|
Your continuous donations keep RPGWatch running!
RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » RPG Codex - The Role We Don't Play

Default RPG Codex - The Role We Don't Play

April 6th, 2007, 21:06
Originally Posted by JemyM View Post
An interesting simulated game is a flawed philosophy that seems to go through the head of every aspiring developer before they grow more experienced and scrap the idea. Truth is; you cannot create a simulated world and make it interesting. The world you create will be just as generic and repetitive as the developers limited AI.
If it were a question of just one or the other — if the only available choices were total simulation or no simulation at all — then I would agree. But I don't think it is a question of that, and so I don't.

I like improved sound, graphics and AI, and I don't see why there has to be a tradeoff in order to get that. Why can't good games simulate certain things well?
Squeek is offline

Squeek

Squeek's Avatar
connoisseur of tidbits

#21

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Orange County, California
Posts: 1,807

Default 

April 7th, 2007, 01:35
Originally Posted by Kharn View Post
Your preference fits into the general predeliction we've seen in cRPGs lately to hold the player by the hand and just guide him everywhere so he won't make any stupid mistakes, like ignoring key PCs. Sorry, not my preference.
Not preference… but acceptance. It's simply the most effective way to balance personal choice with an interactive story, and still be able to finish the development on schedule.
JemyM is offline

JemyM

JemyM's Avatar
Okay, now roll sanity.

#22

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 6,027
Send a message via ICQ to JemyM Send a message via MSN to JemyM

Default 

April 7th, 2007, 06:57
From a design perspective, I think that there are two valuable questions to ask when you're making a game. (Well, there are about a zillion, but for this discussion, I'm interested in two of them.)

1) How important is the story?

This is one of those questions that generates a ton of opinions, but for which there isn't a flat right or wrong question — unless you gauge by the marketplace. Some players really want a sandbox in which they can play around for fifty hours without ever going after the main storyline. Some players want a movie in which they play the fight scenes, and everything else is narrated for them. Some players want a really solid and involved story from which they can deviate into minor stuff whenever they want.

Oblivion joins games like the Grand Theft Auto series in saying to the player, "There's a story if you want it. It's not the world's best story, but it's there. Really, though, this is a sandbox. Go out and have fun."

Jade Empire and Neverwinter Nights 2, on the other hand, are firmly in story-land. You can break away from the story to do subplots, but even those subplots are usually tied into the overall plot in some way, and there's little of the sandbox feeling. Those games are made with story in mind, not exploration.

Neverwinter Nights, by contrast, tries to walk the middle ground. It had a story, albeit one aimed at a multiplayer experience, but it also had a lot of exploration, and you could just wander and find a dungeon full of bad guys without a whole lot of relation to the main storyline. Rogue Galaxy does some of the same stuff — the game is linear for the first 20 hours, but the spawn system means that you can wander around and practice fighting moves and upgrade your equipment as long as you like. The story will always be waiting for you when you're ready to move along.

2) What tools are you willing to use to convey the story?

BioWare and Obsidian both rely heavily on interactive dialogue. The player feels like there's some control over the conversation, and often there IS, but there are also a lot of conversations in which, one way or the other, the player is getting put onto the story rail to learn the next plot point.

JRPGs don't even bother with the handwaved illusion of choice. The player gets cutscenes… a lot of 'em.

Beyond conversation and cutscenes, tools I've seen used to convey story in different games include:

- Ambient lines. Some action games actually get across important plot details just by what the bad guy is shouting during the big fights.
- NPC reactions. If selling the holy elven dagger to the orc barbarians causes all the elves to attack you on sight, you don't need a long cutscene or follower explanation to explain that selling that dagger is going to make the elves hurt you. Simple AI scripting can take the place of conversations or cutscenes here.
- Art. One of the things I liked in Jade Empire was returning to the school and seeing the damage that had been wrought. I don't normally notice art, but this was a time when a picture really was worth a thousand words. (There was also a cutscene, as well as some dialogue with a follower, but the art was what stood out for me most.)

All of these are valuable tools for storytelling. The key is figuring out how to use 'em, where to use 'em, and how MUCH to use 'em. I'm not sure that choosing your tools wisely will win over a player who wanted a sandbox game when you're specifically making a story-centric game, but I DO know that choosing your tools POORLY will piss off a player who would otherwise have been on board with the game you wanted to make.

I've been in meetings on projects where cutscenes are hugely important and major and big and awesome. I've been in meetings on projects where designers have a stated goal of avoiding you-lose-camera-control cutscenes for the entirety of the game. I think that you can make good games with either strategy — different people will like those games, of course, but that's the fun of individual tastes. It's simply a matter of figuring out the right tools for the story you want to tell, and then using those tools properly.
PatrickWeekes is offline

PatrickWeekes

Sentinel

#23

Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 261

Default 

April 7th, 2007, 09:16
Yes, excellent points. All I would add, is that the IMPLEMENTATION of both needs to be of the highest order as well. You can have great design features, but if they are poorly implemented, people are going to complain and the game will suffer!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

Editor@RPGWatch
Corwin is offline

Corwin

Corwin's Avatar
On The Razorblade of Life
RPGWatch Team

#24

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Australia
Posts: 10,398
Send a message via Skype™ to Corwin

Default 

April 7th, 2007, 20:46
Someday I’d like to play a sandbox CRPG where the player could alter the main quest, or create his own stories, and have them be as good as the ones in today’s “story-land” games. I don’t know how to make a game like that, but what fun that would be!

I’d like to play in a world with “instant karma,” a place where my every action would cause an effect, where my every association would create a link. Buy something from a merchant and establish a slight mystic connection; kiss his daughter, and that bond increases; steal from him, and who knows what effects you’ll get? You might want to consider the consequences of your actions in world like that.

Beyond just everyday behavior, I would want my character’s life to inspire the lives of other significant characters in the world (main quest characters). Their roles should change, somehow, in correspondence with mine as I play out my role my own way. The story would be different each time I played in accordance with my roles and my style as a hero, evil wizard, master thief or whatever.
Squeek is offline

Squeek

Squeek's Avatar
connoisseur of tidbits

#25

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Orange County, California
Posts: 1,807

Default 

April 7th, 2007, 20:57
Originally Posted by Squeek View Post
Someday I’d like to play a sandbox CRPG where the player could alter the main quest, or create his own stories, and have them be as good as the ones in today’s “story-land” games. I don’t know how to make a game like that, but what fun that would be!
You're talking 'bout pen&paper.
Hindukönig is offline

Hindukönig

Hindukönig's Avatar
Sentinel

#26

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Halle/Saale (Germany)
Posts: 262

Default 

April 7th, 2007, 22:28
Originally Posted by Hindukönig View Post
You're talking 'bout pen&paper.
You said exactly what I was going to say lol
JemyM is offline

JemyM

JemyM's Avatar
Okay, now roll sanity.

#27

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 6,027
Send a message via ICQ to JemyM Send a message via MSN to JemyM

Default 

April 7th, 2007, 22:47
Originally Posted by Hindukönig View Post
You're talking 'bout pen&paper.
Originally Posted by JemyM View Post
You said exactly what I was going to say lol
That's true. The thing is, I remember when the pen&paper games first came out, around 1974. Pretty much everyone thought computers would, someday, be able to improve the game along those lines. We talked about it a lot, actually. I suppose I've never stopped imagining it.
Squeek is offline

Squeek

Squeek's Avatar
connoisseur of tidbits

#28

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Orange County, California
Posts: 1,807

Default 

April 9th, 2007, 03:03
Originally Posted by Squeek View Post
That's true. The thing is, I remember when the pen&paper games first came out, around 1974. Pretty much everyone thought computers would, someday, be able to improve the game along those lines. We talked about it a lot, actually. I suppose I've never stopped imagining it.
There have been many theories in how it can be done, and it have more to do with Artificial Intelligence than Game Design. But it's far more complex than what it sounds like, since you have to simulate human behavior, both psychological behavior as well as sociological. You have to be very adept at psychology, sociology and programming to pull this off, and it needs to be very finetuned, else people will act like crazy. And im just talking about the AI's relationship with you and others now, not the graphics, their movement in a 3d world, interacting with objects etc.
JemyM is offline

JemyM

JemyM's Avatar
Okay, now roll sanity.

#29

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 6,027
Send a message via ICQ to JemyM Send a message via MSN to JemyM

Default 

April 9th, 2007, 23:16
Originally Posted by JemyM View Post
…it's far more complex than what it sounds like, since you have to simulate human behavior, both psychological behavior as well as sociological.
We're not talking about the real world, so there's no need to think in terms of science. We're talking about something imaginary, and writers deal with those subjects in their imaginary worlds all the time. Charles Schultz, for instance, had lots of fun with them both in his Peanuts comic strip. Good thing RPGs are fiction, I suppose.

It does sound like a lot of work, though. I have a few ideas, but that's for another thread.
Squeek is offline

Squeek

Squeek's Avatar
connoisseur of tidbits

#30

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Orange County, California
Posts: 1,807

Default 

April 9th, 2007, 23:37
I just guess that it is only a matter of time until someone licenses LucasArts' new physics engine.
Until it is too expensive, of course.
Alrik Fassbauer is offline

Alrik Fassbauer

Alrik Fassbauer's Avatar
TL;DR

#31

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Old Europe
Posts: 15,936
RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » RPG Codex - The Role We Don't Play
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT +2. The time now is 10:49.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright by RPGWatch