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Why don't games allow left handed shooting characters?

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I recently went to the range to go through a pistol training class offered by the NRA. While there I learned that while my right hand is dominant, my left eye is my dominant eye. This means that it's the eye I should aim with to be most accurate. With pistols, it's a matter of cocking your head a little bit and lining up your left eye. With long arms like rifles, however, it's often recommended the shooter fire with their left (weaker) arm instead of their weaker eye. I put a few rounds through a .22 rifle this way and I much liked the left handed position while firing. I talked to a guy there who mentioned that he was cross dominant in the same way and loved shooting rifles left handed, and that while he was on patrol (he didn't mention what kind) he really liked the ability to be looking a different way than the right handed shooters he was with.

Playing Battlefield 3 later on got me thinking, why don't shooting games allow you to shoot left handed? I know Uncharted had a cool feature where you could switch shoulders from behind cover to shoot right or left easier. But games like Halo and Call of Duty, from what I've seen, just switch your control sticks.

I'd like to have the option to have a character that fires pistols right handed and long arms left handed. I like my control sticks where they are, no need to invert them. Firing left handed, however, does bring a different paradigm. In respect to games where we can micro-adjust our sensitivity, there would be a lot of strategy to people who choose to play left handed. I feel like it would be a unique view to bring to shooting games. Certain cover could be fired around more easily. You could more easily cover the right side of a doorway when entering, and when working with somebody you could easily take up two positions and both fire to your strong side.

What do you guys think? Are there any good games that feature this?

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Interesting. Battlefield does a good job of covering that up, though given that you can be sprinting one minute and shooting the next with all of you bullets going generally somewhere centered in front of you. I hadn't thought about that before.

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To me having your weapon in left hand is weird, and I don't like it. In many games there was (and probably still is) practice that you see mirrored weapons which eject shells at you instead away from you. This was noted as minor negative point for FarCry 2 (Counter Strike didn't probably because people didn't care that much at the time) - for having mirrored weapons and thus ejecting shells the wrong way. Today everyone makes big noise around realism like it is required to be faitfull simulation of the real thing, so if you are to fire weapon that is made for right handed people by default you would most likely get burned from the shell coming out of the barrel. The only thing around having shells been thrown at you like in FarCry 2 or Duke Nukem is to show off your 'cutting edge' graphics engine.

Edited by proanim

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Shells coming out of the barrel on the wrong side won't burn you... many left handed rifle shooters shoot very large rifles made for right handed shooters without too much of a problem. It is different, but you don't have to have a gun necessarily made for left handed people.

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I totally forgot, and I even own that game. So it seems to be something that is a fixture of the 3rd person adventure games that have an emphasis on platforming. Resident Evil also allows you to jump to your back, roll, and slide, which I found to be pretty cool.

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A lot of games let you switch by pressing a thumbstick, but it's temporary and is only meant to help out when you are behind cover and can't use your normal right handed view to shoot because of obstructions.

Something to take into account is that in a lot of games, it would mess with the composition and flow of the screen layout. The end result of any frame is just a 2D image that gets read like any other. Left to right and top to bottom. If there is a HUD element that is least important, it's ofen put in the lower left, and you have to consciously stop, refocus your eye, and look at it.

Here is a very specific example from RE4. And is not meant as a blanket statement in all situations.

recompositionexample.gif

That's also why you move to the right to advance in most 2D games.

Examples of this rule at work
d1056.jpg
1941-Coca-Cola-Christmas-Ad.jpg

This is also used in movie framing. Your eye is meant to travel right through the frame. Characters lean into the right, or the image flows naturally to the right. Characters will back up or seem disinterested by moving left, or looking left etc.

http://webdesign.about.com/od/webdesignbasics/ss/flow-in-design_2.htm

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That is a very helpful infographic. I'm not however, suggesting mirroring the image. Your camera would stay the same but instead of having your weapon fixed in the right shoulder, it would be fixed in the left.

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I didn't mean to imply mirroring the image, but there is only so much I can do with someone else's screenshot. You would have to move the HUD objects, because it would create ugly clutter when it was layered on top the player, and then you'd get the same layout as my mirrored shot.

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Other than a map in the top corner, that's basically how Black Ops is laid out. But when you aim down your sights, it gets centered.

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The end result of any frame is just a 2D image that gets read like any other. Left to right and top to bottom.

That's also why you move to the right to advance in most 2D games.

Keep in mind this is a cultural phenomenon.

e.g. in Japan, left->right/top->bottom order can be used, but AFAIK, top->bottom/right->left ordering is more common, so we should expect that Mario (being Japanese) would scroll downwards or leftwards laugh.png

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Shells coming out of the barrel on the wrong side won't burn you... many left handed rifle shooters shoot very large rifles made for right handed shooters without too much of a problem. It is different, but you don't have to have a gun necessarily made for left handed people.

Indeed, the worst part for us lefties when it comes to using assault rifles made for righthanded people is loading/reloading the weapon since the bolt handle is normally placed on the wrong side for us which makes things a bit awkward.

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The end result of any frame is just a 2D image that gets read like any other. Left to right and top to bottom.
That's also why you move to the right to advance in most 2D games.

Keep in mind this is a cultural phenomenon.
e.g. in Japan, left->right/top->bottom order can be used, but AFAIK, top->bottom/right->left ordering is more common, so we should expect that Mario (being Japanese) would scroll downwards or leftwards laugh.png


Correct. Color theory also changes a bit. Not which colors look nice with which, but the meanings behind them. But I find that most tend to use them same composition rules as we use here.

I'm not sure if it has to do with how text is laid out, or if it's a sub-consious thing.

Japanese manga books are read in reverse order (our last page is their first. pages turned to the left), but the image composition in the panels and the layout of the pages is still the same isn't it? Same with other media. I've never seen it to be differently composed other than color schemes.

02-1954-vintage-chocolate-ad-japan.jpg

Japanese color tastes are so strange. They use every color imaginable and at the highest possible brightness. All their stuff looks to me like those old demos you'd see when 256 color VGA videos cards were new.

like..


ice-breakers-ad.jpg

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As far as I know there's no technical issue.

 

I think that Unreal Tournament (the original one), or maybe another game in that time period,  let you pick which hand your character would hold the weapon in.

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Shells coming out of the barrel on the wrong side won't burn you... many left handed rifle shooters shoot very large rifles made for right handed shooters without too much of a problem. It is different, but you don't have to have a gun necessarily made for left handed people.

Indeed, the worst part for us lefties when it comes to using assault rifles made for righthanded people is loading/reloading the weapon since the bolt handle is normally placed on the wrong side for us which makes things a bit awkward.


Yep. The reloading process is slower when a rifle is used on the wrong side. For a realistic implementation you would have to make a separate animation for the new reload. And because it's worse, what player would elect to use a left-eye dominant character and a right-handed rifle?

I could only see this functionality making sense when the game is a SWAT-type, extremely slow, extremely realistic simulation where it is beneficial for the players to occasionally switch the weapon to the wrong side during the game. Even then, my personal preference (as a right-handed, right eye dominant shooter) is to keep my grip on the rifle the same even if I switch the butt to left shoulder. I will also bring the rifle back to right shoulder for reloading or clearing.

If you aren't going for realism, you can just mirror the model and the animations.

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