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View Full Version : The death of FPS, or, "If Quake was created today"



casimirsblake
03-11-2011, 09:15 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1ZtBCpo0eU

Not that it'll make it to RPS, but IMHO this is front-page worthy.

Edit: NOT a video of my own creation, BTW.

Grizzly
03-11-2011, 09:21 PM
"Mehed" trough the vast inaccuracies of the thing...

Smashbox
03-11-2011, 09:23 PM
Surely there would be more bloom effects and motion blur.

thegooseking
03-11-2011, 09:48 PM
I'm not one of "the kids" who "have it so easy these days". I'm someone with an actual memory, someone who remembers when people were sick of hearing about yet another game trying to be Quake. We got flooded with Quake-likes and it got boring. That's what the hell happened.

Flint
03-11-2011, 09:52 PM
Someone running/rocketjumping through a level in hyperspeed isn't exactly the best representation of why classic FPS games are better.

Juan Carlo
03-11-2011, 10:01 PM
I don't know. I've always though Quake was overrated. I didn't even really like it when it was released. I remember preferring "Duke Nukem 3D" and the other Build Engine games at the time. Sure it was revolutionary in working out how all following 3D FPS's would control and play, but it's just such a boring, sterile, world that it never held my interest. Plus, the levels weren't all that big or anything, and mostly consisted of finding keys to open doors over and over again, so I think people holding it up as a paragon of FPS excellence against modern shooters are looking at it through rose tinted glasses.

Dominic Tarason
03-11-2011, 10:01 PM
Someone running/rocketjumping through a level in hyperspeed isn't exactly the best representation of why classic FPS games are better.

Yeah, physics glitches and being able to skip 3/4 of each level is of interest to crazy speedrunners, and that's just about it. Quake was generally a pretty slow-paced game with relatively small monster counts, compared to Doom.

Smashbox
03-11-2011, 10:05 PM
Did someone say Monster Counts!?
http://toughpigs.com/uploaded_images/count_von_count-1-720172.jpg

Nalano
03-11-2011, 10:18 PM
I'm not one of "the kids" who "have it so easy these days". I'm someone with an actual memory, someone who remembers when people were sick of hearing about yet another game trying to be Quake. We got flooded with Quake-likes and it got boring. That's what the hell happened.

Well, to be fair, that's just one example of a fad, of which there have been plenty since. Remember the Duke Nukem-alikes a la Shadow Warrior, the spat of "hey, we should put a stealth section in because it worked so well for Thief," and the post-Halo SPEZ MAHREENS. I mean, as it stands, we're in the "brown Tom Clancy gun-wank" phase right now.

That being said, I miss the frenetic MPFPS of rocket-jumps and dodging and ridiculous twitch-aim of Quake Arena and Unreal Tournament, because we really don't have a modern-day equivalent.

Taidan
03-11-2011, 11:54 PM
Someone running/rocketjumping through a level in hyperspeed isn't exactly the best representation of why classic FPS games are better.

On the contrary, it's a beautifully illustrated example of why Quake is still a better game than 99.9% of the crap we've seen since.

Could you imagine a gamer trying to do a Quake-style speedrun on a modern shooter? It's just never going to happen, as modern shooters simply do not allow for that level of skill to be shown.

Flint
04-11-2011, 12:04 AM
Well I'd have to disagree there, I think the reason old FPS games are better to today's stuff is because of several other gameplay/design differences between the two 'eras' of which none is how well it adapts to speedrunning (which I find inherently boring).

DigitalSignalX
04-11-2011, 12:09 AM
Double obligatory:


I lolled.

Obligatory:
http://img408.imageshack.us/img408/222/leveldesign1.jpg

deano2099
04-11-2011, 12:19 AM
Could you imagine a gamer trying to do a Quake-style speedrun on a modern shooter? It's just never going to happen, as modern shooters simply do not allow for that level of skill to be shown.

You are right: games are less buggy these days. The stuff that allowed those speed-runs were happy accidents. They weren't game design. Games are tighter these days so it doesn't tend to happen too much. This is a result of games designers getting better at their jobs.

Nalano
04-11-2011, 12:21 AM
You are right: games are less buggy these days. The stuff that allowed those speed-runs were happy accidents. They weren't game design. Games are tighter these days so it doesn't tend to happen too much. This is a result of games designers getting better at their jobs.

If "getting better at their jobs" means "eliminating options for players," then yes, they're getting better at their jobs.

Consequently, have you heard of the term "emergent gameplay?"

MD!
04-11-2011, 12:30 AM
Yeah, physics glitches and being able to skip 3/4 of each level is of interest to crazy speedrunners, and that's just about it. Quake was generally a pretty slow-paced game with relatively small monster counts, compared to Doom.

Man, ask anyone who still cares about Quake, or currently plays one of its successors, whether the 'physics glitches' (i.e. bunnyhopping/strafe-jumping/weapon jumping) are of interest to them. The movement system is absolutely crucial to Quake's lasting appeal, and to the appeal of Quake Live, CPMA, Warsow, etc.

Grizzly
04-11-2011, 07:22 AM
On the contrary, it's a beautifully illustrated example of why Quake is still a better game than 99.9% of the crap we've seen since.

Could you imagine a gamer trying to do a Quake-style speedrun on a modern shooter? It's just never going to happen, as modern shooters simply do not allow for that level of skill to be shown.

This is the endless argument between CS1.6 and CSS. CS1.6 has many bugs which can be exploited. CSS has removed or is trying to remove them (even now... there were massive bugs in the recoil which only recently have been fixed, such as the Glock being more accurate while running. The result? Outrage!).

I honestly don't think that exploiting bugs trough quick 'tricks' does one make more skilled then someone else. I always ahve been much more in favor of games like the Battlefield franchise, were tactical placement and teamwork is key.

Also... I just saw the below video, and the first 60 seconds featured the same sort of hints that modern games feature (which for some reason are loathed), such as 'you can crouch here'...


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqwQvacNltE&feature=related



That being said, I miss the frenetic MPFPS of rocket-jumps and dodging and ridiculous twitch-aim of Quake Arena and Unreal Tournament, because we really don't have a modern-day equivalent.

UT3? :P.

Rii
04-11-2011, 07:38 AM
It's just never going to happen, as modern shooters simply do not allow for that level of skill to be shown.

Ah, the games-as-chess-or-sport thing. Exemplified most obviously by Starcraft. A game which was also renowned (at the time) for its narrative and stylistic achievements. Hmm.

There's nothing wrong with enjoying or even preferring games of this ilk, but they're not the only kinds of games. The problem isn't that games like Call of Duty exist, the problem is that other kinds have all but disappeared. And of course we could go into the various reasons for that...

sinister agent
04-11-2011, 07:49 AM
Quake was boring, clunky and relentlessly brown. Even Doom was much more fun, despite being a lot simpler.

I agree with Juan Carlo. Nostalgia aint what it used to be.

soldant
04-11-2011, 07:59 AM
Could you imagine a gamer trying to do a Quake-style speedrun on a modern shooter? It's just never going to happen, as modern shooters simply do not allow for that level of skill to be shown.
What, all games should become speed runs? It might just be that a lot of people don't really care about that. I watched the end of the video thinking "Wow, he's breezing through those maps in the blink of an eye. Is that fun?" Not sure about you, but cutting a game down to a few minutes of gameplay isn't fun for me.

As for level design: that diagram pretty much misses out the fact that there's still a linear progression masked by lots of backtracking. I remember one particular jokewad for zDoom which made this point pretty clear. It's a long corridor divided into two sections by a fence, with a gap at the far end. You had to go all the way to the end and over to the other side of the fence, then back down to the start, where you'd hit a switch... which revealed a switch on the other side... which revealed a switch on the other side... etc. Replace "switch" with "key" every so often for the complete effect.

I think old games are better not because of level design or mechanics like speed running but because they required a lot more imagination on behalf of the player due to technical limitations. Like Doom maps aren't overly obvious as to what they're supposed to represent due to technological limitations. Factory in Doom 2 for example could have been anything but we make the visuals fit purely because the title is "Factory", same as the Suburbs and Downtown maps. Making the primitive geometry work within the context and sorting out what it might be is what I like most about the old FPS games. Today graphical fidelity pretty much removes any opportunity for interpretation, especially since style has given way to raw realism to fuel the videocard wars.

DigitalSignalX
04-11-2011, 08:04 AM
Ah, the games-as-chess-or-sport thing. Exemplified most obviously by Starcraft. A game which was also renowned (at the time) for its narrative and stylistic achievements. Hmm.

There's nothing wrong with enjoying or even preferring games of this ilk, but they're not the only kinds of games. The problem isn't that games like Call of Duty exist, the problem is that other kinds have all but disappeared. And of course we could go into the various reasons for that...

FPS speed runs and Pro Starcraft can't really be categorized together imo. Technically you can lable them both competitive and requiring lots of practice, but the analogy fails immediately after. A quake run is pure and simple reflexive repetition and practice doing the exact same thing over and over and over hundreds, even thousands of times till you're shaving tenths of a second off each run. It's memorizing the maps and the exact precision key stroke/mouse slide to proceed.

Starcraft, and even more so with its sequel today, is about much of that, but also tactics. About the other person. About choices based on certain conditions, about unit compositions, positioning, resource management and literally dozens more evolving elements that you don't have to contend with in speed runs.

QuantaCat
04-11-2011, 08:12 AM
Well, to be fair, that's just one example of a fad, of which there have been plenty since. Remember the Duke Nukem-alikes a la Shadow Warrior, the spat of "hey, we should put a stealth section in because it worked so well for Thief," and the post-Halo SPEZ MAHREENS. I mean, as it stands, we're in the "brown Tom Clancy gun-wank" phase right now.

That being said, I miss the frenetic MPFPS of rocket-jumps and dodging and ridiculous twitch-aim of Quake Arena and Unreal Tournament, because we really don't have a modern-day equivalent.

Though of course, technically, Halo was just a Marathon clone by the original developer :D

MD!
04-11-2011, 08:21 AM
I honestly don't think that exploiting bugs trough quick 'tricks' does one make more skilled then someone else. I always ahve been much more in favor of games like the Battlefield franchise, were tactical placement and teamwork is key.

Would you say that learning to use Quake's physics engine to your advantage is a case of "exploiting bugs trough quick 'tricks'"? If so, you're implying that masterful Quake movement is not a skill -- what on earth is it, then?

As far as I can tell it's one of the purest forms of physically skilful gameplay. Mouse-and-keyboard-related physical skills might not be your idea of fun, which is fair enough. But they are skills for sure, and pretty deep ones (in terms of the gap between a mediocre player and a great player, and the amount of improvement possible for any given player).

To answer the 'Quake speedrunning is just learning through repetition' point: sure, but put it into a multiplayer context, where you're deathmatching rather than speedrunning, but with the same movement possibilities (plus a bunch of tactical concerns). Bam, instant dynamism and unpredictability, forcing you to think and act on the fly.

(Plus, it's not like you can't make use of the movement possibilities in single-player without being a full-on speedrunner. Until you memorise the levels and learn the most efficient routes, which would take a normal person a whole bunch of playthroughs, you're not really repeating a prederermined set of movements.)

Wengart
04-11-2011, 08:24 AM
Practically every multiplayer games forces the player to think and act on the fly. Its just a question of what do you decide to do based on the games style? Switch out dodge right with toss a flashbang...

MD!
04-11-2011, 09:23 AM
Practically every multiplayer games forces the player to think and act on the fly. Its just a question of what do you decide to do based on the games style? Switch out dodge right with toss a flashbang...

I think either I'm misunderstanding your point, or you misunderstood mine. I wasn't suggesting that 'thinking on the fly' was a unique feature of Quake. That was just a side-note in response to one specific comment. (I guess I didn't help my cause by failing to quote that comment.) It was this one:


FPS speed runs and Pro Starcraft can't really be categorized together imo. Technically you can lable them both competitive and requiring lots of practice, but the analogy fails immediately after. A quake run is pure and simple reflexive repetition and practice doing the exact same thing over and over and over hundreds, even thousands of times till you're shaving tenths of a second off each run. It's memorizing the maps and the exact precision key stroke/mouse slide to proceed.

Starcraft, and even more so with its sequel today, is about much of that, but also tactics. About the other person. About choices based on certain conditions, about unit compositions, positioning, resource management and literally dozens more evolving elements that you don't have to contend with in speed runs.

Ghostbear
04-11-2011, 11:13 AM
Double obligatory:
Slightly off topic, but every time I see that image I'm reminded of Might & Magic 6, and just how crazy complicated some of the dungeons in it are. It's an RPG and not an FPS, but the maps are just crazy. Whenever I replay it I always get lost in the Tomb Of Varn- just look at the map for it: http://www.the-spoiler.com/RPG/New.World.Computing/might..magic.6.1/ds-tv.jpg

gundrea
04-11-2011, 11:48 AM
Quake and Doom didn't interest me as a kid. The FPS as a genre didn't attract me until Half-Life and the multiplayer Counterstrike. After Battlefield 1942 I lost interest once again. I don't miss the superfast quake arenas at all. One can hate both the past and the present.

Vexing Vision
04-11-2011, 11:56 AM
I don't play shooters a lot, but I love watching skilled Quake or Warsow players.

Also, this video popped up in three different threads now, and I'm still loving every second of it. The Graphics On/Off is SO TRUE, and I've encountered "Shoot the Enemy to Kill Them"-hints in three or four other titles over the past year.

I miss Marathon. I miss Quake. I want to play a HD remake of BLOOD really, really badly. I quite enjoyed Bulletstorm, but I don't get much fun out of things like Battlefield or Call of Duty, and maybe Halo's a good game but certainly not on controllers.

Then again, I'm nearly as old-school as Wizardry but realize that I'm stuck in a niche-market, surrounded by titles that sell billions of copies which I have no interest in, so I can't begrudge the Big Ones not to produce the games I'd like to see anymore.

*sighs*

Graphics On/Off still cracks me up, though.

deano2099
04-11-2011, 12:24 PM
If "getting better at their jobs" means "eliminating options for players," then yes, they're getting better at their jobs.

Consequently, have you heard of the term "emergent gameplay?"

Yes, but like I say, it's a happy accident. You can't design for emergent gameplay. It's a contradiction in terms. So games designers can't be blamed for not putting more of it in.

It's like DX:HR - it doesn't have the weird game-breaking box-stacking physics stuff you could do in the first game. It does have artificial feeling areas where there are boxes near high walls specifically designed for you to do that.

baboonanza
04-11-2011, 12:42 PM
Yes, but like I say, it's a happy accident. You can't design for emergent gameplay. It's a contradiction in terms. So games designers can't be blamed for not putting more of it in.

It's like DX:HR - it doesn't have the weird game-breaking box-stacking physics stuff you could do in the first game. It does have artificial feeling areas where there are boxes near high walls specifically designed for you to do that.
That's not strictly true. Designers can ensure emergent gameplay by using simulation elements instead of/in addition to rigid scripting and by ensuring that the game mechanics are complex and deep.

That fact that nobody seems to bother anymore is just another example of the backward slide taken by the mass-market games industry recently.

MD!
04-11-2011, 12:48 PM
You can't design for emergent gameplay. It's a contradiction in terms.

Might go into this in more detail tomorrow, but I just wanted to say, I disagree! If your definition of 'emergent gameplay' makes designing for emergent gameplay logically impossible, I reckon your definition is incorrect. Even if no specific case foreseen by the designers can count as 'emergence', you absolutely can design a game in such a way as to promote the possibility of emergence.

Dugular
04-11-2011, 01:21 PM
What, all games should become speed runs? It might just be that a lot of people don't really care about that. I watched the end of the video thinking "Wow, he's breezing through those maps in the blink of an eye. Is that fun?" Not sure about you, but cutting a game down to a few minutes of gameplay isn't fun for me.

This isn't a comment about the rest of your post, just this first paragraph.

The point about a speedrun isn't about playing a game for a shorter amount of time. In order to achieve an amazing speedrun, you have to play that level for a LOOOOONG amount of time :) So quite the opposite of what you said. I think the point that was trying to be made was that there is no reason to play a level in a modern day shooter over and over again like it was in the classic days, where quick routes and tricks could be found the longer you played.

Now for my point on the general thread:
What's happening here is simply that there are more options. Back then, we had Doom, Quake, Duke3d... not many more major titles. We had time to play through longer complicated levels. Nowadays, we have so many games to play that FPS games have evolved to be quicker streamlined experiences because that's what the modern gamer wants in order to move onto the next game. And even then he/she won't get through all the current releases.

Also, we spent more time playing the single-player levels back then because online wasn't as easy of an option.

Cooper
04-11-2011, 01:32 PM
The Serious Sam series hasn't stopped existing.

The FPS genre remains diverse. EVEN more so than the Quake era.

Sure, the 'blockbusters' revolve around more-or-less a corrdior series of QTEs. But the FPS genre now also offers us S.T.A.L.K.E.R. which, on its own and asides from similar games, makes both the video posted and the map comparison redundant, lazy and a weak basis for argument.

The FPS genre has gotten stronger, more diverse, more interesting and more fun. The result of this are a few interactive movies dressed up as shooting galleries. If they didn't sell millions they wouldn;t be an issue.

So, what have we learnt from all this?
Only that there's no accounting for taste.

coldvvvave
04-11-2011, 03:08 PM
System Shock - 1994
Quake - 1996


What the hell happened? How could the genre degrade so quickly in just two years?

Tikey
04-11-2011, 03:17 PM
System Shock - 1994
Quake - 1996
Half-Life 1998
System shock 2 - 1999
Deus Ex - 2000
Serious Sam - 2001

It's not degradation, it's diversity

QuantaCat
04-11-2011, 05:17 PM
You forgot Doom before it.

Bilbo1981
04-11-2011, 06:29 PM
What can I say but "absolutely brillitant" about that video, its so true.

The Arena shooter is dead no? if not on life support. One thing I loved about quake was duels!, why doesn't anyone duel anymore? 1 v 1 is really intense and rewarding.

Basically whats happened in FPS is the same thats happened in MMORPG's is that care bears have taken over. Remove difficulty, protect the player, eliminate risk and you've got an linear experience. I don't think it is rose tinted looking back at these old games saying "oh they were shit really not as good as modern games". I mean if anyone played Quakeworld in its height the level of skill there at the top level was unsurpassed, people were literally inventing things back then (rocket jumping, bunny hopping) to get any little advantage. Ultima Online was a revolutionary game around the same time as quake which pioneered brave new ground but games went the Everquest route which is like feeding a baby.

Nalano
04-11-2011, 06:30 PM
That's not strictly true. Designers can ensure emergent gameplay by using simulation elements instead of/in addition to rigid scripting and by ensuring that the game mechanics are complex and deep.

This.

To use a non-FPS example, Dwarf Fortress is pretty much all emergent gameplay, as is Minecraft. You most certainly can plan for it: You just need a system in place and a ruleset that doesn't lock a player into one mode of thinking.

One of the issues of a lot of modern RPGs - and here's something Wizardry might actually agree with me on - is that, sometimes, you're not simulating what you'd do in some situation, but second-guessing what the developer planned for you to do in that situation, because said developer put barriers in place against most everything else. Y'know, just in case you missed the good writing s/he set up. This isn't necessarily a bad thing - it's hard to have a cohesive storyline if you don't set up some barriers - but games cluster in fads, and if you've not mind-melded with the developer, it can knock you clear out of immersion.

Similarly, one problem with today's corridor-shooters is that you're practically watching a movie with the director sitting to your left and the movie's biggest fan sitting to your right, each yelling at you, "hey, watch this scene! It's so awesome! Wait, where are you going? YOU CAN'T GO TO THE BATHROOM! YOU'LL MISS THE NEXT SCENE! Freddy, get the eye-clamps, I'll hold him down."

Smashbox
04-11-2011, 07:01 PM
I miss Marathon. I miss Quake.

I would love a new Marathon game so much! Of course, they'd probably just make it an FPS.

Wizardry
04-11-2011, 07:33 PM
One of the issues of a lot of modern RPGs - and here's something Wizardry might actually agree with me on - is that, sometimes, you're not simulating what you'd do in some situation, but second-guessing what the developer planned for you to do in that situation, because said developer put barriers in place against most everything else. Y'know, just in case you missed the good writing s/he set up. This isn't necessarily a bad thing - it's hard to have a cohesive storyline if you don't set up some barriers - but games cluster in fads, and if you've not mind-melded with the developer, it can knock you clear out of immersion.
Of course. Instead of just handing over a world together with a set of rules, modern games are handing over developer guided "experiences". For the player, you are no longer exploring a game's world using a bunch of rules and mechanics, you are experiencing exactly what the developer wants you to experience.

The Elder Scrolls, incidentally, no matter how much I think the modern iterations suck, is one of the few AAA game series that still does things the old way, but unfortunately with increasingly less rules for you to play with.

Nalano
04-11-2011, 07:41 PM
Of course. Instead of just handing over a world together with a set of rules, modern games are handing over developer guided "experiences". For the player, you are no longer exploring a game's world using a bunch of rules and mechanics, you are experiencing exactly what the developer wants you to experience.

Again, I say that's not a bad thing, per se: "Make your own story" sandboxes simply cannot provide the quality of storyboard that scripted scenes can. I will always prefer BioWare over Bethesda, LARGE HAM notwithstanding. But you do lose that freedom.

If you ask me, "experiences" are attempts at simulating the spirit of DM'd RPing, and sandboxes are attempts at simulating the mechanics of DM'd RPing. Two equally flawed visions towards an unattainable goal.

Wizardry
04-11-2011, 08:19 PM
If you ask me, "experiences" are attempts at simulating the spirit of DM'd RPing, and sandboxes are attempts at simulating the mechanics of DM'd RPing. Two equally flawed visions towards an unattainable goal.
I don't see it like that. Developer enforced "experiences" may try to invoke the narrative spirit of RPGs, but they aren't simulating anything because they are scripted. The developers can only hand write a few key branches. This method will never lead to true adaptive narrative. Open world/sandbox games do indeed simulate the mechanics more than anything else, but they also try to simulate the rest of the key components of RPGs, even though the end result is poor with current technology. You may not get to experience a scene as emotional as a cutscene in a heavily scripted RPG, but the development of games that tell at least part of their narrative through emergent gameplay is the only way to progress towards true adaptive narrative on a computer.

Nalano
04-11-2011, 08:24 PM
I don't see it like that.

I know you don't.

But know that your ideal - "adaptive narrative" as simulated by an AI - is so far away from the games you constantly laud as to make the whole argument ridiculous.

And in the meanwhile, a lot of us would prefer at least the look of such - even if we implicitly know it's on rails - as designed by writers.

Jams O'Donnell
04-11-2011, 08:50 PM
This all makes me wonder what kind of graphical mods for Quake/Quake 2 exist these days. I used to use Tenebrae years ago, but is there anything fancier now?

Wizardry
04-11-2011, 09:15 PM
But know that your ideal - "adaptive narrative" as simulated by an AI - is so far away from the games you constantly laud as to make the whole argument ridiculous.
Then how is technology ever going to progress if we don't even bother pushing the boundaries? We don't have the graphics technology we have now by creating simplistic 2D platformers.

Nalano
04-11-2011, 09:34 PM
Then how is technology ever going to progress if we don't even bother pushing the boundaries? We don't have the graphics technology we have now by creating simplistic 2D platformers.

Listing the rules for traffic and writing a believable traffic simulator are far and away two separate things, especially if you're supposed to care about the individual cars.

Social life is infinitely more complex and procedurally developing memorable characters is not something in the realm of possibility now or in the foreseeable future. In the meantime, I'll prefer BioWare characters to Bethesda cardboard cutouts.

TillEulenspiegel
04-11-2011, 09:37 PM
You don't even need "real" AI, the stuff you might study in AI courses at university or read about in journals. You don't need Google-level algorithmic genius to make an interesting simulated world for a game. You just need the intent, and a lot of work.

Dwarf Fortress is the work of one guy over a few years, and it already produces some really cool emergent narrative. If anything, the difficulty is not creating the events, but making the player aware of them. That's UX design, not AI technology.

Nalano
04-11-2011, 09:38 PM
You don't even need "real" AI, the stuff you might study in AI courses at university or read about in journals. You don't need Google-level algorithmic genius to make an interesting simulated world for a game. You just need the intent, and a lot of work.

Dwarf Fortress is the work of one guy over a few years, and it already produces some really cool emergent narrative. If anything, the difficulty is not creating the events, but making the player aware of them. That's UX design, not AI technology.

Dwarf Fortress is not an RPG so much as it's a city-builder. And yes, city-builders have found many great ways to macro social life - some in rather memorably idiosyncratic ways.

But it's not like you can walk up and have a conversation with a Dwarf.

sinister agent
04-11-2011, 09:39 PM
Well written characters and procedurally generated characters are so different that I'm tempted to call them mutually exclusive. But you could put both in a work and it could conceivably work, so they're obviously not.

But I just can't see good character writing coming out of procedural generation. Chat bots today are indistinguishable from chat bots in 1998, because human conversation just doesn't conform to rules. Or at least, not rules that computers are capable of understanding. So you can have the bioware-style well-written characters, or you can have essentially random characters, but the latter will by necessity have no or extremely limited dialogue.

Dwarf Fortress does procedurally generated characters and it works, because they're basically a hodge-podge of traits, which can influence behaviour and allow you to fill in the blanks yourself. But if you tried to do dialogue the same way, it'd be awful.

TillEulenspiegel
04-11-2011, 09:41 PM
procedurally developing memorable characters is not something in the realm of possibility now or in the foreseeable future.
Why not? No, seriously. Come up with, say, 20 major personality archetypes and 100 quirks (more than most games). Then develop a system that coarsely simulates childhood development, and let the character loose into the world to forge their own history.

It's completely doable. It doesn't need to be realistic. It just needs to be believable.

As I say, these aren't fundamental research problems. They're really just game design problems.

TillEulenspiegel
04-11-2011, 09:44 PM
But it's not like you can walk up and have a conversation with a Dwarf.
And? People get pretty attached to their Sims.

Procedural dialogue is difficult. But you can skip that problem. We're talking about design a game, not a virtual reality simulator.

Nalano
04-11-2011, 09:45 PM
Why not? No, seriously. Come up with, say, 20 major personality archetypes and 100 quirks (more than most games). Then develop a system that coarsely simulates childhood development, and let the character loose into the world to forge their own history.

It's completely doable. It doesn't need to be realistic. It just needs to be believable.

As I say, these aren't fundamental research problems. They're really just game design problems.

And who will write all those lines of dialogue?

Or will it all be in emotes a la The Sims?


And? People get pretty attached to their Sims.

Procedural dialogue is difficult. But you can skip that problem. We're talking about design a game, not a virtual reality simulator.

Okay, let's just skip dialogue. The single most important part of RPGs.

sinister agent
04-11-2011, 09:52 PM
You can procedurally generate characters, but as soon as you tried talking to them, they'd fall apart. Hell, even experienced writers (I'm including books, films, etc in this, but games are the worst for it) sometimes stumble very badly over dialogue.

The Sims works precisely because there's no dialogue. If you translated their conversations, their actions would be basically random and very dissatisfying.

Wizardry
04-11-2011, 09:54 PM
Well written characters and procedurally generated characters are so different that I'm tempted to call them mutually exclusive. But you could put both in a work and it could conceivably work, so they're obviously not.

But I just can't see good character writing coming out of procedural generation. Chat bots today are indistinguishable from chat bots in 1998, because human conversation just doesn't conform to rules. Or at least, not rules that computers are capable of understanding. So you can have the bioware-style well-written characters, or you can have essentially random characters, but the latter will by necessity have no or extremely limited dialogue.

Dwarf Fortress does procedurally generated characters and it works, because they're basically a hodge-podge of traits, which can influence behaviour and allow you to fill in the blanks yourself. But if you tried to do dialogue the same way, it'd be awful.
I wasn't really talking about dialogue. I was talking about a narrative experience. Stuff happening in the game world that result in other stuff happening in the game world. You don't need to express everything through conversations with NPCs.


The single most important part of RPGs.
Considering proper dialogue didn't really show up in RPGs until 1992, and even then it only showed up in an action RPG, I'd say that it isn't.

Nalano
04-11-2011, 09:57 PM
Considering proper dialogue didn't really show up in RPGs until 1992, and even then it only showed up in an action RPG, I'd say that it isn't.

Hi.

This may be hard for you to believe, but only through personal interaction with somebody else do you start honestly caring for and about them. Dialogue is an integral part of that. If you want people to care about your characters, you make them say things.

This is why, even in the most actiony of action movies a la First Blood, where Rambo finds creative ways to solve lots of problems, you still spend the first half hour actually humanizing the protagonist by having him interact with other people.

Wizardry
04-11-2011, 10:06 PM
Hi.

This may be hard for you to believe, but only through personal interaction with somebody else do you start honestly caring for and about them. Dialogue is an integral part of that. If you want people to care about your characters, you make them say things.

This is why, even in the most actiony of action movies a la First Blood, where Rambo finds creative ways to solve lots of problems, you still spend the first half hour actually humanizing the protagonist by having him interact with other people.
What does caring about developer written characters have to do with anything? I don't understand.

TillEulenspiegel
04-11-2011, 10:25 PM
Chat bots today are indistinguishable from chat bots in 1998, because human conversation just doesn't conform to rules
It's worth pointing out that chatbots are designed to respond to arbitrary input. When the input is constrained, it's totally different.

Turning weather data into a natural language report was one of the first examples we looked at in a computational linguistics class. More recently, I remember seeing something that did the same for a baseball game.

If the player only has a finite number of options, it turns from an extremely complex two-way interaction (which would require something approaching "true" AI) to something that's mostly one-way with a few adjustments. It's only producing natural language, not interpreting it. That kind of procedural dialogue isn't a particularly interesting problem to me, but you can do it if you want. It's a pretty hard one to do well, to create a lot of different voices and inject some personality, and it would probably require more work than the rest of the game put together to do really exceptionally well.

But it is a well-explored field academically. It's not just glorified Mad Libs.

sinister agent
04-11-2011, 10:30 PM
Fair points. It wasn't the best example. But even halfway convincing dialogue requires deliberate writing, and I think we're an absurdly long way from having computers convincingly put together all but the barest essentials of a conversation.

It's true that you don't necessarily need dialogue to care about characters, but that only really works in some types of games (eg: strategy, sims). If you're directly placed in that world as a tangible character, it's a lot harder to do without dialogue. It's just too fundamental to how we relate to other people.

I suppose you could make them non-human and unable to speak/understand speech, though.

Nalano
04-11-2011, 10:44 PM
What does caring about developer written characters have to do with anything? I don't understand.

Keiron was right: You are a bot. Either that or an alien.

To do anything, I have to be motivated. I have to care.

I don't care about cardboard cutouts. I cannot get immersed into a world where everybody acts like a bot. I can only view such games through the lens of game mechanics.

Characterization matters. Characterization is something you can't just write a program for. I don't care about villager #2354, even if he's programmed to shuttle himself from his home to his workplace at appropriate times in the day, exchanging the same three canned phrases every time he comes across another NPC.

Programs can barely speak like humans, let alone lie convincingly (or develop the motivation to lie), act condescendingly, have personal ticks whenever somebody mentions an RPG made past 1992, or any of the other things that make people human.

Wizardry
04-11-2011, 10:53 PM
I don't care about cardboard cutouts. I cannot get immersed into a world where everybody acts like a bot. I can only view such games through the lens of game mechanics.
Your "deficiencies" are not my problem, though. You hardly even see fellow humans in a game like Darklands, and it's still probably the best RPG we've ever created. Therefore I don't see how you not being able to care about a game if it doesn't have emotionally engaging dialogue and characters has anything to do with the point we're discussing.

MD!
04-11-2011, 10:57 PM
This all makes me wonder what kind of graphical mods for Quake/Quake 2 exist these days. I used to use Tenebrae years ago, but is there anything fancier now?

It's not exactly fancy, but I've been using http://nquake.com/ (which you can use for singleplayer as well as multiplayer) and one of the things it does is beautify the graphics. I think the only changes are high-res textures rather than any fancy effects, but it looks pretty nice.

DarthBenedict
05-11-2011, 12:01 AM
For Quake 1:
http://icculus.org/twilight/darkplaces/

Quake 2:
http://berserker.quakegate.ru/

Wolfdust
05-11-2011, 01:56 PM
What's being parodied here only really applied to the mainstream. It's like the movie genre, you know? CoD, BF3, that shit? It's all action movie blockbuster stuff. It's big, it's loud, but it's not the only thing in the cinema by a long shot.

You got your Serious Sams, your STALKERs, your SWATs, your ARMAs, your FEARs, etc.

Sometimes you want run and gun action. Sometimes you want a game about tension like SWAT4. Not tension of story - tension of gameplay. Whether or not there's fifty crooks with SMGs behind a door, if a surrendering criminal is really going to drop the gun or if he's going to pop up and blow your partner's face off, etc.

Variety like that is the heart any genre. And really, you only need step off the path to find it. The huge, multi-million dollar productions will almost always go to what seems to be popular at the time.

That said, the points about stuff like "combat zone" or other hints are pretty spot on with some games. Some devs simply seem to think you're pants on head retarded.

Of course, some will drop you in the middle of a monster-filled nightmare with the sole instruction of "get to this barge." And that's why I love Stalker. You get your controls option in the menu for "what are the controls?" and there is no tutorial because GSC assumes you are smart enough to know how to shoot men in a manshoot.

So I guess there's variety there too.

Unaco
05-11-2011, 02:45 PM
The death of FPS? My, my... I'm sure it was just yesterday that everyone was bemoaning the plenitude, nay, surplus, of FPS games, and now they're dying? Make up your mind.

I'm of the camp that games these days are tighter, they're less exploitable, better engineered and polished. They still require skill, they're just more agreeable with the masses, which isn't a bad thing. It's like 1 guy complaining when they close some legal loophole, because he had such a good thing going on.

deano2099
05-11-2011, 05:35 PM
This.

To use a non-FPS example, Dwarf Fortress is pretty much all emergent gameplay, as is Minecraft. You most certainly can plan for it: You just need a system in place and a ruleset that doesn't lock a player into one mode of thinking.

Yes, you can do that but:

a) it's a lot harder than people make out, as you have to figure out the different modes of thinking and make sure they're designed for. If it turns out that one strategy is always optimal and you didn't spot it, your game is broken. Which is why stuff like DF and Minecraft exist in this constant beta state. It's a lot tougher with a commercial release, especially when you're doing consoles and patches need to go through MS/Sony QA and such.

b) have any FPSs really done this? Yes, you could do it in Quake, but I'm not convinced that the game was planned with that sort of emergent gameplay in mind. It was a fairly linear shooter. When I see most of those speed runs I sort of get the impression that if those exploits had been spotted in development, they'd have been fixed.

There's two different issues here: designed linearity and openness, and accidental/emergent stuff. I'm happy to agree the design of shooters is getting more and more linear if you compare the _designed_ path in Quake to CoDBlops or whatever. But speed-run stuff is a different thing. Speed runs are about breaking the game. Making it do stuff it wasn't designed to do. Speed-runners happily admit that. So yes, games are less easily broken these days.

Nalano
05-11-2011, 06:05 PM
b) have any FPSs really done this? Yes, you could do it in Quake, but I'm not convinced that the game was planned with that sort of emergent gameplay in mind. It was a fairly linear shooter. When I see most of those speed runs I sort of get the impression that if those exploits had been spotted in development, they'd have been fixed.

Or, y'know, integrated into the core gameplay, like in Quake Arena or Unreal Tournament.

Bungle
05-11-2011, 07:43 PM
That being said, I miss the frenetic MPFPS of rocket-jumps and dodging and ridiculous twitch-aim of Quake Arena and Unreal Tournament, because we really don't have a modern-day equivalent.

We have, and will always have, TF2.

deano2099
05-11-2011, 09:34 PM
Or, y'know, integrated into the core gameplay, like in Quake Arena or Unreal Tournament.

That's sort of what I'm driving at. Once you do that it isn't emergent anymore, it's designed. And I'm in favour of doing that as much as possible, ie: increasing the variety of designed methods of play. Shadow Complex did the same thing though it worked fairly well - sequence breaking was a huge fun thing for Metroid / Castlevania fans. You can't 'cheat' Shadow Complex by exploiting bugs to break sequence, but there are some sequence breaks designed in to the game itself (and hidden well, while hinted at, enough that you won't spot them first time through).

Nalano
05-11-2011, 09:48 PM
We have, and will always have, TF2.

I know. Still wish I could have the infinity+1 maps and the ULTRAKILL and the inventive models of UT2k4.

Aseries
05-11-2011, 11:38 PM
I was around when all those old 3D games were released and had to start building my own H/W to play them. I've done every FPS I could find and I am still looking for any I missed. I still play Duke Nukem 3D and a lot of the add-ons, mods and follow-ons. I'm still building newer H/W to keep up. I especially like the Max Payne series. For pure shooting and splatter the ultimate is Serious Sam. I am getting real tired of zombies but I guess it makes for easier AI in the game design. About the toughest AI I have seen is in F3ear, or Fear 3 if you like. The scariest are the freaks with bomb vests. Another thing is, if you don't like a game, don't play it and leave the rest of us alone.

Batolemaeus
06-11-2011, 10:30 PM
I know. Still wish I could have the infinity+1 maps and the ULTRAKILL and the inventive models of UT2k4.

I'm going to go back to hammer just so i can remake that crazy map on the rotating asteroid in orbit of a planet for tf2.
Heck, someone probably already did it.

Mistabashi
06-11-2011, 11:00 PM
I'm going to go back to hammer just so i can remake that crazy map on the rotating asteroid in orbit of a planet for tf2.
Heck, someone probably already did it.

You guessed it. (http://www.gamebanana.com/maps/64407)

Nalano
07-11-2011, 01:10 AM
You guessed it. (http://www.gamebanana.com/maps/64407)

Aww, shit, I remember that map!

R-F
07-11-2011, 08:10 AM
There's a good reason TF2 is so popular...

metalangel
07-11-2011, 09:51 AM
There's a good reason TF2 is so popular...

Hats!

/10char

Donjo
07-11-2011, 02:33 PM
I was around when all those old 3D games were released and had to start building my own H/W to play them. I've done every FPS I could find and I am still looking for any I missed. I still play Duke Nukem 3D and a lot of the add-ons, mods and follow-ons. I'm still building newer H/W to keep up. I especially like the Max Payne series. For pure shooting and splatter the ultimate is Serious Sam. I am getting real tired of zombies but I guess it makes for easier AI in the game design. About the toughest AI I have seen is in F3ear, or Fear 3 if you like. The scariest are the freaks with bomb vests. Another thing is, if you don't like a game, don't play it and leave the rest of us alone.



Classic Aseries.

Dugular
07-11-2011, 02:57 PM
Keiron was right: You are a bot. Either that or an alien.

To do anything, I have to be motivated. I have to care.

I don't care about cardboard cutouts. I cannot get immersed into a world where everybody acts like a bot. I can only view such games through the lens of game mechanics.

Characterization matters. Characterization is something you can't just write a program for. I don't care about villager #2354, even if he's programmed to shuttle himself from his home to his workplace at appropriate times in the day, exchanging the same three canned phrases every time he comes across another NPC.

Programs can barely speak like humans, let alone lie convincingly (or develop the motivation to lie), act condescendingly, have personal ticks whenever somebody mentions an RPG made past 1992, or any of the other things that make people human.

Sorry for butting in here, but you're looking at things in a pretty extreme way. A few others have also said that our 'technology' is not at a point where we can have the computer creating dynamic dialogue for us. As a developer myself, I find this line of thinking to be limited. Technology has long been able to do non-scripted dialogue. The problem is that it takes a clever programmer to make it happen, and no one is doing that at the moment.

In reality, Skyrim and Oblivion are more action adventure games than RPGs. They are very good action adventure games, and are the closest thing to an 'RPG' experience that we can get in modern games, but they are still missing the main point. Yes, you can replay the game again as a different class, or being a bit more of a bully than a hero, but the story is still going to be the same, the sidequests are still going to be the same. When you've finished with all quests in an Elder Scrolls game, there is literally no reason to keep on playing, because the world isn't truly alive.

It is not impossible, just extremely difficult and requires a lot of dedication, to make a proper RPG for the computer. The trick is that you don't need a story set out in stone. What you need is a world, with a lot of history and reason for being, and a lot of political or dangerous situations sitting on a knifes edge. Everything prior to starting your game must be written and set up well, and then anything after you start the game should no longer be pre-written, and should work based on the mechanics set up.

Why is everyone simply accepting that games can not be real worlds where wars can be created between nations based on OUR involvement rather than a story-writer, or any person we meet could potentially become the spouse of our avatar.

I admit it will take a lot of hard work, which is why we are not seeing it, but it is far from impossible. Just needs love and dedication to create something like that.

Grizzly
07-11-2011, 03:05 PM
not impossible, just extremely difficult and requires a lot of dedication, to make a proper RPG for the computer. The trick is that you don't need a story set out in stone. What you need is a world, with a lot of history and reason for being, and a lot of political or dangerous situations sitting on a knifes edge. Everything prior to starting your game must be written and set up well, and then anything after you start the game should no longer be pre-written, and should work based on the mechanics set up.


Egosoft said"Hmm."
Fans of Egosoft who are also familiar with its scripting engine said "Hi"

TillEulenspiegel
07-11-2011, 03:15 PM
The trick is that you don't need a story set out in stone. What you need is a world, with a lot of history and reason for being, and a lot of political or dangerous situations sitting on a knifes edge. Everything prior to starting your game must be written and set up well, and then anything after you start the game should no longer be pre-written, and should work based on the mechanics set up.
I think you need to control certain variables when setting up your initial scenario, but you can probably fill in a lot of detail procedurally.


Why is everyone simply accepting that games can not be real worlds where wars can be created between nations based on OUR involvement rather than a story-writer
From Steve Wozniak's autobiography:

There will be people—and I’m talking about the vast majority of people, practically everybody you’ll ever meet—who just think in black-and-white terms.

So a new idea—a revolutionary new product or product feature—won’t be understandable to most people because they see things so black and white. Maybe they don’t get it because they can’t imagine it, or maybe they don’t get it because someone else has already told them what’s useful or good, and what they heard doesn’t include your idea.

They only know what they’re exposed to. It’s a type of prejudice, actually, a type of prejudice that is absolutely against the spirit of invention.
Dwarf Fortress is the tiniest little step in the direction of a big new future for games, a small glimpse of what's to come. I'm a little surprised that some can't see it except in the narrowest sense, but that's how it goes.

Keep
07-11-2011, 03:37 PM
It's worth pointing out that chatbots are designed to respond to arbitrary input. When the input is constrained, it's totally different.

Nicely put.

It's absurd to want to code an AI able to understand natural language.
But heck, look at this: http://www-csli.stanford.edu/~jperry/APA/apa/node2.html. Imagine a videogame version of that world. Very plausible, right? And very exciting, right?

Nalano
07-11-2011, 03:52 PM
Sorry for butting in here, but you're looking at things in a pretty extreme way.

I would very much like the type of game you're describing, but, as you said, nobody's doing that.

Nobody's doing that game's analog, either, where writers do pre-write the many variables possible in such a world on edge. Which leaves us with these glorified "open-world" dungeon crawlers.

Batolemaeus
07-11-2011, 05:34 PM
You guessed it. (http://www.gamebanana.com/maps/64407)

Of course. It had to be.

sinister agent
07-11-2011, 07:03 PM
I suppose there's a potential problem there, in that there might come a time when dialogue reaches the uncanny valley.

Which is no reason not to try anyway, obviously. But it would be interesting to see.

Mohorovicic
07-11-2011, 07:05 PM
That being said, I miss the frenetic MPFPS of rocket-jumps and dodging and ridiculous twitch-aim of Quake Arena and Unreal Tournament, because we really don't have a modern-day equivalent.

You might want to check that one game called Quake Live. Or Warsow. Or, you know, play UT or Quake Arena, it's not like they suffer biodegradation.

sinister agent
07-11-2011, 07:15 PM
Unreal Tournament aged amazingly well. It runs on Windows 7 with nothing but the latest patch (which was released well over a decade ago, though is still easily available). I was very impressed.

Still solid fun, too. Great weapons.

Mohorovicic
07-11-2011, 07:18 PM
Games don't age. They're not cheese. Or wine. They remain exactly the same as they were on the day of release, forever.

sinister agent
07-11-2011, 07:53 PM
...Yes they do. They age along with everything else, and when one looks back on something, it often appears diminished, as the world has since moved on. Y'know, the same reason we don't watch Greek theatre or 1950s tv. Because what was once good has since been surpassed and/or just isn't culturally relevant anymore.

I can't believe I'm having to explain this.

Wizardry
07-11-2011, 08:15 PM
...Yes they do. They age along with everything else, and when one looks back on something, it often appears diminished, as the world has since moved on. Y'know, the same reason we don't watch Greek theatre or 1950s tv. Because what was once good has since been surpassed and/or just isn't culturally relevant anymore.

I can't believe I'm having to explain this.
Games don't age. It's just that their audience gets younger.

Batolemaeus
07-11-2011, 09:04 PM
...Yes they do. They age along with everything else, and when one looks back on something, it often appears diminished, as the world has since moved on. Y'know, the same reason we don't watch Greek theatre or 1950s tv. Because what was once good has since been surpassed and/or just isn't culturally relevant anymore.

I can't believe I'm having to explain this.

And some things are essentially timeless. Like Mozart, Pink Floyd, Tetris. Dwarf Fortress is ancient in game design terms, yet it is played by quite a bunch of people and is making waves around the gaming hemisphere.

Mohorovicic
07-11-2011, 09:06 PM
...Yes they do. They age along with everything else, and when one looks back on something, it often appears diminished, as the world has since moved on. Y'know, the same reason we don't watch Greek theatre or 1950s tv. Because what was once good has since been surpassed and/or just isn't culturally relevant anymore.

I can't believe I'm having to explain this.

I can't believe just on how many levels you're wrong.

First of all, you can watch greek plays and operas in modern theatres, some ancient texts are taught in school, and Citizen Kane is still considered Best Movie Ever Made. It might not be a popular entertainment, sure, but none of it has "diminished".

Second of all, the cultural relevance and world "moving on"(whatever that means) is meaningless as we're talking about something that you experienced in your life and now experience it again.

Third, the videogames are a stillborn baby compared to your examples. Barely thirty years, much less than one lifetime, of "moving on" is a joke.

Four, none of the above actually matters since we're talking about videogames which rely on a set of rules to provide entertainment and game mechanics are culturally irrelevant. That's why they play Chess in China just as well.

Anyone who claims a game has "not aged well" is either blinded by nostalgia or just a graphics whore.

Nalano
07-11-2011, 09:17 PM
Y'know, the same reason we don't watch Greek theatre or 1950s tv.

I watch 1950s movies all the time. Not only is there some amazingly great cinema from that era, but it's easily accessible from TCM, IFC and Netflix.

Smashbox
07-11-2011, 09:21 PM
Ancient Greek epic poems are culturally important and helped to lay the groundwork for modern literature. Innovations in technique, style, and concept have allowed descendent works to become much more. You can't argue that The Odyssey has not aged. Aging doesn't diminish its importance. The same can be said of other media. Ancient Egyptian sculpture tended toward realism, but future techniques, tools, concepts, and traditions allowed later Greek and Roman sculptures to go beyond what the Egyptians accomplished.

Videogames rely on a set of rules, yes, as all games do, but they are their own medium because they rely on technology. Rapidly changing, immature technology. Painting technique, musical composition, filmmaking, literature, etc. are mature media whose advances do not require better tools, only new ideas. Video games, on the other hand, are entirely dependent on new tools and technologies. Honestly, I think this is more of a semantic argument, but of course games age. Everything ages. Pink Floyd has aged. Citizen Kane has aged. In an immature medium (any digital medium) age shows faster. It's not a pejorative.

Nalano
07-11-2011, 09:24 PM
Ancient Greek epic poems are culturally important and helped to lay the groundwork for modern literature. Innovations in technique, style, and concept have allowed descendent works to become much more. You can't argue that The Odyssey has not aged. Aging doesn't diminish its importance. The same can be said of other media. Ancient Egyptian sculpture tended toward realism, but future techniques, tools, concepts, and traditions allowed later Greek and Roman sculptures to go beyond what the Egyptians accomplished.

Videogames rely on a set of rules, yes, as all games do, but they are their own medium because they rely on technology. Rapidly changing, immature technology. Painting technique, musical composition, filmmaking, literature, etc. are mature media whose advances do not require better tools, only new ideas. Video games, on the other hand, are entirely dependent on new tools and technologies. Honestly, I think this is more of a semantic argument, but of course games age. Everything ages. Pink Floyd has aged. Citizen Kane has aged. In an immature medium (any digital medium) age shows faster. It's not a pejorative.

Perhaps, but those gameplay modes don't. Tetris has gotten umpteen facelifts since its inception in 1984. It still plays the same, 'cept now everywhere from iphones to graphing calculators can play it.

sinister agent
07-11-2011, 09:26 PM
Jesus christ people, I was very obviously talking in general terms. This whole conversation started with me saying that something hadn't aged, indicating that not everything does. At no point did I say that everything that isn't new is obsolete and inferior.

I can't believe the obtuseness on display here right now.

soldant
08-11-2011, 03:34 AM
This is why I love the RPS forums. A thread starts out talking about the possible decline of modern PC gaming, and ends up with a discussion about Greek theatre and poetry... and there's actually a logical thread to follow to this conclusion.

DigitalSignalX
08-11-2011, 04:16 AM
Isn't it a kind of curious parallel though that the film industries technological progress (albeit much, much slower) has gone from allowing movies to be largely actor and narrative driven to much more visually spectacular, but shallow in terms of plot. Much like AAA games have over a shorter period of time.

Obviously there are many exceptions in both industries, but if you looked at the last couple years of top selling games and highest grossing movies, I don't think it's an unfair analogy.

Mohorovicic
08-11-2011, 08:26 AM
Videogames rely on a set of rules, yes, as all games do, but they are their own medium because they rely on technology. Rapidly changing, immature technology.

Technology that is only relevant as far as running the games goes. The input/control mechanism(keyboard and mouse) didn't change at all since the games were created and they will probably never change because they work so well.

Kaira-
08-11-2011, 09:45 AM
Technology that is only relevant as far as running the games goes. The input/control mechanism(keyboard and mouse) didn't change at all since the games were created and they will probably never change because they work so well.

Mouse is relatively new input mechanism, and I have no doubts that it won't be eventually replaced by something else.

hamster
08-11-2011, 10:47 AM
Can't we stop using analogies and speak in more concrete terms?

There are definite, observable things that have evolved away from what it was in the past, technologically as well as in terms game design.

UI for example. What used to be a disorderly mess that took up a lot of monitor real estate is now tucked into sub-menus and context sensitive commands.

Convenience is another example. Older games typically had the player memorize some nugget of fact or quest objective or the quest giver's location, probably all at once. Now we have a mini-map to locate people as well as important places and a quest log or more comprehensive journal.

Percentage-heavy systems: Far less reliance on % based success. More consistency and less save-load scumming.

Less backtracking: A little bit arguable as to whether this is an improvement or not but wanton backtracking to do this or that or this in an effort to reach the goal is boring. Now we have a larger variety of environments as well as (if applicable) a narrative reason to progress.

That's just touching the surface on things that are an absolute improvement. Of course games like Doom are historically important, like Citizen Kane but I think under a contemporary analysis people won't be too flattering of either of them. Personally I thought CZ introduced Kane's character as a concept, rather than well, a character. And then there was the horrible device @ the end (TEH SLED) which annoyed the hell out of me. As for Doom, no thanks. I don't think i could ever bring myself to play games like Hexen.

That being said, of course, some games/genres hold up fairly well. But to say that ALL games don't age is something I definitely disagree with.

soldant
08-11-2011, 11:18 AM
UI for example. What used to be a disorderly mess that took up a lot of monitor real estate is now tucked into sub-menus and context sensitive commands.

Convenience is another example. Older games typically had the player memorize some nugget of fact or quest objective or the quest giver's location, probably all at once. Now we have a mini-map to locate people as well as important places and a quest log or more comprehensive journal.

Less backtracking...

Didn't you get the memo? Unless a game has an incomprehensible UI, a billion key combinations, and a level designed entirely around backtracking, it has been dumbed down for the console kids and isn't worth playing. Unless it's an indie title, then it's an elegant artistic expression of simplicity, showing how all of life's actions can be boiled down into one button: DO. For should you choose to do not, then no button push is needed, and no advancement is required.

Mistabashi
08-11-2011, 11:39 AM
Isn't it a kind of curious parallel though that the film industries technological progress (albeit much, much slower) has gone from allowing movies to be largely actor and narrative driven to much more visually spectacular, but shallow in terms of plot. Much like AAA games have over a shorter period of time.

Obviously there are many exceptions in both industries, but if you looked at the last couple years of top selling games and highest grossing movies, I don't think it's an unfair analogy.

I'm not really sure if thats true, I think its more a case that we only tend to remember things that have a certain degree of artistic merit, the shallow 'trashy' movies, games, novels etc are pretty much designed to be throwaway experiences. There's a mountain of 1950s cinema that is and was absolute garbage, just like there's a pile of FPS' from the mid-nineties that no-one cares to remember.

In twenty years time when we look back at the games of 2011 we aren't going to be remembering the ones that sold the most or had the best graphics, we'll be remembering the ones that did something new or had the best storytelling or whatever. In fact there will probably be some guy who goes by the name of "Witcher" trolling gaming forums about how every game is terrible unless its an action-RPG from 2011...

Dugular
08-11-2011, 01:08 PM
I know the topic has veered a bit from the 'Games do/don't age' section, but allow me to chuck in my two pence.

Games don't age. We just get more experience. If someone who hasn't seen any games since the 80s is made to play Elder Scrolls: Arena or Daggerfall, I'm sure he would have the same excitement that we are hoping to get from Skyrim.

Ok, continue!

Nalano
08-11-2011, 07:12 PM
I know the topic has veered a bit from the 'Games do/don't age' section, but allow me to chuck in my two pence.

Games don't age. We just get more experience. If someone who hasn't seen any games since the 80s is made to play Elder Scrolls: Arena or Daggerfall, I'm sure he would have the same excitement that we are hoping to get from Skyrim.

Ok, continue!

True that. Or to quote Tina Fey on 30 Rock: "It was a lot easier when our audience wasn't as savvy."

Mohorovicic
08-11-2011, 08:01 PM
Can't we stop using analogies and speak in more concrete terms?

There are definite, observable things that have evolved away from what it was in the past, technologically as well as in terms game design.

Your rather risky examples of said improvements aside, so what? If you were able to play System Shock back in '94 despite its horrendous control scheme, what stops you from doing the same today?

deano2099
08-11-2011, 09:03 PM
Your rather risky examples of said improvements aside, so what? If you were able to play System Shock back in '94 despite its horrendous control scheme, what stops you from doing the same today?

Nothing, one just just doesn't want to. Much like how I could survive for a month on pasta, beans and bread at university but now I have a job I eat proper meals instead.

Wizardry
08-11-2011, 09:20 PM
Nothing, one just just doesn't want to. Much like how I could survive for a month on pasta, beans and bread at university but now I have a job I eat proper meals instead.
"System Shock isn't a proper game because Call of Duty is."

Jacques
08-11-2011, 10:22 PM
I'm not one of "the kids" who "have it so easy these days". I'm someone with an actual memory, someone who remembers when people were sick of hearing about yet another game trying to be Quake. We got flooded with Quake-likes and it got boring. That's what the hell happened.

I remember when the French version of PCG used to refer to FPS games as "Quake-like".

deano2099
08-11-2011, 10:46 PM
"System Shock isn't a proper game because Call of Duty is."

'Proper' was probably a bad choice of word in retrospect.

Taidan
08-11-2011, 11:54 PM
If you were able to play System Shock back in '94 despite its horrendous control scheme, what stops you from doing the same today?

Just to nit-pick for a second...

System Shock's control scheme is awesome. It's pretty straight forward, but allows for a fine degree of control. You just have to use the "Full Screen" option to get the best out of it. I still pull that game out once every couple of years. (Thank-you DOSBox for making that task a lot easier.)

sinister agent
09-11-2011, 02:06 AM
"System Shock isn't a proper game because Call of Duty is."

"I kill homeless people for sexual thrills."

Oh hey, it works when I do it, too!

Grizzly
09-11-2011, 08:27 PM
I remember when the French version of PCG used to refer to FPS games as "Quake-like".

Germans just call them all "ego-shooters"

Which is an apt naming.