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Old 08-19-2008, 04:52 AM   #1
jillduffy
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Default Discussion: Invisible Walls

Use this thread to discuss "Invisible Walls."
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Old 08-19-2008, 06:10 AM   #2
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I haven't finished reading the article yet, but I just want to mention that I'm pretty sure the screen shot of 'Jurassic Park' on page 2 is actually of 'King Kong'. I can see how the T-rex confused the author, though...

Also, there are no invisible walls in Battlefield 2. Just saying.

I find it a little annoying that the author implies that immersion is not broken when a player 'accepts' an arbitrary game element which was perceived as an I-breaker. Just because I 'accept' red cobwebs in DMC4, does not mean it isn't breaking my immersion.

Last edited by Protector one : 08-19-2008 at 06:21 AM.
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Old 08-19-2008, 07:11 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Protector one View Post
I'm pretty sure the screen shot of 'Jurassic Park' on page 2 is actually of 'King Kong'. I can see how the T-rex confused the author, though...
I've put in a request for the author to fact check this. If there is a correction, I'll make a note of it on this thread, too!

Update: The error was corrected and was the responsibility of the editor (that's me). I apologize to author for that and a few other minor edits that he requested, which are now in the article.

Also, from the author: The reference to Battlefield 2 is correct too. Now I can't take a screenshot of the original invible wall, but I figured out to find two videos of similar glitches in that game.
http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=I5HzYb6kf-Y
http://www.leechvideo.com/video/view1385153.html
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Old 08-19-2008, 12:37 PM   #4
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I just think it all can be simplified. On the psychological side, immersion is the level of concentration an individual applies to realize some task. It envolves all aspects, like "supension of disbelief", "flow" and "presence". They are all dependent one another and consequency of the level of concentration.

To the immersion be consistent, the environment must be believable, immitanting reality or not. I thing that's the point the author confuses things.

An environment just need rules of consistency. Virtual environments may or may not have rules similar to the reality ones, like physics.

The credibility issue seems to be when the player would expect a well known behaviour from the world, but becomes disappointed when it didn't happen.

It's the difference a friend told me between Zelda and Tomb Raider. Zelda recreates and teaches the player about a credible and consistent environment. Tomb Raider doesn't teach too much, because it relies on a more realistic world (or on previous knowledge of the player about that realistic world), until it becomes inconsistent, when you shot a wood door with a missile and it doesn't even scratches.

The interface can be faced on the same way. It leaves to become an invisible wall when the player dominates it like an extension of the body. A text MMORPG needs a lot of typing and reading, but for who enjoy playing these games typing is almost like talking, or even thinking, and reading may become more confortable than listening.

The environment must be consistent to be believable, as need the interface too. It's up to the game designer to teach about the rules of the world. If there will be a invisible wall, it's better exist a good in game reason for it, and the game need to teach the player without relying on player's previous knowlege about similar invisible walls. In the player's point of view, some of the fun in games is to learn about his walls to get more and more rewards.
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Old 08-19-2008, 01:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Protector one View Post
I find it a little annoying that the author implies that immersion is not broken when a player 'accepts' an arbitrary game element which was perceived as an I-breaker. Just because I 'accept' red cobwebs in DMC4, does not mean it isn't breaking my immersion.
It depends on the context really.

In an environment where magical barriers are feasible, it isn't immersion breaking for them to crop up in that environment. At least, this isn't the case for me.

One of my favourites is manga and anime, where the characters frequently do things that are physically impossible such as leap hundreds of feet into the air or carry unfeasibly large swords, yet it doesn't break immersion at all. You've accepted it, because its a manga!
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Old 08-20-2008, 09:13 AM   #6
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Quote:
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In an environment where magical barriers are feasible, it isn't immersion breaking for them to crop up in that environment. At least, this isn't the case for me.
But what about the flow? If there is anything that could break flow, it's an invisible wall. No?


In response to my nitpicking earlier, I still feel I was right about 'Battlefield 2'. The videos J. Duffy posted seem to prove me wrong, but the first one is of 'Battlefield 2: Modern Combat', which is quite a different game from 'Battlefield 2', and the second video does not show any invisible wall. It does however show a bug that would probably break my immersion though...
Ok, sorry for that. Nitpicking over details is in my nature. I should be a game tester...
We now continue with regular programming.
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Old 08-20-2008, 09:29 AM   #7
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But what about the flow? If there is anything that could break flow, it's an invisible wall. No?
Not if it was implemented cleanly. If it was just a random magical barrier, then I suppose it would break flow...although if something awesome happened that caused the barrier to appear then I suppose that wouldn't break the immersion.

That's another thing...I'm working under the assumption that these awesome things happen in a Half-Life style fashion. Cut scenes proberbly would break flow in this instance...
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Old 08-20-2008, 02:19 PM   #8
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It's interesting to note that the discussion seems to focus on 3D games but as the author notes that need not be required (for example, literature of many kinds also creates immersion in different ways). Even today there are many 2D games offered that create immersive experiences, even products that focus on simple mechanics coupled with extensive written storytelling.

I agree with Adrir but would like to extend the observations to mention that what is perceived as immersive (and not breaking immersive gameplay) is largely subjective to individual perceptions and varies with many elements including culture. Adrir mentioned manga and anime, and I'll include games, live action, and other media as well. For example, various Japanese stories and storytelling media that remain relatively unknown in other markets, including various types of games, use conventions that are perfectly understood in their native market in order to achieve immersion, but such conventions may be rejected or misunderstood in other markets. This is true for manga, games, anime, and other media, and of course it is also true for media in other native markets when those media products are taken to other markets.

I think it's important to simply accept and understand difference even if we personally disagree with specific elements on an individual level in order to emnrace diversity. I can say, "[Element A of a game] is not immersive for me" and "[Element B of a game] increases immersion for me" even if someone else's view differs. It's analogous to saying that one person finds a food such as raw oysters delicious while the same dish causes another person to become nauseous at just the thought of eating it.
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