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infrmtn

People, people! Stop making large worlds!

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Original post by infrmtn
Hey, I don't see you adding much to the topic now. Maybe you'd like me to fill a form and draw a picture?


Don't get all narky at Kylotan for asking you to keep your posts constructive. Making a general, untargeted, unqualified criticism like you did is completely unconstructive and is a good way to turn your own thread into a shitty flame war, and consequently get it deleted.

Quote:
Look, if you can't extract my point from my THREE previous posts (read the second one) then here it is, as clear as an unmuddied lake: Think of something new NOT ALREADY DONE in the last big names of genre x.


So rather than being a general long-winded appeal to 'not make things repetitive', it's a general long-winded appeal to 'be original'?

Either way, it's been heard before, and it's not particularly constructive. Just stamping your feet and shouting "BE ORIGINAL" isn't going to achieve anything. Furthermore, if people fail to get your point, try explaining it better rather than shouting at them for being stupid - communication is an important part of game design, so take the opportunity to practice it.

Anyway, to try and get back to the topic, which is potentially quite an interesting area for discussion...

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It hasn't been mentioned yet that you don't have to freeze your world after you're done with it. When you say it's just as bad seeing the same tree 40 times as it is seeing 40 trees that look the same, yes it's true but a single tree shouldn't look the same all the time. Flowers don't look the same all the time. Of course with plants any major changes don't happen that fast, but for example there are also the smaller changes that happen through the day/night cycle.


It looks like you're falling into the realism trap here. It seems you're suggesting that rather than having big, simple worlds, we have small complex ones.

The problem is the sort of complexity you're talking about here isn't really going to do anything for the gameplay. At least with a big, simple world, people can still get some enjoyment out of exploration. With a small, uber realistic one, you have less space to explore, and nothing more than gimmicky effects like flowers that close at night and trees that look a pixel taller if you come back to the game 3 years later.

If you're going to replace size with complexity, it should be meaningful complexity rather than trivial effects which 99% of people won't even notice.

It may be interesting to consider the content density distribution as well as the overall size. I would favour a model where content is concentrated around relatively small areas (e.g cities) with a marked drop in content for the outlying areas. (rural areas) This is much more intuitive and realistic than a uniform distribution, and it gives some incentive to explore - you wander around the low-content wilderness in the hope of finding a previously undiscovered nugget of high content goodness. However, when the player isn't exploring, the high concentration of content around certain areas means that the amount of legwork while actually doing important stuff is minimized.

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Original post by Nathan Baum
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Original post by infrmtn
So our computers get faster and we can show more polygons, but the developer still has to come up with ideas to populate the world with. Forget about making a large world if all you're gonna do is spray it with trees and move on to design towns, "'cause that's where the action is."

So does that mean you're not going to like my game set on the surface of a Dyson sphere? [wink]


Depends what you do with it...

Halo's ring was entirely irrelevant to the actual gameplay - you could just have well set the entire game on a handful of snow-globes (hmmm, that could be an interesting mod) and the plot never realy made use of it either - beyond its status as an obviously artificial world-size object (and making it easier to destroy, I guess)

Having an exotic location just for the sake of it is a bit pointless - and an entire Dyson sphere is massive overkill - a Ringworld is already mind-bogglingly large enough - you could put the entire surface of the Earth down on one, look away and not be able to find it again - when you consider that, if you walked 50 miles a day, it would take over a year (a little over 16 months) to walk the length of the equator. At that rate, you're looking at roughly 30,000 years to walk the length of an Earth-orbit Ringworld - roughly the time since the Neandertals went extinct. Going at the speed of sound, it would take you several centuries of non-stop travel to cover the same distance - even at light speed, you'd take most of an hour to get round.

If you restrict players to walking speed, then you could fit about 10,000,000 players into an Earth-orbit Dyson Sphere spread out so that if the two players whose characters were closest walked their characters directly towards each other non-stop it would take them a year of play time to meet. That's roughly one person in every thousand alive today playing your game without a realistic chance of anyone ever meeting another player.

I'm not saying you shouldn't ever set a game on a Dyson sphere, but as things stand, it seems like overkill to have such a large area.


And, yes, I realise the comment wasn't meant seriously...

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Sandman, you're at the heart of the problem if we ignore the horrible way of misquoting me right at the beginning (second quote).

To make it as simple as in any way possible, I'm not talking about making the world support the game. I'm talking about making the game stem from the world. Complexity is not a good word when describing something like this.

What about the word 'explore'? What is there to explore if you've seen it all before (in other games)? I liked how the designers of Outcast said they used height-mapped "voxels" because they wanted to make the world look and feel different from what gamers were used to, because that's what the main character was facing too.

Returning to exploration, I can see two different ways here:
ONE, you're exploring and you basically know there's gonna be a monster/treasure/village and you're thinking in terms of money or items gained from these things. TWO, you're exploring to learn how the world works because it's alien to you. If there are other ways then you could fill them in because there's always something I miss.

See, I'm not talking about complexity. I'm not saying, "Yes, we shall spend four months on every pixel of our world to make sure it's crammed with things to look at."

Realism trap? I believe I said something along the lines that we're talking about games here, so we can throw away the boring parts and have something interesting instead. Realism is something I'm not interested in. I'm here making a game, not in Brazil shooting a documentary so that should say something. I could simply quote myself here and everywhere, actually, because you missed so much, but I'm explaining things again and maybe a little clearer this time. So a big no to realism. Also I would again ask you to be more sensible in quoting me because you take everything out of context and that's basically what you shouldn't do.

The problem is that you're being too literal, all the way through (and I'm obfuscating the point a little). When I say people shouldn't make large worlds I mean people cannot make a large world interesting unless they're professional designers in a team of 70. The bigger the world, the more you have to have. When you need to have so much then whatever you already have will seem like less and less. When I say I want to see a complete world it means I want to see a world that truly has all its pieces put together. Well, that's basically what I said originally. What it means is, the world should never feel dead in spirit. On another note, what you said about nuggets, it's basically how life works.

Your last sentence sums it up, because we see games differently. It's not all about looking for details in the world, 'exploring'. It's about having them where and when the player isn't looking, because in reality he is but usually subconsciously. There's a lot more than just in-your-face detail, usually you can spot subtle details in games that have been worked on for a bit longer and haven't been rushed out. This is what I meant when I said you should spend some time living in what you've created.

I'll need to edit this a little because 'subtle details' in this case are not the same as 'meaningless details'. There's a lot you can say with a very small thing, whatever it might be.

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Creative Artistic Design would probably earn brownie points in the content department. I really liked OutCasts voxel terrain maps, makes one wonder why they don't do that sort of thing more often.

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I won't comment on all games, but i will look at MMOs. Someone recently commented on the forums that they wanted bigger worlds in MMOs, but also wanted better teleportation systems. These two ideas are at odds. Teleporting has the effect of shrinking the game world. If you can move from your current location to any other location, then the world isn't big, it's very small.

Unfortunately most MMOs have these instant travel systems. People want large worlds, but then they want instant travel systems so they can bypass all the content. Again a big world with instant teleporting isn't a big world. There's no difference between a system where the dungeon is just outside of town and where you teleport from town right to the dungeon. In both cases you bypass everything inbetween.

PD

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Original post by pink_daisy
I won't comment on all games, but i will look at MMOs. Someone recently commented on the forums that they wanted bigger worlds in MMOs, but also wanted better teleportation systems. These two ideas are at odds. Teleporting has the effect of shrinking the game world. If you can move from your current location to any other location, then the world isn't big, it's very small.

Unfortunately most MMOs have these instant travel systems. People want large worlds, but then they want instant travel systems so they can bypass all the content. Again a big world with instant teleporting isn't a big world. There's no difference between a system where the dungeon is just outside of town and where you teleport from town right to the dungeon. In both cases you bypass everything inbetween.

PD


Except that, if you have 1000 dungeons, all of which you can teleport to from town, that's a larger world than the one where there's only one dungeon.

What teleporting does is reduce the distance between locations, rather than changing the number of locations - effetively it alows you to choose the sequence you visit locations in rather than being forced to visit them in one of a limited range of patterns.

It's similar to the difference between world that's 100 screens lng but only one screen wide, and one that's 10 screens by 10 screens. In one sense, the first is larger, because it can take longer to get from A to B; in another, it's smaller, because there are fewer routes through it; in a third, it's the same size, because there are as many locations.

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Original post by infrmtn
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Thanks for the clarification. I think I see where you're coming from now: it sounds like you're talking about world building, rather than complaining about the actual size of the world itself. And I agree with you, I'd also quite like to see a bit more thought going into world building.

When Tolkien wrote The Lord Of The Rings, he didn't just splat a story down onto paper, he built a world, complete with a complex history and it's own rules, theology, and sociology. He even invented languages and writing systems.

Of course, since then, there have been countless half-assed rip-offs of the basic premise of middle earth, to the point where we consider them 'generic fantasy'. Some of these are better created than others, but few of them deviate all that far from the basic medieval elves/dwarves/goblins/humans formula.

Good science fiction literature is all about world building - or in the case of those set in the near future, world extrapolation. Given some posited technology that 'changes the rules' of life in some way, it then explores what kind of difference those subtle rule changes make to society and the world around it.

It is possible to do the same in fantasy settings also, and it's even possible to maintain some degree of familiarity with more generic worlds while doing so. I think the AD&D Dark Sun campaign had quite an interesting setting - in this world, magic is drawn from living things, usually killing them in the process. As a result of this, spellcasters had turned the place into a barren desert, and spellcasters were universally reviled whereever they went. Couple this with basic desert survival rules (water is worth more than gold) the shortages of natural resources (weapons were made from bone, pointy sticks or sharp rocks unless you were *really* lucky) and you have a far more interesting world than the generic Tolkienesque fantasy. Sure, it still had elves, dwarves and goblins and so on, but it made a pleasant change.

Of course, looking at it cynically, world building is an enormous effort, and has very little tangible benefit. A more consistent, living, breathing world does not necessarily translate into something marketing can stick on the side of the box to shunt more copies. However, it's not necessarily a wasted effort, since your universe is good for more than one game. Design an interesting world, and you can sell all manner of spinoffs on the strength of the setting alone.

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Original post by infrmtn
Hey, I don't see you adding much to the topic now.


I believe my first response to this topic was much more informative than you effectively insulting the 5 or 6 posters who'd all made valid points was.

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Maybe you'd like me to fill a form and draw a picture? Look, if you can't extract my point from my THREE previous posts (read the second one) then here it is, as clear as an unmuddied lake: Think of something new NOT ALREADY DONE in the last big names of genre x.


Firstly, I was referring to a very specific post you made, which was totally unconstructive. Nothing you have just said changes that. Make constructive posts or don't make posts at all. And before you ask what was constructive about my post, it was designed to discourage the likes of yours. That's what moderators do.

Secondly, if that really is your point, it's not worth making. It's certainly not worth spending 3 posts on.

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Really, please learn the art of quoting or refrain from doing it, would you?

Let me quote myself here so you can compare (yes, this is the COMPLETE quote):
Quote:
Original post by infrmtn
Look, if you can't extract my point from my THREE previous posts (read the second one) then here it is, as clear as an unmuddied lake: Think of something new NOT ALREADY DONE in the last big names of genre x.

OK, let's go back, if you read that and thought it really was the point I was trying to make then you need to pay more attention. The real point (thus not the slightly fake point above) I will leave to the individual to solve. But when they think of games as black and white they can never achieve anything.


I'm not insulting anyone and the posts have been very good, with the exception that people are sticking to the norm a little too much. The topic has also gotten stuck in bickering about the little things, that was never the intention. I was talking about details, sure, the difference here is that I want them to create a whole, where the point of your exploration is not to find a detail but to see what the world has to offer that you haven't seen before.

But seriously, if two moderators can't even quote me right, horribly deforming any point I'm trying to make, then how could anyone else understand it?

Anyway, I can't see how someone could be insulted by me telling them they think narrowly. Come on, these people aren't kids, and even if they were do you think it would insult them? No. People are also very quick to rate you down for something supposedly bad you said and at the same time very stingy in rating you up for something you did to help. Also GDNet's rating system is flawed, for example if someone has his rating threshold set at 1000 and a poster with a rating of 950 helps the guy out, well, you get the idea. It's a vicious circle, you might wanna look at slowly regenerating points until the starting level is reached. I could of course just create a new account and be back in the show, but seriously, if someone is so easily herded that they look at a person's rating before the person's message then they might as well not even see the message to begin with, they'd surely interpret it wrongly in any case if the first clause is true.

Again referring to what Sandman said, I'm assuming a lot of people here aren't making games for money. I've said it before, this is a huge advantage. Why saturate the market when you can afford to be creative? Of course if you're making the game for yourself only then you might as well clone Tetris a few thousand times but most likely you'll want to entertain others too. The thing is, you can never compete with the big guys like this so making the same games they do is just not that good in this case. The bigs can't risk being too inventive but the free developer can. No matter what your game is like, there will always be people who like it. You won't get a million people playing your game no matter what you do so just forget about that. Having said that, I'm sure some people thought that because there will always be those who like a game, then they might as well follow the rules set by the big names and make a cloned game. It's true, but doing that you're also dragging down the quality of games in general. There are more and more big developers who want to be free, complaining about how games today aren't creative, aren't inventive, aren't interesting.

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Original post by infrmtn
Hey, I don't see you adding much to the topic now. Maybe you'd like me to fill a form and draw a picture? Look, if you can't extract my point from my THREE previous posts (read the second one) then here it is, as clear as an unmuddied lake: Think of something new NOT ALREADY DONE in the last big names of genre x.

OK, let's go back, if you read that and thought it really was the point I was trying to make then you need to pay more attention. The real point (thus not the slightly fake point above) I will leave to the individual to solve. But when they think of games as black and white they can never achieve anything.


Having re-read the thread several times, hoping for the light to dawn, I'm still not sure what your point is. The closest I can get to it is some sort of complaint about repetitiveness - both in repeating content within a game to artificially inflate its size, and in repeating standard content from existing games.

On the other hand, even if your goal is to do something different from anything that's gone before, you still need to know what has gone before in order to know what's different - "those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it"

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