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TheChubu

Designers, tell me what is this difference I'm feeling...

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Hi! So I was looking at Wolfenstein The New Order small bits of gameplay on another forum, someone said "I'll pass on this one. Looks very consoleish". And I agreed. Why do you ask? I'm not exactly sure, that's why I want some help to find out exactly that! :D

 

Have in mind, I'm not talking about graphics, but gameplay mechanics of modern First Person Shooters.

 

Crysis 1 was a fun FPS, it had a good gameplay twist (nano suit), it felt pretty good when playing, physics and graphics were off the charts by that time (and even some years later).

 

It was only natural to assume the same but better from Crysis 2.The first time I played Crysis 2, I don't know exactly why, but it instantly felt like Call of Duty (Modern Warfare and its sequels) but with better looks. 

 

It surely wasn't the Crysis 1 experience, it didn't felt like that. Something about the controls, the weapons, aiming, the shooting, running, how people died, something was quite different.

 

Then I played Battlefield 3, lo and behold! Same reaction. It didn't felt like Battlefield 2. It felt different, much like CoD, much like Crysis 2, very different from Battlefield 2.

 

Then I played Rage. This one was the exception, the shooting was different, it wasn't quite Doom 3, but it was far from CoD/Crysis 2/BF3. It did felt more like the shooters I used to play before.

 

I play, say, Planetside 2, or any STALKER game (ShoC, CS, CoP), and they don't have the same feeling as what you'd typically call "modern shooter" either.

 

Do any of you feel the difference between these FPS? Do you think of CoD MW gameplay when playing other FPS? Can anybody point out exactly what it is that makes newer Crysis games, BF3 and CoD so similar? But also separates them from other FPS like Rage/STALKER/Counter Strike ?

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Of course, you realize that all of these games probably have a game director that's been in charge of the game's vision (mood and feel) throughout production for 2-3 years?

Trying to summarize the nuances of what they've tried to achieve to a forum thread would be insulting at best.

That said, if I were to generalize, I would say that a lot of it comes down to various different elements, of which I'll only list a few:

 

- The experience of the shooter: response time, recoil, damage feedback, blood or not, how many hits it takes to down a target

 

Planetside 2 is a multiplayer experience that is not hellbent on being realistic. It takes many shots to down your opponent, there is no blood, the damage feedback is in your hud (and not necessarily on your actual opponent on-screen) and the game is competitive to the point where it gives you varying degrees of recoil and response time, all of which are balanced to be relatively as efficient in combat.

 

A Realistic shooter will take much fewer shots to down your opponent, will generally have blood, will give you feedback directly on your enemy (This was particularly true in Golden Eye on N64!). Recoils and response times will generally vary, but the more competitive the game, the faster the animations will play.

 

- Level design and level narrative

 

I often found that I tend to prefer shooters with very limited story and open areas. The objective is clear, but the path to victory isn't. A lot of single player shooters are comprised of a single, very long, road of obstacles. There's very little you can do about it. Games like Crysis and IGI (I'm going In) had a few memorable areas where it was possible to move around freely and define an appropriate angle of attack. This is something I also praise from not so distant games such as the Hitman series: it lets you explore the area before you need to make a stand, and so, there is a relationship between what you know of the area, and how you use it.

Tom Clancy's series shooters also had a distinct approach to this, basically, they didn't give you much knowledge about the terrain beyond, but it forced you to quickly analyze the defensive cover value of any terrain you'd enter, in such a way where you could always choose to move back and find a different angle if the area felt like a trap.

I remember fondly a level in urban warfare which had a bunch of open depots and enemy soldiers all over the place. The only way to move to the objective was to find one of the many viable paths, without which you were entirely exposed to enemy fire from unexpected locations.

Thus, the level narrative/design allows the player to build a strategy.

The focus in games where design is not linear is put on strategy (positionning/angle of attack) whereas games that are more linear are based more on player skills/reflexes (cover, fast shooting, suppressive fire, etc).

 

There's definitely many other elements to it, but these are the ones on the top of my mind right now.

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Of course, you realize that all of these games probably have a game director that's been in charge of the game's vision (mood and feel) throughout production for 2-3 years?

That's what I thought, that it was something quite developed. It's not pure coincidence that the gameplay of some of the multi platform shooters I mentioned is so similar in some aspects (nor that Crytek changed it so much from Crysis 1, to their jab at multi platform FPS market, Crysis 2). It seems as they were designed with more or less the same user base, who are used to more or less the same mechanics.

 

Since I thought it was something specifically developed for, I thought there may be some specific aspects that nail down that "modern warfare" experience, even in games that aren't that "modern warfare" at all.

 

I thought about dying animations, the way you shoot and aim, and so on. You mention weapon recoil, the amount of shooting needed to kill someone, blood from your enemies, fast animations, etc.

 

Thanks for your input :)

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Hi,

 

 

Yes!  You are not hallucinating!

 

People are making changes to the feel of game functions all the time.   Different artists and tech people, new or revised game engine, and the need to handle game function afresh with each new release all have an effect.  Similarities do exist from the same libraries occasionally being used by different game developers.  There is a tendency for creative teams to emulate the game feel of other popular games.  Sometimes a better character game function will actually disappoint the gamers only because they are used to the feel, function, and configuration of other games. 

 

There is variety and few things are static in game development for very long, so game function is fluid, too, to some extent. The exact same issues have been discussed by people many times.  It is good for a game developer or game designer to be sensitive to this area of gameplay.

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Heh, I knew I wasn't seeing things :P

Like most typical forum commentary, "Bleh, consoles!" is one of the things that aren't worth replying to. But it does makes all the sense in the world to try to get to the same level of other popular (in the case of CoD, very popular) first and then work up from there, because like you said, that's what the customers are used to.

A relative bad thing is that I really don't enjoy the kind of gameplay that console oriented design is getting out there in many games, which is one of the reasons why I liked Rage a lot besides the many things that went wrong with it, it didn't felt like your run off the mill shooter, it felt like an Id's shooter.

 

I wonder how the designers behind "modern warfare" style games feel about this trend. Say, are Wolfenstein The New Order happy about the fact that it does looks like a typical FPS with a different environment? Are Crysis 1 designers happy with the turn Crysis 2 made? And so on. I guess that the if market demands it, it needs to be done that way, and they, the designers, have to like something of it unless they're really good at their jobs that is :D

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Okay, those are all good questions.  In game development and creation teams, there is tremendous pressure to get developments and revisions to team members as quick as possible. Everyone wants to keep the flow going in the process.  Even one person who is running late might delay the work on related subjects in the game.  For example, a character artist or animator working on the prototype might have artists working on weapons, vehicles, and other characters waiting on such artist.  Some vehicles must have a fully functional character to use as a place holder to create all the vehicle functions which interact with the character.  What good is a lever or button in the vehicle if the character can not reach it?  ... sort of thing.  Sure, meanwhile they can work on other things, but this is huge for staying on scheduled goals.

 

Game developers are dealing with the skill and technical limitations of the software and artists working with them.  It would not surprise me - and I have seen it personally - when game designer says, " Okay, people, we are running out of time, so this is good enough for now.  If we have time near the end, then we will come back to this and refine it."   People have complained to me that their designer, developer, or team leader has lower standards than them.  This is not unusual with fellow artists, too. 

 

Games with substandard quality does not surprise me for these reasons.  Some are satisfied with a profitable release, but others also care deeply about quality and user satisfaction. 

 

In the case of most if not all of those games mentioned, I believe that changes in personnel on the artist teams is the mostly common cause for inconsistences. I feel that some game developers should insist on better game testing with random players in their research, but I understand that they are under time and budget constraints.  wink.png

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