Monday, 29 November 2010

Mr. Game Developer - Hear my cries! - Part 1

In recent years with the massive expansion of the console market, PC gamers are feeling unloved and dejected by most game developers; no one ever seems to listen to us now it seems.

Save for a handful of developers and publishers, most make for console and port to PC. However, there are a couple of exceptions, I think Valve have got the right idea, listening to the communities that play their games and acting upon it. More developers need to do this! The gamers explain what needs to be there! And as a gamer, I'd like to lay an outline of what would be my ideal FPS - I hope all the developers out there have got a pen and paper at the ready!

Let's give it the 2nd World War period, as it's personally my favourite

I like a bit of realism when playing, something that's immersive and believable, and if you're basing it in a historical era, you need to get the atmosphere there. Do as you please if you're making a game on the moon, but if you're going to do it to a specific date, keep it crisp and definitive.

In this I mean, if you get hit in the nut with a sniper bullet, you're not going to get up. None of this ridiculous *ting* you hear when you get struck and lose a bit of life. But it's perfectly possible to implement this while keeping it balanced at the same time! Rather than giving the soldiers concrete skull physics; and making sniping as easy as peeling a banana. Make the soldiers helmets realistic, and make sniping more difficult! Now, a lot of you think "But sniping is easy" - Ever tried it yourself eh? A-ha! I knew it, you're all Armchair Athletes!

So, moving on from making snipers less "God Like", a similar effect should go across the board. Stick in some bullet drop! The number of times I've been shot across the map with an absolute pee-shooter of a gun is... well... let's say I don't have enough fingers and toes to count how many times it's happened! It's a joke! Make guns effective at ranges they were designed for, getting sniped with a pistol across a map? No chance, bye bye!

Now, getting to the nitty gritty gameplay. Give me a nice sized map, not necessarily a realistically sized one, I don't want to spend my evenings trekking across the whole of North Africa to find the enemy, only to get popped and have to run all the way back. But one that offers all sorts of conditions, long range, as well as close quarters; always good to get into the action up close and personal isn't it!

Cut out these kill streak things Call of Duty seem to have introduced too, it's too gimmicky, it makes it feel like a Power Up you get like in those old Arcade Game systems. A blast from the past maybe, but remember, this is my ideal shooter, so pipe down and listen you! There needs to be a balance between making it fun to play, keeping little unreal features in it, but without detracting too much from the overall time period.

A lot of people use the term "Realism" but I bet half of them don't know what it would truly entail in an FPS. The sort of level of realism I want is how guns behave, real reload times, and all their real sounds. What's with the generic gun sounds in so many games? I can tell you all from personal experience they sound different. But I don't want to have wounds, or have my gun jam, or get dud rounds; because that's just taking it too seriously, it must be a game, not a simulator.

I'd like a full arsenal of all the period weaponry too - But not these "prototypes" you see in modern games, if it was a prototype, I doubt it would be used that much, so why stick it in the game? Kit personalisation is a definite for me; if any of you have played Hidden and Dangerous 2, you know what I mean!
You have a weight limit, and a load-out limit
  • Number of grenades you want
  • Size of medkit you'd like to carry (If at all)
  • Number of rounds you want
  • Other tools - Binoculars/Wirecutters/Mines
  • Secondary weapon
This worked so well, because if you had a massive load out, your soldier dragged his backside along the battlefield and got nowhere, and you're a damn easy target. This is how it should be! Pick your load-out to what suits you. Some people may want to scrap a grenade for some extra ammunition, I know snipers would!

A ranking system wouldn't go amiss, but not one that favours hardcore players. Where's the fun in going to play a game online, to be limited with "Default Weapons" and getting your ass kicked by far superior kit other players are using because they've put more time in? Give rank based unlocks for some weapons and kit but don't make them vastly superior to what newer players have. Level the playing field a bit!
I could go into a huge amount of detail for what I'd like to see in unlock systems, but I'd be here all night and I'd get an angry call from my ISP complaining about my bandwidth useless. Yes. It would be that meaty!

So. Let's conclude shall we.

I'd like a game that isn't arcadey nor a simulator. Take the best bits from both, but leave out the empty additions. Make the equipment accurate, as well as the uniforms, the speech, the environment; it's all possible! Create a personalised load-out, cut the constraints and allow players to take what they want but make it effect their ability on the battlefield. And above all, make it fun and fair!

Next read Andy's views here

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