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Ketchaval

Beyond WIN / LOSE.

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Just to clutter up the forums some more with my incessant postings. Why is it that so many games rely on Win / Lose mechanics, ie. character death, one chance to defeat the level. Can we make games where there is something other than a simple binary win / lose. Ie. Where what you do is rated on various aspects (which aren't just win or lose). (Technique, style, Bases won). The Sims doesn't rely on killing off the player every five minutes. Of course at times there is a justification for making tough games (I can't imagine a game like Rainbow Six not having characters be killed, in this case the mechanics suit the setting and the desired emotional reaction). Do we even need victory conditions?

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Without any type of victory or win, what would be the objective of the game? A game with no victories or wins is a game with no end.

I could never get into games like the sims for this purpose. This is also why I stay away from MMORPG's (Although in some MMORPG's there is a certain amount of victory).

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Well, the thing is, we do need a goal.

Everytime I have played a game I have had a goal. Even those times when I get the controller of that game I have played one hundred times again. Always. It's easier to provide the player it's goals instead of have the player make them up.

We don't need 'victory conditions', as it means something loses. We could just have as a goal to advance the story to know more about it for example.

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Original post by Coz
Well, the thing is, we do need a goal.

Everytime I have played a game I have had a goal. Even those times when I get the controller of that game I have played one hundred times again. Always. It's easier to provide the player it's goals instead of have the player make them up.

We don't need 'victory conditions', as it means something loses. We could just have as a goal to advance the story to know more about it for example.
Exactly. I don't think the OP meant we don't need a goal, but rather, we need to move past the rather simplistic goal of survivial.

Of course, this won't work for a lot of current games... but personally, I don't think it's a bad thing. You can come up with a lot of inventive ways to either not require the player to survive, or explain their reappearance if they are incapacitated. For one, every time the player is to be killed, it could trigger an action-movie style sequence where they are rescued, and end up somewhere else as a result (perhaps having to take an alternate route). Or the player is a shapeshifting blob, and getting killed just means being splattered and waiting to reform.

You can even take the same concepts to the enemies. When neither the player nor his enemies can be dispatched permanently, we're forced to find much more interesting goals, and we're able to carry the story forward without the standard clearing rooms.

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By definition, a game is "an activity providing entertainment or amusement", or so says Answers.com. Therefore, victory conditions or even rules are unnecessary in the technical sense.

However, in a video game lacking rules, it would be impossible to derive fun from it, because without rules, accomplishments have no merit. Therefore, it is necessary to have rules, but not necessarily victory conditions.

And I say "rules" in the very most technical sense of the term. For example, in a game where literally all you do is drive dirt bikes around a very hilly, bumpy dirt track, there are still rules: the physical laws.

What is needed is a medium through which the player can make his own victory conditions, i.e. a goal.

As an example, take the aforementioned dirt bike freestyle game. A goal could be to get a higher jump than your friends. Or to do three back-flips and still land well. If the laws of physics weren't in place, these goals would be impossible. And even if you did do these things, it would be by chance, and thus you would derive no sense of accomplishment from it.

The Sims is an excellent example. It presents the player with a set of rules, wrapped up in a nice "Sandbox" type play mode, and lets the player choose personal goals based on those rules.

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Original post by Ketchaval
Why is it that so many games rely on Win / Lose mechanics like character deaths or single chances to complete levels?

Because having a victory is another way of adding a goal, and goals are synonymous with incentive. If the player has a goal in playing the game, they'll probably tend to play longer. Take, for instance, Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction (is this the title?): Mercenaries advertises that you can blow stuff up. From the early commercials, I couldn't get excited about the game; why the hell do I care to pay $50 to blow stuff up for five minutes before I got bored? Later, I heard friends talking about it -- mentioning about the campaign. Now, I wouldn't mind giving it a rental or so, just to blow some things up -- for a reason.

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Original post by Ketchaval
Can't we make games where there is something other than a simple binary win / lose? IE. Where what you do is rated on various aspects, other than win/lose, such as technique, style, bases taken, etc.?

Well, a few games (old and new) have ranking systems where what you did affects the way things end. Just offhand, take a look at the Resident Evil games (thinking mostly of the first three, though four was nice). The Resident Evil series always ranked the player based on speed of completion:

"Beat the game in *two* hours? But...the zombies! THE ZOMBIES!"

"Well, if you do, we'll give you this rocket launcher."

"Done."

Get it? Ok...maybe that's a bad example, but you know what I mean. Ooh, or maybe Project Gotham Racing 2's Kudos system. Or similar stuff. I'm getting tired of this reply already, I think I'm about to start repeating myself.

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Original post by Ketchaval
The Sims doesn't rely on killing off the player every five minutes.

Though it's possible.

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Original post by Ketchaval
Of course at times there is a justification for making tough games (I can't imagine a game like Rainbow Six not having characters be killed, in this case the mechanics suit the setting and the desired emotional reaction).

Why does it make so much sense? Why are the RAINBOW ops shooting to kill through the whole time? Why not neutralize threats, with actual regard to the fact that the people they're shooting at have lives, feelings, and families? I'm sure there's something behind the mechanic that I don't understand, but I'd always thought of RAINBOW as a type of police force with bigger guns -- though I'm sure I'm wrong.

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Original post by Ketchaval
Do we even need victory conditions?

As nilkn said, no. Not technically, I guess. But I'd argue that some form of victory or, at least, feeling of accomplishment gives an objective.

(Sorry if changing the original post in the quotes bothers you, did it to make responding easier. Not meant to be anal.)

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Original post by Aura84
Without any type of victory or win, what would be the objective of the game? A game with no victories or wins is a game with no end.


Insert coin to continue.



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Original post by Fruny
Quote:
Original post by Aura84
Without any type of victory or win, what would be the objective of the game? A game with no victories or wins is a game with no end.


Insert coin to continue.

I usually refrain from replies that add nothing to the thread, but good lord that was funny! And actually quite true...

-Razorguts

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Original post by Ketchaval
Do we even need victory conditions?


No. You can have a fun "toy" game that keeps going and presenting challenges to you ad infinitum. After a certain point, you won't see anything very new, but if the game's complexity or randomness is large enough, it can still entertain for a long time.
You can also have a game that relies on "closure" - i.e. you don't necessarily have to "win", or it might not even be possible, but the game is wrapped up in such a way that the player is satisfied that it is over. Preferably, without thinking "do I have to play through all that again to get the good ending?".


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Original post by nuvem
Exactly. I don't think the OP meant we don't need a goal, but rather, we need to move past the rather simplistic goal of survivial.

... we're forced to find much more interesting goals, and we're able to carry the story forward without the standard clearing rooms.


Aye man!

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I've read about the game series Hitman where you can play by shooting as many people as possible, but you are rated on how "clean" your hit was because the only thing that matters is getting the target. I.e did you avoid being detected, not kill loads of people. etc.

It would be a really interesting thing in a game like this to reward skill at doing the mission with minimal damage to non-essential targets. Ie. You get paid more (a bonus) or get rewarded with cool weapons to use if you want to play it in "kill 'em all style".

Or what if when you complete a level in rampage style you get a different type of reward?

Now consider if you were playing a cop and had to try to reduce the damage that happens in the mission + get the perp alive (if they don't present a danger to your officer's lives).

Likewise if you play it in a gung-ho style the things you damage and characters you kill could have consequences like decreasing public respect for your agency. (Or trigger specific story threads)

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Original post by Ketchaval
I've read about the game series Hitman where you can play by shooting as many people as possible, but you are rated on how "clean" your hit was because the only thing that matters is getting the target. I.e did you avoid being detected, not kill loads of people. etc.

It would be a really interesting thing in a game like this to reward skill at doing the mission with minimal damage to non-essential targets. Ie. You get paid more (a bonus) or get rewarded with cool weapons to use if you want to play it in "kill 'em all style".

Or what if when you complete a level in rampage style you get a different type of reward?

Now consider if you were playing a cop and had to try to reduce the damage that happens in the mission + get the perp alive (if they don't present a danger to your officer's lives).

Likewise if you play it in a gung-ho style the things you damage and characters you kill could have consequences like decreasing public respect for your agency. (Or trigger specific story threads)



I like that idea about rewarding the player differently based on how well they played it in their own style.

Ive been thinking about that for a while. Id like to play an open-ended RPG in the third person. Instead of playing like most RPGs, itd play sort of like a mix of Splinter Cell and Resident Evil 4.
Itd be sort of like an MMORPG, except there are no other players. Theres some major thing that just happened, like a plain crashed and youre a survivor on this island. And then some sort of major plot concept, like the island has some form of unknown tribal race. And an ultimate goal of leaving the island. How the player does it, tho, is all up to them. thered be a bunch of people, and theyd have sort of mini-quests. When you talk to people, they tell you things, ask you to do a favor, offer you gifts. Different events happen depending on the players gameplay style. For example, the tribe's people could either assume you're a God, Youre a hell brought Demon, or just some regular guy from another island and choose to work with you for survival.If you play it action style, some tribes people will teach you how to fight with spears and rocks, and become one of the hunters. Depending on how well you do,you move on to harder prey. If you play it like a Sim, you can spend most of your time learning how to make baskets or cooking or something like that to increase stats with a goal of working your way up to the head of the tribe and possibly taking it over... or you could gain reputation and start slowly gathering an army. That kind of thing.
Each style of play would have its own rewards and have multiple storylines. That would create a game that anyone and everyone could play and enjoy because theyd naturally start playing it in thier favorite style.

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