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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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Quote:
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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