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Game Design


Talk about game design, ideas, theories, issues, and anything related to gameplay here!

When your game is at burn-time....

A question of interest to garage-programmers

Say you've written your first game[8D], perhaps as part
of a small group of friends or solo.. How would
you go about protecting it under Australian law
(copyrighting)? An archaic method I've heard is
to post a copy of the game to yourself and have
it held, unopened in a bank...

Submitted by Blitz on Mon, 09/08/04 - 10:00 AMPermalink

Your work is automatically protected under australian copyright law (by virtue that you are the one who created it), what you're talking about though is proving your claim?
You can do this by sending yourself a *registered* mail, and the postage data/stamp will serve as plentiful proof of the date. Of course you need to keep the letter closed. It doesn't need to be held in a bank, that would just be so you don't lose it :P
CYer, Blitz

Submitted by WiffleCube on Sat, 14/08/04 - 10:26 AMPermalink

That's useful to know, thanks. It might encourage a few enthusiasts to break the mold and publish without being worried about the legal paperwork.

Submitted by Daemin on Mon, 16/08/04 - 3:56 AMPermalink

Just remember that publishers will always have more money than you, and thus more money equals better lawyers and more of them.

So still take caution and get your own legal advice.

Submitted by McKnight on Sun, 05/06/05 - 8:48 AMPermalink

What happens if there is a bank robbery? :D You never know some random Game Designers might get low on ideas and decide to rob banks to see if it contains any game plots. Think about it...

Well anyway, I believe you should cover yourself with several methods. Like send it to yourself and also hold it in a bank and if you have the money get the legal advice.

Submitted by redwyre on Mon, 06/06/05 - 8:40 AMPermalink

I wouldn't be so worried.. personally I'd release a demo of the game to some "official" sites (sites that people know and trust) so that everyone knows that you made it :)

If you are really worried, you should talk to a lawyer that does this stuff.

S.O.A=an ugly, propagandist bit of beta code.

I recently bought a copy of SOA (Soldiers of Anarchy) publisher
Red Ant. In a nutshell the plot is very hostile to any country or
organisation that threatens american interests e.g. the UN. For
Red Ant to have published this shows contempt for international
markets. This is not really the venue to discuss political opinion, but I would say this; "Keep Politics Out Of Games'.

Submitted by WiffleCube on Sat, 07/08/04 - 11:11 AMPermalink

quote:Originally posted by HazarD

Now im interested [:D]

*WEG* Yes, there is that factor.
Hmm perhaps game ideas with negative publicity?

Mud-wrestle Foxy Boxing PRO

RAID Over Moscow (1980s game); redone as RAID over Washington

Endangered Species Duckshoot 3D!

Submitted by Kalescent on Sat, 07/08/04 - 11:40 AMPermalink

ROFL @ Raid over Washington!

ahhhhhhhh politics... what a waste of a profession. Nuff said.

Submitted by 3MMAI on Tue, 07/09/04 - 11:01 PMPermalink

quote:Originally posted by WiffleCube

quote:Originally posted by HazarD

Now im interested [:D]

*WEG* Yes, there is that factor.
Hmm perhaps game ideas with negative publicity?

ever heard of XXX BMX (or something similar) on ps2? it's a game that tries to combine Tony Hawk style gaming with strippers and porn start!! lol it's funny when people blatantly go for negative publicity and don't get it...
Manhunt springs to mind!

Submitted by arcane on Wed, 15/09/04 - 9:36 AMPermalink

We just got a game in at work titled, "America's Most Wanted" (or similar). The entire concept is to hunt down, and kill, the "deck of cards" of America's Most Wanted. Hell, there's a sticker on the front cover advertising the fact that you get to kill Osama Bin Laden! (or to that effect)

Is that propoganda or what!

- a

Submitted by 3MMAI on Thu, 16/09/04 - 8:59 PMPermalink

i saw that game on the Today show this morning... that's the first thing that went thru my head...

is it any fun though?

2D games going 3D?

Hey guys. i was just wondering wot u think about the idea of converting old 2d games in 3d games. Like turning "Zelda a link to the Past" from a top down RPG into an adventure RPG.

Submitted by Maitrek on Sun, 01/08/04 - 11:45 PMPermalink

It's alot harder than most people would be led to believe.

That's it...I'm keeping it short.

Submitted by Kalescent on Mon, 02/08/04 - 3:27 AMPermalink

Id like to add that I think maitrek's comment pretty much goes for any game your going to create, and a remake of an existing / old classic / franchise only makes the task even more difficult.

If you come up with your own ideas, your artists can build what they want - things are a bit more open for discussion, theres a bit more room for change. Building to an existing franchise means you have to please someone else, which opens a whole world of new situations, usually testing the hardiest of managers / directors and their respective teams.

Not meant to be a dampner - just an insight. [:)]

Submitted by Maitrek on Mon, 02/08/04 - 8:28 AMPermalink

I'll quickly point out another issue - you have to change the style of play to suit what kind of 3D environment you use, there's no point making a game that can be perfectly represented in 2D using 3D graphics.

If it's a 3D game then make use of the new spatial dimension and whatever particular cinematographic presentation techniques are on offer because of that change.

Submitted by Skribble on Mon, 02/08/04 - 3:34 PMPermalink

LoL ok guys u dont have to go all technical on me [:)] i was just asking wot games u would like to see go 3D, not like i was actualy gonna make one haha.

Submitted by souri on Mon, 02/08/04 - 8:24 PMPermalink

A lot of game franchises have moved on to 3D with varying successes. Some of them have opened up new ways of gameplay in the process (Super Mario 64, Prince of Persia), while others don't add anything new (for example, Street Fighter EX, which is a lot worse than the Street Fighter 2/Alpha games, in my opinion.. the player models were blocky (even for the time it was released), it's a lot less responsive + slower, and the 3d backgrounds were no match for the beautiful hand drawn pieces seen in the 2d versions.). Making a *carbon* copy of an old 2d game into 3d is a wasted opportunity to push the envelope.

I think most 2d game types have transitioned to 3d so far.. any ideas what hasn't? (and dont say text adventures). I've played lots of old 2d games.. I'll get back to you on what I think would make a great conversion to 3d. [:)]

Submitted by Maitrek on Tue, 03/08/04 - 2:58 AMPermalink

Skribble -> welcome to the ' have to be pretty specific about what you are asking because there is alot of expression lost in an electronic medium.

AS for games in 2D that I'd like to see 3D-ified...hrm...tough one - there aren't many out there that haven't already been done (to a varying degree). In fact, my brain is empty atm! I can name another mostly wasted attempt -> DN: Manhattan Project was still just a platformer, played out in 2D (although it had 3D graphics and occasionally things would twist around in an attempt to show volume and perspective) it was kinda fun though, especially for a misogynist macho freak like me (hah). When you think about it, the first FPS games were basically old side-scroller shooters shown a new '3D' perspective (shoot, jump, heal, or pick up power-ups that make you shoot, jump and heal faster), that's definitely a transition that has worked.

Submitted by Aven on Tue, 03/08/04 - 3:33 AMPermalink

Gunstar Heroes. I wouldn't really like the gameplay to be made into 3D (unless it is done well), but a nice overhaul of graphics locked side on would be nice. There were rumors ages ago about Sega doimg a new one. We all know what nwt rumors are like though

A completely 3D version of the Syndicate franchise would also be nice. Not just the 2.5D of Syndicate Wars. Doubt it will happen any time soon.

Submitted by Skribble on Mon, 09/08/04 - 3:09 AMPermalink

going off topic ^.^ - Wouldnt it be kool if Square redid final fantasy 7 with improved graphics. in my opinion FF7 was one of the best games made, but the character models were ridiculous, mind you i still play it over and over but it would be great if they remade everything. Then i could watch aeris die without laughing.

Submitted by Kalescent on Mon, 09/08/04 - 3:14 AMPermalink

Even more off topic what made it one of the best gamaes ever made Skribble ? in your oppinion ?

Submitted by tojo on Thu, 12/08/04 - 7:34 PMPermalink

dude!!!!! Zelda 3 (on snes) ....... what a game to do it to.......... i would buy 16 copies.......
that is my no1 all time favourite game........... i even have the soundtrack....

my 2 computers are called 'link' and 'zelda' and i even put a tribute in the sumea pixeltown

my cat is called zelda ......

.............. i love that little dude

Submitted by beefcake on Tue, 23/11/04 - 10:53 AMPermalink

I found 3D Mario (I played Sunshine) and Worms were not so good... [^]

2D is still another genre if you ask me, I will play a good gameplay 2D game over an amazing graphics same old 3D gameplay anyday! [8]

Submitted by AntsZ on Fri, 13/05/05 - 10:12 AMPermalink

Shadowrun on the Snes would be a great conversion to 3d

Submitted by MrEeMan on Fri, 08/08/08 - 4:15 PMPermalink

Fallout 3 is one coming up. We will see if its good or not (I am guessing not).

Metroid made the conversion fairly well (though Prime only really shone on the Wii for me, I cant stand playing FPS with a gamepad).

Zelda did it pretty well as well. I wasn't too thrilled with GTA3 when it came out (in comparison with GTA2, mostly due to lack of multiplayer), but the franchise was won me over since then.

I don't think you can directly translate a 2D game into 3D. It becomes a different game at that point. The story/characters might be similar, but the game is much different. I guess there are general themes of gameplay that can be preserved, but the moment to moment gameplay is going to be fundamentally altered.

The End.

Submitted by Bittman on Mon, 29/09/08 - 4:51 PMPermalink

What has been said so far is correct - no game that is 2D is the same game as it is in 3D. The best games that survived this transition stuck to the points which made it a famous 2D game whilst inventing new ways to use a 3D engine (Mario, PoP and Zelda being obvious winners).

Not much left to re-make, if at all. Fallout 3 was technically 3D (forgot the name of that perspective now...) so to me it's not the transition this topic covers, but it will still be a challenge.

Even 3D tetris was done with Tetrisphere!

Submitted by jadedbuddha on Tue, 30/09/08 - 11:22 AMPermalink

I agree with bitman entirely that no game is that is 2D is the same game in 3D. For that reason the games to choose are ones that are adaptable and could use extra content or tweakage games like:

Covert Action
Sword of the Samurai
Syndicate (even though Syndicate Wars Sucked)
Dogs of War (needs expanding though)
Rocket Ranger
It came from the desert
Mind Sweeper

Interactive Narrative and Delivery

Thought I might raise the idea of Interactive narratives in games, using database as the primary form of accessing story.

Sounds Deep?

Check out the story machine!

Awesome little interactive narrative demostration.. try and guess what the story is??

Basically interactive narrative is the idea of telling a story where the delivery is of a non-linear nature. Where the outcome (story) is a resultant of how the user navigated or transversed the narrative.

I find this one of the most interesting concepts to come out the convergence of digital and traditional media. The Primary focus is the delivery of the story (narrative) and not the story itself...

kinda interesting??

post ya ideas on this

Submitted by Blitz on Thu, 22/07/04 - 11:32 PMPermalink

Choose your own adventure stories o.o
CYer, Blitz

Submitted by Me109 on Fri, 23/07/04 - 2:18 AMPermalink

Yeah right on.. exactly... I'd like to see more of it in games..

Submitted by palantir on Sun, 25/07/04 - 9:11 AMPermalink

But how bad wore those choose your own adventure stories? You had a book about 200 pages long, with a story about 40 pages long! [:P] And you constantly recovered the same ground. I think they were really a bit of a gimmick, designed for children with small attention spans who had difficulty reading a novel.

I think a game narrative set up with some kind of decision tree based story line would have the same weaknesses as the choose your own adventure books. Players would find themselves rehashing old game narrative/game play over and over, and a game that could have been, say, 30 hours of linear game play, would be reduced to a short adventure, only a few hours long ? though with the development time of a 30 hour game.

I think it would be an extremely difficult challenge to produce a game like this and make it even remotely playable. I think the end result would just be player frustration. Though, like the choose your own adventure books, choose your own adventure games might appeal to a very young audience, mainly for it?s novel approach. I think most intelligent gamers would see straight through the decision tree design and tire of the game very quickly.

Though like with anything, if enough research and effort is put into the development, I think that anything is possible. An interactive narrative and delivery that?s fun could be possible, but it would probably be a massive undertaking to develop. Without serious efforts put into the design and development of such a game, I think it would just be a complete wast of time for both the developer and the end user.

Submitted by Me109 on Thu, 29/07/04 - 4:10 AMPermalink

Some really good points there dude! And I guess re-playability / re-readability is the main concern about this idea working or not working..
However I feel that if the game is of a good 'concept' stands a chance of making the whole idea work.. and i guess this is what plagues the industry, where developers realise it is harder to make someone replay a game and instead focus on a short and intense experience that suits the attention span of most gamers.

so I guess thats what it comes down too.. compelling gameplay / story
and also that a 'game' has advantages over a 'book'
where instead of restarting the story in order to 'choose an adventure'
the player continues from the last save.. I think what i mean is that you should be able to start a game anywhere and anytime vs the start

Anyhow.. this is up for discussion... so keep it coming! :) cheers

Submitted by Maitrek on Sun, 01/08/04 - 3:32 AMPermalink

It sounds like a gimmick to me...after having talked to a couple of industry luminary types I'd have to say that for the immediate future these kind of ideas are infeasible...way too big a development cost for too small an outcome. It costs $$$ to make that much content. A better idea is to focus on presenting an overall linear story in a series of short non-linear segments.

I played a very old game and i loved it

i don't know if you guys know the Broken Swords game (i think you can downlod it at -- yeah, i'm french by the way) . It's an adventure game made by revolution studios, a london-based company. i think it was released in 1997, so it's quite old. there are some cut scenes but the gameplay is centered around guiding (it's mouse-based) a guy named georges stobbard.

well, that was a great adventure that made me say "waoaww, that was way too cool" and makes me a bit dreamy. lots of travelling around europe, action scenes, great story, rhytm, lots of talking of course, cheesy jokes and a cool character.

i think it is one of the best games i played, even if the screen resolution&graphics looks *bad* compared to today's superior special effects.

that makes me into thinking about the "performance race" i am seeing nowdays. i am not saying cheesy 3D graphics are bad, but if a gamer has some kind of superior gaming experience with plain old graphics, why spend millions on graphics engines and super-sized photo-realistic textures ?

i mean, i think nowdays game designers focus too much on technical aspects of their game. they 'd say they want 500k + polygons and lens flare and everything without thinking first about the gameplay and the EXPERIENCE the game is going to give to the kid or guy playing at the other end. on this forum for example, there is this maitrek guy who says far cry is not a game. i agree with him because now i just feel 3d fps games are just technical applications showing how good the developers' 3d engine is.

so maybe people working in the game industry should consider themselves as entertainers, creators and artists than technical developers. they should aim to entertain gamers and give them an experience. maybe try to express some kind of personal vision. exactly like creating a movie or writing a book.

in fact, i'd like one day to be in an industry that has the same objectives ( and coolness) as the film industry, with a different medium. making memorable and breath taking products. not just some kind of quick-fix-and-throw-away-technical-products.

Submitted by codyalday on Sat, 03/07/04 - 12:59 PMPermalink

I am hearing you. I would rather prefare Game Play then Graphics. How many times have you Played Call of Duty, and stopped and thought, " Wow, this looks nice " unlikely, you will be to busy playing as the Game Play is Good.
Anyways, I have Played Broken Sword, The Shadow of Templers, really good game. Just a tip, watch out for that damn goat.

Submitted by bullet21 on Sat, 03/07/04 - 7:17 PMPermalink

I believe maitrek said far cry is not a game because, not becuase it lacks gameplay, but it makes you a nervous wreck while you are playing, whereas games are meant to be fun. I agree about gameplay over Gfx, remember that old game Shadow Knights, that would have to be one of my all time favourite games.

But still i'm sure you can achieve both gfx and gameplay, sure it is a lot harder thing to come by these days but it can be done. A few games are the Final Fantasy series they had gfx and gameplay and Hitman, i also wreckon Farcry achieved it as well, that's why it made you so nervous cos you were so involved.

Although i would like to see gameplay be taken more serious as well, I still love my gfx and so do a lot of other people, that's why they go out and by $1000 video cards, that's why there is such a gfx race betwwen Nvidia and ATI.

Submitted by Blitz on Sun, 04/07/04 - 3:44 AMPermalink

A game not being a game because it isn't fun is kinda silly imo. You wouldn't call a movie not a movie because you didn't laugh or anything, games as well as movies are designed to evoke all sorts of different emotions. They exist to entertain their audience, give them an experience they don't have in their everyday routine etc.
1997 is an old game! Now you're even making me feel like an old man :P
Oh, and btw, graphics and licenses sell more games than good gameplay.
No-one would pay $89.95 for monkey island these days, because it just doesn't look up to scratch.
CYer, Blitz

Submitted by bullet21 on Sun, 04/07/04 - 4:53 AMPermalink

There's also no real way of measuring gameplay. In a magazine when you read a review, the writer might say it's gameplay is good, but it's his opinion. But graphics can be measured, everyone knows a good looking zombie or night elf when they see one, where as gameplay is all matter of opinion. Seeing as a lot of people purchase games on reviews, this might also be an explanation for why game developers are going for graphics these days.

Submitted by Wizenedoldman on Sun, 04/07/04 - 7:57 AMPermalink

Reading the title of the thread I expected you talk about something like Wizball or Pong, not a game from 1997 ;) Guess it's just funny what some people term 'really old'.

Submitted by Kalescent on Sun, 04/07/04 - 8:53 AMPermalink

Yeah what would people class, Barbarian ? and Pitfall ? maybe Hunchback ? Ghost'n'Goblins ?

Submitted by Gordon Ranger on Sun, 04/07/04 - 1:41 PMPermalink

quote:1997 is an old game! Now you're even making me feel like an old man :P

being in the computer industry where the chips are supposed to double their power, i think 1997 is quite old. the games nowdays cannot just be compared to (at all) to the games made 7 years ago.

quote:Oh, and btw, graphics and licenses sell more games than good gameplay.

i don't really know the games market, but let's just take the example of blizzard
these guys prefer to make a game with a perfect gameplay, true story and a great ambiance. and they are not afraid to release it monthS later. i remember they had the capacity to make warcraft 3 full 3d with full camera control for the gamer and they just dropped it. they also have 5 races at the beginning and they dropped it because it was too much elements for the gamers and didn't bring nothing worthwile for the gaming experience.

did they sell the games ? yeah, sure i think they are among the best selling studios out there. they sell their copies with a minimum of 3 millions copies each. and they still do.

gameplay&story is also important because it builds fidelity. i tried one day warcraft2. it made such an impression on me that i just had to buy diablo and warcraft 3 when they got out, knowing i'll get qaulity games with great story. there are millions of gamers who behaves like me out there.

for bullet21, i also want to say that good gameplay didn't stop them to make great graphics, so yeah a game company can do good gfx but they definetly have to emphasize the gameplay&experience of the game

Submitted by bullet21 on Sun, 04/07/04 - 8:52 PMPermalink

quote:i just had to buy diablo and warcraft 3 when they got out, knowing i'll get qaulity games with great story

And some of the most kick arse, best looking orgasmatic cut scenes you will ever see. Shit, i'd buy blizard games just for the cut scenes. They should release a DVD ;)

Submitted by palantir on Mon, 05/07/04 - 5:48 AMPermalink

7 years ago really isn?t that old ? it?s just not current, that?s all. Like Hazard said, stuff from the 80?s, now that?s old! [:)].

With your WarCraft example, I?ll just point out that they are nearing completion of World of WarCraft, which will be a stunning 3D technical achievement, yet will still probably have great game play. - So even Blizzard try to make visually impressive games.

2xp, you commented about developers spending millions on graphics, without worrying too much about game play. As Blitz pointed out, it?s because graphics is what sell games, and making money is what it?s all about. It?s like the film industry with their special effects ? if a movie looks incredible it will do well at the box office, though if it also has a great story it will do even better.

It?s not like game developers aren?t concerned about making good game play, of course they want the best possible end-product, though sometimes unfortunately the end product isn?t as fun as they were hoping.

BTW, I think the main point of maitrek?s Farcry thread was that the game is more like a sport then a game, where the focus is on achieving a goal instead of plain old fun.

You know, those old games that have ?superior? game play were once the cutting edge of graphics too, and back then some people used to complain that the graphics were too much the focus and there should be more focus on game play. :P

People will always complain about lack of focus on game play, but personally I don?t think it?s a very sensible argument. Getting back to the movie analogy, it?s like saying that movie producers mainly worry about special effects and don?t care enough about the story. Of course they want an engaging story, just as game developers want a fun game, but the effects or graphics are a necessary part of the production, and often end up being better then the story or game play. But that doesn?t mean attention wasn?t given to making an entertaining movie or game, it just turned out that the movie wasn?t very interesting, or the game wasn?t very fun.

Most games are actually pretty fun to play, though different types of games appeal to different people. In the end, it?s all about personal preference. If you play enough games, guaranteed you?ll find a high-tech modern game that is the most fun game you?ve ever played. The technology is just a necessary part of the game.

Submitted by Wizenedoldman on Tue, 06/07/04 - 1:04 AMPermalink

quote:Shit, i'd buy blizard games just for the cut scenes. They should release a DVD ;)

Not sure if you meant the wink to be 'as if they would' or 'I know, they already have', because yes, they have released a DVD with a collection of their cutscenes. I'm sure you could poke around the Blizzard site to find it.

Submitted by Maitrek on Tue, 13/07/04 - 3:49 AMPermalink

Broken Sword is definitely not 'old' however it is certainly dated :)

quote:these guys prefer to make a game with a perfect gameplay, true story and a great ambiance.

I would have to totally disagree with that...I'm not going to go completely into it - perhaps we are just caught up in nomenclature - but 'perfect' gameplay is complete bollocks, especially when talking about Blizzard. Blizzard do not make 'perfect' gameplay. What they do excessively well is make very balanced, very accessible games. I wouldn't say that their recent sequels (Diablo 2, Warcraft 3) have had anywhere near the broad impact that their predecessors have - in fact I think Blizzard have basically just cornered a market and are now hammering it to death.

This is because they are over-complicating the games, and over-specialising (something that I see alot of across the board in modern games - how often does a brilliantly simple entertaining game come out these days).

And for all those not exactly sure what I was going on about with the whole Farcry post, I'm getting to explaining that in full :)

As for Broken Sword? Well, I wouldn't say it's anything outstanding either - it does do what it does very smoothly and effectively and it's quite accessible. I have alot of disdain for 'adventure' games even though I loved them, it's foolish to think that they are going to be successful in these times because they are simply a too restrictive form of game - I'm not just talking graphically, but interfaces have developed, NPC technology has developed, AI has developed. To go all the way back to a linear story, with some clicking to interrupt it, would just be daft.

Now, as for the whole focussing on graphics more than gameplay? I agree with everyone else, there's no sense in the argument, graphics can't make gameplay WORSE so there's no reason that they shouldn't be as polished as possible. What does suck is how lazy game designers are. How come we haven't developed our game design mechanisms to allow for greater experiences? We just can't blame the graphics tech for that one, it's purely the designers fault.

Submitted by souri on Fri, 16/07/04 - 12:34 AMPermalink

I love old games as well - most of the games from the 8bit and 16bit era are simple and have a quick pick up and play quality to them. I guess this is why a lot of them translate well to the Game Boy Advance. Maybe because of the quick turn around, or perhaps publishers were more open on what's released because of the smaller budgets, but there were lots of game ideas that were explored in 2d back then too. Many ideas which are worth looking at for inspiration...

There were, however, tonnes of old games that were extremely crap and I'm sure there was a large ratio of bad games to good ones back then. I definately played a lot of crap games in the 80's [:)]. But the really good old games will be fun and playable forever!

And yeh, I played Farcry at my friends a while ago.. having a rocket hit you from a far away boat, getting machine gunned by the damn helicopters, or being sniped from 5kms away gets annoying [:)].

Submitted by lsdod on Sun, 25/07/04 - 1:40 AMPermalink

Gameplay VS Graphics is an age old debate. And i think its a pretty common consenus amongst gamers that gameplay always wins hands-down.

However, its obviously about the complete experience. Doesn't matter the silghtest bit what each aspect of the game is like. If the total package makes you want to keep playing and playing, its a winner.

That said, someone who has just forked out $500 for the latest & greatest video card, probably wants a game to show it off. Ultimately, you want a game to excel in as many areas as possible and most importantly, have an overal positive effect on you.

Sometimes games seem to have brilliant graphics, ai, gameplay, etc. But something is lacking, call it spirit if you want, but basically, no-one enjoys playing this game. This happens. No one aspect of a game can define whether or not its good.

A good game is so because a majority of people who play it, come back for more.

The thing I find with old games though, is while sometimes they can be very strong in what I call "spirit" and I can certainly look past dated graphics, but unfortunately often what happens is that if a game of the old days was good, then many newers games have incorporated its best elements into a more complete package. So it can be hard to find an old game that is both great, but also hasn't got a newer/better clone.

But there will always be some oldies, that will remain the kings of their genres. Especially something like a 2d-platformer, because that genre has died off, to play the best 2d platformer, chances are you'll be playing an old game. Same with text adventure games, point-click adventure games, etc.

Time in Game Narratives

OK- so time to move the discussion that came out of "save anywhere" into it's own thread.

Thanks for your suggestion JT- I checked out Shadow of Memories and it's an interesting look at a game that is playing with timeline in a flashback style. This is not QUITE what I'm on about though...

Time travel is one thing- but doing the timetravelling flashback sequence still works its way into a logical linear timeline. The action in the game still follows the A, then B, then C route- Even if you start at C (the death of the avatar) and jump to A, and work yourself back through B to C. It's like so many movies that start with the ending and then the rest of the movie shows you how you got there. Even Memento is completely logical in its temporal progression. There is actually an article online that documents the way to resequence the scenes of the movie on your DVD player so it will run from start to finish!

The most convoluded example I can think of in this vein is Timecop 2 with Jason Scott Lee- After seeing the movie I'm not really sure how carefully they worked out the repeating timeline but it goes without saying whoever had to do the scripting must have needed a sebatical after it was complete. (having said that we could all have been spared alot of bad one liners if they'd never gotten employed in the first place!)

What I'm specifically looking for are stories that play with the idea of time itself. Run Lola Run really plays with its 20 mins. Fellini's 8mm follows the director of the movie we are actually watching as he is doing the casting for the lead actress- and then he walks into another room in the same scene and we see the costumes that were being worn actually being designed and sewn together by a costume designer. The costume exists in both times, but it is not clear exactly how those times are situated in relation to each other in terms of a linear timeline. There is a connection- but not necessarily one that we can make definative sense of because it works both ways. Many films are shifting in this direction. A, B and C are related, but there are parts of A that are part of C and whether they happen before or after is ambiguous.

Obviously games would be hesitant to introduce this shift in a players perception of the timeline because game timelines do their best to make sense so the player can understand how to get to the END.

Have you ever seen a game or game element that questions narrative linearity?
Do you think there is a place in the game industry for game narratives focussed on experiences and perceptual shifts rather than challenge and win scenarios to develop?
What would happen if games stopped delineating a flashback with limited interactivity or widescreen bars and pieces of the past could filter into the present, and what the present was could constantly be thrown into question?

OK. I'm not going to blame anyone for needing a caffeine break before attempting a response to that one...

Submitted by TheBigJ on Mon, 31/05/04 - 11:24 PMPermalink

quote:It's like so many movies that start with the ending and then the rest of the movie shows you how you got there

That's right. A circular plot is still perfectly linear. Momento is not very different to other movies. The first scene (end of story) is the orientation. Characters are introduced, the scene is set, etc. The standard set of complications exist in appropriate places and the twist comes in near the end of the film (near the beginning of story). What would be really different is if the movie itself was told backwards. Characters are removed from the story before they are properly introduced, the twist occurs before you can make any sense of it, etc. This is still a very linear story but it gets away from the orientation-complicaton-climax-resolution format that exists in virtually every story out there.

quote:Have you ever seen a game or game element that questions narrative linearity?

Hmmm. Not really. I have seen games do some very interesting things (much more interesting than film anyway) but little of it is really what you're talking about.

Take, say, Maniac Mansion 2: Day of the Tentacle, for example. You control three characters each existing in the same mansion in the past, present and future, respectively. Being an adventure game, the gameplay was about as linear as it gets. Do this, then this, then this to get to the end. However, you are required to solve problems and make the three work together. For example, the character in the past cuts down a tree so it doesn't exist in the future, etc. The gameplay made you think about what effects your action in the present would have in the future, and what you could learn from the future to help you solve problems in the past.

quote:Do you think there is a place in the game industry for game narratives focussed on experiences and perceptual shifts rather than challenge and win scenarios to develop?

Absolutely. One of the main reasons I love games is that there is very little definition attached to the concept. To qualify as a game you have to be electronic, interactive, entertainment. I could see Run Lola Run translating quite well to an interactive story. I don't know if there is a place in the game industry of today, however. Things like this will slowly sneak their way in through titles which also offer challenge/win gameplay. Take Max Payne for example. There are really two sides to the game, awesome action and deep, symbolic storytelling. Some of my favourite parts in Max Payne 2 involve levels where you don't even draw your gun once. You're just walking around looking at suggestive mise-en-scene.

Submitted by Maitrek on Tue, 01/06/04 - 1:43 AMPermalink

I think an awesome example of timeline/perspective/narrative mixing in the movie industry is Adaptation. Don't ask how I'd put that in a game though :) But just in case you haven't seen it, check it out, see if you can spot the links between whats going on in the film and how the script changes etc.

Submitted by Prema on Tue, 01/06/04 - 1:53 AMPermalink

Thanks for tackling my fat thread guys. It really is about whether games in the future could run on a parallel development course to films.

I have seen adaptation- but only once. It sounds like quite a classic case about a scriptwriter but it turns out we're both watching the script evolve on screen as a story and within the story as the script scenario. It is a similar approach Fellini takes in 8mm with a director. Early literature has also used this approach- reading the end of a novel about a writer and realising you have just finished THEIR novel. It seems the most basic approach to creating a temporal paradox. So where's the game that's the jumbled coding of a game designer?

I am comforted to know there are some film buffs in the game industry- now all I need are star trek fans and I'm all set!

Submitted by Kalescent on Tue, 01/06/04 - 2:12 AMPermalink

Okay, i see where your going prema, was a bit off track before !

I think as a game, what you said about, providing a somewhat clear path towards an 'end' as such is probably the goal for most game related stories at the moment, just to appeal to a wider market. I mean while there is hope for a sub 12 year old gamer to finish a final fantasy game and only understand 50% of what is actually going on with the story, it would be a whole heap more difficult for that same age group to even grasp the ideas of perceptual shifting etc.

That doesn't rule it out tho, i think it could be a target market, just like run lola run was, you either love that style of movie, or you hate it.

Someone would need to be on the border of insanity to deliver a powerful storyline fitting a budget and the time restricted nature of game development, although it IS moving to nearer production for movies, i think it would still be a good few years away from producing something so twisted [:P] While a movie plays out and one simply sits back and watches, a game ( especially adventure/rpg style ) can be interacted with numerous amounts of ways, and each one has to be thought through, documented, and meet a sucessful resolve.

That kind of task IS grueling with a simple storyline, let alone a story playing with time and the perception of time within a game [:P] Its an interesting topic, like i said in my previous email, but one that would require ALOT of time, perserverance and compromise from storywriter to producer.


Submitted by Prema on Tue, 01/06/04 - 2:55 AMPermalink

Heya again JT!

Well it goes on...

I completely agree with your view that this kind of game approach in the current climate would probobly be rejected. Do you think though that this is also related to where gaming technology is at the moment. Just as an example- Taking the dress scene from Fellini- A player may miss a subtle clue like that because of issues like poor quality render textures in the dress...

I guess the more "subtle" indicators of paradoxical narrative timelines would be hard to implement simply because of technological limitations. In this sense- the game is working hard enough to keep the player recognising the basic environments and characters what to speak of playing with subtle symbolism. It's interesting to consider that few games will have the characters change their outfit unless it is an explicit part of the gameplay whereas films do this all the time. We can still recognise Cameron Diaz even if she's thrown on a new outfit- but Aeris doesn't change her garments, and if she did we might get her confused with Tifa or Yuffie!!

In this sense, perhaps it is only a matter of time and technology in terms of graphics and audio quality development before games can employ new approaches to temporality?
Do you think that improved technology could change the linear nature of games?

Submitted by Maitrek on Tue, 01/06/04 - 3:41 AMPermalink

The question that you have to ask yourself is 'why'? In the mid 90's people went beserk creating these interactive movies that, while story-wise, are still standouts in the industry - they were complete failures for numerous reasons. Working towards a film-level of character empathy is a good thing, working towards film-level storylines is probably not so worth it (it's just the wrong way to look at things I think, I would look at it as more of a side-effect of a nobler goal).

There is a 'problem' (as I'll loosely label it) with trying to defy the lienar nature of games. Most games, at this stage, are about as complex as any old board game...there are very strict win/lose conditions and alot of designers base their modus operandi on this kind of gameplay. Trying to make non-linear games requires non-linear forms of gameplay, not just a non-linear storyline. The storyline is usually (or works best as) a consequence of the success/failure of the player character within the game...if there is only a binary method for determining the player-character's success, then this leads to a very simple story path.

At the moment we are all too keen on linear styles of gameplay, and they sell well, and it's hard to market other forms.

On top of that, you have to look at what story-telling devices we have at our disposal in the gaming world. The story is almost utterly defined by non-player character interactions...they are the story tellers. If we wanted non-linear story, we'd have to heavily develop the ability of the AI/NPC to tell a non-linear story. At this stage in tech, we really can only go so far with scripting before we tire the writer out...imagine if you wanted 9 different endings to a many threads of conversation could the script-writer actually be bothered doing to convey the differences between them?

Other story telling devices (as you put it, visual clues etc) are woefully under-developed, and not just because of the lack of technological beefiness, it's simply under-explored. Our environments very rarely have any artistic relevance, the architecture is staid and always based in 'reality'. We simply don't convey (or even attempt to convey) any mood in our environments or our game world.

(end of lesson)

As for flexible timelines in games, I'd love to explore this topic further after we've made some strides in regards to *simple* non-linear story-telling in games :) Crappines will tend to arise if the whole timeline/perspective shamboozle is done out of simple artistic curiosity. Using timeline tomfoolery *within* a direct interactive context (ie as part of the game mechanic) is very important, and just tacking them onto the side really isn't any trickier than having a linear game with a convoluted story. I can tell you want to explore the nature of timeline within game mechanic!

I'll have to go and have a bit of a think as to what kind of game you could fit something like this in :) (I usually don't like to work this way - trying to 'fit' something into a game, but I'll give it a bit of a go none the less).

Sorry for the useless nature of this post.

So now that I'm on the same page as all you guys I'll go back into my shell! Be back in a bit.

Submitted by Prema on Tue, 01/06/04 - 4:22 AMPermalink

Thanks Maitrek!

In terms of the "what story would this fit into" if we take from our fave examples and see what alot of them are doing

01: Identify the media we use and who creates it
02: focus the narrative on someone who could potentially be creating the medium
03: modify the timeline so it becomes ambiguous whether the events are happening before or after the medium we are interacting with has been created. The medium we experience through is explicitly delineated eg. we know we are seeing through the camera.
04: Have elements that fulfil both scenarios and call the linear progression of events into question.

So we have a coder who dreams of making a game as the avatar. We have an explicit interface that refers to gaming code so we experience the game like a game- not a movie.
Now for the tricky part...
The storyline calls that we are able to watch the game designer as he is coding, and also in his life.
Perhaps early in the game our avatar sees a butterfly.
At another stage he sits down and writes some code about the mathematical patterns of a butterflies wings.
Either of these events could have occured first. It is merely the way we interact with the interface that changes whether we think- he saw a butterfly and wanted to write it into his game OR he wrote a butterfly into his game and THAT's why there was a butterfly in that scene.

But there really is no right or wrong to this. The butterfly is a paradox. It is a chicken and egg problem the player really can't solve and its existence doesn't move from event A to event B.

Yhea. That's gonna have to be a short black. And if you're thinking of responding as well... make it a macchiato.

Submitted by CombatWombat on Tue, 01/06/04 - 6:02 AMPermalink

What you are describing seems to be missing solid gameplay, which is kind of fundamental for a game to possess :) Without gameplay, it's just a non-interactive story, just a movie.

I may have missed something - would you be able to explain to me how you see this idea contributing to meaningful gameplay?



Submitted by Kalescent on Tue, 01/06/04 - 6:56 AMPermalink

your going too deep, too quickly for me prema! [:O] I agree with maitrek, this needs alot of thinking time. see - I think you've touched a nerve here, its an interesting topic, and one that I don't think has been brought to surface much at all.

Now we as gaming peoples, see this as challenge and being who we are, need to try overcome it [:D]

CW : Meaningful gameplay comes in all shapes and kinds does it not? someone may find sheer joy in a baked bean cooking simulation, while others find more joy in a car sim, or fighting game. ( exagerated i know [:p] )

I think it will be demographic specific - its definately an aquired taste, but nevertheless deserves a shot, its definately something new.

Prema : I think what you said about the tech not being to a level where its capable of portraying such small details is not quite true, IMO, the tech nowadays is definately at the level where the textures in a dress ( the example you used ) could definately be noticed, but like a movie, the camera angles, the way the character is able to interact with the scene, zoom in/out, pick up things, move objects around, all comes into it.

Is that small thing to be a focul point ? or just a 'small' thing thats placed strategically to make the player go " hey, wasnt that the dress that chick was wearing .... [:O] wtf is going on in this game! " - but only have it in the background to make players who DO notice, go " wow, thats freaky " [8]

Now that I think about it - I think this kind of attention in a horror action game like resi evil / silent hill - could possibly build foundation for the most mind distortingly, horrific game of all time - and one I'd definately want to play.[:D] A game that really plays with the player and makes people think " did the 'game' know that happened already? or did I make that happen by doing such and such "

A game world like that would be a phenominal task, but when you think about it, offer unlimited replayability.... the mind really boggles. [:D]

Submitted by Prema on Tue, 01/06/04 - 7:07 AMPermalink

Hey Mark -thanks for joining our little filmbuff meets game nerd session!

I think that playing with linear time can contribute to games in the way it has contributed to films. In the examples I mentioned before (and also those posted on the "save game" topic area) creating a perceptual shift makes us question more than just what's going on in the movie timeline. It jolts us into rethinking our understandings and preconceptions of time itself. It's also important to note that the times these shifts occur are usually just a single image embedded in a scene- often something we'll miss on first viewing. It doesn't mean that the movie completely abandons the rest of the story- it just tells it in a different way. Similarly I'm not suggesting we remove all interactivity and gameplay from games- but rather that the narratives that are there could be enhanced by these kinds of elements.

I'm sure when movies began to use these techniques people had the same reservations- I mean what does it contribute to the underlying narrative in it's most basic form- maybe nothing that the charaters will explicitly understand. BUT what does it contribute to the film experience as a whole? It can potentially redefine how the audience looks at the narrative as a whole. If suddenly realising paradoxical relationships between the different scenes in a movie can get us rethinking whether A followed B followed C but somehow A could have followed C- why wouldn't the same perceptual shifts have the potential to immerse us as gamers? Games have even more potential to explore these relationships than films because their visual and audio elements can be experienced spatially as well. Just as an example the way the radio you're carrying in Silent Hill crackles when you're approaching a monster. The sound alone is able to create a suspenseful atmosphere- it has taken something from horror films and taken it further than cinema could.

Do you think that interactive game design has the potential to develop beyond the initial parameters of a challenge that the player can overcome and be more about providing a rich narrative and perceptual experience?

In the example I gave above who's to say that the main character I was talking about wasn't being hunted down by the government because in his free time he hacks evil corporations and uploads pac-man viruses into their systems. In this way the butterfly perceptual shift- realising this is some form of interactive diary and the main character has re-created everything we are seeing while we are playing is the paradox that gets introduced. It could even then be built into the value system of the character- when we realise that if we want to keep playing the game the character has to keep writing his daily coding entries. If he spends too much time becoming a famous hacker and thwomping the baddies that come to get him the game interface and entries we as the player are interacting with would simply deteriate.

Okay. I think that one warrants some chocolate coated coffee beans.

Submitted by Prema on Tue, 01/06/04 - 7:18 AMPermalink

Sorry JT- just read yours.

I must've been writing same time as you!

When I think of the scariest film I have ever seen I think of Mulholland Drive- And I've seen lots of horror and gore! What makes it so damn freaky is the scary stuff it does with such bland and "normal" scenery and characters. And really there's just no way I can figure out to put the story on a timeline because everything seemed to happen before everything else.

I just wish that Dino Crisis could have reached such an extreme level.

Silent Hill IS the closest thing I've ever seen to tackle this approach. I think I already mentioned the letter from the dead wife that dissappears because it was a hallucination? Because it is just sitting in you menu bar you don't even necessarily notice it unless you're an EXTREMELY pedantic player. BUT if you do you have a shot at playing the game right- ie. ignoring what SEEMS to be going on because as far as you know alot of it isn't...

Submitted by Prema on Tue, 01/06/04 - 7:24 AMPermalink

hey, I got JT clutching his head- guess I'm not so harmless after all!

sorry mate!

Submitted by Kalescent on Tue, 01/06/04 - 8:04 AMPermalink

apology accepted! its almost like knee-jerk reaction to anything that instills vivid images in here

Submitted by Prema on Wed, 02/06/04 - 2:04 AMPermalink

Anyone got anything to add? Revive my brain guys I'm putting together site maps...

Submitted by Maitrek on Wed, 23/06/04 - 11:53 PMPermalink

Well, eventually after I didn't really think much about this at all, a good idea kind of fluked it's way to my attention. Unfortunately, there is only so far that you can go with this sort of idea because of technological restraints but it feels like a step in the right direction for this discussion.

The basic premise is this, the character in the game has a farseering ability - this could be done excellently from a first person perspective. Let's say for now that due to technological constraints, the player has no control over when/where the character's perspective of time changes. Let's say the character 'wakes up' as an introduction to a scene, maybe the player explores the house a bit, maybe goes into a different room - when the player returns to the main room there's someone standing there that wasn't there before. Even if the player tries to go straight outside you could still engage this sequence by simply having this new 'person' standing at the door when the player goes to leave.

You could do any number of things here, have a simple conversation, argument, deliver some form of narrative - it doesn't matter. Some interaction occurs between the two characters.

Then the person leaves, the player goes back to his usual business. At some stage the player goes outside then comes back, and then the same person appears in the apartment - nearly the same interaction occurs all over again, only this time, things will change slightly - triggered by the events that the player has taken since the "previous" conversation. Whatever interaction occured between them could be very different. This is because that conversation in the real timeline wouldn't have actually occured yet - whatever the interaction is, it's an important part of the story that will be delivered early on, but will change as the game progresses.

Enough of these sorts of 'set piece' moments and the player will start to pick up on it. You could have the player meet the NPCs who appear in the future 'farseer' moments - for the first time in the real timeline, then possible 'scare' these NPCs off because the character/player will know stuff about these NPCs based on stuff that hasn't happened, and they might assume the player is some kind of whacked stalker! You could have TONNES of fun with this concept although it would be hard to pull off.

You could even have 'visual' clues, a simple example - having a newspaper with completely different dates as to what "today" is lying around at the front doorstep etc etc, or maybe a clock on the wall showing the wrong time, even little things that the game knows the player will have to change in order to progress in the game.

Just some thoughts.


Submitted by Prema on Thu, 24/06/04 - 12:44 AMPermalink

Cool idea Maitrek!

Thanks to all of you who have given opinions- The research dissertation went down very well with the powers that be...

I actually gave similar concepts for games in the dissertation- with a main character lapsing (instead of between present and future) from reality to fantasy. It works fairly similarly as a game mechanism. I actually lost marks mainly for my "youthful optimism" in pursuing concepts for applying the ideas!

Thanks again guys!

Submitted by Maitrek on Thu, 24/06/04 - 5:32 PMPermalink

quote:I actually lost marks mainly for my "youthful optimism" in pursuing concepts for applying the ideas!

Could you perhaps expand on that abit?

So does anyone think you could take the concept of the character having control over time, and extending it to giving the player a more parametric control?

Invention to Innovation - Coming up with new ideas

There are a series of recently released reports on invention available here:

Invention (coming up with new ideas) is the precursor to innovation (the process of commercialising new ideas). Sometimes the two get lumped together in thinking terms and I think it would be useful to consider issues involved with them separatly, especially for the emerging indy scene in australia.

In Indy game terms, and our own startup are all examples of invention at work.

The innovation side of finding the commercial or non-commercial business model(s) to get the product out there is a different ball game altogther.

Putting the two together in a viable business model is also a challenge.

Anyways, I think the reports are well worth reading if you want some general insight and focused anlaysis on this important area.

After all, all games start with an itch scratching the back of somebody's mind.

Submitted by Daemin on Tue, 18/05/04 - 12:40 AMPermalink

I beleive that innovation is the hardest aspect of all. Anyone can think of dozens of brilliant new ideas, and probably how to implement them also, but it takes a special kind of person to actually make a successful business out of it.

Submitted by sonicviz on Tue, 18/05/04 - 3:00 AMPermalink

I think invention is a little more than thinking about brilliant ways to make a million dollars while kicking back by the pool:-)

Submitted by Jigen on Tue, 18/05/04 - 8:27 PMPermalink

Coming up with ideas is my strong point. But I know next to nothing about innovation. But it might be selfish to say but I rather concentrate on the invention part rather than the innovation part.

Submitted by Johnn on Thu, 20/05/04 - 12:09 AMPermalink

Jigen has the artists delemma! Can be a bit of a catch 22 though.

I believe the latest stats on invention is 1% 'thinking about brilliant ways to make a million dollars while kicking back by the pool' (to quote sonicvis) and 99% cleaning the pool [:D] so to speak.

Submitted by Angel on Mon, 24/05/04 - 8:30 PMPermalink

I was told that you can have a new idea, but someone else will have always thought of it. It's getting that idea published and released, first, that counts. And even then, generally someone will have always tried. The most originality we get out of it, these days, is how we present it, and the natural diferentiating found in the diversity of human perspectives - a natural thing since we're all born and raised in different environments and situations, etc.

I'm not sure if I believe what I was told is true in all areas, but I thought I'd mention it anyway.

Submitted by Maitrek on Tue, 25/05/04 - 12:21 AMPermalink

I wouldn't want to devalue anyone out there that is bright/creative and has a tonne of ideas floating around in their head...but I totally agree with Angel in that, most of the time, the ideas have been had and/or executed previously and there are probably other people working on the same thing at the moment.

Now in regards to the game mechanics...

The most important skill a wannabe/established designer can have if they want to differentiate themselves is to be able to present those ideas to the audience better than the previous designer and to constantly push the boundaries and limitations of that idea.

For example, the 'FPS' concept was at one stage, just an idea floating around in someone's head...but since that has been made mainstream, what we can experience and achieve within a FPS style of gameplay has been pushed further than what it was originally expected to. Not many people will tell you that Catacombs Abyss is as good as Half Life etc etc. Not many people actually know of, or have played Catacombs Abyss either.

My point is, if you look at Half Life objectively, it does nothing different to Doom (or even your average 2D platformer).

Using those foundations (as 'uncreative' as it is perceived to be) and building on top them is what we pretty much have to do, whether we do it consciously, or unconsciously.

I guess what does bother me though, is that people forget the fundamentals. The foundations of the FPS are not 'you shoot people from the point of view of the character'...the foundation upon which FPS is built is the concept of experiencing a conflict through the character's eyes.

Which is why we see so few 'Deus Ex's, 'Theif's etc and more 'Far Cry's (yes I'm still working on that big ass text about objective gameplay). To me, game mechanics aren't so much about innovation as they are about gradual evolution of a concept.

As for game technology...

I think the development of more fluid interfacing devices is always going to be susceptible to the concept of invention/innovation. The eye-toy being the all-to-common example. Things like graphics technology and development also fall under this category. The S3 Virge (?) was an example of invention/innovation and took an old concept and made it commercially viable. This is part of the 'interface' between the computer and the player (as much as we don't think of it like that anymore). Anything regarding 'output' goes into my design methodology as 'interface' and requires design of its own, and hence anything such as graphics, sound etc is driven by innovation.

Submitted by quiklite on Thu, 08/07/04 - 11:00 AMPermalink

I know no-one's bothered looking at this for ages, but...

New ideas are old ideas dressed up in a different way. That doesn't stop them being new ideas. However, it's really a "glass half-full, glass half-empty" problem. Ideas are only as good as how clearly they are expressed (or implemented in the case of games).

Ideas have no intrinsic value, culturally or financially, unless you can express or implement it. I've learnt this the hard way, having been an "ideas person" for way too long, never understanding that until I had designed it, drawn it and/or coded it, I had achieved nothing.

And the ironic thing is, the longer you talk about it, the more time it's going to take to get it done! :) So on that note, I shall end.


Submitted by palantir on Tue, 13/07/04 - 5:01 AMPermalink

I think that?s a really important thing to learn: to stop thinking up wonderful game concepts and talking about them for weeks with your mates/colleagues, and to just sit down and do some bloody work!

Success is only 10% inspiration, but 90% perspiration. ?Clich?, but true.

Game Characters

What are your favorite Game Characters?

my favorites are :

1. Solid Snake (Metal Gear)
2. Shadow (FF 6)
3. Auron (FF 10)
4. Rikimaru (Tenchu)
5. Sam Fisher (Splinter Cell)
6. George Stobbart (Broken Sword)

Submitted by Kane on Wed, 21/04/04 - 6:48 PMPermalink

In no specific order:

.Darth Revan's evil droid in KOTOR (meatbag!)
.Conker - Conker's Bad Fur Day
.Almost any character from Donkey Kong Country...
.Banjo and Kazooie!

Submitted by Jigen on Thu, 22/04/04 - 12:09 AMPermalink

My favorite characters come from games of my own creation. Outside the ones I make There ain't that many. In fact there isn't really any characters out there that make me want to see them again. Maybe some of the final fantast ones

Submitted by Kalescent on Thu, 22/04/04 - 12:50 AMPermalink

Auron - Final Fantasy X
Sephiroth - Final Fantasy VII / Kingdom Hearts
Lulu - Final Fantasy X
Rikku - Final Fantasy X-2
Kimahri - Final Fantasy X
Dante - Devil May Cry / Devil May Cry 2
Seig Warheit - Chaos Legion
Riku - Kingdom Hearts

i cant really say anything ive ever played on pc contains characters that are / were unforgettable, bar 1 thats Minsc from Baldurs Gate - even then i only remember him due to the voice set being so funny.

Submitted by MoonUnit on Thu, 22/04/04 - 2:00 AMPermalink

heh minsc was a bit of a laugh. The only game character thats really stuck in my mind is conker, such a classic game that was, even if it was kinda infintile you couldnt help but laugh.
oh yeah and bullet reminds me of hitman, Mr 47 was actually a really good character and i liked the dramatical atmosphere of that game.

Submitted by bullet21 on Thu, 22/04/04 - 2:43 AMPermalink

Also in no real order:

Cloud Strife - Final Fantasy VII
Hitman - Hitman
Solid Snake - Metal Gear Solid
Christopher Stone - Freedom Fighters
Grom Hellscream - Warcraft 3
Uriel - Quake 3
Sam Fisher - Splinter Cell

and all things paul steed :)

Submitted by Stu on Thu, 22/04/04 - 3:51 AMPermalink

Heheh definatly Minsc (evil meet my sword, sword MEET EVIL)

Other than that I'd have to agree with Solid Snake. I've never played FF so I dont know any of those characters.

Grom Hellscream from the Warcraft Series rocked (Even more so after an heroic death)


Submitted by J I Styles on Thu, 22/04/04 - 4:57 AMPermalink

For personality in character, definitely Minsc and Boo, and Imoen

Design and technical execution I'd say cyborg ninja from the metal gear solid twin snakes 30 minutes teaser movie [:)]

Submitted by Aven on Thu, 22/04/04 - 6:36 AMPermalink

No paticular order.

Dante - DMC/DMC 2
Sephiroth - FF VII (go two metre long Katana :)~~~~~~)
Edea - FF VIII
Lulu - FF X
The Nameless One - Planescape Torment
Siegfried/Nightmare - Soul Calibur/SC 2
Christie - Dead Or Alive 3 (In her hidden outfit)... Actually, come to think of it... Any of the women from any of the DoA games (yeah yeah, sue me :D)

All the characters from Jet Set Radio and Jet Set Radio Future.

Submitted by Kalescent on Thu, 22/04/04 - 9:09 AMPermalink

isnt it interesting how only a voice some dialogue & a portrait can make a character unforgettable ? there is virtually no detail 3d / model wise to minsc yet we all know him as that crazy bezerker with a space hampster called boo.

I think its the exact opposite of miming way back in the days of charly chaplin, being there was no sound - only gestures and movement to express the story.

Here we have a still portrait image and a voice for minsc - but no detailed 3d model anywhere in sight.

Well done to bioware for creating such an enigma in this day and age, where sumptous graphics seem to be taking over engrossing and unforgettable gameplay.

Jigen - you said in not so many words that there were almost none to remember or even see again, and that your favourite where charcaters of your own creation - why dont you share some of these characters with us ?

Bullet21 - this is minsc and imoen the charcaters from baldurs gate.


Submitted by Cm2 on Thu, 22/04/04 - 5:34 PMPermalink

quote:Originally posted by MoonUnit

heh minsc was a bit of a laugh. The only game character thats really stuck in my mind is conker, such a classic game that was, even if it was kinda infintile you couldnt help but laugh.
oh yeah and bullet reminds me of hitman, Mr 47 was actually a really good character and i liked the dramatical atmosphere of that game.

Mr 47 is a good character, too bad he doesn't have any hair though.

Submitted by Jacana on Thu, 22/04/04 - 5:38 PMPermalink

I am suprised no one has said Abe from Abe's Oddworld. He was great :)

Submitted by alia on Thu, 22/04/04 - 8:46 PMPermalink

quote:Originally posted by Jacana

I am suprised no one has said Abe from Abe's Oddworld. He was great :)

Id vote him for sure.. that game is so well done! but next on my list would be Guy Bushthreepwood (monkey island) or Larry (i got the apple!!!) or prehaps the guy from spacequest...

also the little orb thing you get in wizzball.


Submitted by Cm2 on Thu, 22/04/04 - 9:15 PMPermalink

quote:Originally posted by alia

quote:Originally posted by Jacana

I am suprised no one has said Abe from Abe's Oddworld. He was great :)

Id vote him for sure.. that game is so well done! but next on my list would be Guy Bushthreepwood (monkey island) or Larry (i got the apple!!!) or prehaps the guy from spacequest...

also the little orb thing you get in wizzball.


Ah yes Guy Bushthreepwood from Monkey Island is a funny guy, I enjoyed
playing Monkey Island series.[^]

Submitted by J I Styles on Thu, 22/04/04 - 9:17 PMPermalink

hahaha roger wilco from spacequest! yeah baby! [:D]

I still think SpaceQuest: The Last Mutation is the most memorable game for me [:)]

Submitted by souri on Fri, 23/04/04 - 4:38 PMPermalink

You know, when I read this post a few days ago, I've been scratching my head on who my favourite game characters really are.. I mean, I know tonnes of game characters, but most of them haven't reeeeally made a big impression on me to say that they're my 'favourite'. Anyway, I was kinda expecting a lot of posts mentioning characters from Final Fantasy, Lucasarts point'n click adventure games, and Sierra games. It's all that narrative and character building that goes on all the time, and not in quick cut scenes at the end of a level and a few grunts here ingame..

My favourite game character has to be Guybrush Threepwood from Monkey Island as well! I sitll have a boxed copy on my shelf, complete with anti-piracy turn wheel where you have to match the face combinations to start the game. When you started off as Guybrush Threepwood, you were a loser who aspired to be a pirate. At the end, you eventually became a pirate, but still pretty much a loser [:)] The humour in Monkey Island I and II was great, and when I saw Pirates of the Caribean, it just reminded me of the Monkey Island games.. [:)]

I can't think of any other favourite game characters.. Solid Snake was cool though.

Submitted by matias on Fri, 23/04/04 - 9:22 PMPermalink

Ok, I have to say Auran from FFX was very schmick! He was so cool, and I didn't even play the game that much[:(]
I have to say I loved Nordom the backwards Modron from Planescape: Torment(which is my fav game of all time)
ummmm I also liked Kimari from FFX he was cool too, oh and playing the old Rock n Roll racing I ALWAYS played Jake Badlands!! He was the most awesomest dude out there!! yayayay
But I like to play rpg's, I usually need to create my own character portrait before I can get into a game. ( often going thru several characters and halfway thru the game with each of them before I find a character that I like enough to take to the end of the game!)

Submitted by JonathanKerr on Fri, 23/04/04 - 10:45 PMPermalink

The Ninja (Grey Fox)
Solid Snake
Pyscho Mantis (and Solius Snake as well)
Guybrush Threepwood
Akuma and Ryu

Submitted by Fluffy CatFood on Sat, 24/04/04 - 9:37 AMPermalink

Duke Nukem
Cate Archer from NOLF and NOLF2
Patrick Galloway from Undying
Lizbeth from Undying
Aaron from Undying
April Ryan from the longest journey
Garret from the thief series
Marshall John Dalton from Unreal2
Dmitri Volkov from Nolf and Nolf2
Magnus Armstrong from Nolf and Nolf2
Max Payne and Mona Sax
Sam Fisher
Caleb from Blood and Blood2
Sam and Max
George Stobbart From the Broken Sword series
Thats about it

Submitted by urgrund on Sat, 24/04/04 - 11:16 AMPermalink

The Sarge character from the Quake III intro... gotta love the rambo/gun-ho atitude :P
Then Link from the Zelda quests.

Submitted by Daemin on Sun, 25/04/04 - 12:23 AMPermalink

quote:Originally posted by Kane
.Darth Malak's evil droid in KOTOR (meatbag!)

Erm, that's Darth Revan's evil droid from KOTOR (for the extremely pedantic like me :-) Also some of the other characters in that game had very good/funny lines :-)

Submitted by Blitz on Sun, 25/04/04 - 5:03 AMPermalink

Kasumi from DoA
Hitomi from DoA
Ryu from Streetfighter
Chun Li from Streetfighter
Guybrush Threepwood
The Monitor from Halo
Sonic the Hedgehog
The main character in Full Throttle
The final boss in the first episode of Wolfenstein 3D (GUTENTARG!)
Ruth from Jet Set Radio Future
Usagi Yojimbo
...and then theres all the girls in hentai games which are too numerous to list :)
CYer, Blitz

Submitted by Maitrek on Sun, 25/04/04 - 8:59 AMPermalink

quote:Originally posted by Blitz
The main character in Full Throttle

*twitch* Oh my god man, what's wrong with you?! How can you forget Ben Throttle's name! This is truly disappointing :)

I like macho men (teehee) so Duke Nukem would have to be up there. One of the best comedy duos would have to be Sam'n'Max. And GuyBrush Threepwood is the coolest loser on the planet, not even Jason Biggs (Jim) can measure up!

Another cool character that no one knows about though would have to be The Spider from Azrael's Tear (at least thats what I remember calling him, he has another name but I can't remember it). Go out and play that game people, it's crap, but would be revolutionary if people used it's ideas with modern tech.

But top spot still goes to Guybrush :)

Submitted by Cm2 on Sun, 25/04/04 - 7:16 PMPermalink

quote:Originally posted by Blitz

Kasumi from DoA
...and then theres all the girls in hentai games which are too numerous to list :)
CYer, Blitz

Just wondering, how many Hentai Games have you been playing?

Submitted by Blitz on Sun, 25/04/04 - 7:44 PMPermalink

Lately, not many, they take up a lot of time! But back in uni and when i was being a bum i played all i could get my hands on :P
If you want a number...probably around 25-30 i guess.
CYer, Blitz

Submitted by CombatWombat on Sun, 25/04/04 - 8:48 PMPermalink

Ah for me, I can't go past the sarcasm of Kerrigan from Starcraft :)

And while they're more caricatures than characters, there are some amusing moments with the mercs from Jagged Alliance 2 :)

Submitted by Cm2 on Sun, 25/04/04 - 10:37 PMPermalink

quote:Originally posted by Blitz

If you want a number...probably around 25-30 i guess.
CYer, Blitz

Wow that's a lot and you finished every single one of them?

Submitted by Blitz on Sun, 25/04/04 - 11:09 PMPermalink

Originally posted by Blitz

If you want a number...probably around 25-30 i guess.
CYer, Blitz


Wow that's a lot and you finished every single one of them?

Most of them. Some were absolute crap with insanely boring stories (yeah yeah :P), there were a couple that crashed in ceratin spots on my system so i couldn't finish them. But i probably finished about 85% or so of them. For the ones that had multiple alternate endings i usually didn't go through and get all the alternate endings etc...
I think there may have been one or 2 games that actually had some sort of gameplay that made finishing the game difficult that i may not have finished! :P Most of the games that had some sort of puzzle-solivng etc. that actually made continuing the game difficult weren't too hard, (most of them the puzzle solving/gameplay can affect what happens in the game, but won't actually prevent you from completing the game).
Hmm, kinda getting off-topic here :P
CYer, Blitz

Submitted by Johnn on Tue, 27/04/04 - 6:37 AMPermalink

Fav game character:


(those that know will understand!)

IP issues...

was wondering where the 'thin red line' gets drawn with some intellectual property issues.

Some guy draws a weapon concept in 2d. Then he leaves the team (lets say disgruntled...). A model is then made (based off the 2d concept) and implemented into the game.

Does this mean that he (the 2D artist) could argue that the 3D model is a result of his IP being used, and ask that the 3D model be abolished from the project? (..assuming he left taking his IP with him, such as the sketches)

The way I see it... the 2D art is the 2D art... it is physical and on paper (or scanned & digital). The scanned image is not used. The physical piece of paper is not used. But new IP is created using them as reference.

This is what I meant by it being 'thin red line'.

Just say years ago I drew a fat plumber wearing red and blue overalls with a big M on his cap. ...I'd be mighty pissed off if I saw him as Nintendo's mascot (thats if I had previously showed it to the Nintendo artists) without being offered anything. So where would I stand if I said "Delete your digital versions of Mario.. because I made the original sketch that you based him off." that case, the 2d sketch has become a primary marketable icon for a company, but in the 1st case, its just a weapon that has no major or defining role in the game....

But both are IP and both are 2d sketches.

Basically... I'm interested in knowing how things like this are dealt with. What issues are raised when concept art moves over to digital assests and when is somethign defined as "important".

Submitted by DaMunkee on Sat, 17/04/04 - 2:02 PMPermalink

How things are dealt with in the industry is that if someone works for a company, they sign wavers stating that any work they do, becomes sole property of the studio. Example: I drew mario 2d for nintendo. I leave, and decide to do a comic book that has a character that looks exaclty like the one I drew for mario. Nintendo can then come and Sue me because I'm using their IP even though I was the one that came up with it.

If you want to maintain the right to the 2d IP, that has to be part of the contract. Example: Nintendo want's me to make a character they will use. Part of the negotiations, I give up a substantial amount of pay but I retain the rights to that character. In the contract I would either give nintendo the rights to use the character in any game, or maybe just for 1 game.

Obviously companies are going to choose the first over the second becuase if it's a huge hit, they don't want to continue to shell out money to the artist.

Essentially, when in doubt, write it out and have both parties sign.

Submitted by Rahnem on Sat, 17/04/04 - 10:42 PMPermalink

That depends on your contract. Usually if it was made to be used within the game and/or was made on company time, then it belongs to the dev company.

Essentially, as an artist, you are swapping your IP rights for any work you produce for your wage.

If you work via commission (ie get payed individually for each deliverable), however, and you don't get paid for your work then it is still your IP and you can sue them for using it.

Submitted by Wizenedoldman on Mon, 19/04/04 - 10:35 PMPermalink

Hey Urgrund,

From what I remember from my studies the 3D model would count as an interpretation of the 2D sketch and so would therefore not infringe on any copyright issues.

Submitted by spageto on Tue, 20/04/04 - 5:33 AMPermalink

But if you were doing the 2D drawing under your employment contract your employer would own it also.

Submitted by Pantmonger on Tue, 20/04/04 - 8:03 AMPermalink

Your contract has to specifically state that you are signing over your IP otherwise your retain them, you just don?t own the original work . In a nut shell IP is always yours unless you specifically give it over, which however, is a part of most contracts.
A lot of information on this type of subject can be gained if you have a look at the fun the comic book industry went through a few (10/15 or so) years back. Basically a bunch of people who created characters that went on to be big after they where fired cried foul, but lost in court because in their original contracts they had signed the IP rights away. Since then the comic book industry has changed a lot and established creators can often negotiate to retain IP.


Submitted by rgsymons on Tue, 20/04/04 - 6:25 PMPermalink

Under Australian jurisdiction:

If you are an employee then you have no rights to the IP unless contracted otherwise. (This would also cover derivative works, such as a 3d representation of 2d works.)

If you are a contractor, rather than an employee, then you have rights to the IP unless contracted otherwise.

If the contracting/employing entity owns a trademark of the work, you will have no rights in either case above.



Co-Op: Lost Cause?

Personally, I've been saddened by the recent news of Doom III not having Co-op on the PC version of the game (why just X-Box?, stupid ID). When I first played Halo Co-Op on X-Box, I had the best time playing with a partner for a long time. I wouldn't mind seeing more games that had an extra partner or small group possible that offered that little extra (I feel HUGE extra) to the game. I think there is a huge market for this area of gaming (not "Multiplayer", that's been done to death). Doom III Co-Op will be an absolute riot I think. I wish Halo:PC was Co-Op too (*slaps Gearbox's wrist*). I doubt I'll see that soon.

For example: Player A is in room A. Player B in room B. Both players will merge from both rooms into room C. Player B needs to find a switch in Room B that will open a section in Room A for Player A to open both doors in Room A & B to Room C. (Confused yet? [:D])

It promotes teamwork, especially when individual goals are involved. I wish there were more Co-Op games available. [:(]

Any comments? [:p]

Submitted by Kalescent on Wed, 07/04/04 - 11:20 PMPermalink

here here to that - not just first person shooters - but rpgs as well... Final Fantasy Chrystal Chronicle on gamecube is the best example of this to date - i really think it rocks , champions of norrath as well - dark alliance had a bit too... but more down that line cant go astrray for sure.

Submitted by Aven on Wed, 07/04/04 - 11:46 PMPermalink

Halo's co-op rocked. Baldurs Gate: Dark Alliance II's co-op was heaps better than the single player game. Neverwinter Nights is even fun running around together going nuts :) System Shock II had good co-op, but it was just too buggy.

It can be a very difficult thing to implement into a FPS game though. The single player AI tends to have a few difficulties handling more than one opponent (Unreal for proof).

I love co-op, and I do think it is sad to see that Doom III is skipping out on it. It isn't the only game though. FarCry would have been interesting with co-op, and HalfLife 2 -from what I understand- wont ship with co-op. It will come out as a mod. At least it will have it though :)

Submitted by Blitz on Thu, 08/04/04 - 7:51 AMPermalink

FPS AI not handling multiple "enemies" is simply a failing (or predefined limitiation) of the AI, but isn't neccessarily a difficult problem.
The reason Halo offered co-op on console, but not either on PC or on system link was a technical issue with their engine, where it was very difficult to run the entire game over a network link. Whether this was due to network bandwidth etc. or some limitation requiring both players to be kept in lockstep i'm not sure. It is possible that Doom3 has a similar problem with running the game over a network link, therefore, co-op on the console but not over the net. Split-screen fps on the PC isn't really considered feasible these days due to control limitations on your "standard" pc setup. It's not worth the trouble of implementing the split screen for the 0.001% of players who actually have a dual mouse or controller input, and who actually want to use the splitscreen feature.
CYer, Blitz

Submitted by Maitrek on Thu, 08/04/04 - 7:16 PMPermalink

I'd be surprised if these games have trouble running over a network link...especially in regards to bandwidth. It's not usually bandwidth that's the big issue either, more often that not it's just latency over WANs (like the internet).

Maybe the developers can't be bothered when they know in three months time some mod group will make a co-op mod that everyone will play to the total exclusion of the standard co-op play!

Submitted by Fluffy CatFood on Thu, 08/04/04 - 8:39 PMPermalink

I'm glad NOLF2 had co-op even though it was limited to a few modified levels, it was still pretty good. I really like Serious sam co-op and serious sam 2 will have it as well. I do beleive stalker will have some sort of co-op as well.

Submitted by MoonUnit on Thu, 08/04/04 - 9:00 PMPermalink

*raises glass to Co-op* its one of the best features in games, especially FPSs. Playing co-op on timesplitters 2 and Halo has taken up many hours of my time. Its the best thing when you enter a room and have one guy taking out baddies and the other guy covering him and all the other fun things you can do with co-op. Bots dont replicate this because they dont have the intelligence of humans and you cant directly talk to them.

Co-op however often works best on consoles, due to the fact that you have two people over the one box without having to worry about acheiving any sort of networking. Its not to say that theres any real problems with setting it up for comps, but i think their choice has some merit. Also its better when the person is sitting right next to you.

Submitted by bullet21 on Wed, 28/04/04 - 1:59 AMPermalink

I agree with you moonunit. I think that co op on console beats the pants of co op on PC. Cos you can sit their next to your mate and say "ok, you do this and i do this" you can also laugh at each other and put each other down to the brink of self destruction a lot more easily than you do on a Pc.

Submitted by Blitz on Wed, 28/04/04 - 7:36 AMPermalink

Sounds like you need an introduction to the wonderful world of LAN gaming :P
Also, with voice chat in games you can still get the "you do this.." and put downs etc. happening, you just can't physically whack the person when they screw up :)
CYer, Blitz

Submitted by MoonUnit on Wed, 28/04/04 - 7:53 AMPermalink

aye LANing is good, it does basicly the same thing. Only downside is the requirement of multiple beige boxes and game copys and so on. Which you wouldnt beleive how hard this can be to come by. Where as i just invite a mate over and tell him the basics and we have some TS2 going down :D. This situation is probably diff for other ppl tho.

Submitted by DaMunkee on Wed, 28/04/04 - 11:54 AMPermalink

Guys guys guys! What about the best co-op of all :) At least in my opinion. Coop RTS!!! I think C&C Yuri's rocked when they instituded "Quick Coop" were you click it, and the matching bot teams you up with someone and you kick some AI butt. Oh it was a glorious thing, when you got tired of people complaining when they lost, or playing with cheese tactics with "Quick Match" you could go to "Quick COop" and experince what gaming was suppose to be. You, a new friend, working to acheive a common goal. The slander of multiplayer was gone and faith in the human race was restored :)

Of course, Coop in FPS kicks butt too. Ahhh I can remember it now, a few of us playing serious sam, triggering all the monster spawns which forced 2 people to be dropped and me and a friend to be playing at Spf (seconds per frame) Infinite lives and a few rockets eliminated enough monsters to have the game running smoothly again. Oh the joy :)

Heh by the way, if you can't tell, I'm all about the RTSs :)

Submitted by Blitz on Wed, 28/04/04 - 11:12 PMPermalink

Co-op is about the only way i play RTS's, very occasionally i'll play through the campaign of an RTS, but usually i'll only play the training modes (if needed) so i can go kick some AI with friends.
Co-op FPS also kinda divides into two categories, "single" Co-op vs computer (doom, serious sam etc.) and "team-based" co-op, which may be against computer or human opponents. I enjoy both :)
CYer, Blitz

Submitted by bullet21 on Thu, 29/04/04 - 2:52 AMPermalink

I can't stand co-op RTS, i hate multiplayer RTS full stop. I think its cos im shit at it :). but FPS is the way to go IMO. I like Team Based co-ops the best as well. Definately not a lost cause.

Submitted by CombatWombat on Thu, 29/04/04 - 3:20 AMPermalink

Each to their own, bullet :) Personally, I think the coop modes in Starcraft and Warcraft III are damn good :) Only hassle with Starcraft is that you can't add enough computer opponents :-( We're down to having 2 humans on 6 CPUs (melee) now ;-)

Now what I _really_ want to see is a coop version of fallout tactics or X-com (In particular UFO defense) [:D]

Hmm, come to think of this, has there ever been any tactical combat games that have supported coop?

Submitted by Blitz on Thu, 29/04/04 - 9:18 AMPermalink

Define tactical combat games?
CYer, Blitz

Submitted by CombatWombat on Thu, 29/04/04 - 5:55 PMPermalink

Games where the player controls a squad of characters, and guides them through scenarios/battles with fairly low-level control over their actions (eg a character can sneak, crawl, slither along the ground etc). Often characterised by a large number of items that can be used (eg fallout tactics must have had at least 150 different inventory items) Usually have quite a good career development path for your characters.

Generally TC games are turn-based, you'll have a certain number of action/movement points, various skills that can be used by the characters etc.

The TC games I've played that I'd identify as the main ones for the genre are:

* Wizard's Crown (Apple ][/C64 game) - high fantasy setting, good damage system, non-anthropomorphic monsters (ie monsters drop items that are appropriate for them to be carrying)
* XCOM (Have only played UFO defense from this series, didn't like the demo of the newest game XCOM: Aftermath but it might be good) - You play the part of a group that protects earth from UFOs - one can intercept UFOs, and then choose a squad and go out to investigate UFO crash sites. Lots of fun this one.
* Jagged Alliance 2 - liberate an island nation from a dictator with a bunch of mercenaries and rebels. Has quite a wonderful fairly subtle sense of humour running through the game.
* Fallout Tactics - developed by Oz's own microforte (hey there's probably even some devs from FT reading sumea :) - post-nuclear-holocaust set in the same universe as the Fallout RPGs - great selection of skills and inventory items, good story (well I liked it anyway :), and again, great subtle humour through it all (eg at one point you find the life-preserver ring from Titanic, and at another an artist has graffiti'd "Tiles suck" on one of the wall tiles :)

And also recently played the Silent Storm demo (Commandos meets Diablo II skill trees :) which was quite cute, but I found it excruicatingly slow to process the CPU turns (and this is on a P4 3.0 with bells and whistles!) Hopefully the demo was just a heavily-assert-laden debug version. Anyone played the full version?



Submitted by Daemin on Thu, 29/04/04 - 10:09 PMPermalink

I would love to see more coop games made, fps, rpg, whatever. However the main issue with them is what happens when the players are of vastly differing skill levels? Does one player do all the work and the other struggle through? Do you modify the enemies AI like in Max Payne - but then to who's playing ability? I mean coop quake was fun for about the first few levels, but then the good players just kept going ahead heaps easy and the bad ones kept on dying...

Submitted by shiva on Sat, 08/05/04 - 8:29 PMPermalink

sounds an awful lot like system shock 2 to me...

Submitted by CombatWombat on Sat, 08/05/04 - 8:45 PMPermalink

Sounds cool Marty, reminds me a bit of the gameplay in Commandos 1.

Submitted by Maitrek on Sat, 08/05/04 - 10:51 PMPermalink

quote:sounds an awful lot like system shock 2 to me...

Not to me :) SS2s co-op was barely tacked on if you ask me, kind of an after-thought. I think more effort needs to be put in to make the story cohesive for each player-character in the game, most games just tell the same story to both characters as if they are one, and it's pretty lame if you ask me (ala Baldurs Gate in co-op).

Teamwork is always a good thing in games, but it's very hard to put in - especially if the co-op game is played throughout levels that were intended for single player. It means that at no point in the level is co-op play *forced* and, in effect, the players are autonomous from each other.

Submitted by TyKeiL on Sun, 09/05/04 - 10:16 PMPermalink

hats off to Maitrek for hitting a nail onthe head with the unforcd co-op autonomous behaviour thing,,

which is why i dont care for diablo co-op

rts co-op is ok depending on the situation, esp in regards to the strong get stronger and the weak get weaker in comparison to the strong, which is why i like unlocked teams, and co-op against human co-op opponents.

you forget the classic co-op of platformers like sonic2, double dragon,

i agree with the ppl who are saying that console co-op is much more fun, having two ppl on the same screen makes a huge difference- i think tho that its because you are forces to be always interacting,, whereas of yo were on different screens then there would be moments where its the same as single player

i think the larger the scale of the game is and the larger the number of ppl and goals, goals esp the more fun co-op becomes,,

esp in the realm of rpg,

i cant believe no one has mentioned halflife cs dod and all the other awesome team based cooprative gameplay, nothing beats them for the fun of co-op when playing at a friends place with 12 ppl- esp in dod when your team wins and everyone sings the winning anthem and bags the losers :O) then its right back into the battle,

just an idea,- people love to sing, in all games when a battle is won some sort of sing for victory or cheer could be implemented,, C&C do this with all there rts's from what i know, but to have that option in most multiplayer games would be good

Submitted by bullet21 on Sun, 09/05/04 - 11:34 PMPermalink

The best co-op game IMo was without a doubt the Metal Slug Series :)

Submitted by Morphine on Mon, 10/05/04 - 12:09 AMPermalink

Has anyone seen or heard of any articles addressing this issue (Co-op)? I wouldn't mind seeing what industry pros think, especially due to the lack of current games that have this choice.

Submitted by Me109 on Thu, 17/06/04 - 3:55 AMPermalink

Serious Sam had a really good simple co-op mode... I remember enjoying co-op more than the single player game...
it was good fun playing it on the hardest settings with a few mates...

Submitted by Blitz on Thu, 17/06/04 - 11:29 PMPermalink

Definitely agree. At a LAN i played serious sam co-op with 3-4 others (one guy kept dropping out) on the settings with maximum enemies, and i must say it was one of the greatest gaming experiences of my life.
Took us about 7 adrenaline pumping hours to complete it :)
Strangely games like this can still be extremely exciting, even without the *threat* of dying and having to go back to the start of the level.
CYer, Blitz

Submitted by Kalescent on Wed, 23/06/04 - 10:41 AMPermalink

Another thumbs up for serious sam here, the most fun co-op game ive played, so frantic on max enemies.
First time Ive ever felt the urge to scream at my monitor [:P]

Submitted by souri on Fri, 25/06/04 - 3:42 AMPermalink

Is there more to co-op than just having someone fragging enemies in the same game as you? I've never played Serious Sam or Halo, so let me know the gist of it.. Classed based teamplay I'm more knowledgable of (particularly Enemy Territory which I still play more than any other game).

Submitted by Daemin on Sat, 26/06/04 - 5:25 AMPermalink

Souri: Serious Sam is fun playing coop multiplayer because its you and four toher guys going through a mass of enemies, in a slapstic comedy kind of way, with insane numbers of enemies, weapons, stuff going on all around you, and when you die you respawn with mroe weapons. It's just a heck load of fun late at night when everyone else is going to sleep (weak!) :-)

Submitted by Pantmonger on Sat, 26/06/04 - 5:08 PMPermalink

I loved Tribes 2 for its team based Co-Op. The fact that some vehicles needed more then one ?pilot? to be used in any useful way. The way that if a team worked together it made a real difference to their chances of being successful. It was the best Co-Op game I?ve played of the fps genre.
I also liked the pseudo Co-Op that came out of games like Masters of Orion 2, where players worked together to survive but would also backstab each other.


Submitted by palantir on Sat, 26/06/04 - 6:18 PMPermalink

Hell yeah! Both Tribes and Tribes 2 had awesome team co-op. Any serious game demanded that players work together in a strategic (though sometimes chaotic) way. When it all came together, each team member served a specific purpose, and a well-executed strategy rewarded players with the most thrilling fps game play I?ve ever seen. Personally I think the Tribes games were miles ahead of any other fps simply because of the effectiveness of the team co-op.

I?m totally hanging out for Tribes Vengeance!

Submitted by Sorceror Bob on Sun, 27/06/04 - 12:35 AMPermalink

I think a co op type like prince of persia could be good..

Each player plays as a different character type, and each character is capable of solving puzzles the others can't.

I think it could be horribly difficult to implement, but it at least gives each player something to do, and isn't completely mindless. (serious sam, I'm looking at you)

FarCry not a game

Well, seeing as I now have a designer forum with which to dump my armchair 'yet-to-complete-a-game-and-have-no-idea-how-hard-it-is' opinions on various other game designers work, I thought I might as well share. This post mainly refers to PC gaming, so when I mention games/gaming, try to eliminate consoles from the argument...although some of this stuff also applies to some console titles, which are mostly PC game ports anyway.

My biggest gripe with that it's not a game.

It's about as frivolous as a first date - it's stressful, tense, nerve-wrecking, and if you stuff it up - all the good work is lost, and you have to start all over again.

Okay, so games aren't always a 'frivolous' activity, but a certain sense of 'fun' should always be ascribed with any gaming experience. The enjoyment of the process and the experience would have to be foremost on my list of things I like associate with gaming.

Now, before I go on further, I've been doing alot of research into the sociology of sport lately, and it appears to me that we are starting to mimick (in games) some of the great pitfalls of modern sports and competitive athletics. You'll see the link as I explain further.

There are two significant types of sporting model. 'Power and performance' being one of them, and 'pleasure and participation' being the other (J. J. Coakley 1998). The 'power and performance' model of sport (and sportspeople) is rather self explanatory. The focus of these sports is that performance is the ultimate form of sport, that winning and setting records is the means for which people (within the sports arena) are evaluated.

Using this ground, all the seeds of what ruins modern sports are planted. Athletes, 'over-conform' to an ethos that dictates sacrifices are to be made for the game, distinction is what defines a successful athlete, and 'no limits are to be placed in the pursuit of possibilities' (J. J. Coakley). From here we can see athletes taking drugs, using aggressive behaviour on field and off the field, bending the rules of play, using 'fouls' and illegal forms contact to alter the outcome of the match etc etc.

You might think I've gone loco now, but bear with me.

For me personally, the only way I could get any enjoyment out of FarCry, is if I achieved the next checkpoint, if I could get some form of 'triumph'. The process of getting there was terrible...I'm no guru of modern FPS, my days of being 'midfield' are long gone. On 'easy' mode, I tried 30-40 times unsuccessfully to get to the next checkpoint in the demo off of the PC Gamer CD.

The process of playing the game wasn't inherently fun, I would attempt to snipe, relocate, hide, flat out attack, flank, double-back, divert, strategise etc absolutely no avail. All these things are not simple fun, it's hard and challenging. The complete focus of the demo was on how much success you had at getting through this research facility.

This so clearly mimicks the process through which alot of modern sports are 'fun'. The ability to achieve goals and objectives and to beat the AI opponents (or multiplay buddies) is what gives the sense of satisfaction, accomplishment and fulfilment.

Now, having said all this. Am I saying that this sort of 'power and performance' model of gaming is an altogether bad thing? Not entirely. Much the same way that sports aren't entirely bad. But the fact of the matter is, it is getting harder and harder for the average joe to pick up a game, play solo, with buddies or on the internet and have 'fun'.

What is bad, is that how the 'ethos' of the over-conforming athlete is leaking into gaming arenas such as LANs that are becoming decreasingly 'social' and more competitive all the time. Prizes are awarded regularly at large LANs and it is all too common to see new attendees at a LAN who are simply looking befuddled trying to keep up with their team-mates while everyone is firing on all four cylinders...

How often is it to hear 'I own joo bitch' at a LAN? While some people may find it acceptable lan-speak, others may not be so comfortable with such aggressive language (even if intended as part of the game and hence 'disconnected' from reality). Much like watching football players get into a bingle, some people don't bat an eye-lid, some people cheer, others think it's a pathetic display of aggressive (and often mistakenly labelled as 'masculine') behaviour. It is an exmaple of how the ethos of being a gamer is aligning itself with the ethos of being a jock...and over-conformity to this ethos is causing friction at the real-world social level of gaming.

Battlefield 1942 is another example of a 'game' that uses the combat simulator ethic. It is a successful game in spite of this because it has an element of fun with regards to vehicles, parachuting, diversity of play etc and it is not overly commited to the reality of combat. It too suffers from over emphasis on run'n'gunning ability and familiarity with FPSs of modern times (laying prone, crawling, using cover etc), but just the process of playing it can be fun.

FarCry, as far as I can tell, is no game. It's quite a plain combat simulator. To pick up and play the game for twenty minutes or so may not even result in any accomplishment, nor any fun. There is no association of their being pleasure in just 'playing the game'. The only way to experience any form of pleasure is through the gratification of completing some goal.

It's biggest downfall is that it's too commited to reality, and the reality of jungle combat has never been 'fun'. NO one joins the army for 'fun', for something to do with some mates on the weekend, like kicking a football around playing marks up or something.

In a way, this is why FarCry ends up being so sports-like in it's method of appeasing the audience. It can't come up with something 'fun' to do in the army or in the reality of combat, it can only come up with methods of giving the player some form of 'distinction' to make the player feel good.

Overall, it's not necessarily a bad design, it's a design choice and clearly it has it's market. But there are many games mimicking this kind of 'game design ethic'. This ethic being such that we are trying to approximate as close as possible, realistic combat. Is this ethic a good one, should games be simluations if thats what the current market is paying for, or is there more to the gaming (mostly pc gaming) market? However, if we want to broaden games beyond simply using objective based means for entertainment, then we better start doing some thinking about what games really are, and how we can make games more social within a more 'pleasure and participation' focus.

Anyway, what do other people think about this? I'm not being overly clear at the moment because it's difficulat to explain, but I feel like sharing, so sucked in.

Submitted by Sorceror Bob on Mon, 05/04/04 - 6:33 AMPermalink

good post!

My thoughts after playing the demo were pretty much the same.. It looked pretty, but well.. It seemed to take parts from different fps's and mushed them all together to create something wholely unoriginal..

But that is my opinion on the demo.. The full version could be something magical and fun.. But I'm not holding my breath.

Still this design code is used all the time.. Why? Audiences lap it up... Your average Jo Blob doesn't know a great deal about computer games - he goes to the local eb and what will he see first - the critically acclaimed game based on several diverse worlds, each featuring a variety of weird and wonderful characters and unique weapons, backed up with the worlds greatest storyline.

Or the game that has an army man on the cover.

I can hear you all disagreeing, but everyone here is on the inside looking out.. Very few of my school buddies are computer nerds.. They play games - but won't travel further than call of duty, rainbow six, day of defeat - one even bought some crappy marine sharpshooter game.. I've lent them copies of deus ex.. It gets handed back a few days later.

Soo, until Jo Blob gets a bit more educated about the games (s)he is playing, we'll probably see alot more of these games, and fewer of the critically acclaimed ones.

Personally.. I blame publishers.

Submitted by Aven on Mon, 05/04/04 - 7:53 AMPermalink

You really put a lot of effort into that post :)

I do disagree with a lot of the points though. I do really enjoy the difficulty level that FarCry has. It is fun to play a game that even on the easiest difficulty you are really being cautious. If I want a game where I can just run around mindlessly and know exactly where enemies are spawned, then I can go back to Quake2. One thing that one of my friends and I often complain about is the lack of challenge presented to the player. I have been playing the full version a bit and it is quite a bit easier than the demos. I like the checkpoint system, as I am constantly shitting myself and hoping that I dont get killed. The enemies don't kill me though. You know what does? My own stupidity. Trying to climb to the highest point in the islands, slipping and falling one hundred feet to the ground bellow. Running low and health and getting in a vehicle to drive across the map to get more health, only to forget that the car is nearly rooted and then running it into a tree. Kaboom :) It would be annoying to play the same bit over and over again when you die, but it doesn't feel that way as the enemies have random more random spawn and patrol routes than most FPS games. You can't try one thing and expect to do it the same every time. You have to do what works at that particular moment. That is where the fun lies for me. Not just doing the same thing over and over. Not just picking the 'best; gun and bunnyhopping all over the place taking out every guy in the same fashion. Not running into an enemy and waiting for them to play their melee attack cycle, running backwards while shooting them and repeating. I'm tired of that. Doom had it and games now still friggen have it. I like the idea of having the challenge as you are one guy versus a merc group. It should be hard (hell it should realistically be impossible). Let's all play 'generic based FPS shooter #430' where it is you versus a whole species of alien/marines/cyborgs/SWAT/what-the-hell-ever (delete as needed), and they are getting their arse kicked by you.

For the design being realistic. I don't find it so. To me it is as realistic as your average Holywood action flick. Hence the name FarCry. It is a pretty far cry from reality. A guy running around in a Hawaiian shirt taking down a whole organisation. I can see how it can be seen as realistic, as the engine is trying to make the playing world as realistic as posible. I'm sure that HL2 will have similar problems and Stalker even more. HL2 wont be as bad though as it has aliens as opposed to people.

I have fun from the most odd games though. If peole want to play a game by just running through it and completing it as quickly as posible, then that is cool. I get my enjoyment from a challenge and time spent. I like dying as it makes succeeding more enjoyable and it feels more rewarding. I still spend two hours climbing up hills and swimming out to the map's boundries. I like breaking games :) I feel that if people try to just play through the game and completing mission after mission, then you wont have as much fun. Games are starting to have more freedom, so try to play it the exact opposite to the traditional way :) It is the first game that I have played where I do actually sneak around and stay in the shadows (when it isn't forced -like Theif).

Sorry for the long post. I also realise that I seem to enjoy this game a lot more than what everyone else here does. Most people seem to think that this game is the same generic crap that has been pumped out time and time before. I don't see that, and I am enjoying playing this more than what I have enjoyed any FPS for such a long time (since the original UT). It is always cool to see peoples oppinions though and realise how difficult it must be to make a game and keep people happy :) Most of us will claim to be 'true' gamers, yet we all even have different tastes :) Poor bastards.

Matt - I don't blame your friends for handing back Deus Ex, they at least have some taste :p It is just their other options that holds them back :) (see what I mean).

Submitted by Maitrek on Mon, 05/04/04 - 9:09 AMPermalink

quote:Originally posted by Aven
I like dying as it makes succeeding more enjoyable and it feels more rewarding

That's probably the statement that I feel explains your view point the most. Like I said, this kind of gmae is not a *bad* design, it's just *a* design decision, like many others. It has it's pros and it's cons. However, it does prove my point that the game itself is based on a feeling of reward and accomplishment. Much like winning a game of soccer for example. But games, and sport, are not doomed to this path. My Tae Kwon Do qualifies as a sporting activity, yet it is very often not competitive. Even when sparring every week no score is kept. The goal is to develop your technique and your instincts, try to teach the other person as much as possible, and try to learn as much yourself. The fun is really in being there, participating in something with others etc.

quote:Originally posted by Aven
For the design being realistic. I don't find it so. To me it is as realistic as your average Holywood action flick. Hence the name FarCry. It is a pretty far cry from reality. A guy running around in a Hawaiian shirt taking down a whole organisation. I can see how it can be seen as realistic, as the engine is trying to make the playing world as realistic as posible.

The concept of the game is unrealistic, that is true. However, the design of the game mechanic is clearly inspired by reality. When you make a racing game for instance, you model things like the cars dynamics, the tye contact patch with the road, the tractive force a tyre can put down to the ground. It is not so much a 'game' as it is a 'simulation'.

This is the same way that FarCry is designed, same with some other realistic 'tactical' games like the Tom Clancy's games. The AI is developed mostly so that it reacts to situations in a realistic fashion, it's unpredictable, challenging, clever etc. There are other things too, the sound of your gun alerts guards, your footsteps alert people. All these things are real physical phenomena that manifest themselves in combat, and are modelled (although not to perfection) in the game environment.

The layout of the guards is designed to simulate patrol routes that a 'realistic' guard would take. The guns are semi-reality based (although obviously not quite!). My point is, any game-mechanic related design decision is first of all compared to the reality of the situation, then adapted as closely as possible (given tech restraints) within the game.

Sure, the game is ultimately, unrealistic, slightly Hollywood-esque etc...but from my experience, it plays out about as well as any 20 guard versus 1 lone wolf sortie would play in real life, ie I die 95% of the mission attempts.

quote:Originally posted by Aven
I feel that if people try to just play through the game and completing mission after mission, then you wont have as much fun.

As for what seems to be my 'gripe' with the checkpoint model. I'm not overtly frustrated by the fact that I can't save between checkpoints. I'll argue that this adds tension and feeling to the game. I can clearly see where the decision came from. But, as said before, this is a device to enhance the feeling of success when you actually achieve the next point. The tension is released, you've 'passed' the test. The tension itself is not fun...excess tension without any success will probably result in some players getting aggravated, bored, frustrated, any combination of the above.

Tension is what I would call a 'device'. It's a device used by the game to put the player under pressure to make them feel like it's more important to succeed. It's not illegal to use it in games, but it's a bad idea to rely on it pulling the player through the whole game.

Your last word in that quote is probably the most interesting. By 'fun' do you mean enjoying the process of playing the game? This could be true, I can see how trying different things etc could be intriguing, it engages a sense of exploration and can be fun to play out. Or do you mean have as much fun, as in, satisfaction from the end result of the game?

It must be argued however, that if the process of the game was inherently fun, it would be reasonable to assume that the player would want to play through again regardless of the success or the failure of their technique, simply for the enjoyment of going through the process of the game again? Which begs the question, why is it that playing through the mission again is forced upon the player simply because they weren't up to scratch? Is it fair? Is it good design? Is it reasonable? Are there alternatives?

quote:Originally posted by Aven
That is where the fun lies for me. Not just doing the same thing over and over. Not just picking the 'best; gun and bunnyhopping all over the place taking out every guy in the same fashion.

quote:Originally posted by Aven
I get my enjoyment from a challenge and time spent.

Obviously, you would fit into the category of enjoying the challenge, working hard for success etc!

Clearly you are way better at the game than I am. I know my lack of skill is probably dragging my opinion down. However, if an old-dog FPS vet like me struggles through the first five minutes of the demo mission, then either I am playing the game wrong (ie my tactics suck, and believe me I've tried almost my entire repertoire) or the demo mission is just plain hard.

What is the average first time gamer going to think? They'll have enough trouble getting over jittering the mouse trying to aim, let alone out-smart the opponent! It would take a particular type of person who would sit down, and play and play and play until they got it right. For sure, that's admirable. It's admirable the same way our top athletes dedication to their sport is admirable. Their successes are admirable.

However, not every person fits into this category. We are only attracting these kinds of people to the consumer base and we are left in a cycle that leaves no room for the expansion and development of the material we cover in games. What is needed is some evaluation of how we can change these games in subtle ways to develop their method of engaging the player, so as not to simply attract the one type of 'gamer'.

I'm still scratching my head on that one, but I'm wondering if anyone else has some ideas? The real problem is that it's so closely related to being a simulation that it's hard to alter the formula without compromising the desire for a semi-realistic simulation.

Submitted by Aven on Mon, 05/04/04 - 8:39 PMPermalink

Fair enough call Maritek. I can see why you think that I am in it just to have a challenge and prove myself, but it isn't entirely the case. I did say that the most fun I had was just running aroudn a massive island and doing stupid crap. The FPS action is exactly that. FPS action. You run around and shoot. The way you do it is pretty standard. The thing that changes it more is the AI and the level of detail in the environments. I actually wont play a game for any longer than about two hours if it isn't enjoyable. I can put up with bad story lines, crap graphics and it running like a slide show as long as it is fun. That is why I am still playing FarCry.

It is difficult to try to make something 'simulation' based. It is completely dependant on the level of tech that exists at the time. To acheive a high level of realism, you need an engine and a system that can handle it. If not, then there will be small inconsistancies that can destroy the realism for some. I am one of those people. Gran Tourismo is toted as one of the most realistic driving sims in the world, yet you can't even roll your car. Cars take no damage, etc. To me it is just a 'better' handelling Daytona (though I still like to play Daytona a hell of a lot more). FarCry doesn't feel too great too sim like to me. It has great physics and excelent AI, BUT, it lost all that imersion as a realistic game for me at one point. You know when? I threw a grenade in the water and the splash had NO gravity. People have their ragdolls, barrels topple from explosions, cars flip and roll. Water doesn't even splash properly :) It doesn't change the level of the combat, but it does impact on the level of realism which adds to the whole point of a sim.

The (second) demo mission was just plain hard. It took me a dozen or so goes to get past the first part on the easy setting. It is nice to know that you think that I am great at games, but you are barking up a really incorrect tree there :) I amnot that great. I can become really good at a game if I play it for long enough, but very few games in recent times have kept my attention long enough to play it to that level. The full version is much easier. I am playing it on the normal setting and it is heaps easier than both of the demos. Hence why i have just been screwing around :)

The comment about making it unfair to people who may screw up at the beginning of a section is something that every game has. That is why difficulty levels exist. if you are having troubles passing many areas as you keep on getting killed, then you should perhaps think about lowering the skill level (I had to do it with Panzer Dragoon: Orta). Yes there are areas that will be much harder than the main parts of the game, but that was done as people were always bitching about bosses. There still has to be some areas that are more difficult to beat, other wise you may as well just play Solitare.

It is fair to say that the aim of the game is just to get to the next checkpoint, but nearly every game has that structure. Digital or real life. You can't have a game without any goals that need to be reached. All of the SimX titels tried it, but there is still a goal that needs to be reached by the player. SimCity has the initial challenge of gettign a city up and running, while keeping people happy, while paying off debts. When you get over that challenge, there is very little there to keep you going. You just end up trying to get more money than your friend who is playing :) Most action games have multiple goals. Either completing levels, killing everyone, or just flipping switches. You can't make a game that lets you do anything. It is impossible. You need to have structure to give a person a reason to play the game.

It is the exact same way in real life with sports. I hate competitive sports. I love playing a game of soccer or basketball with my friends for fun, boing things that aren't allowed to be done at a competitive level. It is still a game with an aim though. You can just get a basketball and shoop hoops, but there is still an aim to it. You can get a ball and just kick it around, but you are still aiming to kick a ball. You will eventually find that boring as well, and want a little more challenge and competition. Trying to deny that is pointless. Life has aims. It is the way life works. I do enjoy the challenge that this game provides as it sepperates it from most titles that have been released in that last few years. Take away everything that gives it that challenge and you are merely left with what? A half arsed 'prettier' version of BF1942.

Aiming a game for everyone, or at least the majority of people is difficult. Everyone will never agree on the same thing. There are people who hate things just because it is popular. Not because it is popular and it has no reason to be, just that it is popular. There are people who will just love something as everyone else has either never heard of it or hates it. You will never appeal to those people. Trying to aim for the majority of people ends up aiming at mainstream (which most games players seem to hate). What is left? Trying to grab ten different ideas and mash them together? It hasn't worked successfully yet. I would love to play a game that everyone can enjoy, but I know that it wont happen. The best you can do is aim a game for one type of player and hope they enjoy it. If the player doesn'y like that type of game, then there is not much that can be done. You don't seem to like the realism behind this game and the challenge. That is cool. There are people who do. This is who it has been made for. There are plenty of game around that appeal to other audiences, so why should this one as well? You want games to be different, but when they are, you dislike them. There are plenty of games that have 'semi-realistic simulation' points. This is still one of those. It isn't completely sim based. If it was, you would have to worry about real damage, sleep, food, water, and even exhaustion. The difference between all games is that one may have an area that is more realistic than others, while being less realistic than other in other areas. There isn't a happy medium.

Yes new gamers may not be able to pick this game up and play it perfectly. That comes back to the challenge. All games have that ability of alienating a new player. The first time a played a Japnese RPG, I was completely confused. I stuck with it though and now I love them. Even the most simple of games have that problem. My mum still can't figure out Tetris, and it scares her away.

I guess that I am just annoyed with people who are willing to find faults in a game, and say that there must be a better way of doing it, when those people then don't provide realistic alternitves to the way it is being done. Hell there are plenty of games that i have played where I think that something has been done badly. I also don't have any idea on how to make it better either. I just let it slide as a game I don't like. Not a game that is bad. You have mentioned many things that could work for some players, yet others would have. You have just put yourself in their shoes. I am disagreeing as I don't like the idea of some of your ideas of making it better (if you can follow what I am trying to say), not as I just want to disagree. FarCry is far from being a perfect game (I really don't like it's multiplayer abilities), but it still has it's up points. I am all for people wanting to discuss how a game could be made better, as long as it is being done. At the moment it is more of a case of you just don't like it. Great. Delete it and place it in a growing list of 'games I hate'.

BTW. They have an option to change the jitteriness of the mouse in the full version. Basing comments on one tenth of game isn't always best. Try playing the full thing and seeing if it has changed from the demo. It has.

Submitted by Blitz on Thu, 08/04/04 - 8:02 AMPermalink

If you haven't read this yet, this brief article on a GDC talk this year may prove interesting…
It discusses four types of gameplay that players experience, including:
Hard Fun (Challenging), this seems to be FarCry the way you describe it
Easy Fun (exploring)
Altered States (fantasizing)
Other People (social interaction)
The speaker proposes that if your game can cover all four of these experiences well, you will have a hit title :)
CYer, Blitz

Submitted by Maitrek on Thu, 08/04/04 - 7:17 PMPermalink

I tend to believe that 'tryin to please everyone ends up leasing no one' can be a good mantra when it comes to game design. I'm currently playing through FarCry (full version) and I'll get back to this thread when I have finished with it.

Submitted by Blitz on Thu, 08/04/04 - 11:21 PMPermalink

The subject of the talk wasn't about trying to please everyone, it was about trying to appeal to the widest range of peoples emotions. However, pleasing more people is probably a happy side-effect of appealing to a multitude of emotions.
CYer, Blitz

Submitted by Maitrek on Fri, 09/04/04 - 11:34 PMPermalink

Yeah, as I think I've mentioned, it's about broadening the play experience within the context of the game.

Submitted by Maitrek on Tue, 27/04/04 - 8:21 AMPermalink

The scope of this subject and the scope of the failures of FarCry and other modern FPSs is so huge that I'm going to have to write a whole text on it. I'll get cracking as soon as I've done some more research then I'll present it in a month or so, hopefully it'll make for an interesting read! I promise it won't be one massive whingefest!

Small Thanks

Just like to give a small thanks to the admins putting up a design forum for all, very handy.

Just going through the old topics and there has been so many good/valid points brought up facing the industry as a whole. For me, I'm still waiting for industry traineeships, very handy. [:D]

Designer Discussion Forum

What do you reckon? Should we create a "Designer Discussion" forum, because the Artists and Programmers have one. I thought it would be a great place to bounce of ideas and problems because there really isn't a place to discuss issues that Game Designers may have.

Suggestions? Comments? [:D]

Submitted by Kane on Thu, 01/04/04 - 11:08 PMPermalink

i think its a good idea...but im a programmer, so don't take my word...[:D]

Submitted by inglis on Thu, 01/04/04 - 11:11 PMPermalink

what if just renamed the MOD forum to MOD/Game Design??

Submitted by TheBigJ on Thu, 01/04/04 - 11:20 PMPermalink

Sounds like a good idea. Programmers and Artists would probably join Design discussions also.

Submitted by Morphine on Thu, 01/04/04 - 11:24 PMPermalink

Well I was thinking something totally separate to the Mod forum because then you could post links and questions and such about modding/getting together/etc there. With the Design forum, you could nut out scenarios and character stat balances, etc, away from mod teams and other games. Programmer's and Artist's comments in the Design forum would be welcomed [:p]

Submitted by JonathanKerr on Fri, 02/04/04 - 10:16 AMPermalink

It'd be a good idea, but only if it encourages actual design.

People seem to think that design is a cool story or having an idea that would be cool. Everyone's got ideas, very few people get paid to supervise others.

As one designer once told me, "real game design is in addressing the problems that arise in development and solving them." Everything sounds good on paper -- it's once it's in practice, that you can see whether it works or not.

Submitted by Gazunta on Sat, 03/04/04 - 7:58 AMPermalink

The real art in design to address the problems, solve them AND look like that's what you meant all along :)


The state of our gaming nation

Hi I just thought I'd make a few comments about our gaming society and the way it's changed over the last 10-15 years. Many years back when I first opened my C-64 pro-pack computer system (age 9), my eyes glowed and I trembled with excitement. I unpacked it and set it up (instructions aside) and Proceeded to play the VERY BASIC games included. Some were text based, and a few like mothership, graphic based. I stayed awake all the first night and into the second night, totally fixed to the screen, my imagination running wild.... Well then there was the Amiga (bless its soul) and finally Pc started to catch up. The reason I wrote this was to just test the water and see how many people will agree with some of my thoughts. At first I thought my recent bout of impatience with modern games was a side-effect of growing up, and that If I was a kid now I'd be going mad on the new generation games-consoles, etc. But after much game-play and a lot of frustation and thinking, I've come to the conclusion, that almost all of the games today are relying on various combinations of powerful graphics, long-winded storylines, processing power...yadda yadda, u get my point..a race to be the most tecnological. Back in the day, the fact that the games relied on certain levels of imagination, and simplicity was sometimes the only option due to Kb allowance, had that major side effect, it gave more room for imagination, and less room for dissapointment. kinda like the difference between the original Starwars series, and the computer generated New Gen Starwars. Take the example of most real life sports, Tennis, golf, cricket, surfing..... They all have one thing in common. They only involve a minimum of variations in control. The content is usually limited to one screen or scenario. Its the fun of being able to master and gain skill of something graspable, we dont expect to hit the golf ball and have flames trailing behind it, or bats consuming it and then telling you to proceed to the 9th hole of doom! Games of today require you to work your way through 800 different locations, frustrated at backtracking 80% of the time trying to be a Pirate of the Carribean, just one example, They all work on boring marketing guidelines of minimum gameplay times, Market stuctured crap and have basically been smothered by the boring sods who handle the money and licencing. I can walk into a gamestore, mull around for an hour and not see one original game idea. I mean why did pack-man become so famous? Some might say because it was the best game they had at the time. Partly right. It was pushing graphics at release, yes, but people still love it now, its a classic. You have to wonder if the idea would get a second glance at a game devs conference had it been lodged now instead of then. But it comes down to its main drawcard. Simplicity! It stands with great human pasttimes like Snooker, Pinball, 10 pin bowling, Solitare, heck even pee-knuckle. Its good wholesome quick to get in to, FUN. Spacey games were spacey games when thet were "space invaders" "pacman" "simcity" "bubble bobble" then they started trying to be too damn much! I just thank the computer gods that I got to experience the golden age of gameing, and Maybe in 10-20 years when graphics are just super realistic the "sport sims" and "mindless platforms" will be immersive enough to enjoy. Game devs looking for ideas? Spend some time thinking of the the tiny number of legendary games that have been. Most of which were in the earlier days. Think about what people like to do in real life that are impractical to do, make some simple buid'em up games, and some simple single screen games. Xenon2 wasnt a bad emulation of space invaders. simcity was good simple fun. 1943 was great, how often, if ever do you see a game like 1943 on PC?? ask yourself that....

Submitted by TheBigJ on Mon, 29/03/04 - 9:54 PMPermalink

I agree with some of your thoughts but have to put my own forward:

I have a similar gaming history to you, it seems. I started on the C64 and moved on to the atari, amiga, master system, NES etc. From the beginning I was fascinated by gaming. The very act of interacting with a virtual environment intrigued me (at a limited 6 year old level). Thinking of the games of those times today still brings back warm memories. Games of that time were well designed, fun and just great to play.

However, fun though they were, modern games are more fun. Look at some games I have completed recently. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Neverwinter Nights, KOTOR, Max Payne 2. I loved all of these games for their story and their design in general. It would be madness to claim that the original Prince of Persia is better in any way, shape or form. SoT has better graphics, yes. It also has better story, better design, better music, and is more fun. I know this because after completing the new game I replayed the old game. The old game is good, but compared to Sands of Time, it sucks.

I'm not entirely sure what it is that you are trying to suggest was better in retro games, but you do mention size/length. Generally, a game should be played as much as possible. Perhaps the real question is how long should it take to play a game once? Games of differing genres demand different length. A Beat-em-up like Tekken or SoulCalibur has a fairly small environment and can be played though in a matter of minutes. Other games, like RPGs, require much longer times (often 40+ hours). But has anything really changed?

Compare ZORK to KOTOR. They both took ages to play. If you compare games of different genres, you're likely to to see huge differences over time, like comparing Bubble Bobble to Pirates of the Carribean or Neverwinter Nights. Doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

On to marketing. Here, I partly agree with you. Publishers decide what games get published. They make these decisions based on what games sell, and have sold in the past. If a particular game has sold well then a similar game is more likely to get signed then an original concept. This is unfortunate as it makes creative innovation difficult. However, this too is debatable. After all, publishers make these descisions on games we buy. Well marketed games make publishers/developers more money and future games have larger development budgets thus making later games better and the circle goes on.

Basically, the point I'm trying to get across is that the things that made games good in the olden days still make games good today. But now we have new and more exciting things to play with. Some people, like yourself, aren't satisfied with this. Maybe you're too easily distracted by pretty graphics and ignore the underlying gameplay. Maybe you just grew up. Modern games are fun too. If you went back in time and gave the creators of pac-man modern game technology do you think they would use it? And if they did, would you still think of pac-man with the same emotion you do now? I know I would.

Just my two cents.

Edit: Typo.

Submitted by Aven on Mon, 29/03/04 - 10:34 PMPermalink

I also have fond memories of older games, but there is one problem with comparing new games to older ones. Our age. How many times have you said that kids cartoons now are crap compared to what we had? Go back and watch some of those old cartoons now. They are really bad. We look at things from our youths as a youth, and not as an adult. I'm sure that if you went back and played some old C64 games, they just wouldn't hold you as much now as what they used to. I loved playing Wonderboy on my old Master System, but I am sure it would give me the shits now-a-days.

I agree with your comments on older games being more about imagination and less about graphics. To a certain extent. Devs back then had to rely on more original titles as they didn't have the ability to wow people with amasing images or sounds. They couldn't store a couple of gig on their DVDs. Now we have that ability, there is an expectancy to use it. As much as we complain, how many of us would go and buy a new game that looks like something from 1985? I sure a hell wouldn't. I own a nice system, and I want to test it out as well as having fun. If I want to play a game from 1985, I will. It is also more difficult to design a more original game today as designs have been done. Pong wasn't that original (ping pong), but it was a new format, so we felt it was.

There are still some companies who try to base their games on originality. Smilebit still being my favourite of them (Rez, JSR). I guess it is just the weakness of growing up in the past and trying to compare the now to the then. It just can't be done. Have your fond memories from your childhood, but don't let it ruin any fond memories you may have now.

Submitted by ScORCHo on Mon, 29/03/04 - 11:57 PMPermalink

Why there is such a strong connection with older games with our generation is because they were more personal, and by that i mean they took more effort, concentration, and imagintation therfore becoming like a part of you. I can remember playing text adventures and just sitting staring at the screen with nothing but words on it, but in my head there is this whole world being created, with the different creatures and towns, and imagining the different roads and what would be the best way to go. And then the games started to get pictures and everything, which they still let you imagine yourself in there, but the pictures helped.

Games nowdays are are extremely fun because everything is pretty much given too you. There is a 3D world where you can actually look and walk around and interact, talk to people, even real people, so your brain isnt using as much power for imagination, you can just play and let the visual take you in. And this is what people want, because most people are lazy.

I should also add people are impatient.

Submitted by GooberMan on Tue, 30/03/04 - 12:03 AMPermalink

quote:Originally posted by ViperNZ

how often, if ever do you see a game like 1943 on PC??

Just because it's not on the shelves doesn't mean it's not out there. There's a growing online market that is thriving on selling games based on old concepts. The other month, I saw a remake of Marble Madness being played on one of the computers at work. RealArcade and similar services are examples of where you can find things like that.

Simplicity is all well and good, but there are complex games that are considered classics. Civilisation is regarded by many as the best game of all time, and that game is far from simple. Likewise, there have been games that have been made too simple and are just plain boring to play as a result. Simplicity does not necessarily mean fun and addictive gameplay, and the same goes for complexity. It's all about the challenge. The challenge in Pac Man was to get all the dots before you got ghosted. The challenge in Civilisation was to be the best civilisation in the entire world. The gameplay should serve the challenge and do it justice, it shouldn't sell itself short for the sake of simplicity or overcomplicate things because it can.

Submitted by Maitrek on Tue, 30/03/04 - 12:25 AMPermalink

It's all well and good to notice that there are some ailments within the modern game, but whining about them doesn't actually help much.

As for the whole rose-coloured glasses argument that old games suck compared to modern games? I can tell you now that I played System Shock 1 for the first time about a month before System Shock 2 came out, I played through the first one, loved it, then I played the second one, and the sequel was awful compared to the original, I never even personally finished the sequel because it bored me to tears with how crap-tastically it was designed. I've puked up better designs after binge drinking.

I'm personally very critical of the jobs that game designers are doing these days, there is only a faint shred of creativity and innovation in even the most 'revolutionary' games that are brought out these days. Worse than the lack of creative game design, is the amount of simple mistakes that are made during the game design process...the bits of game design that just don't match up with the intended audience, or the intended 'genre' (a word that I hate) or just the general mechanic and flow of the game.

At least the artists are mostly doing a good job of giving the most tired 'genres' and game designs a fresh coat of paint.

Submitted by hobonation on Wed, 31/03/04 - 2:55 AMPermalink

Old games are just the best, If you would class Snes as old, It has the best games EVER MADE! w000t!

Submitted by smeg on Wed, 31/03/04 - 5:22 AMPermalink

quote:Originally posted by Maitrek

At least the artists are mostly doing a good job of giving the most tired 'genres' and game designs a fresh coat of paint.

Interesting quote, and probably more meaningful than you intended.

Artists are not pushing the boundaries any further than game designers. What was the last game you played that had a truly unique visual style? XIII? Zelda? Ico? We have more polygons and more neato special effects with each hardware iteration, but our games still look the same.

The fact is, every level of game production is stifled to some degree; design, art, script/narrative etc. What you have to understand, is that this is a good thing - sometimes. Usually games are kept in line with existing standards (either imposed by the console manufacturers or by the gameing public).

I have designed a PC stratergy game that ONLY accepts keyboard input. I have also designed a FPS that is controlled entirely with the mouse.

Of course, neither of these is true. But i'm willing to bet my 2 cents that you first reaction was a "Huh, you can't do that!" not a "hey, i wanna buy that!".

Revolutionary concepts run a VERY serious risk of losing the player. They also run the risk of selling a grand total of 7 copies as a result (3 of which may be returned by unsatisfied customers).

Really what people want is a happy medium; a standard genre (that you are familiar with) with a new twist or angle. Or maybe a NEW genre, but those are kinda hard to find. :D

Hmm, sorry. I kinda got carried away there. :)

Submitted by DaMunkee on Wed, 31/03/04 - 4:51 PMPermalink

I agree with everyone on every point (is that a politicians answer or what? :) )
As every point is true, but as we all learned in this classroom of life, there are exceptions to everything.

What I mean is this. Publishers/developers are restricting what they make due to what they feel is most important. Unfortunately for most, that means whatever will bring in the money. But at the same time, some still value original ideas as the most important. (Look at games like Pikman, Rez, etc...) Even good creative renditions of classics are have come. (Ikuragi for example, if you haven't played it yet but enjoy 1942 style top down scrollers, pick it up!) There is and will always be something for everyone, it's just sometimes you have to look harder then not.

As for my own personal taste, I'm tired of the tried and true "hits" Counter strike, great, Battlefield 1942, great, but I don't want to play both! Now give me a gimmick, something I've never seen before and I'm so there! Recently I picked up Life Line for the PS2. All in all, the game is probably a 3 out of 5 rating, but I still like it because to play the game, you Tell the main character to do stuff (usb headset required). Pikmen was a steller game and will probably pick up Pikmen 2 provided it's different enough from the first. I guess as I get older, I value my time more. If I'm going to spend the time with a computer instead of a my partner, well there better be something I've never done before to make it worth it :)

On a related note, I believe the game industry is following almost exactly in the footsteps of the Movie industry. There you have your blockbusters that of course do well because of the hype... hmmm sound familiar? (Doom III) But you also have those few producers who still challenge the norm (View Askew/Kevin Smith). The end result of their work, a small fan base that grows and grows but still doesn't reach the money level as the blockbusters. And then you have the flops, those that try and try but fail either because they rushed the movie(almost any game), copied someone elses script/plot(An ex cop, wakes up, has to kill everyone) or made the same movie with new actors/art(every blizzard clone out there) just to name a few. Now if only the game industry unionizes like the Movie industry did, then the 100 hour work weeks may disappear :)

My 2.5 cents.

Submitted by ViperNZ on Thu, 01/04/04 - 1:55 AMPermalink

I'd just like to thank everyone who has so far contributed to this post. I might just desipher a bit of my initial ranting, as I have a habit of over-indulging a thought beyond reasonable limits! I accept all the comments so far and also acknowledge there will be a spread or different angles to take this from. The key of my point was... A byproduct of struggling to get functionality in games of earlier times was innovation, and that innovation took a whole load of time, and in that time!..... they got a big bag of opportunities to think of funky little details in the game. The graphics of today ARE a great thing, but I liked the comment earlier about Txt based games leaving it all (graphically) to our imagination, Now we have great graphics to help our imagination along. I for one have great imagination, so maybe its that part of me that's protesting sub-consiously. Soon the graphics will close in on ulra realism, and then maybe we'll get Virtual Reality, and full immersive fun, but until then, all I ask is for more thoughtful content. The only reason I mentioned Pirates of the carribbean was because I think its the best example of a game that looks pretty good, but thats it!! The game was almost unplayable! No edge of your seat stuff like Eye of the beholder! Again thanks peeps! see ya!

Submitted by hobonation on Thu, 01/04/04 - 3:29 AMPermalink

Well, I anit given no-one no cents. Get a job u bums![:D]

errrr....I really gotta take up a hobby......

Submitted by Morphine on Thu, 01/04/04 - 11:29 PMPermalink

The thing that gets up my nose about most games nowadays is the lack of feelings. Feelings that the character may have and the gamer not having the ability to decide for themselves the course of action. I laugh at games that boast they have "multiple endings." Yeah, THEIR endings, not the gamers, pre-chosen to fit in what they feel like.

I believe gamers should have more choices in games, not so much that they have to make every stinkin decision but to have enough choices available so that they can fully immerse themselves into the character/team they are controlling.

That's my 5 cents because 2 cents isn't legal tender. [:D]

Submitted by Maitrek on Fri, 02/04/04 - 8:40 AMPermalink

quote:At least the artists are mostly doing a good job of giving the most tired 'genres' and game designs a fresh coat of paint.

Yeah. I mainly intended that comment to point out that all games have nowadays is slightly different eye candy - no discredit to artists, you are all true professionals doing a great job - exactly as you are expected to.

The problem is that most people are 'just doing their jobs'. They've gone and taken what is, arguably, an expressive/artistic medium, and they've turned it into a commercial process. Now I'm not one to rant about marx, but there is a disturbingly strong theme of neo-marxist musings amongst almost *all* decisions made at the upper levels of game production.

Commercialism and artistry are not mutually exclusive. The problem is, that some marketing dickwits have got it in their heads that only 15 y.o. and under ppl play games, and that all they want to play is CS, BF1942, UT2K4 (sorry to all under 15 y.o. sophisticates out there, this is just what a bunch of marketing reps think, not what I think).

quote:I have designed a PC stratergy game that ONLY accepts keyboard input. I have also designed a FPS that is controlled entirely with the mouse.

The first thing that sprang to my mind (my game design mind) was 'how' (and after that, why) :) The problem with alot of game design is that it's not engineered backwards. We don't really start with a goal (ie, I want to make the interface accept one mode of input, I want to ellicit this feeling from the player, I want the player to attempt this etc) and then figure out the 'how' from there. More often than not, we start with some basic building blocks and engineer some stuff that fits on top of an already 'approved' design.

For me game design starts with 'why'. Why should I make this game? This usually comes from that 'artist' lurking in any game designer. From here springs forth what the game is or will become, you figure out what the game is going to bring to the people who play it, what the game is supposed to do, what you are trying to get out of the game yourself. After you've figured out what the game is supposed to do, then you figure out 'how' the crap you are going to do it.

The thing that makes my ears bleed is when someone says - 'I'm going to make a part role-playing character based tactical arcade rail shooter part turn-based strategy micro-managed conspirator simulator'. It completely ignores why that game is going to be made, and almost straight away defines how the game works (ie based upon previous concepts). It's a recipe for a balls up.

When John Carmack made Catacombs Abyss (I think that was the first FPS) do you think he said 'I want to make a First Person Shooter'. No. He probably thought to himself 'I want to see a game where the running and gunning appears through the characters eyes'. The 'why' behind the game from some innate sick desire to watch people die (I can't prove that, I've never asked him myself), the what evolved from there, and the how was merely a matter of over-coming programming challenges and designing the interface around that.

And as if Kevin Smith/View Askew challenge convention. Although, they have done well with their movies on a non-hollywood budget, it doesn't mean that they don't make hollywood esque movies :P Still they are kick-arse funny movies, and in regards to Chasing Amy...uhh...that was kinda meaningful.

quote:I believe gamers should have more choices in games, not so much that they have to make every stinkin decision but to have enough choices available so that they can fully immerse themselves into the character/team they are controlling.

Interesting you should mention that. Ye olde Doug Church and Warren Spector (okay they aren't old, but the are older than me) harp on about that all the time (I don't really listen to warren spector though, just DC). Of course, I pointed out that 'choices' really only change the context within which the game plays out. More often than not, the choices are hardly game-changing, nor do they alter the way the game plays to suit the player. At best they are 'plot customising' options, but they don't really make the game any better or worse.

What I think is more important to focus on, is developing our games so that not only does the game environment evolve around the player (and player-character in the case of an role-based game) but the way the game challenges the player, the kind of tests the player receives, and how the player is rewarded is based on the choices that the player makes and the games interpretation of the players actions.

Some players like to explore, some like to kill, some like to loot, some like to help. Some players like to receive riches, some like moral justification and status, some like developing NPCs relationships (not that kind of relationship you freak) etc etc.

Games have a long way to go in this regard, and although I admire the work of alot of the big-wigs in the industry (Peter Molyneux, Doug Church, Shigeru Miyamoto (sp?), Harvey Smith (sorta), Tim Schaefer) they are all trying to push the boundaries to get where they want to go, but their hands are tied by publishers expectations and even some of the fans expectations.

What is my point here?

I have NFI, just some random musings that I won't even charge $0.05 for.

These be the games of the future

Indi games developers certainly are starting a move away from the croc-of-* that is bringing me down. I recently was told about this site by a friend who for some strange reason wishes to remain nameless. The technology for this was displayed in Perth at an Electronic Arts Festival. Anyway I hink that these guys are on to something.

Submitted by Brain on Tue, 26/08/03 - 1:54 AMPermalink

oOOOoooo, that's so nifty stuff! Would love to see it in real life.

Hmmm... I desire to play EyeToy @:-)

Augmented Games

I am interested in developing for Augmented reality. I understand there are only a few trialing this area but I was hoping to get an Idea of who has been successful.

Cheers all,
from Luke

Submitted by JonathanKerr on Mon, 04/08/03 - 11:56 PMPermalink

quote:Originally posted by lukeo25

I am interested in developing for Augmented reality. I understand there are only a few trialing this area but I was hoping to get an Idea of who has been successful.

Cheers all,
from Luke

Can you define augmented reality? For my interest's sake than anything else.

Submitted by JonathanKerr on Tue, 05/08/03 - 1:58 AMPermalink

Jesus. That's pretty far out.

So are the environments computer generated based on real locales or is it just the enemies and any effects/items/props that are computer generated?

This is very cool, but would it run the risk of only ever being used for FPS games? The mouse and keyboard might go only for us to have a whole new glut of generic FPS? Admittedly that's a bit harsh, the technology does sound very exciting but probably a long way off from being affordable.

Perhaps designated areas can be set up for this sort of thing. A combination between Laser Strike and an arcade. I also see implications for this being used in military training -- Metal Gear VR training, so to speak.

Controversy-wise, get ready for more 'Videogames make people kill one another' type arguments.

Will it be fun? I'd say so, because it's blurring the lines of immersion.

I also had thoughts about something like this for webcams/eyetoys. Instead of the backpak etc... you would wear a pad or sensor to your chest and stand directly in front of the camera. The camera would then measure where you (and hence your on-screen persona) is in relation to the enemies by the distance it takes to receive the signal back.

Submitted by lukeo25 on Tue, 05/08/03 - 2:14 AMPermalink

Yes, Whao, Hey.

When I found these guys in Adelaide I was totaly blown away too. I think its all the salt in the water. I was looking for some articles on motion detection for my own AR pack. Yeah I've been toying with small prog's to pick up motion detection through your webcam with some sucsess now for a year. Its capable of X,Y pick up and I'm working on tumble switching and Z motion also. Spare time I wish I had more. This is why I question the current products and the potential to go further. Who'd have ever thought you could excersise will playing a consol or PC game?.

Submitted by Malus on Tue, 05/08/03 - 2:37 AMPermalink

I remember reading about the ARQuake Project guys.
Imagine the ramifications for gamers if it really takes off, no longer sofa bound nerds!! We could rule the parking lots and disused warehouses of the world!! BOO HA HA!!!

Submitted by Maitrek on Tue, 05/08/03 - 8:34 AMPermalink

Heh - I would love to have one of those for an augmented reality fighting game or something (obviously most people wouldn't appreciate the game)....but aside from that, it seems pretty far out, and gameing I think has always been a casual non-athletic pass time so it'd be interesting to see how that preiphal would catch on. It's certainly interesting though, perhaps more from a first person shooter perspective, or maybe a haunted house style perspective. You could scare the crap out of someone with some decent graphics :)

I wonder what kind of health hazard those things would be though? Aside from possible neck injury depending on the weight (although throw enough money at it and they'll shrink) but electrical signals in close proximity to brain never works out well in some scientific studies (no pun intended) :)

Submitted by lukeo25 on Tue, 05/08/03 - 7:05 PMPermalink

For lack of fear about others stealing ideas, I'll post this.... I can see a lazer zone style of environment where the layout of the rooms in the real world building coincide exactly with the software version of the room. Events occur per storyline or random activation and teams of people enter the game to play ( even network linkups for multiple country teams ). A central system generates the events for all rooms and transmits via microwave. Units on very lightweight heads up systems with radio emitters giving away locations and tumble switches send angle and aspect information. The heads up system provides the viewer with the game graphics and speakers dotted around giving 3D sound give added effects. Effectively you have a Holodeck. It can
all be achieved with off the shelf technologies and can incorporate set dressing and multi locality scenarios. This is all adaptable if your worried about microwaves then cameras picking up leds mounted in the roof and on the player would work also.

Its all doable NOW!

Submitted by redwyre on Tue, 05/08/03 - 8:36 PMPermalink

There was an episode of X-Files that was based on an AR game, and after watching that I saw a show about how some people were calculating the precice location of a blimp in warehose using radio signals.

So, what would any geek do other than design their own AR system? ;)

I envisioned it as being something like a lazerforce/zone3 area where you run arround in but I was thinking of having the game completely computer generated, and just using the walls as sold geometry :) That way you could have animated textures on the walls and whatnot but still have the realness to it.

And it's been doable for around a decade...

Submitted by lukeo25 on Tue, 05/08/03 - 8:51 PMPermalink

I just contacted some friends here in Brisbane and we all agreed "its time" I think my weekends will now be full of AR development. I intend the whole system to be off the shelf. We're just looking for a wharehouse to set it all up in and checking out financing. Ill keep you informed. I supose the first thing is to check out IP security.

Submitted by sho nuff on Tue, 05/08/03 - 8:57 PMPermalink

quote:Originally posted by redwyre

There was an episode of X-Files that was based on an AR game, and after watching that I saw a show about how some people were calculating the precice location of a blimp in warehose using radio signals.

So, what would any geek do other than design their own AR system? ;)

I envisioned it as being something like a lazerforce/zone3 area where you run arround in but I was thinking of having the game completely computer generated, and just using the walls as sold geometry :) That way you could have animated textures on the walls and whatnot but still have the realness to it.

And it's been doable for around a decade...

arent u just repeating what luke said?

Anyhow, as far as this AR thing is concerned. I think they should extend it beyond the realm of games and medical application, and start thinking of ways to implement it in everyday life.

Imagine the possibilities of changing your view of the world to something you would prefer. Kind of like having themes for your desktop. So instead of seeing the world as is, your AR unit, discretely integrated into your bionic eyes, could transform it into one huge episode of simpsons where everyone looks sunshine yellow with big googly eyes, while drab onjects get a fresh coat of cel shaded paint. Or you could superimpose mullets and gandalf sized beards upon people you don't like, without them even knowing. Add to this, the ability to stick 'post-it's' on people, to remember querky things about the person you often forget, like there names and interests etc.

Yes, the future can be bright, so long as we can all learn to live in it peacefully.

BTW i did a bit of research and discovered that AR began development 30 yrs ago.

Submitted by souri on Tue, 05/08/03 - 9:37 PMPermalink

In a related note, I just posted a news item about John Passfield's [url=""]game musings on Eye Toy[/url]. It looks like a surgance of augmented reality's popularity may be just around the corner! And yeh, the technology has been around for ages. I remember attending an Amiga show over ten years ago where they had a camera capturing a guy, and on the tv screen were all these drum kits. If you could position your hands over them, you could play them. [:)].. It seemed like a novelty then, but I guess it took a company like Sony to see the potential of it..

I think that with a bit of imagination and idea storming, you could come up with some really cool games with abunch of people in a warehous that aren't point and shoot / paintball like. Picking up virtual objects and throwing them? A puzzle game? Class based, team orientated? So many possibilities!! [:)]

Submitted by JonathanKerr on Tue, 05/08/03 - 11:19 PMPermalink


I think that with a bit of imagination and idea storming, you could come up with some really cool games with abunch of people in a warehous that aren't point and shoot / paintball like. Picking up virtual objects and throwing them? A puzzle game? Class based, team orientated? So many possibilities!! [:)]

Indeed. When you think about it - moving menus and information around a screen is much like what Tom Cruise's character does in Minority Report or what the workers in the Zion Mainframe do in Reloaded. The only difference is the lack of holographic display for all to see.

Submitted by Blitz on Wed, 06/08/03 - 5:29 AMPermalink

Maybe someone could send me all the neccessary hardware free of charge? :)
CYer, Blitz

Submitted by Daemin on Wed, 06/08/03 - 8:09 AMPermalink

There was a guy from Germany at the AGDC last year, he did an experiment in Augmented Reality / Games.

I think his site was or or something...

And as for the Augmented Quake game that's being done at UniSA - I know a guy doing research on that project :-)

Submitted by redwyre on Sat, 06/09/03 - 12:46 AMPermalink

did you get anywhere with this Luke?

Submitted by lukeo25 on Sat, 06/09/03 - 1:48 AMPermalink

I am in demand at the moment. Not enough time to scratch myself.

I have however been talking with a programming wizard who specializes in peripherals. He has sugested we try something small for proof of concept and we also need to look into Patents currently held for AR development. It would be a pain in the A if we got everything working and some Jerk walks in and claims it as his IP. We are going to try and be as original in application and development as possible.

Submitted by Happy Camper on Sat, 06/09/03 - 2:19 AMPermalink

quote:Originally posted by lukeo25

I am in demand at the moment

Must be nice[;)].

I'd love to see the game industry head in this direction, I find AR extremely interesting, it could bring so many new innovations to games. I also like the idea of your physical abilities giving you a advantage/disadvantage rather than your skill with a controller. It would be nice to see AR take a peice of the gaming market, it would also be nice to see a few Australians take a peice of the augmented reality market if it ever comes to excist. The idea is so cool, it just seems so Sci-Fi.

Good Luck!

Submitted by Maitrek on Tue, 09/09/03 - 8:31 PMPermalink

I think if anything it'll open up a different market. Which would be interesting, however whether it's sustainable enough is another question.

Submitted by IronhideNT on Sun, 04/04/04 - 2:23 AMPermalink

Well what do ya know. I'm actually researching augmented reality at the moment.

Augmented reality,while i reckon will be controversial in the "shooter" type genre, I reckon could work in the life sim/virtual pet type genre.

An AR "The Sims" would be very interesting indeed

Submitted by Morphine on Mon, 05/04/04 - 11:09 PMPermalink

An AR "The Sims" would be very interesting indeed

Hmmm ... that would be interesting. Getting to beautiful ladies to get together and ...

*uhem* Ah, where were we? Ah yes, AR. This should be a cool slogan:

"AR. The only place you can really kill your family!" [:D]

Submitted by Jigen on Thu, 08/04/04 - 8:10 AMPermalink

Im sorry but I don't think I like the idea of AR FPS. Im quite happy with Real Reality at the moement. Give me skirmish anyday. But It would be nice to see an Rpg. Now that would be cool. Exspecially when you get a new sword. Can some one say dramatic pose.

Submitted by TheBigJ on Tue, 13/04/04 - 9:32 AMPermalink

Ah, but what about AR-Enhanced skirmish? Fight your real friends in a real jungle only with plasma rifles and flamethrowers instead of paintball guns. [:)]

Submitted by Jigen on Tue, 13/04/04 - 11:14 AMPermalink

it depends on how small the equipment to make it work is. Because Im all for jumping running diving anything to avoid being shot and if i have to lug around some big helmet or a vest its not worth it.

Submitted by TheBigJ on Tue, 13/04/04 - 11:45 PMPermalink

Yeah thats true. The idea would be to wait until the hardware becomes portable and lightweight enough.

How about skirmish co-op? You and your friends form a team and fight against a force of invading aliens in a real setting.

Submitted by Jigen on Wed, 14/04/04 - 12:09 AMPermalink

heh allows for some pretty interesting scenarios. I would have to go for aliens attacking the local hardware store. I drove past on of those and there HUGE first thing I thought. Kick ass skirmish place. Then we have accsess to all of the melee weapons. From the axe to the chain saw to the crow bar.

Submitted by TheBigJ on Wed, 14/04/04 - 12:21 AMPermalink

Hell yeah.. Don't know about the chainsaw though, I mean its cool in Doom but when its that lifelike it just seems so wrong.

And yes, a lot of cool scenarios. How about a sci-fi car chase? Equip a rally car with the AR gear, take it to some bushland and set some markers: Your vehicle is getting chased by alien hovercraft and you need to outrun it. One guy drives and some other dudes shoot out of the windows and stuff. Hell, you could even modify a buggy into a halo warthog type contraption. Very cool stuff.

Submitted by spageto on Wed, 14/04/04 - 7:54 PMPermalink

And don't forget the multi-billion dollar fitness market[:)] Forget running on a treadmill looking at a TV, now you can run in the Olympics... or on a beach... or up a hill... or (far more interesting) for your life... to get away from some bad guys chasing you... or in a war zone...

Good luck guys. I'm no programmer but a newbie artist. No doubt you'll need exceptional 3D graphics!

Submitted by redwyre on Wed, 14/04/04 - 9:54 PMPermalink

I think it might be hard to work with melee weapons... you won't get any feedback from then stabbing at in the air :) But some kind of gun with kickback would be cool.

Is it just me?

I'm not too sure about it. But it seems like there is a lot of very similar looking work out there, in games ( models, game play, level design ) The unique stuff seems to be the old stuff ( Duke Nukem, Doom, Quake ) and even these have got an edge of similarity. Is there anybody out there trying to be original or is it just my take on it all.
Can we move forward instead of looking at profit margins and what was the last best seller?. Look at the guys who pioneered all this. They were original way back when. Now what we all seem to want to do is copy what has made a buck without thinking of new things. Nothing Ive seen Microforte show me for instance, knocks my socks off. Bigworld isn't all that incredible its just a technological step to the front. So were all going to get to play together, lots of US. But whats new? Hows this going to be any different a game than any other network Game. Black and White might have been the exception for me, it showed promise of a new way of developing. But when I look at the "state of the games nation" I can only sight one or two slightly unique developers. Its either Cars, Guns, Tanks, War or some medieval Wack that is selling in the market and these are usualy catering to an already hooked and highly critical geek demographic. So what about that huge Majority out there that don't super cool there chip for better performance? Surely these guys are the better market, the ones who deserve our attention. Playstation had the right Idea with "Eye Toy" Augmented reality may very well bring the games world back to offering REAL entertainment to the Non Technoheaded Public. Sure we have our kids games Bandicoot and our mobile phone snake thingamies. But how long will Games developing follow medium rather than lead it.
I look around at what people are looking for in thier programmers and artists and see the same thing " must be a real gamer ". What does that mean? I assume it means must be hard edged and geekily into games, all the current stuff off course!. What sort of a game do you suppose you'll get from this kind of guy, especialy if he's the guy who is designing game play? Well the answer is simple, a copy of his favourite game!. May be the games world could do with a new vision. One run by a marketing department looking at the MAJORITY rather than the GEEKY FEW. Its a matter of convincing the world of, those who want to be entertained, rather than the guys who have cracked the GOD mode.

Bye for now
from Luke

Submitted by Major Clod on Sun, 03/08/03 - 12:42 PMPermalink

I agree with you on the aspect of all the unoriginal games that have been pouring out over the last few years.

However, you have to understand that someone designing the game has to understand the limitations of the medium, and know exactly what can be done. You see, the marketing department don't have a clue what can actually be accomplished when making a game. Put someone like that in charge, and I doubt you will see a completed game any time soon.

Take this from a developers perspective. I'm sure there are thousands of developers out there that would love to work on an original title to spice up the industry, however I'd imagine their first priority is to have a meal on their table. There are probably only a handful of developers that can afford to spend years working on their original game, yet it could all be for naught if its not successful.

I am confused on the way you use the term "geekily into games". I can say that it would be rare for someone who only has a casual interest in games to be a developer. These "geeky" people will most likely have a hell of a lot more knowledge about game design than the fella that owned a PS2 once so he could play Vice City and Gran Turismo.

I actually think it is the "majority" that are holding back the industry. Publishers are obviously aiming at the "majority", these are the people who are only interested in playing their latest military sim or racing clone. If the majority really wanted to play something different, the publishers would be working to meet these demands.

Blame the publishers. The "geeky few" developing the games more than likely would love to make something revolutionary, but it is simply not possible in the position they are in.

Submitted by JonathanKerr on Sun, 03/08/03 - 8:52 PMPermalink

"Under the sun, nothing is new"
"There are only 7 original ideas, everything else is an offshoot of those."

These were sayings about originality - anything we come up with is usually inspired by things that we find interesting. Sometimes these things influence us subconsciously. Even the greats have their influences.

But how do you define originality? What's original to one person may not be original to someone else who is exposed to that same thing often. Some people tar all fighting games with the same brush -- when others will see it's the variation between Tekken/Streetfighter/Virtua Fighter/Soul Calibur that give it their own original flavour.

- A good game is a good game -- it can appeal to everyone (Doom, GTA3, Tekken). Don't worry about being mass market or niche. I don't think people should worry about making their game more mass market, but some more niche games wouldn't go amiss.

- I do think companies have to rely less on franchises.

- If you don't like a game, don't buy it. Then maybe companies will get the message. If people still are buying the latest incarnation of a franchise, who are we to judge if they are happy?

quote:Sure we have our kids games Bandicoot and our mobile phone snake thingamies. But how long will Games developing follow medium rather than lead it.

If you're talking about peripherals leading the medium, the problem is cost. Games like Steel Battalion, Dance Dance Revolution, Samba de Amigo and light gun games are often very original due to the peripherals required, but the cost turns most people off. How can developers make a profit which at the end of the day when they want to finance their next creation and their stomachs, is what's necessary.

An interesting excerpt from Redeye's column in Edge Magazine:

"...If the games industry is a family, it is so terribly inbred that the children are ugly hulking brutes built from cliche and learned incompetence. This game is like that game plus this factor from another game. Hey, there's a pitch for you, Activision or THQ or Atari or whoever, anyone, everyone: Nu Tony Hawks = Tony Hawk's + GTA3. Which is endemic of an industry brought up as cannibals, not as connoisseurs."

"The industry is a two-decade expert at refining genres and crossbreeding them, but when the only points of references are other videogames, it's no wonder that things get stale so quickly."

Some interesting views that encourage some food for thought. But I suppose this: if you wanna make a difference or if we think we can do any better, then plop down the cash, set up your own development company and prove it.

Submitted by lukeo25 on Sun, 03/08/03 - 9:32 PMPermalink

I'm not trying to disenfranchise developers or games players here. I am a developer and designer who works in the game industry. My issues lately have been about the future of an industry that caters to a "hard core gaming group" ( HCGG ) who are able to unravel the gameplay due to learned behaviour. New game concepts are built from old game concepts and visa vea for the game to work it can't be easy for the HCGG to figure it out or get the hang of. My issue with catering to this HCGG is that these guys may put food on the table but it also makes the developer slave to what they expect from the next game. You get it wrong, your game sucks, and your back to starving. Just as big a risk I'd say. I believe the games world needs a new avenue not a complete change and thats possible with good market research into the (non HCGG) . Market research for the games industry is very very insignificant. It is lost on most that it is an important part of a sucessful product. Most games companies disregard it for the common practice of following the trend. Yet it is an integeral part of all the games that have kicked on ( computer and analogue ). Toy companies spend millions looking at the market, and develop according to it. Maybe we should encourage increased funded research for games companies into this area. At any rate It will require Publishers to change their attitudes as well. I realy think they miss the mark and marketing oportunities here. Publisher always cater to the MINORITY not the MAJORITY with few ecceptions and what I mean by the MAJORITY is those people publishers arn't even looking at, non game players, for the cliche addicted ( Mums n Dads ), ( Granies and Grandchildren ). I think Playstation is leading the way with new and interesting developments like augmented reality, being made into game products like "Eye Toy". Its simple and self directed. The player can have FUN rather than WIN.

As far as my views on developers, I know from experience games companies think it good policy to keep a homogenised gang of Gamers as the developers and artists. All liking similar games to the last and all playing a round of a favourite game at the end of the week. I even know they all advertise jobs with the distinction that the applicant shouldn't bother unless their hobby is games. An invitation for a discrimination case if ever I saw one. Your hobby not your skill could loose you the position. And this "gang" is what I refered to earlier as "must be hard edged and geekily into games". I really don't think this is the way to deliver fresh and interesting product.

My feelings are, if we continue down the present path of delivering the same old same old. Games will never evolve.

Time to diversify
Regards from Luke

Submitted by JonathanKerr on Sun, 03/08/03 - 11:10 PMPermalink

quote:Originally posted by lukeo25

I'm not trying to disenfranchise developers or games players here. I am a developer and designer who works in the game industry. My issues lately have been about the future of an industry that caters to a "hard core gaming group" ( HCGG ) who are able to unravel the gameplay due to learned behaviour.

Would this be something that pertains more to PC gaming? The higher technological competence of the gamers who own the pc's usually mean that the games have to be a little more intricate? I'm not saying that console games are more basic or not as intricate (actually, I believe it's harder to make something more simple) but they cater less to the hard-core gamer. In some ways you are both right and wrong (opinion). I believe that a lot of games out there that cater too much to the mass market.

quote:New game concepts are built from old game concepts and visa vea for the game to work it can't be easy for the HCGG to figure it out or get the hang of. My issue with catering to this HCGG is that these guys may put food on the table but it also makes the developer slave to what they expect from the next game.

I was under the impression that in the console market, the 'hardcore' gamer only makes up about 15-20 % of the market share. Probably not the same stat in the PC community (not unless you count the people who play "Bejeweled" on their pc at work).

quote:Market research for the games industry is very very insignificant. It is lost on most that it is an important part of a sucessful product. Most games companies disregard it for the common practice of following the trend.

A cogent point. I too do not know why someone wants to imitate a proven thing. Of course, sometimes this happens by accident. If Tomb Raider arrived 3 months earlier, people would have said it was the first great movement into 3d. Instead Nintendo got Mario 64 out earlier and received the acclaim. Both games were in development for some time.

quote:Toy companies spend millions looking at the market, and develop according to it. Maybe we should encourage increased funded research for games companies into this area.

I agree, but what would they be researching? So far, the changes are cosmetic (from what I've heard of marketing research departments).

Case in point: The original Pandemonium for PS1 had a female character who was very girly and had a nice original look, different from the big breasted stereotype. Then the sequel came along and the research 'showed' that the PS1 demographic preferred 'more womanly girls' and she was changed and denegrated into the bimbo stereotype.

Apparently, Jak and Daxter went through about 100 iterations where they showed different designs to the focus/target group. "Do you like him with or without the bandana?" or "do you like him with or without pointy ears" were questions typical of the research. Personally, I think that this lead to a soulless design. Daxter looks cool, but Jak was bland -- too commercialised and 'mass produced', for want of a better term.

Now along comes J&D2 in development, it's emphasis is now more GTA3-like. You can Jak cars (pun intended) and there's way more shooting involved. The question is, are they just following the trend or is their market research telling them that this is what people like? 9 million GTA3 gamers can't be wrong. Or can they?

quote: Its simple and self directed. The player can have FUN rather than WIN.

Probably the best comment I've read on the net in some time. I'd rather lose and have fun than win and be disappointed. I think it's possible that games may evolve in a more social aspect.

quote: And this "gang" is what I refered to earlier as "must be hard edged and geekily into games". I really don't think this is the way to deliver fresh and interesting product.

This is a good point. Maybe they just need a cross section of gamers who like a wide range of games between them. But I suppose it depends on the company. Blizzard for example, I would imagine are a company of RTS and RPG fans -- that seems to be all they do (excluding the Lost Vikings, RnR Racing and Starcraft Ghost) but they do it well. It's tough to say.

quote:My feelings are, if we continue down the present path of delivering the same old same old. Games will never evolve.

Perhaps this is where licensing technologies and middleware will come in? This will take the focus away from the 'chrome' features that do little to enhance gameplay ('Oooh, I can shoot him until his mesh breaks up!") and hopefully allow developers to work on the original aspects. Capcom are a company that sort of has the right mix. They milk their cash cows dry (Streetfighter, Megaman, Resident Evil etc) but in the last financial year, they suffered a $100 million loss. Then, they went right back to the drawing board and announced about 7 totally original titles/franchises (whilst still keeping the cash flow from the old favourites). Among these new games were Killer 7 (generating lots of interest) and the highly acclaimed Viewtiful Joe (a unique blend of 2.5 cel shaded scrolling fighter). A brave move when the urge to fall back on the established franchises would have been tempting.

Submitted by Blitz on Mon, 04/08/03 - 7:04 AMPermalink

Bigworld is not a game, it is a technology used for making mmog's. You say the only thing intersting about it is that it is technologically a step ahead...what else should it be?

I don't see what was so original about doom, quake and duke3d. They were all FPS's were you went around blasting monsters with guns...Sounds pretty similar to me.

If you want publishers to green light original concepts, you first need the buying public to change the type of games they like. B&W for instance had some new and interesting concepts, but was not well received by the public, so what is the point in making game similar to that?

Unfortunately developing commercial games is a full-time job, so the people developing simply have to look at their profit margins...unless you have a few spare billion $$$ lying around that you can fund new and original game concepts with!

Finally, as has been said, "hardcore" gamers have a better idea of what makes good gameplay, what games are currently in the market, what games are in production, and new game-targetted hardware technologies than your average developer joe.
CYer, Blitz

Submitted by redwyre on Mon, 04/08/03 - 7:36 PMPermalink

There are quite a few "original" games being developed, you just have to look really hard for them.

(I quote original because what JonathanKerr is very true, it's very hard to create something that is completely original)

Submitted by lukeo25 on Mon, 04/08/03 - 8:10 PMPermalink

OK maybe its time for a better frame of reference. I am really questioning the validity of the hole games playing market focusing on a select group. HCGG aren't exactly good candidates for how children of 7 - 12 like their game play or the 50+ or the family minded. There seems to be a focus on producing the main products for the HCGG.
Who are a very discerning group of purchases. They expect the game play to get better and better which is alright they have that right of expectation. But surely this is not the only market games can be designed for. Any argument about the HCGG being a certain type and we must design games to suit misses the point. This is not the only market worth setting up a games company for or worth developing new technologies for. Big World is definitely a step forward but it does nothing more than cater for the current audience. So what? its not extending into new markets, just creating a new medium ( Medium follows HCGG )Hey and if they don't like it what happens?, does it get scrapped?, does it get re marketed?, or what?. My issue of late is simple!. Do we continue to cater for a market that was literally molded into the monster it is or do we look for new markets and develop and design in a different way?. Why aren't games companies/publishers worried about the prospects of an increasingly demanding audience getting bored ? ( or maybe they are ). Why aren't we looking to cater for fresh markets in a fresh way?. How many people for instance feel alienated by the mention of FPS, RTS, RPG?. Yet they would have no hassles playing Twister or Cards or even go and play a round of Lazer Zone. The market for games seems so confined. In my view I think it needs to loosen up and avoid the big crunch.

Submitted by sho nuff on Mon, 04/08/03 - 11:07 PMPermalink

Luke, if ur not careful, you will be giving away the very thing that will give you the 'edge' over your competition. Better to ride your own philosophy then give it to those who did not take the time to think of it themeselves.

But you gave it out anyway, what will be interesting is to see what people do with it, if anything at all.

Only time will tell.

Submitted by JonathanKerr on Mon, 04/08/03 - 11:51 PMPermalink

I don't see what was so original about doom, quake and duke3d. They were all FPS's were you went around blasting monsters with guns...Sounds pretty similar to me.

Indeed good ideas don't make great games -- great execution of ideas make great games.

quote:HCGG aren't exactly good candidates for how children of 7 - 12 like their game play or the 50+ or the family minded. There seems to be a focus on producing the main products for the HCGG.

I may have being misreading what you were saying, so I'll ask. Are you saying that the HCGG who are also developers are not the best people to be making games for the market outside their own group? If so, then (in some cases) I agree. If they are making games for the HCGG, then I agree they are the perfect developers for it.

Maybe it's the development model that needs altering? As I understand it, most companies do not allocate enough time to the 'testing' phase of games. This feedback can be the equivalent of market research that you speak of. Unfortunately as most know, most companies don't have the finances to take something back to the drawing board in the way that Nintendo can. Apparently on the 'triple A' titles, Nintendo take a game to beta (or alpha, I can't remember) stage and then scrap half of it and keep only a few of the levels. They then take what they've learned and crank out stuff like Zelda: OoT and Mario 64.

But all of this comes down to design. As designers (artists, programmers, musicians are all designers to a certain extent) we have to understand our audience.

Considering as you are a developer Luke, is this topic being brought on by frustration factors at work?

Submitted by lukeo25 on Tue, 05/08/03 - 1:07 AMPermalink

Jonathon hi

The frustration comes from trying to see reason for funneling the majority of games developments up the HCGG pipe and not attempting to open up other markets. Its more a logic based thing. I don't know how many artists, programmers, heads of management I've heard winge about this very thing. Yet they don't do much in the way of solving it. I'm all for what you discussed earlier having a good mix of talents and ideologies. But don't concentrate on HCGG designs ( diversify! ). I had a recent surf around looking for some games that fall into the realm of left of center games and found a couple that could even start guiding the way to go. The ideas they quickly generated for me were great( of course this is my opinion ). What about a mountain climbing game. For a PC version you could use a web cam to follow motion and drive the action on screen. Or a canoe game that does similar and the player could canoe through jungles etc. Yes I know these all require peripherals but there is a market out there that already has them ( a new existing market oh my God ). The game play is about nothing more than doing your thing. You could choose paths that take you to new and challenging areas or you could compete via LAN. All of this is doable NOW and wouldn't tax any games company wanting to branch out and away from the present mode of things. Without derailing the work being done on HCGG stuff.

As far as an audience to be understood. Nobody told Picasso and Braques to develop cubism they thought it was a great step away from the confines of traditional art and look what happened. No audience, no publisher and Picasso's bank manager couldn't have been happier.

Submitted by Red 5 on Tue, 05/08/03 - 1:58 AMPermalink

Major Clod I pretty well think along the same lines as you... the 'safe' tried and tested route seems to take top priority amoungst most publishers, but can you blame them when you consider the cost if they get it wrong?

I think most would agree we're actually moving backwards, not in technology but in originality and the hardcore gamers of some genres are now being left out altogether, but again we can't really blame publishers for not catering to niche markets when they can turn over so much more from a mainstream title... a perfect example is the PC sim racing community who now have to pin all their hopes on small independent developers.

Submitted by Maitrek on Tue, 05/08/03 - 8:23 AMPermalink

I'm all for original games, but I don't see how new controllers and things like that will help out alot. For sure - 'accessibility' is always an issue, but if we can't simplify a keyboard and mouse to interact neatly with the environments that we create - then we need to look at our skills as game designers and our ability to create super-flous game interfaces -> regardless of the controller we are given, we should be making best use of it, right?.

The reason game designing is somewhat mediocre is because we are still crafting this field (that is, the field of game design, and indeed games in general), also factor in it takes time for markets to grow (even if you think it *could* happen over-night, it's just simply not going to happen).

The PC games industry has pretty much been quietly working away at producing better interactive entertainment. Story-telling is getting stronger, interaction is getting better, flexibility/extensability of game technology is getting better - need I go on? Progress is undoubtedly slow, economics explain that, and - sure we have hit some brick walls (obviously it's taking a long time to get over interactive first person murder simulators), but it's just a phase and it'll pass.

To sit and attack the industry and it's 'populace' (populace referring to both the hard-core gamer and the hard-core developer) doesn't achieve much. I have a feeling everyone in the games industry knows where we should be heading, and probably regrets that we aren't there yet. Obviously a lot of work needs to be done, but I have no doubt that the work is getting done, and there are plenty of creative/intelligent people leading the way.

quote:Luke, if ur not careful, you will be giving away the very thing that will give you the 'edge' over your competition.

I'm just not going to say anything about that, I think pointing it out is enough.

Luke - brain-dump on forums (don't listen to sho-nuff), the more these ideals get out there the better. I whole-heartedly agree with most of your appraisal of the industry, I just don't quite agree with your remedy for it (although I see the angle you are coming from) :)

Better game design is a must (!), I'm kind of toying with the idea myself of maybe writing up an internet publication once I've finished my first 'big project' in order to hopefully share some wisdom/experience with other (newb) game designers wanting to try something different. There's not much material on the science of game design, and even less for the creative process behind it, and that's something I expect (and hope) will change over time. For now, the best material for learning game design is games - and I guess you can see how that might lead around in circles.

Submitted by sho nuff on Tue, 05/08/03 - 9:02 PMPermalink

maybe if people started to move off the word 'games' and called it what it actually is, then maybe there would be greater leaps in it's progression.

Until that happens, your limiting the future of interactive entertainment (inter-tainment).

(you can bash this comment all you want, but ur only justifying ur own arrogance.)

Submitted by Blitz on Wed, 06/08/03 - 5:17 AMPermalink

Interactive entertainment != games.

Computer games are a subset of interactive entertainment, but IE encompasses a much broader range of mediums and idea's.
I do agree though, that often "Games" is used to describe certain IE that isn't really a game (doesn't offer any real gameplay).
CYer, Blitz

Submitted by Maitrek on Wed, 06/08/03 - 6:14 AMPermalink

Nomenclature is a funny thing, I tend not to argue about it too much. I'm just not sure how referring to computer based/oriented interactive entertainment as "computer games" narrows the vision for them.

It is just a word after all -> and a vision is always inadequetly expressed in language.

People were talking about new names for these things with the onset of CDs way back in the mid-nineties, all this "interactive movie" stuff and "interactive entertainment" didn't change the fact that the idea just didn't work regardless of the attempt to distinguish them from games.

It's *unlikely* (although not impossible - I admit) that there will be some quantum leap for games in the forseeable future. 'Games'/inter-tainment/whatever are currently an industry that's heavily grounded in an economic reality and the industry's development is based on a slow growth/evolution model - not a research/academic model.

I guess I am a little arrogant, but everyone has their faults :P

Submitted by Switchblade on Sun, 17/08/03 - 1:25 AMPermalink

Some great comments here. I'd have to say the indie game developers are going to lead the way when it comes to innovation (Counter-Strike anyone?) because they don't have the financial limitations of the publishers. I think games will become smaller in scope because people won't have enough time to play a 40+ hour game. More games will be open-ended like GTA3 as well.

Also, Luke, your point is kinda "thin-telligent" - it's smart, but it's a bit narrow in focus, I think. The hardcore and the casual gamer groups pretty much make up the target audience. You won't get a slice of the 55+ market because those people play bingo, not computer games. Girls under 12 play skipping rope, not games. My point is, there is always going to be a large percentage of people who don't want to play games. I know there is a percentage of people who don't watch television, so there is no way to capture their business. So the game industry must focus on the HCGG because they represent a core section of the market. But you'll notice the recent success of The Sims, which captured a large portion of the casual gamer market. Actually that game created markets, so it is possible. But you shouldn't develop a massively multiplayer bingo simulator to try and get the 'grey hair' market :P

I don't know if this is written anywhere else, but it's something I've discovered over the years... creativity is at its BEST when there are extreme technological limitations... I think technology has a HUGE part to play in the reason why games are kinda stagnant. Look at the commodore 64 or amiga... that is where genres were invented. Once this technological rat race slows down, then you can expect some quality, original games to be released.

My $0.02, of course.


Submitted by souri on Sun, 17/08/03 - 3:36 AMPermalink

Games that aren't cookie cutter clones, or from those exhausted genres that Luke mentioned, are definately out there.. but what I've found is that they hardly *ever* get any coverage from web or print media. I was following the game Ghost Master by Sick Puppies (an original idea where you scare occupants from a house) and was surprised to see that it got so much less coverage than it deserved. If you want to find original games, steer clear from the Gamespys, Shacknews, Bluesnews and a million other Western/European game websites that regurgitate the same news and previews on the latest fps,rts,realism mod and whatnot.
It's quite an eye opener visiting a Japanese game news website, or any website that focuses on the games that come out from Japan. As you probably know, their taste in games are so much different (First Person Shooters or Real-time strategy games aren't popular there at all), and they do tend to come out with some really interesting new and different game ideas too. I would say this title called [url=""]Katamari Damacy[/url] would never get any coverage from western media.. to quote from the page, "In this game you can roll over various objects and create a ball consists of the objects you rolled over. The game is controlled by the two analog sticks on the dual shock controller."..I mean, that is INGENIUS! [:)] And a title like this [url=""]Marathon simulator[/url] would never get any mention on a lot of websites.. both of those titles come from big publishers/deveopers, btw. (Namco and Taito) ( does have a problem with so many pop ups and ads, but check it out.. they cover a lot of games from Japan)

I suspect a lot of Japanese game developers will jump on the open gameplay idea of GTA3 once that game finally gets released over there next month. [;)].. I've noticed how that game style has influenced other genres, especially platformers.

Submitted by Blitz on Sun, 17/08/03 - 5:33 AMPermalink

I would like to see more dating-sim style games get english releases :) Them things are funky. It's something that western publishers/developers haven't seemed to have picked up on, even after the successes of the sims, DOAXBV, and uhh, thats about it :P
CYer, Blitz

Submitted by Blitz on Sun, 17/08/03 - 8:10 PMPermalink

I'll never have to leave the house again! :P
CYer, Blitz

Submitted by lukeo25 on Wed, 20/08/03 - 7:13 AMPermalink

Switchblade,my point entierly! The 55+ market is obtainable. People don't play Bingo or Keno without that game being marketed to them. These games even though generic,are attractive to this group because theyhave a soft sell ability. I'm not saying here that you should start delivering your focus product to this demagraphic. I believe that it wouldn't be hard to find other markets and build a new games industry around these groups.

Submitted by Maitrek on Thu, 21/08/03 - 12:31 AMPermalink

I'm not really a big fan of trying to understand a market that I'm not really a part of myself. I mean, I'm not 55+, I don't play bingo etc etc. As far as I'm concerned, I'll pretty much work on games that I'll probably enjoy myself. Whether or not other people from different demographics picks it up -> is simply not under my control, nor is it really my concern.

'Marketing' at the moment is definitely 18-30 oriented, but that doesn't mean that people are making games for that demographic thinking that it (18-30) is the only market....

I don't know of many developers that sit there and say "Let's make a game that'll appeal to 35 - 45 year old working class males" (for example)...most developers are making games that *they* would want to play - regardless of their own age or whatever. Of course, alot of game developers are not on the other side of 50, and that is reflected in the types of games made.

I'm sure that if there were a bunch of 50+ y.o. developers out there they probably would make games suitable for other demographics - or they might not! I dunno.

All I preach is make good/innovative/smarter games -> who cares who plays it.

I do, however, believe that marketing is still catching up with the times, alot of marketing misses the mark - and I'm just not sure we quite know who we are pitching these games at (the marketing crew that is, I'm sure the developers know what they are making). Console is way ahead of PC games in this department - if you want to play some original different games, there are certainly a pretty good number of them on consoles.

Submitted by lukeo25 on Thu, 21/08/03 - 4:35 AMPermalink

"I'm not really a big fan of trying to understand a market that I'm not really a part of myself." - This is an example of the issues endemic in computer games development. Regardless of what your into, the games development industry is a business and it relies on understanding its market in order to exist. If your making games for just the people who are into your type of game, you aren't reaching a real market, Just fans. I tend to think music and games are similar in the way they appeal. They are driven by popularist followings but need those that are cutting new ground and being totaly avant garde. Sadly gamming lacks alot of the later.

"I don't know of many developers that sit there and say "Let's make a game that'll appeal to 35 - 45 year old working class males" -well why not ? If this is common with all games developers then this IS the problem with the future of games development. If this is true also " most developers are making games that *they* would want to play " then its likely the world of computer games will become and by my standards, has already become a stagnant pool of lookalikes. Maybe marketing needs to have its own forum, a place where gammers are heared and new markets are discussed, "alot of marketing misses the mark - and I'm just not sure we quite know who we are pitching these games at" which raises the question just who has a tight conection to the market. Ideas aren't enough to open up new markets, there needs to be realistic focus on the markets movement ( "If we do this" ) rather than a focus on what it does ( "When we did that" ) just because most developers are gamers and develop games that they themselves like to play, dosen't make for a creative ,broadly entertaining and fruitful market.

I'm not denying that great and interesting games get developed. I just think its not often enough and entirely focused enough.

Submitted by lukeo25 on Thu, 21/08/03 - 6:48 AMPermalink

For those who don't know... I mean "gaming" when I typo' "gamming".

Submitted by Maitrek on Fri, 22/08/03 - 2:53 AMPermalink

I'll curse the day when games design/developing becomes a purely marketing/commercially driven exercise.

If that's what you want, go for it - but I'm personally never operating that way.

I think most of the incredibly derivative games that are made are due to "marketing" and definitely NOT due to lack of creativity and vision on the game developers part - ask any game designer if they think they've made the ultimate game yet, and they'll tell you that it'll never happen - there is always more to explore, experience and create. If we were to operate based solely on markets then we'd have twice as much shit in the industry.

Just because we make games that we want to play - doesn't mean we are going to make games that we've played before! What kind of uncreative twerp would do that?

When I said "35 - 45 y.o. males" I could've written anything such as "20 - 30 year old ass monkeys" or "2 - 8 y.o. monoped aliens from a planet orbiting Procyon I".

Game developers very *rarely* start with a market and make a product from there. Maybe they'll think more about (the market) when they pitch it to a publisher, or as they develop the concept, but the idea is born out of their own creativity - not from a systemic process that evolves from market evaluation.

I wouldn't make/work on a game just to nail the 18-30 y.o. male market nor would I work on a game just to nail the 2 - 8 y.o. monopedal alien market.

Submitted by lukeo25 on Fri, 22/08/03 - 7:25 AMPermalink

You seem to misunderstand the role of marketing. Demographics is exactly why games developers hire people who are realy into their games. Most start up companies, granted, do start out designing games for themselves but as the market falls into line, that market will eagerly await the next game to be developed . It's this market that the games company must keep happy with its next game. So whoever the games company is, they are locked in to a market driven agenda. But what I believe and certainly lots of others believe is there is too much of a focus on the same group of people . The markets ( The current gaming markets ) are saturated with similar looking and focused games/genres, because they are all trying to keep the same group of people happy . I'm saying and its getting some good filtering, is games developing should not and best not in the future be only about what the guys who play games are into as it is counter creative, nor should it only be about what the HCGG come Developer wants to build next. But rather what the demographic new or old would be stimulated by. Its funny that an industry should be so arrogant that it believes that the decisions it makes are final. The person buying the product is ultimatly the litmus for whether the game does well. OK build the games that make you happy ,it can certainly work and has worked before and made some rich. But thats not the reason for my argument. I don't think its an issue that games creators continue being creative Infact I want more of that. The idea of market driven products doesn't lead to stagnation but more so a creative and focused development of products. A good example of success in an industry not too dissimilar to games and totaly about new markets and market focus is Julie Aigner-Clark who developed a series of videos aimed at stimulating infant learning with art , poetry and classical music. Her target demographic of the infants under two had never been tried before. The product called Babby Einstein a video series was developed originaly in order to satisfy a market not focused on previously by video producers. It was an instant success and not due to luck but rather the clever marketing to an unestablished demographic. Baby Einstein has just sold to the Disney group for 18 million US and this is not a unique example. It is stories like this that strengthens my belief that games developers focusing on new and other markets than the (fan) market they now have, can lead to successful product placement and creative variety

Submitted by Cloud on Wed, 03/09/03 - 7:13 AMPermalink

If you ask me about the subject but it is very hard these games to create an original concept in games. These days when I create a character it is always 'Oh, that looks likes somones sword of someone elses game' the whole 'originality' concept is nearly dead.
However there is still hope for the future with new minds with new ideas being born every second.
The only thing that really anoys me is the fact that any design on this site (I am not saying anyone has any original ideas' will remind me or any other person of something on someone elses game.
Lightning around a sword = Dante's sword on 'Devil May Cry'
Any highly detailed staff = Yuna on 'Final Fantasy X'
If you can see what I mean.
I truly hope that some people out there comes up with a game that streaches the boundaries of imagination and come up with something no one could of thought up.

Submitted by Maitrek on Wed, 03/09/03 - 9:53 AMPermalink

I think you are perhaps underestimating the vision alot of game developers have.

I'm not even convinced that every member of the HCGG wants games to stay on their current course either, although we often try to think of our consumers as alot dumber than they are (it makes us think they are more predictable, when in reality a consumer base is very dynamic), the market is aware of what games could be and have their own opinions on where they would like games to go from here. I seriously doubt there is a majority of people that want games to stay where they are.

Also, although the people in the industry play, and have played, alot of FPS, RTS and RPGs (hence are part of the HCGG) doesn't necessarily imply that the developers want it to stay that way and keep deriving the same concept again and again. Alot of people are very keen to play and make games that don't suit your small-market focussed product description. Hiring non-HCGG employees doesn't really solve the problem and possibly creates other problems as well.

There is very little known about the science and process of game design and all the elements that make it up. To hire someone with little experience in game design and/or games is a seriously bad recipe. Unless some serious research and study is done into the science of game design, this is just disaster-material. Sure, fresh ideas are needed, but being an experienced game designer and an experienced gamer does not disqualify the possiblity of being creative.

My opinion would be -> the industry's lack of creativity lately is not due to lack of developer interest, but due to lack of activity from upper level management to assess and invest in broader/different markets. *Marketing* is restricting the developers - not the other way around.

I agree with you that games are derivative now-a-days - but I totally disagree that it's the developers' fault and/or the employment strategies of developers.

Submitted by Malus on Wed, 03/09/03 - 7:22 PMPermalink

In my opinion most design is based on a series of common factors that link themselves to our experiences and emotions, likes, dislikes etc we draw from these and our designs show these links, since this world is getting smaller its getting really hard to find that stand out original design, nearly everybody has seen everything this world has to offer that is different, imagine when the first white explorer in Africa saw an elephant? He probably thought it was monsterous and pooped in his safari suit now its a cute clumsy creature to most people because the knowledge of it is widespread.

Every now and then something comes along and then within days its been absorbed by our collective conciousness and is no longer new.

I'm don't necesarily agree that originality is dead I think it is just more subtle now, more refined with the odd burst of brilliance.

I do agree that alot of games are following the hollywood ideals of find a safe formula and stick to it but that doesn't mean originality is dead it just means mass marketing is in play and the really great stories, ideas won't get a look in if they don't fit the market research.

Unless...people start voting with there wallets and stop buying every inane FPS, RTS etc clone that hits the shelves.

Btw, I don't understand why the game dev companies always get all the blame for the lack of originality when its the publishers and the consuming public who decide what we get to make, hell the ideas are out there they just don't make it thru the marketing department at the publishers office.

Cut to market research department at UBER-CASHED PUBLISHING...

Mary, game designer: Hey why not have a intelligent female lead player?

Spiff, suit with a ponytail: 82.5% of women don't want to be intellegent they want to feel dirty, as per the statistics we found in our bla bla wank wank...

Submitted by Cloud on Thu, 04/09/03 - 9:02 AMPermalink

When I said that it was dead I didnt mean that it was gone for good.
I just meant that we are in a period when the human mind has explored most possible outlets for ideas and we have reached a point where there is nothing left. Sooner or later a period will emerge when the 'originality' aspect will come back to life.
I am sure that there are thousands upon thousands of original ideas out there but those people may not have the experience to spread that idea around and so that concept will die before it can be used.

sample design document


Can anyone tell me where I might be able to get a sample design document for free. Any sorts of game design documents that anyone might have would be of great help to me.


Submitted by Blitz on Mon, 07/07/03 - 11:10 AMPermalink

I think might have some of that if you take a look in their articles section.
CYer, Blitz

Save anywhere

So John Carmack mentions that there won't be a 'save anywhere' option in Doom III, causing a bit of an outcry from some gamers. What's your opinion on 'save anywhere' vs 'strategic save points' ? Which do you prefer, and why? Does it matter that much to you either way? Or has there been any certain games where you just wished they had used the other save system?

Submitted by Blitz on Sat, 17/05/03 - 2:20 AMPermalink

It depends on the game, and how the save system is used. It also depends on how enjoyable the game is. If it's a really fun game, strategic saves will probably work, because the user won't get quite so annoyed at having to replay the same bit over and over...however, if too much room is left between strategic saves, it can be extremely frustrating having to play through some part of the game over and over, just to get to the bit you're stuck on.
If a game level takes a great length of time (say, more than 5-10 minutes) to complete, and/or if there is multiple ways to achieve the objective (such as RTS's) i prefer a save anywhere. For games where the levels are short, such as your average console action title, strategic saves are fine, as you generally don't have to replay too much of the game to get to the difficult bit.
I personally am of the opinion that strategic saves (or no saves) aer used in a game to make the game seem longer. Unfortunately it seems some developers/publishers consider that how long a game takes is what makes it enjoyable, rather than the content in the game.
CYer, Blitz

Submitted by lava monkey on Sat, 17/05/03 - 3:15 AMPermalink

i think "save anywhere" would completely ruin the suspense of Doom3 if there is any that is...
And "save anywhere" makes it too easy, what u wanna do is have a total save game time limit, like fade to black (i think it was that) so if you've been playing for too long u cant complete the game.

Submitted by redwyre on Sat, 17/05/03 - 4:00 AMPermalink

I feel that "save anywhere" cheapens the gaming experience. You can save before something tricky, and just reload if it doesn't work out in your favor. Also, when saving you break the player out of the game.

Strategic save points hold the player in the game, and hold consequence to the player's actions within the game.

Although it really depends how they are implemented, strategic save points that aren't well thought out and designed would suck.

In "Better by design" (a regular column in gdmag) there was some discussion about anywhere vs strategic saves, it's worth a read.

Submitted by Blitz on Sat, 17/05/03 - 7:40 AMPermalink

As a small note on which games implemented strategic saves well, i thought Halo's checkpoints where quite well implemented, although this also stemmed off the fact that many of the levels were designed with "bubbles" or pockets of enemies, and the strategic saves happened in the breathers between those bubbles. Most of the bubbles only took say 5-15 mins to conquer, so if you failed, you didn't have to spend an hour replaying boring bits you'd already passed etc.
CYer, Blitz

Submitted by Major Clod on Sat, 17/05/03 - 1:20 PMPermalink

As much as I won't like it I'm all for strategic save points. I have a bad habit of quick saving every 10 seconds in a game... I think its my 3DS Max habits kicking in. :P If I lose health when I know I shouldn't, I find myself repeating it over until I'm satisfied. Ugh it annoys me, but I can't help it! I am the worst when I comes to old Snes and Megadrive ROMS, with their quick save, I'm forever pressing that button!

Submitted by redwyre on Sat, 17/05/03 - 2:47 PMPermalink

Blitz: They use Halo as the better example in the column :)

Major_Clod: Yeah, same :)

It's funny how everything relates back to System Shock (original), but it had normal saving, but you didn't really need to use it because of how the game is set out. On each level there is a bio-reconstructor-thingy that you have to activate, if you die before it's activated you *DIE*. When it's activated, you basically just re-spawn at it when you die with low health an energy (you still have to manually save the game before you quit). This works brilliantly with the game, you find yourself working harder in the game then saving all the time. But of course this is very specific to the game, but the concept can be applied in different ways.

Submitted by Daemin on Sat, 17/05/03 - 10:15 PMPermalink

Well if you can't save it everywhere then you should be able to pause it anywhere, so that you can quickly go for a toilet break, or phone call etc.

Submitted by Major Clod on Sun, 18/05/03 - 10:11 AMPermalink

I absolutely despise games without a pause feature, its completely stupid not to have that. I also hate console ports onto PC that don't properly use the keyboard. For example, entering your name in the game by selecting each letter with the arrow keys! :P

Submitted by Daemin on Sun, 18/05/03 - 9:37 PMPermalink

Selecting each letter by the arrow key - that's just lazy programming by the people that ported it...

They should be shot.

Submitted by Maitrek on Mon, 19/05/03 - 3:11 AMPermalink

I've thought about saving in the past, and I have to say that it's one of those things where you need to consider carefully on a game-by-game basis...

You can go either way, you just have to approach the gameplay differently depending on what you choose. Strategic points needs to be considered carefully. How much time will the player lose if they die in between a save point - will the game be in easy enough to digest chunks if the player needs to go somewhere - how much skill do we require from the gamer to make it through most of the sub-sections successfully without having to frustratingly re-do a whole bunch of stuff.

However if you make saves available anywhere you have to worry about maintaining suspense, you have to worry about keeping the player away from the save screen and in the game, you also have to think about what is going to make this game hard? Imagine if you made the game 'harder' to beat because you made it easier for the gamer to save...then you'll have sections of the game where the player loads the game again and again, having to irritatingly wait for the correct roll of the die to get past some particular goal. Or they spend so much time trying to get each section perfect just in case they need full 'health' or something like that around the next corner.

It's tricky, but it can work either way depending on what you think is missing from the game, and what needs to be the focussed more on. It's a compromise like anything in game design.

The big problem with save 'points' is that it does require a more "elite" gamer to get good flow throughout the game, and it requires patience when you blow it - however there is satisfaction/relief when you complete a section. The problem with save-anywhere is that it allows the player to break up the game for themselves, sometimes too much, but the freedom is often appreciated anyway.

Pros and cons to everything - *sigh* personal preference is save anywhere, as long as the game is measured well in other areas.

Submitted by sho nuff on Mon, 19/05/03 - 11:23 PMPermalink

i agree with maitrek. I can't be stuffed righting long posts here cuz u get hurted for it. So imma just agree with the dude above.

BUT! i must say, that if u do feel like save anywhere is cheating, then why don't you just use it less, instead of saying that save points should b implemented to counter this problem?

You could be in the game, and think "hmmm, maybe the devs would put a save point here, so this is where i will save" or sumthin like that. That way everyone wins, and nobody needs to go online and be moody bitches and flame on forums for having 'save anywhere' as opposed to 'strategic save points'.

Submitted by souri on Tue, 20/05/03 - 1:34 AMPermalink

Save points are just tricky to get right though, because you're kind of expecting the player to fit into your expectations of what they can accomplish. It's pretty unreasonable to think that everyone will be able complete a portion inbetween saves without having trouble at some point, and so begins the dreaded "repeat everything again to get up to the point you died". Do that for over 5 times, and I'm sure you'd want to kick the monitor in. :) I've had that kind of frustration with certain games, like GTA3, Tomb Raider, Resident Evil 2, and Parasite Eve. I guess good game design would prevent that, but it's still tricky to get right, I think. (Grand Theft Auto 3 is a bit different - saving whilst in missions wouldn't be the best choice, even though that goes against what I'm saying about save-anywhere. But failing missions, driving back to the mission point, and going through the mission brief again is just unecessary. Let us save right before the mission!)
I do have a preference to save anywhere though.. - sure it's open to abuse (saving every 2 minutes), and yep, it'll reduce the thrill of the game (I'm sure your tactics change dramatically knowing that if you don't have to be so careful ingame), but at least give the player the option if they want to save where ever they want. If I had to choose between retreading the same ground over and over from an old save point, or losing a little suspense, I'd choose the latter. I don't think save-anywhere has ruined any game experience for me, counting Half Life, Quake 2, Metal Gear Solid 2 to name a few titles I can recall off the top of my head right now..

Submitted by GooberMan on Tue, 20/05/03 - 11:39 PMPermalink

Back in my day we didn't have save points, we had to play the game from start to end... well, OK, the games usually only lasted for an hour from start to end... :P

Submitted by bloody footy on Sat, 03/04/04 - 1:59 AMPermalink

Third option - 'Save everywhere'
This is where the game is constantly saved; i did use it on my simulation sports game. The reason for this is that I play soccer management games and the temptation was too great to save before a game that you had to win, i think this really took a lot out of it.

Submitted by Barry Dahlberg on Sat, 03/04/04 - 3:43 AMPermalink

I am the worst abuser on save anywhere so it's probably good they're not using it. From a programming perspective I can see the advantages of strategic save points too. Either way id has a reputation for clean and efficient systems which let the user get right into the action with minimal fuss, I expect no less from them this time around.

Submitted by Aven on Sat, 03/04/04 - 7:46 AMPermalink

Like most people, I am for the pros and cons for both systems.

Halo did strategic saves well, but as it was mentioned, mainly due to the way the action was set out. It worked well as when you died it instantly loaded up again and made you want to keep on playing. Although it was irritating if you completed a hard area, and then you didn't know where the next checkpoint was, you could always just run back to a previous point :) It is nice to know that the game is saving for you, so that you can just play continuously without having to press extra keys or go through menus.

Save anywhere can be useful, as most games are predictable as to where harder parts will be. You can save before walking into that new room after a minute of silence and know that a big demon will jump out at you. Saving every two minutes can ruin it for a gamer, but that is where laziness is a massive plus :)

Bloody Footy has a good point as well. I still remember Syndicate Wars' 'bastard' mode. It would only save after a mission was finished. Completed or failed. Made it a real challenge :)

I have no problem with Doom3 going down that path, and I think it may help out the flow of the game more than it will destroy it. I think that it is still a better option than 'no saving', where you have to play a level from the begining if you die :/

Submitted by Morphine on Mon, 05/04/04 - 11:19 PMPermalink

I agree with Aven, using both can be an advantage and a disadvantage.

Save Everywhere.
Saving before a really hard part in a game.
Saving before a part in the game you have yet to venture into.
You save when YOU want to save.

A form of cheating, especially in Warcraft III *grins*

Forces the player to be more careful in their decisions.
More challenging for skilled gamers.

Somebody else but you chooses when you can save.

There are more ads/dises for both but my brain isn't working at the moment.

Doom III Checkpoints, all for it. Doom III without PC Co-Op? BOOOOOOOO!

Submitted by Stu on Wed, 07/04/04 - 8:56 AMPermalink

I'm a big fan of constant saving. I still play Diablo 2 because it's still challenging. Knowing that everything you do is saved, every mistake you make etc. Of course it would be different if dying meant the end of the game (unless you play hardcore, now that's a challenge).
But the anticipation when you use your imbues, and staying up till 4am knowing that if you dont beat Diablo now you'll have to fight your way through the river of flame, and the arcane sanctuary again tomorrow. It added a whole new dimension to the game.


Submitted by Jigen on Wed, 07/04/04 - 10:03 AMPermalink

I find that in games. RPG?s definitely I get a certain feeling of tension when I do something and can?t save. It adds to the game in my opinion and the feeling of relief when I actually find a save point is really cool. On another note I can?t recall the amount of times when I was younger the excuse ?I just have to find a save point? got me a extra half an hour of game play. (Even though I found one in the first few minutes)

Submitted by Kalescent on Wed, 07/04/04 - 11:26 AMPermalink

Hey Jigen glad to see you joined up man :) hopefully youll find the place helpful and inciteful - flex your designing muscles :)

My 2 cents on saving anywhere - im pro for both completely dependant on the game.

for RPG's i like to save at any time and anywhere - its not often youll find an RPG thats built with the save spheres / points position so well as to not be too far apart but then again not be too close - thus i say remove it all and save whenever you like.

for RTS's i say mission saves are cool. Cant finish this mission ? too bad keep going until you beat it.

same goes for FPS's - unless of course the level is massive - maybe id be happy with waypoint saves.

for platform games - i think save points are definatley the way to go, but once again placing them appropriately is quite the task. perhaps waypoints is a good one here also.

Submitted by souri on Wed, 07/04/04 - 11:38 AMPermalink

I haven't played Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, but the rewind feature sounds pretty interesting [:)].. although it's perhaps most suited to that type of game in particular, where crucial timing for jumps are required, plenty of traps etc.

Submitted by Prema on Mon, 31/05/04 - 12:49 AMPermalink

Okay guys,

I'm new in here so go easy. Let's open this discussion back up...

I'm currently writing a research dissertation on how game narratives are constructed. I'm really interested in the way that time is created for the player- I'm not just talking flashbacks. As Ben noted, save points "break the player out of the game" just like menu bars and pause screens it's a whole other gameplay mode.

If any of you guys could shed some light on how much these other game/ time experiences get considered when writing and designing games it would be much appreciated. I think by discussing things like auto save functions we begin to question whether the player should be broken from the gameplay at all...

Do you think games should develop to just exist in a single gameplay mode? They'd auto save, and rather than non-interactive cut-scenes have action sequences embedded into the gameplay. Instead of a suspended radiating array of guns in a seperate menu mode should Lara Croft throw her rucksack down and rifle through it on whatever game level she's moving through?

Submitted by Prema on Mon, 31/05/04 - 12:53 AMPermalink

Oh, and Happy Birthday for Friday JT!

Submitted by Kalescent on Mon, 31/05/04 - 1:24 AMPermalink

Firstly, Thanks Prema! [:D] Secondly, Welcome to Sumea [:)]

Interesting notion, im a firm believer in the immersive 'whole' of a game experience, however, to take things to a non-menu type situation with the lara croft example you mentioned, i think would indeed create a new 'element' to gameplay, but lets not forget the fun factor, imagine having to rummage through your non-organised rucksack for that piece of the puzzle, taking care not to impale your fingers on the many knives and other pointed objects that one would hold in their 'menu' inventory.

I think while definately in some areas, it could be done, as long as it doesnt take away from the whole experience, personally, back to the lara example again, it would have to consider things like for instance the diablo / baldurs gate type inventory where players can 'stack' items and carry 5 melee weapons, 3 shields, and countless other pieces required to go forward. But really, could you see a brave warrior(ess) wading into battle, carrying all this stuff strapped to him/her [?]

All in all my personal preference is that development in this area, would be a fine line to tread indeed, as taking it to far could so easily ruin a good game. In saying that though, with a careful approach i think some interesting things could come of it.

Submitted by Prema on Mon, 31/05/04 - 2:32 AMPermalink

Thanks for your response JT![:I]

Let's assume then that multiple gameplay modes are a given- menus, save screens etc (cos lets face it- 60 hours of FFX is gonna require some bathroom breaks)

So is there a focus in game narratives to make the timeline a logical progression so that the player isn't confused about how far they're progressing through the game?
Films used to be like that- telling a story from start to finish- and any flashbacks fitting easily and logically into the linear storyline. Contemporary films now play more withe the concept of time.
Take for example films which can distort the timeline and make you unsure of which events happened when- so then the different scenes and images become about the experience of time they give. If you've seen "Run Lola Run" where Lola learns from reliving the same 20 mins, or "Mulholland Drive" where the story is a paradox, you'll know what I'm talking about... If not- "the choice is ezy"

Do you think it would be possible for a game to make the same leap to a non-linear narrative? Somehow I fear that it would require for gamers to want to just EXPERIENCE the game. But let's face it- as it stands games are there to challenge us, and we want to feel that we are making PROGRESS through the levels. We want to reach the end.

The only example I can think of that has really broken from this model is Silent Hill- where you have a letter from your dead wife asking you to go to silent hill. By the end of the game the letter has faded to nothing because it was a hallucination. The letter turns the game timeline away from a simple progression of reality. IF you notice it fading you can be clued into the fact that your actions should take on a different tone. It's almost like Lola's intuitively knowing how to turn the safety catch of the gun off. She's done it before, and yet she hasn't. She, as the character, can't know that she's done it before, just like our avatar in Silent Hill doesn't realise he is hallucinating. But by playing with the timeline both of these experiences let the viewer oversee strange connections between events and timeframes.

Personally I think this made Silent Hill stand out from other games. Do you think this kind of approach to gaming has a future? (ie where it is more like a dream of related experiences than a set of levels to be completed?)

Submitted by Kalescent on Mon, 31/05/04 - 5:57 AMPermalink

Ahh I see, yes definately I think that area of development could be pushed. But more-so with RPG and action-adventure genres.

Memento, is another movie that kind of mucks around a bit with the timeline. If you have a ps2 - I suggest trying to find and old game called Shadow of Memories, it came out when the ps2 was released, and has a few of the tampered timeline elements you speak of.

Now that I've had a chance to think about it a bit more - I don't think alot of game designers have taken things that far, or that they have, but found that it changed the entire dynamic of the game, to something that doesnt look much like the original plan at all!

I think this discussion deserves its own thread!! [:D]

Sadly ive never played Silent Hill, not that I havent wanted to, I have the entire Resi Evil Series, and Project Zero, but there was always a new RPG sitting on the shelves when I went to get Silent Hill [:)] and an RPG takes priority im afraid! [:D]

As for Square, with the entire Final Fantasy series, I think they definately take the logical progression route, although the shorts I saw of FFX-2 about 6 months ago before it came out, led me to believe that maybe they were trying to really twist the timeline etc, but after finishing it with 100% [:D] it was more just several minor tweaks here and there.

I think for any story driven game, logical progression is simple and thats why its been done for so long. It costs less to implement, shortens dev time and applies to a wide demographic. However times are changing, so maybe its time to think more along these lines as well. [:D]

An interesting topic. [:)]

Submitted by Maitrek on Tue, 01/06/04 - 1:38 AMPermalink

I'm surprised this is still a hot topic.

quote:If any of you guys could shed some light on how much these other game/ time experiences get considered when writing and designing games it would be much appreciated. I think by discussing things like auto save functions we begin to question whether the player should be broken from the gameplay at all...

Interesting you mention that, the current game I've got in the boiling pot has no 'save game' feature at all...of course it has profiles so it knows who is playing the game so it knows where the player was up to, but basically it is progresses through from start to finish in one continuous narrative/timeline. The fact of the matter is, save games are part of the gameplay mechanic, they serve to add to difficulty, tension, relief, reward etc etc. Anything that has a 'rewarding' effect is immediately part of the game and should be *careuflly* considered in the design process.

In the context of the game I'm currently still sorting out, there is no need for that kind of device, and hence it is completely removed from the game. The fact of the matter is, by having no 'going back' feature the choices and things the character does are, timeline wise, irreversible. Further, if the player desires to repent and make up for a bad decision, they will have to do so in the 'future' - it adds a sense of consequence and reality to decisions/choices.

I could go off topic and answer some of your other Qs, but I won't... :)

Submitted by rivit on Thu, 01/07/04 - 11:01 PMPermalink

Hmm I did not read all threads but I would assume the save any ware is meant to be a convenience for players
But [1]it takes a goal achievement away
[2]when 1 restarts the game are the still in same location and enemy still in same location or is it a fresh start so if player is about to die you can save and exit like Diablo 2
(Once again removing a achievement goal from the game )

So the overlying point do we design games as designers or do we design games to please people and at the end of the day kill the last ability and the art of game design..
I don?t believe in this ?if you make a good game people will play it ??
Not like battle field Vietnam were they give you 1 game then patch it up so its nothing like it was and in reality give you a different product to what you got in the first place
That game went into the bin for me [8]

Submitted by lsdod on Sun, 25/07/04 - 1:29 AMPermalink

I'll be the first to admit that I 'ride' the quicksave key. However, Im definately PRO 'save anywhere'. I dont have a whole lot of time to replay tough bits of games over and over and will more likely just stop playing a game alltogether if this is the case.

Also, I like to be able to quit a game when i feel like it. It doesn't go down great with the GF if she wants me to get off the comp and I make her wait an hour while I attempt to reach the next save location without dying.

It is certainly a form of cheating though, especially when there are events which trigger something random. For example, saving before a treasure chest in game X which contains random items varying from useless to extremely good items. And continually reloading until you get the item you want. However, with some trickery, programmers can get around this by preserving the random seed in memory for the next reload.

I didn't mind how GTA:VC saves were. It never took too long to be able to get to a save location. Only annoying when i had to shut down the computer during a long mission..

I think it also comes down to a deeper issue which is that people have a certain resentment for the fact that while they're doin it tough, someone else is breezing through with cheats. For example, when i played Morrowind i found the game far to easy, but when they released a patch which gave you an on-the-fly difficulty slider, I always left it as default, because it annoyed me superficiouly that my achievments would be under-rated by someone else who has gone through the game on an easier setting. As stupid and petty as that may sound, I think its deep down in many of our competitive natures.

Ultimately, with a save anywhere feature it comes down to your own will power not to abuse it. And the ability to accept that other people will play the game at their own pace, skill level, advantages, etc and really not care whether or not you are the most hardcore player out there.

Unfortunetely, due to the nature of games consoles, it is more convenient to have save points and as more games are released for multi-platforms, so will more games have save points.

I will always be Pro "SAVE ANYWHERE"

Submitted by Maitrek on Sun, 01/08/04 - 3:27 AMPermalink

lsdod - I agree its up to the player as to how they use the save anywhere feature...but alot of the time game designers get slack with how they should present a challenge. This is why the save point system exists, so they just make something that is incredibly difficult that you will have to repeat over and over and over again in order to fill out the game so that the gamer gets their 20 hours of 'gameplay'. That's when the save-point system becomes tacky.

Where can I get a full design Document?

I'm not talking Design doc templates, or how-to guides, I've read plenty of them at and

I really want to read a full doc for a game, any game (Although preferably single player) Whether it got made or not.
Can someone help me? Surely one of you pro's out there can dig one up for me from an old title. [}:)][:)]

Submitted by davidcoen on Mon, 28/04/03 - 10:38 AMPermalink

including or not including crappy game concepts that amuse me while i spend hours on end producing art resources for other peoples projects? (have a folder of them... just .txt excises in game design...)

Submitted by Daemin on Mon, 28/04/03 - 12:09 PMPermalink

I would've suggested the one's on etc, AFAIK they have 1 game design document that was from a professionally produced game. I doubt that you'll be able to get any design documents that aren't already on your aformentioned sites.

I know all my Design Documents (except for the most recent one - but just barely) are probably far below standard.

Stupid Game ideas

Ok, I wanna see your list of stupid game ideas.. this is just some I could think of at the moment - I'm sure there's plenty more. [:)]

Daikatana - depending on an AI buddy..
A few years ago, having a smart AI buddy along your side to help you complete your missions was a huge selling point in singple player FPS games. Daikatana promoted it as one of its key game elements. (Anyone remember that Bruce Willis game on the PSX? The MAIN selling point of that game was that Bruce Willis was your friendly side kick who would help you battle it out through the whole game, and yell out whacky action one-liners while he's doing it. Unfortunately, the development team couldn't get the whole AI buddy idea to work decently at all, so in the end, you just played as Bruce Willis on your own. [:)])

Unfortunately in Daikatana, if your buddy dies while you're playing, it's game over for you too. There are funny stories of people just leaving those 2 Daikatana sidekicks at the beginning of the mission, wiping out ALL the enemies in the level, then going back to bring them through.. [:)]

Metal Gear Solid 2 - directional microphone
This was a non vital part of MGS2 where you aimed a directional microphone at people *in the hope* of listening to their conversations... if you didn't aim properly (and hey, it was darn hard to see the actual people you were aiming at since they were behind walls!), then you missed what the characters were on about.. the conversations, however, weren't vital to solving anything, so in the end, the whole directional microphone was just a gimmick to deprive you of some story. Neato [:)]

Submitted by Tripitaka on Fri, 25/04/03 - 8:29 PMPermalink

I suppose this is a slightly different thing, but this idea of importing well-known titles across to different gameplay genres has to be the dumbest thing going down at the moment. It's inevitable that this would happen, because the companies already own the IP and don't have to pay to buy the licence to Spiderman or what have you but it's about the stupidest thing you can do because you end up pleasing neither the fans of the genre or the fans of the title. Just another manifestation of the industry's dependence on pre-existing franchises over original ideas at all costs.

`Lords of Everquest' - I'm looking in your direction. Pee-yew ... even The Sims Online, I haven't played it but most of what I've heard confirmed my fears about it. The attraction of the concept is completely opposite to the attraction of the original Sims concept.

Submitted by souri on Fri, 25/04/03 - 9:14 PMPermalink

There's also a FPS Star Craft in the works.. it's all about milking the franchise. [:)] I wonder if a game developer will go the whole way. You know, do every possible genre with one IP. It could happen! [;)]

Another stupid game idea - well, the idea that you have to play the game over, just to see "secret stuff".. (this might just be a console thing)

I'd hate to make such a bad example of Metal Gear Solid 2 - it was a decent game overall.. but who would really play the entire game again, just to collect dog tags? Is that really replayability? Playing the same game again, just to unlock something you didn't see before? It seems like a lot of investment for little reward, in my opinion. The extent of some titles to offer some form of 'replayability' are incredible.. Consider Resident Evil 2. If you complete the game with a certain rating, or if you beat the game within a certain time, you get to PLAY THE SAME GAME AGAIN with some new fancy feature. I can imagine only a small number of people playing the entire game repeatedley trying to reach those goals before going psycho.

I'd like replayability to mean that you can play the game again, and it would be a somewhat difference experience, but maybe that's just a pipe dream. [;)]

Submitted by Sorceror Bob on Fri, 25/04/03 - 10:32 PMPermalink

The MGS2 thing you mentioned isn't that bad an idea.. If you feel like playing it a second time round, there are new things thrown in the second time around..

Bit of value for money..

But yeah, going for goals is a shit idea.. It should be unlocked when you win the game :P

*edit* a little off topic, but goldeneye still has the best replayability feature, doing levels in certain times often unlocked stuff that could be used in multiplayer.. they weren't too hard to get either. */edit*

Submitted by Daemin on Sat, 26/04/03 - 12:08 AMPermalink

I'd say some of the helpers in Half Life were sucks as... Several times when they were *required* for the game to progress they didn't do anything, I wasted like hours tryong to get them to do their thing at stages in the game... grrrrr...

quote:There's also a FPS Star Craft in the works... it's all about milking the franchise

You should check out the video feature on gamasutra from Warren Spector that's up there now. I saw it last night and it kinda opened my eyes to the wide wourld outside so to speak. Just for some thought, how did it happen to be a franchise in the first place - success - because we wanted to play and see it.

Generally I think helpers in games is a bad idea, I'd rather have a game (say like HL), which I could play Co-Op with other people at a lan, than ahve helpers in it that were sooo damn stupid it wasn't funny and that didn't help you 100% of the time.

Submitted by Brain on Sat, 26/04/03 - 12:34 AMPermalink

Mmm, I'm not discounting StarCraft: Ghost until I play it, primarily because it's Blizzard, who happen to have a rather good track record with me (I mean, they've re-released Lost Vikings. I'd buy a GBAdvance just for that @:-D)

Seaman is always an interesting game idea that didn't really work. T'was on the Dreamcast, and you had a microphone, in which you talk to your creature, a half man-half fish Seaman. Without the guide, it was frustrating to continue with, and lacked much in gameplay. Very tamagotchi like, but executed badly. And who wants to say "Hey! You guys played Seaman? Go buy Seaman!"

Submitted by sho nuff on Wed, 07/05/03 - 11:20 PMPermalink

I think the worst game idea i ever heard of is that escape from the detention center. Like wtf? How can a concept like that even be considered a worthwhile game experience? And i seriously cannot imagine people buying into it,unless they were crims themeselves, and they wanted to learn how to escape a detention center.
State of Emergency is no better either.

Submitted by Malus on Thu, 08/05/03 - 1:30 AMPermalink

Although I don't necessarilly agree or disagree with the detention centre game I find it wierd that the federal government gave the developers money to take the piss out of them.

Sho-nuff, wrestlings real huh... I always thought wrestling was ballet for people missing chromosomes[:P]

Submitted by Pantmonger on Thu, 08/05/03 - 2:52 AMPermalink

quote:Originally posted by sho-nuff

I think the worst game idea i ever heard of is that escape from the detention center. Like wtf? How can a concept like that even be considered a worthwhile game experience?

Because its funny and makes a political statment, which then gets it classifed as 'new medium art' which was then funded by a govornment art body.

Black comedy is laugh gold IMO


Submitted by sho nuff on Thu, 08/05/03 - 9:27 PMPermalink

It's still a stupid idea. I could think of a ton of other things to make games about than this. I mean fair enuff, they wanted to go for originality, but to stoop so low as to resort to politcally based themes? that just speaks desperation to me.

Anybody with a solid sense of whats fun, gaming mechanics, and general creative flair, could think of better ways to entertain gamers. Seriously, who's gonna put in the hours to play this s***?

I mean, if they wanted to create a game based on jail breaking, which is really all it is, they could have used a fantasy or sci fi based setting. Of course, in doing so would result in marketing the game towards a different audience. But in who's hell are they marketing this game towards anyway? Refugees?

(converted from arab to english)
"Hay man, did u get that detention center game?"
"Nah, i couldn't get it."
"How come?"
"Me no speak english mutha*****""

O.k so u don't target the refugees, who else is left? hmmmm let me think...Crims.

(Down at the local EB)
"Hay Albert, where did all those copies of the detention center game go?"
"There right over.......DAMN! i could a sworn i just put them on that shelf"

Alright, so maybe im being a bit unfair, i mean after all, GTA is probably the most popular game IN DA WORLD, and it's premise is based around criminal life and violence. Almost like this Retention Center game right? Wrong.

The most fundamental reason for why GTA is so widely accepted, isn't because of the crime and violence element, it is because GTA blends so many genre types into one immersive game world. As a result of this, there is something there for every male, who makes up for alot of the gaming audience. As an example, my 8 yr old nephew plays the game cuz he likes the cars and jump ramps (he doesnt play anything else in the game). My brother plays it cuz he loves the franchise, and im now playing it (after completion) to try and collect all the collectibles (which is bloody hard!)

This other game is made with one goal in mind, to break from a jail. Add to that a lame-ho premise, and it's quite easy to see that this game.....sux ass.

(I dont have a problem with the developers, i just think that there are better things to spend your time building/playing.)

Submitted by Malus on Fri, 09/05/03 - 12:00 AMPermalink

Games like film, books etc aren't soley for righteous little teenangers and angsty 23 yr olds, a political based games has every right to be made and just because its not your cup of tea doesnt mean its invalid.

quote:This other game is made with one goal in mind, to break from a jail. Add to that a lame-ho premise, and it's quite easy to see that this game.....sux ass

The games is most probably made to express a point of view about those living in Woomera, I don't necessarilly agree with that point but to go off like you have really shows alot of ignorance.

I know this is about bad game ideas and you are allowed your view but you need to calm down and not go off half cocked like that, you know for sure they're all criminals, the 6 yr old little boys/girls did what exactly?

Btw have you played the game where you escape a german stalag in WW2, some people may find similarities.

Submitted by Malus on Fri, 09/05/03 - 12:24 AMPermalink

Don't know how I missed this:

quote:(converted from arab to english)

"Hay man, did u get that detention center game?"
"Nah, i couldn't get it."
"How come?"
"Me no speak english mutha*****""

In 2003 racism isn't tolerated. Grow up.

Submitted by JonathanKerr on Fri, 09/05/03 - 12:59 AMPermalink

quote:Metal Gear Solid 2 - directional microphone
This was a non vital part of MGS2 where you aimed a directional microphone at people *in the hope* of listening to their conversations... if you didn't aim properly (and hey, it was darn hard to see the actual people you were aiming at since they were behind walls!), then you missed what the characters were on about.. the conversations, however, weren't vital to solving anything, so in the end, the whole directional microphone was just a gimmick to deprive you of some story. Neato [:)]

The purpose of the directional microphone was so you could use it to identify Richard Ames who had a pacemaker inserted on his heart. This was a particularly difficult part of the game for me as I have a hearing loss, and I had no idea what a pacemaker would sound like. Took me a while to work out that a pacemaker has a 'clockwork' rhthym to it's beat where as a natural heartbeat is a bit more erratic.

The directional mike could also be used to try and track down the odourless C4 that Fatman plants (the one that beeps and doesn't show up on the radar).

I'm a firm believer that it's not the idea that's important as much as it is the implementation of the idea that makes it effective. Look at the difference between Halo's marine buddies as opposed to the Daikatana ones.

Submitted by sho nuff on Fri, 09/05/03 - 2:30 AMPermalink

quote:Originally posted by Malus

Don't know how I missed this:

quote:(converted from arab to english)

"Hay man, did u get that detention center game?"
"Nah, i couldn't get it."
"How come?"
"Me no speak english mutha*****""

In 2003 racism isn't tolerated. Grow up.

I wasn't being racist. Just proving a point.

U also mention the right people have to build games for whatever reason. I don't have a problem with that, but this thread is about bad game ideas, which is why i mention it here.

They can make games about anything they want to, all im saying is that the time they will spend developing this game would be better spent, using it on something a little more 'interesting'. Because in my 'humble' opinion, i really don't see people getting excited over a title like this. Could you?

Submitted by Leviron on Fri, 09/05/03 - 2:41 AMPermalink

A game where you are one of the kids of a 8 member family.

You're the depressed kid and you have to fix the other people up so they are make you not depressed.

Stupid enough?

Submitted by sho nuff on Fri, 09/05/03 - 3:04 AMPermalink

who made that game? or is it in development?

Submitted by Daemin on Fri, 09/05/03 - 7:44 AMPermalink

With teh whole detention centre game you have to realise that this is a piece of interactive art, with a strong political message, rather than a normal game. Therefore it shouldn't be taken as a game really but more as some piece of abstract art taht you might find in a "trendy" gallery.

Submitted by sho nuff on Fri, 09/05/03 - 10:02 PMPermalink

Well if it is for arts sake, then it can't really be considered a game. But then, why post the news on this site, and why get the grant from the govt?

Ah well who cares. If its a game, then its a stupid idea for a game, and if its an art piece,then its developers should draw a clearer line for folks who have opinions like me.

nuff said.

Submitted by Pantmonger on Sat, 10/05/03 - 1:27 AMPermalink

quote:Originally posted by sho-nuff

Well if it is for arts sake, then it can't really be considered a game. But then, why post the news on this site, and why get the grant from the govt?

Ah well who cares. If its a game, then its a stupid idea for a game, and if its an art piece,then its developers should draw a clearer line for folks who have opinions like me.

nuff said.

Art can be a game, a game can be art. Its Art but the medim is the game.
They got the grant from an Art supportive area of the Gov. The Gov supports the arts, someone applies for the grant so they can make art, I don't see the funding as a complex issue.

As for your final comment "if its an art piece,then its developers should draw a clearer line for folks who have opinions like me." WTF. If you can't open you mind enough to accept a game as art or social commentry, then you are not the target audience. So why would they care if you don't get it.
People don't poll the public before creating art to make sure they don't confuse a few people, nor should the creators of art be bound by the perceptions of their critics.

You dont get it, others do. Its Art, it makes a statment, and it has sparked debate. The creators can only hope that this continues.


Submitted by sho nuff on Sat, 10/05/03 - 2:47 AMPermalink

quote:Originally posted by Pantmonger
People don't poll the public before creating art to make sure they don't confuse a few people, nor should the creators of art be bound by the perceptions of their critics.

Fair enuff, BUT! since socrates, people have had the tendency to class things, which is why i made the statement about them defining what it is, or what it isnt. Because having things classed helps to clarify any misconceptions a person may have. For example, you buy a sports shoe and whenever u run in those shoes it hurts like hell. U take it back to the store and tell them that the shoe sux because it's meant for running, but when u run in the shoe, it hurts. The foot pro turns to you and asks if you have a flat foot or not. You say you dont care, but the foot pro replies that you should, because specific shoes are made for specific feet.

In other words, if this detention center 'thing' is a game, then it's a bad idea, but if its an art piece, then it may serve its purpose.

Can i stop defending my opinions now, im going nuts. [xx(][xx(][xx(]

Submitted by Daemin on Sat, 10/05/03 - 7:58 AMPermalink

It *is* a game, yet it is also a piece of art...

You're arguing like a movie can either be art, or entertainment, not both, which of course they are!

Try to get your logic right man :-P

Submitted by Maitrek on Sat, 10/05/03 - 11:04 PMPermalink

I agree - art and entertainment are not mutually exclusive - regardless of the medium of conveyance....

Submitted by sho nuff on Thu, 15/05/03 - 12:59 PMPermalink

your absolutely right, but as a game, this idea sucks. And what you have just explained, is the definition that has given rise to many a s***house game.

You class it under 'game' and it will get punished severely by the titles that were developed with 'gameplay' as top priority. This 'game' is created with something else in mind, as such, it would be better to call it 'interactive entertainment' rather than a 'game', and the last time i read this thread, it was titled stupid 'game' ideas. So if you don't like it being flamed on, then quit calling it a game, cuz a game it aint.

Outstanding - uhh - stories?

People talk about plot and stories in games, so I was wondering, what are people's top three games simply in terms of the story they told - or the plot etc etc.

My three are (in no particular order)

Azrael's Tear - complex characters, plot and over all a tale as well
Grim Fandango - extremely well conveyed film noir inspired character development and story/plot
Full Throttle - short but sweet macho story-telling.

I can't really think of any outstanding FPS (although Azrael's Tear did have some shooting in it :)), RPG or RTS games, but I'd like to hear of some. Some honourable mentions in the other categories have to go to Deus Ex, Planescape Torment (contender for a top three up there I guess, but I haven't finished it yet) and a few others I can't think of. I haven't played through much of Realms of the Haunting, but that also looks good. Lots of games lately seem to have "plot" and some cliches, but no real story or character to it - anyone else agree?

Submitted by lava monkey on Sat, 19/04/03 - 5:33 AMPermalink

monkey island 1 and day of the tentacle
lucas arts adventure games in general probably had the best stories ever.

Submitted by redwyre on Sat, 19/04/03 - 10:47 AMPermalink

It depends really on what you mean by plot, a story before your actions, reasons for you to act, consiquences of your actions, events that happen as consiquence of your actions...

Submitted by Maitrek on Sat, 19/04/03 - 11:40 AMPermalink

Well it's a bit of an open ended question. Some people prefer more of the "reasons behind actions" plot kind of game, whereas others sort of look at the character interactiob/story driven reward structure type of game. I guess whatever you want really as long as you sort of tag on what you are judging by.
I judge with a bit of both. Plot - as in motivations and reasons - as well as story - which is more of a creative/artistic thing I guess.

Submitted by redwyre on Sat, 19/04/03 - 12:22 PMPermalink

Well, System Shock has quite a good story. It has a into movie at the begining, and there are constant references from different characters. Deus Ex is pretty much a copy but it has a more interactive story. Looking Glass Studios' games (and those derived from them) have the best plot and story lines... *sigh*.

Haegemonia (Homeworld-like space RTS) has quite a good plot and story, other than that I haven't really played an RTS since Starcraft though.

Submitted by Maitrek on Sat, 19/04/03 - 9:46 PMPermalink

I thought System Shock was a little thin when it came to the story department, System Shock 2, however, pretty much sucked - it did have a plot but it was paper thin. I thought Shodan was devilishly well portrayed in the original, which gave the game some depth. The characters were, in general, interesting and provided most of the motivation. As if Abe Ghiran made it up to the security level? What a champ :) Pity he got killed back on the level 3 (can't remember, what was level called again? Engineering or something?)

Starcraft allegedly has some story elements, but alas, I've never played through all of it :(

Submitted by Meatex Salami on Sun, 20/04/03 - 2:00 AMPermalink

Well for me it would be
Deus Ex
Silent Hill 2
Metal Gear Solid 1
Thos are the games i put in order as having the best stories
I just finished SH2 for the first time not 5 mins ago.
That game i thought was really good and strange.
SH2 has done mood and atmosphere really well and its scary without any of the RE series "cheap" scare where a guy just suddenly jumps out at you.

Submitted by Pantmonger on Sun, 20/04/03 - 6:59 PMPermalink

quote:Originally posted by Meatex_Salami

I just finished SH2 for the first time not 5 mins ago.
That game i thought was really good and strange.
SH2 has done mood and atmosphere really well and its scary without any of the RE series "cheap" scare where a guy just suddenly jumps out at you.

SH2 also has the benifit of multipath endings based on your actions, not just your choices. Looking at that sharp knife in your inventory too much, the one someone was going to kill themselves with, you might be headed for the suicide ending. Looking at that picture of your wife a lot, hanging around with a certain woman whenever you can. These things all change the ending.

It is most cool.


Submitted by Maitrek on Mon, 21/04/03 - 2:33 AMPermalink

Anyone here played Clive Barker's Undying? Seems pretty scary to from what I saw in the demo, but I don't know if the whole game has enough original scares to keep it going.

I haven't played Metal Gear Solid or SH2, but they look good. I need more hours in a day :)

And also - multiple endings can be a good and bad thing. I remember alot of people finished playing Blade Runner with dodgy endings that they didn't want, and other people got fantastic fitting endings...I'm not sure how well they do it in SH2, but it really is risky and you can piss some players off immensly if you screw up the way it's organised.

Submitted by Pantmonger on Mon, 21/04/03 - 8:02 PMPermalink

IMO multiple ending rock and increase the life of a good game due to increased replay value. Sure sometimes you get an end that sucks, but usualy that comes from sucky performance on the behalf of the player. I like the inclusion of sucky endings, makes you feel like you have a achived something when you get it right, rather then an inevetable you win, you are a a god style ending that requires little to achive.

Games that are more skill based (ie the better you are at aiming a shooting, or coming up with a good plan) its cool to have a generic, you win, ending. You fought for it and you deserve it. But in a story heavy game the ending needs to reflect the path you take and unless you want to be railroaded down the plot path, then multiple endings are important to reflect the choices you made.

I think that this kind of story telling in games can learn a lot from the 30+ years of paper RPGs. They made the mistakes before, and in some cases still make the mistakes (Have a look at a D&D module. You enter a room 10 x10 feet in size, there is an orc standing in front of a chest. "You will never get my treasure" he grunts.) But they have also got some things right. Looking at story strong video games, a lot of the time they are making the same mistakes that paper RPGs made and learnt from. I think its time to stop re-inventing the wheel and time to climb on to the sholders of some giants.

Well that my 2 cents anyway.


Submitted by souri on Mon, 21/04/03 - 8:16 PMPermalink

Clive Barker's Undying was VERY scary.. very atmospheric and spooky. I have to admit, there were stages where I was glad I got out of.. [:)] I didn't get to finish it, so I can't comment completly on the story, but what I experienced was pretty good.

Silent Hill had a rather interesting paranormal story - but it was seriously let down by the shoddy voice acting. And plenty of awkward pauses.. I guess they just didn't edited the cut scenes for the English version after the translation.. it's definately enough to ruin a story though.

Metal Gear Solid 2 has some brilliant voice acting, but I have to say the story itself stunk. I've taped it, and watched the video a few times, and I still don't quite get the story.. It's full of unecessary twists which in the end you don't really care about anymore.. GW is one thing, then it's another, then it's another. There are plenty of other things that I don't quite get either, but I've moved on [:)]. The big problem with Metal Gear Solid 2 was that there was too much story to sit through. Heck, the dialogue before the last fight went on for over half an hour!!!

I agree with what someone said earlier. Half Life was great because you experienced the story, rather than watching it happen.

Oh, and multiple endings - I'm the type who hates them.. well, if they were done the way Silent Hill 1 did them.. I missed some syringe containing blood (that was stashed on a bike!!) at some point in the game... so because of that, I got the bad ending.. It was a tough game, and I sure as heck didn't want to go back to an old save game and go through all the same ground/puzzles etc I went through again just to see a different ending.. That's not replay value to me.. that's just darn annoying!

Multiple endings from multiple paths = good. Multiple endings from doing things slightly different = bad.

Submitted by Meatex Salami on Mon, 21/04/03 - 9:46 PMPermalink

SH2 i think is pretty much the same as SH1 except with most of the problems fixed. (You can get problems with the cameras sometimes and other times the camera won't look where you want it to - though that often isn't because of bad camera coding its cause the designer want to freak you out. you hear noises and you desperately want to see whats making it)
SH2 uses sounds really well and the textures were really impressive.
The voice acting was better than in SH1, but there are still some pause in odd spots.
Also it seems as though the characters mouths don't close properly :)
SH2's story was very complicated and was told through less cutscenes than an MGS type game. And generally the cutscenes aren't too long.
I do like it how you can miss certain items and yet keep playing without the game going "oh you mightt want to back here and investigate. there might be some usefull items there."
Although i haven't tried you could probably play the game without getting the map.
As for endings sucking you can be assured that the ending where you leave silent hill to "live your life" as mary says is the one you will most likely get. The others i think you have to do specail things to get.
But i liked how the plot was layed out to you (you were told bits related to the plot) but then you could find out info about the story. The story wasn't ever told to you (when i say story i mean how silent hill got so farked up) you had to find it out and peice everything together yourself. The story, i thought, was very open to interpretation and i like that.
Anyway i would recommend people playing it cause it is worth it. And the guys who designed this game must have some serious issues :)
I can't wait for silent hill 3

Submitted by Soul on Tue, 22/04/03 - 5:32 AMPermalink

Ahh, this is one of those questions where it's almost impossible to stick to the requested number of answers, so I won't... [:)]

Grim Fandango
Final Fantasy VII
Gabriel Knight 1 & 2
Azrael's Tear
Planescape: Torment
The Dig
Ultima VII parts 1 & 2

Also, I agree with Maitrek - most modern PC games seem to rely too heavily on cliches and "hammy" dialogue.

Submitted by Maitrek on Tue, 22/04/03 - 8:53 AMPermalink

quote:IMO multiple ending rock and increase the life of a good game due to increased replay value. Sure sometimes you get an end that sucks, but usualy that comes from sucky performance on the behalf of the player. I like the inclusion of sucky endings, makes you feel like you have a achived something when you get it right, rather then an inevetable you win, you are a a god style ending that requires little to achive.

Games that are more skill based (ie the better you are at aiming a shooting, or coming up with a good plan) its cool to have a generic, you win, ending. You fought for it and you deserve it. But in a story heavy game the ending needs to reflect the path you take and unless you want to be railroaded down the plot path, then multiple endings are important to reflect the choices you made.

Bringing out flame thrower for a second here. In regards to the first paragraph, from a design point of view that really is a not-too-good way to make up for a weak reward structure in the game. Also, how are we going to get people to play games if we give them not so good rewards if they aren't as elite as experienced gamers? Not everyone wants to play the same game twice, or thrice etc etc.

Also I'm also a bit cynical about multiple plot paths. The amount of game-play material that is different between plot paths is minimal, however sometimes you get slightly different interactions with NPCs in "cut scenes" and endings etc. It doesn't really add to the game as it should.

Aside from that. Back on topic....I'm still not convinced that in Half Life you "experienced" the story. The story was still delivered in a non-interactive way - scripted events that couldn't be changed, all it did was change the look of your enemies now and again. It doesn't so much add to the game as polish it a little, provide some miniscule background as to why you are now shooting at thing x.

How many people here have actually played Grim Fandango?

Submitted by Gldfire on Tue, 22/04/03 - 11:44 AMPermalink

I liked Final Fantasy 7 because it had a really good storyline and a great atmosphere, Interstate 76 was also another great game good plot, and all the old cars battling in the dessert and the large selection of upgrades, made for some great gameplay.

Top Ten thriving game genres

I just posted a news item on the Top Ten dying game genres article on Gamespy..
I wonder what you think are the Top Ten THRIVING game genres at the moment (or will be).. go nuts. [:)]

Submitted by Malus on Tue, 25/03/03 - 8:25 AMPermalink

Probably these (not in any specific order):

1. Simulations (The sims,Simcity 4)
2. Horror survivalist (silent hill 2)
3. Real time strategy (warcraft 3)
4. Sports
6. Turn based war simulations (cossacks)
7. FPS
8. Platformers (Ty, Zelda)
9. RPG's
10. Fighting (Tekken 4)

Or a mix of them like Dues Ex, which was an FPSRPG. :P

Submitted by souri on Tue, 25/03/03 - 10:03 AMPermalink

My list of thriving genres. Emphasis on the word 'thriving', and definatley not my list of genres I prefer to play. :)

10. Survival Horror - this genre is still going ok, with Resident Evil 0, Silent Hill 3 still creating interest.. but improvements I've seen have really mainly been graphical.
9. Racing - People still love to race, so this genre will never die.. Career modes, online play etc help enhance this genre, but I wonder where else this genre can go.
8. Platformers - for the same reason above. The kids just love em.
7. Sports sim - soccer, football.. It's another safe genre. They just seem to be throwing more and more fancy graphics.

(These genres are the ones really thriving though.. )

6. RPGs - Final Fantasy etc.. I think Final Fantasy X2 sold millions on just on pre-order.. holy...
5. Extreme sports games - Tony Hawk, and all those bike, snowboarding etc games where you pull off tricks.
4. Freeform racer/third person shooter - Grand Theft Auto3... (also Mafia, True Crime Streets of LA..) 7 or 8 million buyers of Vice City can't be wrong!
3. The Sims, Sim City, Tycoon, and all your god/building/maintaining games..
2. MMORPGs - it's thriving to the point of saturation
1. FPS - in all their variants.. Online (Battlefield 1942, Counterstrike etc) or single player (Unreal 2, Castle Wolfenstein, too many to name.. you know them all). Gamers will always buy FPS's, and developers will always be churning them out.

Mixing genres are the way of the future I reckon. Genres of old have made the transition to 3D and have been milked out for all they can, and now that those genres are absolutely exhausted, mixing genres are the only way to keep things interesting.

So here's my list of genres of great potential..

5. MMOAG. Massive Multiplayer Online Action Game..
4. An MM online version of Elite 2: Frontier. It's something I've dreamed about ever since the internet became popular. :) That Eve : Second Genesis games looks like it could be that!
3. Single player FPS/RPG. Your basic FPS with a few puzzles backed with a storyline has been done to death. Mixing other genres with First person shooters will keep them interesting.
2. Online FPS/RTS like that Savage ( Savage also gets my award for 'coolest looking grass fields' in a game.. :) Another example would be that half life mod with the marines vs aliens (the name of which escapes me atm).
1. Online Grand Theft Auto 3, (GTA3 to me was a mixture of third person shooter, racer). Seriously, whoever does a decent job of an online Grand Theft Auto 3 like game first is gonna strike it big time. The masses want it, and there's nothing out there offering it at the moment.

Submitted by GooberMan on Wed, 26/03/03 - 5:52 AMPermalink

Heh, the maze genre in the top 10 dying genres got it slightly wrong... Wolf3D had quite a maze element in it (emphasised by the Pac-Man bonus level).

Submitted by redwyre on Wed, 26/03/03 - 7:17 AMPermalink

All the game genres will combine into the SUPER MEGA GENRE and take over the world!

Massively Multiplayer Online Turned Based First Person Space Shooter Role Playing Action Real Time Strategy Puzzle Educational Survival Horror Racing Platformer Text Adventure Fighting Sports Simulation Maze Game, played with a light gun and a virtual reality headset.

Submitted by Daemin on Wed, 26/03/03 - 8:36 AMPermalink

Saturation point hit the MMORPG / MMOG market after Ever(crack)quest came out, there's already far too many out there, and it will only get worse.

Submitted by Maitrek on Wed, 26/03/03 - 10:27 AMPermalink

I get a little irritated when I keep seeing MMO being attached to any genre and people pretending it's a new genre of game :)

I personally am not sure what I would say thriving genres are. Alot of combat based games really, in various forms. First person, shooter, "tactical" crap, even the ol' beat 'em up (although usually far more 3D nowadays) etc. RPGs still go quite well in all their forms, online, multiplayer, single player first person, third person etc.

Submitted by souri on Fri, 28/03/03 - 10:09 AMPermalink

quote:Originally posted by redwyre

All the game genres will combine into the SUPER MEGA GENRE and take over the world!

Massively Multiplayer Online Turned Based First Person Space Shooter Role Playing Action Real Time Strategy Puzzle Educational Survival Horror Racing Platformer Text Adventure Fighting Sports Simulation Maze Game, played with a light gun and a virtual reality headset.

You may be kidding about it, but I can see it happening... [:)]..

One day... [:)]

Submitted by JonathanKerr on Fri, 28/03/03 - 10:39 PMPermalink

I'm trying to work out the definition of thriving for this post. Does it mean that there is lots of it, or that there is lots of innovation going on in it?

There's a f*ckload of FPS (usually set in a dystopian future) but not a lot of innovation coming through here - just a lot of refined gameplay.

Racing games are a dime a dozen too - not much innovation here either.

Half the PC market is RTS - although, this genre seems to have a bit more differentiation than a lot of others for some reason usually in scenarios/settings.

I'm surprised no-ones mentioned Rhythm-Action games. I haven't played many myself, but half of the arcades nowadays are full of them. There's a surprising amount on console too...

Submitted by Pantmonger on Sat, 29/03/03 - 6:16 AMPermalink

And coming in at number 1...
the envolope please

Dating Sims.

Submitted by rezn0r on Sun, 30/03/03 - 10:08 AMPermalink

Dating Sims? OMG! Sad but true probably... next thing we'll hear about Everquest people getting married in game.

As for games... everyone is going to get sick of the heavily themed wargames such as Black Hawk DownVietcong (especially with the 247 coverage of the war machine), and will likely look for more refreshing scenarioschallenges. Hopefully this won't mean a swag of hackneyed space or tolkeinesque games, rather some new ideas.

Rhythm games like DDR? Anything that makes people jump around like retarded boys trapped in a McDonalds playground fails to gain my respect. I'd love to see someone bust some DDR moves on a real dance floor, that would be too damned funny. Oops, off topic, but I have to make clear my contempt for DDR. *glares at redwyre*


Submitted by redwyre on Sun, 30/03/03 - 10:44 AMPermalink

quote:Originally posted by rezn0r

Dating Sims? OMG! Sad but true probably... next thing we'll hear about Everquest people getting married in game.

I'm sure I've heard of that happening before...

Rhythm games like DDR? Anything that makes people jump around like retarded boys trapped in a McDonalds playground fails to gain my respect. I'd love to see someone bust some DDR moves on a real dance floor, that would be too damned funny. Oops, off topic, but I have to make clear my contempt for DDR. *glares at redwyre*

Just 'cause you SUCK at it....

Submitted by rezn0r on Sun, 30/03/03 - 10:56 AMPermalink

*prepares a DDR intervention for redwyre*

Submitted by JonathanKerr on Mon, 31/03/03 - 9:06 PMPermalink

Rhythm games like DDR? Anything that makes people jump around like retarded boys trapped in a McDonalds playground fails to gain my respect. I'd love to see someone bust some DDR moves on a real dance floor, that would be too damned funny. Oops, off topic, but I have to make clear my contempt for DDR. *glares at redwyre*

I dunno, but having watched some of those dance-gamers, there's certainly a lot of skill involved. I've played a couple of them (on console in the safety of the AIE) and they're harder than they look -there is definitely a great deal of foot-eye co-ordination involved.

It's not your 'hardcore' (lame label to signify elitism) type of game but I think anything that brings more casual/part-time gamers into arcades or towards videogames has got to be good.

They're quite popular in American schools with them being set up for kids to lose weight.

Submitted by GooberMan on Mon, 31/03/03 - 10:40 PMPermalink

rezn0r: I think liking DDR is a group 2 thing... :P

Submitted by Malus on Tue, 01/04/03 - 12:22 AMPermalink

Reznor: DDR is just a bit of fun man, doesn't have to be the contemporary 'cool' all the time. Ive never played it because Im pretty much gutless and would look like an arse but good on the people that do.
Fight the man. lol

Jonathans right if it brings in casual and hardcore gamers is always a good thing.

BTW some people did get married on Everquest but only their characters, not the actual people. Now thats wierd.

Submitted by Jason on Sat, 03/04/04 - 12:28 AMPermalink

DDR is great, I'm personally not good at it, but the few times I have played it, I could see how it'd be notoriously addictive. I also think it's done good things for video games in terms of changing how we interact and interface with video games. Well, it hasn't reshaped video games, but it has opened the door to possibilities and is another stepping stone towards, hopefully, new and exciting ways we play games. At the moment, new accessories are expensive, but I wonder if there will ever come a time when we ditch the traditional joypad for something different?

Submitted by TheBigJ on Sat, 03/04/04 - 2:07 AMPermalink

lol, I think I was the only member of Group 2 to resist the DDR epidemic. You still hooked on that game, red? [:)]

EverQuest is not the only MMOG that allowed players' characters to marry. I remember playing a primitive 2D japanese MMOG (pre-EQ) that actually featured it. When you clicked on another player it would tell you their name, level and spouse (if any).

Submitted by Satyrblood on Tue, 18/05/04 - 11:02 PMPermalink

quote:Originally posted by TheBigJ

lol, I think I was the only member of Group 2 to resist the DDR epidemic. You still hooked on that game, red? [:)]

EverQuest is not the only MMOG that allowed players' characters to marry. I remember playing a primitive 2D japanese MMOG (pre-EQ) that actually featured it. When you clicked on another player it would tell you their name, level and spouse (if any).

From memory, I think two Koreans met each other playing Diablo II on B.Net, and as a result got married. Wonder if that could be a new genre: Virtual Personals or something like that...

Game design doc releases

I'm just wondering, what more people's opinions are about the legalaities of designing a game which is "like but X but with Y". On the thread [url=""]Next Years Game - Requires Artists[/url] there was a mini-discussion about if you were to give out your design doc to the public, and they were to point out that it resembles game X, then you could be in for legal hassles.

Personally, I don't see the legalities of it. For sure, the design may resemble alot of other games - but is that relevant? For starters, you wouldn't use any intellectual property from another game - except perhaps as a tribute, but no one is going to sue over that. So none of the content of your game would be a direct derivative of another game or use a name from another game. Secondly, there is no way that it is going to be marketed explicitly as "Like game X!" and hence there is no way the relation could affect sales on any level. So I don't see how it's a violation of intellectual property or how you could possibly get sued by it?

What comparisons the public/lawyers draw from one game to another doesn't make it at all a copy or an infringement of far as I can reasonably assume. But the legal system is not usually reasonable.

What are people's thoughts?
Should a game design be kept secret for legal purposes or not?

And on top of that, do people think that it's a potential threat in terms of getting ideas "stolen" and what kind of effect that can have?

Snootchie bootchies!
Any off-topic issues send to

Submitted by Blitz on Sat, 11/01/03 - 5:42 AMPermalink

Its not the likeness of one game to another that i was referring to.
It's like this:
Say i release a design document on a game, and someone says "Hey i've got a really good idea for that game ...(explains idea)" If you then incorporate that idea into the game, wether it was or was not due to that person suggesting it, that person could sue for stealing their idea's. It may not be so prevalent in the comptuer games industry, i don't know. But in other industries (such as card games, p&p rpg's etc.) You have to fill out a legal form releasing any rights to idea's you suggest to the company relating to a gaming product, and if you make the suggestion without filling out the legal disclaimer or whatever it's called, you can almost guarantee you'll never see that idea come to fruition in the game.
CYer, Blitz

Submitted by Maitrek on Sat, 11/01/03 - 8:43 AMPermalink

So what makes that such a deterrent to leaving a design doc open to public scrutiny?!

Why not just ask them to use the idea and/or credit them in the game. It hardly seems like such a huge hurdle.
Plus also, by the time a game design doc is released it should probably be solid enough that the basic game mechanic won't change, maybe the content will, but that's about it.

Snootchie bootchies!
Any off-topic issues send to

Submitted by Grif on Sat, 11/01/03 - 3:24 PMPermalink

Check out:

...for a bit of a read as to how such things can be viewed in terms of copyright, trademarks, etc. Mind you, I didn't have much luck coming up with much of a "why" for the generally accepted NDA policy - the vague reasons for it are clear, but the specific examples of how "breaching a copyright" could occur through putting in a feature someone else had told you about were a bit thin on the ground.

What I'm interested in would be the burden of proof required for someone to actually be able to take you on over that sort of thing (in terms of gameplay design, at least). How does something being on a public forum affect its copyright? Does anything written in here become a solid copyright to the author once submitted? Moreover, would anyone here really be that vindictive as to launch into a lawsuit over gameplay ideas shared in a friendly manner over an on-line forum designed (in part) for the discussion of such things? Does the purpose of the forum itself have an effect on copyright (the "designed for sharing of gameplay ideas with others" bent somewhat implying consent for others to use the ideas?). It turns into a bit of a paranoid loop, to my mind - if you're going to worry that every semi-decent idea you ever had is going to be stolen by someone else, then you're not going to wind up saying much of anything. =)

Here's an interesting aside regarding on-line forums of an actual game developer - going through the conditions of the forums (Irrational's, in this case) you get the following:

"You remain solely responsible for the content of your messages, and you agree to indemnify and hold harmless this BB with respect to any claim based upon transmission of your message(s)."

...and then...

"We at this BB also reserve the right to reveal your identity (or whatever information we know about you) in the event of a complaint or legal action arising from any message posted by you."

Now, here's the interesting bit: there's no note of copyright being implied by the author submitting a post anywhere in these conditions. There's also no implication of the submitted content being owned by Irrational, however. So in order for an idea to be protected by copyright in those forums, would you need to specifically note it was copyrighted while posting? Or is copyright simply implied through the authoring? Is that the loophole that lets a company operate an on-line forum where suggestions are encouraged - it's okay because the ideas aren't copyrighted unless noted, and without a developer's reply to aknowledge such a reply was even read, would there be any proof they even read it, much less took it on board? Or are these forums a potential legal nightmare?

Here's something for everyone to think about: at what point would you, personally, actually WANT to sue someone for breach of copyright when it comes to gameplay mechanics or implimentation of a feature that you had personally suggested to them? I have to admit that the fact this is even being discussed has me a little uneasy... I don't want to have to start spekaing in pure hypotheticals all the time because of all the sinister folks with lawyers hanging about in the wings. ;) I'm also curious as to how this applies to a game company's own on-line forum, as mentioned above (as well as Sumea's, of course) - can anyone dig up some sort of clarification on this sort of thing in terms of how it applies to a public forum?

One final thing to add - I don't think I've once yet encountered a situation in true game development (or software development, or even writing in general, for that matter) where this has been a real issue. In fact, open sharing of design ideas, philosophies, and solutions with others is really a big part of what makes developing a game enjoyable - a lot of ideas (and, in some cases I've known of, whole design docs) get shared simply so you can have someone else making sure you're not overlooking a better solution. Hopefully that's at least a little reassuring in the face of all this "potential lawsuit" legal crapola - there's still some heart and a bit of honour left in there somewhere! =)

- Grif

Submitted by Maitrek on Sun, 12/01/03 - 3:49 AMPermalink

quote:In fact, open sharing of design ideas, philosophies, and solutions with others is really a big part of what makes developing a game enjoyable - a lot of ideas (and, in some cases I've known of, whole design docs) get shared simply so you can have someone else making sure you're not overlooking a better solution. Hopefully that's at least a little reassuring in the face of all this "potential lawsuit" legal crapola - there's still some heart and a bit of honour left in there somewhere! =)

Grif : That's pretty much what I think about the whole situation. I don't see any point in any copyright being associated with good game ideas, it's totally beneficial for the industry to have these ideas being shared around etc etc so that as a whole the industry learns and gets better. Plus imitation is supposed to be the highest form of flattery, whatever happened to people having pride in the fact that they pioneered an idea and it grew and other people took notice?

Plus I have to say, if someone suggests something on a public forum and then expects that idea to be copyrighted/intellectual property then there is no point in having public forums at all. It totally nullifies the idea of having a open public discussion about a specific game's development. Any ideas I come up with are totally free for anyone to use. I remember back in the days of I came up with a few ideas on the design forum that other people were all too keen to use or modify to suit, and I didn't mind, I'd rather see more good ideas in many games than people getting all possessive over them.

Snootchie bootchies!
Any off-topic issues send to

Submitted by Daemin on Sun, 12/01/03 - 4:44 AMPermalink

My main concern is that I'll be releasing the full design document of the game that we are planning to make, therefore there's a possibility that:
a) We could be accused of ripping off some other game that's currently in development
b) Someone could just take the document and write a competing game, which would dilute our project

Sure some game design documents have been released, but always way after the game has been completed. The other thing is that the design document is rather large, and will only get larger as we progress, therefore I am still hesitant at public realising it.

Submitted by Maitrek on Sun, 12/01/03 - 10:24 AMPermalink

Just to be argumentative about things in response to Daemin's post

a) Assume you hadn't released your document, and neither had this other game developers design team, then you'd both have made a similar game, and had no idea, and ended up with a diluted product anyway.

b) Let's say someone did take your ideas, and made a better game from it, then you'd lose out due to product quality, which is better for the industry in general and the gamer/consumer. Or let's say they made a crappola game then people won't choose that game because it's crap, but your game could be well executed and hence will do well regardless.

It's not about the design to a very large extent, the execution of the design is very important too, and this is where alot of designs fall over themselves. If you release a design doc that you think is pretty whizz-bang, and is a brilliant idea (worth enough to 'protect'), then obviously you are very confident in your game making crafts, which means that other people shouldn't be able to make an as-fulfilling experience as you could, which means your game will always do well.

If the design doc has such great scope, and is very revolutionary, why would someone else tackle the idea if it's so much work, especially when someone else has got a head start, and a total understanding of everything that went behind the idea and a better idea of how it really works?

There's no price war on the market, gamer's already pay the same price for just about any top of the line product, hence it's the reviews and the talk back from their friends that make them buy the game, ie the quality of the product, not who came up with the idea.

I do agree that copying a game design is dumb, and any game developer doing so should go hire an *actual* game designer, but the idea of letting ideas out into the game's making community sonner rather than later has too many "pro"s and too few non-greed driven "con"s.

Snootchie bootchies!
Any off-topic issues send to

Submitted by bloody footy on Sat, 03/04/04 - 1:53 AMPermalink

quote:Let's say someone did take your ideas, and made a better game from it, then you'd lose out due to product quality, which is better for the industry in general and the gamer/consumer.

Lets go from the other way around; what if you make a game and a major software house tweaks it and releases it. With their marketing budget, of a lot more than you, they wipe your game out of the market.
Copyright should be looked after too a certain degree; it's funny how people want all the information to be 'free and flowing' until they themselves get stuff stolen from under them. It happens everyday and is one of the reasons that law courts are so full.

Submitted by Blitz on Thu, 08/04/04 - 12:21 AMPermalink

Even if they steal your game idea/design from a product you've created once it's been released, there is still the amount of production time required for them to develop a similar game and the required assets. This gives your game a 3-6-9-12 whatever month head start on the shelf, which is generally plenty of time to sell.
By the time the competition puts their game out, you should be about to release the sequel (if the original game was so good that someone else stole it) :)
On a related note, you may, or may not have heard that Sega are currently suing the developers of Simpsons Hit&Run for "stealing" their patented (yes they patented a game design) design for Crazy Taxi. It's not actually stealing, but the patent law is such that you cannot market a competing product that uses the same ideas/methodology as the patent until the patent expires (this sort of patent usually has about a 5 or so year lifecycle). Such is my meager understanding.
CYer, Blitz

Submitted by Kalescent on Thu, 08/04/04 - 12:29 AMPermalink

thats unbelievable - especially for the industry that we are in.

I wonder what the clauses actually state regarding the matter that deems simpsons hit and run as a COPYCAT of crazy taxi - i mean sure the ideas are similar but so are so many other titles to each other. thats kind of a killer to the market dont you think ?

Submitted by bloody footy on Thu, 08/04/04 - 12:34 AMPermalink

it basically works like this - 'if a customer could mistake your game for a competitors then you are in trouble'. This also works for cover art and game name; ie 'Vietnam Battlefields' would be a no-no as people could mistake it for 'Battlefeld: Vietnam', note the use of the word 'could' not 'would'.

Submitted by Blitz on Thu, 08/04/04 - 7:44 AMPermalink

It should be remembered that this sega thing is specifically because they patented the game design, it isn't exactly to do with copyright...
As far as game names go, i'm not sure about your example. I'm sure DICE (or whoever) have trademarked the name "Battlefield Vietnam", but "Battlefield" and "Vietnam" by themselves would be too general to be trademarked i believe. Marketing a game as "Vietnam Battlefields" could possibly be construed as misleading, and they could take them to court over it, but afaik it would not actually be a breach of copyright or law...??
CYer, Blitz

Submitted by spageto on Thu, 08/04/04 - 7:52 AMPermalink

As someone who practised infotech /intellectual property law until a couple of months ago, maybe I can help clarify a few things. I'm going to talk in terms of your legal rights (as the person releasing the design document) and then other people's rights (e.g. the makers of a game that may be like the one you're planning).

Firstly, let's get this clear: there is no copyright in ideas, there is only copyright in the depiction of those ideas - whether it's a body of text, graphics, code, music, film, etc (not including 3D objects - I mean physical objects).

That basically means that your design document is owned by you and cannot be copied without your permission. It doesn't mean that someone else can't read the document and steal your ideas.

In general, to prove that they breached your copyright you would have to prove that they replicated your document without your permission. If your document describes a game about say, a group of space travellers who crash into a distant planet who have to fight off various alien beings in order to find the resources they need to fuel their ship and return to Earth or whatever... and I read your document and think "hmmm, that's a cool idea" and then I use that IDEA to create my own game, then too bad, I'm just taking your idea. BUT if I take your spec document and copy it and distribute it among my team and build my game based on it, then there will probably be a breach of copyright.

Note though, that the breach of copyright strictly occurs in my use of the document without your permission (the copying, distribution, etc) - the game I end up creating is not necessarily what breaches your copyright. To understand the distinction, consider the difference between source code and object code. If you write some source code and release it to the public, but you haven't built your game yet, and I take that code and build the game, then it's my use of your source code that breaches your copyright. The game that I create is the PROOF that I breached your copyright, not the thing that breaches your copyright. However, if you release a fully fledged game and I create an exact replica, then I've breached your copyright in the object code. If I reverse engineer your game then arguably I've breached your copyright in both the object code and the source code.

Now, if you release your design document, and someone jumps up and down and says "that's just like game X" - big deal. Unless the makers of game X can show that your design document is a copy of their design document (or any part of it), then you haven't breached anyone's copyright. If, of course, you create a replica of game X, then, yes, there may be a breach of copyright (see above about source code and object code).

As for copyright in the messages we post... If, for example, the terms and conditions of becoming a member of the Sumea forums, include a term about permitting Souri to reproduce or otherwise use, what we post, then Souri, at least, may have certain rights to use our posts. If there is no such term (I can't remember) then there could still be an argument that we impliedly give Souri certain permissions to reproduce, copy, delete our posts. Whether we impliedly give permission to everyone else... I reckon there's a good argument that we do... but it's arguable about the extent of the rights we give... This is actually a complex area of law.

Best thing to do if you're worried about disclosing your ideas would be to issue the document with NDA-type conditions (note: an NDA covers a different area of law, the law of trade secrets - it is not about protecting copyright). Problem with doing that is that no one will want to read it, for fear that they've been working on a similar idea!

So if you want feedback and ideas, then release your design document for public discussion. Yes, someone could steal your ideas. No, you're unlikely to be sued for copyright infringement (unless you have copied stuff from somewhere else). Hope this helps.

Submitted by bloody footy on Thu, 08/04/04 - 8:23 AMPermalink

quote:Marketing a game as "Vietnam Battlefields" could possibly be construed as misleading, and they could take them to court over it, but afaik it would not actually be a breach of copyright or law...??

Looking back on this I agree I used a bad example [:(] . I'll just agree with spageto [;)]

Just a note on marketing -

quote:If the Curtiss Candy Company did indeed appropriate Babe Ruth's name without permission, they would have had a motive for developing a fabricated yet believable explanation in case a challenge arose over the candy bar's name. Curtiss did indeed have to fight off at least one challenge to their name, when a competitor (with the full approval of Babe Ruth) attempted to market a candy named the "Babe Ruth Home Run Bar". Curtiss, claiming that their candy bar was named for Ruth Cleveland, was successful in forcing the competing candy bar off the market because its name too closely resembled that of their own product.

This is from [url][/url]

I did a year at QANTM doing a games design course, in the course fine print was the fact that QANTM could use any of your work for their own advertising purposes; this not only included work you submitted during the course but any work that was done on their computers.

What Female Gamers Want

Here is an interesting little article:

"Yes I Code"
As found on AGDC name tag 2002

Submitted by Jacana on Thu, 12/12/02 - 9:35 AMPermalink

Just to add a bit more detail to this.

I have played Quake, Doom, Heretic, Hexen and I really liked these titles. Heck! Even Duke Nukem was not that bad - tho the porn theater and chick calenders was a real eye roller.

I think one of the major things that these games had that the newer shooters do not: Co-Op. Almost every shooter now seems to have a major emphasis on death match! Frags a fun for a while but they do get boring - then again The Sims is fun for a while but it, too, gets boring.

Death Match, Capture the Flag, PvP, Team vs Team. It all seems to be people against each other. I think that in building games where you do run around and blow everyone to bits you also miss another important aspect of games. Storyline! What sort of story do you need to explain UT2003?!

I do lan, I do frag, I do snicker when I sniper someone with a grenade launcher. Its funny.

One of my more recent shooters was Serious Sam Second Encounter (I think thats the title). It had a good co-op mode but even more impressive was the gore settings! Fruit and Flower was just too damn funny. Something splatters hippie flowers everywhere and drops a piece of fruit :)

*fixed a few... typos* *whistles*

"Yes I Code"
As found on AGDC name tag 2002

Submitted by souri on Thu, 12/12/02 - 10:00 AMPermalink

(sorry, had to move the topic here)..
and I saw the typo you made before you changed it.... [:0] [:D] ... hehehehe...

Submitted by Daemin on Thu, 12/12/02 - 10:06 AMPermalink

From the girls that play games that I know of (not including Jacana), one loves to play Starcraft against the computer, but is afraid on taking on the guys. Other girls at lans like to play sometimes on their boyfriends or friend's computers for a bit, but usually aren't much into it. Although a game called "Jump and Bump" is faily popular as multiplayer on the same computer.

There are several articles on the internet that state that girls generally want games with good stories and character development, instead of just plain shooters etc. I believe that Laura Flyer (the XBox 'gal' that devilvered the good keynote on Saturday night) likes to play Age of Empires, so I think overall strategy games are good games for girls.

Well finally for this I think I might dig up some good resources on this topic that I've come accross.

This one's a little bit different…

Yeah, well I think the main thing is if we keep on making better games for everybody, which include a nice story and character development and also some violence it will all turn out for the better.

Submitted by Blitz on Thu, 12/12/02 - 12:13 PMPermalink

IMO gameplay is much more important than story. I don't mind clicking through sub-par plot developments to get to the good meat of the game, but i won't sit in front of a game boring/frustrating myself to death just to get to the next plot development. As far as co-op goes, i see things like CTF, and other team games as the ultimate co-op. Besides, you can play against the computer in these modes, just most people prefer to play against other people...
As whatshisname says in game architecture and design, just because there is no set in stone story that develops doesn't mean there is no story...the players create the story each time they play. You can look at any multiplayer game to see this. Counter-Strike, Various RTS's, and of course we can't forget the MMORPG's!
Anyway, this was all rather off topic :P
CYer, Blitz

Submitted by Daemin on Thu, 12/12/02 - 12:47 PMPermalink

Daemin slaps davidcoen around with a large trout.

Submitted by Meatex Salami on Fri, 13/12/02 - 11:02 PMPermalink

A good example of bad game with good story was new worlds.
Although i think story is only slightly less important than gameplay (to an extent)
Story is an excellent motivator especailly when its a good story and there are no BIG bonuses you get for finishing the game (like new game mode would be a big one but to play as normall except with a diff character skin would be ... well a ripoff)
I can stand small annoyances with gameplay (like the poor control system with resident evil) if there is a good and intruiging story.

That which makes us human will inevitably destroy us.

Submitted by Fluffy CatFood on Sat, 14/12/02 - 12:40 AMPermalink

As far as I can tell, my sister likes the strategy games like lords of the realm2 and stronghold.
Also adventure games like zelda and she has taken interest in morrowind when I play it. Shes a big fan of tonyhawk 4 as well. Most other female gamers I have encountered like similar things, although quite a few of them like fighting games like sreetfighter and tekken as well.

Lead paint: delicious but deadly!

Submitted by rezn0r on Mon, 16/12/02 - 12:35 PMPermalink

The difference between what girls and guys want is interesting. I remember reading a chapter out or "Game Design Perspectives" published by Charles River Media titled "But what if the player is female?"

Its an interesting read, and the author goes into great detail, even delving into physiological juxtapositions...

anyway, the main point that I derived was that since female gamers aren't fuelled by testostrerone like their male counterparts, pure competition held little interest. While guys will play away for hours just to "win", girls need other incentives to hold their interest. Thats why games that provide a creative outlet such as Zoo Tychoon or The Sims usually does well with the female audience.

The author of the article is Sheri Graner-Ray (a google on her revealed that she is now breeding dogs, lol) and you can mail her at if you like.

The female demographic is becoming more and more important as a target for developers (its 50% of the market after all), and people like Jacana could prove invaluable in the future. Who knows what a girl gamer wants better than a girl gamer?

Submitted by Daemin on Mon, 16/12/02 - 10:42 PMPermalink

I think we can count Jacana to be the exception rather than the rule considering her choice in games ;-P

Submitted by Pantmonger on Tue, 17/12/02 - 11:31 AMPermalink

This kind of topic is old and does not have its answer in different styles of games targeted at women.
Females are people, just as males are people, with the wide and diverse tastes and ranges of activities not limited by or imposed on by gender.

It is society that has made it less acceptable for women to play games, not a dislike of the content on their behalf. Sure some will dislike the violence as will some men and the opposite is true, taste and likes are not gender issues.

Just in case you think Im talking crap, I too studied psychology and sociology, and also know of many women who enjoy violent and competition-based games so I have a certain understanding of the issues (or rather non-issues involved).

More women will buy games when game makers realize that women will enjoy their product and stop marketing it as a male masturbatory aid.

Sorry if that?s gotten rant ish, just this topic pisses me off. Remember the second you say someone will like or dislike something on the basis of gender, you are being a sexist dinosaur full stop, and you will offend people, so don?t do it.

Submitted by rezn0r on Thu, 19/12/02 - 8:59 AMPermalink

Pantmonger makes an interesting point. How many games focused squarely at the female demographic (or at a single demographic) alone have been successful?

Universal appeal seems to be the objective.

Submitted by Daemin on Fri, 20/12/02 - 12:24 AMPermalink

I agree with that, really its up to us to make good games for all, and if girls play them then that's cool.

Submitted by Maitrek on Sat, 04/01/03 - 3:34 PMPermalink

Games aren't marketed to females for a start, just about every female character in the history of gaming has been a purely over-the-top sex object. Games are made by men, and either you get to control Lara Croft, or use chicks in games as some kind of auto-salivating device for the (presumably male) player.

Even if there are chicks out there programming for games, and doing the art work, how many noted chick designers are there? Think of the big names of game design, there isn't a single female (that I can think of, I might just be a chauvinist tho - and I don't consider Stevie Case to be any good. Sorry!).

This is most likely because playing games has been a mainly male dominated medium for a long time, and the one quality that makes the best game designer is alot of experience playing games. Females will gradually take some part in this process, but not in any huge great hurry.

Most games are based on the so called "external" conflict. Such as destroying the opposition. Take one antogonist, and one protagonist, and as long as you get to be one or the other and destroy something, it's all good.

By conflict, I'm referring to the three types of literary conflict. External, internal and environmental. Believe it or not, literature is actually a fairly important part of gaming, and I would think that most projects need someone who is very well educated and/or passionate about literary devices and media and how those media can be used to express literary conflicts.

Females in general, probably don't usually like the lone gun syndrome. A very common mindset nowadays is that females like to network to solve problems as a group. I would guess that the gaming demographic/genre with the largest percentage of females is the MMORPG, because it has all the tools to go out, socialise, and conquer something as a team.

Newer multiplayer games that have team exercises are more suited to female gamers, but the content is still very much male macho run-and-gun type stuff.

Still it's not a type of conflict that is widely popular, and it's also why games themselves aren't such a universally popular medium. It's still just destorying things with a team.

The Sims is popular because it's not based on this mindset. There is environmental conflict. You have to create an environment and alter the way your Sim uses that environment to it's own benefit. It's remarkable that this doesn't get done more often. This particular type of (literary) conflict is much more suited to female psyche. This carries on to most of those building type games, anything constructive with environmental obstacles is better suited.

The Sims online is an excellent extension of the concept, because it has environmental conflict, and a social environment.

Problem is most game designers couldn't care about trying something that different, and it hasn't been successful enough in the past for publishers to warrant the risk even though the social conditions and the marketing were totally unsuitable in previous years. Maybe we'll see more in years to come.

Submitted by Grif on Sun, 05/01/03 - 1:17 AMPermalink

Roberta Williams and Sierra...?

Submitted by Maitrek on Sun, 05/01/03 - 2:46 AMPermalink

To be honest, although Roberta Williams did a great job with the King's Quest series, their success was based on a fan base that was basically derived from their very first few games which were more or less the "Doom" of their time, not on her ability as a games maker/designer. Seeing as no one had seen graphics before, the early King's Quest games were always going to be considered greats.

Her ability to make games and keep up with the modern industry (or lack of ability) has been proven with 'her' recent titles.

Jane Jensen did a fantastic job with Gabriel Knight, and number two was good as well, but Gabriel Knight 3 hardly ranks anywhere near the quality of the first two.

But I just can't see them taking part in the modern games market simply because they believed in telling a story through a graphic adventure, something which is not so pertinent to the current gaming audience.

Submitted by Grif on Sun, 05/01/03 - 3:23 AMPermalink

I agree with you, actually, regarding the pertinence of such design to a current market... was just citing an example. =)

Mind you, I'm still of the opinion that the telling of a story through an adventure game is still something that's just being done in the wrong way. That's a whole other kettle of fish from the point of this topic, though, so I won't bother going into it. =)

In regards to a female audience in general, though, I have to say that I think it's on the rise, and that's without the success of given "female appeal" titles. I can think of quite a few gals who've dug the odd round of Soul Calibur, f'rinstance, but if you present them with a "girl-focused" game they balk. In some ways it's probably just an "acceptance rate" thing, which, to my mind, has something to do with female perhaps requiring something a bit more social or self-reflective for them to get into it. There's certainly no shortage of females playing MMORPGs, for instance, and they cover both of those bases pretty well.

Just a thought, anyway. =)

- Grif

Submitted by Maitrek on Sun, 05/01/03 - 3:38 AMPermalink

Yeah I totally agree, there is definitely a number of females out there that don't mind the current state of play. It's just a matter of encouraging them to play.

Submitted by bradb on Tue, 07/01/03 - 2:36 AMPermalink

Jacana is a girl? Well i will be damned - i so wouldnt have known from the way she was all swoony for Lars from DICE at AGDC haha (and a certain comment she made to me before the start of proceedings saturday which i won't repeat here).

When your key market is a male dominated demographic and with publishers already nervous enough about loosing money on their investments of course your going to see continued promotion of games which appeal more largely to this market to ensure a monetary success for the publisher.

So how do we solve this problem, well for a start women and computing in general is something that needs to be looked at, women just dont seem to be getting into computing especially at the high school and university levels - I should know i have recently progressed through both and have teenage female friends who never touch a computer except for the odd bit of word processing or sometimes Instant Messaging.

I have no solutions for this debate just identification of the problems in my opinion, what would attract gals to gaming I'm not sure of. Certainly the "Barbie path" isnt it, the sims may be an option but in my opinion a bad one, perhaps intense story driven games with a bit of romance between the lead characters thrown in? - Maybe we should get Jane Austin and Stehpen King to combine to write a game plot for us....

Brad Beddoes
Programmer / Biz Dev
Tycom Studios

Submitted by souri on Tue, 07/01/03 - 2:43 AMPermalink

quote:Originally posted by bradb

Jacana is a girl? Well i will be damned - i so wouldnt have known from the way she was all swoony for Lars from DICE at AGDC haha (and a certain comment she made to me before the start of proceedings saturday which i won't repeat here).

Jacana's 'pimped' this site to Lars. I'd find it pretty funny if he came on here one day and read this thread. [;)]

Submitted by Jacana on Tue, 07/01/03 - 4:29 AMPermalink

LOL :)

I think what Brad is trying to say is girls want cute guys developing their games ;)

I can see it now - Guys of Game Dev pin up calender for 2004!

"Yes I Code"
As found on AGDC name tag 2002

Submitted by Maitrek on Tue, 07/01/03 - 5:19 AMPermalink

Well just look at hollywood for an example, sometimes romance stuff has to be thrown in to grab some chicks attention. But honestly, how many male romance novellists are there (I'll ask my mum later)?

And I've read random pages from those romance novels, and trust me, even the female authors aren't *that* romantic >:)

How could you write a love story into a game without it seeming so totally cheesy? I mean computer game plots are thin enough as it is, and the characters in the games are as shallow as puddles, a couple of clich?d lines in the occasional cut scene is not going to cut it in terms of convincing relationship development.

There is like, two games I can think of where the male/female relationship thing was approached in any kind of convincing manner (but this is not to say anything happened, it was just very VERY slightly in the background). One was Blade Runner, that is based on a movie, that is based on a book, and the other is....ahh I forgot.

I mean, Elaine and Guybrush? Chelsea and Tex? These relationships are all comical stuff, which although funny, still doesn't attract female gamers.

Submitted by bradb on Tue, 07/01/03 - 6:53 AMPermalink

quote:Originally posted by Jacana

I can see it now - Guys of Game Dev pin up calender for 2004!

I know you want to see Ty the Tasmanian Tiger nekkid.

"Yes I Code"
As found on AGDC name tag 2002

I thought you were an artist or designer??

Brad Beddoes
Programmer / Biz Dev
Tycom Studios

Submitted by Jacana on Tue, 07/01/03 - 6:55 AMPermalink

quote:Originally posted by bradb

perhaps intense story driven games with a bit of romance between the lead characters thrown in?

Baldurs Gate 2 actually had character romance thrown in. I didn't buy it. I did not get me all "swoony". It was rather silly. Then again there wasn not much pick. If you ever played the game you know Anomen is not a great catch ;)

"Yes I Code"
As found on AGDC name tag 2002

Submitted by souri on Tue, 07/01/03 - 9:30 AMPermalink

quote:Originally posted by Jacana
I can see it now - Guys of Game Dev pin up calender for 2004!

I can't think of anything more scarier. *shudders* [:)] Romance in games can work if done well, I reckon. I might be a softy, but the Final Fantasy games do romance ok.

Submitted by Maitrek on Tue, 07/01/03 - 10:02 AMPermalink

Yeah Final Fantasy do the whole relationship thing alright, but are those the kind of games that'll spearhead the attack on the female gamer market?
Doubt it :(
What about Planescape : Torment? That's story driven and all that garbage, good characters etc etc, how come babes (I love chauvinistic terminology) aren't playing that?

Submitted by Jacana on Tue, 07/01/03 - 10:45 AMPermalink

quote:Originally posted by Souri

I'd find it pretty funny if he came on here one day and read this thread. [;)]

I suppose now would be a bad time to mention that I told Lars this was my site [:p]

Brad has already signed on for my calendar! He wants to be Mr. October!

Souri - how about we put you on the cover?

"Yes I Code"
As found on AGDC name tag 2002

Submitted by souri on Tue, 07/01/03 - 11:08 AMPermalink

quote:Originally posted by Jacana

quote:Originally posted by Souri

I'd find it pretty funny if he came on here one day and read this thread. [;)]

I suppose now would be a bad time to mention that I told Lars this was my site [:p]

Brad has already signed on for my calendar! He wants to be Mr. October!

Souri - how about we put you on the cover?

I think there are laws that prohibit the showing of my naked body [:)]

Submitted by Jacana on Tue, 07/01/03 - 11:11 AMPermalink

Ewwww! Naked?!! ICK :)

More like the 50's pin ups... short skirts and bathers!

"Yes I Code"
As found on AGDC name tag 2002

Submitted by souri on Tue, 07/01/03 - 11:21 AMPermalink

I don't look too good in a skirt either. [;)]