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dtg108

What Immerses you into an FPS game?

17 posts in this topic

Depends on the sub genre, there are the arcade style FPS like Serious Sam that keeps you immersed by mixing up the combinations of enemies and throwing in the odd puzzle and there are tactical narrative driven experiences like almost any of the modern shooters that use the pacing of story telling to keep you buried in the killing without losing your taste for it. Many decent shooters mix these elements. In the case of a zombie shooter its more the Serious Sam style of play. Arma goes another direction by keeping you busy with tactical and strategic focus, taking the player away from the gun just long enough to make them think they understand the battlefield. Elder scrolls could technically be considered a FPRPG but it deserves to be mentioned that other genres can be married to the genre to immerse gamers as well.

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Brown colour palettes, macho characters that swear too much, first-person cut-scenes, quick-time-events and tonnes of dirt and blood on my camera lens.

Yes, just kidding tongue.png cool.png

 

Fluid or realistic motion of your character always makes me feel much more connected to the character.

 

I love in the Arma games that you can independently move your head and your gun -- your mouse will just move your gun until it's moved to some (configurable) threshold value, and then your character's body starts to turn. Also, you can hold alt to just turn your character's head without turning their body. If you're really into it and own a TrackIR (or use free-track), then that increases immersion immensely, as after a while your own head/neck become a direct game peripheral linked to your in-game head/neck.

After playing Arma too much, now when I play other games, I instinctively jerk my head to the side by a few degrees to check my periphery and for a moment wonder why my in-game camera didn't rotate, it's become that natural laugh.png I wish every FPS supported these devices...

 

Arma also breaks from FPS tradition of the first-person weapon being drawn over the scene at the end, and instead your entire 3rd-person body is visible in 1st-person mode -- your arms/gun/legs/chest are visible to yourself exactly the same way that they're visible to others. It always annoys me in a regular shooter, say Counter-Strike, where you think you're hidden behind that crate, but to other people, your gun is sticking out around the corner -- there's no way for you to know, because your 1st person view of yourself is completely different to the 3rd person view of yourself that others see, so you never really feel fully connected to the environment.

 

Unfortunately many of Arma's other animations are really poor and jerky, like jumping over fences, changing stances, or reloading, which all make you feel very disconnected from your character...

 

Other examples of fluid movement that I love are FarCry 2's crouch-slides, or BF3's vaulting of obstacles -- when you sprint at a concrete barrier and jump over it, you actually see your character place his hand on top of it and see your legs swing over. The camera also bobs the right amount to make you feel like you're actually connected to the world and the character.

Edited by Hodgman
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Sound weird, but the story.

 

A good story built around a solid FPS engine is great for me. Kind of lots of places to explore, traps, tricks, quests, and more. 

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Sound weird, but the story.

 

A good story built around a solid FPS engine is great for me. Kind of lots of places to explore, traps, tricks, quests, and more. 

 

This. My favorite FPS games are all ones which had a strong story and interesting characters. If you combine that with some interesting gameplay (such as Half-Life 2's Gravity Gun), you have a winner.

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Controls, the visible interface and consistency are the things that stick out to me most. If I can't make my character do what I want, or if I find my self frustrated with the HUD, or unable to find what I want on the HUD, I'll immediately lose immersion.

Other than that, immersion is all about consistency, if things behave in a consistent way then the game will be immersive, this is true of both game mechanics, and story elements.

Mechanics should be consistent.
If blue keys open blue doors, and I need to get though a blue door, then their better be a blue key around somewhere; if not, then the game needs to explicitly explain the inconsistency though character dialog or some other kind of notification. For example, tell me that we're not going to get though that door, of present an alternate objective that will allow passage.

And Art should be consistent.
IMO realism has the opposite effect toward immersion regarding this, the more realistic the game is, the more things will stick out when something is slightly less realistic(as we cannot make everything look exactly like reality).
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That's why I think the game genres are wrong, you don't categorise movies by the camera ("closeup of two people kissing"). The reason why you enjoy portal is a whole different one than why you play Call of Duty even though they are considered to be in the same genre.

So how do you make a game engaging? That's a broad enough question to only get broad answers and I am not sure I even have those.

My take on it would be first to decide about the main reason why people play the game. CO-Op experience, story telling, competition, challenge, exploration...
Then I would invest a lot of time in the underlying theme of the game. With what question should the player be left after he finished the game, what feelings should he explore while playing? Edited by Bluefirehawk
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I would have to say a mix of story and atmosphere.

One of my favourite classics from the 2000's era was Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth. The game suffered a botched PC port which had some nasty bugs in it, but when the game ran stable, I can't think of anything else that really immersed me more. It really sets a dark, sombre, long-time-ago tone and it holds you in there for however long it takes you to get through the game. I think that's one of the things that also made Half-Life and Deus Ex so magical. They had these unique environments with just the right kinds of colours, characters, and story etc and as a result it really drags you in, starts to get you believing in this beautiful non-existent place.

Story and characters also plays a huge role. If you get emotionally in touch with the characters and their emotional plights (Half-Life 2 etc, and although it's not really an FPS, a game like Mass Effect would set a great standard for characters), it really helps bring you into the world. It makes you want to really visit that place! Even if it doesn't exist. You want to visit that place, you want it to be real, and to be that protagonist, interact with those people, characters, and explore this world which seems to be so well thought out that it could almost exist. I guess the more thought that goes into making it seem believable or just beautiful, really seems to help create a more believable experience, and combined with the right art style, can create incredible immersion.

Sound design and music, ambiance also plays a huge role. I guess in the end, pretty much every aspect of games design (the models, animations, sound design, music design, story, characters, locations, even the engine itself) all play vital roles in making an immersive experience.

Edited by James Miller
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Honestly? Walking.

 

I've noticed games that have pretty long segments of no shooting tend to be the most immersive. Half Life 2 and Halo:CE I have good memories of just wandering around for a little bit experiencing the world without being distracted by things trying to kill me like clockwork every 30 seconds.

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Here is my take on this question:

First of all, you need great controls. You want to make sure that the player will learn the controls quickly and when playing the game, the player forgets that they are holding a controller. Movement and turning cannot feel awkward. Otherwise, figuring out the controls throughout the game can break the immersion. While this may be optional, it would help the movement immersion if the camera "jumps" up and down slightly like in Mirrors Edge if you look closely. In addition, it would be helpful if you can vault over low waist cover. Make sure the camera tilts to the side like in Medal of Honor, Warfighter and Mirors Edge. Call of Duty may allow players to do this but the camera simply floats up and lowers the weapon down off screen. Despite the differences in looks between games, this mechanic can greatly help traversing the environment as well as showing that the character you play as can actually jump like we can in real life.


Another factor is the weapon held in the hand. In the past, the weapon would just simply be lowered to show at the person is moving but nowadays, the weapon would be tilting left or right if strafing and it would "jump" up and down when moving forward. When sprinting, the weapon is not aimed at the reticule, but is lowered instead. This can show the illusion that you are playing this character instead of being a camera.



We also have the melee attack. While this is mostly best done for third person games like assasins creed and DMC, melee can also help the immersion if the animations is done correctly. The knife animation can be a simple swipe but may not help enough if the player can't stab the enemy in the game (I am looking at you MW 1). But it doesn't have to be just knives, if the First Person game has swords or axes, have different animations of various slashes like Dishonored and Dead Island. Do a horizontal and vertical slash animation. Case in point, do what the 3rd person games do; have different animations for melee attacks instead of a simple blade swipe. It's very important if the first person game focuses on melee weapons more than guns.



Recently, a YouTube e channel called smosh games released a video talking about what makes a good FPS game and somewhere, it has more on that melee attack thing I mentioned earlier. Check it out if you need some ideas what makes the genre immersive.
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1uH-KRG0UYs
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Good, intuitive controls.

Seeing some feedback of the character (in BF3, vaulting over things. In mirror's Edge, waving your arms and the screen blurring/controller shaking as you fall further)

Decision making, either on rails (where you have to shoot your commander in Battlefield 3) or one where it affects the outcome of the game.

Having characters that you feel attached to always helps. This is a hard art to master, in my opinion, as it sometimes even varies game to game within a series.

Multiple options and plans of attack. Not like Call of Duty where you basically are guided through a decorated maze (even Battlefield does this, as much as I love it). Borderlands is awesome in this regard because it gives me an objective to accomplish and obstacles. I can snipe from the cliffs, ramp in with a car, run in and run out, or go in guns blazing. Dishonored did something similar, and while I enjoyed it, it felt more like "look at how many options you have" than actually having an open world and options.

Weapon customization is a nice one. I think it would be awesome if there was a system for modifying guns as far as attachments, bullet size, and even fine tuned things like gas ejection systems so you could fine tune your gun's performance to your specific likings. Of course, if I converted a 5.56 to a 5.45, ammo would be harder to cone by in most cases, and the parts to even do such a thing would be pretty hard to come by. All sights would have to work with whatever rails were on the gun (or else you would have to find a rail system to add to it if the platform supports it), suppressors would have to have the right threading, etc.

Also, melee shouldn't feel like I'm swinging my arm with a magic stick of death. There should be weight and resistance, and instead of swinging your weapon and holstering it every time you click, a more in depth melee mechanic (even a system of hand to hand and weapon fighting) would be a nice thing to see if implemented well.
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Audio.

 

The most immersive FPS game I can remember playing was System Shock 2, and I think the biggest part of that was the absolutely fantastic audio in the game. smile.png

And what about the story dude?

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[quote name='SweetyS' timestamp='1358422053' post='5022484']
And what about the story dude?
[/quote]

The story was quite good in that game, and was well presented, mostly through a series of recorded log messages you find throughout the game and contact messages you receive.  A good story can probably help with immersion, but in this case the quality audio stands on it's own -- the game was immersive even in the multi-player mode with no story.

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I wrote something in my journal/database (evernote) on what I enjoyed about FPSs while working on my RPG concept. Yes it sounds off topic but that is because of what is offered in my concept for that RPG lol..

 

ToG:DoaNF is the RPG equivalent of an FPS. The instant sense of skill felt when taking out an enemy with your hand eye coordination in an FPS is unique if not rare across all genres. I want to be able to recreate that feeling within a RPG by making the player feel more involved in the commands issued as opposed to setting a command and watching it play out.

 

There are many reason a FPS can pull me in. It all depends on what content/aspect within that game I am taking into account.

 

- In multiplayer (PvP not CoOp), functionality/intuitive design of the controls is among the top things I look for.

- In CoOp I focus on the use of the space within the screen and how effective their pairing of a HUD or split of the screen is played out.

- In single player campaign I am more critical of the aesthetics (graphics, sounds, music) as well as how well the story progresses (flow, not so much the quality of the story).

 

But ya, like I tried to say in the quote without the rpg fluff: The instant sense of skill felt when taking out an enemy with your hand eye coordination in a FPS is unique if not rare across all genres. There are very few genres which give nearly as much of that instant sense of reward for your dexterity,reflexes and hand-eye cordination. Ultimately this is what immerses me in a FPS.

Edited by SinisterPride
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Gameplay.  I can generally look past a sub par story or graphics if the controls are solid and fun to use.  Bulletstorm is a good example.  Im not a big fan of the  whole tongue and cheek writing and story, the game was so fun to play It kept me coming back.

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Title says it all.

 

Having a threatening mysterious environment where things will be sprung on you (and probably kill you if you dont react)

 

Even better, having various visual/audio clues that something MAY be there ready to do the above.

 

 

Apprehension to keep you on your toes  (and make you forget various limitations of all else that is shown to you).

 

 

----

 

 

An extention of the above would be a game that wont play the same way (on replay) so that onece/twice thru you learn all the secrets and a static/deterministic game path WILL make the same again  - losing that apprehension/threat factor.

 

Even if you face similar opponents with similar behavior,  varying the where/what/how  will keep you from becoming complacent (and thus lose interest).

Edited by wodinoneeye
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