Jump to content
  • Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  
JasRonq

Perceived game fairness in SINGLE player RPGs

This topic is 3536 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

First, some assumptions I am making in regards to my question. Assumptions: 1st person perspective means being in the game, real world possibilities like jumping and ducking under things should be possible in the game. 3rd person perspective means the PC is an extension of the player but not the player himself, real world possibilities don't always hold up in game world. The PC is not the player, it is a separate entity with its own capabilities. If these assumption are debatable that may change the answer to the following question. If the player was presented with a hazard, such as freezing temperatures or scorching sun, and this affected a "pain tolerance" meter such that after a certain level of exposure the performance of the character was affected, would this make the player feel like the game was preventing the player from doing something they should be able to do? If the freezing PC stumbled and didn't always move the way the player wanted, fell down, or couldn't jump, would the player feel like this was reasonable? Would the player feel like they can do it IRL so they should be able to do it in the game? How might the player's perception of the game's fairness change from 1st to 3rd person perspective? Would the above situation be judged as fair to the player, by the player either way? P.S. (this is outside the topic but may come up anyway) I might want to have game mechanics like this in order to make an environment more dangerous and it would affect the player's choice of gear brought into and area. The pain meter would also be used as part of the combat system meaning that the environment could then act against the player in combat and possible enemies too if they were not suited to the area. many choices could be made in part or whole based on what the environmental effects on the palyer might be (or other allies brought along)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement
Quote:

If the freezing PC stumbled and didn't always move the way the player wanted, fell down, or couldn't jump, would the player feel like this was reasonable? Would the player feel like they can do it IRL so they should be able to do it in the game?


It depends on how its done, limiting character abilities (like not jumping if frozen) seems fine as your muscles would be stiff, or if suffering sun-stroke you'd be too delirious to offer much of a jump either.

However intentionally disrupting basic functions (like walking/falling down) could prove really irritating depending on how you do it. For example, do i move smoothly forward while my character moves slower and gives the appearance of stumbling? Or does my character stop and fall down, where i then have to wait a few seconds repeatedly for him to pick himself up and move again? Both achieve the same thing (slower movement), but one is far more annoying than the other.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
(1st person single player RPGs suck, period, and I'm quite capable of feeling fully immersed in a 3rd person one.)

That aside, I think it's perfectly normal to have terrain which changes the character's movement and/or abilities. This works especially well if it's sort of like a puzzle, the player has to get used to this different physics and travel through this terrain far enough to get the gear that negates or mostly negates the effect. Even better if the different physics are uniquely useful in some places, and the player would occasionally want to switch off their terrain-compensation gear to be able to use the different physics.

Only thing I would suggest is, the name 'pain tolerance' seems a bit too negative, and it also seems artificial to use the same meter for sun and cold, I would suggest not using a meter at all, make the conditions binary. Also, hopefully you were not thinking of having the terrain do continuous small damage to the player, that always feels unfair.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I didn't have a specific implementation of how the affects happen in mind, the meter phrasing was just to but forward the idea of tracking the environmental effects and creating a negative impact if they pass a certain threshold.

Anyway, what you are saying then is the player is not likely to find the impediment unfair, but the effects it causes may well be rather annoying to deal with so how the impediments are implemented must be carefully done.

Would the perspective used affect how fair the impediment feels? Obviously the annoyance factor may change a lot from 3rd to 1st and with the players preference for one over the other in the first place. Its easier to offer smooth movement while looking like you are stumbling around in first person because you cant see your feet sliding on the terrain.

As to environmental damage, that would be a late stage of exposure with a warning or some sort followed by near death then death is that applies to the environment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by JasRonq
How might the player's perception of the game's fairness change from 1st to 3rd person perspective? Would the above situation be judged as fair to the player, by the player either way?


The mechanics of your example are essentially simple: it's an area-based debuff (damned MMO terminology :() that affects negatively certain character attributes and limits character movement. That's all there is to the mechanics - everything else is just theme and presentation, which has no effect whatsoever on the perceived "fairness".

The single most important inconvenience to the player in the given example is limiting character movement, thus limiting the player's direct control over the character and making it more difficult to move out of trouble and/or into the safe zone. Then again, there are many "worse" examples in numerous RPG titles - being stunned (most have it), confused (D&D-based games), feared (WoW), intoxicated (The Witcher). Secondary effect would be reducing certain attributes, either instantly or draining at a certain rate, which is again quite common in the RPG world.

Finally, we have the duration of the effect - most movement limiting effects last up to 20-30 seconds, and/or have a mechanic (either passive or triggered by the player) which will break them. Denying your player normal control over his character for an extended period of time, or denying him methods to regain control, is already pushing it into the "unfairness" zone.

The point is that as long as the actual mechanic is reasonable, well thought of and balanced against the rest of the game, people will not consider it "unfair" or "annoying" just because the mechanic is shown ingame as a consequence of natural hazard and not a hostile warlock's curse, for example. It may even come as refreshing (at least it would for me) to have something other than persistent hordes of hostile NPCs challenge you.

But the numbers and effects behind it are actually all the same. And they determine the "frustration" factor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by JasRonq
1st person perspective means being in the game, real world possibilities like jumping and ducking under things should be possible in the game.

3rd person perspective means the PC is an extension of the player but not the player himself, real world possibilities don't always hold up in game world. The PC is not the player, it is a separate entity with its own capabilities.

I think both can be true with either perspective. I made my Fallout 1 and 2 characters "me", while J.C. Denton has his own identity.

Quote:
If the player was presented with a hazard, such as freezing temperatures or scorching sun, and this affected a "pain tolerance" meter such that after a certain level of exposure the performance of the character was affected, would this make the player feel like the game was preventing the player from doing something they should be able to do?

Absolutely not. If what you're saying is true, players who muscle train would be upset that their Oblivion thief character is weaker than they are. This is a big part of what RPGs are all about. Projecting your identity onto another set of skills, abilities, and limitations.

Quote:
If the freezing PC stumbled and didn't always move the way the player wanted, fell down, or couldn't jump, would the player feel like this was reasonable? Would the player feel like they can do it IRL so they should be able to do it in the game?

No, I seriously doubt many people would feel that way.

Quote:
How might the player's perception of the game's fairness change from 1st to 3rd person perspective? Would the above situation be judged as fair to the player, by the player either way?

I don't think it changes at all. The feel of the game changes, but not the level of expected character ability. Not in an RPG.

Quote:
Original post by sunandshadow
(1st person single player RPGs suck, period, and I'm quite capable of feeling fully immersed in a 3rd person one.)

[lol]

You think all of Bethesda's games suck? I mean I don't think they're the best the genre has to offer, but as far as I can discern, the problems in their games have little to do with the perspective.

I like hybrid RPGs (such as FPS + RPG), and think most plain RPGs are a bore. If Deus Ex were a little more open ended, with a slightly more sophisticated and involved skill system, and some random quests or such, it might have been my favorite RPG of all time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by JasRonq
First, some assumptions I am making in regards to my question.

Assumptions:
1st person perspective means being in the game, real world possibilities like jumping and ducking under things should be possible in the game.

3rd person perspective means the PC is an extension of the player but not the player himself, real world possibilities don't always hold up in game world. The PC is not the player, it is a separate entity with its own capabilities.


I will feel more immersed in whatever view style is more suited for the games challenges. In a first person view you can see a more realistic distance and in third you have more realistic peripheral vision and spacial awareness. Immersion goes out the window when I die 50 times from missing a jump because my legs are invisible (lol halflife 2).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Kest
Quote:
Original post by sunandshadow
(1st person single player RPGs suck, period, and I'm quite capable of feeling fully immersed in a 3rd person one.)

[lol]

You think all of Bethesda's games suck? I mean I don't think they're the best the genre has to offer, but as far as I can discern, the problems in their games have little to do with the perspective.

I like hybrid RPGs (such as FPS + RPG), and think most plain RPGs are a bore. If Deus Ex were a little more open ended, with a slightly more sophisticated and involved skill system, and some random quests or such, it might have been my favorite RPG of all time.


Well see, 1st person games give me horrible motion sickness, and the same is true for about 20% of gamers from what I've read. At least the kind where you are walking around and looking here and there cause motion sickness, which any RPG would be, I'm fine with something like a shooting gallery where the camera doesn't move, or a strategy or sim where 'I' am just a disembodied hand or mouse pointer. So yeah, any game that makes me feel like I need to puke sucks regardless of its story or gameplay.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Since I have my original question answered pretty well lets open this up a bit.

What causes feeling of unfairness in the player?

I know I've felt that way when presented with a vertical sliding door half lowered and 'broken' so I can't go in and loot the room. I should be able to duck under it, crawl if its really low, but there is no such function so I am left walking into the half closed door unable to get through even though there is three feet of room at the bottom.

Situations where the player feels they should be able to do something but can't because of a limitation in the game's programing break immersion for me and frustrate me the lack of function to deal with the impediment as it seems it should be dealt with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by sunandshadow
Well see, 1st person games give me horrible motion sickness, and the same is true for about 20% of gamers from what I've read. At least the kind where you are walking around and looking here and there cause motion sickness, which any RPG would be, I'm fine with something like a shooting gallery where the camera doesn't move, or a strategy or sim where 'I' am just a disembodied hand or mouse pointer. So yeah, any game that makes me feel like I need to puke sucks regardless of its story or gameplay.

That's a perfectly reasonable explanation for your distaste, but it doesn't seem easily summed up with "1st person single player RPGs suck, period" [wink]

I don't want to derail the thread, but I'd love to know how a mobile 3D 3rd person camera could be implemented to reduce this problem as much as possible. Are there any camera options that would help? Control over the smoothness, the mobile velocity, etc?

Quote:
Original post by JasRonq
What causes feeling of unfairness in the player?

What you brought up is the biggest one. Especially when three major things come together:
1. The designer forces X on the player for good design reasons.
2. The way X is forced seems very unrealistic and/or unexpected.
3. The player is hindered in some way because of X.

For example, being walled into an area by glass, when a grenade is about to pop. It's not very reasonable to expect the player to accept the glass as an impossible barrier in such a situation.

However, this type of thing happens often in most games, so most players have probably come to expect it. The solution is to fix 2. Force the situation in a more reasonable manner. IE, put some type of texture on the glass, and change the collision sounds to make it obvious that it's not normal glass.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

We are the game development community.

Whether you are an indie, hobbyist, AAA developer, or just trying to learn, GameDev.net is the place for you to learn, share, and connect with the games industry. Learn more About Us or sign up!

Sign me up!