Explain the visual style and elements of gameplay used in video game design.
Game fundamentals, Unit 72 – Part two.
—————————————————- Introduction ————————————————
Gameplay and the visual design of a video game is the beating heart of a video games development and it’s creation process when the developers are designing things such as the user interface, the reward system and what type of difficulty the video game will have.
Furthermore the development stages all take time in which the designers craft and create the different game fundamentals such as the player rewards, which in a video game like World of Warcraft that would be either achievements, levels, new quests, gear, mounts and other rewards that World of Warcraft has to offer to reward players in-game for different accomplishments such as defeating hard bosses and tackling hard content that the developers at Blizzard Entertainment have throw at them.
In addition to in-game and out-game player rewards developers would be designing things such as the players health bar and where it will be placed on the screen. In this process the developers will have to take it into consideration that the players are going to need to be able to see things such as the characters health bar clearly so that the player will know when to run from or towards different challenges within the video game.
Not only the pleasing rewards, user interface system and different gameplay and visual design aspects of the game there are also things such as the games setting and difficulty that the developers will have to design to make sure it caters to all types of gamers such as the casual gamers that might only want a normal mode difficulty and then having a hardcore gamer that needs a hard mode difficulty to give the players a bit more of a rewarding challenge because he or she will have more time to play a certain game.
————————————————— Gameplay ————————————————–
Feedback within a game can be anything from visual feedback to audio feedback which alerts the players what is going on in the game such as their health going low or a target to be acquired this example would be on Call of Duty where the game produces audio from another character near by to alert the player that it is clear to move into a certain area or whether they need to reload this is audio feedback.
In addition to audio feedback their is also in-game feedback which is presented to the players on the screen such as ‘damage taken -300’ or ‘reload’ this is showing the players what there character needs to do or what the character is doing in-game on an event or within a multiplayer aspect like the Call of Duty franchise offers. As well as in-game and audio feedback there is also feedback through a console controller such as the Xbox and PlayStation controller which vibrates when ever you have taken damage in a video game or done something that is effecting the character.
Furthermore it is good to have different types of feedback to cater to the needs of different players, some players may not like listening to the audio feedback that the game gives them whilst they are in deep concentration whereas another individual may only like in-game audio feedback because they are concentrating on what’s going on in the battlefield rather than having to read a damage or chat log at the bottom of the user’s interface.
Behind the scenes for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (Audio development)
To add the different video game feedback has to cater to different peoples needs because I have already mentioned some people may only want to listen to audio through their monitors or headsets whereas some other people may want to see or feel what is going on within the game for example within Call of Duty the players side of the screen goes red with a bloody tint to show that the players character is on their last legs and is nearly going to be killed by either another player or an AI character in the video game.
Finally feedback such as a motion feedback in the players controller is also used by different developers to create a sense of immersion in the game, for example the players controller will vibrate as soon as the player within Call of Duty is shooting or taking physical damage this then makes the player aware or feel more immersed in the game because he or she feels like they’re shooting the other players themselves.
Within a video game developers allow the players to choose what difficulty they would like the game to be set as which will change how the game plays out and how the reward system will be dished out depending on the difficulty.
Within most cases most difficulty settings will either be, easy, normal or hard but in some games such as Diablo three there is different difficulty settings such as expert, master and torment which will add another level of difficulty within the video game increasing the enemies, their health and the players reward at completion on the level, game or story.
Furthermore an easy or normal difficulty will be a walk in the park to experienced gamers whereas someone that is new to the game and just wants to be able to learn the ropes of the overall game easy mode will be the option for them because it’s simple and and rewarding which will be fun to new players joining a game such as Diablo three.
In addition to easy mode, hard or expert in Diablo three’s case will give the player an overall challenge to the game and well rewards when they come to complete the game or finish the storyline all together. Master or torment in Diablo’s case would be in a normal video game the hard difficulty which is going to be the hardest difficulty in the game which suggests that the game will provide a higher challenge to the players compared to the other difficulties in the game.
Finally a high difficulty within a video game compared to an easy difficulty will take much more longer because of the amount of waves of creatures and things you will need to explore in the different difficulties such as Diablo with their in-game dungeons and creature system that gets harder and harder every time you rank up on those difficulty settings.
Addiction within a video game is a subject that is debated around by different people to actually identify their own opinions on the subject. Some games that have been seen as addicting would be mobile games such as candy crush, Temple run and Flappy Birds this is because there is are certain things within the game such as rewards that bring the player back to the game to keep playing without putting the game down which would suggest to some people that the game is addicting.
“The state of being enslaved to a habit or practice to such an extent that its removal causes severe trauma”
A good video example of an addiction within World of Warcraft:
Challenges and Rewards:
Challenges and rewards in games come in different shapes and sizes such as, hard bosses, difficult levels and challenging multiplayer aspects to mounts, pets, achievements and more. In addition video games such as Rift, Star Wars The Old Republic and World of Warcraft are good examples for showing challenges and rewards because as any other MMORPG they all have challenges such as raids and dungeons as well as rewards such as achievements, mounts, pets, and collectible items within the virtual world.
A good example of a raid/operation within SWTOR:
The base actions within a game this would be things like move up, move down, left and right, back and forth and others like jump, shoot etc. Most developers now are having to tackle to create new movement and actions such as slide and side step that is now seen in TitanFall with climbing up walls and getting round corners with little effort.
Settings and theme’s within video games are normally things like love interests, injustice and revenge but there are also settings within video games such as World of Warcraft with that is set within the fantasy world of Azeroth, Destiny which is set in the future and the Call of Duty Modern Warfare series which is set in the modern era compared to video games such as Sims which is set in present day Earth.
Theme’s such as revenge or a love interest provoke an emotion within the players which allows them to immerse with the characters and storylines in the game. A good example of a game like this would be Starcraft which the whole theme of Starcraft Wings of Liberty and Heart of the Swarm had a theme of revenge with one of the main characters wanting revenge because of past events in the universe of Starcraft.
A win condition with a video game is what gamers have to achieve within a video game, for example a game like Diablo’s win condition is to get to the end of the story and beat the final boss, whereas a game like Minecraft does not have any win conditions so the player has to find their own adventures in the world and create their own objectives for the game of Minecraft. Win conditions can also consist of high level quests, and boss fights etc.
Balance is an important factor in video games today, a video game like World of Warcraft has a high learning curve which in tales the players to learn all the new class abilities and reach the now maximum level of 100 which can be quite daunting to new players interested in video games like World of Warcraft. If a games difficulty only ever increases a bosses health slightly and increases the player health within a video game this may be unsatisfactory to some individuals.
Some players may run out of things to do at max level or at an end game which would seem a hard thing to do in a game like World of Warcraft this is the reason why most games do release DLC, expansion packs and follow up video games to keep the balance of content correct so that the players will always have something to do in-game.
The structure can vary dramatically depending on what type of game the developers are creating for example a game like Call of Duty will have mapped based environments and worlds whereas a game like Rift has a vast open world to explore because it’s an MMORPG which requires more environments for players to explore with their friends in a group or a team of raiders that are looking for an objective to kill, furthermore some same structures would be Linear, level to level and branching lines.
Players in video games are typically ‘US’ we are the players that adventure through different worlds and combat different enemies in other dimensions to get to the end game in hand which is to overall enjoy playing video games. We can play video games by ourselves and with other players depending what game the players will be playing whether that’s the Call of Duty campaign or the multiplayer.
A big example would be World of Warcraft where players interact with each other everyday due to the fact that the game is a MMORPG which means massive multiplayer online role playing game. This allows players to interact to complete quests, raids, dungeons and other things within the world of Azeroth. We also have battlegrounds such Warsong Gulch which is a capture the flag player vs player battleground which allows players to fight against each other in a controlled environment.
This is how the players interact with the video game. Whether or not the player can control one character or multiple characters with the video game, examples of this would be any MMO where the player is controlling only one character which is the players character which is adventuring through the designed world whereas you can have multiple character being controlled at once by one player an example of this would be XCOM: Enemy Unknown where the player is able to control up to five characters on a single map at once.
———————————————— Visual Design ————————————————-
A feedback interface (HUD) is used frequently in third and first person video games to portray information to the player to further immerse them into the game that they are playing. Examples of some feedback on the interface would be the players health, world map, chat log and other features that can be added into the interface.
Some games such as World of Warcraft and Star Wars The Old Republic the user is able to tweak the interface and what type of feedback that the game gives the player during their play time because of in-game add on’s that are available for video games like this.
A UI that is cluttered will cause the game to become frustrating and not usable to users that enjoy seeing different environments and beautiful character models within the game compared to seeing a cluttered UI with writing all over your characters screen such as the example below. (This is not the default World of Warcraft UI)
Furthermore a UI that does not have any additional feedback on the screen will probably confuse players as to where they are going or what their objective is within the game because there would not be any map, objective text etc.
For my main example I have chosen to use Blizzard Entertainment’s card game Hearthstone this is because the players UI is very colourful and it clearly stands out to let you know what is going on within the game at anytime. The player feedback that the player should be watching is the card turn overs, deck, hero, and opponents hero at any given time during a Hearthstone match up.
Furthermore this is not a clustered UI compared to what other user interfaces could be such as TitanFall’s UI which is cluttered with different things but it’s not Hearthstones objective to have a lot of words and long descriptions going around the screen it has been build to be simple but informative to what’s going on in the match up.
————————————————— Perspective ————————————————
Perspective is how the camera angle or the player angel it portrayed within the video game, there are a few different camera angles any given game could go for whether that be first person, third person or isometric view in-game.
A first person perspective within a video game is when you see out of the characters eyes and you normally only see your characters arms and what they are carrying whether that be a gun in the case of the Call of Duty franchise. This perspective is mainly used within shooters to create a feeling of immersion within the game to help the players delve into the world they are adventuring through. Example of first person perspective below:
Third person is similar in ways to first person but completely different because compared to first person within third person you get a full character view will allows the users to see what the character is going in the virtual world. Third person perspective is mainly used for MMO’s and other console games like Gear of War which allow the users to see the whole of their character, examples of this would be Guild Wars and Rift.
Omnipresent normally refereed to as the ‘birds eye view’ because the user see’s the game from above the map and not on the ground or from the side the user gets a full image of the whole area because the camera angle is above a farm, town or city depends on what game the user would be playing.
Furthermore it is debated between players whether or not an omnipresent perspective is good because it can ruin some of the immersion because of that god like feel because the user/player is watching over a certain town, city, land etc.
Context sensitive is when the camera angle of a video game changes depending on the situation within the video game at one given time. An example of this would be in the mobile game Temple Run which changes it’s camera angel depending on what obstacle that the game faces you with. Finally the camera angle in most video games may change due to an in-game cinematic or a escort mission with the game.
——————————————————- FMV ——————————————————
An in-game or out of game cinematic is there to portray the emotion and character within the storyline of the video game or expansion set, this also helps strengthen the bond between the players and the characters within the game because the players start to become more attached to the characters because they have either seen another cinematic of them or they already know of them and have learnt more about them in a cinematic trailer such as the Warcraft one’s.
There are two types of cinematics whether that be a pre-rendered cinematic that has been finished outside of the game ready to be played out in game without the players character in it to expand or progress the overall storyline. In addition we have a cutscene which is of an event happening in-game which shows the players character how it looks in the game and it may even include your character in the process of the overall cinematic by interactive with other characters or just standing their to make the player feel immersed into the storyline because their character is in the in-game cutscene.
Pre-rendered cinematic example –
Cutscene example –