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  1. #101
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gwathdring's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kadayi View Post
    With CRPGs the fundamental problem is that the model largely adopted from P&P is the D&D one of levelling up your character and gathering loot. It's all about acquisition and variety as a mindset. Not all P&P RPGs necessarily followed that model. Games like Traveller for example were much more orientated around 'this is your objective (rescue princess, destroy oil refinery, break out of space prison), now come up with a plan to see it through' and the reward was in achieving the objective. Looking at games like Watchdogs which appear to feature asynchronous co-operative play (players aren't necessarily in exactly same space) there's likely more opportunity for exploring those other models.
    I agree. It's becoming a habit of mine to plug alternative systems on which to base CRPGS; the D&D formula has made some good games, but it's held back a lot of games that didn't need it too. But what about Final Fantasy style games that don't rely on D&D type systems? Those aren't borrowing from a hack-n-slash tabletop culture and they still lean on combat. Is it just that there isn't a good way to incorporate that kind of mechanical system into non-combat situations? Mechanical issues aside, it seems RPGs disproportionately favor combat. Most of the story/character centric games I can think of that aren't mechanically combat oriented are adventure games and IF games.
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  2. #102
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Hypernetic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwathdring View Post
    I agree. It's becoming a habit of mine to plug alternative systems on which to base CRPGS; the D&D formula has made some good games, but it's held back a lot of games that didn't need it too. But what about Final Fantasy style games that don't rely on D&D type systems? Those aren't borrowing from a hack-n-slash tabletop culture and they still lean on combat. Is it just that there isn't a good way to incorporate that kind of mechanical system into non-combat situations? Mechanical issues aside, it seems RPGs disproportionately favor combat. Most of the story/character centric games I can think of that aren't mechanically combat oriented are adventure games and IF games.
    Hmm. Off the top of my head I suppose you could have an RPG where you play the role of a con man. You start of with petty cons and gain experience and such which allows you to pull off greater cons. I guess it could be an open world-ish game where you can use the money you've earned to buy cool cars, mansions, and yachts or something? I don't know, maybe not the best idea but it would be an RPG without combat.

  3. #103
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timofee View Post
    I'd prefer an option to negate combat.
    Didn't ME3 grant you just that?
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  4. #104
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Hypernetic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    Didn't ME3 grant you just that?
    By turning it off?

  5. #105
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gwathdring's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    Didn't ME3 grant you just that?
    Yes, but that's sort of a cop out. It's sort of cool that you can skip the combat just like you can skip cut-scenes in some games, but it doesn't fix the combat and non-combat game segments connecting really poorly. You can just skip one or the other if the disconnect bothers you enough. I guess it's still better than nothing, which is pretty much what Timofee seemed to be saying.
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  6. #106
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    Gwathdring, I am afraid I am too lazy to write down the stuff I intended to. Sorry.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  7. #107
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwathdring View Post
    Yes, but that's sort of a cop out. It's sort of cool that you can skip the combat just like you can skip cut-scenes in some games, but it doesn't fix the combat and non-combat game segments connecting really poorly. You can just skip one or the other if the disconnect bothers you enough. I guess it's still better than nothing, which is pretty much what Timofee seemed to be saying.
    I think what he was saying was "I love them and on many occasions enjoy the combat but for those where I don't, I'd prefer an option to negate combat," and then went on to say he didn't like DA2's combat: ie, he didn't like DA2's combat, but otherwise enjoyed DA2. Personally, I liked DA2's combat. It's a subjective assessment. Usually, you don't get to pick and choose at all, but I fail to see how granting the option for those who simply can't stay away from a game nor tolerate slogging through the parts they don't like is a "cop-out."
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  8. #108
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gwathdring's Avatar
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    Fair enough. I meant more that it is a poor substitute for making the combat and the non-combat bits feel like one game that can't be pulled apart by a skip-to-the-better-bits mechanic. It is a subjective assessment, but I don't think it's quite the one you think I'm making.
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  9. #109
    Network Hub alh_p's Avatar
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    Patrons of the RPS forum, I'd like to introduce you to society. I'd also like to warn you that society has a fair few paradoxes and foibles.

    Violence in other media, as a comparison to games, has been touched upon but it doesn't seem that anyone has mentioned the social context in which popular media, games included, are created or consumed. Like it or not, violence is dramatic and engaging. I'd venture to suggest that this attraction is a fundamental human/social (perhaps majorly male) trait.

    Why bemoan violence in computer games when it is rife in all media, not least society as a whole? Games are still overwhelmingly targetted at young (ish) adult males - a sub-section of society particularly entranced by violence.

    I can undertsand the discussion being about the degree and context of violence protrayed in games, but given the backdrop of rampant glorification of violence in society as a whole, and the likely population of the gaming market's consumers in particular, it seems pointless or naive to wring one's hands about why there is violence in games.
    Last edited by alh_p; 20-06-2012 at 12:13 PM.

  10. #110
    Network Hub Rakysh's Avatar
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    I think the key difference between games and other media is agency, though. On some level you're the one performing the violence, however far removed from actual violence that is. In film or books while you may be sympathising with the violencer, it is not on any level "you".

  11. #111
    Lesser Hivemind Node Timofee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    Didn't ME3 grant you just that?
    Did it? Intriguing, I actually quite enjoyed ME3 combat, on normal at least. Once you upped the difficulty it did fall into the old trap of more health on enemy = nastier, although I suppose it did have a slight addition in that because most bad guys acquired shields / armour you had to use your abilities more wisely.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    I think what he was saying was "I love them and on many occasions enjoy the combat but for those where I don't, I'd prefer an option to negate combat," and then went on to say he didn't like DA2's combat: ie, he didn't like DA2's combat, but otherwise enjoyed DA2. Personally, I liked DA2's combat. It's a subjective assessment. Usually, you don't get to pick and choose at all, but I fail to see how granting the option for those who simply can't stay away from a game nor tolerate slogging through the parts they don't like is a "cop-out."
    I can speak for myself! ;P Also yes, that's what I meant

    I certainly think having the option there is no bad thing, after all you've paid for the game, why cant you just play the bits you want? It doesn't diminish anyone else's experience.

    As to it being a cop out, I think I can see the angle gwathdring is coming from... namely, in a game which is purportedly about choice, and indeed in conversations does occasionally give you non-violent means to resolve matters, the fact that such a 'skip combat' button still effectively means your character killed those people is a bit of a cop-out for those people who want to identify with the actions of their character.

    It's absolutely a good stop-gap solution and I'm not realistically saying that ME3 could have been pitched where there was a non-violent path through the game. However I do think it would be interesting to play a game designed from the ground up to be non violent or offer a non violent path.

    DX:HR did a reasonable job, excepting the boss fights, although even then its arguable, as to all intents and purposes you've broadly played the same way. The marginal difference is at the end of the level the guys crumpled on the ground are said to be unconscious rather than dead.

    Its an incredibly difficult problem to solve as if for example you look at TV shows and films, one of the principal tools for non-violent shows/films is either drama or investigation (or more often: both)

    Drama in games can be reproduced but thus far it seems to be chiefly via cut scenes. I suppose you could argue that Minecraft has a type of drama in the fear of the night - the sun is going down and you must get inside but sadly its only particularly effective the first few nights of a new world and is influenced by the fear of death

    I am really interested to see the development of games with what you could call emergent drama in the future. I think things like Day-Z are really interesting (although clearly this is motivated by violence) and likewise games such as the Sims have a good sense of drama.

    For investigation: I do think a game which manages to cultivate some kind of engaging investigatory element which doesn't rely on being heavily scripted by the designer will be very successful. Again I think games which allow you to explore have this but the real key is how you make a whole game out of that and keep it rewarding.

    I'm thinking out loud here so apologies if this doesn't make a great deal of sense. Feel free to pick it apart.

    Quote Originally Posted by alh_p View Post
    I can undertsand the discussion being about the degree and context of violence protrayed in games, but given the backdrop of rampant glorification of violence in society as a whole, and the likely population of the gaming market's consumers in particular, it seems pointless or naive to wring one's hands about why there is violence in games.
    Is that the discussion though? I may be wrong, but I don't think anyone is saying that violence in games should be stopped /lessened etc, nor are they necessarily questioning why violent games are popular. I think its just that we feel there an great untapped potential for more non-violent games. And personally to me I think that's particularly true in spaces which traditionally are the preserve of violence in some form or another such as first person games and RPGs
    Last edited by Timofee; 20-06-2012 at 01:31 PM.

  12. #112
    Lesser Hivemind Node Timofee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rakysh View Post
    I think the key difference between games and other media is agency, though. On some level you're the one performing the violence, however far removed from actual violence that is. In film or books while you may be sympathising with the violencer, it is not on any level "you".
    This is a very valid point also I think there should be a Jean Claude Van Damme film called 'The Violencer'

  13. #113
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Kadayi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwathdring View Post
    I agree. It's becoming a habit of mine to plug alternative systems on which to base CRPGS; the D&D formula has made some good games, but it's held back a lot of games that didn't need it too. But what about Final Fantasy style games that don't rely on D&D type systems? Those aren't borrowing from a hack-n-slash tabletop culture and they still lean on combat. Is it just that there isn't a good way to incorporate that kind of mechanical system into non-combat situations? Mechanical issues aside, it seems RPGs disproportionately favor combat. Most of the story/character centric games I can think of that aren't mechanically combat oriented are adventure games and IF games.
    As the technology advances and developers are able to build new play models we're likely to see more convergence between the genres I'd say.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hypernetic View Post
    Hmm. Off the top of my head I suppose you could have an RPG where you play the role of a con man. You start of with petty cons and gain experience and such which allows you to pull off greater cons. I guess it could be an open world-ish game where you can use the money you've earned to buy cool cars, mansions, and yachts or something? I don't know, maybe not the best idea but it would be an RPG without combat.
    Certainly the idea has potential, however it would just be swapping out one conquest mechanic for the other really through. It's effectively still operating on the principal of action leading to larger and larger material rewards, rather than being an alternative to it.

    If we compare your atypical action adventure game to a film, it's not a case necessarily in the film that the protagonists story arch is regularly punctuated with him/her progressing through a series of better weapons Vs encountering different forms of situational peril and finding the means to overcome them (personal mastery, inner belief etc, etc). Luke Skywalker isn't finding Lightsabre +2 in some secret cache for instance.
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  14. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by zookeeper View Post
    I think this pretty much sums up where we're at with technology currently. The central characteristic of 99% of narrative is conflict, but interpersonal conflict is not something that machines are good at replicating without using violence.
    You're on the right track but I'd go one further.

    Computers are very capable. Books are just text and that's the easiest thing a computer can possibly work with, so machines are more than capable of conveying textual narratives. It's just that computers are relatively physically uncomfortable when it comes to reading, plus they're capable of advanced physics simulations and multimedia splendour so we tend to feel short-changed when every chip in our machines isn't blazing.

    It's on my mind so I'll incorporate Microsoft's new hybrid tablet\laptop thing into my argument. Let's say this thing becomes popular enough that it influences the types of games that come out. It can be used on a lap or on a desk or in bed. Could a comfortable computer change our tolerance for written narrative in games? Could there be an audience for games that have action sequences interspersed with 8000 words of exposition? Could a medium like this be the spark that ignites the popularity of visual novels (like Digital: A Love Story)?

  15. #115
    Network Hub alh_p's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timofee View Post
    Is that the discussion though? I may be wrong, but I don't think anyone is saying that violence in games should be stopped /lessened etc, nor are they necessarily questioning why violent games are popular. I think its just that we feel there an great untapped potential for more non-violent games. And personally to me I think that's particularly true in spaces which traditionally are the preserve of violence in some form or another such as first person games and RPGs
    It's what I took from the OP, but nevermind: carry on.

  16. #116
    Lesser Hivemind Node postinternetsyndrome's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alh_p View Post
    It's what I took from the OP, but nevermind: carry on.
    What Timofee wrote is pretty much exactly what I meant with my OP. I think the discussion of why we have so much violence in our games is interesting, but it is only a secondary consideration in this thread. I was mainly interested in what kind of alternatives exist or could exist.

  17. #117
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timofee View Post
    However I do think it would be interesting to play a game designed from the ground up to be non violent or offer a non violent path.
    The original Fallout comes to mind. You can go the whole game without firing a shot in anger.
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  18. #118
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    Still, the nonviolent paths in things like Fallout tend to be noticeably different in mechanics. Ideally in a nonviolent RPG we'd be replacing combat with something as complicated, in the sense that it allows near-infinite possibilities and all manner of ideas and strategies that the developers didn't think of. At the same time we want it not to be some kind of gamey abstraction (presumably gamey abstraction is something we're trying to avoid, or we wouldn't be having this thread), which is potentially very limiting. For instance, we're not going to be able to make a conversation-based mechanic that isn't either mechanically simple with very limited player choice or obviously having little to do with conversation.

    I suppose another possibility is to make the core game mechanic something that isn't real, such as magic or super-advanced hacking. We don't have to worry quite so much about abstraction at this point because we're modelling something that isn't real, that we wouldn't know how it worked anyway. Of course you can still be too gamey here (for instance, an RPG based on some sort of Magic: The Gathering style of spellcasting would probably be too obviously gamey) but this would provide more freedom.

    Any other ideas?
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  19. #119
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Kelron's Avatar
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    Problem with conversations in games is that 99% of them boil choices down to a single button press. Each choice is a disconnected event with very limited or no effect on your future choices. Only a few games attempt more complicated systems (Masq, Alpha Protocol).

    Why don't more games attempt greater depth? We're back to what the (current) gaming audience wants. Why invest time and money into something difficult and ambitious when most people just want a shooting game? We've also seen some nasty backlash from gaming communities against the idea of trying to reach a wider audience (automatically equated to "dumbing down" or making "casual" games).

  20. #120
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Well, I think there's also a difference in expectations from the player vis a vis dialogue and combat.

    When we do have dialogue mini-games like Bethesda's weird system in Oblivion or in Alpha Protocol, a lot of people are turned off by the abstraction of it. When you mask the branching dialogue paths like in LA Noire or Deus Ex: Human Resources (srsly, that's always what pops in my mind), people get miffed that the character isn't saying exactly what they want to say.

    Imagine, for a moment, if dialogue were a rapid-fire system that involved a great deal of accuracy and split-second timing, but people complained whenever firearms were more complicated than pressing a button for "pick it up and shoot him." Throwing up threads in forums like "bullet spread? WTF is that?! I wanted the bullet to go right between his eyes and instead it veered off! I hate this game!"
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