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Is murdering innocent NPCs fun?

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by Randommerade, Dec 20, 2014.

  1. Randommerade

    Randommerade

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    In many games, like GTA, Saints Row, Fallout, Skyrim, etc, an interesting feature is that you can kill almost anyone you see. Is this feature really important, fun, or necessary? How do you go about it? Is it worth it to code every NPC as kill-able or not? Discuss =]
     
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  2. AcidArrow

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    Consequence free killing is boring (like in GTA and Saints-Row).

    It's more interesting in games like fallout, because there are consequences. You can kill main quest givers and lose access to content, people will come after you etc etc. It makes killing a NPC a more serious matter.

    Killing people for teh lolz is boring and kinda weird.
     
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  3. Teila

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    If you create consequences to actions in the game, then it might add something to the game. A character that kills innocents becomes a criminal and is chased by the authorities and must live on the edge, always running. That might be fun. Letting them do it with no consequences other than losing access to content is to me, worthless. It not only makes the rest of the game more frustrating (less access so less content) but it makes no sense in the context of the game.
     
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  4. AcidArrow

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    It's a punishment. It's the opposite to a lot of games that reward you for killing.

    It can lead to a lot of interesting situations. Quest X requires you to kill Y, but if you do it, that npc is then dead forever (and whatever content came with him) and that village he was living in will come after you.

    You can then approach that dillema from multiple perspectives, roleplaying (my character is ethical! I refuse to do killing), min maxing (which quest gives me the best reward), or which character of those do I like best etc etc.

    It's more fun than kill and get X points, then the police arrive and you kill them for X points! POINTS ALL AROUND.
     
  5. Teila

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    It is not a punishment. :) A punishment would be if the player who killed is hung as sunset in the town square. Consequences are the natural result of doing something that isn't acceptable in a given culture/game.

    If you want a game where you only reward for killing, you would of course, not care if you kill innocents or not since the entire point of the game is to kill. If that were true of all games, the OP's question would be mute. But of course, it is not true for all games.

    Your idea of the village coming after you is the same as mine. lol The authorities can be anything in game, from the local NPC law, a player-led posse in an MMO, or the irate villagers. I did not mean the developers/etc. when I used the word authorities. I mean the local authorities such as in-game police, sheriff, king's guard, etc.
     
  6. AcidArrow

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    Well, originally, I said "lose access to content, people will come after you", bundling those two ideas together. Then you replied like I was suggesting only the first idea on its own, proposing the second idea as an alternative, then I expanded on what I meant.

    So... Yeah, whatever, I think we agree. :p
     
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  7. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    I like to kill to survive in games, I'm never actually mean to anything, not even ambient wildlife in games. I guess it takes all kinds.
     
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  8. RockoDyne

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    To be fair, most of the NPC's I kill probably deserve it in some fashion, it just wouldn't hold up well in court. "I'm sorry that I can't explain Judge, but if Lautrec hadn't somehow slipped off that cliff, he would have done something pretty dickish. And Patches... well he's just an asshole so whatever."
     
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  9. Teila

    Teila

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    You know, it is not a bad thing to kill NPCs in games. ;) They are just a bunch of polygons after all. The OP asked if it were fun, important, or necessary, not whether it was moral. lol

    I am imagining that if you like to kill stuff in games, you want that action of yours to actually DO something in game. Maybe in a multiplayer game keeping others from getting quests from dead noncombat NPCs is enough for you to have fun. But I would imagine, that for most people, it is not that much fun.

    PvP is fun because you have to actually work to kill the other player. Killing combative NPCs is fun I guess because they fight back. But not sure what is fun if they just stand there and let you kill them. In all my years of playing online games, I have to say that I never did get why killing the shopkeeper was fun, other than ruining game play for others. In a single player game, I guess it is something to do...don't know...seems weird. ;)

    So..most of us just make innocents and quest givers invulnerable to death or we have attacking them trigger the guards to run out of nowhere. Now the player can have fun fighting the guards! In Morrowind I remember killing someone or stealing something and having the local law treat me like a criminal. It was a shock to me as I had never had that happen in a game before. Kind of cool..although frustrating. lol I think I started over and was much more careful the second time.

    So..what is fun to players? Killing something that doesn't fight back? Do they hate having consequences for their behavior? Isn't getting a bit frustrated a part of the entire game cycle? Frustration, then resolution equals fun?
     
  10. hopeful

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    My view is pretty much the same as above.

    If the game is set up for it, you can role play a villain, and this may at some point involve killing innocent NPCs. If the game is done well, this can bring a refreshing change in story, goals, and game mechanisms.

    While there isn't much challenge involved for players to kill innocent bystander type NPCs, when one is in the role of villain this action can be a way to trigger more challenging confrontations. So in design I wouldn't lean on bystander killing very heavily - I'd use it very sparingly - and I'd put more effort into the other aspects of villain play, which would hopefully involve more challenging strategies and other traditional game rewards.
     
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  11. RockoDyne

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    The more important question to ask is WHY would you want to kill an NPC that is "innocent." The issue is that innocence is situational. If there are NPC's who otherwise won't attack you but will raise alarms, I would imagine most players will want to take them out in some form.

    It's important to understand what the point of an NPC is. If they are there just to be information dispensers then it makes sense to not have them be killable. If NPC's are there to improve play though, it could be possibly beneficial to be able to kill everyone in sight.
     
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  12. Kinos141

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    Nope.
    I find it boring, but good if I have a bad day at work.
    Killing annoying NPCs maybe fun to a point.
     
  13. Teila

    Teila

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    How lucky you are to be so easily entertained! :cool:
     
  14. DryTear

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    Killing cops is fun in gta sometimes, not always.
     
  15. Teila

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    I don't think cops count as innocents, at least in GTA. They are the targets.

    Wow...can't believe I typed that. Very sad.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2014
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  16. DryTear

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    You could evade them, but thats a game playing preference anyways. Technically they are innocents, they get in the way easily :p. But lets not change the topic of the thread.
     
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  17. Randommerade

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    Lots of interesting views, guys 8)

    Well let's rephrase "innocent" to "not hostile". Maybe that will help somewhat? :p

    When I look at it... I guess humans are really jerks at heart. Let's be honest, how many of you guys have went on a massacre just because you could and then reloaded your last save? I tend to play the goody-two-shoes in games, though I will admit I've done my fair share of massacring. And there's nothing wrong with that imo, as video game characters aren't real =P

    I was just wondering about things on the technical side of view, and whether it'd be worth it to go through the trouble of flagging every NPC as killable or not.
     
  18. AcidArrow

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    And I think the consensus was: If you do nothing interesting mechanically with that, there's no point in just flagging every NPC as killable, just for the sake of it.

    (Side note: In Skyrim I played through the whole Dark Brotherhood quest line. SPOILER: One of the last missions make you assassinate the Emperor. The mission itself was okay, but I felt a bit let down, that the only change I saw in the world was, a guard said something like "I heard the emperor was killed", I was expecting *something* to happen. That's when I gave up on Skyrim as well)
     
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  19. hopeful

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    I would tend toward not flagging them as killable, because I don't want them to interfere with targeting. In my game I want it to be easy to target the actual enemies. I will probably have the innocents still get affected by physics effects, though, as I think it would add to the drama, but they won't take damage. They'll run away.
     
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  20. Randommerade

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    Alright thanks I'll keep that in mind :)

    And I felt the exact same way haha! I was disappointed by that too. And another thing that disappointed me (SPOILER ALERT) is how easy he was to get to and kill. I was expecting more of a challenge :p
     
  21. Teila

    Teila

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    I like this. Great idea. Mind if I steal it? :D
     
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  22. RockoDyne

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    The more appropriate term would probably be decorative. It's only the NPC's that don't do anything, expect twiddle their thumbs, that are completely incapable of being hostile.

    Yeah, that hasn't been one of the strengths of the series. I'm pretty sure Morrowind has a couple of gods you can kill that won't actually have any impact in-game.
     
  23. Goregaming

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    Have a look at that.
    After you have watched that, have a look at this

    http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2...ering-game-hatred-appears-on-steam-greenlight

    My opinion: No, I do not find joy or fun in killing innocent NPC players but, it is something we tend not to think about. It's not a main feature embedded within the game. We tend to do it out of boredom. You could say it is sort of like a reflex arc action, we never think about doing it, yet we do it anyway. I like games where the enemy ai have to fight back or you have to survive. If an entire game was based on killing innocent NPC's, it could be fun or boring and I think it depends on the approach towards the game. The game HATRED was removed from Steam because apparently it encouraged killing. But, we find games like GTA and POSTAL 2 on steam. POSTAL 2 is pretty much a killing simulator but, did not draw much attention to the media because it has a comedy approach to the game.
     
  24. DryTear

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    The fact that it was greenlit, it shouldnt exist in my opinion.
     
  25. Goregaming

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    I know right? The story is loosely written and the main objective of the game is pointless "Kill everybody" Like, what the hell?
     
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  26. Archania

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    It's back on steam fyi
     
  27. Goregaming

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    It's still a S*** game.
     
  28. RockoDyne

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    Yeah. It's disgusting how the whole point is basically to kill everything in sight, completely unlike almost all shooters made in the last twenty years... oh, wait.
     
  29. Aiursrage2k

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    I think it could be interesting. In spelunky if you kill one of the shopkeepers then all the shopkeepers after that will shoot you rather then sell you an item.
     
  30. Teila

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    If you are doing this out of boredom then there are problems with the game. One should not be bored. ;)
     
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  31. RockoDyne

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    It's either that or a suicide attempt after a screw up, which I think I tend to do more often. Stealth failed so I start chucking grenades at anything that moves.
     
  32. Teila

    Teila

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    Hmm, if I am bored with a game, I go do something else. o_O
     
  33. hopeful

    hopeful

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    Actually, if it's a multiplayer game and you are waiting for friends to come online, as a designer I'd expect for there to be some boredom and thus a need to build in some casual activities.
     
  34. Teila

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    Yeah, but there are lots of ideas you can build into a game to keep players occupied rather than flagging shopkeepers and citizens as killable. ;) If not, then the game is missing something, imho.
     
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  35. Centigrade

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    Personally I don't attack anything that doesn't attack me and even avoid doing so if all they do is bite a little (like some mice and mice-type things in games). I don't enjoy attacking non-hostile or "innocent" npcs but if they are "killable" it makes the choice not to attack (and to only to attack if attacked) more meaningful in a way that adds more atmosphere and weight to the world and the game-play.
     
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  36. Teila

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    This is especially true if the game mechanics create consequences for player actions. If killing unarmed non-hostile NPCs does nothing other than alleviate boredom, then it is pointless to give them killable tags. You should find better ways to keep your players from being bored, like add more things for them to do. If their actions, such as killing innocents, in some way changes the game, then it has meaning, real meaning in their progression through the game.
     
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  37. Centigrade

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    I agree as far as from the perspective of not having it break the immersion (is it worse for immersion to not be allowed to kill a character or for there to be no consequence for killing that character) but from my perspective, since I don't ever kill non-hostiles it's not an issue. Knowing I have the choice and that I remain "in-character" (I basically always play good characters) by not killing non-hostiles, is enough for me to get a feeling of deeper immersion. If there's no consequence for killing a non-hostile it doesn't effect me since I don't attack them anyway (if that makes sense).
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2014
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  38. Teila

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    Might be true, Centigrade, but we are talking about developing games. So it does make a difference to game mechanics. :) So whether one should go to the trouble of making the non-hostile NPCs killable or not really does depend on the audience the developer wants to attract.

    I think most players like to make a difference in the world and like to see the world/story change because of their behavior...and many want it to make sense in the world and not break immersion.

    What you accidentally killed an innocent in a game? Would you want that to be ignored or would you wish it to become part of the story? Would it break immersion for you if nothing happened?

    Or, what if you are playing a multiplayer game and other players killed innocents while you were watching? Would you want the remaining NPCs to just walk down the street nonchalantly not noticing or do you want them to react?
     
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  39. hopeful

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    This is what I mean. It's a good idea to make some game objectives for casual play, because sometimes a person has a few minutes to kill (bad phrasing? lol) and they don't want to get involved in an intricate scenario.
     
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  40. AndrewGrayGames

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    Most of the games you've cited have something else more interesting behind the NPC killability mechanic that you're noticing - killing the NPC is a possible way to achieve some goal, but has its own drawbacks. The same can be said of most of the 'crime' mechanics.

    Sure, you get something that would require more time investment, but you also wind up making enemies along the way (GTA: your notoriety grows. Skyrim: Guards try to arrest you, other NPCs flee or try to kill you, you get a bounty on your head.) It's a trade-off you're asking your players to think about. Alternatively, it also suits some players' "For The Evulz" playstyle, where they RP as a really nasty person, for some reason.
     
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  41. DryTear

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    Maybe that game is for psychopaths? I dont even think the question can be awnswered with a yes or no, its dependent on the player.
     
  42. DryTear

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    This is why achievements, minigames, tournaments/competitions exists. The reason why tf2 is still fun, its because of the competition people have when playing and when doing market trading. Plants vs Zombies is also fun even if its not multiplayer, it has achievements and minigames to keep me busy.
     
  43. CarterG81

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    Hatred is a prime example of how people's perspectives can change based on how something is framed- even when the reality doesn't change in any way. Some would argue it points out the irrational hypocrisy of humans. Not me though, I wouldn't argue that.

    Payday 2 is a game where you slaughter hundreds of police officers. Sure, some are guilty- but most of them probably have families and at least a few of them are probably good people. Yet you murder them all anyway. Mass Murder.

    In fact, the murder, violence, and immorality in Payday2 far exceeds that of Postal or even that Hatred video.

    There is no way around it either. The game is not meant to be stealthed. You are certainly, irrefutably, WITHOUT QUESTION suppose to mass murder police officers- all over monetary greed. That money you're trying to steal is important right? There is no argument to be had. Any self defense argument is laughable in a game where your goal is to rob others of millions of dollars.

    Yet Payday is okay, while Hatred is "just wrong".

    Hell, not only is the entire game about mass murder of police authorities derived from pure monetary greed, but you are ENCOURAGED to also mass murder civilians if you want to do it right. (It is designed to give you MORE money if you kill civilians, despite the insignificant loss if one dies.)



    The motivations of the player is to steal and rob others. That is hardly justified in any perspective of morality.
    When you end up mass murdering authorities and civilians- that robbery and theft is significantly less justified.

    I found it disturbing to play Payday2 when I actually thought about what I was doing and who I was playing as, but that didn't stop me from having a huge blast and loving the game.
    In particular, I love to stealth missions which are not suppose to be stealthed. Stealthing non-stealth missions are best done (pretty much only done) by just eliminating all people from the entire map. Try any other way, and no matter how hard you try or how experienced you get- it is not worth it. (Anyone who played the game knows what happens when a group says they will stealth a mission. Also, I literally played about 200 games in a row trying to stealth without killing anyone, and almost succeeded a few times- almost. The fact I went insane and played that many games trying to do something with no success and very few close attempts- really says something about the game. Something like...oh I don't know...."You pretty much have to murder everyone to stealth it." or "The game was not made with stealth in mind. You are definitely suppose to murder tons of cops over money.")


    So QQ less about Hatred and how "It shouldn't even exist" or is "Just wrong." if you are okay with Payday or GTA.
    This is the hypocrisy some people argue about. Although I won't argue or point any fingers (no one here is a hypocrite) I will admit that some people who do argue the hypocrisy of "GTA is okay. Payday is fine. BUT HATRED OMG IT IS IMMORAL!" is just... interesting to say the least.

    In fact, at least in POSTAL the player has an excuse. They are literally insane. Twisted, deranged, and their perspective is that they are good guys. The first mission is about people trying to invade his home to hurt him- so he kills them all. The second mission is about him trying to go to the authorities to report the invaders and receive help so he isn't harmed.

    In Payday, your motives are inexcusable. You are not twisted. You do not murder because you believe they are evil or in self defense. You have no deranged psychology. You are a fully healthy, legitimate criminal who robs banks- fully aware that you are ending the life of hundreds of cops over cash.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2014
  44. CarterG81

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    Let's also not forget City of Villains, where you not only murder tons of innocent people, but you are suppose to end the lives of altruistic superheroes. You actually often do so for next to no real reason or entirely for personal gain.

    And boy was it amazing to be a villain.

     
  45. JoeStrout

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    For me, it breaks immersion for NPCs to either be unkillable, or so incredibly powerful that the PC doesn't stand a chance against them.

    I mean, here I've been slogging my way around the countryside going toe-to-toe with increasingly more powerful beasts and villains, and am nearly (but not quite) ready to go up against the Big Bad and save the kingdom from complete destruction... and the guy selling bread can mop up the floor with me? Why doesn't he save the kingdom, then?! It makes no sense.

    So, I greatly prefer games where you can kill pretty much anyone you like, but there are natural consequences. (And yeah, this ties nicely into my general distaste for quests. If I kill a quest dispenser, then I don't get anymore quests from that guy; so be it.)
     
  46. Tomnnn

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    Depends on the game and the target audience. If you want some people to be unkillable, make them descendants of gods and demigods in your story which explains their unlimited vitality when the player is shooting them in the face :D

    If you want 'meaningful' killing of innocents, make them come back as ghosts and screw with the game lol.
     
  47. CaoMengde777

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    gta its fun for a little while to mess around killing innocents, but then its just boring.. i did it alot in gta3, but since then its just boring, i dont think i purposely killed innocents in gta5.. and i tried my best avoiding hitting people while driving.. extra driving challenge i guess. .. in san andreas and gta4 i just killed innocents to get the police on me, and then kill a buncha police

    ...
    morrowind did it right... you could kill anyone, and if you killed the wrong person it said
    "with this characters death, the thread of prophecy is severed. Restore a saved game to restore the weave of fate, or persist in the doomed world you have created"

    everyone was killable .. it was fun killing the leader/god of this one city, Vivec, because he was SUPER HARD to kill, and hes a "god" so its funny to kill him LOL
    in morrowind, right away id kill someone with a nice house that was full of loot, and claim it as "my house" .. thats the only innocent killings i did in that game

    but yeah i guess nothing really changed, except that you couldnt get future quests from the person.. like the Vivec guy has like the last main quest


    Hatred is just horrible, i think itd be funny if the devs were killed by the person they created
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2014
  48. SunnyChow

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    If I want to make a tetris game, is it worth it to code every NPC as kill-able or not? I think the answer is highly depending what kind of game are you making
     
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  49. Nubz

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    Sometimes.
    Like in Assassins Creed you can't just kill everyone without a penalty.
    Yet in Brotherhood after I had finished a majority of the gameplay I found all these creative ways to kill people without the game thinking I did it. LOL

    ie;
    Running by people on a dock and bumping into them so they fell in the water and drowned.

    Poisoning a guard or 2 so they start acting crazy swinging their weapon around meanwhile throwing money on the ground near them so countless citizens would try to pick it up and get killed by the guard Hahahaha. yes I am bad.

    So yes sometimes it is fun others times it is just a time waster.
     
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  50. JessieK

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    It completely depends on the game, I find killing innocents in GTA boring because it's easy, lock on, press a button dead.
    I do however find hunting in skyrim fun, tracking down a deer and making a really long shot with a bow without the threat of said creature suddenly seeing you and running blindly at your face, for me anyway, is very fun, because it requires me to at least think a little and I can add my own challenge to something that was just meant as filler when walking from mission A to mission B.
    Not everyone likes "go to this as we tell you when we tell you" games, so the idea that allowing your players to have stuff to kill or destroy when they are "bored" is a bad thing blows me mind, how could you think that? It allows the players to set up there own fun, stacking 5 cars on top of each other and blowing them up is a lot more fun when rag dolls fly everywhere after all. Or a shoot out with bandits becomes way more fun when civilians are ducking in cover and you have to avoid shooting them because that's the challenge you set yourself sure it may not be a RULE of the game but not everything has to be, giving your player the freedom to make there own rules in a free roam/RPG game is very important, and that to me means you should have the options to kill non-aggressive stuff as much as the aggressive stuff.
    Oh also don't have a game where I have a free roaming world, can fight and kill most things but not civilians who somehow magically can get up after every little thing..seriously breaks immersion.