« Player’s Footprints… | Main | What games & soft drinks have in common? »

09/13/2009

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a01157194da6b970b0120a56ae26c970b

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Far Cry 2 – The Dark Side of Improvisational Play:

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Nice post. In my personal experience with Far Cry 2, I was always one to, for example, head to an arms dealer and switch out my weapons before embarking on a mission. As such, I almost never ran into the gun-jam problem.

Similarly, after purchasing the camo-suit and silenced weapons, I found I could almost eliminate the wounding problems as well (almost) by staying back, picking off soldiers one by one, and by regaining health at arms dealers between any skirmishes. Being a stealth player, it seems, kind of eliminates the improvisational aspect of the game (to an extent). I'm not complaining, but it is interesting to ponder upon.

Prep a mission through weapon and supply check, and recon the mission objective's location and potential threat should have get most of the uncertainty out of the way, and that is including the road patrols and studying the pattern of behaviour of tangos on the location.

This is a really interesting twist on something I've noticed as well; the signal to noise ratio when communicating any complex (second order) game system. I've not yet played FC2 and from the sounds of it, it has a tendency to work at a fairly high cognitive level which, from the sounds of it, makes it a microcosm for the analysis of this concept. The player metrics for this game must be pretty fascinating to look at! How was this functionality intended to be communicated to the player Jonathan if you don't mind me asking?

It seems that the threshold for when signal (the way a system explains itself or is explained by the designer through a given process) becomes too noisy to be clearly understood (the ratio becomes unacceptably unbalanced and requires the player to either reject the system or continue using it with a much higher error rate) is something we often tend to base on insider knowledge - our familiarity with the system from its inception. It also sounds like this becomes a much more pronounced usability problem when the system concerned isn't directly user facing, but is instead a second order event (a property of a user facing object).

To the first two comments I simply want to specify something. It is true that uncertainty can be significantly reduced through clever long distance play or good use of stealth upgrades but it will not get rid of it. There's always a ratio for the gun to jam anyway and even if a given fight goes as plan, you might have less ammo than predicted or something like that and you will have to change your mid level plan. It is more and more obvious as you crank the difficulty level up but it is still there at normal. It is unlikely to happen, but never the less possible.

Martin: We intended to teach the system by altering the weapon's shaders and make them rustier as its reliability goes down. We also have a pretty bad text tutorial early in the game, the kind that most players pass pretty fast without reading everything. Everything is there, but it wasn’t good enough. In the end when managed properly, the system is not too much of a challenge but it does alter the way you plan where you go when and that was the interesting part for the level design. This renders navigation choices meaningful which is good for the open world structure. Unfortunately it was not properly explained and it was also a bit tedious for some players. It is pretty fun for me to play it at higher difficulty level and feel the impact on my mid level game. But it is definitely implemented in a very hardcore way which I am guilty to love but clearly isn't the best way to go. We now know better for the future :).

The 'Improvisational gameplay' as you put it was not a problem for me at all - I thought it was excellent, and it added to the immersion. The problem with FC2 was that there were so many things that broke the immersion and nearly ruined the game; for example - the respawning guards at the checkpoints.

Benjamin: I am not saying improvisational play is a problem. It was simply poorly supported because so many players didn't fully understand the possibilities and the mistakes they were doing. For them it was like a musician who improvised without any comprehension of the notes he uses. Your example of the checkpoints is an immersion breaker for you as a player (and probably 80% of players out there) but it is equally problematic to not understand why your gun jammed and what you did wrong.

There are many problem in Far Cry 2 as there are in most game. Lack of AI persistence is one of them and lack of system understanding is another. Several systems and rules are better off unexplained in games, but there were quite a few systems/rules in Far Cry 2 that should have been clearer...

Jon

The main disappointment for me in Far Cry 2 was some missing functionality which was clearly supposed to be there but doesn't work, like using the flare gun to attract guard patrols.

Having said that, Far Cry 2…What a great game! Any plans for a sequel or expansion? Or maybe a proper SDK?

J.Santo - You know I cannot answer those questions :). It's true that Flares had bigger plans and we didn't manage to make them happen. The one flare idea I wish would have made it is the reinforcement system.

The idea was to first of all have AI uses some kind of launch platform to throw flares in the air which would alert reinforcement troops in the field. If the player managed to prevent AI from going there they would had prevented the call. Also, we wanted to have two flare types (one per faction)making it possible to use your flare gun to call enemies from the opposite faction which would have caused some cool fights out there.

That was one of those thing we lacked the time to make. Far Cry 2 was a massive game and they were quite a few things like that...

Jon

Understood Jon—thanks for clearing that up! Far Cry 2 was one of the most memorable gaming experiences I've had. The AI, the animation and the also the graphics engine and sound were all fabulous. I am looking forward to whatever comes next!

J

The comments to this entry are closed.

March 2010

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31      

DESIGN WORK

MEANINGFUL GAMES I DID

PLACES OF INTEREST

WHAT I'M PLAYING

IPHONE GAMING

  • Galaxy on Fire 2
  • Dofus: Battles
  • Kard Combat
  • Absolute Instant
  • Zynga Poker
  • City Ville
  • Papa Sangre
  • Tiny Wings
  • Rocket Bunnies
  • PvNvZvP
  • Feed Me Oil
  • Drop Chicken
  • Sentinel 3
  • AoD Defense
  • Slice It!
  • Nano Panda
  • Polar Puzzles
  • World of Goo
  • Mr.Ninja