What are the top things that make a great FPS?

I liked the half-life handling of having a little bit of both health regen and health packs. The HEV suit will regen a bit of your health after a while if you're too low, but you have to pick up health packs or use a first aid station to top it off. A compromise like that is fine with me.

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I never noticed any health regen in hl.. except after swimming under water for too long. Although the first times I played it, I thought it might do something since the voice told me it gave me morphine. But then later I died and it also administered me morphine. GMan is probably a hallucination/split personality disorder caused by all the morphine.

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1) Balanced gameplay (important for all genres)

2) Varied gameplay

3) Open, and rewarding for being so

4) Highly interactive

5) Awesome firepower - modifiable if possible :D

6) Interesting enemies

7) Excellent and varied level design

8) Deep singleplayer AND co-op.

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Atmosphere and... well, honestly that's the only thing that I consistently demand from well, ANY game, let alone FPS. I guess making the guns feel right is important to, though that can arguably be linked to atmosphere as well.

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pilottobombadier said:

1) Balanced gameplay


I find this phrase to be ambiguous. "Balance" can refer to so many things in a game, and generally speaking, people use it in the broadest way possible. For example, my previous post on "weapon balance" sort of touched on this. What does weapon balance even mean? All weapons produce equal damage-per-second? That's balanced, literally. All weapons are used some of the time? That's another kind of balance. Unbalanced tiers of weapons (a la QuakeWorld) is another approach to "balance," and it's not an even balance at all, where some meaning of "even" is presumed to be the goal when people request that something is "balanced."

So what do you mean by "balanced gameplay?"

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Mogul said:

For example, my previous post on "weapon balance" sort of touched on this.

It's spot on, too. Having one weapon be dominant in all situations is boring (why use anything else?) and having all weapons be equal is every situation is boring too (just use whatever you want - they're all the same!). But making each weapon dominant in a different, specific situation? NOW you have something interesting! Now you have something that gives you an incentive to use different weapons and think about which one is appropriate given your situation.

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Carnevil said:

think about which one is appropriate given your situation.


The essence here is giving the player opportunities to make a choice for the best weapon in a given situation. The element of meaningful decision-making (when it comes to combat scenarios) is lost most of the time in shooters, particularly in singleplayer campaigns.

Having to choose from a few different options, where you will get varying degrees of success based on what you choose, is a significant part of the fun, and it's something too many designers in shooters aren't aware of.

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Killing has to feel satisfying. If I shoot an enemy with a shotgun, I want to see blood fly. If I kill him, I want to see gore, I want to feel like my weapon ripped him apart. Quake was possibly the worst offender in this category. I like Quake, but killing enemies never felt satisfying. They all just kinda fell over when they died. I need more than that. It's not that I'm obsessed with violence and gore, but it's like, I need to feel the weapon had a real impact. If I can't tell the difference between killing an enemy and the enemy simply lying down to take a nap, that's no good.

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I'm playing through it now to try to get a pointer or two, and on that I totally agree with you. The gibs aren't bad and neither are the death sounds, but the general death animations in general are very boring. There's certainly nothing on the level of say a cacodemon death. It was certainly one of the things that turned me off immediately about the game... that and the lack of satisfaction from actually firing the weapons. The shotgun in particular is just... dreadful. Between those two things and some truly atrocious design ("Let's put a shambler in the middle of this long hallway!"), I'm not having too much fun right now.

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From the top of my head.

1. No health regen. Insta no buy, no torrent for me.
2. Varied enemies, but no dodging. Looks like enemies are afraid of the player.
3. Maps that look good and provide interesting encounters and secrets. Different ways of activating and finding secrets.
4. No health regen.
5. No slow running speed.
6. Customizable interface and controls.
7. No escort missions.
8. Map editor.
9. Functional and imaginative arsenal. No low-tier lame looking and sounding guns that can pwn everything in the game, making every other game useless, like so many machine guns (CnC Renegade for example) and laser rifles (Jedi Knight series). Bundles of dynamite instead of nades, magma guns instead of flamethrowers.
10. Minimum cut-scenes and text (words).
11. No health regen.
12. No ragdolls, only death animations and gibs. Really, can there be a better way?
13. No small fast-moving enemies.
14. Health regen. No.

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I'd say the ability to repeatedly play an environment/map with unpredictable outcomes. It's one of the reasons I find games like Left 4 Dead to be really fun.

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Oh man, SWAT 3 and 4 showed me the full power of randomization.

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