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What Do You Love or Hate About On-Rail Shooters?

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I've got an idea for an on-rails shooter (not like Starfox, more like House of the Dead arcade style); for those who have played this games what did you like and what didn't you like, what kind of features would you like to see in these kind of games?

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I never considered Star Fox to be an on-rails shooter.

IMO, I think for the most part they only really work as arcade style games with an actual gun to hold and shoot. You __need__ the gun to shoot. It feels dumb and pointless playing something like that with a controller, because it's basically the evolution of those old carnival games where you'd shoot targets.

But I'm not sure if we are speaking about the exact same thing because you put star fox in there. My definition of an on-rails shooter is one where you move around from one screen to the next and just shoot things until the screen is empty, then the game moves you to the next screen. Your only inputs are shoot or reload.

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But I'm not sure if we are speaking about the exact same thing because you put star fox in there. My definition of an on-rails shooter is one where you move around from one screen to the next and just shoot things until the screen is empty, then the game moves you to the next screen. Your only inputs are shoot or reload



That is definitely my view as well, the reason I specified not Star-Fox is because I posted a similar thread to this on another website and all the replies were along the lines of "On rail shooters like Star Fox are too hard to make!", "I don't know many games like Star Fox, it's the only on-rails shooter I've played".

I never mentioned Star Fox, I said House of the Dead :S

I suppose Star Fox IS on rails and you do shoot but it's a different thing.

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Just want to say that I tend to agree that using a controller for that style of game doesn't really work and isn't particularly fun, however I have played some games like that for PC where you'd use the mouse and that *can* be fun.  Once upon a time when I had delusions of being a pro-gamer in starcraft I used to play/use a lot of mouse accuracy training games and programs.  Some were quite fun as I recall.  So it can be done if you do it right.  :)

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I like driving rail shooters. Like Halo coop where someone else is driving. FPS/TPS where you man a gun and effectively cut through or blast a larger body count. Call of Duty's AC-130 rail shooter was pretty innovative for a AAA. This worked to break up the pace and redundant play that often occurs in shooters.

I think the key to any shooter is the "variety of damage indication". Any given enemy should show a huge variety of ways to be hit(shot), slowed, environmental interaction, taken apart (armor, limbs, chunks,etc) and deaths both dynamic and scripted. This feedback is the reward system of a shooter, specially a rail. The best example of this is the old target practice games pointed out above. The variety of lights, sounds and mechanisms found on those old target practice games for getting a good shot is the reward. Edited by Mratthew

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IMO, I think for the most part they only really work as arcade style games with an actual gun to hold and shoot. You __need__ the gun to shoot. It feels dumb and pointless playing something like that with a controller, because it's basically the evolution of those old carnival games where you'd shoot targets.

The House of the Dead on PC uses the mouse. Move mouse to aim, left button to shoot, right button to reload.

 

On that note: reloading gets annoying =P I'd rather not reload. Although I guess it depends on the game (on THOTD it's pretty useless honestly since there isn't an animation making you unable to shoot or give you cover or anything like that, the ammo just replenishes instantaneously - good that the PC version allows automatic reloading).

 

One thing specific to The House of the Dead: when you get hit your score resets to 0. No, not on game over, but merely getting hit once resets your score to 0. Serious. I knew the scores were odd due to the score tally values feeling seemingly random, but then somebody gave me the cheat to enable debug mode (which among other things shows the score on the HUD) and then realized what was going on. One of the rare cases where debug mode makes the game harder, since realizing that pretty much forced me to get better just to be able to beat the game without getting hit x_x; (who came up with that idea, seriously?)

 

EDIT: oh, if the game is for PC and allows local multiplayer you may want to consider adding support for multiple mouses (this can happen easily with USB mouses). I know this works at least with the raw input API on Windows, dunno about its support elsewhere. This way all players can use mouses instead of forcing them to use the keyboard or controllers (which obviously severely hampers the ability to aim properly).

Edited by Sik_the_hedgehog

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