We are currently researching different types of navigation systems being implemented in adventure games. We are trying to get an idea of which navigation scheme people would prefer to see in a modern adventure game. So far we have summed possible navigation into 3 categories:
Which of these methods would you like to see most in a new adventure? Please explain why you chose the way you did.
1) Static camera focused on single area or room – One can see this type of system in most adventure games, including modern games. This can be seen in the form of 2D pre-rendered backgrounds with ‘true’ 3D characters placed on top. Still-life, Syberia, Longest Journey all employed this technique. This technique could also be used in a full 3D environment (no pre-rendering); the important point is that the camera remains static (does not move). To interact with items in this scheme, the player hovers the mouse over the static screen until the mouse passes over an interactive item. At that point the mouse cursor changes to indicate a hot spot.
2) Running freely in an opened 3D environment – this technique was used in the DreamFall game. The camera sits just behind the main character and follows the character around as you press and hold the arrow keys on the keyboard to move around the world.
Interacting with items in this navigational scheme was different than traditional games. The player needed to right-click the mouse; this would display a blue disc that expanded across the world. This disc could be rotated using the mouse and when the disc intersected with interactive items in the scene, a visual indication that the item was interactive was shown.
3) A combination of both? – in the latest incarnation of Broken Sword (see the demo at http://www.adventure-eu.com), the environment and player are true 3D and the camera follows the player around. In keeping with tradition however, you click around the world using the mouse and the player moves accordingly. Additionally, the camera ‘adjusts’ itself to keep you and environment in full view. Additionally like traditional adventures, you hover the mouse over the environment (at whatever the current camera perspective is shooting from) and interactive items change the mouse cursor.
One way that this technique differs from technique (2) is that the camera is not immediately behind the player, but rather at a distance and off at some angle so as to keep the player and room in full view.