Extra Punctuation: Why Regenerating Health Sucks

SL33TBL1ND

Elite Member
Nov 9, 2008
6,467
0
41
It really depends on the genre. Regenerating units in RTS's can make sense and in RPG's. But I'm going to assume that you're talking about in FPS's and I'd still kinda disagree with you. It always works in some situations. Why do you think COD is so popular? Because people enjoy it. Why do they enjoy it? Because of the way it's designed.

I would most certainly rage if the next Half-Life had regenerative health, but it does work in some situations.
 

The Youth Counselor

New member
Sep 20, 2008
1,004
0
0
When the regenerative health feature first appeared, my interpretation of it was pretty much excactly like the the "luck system."

I didn't imagine it as getting shot repeatedly in vital organs then regeneration like Wolverine. I thought I was in danger and being grazed by bullets. The longer I stayed in the open, the sooner it was for a well aimed bullet to hit me.

But it made a lot more sense then because it was only used in first person shooters then. Now third person shooters show the contrary.
 

KilloZapit

New member
Jan 28, 2011
39
0
0
No realistic health systems eh? What about Dwarf Fortress? The only game I know of where being hit by a cross bow bolt will give you details about exactly where it entered, the tissues and organs punctured, the blood vessels that burst, how much blood is lost, and the over all negative effects of it all. Be prepared to loose a lung and slowly bleed to death or not being able to get any air because of all the blood in your lungs. Of course, Dwarf Fortress is a game that is 100% in ascii characters that still manages to slow modern computers to a crawl so...

I think Metal Gear Solid 3 was mentioned, and I agree it has a great way of balancing regeneration. Would be even better if you needed to actually get your wounds treated somewhere rather then just doing it yourself with a easy to use menu that took no time, but still. So yeah, Health systems CAN be made interesting and more realistic without being overly frustrating.

But I guess thats not really the point of health regeneration anyway. It's just there to make it so you don't have to run around with no health all the time. I always thought the "exciting" parts of half-life and such were more tedious to me then anything else. Not that I think health regeneration is a good idea, but in half-life at least you could just save scum your way past all the really hard bits any way. Honestly thats the thing I didn't like about half-life. And while I loved Dues Ex because of the more open talky parts, I never finished because after a while the game degenerated into almost the same kind of situation. But I guess I am not an action guy, and wouldn't think it was any better with health regeneration either.

I guess I just rather for to be treated less as a resource to spend to get though an area (there are plenty of those with ammo and items already). I rather it be so it only factors into surviving intimidate danger and is easy to replenish between segments (like health pickups a plenty before and after a boss), or it's guarded as such that if you lose any at all, you must have screwed up badly. Not the chipping slowly away until there is nothing left, and not the content regeneration in the middle of a fire fight.
 

thenewprince

New member
Oct 30, 2008
182
0
0
I really would like Yatzee to shut up for just a few weeks and not sound like a 40 year old man child complaining about life. More and more of his posts seem to be aging him, as he is coming off as an old man asking for the "Old Days" in gaming back. You can see it in his reviews as well.

I would like to see more health systems that make you work to keep you alive. The cover system was a good start, and I enjoy the idea of healing yourself like in Metal Gear Solid Snake eater. Perhaps long term damages require diff ways of healing. Dragon Age did that as well as numerous other games. I think keeping the action up is far more exciting than looking for a health pack on the battlefield.
 

Chitter_swarm

New member
May 14, 2009
7
0
0
Done correctly I think that regen can make the experience of "near death" better, or at least more frequent. If a game were designed so that you could only take a small number of hits before dying then you could have a player constantly at a point of near death without being crippling.

While regen isn't a perfect system I enjoy it more then the alternatives. On one extreme theres the original golden eye where you can't regain any health at all, and other systems that allow you to regain health for back tracking or going on a scavenger hunt break flow horribly.

"Well i guess I could go fight the boss, but first I'll empty every trash bin in a three block radius and if that fails I'll walk back through the swamp to drain the last bit of that health station."

I did like the health system from doom three, every 5 enemies you kill recharges a weapon that, when used, replenishes your health (This was in addition to wall mounted band-aids and scavenger hunt mechanics).
 

thenewprince

New member
Oct 30, 2008
182
0
0
timeadept said:
I don't know if it's been said yet, (and it probably has) but yahtzee, you didn't mention a good point that Extra Credits made in favor of regenerating health. It removes a key factor of unpredictability from fights. A developer knows how much health a player has when he is going into any given fight, and so it's easier to design a fight with the health factor taken out of the equation.

Although i do have to agree, this doesn't excuse regenerating health, it just makes the developers look lazy. And now that you mention it... it would be fun if self regenerating health was done away with. I tend not to care when i get shot because i know that as long as i don't die flat out, i'll be fine in a few seconds. I end up playing much worse when know i'll be fine soon.
Well Agreed
 

Ferrious

Made From Corpses
Jan 6, 2010
156
0
0
timeadept said:
A developer knows how much health a player has when he is going into any given fight, and so it's easier to design a fight with the health factor taken out of the equation.
This. The best parts of Halo (where the regenerating health made sense, and also the first mainstream example of the mechanic I can think of) and its sequels made use of the fact that every single battle could be a set-piece. No longer did you have to have crappy rooms that posed no real threat, or have to ease off on your nice, big battle because you were unsure how many health packs your hero was carrying.

When the developers make good use of their health system, each and every battle can be hair-raising, oh-my-god-I'm-going-to-die, manic fun. This often requires the difficulty to be on a higher setting than "Normal", but Halo was always designed for "Heroic" (the difficulty description states this). I can remember hundreds of tense gunfights listening to that "bipbipbipbipbipbip" of the shield warning system, followed by the welcome, loving, charitable "dooooOOOOO" of the shield regen. It characterised Halo for me. I felt like the a Spartan, moving tactically, attacking at the right moments and hitting cover as appropraite. It made those "Rambo" moments where you just had to run out and kill every last *cough* in the room exciting to get through because you didn't have a large pool of health, you had a small pool that forgave minor hits. Standing amongst your fallen foes, breathing a sigh of relief, listening to the "bipbipbipbipbipbip" that said "You know, that was close". It was exactly what a shooter encounter should be like.

I had problems with Half-Life in that I would often find if I was at full health/suit, I was unstoppable. Eventually I would be whittled down by stray shots and this piddly room with nothing interesting in a long corridor of nothing interesting would take half a dozen tries because I only have 20 health. That's not fun, that's frustration.

For a better implementation than Half-Life, see Max Payne - it's "Health by station", but the stations carry an amount of health relative to your performance: Doing well? There's only one pack of pills here, doing badly? There's a whole bag-full to perk you up. The net effect is to keep the player at an "average" health that the developers can exploit for exciting set-piece battles.

All of this said, the worst implementation is Fire Warrior - dull corridor crawling with regenerating health is missing the point of regenerating health completely.

Tl;dr - regenerating health is not a bad mechanic, because it allows developer freedom - they can choose to make great battles with that, or dull work-a-day rooms of mooks. That's their call to make a dull game, and our call to pull them up on it.
 

Spider Expert

New member
Mar 6, 2009
184
0
0
GOD FINALLY

I've been saying this for years and people always call me a ****. Thank you for saving me typing time as I'll probably be linking to this a lot.
 

thereverend7

New member
Aug 13, 2010
224
0
0
My 2 favorite uses of health bars would have to be ninja gaiden 2 and U.N Squadron for the SNES.

ninja gaiden 2, take a few hits, lose health bar, red bar slowly fills up as well as you take damage. clear the room or immediate area of enemies, health refills to red bar, red bar can only be removed by healing items or statues that double as save points. I like it because it is both forgiving and demanding, which is the reason i also like U.N. Squadrons. Get hit, invincible for a second or two (arcade style plane shoot em up game) and then your health bar blinks "danger" for a short period of time, during which if you get hit, you die immediately. after a few seconds of not taking damage, your health bar is restored with a little chunk missing, so its a series of getting hit, getting out of the danger zone (lol reference to danger zone in plane game lol) and getting your health bar back.

As far as good immersion goes, i never played far cry 2 all that much, but i always loved watching my friends play it and pull bullets and shrapnel and stuff out their bodies during a firefight. real intense and keeps the flow and pressure up to maximum.
 

Engarde

New member
Jul 24, 2010
776
0
0
Personally, I loved health as numbers like in SSHD. I remember one of my favourite bits was trying to fight a handful of kleers, usually easy, with only a teeny bit of health. Greatly amusing to show me how dangerous the baddies can be sometimes.
 

Tonimata

New member
Jul 21, 2008
1,890
0
0
I think that "Luck" system would actually work well in Halo, both from a gameplay and narrative perspective, seeing as Master Chief's only distinguishable feature from other Spartans is being luckier than them.

Don't get me wrong, the narrative is still as stoopid as before.
 

Siege_TF

New member
May 9, 2010
582
0
0
I thought of Yahtzee's luck system when I was trying to think of a way to make a Spirits Within game, since touching a ... hell I forget what they're called now, I'll call them phantoms is instant death. Your 'health' bar represents the character's ability to dodge a phantom's attack at the last second, and it's not until their HP hits zero that they've failed to dodge said attack and go down with phantom poisoning, or whatever it's called when a phantom merely wings someone and infects them.
 

Booze Zombie

New member
Dec 8, 2007
7,416
0
0
Instead of a health-bar, a luck-bar?
Hell, I had a plan like that... maybe have it that you jealously hoard four-leaf clovers as a form of health pick-up?
 

GundamSentinel

The leading man, who else?
Aug 23, 2009
4,448
0
0
Oh, regenerating health can work perfectly well. Was probably mentioned before, but look at MGS3. Health regenerates, but so slowly that it can't be exploited that much. Also, when you get badly injured, you health won't regenerate fully anymore. Yes, there are items that will restore your health instantly, but you can only find a handful of these in the entire game, so you'll think twice about using them on a whim.
 

WolfThomas

Man must have a code.
Dec 21, 2007
5,294
0
0
I still think the best health system was Condemned 2. Three red squares. When you got hit it emptied a square, as long as there was some red in the square and you had a quiet moment you regained health, but you emptied the square it would only refill with painkillers. So you could go through an area with 100%, 66% or 33% of your health depending on your previous fights. You wanted loot and to play it safe. Another nice thing is while checkpoints could be harsh, you always got full health if you reloaded, it stopped you being stuck in unwinnable situations.
 

Pistachio101

New member
Mar 1, 2011
81
0
0
I only checked the first page so it may have already been mentioned but I'm fairly sure Brothers in Arms: Hells Highway had something resembling a luck based system. It was more of a case of when you were getting shot while in cover the screen would get redder and redder. The redder the screen was the more chance you would get sgot when you peeked your head out.

Its been about 2 years since I played that game so I'm not 100% sure about this. ^^
 

Wondermint13

New member
Oct 2, 2010
936
0
0
Hard to dissagree with any one who can write that much! But his best point is that regenrating health does turn a game into nothing more than a sequence of the same events..
Atleast if you play through a game without generating health more than once you have a better chance of experiencing it in a whole different way, It can turn a simple stage of point and shoot into something of a fight to survive.
And a True gamer would appreciate that more than playing the same thing over and over in the same way, the only difference being more bullets will hit you and you'll spend more time ducking behing stuff. Thats not what I would call a different setting atal.

Ta Yahtzee
 

Kyn8

New member
Feb 2, 2011
4
0
0
'Health' and arguably ammo levels / weapon availability are pretty much the only measures used to give players feedback about condition of characters.
Pen & paper games have most often taken a chance on what few variations there have been (to the best of my knowledge) but they seem to always end up either being unwieldy to implement & maintain from a game developers side of the fence or players have found it a challenge to understand the gravity of the more complex information that they need to make important decisions on either for the way it's conveyed or that the conditions can suddenly overpower an otherwise balanced encounter.

It can't be all that hard to come up with reasonable resources to manage, the other half of the answer though is to make encounters about more than applying your weapon to everything in sight.
 

domicius

New member
Apr 2, 2008
212
0
0
Slow news week I suppose.

Nothing wrong with regenerating health. It cut out the old "reload to try and survive fight with full health" BS we had to go through with shooters-of-yore.

Does low health add more tension? Maybe. Depends. Perhaps.

Does regenerating health let you keep playing? Definitely.
 

Darkwolf22

New member
Jun 23, 2009
10
0
0
That luck thing is a good idea. Im actually surprised Yahtzee left out the Healing system in Far Cry 2. that was an interesting way to go about healing yourself, dig the bullet out, inject some morphine into your arm and run away. Of course it still requires to hide behind cover and stand still, but at least your actually preforming some sort of action.

And while not realistic in the slightest, its at least more believable that your characters a drug addict, rather then wolverine with a gun.