When developing my ideas for Stoneheart Bleeds I created several scenario prototypes to test the factors that effect the mechanics under different circumstances. There were several questions I needed to explore:
- What are the effective ranges to engage different enemy types and how do they effect both the challenge and intensity?
- What is the best disposition for cover? What size and arrangement will deliver the most interesting fire fight?
- How can I control the Ai, either implicitly or explicitly, through use of control zones and animation points?
Here are some of the scenarios I created and the information I gather from them.
By Stealth and by Guile
Far Cry’s basic stealth mechanics are secondary to, and designed to support, the combat mechanics. They aren’t an avoidance mechanic as they are in games that are drive by stealth mechanics as their primary gameplay. They are a tool for a skillful player to gain a combat advantage.
I created a stealth encounter to explore the nuances of how this stealth system works and determine if I could create a map for the Journey game mode where the player starts unarmed and vulnerable. Could a scenario be created that is more about evasion and survival, and still be fun within the confines of Far Cry’s mechanics?
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Fire and Manoeuvre
The principal tactic of a modern infantry firefight is the ‘fire and manoeuvre’, performed as a squad or individually. An excellent example of this tactic can be seen in the bank heist ending of the film ‘Heat‘, which was choreographed by former SAS troopers, or Bravo-Two-Zero.
The principles of the ‘fire and manoeuvre’ are simple. Take cover and place effective fire on an enemy position. Identify another position of cover that you can used to advance in the desired direction. Move to this cover and begin firing again.
I created a scenario to explore the cover system in Far Cry and determine the factors that effected, for both the player and the Ai, so I could create an encounter with fun and interesting firefights.
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Your back is against the wall, you’ve got nowhere left to run to, and there’s a relentless wave of enemies attacking you. This simple scenario occurs in many games and is an easy way of creating an encounter with escalating tension and intensity. But it’s also easy to get wrong.
I created a test level to see how this scenario could be created in Far Cry and to figure out the factors that would effect the balancing. The Editor doesn’t allow for a tightly scripted scenario as Far Cry is an open world game, but perhaps I could nudge the game into doing what I wanted.
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