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First Person Shooters (Games) Graphics Games

An Early Look At Next-Gen Shooter Bodycount 238

Posted by Soulskill
from the piece-by-piece dept.
If you ask fans of first-person shooters what feature they'd like to see in a new game, their answers — now and for the past 15 years — probably involve destructible environments. Game developers have tried to satisfy this demand with scripted events, breakable objects, and more crates than you can shake a rocket launcher at. However, Bodycount, an upcoming game from Codemasters Guildford, is aiming to deliver what gamers have wanted for so long: the ability to blast apart whatever you please. Quoting the Guardian's games blog from their hands-on with the game: "... it's not just about effect, it's about access. In Bodycount, you can blow chunks out of thinner interior walls, allowing you to burst through and catch enemies by surprise. You can also brilliantly modify cover objects – if you're hiding behind a crate and want to take out enemies without popping up from behind it, shoot a hole in it. Bingo, you've got a comparatively safe firing vantage. The difference between this and say, Red Faction or Bad Company, is that the destruction isn't limited to pre-set building sections. It's everywhere. This should, of course, grind the processor to a halt, but the team has come up with a simple compromise to facilitate its vision. 'The trick is that we're not running full physics on everything,' explains lead coder, Jon Creighton. ... This is tied in with one of the best cover systems I've ever seen. While in a crouching position (gained by holding the left trigger down), you can use the left analogue stick to subtly look and aim around your cover object, ducking and peeking to gain that perfect view of the war zone. It's natural, it's comfortable and it's adaptive, and it will surely consign the whole 'locking on' mechanic to the graveyard of cover system history."
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An Early Look At Next-Gen Shooter Bodycount

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  • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @04:05AM (#31907324)

    Will this also be available on a system with an input controller suitable for shooters? Like, say, a mouse?

    Else, pass. No matter how good the effects, if I can't control my character, I don't need it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Thanshin (1188877)

      I agree, but I'd also like to point out that the technology is ready to give players the separation of vision and aim.

      I want to be able to watch in a direction, run in another and shoot in another one. As running is going to be linked to a hand (as foot controls are cumbersome) and shooting to the other, vision should be linked to head movement.

      What I'm suggesting is: Don't "evolve" to mouse control if you can truly evolve.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Barny (103770)

        Wait, uh, how do you line up a target your not looking at?

        • Pay at arma 2, with a head tracking tecnology system. You will know.
        • by AK Marc (707885)
          You direct your aiming controller that way. Not that anyone hits anything this way, but people can easily point a gun to their left while running forward and looking right in real life, so why are "realistic" video games set to where you can never shoot anywhere you aren't looking?
        • by AGMW (594303)

          Aside from that, I can't ever see a situation where I would need to be looking in one direction while firing blindly in another.

          and

          Wait, uh, how do you line up a target your not looking at?

          Years ago I played a state-of-the-art full immersion shooter with headset for visuals and gloves for pointing, etc. The graphics were pretty lame (compared with the current crop) but it was awesome to be able to run through a room whilst focusing on the door I was running towards and be able to shoot the bad guys on either side by aiming just using my peripheral vision.

          So, I wasn't (directly) looking at the target(s), or indeed firing blindly (as I hit most with the first shot!) and with good (binocul

          • by Barny (103770)

            In the same vein, I can run at a door and track and shoot targets perfectly well with my mouse and keyboard without losing my bearing about my heading or target and what would you rather focus on, the door or what will be shooting back at you?

            • If your plan is to get to cover rather than kill the enemies, probably the door.. in this situation, mouse = good, keyboard = not quite so good (as an analog stick). I basically vowed years ago that I'd never play FPSes on a console, but it isn't so bad when you get used to it, and as long as you know everybody else is limited in the same way. Still, I'd like to be able to play most games with a mouse for aiming and a pad for other controls - and in fact you could do this with Quake 2 on the PS1. I wonder i

      • All nice and fine, I'm not religiously attached to the mouse/keyboard style of controls. I'm all game for better input controls.

        I'm not complaining about an input method other than my prefered one. I'm complaining about one that is, at least in my opinion, not suited for the game at hand. I find trying to aim with a game pad highly frustrating. You push that thumbstick ... ok, a bit more to the right... no, not that much, a bit back ... sigh, again too far, let's take a step to the left maybe we can even it

        • I'm all for better input controls. I'm not all for having to buy some new gizmo for every new game that comes to market.
      • I agree, but I'd also like to point out that the technology is ready to give players the separation of vision and aim.

        Mechwarrior 2 had this control scheme. You controlled the direction your legs were moving in, the direction your torso was aiming, and the direction that your guns were aiming, all independently. Most people just locked the targeting to the center of their torso.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      640p* and small world sizes should be enough for anybody.
      *HD ready.
    • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @05:41AM (#31907746)
      Console games: Sports, driving games, fighting, button-mashers.
      PC games: RPGs, first person shooters.

      If it ain't on PC, you can take one lost sale away from the "OMG TEH PIEWATS!" statistics, and add it onto "Don't know which platform a game should be developed for" chart.

      I've played FPS games on a PC and a console. If I have to wait 2+ seconds to spin 180 degrees, or the same amount of time lining up the crosshair / ironsight to get a headshot, you've failed in creating a good FPS.
      • by delinear (991444)
        For me, I always felt twitch play should be a lesser consideration to learning the maps and which weapons to use in which situations, of course reactions should still play some part, I just don't think they should be so disproportionate. I dislike the fact that, on a PC, the main delimiter in whether I win or lose is my reaction time and that, no matter how much experience or tactical knowledge of the game I have, I can still be outgunned by a 14 year old hyped up on red bull and cheetos, which for me reduc
        • I very rarely play multiplayer FPS's, I meant single player. Fiddling with an analogue stick to align the weapon in just the right place to headshot in Modern Warfare 2 on the PS3 *really* irritated the hell out of me. That would be a half-second move with a mouse.
    • by Inda (580031)
      I used to play FPS games way, way back before the RSI and sore shoulders got the better of me. I was never that good at them but still spent all evening playing and then some.

      These days I play FPSs solely on the 360. I'm forever getting the most kills, the most headshots, leading the pack - why? Either I've gotten better, or everyone else has gotten worse.

      I can flick the thumb stick and the crosshair lands pretty close to the target. No different than using a mouse. A little step left or right with the lef
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Your eyes have apparently gotten worse as well if you haven't noticed that most modern console shooters are that easy because they're basically doing half the aiming for you.

    • I'm a PC gamer and I prefer a keyboard and mouse for FPSes. But a gamepad is generally usable as well, it just takes a little getting used to. Every non-PC gamer on the planet seems to be OK with playing FPSes with a gamepad...

      • I'm a PC gamer and I prefer a keyboard and mouse for FPSes. But a gamepad is generally usable as well, it just takes a little getting used to. Every non-PC gamer on the planet seems to be OK with playing FPSes with a gamepad...

        As does anyone who has only ever had McDonald's hamburgers. It works, but there IS better out there, they just don't know it.

    • Seconded. Only consoles and pussies need a cover system. Because they are too inexact and clunky.

      If you disagree, let’s meet for a round of Quake 3 Challenge Pro-Mode Arena on my server. You with the console, and no aiming assistance, and me with my real computer. ^^

  • They're quite right that the physics doesn't actually need to be physically accurate - during a firefight, it just has to look vaguely right. I worry that they might have one of those systems that very occasionally does something obviously weird, but we will see.

    And the feeling of destructible environments is fun. It would be fun even if it didn't serve a purpose in the game - seeing a firefight in a confined space cause decent-looking bullet holes in walls and "more crates than you can shake a rocket laun
  • by xiang shui (762964) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @04:09AM (#31907338)

    "You can also brilliantly modify cover objects - if you're hiding behind a crate and want to take out enemies without popping up from behind it, shoot a hole in it."

    Space Invaders has had this feature for a while now.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Also, reading the sales brief for a previous game (also named Bodycount, funnily enough) one notices a few.. marked similarities:
      http://www.mobygames.com/game/operation-body-count [mobygames.com]

      Quoting:
      "OBC also features a near fully destructible environment; the Flame Thrower can set bad guys, scenery and the level itself on fire, which could make movement extremely hazardous for the player, especially as the fire randomly spreads. The Grenade launcher meanwhile can destroy any wall (with some hard coded exceptions)."

      Whi

      • by fractoid (1076465)

        "OBC also features a near fully destructible environment; the Flame Thrower can set bad guys, scenery and the level itself on fire, which could make movement extremely hazardous for the player, especially as the fire randomly spreads."

        Fire doesn't randomly spread. It spreads fairly predictably, in fact.

        Also, wouldn't a crate that you can blow a hole through make for a pretty useless piece of cover? Given that your adversaries can blow holes right back...

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by radone (1491913)
          I suppose your enemies shoot rubber bullets. Or paintballs. They're the peaceful kind.
        • Fire doesn't randomly spread. It spreads fairly predictably, in fact.

          I am just imagining how fun random fire would be. Although it is not truly random if there is no possibility that you face can light you a$$ on fire.

          Also, wouldn't a crate that you can blow a hole through make for a pretty useless piece of cover? Given that your adversaries can blow holes right back...

          We will of course implement the same mildly retarded AI that is currently used. So if they cannot see you then you are not there. Even if the box you are crouching behind is shooting them.

          -matt

        • Fire doesn't randomly spread. It spreads fairly predictably, in fact.

          It depends. Fire spreads differently if exposed to wind. Since wind can be random and you can't "feel" it in a game, fire can also be quite random for the player.

          • by fractoid (1076465) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @05:19AM (#31907644) Homepage
            I guess so. That reminds me, actually, of a beta-tester 'war story' that I read about Far Cry, where the guy shot a couple of oil drums (setting them on fire) then went off to do something else. About half an hour later he had a big message pop up telling him he'd won the game. It turns out that the burning oil drums had set fire to some grassland, which in turn caused a forest fire that just happened to incinerate the end boss. I don't know if it's true, but it's a brilliant demonstration of how simulation-based games can have unexpected outcomes which might not be particularly beneficial from the designers' point of view.
            • by Nasarius (593729)

              simulation-based games can have unexpected outcomes which might not be particularly beneficial from the designers' point of view.

              But that's half the fun of open-world, sim-like games (the ones that actually deserve the "sandbox" term). Sure, major unintended functionality should be ironed out in testing, but the ability to approach a situation in a way the designer never anticipated is fantastic.

        • by delinear (991444)
          Cover's not just about stopping bullets, it's also about leaving the enemy guessing where you are - admittedly a crate that the enemy can shoot through is almost as bad as standing in the open, but that "almost" could be the difference between a flesh wound and a headshot...
    • by crotherm (160925)

      True Combat, Quake 3 mod, had the ability to shoot through object for some time. Too bad enough players for critical mass was not included.

    • Re:Space Invaders (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Barny (103770) <bakadamage-slashdot@yahoo.com> on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @04:40AM (#31907460) Homepage Journal

      Not to mention that if a shot from your gun makes a nice hole in an object for you to see through, how many holes in the object can the enemies make? And how many of those holes will proceed with their holiness into you?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Reziac (43301) *

        That's a good point, and shouldn't enemy fire have the same capacity to eventually blast through your cover?? the advantage then becomes who knows where the other guy is, which could go to you or them. Sounds like fun to me :)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mdf-flynn (1684038)
      Fry: I still have a trick or two up my sleeve. Watch as I fire upwards through our own shield!
      Bender: [panicked] He's a mad man! A mad man!
    • "You can also brilliantly modify cover objects - if you're hiding behind a crate and want to take out enemies without popping up from behind it, shoot a hole in it."

      Sounds suspiciously like what I did in BC2 last night. Noob tubed a hole in a cement barrier and blew out the wall on the side of the building so I could cover the MCOM station. Took the attackers (squad rush) a few minutes to figure out where I was at since the kill cam was turned off.

  • by i ate my neighbour (1756816) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @04:22AM (#31907386)
    I thought Red Faction featured fully destructible environment and even cave digging?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Bugamn (1769722)

      Well, from the summary I infer that it wasn't fully:

      The difference between this and say, Red Faction or Bad Company, is that the destruction isn't limited to pre-set building sections.

      But Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] says different:

      GeoMod allows the player to alter (and destroy) the environment so significantly because of the way it designates altered (or "GeoModded") areas. Whereas other game engines would have to modify the shape of the altered object to create a similar effect, GeoMod creates special objects which represent empty space.

      • There were internal environments (most irritatingly, cubicles) which were immune to geomodding.

    • by peterpi (585134) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @05:29AM (#31907686)

      No, that was Boulder Dash [wikipedia.org] ;)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Rennt (582550)
      so did Nethack :P
    • The first Red Faction was cool in the sense that yes, just about everything was destructable but after you finished blowing away the current level you were left with a cool metal boxframe that reminded me of Bomberman but in 3D.

      The latest Red Faction is similar in that you can destroy just about any building but the landscape at least remains the same.

      Either way, its been done before, and the only thing this "Next-Gen" might do to interest me is 4 player split screen, because Red Faction: Guerilla was too p

  • You hide behind a crate, through which you can easily shoot a hole. This happens without anyone hearing the shot, the splintering wood and no one notices the exit hole in a random crate through which muzzle shots flash. _Then_ you shoot through said hole, not seeing anything. Your Magical Box Of Holding will then just eat all bullets which want to go the other way.

    Moral? If you say you make realistic environments, make realistic examples.

    Also, I probably care more than I should ;)

    • by darthflo (1095225)

      Your typical shipping crate is fashioned from two kinds of woods - a hard, dense kind (beech, oak, etc) for the edges and a softer, ligher, cheaper kind (fir, spruce) for the rest of the panels. FMJ rounds may cause some (little) splintering in the former, but should pierce right through the latter, leaving very small holes (5-6 mm for a typical 5.56 mm round).
      A silencer can take care of a lot of the noise, with the usual goal of moving the emission spectrum into a zone that's more difficult to pin down aur

  • by thegarbz (1787294)
    Are we actually talking fully destructible this time? Or the "fully destructible" environments of say Crysis? I don't care if I can chop down a tree with a machine gun. If bits of rock don't start getting chipped away as I'm hitting them with a bazooka then it's not a fully destructible environment, and if absolutely everything isn't destructible, then you're stuck with the same mundane limits as all former games regardless of what fancyness has been done with the game engine.
    • by ledow (319597)

      Yes, this pisses me off too. Until I can literally destroy *anything* in the game, without limitation at all, even if the game slowed to an absolute crawl when I do so... it's not a "true" destructible environment. I should be able to knock down every building, chop every door into small pieces, blast a tunnel through a hill or mountain, drain a lake by building a canal system etc... anything else is just "another" clever way of making it look like I can do that but actually just changing the limits of wh

  • Paradox? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by B1oodAnge1 (1485419) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @05:09AM (#31907594)

    ...fans of first-person shooters... ...can use the left analogue stick...

    Your implication is quite ludicrous, sir.

  • by nacturation (646836) * <nacturation&gmail,com> on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @05:19AM (#31907642) Journal

    Ah, but then there's Black. Released at the fag end of the PlayStation 2 era and developed by Guildford-based studio Criterion, this 2006 cult classic, was a stylised, hyper-kinetic deconstruction of the FPS concept.

    I take it that's what non-British speakers would call "the tail end"? Otherwise, that's a pretty gay piece of tail they're smoking.

    • by Spad (470073)

      They're clearly talking about the period towards the end of the PS2's life when it gained a huge gay following...

      No, it's one of those idioms that confuses Americans in the UK and gets Britons in the US into a lot of trouble; a fag is a cigarette, thus a fag end is a cigarette end, thus they are indeed referring to the tail end of the PS2's life.

  • Next next gen. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by w0mprat (1317953) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @06:13AM (#31907866)
    For me a next gen shooter would be any FPS without... crates.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      So you're a barrel man?
  • Getting hyperbolic language from the game's lead programmer is...unconvincing.

    "Everything being destructible" isn't much of a goal, particularly in their example. Shooting through a box to give yourself cover? Um, if I can shoot through it and destroy it, how much value does it provide as COVER?

    No, as a longtime shooter fan what I'd like is more along the developmental lines: I'd like a 3d world engine in which you actually BUILD things from their pieces, like in the real world. If I build a wall of 3d-m

    • by Mantrid (250133)

      That sounds like Red Faction:Guerilla, though you can't assemble things - but it does have all the structural stuff you're referring to.

  • by tgd (2822)

    "if you're hiding behind a crate and want to take out enemies without popping up from behind it, shoot a hole in it."

    If we're looking for realism, I'm pretty sure in the real world a crate you can shoot a hole through is one the guy on the other side can shoot a hole through.

    Probably not good cover.

  • "We'll tie it in with audio too," says Cant. "So when there's thunder, you're hardly aware of it, but it'll be sub-bass stuff - the feel is tied in with indigestion..."

  • ... if you're hiding behind a crate and want to take out enemies without popping up from behind it, shoot a hole in it. Bingo, you've got a comparatively safe firing vantage.

    If you can shoot through one end of it, I'm pretty sure they can shoot through the other end of it.
  • Left Analog Stick? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by djdevon3 (947872)
    I'm sorry I seem to be missing a left analog stick ON MY PC. I have a much better input device called a MOUSE. Consoles can suck it.
  • Aren't we far enough into this generation to call it "current gen" instead? It's getting to the point that when someone says "Next Gen" I get my hopes up for a moment that I'm going to hear some news about the Xbox 720 or whatever inane thing they decide to call it.
  • Hear Smash TV when you read the word "Bingo" in the quote?

  • ...is something else than the “run around and shoot everything in sight, press this button there, and perhaps have this cutscene”.

    You know... something different than just re-heating old ideas.

    I mean, System Shock 1 still beats most FPSes in terms of what you can do, hands down. And that game is exactly as old as Doom 1. (Yep, while Doom got the publicity for the gore, SS1 was the real innovation here.)

  • Am I missing something, or is leaning to one side a control feature that's been available in (PC) FPS games for a decade or more?

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