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First Person Shooters (Games) Games

An FPS Minus the Shooting 172

phaedrus5001 writes "Ars has a story about a first person shooter under development that involves no shooting on the part of the player; at least, no shooting bullets. The game, Warco, has the player in the role of a war correspondent. The object is to immerse yourself in missions and firefights in order to document what happens. From the article: 'Players will experience the process of filming conflicts, going into dangerous situations armed with nothing but a camera. They will then edit the footage into a compelling news story.' While it's an interesting and different concept, it should be even more interesting to see if the developers can actually convince a publisher to release the project."
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An FPS Minus the Shooting

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  • Why do you need a publisher these days? Just release it yourself, online!
    • Because they don't have enough money for marketing?

      Also, this idea seems a bit risky. I don't think I would like to gamble my parents' house on such an idea.

      • It's under development and they're hitting mainstream geek-press already (Ars, Slashdot). So a large part of their target market already knows about it.

        Developing a game like this shouldn't give you too much hope to get rich. As TFA states they hope to make it "a commercial reality", not sure what they mean with it but it sounds like they hope to have it break even or make a little profit off of it. It's so out of the ordinary that to me it's hard to say what could happen to a project like it.

        But to get b

        • I have seen too many promising projects sunk because of lack of attention. The press is only intrested in polished products.

          • And rightfully so. No-one is interested in unfinished, poorly executed products. Polish is important. And that includes both graphics, overall game design (story, characters, options) and overall game play.
        • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Thursday September 22, 2011 @06:20AM (#37477680)

          Steam in particular, but other digital services as well (like Impulse and Direct2Drive) have become a way that many people get a good number of games. Well, they also promote games as well. Steam runs games on promo on their front page. The trend seems to be either games that are really big and popular, or games that are indy and somewhat obscure, but well done.

          A recent example is Bastion. Made by a team of 7 friends it has won a rather large amount of acclaim. I'd never heard of it, until Steam had it featured. It interested me, and apparently a ton of other people. It has sold really well, been written about in the game press, and so on. No big studio, no big marketing budget, just a good game that got promoted by Steam.

          Likewise you have other opportunities for promotion with these digital sellers in that they love doing deals. Impulse and Steam like to offer a sale every weekend, and one each day as well. So you agree to a temporary price reduction, and you get front page exposure, or even a special popup in the case of weekend deals. Plus people repost it on various sites.

          If you have a high quality game, it really can rise up and do well with nothing behind it. Might not happen in one day, but it can happen.

          Most of the people who complain that you "have to have a big studio to make it," just don't produce good games (or often produce any games at all, they just talk about doing it). Not any more. Digital downloads have become a great equalizer. No, you won't do Call of Duty's billion dollars of sales, but you may sell a couple hundred thousand copies, maybe even a couple million. You aren't likely to get rich, but you can make some money.

          Big studios and big budgets are only needed for big games. If your project involves tons of high end art, voice acting, and so on then yes you might be talking a $50 million budget and you'll need financial backing to make that happen. However if you are less ambitious, there's plenty of market for cheaper indy titles.

          • Exactly. Think about it this way. If you sell 100,000 copies at $10 each, that's 1 million dollars. If steam takes 30% (I can't get any hard numbers, but from quick googling that seems to close), you still have $700,000 left over. If it takes 5 people, 2 years to develop, that's 10 man years, giving $70,000 per person, per year. Now, that's not rockstar money (no pun intended), but that's nothing to laugh about either.
      • I dont see those participating in Humble Indie Bundle [humblebundle.com] with problems in marketing... in fact, they are making a good money [wikimedia.org]

        Big publishers releases today are mostly just remakes of the same games, with better graphics... in fact, many times the game is even less fun to play, because "all" the development work was put in the graphic and very little on new ideas, the game story, bug fix, balance or simply in the fun of playing!

        That is also why humble indie have lots success, most of the games are original and

        • I very much like the HIB, but they've turned down quite a few game developers who would have liked like to join. (They didn't name them.) So I guess, if you've an average quality game, going the traditional way is better. Just like how the FOSS model only works for a select few companies.

      • Because they don't have enough money for marketing?

        Post the project on Kickstarter.

        ??? (wait)


    • by azalin ( 67640 )
      You still need someone to give you some money in advance to pay some bills. If your team works for shares or little money you might pull it off without a publisher / investor. The concept is rather unique though and I can't really tell whether or not it will work. It is a gamble. One thing that could really give it a kick-start would be a good mission editor, so you could use it to create your own movies and scripts. How many people have been (ab-)using game engines that were never created for such things t
      • Re:Publisher? (Score:4, Informative)

        by delinear ( 991444 ) on Thursday September 22, 2011 @05:02AM (#37477402)

        The concept is rather unique though and I can't really tell whether or not it will work. It is a gamble.

        Well, it's not that unique [wikipedia.org] :) - seriously though:

        The path through the levels is linear, similar to a rail shooter. Up to 60 pictures can be taken per visit to a course. After completing a course, the player selects their best picture of each Pokémon to be rated by Professor Oak and added to the Pokémon Report. Scoring takes into account various aspects of the pictures, such as the Pokémon's size, its pose, and keeping the Pokémon in frame. Extra points are awarded for capturing a "special" pose or Pokémon

        Substitute Pokémon Island for a warzone and Pokémon poses for battlefield atrocities and you're there or thereabouts.

        • by fph il quozientatore ( 971015 ) on Thursday September 22, 2011 @05:09AM (#37477426)

          Substitute [...] Pokémon poses for battlefield atrocities and you're there or thereabouts.

          I'd rather take the battlefield atrocities, thanks.

        • by azalin ( 67640 )
          Even if I had known about this, I would probably have pretended not to have ever heard about it. Rule 34 probably is active (or will be soon) too. Mmmh that might even be a more interesting game too.
        • by Macgrrl ( 762836 )

          If you want to say that taking photos in game has prior art, you might want to include Zelda: Wind Waker and Beyond Good and Evil as examples too.

          That said, I personally know Morgan who is mentioned in the article (we used to game together many many years ago), and the idea for the game originally came from a War Correspondent. Much of the 'game' is whether you take footage or choose to interact with your potential subjects. and what footage you choose to show. It's about the moral choices rather than the q

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      Just release it yourself, online!

      And get it digitally signed by the console maker how? Nintendo doesn't want to deal with first-time developers, and Sony's web site for signing up as a developer has been broken for five months now.

      • I don't know about this particular game, but if I understand correctly you have to develop for each console separately. Different hardware platforms. That's a lot of extra work for a small start-up game developer, or for an individual/group doing it in their spare time. Better start with the PC platform - if only because most people have one of those already.

        And the games market is definitely bigger than the consoles. If I were a beginning game maker I would target either the mobile phone market, or the de

        • if I understand correctly you have to develop for each console separately.

          Unless you make your game exclusive to one console. The market encourages this: Microsoft's "Xbox Live Indie Games" is the only console developer program open to the public.

          Better start with the PC platform

          Which doesn't work for all genres because people like CronoCloud appear to be under the impression that people are unwilling to plug in USB gamepads and play shared-screen co-op games on PCs [pineight.com]. He thinks shared screen is for consoles only and PC games should require a separate gaming PC per player, despite that TVs have PC inputs and deskt

      • How did 2DBoy get World Of Goo released on the WiiWare store then. Sure, it was already popular on the PC before getting to WiiWare, but it's still their first and only game. If they can do it, I'm sure others can. There's tons of games on WiiWare that I don't recognize the name of the "studio" that made the game. Mind you, it's not the free-for-all that XBox360 has (funny you just forgot to mention them), but I Think Nintendo wants to maintain a more "curated" shop, so that the good games don't get drow
        • How did 2DBoy get World Of Goo released on the WiiWare store then

          By convincing the owner of a Starbucks franchise to tell Nintendo a little fib, passing off the coffee shop as an office. As of the launch of the Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo has updated its developer qualifications page to try to close that loophole.

          • That sounds so very corporate of them. Someone works around their rules and provides a superior product. All they see is the "someone worked around their rules" part.

            The only consolation is that "works around the rules" may itself be an indicator of "capable of building superior products".

      • by Macgrrl ( 762836 )

        These guys [defiantdev.com] aren't first time developers.

  • So it is shooting! Shooting pictures and films :)

  • But I don't quite get the idea of the blood spat when you get shot. If you were a journalist, well, you'd be dead (like anybody else really), but for the sake of the game a mechanic where you black out for a bit of time and get a very different story from what would have happened if you were a conscious would have been a lot more interesting.

  • Very interesting, the underrated game Beyond Good And Evil involves creature photography as a fairly central gameplay element, and that bit is very good.
    • by Hatta ( 162192 )

      Beyond Good And Evil is an overrated game. It's a competent Zelda clone that gets way too much adulation because it has a female protagonist.

      • Zelda Clone? I'd like to here the explanation on that one.
        • by Hatta ( 162192 )

          Have you played a Zelda game? You travel from dungeon to dungeon, fighting enemies and scaling obstacles to find a key that opens the next dungeon at which point you repeat. From a game mechanic standpoint it's almost identical to a Zelda game.

  • Pokémon Snap (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    So it's like Pokémon Snap. Nothing innovative, move on.

  • by addie ( 470476 ) on Thursday September 22, 2011 @04:47AM (#37477328)

    Games generally need some kind of scoring mechanic to keep players playing. If this game moves ahead, then it would require a system that scores the report based on objective criteria - the only other option would be to have a gaming community score reports (but with a niche game, and a troll-ridden community, this seems unfeasible).

    So what gets the most points? Shooting video of soldiers fighting hard for their country? Or getting insider shots of blatant war crimes? Perhaps civilians cowering in fear, or mass graves? The kind of shots that a true war correspondent would want are not the kind that are suited to a game.

    A clever concept, but impossible to judge the success of the player to any meaningful degree. It's more likely to be a dialogue-driven story game, with bits of running around, making "moral" choices, and shooting video that's edited together for nothing more than the pleasure of the gamer. I applaud the originality, but I'm skeptical of its appeal.

    • A daring concept (but not new, hello, /., 22 comments and not a single one even mentioning nethack?), but as you identified, it will most likely get stale soon. It will probably end up being a hide-and-sneak game where you have to get to a certain spot so you can take a good picture and preferably before whatever you're supposed to "shoot" happens.

      Think CoD Sniper missions, just without guns.

      • Nethack is not an FPS, and it has shooting (arrows, ...). So its relevance to this article is almost none.

      • It could also reward reaction time, like other FPSs do: let's say an helicopter crashes near you, or an important guy gets hit unexpectedly; you need to be very fast to capture the moment. You could even apply Bullet Time mechanics.

    • If it was scored the way actual embedded journalist reports are evaluated, it would be about not capturing atrocities.

      • Maybe you can have two playable characters: The Mainstream News Journalist and The Underground News Journalist, and they have different storylines that intertwine at some points. It would add to the replay value.

    • If I was writing this game, I'd make it an open-worldish game like the STALKER series, and then reward the player for putting together a variety of footage.

      The question is how do you reward a photographer player? Better armor? Better equipment? A UAV-cam? Keeping the game from becoming boring might be a challenge.

    • I think you're right. As a TV photog myself, I don't know how you'd possibly attach a score to the edited footage. A lot of what we do involves editing technique, and trying to get a computer program to understand whether or not a piece is edited effectively would basically require you to inject a human-emulating AI into the thing. I know that The Movies tried to quantify editing, but it came down to "he used X clips and Y transitions. X+Y=Score," which might be fun for a kid, but to someone who understands

  • by Shihar ( 153932 ) on Thursday September 22, 2011 @04:58AM (#37477382)

    Publishers really are not the problem. Publishers have more to fear handing money over for a knock off FPS than this. Your COD low budget rip off isn't going to make any money. What publishers do have to fear for is game play. If the game play is solid, they are going to have absolutely no problem gathering up the cash. In fact, if there is good game play here, I think publishers will be clawing their eyes out to get their hands on this. Everyone wants a Portal or Minecraft.

    If this game doesn't get picked up, it is because it is not fun. You are free to wrap up a moral lesson on the value of journalism, war, or whatever, but if it is just a moral lesson wrapped with empty and dull game play, no one is going to play it.

    You can color me mildly skeptical of this game. They have spent a lot of time talking about the neat gimmick that is the setting and the protagonist's job. Nearly everyone agrees that the setting sounds interesting and unique. What I have not heard them say much about is how they are going to make the game fun. Am I going to be an idiot with a health bar chasing the Call of Duty guys as they tear up the street and mow down civilians? Is this going to look more like an on open world FPS RPG than a shooter on rails? Am I going to be scoring points for getting action shots of civilians getting shot and terrorist getting blown away, or am I sleuthing around and talking to people trying to find a story?

    Fun game play doesn't have to involve putting a bullet between someone's eyes, but I am pretty sure it has to involve more than chasing around the Call of Duty guys with a camera as they run through scripted battles. I'm not saying that this game isn't going to be fun, just that they have not shown what neat game play gimmick is going to go along with what everyone agrees is an interesting concept and setting.

    • by mgiuca ( 1040724 )

      I think the closest thing to compare it to might be The Movies [wikipedia.org] -- does anybody remember that game? It was basically the same thing as The Sims only you were on a film studio, and not only did you have to manage the actors pay and happiness and so on, you also had to write, direct and edit films. The writing and editing tools were fairly advanced and you could tell any story you wanted, add voice-overs, subtitles, special effects, everything. It was hours and hours of fun, except the game didn't actually car

  • by E.I.A ( 2303368 ) on Thursday September 22, 2011 @05:12AM (#37477438) Homepage Journal
    If they don't have an Easy Mode (embedded journalist mode) the games will be very quick; both sides will be shooting at you, and that makes writing very difficult.
  • by laejoh ( 648921 ) on Thursday September 22, 2011 @05:23AM (#37477488)
    OB: http://xkcd.com/569/ [xkcd.com]
  • The problem with most of these types of games where they have some sort of "message" is that they get all preachy with it and forget the fun. Games are ultimately about fun, everything else matters much less. So if they find a way to make their idea entertaining, then they'll probably find someone interested in publishing it. However if their objective is to send a message about war and/or journalism, then probably not.

    Games don't have to have violence or shooting to be popular. They do have to have fun tho

  • What about Pokémon Snap? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pok [wikipedia.org]émon_Snap I can imagine the tag-line: "War crimes! Gotta catch 'em all!"
    • Also, not the whole game, but in Bioshock 2(?) there was a research camera which rewarded you for capturing footage of the various enemies.
  • First Person Journalism - hasn't got a ring to it really.
  • prior art from 1997 (Score:4, Informative)

    by rgareus ( 1826384 ) on Thursday September 22, 2011 @05:54AM (#37477596) Homepage
    World Skin - a photo safari in the Land of War - an Interactive A/V Installation by renowned artist Maurice Benayoun [wikipedia.org] won the golden Nica award at the Ars Electonica Festival in 1997! It was presented in a 3D-Cave on 6 Screens using OpenGL on SGI workstations. quite a feat for that time.

    "World Skin" is a 3 person game. One driver, two photographers.

    "Armed with a camera, visitors are placed in a sinister war zone that is visualized on a large projection screen in 3D animation and video. By operating photo cameras visitors may take pictures of the war scenes and experience how the camera becomes a 'weapon' that enables them to wipe out the projected images. Only the outline of the taken picture is left as a silhouette in the projection. Visitors can take a print of the photos they shot with them." http://www.benayoun.com/projet.php?id=16 [benayoun.com]
  • by JohnnyBGod ( 1088549 ) on Thursday September 22, 2011 @06:25AM (#37477698)

    There really wasn't much shooting in Mirror's Edge, either. In fact, you can complete the game without shooting a single bullet, and that doesn't even increase the difficulty all that much.

    • Ditto Deus Ex Human Revolution. Aside from the crappy boss fights you can happily do the whole game without firing or even using non-lethal take downs and the stealth run through I did last week was a lot of fun. I guess this game is going to be similar, trying to get into places where you can score the scoop story without being seen. It's fun, but it's nothing amazingly new or unique (the journalist story is interesting, but I remember using stealth to get into position to record secret conversations years
    • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *

      Hard as it is to believe, it was supposedly even possible to complete Postal 2 [wikipedia.org] without killing a single person. Extremely difficult, but possible (though a lot less fun).

    • In fact, you can complete the game without shooting a single bullet, and that doesn't even increase the difficulty all that much.

      Oh some parts are A LOT harder. The fight going down the plaza stairs and the two final fight scenes (elevator lobby and server room) are REALLY freakin' hard without shooting.

      The hardest part of all to do without a gun is actually the PK warehouse, right after the elevator falls. Just getting onto the raised walkways without being shot to death on the way and killing the guy shooting you point-blank in the face is possibly the hardest part of getting through the game without shooting.

  • In corridor shooters such as Bad Company, the AI is atrocious and completely incapable of achieving anything. You are not the hero because you are so great but because everyone else is so crap.

    AI routinely is running into a corner and needs to be reset to catch up to you. Almost all games have issues like this. But that is okay, you are the hero in the lead taking all the lead so you don't notice the keystone cops behind you.

    BUT as games like Operation Flashpoint shows, when you have to rely on your own sid

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      Not always true. There were bots for Quake 3 that were absolutely spooky. they never got stuck and could make decisions to go a different route as well as adding some randomness to throw you off.

      The reaper bot was good, but several guys made modifications that would fool people into thinking they were players. One of the bots would actually rocket jump successfully.

      • by SendBot ( 29932 )

        I used to play Q3A with the handle "KillBot" and I had uncanny skill with the rail gun (I miss it, sniff). I could pluck people across the map while flying off one of those jump ramps, and people would CONSTANTLY ask me if I was a bot or an actual person.

  • So Modern Warfare meets Pokemon snap? That'll be... uh.... interesting.

    But you know, if they teamed up with Adobe or some other video editing software publisher, they might have something that can teach people about photography, videography, and editing. This could be used to generate professionals in these fields in a way that is faster and more effective.

    Video gaming can and should become more involved in such things, I think. Trick is, how to make some of the more mundane things more interesting. In

  • I want to escape into a world that I can affect. Impotence isn't a compelling fantasy.

  • I can't wait to not read about in PC Gamer.

  • You could still have a first person combat game without shooting. Just using swords, spears and other hand to hand weapons.
    You could also go more into fantasy than historical and have magic spells

  • MS seems pretty indie-friendly. I think Steam is too. Not sure about Sony.

    • Or, you know, just sell on one of the DRM-free places like GoG or Direct2Drive.

      • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *

        If you're going to do that you may as well post it directly to the Pirate Bay and just cut out the middle man.

        • It'll end up on TPB in either case, so why not sell it in a way that can beat TPB on convenience? Otherwise TPB will have the superior product.

          • Selling it on Steam would still make more sense for the sheer exposure that the game gets while it's in the "new releases" list (and in those popup ads after you quit a Steam game). Relatively few people use GoG or D2D compared to Steam.

  • Until someone developers a Speed Grapher [wikipedia.org] mod.

  • Pokemon Snap had a similar concept, minus the war setting of course...
  • They should see if Valve will pick it up.

    Portal is also a game where you don't shoot people, you solve puzzles with a gun that just happens to create portals. I was more interested in Portal than I was in the latest Half-Life excursion. At the end of the day, FPS' interest me because of the exploration of a full 3d environment, not because I am developing my skilzz with a fake gun.

    This game sounds just flat-out awesome.

  • One of the best games of the early 90s was Disney's Stunt Island [wikipedia.org]. You could either just play the game as a stunt pilot or better yet was the sandbox mode where you could set up stunts, perform and film them and then edit them with sound effects and music. It was an extremely creative game.
    I believe it's available as abandonware now: http://www.abandonia.com/en/games/287/Stunt+Island.html [abandonia.com]
  • by slyrat ( 1143997 )
    I could see this being a bit more interesting if they used it to have AI driven combat scenes that you photograph rather than scripted scenes. Or something like that, just so that going through a particular stage never means seeing the same thing over and over again. Though from how fps games have worked lately I have my doubts.
  • Yeah, and Quake was originally about a guy running around with a big hammer.

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