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Character Freedom - Opinions Needed!

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What are the absolute freedoms a players character must be able to do within a game? Firstly I know it would be dependant on what game you have in mind and what the player is trying to achieve. I have my own game in mind when asking this question and think I've convinced myself on the solution but I would like to know what everyone else thinks in regards to my decision. When it comes to a character within my game I don't feel much is gained from being allowed to swim underwater. The game is semi realistic so players wouldn't have infinite amounts of health though very few might possess a spell allowing them the ability. Combat mechanics would vary greatly within water / under it so that would require a new or altered system. Deep sea exploration would be lost but I think the few underwater environments wouldn't be missed. I've decided on allowing players to swim on the surface with limited abilities but also dive just below and continue swimming as a defence mechanism plus giving access to "hidden" areas they might discover through exploration. Is the loss of free directional swimming beneath a waters surface a big loss? I know it’s hard to know if it really matters towards my games situation but how would you all feel as designers / players with this choice? Thanks

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Hm. It really depends on the game. If the game takes place on an island, where water plays a large role, and you have to venture down a lot into the water, the inability to explore would be annoying. If, on the other hand, the game is mostly land based, with a few water scenes, keeping the player unable to venture to deep could help keep the player exploring the areas you want them to.

Particularly since it would take a ton of coding time to make the underwater mechanics work, as well as balancing, I would say that it would likely be better to make the rest of the game good, and leave out the depth of the sea.

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