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Humble Hobo

Member Since 08 May 2006
Offline Last Active Aug 10 2012 07:35 AM

#4958252 Fathoming the Unfathomable

Posted by Humble Hobo on 11 July 2012 - 10:07 PM

Mratthew, you make a strong point that I don't think about much.

Realistic animation goes much farther for immersion than high polygon count. Journey for the PS3 was in 3D, had minimalistic environments, and stylized graphics. But the animations were spectacular. All cloth moved exactly like cloth in the wind. Wind and sand and snow were animated so fantastically that you could feel
the texture under your feet rather than see it.

It seems immersion is partly about good design, but also partly about putting your graphic resources into the areas that count -- like animations.

Thanks for the comments, this has been a real eye-opener for me.

#4956581 Fathoming the Unfathomable

Posted by Humble Hobo on 07 July 2012 - 12:30 AM

I'm trying to get my head around this concept, and I'm drawing a blank.

The Question: Is it possible to create a game in 2d that is just immersive than its 3d counterparts?
Obviously, good design is the key, but from my shortsighted perspective, 2d is inherently limited on how immersive you can make a world.
What are the inherent advantages or disadvantages in terms of immersion for 2d and 3d? In the end does it matter at all?

The most interesting games I've found in 2d are sort of puzzle sidescrollers like Limbo. Unfortunately, many people take one look at 2d games and instantly relegate them to the realm of "$0.99 app that I might try if it goes free, but otherwise not worth my time."

I bet that could change though. I ask because I'm interested in developing 2d games focused on immersion. I simply don't have the technical skills or billions of hours of free time to learn to create 3d graphics that could be considered 'immersive'. The "bar" by which players judge good quality 3d graphics keeps raising higher and higher.

My thoughts on the matter:
1. Yes. Immersion should be possible through good design. 3d lends itself well to visual immersion, but emotional and gameplay immersion should be done through design.
2. Really feeling like you are part of a living, breathing world might be impacted by additional visual/audio stimuli, such as foliage rustling as you walk by, ambient sounds, and lots of interactions with the environment. In theory you could make even make a stunning world from a top-down perspective.
3. Good story, and good NPC/world interaction can make you forget that it's 2D.

#4950225 Just a quick question regarding designs

Posted by Humble Hobo on 18 June 2012 - 06:43 AM

You're doing it right.

Large-scale ambitious next-gen projects are great and all, but they rarely happen in people's garages. If you're an indie developer (or even a hobbyist), it makes sense to use an iterative design and evolve from there.

Personally, I'm always tempted to design too much too early. I usually spend too much time detailing out all the theoretical mechanics, and so many of my projects are never realized. It wasn't till recently that I've move to the iterative approach, and that's made all the difference. I've got a core group of friends and family, and though they're not representative of the entire gamer population, I get constant feedback from them. This is kind of a sanity check to ensure my ideas are even wanted or needed by gamers in the first place.

For me, I've still got loads to learn about design. This was just one of the lessons I had to learn to start designing better.

#4949391 Main menu for game

Posted by Humble Hobo on 14 June 2012 - 07:39 PM

I'm not an artist, so I can simply give you feedback as a player.

I spend about .05 seconds within any given main title screen of a game before choosing an option. I think the background's fine, but the buttons look pretty rough, and are kind of hard to read. Even though I spend so little time on a title screen, I do usually appreciate a nice animation when an option is chosen (all the buttons ease out and fly off screen or something).

Players probably won't judge your game too much by the title screen, since if they're looking at it they already intend to play it. Otherwise they wouldn't have downloaded/bought it. So it can't harm you that much, but a really smooth title screen with some creative interactivity can definitely help.

Check out "Gemcraft Labyrinth"'s title screen. That's probably a good style fit for what your background looks like. Smooth animations too!

#4945465 The Lean Design

Posted by Humble Hobo on 01 June 2012 - 07:44 PM

It's an excellent Idea for games, I think. Especially for the MMO, which is iterative by nature.

However, instead of hyping your game up to insane standards, you'd have to take the more 'minecraft-y', approach to marketing. Actually come to think of it, the "from humble beginnings" type games actually tend to have an avidly devoted (but smaller) following. So definitely a good idea, if you're willing to sacrifice the "Epic Launch" for a loyal fan base and a more agile development framework.

#4944994 Your first game idea - What happened to it?

Posted by Humble Hobo on 31 May 2012 - 08:47 AM

1. A Space Warfare RTS called "Chronicles of Time".

2. I was 12 at the time, and it was inspired by my favorite game of the day, Starcraft. I still have all the notebooks full of concepts in my personal bookshelf.

3. It fell short because I had ideas faster than I could develop them, and when I discovered MMOs (a la Runescape) I could hardly think of anything else :)

4. (should have learned) to Focus and keep it simple. Sometimes I get too theoretical and idealistic, but there is beauty in making something a elegant compromise.

#4944542 It's Who You Know -- Legacy Reputation in MMOs

Posted by Humble Hobo on 29 May 2012 - 09:54 PM

It's time for me to collect another round of your $.02 again:

The Concept: Legacy Reputation

Let's say you have a high-level smuggler, but you want to roll an alt on your account just for fun. Legacy reputation means that when you roll a new character, you can mention the name of your alt to get easier entry into NPC factions or organizations. Your main was pretty well known among the smuggler's guild. This can be leveraged to make faction NPCs friendlier and more willing to let you in ("Any friend of <Leeroy Jenkins> is a friend of mine, you're welcome to browse my supplies." kind of response).

This serves two purposes:
  • A little bit quicker way into a preferred NPC faction (not as a go-anywhere-free pass, just a little extra rep and opportunity).
  • One of those cool moments when it feels like your previous characters have actually influenced the world.
My Questions to you:
  • Potential problems or exploits with this idea?
  • Have you seen something similar in other MMOs? I'd like to study how they implemented it

#4752072 Story vs Gameplay

Posted by Humble Hobo on 29 December 2010 - 05:50 PM

Games (especially MMOs) are rather notorious for shallow stories. The difference between a game and a movie, is the interactivity (you actually get to take part and BE the character. You make decisions and involve yourself in the world).

I suppose my questions is, how can we utilize this better (take advantage of the capacity to actually interact with the world, instead of just watch it happen)?

Design Side
One thing I was thinking about, was a plot level for an RPG. For example, the main, overarching plot is set in place by the developers, but it has multiple branches. What if the player actually leveled up the plot in an area, and depending on what branches they focused on, the whole game would travel along different plot lines. Discovering new areas/people/items would open up new plot branches, or smaller branches.

There could be event points along each branch, possibly unlocking new branches. These event are what drive the story along, and they would have to be 'unlocked' by the player.

Even more, you could make it possible that NPCs are also pushing plot streams forward. Perhaps the main plot is in conflict (the forces of good want to take it one direction, the forces of evil want to take it the other), and you as the player try to push that balance over the edge one way or the other.

Not nearly a complete idea, but just one of the things I thought about using to create a more interactive story. Dynamic story is something that suits a dynamic media like games.

Dynamic Persistence
If we can make the story matter more to the player, it will be more enjoyable. I recently replayed levels 1-10 of WoW, twice. I tried a different mindset each time. If I was in it for the level grind (get to 10 as fast as possible), I didn't care one bit about the 'quests' I was on. I felt kind of like a mindless drone/errand boy. But the second time through I was in it for the story. I read all the dialogues, and I found myself caring a little more about what I was doing. It meant something to me. In fact, it was jarring to see my quests reset so that others could do them after me.

That's why single player RPGs are generally more rich in story than MMORPGs. MMOs are persistent, but unchanged by anything you do, so it's harder to care. I think the more meaningful the player's actions, the more he/she will care about the story/what is happening. So give them the dynamic tools to have an impact and see the influence right away.

In this case, the story's not really any different, it just means more to the player. Using interaction to improve how we view the story in games.

#4749611 MMO Worldbuilding

Posted by Humble Hobo on 22 December 2010 - 11:58 PM

Original post by sneaky_squirrel
What if the MMO was designed to let the players advance and progress through activities other than killing mobs in this world?

AGREE! There's so much more we can be doing here than just killing mobs! If you have to really try hard to justify killing boars (i.e. an NPC needs to make a boar liver pie), then maybe it shouldn't be there? When considering the game world, there are settings that are better suited to greater things than mob killing...

1. A dozen or so miscelaneous areas, each with some unique theme (jungle, mountain, forest, desert) and unique mobs. If there is no real meaningful connection between them, or why they are important, then it's simply a collection of mob spawn points. "Quests" are just lame excuses to kill critters in these unrelated areas.

2. A dozen or so areas, each with political, economic, and military points of interest, with NPC forces interacting with the resources and each other. This creates a realistic setting with so much more that needs to be done than killing blind mobs. Make the mobs themselves have some sort of organization and reason for what they are doing.

So, here's an example setting that just begs for a better experience:

A newly founded excavation site on a new world... As the colonists dig deeper to exploit more valuable resources, they discover more about the world they have come to call home. Unfortunately, as the scope of the excavation expands, the surrounding settlements become the focus of attack from native populations. During this time of ever-growing tension, you have come to seek your prospects on the new world.

In this setting, perhaps exploration could be one alternate activity.

- Exploration skills, archaeology, mining, cartography.
- Reading of ancient languages, deciphering codes.
- Invention (blueprint-based) crafting.
- Negotiation missions, trying to problem solve to maintain relations with the natives.
- Exploration missions, either on the mainland, or deeper into the mines.
- Trade and Company opportunities, making money.

Trade would also have significant meaning. In fact, I'd even boil it down to this:

The more of an impact the player can have on the world, the more it will mean to him or her