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PurpleTentacle

Walking Speed of Character? Option for Quick Pace is Desirable

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Not sure if this has been discussed, but I believe it is an important consideration.

 

What is something many of us do as soon as we start certain adventure games? Turn up the character's walking speeds, right? Who wants to sit and wait while a character lumbers from one side of the screen to the next, over and over?

 

I was recently playing Moebius (disappointing product from a developer who apparently struggled technically to make the game work, but no need to get into that here), and I found it annoying how slowly the main character walks around and performs many actions. Even in tense scenes, where the character's safety is at risk, he still strolls around as if he hasn't a care in the world.

 

My suggestion for SpaceVenture: definitely give us the option to make the playable character run/jog whenever we want, rather than simply walk.

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What is something many of us do as soon as we start certain adventure games? Turn up the character's walking speeds, right?

Yep. Watching your character slowly amble across the screen adds nothing to the narrative nor to the challenge of the game. It especially becomes wearing if you need to go back and forth several times to complete a task.

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Yeah, I liked how in Grim Fandango you could hold shift to run, that came in handy a lot.

 

Also I think in some LucasArts games you can double click on a door or end of street, etc. and it just takes you right

there, that's also very helpful.

 

It becomes very important when you're stuck on a puzzle and have to do the obligatory "go everywhere and try everything

with everything else" routine. 

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Yep. Watching your character slowly amble across the screen adds nothing to the narrative nor to the challenge of the game. It especially becomes wearing if you need to go back and forth several times to complete a task.

That's true, but be careful. If you don't watch yourself you may find yourself with a game like Jurassic Park that omits walking entirely, which also prohibits freedom of exploration and that requires a bit of non-linearity, something narrative can't provide. I'm not one to completely follow narrative solely.

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Turning up the walking speed is good, but a run option is better. I like walking when I'm casually exploring or thinking things through. But just like in real life, I want to break out into a jog when things feel too slow. Even if it's a slow run, it's nice having that extra level of control.

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I agree, walking speed has always been something I crank up in old Sierra games. I really like the designs where the character either jumps to point where you double click or just runs there as well.

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I like the double-click-to-run mechanic myself -- the Blade Runner game used this especially effectively where repeated clicking made the character run faster. I also really like the double-click-on-exit to change rooms mechanic, too.

 

But some games, I feel, also took it too far: in Torin's Passage, you could right-click anywhere on the screen to instantly teleport there. And after a while you start getting lazy and just zip all over the screens instead of leisurely exploring the game world. And in Beneath A Steel Sky, turning up the game speed also increased the speed of everything around you, not just the main character's walking speed. Those are, I think, some of the pitfalls to watch out for.

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I was never a fan of the "right-click to teleport" mechanic myself. It would be awesome if I were playing as Nightcrawler, but otherwise, it's too easy a bad habit to fall into and does detract from the experience. Even Torin's Passage had to disable it for the maze sequence (which is where a run function would have been really nice.)

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A big drawback for me with the right click teleport feature is that in Sierra games I am in the habit of right clicking to cycle the cursor through the cursor its various functions. Quite irritating if you reflexively try to change to the hand cursor only to find you had teleported. Yes, Torin's has no multi function cursor, but your brain can be on autopilot from all of the Sierra games that do.

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Agree with everything beind said in here. It's quite amazing how detracting the little things can be in an adventure game and walking speed is very much an area where you have to find a good balance between realistic and gamer-friendly.

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I like the double-click-to-run mechanic myself -- the Blade Runner game used this especially effectively where repeated clicking made the character run faster. I also really like the double-click-on-exit to change rooms mechanic, too.

Just this!

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In the latest podcast Chris Pope says that there will be a run mode. Not sure if we'll only have the run option in certain situations or if we can choose to run whenever we want. Anyone here know how that's going to work?

Yep. Nothing I can disclose yet. But the Guys are definitely aware of the need to keep pacing tight to avoid boring people.

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I am very glad this is a consideration. A knock on some adventure games (though not really a serious complaint of mine) is how slow you're forced to move around. I loved how you could run in Sierra's QFG games. I also like how Laura Bow runs at the end of Dagger of Amon Ra (makes the action and drama more believable), and I wish you had been given the option to do this whenever you want... but I suppose then her running at the end wouldn't have had the same specialness and therefore wouldn't have resulted in the same heightened suspense.

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You can speed up ego's speed in the control panel of most SCI games. Even the AGI and SCI0 games had a speed option in the menu. About the best an most seamless way I have seen to handle is is a single click tto get ego to move to the point clicked and a double click to run to the point.

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It should definitely be left up to player choice. Although I put walk speed on "fast" for AGI games, I don't really change it too much in SCI games.

 

I think there is something to be said for letting a world sink in around you. Slower walking speeds often give you a sense of really moving across a world with volume and distance. It can emphasize the feeling of really trekking through the world, rather than clicking through some backgrounds drawn by artists, especially in games where things can happen along the way. One example is the pedestrians in Freddy Pharkas, or maybe the zombie/bunny in Space Quest 4. If you could just skip past those with an agile double-click, you'd lose the sense of occupying the same space as them... and in Space Quest 4, you'd lose the tension of potential death.

 

Anyway, gimme a walking speed slider or let me choose whether to run or not, and I'm good.

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