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Ketchaval

Make Responsibility FUN !

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Thinking about how to make games more sensible and wise > ie. (mature) I reasoned that one of the main things missing from games is a sense that the character has 'responsibilities'. Ie. That they have to maintain things, and are responsible for people or property etc. But the next thought that followed this was that responsibility == Fun ? (is not fun). This isn't necessarily true though. So what I want to ask is. How can we make the player responsible for things other than their own character's survival, and B. How can we make acting on these responsibilities FUN ? > Maybe one of the main things missing is Responsibility ie the character has responsibilities to other people and property and they are motivated partly by the need to fulfill these responsibilities. Ie. Earning money for the food to feed their family / pay the mortgage. Maybe if the characters were doing jobs to pay for things they already own / look after instead of saving up for the "uber-sword of doom" then this would be more mature? So maybe responsibility comes from putting the 'experience points' and money into upgrading and maintaining things you have. Ie. Making your character more employable by making them do a nightschool (increased knowledge + increased reputation of being knowledgeable.). Likewise, you can invest time in your pets to make them better behaved and less likely to land you in court with the liability of paying thousands in damages when they bite someone. Investing in your T.V to make it widescreen ;). Maintaing and improving your health by not watching the T.V all the time and doing something more energetic. But the question is how do we make responsibility maintenance and personal growth FUN? Edit: What sort of rewards can we give, and how can we condition them to enjoy these actions? [Edited by - Ketchaval on June 21, 2005 9:32:25 PM]

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This sounds like the line between Customization and Micromanaging. One is fun, the other is tedious. Responsibility falls in the realm of micromanaging, and a lot of the things the player is asked to do, he ends up doing a lot, and are probably best delegated to the realm of Automation. Customization is where the automation has a set of parameters that the player controls. For instance, you equip the character with a helmet and a sword, the character automates the whole dragging it out of the bag and tieing the straps. These things are abstracted out, because they're boring.

So, on the question of going to night school to get a better job to feed your offspring... thats a matter of figuring out what abstractions are fun and which are tedious. For example, going to night school, spending some "hours", and gaining 2 skill points for the night which will eventually be spent on the Makes Ogres Easy skill.

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Quote:
Original post by Ketchaval
Thinking about how to make games more sensible and wise > ie. (mature) I reasoned that one of the main things missing from games is a sense that the character has 'responsibilities'. Ie. That they have to maintain things, and are responsible for people or property etc.


Little confused here: If the target market is more mainstream gamers, then don't we already know how to do this? Isn't the Sims all about managing responsibility? Or look at the Catz or Dogz game toys, where you have to take care of an animal properly or they run away.

Is that what you're talking about?

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I'm trying to work out how to make a protagonist whose actions and objectives are more grounded in the gameworld



Quote:
Original post by Wavinator

Little confused here: If the target market is more mainstream gamers, then don't we already know how to do this? Isn't the Sims all about managing responsibility?


Well, I'm thinking of targeting the market of people who like RPG / Action-adventure games but also want something a bit deeper and less toy-like? Which may not exist.



How about taking the idea of GTA: SA and cross breeding it with say, the Sims. What happens is that you start out with a decent house. But you need to be able to pay the rent / mortgage on it, so you need to carry out missions and earn money to pay this. Otherwise it may be reposessed or your landlord will kick you out (then you'll have to live in a smaller house / cardboard-box). You can also upgrade your house, but likewise you may have a higher rent.

In this context, the gameplay may not make sense - because having a cool house wouldn't mix in well with the riding around, doing missions etc. gameplay. Because the fun of the game would be in the missions anyway. And it would probably seem to be a chore having to do the missions unless the rent was very low and you could just do the missions for fun / financial security / saving for a bigger house.

So what if the 'responsibilities' related to things that you used as part of the game? Ie. Your car, your weapons etc?

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I belive that what you're trying to do right now will fail. You're taking a system and trying to add something on top of it.

You can't just say let's take a MMORPG and add responsability to it. Make it so that if you help the wounded on the battlefield you get fame. Because nobody really cares about fame in MMORPGs anyway, and if they did, they'd probably kill you for it/become more famous through dueling. It just fails to have anything to do with the concept of MMORPG's as they are now.

Or take the GTA example. Again, no connection with the game itself.

It's a judgement error that I've seen in quite a few games. You can't make people care about something because you add a small reward. If you want a player to truly be responsible towards a certain game feature, make it part of the system, better yet, make it an important part of the system.

Take Sims for example. You might think that people are playing it because it is related to their sense of responsability. But the truth is people have no psychological sense of responsability. Gamers play The Sims because it's a challenge, building your character, building your life, maintining things. And on top of that you have a lot of rewards, but they are rewards that you can lose *just like that*. The game is putting constant pressure on the player, so the player has to really work for the rewards. "Challenge" is the magic word here.

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I think this is all dependant on the type of game you are intending and the level of responsibility you are looking at.

In a game like WoW you are responsible for maintaining your equipment. Your gear wears down through use and over time so it is your responsibility to keep it repaired. That is a very base form of responsibility though most aspects of a game fall into this catagory.


@ Classy I have to dissagree. There were plenty of UO players who went out of their way to get and maintain their Lord/Lady/Dark Lord/Dark Lady status which was based on their karma, UO's form of fame.

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I believe you have hit on a subject that is crucial to the future of gaming. The gaming industry is reaching a point where it has a major influence on the entire culture of future generations. I think we should take a different approach to this topic though. In everyone's responses, it was assumed that the gamer knew responsibility. What if you created a game that taught responsibility? It could follow the same pattern of current MMO's, where you start with little responsibility and small rewards and work your way up to big responsibility and large rewards. This may not be the core gameplay, but it could definitely be a main part of it.

I also disagree with Classy's remark, but only because I think current fame systems are flawed. These fame systems need to be looked at from a more realistic viewpoint. In current MMO's, fame is rewarded by lowering vendor prices, opening new quest lines, and perhaps there's a few percent of the playerbase that knows and respects your name. This is nothing like the rewards you get in real life for being famous. For being famouse in real life, you receive riches beyond imagination, books written about you, advertisements with your name and face on them, and if you reach the highest peak, world recognition. One of the most known phrases in the world is "Coca-cola". I know this is not a person, but it is a company, which could just as easily be a character in a game.

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Perhaps the key is to tempt players to be irresponsible. In Netrek (multiplayer online team sports game with starships) there are various ways one can waste his teams' resources, or otherwise engage in selfish/stupid behaviour that hurts the team - responsible behaviour is therefore highly valued by knowledgeable players, and by the game's design too, as it is the only way to win (just like in real life team sports games actually).

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Quote:
Original post by tboy

I also disagree with Classy's remark, but only because I think current fame systems are flawed. These fame systems need to be looked at from a more realistic viewpoint. In current MMO's, fame is rewarded by lowering vendor prices, opening new quest lines, and perhaps there's a few percent of the playerbase that knows and respects your name. This is nothing like the rewards you get in real life for being famous. For being famouse in real life, you receive riches beyond imagination, books written about you, advertisements with your name and face on them, and if you reach the highest peak, world recognition. One of the most known phrases in the world is "Coca-cola". I know this is not a person, but it is a company, which could just as easily be a character in a game.



The major major road-block between current fame systems and a fame system that actually rewards you stands in the current basis of MMORPGs.

If you want to reward something, you have to rewards real skill, just like in real life. Nobody cares when you reward the fact that you've achieved level 98 and you have a certain weapon damage. Make skill-based games and people might actually care that you've single handedly defeated a few hundred opponents at the same time, using the same bows and swords that they had, only you used them better.

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Give each player character a functional purpose in the world. Think Lemmings, only from the 1st person perspective and set in a dungeon. The players all have to escape the dungeon and each have abilities that can help make that possible. However, no player can make it out on their own. The only way to make it through a situation is to coordinate the efforts of the other players and to take responsibility for your own actions.

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