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Old 10-10-2008, 01:11 AM
StalinsGhost StalinsGhost is offline
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Default An Alternative Regenerating Health Model

The Alternative Regenerating Health Model - ARHM


There's no doubt that the regenerating health model is a point of contention within the FPS world. Certainly, it's no more pronounced than in a sequel to a game famed for its emphasis on forcing the player to adapt to only having a limited amount of resources - especially the all important medi-kit. What I propose here is an alternative, incorporating health-regeneration, options for further upgrade, an implementation of location based damage, and most of all, the return of the medi-bot.

Here are the major design mechanics I propose:

Limited Health Regeneration

My model: Max Payne. Gasp as you may, harking back to the nightmare of quicksaving required to progress in the game, it had a fundementally interesting, perhaps slightly innovative and entirely overlooked function - a tiny amount of health regeneration at all times; perhaps in the realm of 25%. You could be on deaths door, Max limping about as he got himself together, and you would have just enough health to make it through to the next set of painkillers. I will emphasise, I am one of these guys who nervously makes their way around levels trying to retain full ammo and health at all times, but once I forced myself through (going mad with quicksaving), I discovered this was actually a very fun way of playing it.

What does this mean for the ARHM? Well I propose DE3 implements an (upgradable) limited, or partial health recharge. At the start of the game, your mechanical architecture is capable of a limited self-repair. Perhaps in the realm of 1/4-1/3 recharge. To reach full health, you need to find a medi-bot.

Location Based Damage

This is probably the riskiest suggestion for my proposal - I get the idea that developers don't like it based on the potential for *gasp* too much complexity.

I propose that Location Based Damage is reimplemented into the series. In to my model, there is a chance of taking damage to specific body parts that may or may not do a certain amount of damage to them - basically ala' Deus Ex. Each location has a specific effect on the player - get hit in the head and you become concussed - perhaps the player's vision could blur or even black out for example. Being hit in the arms obviously reduces strength/accuracy. Being hit in the legs would cause increasing amounts of limping/reduction in speed.

The Limited Recharge augmentation can at first not heal these wounds at first. Leading me onto...

The Regeneration Augmentation

This works entirely under the assumption that the Mechanical-Augmentions will work similarily to Deus Ex 1 and 2's. You pick a mod, you fit it, you can upgrade it. I propose 4 stages for the ARHM
  • Stage 1 - Limited Health Recharge : The body is capable of steming blood flow and applying splints to shattered bones until the operative is able to reach a qualified surgeon or medical unit
  • Stage 2 - Improved Health Regeneration: The body is capable of repairing up to 50% of the wounds inflicted, as well as allowing it to return limbs to a damaged but usable status
  • Stage 3 - Exceptional Health Regeneration: The body can repair itself to the point of complete health, though extensive limb damage is not fully repairable
  • Stage 4 - Full Body Regeneration: The body is capable of full health recharge, full limb recharge and also improves damage allocation, dissipating damage around the body

These are the basics of the ARHM. I also propose the following:

Medi-Bots

As mentioned before, Medi-Bots are for the first 2 levels of health augmention, the only way of restoring full health and limb damage. Furthermore, I would suggest it be possible to be able to hack a Medi-Bot so that it follows the player around.

Stimpacks

Possibly, each level of augmention could allow the player to apply a "Stimpack" that drains biomod energy (should it be implemented)

The basic level of augmentation could have a single "stimpack" function, restoring a certain amount of health, but having a long recharge - say 1-2 minutes.

The second level of augmention simply has 2 of these stimpacks.

The third level of augmention allows the operative to "overcharge" to 150% health.

The fourth level of augmention allows the operative to "overcharge" to 200% health.

Conclusion

Admittedly, this is a very rough idea, basically thought up over the space of about 30 minutes after responding to a thread elsewhere discussing regenerating health in FPS games.

What I do think it does, is add a level of complexity to a controversial but necessary game mechanic (avoiding damn quickloading all the time!) that Deus Ex deserves. It's also designed with the Deus Ex context in mind. You're a Cyborg, you should have some pretty hefty augmentations. This one would allow the play who wants to go in guns blazing to do so - to basically become a human tank of sorts - just as the game's setting suggests Mechanical Augmentations could do.

It also allows the player who doesn't want to "that invincible feel" that health regeneration in other games apparently gives to avoid it. It's entirely optional. Perhaps installing it could prohibit the use of another, particularly stealth orientated augmention?

I'm hoping this thread doesn't flag under the deluge of rants and raves, since I think it is worthy of some detailed consideration. And I hope that some how this reaches the developers for some consideration, no matter how limited that may be. In fact, sod that, I hope that the team already has some interesting ideas in mind for making the regenerating health an interesting mechanic in Deus Ex 3.

Thanks for reading my admittedly expansive post, and if anyone has any further ideas, it would be great to see them in here.

Last edited by StalinsGhost; 10-10-2008 at 12:30 PM.
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  #2  
Old 10-10-2008, 06:44 AM
pauldenton pauldenton is offline
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Just give us back Deus ex
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Old 10-10-2008, 08:00 AM
StalinsGhost StalinsGhost is offline
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Originally Posted by pha View Post
Nicely written. While the ratios and numbers may need some adjustment for balance, I like the general idea. Unfortunately the actual system will be nothing like it.
Thanks

Yeah, the numbers definitely aren't there, and this kind of thing would need extensive balance testing. But it would be nice to see a balance between old-style Deus Ex and new trends in the genre.

@pauldenton

Here you go. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sold-Out-Sof...3657664&sr=8-1
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Old 10-10-2008, 08:16 AM
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Those are good ideas, StalinsGhost, and for all we know we could all be pleasantly surprised and the infamous auto-healing for DX3 won't be as convenient and arcade'y as Halo's.
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Old 10-10-2008, 08:27 AM
StalinsGhost StalinsGhost is offline
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Originally Posted by Big Orange View Post
Those are good ideas, StalinsGhost, and for all we know we could all be pleasantly surprised and the infamous auto-healing for DX3 won't be as convenient and arcade'y as Halo's.
I certainly hope so anyway
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Old 10-10-2008, 08:55 AM
ZylonBane ZylonBane is offline
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The trick here is figuring out what's guiding the developer's judgment in deciding to introduce an auto-heal system.

If their desire is to avoid situations where the player is screwed because they're pinned down in a tough combat situation with absolutely no way to heal, then that's a valid concern. To prevent this, I would have no problem with a very limited and/or slow auto-heal mechanism.

If, on the other hand, they want to make combat in DX3 more like Halo, with lots of shooting and little strategic thought, then they should all be beaten severely, then fired. Then beaten again.
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Old 10-10-2008, 10:36 AM
K^2 K^2 is offline
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I like the idea of having an upper cap on health regen. 1/2 health should be enough to slowly limp through the game, but it also leaves room for strategic use of med packs and for locational damage.
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Originally Posted by ZylonBane View Post
If, on the other hand, they want to make combat in DX3 more like Halo, with lots of shooting and little strategic thought, then they should all be beaten severely, then fired.
From the cannon, right?
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Old 10-10-2008, 11:30 AM
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Yeah, I can understand both sides of the issue. On one hand you've got a situation where most players (Particularly part time players - I refuse to use the phrase 'casual' - who don't have the patience and/or time to find extra cash/hiding places that allow the sourcing of healing tools like medkits.) but at the same time I see the concern that this changes the healing model to one that feels and plays very unnaturally, I'm not saying DX1s healing system is perfect but it ain't bad especially as theres different ways of being healed (Though more would've been nice).

Additionally, there is the in combat difficulty issue. DX1s system encourages the player to play cleverly and make good use of augmentations or to pick off the enemy and observe patrol routes and such before striking, but if the healing system allows you dive into situations where you duck behind cover, get re-healed, and the AI doesn't know how to prevent the player from abusing that trick then you have a balance issue where an abuse of a weakness in the design makes the game too easy to win in a charge in and fight way.

Out of combat auto-regen seems alright in my mind, since it reduces the dependency on searching for healing tools without having too great an impact on in combat gameplay balance or abuse of a weakness in a particular gameplay style/mechanic.

And yeah, I'd say theres plenty of room to balance it based on how much of your health auto-regens. This system allows you to save healing tools for preparation before the big fights.

Last edited by Larington; 10-10-2008 at 11:33 AM.
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  #9  
Old 10-10-2008, 11:46 AM
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Perhaps they can integrate this idea of regenerating health with the original DX system...different body parts autoheal at different rates and bandages/augmentations can speed up the process. Good stuff.
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  #10  
Old 10-10-2008, 12:18 PM
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v.dog v.dog is offline
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Default Dx was always about choices

The amount and speed of regeneration should be tied to the difficulty level, players on easy have 'Halo', players on normal have ARHM, and those on realistic have none.

This way you can please everybody; you can choose how easy you want the game to be.

Here's a thought- what if there was a custom difficulty setting in addition to the presets (ala System Shock 1) whereby you could choose individual settings for AI level, damage dealt, damage taken, hack/pick difficulty, health regen level/speed, pick up availability.

I'll admit this could lead to balancing issues, but most of the players who choose this option would understand the risk, and you could always make it changeable on the fly.
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Old 10-10-2008, 12:32 PM
ZylonBane ZylonBane is offline
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Something that I would like to see changed from DX (and pretty much every FPS) is the way medkits are handled. Using a medkit should be an actual in-game action that takes a second or two to perform, and doesn't instantly slam your health up. This would solve the problem of medkits becoming essentially a second health bar. To heal, you'd actually have to disengage from combat, stop to patch yourself up, then wait a few seconds for the healing to take full effect (like the health potions in classic Thief behaved).

The idea that you can somehow apply a medkit while simultaneously running and gunning is, after all, really absurd if you stop to think about it.

I would of course still like to have the option of an upgradeable healing aug as in the first game. Preferably with an "auto-on" option. Having to manually turn that thing on every time I needed healing was a pain in the neck.

Last edited by ZylonBane; 10-10-2008 at 12:38 PM.
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Old 10-10-2008, 12:35 PM
StalinsGhost StalinsGhost is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZylonBane View Post
Something that I would like to see changed from DX (and pretty much every FPS) is the way medkits are handled. Using a medkit should be an actual in-game action that takes a second or two to perform, and doesn't immediately take full effect. This would solve the problem of medkits becoming essentially a second health bar. To heal, you'd actually have to disengage from combat.

The idea that you can somehow apply a medkit while simultaneously running and gunning is, after all, really absurd if you stop to think about it.
Yeah, agreed on that point. Interestingly, I'll once turn to Max Payne as an example to cite - in that it took time for the painkillers to take effect - you took the pain killers, and your health gradually restored.
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Old 10-10-2008, 12:43 PM
Mr. Perfect Mr. Perfect is offline
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You definitely put a lot of thought into this, which is impressive. Most people simply say whether they like the idea or not.

Personally, I don't see why they don't use the auto-regeneration augmentation/biomod from the first two games. For players who wanted autoheal, they could install the appropriate upgrade.

What's more, choosing autoheal had a price! This wasn't something to be taken lightly, as it would prevent you from having some other augmentation or biomod that might be just as desirable. Also, the healing itself had a cost. Sure, at tech level 4 you could just about regrow an arm every minute, but it wasn't limitless. You had to have bioelectrical energy for the healing to work, and using the energy for healing might keep you from using other augmentations.

Whoever thought out how the augmentation/biomod, healbot, food, and medkit system in the previous games worked did so very carefully. Especially in the first one, where damage had diffrent effects based on location and severity. Odds are, it was multiple people, and it evolved over the development time to fit the play style of the game they intended for the franchise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by K^2 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZylonBane View Post
If, on the other hand, they want to make combat in DX3 more like Halo, with lots of shooting and little strategic thought, then they should all be beaten severely, then fired. Then beaten again.
From the cannon, right?
Revelations, chapter 5, verse 7. Consult verse 8 for beating methods, their graphic nature violates the forum's posting guidelines.
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Old 10-10-2008, 12:52 PM
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(Is this the only health thread so far?)
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Old 10-10-2008, 01:01 PM
StalinsGhost StalinsGhost is offline
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(Is this the only health thread so far?)
I haven't really looked on this forum, but on every blog and forum I've seen the PCZ article being discussed, the new health has been a major point of contention.
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Old 10-10-2008, 01:10 PM
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I knew it, there is the health thread.
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Old 10-10-2008, 01:35 PM
ZylonBane ZylonBane is offline
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Originally Posted by StalinsGhost View Post
I haven't really looked on this forum, but on every blog and forum I've seen the PCZ article being discussed, the new health has been a major point of contention.
Unfortunately, the contention seems to be between the developers and every gamer on the planet.
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Old 10-10-2008, 01:45 PM
StalinsGhost StalinsGhost is offline
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I knew it, there is the health thread.
Ah yeah... I'd still say this one deserves being seperate given it's a pretty extensive look at alternatives... as opposed to just flaming/embracing an arbitrary "regenerating health" feature.

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Unfortunately, the contention seems to be between the developers and every gamer on the planet.
Indeed :/ Seems the response may have been underestimated - they should have maybe waited on revealing this until it could be explained in greater detail maybe. We shall see.
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Old 10-10-2008, 02:42 PM
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I'm sure I've seen one or two other games try a heal-over-time effect for medical tools before, but I can't think of a specific example at the moment. I suspect one of the major things that puts developers off of using that system is that some players might find the 'wait for it to take full effect' element to cause the frustration curve to be a little higher than the developer is comfortable with, so they pretend insta-heal medicine isn't an issue (And it isn't until the player stops and thinks about it, most probably don't).

I feel obliged to say this thread should be left unhampered for the moment, theres a lot less sarcasm showing here than in the 6 page health thread, something that does the discussion a very big favour (I'm sure its mostly because people have had a chance to stop and take a breath now).
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Old 10-11-2008, 09:37 AM
StalinsGhost StalinsGhost is offline
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Originally Posted by Larington View Post
I feel obliged to say this thread should be left unhampered for the moment, theres a lot less sarcasm showing here than in the 6 page health thread, something that does the discussion a very big favour (I'm sure its mostly because people have had a chance to stop and take a breath now).
Totally agreed. So many people will jump the gun and either cry out against the changes being made to the "entirely perfect system" used in Deus Ex without really thinking any deeper into the changes. Problem is, getting people to discuss things which might actually help the development seems a lot harder for people to comprehend that knee-jerk responses that dominate most discussion of game mechanic changes.
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Old 10-11-2008, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by v.dog View Post
Here's a thought- what if there was a custom difficulty setting in addition to the presets (ala System Shock 1) whereby you could choose individual settings for AI level, damage dealt, damage taken, hack/pick difficulty, health regen level/speed, pick up availability.
I highly disagree. The settings in System Shock should not be implemented in Deus Ex because it screws up the flow of the game. The developers make the game playable on all difficulties (easy, normal, hard, realistic) witch takes 4 times a long as just making it for one difficulty, if you have something like SS1 then all of a sudden they need to spend hours of time balancing a game that can be 32 different games all in one, greatly increasing the time it will take to make the game. Time they could have spent making the health system work.

As for the health system. It would be nice because in Deus Ex 1 if you lost your legs you usually had to reload your game. However it can greatly screw up the game play of Deus Ex. Deus Ex allows the player to find different ways to archive there goals. Some players would become hacker/lock pickers and avoid combat as much as possible. Others would increase there rifle skill and there Regen augmentation in order to be better at combat. An auto heal system like Crysis/Halo would make the option of being a combat oriented player too easy. This would mean that players would usually not become a hacker/lock picker because it would be illogical. It's kind of like starting Deus Ex with the heal regain augmentation right off the bat and unlimited bio energy for it. Why would players become the Hacker/lock picker or stealth take down character when you already have a major advantage if you become the head on gun welding guy.

Now of course there are a lot of ways to counter this health system in fact it could even add something to game play. Lets explain how we would do it if we where implementing it in Deus Ex. If I were making Deus Ex with this system what I would do is add a plus one hit point every two seconds to a player who is under 25hp in the target area of the body. This would allow a new option for the player to go hide and recover a small amount of health up to 25hp in all areas of the body when badly damaged. However 25 HP in all areas is not something a player would consider prime health for going head on head with just about anyone. More then 2 NSF at a time and you are as good as dead. The player would need to find a new way to accomplish there goals other then going gun's blazing. For example they would need to use stealth or hacking/lock picking. This would actually add something to the game because you would not need to reload you game every time you lose your legs.

THE MAIN POINT:
Please don't insult our intelligence as gamers because some players won't be able to "think" on how they should accomplish goals in the game. Deus Ex is the "Thinking man's shooter." not some POS generic shooter that only needs an I.Q. of about 12 to play. Deus Ex 3 should force us to think.

Last edited by Dead-Eye; 10-11-2008 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 10-11-2008, 11:25 AM
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I think I should point out that a system which tries to maximise giving the player as much choice as posible about individual gameplay mechanics (Like auto regen rate) isn't so much about throwing all these choices at the player and leaving them to pick and choose, but rather to provide 4 basic options (easy, medium, hard, realistic) and then having a customise button which opens up a deeper menu.

The developers only have to balance the 4 basic options, leaving the player to make a specific element harder/easier/different if he/she really wants to. Most will ignore it, others might use it to have fun with the game after completing it the first time, or to do special kinds of run-through (Similar to say, a no kill run in the original).
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Old 10-11-2008, 01:22 PM
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I am just wondering. Does it matter what we say? Is there any chance of changing anything? Can we have some kind of dialog with the people who thought of that? And even if we had a conversation with them, can they have an open mind? Or will it seem like we attack their creation and they must defend it? Can WE keep an open mind?
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Old 10-11-2008, 01:38 PM
StalinsGhost StalinsGhost is offline
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Originally Posted by El_Bel View Post
I am just wondering. Does it matter what we say? Is there any chance of changing anything? Can we have some kind of dialog with the people who thought of that? And even if we had a conversation with them, can they have an open mind? Or will it seem like we attack their creation and they must defend it? Can WE keep an open mind?
I'm guessing the game is still in a relatively early period of development - one where things can and will change from now until it goes gold.

Think of it this way. If no-one says anything, they'll just head down a path of their own. It could be what people want, or it may not. But the more detailed, carefully thought out suggestions and discussions there are, the more scope there is for them understanding what would prove successful.

100,000 angry gamers crying over the health regen will change nothing. 100 actually perhaps offering some interesting criticism and discussion can help, and the developers are far more likely to respond to that than hundreds of pages of flaming.

A good comparison would be Fallout 3 - Bethesda have been inundated with flame to the point where it is very hard to read any decent suggestions. They've even admitted the only thing for them to do was to put their heads down and get on with it because they'd never make everyone happy.

So basically, keeping our cool, thinking about things in a constructive way, as I think this thread has so far will do a lot more good than simply *ing about it will.
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Old 10-11-2008, 01:47 PM
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Like I've said before, Uni Ammo has been recreated. But I think it's useless to get into this, I believe EM to be smart enough to notice the mass amount of disapproval of such a stupid idea and change it. It's not even in beta yet guys...
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