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Battling Agoraphobia


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#21 Spoonbender   Members   -  Reputation: 1254

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Posted 05 August 2004 - 10:29 AM

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What about the idea of an instant action mode? Most of the scenarios I envision you getting into will be as a result of semi-random encounters. What if you had VR pods that would allow you to face challenges in the game world quickly by getting in and out. If I can generate them as a result of you moving around on the map, it should be relatively easy to generate them in place when you activate some equipment.

You could do that as well, but I think the main fix would have to be simply giving players some information to base their decisions on. It shouldn't be "Should I go to planet a, b or c? I have no information to tell them apart", it should be "Should I go to planet a, which looks like this, planet b, where I might be able to do that, or planet c where I can meet this kind of people"

Give the player some basic info about what to expect from each planet. Tell the player which planet is the galactic capital, and which one has the mysterious old alien ruins, and which one produces cheap goods, or where to go to buy big nasty weapons.
Of course it doesn't have to be as detailed as that, and presumably you'd start out with some basic knowledge, and learn more as you visit the planets, but just make sure players can tell the planets apart.

That was my main problem in Morrowind. The npc's looked similar, the cities looked similar, and when standing in the wilderness, every direction looked similar. I had no information to base my decisions on.

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#22 Wavinator   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1605

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Posted 05 August 2004 - 11:22 AM

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Original post by Spoonster
Give the player some basic info about what to expect from each planet. Tell the player which planet is the galactic capital, and which one has the mysterious old alien ruins, and which one produces cheap goods, or where to go to buy big nasty weapons.
Of course it doesn't have to be as detailed as that, and presumably you'd start out with some basic knowledge, and learn more as you visit the planets, but just make sure players can tell the planets apart.


Agreed. I'm remembering Elite's political and economic designations: You were probably safe from pirate attack in Corporate Democracies and risking your neck in Anarchies; and if you had food you sold it to Industrial planets, and machines you gave to the Agrarian planets. So you could almost tell at a glance your next destination should be. (Of course, it was a much more simple system, but extra complexity could be handled with having classes of locations, which have encounters, NPCs, events and opportunities which only fall under that class).


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That was my main problem in Morrowind. The npc's looked similar, the cities looked similar, and when standing in the wilderness, every direction looked similar. I had no information to base my decisions on.


Even though they had a road system, and books that told you about different regions, and an overworld map, it still was not enough. I now know the much of the island's general layout and where to go for many things, but after playing for months I still don't know reliably how to get certain ingredients for potions, where to find certain weapons or the details of how certain skills work.
--------------------Just waiting for the mothership...

#23 KrizzleToTheZizzle   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 07 August 2004 - 12:33 PM

I'm starting to tire of travelling in Morrowind, and I've noticed the funny plot specific items in certain caves, which does kind of spoil it a bit.

I myself don't really care too much for plot, just a huge world to explore and do stuff in. Having a set plot stops the player from making their own. Multiplayer makes things far more fun, I wished Morrowind was multiplayer. A few friends of mine really liked that game but I personally find it a little restrictive. That said, I'm still playing through it :)

Freelancer multiplayer had areas you essentially 'unlocked' by becoming tough enough to survive longer than ten seconds in. What ended up happening was you'd be confined to a really small area where stuff was challenging, the rest you either got killed in or was full of weak ships and nothing of value. Essentially everything stayed the same but the numbers got bigger. Also there was only a small range of ships at each 'level'. Plus the combat was really shallow, which I partly liked because it was easy to get up to scratch, but there was no real use for any kind of thought out strategy or tactics affecting it aside choice of weapons.

And yeah, you need to give the player a lot of information about places and really reassure them about going exploring. Games need a lot more of the information to actually relate to the game instead of just being decorative. There's been times where I've been worrying about doing something because an npc mentioned it, but in worrying it was stopping me from advancing the plot, cause I was searching all over for a way round it.

A way to awe the player with the size of the land yet let them use some kind of fast transport system would be to show them travelling - an outside view of a plane or rail system, or just a zooming view for teleports might work.

A good way to be reassuring for a player is to have the world automatically grow to match how good the player is. That way the player can explore at will, and always find a challenge. Some areas could have modified difficulty, eg. anarchy makes the area more challenging, policing makes it a lot easier.
Another thing would be to have the world kind of lag behind the player, so when you get new items or skills, you really feel the advantage of them, until the world starts to catch up on you. That way it's not just a pointless struggle, but you have to keep getting new stuff.

Then when it's safe to explore, you can encourage the player to do so with npcs and the like, so long as they're warned about harder areas.

#24 adventuredesign   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 480

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Posted 07 August 2004 - 09:54 PM

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Original post by Wavinator
When too much game leaves you cold...

I have a number of friends who gave up on Morrowind for reasons that I can only classify as agoraphobia, the fear of wide open spaces. Another quit Fallout when he claimed to get two broken arms and said that the world had too much stuff to deal with. Still another quit Civilization after saying, "I don't understand what I'm supposed to do... you can go anywhere!"


These were individual responses to the content. I am not completely certain they were representative views of the entire playerbase, also, the suggestion that perhaps a large gameworld with such sized scale levels and gameworlds can lose people simply because that is what happens to people in the human perception in a lot of areas, not just game playing.


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Like alot of people I've come to feel constrained by the strict level-based, mission/quest-based games out there. When I get an open ended game I tend to head in one direction as far as I can until I get killed. But I have to admit that for awhile encountering some sections of Morrowind (the huge spaces of Vivec) caused me to falter a bit.


I have been seeing that there is more of a relationship between focus and scale that I've not completly understood so far. My thought is that if you have a gameworld with huge scale, and a focus that is a task such as, "get to x place and speak to/find/manipulate/interact with y data/object(s)/entity(s)" that the relationship between what you are after and how it is presented as choices and context to complete the interaction is finite in terms of whether acceptance, understanding and cooperatively engaged with.

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What helps to combat agoraphobia? People tend not to want to read manuals or sit through tutorials.


I am not sure how related tuts and manuals and agoraphobia are, but the tuts and manuals have wide acceptance and a track record in favor of their useful purposes to enhance the skillsets necessary for succesful play; though I will say the ones I have gone through all have the simile, such as 'these are the basic physical mechanics mastery skillsets' or 'these are how you use the technologies implemented in the game; an extended extrinsic avatar skillset {the things you don't have to do with the avatar physically except right click to use object or duologue}, or even to just get gameplay challenged individuals like myself to have more enjoyment out of the game experience when they may not be a master gamer, who can figure out what an avatar does by experience and a formidable skillset in all computer gaming play. This btw, does not extend to Vegas. :(

It is also possible that the designers and publishers knew when they built the game that their target demographics, in terms of numbers of people they wanted to reach with the marketing message to get them to buy the title and have a good play experience. They probably know not everyone is core, and, that core is fast becoming the shriking percentage of the market.

With respect to agoraphobia, I would have to say the answer lies in design. Along the way, are there not little cubbyholes of foos and resources to ferret out, compensating a gigantic map with touches here and there of confinement? I suggest that this is a mark of balanced level design as well as player experience design.

Another part of this relationship is perceptual. A lot of high concept games have a incredibly fantasized goal for the level: get the sword of lighting striking if you want to dry the pool of tears of a thousand worlds to get the orb of ViewDestiny at the bottom of it, for in no other way will the OctoEbilGod, who lives in the pool can be killed. So perceptually, when a high concept goal is mixed with a map that has to contain some visual reference to reality (even if surrealized, fantastic or macabre {insert 'genre'lization here}) in order for the player to have some stable references perceptually, (e.g., a hill is a hill, up is up, gravity is gravity) in order for them to have some stability in perception.

In screenwriting, this is called, "put the coke can in view while the hero slays the monster." This is not a reference to product placement, it is more like, 'Had there not been reasonably visually consistent (with some standardized sense of reality) packing crates scattered about the deck of the ship, the battle between Ripley and the Alien Queen, the battle between them would have been watchable, but perceptually harder to wrap all your engagement around.'

Within a game, some simile for real reality consistency must be present to some degree also, or you'll lose player's frames of reference. Frames of reference are the transmission that drives power to where the rubber meets the road in perception transmission/reception through content and acceptable or rejectable visual entertainment consumption, linear or interactive. You will see this everywhere. The really delicate work in it on one hand has to do with the Golden means proportion at the base, and texture/color/light within it.

It just has to be done to some degree, because humans require the frame of reference, and it's components are common objects or common visual themes. We only see in so many colors, and we only view in so many contexts considered rational in realtime.

When Jimmy Stewart was on the run in The Grapes of Wrath, he went to see his mom one last time, risking being caught because he needed moral cleansing via explanatory exposition to his mom archtype (God it must have been hell to sit through coffee with me Wave! LOL). Had the scene not taken place on the dance floor where the fun had been just a few sequences before, when all was well with the world, and a degree of acceptance of fate had occured amongst many main characters, this would have been a very tough scene to sit through.


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A friend suggested that the greatest fear a gamer has is getting stuck or in over her / his head.


Not sure that is gamer fear or just general fear that extends to games.

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To that end he's suggested that open-ended games have some sort of sample mode, maybe in the form of teleporters or even saved games that allow you to get a taste of the wide variety of challenges and situations a game might offer.


I would think that sort of variety would be lined into design to begin with. And, there is suggestion out there in development that this is what demos are for. With the size and scale and demand and numbers all growing for this industry over the long term, these things will be also more important. No self respecting movie shot of the hudson river looking back on the skyline of Manhattan would be worth it's salt without a couple of little sailboats mid channel, with purposefully intended length, distance from POV establishing or transitional shot, and particulat color of sails on them relevant to the mood at that point dramaturlogically.

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One thing I was thinking you could do is to stimulate the player's appetite for freeform gaming by enforcing linearity.


This reminds me that it may become critical for story driven games to re-emerge, if the scale of the gameworld increases. I mean that in the context of more linear instances in a very interactive large scale gameworld. Remember, the customer out there is aging, not as fast a rate of perception or as easy to let go of fixed perceptions as a core gamer is, and that is where the market is going.

In some respects, this is like the old, familiar comfortable "Ding" between slides in school when it is slide show lesson day. I'm dating myself here. Without the ding, believe it or not, some people wouldn't get the picture frame is changing. This is the humanimal at it's perceptual norm. That is why in marketing they say, "The customer doesn't want a drill, they want a hole." Your wife doesn't want the furniture moved, she wants to feather her nest. She's not telling you to take out the garbage with an icy stare, she's telling you you'd better be on top of keeping up your end of the nest. Women never tell you straight what they want, they leave you clues to what they are really saying contained within the rant/hint/salad. This is sounding almost off the point, but actually relevant, direct representative examples of the frame of perception cited above.

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At the start of the sci-fi game I'm working on, for instance, everyone would be immigrating to the new capital of the galaxy. You'd be a young serf stuck on a generation ship, and told where to go and what to do all the time even as your peers griped how you all should be free.


Sounds to me like you are seeding long term motivation by setting the hook and dilemma early.

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As you went about your assigned tasks, you would hear stories and see events that reflected the universe at large, but you'd be barred from participating. To get out, you'd either have to escape or wait until the series of enforced tutorials was over.


Sounds to me like you've found a way to make tutorials very humanistic and communitized, which I think is well chosen design. Sure, you never know what they player is going to do, but, an array of choices that are rational from steadfast and sure to risky and reckless are designable.

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This starting mode would serve to build your character interactively and whet your appetite, theoretically.


And perceptually and dramatically. People do love to consume their drama, as well as create it in their lives. Art imitates life.

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Then again, this is probably a dumb idea, as I'm not all that sure that the answer to agoraphobia is claustraphobia.


It doesn't sound like it. You could only know by seeing the overall design in context from an objective chair, which is a great design dilemma. One of the best tools I know of come from architecture. It relates to all the CAD walkthroughs you make all day of structures. But, in old school design, if you keep coming back to plan view only, you are forced into god's eye view, and sticking with that view enforces objectivity in design. I think level designers would do well to step outside the map they see through a particular axis window more often, regularly and disciplinistically. You always see more from the objective view, and, it eliminates the unnecessary and spawns necessitate detail inclusion, which will require their own experience integration engineering.

All in all, given how many conduits, airshafts and tunnels games have given us to crawl and crouch through for a very long time, the recent (in terms of total deliverable executable existence term) appearance of vast worlds is more an issue of adjustment of perceptual change upon the part of the gamer due to overwhelmingly preponderant existence of constrictive game environment previously, which we know were often limitations of technology and productivity more than they were design intent, and those things are not so relevant anymore in most cases.

Adventuredesign

#25 Wavinator   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1605

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Posted 09 August 2004 - 09:55 PM

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Original post by KrizzleToTheZizzle
I'm starting to tire of travelling in Morrowind, and I've noticed the funny plot specific items in certain caves, which does kind of spoil it a bit.


Just as an aside, to help save the game for you I do encourage you to get or learn mark and recall if you haven't already. Mark a spot in front of an NPC, do the quest, then recall right back in front of them. That and the boats, silt striders and guilds should help.

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I myself don't really care too much for plot, just a huge world to explore and do stuff in. Having a set plot stops the player from making their own.


I'm the same way, and so having repeatable, fun gameplay sprinkled around the territory off the main road of the plot I think is essential.

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Multiplayer makes things far more fun, I wished Morrowind was multiplayer. A few friends of mine really liked that game but I personally find it a little restrictive.


I drool over the idea of multiplayer co-op Morrowind. :) It's been a great inspiration for pushing to try to put co-op play into my own effort.

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Freelancer multiplayer had areas you essentially 'unlocked' by becoming tough enough to survive longer than ten seconds in. What ended up happening was you'd be confined to a really small area where stuff was challenging, the rest you either got killed in or was full of weak ships and nothing of value.


Hmmm... I've always been an advocate of "bowl shaped difficulty" where you start in the middle and things get progressively difficult as you travel farther out, but it sounds like their shape was much too steep.

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Essentially everything stayed the same but the numbers got bigger. Also there was only a small range of ships at each 'level'. Plus the combat was really shallow, which I partly liked because it was easy to get up to scratch, but there was no real use for any kind of thought out strategy or tactics affecting it aside choice of weapons.


It's unfortunate, but content can't increase forever. Making the numbers get bigger is one of the easiest ways to provide a "new" challenge.

That said, however, I've always felt that it should be a combo of heavier hitting, thicker enemies and the old lightweights you've grown used to beating, but grouped in mixed tactics. Enemies that have a specific attack speciality you've learned how to counter can present a suddenly new challenge when grouped together.

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Games need a lot more of the information to actually relate to the game instead of just being decorative. There's been times where I've been worrying about doing something because an npc mentioned it, but in worrying it was stopping me from advancing the plot, cause I was searching all over for a way round it.


This is a very good point to keep in mind. For the longest time I wouldn't visit the SE corner of Morrowind because I was so worried about all the vampires, which I thought were as plentiful as mudcrabs. [smile] Guess I'd been reading too many of the game's books.

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A way to awe the player with the size of the land yet let them use some kind of fast transport system would be to show them travelling - an outside view of a plane or rail system, or just a zooming view for teleports might work.


Yes, I'm betting an overworld travel system will help this significantly, particularly for a very large game environment. It's almost as good as teleporting, but it still forces you to make strategic decisions about your route.

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A good way to be reassuring for a player is to have the world automatically grow to match how good the player is. That way the player can explore at will, and always find a challenge.


The challenge here is that you don't want to discourage leveling. Sometimes you want to level specifically to make a challenge easier and less nerve wracking. If the game advances with you then this is less possible.

However...

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Some areas could have modified difficulty, eg. anarchy makes the area more challenging, policing makes it a lot easier.
Another thing would be to have the world kind of lag behind the player, so when you get new items or skills, you really feel the advantage of them, until the world starts to catch up on you. That way it's not just a pointless struggle, but you have to keep getting new stuff.


I agree with these approaches. Environments that shift difficulty, such as a empire collapsing into anarchy, and a rising tech level, if it's something that you partly have a say in, can inspire you to keep leveling.

I've thought that your tech level actually shouldn't be expressed in absolute values, but rather average values based on some mock census. So rather than being TL 19, you're +19 or -11 or whatever. This, combined with politics and dangers, can give you a sense of how tough some areas in the game are before you even risk going.
Then when it's safe to explore, you can encourage the player to do so with npcs and the like, so long as they're warned about harder areas.[/quote]
--------------------Just waiting for the mothership...

#26 KrizzleToTheZizzle   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 12:38 AM

(not sure how to do proper quotes)
"Hmmm... I've always been an advocate of "bowl shaped difficulty" where you start in the middle and things get progressively difficult as you travel farther out, but it sounds like their shape was much too steep."

It probably was. You got so much more powerful than the 'old lightweights' that entire squadrons of them were incapable of damaging you. The other problem was that once you got used to the really quite fancy graphics and sound, the rest of the game seemed quite thin.

If I did mod the ships to be more similar, then there'd be nothing else to do, because the game solely consists of doing missions to buy weapons and better ships. Maybe mixing the different ships that attack you would work, although they all have the same attack anyway.

What keeps me playing Morrowind is that there's extra stuff that doesnt affect the game, but you can still waste your time and money on - clothes which show up on the character, or the ability to have a hideout you can keep all your spare weapons and stuff in (I pinched someones house who I assasinated on one mission).

I think I'm pretty demanding and critical of games, but at the same time, it seems most games now have pretty much up to date graphics but their gameplay doesnt seem to have advanced much for years.

Regarding agoraphobia, maybe there's just two types of players - ones who want to play through a game systematically and thoroughly completing every objective, finding every secret area and killing every enemy, and players who never want this to be achievable, who just want a world to explore and interact with.

#27 Anonymous Poster_Anonymous Poster_*   Guests   -  Reputation:

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 09:29 PM

I think the answer to this is to give the player a guide. Like a little friend that follows or is carried by the player. The little guide will try to point the player in the direction of the main quest, and probably nag the player to death about it too. However, give the player the option of killing or getting rid of the little friend, and to achieve this it would be easier for you if the little guide guy was not incorporated into the story after the initial meeting of the player and the guide.

hope that helps a bit

#28 Wavinator   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1605

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 05:31 PM

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Original post by adventuredesign
I have been seeing that there is more of a relationship between focus and scale that I've not completly understood so far. My thought is that if you have a gameworld with huge scale, and a focus that is a task such as, "get to x place and speak to/find/manipulate/interact with y data/object(s)/entity(s)" that the relationship between what you are after and how it is presented as choices and context to complete the interaction is finite in terms of whether acceptance, understanding and cooperatively engaged with.


Well, the larger your world in general and the more minute your actions, the longer its going to take to get anything done. Imagine a world where you left your uber cool Ruby of Slaying somewhere in a box that's in a backpack that's under the bed of some room somewhere within a hundred different buildings of one city which is....

It can get ugly fast and create alot of fatigue.


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This btw, does not extend to Vegas. :(


Right, the more complicated and intricate the world and corresponding interactions, the more we have to keep in mind that the player is only going to allocate so much mental energy and time to getting things done. We'd remember where that damn ruby was if this was real life. As such, we're like beings with episodic memories who experience ritual comas (save, go do real life, reload days later).

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They probably know not everyone is core, and, that core is fast becoming the shriking percentage of the market.


I know Bethesda built a game for the core RPG market, and as such that's why you see some of the conventions you see.

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With respect to agoraphobia, I would have to say the answer lies in design. Along the way, are there not little cubbyholes of foos and resources to ferret out, compensating a gigantic map with touches here and there of confinement? I suggest that this is a mark of balanced level design as well as player experience design.


Possibly. I've been in the scripted mission level straightjacket for so long that it may be tough to see this, but cubbyholes may be a way of balancing some of this out.

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So perceptually, when a high concept goal is mixed with a map that has to contain some visual reference to reality (even if surrealized, fantastic or macabre {insert 'genre'lization here}) in order for the player to have some stable references perceptually, (e.g., a hill is a hill, up is up, gravity is gravity) in order for them to have some stability in perception.


Right, this amounts to a method for interacting with the game. If the game represents a field as a green square, ala Civilization, and you want to build a road through it, it's simply done because the representation is so simple. Now if the world becomes highly realized and the whole game requires you to go through minute motions to get things done (as with RPGs), a "Just Do It" button and effect might look out of place.

--------------------Just waiting for the mothership...

#29 Wavinator   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1605

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 05:46 PM

Quote:
Original post by KrizzleToTheZizzle
(not sure how to do proper quotes)


No worries, take a look at how the quote tags in brackets when you next click to quote a message. You can quote anything by using a bracket, then the word quote and a closing bracket. To close quotes, just do the same thing but put a forward slash before the word quote.

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If I did mod the ships to be more similar, then there'd be nothing else to do, because the game solely consists of doing missions to buy weapons and better ships. Maybe mixing the different ships that attack you would work, although they all have the same attack anyway.


Let's say that you have an annoying, easily dispatchable enemy that does EMP to drop your shields and some light laser damage. By himself he's no problem. In packs he's more troublesome, but you'll still find ways of positioning and striking to deal with them.

Now let's say that you also, in another area, have an enemy that warps into position quickly and siphons power from you, then uses it to attack. You can block his attack with a shield if done at the right time (assuming shields don't stay up in this example), so dealing with him is a matter of dancing into position, blocking his attacks, then hitting him before he can do his power stealing attack again.

Now mix the two and you get a unique threat. You'll likely have to evade the siphoner while you try to kill off the interrupter, otherwise you may find yourself constantly without shields and power. Now if the interrupter chooses to hide behind the siphoner, you'll have to switch tactics (long range attacks maybe? Missiles rather than power consuming lasers? etc.)

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What keeps me playing Morrowind is that there's extra stuff that doesnt affect the game, but you can still waste your time and money on - clothes which show up on the character, or the ability to have a hideout you can keep all your spare weapons and stuff in (I pinched someones house who I assasinated on one mission).


Yes, same here. I actually think the secret to doing a good open-ended game is to have lots of this stuff.

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I think I'm pretty demanding and critical of games, but at the same time, it seems most games now have pretty much up to date graphics but their gameplay doesnt seem to have advanced much for years.


Feel like you've played it before, huh? [smile] That's my common complaint.



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Regarding agoraphobia, maybe there's just two types of players - ones who want to play through a game systematically and thoroughly completing every objective, finding every secret area and killing every enemy, and players who never want this to be achievable, who just want a world to explore and interact with.


You may be right. This is a hard one to judge, as you simply can't survey everyone cheaply and you'll never please them all anyway. (I'm just trying to get as many as possible)
--------------------Just waiting for the mothership...

#30 Wavinator   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1605

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 05:48 PM

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Original post by Anonymous Poster
I think the answer to this is to give the player a guide. Like a little friend that follows or is carried by the player. The little guide will try to point the player in the direction of the main quest, and probably nag the player to death about it too. However, give the player the option of killing or getting rid of the little friend, and to achieve this it would be easier for you if the little guide guy was not incorporated into the story after the initial meeting of the player and the guide.


Haha, I may consider this. You get an implant when you start out at the Ellis Island style space station at the beginning of the game, so having a little advisor might not be a bad idea. (Like a virtual mister paperclip which you can rip out of your skull [grin])
--------------------Just waiting for the mothership...

#31 Baloogan   Banned   -  Reputation: 100

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Posted 14 August 2004 - 07:09 PM

sandbox pwns everything

#32 andromeda   Members   -  Reputation: 318

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Posted 15 August 2004 - 07:26 PM

A suggestion for the early part of the game, playing off of the "guide that follows you around" idea. Make a mandatory tutorial/learning period for all new players; remember to give them plenty to do and different routes to accomplish their tasks (this is in a controlled environment). Note that the player should be aware of how he/she would go about completing the task in a certain way, i.e., not just being told "Hey, you've got a lot of ways you can do this. Go at it!". If the player doesn't realize that he can bribe the guard to get past the first security checkpoint, he won't try.

Now here's the payoff. Implement a system that monitors the actions of the player throughout this tutorial phase. This creates a few restrictions: the tutorial must be of a sufficient length to provide numerous tasks and even more decisions for the player to make, and the tutorial must be designed in such a way that a good idea of the character's motives, values, and beliefs can be determined through said tasks and decisions. Once this data is compiled, present the player with a scenario like the following:

"Congratulations, you've completed your training, and you should now be able to be a productive member of our society! We've talked about it, and we think you might do very well as a (fighter/technician/scoundrel/prostitute). Here's the local manager/chief/elder of the (fighters/technicians/scoundrels/whores), and if you'd like, he can take you into an apprenticeship program, with great rewards in the future! However, since we are a free society under the Galactic Charter of Rights, you can choose any career or profession you'd like. Here's a map to some of the other local managers/chiefs/elders in case you're interested. So what'll it be - would you like to go with this person in the career we think you'll do very well in, or would you like to go out into the world and find your own way?"

And like other posters have said in much more eloquent and thought-out words, keep it interesting. Make sure that there is always something for the player to do, if he's interested. Boredom is the embodiment of pure evil in a non-linear game.

#33 Wavinator   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1605

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Posted 16 August 2004 - 11:47 AM

Quote:
Original post by Baloogan
sandbox pwns everything


[smile]

Quote:
Original post by andromeda
A suggestion for the early part of the game, playing off of the "guide that follows you around" idea. Make a mandatory tutorial/learning period for all new players


I like this possibility. It dovetails with the idea of designing your character as you play, so that you can jump right in. For return players there could be some sort of "skip the tutorial" option as well.

I would also say that there should be points in the tutorial where you can "go over the wall." Just leave it behind and escape into the game's open world (while making it clear that you're doing so).

You can't please everyone, but this might go a long way to helping both camps.


Quote:

Make sure that there is always something for the player to do, if he's interested. Boredom is the embodiment of pure evil in a non-linear game.


Very much agreed.
--------------------Just waiting for the mothership...

#34 Extrarius   Members   -  Reputation: 1412

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Posted 17 August 2004 - 07:13 AM

I think a big problem in 'open ended games' is not neccessarily 'too many choices' but 'too many choices back to back'. Every 5 seconds you can go off and do something completely different, so it can be very difficult to stick to one path for a while.

If you changed the idea from 'continually offer a million choices' to 'offer a choice every once in a while and make the player run with it', I think you could still have a very dynamic world without overwhelming players.

Imagine a 'choose your own adventure book' with a choice after every sentence. That would be an 'open ended game'.
Now imagine the same kind of book with a choice every 10 pages. It can still be very dynamic, but you have to stick with your choices for a little while and flesh out the results.

#35 Wavinator   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1605

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Posted 20 August 2004 - 05:16 PM

Quote:
Original post by Extrarius
I think a big problem in 'open ended games' is not neccessarily 'too many choices' but 'too many choices back to back'. Every 5 seconds you can go off and do something completely different, so it can be very difficult to stick to one path for a while.

If you changed the idea from 'continually offer a million choices' to 'offer a choice every once in a while and make the player run with it', I think you could still have a very dynamic world without overwhelming players.

Imagine a 'choose your own adventure book' with a choice after every sentence. That would be an 'open ended game'.
Now imagine the same kind of book with a choice every 10 pages. It can still be very dynamic, but you have to stick with your choices for a little while and flesh out the results.


Thanks Extrarius. Some of this can be achieved by spacing, say by how closely packed the nodes are that give you different choices. But above all, as others have mentioned, you need to have a hint of what you're getting into when you make those choices.
--------------------Just waiting for the mothership...

#36 doctorsixstring   Members   -  Reputation: 388

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Posted 26 August 2004 - 06:28 AM

agoraphobia is no laughing matter...

#37 justdashplease   Members   -  Reputation: 98

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Posted 17 August 2011 - 10:11 PM

Or a side bar to tell you what you should do and then NPCs show you how to do something while yourd actually playing the game. Some parts of this idea seems like a paper and pen situation, some minds may slip with this idea.

#38 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4583

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Posted 18 August 2011 - 01:44 AM

I dunno if agoraphobia is quite the word, rather, I personally hate not being told what I am supposed to be doing, why I am supposed to be doing it, and whether I am doing well. I really like games that are more or less linear and lead me along with tutorials and story until I have experienced all the content in the game. There's another angle - for a completist, it's a nightmare to never be able to say you are finished with an area of a game.

Phone game idea available free to someone who will develop it (Alphadoku game - the only existing phone game of this type is both for windows phone only and awful. PM for details.)


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.


#39 Sandman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 2079

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Posted 18 August 2011 - 02:00 AM

Holy Thread Necromancy Batman! This thread died seven years ago!

Closing, although if Wavinator feels it might be useful to continue this discussion he is welcome to re-open it.




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