Right off the back of playing Dishonoured, I quickly installed and charged through 30 minutes of the game Syndicate. My idea is to gleam what made these games top rated in 2012.
Right away I noticed the mouse sensitivity on this game was set very high compared to the last FPS game controls and right away I was very ineffectual at survival.
One thing I will be studying is the mouse look behaviour of these two and ask myself why one was instantly playable for me and one was not. Dishonoured asked for the ambience to be chosen before I started playing, but I had to do this manually in Syndicate.
Some good things I took from Syndicate was that they had made use of light volumes in different ways and this might lead to a more refined kind of light volume in the Reloaded project. Another cool feature was the way the weapon ammo and storage was on the gun itself, and the gun had other neat touches like pressing against the body when up against a wall. The heat seeking HUD view to find enemies was also pretty useful and similar to the Dishonoured Dark Vision magic which does a similar thing.
Again I did not see advanced multi-shadow effects here, just basic light mapping, some good post processing of the final screen and a single point/directional light for dynamic lighting with a single shadow. I dare say this feature will recur as I play more games (my guess is this is to keep the game running as fast as possible on basic PC rigs=more sales).
I cut my gaming short as I wanted to install and play the second game of the weekend which was Fear 3. I have already been for-warned about keeping my expectations low, but truth be known I have not really played Fear 2 that much and I am sure it has plenty of things it could teach FPSC!
Fearful of Three
With advance warning given, I plumbed into the universe of Fear The Third. I installed and only gave it about 15 minutes as I did not want to get engrossed in the story, just a feel for the game mechanics.
Mouse sensitivity not as bad as Syndicate, but Dishonoured did it better so far, and the camera wobble is very pronounced in this one. The game play of collecting guns, shooting, hiding behind things I remember most from Fear Two and of course the single shadow rendering appeared once more.
I am pretty happy now that a single shadow (rather than 'everything' casts a shadow) will be fine as it fits in with the latest FPS games and provides us all with the performance we need. It is also clear that finding cover, triggering story moments in real-time, configurable player skills and/or weapon attributes are all part of the initial experience of a good FPS game. Enemies are not super intelegent, and are always triggered by the player crossing an invisible line in the level or story. Their basic behaviour is to hide behind and around things, pop up, take a pot shot, then back down (and yell to each other but not actually do anything substantially different). Almost all combat was close quarters in confined areas, so no need for complex path finding (you're usually fighting over a room or progress through the story). All games so far are massively staged in the single player campaigns, which might seem an obvious thing to say, but the FPSC product right now has almost no support for making story elements. The best we have right now are trigger zones, scripts and the ability to play huge video footage. I dare say I could develop a whole product just to create real-time cut scenes, but that's for another year. Right now it's about two things. How do we make Reloaded quick and easy to edit games, and what do we do to make Reloaded produce awesome game play experiences.
By continuing to (what looks like enjoying myself) play FPS games in the evening and weekends, my education about what makes great game is coming along nicely.