How to Make Shooting in Games "Different/Interesting"?


I have come to a point where I can (almost) begin fully diving into my project, though before that, I’d like to gather some insight on the thoughts of shooting in games.

For the aforementioned project, which (at this point) is akin to basic third-person shooter, your obvious method of attacking is shooting. The primary thing bugging me when figuring things out for this project is that while I’d like to keep things primarily about shooting, I am having trouble answering the question of “What can be done to make the shooting interesting?”.

What I mean by this is that in (most) games I’ve played/researched, whether it be a first-person shooter or third-person shooter, the shooting in game felt rather off, too detached, or too automatic. In most cases, shooting was reduced to just holding down the focus button, which often enough automatically targeted the enemy, and pressing a button to shoot. Sure, in most first-person shooters, you have to aim by yourself, but still, it feels somewhat “off” to me. In those cases, you can just hold down the button and sweep your cross hairs over an area until you’ve hit your target.

I could be possibly searching for a more realistic kind of shooting in games, but I’m unsure.

In any case, from what I’ve seen, shooting in games tend to feel overly automatic, “off”, and less about some form of “skill” in the game, placing reliance on auto-target systems, sweep tactics, and other things of that nature. So, in order to avoid repeating that, I end with a few questions:

  1. Again, what can be done to make shooting in games more interesting and different?
  2. How to make shooting more skill based and less automatic?
  3. How to feel more connected, as a player, to the action being performed?

And somewhat connected questions:

  1. What do people like about the shooting in games?
  2. What do people dislike about the shooting in games?

Any insight, wisdom, help, etc, on the topic would be greatly appreciated.

Well, I would definitely add some kind of kill spree system and also different amounts of damages for different body parts to make it more fun and interesting. Also, to make shooting more of a challenge, you could add different keys to press to use different types of bullets and also make the player reload themselves (probably by pressing R). Good luck!

-Make the player character NOT a gun totting pro. Make it so that he fumbles when trying to reload or his aim is off at times.
-1 word: GOAP - it stands for goal oriented action planning. It was used in FEAR back in 2005 and nothing else really. lol. The idea is to give the AI a goal and allow it to figure out the best way to reach that goal, instead of giving them a set of instructions
-I like games where I’m a badass doing badass things, not the realistic ****. I liked the new DOOM for that reason.

In short: copy DOOM ('93 or '16 version) lol.

Take a good look at what Halo used to be.

  1. Reverse it? Instead of shooting things into things, pull things out of things.

I’m seeing monsters/creatures with pieces that have to be pulled out and placed in different parts of them to kill them.

People play shooting games for power trip fantasy reasons (feeling like an action star/badass) and for adrenaline fixes (suspense/release). Feedback (tactile, audio, and visual) and pacing are absolutely paramount for both. Those two things (feedback/pacing) separate a good shooter from a bad one.

Bioshock, Stalker, Doom, CoD, etc. are all functionally (more or less) the same exact game. They are also very distinguishable based on their pacing and style more than any core feature.
Their iterations are distinctly similar to their previous versions because they seldom, if ever, vary from the concept of pacing they developed in their first success…developing pacing is incredibly more difficult than getting mechanics correct (although they are related).

My advise would be to find soemthing that hasn’t been done before. Pick which shooter aspect you want to focus on (power fantasy (COD) or suspense/adrenaline (STALKER)) and make up a mechanic that hits that specific point home in a way that few, if any other games do.

Build the rest of your FPS mechanics only as needed. Seriously. The genre hasn’t changed all that much since Wolfenstein3D. Then spend most of your time developing pacing, feedback mechanisms, and AI (AI is very important!).

Would you happen to know of any (good) resources on learning more about GOAP?

“Would you happen to know of any (good) resources on learning more about GOAP?”

First of all I am happy to offer feedback about this. I very often find shooting games these days to be just dull. Here are my thoughts after many years of wondering why I simply do not like shooting games these days:

  1. One very important thing is that the game has to be running at massive high framerates. Any precision shooting game becomes extremely dull if it is even less than a completely consistent 80ish FPS.
  2. Gun feedback… solid physics based kick back and satisfying heavy sound to make each shot fired along with super smooth and completely accurate aiming (i.e. nearly 100% consistent high 80 fps at least w/o any drops even at the expense of visuals)

What makes for utterly boring gunplay is just spraying bullets, light sound, no physics and wonky clunky frame rate hitches. So good gunplay equals super solid hitchless FPS, satisfying gun shots with feeling and physics and a hammer sound (even for automatic weapons) and of course a nice blood splatter and death animations for the enemies.

It’s mostly about atmosphere and immersion.

See Battlefield3/4/1 for reference.

These game are widely known for their audioscapes and effects. When running through an empty space in Battlefield, you feel like you are running around in a war zone. That feeling would remain even if the weapon handling was garbage. Take the sound fx and explosions out and the game would feel dull…much like running through empty space in DayZ.

It’s a lot like Horror movies. They all use some version of the same cookie-cutter story. The behavior of the actors makes no sense so it’s impossible to relate to anybody on an emotional level…but it makes you feel a certain way due to mostly sound and environment. Take the sound out and the movie would be garbage.