Thursday, June 14, 2007

'Realism' in (War) Games

There are many titles based on popular historic (World War 2) conflicts that claim to be 'realistic', though none really come within a hairs breadth of 'realism'. No sir, I don't think the typical 101st airborne grunt strafed, jumped into mid air then hit the floor prone and nocked out a German soldier with a headshot using a Karabiner 98K he had swiped three minutes ago.

When a developer says 'realistic World War 2' simulation he really means to say is 'the Germans speak German and the Americans speak American' (or something to that effect) 'oh and the Karbiner 98k is pin point accurate and gets one shot one kills everytime and you can't reload the M1 Garand until you've used up a clip', of course if you're really lucky they might add 'if a grenade explodes near you, you'll experience a disorienting effect, we have also implemented a cover system to provide maximum interaction with your environment'.

In Day of Defeat: Source if a grenade explodes near you but doesn't kill you your screen will go still with the last image you saw, the sound may also temporarily turn off. The question is, 'how realistic is this?'. If a greande did go off near you and gives you such a trauma to the point you're virtually blinded and deaf would you still be able to run around? Or would you fall to the floor in some way shape or form? It's an impact trauma, it's meant to push you in some way.

The cover systems used in games thusfar make no sense from a realistic stand point. Why is it than in games such as 'Rainbow Six: Vegas' that use a very developed (and cool) cover system does the camera go from first person to third person? When a person is in cover they don't usually see around corners, wheres the realism in that? I understand that it might have something to do with orientation for the player but even so, developers should find another way to provide said orientation when in cover.

Now to add to that, online Multiplayer games suck when it comes to squads, single player can get away with scripting and AI but online just plain old sucks. It isn't that if in a typical 'realistic' online multiplayer game the team actually works like a squad they end up losing - quite the opposite, it's just that people play online multiplayer games because they want to have fun, and they won't have fun if they do what someone else wants them to do.

I'm not one to just say how bad everything is without giving suggestions as to how things can be improved. I think the best way to solve the issue of the 'every man for himself syndrome' is by giving people their own mini AI-squads in online multiplayer games. Have them play the leader of a three man team, given the other two players will be controlled by the computer it will mean that they will listen to the orders of their commanding player, after all bots play to make the player happy. This will literally force players to use team work, granted it will be with AI bots but it will get people used to the idea of issuing and perhaps even recieving commands which can naturally extend to other human players.

Now finally, my biggest qualm with 'realistic' shooters. Why no gore? If someone dies from an explosion right next to him why does he fly three hundred feet into the air and lands in a ditch on the other side of the map yet is still in one piece with no bruises or signs of trauma? I want 'Saving Private Ryan' type gore, I want to see peoples limbs fly off and see them alive but incapable of doing anything about it, I want to see guts spilling when a person gets stabbed, I want to see tanks squash enemies, not push them away. We have advanced physics engines these days, we can literally simulate water but we can't simulate blood and flying limbs? What kind of world is this?

Before people try to bury me in a tidal of 'you idiot!' or 'it's just a game!' or 'maybe you just suck at online games!' (yeah ok, so I do) I want to make it absoloutely clear I have nothing against games like Gears of War or Brothers in Arms or Day of Defeat: Source. They do what they do really well - entertain. However I want them to entertain me more than they already do, I like to be immersed in a world and am willing to suck badly in a game so long as I find it authentic, to that end I have these gripes with games that claim to be 'realistic' but aren't close enough to 'real' to satisfy my lust for realism.


Anonymous said...

the kind of realism you want isn't real either. guts don't spill in real life when someone gets stabbed. blood doesn't fly. real life mutilation is not as gory as you think it is. you've been watching too many Tarantino movies or playing to many Mortal Kombat games.

Nathan said...

Ever played Red Orchestra? The developers created everything to be extremely accurate to the real world counterparts of weapons and grenades. It sucked. Get shot once and you're dead and reloads take 7-12 seconds. The thing if a game was too realistic it just wouldn't be fun. Ow, shot in the arm, in real life, I'd probably drop to the ground in pain unless I was playing Extreme Airsoft 2: Yellow Pellets Abound. People want to have close shots, big explosions, powerful weapons, and fun gameplay, and I hate the lean mechanics is most FPS because It makes me stare at the muddy textures of a wall before I can lean out and blast downrange at someone. Your revolution will come, and it will probably surprise you because you won't recognize it when you first play.

Aaron said...

In regard to gore, reality is.... if a main artery gets cut, the blood gushes out 8-15 feet because the heart is such a strong pump. Reality is... if you get shot in the belly, that often means you're immobilized because your stomach swells to three times its normal size. In some cases, reality is indeed more mild (if you lose a finger, it probably won't bleed as much as in movies), but it might be safe to say reality is usually more gruesome. (I learned this from watching a medical trauma reality series on TV years ago)

Saving Private Ryan is about as brutal as most Americans can stand (many couldn't), and even that only touches on realism. I don't pretend to know how our culture came to ban much of realism in fiction, but it is banned. Slasher flicks have to place much of their violence off-camera to avoid an NC-17 rating (to remain mainstream). And games will generally be held to a higher standard than films or books in this regard, because they are interactive.

Most gamers aren't really interested in realistic combat, I think, because ultimately this cultural outlook is a part of them, too. Some may appreciate it only as an abstract idea. I don't expect realism in this way anytime in the coming decades, if ever.

Anonymous said...

you can make a game real you can just give the impression of being real