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Reality vs Game Mechanic


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#1 ZwodahS   Members   -  Reputation: 483

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 08:00 AM

I always have this problem with Reality when making a game mechanic.

 

For example, about half a year ago I wanted to make a small simulation game for a tribe (like Cultures/Settlers). I end up spending tons of time deciding how long each unit takes to grow up, age and dies. 

 

The game takes place in the form of "day" and each day the units will go out to hunt/harvest/gather resources. This is okay, until I start on the lifecycle of units. I cannot possibly let a child grow up in 3 days, can I ? Well. I could, but Reality stops me. This is not the first time that I can't get past Reality. After some internal struggles, I got past it and tested some of the core concepts and kind of abandon the project because the prototype didn't feel engaging enough and some stuffs seems to be missing.

 

Fast-forward to a few days ago. I finished my last project and I thought of a way to revive that previous project. I started drafting ideas and putting them into code. I stumbled upon Reality again and I thought why not post it here and share the experience.

 

So this time, I had this problem. I want to allow people to gather nuts from forest. I decided to heck Reality and group all "nuts" into the same category. However, I want to provide some "educational material" to the players by providing different kind of sources to find nuts. For example, hazelnut, almonds , walnuts etc. I thought it would be cool to find informations and put it within the game so that players can learn about them. Then I wiki-ed and realize.. Reality found me again. Almond is not technically a nut. It is more like the seed of a fruit. So I could just put them as a Fruits source right ? Not really. People usually get them for the seed not the fruits, so technically it is still a "nut tree".

 

I kind of want to share this experience with others and perhaps get some feedback. 

So anyone else faces this problem when designing game mechanic ?

 

Edit : In the end I decided not to mess with it too much and just stick to "Nuts tree" and "Fruit Trees/Bushes". 


Edited by ZwodahS, 07 September 2013 - 08:11 AM.

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#2 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 5058

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 05:09 PM

Reality sucks; disregard it and go for the best gameplay.  Also, walnuts and hazelnuts have a fruit around them too, it's not edible but it's very fragrant and can be used to make dye, IIRC.  If you want nuts which do not have a fruit, that's chestnuts, acorns, possibly coconuts or pine nuts.  And then ground nuts like peanuts are completely different, they're practically beans.


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#3 Norman Barrows   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2308

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 08:14 PM

games are modeling and simulation software.

 

they model a "game world".

 

the "game world" need not work like our reality does, unless its meant to model it.

 

all it must be is "internally consistent" in how it's reality works.

 

your problem is you're trying to clone an unrealistic game, then inject realistic simulation aspects into it. all this does is point out the flaws in the existing unrealistic model. 

 

what you need to do from the get go is decide whether you're going to build a "game" or a "simulator".   with a "game" you have to come up with all the game world rules (how long for a child to grow up, etc)  and balance it all.    with a simulation, its all about looking up stats (whats the MPG of an airship?, whats average life expectancy in highland new guinea tribes? ) and plugging them in.

 

note that you can also do a "simulation"  but not model stuff in depth (IE you can lump all nuts together). you're still modeling nuts in the game, just not in such great detail.   FYI, i'm working on a caveman person sim (sim, not game), and i too lump all nuts together.


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#4 Mratthew   Members   -  Reputation: 1581

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 10:07 PM

I look at video games vs reality the same way I look at burlesque and sex. Sex never happens the way burlesque portrays it but it plays at being sex. It finds the aspect of sex that aren't a couple of hairless animals and bunch of friction (Most the time;) and burlesque captures you with the rest of the performance drawing your eye with line, shape and movement, it tells a story worth watching, it has music worth listening to and when its funny it's usually crude. Oh yeah and the sex, that helps. Burlesque works a lot like video games. 

 

When my game mechanic designs are hitting the wall of reality I try to think of the "go to" methods that other mediums use to suspend disbelief. Slight of hand (having the player focus on something else), bluffing (telling a white lie in the game doesn't hurt since most gamer's are so "well read" they know better anyways), good graphics and cool FX (if it looks really real, people will often just overlook the moment of "wait a second this mechanic isn't realistic"), just make it really realistic (at the risk of boring your player, take a stab at it, most players dig learning new things like the almond thing) and put it "in fiction" (if you give the mechanic to a charismatic enough character to teach to the player, they'll learn it and love it, just think of Alxy Vance and D0g. We bought the gravity gun hook line and sinker, and loved it the whole way through;)

 

Hope this helps.



#5 ZwodahS   Members   -  Reputation: 483

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 03:55 AM

Haha thanks for all the comments :D. It is nice to know how other people solve this problem :D


Check out my blog at zwodahs.github.io and zwodahs.itch.io/


#6 Leartes   Members   -  Reputation: 177

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 02:37 AM

I tent to have similar problems. Like, I want to make a combat systems for a game similar to warhammer then I think about allowing every unit in a regiment having different equipment, stats for attackspeed, fighting skill, armor, penetration, damage, health, moral etc. and I realize there will be 15 numbers and only hardcore players will care about those details. Also this system will be an unrealistic simulation anyway despite all my efforts.

So I take a step back and make the system more simple. Perhaps you should do the same? I mean, unless your game is a nut gathering game, you should probably take a more holistic view and don't dive into details straight away. In most games a 'gathering in the woods' task is probably detailed enough, why should I care which nut, fruit or herb is gathered exactly? Obviously you could add some flavor information, e.g. make the tooltip sensitive to the season so that it says 'spring: in this time of the year we can gather ??? for x food' etc. But unless you want to cramp your inventory with all kinds of nuts, fruit, herbs, weeds etc. there is no use in more details in the mechanics.

And even if you do add all the details, do you want to do the same for animals as well? Like how many organs and body-parts a hare gives to the player and what can they be used for ... Unless the game is only about such details it doesn't really sound like a good idea.



#7 ZwodahS   Members   -  Reputation: 483

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 01:32 PM

For me the problem comes in 2 parts.

 

The first one comes when the question "this doesn't feel real" pops into my head. Like for example, the child will grow up in 3 days. 

 

The second one comes when the thought "Hey I could let apple be made into apple juice and egg to be made into cake" and that usually means a feature-explosion or a Fexposion as I like to call it. 

 

I don't think everyone have this problem. Just need to constantly remind myself that I am not making a real world simulation. 


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#8 Ravyne   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 8159

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 02:43 PM

If reality were always fun, we wouldn't need games to entertain us.

 

I've brought this up a number of times, but I once knew a guy who's grand MMORPG idea called for a fuedal class system, wherein you would achieve knighthood, and before entering battle you and your squire (who is another real person playing the game, hoping to become a knight someday) spend--no joke--a full 15 minutes putting your armor on for battle through tedious little mini-games. His desire was to be as real as possible, and to prevent people from logging in fully-suited and responding to events more quickly than real reality would allow.

 

How anyone could confuse this with actual fun is beyond me, but the way in which is eyes would light up with wild abandon assured me this person was somewhat actually crazy--and I took comfort in the fact that he had found some ideal to be so impassioned by that didn't involve seeing what peoples insides look like on their outsides.



#9 ZwodahS   Members   -  Reputation: 483

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 08:11 AM

If reality were always fun, we wouldn't need games to entertain us.

I just want to say, Best answer EVER. I will frame this.


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