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Old 07-05-2008, 09:50 PM   #1
jshockley
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Default Credible Obstacles in Games

I just read this article on Gamasutra.com
http://www.gamasutra.com/view/featur..._creating_.php

The article is about the types of obstacles in games and how they often break immersion, or frustrate the user. It was really interesting to me, and I just wanted to get some thoughts from the rest of ya'll. I don't know many people who want to be game designers so this is my first stop having a real conversation about this kind of subject.

My Own Thoughts:
For the devil may cry "difficult to understand" barrier I thought back to the game. I noticed that the barriers come up and then an instant later the enemies spawn. Would it be so bad if the enemies used some magic spell to block these doorways? (play an animation of them blocking the door). You killing the enemies would release the "spell" thus removing your barrier. With weaker mobs there could be a weaker spell that would allow you to chop away, or just break through it. possibly just walk through it as you become stronger in the game. There would have to be a visual representation of how strong the barrier is which would require more resources, but for a game like devil may cry that shouldn't be much of an issue.


Reply with your thoughts on the article, any of the games in it or games you've played. I'll try to reply as often as I can.
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Old 07-06-2008, 02:37 AM   #2
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Thanks for the Aritcle it was a good one!!
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Old 07-06-2008, 04:25 AM   #3
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That article was pretty weak. Anyone who's played a video game could point out that a invisible wall, log indiscernible from ones you can jump over, or door indiscernible from ones you can open makes a bad obstacle.
I didn't find Devil May Cry too bad, but it would be nice if the game had more cleaver level design, allowing for something other than a magical 2d barrier. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King had a similar situation in one level, but they used Giant Piles of Dead Bodies, which works out a bit better.
The commentary for Team Fortress 2 had a big thing about how they tested and tested the game, trying to come up with credible level barriers, but finally realised that players would accept two foot high fences (shorter than the characters' jump height) as barriers. Players do know that the game world can't go on forever, and I think the 'frustrating' part of the article was overstated.
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Old 07-06-2008, 04:54 AM   #4
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Hi,
the article of Gareth Griffiths reminds me of this one of Dan Pinchbeck, "Counting barrels in Quake 4: affordances and homodiegetic structures in FPS worlds", somehow pertinent, surely interesting.

Last year I wrote an essay on the same issue, also pitching the idiosyncratic nature of this design "problem".
What was not highlighted in Griffiths' article is that players are quite good on accepting the game reality for real, if only coherent.
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Old 07-06-2008, 08:24 PM   #5
jshockley
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You know I remember playing SOCOM and when you tried to leave the mission area you would just fail as your comm operator told you you were leaving. that's pretty simple. In Call of Duty they could have that parallax effect they use in grand theft auto to make it seem like your moving, but you aren't. there are more creative ways to cage people then to use an invisible wall.
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Old 07-06-2008, 08:36 PM   #6
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They COULD, but there's the whole motivation beast to think of. I would rather put, say, a bunch of dull, empty space out there in COD4 and have people yelling for help back at the site of the fighting than use either invisible walls or the parallax walking thing. The least you'd be doing is throwing in a dash more immersion and emotional morality play.
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