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Naughty Dog on  Uncharted : 'Realism In Gameplay Is Hard'

Naughty Dog on Uncharted: 'Realism In Gameplay Is Hard' Exclusive

October 8, 2008 | By Staff

October 8, 2008 | By Staff
More: Console/PC, Exclusive

As part of an in-depth postmortem, Naughty Dog game designers Neil Druckmann and Richard Lemarchand share the studio's difficulties with developing Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, including creating enemies that appear realistic and die realistically to players.

Though the Uncharted team felt that it took the right steps in its approach to developing a realistic story and protagonist, the group found that it had seriously underestimated the impact that realism would have on the game design, later remarking, "realism in gameplay is hard."

One major example where Naughty Dog found that it had to adjust Uncharted was with tuning the health of the game's enemies:

"We initially set up the enemies to take a bunch of hits before dying, so that each enemy felt like a formidable opponent.

However, we soon started getting feedback from players that it seemed incredibly unrealistic for the enemies to take more than a couple of shots before going down. This meant that we had to constantly retune our setups and spawn additional enemy waves to compensate for the change.

At the last minute we also implemented an injured state for the enemies which changed their animation when they were hurt, so that they could react to getting shot in the arm or the leg."

Another struggle the team had between reality and game design happened when trying to visually differentiate between the different enemy classes.

"We initially approached their character designs with the same subtle approach that we applied to the main characters, but because the enemies are usually some distance away from the camera on the screen, and hence are quite small, these subtle differences weren't noticeable by the player.

We kept tweaking the enemy designs as we developed the game, and stylized them a bit with some success. In the end we felt that we could have pushed their visual design even more, as some players still had trouble distinguishing between some of the different classes, and we'll continue to explore this issue on our next project."

You can read Naughty Dog's full postmortem on Uncharted: Drake's Fortune -- originally printed in Game Developer magazine -- which details more of what went right and what went wrong with the PlayStation 3 game's development (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from other websites).

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