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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Gamasutra - Richard Garriott on the Evolution of Games

Default Gamasutra - Richard Garriott on the Evolution of Games

August 22nd, 2011, 03:05
Originally Posted by rune_74 View Post
Yeah the few fans….
In spite of his recent fits from mad-cow, Richard L.B. Garriott has far more fans than you think… not only because he was king of the CRPGs for nearly 20 years, but as owner of Origin Systems, he was directly or indirectly responsible for more brilliant and innovative pc games than anyone else, including…

Autoduel
Bioforge
Crusader: No Remorse / No Regret
Jane's AH-64D Longbow 1-2
Pacific Strike
Privateer 1-2
ShadowCaster
Space Rogue
Strike Commander
System Shock
Ultima I-IX
Ultima Online
Ultima Underworld I-II
Wing Commander I-V
Wings of Glory
Worlds of Ultima: Martian Dreams
Worlds of Ultima: Savage Empire

I feel sorry for younger gamers who will never experience these classics.

Oh, I nearly forgot… Richard is the world's first, second generation astronaut.
Last year at Quakecon, John "Commander Keen" Carmack appeared with Garriott to discuss the final frontier. John said he is "quite envious of Lord British" and hopes to join the club as one of the first civilian astronauts just as soon as he finishes construction of his own rocket.
Last edited by Vindicator; August 22nd, 2011 at 03:29.
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August 22nd, 2011, 03:38
Originally Posted by Vindicator View Post
Oh, I nearly forgot… Richard is the world's first, second generation astronaut.
Last year at Quakecon, John "Commander Keen" Carmack appeared with Garriott to discuss the final frontier. John said he is "quite envious of Lord British" and hopes to join the club as one of the first civilian astronauts just as soon as he finishes construction of his own rocket.
In my opinion, this is the point where he lost his way, at least as far as having the desire to make something similar to his classic works. EA threw so much money his way enabling him to do all this big kid things like going into space, building himself a castle, amassing a collection of artifacts that would put the Britannia museum to shame etc that it corrupted him.

I think at this point he needs to find the trends and go with what will generate the most money (or what he thinks will) to fund his very expensive hobbies.
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August 22nd, 2011, 04:41
Originally Posted by Motoki View Post
In my opinion, this is the point where he lost his way
Don't blame space flight, blame Steve Jobs…

"I am now much more of a gamer than I ever been been in my whole life, but the vast majority of the gaming I have played has been on this machine," Garriott said, while holding up an iPhone.

Ironically, the person who played a role in Richard's success also played a part in his downfall. Richard programmed his first games on an Apple II… now he just plays casual games on an iPhone… How sad.
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August 22nd, 2011, 06:44
Originally Posted by rune_74 View Post
Yeah the few fans….hahaha man, it's been a cuople decades since the last ultima and there are still fans. God for people who claim to love RPG's etc it seems many are oblivious to the past of the genre.
few in comparison to the horde that is the casual action rpg market. besides the ultima series were kinda bad really but you few seem to have rose tinted goggles nailed to your head where you see the past as a glorious age.

truth is there nevah evah was. get over it already.

the future is dragonage 2 with 17 sequels and angry bird remakes for the some crap and confusing device that i have no need of because im a hermit that lives in a cave.

"I teach you the Übermensch. Man is something to be surpassed. What have you done to surpass mankind?"
-Some crazy guy that makes me sperge it up
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August 22nd, 2011, 06:51
Originally Posted by SAGO View Post
few in comparison to the horde that is the casual action rpg market. besides the ultima series were kinda bad really but you few seem to have rose tinted goggles nailed to your head where you see the past as a glorious age.

truth is there nevah evah was. get over it already.

the future is dragonage 2 with 17 sequels and angry bird remakes for the some crap and confusing device that i have no need of because im a hermit that lives in a cave.
First off Vindicator I was poking a little fun at Sago, I am well aware of Garriots popularity even with no products comming from him. After this last bit(ultima series were bad….my god, who is this guy?)

Many advances we take for granted were paved by the creators of the past, it pains me to have to explain that.

If you don't stand behind your troops, feel free to stand in front.
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August 22nd, 2011, 13:51
the "Three Grand Eras of Game Development" — solo player, massively multiplayer, and social/mobile.
Sounds reasonable.

What's next, after that ?

"One thing that I really lucked into was creating storylines with what I will call 'social relevance'," he said, pointing to the moral choices inherent in the Ultima games.

The "save the kingdom" story of the original games in the series is no longer enough, though it still has traction in the industry, he said. "The first Ultimas were very simple stories… And if you look at most games today they still are. Personally, I don't know about you, after I told that story a few times I was done with it."

"That story has no value in the future. It's the antithesis of what I try to do and what we as a development community need to do," said Garriott.

"I have found that it's much more challenging and much more successful for a long period of time, if you can a find a storyline to embed into a game that speaks to current contemporary social issues, but cast in a storyline that is appropriate to the style or fiction of the world that you have created."
Sounds reasonable as well. We already have this "current contemporary social issues" thing - in THe Witcher, for example.

"If you're going to create a reality within a game I believe it's extremely important to make sure that the game is not only internally self-consistent, but also has a sense of history and truth that goes far beyond the story you are telling in the main plot of the game," he said. He did this by creating whole languages in his games.

However, many other games that do this simply throw up nonsense symbols. "If a player can tell at a glance that it is fake, then you've destroyed the suspension of disbelief."
Sounds right as well. Tolkien showed ow it can be done - but he was unique in many ways.

In your stories, you can simplify real world issues, because while questions such as politics are "very hard to wrap up" in reality, "if you create a truth in a game that is a simplification of the real world, it actually makes it easier to believe than reality itself."
Did he read too much Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels ? - Because he exactly does this !

"Part of the human condition is to want to try and explain the truth of life," said Garriott. It's "something people want to embrace and can embrace" and should be part of your games.

Another key is "creating worlds that are reactive and proactive versus just passively waiting for you," he said. "One where the game actually observes your behavior, understands your journey through the game, and in some way reacts and applies leverage against you."
Sounds good as well.

"The fact that you have to spend hours playing it before you even know if you're going to like it is the main reason that I think MMOs will never be the truly global democratized game that all of humanity will play together in the future."

He noted that the single player era lasted 20 years, but the MMO era only lasted 10 before the industry shifted to its next sea change.
Interesting points of view.

Does this mean that the "next era" will be even shorter ? And what comes next, then ?

The takeaway here? "The players are evolving to tackle much more complex activity than they had 18 months previous," said Garriott. "Both the products and the players are evolving."
Like my theory of "All Systems Are Dynamic", with all parts within a system influencing one another.

"There are only two games I look back with some sense of regret… They happened under similar conditions and I made the same mistake twice," said Garriott.

They were both the first games he worked on after selling his company to a new publisher. Ultima 8 was rushed to hit a holiday release window, and it's his biggest regret.

"Tabula Rasa — the original vision we had for the game, I wish we had stuck by… The vision was seen as too strange and far out by sales, marketing, and international concerns… It put us further and further behind before we even really got started."

His word of caution here: "If you have a true clear vision of what you want to make, and what you need to make, and the difference you want to make in the world of game design, then you really can't settle for anything less than that vision, if you truly believe in it."
Sounds like he has become wise at least / at last … So much about companies influencing so much "originakl visions" so that they can not only distort them, but destroy them completely - for greed for more profits - and then it all fails, and the responsibles for this distorting will back away and demand to say : "We have said nothing It was YOUR decision and therefore YOUR fault that you followed our advice !"
And the worst thing is that these responsibles are only a few people, who actually manage to break their wished through that vision … - Just like in the "Music INdistdy", it's exactly the same there … At least within the big companies … It's as if a few individuals within that company try to use developers as mere vehicles for their wishes and their own "visions" … - And their greed for profits …

Developers as vehicles. Great. Yeah.




One important problem with today's MMOs is that "every player is a combatant", he said. "In Ultima Online, that was not true."
He's right. The "I fight, therefore I play a role" paradigm.

One Bart Stewart comments on this :

As "Sie Ming" highlighted in the classic essay from 2001, "I Want to Bake Bread" (http://lloydandlauren.com/lloyd-stuf…to-bake-bread/ ), there are plenty of people who just aren't motivated to play in the "kill it and take its stuff" games that fill the MMOG space. People still talk positively about the resource-based crafting system in the recently-canceled Star Wars Galaxies. Who talks in such glowing terms about the "trinity"-based, aggro-managing, cooldown-timered combat gameplay that SWG was notoriously modified to promote?
Yes, but the companies follow the mass - and thoe who speak out most loudly and most aggressively - nd these are NOT the "bread-bakers", but the ones who want to act aggressively, slaughtering others in PvP …

I have often the feeling as if the people who play aggressive roles are also aggressive in their real life - which is a thing I fear a bit …

He further comments :

It may be that Garriott is right in seeing MMOGs as gaming dinosaurs — an interesting but ultimately doomed evolutionary branch. We may be starting to see these big games abandoned for social games that are more capable of responding to the larger environment of potential gamers with content that is more diverse than repetitively murdering NPCs and the local wildlife. We'll see.

I think there's still plenty of room for single-player games, though. Claims by social game developers (and owners of DLC-selling systems like EA's new Origin "service") that all games must now be multiplayer are as false and self-serving as claims by console manufacturers of the death of the PC as a viable gaming platform.
I agree to a great deal to him.

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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August 22nd, 2011, 18:49
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
the "Three Grand Eras of Game Development" — solo player, massively multiplayer, and social/mobile.
Sounds reasonable.

What's next, after that ?
The problem I have with that is he is viewing it not as the birth and evolution of new genres of gaming, but as a linear progression. It makes it sound as though I and many others, as a single player game player, are relics stuck in the stone age of gaming.

Single player games are a very different experience than multiplayer games. There are some experiences, like stories and feeling like you really made a mark on the world, that you just won't get in multiplayer games. There's still a demand for single player games and some of them do quite well. They are far from dead.

If he wants to make multiplayer social games that is fine, but he doesn't need to make it sound like he has moved into the enlightened Age of Aquarius while I'm hanging out with the dinosaurs.

I actually agree with some of his ideas about having more non-combat things to do. I always liked those parts in UO best. Who knows, maybe if there are more games like that I would try MMOs again.

Even so, it's not a case of evolving but rather that I am able to like and appreciate two very distinctive gaming experiences for what they are.
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