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Health in Video games.

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I sometimes wonder if there are any new ways to give players a way to restore health that coincides with the gameplay itself.

Like if I'm playing a Top-Down Space shooter, a health pack seems out of place.

I mean, it's not like it'd be a big deal, as the gameplay should be fun enough that players won't really think about it, plus it fits with what people have seen before in numerous other games.

And regenerating health seems like a cop out, but also there's rarely a game-related explanation for that either.

Has anyone else ever thought about things like this?

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People think about this every minute (or I could just be insane).

Does it still seem like a cop out if you rename "Health" to "Armour" and explain the auto regenration by way of nanobot repairers installed in your ship?

If you don't like auto regen or health packs, make a repair ship fly to meet and dock with you, or have landing pads you can dock at to repair.

Often you just need to change the name of something for it to make sense.

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Having the player freeze/lock up instead of loosing health has always seemed more entertaining to me. This way the player is still punished for getting hit, but he can play continuously.

Of course, this type of damage system only works in a few situations. I just think it's worth mentioning because I don't think many games take this concept. A lot of games(mainstream shooters with the hardest difficulty enabled), you die and you have to go back and play the part over and over again until you memorize the scene and where to shoot.

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Re: Slateboard

Are you talking about a single player or multiplayer game?
If it is multiplayer, are the players on the same team or against each other?

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Re:

I like system where the shield system and weapon system use the same energy system, similar to R-type or Biometal (although not top-down). In such systems, the player can either choose to keep the "orbs" close for protection, or shoot it as a form of attack.

What about health?
No health, if you get hit you die. Either dodge
the attacks or use the shield, don't get hit.

Are you considering recoverable health because of the story?
Certainly it makes more sense that the ship somehow repairs itself,
than to spawn a new ship, when it gets hit and explode.
Is that the reason you want health?

How you implement it probably depends on your style (i.e. non-sensical vs realistic) and the story. And that depends on whether you want the chicken to come before the egg. You could design the game to fit the story or design the story to explain the game mechanic. Or if you go the non-sensical route, it can be more flexible.

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For a shooter, I was thinking of an experimental ship that can initiate self-repair using the debris from destroyed ships.

So enemies or allies, if there's parts laying about, they can be used.

I felt it'd be more forgiving than one hit deaths, though such a mode would likely still exist as an optional challenge.

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I think the main item to design with that idea is to make sure that the game flows fluidly.

Perhaps you could make it Kirby like system, where you could eat enemy ship in a melee type move. Once the enemy ship is in your "mouth", you could either "swallow" it to heal yourself or "spit" it as an attack. The catch is that once you have something in your mouth, you can't shoot. Enemy that get shot explodes and leave nothing for you to eat. Bosses will all be too big to eat. You might shoot it to break it and eat the small pieces.

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Interestingly the concepts of self repairing objects are getting closer to reality.

For example is the RepRap, an OpenSource 3D printer that can print mant of its own componsnts (so one you have one, it is easy to make more, or have spare parts lying around to repair it). Also there are robots that are being designed that can assemble themselves from basic building blocks ( http://www.metacafe.com/watch/200373/molecube/ ). Although we are still a long way off completely functioning self replicating/repairing devices.

These also show the assumption that for a device to self replicate we need molecular or atomic manipulation technologies.

SO a ship that could take in raw materials (or even mine them) and use them to self repair is not unbelievable science fiction.

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