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Ketchaval

Subjectivity in Games ?

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Subjectivity vs. Objectivity? It would seem that most games nowadays are mainly based around Objective "game-reality and gameplay". Where everything is "Real" and simulated. Whereas Subjective is based around how a player (or a game-character) collects and interprets information. How many different types of subjectivity could be implemented into a game? What types would benefit the experience, and which would detract from it? Could a game be made which was based more on the "subjective" experience of the character being controlled? Subjectivity would detract from a game if it led to the player being killed because their character couldn''t understand what was going on?

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I think this is a valid point. Perhaps especially within the context of a haunted type of game, sensing paranormal or supernatural phenomena, or sensing the environment when injured, interpreting things when scared or angry, etc.

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What kind of subjectivity are we thinking of? Like Sanitarium, where you''re playing through a hallucinatory version of the world? A mmog where players see different layers of sensory information (I mentioned Yoshi''s Island''s "dizzy" effect as an example of this in the alien perception thread.) Or something more prosaic like different players in a mmog hearing different snatches of dialogue?

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I''m not quite sure this is on topic, but here it is, anyway.

I recently am thinking on a concept for a rpg game, which states that players see artifacts different way, depending on their character. It''s similar to the "Identify item" thing, only you cannot identify them, you have knowledge that defines the stats of the item you see. Example: Player 1 and Player 2 (say, multiplayer) come to an ancient staff. Player 1, a typical barbarian with limited knowledge checks the stats and gets "A long polished piece of wood. Attack +3, Defense +2". Player 2 is a cleric that has studied ancient history and for the stats gets "This staff is known as The Druid''s Rod. It grants its wielder the power to speak with the animals and to control the forces of the Nature. Attack +12, Defense +6, Talk to animals skill, Protection from Nature spells, etc., etc.".

What''s interesting is that Player 2 could have the wrong description. Say he heard about that staff somewhere, but the info was wrong, or it was a legend of some kind that has changed over time. So it''s not actually the Druid''s Rod, but the game gives such description based on the player''s knowledge.

Also the stats could depend on player''s skill. Like if it was a sword and the barbarian is skilled sword fighter, he could get "Attack +10, Defense +4", while the cleric, who uses only staffs sees "Attack -1, Defense -3".

Another thing on item stats (similar to above, but maybe simplified). I was wondering if a system could be made, where items don''t have so many stats. It is mainly for weapons and armor, and those have only one, maybe 2 stats, like durability and usefulness (i don''t know the word, will try to explain). Example: a fighter wants to buy a weapon. He is most skilled with an axe. So when he looks at the items list, axes will have higher usefulness stat than any other weapons.

This could be tranfered to most items in a rpg game and is nice if you look for a system with less numbers thrown at the player. I mean, we don''t measure things in points in real life. So why tell the player that a meal in the pub will negate 10 points of hunger, instead of showing a usefulness bar or other indicator, although the player should be able to decide what''s best for his character by himself. I.e. if you char loves fried chicken but throws up from spinach you can tell what''s better for him without any stat/bar to help you out. The same with the weapons: if you fought with a hammer half the game, it is logical next time you look for a weapon it will be a hammer. "But how do you know that one is better than the other?" you could ask. Well, you cannot tell for sure, but reading to description and looking at graphics should help. If it doesn''t - use a usefulness indicator of some kind, to help the player decide. Those indicators could be some kind of help system that has an option to be turned on/off.

This has become sizy, enough for now...

Boby Dimitrov
boby@shararagames.com
Sharara Games Team

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