FUNDAMENTALS OF GAME DESIGN, SECOND EDITION

Interaction Model

Adventure games always use an avatar-based interaction model because the designer wants to put the player inside a story. However, the nature of the avatar in adventure games has changed over the years. The early games Adventure and Myst used nonspecific avatars, an idea discussed in Chapter 6, "Character Development." In effect, the games pretended that the player was the avatar.

Eventually, however, game designers abandoned this model so that they could develop games in which the avatar possessed a personality of his own, someone who belonged in the game world rather than being a visitor there. Sierra On-Line's Leisure Suit Larry series and Revolution Software's Broken Sword games are good examples. In these games, the player can see his avatar walking around, interacting with the world.

Camera Model

The preferred camera model of graphical adventure games is changing. The con­text-sensitive approach is traditional, but third - and first-person games are becoming increasingly common. This section discusses the advantages and disad­vantages of these approaches.

CONTEXT-SENSITIVE MODEL

Using a context-sensitive model, the game depicts the avatar from whatever camera angle is most appropriate for her current location in the game world. If the avatar

moves to a new location that is significantly different from the previous one, the camera behavior takes this into account. For example, going from indoors to out­doors, the camera might move farther away from the avatar to show more of the environment.

In the early days of graphic adventure games, the camera angles tended to be quite dull, as in Figure 19.1, from Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards.

image218

FIGURE 19.1

A scene in the first Leisure Suit Larry game

As display hardware improved, game development required more artists and the quality of the artwork improved considerably. Today the game's art director chooses a camera position designed to show off each location and activity to best effect. Compare Figure 19.1 with Figure 19.2 from A Vampyre Story.

FIGURE 19.2

A scene in A Vampyre Story. The lowered camera position accentuates the main character's height.

 

image219

A context-sensitive perspective lets you (or the art director) play cinematographer, using camera angles, composition, and lighting to enhance the story. Use these techniques with discretion, however. A light touch is best. If you watch movies closely, you'll notice that the majority of shots use a pretty straightforward camera angle. Movie directors switch to an unusual angle when they have a particular point to make, such as showing that the protagonist is alone, or in a high place.

 

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