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

#31pblimp360Posted 7/3/2014 1:21:28 AM
Miiri0 posted...
MicrosoftLover posted...
Halo 5 is going to rock!!!


/fixed


/Properly fixed
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Death isn't the exit of existence. It's the entrance into eternity. R.I.P Zora Nelson 3/6/13 Forever loved
#32SigmaLongshot(Topic Creator)Posted 7/3/2014 1:22:03 AM
Spetsnaz420 posted...
So we're still pretending to work at ubisoft then?


Sure am, I'm getting good at it now. I even show up to the studio and do some vector/3D art, and at the end of the month they send me a pity-paycheque!
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Double Jump Game Comics: http://doublejump.thecomicseries.com/
#33pblimp360Posted 7/3/2014 1:29:04 AM
Spetsnaz420 posted...
So we're still pretending to work at ubisoft then?


Jealousy
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Death isn't the exit of existence. It's the entrance into eternity. R.I.P Zora Nelson 3/6/13 Forever loved
#34SigmaLongshot(Topic Creator)Posted 7/3/2014 8:38:07 AM
POINT FOUR: THE GAME UTILIZES NEW WEAPONRY ARCHETYPES IN A GAME THAT PIONEERS WEAPON LIMITATION
Subpoint - As well as all weapons having utilitarian usage, there are some brand new utilities previously unseen in FPS. By limiting the guns carried to two, every choice is a tough one.


Ever heard of "Chekhov's Rifle"? It's a tool used to judge whether a story or mechanic can be abridged or streamlined. Quite literally, the quote goes, "if in one scene, you show someone a rifle hanging on the wall, you'd better be damned sure someone gets shot with it later."

Same thing applies to videogame weaponry - nothing should exist if it's just fodder that's never going to get used. But this isn't such a big deal when you're a walking arsenal of pure death, carrying twenty firearms and a Panzer tank in your back pocket. You just use up all the ammo in one gun, then move onto the next. Not so in Halo.

Halo places more worth in your choice based on circumstance by limiting your guns to two. This means every gun you pick up was a conscious decision by you to commit to a strategy, a style, a class. It means there are really several different Master Chiefs - however you play him versus how anyone else does. If you pick up the sniper, it's because you want to be Sniper Class. The psychology of it isn't just the illusion of choice, but rather, true choice, and unlike, say, pre-match loadouts or levels where you choose your gear straight away, you are given the option to change the way your class in real-time.

Having an assailant attack you with a weapon that's the scissors to your paper, only to pull that rock out of your back pocket because you'd picked it up only moments before - it's a sense of true satisfaction for the player. Any action made by the player feels amplified when maximum choice and input was made by them, themselves.

But, rock-paper-scissors? What am I on about? Well, that's the utilitarian part I was referring to. You see, in some games it's pretty obvious which role certain guns play. Shotgun is for close-quarters, and so forth. In gaming, weapons are just your tools, and you need certain tools for certain scenarios. Only, in Halo, brand new classes of those tools were brought into play.

You know what a sniper rifle does from one game to the next, but what about a small green glowing pew-pew? That'll be the alien pistol, then. It'll work like a pistol. Only it doesn't - it's a dedicated shield-breaker. And the Needler? Well, try explaining "it's a gun that fires homing-glass that accumulate on the body and explode with exponential force once enough has accrued" to anyone that hasn't used a Needler.

Halo added not only added weight and significance to the player's choice of weaponry on the battlefield by limiting the number carried and allowing for spontaneous changes in the flow of combat, but invented brand new classes of weapon entirely. Of course, the significance of those new classes of weapons - notably the shield rippers - won't become entirely apparent until my next part.

Stay tuned!

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Double Jump Game Comics: http://doublejump.thecomicseries.com/
#35SigmaLongshot(Topic Creator)Posted 7/4/2014 5:29:18 AM(edited)
POINT FOUR: HALO PERFECTED THE DUAL-HEALTH SYSTEM
Subpoint - Halo merged the two popular FPS health conventions and utilized new ways to replenish and deplete it, too.


First-person shooting has always been one of the more visceral, exciting genres because, being first-person, the player feels invested in preserving his or her own life as opposed to another one-screen protagonist. Firearms are synonymous with quick death, a switch for mortality, the power of god over another being. Therefore the excitement the player gets is relative to how much, or how little, damage bullets do to them. The more risk, the more power, the more excitement.

But in games, it's not practical to have real-to-life one-hit-death bullets - not always. If a player walks into a room and dies in the first two seconds, that's hardly a satisfying game. If a player doesn't feel like he or she had enough of a chance to react (and then accept it was their own folly), that's poor design.

So, prior to Halo, you'd get one of two health types; Manual Replenishment (medkit) or Automatic Replenishment (recharging). Either your battles are a marathon, an exercise in attrition, requiring you to battle to your last breath or you pick up a health kit or turkey leg - or high-octane short-burst battles where your character recharges automatically between bouts of conflict. Both have strengths and weaknesses - the former is arguably more challenging, reminding you numerically of your own impending mortality, changing the pace of each successive battle by psychologically reminding you that time, life - all commodities are dwindling, and this may be your last stand. The latter, however, (does what in game design terminology refers to as) "defaults" the situation - this is when the designer knows every single player playing this specific moment in the game has the exact same amount of health, so any triggered event will be "fair". It also makes every battle an isolated event - if rechargeable health style is a series of strung-together battles, then manual-pickup health style is an ongoing war.

Halo decided it would merge the two. By having a shield that automatically recharges but a life bar requiring manual healing, you get the best of both worlds. By defaulting every scenario but also keeping the fear of mortality, even the slower-paced battles of Halo's world have a large degree of excitement to them.

Not only this, but some weapons are designed to disrupt the balance and keep you on your toes. Plasma pistols are designed to completely eliminate shields. Some weapons have counterparts, such as the Plasma Rifle and Assault Rifle, that do polarity-based damage - energy weapons do double the damage on shields, but bullet-based weapons do double the damage on flesh.

By having the two health bars, these two mechanics, it's like playing two games at once, but by including weaponry that affects both health and shield bars simultaneously and independently, it's ultimately more than a sum of both of those parts.

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Double Jump Game Comics: http://doublejump.thecomicseries.com/
#36f0rgePosted 7/4/2014 6:46:59 AM
This is a good read. Very well thought out and very well written.

Probably too smart for this board though.
#37SigmaLongshot(Topic Creator)Posted 7/4/2014 6:53:36 AM
f0rge posted...
This is a good read. Very well thought out and very well written.

Probably too smart for this board though.


Thanks mateybubbles. I appreciate that.
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Double Jump Game Comics: http://doublejump.thecomicseries.com/