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  1. #21
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus mashakos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobF View Post
    Every person has their Corvo and has their story, y'know?
    I'm always puzzled by this when people discuss emergent games. If the story is relegated to audio loops and text archives, wouldn't that dilute the whole narrative? Another World told a story without a single line of text way back in 1991, it was all from the gameplay. To make the story have any emotional impact though, it had to be heavily linear, you couldn't reach the last scene with a bazooka slung over your shoulder or special camouflage abilities: that would have ruined the ending.

    So by story do yo mean experience?
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  2. #22
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus SirKicksalot's Avatar
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    Some people need a heavy introduction in order to care for something and identify with characters/struggles. I'm able to instantly identify with the main character and his struggle.
    I'm glad I have this ability and I feel sorry for those that do not. I bought Dishonored's fiction the minute I started the game. I am Corvo, not just playing as him.

    Perhaps it has something to do with my Jungian personality type, INFJ. Specifically: (INFJs) take things in primarily via intuition (...) INFJs have uncanny insight into people and situations. They get "feelings" about things and intuitively understand them.

    It's hard to explain the way I feel about most game narratives. Honestly I don't understand why people complain about most of them. Barebones details, goals, characterisations and introductions are more than enough for me to be completely immersed.

  3. #23
    Lesser Hivemind Node RobF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mashakos View Post
    I'm always puzzled by this when people discuss emergent games. If the story is relegated to audio loops and text archives, wouldn't that dilute the whole narrative? Another World told a story without a single line of text way back in 1991, it was all from the gameplay. To make the story have any emotional impact though, it had to be heavily linear, you couldn't reach the last scene with a bazooka slung over your shoulder or special camouflage abilities: that would have ruined the ending.

    So by story do yo mean experience?
    No, I mean story.

    There's bookends to chapters that the developers provide, you get given the opening paragraph and you get given the ending paragraph, you fill in the rest yourself. Your experience in the game becomes the story of how the character got from the position he was in at the opening paragraph to the end. You are writing the chapters, how the events play out, that's your part.

    When used successfully (and many games don't manage this), audio logs and lore books are incidental details to pad out the narrative, to add further substance to it. An audio log is a paragraph describing actions the hero can't witness, a lore book a ramble the author may drift into describing a place or a time that again, the hero can't witness.

    Maybe that's not the kind of story you're writing though. Maybe the one you're writing is the one about the oblivious killer who stumbles from corpse to corpse, forever doing what he's told and knowing nothing about the world around him...
    Last edited by RobF; 29-10-2012 at 01:50 AM.
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  4. #24
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus mashakos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SirKicksalot View Post
    Some people need a heavy introduction in order to care for something and identify with characters/struggles. I'm able to instantly identify with the main character and his struggle.
    I hate, HATE long intros full of exposition. That was the worst thing about Stalker Call of pripyat. TBH I shut off the game after the intro ended, I just knew the story was complete garbage from that lazy ass "previously in STALKER land" montage. Planning on getting back to it but only to mess around and explore.
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  5. #25
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus mashakos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobF View Post
    Maybe that's not the kind of story you're writing though. Maybe the one you're writing is the one about the oblivious killer who stumbles from corpse to corpse, forever doing what he's told and knowing nothing about the world around him...
    that, and any other variation would be just a series of actions. You can make a story out of those sequences, which is cool. Having a linear experience provides the game designer an opportunity to present a unique vision.

    How would you fabricate the torture scene in MGS on your own for example? Skip to 7:58, hideo kojima cut scenes are long...


    Last edited by mashakos; 29-10-2012 at 02:05 AM.
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  6. #26
    Lesser Hivemind Node RobF's Avatar
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    I don't understand. I don't know why you'd want to?
    My actions are in no way born out of some sort of Darwinist offensive
    I just get a bit fidgety times

  7. #27
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus mashakos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobF View Post
    I don't understand. I don't know why you'd want to?
    I guess it doesn't translate as a long youtube clip. This scene deviated from the standard game mechanics: you were told that if you lost you would be dead and would have to start the game over (that was just a bluff). If you yield, you would then give up the location of one of the major characters in the game who you then mourn at the game's ending (she was tortured and killed because you gave her up). There were some powerful moments after you live through the torture and escape, where you share an intimate moment with a character over a radio codec conversation. There was also a clever part where a doctor in the game instructs you over the radio to place your controller on your upper arm. If your controller supports force feedback, it will vibrate in a sequence that's similiar to a massage chair's. That was the doctor's way of "massaging" your arm muscles after rapidly hammering your game pad to survive the torture scene.

    All this is not possible in a sandbox gameplay style.
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  8. #28
    Network Hub Namdrol's Avatar
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    Hey RobF, is your sig a quote from a song? I think the disc was called Baader Meinhoff. Hate Socialist Collective: Burn Warehouse Burn! Loved that record...

  9. #29
    Lesser Hivemind Node RobF's Avatar
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    @mashakos

    Right, but that's a fourth wall breaking set piece right? What purpose would emulating it in a sandbox achieve? That's the bit I'm not understanding. Why would I want to reproduce that segment, that authored and designed segment, in a scenario where I want the player to be the author and designer? I don't see it as an issue I need to resolve because we're looking at two different design goals.

    Or is there something specific you think I should be emulating were I writing an open world game? I'm not sure I've got this right so sorry if I'm way off and missing something painfully obvious to the rest of the world.

    That said, the obvious and cop out answer is "well, you make it one of the bookends, job's a good 'un" but that's a cop out, obviously.

    @namdrol. Good spot! I was going to go with a line from There's Going To Be An Accident but I figured "you're going home in a fucking ambulance" probably wasn't the best sig to wear.
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  10. #30
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SirKicksalot View Post
    Some people need a heavy introduction in order to care for something and identify with characters/struggles.
    That would be an example of bad storytelling, which is separate from bad plots.

    Either way, this is a video game we're talking about. I don't expect great literature from the airport gift shop, and I don't expect great writing from my video games. On occasion I'm pleasantly surprised, but how is bad writing in a game otherwise noteworthy?
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  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobF View Post
    I didn't think there was anything wrong with the writing, it was perfectly fine. Criticising Dishonored for its story seems odd to me. The story in Dishonored is the story you tell, the one you write with your actions. Blahblahblah
    God, not this shit again. No, just because I can either choke or poke a guard doesn't make it "my story". Just because I can explore find all the Bone Charms or not doesn't suddenly elevate me to the role of a "storymaker". The story of the game is fixed and doesn't change a damn depending on your actions beyond a literally binary morality system that is so abstract it seems to be almost completely arbitrary.

    "This is your story" is a stupid argument that is only used by fanboys as a bad excuse; it's equivalent to "Halo is a roleplaying game because you play the role of Master Chief" in its nonsense.

  12. #32
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus jnx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Makariel View Post
    I think the plot twist was not what you think it was, otherwise you'd not call it a stupid game. SPOILERS the character you play dies in the opening scene. Everything after that is his personal nightmare, a descent into "hell". The flashback of what happened before was told by a unreliable source, since the main character clearly has PTSD. Did you for example notice that you always go down in this game? Yet, you always seem to be on the top of skyscrapers. When the helicopter scene comes again, the main character even shouts "No, this is all wrong! We've done this before!" etc. I could go on but this threat is about dishonored not spec ops ;)
    Oh. Now that does sound genuinely interesting. I think I quit just before the end, couldn't stand the generic gameplay anymore. Was assaulting the lair of the big bad or something with what team I had left.
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  13. #33
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus coldvvvave's Avatar
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    Silent protagonist is usually good when he is a random passerby in a non-personal story( Half-Life, New Vegas). Here we have a silent and personality-free Chosen One in a supposedly revenge story whom two constantly boozing guys send to kill people for them and they even steal his mattress when they don't want him to go to sleep. Admittedly I didn't finish the game but it's bizzare so far.
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  14. #34
    Network Hub Namdrol's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    That would be an example of bad storytelling, which is separate from bad plots.

    Either way, this is a video game we're talking about. I don't expect great literature from the airport gift shop, and I don't expect great writing from my video games. On occasion I'm pleasantly surprised, but how is bad writing in a game otherwise noteworthy?
    noteworthy for the OP because the game is a story driven rpg that has been hyped as GOTY, near perfect, one of the defining games of this generation, blah, blah. And those who bought into the enthusiast press nonsense would have expected more than 'save princess from Darth Bowser with your unstoppable magics'?

    @rob: :-)

  15. #35
    Lesser Hivemind Node ado's Avatar
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    Yeah, although I'm a huge fan of the game I have to say that it left me emotionally cold and uninvolved in it's story and characters. It's very hard for games to tell stories, let alone good ones because the protagonist is an asshole who doesn't want to play ball with the game's storytelling :P

    This is not a bad thing however, as games are first and foremost about interaction and gameplay. Story is secondary if not tertiary for most game designs. Which doesn't mean that you cant get it to work in your games design. Dark Souls and Portal are great examples to where the story is made to fit the overall design of the game.
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  16. #36
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    I'll add my twopenneth - as acclaimed as this title is for being 'versatile' I broke the mechanics a few times. Without giving away any spoilers on one early mission I had to assassinate someone and save the informer. I poisoned the target and shot the informer with a sleep dart.

    When I got back to base I was told that I had failed to save the informer.

    Umm?

    This combined with the fact that the so-called open world is nothing of the sort... anyone else try swimming back out to sea when dropped off the boat.. yup invisible barrier time!!

    This is a good stealth game, but the open & flexible system is really just a slightly more open world then say Bioshock.

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimDigritz View Post
    I'll add my twopenneth - as acclaimed as this title is for being 'versatile' I broke the mechanics a few times. Without giving away any spoilers on one early mission I had to assassinate someone and save the informer. I poisoned the target and shot the informer with a sleep dart.

    When I got back to base I was told that I had failed to save the informer.

    Umm?
    If you tranq him, then you have to take his body to a 'safe place'. The game even gives you an explicit objective.

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by caljohnston View Post
    If you tranq him, then you have to take his body to a 'safe place'. The game even gives you an explicit objective.
    Eh? Well, it clearly wasn't that obvious. I was playing with the markers off.. maybe i'm just shit at the game - but this is where a game which strives to create realistic scenarios can fall down...

  19. #39
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sonson's Avatar
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    A game doesn’t have to have emergent or sandbox gameplay for me to feel involved personally, or to feel that it’s my story. What pulls me into a game is an execution of mechanics which complement the narrative/setting, that for me is what creates a sense of Verisimilitude to pull me in.

    Emergent gameplay is a bit of a misnomer for me in that respect, if I buy into the experience most games where I can’t directly see the threads holding things together can be emergent and immersive if they are good enough. I like games which give me building blocks and bare mechanics to forge a narrative as it were, but I also enjoy narratives which grip me and contain me, so long as they’re good enough, and the sense of wonder and surprise and involvement can be just as good as what I could imagine or forge, and is often better in fact.


    I think it’s good that the genre emerged (lol) and has/is developing but the idea that is somehow the holy grail of gaming or what have you is not one that I buy personally.

  20. #40
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus mashakos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobF View Post
    @mashakos

    Right, but that's a fourth wall breaking set piece right? What purpose would emulating it in a sandbox achieve? That's the bit I'm not understanding. Why would I want to reproduce that segment, that authored and designed segment, in a scenario where I want the player to be the author and designer? I don't see it as an issue I need to resolve because we're looking at two different design goals.

    Or is there something specific you think I should be emulating were I writing an open world game? I'm not sure I've got this right so sorry if I'm way off and missing something painfully obvious to the rest of the world.

    That said, the obvious and cop out answer is "well, you make it one of the bookends, job's a good 'un" but that's a cop out, obviously.

    It's not about emulating what works in a linear game. I've just observed that sandbox games, while having a lot of "random" moments that can be quite memorable, generally have a story that lacks the impact of linear games. If a dveloper could figure out a way to combine the impact of a great linear game with the dynamic world of a sandbox game, I would be in heaven.

    As it stands, I prefer a strong plot over te whole emergent gameplay experience. This is apersonal preference of course, not saying one is better than the other (used to prefer deus ex and thief over linear games in the late 90s/early 2000s).
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