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Coaster Kev

Adventure game settings/locations

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When picking a setting for a game, how important do you feel it to be accurate in the way you portray a location? For example, I'd was thinking about a large city setting (like New York, Los Angeles, etc.) for my game. How much effort should be put into making the game resemble the actual location? Do small details matter to the player? Or, should I make up my own city and develop the game around it? I'm curious to hear what everyone's opinions are.

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Personally I think its almost better to design your own world, unless your game relies on objects events and such which occur in the real world. A made-up world that has lots of things in common with the real one (ie, "HITLER TAKES POWER! BRITAN TO INVADE POLAND") makes it seem a little alternate-realityish to me.

But if that's what you're going for.. [wink]

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It depends on how integral to the success of your game having a real world city is. For example, if you were designing a racing sim, having a real world track would be an important feature.

However, since your topic is based on adventure games, I'd think it would be better to make up your own city, because it's a lot easier. You can manipulate the world to be just how you like it. That doesn't mean that you can't base it in the real world, it's just I wouldn't go overboard trying to convince the player they are really there in that city. For example, if you set part of your game in a street in Seattle, it doesn't have to be based on a real street. In my case, if I were playing your game, I'd never really know the difference since I've never been to Seattle.

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I think it depends on the sort of adventure game your making. If its some weird outlandish thing then it doesn't matter. But if you are making something where it depends on the place and time your in then you need to make it atleast appear to fit in with that place.

For example don't go and put ancient japanse style homes out in the wild west and then with the story try and convince me i'm in some historically accurate setting.

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Certain games, like Deus Ex, have done a really good job of replicating real-world places, and IMHO it's been used to good effect. Using a real-world setting, I think, lends a gritty realism to a game... sort of a "reality show" effect. But that's only if you're in the thick of it. Eiffel Tower in the background? Enriches the setting. Standing three feet away from one of the supports? Disturbingly real.

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I think a great effect is to have a location that's roughly based on a real place, but is more of a dramatic reinterpretation than a carbon copy. Kind of like what Gotham City is to New York City. On the surface they are the "same" city, but Gotham is definitely a much darker and more villainous place than its real life counterpart.

So I guess the short answer is no, the scenerio doesn't have to be accurate. It's up to you, different levels of accuracy will lead to different playing experiences, but either way can be good.

I always like it when games hit the sweet spot between familiarity and strangeness. As in, things are familiar & realistic enough that you start to feel comfortable, but there are some elements that are definitely unnatural and disturbing. See: Silent Hill.

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Great responses. They all pretty much sum up what I was feeling. I think I am going to take the route of designing my own city, largely based on aspects of other cities. This will give me the creative freedom I need for particular situations and puzzles I envision my characters participating.

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