for an adventure game bouncing around in my head. That's the problem though, an adventure game. I want to include some scattered combat involving a single firearm, probably a revolver. Ammo would be extremely limited, like 6 or 8 bullets for the entire game to use at key moments. How can a player resist shooting off a gun without being forced? I was thinking maybe making it easier to use the gun for some situations but never completely requiring it. By the way, when I say adventure game I mean almost Myst-esque but with first person shooter controls (so you can actually walk around in the environments, not just point where you go). I was thinking this would be fairly simple to accomplish in a school setting, especially since I'd most likely be working with the Unreal engine. I was at a showcase for graduating students last night and everyone had these amibitious huge games that they didn't even nearly finish or even get properly playable. Every guy I talked to said something about how they had to cut corners and scrap ideas just to get done in time. [Edited by - balohna on September 20, 2006 10:03:10 PM]

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I think the best way would be to simply tell them. Use plot devices to continously remind them of how important the ammo is. That's about the best you can do without restricting them from using it.

Personally, in most environments, I wouldn't consider the weapon worth carrying around. I would much sooner settle for a sword or club. But it would depend heavily on the environment and situation.

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or maybe only have it work if it's actually the place where you're supposed to use it. Maybe it jams all the time except for when you really actually need it

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Yeah I was thinking about that. Or maybe have it only be selectable when encountering difficult enemies. My idea is that you're a scientist quarantined in a laboratory with some genetic experiments gone wrong and your goal is to get out alive. Most of the time you would be alone, but what do you have to fear if you never get attacked?

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Quote:
I want to include some scattered combat involving a single firearm, probably a revolver. Ammo would be extremely limited, like 6 or 8 bullets for the entire game to use at key moments. How can a player resist shooting off a gun without being forced?


A number of factors can influence whether a player will fire off rounds or not, and ultimately it depends on their reactions to the situations presented to them. Generally in games like Resident Evil where i know ammo's scarce and i'm obviously outnumbered, i'll try and conserve ammunition where i can incase i end up in a messy situation.

If you make it clear in the beginning the players got 6-8 bullets and there's no boxes of ammo lying around inside waiting for him, he'll likely be conservative. The problem with that though is that player may end up being too conservative, and not use the gun at all for fear of wasting ammo.

Quote:
I was thinking maybe making it easier to use the gun for some situations but never completely requiring it.


This would be a good idea, since a player may not know the right or wrong time to use a bullet. This way the player can decide for himself when is most appropriate and feel less concerned about wasting ammunition.

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One game I played (can't remember which) had a good solution to this: when you're pointing your gun at someone the game designers don't want you to shoot, your character lowers the gun and won't fire. I imagine you could do the same thing for your game, but have the character do the same thing in all cases except where you want him to be able to fire.

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better than jamming or not firing (forcing the player) is having your player run an internal thought dialog (guiding the player).

So for instance, if you want the player to realize that ammo is really really scarce, have the character say something to himself like "a 15 shot clip with only 6 lousy bullets, if only there was a pawn shop around here". Or when he points the weapon at something the designer doesn't intend to be shot he could mumble to himself "now that would be fun, if I could afford to waste the bullets" / "he isn't even worth the price of a bullet, maybe I should just do this the old fasioned way" ... or if the player shots quickly, before the audio clip plays ... "what a waste of a bullet" or "that was too easy, I shoulda just given him an old fasioned beat down" - obviously depending on the tone of your game.

So the idea is, the game lets players make decisions, but helps them realize what might have been wrong ones, so when they have to play it again - they might play better. And if they absolutely must use bullets for one part, you can cheat- if they get there with enough bullets, let them finish, if not, tell them something like "Damn, I should have saved those bullets. I found the gun in the McAlister house, I bet there had to be more bullets somewhere, question is, is old man McAlister the kind to store his ammo in a dresser, or a toolshed? Or maybe in his safe? I guess I'll find out" And make the character go back and search for them, finding maybe one more clip, or a few stray bullets on the ground.

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Guest Anonymous Poster


You could start with the gun being empty (or one bullet) and have the playr face several opponents (NPC) before finding any additional bullets (there by forcing the player to fight using other methods -- and seeing that those other methods do work effectively).

Now that one bullet should be shown to be very effective (ie- alot of damage/one hot kill) to show that its worth saving for nasties (more difficult enemies) who deliver eniugh damage themselves that the player would wish to dispatch them quickly (and/or from a distance).

Most players would realize from such clues that the bullets/gun are a resource worth reserving and not worth wasting on lesser opponents.

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its a adventure game right?

How about completely dropping the gun entirely, and haveing players use the enviroment (I.E. actualy use those classic adventure game puzzle solveing skills) to deal with the nasties?

Spray a critter with compressed nitrogen, then wack off its frozen body parts, has the same net effect...I mean, being shot full of lead isn't the only way one can die...instead of haveing players do the common thing by going postal, have them go McGivver on them critters arse!

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Quote:
Original post by Flarelocke
One game I played (can't remember which) had a good solution to this: when you're pointing your gun at someone the game designers don't want you to shoot, your character lowers the gun and won't fire.


HL2

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