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Ketchaval

Depth

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Can we add depth to games ? Or is that impossible ? What methods do we have ? Can we more layers of meaning to games so that astute & not (so astute) people can "Get" extra layers of meaning? I DON''T mean hiding gameplay clues in the background Disney comedies ie. Pixar''s Toy Story & Disney''s The Lion King appeal and cater to a wide audience !! They are enjoyable on a simple & fun level for kids, but they have more historical depth (ie. the Stormtrooper imagery of the jackals marching), a love story, adult humour which the "Grownups" will appreciate.
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While I agree with what you suggest wholeheartedly, I think Disney is a particularly bad example. The Disney formula only REALLY appeals to one age group, 6-13 yuear olds. The other material is added to give a superficial context underwhich an adult can NOT go insane watching it, but offers no REAL subsatance, and certainly not DEPTH.

For a good example of a movie that deeply appeals to many different demographicsa is Miyazake''s Princess Mononoke. I have seen this movie with boys and men, girls and women, and even some who were neither, and everyone got a deep and meaningful experience from it.
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Myiazaki rule the animation movies world IMO.

I can only say that you can follow Myiazaki, Herbert to create deep involved story.
D''ont forget anything you might find in the world, rely on some little event that are just in here to make the player feel the world is living , even without him.

You want to make a game submersive ?
Ask the player to make choices that will make him loose somethin g valuable but give him a better feeling of who he is, and how good he is.

Simply forget about Stupid Baldur''s gate in which you are free to do only one thing : follow up the story, evil don''t exists in baldurs gate so it should not be available..

Avoid offering people false choices.
Each choice should change something or it''s not a choice.

-* So many things to do, so little time to spend. *-
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LF, I''m gonna make a professional career out of disagreeing with you.

I think the Disney movies are a great example, and I''ll cite Tarzan as a favorite. First off, I have to say that there are personality types for which this movie is __COMPLETELY__ inappropriate (if you can''t turn off the analytical hemisphere, you''re going to have problems).

But if you get out of scientist mode, the elements: the a love story, the comedy that appeals to children and (some!!) adults, the breathtaking animation, and easy to listen to music work at multiple levels. (In fact, a lot of kids movies like this have jokes that children *will not* get, but for them there''s the slapstick humor)

I believe that not only can we do this, but we can do better in games. We can do it not just in terms of information, but gameplay itself. In fact, with the mutable nature of the medium, we can better emphasize different elements based on who we think is playing or how they''re playing.

Here''s an example: Let''s take Unreal. I''ve played a lot of games with two friends who happen to be married to each other. They have a six year old daughter who loves to watch them play, *and* loves to play a first person shooter herself (Mortimer the flying snail, I think).

Now, I can imagine that by tweaking variables like physics collisions, movement, hit points, etc. you could make a *game* that both a kid and an adult could play. You''d be designing the game for them to play together, and as a result extensibility and user changable options would be king.

If you imagine that the future has home networking as a natural part of the household, and computer games are as natural as board games, then this doesn''t seem so far fetched.

--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...
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One movie that reveals more jokes the older you are is the Princess Bride ... it''s a classic ! Kids love it, and most of the adults do too ... comedy, romance, torture, magick, fighting, fantasy, narration ... a great movie ...

Go ahead ... disagree with me ... I dare you ...

Merrick
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Mononoke = great anime

Princess Bride = great movie

i''m just going to trow out a game with a story that i thought was very nice, quite linear and the end was more reading than game play, but it remains my favorite game of all time because of how deap the story got, and how well the charactors where developed. Xenogears made by squaresoft. i say that game has quite a few things going on in it, and thats why i love it.


-------------------------------------------------
Don't take life too seriously, you''ll never get out of it alive. -Bugs Bunny
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I'd love to make games which kids, and their parents could play together and enjoy a lot. Or boyfriends & girlfriends.

Cultural references wouldn't work outside of the targetted Country audiences ie. not work in France, Germany etc.

Linguistic references might work, although again only in the context of certain countries. Ie. When watching me play Ultima Underworld 2, when hearing the name Iolo my grandmother that that he might be a druid (as it is a Welsh name), she wasn't far off as in fact he was a bard. (He had probably been in the Eistedfodd (sic?)).

Landfish Quote:"The Disney formula only REALLY appeals to one age group, 6-13 yuear olds. The other material is added to give a superficial context underwhich an adult can NOT go insane watching it, but offers no REAL subsatance, and certainly not DEPTH."

The Lion King & Toy Story certainly do appeal to far a greater age range than you give them credit, it may not appeal to you but it does to many others.

(TLK) is a great slice of entertainment that I have watched many times, and so have many of my friends, it doesn't bore you to death when you watch it unlike other films / cartoons which have been manufactured to appeal only to children.


So what we are infact talking about here is two things

1. Depth of Content > Ie. Lots of things that different people can find in them.

2. Range of Appeal > Whether people from a wide range can enjoy it, children on a fun (even gah, slapstick) good yarn level, and adults which can find things which keep them interested too. -Whether love stories, philosophy, or subtle humour (or anything else that appeals to them).

Edited by - Ketchaval on October 1, 2000 7:34:13 AM
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Yeah, I agree with you guys on the Disney thing. There are a lot of movies oriented toward all ages, and all ages love them. However, I want to chance an argument that you''re welcome to argue.

To be honest, I can''t disagree with you on the whole "dynamic audience appeal" thing. I think it''s extremely possible---perhaps even relatively simple---to make a game that appeals to all audiences. But I have to admit, I''m not going to do it.

The reason is because I am my own audience. One of the rules of game design is that you make something for yourself. So, this automatically makes me a poor designer for children''s games. Incidentally, this will make a lot of people really bad game designers.

So, you can definitely make something deep, vivid, and dynamic. The only catch is, it''s got to be something you enjoy, or else you won''t do a very good job with it.

For example, my ideas will always contain violence and adult humor. I''m an adult, I curse frequently, and I enjoy violence and morbid humor. The only three authors I read are Michael Crichton, Stephen King, and Clive Barker. One is techno-thrillers, the other two are horror.

Who I am will define exactly what type of games I choose to make. My stories will always be top-notch, because I''m extremely conscientious about plot details. However, you will probably want to keep your children away from the computer while you''re playing my games.

(Please note that I''ve not actually released a game yet. I''m a prospective designer, so this is all hypothetical. I''m only saying this to establish a point.)

On a final note, and in response to Ketchaval''s original post about adding depth to games, I''d like to point out that many RPG''s this day and age have depth beyond the typical player''s awareness. Simplest case would be Final Fantasy III (VI in Japan):

Is GoGo actually Daryl in disguise? She did crash-land on the triangle island, and nobody saw her buried.

Is Shadow Relm''s brother? They have a lot in common. (If you''ve seen Shadow''s dream sequences, you''ll know what I mean.)

What the hell is up with Siegfried the imposter?

As you can see, games can have depth beyond what players see at first glance. Once they pick up on it, a whole new set of mysteries is opened up. My advice to designers is: follow through with those mysteries. Make a sequel if you have to.
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