Brilliant Console Game Design: You Don't Understand Halo (volume one)

#1SigmaLongshotPosted 7/2/2014 11:45:29 AM
Leave your inhibitions at the door, for they will be tested and questioned numerous times in this thread!

Professionalism is literally defined as being paid for what you do. Nothing more, nothing less. Yet I personally think that investment in one's profession goes far beyond that, and so, in my personal profession, I sought, and still seek, a certain level of inherent knowledge in my field. So game design - especially from the artist's perspective - is always a massive deal to me. In my spare time I compile case studies, research level designs and indulge my curiosity into why a designer chose a specific item placement.

So with personal pleasantries out of the way, you'll know I'm not shooting from the hip - I have invested time and faith into my opinions.

Halo, for whatever reason, has gotten some foul stigma attached to it as being generic, basal, beige bread-and-butter gamer material. I'm here to tell you that this is a complete fallacy on many levels.

We all know Halo "revolutionised console shooters", blah-de-blah-de-bloob. Words are cheap and easy. Hence why you're on an internet forum, right? You keep hearing the same Halo-praise-phrases again and again, but I'm here to itemise and explain why Halo was, and still IS, such a massive innovation to the genre and to gaming en-masse.

So here we go - Brilliant Console Game Design: You Don't Understand Halo (Volume One)!

POINT ONE: MASTER CHIEF
Subpoint - The player is important to the world

Master Chief is, in Halo, the obvious saviour. Every other human is diminutive in stature, revere you at first sight and, at this point in time, you are the only one of your kind. Every NPC you meet is truly a boon to your ego and your legend - they talk of you and your exploits as if you are Hercules, as if you are Jesus - an invincible frame existing solely to save and aid those around him.

Sure, he's a faceless machine-man. But he is also completely unlike any of the other marines you encounter. He's huge. Part-robotic. You can believe that the enemies don't believe he's human - he doesn't freaking look human, does he?! He's definitely enough man to empathise with, empty enough to project upon, but alien enough to fear. And surely that's the perfect balance of legendary character, right?

Throughout the saga, I agree, too much "prophecy" is imposed on the player character, but as an avatar - unlike most FPS before Halo, you are by no means an everyman. You are not a man. You are a legend.
---
Double Jump Game Comics: http://doublejump.thecomicseries.com/
#2SigmaLongshot(Topic Creator)Posted 7/2/2014 11:45:55 AM
POINT TWO: THE CONTROLS
Subpoint - movement and action feels unique and innovative, unlike anything seen before.

Have you heard of "the trifecta of FPS input"? It didn't exist before Halo. Honestly, it didn't - console FPS were absolutely wide-open, a free-for-all of "let's try this, is it better than that?"

The first console trigger widely-available to the console market was the N64's controller, and that was initially seen as some kind of joke. The first popular FPS on consoles was Turok, which emulated the WASD control scheme (with the C-buttons being the WASD, and the analogue stick being the mouse). It worked, but console players weren't very used to this kind of input. Through a messy exchange of triggers, bumpers, buttons and sticks, the next eight years was like a console FPS-free-for-all, with everything from movement on the buttons to jumping on the triggers.

Then Halo came along. What did it bring? "The Trifecta". This refers to the equality in combat between three facets - firearm, grenade and physical attack (which Halo would soon rename "the melee").

The Xbox used one stick for movement and one for looking; a setup tried a few times before but never fully-realised. It effectively allowed the player to realise full 3D space using only two thumbs - nothing more. No holding a button to go to "looking mode" - nothing like that. Even FPS games on console before Halo required a special button to "start vetting" or to "look closer".

Because of the "trifecta" the firearm saw a nerf. It was a part of three, not the main player. You could shoot and nothing else... if you WANTED to, but you were limiting your options, there. You'd need to utilise your physical attacks AND grenades too, to be an effective force.

Instead of a special button to select features, or having to SELECT the grenade from a list, Halo instead - rather revolutionary in state - decided both the physical attack and the grenades should have their own buttons. This meant instantly accessing these features and making them less options, and more instinctive.

What you may not have realised is that in Halo, you can ultilise your gun, run, jump, sprint, dive, throw grenades, assassinate people, punch and sticky people... without ever having to move your fingers from the control sticks.

Yeah. That's the big deal.

---
Double Jump Game Comics: http://doublejump.thecomicseries.com/
#3SigmaLongshot(Topic Creator)Posted 7/2/2014 11:47:38 AM
Part Two coming super-soon. I hope you enjoyed it, lads and fe-lads.
---
Double Jump Game Comics: http://doublejump.thecomicseries.com/
#4MicrosoftLoverPosted 7/2/2014 11:48:04 AM
Halo 5 is going to rock!!!
#5LooksLikeRainPosted 7/2/2014 11:49:30 AM
Have I been missing out on the dive function all these years?!
---
Hatred outlives the hateful.
#6Xeeh_BitzPosted 7/2/2014 11:52:52 AM
LooksLikeRain posted...
Have I been missing out on the dive function all these years?!


Maybe, but then again, he got a lot of stuff wrong but whatever.

Dive!
---
3770K | 780 Ti x 2
Steam: Xeeh Origin: TurboPeasant
#7SigmaLongshot(Topic Creator)Posted 7/2/2014 11:56:06 AM
"No, you're wrong" is three words. But to make a genuine rebuttal with the potential for counter-points has an endless word-count.

Sadly, so many forum posters assume the former option is some kind of counter-argument.

Like hearing a song, a pouring of an artist's soul, then a person in the crowd saying, "nahhhhh, who agrees?"
---
Double Jump Game Comics: http://doublejump.thecomicseries.com/
#8AgentLockePosted 7/2/2014 11:57:56 AM
Nice read man, i agree. To this day i still think halo 2 had it down perfect. Games don't need to just keep adding more, they need to worry about Balance, The absolute key thing all MP games should strive for regardless of genre. Everything about 2 felt perfect, even the button glitches equaled a higher skill level, Bxb's are easy, bxr's were about medium on the skill scale while double shots were king and damn hard to master. Just everything about the game felt perfectly dialed in and balanced. Hell i bet 90% of the people here don't know about all the crouch jumps to key positions, things like this led to clutch moments in CTF and Oddball games. I'm not the best at putting what im trying to say into words, but halo 2 felt "perfect" to me for what it was. I've played every major shooter on every console since and NOTHING comes close to feeling as balanced. I feel bad for the haters, hate all you want. I just see it as "you just don't get it" Anyway, thanks for the read dude, looking forward to part 2.
---
Italy to win the cup for the 5th time! Let's go Azzurri!!!
#9LooksLikeRainPosted 7/2/2014 12:00:42 PM
Xeeh_Bitz posted...
LooksLikeRain posted...
Have I been missing out on the dive function all these years?!


Maybe, but then again, he got a lot of stuff wrong but whatever.

Dive!


Care to elaborate on what else is wrong?
---
Hatred outlives the hateful.
#10Miiri0Posted 7/2/2014 12:05:43 PM
MicrosoftLover posted...
Destiny is going to rock!!!


/fixed