Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A More Immersive Experience



There are a lot of features that can be added to make Dust 514 more immersive. This blog will outline changes and additions that can improve The immersion of Dust. Gameplay takes priority, but keep in mind immersion is the whole point of first person perspective. When games are 'experienced' instead of being played, they have the opportunity to become much more than just entertainment. EVE's 'I Was There' campaign is almost entirely based on remembering interactions that felt real, and at the core, that's all immersion is.



[Out of battle]

  • Merc Bio: It would add to the roleplay element to be able to write our own short biographies for others to see since it could be our way of sharing our character's story, and act like a mercenary resume.
  • Message from Employer: In the war barge, a message from your employer would really reinforce the feeling that we are mercenaries hired by someone. It can just be standardized messages that depends on the contract accepted. There is also the possibility of voice messages from EVE players when they're the ones who hire us.

As another tool to give us the ability to let us choose our experiences while still allowing us to feel like mercenary corporations, we've gone on at length about how game modes could be used to separate different types of contracts. Early Dust lore is full of individuals like Muryia Mordu scrolling through available contracts to find work. The Open Beta screenshot below shows the female protaganist navigating selections. Having our CEOs and  Drirectors manipulate through lists of available types of jobs would be a great tool to make us feel more a part of New Eden. NPC corporations and PVE have the ability to supply us with an endless supply of contracts available. Down the line, player created contracts and the ability for corps to accept different sides of a contract [one hired to protect a facility for example, the other to capture it] will bring this full circle. Dust is about specialization, and allowing us to choose what kind of mercenary group we want to be is a form of customization. Different contract types also give the game the much needed variety it needs. Perhaps our corp augments attacking forces, maybe we specialize in escort, capturing installations, guarding convoys or even protecting VIPs. More contracts could include extracting personnel from hot zones, VIP rescue, assassinations, hiring out for orbital attacks and even corporate theft and sabotage. The possibilities are endless.


[Movement]

  • Wobbling HUD: When we run, our helmets move a bit from the inertia, & this should cause the HUD to wiggle a bit as a result of the movement. This actually use to be in Dust, & for some reason it got removed. Bring it back please.
  • Vaulting, Sliding, etc: More real world movement options besides walk, run, & jump for mercs would really help make us feel more in the game. Battlefield 3 is a good example of this, players can vault over certain obstacles as they could in real life. The movement in Dust needs improvement and adding some aspects of a game with great movement is a good start. 
  • Prone: Prone gets a bad rap for being the tool of snipers & campers when it has many tactical aspects. Like better use of cover, lowering your target profile and better stability that results in more accuracy. Its negative aspects can easily be eliminated by slowing down the animation. This will make getting into prone and rising from prone useless in a firefight.

[Effects]

  • Weapons fire, explosions lighting effects: On some maps there are parts permanently on fire, & those parts have a lighting effect that brighten & shine on nearby objects. The forge gun charging also has that effect, it brightens the the objects around it. ALL gunfire, explosions, & turret fire should have this effect, we're shooting burning hot plasma, lasers, etc. Even the conventional Minmatar SMG & HMG have muzzle flash. Our weapons fire should emit more light than a simple fire. Not only would this be a realistic & immersive, but it would add a level of tactics to darker maps since firing without thinking could alert your location to others. Could look like this:

  • Nova knife burning edge: Nova knives have burning plasma edges, but they don't look like that at all. When slashing, the nova knives should have a burning glow effect similar to the concept art to make them really feel like dangerous plasma edged blades.

  • Explosion shake: Explosions including grenades should have make the ground shake; simulated through screen shake like this:

[Kills, deaths, rebirth]

  • Killed by a headshot: Sensors & cameras are located in helmet, so when one is killed by headshot, the sensors & cameras should be damaged. Should result in distorted vision & noticeable cracks on the HUD while laying on the ground. Good for immersion, but also would be a good way to find out that you died from a headshot. The distortion could look like this, plus some cracks:

  • Get a kill with headshot: It should make a distinct sound specific to headshots. That sound would be the noise of the helmet equipment being destroyed. The game does need a headshot notification noise.
  • Camera should stay with corpse: When I get killed (mortally wounded) from a high location & my body falls down, my point of view remains where I died. Makes it really jarring when I get revived, & my point of view suddenly becomes where my body fell too; feels like I just teleported which can be confusing. Please don't freeze the POV of the player during death, let the POV travel with my body.
  • Sky spawn: Drop uplinks are wormhole tech, & CRUs store respawn clones, so it makes sense how mercs can just show up there. For ground base spawns & spawns on objectives, there is no explanation for how we appear. Instead of magically appearing on bases & objectives, we should be dropped down into battle from the sky. Could be explained with cloaked NPC drone dropships. Would me make more sense, & be much more immersive than just magically appearing in the battlefield. This would also provide more options and variety to spawn locations and bring the practice of spawn camping to an overdue end.

[Animations]
  • Default melee animation: With most guns, it looks like you're elbowing instead of hitting someone with the gun. I find that it looks kind of silly. Its a minor detail, but it could use some work. The melee animation needs to look like you're actually smacking someone with the gun model.
  • Gun animation while firing: Light weapons other than the laser rifle should rattle back and forward when you fire them. The force of the shots ejecting the gun should push the gun back against the user. It does so already with the AR (and maybe some other guns), but its barely noticeable. It needs to be increased.
  • Vehicle entering, seat switching, and exiting animations: Not only would be more immersive, but would make use of vehicles more balanced since those in vehicles won't be able to instantly switch seats to dodge shots and exploit the enter & exit mechanics in combat. FPS has been hampered by these 'instant' vehicle mechanic for much too long. Players can enter and exit tanks via wormhole apparently, as they instantly materialize inside & outside the behemoths at will. The same goes for dropships and LAVs. If players want to be able to exit vehicles with speed make them pay for it the New Eden way. With ISK and SP. Enable an ejection seat skill and module. Otherwise, give drivers and pilots a much longer animation to enter & exit vehicles which will improve gameplay and force players to exit early or 'go down with the ship'.

  • Reloading: This one is really important for gameplay. For the assault rifle (and maybe other weapons) the reloading animation is not synchronized properly with the reloading completion; this makes the reloading animation very misleading, and cause new players to constantly cancel their reloading accidentally. This should obviously be fixed, but the game should track and resume your reload progress to resume from where you left off if it gets cancelled. If you remove the magazine and cancel reloading, then you shouldn't have to remove the magazine again when you start reloading again. Similarly, when you put in the new magazine but get interrupted, you should resume from where you left off in the reloading progress.


[Models]

  • Legs: It really breaks immersion to look down & not be able to see your own legs.

  • Logistic's arm computer: Its not well fitted on the arm of the logistics suit.
  •  Arm computer: The image is static while performing hacks, it looks like random spots on the screen. The image needs to change while hacking, & there should be a touch keyboard for the mercs to tap.


[End game]

  • MCC destruction: When the MCC is destroyed, don't end the game yet. Let us see the MCC fall, skid through the ground lifting up dirt, & explode while we're still in first person during gameplay as part of the scenery. The MCC crashing down should kill players, installations, and vehicles caught in its way. This spectacle would really make players feel like we are a part of the scene since we really would be. It could look something like this:

As always, we'll continue to attempt to help promote and publish ideas that help establish, enhance and grow the Dust 514 community as much as we can. Have any ideas that need sharing? Would you like to join our staff as a writer? Be sure to contact us at magww@live.com

21 comments:

  1. righteous piece! send this to CCP.

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  2. would luv 2 c the MCC fall and explode. the first FF footage showed it frm 1st person.

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  3. Great suggestions +1

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  4. we really need diff contract types. if i have to play 1 more game of skirmish 2.0 i might scream!!!

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  5. Gah! I had a long post that took me about twenty minutes to writes, but my internet died when I was about to post it.

    I'll come back later.

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    1. Alright, I'm back. I shortened my post this time.

      You seem to want to sacrifice gameplay for presentation KAGE. Don't get me wrong, Dust does have presentation issues and, at it's current state, it will often turn off potential players of the game. Presentation is after all the first impression.

      Get a kill with headshot: Just so we're clear, you want the cracks and ugly static to appear only when you've been killed right? I would hate it if it happens while I'm still walking around.

      Explosion shake: I find this obnoxious and disorienting. I found that the shaking camera was overdone Killzone.

      Wobbling HUD: A lot of people get motion sick with this. I'm not one of these people, but this is often a critique people give games that have it. It's not that big of a deal to not have it.

      Prone: Campers and dropshotters make me QQ. And I find them in every FPSs I ever played.

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    2. Isnt camping more of a mentality? The only way to combat it is to provide incentives for mobility or assets [like orbital strikes] that punish people who stay in one area. How would you dropshot if both the getting prone and rising animations were slow?

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    3. I am not a camper myself, but camping is a legitimate strategy. I have no problem with others doing it.

      I like a lot of these ideas, but I would not want them if they took too much memory or whatever. As long as that is not an issue, it would be great to see some of them added. I am thinking about the idea of having every gun produce a light source. I could see that taking up too much memory.

      The reload issue is probably the most important here to me. I would not want the reload to be able to stop half way and then start shooting. I think we shouldn't be able to fire until the reload is done, except with Shotgun of course. Any magazine loaded weapon should require the magazine being completely in place though. I would like to see a hand come up and just finish jamming in the magazine after the interruption though. Starting over is strange.

      One thing I would like to see, which is never in any FPS, is that if you reload without emptying a magazine then you should lose the rest of the bullets that were in the magazine you throw out. That would be great for immersion. People might not reload after just popping off a few shots.

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    4. @MAG Worldwide

      I've yet to see a game where a slow in stance animation was properly slowed down. Hell, in MAG, you can go from standing in prone without ever appearing to crouch if you are quick enough. Or they'd slide across the screen while crouching meanwhile on their TV, they're sprinting.

      Prone results in broken gameplay.

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    5. thats dumb dude. bf3 was broken? bf3 gameplay and movement makes dust look silly. say u dont like prone but dont generalize.

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    6. Cpt, that only means developers havent had incentive or were too lasy to implement it properly, not that prone itself is an exploit. CCP has done a great job changing many dated FPS aspects. we think they can handle slowing it down to make it useless in combat.

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  6. @Reg
    Note: I'm talking about prone and in BF3 (and CoD) you can hide inside in dead bodies and shoot people. This wouldn't be a problem in Dust because dead bodies disintegrate almost immediately after they bleed out. However, it still doesn't prevent campers. It's been a while since I played BF3, but I'm pretty sure the game also has wonky change stance animation if done fast enough. I could be wrong.

    @MAG Worldwide
    If the majority of developers can't/won't do it then why should CCP? I'd rather have the game work fine then potentially break the game for something so small.

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    1. thats easy. because CCP isnt like the majority of developers. they take chances and break the mold. isnt that why we're all here? for the persistence, the never seen before console/pc link and the consequences like finite gear? many gravitated to Dust because they are tired of the same game in a different package. most played MAG because it did something different and play Dust for the same reasons. because it was the total opposite of what most developers would do.

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    2. You're forgetting that "prone" is not a new feature in games. I actually like or wouldn't mind most of the stuff on this list. Adding prone isn't innovative , it's a small design choice.

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  7. very little of whats actually in Dust is new. but they have innovated from the way most FPS developers do things. finite gear, an economy, persistence, marketplace, chat windows, the merc quarters, third person areas. adding prone certainly isnt new. preventing dropshotting and dolphin diving on the other hand is. we'd argue its a core feature and its a mistake to leave it out, but only CCP can decide if they want to include it.

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