In the latest feature for Gamasutra sister educational site Game Career Guide
, Patrick Congdon, a computer science student at the University of Nebraska, outlines his top ten design musts for first person shooters from conversations at his university.
In this excerpt, Congdon says one of the most important rules of first person shooter design is that the player must always be aware of their objective:
"• If the player truly understands what they need to do, even if they don’t know exactly where to go, they will decide upon the best course of action, and will be given the freedom to review their plan or adapt to changes in the task set before them.
Example: Metroid Prime 2: Echoes. The player is occasionally given pointers to the area to investigate next, but no information on how to get there. The world of Aether is open to a large degree of exploration, scattered with clues that can be easily reviewed when they become relevant.
• Making players wander the halls looking for the one switch, elevator, or undefeated enemy only serves as a reminder that the game is waiting for the player to finish.
Example: Quake 4. Chaotic Stroggos or not, Kane has the hardest time activating elevators, torso delivery systems, or jet engines. Even turning on a barrel delivery system requires a fifteen minute detour, which is enough time for his ally to be removed from combat. However, regardless of their purpose, they can be found at the top of ladders or lifts, sometimes in places not even visible from what the panel activates.”
You can now read the full Game Career Guide feature
with more of Congdon's top ten first person shooter design rules, including how the game world should echo the real world (no registration required, please feel free to link to this column from external websites).