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    PQ | Features | Mailbag | November 16, 2002
   

PQ Mailbag

As much as I would enjoy spinning a tale of tragedy and woe to explain the absence of the mailbag for the past few weeks, the truth is that it can be attributed almost entirely to old-fashioned laziness. Laziness on the part of the readers, that is. No mail. We had nothing to do with it. Really.

Mailbag feedback

Question of the week - what's your opinion on realism in deathmatch? Next time, we'll be sure to define the question a little more strictly...


From: "Phoenix"
Subject: Realism and deathmatch

Well for starters I'm going to assume you mean free-for-all when you say deathmatch so that we're not talking about team-play based situations like Counter... I won't even go there. In a free-for-all deathmatch "realism" generally sucks. Some degree of realism is necessary, as in rockets throwing people around, people dying when you shoot them, etc, but other than what is needed to make the game playable and enjoyable why bother? Realism isn't real anyway. I've played where a "one-shot-kill" rifle nails someone in the hand and they die, yet someone's holding a pistol and I shoot them with a lesser rifle that hits their hand instead of their head, which is of course behind their hands that are holding the pistol, and they live, clobber me once in the noggin, and I'm dead on the ground. Um, right, so the hand absorbed all the damage yet the rifle round penetrates into the wall, magically dodging around his head somehow. Or then maybe the game was coded to only check damage on the person once, regardless of whether or not another more vital part was behind what got hit first? And of COURSE after having his hand shot with a rifle he can somehow make a perfect shot with that pistol to kill me!

That brings me to another question. WHY hitscan? Fire a machinegun, hitscan. Fire a rifle, hitscan. Makes it easy to unlag a game maybe, and I know that at least with Quake 3 lobbing x number of entities/second lags the internet like crazy, but if you want to call it "realism" then find a way to either launch a real slug or at least do the calculations to simulate balistic trajectory. Oh, and you better add wind resistance, make the guns jam once in a while, have to manually line up the sights, don't forget breathing control, don't jerk the trigger.... I mean, for God's sake you can really go overboard on all this stuff. Let's make the person cry in pain and be unable to do anything when he's shot in the toe. How about taking an hour to bleed to death from a stomach wound? Fun deathmatch THERE. Or better yet, why not make it so you can only die ONCE, then you're really dead, and can't ever play again? How's THAT for realistic!

Deathmatch began from the concept of taking a single player game world and letting the players duke it out against each other within that environment. It has evolved since then from being a bonus item to having full fledged games centered around deathmatch. Yet ironically the most fun games seem to be in the old ones, where you can do tricks you could never conceive of doing in real life. What fun would Quake be without rocket jumping? Where's the joy in gibless play? What about Doom's old silent BFG trick, or knocking someone 30 feet into a pile of mush with your bare fist? I tried out the "realism" route once, and eventually got tired of the same boring thing over and over. Too many times I thought "you know, a rocket launcher would be really fun about now". What I can't understand is why so many people WANT to play so-called realism games. We play video games to ESCAPE reality, to do the impossible, to be a hero against the armies of hell, or simply to blast our friends to bits with heavy weapons without actually killing anybody or going to jail as a result. Why try to recreate the mundane? If people want realism in teamplay games fine, let them have it I guess, but leave my deathmatch alone.

Dire Hamster: Realism mods aren't actually realistic? You mean we've been lied to all this time? Are you saying that counter terrorists don't actually have to buy their own guns? That they aren't actually paid a commision for each terrorist they kill. And to think I trusted those guys!

a madman: Making the SWAT team for their own weapons always struck me as a bit odd as well. I can imagine the exchange:

Lieutenant: "Here's the situation. We've got ten terrorists holding 117 hostages in there and they've refused to negotiate for three days. We've got no choice but to go in and take them out. Ok, men, cough up!"

Counter-Terrorist 1: "What?"

Lt: "You DO want a gun when you head in there, right? That'll be $1200 for the MP5, and an extra $150 if you want any ammo."

CT1: "I've got...." <sound of wallet being examined> "... $23. And... 57 cents."

Lt: "Well, you've got a knife there... I'd learn to use it."

CT2: "Hey, if we play our cards right we could all be filthy rich by the end of the night. Then I could finally have the scratch to pay for that body armor I've been eyeing."

Dire Hamster: I suppose next you're going to tell me that terrorists don't actually form glee-club style human pyramids so they can hide bombs on top of doors. I've always said that these first person shooters don't have enough cheerleading manuevers in them.

a madman: "Jump on my head, Abdul! They'll never find the bomb if we put it on top of this tall crate!"


From: Izaak Mirro
Subject: Realism in Deathmatch games...

Well, as my sig says, I am a military buff. I love comptuer games and role playing games.

Blood and guts is a part of any game where you have guns blazing and rockets 'sploding. But I think that game developers should take heed of some advice given to scale modelers. Blood is a realistic part of building military diorama (scenes for those of you under 13). Blood does belond in scenes of combat but it should be handled with taste.

So what does the plastic and superglue crowd have to do with us? Well, modlers were acused of being pro-Nazi because of the insignia on the planes tanks etc. And several moderls have done very blood dioramas (Think "Savaing Private Ryan", not "I can paint toy soldiers with red paint"). Gore is a part of violent combat, but it should be kept in persepctive. Q3A did a good job of having a cartoon-style of violence that was in no way realistic. UT is on the same level.

If the violence is too realistic it's not a game, but a sim. SOF and SOF2 are the exampels that come to mind. I might buy them, but I will not play them over and over again. They're not games in the entertainment sense, and the gore does not help.

If the game developers want to simulate the horrors of war and place me in a solider's shoes, by all means make the gore realistic (but be preapared for an M-rating). If the game as a "horror" theme go for it (but don't use blood in the place of good game play). However, if the object is to entertain me, tone down the gore. Bodies are o.k., "gibs" are o.k. Some blood is o.k. Limping, guts hanging out, body parts and boyd parts being used as weapons/props/food, that's not o.k. Severed limbs are not funny, torture is not funny. If you must (i.e. Doom, Doom ][ and soon to be realsed Doom]|[) Put the M on the box so I can brace myself. Shocking me is just fine, but buckets of blood do not replace good game play.

Lyta_79

--
Babylon 5, Psychology, 7 of 9, 20th century warfare, computers, role playing games

"Good..bad....I'm the guy with the gun."- Ash in "Army of Darkness"

Dire Hamster: So, he says he wants more cartoon violence, like in Saving Private Ryan. Ok. Makes perfect sense to me.

a madman: A few lines near the end of this one caught my eye as I read through it. I think I would to disagree with a few of his points - for instance, severed limbs can be pretty funny. I have yet to see a game that included torture as an actual gameplay element, so I'm really not sure where that one came from.

Dire Hamster: I guess the violence in SoF 2 was too realistic for him. I guess what he's looking for is Kevin McAllister luring Daniel Stern out with an old Jimmy Cagney movie, then blowing his face off with a shotgun?

Anyway, at first I thought his argument that violence in videogames causes violence in real life was pretty idiotic. Assuming the gamer in question isn't a paint-eating moron, that's probably true. Unfortunately, that isn't really a safe assumption to make.

I remember a few years back there was a movie in theatres that had a scene where some of the actors sat in the middle of the freeway. Apparently a few future McDonald's managers decided it would be a great idea to imitate this scene, and, surprise! They got run over. If someone is that stupid, they're probably not smart enough to realize that it isn't ok to kill strangers just because you see it in a videogame. Of course, if they don't hear it from a videogame, they're likely to hear it from their neighbor's dog, or from exercise tapes, or God knows what else.

I think the only reasonable answer is to stop showing Channel One in the classroom, and start showing episodes of Jackass, less the disclaimer at the start. After all, it's us or them, right?

a madman: Sometimes, DH, your misanthropy surprises even me.


From: "Glossy ."
Subject: realism

realism in deathmatch games is fine, but there is a limit.

good: get a gun and shoot stuff. if you hit them in the head they die. if you dont, they hit you in the head and you die. simple. too much realism: you get a gun and shoot stuff. your mum walks in and tells you off, your teachers connect and tell your mum that you're getting bad grades because you play too much quake. someone mugs you and takes your mobile phone, your gun, your watch and your wallet. some fat kid walks in and shoots you in the head and you die.

theres a limit. im just praying it will never be exceeded.

-glossy

Dire Hamster: Since I have absolutely no idea what this guy is talking about, I thought I'd instead take this time to inform everyone about this. You know, this really takes a load off of my mind. I was just thinking the other day "there just aren't enough gay fruit flies." Now, at least, we can feel safe knowing that fruit fly sized gold lame shirts won't have to go unsold.

a madman: Until you started talking, I figured this email would be the most off-topic thing in this mailbag. I stand corrected.

Anyway, I agree with pretty much everything that Glossy said, except for the part that started with 'good' and ended with 'exceeded.' I'm not quite clear where the mental leap between deathmatch and a mugging comes from, though. Unless Activision hires someone to come to your house and commit crimes against you, that's really not what I would normally call "part of a deathmatch game" - mostly because it's happening on the wrong side of the screen. Even Majestic limited itself to prank phone calls in the middle of the night.

Dire Hamster: Majestic was a great gift for a friend who's into conspiracy theories. Especially when they didn't know you'd signed them up for it.

Next: Guatemalan ordinary people and crates galore!


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