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Examining a Game Character's Physical Presence 29

GameSetWatch is running a feature about the evolution of game characters' physical presence. In many games, you can look down and not see your feet, or pass right through other players or NPCs. Other games rely on a believable model that can animate and collide with its surroundings. Tom Cross examines some of those scenarios, and also games that raise the bar for having a physical presence, such as the new Alone in the Dark. "Edward Carnby's body is a distinct factor in everything that the player does. Your inventory is carried inside Carnby's leather jacket. To use, drop, or combine items, you must open it wide and look down at your own chest. The healing mechanic, too, reinforces the oft-forgotten fact that you have a body. To heal yourself, you must look at the parts of your body (arms, leg, chest) that are wounded, and then spray them with first-aid liquid. Likewise, when you equip an item, Edward reaches for it, palming it and then switching back to the stock third or first person view."

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