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Shinkage

Nothing wrong with a good story.

64 posts in this topic

quote:
Original post by Ketchaval
A problem with that may be, people often reread their very favourite books ?



Erm, problem? That''s the point I was trying to make!
You play the game once, and you loved it. You feel like playing it again, and you do so, but somehow, you changed your playing speed by a few milliseconds, and now the outcome is different.
Imagine re-reading your favorite book and finding it has changed in the meantime!
The easiest way to avoid it would be to either rip out the interactivity after the first time, and be left with a "game movie", or simply store all the events that have taken place when you finish, and allow the PC to "replay" it as a demo.



People might not remember what you said, or what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.
~ (V)^|) |<é!t|-| ~
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Ah sorry, you didn''t seem to be saying that, it was appeared you were saying that you could make a game with no replay value, and just have it for the story : But that would make it really dull to play through the story.

MadKeithV Quote:
" Perhaps, all this talk of replay value works only for games that are simple, with no story? I''m thinking, a strong story-based game, that you can play ONCE, and then you have a really good book?"
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Hm, I still read that quote as saying "after you have played it once, you have a really good book." It''s a good game the first time, and then you don''t re -"play" it, but just watch the events again, because "playing" it again might reveal the places where you had less choice than you thought you had.


People might not remember what you said, or what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.
~ (V)^|) |<é!t|-| ~
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quote:
Original post by Shinkage

You see, to me this sort of "variety" is completely meaningless.



Okay, I think this is a matter of taste, and beyond that we can''t argue.

quote:

I dare you to cite ONE SINGLE GAME that does not provide at least as much non-linearity as having to deal with character''s health.



I don''t understand. Are you asking for an example of a game that provides more than character''s health as a non-linear factor?

quote:

Your point? A single example of a game that is good and entirely non-linear does not make for solid proof that non-linearity is superior.



To me it''s not a question of superior. It''s more a question of to which side of the continuum something lies: rigid, non-mutable, linear... or fluid, changable, non-linear. I don''t consider electronic stories or story-games lower forms of entertainment. I just don''t consider them real games. We disagree here, which is fine.

quote:

In fact, Civ seems to demonstrate more than anything that what makes a game good is how well the game is designed. How tightly it''s made. Age of Wonders wasn''t bad because they added linearity, it was bad because it just wasn''t a terribly good game.



Hmmmm... this I can debate you forever on. The core of the game they were emulating was: Master of Magic, or Civilization. The thing that makes these games excellent is the godlike freedom they bestow upon you. In my mind, Gods don''t follow constrained paths. They go where they please. This sense is somewhat at odds with story.
I think AOW failed to appreciate this, failed to give you enough choice. Because the game was infested with prescripted sequences (in an effort to tell a story) they took away the strategic detail and turned it into a mission based game. Now I''m sure this works for some, but it kills the spirit of being your own emperor, so to speak.

quote:

I''d say that, again, this depends entirely on the game. Nobody wants to play a crappy game over and over again, but some of the most hardcore "escapists"--the ones who play games through and through--can be found playing Final Fantasy, a decidedly linear game. Again, it has nothing to do with whether the game has a plot or not, it has to do with how well constructed the game is and, if it does have a plot, how well it is written and delivered.



When they play over and over, what effect do you think a plot that they''ll eventually know like the back of their hand has? I can only imagine that they''d get to the point where they ignore the plot, no?

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quote:
I don''t understand. Are you asking for an example of a game that provides more than character''s health as a non-linear factor?


I am asking you to provide an example of a game that does not provide at least as much non-linearity as character health. If I''m not mistaken you cited it as an example of what makes Quake non-linear.

quote:
Hmmmm... this I can debate you forever on. The core of the game they were emulating was: Master of Magic, or Civilization. The thing that makes these games excellent is the godlike freedom they bestow upon you...


Yes, this is true. It was a God game of that same sort. What I disagree with is the fact that making it more linear made it worse. What made it worse was *changing* it at all. I am completely unconvinced that Civ could not be done well with a plot. As long as the gameplay elements are compelling in their own right, then it would do fine. Problem with AoW is that the GAME itself just wasn''t designed as well as Civ was. What you DO in the game just doesn''t capture that same quality that made Civ such a classic.

quote:
When they play over and over, what effect do you think a plot that they''ll eventually know like the back of their hand has? I can only imagine that they''d get to the point where they ignore the plot, no?


Sure, I wouldn''t doubt it. Now remove the plot and see how many of them would have gone through it more than once, if at all... Not many I''d wager.
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quote:
Original post by Shinkage

I am asking you to provide an example of a game that does not provide at least as much non-linearity as character health. If I'm not mistaken you cited it as an example of what makes Quake non-linear.




Darn it, I'm still not clear on what you're saying. You're asking for an example of a game where non-linearity gives you what?


I cited Quake as an example because the combination of movement and resource management gave you interesting decisions to make. This is on the microcosm that is the current level you're playing. Move, duck, dodge, jump, turn, etc., etc.

I don't know of any highly linear "game" that gives you that many choices. Usually, it's "watch movie, click to continue." Sometimes they get really bold: "watch movie, make choice that has no impact, click to continue" (Wing Commander 3)

quote:

I am completely unconvinced that Civ could not be done well with a plot. As long as the gameplay elements are compelling in their own right, then it would do fine. Problem with AoW is that the GAME itself just wasn't designed as well as Civ was. What you DO in the game just doesn't capture that same quality that made Civ such a classic.



So you'd add a plot to Civ. This I've got to hear. What would the plot be? How would you remove / limit gameplay to impose narrative?

The only way you could possibly do this would be to destroy the game as it is. Let's assume that the plot has to be significant: That means that it has to affect world events (because that's the scale of this game). That then means that you have to invalidate player decisions at some point.

With linear narrative you have no choice! You can't, as a plot event, visit aliens or the drama of global cooling upon the Earth without completely screwing up the game! Why? Because it's a balanced contest where equal competitors pursue victory through decision making.

Your narrative would amount to random events, and many strategy gamers turn them off. Why? Because they interrupt this even contest of strategic thought and choice.

In a game like civ, narrative can do one of two things: Play second fiddle to the actual game, and be as minimal and ancilliary as the text sequences in Alpha Centauri or the movies in Tiberium Sun. Or, you screw up the game by imposing non-player made events that come completely from outside the system. (This == BAD)

quote:

Sure, I wouldn't doubt it. Now remove the plot and see how many of them would have gone through it more than once, if at all... Not many I'd wager.


No, then you'd probably attract the X-Com / Jagged Alliance crowd, which is fine by me.



--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

Edited by - Wavinator on October 5, 2000 1:53:32 PM
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Wavinator, we seem to have irreconcilable differences in our basic understanding here. I''ve put what I''m saying in the simplest terms I can, so at this point I guess it just comes down to the fact that we both disagree.

I guess my real problem is that you keep saying that what plot does is bad, but havn''t really said why. Well, needless to say I disagree, but I suppose that''s as far as we''re going to get with this.
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Yeah, we should both get awards for "Longest Thread Created By The Fewest People"

Oh well. Draw.

I actually thought the example of trying to provide a plot for civilization was the "coffin nail" in this argument, because it can''t be done without the results I noted above.

As a final note, I''d still like to know what your solution would be, though. Can you show me it''s not impossible? I''ve posted a separate thread on this.

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Just to jump in at the last minute, here are a couple of ideas...

- What if you had a game with NO choices that affect the action? What if all you could do was run around in 3D and watch things unfold? I could imagine a superbly detailed battle sim, ranging over lots of territory, with feints and surprises. Running around JUST WATCHING that would be fun, and more fun than, say, TV. And plenty of people watch TV, right?

- Now, let''s say that we want more control over the action. We can take a realistic, coherent world with certain starting conditions. There may be three ways the main conflict can turn out, and several subplots with different possible outcomes - maybe thirty or fifty different permutations. But does that mean that you only make thirty or fifty CHOICES during the game? No. It just means that many of your choices - "Do I walk right of left?" "Do I climb over that wall or walk through the door?" - don''t affect the larger plotlines of the world. You get freedom of choice, and you still restrict plot in a way that allows the author(s) (the game developers) to control meaning.

So, I think the gamer can have her choices, and the developer can have her control as well. Think about it - in real life, you have much more freedom of choice than in any computer game, ever. You have thousands of choices a day. But 999 of them will not affect the major themes of your life, your community, your nation, etc.

In short, I would say that all of the small choices a character makes ADD UP (through a built in and hopefully hidden point system) to larger "tendencies", and that these tendencies can drive the big events in certain limited directions. That''s not the only kind of game out there, but it''s certainly a viable mix of stort control and personal freedom.

Unless you think that which spoon you use to eat your cereal in the morning is a matter of "story".... ;-)

- gollumgollum
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quote:
Original post by Gollum

Just to jump in at the last minute, here are a couple of ideas...

- What if you had a game with NO choices that affect the action? What if all you could do was run around in 3D and watch things unfold? I could imagine a superbly detailed battle sim, ranging over lots of territory, with feints and surprises. Running around JUST WATCHING that would be fun, and more fun than, say, TV. And plenty of people watch TV, right?



I wouldn''t have a problem with this, and it could be very entertaining. In fact, there''s a shareware program someone made that simulates the history of a section of space, with dozens of races interacting over thousands of years. But I wouldn''t call such a thing a game. Entertaining, yes... but game, no.

quote:

- Now, let''s say that we want more control over the action. We can take a realistic, coherent world with certain starting conditions. There may be three ways the main conflict can turn out, and several subplots with different possible outcomes - maybe thirty or fifty different permutations. But does that mean that you only make thirty or fifty CHOICES during the game? No. It just means that many of your choices - "Do I walk right of left?" "Do I climb over that wall or walk through the door?" - don''t affect the larger plotlines of the world. You get freedom of choice, and you still restrict plot in a way that allows the author(s) (the game developers) to control meaning.



This seems to be the traditional compomise designers of level/quest based games go for. I think it depends __GREATLY__ on how much impact the plot has on the player. If you have plot tightly coupled with player actions, then I think this could be problematic for all the reasons I''ve described in this thread (namely, invalidating the player''s decisions). However, if you have plot rolling along as part of a rich background, and it''s impact on the player isn''t arbitrary and overbearing,, __THEN__ I think you have an awesome compromise.

quote:

So, I think the gamer can have her choices, and the developer can have her control as well. Think about it - in real life, you have much more freedom of choice than in any computer game, ever. You have thousands of choices a day. But 999 of them will not affect the major themes of your life, your community, your nation, etc.



True, but I don''t think we want to be nobody / everyman when we play games (by and large). We want to be the hero that slays the dragon, or the lone defender of Earth, or the winning coach, or the brilliant military conquerer. Being Joe Average can be cool, but it''s not the archetype I see played out as much in game.



--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...
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quote:
Original post by ahw

LMAO
ACtually, there was a short paragraph in the Doom games, I think it would be called flavor text rather than actual *story*.

Now I would agree though, that quake can offer some pretty dramatic moments of tension ...
"Am I going to make it to the next big health pack", or this famous scene where your comrade is trying to cross the field towards the enemy base, and get shot by a sniper. Then the doc try to rescue him and get shot as well, and the crying ... ooh the crying... or was that Full Metal JAcket ... mmm... OK.

To camp or not to camp, that is the question.


Technically we would call it a backstory.
''Doom''ing'' is anyway something we can do in real life, -altought it want be so many explosions but paint or laser

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quote:
Original post by dwarfsoft

Hmmm, Anon. That post you quoted was from the 18th of September. Are you a necromancer? The last post was on the 5th of october!



LOL! I was wondering who brought this post up from the dead...



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quote:
Original post by Gollum

Just to jump in at the last minute, here are a couple of ideas...

- What if you had a game with NO choices that affect the action? What if all you could do was run around in 3D and watch things unfold? I could imagine a superbly detailed battle sim, ranging over lots of territory, with feints and surprises. Running around JUST WATCHING that would be fun, and more fun than, say, TV.....


Are into something as Ultima Online?

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