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Nytehauq

The Answer: Why there is realism.

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This is copied from my post in Ranger Meldon's "Bad Elements of CRPG's" post.
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Realism isn't just graphics. Physics adds to realism. The subtle way that things move adds to the realism. However, realism isn't a very good word to use for this quality. Familiarity and some relation to the real world are a prerequisite of humor and enjoyment. Without delving too much into phsychology, we find things humorous (I know game 'fun' isn't neccesarily humor, bear with me) because they break out of an expected pattern. The brain works on patterns. Things are fun because they exceed our expectations, or give us the idea (Illusionary or otherwise) that we've gotten something, or fulfilled a need. Realism is needed in games to suspend disbelief, and to set up a scenario that the player can understand. Without belief first (reality) there can be no suspension of disbelief. Furthermore, in any game (unless previously stated), the player assumes that the game world has some things in common with the real world. If you created a game that had no common paradigms with the real world, it would be useless. Even the most 'abstract' of titles have lots in common. Rez, for instance, featured a humanoid character flying around a world composed of texureless polygons and lines. People called this abstract. But it's not really. Humanoid characters, music, physical surroundings (even if they were composed only of lines). Just to lay the 'Realism' aspect to rest. Realism is neccesary for familiarity which is neccesary for fun. As a final end to that argument, there has been no game ever realeased that attained any level of genuine fun (E.g., you can't build a real argument against this) devoid of familiarity. Even Tetris had gravity! In fact, only the simplest puzzle games don't have abundant familiarity to reality - but for any complex game, it's a requirement.
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The more suspension of disbelief without incumbering irritating limitations (It'd suck if you died from gunfire realistically in Max Payne - that would be going overboard. But if you could fly and were invulnerable to bullets, the game would suck just as much.) the better. Therein, to settle that argument, whether or not realism is needed needs to be decided in a logical fashion on a CASE BY CASE BASIS. When someone speaks of increasing realism in a game, the counter argument should not be, "Realism is bad and makes games boring," just as the argument should not be, "Realism is good and suspends disbelief." It's a case by case thing. However, in most cases, it seems that people oppose realism for a silly reason and people pupport realism for an ill-defined while probably good one.
That sums it up ... but read the post for the rest of the stuff in there.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
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The more suspension of disbelief without incumbering irritating limitations (It'd suck if you died from gunfire realistically in Max Payne - that would be going overboard. But if you could fly and were invulnerable to bullets, the game would suck just as much.) the better. Therein, to settle that argument, whether or not realism is needed needs to be decided in a logical fashion on a CASE BY CASE BASIS. When someone speaks of increasing realism in a game, the counter argument should not be, "Realism is bad and makes games boring," just as the argument should not be, "Realism is good and suspends disbelief." It's a case by case thing. However, in most cases, it seems that people oppose realism for a silly reason and people pupport realism for an ill-defined while probably good one.


I have some issue with this. I personally would like to see a game where you die by gunfire realistically. Now you obviouslly would not want to remain dead. With this sort of system the player needs to be able to be resurrected by magic or scientific means but if there was realistic death, there would be more stratigy to the game then simply stand there with gun in hand and trade broadsides in battleship type combat. There would be more of the find cover and fire stratigy.

Perhaps an addition to this would require more NPC fodder to take most of the shots and die around you. This sort of realism might be useful when you are leading a large number of NPCs in war. My thouhts though are more for an MMORPG system where the whole idea is you depend on your ability to dodge or remain in cover to avoid being killed.

Just some random thoughts

-Drethron

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Original post by Anonymous Poster
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The more suspension of disbelief without incumbering irritating limitations (It'd suck if you died from gunfire realistically in Max Payne - that would be going overboard. But if you could fly and were invulnerable to bullets, the game would suck just as much.) the better. Therein, to settle that argument, whether or not realism is needed needs to be decided in a logical fashion on a CASE BY CASE BASIS. When someone speaks of increasing realism in a game, the counter argument should not be, "Realism is bad and makes games boring," just as the argument should not be, "Realism is good and suspends disbelief." It's a case by case thing. However, in most cases, it seems that people oppose realism for a silly reason and people pupport realism for an ill-defined while probably good one.


I have some issue with this. I personally would like to see a game where you die by gunfire realistically. Now you obviouslly would not want to remain dead. With this sort of system the player needs to be able to be resurrected by magic or scientific means but if there was realistic death, there would be more stratigy to the game then simply stand there with gun in hand and trade broadsides in battleship type combat. There would be more of the find cover and fire stratigy.

Perhaps an addition to this would require more NPC fodder to take most of the shots and die around you. This sort of realism might be useful when you are leading a large number of NPCs in war. My thouhts though are more for an MMORPG system where the whole idea is you depend on your ability to dodge or remain in cover to avoid being killed.

Just some random thoughts

-Drethron


Well, if there was REALLY realistic death, you would play a game, and the moment you died, you would never be able to play it again, and no one else would ever be able to play it again :) Essentially, you'd end up with real life!

But, you are right, it would be more realistic to get shot up and wounded - but this is what I'm talking about. Being ressurected in such a game - and being given realistic precedents for that ressurection would be alot more believable than magically picking up a med kit and suddenly recorvering from fatal injuries. This leads me to rephrase: if you try to make a game world too realistic, players will likely be limited by the fact that they can't interact with the world in a detailed enough manner (given current input devices) - and would be hindered by the fact that they would essentially be playing in reality. Games should only be realistic enough to suspend disbelief. The entire point is to escape from reality - but not so far away that you have nothing to go on.

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Using your definition, there is no possible game that does not have realism.


Exactly. Unless you can think up something outside of the bounds of reality, you can't think up an unreal game. By definition, it is impossible to create something that does not have something in common with the real world. You can create games that feature events impossible in reality - but they'll still have something in common. As I stated above, realism is really a misnomer for what is often expressed in this forum. It's really maintaining familiarity with what the player expects of reality and creating a world that doesn't contradict itself. If you put humans in a game world, have them act like humans, walk like humans, and talk like humans - but then have them spontaneously fly away in the middle of your game and subsequently have the world explode (or something equally absurd) and posit no reasonably explanation - your players would be confused and anrgy. So, what I mean to say is that no game should be incoherent. Even 'abstract' games are coherent. Seeing as reality is what we base our assumptions on and it would require an impossible amount of work to create a new reality and have you players take it as gospel, there are things in games that need to either function realistically or provide a plausible reason as to why they do not - assuming that you want to create the best game possible.

There is no game that does not have realism - to a certain degree. In reality, things follow rules (physics, etc.) and therein are coherent. The definition of what a game is means that if something is a game - it must have at least one thing in common with reality - it has rules. Really and truly, conforming to realism goes beyond that, though. It's about games that assume a reality similar to our own but then place nonsensical and irrational events inside the game world without plausible explanation. So, there is no game that doesn't technically have realism. But there are games that don't fall into the category being discussed - that is, games that insinuate that there are certain rules and then break them without logical precedent, and most of those games being those that posit a reality similar to our own but break rules without internally consistent reasoning.

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I don't see the reason in arguing either way, then, if every game has realism... or was that the point of this thread?

This argument is lame, if you ask me, because adding realism to games often ruins them (strategy games), but it can also help. It is purely case-by-case.

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Original post by Nytehauq
The definition of what a game is means that if something is a game - it must have at least one thing in common with reality - it has rules.


So, I couldn't create a game of pong and have the ball NOT follow the laws of physics and the paddles NOT work the way they would in real life and it would still be a game based upon reality?

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He would probably argue that the ball woulds still follow some rule, but then that would completely rob the word "realism" of its meaning.

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Original post by Anonymous Poster
. . .I personally would like to see a game where you die by gunfire realistically. . .


It all depends on how the game plays out. If you just took ye olde Doom and dropped the player's health down so that the average zombie soldier could kill in one shot, the game would be nothing short of frustrating. If the gameplay was coherently designed to accomodate that danger in a fun and entertaining way, then it doesn't matter how lethal a single hit from the enemy is.

Realism does not need to be a factor in game design at all. Super Mario Brothers was not, by any stretch of the imagination, realistic. But it was still entertaining. Flight simulators go to great lengths at being realistic but they don't quite sell as well as Quake did.

A _GAME_ designer should always emphasise entertainment value. If you're building an ultra-realistic simulator, then there really isn't very much demand for design in the first place: The universe has already designed the game for you and you just need to build the game around reality's specifications.

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If you're building an ultra-realistic simulator, then there really isn't very much demand for design in the first place: The universe has already designed the game for you and you just need to build the game around reality's specifications.


Very good point. [smile]

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It's weird that people are avoiding the definitions in the first post just to say "The games I like don't have any realism, therefore all realism sucks". Or the lame "Realism almost always sucks, but maybe sometimes it's ok". It's not 'realism' that sucks; it's bad gameplay design. There are just as many games that suffer from non-realism-based bad gameplay as there are those that people blame on realism.

Flight sims don't sell worse than Quake because they're more realistic; it's that flight sims are less popular than FPS's. Using that logic, the most unrealistic and abstract games would sell the best, while Quake, being fairly based on reality, would sell quite poorly.

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