Friday, 19 August 2011

HL 2 Weapon Fatigue

Weapon Fatigue

One thing I learned from a recent map testing session was that players actually got annoyed by the sound of their own gun if fired too often. The repetitive sound of the shotgun every few seconds as they capped another zombie grated on them.

What I discovered was that players would switch weapon, not because it was a more effective weapon against an enemy, they switched weapons also to add variety to gameplay and sounds.

I've learned that if you give the player at least two weapons at any one time their feeling about a map changes dramatically. The map seems more interactive, more dynamic because the player can engage the enemy in a number of ways.

This is worth noting if you're intending to use lots of the same NPC in one area. Due to the fact that there tends to be an optimum weapon for each NPC, if you use lots of one NPC type in one area, the player will be tempted to use that same weapon over and over. As a result, that particular gunfire sound is going to start to really grate after a while.

So how can you prevent this weapon fatigue?
By making the player engage the enemies in different ways.

The shotgun is fairly ineffective at a distance. The SMG ia also pretty useless at a distance.

The magnum is crap against fast moving NPCs like fast headcrabs.

The zoom on the crossbow is risky to use if you could be attacked by a melee class NPC.

The rocket launcher is slow to reload and dangerous at close range.

The AR2 is probably the best all round weapon so keep the ammo scarce.

The grav gun is wayyy powerful so limit the prop physics in some areas.

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