Life simulation games are traditionally in a POV (point of view) that is disconnected from the avatars. The camera hovers above the world, unchained, free to explore separate from the avatars. It’s not really third person POV- more like a god POV. It has its advantages, and is impossible to do without when it comes to construction, but it also robs from the gameplay, which could be made more complex and involved with just a simple toggle from one POV to another. Namely, to 3rd person POV, where the camera hovers slightly behind and above the active avatar.
In god POV you just sweep over the world, and then exploration is done. You know where everything is. But when you bring yourself down to the height of a character, control their movement with direction keys, and let the time play out live instead of in fast-forward, you discover things a little bit at a time. Every aspect of gameplay would be made more time-consuming, but also more satisfying. And I believe a feature like this could be a defining characteristic of Paralives.
How to encourage players to use Third Person POV: (these strategies are isolated options, and are not all intended to be used at the same time)
– Make some (or all) collectibles only visible in Third Person POV. Now you have to physically walk around and peer into every nook and cranny to make sure you’re not missing anything!
– Limit the distance that god view camera can travel away from an active Parafolk. This avoids exploring the entire open world without involving Parafolk. Either repeatedly using the classic ‘go here’ action in god view to ‘unlock’ more of the map, or manual travelling in third person point of view, will now be required.
– Include a jump action through a hotkey like spacebar when in Third Person POV. This allows for guiding Parafolk through terrain that is non-traverseable with ‘go here’ actions in god view.
– Snap to Third Person POV when entering certain lot types that focus on exploration, such as puzzle temple lots.
– Make urban, developed territories ‘known’ so they can be reached with god view, while rural or wild territories are ‘unknown’ and only visible if an active Parafolk is nearby. Exploration of these territories does not appear to be possible until it is stumbled upon by accident.
Practicalities of Third Person POV:
– An easily accessible toggle hotkey, such as Tab.
– The same hotkeys which pan the camera in god view, will move the Parafolk in third person view.
– The camera does not follow the direction of their body or gaze, but is rotated with the same keys that rotates the camera in third person view.
– 360 degree avatar movement enabled
– Smooth camera transitioning from still to moving
– If on same lot, switching between active Parafolk in third person view takes straight line. If on different lots, camera seems to drift into god view before returning to third person view on other lot.
– Switching to a construction mode from a third person view gameplay mode, throws the camera into god view, however it does not move until prompted by the player
– Switching back to gameplay mode from construction mode, will return camera to third person view if it was active beforehand
Personally, I disagree with the idea of forcing 3rd person mode on people, as I know that I for one would hate it. However, I would like to see first/third person in the game as a supported camera, rather than just a quick and buggy afterthought like in the sims.
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