What makes a "Stealth Game" good and exciting?

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by Deceius, Jun 10, 2014.

    Tags:
  1. Deceius

    Deceius The Vintage Tiger Cub Veteran

    Messages:
    252
    Likes Received:
    139
    Location:
    In my cave
    First Language:
    Taglish
    Primarily Uses:
    N/A
    As said in the title... What makes a stealth game good and exciting? 

    And I was thinking... Is it okay that I'll make the battle in command button sequence? For example, when you get caught by a guard, a command button sequence will be triggered, and if you'll get it right, you knock down the guard. I want this game to focus on stealth, not on battle...

    Thanks in advance!
     
    #1
  2. Tsa05

    Tsa05 Villager Member

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    1
    First Language:
    English
    Options!

    Thing that made me play Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow 8 times was that I could complete the missions many different ways (Pure stealth, knockouts, distractions, alternate routes...)
     
    #2
    Deceius likes this.
  3. Kyutaru

    Kyutaru Software Engineer & Ninja Veteran

    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    54
    Location:
    New Jersey
    First Language:
    English
    Failure.  Horrible disgusting failure makes stealth games exciting.  Having to repeat the same stage of Metal Gear Solid over and over again until you succeed in NOT summoning fourteen guards is what's exciting.
     
    #3
    Deceius likes this.
  4. Eschaton

    Eschaton Hack Fraud Veteran

    Messages:
    2,027
    Likes Received:
    526
    Location:
    Kansas City, Missouri
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    N/A
    I agree with Tsa05's options.  Not just how you can take your enemy down, but how you can screw with your enemy. 

    Snake knocking on stuff or dropping a Playboy magazine or throwing an empty magazine to distract enemies.

    The Batman Arkham games were very good at that.  I got a sadistic thrill from knowing the bad guys were afraid of me.
     
    #4
    Deceius likes this.
  5. Curia Chasea

    Curia Chasea Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    14
    First Language:
    Polish
    Stealth games are basically puzzles. If you try analyzing the good stealth games, you will notice this pattern:

    - Hide somewhere safe where you can observe the "current puzzle"

    - Analyze the "puzzle" and plan your move. 

    - Execute your plan.

     

    In case of failure, you can always hide somewhere and wait for a reset to try the puzzle again. 

     

     

    So, battle as a button sequence? Its fine. As a QTE? Also fine. Your player will probably never want to battle anyway. Although I would suggest the "battle" to be the last possible option the player will do. If your player can just powerhouse through the game, then no stealth will ever occur. Its also a good idea to make battle impossible. As in - you get discovered? You are dead IF you cannot hide fast enough.

     

    Also, Tsa05 said something vital - options. The player needs at least 3 ways of tackling the problem at hand. If you ever make a puzzle that has only one way of beating it - your design pretty much failed. (As long as stealth games go that is)

     

    On the other hand - I would not follow Kyutaru's advice on failure. Sending the player back to the beginning every time he messed up is a great way to frustrate a player, not to challenge him. A no-savepoints run is great for "Hardcore" difficulty where the player selects it for a sort of ultimate challenge. Doing that for everyone would just be sadistic and your game would gain bad rep as being "cheap" and not hard. 

     

    Anyway - if we want players to make perfect runs and strive for that perfect score, one good way is simply introduce some kind of Bonus or Achievement. If the player makes it through the whole level never going back to a checkpoint - he gets a bonus. So next time he will try the same level again, trying to master it. 

     

    Also, be generous with checkpoints. Every major puzzle should have a checkpoint after it. Consider this as if you are asking the player questions. If he gets stuck on the last one and you keep asking him "the same, freaking, stupid starter questions every freaking time", you will annoy him and not challenge him. After all - he already knows the answers. You do not have to test his memory.

     

    Also - iteration time. Make sure that when the player fails, he immediately goes back to the checkpoint without a "Ha ha ha - you suck! Try Again?" screen. There is nothing worse than waiting 5 minutes between each attempt. 

     

     

     

    There is also a lot more to stealth games but I'll finish on these basics for now. 
     
    #5
    SpacemanFive and Deceius like this.
  6. Deceius

    Deceius The Vintage Tiger Cub Veteran

    Messages:
    252
    Likes Received:
    139
    Location:
    In my cave
    First Language:
    Taglish
    Primarily Uses:
    N/A
    Thanks for all of your suggestions! You guys are awesome. :D Thanks for your time!
     
    #6
  7. Eschaton

    Eschaton Hack Fraud Veteran

    Messages:
    2,027
    Likes Received:
    526
    Location:
    Kansas City, Missouri
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    N/A
    Another problem with stealth in RPGs is the fact that combat is the core.

    How does the player get stronger from avoiding combat? Why would the player need to get stronger? What about boss fights? Can they sneak past those, too?

    If enemies give experience for killing them and the player gets experience for sneaking past them via an event, then the player will exploit this. They will sneak past the enemy and get the EXP, then turn around and fight the enemy and get the EXP.

    In an RPG, you can't have stealth and gain experience from enemies.

    My solution is to divide the game into missions or quests and reward EXP at the end of the mission. That way, whether the player fights or sneaks, they get experience points and the pleasure of getting progressively stronger that is the appeal of RPGs.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 11, 2014
    #7
    Chaos Avian and Deceius like this.

Share This Page