Ritualistic Forums

Go Back   Ritualistic Forums > Ritual Entertainment Games > Condition Zero & CS Xbox

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 04-14-2003, 10:29 PM   #1
MadOnion
Fanatic
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Creamy Center of Tomato Onion Soup
Posts: 1,503
Default Counter-Strike Design Elements

This lengthy excerpt from Gamasutra's latest feature article offers a comparison between the key design elements of Counter-Strike and Rainbow Six.

</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
The Battle of the Counterterrorists Games

There are two games that neatly make the point I am discussing in this article, nailing the right key design elements. These two games are Rainbow Six and Counter-Strike. Both of these games feature special operations type protagonists working as a team to defeat terrorists and other modern day bad guys. An experienced development team produced one of these games with a full development staff for an established publisher. The other game was developed principally by two fans who have had experience making mods with modest financial backing of a development house.

Both of these games are successes and I would be proud to have been a team member in any capacity on either of these two projects. That being said, Counter-Strike clobbered Rainbow Six. Counter-Strike is the mod produced by a small staff of fans working part-time, while Rainbow Six is a full game with many man-years of effort. If game development is so hard, how could these fans have done so well compared to the pros?

While poor technical execution will never make a hit game, the answer to this question lies again in the key design elements of Counter-Strike versus Rainbow Six.

The Key Design Elements of Counter-Strike

Counter-Strike was designed to have only a multiplayer mode; not even a training simulation against bots like Quake III was available. Counter-Strike's brilliance is much like Diablo's in its courage to strip away game features and polish the core game until it is humming with game shine. For years in first-person shooters, when you died you instantly respawned to frag again. This is of course a load of fun, as one could easily spend a few hundred hours blowing away your friends before you get bored. But eventually people did get a little burnt out on straight death match, and a desire for something more manifested itself. These explorations for more came in the way of mods for Quake and Unreal that had different victory conditions for winning such as capture the flag. The team that produced Counter-Strike took the idea of a mod with context to the next level (that, by the way, is an overly worn phrase in the industry, but it sure is handy).

The next level of gameplay in a first-person shooter was to wrap an economy about the fragging of the game through credits one earned by winning missions and getting frags. This economy would enable the player to buy larger and more capable weapons, armor, and grenades, which in turn would enable him to perform even better and potentially get even cooler equipment. This feature combined with the idea of a death where the player had to sit out the rest of the turn really helped to focus the player on the harshness of the Counter-Strike world and put some good tension back into the game. Players would carry their credit balance forward each time the mission was over, and the frag counting would continue. Thus, Counter-Strike was designed in the beginning to be a replacement for the endless multiplayer fragging and instead be a much more compelling way of playing extended multiplayer first-person shooter action. All of this was accomplished by the thinnest of user interfaces, on top of Half-Life's version of the Quake engine.

In my opinion the Counter-Strike team really understood the gameplay experience they wanted to deliver-the most visceral counterterrorist gameplay experience, period. In the case of the Rainbow Six team, I think they were handicapped by the source material from Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six in choosing to model the extensive preplanning stage of a mission. That stage is no doubt realistic and the larger portion of the job in a real counterterrorist mission, but it just gets in the way of having fun hunting terrorists. And we are in the profession of delivering fun, not realism. Realism should only be used to create fun, not detract from it.

Most Popular Multiplayer Game

It is interesting to see that Counter-Strike is the most popular multiplayer gameplayed online, with anywhere from 25,000 to 60,000 simultaneous players. One could say that Half-Life itself was a mega-hit with over two million copies sold, whereas Rainbow Six was a more modest success, and use that argument to explain why Counter-Strike is the more popular counterterrorist game. However, that argument fails when you realize people do not play games they do not want to play. Sure, marketing can help a game get off the ground to some extent, but the games business is still dominated by word-of-mouth sales where one fan recommends the title to another. The big titles that receive large marketing budgets are also fun and playable games that enjoy strong word-of-mouth sales. Unlike the movie business, an aggressive marketing campaign cannot save your bacon. There is a long-standing tradition of going to bad movies just to see how bad they are; this does not happen with games. Games are too expensive at about $50; no one is inclined to buy a game just to see how bad it is. However, a bad movie has a couple of chances. First of all, just seeing what mischief with toddlers Arnold Schwarzenegger has gotten himself into complete with some buttered popcorn, a fountain soda, your friend's company, and a walk about the mall is a good entertainment value. This movie will go onto DVD, VHS, rental, cable, then prime-time TV, and eventually the USA channel-plenty of ways for a non-hit movie to recoup and make a small amount of money for the studio.

The 50,000 people playing Counter-Strike online is even more impressive when you think about the ratio of people playing the multiplayer portion of a game relative to the single-player portion. It has been casually measured across a number of games, excluding the massively multiplayer online role-playing games, that only about 5 to 15 percent of the purchasers of a game will go on to play it in its multiplayer format. Thus Counter-Strike was much more successful than Rainbow Six, and it was working with only 5 to 15 percent of the counterterrorist market.

[/ QUOTE ]
MadOnion is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-14-2003, 11:30 PM   #2
Torpedo
Experienced
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Denmark
Posts: 133
Default Re: Counter-Strike Design Elements

</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
The 50,000 people playing Counter-Strike online is even more impressive when you think about the ratio of people playing the multiplayer portion of a game relative to the single-player portion. It has been casually measured across a number of games, excluding the massively multiplayer online role-playing games, that only about 5 to 15 percent of the purchasers of a game will go on to play it in its multiplayer format. Thus Counter-Strike was much more successful than Rainbow Six, and it was working with only 5 to 15 percent of the counterterrorist market.

[/ QUOTE ]
I think our boy is forgetting that CS is free (if you already own Half-Life), multiplayer-only and was created by ppl with a good deal of experience with multiplayer dynamics. So I don't think it's a fair comparison

Apart from that, it's a nice article, thx to Onion for posting it.
Torpedo is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:46 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.