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40oz

Will swimming in games ever be good?

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Deep water has been a controversial problem in many games. You usually cannot move very fast, The control configurations are almost always weird, and it's difficult to control and direct your character.

The other day I kinda brainstormed about a video game idea that was like a first person shooter except the entire game took place underwater. Is there any way that could be fun? I'd imagine that the flat plane WASD controls wouldn't work and it would need to be ditched in favor of a new control mechanism that operates in all three dimensions. How would you think it would work?

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40oz said:

How would you think it would work?

Like Descent did.

Anyway, in a normal FPS where you only go underwater occasionally, and provided your movement speed isn't slowed down while underwater, I imagine it working well even if you couldn't rotate your view around or beyond the point above/below you, if you know what I mean.

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Subnautica seems fairly popular despite taking place almost exclusively underwater. I've never actually played it (my machine could never handle it), but I've seen streams of it and nobody seems to have any problem controlling it. Might want to take a look at it, get a few ideas from there.

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Many games let you swim, games that don't let you swim are mostly just to set invisible barriers. Half-Life 2 had an interesting variant, you can swim just fine but venture out into the ocean and you get torn to shreds by very aggressive piranha.

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Rayman 3 had pretty nice swimming controls, even on keyboard. In my experience, the games that decided the character will move like a jet underwater tend to fare better.

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I remember Mario64 having pretty good swimming mechanics. Same with Duke3D.

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Quake's 1st Mission Pack, Scourge of Armagon has a powerup, the Wetsuit that allows to move quicker, it feels as if running on ground.
The Build Engine games have good swimming too.

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TraceOfSpades said:

I remember Mario64 having pretty good swimming mechanics.


Oh God. I'm going to have to disagree with this statement, I found SM64's water-based gameplay, while great for it's time, is by far the worst part about the game.

Spyro 2 / 3 had great water interactions in comparison. :)

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Let's take Mario's already-huge turning radius and combine it with almost Resident Evil-esq in-place pivoting. Also giant, empty water sections? Top it off with a slow top speed.

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Mario Sunshine was similar. I found it pretty intuitive, same goes for swimming in Duke and even ZDoom. If you want to make a game underwater, I say go for it - stuff like Dark Souls seems to suggest people don't mind slow gameplay as long as it's enjoyable.

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But in Dark Souls you actually do something other than tap A in an giant cube full of coins and fish AI.

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How about the way Duke 3D handled it? You're basically flying (With Vertical Up/Down control) but with distorted sounds and the possibility of drowning. Seemed like a pretty comfortable if not entirely accurate way of handling the controls.

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Jaxxoon R said:

But in Dark Souls you actually do something other than tap A in an giant cube full of coins and fish AI.

Doomkid said:

as long as it's enjoyable.

Besides, that's only one stage. I thought the underwater bits were cool - Using the shell to swim fast, using the Metal hat to walk like a slow tank to collect items/stars in certain maps.. It was quite creative for the time. Sunshine really upped it with the underwater jet pack upgrade thingy for FLUDD.

I think people just like to complain about any parts of a game that aren't literally a perfect 10, even if they're still pretty fun. I don't ever recall an underwater stage sticking out as totally shitty, other than in the very first Mario. Even then, it was still a satisfying challenge to overcome.

I'm with Metroid/Trace on this one, older FPS games seemed to handle deep water sections just fine, far as I'm concerned anyway.

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I just personally do not enjoy Mario 64 in any way. Liked it as a kid, just don't now. The only parts I found worse than the underwater sections are the non-Bowser-level platforms-over-a-pit level design things like Rainbow Ride and the Ticktock Clock. And this is coming from someone that likes Labyrinth Zone.

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Marathon handled it by using the run key to float upward, it was actually pretty controllable.

Mario 64's swimming was awful.

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FuzzballFox said:

Tomb Raider anybody? (The older ones)



Always thought it worked fine in this series..in fact I can't think of a game where it was overly cumbersome or annoying, maybe a little slow..but it's water, so..

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Swimming in Bethesda games seems ok. The biggest drawback is they always have unreasonably short periods before you start drowning. If I wear a spacesuit under water in a Fallout game I should be able to stay down there for a several minutes at least.

Tying the up/down direction to mouselook gives a nice approximation of the disorientation one can easily suffer underwater - especially when combined with the excessive murk most games render.

Daggerfall had a crazy take on swimming where your carry weight (or the weight of your clothes) mattered. Wearing a bunch of metal armour would sink you like a stone. So invariably players who want to swim make a spell with a stupid name like "submarine" and give it water breathing and water walking, which lets you walk (or run) through water, not over it.

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What is wrong with the swimming in pretty much every FPS game ever released?

You point in any direction you want to go, and you use forward for...forward, backward for..backward, strafe left and right for..you guessed it, strafe left and right. If you want to go up or down then you look up or down, the same way you do on land. You look up when youre jumping to something and you look down when youre dropping down to something. That is about as easy as it gets.

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I like CARNIVORES: DINOSAUR HUNTER's swimming.

It's pretty realistic. Although deep diving is impossible to survive long enough. Other than that, i enjoy the swimming there.

FYI, i also enjoyed Mario 64's swimming parts, but they felt a tad bit too short.

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40oz said:

The other day I kinda brainstormed about a video game idea that was like a first person shooter except the entire game took place underwater. Is there any way that could be fun? I'd imagine that the flat plane WASD controls wouldn't work and it would need to be ditched in favor of a new control mechanism that operates in all three dimensions. How would you think it would work?


Sounds like Aquanox:

http://www.mobygames.com/game/windows/aquanox
http://www.mobygames.com/game/windows/aquanox-2-revelation

Though it's not exactly a first-person dude in a wetsuit, but more like Descent set under water.

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So 40oz, if you were given the chance to make videogame swimming however you wanted...what would you do?

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scifista42 said:

Like Descent did.

Anyway, in a normal FPS where you only go underwater occasionally, and provided your movement speed isn't slowed down while underwater, I imagine it working well even if you couldn't rotate your view around or beyond the point above/below you, if you know what I mean.


Maybe I'm missing something, but why wouldn't your movement speed slow down while underwater? I mean, water slows you down. That's the point I think. If slowing down is something "not acceptable", then put an empty hole instead of a pool of water.

EDIT: Forgot question mark.

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I've never really had an issue with swimming in most games, and there's barely been that many games with swimming lately as far as my experience goes.

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I would do it same as spectator free view in Unreal Tournament. You would just move directly to point where you are looking at. Elevation angle would be limited so you couldnt flip. After leaving water there would be forced jump impulse. And btw swimming/flying is a lot easier to do than normal movement.

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While there weren't many swimming occasions in that game, F.E.A.R. had rather realistic swimming.
It's one of those few FPS where your character actually uses his arms to swim!
Also, you move towards the direction youre facing instead of freely hovering around.

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