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sunandshadow

pointful death

51 posts in this topic

What if all the characters died at the end of the game? Including you. This would happen in every possible ending except perhaps for an easter egg. The point of the game would not be to survive, but to do the most good before you died. Do you guys think this is a sick idea or a cool one? How would you keep the player from feeling cheated? If you knew there was an easter egg that would enable your + others survival, would you feel morally obligated to do that? (No Hamlet jokes!)
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This is definitely a cool idea, but we have to really look at what this includes. In a linear story such as books, movies, plays, etc. when the main character(s) die there is usually the "greater good" that is accomplished.

Like the protagonist is a martyr (Braveheart or Joan of Arc). The problem is that in games (our beloved non-linear medium), the protagonist may not accomplish this "greater good" so the player may very well feel cheated.


"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd
Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.
Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.
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Ever see the movie Fallen?


***** SPOILER WARNING****
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If you haven''t, it basically pits a man against an evil, fallen angel who can possess whatever body he touches. The end is brilliant in the way that the hero tries to kill the angel, by being the only one alive that the angel can jump into, and then poisoning himself.

I''ve thought that this would work as a game, except the goal would be to kill the angel by having him possess you. Most of the game would be about manipulating social relationships and getting into position to be possessed. Then you''d "win" by suiciding.




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

This is definitely a cool idea, but we have to really look at what this includes. In a linear story such as books, movies, plays, etc. when the main character(s) die there is usually the "greater good" that is accomplished.

Like the protagonist is a martyr (Braveheart or Joan of Arc). The problem is that in games (our beloved non-linear medium), the protagonist may not accomplish this "greater good" so the player may very well feel cheated.



Actually, wouldn''t this be a good thing? Then you''d replay for a more satisfactory ending, right? After all, any suboptimal ending could be viewed much the same way as a low score.

You''d need to be certain to tell the player that his result was suboptimal, though. So if the greater good isn''t accomplished, you need to somehow say this ("Though your struggles are remembered in legend and song, sadly, your people could not break free...")

(Or did I miss your point?)




--------------------
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This is actually the same arguement in books and film. Same pros and cons. Some people hate it because it eliminates sequels. Frankly, that''s why I like it... (WARNING, WARNING: Personal Opinion Expressed. Commence flaming of Landfish)

Anyway. What I consider to be some of the best recent games do this already. I won''t list them here, because then you''ll know, and I''d rather not spoil it. It all comes down to the story you want to tell.
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Wav, yeah that is a good point. I think that would work actually.

What if the story was involving enough to where the player could judge for themselves how useful their death was. I just think that having to overtly explain a story to the observer kind of cheapens it.

...but you have a good point there, Wav.


"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd
Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.
Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.
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Maybe, when they die, they get to see what changes in the world and to what end. They get to ''come back'' to the game after so much time of being dead (reincarnation) and see what kind of adverse affects they have had. They can judge how well they have acted by the changes in the game, and they can make decisions on how to accomplish their ultimate goal based on previous mistakes.

Oh yeah... I think instead of ''pointful death'' it should be ''purposeful death''. Makes look good grammar real nice and spelin mutch beter.

-Chris Bennett of Dwarfsoft - Site:"The Philosophers'' Stone of Programming Alchemy" - IOL
The future of RPGs - Thanks to all the goblins over in our little Game Design Corner niche
          
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I was just thinking that the one thing that pisses me off when the hero dies is when you jsut dont see it coming, and there was no reason for it. In a game, this would be exactly the same. So the player would really have to understand that whatever he does, he's gonna die. Make that quite clear. In Braveheart, everybody knows (ok, maybe not everybody :
##SPOILER##)
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that he dies at the end. The whole thing about the movie is how he dies, bravely, and most importantly, free. Wallace basically knows that if he get caught he dies, so all he does is try to make the best he can for the limited time he has... maybe saving his life if he had been lucky. But I guess you will agree this wouldnt have been the same thing anymore. Sometimes there is no better ending that a purposeful death.

Also if the hero is meant to die, it would be nice to set the context to reflect that. Have a bit of romantism and drama, tons of dialog and plot twist, rather than a puzzle or action based game, if you know what I am saying.
For instance, the french book "Mme Bovary" by Flaubert (hope I remember that correctly) is utterly romantic, with the poor woman being bored to death, trying to find a purpose in life, and finally suiciding, which is the best thing a romantic person could do. Basically, fromn the beginning, you know that it's gonna end badly, and the whole book is about the struggle to find a purpose in life, it's like watching sisyphus push his rock endlessly.

Oh, and one last, perfect example : UBIK, by Philip K. Dick
"I am alive and you are dead". I think they made a game of it already, but I am not sure how well it went.

anyway, what do you think ?

youpla :-P

Edited by - ahw on November 11, 2000 10:57:11 AM
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Good point, ahw. That kind of goes along w/ my point that the story should make it very clear that the player''s death was pointful without being too overt about it...


"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd
Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.
Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.
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Otherwise you could make the games so that NOBODY DIES and basically you just go around wounding everyone and taking them prisoner... that way, if the player DOES ''die'', they are really just taken prisoner and the story continues thusly.

Good point though ahw... Good movie that though, pity there aren''t many other dragon movies around... I yearn to see more of my kind

-Chris Bennett of Dwarfsoft - Site:"The Philosophers'' Stone of Programming Alchemy" - IOL
The future of RPGs - Thanks to all the goblins over in our little Game Design Corner niche
          
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This kind of goes w/ what ahw said, but it would be interesting if throughout the whole game the story makes it absolutely clear that the main character will die (American Beauty is what made me think of this). So, it would not exactly need to be a martyr type of death. It could be more like the character growing as a person or sometthing. This would be harder to pull off because of what I was talking about before (character growth as in becoming a different personality like in American Beauty). hmmm...


"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd
Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.
Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.
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Hmmm, death really is a permanent thing. I remember that Xena episode (yeah, I watch Xena.. So what? Gabriel looked great when she had long hair! ) where Gabriel sacrifices herself when she kills her daughter (who was the embodyment of Dahawk[sp?] - the evil god). She couldn''t bring herself to let Xena die (Xena would have died if she killed dahawk, as a decree of the fates) and Gabriel couldn''t allow Xena to die (world needs a hero). But Gabriel couldn''t live with herself if she killed her daughter, so she knocked them both into the lava pit (very sad moment. Two Gabriel twins both dying *sob* . Mother and daughter were played by the same person).

Anyway... Brings up the point of a PURPOSFUL death, but one that wasn''t quite expected.

Note: Xena went on to rescue Gabriel from the afterlife... But this was a while later

-Chris Bennett of Dwarfsoft - Site:"The Philosophers'' Stone of Programming Alchemy" - IOL
The future of RPGs - Thanks to all the goblins over in our little Game Design Corner niche
          
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yeah, but I liked Hercules when it first started then it got really dumb. I''m not sure which is more embarassing watching Hercules or Xena. I have to agree w/ your opinion of Gabriel w/ long hair though dwarf

I think that sort of pointful death where it has to do w/ sacrafice and stuff is cool.

I just wonder if we can pull off something like in American Beauty. I just thought it was so cool how you know the main char is going to die w/in the first 5 min. of the film yet you are still compelled to experience the story even though you know a major part of the ending.

This is where we start speaking of games being more artsy which is quite a can of worms & it''s 6am here so I''ll shut up


"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd
Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.
Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.
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okay...one more thing...
Assuming we can accomplish a pointful death such as we have been talking about...

[[
SPOILER about the movie Taxi Driver w/ Robert Dinero.]]
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Then what if we can make the character think that they're supposed to die, but then it turns out they don't but the game still ends and has a resolution like the movie Taxi Driver


"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd
Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.
Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.


Edited by - Nazrix on November 12, 2000 6:18:32 AM
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Also... I like the idea of having alternate ''PLANES'' of existence. I have been thinking about this one a bit recently.

You remember? Start off in one plane, die and reincarnate in the other... Basically like that. Katherine Kerr is a genius writer. Great reincarnation thoughts, and great Celtic mythology all bundled into a unique magic system (not so all-powerful, but more earthly )

Anyway - I haven''t seen American Beauty.. Sounds good, but I remember seeing ''Cruel Intentions'' and that was a genius movie. You didn''t know that the character was going to die, but when it happened, it certainly wasn''t pointless. Great movie

-Chris Bennett of Dwarfsoft - Site:"The Philosophers'' Stone of Programming Alchemy" - IOL
The future of RPGs - Thanks to all the goblins over in our little Game Design Corner niche
          
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They don''t die? Hmmm... Reminds me a bit of "The Last Day" (Red Dwarf Episode). Or even "Future Echoes" (yet another RD Ep ). In the former, Kryten is assured death. He accepts it. In the end, they fight for his freedom... In The latter, Rimmer sees listers death (in an echo from the future - to do with ''faster than light'' travel ). Lister doesn''t accept it at first. When he does, he goes to meet his doom and it doesn''t come. Then, his future self tells him that his son was the one that died.

Cool story anyway

-Chris Bennett of Dwarfsoft - Site:"The Philosophers'' Stone of Programming Alchemy" - IOL
The future of RPGs - Thanks to all the goblins over in our little Game Design Corner niche
          
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yeah, that sounds cool, dwarf...

You haven't seen American Beauty?! That is one of the most genious films I've ever seen. It's just incredible. It encompasses life as a whole in just one movie. I think I would put it above Fight Club and I really liked Fight Club a lot.

Dwarf, no offense, but I thought "Cruel Intentions" was horrible. Okay I didn't expect that dude to die, but still it was so lame. Good looking women but that is about it. It was so pretentious...sorry I just had to say that


"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd
Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.
Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.


Edited by - Nazrix on November 12, 2000 6:23:16 AM
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Dwarf, well in Taxi Driver it''s not as though throughout the whole story you think the protagonist will die, almost at the end it seems quite likely he died and it seems like you''d expect the story to go in that direction.

dwarf, you''ve got to get into some of these great American films. I mean Americans are lame most of the time but they''ve done a few good ones


"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd
Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.
Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.
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Now fight club was cool.. though I am still wondering why he didn''t die... Strange that.. Cool movie though (PS. You suck for not liking cruel intentions. It was a little shallow in places, but the context was really there. Plus - I am a huge SMG fan )

What is this though, movies influencing games? And here I was thinking that we were an interactive medium that was seperated from other media . Not.

Anyway... About other ways of working death into plots... Ever considered suicide at discovering that you in fact are the evil that you are chasing. That was going to be the original ending to my game, but it was kind of lame to finish it there. There is so much that can be accomplished if you don''t die. If I run out of time for development, then I will revert back to that. Maybe that can be the end to the demo version

-Chris Bennett of Dwarfsoft - Site:"The Philosophers'' Stone of Programming Alchemy" - IOL
The future of RPGs - Thanks to all the goblins over in our little Game Design Corner niche
          
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yeah, Fight Club is kind of similar to Taxi Driver in that you kind of think that he''s going to die at the end.

Cruel Intentions was very shallow IMHO. Sorry but it was just so pretentious how there''s these rich kids w/ nothing else do to but mess w/ people''s lives. Then suprise, suprise one finds that that is wrong to do this and the other has revenge casted upon her. Sorry, man, but I just get carried away sometimes...

Suicide is a very good one too dwarf. I think we should all keep in mind that all these things could apply well (probably even easier) to the main NPCs in the story as well.

Dwarf, and if you don''t see American Beauty very, very soon I''m going to have to do a Niphty and really kick your a$$ (j/k)

I think we need our own seperate forum the way we keep posting back & forth





"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd
Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.
Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.
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dwarf, what''s SMG though?


"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd
Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.
Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.
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SMG - Sarah Michelle Gellar aka Buffy [the Vampire Slayer] aka The one who gets revenge on her in that movie

As for NPC suicide - yeah, at least the player isn''t the one who kills them. I don''t think that I can remember ANY game where an NPC commits suicide... That is so cool

As for American Beauty - I am broke ATM, so I don''t know if I will be able to see it very soon. I will see if I can pull some strings. Also, I don''t think that Philana wants me to see such films, no matter how thought provoking . No seeing any nudity [in films] for me

And yeah, I think we need a ''Naz&Dwarf Sparring Forum''

-Chris Bennett of Dwarfsoft - Site:"The Philosophers'' Stone of Programming Alchemy" - IOL
The future of RPGs - Thanks to all the goblins over in our little Game Design Corner niche
          
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oh yeah SMG rules, but I''m just saying that the plot was lame...okay I''m done whining about that...sorry.

yeah, NPC suicide...even Thief does not have that

no nudity movies no matter how thought-provoking? That is horrible. Somehow I envisioned Philana being more open-minded and liberated

American Beauty practically change the way I see life at least slightly. It''s the Thief of movies




"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd
Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.
Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.
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Fight club is the best I have done... Or maybe even Human traffic (if there was ever a movie that made you want to do drugs again... this is it. Really deep and true for those who haven''t experienced it ). As for Philana being more liberal. She prefers it if it is only her on my mind. No gazing upon others, even in the movies. A constant hand over the eyes . Nevermind. It isn''t like I need to be peeping or anything

As for movies influence on games... Why? Why don''t we try and come up with something more original than that more outdated media (computers may be new, but non-interactive media is becoming outdated... No matter how long it sticks around)

-Chris Bennett of Dwarfsoft - Site:"The Philosophers'' Stone of Programming Alchemy" - IOL
The future of RPGs - Thanks to all the goblins over in our little Game Design Corner niche
          
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Fight Club is very good, yes. Haven't heard of Human Traffic though (you beat me there ).

Well, to each their own but that's kind of extreme IMO. It's not like it's a porno or something. There's like a total of 10 seconds of nudity and it's totally overshadowed by the absolute brilliance of the plot. I forgot there even was nudity honestly and that's hard to forget But none of my business I need to shut the hell up, but I just get crazy when people sacrafice experience of great art because of some tiny, insignificant potentially offensive material. Dammit, shut up Naz...anyway...


I agree that movies/linear stories cannot be directly translated into games, but those basic elements that are in movies/books/plays are still valid IMO.





"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd
Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.
Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.


Edited by - Nazrix on November 12, 2000 7:08:52 AM
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