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Thoughts on Regenerating Health

Posted on 22nd Jun 2010 at 10:01 by Joe Martin with 54 comments

Joe Martin
My first thought on the concept of health regeneration in games was something along the lines of “it’s rubbish”, though with more swearing and waving of fists. With a bit more consideration though, I’ve come to the conclusion that perhaps there just isn’t a good way of presenting a character's health to players.

The matter of presenting player health has been one of shifting standards, with each new format being initially unpopular before it became the convention. Back in the good old days (TM) of the Spectrum pretty much every title employed a system of Lives or Sudden Death, where suffering one hit would kill your character or avatar, and you had three or five strikes. Then along came the likes of Wolfenstein which presented health as a percentage and, for a while, people hated it. Then it became the standard.

Now regenerating health is starting to supplant that format and people hate that too, claiming that it takes the fun and challenge out of a game as you can just hide behind a rock to recover from a headshot. Regardless, it’s already become a standard for many styles of games – though there are exceptions to every rule, especially at such a general level.

Thoughts on Regenerating Health
It's just a flesh wound!

The thing is, while it’s easy to rant and rave about how stupid regenerating health is in games, the fact of the matter is that presenting health as a percentage is equally stupid. To paraphrase Kevin Smith, it’s like going to a sci-fi convention to see the Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans picking on the Twilight followers for not being nerdy enough. Everyone who complains about regenerating health just seems to skip over why percentage-health is equally stupid; not all wounds are the same, headshots nearly always kill and even healed injuries can be consistently debilitating to name just a few issues.

That’s not to say that the ideal solution is a full on simulation though – Mil-Sim style health is, more often than not, a barrier rather than a benefit and a game with regenerating health can still be just as good as one with percentage health. I’m just rambling here and pointing out that, just because you think A is silly, doesn’t mean B makes sense.

To me, the format which works best is the one seen in the first two Fallout games – though I’m under no illusions that it is perfect. Simply, Fallout divided all characters in the game (enemies, allies and the player) into different hitzones – legs, arms, groin, torso, head and eyes. It then married this with an overall HP counter that functions the same as most other RPGs, so if you run out of Hit Points then you’re dead and have to reload a game.


There were two types of attacks – default and targeted, with default attacks having a low chance of causing a critical outcome but costing fewer action points to execute. Default attacks always aimed for the torso too and were primarily useful depleting enemy HP. Targeted attacks cost more action points to perform, but you could choose which areas to aim for and could therefore get special outcomes. Get a critical shot against the legs and you’d stop your enemy from being able to chase you as well, while hitting the eyes would stop them retaliating as effectively.

Brilliantly, these rules also worked against the player too. If you got a crippled leg then you’d be unable to run or move in combat, while a shot in the arm might render you unable to use two-handed weapons. Restoring limbs from these effects would require the use of specific items and skills that were kept separate from other healing devices.

Fallout’s health system isn’t perfect. There were several inconsistencies in the implementation and it wouldn’t work for other genres at all. Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth is an FPS which uses a roughly similar system which utterly fails to impress, though it does increase the sense of vulnerability which that game thrives on.

The point is: all systems for presenting health to players in computer games are equally flawed and, just because Fallout is my personal favourite or Half-Life integrated it into the story through the HEV suit, doesn’t change that.

54 Comments

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isaac12345 22nd June 2010, 10:26 Quote
Speaking of blowing up limbs and the AI responding in a corresponding manner, do you remember Soldier of Fortune?
yakyb 22nd June 2010, 10:27 Quote
it has to suit the game basically

a percentage system works well in RPG whilst regeneration works well in Halo

however in a sniper simulation i would want the most accurate portrayal of what would happen if i was shot in the shoulder / foot /head

I didnt like the regeneration effect in crysis and would have much preferred a realistic approach to match the attempted realism of the rest of the game
isaac12345 22nd June 2010, 10:33 Quote
It would be interesting to have Crysis include a permanent suit damage system, where if the suit suffers enough hits, it stops working as good as default. Then we could have some items which could be used to fix it. I think it would add to the sense of vulnerability that Joe has mentioned in the article.
isaac12345 22nd June 2010, 10:33 Quote
Oh no! we are talking about Crysis again!
harveypooka 22nd June 2010, 10:45 Quote
Project Reality has the best health system I can think of. Many shots are instantly lethal, but often you're hit and bleed out over time; yelping and blurring your field of vision. You can be revived within a certain time limit, but grenades are fatal if I remember correctly. Feels like the right balance to me of ensuring the game is fun (but bloody hard) but still looking toward the mystical idea of "realism".
Draksis 22nd June 2010, 11:04 Quote
though I agree that developers should choose the right method for the life system, and must suit the style and feeling of the game, Personally I feel that the regen system tends to ditract me. also tactics go stright out the window with regen health, as you sit there going "ok, 10 guys in the room. I'll just stick my head in, kill a few, then back out to regen. rinse repeat."
However, having 10% life, no medkit/food/whatever, trying to avoid any major battle so that you survive, I find, to be far more satisfying.

having said that, after plaing Mass Effect 2 again, I can easily see that a medkit system to heal as well as revive would be too irritating to the gamer.

/2cents
docodine 22nd June 2010, 11:04 Quote
Haven't played Fallout, is the health system like Deus Ex's?
lacuna 22nd June 2010, 11:06 Quote
I like different methods depending on the game. In half life (and similar) I like the percentage method because it adds tension when you're on 5 health (or whatever) with no medkits in site and dark passge to go through.

In sandbox 3rd person games I like regenerating health because its a pain having to go eat a burger every time you get shot up -another reason why Saints Row beats GTA.

Then there is the hybrid percentage/recovery like in Far Cry 2, a game which is kind of a hybrid of the above 2 genres anyway. I like the way your health meter can only partially restore, it encourages you to take cover but forces you to come out eventually. I also like the way that if you're down the the last health block you will actually die over time.

In RTS games I like it when units can repair over time. You would expect in a real battle that a tank crew or whatever would make an effort to patch up a damaged machine if the opportunity arose
Lizard 22nd June 2010, 11:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by lacuna
In RTS games I like it when units can repair over time. You would expect in a real battle that a tank crew or whatever would make an effort to patch up a damaged machine if the opportunity arose

Actually, in real life the crew are actively encouraged to bail out as soon as possible as an imobolised AFV is a sitting duck.
Apoptosis 22nd June 2010, 12:09 Quote
I think it's silly that in games like Modern Warfare 2, notwithstanding its relative realism otherwise, it is possible to receive dozens of bullets in your body in a short period of time and still continue running about as if nothing's happened. I think that the further games move toward realism, the more glaring the unrealism of health systems is going to get.

I would like to see a war game where you really couldn't get hit even once without seriously impairing your ability to function, and that the injury wouldn't just subside in a few seconds after a few red flashes of the screen. If you got shot in the leg, you couldn't walk; if you'd get hit in the head, you'd die; if you continued to bleed profusely, you'd die - or the very least lose consciousness.

Of course the developers would need to offset such extreme realism with something in order to not make the game impossibly difficult. Or maybe we'd need to accept that in a realistic game you just can't run carelessly around the battlefield without being killed - as you couldn't in an actual war. This would probably move the gameplay away from arcade-type shoot-'em-ups into a more strategy-based gameplay: you'd need to plan your moves and tactics on the battlefield carefully so that you wouldn't die in an instant.

Having a few months or so of in-game time in between levels/maps would realistically make it possible for the characters to heal from their injuries. That way you wouldn't need to sacrifice realism by miraculously having the character in full health by the next level, or make the player limp their way through the entire game with only one leg after losing the other in the first map.
CardJoe 22nd June 2010, 12:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apoptosis
snip

Go play Arma II?
Gunsmith 22nd June 2010, 12:15 Quote
I hate health regen systems like cod's with a passion however in crysis it worked because of there being a plausable explinaton behind it + it wasnt a "hide for 5 seconds" job.

hell i used to quicksave on doom with only 5% health when I was young forcing me to use skill and wit to overcome rather then being a pussy and hiding.

kids these days cant game for ****.
Pete J 22nd June 2010, 13:05 Quote
I really like regenerating health for the most part - it keeps everything nice and fluid. It doesn't necessarily make a game easier - it means that tactics change. For instance in Gears of War, on the insanity setting, poking your head out for more than a second or two will have you dead.

Personally I like Metro 2033's way of handling health - it does regenerate but you can quickly use a stim to get back to 100% if you're caught out.
Fizzban 22nd June 2010, 13:07 Quote
I don't know why they don't combine the two forms of healing. While health is 75% and above it regens, as no significant damage has been dealt. But if it drops below that then you need to seek out a medkit or aid station. That would make more sense than just regening everything.
pimlicosound 22nd June 2010, 13:10 Quote
I think regenerating health is fine. If you're careless, you'll still die fast, but it avoids the absurdity of general lameness of having to search for medkits.

Also, I tend to think of it more in terms of the enemies getting a bead on me, with their gunfire getting closer and closer until it hits and I'm dead, or with me managing to get to cover and evade their aim. It makes a bit more sense that way.

In some ways, I think the debate on regenerating health is a lot like the one over the "you-can't-die" gameplay of Prince of Persia 2008. The result of falling and being saved by Elika is basically the same as dying and restarting at a checkpoint. It's no more or less absurd. But because it's presented differently, traditionalist gamers go insane.
Deact 22nd June 2010, 13:25 Quote
I'm another regenerative helath hater but I think it really applieso n the context as for example as well laid out in the blog post, an RPG-styled game like Fallout 3. Where I think it has no place is the multiplayer FPS as it ruins any real challenge in a sense as if your not killed outright you can jsut duck away as its been explained above. My prefered health system for FPS multiplayer is the one well used in Red Orchestra, where you have location hits with effects. Such as shooting an enemy player in the leg will cause him to slow and no longer be able to run, the arm/hand for them to drop their held weapon and terminal hits for a torso or heat shot (though if not an outright kill it tends to apply wound effects like no running etc but i digress).

Bascially, i'm just wittering on that its all about the game and the setting as I can find the regenerating health disrupts the flow of a game and really ruins the tension in certain games (compare trying to attack an machine gun in CoD: United Offensive and CoD2 for yet another FPS example) and therefore getting into the games and throughly enjoying them (in my own heavily baised opinion).
tad2008 22nd June 2010, 14:29 Quote
I agree with having target-able body areas and to have limits placed when a limb has sustained enough damage or even to be knocked unconscious from a head blow.

The problem isn't so much health in itself, for me it's as much to do with the prospective damage of firearms, a 3 round burst from a semi-automatic weapon should leave you in dire straights and running for cover, stem the flow of blood and work out the best tactical way of taking out enemies.

I dislike standing toe to toe with an opponent and emptying a full mag into them before them keel over and die.

By making use of hit locations and making damage more realistic especially from automatic weapons or those that claim to do huge amounts of damage encourages a different style of game play and games like Metal Gear, Thief and others have both made good use of Stealth as part of the game mechanics and subsequently added depth and atmosphere.

Having health regenerate slowly or finding safe havens where you can rest properly for a period and tend your wounds to recover are certainly better options that the apply med-kit back to max health approach.

A lot of people here have said how much difference it should make based on the genre of game, but is that really necessary, surely a realistic but fair system that adds tension is better for any game genre.

If we look at FPS being shot in the leg and being crippled and unable to run is no different from playing a fantasy based RPG and getting an arrow in the leg. It's still going to hurt and slow you down, stop you from jumping, make climbing more difficult/dangerous, etc, etc
B1GBUD 22nd June 2010, 14:49 Quote
This whole regenerated health has some problems, especially when playing online where the aim is teamwork. Take the Battlefield series as an example. In BF2 you either need to make sure that you had a Medic in your squad, you played as a medic, or your squad leader was in comms with the commander who would deploy an ammo/health crate when required.

In BFBC2 (non hardcore so your health re-gens) you don't need to rely on Medics so much which means you often end up in a squad full of snipers, there is no point spawning on them as they're often too far away from the objective (especially when attacking) and the other squads are locked when clan members stack the teams/squads.

Personally, I prefer hardcode mode but then you have to rely on teamwork for meds/ammo, make sure you have a medic in your squad, because you can't see sh1t when you're low on health as you've got blood and dust obscuring your view. Trying to take out a tank in the distance with a rocket seems almost impossible.
barrkel 22nd June 2010, 15:06 Quote
In the FPS games I enjoy playing (e.g. Far Cry, Far Cry 2, Thief series), I personally consider it a failure when I suffer any damage whatsoever. I like to play the games almost as if I was really in that situation - that heightens the tension and experience, and makes playing sneakily really rewarding.

The trouble is that most games don't cater for the recon, planning, evasion, strategy and tactics required to complete objectives with minimal risk of damage.

I'd be happy with one or two hit kills in games, so long as the design was also appropriate.
Skiddywinks 22nd June 2010, 15:34 Quote
The arguments from the percentage camp tend to be hypocritical if you ask me.

Regenerating health means you can run in to a room, kill everyone, and run back to cover. Rinse and repeat. Sure, that's true, if you are playing on easy. Try that in MW and you will get your ass handed to you. You can't use casual arguments here. We are hardcore gamers (or at least should be, if we are discussing such a topic!), so we should be discussing the effects on nothing less than the harder half of whatever difficulties you get.

Likewise, people say you can't do that in a percentage system, because the damage is permenant. Orly? Tell that to the medkits that weren't picked up a small trek ago.

Frankly, neither system is perfect, I agree completely. But as far as the behaviour that each system tends to promote, I find ducking for cover a much more realistic behaviour than hording medkits.
yakyb 22nd June 2010, 16:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fizzban
I don't know why they don't combine the two forms of healing. While health is 75% and above it regens, as no significant damage has been dealt. But if it drops below that then you need to seek out a medkit or aid station. That would make more sense than just regening everything.

Like Just cause 2? (which i think works well tbh)
thehippoz 22nd June 2010, 16:26 Quote
like fallout's way of doing it too with the pipboy and different traits but the karma system was a little wonky (give that homeless guy water and all your bad deeds go away)

outside of fps, I think guildwars has a nice overall setup..

what I really like is you have to deal with a lot of different setups- you can sacrifice pips for damage or mana pips for permanent enchants.. so if your builds (alot like magic the gathering) are crap, you'll probably be a face planter.. what I like is one build is not optimal for all parts of the game.. you have to come back with a different build to either surprise spike while also using things like spirits to stop resurrections or interrupts.. there's environmental hexes in the higher end dungeons

pretty much if you can dream it up you can attempt to make it work.. end up doing things the casual player can't wrap their heads around.. for example you can go high armor and augment your health regeneration.. or protect your hp reducing damage taken (good example is reducing your health and use an enchant like protective spirit which reduces your max damage taken to 10% of total hp.. but if you only have 50 hitpoints, that's 5 damage a hit.. now stack up permanent health regeneration that can easily outheal that damage and you have your tank.. now you can work on building the spank part of your build..

you look at professions and you have no idea wth a guy is running unlike other mmos.. you have to have people ping their bars

let's say your looking for a monk as a simple example.. of course you think healer in most mmos

if you don't ask- you'll have the monk dealing damage and the elementalist healing.. or warrior using monk enchants to get a permanent +6 pips of health regeneration to become the ultimate leeroy until he gets stripped

these are just basic examples but I wish more games were like that- give you more freedom to explore what's possible instead of being so rigid and specific.. looks like that may be the last though as things are looking to go back to the classic mmo- these are the set of skills your offered.. you can make them better by doing blah and blah and that's it

casual gamers and saddle poppers is where the money's at.. we probably won't see any more really deep AAA games from here on out- why I'm retiring from gaming.. starcraft 2 looks interesting though, I might have to try that when it comes out :D
Hovis 22nd June 2010, 17:06 Quote
I always liked the Boiling Point health system. Bit like Fallout but less forgiving, you could get addicted to the healing meds and so forth. Shame the game was broken in so many ways.
Phil Rhodes 22nd June 2010, 17:28 Quote
I'm not quite sure why this needs an article.

Regenerating health is there to make console-style games more suited to the instant-gratification mentality of the mainly young or merely immature people who play them.

I don't think any other interpretation is intellectually honest.
Bloody_Pete 22nd June 2010, 17:29 Quote
I like STO's mothod, where you have HP andshields, the shields regen after not taking damage for x seconds but your HP needs a medkit type afair to regen. It's a mixture of both that works really nicely, as that means even if your low on health you don't need to just go hide, you can still go on the attack.

I think a lot about games doesn't work these days. I mean you only need to ne hit one, even in the hand/ear/toe, for it to have a fairly large effect on your fighting ability. Even if you get hit in the chest with full body armour on your still going to be in a bad way.

I think Devs need to go back to the beginning and look at all aspects of the game, the weapon, armour, where you get hit everything. Systems are easily powerful to run this stuff, but instead its always about graphics. We don't need more graphics, we golden in that respect, we need more and better tweaks to other areas.

And for anyone who thinks it, the health system in Mil Sims IS NOT FUN, realistic yes, but by no means fun.
Fabou 22nd June 2010, 17:49 Quote
I think that regenerating kind of kill the challenge. Because every time you kill a group of enemies you wait 3s and then good as news. So as long is the map, you don't have a feeling of progres.
TSR2 22nd June 2010, 18:07 Quote
IMO there's no one solution to health. Obviously, ideally you'd have a realistic, pretty much 'one hit kill' but many games are designed so that you are almost certain to take damage, especially where the AI seems almost insanely accurate, or where cunning/stealthy tactics don't seem to work and your survival seems to boil down almost to luck. In that case, a regenerating health system tends to be less harsh on stupid mistakes/bad luck, but removes the moment of having the aforementioned 5 health.
Perhaps FPS's should be less focused on being you against the enemy army, and be a bit more MP esque?

Admittedly, my opinions may be affected by my inability and also the games I've played (I haven't really played many of the more recent games)
LightningPete 22nd June 2010, 18:18 Quote
Think the ARMA2 series have it right. Shot, you bleed to death, shot in the correct place and you die or drop your weapon(s) or drop to the floor cos you can no longer run.

I hate those where you can be shot 12 times (like call of duty) before you actually die
Fizzban 22nd June 2010, 18:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by yakyb
Like Just cause 2? (which i think works well tbh)

Does it? I haven't played it so I didn't know. I'd be interested to see how well it works.
iggy 22nd June 2010, 19:31 Quote
Quote:
it’s like going to a sci-fi convention to see the Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans picking on the Twilight followers for not being nerdy enough.

whereas in real life they are picked on because twilight is ****.
Bauul 22nd June 2010, 20:04 Quote
This debate always reminds me of Quake 4. An altogether modern FPS with an altogether old-fashioned health system.

It used the old percentage meter, and you know what? It sucked. By the end levels where the bad guys could strip half your health in a hit, if you got blasted, you reloaded, simple as. You simply couldn't continue knowing one more hit would kill you, as you'd come across that one bad guy that always hit you before you could kill it, and unless you were full health you'd always lose.

I remember thinking to myself pressing F9 over and over again was far more unrealistic and immersion breaking than regenerating health. In fact, if someone brought out a regen mod for Quake 4, I'd probably go back and play it again now.
Fizzban 22nd June 2010, 20:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bauul
This debate always reminds me of Quake 4. An altogether modern FPS with an altogether old-fashioned health system.

It used the old percentage meter, and you know what? It sucked. By the end levels where the bad guys could strip half your health in a hit, if you got blasted, you reloaded, simple as. You simply couldn't continue knowing one more hit would kill you, as you'd come across that one bad guy that always hit you before you could kill it, and unless you were full health you'd always lose.

I remember thinking to myself pressing F9 over and over again was far more unrealistic and immersion breaking than regenerating health. In fact, if someone brought out a regen mod for Quake 4, I'd probably go back and play it again now.

I just played through that again but with a Hi res texture mod and slapped textures on ultra. Was great fun.

You do realise that it's supposed to be a challenge at the end? It makes you try different tactics and forces you to improve your side stepping and aiming-while-moving skills. If your health regenerated what would be the point? It would be piss easy. If you suck that bad at games you should just put it on easy to begin with.
steveo_mcg 22nd June 2010, 21:07 Quote
Or do what i did and cheat. I got bored at one of the last arena's and put god mode on, bit easy after that....
Star*Dagger 22nd June 2010, 21:19 Quote
Real Gamers™ do not need regen health, period.
_Metal_Guitar_ 22nd June 2010, 22:05 Quote
I actually thought that the health system in Far Cry 2 was quite good. It regenerated bits, but if you loose to much you loose a block and you are weaker and easier to kill for it. It was a combination, that to me, seemed to work quite well. Shame the game itself was so bloody boring.
robots 23rd June 2010, 01:04 Quote
This article is wrong in so many ways. I don't know where to begin.
yakyb 23rd June 2010, 08:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fizzban
Quote:
Originally Posted by yakyb
Like Just cause 2? (which i think works well tbh)

Does it? I haven't played it so I didn't know. I'd be interested to see how well it works.

well the game was never meant for realism just for blowing things up, and i play on easy mode because i didnt want a challenge in this game ( i play other s for that ) so i havnt tested the health system to the full extent but essentially it matches your system, and i know if i was playing on medium / hard i would not be going anywhere near a mission unless my health was at 100% before hand, which means running around trying to find a health pack if i got hit alot during the mission yes i could hide on a rooftop or somewhere btu i know i would only ever get back to 50% which makes some of the commander battles pretty interesting
Unknownsock 23rd June 2010, 09:11 Quote
Headshot = Deleted save data.
Even more fun :p
yakyb 23rd June 2010, 09:19 Quote
^^ the famous Hardcore mode used in Diablo
Bauul 23rd June 2010, 10:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fizzban

You do realise that it's supposed to be a challenge at the end? It makes you try different tactics and forces you to improve your side stepping and aiming-while-moving skills. If your health regenerated what would be the point? It would be piss easy. If you suck that bad at games you should just put it on easy to begin with.

Ok, so you do all that mention, but you still get winged by a Gladiator, knocking most of your health off (Railguns hurt!). It happens, doesn't mean you're bad at games, just that you're not superman.

As you're now nearly dead, do you continue playing knowing the next hit will kill you, or do you quickload and try it again without being hit?

Someone who places their own limitations on the game might not, but everyone else will just reload. It's easy, painless and avoids a future situation where a bunch of low level enemies become impossible to pass because you're on 10% health.

Regenerating health done properly doesn't make the game easy: two hits from a Gladiator will still kill you whether your health regens or not. If you die, you still need to reload. It just means that if you get hit but don't die, you don't feel the need to reload to get it done properly.

Reloading ruins the immersion, nothing kills the flow of a game like redoing sections repeatedly. I'd much, much rather have regen health than use quickloads.

On the other hand, the Bioshock respawn chambers were a terrible idea. If death holds no fear, as oppose to just losing some health, then all sense of caution is removed. If I died in Bioshock, I'd reload before using a Bio-Chamber.
GiantStickMan 23rd June 2010, 10:20 Quote
It does depend on the game. The early Rainbow 6 games were brilliantly unforgiving and suited the style of play. One hit and you were usually down. It really meant you had to think out your tactics before hand etc, you couldn't just do run and gun.
From memory the R6:Vegas games had a regen system and that sort of dulled the experience. That being said a regen system suits a game like say, Halo as you aren't backtracking for health kits or whatever and it's always about pressing on to the next big battle.
CardJoe 23rd June 2010, 10:21 Quote
M'eh. To me it's a case of finding a balance that suits the health style. Just because Halo is really easy and has regenerating health doesn't mean that all games with regenning health are easy or wimpy games and, at the end of the day, games with percentage health can still be exploited around in a similar way to just waiting behind a rock for your shield to recharge - such as leaving medkits behind in cleared areas for if you really need them, or exploiting poor AI to reduce combat difficulty.

But, yes, Vita-chambers were terrible.
Kiytan 23rd June 2010, 11:13 Quote
Ninja Gaiden II had a good health system, you had the classic "Bar O' health" and each attack would take of health, but it would also take some of your max health, so while it did regenerate, the more you got hit the less and less total health you would be left with. This could be healed with certain items and at checkpoints to restore you to your "proper" max health, and i felt was a good balance.
Fizzban 23rd June 2010, 13:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bauul
Ok, so you do all that mention, but you still get winged by a Gladiator, knocking most of your health off (Railguns hurt!). It happens, doesn't mean you're bad at games, just that you're not superman.

As you're now nearly dead, do you continue playing knowing the next hit will kill you, or do you quickload and try it again without being hit?

Someone who places their own limitations on the game might not, but everyone else will just reload. It's easy, painless and avoids a future situation where a bunch of low level enemies become impossible to pass because you're on 10% health.

Regenerating health done properly doesn't make the game easy: two hits from a Gladiator will still kill you whether your health regens or not. If you die, you still need to reload. It just means that if you get hit but don't die, you don't feel the need to reload to get it done properly.

Reloading ruins the immersion, nothing kills the flow of a game like redoing sections repeatedly. I'd much, much rather have regen health than use quickloads.

On the other hand, the Bioshock respawn chambers were a terrible idea. If death holds no fear, as oppose to just losing some health, then all sense of caution is removed. If I died in Bioshock, I'd reload before using a Bio-Chamber.

True rail guns do hurt and true getting clipped by one just as you are about to go into a room full of nastys is a pain in the rear end. But I've never had an issue with reloading when I die. If anything, knowing 1 more hit will kill you forces you to up your game. And then when you do die and reload you will likely do better the next time. The end of Quake 4 is pretty frantic I will admit. Not something to play when you're tired :D

But it's like others have said. What system works depends largely on the game. But there does seem to be a move towards regenerating health.. and I'm not to sure that's a good thing.

And I will add my name to the long list of people who disliked the vita-chambers.
fatty beef 23rd June 2010, 14:59 Quote
I am ok with a healthbar/diablo style orb/health %

Depends on the game though. A real life shooter like Rainbow 6 where you get killed in one shot or walk slow after getting shot makes sense but for most action/shooters it would just be overly frustrating.
south side sammy 23rd June 2010, 15:17 Quote
I say concentrate on those idiotic perks they add to games making them "rated for children" instead of "M"...... No perks and your equal ability against whomever else is in the game with the same weaponry.
As far as health "renew".... take it away and the game isn't a game anymore and the fun disappears. KILL THE PERKS, KILL THE PERKS........ we should get Al Sharpton to stand on a soapbox in front of EA's head quarters with 10,000 bussed in demonstrators holding KILL THE PERKS signs..... think anybody would listen ?
TSR2 23rd June 2010, 16:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fizzban
The end of Quake 4 is pretty frantic I will admit. Not something to play when you're tired :D
I found the hardest bit to be a few rooms before the end, where you end up fighting about 4 gunners and some heavy hovertanks. There I think regenerating health would be harder as there wasn't really anywhere to hide to allow the health to regenerate, and it doesn't feel like you can take as much damage at one time with regenerating health. The actual ending wasn't that bad IMO as you could just concentrate on dodging one target.

I'm still waiting for MS to remodel Minesweeper with regenerating health though.
Altron 23rd June 2010, 18:21 Quote
There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Different games are meant to be played in different ways.

There's so many people here lauding stealth games where the goal isn't to get shot, but would gaming be fun if every single game was like that? There are some stealth based games, and they're a lot of fun, and they need a different health system to fit the playing style of the game. I always like when FPS games throw in a couple of stealth missions where you can't alert the guards, because it really changes up gameplay.

But would it be fun if every single game was a stealth game? No! We need variety. Some games are meant to be played where you can take a chest full of lead and keep on chugging. Take TF2, for instance. The characters are generally hard to kill, taking multiple seconds of point-blank damage to die. But because of this, the game is able to structure so that the more cumbersome weapons do more damage. If two rounds from the pistol could kill you (like in real life), why would anyone try to use the Huntsman or the Ambassador or the Stickybomb Launcher or the Flare Gun? The game is set up so that the most awkward to use weapons do the most damage, so they are balanced with the more point-and-click "spray and prey" standard bullet weapons. If you died very quickly from any type of gunfire, the entire balance of the game would be destroyed, as it needs a wide range of weapon damages, from fully charged Huntsman or Sniper Rifle headshots that will take you down in one hit, to the weak Pistol and Syringe Gun that require 30+ hits. This makes the weapons with tiny clips, low refire rates, long charge times, and odd projectile trajectories balanced with the fast firing standard guns. And the health system is great - just enough medpacks that you can heal if you don't have a good medic, but generally located so that you can't do it while directly in combat. No regen except on the medics, which IMO is needed because they are very squishy.

Gaming needs variety. It doesn't need realism. If you want your character getting shot to make you lose the game, go join the Army. Games are fun because they're different from reality. A very realistic combat simulator wouldn't be any fun, because real life combat sucks. We as gamers demand something that is better than reality, something that is balanced and fun and challenging. Real life combat isn't balanced and fun. You drive down the road and an IED kills you. Game over, press F9. There is a Taliban fighter in the building across the street, and a lucky shot from his AK-47 hits an artery. Game over, press F9.

As for the complaints of "Oh, it makes the game stupid, because you just duck for cover for three seconds then you're fully healed", seriously? Name one mainstream FPS that gives your character enough regen that he can reach full health in 3 seconds. Every game I've played that had innate regen took 1-2 minutes to heal, and if the enemy soldiers just ignore you when you hide behind a wall for 1-2 minutes after shooting at them, the game AI sucks and regenerating health is the least of its problems.

The converse of this is playing games like Half Life, which have no regen but medpacks, where you just whore out quicksave and quickload. Without regen, if I kill an enemy and then determine that I lost 'too much' HP during the fight, I quickload and try it again until I am happy with how much damage I took. That doesn't add anything to the gameplay.

I do like health regen in DotA and similar games. It's just enough that you don't have to constantly run back to the base to heal, but "harrassing" is still a good strategy, especially early in the game. It 's enough regen that it prevents all of the fights from being just drawn-out attirition battles, but it's a small enough amount of regen that it is still worth chasing an enemy below 25% HP if he tries to run, as you can usually kill him before he can heal or get back to the base.
_Metal_Guitar_ 23rd June 2010, 23:42 Quote
@Altron, I'd argue that not all games have to be fun. Some should be serious or tense. OFP, ARMA 1, 2, are very punishing, but it is also very rewarding to complete goals, because you really had to think, move with caution, observe everything around you,use tactics. Should a game like Halo, or COD have regenerating health, yeah I think so. They are fast paced arcade games, and there so similar all the way through that if you kept dying it would get boring really quickly, but some things need that sense of urgency, panic, that only a limited health system can bring.
CardJoe 24th June 2010, 07:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Altron
There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Different games are meant to be played in different ways.

+rep
Twisted_Daemon 24th June 2010, 16:56 Quote
Resident Evil has an awesome health system. Although it doesn't focus on specific injuries, if your injured your ability to run away from hordes of undead, and if your health was 'critical' you were extremely vulnerable to catch a sudden case of death...

I think it would be better if you can only use health regenerating items when you're not in combat situations. Being able to tend to your wounds between slaying multiple in the real world would take some serious multitasking...
Jipa 25th June 2010, 09:34 Quote
In multiplayer FPS the regen is bs. If I were to choose, I'd still go with AQ2's way of bleeding until you bandage yourself. One shot in the chest or head kills you, unless you wear kevlar. Shot in the kevlar leaves you with ~30 HP and the HP counts down until you spend the required time bandaging yourself. When shot in legs / fall from a great height, you lose HP, drain HP over time and also can't jump before you've bandaged yourself.

Feel free to disagree. http://losias.net/imagehost/images/hatersgonn.jpg
Altron 25th June 2010, 16:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jipa
In multiplayer FPS the regen is bs. If I were to choose, I'd still go with AQ2's way of bleeding until you bandage yourself. One shot in the chest or head kills you, unless you wear kevlar. Shot in the kevlar leaves you with ~30 HP and the HP counts down until you spend the required time bandaging yourself. When shot in legs / fall from a great height, you lose HP, drain HP over time and also can't jump before you've bandaged yourself.

Feel free to disagree. http://losias.net/imagehost/images/hatersgonn.jpg

I agree that for most multiplayer FPS regen is stupid. Situational awareness of being able to find a strategically located medpack, or having a talented medic teammate would be undervalued if everyone had regen. I'm sure there is a way that it could be used well, but I haven't seen a good system for it implemented.

However, I would disagree with your one chest or headshot kill. That would be fun on a game with a larger map, fewer players, and a slim variety of weapons. Manuevering and evasion and accuracy would become very important. I'll stress my point again, however, that many games would be completely ruined with a health system like that. On the smaller, faster, crowded maps, the characters would be too fragile to have any real combat going on. It's all about what fits with the game. From the sounds of it (I've never played AQ2), that health system works very well for that game. But it won't neccessarily work well in every FPS game. Using my TF2 reference again, that is an excellent and popular game that would suck if the characters had "realistic" combat damage. It's focused heavily on teamwork and big group fights with bullets flying anywehre, and if a random stray bullet could kill you, it wouldn't be fun at all. It's meant to be played so that you can take a lot of damage, but you can dish out a lot of damage too. The bread and butter of the game are epic team CP pushes, which only last for under half a minute, and require good coordination and use of medics, and where both teams do a TON of damage to each other. If non-fatal damage inhibited your combat abilities, it would not be the team that played better during the fight (more accurate, better medics, better at evading projectiles), it would be the team that shot first.

Is one type of game better than the other? Absolutely not! Some people prefer a wide open game of accuracy and evasion and mostly solo combat, others prefer a big crowded team battle, but most of us enjoy playing both styles of games. That's the beauty of PC gaming - you can have dozens of different games installed at the same time, and play whichever you are in the mood for. If a game has some goofy health system, with regen or not, and it fits the gameplay and makes the game fun, who cares if it's different from the "usual" health system we are all used to?
Mongoliya 17th September 2012, 22:16 Quote
I found the most difficult bit and some rooms for the end, where you fight at the end of round 4 "Gunners" and some heavy tanks float. I am of the opinion that regenerate health would, if there not really harder to hide, so that health was to generate anywhere, and it does not feel so much at once can use with regenerating health damage. Actual end of file handling, bad IMO, if you can focus just on an objective Dodge.
I found the most difficult bit and some rooms for the end, where you fight at the end of round 4 "Gunners" and some heavy tanks float. I am of the opinion that regenerate health would, if there not really harder to hide, so that health was to generate anywhere, and it does not feel so much at once can use with regenerating health damage. Actual end of file handling, bad IMO, if you can focus just on an objective Dodge.
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