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what is the appeal of fps games?

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That might be a hint that FPS's are not the thing for you. :-)

But I'm not really a huge FPS fan myself. I really liked Mass Effect although it was a lot more than an FPS. To me FPS is basically just one game. It's like no matter how you reskin it Monopoly is Monopoly. It's not really a "genre". It's just the same game re-skinned. But a few games like Mass Effect have managed to be more. It had role playing elements and a promise that your decisions mattered that it largely failed to deliver on from what I hear since I never finished it because that really kind of ruined it for me knowing those decisions did not really matter.


But solely as an FPS, Mass Effect had fun game mechanics. It was more than just jump around in circles and you can't be hit by your opponent.

So, I think there are a lot of FPS's that really are the same game re-skinned. And it's not even realistic combat. Bullets aren't affected by gravity, air density, wind, temperature. The fly in perfectly straight lines with no bullet drop. And combat tactics that would never in a million years work in the real world win the day. And shooting bullets is pretty much the entire game.


Another thing is that different people like different games. I never thought much of Halo, but it was insanely popular. Sometimes you just have to realize certain types of games aren't really your thing and that's okay. A lot of people like games where they have to master the controller. I'm like, "look, if I have to use a certain type of controller to play the game, I'm out. The controller should have so little to do with the game play that you could easily switch it to a totally different type of controller unless maybe it's a vehicle game or something." I just don't like twitch games where you have to do button combos and such. But that doesn't mean there is anything wrong with those games. It's just not my preference. But it is for many people and more power to them.


As a game designer, I think you need to realize that different people have different tastes in games, which is why you can never please everyone, you could make the best game in the world and there will always be someone who dislikes it, and it's important to know your target audience you are designing for.

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The appeal of FPS games is unusually realistic and immersive combat.

Even with implausible weapons and unnatural physics, the experience of running, jumping, turning, looking around in a solid environment is close to the player's body perception in a way that is impossible for other kinds of equally twitchy realtime games (e.g. a RTS where you scroll a map. point with a mouse and press buttons or a driving simulator where you learn to master the controller, not the vehicle itself).

FPS games can have genuine differences, but the fundamental similarity makes the differences minor and, from a more technical point of view,  games can be usually altered drastically with easy and "superficial" tools (level design, weapon selection and if applicable placement of monsters, traps, bonuses etc.) making FPS design a matter of making a capable FPS engine first and defining gameplay details second.

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Rather answering the topic title rather than the specific question (which is down to things like whether you enjoy the particular rules, physics, graphics, gameplay, weapons):

If you watch a cat play, they like to play hunting games. You can move a stick around and it engages its hunting instincts, and it gets to practice them in a safe way that very literally translates to something that could give it a survival advantage in finding the next meal / evading danger. So their survival skills are a combination of instincts and practice.

Although we live in a modern world, biologically we are still cavemen that have evolved for millions of years having to hunt to survive, fight against enemy humans, run / hide from predators. There has been very strong selective pressure for these things, rather than the ability to walk to MacDonalds. So as in cat play there is probably brain reward (endorphins etc) from the same kind of practice activities in humans - running and hiding with a 1st person viewpoint, using weapons etc.. For the same kind of reasons. It better prepares us should we have to use these skills to survive in a real situation. It is no accident that soldiers play a lot of 1st person shooters.

Some people morally disagree with the idea of shooting bad guys. But put that same person in the situation where they are getting chased by a sabre tooth tiger, they better have got some practice in first otherwise they are going to make a tasty snack. :)

Edited by lawnjelly

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To me FPS games can be very different, might be you just tried to similar FPSgames. A few of them I played but a lot more I did , which are to much to remember them all. Some are games others are series or IP's.

From the genre starter from IDsoft up to Quake2 

IDsoft Rage // because it a much different style of game not in line with other idsoft fps games.

serious sam 

Stalker C.o.P.

Ghost Recon



America Army

Operation flashpoint


Hidden & Dangerous

Duke nukem

Rise of the triad 

Call of Duty


bad company.


No one lives for ever


They are all so different .  I am a FPS gamer who like to play differnt styles that why sample list  are so different fps games, but other play only specific type.


Singleplayer Co-op Multyplayer Teamplay

Corrididor Arena Sandbox

Fastpace slowpace

Arcady to milsim

Pure FPS or with Perks Grind mechanic  latest CoDs

Rockpapersissors Battlefield with grind mechanics.

Onrail shooter on the Wii.


The best experience I had are the Co:op games.

Ghost Recon Advanced warfighter 1&2

Operation Flashpoint 2 Red River.

Stalker C.O.P.

America Army

These are 3 types of different games I enjoy the most.

There are so many FPS games that if you pick 10 games they could be more similar in there core gameplay.

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For me old fps will always have a place in my gamer heart, as i was growing up with local area network multiplayer games like Doom, Quake, Duke Nukem, Unreal etc. At that time i had a lot of fun playing these fps with friends in closed dark rooms, side by side, with the pc´s heating up the room like crazy, eating pizza, etc. Really it was fun and i really miss it.

Unfortunatly todays fps games and gamers are totally different, they just want as violant, as realistic as possible, as close to war as possible, just because its "hip" or something. I personally dont like this kind of games, because there so much real war going on in our world, so why bringing that in the virtual world? - whats the point, what is the fun? I dont see it, and i will most likely not understand that. But well generations are different, so i have to bear with the fact with that 10 year old childrens play adult fps war games and talk like it was pokemon or something.

I rather jump around in virtual worlds, doing insane movements and jumps, getting as fast/high as possible. I enjoy it much more using weapons as a tool to reach impossible ledges, instead of using it to shoot others. The reason why i played the "Defrag"-Trickjumping mod from Quake 3 Arena over 10 years.


But nowadays i dont play any fps games anymore because of several reasons:

- I hate any kind of close to war fps

- Too much online multiplayer going on

- Modern fps are no fun for me, especially the COD and BF series

- I dont have much time anymore, i spent these more wisely

- My eyes cannot handle it anymore, i am getting old


Everyone has their own story why they like or dont like fps games  - so we only can share our personal experience with playing fps and why it may be fun or not. For me that time i played such games are long over and enjoy other game types much more.

Edited by Finalspace

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The original Doom was fun because it was primarily a exploration/puzzle game with some combat thrown in.  The combat served a purpose in adding an element of danger to the exploration, but it wasn't the point of the game.  Hexen was even better in that regard: prettier, more interesting world, deeper puzzles, more rewards for exploration.  I've played lots of shooters, but those two are the ones that stand out in a positive way.

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FPS games seem to based on multiple layers of reactive and active defense - you are seeking to maintain a certain status or potential:

  • Your health (status of being alive, too)
  • Your ammo (absolute quantity, and in current clip)
  • Your weapons/equipment 'level' (relative to enemies)
  • Your combo counters (or K/D ratio etc)
  • Your positioning/cover (protected status, potential to deal more damage than you take)
  • Your mental model / situational awareness (similar to above)
  • Multiply the above by number of team members, and do the same for enemy members as well for that awareness
  • Also apply to the team as a single unit (team positioning / resources etc)

The worth of protecting those is clearly implied by aesthetics, and ideally would actually impact your long term performance as well (this is not always the case).

As you can see, there is a mountain of values the player must protect. Importantly, player attention will keep shifting across this set of values to protect as they fluctuate, and as the environment changes. That fluctuation itself is driven by multiple factors (level design with constantly shifting front line or player placement, switching maps, random drops, multiplayer chaos, changing nature of conflict over time as focus switches from long term to short term and players might get better weapons etc). This very effectively creates novel experiences / content.

So there is no lack of motivation to stay engaged.

"Realism" (on a general level, not the details) helps in that the brain is probably better at multitasking if the tasks roughly map to natural functions (Allowing you to stuff more simultaneous minigames in the same experience). This means using different senses, input methods, active and reactive behaviors, slow and fast, fuzzy and discrete reasoning, whatever (just not 12 copies of the same minigame depending on the same cognitive tools). Having exhausted that capacity to you for the fluctuation of attention over the various minigames / protectables over time (interleaving). If your game completely lacks a "natural task" like super realistic 3D graphics or spatial sound/physics, it is fundamentally more limited in instantaneous diversity of experience (this could in theory affect how quickly players get exhausted/bored, since it puts more pressure on fewer cognitive functions).

Incomplete mapping of game to brain also fundamentally limits the potential fun (I assume good feels are fairly distributed across different types of brain activity). You cant be rewarded by beautiful 3D views if the game doesnt have 3D graphics. You cant feel the thrill of action in a slow game. Combining good feels across all channels of human experience, gets you uh... meta-feels? (plus I assume its not effective to spam / overlap a bunch of similar rewards - diminishing returns and all). Diversity in sourcing good feels could also contribute to player exhaustion/boredom?

FPS games also naturally support a whole bunch of emotional amplifiers (sensory, social, associations) better than most other games IMO.

Getting all those benefits without it being a shooter, would probably be easiest to do if you evolved the "shooter" aspect until it no longer resembles shooting (instead of removing it and replacing with something simpler or different, which just means you lose critical gameplay). Like replace the gun with a fancy ranged health steal ability that can form a mesh over enemies instead of just shooting rays (then build some gameplay and fancy visualization and cooperation and countering and environmental interactions and throw in all those ammo/upgrade/weapon type mechanics). This is with the assumption that the ranged visibility-based interactions are somehow fundamental to the human brain (which is what the "shooter" aspect really addresses).

One improvement FPS games could use IMO, is adding in some slower phase for relaxation and design/planning (like a fortification/building/management aspect). Rainbow six siege has a phase like that, for example. Doesnt have to be formally enforced by game, could just be part of individual players play cycles (like maybe they end up in a temporarily enemy-free area, so decide to use the time for preparation instead of just waiting or walking even longer).

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I like FPSs because of several things: dramatic storytelling...or humorous storytelling, competition, socializing and being creative with a sandbox, attaining a rank for personal accomplishment, winning close/intense matches for the feeling of glory, and the simplistic gameplay that can become really entertaining, and cause you to come back. Not all FPSs do this, and not all are successful. While I enjoy them, I am extremely picky of which ones I play. Halo is a huge majority of the FPS experience I have. I dip into Battlefield as well, and try out new FPSs on the occasion. The issue is that so many are fast paced, ultra competitive, and catering to specific people, or wanting to stay historically accurate (cough Battlefield 1 COUGH) at the cost of quality and a good life cycle. For the record, I've enjoyed BF 1 for a year, but I haven't played it in several weeks. Maybe over a month. Got bored of it. Halo rarely gets boring for me, on the contrary. 

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On 12/18/2017 at 7:00 PM, ObjectivityGuy said:

what makes a good fps game

Good controls. A level of response that fits the game being made, ranging from very tight controls requiring high precision to very loose controls where close is good enough. Exactly what makes them good varies by game, and what is good for one game may be bad for another. That is true for all these elements.

A good variety of balanced game mechanics.  Things like vehicles, tools and weapon choice, power-ups, multi-player combined abilities, damage types and area of effect, time for weapons to travel, player physics mechanics, game environment mechanics, respawn mechanics, and puzzle mechanics need to come together into a cohesive whole. 

Good balance in mechanics can also mean 'imperfect balance', where everything has strengths and weaknesses and players need to work with a mix of elements to leverage their strengths with the opponents weaknesses, while protecting themselves from the opponents trying to do exactly the same thing.  As an example, in Team Fortress 2 you've got the Scout who is fast and can reach control points long before others, but they have low health and do little damage at a distance, meaning he is easily killed by a other classes that do damage at a distance as he approaches.  Contrast with the Heavy that can do tremendous damage with fast firing weapons and has high health, but moves slowly; he is easily killed if the scout can reach point-blank range or if the relatively fast-moving spy can run in for an easy backstab. Each character's weaknesses can be overcome by a different character's strength.

Good level design.  Choke points, control points, cover, high/low ground, rapid travel paths within controlled areas, a series of fallback points for each side, or other design elements that fit the game.

Good art design and audio design. Art can range from cartoonish to comic book to realistic, from clean to gritty to gory. Audio can make a game range from whimsical and comedic to serious and intense. 

Good level of interaction with others for multiplayer games.  Single player FPS games are rare these days and mostly used for tutorials.  Even so, they still need good interaction as players progress through the levels. If it is a tutorial it needs to teach everything with a good learning curve.  If it is a puzzle-based FPS or maze navigation the interactions with the world should be compelling.  Exactly what is compelling depends on the game.

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