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Kertap

Misdirection

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I was just replying to the Alternatives to dying post when I remembered something in a game that I absolutely loved. It was a text adventure done with tads. You start the game in a bedroom, you see a suit. You need to wash, shave, dress, eat food, get in the car, drive to work, use your card to get into work and then you talk to your boss where it all goes pear. It turns out that your an imposter and the person who''s car you dorve to work as was found dead under the bed and you get the gas chamber. If you replay the game and look under the bed you see the dead body and you can drive to mexico with the victims money and his tv. The game took like 15 mins to play but dammit what a 15 mins. Anyway, what really got me was that as a player I had a certain expectation on what I was supposed to do and that was all wrong. I think it could be interesting to do the same to a player at the start of a game. Get them to use there common sense to make a huge mistake, which they would then probably learn from. It would probably drive a player mad if you kept them off balance like this. EG. player is a vampire but they don''t know it, theyre injured so they use a cure potion thing but it hurts them cause potions are divine and they are undead. heh heh. Evilness.

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I kinda like the design. That is absolutely will boost the replay value. The players would find out that what they have been playing was actually only a side story.

quote:

It would probably drive a player mad if you kept them off balance like this. EG. player is a vampire but they don''t know it, theyre injured so they use a cure potion thing but it hurts them cause potions are divine and they are undead.
No that''s not smart. Either way they will find out that the potion that is supposed to heal them actually injures them, so they will think "why does this potion is marked as potion of healing but it kills me, that must be a bug."

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Also people might be a little miffed to learn that they have to go through the beginning of the game again and again to get to different endings, and there''s no way to figure it out the first time through.

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I think what you describe, Kertap, would only make sense for a really short game. Otherwise, you spend a lot of time playing the game only to find that by using common sense, you lose. That would disappoint people and they wouldn''t want to play again.

Now, I still like the idea though. However, I would do it kinda differently. I will take the game you described as the base. Imagine this:

You start in the bedroom. You do all the stuff: dress up, eat, etc, drive to work, go to boss, get accused of killing a person, get into prison. But the game goes on, and you are able to get out of the prison, and run off to Mexico to hide from the police. Eventually, it shows you some ending. Like: "You lived in Mexico for NN years, made some money doing such and such, and eventually returned to America."

Well, now you know that you killed someone. So you start the game over just to see whether there is, in fact, a body under the bed. You find it there, so instead of going to work, you pick up and flee to Mexico right away. You stop at some small motel, and spend the night there. In the morning, you find a note slipped under the door. From it, it follows that you are a hitman, and it tells you where you can pick up the next assignment... In the end, someone recognizes you and says you are *not* in fact a hitman the note was intended for, so the person ordering the hit hires another man to kill you. You run, and finally get to some other satisfactory ending. But in the process, you are given a clue as to how to find out your real identity in the room that you started out in.

So, then, you start over again, and lo and behold, you get another clue as to who you are and what you are supposed to be doing! And this goes on and on.

Well, however cool it would be, it seems it would require a strong backstory so as to not be too cheezy, and an incredible amount of stuff to do.


Phlegmatic Weasel

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the way I see that working is that when you die, or something bad happens, the time rewinds to the place it was before. Meaning that the game wouldn''t end. You''d just start everything all over again. Of course you''d knew much more this time around.

But yeah, this would work only on a very "short" scenario... but it should be very detailed still. The max time passed in the game world could be something like only hours, but every decision you make or don''t make would count. And you''d be given more and more clues that help you play it from the scratch.

Sorta reminds me of "tru calling"... and that''s not a good thing.

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quote:
Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
Also people might be a little miffed to learn that they have to go through the beginning of the game again and again to get to different endings, and there''s no way to figure it out the first time through.



This wouldn''t be much of a problem as long as the beginning is simple enough and the different paths branch fairly early. Or you could have the game "save" at different check points (I''m sure there are many games that do this, the last I played was Oni). So you can try the game again from any check point you''ve already reached.

Should appeal to anyone who liked Memento. (Oh, I''m chasing him. No... he''s chasing me! ) As noted, it''d be difficult to keep it from becoming cheesy, though.

A similar idea would be to do something like Fallout I&II, but with more ways to finish the game. You could even do something like what you do "creates" the story, like if you look under the bed you find the body and have to deal with it, but maybe if you never look, it''s not there. If you don''t find the body and go to Mexico anyway, you''ll never get the hitman note under the door. (to steal Phlegmatic Weasel''s story) But perhaps you open some other storylines.

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First off what I was describing was a really short game. I can''t remember the name of it though. But I think that something that isn''t as extreme as described would put the palyer on their toes and I think would best be used at the start of a game.

Just to clarify, I''m not talking about a whole game that works like this, I would use it only in a small space.

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quote:
Original post by Kertap
First off what I was describing was a really short game. I can''t remember the name of it though. But I think that something that isn''t as extreme as described would put the palyer on their toes and I think would best be used at the start of a game.

Just to clarify, I''m not talking about a whole game that works like this, I would use it only in a small space.

Hmm, I think it might be better to apply this to the whole game, and make it central to the design from the start. Like Phlegmatic Weasel and Way Walker wrote, this could be a good concept if you thought it through thoroughly.

On the other hand, players don''t like it to be made looking like a fool. If they think they play a normal game and find out they behaved very stupidly while trying their best, they will not like the game! But if the concept is clear from the beginning (the time travel stuff) they will accept it as the rules of the game and not have a problem with it.


------------------------------
There are only 10 kinds of people: those that understand binary and those that don''t.

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quote:
Original post by Way Walker
Or you could have the game "save" at different check points (I''m sure there are many games that do this, the last I played was Oni). So you can try the game again from any check point you''ve already reached.


Say, that''s pretty good. Maybe if you could build the story as a sort of branching nodepath, and then set "checkpoints" at important junctions... That way, you could say, "All right, that box has poisonous gas in it, so what if I go back to that time when I had stolen the box, hadn''t looked in it, and was in a room full of bad guys. They machinegunned me, but if I had put on the rebreather and opened the box before they came in... Let''s try it." And then you could go back to a point where the appropriate conditions had been met and try that out. Hmm... It''ll take a little more refinement than I gave it here, of course.

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Trying to be OT here, i''m just going to ramble off a few ideas. Lets look at what misdirection is at its basis. Why is it used in the first place? Magicians use it to keep the spectators attention away from the heart of his trick. So misdirection is a way to keep the players attention somewhere else.

The game mentioned in the OP uses it to trick the player into taking a possible branch that leads to his demise. The way the game is set up, the character is mislead to believe he has to go to work at the begining of the level. Simple short elegant form of misdirection. Perfect form of an example of it in a game. With this way of using misdirection the player isn''t allways completely sure about what he has to do in the story and where it''s going.

Looking at this method on a grander scale, how would it be used in something like story development about conspiracies? If it were set in a quest based world.. you could have the player start out as a freedom fighter against his government. At first he has 12 different leads on 20 or so different conspiracies he has to go investigate. So 12 levels crammed full of alot more information. Each different lead has 2 or 3 conspiracies associated and tied in with it. Each different lead has different takes about what conspiracies are about what and where they''re coming from.
After those dozen levels, the game could change completely from play per level to an entire world you can move around. Structure it somehow like how RPG''s go from linearity to freedom, much like FF6. After the first 12 levels, the player doesn''t know what the hell is going on in the story. Where are the good guys, Who''s doing what? Which ones are true and which ones are fake. Keep feeding the player missions to go dig around in all the depths of the conspiracies, but as he begins doing all these missions, the story begins to unfold, untill it is finally revealed completely for it''s truth. The entire time he was in a dream world in a machine at a government lab. The whole entire game was all an elaborate dream created to hack info out of his brain. In one sudden realization the character awakens inside a sensory dep tank and because of the energy feedback of him awakening from a controlled dream state, the equipment begins to short out. From that scene it zooms out of the compound, looking much like 1982 buildings. The building begins to collapse in on itself and explode. Somehow, because of the technology involved, and the way you realized the dreamstate, an energy vortex opens and all is sucked into it within 100miles. Cut to credits.
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But wait, after the credits the game isn''t over. The screen fades to white and your character is standing there. You touch the small glass orb hovering there and all the main events of the game that shows you exactly where all the truths are flashes over the screen. Suddenly you awaken back at the beginning of the game. Back where you started. Back in the dream. This time you have some sort of divine knowledge though. Does the game end the same? I bet whoever is playing would have to find out sooner or later. Think super mario world. After you beat the game and got through all the star warp levels, you started the game again in wacky looking mario world. Wasn''t much difference, but I had to beat it all over again just because the graphics were replaced.

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quote:
Original post by Kertap
First off what I was describing was a really short game. I can't remember the name of it though.


9:05

Everybody should also play Shrapnel, and Photopia. It shouldn't take more than a couple of hours to complete all three.


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[edited by - Kylotan on March 31, 2004 3:20:13 PM]

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This isn''t, as far as I can tell, a design forum that specifically caters for commercial games. So the people talking about a game that''s too short need to break that habit and consider that not every game has to be an artificially padded 50 hour tale of growing from a generic shit-shoveller to a generic world saving hero. In some cases extending the lifespan of a game because it''s ''what you do'' just destroys the good idea at the heart of it.

Unfortunately, the only viable place where these unsullied ideas can currently exist is in the interactive fiction community, because there''s no overhead for building a game engine to your specification. If you want make a game based around one great idea, you can do it, because it''s not going to take you a year to get a basic engine up and running.

Mods for popular games are a good alternative, but in many cases a barrier is hit as soon as you try to do something that doesn''t involve blowing something else up.

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