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Captain Toenail

Regenerating Health

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This ZDoom mod is a simple experiment to see how regenerating health, a gameplay mechanic accepted as the norm for modern shooters, effects the gameplay of Doom. All armour and health pickups except Berserk are removed from the map, and the player now takes 1.5 damage to compensate for regenerating health. Please tell me what it's like using it :)

http://forum.zdoom.org/download/file.php?id=10027

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I tested this out in Scythe maps 26 and 32, as well as a couple of the earlier maps, and the first thing that occurred to me is that it's difficult to gauge the effectiveness of the regeneration when you're continuously being one-shotted by Revenant missiles and Archvile blasts! Perhaps you should have left the armor in if you're still looking to balance out the regeneration with the damage factor.

From what I can tell, the regeneration only seems to be effective in close quarter, high action encounters. When faced with minimal opposition it's too easy to recover between taking hits and thus any real threat ends up being almost completely removed, whereas without the regeneration there is the knowing that the hits you take are the hits you might not be able to immediately recover from. Even with its only really being effective or engaging a dynamic when faced with tougher, closer encounters, it only detracts from the gameplay by allowing the player to continue dodging attacks and blasting demons rather than having to run to the nearest stimpack/medikit for a health top-up.

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Better still, remove the damagefactor and just leave the health out (as it's generally surplus to requirements, as I found when playing the wad below)

On a side note - Legacy of Suffering uses health regen, and I found it an interesting mechanic (at least with -fast) with different tactics to normal (probably encouraged as well by -fast).

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kristus said:

I absolutely loathe regenerating health.


Same, it encourages you to play defensively and to slow down the gameplay too much. Which is one of the reasons why I stopped playing modern 3d shooters all together. Not that this issue hasn't been discussed before on this site a thousand times already, though.

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That's true - with health giving items you can be forced to fight through the monsters in order to heal. However, with regeneration there's no reason to conserve health, only to refrain from taking too much damage at once.

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Yeah, And if you don't you'll be sitting with your thumb up your ass a lot while hiding and waiting for that stupid health to regenerate.

Regenerating health is an insipid mechanic that removes a huge part of resource management in game play. Health becomes meaningless. You might as well play with respawning items or IDDQD.

Regenerating health is for people who rather want an interactive movie than a game to play.

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I don't know about anyone else, but I get excited with situations where the odds are against you and your health is low, I get desperate and start playing aggressively as hell when my health starts dropping, in fear making a stupid mistake costing me even more health. My reflexes start getting faster, and I start pulling off more daring moves in hopes to make up for the lack of health. Granted I don't save, so the fact that there's more at stake enhances this.

As opposed to the style that I'm guilty of in modern games: hiding behind a crate, shooting, getting hit, waiting for health to recover, repeat.

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I suppose I should be thankful that my computer can't run modern FPS games then. I always liked the idea of keeping track of medkits you don't need at the moment. What's next, regenerating ammo? It's sad that game developing companies sell out to the greater market of casual gamers.

On-topic: I haven't tried the mod out yet.

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DeathevokatioN said:

I don't know about anyone else, but I get excited with situations where the odds are against you and your health is low, I get desperate and start playing aggressively as hell when my health starts dropping, in fear making a stupid mistake costing me even more health. My reflexes start getting faster, and I start pulling off more daring moves in hopes to make up for the lack of health. Granted I don't save, so the fact that there's more at stake enhances this.

As opposed to the style that I'm guilty of in modern games: hiding behind a crate, shooting, getting hit, waiting for health to recover, repeat.

This.
And also when I am running low on health. I take a second to evaluate my situation. What can I get and where can I get it? What do I need to do to get there? Basically, what are my options? The main mission becomes second priority for a while in favor of the new important mission, to stay alive.

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chopkinsca said:

What's next, regenerating ammo?


Already done... many, many years before regenerating health was first done; see the auto charge pistol in Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold. There's also the disruptor pistol in the first Unreal. More recently, one of the class upgrades in Borderlands gives you regenerating ammo.

Of course, there are also games which give you guns within infinite ammo, such as the blaster in Quake 2, the basic blaster in the Metroid games, and the pistol in Left 4 Dead. Oh, and one hell of a lot of RPGs (Knights of the Old Republic spring to mind).

EDIT: Mass Effect, too.

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NiGHTMARE said:

Already done... many, many years before regenerating health was first done; see the auto charge pistol in Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold. There's also the disruptor pistol in the first Unreal. More recently, one of the class upgrades in Borderlands gives you regenerating ammo.

Of course, there are also games which give you guns within infinite ammo, such as the blaster in Quake 2, the basic blaster in the Metroid games, and the pistol in Left 4 Dead. Oh, and one hell of a lot of RPGs (Knights of the Old Republic springs to mind).


There's also regenerating ammo in some wad called phocas island 2.

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BTW, it may be worth mentioning that medkits haven't entirely disappeared from modern games. There are a lot of games that feature a hybrid system, where health only regenerates to a set point or a certain amount, or where you have a regenerating shield but once it's depleted you permanently lose health. Chronicles of Riddick, Far Cry 2, FEAR 2, Killzone 2, and most of the Halo games (IIRC Halo 1, Halo 3, and Reach, but not Halo 2) are all examples of this.

Medkit only games are indeed extremely rare, though. The only recent shooters I can think of which fit into this category are the Left4Dead games; I think I remember someone from Valve saying they dislike the concept of regenerating health, and are unlikely to implement it in future titles (Portal apparently being an exception).

Another recent medkit-only game is Amensia: The Dark Descent, though that's a first person adventure than than an FPS. Not only does Amnesia feature health which doesn't regenerate (and can be restored via medkits), it also features sanity which doesn't regenerate (you gain it back at upon completing certain tasks).

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kristus said:

I absolutely loathe regenerating health.


Then don't use a mod that gives you regenerating health?

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NiGHTMARE said:

Already done... many, many years before regenerating health was first done; see the auto charge pistol in Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold. There's also the disruptor pistol in the first Unreal. More recently, one of the class upgrades in Borderlands gives you regenerating ammo.

This was definitely Syndicate Wars biggest weakness compared to it's predecessor. You would have weapons that emptied your ammo in 3 shots. Then you had to stay in hiding while the bar regenerated so you could take another three shots at the big ship that was looming overhead and killed you instantly in case you didn't kill it first. Doesn't make for very good game play.

While in Syndicate, you had a ammo stash for each weapon you owned and you had to replace said weapons during the mission if you wanted more ammo. That coul mean that you had to expose your agents to achieve this etc. The game play was a lot faster, and more nuanced.

bgraybr said:

Then don't use a mod that gives you regenerating health?

I didn't and I don't.

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I don't mind health regen when it's done right, like in Halo 1.

Fully regenerating health, like in Halo 2, is bullshit.

kristus said:

This was definitely Syndicate Wars biggest weakness compared to it's predecessor. You would have weapons that emptied your ammo in 3 shots. Then you had to stay in hiding while the bar regenerated so you could take another three shots at the big ship that was looming overhead and killed you instantly in case you didn't kill it first. Doesn't make for very good game play.

Can't remember anything like that TBH :P

Well, maybe the tank in Eurocorp's mission 15.

I do however remember running away from launcher wielding cultists through half the map, sniping them away with LR rifles, but that was caused more by the weapon's reload time than the energy regen.

The only weapons with such high ammo consumption were launchers and nuclear grenades, and rightfully so, as they could level whole buildings which was the easiest way of killing anything, yourself included.

Then again I always thought SW's ammo system borrowed a lot from Magic Carpet and it's mana regen, so I didn't mind as MC is still one of my favorite games ever. I didn't appreciate simplifying the 'drugs' bar though, they might as well have turned it into a checkbox, kill targets/kill everyone.

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1. I don't like the health system in Halo.

2. I don't remember what mission it was. But it pretty much started with this flying thing coming down on you. I think it may have been the laser weapon or LR rifle I was using against it because they were the fastest to output damage, which meant I didn't expose myself as much.

But it's been a long time, I can't recall the details. The LR rifle IIRC had a fast firing rate, just that it ate up your ammo in just a few shots, and then you'd have the long grueling recharge time ahead of you.

Another thing with the game was that you didn't REALLY need to research weapons. You could just pick them up in the maps and use them as long as you liked. Only problem was that if your agents didn't win in an mission. You wouldn't be able to restock on another team.

I recall me making some major snafus first time around playing it where I ended up not being able to continue into the game, cause I hadn't researched anything. So I had these sets of agents that either had armor, or weapons. Neither had both. And I couldn't move it between them. And the mission at hand was killing me every time I tried with the current loadout of agents. Major fail on my part there. :p

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kristus said:

But it's been a long time, I can't recall the details. The LR rifle IIRC had a fast firing rate, just that it ate up your ammo in just a few shots, and then you'd have the long grueling recharge time ahead of you.

The LR rifle had the slowest firing rate in the game and it didn't use too much ammo, the thing is while a weapon is reloading the ammo doesn't regenerate so with constant LR rifle fire it was easy to spend all of it.

Another thing with the game was that you didn't REALLY need to research weapons. You could just pick them up in the maps and use them as long as you liked.

The only problem being each and every shot from an unresearched weapon could sap all your ammo, leaving you defenseless for a while. I always persuaded all scientists I could find in every mission, not just the 'persuade scientists' ones, and researched everything ASAP.

I only had one set of agents, persuading more and buying mods for them felt like a waste of money. Come to think of it, that's how I always play such games. I'm almost done playing through TFTD again and as usual I only have one set of 8 aquanauts, most of them I started the game with.

I guess when I'm done with XCOM I'll give SW a spin :). Never actually managed to finish a Eurocorp game, the space station filled with cultists carrying explosives was too annoying.

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Rather than regenerating health, I think degenerating health could prove a more interesting gameplay mechanic. Perhaps health could drop 5 HP per second on top of the usual damage taken and be recouped by taking HP from monsters as well as health items.

Could make for an intense/panic-stricken gaming experience.

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purist said:

Perhaps health could drop 5 HP per second on top of the usual damage taken and be recouped by taking HP from monsters as well as health items.

Been down that road with nightmare in Doom 3, minus the health pickups. I've still got blisters on my heels.

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purist said:

So it works in practice? I'll put on my ever-growing project list...

Yeah but keep in mind it was 5 hitpoints per 5 seconds, stopping at 25, where every direct hit (save from single pistol/machinegun rounds) was instant death.

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I don't particularly like regenerating health. However, if there's a catch to it (eg. slow regeneration + limited regen amount) then I'm likely to let it slide. I know the DooM II mod PsychoPhobia has this and I believe The Suffering does too.

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purist said:

Rather than regenerating health, I think degenerating health could prove a more interesting gameplay mechanic. Perhaps health could drop 5 HP per second on top of the usual damage taken and be recouped by taking HP from monsters as well as health items.

Metroid Prime 2's Dark Aether, when you didn't play like a pansy and sit by the light crystals all day. It was actually pretty fun if you played it run-and-gun style, taking advantage of the (ample) breakable pods and enemies for energy instead of the crystals.

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magicsofa said:

As if permanent health loss encourages offensive play? what?

You're looking at it wrong. Without regenerating health, there's no reason to take it slow and wait things out after every encounter, since you won't be getting any healthier. There's also no point to trying to drag out battles for the same reason.

chopkinsca said:

I suppose I should be thankful that my computer can't run modern FPS games then. I always liked the idea of keeping track of medkits you don't need at the moment. What's next, regenerating ammo? It's sad that game developing companies sell out to the greater market of casual gamers.

Dude, that was the single most moronic thing I've heard today. Hardcore gamers alone can't sustain the video/computer game market, no matter how much they whine. And I don't like the way you talk about casual gamers. I myself play casually most of the time and I certainly don't feel less of a person for doing so.

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Regenerating health is on the gimmicky side and only certain games (cover based, etc) should use it.

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magicsofa said:

As if permanent health loss encourages offensive play? what?


It's not permanant. Have you ever noticed what happens when you stand on top of a medikit?

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