Define A Great SP Player

6th April 2006

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3

In a previous post entitled Do We Expect to Die? I discussed the idea that players need to die, or at least have an event that make it clear the game has “beaten” you, in FPS games because if we didn’t then we wouldn’t feel challenged. Writing and thinking about that post got me thinking about “What exactly makes or defines a good SP Player?

Skill Set

Playing games, even computer games, requires a balance between technique and strategy. It’s highly unlikely you can be successful without both. Being super accurate at shooting moving targets is only half the battle when it comes to beating an SP game. Knowing when to retreat or stand your ground is very important.

So, exactly what skill-set do expert SP players have? Maybe they need a combination of guile, patience and aggression? I don’t know, but I am interested in hearing your thoughts on the subject.

I Wonder..?

One thing I have almost always wondered was “How good at SP games are professional players like Fatal1ty?” Sure, there’s little doubt they can move and shoot but what about problem solving or other things required in SP games? Does anybody know whether these guys even play SP games?

Time to Define

Let’s start with a list of skills that are A: necessary and B: advantageous. The list below is simply the first draft and will be revised depending on the responses.

Necessary Skills

  • Shooting Accuracy
    That should be pretty clear! If you can’t hit a target then you can’t kill it.
  • Movement Control
    Being able to manoeuvre in tight spaces and make those difficulty jumps is also essential.
  • Weapon Choice
    I’ve briefly mentioned this subject before in a post entitled Switching Weapons but I think it’s clear that choosing the right weapon for the right situation is very important. I accept that some players have the ability to play and finish games using just a few weapons but for most players they need the right tool for the right job!

Notes: I personally think it’s impossible to be a really good SP player without the skills above. That’s not to say that they are the only skills necessary, they just happen to be the first ones I thought of!

Advantageous Skills/Abilities

  • Patience
  • Problem Solving
  • Spatially Awareness

Notes: This second list took a lot longer to create than the first. I’m not even convinced the list is any good but I felt obligated to add something!

A final note about the skill sets. I didn’t list it above because it’s much harder to quantify but “Experience” plays a huge part in ones ability. Encountering similar situations makes a big difference as to how we deal with this. The first time we encounter something it is always strange but the second and third time we become de-sensitised to it.

The Final Questions

I’ll leave you with a few final questions.
“How exactly can we measure an SP Player?” In MP it’s clear, the person still alive or the most points/frags gained, the less lives lost etc. Not so clear in SP is it?
How would you define an expert SP player? The ability to beat a game on its hardest difficulty setting whilst losing as few lives as possible?

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