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Well, the first thing to decide is if you’re going to make a first-person or third-person adventure. Personally, I *hate* games that flip-flop between first and third person. Either the camera is following the character, or we’re looking from the point of view of the character, not both. To me, this messes with the ‘reality’ factor of the game and raises the question, ‘Am I IN the game, or am I PLAYING the game?’
Another thing that annoys me about some of the 3D games out there (and I haven’t been playing much these days, so forgive me) is the constant cut-scenes. To me, this lineates the story too much. It just seems absurd to me that picking up an object would automatically cause my character to talk to someone, ask all the right questions about the object, and combine the object I picked up with another one in my inventory — all in a 3 minute ‘movie.’ Imagine if Gabriel Knight 1 did that — you walk into the curio shop, click TALK on the shopkeeper, and he tells you *everything* in a cut-scene and gives you the mask. No fun!!
As someone else mentioned, changing the character’s orientation can hurt the interface, too. Although it might be harder to accomplish in a pure 3D environment, it’s important not to break that ‘fourth wall.’ If the camera is going to do a 180-degree rotation, the perspective of the character should remain the same. After all, you’re controlling the character, not the camera. (If we’re always looking over their shoulder, we shouldn’t suddenly be facing them just because they turned around.) This goes back to the first-person, third-person thing.
Have I confused anyone yet? 🙂 Anyway, the ideal interface in my opinion is something along the lines of Phantasmagoria, but a little bit updated. Although it was third-person with static backgrounds, I still got the sense that I was ‘inside’ the house and ‘surrounded’ by the other walls. Take this concept, but make the backgrounds move/pan with the character. If Adrianne walks to the right, instead of a ‘cut’ to a new background, have it follow her and pan across the room. If she turns around (to go ‘down’ towards the player) have the camera rotate around her. If she walks up the stairs, have the camera follow her up the stairs instead of waiting until she gets to the top, then cutting to the upstairs hallway. Sort-of a combination between 2D and 3D: the player has full exploration of the environment, but only from the character’s perspective (the player can’t control the camera).
So what do you think?