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Krypt0n

god games, what happened?

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firstly, I'm a programmer, not a designer, so if any opinion is slightly biased, you know why ;)


I was wondering why god games fail that much, especially financially. be it spore, viva pinata or black&white, somehow they all fail. I feel like it's a really awesome idea to simulate a world of thousand individual agents that all interact, From the gameplay point of view, it's probably not interesting to watch it (if you haven't programmed it), as there is not really a coupling of player to the crowd. if the crowd you simulate is too small, it lacks of the immersion that it's a living world, but if there are thousands of agents, how could you care about every individual one, how would you know what to change and who would be happy or sad, especially in the long or short term.


I feel like it's somehow missing a long time goal, and I don't mean something stupid like "90% of your ppl need to be happy to win" or "make them build a temple for you", that would be like an FPS where you say "kill 1000 enemies to win the game", it's maybe a nice time waste, but won't make it a game you'd want to play again.
look at minecraft, it's a block stacking game like severals before, yet it made the tech just a tool, you don't have to stack 100 gold to win, you have a tiny world with resources you can use to either survive or build something.
we could of course try to do something similar for the god game, survive the night or survive the winter, yet in minecraft, you make up your own plan, you know "_I_ will build a fort" and all the pieces of it.



I can imagin a god game where you simulate e.g. the British rail (or where you have even to build your own rail company and all tracks) and you need to make all the time tables, make back up plans in case something fails etc. but it's an optimization, you try to get the best out of some system, it's not a crowd simulation where you know you cannot make it perfect (there is always someone unhappy). and if you want to make it accessible, you end up with a simple rail road tycoon, which is rather casual (it's still fun!), not really a god game.
you need the individuality and chaos without streamlining it.

So far, I also feel like most of the games give you as a god just the obvious controls over phenomena (like weather). there should be more about it, some deeper impact nobody really notices. e.g. you might have to control 'luck', if you help some individual to not hit their head on the door frame, you might need to let someone stumble, if you make someone survive a lion attack, you might need to make 100ppl hit their heads on door frames etc.


I think with todays tablets, with touch input, it could be a really amazing experience to have such a game. I guess that's what B&W tried to simulate with the hand. you can just touch and move as you like, from your god view, you can draw where you want to have a rainy cloud, you can erase them, you can rise or lift terrain, you can "earthquake" the world as you shake your tablet, you can blow the wind (into the micro, some NDS games use the micro for input).


what's really missing, at least in my mind, is
- how to make it fun for anyone beside the programmer.
- what should you as a player be able to influence, how and in which way would you design it so everyone could realize long term impacts (e.g. if you make it always shine, you will run out of food in half a year).
- how would you start such a game, with one char you draw? with a tiny town? arleady with a massive count of agents so you won't care about every single one?
(- some side question: what perspective would you want? classical god-view?maybe being one of the humans? maybe swapping bodies?)

what are your ideas ? (comments are also very welcome)

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I think the main problem with god games is that you don't really have a human connection with the characters. They're these beings that you created and cannot connect with on an equal footing or in any kind of deep way.

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To me, God games are sandbox. Like a sandbox, you play until you uncover the mechanics, and then, there's really not much else to do. There may be objectives and whatnot, but as per wanting to be a God, its really about testing the limits of what you can and can't do and witness the consequences. Once that's achieved, meh.

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Human connection? I don't have that in Minecraft, tetris etc and these are still fun and successful games.

[quote name='Orymus3' timestamp='1344130711' post='4966228']
To me, God games are sandbox. Like a sandbox, you play until you uncover the mechanics, and then, there's really not much else to do. There may be objectives and whatnot, but as per wanting to be a God, its really about testing the limits of what you can and can't do and witness the consequences. Once that's achieved, meh.
[/quote]

Yeah, I think this is on the right track.

On this line of thought I can more or less see why spore "failed" (it could have been better). A good sandbox has a very fundamental set of rules that can never be compromised. It's hard to express this, but let's take minecraft as an example. There are blocks, you destroy them and you make them, with other things to keep you distracted and provide some challenge. It's simple but provides infinite possibilities. If there were, say, only specific places where you could dig and the caves were prefabs combined together to give some variation, it would definitely lose value as a sandbox.

Considering what Spore tried to achieve, following the evolution of a species from bacteria to macroscopic size that dominates the galaxy with their intelligence, it is very complicated to keep all that under one set of rules. In the end, the game is a sequence of minigames, some of them were fun and some weren't, and they felt disconnected.

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[quote name='DiegoFloor' timestamp='1344136474' post='4966248']
Human connection? I don't have that in Minecraft, tetris etc and these are still fun and successful games.
[/quote]

But those are games without any characters. So there is no expectation of an emotional connection.
In god games there are populations or even beings, and without a connection to them, the experience is remote and... by definition... disconnected.

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Agent behavior fails to be entertaining when it fails to be simultaneously surprising and meaningful. "Meaningful" is really hard to design AI for.

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[font=georgia,serif][font=times new roman,times,serif]I abosolutely LOVED Populous[/font] II[/font].[font=times new roman,times,serif] I am tempted to try and find a download for it.[/font] I tried to ensure the safety of my people, but sometimes I just wanted to flood/burn the cities.

[font=times new roman,times,serif]I also enjoyed Lords of Magic, not a god game no, but a game where you ruled a kingdom. Fantasy setting that could be close to being a god.[/font] Edited by Caldenfor

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[quote name='Krypt0n' timestamp='1344120277' post='4966202']
somehow they all fail
[/quote]

Are we forgetting The Sims? Arguably the exact definition of a 'god game' and also one of the biggest, best-selling series of games ever.

But to answer you, I think god games don't have lasting appeal, I always find myself getting board in Sim City and just destroying everything.

I think these games need an ending, The Sims doesn't actually end but each life does so it feels like you have a time limit. Without an end in sight, it's easy to lose focus on the game.

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The way I see it, it's like this:
"Ok, so now I've spent all this time painstakingly making this epic thing, now what?" and then the game is over because what you just created has no real practical use. It was fun to reach the goal, but the goal itself isn't useful. Once you fill up the entire map in Simcity 2000 with endgame city superscrapers, there's no challenge left to defeat.

I think a lot of God games suffer from this. They're great for players who like the submission of working towards a goal and then get some bragging rights. But I think most players want to reach that goal because it opens up something else. You can't do much interesting with a Minecraft fortress, but maybe Minecraft's success is because it sure is fun to build those things and it can take a lot of time doing it. But if you get bored, you just go on a Zombie safari and you're having a ball. Plus, you're still vulnerable. Edited by DrMadolite

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[quote name='DrMadolite' timestamp='1344187204' post='4966399']
The way I see it, it's like this:
"Ok, so now I've spent all this time painstakingly making this epic thing, now what?" and then the game is over because what you just created has no real practical use. It was fun to reach the goal, but the goal itself isn't useful. Once you fill up the entire map in Simcity 2000 with endgame city superscrapers, there's no challenge left to defeat.
[/quote]

So? I played a lot of Zeus, really, a lot, and I don't think it it any way "failed as a game" just because eventually I ran out of content to explore. Games aren't supposed to have an infinite shelf life, unless you're paying money for their indefinite development. Zeus is one of the few games I own that retired gracefully, without me snapping the CD in half totally irritated with the game.

There's nothing wrong with God Games as a genre. It's worth talking about what specific people do and don't like about specific god games. For instance I do think B&W was a failure. I think they polished the heck out of the first 2.5 levels that all the reviewers looked at. Got a huge hype about it, then the rest of the game afterwards was an incredibly boring poorly done RTS. The reviewers didn't really play the whole game, because they're lazy / pressed for schedule / delivering summary reviews as a product. The first 2 levels of B&W at least were really really good. If the whole game had been like that, it would have been a great game.

Spore, as has been commented, aimed high but ended up with character animation technology + a bunch of minigames. Ho hum. Game mechanically, nothing new brought to the table. Haven't played it myself, heard that review from too many sources to be motivated to try it. At least people weren't as easily taken in as the days of B&W!

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This reminds me of Dwarf Fortress. The thing is that, in order to have a connection with individuals, they need to be unique, and although Dwarf Fortress is very complicated, its characters were living. They each had their likes and dislikes. They also had stats, and things they were good at. A skilled chef whose frail but dislikes spiders is way more human than what we end up seeing today, and yet that only touches the surface. Moreover, it's fun to watch things grow, from a wannabe hero to the only hope left.

Also, in order to make the game continously interesting, I could recommend adding an entity of chaos. As with chaos theory, order is born out of chaos, but the more order, the more likely chaos will come. Eventually, the son will usurp the throne, or terrorists will wreck havoc on all, or a blob of darkness will become sentenient and bring on the reckoning. You will be there to teach the son kindness, repair the damage of terrorists, and make the darkness sentenient.

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Being god is creation, many of these games include creating very few have a point to the creation. Very few have objective based creation. Very few inspire the player to explore new types of creativity. What if Spore actually rewarded you for figuring out different new ways of altering the characters, vehicles, structures, planets? What if its huge collection of player created data could recognize variety and distinguish influences? Could direct a player towards styles and had a reason for exploring those styles? Would that design not be more fun? Aren't all games about challenging the mind with new perspectives, puzzles or luck?

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[quote name='Tom Sloper' timestamp='1344141002' post='4966262']
[quote name='DiegoFloor' timestamp='1344136474' post='4966248']
Human connection? I don't have that in Minecraft, tetris etc and these are still fun and successful games.
[/quote]

But those are games without any characters. So there is no expectation of an emotional connection.
In god games there are populations or even beings, and without a connection to them, the experience is remote and... by definition... disconnected.
[/quote]

Under that interpretation I agree with you. I was generalizing god games as sandbox games.

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I agree about the disconnection of players to the living world (I actually called it just 'coupling', which now seems to me like not the correct technical term)
how would someone change it?
-I guess you'd need to start your crowd by yourself, knowing maybe some key roles, so even if you'd have thousands of individuals, you could maybe be attached to those 'oldest' which might have particular roles? maybe those are the ones the individuals talk to if they want the god(s) to see something?
-maybe, although the individuals live on their own, the 'birth' or 'creation' of individuals needs the effort of all, and just one individual can be created at a time, with limited resources and the god has to schedule his abilities? e.g. technically skilled but unable to fight
-I have a feeling like you really need a fear to loose your crowd (or part of it) to feel attached. but I wonder how this could be added to the game without making it an RTS or random-death game

I'm not sure if understanding all the dynamics makes something boring. I know how to play shoot'em ups and it's still fun, I know how to program and it's fun. I think the frustration just arrives from the fact that some games are 'cheating' and once you understand that, it indeed crashes the magic and you're just in some action-reaction thinggy. I mean, tetris is also something very easy to understand and everyone would know what to do and as a game it's still quite complex and challenging (and it's also easy to make more exciting).
If the god game is a good sandbox where complex interaction can create outcomes you won't expect, I think it can be fun for a long time. minecraft somehow proofs this.


I also think spore somehow just ended up with a bunch of mini games, it's not bad to play through once, but it's not really making me feel like it's a god game, especially the beginning feels like just a flash game (like fl0w).

sunandshadow, I think 'meaningful' is even hard to define [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img]
I think the start would be not more than an ant farm, adding feature by feature and property by property to every part of the world.
yet I'm really not sure as for now how to plan it to make it meaningful. it's somehow like scribblenauts, you need a good set of basic rules and then you need to create an incredible amount of content. but in addition all that content needs to interact in that 'meaningful' way.

Rybo5001, not, I did not forget Sims, was thinking of it and somehow didn't feel like it's a god game. I've looked up at wikipedia, and it wasn't part of the 'god games list' (unless I missed it), it's rather a simulation game. it's more of the class of tamagochi. it's not about being god, but about handling someone's life. all the external influences that would make you watching a god game (at least in part 1) were just "hinted" e.g. you could get a job and leave to it and come back, but there was not a simulation of it, you got your $$$ per day of imaginary working. what you've really done all the time is to keep the sim satisfied to the needs.
I'm not really sure if adding those 'needs' to the crowd would make it a better god game, it could visualize in an easier way what's going on as a whole, but at the same time, why simulating so many individuals, if you handle them as one person anyway?


DrMadolite, I agree that sim city had no point of playing after a while, yet it was still fun to have the start and mid game, it makes me think it was some kind of god game. I could try to just use wind energy for the whole city, I could try to create the best education and see what happens. but sadly it had no long term results in what you've been doing, you rather tried to keep the annual budget. saving the nature and due to this not having those gross modern-world sicknesses would have been an interesting result, if this was really simulated (not just a hardcoded game element based on some treshold).


bvanevery, I also think the B&W game ended as a slim RTS, but those first two levels for game reviewers also just looked to me like artificially crafted as if they said "hey, it's boring, lets add some random tasks to keep the player busy", so you felt like you've the god power, but not the freedom, you've done what they told you to do, that's what disappointed me. in the game reviews before the release, the game was praised for real life simulated individuals with feelings and their own minds etc. and just this made me feel like trying it. but in the end, I've not noticed anything of what I was hoping for, it was, like you said, an RTS. populous was way better in those terms imo, although it also had similar flows (same game designer? [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/biggrin.png[/img])
a similar case with "Republic: The Revolution". it was in the make for ages and at the beginning it seemt to become really exciting, with a procedurally generated world etc. but it ended up somehow like a political GTA, not much of the sandbox was simulated.


Mratthew, creation seems to be like another exiting possible part, but I'm not sure if it really would make up a god game. I'd rather see the crowd that I'm god of, to create, than doing it myself, as that would maybe change the idea of god games completely. I mean, creating a sand castle at the beach and flooding it, is the fun I'd expect. but it's somehow different that watching an ant farm that would decide to build a castle or a temple for you as a praise.



@last 2 guys, sorry, I ran out of + for the day :/


[edit]somehow the layout was screwed after submitting my post, tried to fix it[/edit] Edited by Krypt0n

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I think the creation side of it is meant to be explored from the perspective of laying a branch across the puddle next to the ant hill and watching them use it (to battle the other ants clearly). Or adding a huge rock in the middle of the any pile and coming back a week later to see how they've built around it, if they started a new colony, etc.

The Sim City games were neat because you could create, they "failed" because as its been mentioned there were no objectives or post game rewards for your creation. We need to feel like our creations are worth something, recognized and reacted to. This is an aspect that is hard to capture in games but clearly is possible (spore's community).

My priorities for developing this kind of game would be.
-The game needs to be smart (AI worth watching) this requires a balance of entertaining art and loads of clean programming with tons of foresight so the player can feel creative and only be able to sense the invisible walls of the game without hitting them face first.
-The game needs a goal and a broad variety of objectives that allow the player to achieve that goal in their own fashion.
-The game needs community involvement to ensure a player gets feedback from the game and from peers, to help define their gameplay
-The game needs to be big but only once the player needs a bigger canvas, it should get epic and feel epic in the way it grows (another possible failure of spore since those moments of expansion were pretty quiet)

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[quote name='bvanevery' timestamp='1344221411' post='4966525']
So? I played a lot of Zeus, really, a lot, and I don't think it it any way "failed as a game" just because eventually I ran out of content to explore. Games aren't supposed to have an infinite shelf life, unless you're paying money for their indefinite development. Zeus is one of the few games I own that retired gracefully, without me snapping the CD in half totally irritated with the game.[/quote]

You're making two critical mistakes here: First off, you're judging a game's success on whether [i]you[/i] liked it or not, which is a big no-no. Gamers as a group aren't identical copies of any one individual. Sure, you may happen to share the typical opinion, but what if you're not? How do you tell the difference? You need to analyze actual sales and end user feedback that "boils to the top". Trends aren't defined by individuals, they converge from the whole body of individual differences in question. You can't just say that "I liked the game, therefore the game was great for everyone else as well". This is a all-too-common mistake people are making.

Secondly, your base your reply on the assumption that I was talking about all God games in the absolute sense, when I wasn't. Whenever someone is talking categorically, they're almost always talking about typicalities and not about absolute values. It's nonsensical to say that absolutely all games of a given genre are of a given nature.

====================

In order to successfully understand what makes a game great or not, you need to put yourself out of the equation. I love certain parts of Minecraft, but I think it's fundamentally flawed in certain other areas. And yet, it's incredibly successful. So that must mean that there's some difference between what I feel about the game and what a greater group of people feel about it collectively. Never forget that. Put yourself out of the equation, because most of the arguments people have about which games are great or not, boil down to personal opinion and subjectivity - and that's not a proper way to arrive at a practicable answer.

When you analyze a given game or genre of games, you do some deductive reasoning by means of factoring in possible reasons. It's almost never (if at all) the case that a single factor makes or breaks a game. But what I think Krypt0n is trying to do, is to ask for ideas on what the various factors might be and to what extent they factor in.

In my reply, I was mentioning something that has actually been measured by game analysts. The most important factor of game sales is (but this wasn't the point I made) simply whether the gamer is enjoying himself or not. But the second-most important factor (arguably, and this was the point I made) whether your actions have long-term meaning.

====================

If you get too much freedom to do whatever you wanna do, you're going to get it done so much quicker that it's inevitably going to reduce the shelf life of the game. And that's by no means irrelevant. Just because no games have infinite shelf life, doesn't mean that you shouldn't try your best to extend it. And if there's something that causes your game to die out too quickly, you better figure out what if you care about its success.

I would recommend you (or anyone) to check out Will Wright's various Youtube videos on possibility space and how it's important to know that limitations versus freedom isn't just a one-dimensional balance. It has multiple dimensions, by which I mean that some limits should be minute while others should be severe, and that the progress from limitation to freedom goes at a variable speed, depending on what type of freedom we're talking about.

In either case, there's nothing fundamentally wrong or right about God games, it's just an abstraction like any other. Whether it's interesting or not is completely dictated by the player type and the specific element of the individual game. What can miserably fail as a God mechanic in one game, can prevail powerfully in another.

Implementation is key. Edited by DrMadolite

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[quote name='Mratthew' timestamp='1344276596' post='4966737']
The Sim City games were neat because you could create, they "failed" because as its been mentioned there were no objectives or post game rewards for your creation.
[/quote]

I have no feeling that the original black and white SimCity which I played on the Macintosh "failed" at all. I built a city, I tried to optimize various aspects of it. I do remember being frustrated at the very limited traffic model. I couldn't rationally solve traffic problems by building bigger roads, because "a bigger road" would just cause cars to move in a circle on the road, instead of flowing in multiple lanes. Oh well, big deal, didn't stop me from enjoying the game. When I got tired of a city, usually because I thought something about it was sub-optimal, I'd destroy it with earthquakes, monster attacks, and air disasters. That was really fun, watching everyone die. AFAIAC it was a complete entertainment experience, and it certainly sold a lot of copies, so why does anyone have the right to pronounce the game some kind of "failure" ? It can disappoint some specific person's expectations, and some demographic may not like it, but clearly it was a commercial success, not a failure.

I have not played any of the SimCity games since then. Maybe having done the original SimCity to death, it failed in the sense of convincing me there's something more to do. Which might be relevant, but it also might be unfair. I know that EA's policy of not offering demos has also gotten in the way of me being interested. I could of course rectify that with temporary piracy, but I haven't been motivated. I don't perceive the SimCity games as offering me something I want to have, although I am mildly curious about what they did with SimCity Societies. The reviews said "not that much" so my expectations are low, but still, I prefer to evaluate such things firsthand.

To cut through some other stuff quickly:

[quote name='DrMadolite' timestamp='1344300768' post='4966866']
Secondly, your base your reply on the assumption that I was talking about all God games in the absolute sense, when I wasn't.
[/quote]

In a thread, people aren't limited to talking about what you specifically meant to focus on. This is a thread about God Games, after all.

[quote]
In order to successfully understand what makes a game great or not, you need to put yourself out of the equation.
[/quote]

It is worthwhile to do both, to evaluate more subjectively and more objectively.

[quote]
In either case, there's nothing fundamentally wrong or right about God games, it's just an abstraction like any other.
[/quote]

We agree here. Edited by bvanevery

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[quote name='Orymus3' timestamp='1344130711' post='4966228']
To me, God games are sandbox. Like a sandbox, you play until you uncover the mechanics, and then, there's really not much else to do. There may be objectives and whatnot, but as per wanting to be a God, its really about testing the limits of what you can and can't do and witness the consequences. Once that's achieved, meh.
[/quote]

I think this pretty much hits the nail on the head.

For me at least, I am very much an 'explorer'. I like to explore the mechanics, test the limits of what I can and cannot do. This has a fairly strong effect on how I approach these games.

Game goals which open up new abilities, areas and mechanics to explore, are appealing.
Challenges which can be solved by imaginative use of abilities and mechanics are appealing, as it makes the exploration feel worthwhile. This often occurs in games with a certain degree of emergent complexity.
Game goals which close off exploration (classic example - Victory conditions!) feel unattractive, and will tend to be put off until I feel I've explored everything I can in this
playthrough.
Loss conditions which close off exploration (e.g Game Over, or anything that removes your existing abilities) are avoided as long as possible.
If loss is inevitable, it must be [i]interesting, entertaining [/i]and/or [i]quick.[/i] Sitting around watching your world slowly decline into chaos, with no resources to actually *do* anything, is extremely boring.
Running out of things to explore is boring. Lots of content with lots of different interactions is appealing.
Being limited to a subset of the game's mechanics in any one playthrough can increase replayability. Done right, it can open up a whole new metagame to explore, in terms of designing 'builds' in which you seek to synergise the various abilities available in the game to create a highly optimized experience.

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[quote name='Krypt0n' timestamp='1344270086' post='4966705']
sunandshadow, I think 'meaningful' is even hard to define [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img]
I think the start would be not more than an ant farm, adding feature by feature and property by property to every part of the world.
yet I'm really not sure as for now how to plan it to make it meaningful. it's somehow like scribblenauts, you need a good set of basic rules and then you need to create an incredible amount of content. but in addition all that content needs to interact in that 'meaningful' way.
[/quote]
Well, perhaps we can get at the definition by saying meaningful agent behavior (or agent appearance change, etc.) is that which allows the player to extrapolate hidden data about the individual agent, or which theatrically illustrates data which the player has chosen or bred for in the individual agent. These data are the kinds of things we instinctively find interesting because of our urge to mentally model the desires and preferences of the other people and animals around us. (A city, or the different sections of a city, can be regarded as animal-like.) Sims only kinda halfway succeeds at this sort of thing, because there isn't that much individuating one sim from another, not that much data giving them individual preferences. But if you create a sim with maximum cleanliness and one with minimum cleanliness and leave them to act on their own, they will behave differently, and that behavior will successfully, and entertainingly, communicate to the player that one agent likes cleaning and the other hates it.

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[quote name='bvanevery' timestamp='1344345675' post='4967002']
In a thread, people aren't limited to talking about what you specifically meant to focus on. This is a thread about God Games, after all.[/quote]

I'm not talking about that, I'm talking about you assuming that I was talking about all God games and not just a batch of them. "I think [i][b]a lot of[/b][/i] God games suffer from this."

[quote name='bvanevery' timestamp='1344345675' post='4967002']
[quote]
In order to successfully understand what makes a game great or not, you need to put yourself out of the equation.
[/quote]

It is worthwhile to do both, to evaluate more subjectively and more objectively.
[/quote]

Not when you try to figure out how successful the game is (a posteriori) from a business perspective (objectively). Based on your personal opinion, you can say how successful it was to [i]you[/i], but not to someone else and, by extension, to a bigger group of people as a whole. Why do you think devs like Blizzard and especially Maxis (with The Sims) have all kinds of metrical programs running to see how players actually behave in WoW? It's because they want to clearly see the emerging trends. They don't waste time on hearing what individual people has to say about it. Some people are highly outspoken, but they're not necessarily any wiser than people who are less outspoken. That's why devs never consider individual opinions in forums, but rather the things that "boil to the top".

I think what you're talking about (to which I can agree), is when someone is trying to figure out if a game is [i]going[/i] to be successful or not (a priori) and you don't have the metrics to help you (because too few or, in the case of alpha, nobody's playing the game (of the consumers)). Making something that first and foremost appeals to [i]you[/i] and then evolve that by listening to feedback and trends. But that's only going to guarantee a hard core of players that have similar tastes as you ("build it, and they will come"), which is nonetheless important. But it won't guarantee the magnitude of the success and how it appeals to people that [i]don't[/i] have the same taste as you.

One example would be Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy. I'm sure that he wasn't very surprised to see his movies become moderately successful, but even he couldn't likely predict that they actually became much more than that - culminating into him winning 11 Oscars, for Return of the King. All he could do was to analyze the trends, which were at that time experiencing a large gap between the supply of great fantasy and the publics demand for it. He capitalized on that and behold, the time had finally come, both demand-wise and technology-wise, to fully realize the world's best-selling fantasy novels.

Another example: If you take an MMO like Age of Conan, the fans will tell you that it's hugely successful, even though it's technically not really the case (compared to other triple A MMOs). But it isn't a failure either, plus fans don't generally see as many flaws in their love child as professional critics or blatant haters do (the latter even making up flaws that don't exist).

Anyways, that was all there was to my point. One needs to differentiate between how you measure subjectively perceived success and objective success (which is essentially a product of X copies sold, how much invested (expenses) and (most confusingly) the given consumer context (expectations) - e.g. a 500k copy indie game is considered [i]more[/i] successful than a 1M copy AAA game). Edited by DrMadolite

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I was implying something much simpler about subjectivity and objectivity. That is, if you think you're being objective, you're lying to yourself. Hence, "more towards" being objective, even if the goal is unreachable. We should always be conscious of our inherent subjectivity.

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[quote name='DrMadolite' timestamp='1344300768' post='4966866']
In order to successfully understand what makes a game great or not, you need to put yourself out of the equation.
[/quote]
Although that's scientifically the correct way to go, starting this thread here was for the reason that it's not practical for game design.

If you'd want that a scientific analysis works out, you'd need to have objective definitions for 'fun', but it's not possible, that's why sometimes clones of successful games, although they try to capture all important parts, fail to be as fun as the originals. There have been many games trying to clone WoW, quite some block stacking games before minecraft and a lot of clones afterwards. A LOT of games try to be CoD etc. but they cannot achive what the originals achieved. Sometimes there are successors from the same publisher of successful games, which don't life up to the expectations based on the previous versions.
So, I think it's not wise to take you fully out of the equation. You want to create a game that is fun, this already implies your subjective opinion. I don't say it's impossible to create a game that you don't like, just for the job/money, and it's gonna be a success, but chances are way higher, if you like what you create.

So, I guess by "failure" I don't mean 'that game was completely bad', I probably need to call it "there were few people who appreciated it", this might have various reasons, maybe those games were frickin awesome and it just took too long to get into it, so most people who tried, stopped playing it before it was fun for them. Maybe...

That's why I try to get all your opinions, if I cannot dissect the god games scientifically, but I can try stochastic, if a lot of you guys share some opinion, it's rather the case, than an opinion that just one person has.


@Mratthew
you make me think, that all god games try to co-operate the god and its minions, but putting a rock in the way might be actually more fun. Maybe a god game where those minions are your enemies would be more fun, or actually, maybe you're just their enemy and they still praise you.

I also thought the last days, maybe it's not about good or bad, but maybe gods are needed (in the game) to actually make something happen. without them, everything would be the same every day. Gods might need to decide who should die, who born, when some food gets damanged by some bugs etc.
The idea would be, that all the emotions charge up souls, after they die, you can absorb the soul's energy to charge your power, and plant it into a new-born. the more energy you get, the more powerful you are, obviously. so you'd not try to defend your village or help or just randomly destroy something, you'd rather trigger wars between them, you'd shake the earth just so that all they have is destroyed, and you might rescue some long missed sailsman from the sea, creating a lot of happiness etc.
you ask yourself maybe "why not making war all the time", it's because, although it creates intense feelings which charge a lot of people, it destroys also a lot of bodies, and it takes a while until you find enough new babies to plant all those souls from the wars.
So the whole god game simulations might be about creating believably feeling beings.

do you guys think that might be worth a try? Edited by Krypt0n

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[quote name='Krypt0n' timestamp='1344515206' post='4967750']
So, I guess by "failure" I don't mean 'that game was completely bad', I probably need to call it "there were few people who appreciated it", this might have various reasons, maybe those games were frickin awesome and it just took too long to get into it, so most people who tried, stopped playing it before it was fun for them. Maybe...
[/quote]

I distinctly remember playing the Populous III demo and thinking the game had nice visuals with stone monuments, but was boring and pointless. If a game demo can't capture the audience's imagination, I see no reason to wait around for anything to get better. It shows a lack of attention and judgment on the part of the developers. If you're going to make a commercial game, you need to put your best foot forward, when someone is just trying out the game.

[quote]
do you guys think that might be worth a try?
[/quote]

It will always be your game, your vision, your effort to sustain. Doesn't matter what other people think, what matters is [i]you[/i] believe in it enough to see it through to the bitter end. There's nothing inherently wrong with your high concept, and whether it's any good or not will depend on how you actually do it.

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[quote name='sunandshadow' timestamp='1344143222' post='4966266']
Agent behavior fails to be entertaining when it fails to be simultaneously surprising and meaningful. "Meaningful" is really hard to design AI for.[/quote]

If I may be so bold, I think that also applies to "surprising", considering the fact that most AIs are extremely predictable against anyone with a certain strategic sense. Edited by DrMadolite

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In my opinion god games fail because the multiplayer is very limited (sharing creations etc. which would be good if the creations were functional like in a physics sim game)

Also the freedom feels limited to make it simpler or easier or run on slow computers.

Like in spore building the city is just to get you to space and only freedom you get is design the buildings (which doesnt affect their functionality =sux) In spore it felt like you just design the appereance of the stuff, not mechanics or such.

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