The point is You’re OSA not a soldier
If both hands are free you might as well take a minigun and spray. Why have psyball anyway?
If you can use just one hand for handeling weapons you would use psyball more.
That’s the whole point.
In SS2 all 3 classes were redundant. Any one U take practicly makse no difference.
A little bit at the bigining, but after and hour it doesn’t really matter what you’ve chosen.
The point is You’re OSA not a soldier
Agreed, it shouldn’t be overdone. But there is certainly room for improvement. I just think about how beam weapons were practically useless beyond the SPARQ beam. Energy too precious, plenty of ammo for other weapons. So I wondered why they existed at all?
But also important to remember combat is just one facet of SS. This isn’t supposed to be another Doom.
Just some thoughts in spite of not reading the thread. So if there are repeats or bad ideas already debunked I apologize.
- Remember that transmission you sent at the reck deck of system shcok 2? Embed shodan into that.
Have Rebecca-Shodan from the ending be the player character givne she is human, has shodan bits in her, and got ‘bit’ by one of the worms, potentially also introducing annalid mutations. This gives reason for her being unique enough to do things as well as having several potential upgrade paths/story conflicts. Start her post surhery in medical ‘where we had to cut the invasive AI out.’ Have Goggles be somehow ‘there’ but in non-speakin roles. It’d be interesting if he was the lead team sent to ‘neuteralize’ ‘you’ if you step out of line (IE follow shodan or the many’s goals.)
Also the fiction of shock2 pointed at the UNN not being all that much better than Triop. Figure that’d be relavent given how today’s problems all seem to be about how we cannot trust the government to listen and how it seems we must rely on corporate interests to intersect our own for things to change. Flash back to the boston riots 9those were food riots if I remember right.)
There’s a lot of fridge horror with the setting given theyr’e willing to mentally blank and recondition people to act as sleeper agents.
Be interesting if the UNN kept Citadel’s bridge and other fragments for study along with hte original SHODAN.
- use the nanites as currency as… More. Show that Shodan takes advantage of these little machines that all too eagerly want to make new things in her plans.
Would be nice ot have machines you can dump chemicals into for set and forget research, but the machien can only do so much so it can’t research everything, or have specific machines like biologic scanners in medical, mechanical in the maintenance bays in engineering, and so on. Something to allow players a chance to have a fallback.
It’d be interesting if you could pull a fallout 4 and pull things apart for their precious materials or mods to slap onto other things. Combine that with the recycler (possibly modding so you can feed it things like guns and or body parts laying around) to help with the nanite issue, which brings to mind…
If SHODAN starts tinkering with Nanites, why not do some tinkering of your own based around research notes scattered around. Things like reactive armor, or an ability that lets you use nanites to heal you in an emergency situation. IE more things to act as a money sink so you have to juggle between 'do I use my nanites to augment myself with, do I spend it on ammo? Do I try using the Nanites to interface with things I can’t normally?
Some of this speculation is getting a little far out. I’d like to see a return to elements with SS3, where things like resources matter. Though I’d replace the horror edge of SS2 with something more fitting, perhaps delve more into cyberspace and introduce trojans and viruses. Bioshock already tried to reinvent the wheel, we see how that turned out. : :o
I will re-iterate how intense and atmospheric all the Frictional games were, due to the use of darkness, UI and lack of weapons alone. Many other factors contributed but those were the biggest.
Having said that, I do not believe that removing weapons from a SS title would be appropriate BUT the genius of Frictional just speaks to the importance of making the player vulnerable and that has been a “gimme” that neither SS title managed to exploit so far.
As mentioned, you’re resource starved at the beginning (both SS1 and 2) and then end the game with tons and tons of ammo. In SS2, they upped the ante a bit by making you worry about your gun breaking, which is a good idea but it wasn’t enough to make the player truly vulnerable.
I’d like to see fewer, smarter, more sinister, STRONGER enemies that you can’t see coming a mile away, in the dark and with ammo being more of a decoration in the game than anything. I’d like to see players actually have to deal with enemies without a weapon because they have no ammo, on kind of a semi-regular basis. The game can still sport some really cool guns and tools and everything with ammo types and vulnerabilities and all that (so not taking anything away from the prior 2 games) BUT just don’t allow the player to depend on it at all. You shouldn’t feel confident that holding the trigger down will eliminate anything in front of you, unless you have only 5 bullets for it, with another 5 showing up at the other end of the level. This makes you appreciate weapons and tools more, because their rarity and effectiveness becomes extremely valuable in an otherwise sterile environment where you have to use your wits to overcome your enemies.
It sounds extreme but when you have 10+ guns like SS2 did, you do have choices and you do have ammo but you have to be really careful how you use it. Send the player running away from an enemy like a frightened school girl a few times and the game will gain a whole new level of scary, I guarantee it.
Finally, guns are not the only way to dispatch enemies. Tools and the environment itself need to be used to greater effect, especially when you’ve only got 5 bullets in your gun. Having to find creative solutions for enemy avoidance or elimination creates new hazards (due to timing or complexity or reflexes or danger or whatever) that instill fear because you don’t know if you can pull it off. This works!
I am not in favor of keeping the horror vibe from SS2; however, I agree with the rest of this post.
Enemies do not necessarily have to be hidden, or fewer of them, however; I am tired of shock scares, and that smells too much like Doom 3 (we see how that turned out.)
I’d like to see more unique non-bipedal creatures like the matron.
As far as fewer, I think a mix–sometimes fending off a crowd with limited ammo and a melee weapon is fun.
On the other hand, more personalized encounters would be nice. But intimate does not equal fewer foes. Just a requirement for closer range combat.
Yeahhh… Ammo and enemies in system shock. Even though the enemies they look quite diverse, they suddendly become quite similar to each other when it comes to mechanics. And after you managed to skillfully attack your enemies with a wrench, you come to the realisation that it’s been mostly for nothing after the first 2 levels because you’re swimming in ammo by then anyhow.
I decided to play System Shock 1 again with a new challenge like a month ago. Part of the challenges were No saving, only picking up 1 ammo clip from corpses instead of 2, maximum of 2 ammo clips per crate instead of 4, only holding 3 weapons of 7 and every weapon you drop would be “destroyed”.
The new thing about this new form of ammo and weapon management forced me to learn which weapon to use at which times even more, which made me learn more of the enemies’ mechanics. Suddendly killing an Enforcer Cyborg turned into a completely new challenge, as killing them with only weapon i had with ammo in abundance took me too long to kill her. That was until i learned that Enforcer Cyborgs are actually not “resistant” to the Flechette’s ammo types and relatively low armour penetration. Even though i used that weapon on every other cyborg, i never even knew it worked on one of the deadliest enemies in the game as well. I simply assumed that it was too weak to be useful so far in the game and simply discarded it.
After setting the reactor to overload, I had to fight through massive waves of robots, depleting my Magpulse ammo at an alarming rate, and ran out of ammo soon after. This was the first in a very long time that i genuinely got scared playing this game. I was forced to use a different weapon which i wanted to save for the Bridge, which i only managed to get like 4 clips from. I had to make a de-tour to replace my weapon quicker than expected with an Assault Rifle, which i collected more than 30 clips from.
Even though i collected more than 300 Assault Rifle bullets, i didn’t even last 30 minutes with the thing because most enemies required nearly an entire clip to be killed. You see, the Assault rifle has the second highest Armour penetration values for ranged weapons in the game, second to the Magpulse, but did not feature the quadruple damage against robots which the Magpulse featured. Then again, the magpulse lost this advantage against anything else but robots, which gave it a surprisingly low damage output against these enemies.
And then i fought Edward Diego for the final time. Everything went well, until i got unlucky and he critical hit me through my shields and dealt like 80% damage to me. After which i had to restart the game… I did not slow down time with a Reflex patch so i couldn’t respond on time to use a First Aid Kit. Another game mechanic learnt, Critical hits!
So. To confirm your guys’ thoughts, Yes, a severe shortage of ammo really does make a game scarier and requires a lot more thinking to get through. However, under the hood, At least enemies in System Shock 1 were surprisingly complex and there were many ways to kill them. If this Armour-penetration, Offense and Defence value system and whatnot would get incorporated in SS3 and were shown more obviously to the player… I think combined with less ammo, this issue would be pretty much taken care of.
To add a more specific point: A weapon I would like to see in SS3 is a remote controlled mine. Not one with a time fuse like the Nitro packs, but one you can blow up remotely at a time of your choosing.
Explosives in general weren’t much fun in either SS1 or SS2. I never used them after blowing up myself several times (especially with the concussion bombs in SS1). It wasn’t really possible to throw them safely, especially in the many narrow corridors.
But I could imagine, if a better way to use them could be found, explosives could add a very interesting tactical element.
This a really cool idea.
I like the idea of two hands, maybe keeping one empty for psi abilities, but no psyballs.
It adds extra complexity to an already-decent system.
It would also be neat if you were limited on how many weapons you can carry: limit of two. That, and the limited ammo, could go a long way toward enhancing the survival elements.
Shock scares are absolutely vital to a horror game. Much of the tension is knowing that something nasty is going to happen, but you just don’t know when. It’s a cycle of build up and release. The problem with Doom 3 was that its shock scares weren’t shocking because they were expected much of the time because they were executed in the same manner over and over again. That part when you walk in the bathroom and the screen suddenly goes red and zooms in on the mirror was classic because it was unexpected. But when you see another empty room with a powerup lying in the middle of the floor and closets off to the side, it’s a joke.
Amnesia never resorted to shock scares. It created a deeply unsettling atmosphere.
Amnesia had jump scares in it, hence the montage and reaction videos.
You can have horror that’s all build and no release, though as soon as anything happens suddenly that kind of automatically serves as release. How do you design a game, especially an action combat game featuring intelligent monsters of some kind, where nothing happens suddenly? If you turn a corner or open a door and there’s something nasty on the other side of it, there’s your jump scare. Even a sudden sound cue is a jump scare. And you have to think about it from the monster’s point of view as well. The key to success in combat is to get the jump on your opponent. So it only makes sense that they’d ambush you at some stage in a game if they have any kind of intelligence. So yeah I think jump scares are part of a horror game, action game especially, by default.
Shock scares are still a cheap form of horror.
They can certainly be effective if done well - but it is very easy to overuse them to the extent that the player eventually becomes desensitised to them (e.g. Doom 3); this is Not Good™.
It’s worth bearing in mind that Amnesia’s design is very much what Mahk and Dorian referred to as a “Theme Park Ride” (I think), in the sense that the designers encourage the player along a single route and everything is very tightly-scripted. For my money and as far as I can remember, neither “Shock” nor “Thief” used jump scares (at least of the scripted variety) very much - if at all - because it didn’t really fit the open style of gameplay favoured by LGS. The jump scares I remember from SS2 (of which there were only a few at most) were done within the engine - IIRC it’s fairly easy to mess up the first hybrid encounter by walking through the door a few paces, going back and closing the door behind you before the hybrid has time to react, exit the room and scare you. Depending on how long you wait, the hybrid then goes into it’s regular “patrol” logic and can be some distance away when you re-enter the sector. Of course, most players - at least on their first run-through - won’t normally do that and the scare is usually very effective! ;D
In a general sense, I agree that some of the suggestions are a bit too prescriptive - the ending of SS2 had Goggles on the VB/Rickenbacker with Tommy and Rebecca/SHODAN on an escape shuttle. All of them were in deep space with only the VB’s FTL drive capable of taking them “home”. This can theoretically spawn endless possibilities plot-wise and I’d argue that the player character could be just about anyone (or even user-defined)… Both previous “Shock” titles were as convincing as they were because the plot was built around the game mechanics and not vice-versa - it’d be very daft to do otherwise this time around IMO…
Yeah, I was gonna mention System Shock 2, and Silent Hill 2. Both depended heavily on the atmosphere created.
Cheap jump scares are a bad mechanic in my opinion. Most of the scares from both System Shock’s were due to a surprise effect to a certain danger, like the reactor level dark room from the first game. That thing scared in an intelligent way. For unscripted scares, just the fact that a creature could appear from anywhere shouting at you, in System Shock 2, was enough to leave you on edge. Also, the appearance of such creatures helped a lot, and they made you unconfortable (uncunny valley) and presented a different kind of danger. Their callings echoing through the corridors of the Von Braum, the ambiguity of their lines, everything was perfect.
Exactly. Hearing something before seeing it is scary as hell.
I equate jump scares with the dogs jumping through the window in Resident Evil. It is shocking. Just not scary.
My feeling is that “unscripted” (or probably “not explicitly scripted” to be pedantic) is the key here. For example, that first hybrid encounter in SS2 is a “jump scare” of sorts, but it’s done by using the engine and AI behaviour in an intelligent way (i.e. the player will have spent some time in an apparently deserted ship, then after being unsettled by the first “ghost”, the noise of the player opening the door alerts the hybrid in the room that is just out of sight - which will then charge the player while wailing at the top of it’s lungs*) rather than having a designer hard-code the encounter.
The other day I had a bit of a comment/rant on YT about the Thief “reboot” and some of the reasons why I think it didn’t work. My feeling is that so many games these days follow the tightly-scripted “Theme Park Ride” model to tell the story and provide the atmosphere that the techniques LGS were refining back in the day (e.g. using the engine and AI mechanics to create the atmosphere dynamically) seem to have fallen by the wayside. An explicitly-scripted encounter works exactly once because it happens in the same place and in the same way every time. What was so unsettling about SS2 and Thief was that most of the time, the player could never be certain what was lurking around the next corner at any given moment - the atmosphere grew out of the mechanics as opposed to the game script trying to impose an atmosphere.
- in turn alerting the second hybrid placed slightly further away, leaving the player to be attacked on two fronts…
I remember the first time I played Alone In The Dark back in 93. The first monster was introduced by having it jump through a window. It was scripted and I think it worked well for that game. Maybe it’s childhood nostalgia but I still think it’s effective now. I don’t think the problem is jump scares. Placing a zombie behind a door is old hat but I don’t understand why that should be considered a bad mechanic or whatever per se.
There are several reasons. One of them is that after a short time you start to predict them because the environment has been designed for it and you can tell. Then it stops being shocking and just annoying.
The other reason is that the developers are relying on surprises to scare you. Fear associated with surprises only lasts until you’ve identified what’s surprising you. Once you size it up and figure out what to do about it, it’s not scary anymore. The key to true horror is leaving the player feeling helpless and ignorant. The player senses that something is dangerous but doesn’t understand the situation and therefore can’t act on it, or even if he could, he doesn’t have the right tools and feels vastly disadvantaged. In situations like this, you often do the opposite of surprise the player. You make the player aware from the beginning that he’s about to die and you stretch that out as much as possible, relying on the player’s own brain to scare himself, often more than is really necessary, since the monster may not actually be that hard to beat. The key is not letting the player know this.
One “surprise” that does scare me is not the monster but seeing the monster, realizing you have no way of beating him (because you don’t have anything but a pistol and that doesn’t work after 2 or 3 shots) so when he starts running at full speed at you, you turn and run like a little girl and then you realize in horror that you have no clue where you’re supposed to go. Oh $h1T you think, as you lead the monster into a dead end and then backtrack just fast enough to come within half a foot of the thing so you can see its face clearly for a brief moment in the almost pitch black. Then you sprint through doors and down stairwells looking for a door with a lock on it so you can seal the beast safely behind you.
See Penumbra’s giant worm sequence, Amnesia’s water level, SOMA’s frickin shipwreck, etc. I hate being chased but damn does it work!
Doom 3 does the closet monster thing and has lost ALL of its scare factor after 2 playthroughs. I now play that game only to fire big guns.
I will give doom 3 one thing. Having 30 spiders explode out of cracks from 3 different directions does scare the $h1t out of me but only for 2 reasons:
- Spiders are inherently scary because of their features and mammalian instincts
- They come from different directions which has the same effect as taking your gun away (ie. helplessness)