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Member Since 01 Sep 2012
Offline Last Active Feb 25 2015 08:55 AM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Why do games not have items 'one sale' in their stores

25 February 2015 - 06:17 AM

Ah, I had not thought about the MMO* scene at all. A player-involved (or player based) economy makes it a far more complex problem. I agree that it is not necessarily any good there.


But let me re-phrase the question: why are there so few single player games that have an in-game store that has items for sale?


In a single player it would make a lot of sense IMHO. It adds a meaningful choice on how to spend your money. It adds realism to the buy-stuff-at-the-store experience. And it can even be used by the game designers to steer players towards certain kinds of items. For instance the 'on sale' mechanic could favor items that help in certain quests the player is currently ignoring.

In Topic: Conventional Storytelling in Video Games

17 February 2015 - 05:34 PM

This is a question I like!

First of all I'm going to agree with Sunandshadow that a crucial ingredient is that the story/narrative is not something that someone tells, but rather that you experience. An important ingredient is that the more meaning you assign to the events of the story, the more impact it has on you and therefore  the stronger the story is. I almost feel that we need to rename "storytelling" to "story-experiencing" in order to better address this subject.

Ok, so translating this to games I propose the following types of story-experiencing in games:

1. -> Games can tell stories the classical way by presenting a narrative and having the interaction (gamey bits) be separate from the narrative. Take JRPGs as an example: here (in a lot of cases) the meaningful events (the story) are outside of the control of the player. So the player will experience the narrative in roughly the same way as a book or a movie. In effect the story and the game are separate things. The game may re-enforce the storytelling during the gamey-bits through its tone or through its mechanics, but the playing of the player cannot influence the story that is told.

Don't get me wrong, there is some progressive stuff to be found here. Take "Lonelines", this is a good example of mechanics alone that convey a story. But still I would argue that here the story itself is firmly in the hands of the game and that the player only gets to receive it.

2. -> Games can also tell stories in a way as to allow the players to have some control over the narrative. The player can make a few key choices (be good or be evil is a popular one). And this usually increases the meaning the player assigns to the events that follow those choices if the game does it right. The problem in expanding the amount of choise a player has, is that it is very hard and expensive for a game to have multiple endings that are all consistent and plausible. From a cost perspective the developers will want to re-use enemies, scene's and backdrops so they usually don't like to have vastly different stories in a single game.

Mass Effect is good representative of this kind of storytelling. You get to make a lot of small choices (besided the good/evil thing) and the game does its best to enforce the consequences of those small choises. This increase their meaning and enhances the story-value of your actions.

3. -> A third kind of stories takes place in games is where the game allows the player to construct its own story. Take Minecraft where the player only has a vague goal. The randomly generated terrain will ensure that each playthrough is different, and forces the player to come up with new decisions on what to do and how to achieve this. Those decisions have meaning as they are the player's. The game just set the stage for the story. This is effectively role playing the sense that the player will (usually) not go for a 100% optimal strategy. By allowing to accomodate other wishes (make a better house, don't slaughter all the cute animals, ...) the player is shaping the sequence of events and thereby creating its own story.

But even if the player is not roleplaying in the sense that the player goes for 100% efficiency, the unfolding of events can still have great meaning to the player. This is usually the case if the player knows that the game was not scripted for these event but that they are personal, unique to this playthrough. This is the case with many roguelikes, but also with other games that have permadeath and random terrain.

As a side note: the great thing about this third kind of stories is that there is value in retelling them (as more regular stories) to other people.


My personal favourite story moment in games is still how to evolve your Jedi in Knights of the Old Republic. (Huge spoiler) you will need to decide how to react to the discovery that you have been betrayed. From a storytelling perspective it is very good that the game has no real meaning about what you choose to do. This seems contradictory, but it breaks from the mold of second kind of storytelling and allows you to fully roleplay. Since the event itself is so shocking (at least the first time) you assign enough meaning to it without needing the game to re-enforce it.

So, as to answer the OP question: (how to) tell a story in a truly unique way? I would say that a mix between the second and the third type of game stories would probably be where the future lies for innovation in computer narratives.


In Topic: Render Management

16 February 2015 - 12:27 PM

I would say that your pattern looks pretty decent.


One reason to remove the rendering code from the Enemy class is that rendering graphics and performing AI calculations are two pretty different things. If the code for each action becomes too big it might make the Enemy class cluttered and unfocused. Then you might want to start thinking about other ways to structure your code.


But until you reach that point, I completely agree with Glass_Knife, just go with it for now.

In Topic: Searching for a specific game theory about basic interaction

06 January 2013 - 06:12 AM

Thx for all the tips and links, took me a while to pore through them but it was fun! Especially looking for the right video in Extra Creditz's...

All in all, most articles are similar but not exactly what I was looking for (but still good, so I'm thankful for them). CulDeVu, the article you referenced (Chemistry of game design), comes closest to what I am looking for and is an interesting read. I'm not sure I buy the 'gameplay = learning' as an end-all concept but the material is surely useful.

Skinners box application to games is coming close, but I think there is more to it than just the negative 'grindstyle' implementation. All games must be Skinner boxes at some level because we would not do anything if it wasn't rewarding. It all depends on what question you want answered. Instead of 'how can I make players play longer' you could also use it to try to answer 'how can I make players be more engaged'. The person I got the theory from mentioned something about 'pathing' (not sure it was exactly that word) to describe the way you get players in stage 1. (Presentation) to understand which actions they can take.

Anyway thx again, I'm going to stock up on my general knowledge of 'Game Studies or Gaming Theory' smile.png

In Topic: Very early alpha of a retro 2D game -- keen for community critique

16 December 2012 - 02:33 PM

One of the things that I think is interesting is that you showcase a lot of technology, but not a lot of gameplay yet. This is not a critisism, it is more of something I recognize from my own work. As a programmer I am delighted that it all works. But as a game designer I think; that does not make a game yet. I have this with my own work more often than I would like.

Maybe you can make a few playable levels first to get a feel for what is fun in this game, before creating the entire crafting engine. I know this might sound boring, but I'd bet that you get some ideas and some more valuable feedback if people can play a level or two.