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Ketchaval

Reasons for fighting?

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Why do we fight things in games? What are the reasons for the conflict between the character and the vampire / snake / bat / demon / zombie / harpie / sirens etc? Furthermore, what other motivations could we have to overcome these creatures other than what we usually see?

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#1 People like to kill things.

#2 Majority of the time, the reward systems (economic and others)are based on killing things. Why do people work at McDonalds? Because they can make money.

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You'll never get rid of #1. Even if there are entities in a game that aren't supposed to be killed, poeple will still want to kill it.

You could improve on #2 by making the rewards something different than material aquisition or a leveling vehicle.

What that would be is the tough part. I don't have any suggestions.





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Original post by Ketchaval
Why do we fight things in games?

It's usually the other way around. The things are usually fighting us. Trying to kill us. Trying to eat us. Whatever. Everything living must feed on the living to live, so you can't blame the zombie. It's just trying to survive. But you also don't have to feel bad about capping his ass for your own survival.

I usually feel bad when I have to kill people in a game because of a mission, unless that person attacks me. I usually end up feeling that my character is not quite as heroic as I wanted.

But now if we're just talking about fighting without death, that's totally different. Not much guilt in roughing people up. They heal. There could be many reasons for fighting, but there should be few for death. The main one being the survival of your game character, secondary being protecting others.

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Conflict comes in many different forms, like running on the martian surface with 5 minutes of air left and having to get to the colony which is 2 miles away, in this case Time is your enemy. Or extreme weather conditions or say a Meteor show that hammers your ship, inanimate objects that can also serve to create conflict because their mere existence is a threat to yours, or a threat to your goal.

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I fight things in games for the same reason John Cheese does: They don't look like me, and they just came through a door. Boom.

The overwhelming majority of games in which violence is sometimes the solution to a problem feature violence as the only solution to any problem, and feature a steady stream of problems for it to solve. I didn't wait even a second to start putting rounds in that first ganado in RE4, even though he obviously wasn't a zombie. He had an axe, he was advancing, it's time to split his wig.

If I have a sniper rifle in a game, and there are people that I can see through it (who aren't obviously dressed like me or tied to a chair), they're buzzard food. Maybe after a while I'll find other ways to solve problems, like grenades, but I find that most games have a straightforward and violent answer to any question you might want to ask.

You can try to dress it up with "good reasons", but a kung-fu fight is a kung-fu fight whether you're saving the world or defending yourself or kidnapping a busload of orphans. If you offer profound penalties for being unnecessarily violent, then you shouldn't make violence easy and fun.

If you want to write a good reason to fight (Star Wars), or to explain that you're in a controlled environment (Pokemon), or metaphysically remove the consequences (The Matrix), then that's fine. You won't profoundly change gameplay, and you won't alter the player's mindset.

If you think about it a lot, you'll probably decide that there's no real reason to fight every wild boar in the forest. If you make fighting very hard, and running away very easy, then players will ask themselves why they should fight.

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Well, the reason we fight them is because that's how the game works, you walk around and the cannon-fodder monsters show up and fight you to the death. It's just a thing that they do.


As for an alternative, there are a few.

Enemy Survival instincts, in alot of games then you continue to level up while there are still the weak monsters from the beginning still around, and naturally they keep attacking you. If the weak enemies would just look at you and realize they don't have a prayer in beating you, alot of bloodshed could be avoided.

Example: A level 65 dark knight is walking into town.

Dark Knight: La la la, man that was a great haul! I just killed 57 Dire Ogres and I'm rolling in dough! Well, better spend my cash on...

A random thug pops out from an alley with a dagger.

Random Thug: Yer money of yer... Holy @%*#! (looks at the Knights Mythral armor, Blood Sword and bag of Ogre pelts.) Eh... heh... I'll just duck back into this alley and not attract your ire. (runs back into the alley)

Dark Knight shrugs and moves on.
===

Intimidation: Basically, the player exploits the survival instinct of the enemy. Instead of killing them, they just appear tough enough to make the enemy run away. This can be done either with items (like wearing Scent of Dragon around animals so they think you're a dragon and run) or through actions.

Example: A Dark Wizard (wearing a robe and pointy hat) is walking through the woods.

Random Thug: Alright Grandpa! Yer money or yer...

Dark Wizard shoots fire out of his eyes, the Thug's clothes burst into flames.

Rnadom Thug: Ahhhh! I'm on fire! (rolls around on the ground until the fire is out, looks at the Dark Wizard in fear and runs away)

Dark Wizard shakes his head and moves on.
===

Just knoking them out:

Example: A monk is walking down the road

Random Thug(with bandages and burnt cloths): Yer money or yer...

Monk punches the Random Thug right in the face, Monk falls to the ground, out cold.

Monk steals the Random Thugs wallet and moves on.
===

Just minding your own business: It would be nice if enemies just didn't attack you in the first place. Only reacting if you fill some sort of criteria (i.e. they only attack if you're carrying your weapon, look like you have lots of money, don't have a weapon, smell like blood, etc)

Example: The Random Thug is in town with burnt cloths, bandages, a black eye, and no money.

Random Thug: Ugh, that's it I have got to chose my marks bett... Hey!

Thug looks over and sees a wealthy woman carrying a purse full of gold coins, and has no weapon.

Random Thug(making his move): All right Lady, yer money or yer...

The Woman screams and clubs the Thug right over the head with her purse, (which is technically a blunt weapon that gets bonus attack points for all the money and stuff she keeps in it), the Thug is knocked out and dragged off by the police.

====
So remember kids, Crime doesn't pay, you shouldn't have to kill an enemy to beat them, and purses are actually a combination of item container and self-defence weapon. [wink]

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Fighting is probably the simplest form of conflcit, and every good story revolves around conflict....And because words are stupid, try beating Final Fantasy Tatics with only a gruop of mediators(no sub class) and you'll see why Ramza fights. But I gotta say that diplomacy works almost too well sometimes in D&D.

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Personally, I feel the whole fighting thing was a relic from the first games ever made. The reason being that its the simplest thing to code. Two fight, one dies. Its as easy as that. No need to mess with setting the stage for possible use of stealth. It makes level design a much more straight forward task. Leaving the player with one option means the developers only had to worry about one option. On older systems that can't handle too much stuff, many times, fighting to the death is the simplest game mechanism that has been shown to work fairly well over and over again.

Also, most of the times, there's just no point in pursuing the alternative. Yes, if you spend enough time you can probably sneak around a level in a FPS and never be detected or use any bullets, but wouldn't it be faster to just cap everything you see? Technically, its the game design that pushes you to fight or not to fight. For example, unlike Resident Evil, you really are not encouraged to engage any enemy in Silent Hill, unless necessary, since you really aren't given much choice weapon and ammo-wise.

So, in the end, why do we fight things in games? Well, sometimes its just because the game either gives you the option or its the only option.

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I sometimes wonder what life would be like if human psychology was so different that we enjoyed the kind of peace in media that we want in our daily lives. We with the psychology we have now would think it deadly dull. But we don't, for instance, expect conflict in songs, right?

The point really isn't the conflict. The point is the obstacles. I'm convinced that even in a semi-jingoistic culture that conflates fighting with personal triumph (even masculinity) that you can get the same satisfaction of tension between goal and attainment that combat provides. But you'll have to sidestep the meme that says "peace is for sissies" (masculinity conflation), or "peace is boring" (ever try to create it IRL?)


One of the biggest aspects to mimic is that combat is a reactive process. It is an obstacle that tailors itself to you-- even if this means nothing more than a turret that keeps pointing at you. Surviving jungle terrain or trying to keep the ball over home plate doesn't quite have the same visceral, intimate method of matching you the way combat does--its what makes it deeply personal (why else would we get the urge to dodge virtual fireballs in Doom?)

There are other ways to make the world intimately reactive. Stealth is one, which is, I think, why the sneaker/sniper genre has taken off. You could have a game about being a pickpocket, or an illusion-casting con-artist. But each would have to compete with the level of familiarity that violence has-- which tends to make it easily accessible to a wider audience.



There is also no denying at a base human level that violence is a satisfying mode of human interaction, with varying degrees for varying people. There's a ton of symbolism and meaning wrapped up in this behavior. I, for example, have no problem shooting Nazis right between the eyes in Return to Castle Wolfenstein, but copkilling in a game like 25 To Life just doesn't work for me. You can only counter this if you are successful in countering the anti-peace memes, because ultimately, games are about wish fulfillment.

Quote:
Original post by The Shadow Nose
So remember kids, Crime doesn't pay, you shouldn't have to kill an enemy to beat them, and purses are actually a combination of item container and self-defence weapon. [wink]


[lol]

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Why overcomplicate things? Do people need a reason to fight? Most existing customers are used to it already dewd.

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People want to do in video games what they can't do in real life. People will go to jail if they kill someone else in real life, but in video games, they won't(and even if they will, they can easily escape). Plus, in video games you don't feel guilt for killing people.

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Original post by someboddy
People want to do in video games what they can't do in real life.

Yes, but hopefully killing randomly isn't one of them.

Quote:
People will go to jail if they kill someone else in real life, but in video games, they won't(and even if they will, they can easily escape).

I really hope this is not your only reason for not killing in real life.

Quote:
Plus, in video games you don't feel guilt for killing people.

It depends on how good your imagination is. I feel guilt playing video games all the time. I definitely don't feel guilt while downing aliens in Halo, but some games are much more complex. If you assume your players are non-empathetic monsters, you're not going to make much of a game; you'll never touch the player's emotions positively.

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Making something harder to kill only makes me want to kill it more. Remember taking on the guards in Ultima 7 and then hunting down and slaughtering the remaining NPCs? You could loot the entire town after that, quite the King's ransom to be had.

Good fun.

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I never really did that in games. Maybe at the very end, after I'd accomplished everything and seen the final movie a few dozen times, but I never went on bloody rampages.

I like to be the good guy. Perhaps it has something to do with being a cold-blooded ninja mercenary in real life, but I have never brought myself to shoot the dog in Resident Evil 4. I can point the gun at it, but I always let it go. Heck, I don't even know if I am able to kill that little guy. I have been known to blast the merchants with the glowing red eyes, though. It's better for them.

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[quote]Original post by Jiia
Quote:
Original post by someboddy
People want to do in video games what they can't do in real life.

Yes, but hopefully killing randomly isn't one of them.

In GTA it is.

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Original post by The Shadow Nose
Just knoking them out:

Example: A monk is walking down the road

Random Thug(with bandages and burnt cloths): Yer money or yer...

Monk punches the Random Thug right in the face, Monk falls to the ground, out cold.

Monk steals the Random Thugs wallet and moves on.


See what's italicized? Lol. Anyways, people fight because they think that what they fight is inferior. A.K.A. Adolf Hitler. A.K.A. John Kerry (sarcasticly).

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People generally fight in games because they're not really given a choice. I'm with Jiia on this one. The first time I played through Deus Ex 2, except for the first few enemies I encountered (during the raid on Tarsus, when you don't really have any weapons), I took every single opponent down in a non-lethal fashion. I went out of my way to make sure I did silent, non-lethal takedowns. And what did I get out of it? Absolutely nothing. Not even a "congratulations, you did the right thing."

My second time through the game, I shot everyone in the head with the sniper rifle. It was so much easier, and no one slapped my hand.

Fighting isn't necessarily a poor option to have, but it should have repercussions that instill players with at least some ethical judgment. I don't believe letting your five-year-old play Painkiller will turn him into a psychotic killer, but in the spirit of realism (which we in this forum are forever seeking), it would be nice if the game at least attempted to reflect reality in some form, particularly where social behavior is concerned.

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Read material on how to write a good book. It will repeatedly say how conflict is important. Scenes have to have ever-increasing conflict, and the conflict should come to an apex near the end of the book/movie, followed by an optional down-time followup.

The same applies for games. The problem is that a large part of conflict that works in books and movies do not work in games. Such as emotional differences, relationship chasms, losing the girl you love and trying to win her back. Drama.

The conflict that does translate well to games are the ones involving action or physical aspects, which usually involves violence. The ones that don't involve violence are sports, racing, generic reflex-based gameplay, or time-based puzzles.

No conflict = boring.

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Quote:
Original post by Ronenriku
Quote:
Original post by Jiia
Quote:
Original post by someboddy
People want to do in video games what they can't do in real life.

Yes, but hopefully killing randomly isn't one of them.

In GTA it is.

Maybe for you. I very specifically target the police. I have this little scenario thing I do to start the fight. I 'accidently' scrape against a police car, and attempt to get out and apologize to the good officer. When I do so, the guy all of a sudden starts beating me with his night stick! When I jump up on the hood of my car to escape, he starts firing his gun at me! From then, it's on. I kill him, his friends come, they die, and so on. None of it was my fault.

I try to avoid civilian casualties, unless I get robbed or attacked. There's not much satisfaction for me in running down dumb cattle AI. I don't feel very sad when I accidently do, though.

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Original post by someboddyPeople will go to jail if they kill someone else in real life, but in video games, they won't(and even if they will, they can easily escape).
In Americas Army, in the tutorial if you shot your instructor you ended up in jail. I didn't find a way out of there(except start a new tut). cause->effect...

Quote:
Original post by TomAnd what did I get out of it? Absolutely nothing. Not even a "congratulations, you did the right thing."

What should happen instead for a uber-great-game? congrats? more than 50% silent per chapter to get a bonus level? hi-score for best silent takedowns(and perhaps videos(realtime) of them aswell)?

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Quote:
Original post by Jiia
Quote:
People will go to jail if they kill someone else in real life, but in video games, they won't(and even if they will, they can easily escape).

I really hope this is not your only reason for not killing in real life.

Hell no!!! Do you have any idea how much dry-cleaning cost where I leave?

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Quote:
Original post by someboddy
Quote:
Original post by Jiia
Quote:
People will go to jail if they kill someone else in real life, but in video games, they won't(and even if they will, they can easily escape).

I really hope this is not your only reason for not killing in real life.

Hell no!!! Do you have any idea how much dry-cleaning cost where I leave?


You're forgetting that dead people don't need clothes. ;)

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But I like my clothes, and they tend to get blood on them when I use my phased plasma rifle at point-blank range. And let's face it, if you can't feel the gibs, you may as well be playing a video game.

Violence is the simplest form of conflict. It's the easiest to emulate and the easiest to market. It's also the easiest to understand when you're trying to wrap your mind around the relationship between a little grey joystick and James Bond's legs.

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