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Peddler

Interactive Experiences

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Alright, this may be a bit abstract, but work with me here Total Immersion is the holy grail of game design, at least from my stand point...to suspend all disbelief. to immerse the player into the game 100 percent. Very few games have been able to achieve this. And of those that have, it was only maintained for very short period of time. Loosing total immersion..is similar to waking up immediatly after realizing you were lucid dreaming. If you still follow, i''ll move on to the topic. Forget conventions. I wouldn''t even call this a game, per se, but an interactive experience ... a single event in which the player is immersed into. The "game" would start with what I would call an immersion primer, a process to immerse the player into the "game" before the "game" begins....The opening to Half-life, I guess could be said to be an immersion primer, but I think to maximize immersion new techniques would have to be devised to suspend all disbelief and get the player used to the controls...so they are not thought about. On to the experience...The primer would take care of the controls, immersing the player, and letting them know the background information....The experience, is simply that, a single event that the player lives or dies through. Forget replayability, just focus on one instance. Obviously, the experience would have to be tailored to fit current technology, no Battle at Falkirks or charging Normandy yet, but I still think with todays technology it is possible create a setting that would keep immersion intact until the experience is over. Anyway, I think I have pipedreamed enough for the moment...this is just a abstract idea that is slowly taking shape in my mind...that I think will be one of the next evolutionary stages for computer entertainment. What do you think? Tim Yarosh Lucid Games www.lucidgames.net

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Heya Peddler, do you think that CG cutscenes reduce the immersion factor? Personally, I think they do. Although they are very pretty to look at, I find they feel forced, and interupt the flow of the game. I'm more inclined to agree with you in regards to Half-Life's intro as an immersion "primer", and I'd like to see more games stick to their in-game engine, as opposed to jumping into a movie scene, the game flows much better, and I find that I feel as though I remain within that world, not like a spectator. Hopefully as graphic technology continues to progress developers will stay with the in-game engine, and maybe shrink the screen to letter box (for a cinematic effect) when it's story time, and we're presented with a plot advancement.

- my $0.02

Edited by - Kaspian on 3/20/00 2:53:31 AM

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That would cause Addiction which would mean that games are drugs, which isn''t tue, yet. Think about it. If some one is totally in game he would forgot everything else and that would mean that he could lose his touch to reality.

Time comes, time goes and I only am.

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I think that any cutscene, cg or ingame, that takes away control from the player, defiently reduces immersion ...

But I guess, in most cases, it would be very difficult to advance the plot while the player is still in control. In the movies, scene transitions work because you aren''t the main character just a spectator....in games, a scene transition/cutscene while rewarding...snaps the player out the world.

Archon- That may be true, but it will be a while before absolute loss of reality can be achieved...even then I think it would be great, being able to have memories of in-game expierences that are as real as real memories would be exciting. Anyway, I just would like to see a game created that focuses solely on keeping the immersion factor as high as possible for a sustained period of time.


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Actually, cutscenes don''t nescesarilly have to interupt game-flow. I started to get addict... er, play Final Fantasy 8 over this last week, and whoa! what a difference in cutscene usage over 7. VII would usually make a transition from the current still to a cutscene by having the animation start at the still. It helped smooth it out, but the cutscenes were always long and would happen at the beginning or end of an area of the game, rather jarring in my opinion.
. VIII has much better usage. Most cutscenes are a few seconds long, seamlessly flow between stills, don''t have the annoying fade outs throughout, and SOME ARE EVEN INTERACTIVE. The parade at the end of Disc One is the perfect example. You run through a prerendered 3D parade to get in through some gates, and you have full control of the character which is rendered as poly in-engine and keyed over the animation. VERY COOL!!! See, cutscenes don''t have to jump away from the action and can even contain some.

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Total emmersion? That might be possible. I''ve thought about how it could be done before.

When you''re dreaming, you''re open to outside suggestion. If you were placed in some kind of trance and the game "described" to you, your mind would be able to create the scenery and characters. (Like when you''re reading a book. You mind makes the world) As for controls, they already have devices that clip onto your finger that they say you can use to move a character around by thought. (Using munute movement/jerks?) And for about $1200 you can even get a device that''ll feed your alpha waves into the computer. (One of my recent magazines talks about how to use this and your computer to turn on/off lights using your thoughts. With a lot of research and development, you could be TOTALY emmersed in a game! Now that''ll be cool!!

As far as that alpha device is concerned, I bet you could write a program that adapts to the person''s thoughts. When setting up the controls, the computer would tell the player to walk forward. It would then see what the changes are in the player''s alpha waves and assign that to "move forward".

E:cb woof!

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dog135, well the alpha devices and what not are a little more into it, then I was thinking....but as for setting the player in a "trance", that is a good notion. There must be methods, used by hypnotists(sp) and others that could be coded, and used in the beginning of the game to immerse the player. Of course, the player would have to be willing to take them seriously, but perhaps a series of number counting and other concentration exercises...if used correctly before the game began, may get the player into a "trance" like state so the game will seem that much more real.

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The only bad thing about a trance / hypnotic state to play a game would be if there was a power failure. Could you imagine if you got stuck in some kind of imagination state where all you see are the monsters you were fighting in a dark, dank, creepy cavern? That would suck!

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hehe... yeah, you could get stuck in the matrix...

I''m not a hypnotist, but I would guess that when the screen went dead you would pop out of any trance you were in... Maybe not, though... and if you die in the matrix...

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Read ShadowRun RPG manuals. I think Fasa has about the best description of an immersive experience available today. The idea of jacking in to the net (like the Matrix on much more mobile and flexible) would create an incredible environemtn for games. I like this thread keep it going.

Kressilac

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If you die in the game? Big deal. Havn''t you ever died in a dream? I did, many times. I just wake up. When you''re putting the person in a trance you could play a pulsing sound and say "When the sound stops, you will wake up refreshed." or something like that.

Maybe someday we''ll have a device that sends a signal to you brain that tells it to go into a trance. When the signal stops, you''d wake up. I heard of devices that can put images in you head. I wish I had the money to explore all the different things they have out there. I''d say in less then 10 years, we''ll have something like this.

E:cb woof!

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I prefer a device that can read my brain for me to be able to make movies and FMV, or splendid landscape...
That''s the future
Don''t want anyone being able to control me through any device.
Just a freedom lover, and dreamer


-* Sounds, music and story makes the difference between good and great games *-

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Well, I think if such a device was made..it would be good to use it maybe not control your mind...just give it push it in a certain direction and then let the player''s subconscience determine what happens next.

But thats a ways off in the future ... for now I bet with a little research some techniques could be adapted or discovered...to use in games to help bring a higher level of immersion.

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dog: just to be clear, I wouldn''t really be worried about dieing in the game... it was just an allusion to the Matrix... on of the best movies ever

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