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Default Age of Decadence - Non-Combat Gameplay

March 1st, 2008, 20:05
Originally Posted by Brother None View Post
Sure, genres that can't possibly be immersive aren't claimed to have to be immersive, but let's be honest - that's a non-argument. If you look at games with the potential to be immersive in the popular sense, like RPGs, then making an isometric RPG is simply "wrong". Period.
Could you cite a few examples of mainstream game media making this claim? For example, about NWN2 — there have been lots of reviews, so it should be easy to find examples.

Is it completely personal that I can't see the use of having a physical/kinetic sensation of being in the game with having a feeling of involvement? That sounds completely useless to me. Not neutral, it just sounds purposeless.
"Is it completely personal that I can't see the use of shooting a film in color without having a feeling of involvement? That sounds completely useless to me. Not neutral, it just sounds purposeless."

Some films are absolutely beautiful in black and white. The Maltese Falcon would not have gained anything from being shot in color — in fact, IMO it would have been worse. OTOH others make marvelous use of color — Betty Blue, Careful, and Tarkovski's Stalker, to name three off the top of my head. Yet lots of rubbish films have been shot in color. Same with physical/kinetic immersion — some games make great use of it (e.g. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. or The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay), while others are pretty uninspiring despite successfully creating that feeling (DOOM 3, Oblivion). Again, two different things.
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March 1st, 2008, 20:21
I have this odd feeling I'm not fully getting what you're trying to say. Not sure why, but keep that in mind if I'm misunderstanding you.

Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
Could you cite a few examples of mainstream game media making this claim? For example, about NWN2 — there have been lots of reviews, so it should be easy to find examples.
I wasn't thinking of NWN2, obviously, I was thinking of Fallout 3. I could find examples but I guess you'll take my word for it if I say that the argument that Bethesda's is switching to the "more immersive" first person view (and that this is a good thing) has been made…many, many times.

Perhaps I've been overstating it, but regardless, you would agree that the gaming media applies primacy to "immersive" gameplay for RPGs, no?

Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
Again, two different things.
Is it? I mean, those films that still work in black & white, which is the exception and not the rule for films made now, work because black & white is what's needed. But black & white is something you could argue is only necessary for very specific purposes, whereas otherwise it's outdated technology.

Are you equating this and making the argument that in the same sense non-"immersive" games should be the exception? That first person POV is bound to be as dominant as colour rather than just being a sake of preference?

Because I'm hella disagreeing with you then. This isn't 3D vs 2D we're talking about, and considering how subjective this is, isn't it a bit wild to claim absolute priority for first-person POV?
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March 1st, 2008, 22:30
Immersion is surely just "something" that can grab "your" total attention.

The first thing I can remember being immersed in was The Phantom Tollbooth (as a child) and then the likes of LotR and Dune in my teenage years. All of which are books and have no moving picture element to them at all. I remember reading 1/2 of LotR in 1 day because I was so engrossed back then. Immersion in games has come of age with graphics and complex game play. People get engrossed in their own interests so some games are more immersive for one person than another. The simple trick of the first-person POV is that the players position is half in/out of the game world so that the players weapons are an extension of their self. The real reason this is "immersive" game play in the industry is that it has sold well and continues to sell well and there is nothing really wrong with that (I really enjoyed Bioshock and COD4 recently). Male brains are exceptionally good at switching off the world around them (or so I hear) maybe that has something to do with the male/female gamer ratio - who knows? Anyway, immersion really is a PR word for fps or the ilk not the true meaning of the word: state of being deeply engaged or involved; absorption (from www.dictionary.com).
Last edited by woges; March 2nd, 2008 at 01:41.
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March 2nd, 2008, 00:14
Originally Posted by Brother None View Post
I wasn't thinking of NWN2, obviously, I was thinking of Fallout 3. I could find examples but I guess you'll take my word for it if I say that the argument that Bethesda's is switching to the "more immersive" first person view (and that this is a good thing) has been made…many, many times.

Perhaps I've been overstating it, but regardless, you would agree that the gaming media applies primacy to "immersive" gameplay for RPGs, no?
No, I haven't noticed a general trend like that. It's certainly been bandied about Fallout 3, by Bethsoft and the gaming press that's repeated their PR.

Is it? I mean, those films that still work in black & white, which is the exception and not the rule for films made now, work because black & white is what's needed. But black & white is something you could argue is only necessary for very specific purposes, whereas otherwise it's outdated technology.

Are you equating this and making the argument that in the same sense non-"immersive" games should be the exception? That first person POV is bound to be as dominant as colour rather than just being a sake of preference?
I suddenly got an awful sense of déjà vu. Haven't we already had this conversation?

No, I am not equating this. It was a flawed analogy. (Aren't they all?)

So let me pick another one. Consider Star Wars: Episode IV, and M.A.S.H. (the Altman film, not the TV series.)

The former has a symphonic soundtrack and three-dimensional, kinetic sound effects. I believe it contributes greatly to that experience.

The latter has extremely carefully constructed ambient "micro-sounds," which are woven into the fabric of the film. That also contributes greatly to that experience.

Neither is technically superior to the other. Both are a big part of the experience of their respective films. Both approaches have been used in films that are complete rubbish, and in other films that are very good.

Because I'm hella disagreeing with you then. This isn't 3D vs 2D we're talking about, and considering how subjective this is, isn't it a bit wild to claim absolute priority for first-person POV?
Yes, it would be. And I wouldn't even claim absolute supremacy of 3D over 2D, for that matter.

BN, the trouble with talking with you about this topic is that I get a feeling that I'm constantly fighting not to get pulled down a slippery slope. I'm leaning backward as far as I can not to say anything that'll set you off, yet it keeps happening. You're extremely sensitive about this topic, and have a tendency to interpret anything I say in the worst possible light.

For example, if I claim that "physical immersion" can be a valid gameplay element that can be used effectively, you respond as if I had claimed that I believe it is the One Gameplay Element To Rule Them All, or something along those lines. Which I don't.

Conversely, if you don't believe that it can ever, under any circumstances, contribute anything of value to any game, ever, then you're being as silly as your "first-person supremacists" — you're denying the validity of that gameplay element as absolutely as you claim they're denying the validity of isometric, or turn-based, or whatever.
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March 2nd, 2008, 01:14
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
No, I haven't noticed a general trend like that. It's certainly been bandied about Fallout 3, by Bethsoft and the gaming press that's repeated their PR.
Well…do you read the likes of GameTrailer comments? Or even Quarter to Three or Through the Looking Glass forums? Obviously it's incidental comments since I'm not that widely read on non-Fallout topics, but hell if it wasn't pushed with Fallout, and hell if it's pushed again with Mass Effect. Doesn't that reviewers opening paragraphs come down to "you don't need to like RPGs, you can be immersed!"?

Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
Neither is technically superior to the other. Both are a big part of the experience of their respective films. Both approaches have been used in films that are complete rubbish, and in other films that are very good.
You made this original point and I got it.

My counter-point was (and I'll note here it was actually a question and not a statement): isn't "immersiveness" really only useful when coupled with emotional engagement? Isn't "immersiveness" defined as a visceral experience (and you'll notice by woges' post above yours that not everyone looks at it that way, something I noted before I find hard in this debate (different definitions per individual)) useless an sich, needing supplementary design approaches to help it out? I'm not denying that it's useful coupled with those design approaches, I'm saying it's not or shouldn't be as dominant a design goal as it is now.
Again: question, not a statement. You answered a question, but not the question I was asking.

Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
Conversely, if you don't believe that it can ever, under any circumstances, contribute anything of value to any game, ever, then you're being as silly as your "first-person supremacists" — you're denying the validity of that gameplay element as absolutely as you claim they're denying the validity of isometric, or turn-based, or whatever.
PJ, the trouble with talking with you about this topic is that I get a feeling that I'm constantly fighting not to get pulled down a slippery slope. I'm leaning backward as far as I can not to say anything that'll set you off, yet it keeps happening. You're extremely sensitive about this topic, and have a tendency to interpret anything I say in the worst possible light.
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March 2nd, 2008, 09:28
Originally Posted by Brother None View Post
Well…do you read the likes of GameTrailer comments? Or even Quarter to Three or Through the Looking Glass forums?
Can't say I've had that pleasure.

Obviously it's incidental comments since I'm not that widely read on non-Fallout topics, but hell if it wasn't pushed with Fallout, and hell if it's pushed again with Mass Effect. Doesn't that reviewers opening paragraphs come down to "you don't need to like RPGs, you can be immersed!"?
No, it doesn't — and the fact that you read it that way goes pretty far to prove my point that you stretch the hell out of everything anyone says with "immersion" and "RPG" in it.

My counter-point was (and I'll note here it was actually a question and not a statement): isn't "immersiveness" really only useful when coupled with emotional engagement?
Why would anyone want to play a game that doesn't engage them emotionally, at least on some level? Immersion alone certainly won't do it. Nobody would ever finish a game if it didn't keep them interested.

Isn't "immersiveness" defined as a visceral experience (and you'll notice by woges' post above yours that not everyone looks at it that way, something I noted before I find hard in this debate (different definitions per individual)) useless an sich, needing supplementary design approaches to help it out?
Yes, that's the way it's defined, and yes, it most certainly needs supplementary design approaches etc.

But doesn't all of this fall under the "bleedin' obvious" department? Kinetic-physical immersiveness is a property, not a game.

I'm not denying that it's useful coupled with those design approaches,
Oh, really? You could've fooled me:

Originally Posted by Brother None
Is it completely personal that I can't see the use of having a physical/kinetic sensation of being in the game with having a feeling of involvement? That sounds completely useless to me. Not neutral, it just sounds purposeless.

Originally Posted by Brother None
Other than occasional nausea if the camera is too wobbly in first- or third-person POV, I have never had a different sense of immersion in those kind of games than I have in any other perspective. I had no more feeling of "being" the PC in BioShock than I did in Fallout. Nada, zilch, zip. But I have a very strong imagination, and I don't see why graphics or POV should limit my imagination, or how.
Here you're not only saying it's useless — you're actually saying that it doesn't even exist!

PJ, the trouble with talking with you about this topic is that I get a feeling that I'm constantly fighting not to get pulled down a slippery slope. I'm leaning backward as far as I can not to say anything that'll set you off, yet it keeps happening. You're extremely sensitive about this topic, and have a tendency to interpret anything I say in the worst possible light.
BN, that wasn't fair. I have honestly tried to go out of my way to phrase my stuff as neutrally as possible here, yet you've still been reading all kinds of stuff into my statements — such as an assumption of technological inferiority, or a wish to see this become a dominant paradigm, and so on. It makes me angry, and I've resolved not to get angry on this forum, so in the future I'll simply ignore what you have to say on the topic.

Finally, I would suggest that we start to use the term "immersive" to denote the physical-kinetic sensation of being in the game, and the term "engaging" or "involving" to denote the experience of being emotionally engaged or involved in a game. Or we start using the prefixes suggested by Wikipedia — "narrative immersion" for what you're talking about, "spatial immersion" for the definition I've suggested. I do have a feeling the current usage of immersIVE has a strong connotation of spatial immersion, though.

Final edit: as stated, I'm starting to get angry at you again, so I'll join Squeek in getting off this thread. Consider this a "win" if it makes you feel better.
Last edited by Prime Junta; March 2nd, 2008 at 09:38.
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March 2nd, 2008, 13:29
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
Can't say I've had that pleasure.
(…)
No, it doesn't — and the fact that you read it that way goes pretty far to prove my point that you stretch the hell out of everything anyone says with "immersion" and "RPG" in it.
It's all me? It's not like the previewer literally said "you really don't have to be a passionate RPG player (…) to get immersed in the virtual world of Mass Effect"? It's not like that's actually putting up immersion as a separate value that's implied to be primary to that of "being a passionate RPG player", e.g. the RPG experience.

Methinks it might be too easy to just try and blame the messenger in this case.

Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
But doesn't all of this fall under the "bleedin' obvious" department? Kinetic-physical immersiveness is a property, not a game.
Oh really? You tell a lot of the mainstream gaming media that.

Thing is, you're trying to make this about your personal viewpoints on immersion. But I don't care about your personal viewpoints on immersion, I was talking - originally - about the way the term has become tainted to mean something it shouldn't. Your viewpoints are well and good, but they don't represent the common discourse and as such aren't really relevant to what I was saying.

Odd that I only just realised that. The hell we've been talking about, then?

Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
Here you're not only saying it's useless — you're actually saying that it doesn't even exist!
It's funny how you accuse me of getting emotional and twisting your words and then turn around and do much the same thing. Hey, here's a tip: stop telling me what I'm saying.
For clarity, here's what I actually said:
- I don't experience it. I never denied it exists, just that I don't experience it
- From later postings, you should've been able to figure out that in "I can't see the use of having a physical/kinetic sensation of being in the game with having a feeling of involvement", with should actually read without. I do that all the time, as I bet you've noticed, type over half words like that. I clarified it in later posts, though, so I'm not sure why it'd still confuse you.

Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
yet you've still been reading all kinds of stuff into my statements
Hey, kettle, you're a nigger.

Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
such as an assumption of technological inferiority, or a wish to see this become a dominant paradigm
Both those things were directly drawn from your own analogy. You're blaming me for your bad choice of analogy? Hey, I think the straws are breaking.

Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
so in the future I'll simply ignore what you have to say on the topic.
Again? You're just narrowing down how much we can talk about further and further.

I'd just do some breathing exercises or something, because ignoring things just because they annoy you is about as intellectual an exercise as masturbation. Hell, it is mental masturbation!

But then again, I'm beginning to note more and more that you tend to instantly draw any discussion into some kind of meta-psychological narrative about my tendencies to do this or that, my anger, my passion. I'm sorry, but while it's not insulting in the least, it's still an ad hominem. If you insist on lowering any discussion to base ad hominems, and you're three-out-of-three so far on any time you've talked to me, then it's pretty much me who has to give up on you. Because I don't care about internet debates to go for that kind of tedious slug-o-war, it's about as intellectually stimulating as smoking a pipe (an example I choose because pipe-smoking has the same thin veneer of fake intellectualism as those kind of internet debates).

Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
Final edit: as stated, I'm starting to get angry at you again, so I'll join Squeek in getting off this thread. Consider this a "win" if it makes you feel better.
Please don't project your own personality on me, I couldn't give a damn less about who wins what, I'm here for the intellectual sport. Other than on the Bethesda forums, I haven't had an internet debate in which I've gone for the win in years. I've outgrown that approach.

Also, to quote Bookworm: No, don't leave me!

It's lonely out here
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March 2nd, 2008, 19:30
I remember being involved in a hairy debate with roqua (whom I sorely miss) about the power of words—I think it was in that thread about the women basketball players being called nappy-headed ho's.

Anyway, he maintained that words could never be a really meaningful form of damage compared to physical assault. I wonder if he's read this thread…

This debate between Prime J and BN certainly illustrates to me how personal and subjective definition can be; also how volatile, and how effective mere words can be at assaulting identity and positions.

Please don't damage each other too much verbally—your discourse is valuable precisely because you do disagree and are articulate about it. The hair-splitting of the true meaning of immersion aside, shining the light of your respective thoughts on the various subjects brought up on the boards has a merit in its own right, and adds to everyone's experience when you guys keep it between the lines.

My two cents.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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March 2nd, 2008, 20:58
Funny thing is, I'd probably agree with roqua. I'm not much a believer of power of words an sich, and it doesn't matter to me how you define immersiveness. It becomes annoying, for me, when it is used as a kind of abstract "goal" that all games should reach - where possible - and is equated with a first-person high-graphic experience. That combination is too close-minded for me.

Which I guess would be my whole point. But I have no one left to discuss it with since I annoy everyone

Words are just words. It's the effects that scare me, the reactions. I'd probably mind Fallout 3 a lot less if it didn't mean that the chance of a sequel that is close(r than Bethesda's interpretation) to the originals becomes all the less likely.
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March 2nd, 2008, 21:27
Originally Posted by Brother None View Post
Funny thing is, I'd probably agree with roqua. I'm not much a believer of power of words an sich, and it doesn't matter to me how you define immersiveness. It becomes annoying, for me, when it is used as a kind of abstract "goal" that all games should reach - where possible - and is equated with a first-person high-graphic experience. That combination is too close-minded for me.

Which I guess would be my whole point. But I have no one left to discuss it with since I annoy everyone

Words are just words. It's the effects that scare me, the reactions. ….
Well, last time I looked, this whole thread consisted of words and the ideas they represent and the effects/ reactions you're concerned about are because of them, so I must be missing your point. If you didn't care about the contextual meaning/definition of 'immersive', this whole discussion would never have occurred, right?

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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March 2nd, 2008, 22:50
"Words are just words. It's the effects that scare me, the reactions."

People you mean.
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March 2nd, 2008, 23:16
Originally Posted by magerette View Post
Well, last time I looked, this whole thread consisted of words and the ideas they represent and the effects/ reactions you're concerned about are because of them, so I must be missing your point. If you didn't care about the contextual meaning/definition of 'immersive', this whole discussion would never have occurred, right?
I don't give a damn about the contextual meaning or definition of immersive, semantic debates on the internet are the biggest waste of time of this century. Already!

As I said a few posts above, the debate somehow turned to PJ's personal definition of immersive, but I don't care about his personal definition of immersive, he can define it however he wants. It's not the word or the word's meaning that disturbs me, it's the discourse surrounding it. The way it is used in gaming's current paradigm of universal design as the ultimate goal. Yuck.

Hence, "tainted". The meaning of the word has nothing to do with it being tainted. That was the whole point of my starting example of the Russian word товарищ.
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March 3rd, 2008, 00:05
And 'the discourse" and "contextual meaning" aren't terms for the same thing? If the whole damn discussion isn't about words and how they're used or misused, and what they mean in various contexts to different people then I'm lost.

So, I also bow out, since I can't even understand the terms of the debate, let alone the debate itself. And I question whether anybody else does either.

(I know, I know—nobody asked me to jump in in the first place. I just hate for people to be lonely )

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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March 3rd, 2008, 00:21
Originally Posted by magerette View Post
And 'the discourse" and "contextual meaning" aren't terms for the same thing? If the whole damn discussion isn't about words and how they're used or misused, and what they mean in various contexts to different people then I'm lost.
Well, the choice of word isn't relevant. The discourse is. You can freely replace immersive with any other word, it won't change a thing. That's why and how I don't care about meaning of the term discourse, but I do consider the word tainted for its function in the popular discourse.

Originally Posted by magerette View Post
(I know, I know—nobody asked me to jump in in the first place. I just hate for people to be lonely )
<3
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March 3rd, 2008, 00:27
Originally Posted by magerette View Post
I remember being involved in a hairy debate with roqua (whom I sorely miss) about the power of words—I think it was in that thread about the women basketball players being called nappy-headed ho's.
Okay, so where is Roqua and why is he not here?
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March 3rd, 2008, 00:45
Where would marketing be without connotation and denotation though? It's one of it's more interesting sides after all.
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