What is your definition of immersion?

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#1 Posted by swamplord666 (1873 posts) -

I'm doing a study into immersion in games and I'd like to know:

- How would you defin e immersion?

- What is it that immerses you in a game?

Between these criteria, which one is more likely to immerse you into the game:

- Gameplay

- Graphics

- Story

- Cinematic sequences

- Something else maybe

- What games were you the most immersed in and why?

Thanks for the answers in advance guys :)

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#2 Posted by thattotally (3842 posts) -

I'd say that when it comes to video games, gameplay immerses you much more than a "cinematic cutscene" quite frankly.

Most would say that action from the get go immediately immerses the gamer into the world, fighting baddies or jumping on platforms or whatever. However strong characterization also helps, since when you like the characters that you're meeting and playing as, the game really sucks you into its world. And while you may not notice it, a game's music can really capture the essence, the atmosphere of a game.

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#3 Posted by Wii4Fun (1472 posts) -

A.I. is very important. How they react to things that happen in the game and how they converse with you. Having A.I. that keeps repeating the same thing over and over sucks.

The game world. Simple things like the wind blowing trees and grass blades, animals interacting with each other and the environment in their habitats, day and night settings changing, the sounds you hear, like birds chirping, whistling of the wind. You know, those kind of things.

Graphics play a part too. It doesn't have to be top of the line gaphics, it just has to look good.

Gameplay is a big one. Having the option to interact with almost everything in the game really helps. Not having restrictions in the game too, like seeing a location but not being to get to it because it's just a background.

Controllers, how you play the game. Motion controls haven't reached their perfected stage yet, this gen was more like a test. I can't wait to see how they improve next gen.

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#4 Posted by Lucianu (10347 posts) -

Immersion can mean the ability of a game to grab your attention, but that would be a relative term, because then what is the difference betwen immersion & addictivness? Think about it. Because involvement, concentration, preoccupation & absorption are absolute terms that define immersion.

In that way, any game that i can play for hours on end is immersive for me. And a game grabbing one's attention is strictly subjective. I guess you can say that if i'm engrossed in a story to a great extent, it's a immersive game.

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#5 Posted by jun_aka_pekto (25253 posts) -

I'm doing a study into immersion in games and I'd like to know:

- How would you defin e immersion?

- What is it that immerses you in a game?

Between these criteria, which one is more likely to immerse you into the game:

- Gameplay

- Graphics

- Story

- Cinematic sequences

- Something else maybe

- What games were you the most immersed in and why?

Thanks for the answers in advance guys :)

swamplord666

For me, immersion would be me feeling like I'm really interacting within the environment. For the games I play like say, Crysis, the foliage should provide both concealment and cover. I also turn the game music off because because that's the last thing I'd hear in a hot zone. In the real world, I like to tune in to the sounds of the environment where subtle changes like birds suddenly stopping their chirping can indicate something. That'll be kind of hard to replicate in a game. Just the same, I like to hear game environmental sounds rather than game music.

Gameplay is very subjective. I lean towards simulations the most because they usually attempt the closest representation of the real-world. I also like the first-person perspective in shooters, simulations, and RPG because to me, that's the best way to represent me in the game.

Obviously, I like good graphics with my games. I don't care much for graphics kings. So long as the graphics are more than presentable, then they're fine. I also like accurate dimensions and proportions plus a semblance of accuracy in the markings of the vehicles in the sim.

I'm not too keen on story with the games I play. As an operative in the field, I usually don't have the full picture and probably never will just like in the real world. I go with more emphasis on the story if I'm say, the top-ranking commander in a strategy game or if I'm playing an adventure game.

Cinematic sequences? I like em short and simple. I want the emphasis to remain with actual gameplay.

I find flight/combat sims to be the most immersive simply because I've been around aircraft almost all my life. I know how they behave. I know how they should behave. I know aviation weather, clouds, and hazards. I know how clouds should look with different weather patterns. When a game such as FSX reflects many of them accurately, I keep the game for a very long time because I'm always putting that game to the test just to see how accurate it is compared to the real world. Most gamers wouldn't care and find such things boring. Not me. I love games that can relate to my job.

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#6 Posted by EvilSelf (3619 posts) -

Two very short answers for you:

1. Play and finish Metro 2033

2. Play and finish Dead Space

I think doing so will answer your questions...

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#8 Posted by tom_p106 (30 posts) -

A world that you can really interact with. The Fable games are a good example, having people that you can interact with and form relationships with, houses that you can buy and change things in, rather than just having these as static unchangable scenery. Seeing an environment change seamlessly from night to day is good too. Objects/creatures that react to you attacking them rather than just standing still.

Things that ruin interactivity.

That looks like an interesting area, oh wait, its merely background!

I am unable to wade into this river/lake.

My character my be an incredibly powerful warrior, but he is stumped by a two foot hight barrier.

Environments populated entirely by vicious enemies that seem to have spent their whole lifetime waiting around just to attack you. I want ecosystems that seem realistic, populated by herbivores as well as aggresive carnivores.

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#9 Posted by Dantus12 (231 posts) -

- How would you define immersion?

IMO, the ability of the game to "pull you in," make you attached to the story, characters, make you care about the possible outcomes, like make you feel guilty when doing wrong, or good when doing right, for example. Thing like direct interaction or impact on things and people in games can be also a welcome adition to immersion.

The ability to make you feel that you are part of it and belong in there. This is genre independent, and is something that is very individual for each player.

- What is it that immerses you in a game?

Personally the charcters , storys and the atmosphere. The atmosphere thing is usually as everything else something that is different for every player.

For me it's the thin line when everything matches the moment, and everything, from art style to sound and graphics is just there to underline the events in game.

Between these criteria, which one is more likely to immerse you into the game:

- Gameplay

- Graphics

- Story

- Cinematic sequences

- Something else maybe

Gameplay, story and the pace of a game that fits exactly what the game is trying to do, again genre unrelated.

- What games were you the most immersed in and why?

The Witcher for example- the story
Deus Ex- gameplay
Dragon Age Origins- the Characters
Morrowind -the World

There are way to many and it would be very hard to define it in short.




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#10 Posted by OatsMalone (25 posts) -
Actually, a blog that I just started following had an interesting post on that topic today, located here: http://ontologicalgeek.blogspot.com/2011/01/additional-pylons-introducing-distance.html Distance is a useful term for gauging the ability of a game to immerse, no? Ultimately, I think that immersion is an expression of empathy with a character. Different techniques will appeal to different people. For some, immersion can be found in more total control over a character's actions (Planescape: Torment is a fine example there, as are many Bioware games), though those games are also often short on physical immersion. FPS games tend to be more conducive to physical immersion. I think that Assassin's Creed is one of the most immersive games I have ever played, mostly because the typical "game" artifacts, such as skipping through periods of time that are short on action or the presence of a health bar, are explainable in-game. The story is fixed because it is "past," and your avatar in-game, Desmond, is re-experiencing the life of his ancestor. When in-Animus, the player and Desmond take on the EXACT same position: audience and actor. The reliance on the real-world setting and actual historical figures and events validate the tale being told, as well, especially in the Subject 16 sequences of AC2 and Brotherhood, which form into a sort of alternate-reality game that relies on the player's knowledge of real-world events. The series is an impressive endeavor, and the multiple tiers at which it seeks to immerse the player is worthy of respect. It forces the player to interact with the story in different ways simultaneously, comparing the experience of the game against reality. Worth studying, in my opinion. Hope this was helpful!
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#11 Posted by Mr_Doom212 (440 posts) -

Story usually does it for me

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#12 Posted by VigilanteArtist (699 posts) -

"Immersion" is when I forget, just for a second, that I'm watching a movie, playing a game, or reading a book, because I'm so involved in that universe.

Recently, that's happened while playing Mass Effect 2, as well as while reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman.

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#13 Posted by turtlethetaffer (18789 posts) -

A game where you can play for hours and not even realize it. Also, an atmosphere that pulls you in and makes you react to stuff on screen. (Mostly horror games. They are what I'm talking about.)

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#14 Posted by cprmauldin (1567 posts) -

Role-playing games are the most immersive to me because when you are "role-playing," you become one with the character you are playing.

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#15 Posted by OatsMalone (25 posts) -

Role-playing games are the most immersive to me because when you are "role-playing," you become one with the character you are playing.

cprmauldin
I think that becoming "one" with the character is the goal of most role-playing games (though obviously pen and paper allows a little more freedom than video games do), but there are always interruptions in that union. For instance, take most BioWare games. You have some freedom to interact with the characters around your avatar, but you can only have conversations with them so far as the game will let you. Eventually, those characters eventually run out of things to say. If you, as a player, seek to learn even more about a character, to "build a relationship" with that NPC through your avatar character, you are bound for disappointment. There is only so much story programmed into the game. These minor interruptions are unavoidable (at least until we develop artificial intelligence). So immersion can only run so deep with the technology that we have. What's more, most role-playing games make no attempt to embed you into the reality of the character's body. Any third-person view is another step out from total mesh. It creates an unavoidable mental distance that proclaims "other" and creates greater distance between the self and the avatar character.
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#16 Posted by Hanes666 (48 posts) -
A major factor, something games often fall down on, is a great soundtrack
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#17 Posted by WhiteKnight77 (12605 posts) -

The game world and gameplay are what usually what immerses me most. If I am running NASCAR Racing 2002/2003, it's being in the cockpit of the car and running inches from another car and feeling the tension rise as we try not to wreck. It can be flying in FS and waiting in line for take off or even landing on a foggy night and ensuring I make the runway. In an FPS, it's about wondering where the next enemy patrol is and what it will do once engaged and whether or not, a different patrol will sneak up on the team and cap us from behind.

As I am not really worried about how lifelike graphics are, even a dated game still holds my attention. If a game really immerses you, it has lots of replayability to it.