A Practical Study of the Use of Traps in a Modern 3D Role-Playing Game
Engine - Fallout 3
Completed - March 3rd, 2011
Both then and now, the purpose of traps remains adding tension to gameplay without necessarily using combat.
In video games, traps remain a popular yet controversial element of level design. Many players find enjoyment in the tension of getting past a pit of spikes or gaining high enough skill to avoid triggering a stone block in the ceiling. They even find it fun to acquire skills or play mini-games to get them past these traps with greater ease. However, other players have a more negative reaction to traps, finding them unnecessary or even a hindrance to the game’s fun factor.
To gain a better understanding of player reactions to traps, it is important to understand why certain players find traps exciting and others find them frustrating. As level designers continue to use traps in their games, they need to be able to understand what elements are successful in traps and what elements are not. Learning how players react to different types of traps could lead to understanding effective use of traps in level design.
The Fallout 3 map used to test this theory is based off of my earlier level, "Truka-Cola", which utilized a trap-based design. For this project, the map is heavily modified to use at least four of each of the three categories of traps in various scenarios. A survey administered to the player gauged whether they found these traps and how they reacted to them once triggered.