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jubeh
10-30-2011, 05:17 PM
Carrying the discussion here since it deserves a topic of its own

GunZet
10-30-2011, 06:47 PM
Writers are the last people videogame companies call, even more, no game is going to be build under a story (it will always be under a game mechanic), this is why (in my opinion) video games are still pretty far away in story telling than movies or books (you can say you have the same level of satisfaction, but the whole story was of minor importance for the developers and as a game is based on reactions-goals-rewards you are very limited in what you can bring to the story).

With video games being open-ended or just one lineal story, that is a situation where the writers are forced to work constantly, and I think one has advantages the other doesn't. A lineal story let you work the characters, their psychology, archetypes and enneatypes in the story, it gave circularity to the events and it can be nice to play, but this eliminate from picture the ability of the player to play as he want, because he is subject of a story. In the other case we have open ended games, these eliminate the psychology and function of the characters but let the player to chose how he want to play and what kind of end he want.

For my both can live together, and I hope so, because I don't want to be playing only games with open ended with no characters (as I chose how Shepard will react I change who is Shepard and even more, it can create incongruence on who he is, and changing events in the story also affect the importance of the characters; if I'm a asshole Shepard maybe the character that should betray me, shouldn't be the same as if I were a good Shepard), but I neither want to be playing lineal games with no space for my own goals.

Maybe there are some options: one would be creating the story in some way that the player feel the need to act as the hero should act, letting the player chose, but he will always be pulled in how the character would do it. A second way would be through second game play, the first one would be the story, but the second would be the classic "what if", bringing re-playability to the game and giving to people the chance to make their own ending.

I dunno, I think both can live together.

What about games that are based off of stories to begin with? Amnesia, Metro 2033. There are a few exceptions you know. Amnesia is bit choice based if that's what we're still talking about, but still linear in a sense I guess.

jubeh
10-30-2011, 06:48 PM
Idk about amnesia but metro made a ton of concessions to make it work as a game.

GunZet
10-30-2011, 06:55 PM
Yea true...but it worked.

Fenn
10-30-2011, 09:18 PM
"9 hours 9 persons 9 doors" is an interesting game to look at in this discussion. I haven't got the real ending yet so no one spoil it for me, but so far it's been a thrill, and this coming from someone who was convinced he'd never play an interacting-novel video game.

Sylux
10-30-2011, 09:27 PM
ME3 is confirmed to have several events and overall endings that can be veeeery different from the others, since it's the final installment and they don't have to wrap up the ending to fit into the next chapter. Jaibutt's and mine's's games are probably going to work under that adaption.

CypressDahlia
10-30-2011, 09:50 PM
So, in conclusion, there are two niche types of story-telling games right now and both are missing integral parts of the story-telling experience.

But I still think, in a game built around options, the option to do what you need to progress should be available without subtracting from its substance. A game shouldn't be so reliant on filler quests and such that the player feels cheated if they DON'T take them. So, while linear games are limiting, the focus is in the right place. I'd rather play a game that's like "hey, play this game and automatically get 50 hours worth of gaming" as opposed to "hey, play this game a certain way and get 50 hours worth of gaming, but if you play a different way you may only get 10."

jubeh
10-30-2011, 10:03 PM
What rpgs did you play that you felt had a good enough story to warrant 40+ hours of it out of curiosity

CypressDahlia
10-30-2011, 10:25 PM
Persona 3 and 4, Valkyrie Profile, Secret of Mana, Kingdom Hearts I, Earthbound (maybe not "good" per se, but very captivating), Bahamut Lagoon, Tales of Phantasia, FF Tactics Advanced, Chrono Trigger, FFX, Golden Sun II, and a handful more.

And the thing is I'd usually muscle through these games without grinding. I hate grinding. Grinding is actually the reason I didn't include Vagrant Story, Digital Devil Saga, early SMT games, etc, etc.

Regantor
10-30-2011, 10:47 PM
Ironically enough, that's exactly why I liked Panzer Dragoon Saga better than most other RPGs, even through it was really quite easy. :p

Anyway. For the most part, I agree with what you said in the other thread. Alot of American games certainly have strong settings, but not stories, per say... Look at Fallout 3; Immerse as hell, and filled with all sorts of hidden background material, but ultimately just a bit shoddy when it comes to the actual beginning and ends of the self-contained plot.

Does being immerse count just as much towards being 'art value' as having a strong story is?...

jubeh
10-30-2011, 10:57 PM
Persona 3 and 4, Valkyrie Profile, Secret of Mana, Kingdom Hearts I, Earthbound (maybe not "good" per se, but very captivating), Bahamut Lagoon, Tales of Phantasia, FF Tactics Advanced, Chrono Trigger, FFX, Golden Sun II, and a handful more.

And the thing is I'd usually muscle through these games without grinding. I hate grinding. Grinding is actually the reason I didn't include Vagrant Story, Digital Devil Saga, early SMT games, etc, etc.

I'll just say we have different taste in writing. I do like earthbound and ffx, tho.


Does being immerse count just as much towards being 'art value' as having a strong story is?...

To me, absolutely. The strength of the writing also lends to the immersion, which to me is infinitely more important than the plot.

CypressDahlia
10-30-2011, 11:04 PM
...have strong settings, but not stories, per say...

That's actually a great way of putting it. And having a strong setting as opposed to having a strong story is different because a game reliant on strong setting only works under the given that the player wants to appreciate it: if they intrigue themselves with it and prefer to spend the majority of their playtime doing that.

jubeh
10-30-2011, 11:06 PM
Yeah I just realized thats why I can't stand a lot of jrpgs. I couldn't wrap my head around lost odyssey's harry potter magic theories, or any of the tales games onslaught of obscure fantasy terms, or any game with an obvious anti-religious theme. Just kicks me right out of it if the setting sucks balls.

Obviously that doesn't apply to every jrpg since earthbound and nocturne exist.

CypressDahlia
10-30-2011, 11:11 PM
Yeah, that's more like a "buy or no buy" compromise. but if you do like the setting, you should be able to milk it with a strong plot, IMO. So an RPG needs to strike a balance between "i like where I am" and "i like what I'm doing". Whereas you have games like Fallout 3 where liking what you are doing is basically the same as liking where you are.

jubeh
10-30-2011, 11:22 PM
So uncharted 3 is about to come out and having to explain to dudes that I dont like the games every time they ask me if Im getting it was getting old, so now I just say I'm too poor. But it did make me think about the reasons I dislike the games beyond the whole playing a movie aspect. This applies to a lot of games I'm sure.

In uncharted 2 I never felt like I had options. Games are composed of meaningful options, so you can see how that bugged the shit out of me. If you recall the early splinter cell games where if you do one thing the designers didn't want you to do, everyone would flip their shit and kill you -- that's how I always felt. Also I never felt like anything I was doing was me. Did I just escape that near death situation or did drake do it and I just supervised. Oh well this game sure is cinematic!

Which isn't inherently bad. The game is gorgeous, the animation is ridiculously good [so good it captures really annoying habits actors have (like can that chick talk without fucking waving her hand around like its gonna fall off)], and the music is typical emotionally manipulating hollywood stuff.

But its like nothing I was doing was original. Now obviously if people play through the same game they're going to do a lot of the same shit, but you FEEL like you're a badass because of a game's inventiveness and your own urge to discover new stuff. Like oh shit I killed a dude in halo by blowing up a traffic cone. No such thing in these scripted games because they're so carefully pieced together as to limit your interference with the plot.

And you read a review where the writer says oh I did this awesome thing. Oh yeah? We all did. We all did the exact same shit. Maybe we shot dudes in a different order, but for the most part we could have all sit in the same living room and watched a dude play the game.

CypressDahlia
10-30-2011, 11:30 PM
To be entirely honest I would interpret Uncharted 3 to be a "gamer's game". It's basically: you are Drake, are you good enough to do all of the things we expect him to do? And I think the general appeal of that game is watching the character called Drake do things, because the things he does are so awesome, living vicariously through him and testing our gaming mettle by taking on his challenges. So yeah, I mean, I understand what you're saying completely, but I don't think that RPGs and gamer's games have the same selling points.

Actually, nevermind. I get you. JRPGs kind of suffer from the same thing. So I would chance it to say JRPGs are the story-tellers and WRPGs are the pen and ink. Ultimately WRPGs are more so RPGs than their counterpart, but I think they could use the added edge of a strong central plot.

GunZet
10-30-2011, 11:46 PM
To be entirely honest I would interpret Uncharted 3 to be a "gamer's game". It's basically: you are Drake, are you good enough to do all of the things we expect him to do? And I think the general appeal of that game is watching the character called Drake do things...
Aren't most games about this though? I mean, what would Halo be if Masterchief wasn't Masterchief, and didn't do things a Spartan would do. Or if Kratos didn't swing chains and bang multiple women at the same time at the press of a button?

CypressDahlia
10-30-2011, 11:49 PM
Well, in respect to the role-playing aspect of RPGs, no, not really.

jubeh
10-30-2011, 11:52 PM
To be entirely honest I would interpret Uncharted 3 to be a "gamer's game".

I never really felt that way about the series. As a matter of fact when people who aren't familiar with games come into my store we usually have them play the uncharted demo. I mean yeah they suck at it but that cinematic nature of it is easy for them to grasp. I always felt it was a game for bridging the gap between movie-goers and casual gamers. Not that the games are like easy mode or anything, but you get what I mean.


So yeah, I mean, I understand what you're saying completely, but I don't think that RPGs and gamer's games have the same selling points.

Maybe not but the point Im getting at here is the inherent flaw of games with incredibly well crafted "this is my baby" kind of stories. Im so sick of a lot story based games right now that if I'm really interested I'll just watch/read a let's play. Uncharted for me was just climbing and shooting until I got to the next scene. RPGs for me are just random battles until I get to the next scene.

The more I think about your question -- why can't we have both? -- the more I think about writers that just want to craft a good story, and how hard that must be if they have to think of every conceivable outcome. Hamlet's ending is rad as fuck because the build up is so intense. But what if you could effect it? Like say you could go on a quest to cure ophelia. You've lost a huge chunk of what made the story awesome, at the cost of giving the user control over the game world. In order to succeed in doing both you'd have to write like a million stories that are all super good.

After actually playing dungeons and dragons and playing the games that try to emulate it I can honestly say we are nowhere fucking close except for maybe the first dragon age.

ClockHand
10-31-2011, 03:56 AM
Immersion is part of story telling. I say this because every story that is told has to provoke immersion on the reader (watcher or player), and the immersion can only be provoked thanks to the narration (which mean: cinematic, images, art, context, interactions, dialogues, etc). So yeah, you shouldn't say "this game has a great story" without judging the immersion.

Now the immersion in a game should (and must, as my opinion) different than in a movie, because in here we interact with the information. One of the most used way to provoke immersion in games are side quest (the most evident one), which can be pulled well if it has a meaning for the character, example: My character has to save X kingdom from being invaded, but he stop in his quest because a guy ask him for help to rescue his goats. In this case side quest is crap, because it goes against the main motivation and goals of the characters, but if the side quest were to help some potential ally for my quest, then the side quest has a meaning, and it can go deeper in how the world works.

Immersion has more than one way to pull us in the story, and this is where narration come. When you play a fps, open the last door of the stage and you lost control of your character (in here your character play as himself) and you are forced to see what he see, that is a narration and a mechanism to pull immersion. Of course narration has been discussed a lot in the video game industry, you have games like in Bioshock were you see things, but you never lose the control of your character; which mean a story related event is happening through a window, if you don't see the window you miss it, if you do, you will watch it. The big deal in here, is that you need to provoke (through atmosphere, context or others) a need for the player to watch the window, so he/she doesn't feel the need to mess his experience.

Another way to pull narration is through cinematic, in here you lose control and even more you watch what is happening as a movie and not as a player, you lose control over the situation and you are just watcher. Uncharted is kinda like this, the game flows under pauses of dialogues and events where you only watch or you interact pressing certain buttons. The good side is that you can't miss the experience, but the bad side is that you can't immerse, because you are out of character.

My point is, immersion is part of story telling, it is the most evident and constant (it should be constant), but also the one that goes more silent, when we start a game contextualized in the Middle Age, the constant remainder of the character, places, social structure and so, are part of the immersion and even more are part of the narration. The deal is that, as video game industry hasn't worked seriously (or not enough) the story telling, we are going to keep having a npc who will ask us to find his goat while he does obvious comments about his life and context (giving no room for deduction to us) or collectives with some stories.


Brave Fencer Musashi was a great game, just because it always remains you about its world, every villain had a story, every character had a story, and you never do anything that is not related to the main goal, even if there are characters to find and help, everyone of them is important in some way at the end.

Letting this:
Where narration start(again) and where it ends?
How would I narrate the story? (cinematic, dialogues, images, etc)
Should I private experiences to different ways to be played the game?
Should the story take in consideration the level system (or challenge curve) when it's delivering the narrative experience?
How much information do I gave to the player? (Do I tell them details of the life of a minor villain? does he have the same knowledge as the character?)
How would I give information to the player? (would I use dialogues, cinematic flashback, interactive flashbacks, etc)

Fenn
10-31-2011, 09:43 AM
Great thread. It's really a challenge to fuse open-ended storytelling with narrative. With open-ended games, one choice can completely alter the direction of the story, forcing the developers to practically design another game in some cases.

The only way around the "create 1000 stories" model is to create an intelligent world; one that can rationalize the changes and choices made and alter the characters and setting appropriately. But this is really, really challenging.

I guess it's about finding the perfect number of branches to a story. Not to few, but not too many.

CypressDahlia
10-31-2011, 11:08 AM
Exactly, Clock. That's what the issue is with super-immersive games. They operate under the impression that "immersion" only works if one emulates the dynamic of a real world with a real number of people and events. But immersion can be retained with very few, important characters and events as long as suspension of disbelief is held. So they put all of these things into the game which act as little more than distractions from the main plot. This is not a great design mentality if you consider the real world. If one wants to complete a task in the real world, you don't often need to consult more than a few, relevant people. Having too many people around and constantly stopping to smell the roses (immersion) will act as a distraction. And, even IF we have the option to speak to a million people before we finally go grocery shopping, that does not change the fact that there is still one intended path for us. To truly "progress" in our shopping quest, we still need to perform specific actions at specific times and places. So putting all of these people and events into the game rarely contributes to the open-endedness of the actual plot. Immersion and plot should always be held to equal value. Immersion shouldn't be used as an excuse for lack of plot.

Often times I tell people I was disappointed with Fallout 3 and they tell me I didn't play it "right". Like I was supposed to stop and smell the roses every few steps, and talk to all of those unimportant people. But why? I had something to do. There was already one predetermined task for me, with one predetermined pipeline of events that would lead up to its completion. There was literally no reason for me to talk to the vast majority of those NPCs, yet supposedly I had to to get the most out of it.

ClockHand
10-31-2011, 01:21 PM
The only way around the "create 1000 stories" model is to create an intelligent world; one that can rationalize the changes and choices made and alter the characters and setting appropriately. But this is really, really challenging.


^this

I have discussed this deal of the open ended story (chosing path) with different people and I always say "I don't believe those games really care about what you chose". The deal is that games like mass effect, give you options, in the moment they give you a option the developers already made a path for that option, which mean I really can't scape from the path developers did.

Games that are really about choosing are like Minecraft, this is because I (my character) have no motivation, no goals, or anything. When you play minecraft, you can go for an adventure, you can build, you can dig, you can explore and so on, but at the end no one tells to your character what to do, you do what you want. Of course it has limitations, but as doesn't have a story it also give you the freedom to create your own (and end it as you want; ex: destroy everything you created).

In contra position we have oblivion or fallout 3, those games have a story, but the story is constantly clashing with the concept world idea. I can't have both, I can't go around talking to npcs for mean less quests when the story tells me the world is gonna end in some minute. If in minecraft a npc ask me for help with his goat, I have no problem in helping, because there is no time to lose, I don't have any major quest or anything.

Of course those games depend in how you play them, which is kinda weird because when you buy a toy (a superman figure), no one in the store tells you how to play with your toy. And if the game doesn't guide you indirectly in the "how should I play the game" then I have no way to play it as it wish.


Immersion is something that every game should have, because it is the one that motivate the player to do certain things, but there are ways to do immersion and there are way to boring us to death.


(spoiler argument)
There is a emotional example of immersion for my (red dead redemption spoiler a head), when I start playing red dead redemption I already knew how the game would end (you die and the shitty character reach happiness), but the game was made for me to care, not at the beginning because every character at the beginning was made to be disliked while the main character was placed in a gray area. But its at the end, because in there the game shows you the family of the main character, it shows you they are a good and nice family, and after all the shitty character you have been forced to see this makes you happy for a while, but then you are faced with the obvious ending you already predicted at the beginning of the game, and when they kill what you liked is when you create a emotional immersion. The final revenge feels as yours as from the main character, you know where to go, you know you will not stop, and you know nothing else matter. Then you get the final revenge and what do you feel? emptiness.

Yes, I don't believe that everyone who played that part felt as I did, but when I felt it, it was beautifully and I understood it was intended that way.

If you ask "How did you knew the game would end that game?" the answer is simple, the main character was complete at the beginning (he doesn't evolve, he doesn't need to evolve), which mean he would die eventually (as you have no room for change, then you are destined to die. cruel rule of characters in story), while the secondary character were mostly oblivious to anything else and only care to their own happiness (those characters die or reach happiness, as your character already is gonna die, those are made to success), and also any enneatype on the story was placed to reach the cruel ending of dead (of course, the beautiful twist was the ending).

Mod Edit: Use spoiler tags for spoilers are you being for real right now

Fenn
10-31-2011, 02:18 PM
A game with no goals...never considered that really. It's interesting to think about. You have to make the activities fun enough on their own to avoid apathy.

jubeh
10-31-2011, 02:22 PM
Red dead's ending was good.

I knew it was going to happen but I really wanted it not to happen but that would have betrayed the consistently good writing of the game. I was pretty attached to Marston in a weird way. Ie I'm incredibly out of touch with my old friends who had wildly different goals than me.

That being said red dead is like the best example of writing and gameplay betraying one another. No matter how awful you are, in the cutscenes marston is always this gentlemen. I'm like throwing bombs into hotel rooms and dropping people on train tracks and he's taking money out of his pocket to free prostitutes from their services. Total disconnect.

ClockHand
10-31-2011, 04:14 PM
Yeap, reason why open worlds can't get along with lineal stories. I'm Adam Jensen, I killed every person on the game but I always chose the moral correct dialogues. I'm Marston I'm a gentle who kill everyone because I'm a douchebag. I'm Niko Belic I suffered in the war I saw my friends dies and I drive like a maniac in the city, killing everything in front of me.

But, if I'm Batman and hit a hostage/civilian I lose. If you let players to play as they want, you are going to face their douchiness and making incongruence in the story. But if you force them to play as they should, you are blamed to be lineal and killing the idea that video games are about interaction.

Fenn
10-31-2011, 04:59 PM
Yeap, reason why open worlds can't get along with lineal stories. I'm Adam Jensen, I killed every person on the game but I always chose the moral correct dialogues. I'm Marston I'm a gentle who kill everyone because I'm a douchebag. I'm Niko Belic I suffered in the war I saw my friends dies and I drive like a maniac in the city, killing everything in front of me.

But, if I'm Batman and hit a hostage/civilian I lose. If you let players to play as they want, you are going to face their douchiness and making incongruence in the story. But if you force them to play as they should, you are blamed to be lineal and killing the idea that video games are about interaction.

This reminds me of, of all things, a NASCAR game. Chase for the Cup 20XX, not sure which one. Depending on your actions in the race, you became either a villain or a hero. Bumping and wrecking peeps made you a villain; clean racing and drafting made you a hero. Depending on your rep, the CPUs would react differently when you raced and if you were a real jerk fights would break out after a race, and you could choose how to react: apologetically or aggresively.

What I'm getting at is the game recognized how you were acting and changed accordingly. You couldn't be an ass on the track and then make one apology and BAM you're a good guy again. It took time and effort to build your rep. Of course there were flaws: I'm a terrible driver and I'd always end up wrecking people and getting in fights accidentally, but there was no "clumsy moron" reputation programmed in the game.

The key is to make consequences to the gamers actions without making the game too realistic. If the consequences for evil in an open-ended game are too small, they won't outweight the benefits and people's deviant side will dominate. If they are too harsh and realistic, there's no way players can enjoy being the bad guy. It has to come down to player choice and preference: do they enjoy the benefits and drawbacks to being moral or amoral?

shadowriku22
10-31-2011, 06:05 PM
FFVII: Crisis Core had more storytellin than any movie on this planet. Legend of Zelda also has a great back story (all the games are connected, go ahead, look it up and you will see that if link never picked up the Skyward sword and made it the master sword, then in the sanctuary in "ocarina of time" there would be no sword in that stone to begin with). So i can tell you that i would rather watch a movie or read a book based on a game than watch the movies that are coming out now cuz FF has a hell of alot of tellin to its story XD. Rant mode Deactivate.

If anyone says that they cant stand games that force you down a certain story line then they should just play Madden or some open world crude because storyline in games are awesome. Zack's death really did manage to make me cry and now i cant listen to the music from that scene without crying (Danm you Square Enix).

jubeh
10-31-2011, 10:57 PM
If anyone says that they cant stand games that force you down a certain story line then they should just play Madden or some open world crude because storyline in games are awesome.

This is your argument for real. I should play madden because storylines are awesome? Should I write a response in crayon?

If the gameplay is nothing more than you pressing buttons to get you to cutscenes something is seriously wrong.

Fenn
11-01-2011, 09:38 AM
This is your argument for real. I should play madden because storylines are awesome? Should I write a response in crayon?

If the gameplay is nothing more than you pressing buttons to get you to cutscenes something is seriously wrong.

I think he is saying if people don't like linear storytelling in video games they should play "crude" games with no story like Madden. He's basically in favor of linear stories.

That being said he decided to knock everyone who doesn't enjoy what he does, destroying his credibility in the process.

Sylux
11-01-2011, 03:28 PM
So you're saying games lack something in story, Cypress? How about they compromise with multiples of endings and story variants. Problem solved?


That being said he decided to knock everyone who doesn't enjoy what he does, destroying his credibility in the process.

Oh my god this. This so much. So hard I bleed.

CypressDahlia
11-04-2011, 12:28 PM
So you're saying games lack something in story, Cypress? How about they compromise with multiples of endings and story variants. Problem solved?

Actually this is exactly the issue. This whole thread is about why we have to make that compromise when both are equally important to narratives. As Regantor said: setting and story.

Fenn
11-04-2011, 01:24 PM
Actually this is exactly the issue. This whole thread is about why we have to make that compromise when both are equally important to narratives. As Regantor said: setting and story.

What if Star Wars had multiple endings? Or the Harry Potter series? Or any other popular story? Suddenly no one know's what "really happened," and it's hard to get attached to one story branch when there are multiple alternatives of equal weight. You end up feeling spread out and shallow. It's the same with video games. When there are 5 endings you can get and none of them are officially the "real ending," it's often harder to appreciate the story, not to mention it makes the chance of a direct sequel very slim.

Sylux
11-04-2011, 03:01 PM
No, no, that isn't true at all. If you get a bad ending, it just makes you want to try harder. If James drives his car into a fucking lake in SH2 you play it again and try to get Maria or Leaves and then even Rebirth.

If Shepard fucking dies at the end of Mass Effect 2 because none of your squadmates were loyal (meaning they all die as a consequence) and Joker is too crippled to pull your heavy ass + armor back onto the Normandy, it makes you want to play again and make everybody like you more and want to be your friend. And maybe even bag a Quarian.

You two forget that video games are an interactive media, which means they should be completely customizable. You wanna kill your father? Go ahead. Don't want to? Spare the bastard. You wanna fuck someone? Get it on. Want to be a loner? Hey, your call.

CypressDahlia
11-04-2011, 04:38 PM
Ohohohoho. Hold up a second buddy. Though I do see what you're saying and I'm an advocate for merging the two types of story-telling, you are mistaking interactivity for open-world/open-endedness. Interactivity works on many levels and not necessarily on the level of realism, as you are suggesting. What we have right now are two niche types of storytelling games: the JRPG, which focuses on central plot and the WRPG, which focuses on a saturation of choices. My idea was to create a best-of-both-worlds situation, and we are discussing how that can be achieved.

Anyway, your interpretation of "interactivity" is very narrow considering all games are essentially interactive, even Street Fighter. But Street Fighter is, by no means, "realistic". You can't kill people you want to kill, or choose NOT to participate in the tourney. But it is interactive on a level that works with that specific type of game. The interactivity lies in the combat and is actually very in-depth in that aspect. So to say "interactivity" is merely doing what you want would destroy all concepts of genre and purpose. If I could go around doing whatever I wanted in Street Fighter, it wouldn't be a fighting game. Hell, would it even be a game? It would be a life sim.

And yes, Fenn, that has been my point all along. With an over-saturation of choices, there is no possible way to make all of the choices meaningful. In fact, most of the choices will probably be inconsequential or meaningless. That is why a strong central plot should exist to establish PURPOSE in the game.

Fenn
11-04-2011, 06:01 PM
No, no, that isn't true at all. If you get a bad ending, it just makes you want to try harder. If James drives his car into a fucking lake in SH2 you play it again and try to get Maria or Leaves and then even Rebirth.

If Shepard fucking dies at the end of Mass Effect 2 because none of your squadmates were loyal (meaning they all die as a consequence) and Joker is too crippled to pull your heavy ass + armor back onto the Normandy, it makes you want to play again and make everybody like you more and want to be your friend. And maybe even bag a Quarian.

You two forget that video games are an interactive media, which means they should be completely customizable. You wanna kill your father? Go ahead. Don't want to? Spare the bastard. You wanna fuck someone? Get it on. Want to be a loner? Hey, your call.

That's different. Mass Effect has a "correct" ending, if I am correct. Or does the next game change based on your ending in the previous one? That's completely different than having multiple valid endings--I'd liken it to an "alternate ending" on DVD bonus features.

CypressDahlia
11-04-2011, 07:13 PM
Yep. There is still one way you're supposed to do things.

Sylux
11-04-2011, 07:29 PM
First off, Cypress, you can't liken this to Street Fighter. This is a story thread, not a brawler thread. Secondly, what the hell do you mean "one way you're supposed to do things"? You can do anything however you want, you arbitrary dictator.

CypressDahlia
11-04-2011, 07:49 PM
Yes, yes I can. You made a general statement that games are "about interactivity" and hence should be open-world/ended. I said your definition of interactivity is flawed in the sense that games can be interactive and not necessarily open-ended. In fact, if all games went by your definition of "interactivity", all games would be Minecraft. Even then, in Minecraft there are things you're "supposed" to do. Certain actions are considered "playing the game" and others are not. That's because, even in a game like Minecraft, you are encouraged by the game mechanics to do specific things.

If I sat around all day in Minecraft jumping on top of blocks, then jumping off, then jumping on again, am I "playing it right"?

Sylux
11-04-2011, 08:01 PM
When did I ever say that games should be open-world? I never said that, fiend. Not once did I. First, games with stories should be open-ended, you fool. Street Fighter and Minecraft do not count, and Minecraft, for all it matters, is the ultimate open-world open-end game. Second, and most important, you're twisting my words around, you. Interactive media should be open (not open world) to the point where the player is satisfied.

CypressDahlia
11-04-2011, 08:06 PM
You two forget that video games are an interactive media, which means they should be completely customizable.

Actually, I'm pretty sure you said that.

Also, did you just call me "fiend"? lol.

Sylux
11-04-2011, 08:23 PM
You idiot! Do you know what open world means?! An open-world game is a game with exploration, I did not say any of those words! When did I say open-world?! I said open in a damn storytelling thread! Jesus, stop playing semantics and make a valid point!

CypressDahlia
11-04-2011, 08:39 PM
I'm not trying to play semantics rofl. I mean, you clearly just said all video games should be completely customizable. Unless you're willing to go back on that statement, I have no idea what point you're trying to make.

Because, as I said, if all games are meant to be "interactive" in the sense that they're completely customizable, it would destroy every known concept of genre and purpose. No games would have an objective nor any solid mode of gameplay. Minecraft is considered by many to be "completely customizable", which is why I used it as an example. And even then it is inevitably rooted in some form of intended mode of gameplay. You're supposed to do certain things. So not only is "completely customizable" an impossibility but it would ruin gaming altogether. This was also a counterpoint to Mass Effect as Mass Effect is not completely customizable either, despite being open-ended. And you mentioned ME, of all things, when making a statement about how games //should// be, therefore I countered that statement by saying your example doesn't qualify nor is your general statement correct.


Is that easier to comprehend?

Also, are you high right now? Please tell me you're high.


Just to avoid another roundabout screampost, let's put this in simple statements:

You said: games = interactive, therefore they should be completely customizable
In short, interactive = completely customizable

I said: not necessarily. Many types of games are not customizable, such as fighting games, but are interactive nonetheless.
In other words, interactive =/= completely customizable
Interactive = having viable gameplay suited to the genre

If games = completely customizable, they would also be entirely open-world and open-ended, right? There would be no limitation on where you could be or what you could do, nor any "suggested" method of play
I said:

1.) that is impossible, using Minecraft as a counterpoint
2.) It would destroy every concept of genre as there would be no standard model for gameplay of any type
3.) It would be a life sim, which is fucking boring and pointless

Sylux
11-04-2011, 08:51 PM
Look, it seems like you really don't know what open-world means. I posted it a minute ago, review that.

Street Fighter should be customizable. I should be able to make my dude look differently, change his first name or both while he retains a title, and I should be able to choose his taunts from a list. That's what I would do differently for that.

You can easily write mods for Minecraft. If you wanted to make a server that was basically a giant orgy, you could do that. It's completely customizable, for all intents and purposes. The same goes for any game, really, but they're not nearly as easy as Minecraft. I made a Cthulhu mod, yet I also hire a man to do my coding in C++, that's the difference between Minecraft and everything else.

You seem to also be making radical, polar assumptions of what I've said. I've never been known to be an extremist, let's stay logical here and deduce, not ass-u-me. Of course some games should have objectives. All games should, really, but whether or not they should be forced is debatable. Would you like to toss that in there too?

Lastly, explain to me how my example does not qualify. What qualifications have you made that are official, O great Dictator? You're really not making any sense, you're sounding like a Communist in all rights.

CypressDahlia
11-04-2011, 09:05 PM
Look, it seems like you really don't know what open-world means. I posted it a minute ago, review that.

Actually, I do. But you said games should be completely customizable, right? Therefore you should be able to go anywhere and do anything, correct? That sounds like open-world, open-ended to me.


Street Fighter should be customizable.

Oh, did we just downgrade from "games should be completely customizable" to "Street Fighter should be a little bit customizable"? In which case, I agree. But obviously that's not what you initially said.


You can easily write mods for Minecraft.

Then it's not Minecraft anymore. It's a separate game created with Minecraft's engine. And even then, there is a specified way in which to "play" those mods. My point stands.


Of course some games should have objectives. All games should, really, but whether or not they should be forced is debatable. Would you like to toss that in there too?

This is what this thread is about. Welcome to the discussion, I'm glad you could finally join us.


Lastly, explain to me how my example does not qualify.

1.) You obviously have no idea what Communism means
2.) Mass Effect is not completely customizable by any means. You cannot go anywhere you want, nor talk to anyone you want, nor do anything you want. You can do these things to a comfortable extent, but never to the point of "complete customization".

Sylux
11-04-2011, 09:13 PM
You're taking everything out of hand. I'm really fed up with it. I'm done here.

CypressDahlia
11-04-2011, 09:17 PM
This is the part where you storm off and slam your bedroom door right.

Sylux
11-04-2011, 09:35 PM
No, I'm not angry, I'm just frustrated with a mutant. Was, really, but hey.

Delphinus
11-04-2011, 09:50 PM
Can someone explain to me what the point of having customisation in a non-plot-driven game like Street Fighter would be?

CypressDahlia
11-04-2011, 09:56 PM
Well, for the Alpha and Zero games, and for IV, the customizations are part of the gameplay. In Alpha and Zero, you can choose what kind of super you have (custom combo, 3 tiered, or 1 tier) and in IV you can pick your Ultra, so it suits your playstyle. Otherwise: completely pointless aside from personalization. Which is actually the point I was making.

Fenn
11-04-2011, 10:03 PM
Can someone explain to me what the point of having customisation in a non-plot-driven game like Street Fighter would be?

Well of course, good sir. Variety of opponents and strategies. When 35 movesets become 35,000, things get interesting. I'm not saying the Street Fighter series specificallly should be customizable, but a fighting game that managed to create a balanced moveset customizer has obvious draws.

Also: many racing games hardly have a deep plot, but car customization is a major aspect anyway.

In other words, can someone explain to me a reason we shouldn't have customization in a non-plot-driven game?

CypressDahlia
11-04-2011, 10:09 PM
Customization is welcome if it integrates well into the gameplay. But the idea of using customization as a standard is flawed considering it is neither useful or necessary in certain types of games. And there was a fighting game released where you could animate your own movesets (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQhotJtbQIo), but I mean...there is just no way to balance that. Also, Mugen if you haven't heard of it.

Oh, and Toribash.

ClockHand
11-04-2011, 10:23 PM
Customization is always welcome when its done right. I don't want a fighting game that makes me create my own character but that fights as another character, or a fighting game with level system, and even mean less customizations as choosing your taunt because are pointless and don't bring anything new.

To bring customization in a game it has to be something that goes well in the game, that doesn't kill the experience, that makes the game feel complete and that doesn't become farming (level system yeay!). In some way I think it's better that the upgrading experience of your character goes around a linearity like in Megaman (and X), so you become better, but never have the need to farm or kill enemies to become better, and even more, we all go to the same point (this is debatable and I think it can be interesting, a mega man-like game where you have different progressions depending in the order you are defeating enemies). But in the case of a fighting game we want "fairness" so leveling and customization can go against it if is not well integrated.

CypressDahlia
11-04-2011, 10:34 PM
The inherent flaw with a leveling system is that it creates a chasm between veteran and new players that is usually not passable by skill alone. That means there is some downtime in which new players have to grind into order to really get into the game, especially if it's a game meant to be played with many people.

ClockHand
11-04-2011, 10:50 PM
And in MMORPG's it way worst, because level system also create limitations in social activities (killing a boss or going in a dungeon with a party). I think its retarded that all your clan goes to kill X boss and you can't because you are 10 levels low or something.

Progression can be done in so many ways, but for some reason we are stuck with level system (apparently every game that goes out these days have this system).

Adding "progression" to the debate. How should story telling in a video game should work with progression (of challenge and of your character getting stronger)? We have point about both open-ended and linear, then, how those 2 can work with the progression in a video game.

pd: I have no idea how it's actually named, but I will call it progression until someone has a better name for it.

CypressDahlia
11-05-2011, 03:38 AM
The problem stems from the general model of character growth in RPGs being flawed. Character growth is represented as some kind of biological phenomenon where a person's natural abilities undergo rapid growth at "level up". They somehow become sturdier, faster, hit harder and live longer. Though this is a good BASIC representation of character growth, it is far too disconnected from the reality of growth, which is based mostly on skill. In other words, RPGs have a habit of being too stat-oriented. And though a person would probably get a little stronger, a little faster and a little tougher over the course of a journey, I would reckon that most of their newfound "strength" actually derives from skills they learned and things that caused them to be a better fighter. But because RPGs are generally armchair games that require significantly less effort on the player's part than, say, Devil May Cry, they have lost touch with the reality of growth. There should be evidence of the fact that my character has somehow become a better fighter. Hitting harder and tanking more hits doesn't really signify that they've grown at all. That's why the merger between action and RPG is vital to creating a believable experience and one that is not entirely rooted in growth charts and stat farming. RPGs with guns for primary weapons are a great example of this as, somehow, when your character undergoes "level up", your bullets start to do more damage. What sense does that even make. I understand if you're playing a massive strategy RPG, you cannot be accountable for the actions of every character, but I think a game like Borderlands with a focus on a single character should put more emphasis on the skill growth of the character as opposed to arbitrary math.


Furthermore, stat-dependency creates level offsets. The difficulty of a game can be significantly reduced just by grinding levels, which takes little more than patience. There is no evidence that your character is a better fighter than s/he was 2 levels ago, just that now you can survive that boss' wacky ass super attack because your HP meter grew. I propose this:

1.) Static health bars. A character should have the same amount of health throughout the game, or grow only a little in HP. I like games where health slowly regenerates with time, too.
2.) Like in Clock's example of Megaman, equipment dependency, but without dependency on things like currency and shops. The best way to do this is to stop with random drops. If you fell a tough enemy, you should be able to strip his armor and weapons to make yourself tougher. Things that are evidently there should always be up for grabs. This would also allow for open-ended gameplay as players can confront challenges as they deem fit.
3.) A stat system that relates statistical growth to practice. For example, if you counter and parry a lot of blows, your DEX and AGL stat should increase. If you are constantly wielding heavy weapons in battle, or using vicious attacks, your STR should increase. If you block a lot, your DEF should increase. Though this does not solve the problem of farming stats (which is okay, because everything takes SOME extent of practice, even in reality), it does bridge the disconnect between skill and growth. When you finally get that stat up, you feel like it is because your character actually grew as a warrior.
4.) A similar skill system where your ability to perform battle techniques grows with usage, like in Tales. When you first learn a skill, it is rarely successful nor does it do a lot of damage. I would assume you are just imitating it. As you use the skill more often, practice and refine it, it becomes stronger and stronger. Eventually, you master it.
5.) Find a way to "learn" about your enemies. I liked how, in System Shock 2, you could pick up samples from fallen enemies, research them and learn how to better combat them. Often times, "weaknesses" boil down to exploitable attack patterns, elemental affinities or just plain being statistically weaker. Instead, there should be a "learning process" where you have to unlock the ability to exploit specific weaknesses either by researching it or simply through experience. For example, if you've never heard of Achilles and you fight him for the first time, how do you know his ankle is his weak point? You don't. You either need to read it somewhere or fight him dozens of times before you finally realize it. That should be the case with "weaknesses" for most enemies. If an enemy is weak to headshots, your character should have to fight maybe a dozen of them and then unlock a skill where now, instead of normal parries, if you parry against that particular enemy maybe you riposte by stabbing them in the head for extra damage. Stuff like that.

Inksprout
11-05-2011, 10:15 AM
Hey Cypress,
I like your ideas and I think taking a more realistic approach to leveling systems is something all game designers
should consider.
I'm just wondering about your 2nd suggestion, regarding picking up existing items. I think some games don't allow you to do this because
of concerns over how this might effect the tone of the game, ie surely robbing corpses lends a game a certain sinister tone? I'm sure there are some games that don't allow body searches for this reason. Fall Out New Vegas and Oblivian do, yet Fable 2 doesn't so I can only imagine not including this mechanic is down to a question of tone.

Purely on story telling and progression I recently read an article where the author suggested a more flexible form of story telling by allowing players to succeed or fail at crucial points. Most games these days are fairly linear in that if you die you generally have to keep trying till you succeed, or if the character has to loss a certain battle the loss is scripted in and there is no way to win. Wouldn't it be interesting to have a game with a branching narrative that was based not on moral decisions but on your character's actual success and failure. Of course you would allow the player to try again if they really wanted a particular outcome but if they just happened to loose the story could continue taking their failure into account. I would like to at least try playing a game more like this.

Sylux
11-05-2011, 11:47 AM
Inksprout, you have a way with words. In a sense, that was the point I was trying to make all along, but alas I'm too aggressive for civilized discussion. XD

CypressDahlia
11-05-2011, 12:30 PM
I get what you're saying, Ink, but I mean a chance-based system of random drops isn't so much different from just robbing a corpse. It's just, for some reason, tied to some strange, other-dimensional roulette game where, for some reason, you don't always get what's obviously right in front of you. This creates a lot of need for farming in most RPGs as people want that rare sword that only one enemy in the game drops at a 1% chance. You may have to fight that same enemy 100 times just to get what is obviously in their hand every time you fight them.

And I think, in the context of a game like Dark Souls, where for some reason every living thing is out to gut you, robbing corpses is justified. It's not so different from hunting, which people find morally acceptable (I personally don't). You kill a creature, you use it as a resource. Except in RPGs, these creatures are typically bloodthirsty manfiends whose sole purpose is to kill you so I find it even less objectionable, especially considering your own survival is also at stake.

And yes, a game should build around a player's successes and failures. If that's what you were saying, Sylux, then yeah it makes sense. But when you frame it like success and failure, there is some underlying suggestion that you were supposed to do it a certain way, especially since we're groomed by games to strive for success on every front (otherwise it's usually Game Over). I think that's why these things are masked as moral decisions, because it eliminates that suggestion by making it a less diagrammatic choice and more of an abstract one where really whether you succeeded or not is based on your own priorities. Though you and Sylux (well, now he does) make a good point, I don't think we've found a way to present that idea without fostering a "go for the win" mentality.

Sylux
11-05-2011, 12:35 PM
Oh, yeah, Assassin's Creed II and Brotherhood sets an example of that. When you kill a dude they stay on the ground and you can pick up whatever weapon they had with your free hand slot, but you can't sprint and free run with it. If they had an option to sacrifice your primary weapon for the one in your hand you just picked up, that would add a cool new level of realism.

CypressDahlia
11-05-2011, 12:45 PM
Yeah, I noticed that as soon as you start running with a polearm or something you automatically drop it and I was like "whuh". This draws from the game being badly structured in general, though. I mean, it's a cool game, but badly designed in that aspect. For some reason the enemies are always using super powerful weapons that, if you could pick them up, would collapse the difficulty scaling of the game. Like early on, you have a chance to pick up a rapier with 4 power and 4 speed (in ACII), but you're forced to abandon it by the game so that it doesn't become ridiculously broken. The intention is good, but why were those enemies carrying such super powerful weapons to begin with, you know what I mean? That was a bad call on the designers' part which cost them heavily in suspension of disbelief as they had to put in like an imaginary wall to keep the player from breaching the game's "system".

Sylux
11-05-2011, 12:47 PM
Also I noticed that nobody but captains have more than 30 Florins in their pouch. Wat gives eh? I at least keep $50 in my wallet in cash for emergency like gas. :\

CypressDahlia
11-05-2011, 01:08 PM
Yeah. There are a lot of limitations put in place to keep the player in-line with the difficulty scaling. I'm playing Dark Souls now and I like how they did it where the player can choose to confront greater challenges for greater reward but the stat limitations are a pain if you're not down to grind.

Fenn
11-05-2011, 02:13 PM
Cypress I really like your ideas in the spoiler tag; I've considered many variants on it myself. One was a three-way system of development: Stats, Traits, and Skills.

Stats are static and progress as you gain experience. So at 0XP you have 70% of your base stat, at ____XP you have 90%, and so on until you reach max XP. I even considered an aging system where, after a certain amount of XP where you remain at a plateau, your stats regress slowly back to 70%, but you'll still be better than at the start because of...

Skills, which you do not begin with but develop. You can gain a skill through training with an experienced NPC or character, or witnessing the skill so many times. Then, like your idea, it gets better as you use it. Not using the skill causes it to "decay" by up to 10%, but this decay is rapidly recovered when you begin to use it again. You can also "Master" one skill.

Traits are passive, situational bonuses. They are also static, and do not change at all with XP, but can make a significant difference when triggered by the required situation.

Different characters can also have a difference distribution of points between the three categories. If a character has, say, 3000 points, they could be distributed equally by 1000 to each category, or 1500 to Stats and 750 to Traits and Skills. Also, a character could have more than 3000 points to distribute if they decide to have some negative traits as well, which decrease performance in certain situations.

jubeh
11-05-2011, 02:20 PM
Yeah. There are a lot of limitations put in place to keep the player in-line with the difficulty scaling. I'm playing Dark Souls now and I like how they did it where the player can choose to confront greater challenges for greater reward but the stat limitations are a pain if you're not down to grind.

You don't ever have to level up in dark souls. The general rule of thumb is that if you can deal damage to it, you can beat it.

As for all the system stuff you were discussing earlier, people have been discussing that stuff since runequest came out in the 80's. High verismilitude is fine but lately I've taken to "gamier" elements, for no particular reason. I'll ask you why you feel the need to keep hit points, though. Probably the weirdest but most common abstraction in all of video games.

CypressDahlia
11-05-2011, 05:18 PM
What I mean is that you can kill the black knight in Undead Burg, get the Black Knight Greatsword...but then you gotta grind for STR to wield it properly. Whereas I prefer that, just from attempting to wield it repeatedly, you should grow in strength. Just like heavy lifting. I mean it makes sense, and you pay for it with lackluster performance in combat until the weapon becomes less cumbersome, so the risk-reward factor is intact.

And I choose to keep Hit Points because there is just no way to reflect "health" accurately in games. Especially those of the action/RPG persuasion. There is no way to make it realistic yet streamlined enough to offer a comfortable amount of control to the player. A game with a perfectly realistic health system would be unwieldy and just plain annoying to manage.

Inksprout
11-05-2011, 08:59 PM
When I was younger I always thought HP meant health points anyway :/
I notice Borderlands is a little but like your suggestion for weapons with your 'weapon proficiency' increasing for the type of gun you're using. It would be interesting to see how well a more detailed system like the on you're proposing would work in practice. I think players who are less inclined to get into the intricate details of game mechanics would find it annoying though. For example they might want it to be easy to play so that the flow of game play isn't interrupted by them failing. For some people grinding would be more satisfying than having to work hard wielding a difficult weapon until they were strong enough to use it effectively. Not every player minds grinding, some find it satisfying to easily defeat weaker enemies with the reward of using a better weapon as opposed to struggling though the game. Many RPG player's probably barely check/understand the full extent of how stats effect the game play.
If a game with this type of system were to be successful with a wide audience you'd have to consider this point and cater to those who just want to play without having the game become too difficult.

CypressDahlia
11-05-2011, 11:58 PM
Yeah, that's a problem that's been addressed by gaming columnists for the longest time: are gamers getting too soft?

Even in a game like Dark Souls, I feel like they hedged their difficulty level by making some ridiculously simple attack patterns (the "weaknesses" I described earlier) so they wouldn't overwhelm gamers. And it was supposed to be a game for hardcore players, so when I encountered the Gaping Dragon I was like "this is a joke, right?" Sure, the thing can kill you in one hit but it has the same three-move attack pattern that it repeats ad nauseum. And then they had the "difficult" bosses like the Stray Demon whose attacks were p. much just impossible to dodge completely and hit you through your shield so it's like "urgh".

So what I'm trying to say is: games try too hard to be accessible, which is hugely limiting to intelligent play. The only time in Dark Souls (so far) where I had issues is when the enemies were simply too annoying to kill because of high HP or had ridiculous magic attacks that you had to tank through your shield, at which point that's merely a device put in by the designers to keep the player "on track" as far as difficulty scaling. So the only times the game got noticeably hard is when I was somewhere the developers didn't want me to be yet, which is pretty much an invisible wall that deters open-ended progression. Technically, I had no issues fighting these things, it was just far too much of a pain in the ass to do it or impossible because I, myself, didn't have enough HP.

So RPGs have really nestled into the armchair way too much as the strength of the character is no longer linked to the skill of the player. Three problems arise from this:

1.) Time becomes the major factor in improvement. Time is not something everyone has and should not be the determinant in how accessible a game is. Surely, time is something to be invested in every game to get "good" at it, but with RPG's that is not the issue because:
2.) There is no such thing as being "good" at an RPG. For a type of entertainment that is built around a ceaseless competition between the player and computer-generated opponents, this makes no sense. Player skill should somehow be equated into the formula. I understand a game that is more action-oriented will lose RPG fans, but it will also gain action fans.
3.) The difficulty level of any given RPG is entirely variable based on an arbitrary factor called "time". An RPG can be a nightmare or a joke based simply on how much time the player is willing to invest into grinding. Whereas having a system that links player skill to character strength will partly eliminate this problem as the player has to improve in order for the character to improve. This also opens up possibilities for open-ended progression, custom game pacing (whereas RPGs currently cater to players who are willing to sink many hours into them), and the idea that your character is a better warrior at the end of the day, not just a better tank. This also eliminates the need for "invisible wall" devices as any player who is good enough can progress past any point as they have built up the necessary skills.


That's why I respect the likes of Vagrant Story, Valkyrie Profile and Kingdom Hearts because they took one step closer to bringing RPGs out of the armchair. In Vagrant Story, the effectiveness of your character was based on how well you could chain techniques together with reflex commands. Though one could grind up better stats, the skilled player could kill a boss in a single combo (albeit a very long one) with enough skill. Valkyrie Profile rewards the player for being able to combo their party's moves together. You get EXP bonuses for juggling and reduced turn counter for OTG techniques as well. So basically they created a system where a skilled player could circumvent grinding by gaining EXP bonuses through skilled play. And Kingdom Hearts was a game where you could do the same thing with "tech" bonuses based on how well you guarded against and parried attacks. And, for this reason, these games have great pacing, linear gameplay that "feels" open-ended because of how much the player affects the game, and no "invisible walls".

jubeh
11-06-2011, 01:15 AM
So what I'm trying to say is: games try too hard to be accessible, which is hugely limiting to intelligent play. The only time in Dark Souls (so far) where I had issues is when the enemies were simply too annoying to kill because of high HP or had ridiculous magic attacks that you had to tank through your shield, at which point that's merely a device put in by the designers to keep the player "on track" as far as difficulty scaling. So the only times the game got noticeably hard is when I was somewhere the developers didn't want me to be yet, which is pretty much an invisible wall that deters open-ended progression. Technically, I had no issues fighting these things, it was just far too much of a pain in the ass to do it or impossible because I, myself, didn't have enough HP.

The idea that accessibility somehow means that a game is ez mode is really backwards. If a game is hard because it isn't accessible, that means that the controls weren't explained to you, or very important information was kept hidden from you. If in pokemon, they didn't explain how to catch monsters the game would be inaccessible. Accessibility makes the game easier, but in the right way.

Gaping dragon wasn't meant to be accessible. It was a monster hunter knock off that 1. punished you for not killing the wizard on top of the wall (so not exploring thoroughly) and 2. teaches you about armor and weapon degradation when it melts the shit off of you which is a lesson that needs to be learned before lost izalith. I won't argue if he was "hard' or not, since that's subjective and that's super early in the game.

As for your other comment, I can't relate. I did new londo ruins before I had even fought gaping dragon. And for not having enough HP, you will never have enough. I was like level 60 and that armored dude with horn at the garden still one shotted me in gold hemmed armor. HP is good for backtracking so when you're running by enemies and take a hit you can just soldier on. Also for dps tanking four kings in the first playthrough where its actually viable.

It's like in arkham city -- you can upgrade batman's suit so that you take less damage but what's the point when you can just work on not getting it?

ClockHand
11-06-2011, 01:36 AM
It's like in arkham city -- you can upgrade batman's suit so that you take less damage but what's the point when you can just work on not getting it?

I don't get those upgrades. I mean, the whole game is about being like Batman, but if you upgrade your suit to be anti bullets, you are implementing a option of progress that goes against the idea of the game.

A friend got Batman arkham city, and the first he did was upgrade himself to be anti bullets. I ask him why, why would you be anti bullets, if the whole idea of the game is sneak and take down the guys who obviously are armed (and the game tells you who is armed who is not and you have almost a x-ray vision), and his answer was simple and straight "because is hard".

Obviously the suit was implemented to give a sense of progress/growth but it is correct? It is correct for a game like Batman gave the option to a player to be less Batman? Where this progression/growth should be going? Should be going to get more stats, giving the ability to tank better (or do certain things the game ask you in a more easy way) or should give you abilities or/and knowledge to pass the next parts of the game?


I don't know if someone really got killed by Gaping Dragon, his moves are extremely obvious (I'm a big vagina with teeth, wings and tail. I bet no one can guess that I can eat you, fly and whip my tail jejeje).

jubeh
11-06-2011, 01:39 AM
I lost to vagina dragon the first time because that wizard kept shooting me in the back. He got his, though.

Also yeah, the idea of leveling up as batman is kind of ridiculous when he is like the peak of what a person can be.

CypressDahlia
11-06-2011, 01:49 AM
The idea that accessibility somehow means that a game is ez mode is really backwards.

Hey, don't tell me. I'm not the one designing these games. This seems to be the train of thought for most developers as games become progressively easier for the purpose of appeal. And the games which are hard are specifically marketed as "hardcore", creating what is now the chasm between casual and hardcore gamers. Clearly there is a division in the gaming audience and marketing teams are catching onto this.

EDIT: Actually, Clock's example of giving Batman bulletproof armor is a perfect example of this. "Hey, guys, if this game is too hard...we should put in a method to make it easier so we don't lose a portion of our audience." And such is grinding in RPGs.

And yeah, remember in the Dark Souls thread I said I went back to Undead Asylum way too early. Stray Demon basically raped me the first time because his attacks are pretty much unblockable and the attack pattern is variable in that he might simply spam magic over and over again. You really needed to tank through the fight, especially if you're not a dex-based fighter. And visiting the catacombs early on in the game is a similar scenario as you won't have enough stamina to withstand the barrage of melee attacks that those creeps in the Tomb of Giants dish out. Nor will you have the STR to wield powerful, heavy weapons in the game that are necessary to defeating these enemies at any rate faster than a snail's pace. So basically DS uses statistical barriers to create "invisible walls" that determine where you can and can't go. That is my point.

Whereas, say I got a .2x soul multiplier for every time I parried an attack. Parrying is something players of DS rarely do unless they're confident in the situation (like fighting an enemy multiple times weaker), at which point it's not even necessary. It's a difficult skill that offers no reward, whereas it could effectively be used as a mechanic through which a player can circumvent grinding and topple said "invisible walls". Sadly, even parrying becomes totally irrelevant by the end of the game whereas in like KH, even when fighting Sephiroth you're still fkin parrying. Like, the mechanics stay relevant.

jubeh
11-06-2011, 01:26 AM
And yeah, remember in the Dark Souls thread I said I went back to Undead Asylum way too early. Stray Demon basically raped me the first time because his attacks are pretty much unblockable and the attack pattern is variable in that he might simply spam magic over and over again. You really needed to tank through the fight, especially if you're not a dex-based fighter.

Not at all. I'll spoiler it for dudes that like to figure out fights for themselves.


You literally just need to stay on his left. When he jumps up, break lock on and run to the side. Get a few hits in. If he pauses at all during his normal patter, he is using the aoe attack. Just roll away. Otherwise, all of his other attacks only hit you in the front including that explosive aoe cone. This fight is a joke once you figure that out. I ended up dropping my shield and armor so I could run to the side easier. If you do it right you shouldn't ever get hit anyway.


And visiting the catacombs early on in the game is a similar scenario as you won't have enough stamina to withstand the barrage of melee attacks that those creeps in the Tomb of Giants dish out. Nor will you have the STR to wield powerful, heavy weapons in the game that are necessary to defeating these enemies at any rate faster than a snail's pace. So basically DS uses statistical barriers to create "invisible walls" that determine where you can and can't go. That is my point.

While this is true for the most part (ie mobs being strong to discourage you), dark souls is exceptional since it can be beaten at level 1, naked. You just have to get into the mindset that survival is more important than killing mobs, so getting out of a situation is considerably more important than killing everything you come across. One of my favorite things about dark souls is that there are battles that are better left avoided.

Like the first time I played dnd I thought it was hyper weird that you got more xp from finding gold than you did from killing monsters, since gaming had perverted my expectations somewhat. The logic was that if there was an unbeatable monster guarding treasure, you should be rewarded for luring it away or tricking it, and not just for combat. While you don't get rewarded for stuff like that in dark souls, you do survive thus potentially saving any souls you could have lost.


Whereas, say I got a .2x soul multiplier for every time I parried an attack. Parrying is something players of DS rarely do unless they're confident in the situation (like fighting an enemy multiple times weaker), at which point it's not even necessary. It's a difficult skill that offers no reward, whereas it could effectively be used as a mechanic through which a player can circumvent grinding and topple said "invisible walls". Sadly, even parrying becomes totally irrelevant by the end of the game whereas in like KH, even when fighting Sephiroth you're still fkin parrying. Like, the mechanics stay relevant.

I find it weird that you're making such a bold statement about an entire community of players. A lot of the guys I summoned into my world were parry machines. In my dual fist run I parry all the time just because the animation is ridiculously badass.

And parrying is not irrelevant at all at the endgame.

As in it makes gwyn ez mode if you just parry his shit all day.

And the silver knights

And invaders?

CypressDahlia
11-06-2011, 01:48 AM
The first time I fought Stray Demon he basically just spammed magic constantly and the rate at which I was doing damage, it would've taken like a good hour just to kill the dude by smacking him once, rolling, smacking again, rolling, etc, etc. going for 2 or 3 hits and dodging was impossible with my stamina at the time. At that point, I think any player would logically assume that they just weren't strong enough to fight the guy and go to either 1.) grind or 2.) progress in a different direction. I guess we just approached the boss at different times.

And I guess the parry thing is just a difference in experiences. At the point where I was regularly encountering black phantoms they were such tanks that parrying was not nearly as effective for them as baiting out an attack and going for a backstab. But human-sized enemies only make up like 40% of the game's enemy population so backstabbing and parrying are relevant only half the time, at best. I don't remember parrying once past Anor Londo except against invaders. And, even then, it was more efficient to go for the backstab.

jubeh
11-06-2011, 02:02 AM
Stray demon...doesn't use magic? Like he makes explosions if thats what you mean. You break lock on so you can run, instead of roll, so you can conserve stamina. I get what you're saying, but I think dark souls is a bad example of your point because you can accomplish anything in the game, aside from literally impossible shit like doing lost izalith without the ring, through sheer perseverance.

Also parrying invaders is good because of the psychological edge you gain. I do it whenever somebody's using a low speed weapon, due to the nature of lag. Backstabbing seems efficient, but only because of lag. Otherwise you just circle each other for hours until somebody gets bored.

edit: Its also worth noting you dont see parrying a lot because as of right now none of the weapons with high crit are actually any good. Until the patch comes there's no point not to use an electric weapon.

CypressDahlia
11-06-2011, 02:08 AM
well I mean it hits through your shield so I just refer to it as magic. Yeah maybe explosion is a better term.

And yeah, I understand you can do things through sheer perseverance but that's exactly the point I was trying to make. That weighs time in as a heavier gameplay factor than skill. Surely, I could go back to the Tomb of Giants at level 1 and pick away at those enemies little by little. I mean, they're not MUCH harder than the enemies at the Undead Church and fighting them is no different except for massive damage and HP upgrades. But it's like...do I really have the time to do that? Why can't there be a system where if I play skillfully I can circumvent that huge investment of time? And I would argue that just running past them naked would entail not experiencing a majority of the game.

jubeh
11-06-2011, 02:23 AM
Your idea is sound but thats not the game that dark souls is. I don't have a problem with your overall point at all, I just disagree with your criticisms of the game.

Inksprout
11-06-2011, 03:02 AM
Dark Souls aside, are you saying that games should never cater to 'casual players' or just that designers need to be smarter in how they scale for different skills levels? I think the distinctions people make between hardcore and casual gamers are a little unfair. It seems that 'hardcore' gamers believe those who are not as skilled at them do no take games as seriously as they do, and it seems like maybe you're suggesting that because of that reason they don't deserve to have easier difficulty settings to allow them to enjoy the same games as you.

I'm sure you are aware of the number of different things that go into making a gaming experience such as artwork, character development and story, enjoying these aspects of a game generally has nothing to do with how skilled you are at the actual game play. In addition to this a core aspect of any game is a sense of flow, and having achievable goals. For people who are serious about games, who love to play them and are interested in playing a variety of them but don't necessarily have a lot of time to sink into it or are just not that skilled its useful to have some options to make the game easier. They shouldn't be consider less of a 'gamer' for that.

I agree that some games do a bad job of creating scaling difficulty, but the issue goes both ways. You can't just say games should only cater for hardcore players anymore than someone can say they should cater only for casual players. Having said that I don't find a game more appealing just because it's renowned for being easier, but I do find it frustrating if the game is insurmountably challenging with no options to make it any easier.

CypressDahlia
11-06-2011, 04:14 AM
No, no, no. The point is not that RPGs are too easy. The point is that RPGs don't really have difficulty. The factor of difficulty in an RPG is a direct relation to how much time you're willing to spend on grinding, in most cases. In other words, there is no being "good at" or "bad at" most RPGs. It's all determined by how strong your characters are, which is independent of player skill. And, though this maximizes appeal by giving casual players a synthetic way to "get better" at a game, it holds back players who want to be rewarded for skill and/or do not want to bother with extensive grinding. Imagine that you and I started playing FF7 at the same time and both wanted to get to level 10. We'd have to spend equal amounts of time fighting enemies in almost identical ways to reach that goal. You might be the more skillful player, or I might, but it would be entirely irrelevant as we're forced by the shoddy character growth model to approach and accomplish the goal in the same way. But say we both started Kingdom Hearts at the same time and wanted to reach level 10. If you are the more skillful player, you might reach level 10 an hour before I do just by parrying blitzballs on Destiny Island. You were able to use your skill to circumvent the need for grinding and, in turn make your character stronger in proportion to your ability. Whereas I'm still running around Traverse Town smashing Shadows for minimal EXP.

In short, I'm proposing that an RPG should somehow factor player skill into the formula and eliminate the necessity of grinding. The idea of only getting stronger by grinding is repellent to gamers who don't have a lot of time, nor does it make much sense. It's also very limiting as to how one chooses to progress in a game. So I have nothing against casual gaming. I just hate that RPGs hold back players that want to take more risks or play more intelligently.

Inksprout
11-06-2011, 08:21 AM
Ah ok, I understand what you mean now. I get a bit touchy when people start debating about casual and hardcore gamers. I totally agree with your feelings on this. I've never understood why you would want to deliberately create game that was boring through having lots of grinding. That's my main problem with pokemon at the moment. I used to be able to play it fine, perhaps I was just more willing to spend time leveling my pokemon. Now I just find it too tedious. The story is so generic and the special features just seem dull. I can't access any of the online content so it just seems like a giant pointless grind fest with derpy pokemon designs.

Fenn
11-06-2011, 12:31 PM
Ah ok, I understand what you mean now. I get a bit touchy when people start debating about casual and hardcore gamers. I totally agree with your feelings on this. I've never understood why you would want to deliberately create game that was boring through having lots of grinding. That's my main problem with pokemon at the moment. I used to be able to play it fine, perhaps I was just more willing to spend time leveling my pokemon. Now I just find it too tedious. The story is so generic and the special features just seem dull. I can't access any of the online content so it just seems like a giant pointless grind fest with derpy pokemon designs.

This becomes even more of an issue with the current state of the endgame. With IVs and EVs and Natures and whatnot, it takes even longer to build a team of 6 Lv. 100 Pokemon capable of battling at a competitive level. As in, many months longer. This coupled with the fact that I can just go one PokemonOnline of Smogon and instantly create a perfect team, and suddenly the games become less interesting.

I'm waiting for my Pokemon MMO that wil never come.

Inksprout
11-06-2011, 12:52 PM
Even when I was younger I never raised a lvl 100 pokemon, I always scrapped by with lvl 40-50 pokemon and loads of potions. The fact of the matter is the innovative features they inlclude in each new generation get taken out and replaced with something else in the next bunch. I for one find this stupid and annoying, especially now the focus is moving into online innovative features so much. The only thing I have really enjoyed in pokemon white so far was when a game store near by was giving away a free special pokemon. Needless to say this didn't interest me very much as I have already forgotten its name. I notice that the games are still drawing in a lot of new youngsters but what about the old fans? I would play a decent pokemon game every day on the train if it existed! (Did this with soul silver and spent 60 hours on it)

ClockHand
11-06-2011, 12:57 PM
Dark Souls aside, are you saying that games should never cater to 'casual players' or just that designers need to be smarter in how they scale for different skills levels? I think the distinctions people make between hardcore and casual gamers are a little unfair. It seems that 'hardcore' gamers believe those who are not as skilled at them do no take games as seriously as they do, and it seems like maybe you're suggesting that because of that reason they don't deserve to have easier difficulty settings to allow them to enjoy the same games as you.

Games should threat you like a normal person, not a retarded kid who need to be pointed with sparkly arrows what to do. I think the whole idea of casual gamer and hardcore gamer is just retarded because we are all n00bs when we start playing a game, there is no person who born with the knowledge to beat a game (x-men mutant maybe), so the game needs to have a curve of learning and challenge, and this curve doesn't exist (or not in the majority of the cases) in rpgs, because are based in how good your character is, and not in how good you become.

Also, I fucking hate difficulty settings, what is the point? I want to play the game as it should be played, like the difficulty were I can take the whole experience that it suppose to be delivered while playing. A example for this is Gears of War 3, the game bored my to dead when I first played (in hard mode) and after that I was like "well lets try to get the achievement for insane mode" and it was there when I feel like that the game should be played in this way. The problem in here is that I already played the game, I already create a judgment of it, and playing it for second time is going to change it. The whole game should had to start to including challenging elements one by one until you get to how are you supposed to feel in insane mode (without need of difficulty setting), so when you start, you can learn how to play it and become good while you play it (of course this would challenge the proposition of Epic, that the game should be epic and overwhelming, which I think they cross the line in this GoW and it stop to feel epic, and start to feel repetitive, but this is a discussion for another thread I guess).


I'm sure you are aware of the number of different things that go into making a gaming experience such as artwork, character development and story, enjoying these aspects of a game generally has nothing to do with how skilled you are at the actual game play. In addition to this a core aspect of any game is a sense of flow, and having achievable goals. For people who are serious about games, who love to play them and are interested in playing a variety of them but don't necessarily have a lot of time to sink into it or are just not that skilled its useful to have some options to make the game easier. They shouldn't be consider less of a 'gamer' for that.

Well, this thread start to discuss story telling in video games. And as you said, video games are complex (have more than 3 elements that articulate it) and is dynamic (the elements are connected in many ways), so the thread has been deviated to this now.

Again, I don't see video games being hard, not even Dark Souls that is sold as a hard game its hard. And there are plenty of games (the dominant games on the market right now) that have as a target people without time but want to feel powerful, this is why we have Uncharted, God of War, Dante's Inferno, and more. So wanting easy video games is not the problem (we have a full market of those), the problem is how developers think of us as retarded fat kids who need to be remembered constantly that Left Stick is for movement and Right Stick for camera movement (I have to say that I love how Portal 2 make this introduction of controls).


I agree that some games do a bad job of creating scaling difficulty, but the issue goes both ways. You can't just say games should only cater for hardcore players anymore than someone can say they should cater only for casual players. Having said that I don't find a game more appealing just because it's renowned for being easier, but I do find it frustrating if the game is insurmountably challenging with no options to make it any easier.

No one says that games should only cater for hardcore players, because A) most people in here don't believe in what a hardcore gamer is and B) because we all start as n00bs, and the job of the game is make us better (not the character, but the player). If a game is constantly easy, it will be the same as playing the same stage of Mario over and over again (boring), but developers made the game interesting for their target and in here is were I made the relation between video games being like Michael Bay movies (BOOOM! BANG! BADABOM!), they made games for adults who want action and explosion with a design made for 8 years old kids (Michael Bay movies).

The fast food of video gaming.

My point is simple: Video games should make YOU better, not the character.

CypressDahlia
11-06-2011, 01:12 PM
Though, Inksprout, you have to consider that catering to the "casual gamer" is not so much a necessity of gameplay as it is a necessity of successful marketing. The "casual gamer" is mainly an afterthought regarding a specific outgrowth of the gaming population. When you think about it, back in the heyday of NES, most games had a standard difficulty that was usually quite high. That is because, back then, marketing teams didn't expect moms and grandmothers and teachers and pastors to be playing video games, and they were wrong. So now they're looking back on it like "oh, so more people than just boys ages 10-20 play games" and consider it a marketing opportunity to appeal to these people. Of course, this is not wrong, but it is not entirely necessary to the playability of a game. In other words, a game does not need to be accessible to be good, it just needs to be accessible to sell well. So to build a game around accessibility has the potential of dumbing it down significantly, just as anything with too large a target audience.

Though the problem you addressed, about the "hardcore gamers", is not necessarily an issue of accessibility so much as it is an issue of really fucking effective subliminal marketing techniques. I actually talked about this before in some older thread. Games that try too hard to be hardcore are usually also kind of dumb in the sense that "hardcore" following is achieved by showing total inconsideration toward the player. So on one side, you have games that are too dumbed down and on the other side you have games that are just brutal for the sake of being brutal. But why is this a marketing technique? Simple: because it feeds some form of superiority complex. Whereas, in the old days a game was a game; neither was it casual or hardcore, it simply was. These days, with the diversity in the gaming population, it becomes possible to carve a niche out of any given demographic.

And we all know 'that guy'. That guy, who in any given gaming conversation, will tell you how much more hardcore he is than you are. If you just beat a game, he will mention that he beat it on a higher difficulty setting. If you state you had trouble with a specific part, he will tell you it was easy and he breezed through it. If you said it took you 10 hours to beat a game, he'll say it took him 3. "Hardcore" was a label created specifically for 'that guy' by marketing teams who figured out one thing: the best way to sell a game is to feed the gamer's ego. Make them feel like some kind of gaming elite for playing your game, and people will flock to it like schoolgirls to a cheerleading team. It's CRAZY how successful this marketing strategy was because it really feeds off the mentality of younger, mostly male, gamers.

Like have you ever seen 2 teenagers bicker about First Person Shooters? It usually boils down to which game has the more hardcore community, based on which game demands more skill, more time invested or more technique. This is because the argument isn't really about which game is better, it's about who's the better gamer. In other words, "I'm better because my game is harder". It's like Tohou among SHMUPs, Super Smash Brothers among fighters, Ninja Gaiden among 3rd person platformers. These people have been brainwashed by a supremely effective marketing technique that is now so ingrained in gaming culture that these games practically market themselves through word of mouth. What's even more astonishing is that the term "hardcore" is used to sell specific games whereas it's possible to make almost any game very difficult if the player imposes certain challenges on themselves. So it's very much a marketing technique.

But yeah, that's pretty much all "hardcore gaming" is. A giant superiority complex.

Inksprout
11-06-2011, 01:18 PM
Thanks for such a detailed reply! I agree with a lot of what you said. The only thing I would still want to quibble about is difficulty settings, or at least scaling. The fact of the matter is some people start off playing a game with a very low skill level, it might be the first time they ever played an FPS for example. Even having a good difficulty curve within a game does not necessarily allow for very low level players to play through on the hypothetical equivalent of 'insane mode'. For a very unskilled player, playing on a lower difficulty can feel the same to them as playing in insane mode feels for you. So while you think that on insane mode in Gears of War 3 feels like how it should be played that could easily just be because you are more dextrous, have played more of that type of game or played the previous titles in that series. For a new player being thrown into a game that you consider appropriately difficult would be as frustrating and off putting for them as it would be for you to be forced to play on the lowest difficulty setting. Its very difficult to make a game that goes both ways when talking about FPS/third person shooters in particular because unlike RPGs they do rely on the skills of a player. Difficulty settings are important to have in games that involve skill so that new players have a way in, don't be annoyed by that fact just because you have already honed your skill. They're there so that you can choose the appropriate difficulty for you just like everyone else can. No one is making you play on the easier difficulty settings, and given the amount of play testing most AAA games go through I highly doubt that you would ever find all of the settings too easy.

It seems like your main issue is that the difficulty settings make it hard for you to determine which setting to actually choose. There are some games that deal with this better than others, some allow you to change the difficulty any time in the game or offer a test or questionnaire at the start to determine your level of skill. Perhaps you would prefer mechanics more like in L4D where the difficulty is determined within the game rather than with really obvious settings in the menu?

While I agree that there shouldn't be extra instructions and 'Games should threat you like a normal person, not a retarded kid who need to be pointed with sparkly arrows what to do. ' I also believe that difficulty scaling is an important and PROVEN method to allow a range of different players to enjoy and increase their skills in games.

Inksprout
11-06-2011, 01:25 PM
@ Cypress
I really hate the whole casual/hardcore debate when there are people around who believe in those definitions. I fall somewhere in the middle in the typical definitions of each so there is always a chance I'll get flamed for being 'casual'. Its nice to know people here aren't like that though. I think that some of the most widely successful games are those that can be played by anyone and still be fine wether people deem them hardcore or casual games. Simply designing a game well (as ClockHand was talking about) and implementing effective scaling can make the terms casual and hardcore pretty much irrelevant because the game itself is great independent of those definitions and can be played by both new gamers and experienced players.

ClockHand
11-06-2011, 01:28 PM
Thanks for such a detailed reply! I agree with a lot of what you said. The only thing I would still want to quibble about is difficulty settings, or at least scaling. The fact of the matter is some people start off playing a game with a very low skill level, it might be the first time they ever played an FPS for example. Even having a good difficulty curve within a game does not necessarily allow for very low level players to play through on the hypothetical equivalent of 'insane mode'. For a very unskilled player, playing on a lower difficulty can feel the same to them as playing in insane mode feels for you. So while you think that on insane mode in Gears of War 3 feels like how it should be played that could easily just be because you are more dextrous, have played more of that type of game or played the previous titles in that series. For a new player being thrown into a game that you consider appropriately difficult would be as frustrating and off putting for them as it would be for you to be forced to play on the lowest difficulty setting. Its very difficult to make a game that goes both ways when talking about FPS/third person shooters in particular because unlike RPGs they do rely on the skills of a player. Difficulty settings are important to have in games that involve skill so that new players have a way in, don't be annoyed by that fact just because you have already honed your skill. They're there so that you can choose the appropriate difficulty for you just like everyone else can. No one is making you play on the easier difficulty settings, and given the amount of play testing most AAA games go through I highly doubt that you would ever find all of the settings too easy.

Again, my point is scaling. If the game start introducing the controls and the enemies little by little, you don't need difficulty setting. Of course some people are not going to be as dexterous than others, but the trying and you wanting to be better, is going to make you better. It's fucking simple, the game introduce you how to play, the challenging elements, and you keep losing, what you do? you keep playing, and you keep getting better. Obviously there should be a curve, to not discourage people but neither threat them as retarded kids.

I
t seems like your main issue is that the difficulty settings make it hard for you to determine which setting to actually choose. There are some games that deal with this better than others, some allow you to change the difficulty any time in the game or offer a test or questionnaire at the start to determine your level of skill. Perhaps you would prefer mechanics more like in L4D where the difficulty is determined within the game rather than with really obvious settings in the menu?

Even if you can change the difficulty on a pause menu, you still don't know which difficulty is the right. And my problem is not just about that, is about games should make you better, not make your worst. I have plenty of friends who play every game only on Easy difficulty, they could play it on normal or hard, they have the skills to do that, but as the game offers them a easy way they are gonna take it. Ones they finish the game they sell it or change it in the store.

Of course they have the skills to play it in harder difficulty, but my point is that games should have a curve, should let you grow and not backward.

Inksprout
11-06-2011, 01:51 PM
I still disagree, I think you are under estimating how difficult a game can be for new players, sure maybe the 'easy' setting could be eliminated and just left with normal as the lowest, but I honestly think anyone who started playing the game and was already a skilled player would become insanely bored by any beginning that was scaled to suit the newest of players. Equally if the game started off too hard new players might just not play. You seem to just be basing your opinion off your own friends, and assuming that everyone who plays on an easy difficulty does so simply out of laziness. Would you honestly want to play a game if you spent 3 hours trying to get past one small part of the game? This might be acceptable in some games that are designed to play that way, ie Dark Souls but for many other games forcing players to do that would be totally pointless and ruin the whole game experience. Halo for example is an action game, but how is anyone supposed to enjoy the action and keep up with the story if they have to spend a ridiculously long time trying to get past one section of a level, when the designers intended that part to take only 2 minutes?

I understand your frustration but there is more to a game experience than simply forcing all the players to obtain the same level of skill. I don't think there is anyway to create a perfectly scaled shooter such as halo without implementing some sort of difficulty level altering mechanics, either with a menu option or with very intelligent AI design such as in L4D. If your friends are too lazy to play on the appropriate settings then its shame on them. To suggest that a very unskilled player and a very skilled player can both play a game from the start with the exact same level of difficulty, and still both enjoy it equally just sounds impossible to me. By encouraging that sort of design you'd ultimately just be short changing yourself and other high level players. Video games are a business, which means games would be scaled at the start to where they would be boring for you but still challenging enough for new/bad players. This would only further degrade your own experience and make the problems you're complaining about worse. The reason so many games do implement difficulty settings either in a menu or behind the scenes is to try to keep players like you happy while continuing to support a growing fan base.

I personally have often turned up difficulty settings just because people like you as well as insane 'hardcore' players ranting at me make me feel bad about the fact that I am simply not as skilled as them. Honestly though I enjoy games, AND improve more quickly if I can play at an appropriate level for me, that makes the games as hard for me as it is for you. You can still play satisfyingly on insane while I'm buffing up my skills down in normal or easy. Honestly I am offended that you think everyone who wants lower difficulties only wants them out of sheer laziness. There are gamers out their who want to be good at games as sincerely as you do but that shouldn't mean the gaming experience should force them to spend copious amounts of time playing a game that is just too hard for their level. Implementing such a system is as bad as forcing players to grind in RPGs (This is all assuming that you believe me when I say no game could have a difficulty curve perfect enough for both new and old players)

EDIT: Its also not as if on easy the levels within the game all become the same difficulty. There is still scaling within easier difficulties so the player is not simply stagnating. Players can honestly increase there skills in easier settings. The end boss is still harder than the first boss, so provided the player chooses an appropriate setting they should still be developing their skills. I ever turn down the difficulty settings its honestly because I'm bot getting anywhere on the harder modes. I will still find the easier setting challenging but not insurmountable.

CypressDahlia
11-06-2011, 02:06 PM
I think an easy way to solve the beginning of the game issue is to have a standard tutorial stage. A lot of people think this breaks the flow of the game but, IMO, the practicality of it is far more important than how it affects the theatrics.

Inksprout
11-06-2011, 02:22 PM
Cyp that's particularly true of games that make the tutorial in some way a part of the game such as in KH1 on destiny island. A tutorial level can be fairly in line with the rest the game if it is done well and definitely serves an important purpose for new players. I think many games have included tutorials simple because they realise no one reads the manual though, rather than because they believe its a good way to help newer players.

ClockHand
11-06-2011, 02:54 PM
I have been a new player and every time I pick a game I'm a new player. Obviously I have played a lot, so getting familiar with the controls is not a issue for me, while for other is, but again, the game should make you better.

I think you haven't been reading me well, or I haven't wrote it properly, but I talk about a learning curve, that game needs to teach you and you start as a n00b and so on. And you tell me that not everyone are going to learn? Or not everyone has the same skills? Dude, I'm talking to make you better, obviously you start as someone who doesn't know how to play (DUH) and the game needs to teach you everything, but there is a way to teach you, one is telling you what to do, and the other is showing you what to do.

Again, Dark Souls is not a hard game, its sells as a one. I never got hooked to Halo campaign principally because I never understood what going on (no Theming, or motor that drives me to the story) and I felt that I never had the chance to think what I was doing (it was more like, shoot the first thing that appear), of course I like the multiplayer, and I think that is the only thing that game shines. But ok, you want a quick action game, you want fast food game, you want a mcdonald in video game, don't you? What is the point of a game that doesn't challenge to become better? If you are not going to get in the game to interact with the challenges and become better, then go and watch a movie, finally Uncharted and God of War are that, just movies that tells you "hit this button over and over again".

And there are ways to implement games with a nice curve of learning vs challenge. Megaman X did it great with the tutorial stage, and Spawn snes game did it wrong in the whole game. Obviously you need to introduce players to your game, and go step by step be making them betters, and that is my whole point, and why I hate difficult setting so much, is because A) it create this stupid division between casual gamer and hardcore, B) it create conflict in how the game should be played, C) lazy people are going to finish it in easy and then retail the game, D) You will not become better, yes, maybe better in easy difficulty, but you will not have explored all the ability the game require in its whole form (again, how the game should be played? if it should be played in easy, the skills I get there are enough and I will not need anything else).

Difficult settings is something to change, I hate a game to ask me in what difficulty I want to play, this is like going to a fancy restaurant and the chef ask me with how do I want me food, wtf? I want my food as how is supposed to be, and I want me games as are supposed to be.

A example of tutorials made wrong, is Sonic Generation, the game constantly tells you who are enemies, what enemies do, if you well from there what happens, and so on. Why would you spoil all that information to a player? we are not retarded, and if we lose was our mistake, so why the game is preventing us from making mistakes?

Games are to make us better, and difficulty setting is a backward step.

jubeh
11-06-2011, 05:01 PM
On RPGS and skill --

Here are some problems with typical turn based rpg combat and how I propose "skill" (Im so tired of hearing that work in the context of games) could be thoughtfully injected into them.

1. Frequency
Solution: Well this has nothing to do with skill but has everything to do with why people consider turn based combat tedious. If you had to do anything as frequently as you had to fight random battles in some games you'd go nuts.

2. Lack of meaningful decisions (Its almost like games are based on these, pshhh)
Solution: Remove status spells if they're not gonna work on bosses. What's the fucking point. You don't want to waste mp on average enemies (which is a problem, because if the fight is meaningless why does it exist?), so every boss fight is spam the strongest shit and heal every so often. I hate to use the word gimmick, but every boss needs something that makes them different from the other guy. If boss b is just boss a with a different sprite, you've failed on that level.

If there is an option to run away, always allow it. Inflict a penalty, maybe, but dont let the player fail and get pounded on for a free turn. All this does is trivialize a decision so that the player won't ever want to use it. The sense of risk is skewed in these games. Why is running away considered harder than running up to a dude and trying to kill him through his plate armor while he is shoving a spear towards your ass.

Maybe take inspiration from the roots of rpgs and add more interactivity with the environment. In dnd swinging from a chandelier to kick somebody is every day shit. Final Fantasy X is my ideal rpg because of a number of things. 1. Every member of your party can be used and has a role to fulfill (except that loser kimhari) so nobody gets stuck in the backseat. 2. You always know when the boss's turn is coming so you can react accordingly which is just fucking smart design. How many times have you used a heal spell on somebody and then the boss kill them so now you're healing. yourself. 3. Triggers were nifty. A step in the right direction if you ask me.

3. Lack of strategy
Solution: Like cype mentioned earlier, some way to learn about enemies. It can be at the start of the fight, or before. The fact is if you go into a random battle blind (which could happen, but shouldn't be the norm), you should have a chance to prepare for it. This sounds like it would make things easy, but you balance it out with hard decisions. As a cheap example, imagine a game where you were going to this place and you knew a lot of enemies were weak against fire. You could bring a bunch of squishy mages to shoot fireballs, but the enemies also hit hard and one shot those dudes. You have to build a composition that can stand up to this.

This allows you to craft more difficult, meaningful fights instead of wondering if the encounter is too hard or easy for the players cookie cutter party. It would promote adapting to different areas, and learning about your surroundings before venturing out. The idea of a dungeon crawler entering a sacred tomb blind is just so ridiculous to me. Read a fucking book about monsters or ask the dude at the bar with one arm what the hell was in the place.

4. Progression is broken
Solution: I don't honestly think there is a single good solution to this, but we can try to come up with one.

In odnd when your fighting-man levels up he basically gets more hp. That's because hp is an abstraction of your ability to dodge, block, and withstand blows that pierced your armor amongst other things. Getting "hit" could mean that your dude expended a lot of stamina to dodge the attack and didn't necessarily take an actual wound.

The idea is that as your guy levels up he becomes better at all of these things. Your actual attributes didn't go up at all, and you COULD come across stronger weapons but the damage increase was in really small increments.

So I would propose instead of stat increases, you gain an increase of options. You might say you already do get this since in console rpgs your character gains skills and things like that, but how many really matter? Its gonna be a more damaging spell, a new status ailment spell that doesn't work on anybody who you'd need to use on it, and stuff like that.

But consider as a character got more perceptive they'd so fixtures in the environment they never noticed before. A lead pipe that was about to come loose which could be used as a weapon or something, or a banana peel you could step on by accident.

Or if a character got stronger they could lift super heavy shit. Im not talking about weapons and stuff, but vending machines and cars crackdown style. If its a fantasy style game it could effect your ability to smash through somebody's guard or even just simply shove them to the ground. Options!

As for HOW the characters actually progress...I've never found a solution I've liked. XP is really abstract, and the do it until you get better at it style is somewhat realistic, but it also promotes grinding and possibly playing your character in a dumb way just so you can max out swimming. In an ideal game that was paced incredibly well, I'd just have the character level up after overcoming an incredible challenge. It wouldn't have to be a boss, but maybe barely surviving a 1v5 fight near the brink of death. It would be hard to make it to where you couldn't game the system though, so Idk.

I have more to say but my brain is failing

CypressDahlia
11-06-2011, 05:38 PM
Yeah I hate palette swaps for enemies it's like UGH. You couldn't even come up with a new enemy.

And about the fire weakness thing. Though I do like the idea of elemental weaknesses, my main point was that a weakness shouldn't be something exploitable off the bat. With the access to things like GameFaqs, the fourth wall between how aware a character is of his surroundings is broken by how aware the player is. By that, I mean you could go into a boss fight knowing exactly what to do every turn to exploit his weaknesses just by looking them up. So the character gains some kind of incredible clairvoyance or insight based on the player's knowledge. But it should be that the character ALSO has to learn the same information through some in-game means. So that you couldn't just impart your knowledge as the player onto the character and suddenly he's prepared to fight some enemies he's never even seen before. The system shock 2 thing was the best example I could provide of this actually being done in a game. Like the Damage bonus came with the research so until your character themselves did the research and learned the enemy's weakness, they got no Damage bonus no matter how aware you, the player, was of said weakness.

ClockHand
11-06-2011, 07:08 PM
Yeah I hate palette swaps for enemies it's like UGH. You couldn't even come up with a new enemy.

And about the fire weakness thing. Though I do like the idea of elemental weaknesses, my main point was that a weakness shouldn't be something exploitable off the bat. With the access to things like GameFaqs, the fourth wall between how aware a character is of his surroundings is broken by how aware the player is. By that, I mean you could go into a boss fight knowing exactly what to do every turn to exploit his weaknesses just by looking them up. So the character gains some kind of incredible clairvoyance or insight based on the player's knowledge. But it should be that the character ALSO has to learn the same information through some in-game means. So that you couldn't just impart your knowledge as the player onto the character and suddenly he's prepared to fight some enemies he's never even seen before. The system shock 2 thing was the best example I could provide of this actually being done in a game. Like the Damage bonus came with the research so until your character themselves did the research and learned the enemy's weakness, they got no Damage bonus no matter how aware you, the player, was of said weakness.

Final Fantasy XIII

jubeh
11-06-2011, 07:18 PM
I dont like those weaknesses either it was just the easiest example

CypressDahlia
11-06-2011, 07:20 PM
That's not really what I'm talking about @ Clockhand. If you go into an FFXII battle knowing an enemy's weakness because you, as the player, read it online somewhere, then there is no learning curve. Even if the characters haven't necessarily learned it yet, YOU have already learned it through some other means, so the knowledge is automatically imparted onto the character.

What I mean is, in System Shock, you can't exploit weaknesses until your character himself knows them. So even if the player knows it, the character cannot get the damage bonus until you do the research IN the game. So you can't just like impart knowledge onto your character from the real world--your character literally has to learn it themselves through experience and research.

jubeh
11-06-2011, 07:23 PM
If you go into an FFXII battle knowing an enemy's weakness because you, as the player, read it online somewhere, then there is no learning curve. Even if the characters haven't necessarily learned it yet, YOU have already learned it t


Ahaha I remember in the pa forums this dude went off at people calling Dark Souls easy since they had been discussing how to beat bosses and sharing videos and stuff like that. Of course it would be easy if you had people telling you what to do.

Kind of like this guy


Again, Dark Souls is not a hard game, its sells as a one.

So all the times you bothered me on msn cuz you couldn't figure out a boss that was just acting right

Sylux
11-06-2011, 07:23 PM
That can actually work in some cases. For instance, .hack worked it out well, because it's a game within a game. The game inside the game doesn't have to make sense, and there's no defined story within that inception-game, and no need for that learning curve. You play the game as a game player, so it's totally natural.

CypressDahlia
11-06-2011, 07:25 PM
yeah, true. But I don't think there are many RPGs like that. Actually .hack is the only one I can think of.

WELCOME TO... THE WORLD

Actually now that you mention it, I played the entire .hack Trilogy and I realized that The World makes like NO SENSE what so ever. It's basically a giant plot device...

ClockHand
11-06-2011, 07:27 PM
So all the times you bothered me on msn cuz you couldn't figure out a boss that was just acting right

I don't have online mode, so I can't read hints from other players. And I don't think that asking for tips is bad. And you could lie to my (as you tried) or trick my, even if I ask you something I will not have the complete information.

Also, FFXIII was bad because Libra told you enemies weakness and make all your characters to exploit that weakness.

CypressDahlia
11-06-2011, 07:32 PM
The one boss I had trouble with was Ornstein and Smough because I didn't realize killing smough first was tougher than vice versa. Like...he just looks so STRONG so I figured I'd save Ornstein for last!

ClockHand
11-06-2011, 07:33 PM
My worst was the Stray Demon. It was so fucking annoying -.-

jubeh
11-06-2011, 07:39 PM
I don't have online mode, so I can't read hints from other players. And I don't think that asking for tips is bad. And you could lie to my (as you tried) or trick my, even if I ask you something I will not have the complete information.

Asking for tips isn't bad but don't say the game was easy when you had all these outside advantages. iirc you said you knew how to beat the bosses before you even played the game.

CypressDahlia
11-06-2011, 07:41 PM
Jubeh, you have Ornstein armor right? Does it make you look fat or do you think a slim wanderer like myself would look good in it?

jubeh
11-06-2011, 07:43 PM
Naw its proportionate to your body, despite ornstein being giant. I've got his spear as well but dont have the dex to wield it properly.

Inksprout
11-06-2011, 10:22 PM
Clockhand I understand perfectly what a difficulty curve is and how it is supposed to work, but I am telling you that there is no way for all players to coexist in one difficulty level without ruining the game for some games. You say that you only found Gears of War 3 satisfying to play on the hardest level. I haven't played it yet, but I am willing to bet that I would never be able to play it on insane mode, it would be almost literally impossible and I would almost certainly give up before progressing (and I am talking about hours of failure here).
You seem to think that 'how a game is meant to be played' is tied some how to how hard the game is which is just totally ridiculous. Game designers are designing an experience. Sometimes the difficulty might be tied into the experience, like in 'The Binding of Isaac' and similar games. Other times the designers want the player to feel like they are accomplished and capable of being a hero. So it seems obvious that if you expect players like me to play at the same difficulty level as players like you I'm going to have the experience ruined for me.
When I say some games are supposed to be actions games I do not mean they are supposed to be easy and 'fast food games'. I am talking about the TONE of a game. How satisfying is a war game when you have to go through the one gun fight 50 times because you suck at playing so much? Its not fun at all because it ruins the TONE of the game. Equally if you are playing a super hero game such as batman you want to be able to succeed within a reasonable amount of attempts because, hey, you're a super hero not just yourself inside the game. Yeah, I get the point of difficulty curves but forcing someone like me to try to play through a difficulty curve that someone as good as you would find satisfying would just ruin some games for me. Its not fair to just say 'You should be able to learn the skills' because no one wants to becoming good at a game if it sacrifices the tone and therefore the main point of the game. Designers certainly don't want to do this to players, which is why difficulty settings are so widely used and accepted. Through extensive testing developers have found it necessary and effective for both better and worse players. To be honest most developers don't care if their fans can play on the hardest difficulty or not because designers want to create an experience for players, not a training machine.

jubeh
11-06-2011, 10:30 PM
Yeah who gets mad about difficulty levels.

"Well if I can do it everyone else can!"

No not really.

ClockHand
11-06-2011, 11:45 PM
Clockhand I understand perfectly what a difficulty curve is and how it is supposed to work, but I am telling you that there is no way for all players to coexist in one difficulty level without ruining the game for some games.

We all have different abilities, but is when we overcome our problems and get better abilities, when the game make us better. A game without difficulty setting that goes as "this is how the game should be played" kills the idea of "casual" and "hardcore" gamers and also force you to over come your problems and the ones on the game; while when you have difficulty setting, you don't have your problems and you can shut down the problems the game impose you.


You say that you only found Gears of War 3 satisfying to play on the hardest level. I haven't played it yet, but I am willing to bet that I would never be able to play it on insane mode, it would be almost literally impossible and I would almost certainly give up before progressing (and I am talking about hours of failure here).

The game force you to first play it in Hard, so you are forced to learn everything on the game before playing in Insane. Also, Insane is horrible, you die a lot, A LOT. But it's the only moment when I feel a challenge and I feel great killing enemies and surviving (because, to be honest, I didn't any other element on the game). A friend played the game in Medium difficulty and he hasn't finished yet, not because he can't, but because he gets bored (he is the kind of person who just want the ride, but doesn't want to work in it, and the game, as has a horrible story and other things, it made to only be enjoyed while you A) play with friends in Co-op or/and B) play in the hardest difficulty setting).


You seem to think that 'how a game is meant to be played' is tied some how to how hard the game is which is just totally ridiculous.

Why is ridiculous? Do you think Megaman X would have provided the same experience if you could choose the difficulty? Or Donkey Kong? Or GTA IV? Do you believe that changing the difficulty in a game doesn't affect at all in the "how do you play it"? Or even some upgrades, like the anti bullet upgrade in Batman, don't you think those elements change the experience in the game, ergo the how the game should be played? I don't know, it doesn't look ridiculous to me.


Game designers are designing an experience.

Mind blowing, we agree in something.


Sometimes the difficulty might be tied into the experience, like in 'The Binding of Isaac' and similar games.

Sometimes? Even in easy games like Kirby's Epic Yarn the difficulty is tied to the experience. As you point in previews posts games are tied by a group of elements (art, story, etc), one of those elements is obviously the difficulty. So, if you are saying that the experience can't necessarily be tied to the difficulty, is kinda going against at your first statement.


Other times the designers want the player to feel like they are accomplished and capable of being a hero.

Other times? You are always a hero in a video game, or a anti hero. Making you feel like one is simple playing the game. If you mean, saying like a super hero, better than the other npc's and enemies, then I will ask, where is the joy in playing that? It's like reading a comic/manga were the main character is already over powerful, so where is the joy in that? How do you want the player to grow, if the character doesn't need to grow? or if the character grows and not the player? Again, it goes to my statement that video games should make you better, and through that, you can feel like a hero.


So it seems obvious that if you expect players like me to play at the same difficulty level as players like you I'm going to have the experience ruined for me.

This is the deal, you want a easy game, a ride, a roller coaster ride where you don't need to do anything in the whole game (that is what seems by your statements). If you play a game like that, you go practically against the concept of interaction, because a game is interactive only through your decisions, which you need to think and act. If a game doesn't ask you to think, you don't interact. Example: If a game tells you press B to save your ass, you are not interacting (you as yourself, a human being), but if a game put you in a complex situation where you need to save your ass through a puzzle or trying to find a escape rout, you are interacting, you are thinking, you as a person, not as someone that the games tells what to do. And it feels way more super hero-like fucking god like, when you though about it and you did it.


When I say some games are supposed to be actions games I do not mean they are supposed to be easy and 'fast food games'. I am talking about the TONE of a game. How satisfying is a war game when you have to go through the one gun fight 50 times because you suck at playing so much? Its not fun at all because it ruins the TONE of the game.

How satisfying is a war game when you need to press B quickly to success in a cinematic to save your ass? How satisfying was Kirby's Epic Yarn? How satisfying is God of War? Yeah it might be awesome for rubbing your ego and being like a kid exited by blood and explosions, but that TONE, is for my what more than 60% of the mangas out there are, just the same shit over and over again. And this is the hilarious part, because God of War sells as a mature game, but the game mechanic its made more for a kid. Then, doesn't the TONE be tied to the market target?


Equally if you are playing a super hero game such as batman you want to be able to succeed within a reasonable amount of attempts because, hey, you're a super hero not just yourself inside the game.

Actually the complete opposite. If I'm Batman, I believe I will fail more than anyone in this world. Dude trying to be Batman is fucking HARD, but is the game making you something that Batman is not just so you can go through the game easier, is what makes it's retarded.

Maybe a Superman game, and even that game have to provide challenges to the player, because if is not, then you are going to get bored to dead.


Yeah, I get the point of difficulty curves but forcing someone like me to try to play through a difficulty curve that someone as good as you would find satisfying would just ruin some games for me.

Dude, the first fps I played in console was Halo 3, and I SUCKED!!! I couldn't do anything. And you know what I did, I played it in the hardest difficulty I could, because I knew, even if I die countless of time, I would get better at the end. Yeah it's frustrating, it's hard, but at the end is beatable.

The first time I played drums on Rock Band, I SUCKED!!! I was horroble, I didn't understood anything and even in the easiest setting I couldn't handle it. You know what I did? I ask people for help, some friend taught me about drumming beats and exerciser, and in less than a week I was on the hardest setting on Rock Band (obviously in here I believe difficulty setting is great, because is the only way to make a curve... but actually, now with Rock Smith, they made a better way to do this curve).

I'm not saying that video games should be impossible to be played, I'm saying that video games should have a nice curve (like a woman, I want one that look nice, with good curves, not a flat chested or a cannon ball).


Its not fair to just say 'You should be able to learn the skills' because no one wants to becoming good at a game if it sacrifices the tone and therefore the main point of the game.

Neither they are going to play a roller coaster game. People want Challenges, some people like small challenges, others big challenges, but at the end even the biggest challenge is smaller if you get the ability to over come it, and that is my point, video games shouldn't offer you a possibility to play it easier because it does kill the experience.


To be honest most developers don't care if their fans can play on the hardest difficulty or not because designers want to create an experience for players, not a training machine.

As I see it, most developers don't even care about their fans, they care firstly that the game sells. The experience is tied with the difficulty, and it also is with the story, art, music, narration, cinematic (or not, if there is not), characters, dialogues, etc. There are a lot of things that makes the experience great, sadly as I say this before, they don't care to much about many of these, stories are let at a side, characters are not always well refined, and the narration, some times I feel like it was made by a 8 years old kid (some times I feel like everything goes fast, like a -5 second sequences, and then a long scene with though and sadness and other emotional things, I'm completely disconnected, because they didn't understood how to tell a story through the tempo, the mood and the continuity of the events).

As I see it, today games are like what the first nes games were, but with better graphic and new camera views. There is still a lot to work on those, specially in how a game should be narrated. And even the difficulty setting is gonna change by a new and better way to provide experience and challenge to the players. As I see it, there are a lot of reasons to find a better way to present challenges to the player (maybe in the future games are gonna by like Rock Smith, the better you are going, the harder the game will get, and the worst you are going, the easiest is gonna get, who knows?) because at the end, difficulty setting has problems, and I agree that a just giving one difficulty to the player also has its problems (in my point, less than difficulty setting), and that's why for my, video games have a lot to grow up.

jubeh
11-07-2011, 12:23 AM
We all have different abilities, but is when we overcome our problems and get better abilities, when the game make us better. A game without difficulty setting that goes as "this is how the game should be played" kills the idea of "casual" and "hardcore" gamers and also force you to over come your problems and the ones on the game; while when you have difficulty setting, you don't have your problems and you can shut down the problems the game impose you.

This is romantic but also pretty childish. Some people just aren't good at certain things and never will be. If you had ever had to demo a kinect for an 80 year old man you'd see things from my point of view.

People still buy strategy guides. They do, I see it every day. But I don't slap it out of their hands and say LEARN THAT SHIT PROPER because if that's how they want to play, how could you possibly be upset about that.

You don't need to get rid of the casual/hardcore dichotomy. That can only be done by shutting the fuck up about it, and frankly that will never happen. There is hardcore/casual from everywhere to baseball fans to moviegoers.

Really the number one thing here is that most people dont give a shit about being good at games. Most of the people that do tend to be douches, in my experience. Like even just saying that sounds douchey. Hey Im good at games. Ughhh. So if people exist that want to buy relaxing rollercoaster ride games, who really cares? Aside from you I mean.


Gears of war 3.

You're saying that insane should be the default difficulty because the game is so incredibly shitty the only thrill you get is from surviving setpiece firefights? Sounds like a bad game bro. The default ai being omnipotent wouldn't have saved it from being bad.


Why is ridiculous? Do you think Megaman X would have provided the same experience if you could choose the difficulty? Or Donkey Kong? Or GTA IV? Do you believe that changing the difficulty in a game doesn't affect at all in the "how do you play it"? Or even some upgrades, like the anti bullet upgrade in Batman, don't you think those elements change the experience in the game, ergo the how the game should be played? I don't know, it doesn't look ridiculous to me.

The same experience. Ha tricky wording. Who knows, difficulty levels could have added a better experience. Same being better is an american quality, clock, didn't expect that from you.

You should absolutely give options to the player, so that they can enjoy the game how they want to.


where is the joy in playing that?

I hate when people ask, "Where's the fun in that?" For the record, it makes you sound like a twat.

So you just hit this ball and run around these bases? Where's the fun in that.

Anyway.

The fun is in being the uber powerful guy, obviously. If I were playing a game where I drove around in a tank but I went down in just a couple 9mm shells I'd call bullshit.

As for comparing it to comics, it doesn't work...clearly. Every play a god game? You literally are god. Sounds awful from a narrative standpoint but its super fun.

And once again, who cares about being good at video games.


This is the deal, you want a easy game, a ride, a roller coaster ride where you don't need to do anything in the whole game (that is what seems by your statements). If you play a game like that, you go practically against the concept of interaction, because a game is interactive only through your decisions, which you need to think and act.

You're just wrong here. You realize that any input you have in a game is a decision, so the simple choice at the beginning of mario to walk left or right is a decision on its own. As long as game has even that, you are not betraying the concept of interaction.

Yeah quick time events are dumb, since there's no decision there aside to just PRESS THE BUTTON THIS AINT A CUTSCENE but those'll die soon enough.


How satisfying is a war game when you need to press B quickly to success in a cinematic to save your ass? How satisfying was Kirby's Epic Yarn? How satisfying is God of War?

I'll get back to you when I have a machine that measures satisfaction.


Actually the complete opposite. If I'm Batman, I believe I will fail more than anyone in this world. Dude trying to be Batman is fucking HARD, but is the game making you something that Batman is not just so you can go through the game easier, is what makes it's retarded.

Maybe a Superman game, and even that game have to provide challenges to the player, because if is not, then you are going to get bored to dead.

Eh batman is much more op than superman. You should know this. If they wanted the game to accurately represent batman, it would only have two buttons. Prepare and win.


Difficulty curve

Obviously games should have difficulty curves. Thats game design 101. Difficulty levels just squish the parabola a little bit.

Also you acknowledge that difficulty levels work in rock band but you refuse to accept them in other games? Eh? EH? It's the same shit! If you can't handle a game on normal, play on easy.


video games shouldn't offer you a possibility to play it easier because it does kill the experience.

No it doesnt and none of your arguments have convinced me even a little bit.


Everything else.

You know arcade games were super hard because they wanted you to pump quarters in the machine.

You know nes games were hard because they didn't want people to rent games. They were hard so you couldn't beat it in 5 days and would feel compelled to buy them.

It seems crazy now that to get your money games are easier, but difficulty levels mean it works out for everyone.

We're at a level now where we can create different experiences for different kinds of players. If it rubs you the wrong way that old people are able to play games now, consider that one day you'll be senile and shitting yourself and wishing that games had easy modes.

CypressDahlia
11-07-2011, 01:04 AM
There are some games that have a dynamic difficulty level, meaning it gets harder if you do well and easier if you're not doing so well. Honestly, I think this might be the solution to everything, though of course it should always remain an option.

jubeh
11-07-2011, 01:09 AM
Im actually playing rocksmith and I can't stand it at all. You're right that it should be optional. Or maybe even have a reverse options where it gets harder as you suck more, like demons souls kinda did.

CypressDahlia
11-07-2011, 01:23 AM
Actually, now that I think about it...observing how various games have handled 'difficulty', Clockhand may be onto something as far as retaining "experience" goes. A lot of games encourage players to try higher difficulties by depriving them of some part of the overall experience. Like when I was like 8 and playing SFA2 on one star setting, they'd never show me the goddamn endings and at the end it's like "why don't you try a higher difficulty setting? *trollface*"

Like is there any way to do this without condescending to the player? Cuz I think "normal" difficulty is generally crafted under the impression that the average player will flock to that difficulty, and therefore is made to show off how the developers wanted the majority of people to experience the game. Like, it's the "ideal" mode if you just want to feel complete playing a game. For example, on lower difficulties in MvC3, the CPU will //rarely// use team hyper combos, though that is an integral part of the game. So I think encouraging players to at least reach this level of play is good, I just don't see how it can be done without being a dick about it. Cuz honestly the only reason I decided to get better at fighting games is because those motherfuckers never showed me the goddamn endings--EVER.

And then there's the Outrun/Mega Zone method of branching levels, but that in itself is flawed as players who constantly choose the "easy" path will never get to experience the level design of the harder levels. So it's like...can we somehow encourage players to experience the harder aspects of a game (which are, undoubtedly, //part// of the game) without like...baiting them into doing it?

jubeh
11-07-2011, 01:28 AM
Regarding difficulty--

I like games that support the player gimping themselves in some way. Like doing level 1 runs in dark souls, or using only the mega buster in megaman. Stuff like that. That way when you feel like you've mastered a game, you can really just make it as hard as you want. EpicNameBro fights in dark souls without a hud and without healing occasionally, just because. Note I wouldn't play without the hud unless you WERE doing no healing cuz you wouldn't know what item you had equipped.

Inksprout
11-07-2011, 04:49 AM
To some extent games try to use achievements to encourage players to experience harder aspects of the game and push their limits. As far a I know though only really intense achievement hunters see all that much point or meaning in trying to get all the achievements. I think that having more meaningful in game rewards for beating achievements might further encourage 'lazy' players to seek out greater challenge.
Some players might just enjoy a game enough to replay it on a harder difficulty, especially with games that have a new game ++ feature where they can carry over weapons and Armour (though even without newgame++ I often begin replaying games on a harder setting).

jubeh
11-10-2011, 01:31 PM
Interesting killscreen article on game difficulty

http://killscreendaily.com/articles/difficulty-and-neoclassical-era

Fenn
11-10-2011, 08:22 PM
Interesting killscreen article on game difficulty

http://killscreendaily.com/articles/difficulty-and-neoclassical-era

Hang on brb, gonna go get me Ph.D. in English then read this.

In seriousness good article but for some reason I had trouble following it.

CypressDahlia
11-10-2011, 10:36 PM
That's basically what I was saying about certain indie games: notoriety for the difficulty level of a game is just as big a selling point as graphics or realism or whatever. Games can be famous and cherished just for being balls hard. Ninja Gaiden was not an excellent game by any means, but its rumored difficulty made it an essential for every gamer's collection.

GunZet
11-11-2011, 03:43 AM
I'm hoping Gaiden 3 is a lot better than that crapfest NG2. I swear, the sole purpose of that game was to show off the advancements in boob physics. And we all know DoA has that on lock.

CypressDahlia
11-11-2011, 06:41 AM
The girl in Ninja Gaiden 2 served absolutely no purpose. Actually, she was anti-purposeful, like worse than "useless" in the sense that she actually made things harder for you than they could've been. Hey, I have to get to the top of the statue of liberty. You have a helicopter...but go ahead and drop me off right at the bottom so I have to fight my way up.