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A portrayal of heroism

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Different people have different views of what heroism and hero is. To some, the hero may be the strong, high profile, couragous person that combats evil to save the world; to others, a hero may be just an ordinary person who tries to do the right thing even when he himself is not certain what the right thing is.

Suppose I want to design a game where a hero:
H1) Is unpopular
H2) Is uncertain
H3) Is weak
H4) Is not a genius
H5) Is unrewarded
H6) Is non-violent
H7) Makes mistakes

For an audience:
A1) The typical FPS audience that is used to shooting with scope or assassination missions.

With the design goals:
G1) The game is popular among its audience
G2) The gameplay, by the end of the game, is non-violent
G3) The audience accepts the portrayed character as a hero
G4) The audience seeks a sequel of the game where the entire gameplay is non-violent.

What is the minimum design that achieves the purpose?
How would you go about designing such a game?

a) Start with a game that A1 enjoys and see how H and G can be included
d) Start with a game that has H, and see how it would appeal to A1.
c) Study the definition of what it takes a person to recognize heroism
d) Study how people changes behavior or interest
e) Other...

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Hello again! ;D

Well, a lot of adventure games are non violent. What genre and setting were you thinking about for your game? If you like, I can star in it as the hero. -I accomplish the H's completely!

Maybe, it could be that the FPS people are attracted by the FPS view, so that's where I'd start. The plot could be anything, but the hero is probably not the average biker dude. Maybe he/she's a student?

A clumsy japanese rpg-style college student, perhaps?

As of to the story, it could be about running different places on time combined with an intense atmosphere and conversations. The hero is non violent, but that doesn't mean there will be no action, right? :P

Sounds like a good idea. It could prove a couple of points for FPS'ers...

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I want to make a clarification about the term "audience". By audience, I don't mean a classification of people, but of the intention to participate in a type of activity. Say a person sometimes want to play FPS and sometimes RPG, only when that person wants to play FPS would he become an member in the audience. I know the word can mean both but I don't know the word that only refers to the instance when the person is actually sitting in the theater, so to speak.

So the design goal could be expressed like this:

Regardless what other hobbies or interests the player has, given that he picks up the game thinking that it is an FPS, a significant population enjoy the game, would classify it as an FPS and enjoy that it is an non-violent FPS to the degree that they prefer this sub-genre over the violent counterparts.

So the genre is more or less FPS, because it must have the similar type of attraction (it is not a puzzle game that attracts the player when the player feels like playing puzzles, but a game that would normally attrack someone who feels like shootig at things with a sniper rifle).

If you like to shoot things with a sniper rifle, you will like this game, even if you discover that the game is actually non-violent. The next time you feel lke shooting things with a sniper rifle, you still want to play the game, knowing that it is non-violent.

"FPS'er" isn't a label about a person, but a label about a participant. A person is an FPS'er only if he is playing an FPS at the moment of the speech. This is different from labels such as "nerd" which is directed to the person, no matter what the person is doing at the moment.

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Alright, the student is weak but he has one special ability that makes him strong:
Sniping lightswitches and other items with a blowpipe. Once he went into the cellar, to see what his suspicious professor was up to. The door closed behind him and next thing he sees are robots crawling against him. Frightened, he drags forth the blowpipe and fires a wet piece of paper at one of the robots sensors.

... and such.... ?

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That could be Game Concept 1.

Game concept 2: Counter-Sniping

The player plays someone in a location that is sporatically attacked
by snipers. The goal of the player is to locate the attacker and to
discover the reason of the attack.

Some possible variations in the design:

o The hero in the game is not the player
o The game allows violence but it is not "the cool thing to do"

Game Concept 3: A sniper protecting a pacifist

The PC is a sniper who is working with A to protect B. B is a pacifist and does not know that she is being secretly protected by a sniper (the PC). In the story, B knows the PC, but doesn't know that the PC is her guard during her campaign to bring peace to a region.

A's view: A believes that B's vision is too idealistic. He believes that B cannot succeed unless there is a secret force evening out the odds. A knows that if the public knows the secret, B's road toward peace would be heavily undermined, but he would rather take the risk than to have B assassinated from the start.

Defining the Expected and the Impossible
- A technique on behavior change

Oftentimes, a player wants to do something different from the assignment, because a player tends to view what is expected as less interesting than the unexpected. In Concept3, I make A layout the violent path, and presents B's ideals as something unattainable. To the player, the violent path is the easy way out, and a path toward B's ideal is the real challenge. By making the player want to do something different, and by defining the default path to be the violent path, the design drives the player to want to perform a non-violent path.

Symbolic description of the technique:

Given a desired behavior X and the opposite behavior Y, layout Y as the expected solution (thus boring and unimaginative) and dismiss X as an unachievable ideal to make the player strives to abandon Y and do X.

Re: SuperVGA

I think that was part of the reason I lost interest (refering to the content in the other thread). At some point, violence against violence started to become boring for me. It started to feel really too predictable and thus not stimulating. So perhaps that had nothing to do with moral, I was just totally bored by that mode of conflict resolution.

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A quick idea for a game:


The player is a rescue worker using a rescue robot who attempts to rescue people from disaster zones. The player has special tools (fire hose, climbing tools, etc) to put out fires and such.

The player could ahve several different types of robots with different abilities and they might have to select the best robot for the curent situation, even going so far as to use certain robots to transport needed robots.

The aim of the game is to use their robot's abilities and tools to enter a disaster zone, locate survivors and get them out.

As the idea is about saving lives, it is a non violent game. Also as the player is operating the robot, they ahve a 3d view of the world from the point of view of the robot.

It would be an action game as the player would be working against a clock (because the people might not be abel to survive long) and the risks of the robots being damaged.

There could be some puzzle solving, but not the sort of explicit puzzle solving that occurs in many games, but puzzles involving the use of the robot's abilities to navigate the various hazards (you could also include multiple ways to get through areas).

Another aspect could be that some people can't be rescued and the player has to deal with the in ability to rescue them (as a psychological experience in the game). Some time the player could be presented with a situation where they have to make a choice as to who to rescue as other kinds of psychological experiences.

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Brainstorms about the design

Features of a hero:

o Trying to help others
o Does not give up if adversary is present

Features of the play environment expected by the FPS sniper audience:

These are features that I think characterises the intention of the player when the player wants to play as a sniper. Some of these features are common to FPS gameplay, some are specific to the role as a sniper, as opposed to an FPS'er trying to knife the enemy. In the following, I try to rank them by their importance somewhat.

o Hand-eye coordination, skill
o Observing movement, attention, and behavior
o Clean execution, no wasted effort
o 3D environment
o 'Targets' that appear in the distance
o Scope view
o Realism
o First person movement
o Hiding, not to be discovered

Variations of the sniping tool:

o Sniper's rifle
o Blow pipe
o Long range camera
o Telescope
o Catapult
o Rubberbands
o Slingshot
o Remote controlled device
o Remote listening device

Variations of the action:

o Pulling the trigger of a sniper's rifle
o Taking a picture
o Releasing something
o Pushing a button
o Making a phone call

Variations of the target:

o Soldier
o Person
o Switch
o Mirror
o Bouncy surface
o Fruit
o Conversation
o IR receiver

Variations of the 'projectile'

o Bullet
o Needle
o Solid projectile
o Cake
o Water balloons
o Snowballs
o Bird dropping
o Eggs
o Information
o Light
o Laser
o Sound
o Vibration
o Wind
o Shockwave
o Magic spell
o Intention

Variations of the PC

o Sniper
o Student
o Rescuer
o Robot
o Jerk / Brat
o Photographer
o Spy
o Kid
o Santa Claus
o Wizard

Game Concept 5: Medusa

The PC is at a place where Medusa is turning people into statues. To beat the Medusa, the PC needs to hold up a mirror when the Medusa tries to petrify the PC.

Game Concept 6: The Wisher

The PC has the ability to make a person to what they want by seeing them. However, this ability can only work once on each person. The PC uses this ability (on multiple people) to change the course of a situation.

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The truest heroism comes from the acceptance that one will not be rewarded (except with altruistic feeling-good, which cannot be separated from a "selfless" action). Don Quixote was created as a parody, and he became a paragon of heroism, because he appears to be utterly selfless in his desire to save the world from damnation, yet we know what his fate was; Shakespeare and the school that follows him shy away from heroes and create self-absorbed characters, which I would call antiheroes.

According to societal norms of morality, the ideal hero would willingly be lambasted and shunned, if he had a sublime sense that he was doing good, as opposed to the ideal villain, who appears just but is a feigner and dissembler.

But which morality should dictate a hero? Most governments seize upon a moral system fitting their rulers. Today's American society hates murder, rapine, theft, conniving, in a word, anything that infringes on other people's rights. The greatest American hero would be free from all these vices, yet would also be mighty, witty, sound and intelligent. The greatest Nazi German hero would be one who could slaughter Jews with aplomb, perhaps, but many would disagree with both definitions. It seems the only thing that dictates morality is the apparent interest of the stronger.

I won't pretend to know the answers to these questions; I just wanted to give you something to think about.

Edit: I'll edit this post in a moment.

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The hero is a gardener, and they lob garden flower pots at plant seeds that are bouncing around the garden. As soon as a pot captures a seed, it flips over into a growing plant of whatever type. The goal is not only to capture as many of the best seeds possible, but also to lay out a garden by capturing them at specific placements to create an arrangement.

No heroic stats required (H), and no defeating an enemy (G2); only good hand-eye coordination and an artistic eye. G1, G3, and G4 depend mostly on the quality of execution.

The game Dawn of War presented in it's cut scenes a visceral and potent sense of heroism in its characters, through a sense of duty, honor and respect. It's why I bought Dawn of War 2 -- not for the game play, but to re-experience this well-crafted emotion.

[Edited by - AngleWyrm on December 8, 2010 7:43:17 AM]

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How would you go about designing such a game?

I'd say looking into how you can achieve point H6 with the goal G1 for an audience A1 is a good start. Shooters generally involve violence, combining H6, G1 and A1 is quite a challenge.

An example of a game with the design goals you mentioned:

The player is a caretaker in some important government facility and overhears a secret conversation and is shocked by what he hears and decides to investigate the matter. As the story progresses the player gets more tools to extract information. At the end of the game the player exposes the extracted information and saves innocent lives in some way.

The game-play would be like an espionage game. Getting caught would result in your arrest(game over). Tools at your disposal could be a gun that applies a 'bug' to an enemy to keep track of their position while you extract information out of their office. A stun gun for emergencies(if you consider this non-violent). A sniper like weapon to transmit record and transmit audio to an enemy guard's earplug, allowing the player to steer enemies to open up guarded hallways.

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