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Why is it.... ?

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by jtok4j, Nov 21, 2014.

  1. jtok4j

    jtok4j

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    Why is it that everyone feels the need to make games with ideas that have already been worked on countless times?

    I mean, take FPS games for instance... People try to get creative and come up with Space-related FPS's, Dinosaur-hunting FTP's, Hunt-the-Terrorist FPS's, 3000BC-FPS's, EndoftheWorld FPS's, Horror FPS's, and who know's maybe there' s a flappy-aviatory-animal-related FPS being worked on at the moment, somewhere on this planet...

    I'm not picking on FPS's, (I've played my share of 'em ) but I'm just wondering what goes through people's (e.g. Yours and Mine) heads when dreaming up a game design?

    Is it "jump on the band-wagon for "this" category while it's hot" kind of thing, or is it purely an enjoyment of the genre, or?

    What motivated YOU to make another version of a game that's already been done with a game design that's been reworked countless times?

    For the record: My current project is a slight spin on a project which I've just seen released... :p
     
  2. JasonBricco

    JasonBricco

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    I'm making a sandbox voxel engine building game. Similar to FPS games, it could be seen as a genre. Everyone jumps in to say "Minecraft clone!" and no, that's not what it is. In fact, it's very far from that in very many ways. The entire focus of the game is different. Still, the general 'sandbox building' / 'voxel' genre is shared.

    The reason I am making this kind of game is because it's been my favorite kind of game. I've played and loved Minecraft, as well as other voxel building games (Eden - World Builder, etc). I absolutely love that style of game. And, as I've played both of these games, there were things I wanted to do that I wasn't able to do. In fact, those games never really supported the kind of focus I wanted out of those games. They focused more on exploration. Survival. Building cities, or structures.

    That's fun, yes. But that's not the focus I wanted. I wanted to play a game that wasn't about any of those things specifically, but had a different focus. I decided I would make a game like that.

    Is it a bad thing to develop games within the same genre? How much can you actually make your own genre, in a sense? I feel like any game you make is going to be based on and similar to other already existing genres (perhaps mixing some together at most). Or based off of something that simply happens in real life (i.e. racing).

    I generally have the mindset of taking a genre and adding unique mechanics to the point where it stands out from the others in the genre. Isn't that how you get to a new genre, to a unique game? I mean, how are you defining games that are basically the same as each other? At some level, almost all games share some features with each other.

    Not sure entirely what my thoughts are on that subject. I don't see why it would be a negative thing (if that's what you're implying) to make a game of a similar genre but add enough unique mechanics (and take out other features you don't feel are necessary) to where it really isn't like the other games in the genre other than sharing some basic things such as placing and deleting blocks in my case. It's not really cloning another game anymore, you just used other games as inspiration. And I think almost all game developers use other games for inspiration, right?
     
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  3. RJ-MacReady

    RJ-MacReady

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    Because there are literally infinite things you could do with a computer game, and only a handful have ever been widely successful at gaining a significant number of players. It makes sense not to keep reinventing the wheel. Some people will always try to create something "new" (which is arguably impossible in 2014) while the rest of us can keep trying to innovate within the confines of established genres.

    As for why are there specifically so many first-person shooters? They are a crutch for the unimaginative, allowing uncreative people to become "Game Designers". Anyone can make a FPS because they are literally the simplest kind of 3D game you can make and they require no planning or creativity. You move a camera around and pin it on a 3D model. It's just a matter of making good-looking 3D models. Story, creativity... not necessary, just technical ability and spending money to get better looking results.
     
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  4. jtok4j

    jtok4j

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    Hi JasonBricco,

    Thanks for the great thoughts, and write-up. I truly agree with you that most games are inspired by our experiences with other games and experiences in real life.

    The desire to make it more interesting or better is always a motivating factor, especially for indie devs and people who simply design games for a hobby/enjoyment/part-time/side job. (like me. :) )

    I appreciate your thoughtful input. :)
     
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  5. Immanuel-Scholz

    Immanuel-Scholz

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    To some degree, almost everything in art, science and engeneering is build upon existing ideas. "What? You making one of this things that you do with a computer again? Hasn't that be done enough times already?" (<-- could have been my grandma when I told her we released another game ;))

    And that's a good thing, IMHO. Usually, the most remembered picture is not the one that introduces a new art style. Its the one at its peak time. Same goes for music and same goes for games.

    I think the real issue you are addressing here is: "Why is it that everyone feels the need to make games with absolutely no new ideas or improvements that have already been worked on countless times?"

    A plain remake (usually done with less care about game mechanics/art/level design/balancing ...).
    Just to cash out some money of people who either happen to find your game first or who can't wait for the sequel.
    That sucks... But its nothing new to games either.


    I disagree here a bit. In my opinion, "First Person Shooter" is a way too broad classification to already speak of "same stuff again". Its like you say "Ohno, not another movie with a main protagonist shooting guns again.." Too broad, too unspecific (IMHO).

    But please, don't make yet another ego-centric and empowering soldier game with hundrets of shooting-galary-styled cut-out stock enemies and some wrist-heighted cover-blocks again!!

    (Then again.. we got "Spec Ops: The Line", which totally fits that description but was totally yaw-dropping awesome to me.. at least from a designer perspective)

    One big reason (at least for me) is, because I see a simple idea developed quite good, but I think: "That could be done better here and there.. lets give it a shot."
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2014
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  6. jtok4j

    jtok4j

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    Thanks Misterselmo,

    Yes, I can see the two camps of "let's just throw this together", and "I want to truly create!"
    I also agree that "new" things are much more hard to come by, than a knock-off of that tap the screen to fly game, or such related things. :)

    I appreciate your input. :)
     
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  7. RJ-MacReady

    RJ-MacReady

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    You got it!
     
  8. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    I think money is a big part of it. Companies, teams and individuals want money. When a game is popular regardless of it being a FPS zombie game or Flappy Bird people see "oh my goodness gracious mercy sakes alive do you see all of the money that game is making" and so clones start popping up as fast as they can be knocked out.

    I also think it depends on the games you like to play. I have little interest in working on 3D FPS games because out of the ones I played there are only a couple that I enjoyed. My interest is in retro game development. Reviving lost genres. Making better versions of the games. Like I want to make platform games, side scrolling shooters, top down games, etc. Focus on implementing them very well. Developing better AI for the enemies. And so forth. I have very little interest in 3D game dev and even less interest in 3D FPS or RPG (and certainly not any 3D MMO) games. The AAA companies are serving these markets already flooding tons of titles. And so many people on these forums are working on games for those markets. Those players have enough options it seems to me.

    So basically I want to make games for myself and people like myself who have went right when everyone else went left. Was quiet when most people were noisy and made a lot of noise when the rest were quiet. Retro gaming in this modern time kind of fits my style in general and I know there are some other people out there who are the same way. That's my market.
     
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  9. AndrewGrayGames

    AndrewGrayGames

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    There's quite a few practical reasons, actually.

    The primary one, is for the user's expectations. The reason that 'genres' exist, is because a large enough body of works adhere to some set of conventions, that other works are created that use those conventions.

    Non-gaming case: detective novels always A) are centered around a murder, B) always have a detective who investigates and gathers clues, and C) there are numerous secondary 'secrets' which must be brought to light to discover the true story of the murder.

    Gaming case: JRPGs often center around an angsty pubescent with spiky hair who uses a sword, who for some reason is absolved of familial obligations - usually due to their hometown being destroyed - and must journey around the world to save it from a Big Bad who's planning to either A) destroy it, or B) turn it into a living hell. Along the way, he will meet a mysterious waif with a mysterious necklace that is the key to saving the world, a cute mascot who is nearly completely useless, a scarred individual riven with inner tragedy, and a smart-ass who can snark about anything. While traveling, the party is attacked by everything; it doesn't matter if it's a tree, the Buddha, or an umbrella, it's trying to kill you, usually to upbeat JPop music. What's more, as long as it's thematically appropriate, nearly everything up to and including drawing implements, umbrellas, megaphones, and/or children's toys can be used to kill said attacking things. For simply defeating a certain amount of things, characters become magically more powerful (their numbers get bigger) and those random objects always drop money, and items that may or may not be an incompatible size and shape than they are. What's more, all those funny weapons? Every town you go to will somehow stock an even more effective version of that item!

    The takeaway: You can subvert parts freely (maybe every secondary character only looks like they have a dirty secret! Maybe some entities you meet in random encounters should not ever be attacked unless you want to instantly game over...), but if you took any of those key parts out, chances are your reaction would be, "Whoa. What a crappy [insert genre here]. Who writes this crap anyways?" (Cue South Park cut to you, because you blew it.)

    There are others, like ease of construction, but all of them pale in comparison to making it easy for the audience to understand what's going on and suspend their disbelief. If they fail to suspend their disbelief, they'll throw those rotten tomatoes at you. Do you want rotten tomato on your face?
     
  10. Zaladur

    Zaladur

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    Woah now - thats quite the generalization. My protagonist wields an AXE, not a sword.

    But then, I've been told that I'm quite an innovative designer.
     
  11. AndrewGrayGames

    AndrewGrayGames

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    About that...well, let's just say someone else made a much better generalization that I drew that from.
     
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  12. RJ-MacReady

    RJ-MacReady

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    Reading through a lot of these... technology being evil, swords being superior to guns, all that jazz. It's a lot of ingrained cultural/spiritual stuff that goes back to actual history. And using last names vs. first names, that's all about formal vs. informality. You wouldn't be informal with an enemy, as you would with an ally. Japanese are a beautiful and bizarre people.
     
  13. Aiursrage2k

    Aiursrage2k

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    Theres a known market of people that like FPS games. So it becomes a fairly "safe bet" for AAA (just throw enough money at it. Whereas indies are more something weird and risky
     
  14. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

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    @Asvarduil hit the nail on the head with audience expectations. If you don't do anything new there's no reason to play your game. If you change too much then you're breaking expectations and few people will like it. It's great to expand upon or challenge those expectations a little bit, because then things feel fresh or exciting without leaving your users wondering what the fritz is going on.

    Consider, for a moment, a third person game about solving puzzles. You want the user to focus on finding clues, finding puzzles, finding the things they need to solve the puzzles and, finally, actually solving the puzzles. In order to do that, they need to be able to see and understand the world, move around, identify and pick up objects, examine the clues, etc. etc. If you ignore every game that came before and make up your own random stuff then chances are that your user is going to be distracted from the puzzle solving to some degree because they're concentrating on figuring out the controls, the interface, and how you're presenting information. On the other hand, you can stick to the conventions used by existing 3rd person games, puzzle games, etc. and the vast majority of your players will know exactly how to play the game from the moment they pick up the controller, enabling them to focus on exploring and solving puzzles rather than trying to figure out how to walk around the room.

    Or another example, imagine if you bought a new piece of desktop software and it completely made up its own conventions instead of sticking to something already known, like WIMP? As a user, would you want to have to learn every piece of software from scratch, and remember them all individually? Or is it actually kind of good to be able to transfer knowledge between the vast majority of applications you use? The same applies to games.

    Finally, you bring up how many FPSs there are, but remember that just because a game involves a) guns and b) seeing through a character's eyes doesn't mean that the rest of it is necessarily the same. There are plenty of FPSs out there with varied gameplay mechanics (and also not everything has to be a shooter just because it's first person).
     
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  15. FrustratedRocka

    FrustratedRocka

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    Agreed. Would you seriously say there's no difference between Fallout 3, Metroid Prime, Serious Sam, and Call of Duty?
     
  16. RockoDyne

    RockoDyne

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    If you really want to see something uncreative and rehashed, turn on the hallmark channel sometime. After a marathon of satanless christmas movies, chances are you will come back to find even the crappiest game to be fairly creative (just poorly executed).
     
  17. DryTear

    DryTear

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    Probably because you can see yourself achieving the point where your game looks like what you want it to be. You get motivated to start. And what motivated me is seeing me with the game I want in mind, even though I didnt even plan out my game on pencil first :p
     
  18. DryTear

    DryTear

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    And most people are probably afraid to go into the creativity territory, afraid of rejection. Because majority of people dont understand creativity (metaphors is an example), most people that will see your work that is considered creativty by you; wont understand it(happens to me a lot, or maybe im bad at communicating?).
     
  19. imaginaryhuman

    imaginaryhuman

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    Human beings look to other human beings for what to do, whats popular, what things means, etc... we're a pack animal. We copy.
     
  20. puppeteer

    puppeteer

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    That's just how evolution works in all forms of life, including game design.

    We learn from the past, change it, and send it off to the future game designer.

    It's not wrong, it's how life works.
     
  21. Centigrade

    Centigrade

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    I want to make an old-school survival game because I love the genre; more specifically the offshoots (even thinking it might have tank controls, even though it'll be top down 2D simply for simplicity's sake). Really I just want to create something very simple that other people who also love the genre will be able to enjoy and appreciate.

    I have absolutely no illusions that I'll ever end up a professional coder really in any capacity let alone game development but I have time on my hands and an idea and it looks like a journey that could be worth taking.

    Also, the way I see it is as an evolutionary process. The stuff that works is the stuff that gets built upon and adapted.