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Niphty

Discussing Landfishian theology..

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Niphty    122
Ok, now.. to bring back the inspiration of Landfish to the boards, and to make Naz happy at the sharing of ideas.. i''ve much to discuss. Tonight, having finished off Orson Scott Card''s newest book, Shadow of the Hegemon, I sat idlly by watching my girlfriend merilessly shoot crossbow bolts into goblins. I began to ponder things from the book, which had me in a philisophical mood. Then i watched her playing, watched the intensity of it.. her anticipation of the next strike against the goblin hordes. *THIS*, I realized, is why people play these games. That caused me to stop, and think.. if Landfish had his way, and this element was removed, what would fill the game time? Now, step back and think about this. Take away combat from a game.. the anticipation of some foe coming along for you to kill, and what''s left.. you''ve simply got to content yourself on working other skills. But this is the very thing we''re also trying to avoid.. mindless clicking to gain skills to get levels. But combat is NOT mindless clicking. There''s a randomness about it.. there''s a reason to do it again and again.. it was different all the time, it changed, the situation changed.. forced you to think, consider all things.. assess your situation, and make strategic warfare. If you didn''t, you died.. you lost a level, some skill, something. But if you won.. you GAINED things. This excitement, this utter bare anticipation, is why people play these games. The fact that you can''t predict what''ll happen. I mean, what person is content fighting an enemy they can easily kill? They want bigger and better challenges! Now we, as developers, sit here pondering stealing the one thing most people look forward to.. all for what? Landfish? Think about it good.. and hard. People want to gain something from their time. They want to do something and have something result from it. They want progress, they want to feel like their time spent meant something, some reward. This has been discussed before.. but i don''t think many people ever really critically analyzed this situation to the full extent. Take out combat, and you force people to do mindless skilling. Take that out, and what''s left to the game? What do you propse people do with their time? Roll dice? Work the farm? What is it that you think would go well here? I''m stuck at an under impass at this point. I''ve begun to analyze every game i played in the past.. and tried to think about why it was good or not good.. and i''ve come to the conclusion that excitement is anticipation. You don''t know what the enemy''s going to do, and you''ve got to be ready to counter it. Anything non-random was boring and grew old pretty fast. Look at tetris.. the most addicting game ever! And what was at it''s core? Random pieces of fixed shape. The speed of the game only factored in to measure just how good you were and how fast you could think.. a leveling system. But the core was the randomness mixed with the constant. Constant peices, but randomly appearing. In the heart, strategy and tactics was what it boiled down to. How could you command the pieces to move as you wanted them? How well could you control what you were given to make the outcome you wanted when faced with a constantly random situation? Food for thought.. so now give me your thoughts. J

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Wavinator    2017
What you speak of is what design guru (& personal god ) Greg Costikyan calls "variety of encounter." You don't know what you're going to hit, and you must constantly plan. It's not mindless insofar as you're engaged and you accept the repetition.

Combat is a repeatable and scalable activity. You can do it often and bigger.

There's also a punishment / rewards mechanism, as you pointed out. Mixed with the variety of encounter you get the same attraction as gambling. Slots, for instance, is a great example of this, and people can be found tugging those levers forever.

The question, if I may take up the LF staff (or whatever), is whether or not this is the deepest play we're going to get?

The relevant stuff I saw in the EGG thread was about asking players to be more thoughtful about what they're doing. This goes hand in hand with immersion. You can not be both a hero and a mass murderer by contemporary standards. This disconnect severely harms immerson.

An arcade game doesn't care a whit about this. The game isn't about a place or world you go to. It's about a thing you do, over and over, which has different contexts (lots of monsters, tight corridors, etc). This is why Diablo is so utterly and completely incompetent at being a world and so great at being an activity.

The problem comes when traditional / hardcore CRPG players want more than just an activity. They want an adventure . They want to be heroic. Hack & slash games only let them be, as Ernest Adams observed, a "glorified exterminator."

One radical way (which I agree with) is to experiment with toning down combat, or (not so comfortable with) chucking it entirely.


Now, if this gets done, then it will attract a different audience. Hack & slashers need not apply, & hardcore players can rave about how good the story or non-linear environment or whatever is.

If we want to retain people like your SO (& my married friends who love playing diablo) then we've got a serious problem: Whatever we put in has to have that same element of gambling (win/loss), and of variety of encounter (the random you mentioned).

We can do this: Tetris already does, like you said. We could make the player's surgeons, or merchants, or extreme skiiers.

But I think it won't work because we lose the all important flavor / character of combat: The Hero Myth so important in Western Culture, and the (mostly harmless) dark satisfaction that comes from conquering or superiority (aka "kicking someone's a$$, which every FPS, RTS, or action game REVELS in)

There is no replacement for that. (IMHO opinion, of course ).

Better to acknowledge their are different players, and dump the Diablo folks if you're going for something deeper (or vice versa if vice versa)

--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...


Edited by - Wavinator on January 28, 2001 2:05:11 AM

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Nazrix    307
Niphty,
I really think you're incorrect here. LF has never said he wants to get rid of combat or violence. He's said many a time that violence can be a powerful tool in a story (I'm assuming we're talking about a game that is fairly story-based). The point wasn't to get rid of combat & violence, it was to make it mean something.

In Diablo, you knew nothing of those hideous monsters except there were very many of them, and you had to kill them again & again. Imagine if combat meant something more. You know your advesary well. You have a reason to want to kill them. Imagine combat is not the only option. Imagine that the story (I'm not sure how to make this point w/out the game having a story of a sort) gives the player reason to want to kill (i.e. revenge, etc).




Edit:
In movie terms, it's the difference between Saving Private Ryan where you see limbs flying off and other horrid visuals and a "slasher" horror movie where this killer kills people over & over & over. He doesn't have a complex motive, or at least the movie spends little to no time talking about it. He just kills again & again.

Saving Private Ryan, for example, uses violence to show the pains of war. The movie is incredibly gory, but I think we can all agree that the movie uses that violence to portray how terrible war can be.

Sure, horror moives can be good fun to watch. It's just that if that's the only violence we ever saw it would be incredibly boring, right? Well, it is the same way w/ games.





In Thief, for example, direct combat was often not the best solution. If you kill a guard, then he will make more noise alerting other guards. If you carefully sneak past him using your finely=tuned eyes, ears, and brain then you can possibly get past with less hassle. I don't know about anyone else, but that was a welcome change of gameplay to me.

Furthermore, I think we all have agreed there's nothing at all wrong with a Diablo or Carmagedon game where it's rediculously violent for the fun of it. The point was to just try to explore something different.

Edited by - Nazrix on January 28, 2001 9:15:01 AM

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pwd    122
quote:


Goblin: "Hi, I''m a goblin."

Player: "Can you excuse me, I''m busy here."

Goblin: "{ahem} I said I''m a goblin!"

Player: "And I told you, I''m busy, now go away."

Goblin: "But, we''re supposed to fight, because I''m a goblin!"



Is that the best we can do?

Combat does not have to go away altogether, but it should mean something more than that.

Ultimately, we need to focus on other conflict/reward systems as much as we have focused on mindless killing in the past. If we can allow for exciting situations - which may or may not involve meaningful combat, then perhaps we can achieve the ideal.

Give people something else to look forward to:
* high speed car/horse/spaceship/whatever chases
* stealth/thievery
* sports/non-fatal combat (jousting - etc)

And others, those are just examples. It all boils down to conflict - reward. And spending the time to make other forms of conflict interesting, rather than throwing together a few new {combat-related} spells, and making the goblins a different shade of green.

We have a long legacy of using combat as the conflict-reward system, going back to D&D, and the tabletop strategy games that that was based on. It was easy to keep track of, "you killed a goblin, you gain 200 xp, did you go up a level?", and it was a straightforward evolution from the strategy games. Rather than trying to evolve further, we seem to have stagnated at that point.

Evolve. There will always be Diablos/SmashTVs/etc for those who enjoy the mindless slaughter.

-pwd

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Guest Anonymous Poster   
Guest Anonymous Poster
Diablo did have a rich and detailed explantion as to why you had to slaugher the hordes of undead/evil minons. Would i rather see a 3 minute cut scene of the next act describing the horrors that would be unleashed upon the world unless i stop diablo, or have a text message from some goblin explaining how it''s destutite childhood lead it into a life of crime and how it''s morally acceptable for it to steal my gold? I would rather have the former, thank you.

The main reason why the current crop of MMORPG are so popular isnt their great gameplay. Rather its an incredible medium for virutal social interaction (chatting, adventuring together etc..). I dont think its possible to capture that level of interaction/relation with a NPC, within a single player CRPG. Trying to algorithimicly balance action / motiviation / resolution / conflict into a meaningful outcome would be difficult. While within a MMORPG its a natural outcome of human-human interactions.

Players play games becuase it appeals to them on some level, intellectually, emotionally, and vicariously. CRPGs have changed over the years, this can obviously be seen in the players who play them and in the nature of the games themselves. I think oringally CRPGs were more story/world focused, and the mechanics were there to support the story/world, but there was a sub-branch of CRPGs which were more focused on the mechanics (Rogues). These in time grew to dominate the market (Diablo being the prime example). Then came the MMORPGS which inturn supplanted the singleplayer mechanics focused CRPGs. MMORPGS are much like the mechanics focused CRPGs but with the added element of multiplayer, so one could say the are a natural evolutionary step of the mechanics focused CRPGs.

What is the natural evolutionary step of the world/story focused CRPGs? I think that is the question.

Good Luck

-ddn









-ddn

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Wavinator    2017
quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster

Diablo did have a rich and detailed explantion as to why you had to slaugher the hordes of undead/evil minons. Would i rather see a 3 minute cut scene of the next act describing the horrors that would be unleashed upon the world unless i stop diablo, or have a text message from some goblin explaining how it''s destutite childhood lead it into a life of crime and how it''s morally acceptable for it to steal my gold? I would rather have the former, thank you.



This is EXACTLY what I was talking about in my first post. This is what I think of as the Bay Watch - Masterpiece Theater Continuum. Low brow versus high brow, and it''s been going on since the dawn of artistic expression.

Diablo was simple. Black and white. Good and evil. No thinking required. Even for the high brow folks, this is sometimes a nice break.

Apparently the low brows outnumber the high brows. This gives us a future of where the number of Diablos, Mysts, and Deer Hunters outnumber the Planescapes, Theifs, and Alpha Centauris. This sucks if you''re a high brow gamer because there will be fewer and fewer high quality games for you to play.


quote:

What is the natural evolutionary step of the world/story focused CRPGs? I think that is the question.



Niche. Harder to find. Cheaper graphics and sound. Return to roots.

The mass market business model does not favor quality. Quality is more risky and costly.

Look at it like evolution: Simplicity has outnumbered complexity. Gamers who care about world / story won''t have as much a problem with this as folks for whom graphics are gameplay (another continuum).

But I fear that the hobby will shrink while we''re waiting for quality games, and the only thing we''ll have to introduce to newbies will be the simpler games. This will create (or already has created) a sea change in the market and what it values as good.






--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

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Piksel    122
Niphty, I''m not sure if you were getting at this, but this is what I was thinking of while I read your post. If you took out the battle, then you would need to make the other parts, or one other part of the game better. If you made that part of the game better, and added the combat back in, then you would get an awesome game.

Ok, other things I was thinking, was about Tetris. Tetris is, to me, "similiar" Connect four, but one player, and with different rules for clearing pieces (in Connect four you can''t clear any pieces.) So I was thinking about how to manipulate this idea to make an entirely different game, that is still similiar. So I figured, ok, well what should I change first. Ok, how about flipping the game over to the side, so the pieces are moving sideways across the screen (change the pieces into walking people or something). This won''t work, because it takes the player out of the game more. In tetris, the pieces were falling down, kinda towards you, this made it seem like you had to stop them from piling up on top of you. Thats my opinion, of how it suboconscously kept you more involved.

I''ve been thinking of more ideas about manipulating connect four and other games. This is gonna turn into a cool arcade game.

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MadKeithV    992
Welcome, Niphty, to the realm of challenging opinions in order to get ahead with design

That was a good post, and I''ve been thinking...
I liked the "Mindless Skilling" statement. Yep, mindless skilling is exactly the same thing as mindless killing.

I don''t agree that you cannot take combat out of games, but it''s true that you SHOULDN''T take combat out of some games. Combat is a very powerful agent when it comes to conflict - not many movies end without at least one good fight, or threat of a fight.

In the end, I think perhaps it doesn''t really matter how you dress it up. A horde of goblins (shudder) coming at you in a dungeon could be an excellent fight, if it''s balanced to provide the right kind of challenge. As long as it doesn''t become something like "As long as I keep running around in this level, these easy creatures will keep respawning and I''ll be able to get enough experience to move on to the next level without being in danger of getting hurt".



People might not remember what you said, or what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.
Mad Keith the V.

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Silvermyst    113
COMBAT:

There''s two sides to combat. There''s the obvious physical combat. (which in computer games is a little odd, as the only physical contact the player has is in his/her fingertips) But there''s also the psychological combat. In this type of combat, probably even more than physical combat, the player can have a lot more control. He can decide when to go and where to go. Who to group up with, who to avoid. Which creatures to attack and which not to. When to run and when to stay and fight. What equipment to wear and which weapon to use.

Mental combat doesn''t even need physical combat as a supplement. A game like Tetris can be seen as a form of mental combat, a combat waged between the player''s intellect and the computer who randomly (which is a form of strategy) drops blocks.

To me, it''s the mental side of combat that''s most interesting. Because there''s where the player can have the most influence on the outcome of the combat. The physical part has to be taken care of by the character (although even on the physical part, the mental part can have an influence: what skills are practiced, what weapon is used etc).

I think the physical part should be finetuned to the mental part of combat, not the other way around. Physical combat should be the result of all the choices made up to that point. Sort of like a chemisty experiment. First, you think the whole thing through carefully. Then you mix all the ingredients together and hope you were right in your theories.

Mental combat is of course a lot harder to program than physical combat, because for mental combat to be good, the player has to be able to make lots of choices. A game like Tetris might seem simple, but the player has a lot of choices to be made in a short span of time. It''s this making choices that I think appeals to a lot of players. Because in real life, the choices we make are so damn important, we like to take our time in thinking things through. In games, sure, there''s a consequence to our actions, but it''s not a life or death matter (not that most choices in real life are). If you make a wrong choice in Tetris... well, game over. But you can just start again. Even if you make a fatal mistake in an MMORPG, there''s usually no real harm done (except for options like Hardcore in Diablo, where once you die, your character dies permanently... which can be a pain if you put tens or even hundreds of hours into it...)
But it is this making of choices that gives a player real power.

I''m positive that any type of game can be created without physical combat, but there always has to be that mental combat. And to me, physical combat CAN be the best climax to a good mental combat (so I would never start out designing a game by saying ''NO PHYSICAL COMBAT WHATSOEVER!'').

I need to think this thing through myself a little more before I can make my mind up, but I still think that the mental part of combat needs to be improved BEFORE the physical part. So maybe to force ourselves to do just that, maybe we SHOULD start to try to design some games without any physical combat.

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draqza    122
quote:

original post by Silvermyst

Mental combat doesn''t even need physical combat as a supplement. A game like Tetris can be seen as a form of mental combat, a combat waged between the player''s intellect and the computer who randomly (which is a form of strategy) drops blocks.




This may seem irrelevant...but actually, to a certain extent, one could claim mental combat is physical combat...in two ways:

The obvious way: telekinetics, etc...''mentally'' flinging stuff at your enemies (I know, not your point)

not-so-obvious: Even in Tetris, where you claim ''mental combat,'' fighting against the computer (maybe on Tetris DX, where you can multi-play vs. comp.), there has to be some physical representation. No ''physical combat,'' meaning ''no physical representation,'' would be akin to playing Tetris with your monitor turned off. While that would be a skill in itself (or probably just plain dumb luck) would you think it was fun?

Oooh...there''s that word. Fun.

If you read the Letter to GDCornaria (or whatever) you know that I officially proclaimed myself to be of the "Right Wing" wherein we allow goblins and other mis- or underrepresented races to have lives outside of sacrificing themselves for a few gold coins (or gil, or whatever). However, I, like LF, never said combat was a bad thing. Physical or mental.

quote:

original post by Niphty
This excitement, this utter bare anticipation, is why people play these games. The fact that you can''t predict what''ll happen. I mean, what person is content fighting an enemy they can easily kill? They want bigger and better challenges!
...
(line about stealing for Landfish)



Well, one, I don''t think changing the experience is really stealing their fun. And, while I may have misunderstood you, I believe that you''re not thinking your argument through--we all know that one point of EGG was to find new ways of combat, if included, beyond mindless killing of easy targets, but then you ask what person is content fighting an enemy they can easily kill? If I''m understanding you right, then you''re saying that ye olde Lv. 1, 10 HP goblin doesn''t count as an easily killable enemy and one that will keep gamers content?

Really, I think that LFs (btw, I haven''t seen him around for a while...) idea of changing combat is really what you should be going for under that idea of wanting bigger and better challenges. Let the goblins do something else! One of my more recent posts (in EGG, I believe) mentioned allowing goblins to disappear and become stronger if you slaughter them, becoming actual dangers as a game progresses. What problems does this solve?

1) Goblin genocide was initially about not having low level goblins mindlessly slaughtered for hours on end. If they become stronger, "level up," gamers may think twice about attempting to mindlessly kill them.

2) They''re no longer "easily killable." That way, the player is given a "bigger and better" challenge.

3) Initially, at least, they can''t predict what will happen. You say gamers want to have better challenges as they progress, have randomness to their game. They''re not going to expect a goblin that suddenly reappears after 3 hours of play to be able to wield chaos magic and actually cause some damage.

This post went longer than I intended it to...but the more I wrote, the more I thought about it, and wrote still more. I may have completely missed the point of Niphty''s original post, but if so...then maybe this will work as some more food for thought.
--


WNDCLASSEX Reality;
...
...
Reality.lpfnWndProc=ComputerGames;
...
...
RegisterClassEx(&Reality);


Unable to register Reality...what''s wrong?
---------
Dan Upton
Lead Designer
WolfHeart Software

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Wavinator    2017
quote:
Original post by draqza


3) Initially, at least, they can''t predict what will happen. You say gamers want to have better challenges as they progress, have randomness to their game. They''re not going to expect a goblin that suddenly reappears after 3 hours of play to be able to wield chaos magic and actually cause some damage.



I wonder if it is we jaded gamers who want this. I think a dinky chaos weilding goblin that suddenly starts kicking my a** up and down the dungeon would be funny. I''d have a lot less blase attitude about playing if I knew that I had to think more about combat.

But maybe this "thinking more" quality is a mark of gaming maturity? What I mean is, when you start in the hobby you tend to start simple, and then maybe grow in to the complexity.

Just a thought.

--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

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D    128
Making the goblins into another society would annul the ability to mindlessly kill them - then the player would have to think about politics and society and economy. For instance the goblins inhabit the caves - where the main source of coal comes from - he slays them all and that means no coal is made and the economy suffers - society suffers - and ultimately there are major political ramifications.

-Just a few words.

Dæmin
(Dominik Grabiec)
sdgrab@eisa.net.au

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Niphty    122
Where to begin..
First off, i don''t claim to have actually read the whole EGG thread.. so if i have missed points in it, it''s cause it''s huge and i don''t have that kinda time or patients to do so.

With that said.. i think the most people got the basic idea of what i was saying.. mindless killing is what people play games for, a majority of the time. And while they do this, they complain about mindless skilling sucking. If mindless killing is fun for the reasons i mentioned and others mentioned, then how would one make mindless skilling just as exciting?

I''m gonna leave it at that for now.. i could ramble on, but it''s what i''m interested in finding out at this time. And this is as it applies to a MMORPG, since mindless skilling wouldn''t happen in a CRPG.. unless you count mindless killing to get exp to skill up in a way.. but that''s a technicality

J

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MadKeithV    992
Thinking about it, I''ve already achieved at least one level of understanding:
the fun part in "mindless killing" is not the actual clicking/dragging/button punching involved. It''s the particular choice of tactics you make, the way you use the objects you''ve been given(or you''ve "acquired" through other means). Its about your tactics and strategies, in a fast, responsive way. Combat games go hard and fast most of the time, not counting turn-based RPGs.

In order to make "mindless skilling" the same kind of fun, it also has to go deeper than choosing which controller button to push. There should be an element of choice and tradeoff in there, and an element of action.
The player should be pushed for time in making the decisions at least some of the time (even Tetris does this). This, unfortunately, also makes most RPG "skills" absolutely worthless. What''s the deeper strategy of swimming? What''s the action in basketweaving? It should definately be limited to interesting action.
Now, I really don''t see how I can make basketweaving interesting as an in-game challenge. However, swimming is a possibility. Crossing a fast stream with limited endurance and dangerous rocks to avoid. There are others. Climbing a wall to get inside/outside a house on time for a certain event that will take place, with the risk of falling being greater the faster you go.

However, the standard "Click on the climb wall skill button and I''m in" way of handling things is sorely inadequate.


People might not remember what you said, or what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.
Mad Keith the V.

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Niphty    122
quote:
Original post by MadKeithV

However, the standard "Click on the climb wall skill button and I''m in" way of handling things is sorely inadequate.




So what is your proposal to handle this? I mean.. obivously it IS wrong, and having a simple "climb wall Done." isn''t going to work. I mean.. how could you make it more interactive? Could you have someone actually have to grab individual handholds? Or take individual strokes while swimming? That would resort to almost the same near-mindless button pushing (since we now admit, halfway, that it''s no longer just a mindless act..). If you had to time your swimming strokes just right.. or you had to climb slowly to keep properly balanced.. that could be seen as actually fulfilling the requirement, eh?
But would players hate it?
There could be a simple point of making a cross-over between the two. If you''ve got enough skill to climb something, you can do it in a click. That way you don''t hafta spend time climbing it. But this causes roundtime while your character climbs. Now, taking this a bit further, you could allow the player to click-climb something they''re NOT able to climb, but they prolly won''t make it. Ok, so you allow them to take over and control the climb, thus advancing the character''s skill MORE than falling.. as they obivously made it up.. and increasing the chances of making it, if the player is patient.. but not too patient. Hanging in one place would cause almost as much problem as climbing too fast, unless you could lean your weight off your arms and legs partially.. and rest. Like if there was an outcropping to sit on.

To do something like this, though, the world has to be RICHLY detailed. Every part of rock you grab suddenly becomes real. If it''s not there next time, then what? you as the developer have screwed the player. Now, i propose at this junction that you simple allow the player to re-grip old handholds by making climbing the same part of the same wall twice, easier. If you climb the same thing over and over, you stop gaining experience off of it, but it becomes easier. I''ve found this out in driving. I can drive the same road over and over and get better and better till i hit the limit of my abilities. True.. i''m not the BEST driver, so i could improve on that road.. but my ability holds me back, not the knowing of the road. So i drive another road, and i find something new out.. then i redrive the old one, and bam! i''m a little better than before. Had i never seen that little dip in the curve before? or was it the fact that the other road had a big dip in the corner that i know now to look for that? While it''s true you might only shave 1/100th of a second off of your time.. in racing, any improvment over your opponent can give you the win, even 1/100th of a second.

So does everyone see what i''m getting at here?

J

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Ketchaval    186
Some ideas for other types of conflict.
"Conflict"
Exploration - the player has to map dangerous "unexplored" areas and survive via. Stealth speed or even weapons.

Use of objects- finding new ways to use objects to overcome a variety of situations. Ie. A non-linear dungeon with lots of traps … how does the intelligent player use the objects he has ? If it is a staff, he can block doors closing, bash goblins, prod buttons further away, combine it with a gauze bag to make a bug-net, he could pogo-vault with it etc, or even just drop it on the ground to mark a location. Unfortunately as it is we have to define the range of uses an object can have but if done well you can make a situation where the player can improvise and use objects and their functions in unforseen scenarios. (Variety of encounter). (This demands that obstacles have many possible solutions). Conflict, dangerous obstacles vs. limited but flexible resources.

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Ketchaval    186
Niphty QUOTE "the world has to be RICHLY detailed. "

This seems like a point worth investigating. Do we mean richly detailed or do we mean highly interactive? (Or both?).

Does there have to be a huge number of different objects with complex properties to create an interesting, fun world in which to survive and experiment. I propose that we do NOT. (Although if we can afford to it might be very nice).

The argument being:

For instance take Bubble Bobble a classic game, whilst this at first appears to be a simple platform / puzzle game it soon turns out to have many subtleties and nuances to it.
Ie. There are enemies, which have to be turned into poppable bubbles by being shot. These bubbles will burst if they are left unpopped for too long, releasing a faster version of the enemy. If you can get all the bubbles to touch when they pop you get a bigger score than popping them individually. So there are many factors involved in playing each different level, yet they come from simple properties.

There are also a large number of "randomly" appearing powerups throughout the game, which have interesting effects on the game & rules. Whether it be a firing speed power up.

As such subtle games can be made in the "2d platform" genre, surely this can be done in 3d?

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Niphty    122
Ketch.. the explore factor is taken care of already

And that would be both. Detailed is in you could pick up a rock and look at it.. and interactive that you could skip the rock across a lake. The objects need not be complex, unless that''s the kinda object they are. If you throw a rock.. it''s got properties, but it''s half-way dumb luck if you land the sharp edge on someone and cause a cut instead of a bruise, for most people.
It''s not too hard to make the objects and create physics so that the object could be used in a way not intended before. If the engine is powerful, then it''ll work things out you never thought of, without you having to put a whole buncha silly stats on things. of course, rocks can be pulverized.. but you could use a rock to stop up some kinda simple mechanical device. Or a big rock could stop something bigger. But you don''t simply code in for the rock to stop the wheel. What if the player is willing to sacrifice their weapon? And your game tells them "i don''t understand!" how stupid does that make you look?
No, the physics engine should take over here. You put in the sword, and brace it a lil.. and if the wheel can overcome the force of the bonds of the blade, then you just lost a weapon for nothin. Same for rock, if it can be crushed.. then it will be. You simply make bell-curved randomizers for things like this. That way you always get things to fall within a certain range Statistics is a great class to take on this.
Random powerups would never work in a realistic game, unless there was a reason behind it.. ie "your god grants you the longjump ability!" hehe.

J

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MadKeithV    992
Hrm, this has me thinking again. It''s been a while since there''s been a thread in which I''ve willingly participated

The things we''ve been talking about are actually not that super-detailed. It requires only a few more things to be implemented:

1. Climbing:
Reliance on: Strength of hands and feet ( could be separate for both hands, i.e. handedness so that you have a stronger right than left etc. ), strength of foot/handhold, size(difficulty) of foot/handhold, endurance of the character.
[I''ve forgotten about the angle/curviness of the surface here, but bear with me..]

With controls allowing you to select a hold with a foot or a hand, the difficulty for reaching it from your current position, the size of the hold and the strength of the hold, shows you if you can get to a position and stay there. The difficulty also shows how long you can stay there.

You think this is only climbing, but really that''s already a lot of detail.
Consider a rope, which is considered one big hold, with a set strength (how much weight it can carry) and difficulty (how slippery/cutting it is). Using the statistics above you could climb ropes, not just rocks, or hold on to ropes (like when they are being tugged by a helicopter).

You could also do the "sword in the stone" type thing. The sword is defined as a hold, without infinite strength. With enough force applied to it, the "hold" will break off and release itself from the surface it is attached to. This will make the sword a detached object with its own properties etc.

The trick is still to minimize mechanics, so that you are not doing a full physics system, yet providing very meaningful ways of interaction with ALL objects in the world through a common interface.


People might not remember what you said, or what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.
Mad Keith the V.

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Niphty    122
I''m going for a nearly full-blown physics engine to get around other problems as well. I''m actually working on an engine in which i define things.. and then i let it use those things to work out other problems. And then it''ll save those results as a define, and learn as it goes, so the physics engine is fairly consistent.. and never goes out and does some huge mistake
But that''s my personal platform.. hehe.

I like the basics of your idea, keith. It should work great for anything like that. The only question is, as a developer.. do you actually make handholds in a wall? or would the computer generate it for you? if you had to make it, i think we can safely say that that would be a LOT of detail

J

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Guest Anonymous Poster   
Guest Anonymous Poster
Sometimes I want to play a game, sometimes I want to play a simulator. They dont have to be the same thing, and infact it works better if you seperate them.

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Niphty    122
Now, now.. Anonny.. you''re misinterpreting things here.

First off, when was the last time you played a first person simulator strategy shooter? Simulator is a hard thing to define. Anything modeling real-life is a simulator. So, by that virtue, all game are simulators, as they all try to immitate some part of real life.

A game with a real physics engine is NOT a simulator, then. It''s merely as true-to-life as possible. That''d be virtual reality, and that''s not considered the same as a simulator nowadays.. but it''s what a simulator will become.
So, to answer you in more specific terms.. i disagree with what you say. A game IS a game, and a simulator should be perfect modeling of time, 1:1 ratio off all things possible.. but i''m not doing that. The time within game is sped up, and actions aren''t going to be defined on a molecular level. There is a terminus to my "game" engine at the micro and macro levels. I will not be plotting the motions of anything beyond a single solar system, including planets and stars visible and so on.. including heavenly bodies (comets, etc). The solar system will just float in the air, prolly without so much as a thought to red shift. The molecules will stand still, and objects will just BE.. there''s no definitions at that level.
But the engine allows itself to be defined at that level later without a HUGE improvement. Thus, i could quickly impliment a true-to-life particle accelerator once i had all the nessicary data.

J

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Ketchaval    186
Deviation?
I think the focus of this thread has been lost, maybe another should be started on ultra-detail simulations?


How did we get from discussing how to implement fun / excitement easily into non-violent games, to discussing ridiculously over complex subsections of games? Ie. A climbing game Might be cool, but why would you want to have climbing down to the level of handholds in a game with far wider scope?

What would make climbing/exploring/or what have you, fun & at least challenging and exciting?

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Niphty    122
The climbing skill was merely used as an example of how to turn something which EVERY MMORPG now does as a type''n-click, done.. sort of system. Since climbing is one of those skills we''d need to make more interesting.. how would you do it? But in doing so, how much further do you hafta build the game engine to incorporate these kinds of improvements? I admit, the game engine discussion could be turned into it''s own topic.. and prolly will be, but we''re still discussing the climbing aspect of things and how to make it richly detailed without spending years of human years trying to program every little handhold. How do you make the game exciting but also make the game within 12 years, i suppose could be it''s own topic.. lol. But these two tie together very tightly, as making game improvements that don''t require that much more coding is a hard thing to do. And i''m asking to improve the 90% of the game NOT involved in combat. So it''s important to me that people bring up the point of "well, when do you call it TOO detailed?"

As far as getting back to the original post.. that''s not nessicarily the only thing that could fit under this topic.. hehe. I mean, what would landfish say about having people climb individual handholds? or having them swim individual strokes through the water? I haven''t seen Naz touch this post recently... so i don''t know how the landfish camp would take these sorts of ideas
My original point was to merely attack the idea that mindless combat isn''t fun. And to find the reason WHY people would commit to mindless combat.. and in turn, found out it wasn''t really mindless. And then, i noted that skilling in games is the mindless activity. You climb a wall.. roundtime 10 seconds. you climb back down.. roundtime 20 seconds. You gain a rank in climbing for doing this over and over. Where''s the excitement in that?
I could go on and on about other skills.. and in some games, even death is a laughing matter. "oops, i died once again" would be britty''s new song of the realms! The clerics raise dead people left and right like it''s not really a big deal. The gods aren''t concerned at all over this fact.. what kinda messed up system is that?

J

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