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Grim

Character-based representation

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Usually the representation of modern games is more or less objective; that is, the player sees the world as it is. This does not imply omniscience, but the fact that if the player's character can see something, the player will see it also, but in the way an omniscient entity would. For instance, if the player's character sees something that in its physical manifestation resembles a man, the player is shown a man. If the man happily greets the player's character, the player will hear a happy greeting. If the character sees a mirror, it is represented as a mirror with a reflection (consider a third person viewpoint where the mirror is really just a surface with neat sphere/cube/whatever-maps of the environment). I would think it would make a major difference to show the game world to the player as the player's character senses it. I'm not talking about first person viewpoint here (as it really isn't necessary for what I'm talking about here), but rather that the representation of the game is filtered through the character's mentality. In the preceding example the character saw a man. What if in a fit of madness the character thought that the man was actually a demon coming to destroy him? Or maybe the man is from a different culture and his happy greeting is the vilest possible insult to the player's character considering the cultural differences? In my opinion, the player should see a demon and hear an insult, respectively. As for the mirror, the character might think he is actually seeing into another room, so there really should be a room and not just a sphere/cube/whatever-mapped shiny surface. The point is, another day with a different character, given the very exact same situation, the player would see a completely different thing because of the character's different mentality. If you play as a raging barbarian, everyone seems weak and the world is displayed red. If you play as a paranoid colour-blind weakling, you might see glimpses of ferocious beasts in the dark alleys in the otherwise colourless world. If you play as a hammer-wielding maniac, everyone looks like a nail. And so on... Replayability by changing the representation. Moreover, this would make multiplayer gaming interesting, as different characters would see things differently, someone might see the approaching man as a demon while his party member would see the man as a saint. Any thoughts?

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You may wanna take a look at 'Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth', to be released in 2005.

Quoting from Gamespot's Q&A:

Quote:

GS: The sanity of a character plays an important role in the game as well. How do the characters lose their sanity, and what are some of the side effects?

AB: You lose sanity points by placing yourself in stressful situations or whenever you witness something horrible or find out some forbidden information about Cthulhu and his minions. You can gain sanity back by slaying evil creatures and doing good deeds such as rescuing NPCs or successfully completing goals. Sanity effects include things like hallucinations and visual distortions (motion blur, etc.) as well as your character showing obsessive behavior such as nervous twitches or constantly loading and unloading his gun.

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upon first thought, this seemed a little silly.

after i thought about it for a while, i began to realize what kind of implications this would have. you mentioned one example where your party members saw a friendly man approaching to greet you. however, you see an evil demon with a malevolent grin on his face.

you would immediately tell your friends, "draw your weapons! this is a mighty foe!", and someone might turn to you and say, "what the hell are you talking about? he probably just wants someone to hunt with."

perhaps he's not an evil demon after all! perhaps you're just paranoid. even while he conversed with your party members, you would keep your hand on your sword. if they decided he could join the party, would you ever trust him? no! how could you be sure?

talk about immersion.

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Original post by rootisreal
upon first thought, this seemed a little silly.

after i thought about it for a while, i began to realize what kind of implications this would have. you mentioned one example where your party members saw a friendly man approaching to greet you. however, you see an evil demon with a malevolent grin on his face.

you would immediately tell your friends, "draw your weapons! this is a mighty foe!", and someone might turn to you and say, "what the hell are you talking about? he probably just wants someone to hunt with."

perhaps he's not an evil demon after all! perhaps you're just paranoid. even while he conversed with your party members, you would keep your hand on your sword. if they decided he could join the party, would you ever trust him? no! how could you be sure?

talk about immersion.
That could be pretty cool.
You could also have the objects in the game affect how you perceive things.
Say you pick up an enchanted bit of armour, and it shows all the other characters as a physical representation of what is in their hearts. So that friendly looking elf who approaches your party could really be an evil dude, and you would be the only one to see that.
Or a big old nasty troll that's really a good guy, but everyone else in your party just runs up and hacks it to peices.
How about an item that slowly changes how you see things? At first you may see the normal characters, making you think it's just a plain sword you picked up, but eventually it changes to show you false images, so you slay the good guys, but the cool part is that you have no idea that your new sword is doing that and your party must either convince you something is wrong or just try to kill you, which would confuse you even more as to why they attacked you.

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Original post by rootisreal
you mentioned one example where your party members saw a friendly man approaching to greet you. however, you see an evil demon with a malevolent grin on his face.

you would immediately tell your friends, "draw your weapons! this is a mighty foe!", and someone might turn to you and say, "what the hell are you talking about? he probably just wants someone to hunt with."

perhaps he's not an evil demon after all! perhaps you're just paranoid. even while he conversed with your party members, you would keep your hand on your sword. if they decided he could join the party, would you ever trust him? no! how could you be sure?


If the paranoid character is truly delusional, he might also think his friend actually said "Yes, a fiendish creature from hell! We must hunt them down!" and go totally berserk. Also, if the character's paranoid tendencies grow, he might start to think his friends are turning against him as well.

There could be a skill for persuading characters to think in a certain way. In the example, the paranoid character might actually convince his party that the man is a demon after all, or the party might convince him that the man isn't.

Quote:
Original post by Wolfmanyoda
You could also have the objects in the game affect how you perceive things.

Say you pick up an enchanted bit of armour, and it shows all the other characters as a physical representation of what is in their hearts. So that friendly looking elf who approaches your party could really be an evil dude, and you would be the only one to see that.

Or a big old nasty troll that's really a good guy, but everyone else in your party just runs up and hacks it to peices.
How about an item that slowly changes how you see things? At first you may see the normal characters, making you think it's just a plain sword you picked up, but eventually it changes to show you false images, so you slay the good guys, but the cool part is that you have no idea that your new sword is doing that and your party must either convince you something is wrong or just try to kill you, which would confuse you even more as to why they attacked you.


The d20 spell True Seeing (or Know Alignment or whatever) could be very valuable in this kind of system. Then again, why would trolls be good or evil in the first place? It's really a question of comparing the moral values of the troll and the character's party. If they differ greatly, they might both consider themselves good and the other faction evil.

And what about the reverse of the item with magical properties: the character has an item which has no special properties, but he thinks it is magical. If he believes this strongly enough, he could actually see the magic in effect (while it would really do nothing special).

One thing to consider is the philosophical question on what is reality in the first place? Is reality some objective system that we observe, or is reality defined as the illusion our senses form in our minds? Without really getting into a discussion about trees falling down in forests with a questionable amount of sound, you could consider the fact that maybe there is no real objective truth in any given situation (of course we need some facts in order to make the game work, but all that is on another abstraction level). This would mean that the character who considers the approaching man a saint is just as correct as the one considering him a demon. In their corresponding realities these observations would be facts.

The basic point of this kind of system would be: knowledge is just an illusion.

And please don't turn this into a flamewar about absolute and relative measures of alignment. It's a rather philosophical question anyway, and when making a game, it's really up to the designers to decide which system the game uses.

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Nice idea, Grim. Surely it could be innovative to implement such features in the game, but I think different. To my mind the interpretation of ingame incident should be processed in player's brain's, not in game. It seems to me player 'plays' his character, acts some role in game world as an actor in the theatre, not otherwise.

Perhaps, that applies to RPGs mostly, so I recalled TRPG and LRPG, not CRPG ones ;)

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