Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Character's Mobility

Controlling a character on screen is almost like an extension of yourself. The actions that character can perform are assigned buttons on the controller (or keyboard/mouse for PC gamers) that you control. You expect the character to maneuver like a regular human for a sense of reality, but also perform some hyper actions for a sense of fantasy. A lot of games have mastered the physics behind this and a lot have failed in this regard.

Since a lot of us Generation Y's grew up playing platform games, it's instinctual to have the character jump when you press the action button. It makes sense, there are obstacles you must get around somehow. But even games beyond the platform genre have incorporated jumping as the main action you can perform (besides shoot/attack).

Some games do not require characters to jump. In Zelda: OoT, Link would automatically leap if you run him off a ledge, but you could not directly control his jumping. The GTA/Red Dead Series could make your character hop, but it wasn't integral to gameplay. It was included to give gamers the familiar sense of how a video game character should be controlled.

I would like to see video game physics of a character with more lifelike characteristics. Perhaps you can trip if you run too fast or run over some debris. If you run into a wall, you actually get hurt. Granted there are limitations to our current control system, but game developers are smart. I'm sure they can figure out something.

Also, I think a really cool way to experiment with character mobility would be to create a sandbox game where you can control a variety of animals. Just imagine controlling a snake slithering around, or a cheetah running at full speed, or a large and cumbersome elephant stomping about.


  1. I heard about this somewhere. That kids these days, our generation, has this skill to expect a thing in a video game to act like they want, and it is actually a valuable skill for the army ;)

  2. I miss those games.

  3. sounds like an idea for the sims series....
    "sims - real life" maybe? ^^

  4. man I'd love to play that sandbox game

  5. B&W 1/2 anyone..? (Lionhead Studios) :P I really loved the physics in there, pick up stuff / people and throw them around it felt fun - and those are pretty old games for now, but they never get old to play.

    Of course physics in games get better all the time, more realistic etc. but again games themselves, doesn't. Everything nowadays is created for casual gamers :( just to get the cash out of players fast, games often are short / stories suck. Ok that goes off-topic much already.

    Skyrim? :D 11/11/11 I expect there to be amazing physics.

  6. Worst control system for manipulating your character? IMO, the original Resident Evil/Biohazard games. Cringe as zombies munch on you when you have no ability to side-step.
    Realistic tripping and bumping into things could make gameplay a bit more interesting though, great idea.

    If I was on the dev team for a war game, I would be a bastard and punish our modern lazy gamers by having them find that if they change magazines before they empty one, and later put the one they started back in, it hasn't magically refilled itself. :O
    Commence tedium of taking cover to refill magazines from boxes of rounds (with speed-loading clips if they're lucky).

  7. Interesting Article. I never knew character mobility could become so amazing as it is today. And I agree with Morphine when Skyrim comes out I'll be expecting some kick ass game physics.

  8. very true article, helped my cousin who is in the navy and he has top scores in his platoon on marksmanship.

  9. well it is game in the bottom line, you must be able to have the more fun possible playing it