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emark.mark20

First person great for exploration and NPC viewing?

4 posts in this topic

Hey guys, I recently found this article of Shiguru Miyamoto and Iwata having a conversation and I found Miyamoto-San's take on First Person games and exploration interesting.

http://www.nintendo.co.uk/Iwata-asks/Iwata-Asks-Link-s-Crossbow-Training/Take-aim-with-Link-/1-On-the-creation-of-bridge-building-games/1-On-the-creation-of-bridge-building-games-206046.html

To quote: "I think it is more comfortable, more natural. We are creatures of habit. We don’t look at our feet when we’re walking around, and we’re always trying desperately to take in the scenery while we’re living our lives. So, even in these games I want people to be able to get really into the 3D geography, so it feels like you’re really there, since I think it’s a really natural thing to be able to look around while you’re walking. At first when we were developing Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, I even proposed using a first-person perspective."

And also stated: "I thought that the FPS system would be the best way of enabling players to take in the vast terrain of the Hyrule Field. Besides, by not having the player’s character on the screen, we can spend more time and machine power on creating enemies and the environments"

It sounds like that first person games are great with environment exploration and looking at NPCs. It got me thinking, is this why games like Dead Island, Elder Scrolls and Dishonored are in first person even though their combat involves melee? I brought up this question in another post: http://www.gamedev.net/topic/633908-first-person-melee-games-why-do-these-games-use-1st-person-instead-of-3rd-person/

The irony is that games like GTA and Assassins Creed encourage exploration and they are in third person. Besides, you have a better field of vision in these games. Do you think Miyamoto-San’s comments on exploring in first person still relevant? Do you also think that first person is great when the story focuses on other NPCs (i.e. Call of Duty’s Captain Price and Soap in the MW sequels, Borderland 2’s Claptrap)
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Assassins Creed also exemplifies stealth mechanics. This means players need further awareness offered by 3rd person: Look around corners, see what's behind you, be able to quickly "Know" all enemies without them going out of view, and most players aren't intuitive about 1st person platforming(Portals, and mirrors edge being the only major examples).

GTA is all about going over the top, and putting on the show. The designers choose to have the players see someone else doing such to get further emotional distance and to draw more attention to the characters actions.
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I have to mention, 1rst person mod for GTA IV is a very popular one. Animations are very well done so by just attaching the camera to the head of the protagonist's model you can really feel you're "inside" the world.

I'm a very big supporter/fan of 1rst person for RGPs, FPS (duh :P) and other kind of games (like the already mentioned Mirror's Edge). So I think that the idea that 1rst person is the best for exploring is accurate.

Sadly, only Beth uses 1rst person for open world RPGs these days, and they're still the "pioneers" of that kind of game since I haven't seen any other RPG trying to abandon the isometric/3rd person view. The Witcher has a pretty close up camera but that's it.

For example, Minecraft isn't as half of fun when played on third person camera mode. It's just looses a lot of ambiance. How can you be spooked by a bunch of 1m x 1m cubes in the form of a "monster" inside a cave with 128x128 resolution textures and no fancy shaders? Half of the magic is the 1rst person view mode. Though to be fair, that is easy to say when a game is designed with 1rst person camera from the ground up.
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I think the basic issue is that FPS is hands-down better for immersion in games, but there's some types of gameplay where it's necessary or preferable to have a 3rd person view, like platforming or deep melee combat. I don't really like 3rd person games that much because there's a stronger disconnect between my reality and the one I'm trying to inhabit in the game. I've had more powerful experiences in FPS games where exploration was a secondary concern (Half Life 2) than Mass Effect, for example, despite the emphasis on role playing in the latter.
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There's no simple, easy answer [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img]

Take a look at movies, very often using a third person view. The benefit is obviously, because you can communicate a lot of thinkgs when decoupling the camera from the character.
As example imagine two scenes:
1. the character is looking down a cliff, at the bottom is a small town, some people are moving around. The camera behind the characters moves up to take in the whole scene. The people in the town are dwarved giving the character a feel of power.
2. the character is moving in front of a huge castle. The camera is going down, close to the ground looking up. The player is dwarved, the castle appears huge and menacing.

These are more or less cinematic, artistic methods to communicate mood,power etc. The trick is, that when viewing the character you always have a reference point for scale, which is not present in first person. Therefore you can change the mood by changing the level and view angle of the camera.

So, when telling a story or creating a cinematic game, a third person perspective is really helpful, on the other hand a fps is more immersive.

Ask yourself first, what do you want to archieve, then think of what artistic elements would be helpful.
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