Sign in to follow this  
Wavinator

Does your design have a moral context?

Recommended Posts

Morality is so open to definition by so many people that this is a fairly broad topic, but I'm more interested in two areas: Whether or not your game has a moral context; and (more interestingly) what your gut reaction to the topic is. Firstly, does the game you're designing (or games you wish to design) have the aim of having a moral context in the world at large? IOW, does it have something to say about right and wrong in terms of the life you've lived, the people you know or the ideas you were raised believing? If so, why? And if not, why not? Secondly, what is your reaction to the question in general? Do you think it has no relevance to what you're doing, or that games fall beyond the pervue of morality, even your own? Or is it just not something you think about?
This question came to me after talking with a friend about the game industry and nihilism. He's raising a 10 year old boy and struggling to counter what he feels are negative media influences with positive examples outside the realm of music, movies and games. We got into a discussion about the Grand Theft Auto games, which have long been a lightning rod where games and morality are concerned, and this prompted me to wonder how many people even consider this topic while designing. Personally, I think a lot of complaints that come outside our industry by the media centers around depiction and lack of consequences. I think the news media is always going to be stimulated to report on any sensational acts (such as GTA's gameplay around killing prostitutes), but that inclusion of consequences for behavior may reinforce the perceived moral value of a game. If, for instance, given a game where you can kill anybody the virtual society avenges virtual deaths, then it may be perceived as a game with moral merits. (Then again, this may be asking people to dig below the surface, something critics of the industry appear loathe to do.)
PS: Here's an interesting article on the morality of GTA: Vice City from three classical moral perspectives. (Access may require free registration).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
To be honest, my first thought was about my current project. In it, your characters have to take into account how their power will undoubtedbly corrupt everything and everyone if they abuse it. But they aren't strong enough to not depend upon it. Then I remembered GTA....

San Andreas pushes a lot of awful stereotypes in my opinion. I think there aren't a lot of minorities working at TakeTwo/Rockstar - that's for sure. I remember XIII's klansmen also - I just didn't sit right with killing them all like that, even as an african american.

Videogames I think are at the lower end of the offensive stuff out there. But then, just how much media has an "abundance" of morality at all? I don't think I'd let my child play videogames by him/herself anymore than I'd let him/her watch TV alone - It's supposed to be a form of entertainment, an escape. 6 year olds don't need, nor would they understand or appreciate a copy of GTA.

Hence most games tend to take an extreme, and are laced with violence, sex, and no choices/outs/alternatives. There are few exceptions: The Sims, Fable, and many others depend squarely upon you -- as it should be. Future games ought to try to distance themselves from specifiying a "moral code" of anysort, modern or fantasy. It's best, and safest, to simply allow the player to take on your world as he/she feels.

I await the day where I can play a FPS, not kill anyone, still save the planet, and can tell the heroine to shove it and go home.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Fiction has occasionally been described as an "ideological dressing-room". I think the interactivity of the game medium makes it uniquely suited to allow players to confront moral issues and choose how to evaluate them. This concept is key to the design of the collaborative game we are currently working on in the witing forum. This is also why I avidly followed the design of _Fable_.

On the other hand, I don't like how single-player RPGs have traditionally forced players to act with a particular morality to make progress in the game (ever try playing an RPG as a pacifist? ;) ) I'm sure we've all encountered games that are preachy enough about environmentalism or some other subject to make you gag. Some games, for example _Harvest Moon_, even assume that the player belongs to a certain religion! o_O

So, I think the essential thing to remember is that RPG/Adventure games are for the player to explore, moral philosophy just as much as the game's world. It's great and admirable to want your game to teach your player stuff, but just present them with ideas (by putting them in the mouths of NPCs, for example), don't try to force the player to agree with those ideas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by zarthrag
To be honest, my first thought was about my current project. In it, your characters have to take into account how their power will undoubtedbly corrupt everything and everyone if they abuse it. But they aren't strong enough to not depend upon it.


IMHO this is where FF8 went wrong. As a player I really didn't like being put ino a situation where I was told that using summon materia was harmful and a bad idea but there is no alternative so we're going to do it anyway. I would have much preferred if the game let me decide whether I cared about the side effects of summoning, or let me choose to spend effort searching for an alternative rather than just telling me there wasn't one. My philosophy is, "There is always an alternative."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Any game design that I have done has it's bits of moral inside. When I design stuff I might think an idea that I find pretty cool, but when I look at it with another light, it seems like it might affect the players feelings, toughts or the way he sees thinks, probable mixing right and wrong. So if I am going to let the player do things that I think that could be labeled as 'evil', I just try to state that even if you are supposed to do that in the game, it's probably not what a 'good' person would do.

Of course I have my limits, depending on the target. If you want to make a game for -10 years old kids you aren't going to let them murder people in the game. But even if it's for games for +18 years old players, there are always limits, certain things that I find that just shouldn't happen under any circumstance.

No, you shouldn't start to kill everyone you find just because your girlfriend dumped you. Of course you are sad, frustrated, confused and lot's of other things, but it will just make things worse to kill the majority of the living beings around you even if you don't f*cking care who lives and who dies, even if we talk about you or your friends. So I just try to keep things off the extreme.

Remember that games is about fun. Fun that might or might not get inside player's minds. People might be shielded from bad influences but they might not be, or you might be mentally shielded from videogame's influence or you might not be. So I just try to make the world a better world instead of screwing someone's mind.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I am all for choices in a game. More choices = more gameplay options = more possibility for fun.

But where I find fault is where the choices you are presented are predominantly on one side or another of the moral picket fence. GTA, for example, forces you to take the "dark side" if you want to advance the plot. This is annoying. Liberty City indeed, but where you are only at liberty to do immoral things.

For every immoral action you can perform in a game that affects the game world, there should be a moral action you can also perform that also affects the game world.

Take care.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Vidio games have been given a lot of the blame for violence which is truly undeserving.

Movies have been around a lot longer, so less people blame movies for spawning antisocial and amoral behavior.

Yes, Grand Theft Auto III allows you to do some pretty amoral stuff, killing prostitutes included. However, what about people who watched the movie Scarface, or the Godfather? What about the Soprano's? Sure your not 'controlling' the characters, but remember that in a vidio game thats all they are. Characters. Not yourself.

Should we also start banning books that are done through the perspective of a serial killer?

I think the real importance is to educate children of how this is separate from real life. I could play GTA3 for hours and hours and I would never act out violently. But, it only takes one kid who can't see the dividing line between fantasy and reality for the rest of us to get blamed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm not sure I entirely follow what you're getting at, but there is an angle that hasn't been tackled so I thought I'd touch on it.

There are lots of games that impose upon the player (in some way or another) an objective morality: that is, the ultimate right. The reason they do this I think is clear: it's part of the story that the player follows. Battling Zeromus at the end of Final Fantasy 4 (what a fantastic game that was!), you've got multifaceted monolithic evil and, in the end, you either confront that evil and defeat it, or the game does not end.

That's a pretty straightforward example, but there are lots more like it. What your game seems to be offering is something most games don't: nonlinear choice. If your game does have a sort of morality to it, my guess would be that it be just as modular as the rest of the game: give the player multiple choices. Multiple storylines. Multiple endings.

But if you make evil monolithic (that is, all evil operates from one source), I'll still play for the customization it offers. I looooove building my own spaceships. I do. =)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think it more then just trying to include morals into the backgroud of a game a designer has to make those morals relevent in the gameplay its self. FF6 and 8 claims that using guardian forces is wrong and harmful but at no time does that have an impact on the game play instead its just an interesting fact in the story nothing more. If feel that if the designer is going to include morality in a game then they should creat a game that allows the player to experince that morality and the results of their actions in relation to it.

If GF's are harmful to the player then the player experince the effects of contiuned use, whether its through gameplay effects or cut scenes. For instance if they cause memory loss then there could be a few moving scenes where after an intense battle the main character looks around only relize those who fought beside him are nothing but strangers with unfamiler faces. Or they have so single mindly pursued their goal and using the GFs that after defeating the final boss the main character descovers they have lost all they ever where and are now merely an empty shell who knows nothing but how to fight.

But at the same time if something is going to be considered morally right or wrong then let the player act according to that, if using GF is wrong then give them another path they can take it may be harder or longer but in the end they can still complete their objective.

As for whether I use moral in games the answer is yes, sometimes I like to make the morality I'm trying to portray alien to what the player may consider right and wrong, in this why I hope to get the player to experience a way of thinking that they may normally not consider.

Such as having the player play a ruthless corporate excecutive willing to stop at nothing to achive success and power. But at the same time causing them doubt and mistrust all their allies because they could be just a ruthless as the player.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't think I'd include a variety of faiths like there are in real life unless it was the driving force of the game. Morality is something I sometimes consider in a few game ideas I come up with, but not all of them. When I do I want to use that theme in a way that makes the player think a bit about their own morality. But, I've never been able to nurture that seed of an idea to anything that'd resemble a full grown storyline let alone a full game.

I've been playing Fable and it doesn't seem particularly easy or advantagous to be evil. But maybe I'm just not that good at being evil.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
in my project i put a strong moral point. one of the main points in the game design is to make people think about what is nearly daily-custody in games: exessive violence.

if you take a game you mostly do the same: kill bad boys, in one way or the other. as i don't like this tendency in games i am building a game around a gameplay which does not tolerate this killing behaviour. the player shall be forced to play without pulling out weapons to solve problems.

people can deny it but games have a strong influence. you think a child does not get the impression running around with a gun is cool and the solution to problems if games would not celebrate this behaviour?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This is often seen as an FPS/RPG issue, but I think the moral aspect of those games are actually less worrisome than the kind found in simulators and 4X style games. When you kill prostitutes and steal cars in San Andreas, you still know it's something you wouldn't do, and part of the fun is breaking such a bigtime more. But when you smash and exploit weaker nations and indiginous folks in Civilization or Master of Orion, gamers tend to look at this as acceptable (Realpolitick/Social Darwinist mindset) and, therefore, an accurate reproduction of the world. Likewise, I doubt any gamer considers the moral implications of taking on 'The Enemy' in any wargame or flight simulator like they do when they sneak up on some guy in Hitman and garrotte him.

Now, you can say this is unintentional, or outside the scope of the game, but I think that's a dodge. In the case of intention, we can see flight simulators and wargames (As well as more serious tactical FPSs that simulate special forces) purposefully avoiding the simulation of the effects of one's actions (When you fly your F-16 into Bagdahd to cluster bomb the armored division in the city center and miss, the bombs don't magically disappear, and when you wipe out metric tons of North Koreans for the good of the USA, you're not operating in a vacuum).

And when we talk about such effects being outside the scope of games, well, many of the 4X games purport to simulate societies, and that should include the negative effect of destroying such societies--and it should be more than a little black goo left on the terrain after the use of a nuclear weapon.

After all, we're locked into a conflict right now with a society in the Middle East and most people have no idea why. Maybe if Civilization or Civ2 or Civ3 or any of these incredibly popular games had taken the time to show the longterm effects of social conflict, then the kids who grew up playing them would have a better grasp on the state of the modern world.

Finally, I don't think it'd be too tough to build a fun, socially responsible tactical shooter. I keep seeing these commercials for Ghost Recon II, where specops wipe out a DPRK base and imagine if, after doing so, your next mission report shows the world to be less safe, instead of more. Have a few missions where the player assassinates some evil world leaders and then they can spend the next ten missions fighting the chaos they've unleashed. Blow up the Iranian nuclear enrichment facility and find out that, instead of making the Middle East more peaceful, it causes Iran to ramp up militarism, out of fear of future attacks. Fight in a war where public opinion back home has turned against you (Heck, that'd be a great feature for a flight simulator, it'd be an added level of difficulty) and you're forced to make military decisions based on political and social will. You can still unleash the same kilotonnage of explosives, but have the story around it more resemble real-world effects.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Maybe it's because I'm older now, but I only think of game designs that do include some kind of moralistic theme to it. Anything else is just escapism. And to me, escapism is like alcohol...in moderation it can be healthy, in too great a quantity it becomes harmful.

As I've mentioned a few times before, I'm Buddhist, and I'd like to create a game background that has Buddhist morality and understanding as a backdrop. There are plenty of games out there with a Judeo-Christian foundation to them, so I'd like to see some different points of view on the matter of ethics and morality. I think that everyone has their own interpretation of right and wrong, and the danger is that everyone wants their interpretation of right and wrong to be followed. When this happens, righteousness becomes self-righteousness.

Generally speaking, most Americans following the judeo-christian precepts of morality feel that morality is a strictly defined covenant between themselves and their creator that they must follow in order to be rewarded (by a nice afterlife). And yet there are so many other parents of morality that I think it very wise to expose these other perspectives to players. For example, most of the founding fathers of this country were Deists and believed that morality (and God) was revealed through nature.

The danger about introducing morality in games is the notion of standing on a soapbox and telling people how to think, feel, and behave. That personally is why I'm a Buddhist, because Buddhism doesn't enforce any external code or thinking upon you, rather it forces you to think and question for yourself. There is no dogma in Buddhism; no "Shall nots" but rather "should nots". Therefore the only people who will appreciate games that explore moral concepts are people who have open minds and are willing to question their own beliefs. Beliefs are really just interpretations in disguise, but unless you realize this, a person will never examine his own beliefs, and hence his own interpretations. So I think a game should introduce morality in a way that makes the player ask questions and think, rather than delivering moral imperatives like a Saturday morning cartoon.

The alternative is to create a moral context similar to Christian precepts which the majority of people can follow and agree with. But I believe there is a danger in this. Firstly, there's the problem of "preaching to the coir". Secondly, there's an old Japanese saying, "If you know only one religion, you know none". Diversity is the key to helping us understand the things around us, so if we limit ourselves to only one viewpoint, it makes it much more difficult (though not impossible) to do anything more than just scratch the surface of understanding.

Even in my strategy game design, there is a strong undercurrent of morality and even epistemology running through it believe it or not (mostly in the game background, but there's also quite a bit of it in the gameplay itself). For example, simply using your troops as cannon fodder (not valuing their lives) will make your forces nowhere near as effective as they could be. History has shown that countries that rely on human wave strategies rarely win. Russia using it several times in its history being a key exception. Vietnam also used this strategy effectively, and is illustrated by Ho Chi Minh's comment to a French delegate during some peace talks, "Even if you kill 10 of us for every one we kill of you....we will still win". But by and large, such strategies are usually fruitless. But would a player try to limit casualties because it's not a viable strategy or because he loathes the indiscriminate loss of life?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
RPTD:
I am a child of the old NES & SNES RPG's. And my first thought upon reading your post was "But how am I supposed to level up if I don't kill stuff?" Which is kind of sad, really. Of course, most RPG's set it up in a "kill or be killed" fashion, and if you run around killing tons of little wussy monsters, no one gives a flying rat's ass. Games like Ogre Battle at least tried to combat this slightly...if you send ultra-powerful units to beat up weak enemies, you get a bad reputation.

It did get me to thinking though...how *would* you level up in an RPG other than by killing stuff? XP from rescuing Lulu's cat?

But there again, what's the point in leveling up, if you don't kill stuff? Why do you NEED to be more powerful if you can't run around killing everything anyway? Maybe use some kind of reputation thing, where the higher your "level" gets, the more things (political actions, whether some NPC beats his kids, etc) you can affect? The problem with this is that by the end of the game you'd end up with a sickeningly sweet world where no one has any problems and everyone loves you. (Not much different from current RPG's, but at least you have the challenge of beating the final bad guy to satisfy you.)

So what's the answer?

xconq:
I never did like playing Civ games in such a way that all my nifty towns were just tools to produce bigass armies to beat up the other nations. Which is why I loved it when Civ3 made other ways to win besides the purely military. I'm perfectly happy never getting involved in a war, and most of the time I only build up my military because someone's looking like they're about to attack me. Then when I *do* get into a war, I usually lose. :P

Dauntless:
I'd love to see a game executed from a Buddhist standpoint. One thing about Christian morality that I've never liked is that far too many people do moral stuff not because it's the right thing to do, but because they'll get a reward (heaven) for doing it. Which is exactly why, in this hypothetical game involving cannon fodder, most people probably wouldn't even consider it from a moral standpoint. They'd think "it's more effective to do it this way instead," not "if I do it this way I'm a monster".

I think that in order to get people to take moral actions in a game, you have to get them to care about who their actions are going to affect, in a manner other than strategically speaking. Unfortunately, this is hard to do because it's rarely if ever been done well, and thus players don't expect it. Plus you get into the issue of kids confusing reality with fantasy (which I don't really think is an issue at all...kids do bad stuff because they think it's fun or they think their real lives totally suck, not because some video game told them to)...but then again, is it such a bad thing to confuse fantasy and reality if the fantasy being presented is more moral than their everyday reality?

Back to the caring about game people thing. You could do a lot of that in a game revolving around smuggling slaves out of Southern states via the underground railroad. Maybe it's not tactically sound to do this, in terms of what'll happen if you get caught, but imagine how satisfying it'd be to do, especially if the game gives you personal details of the slaves' lives. I wonder if a game like this would be viable...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by onyxflame
xconq:
I never did like playing Civ games in such a way that all my nifty towns were just tools to produce bigass armies to beat up the other nations. Which is why I loved it when Civ3 made other ways to win besides the purely military. I'm perfectly happy never getting involved in a war, and most of the time I only build up my military because someone's looking like they're about to attack me. Then when I *do* get into a war, I usually lose. :P


Civ was the first game I noticed where creating a military had real costs, the most obvious being that you couldn't have the most powerful economy if you were supporting a massive armed force. But I think, on that scale, it's more important to remember that the lasting effects of war are animosity and assimilation. The former is modelled from a national scale (If you don't kill an enemy player, their diplomatic stance toward you will be more negative) and the latter is represented in a short-term increase in unrest. But it's bigger and longer term than that. The cost of slavery isn't simply the economic waste of it, it's also the lasting social damage it caused. The cost of World War I was more than the economic loss due to destruction of property and industrial output directed toward war. The long-term effects of colonialism across the globe are Vietnam, Iraq, Korea, Iran, Algeria--hell, every major hotspot of the last forty years. Europa Universalis and its successors did some higher-level modelling of assimilation, but those are niche games whose selling point is uber-realism. These games should model that often, when you get into a war, *everyone* loses (See Vietnam, the Phillipines, WWI).

What's needed is a certain acknowledgement of the social effect of a player's actions. In Grand Theft Auto you get to run rampant, but the cops come after you. But in a tactical shooter you can wipe out bushels of bad guys and, as long as you achieve your objective, you're basically told you've done good for the world.

I look at this as a cost versus reward argument. Super Mother Theresa 2004 isn't going to sell many copies, but that doesn't mean that the (Relatively low-cost in terms of design and coding) inclusion of a little social perspective in the next installment of 'Ultra Secret Trained Commandos: Democracy's Last Hope'* is going to ruin the game.

*Ultra Secret Trained Commandos: Democracy's Last Hope is the groundbreaking add-on to Ultra Secret Trained Commandos, utilizing the patented "Super Commando Engine" with real-time modelling of faceless bad guys' intestines on bullet and flak related physics as well as mushed faceless bad guy bodies on tank tread performance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Wavinator


Firstly, does the game you're designing (or games you wish to design) have the aim of having a moral context in the world at large?


Yeah, for a few reasons. One, it's an interesting content type for challenge design. Two, it's anti right wing moralessness game design criticism tactics, three, the older players get, and the wider demographics become, these kinds of content values and contstructs are going to be one of the few places in design we can go to deliver more satisfying play experience progressive from the baser bang bang bling bling we seem to be cranking out now, four, in the beginning of game design (the game design extant before the written word when learning was oral tradition based, morals were the value (aka payoff/play experience derived) at the core of game design before challenge (but ball a in area b) took the art of game design down a level. Five, given the way the world is going, the failure of the education system, the failure of the institutional archetype systems and political systems, people will pay for this kind of value delivery through the nose, and so there is good econmic reason to design for it.

Remember when you used to walk away with a good feeling or thinking about something significant from a film back before you walked away with sensory overload from button smashing symbology at 189 perceptual frames per second as a poor but populist and profitable substitute for enteraintment? People still want the former.

Quote:

IOW, does it have something to say about right and wrong in terms of the life you've lived, the people you know or the ideas you were raised believing? If so, why? And if not, why not?


Not so much that, I think if there is so much of yourself in the work that the value of the game reflect your values, you've underdesigned. It's like writing a screenplay. Games, like film, are a mass communication entertainment medium. If you write (or design) a story that appeals to you, it's only going to appeal to people like you as well, which is a small (not mass medium) audience, and you really have to write yourself out of the story, just as you would design your personal moral view out of the game, in order for it to appeal to a wider moral of a wider audience. So even when you start the process of any artistic project, you write or design for yourself, in the end, you are writing and designing for every person. That's the kind of objectivity and scope inherently required in mass medium communications.

Currently, we satisfy this by meeting everyone's baser need to bang, bang, or, wizard wizard, but that is low level stuff, and not the games of the future. Not that tetris like stuff will not have just as much chance at popularity twenty years from now, simple fun games will always be popular, but game design and publishing are getting blockbusteritis, and scope, scale and depth are the only design criteria that meet the competition in those mass medium markets.

Quote:

Secondly, what is your reaction to the question in general? Do you think it has no relevance to what you're doing, or that games fall beyond the pervue of morality, even your own? Or is it just not something you think about?


Well, I'm not going to become the evangelist of morality in my design by any stretch of the imagination, but we must not forget that at it's root, a moral is a lesson, and is not qualitatively positive or negative, so you can design a moral value into a challenge design without advocating positivism or negativism either way, the lesson is the lesson is the lesson. Moral will substitute quite nicely for lesson. In the end, it is up to the user/player to make the final interpretation as to whether they got something positive or negative out of the design interaction in question. Satan could play Doom and weep in sadness because it is not carnage enough, just as jesus could play Black and White as a consummately good god and weep that it was not kind enough.

For my purposes, I just ask, along with the question, is this level fun, and does this challenge meet the range of mechanical abilities, environmental elements and intelligence challenges to be fun, and almost every time, depending on whether or not you have a gameworld with a wide enough array of experience, not usually found in the bang, bang, bling, bling, and open sesame kind of designs, you find there is a lesson involved in the execution of the mechanics necessary to master the challenge. Whether that lesson takes an entire game to resolve, several levels, or several per level matters not, the bottom line here is that lesson value, which I define as morals based on reason based on logic (just like it actually is; for interpretations of good or bad will ultimately be subjectively individuated, while lessons, reason and logic by definition are objective), has a take away value that will be different based on the psychography of the individual playing, yet will add value to the product beyond just the exhiliration of completing a challenge design with the tools normally implemented.

Quote:

This question came to me after talking with a friend about the game industry and nihilism. He's raising a 10 year old boy and struggling to counter what he feels are negative media influences with positive examples outside the realm of music, movies and games. We got into a discussion about the Grand Theft Auto games, which have long been a lightning rod where games and morality are concerned, and this prompted me to wonder how many people even consider this topic while designing.


I couldn't think of not using it, but the real challenge is not being a, heavyhanded and moralistic in the sappy, sing to savior schmegma already retarding civilizational advancement in general, b, abandoning it entirely when something without it included is more fun, thus serving the value driver better by excluding it, and c, a degree of restraint with the application of it because if you are designing a story driven game or a game with a lot of story underpinning an open interactive gameworld (and I specifically mean where player choice is not tied to a linear plot anywhere, a truly interactive game and not a designed response game) you are also, by definition adding a dramatic element to the design, and good drama is dramatism, not drama queeness, and that always means undestatement, common human bond element bound to the dilemma in the dramaturgy, and d, remember that in all great cathartic experience, you wait and wait and wait until practically the last scene to deliver the moral, because a little lesson goes a long way, and is like cayenne in the chowder, too much, and it's not art anymore, it's craft, and craft is *not* art. Heavy handedness and you've got a failed religion regurgitating hope onstage or in game, with no chance for actual salvation or redemption, which is only one kind of victory condition in morality play.

To use the most classic example in drama to illustrate this: In "Death Of A Salesman" our antihero, Willie Lohman, spends almost the entire play talking about how he's going to get out there and make that commission no matter how dire his financial circumstances are, despite the range of contrasting doubt Willie monologues. It is not actually until Willie *in physical reality, both in time and space* (as opposed to subjective speculation priorto and subsequently shortly thereafter) fails to make that commission, does all his anguish that has been beating the empathetic buttons of the audience for ninety minutes onstage or onscreen, come to an end and he finally finds an end to his anguish through suicide.

The playwright, despite the heaviness and solemnity and depressing an act as suicide is, makes it feel like relief and lightning swift redemption for Willie, because of the heavy, depressing, forboding, forshadowing spectre of failure and hope that you the observing audience have been been tormented by all play long. It is about three minutes after Willie kills himself (though it could also be interpreted as an accident for those in the audience in denial of it; and that was by design of the playwright becuase he knew his audience possessed some ambivalence, just as players will have) that the play ends.

So lightly does it if you do it at all, and, you'd better foreshadow it well so it works right, and you are not percieved as a heavy handed hack, which, I will testify, I have been called in the earlier years of my screenwriting career. And, they were right, it takes a lot of mastery to not be.

Quote:

Personally, I think a lot of complaints that come outside our industry by the media centers around depiction and lack of consequences. I think the news media is always going to be stimulated to report on any sensational acts (such as GTA's gameplay around killing prostitutes), but that inclusion of consequences for behavior may reinforce the perceived moral value of a game.


Well, the news will always be like that because sensationalism sells papers and commercial air time when share is high, but the real tragedy (to morally spin this a little) is that news organizations know if they give their audience a chance to feel superior to the subject being covered, their audience will like that and tune in tommorrow, or stay tuned tonight.

This is what has been the big psychological driver in the reality show phenomenon. People in their pitiful little lives love to, and eat with a spoon, every chance to feel superiority. This is a basis of comedy, which makes it so difficult to write. The next time you watch the comedy channel, listen for the material engineered to make you feel superior, and you will find youself laughing.

This is the human being on both sides of consciousness, and it isn't always a moral creature, so if you are going to put moral in your game, do so like the pros, or it will backfire on you.


Quote:



PS: Here's an interesting article on the morality of GTA: Vice City from three classical moral perspectives. (Access may require free registration).


The inherent problem with classic moral perspectives is that they were all invented in grecian, minoan or pre/post times, when people really gave a shit about this kind of human bearing. Greed and conquest have really taken the value out of values, and it is mostly just a bunch of anti litigatory corporate PR now, or insta-spin from less than educated masses, so even if you do perspectify it classical morality, it is a false comparison because nobody has as high a moral bearing today as the moral that the perspective is drawn historically against, all that really does is give you a distinction that allows room for alliteration, so you are really only serving your word count or your superiority articulation requirements when you write from that standpoint, so you are just fundamentally trying to turn lip service into entertainment, and how much educative value can the wrong approach have?

We live now in a soundbyte, sensebyte world, so morals are mostly used for political purposes currently, so the design choice of putting morals into games are going to appeal to those who wish for a kinder, more sensitive, more sanguine time, in other words, escape from the reality we now live in.

Which brings me to the real direction I think your question was pointing in. Is entertainment (interactive or not) simply now serving the purpose of softening the blow of harsh reality, when it used to provide out and out escape value?

To a civilization more and more attuned to it's own shortcomings, and less and less in denial, escape value will be harder and harder to actually attain, because of the higher and higher delta vee necessary for actual escape velocity from said harsh reality. Thus, entertainment is not getting worse and worse, our ability to catharsize is becoming stunted because we are less and less surprised because we are more and more aware in general, and we percieve entertainment as becoming worse and worse, when the job it is designed to do we simply need less done these days.

Mostly only games are offering high escape delta vee because of the newness of interaction in context of human perception, and the power of eye candy increase in real time to screen perception projection rates. I think we are going to have to introduce more morals in games simply to be able to change the art form to keep hard core players interested. Graphics are only going to do so much, speed is only going to be able to do so much.

It was like Will Wright said, "The graphics wars are over. The processor speed wars are over. The behavior wars have begun."

IMHO,
Adventuredesign

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
adventuredesign
bang, bang, bling, bling, and open sesame kind of designs

LOL :-D
I think you would find "Door, Monster, Treasure" a bit shorter to use. "Munchkinesque" even more so, but you need to know what a Munchkin is (see Dungeons and Dragons, and more specifically the eponymous Steve Jackson game).

Quote:

...snip...
So even when you start the process of any artistic project, you write or design for yourself, in the end, you are writing and designing for every person. That's the kind of objectivity and scope inherently required in mass medium communications.

Isn't that a bad thing?
I mean, it's economically sound, because the marketing guys want you to appeal to a wider audience, because that means more cash. But does that really serve the quality of the game, should that (appealing to a wider audience) really be the prime concern of the game designer?
I was reading something on Penny Arcade the other day that I found oh so true. Basically, the writer was saying "they redesigned the new game so that it would cater to the audience that didn't play the first game, depriving those who played it of the elements they bought the game for in the first place. Why should people who don't care about a game be rewarded, while the fans get dissapointed?"
I feel that what you are saying would defend such a position. In essence, if a game doesn't satisfy the expected sales, ignore the people that liked it and simply change it so you can make more profit the second time around.
That's rather, well, amoral to me. "What the heck, if people want blood, give them more! It's not our fault, we are just providing what they want".

I have had this same argument with many DMs (Dungeon Masters) over the years. I, for one, believes that players can be taught to enjoy something, if you feed it to them properly.
Whereas others argue that the game is supposed to be fun, and if people are happy playing DnD to crawl through mazes and slaughter hordes of enemies, why should we provide them with something else?
I see this mentality take over in more and more areas. I know a few DJs and some just won't play anything other that popular music, for fear of scaring "the crowd". Their only result is that they estranged the more hardcore elements, the very basis around which "the crowd" gathers. Their set has lost its personality, making it little more than a mish mash of unrelated songs vaguely related to rock.
By trying to please everyone, it has lost its focus, become nothing. By compromising, nobody gets really satisfied, everybody complains.

Quote:

So lightly does it if you do it at all, and, you'd better foreshadow it well so it works right, and you are not percieved as a heavy handed hack, which, I will testify, I have been called in the earlier years of my screenwriting career. And, they were right, it takes a lot of mastery to not be.

Ah yes, I still can't believe that one episode of Star Trek NG where the teenage genius guy gets a whole morality lesson on why drugs are bad and why some people use them. Oh the cheese... [headshake]

Quote:

This is the human being on both sides of consciousness, and it isn't always a moral creature, so if you are going to put moral in your game, do so like the pros, or it will backfire on you.

Again, I am not sure this is what you mean, but are you saying that since people want to feel superior, well, let's just give them what they want?

Quote:

Thus, entertainment is not getting worse and worse, our ability to catharsize is becoming stunted because we are less and less surprised because we are more and more aware in general

So we just give up, and write games with a punk attitude, because that's the general mentality around us?

Maybe I am just a hippy at heart, but I think we can challenge this ambient lack of interest for moral issues (at least that's what I understand you are saying, and I do agree that their is a lack of interest).
Like my mum always said, "don't say you don't like it 'till you've tried". Of course she was using that so I would try the more "exotic" food in my plate as a kid, but I think this is really what's happening.

And I think as a game designer, there is an opportunity to be the well-intentioned mum trying to open up other people's horizons. Of course you don't have to like my spinachs, but the least I can do is make you taste them, so you get the opportunity to build an opinion, no?

Or maybe I am misunderstanding your post :)
As usual, very verbose, Addy ! [totally]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quote:
adventuredesignSo even when you start the process of any artistic project, you write or design for yourself, in the end, you are writing and designing for every person. That's the kind of objectivity and scope inherently required in mass medium communications.


Quote:
by ahw
Isn't that a bad thing?
I mean, it's economically sound, because the marketing guys want you to appeal to a wider audience, because that means more cash. But does that really serve the quality of the game, should that (appealing to a wider audience) really be the prime concern of the game designer?


I don't think it is a bad thing. I think it does serve the quality of the game by meeting mass medium of communication's ability to (by virtue of designing in greater appeal, and I don't mean appeal in the marketing sense, I mean appeal in the engagement sense, engagement being one of the primary components of play motivation in the first case) reach wider not just for the cash sense, but greater appeal reaches deeper as well in the fun sense take away entertainment value.

Mass communications technique allows a wide diversity of personalities and differing intelligence levels to feel empathically and entertainingly the same. To me, that is critical to artistic success in design, and it is also just additionally fortunate that it makes a difference on the bottom line.

It also helps in the getting it off the ground stages when you are pitching your game design to five different personalities of varying points of view with varying responsibilities at the publishing house when you can get a unified ooh and ahh value from the diversity of views and buyer resistance involved *because* you used mass communication technique, style and approach, and simultaneously evaporate resistance to funding and/or developing/publishing your design.

Quote:
by ahw
I was reading something on Penny Arcade the other day that I found oh so true. Basically, the writer was saying "they redesigned the new game so that it would cater to the audience that didn't play the first game, depriving those who played it of the elements they bought the game for in the first place. Why should people who don't care about a game be rewarded, while the fans get dissapointed?"


I can't specifically comment on that particular title cause I don't know the details, but from the way you relate it, it sounds to me that they short shrifted the design process the first time around because they had to change the sequel to sell more titles second time around, when great design *by design* nails the fucking sweet spot in the market first time out, and makes no excuses or strategy changes for extending the brand with a sequel for economic reasons, when those kinds of changes should be done for design reasons.

Also, the writer mistakenly put the audience on the crucifix (like reviewers relflexively will in order to cater to readers of the reviews they write, so they can be back next week/month/whenever to an expected hit count). This is what is known in journalistic circles as 'ass kissing with a thousand words'.

Penny Arcade writes like reviewers and not like designers a buttload, but designers don't. Instead, designers write a roller coaster of experiences full of fun and challenge design like design briefs and design detailing and design themismatics do because that is it's nature; that is the job and the standard that ought to be met when you construct the brief.

Quote:

I feel that what you are saying would defend such a position. In essence, if a game doesn't satisfy the expected sales, ignore the people that liked it and simply change it so you can make more profit the second time around.
That's rather, well, amoral to me. "What the heck, if people want blood, give them more! It's not our fault, we are just providing what they want".


I can't conscience designing for dollars. I fundamentally have faith in the notion fun gameplay designing sells game units shipped. It's easy to bandy about the word design but much more difficult to apply good design rules comprehensively, so I don't make light of the effort the designer has to make in completing a homogenistic design with very few drawbacks or flaws, but having been down that road many times, I do know not only is it where the rubber meets the road, but it is also where the arguments against why or why not something should or should not be included in the design despite it's cost is worked out, and fundamentally well prepares the designer for shooting down any rational or economic arguments against it's inclusion.

I have been in design too long in architecture, theatre, video and recently games to compromise design for economics other than in the screenwriting, pre-production and architecture thematics process where is has to be applied because it is part of the rules of design, and the cost is completely justifiable.


This is not to say that you do not apply efficiency as a design rule precept to the design process, but not to the detriment of theme in most cases. There are far more many rules of design to apply just besides economies for good design to manifest.

If you have a lot of design experience, as I do, particularly in architecture (the mother art form), where money is such a powerful and compelling consideration, you will find that in good design, well applied, the two can be balanced rather well, without producing a sense of either ostentation or cheapness, and not detrimental to the goals you chose at the outset.

Quote:
by ahw
I have had this same argument with many DMs (Dungeon Masters) over the years. I, for one, believes that players can be taught to enjoy something, if you feed it to them properly.


I agree that players can be taught, in fact, you can't separate education and enlightenment from entertainment design unless you are a, underdesigning, or b, underestimating or misidentifying your audience. The standard you set for what is taught and how deeply it is implanted and how difficult it is to interpret is a derived choice from the general design theme you choose, and in many cases, does not have a high bar to leap over. We didn't learn a lot from Doom on some levels, and from other points of view, learned amazing amounts. At some point, you have to bracket the context of the player's perceptual range, and apply the 'will they see or get that?' test to the design element you are constructing.


Quote:
by ahw
Whereas others argue that the game is supposed to be fun, and if people are happy playing DnD to crawl through mazes and slaughter hordes of enemies, why should we provide them with something else?


Why would that even become an issue if in the design pre production phase, they answered the question, "what is this game for?"

Quote:

I see this mentality take over in more and more areas. I know a few DJs and some just won't play anything other that popular music, for fear of scaring "the crowd". Their only result is that they estranged the more hardcore elements, the very basis around which "the crowd" gathers. Their set has lost its personality, making it little more than a mish mash of unrelated songs vaguely related to rock.
By trying to please everyone, it has lost its focus, become nothing. By compromising, nobody gets really satisfied, everybody complains.


Somehow, I just can't associate the negative aspects of the word compromise in the same circle I draw the words "solid, well thought out design" in. This is what always separates the wheat from the chaff, but, I have seen it, even desigers who think they know how to design are not creating complete design, because they don't think they have to, or, they don't think deeply enough about design. That is the way of the last twenty years. I learned in architecture a long time ago somebody with a eight year architecture degree path could be a crappy designer. The guy I learned from learned from the only man with thirty three Academy Awards. It's a vast, vast difference in approach and development that simply makes the weaker designers quit and hate you.

Quote:

So lightly does it if you do it at all, and, you'd better foreshadow it well so it works right, and you are not percieved as a heavy handed hack, which, I will testify, I have been called in the earlier years of my screenwriting career. And, they were right, it takes a lot of mastery to not be.

Ah yes, I still can't believe that one episode of Star Trek NG where the teenage genius guy gets a whole morality lesson on why drugs are bad and why some people use them. Oh the cheese... [headshake]

LOL. well said, ahw. :D

Quote:
by ahw
Again, I am not sure this is what you mean, but are you saying that since people want to feel superior, well, let's just give them what they want?


Nah, fundamentally, I don't think people know what they want until they see or do something and go, ohh, want, want want that more more more. Monkey see, monkey do, monkey do more, monkey pay for what they've done. As far as ppl wanting to feel superior, that is just the deal for humanity, and I can't solve for that, so I'll identify the issue and let others chime in their reasoning as to why.

Quote:
by ahw
So we just give up, and write games with a punk attitude, because that's the general mentality around us?


Nope, I think we go the other direction, and write more challenging challenges, make them think more and work harder because they are not as gullible, easily satisfied or impedimented as in earlier generations of society.

Quote:
by ahw
Maybe I am just a hippy at heart, but I think we can challenge this ambient lack of interest for moral issues (at least that's what I understand you are saying, and I do agree that their is a lack of interest).
Like my mum always said, "don't say you don't like it 'till you've tried". Of course she was using that so I would try the more "exotic" food in my plate as a kid, but I think this is really what's happening.


I think you are right. I think the interest is there because the boredom for what is extant now is a big indicator something other than what is out there now is desireable because what we have is less. Even some of the comments I got from people who played Halo2 were the same comments we heard from games two or three years ago that were highly anticipated titles, such as, "not long enough, not challenging enough, nicer eye candy, cooler features, but still sorta the same old thing"

Quote:
by ahw
And I think as a game designer, there is an opportunity to be the well-intentioned mum trying to open up other people's horizons. Of course you don't have to like my spinachs, but the least I can do is make you taste them, so you get the opportunity to build an opinion, no?


Yes. And quit ferreting out my competitive advantages, huh?

Always a pleasure, ahw

Adventuredesign

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by adventuredesign
To a civilization more and more attuned to it's own shortcomings, and less and less in denial, escape value will be harder and harder to actually attain, because of the higher and higher delta vee necessary for actual escape velocity from said harsh reality.


Um, what civilization are you talking about, Canada? I see us more and more in denial with avenues of escapism becoming more and more primitive. I mean, Desperate Housewives and Doom 3 are not exactly the signs of a complex, self-reflective society trying to come to grips with its own shortcomings...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
adventuredesign
Mass communications technique allows a wide diversity of personalities and differing intelligence levels to feel empathically and entertainingly the same.

Yes, but how exactly? By tapping into their common denominator, isn't it? My concern is what that common denominator is. And most of the time, I believe it is the lowest common denominator. A bit like in advertisement "if you run out of ideas, you can always use sex. Sex sells."
So what other common denominator do we have beyond the deep seated desire to whack things :-)

Quote:

To me, that is critical to artistic success in design, and it is also just additionally fortunate that it makes a difference on the bottom line.

Artistic success ... in design ? Isn't that a contradiction in terms ? [wink]
But seriously, I think I understand what you mean, it's just I don't see that many examples of it (obviously, because otherwise we would all know about it, wouldn't we)

Quote:

when you can get a unified ooh and ahh value from the diversity of views and buyer resistance involved *because* you used mass communication technique, style and approach, and simultaneously evaporate resistance to funding and/or developing/publishing your design.

Bells and whistles is what I call it. Or in French, "giving jam to pigs" [pig] is another nice analogy... a necessary evil, though, isn't it :-/


Quote:

I agree that players can be taught, in fact, you can't separate education and enlightenment from entertainment design unless you are a, underdesigning, or b, underestimating or misidentifying your audience.

Ah ? So, to try to stay on topic, there is room to teach morality in games, maybe ? I mean, isn't that a form of enlightment, after all ?
I can agree that teaching moral values is a rather difficult matter, prone to spectacular failures and being the subject of ridicule. But maybe it's because instead of teaching the values, we should be teaching the importance of having values in the first place.
To take the example of a cRPG like Neverwinter Nights, I fail to see what choosing between an Evil guy and a Good guy teaches anything at all.

I had much more compelling ethical dilemmas in True Love (or was it Season of Sakura, both great hentai games) when I was trying to choose which girl I should try to go out with, which I should "just be friend with", or whether I should just shag them all and forget about Love...
God I wish I could see characters as deep as those Miyasaki regularly has in his movies in the game industry. So much depth, such difficult choices with such drastic consequences.

Quote:

Why would that even become an issue if in the design pre production phase, they answered the question, "what is this game for?"

Well, that's the problem isn't it ? The Accounting dept guys tell you it's to make profit :-) The PR guys tell you it's to keep up with the rest of the industry and not be left behind.
But what questions should you, the designer, be asking? Is the target audience your concern ? Or is that a marketing issue ? Coz if it's your concern then how on Earth did Will Wright get SimCity anywhere past the "do we have an audience for this" stage ? And then did it again with the Sims (but then, I guess at this point, he had a track record)

Quote:

Somehow, I just can't associate the negative aspects of the word compromise in the same circle I draw the words "solid, well thought out design" in.

Your terrorist is my freedom fighter, I guess :)

Quote:

This is what always separates the wheat from the chaff, but, I have seen it, even desigers who think they know how to design are not creating complete design, because they don't think they have to, or, they don't think deeply enough about design. That is the way of the last twenty years.

Yeah, I think we agree. I just have a different point of view, here from my comfortable sofa [lol]
I feel I see a lot of compromise for the sake of marketability. A bit like I consider Graphic Design to be the little sister of Art that has to go and do the street coz she needs to pay the bills, I think Game Design is turning into a crackwhore, instead of being, well, whatever it is she was in the beginnings...
hopefully she is just hiding in a dark garage, somewhere.

Quote:

I learned in architecture a long time ago somebody with a eight year architecture degree path could be a crappy designer. The guy I learned from learned from the only man with thirty three Academy Awards. It's a vast, vast difference in approach and development that simply makes the weaker designers quit and hate you.

And I learned that I can be a better lecturer than some old man with a PhD. Not because I am more learned or clever, but simply because I take a different approach to explaining things to my students. This alternate view of things I have is what I am still looking for in games. Surely there must be another way to do things than turn into Holly-freaking-wood ?

Quote:

Nah, fundamentally, I don't think people know what they want until they see or do something and go, ohh, want, want want that more more more. Monkey see, monkey do, monkey do more, monkey pay for what they've done.

Ah well we are agreed then. Don't wait for the mass to give you an opinion, just give them one and see how they react. And never level things from the bottom (which, again, is what I feel is happening more and more).

Quote:

Nope, I think we go the other direction, and write more challenging challenges, make them think more and work harder because they are not as gullible, easily satisfied or impedimented as in earlier generations of society.

YEp, so how do we give them a way to think about morals, and the importance of having some ? :)
I can't help but remember a joke thread we had on the White Wolf forums a few years back. Someone came up with a new roleplaying game title, I think it was : "Philosopher: The Thinking". Your character is a philosopher. In a world of ignorance, you must choose which school of thought you will follow, and defend its value against your rival schools. Will you be a stoician, or a hedonist. Will the arrow ever reach the target, and is Epimenedes a liar or not ?
I know, it's not as funny when you don't know what it's parodying, but the funny thing, I thought, was that we could come up with so much fun ideas for a game about philosophy.
In fact, I think it really could be made into a game, if one thought about it for long enough, and studied the subject matter.

What about a game where you have to solve ethical dilemmas? Surely that's something worthy of exploring ?

Quote:

I think you are right. I think the interest is there because the boredom for what is extant now is a big indicator something other than what is out there now is desireable because what we have is less. Even some of the comments I got from people who played Halo2 were the same comments we heard from games two or three years ago that were highly anticipated titles, such as, "not long enough, not challenging enough, nicer eye candy, cooler features, but still sorta the same old thing"

yeah, it's habituation at its worse. No matter how much candy you get, at some point you get sick of it.
So what to do next ?

Quote:

Yes. And quit ferreting out my competitive advantages, huh?

[rolleyes] I wise I could use this knowledge for something, but I am afraid I rather enjoying the safety of being in Academia. And the room there is for thought experiments. I just wish I had some peers to play with...

Quote:

Always a pleasure, ahw

Likewise, although I am afraid I can only rate you once.

Still we havent really answered Wavinator, with all that, have we ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by ahw
What about a game where you have to solve ethical dilemmas? Surely that's something worthy of exploring ?

[snip]

[rolleyes] I wise I could use this knowledge for something, but I am afraid I rather enjoying the safety of being in Academia. And the room there is for thought experiments. I just wish I had some peers to play with...


Aren't we your peers? The collaborative game we are working on in the writing forum is about exploring types of love and ethical dilemmas of relationships. Come play with us, we could definately use another intelligent and well-written staff member, especially with experience of ren'ai games! :)


Edit: a quote from that thread exemplifying what I mean by 'ethical dilemmas of relationships':
Quote:
Original post by sunandshadow
- If someone is in unrequited love with you, but you've not interested in them, would it be ethical to pretend to love them? What about if you don't love them but you are attracted to them - would it be ethical for you to persue a physical relationship with them and hope you fall in love with them later? What if you get tired of them and want to break up with them - is it ethical to do this if you know it will break their heart? What if they seem likely to try to commit suicide if you don't love them?

- If you are in unrequited love with someone, what methods would be unethical to use in attempting to gain their love? Bribery? Kidnapping? Threats? Intoxicants? Magic? Is it ethical to try to seduce someone if you are not their preferred gender? If you know they are on the rebound from having their heart broken by someone else? If you suspect they would severely freak out about what they had done on the morning after? If you know a relationship between the two of you is considered 'forbidden' and would cause your beloved to have fights with their friends and family, and suffer angst because of this?

- What if you and your lover have different political alliances? Should one join the other's side? If so, which one? If not, what happens when you end up actively working against each other? Would you sabotage your own side's efforts if you thought they would endanger your lover? Have you then betrayed all your friends on your side? Is romantic love more important than friendship, or vice versa? What about family, what if your lover wants to kill one of your family members or vice versa? Who do you side with? If you side with no one, have you betrayed your relationships with both of them?

- For a best friend: what if you think that doing something new would be really good for them, but they are afraid to try it? Is it ethical for you to push them into doing it? If you are constantly pushing your friend into doing things, is this abusing your friend and damaging your friendship? Otoh, is it ethical to not help your friend if you have a way to help them?

- Matchmaking is it's own whole can of worms - the book _Emma_ is all about the ethics of matchmaking. If we definitely decide we want to have matchmaking as part of the plot I'll come back and list in detail the ethical dlemmas of matchmaking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
SunAndShadow
Aren't we your peers?

Yes indeed, I think. That was a bit stupid of me to say that I guess. Although what I meant is that it would be nice if there were students here with the same interests (especially if I could get them to do bits of my work [grin] )

Quote:
SnS
The collaborative game we are working on in the writing forum is about exploring types of love and ethical dilemmas of relationships. Come play with us, we could definately use another intelligent and well-written staff member, especially with experience of ren'ai games! :)

Hey thanks SnS, I've noticed the thread I assure you, it's just that I haven't had the courage to catch, nor the time, really (I am busy trying to write my bloody thesis).
Funnily enough, I have just received the last Anita Blake novel (you know, the series I have told you about hundreds of times...)
so you never know, I might get inspired to come and write ideas.
It's always nice to get them out there, in case somebody gets the opportunity to make something of them :)
I dunno about staff member though, unless you turn into a mod if you reach the 1500 points mark ? That'd be fun, hehe.
Quote:
SnS
...lots of questions

Wow, some interesting stuff there. The first paragraph particularly strikes home since I can answer all of them from experience. I wonder if it's a good thing, though [embarrass]

[Edited by - ahw on November 19, 2004 9:02:35 AM]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Heheh, this ties into an idea I was thinking about, an answer to all the war games that come out:

A peace game. No, not "lets sit around and talk" - a game about being a UN soldier in Kosovo or Afghanistan (an ideal setting). Take the "police quest" type games a step further, really putting the player into the mindset that you're protecting the populace. Most games that focus on warfare just focus on shooting the bad guys - but what about pacifying a war zone? Escorting refugees? Investigating terrorists cells?

In the end, it would be a cross between X-Com and a police RPG - you send your team out on patrol, have your translator interview locals to try and find intel on the local strongmen, assist local police forces, etc. You have a short roster of troops and inventory for each, so every loss counts, and the experience and morale of every soldier is crucial. In X-Com, combat often meant you screwed up and were cleaning up - the game was as much about admin and security as it was about combat. Combat hurt - you lost precious resources for little gain.

Apply that logic here. Make players appreciate the gravity of war, and give them a reason to fight.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this