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Rindill the Red
8th Oct 2010, 03:25
Okay, I know this may sorta sound crazy and stupid, but almost every game I have ever really gotten into has a good or memorable "feel"...

Now I have to struggle to explain what I mean by this... as the "feel" of the video game is sort of an abstract subjective thing that includes almost everything about a game...

What I would characterize as the "feel" of a game is how the game's various idiosyncrasies of interaction (control, sound, graphical), (both player to game, and player's character to game world), come together to create a sort of "footprint" in the subconscious of the person playing the game. These idiosyncrasies are usually repetitive and almost hypnotic in the respect that they become sort of the "white-noise of the player's interaction with the game". Usually they're the rather unrealistic exaggerations or approximations of reality in terms of game-mechanics. In terms of control, it's usually the nature of the movement of the character as mapped and interfaced to the input device. As the player plays the game their immersion into the game accepts these idiosyncrasies and in time it's these very idiosyncrasies that act as a trigger for the player's enjoyment as well as an immersive aid; also much later the "nostalgia"-factor.

Is it a good game that makes the "feel" memorable as in traditional conditioning... or can a feel just be good to start and help a game be good? Is this a widely unique subjective thing or is actually a common experience? Or is it even more complex having to do with other psychological factors present at the time of playing and/or all of the above? Or am I just bat-**** crazy?

Deus Ex has it's own "feel" for me, a very enjoyable "feel" in my opinion.
1. Main theme ditty + ambient electronic music
2. Way too fast movement + someone-following-you-around-with-two-coconut-halves clickity steps + head bob
3. "Solid" mouse control - I don't know how else to describe it other than "clear-cut" - head movement corresponds almost exactly to mouse movement.
4. "Open", "clear", "clean", low-poly, solid-texture "sparse" rendering style + simple physics (with plastic sounds)

Another more modern game that definitely has a "feel" that has been more widely recognized, yet which I don't find particularly enjoyable is Gears of War.
People will say it "feels" heavy, or that there is a weight to it. I've experienced it myself. The large steroid characters, the rough camera movement (sprint cam), the super aggressive slide into cover that breaks solid rock and would leave giant arm bruises on normal people, the way the 360 controller vibrations correspond well to it and to most guns and to the ultra violent melee attacks, the giant blood splat from the giant bullets, etc.
Gears of War has a definite "feel", a feeling of weight, of solidness of the game world.
Deus Ex has a similar feel, not in terms of "weight", but it's got a "solidness" to it, of a different kind.

In my experience a good "feel" helps immersion and helps a game latch onto a player's mind.

On the reverse end of the spectrum, a "feel" that a gamer doesn't like might hurt immersion or his ability to enjoy the game.

For me a game that had a really poor "feel" was Deus Ex: Invisible War. The game was fuzzy, claustrophobic. The mouse controls felt weird.

Yeah... so... anyone else know what I'm trying to talk about?

Shralla
8th Oct 2010, 04:07
Absolutely. Every game has its own "feel," just like you said. If something is off, then the "feel" is off. One thing that I find destroys any good "feel" that a shooter might have going is guns that either look or sound weak. Weak-sounding guns just totally destroys a shooting game for me, I'll be honest. There are two reasons I never used the Klobb.

Pinky_Powers
8th Oct 2010, 04:19
Your ability to put my mind into hibernation with your profoundly tedious prattle is unmatched sir. :thumb:

There is a way to ask these questions without assaulting the reader with mind-numbingly clinical descriptions of everything.

I know you know how. Most of your posts are simple and straight to the point. But occasionally you make one of these threads, and I just want to fall asleep at my desk trying to get to the heart of what you're actually on about.

As to your question, "the feel" of a game is something good game designers strive for. The benefits of a game with its own unique "feel" are all the things you mentioned. The most prominent of these is a lasting impression on the player.

Knights of the Old Republic, probably my favorite game after Deus Ex, had a wonderful aura about it. It had a sense of depth built right into the level design. Almost every world you traveled to had three physical levels to it, each with it's own "feel". This made the game seem so much larger than other games, and so much larger than it actually was.
And then of course there was also the potent Star Wars vibe... which is always pleasant. :)

Bioshock... enough said. Is there a single game in existence that can boast a more owned ambiance?

Arkam Asylum is another recent game that is unmistakable in it's flavors... as is Mass Effect.

tartarus_sauce
8th Oct 2010, 04:42
In film, this "feel" concept is called mise en scene. It's not entirely possible to define; words like "tone" and "feel" seem inadequate. But no one would ever have any problem distinguishing the "feel" of, say, Star Wars from that of The Social Network.

Personally, I never actualled liked the feel of Deus Ex, but I loved the environments and the story so much that I was never bored.

I'd like to see another game like Mirror's Edge and Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines. Both games had a physical body interacting with the environment. It makes both the character and the environment seem more real.

Pinky_Powers
8th Oct 2010, 04:49
I'd like to see another game like Mirror's Edge and Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines. Both games had a physical body interacting with the environment. It makes both the character and the environment seem more real.

Except that the physics engine of Bloodlines is so buggy the reality is broken at every turn.

...still a great game though. :)

biofuel
8th Oct 2010, 04:57
2. Way too fast movement + someone-following-you-around-with-two-coconut-halves clickity steps + head bob

Its way too fast because you haven't properly configured the renderer.

OwlSolar
8th Oct 2010, 05:05
Your ability to put my mind into hibernation with your profoundly tedious prattle is unmatched sir.
I don't know, I'm not completely understanding the question.

Are you asking about controls? Or about atmosphere? Or about both? It's kind of hard to tell.

Rindill the Red
8th Oct 2010, 06:43
Your ability to put my mind into hibernation with your profoundly tedious prattle is unmatched sir. :thumb:


Are my musings really so soporific?

Do my thoughts appear childish and of little consequence?

Would you rather I injected some VaRIETY to keep you entertained?

Eh, you're probably right.


In film, this "feel" concept is called mise en scene. It's not entirely possible to define; words like "tone" and "feel" seem inadequate. But no one would ever have any problem distinguishing the "feel" of, say, Star Wars from that of The Social Network.

Ah, that's what I'm looking for I guess. But it's new and different for video games because besides the purely visual and acoustic properties of movies, games also have the simulation and interaction aspects.


Its way too fast because you haven't properly configured the renderer.

I'm pretty sure I have. Have you ever tried to run so as to come up with the same rhythm of steps as in the game? It's not natural at all.


I don't know, I'm not completely understanding the question.

Are you asking about controls? Or about atmosphere? Or about both? It's kind of hard to tell.

I'm talking about both, but assimilated and in a different light.

Senka
8th Oct 2010, 07:35
In film, this "feel" concept is called mise en scene.
Actually, mise en scene means "what to put in the scene" or positioning of items in the scene.

OT: I know what you mean. I know the 'feel' of games like cod4/quake 3 too - esp the 'feel' of movement.

beastosterone
8th Oct 2010, 11:12
Good thread - you don't sound stupid.

Many people can't really grasp the concept of the "feel" of a game. As to really understand how a game feels you need to have a sort of working knowledge of game design and quite a lot of experience playing games. Don't worry too much about it. Subconsciously the feel will carry through.

And ignore pinky - he's one of those easily offended types that will rebel against anything that makes them feel less able than others. For example they enjoy calling things that are difficult "not intuitive". :)

Pinky_Powers
8th Oct 2010, 11:19
And ignore pinky - he's one of those easily offended types that will rebel against anything that makes them feel less able than others. For example they enjoy calling things that are difficult "not intuitive". :)

Actually, I was criticizing more on a writer's level. You can write the most sophisticated piece of literature and talk on the deepest concepts, but if your prose are "soporific", there's no point to any of it.

II J0SePh X II
8th Oct 2010, 12:16
I think Fallout 3 deserves a mention. You can isolate any of the game's elements and say they're not up to scratch. The animations are naff, the gfx are poor, characters, plot, combat etc etc etc. There's no part of it where you can say, "That's the best there is." What it has tho imo, is a unique 'feel' - everything comes together to create a great atmosphere to play around in. It's really quirky.

GepardenK
8th Oct 2010, 12:55
I think that this "feel" is most noticeable in games that don’t come off as gamey. Its all about making a world that is believable in its own right. Even old shooters like Doom and DukeNukem 3D achieved this: it was me against a semi-open level filled with enemies, and I had to explore around for weapons and keycards. (Oh god, now I have to reinstall Outlaws)

In the days of QuickTime events and numerous scripted set pieces this feeling is often lost. Everything is so dictated and directed, it seems fake somehow. When an FPS tries to pull off a "cut scene" by locking my movement and controlling my head (camera) I instantly throw the DVD out off the window and into a fiery pit. Brun baby Burn!!!! Long live Valve and their "never take control away from the player" policy. Thats how you make a linear game.

Fallout 3 managed to create its own feel no doubt, but the game had so many other disappointments that I got bored fast anyway. Here`s to hoping New Vegas can set things right

AlexOfSpades
8th Oct 2010, 13:05
Oh, oh, and i thought i was the only that is nerd enough to "feel" the game... !

I hated Unreal Tournament 2003/04 because the objects and maps were huge. Huge! A simple door in DM-Rankin is four or five meters tall. What the heck! And it was slow and Star-wars-ish, flooaaating slooowly with those superslow rockets...

Boring!

Blade_hunter
8th Oct 2010, 14:22
Yeah level design counts a lot, and often dictates a certain gameplay and even a story, For me Duke Nukem 3D had probably one of the best level design for its time.
For me a thing I love in games is also the useless interactivity, the first game that comes to my mind is Duke 3D, pressing a random switch. Thief is also great for its stealth and interactivity.

An like you gepardenK I hate these QTEs and even their cousins

AxiomaticBadger
8th Oct 2010, 14:37
Yeeeah, I'd say the feel I got from Fallout 3 was "Monotony". Or possibly "Brown".

AlexOfSpades
8th Oct 2010, 14:46
Fallout got really interesting only with the Fellout (http://www.fallout3nexus.com/downloads/file.php?id=2672) mod:

Regular Daylight (http://www.fallout3nexus.com/downloads/images/2672-3-1231125255.jpg)



Believe me, after 20 or 30 hours of gameplay, the greenish landscapes REALLY start to get boring. Besides, nothing in Fallout 1 ~ 2 was green.

Also, the night got REALLY DARK:

Night! (http://www.fallout3nexus.com/downloads/images/2672-2-1270976039.jpg)




Inside Washington DC Downtown, during midnight, there was no difference between holstered and held weapon - yes, you cant see your pistol if you take it off. ITS VERY DARK.

Just like it would be if the world blew up.

Finally the flashlights are useful!

That truly gave me The Feel.

Edited to hide the pictures otherwise the page would just get broken at the high-resolution pics.

NKD
8th Oct 2010, 15:12
I'm pretty sure I have. Have you ever tried to run so as to come up with the same rhythm of steps as in the game? It's not natural at all.

So, what you're saying here is that you went outside and were like "Okay, I'm going to try and run like JC Denton." and did some experiments, and are now reporting to us that it didn't feel natural?

Interesting.


And ignore pinky - he's one of those easily offended types that will rebel against anything that makes them feel less able than others. For example they enjoy calling things that are difficult "not intuitive". :)

Ironic coming from someone who made a new account just to get around a ban for being a troll.

Blade_hunter
8th Oct 2010, 15:44
I see what you want to show Axel, and I agree that the atmosphere counts. but also the lighting should feel more natural rather than having an awful filter that make things looking quite uniform and monotonous or even changing the color tone to make things more unnatural ...

Rindill the Red
8th Oct 2010, 15:54
So, what you're saying here is that you went outside and were like "Okay, I'm going to try and run like JC Denton." and did some experiments, and are now reporting to us that it didn't feel natural?

I was also wearing a baggy overcoat and sunglasses if your really that interested. I could tell I looked really cool doing it because these girls were staring at me and giggling.

NKD
8th Oct 2010, 16:19
I was also wearing a baggy overcoat and sunglasses if your really that interested. I could tell I looked really cool doing it because these girls were staring at me and giggling.

They just knew that your vision was augmented, that's all.

Rindill the Red
8th Oct 2010, 17:57
Another game whose "feel" just didn't sit right with me was Risen. The rampant HDR, the camera movement, the combat movement, I don't know, I just didn't like it.

beastosterone
9th Oct 2010, 02:36
Ironic coming from someone who made a new account just to get around a ban for being a troll.

How would that be at all ironic? :lmao:

Regardless, I wasn't banned for being a troll. I was banned for not having the patience to deal with fu___ re____s like you in a delicate manner. If anyone's a "troll" - it's you.


Another game whose "feel" just didn't sit right with me was Risen. The rampant HDR, the camera movement, the combat movement, I don't know, I just didn't like it.

Agreed. Gothic 1-2 had the best feeling.

Jerion
9th Oct 2010, 03:22
On the topic of things that disturbs the feel of a game for me...

Something that's really been bothering me lately has been what I perceive as a misunderstanding of game visuals. It seems that at some point there was a shift where the notion stopped being to "put the player behind the eyes of the character" and became "put the player behind the camera placed behind the eyes of the character". Little things like overdone bloom and lens flares seem bizarre when you're supposed to inhabit a person in FPP. Case in point, Battlefield Bad Company 2. Why would a person's eyes see a lens flare and vibrant bloom? Granted it actually makes sense for characters like our Adam, who has augmented eyes and thus cameras. I just think that some common sense should be used in assigning the right context to effects like those.

/pet peeve

NKD
9th Oct 2010, 03:32
On the topic of things that disturbs the feel of a game for me...

Something that's really been bothering me lately has been what I perceive as a misunderstanding of game visuals. It seems that at some point there was a shift where the notion stopped being to "put the player behind the eyes of the character" and became "put the player behind the camera placed behind the eyes of the character". Little things like overdone bloom and lens flares seem bizarre when you're supposed to inhabit a person in FPP. Case in point, Battlefield Bad Company 2. Why would a person's eyes see a lens flare and vibrant bloom? Granted it actually makes sense for characters like our Adam, who has augmented eyes and thus cameras. I just think that some common sense should be used in assigning the right context to effects like those.

/pet peeve

I think part of it is the drive towards a cinematic feel, and then incorrectly translating that to first person. You can't go for a cinematic feel convincingly if the camera is in the persons skull and not behind them. It's the same reason first person scenes in movies are incredibly rare. If you want to go first person, you should go for the "behind the eyes" and not "behind a camera", as you said.

You have to approach a first person and a third person game very differently in terms of visuals, but a lot of developers seem to miss that. It's one of the reasons I find the mixed first and third person of DXHR to be an odd choice. I'm not opposed to either perspective, but I would have gone one way or the other, so that my presentation could be more consistent.

It'll be interesting to see if it feels like a first person game with a sort of shoe-horned third person, or if they will integrate it seamlessly. Haven't seen enough footage to come to a determination yet, personally.

beastosterone
9th Oct 2010, 03:42
Agreed - it annoys me too. I suppose it's all about that "cinematic" experience. Appealing to your matured sense of watching through a lens for the majority of your entertainment life

tartarus_sauce
9th Oct 2010, 05:02
On the topic of things that disturbs the feel of a game for me...

Something that's really been bothering me lately has been what I perceive as a misunderstanding of game visuals. It seems that at some point there was a shift where the notion stopped being to "put the player behind the eyes of the character" and became "put the player behind the camera placed behind the eyes of the character". Little things like overdone bloom and lens flares seem bizarre when you're supposed to inhabit a person in FPP. Case in point, Battlefield Bad Company 2. Why would a person's eyes see a lens flare and vibrant bloom? Granted it actually makes sense for characters like our Adam, who has augmented eyes and thus cameras. I just think that some common sense should be used in assigning the right context to effects like those.

/pet peeve


Games have for over a decade been driven primarily by film rather than actual simulations of real world experience. I agree though, lately it's gone too far. I mean, there's a film grain option in the Mass Effect series! Ridiculous.

Pinky_Powers
9th Oct 2010, 05:32
I mean, there's a film grain option in the Mass Effect series! Ridiculous.

he he. I keep it On, myself. Gives the game a sort of noir feel... which, combined with the futuristic space aesthetic, is a lovely cocktail.

But that's just me. :)

OwlSolar
9th Oct 2010, 06:22
I'm fine with camera tricks if they help with the atmosphere. Such as when it's raining and the rain gets all over the camera.
...I have no idea what bloom and lens flare are.

...And yeah, film grain. Improves the atmosphere for me.

beastosterone
9th Oct 2010, 06:37
Bloom is that effect that makes you think console games have good graphics :)

Pretentious Old Man.
9th Oct 2010, 16:40
Your ability to put my mind into hibernation with your profoundly tedious prattle is unmatched sir. :thumb:


I always thought you never proof-read your posts.

Jerion
9th Oct 2010, 20:47
I'm fine with camera tricks if they help with the atmosphere. Such as when it's raining and the rain gets all over the camera.
...I have no idea what bloom and lens flare are.

...And yeah, film grain. Improves the atmosphere for me.


Bloom is a glow effect applied to the brightest parts of the image, to fake the effect of over-brightening that standard cameras see. Halo 3 is notorious for overusing it: http://gangles.ca/images/bloom/bloom-halo3.jpg

Lens Flare: http://www.gamedev.net/reference/articles/lensflare/lens-flare-tut-shot1.jpg

Water blurring vision is fine with me in FPP if the character is wearing glasses or goggles or some such. :)

Pinky_Powers
9th Oct 2010, 21:45
I always thought you never proof-read your posts.

:(

That's just hurtful.

Pretentious Old Man.
9th Oct 2010, 22:24
:(

That's just hurtful.

Successful troll is successful then, methinks.

Pinky_Powers
9th Oct 2010, 23:04
Successful troll is successful then, methinks.

Obi-Wan would be ashamed.

Fluffis
9th Oct 2010, 23:43
I want the world, through Adam's specs, to appear sepia, or green (an in-joke for Swedish people with a knowledge of 80's punk rock), and that they have wind shield wipers.

On a lighter note:
I hate effects that try to look real, but in fact just emulate movies - lens flares being the prime example. As long as the computer industry uses cheap tricks like that, from another medium, it's never going to take those last steps and become its own - accepted - art form; it's just going to be a bastard offspring of the movie industry. Games are not movies, though too many people nowadays seem to want them to be. It's, in my opinion, one of the main reasons why games in general feel so shallow, nowadays (N.B: before anyone bites my head off, no, I don't mean all games ever made, and I do know that there are games that embrace their status as actual computer games).

I could accept water blurring, but only in FP, like Jerion wrote.

pringlepower
10th Oct 2010, 00:00
I want the world, through Adam's specs, to appear sepia, or green (an in-joke for Swedish people with a knowledge of 80's punk rock), and that they have wind shield wipers.

On a lighter note:
I hate effects that try to look real, but in fact just emulate movies - lens flares being the prime example. As long as the computer industry uses cheap tricks like that, from another medium, it's never going to take those last steps and become its own - accepted - art form; it's just going to be a bastard offspring of the movie industry. Games are not movies, though too many people nowadays seem to want them to be. It's, in my opinion, one of the main reasons why games in general feel so shallow, nowadays (N.B: before anyone bites my head off, no, I don't mean all games ever made, and I do know that there are games that embrace their status as actual computer games).

I could accept water blurring, but only in FP, like Jerion wrote.

If they want to be movies, they can be. Stuff like bloom, lens flare, film grain, etc. can look really good and add to the art style/theme/mood of the game if done well. Guess the problem these days is that it's done in too many games.

hem dazon 90
10th Oct 2010, 00:05
Ironic coming from someone who made a new account just to get around a ban for being a troll.

:lmao:

Oh come now beastrn isn't a troll he's just a relatively angry narcissist :D

Jerion
10th Oct 2010, 02:07
If they want to be movies, they can be. Stuff like bloom, lens flare, film grain, etc. can look really good and add to the art style/theme/mood of the game if done well. Guess the problem these days is that it's done in too many games.

I completely agree here that they can add to to the theme/style/mood of the world. However the problem these days is that there's little or no sense of sensible context for the effects.

beastosterone
10th Oct 2010, 02:44
:lmao:

Oh come now beastrn isn't a troll he's just a relatively angry narcissist :D

Agreed

http://anxietydepressioninstantrelief.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/Depressed1.jpg

hem dazon 90
10th Oct 2010, 05:07
Agreed

http://anxietydepressioninstantrelief.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/Depressed1.jpg

poor guy

Fluffis
10th Oct 2010, 09:46
If they want to be movies, they can be. Stuff like bloom, lens flare, film grain, etc. can look really good and add to the art style/theme/mood of the game if done well. Guess the problem these days is that it's done in too many games.


I completely agree here that they can add to to the theme/style/mood of the world. However the problem these days is that there's little or no sense of sensible context for the effects.

Yeah, I was a bit too harsh. What I meant was, kind of, what you guys are saying here. If the context is the right one then, yes of course they can look like movies. Unfortunately, though, these effects turn up in any kind of game, and in any kind of context. That is part of what they have to stop doing, if they ever want to step out of the shadows and become an accepted art form.

singularity
10th Oct 2010, 18:53
One of the things I like about interactive entertainment is that a lot of them can be very free with how they want to portray their "mood."

Look at Silent Hill, for example (one of my favorite series). Heavy film grain, perpetual darkness/ fog, and a bevy of sounds and effects that have been used across 6+ games now that we all just associate as that "Silent Hill Vibe." But when you beat a SH game, you can turn that film grain off and brighten up the game... and it feels different. It's still good, but it's different. You realize that SH could just as easily been designed without film grain, and a touch brighter and it would have still felt very good...

Same with Mass Effect. The motion blur and film grain options (while I personally turned them off), add a certain feel to the game, and the game works fine with either of them.

Another great, recent example -- Spider Man Shattered Dimensions. 4 distinct styles, 4 styles of play. All of them feel and look great, and are worthy of an individual title (assuming they cleaned up the game a little bit first...).

I don't mind things like bloom and lens flair too much, despite it becoming more common in action-shooters. I see it as a stylistic choice. Any game can exist with or without it.
What I want to see more of, is the option to turn these things on and off (even as an unlockable, like SH or Resident Evil 5). I know that devs build a game with a certain "feel" in mind -- but it can be fun to play with that feel. It's part of what makes it "interactive" media.

JCpies
10th Oct 2010, 19:14
Mirror's edge was good with these effects, it added to the cleanliness/whiteness of the city, but I don't understand why games like BFBC2 use them.