Jump to content
  • Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  
Raghar

Oblivion and its problems

This topic is 4267 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

I wanted to do a detailed analysis of Oblivion after I would have a little experience with that, however after HD failure it seems it would be better to do it now. I shortened it a little and decided to use it as a basics for discussion about game design. What were problem with the Oblivion? First at all lets look at graphics. Of course it doesn't have anything to do with game design, however graphics affects Oblivion quite much. Surprisingly they thought, not the game play, but a graphic would be a sale point of Oblivion, and they went rather far. Their problem was they believed in graphics bit too much. Basically facial expression isn't necessary for RPG. Indoor gameplay also shouln't be GFX limited. Now lets look at design part. They used a standard -10 - 10 based mechanism presented to player as a numbers from 1 - 100+. They simplified the skill system a little, be removing half of skills. They also simplified armor system. While these simplification tendencies might look nice, the same simplification tendencies also removed a lots of game play elements. For example a choice of a weapon. Simplistically drawn character also removed possibility of a dress me up games. If we will look into Oblivion mythology, they throwed all previous mythology out of window. While in previous attempts it was always incredibly powerful things that if they'd wanted they'd crush all resistance quickly, but what for? In Oblivion it was just a simplistic opponent bland and without danger. Opponents scale with level? This is actually something like punishing the character for becoming more dangerous himself. You'd becoming better, and they will... While scaling the enemies down might be viewed as an attempt to don't let the unexperienced character to be vaporized without chance to defend itself, the used system was set to punish all roleplaying and suboptimal character development. Shops. They are bad as in previous games. You will sold a lot of equipment and the owner will not become more rich. Also they were stocked in accordance to the character level. While this isn't bad, more famous character might get better choices when he would like to buy something, this implementation looked more like a hack and slash type of implementation. Walking in the room with items on the floor is also quite interesting. Oblivion lack a reasonable way how to manipulate with items, thus character items are on the floor. It's quite strange it looks like characters would have no lives. It also seems as characters are unable to evade any item laying on the floor. Animation of defeated monsters changed, if to better or worse is yet to see. At least, addition of a new enemy is trivial. So instead of an animation defeated monsters simply drop down, and might fall down the hill. I didn't see animation of a wolf being grabbed quickly with saying "I need to skin him to get the fur". AI They disabled a large amount of the framework, because they ran into a problems any experienced AI programmer would expect. If these problems are found at the initial stage, they are easily dealt with, and could lead into interesting addition of features. On the other hand if someone would think they'd just add an AI framework at the last stage, and it would easily work (for this reason we bought an AI framework), they would be severally mistaken. AI should be developed from the start with close cooperation with designers. So conclusion, they developed rather complicated thing, however its rather FPS, than a full featured RPG. One of reasons this blowed up was over reliance on graphics, and too little (in comparison to graphics) work done on other features.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement
I don't get what you mean about only being able to dump your loot on the ground. In morrowind I can place stuff on shelves and tables, I figured things would have been the same design in Oblivion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Since you took the time to write this, I feel obligated to make a few counterpoints. And by a few, I mean too many.

Quote:
Basically facial expression isn't necessary for RPG.

One thing that separates "role-playing" from other types of gameplay is that you will interact with other characters. Facial expressions allow a player to connect better with their characters, and therefore are vital to the continued evolution of role-playing.

The problem with their facial expression system is that it was just a tool, it didn't help you connect with the characters, because it was mostly used as an indicator of how much they liked you instead of an indicator of what they, as a character, were feeling.

It would have worked better had they used the system in conjunction with their radiant AI system (which never made it fully into the game), so that the characters would have a wider range of emotions. Hopefully next time.

Quote:
Indoor gameplay also shouln't be GFX limited.

I have no idea what you mean by this.

Quote:
They also simplified armor system.

Thank god. 90% of the armor in Morrowind (and most other PC role-players) are extraneous crap. Players either play it as a fashion show, or they choose the strongest armor they can find, so unless you really want to look goofy in that Colovian Fur Helm you are probably going to ignore it completely.

Quote:
While these simplification tendencies might look nice, the same simplification tendencies also removed a lots of game play elements. For example a choice of a weapon.

Oblivion lost spears and crossbows. It gained a more controllable battle system and a huge improvement to archery. More isn't necessarily better, sometimes you have to remove lesser things to focus on the features that will make the game more fun.

Quote:
While in previous attempts it was always incredibly powerful things that if they'd wanted they'd crush all resistance quickly, but what for? In Oblivion it was just a simplistic opponent bland and without danger.

Without any real argument to back this up, it sounds like a fanboy rant. If you want to be taken seriously, please elaborate. How is this opponent any more bland, "less" dangerous?

Quote:
Opponents scale with level? This is actually something like punishing the character for becoming more dangerous himself. You'd becoming better, and they will...
While scaling the enemies down might be viewed as an attempt to don't let the unexperienced character to be vaporized without chance to defend itself, the used system was set to punish all roleplaying and suboptimal character development.

Almost completely agreed. The only part I disagree with is the common misunderstanding that Oblivion is somehow different from the other Elder Scrolls games in this regard. People seem to forget that Morrowind chose enemy equipment based on player skill levels.

Quote:
Shops. They are bad as in previous games.

I would say possibly worse, because when you sell stuff to them their money doesn't decrease. Of course, I think this was on purpose to avoid the standard Morrowind "sell, sleep 24 hours, sell, sleep 24 hours" syndrome.

Quote:
Animation of defeated monsters changed, if to better or worse is yet to see. At least, addition of a new enemy is trivial.

Trivial to add a new enemy to the game? Am I misunderstanding you here?

Quote:
So instead of an animation defeated monsters simply drop down, and might fall down the hill.

What happens when you kill somebody in real life. I would assume (though I've never killed anyone before) that they would fall, possibly down a hill if the situation arose. I guess they could have modeled muscle spasms, or that gurgling sound in their throat, if you want more realism.

Quote:
I didn't see animation of a wolf being grabbed quickly with saying "I need to skin him to get the fur".

Dude, they didn't even finish the AI system. Why would they spend time doing unnecessary "decorative" animations when the core of the game isn't done?

Quote:
AI They disabled a large amount of the framework, because they ran into a problems any experienced AI programmer would expect. If these problems are found at the initial stage, they are easily dealt with, and could lead into interesting addition of features.

It's not as easy as you would think to make it mesh with the gameplay. The reason they removed it is because quest characters would get themselves killed and you could never do their quest. I agree that they should have been able to fix it, but there are other parts of the game that are more important and since we weren't part of the project we can't assume that they were given the proper time and resources to finish the Radiant AI.

Quote:
AI should be developed from the start with close cooperation with designers.

So true.

Quote:
So conclusion, they developed rather complicated thing, however its rather FPS, than a full featured RPG.

Name something non-trivial that Morrowind had that Oblivion doesn't. By non-trivial, I mean something that isn't a differently shaped weapon or a skill that wasn't somehow incorporated into other Oblivion skills. I really want to know, because in my 200+ hours of Oblivion I have yet to see anything but design improvements and deeper gameplay (and I loved Morrowind, despite the non-stop fetch quests and uninspired dungeons).

Quote:
One of reasons this blowed up was over reliance on graphics, and too little (in comparison to graphics) work done on other features.

You are making an uninformed assumption here. Oblivion uses Gamebryo, they didn't build the graphics engine from scratch (and there was not much of a learning curve, they had already used it for Morrowind). Their trees and foliage use SpeedTree, they didn't write the foliage engine from scratch. Sure, they wrote the shaders and the animations, but the animation system is actually somewhat simple. So yeah, I guess by your logic most of the three years of development was in writing shaders. That's alot of shaders.


I don't want to rain on your parade, and I'm not trying to say you are totally wrong. Oblivion is not a perfect game. But if you are going to do a design breakdown, you need less baseless ranting and more backed-up critiques. Please feel free to critique my critique of your critique if you like, and I'll probably end up critiquing that critique. If you read that sentence five times fast, your brain will probably pop out of your nose. Don't try it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I found a heavily-modded oblivion to be an incredible experience. I was quite annoyed with the level scaling in the vanilla version.

One thing that kinda sucked is how they crippled the magic system a bit. Also Morrowind was way bigger, which was cool, probably a tradeoff for all the ingame speech.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The only thing I hate about Oblivion is the hard-coded limit of one enchantment on armour pieces when enchanting your own equipment. Besides that, combine it with a leveling mod and you have a fantastic experience.

Morrowind straight out of the box was pretty dull - it was the mods that made it one of the most memorable RPGs ever created.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
First at all lets look at graphics. Of course it doesn't have anything to do with game design, however graphics affects Oblivion quite much. Surprisingly they thought, not the game play, but a graphic would be a sale point of Oblivion, and they went rather far. Their problem was they believed in graphics bit too much. Basically facial expression isn't necessary for RPG. Indoor gameplay also shouln't be GFX limited.

Oblivion is one of the most graphically stunning games I've ever seen. I often just rode up to higher ground just to sit there and admire the scenery. (and I wasn't even running it at the highest graphical detail!). But I certainly didn't see it detrimental to the gameplay in any way.

Quote:
What happens when you kill somebody in real life. I would assume (though I've never killed anyone before) that they would fall, possibly down a hill if the situation arose. I guess they could have modeled muscle spasms, or that gurgling sound in their throat, if you want more realism.

It could be a quirky glitch in the graphics engine, but I swear that a few times when I shot a wolf with my bow, that it occasionally lay on the ground twitching, until I took out my sword and put the poor creature out of it's misery. :)

Speaking of combat in Oblivion, the only thing I did to the game to make it more enjoyable for me, was to turn down the difficulty settings during the Oblivion Gate areas. I found, as an archer, that the combat was way too hard. Otherwise, I found the game to be quite an enjoyable experience - though, towards the end, I found it getting a bit repetitive. Great game though, and I'm sure I will play it again someday - but now it's time to replay Deus Ex! :)

Quote:
Morrowind straight out of the box was pretty dull - it was the mods that made it one of the most memorable RPGs ever created.

I didn't get far into Morrowind cause it did seem quite dull to me, but since playing Oblivion I am interested in going back to it. What kind of things did the mods improve upon that made the game more memorable?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I played Morrowind for about a week before I magicked up some uber stats and started hulk-leaping across the continent in my ninja suit and knifing everything to death with superhuman prowess. The game gets better when you're a many-armed unkillable fury of dooooooom. I had a samurai costume I put together, too. I had a plain katana and would stand perfectly still while an enemy charged me, then dispatch it with a single, decisive strike. That's how I bring it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

We are the game development community.

Whether you are an indie, hobbyist, AAA developer, or just trying to learn, GameDev.net is the place for you to learn, share, and connect with the games industry. Learn more About Us or sign up!

Sign me up!