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Thread: Storytelling in Games Thread

  1. #51
    Fenn
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delphinus View Post
    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?

  2. #52
    Super Senior Member CypressDahlia's Avatar
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    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, but I mean...there is just no way to balance that. Also, Mugen if you haven't heard of it.

    Oh, and Toribash.
    Last edited by CypressDahlia; 11-04-2011 at 10:15 PM.

  3. #53
    Palindrome Member ClockHand's Avatar
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    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.

  4. #54
    Super Senior Member CypressDahlia's Avatar
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    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.

  5. #55
    Palindrome Member ClockHand's Avatar
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    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.
    Last edited by ClockHand; 11-04-2011 at 10:58 PM.

  6. #56
    Super Senior Member CypressDahlia's Avatar
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    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:

    SPOILER! :
    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.

  7. #57
    Devilish Member Inksprout's Avatar
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    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.

  8. #58
    Sir-Mass-a-Lot Sylux's Avatar
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    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

  9. #59
    Super Senior Member CypressDahlia's Avatar
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    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.

  10. #60
    Sir-Mass-a-Lot Sylux's Avatar
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    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.

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