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Historical FPS

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I wrote about this in my reply to Siegfried''s post, but I thought it might be interesting if I give it it''s own topic. What does everyone think about having a more "historical" FPS? I mean you really only have WWII, modern, and sci-fi shooters. What about something that goes a little deeper into our past? 1)WWI Trench Raider: These guys would slip in the night across the Dead man''s zone and kill a few people and slip away again. This would be a Thief like game, with knife kills a must (this is where the infamous Trench knife came to life) 2)Civil War mounted infantry: It may sound silly fighting with ball and cap guns, but imagine the skill it would take, and the harrowing experience of knowing it will take a minute to reload as someone charges you (better pull out your Colt Navy 1836...) 3)English Colonial Wars: Fight as a red coat against Berbers, Zulu''s, Afrikaaners or may be even the Crimean. One hot Henry-Martini rifles would require skill and patience to use 4)US 7th Cavalry: Fight against the noble Perce, or in the blood bath against the apache. Slightly better weapons with Henry, Winchester, and or Spencer rifles. 5)American Marine 1900''s: Jungle action in the Filipino insurrection (or Nicaragua), or fighting in the siege during the Boxer Rebellion. Well, the ideas go on and on. Frankly, I wonder why it hasn''t been done before (excepting Lucas fims venerable Outlaws). Are game designers simply unwilling to step out into something different? Do they think something like this wouldnt be fun or challenging? Do they just have no imagination? Do the suits that fund game developers think "history"="boring"=bad sales?

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Guest Anonymous Poster
The problem is that realism doesn''t always equate to fun. Sometimes it can enhance a game, make you feel like you''re actually there. But you have to remember that you don''t always necessarily WANT to be in the middle of things. I know I wouldn''t look forward to the joys of sitting in a trench for hours only to make one fatal flaw and get shot in the head. Obviously I''m exagurating and good game design can make any game playable. However the initial concept isn''t that strong to begin with.

Also many people, myself included, DO view historical games generally as boring and uneventful. I suppose it must be very hard to strike up a balance between the hardcore purists that need every detail to be exact and the trigger-happy Quaker''s that just want some instant gratification.

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Dauntless, I think you have some good ideas. Unfortunately, some anonymous poster types will always assume that you are only interested in making the most boring rendition of it that you possibly could. Some people fail to see that you are suggesting ideas for discussion and enhancement.

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Fresh

I like it. You''d certainly have a leg up on all the designs mining from the same exhausted fantasy/sci-fi vein (and I speak as someone making a sci-fi game )

There are tons of ways you could go with this, and some odd and interesting problems you''d have to deal with. The first would be gameplay, in terms of rates of interaction being slower. A pure FPS would be tough I think, especially if you were a peon, because the interaction rate would be lower the more primitive the weapon. In terms of realism, foot soldiers were often cannon fodder. So you''d need a way of making the player special. (I think the trench raider idea a lot in this respect).

You''d also have some interesting history to revise / downplay, assuming you''re sticking close to historical accuracy. Those once viewed as good guys are now more rightly seen as conquerers. I think there''d be squeemishness from the publishing side at even depicting some historical groups (Zulus, or Cherokee, or Mayans, for example) as aggressive even if there were documented battles that those groups started. The problem would be very difficult because of the perspective, which is much closer to the bone than an abstract military wargame. It''s one thing (in people''s minds) to command a British regiment, and quite another to be the one gunning down hundreds of charging Zulu soldiers.

I could be wrong. Game morality has already dropped through the floor, so there''s no reason to think it can''t go further.

Good ideas, nonetheless.

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

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I didn''t want to be the first one to say it, so I waited. As an African and an individual only too aware of the atrocities committed in the name of colonization - and I''m not talking about physical atrocities, but rather the psychological variety - I suppose I can authoritatively state that though "history is written by the winners", the truth is still out there.

You maintain in another post, for example, that the American Civil War was actually over the tyranny of a central government. Tell that to folk whose ancestors were slaves. Things you see from your perspective as fair and logical may appear warped and uncharacteristically cruel from the perspective of others.

I was over at the GarageGames forums the other day, browsing (don''t ask why) when I came across an idea for a game called "LA Riot" which was to recreate the 1992 race riots - riots incited by the beating of Rodney King by about a dozen police officers. The idiot went as far as to divide character classes by ethnicity and use derogatory slang terms and stereotypical portrayals for all of the - "Slant Eyes" for Chinese storekeepers (that''s right; every Chinese man was a storekeeper by that design) and so on.

I think this may be the real reason why no "politically incorrect" war/conflict RTSes are made - the potential backlash is too strong.

That said, i think there''s tons of merit in the idea. Just be sensitive in your dealing with the historical matter, and do some serious research on both sides of every conflict. Allow the player to be either side - Berber, Zulu, Afrikaans included, and give both sides equal chances of victory.

''Nuff said.

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Oluseyi and Wavinator

I did actually think about the morality angle, but I guess I didn''t really mention that you could play either side out. I guess one of the things that WWII FPS have been able to avoid was that you always played "the good guys" on the Allied side. You might have some dillemas if you played a German or Japanese character. But as I said, you could play either side which would blur the lines (a freedom fighter indian or Zulu warrior protecting his homeland?). Game balanicing issues might be very diffucult, but I think it could be done.

Unfortunately, the slaves were caught in the middle. But just as not every German in WWII Germany wanted the final solution (indeed it was only a small but powerful minority), so to most southerners were not advocates of slavery. I hope you don''t get the idea that I''m not sympathetic about what happened. But I think there''s a difference between being PC, and being truthful. The trick is, knowing how to be truthful without being offensive to others (which can be insanely tricky). The thing about playing out the LA riots would serve in my opinion nothing more than an "US vs. Them" type of scenario. Being of mixed race myself, I see this as this greatest internal threat that Americans face....and sadly most of them don''t even realize it (being mixed has it''s good and bad points...but one of the good things is that I can see two world views...both the good and the bad...and how each of those worlds view each other)

I''m part Filipino myself and I came up with the idea of the American Marine thing because of the history there. The Colt 1911A, the infamous .45 caliber (think Magnum PI) was developed to counter the Juromentados of the south (religious fanatics....unfortunately much akin to the Abu Sayeff plaguing the US right now) that simply could not be stopped with .38 caliber handguns of the time. The term, "leatherneck" also came about during this time period due to Marine''s wearing leather staps (from their dress uniforms) to protect their necks during knife fights. In many ways, the US presence was an oppressor, as Aguinaldo didn''t want the US to stay in the Phillipines. But I still think it would be interesting to play.

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I can''t wait for a decent western FPS to come along.

Imagine yourself standing on the roof of the small western town hotel, using a six shooter to shoot someone in a saloon across the street. Imagine your teammate throwing a stick of dynamite into the saloon and it blows boards and glass shards everywhere, tearing apart the walls and roof of the saloon. A deformable world would be a must...

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quote:
Original post by Moe
I can''t wait for a decent western FPS to come along.

Imagine yourself standing on the roof of the small western town hotel, using a six shooter to shoot someone in a saloon across the street. Imagine your teammate throwing a stick of dynamite into the saloon and it blows boards and glass shards everywhere, tearing apart the walls and roof of the saloon. A deformable world would be a must...


wasn''t there one called Outlaws? Although I''ve never played it.




...A CRPG in development...

Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Sorry for AP, I''m sure you''ll understand as you read

I was interested to see the morality issue come up, because I''ve been playing around with a very non-PC historical game idea, and everyone I''ve told about it advises me NOT to make it..

Here''s the basics...

You''re a Nazi with a regular job at a Jewish extermination camp..

One day, a group of those "evil" Jews escapes. OH NO!!

Your mission is to search through the surrounding woods and capture/kill all Jews. It''s critical that you get all of them because it will mean the end of humanity if they reach civilization and "infect the world with their inferior genetics"..

The game would start out with a cinematic of a bunch of "evil" Jews discussing their plan to "ruin the world" simply by propagating.

Of course, when you find them in the woods they are unarmed and totally defenseless. You must kill them in cold blood.

At the end of the level, as your score is racked up, a little spinning star of David pops up for every kill...the background would show you standing with your gun next to a gassing chamber..

The original idea was to make fun of Nazi propaganda..the very thought of these "evil" Jews determined to destroy the world be spreading their "inferior" genetics is ridiculous.

Unfortunately, most people don''t get that..if I actually wrote and released this(which I would do anon, if ever), probably the only people who would like it would be racist/Nazi/morons who wouldn''t even realize that they''re being ridiculed..

I always get a kick out of people''s reactions to this game idea..usually after I point out the obvious(that I''m making fun of how utterly stupid the Nazi/Jew xenophobia thing is)people understand, but all agree that this game should never be made..

Any thoughts? Anyone? I''d really like to hear some feedback on this one..



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The world is extremely sensitive to the Nazi/Jew issue - so much so that the term "anti-semitic" has been redefined to mean "hate Jews" (all Arab peoples are semitic, so it''s the height of stupidity to say Palestinians, for example, are anti-semitic). 50 years on, Germany is still feeling the emotional after effects of the war - interesting because the majority of the population today either weren''t born or were children incapable of comprehending and participating.

The Jewish people were also deeply scarred by the war - you need to hear a Holocaust survivor speak. However, sometimes the thing is a tad overplayed (any action percieved as "anti-semitic immediately raises cries about lessons learned from the Holocaust), and other nations/peoples have suffered similar - and worse - fates.

Jews are a very powerful segment of American society and will stomp your game into the ground should it be released (remember that Joe Liebermann - Senate''s gaming "censor" [I use th term very loosely] - is Jewish; this will only be fuel to his fire). Also, with all the recent (agreed, misguided and uninformed) outrage at violence and suggestive themes in games, the timing for such an endeavor is inopportune.

Finally, computer games have not yet been accepted by the general public as an artform - a medium for storytelling. The notion that computer games are for children persists (note how many movies and TV series have parents trying to get their kids off the Nintendo - e.g. The Sopranos), which is why there is the strong belief that video game themes should be restricted to childish pursuits. It''s wrong, of course, but until such ideas are uprooted, the world is not a ready audience for the game.

Plus, it''s actually offensive (the Stars of David are a malicious touch).

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quote:
Original post by Oluseyi
Allow the player to be either side - Berber, Zulu, Afrikaans included, and give both sides equal chances of victory.

''Nuff said.

Why give all the sides a equal chance of victory when obviously they didn''t have it? It''s supposed to be historical right?

quote:
Original post by Oluseyi
That said, i think there''s tons of merit in the idea. Just be sensitive in your dealing with the historical matter, and do some serious research on both sides of every conflict.
''Nuff said.


it''s a game, imho that means that it''s not nessacary to be overly sensitive about it. Besides it the timeframe he was talking about was several hundred years ago. No ones going to care overly if he takes a few libertys to get the game going along.

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We actually don't really need to be sensitive. As all different groups start making games, this will become a free speech / freedom of expression issue.

Which is really too bad, as we'll get nothing but the same damn partisan politics that seems to run the world. But I guess that's very human.

quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
You're a Nazi with a regular job at a Jewish extermination camp..



I proposed a few months ago the idea of making a comedic, disgustingly violent video game as a social statement about scapegoats and media violence. So understand that I'm not giving you the typical reaction that you note you usually get.

But the main problem that I see with your idea is that it doesn't retain its moral center. If you can, rent the movie Fatherland and you may see firsthand what I'm going to talk about. In Fatherland, Germany wins World War 2, but their inhumanity comes back to haunt them at a critical moment. You need to figure out a parallel. Why?

Most games have us doing morally questionable things all the time, mostly due to either designer laziness or because games are considered too benign for morality to be a factor. (An odd but perfect example is the required massacre of all the non-combatant units in an RTS). So (sadly) shooting a bunch of unarmed people isn't outside the pale of what video games have asked / allowed us to do. (Anybody remember the strippers in Duke Nukem?)

In order to retain your moral center, and show that you're not a neo-nazi propagandist, your design has to show the negative moral outcome of the deeds. In your design, killing innocents is rewarded (in a pretty vomitous way, btw).

Here's a counter idea:

Why not have the end of every game be failure? You could do a cutscene with the main character's neck snapped as he hangs after his trial at Nuremburg.

Or, you could have a shot of the character being arrested after decades of hiding out in South America, humiliated and returned only to die in prison.

If you want to be scathing and critical, you can't afford to reward the player. That completely abandons the moral center, and instead (through feedback) tells him that what he is doing is a good thing.








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

Edited by - Wavinator on July 5, 2001 6:06:34 PM

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quote:
Original post by Wavinator

Why not have the end of every game be failure? You could do a cutscene with the main character''s necked snapped as he hangs after his trial at Nuremburg.

Or, you could have a shot of the character being arrested after decades of hiding out in South America, humiliated and returned only to die in prison.

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


That''s an awesome idea

I also had a similar idea for another game, which is REALLY non-PC..

About 3-4 years ago I thought of making an FPS where you were a nerd who got picked on in school everyday and then went and blew everyone away..at the end you ALWAYS died, even if you made it all the way to the top if the bell tower..that was it..the goal was to take out as many people as you could before you inevitably died..

This was WAY before Columbine and all the media circus that followed, I am SO glad I never made that game..

Please know that I''m not a nazi, fanatic, or violent person..I''ve just got a really BAD sense of humor..I like to laugh at things that are generally only funny when viewed from the afterlife..

And yes, the stars of David are pretty damn harsh..

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IT would seem that the "PC-ness" of a game is of paramount concern to many.

Ultimately, I think life boils down to respect. Sometimes people will defend their actions as, "it was just a joke", but I think that humor should never come at the expense of another''s dignity. That being said, this is in relation to PUBLIC matters. I think in personal life, it''s okay to joke around with good friends, in-laws etc, if they seem comfortable with it.

As I mentioned previously, I''m part Filipino, and while many people don''t realize it...calling a Filipino a "flip" is actually a derogatory term (it means F#$*ing Little Island Person). Some Filipinos themselves aren''t aware of this, but generally speaking, Filipino''s know this and may be insulted if a non-Filipino/asian says it around them. Even I, since I don''t exactly look Filipino have to be cautious, and I only do it jokingly with some of my friends.

Again though, in a public forum or context, I think we need to take caution of how we represent other cultures, religions...and yes, even genders. Look at all the backlash the game industry gets for its adolescent portrayal of women. The line between being sensitive and creative license is often a fine one, but I think it''s far better to err on the side of sensitivity. As I said, respect is what life really boils down to.

If I ever did make a game about this (highly unlikely, as my programming skills are near-zero...I''m essentially a fanboy with game ideas that''s picking up programming along the way), I would definitely make sure that I gave equal billing to both sides. Indeed, the more I think about it, the more fun I think it would be to play opposite the Western forces.

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quote:
Original post by laeuchli
Why give all the sides a equal chance of victory when obviously they didn''t have it? It''s supposed to be historical right?


Because some of us would like to mercilessly crush history''s victors and hang them by their balls.

''Nuff sed.

quote:
it''s a game, imho that means that it''s not nessacary to be overly sensitive about it. Besides it the timeframe he was talking about was several hundred years ago. No ones going to care overly if he takes a few libertys to get the game going along.


Ah, the "winners" speak... and they shouldn''t. If you''ve never been vanquished, never had to fight for the "validity" of your culture and way of life and very existence, then you can have no conception of what you speak of. I personally would love to scalp Lord Lugard, Mungo Park (discovered the Niger - yeah, right! How can you discover a place that''s already domesticated?) and several other colonialists. Do you know what it is to point to "amalgamation" as the birth of your nation? Did you know that the Catholic Church rationalized slavery by saying black people were beasts of burden and had no souls? Do you know how much "black people" would like to blast slave hunters and "conquerors" into nothingness, even if only in a virtual simulation? (Perhaps you''re finally comprehending racial segregation and violence).

This is getting too political. I better stop.

Oh! for Canaan''s shore...

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I''ve had a game ideea involving somewhat offensive War World II material a while ago, but I feel it''s morals were adamant. A game that would really teach morals.

The name is "Stalingrad". It is a FPS and the player is an elite German soldier. The game starts from early 1942, after the fall of Sevastopol and depicts the Stalingrad offensive, till the winter.

The missions have to be pretty varied, both in objectives and in time and size and troop numbers. Commando missions, night recons in no-mans land, all-out attacks, resisting counter-attacks (sawing with a MG-42 heavy machine-gun from a fixed position), retreats to a certain position. However, they must also be pretty linear. I want control about what happens.

Between the missions there will be movies with real Nazi propaganda (the "Our army is cool" type).
At first, all the propaganda fits the game like a glove. It also has to be the type of stuff players will love instantly. If you think thats hard to do, think again. All war games revolve around having the leetest army around, beeing the leetest figher, total annihilating your oponents... If you painted Zwastikas on the average strategy / FPS, you''d get Nazi propaganda. And the Russians will get beaten badly (like they have), all because the skill and leetness of the player and the quality and superior training and leadership of the Wehrmacht. All missions will end in victory, if the player plays right. This section is very important. The player must byte the bait. He must fall into character, he must want victory. He must believe his leetness will ensure victory. This first third of the game ends when Stalingrad is reached.

In the second third of the game, more and more things start to fall out of place. Missions get slightly repetitive, also a lot more tensioned. In some instances, you have to retake a factory, a fortress again and again. In others, after you achieve the initial goals of a mission, the other orders are aborted, and you have to retreat. More defence missions (these are very short and can be intermingled all over). Sniping, mines, trip wires, the wounded conceiling weapons. The war becomes more brutal, the orders you recieve become less intelligent, sometimes confused, sometimes wrong.
The whole atmosphere changes. Your fellow soldiers start to loose enthusiasm, grim news are whispered here and there. The Russian artillery is ever more present, sometimes hitting your positions, always booming in the background. Shouts of tortured german prisoners in the distance. Also, more and more of the veterans that were around since the game begun die, and the new recruits become less and less experienced and younger, and their survival time is so limited. German soldiers hanged for cowardness start appearing here and there.
This second third still has fair gameplay associated though. The goals are reached in the end. The last mission here is a gigantic one, the goal is one that has haunted the player for a long time. After so many sacrifices, this objective is finally taken, the victory is complete, even the artillery in the background gets quiet. As the player finally gets some relaxation after some adrenaline-inducing twitch fighting, and it becomes evident that the mission has been won, it begins to snow.
The propaganda between the missions, in this third gets more and more extatic, its now the "Wagnerian heroes" type.


In the third part, the goal is switched from winning to surviving. Everything is white from snow. The missions are stop them at all costs, resist on position till the last bullet. The rumor that the Russians have encircled Stalingrad is more and more widespread. The fights become desperate. Many times, you dont even obey orders anymore, as they become absurd. As the players formation is crushed by T34s, he has to retreat on his own, and he decides to try to get out of the encirclement to the german lines. The game gets a Halflife feeling of being hunted. Like in Halflife, from time to time you encounter other retreating fellows you team up with. Missions become interesting again : steal a truck, raid an outpost for food, sneak through their defences, etc. The propaganda is chosen with irony in mind. Ie. after a mission were you have to run away after being taken prisoner, the propaganda speaks of "strategic retreats" meant to ambush and destroy the remainging Russian forces. Finally the player gets back to the German lines.

The game ends with the most extatic piece of 1943 propaganda that can be found. Followed by a 1 minute trial and execution of the player for abandoning his position, cowardness in front of the enemy, betrayal of the fatherland.


Well, I''m not concerned with the technological requirements of such a game, since they''re to high anyways.

I''m more interested wether this would be a good game. Would you play it ? Would it be entertaining ? And wether it would be allowed in stores or not (it would have to have a copy of Nazi propaganda art on the box).

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Diodor, I don''t think your idea is too offensive at all - if, and only if - you completely cut the propaganda you seem to be so enthusiastic about.
The gameplay details themselves sound very engaging, and I think you would be right to employ a Half-Life or Hidden & Dangerous style linear story. However, I believe you should steer the idea more towards a "Escape from Stalingrad" concept.
Imagine you''re just a poor german soldier fighting for your life in the Stalingrad hell. The ultimate mission being to escape from the town on your own as the russians are encircling the german forces.
Suddenly we''ve turned a morally questionable game into a war sim that hardly would offend anyone.
Watching other german troops being smashed in cut-scenes now and then along with the chaos atmosphere you were mentioníng would create the "haunted" feeling and completely wipe away any issues players might have of playing a german character.
- Cut the propaganda shit and make it a clean war sim.

I''m also leaving out any technical aspects here, the 3D engine needed for such a game gives me a headache just thinking about it.



wizardGames
http://wizgames.gamedev.net

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Oluseyi

Perhaps since we are both from racial minorities, we are more conscious of how history can slight the circumstances of a race, culture or heck...even just a way of thinking. I agree with you about digging past the history written by the victor.

Even in game terms, play balance would not be too hard. I wonder how many people know that the Haitians beat the French at the height of their military power? Or that the Mongols routinely defeated the Germanic tribes (ohhh boy, I remember a vicious chat fight on that with a rascist in a chat room who utterly believed in Germanic/Nordic racial superiority). I think a game could be made where you could play "the natives" with a decent chance of victory (although I think that would be more suitable for a strategy rather than FPS style game)

The bottomline to making a game about a historical time period would be treating the game background with respect for both sides. And who knows, maybe it would educate some people along the way

I started thinking about how you said that it might be interesting wanting to crush the oppressors when a saddening thought occurred to me. I think people LIKE to play the "conquerors". Like you said, most people don''t have a frame of reference to be sympathetic with the vanquished. Maybe, just maybe that''s what the game community needs to do, show that a FPS game can be made that reveals the true horror of why wars are fought while being both aborbing and educational at the same time. My noggin is cooking up an idea even now....

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At this point I need to ask if we''re creating games or "interactive experiences" (no, not those so-called "interactive movies" made by people ashamed to say they were programming shitty games). I still think that games should be fun - entertaining - and that''s why I don''t personally like any game that bogs me down with "features" that detract from my gaming pleasure. Sometimes those features can be the story or character development; sometimes it can be an overbearing moral.

Yes, entertainment media can be used to provoke thought (movies, anyone? Schindler''s List?) but games have the unfortunate distinction of being "interactive" - needing to make the player feel he/she is in control. At some point this emphasis of imparting lessons and broadening perspectives becomes a burden rather than a benefit. I think they''re intriguing ideas, but I don''t think the gaming community and artform are/is ready for them yet.

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