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Realism Vs Fun

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I've been reading about Raph Koster one of the lead designers of Ultima Online, and his views on what is fun Vs realism in games.
Many players lament about having to feed their character in game. Yet Tamagotchi (little computer pets) require constant feeding and nursing/attention - perhaps its more of a female thing, however other games Runescape/Darkfall have repetitive crafting eg. mining.

Now I want my game to have eating and friendly fire (many games have this off).
Many gamers won't be able to cope with friendly fire (but they will get used to it), and I feel eating/feeding your character will become an interesting game mechanic - specialist cooks, food trading, specialist harvesting, rare sought after foods, and food preservation/storage. Also in addition there will be feeding of NPC animals/pets/livestock.

If anyone can see problems with this, AND can suggest some solutions - I really welcome your responses. And if you are totally opposed to realism and have decent reasons to back up your view as to why it will never work, I also welcome your opinion.

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There is nothing wrong with having friendly fire in the game. It makes the gameplay a little more difficult for some players because you have to focus on what you are doing and not simply spray and pray your way through each level. It makes them have to be aware of where they are aiming and where they are throwing a grenade. I, personally, think it's a great feature.

Eating or drinking is iffy. It does add a level of realism but is more of an annoyance. If it fits the concept of the game, I'd say go for it.

However, too much realism CAN severely degrade the gameplay. Take ARMA 2, for example. I played the game. It was ok. But the controls were a pain in the butt. It ruined the experience for me. I definately wouldn't play through it twice.

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They are independent qualities.

Realism is one variable. Some games (BF3 for instance) go for realism. Other games, like Team Fortress's cartoonish style have a whimsical yet still realistic style. Other games, such as Chess, Go, and such, require no realism at all and can be entirely symbolic.


Fun is a result of combining all the pieces of the game. You don't hear people complaining "I don't like chess because the pieces don't look real enough". Realism is unimportant to that game's fun. For other games, realism is an important factor in the resulting fun.

If anyone can see problems with this, AND can suggest some solutions - I really welcome your responses. And if you are totally opposed to realism and have decent reasons to back up your view as to why it will never work, I also welcome your opinion. [/quote]
Does the realism or real-world activity add to the game?

If it can add to the game then it should certainly be considered.



Few games require your character to eat. Fewer still take bathroom breaks.

Why don't they? Simple: they tasks add nothing to gameplay. They are not part of the story and are correctly omitted.

A few games, such as The Sims, those actions are critical to gameplay. They are a part of the story, and are correctly included.



But then there is a middle line. Games where adding a bit of realism doesn't hurt the game, but also doesn't really help it either. In that case it is generally better to omit it, exposing the core game.... but not always.




So looking at this in relation to your game:

Your time is precious. What will give you the best entertainment?

Do you want to spend that bit of your entertainment in feeding your character? Could that time be better spent with something else in the game?

Do you want to spend that bit of your entertainment in thinking about friendly fire? Could that mental effort be better spent with something else?

Permadeath is great and even essential to the challenging fun in many games. Imagine in Kasparov vs Deep Blue if he came back, "Oh sorry, the game isn't over, I'm just respawning my king over here." Or in NetHack, where getting blasted by a Wand of Death in the end game can possibly (with bad luck) abruptly end several hundred hours of gameplay. Permadeth is certainly more realistic than spawning. For some games it is an incredible and important feature of gameplay, but imagine if you had that in all games? "You have died in combat. ... Now deleting your save files and checkpoint data." While realistic, that is NOT something players would find fun in the latest round of multiplayer FPS games. On the other hand, it would certainly help out with spawn-campers...


Choosing what to include or exclude in a game should generally not be based on if that is more realistic or not. It should be based on if it adds to the game.

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Take ARMA 2, for example. I played the game. It was ok. But the controls were a pain in the butt. It ruined the experience for me.


Thanks, yeah I definitely want the game play/controls to be intuititve/easy to pick up.

Fun is a result of combining all the pieces of the game. You don't hear people complaining "I don't like chess because the pieces don't look real enough". Realism is unimportant to that game's fun. For other games, realism is an important factor in the resulting fun.

Does the realism or real-world activity add to the game?

Few games require your character to eat. Fewer still take bathroom breaks.

So looking at this in relation to your game:

Your time is precious. What will give you the best entertainment?

Permadeath is great and even essential to the challenging fun in many games. Imagine in Kasparov vs Deep Blue if he came back, "Oh sorry, the game isn't over, I'm just respawning my king over here." Or in NetHack, where getting blasted by a Wand of Death in the end game can possibly (with bad luck) abruptly end several hundred hours of gameplay. Permadeth is certainly more realistic than spawning. For some games it is an incredible and important feature of gameplay, but imagine if you had that in all games? "You have died in combat. ... Now deleting your save files and checkpoint data." While realistic, that is NOT something players would find fun in the latest round of multiplayer FPS games. On the other hand, it would certainly help out with spawn-campers...


Yeah, the real life mechanics such as eating will also have other important "fun" aspects which add to the gameplay.

Sometimes resurrection may be possible but will require epic effort, and great cost.

I was worried, but now that I have remembered there will be important mechanics for fun associated with my realism mechanics I'm sure it will work, with a few tweaks to remove tedium. I may make eating not so vital - you may only have to give your char 1 mean in a real life day (24 hours our time).

Thanks for your imput and support guys.

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I made two games with very similar mechanics. One was a generic fantasy and second feudal japan sim. In both you had to eat and in addition in the japan sim you had to bath daily or will be barred from entering most facilities. These features had minimal gameplay purpose and were more like a boring chore. The interesting thing was players reaction. In the generic fantasy they were complaining, in the feudal japan sim they were not :D

It seems that how much the player is willing to pay for realism depends on the game theme.

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I pretty much agree with what Frob said.

I personally have always enjoyed the inclusion of eating where it makes sense, which tends to include most as a rule RPGs. I do enjoy an eating system that uses the "carrot" and not just the stick. I remember playing a modification to fallout 3 that required you to shovel food and water into the character regularly but never provided any sort of bonus, you just did it to function normally, and it wasn't long before such a system just became annoying. Including some kind of bonus, be it pure stats or something else, would have made the whole thing a lot more bearable.

Friendly fire has never been a problem for me, so long as it is fair. By that I mean the game should make it clear who I should or should not shoot. Take TF2, both sides have very distinctive colours to help distinguish between them, friendly fire in that game would only punish sloppy player but if both sides where similar shades of red then it would make me feel, as a player, like the game is trying to trick me into killing my own team.

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Minecraft recently added in a hunger status bar. The bar drops gradually over time, and offers a bonus and a penalty. If you stay above half full, you'll passively regenerate health over time (currently the only way to regenerate health, although instant-health potions are being introduced which will be prohibitively expensive to produce). Once you drop below half on the food bar, your passive health regen is lost, and you lose the ability to sprint, which is useful in both travel and combat situations. When it's totally depleted, you'll gradually lose health, an effect similar to poison. At the same time, using the sprint function or regenerating health cause the food bar to deplete more quickly, requiring you to eat more frequently. You can go a couple days without food if you move slowly and avoid damage, but if you're working hard and pushing your character, you'll be hitting the porkchops on a regular basis.

In the early game, it can be a hassle to keep yourself fed, since grain takes time to grow, meat requires a little bit of basic infrastructure to cook, and you can't catch fish until you've gotten some string, which is either found in subterranean spider webs or looted from killer spiders during the dangerous night time. If you get yourself fairly well established in the game, though, food becomes almost trivial, and you'll be stockpiling beef, chicken and pork alongside heaps of bread and the odd cake at your base. The current inventory system allows you to haul many days' worth of food without clutter, so it ceases to be an issue after a short time.

It can be pretty scary those first few nights, when your health is low and you're too hungry to fight or travel effectively, especially in "hardcore" mode, where character death deletes the saved world and annihilates all your hard work. I like it, and I'm glad the feature was added. It adds a simple secondary objective to every self-assigned quest, so I'll be out looking for minerals or harvesting wood, and I'll take a quick detour to kill a wild pig or do a little fishing before the sun goes down.

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Thanks Acharis, that sounds very interesting.



Friendly fire has never been a problem for me, so long as it is fair. By that I mean the game should make it clear who I should or should not shoot. Take TF2, both sides have very distinctive colours to help distinguish between them, friendly fire in that game would only punish sloppy player but if both sides where similar shades of red then it would make me feel, as a player, like the game is trying to trick me into killing my own team.


Well I won't have any id tags, but as in real life I'm sure players will find ways to recognise each other - fashion trends? Real life gangs wear colours or patches, civil servants have uniforms. You could imagine if a medic went to a gang fight without a uniform - they may be attacked if the perpetrators thought she was a police officer. Players can make other distiguishments such as smell, or facial/body characteristics identification(height, weight etc).

To be honest friendly-fire happens in real life and this might happen in game. Players will punish those who either do it on purpose - griefer, or are not accurate/careless - kicked out of group/gaming clan. Perhaps players will be wary of groups for this reason, these things will work out I'm sure, and this will be a very interesting social experiment.

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To sum up my feelings in 8 words:

If realism were fun, we wouldn't need games.

Form should follow function in all things, games too. The function of a game is fun, ergo, if it is not fun, it is not a game, nor does it belong in a game.

If your mechanics succeed in modeling the real world in a way that is fun, and is germane to the experience, then by all means have at it, but realism for realism's sake is almost universally a boring chore.

I once knew an amateur game designer who was convinced that ultra-realism was the path to fun -- he wanted to create an MMORPG with 12-hour day-night cycles, and which would require you to perform all kinds of medival drudgery, such as spending 15+ minutes getting suited up in full armor for battle, complete with assistance from your squire. Realistic, yes; fun, hell no.

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Probably it has been said above already, but only add elements if they are fun to do and add something to your game. In The Sims, it's pretty logical those bastards got to eat, the game is all about scheduling their daily activities. For action games on the other hand, the focus is on shooting and destroying stuff. Eating interrupts those activities.

I believe S.T.A.L.K.E.R. required the player to eat once in a while. Was it fun? Not really. Selecting bread from an inventory itself isn't interesting. The mechanism of being prepared and buying or carefully searching for food could be an interesting element, yet it was done poorly. If you can buy 100 breads at any corner, gathering it isn't a challenge either. All in all, it was an extra handling in the game that could have been skipped just as well.

In GTA (San Andreas), it had sort of a fun element though. You like to explore the city, and the game is 90% filled with cruising in your car through town. So if you get hungry, you have a goal. Plus it affected the body of the player (eat a lot and you get fat). All in all not that important, but it stretched the length and diversity of the game yet further in a positive way.


So the bottom line is, make sure you can integrate in the game well. Be aware that eating is doing the same actions again and again, so if it's not giving a fun challenge in any way, it can quickly become annoying.

Rick

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Adding realism can give more immersion. Very good graphics and an extremely good sound "image", is what I feel battlefield 3 has. It really manages to give you the feeling, that you're on a real battlefield. It's very immersive, and that makes the game more enjoyable to play. Most BF3 battle's aren't as intense as those in MW, and some may like that less, but this varies from person to person.
So, in many cases, adding realism can greatly improve immersion which improves game experience, but it can also have other negative effects, more significant than the immersion part.

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I once knew an amateur game designer who was convinced that ultra-realism was the path to fun -- he wanted to create an MMORPG with 12-hour day-night cycles, and which would require you to perform all kinds of medival drudgery, such as spending 15+ minutes getting suited up in full armor for battle, complete with assistance from your squire. Realistic, yes; fun, hell no.


Yes, I can't really understand how some games, well mmo's to be specific (runescape, darkfall, and perhaps UO) get away with tedius mining and perhaps crafting.
So I am aware of taking the tedium out of boring activities.

Runescape made events happen when you mine such as monsters coming out of rocks - but this was mostly to combat mining bots. I feel there must be a better way of doing things - I'm not exactly sure though.

I did loathe fishing, perhaps I could simply make the world loaded with monsters and brigands (well there should be enough pks anyway) to keep the miners alert, but this doesn't really solve the problem of tedium. Oh now I have remembered something, there is a solution, I'm going to keep it a secret but any of your thoughts are welcome. Thanks for all your input too.

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Oh now I have remembered something, there is a solution, I'm going to keep it a secret but any of your thoughts are welcome.


Well that sucks. Thanks for coming to the forum.

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I think friendly fire is ok, but it needs to work well. I dont want to be kicked out of the server or die if i accidentally shoot a team mate. Possibly it could decrease my points or honor (if your honor goes too low something is done), and/or the team mate i killed will get something like some points (or he will not lose as much if he kills me back... If i killed him more than once :P)

Games dont really need to be that realistic. I dont mind seeing aliens or something like that, but there should be a realistic explanation for what exist or happens. It doesnt need to be told to the players or anything, but there should exist a way to explain it.

Hunger can be really annoying if you have to work for food. However, if you can buy food easily, and eat it easily too (and not every 5 mins or suddendly you die. More like you become weaker if you dont eat for 30 mins or longer depending on how fastt he game proceeds.) Food and that stuff is better if you play in the same world all the time, with no cutscenes sending you 1 year to the future all the time with 1 in-game-hour of gameplay between them.
There really should be more survival games where you search for food and stuff and craft some items to not get killed by the zombies all the time.

What i dislike is all these markets and money currencies in RPGs and such (+skills and everything else in RPGs -.-). Cant they just add a coin object and let the trading be done on big physical market place areas where you could walk around selling something or buy a stand to sell them when youre bored walking around or being online. Skills should be determined based on what you do, not like doing tons of killing with a sword and becoming better archer the more you do it.
Though, if there was no built in markets and currencies, getting hang of the game would take more time unless the marketplaces are marked clearly and the game is made so that people dont need to shout 5 Acronyms, a level and another acronym for the product name to sell something >_> (Or they could just say how to in a tutorial, but people could suddnedly decide to use another currency so that wouldnt work well!)

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I'm not a fan of friendly-fire, but it's not a game-breaker either.

And eating has to be fun, like everybody else said. Adding lots of different foods with different bonuses, so maybe you can only eat when you're hungry and eating gives you a lot of different bonuses, so choosing your food would be a strategic element.

Maybe the player can choose the correct food for his activity, like a food that lets him have longer stamina to do some task faster or one that increases his reflexes for hard battles.

Or if the player has to eat often for a reason, maybe you can make eating automatic as long as you have food... Or something. Just don't make things a hassle, why would you wanna do that to the player?

If you want to make a game realistic, go ahead, but try to keep everything fun in the bounds of realism. If not, you're just adding cost to the production without making the game better. Or maybe you're making an effort to make the game worse.

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Sorry Khaiy and others, but i do need to protect my intellectual property, I'm dedicating my life to making some of the greatest games ever - commercial organisations regularly takethings as their own and copywrite them/patent. I only keep my very special unique ideas a secret.


I think friendly fire is ok, but it needs to work well. I dont want to be kicked out of the server or die if i accidentally shoot a team mate. Possibly it could decrease my points or honor (if your honor goes too low something is done), and/or the team mate i killed will get something like some points (or he will not lose as much if he kills me back... If i killed him more than once :P)

Hunger can be really annoying if you have to work for food. However, if you can buy food easily, and eat it easily too (and not every 5 mins or suddendly you die. More like you become weaker if you dont eat for 30 mins or longer depending on how fastt he game proceeds.) Food and that stuff is better if you play in the same world all the time, with no cutscenes sending you 1 year to the future all the time with 1 in-game-hour of gameplay between them.
There really should be more survival games where you search for food and stuff and craft some items to not get killed by the zombies all the time.

What i dislike is all these markets and money currencies in RPGs and such (+skills and everything else in RPGs -.-). Cant they just add a coin object and let the trading be done on big physical market place areas where you could walk around selling something or buy a stand to sell them when youre bored walking around or being online. Skills should be determined based on what you do, not like doing tons of killing with a sword and becoming better archer the more you do it.
Though, if there was no built in markets and currencies, getting hang of the game would take more time unless the marketplaces are marked clearly and the game is made so that people dont need to shout 5 Acronyms, a level and another acronym for the product name to sell something >_> (Or they could just say how to in a tutorial, but people could suddnedly decide to use another currency so that wouldnt work well!)


No no I hate Left 4 Dead 2 where players kick for no reason, or even simply being kicked period reduces socialisation - if players were forced to deal with anti-socials aka griefers/childish players - then both sides would gang up and put down(kill/trap) the player until they get bored and leave.
My mmo is a persistent world where the players must socialise each other. Imagine not being able to venture near society because everyone recognises you as a touble maker/criminal - in a hostile environment with dangerous animals, plants, monsters, other players.

Yeah, I don't think we have to work too hard in life for food to be honest - go to mcdonalds get food done! Definitely wouldn't want to food to be a major game "issue" to deal with and wouldn't want game time to be too realistic - I want players to have freedom to achieve things, and to experience night and new days within a reasonable time frame. Say you are growing corn it takes a week in real life time this might be 5 hours or so.

Funny you should mention a zombie survival game - this will be my intermediate small online multiplayer game, in the lead up to my mmo.

Yes I have put much thought into skills systems and there are games out there that do the "the more you use it the better it gets" problem is this usually involves grinding - I have a mixed solution for this (I can't give details :|| sorry)
As for trading, the major problem with trading these days is ( well in part it is items) gold and the ability for players to sell it in real life - this ruins games, players make a great game into a pay to play (if you're rich in real life you become more powerful in game). Perhaps that is why commercial gaming companies are making many games free with pay to play options - if you can't beat them join them. However this is the greedy/lazy option, another issue is selling of characters/accounts - I also have solutions for all of these (also secret 8} ). There will be a bit of a big learning curve with the economy and trading, but as I have seen many players are prepared to put in extensive amounts of time for a game they love (even tedious grind sadly) - so I don't expect this to be much of an issue.

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Eating can be done, but it shouldn't be required. In WoW there is a cooking professions. You can make foods that will give temp buffs and eating will restore your health faster. Dark Cloud had a thirst meter and if it went to zero you died, even if your health was full. This mechanic was terrible because the player was forced to fill at least half his inventory space with drinks to make it through a dungeon. Plus you had to waste time watching your character drink every couple minutes.

I think most people will say friendly fire is ok. A lot of shooters have this as an option.

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I think this topic might be wrongly named... It probably should be realism vs gameplay. Games are supposed to be fun. That's the whole point of games. If a game is not fun, it is not a game. Realism is fun (to an extend). That's why we add realism to games. There are no other reasons to add realism. After certain thereshold realism is not fun anymore (or, probably more accurate, cripple the gameplay too much) in such case we reduce/remove realism.

The formula would be probably: Fun = Realism + Gameplay + Fairness + other factors (in proper proportions). Still, the ultimate goal for the design is fun (I'm ignoring here making profit from a game since it can interfere with fun).

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Friendly fire leads to griefing. If you have a means to combat griefing perhaps it can bring value to the game, but can also destroy a game.

Eating. Perhaps provided benefits for doing so, but don't cripple a player for not doing so. Slight debuffs/buffs for maintaining a healthy nutrition isn't a terrible thing, but if it greatly affects your ability to enjoy the game it can be a bad thing.

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"I feel eating/feeding your character will become an interesting game mechanic"

How is food different from weapons or armor? Assuming weapons/armor are craftable and decay with use/time, what does food crafting add?

Friendly fire encourages teamwork and griefing, while discouraging new players and playing with strangers.

In a competitive game with established teams (CS, Halo, Quake) you might want it. 'Realism' should not be an important factor in the decision.

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My argument against food in games is that I already have to feed the real human me in reality. I also have to feed my daughter and my dog. Please do not make me feed my digital hero too.

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Friendly fire leads to griefing. If you have a means to combat griefing perhaps it can bring value to the game, but can also destroy a game.

Eating. Perhaps provided benefits for doing so, but don't cripple a player for not doing so. Slight debuffs/buffs for maintaining a healthy nutrition.




"I feel eating/feeding your character will become an interesting game mechanic"

How is food different from weapons or armor? Assuming weapons/armor are craftable and decay with use/time, what does food crafting add?

Friendly fire encourages teamwork and griefing, while discouraging new players and playing with strangers.


I won't make eating such a burden, in 24hours of YOUR real human time you may have to feed your character once (perhaps twice if you exert yourself excessively - but only if you want to recover at an accelerated rate). Crafting will not be the game mechanic I am describing (there are many food mechanics that I'd rather keep as intelletual property - sorry), I'm not sure if food crafting will even exist - pick the apple eat it.

As for griefing, the players will monitor and regulate this. Murderers, thieves, etc all exist in real life, hunting them down in game could be a fun aspect - protect the game citizens with laws and protection forces.
I dislike the way UO separated the worlds into safe server deadly server. And Diablo 2 limited the telekinesis skill and teleport because of thievery - smarten up, don't drop your items and they won't get stolen, besides my game will be aimed at R18 audience, hopefully this will limit crying.

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I won't make eating such a burden, in 24hours of YOUR real human time you may have to feed your character once (perhaps twice if you exert yourself excessively - but only if you want to recover at an accelerated rate). Crafting will not be the game mechanic I am describing (there are many food mechanics that I'd rather keep as intelletual property - sorry), I'm not sure if food crafting will even exist - pick the apple eat it.

As for griefing, the players will monitor and regulate this. Murderers, thieves, etc all exist in real life, hunting them down in game could be a fun aspect - protect the game citizens with laws and protection forces.
I dislike the way UO separated the worlds into safe server deadly server. And Diablo 2 limited the telekinesis skill and teleport because of thievery - smarten up, don't drop your items and they won't get stolen, besides my game will be aimed at R18 audience, hopefully this will limit crying.


Well, it depends on the audience you want to bring in. Do you want a mass amount of players or a small niche amount of players? This is in regards to the ability to be a murderer. I personally feel that you are right, hunting down criminals could be a fun part of a game, but it has to be done right or it could get out of control and ruin the game for players.

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I won't make eating such a burden, in 24hours of YOUR real human time you may have to feed your character once (perhaps twice if you exert yourself excessively - but only if you want to recover at an accelerated rate). Crafting will not be the game mechanic I am describing (there are many food mechanics that I'd rather keep as intelletual property - sorry), I'm not sure if food crafting will even exist - pick the apple eat it.

As for griefing, the players will monitor and regulate this. Murderers, thieves, etc all exist in real life, hunting them down in game could be a fun aspect - protect the game citizens with laws and protection forces.
I dislike the way UO separated the worlds into safe server deadly server. And Diablo 2 limited the telekinesis skill and teleport because of thievery - smarten up, don't drop your items and they won't get stolen, besides my game will be aimed at R18 audience, hopefully this will limit crying.


All well and good to have eating give a bonus, rather than a penalty from failing to do so, though that doesn't mean that it will be fun. I still might prefer not to have to deal with it at all (especially if it forces me to log in daily to do), but as a bonus I guess it moves into judgement call territory.

The second section, about griefing, I'm less confident about. Don't forget that the griefers themselves are players, and that they've chosen to do the griefing already. What if there isn't sufficient player-led resistance, and it just becomes a game that can only be played by griefing? Hunting them down may be fun, but it might also make people wonder why they have to put in so much effort as a community just to keep themselves from getting screwed over and having their fun dashed. Why didn't the designer just stop this incredibly unfun thing from happening?, they'll say. Why all this extra work to get back what I already had, and was going to do something else with? Why should I even bother making this awesome thing, when I'll just get murdered, the awesome thing stolen and fenced before I have a chance to get it back? IF and only if the game overall is incredibly fun will I be willing to deal with such annoyances, and the more "realistic" features I'm caged in by the less likely that will be.

Of course, you aren't really telling these ideas to us because you don't want them stolen (there's a whole list of articles about why that's not something to be too concerned about, but whatever makes you comfortable). Then we get an assurance that things will all work out, and maybe they will. With nothing but your surety, it's impossible for us to judge. So here's my overall thought on the question you presented:


[color="#CCCCCC"]If anyone can see problems with this, AND can suggest some solutions - I really welcome your responses. And if you are totally opposed to realism and have decent reasons to back up your view as to why it will never work, I also welcome your opinion.
[/quote]

There is a contradiction in seeking realism as the goal of your project, in that you won't be able to portray reality with very high fidelity in a video game. There's too much that will have to be abstracted away, and the remaining elements don't represent what things are really like so much as they are choices about what real things the designer wanted to represent in the game. It's the designer's job to choose elements that are fun and interesting, because a game that is neither is not very good. As an example from your design, it is a real requirement that people eat to live. You want that realism in your game, but you've already compromised insofar as there is no penalty for not eating, and you get the maximum benefit from doing so twice a day at most.

Does that lack of realism bother you? Are you, as you stated in your post, totally opposed to realism for having made that compromise? If not, then the question is already about fun and not what is the most literal possible portrayal of reality. It's a matter of realistic incentives being used in interesting or uninteresting ways. As I mentioned in another thread, Portal is an OK simulation of (basic) real Newtonian physics. But without the decidedly unreal inclusion of the portal gun, it would be a lot less fun. I was happy with the choices that the design team made, and I am in no way feeling a lack of strictly realistic Portal-analogues.

Another thing is that you seem ambitious about what your game will be able to actually do, as with the uniform colors or other tagless methods of players identifying each other. How much detail can characters show? Will there really be enough simulated detail that players can tell each other's avatars by facial features and smell? My immediate reaction is that that will quickly become unworkable with any particular scale, and players will either not be able to identify each other in any meaningful way or they will find some method of doing it despite your intended design limitation.

I'd just like to caution you about one thing, I guess. You seem to have a bit of a dictatorial attitude towards your game and its players, in the sense that it feels like you're saying "This is the game, play it. I don't want to hear about how it isn't fun-- if you're not having fun, f**k you." It's not that that's an unreasonable attitude in that people certainly don't have to play the game, but you have a lot of players here telling you that these mechanics don't sound all that fun. You haven't sold me on the design scheme as a whole, especially if it's aimed primarily at "realism" and not fun, as the thread title suggests. You know what won't be much fun? Slaving away at a game that has 40 players, ever, because the only relevant in-game activities are feeding yourself, checking your locks, and chasing down the ass that broke your locks and stole your food.

You can call them criers and say that your game was never meant for those fantasy-loving quitters. But with no players, your game won't be one of the greatest ever. It'll be a flop. It's not that realism in games can't work, or that your imagining of this game can't work either. But you're setting yourself a tall order, challenges that will be incredibly difficult to overcome from both design and play perspectives. What you're offering to meet those challenges are all secrets, and so for now all I can see in playing your game is a chore where I magically love all the things I've generally hated in video games. For all I know your secret ingredients really will do that, but if you're going to refuse compromise and base all of the fun in your game on those mysteries you'd better be awfully sure (and correct besides). Best of luck to you in any event.

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All well and good to have eating give a bonus, rather than a penalty from failing to do so, though that doesn't mean that it will be fun. I still might prefer not to have to deal with it at all (especially if it forces me to log in daily to do), but as a bonus I guess it moves into judgement call territory.

The second section, about griefing, I'm less confident about. Don't forget that the griefers themselves are players, and that they've chosen to do the griefing already. What if there isn't sufficient player-led resistance, and it just becomes a game that can only be played by griefing? Hunting them down may be fun, but it might also make people wonder why they have to put in so much effort as a community just to keep themselves from getting screwed over and having their fun dashed. Why didn't the designer just stop this incredibly unfun thing from happening?, they'll say. Why all this extra work to get back what I already had, and was going to do something else with? Why should I even bother making this awesome thing, when I'll just get murdered, the awesome thing stolen and fenced before I have a chance to get it back? IF and only if the game overall is incredibly fun will I be willing to deal with such annoyances, and the more "realistic" features I'm caged in by the less likely that will be.

Of course, you aren't really telling these ideas to us because you don't want them stolen (there's a whole list of articles about why that's not something to be too concerned about, but whatever makes you comfortable). Then we get an assurance that things will all work out, and maybe they will. With nothing but your surety, it's impossible for us to judge. So here's my overall thought on the question you presented:

Another thing is that you seem ambitious about what your game will be able to actually do, as with the uniform colors or other tagless methods of players identifying each other. How much detail can characters show? Will there really be enough simulated detail that players can tell each other's avatars by facial features and smell? My immediate reaction is that that will quickly become unworkable with any particular scale, and players will either not be able to identify each other in any meaningful way or they will find some method of doing it despite your intended design limitation.

I'd just like to caution you about one thing, I guess. You seem to have a bit of a dictatorial attitude towards your game and its players, in the sense that it feels like you're saying "This is the game, play it. I don't want to hear about how it isn't fun-- if you're not having fun, f**k you." It's not that that's an unreasonable attitude in that people certainly don't have to play the game, but you have a lot of players here telling you that these mechanics don't sound all that fun. You haven't sold me on the design scheme as a whole, especially if it's aimed primarily at "realism" and not fun, as the thread title suggests. You know what won't be much fun? Slaving away at a game that has 40 players, ever, because the only relevant in-game activities are feeding yourself, checking your locks, and chasing down the ass that broke your locks and stole your food.


Well there will be a penalty for not eating, perhaps you are stranded in the mountains or the castle is under siege - you may stave to death. Also cold may be a factor - requiring you to eat more to keep warm.
So yes food will be less of a realistic requirement but then there will be penalties, I haven't worked everything out, things will need to be balance tested (yes for fun, and some realism may need to be toned down).

Much of my ideas that I'm keeping to myself are simply because I haven't seen them in any other games, and I feel they are awesome solutions. Once I have a beta out of coarse they will be revealed but I'd like to make sure I have the groundwork down before I reveal.

Yes it is a game for a certain audience, and it won't be for everyone, it is aimed at an R18 audience. Yes there will be many ways to identify people, but players may go invisible, teleport, use disguises or illusion spells. There will be ways to track each player inside of the game so that they won't have to resort to an outside means, perhaps some way of contacting gods or spirits who can provide the identity or location of perpetrator of crime. Perhaps it will be a small niche game afterall, the initial game will be made for a 200 or so people and maybe we won't need to develop it any further than that.

Many people here, I feel, are taking the eating a little to literally and perhaps not reading all my replies. Obviously fun is paramount and I would not compromise that with realism. I have previously stated I loathe repetitive tasks inherent in some popular mmo's today.

Thanks for everyone's input, I have gained much insite from your replies.

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