Author Topic: I really think you need some way of keeping track of things behind objects  (Read 6728 times)

Offline Nick650

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As the title says, I'm really put off by the idea that you can't see crap when you stand behind a building, especially since you won't be able to see monsters or obstructions.

I'd love either an outline of yourself appearing or for the obstructing sprite to become translucent (preferably this) so you don't die a horrible death or frustrate yourself by getting stuck, due to the inability to see anything.

And also, walking all the way around a building is not a viable solution in my opinion because it's a massive waste of time and takes away from the immersion.


I'm obsessive about these things, and at the moment it's really annoying me that this may go unconsidered :P

Offline tigersfan

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Re: I really think you need some way of keeping track of things behind objects
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2011, 02:18:15 AM »
This is what x4000 said about this issue in another thread:
Quote
Honestly I haven't had a lot of trouble with getting lost, because you can always just throw off a fireball to clear most things in your way, or at least to send up sparks showing where you are, etc.  There's also just simply not a reason to go behind buildings in most cases, as nothing of value will be seeded back there in the long term.  It's like running through a dark alley if you want to -- it can be a shortcut, but it can be dangerous, too.  You can always just go around.
I think, beyond that, it's really hard to say much about this issue until we actually get a chance to play the game.

Offline KingIsaacLinksr

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Re: I really think you need some way of keeping track of things behind objects
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2011, 02:21:32 AM »
This is pre-alpha, I wouldn't let anything bother you till BETA in all honesty. 

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Offline Nick650

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Re: I really think you need some way of keeping track of things behind objects
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2011, 03:29:01 AM »
Yeah tigersfan, I've read that but I don't think coming up with workarounds such as spamming spells is appropriate... and I'm only mentioning this because of what x4000 said there. I don't want him to think of it as a closed case.

Offline tigersfan

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Re: I really think you need some way of keeping track of things behind objects
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2011, 03:45:49 AM »
I wouldn't worry about it too much yet. It may not be all that bad. But, you can't really say until you play it. If it IS an issue, and enough people think so, I have zero doubt that he and Keith will come up with some method to figure it out, but, people will need to play it first.

Offline Echo35

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Re: I really think you need some way of keeping track of things behind objects
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2011, 09:48:44 AM »
I wouldn't worry about it too much yet. It may not be all that bad. But, you can't really say until you play it. If it IS an issue, and enough people think so, I have zero doubt that he and Keith will come up with some method to figure it out, but, people will need to play it first.

I can't think of any past cases where, when enough people suggested something, it WASN'T put into the game. I'm sure if it's a problem, it'll be addressed, though I am with you. I hate when I can't see where I am or have a hard time orienting myself in a game.

Offline Otagan

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Re: I really think you need some way of keeping track of things behind objects
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2011, 01:04:31 PM »
I thought that was kind of the point.  You go out and get a little lost, and can't always see what's nearby due to heavy tree cover.
...

Offline Zhaine

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Re: I really think you need some way of keeping track of things behind objects
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2011, 01:43:11 PM »
This is pre-alpha, I wouldn't let anything bother you till BETA in all honesty. 

King

This, but looking at it now I also think it will be pretty likely that I'll be on the 'transparency behind buildings' when this does get to the playable stage. . .

Offline RooksBailey

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Re: I really think you need some way of keeping track of things behind objects
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2011, 05:47:53 PM »
I'm gonna wait and see, too.  

That fireball quote has me a little concerned, though (but just a bit as this is, again, pre-alpha).  I hope magic isn't treated as so routine that you can just throw fireballs at everything in your path.  I would like to see magic as something that has to be carefully husbanded.  I would rather have to shoot arrows or something at a shadow because to do so with magic would leave me without a spell for x minutes.  I really don't want this game to turn into a A Valley With Harry Potter.  :D

Offline x4000

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About Magic
Magic is the most routine thing in the game, as much as a melee attack -- you can indeed throw fireballs at everything.  I'd say that magic here is easier than in Harry Potter, actually.  It's like using the boomerang in Zelda, or something like that.  Magic is easily just as central a part of this world as it is in Harry Potter, and it's something every human character in the game is at least moderately proficient at.

That said, there are degrees of magic.  The most powerful stuff... has to be way more carefully husbanded than in most games. It's hard to get at all, and then it's hard to recharge it once you do use it, if it's not outright limited-use.  These sort of ultimate spells aren't something you can spam, and aren't something that you'll want to waste when you have them.

Anyway, RooksBailey, sorry to disappoint but magic is the most central and prevalent thing about this game.  You can shoot arrows as well if you like, of course.  Physical and Magic are the two main branches of attacks.  But magic is also used for a whole host of stuff other than attacks, unlike physical weapons.

About Seeing Yourself Behind Stuff
The comment about throwing off a fireball was sort of a flippant comment, but it's true in a literal sense.  If you absolutely don't know  where you are, you can cast some magic and see what you see.

That said, becoming unseen behind buildings and other objects is a part of gameplay, not something that is unexpected to us.  In a 2D game, there are limited opportunities to provide a sense of unease and like you are unable to see your surroudings.  In a 3D game, there can be foliage or whatever to your sides, and there is the simple case of enemies being behind and above or below you, out of your line of vision.  In a 2D game, you have no line of vision in that sense.

Well, the line of vision that is created here is front/top on, actually.  You go behind an object, and it obscures you and whatever else is back there behind it.  This is... new.  It creates a bit of tension when you go into a dense cluster of trees, or into the claustrophobic space between a bunch of buildings.  You can't see what's in there until it leaps out at you, if it's going to.

You're also not required to go in there.  You can blow up trees, if that's what it is, or avoid heavily-treed areas entirely, if you want.  As with dark alleyways in NYC, you don't have to go down them.  It's perfectly fine to go right around, and in some cases safer.  Don't give me the "waste of time" argument -- it takes all of four or five seconds to go around a building in this game, eh? ;) 

I should also note that it's extremely hard to get stuck on an obstacle, because as you walk it slides you around them -- this makes walking through even really dense forests quite easy to do, and isn't something seen in most other games (though we got the idea from a smaller feature of Zelda 1).

I think the worry here is that you'll get lost on the screen.  "Oh noes?  Where'd I go?"  I jest, but I understand the worry -- I had wondered if that would be the case, too, and implemented the current system as sort of a "let's see how this works."  And you know what?  I don't think I've ever lost track of myself.  Sometimes I've gotten caught by a monster behind a building, but that's where the fireball approach comes in.  You can also hit tab to cycle through targets, so if you're paranoid about lurking targets that's one way to avoid them.  Of course, if you're being chased by one target, firing at it, and another leaps out at you... ;)

In short, as many folks in this thread note, I wouldn't borrow trouble before you've tried it.  We're going into public alpha and beta for a reason, because we want testing feedback, but so far for myself, Keith, my wife, and his wife, none of us seem to have ever felt lost.  It's kind of like touch typing, you don't need to see your hands to know where your fingers are, anyway.  Unlike a strategy game, you are not meant to look at the screen of an adventure game and be able to just pick out everything on it from a surface view.  You have to move around and explore, destroy things and look in things, prod things to see if they bite...

It's a balance between clarity and immersion.  In the Silent Hill games, for instance, the best ones had terrible, clunky controls.  This was no accident.  It made your character feel weak and slow, and by extension upped the terror factor.  On paper it might sound like that would decrease the immersion factor, but in practice for thousands of players who love the classics from that series, the effect was just the opposite.  When later Silent Hill games made you into some sort of action hero military dude who could execute on all your fighting thoughts at a moment's notice, something was very much lost for those games, and they were not nearly as popular.  AVWW doesn't have clunky controls or anything, that's not my point, but what it does have is a disconnect between what your character could nominally see, and what you can see.  In some senses you can see much more than your character, in others, you can see less.  So far it works quite well, but it's one of those things you have to play -- not watch -- to really get.

If we absolutely had to, I could make a way for the character and enemy images to automatically create borders around themselves that would show up behind buildings.  I've thought about it more, and it is definitely technically possible, and something that can be done at runtime so that it doesn't require any more artwork load for me.  At best, it would probably be an optional-on feature, though, as I think it would detract from the aesthetic and the mood, as well as increasing graphical load by a low-moderate amount.

That said, I think that feels like an RTS game, not like an adventure game.  You need that there because your dudes run around without you a lot of the time, and you have a lot of dudes.  Where did you even put them all?  In an adventure game... you only have one character, and if you are confused where they are or which one they are, all you have to do is press an arrow key or an ability key.  Voila!  Your character moves into view, or does some action that gives away their position. 

You can go completely behind buildings in FF6 even, but it was never a problem there -- if you get sucked into a random encounter in that game while you're behind something, you might be quite lost when you come out a bit later, but simply moving reveals you.  In AVWW, there isn't even the disconnected nature of being sucked into battles and then regurgitated onto the area map a while later.


Bottom line: as Echo35 mentioned, we listen to testing feedback, so even if you disagree with the above about seeing yourself behind buildings, don't get too freaked out.  We'll see what people think when more folks have it in hand, but honestly it hasn't been at all a concern with our very earliest pre-alpha testers, and I don't think it will bother you in practice (aside from the way it is supposed to bother you, in terms of making it feel dangerous to get closed in).  A technical solution is possible for those who just absolutely hate this, if there are those sorts of folks in the end, but I insist that at least in alpha people try it this way first.  Never know until you try something, right?  Creating mood in a 2D game is surprisingly hard to do, and this has been an unexpectedly pleasurable tool in the arsenal for this game; I'm reluctant to discard it unless it causes wider problems, which so far I haven't seen evidence of.  We'll work it out, one way or another -- deep breaths. ;)
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Offline Nalgas

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Well, the line of vision that is created here is front/top on, actually.  You go behind an object, and it obscures you and whatever else is back there behind it.  This is... new.

Well, sort of.  It's been done plenty before, but usually on a limited scale and mostly for hidden/secret stuff.  I think the reason it's usually been on a limited scale, though, is that it can be frustrating/annoying, depending on the situation.  Now that it's technically feasible, games tend to make objects between your character and the camera translucent or transparent to avoid that, which I usually approve highly of.  I'll wait until I see how it works in AVWW before making any judgments one way or another, though, because it's not that I think that it can't work, more that I can understand why some people are a little worried after seeing some attempts fail to make it work in some other games.  If you can pull it off and make it feel "right", though, super.

It's a balance between clarity and immersion.  In the Silent Hill games, for instance, the best ones had terrible, clunky controls.  This was no accident.  It made your character feel weak and slow, and by extension upped the terror factor.  On paper it might sound like that would decrease the immersion factor, but in practice for thousands of players who love the classics from that series, the effect was just the opposite.  When later Silent Hill games made you into some sort of action hero military dude who could execute on all your fighting thoughts at a moment's notice, something was very much lost for those games, and they were not nearly as popular.

To be fair, I haven't played any of the Silent Hill games and can't directly comment on them, but people have made the same claim about the Resident Evil games, which I do have some experience with.  My experience with them tells me that it makes them awful and unplayable and completely sucks all the fun out of them.  It did not make me feel afraid; it made me feel angry.  I'm all in favor of having the character in the game like that be terrible at fighting so you have to fear enemies and avoid them and run for your life, but I feel like there are better ways of accomplishing that than making your character handle like a tank.  Even the Wii version of RE4 made me somewhat cranky (not anywhere near as much so as the earlier games, but still enough that I never finished it).  Apparently someone likes them, though.  Heh.

Offline x4000

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Fair enough on the perspective thing -- I can definitely appreciate that.

Regarding Resident Evil... I really think that stands apart from SH.  I feel pretty much the same as you about RE, as do a lot of people apparently.  I didn't even make it quite all the way through RE4 out of frustration.  That said, I still go back to SH2 every so often, because the controls aren't bad... they're just not... immediate, I guess is the word.  You turn slowly, you hit slowly, it's hard to aim your weapons with huge precision, that sort of thing.  But you aren't getting locked camera angles like in RE1 or anything like that.  SH2 still stands out as one of the pinnacles of gaming, for me (for more on this, The Escapist had a great Zero Punctuation about it).
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Offline Nalgas

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I still go back to SH2 every so often, because the controls aren't bad... they're just not... immediate, I guess is the word.  You turn slowly, you hit slowly, it's hard to aim your weapons with huge precision, that sort of thing.  But you aren't getting locked camera angles like in RE1 or anything like that.  SH2 still stands out as one of the pinnacles of gaming, for me (for more on this, The Escapist had a great Zero Punctuation about it).

See, that sounds more like the right way to do it to me, too.  Maybe I should see if it runs well in PCSX2 (hooray for having a fast CPU), because this is something like the 800th time I've heard how great it is from someone whose taste in games I largely agree with.

Offline x4000

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It's definitely worth a go, however you can approach it.
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Offline zebramatt

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Do I need to have played SH1 to enjoy the sequel?