Cover

Description

Cover is an obstacle or barrier that prevents enemy NPCs from seeing the player or attacking directly. It can be used to separate encounters in the same area without using multiple rooms. The player may use cover either through an implemented cover system in the game or by simply positioning their character behind it for tactical purposes. Enemies can also use cover to their advantage. Rooms designed to have combat, especially against multiple enemies, will often have some cover.

Cover allows for personal pacing amidst battles, and enemy cover requires movement by the player to find positions that allow for line of sight attacks. When the player takes cover, there's a lull in combat that allows the player to reload, regain health, or strategize.

Variables and Affordances

  • Size of cover (Low ↔ High): Low cover can expose the player/enemy, but allow them to see what's happening, while high cover protects the player but obstructs the view.
  • Material of cover (Solid or Fragile, Transparent or Opaque): Fragile cover might break after a few hits, while solid never will. Transparent material allows the player to see his enemies while not being at risk.

Examples

  • Mass Effect 2. Uses an implemented cover system throughout the game for both players and enemies. Players often have to use cover to regenerate health. In the screenshot above, the cover is low, solid, and opaque.
  • Fallout 3. FPS combat lends itself to using structures as cover, plus enemy AI will often tactically use cover.
  • Dragon Age: Origins. Spells can only be cast in line of sight, requiring mages (who typically have low defense) to emerge from cover to cast.
  • Arena - Cover is often used in combat-heavy arenas to allow for combat pacing and strategy.

Quest-Level Relationships

  • Contextualizing Quests - Cover is an essential battle mechanic for many games, and as such is tied to many contextualizing quests (Mass Effect 2, for example).
patterns/cover.txt · Last modified: 2011/06/12 15:12 by Gillian Smith
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