[MUD-Dev] [DGN] The psychology of random numbers

Alex Chacha achacha at hotmail.com
Tue Jan 13 14:52:01 CET 2004

Chanur Silvarian writes:

> But do you need to even display the generality?  Do you need to
> display the "Bubba hit Buffy very hard!"?  I don't think so.  The
> most direct combat oriented games out there, the first person
> shooters, don't display this.  They neither display the numeric
> attributes nor the general descriptions.

This is not entirely true in either FPSs nor MMORPGs.  In FPS games
there is usually a sound that is associated with damage done and
often screen turns a tint of red.  The longer it stays red or louder
the bang the more damage is done.  Compare the damage of a handgun,
a machine gun and a rocket launcher in Doom/Quake series and you
will notice that they each have a different "feel" to let the player
know how hard they just got hit and with what.  Like most players if
you get a direct hit with a rocket you know it and at that point
don't waste time checking the health bar, you move and strafe out of
way and check health when it is a bit safer.

Now for MMORPGs, I can use EQ as an example (while many others
follow suit in their own way). When you get hit, there are a few
levels of how hard you got hit, while the formula is probably tied
to some ratio of damage vs total hp, a weak hit sounds like a tap
while a big hit sounds like you got smashed with something big, the
difference is noticeable.  When you hear yourself getting smashed,
you tend to turn around and run rather than check the screen to see
what the damage numbers are or how much the health bar moved (the
sound tells you it moved a lot).

Sound is a sense that should be used to convey information to add to
sight.  (Touch is allocated for controls and I don't think people
are ready to use smell and taste in games.)  As far as sound, you
will not be using the pitch / duration / volume with any precision
(some people are tone deaf), but you can create a gradation of p/d/v
to give the user some feedback about what is going on without a
visual overload (hearing is a sense horribly underused in many
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