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hello: 2ndPS2: Second Person Shooter for Two Players.
Posted on Saturday, May 05 @ 15:47:13 CEST by julian

Art Games
A few of you have written to ask about the Second Person Shooter project I kicked off a while ago, where it's going and when I'm going to release a mod. Here's a bit about all this.

Any time I had leading up to Gameworld was spent working on 2ndPS2 (read Second Person Shooter for 2-players). I'd been meaning to make this little mod for years and decided that Gameworld was as good an opportunity as any to put the idea to the test.

Unlike the previous incarnation (a simple prototype written in Blender and Python that far too many people got excited about) your view is switched with another player, not a bot. You are looking through their view and you through theirs. When they press the key for forward on the computer, the view you're looking through responds accordingly, and vice versa. As it's all networked it's possible to play over the internet just as you would a normal multiplayer Quake3 game.

Naturally this makes it very tricky to actually play the thing as you can only navigate yourself effectively when you can see yourself: ie. you are within your opponent's gaze. In the few tests I did of 2ndPS2 before putting it on show people with no experience playing first-person-shooter games struggled with this reversal of the control paradigm very much, and so at the advice of Marta I built a sort of visual radar system so you could see where the other player was and vice versa.

This worked really well as far as reducing the confusion people would've had otherwise: in an exhibition context of the scale of Laboral people have very short attention spans and so a bang-for-buck approach like this was perhaps necessary. In practice it actually stood up reasonably well to these ends.

Read on for more..

Conceptually however using this radar-helper is a bit of a compromise: why switch the views at all if you're providing a means for people to avoid engaging with a primary dislocation of perspective as an active part of the interface?

With this in mind I've decided to replace the visual radar with a sound-based system. You can hear where you are in the scene in relation to the view of your opponent - the view you're looking through. Events like walking into walls and picking up items are distinct sound events. The orientation of yourself out there in the scene is represented as changes to the pitch and harmonics of a continuous signal.

While I already had much of this auditory feedback system already implemented I didn't use it at Gameworld as it was far from ready for use.

I used ioquake3 to make 2ndPS2, spending a fair bit of time coming up with new rendering effects, sprites, weapons and other bits and bobs simply because I can't help myself when I have the source code in front of me (ahh the Garden Paths). Admittedly I could've simply taken a stock Quake3 map and consdered this strictly as a conceptual piece, but when I started this I had the distinct feeling that I was beginning something much larger. Perhaps this is still the case.

Where to from here? Perhaps a mod that allows many people to play simultaneously; a hoppable second-person view matrix allowing you to change to any view other than your own. There would be a strategic component where views themselves are resources that need to be managed toward the ends of finding yourself in the arena long enough to gain control, bumping others over to a new view as required. Weapons could include a POV-grenade that shuffles all the current views of players within impact range. FOV-weapons (i've already made a couple) that suddenly throw the target into orthogonal views or warp the current camera as though the world were a rippling surface.

This sort of stuff I wanted to save for another project entirely - a strategic multiplayer game where by you must find your first-person view in a large architecturally distributed view matrix - but Eddo suggested it would probably make a pretty nice addition to 2ndPS2.

Perhaps I will do this.. I'm always open to other suggestions and even collaborations.

Related Links
· More about Art Games
· News by julian

Most read story about Art Games:
Adventures in the Second Person

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