- This topic has 9 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated 14 years, 5 months ago by Anonymous.
July 7, 2006 at 9:52 am #5441AnonymousInactive
I have just finished playing through Half Life 2:Episode 1. Thought it was great (although very short). I don’t want to ruin any part for those who haven’t played, but there was one section that I loved:
You’re stuck in a car park while waiting for a lift to arrive. There is no power, so you have to use your flashlight to spot enemies so you and Alyx could shoot them. Because your flashlight only has a certain amount of juice, you had to turn it off every so often to recharge, only to turn it on again to find yourself surrounded by head crabs, zombies, zombines etc. From the dark corners you can hear the scream of zombies running at you. It was a fantastic, nerve wracking experience.
Then I died. Over and over again. In the end, I was so frustrated, that I just planted myself in a corner and waited for them to arrive, ruining the tension. The repetition meant that I got bored of it, and just wanted out of it.
It just got me thinking – wouldn’t it be great if I just got through that section first time, with a tiny amount of health left. I would have come away thinking about what a great experience it was, and exhilarated from having got through by the skin of my teeth.
What do you think? Is it possible from a technical point of view? Does it make sense?
July 7, 2006 at 10:41 am #32485AnonymousInactive
Technically, sure its possible.
You could modify the damage done based on your health, end the sequence when your health its a certain level, lessen difficulty based on performance, etc…lots of different things. Trying to balance them out to make it so that everyone gets to enjoy the experience is the tricky bit.
July 7, 2006 at 11:49 am #32487AnonymousInactive
Well instead of choosing ‘easy/medium/hard’ at the start menu the game could automatically adjust these to take into account how well the player is doing, so if you’re losing a lot of health then bullets will start doing less damage but if you’re flying through a level then more enemies should start appearing or whatever.
The problem then is that players could feel like they’re not being rewarded for their actions, it’d seem like they get through the level no matter what they do. For me personally I prefer to have fun and take in the experience than just be set challenges so I’d be happy, but other people would see it differently.
July 7, 2006 at 12:38 pm #32488AnonymousInactive
Max Payne supposedly had something like that in there. However, as its all on the fly, its not something the player really knows about, which is good, but at the same time, if it was happening, i’d like to know about it.
To do it for the sequence in HL2, it sound like some scene specific balancing would be in order, make sure it last long enough to leave an impression, but not not long that you die.
July 7, 2006 at 1:13 pm #32490AnonymousInactive
They kind of had that in King Kong too which was a top game in my opinion, even if it was over all too quickly. I kept getting killed when i first met the velociraptors cos i didnt realise that standing still, pointing and shooting while screaming “Die m’f$%er Die” was a pointless option when armed with only a handgun and a bone! After 2 or 3 gos, they replaced the velociraptors with smaller easier dinosaurs. Then after i killed them i realised there was crevices for the player to duck into to avoid the faster dinos. :)
Theres an example i suppose of that sort of thing being used to make a game really enjoyable the whole way through instead of just fun but a challenge as well. Cos King Kong was fantastic while it lasted…
July 7, 2006 at 1:22 pm #32493AnonymousInactive
A guy I know is doing some interesting research regarding this – he has an artifically intelligent “director”, if you like, that examines the scene as the player plays, and tries to make it as interesting as possible depending on what the player is doing. Mad!
July 7, 2006 at 1:31 pm #32494AnonymousInactive
Thats an interesting area alright if youre into the AI side of games. A great area to be a part of in research since i think (dont know for sure now) is a relatively new approach rather than easy, medium or hard levels.
Is he researching in Ireland? I should have done a games related research masters!! oh well…
July 7, 2006 at 1:45 pm #32496AnonymousInactive
No, he’s over in Engerland at the minute. Just finishing writing up his Ph.d on the topic now.
Just thinking a bit more about this. Don’t great puzzle games provide you with these “just about” edge of the seat moments alot of the time, which is what kind of makes them so good. I can remember so many times on Meteos/Tetris where I’ve been pushed right to breaking point, only to pull it off just at the last moment. (Or maybe thats just my uber skillz ) :)
July 7, 2006 at 2:05 pm #32497AnonymousInactive
Or maybe thats just my uber skillz[/quote:a17d34d54a]
I think so! Ah tetris, i hate it, why did it become so popular, why??
July 7, 2006 at 6:24 pm #32500AnonymousInactive
Unreal Tournament was probably the first game to take this into account. It had an auto skill level which adjusted to how you played and changed the bots’ skill level to reflect your own. Max Payne also had a similar system.
And yes, I agree daymo, that kind of ending to the section would have been much more enjoyable. I find this especially true with end of level or end of game bosses. I remember Prince Of Persia having such endings, you had a marvelous sword fight / tricky section at the end of each game that really made you feel like you had accomplished something. This feeling, in my opinon anyway, is lost when the battle relies on repeated quick saves and loads with intermittent dying.
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