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SeaChaos

Anyone here interested in real time strategy games and game design theory?

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Hello, everyone.  I am new to this forum.  I am also new to game design.
 
I am interested in making a new real time strategy game.  Something like starcraft, Leagues, etc....all mixed up together.
 
I have very different theories on game design that I believe might have some promise.  
 
At this stage, I'm just looking for someone (or people) to discuss the theory behind game design and real time strategy games.  
Specifically, I'm looking for theoretical discussions that are pretty detailed (so might be boring for some people). Edited by Tom Sloper
Deleted request for private messages

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I'm just looking for someone (or people) to discuss the theory behind game design and real time strategy games.  
Specifically, I'm looking for theoretical discussions that are pretty detailed (so might be boring for some people).


Start the discussion already.

BTW, I deleted your request to take the discussion offline. We aren't a place where people come to get people to hold discussions offline. We're
a place to hold discussions. So Talk to us about your theories, and don't worry about boring anybody.

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Yup - this is a community where you have several people who each have a few thoughts about RTSes, most of which aren't so extremely interested in RTSes that they would want to contact you privately.  So if you want to harvest all of those thoughts it requires a public discussion.

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Hi, Tom,

 

Sorry if I offended.  I just had a few reasons to keep the discussion private but I don't mind starting off publicly, especially since I'm new around here.

 

To everyone else,

 

Hi all.

 

Let me start with a question that I've been trying to solve for a while.

 

Why does a person's interest in something disappear after some time has passed.  For example, since I was a little kid, I used to watch cartoons all the time.  All different type of cartoons.  Tom and Jerry, Smurfs, transformers, etc.  I would watch these even throughout till college years for hours.  The cartoons didn't even have to be complicated.  For example, I would watch Tom&Jerry over and over again.  Sometimes even the same episode day after day.

 

So, this is the reason why I don't think a game has to present a new challenge for it to be fun.  People will play the same thing over and over again.

 

But after graduation, you work and for some reason, something is broken.  You stop watching it for a few years and when you come back to it, it doesn't have the same hold.  The spell is broken.  It's completely boring now.  I'd sit down to watch if I happen to have free time and I would have to get up because it bore me too much.  Now, I would need something else to waste hours of my time now.

 

So why did the spell break?

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Children have much much higher tolerance for repetition than teenagers and adults.  Your brain actually changes as you age - and it doesn't change just once, but at least three significant changes at different ages.  People over 20 (well, it varies by a few years between individuals) have an increasingly difficult time finding anything that is unfamiliar enough to trigger that learning-pleasure that children get from lots of things.

Edited by sunandshadow

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+1 to the brain changes!  

 

Also, I think how much money and free time you have contributes to the change. I remember in high school and college, I had plenty of time and not enough money, so I'd replay games like Starcraft and Warcraft 3, finishing their campaigns multiple times (in addition to all the time playing multiplayer). I'd play stuff like knights of the old republic twice, so I could experience the game from beginning to end as a good character and as an evil one.

 

Now, I've got a steam library full of games I've been meaning to play and no time to play them. I love to try out new indie games, seeking out new and interesting systems, and just don't have time for a game that expects me to sink hours into a game before it finally gets interesting.

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Sun,

 

I didn't know that about children (the higher tolerance for repitition).  Sounds interesting.  If you have any links to info, please post.

 

That might be it but I don't feel that is the reason.  

 

My theory is that the brain doesn't remember the pleasure it derived from the cartoons.  Habits were formed (crystallized intelligence) that reinforced the slight enjoyment coming from the cartoons.  A cycle was formed that was hard to break.

 

But after taking time off, the brain doesn't remember the character's story and motivations so just watching it after several years doesn't bring enjoyment right away.  It takes time to get into the cartoon just like it takes time to get into games.

 

Similarly, I couldn't get into Candy Crush but after giving it a serious try, I got hooked for a bit.  But after taking a long respite, the spell was broken.  But I'm guessing that if I started playing an entire day of it, I might have got into it again.

 

But what's interesting is that Candy Crush is an old game.  Yet it still captivates.

 

So I wonder if new challenges are really required for games.  If it's a fundamental requirement.  I don't think so.  I wonder if there is a distinction between "knowledge" challenge and "skill" challenge.

 

 

I don't know if I agree with the fact that people over 20 find it increasingly difficult to find things unfamiliar enough to trigger that learning-pleasure.  I think I find pleasure in learning just as much as I did before.  I think the difference is that as you get older, you find so many more fun things that you never knew about when you were younger.

Edited by SeaChaos

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There is a very base part of the human mind at work here. Imagine that instead of a game or cartoon, the object of desire is a love interest. The first time you meet this new person, there is a feeling of curiosity, an innate attraction, and you want to learn more. Very soon, the two of you are talking and things are heating up. You go on a few dates. It's looking good--maybe you even slept together a few times. Then something comes up. Maybe they move, or one of you loses interest, or one of you finds a new partner. Whatever.

A few months pass and you see this person again. Are you still attracted? Maybe, but it doesn't matter because by now the attraction is stale.

The main thing at work here is the simple fact that, if it didn't work the first time, it's not worth going at it a second time. There are obviously exceptions, but with so many options out there it simply isn't worth giving a thing that faded out of your life another go around. There are other, fresher things. Things that will excite that newness we all crave.

There are probably millions of hours of entertainment available to us in the modern era. Even if one limits their entertainment choices to movies and television, one could not in their entire lifetime experience all the movies and TV shows available and still keep up with the new ones.

 

That being said, how does this apply to your particular train of thought with regards to game design?

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Well, a lot of it is up to nostalgia....

 

You didn't play a game / watch a cartoon for several years. If that game/cartoon was something very special to you years back, your brain has a habit to make it something bigger than life every time you remember it.

 

Basically the way the brain works is that we forget the bad stuff quicker than the good stuff... its why old people fondly remember the past, even if, when you have a factual chronic of that time that actually is the truth, that past was pretty shitty... the brain does no longer remember the shitty part (unless the person reads about it, and so memories long buried float to the top again), so the past the person remembers is not quite far from the truth.

It is a very good mechanism for humans to both cope with big losses and painful memories, and how humans can forgive even the worst deeds given enough time. As they say, time heals all wounds.

 

 

Additionally, as SunAndShadow said, things tend to look bigger and more awesome the younger you are. Your first action movie is like a drug, if you are into that. Your first horror movie scares the living hell out of you. Your first love story will make you faint (again, if you are into that).

Somewhen after 30, when you have watched all the horror movies that have ever been made, a new extra-scary horror movie only gives you mild chills. That new bigger and better action movie is actually quite meh!... You start to get bored by the always-the-same-ish love stories.

You have seen all, done all. Your brain now needs higher doses of the same to get the same kick. Additionally, you see the world with different eyes, not only because your brain has changed. You are taller now, that big car no longer looks that big. You know how those incredible effects in action movies are made, it does no longer look so real even if the effects are ten times better in reality by now.

 

 

So, even if your memories of the past were any accurate, being some years older and seeing the world with different eyes, the same cartoon / game can no longer excite just like it did years back. Maybe you have seen better cartoons / games in the meantime. Maybe that story that sounded awesome back then now looks slightly cheesy to you given you know more about the world by now. Maybe you started to ask new questions in the meantime, like "how is that even possible in RL physics?!?".

 

But now your memories are hardly ever accurate. The brain has a habit to treat information differently, banishing some memories to the subconciousness, twisting some that remain concious, filtering out some information that does not even get stored in the short time memory. Or does not get transferred into the longterm one.

Memories can never really be trusted... a brain is no computer, and even if the truth is stored somewhere in it, access to it is not guaranteed. Which is what many parts of psychology are mainly trying to do, accessing what is buried in the subconciousness.

 

In short, with every year that passes, that cartoon / game you played / watched so long ago looks bigger and better in your memories.

 

 

Now, you can imagine the result: If you were ever to play the same game / watch the same movie again, the first result is a big MEEEEEHHH!

Its just not the same. You had the best cartoon / game ever in your mind. Yet to your older brain, that old stuff looks extremly cheesy. You no longer are naive enough to not see how the plot fails to make any sense after minute 12... or how badly animated those thugs in the background are. Or how there is no explanation as to why everyone in town defies the laws of physics. Or how pixelated everything is (this is EXTREMLY pronouncated. I dare you to watch a non-HD movie once your accustomed to HD ones, or play an old 16-bit game once you no longer are used to pixely graphics). Or how utterly bad the analog outputs of old consoles and VHS Players were (HDMI cables are a godsend, if you ask me).

 

It will take some willing effort from you to force yourself back into the mood you were in all those years back... or at least try to forget how non-pixely modern stuff looks, and so on. Then, you can once again admire the old stuff for what it is: A very good thing for its time. A diamond with a little bit jaggier edges than modern stuff.

Or maybe you notice, no, even with all the effort to try to see the game / cartoon with the eyes of your past self, you can no longer enjoy this. Its crap now that you know better, even if you see through the technical inferiority and simpler presentation.

 

That would then be that your tastes have changed. Its normal. Some thing stay with you your whole life, and if you return to it, after a short while you feel like the youngster again that played / watched it for the first time.

Some thing you grow out of... that might happen even at an old age.

Edited by Gian-Reto

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