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Would you take the vow?

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http://www.gamedevelopment.com/features/20010129/adams_01.htm Read this. I''m not sure I agree with all these. The most important thing in a game is gameplay, but gameplay does not exclusive of graphics, sound, etc. They add to the realism. I do, however, agree with perhaps doing away with the cliché gnomes, necromancers, and such. I''d like to see a game based around a war between hamsters and mandarins (nothing against either party) Anyways, read up on it. I think a lot of you already agree that a lot of games are too similar and the industry could use a wave of new genres. I like number 3 keep the control interface simple and everybody''s happy --------------- Reidonius

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I''d take the vow... if he''d drop rule number 7.

I like violence in games (as do many people), and I think that if we were to adhear to the rest of the rules then we could create some very original, but still nice''n''bloody, games.

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I wouldn´t. I think gnomes and necromancers alone have a lot to offer. His underlying statement is right of course.... but a lot of this has been discussed in the dogma thread anyway

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It seems current game designers use a set of restrictive rules to guide the design of their game. Those rules would be:
1) use fantasy elements.
2) use the latest technology.
3) use cliched stories.
By doing so, we get something less than we could get.

The article has proposed another set of restrictive rules. By doing so, we get would get something less than we could get.

I think a different way of promoting unique and creative games would be to encourage the designer to avoid reproducing a game which carries a similar set of features found in the current crop of games.

I also found the movie rules to be overly restrictive. Some friends and I have discussed movie making and even considered purchasing a 16mm film camera to do so. It was more a fun discussion than an actual plan, but we did envision certain things. Among them were props such as a ''30s Ford, and clothing from the era. Everything would have been shot on location, but we would have made use of tripods and dollies. Also, there would have been action, but it would have been central to the story.

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I think the rules were more a statement than a an actual set of rules that he expects anyone to completely follow. I think it was more a "make you think" type of thing.

I can understand why people tend to follow some certain restrictions and cliches.

For one thing, as Wav once said, there are so many technical aspects to take care of before you even get to the gameplay. Even if you use someone else''s engine there are still many, many technical programming & art details.

Also, when coming up with a more innovative design, you must playtest much more to make sure everything works well. When you''re using a design that has been used many times before you have a much better idea how the different features balance each other. When you come up with something fresh then there will probably be plenty more playtesting and adjusting to do.

Although, I still feel that it''s hardly worth doing game development if we were to just keep doing the same games over and over again. Most of us are hobbyists, so one good thing is we don''t have the restrictive time limits that large companies have.



Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.
What a plight we who try to make a story-based game have...writers of conventional media have words, we have but binary numbers

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"alot of games are too similar."
As far as I can tell, all RTS games are the same game with different graphics.

"A man can''t just sit around." ''Lawn Chair'' Larry Walters (1982)

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some interesting points here
Sorry if this has already been addressed; I didn''t realise there was a dogma thread.

I also think some of these rules are too restrictive (same with the movie ones.)

The most important ones are the ones that deal with chiche storylines (ie Good vs. Evil) and already-used game ideas. But I also think all genres have their values. Every once in a while, I still get the urge to play classics like Commander Keen (everyone''s played this, right) That''s the best sidescroller I''ve ever played...

Okay, now I''ve lost my train of thought, and I have no clue what I was going to say.

I''m out; I think I''ll go play CK4 for a while

Reidonius

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Ok ... here''s a simple underrepresented idea. Sure these cliches and genres and copied ideas proliferate because of laziness and lack of creativity on the part of the developers / writters ... BUT that''s not the main reason.

The main reason a cliche exists is not because it is so difficult for someone to express the idea differently .. but because the AUDIENCE will have no connection to the idea. All of you game designers need to watch a few hours of stand up commedy ... some new and some old ... and understand the value of a reference. Have any of you said "Wassup!" to your friend - without the comercial .. the shared reference, there is no comedic value. By reference I mean something you don''t have to explain to the audience because you can assume they are already familiar with it. When you have a long story driven game, you reference earlier parts of it to build immersion. Well .. when you have human beings playing your game, you reference the work of others in your field (and other fields), to create a game many levels deeper than you possibly could out of purely original content.

Taken to it''s logical conclusion, this idea suggests every game would use no stereotypes, no cliches, no prepackaged moral judgements. Which would be interesting in certain situations ... but how far can you go when all you are allowed to do is create an open framework with no rights / wrongs ... no assumptions. It would take unbelievable ammounts of creativity and man-hours to create even a game with the depth of ZORK .. if you restricted yourself to original content. Even the movies with a freash veiw of things are still using common stereotypes .. they are just using them differently (as a point of contrast .. to show their flaws). Fundamentally artists cannot work outside of cliches and moral judgement and sterotypes ... because these are the things that human beings share, and therefore use to communicate. Nearly all of our knowledge is stored and used in relation to something else, which allows us to understand that "Don''t drive too fast!" must be interpreted in a certain context .. with all of the appropriate assumptions of that context.

A purely original game must be beaten solely through trial and error ... like deciding if you push a red or blue button with no known reason to favor either ... else it''s relying on assumptions on how the user thinks and feels. And I for one don''t like to have to exhaust every possibility of action in order to solve a puzzle .. I like to use my brain to eliminate most of the options as incorrect (or at least not likely) ... and then experiment with the ideas I think are "fun" to try. A game which constantly defies your judgements is not FUN .. it''s FRUSTRATING!

so there''s my 3 cents (see ... how else would I communicate the idea that I expressed a little more than was asked for - it''d be tedious and boring without the cliche).

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Ok ... I think my previous post has valid content by itself ... but after reading the article I feel the need to say this.

Do not take my post as a rebuttal to the article .. it is not .. the article is good and well thought out ... my post is more of a seprate statement about the problem or seeking to create something truely 'original'. I think he has a point in stressing the value of dropping use of the "overdone" ... which bores and insults your players. I also think it is worthwhile to step back and look at the point of making your game ... what do you want to give your players ... thrills? thought? story? truth? ... these are valid questions ... and all answers can be right - the market will decide (if nobody likes the feeling of being punched in the stomach .. they won't buy your force feedback abdominal smasher 2000 ... and if your point is not to simulate the real world ... i agree with adams .. forgoe the gimicks entirely.

But he shouldn't have put a picure of the fly fishing rod in his article ... at a recent vegas convention I saw a rock climbing wall which took it's input from a computer to simulate a semi-real mountain .. who doesn't think this idea is great ... instead of having to spend thousands of dollard traveling to real mountains and falling to an early death ... I can get half way there paying a few dollors an hour at a local arcade ... if only I can get over my embarrasment at my own ineptitude.

He is right that 95% of all game developers should not be thinking in terms of technical details .. but there are exceptions .. some games exist solely due to technology ... like baseball is played in areas with large fields ... but basketball is played in cities without much space ... without thinking about the box ... someone would suggest that baseball, being america's game, should be played by everyone ... but FOOTBALL ... now there's a game making use of technology (without pads it'd just be another form of boxing / hockey).

I think the thing to get out of Adam's eshewing of technology for it's own sake is this ... a creative mind can make compelling games from far less than we currently have availible (think about soccer ... just a ball and some rules) .. so he's suggesting to forget tech and just make games ... I think I'll follow him in this ... I was thinking over the classic games ... and only a few were at the limits of available technology. I do remember that Populous was just about one of the funnest games I ever played ... and even though it did make use of advanced tech for the time ... I think the creator could have made the game with 50% the tech he had available and still made it fun.

Edited by - Xai on February 19, 2001 3:22:23 PM

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Nope, sorry, about half those points I disagree with.

There is only ONE golden rule:

Fun

I don''t care if you need to blow up crates and stuff to have fun, as long as it is fun, and fun for a long time (ie: not diablo2)

The silver rule is inovation, and this is mainly to promote the golden rule, because 5000 FPSs or Klick''n''Kills are not fun.


ANDREW RUSSELL STUDIOS
Visit Tiberia: it''s bigger, it''s badder, it''s pouyer...

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I also disagree with Xai''s statements, to a point.

You take it slightly too far, just as Ernest Adams did to make his point. Avoiding cliche''s does not mean avoiding the representation of reality at all. That is what you are suggesting, and that is your fundamental mistake. Putting a tree in your game is not a cliche. Rescuing the princess from the evil wizard is. Now if you were rescuing the tree from the evil princess, that could be interesting .
( "King''s Botanics VII"? )

However, it is true that cliche''s are often used so that the developers can fall back on the knowledge that the audience already has, to avoid having to go through the entire history of the universe in the case of a complex game. Some may argue this is good, because it leaves a lot of time for the designer to concentrate on other aspects beside consistency.
However, I would argue it could also be very bad, if the designer''s view of those often-used ideas isn''t quite the same as the audience''s ideas. I can tell you, I find it really disturbing to see some of the images of Orcs in ADnD products, because I am used to seeing them portrayed the Games Workshop way. It may seem a small thing, but to me, anything called an Orc that doesn''t look like a Warhammer Orc just isn''t quite an Orc to me. Who was first here doesn''t matter, the use of cliches has made it hard for the designer to capture my imagination, because I already have a pattern of expectation for that particular element.

I believe a designer can avoid more hassles than she''s creating by avoiding over-used ideas, and relying on original thought instead.


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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I don''t think the aim of the rules is to create "truly original" games, which might have the problems Xai described.

But the idea might be to apply those rules to projects (such as some sort of beat ''em up) and create a new spin on the genre. You can''t tell me that wouldn''t be a welcome turn of events.

And Xai, I don''t really agree with your suggestion that cliched characters can be excused because it saves you having to explain things in the game. If your RPG introduced some new race of beastie, like nothing seen before, then allowed to player to learn about said character in a fun and challenging way - that''d be a great thing right? More detail in the game, and more depth to the gameplay.

You''d be giving players more choices - e.g. do they a) spend more time learning about this creature or b) hack it''s head off... without too much blood of course, that''d break rule 7.

>Fundamentally artists cannot work outside of cliches and moral
>judgement and sterotypes ... because these are the things that
>human beings share, and therefore use to communicate.
This is where games have a great opportunity. If a film breaks a cliche, it needs to spend lots of time explaining what it''s doing. Boring.

But games are different. They can say what they want to, and provide you with an interesting experience to explore the theory. The method of communicating does not have to be the same as with human-interaction, so the cliches can be dropped if you design your game carefully enough that it actually educates the player in how to communicate/act in this new world.

Not easy, but maybe worthwhile.

8

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I agree with most of that, except for rule #2:

quote:

2. The use of hardware 3D acceleration of any sort is forbidden. Software 3D engines are not forbidden, but the game must run at 20 frames per second or better in 640 x 480 16-bit SVGA mode or the nearest available equivalent.

Justification: By adopting a simple, well-known display standard and sticking rigorously to it, both designers and programmers are freed to concentrate on tasks of real importance.



I see why he''s saying that, but there are a few flaws with his reasoning:
1) Software 3D engines take much longer to develop, which moves focus away from other important tasks, not towards them.
2) Hardware 3D is much more standardized. Notice that games look a lot more similiar now than they did 5 years ago?
3) Why ignore something that''s already there and will save you time?

This rule also bothered me a bit:

quote:

7. Violence is strictly limited to the disappearance or immobilization of destroyed units. Units which are damaged or destroyed shall be so indicated by symbolic, not representational, means. There shall be no blood, explosions, or injury or death animations.

Justification: Although conflict is a central principle of most games, the current "arms race" towards ever-more graphic violence is harmful and distracting. Explosions and death animations are, in fact, very short non-interactive movies. If you spend time on them, you are wasting energy that could be more profitably spent on gameplay or AI.



I agree with limiting violence, but throwing it away completly forces you to do without a significant dramatic element. Killing someone is much more profound and significant than using your ray gun to teleport them to jail.

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One more thing, this statement really bothered me:

quote:

"Finally, I acknowledge that innovative gameplay is not merely a desirable attribute but a moral imperative. All other considerations are secondary."



I hate this type of reasoning. Thinking like this causes people to add gimick features just because they think that they need to be "innovative". I''m not saying innovation is bad at all, but your concern should be designing what works for the overall idea that you''re trying to present to the player. Designers shouldn''t focus on doing something different, but rather doing something better. Often times when you''re looking to make things better, you''ll actually generate more innovative ideas anyway.

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I have to pick up on this again:


Item 7: No killing.
There''s a lot of opposition to this idea, and I understand why. Most people here are developing either "realistic" FPSs, or "realistic" CRPGs. This rule seems to be ripping out the heart of these games, you can''t put in violence!

However, think a bit further.
Think Quake, but instead of rocket launchers, remote teleportation devices. When you get hit, you get teleported to the penalty box and the person that hit you gets a frag count.
Where is the difference in gameplay? There is none. However, there is no needless graphic depiction of bodyparts flying around all over the place and blood all over the floors. The graphic depiction of violence is offensive to a great many people. In some countries (Germany) it is illegal to sell a game that graphically depicts the death of human beings. All units in RTSs in Germany are mechanised.
This detracts NOTHING from the gameplay at all. It simply removes an unnecessary offensive element from the game.


Also, I think it''s important to realise that Ernest Adams is a GAME designer. He is not talking about a military simulation, or fantasy world simulation, he''s talking about a game. Along the lines of Pokemon, Tetris, Sokoban, Bubble Bobble. There is conflict in these games, but no blood, senseless graphic violence, death, cutscenes are unimportant, etc.

It is towards developing more original games along these lines that he''s preaching.
Not Quake 245.3 including complete physical simulation of the effects of ballistic bullets on organs and soft tissues with realistic damage.
You must look at it in that light (in my opinion).
If you ARE developing a first-person shooter with realistic elements, consider the Dogma2001 rules not for you. They do not apply, because you are developing more of a simulator than a game. The advancements and innovations in your development lie mostly in the realism of the simulation, not in the mechanics of playing the game.

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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