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Old 2011-06-18, 19:03   #111
Sgt. Mahi

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Default Re: Duke Nukem Forever (PC Game)

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Originally Posted by youm0nt View Post
I have to say I agree with this guy. This is one of the reasons why I stopped subscribing on my PC magazine.

Only thing I have to disagree with him on is that the difficulty in games should, for some reason be easier in 2011. I personally miss the difficulty in the 90's FPS games.

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Old 2011-06-18, 19:56   #112
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Default Re: Duke Nukem Forever (PC Game)

He's talking about games not being difficult, but being unfairly difficult.

I agree with him that a game should be beatable on the first playthrough without saving and loading given the player is skilled and intelligent enough. There shouldn't be a case where the game suddenly kills you with something you couldn't possibly have been prepared for without warning.


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Old 2011-06-19, 04:55   #113
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Default Re: Duke Nukem Forever (PC Game)

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Originally Posted by Spec_Operator View Post
He's talking about games not being difficult, but being unfairly difficult.

I agree with him that a game should be beatable on the first playthrough without saving and loading given the player is skilled and intelligent enough. There shouldn't be a case where the game suddenly kills you with something you couldn't possibly have been prepared for without warning.
It's all a question of how you handle it. I still have very fond memories of a death I suffered in The Secret of Monkey Island. It was completely unexpected, unpredictable and it caused me no harm at all. Probably because it was a parody...

Players do like a challenge but it should never be a stupid or unfair challenge. If the player does not get a reasonable hint of a looming danger he has no way to avert it on the first encounter and will blame his death on the game and not on himself.


I recently got around to playing Batman: Arkham Asylum. I really like some things they did with that game. In one early example you are trying to rescue two hostages before the Joker releases poison gas into their room. You have two minutes to do so but the game does not give you a good hint on where to go and how to accomplish the task (or I did not get it). The Joker was counting down the time while obviously enjoying it a bit too much.

I was not too happy as this was the first time I have encountered a timed puzzle in that game and wished I would not have this encounter at all. I did not get anywhere in the first minute and by the time the second one was running out I was already expecting to be playing though this one at least another time. When the time reached 0 there was a small dramatic pause before the Joker exclaimed "Just kidding!" and you could keep playing on and save the hostages.

This is not a universal formula because you can't have all the challenges turn out to be fake. Doing so would annoy the player more than help him. Also the satisfaction of overcoming obstacles is not going to be there if you know there is no price of failure. But if you always keep the player under the impression that he can fail a challenge you can get away very well with throwing in a fake every now and then.


The important concept is to enable the player to pass any challenge on the first try while not making them so easy that everybody will pass every challenge always. Unfair challenges can only be used if they only seem unfair when you encounter them first.

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Old 2011-06-19, 06:52   #114
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Default Re: Duke Nukem Forever (PC Game)

Exactly. A challenge, in a classic FPS, should be a test for the players' skills. There is no skill that makes you predict an enemy appearing who can not be killed without preparation, thus being killed by such an enemy is simply frustrating; as you said, it's the games fault, not the players mistake that caused this death. Doing something twice because of an unpredictable attack simply is boring and annoying.

An example: There's a corner in a random FPS. Behind that corner, a well covered stationary machine gun is positioned. There is no realistic chance of taking out the machine gunner, as he immediately opens fire as you cross the corner, even if you just peek. There is no mirrors, no intel or anything on his position. Every player will cross that corner and get shot. At the next try, the player will throw a grenade around the corner and kill the machine gunner before proceding; I find that extremely cheep. Suddenly the player character magically knows when to throw a grenade around that corner.

That could have been avoided in a number of ways:
Giving the player a hint: Lots of bullet holes and a smoking vehicle wreck near that corner (assuming not all of the level is destroyed and burning) could make a cautious player stop for a moment and think about what might've caused that damage. Perhaps there's even a redshirt getting shot by the machine gun, or a couple of corpses lying around there.

Giving the player intel: The player has some sort of source that he can use to find out about possible enemy locations. Some maps have a real time overhead map, although that seems kind of cheap. Others could simply have a graphic engine that renders, in the windows of the building on the other side of the street, the mirror image of the machine gunner. Again, other games could have some sort of tool that allows you to safely check around corners (like the SWAT-series opti-wand or the Rainbow Six heartbeat sensor).

Giving the player a tactical advantage: The player is not put to a corner with a machine gunner behind it in the first place. Perhaps the player can chose to first get an overview on the situation from a rooftop. This way, the machine gunner can be spotted shortly before spotting the player. Or perhaps it's pitch black night and the player has the ability to sneak around and avoid the machine gunner unless they make a mistake and create some noise. Or the player has different paths to chose and some sort of knowing that the OTHER path is indeed clear (again, could have seen that from a tower or building earlier), without knowing that machine gunner is indeed on the other street; that way the player ends up behind the MG position and can deal with the threat out from a superior position.

In all of these cases, the player does not auto-win. They need to keep their eyes open, watch out for the little hints and carefully plan their tactical approaches. But there's no situations in which the game says: "You stepped on a trap door below this carpet. You die. Reload your last savegame." - Much rather, the game would say "You stepped on a trap below this carpet. You fall and take some damage, and are now in a dungeon. Have fun fighting your way out!".


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Old 2011-06-19, 08:30   #115
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Default Re: Duke Nukem Forever (PC Game)

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Originally Posted by Spec_Operator View Post
He's talking about games not being difficult, but being unfairly difficult.

I agree with him that a game should be beatable on the first playthrough without saving and loading given the player is skilled and intelligent enough. There shouldn't be a case where the game suddenly kills you with something you couldn't possibly have been prepared for without warning.
So, games like Demon's Souls are unacceptable? Resident Evil 4 had a ton of those moments, when all of a sudden a knife comes flying at you and if you don't hit the right buttons in a split second you're a goner.
Hell I'd even attribute that kind of difficulty to Project Reality. You're just walking along with your squad and BAM, sniper from half the map away takes you out in one shot, no way in hell you could have seen it coming.

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Old 2011-06-19, 08:42   #116
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Default Re: Duke Nukem Forever (PC Game)

Three points:

1. Not generally unacceptable, but something that I wouldn't enjoy as much as the alternative.

2. The knife situation includes the ability to react to it. You need to be quick, but it's a reaction to something the game does. My machine gun example leaves no realistic chance of reaction; you do not stand a chance against that machine gunner without intel on his position. So, as long as hitting the buttons to avoid being killed by the knife is possible, given sufficient player skill (the required amount of which might also depend on difficulty settings I guess?), this is a difficult, but fair situation.

3. Project Reality is a very open multiplayer game. Of course a sniper can just kill you if they are better than you; they're not scripted, the game isn't designed around one players enjoyment, but to simulate a battlefield. A battlefield isn't fair, and being sniped is perfectly realistic. Additionally, being killed does not mean you have to leave the game or reload a savegame, the game continues. You lost a ticket and need to be revived, which is part of the game. In a single player FPS, being killed immediately ends the game and leaves you with only the option to load a savegame. And THAT'S the annoying part. Being forced to commit unrealistic actions such as throwing a grenade around a corner because you KNOW there'll be an enemy there. Which is why I like my singleplayer games with random enemy spawns; as long as I stand a fair chance and the game doesn't put me into a situation I cannot possibly survive. Again, let's use Rainbow Six or SWAT as an example. You can always prepare for every situation, even though the enemies might not always be in the same places. Given sufficient skill, you'll still win on one play-through; in fact, such games rarely let you save mid-mission, thus avoiding unrealistic "hey, you can only win if you magically know about the enemy around this corner"-situations.

Again, a multiplayer game like PR does not end when a player dies. The game continues for all the other players, and probably (unless the game doesn't feature a respawn system) for the dead player, too.

A single player game is over once the one and only player dies.

To put it differently:

I dislike the idea of having a game that can only be won if the player makes use of the save/load system.
You can win a round of PR without loading a savegame; in fact, you cannot even load a savegame. Your chance for this victory only depends on your skill, and the enemies skill.
You can win a round of Rainbow Six without loading a savegame. This time the enemy is AI, but once again, your skill alone is sufficient.
What I'm against is a game that you can not possibly win without either loading a savegame or being simply lucky. Winning a game should not be down to pure luck (although luck, like in PR, can have quite some effect, of course), and neither should unexplained behaviour like knowing about an enemy due to having been killed by them "in a different life" be required.

Imagine you'd watch a movie. The hero runs through a combat zone without regard for cover whatsoever. Suddenly he stops, runs for cover, and sits there, when an enemy comes around the corner. The hero shoots the enemy.

The audience will wonder how the careless hero knew about this. He didn't hear footsteps, he didn't see him coming, there's no reason whatsoever that explains the sudden change in behaviour of the hero.
This breaks immersion. And if it happens a lot in a movie, that movie would seem very weird.

Why would a game have a different standard?

Edit: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.ph...dErrorGameplay


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Old 2011-06-19, 10:33   #117
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Default Re: Duke Nukem Forever (PC Game)

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Originally Posted by Qaiex View Post
So, games like Demon's Souls are unacceptable? Resident Evil 4 had a ton of those moments, when all of a sudden a knife comes flying at you and if you don't hit the right buttons in a split second you're a goner.
Hell I'd even attribute that kind of difficulty to Project Reality. You're just walking along with your squad and BAM, sniper from half the map away takes you out in one shot, no way in hell you could have seen it coming.

My short take here: In single-player games it should be avoided to give the player no reasonable chance to avoid death or punishment. In a multiplayer game the only way to avoid death is not to play (reminds me of Wargames). The player knows there might be snipers and will need to adjust his tactics if he wants to reduce the risk of getting shot at random. It will happen to him sometimes but he knows that it can and how to avoid it from taking overhand.

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Old 2011-06-19, 10:48   #118
Sgt. Mahi

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Default Re: Duke Nukem Forever (PC Game)

Alrigth I see your points about the difficulty in a modern game should be about how skilled a player is but honestly then.... isn't the average "normal mode" in FPS games too easy??? It seems like a number well above the average player can play through a "normal mode" without dying more than ones or so... I mean... Since when did it become a tabu to die in a FPS game? An average player will always start up a game on "normal mode" and will never get the full challenge of the game.. They should crank it up a little IMO.

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Old 2011-06-19, 11:17   #119
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Default Re: Duke Nukem Forever (PC Game)

As long as it's fair - yes. Most games these days are very easy and could need a bit more difficulty. Or something else to make them good; a game doesn't have to be challenging, but most games these days lack anything except for fancy visuals.


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Old 2011-06-20, 15:50   #120
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Default Re: Duke Nukem Forever (PC Game)

Game is just pure awesome, I don't know why IGN only gave it 5.6
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