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Negative Reaction to Bombing Civilian Objects?

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The scenario here is a WWII-era flight simulator that involves combat in the pacific. Now, I know that disrupting Japanese shipping was a large part of the war effort.. and in this scenerio, the player will have some missions that involve doing just that. The convoys will of course be protected by fighters and destroyers and the like. Now, my question is... will this have a negative connotation? I don't want to reduce the amount of people that will want to play a scenerio like this due to being offended by having to take out unarmed (though escorted) freighters. Your thoughts and opinions? Thanks, Falkone [edited by - falkone on March 25, 2003 11:41:44 PM]

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The fact is, the US destroyed a lot of unarmed civilians in WW2. If you are going for WW2, then that is just part of it. I doubt anyone will have moral problems with it. If they do, it is their problem. You are making a game. It is nothing more. Just dont do something blatantly stupid like intentionally making the murder of civilians extremely graphic and more rewarding. Well, that is unless you want to get rich like the makers of GTA...

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Unfortunately the target audience is more of the casual gamer crowd and i worry that they won't appreciate the historical reality of us bombing civilian shipping... hmm..



[edited by - falkone on March 25, 2003 11:50:02 PM]

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If you''re still in the planning stages I''d recommend changing it, if you''re past that it''s no big deal, a few people will be turned off by the fact but I dont think anybody will call you hatemonger.

If I was in your situation I''d either:
a)completely change the game, disrupting trade lines sounds like a good mission but taking it out of a historical perspective and into a fantasy may be more appropriate (of course if the game has already begun in any form this isn''t feasable)
b)remove the mission(s) in question or even find some way to make them optional
c)simply leave the missions intact yet try to explain the historical accuracy of what is done


PS. when I say fantasy I wouldn''t recommend using a real civilization, saying "Iran" or "China" would probably be a little to realistic for some people, and IMHO worse than saying Japanese because one is historical fact and the other seems like a bad thing directed at some civilization.

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Personally, I feel that creating games is in a big sense nothing more than art. Sure, many of us do or would like to do them for the money but all of us do them because we want to express certain ideas or we want to wrap outsiders up inside our world where our rules take over.

If you start to plan a game based off of things like "we can''t do X because it offends Y" then you are putting a great big blindfold on the artistic aspect. Make what you feel is your game. Deliver it in the way you want it delivered. Then distribute it. If you can sell it and people find something distasteful then you can always recreate a new game - distastefulness for that crowd and then potentially make even more money on virtually the same product.

Microsoft did it right after the September 11th incident. You really think they spent the time and money just to make playing their game more bearable in the sense that it would no longer remind people of the tragedy? Heck no! They did it because they saw an opportuity to make more money on an existing product. I may be wrong but I''d be willing to bet that they sold more copies of the version without the world trade centers. Why? Because people heard about the great thing M$ had done on CNN and MSNBC and FOX and every local news broadcast and they went out to see the new game and get a view of a World Trade Centerless NYC. If it was simply in public interest you can bet that at most the only thing that would have happened would have been a M$ spokesperson saying something like "While we humbly regret the tragedy that has occurred, it is simply not feasable to make such alterations to a preexisting game title". Or some such nonsense.

So my opinion? Make what''s in your heart and let those who will gripe till they turn blue. Then if you like, alter it and make a little more money if possible or just tell then to stick it in their collective ears because after all IT IS JUST A GAME!

Would you let someone tell you how to write a book? No, and I don''t percieve game design to be any different.

Webby

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Make it clear what the ships are carrying - ammunition, fuel, and other supplies critical to the Japanese army. During the war I doubt there was much traffic in civillian goods in the Japanese empire given the nature of their possessions. If you can relate the sinking of these merchant vessels to specific victories for the allied army, people will feel more justified in sinking them.

One target I never personally felt right sinking in games is troopships. I realize it probably would have had a big benefit for the allies, but it really doesn''t seem right to kill so many people. I guess I can be glad I never had to take that responsiblity.

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During wartime, the merchant marine essentially gets pressed into military service..therefore they are no longer considered "civilian". That''s why when the German U-boats sank millions of tons (close to billions) of cargo ships in the North Atlantic, people here weren''t screaming that this was a criminal act. The people just accepted the fact that the merchant marine were a part of the military war machine and as such...were viable targets.

You also have to realize that in WWII, we didn''t have quite the same standards of protecting civillians as we do now. WWII was the first modern war in which more civillians died than military personnel. You just believed that the other side was "the bad guy", and that they supported their military. At first, the US was reluctant to order bombing raids against cities, but overtime, military insistence that it would demoralize the enemy and make them capitulate faster won, and orders for bombing targets that had virtually no industrial or military targets became almost common.

Speaking of pressing into service...in wartime, the US Coast Guard falls under United States Navy command, meaning that the Navy controls not just their own warships, but the Marine Corps as well as the Coast Guard (who can be pressed into service away from the United States into duty as damage control ships, minesweepers, patrol boats and other various duties).

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I think you should include the freighters, but make it clear that the player is bombing them with a war related purpose. Don''t let ''em bomb hospital ships though.

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quote:
Original post by falkone
The scenario here is a WWII-era flight simulator that involves combat in the pacific.



Simulator being the key word here. If you are working on an accurate "simulation" of the events of WW2, then that was a part of it and you should not feel bad about making it. If you are working for a more action based game, modify it to your hearts content.


GRELLIN

"I installed a skylight in my apartment...The people who live above me are furious."

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Leave the mission in to disrupt the trade ships, but instead just change it slightly. Instead of haveing the player SINK the trade ships, have them only destroy the enemy planes defending them. Maybe even go so far that if the player sinks a trade ship, he would be court marshelled. Once all of the enemy planes and boats protecting the convoy are destroyed, have some friendly navel ships, dock and board the helpless enemy ships, effectivly taking them over, and preventing the enemy from getting his goods.

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I seriously wouldn''t change it. It''s YOUR game, if someone has a problem with it, oh well. You control YOUR games, the media or anyone has NO right to bash it. If you give in to it your games will lack color and stuff like that. Grand Theft Auto 3 and Vice City might be not liked by the media but its a creative game. Whoever made it was a genious. I really don''t care if i made a violent game and the media tries to bash it, actually, i would LOVE it, it''s more publicity and it shows that i can think out of the circle and not be restricted by the thoughts of others.
Besides, games that are not restricted by other ppl''s thoughts are normally successful.

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On a very cynical note: think of the publicity. If your game can stir up a controversy, then you''d probably increase your audience by a large factor. Normally you''d be paying large sums of money for publicity that most people would tune out. By being at the focus of a media storm (if you can manage it) you get free publicity that everyone will notice. There was a time a few years ago when if you asked a random person on the street to name a computer game, most people - and these are the ones who would have maybe played minesweeper a few times - would say "DOOM" because of the controversy about violent games and high school massacres.

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I remember in Strike Commander (very old, but my favourite flight sim) you had to blow up a tanker in one mission, an oil rig in another and even a nuclear plant some time, but you were a ''good'' mercenary squadron and all the bad squadrons and governments you fought against, made you have no problem with doing what you had to.

If you really want to change it though, make it to destroy the convoy except those ships, to clear the way for the U.S. Navy to take over the freighters or something similiar?

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Well, I still remember many a U-boat simulator. And what do you do in that game? You sink Merchant ships.

"Merchant" being a relative thing. Do some research on those ships. Most of them were armed with at least a single cannon, the bigger ships were armed with more then one cannon, and some of these buggers even had anti-sub bombs. They were DEFINATLY armed.

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Looking at it from a historical perspective:
What happened happened. The concentration-camps, the bombing of Hiroshima, the attack on the world trade center the 11:th amongst others, the wolfpacks in the baltics. Americans bombed convojs just as the nazi u-boats torpedoed theirs, all these things happened and I feel that there is no need to rewrite history just to please a few. The world was at war, countries bomb each other in war, that''s just the way it is and if your flightsim is under the WWII-era, then you should portray it just like it was.

Some will feel bad about what the americans did, but I guess some german players out there feel the same thing when a WWII-based shooter enters the market, but that doesn''t stop the products being made, does it?

On a more personal note:
While playing Battlefield 1942 over the internet, I experienced that some gamers out there has no qualms about gunning down players on their own team, just to get first to the airplanes so I don''t think they will have any problems bombing a bunch of AI-driven polygons traversing planes textures as water.
Think of that polygons poor children you just made fatherless, shame on you!

No, make your game as you''d like it. After all, it''s about war and in war people get''s hurt by bullets without being hit by guns.

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