Mechanics within Spectral:
- Character Movement
- Environment Interaction
- Camera Control
Movement (Player & Camera):
Spectral will have a small amount of mechanics which will aid in the gameplay as well as in the progression and exploration aspects, in a bid to make if feel that bit more realistic. This will be accomplished through the movement of the player as it will be slow to indicate cautiousness as well as to prevent the player from speeding through the game. A run mechanic will also be integrated into the game as to allow the player to get to different areas slightly quicker, however this will only be a few paces faster than the walking speed. It would be primarily used during the library section of the game, and also during the other floors of the game if players wish to explore a room and run back to the door to carry on. Jumping will also be included within Spectral due to the ability for the player to move objects such as chairs, jumping will be essential in case players move too many objects and become stuck with no way of freeing themselves. This would also mean that players would need to restart the game, and any tension built from that point would disappear.
Camera movement will also be an integral element of the game as too quick and it becomes difficult to control the character and view the environment, whereas if it’s too slow this could cause the player to become irritated due to the slow movements. Therefore, it will be set so that movement seems natural and smooth as to allow the gameplay to feel realistic, and to allow the player to appreciate the environment easily and without difficultly.
As the game will be built surrounding computers, the movement keys on should be assigned to areas of the keyboard that will be most comfortable for players to use, as opposed to having movement keys placed in different sections. With this in mind, movement should be assigned to the ‘W,A,S,D’ keys and running to the ‘SHIFT’ key as to allow for an easy hand placement. It also allows players to instantly know what keys to press in order to control the character as these are the most common keys assigned to movement. The movement for the camera will be assigned as to allow for a full range of movement when looking around the environment, as opposed to using the arrow keys, which would be difficult to control. Jumping will be assigned to the space bar, as its the easiest place for the player to hit whilst their hand is above the movement and running keys. This is due to the space bar being used as a type of jump within almost every third person or first person game, so moving its position would come at a great annoyance to the player, as their thumb is naturally over it with the movement keys being as they are.
Throughout the environment, the character will be able to interact with certain objects, as a way of gaining more information about what is going on, as well as the player characters internal thoughts. This will be shown by means of on screen pop-ups that will be located at the bottom of the screen conveying this information to the player easily, rather than placing it dead centre which would be counterproductive. Players will be able to interact with objects such as bookcases, computers, doors and also chairs, as this will allow the environment to react to their presence rather than the player simply walking through it. This could not only cause for a boring playthrough but it would also mean that the immersive nature within the game might not be to the same degree as it would be if they were able to.
With the characters left hand already being occupied by the the movement keys, this would mean that the most ergonomic place to assign the keys would be to the mouse buttons i.e. left & right. As left clicking is primarily used in almost every piece of computer orientated software as a way of interacting with elements of it, the most comfortable and well-known key to press to initiate these actions is the left mouse button. Therefore, within Spectral, all interactive keys will be assigned to the left mouse key, which will include the player interaction with: bookcases, computers and doors. However, they will also be able to move chairs by means of dragging them around the environment, and to do this they would need to constantly hold down the key to prevent them from clicking on a chair and accidentally taking it with them. With this in mind this action should be assigned to the right mouse key, as it is also the alternative function to the left key and is used as a way of bringing up side functions that can be applied to that piece of software.