Gaming Confessions & Blasphemy

The thing with design in almost any form is that when it's good it's easy to ignore, but everyone knows bad designs when they experience them.

Scratched wrote:

The thing with design in almost any form is that when it's good it's easy to ignore, but everyone knows bad designs when they experience them.

QFT

There is also more to game design than just level design. The animation priority on the attacks of a game like Demon Souls is a very calculated thing. You hit timing is very specific, and the player has to learn how the character controls.

In the Ratchet and Clank games, when you press the jump button, the character jumps. There is no coil or anticipation. He just pops up. That's putting the priority on control responsiveness instead of animation.

I could go on...

Here's one that actually, I just don't understand the other side:

What exactly is the freaking problem with linear storytelling in games? I mean, really?

Christ, I hear people bitch and moan about linearity in a game's story. Aren't they all? I mean, maybe I'm not understanding the definition here, but outside of MMO's, to an extent, aren't all games one linear story? I mean, they eventually all end up in the same place. Take ME universe for example. You can save Wrex or you can kill him, but ultimately, you're gonna have to enter Saren's facility on Virmire. Whether this had repercussions in ME2 and ME3, don't negate that you will ultimately still end up doing the same mission after the same mission and so on and so forth, until the end. Went to Tuchanka? Yes on both cases. Helped Grunt in his rite of passage? Yes on both cases. And if you didn't do his loyalty mission, it doesn't change the fact that you're still gonna have to go into the Suicide Mission. Did he die in the Suicide Mission or live? Doesn't matter, in ME3 you're still gonna go inspect a Rachni Cave where some Krogan's went missing. Didn't do that mission? Doesn't matter, you're still gonna go to Earth to fight the Reapers.

Starcraft SP. Yeah, there's different ways you can go about winning a particular mission, but ultimately, it is the same conflict and/or goal you're reaching for that said mission, isn't it? Did you use siege tanks or battlecruisers? Doesn't matter, you still stopped the Protoss from doing whatever.

You can choose the left path or the right path, but in the end, both paths turn into the same tunnel towards the end. The same tunnel that the developers placed. No matter what path you choose, you always end up in the same spot, mostly doing 90% of the same things to get there. The only game I can think of that truly has different endings that I've played, is Chrono Trigger. But it's still just ONE story.

Don't get me wrong, I think FF13 is an awful piece of crap, but not because it's linear. It's just as linear as ALL of it's previous 12 iterations. How you manage to defeat the game, those differences aren't more noticeable than choosing a different weapon in Mega Man.

I don't get it. I really don't get it. I definitely need more information here to continue this line of thinking. What are great games that do NOT have a linear story? Maybe I should've started asking that first, because I'm truly lost as to why so many people complain about a game's story being linear.

kexx wrote:

Take ME universe for example. You can save Wrex or you can kill him, but ultimately, you're gonna have to enter Saren's facility on Virmire. Whether this had repercussions in ME2 and ME3, don't negate that you will ultimately still end up doing the same mission after the same mission and so on and so forth, until the end. Went to Tuchanka? Yes on both cases. Helped Grunt in his rite of passage? Yes on both cases. And if you didn't do his loyalty mission, it doesn't change the fact that you're still gonna have to go into the Suicide Mission. Did he die in the Suicide Mission or live? Doesn't matter, in ME3 you're still gonna go inspect a Rachni Cave where some Krogan's went missing. Didn't do that mission? Doesn't matter, you're still gonna go to Earth to fight the Reapers..

Well, that saves me playing ANY of the ME series then, thanks! :-p

Kidding aside, I do tend to agree. I have a like for 'story games' and a different like for 'sandbox games', although the latter, for the 'main plot' is much the same linear trail of missions or quests. I guess what some people complain about, but perhaps not in the games you mention, is that, in more 'open' games, you can usually complete the mission/quest however you want rather than in a specific way. But you're right, the ultimate end point is going to be the same, the majority of the time.

Sometimes I just want to play an interactive story, for the experience of the story itself. Much like reading a book, how much more linear can you get? Other times, I want a world in which I can spend my time running about blowing sh*t up, or hunting rabbits from clifftops or whatever I like, but even then, delving back int the 'main plot' is back to a 'linear' trail of missions/quests.

I guess developers can't win.

Also, I would like game development to stop pushing for more realistic graphics for a while, and sort out the truely awful AI in a lot of modern games. Not an easy feat, sure, but there are games where the AI pathfinding is almost laughable, and yet others seem to get it mostly right, or at least better.

ccesarano wrote:
We're on the same page re: ME2. Hugs for everyone, and friends again!

Don't touch me.

Your sig lies.

TheHipGamer wrote:
ccesarano wrote:
We're on the same page re: ME2. Hugs for everyone, and friends again!

Don't touch me.

Your sig lies.

I am not the hug initiator therefore don't touch me.

kexx - I brought that up as an example of how good design can mask exactly what you're talking about. I wasn't saying there's anything bad about linearity in games.

I think that when people complain about linearity in games, they're not actually put off by the linearity but the lack of approach options. Mega Man is a good example here, as you said you're going to defeat the 8 robots and then Dr. Wily every time. That never changes, but what does change is the order in which you take them on, and that order choice has a very meaningful impact on how easy or hard some of those bosses will be. The same is true in Mass Effect, your choice of whether or not to kill Wrex may force you to run with a party you weren't planning on, and thus makes future encounters more challenging or easier. The interest factor derives from how you choose to approach the story, not the fact that the story has new twists each time you play it.

Dakuna wrote:

I hate the xbox controller!

The X360 controller would be less burdensome if three changes were made:

1) make it 20% bigger, like that monster original Xbox controller

2) replace the sh*t directional pad with a Nintendo one: just four perpendicular lines was perfect.

3) add a button somewhere out of the way that would instantly change you from party chat to game chat, because it's so annoying doing that manually several times over the course of 10 or 30 or 60 minutes.

Not all story games have linear progression. Most of the games that are popular in the Western hemisphere are, but that doesn't mean that they all are. The game genre focusing on story that most typifies nonlinear story in the sense of different story paths and endings is the Japanese Visual Novel. Here's the Wiki entry on Fate/Stay Night:

Fate/stay night's gameplay requires little interaction from the player as most of the game's duration is spent on reading the text that appears, representing either dialogue between the characters or the inner thoughts of the protagonist. Often, players will come to a "decision point" where they are given the chance to choose from options displayed on the screen, typically two to three at a time. The time between these decision points is variable and during these times, gameplay pauses until a choice is made that furthers the plot in a specific direction. There are three main plot lines that the player will have the chance to experience, one for each of the heroines in the story. To view all three plot lines, the player will have to replay the game multiple times and choose different choices during the decision points to progress the plot in an alternate direction.

One start point, three radically different endings.

Some Japanese Visual Novels can boast as much as 16 or more possible different endings, some better than others. This sort of game has finally gotten a bit of an entry into the Western market. ME2 is kind of a dating game, though the single ending is out of character for that kind of a game. Typically, in a visual novel, choosing who to romance or befriend has an impact on how the game ends.

I believe the DS game "999" and the new PSVita game "Zero Escape" are Anglicized visual novels that anyone with those systems can purchase and play. Here's the IGN review for Zero Escape:

http://www.ign.com/articles/2012/10/...

It's a story game, so don't read too much if you don't want major, mind-bending spoilers.

The clear difference here, of course, is that visual novels are NOT just one story - each is composed of many stories. A free example can be downloaded and played on the PC - Katawa Shoujo, though having played KS, I can't say that I'm particularly hooked by the writing. Obviously, a story game lives or dies by its writing. While KS does have many endings, the writing didn't entertain me as much as it should.

On that note, you might like Analogue: A Hate Story, Larry

On linear vs non-linear storytelling - for me it's not that one is better than the other, the thing with games is that as a player I can have an impact in some form, so to use that to best advantage you need to do it with the story too.

Another gaming confession is I'm obsessed with monitoring the amount of hours I've clocked in a game. After each gaming session I just need to check the steam page to see if my total hours has increased.

I think there's a difference between linear narrative (Call of Duty), branching narrative (Mass Effect), and non-linear narrative where the player can tackle various plotlines in any order they choose (Skyrim, Fallout 3). There's also player-driven narrative that arises purely out of gameplay (Far Cry 2, Dishonored, lords management, etc).

I get the impression that the latter is what a certain group of people frequently want when they're complaining about linear narratives. They want a complex set of independent but interacting systems that can cause crazy stuff to happen that no designer scripted or wrote.

As for a confession, Final Fantasy III is my favorite of the series (of the ones I've played, at least). I played the 3D remake on the DS and had the best time playing around with the job system and trying different party combos. I haven't had that urge to experiment in any of the other FF games I've tried. (FFX has my favorite story though, and its battle system was pretty great as well).

I'm finding myself more interested in the characters of many games than I ever will be in actually playing those games.
Cool characters can drive my interest in a game/series, but even if the game/series is unsatisfying, I'll still be interested in those characters. Example: I really like the Lightning in the FFXIII series, but playing those games? Yeah... no. I'm at the point where I'll wiki character backgrounds and YouTube clips from the games before committing to spending hours in a world I may or may not enjoy.

ahrezmendi wrote:

My latest confession:

I enjoy having a character in EVE Online. Just having a character, for some crazy reason, is enjoyable to me. All I've done for the past month since re-subbing is manage my skill queue, I haven't actually joined in any of the fleet ops my corp has going. I really don't get it, but I enjoy seeing that my character is becoming a better pilot, even if I'm not actually doing any piloting.

I'm tempted to resub every now and then just to do this. It's in some ways more fun than the actual game.

TheHipGamer wrote:

CoD is less fun than Doom was.

Doom was less fun than CoD is.

I guess that's a blasphemous opinion on my part.

I never played a single multiplayer session of SC2 and felt I got my money's worth.

Reaper81 wrote:

I never played a single multiplayer session of SC2 and felt I got my money's worth.

Same here. Never was big into competitive SC/BW multiplayer either. Mostly just did comp-stomps with friends.

Farscry wrote:
TheHipGamer wrote:

CoD is less fun than Doom was.

Doom was less fun than CoD is.

I guess that's a blasphemous opinion on my part. ;)

I LOVED Doom, and Wolfenstein and lots of others, but let's be fair, CoD is objectively more fun. Subjectively, yes, I probably got more enjoyment out of Doom, but that has far more to do with who I was and who I am now.

Around this community I imagine the confession that everytime I see SC# I think Soul Calibur instead of Star Craft is considered blasphemy.

Rykin wrote:
Reaper81 wrote:

I never played a single multiplayer session of SC2 and felt I got my money's worth.

Same here. Never was big into competitive SC/BW multiplayer either. Mostly just did comp-stomps with friends.

I'm with you. We should all jump in vent and play SC2 single player together.

Grenn wrote:
Rykin wrote:
Reaper81 wrote:

I never played a single multiplayer session of SC2 and felt I got my money's worth.

Same here. Never was big into competitive SC/BW multiplayer either. Mostly just did comp-stomps with friends.

I'm with you. We should all jump in vent and play SC2 single player together.

Is it just me, or is this a bit of an oxymoron. Also, my confession: I've never played SC2.

soonerjudd wrote:
Grenn wrote:
Rykin wrote:
Reaper81 wrote:

I never played a single multiplayer session of SC2 and felt I got my money's worth.

Same here. Never was big into competitive SC/BW multiplayer either. Mostly just did comp-stomps with friends.

I'm with you. We should all jump in vent and play SC2 single player together.

Is it just me, or is this a bit of an oxymoron. Also, my confession: I've never played SC2.

IMAGE(http://images.wikia.com/adventuretimewithfinnandjake/images/a/a3/Thats-the-joke.jpg)

OK that's what I figured. Just didn't know if there was something about the game I was missing, since I haven't played it.

ccesarano wrote:

Around this community I imagine the confession that everytime I see SC# I think Soul Calibur instead of Star Craft is considered blasphemy.

+1

I liked the Xen level in Half Life
Nice change of pace. Fun times killing giant baby. Get to ride on a flying manta ray. Good times all around.

Dakuna wrote:
Farscry wrote:
TheHipGamer wrote:

CoD is less fun than Doom was.

Doom was less fun than CoD is.

I guess that's a blasphemous opinion on my part. ;)

I LOVED Doom, and Wolfenstein and lots of others, but let's be fair, CoD is objectively more fun. Subjectively, yes, I probably got more enjoyment out of Doom, but that has far more to do with who I was and who I am now.

There are many modern shooters that are more fun than Doom. But CoD just isn't one of them.

ahrezmendi wrote:
ccesarano wrote:

Around this community I imagine the confession that everytime I see SC# I think Soul Calibur instead of Star Craft is considered blasphemy.

+1

+2 Count me in with the blasphemers.

ahrezmendi wrote:

I enjoy having a character in EVE Online.

You're not alone there. I sold my carrier pilot for a good chunk of change when I quit EVE, but I just couldn't part with my main, a crackerjack battleship pilot that was this -><- close to being in dreads.

I haven't logged in for a couple years but I still think about that game often and feel good knowing my pilot is waiting for me if I ever suddenly get boatloads of free time in my life. I had some great times in that game but it was all because of the metagame with my corp and alliance, and had nothing to do with the absolutely atrocious gaming experience that was (is?) EVE online.

JillSammich wrote:
ahrezmendi wrote:
ccesarano wrote:

Around this community I imagine the confession that everytime I see SC# I think Soul Calibur instead of Star Craft is considered blasphemy.

+1

+2 Count me in with the blasphemers.

I think once there are three of us it stops being a blasphemy.