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GTA V "On-rails" Character Control Sequences

A short article to bring attention to GTA V on-rails moments, and how they help the game.

A full time engineering day job plus evening and weekend game development do not leave many hours for playing video games, but with GTA V out on PC I knew that I needed to make time.  Rockstar's latest release is a terrific single-player experience.  The varied environments are all wonderfully detailed, and the story is fantastic.

Recently in the game I was walking through a building in the third person view, and I went up a flight of stairs.  As I approached a switchback the game rotated my character for me as I simply continued to push forward on my controller stick.  "Wow," I thought to myself, "that reminds me of my Toy Ninja VR controls."  From a third person perspective, stairs have the potential to be annoying to navigate.  The player could be frustrated by this and lose immersion in the game, so Rockstar coded in a short "on-rails" moment to head-off that difficulty.  The player can pull the character off of the rail by moving in a direction other than forward.

"On-rails" moments occur elsewhere in GTA V.  If the player is not immediately adjacent to a door when trying to enter a vehicle, their character will move to the nearest door.  This "on-rails" moment can be interrupted just like on the stairs.  These moments are not very long, but they help the immersion by giving the playable characters a small amount of intelligence beyond player input.  Small details like this increase the quality of the game immensely.  It is no wonder to me that GTA V was the fastest entertainment property to gross One Billion Dollars.

 

This article was originally published here.

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