Extra Punctuation: Why Regenerating Health Sucks

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Far Cry 2 had the best healing system: get shot, pull that motherfuckin bullet out. You only had to do it when you're health was really low too.

One of the most immersive health system even though not that realistic.
But I would suggest the block health system.

Thirded. Though I would've liked if they had gone more survivalist with it. Healing with an ampoule would only give you temporary health ala L4D. To completely heal you'd have to perform first aid for each block lost. Which takes a lot longer, so you couldn't afford to do a full heal in a gunfight, unless the AI gets stuck or something. Exploitable.

depending on the game i can agree, but on online gameplay i disagree, i much prefer each encounter between enemies and myself to have equal health for equal opportunity, when i kill someone in a game without regenerating health all it takes is someone to go around the corner and they have me dead probably 95% of the time, they have to be extremely bad for that not to happen, in which this process just keeps continuing until either someone has the OP weapons and are in an OP spot in the level, or someone is just that good compared to the really bad people in the room.

i dont know, i play MW2 with my friends at home and i had to put "hardcore mode" on because they died a LOT when playing with health, they cant aim for S#!T, and i always was lucky enough to get the headshot they complained "man wtf, i had you, i shot you like 2 F$%(!ng times and you didnt died... yeah, they shot my foot...

that gave them a fighting chanse, but it was kind of dumb that the whole game became a "i see you first you die" and everyone started to camp...

i had to change strategies, grenades now were a sure kill, a shot in the foot killed them, damn, it became harder, because i was used to the health regenerating, but i learned to play this way

and then i tryed to play online... there is no "hardcore" in the first levels, immagine how that went?? i had learned to shoot and forget, and i had to unlearn that fast, go and shoot and make him stay on the floor.

i guess there is strategy for both kinds of games... but in the hardcore one, the "luck" is a more important factor.

Bullshit. Entitled to your opinion sure, but frankly, Yahtzee is just plain wrong here. Regenerating health is a great idea. It resets every challenge, giving a fresh perspective each time. No artificially difficult sections where you have extra low health, no resource management to distract you from the action at hand. There are PLENTY of other ways to add narrative continuity besides a big red bar. Not every game should have regenerating health: Games like Half Life, Dead Space, etc get a good deal of improved pacing and tension from a health system. But honestly, I can't name a game with regenerating health that should have used hit points, or vise versa. For all the design mistakes out there, the health system choice is not one of them. Maybe video games just need more games that have a slower pace, and less focus on manic action. Maybe we need less games that benefit more from regeneration. But that's a completely different aissue. Regenerating health is here to stay. And you know what? Regenerating health may not be realistic, but it FEELS more realistic. Because if you don't die, you can simply assume that whatever happened was an ignorable flesh wound. That feels a lot more reasonable then getting shot in the face, being fine, then dying from a paper cut.

Bullshit? Hardly.. I see regenerating health as boring as turning on God mode. Let's look at Call of Duty as an example. You can die very fast, but you heal very fast. It's very easy to become punished by the game, but also very easy to finish the game without any real challenge( when it comes to shooting at things atleast ). Basically, as long as you don't run out into the open like an idiot, you'll NEVER DIE. To make the game the slightest bit challenging... ENEMIES NEVER MISS. Pop your head out for a second? TATATTAT BAMBAMBAM you've been sighted with terminator like efficiency and shot at before a single second can tick by. BUT, all you need to do to survive is make pop-shots or throw grenades over cover and slowly, oh so very very slowly crawl from cover spot to cover spot to finish a mission..

Shooters have DIED. They've become military training simulators, and that's great if you're gung ho about the military, but what about those of us that want to play a good old fashioned shooter? At least in Halo 1 it was just a weak shield that regenerated, that was cool because you still had to manage your health blocks and it gave you a little freedom to make some mistakes. Now a days you can't make mistakes or you get the dreaded game over screen, you can't go in guns blazing and just enjoy blasting everyone around you away while managing your health, and you can't play a game in a different way. It's always the same game of ducking behind cover, making a popshot/burst fire then duck back and heal up , twiddle your thumbs, go bake a cake, etc come back and move to the next cover; oh look a quick time event killed you because you were so BORED you weren't expecting something crazy to happen.

Yeah, Bulletstorm sucked so much... Where was I? Health regen, right. It sucks too, muahaha.

But seriously, Bulletstorm is just broken easy. You could slide in any direction for like a mile at a time, and redo that at will, all whilst your hp was regenerating. Near the end of the game I mastered that "technique", so that nothing could do me any harm at all. I was playing at hard and I died about 8 times, and that was before I learned that ridiculous trick.

It's just a bad, bad? Bad! Bad... Game...

I don't know, personally I always liked the health system from the first Resistance game. Segmented regenerating health, if you lost a segment you had to get a health pack to store yourself. Of course with Resistance 2 they gave into the full regen, but then again I don't have the problem Yahtzee does with the whole thing.


Yahtzee Croshaw:
Extra Punctuation: Why Regenerating Health Sucks

Yahtzee thinks waiting a few seconds to be at full health is bad.

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The "luck" system is used pretty commonly in tabletop games to explain why a character can "survive" being hit with a bastard sword in the damned head. Your "hit points" actually represent your ability to avoid attacks, and successful attacks whittle away at that ability until you can be hit. Your "wound points" then take over to indicate how much physical damage you've received, and armor mitigates some of that.

On paper, it can be a mess... but in a game? So much easier to just keep that math behind the scenes. The problem? People like immediate feedback.

The animation shows a spurt of blood, and the sound effect says, "Oof!" You've been hit, and you know it. People like that little Pavlovian dinner bell that tells them it's time for their favorite endorphins.

I'm a fan of systems in which taking damage makes you less capable, so that you will have to devote your attention to either a) escape, or b) a race to finish off the opponent before he finishes you. You have to make in-the-moment tactical decisions, which only get more critical as you progress. But, as you've indicated, this can lead to the "downward spiral" in which the player is constantly asked to do more with less, and may end up frustrated... or just reloading every time they get scratched by the corner of a table or looked at funny.

Regardless, the key to any health management system is scarcity. Maybe it's time that's short... maybe it's inventory space... maybe it's the number of consumables. Either way, the player has to feel the pinch somewhere--the sense that the failure state is rapidly approaching, or is just around the corner.

Time-regenerative health works against that in multiple ways. For one, you never run out of anything. It'd be one thing if your suit needed fuel to keep supplying you with the nano-bots that heal you over time... but I haven't seen that. You have unlimited use of the Fountain of Youth. Two, the time it takes is nearly always too short, meaning it can be used mid-combat, or between short bursts of combat. Three, you don't have to find or carry anything. There are no supplies to manage in any way and no choices to make.

There are many, many different ways to handle it, some of them almost completely opposite. As long as the system turns health into an important strategic resources for which the player has to make tactical decisions, you've got a good system. But regenerating health isn't a solution at all.

Health regeneration is not the worst thing that has ever happened to games. Lets just be clear about that up front. Just because Yahtzee enjoys Doom and Painkiller style games doesn't mean they all have to follow that formular. That being said it is perfectly reasonable to say that health regeneration is missapplied in many cases. Case and point: Bulletstorm. In a game that encourages agressive play styles from every other part of the games reward system, the health system should also reward this behavior. Encouraging pasivity with a HR system goes contrary to the games idea. A health-by-murder style would be better. Perhaps skill shots could heal you BUT do so at the cost of skill-points.

Anyway the point it that different health systems are appropriate for different games. Games in a setting with force fields and powerarmors can use the HR system easily from a setting standpoint. Other titels usually need a little more thought.

A thing I would like to touch on here is what a HR system brings to the mix. One thing it brings is the easier balancing of encounter. if the developer knows you are going to be at full health before every fight the job of balancing the encounter gets a lot easier. This also allows him to make very dificult encounters without fearing that a person low on ressources will find it impossible. Extra credits explains this quite nicely. Another thing it brings to the table is controled boldness in the player. He knows he can get his health back quickly if he gets hit so he is willing to take risks BUT he also knows he needs to stay close to some cover or risk loosing his behind. This makes it ideal for games that encourages slow advance or cover to cover gameplay but with a dash of heroic bravado (say running up and chainsawing a man in half). A last thing (that I can readily think of) is the idea of pinning. I am sure we all know the phrase "they got us pinned down". HR gives this kind of feeling. You are ducking and hiding, unable to bring your own guns to bear and thus giving your enemies time to reposition and maybe flank you. This is a nice tense moment but it also has to end and that is when the regen comes in. When you are at full health and out of the pin at least for now. This also lends itself to cover based games and games using trenches.

The problem is not that there is anything wrong with HR. The problem is that it has been overused and that has been used in games where it really has no place.

Personally I think having regenerating health has led to the explosion of ass-hattery in online play. People don't think to use tactics or skill any more, its just a case of sprinting out, drawing fire, spinning to wherever the fire is coming from and hiding until your health comes back (Exception: hardcore mode in COD4, where if you were shot, you died.).

Recently however, I've been playing the World of Tanks beta, which nicely incorporates a damage model into the game. For example, if I'm driving a tank, and get hit in the tracks, they become damaged, and can even break. Engines and fuel tanks can catch fire, turrets and guns can become jammed, and crew members can be killed from spalling (little metal shards that break off from the inside of a tank during an explosion). Some of these issues can be repaired in time by the crew, but they won't be as effective as they were before. Example: if your turret gets hit and the ring is damaged, it can be repaired, but one of your crew will have to hand-crank it, resulting in a slower traverse speed and longer aiming/reload times. There is also an overall health bar for your tank that doesn't regenerate.

As a result of all of this, most people play smart, forming packs of tanks and most importantly, they work together! While there are other issues with the game, I personally think that shooters can take a page from this game's book when it comes to damage modelling.

Anyone play Desktop Dungeons? Health by exploration.

To reiterate on my original post, there are basically some serious drawbacks to regenerating health.

1) It sucks realism out of the game in more than one way; you can heal from anything from a tank shell, grenade, or just plain bullets and enemies don't really have AI. they don't act like human beings but super-computer androids that know exactly where you are and shoot at you with robotic precision and speed.

2) If you're patient enough you'll never die; if you get impatient and try to take risks you'll usually find yourself looking at a game over screen, you're basically all around punished. The gameplay is artificially slowed down.

3) You have much less leeway to make mistakes, because most games with regenerating health give you very little health in an attempt to make the game playable. You'll often find yourself saying to the screen: WHAT? HOW? WHY? THAT'S BS! etc.

I think systems like the one Dragon Age uses are really the best way to implement a regenerating health mechanic - have your health and stamina/mana quickly regenerate sure, but only once combat is over. During combat, no health regen for you - suck it up and use those potions/spells/whatnot. That way battles stay hectic, while still allowing you to take the sort of risks that you wouldn't if your health was persistent and never regenerated between fights, and you don't have to worry that you'll blow through all your supplies of healing juice just recovering from your last fight and won't have enough for the next big battle royale waiting around the corner.

It's a far better solution than only allowing one method to freely regain health (usually via sleeping in some safehouse somewhere or whatnot), especially when you factor in compulsive hoarders like myself who will never ever use any expendable item if they can possibly help it, as it saves us an awful lot of boredom and backtracking while not diminishing the "do well or take a dirt nap" aspect of gameplay.

Far Cry 2 had the best healing system: get shot, pull that motherfuckin bullet out. You only had to do it when you're health was really low too.

Holy crap, that's what I was about to say. I loved it when you had to pull a bar from your gut or burn some gunpowder in your arm. It is definitively one of the best health systems in a game. EDIT: I also liked the health system from alone in the dark, I dunno why.

I've been railing against regenerating Wolverine health for years, but no one cares what I have to say. Then Yahtzee does a piece that took him 30 minutes to throw together in MS Word and he is lauded and showered with rose petals.

<--- Jelly

I'd also like to add that regenerating health has also led to bad AI programming where enemies have ridiculous aiming ability and will basically track you through walls and shoot at you as soon as you're the least bit exposed. In modern games, you know you've encountered a battle because 1/2 your health has been instantly wiped away, but it will be back in 2 seconds!

Homefront, is that you?

Yeah. I disagree with Yahtzee too. Health bars have certain advantages over regenerating health in how they reward skilled players by allowing them to enter each fight with more health than the game anticipated, but otherwise they're no longer relevant to action games.

Regenerating health allows developers to make far more intense combat situations, for one. You're always sure to have full health at the beginning of every gunfight, so the game can throw anything it wants at you. But a game with regenerating health will usually have the player character die very quickly if they are constantly taking damage (you die in 5 shots in CoD but 30 or so in Half Life 2). That makes a combat situation far more exciting.

It also allows players to try out different strategies for particularly hard bits of a game without constantly dying and reloading a checkpoint. If you're about to die, it's nice to run back to cover and get another chance to rethink your strategy instead of being forced to die over and over again for your mistakes. Nothing kills immersion for me like constant death and load screens.

No, regenerating health doesn't suck. Overused? Probably.

When you play Super Meat Boy, do you say "This game is too fucking easy. You have an infinite number of lives, so it's never game over!" and then go off to play something else? No. Of course not. The challenge presents itself on a level-by-level basis. Games like Call of Duty are no different. Challenges present themselves on a fight-by-fight basis, and the challenge is in not getting hit at all, or, if you're playing an easier mode, not getting hit too many times in succession.

Yes, it's definitely not for everything. It's probably not even for every first-person shooter. But it works, and best of all, it doesn't break flow.

Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath had that exact "walk it off" system: There was a health bar, and if enemies shot you with their guns that shoot knives it'd go down, and would stay down until you shook those knives off. Shaking the knives off would decrease your stamina bar, which would regenerate quickly if you stood still, hardly if you were moving and not at all if you were sprinting.

It made for a few hiding moments in intense gunfights but it also made you pick your battles since part of the fun in that game was to put a sneak attack on your enemies one by one instead of charging in guns blazing.

I like that game...

regenerating health gives designers an advantage because it ensures the player will always have full health going into each challenge. quite lazy really.

The reason for regenerating health is because if you've beaten one gunfight by the skin of your teeth, you shouldn't be forced to do it all over just because you stubbed your toe in the next one. There's a couple ways to fix this problem without using regenerating health.

One is just to place checkpoints in sensible locations, although that depends on the sensibility of your designer and the hardcore-ness of your game. Another is to provide health before or after each gunfight, although that telegraphs upcoming battles, particularly bosses.

Much like some of the ones already mentioned, Just Cause 2, your game of the year, used regenerating health that you could lose permanently, which meant that you occasionally had to flee through a tense gunfight with half your health gone. Unfortunately, it shot itself in the foot by making health stations really hard to find, unless you went into a military base, where you would be shot.

My personal favorite is Batman Arkham Asylum's system. You regenerated health after each battle, in proportion to the XP you earned. If you pummeled a bunch of thugs in a single flowing combo, you'd start the next brawl at full health, but if you got your ass kicked you'd have to be a little more cautious next time. It kept some of the benefits of both options, since your health always stayed reasonably high, but not so high that you could keep screwing things up. And instead of conspicuous, out-of-place medkits, they'd just give you a couple of easy henchmen to pound on. Plus the idea of Batman healing himself by punching people is absolute meme gold.

I don't much like regenerating health either. To me, it seems like a system that was instituted to accomodate casual gamers and lazy game design. It also breaks the flow. When I'm low on health in EXU2 (UT mod), tension rises/skill and anxiety go up. When I'm low on health in Halo, meh. Hide in a doorway and twiddle thumbs for a while. If we were still in the age of "You can only save at these points", maybe I would have some sympathy for not wanting to do the whole thing over again but Quicksave has eliminated that as well.

It isn't the worst Single-Player system available. That "honor" goes to Prey. For the last half of that game, I rolled a dice before each level (which included the Wrench) and that would be the weapon that I would use unless there was no possible way that I could run up to an enemy and smack him with the wrench. Why? Because death is toothless in that game and, when you accomodate casuals to the point that I have to run around the stage with a wrench in order to create some form of challenge for myself, there's a problem.

That being said, I don't have much problem with it's implementation in Multiplayer games. Using Gears or Halo as examples, where AI opponents are going to politely wait until you're ready to play again, people will seek you out and finish you. Also, people will just camp health pickups if you had them in multiplayer. For Multiplayer, regenerating health does keep the gameflow going.

Reading through what I just wrote, I suspect that this is where Yahtzee's problem lies. He hates multiplayer so he is just looking at this from a singleplayer perspective. From that perspective, I agree with him. However, from the side of me that plays the multiplayer and loves the frosted side on Kellogg's Mini-wheats, regenerating health is necessary to keep the gameplay flowing.

How about a combination between health regeneration and nanite levels. Your nanites help you regenerate health, but they use themselves up in the process. Thus if you keep getting hit a lot your health will start to regenerate slower and slower, until you find some way to replenish your nanites. That way you don't have to run around with 1% health and get owned, but you still have repercussions for getting shot up a lot. I'm sure some game has used this mechanic before.

Yer....I agree. I recently played Singularity, and its the first time in a good long while I've felt that buzz from a fps game...the surviving thrill. You got a health bar, and thats not all. If you want to heal, you have to bandage yourself. And since you really cant take a lot of punishment in that game that can get real exciting real fast :P

Of course, a while into the game you get the "time-warp-orb-thingy" and any challenge is vaporized. But it was good while it lasted! And at leas the orb was fun, if extremely overpowered.

Sometimes you *want* to reset a game at every encounter, to contr each encounter independent of previous elements. In that case, regenerating health is fine, provided it isn't a trivial matter to find the cover/defensive mechanism needed to let it work.

Health system needs to match game and level mechanics, whether that health regenerates (Halo), doesn't (DOOM), or even if there's no real health system at all (one of the many ways Kirby's Epic Yarn is brilliant).

The thing that regenerating health does, and the reason that it's here to stay, is that it means the developers always know how much health the player has as they enter an encounter.

Suddenly there are no encounters that are a breeze if you're at full health but a nightmare if you're banged up, the designer actually gets to design the challenge level of the encounters.

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"Why I promote originality yet criticize any game that doesn't follow my exact specifications"

I hate having to backtrack. It utterly breaks the gameflow.

I'm very surprised to hear Yahtzee endorse it, I thought flow was one of his prime metrics of a good game.

I just started Mass Effect 2, which unlike the first game uses the quick regen method, and it's one of my gripes about the sequel. The system is designed in such a way that you have to use the chest high walls corners, because enemy fire drops you too quickly to use other tactics. It feels like Sheopard is made of paper and the glass is made of armor, and medigel might as well be called pheonix down, because the healing it does on Sheopard restores one, maybe two shots worth of damage.

It's still a good game, but the combat system has plenty to complain about.

regenerating health makes no sense unless your character is some sort of super mutant and can absorb radiation to heal itself which is not the case in 98% of games. if they could give us some kind of story on how the healing works like microbs in the blood can fix any type of wound but they need electirisity for the nessesary power to fix wound. different wound different amount of power.

At the end of the day, there are two priorities in game design. One is keeping the player from ending up in a hopeless situation but not actually dead, where their only real choice is to commit suicide or restart from a save. (It's the same reason LucasArts adventure games never let you move on to the next chapter if it required some item from the current one you hadn't picked up yet.) If you do a poor job in one battle, you should be able to redeem yourself by doing well in the next one.

The other priority is ensuring this without making the game feel too easy. Regenerating health is an easy way to accomplish the first, and fail spectacularly at the second. Giving players full health restores at the end of every area isn't much better, but at least it doesn't also turn every battle into a game of reverse whack-a-mole. Half-Life 2 did an excellent job balancing both. It was unlikely that you would ever complete a difficult section without there being just enough health left over around the corner to keep it from being unreasonable, but not enough to feel like a reset button.

Ironically, I have to dock them points for missing a good opportunity to integrate the HEV suit better into the game world. As it stood, it was just an extension of your health bar that needed a different type of object to regen. Other than that trick it did with the poison headcrabs, which didn't even happen until the second game, it never did anything uniquely useful. The most realistic approach to powered armor in a game, to me, would be something like giving the armor a finite amount of power, having it drain some whenever it has to repair some damage either to itself or to you, and being able to regen using a charging station. None of this "your suit regenerates power out of thin air" nonsense like in Halo.

The "luck bar" thing reminds me of action movies, where the hero can get in multiple firefights yet never get hit once, because if he did he'd be screwed. It would be a little hard to convey to the player, though, unless the game is explained as actually being a movie, and some NPC brings up this trope (like some video game version of The Last Action Hero). And as someone else mentioned, having it tick down when the player isn't getting hit adds to the confusion; a properly-labeled health bar gets its point across immediately, and even an oddly-named one like Duke Nukem's ego bar makes it clear pretty early on what its function is because it's ticking down whenever you get hit.

There are situations that regenerating health has worked well: namely, when management of resources wouldn't otherwise be part of the game. Portal and Mirror's Edge do this perfectly. The former is a first-person puzzle game, and having health at all is just an excuse to keep turrets from being one-hit kills, so suddenly adding a health bar and health pickups would feel like a genre shift. The latter is a parkour platformer where stopping to hunt for pickups would break flow. Since there's so little damage you can take in either one before you die, you can write it off as your body shrugging off minor injuries like in real life (although it does seem a bit hard to swallow in Portal once several people worth of blood end up splattered on the walls).

In Duke Nukem Forever (This is a bit speculation, but bear with me), health regen would work because it helps the player feel as powerful as Duke is; able to take bullets like they're candy...or some other metaphor. It also helps that the health bar is named an "EGO" bar. Duke Nukem's huge-ass EGO can deflect bullets and lasers, and absorb pipe-bomb explosions. That alone justifies the regenerating health. For me at least.

But it's not like DNF just gave up its exploration factor by going with EGO. Searching around for interactive novelties, executing "bleeding out" enemies, etc, inflates the overall EGO. So rather than searching for health packs to mend your wounds, you find say for example, a "Balls of Steel" pinball machine. If you get the high score, your overall EGO becomes larger so that you'll have a better chance at surviving future encounters. Yes it's still regenerating health, but it's regenerating health that accounts for the lack of depth that would come from just having the system and nothing else.

Pity this is all speculation; that would be a very interesting use of the ego bar. Having it go up whenever he does something cool, like a health bar tied in to the achievement system.

I agree in respect to shooters.

I just recall playing Mirror's Edge for the first time and wondering how I recovered health. I was initially under the impression I did have to move, so I'd be doing little jigs behind cover expecting it to cause regen.
Mirror's Edge however didn't really require the gunfights, the bullets whizzing around just added a sense of urgency that was almost unnecessary. Either way, I think the regen system worked well there because for once you weren't looking in every nook and cranny for items. [Unless you got obsessive about those yellow bags].

Non-regenerating health systems have their own problems, too. With regeneration, each battle can be planned with the assumption that the player is at full health, so its difficulty can be planned appropriately. A boss battle will be difficult, a mook battle will be easy, and so on. But with no regeneration, the difficulty will depend (largely at least) on the amount of health the player has. A regular battle can be absurdly easy if the player has full health, or frustratingly difficult if he has low health.

Let's say a player goes into a boss battle with 10% health, which is next to impossible to win with, and dieing just brings him back to just before the boss. That player will either have to play the battle dozens of times to get by with that little health, or get to that point by restarting the level or bringing up a previous save. Neither of these are good solutions.

Regeneration and non-regeneration systems both have their ups and downs, and its ridiculous to say one should never be used.

The only real problem with regenerating health is when developers use it as a lazy crutch because they're bad at designing encounters.
Let's talk about Halo for a minute, since they're usually credited/blamed with starting the trend.

Bungie are good at encounters - they give you a frantic, thirty second encounter where you use your wits and the tools available to overcome a tough enemy or group of enemies. The encounters progress in difficulty and size as you progress through the game - you're always having to learn new tricks and use a range of weapons.
Bungie have determined that about thirty seconds is about as much action as we can take before it's going to get tiresome, so once we've cleared an area, we have a cooldown while we walk to the next area. We're going to be pretty much refreshed once we get there, maybe a little lower on ammo than we'd like depending on what we've just been though, but all in all in good shape to start fighting again.

You can sit in a corner and wait for your shields to regnerate but I think an experienced player who is into the flow of Halo appreciates that the shields popping is time to take cover. You can't hide behind a rock every time an enemy looks at you. That's boring. So you exchange fire, take your lumps, then take cover - and hopefully you suppressed the enemiees well enough that they don't flank you while you're waiting for a shield recharge, because they'll try.

I know it's not very well explained, but I'm rushing to try to get to my point instead of verbally fellating Bungie.

The point is, when you compare this to an experience like Call of Duty, you're not getting quick encounters. You're getting a frenzy of really annoying shit. You can't control the battlefield. In most games enemies jsut infinitely respawn so all you're doing is clearing a path. Of course the enemies are raining grenades down on you, shooting you as soon as you become visible, and making what should be a thirty second encounter into a five minute endurance trial. Half the time you pop out of cover you take a hit and have to hide again. Youre out of grenades. You JUST fucking shot that guy and he's been replaced with a fucking clone who apparently spawned durectly out of the ground. All you're trying to do is clear a path to get to the next checkpoint.
It's artificial extension of a game. Interestingly I was playing Call of Duty Classic last week (I got an XBLA code for it with my prestige edition of Modern Warfare 2) and CoD1 did use a health bar.
Something I'm noticing is that most of the encounters seem to take place with me either traversing a very small area with helth packs littered all over the place, or centred around me defending one area with a big pile of health and ammo in the middle. I can see why Call of Duty jumped on the regenning health bandwagon, based on their earlier game all you were doing was running for the nearest health pack every time your health bar turns yellow anyway.

So anyway. The point I was trying to make is that most complaints about regenerating health stem from the fact that it results in lazy design and lazy players. I put it to you that lazy design is lazy design regardless, and that the rise of regenerating health is a symptom, not the cause.

Side note: I have a friend who's been to Afghanistan and been hit a few times. His body armor took the hits for him. He got knocked down, but was able to continue fighting. Impaired, yes, but not incapacitated. When I'm playing a game like MW2 I tend to rationalise my ability to take damage and recover as the shots hitting my body armor. After a few seconds I'm ok to start fighting. It's still not a realistic representation and doesn't fully explain the strawberry jam in my eyes, but it makes slightly more sense than falling twenty feet in System Shock, being informed by my personal computer my my leg is broken, and then being able to walk comfortably after slapping a stim pack on it.

Side side note: I understand that Duke Nukem Forever will use an Ego Mater in place of a health bar - Duke Nukem isn't getting injured, the aliens are just wounding his pride. He can boost his ego by looking in mirrors, taking steroids and drinking beer. This is nothing short of FUCKING AWESOME.

I like regenerating health just fine, depending on the game.

Non-regenerating health systems have their own problems, too. With regeneration, each battle can be planned with the assumption that the player is at full health, so its difficulty can be planned appropriately. A boss battle will be difficult, a mook battle will be easy, and so on. But with no regeneration, the difficulty will depend (largely at least) on the amount of health the player has. A regular battle can be absurdly easy if the player has full health, or frustratingly difficult if he has low health.

Let's say a player goes into a boss battle with 10% health, which is next to impossible to win with, and dieing just brings him back to just before the boss. That player will either have to play the battle dozens of times to get by with that little health, or get to that point by restarting the level or bringing up a previous save. Neither of these are good solutions.

Regeneration and non-regeneration systems both have their ups and downs, and its ridiculous to say one should never be used.

This was why I thought Games designers used it so much. It makes designing the game so much easier for them. Hence why it is employed so much. I do think it is pretty boring though having to wait for those few seconds, though it can be used well ie I hope those guards only realise where I am in ten seconds rather then five.

Believe it or not, i had a similar idea to yahtzee's about that "luck" system. you could have a character who is considered "very lucky" and as he's getting shot at, the bullets whiz by or he happens to dodge them. once your luck bar runs out though, its close to curtains for you. you would have a very limited health bar and once the bullets started hitting you, it would be realistic and you would die in one or two shots.

I've thought about this intensely, too. Proximity should increase the drain exponentially-- so that, being shot at slowly drains its, whereas getting hit should take a chunk off. Once you're hit, it has a small time frame of when it'll go back to knocking chunks off your bar for getting hit, but will still treat getting hit as if the shots are landing near. This would, despite being incredibly unrealistic, make realistic strategies, such as cover and suppressing fire, useful. Blowing a magazine of heavy machine-gun fire towards an enemy isn't meant to kill them, but force them to stay put, and make it much easier for somebody else to take advantage of it, as well as making camping ineffective. The longer one stays in one spot, the slower ones luck will replenish, making sniping and proving cover fire and anything that involves sitting down much more risky, as well as, for targets that aren't moving around, applying a buff that gives a chance to entirely bypass luck in proportion to how aimed a direct-hit shot was, so a sniper can still be effective by watching his targets and taking careful aim as their critical hit chance climbs, much like the charge-bar in TF2 that fixed oh so many issues with snipers.

On the other end, this system would greatly benefit those whos strategies are inherently riskier (Ie, they aren't sitting around like a jackass), thus giving incentive to actually get out and fight. Depending on the game and the mechanics, this system could be adjusted to provide the right amount of reward for the play style it looks to promote.

Oh, and once you're hit, it could go full out realistic on your butt, injuring and wounding and leaving you dead, depending on how you were hit, so that if you were grazed by a lucky shot once your new-fangled health was depleted, it could just slowly kill you, or if you're gut shot, you could end up getting dropped and left there, concious for a while but able to do very little. This could be implemented with only booting you to respawn once your character is absolutely incapacitated, while giving you the option for your character to just give up on going on, letting you go on to respawn as soon as you're not-fatally shot, while leaving a dying corpse behind.

EDIT: And since this system is incredibly varying on how much your health is being drained, it could just be flat-out not visible, so as to get the player to just worry about not getting shot at instead of watching a bar drain at varying speeds and wondering why

Nope, its fine as it is. But maybe i think that because i play games in other genres too and not just FPS and TPS.

Just bring back the health bar for "oldschool" style games, and leave it in the ones trying to be realistic(you can argue all day if thats realistic or not, but its the closest we gonna get).

Or just do a 1 shot kill game where you actually have to be careful, and would be balanced with other things, like the enemy not being 90% accurate from the other side of a hangar, oh and no crosshair anywhere, specially not in multiplayer.

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