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sonicsidewinder
23rd Sep 2010, 22:35
Seeing as the new DE is diverting a little from the total imersion factor of old, I thought peeps might like to converse on some of their other favourite games; specifically ones that 'immerse' you within the game world and the character you 'be'. Ones that keep you so close to the focus that you can't question you are 'there'.

I'm interested to see the variaty in those of interest.

I just had a quick spell with the "Amnesia: The Dark Decent" demo...and damn...

rubiomhs
23rd Sep 2010, 22:50
swat 3 and to some extent swat 4. the major reason being plausibility. the first level in swat 3 only had 2 people in it and was set in a modest suburban home. nothing fancy and ridiculous. just a completely realistic and believable representation of a typical swat response scenario. the halo tards might find this mundane since they don't get to see explosions on screen every 5 seconds.

from my experience, the most imaginative and original games have been games similar to swat. it takes a lot more imagination to create something realistic, because one has to constantly judge whether or not certain events or actions are possible in a given situation in the development process. with rubbish like halo, just throw in hordes of poorly designed alien creatures and awful looking metal suits, and then give the player a bunch of generic flamethrowers and laser rifles.

so yeah, very immersive.

singularity
23rd Sep 2010, 22:53
Not really sure about this... the same as how I'm not quite understanding the whole "immersion" arguement on the boards to begin with. I felt just as immersed playing Max Payne (third person shooter with long cutscenes) and Metal Gear Solid (third-person stealther with REALLY long cutscenes) as I did playing Chronicles of Riddick (first person stealther/ shooter with few cutscenes) and Morrowind (first person, sand-box RPG with no cutscenes). For me, immersion is all about how well you develop the characters and tell the story. Things like first person, third person, cutscenes, no cutscenes and even "plausability" can alter the mood, change the way you tell the story and ultimately change the way the game is played... but it has nothing to do with "immersion" as far as I'm concerned.

Games that I thought did an especially good job? I'll probably catch a lot of flak for this, as neither of them are really stellar games in my book (or anyone's, really), but when people ask me about immersion, I always point them to Halo: ODST and, more recently, Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days.
ODST (the night-time segments) combined audio and visual with game-play and story in a manner that left me in awe. I would stay up for hours on end to play -- the soft Jaz tunes, mystery-steeped story and stunning vistas of a futuristic city left abandoned in a hurry, admist the back drop of rainy skies and fiery horrizons... I felt as if I had to find my team. I had to know what happened in New Mombassa, and needed to stay quiet and move slow to keep alive, because I was out numbered and completely alone in a world that teetered on apocalypse. Game was only a 7.5 out of 10. Immersion was an 11.

Kane and Lynch 2... I felt like it never let me come up for air -- the story is dark, the game is dark, the characters are dark and even the humor is dark... You always feel like you are running against the clock, like there is no hope for either character (or their loved ones) and that the odds are always stacked against you. It sucked me in, and not just because of it's "shaky cam" visuals (although it didn't hurt), but because of the mood it was able to create. Pure nihilism. Very few games can pull that off. game was a 6 out of 10 (short ass game, some control issues, MP wasn't too shabby). Immersion was a 10 for me.

Playing Arma 2 and Rogue Spear brought back memories of my time in the Army... highly plausable and filled with first-person tension. They didn't suck me in in. Play a mission or two... enjoy it. Leave it be for a week. Come back, play another misison, rinse and repeat. No story. Not a single character I gave a rat's-ass about or cared if they made it home. Nothing but a heartless, dry-run simulator. Fun, for sure. Immersive? Not even a little.

AxiomaticBadger
23rd Sep 2010, 23:34
My three biggest would have to be Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines and Mass Effect 1 & 2. There's just so much effort put into the backround and npcs, all those little details which mean nothing for the gameplay but conjure the impression that the game takes place in a real world, where there are things that simply have nothing to do with you and the npcs are people with thier own lives and goals.
So many games simply make an environment for you to play in and leave it at that, but there's always the nagging feeling that each obstacle you face has been put there as part of a puzzle, not because it belongs there.

H.D.Case
23rd Sep 2010, 23:37
Minesweeper.
Damn mines :( I seriously felt like that! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHY8NKj3RKs

Decard
24th Sep 2010, 00:03
Penumbra:Overture and Penumbra:Black Plague


/thread

pringlepower
24th Sep 2010, 00:21
Right now I'm playing Batman: Arkham Asylum, and that game, despite being 3rd person and featuring takedown cutscenes (reminds you of another game?). Anyways, with the ridiculous amount of love and detail they put into that game, it's definitely immersive. You feel like Batman, fighting the real Joker, the real Harley Quinn, in the real Arkham Asylum, etc. etc.

And the patient interviews, character bios, riddler challenges only make it better.

AlexOfSpades
24th Sep 2010, 00:23
Oh, you taffers.

Heh.

OwlSolar
24th Sep 2010, 00:46
Batman: Arkham Asylum

Oh heck yes. Everyone's always complaining about third-person and takedowns, but if there's a game that shows it can be done well, it's this one.

Uncharted 2 is my contribution. I don't care if it has cover, takedowns, third-person, cinematic cutscenes or whatever, that game pulled me in.

Dead-Eye
24th Sep 2010, 02:15
Vampire: Bloodlines felt fairly immerse. It grabbed me in and made me think I was a real vampire living the life of a vampire, until you hit a game stopping bug or major balance issue of course.

hem dazon 90
24th Sep 2010, 02:19
Halo: Reach and ODST was pretty immersive for recent examples.

For an older example I'd say the first System Shock

TrickyVein
24th Sep 2010, 02:23
Seeing as the new DE is diverting a little from the total imersion factor of old, I thought peeps might like to converse on some of their other favourite games; specifically ones that 'immerse' you within the game world and the character you 'be'.

It's a facet of my personality to immerse myself in all sorts of fiction, not just games, and I do it often enough that I can *almost* guarantee that DX:HR will be as immersive as any other - for me at least. Self-consciously, pretentious fashion sense and game design will probably kill that, however. The links with japanese-influenced media is a real bummer. Did I say I loathe all things Anime, or Manga, or whatever it's called?

I was on a Lara Croft binge for a while. I know, 3rd person, cutscenes, you're like, "WTF?" but I WAS lady Croft for like, two months this past summer.

...and I'm still playing fallout 2 + 3.

jtr7
24th Sep 2010, 02:29
Oh heck yes. Everyone's always complaining about third-person and takedowns, but if there's a game that shows it can be done well, it's this one.

How do you know? Watching a movie is not the same as being the one making the decisions and triggering things at your own pace. The movie can be spectacular in and of itself and disruptive gameplay. I still want to know if the gameworld pauses during the takedown, since it takes the camera out of the player's control it seems, and there may be something going on in the background needing the player's attention once the animation gets done playing and give s control back to the player. I missed it if this was officially covered already.

tartarus_sauce
24th Sep 2010, 03:09
Contrary to some people here, I don't equate immersion to "you are there" or total commitment to first person ala Half-Life or Mirror's Edge. In my experience, immersion is more about losing yourself in a game, and that can happen whether you're playing the latest FPS game or if you're playing chess.

One game that comes to mind for me is Max Payne. Even though it was a third person game, which changes of perspective/time that would be highly disrputive to what we might call the "narrow immersion" concept of constant perspective, it was still highly immersive; the changes of time and perspective were consistent with the overall aesthetic of the game, which meant they weren't actually disruptive. This is why I have absolutely no problem with the third person switches in the new Deus Ex: they look to be consistent with the overall concept for the game.

pringlepower
24th Sep 2010, 03:12
How do you know? Watching a movie is not the same as being the one making the decisions and triggering things at your own pace. The movie can be spectacular in and of itself and disruptive gameplay. I still want to know if the gameworld pauses during the takedown, since it takes the camera out of the player's control it seems, and there may be something going on in the background needing the player's attention once the animation gets done playing and give s control back to the player. I missed it if this was officially covered already.

Maybe he knows because he's played the game? Trust me, play the game and you'll see how smooth it is.

Batman: AA takedowns are immersive because they feel right in context. First of all the game is strictly third-person unlike DXHR, so takedowns feel a lot more natural (although EM's done a good job to make sure the camera pans and zooms smoothly for takedowns, imo anyway). Secondly they don't replace the melee combat in the game (which is a very fun and brutal beat-em-up). Takedowns are solely used for stealth. For example if you're in a room full of thugs with assault rifles on patrol (which can kill Batman in about 3 bursts), punching a guy in the face would create a lot of noise. Takedowns involve sneaking up behind them, then silently choking them or knocking them unconcious. There's also the inverted takedown (which must be unlocked through XP), in which you drop from a ledge and knock them out, which is completely badass and hilarious. They just make sense in the context of Batman: he's supposed to be stealthy, and a total badass, and it's stuff he always does the comics.

And they definitely don't take you out of the game experience. They're really short, max 3 seconds, and if you really suck at stealth and another guard sees you while performing a takedown, you get shot in the face.

What truly makes Batman AA immersive though, is the sheer detail care that the developer put into the game. You can tell that they are huge Batman fans, and that it's a labour of love. There's so much extra content that you can play for hours and hours. They studied the comics, they got the settings just right, the weapons feel right, the combat is brutal and visceral. They even got the voice actors from the cartoon series in to do VOs. It feels like you're Batman.

beastrn
24th Sep 2010, 03:36
ITT: People that have never been immersed in a video game.

Penumbra/Vampire some good selections. I'll add Thief, and Thief 3's Cradle level to the list.

OwlSolar
24th Sep 2010, 03:43
How do you know? Watching a movie is not the same as being the one making the decisions and triggering things at your own pace. The movie can be spectacular in and of itself and disruptive gameplay. I still want to know if the gameworld pauses during the takedown, since it takes the camera out of the player's control it seems, and there may be something going on in the background needing the player's attention once the animation gets done playing and give s control back to the player. I missed it if this was officially covered already.

Because I was immersed in it, genius. :nut:
If your question was directed at Uncharted, then no, it is not paused during a takedown or a fistfight. On the other hand, you have control of the camera during takedowns in that game.

Of course, there’s apparently no melee combat in Human Revolution, although the only reason that bothers me is that it means you can’t lightsaber anyone to death.

Kodaemon
24th Sep 2010, 04:40
I am baffled that two people already mentioned Max Payne - sure, the game had a great atmosphere, but it was way too meta and wink-wink-nudge-nudge for me to take it seriously. I can't feel I'm the character when everything constantly reminds me: "tee hee, you're in an over-the-top neo-noir video game!"

NKD
24th Sep 2010, 04:45
I am baffled that two people already mentioned Max Payne - sure, the game had a great atmosphere, but it was way too meta and wink-wink-nudge-nudge for me to take it seriously. I can't feel I'm the character when everything constantly reminds me: "tee hee, you're in an over-the-top neo-noir video game!"

That's the funny thing about immersion. Too often we like to treat it like there's some checklist you can go down to see if your game has it, but really you've just got to experience it, and that means different things to different people.

pringlepower
24th Sep 2010, 04:49
That's the funny thing about immersion. Too often we like to treat it like there's some checklist you can go down to see if your game has it, but really you've just got to experience it, and that means different things to different people.

The surrealistic dream sequences and the "mirrors are more fun than television" stuff made you feel like Max Payne - going bat**** insane.

Pinky_Powers
24th Sep 2010, 04:50
The Half-Life series. I don't know how they do it, but you really feel like Gordon Freeman, like you're the "one free man" and you're saving the world. It's just wonderful. :D

singularity
24th Sep 2010, 05:05
Just have to second (and third) the nods that Batman AA and Mass Effect 1 and 2 are getting. I have to agree -- 3 third person games that just allowed me to not only believe in the (over-the-top, completely unbelievable) world it created, but lose myself in that world (and never want to to come back). I'm not even a Batman or huge Bioware fan... they were that good.

And Max Payne will always be on my list. The atmosphere was great, but so was the story telling. The "wink wink" factor was there, and at times annoying, definitely, but I don't know if I've ever felt so invested in a video game character the same way I was Max -- especially in the second title. Never have I wanted a happy ending more (and I hate happy endings), and never have I wanted a character to BE happy more so than Max Payne... Same point I made with Kane and Lynch (only that one was a little less "gamey" and a little more nihilistic)... it pulls you into a dark place, where you can connect with the flawed protagonist(s)... you want them to win. When they don't, or when the ending turns bittersweet, it's just that much more powerful.

I think that a lot of first person games these days have the odds stacked against them in this regard. It's hard to be invested or feel anything for someone without a face, without a name and with minimal back-story. If the end of Halo 3 had turned into a tragedy, I would have mourned the loss of Cortana much more than I would have the Chief. When the playable Marine dies in nuclear fire half-way through modern warfare, I didn't care... does this guy have a family? Does he have any friends? For all I know he's a serial rapist who likes to torture animals. I don't even know his name. A lot of first person games, from RPGs, to pure shooters are forgetting that, although gameplay is very important, a story can get you a long way, and the key to good stories is good characters...

It doesn't matter how well the games made me feel like I was a super soldier, an elite marine or the wrong guy in the right place... if they had a name, a voice, a face, a story, a family, flaws, needs... I would have "felt" a lot more.

Props to Half Life and Chronicles of Riddick for breaking the mold and being 2 first person games that managed to still pull me in and have me invested in the characters (especially Gordan Freeman... how the hell a silent protagonist who you never see is able to get me invested in his problems, I'll never know. Valve did something very right...)

Kodaemon
24th Sep 2010, 05:10
Worked for me in HL1, didn't work in HL2, mostly because Gordon's muteness really started bothering me, with all the one-sided "conversations". Also it doesn't work within the setting: here you are, thrust some years into an unfamiliar future, and you can't even stop and ask anyone what's going on, and having to rely on newspaper scraps and bits and pieces characters sometimes throw at you.

tartarus_sauce
24th Sep 2010, 05:22
"DE is diverting a little from the total imersion factor of old..."

I'm not sure what you're even referring to with this. If you're commenting on the ridiculous amounts of rage directed at the perspective shifts, well are they any more absurd than Gordon Freeman's muteness and lack of legs or JC's cutscenes? All games are contrivances and negotiate the problem immersion differently. And as I've already said, immersion isn't so simplistic as a matter of perspective- plenty of third person games have been immersive. I can think of half a dozen games off the top of my head that have been pretty immersive while sliding between third person/first person.

rokstrombo
24th Sep 2010, 05:22
I still want to know if the gameworld pauses during the takedown, since it takes the camera out of the player's control it seems, and there may be something going on in the background needing the player's attention once the animation gets done playing and give s control back to the player. I missed it if this was officially covered already.

The game world doesn't pause during the takedowns. In the E3 demo, Adam was being shot as he used the claymore augmentation.

singularity
24th Sep 2010, 05:27
Worked for me in HL1, didn't work in HL2, mostly because Gordon's muteness really started bothering me, with all the one-sided "conversations". Also it doesn't work within the setting: here you are, thrust some years into an unfamiliar future, and you can't even stop and ask anyone what's going on, and having to rely on newspaper scraps and bits and pieces characters sometimes throw at you.

Yeah -- I can see that. It worked better for HL1 because of the solitude inherent in the setting. But it kind of went back to the whole "it doesn't have to be very plausable to be immersive" thing. I mean, obviously -- if it were you or me, we would sit down with someone on that train to City 17 and get 60% of it figured out in the first 20 minutes. But because you have to... stumble around... with Gordan's muteness, you're really sort of stuck with him in an intimate way. It's like you're trapped in a mystery, rummaging through newspaper scraps, eavsdropping on conversations, looking for clues as to where you are and why you are here. It forces you to explore the world in a manner that you wouldn't be able to do if Gordan could interrogate people Morrowind style -- which allows for a sense of discovery and immersion that I think a lot of games are lacking. You don't get to "talk" about it... you're forced to experience it, for better or for worse.

Just my 2 cents on the matter, of course. At the end of the day, something that "pulls me in" might be laughable and mood-breaking to you, and vice versa. NKD made a great point in stating its really rather subjective.

Pinky_Powers
24th Sep 2010, 05:35
I still want to know if the gameworld pauses during the takedown, since it takes the camera out of the player's control it seems, and there may be something going on in the background needing the player's attention once the animation gets done playing and give s control back to the player. I missed it if this was officially covered already.

In the leaked footage, you could see bullets flying at Adam DURING his Claymore scene. The camera slows and spins about him, and fiery lead is zipping by.

Because it was a series of actions - shot-out skylight, fall, land with Icarus Stunner Aug, get up and trigger Claymore - it took enough time in-game that the guards outside of his Stun-range were already firing at him.

-~::Edit::~-
Damn you rokstrombo, you got there before me! ;)

jtr7
24th Sep 2010, 05:35
Because I was immersed in it, genius. :nut:
If your question was directed at Uncharted, then no, it is not paused during a takedown or a fistfight. On the other hand, you have control of the camera during takedowns in that game.

Of course, there’s apparently no melee combat in Human Revolution, although the only reason that bothers me is that it means you can’t lightsaber anyone to death.

Uncharted didn't factor into my comment. :nut:
But thanks for giving the example of the camera control.


EDIT: Holy crap, I've got a horrible Internet connection right now.:mad2:

Since I don't get into the thick of action or play games that are primarily shooters for various reasons, I wouldn't know what was happening if it wasn't pointed out, while I'm focused on Adam and the ring of AIs attacking him, and lots of lights and particles are flitting in and out. I now remember a mention of Adam getting shot at during the takedown. So the player-reward has a price in that, while the animation is playing out all action-hero cinematic-like, the world has its way with Adam until control is given back.

OwlSolar
24th Sep 2010, 05:47
Yeah, that worries me too. I have no issue with takedowns, but if they're in third person, I'd prefer to be able to look around.


"DE is diverting a little from the total imersion factor of old..."

I'm not sure what you're even referring to with this. If you're commenting on the ridiculous amounts of rage directed at the perspective shifts, well are they any more absurd than Gordon Freeman's muteness and lack of legs or JC's cutscenes? All games are contrivances and negotiate the problem immersion differently. And as I've already said, immersion isn't so simplistic as a matter of perspective- plenty of third person games have been immersive. I can think of half a dozen games off the top of my head that have been pretty immersive while sliding between third person/first person.

I think he means that it's immersive in a different way, not that it's less immersive.

Ilves
24th Sep 2010, 05:59
Mentioned it on these boards before but I'll say it again: Azrael's Tear (http://www.forceforgood.co.uk/reviewpage.php?selected=10) has been one of the most engaging gaming experiences I've ever had. Well written characters, really top notch voice acting come to think of it, and the way the gameworld & story was structured had you slowly descending literally and figuratively into madness... Brilliant!

If you have some spare hours and a tolerance for fugly 1995 graphics and looping midis, do pick this up. I believe it's officially abandonware.

Unstoppable
24th Sep 2010, 06:04
Deus Ex, Thief: Deadly Shadows, Thief: The Metal Age, World of Warcraft, Mass Effect 1 and 2, Dragonage: Origins.

Kodaemon
24th Sep 2010, 06:06
Absolutely agreed. Azrael's Tear is such a gem...

Dead-Eye
24th Sep 2010, 06:08
Yeah. What I'm getting from this thread is that a game doesn't need to be good to be immersive. Immersion just sorta happens.

Pinky_Powers
24th Sep 2010, 06:14
Yeah. What I'm getting from this thread is that a game doesn't need to be good to be immersive. Immersion just sorta happens.

I think the presentation needs to be excellent for a game to be immersive to a large corss-section of gamers. If the atmosphere is rich and the story and characters are gripping, then even if it's gimmicky or clichéd it can still immerse you. It almost doesn't matter what the story is, if it's told well.

Senka
24th Sep 2010, 07:52
Penumbra:Overture and Penumbra:Black Plague

<3 ! Don't forget Amnesia: The Dark Decent also by Frictional games. STALKER, mass effect also immersing.
http://store.frictionalgames.com/

minecraft *BANG*

xaduha
24th Sep 2010, 08:13
Dark and decent? :nut:

Caramela
24th Sep 2010, 09:39
Except Deus ex, I also found Hitman and CoD 1 to be very immersive.

Fluffis
24th Sep 2010, 10:16
In the leaked footage, you could see bullets flying at Adam DURING his Claymore scene. The camera slows and spins about him, and fiery lead is zipping by.


I was thinking about the phrase I highlighted there (I'm at work, so I can't check right now): Do any of those bullets actually hit Adam during that scene? Because if they don't, it could just as well have been paused, quite honestly.

Facebyface
24th Sep 2010, 10:47
Half-Life 2 is a game that really made the short time it took fly by because I did really feel like everything flowed as it should and not a second was contrived. Deus Ex did a lot to try and reach that, but with the extensive talk of augmentations and the constant deaths it became hard to keep my mind in that it wasn't just a game. Hopefully this one can now change my mind since I have a foot in the universe.

Sabretooth1
24th Sep 2010, 10:50
I just had a quick spell with the "Amnesia: The Dark Decent" demo...and damn...

I bought this a week ago, one hell of a scary game. I don't know how far the demo goes, but the prison is one hell of a pants-****ter

Pinky_Powers
24th Sep 2010, 11:04
I was thinking about the phrase I highlighted there (I'm at work, so I can't check right now): Do any of those bullets actually hit Adam during that scene? Because if they don't, it could just as well have been paused, quite honestly.

It's a thought, and I hope you're wrong. :hmm:

lithos
24th Sep 2010, 12:22
Far Cry 2 - the minimalism really helps, although Ubisoft's trademark lack of ideas does show through.

Mirror's Edge. Complete player control, breathtaking design.

Deus Ex, but of course.

Planescape: Torment.

Fallout series, including 3.

Baldur's Gate: Shadows of Amn. The outdated combat systems for these iso RPG's grates a bit, though.

The original Rainbow 6. Goddamnit, but opening a door has never been so nerve-wracking. On the other hand, if you spent enough time pre-planning the mission, you could just sit back and let your team take care of everything.

Half-Life 1 & 2.

Goldeneye 007 and Perfect Dark (thanks for ruining Rare, Microsoft, you arseholes.)

Tetris.

sonicsidewinder
24th Sep 2010, 12:22
I think this shows there to be two types of immersion.

1) immersion in the character
2) immersion in the story
(or both)

I've been playing Call of Cthulhu, and while the controlls are a little twitchy, the Lovecraftian tale has me like a fish on a hook.

Fluffis
24th Sep 2010, 13:46
It's a thought, and I hope you're wrong. :hmm:

You and me both, Pinky.

AlexOfSpades
24th Sep 2010, 15:41
Nice one, Lithos.

Tetris was fantastic.

I shaked every time a block fell. It was real.

The blocks.

Were raining.

Coyotegrey
24th Sep 2010, 15:52
On the subject of immersion...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfOUhwhdUV0

Pinky_Powers
24th Sep 2010, 16:38
^... You are going to pay for making me watch that dancing jackass at the end. I wanted him to stop so badly. :(

Mindmute
24th Sep 2010, 16:53
Why was the kid crying at 1:52? O.o

Irate_Iguana
24th Sep 2010, 17:25
On the subject of immersion...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfOUhwhdUV0

Is it wrong that I can tell the games they are playing just by sound?

IOOI
24th Sep 2010, 18:14
These are some of the games that are very Immersive to me:

Fallout 2

Fallout 2 immersion keepers:

big interactive world filled with locations to explore and people to talk with;
Karma and reputation - the way others respond to your actions;
learning things from books or people (increasing skills and learning combat moves);
little things like: day and night cycle; being able to rest to recover/heal; being affected by other dangers like radiation and poison and having a proper way to deal with them.


Fallout 2 immersion breakers:

Right now there's none, not even in combat since I've accepted the turn-based rules.



Half-Life series

Half-Life 2 immersion keepers:

constant FP view - being able to move and interact with the gameworld during convos;;
lots of physics objects;
art style;
atmosphere;
NPC expressions;


Half-Life 2 immersion breakers (after the 30th playthrough. LoL):

not being able to control some combine technology (vehicles, sniper rifle, computers) but being able to control the rest (mounted gun, binoculars).
party-members not fully complying with your commands/orders (I like them and I understand their purpose in the world but sometimes they get in your way making you lose time and health);
linearity and heavy reliance on scripted scenes (again after the 30th playthrough).


Notes:
-Invisible body or lack of ADS are not an immersion breaker to me but it can be to some people.


DX1

DX1 immersion keepers:

FP view (allows me to see the world through the character's eyes and to be closer to the action. I like what this game is trying to achieve - the characteristics of the game are closer to one of an interactive First-Person simulator).
big areas to explore;
high levels of interaction;
lots of physics objects;
attemp on realism - i.e: a variety of door types and locks
eavesdropping;
NPCs to talk with;
NPCs that have different opinions on a subject even if part of the same faction.
NPCs responding to some of your actions;
having newspapers and books to read.
explore as you like - having the possibility/freedom to explore without needing the consent of other NPCs.


DX1 immersion breakers:

forced convos - that leave you in uncomfortable situations like surrounded by enemies or activated in awkward situations like when you're trying to hide inside a vent;


Notes:
-I didn't mind TP Convos in DX - but I did mind that they were activated without my consent - and accessing the inventory since I see these as moments of "relieve" (?) from the mains action where I can take my time to organize myself and think better about my actions.
-I didn't die as often nor did I reload as much because in my first play through I followed the stealth way and when I needed to fight someone I would do it the stealth way - up-close and personnal from behind with the electric prod or from far away and hidden using tranq. darts or a scoped gun.
-Aiming is not an immersion breaker since I accept the stats-based rule. Nevertheless it could've been improved.

--------------------------------
FINAL TAKE:
In the case of HR, automatically switching between views (ladder climbing, takedowns and some augs) without the player's consent is an Immersion breaker to me because it failed to follow its precedent (DX1) in terms of design and so it was *not expected* - the main action should've continued in First-Person.
If this was a new game with a different name there wouldn't be a problem whatsoever.

I'm currently playing Fallout 2 and while Fallout 3 follows a different design philosophy and has changed the players POV I will play that game without expectations since I'm not a fan nor am I used to play turn-based games.

I generally tend to like games that allow me to see the world through the characters eyes because it allows me to be closer to the action (I want that sense of being there even with sensorial limitation provided by FP).
What I'm looking for are FPS games with big worlds filled with interactive components and lots of physics objects above the standard shooter, where player agency is important - of course everything related to story is still important. I see a DX game as one of these.

I'm still trying to understand if the Leaders behind HR dev team really wanted to convey a cinematic experience from the beggining of the development or if it was all because of time, budget and personnel constraints. Nevertheless I'll have to cut them some slack since DX1 is a difficult game to follow and besides that they are not the original team behind the project and have little experience on making RPGs.

I'm still waiting for a DX game or spiritual successor that follows and improves what DX1 was trying to achieve.

Pinky_Powers
24th Sep 2010, 18:28
I'm still waiting for a DX game or spiritual successor that follows and improves what DX1 was trying to achieve.

Me too.

For a while there, I thought Fallout 3 was that game. At the beginning it gave me an experience I recognized as something I had not felt since Deus Ex. But in no time at all that sense was gone, as the world held nothing that interested me. I didn't care about anyone or anything, and even when I tried, there was just no emotional connection.

But the gameplay and interactivity was absolutely stellar, and even better than Deus Ex in some cases.

Tecman
24th Sep 2010, 19:03
This thread reminded me of something. Being a reader of RPS, I really enjoyed this piece (click the link to actually watch the video) (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2010/08/02/hyper-realism-and-the-new-immersion-paradigm/) about immersion:


“Cliff Blezinski, bless his heart, has no idea what it means to run across a battlefield underneath machinegun fire.” This is very true.

Ubisoft’s Clint Hocking once again demonstrates the pulsating mega-brain that will hopefully soon result in a game that isn’t a weird Far Cry sequel, in this rather special Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab talk. It’s from last October, but seems no less relevant for it. Discussed: war movies, hockey fights, Gears of War, Duke Nukem breaking the fourth wall without breaking immersion, how online functionality can augment immersion, and blurring the line between real and fake.

Tverdyj
24th Sep 2010, 19:57
I wrote this yesterday, but apparently, it didn't get posted.

the most immersive games I've played were Bloodlines (surprisingly enough, lol)

and my current favorite game of all time, the Witcher.
I read all the books, in Russian, and I've been playing the Enhanced Edition, also in Russian. dunno, if that has anything to do with it, maybe the Russian localization was just pure awesome, but the game feels RIGHT. it's as if I can relate to almsot every issue in the game. Nothing really sounds forced, the dialog flows, and the world feels alive, I feel like I am Geralt, and my decisions MATTER.

beastrn
25th Sep 2010, 01:04
On the subject of immersion...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfOUhwhdUV0

Not immersion.

nomotog
25th Sep 2010, 04:14
On the subject of immersion...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfOUhwhdUV0

That is the gamer equivalent of "sexface".

Marses
25th Sep 2010, 04:57
Mass Effect

Pretentious Old Man.
25th Sep 2010, 13:23
I appreciate that different people had different taste, but my, Mass Effect? It's not the third person that ruins ME's immersion for me, it's the godawfully linear environments. True, the same could be said of Half-Life, but HL was just so damn awesome at disguising its linearity that it didn't seem much of a problem.

I have two main criteria which instantly flag-up non-immersion, neither of which are to do with Camera Placement:

1.) Cutscenes. Seriously, I cannot articulate how much of a problem these are. They are a reminder that you've done what the game developer wanted you (or expected you) to do, and not what YOU wanted to do. Sure, at the beginning or end of a level, I love a good cutscene to drive things on, but the middle is a massive big no-no.

2.) Linearity. I can feel immersed in the disembodied camera of a Total War game, whereas I cannot feel immersed in the first-person camera of CoD. Why? Because in the Total War game, even though the camera is totally unrealistic, I AM THE ONE MAKING THE DECISIONS. In the CoD game, I AM NOT MAKING THE DECISIONS, I'M JUST GOING THROUGH THE MOTIONS WITH X AMOUNT OF SKILL. This distinction is important. Deus Ex was not immersive because of head bob, it was immersive because if you tried to shoot out Maggie Chow's windows in desperation and fly out, you would actually land on a balcony and survive...and not be given a cutscene to say "wao, we knew you would do that, lol, have a cookie of kewl."

In answer to the question, I would say that the three most immersive games I have ever played are Deus Ex, Operation Flashpoint, and Hidden and Dangerous (1 or 2).

lithos
25th Sep 2010, 13:36
Cutscenes have their place, but used sparingly and never as a replacement for actual gameplay.

Pretentious Old Man.
25th Sep 2010, 13:40
Cutscenes have their place, but used sparingly and never as a replacement for actual gameplay.

Yup, at the beginning and end of levels. Not during the middle, where they're basically saying "good boy, you're doing what we hoped you would. Congratulations. Why not have an achievement to boot?"

lithos
25th Sep 2010, 14:54
Playing games like Fallout 2, the cut scenes were so rare they actually seemed out of place when they did turn up.

Mindmute
25th Sep 2010, 16:43
Yup, at the beginning and end of levels.

This.


Best cutscenes to date in my opinion? Diablo's 2. Happened just when they should (at the beggining and end of every chapter to aid the storytelling).



About immersive games, I'd have to say Baldur's Gate:SoA and ToB, VTM:Bloodlines and Starlancer were the games I felt were the most immersive (alongside DX) from the ones I played.

IOOI
25th Sep 2010, 19:16
Ok, now I know that the problem I have with HR's POV is related to spatial presence and that it can be crucial to achieve immersion.
Essentially, constantly switching POV might (and probably will) ruin my experience since I'm very focused on having a FP experience where I can be as close as possible to the action.

Here's an article from gamasutra (http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/29910/Analysis_The_Psychology_of_Immersion_in_Video_Games.php) that kinda helped me. Read the comments - especially the ones from Maurice Tan, Andrew Glisinski (3rd paragraph), Bart Stewart, Dustin Chertoff and Patrick Coan (youtube video) - and if you have time, view the article and book references, they'll be more helpful than the article itself since the author sometimes confuses spatial presence with immersion.
I've discovered that there are various degrees of presence that I didn't knew how to designate, like logical presence and emotional presence, but were always important to the experience.

Check it.


Playing games like Fallout 2, the cut scenes were so rare they actually seemed out of place when they did turn up.

That's a thing that I'm only noticing now (the cutscenes look a biiit out of place) but when I played this game for the first time (c. 1999/2000) - I didn't finished it back then - the cutscnenes weren't the problem.
Though I liked the aeshetics of the game, the real problem to me was turn-based combat. I couldn't bare with it. I was really used to play "real-time games" and didn't have the patience.

Right now though, I'm really liking turned-based combat because I have a better sense to prepare myself before a battle or going to a quest. So even if the cutscenes seem a biiit out of place this is turning into one really good experience - I'll probably get the Trilogy pack if I can find it.

singularity
25th Sep 2010, 19:50
I appreciate that different people had different taste, but my, Mass Effect? It's not the third person that ruins ME's immersion for me, it's the godawfully linear environments. True, the same could be said of Half-Life, but HL was just so damn awesome at disguising its linearity that it didn't seem much of a problem.

I have two main criteria which instantly flag-up non-immersion, neither of which are to do with Camera Placement:

1.) Cutscenes. Seriously, I cannot articulate how much of a problem these are. They are a reminder that you've done what the game developer wanted you (or expected you) to do, and not what YOU wanted to do. Sure, at the beginning or end of a level, I love a good cutscene to drive things on, but the middle is a massive big no-no.

2.) Linearity. I can feel immersed in the disembodied camera of a Total War game, whereas I cannot feel immersed in the first-person camera of CoD. Why? Because in the Total War game, even though the camera is totally unrealistic, I AM THE ONE MAKING THE DECISIONS. In the CoD game, I AM NOT MAKING THE DECISIONS, I'M JUST GOING THROUGH THE MOTIONS WITH X AMOUNT OF SKILL. This distinction is important. Deus Ex was not immersive because of head bob, it was immersive because if you tried to shoot out Maggie Chow's windows in desperation and fly out, you would actually land on a balcony and survive...and not be given a cutscene to say "wao, we knew you would do that, lol, have a cookie of kewl."

In answer to the question, I would say that the three most immersive games I have ever played are Deus Ex, Operation Flashpoint, and Hidden and Dangerous (1 or 2).

Not sure how I feel about this one... mostly because you list DX as immersive afterwards. Everytime you talk to someone important, the game basicly gives you a small cutscene and you lose control of your character, forcing you to listen to a series of dialogue. Camera pulls out into third person and you basicly just watch -- occasionally picking a dialogue option (but not really often enough that it matters). And I found DX, while not very linear for most, still linear for my tastes. I still HAD to go to Hong Kong. I still had to interact with Maggie Chow on some level. I still was forced to do a lot, go a lot of places and talk to a lot of people... just because you had the option of "hack the door, climb through the vent or shoot your way in!", they all led you to the same spot, and you generally did the same thing when you got there.

DX was highly immersive for me, but that was because of the story and mood it was able to create. I didn't care about the 400 small "dialogue cutscenes" or the fact that I never actually had real choices with real consequences (well, I didn't care on my first play through...) -- I was along for the ride and it was wonderful in many regards.

Now, I completely agree with you and understand where you're coming from in regards to letting the playing DO rather than showing the player. Many games are guilty of letting you run towards the window and then it goes into a cutscene as you crash through and land in an open dumpster. But you can still have 100 cutscenes in the game, while allowing the player to "do" a lot. The trick is to let the player play the parts that they want to play (sneaking around guards, blowing up buildings, crashing through windows, slinking into the shadows, sniping the guard post, etc.), while "showing" them the parts that would have greater impact in a controlled enviornment (i.e. introducing a complex plan as to how you will continue on your mission after your team has been wiped out, introducing a femme fatale for the first time in a seedy bar, having a long conversation with a charater the protagonist has a history with... etc).

I agree -- let the play DO more. But unless you want total sand box (which usually translates into lack of story), you have to have structure. I'd much rather have cutscenes for that structure than linear levels and poor AI.

Pinky_Powers
25th Sep 2010, 22:07
I can never agree with all the cutscene hate. I'm sure there are games out there who break up gameplay with pointless cutscenes, but I can't remember playing any.

Mass Effect (1 or 2) never had a cutscene mid-mission that didn't offer either important story or character progression. It always kept the mission interesting and renewed your sense of urgency. Demanding that a company like BioWare remove all mid-mission cutscenes would only hurt their phenomenal storytelling abilities.

As for Human Revolution, I can understand the virtues of keeping say, the Tong ventilation scene, in first-person. I loved that about Deus Ex; sneaking around and overhearing things that will now be a cutscene. But I also appreciate that there is nothing you should be doing at that moment other than paying attention to the people talking. And a cutscene can deliver the performance of these virtual actors in a far better way.
Yes, the cutscene removes the "choice" to dismiss the conversation, but not without some measure of benefit.

As for immersion, cutscenes have never damaged this in Mass Effect, nor in any game I can remember. It will come down to the quality of the cinematic, though. If it's poor in anyway, it will be bad.

OwlSolar
26th Sep 2010, 06:38
It would probably hurt immersion if I decided to fire a clip of ammo into the vent cover and nobody noticed.


Yup, at the beginning and end of levels. Not during the middle, where they're basically saying "good boy, you're doing what we hoped you would. Congratulations. Why not have an achievement to boot?"

Unless they're done well. Let me rave on about Uncharted some more. It has tons of mid-level cutscenes. However, you don't feel as though control is being taken away. The main reson is because the transition is so smooth, but another big part of that is because they usually only come in when you wouldn't have any control over what happened anyway. I'm never reminded that I'm actually playing a game.

Pretentious Old Man.
26th Sep 2010, 09:42
Mass Effect (1 or 2) never had a cutscene mid-mission that didn't offer either important story or character progression. It always kept the mission interesting and renewed your sense of urgency. Demanding that a company like BioWare remove all mid-mission cutscenes would only hurt their phenomenal storytelling abilities.



Maybe for you. I personally never, ever felt in control of Mass Effect, except of course for the daddy-problem missions (which I just couldn't bear, but that was more due to the unbearable superficiality of the characters. Unrelated problem). As such, I could just never take either ME seriously as a properly immersive game.

Senka
27th Sep 2010, 01:33
That's a shame, I had a great time playing both Mass Effects.

IOOI
27th Sep 2010, 03:19
That's a shame

Really!? Why?













:D;)

smashthestate
4th Oct 2010, 05:46
Someone probably mentioned this before, but Amnesia:The Dark Descent is a well done modern immersive game. The story was pieced together well enough, through a balance of amnesia flashbacks, and strewn about journal entries. It's also one of the few games I've played where I've been afraid to turn the lights off while playing it. Most of this is due to how minimalist most of the action is, and how well used the physics engine is. I felt like I could do quite a bit with the physical objects (crates, books, barrels, etc.) laying around. I actually created a layered barricade in front of a door in which I knew an enemy was going to come through, with physical objects laying around in less than 30 seconds. The only other game I've played where necessity was indeed the mother of invention, was of course the original DX. Pushing crates around to jump on, to evade laser trip wires was probably what I did most often in that respect. Being able to pull off whatever ghetto rigged solutions I could think of in a game is what really makes it immersive in my eyes.

Coyotegrey
4th Oct 2010, 06:00
Someone probably mentioned this before, but Amnesia:The Dark Descent is a well done modern immersive game. The story was pieced together well enough, through a balance of amnesia flashbacks, and strewn about journal entries. It's also one of the few games I've played where I've been afraid to turn the lights off while playing it. Most of this is due to how minimalist most of the action is, and how well used the physics engine is. I felt like I could do quite a bit with the physical objects (crates, books, barrels, etc.) laying around. I actually created a layered barricade in front of a door in which I knew an enemy was going to come through, with physical objects laying around in less than 30 seconds. The only other game I've played where necessity was indeed the mother of invention, was of course the original DX. Pushing crates around to jump on, to evade laser trip wires was probably what I did most often in that respect. Being able to pull off whatever ghetto rigged solutions I could think of in a game is what really makes it immersive in my eyes.

I can't wait to play this. I have it on Steam (THANK YOU, one of my former students, for gifting it), and I've been holding off until I can set aside a night...sit in the dark...crank the sound...and just immerse myself until daylight.

Pinky_Powers
4th Oct 2010, 06:12
I can't wait to play this. I have it on Steam (THANK YOU, one of my former students, for gifting it), and I've been holding off until I can set aside a night...sit in the dark...crank the sound...and just immerse myself until daylight.

And the police find you a few days later, dead at your desk, hair gone pure white, and a countenance of raw terror etched upon your face.

Aqueous
4th Oct 2010, 14:04
Difficult to say because there's many different types of immersion. Some games, like Deus Ex, immerse you in a way that is like reading a first-person narrative ie. you -are- the character. Others immerse you in a third person means like MGS or Mass Effect, while there are also games like Batman: AA that immerse you in a different way: I didn't feel that involved with the story but I definitely did feel like I was Batman while playing the game.

For me it's a combination of gameplay and story/character development that fit together and bounce off one another. For example, if in the story you satisfactorily establish that humans are now physically stronger and it's normal for them to be able to jump 20 metres or whatever then having this capability in combat isn't out of place, but if you give characters this ability without any kind of plot-basis then the game loses immersion. That's just a basic example but as long as gameplay and story are both engaging and consistent you will get an immersive game, it's just finding that balance which seems to be difficult.

Anu
5th Oct 2010, 21:34
Difficult to say because there's many different types of immersion. Some games, like Deus Ex, immerse you in a way that is like reading a first-person narrative ie. you -are- the character. Others immerse you in a third person means like MGS or Mass Effect, while there are also games like Batman: AA that immerse you in a different way: I didn't feel that involved with the story but I definitely did feel like I was Batman while playing the game.

For me it's a combination of gameplay and story/character development that fit together and bounce off one another. For example, if in the story you satisfactorily establish that humans are now physically stronger and it's normal for them to be able to jump 20 metres or whatever then having this capability in combat isn't out of place, but if you give characters this ability without any kind of plot-basis then the game loses immersion. That's just a basic example but as long as gameplay and story are both engaging and consistent you will get an immersive game, it's just finding that balance which seems to be difficult.

I´d like to second that.

Different games immerse you in a different way. All in all, it´s just suspension of disbelief, IMO. It all comes down to being able to mix the things you grant believable and possibly realistic in a proper setting and things that just are out there to push the imagination.

OwlSolar
5th Oct 2010, 23:38
suspension of disbelief
I hate myself for not bring up this term myself.

Nice point. :o

GepardenK
6th Oct 2010, 15:37
A game is immersive when it gets your mind thinking and your feelings invested, how that is achieved can differ. The most imporntant par is that it feels real, not nessecarily realistic, but real. As that guy above me said, suspension of disbilief.

Take Arma 2. Some here said that it wasn’t immersive because it had no story. That’s an opinion and yes the story sucks, but i disagree; Arma is immersive. First of all a single bullet can kill you, but to counter this you are allowed to walk and move anywhere you please <--- this is enough to make a game immersive. I can spend 20 minutes crawling up to a town, using fences and ditches as cover, only to realize that there are no enemies there. Yet I am always tense and never bored, and when no enemies appear I am relieved instead of disappointed. That’s immersion.

The other thing Arma2 has going for it immersion wise is dynamic AI. Simply put, situations develop on the fly in a way unintended by the developers and unforeseeable by the player. So now Im pinned down in a town square with an enemy APC somewhere behind the buildings to the south (I know this because it wiped down half my squad). I’m also taking heavy infantry fire for the north, plus Im pretty sure there is a sniper hiding in the hill 2km away. My mind is racing; will they try to flank me? are they already doing it? what happens if that APC decides to drive up the road?
You see, the simple fact that I cannot trust the game to do the same thing every time equals great immersion. Especially since I have so much freedom of choice in what I can do, because now I have to find clever solutions to the situation, with no help from developer scripts.

Its interesting to note how boring Arma2 becomes if you play on difficulties that allow you to save often and have lots of health. The whole immersion factor comes crumbling down to the floor and everything suddenly feels sooo slowwwww. Now you start noticing all those bugs that somehow where invisible on expert setting, weird that.

The same thing is true for the first Penumbra game. Sure, the atmosphere is awesome and the physics is even better; but the real immersion factor is how you fear your enemies. If you play on easy setting, where killing enemies is no problem, then that fear also goes away and Penumbra becomes bland.
It’s very interesting to note how Penumbra, and Amnesia etc, uses Physics and sound design to build an atmosphere, but then also uses invincible and hard hitting enemies to make that atmosphere true. Far too many games have good initial atmosphere, but then everything is broken once you move down enemies with your machine gun and you realize: It is them that should be scared of you.

So difficulty works as a way to make a game immersive, but not alone. It should complement the atmosphere and thereby make it real - A scary old house is only scary as long as you beleive something there is stronger than you and that it can kill you (see thief)
Take Arma 2 again. The situations in that game are real. Sure it is digital, but it is still real because the game does not lie to me. Every sound I hear and every explosion I see in the far away background is a part of the game world and I can interact with it. So when a burning plane comes crashing down on my squad and nearly kills me, then that is a very startling and awesome experience because it actually happened. That plane was shot down by someone and it nearly crashed on my head dammint! This is in stark contrast to games like Call of Duty; if a plane nearly hits me there I think "nice move developers, that must have taken some time to animate, now let me get on with the level!"

As for DX:HR; once I realize am I just playing missions and not solving a conspiracy the immersion will be gone. I dont care how they do it, but make me belive it!
A good well told story (well told according to the warren spector philosofy) and real consequences to actions (not only story wise) is a start.

rhalibus
7th Oct 2010, 08:05
To me immersion is when you start having dreams about a level in a game as if you had visited it in real life. Only Deus Ex and System Shock 2 have ever done this--where more photo-realistic games have come up short.

OwlSolar
7th Oct 2010, 10:04
I had a dream where I was in a Fire Emblem game once.

It was surreal.