Author Topic: Trends in Gaming.(a rant)  (Read 13899 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Nuclear1

  • 211
Re: Trends in Gaming.(a rant)
It's a common mistake of poor writers (including myself) to use characters as sock puppets for the sake of delivering the story, and this is unfortunately why we see a lot of it in games.

Agreed. Characters need to be more than just people with names that happen to be involved in some sort of conflict. They've got to have personal goals, both immediate and long-term, to avoid being just the guy that pops up on screen every now and then to deliver some sort of snappy one-liner relevant to the situation, which is, unfortunately, what a lot of characters tend to turn into.

For example, a character sets out from whatever normal setting he was once involved in focused on accomplishing X. On the way, he encounters a need to accomplish Y as well to help him better accomplish X. Later on, Z happens, which changes his motives for accomplishing X. That's really the best that I can describe it; I've never been too terribly excellent a writer myself.
Spoon - I stand in awe by your flawless fredding. Truely, never before have I witnessed such magnificant display of beamz.
Axem -  I don't know what I'll do with my life now. Maybe I'll become a Nun, or take up Macrame. But where ever I go... I will remember you!
Axem - Sorry to post again when I said I was leaving for good, but something was nagging me. I don't want to say it in a way that shames the campaign but I think we can all agree it is actually.. incomplete. It is missing... Voice Acting.
Quanto - I for one would love to lend my beautiful singing voice into this wholesome project.
Nuclear1 - I want a duet.
AndrewofDoom - Make it a trio!

 

Offline Tyrian

  • 29
  • Dangerous When Thinking
Re: Trends in Gaming.(a rant)
It's a common mistake of poor writers (including myself) to use characters as sock puppets for the sake of delivering the story, and this is unfortunately why we see a lot of it in games.

That's what I'm talking about.  I hate that.

Agreed. Characters need to be more than just people with names that happen to be involved in some sort of conflict. They've got to have personal goals, both immediate and long-term, to avoid being just the guy that pops up on screen every now and then to deliver some sort of snappy one-liner relevant to the situation, which is, unfortunately, what a lot of characters tend to turn into.

For example, a character sets out from whatever normal setting he was once involved in focused on accomplishing X. On the way, he encounters a need to accomplish Y as well to help him better accomplish X. Later on, Z happens, which changes his motives for accomplishing X.

This is how character development should be done.  This is what you don't see anymore. 
Want to be famous?  Click here and become a playing card!!!

Bush (Verb) -- To do stupid things with confidence.

This year, both Groundhog Day and the State of the Union Address occurred during the same week.  This is an ironic juxtaposition of events--one involves a meaningless ritual in which we look to a creature of little intelligence for prognostication, while the other involves a groundhog.

Bumper stickers at my college:
"Republicans for Voldemort!"
"Frodo failed.  Bush got the Ring."

Resistance is futile!  (If < 1 ohm...)

"Any nation which sacrifices a little liberty for a little security deserves neither and loses both." -- Benjamin Franklin

Sig rising...

 

Offline Kamikaze

  • A Complacent Wind
  • 29
    • http://www.nodewar.com
Re: Trends in Gaming.(a rant)
In addition to the story taking a hit in a lot of games, it seems by association, that character development has gone downhill too.  It just seems that the characters are there to avert a crisis by coincidence, rather than the fact that they have any real personal motivations.

It's always been that way. Played many of the SNES RPGs? Though people generally hail the SNES as the ultimate console for RPGs, it also had its fair share of horrible storylines that people don't remember/notice (primarily because most SNES RPGs were never localized). For example, I've been playing some Tales of Phantasia recently. That game's plot is driven by coincidence and cliche more than anything else. Another example is Romancing Saga 3. It's a great game with a unique battle system, but it really has no significant plot or character development (despite having something like 20 playable characters).

Quote
That's what I liked about FFX, every main character in your party had reason for wanting to be there.  They weren't just put there by a game designer just to create a story.  Games with no character development tend to have a very contrived feel to them.  That bugs me immensely.

I agree that character development is important for an engaging game, but I also don't think it's an absolute requirement. For example, the Freespace series has a pretty well-presented storyline despite having virtually no character development. Many good RPGs will feature silent protagonists (e.g. Chrono Trigger, Dragon Quest), but often have a very good story anyway (I'm not a fan of silent protagonists though).
Science alone of all the subjects contains within itself the lesson of the danger of belief in the infallibility of the greatest teachers in the preceding generation . . .Learn from science that you must doubt the experts. As a matter of fact, I can also define science another way: Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts. - Richard Feynman

 

Offline Ransom

  • M. Night Russel
  • 210
  • It will not wait.
    • Rate of Injury
Re: Trends in Gaming.(a rant)
This is how character development should be done.  This is what you don't see anymore. 
I wouldn't say that. Look at any Silent Hill game, or the Legacy of Kain series or the new Prince of Persia games. In fact, as a whole the Prince is probably the most dynamic character in any series I've played. In Two Thrones he has his own motivations, goals and opinions, and unlike the usual 'perfect hero' protagonist, is in fact a very flawed personality and comes off far more real as a result. On top of this, the entire story of Two Thrones is focused on the Prince's character rather than what's happening around him, and very little attention is payed to events themselves. While this equally single-minded approach has its flaws as well (it results in every other character in the game being comparatively flat, for instance), it's certainly far closer to the mark than most games get.

Games like this have always been rare, and while the current generation's mindset certainly isn't helping, I think it's unfair to say stories like this don't exist anymore.

I agree that character development is important for an engaging game, but I also don't think it's an absolute requirement. For example, the Freespace series has a pretty well-presented storyline despite having virtually no character development. Many good RPGs will feature silent protagonists (e.g. Chrono Trigger, Dragon Quest), but often have a very good story anyway (I'm not a fan of silent protagonists though).
I half-agree with you here. Well done characters are the player's emotional connection to the story; without that, the story, no matter how deep and original, will seem emotionless and distant. Conversely, brilliant characters will lend colour to even a mundane story. In the case of Freespace, the lack of characters is one of the reasons why I think FS1 has quite a poor story. FS2 is different here, because we're connected to the plot by the character of Admiral Bosch. No, there's not much character development in his monologues, but in them we come to understand he has very real beliefs and very real motivations, and so we sympathise with him -- and as a result, the story as well. In the case of your latter example, those games often have other characters which connect the player. The protagonist doesn't have to be the only dynamic character in the game.

 

Offline Colonol Dekker

  • HLP is my mistress
  • 213
  • Aken Tigh Dekker
    • My old squad sub-domain
Re: Trends in Gaming.(a rant)
In all honesty, there are only a few memorable characters in FS, Bosch Snipes Command and Petrarch, the others are just faces to ships wich function as plot devices.

 

Offline Blaise Russel

  • Campaign King
  • 29
    • http://mysite.freeserve.com/sbre/index.html
Re: Trends in Gaming.(a rant)
In the case of Freespace, the lack of characters is one of the reasons why I think FS1 has quite a poor story. FS2 is different here, because we're connected to the plot by the character of Admiral Bosch.

I would regard the GTA, the PVN, the Ancients and the Shivans as the 'characters' of Freespace 1. The first three display pride, hatred, fear, hope, despair and determination over the course of the game, and even the Shivans are developed with regards to being the 'Great Preservers.' Although at the beginning the Terrans and Vasudans were locked in anger and hate, by the end they have not only learned to get along with each other, they also display a greater awareness of their role in the cosmos and the danger that their power brings, and a greater understanding of the sacrifice the Shivans make by being the Big Bad Evil for the entire universe. Plus, it is their adaptive natures that allow them to survive and defeat the Shivan onslaught.

While not traditional characters by any means, the four intergalactic races of Freespace approach characters to some degree.

 

Offline pecenipicek

  • Roast Chicken
  • 211
  • Powered by copious amounts of coffee and nicotine
    • Minecraft
    • Skype
    • Steam
    • Twitter
    • PeceniPicek's own deviantart page
Re: Trends in Gaming.(a rant)
2) also, with the prospect of yet another bakers dozen of WW2 based games being released anytime soon has left me wondering, just how much "Story" is there to World War two?, and how long until players themselves will be able to experience the sheer utter MISERY people suffered in that conflict? i mean, sure WW2 is interesting and all, but making discs upon discs upon discs worth of games about it is making light of something very serious to a lot of people.

well of the sea of these annoying games, the only one that really captured the feel sometimes was MoH:Pacific Assault, i was hooked on it, but i cant play it anymore, my DVD is fuxxored... :(
Skype: vrganjko
Ho, ho, ho, to the bottle I go
to heal my heart and drown my woe!
Rain may fall and wind may blow,
and many miles be still to go,
but under a tall tree I will lie!

The Apocalypse Project needs YOU! - recruiting info thread.

 

Offline Ransom

  • M. Night Russel
  • 210
  • It will not wait.
    • Rate of Injury
Re: Trends in Gaming.(a rant)
While not traditional characters by any means, the four intergalactic races of Freespace approach characters to some degree.
That's fair enough. But I have to ask: if the races are interpreted as characters, doesn't that make them fairly cliched ones? In particular, the arcs of the GTA and PVN are pretty much cookie-cutter space opera.

 

Offline Blaise Russel

  • Campaign King
  • 29
    • http://mysite.freeserve.com/sbre/index.html
Re: Trends in Gaming.(a rant)
That's fair enough. But I have to ask: if the races are interpreted as characters, doesn't that make them fairly cliched ones? In particular, the arcs of the GTA and PVN are pretty much cookie-cutter space opera.

Oh yes, most definitely. The Terrans and Vasudans fit neatly into ol' "quick, fast, adaptable humans" and "staid, dogmatic, cow-faced aliens." The Ancients - well, their name itself is as cliche as the concept of an all-powerful progenitor race that once ruled the galaxy and left behind remnants of its great, vast civilisation after its unnatural destruction.

What I like, and have always liked, is the Shivans. Yes, their insectoid appearance and hive-mind society is typically inhuman and, as such, distasteful and frightening, but the concept of the Shivans being the Great Preservers as well as, or in fact through, being the Great Destroyers is what saves Freespace from being just "SPACE WAR" for me.

Freespace is a war story, with a clear premise of 'war is hell', something that's reinforced throughout the game. You lose Vasuda, Earth, the Bastion, the Beta Aquilae Installation, many freighters and transports and countless wingmen, all due to war. Yet war is ultimately responsible for our survival; without the Terran-Vasudan war, we never would have honed our fighting skills and our ability to adapt to our enemies' technology to the extent that we could defeat the Great Destroyers. The Shivans in themselves articulate the concept of war being peace - their constant indiscriminate aggression unites warring races against them - an idea we can trace back to Orwell's 1984. But the price of war is not forgotten; the Vasudans, who 'lost' the war, saw their planet, their friends and family, destroyed, while the Terrans, who 'won' the war, saved their planet from destruction - but the soldiers of the GTA are distanced from the families that they protected, physically through the loss of the node but also, more importantly, emotionally through becoming murderers for their species.

That's how I saw it, anyway, and that's why I prefer FS1 to FS2 in terms of story. FS1 had a clearly defined premise and set of ideas behind it, whereas FS2 did not, even though it looked prettier and had Aken Bosch directing the play. Of course, it suffered for being Part 2 of 3 without the Part 3, whereas FS1 works as a single piece... but as it is, nothing brings it out of its cliche of "SPACE WAR."

 

Offline Turnsky

  • FOXFIRE Artisté
  • 211
  • huh?.. Who?.. hey you kids, git off me lawn!
    • The Foxfire Chronicles
Re: Trends in Gaming.(a rant)
Remember Halo? They worked out the graphics first and admitted that they had no story yet. (Ok, Halo turned out to have a good story twist in the end though.)

Really? Considering that Halo basically shares the same story as Marathon I find that hard to believe.

no, it doesn't, Marathon had more character to it, not to mention plot snippets and such via the behaviour of the AI's and other members of the series cast.

on the side note of freespace characters, Bosch had semi-righteous undertones to his behaviour, while not exactly a three dimensional character in his own right, he seemed rather devoid of emotion, even in the bosch monologues.

Freespace also lacked some degree of atmosphere (no pun intended), in how there was just you, your enemy, and your gunsights, with the odd communication between you, command, some wingmen, and whatnot, give it the same radio chatter styling present in the latter generation of the ace combat series, and the feel changes dramatically, you'd feel that you're not just the only one out there.

onto everything else, Character development is sorely lacking in games these days, the last game i saw with some attempt at character dev was Kotor 2, sadly it was rushed towards the end, in no small part to lucasarts giving the devs 12 months to make the game.
Idealy you'd want to feel some sort of attachment to your characters in a game, and inversely for the antagonists of the piece, you want to hate them, dispise them, pity them, etc.
no amount of pretty graphics will save a game from terrible storytelling.
also, since we're not on GS anymore, i will be the first to say that they wouldn't know a story if it bit them in the ass, just play pariah and try to find yourself a decent story lurking within.. the text on the outer edge of the CD is more compelling.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2006, 09:38:14 am by Turnsky »
The Foxfire Chronicles[/b]

   //Warning\\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
do not torment the sleep deprived artist, he may be vicious when cornered,
in case of emergency, administer caffeine to the artist,
he will become docile after that,
and less likely to stab you in the eye with a mechanical pencil
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Offline Ransom

  • M. Night Russel
  • 210
  • It will not wait.
    • Rate of Injury
Re: Trends in Gaming.(a rant)
What I like, and have always liked, is the Shivans. Yes, their insectoid appearance and hive-mind society is typically inhuman and, as such, distasteful and frightening, but the concept of the Shivans being the Great Preservers as well as, or in fact through, being the Great Destroyers is what saves Freespace from being just "SPACE WAR" for me.
Well, that at least is something I think most everyone in this community can agree on.

It's interesting you should state clearly defined premise as one of the reasons you prefer FS1 -- the lack of that is exactly what appeals to me about Freespace 2, indicating that this is probably just a matter of taste after all. When you put it like that I can certainly see the appeal of FS1, though.

on the side note of freespace characters, Bosch had semi-righteous undertones to his behaviour, while not exactly a three dimensional character in his own right, he seemed rather devoid of emotion, even in the bosch monologues.
I disagree. I thought the Bosch monologues were drenched in emotion -- mostly sorrow, because Bosch has become demonised by his own species despite the fact that the man's only motive is its salvation. I would say he's resigned to his fate rather than devoid of emotion; he even makes a comment to this effect at one point.

 

Offline Sarafan

  • No Title
  • 210
Re: Trends in Gaming.(a rant)
I wouldn't say that. Look at any Silent Hill game, or the Legacy of Kain series or the new Prince of Persia games.

Legacy of Kain series had one of the best character devs that I've seen (yes, I suspect to saying this), every one is there for their own reasons, from Kain to Raziel or Mobius and the Elder God to the Nephilim. Silent Hill is all about character dev because each game of the series is for one set of characters, the story is the character development there.

 

Offline Blaise Russel

  • Campaign King
  • 29
    • http://mysite.freeserve.com/sbre/index.html
Re: Trends in Gaming.(a rant)
Well, that at least is something I think most everyone in this community can agree on.

It's interesting you should state clearly defined premise as one of the reasons you prefer FS1 -- the lack of that is exactly what appeals to me about Freespace 2, indicating that this is probably just a matter of taste after all. When you put it like that I can certainly see the appeal of FS1, though.

Very true. I mean, FS2 isn't entirely without a premise - it's very much about arrogance and Man playing around with things He ought to know not what of, be it Aken Bosch and his ETAK device or GTVA Command exploring the nebula. But it's very much a murkier, more ambiguous story than FS1, with more sophisticated cast and settings.

 

Offline CP5670

  • Dr. Evil
  • Global Moderator
  • 212
Re: Trends in Gaming.(a rant)
I think character development can sometimes be a little overrated. It adds a lot to a story, but you can certainly have excellent plotlines that don't revolve around specific characters and their personalities. Apart from the FS games, Mission Critical is another example of this.

 

Offline Mathwiz6

  • Pees numbers
  • 27
Re: Trends in Gaming.(a rant)
Character development, at the least, is pretty fun. Take NWN. All the characters have a reason for being where they are. In the original game, everyone is around, because A) You pay them, B) The government hires them C) They are sitting around in a big city.

They may not be doing anything, but they definately did stuff. You can ask them about what they did earlier, and one of them monologues about pantsing his friend. Really.

In the second expanision, everyone that is there was there in the earlier games, and the characters get even further developed. (although some things are a bit cheesy.... "Boss?" "Yes Deekin?" "Never mind.." "*persuade check* Come on Deekin, what is it?" "*sucess* Nothing..." "*Persuade check* Please tell me Deekin" "*sucess* STOP THE ADVENTURE! DEEKIN HAS TO GO TO THE RESTROOM!"


Really, it's true!

 

Offline Fineus

  • ...But you *have* heard of me.
  • Administrator
  • 212
    • Hard Light Productions
Re: Trends in Gaming.(a rant)
I think character development can sometimes be a little overrated.
Agreed. I'm playing X3-Reunion at the moment and while I've not been doing much of the missions, I'm really enjoying the depth of universe. There isn't much in the way of charachter development (yet) and frankly I don't think it needs it. I'd rather be immersed in a living, breathing world than see a pale shadow of the world and learn all about one guy called Chuck.

 

Offline Ransom

  • M. Night Russel
  • 210
  • It will not wait.
    • Rate of Injury
Re: Trends in Gaming.(a rant)
That's really a completely invalid comparison. X3 puts little importance on story of any sort -- you're talking about being immersed in a game world, which is totally different from being immersed in a story. Whether or not you prefer that is down to personal taste, obviously, but making them out to be the same sort of thing is just wrong. You might as well say, 'Well, this jigsaw puzzle is all well and good, but I would like it better if it could launch ballistic missiles.'

It is a bit worrying that your idea of character development is 'hearing all about one guy called Chuck', but I suppose that goes hand in hand with the surprisingly common notion that in gaming a complicated story must have 30-minute cutscenes.

 

Offline Fineus

  • ...But you *have* heard of me.
  • Administrator
  • 212
    • Hard Light Productions
Re: Trends in Gaming.(a rant)
I'm not sure you understood me. I said I'd rather be immersed in a well rounded world than hear a half-baked story about someone that doesn't engage me at all.

Or..

I'd like to hear a detailed story about charachter(s) in a world that supports them well.

But not half and half, it rarely works.


 

Offline Ransom

  • M. Night Russel
  • 210
  • It will not wait.
    • Rate of Injury
Re: Trends in Gaming.(a rant)
Ah. The impression I got was that you were saying character development in general was a waste of time.

 

Offline Tyrian

  • 29
  • Dangerous When Thinking
Re: Trends in Gaming.(a rant)
It depends on the kind of game, really.  Games like FS2 don't need a great deal of character development (but if you look, it's there), while many RPGs need it for the story to work.  There is nothing more annoying to me than a protagonist who is doing what he is doing because a game designer "said so."
Want to be famous?  Click here and become a playing card!!!

Bush (Verb) -- To do stupid things with confidence.

This year, both Groundhog Day and the State of the Union Address occurred during the same week.  This is an ironic juxtaposition of events--one involves a meaningless ritual in which we look to a creature of little intelligence for prognostication, while the other involves a groundhog.

Bumper stickers at my college:
"Republicans for Voldemort!"
"Frodo failed.  Bush got the Ring."

Resistance is futile!  (If < 1 ohm...)

"Any nation which sacrifices a little liberty for a little security deserves neither and loses both." -- Benjamin Franklin

Sig rising...