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First Person Shooters (Games) Games

Re-Examining the Immersion Factor For First-Person Shooters 130

Posted by Soulskill
from the be-one-with-the-rox dept.
An opinion piece on Gamasutra looks into the common perception that a first-person view provides a much more immersive experience in shooters. The author argues that this concept needs to be reconsidered, as immersion nowadays is more dependent on what you see, rather than how you see it. The question is further complicated by ever-improving technology and new control schemes. "It's important to realize that making a first-person game almost necessarily means making a game for the dedicated gamer. Innovations on the interface side could help lower the casual block, perhaps through the Wii, Project Natal, or the PS3's new motion controller. Regardless, it will take a lot of work and concerted effort to penetrate the casual audience with a first-person camera. The question is whether we even need to, when there are so many camera systems that games have yet to fully explore."
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Re-examining the Immersion Factor For First-Person Shooters

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 05, 2009 @03:42AM (#29321549)

    The Star Trek arcade game [wikipedia.org] (you remember -- the kind you had to put quarters in) had both a first person view (ok, first ship view) and a top-down view. The first person view was nice eye-candy, but a useless distraction in actual combat. The top-down view had so much more usable information and no distracting eye-candy. It was all you needed to play the game effectively (as long as you wanted on one quarter once you mastered it).

    That doesn't mean Crysis would be better without the first-person view. It's the realism that makes that kind of game.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Jurily (900488)

      That doesn't mean Crysis would be better without the first-person view. It's the realism that makes that kind of game.

      No, it's the framerate. AvP2 is much more immersive than Bioshock on my integrated video card.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Uh.. no. The framerate only affects the immersiveness of the game if it's interfering with it. Watching a movie at anything less than 30 fps will also break the illusion. Its reasonable to assume that in the article they're assuming you actually have the hardware to run the game. If you can't power the game system then of course, all bets are off.

        Stating that the framerate is key to immersiveness is like stating that bsods are as well. While technically correct it's out of the scope of what's being discusse

        • by Jurily (900488)

          While technically correct it's out of the scope of what's being discussed.

          No, it's not. The very act of making the game more "realistic" is what destroys any chance of me being able to play it without frustration.

          In an FPS, where the gameplay requires a response time as fast as possible both from you and your computer, you don't really watch the shiny effects while being "immersed".

          For the record, the laptop in question is newer than the game I tried to play.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by maharb (1534501)

            What AC is trying to say is that frame rate is not an inherent characteristic of a game. Any game, if played on the wrong hardware, can have frame rate issues. So for the purpose of evaluating a game you cannot look at frame rate. That is like saying Zelda sucks because you don't have a nunchuk controller and it requires one. Get the correct hardware before playing top end games. Also, laptops are not 'gaming rigs' regardless of the marketing that the company used to sell it to you but that is a diffe

            • by Jurily (900488)

              What AC is trying to say is that money is not an inherent characteristic of a job. Any job, if done while living in the wrong house, can have income issues. So for the purpose of evaluating jobs you cannot look at income.

              Apologies for not buying $1000 hardware for a $20 game.

              • by maharb (1534501)

                That is a terrible analogy since income is an inherent characteristic of a job. You work the job and you get a defined paycheck. Also, quit being so narcissistic, it seems you have had a very specific incident with a specific game and then you are extrapolating that out to "frame rates (which aren't constant for a game) are a measure of a GAMES immersiveness". Obviously if you tried to follow this through logically it wouldn't make any sense. Let me explain.

                Frame rate alone can be a factor in immersion,

        • Watching a movie at anything less than 30 fps will also break the illusion.

          Movies are shot at 24fps. This has been the standard for almost 90 years. It hasn't had to change, despite technical improvements, because the eye and brain haven't changed.

          • Yeah, because the eyes of aging directors and the average eyes of the audience are crap. Also, motion blur helps.

            But it's still distracting. You just learn to ignore it if you don't have the budget to make your own films. "Good enough for most" is all you get, I'm afraid.

            • Yeah, because the eyes of aging directors and the average eyes of the audience are crap. Also, motion blur helps.

              But it's still distracting. You just learn to ignore it if you don't have the budget to make your own films. "Good enough for most" is all you get, I'm afraid.

              You don't want hyper-realistic. Look at the problems the porn industry is having now that they're starting to shoot in HD. They have to hide the wrinkles, the zits, etc. Even in real life, we tend not to notice, because we quickly mo

              • Although I don't care to see every liver spot and blemish on Harrison Ford's face, I would much appreciate maximum possible detail in the stunning vistas as he flies over nazi occupied mongolia in a stolen jet-powered dirigible, chased by fifty-foot mechanical monsters lead by Angelina Jolie.

                24 fps, however, is jerky. Even with motion blur. It is not "good enough" unless you're half-blind. Arguing that it is "good enough," is not in any way disparaging to my contention that it isn't. It merely reflects

          • by moxsam (917470)
            No, it's the people's habits that didn't change. But really their brains and eyes are capable of so much more. If your brain is accustomed to high FPS games, then you will know what I mean. That is if you get past the motion sickness. On the other hand, watching too many movies ruins your perception of reality, really. I wish TV and movies would have a minimum framerate of 60 progressive images. Stuff in the TV studios is produced in 30 Hz or less, btw, and not 60 Hz.
          • by ld a,b (1207022) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @10:43AM (#29323173) Journal

            To be fair, there are studies pointing that this is due to the frames in movies having ghost images embedded.
            With photo-realistic games, each frame is rendered separately and thus more are needed to recreate the illusion of continuous motion.
            What's fun is that Anime and old school sprite games are completely unaffected or even improved by having a much lower frame-rate.
            It turns out that if you avoid trying to be realistic, immersion is easier.

    • That doesn't mean Crysis would be better without the first-person view. It's the realism that makes that kind of game.

      There is relatively little "realism" in a first-person view.

      Real field of vision is much wider than an FPS gives you, since most of us have peripheral vision. I always feel like I've suddenly developed tunnel-vision when I try First-Person pov.

      • by Briareos (21163) *

        Well, Mirrors Edge is 16:9 all the way through - which of course prompted people to ask why the game is broken, showing those white/black bars at the top and bottom all the time...

        Can't please everyone I guess.

        np: Tim Exile - Don't Think We're One (Listening Tree)

        • Well, Mirrors Edge is 16:9 all the way through - which of course prompted people to ask why the game is broken, showing those white/black bars at the top and bottom all the time...

          My field of view, as I sit here, is about 160 degrees, I think. 16:9 is still tunnel vision. Just a slightly wider tunnel. Realistically, you'd have to have three screens, or wraparound goggles to get a "realistic" view. Which isn't practical, just yet....

      • Many first person games compensate for this by providing a wider field of view than you would see if your monitor were actually a window into the action. While this may enhance game play for some types of games, it has the net effect of "miniaturizing" the scene, possibly undermining the immersiveness of the game. Bioshock on the XBox 360 took the "window" approach, with a more realistic point of view. It was widely acclaimed as one of the most immersive first-person games to date, but it also came in for c

    • by centuren (106470)

      That doesn't mean Crysis would be better without the first-person view. It's the realism that makes that kind of game.

      Crysis may look pretty, but I found realism as a major failing for immersion. I'm in the jungle, and it hasn't worked out well (I only bought the game recently and haven't played through too much of it). It doesn't seem like brush and current rendering technologies work well. You can make the plant life look pretty, but I need to see through it realistically. It been my experience that brush provides impenetrable cover for the enemy, and a giant blind for me. If I'm creeping through the jungle I need a bett

  • by dcposch (1438157) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @03:48AM (#29321567)
    "It's important to realize that making a first-person game almost necessarily means making a game for the dedicated gamer." ...emphasis on the "almost." I think Portal is a great example of a FPS that's interesting to serious gamers while still accessible to casual ones. One of the main reasons I don't play more FPS titles nowadays is their length: a lot of games, like Half-Life and GTA, build these epic saga storylines and take many days to play thoroughly. In high school, I thought both of those were awesome (especially HL2 and Vice City, respectively) but now, in college, I just don't have time. Portal is so short, I played it in one sitting. It's also simple: you have exactly one kind of gun throughout the game, and only a handful of opponents. It's the antithesis of a game like WoW, (which I realize is not FPS), and which requires a lot of in-depth game-specific knowledge and deep time commitment to become good at. Portal goes to great lengths to teach players how to play as they go along. The developer commentary is fascinating... each of the first few levels has a specific concept that it's designed to convey. If you understand quickly, these levels go by fast. If you've never touched a controller in your life, I'd bet money that you could still do them. It's all part of the challenge.
    • I must disagree. I'm an experienced gamer and breezed through Portal like through a dream. Excited at the game, I let my older non-geek brother have a try. He was utterly confused at the controls, and the portal gun, even though he's seen me play it before. I let him play from the beginning, thinking that the game eases the player very much into it. But he couldn't pass the first 4 rooms without my help. I agree with the author of this article, First Person perspective might be totally intuitive if you play
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Peganthyrus (713645)

      Portal is an exception. I hate FPSs and I paid good money to play that game. It's also pretty much the one single first-person game that isn't about a testosterone-laden game of "RAR I SHOT YOU".

      • by Jurily (900488)

        Portal is an exception. I hate FPSs and I paid good money to play that game.

        Duh. It's not a FPS, it's a FPPG.

    • by snooo53 (663796) * on Saturday September 05, 2009 @08:29AM (#29322463) Journal
      Ugggh. No way. The last thing we need is an excuse to make games shorter! If anything, be it racing games or FPS, all this money is poured into development of the engine and controls and whatnot, and yet they only have 8-10 levels, which get old fast. Almost every game I can think of would benefit from more levels! I don't care whether they're in the first game or not, there are so many that(even ones 5-10 years old) I'd happily pay for level packs on.
      • by ricotest (807136)
        Crysis Warhead is a good example of this - they invested so much into the engine and assets for the first game, it was good to see an extra set of levels that built upon Crytek's experience and was a vast improvement in level design and pacing. The problem with FPS games is they tend to get boring unless they regularly switch up the game play (e.g. Half-Life 2), which seems to be difficult for most designers who are content with churning out level after level of the same thing.
      • by Cruciform (42896)

        Games don't need to get shorter... story arcs do.
        Imagine if GTA 4, had 3 short character campaigns instead of one long one.
        I enjoyed the story, but never got around to finishing the game.
        A lot of games have been guilty of taking a story that's only worth a couple of hours and stretching it out to fit a 20 or 30 hour game.
        It's not necessary.
        But of course if a publisher sees that your game has more than one story, they're going to say "Let's package this up as individual games, and sell them at full price, ev

        • by PReDiToR (687141)
          MetalGearSolid4.

          How do you want that playthrough? Stealthy? Kill em all? Want to explore every inch of the world, pick up every powerup or use the bonus items that you won on the last playthrough?
          No problem. You will get a reward for each and every way you complete the game and unlimited saves.

          A lot of games could benefit from the lessons of the MGS series.

          I loved that game so much I paid £300 for it (I bought a PS3 to play it on).
    • I think you'll find most FPS these days are pretty lame at only 7-8 hours gameplay. There a few that topp 8 hours and I've not played a new one that lasted longer than 8 hours play in years.

    • by ricotest (807136)
      You're right, that's exactly what we need, shorter games. Never mind that most FPSs out today can be completed in an afternoon, and have very little depth (exploration, multiple routes, etc.) compared to the 20-60 hour RPGs on the market. I'm sorry that you can't spare the time in your busy life to play something longer than a couple of hours, but I think most of us want value for our money - especially if we're paying £35+ for the game.
    • by bcmm (768152)
      Portal and GTA aren't FPS.
  • by Clandestine_Blaze (1019274) * on Saturday September 05, 2009 @03:55AM (#29321593) Journal

    My thoughts are really disjointed tonight, so forgive me.

    I do agree with the author, sometimes a first-person perspective may not be the only way to immerse a gamer. Video games, especially first person shooters, used to rely solely on vision. The original Wolfenstein 3D on the PC did not have a rumble feature or 5.1 surround sound, but was still considered groundbreaking because of the perspective it put the gamer in.

    The best games, however, do more with existing technologies, such as using a vibration in the controller to indicate either a pulse or that danger is nearby. The use of dark ambient music, creaking noises in floorboards while walking around, or the sudden screeching noise when something pops out also helps. While we cannot do anything with our sense of taste of smell in video games yet, (thank GOODNESS...) we can at least emphasize certain sounds and touch a little more than just pretty graphics.

    Going along with the article, the first person perspective brings the dilemma of the "silent hero", because that hero is supposed to be you. However, you rarely get to interact with anything beyond acknowledging an NPC's request to retrieve something for them. You don't get to forge a bond with any of the characters based on your personality traits. I think this is key -- I was way more into Final Fantasy VII because of the level of interaction with the characters. You get to know them and you get to like them. Rockstar Games tried to get characters more involved with NPCs in GTA IV by having the players go out and spend time with them, but you really never get to know them. You go out with them, but only hear side-conversation going on. You're not really allowed to say anything in that game beyond clicking on the NPC to get the next quest.

    There are still limitations. There are only a finite number of dialog choices and while you can allow the gamer to make their own dialog (as with the original Police Quest series), NPCs won't understand most of it and will only give canned responses. MMORPG's will allow gamers to say whatever they want to other gamers, but are still bound to the NPC's world. Most games don't have that story-telling feature to allow the gamers to create their own quests.

    So yes, it's not all about the first-person perspective. Sound and touch also play a role, but the biggest factor of all is the depth of interaction with other characters and the unique, likable personalities that let you identify with them.

    • by forkazoo (138186) <wrosecrans.gmail@com> on Saturday September 05, 2009 @04:20AM (#29321663) Homepage

      I do agree with the author, sometimes a first-person perspective may not be the only way to immerse a gamer. Video games, especially first person shooters, used to rely solely on vision. The original Wolfenstein 3D on the PC did not have a rumble feature or 5.1 surround sound, but was still considered groundbreaking because of the perspective it put the gamer in.

      I disagree strongly with the idea that Wolf3D relied only on visuals to promote a sense of immersion.

      "Mein Leben!"

      Or maybe it was, "Meine Liebe." I never could quite tell. But, the audio was a significant factor in making Wolf3D interesting. The visuals get more credit, and they were certainly very significant at the time. But, hearing the German soldiers call out in real human voices was something that made the visuals seem like they were showing you a real world. The music also set the mood and helped you get into it.

      Playing Wolf3D without SoundBlaster and Adlib support was just disappointing.

      • Playing Wolf3D without SoundBlaster and Adlib support was just disappointing.

        Point well taken - I remember the days of SoundBlaster and getting it to work on my PC to hear those very voices that you describe in Wolf3D. My little write-up did no justice to that game.

        Oh and regarding the phrases spoken by the German soldiers, I did a search and found a site that lists them all:

        http://www.mac-archive.com/wolfenstein/talk.html [mac-archive.com]

        You're right, it was Mein Leben!

      • by rickwood (450707) *

        For the record that music is from the movie Where Eagles Dare [imdb.com] , starring Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood. It's a pretty entertaining WWII yarn, especially when the music swells and you hear that iconic drum roll. I didn't know about the movie until late one night when I was in my twenties I caught it on cable and said, "Hey, that's the music from Wolfenstein!" It's one of my favorites now.

      • by antdude (79039)

        For me, it was DOOM because the visual and audio immersion.

    • Agreed on immersion using all the available features: when I was playing through Bioshock I got so used to listening for creaking floorboards, doors and footsteps that every time I heard a noise in the house whilst working I would have the urge to spin around wielding a wrench.

      Oblivion is interesting in that it's a first-person (you can play 3rd person but reviews say it's not so good) RPG, including some ongoing conversations with characters who give you quests and sometimes help you. To a certain extent

      • I like the third person camera whenever I need to _see_ anything (eg. while moving about above ground or engaged in a sword fight). But I'm playing an archer now so I need the first person camera whenever there's enemies nearby.

        I could handle having only a third person camera if the game handled archery a little less precisely but a first person only camera would be annoying unless the game came with ultra-widescreen wrap-around 3D glasses. There's a reason why FPSes tend to feature underground levels so he

    • Going along with the article, the first person perspective brings the dilemma of the "silent hero", because that hero is supposed to be you. However, you rarely get to interact with anything beyond acknowledging an NPC's request to retrieve something for them. You don't get to forge a bond with any of the characters based on your personality traits.

      Never played DN3D, did you ? I guarantee you're ready to kick ass and chew bubble gum after you leave the game, however well bred and polite you may be before.

    • I'd like to amplify that point by noting that vision in video games, even with the newer 3d display technology, is far from human quality. The dynamic range of the human eye is pretty impressive, and if you take an individual with good night vision and one with more average night vision, you'll have trouble finding a happy medium in rendering settings that won't leave the user feeling disoriented.

      Leaving out peripheral vision, you still have the uncomfortable divorcing of visual and sound information from

  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot AT hackish DOT org> on Saturday September 05, 2009 @04:02AM (#29321621)

    There are a lot of things you might want out of a game, of which immersion is only one. You might also want engagement, fun, thought-provokingness (okay, maybe less from an FPS), and lots of other qualities. There even some research [stanford.edu] showing that perfect immersion might harm some of these other properties, and may not be the sweet spot--- playing games on some perfectly immersive, like the Star Trek Holodeck, might not actually be what a lot of people want. I know I personally enjoy some mediation between myself and the virtual world; I like to feel that I'm playing a game, not actually in the world. But then i like turn-based and 2d games, too.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      There are a lot of things you might want out of a game, of which immersion is only one.

      This.

      The author also seems to be assuming game developers are using the first person perspective for the sake of immersion. This is not necessarily true. The camera greatly influences gameplay. Aiming a gun is much more natural from a first person view than some sort of overhead view with a crosshair floating over your character's head or something. Maybe the developers are first deciding that a first person view is optimal for gameplay and then trying to make the game as immersive as possible given the cho

      • There are a lot of things you might want out of a game, of which immersion is only one.

        This.

        The author also seems to be assuming game developers

        Please help me understand what the second paragraph means, or is trying to communicate.

    • by CCFreak2K (930973)

      thought-provokingness (okay, maybe less from an FPS)

      Are you sure about that? [wikipedia.org]

  • by migla (1099771) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @04:08AM (#29321631)

    The most immersive game I've ever played is Nethack.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The most immersive game I've ever played is Nethack.

      That's because you're standing in the {.
    • Nethack dreams sure are weird, aren't they?
  • by DinkyDogg (923424) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @04:22AM (#29321677)
    Nothing kills immersion more than having to look up which button does what. But if you've played one FPS, you can sit down with any other and have an immediate, intuitive understanding of how it works. In real life, you don't have to think about how to walk, run, drive a car, swim... So if you want immersion, you have to make all that as intuitive as possible -- easily accomplished if every game of the same genre has the same control scheme.
    • by ElAurian (133656)

      Okay, so how do you change weapons? How do you open windows? How do you jump? What, you can't clamber over a thigh-high wall? Yeah, this is so immersive. Right.

      • by raynet (51803)

        Weapons are changed by the scrollwheel on the mouse, windows are opened with E (and are doors and other object manipulation), jumping is done with D. And I'll just jump on that wall with the help of rocket launcher, just like in the real world.

    • by centuren (106470)

      Nothing kills immersion more than having to look up which button does what. But if you've played one FPS, you can sit down with any other and have an immediate, intuitive understanding of how it works.

      In real life, you don't have to think about how to walk, run, drive a car, swim... So if you want immersion, you have to make all that as intuitive as possible -- easily accomplished if every game of the same genre has the same control scheme.

      I like to immerse myself in single player games and a FPS is no exception. Immersion there isn't about the controls, it's about the levels, game play, and believe it or not, plot. Not necessarily the story line, but things that happen while playing. A WW2 game loses immersion if there's a difficult area that takes many tries to survive, and the action is the same everytime (scripted events and AI, Call of Duty style). Enemies showing up at the exact same places and having "surprise" moments like a machine g

      • I feel similarly about Fallout 3. I remember coming out of that vault with a pistol, a riot baton and a few rounds of ammo. So I walked down and saw somthing in the distance and decided to head towards it. It was one of those gas stations. Then I looked around headed off into another direction and found Megaton, which was good because at least then I had one safe spot.

        I talked to people and found out about that Bomb and decided to try defusing it, which I did with a little Mentat help. That got me the

  • by popo (107611) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @04:26AM (#29321693) Homepage

    Let's be clear about some issues with this question --

    For one.. let's talk about "aim": The third person shooter can never be a natural "shooter" in the sense that aiming one's weapon will always be a product of interface, and not visceral line-of-sight.

    This of course, is fine for some games -- but if we're going to call a game a "shooter", then we should incorporate the visceral sense of "aim" into that definition.

    If "aim" is something that is virtualzed -- as it is in 3rd person shooters -- then the game is by definition not as visceral -- and *may* not be as immersive. (But of course this all depends on one's definition of "immersive". If one defines a visceral -- "real" experience as "immersive" then 1st person wins. If one defines other plot/strategic elements as immersive -- then maybe not....)
    .

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Compuser (14899)

      Agreed. And to add another point...
      To this day, human and animal motion is unrealistic in games. Skin, lothing, and hair rendering has gotten better by leaps and bounds but still sucks because of lack of detail. Wounds are not realistic. And this is all so bad that within a few seconds of playing any game you just know it is a game. Perfect immersion is impossible for that reason alone (at least for me). First person view helps with this because at least your own character is moving in ways that you do not

    • Final Fantasy: Dirge of Cerberus [wikipedia.org] is quite decent as a 3rd person shooter.

      You may use the help of auto-aim (Deus Ex also have it, so I guess it's not a crime), but I found it very usable even without it. In fact, it's better than the optional FPS view (well, I'm not too good with FPS, so YMMV).

  • one of the reasons I really don't give a shit about FPS is that all I can see when I'm playing is whats right in front of me.. but in real life all of us have peripheral vision. We tend to notice things happening besides us.. and if we're in a jungle surrounded by people with guns we want that peripheral vision but games only offer us what lies directly in front.

    I don't know but maybe games have support for triple-headed displays ? If that were possible then I might consider adding two more moni
  • ..and will quickly go through just a few points why from top to bottom
    "saves developers from having to develop a camera system independent of the playerâ(TM)s control."
    FP cameras are not set in stone, do you show movement with head bod, or weapon bob or neither or let player choose? Handling peripheral vision focus, do you see your shoes when you look down., etc.
    "...Wolfenstein 3D for the Atari Jaguar. ...my first interaction (in perhaps '97 or '98) ...with proper fps...had me pretty convinced tha
    • Get off my lawn!

      "...Wolfenstein 3D for the Atari Jaguar. ...my first interaction (in perhaps '97 or '98) ...with proper fps...had me pretty convinced that first-person games werenâ(TM)t for me, all the way until Halo 2"
      wow, someone who hadn't played doom even 4 years after it was out, played Wolfenstein on a TV, and generally didn't like FPS's till halo 2. Yeah, He sounds qualified to comment on the pros and cons of FP camera.

      1997 is 12 years ago. Why on earth does that fact that he might have "only" g

  • by RenHoek (101570) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @05:47AM (#29321959) Homepage

    There are a few games that really got to me:

    1) Alone in the dark. The first incarnation of this. The graphics were horrible but the immersion was immense. This game had me actually scared of what was coming next.

    2) Half-life 1. Much more so then Half-life 2.

    3) Alien vs. Predator. Where you play the squishy marine, and you just gone inside a long tunnel. You end up in a chamber where one of you fallen comrades is, only to find he's been encapsulated into a wall. Then your motion sensor goes berzerk, and you start running.. back through that long tunnel. When you look back now and then the walls and ceiling are crawling with predators trying to catch up with you. Every now and then you have to hit a switch to close a door. _This_ was some fucking immersion, nearly had a heart attack, but I'm still happy I made it out of that tunnel alive.

    4) Some incarnation of Splinter Cell. I played the whole game with the self-imposed restriction that I wouldn't kill a single character. Turns out there were 2 situations in there where I was obligated to kill a key figure. However by stocking up on stun gas grenades I was able to defeat one 'boss' by stunning him (after _many many_ tries). Come the cutscene, he was dead ;)

    5) System Shock 2. Oh god.. I'm alone on a huge space ship.. Somebody hold me!

    There are a number of other games that I can't recall the name of, but immersion seems to be independent of graphics to me, as long as the graphics don't hinder your immersion. To reach immersion I think you need to heed the following points:

    - Don't put anything in the game that will irritate the user. I'm talking interface here, so go for a minimal, but useful HUD. Use sane controls that can be reconfigured by the user to his/her liking. Make sure you take out the bugs.

    - Make it a whole. Make sure there is a backstory and that the character and his/her actions fit into it. Let the user find out that there is a whole galaxy out there with strange and wondrous things. You don't have to show it all, but make some references to things that 'happened' without going into too much detail. Leave the gamer with questions. This is the reason why Star Wars was so popular as a genre.

    - No jumping puzzles.

    - Make the game challenging. Make it 'hard' without actually even having be hard. But give the gamer a sense of accomplishment. You don't do this by making him have to shoot 30.000 of identical aliens btw.

    - Give the user choices. _REAL_ choices, not a 'good' and 'evil' choice that end up with the same result anyway. Give the user some actual influence in the game. World of Warcraft is an example of how not to do this. Everybody is 'special' but you are indistinguishable from all the other players.

    - _NO JUMPING PUZZLES_, no really

    - If you do introduce puzzles, make them logical. On the other end of the spectrum is Monkey Island, where you have to combine the extendable rubber hand with the pepper shaker so you can make the skeleton sneeze to blow out the candle so the room goes dark so that you can safely steel the treasure without the skeleton seeing it. It's just not logical. :)

    - Make the player care for the main character and cohorts. You can do this by not making him invulnerable. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of horrible games that implement the 'one glance from an enemy and you are dead' principle, but that is not good either.

    - Personal development. RPG's are fun because you get to 'build' your own character by improving those things you enjoy/think are important. So introduce some RPG bits to your FPS. Classic examples are Deus Ex and Bioshock. Don't let players have it all, make them choose.

    I can think of a lot more things, but graphics is not one of the components that define immersion in my book.

    PS.

    (no jumping puzzles)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      You missed out:
      • No Quick Time Events
      • Don't steal my damn weapons
      • No out of place stealth levels (sudden changes of gameplay style suck)
      • Zero/Low Gravity levels only if they make sense
      • Gravity gun puzzles - it works through a forcefield but not through a window?
      • Respawning "push" phases
      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        No insta-death. - I don't mind making a mistake and having the game eat away at my health or a series of errors kill me but making it so there are situations where a single mistake kills you instantly sucks. Double if this includes a jumping puzzle and a bottomless pit. Immersion is seriously hampered by pissing off a player to the point he doesn't want to play any more.

        No infinite respawn - If I am in an isolated town that had a population of 20k then their should be at most 20k zombies after the zombie pl

      • You missed out:

        • Gravity gun puzzles - it works through a forcefield but not through a window?

        A forcefield is not glass, duh. It's also not made of matter. :D

    • "- Make the game challenging. Make it 'hard' without actually even having be hard. But give the gamer a sense of accomplishment. You don't do this by making him have to shoot 30.000 of identical aliens btw"

      See: Serious sam : The First encounter

      http://www.gamespot.com/pc/action/serioussamthefirstencounter/index.html [gamespot.com]

      One of the best games since Doom / Doom 2. Sometimes there is a LOT to be said for simple over the top arcade game style.

      Still one of my all time favorite games.

    • by PReDiToR (687141)
      And for $DEITY's sake, write cheats in from the start, don't put them in as an afterthought or even patch them in a couple of months/years after the game is released.

      Playing a game with cheats is like watching a movie you can interact with.

      Some of us like that, honest.
    • - Don't put anything in the game that will irritate the user. I'm talking interface here, so go for a minimal, but useful HUD. Use sane controls that can be reconfigured by the user to his/her liking. Make sure you take out the bugs.

      SS2 would not have been the same without the bugs. *shudders*

    • by Backward Z (52442)

      I disagree with your Monkey Island statement. The good MI games all had mostly sensible puzzles (except for the chicken with the pulley in the middle, that was supposed to be obscure). I thought the fourth MI was pretty bad (it shipped with a walk-through) as many of the puzzles in that game didn't even make a lick of sense, but in the same breath I don't really consider MI4 a true MI game.

      I'd recommend you have a look at the new Tales of MI games that Telltale is releasing. They're excellent so far and

    • Haha at AvP, that game still goes down as one of the scariest games I played whe I was younger. I played the jaguar version...I still remember going up to floor 1 as a marine and walking out into the middle of the hallway and then looking right and seeing about 50 aliens charging me. The ambient noise is partly what made it so scary...it was pretty much quiet except for alien and predator screams. Proper sound can make or break a game.

    • Two words: Metroid Prime.
    • by Burning1 (204959)

      Speaking of System Shock 2... Did you ever use the Psionic power "Enhanced Motion Sensitivity?" I picked it up one play-through after missing one of those damned red eggs on the Rickenbacker.

      "Enhanced Motion Sensitivity" gives you a sort of "radar" image of all nearby enemies. It's incredible how easily that psionic ability kills the tension and sense of immersion in the game.

    • Have you never played System Shock 1? Man, the atmosphere that was created did let you shit bricks?

      Shit, I still can't forget the scene at the very beginning, where I find a log file, listen to it... listen to the screams and the fear in the background... while seeing that woman's face, and then looking up into a air duct... trying to grab that strange thing there... and holding her freakin' HEAD in my hands!
      Only to get attacked by a crazy medical robot and throwing her head on that thing!

      Or when you destro

  • I agree with the author that games are not immersive by simply being FP. I've never played a game where I forgot I was playing a game. That, for me, would be the total immersion for which FP perspective strives. In fact, I kind of find "immersion" being touted as a major factor in why I should buy a game annoying (hello, Fallout 3). No matter what, I will never forget I'm sitting in my easy chair playing my console or at my desk looking at my 20" monitor. There's just way too much between me and the ac

  • Biggest obstacle (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 4D6963 (933028) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @07:05AM (#29322185)

    You know what's the biggest obstacle to my immersion in games such as Call of Duty or GTA? The way it's all scripted. It's a bit too much like a movie, the game designers want too much control over what I see. As a result, I know the story is waiting for me, no matter if shit is hitting the fan all around me and that NPCs are yelling that I have to hurry up. I know that if I die it's a minor convenience, I just have to do again exactly what I did for the last 40 seconds or so (at most, except for GTA, where every time you fail you have to do the same fucking thing, seeing the same cutscenes, for minutes all over again) and try again until I succeed.

    These game fail me at immersion because they're just the sophisticated equivalent to turning the pages of a book. The story will unfold as scripted no matter what you do, even if it might need repeats (funny thing about failing, failing is always mostly non-canon. That too ruins the immersion.). I was really excited the first time I played GTA III, because I was really into it, until I failed a mission. I wondered a bit scared what would happen next, and to my relief I could try it again. Then I felt less immersed, because I can kill my boss, I can kill myself, I can fuck up everything, but the story will have to unfold, even I suck really hard.

    Such games may be geographically open, in that you can go anywhere, but everything that matters is on rails. Well actually that's something that Battlefield 1942 got right. You could get defeated, it was canon, you didn't *have* to win, the war unfolded as you were making it happen. Well the idea wasn't pushed very far in that your failures didn't affect the rest of what would happen.

    TL;DR : The problem with games is that they're full of very carefully created content; places and storylines, to the point that the designers make sure that you get to see all of their content. They wouldn't design a whole map if odds were you'd fail to get there. I think that instead of designing maps, they should design worlds, and instead of designing carefully crafted stories they should make great AIs so that their interactions with you result in a story (i.e. in a war game, have strategic AIs, which decide of where to take the war next as to try to defeat the other strategic AI. In other words, AIs would play a RTS, while you'd play one of their units).

    • by JAlexoi (1085785)
      I believe that is why Fallout and Arcanum drain so much of my time :) Just another quest, results in going to bed at 7 AM the next day...
    • The problem with games is that they're full of very carefully created content; places and storylines, to the point that the designers make sure that you get to see all of their content.

      You want to see a great NPC in a game full of content, and whose author doesn't care that you don't get to see it all? Try Galatea [wikipedia.org] for a great storyline. In that old-style IF game, immersion is achieved both through a writing full of detail aimed to the senses (sound, light, touch, smell) plus the engaging personality of the

      • by 4D6963 (933028)
        lol... Yeah, I'm not really into those games in which I'm likely to be eaten by a grue.
  • eyetoy sold well over 10million units, sony already knows what sells and what doesn't to casual gaming people. (even though i don't believe in "casual", as eventually everyone becomes a regular gamer (as people eventually grow tired of idiot games)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I don't believe immersion is why Doom was written as a First Person Shooter.
    If it wasn't a FPS, then I would be able to see enemies that my character would not be able to see. With a third person angle, I would know what was around the next corner without having to put my character in danger.
    This would then lead to me attempting to figure out how far around the corner I had to be to be able to shoot the enemy.I don't want to go to far because then they will see me. In most FPS, if the wall isn't blockin
    • by macshit (157376)

      I don't believe immersion is why Doom was written as a First Person Shooter.

      One reason may have been that they didn't want to pay the cost of rendering your character too (an inherent advantage of FPSes)...

      Finally, don't even think you can pull off any real 3D aiming in the Z axis. The best you can do with a third person view is really bad 2D aiming. No more head shots.

      Actually RE4 & 5 pull this off quite well -- your weapon has a "laser sight", that projects a beam where it's aiming, and gets a little brighter where it hits the enemy. This really works great, and is quite intuitive and fast. [For sniper rifles, it switches to a first-person scope view though...]

  • TPS's (Score:2, Informative)

    by sonicmerlin (1505111)

    I know this is about FPS's, but I think this issue somewhat applies. Mod me offtopic if you must:

    You know how to *ruin* a game's immersion factor? Make it *third person* behind the friggin' back.

    Thankyou, Dead Space, I forever will appreciate the giant, virtual avatar taking up half my screen as I desperately attempt to maneuver the camera to see what unseen monster has popped up out of nowhere to slice me in half. Kudos to Resident Evil!

  • The author says, "there are so many camera systems that games have yet to fully explore." Like what? There is first person and third person. What else is there?

    I think the author blurs immersion with point of view. POV is first person or third person, or other general camera placement.

    Immersion is based on interactivity in the environment and identification with the character. Half Life 2, with its advanced physics and material properties broke ground on environmental interactivity. Fallout 3 excelled

    • hasn't wads been the standard control pattern for sometime? before that, wasn't it the arrow keys(which my roommate STILL uses)?
      • I'm not sure; most games use some variation of those. I do know that my gamepad is preprogrammed to keyboard keys and different games get different results. I usually end up re-mapping games to my gamepad. Of course, each games has unique key functions, but a reserved portion of the keyboard could accomodate that.

        Some standards body should come up with a strict keyboard mapping protocol. This default configuration would be easier for players to learn new games and would lower the barrier for experienced

    • by raynet (51803)

      That is why games allow you to reconfigure the keys, like I always use SZXC instead of WASD. At most I need to relearn 1-3 new keys for each game, and that is only if they have radically different controls compared to "normal" FPS games.

  • For one I take issue with the characterization of game players as either "hardcore" or "casual". There's a lot more to gamers than this false dichotomy. Gamers have a wide spectrum of likes and dislikes and skill sets. Someone might be a "hardcore" Halo player as they're really good at it but might only play RTSes occasionally and only "casually" because they're not good at them. Are they hardcore or casual? Oh no the stupid two-party classification has broken down! Also whenever you read "casual gamer" on

  • The absolute best gaming experience I've had when it comes to immersion is definitely Metroid Prime. The game completely blew me away the first time I played it. It's just you, nobody else, on a planet fighting against ETs and Space Pirates while trying to figure out what the heck is going on. Retro Studios never made the game too unlike the previous games in the series as well; this isn't an FPS, it's a First Person Adventure. The puzzles were innovative, expansions were well hidden and fun to find, and th

  • The first FP game (Score:2, Interesting)

    by noirpool (1631915)

    The author is basically correct. It's how you "feel" in a game which causes the immersion.

    He had me when he asked "when was the first time you cared" about a character in a game, and then brought up Ico, which was exactly what I was thinking.

    In Ico, I not only cared about the boy, but the girl also. When you held her hand and started running, there would be an uncomfortable "tug" on her arm as you started to drag her along. I quickly started using the controls in a more delicate way so I would work up to a

  • by descil (119554)

    If it's not first-person then you're watching someone else, not seeing through their eyes. That's not going to be immersive. Stupid question.
  • I was always satisfied with Doom, as far as first-person shooters. However, I was recently surprised at the level of immersion that happened while playing Asphalt 4 (racing game) on my Nintendo DSi while on the bus. It seems that the relatively meaningless speed while playing the game in a stationary environment actually feels pretty cool while you're actually moving forward...

  • In some years, there will not be any people left who don't know WASD & co from their early childhood on, and still want to play shooters.

    I always see how seemingly intelligent game, software and other product developers dumb down their products to make them "accessible" to anyone. Only for nature to create a better idiot, because now she can. And why are people now able to be dumber? Because your new products allowed them to be in the first place!

    And that is the real problem: By dumbing down your produc

  • It doesn't matter if you're playing Spyro, or Mario, or Grand Theft Auto, you're just controlling something. First person view will always be more immersive than third. The way your brain processes visual stimuli guarantees it. In third person view you watch stuff happen. In first person view, you do stuff. You can get caught up in a movie, but when they want you to feel involved they don't throw a bunch of shit at the character, they throw a bunch of shit at the screen. Often they even give you a first per

  • I think for scariness, first person is required. I personally cannot get scared by a game that is in third person. Obviously games like FEAR 1 and 2 are scary games anyway (shame the devs couldn't resist the temptation to have cheap full screen scares otherwise those games would be perfect for scary ambience, so the award stays with System Shock 2), but putting things in first person makes an otherwise normal game take on a creepiness when it chooses to. In first person, the crypt in Arx Fatalis becomes a n

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