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Why Are Games Nearly Always The Same Ole Thing?

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by GarBenjamin, Feb 2, 2015.

  1. khanstruct

    khanstruct

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    Okay, I didn't read all of the replies, so forgive me if I repeat something.

    First, yes, it's a matter of risk. Not because the evil developers just want to gold plate their toilet (or whatever it is they do with that money), but because the cost to develop games has gone WAY up since those days. Sure, we have a lot of new tools now, but a game used to be made by 1 guy. He designed it, made the "music", programmed it, hell, half the time he even built the damn cartridge himself.

    To make todays games, it costs hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars. That is a whole lot of money to "try something new".

    Second, there were like... 5 games. Okay, not 5, but not many. Pre-E.T. was known as "the Golden Age of video games". It didn't matter what those companies made, we'd buy it. Space Invaders? LOVE IT! TAKE MY QUARTERS! Defender? F**KIN AWESOME, I didn't wanna eat this week anyway!

    It was this phenomenon, in fact, that lead to the craptastic pile that was E.T. And suddenly, the people stopped and, as if waking from a dream, said, "What the hell are we doing? ...Where am I? Did I pay for this crap?" And video games were not heard from again until the NES.

    Lastly, I think you're grossly underestimating today's games (or you have delusions about the games of yesteryear). What did you do in those old games? Swing over a pit? Maneuver a frog across the street? Move a circle around a single-screen maze? In any given game, there wasn't really a lot to do. There wasn't actually much gameplay at all. If you compare 80s video games with today's, I think you'll find that newer games actually do offer a TON more content and interaction.

    And, as a fun side note, when Pong was originally invented (in the 60s), they weren't really thinking anything at all. It was a couple of programmers working in a missile silo during the cold war. They were on "high alert" but not doing anything... for months. In their boredom, they reprogrammed one of the computer displays to pulse back and forth, and respond to basic input. Granted, that's not the "official" birth of Pong, but that is where it's roots are firmly planted.
     
  2. Ryiah

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    How good were those games though? Yes, we bought them but we often lacked any real alternatives. Some of the higher quality games, still mentioned from time to time and have their music, along with remixes, plastered on YouTube were not developed solely by one individual.

    Or do you not remember chiptune musicians such as Tim Follin, Martin Galway, Chris Hülsbeck, and Rob Hubbard?
     
  3. khanstruct

    khanstruct

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    I agree, and, as I said, most of those games didn't actually have a lot to offer, but that depends on how far back we're talking. Once we got further in, the games did require small teams (and began to cost more... but not much). But again, there wasn't much out there, so the companies knew we'd buy them. It was safe to innovate.
     
  4. Billy4184

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    @kahnstruct Of course these days games are bigger and have a whole lot more content, but really what do they teach us about anything new? I'm not bashing any game simply for not imparting some kind of knowledge, and I do enjoy realism for realism's sake, but what I find most depressing is how virtually all games so obviously take us backward to more primitive times, to do primitive things. You could take virtually any sci-fi war game and make an authentic Middle Ages war game just by changing the props. The characters are the same, their behaviours are the same, even the weapons of war are the same (blunt, loud and causing a lot of collateral damage). Heck, its ridiculous that bullets in sci-fi games are more busy and slow than real bullets were a hundred years ago. They even managed to work a bow and arrow into the Crysis games. What does that have to do with the reality of war in the 21st century and beyond? Assassin's Creed entertains a little bit of a futuristic plot only long enough to give the player an excuse for going back in time and engaging in primitive activities which is the main selling point of the game. Call of Duty singleplayer plays like the dream of an obsessional neurotic, vast structures are always noisily collapsing all around you and you seem to be always one step ahead of being swallowed by an all consuming destruction. Game plots and movie plots are more bombastic, unrealistic, noisy and content-free than they've ever been in history. At least a few games like Deus Ex take a stab at what the future will be like but there is always the need to keep things appealing and simple by adding unrealistic elements.

    The reality is that the tide of technology and knowledge in the short space of the 20th century has left us exhausted and afraid, and when we're afraid, the only fantasies we feel like entertaining are the primitive, simple, safe ones of our silly past. Thats why games are not moving forward, because we're afraid to move forward.
     
  5. RJ-MacReady

    RJ-MacReady

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    Nah I don't think innovation really means anything. When I was playing Minecraft arguably the most popular game ever one thing that I kept noticing was how generic everything was. When you look at the bed its that same red blanket wooden post bed from every RPG you've ever played. Everything was just repetitious and everything was just bland and everything was exactly as you would expect it to be. Notch has like no imagination whatsoever. The most interesting enemy in the game was actually a mistake.

    I'm going to jump around a bit here so yeah.

    I listen to many years of Final Fantasy music. Then I went and listened to two hours and hours and hours of classical music, and I noticed that if you listen to enough classical music you will hear phrases from pretty much every Final Fantasy song ever. This means the most beautiful heart felt music of our generation that we all grew up listening to is nothing more than a rehash of old music that was written hundreds of years ago.

    Back to Minecraft does anything unexpected ever really happen? No not really. In fact everything happened exactly as you would expect it to happen. And in a lot of ways, that is the magic that the game holds it is almost like real life viewed through the prism of cubes. If people say that there needs to be innovation well I would argue what are you smoking?

    Want to find someplace for somebody did something totally new and unexpected? Go look in the rubbish bin at your local record store or go check the clearance aisle at Walmart. Let's face it we're just simple creatures.

    Our hormones tell us to eat if there's food available this is based on scientific research on the subject, if there's food available a lot of food available humans will eat more. Even when we're not hungry will still eat a little more if there's a lot of food available. We people on here are quite capable of writing 5 to 7 paragraphs without any spelling or grammatical errors, we are not the normal people of the world. We are probably just the first stages of the evolution that going to be occurring , throughout history we might not even have replicated because we would have considered whether or not reproducing was a good idea. It only makes sense that we're having difficulty understanding the behavior patterns of a world full of people who just don't think about it all that much.

    We're just going to have to start trying to understand the more basic elements of human nature and not look at everybody with contempt. I tried to dumb myself down and live among them for a long time, but ultimately it just ends up feeling like a lie. I think all of us smart people need to just recognize that were different and just be okay with it.

    The only problem comes when you have to try to be enthusiastic about something that in reality is actually not that novel or interesting. Or perhaps take that really simple game that's been rehashed a million times and try to make it in a way that would be interesting to you or at least try to do it to a level that nobody's done it before.

    You may be smarter than everybody else but unless you can find some part of this world that you actually enjoy enough to do it every single day until you're the best at it... It's not really worth living and it's not worth making games either.
     
  6. Tomnnn

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    A game is a series of interesting choices. With that lame definition they give you at colleges, I'm surprised by the diversity of games we do have. Technology is evolving so that's one justification for games being similar. Hopefully when the difference between a computer build in 20xx and a computer built in 20xy is minimal, games will innovate more.

    I've also learned from my professor with experience in the field that big games are afraid to innovate and would rather secure their cashflow by catering to the existing fanbase. Read about where Portal came from, and you'll see the amusing truth about where innovation comes from.

    In short, small indies make an interesting idea and a demo to show off the functionality. If it's popular, the IP is purchased and then redone with a AAA budget and publisher.
     
  7. RockoDyne

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    So does this basically summarize most people's complaints at the moment?
     
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  8. GarBenjamin

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    Thanks for posting that. Yes, that is how I see modern games. Spot on. The only thing that seems to be focused on is making the graphics higher resolution, the textures more varied, the textures themselves to have a different look to fit the locale for this specific game and so forth. And I agree with him about this happening even years ago on the NES. I still think there was more originality overall but eventually as it became such a big business thing companies just pumped out the same things over and over with the emphasis on the graphics.

    Maybe that is why I see this stuff and think the way I do. I have been an avid gamer for a long long time now. When I think of games from the past they are probably not the same as what other people think of. In the arcades I played hundreds of different games. On my C64 and Amiga I played thousands of different games. Commercial games and PD games. I was always trying out a new game. And maybe why such "generic" games can be so popular still is because this whole casual gaming market for example consists of people who were not avid gamers.

    But I see it very much. I see it in AAA. I see it in Indy titles. Ironically, I have found some of the most diverse game experiences are found in games on sites such as Kongregate. Sure there are a lot of games that are obviously trying to model a AAA game for the millionth time <yawn> but there are also all kinds of unique games.

    As for the presentation, there comes at point where it is hard for it to make a difference. I appreciate an excellent looking game. But honestly I don't see much different today than what I was playing decades ago.

    Here are some examples... keep in mind I was playing these games on my Amiga computer 20 to 25 years ago.





    This is an example of a game with much greater interaction and depth than most I see these days:




    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGcgsO_RCLs

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B52Pco2rrVU

    So, that should give people some insight into where I am coming from and maybe why I seem to view retro games differently than many folks around here do.
     
  9. Billy4184

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    I must say I'm not in agreement with the widespread idea that games are a series of interesting choices. I rarely see a game that gives any real choice. Very few games if any allow real 'exploration' of gameplay mechanics and behaviours (not just endless flora and fauna) that the game was not specifically designed for without boredom threatening to break the player's suspension of disbelief.

    The only way choices are commonly implemented in game design seems to be different 'choices' on how to reach the same old climax. Like using shotgun or rifle, lightning bolt 1 or lightning bolt 2, the theme and the result is the same. And if you didn't give the same satisfying result that successful games have delivered for ever, the choices suddenly don't give pleasure anymore and your game will flop. Seems to me that IAPs work extremely well when it doesn't even matter which one you pick and they don't have any real specific advantages, you can be comfortable knowing you're not really making a choice, just like voting in a democracy.

    I've started to get a real liking for abstract games because removing the game from the context of this reality allows it to have the possibility of being something more, but unfortunately, ultimately a game has to reference something real for any player to be able to connect with it and that is where we always end up going to the same old bin of successful ideas.
     
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  10. Kiwasi

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    You are spot on here. The interesting choices definition was coined for the Civ series. It makes sense for Civ, and helped the developers pull out everything not related to this core theme. People have jumped on it as one of the pithiest statements from a successful developer describing what a game is, but it really only applies to a narrow subset of turn based strategy games.

    This definition is useless in the context of the average FPS. Or any game that involves real time playing, rather then simply directing game play. In general an FPS appeals to the more baser side of human nature, allowing us to kill and destroy, without doing real harm to society around us.
     
  11. Billy4184

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    Funny that you should mention Civ, I was reading a Gamasutra article only a few days ago that contained some interesting quotes from Sid Meier's GDC presentation, such as:

    "In the real world you don't always win, however in the world of games, you always win"

    "...Players are very much inclined to accept anything you give them and gladly feel it was their own incredible play or strategy. ... You want the player to feel like they're above average."

    "You almost cannot reward the player enough" in the first 15 minutes of a game

    "Any kind of randomness needs to be treated with a lot of care. Whenever something random happens to the player, paranoia sets in. ... The player feels like the computer rolled that random number just to be difficult."

    "You cannot reward and reflect progress too much in a game,"

    The Gamasutra article goes on to say:

    "While real civilizations rise and fall throughout the course of history, injecting that realism into a game like Civilization would be a mistake, although it was considered by Meier at one point. Players don't want peaks and valleys, they want constant progress -- that's what the Civilization franchise is about."

    And:

    "Basically if you play Civilization, you are an egomaniac," Meier joked.


    I haven't played Civ (I'm by no means a hardcore gamer btw) but I would wager that every 'choice' leads to a consistent ego-inflating reward and very little is left to chancy exploration.
     
  12. RockoDyne

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    You sure you haven't potentially confused depth of interactivity with being cryptic as S***? Just look at the second to last level which seems to require you to cause an iron ball to get across a pit by knocking the leg off a table, pushing the table toward the gap, then breaking the chain the ball is on causing it to roll and make the jump. Then there is lighting and setting up a furnace, knocking the ball into the furnace, having the molten runoff melt an ice block that has to be jumped on when partially melted to reach a switch to open a door to reach the exit. That's just skimming over about ten steps and that's not even half of it.

    Everything else you posted just looks generic as hell, just textbook examples of a genre that was trendy at the time. I don't even see gimmicks or anything mechanically special about them, so there is no way to distinguish them from a whole host of other titles in their genre except by their paint. At which point, we've come full circle as I've now applied your argument about modern games, to games about as old as I am.
     
  13. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    That is why I posted these. Yes it is full circle. I see games today that are virtually no different than these games. Even in presentation there is not much difference. Obviously, 2D to 3D. But that is because I didn't post 3D games. I did not mean to imply these games are all deep stuff. I meant this kind of stuff, the same stuff as I see being released now (2D wise) I was playing 2 decades ago. Even presentation wise it was not much different. Beast 3 can seem cryptic. Lol It takes exploration and adventure and experimentation. That is the game. But to that end it also supports a good amount of interaction.

    Even the little animated clips and such were already in games back then. That ia what I am showing. Just how little things have actually changed. Maybe it is just something that some people can see and some don't.
     
  14. RJ-MacReady

    RJ-MacReady

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    If somebody made a near-clone of an old game I really liked, with cooler graphics and some new flavor... I would play it.

    I don't care about new ideas, if I'm honest.

    I just wish somebody would make the next Minecraft. Although, judging by the negative attitude toward making things like that, it won't be any one in this community.
     
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  15. Kiwasi

    Kiwasi

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    I think you are misreading the community. It's not don't make mine craft. It's don't make a massive ambitious project on your own as your first game. There is plenty of support for how to build a voxel engine in Unity. You just have to have solid technical skills before you start a project of that magnitude.
     
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  16. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    Couldn't disagree more strongly.

    IMHO you're wrong because every game is a series of interesting choices. You say that the average FPS would just appeal to the baser side of human nature? It's clear you don't understand what you're actually playing, but might just be playing it (if you do at all).

    For example, some interesting FPS choices:

    1. do I go for the health or the ammo?
    2. what weapon do I use for this scenario? shotgun close up? or maybe I'll find cover and sniper?
    3. I'm low on health. Do I go all out and intimidate, or do I act cautious?
    4. Do I kill the weak minions first and kite the badass or do I kill the badass and hope the minions don't get me in the meantime?
    5. which skills do I pick? loadout?
    6. What class?

    And so on. That's just scratching the surface of an average FPS. Even doom had similar interesting choices. If you just run around shooting, you're not actually realising all the interesting choices you are actually making. And an FPS done by a person who doesn't understand that interesting choices are so important or relevant doesn't really have a hope of making an interesting FPS or one that's any good, just a shallow experience that grows boring really quickly.
     
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  17. RJ-MacReady

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    I have watched many hours of Halo 2 matches, listened to the players conversing... listened to their complaining, etc.

    One guy, particularly good player, said he wins because he knows what they're going to do. Knows how they think. They always go to check to see if a power weapon has spawned, if not they look for easy kills off a balcony, then they come around the corner, and he's there with a battle rifle aimed at their head.

    Good point.
     
  18. Ryiah

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    That quote is pretty much why I only play Civilization with other players. The game itself offers little challenge that isn't simply "I made a mistake this turn" or "whoops, I hit end turn before I was ready".

    This is where games like Dwarf Fortress really interest me. I can keep playing because I know that the challenges I had in one fortress won't necessarily be the exact same challenges in my next.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2015
  19. Billy4184

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    I see what you're saying but in how many games would the choice really MATTER? Because the player is in a high state of suggestibility during play, it is easy for them to come up with reasons why their choices were the best, when in reality the outcome would have been just as sure and just as rewarding has they done any of the other things. Games are always afraid to make choices matter, because anything that interrupts the continuous flow of reward is a real threat of making the player quit and find something more rewarding. IMO (and in general only) only stealth FPS games come close to having choices really matter, and they are always fighting to stay competitive to games like CoD because of the potential for failure on the part of the player.

    I've rarely found a shooting game where you couldn't just march in and blast away if your reflexes and accuracy were good enough. Sure you can study enemies and develop complicated strategies but there is almost always the option of blasting away. And as soon as you realise that, all your attempts to outsmart the game are devalued.

    And I agree with @BoredMormon that the real reward is engaging in the baser instincts (not that I don't participate every now and then). Many times, story and the illusion of choice are there only for, respectively, moral clarity and a sense of entitlement to reward. They are inhibitions to enjoyment that game developers must remove and they do so very well.

    Anyway, I don't mean to bash all games or get negative about things, and IMO all learning is done through the instincts which are controlled by simple stimulus. But the difference between a good and bad game for me is when after everything has calmed down, something about the world otr the story or the characters or (very rarely) the mechanics stays in my head and makes me think about what it would mean if it were really true.
     
  20. RJ-MacReady

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    You are uper generalizing based on probably a few games, but those games aren't even named.

    Regardless, if choices "matter" isn't a story issue. You're confusing matters.

    If there are no choices, it's not really a game. If there are only two choices, like win or do not win... well, that's not sounding fun to me.

    I've been involved in this discussion before and I have to say, choices matter, the more and more interesting each choice is, the better the game.
     
  21. RockoDyne

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    Adventure games had plenty of interaction, but I've never ran into anyone who was in need of an item rubbing fix. It's one thing to be giving the player ample options to solve a problem, but it's another to look at level design as building a literal Chekhov's armory for the sake of a single-solution puzzle. I suppose this is mostly taste, although I would imagine most people would rather have several solutions that are easy to figure out, but some may require different skill sets, than have one solution that's hard or ludicrous to solve, but easy to execute.
     
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  22. Billy4184

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    Yes I am generalizing, and it's my experience only that I can talk about. I certainly agree with your last sentence. The problem is that there are always cushions under cushions under cushions that prevent failures from having any effect. For example, I'm a stealth genre fan, and something that I can't get over is how guards can literally see you, start shooting at you, and then you hide and they go back to blabbering and smoking as if nothing had happened. That is totally unrealistic. If you're in the enemy compound and the alert is raised once, in real life you would either GTFO as fast as you can (unlikely) or just sit back and wait till you were found, because no one would stop looking until you were.

    One of the most memorable moments in my gaming experience was when in a Splinter Cell game, you're saying goodbye to this woman operative you've spent considerable time doing sneaky stuff with as she steps into a lift and, as the door closes, your boss starts yelling in your ear that she's a double agent and you have to kill her. Although it ultimately didn't affect the gameplay, it at least totally changed the atmosphere of the game, making you unsure whether to distrust your boss or distrust her. You start wondering who is right and who is wrong, whether you would have done it in real life, etc.

    Edit: not sure where you got the bit about confusing choices with story. All I said is that the story is often there to remove inhibition by contrasting this morally (e.g., you good, them bad)

    Edit2: Regarding your previous comment about Halo matches, it is always MUCH easier for developers to open things up a bit when it is multiplayer or highly community oriented, since people can vent, discuss things, get encouragement/feedback or even criticism that makes them try again when they otherwise would have just quit.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2015
  23. RJ-MacReady

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    I'm really big on inference.

    Context of your post it seems like you know you're really interested in how the story makes those choices matter or the implications of the choices you make in a broader sense so sounds to me like you're the guy who thinks choices don't matter because there's really no further story value to make any choices you make. You know it doesn't really affect the outcome of the game story, so who cares whether you choose the ammo crate for the body armor.

    And you know when your next post you say something from Splinter Cell you know something with some chick in an elevator really affected you. I don't think that's really the issue when it comes to the interesting choices. So that's why I think you're confusing it is you're saying if its not intriguing in a storytelling way then it's not interesting or doesn't matter.

    Just for example I make no very linear shooting game right now those sort of like an experiment and I have to tell you that because all you can do is move and shoot it on it is really off of the player very many choices and I'm starting to think that's why it's just kind of boring and I don't have very much fun playing it.

    I used to be a big proponent of really simple gameplay but anymore I think the more you can offer the player in terms of choices the better but I don't think that the story is even a part of that nothing I'm saying that's what you're saying I just don't think the story the part of it.
     
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  24. Billy4184

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    I'm hope I got the gist of your last post so let me first restate what I mean about choices mattering. IMO choices can matter by:

    > Affecting the emotional impact of the game, medium-long term

    > Affecting the gameplay itself, medium-long term

    > Affecting your knowledge about something real

    In regards to the first, games have a unique opportunity to make players partake in a story that teaches us something real or conceptual about society, other people or ourselves. But to teach us, the story must have consequences that are not smoothed over immediately. That Splinter Cell scene was one of the very few times where moral ambiguity was introduced on purpose (in my gaming experience). In fact, Sid Meier spoke about this in the article I linked to above, that one of the most important things is to remove any doubt that the other side deserve what you're about to do to them. So that's why it was memorable to me.

    Regarding the second, take the example I mentioned in a post above. In real life, if you're in an enemy base and you're seen, guards won't forget, and you likely either run, fight, die or get captured (not hide again). So the point is, you try to outsmart the game, you fail, and immediately the game tries to get you back in the reward flow by doing something unrealistic. Shows how easily a game can fail if it breaks the reward cycle, even if it is to do something obviously realistic, let alone something that the player doesn't quite fully grasp.

    Third, games can teach us something about reality, for example in an FPS it can teach us about what life is like on the battleground. But games rarely even do this, because in reality (and since the GoPro fad seems to have spread into the military you can find some examples on youtube) a battle is usually either over before it has begun, or else pretty boring until an airstrike or something is called. So what you end up with is the ability to dance all over the place with endless energy, no gravity issues with the weight of all your ammo, the ability to take out people with a rifle at a ratio of 1:20+ etc.

    What I mean to get at is that games have to GUARANTEE reward and success so they must be doctored at every turn, and rewards set out for everything, that it is no surprise that they cannot seem to get away from the formula they've used for decades. Hell, its hard enough even going 20sec without an explosion and not losing half the players with ADD to something more flashy and satisfying.
     
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  25. khanstruct

    khanstruct

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    This is one I agree with wholeheartedly. Few games have made me feel like I was taken to another world quite like Flashback did. Such a great story and mood.
     
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  26. RJ-MacReady

    RJ-MacReady

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    Bring it to our generation!
     
  27. RJ-MacReady

    RJ-MacReady

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    Oh, don't be such a grandpa! :p

    Explosions are awesome.

    Only every 20 seconds?
     
  28. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    Very true. I think that is what this discussion is showing more than anything else really. Probably each of us participating represent some group of people. Some of us representing a silent majority and others a silent minority.

    I don't like cryptic puzzles either. The kinds of things that are trial and error continually to inch forward in progress. I would, however, like to see games provide more than they currently do.

    Going back to that "series of interesting choices" I think that basically defines what I am looking for. And the way to provide those is not through a focus on presentation quality. That could help the player to identify which options are available. The interesting choices are play mechanics. Interactions.

    I still enjoy playing simple games a lot. Whether retro or modern day. I just think we should be seeing more games out there with more to do. Like that video showed... why should every major FPS game be basically the same game over and over with slightly different graphics, the same basic objectives, the same means of accomplishing them.

    When I walk around and see a jeep why can't I check it for keys? Or hot wire it? Or open the hood and take the battery? This is just one very simple case just to illustrate what I mean. Basically that military jeep may as well be a rock. Or heck even just a 3D cube stretched into a rectangle. Blocking movement. Of course, being presented as a jeep helps to create the illusion of the theme and environment of the game. But that is it. The object's usefulness ends there. Well, at least you can often hide behind these things. That is one advancement made well years ago I guess. But that seems to be about it. It just seems like everything is "on rails" in a sense.

    I think these 3D games are possibly causing some people to see them as being more complex than they really are. They definitely look great. And of course movement is not limited to left, right, up and down. But these things are a result simply of moving from 2D to 3D. There is so much more that could be done but rarely ever is.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2015
  29. RJ-MacReady

    RJ-MacReady

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    There was a point where there were no objects to hide behind in first person shooters it was just walls and ramps and ceilings. What's amazing is now the collision detection actually matches the shape of the object. And now objects are actually being destroyed realistically pieces are falling off of them. Now objects are actually able to be moved by physics. Just because you can't take the battery out of a Jeep in a first person shooter doesn't mean they haven't put a lot of effort into making it highly interactive.

    A more important question is why would you want to take the battery out of a jeep in a first person shooter?

    English the only thing you can use it for is to use the electricity from the battery to do something else and that goes right back to being cryptic puzzle.

    So here we are full circle right back to the beginning.

    Meanwhile millions of people are playing first person shooters right now as we speak.
     
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  30. RJ-MacReady

    RJ-MacReady

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    All this machinery, making modern games can still be open-hearted. Not so coldly charted. It's really just a question of your honesty. Yeah.

    In times of uncertainty, I always look to Rush for the answers.
     
  31. RockoDyne

    RockoDyne

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    Interesting choices really just means that they provide a source of (mostly internal) conflict. For a shooter, a good example is whether you pop out of cover to take some shots while exposing yourself to danger, or throwing a grenade that comes in limited supply. It won't really seem like a big deal in a modern military shooter, but pop in RE and this can become a choice you weigh quite heavily.
     
  32. Billy4184

    Billy4184

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    To be honest, I think we'll only be able to reinvent games when we have better procedural content (models and story) and really advanced AI, like being able to hold a conversation and react coherently to player behaviour. I think maybe we've come to the limits of what people can do...I mean, look at Star Citizen, over forty million, a few years, lots of employees and they're probably just rewriting Wing Commander with nicer graphics. No doubt the result will be sweet, but that's about the limit of what even a big budget AAA studio is going to be able to achieve. If you had the right algorithms a supercomputer could probably make virtually the whole thing in a few seconds. If and when such things are possible, we have to resign ourselves to our limitations. I mean, you don't see anyone with a spade competing with an excavator at digging a hole, do you?
     
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  33. GarBenjamin

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    Yep that's the thing. A huge amount of people seem content with the FPS the way they are. For me the reason for taking the jeep would be a faster mode of travel as well as seeing if I could run people down, maybe crash through buildings, gates etc. Taking the battery would be to sabotage them. Perhaps I can throw a bomb in the building. Instead of them running out hopping into the jeep and escaping they would run out hop in and be unable to escape. So basically just providing alternative ways of dealing with the current scenario.

    Maybe it is just a few of us or maybe it is just me lol but I often explore games and see what I can and cannot do. Try things that make perfect sense in the situation and find I cannot. See objects that look useful yet I cannot take them. And so on.
     
  34. ikomnen

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    Games are pretty much same old thing,because it is very very very hard to invent something new and original.
    Simple as that.

    It is same with every other industries (food,transport,leisure,...) other then game industry,and if you dont like that term you can analyze other art forms.
    Why is everything so boring and there are no new things in:
    literature
    movies
    music
    art in general
    ...
    but more of recycling the older genres,themes,ideas,...

    And its funny how it seems some people act like they could invent something completely new just if they wanted to.
    If you can,then why dont you,what is the excuse?
    Game dev and publishing is easier then ever,so now`s the time.

    Personally i think some of the improvement will be seen in AR and VR departments of game dev in near future,but for some real game changers completely new ideas/time/people are needed and it isnt realistic to expect that too often.
    I think problem is more in us working in game dev and loosing the edge there,meaning expecting too much to fast,like professional deformation.
    It isnt like there are only games and only now,you have to jump out of that world from time to time to stay normal.
     
  35. RJ-MacReady

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    So yeah, FPS games aren't incorporating adventure/exploration themes all that much. To me, that's because they're entirely different gameplay types aimed at different kinds of gamers. Thing is, why take a battery out of a jeep when you can just blow up the jeep? In real life, you'd choose blowing it up if you could, as well. Or better yet, flamethrower.

    That's just how it is.

    You can achieve interesting exploration and adventure much easier without the overhead of modern FPS graphics. Just 16-bit pixel art characters and a tile map will suffice. When it comes to breadth of choice in gameplay, I think simple graphics will always reign supreme.

    But no, first person shooters aren't about any of that. They're supposed to be sexy. They're like the sports cars of the gaming world. No, Ferrari isn't going to make an all wheel drive off road vehicle that can double as a boat and climb vertical walls. But, Jeep does. So get a jeep i.e. go play Minecraft. I think games are best when they focus on providing a very clear experience.
     
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  36. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    People aren't smarter for playing civ over an fps, they're simply taking much longer to think at the same rate. I'd go as far as to say that how interesting the choices are, defines if the game has any long term appeal. If it's baked or iterative, makes no difference.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2015
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  37. RJ-MacReady

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    I had actually considered this today, we think of a chess master as being more intelligent than an ace fighter pilot, at least that's what the conventional thinking would seem to dictate. Doesn't speed count? If not, then they should stop timing IQ tests. I think the success of FPS (and online RTS) specifically has always been that the game designers were smart enough to realize the most interesting challenge is another human being, with all of our endless resourcefulness, split second decision making and tenacity to find a way to win (even by exploiting glitches in games that the designers weren't even aware of).

    I feel like storyline can actually impact the interestingness of your choices, as well. Maybe it's not necessary, but... I think a platformer where you are just jumping is less interesting than a platformer where you're trying to reunite the character with his lover.

    It's like one of those "there are only 10 stories in the world" things. There are only so many games.

    As a little thing to consider, what do people always say when they want to take an ordinarily dull event and turn it into a wager that is fun? They say, why don't we make things interesting... and then they put money into it, and all of a sudden, whether or not you can do a handstand pushup is of interest to people.
     
  38. screenname_taken

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    AI scientists thought so as well at first, it's why they tried to make computers play chess at first, instead of trying to make them walk and have decent path finding skills... Yet, they still try to hump walls.
     
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  39. Billy4184

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    Thats very true which is probably why most companies seem to be focusing on multiplayer rather than getting a really well fleshed out singleplayer. If you have multiplayer, for one thing you don't have to code acceptable character and game AI to reactions to all of the combinations of choices of equipment, strategy, player styles etc, you just have to balance the opportunities for all the players to take advantage of them, and if you have a loyal community, they'll be willing to put up with a bit of tweaking. On the other hand, if someone opens a singleplayer game and they don't like something or you as a developer did something wrong, chances of feedback are slim and they'll probably just quit and play something else. If you are a studio spending millions you can't afford to risk something like that, so you stick to tried and true formulas.

    But vast amounts of highly interactable content, undesigned for gameplay, and realism are still a problem for the best multiplayer games. If you took away the players, multiplayer maps are often basically empty, silent playgrounds. For example, if you put in a civilian that you can interact with in interesting ways into a multiplayer FPS, some idiot would shoot them in the head every time. There is virtually no potential for a storyline. There is virtually no potential for team organization and coordination with people you don't know. The chat ruins any atmosphere that you as a developer try to generate, and the game becomes a free-for-all for trigger-happy high school dropouts. Multiplayer games will always feel like sports day at high school. In a game like Eve Online, just because you give people a ship, a nice suit and call them a CEO of something doesn't mean you're going to find them interesting when you meet them in a space station lounge. And when you do start talking to them your suspension of disbelief will come crashing down like a ton of bricks.

    None of these problems IMO are insurmountable but you'll have to find a way to get around the fact that players don't have to behave how you want them to behave and they don't have to play your game if they don't want to.
     
  40. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    I'm guessing you've not played borderlands 2 or that many fps games other than cod? Not being rude just trying to understand the shoot in the head/empty maps line of reasoning. There's plenty of deeper story based fps games out there.
     
  41. RJ-MacReady

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    I think this will probably offend some people, but... games shouldn't be a means to a storytelling end. Storytelling should serve to enhance gameplay, if there is any at all.

    Games aren't books/movies.
     
  42. screenname_taken

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    @hippocoder You must've taken the best example out there. I think Jack was one of the few bad guys that i actually wanted to hurt. Like really end him not because the game told me to, or "because he wanted to take over the world". And Tiny Tina's DLC was... wow.
    The smart thing was that as a character he wasn't the bad guy. Not in his mind. Not the stereotypical i'll take everything, or the "everything is bad so i'll be the one to fix it even if i get branded bad".
     
  43. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    BING! I think that's it. FPS aren't intended to be anything more than near mindless running around blowing everything up.

    I think there is much sense in what you are saying here. Where to me I would appreciate greater interaction producing more choices in basically any genre... the developers look at it like this genre supports these interactions and these choices. That other genre supports those. And so on. And players are now conditioned to basically have the same expectations.
     
  44. screenname_taken

    screenname_taken

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    I'm also going with the games aren't books/movies thing, but not as if they shouldn't have stories or that the story can't be a big part of the whole thing, but that we shouldn't treat them as such. Most games have scripted scenes that you can't do anything. Some though (and i love those) let you interact while the scene is going on, and the other characters turn to face you. It's a different medium. There could be a great story to be told, but it should be given through the game not like slamming you in the face. This is something i'm not able to do though, i'm aware of it. Others are though. And games is too broad of a word. That definition makes people have the wrong expectations. But you don't have that when going to watch a movie. Having fun and being entertained isn't really the same thing i think in the end.
     
  45. GarBenjamin

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    I think the video that @RockoDyne posted also hits the nail on the head regarding context. I play a lot of games. Have played a lot of games for a very long time now. So I see most of them as just the same old thing over and over and over and wonder why they are no different. It is basically the same context as that of the reviewer in that video. Your average gamer may never notice it or get bored. In his case after playing many FPS over a period of a year or two or whatever it was he was basically burnt out on them. Because although each was a good game they were all basically the same game.

    I went to the cinema yesterday and watched Seventh Son. And it "hit me" this issue is present in everything. I watch a lot of movies at least in comparison to most people I know. Mainly in certain genres. And they too seem to basically be the same old thing again and again for the most part.

    And, more than just this formulaic approach being so clear, it is more difficult to get into them than it once was simply because I see the same actors and actresses again and again portraying different parts. Yesterday I noticed this a lot. When the main "bad" witch first appeared I felt a real disconnect at first. The actress had given such a powerful performance in The Forgotten I immediately thought of that movie when I first saw her. Then I thought of Next. I had to make a conscious effort to get my mind back into the context of this movie. I felt the same thing to some degree with Jeff Bridges as well. But I think his costume and character just worked better. But anyway, I think this is the issue with the genre focus. If a person reads a lot of books eventually most seem kind of like the same thing. If a person watches a lot of movies they start to seem like the same thing. I mean you actually know not only the major ups and downs that will occur in the movie but you can almost predict what will happen minute to minute. Which definitely decreases the enjoyment somewhat. With games though I feel like the developers have much more to work with than either book or movie authors do.
     
  46. Billy4184

    Billy4184

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    First of all, I hope you didn't get confused and think I said that single-player FPS games don't have stories. I was specifically referring to multiplayer games, because your teammates and multiplayer enemies don't have to stick to any coherent storyline. If you know of a game that has a deep, long-term multiplayer storyline that you can interact with please let me know. I haven't played Borderlands 2.

    Secondly, as I said previously, I'm not a hardcore gamer but I try to sample a lot of games. This has been my experience. Find me a game where the multiplayer takes place in the middle of a bustling city where the consequences would be realistic if you pulled out a gun, let alone opened fire? In GTA you can jog along with a shotgun in your hand and NPC people just walk casually by. Police and civilian alerts go up and down like a regular sine wave (my pet hate). Getting the kind of discipline and cooperation from online players to make multiplayer games realistic and anything other than free-for-alls is just too difficult. So IME multiplayer maps, without players are fancy playgrounds.
     
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  47. Billy4184

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    The thread is, if I got it correctly, how do we reinvent games, make them different from what they were before. Storytelling is one thing only but I would argue that every game needs to tell some sort of story, take you on some sort of journey.

    And gameplay is the thing that has changed the least since the first games were made. As @GarBenjamin said previously, more realistic in some ways, yes, like cooler firing animations, but no different really, no more complex. In fact game development these days often seems to be a race to capture shorter and shorter attention spans. As a dev every minute that you're late to get the player on the reward cycle is a chunk out of your sales, and yes devs have to make money.

    So in short, games stick to tried and true formulas, and the only realism that you can afford to add is realism that is compatible with a continuous reward cycle and a rapidly diminishing attention span.

    Anyway, since I don't want to sound like a whinger, I'm going to try to come up with some clear ideas for what I think games should be, or at least what direction I'd like them to take, and I'd like to hear others' ideas as well.
     
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  48. GarBenjamin

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    I was thinking the same thing but then figured I have been spending way too much time on these forums again. Time here is time I am not actually developing anything. It has been a great discussion! I found it quite insightful. It is always good to see what other people think knowing that each participant here represents a large number of people "out there".

    Anyway, I am switching back to focusing on my game. At least for the next couple of days or so!
     
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  49. Tomnnn

    Tomnnn

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    Poor implementation doesn't change definitions.

    That was also covered in the discussion in class anyway. Does the user pick a shotgun or a rifle? Design the enemies to make that choice meaningful. Rifle has better range and shotgun is a lot of spread, so design some enemies that appear in large amounts and some enemies that need to be taken out at a distance. Lightning spell 1 or lightning spell 2? Cost vs need ratio. Is lightning spell 1 enough to kill the enemy, or is it necessary to spend more to use spell 2? The choice should be meaningful.

    It's not that hard to think, but AAA companies are afraid to use that brain power on anything beyond ramping up the polycount.
     
  50. Billy4184

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    Same here, I hope I haven't been blabbering too much but you're all a bunch of interesting people. I think I said enough to make my point. If I do come up with some ideas I'll be back!