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Can you replace your idea of an RPG or an FPS or an RTS with a different way to vicariously experience a world populated by characters of the designers' imagination as well as the avatar of the player? As an exercise, and one of cooperation, rather than an isolated paragraphical presentation from each participant, try and evolve or revolutionize through discussion something better, or at least, as I have suggested, different. Please do not assume a scenario different from what one would expect within the realm of fiction. In other words, the fictionalized world should still be one of general fantasy, science ficiton, Old West, Roman, modern mainstream, etc. It should not be something that doesn't conform to such norms, such as gobbling food in a maze, fitting blocks in a puzzle, etc. The notion here is to evolve presentation and gameplay in a standardized ficitonal environment, not to evolve the environment or conjure up gameplay for the sake of gameplay without any underlying standardized fiction. EDIT: Also, connsider that vague ideas, half realized notions, and cloudy conceptualizations that are, intitially difficult to express because they are only partially formed within your mind are in fact the beginning foundations of something new, and it is better to try and articulated, if only vaguely, such things than to remain silent. [edited by - bishop_pass on October 10, 2003 12:26:02 AM]

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If I don''t get this or if anyone else doesn''t, could you maybe give us another example? or a deeper example?

Just to make sure (i think it''s cause i''m tired) but are you asking for something in the way we present our game either through marketing or presenting the storyline as the game progresses? Like for example. I use quake 2 code (licensed of course) and make another game but I put things in it to change the game. The after its all done I use teh game to present the story of it instead of how many new weapons i have or the types of multiplayer games i used. Maybe something like a Metal Gear Solid game (i''ve only watched a friend play the first game) but there was a lot of ingame videos. I don''t think the company advertised what the game could do but the story on which you go through.

If so then let me know and I''ll post something else. Otherwise you confused me

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If you're confused, perhaps that is good. It means you don't have a pat answer, and that is definitely necessary to start thinking about this.

First of all, all of the above has nothing to do with marketing or advertising. It has to do with gameplay. More specifically, it has to do with coming up with a different or better way for players to play games in which they vicariously play one or more characters. The idea is that 70% of what one does in today's games isn't that fun or impressive, and there could be a lot that players could do that would be fun, either competitively, visually, etc., that players aren't getting. This, however, is not a discussion about particular things such as shooting, fighting, playing poker, etc., but rather a discussion about how important such things are to general gameplay vs. other activities, how transitions work, how boring things are trimmed from a game, how cinematic elements are incorporated or removed or made an element of gameplay, how instant replay can be capitalized on, how details that are overlooked can become important, how micromanagement can be trimmed or added if it seems inviting, etc.

[edited by - bishop_pass on October 10, 2003 12:37:27 AM]

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We can begin by eliminating some possibly false assumptions that are prevalant among designers. Let''s assume that we have an RPG game, and it is competitive and comparable to most games in the current market. Let''s assume that a lot of the things present in the game should be completely reconsidered.
  • The view we present to the player.
  • The things we ask the player to do to play.
  • The general feel of the game as the story progresses.
  • The overall transition or continuity as the player plays; i.e. is it necessary?
  • The lack of external playable features.
  • The similarity of one''s player''s experience to another.
  • The visual feel.

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Cinematic elements only work for certain games. Too little would remind me of Quake 2, too much would make me want to just go and get the VHS version.... (depending of course).

Instant replay is a somewhat hard one to capitalize on. When I''m playing a game, I don''t want the game to suddenly break it''s fluidity to show me an instant replay. Although it all depends on the game. Worms was a perfect game for it. You do something amazing you get an instant replay. Maybe after the intense fight is over it will show an instant replay. I know I played a game recently that had a kind of instant replay. or rather it was slow motion. When you did someting cool, it would go into slow motion and perform what you just wanted to. Turn based games would be fine with instant replay (as long as it was like worms and not risk 2 where there is no action to replay). I do hope to put some kind of instant replay into a game i''m designing. *cough* MMO *cough* where one of the career''s is a news reporter an it''s their job to capture breaking news. Like say they just "happen" to be around when an assassination is taking place or to be up front in a war, to see the merge of 2 large companies. This capture would then broadcast to all who are watching the news.

I donno about micromanagement. I think it depends on the the player''s preference. I personnaly don''t like managing a bunch of idiots who need me to do EVERYthing for them. I''ld like to give orders and hope they follow them. It''s a tossup between micro and macro. It would be incredibly hard to do both but some like one or the other. Maybe a game that allowed for either or.

-----------

Well as far as what goes on in games today not being fun, I''ve also thought about this in the game i''m designing. (I really should come up with a shorter way to say that) Traditional RPG''s and especially MMO''s revolve around character building. Quite frankly it bores me to death. I don''t want to kill 232 orcs or space dragons to gain my next level then have to go on to kill more or mine dumb rocks. (like there''s smart rocks)... My game will focus more on what people would really do in a fantasy / sci-fi world. Engage in wars, conduct trade to please others, reveal secrets as a traitor, gain political power. In fantasy worlds I never saw an army which a vast range of skill levels.
Take lord of the rings. I don''t think the orcs at helm''s deep were too different from each other. One might be a little more powerful but it wasn''t overwhelming like the MMO''s you can get now. You log on and see FooNerBoy at level 992 while you''re a puny 4. No matter what you do you still can''t hurt him. Sure maybe a little training is needed but seriously, that much? in MMO''s or in just single player rpg''s, the focus should be on the storyline itself or contributing to it. Personally no matter how long I play... even if it''s for 20 years, I still shouldn''t be able to skill myself up so i can easily slap a blue dragon to death.


btw. I hope this was the kind of discussion you were hoping for.

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quote:
Original post by trapdoor
Cinematic elements only work for certain games.
Forgive me for not wanting to read the rest of your post after such a remark, but I will after expressing my indignation. To begin with, you've made three erroneous assumptions in one sentence. I'll enumerate them below:
  • You already know what a cinematic element is comprised of, which I believe is wrong. Cinematic refers to cinema, which refers to cinematography, movie making, films, etc. This is a lot, and what that means is, you can't compartmentalize the idea and write it off.
  • You assume a certain type of game, and assume that type of game is out of the scope of this topic. You shouldn't assume any type of game, since one hasn't really been defined yet - that is to say, gameplay, etc.
  • You assume that cinematic 'only' works for a certain type of game, which is erroneous, in my opinion.


Now, I'll read the rest of your post.



[edited by - bishop_pass on October 11, 2003 1:18:29 AM]

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quote:
Original post by trapdoor
Instant replay is a somewhat hard one to capitalize on.
Again, you''ve done everyone a disservice by looking backwards instead of forwards. I don''t think what one has experienced in the past with regard to an idea has much relevance to what one can do in the future with an idea.

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trapdoor,
In response to the rest of your thoughts, I think you at least see what I'm driving at, but it seems you're still too mired in traditional thinking.

Take, for example, whatver idea you have for a game. Whatever moments in your game that you believe would be fun, how can you capitalize on that, and make transitions between the fun moments without introducing boredom between, and still maintain a continuity and an evolving story?

[edited by - bishop_pass on October 11, 2003 1:38:48 AM]

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I''m assuming single player games for now.
quote:
The things we ask the player to do to play.

I think it''s very hard to find things for the player to do... which is why many give the option of mundain tasks. Either that or the main tasks must be drawn out to be real long. Otherwise if this doesn''t happen, we might be putting too much into the story and make it unbelieveable. And I mean unbelieveable in the sense that it''s too co-incidental. That the events could not have happened if i had picked them myself. Games that put things in such a way that you think to yourself "oh come on! you got to be kidding me!" I''ve played a few like that.

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And also, for those fun moments, how could they be presented, either differently, or better, and what exactly constitutes gameplay for those moments? And on a further note, for the transitions between those fun moments or segments, what type of gameplay can be offered between - gameplay that is altogether different, focused on something different, presented differently, etc.?

Also, while the main thrust of competiveness or gameplay might be agianst the computer players, or for the purpose of unlocking new aspects of the game, what kind of sideline competiveness can be offered which doesn''t have to do with the story or characters at all, but altogether on a different level?

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quote:
Original post by trapdoor
I''m assuming single player games for now.
quote:
The things we ask the player to do to play.

I think it''s very hard to find things for the player to do... which is why many give the option of mundain tasks. Either that or the main tasks must be drawn out to be real long. Otherwise if this doesn''t happen, we might be putting too much into the story and make it unbelieveable. And I mean unbelieveable in the sense that it''s too co-incidental. That the events could not have happened if i had picked them myself. Games that put things in such a way that you think to yourself "oh come on! you got to be kidding me!" I''ve played a few like that.
So this begs the question: Why does the player have to do what their character does? Does gameplay have to be about controlling the character? Let''s stick to the RPG paradigm here. The short answer might be yes, but in all contexts, I say no.

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quote:
Original post by bishop_pass
  • You already know what a cinematic element is comprised of, which I believe is wrong. Cinematic refers to cinema, which refers to cinematography, movie making, films, etc. This is a lot, and what that means is, you can't compartmentalize the idea and write it off.....



I was thinking more on the lines of ingame vids or other rendered vids. I was just saying it's not for all (Now that I think of it i can possibly squeeze it into the few games that don't normally have it) I also had written that before you said "Let's assume that we have an RPG game". I can't think of an rpg game that doesn't have it.
I think i might stay away from cinematics for now. I'm only comprehending ingame and rendered vids as cinematics.


-------------

I mentioned about instant replay then...:

quote:
Original post by bishop_pass
Again, you've done everyone a disservice by looking backwards instead of forwards. I don't think what one has experienced in the past with regard to an idea has much relevance to what one can do in the future with an idea.


I just said it was hard. At least when it's intense and the events are time critical. I can think of some people who wouldn't want to be interrupted. I'll give the example of a street fighter game. Instant replay would be perfect. First person shooter while you're still in battle.... bad IMO. FPS after battle... good. I think it all comes down to timing. When the right time to do it? Would it be possible and how would you do it with multiplayer? I wouldn't want to scare someone off from programming it into a game. Even if you fail, it might encourage those would wouldn't even try to give it a chance... maybe someone would do it right by looking at the predecessor's failure and learning.

How's this for Instant replay. Take a game like counterstrike. Add replay and the ability to start the round when your ready... not after 15 seconds from end game. It would allow each team to watch what they did wrong. or where people were hiding. To adapt and change their strategy. It would force the players who have a special technique they use everytime to being adaptive and actually good at what they do.

for my response to fun moments... stay tuned.

-----

BTW... anyone else can join the convo


[edited by - trapdoor on October 11, 2003 2:02:28 AM]

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There was an old comic book mini series called Marvels. It was about super heros through the eyes of reporter, the reporter hadn no super power he was just an ordaniary person but that gave him a very diffrent perspective on events that that of the superheros.

I think something like that could work in an RPG what if your not the hero trying to stop the ultimate evil? Instead your an ordinary person with no special skills, who gets caught up in those events, but never involved. A witness if you will to the most important battle that will ever take place, there to make sure that people will know what the hero fought and died for.

Pace is another thing that I have always felt was left out of most games. Generally games lack a sense of urgancy, theres nothing constantly pushing you forward, no tension brought on by the need to keep going. But what if game took place in real time, if the entire game took place or the course of 60 min. That a relativly short period of time and it add that great feature the brings people back to a game, failure and defeat. I''m not suggesting that the game be dynamic since, it my opion that dynamic games suffer from lack of structure the very feature they try an include to make the game is what makes it a poor game. Instead give the player options lots of options enough so that they can try diffrent things each time. No option should be a clear cut as right choice or wrong choice instead they should be true options in that they let the player play the way the want.



-----------------------------------------------------
Writer, Programer, Cook, I''m a Jack of all Trades
Current Design project
Chaos Factor Design Document

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i''ll stick to rpg now.

quote:
Original post by bishop_pass
So this begs the question: Why does the player have to do what their character does? Does gameplay have to be about controlling the character? Let''s stick to the RPG paradigm here. The short answer might be yes, but in all contexts, I say no.


How about you''re character goes out but you play as a fairy like tinkerbell in the movie Hook. you play as a conscience and have to guide your hero along and persuade him to do things. You don''t have the full control of the character anymore. It would require plenty of good quality scripting but maybe that''s a different viewpoint to go to.
-------
Don''t get me wrong. I don''t like boring moments but they could be used if they enhance the story or build suspense.. if used correctly. but there could definitely be less of the boring momeents in games out now. I''m guessing here but I think traditional methods between fun parts are usually filled with 1. puzzles, 2 experience building and way too many bad guys to kill, lots of running, sub plots.
Maybe sticking in a few long videos just before constant slashing and killing mobs got boring. In the case where you would completely control the character, the boredom could be used to play a suspensefull spot where you are supposed to do nothing and fight nothing. If you get caught then something drastic that probably spells game over will happen. Another option would be to stick the character in a position they are not supposed to be in. Example: I played morrowind where I found a dead guy and was asked to find the killer. I then had to do an investigation and had to come up with the killer myself. I wasn''t guided at all. All I had was the clues and then make a decision as to who.

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I think you already partially answered your own question. The key word you used was "vicarious".

The trouble is that most games in which the player takes on the role of a protagonist is that he sees the avatar as a pawn to do his bidding...not really as the player himself. In other words, we make the avatar do things for our own bidding, but we the players don't necessarily emotively connect with the avatar. We act by proxy through the avatar, but we don't do much to experience the world around the protagonist because most games only allow for a limited set of actions for the protagonist to do. Moreover, not only is there a limited set of actions, but other than death or mission failure, there are few repercussions to our protagonists actions. This lack of dilemma (or reward other than wealth or power) creates little motivation and incentive and reinforces the connective chasm between the player and the protagonist.

For example in FPS games, basically they run, strafe, shoot, jump, pick up accessories, and the player uses these basic actions to formulate his tactics. In RTS games, the player is a God, at least in terms of his own troops, often with ultimate authority over how his forces will act. In RPG's, the essence isn't about "role" playing, but more about gathering "experience", welath, or more power.

The common problem running in all these genres and game modes is that the player himself isn't really immersing himself in the imaginary world provided by the game designer. I believe the biggest problem is one of a lack of gameplay choices that the player has at his disposal. The second reason is a game world which does not encourage an immersive feeling or one which the player can empathize with. For example, I am eagerly awaiting Call to Duty on the premise that in a war, you never fight alone, or just for yourself. To me, being able to save others is a far more rewarding experience than running around and blowing people away. Another reason for a lack of true vicarious experience is one of inconsistency or what I call "lack of plausible deniability". This goes somewhat hand-in-hand with a game which is not immersive, but it's a bit more specific. This means that the game is too "unreal" given the rules of the game world itself, such that it no longer makes sense why certain things in the world exist. To me, this is the great killer of enjoyment for me in RTS games and many RPG games.

I think that humans have an inherent need for direction and purpose. I believe that some players prefer games that aren't too freeform. If the player is allowed to do whatever he pleases...that may sound fun because he's not being restrained by the stroyline visions of the game designer, but at the same time, it's hard to piece together a meaningful connection with the world around the protagonist. In other words, a storyline helps the player feel that the protagonist has a role to play, and fits into the world.

I believe there are 3 kinds of gamers. Gamists, Simulationists and Narrativists. Gamists play primarily to win. Story and immersion aren't as important as beating everything. Even balance should only insure that no one has an unfair advantage over him. Simulationists want to experience a "virtual world" as accurately as possible given the world rules (i.e, simulationists don't mind fantasy settings, as long as there is consistency and an internal logic to the world as a whole). Winning is not necessarily the be all and end all, but just recreating what "should" happen given various scenarios. Narrativists want to tell, and be told a story. Realism is unimportant if it gets in the way of a good tale. Freeform style can be suited to these types in MMO style play...assuming they can find other like-minded narrativists to play with.

The notion that all gamers play to win is a false one. I for one loved to play tragic characters in roleplaying games. It amused me to play a character who in order to keep in character, was forced to sacrifice himself to be true to his principles or to achieve a goal. The more we can connect ourselves to the protagonist, the greater the emotive, intellectual and visceral impact we can create.

[edited by - dauntless on October 11, 2003 2:33:47 AM]

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I know what your getting at. I find it really hard to think non-traditionally. Probably because I played too many traditional games. The best solution would be to tell half a story or maybe the background and then the basic plot to someone who hasn''t been into the gaming scene or whatever. Then ask them what would be fun or at least get them to tell the rest. If youre a teacher, take the problem to the class room as a creative writing assignment.

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quote:
Original post by Dauntless
...
I believe there are 3 kinds of gamers. Gamists, Simulationists and Narrativists.
...
The notion that all gamers play to win is a false one. I for one loved to play tragic characters in roleplaying games. It amused me to play a character who in order to keep in character, was forced to sacrifice himself to be true to his principles or to achieve a goal. The more we can connect ourselves to the protagonist, the greater the emotive, intellectual and visceral impact we can create.



I guess I'm a part of all. Mainly the Narrative one. I'd play a game then save at the crossroads so I could play both scenarios.

along with TechnoGoth, a realtime game is something i totally forgot about. I don't know how many games I've played where when a warning was given, i thoguht to myself, "Bah! I got time. don't you tell me to rush." I was thrown off maybe once every 15 games when they actually had a time limit.... but only at certain parts.
Dauntless also said something I agree with but I didn't bring up (/me has too much on his mind) being able to truely "play" the character. many times you just control them but don't feel what they feel. I'd like all games that you take the position of the character, to take out the stuff that doesn't relate to them. I mean this when you finish a level and it goes to a video and it's from a view that they normally wouldn't see. Like: I'm in a sewer at the moment... why am I knowing about the villian's evil plans?

[edited by - trapdoor on October 11, 2003 2:51:20 AM]

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I''m beginning to think that an RPG type game should be in realtime, and should allow you to play a large segment of your character''s life (i.e. perhaps 20 or 30 years) and because I don''t believe the player should ever participate in dull or mundane moments, it stands to reason that only short segments of the character should be played. If the program can ''on the fly'' manufacture and articulate the events between segments in a stylish sort of way, then I think you''d have an excellent type of game.

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Has anyone seen the TV series "24"? It seems to be TV equivalent of the current train of thought, since each season is 24 episodes, each one hour, that comprise a single 24 hour time span, and each show is in "real time". In other words, there are no gaps of time, you are always watching the show from some aspect.

Each series so far is a different 24 hour span, skipping the more mundane moments of life. Instead of a recap of what has happened in the time span in-between, it is revealed during the show in small bits of information that fit with the storyline. Between seasons 1 and 2 there is a gap of a few years, making it more similar to what you are thinking, Bishop Pass.

I really like the idea of making the player sit down for a certain span of time and just play. No pauses, just non-stop progression/action. These could be split up, but I think that the 60 minute span mentioned previously as a single game would be enticing. Future games could utilize the same engine and create a new 60 minute show, creating cheaper, more frequent games. These games could be less like movies, and more like TV series. Each game would be less of a sequel, and more of a progression of the plot, much like in an anime series.

Lol, I''ve already written more than I planned, I''ll stop here.

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I suspect that bishop_pass has been reading Socrates, such is the line of his questioning .

With regards to a realtime game, I once toyed with the idea of a time limited FPS, with only X number of hours before disaster struck (X depending upon the game difficulty). The game itself would be set in one huge facility (similar in size to HL''s Black Mesa), but the entire game would follow a huge interactive schedule. What I was planning to do was a foray into the questions of fate and destiny - you have twelve hours to save the world, how are you going to do it. Certain things may depend upon what you do, some things you have no control over. But you cannot be sure until you go there and do it.

This is more than Deus Ex''s approach of binary flags ("Have you killed this person before? No? Well they can stand outside your prison cell and laud over you"). What I toyed with was a representation of chaos theory. The schedule mapped out certain anchor points in time, with a causality too great for you to affect. Such as the world ending (or a huge disaster, or whatever it was you were racing to stop in your X hours). But surrounding these anchor points of certainty in the story and game world was a much more fluid system, where you had potential events, with no certain location, time, or other variables. Depending on outside global variables (ie, how many military men have you killed in this area? Lots? Well its quite likely then that more will be air-dropped in, and their AI is going to be quite more sensitive to your presence), and your (as the player) actions that would change these global patterns, would emerge a new gameplay that cannot be predicted.

Eventually I gave up on both the idea for a global countdown time limit (solve the game in X hours or you lose), and the causality system.

The time limit I gave up upon because I felt that it would frankly annoy the player, especially if they had just spent eleven hours going through but arrive at the end goal twenty minutes too late. You could make it fuzzy and not strict, but you''ll always get situations where the player feels cheated out of a victory, and not really wanting to go back and start over.
However, it may be possible for another designer to think a bit more and maybe ensure ways of making the player stay on schedule. Unfortuneately, that strongly implies linearity, which I cannot see a way around.

On the issue of the chaos and uncertainties surrounding the scheduler, this idea I liked more, but unfortuneately I decided I would have to drop. The reason being this time not for the player''s annoyance, but my annoyance. I realised that unlike a standard ''builder'' type game where the player determines the game play, such as Civ, there''s no guarantee that the player would have an interesting or fun experience. And this is the peril of all non-linear games of this sort. There are so many ways the player can go through the game, yet how many times is the player going to go through the game? Once? Twice? Three times perhaps? The fact was that I was going to have to make a tradeoff between the number of possible events and type of possible events, and the non-linearity. It was a trade off I didn''t want to accept. On the one hand, I could do an average number of events, but the fact of making it non-linear means that I would have to restrict the number of ''nodes'' in my non-linear ''network'' (its not really a network, but that''s another story). And I didn''t want to restrict player choice like that. On the other hand, I could make a great deal of events to match the network, but the number of events and associated material needed grows at an exponential rate to the size of the non-linear network (the game in other words). So what it really boiled down to was that to create the causality network on a suitable and fun scale, I would either have to repeat a lot of material, or create a stupendous amount, which there was no way I could have done with a small team.

Perhaps one of the great studios will do something like this eventually, but I dunno.

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I think a good way of solving that "player arrives 20 minutes late after 11 hours" problem would simply to have sub deadlines, like every hour. The main purpose I see for the continuous play is to make the play more immersive, try to build up tension, and beyobd that have the ability to put something in each segment that really makes the player want to go on to the next one instead of the player simply saving after a big event then stopping. Just like a TV series can throw cliffhangers into the end of a show.

If you know the player is going to sit there through a segment you can more easily build suspense, since the player can''t stepback and slowly absorb everything. Instead, you keep them going through the story at a nice pace that you set. You can also have evolving worlds, much like in MMOGs, except you can actually make the character have a storyline behind it since there are not millions of people playing. This is also very similar to web comics with story line, except each installment is longer and more involved.

I also understand where you are coming from with the linearity/choice conflict. The best solution I see is having a rather linear story, with variations affecting how the charachter can get through the story but not the story itself. For example, the decisions of the player over time could change the attitude of a character under their control until they turn to the other side in a major conflict, but the conflict was always going to happen in some form. That way, it is more like a storyline with little undulations here and there.

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Hmm, episodic approach. 24 is supreme at the cliffhangers... There''s an idea in itself for an indy project (or otherwise): Episodic maps. Tell a big FPS story with a cool cliffhanger at the end of each fortnightly map pack release.

Yeah, with the story in mind I had two concepts of the story. The first was the plot, which was fairly static, with little side bits as you described. You could find out more detail about it by going more places, but the plot itself was static. Where I was trying to make it nonlinear (and I am still, but without the grand chaotic scheduler) was in the story that is formed by the player''s experience. Games can tell a story without any plot, but one made of the memorable moments. In Half-life, the player helped form his own stories in how he approached various tasks. Camp and wait for the enemy to come around the corner? Or run out there, guns blazing and strafing to avoid being killed by the tank?

It was this gameplay story that the system was designed to make very fluid, as one time you might play the game, and you''d be in a certain place, and suddenly find a squad of troops being parachutted in around you. But if you repeated the game and came to the same spot, it may have already happened, or it may not happen for several hours, or it may happen elsewhere, or it may not happen full stop. The gameplay story was affected in a way too complex for the player too see (usually. If they sat down and thought about it they could reason why it had happened).

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Ahh, sort of like some of the more recent Zelda games, except that in Zelda the scheduling was either more simplistic or implemented in a way so that you could get a handle on it? In this case, have the player be more of a particpant in the world, and less of the central character. The enemy isn''t waiting for you to enter room X, they are bringing in reinforcements at a certain time whatever happens?

And I thought I should make clear that the episode approach is ALL about suspense. Levels in games today are rather nice pieces, so that each one could really stand alone. At the end of a level, you are generally given some sense of fullfilment. Instead, I want to make it so that the new loose-ends greatly outweigh the conclusions at the end of each episode, and conclude them midway in episodes. Intertwine the conclusioons and the new loose ends so that they are more seemless than starting with a loose end at the beggining of an episode and concluding it at the end of the level.

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I find it difficult to believe that Bishop_pass would mearly ask us to think outside the box again. It''s just not his style. Yet that''s the only way I can begin to aproach this. Let''s see...

the game starts with the player creating a character, getting to know the world a bit, and then the traditional traumatic event happens to the player''s character which the player is expected to set out intending to resolve. At this point I''m thinking that we play with "overall transition or continuity as the player plays" somehow. Rather, let''s now place the character in the role of what would''ve been the original character''s antagonist. The player now takes on that role and the game unfolds in such a way to explain that character''s actions to the point where perhaps the player begins to sympathise a bit. One direction to take this would be to switch the player''s control between these two characters until the inevitable "final battle" where the player can choose between one or the other character.

It''s not really a direction that I''d take, though. If we''ve gone so far as to have the character play two characters, then why not more? Not the sort of thing where a variety of characters come together with a comon goal or where one character needs to do something so that another can complete some other goal. Rather, just a sort of examination on how the lives of various characters intertwine and affect each other.

Anyone seen that episode of The Simpsons where they do a couple minutes on the lives of each character? That would be the simplest way to describe the idea I''m thinking of. I think this would enable you to change the view or feel of a game while it''s in progress creating a unique experience for the player.

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quote:
Original post by bishop_pass
I don''t believe the player should ever participate in dull or mundane moments


100% agreed... Enter the Matrix suffered very badly from making you do boring things.

Why not go back to first principles? It seems to be the thing to do in other situations where you want to think outside the box...

"A game is a series of interesting choices."

Well, that supports my above quotation of you; if the game is dull it''s a break in the series. So I guess we get two questions from that:

1) What is interesting?
2) What is a choice?

Taking RPGs as an example... I don''t find rearranging my inventory interesting. So why do I have to do it? The game should manage it for me - or better, make it transparent so that I just move items to and from my inventory, without being able to see that my broadsword is next to a load of potion bottles in my backpack. Or, in Enter the Matrix, I don''t find running around the outside of an empty sewer room for 5 minutes ''interesting'' (not to mention that I didn''t have much of a choice - do it or just sit there).

With that criterion, we can eliminate some such ''fake'' gameplay from designs.. what else have we got?

Choices. Hmm... the dictionary definition is not much help; it suggests ''to select from a number of possible alternatives,'' and ''alternative'' in turn says ''one of a number of available choices.'' So I guess when it comes down to re-evaluating ''choices,'' all we can really play with is the possible alternatives; the act of choosing in and of itself can''t really be tampered with.



Superpig
- saving pigs from untimely fates, and when he''s not doing that, runs The Binary Refinery.
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