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Op Ed

Gamasutra - The First-Person Immersion Myth.
Are first-person games inherently more immersive? A lot of developers seem to presume that they are, but let’s take a second look. Consider the last time you felt like you actually were the character in a game you played. I’d be willing to guess that most people will say “never.” We don’t generally take on the role of the character we’re playing, except as children in imaginary play.

What most of us do is identify with the character -- and how can you identify with a character you can’t see, a character who usually doesn’t even talk or have any opinions about the horrible things going on around him? This goes back to the “silent hero” dilemma that has existed ever since role-playing made its way into the electronic world, notoriously perpetuated by the Japanese console RPG.

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10. Re: Op Ed Sep 5, 2009, 14:45 Jerykk
 
As for the whole "silent protagonist" thing (cough, Gordon Freeman), I fucking *hate* it, and the article touches on why it is so wrong

I agree that not being able to talk in HL detracts from the immersion but this doesn't have anything to do with perspective. He still wouldn't be able to talk in third-person and the external perspective would make it even less immersive.

First-person is always more immersive than third-person because it most closely resembles how we see the world ourselves. There are obviously other factors that contribute to immersion like graphics, sound, story, gameplay, etc, but when you look at perspective alone, I really don't see how anyone can argue that third-person is more immersive.
 
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9. Silent heroes in Japanese RPGs? Sep 5, 2009, 14:41 Charlie_Six
 
I've played quite a few Japanese-made RPGs and none of them had any silent heroes as the player's character. What is he referring to?

Anyway, I prefer first person games for the immersiveness, too. I just wish more genres would take the first person approach. I'm tired of shooters making up 95% of first person games. It'd be great if we could get a truly excellent first person RTS game, for example. I thought the Battlezone games were on the right track.

There's just something more exciting about seeing that giant tank you just built in the factory... actually get built right in front of your eyes, on the ground level. Instead of just popping out like a little McDonald's toy from a bird's eye view.

 
Adventures of a video game mercenary
http://virtualmerc.blogspot.com
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8. Re: Op Ed Sep 5, 2009, 08:32 Shadowcat
 
"my opinion counts as scientific fact!"
Erm, it's quite explicitly an opinion. Nothing more, nothing less, and neither the author nor the magazine attempt to say otherwise.
 
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7. Re: Op Ed Sep 4, 2009, 18:47 space captain
 
"i hate 1st person perspective, therefore it sucks! blah blah blah."

immersion myth? gimme a break man

"my opinion counts as scientific fact!"

Sleeping

 
Go forth, and kill!
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6. Re: Op Ed Sep 4, 2009, 16:26 PHJF
 
Perspective doesn't really mean anything if the presentation is right. While Mirrors Edge was fine and all, platformers like Prince of Persia benefit greatly by allowing the user to see every jump, swing and physics-defying feat.


As for the whole "silent protagonist" thing (cough, Gordon Freeman), I fucking *hate* it, and the article touches on why it is so wrong:

We don’t generally take on the role of the character we’re playing, except as children in imaginary play.

It's completely unrealistic and serves only to distance the player character from his respective world, REDUCING immersion.
 
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Steam + PSN: PHJF
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5. Re: Op Ed Sep 4, 2009, 15:29 Wowbagger_TIP
 
First-person is pretty much always more immersive than 3rd person or other views. After that, it's just a matter of how well the game lets you make the decisions and how everything reacts to you that determines the immersion level. Something like Oblivion or FO3 feels much more immersive to me than something like Tomb Raider or Dead Space.  
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"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell (I think...)
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4. Re: Op Ed Sep 4, 2009, 13:19 Aero
 
I could go either way on this one actually. It depends in part on how well the first person perspective is done. The good ones make you feel the mass of your character and somehow the movement feels more natural. The bad ones, of course, make you feel like you're flying a camera around.

Not so long ago I was thinking about immersion in first person shooters and I think my biggest problem is that I've grown too accustomed to them like they were pure arcade games. I don't really look at the environment, I just subconsciously note where all of the cover spots are, where enemies are likely to pop up, which directions I can go and that sort of thing--like a "level" rather than a world. Instead of looking at it as though it were a real place, I look at it as though through the eyes of the level designer. I'm not so much thinking "which way should I go?" so much as I am "which way am I supposed to go?"

I sometimes think about all of the intricate little details built into the scenery of the levels, and that most all of the time I just sprint by it without really even seeing it.

I think how cool it must be for someone who has never played a game like this and doesn't just automatically see all of the seams and smoke and mirrors. They see a house on the side of the road in COD and see it as a house, whereas I just see it as a flat bit of scenery acting as a wall to funnel me in the right direction.
 
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3. Re: Op Ed Sep 4, 2009, 12:25 Jerykk
 
Almost all first-person games have this sort of silent character, one whose only interaction with others is usually taking orders until they turn their backs, and then just shooting and collecting things. That doesn’t seem inherently immersive to me. It can be, but it isn’t necessarily, as is often assumed. Western RPGs like Fallout 3 (or earlier games like Ultima IV) do a somewhat better job by at least allowing the player to make some dialog choices -- but still, the character isn’t you.

I don't agree with the author at all. Obviously I don't believe I'm actually in the game but if I have a first-person perspective, I feel like I'm more in the game than if I were watching a character from behind. Horror games, for example, are far more immersive in first-person than third-person. Considering that the author didn't like first-person games until Halo 2, his opinion is pretty worthless.
 
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2. Re: Op Ed Sep 4, 2009, 11:58 Jonny
 
1st person is more immersive when they give the part you're playing a character. I remember Bridge Commander, when they made the captain a blank slate. Instead of being immersive it just ended up with you feeling like a ghost floating around the bridge that everyone ignored. Especially when people would call up on the viewscreen thingy and completely ignore the captain while nattering to the 1st officer.

But yeah, when are the going to give us 1st person for Dead Space? I'm fine with 3rd person usually, but I find that off to one side viewpoint thorougly offputting.
 
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1. Re: Op Ed Sep 4, 2009, 10:21 wtf_man
 
1st Person is much more immersive to me, for most games.

I pretty much hate ASSCAM 3rd... and REALLY can't stand "over-the-shoulder" 3rd. (Any Dead Space 1st person Mods out yet?)

I don't want to "identify with the character" or be a "puppet master"... I want to feel like *I* am there.

Not everyone feels that way, I know... but that's why it is important to develop CHOICE in the fucking settings. (Got that??? Visceral Games!!!)

...yeah I'm still pissed about that one.
 
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