What makes an immersive gameplay experiance?

iNv|eKCommiNv|eKComm Posts: 394Player
edited April 2015 in General Discussion
Lets talk about the word Immersion. I think we're terribly mislead into think immersion somehow amounts to how much sudo realism (effects that simulate real life experience) we can pack into a video game. I think that idea of an immersive experience is very ill informed. One of Americas Army's biggest issues is the failure to differentiate an immersive gameplay experience from the attempted simulation of reality. They are not one of the same and we need to desperately stop acting like they are. Right now there is too much BS that gets in the way of good gameplay.
  • Over the top camera shaking
  • Over the top suppression effects
  • Flashes / nades felt through walls? (seriously?)
  • Outrageous muffling effects

I'll argue that these "features" detach the user from the game. AA2 had major strides in this department. It kept the user in control and in the game. It promoted skill over random. Just as rumble packs did not make console games more immersive these features do not make this game more immersive.
Immersion IS NOT making a players screen shake for two seconds after they get naded and muffling their sound.
Immersion IS letting them know they were hit and how hard they were hit with a quick flash of red (or somthing of that sort).
Immersion IS NOT making it so a player cannot hear their surroundings.
Immersion IS giving them the ability to properly perceive and understand their surroundings so that they may actually fight back.
Immersion IS NOT making a players screen shake because a grenade exploded INSIDE the building next to him. Immersion is providing a sound.
Immersion IS NOT blurring the whole screen of a player when an enemy is shooting in his general direction (and missing)
Immersion IS providing proper tracers and sound ques for the player to find the enemy that is shooting him

Immersion IS providing the user with control and awareness of themselves and the world they are being placed in.
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Comments

  • [ENG]Uni-Sol[ENG]Uni-Sol Posts: 3,193Player
    edited April 2015
    Immersion is what you feel when you play, how a game can grab you and its ability to hold you in a state of concentration that literally makes you 'feel' immersed in it. For example, if I'm playing a game, be it this game or any other.. I know I'm immersed in it when my Mrs is virtually shouting at me and I'm simply not hearing a word she is saying.. it's what gets me in trouble 99% of the time and why she hates my gaming habit :lol:

    Ultimately, what's valued as immersive for one person is not always for another.. Everyone likes different things and to get to a level of immersion you have to first enjoy it. If you don't enjoy it.. then it's game over.

    Generally if a game is good and to your tastes, your ultimately gonna get immersed and get that sense of the game being immersive :)
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  • iNv|eKCommiNv|eKComm Posts: 394Player
    ohhboy
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  • Keebler750Keebler750 Posts: 3,607Beta Tester
    edited April 2015
    To me, believability matters. This is a game produced by the US Army. A huge part of why many of us tried out this game.

    In a war zone, I believe that if a grenade went off somewhere near me and I managed to not get hurt, I'd have my bell seriously rung and would need to shake it off before I was back up to full fighting capability.

    How do you model that in a computer game? If the grenade DIDN'T affect you, it would be LESS immersive, IMO. Not saying it's perfect right now, but it has to start somewhere.

    As to some of your other points, I think sometimes the immersion is about NOT KNOWING everything that is going on...just like a real battlefield. THAT is immersive.
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  • iNv|eKCommiNv|eKComm Posts: 394Player
    Keebler750 wrote: »
    To me, believability matters. This is a game produced by the US Army. A huge part of why many of us tried out this game.

    In a war zone, I believe that if a grenade went off somewhere near me and I managed to not get hurt, I'd have my bell seriously rung and would need to shake it off before I was back up to full fighting capability.

    How do you model that in a computer game? If the grenade DIDN'T affect you, it would be LESS immersive, IMO. Not saying it's perfect right now, but it has to start somewhere.

    As to some of your other points, I think sometimes the immersion is about NOT KNOWING everything that is going on...just like a real battlefield. THAT is immersive.

    Try reading again more closely.
    Immersion IS NOT making a players screen shake because a grenade exploded INSIDE the building next to him.

    I'm talking about effects from nades and flashes through solid buildings and walls. Read harder plz. Believability to the point of degrading a player ability to play the game is bad. Good games don't do this. Good games give the player necessary feedback to let them know they were hit (this necessary feedback is where the dev's can have a little bit of creative input) but it should be extremely short lived. A la AA2, CS, etc...

    As for everything else, im aware some player like the roll of the dice sometimes. Some player like rounding a corner at the perfect time to find a player disoriented to get an easy kill. Some people like it easy. But others will take the even fight and game of witts. Those kills are the most rewarding. Those kills DRIVE games to the top. Random destroys games in their infancy and this community has already been very accepting of random so far but we need to draw a line. Reducing these silly special effects would work wonders for the growth of a decent player base.
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  • `xinoN`xinoN Posts: 359Player
    I could live with the suppressive effects if they were reduced... it's like you're being pointed by the devil when you're under suppressive fire. It's like you are Frodo from Lord of the rings and you use the ring.
    Oh well.
  • SOPMODSOPMOD Posts: 230Player
    edited April 2015
    I agree the suppression effects are over the top. They shouldn't affect the player's ability to react effectively, if they are capable to do so. There was a thread about this a long time ago but i can't find it.

    The aesthetics of the game, the HUD and the audio does more for immersion than forced effects, like suppression, that impact your control instead of your perception.
  • SithHunterSithHunter Posts: 109Player
    SOPMOD wrote: »
    I agree the suppression effects are over the top. They shouldn't affect the player's ability to react effectively, if they are capable do to so. There was a thread about this a long time ago but i can't find it.

    The aesthetics of the game, the HUD and the audio does more for immersion than forced effects, like suppression, that impact your control instead of your perception.

    I totally agree, I would love to see the amount of suppression effects lowered. Right now firing in a 1 on 1 scenario can end up easily with both sides seeing nothing.
  • [ENG]Uni-Sol[ENG]Uni-Sol Posts: 3,193Player
    edited April 2015
    ohhboy

    ohhboy what?

    You want me/people to agree to your idea of a good game? all that was is a list of wants and don't wants, under the cover of the word immersion.. indicating what would make the game better for 'you'. That's how it reads.

    Not saying there's anything wrong with that, but it's a wish list. I saw no need to bring immersion into it. Immersion is achieved differently by the personal tastes of individuals. For example..

    You don't like screen shake? why, it makes it harder for you to shoot people back? I should hope it would! Me? I think it adds to the feel of being in a gunfight or the shock from an explosive going off near me. It's the games way of telling you your in trouble, or danger. Same could be said for suppression effects.

    I think you want a point and click, laser accurate FPS? with no penalties to shooting or getting shot at? didn't we try that already and it sucked?
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  • Keebler750Keebler750 Posts: 3,607Beta Tester
    Hey, Uni...you must have "read harder" than I did. I think you understand EXACTLY what he meant!
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  • SacchoSaccho Posts: 1,577Player
    edited April 2015
    The best definition of immersion I've seen is in line with Uni's comment from earlier -- "the state of consciousness when an immersant's awareness of physical self is diminished or lost by being surrounded in an engrossing total environment".

    The problem for me is that I find things like the suppression screen-shake/double-vision hugely immersion-breaking. Trying to hit an easy shot, knowing that I can't because I can't tell where I'm aiming through the gray hazy double vision, completely takes me out of the game. So where Uni-Sol feels like he now knows he's in a gunfight, I feel much more aware that "the game's doing this to me".

    I feel immersed in a game, completely focused on what's going on, when there's clear communication between the game and myself. For me, that means:
    • My actions are always interpreted correctly: actions like vaulting work flawlessly and only when intended; I don't have to think about how to swap to the gun I want to have equipped; if I want to secure an enemy or activate the objective or grab a gun, the game gets it right on the first attempt.
    • Sound is understandable: events near me are loud and clear and, with increasing distance and occlusion, they ramp down in volume and clarity. This is where we've seen complaints about footsteps "disappearing" past a cutoff distance, for example, or some of the concerns over the HDR effects this weekend with the opt-in.
    • Visual effects communicate what's happening without interfering excessively with my actions. For example, I'd prefer that the suppression visual effects be strong at the edge of the screen and weak at the center, allowing me to see what I'm doing. The current suppression system makes the outcome of some fights feel very random to me. For me, suppression effectiveness is about knowing somebody's firing somewhere and choosing not to poke my head around that corner, not strong visual effects that prevent me from having a real choice.


    Keebler -- I totally get what you're saying about realism's connection to immersion. I think the direction I (and probably EKComm, too) are going is that some attempts to simulate realism can end up breaking a player's sense of immersion instead of enhancing it. A lot of that, I think, can come down to how those attempts at simulation break the player's ability to be attentive to key elements of the game.

    One way of approaching "immersion" is as a gamer's progression from engagement (learning controls & interface) into engrossment (learning what to pay attention to and what to ignore) into total immersion (forgetting about the real world).

    If you want to get users through that series of steps, "feelings of being in control, that one is performing well (as indicated by positive feedback) and an optimal degree of challenge were found to be critical".

    Good article for those really interested in the topic and that influenced this post:
    http://www.eludamos.org/index.php/eludamos/article/viewArticle/vol5no1-3/html3
  • =IK=Doba==IK=Doba= Posts: 2,789Player
    I don't even read BC's posts anymore I just hit like ... :blush:
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  • 4DChessGenius4DChessGenius Posts: 2,157Player
    edited April 2015
    I think saying, hey make it like games used to be back in 2000 isn't going to fly. I don't mind there being effects... Although I think movies have had too much of an influence on how games try to add realistic aspects to games. I mean we all remember the darkness and red we used to see when we were nearing death. It's too much to put into a game. However, there are some practical effects that can be "immersive" while not impacting the gameplay experience as much.

    For suppression... get rid of the blur and all that stuff. Instead, increase the sound of the cracking and whooshing bullets passing by your head (not to the point where it's the only thing you can hear though). Also, slightly decrease CEM when unsighted and when sighted increase breathing rate a small amount (either speed or distance of crosshair movement). It would be a much more realistic reaction to bullets passing you anyway. Increased breathing due to stress/anxiety/fear. That would be more immersive than suddenly going blind because someone's shooting at me.

    Grenades. While shaking does make sense. I mean let's be honest, a big explosion or even a tree falling nearby will shake everything. However, it makes the grenade thrower have a bit of an advantage (as if grenades weren't powerful enough already) since everything is shaking now and it makes it difficult to aim. Instead, just have a temporary ringing in the ears. What needs to be noted is just because your ears are ringing doesn't mean that you shouldn't be able to hear everything else that's going on around you. If you go to a loud concert your ears may be ringing afterwards, but you aren't completely deaf. You can still hear what's going on, just with a ringing added in.
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  • -=}WoLvErInE{=--=}WoLvErInE{=- Posts: 1,159Beta Tester
    =IK=Doba= wrote: »
    I don't even read BC's posts anymore I just hit like ...

    I still read them. He has many good points, just not sure from time to time he gets possessed. ;) :p
  • IO_i_OIIO_i_OI Posts: 1,107Player
    I am looking for realism too. So you have to consider "adrenalin" during combat. Time seems to go slower yet your focus is much more sharp. That's why we remember such vivid detail during a moment of crisis. I would like it if everything went into slow-motion from the effects of a nade or flashbang. Now that's Immersion!

    Maybe in 10 more computing years...
  • Keebler750Keebler750 Posts: 3,607Beta Tester
    edited April 2015
    "Immersion" to me means "being in it."

    In this context I see BCPull's example of vaulting as something that has potential to pull you OUT of the game if it doesn't work properly. In real life, if you were about to jump over something while concentrating on some target beyond, you could do both because you know your body well. If suddenly, that vault didn't work properly, you'd lose focus on the target beyond, and focus on the object you were vaulting over. This would pull you OUT of your task and have potentially dangerous consequences. Likewise, in the game, it makes sense for our interactions with the virtual world to be seamless so they can be as real as possible and leave us immersed in what we are doing.

    In the case of suppressive fire, there is a different aspect here. It is SUPPOSED to affect you. In the article BCPull referenced, we see...

    [quote] [i] Fencott (1999) suggests that, in the sense of being in the virtual world, presence has a cognitive basis and is the 'direct result of perception rather than [physically-based] sensation [and] [u] the mental constructions that people build from stimuli are more important than the stimuli themselves [/u] '. [/i] [/quote]

    I submit that suppression effects make it difficult to respond to your opponent by trying to make us feel the confusion of a violent encounter. The effect on screen makes it more difficult to respond in lieu of an actual physical or psychological stimulus. It is the true cost of being suppressed in the game. If we could continue to do what we were doing with full effect, there would be no cost. We could safely ignore it.

    Imagine there were no physics or environmental effects in the game. No recoil, instantaneous reloads, laser accuracy, no flash grenades....hey, maybe even no gun sounds or footsteps or wind. Who would want to play that? The reason we want those things is twofold: we want to be challenged, and we want to feel IN the game. We want immersion. Since it's a virtual world, there is a great risk of having game elements that do not add to the experience, since they can safely be ignored. You can't FEEL what's happening so we can reduce what we're doing to a few simple actions.

    We all know what it's like to continue playing with virtual bullets flying all around us. We ignore them, knowing its just a video game. Suppression is designed to IMMERSE us by creating a simulated effect that we can't ignore...just like real bullets would.

    Of course, YMMV.....:)



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  • [ENG]Uni-Sol[ENG]Uni-Sol Posts: 3,193Player
    edited April 2015
    I get stupidly immersed in video games, some games more than others.. especially more so when playing a good RPG. I get immersed easily doing something I enjoy, a book I can put down.. a movie I can pause or even miss a bit to go to the bathroom, but in a game.. well.. I'm too darn busy living the moment to care much about real life, is that bad?.. the pee (food or whatever) can wait until I bite the bullet or finish the level.

    I let them grab me because I enjoy being grabbed by them, always have since the early 90's :)
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  • 4DChessGenius4DChessGenius Posts: 2,157Player
    I don't think the suppression effect has any kind of influence in creating the "confusion of battle" though. The main purpose of it, from what I can gather, is to prevent a player from attempting to come out into an area where an enemy is firing and one shotting them in the face while under suppressive fire. Making it more difficult to see the enemy accomplishes that in a sense.

    The fact that you're getting shot at, hearing bullets flying close to your head and such would create the required effect. Blurring your vision doesn't do that.
    You joined the world's greatest army to become a graphic artist? Outstanding!
  • .shhfiftyfive-.shhfiftyfive- Posts: 495Player
    Keebler750 wrote: »
    I submit that suppression effects make it difficult to respond to your opponent by trying to make us feel the confusion of a violent encounter. The effect on screen makes it more difficult to respond in lieu of an actual physical or psychological stimulus. It is the true cost of being suppressed in the game. If we could continue to do what we were doing with full effect, there would be no cost. We could safely ignore it.
    sadly, this game doesn't have that cracking sound of accurate gunfire passing by you (well it was there in the early beta almost 2 years ago but it was removed for some reason...) that is what the game needs, not screen blur.
    -
    if some enemy is shooting in my general direction or deploying ordnance in my ao, it is my job to grow a sack and return fire and hold the line and protect my men before things get worse.
    -
    this game forces me to wait out the screen effects imposed on me that are not even capable of harming me (i am behind complete cover), which means i am unable to do my job. unable to hold that line. automatic forfeit. unacceptable.
    -
    if i don't wait for the effects to subside then i am inflicted with god awful blinding blur. it does not represent my combat effectiveness at all. my eye sight and my brain should be working. that is the moment which all your training has prepared you for. and this game totally misses the mark in capturing that moment. undeniably so.
    -
    keebler, you of all people should know, since i've seen you discuss muscle memory and reflexes and such when firing at a range irl. ....none of these screen effects are immersive or representative of what your eyes or brain and reflexes and training prepares you to overcome loss of focus. the screen blur ruins that moment completely.
    -
    what i want is to be suppressed with cracking sound of bullets nearly hitting me, (not loss of eye sight) to increase my adrenaline and heighten my focus even further. not the opposite.
    -
    and explosions (and my own weapon firing) should give my ears a ring but should not render me deaf. this is not immersive or realistic. you of all people should know that. me too. i mean how nonsensical would it be to believe that firing from an Abrams tank would render it's own crew deaf and unable to communicate firing orders, right? i mean it is loud, but not deafening to the point of becoming combat ineffective. but this game simulates this hdr where you become deaf to your surrounding as you fire your own weapon? a soldier so deaf from his own gunfire that he can't hear the firing orders coming from his superiors? is that what you are advocating? because that is what we're seeing in this opt-in right now with the HDR.
    -
    in game, my enemy should not get a massive advantage over me and my team simply by unskillfully fragging or firing in my general area with no chance of even harming me, but rather just to inflict a blur on my screen, just knowing the screen effects are so bad and lengthy it will severely handicap my response, and allow them to capitalize on my ineffectiveness for that time period, take my skills and training out of the equation, and render me an ineffective combatant.
    -
    i'm all for flashbangs filling this role (rendering the target ineffective), but in general all the other stuff filling this role is just out of control, unrealistic, uncharacteristic, and completely out of place.
  • -syk.cj^-syk.cj^ Posts: 4Player
    edited April 2015
    It seems like many people here have their own view of what immersion is, at least in this game. For me, control of movement and sound feedback are most important. Screen shaking or haziness has no effect on the game's immersion for me, but it shows an effort the devs are doing to make the game more realistic.

    It is a game. There is only so much realism you can do. Suppression so far is on point, don't try to remove it (the effects so far are fine). Its not like in "real life" you are suppressed and decide f*** it, I'm getting out of cover and rambo'in all you b***es. Instead of being rambo, you use comms, then your teammate understands and then tries to draw fire away from you allowing you to shoot back or rush.

    As for nades, again, relatively on point. If you are near a nade when it goes off, you will have your screen shake and hear ringing. Isn't that what is supposed to happen? Be thankful you are not dead. Now scramble for cover and heal yourself.

    Oh and I agree with Uni-Sol. Somewhat.
    Don't like it? Go play COD or CS:GO, its much easier. If you think AA2 was the last great AA game, go build a time machine and go back in time when people are still playing aa2. Also probably invest in certain stocks or pick certain lottery numbers. Increase dat quality of life.
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