Psychobabble #11

In this Psychobabble, Cpu Xl complains about something entirely insignificant! But as I’ve been playing No Man’s Sky, this is a small thing that’s been bothering me. So I decided to make a post about it. Cause why not? Just get to reading!


 

Psychobabble #11

No Man’s Body

 

No Man’s Sky. Currently one of the big gaming talks of the Internet. I know the game has had a rocky start, and, while I personally love it, there’s one small problem I want to talk about. The playable character’s perspective. In case you didn’t know, NMS is a first person game. And being a first person game, you see through the characters eyes. The problem is though, you don’t actually see your characters body. In NMS, when you look down, you don’t see any part of your body. You don’t see your feet, or your legs, or chest, or arms. The only thing that you can see that relates to your body is a portion of whatever gun you have equipped. It’s as if you’re just some sort of floating, bodiless mass. And this problem extends to other games too, most notably first person shooters.

Whenever I’m playing a first person game, FPS or not, the first thing I ALWAYS do when I start the game, is look down. I always have to check to see if I have legs. If I can see my legs, then cool! It’s a nice detail then I just move on. If I don’t see my legs, well it’s pretty much same… I think, “Oh well,” then move on. I enjoy having legs in a game, but not having them doesn’t detract much from the gameplay. It does slightly ruin my immersion though. Its feels like I’m not a character, just a floating camera holding a gun. But hey, if the game’s about just shooting things, it’s fine. But in a game like NMS, a game that’s, in my opinion, all about immersion, not having a body feels weird. You want to feel immersed in the strange and interesting planet that you discovered yourself. It’s literally your own world. But it feels like it’s not you who’s in that world. You are practically controlling a drone with a laser. Not controlling an actual body.

In the real world, you see in first person. And when you look down, you see 90% or your body. (Granted your gut doesn’t cover your genitals) So if a game is in first person, then you should see your person. And in a first person game that’s not about first person shooting, then you should especially see your person. Mirror’s Edge is the perfect example of this. It’s and FPS that has very little S. When you look down, you see the body you’re controlling. You see the body of Faith. And when you’re not looking down, when you’re parkouring through the world, you can see Faith’s arms and legs moving in and out of the camera. Just like in the real world, when you’re running and jumping, you can parts of your body even when looking straight ahead. If you couldn’t see Faith’s body, then the whole would have felt different. But being able to see her body added so much to the game and made it feel a lot more immersive. As if I was Faith herself, moving and grooving in her world. Being able to see the body you’re controlling can add a lot to a game.

But the full body doesn’t always have to be seen though. Let’s take the latest DOOM for example. In the game, you couldn’t see Doomguy’s body when looking down. But you could see his arms holding the weapons. And you could see his arms doing certain actions such as throwing grenades, or switching out weapon mods, or punching a demon in the dick. You could also see his legs and feet when he landed on a surface too hard and when curbstomping a bitch. All of those things made it feel like I was in control of a whole body. I might not have been able to see the body at all times, but I saw enough during certain actions to know it was there. You should be able to see enough of the body to know it’s there. For me, seeing a floating gun or even just arms holding a gun isn’t enough to feel truly immersed into a game.

Now onto another FPS, Borderlands 2, a game I absolutely loved. In that game, you saw the character you were playing as quite a bit. When going through your menus, the character would be standing right beside them. When you CAAAATCHED A RIIIIIDE the camera would pull out to a third person perspective when you got in, got out, and drove the vehicle. Even when you were near death and fighting for your life, you could see you whole body crawling along the floor. But during the actual FPS parts of the game, you could only see a your hand holding a gun. No legs no feet and no rest of the arm. Even though it was a very minor thing, it was still a bit off-putting. I had seen the body of my character during other parts of the game, but I couldn’t see my body when I was actually playing. Half the time I had a body and half the time I was a floating hand holding a gun.

But that really wasn’t a big issue because when I was in the midst of shooting; not having a body didn’t matter at all. In Borderlands 2 and DOOM, games revolving around total FPS action, you rarely paid direct attention to the body of your character. But in Mirror’s Edge, where it was about running through the world around her, you needed a body to connect yourself with her actions. Running through the world as a mere camera would have detracted so much. And in No Man’s Sky, where it’s all about the player and the environment, having a physical body would have added so much. Seeing your arm holding your weapon, seeing your legs as you ran, seeing your hand reach out and interacted with the world. Your hands touching an artifact, your hands feeding an animal, your hands operating your starship. Those things would make the player fell that much more connected to their own worlds. As if they were the ones exploring the vast expanse of the cosmos!

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