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Lord Daff

What are people's opinions on Player Choice in Third Person Shooter Games?

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I'm just wondering what are people's opinions on Player Choice in Third Person Shooter games. This is sort of going to be a kind of research part as well just so I can get a wide range of answers for a project I am working on and hopefully I can also get some feedback on it as well. Any kind of view you have on the subject is welcome, ideas about what games you think suit Player Choice, why they do, which games you hate with Player Choice, etc, etc.

My opinion on Player Choice is that it can suit some games such as Gears of War were there is a clear choice between splitting along multiple separate paths but sometimes it can draw away from the immersion in a game in my opinion, sometimes the player doesn't want a clear directive on where to go and can maybe make a subliminal choice and see what it follows.

This moves me onto my "project" where I want to implement Player Choice but not in a clear fashion, more like it is hidden behind the scenes and it relies on what the player feels is right at the time of playing. For example lets say one one level you are tasked at entering a building but instead of telling the player they can go stealth or guns blazing I want the player to just choose what they want to do instead of been told the choices and they have to think for themselves. Also another example is further in the level you would be in a construction site and for health you can use health kits from first aid cabinets (just a vague idea) so instead of having the cabinets along the players path, they would instead be located off the beaten path in lets say the foreman's office which has appropriate sign-age, so the player has to look around to find where the health is instead of been given it. These ideas have probably been implemented somewhere before but I'm just giving my opinion on how I think Player Choice could be implemented.

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What you described sounds similar to Thief 2 or Deus Ex. There were usually several paths the player could take to complete an objective, but the game didn't hold your hand about what path to take.

I like it when the game doesn't hold my hand and lets me make choices, It makes me feel smart. There are problems with this approach: inexperienced player may not see the different paths and get frustrated when their efforts don't work. Obviously this creates more work for the developers, and the player may not see all the content. Also if you include stealth, gunplay, melee combat, vehicular driving, hacking, etc... you run the risk of the game spreading too thin.

I think there always needs to be multiple ways to solve a problem or the game gets boring. This doesn't mean there has to be multiple paths. It could be what gun you choose to enter a fight or how you command your squad mates. If you do choose to let the player decide and not hold their hand, your game must be training the player that they can make those kinds of choice. Make a very very good tutorial.

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You bring up a very valid point actually, not all players have the experience that other gamers have and are used to been guided throughout the game rather than having to come to a solution themselves. This can cause a big problem with developers as I am finding out. Do you have any ideas on how I could implement the idea I stated above? As in I want multiple ways about doing a certain part of a level but then don't want to hold the players hand, I'm kind of aiming for a [color=#000000][font=sans-serif][size=3][b]Spatial Immersion ([/b][/size][/font][/color][font="sans-serif"][size="2"][color="#000000"]Spatial immersion occurs when a player feels the simulated world is perceptually convincing. The player feels that he or she is really "there" and that a simulated world looks and feels "real".[/color][/size][/font][b])[size=4] [/size][/b][font="sans-serif"][color="#000000"]feel where the player feels like they are there. This is why in my opinion menus that pop-up during game play for certain things can ruin that because it wouldn't happen in real life.[/color][/font]

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There already is a tons of choices in shooters. Should I use grenade launcher yet or save it for later? Should I use the minigun for this group of enemy or maybe a weaker weapon in the expense of health?

There is a lot of decisions involved, if you face me with some strange incompatible disoconnected choices like "where medi kit is located" or some "research" I feel disconnected. When I play strategy I play strategy (I do research there and decide which mutually exlusive path to follow) when I play shooters I play shooters (I decide at whom, when and with what to shot).

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[quote name='Lord Daff' timestamp='1339800084' post='4949673']
Do you have any ideas on how I could implement the idea I stated above?
[/quote]

I'm a firm believer that a good tutorial will train players to see all the possibilities. To be clear: when I say "tutorial" I don't mean the first 10 minutes of a game where some text boxes appear telling the player how to play. I mean the first few levels where the player is trained how the game works.

A really good example of this is Portal. Something like 80% of the game was actually tutorial for the portal mechanics. My wife (who is not very good at video games) was easily able to play Portal because it trained her what to do.

Back to your problem. Off the top of my head: maybe the player starts as a new grunt in a squad. The team fights to a compound they are supposed to infiltrate. The commander orders the troops to move around the compound and look for different ways in. On their way squad mates point out potential entrances (a wall vent, a good sniping spot, charge the front gates, etc...). The commander splits up the team to take different routes and lets the player pick which character to follow. Whatever squad member the player chooses to follow will show the player the ropes of that path (stealth, sniping, frontal assault, etc..)

This sort of mission happens two or three times. Maybe the entire squad gets killed some time in the story. Now the player is solo and he gets to choose his own path into missions.

Hope that helps.

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