Author Topic: Thoughts on Gaming (Trends Pt two)  (Read 13910 times)

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Offline Unknown Target

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Re: Thoughts on Gaming (Trends Pt two)
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You were helping the Resistance because Breen and the Combine wanted you dead. You know this. You know what the Combine are trying to do, who the Resistance is and why they feel obligated to stop the menace they unleashed on Earth. That the details weren't spelled out doesn't change the fact that they're there.

I'm too lazy to go through your whole post and respond to everything, but here's a good part;

Like aldo_14 said - why did Breen and the Combine want you dead? We didn't know what the Combine was trying to do - I only found out that they were draining the oceans and the like by going online and finding it out from a third party. Who is the Resistance? Are they survivors? Where did they come from? All we know is that they live in shacks and the old Black Mesa complex. Are they Black Mesa employees?

The fact that the details weren't spelled out doesn't mean that they're necessarily find-able in the game.

 

Offline NGTM-1R

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Re: Thoughts on Gaming (Trends Pt two)
I'd also point out that you don't know who the resistance is. You're introduced to these folks, and they're like "Hey, we're from Black Mesa! Remember us?" and I'm sitting here going "Riiight...so you must be cookiecutter scientist #20, and you must be cookiecutter scientist #50. Whom I was never given a name for and barely interacted with at all."

Introductions and knowing someone, particularly as the game purports you know these people, are two different things. And I still don't know them.
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Offline Blaise Russel

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Re: Thoughts on Gaming (Trends Pt two)
Why did the combine want 'you' dead?

Because you're Gordon Freeman. You stopped the Xen invasion singlehandedly. You've been lionised by the Resistance as the greatest hero to ever walk the Earth. The Vortigaunts call you ' the One Free Man, the Opener of the Way' - a statement of defiance if I ever saw one. You're pals with Dr. Kleiner and Eli Vance, big cheeses in the Resistance. You killed the Nihilanth, the Breen-figure for Half-life 1 who also enslaved his race (Vortigaunts) and turned them into equivalents of the 'transhuman Overwatch' (Alien Grunts), and it's likely you'll do the same for Breen and his Overwatch.

Some of this you know from HL1. Some of this you pick up during your flight from City 17. Some of this you pick up because Resistance leaders are all chatty with you and say "It's me, Barney, from Black Mesa!"

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I only found out that they were draining the oceans and the like by going online and finding it out from a third party.

I kinda saw the destruction and devastation and assimilation all around me. Like those vast, empty sandbanks around a dried up dock, or historic buildings being covered up by blue-steel Combine material.

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Who is the Resistance? Are they survivors? Where did they come from? All we know is that they live in shacks and the old Black Mesa complex. Are they Black Mesa employees?

You know who they are. The leaders tell you themselves or handily say "Hey Dr. Kleiner, look who I found!" and give away their character traits in little conversations with each other. The standard Resistance member is an average person who escaped City 17 through the underground railroad (what you traipsed along for the entirety of Route Kanal) or someone who picked up a gun to fight post-Nova Prospekt. They're people who want to, you know, resist.

This is all right there, in the game. I mean, if you had to look it up on a website, then where did the website get it from? They didn't just make it up, that's for sure. It's all there, you just didn't put two and two together.

Seriously, there are better ways to attack my position. Valve did originally plan an extended intro sequence, showing the transformation of Earth from pristine to polluted through something like high-speed photography, and it had a lot more content on the train, including alien attacks. Eli Vance would sit you down at one point and talk you through a slideshow explaining the portal storms, the 7 Hour War and Breen's surrender. These were cut, and I agree with the decision (because I like it how it is) but it'd be a better line of attack than simply denying that HL2 shows you all the backstory you could ever possibly need.

And again, if it's okay for HL1, what's the problem with doing it again in HL2?

 

Offline Mefustae

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Re: Thoughts on Gaming (Trends Pt two)
Indeed, the whole idea of the game was that you were taken away from reality, and shoved back into it a decade or two down the line. You have utterly no idea what's going on. Why would you? You've been in suspended animation [or whatever happens in the G-Man's void], so why would you have any idea what has been going on in the world when you weren't part of it?

Having a big, glowy cutscene at the beginning setting the scene, telling you all about the Portal Storms and soforth would be nice, there's no doubt about that. The gamer in me is really disappointed that there wasn't some world-class montage of the invasion. But then, you get into the game, and rather than a single cutscene at the beginning shoving the information down your throat, it's spread out across the entire game. Personally, I like that little bit of extra immersion, that you have to find out what happened pretty much on your own, so when you do eventually happen across that newspaper on the wall in Eli's Lab about the 7-hour War, or take a minute to listen and finally comprehend an entire Breen-cast, you get both information as well as a nice sense of accomplishment that you managed to find out what happened. As Blaise said, everything anyone knows about HL2 is from ingame, where else would they get it?

Sheesh, you demand originality but then decry it when it is finally delivered.

 

Offline NGTM-1R

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Re: Thoughts on Gaming (Trends Pt two)
As Blaise said, everything anyone knows about HL2 is from ingame, where else would they get it?

The dev team, for starters. The strat guide (which as I observed before explains things not in the game). Random Valve employees.

Oh, and Ep1 too. Since you asked.
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Offline Turnsky

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Re: Thoughts on Gaming (Trends Pt two)
i've always seen HL2 as a failure in proper storytelling, have you ever notice, that there's hardly any dissention in the rebel ranks, Gordon's been projected to near mythic status, which is ironic, really..


Seeing as the whole mess the world's in is ALL HIS FAULT..  :P (purely a victim of circumstances, of course)

as various people has stated before, if you were able to read news clippings, ask a 'question' since, let's face it, gordon never 'speaks', but if you think about it, neither does the main character in most RPG's (see. KOTOR), Valve seemed to let you interact with pratically everything in the enviroment, except the people and faces that seem so determined to let you save them from the combine.
what HL2 really needed, was character interaction, and various pieces of information gathering, hell, even a short recap from the G-man during the first part of it woulda sufficed, in his own, mysterious ways, he should've shown you the immediate aftermath of black mesa, it's ultimate fate, a timeline was never given, so you don't know WHEN the 7 hour war started, what happened during that, and how long after that war, is when you arrive back on the scene.
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Offline Mefustae

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Re: Thoughts on Gaming (Trends Pt two)
what HL2 really needed, was character interaction, and various pieces of information gathering, hell, even a short recap from the G-man during the first part of it woulda sufficed, in his own, mysterious ways, he should've shown you the immediate aftermath of black mesa, it's ultimate fate, a timeline was never given, so you don't know WHEN the 7 hour war started, what happened during that, and how long after that war, is when you arrive back on the scene.
You have a point in asking for more character interaction, which was obviously beefed up quite a bit with Episode 1. But the whole point on the game is that you have no idea what's going on. They made a choice to opt for 'full' imersion in that you only know as much as Gordon does, which is effectively nil, and it's just unfortunate that Gordon happens to be the strong, silent type. Anyway, if they told you everything, finding things out for yourself wouldn't have the same impact as they do as it stands.

Personally, I would have liked to have seen some of the things they cut stay in, like the expansion on the opening train-ride they talked about in the Ep1 commentary. Ah well, 'sall good anyway.

 

Offline Turnsky

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Re: Thoughts on Gaming (Trends Pt two)
But the whole point on the game is that you have no idea what's going on. They made a choice to opt for 'full' imersion in that you only know as much as Gordon does, which is effectively nil.

yes, at the beginning, at the end, you still don't know all that much, keeping the player 'in the dark' for the story because that's how the character would feel is no excuse for sloppy storytelling, there was plenty of opportunity to 'fill in the gaps' during the course of the game, two bullitin boards and a photo of alyx as a child is like chucking a couple of spitwads into the grand canyon.
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Offline aldo_14

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Re: Thoughts on Gaming (Trends Pt two)
Why did the combine want 'you' dead?

Because you're Gordon Freeman. You stopped the Xen invasion singlehandedly. You've been lionised by the Resistance as the greatest hero to ever walk the Earth. The Vortigaunts call you ' the One Free Man, the Opener of the Way' - a statement of defiance if I ever saw one. You're pals with Dr. Kleiner and Eli Vance, big cheeses in the Resistance. You killed the Nihilanth, the Breen-figure for Half-life 1 who also enslaved his race (Vortigaunts) and turned them into equivalents of the 'transhuman Overwatch' (Alien Grunts), and it's likely you'll do the same for Breen and his Overwatch.

Some of this you know from HL1. Some of this you pick up during your flight from City 17. Some of this you pick up because Resistance leaders are all chatty with you and say "It's me, Barney, from Black Mesa!"
Why would the resistance give a **** - even if they knew - about an alien whose death quite possibly pre-empted the combine invasion? 

Anyways, tell me what definitive facts there are about the world HL2 is set in; the location, the scenario, the enemy?  Stuff you could discover in a realistic manner by just reading an old newspaper, for example.  What is Nova Prospekt, as another example?
« Last Edit: August 24, 2006, 02:57:29 am by aldo_14 »

 

Offline CP5670

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Re: Thoughts on Gaming (Trends Pt two)
You know, most of the aforementioned arguments about "figuring out the story for yourself" could be made about Far Cry, or heck, even the original Doom, but I never see anyone claiming that those games had deep plots. :p

After playing some other games from that time period such as Chronicles of Riddick and Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, I now see just how bad HL2 really was, and for a lot more reasons than only the thin story. I came closer to giving up that game halfway through than anything else I've played in recent memory, and only mustered the will to complete it because of the time I had already put into it. (the last few levels are actually pretty good, but you need to have incredible patience to get that far)

 

Offline Blaise Russel

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Re: Thoughts on Gaming (Trends Pt two)
The dev team, for starters. The strat guide (which as I observed before explains things not in the game). Random Valve employees.

Oh, and Ep1 too. Since you asked.

I somehow managed to figure it out without the dev team, or strat guide, and a lot of other people did as well. Now, I didn't get everything on the first playthrough - the conversation trinkets in Eli's lab, the complete significance of the dried ocean, the Vortigaunts' cryptic lines - but it is all there, as I've repeatedly demonstrated. Valve have given out hints as to the full depths of the plot, but you can't say that all of the story for HL2 comes from their press releases.

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Valve seemed to let you interact with pratically everything in the enviroment, except the people and faces that seem so determined to let you save them from the combine

You can press 'E' at people, which gets them to throw out a couple of lines. The Vortigaunts are particularly revealing in their own way. So you can, to an extent, talk to the people you're saving (just not in a meaningful way).

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sloppy storytelling

It's not sloppy; to the contrary, it's well integrated into the game itself.

That's what I like most about HL2. In most games, the story is something that's tacked on to the game. You make an isometric tactical real-time game and throw something about dead gods and their mortal offspring on afterwards. Or you make an arcadey space fighter game with WW2 physics and make up some random **** about a visionary admiral, a civil war and an ancient alien race of xenophobes.

In HL2, however, the story is integrated into the game. Because they're not unloading a text dump onto you at the beginning of the game (something, sadly, that most of you would have preferred), the art and design choices have to be made carefully. Textures and models and speech have to tell you the story because they've integrated it so heavily into the game. This is a step towards having *real* stories in games, stories which are actually written and constructed rather than ripped off of sub-standard sci-fi&fantasy by unwashed game developers. Stories which are told in a more exciting and dynamic way than FS2's command brief dumps, stories which take advantage of a game's unique multimedia opportunities, stories which aren't relegated to Star-Trek-Encyclopaedia fluff stuck in the manual.

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Why would the resistance give a **** - even if they knew - about an alien whose death quite possibly pre-empted the combine invasion?

 :wtf:

Because, as I've explained already, the Nihilanth was a tyrant ruler of his people, the Vortigaunts. Gordon, a heroic warrior, battled his way through his army and killed him. They believe he will do the same for Breen and his Combine. They know all this because the Resistance is led by three friends of Gordon, friends who were all there at Black Mesa when Gordon stopped the Xen invasion: Barney Calhoun, who says "Hey, it's me, Barney, from Black Mesa!" and starred in Blue Shift; Dr. Kleiner, who was your sponsor for recruitment by Black Mesa as seen in the form in the HL1 manual and clearly recognises you ("Great Scott! Gordon Freeman, is that you?"); and Eli Vance, who reminds you himself that he was the generic black scientist in HL1 who sent you up to the surface to get help all the way back in Unforeseen Consequences. More so than that, however, the Vortigaunts approach you with a semi-mystical reverence, and since they're big members of the Resistance, they have undoubtedly spread the word.

The Vortigaunts know a hell of a lot for creepy aliens

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Anyways, tell me what definitive facts there are about the world HL2 is set in; the location, the scenario, the enemy?  Stuff you could discover in a realistic manner by just reading an old newspaper, for example.  What is Nova Prospekt, as another example?

Okay, fine.

HL2 is set in City 17 (see the welcoming Breencast), which is clearly one of several cities (aside from being 17 of presumably 17+ cities, two citizens discussing Breen mention a City 14). City 17 is presumably set somewhere in Eastern Europe or Russia, given the Soviet-era architecture and the signs in the Cyrillic alphabet. The city is being transformed by the introduction of alien Combine technology - doors are held shut by strange Combine locks, and certain areas (particularly those important to the Combine, such as the Overwatch Nexus and Nova Prospekt) are being replaced with Combine architecture, specifically those blue-steel walls. During the war, large Combine barricades advance through the city, turning the buildings into base materials (stone and rubble), possibly for Combine use elsewhere. The city is under the thumb of a police state, with Civil Protection troops all over the place, Striders walking the streets, Combine APCs scattered throughout the city, and block raids a common occurence (all seen during Point Insertion). Although the city has a canal system, it is no longer functional, being mostly without water and full of debris. It is used by the Resistance as a means to smuggle people out of the city (Route Kanal) to their headquarters, the abandoned dam. Trains, some with new Combine engines, are used by the Combine to ferry people from city to city as well as to Nova Prospekt and (I assume) other Combine outposts (Point Insertion, Entanglement).

Combine rule is centred in the Citadel, at the heart of City 17. Breen has established his adminstration in City 17 and rules from an office decorated with luxuries like carpets, a nice desk, a globe etc. which contrasts sharply with the homes of average citizens in City 17 (Point Insertion). The Citadel is made entirely out of Combine materials and serves as both HQ and factory, mass producing Striders and gunships as well as other synths and housing many, many Combine troops. Security is tight, with only authorised personnel carrying weapons - others are confiscated by Combine technology (Our Benefactors).

The world outside the cities is harsh and hostile. Xen wildlife, specifically headcrabs and ant lions, roam the countryside and appear to have settled in well (Highway 17, Sandtraps), although the Combine keep them away from their positions with snipers (snipers shooting zombies at the mine entrance to Ravenholm, "We don't go to Ravenholm...") and thumpers (on the approach to Nova Prospekt, Sandtraps). Zombies are particularly common in Ravenholm, a small village close to the hydroelectric dam and on the outskirts of City 17, which appears to have been headcrab-bombed into submission by the Combine ("We don't go to Ravenholm..."), possibly because of contact with the Resistance (Alyx mentions that they don't visit Ravenholm "any more", Black Mesa East).

The Combine, or Universal Union, appear to be an amalgamation of multiple species (as their name implies) and are intent on transforming subject worlds into being more amenable to their rulers (drying oceans in Highway 17, integration of Combine technology throughout City 17). Humanity is their latest acquisition and they are changing it, evolving it to make a better subject species (Breen talks about the Combine guards Freeman fights as the "transhuman forces of the Combine Overwatch" in Nova Prospekt, meaning that not only are the human Combine modified humans, but that they are a part of a larger whole. More evidence of Combine 'transhumans' comes in the video feed in Nova Prospekt of a soldier with his armour off - bald, oddly-hued, with implants - and the Stalker seen briefly in Our Benefactors). The Combine have granted humanity several technological benefits - small hovering robots (Scanners and Manhacks), new weapons (Overwatch Pulse Rifle) and organic machines (Striders, Gunships and other synths) as well as generally upgrading existing technology (the Combine helicopter that chases you throughout Water Hazard). It's possible that the Combine rulers (the slugs seen in Point Insertion and Dark Energy) are dependent on their empire and their advanced technology to survive, given that they use a respirator and appear to be in harness and incapable of defending themselves physically.

The Combine tries to portray itself as a benevolent ruler rather than a brutal regime; Dr. Breen, a human, is appointed the Administrator of the planet by the Combine in order to put a human face on the tyranny (Eli's newspaper cuttings) and in his Breencasts he refers to the Combine as "benefactors" (Point Insertion, amongst others) who are attempting to uplift humanity into a better state. Instinct is decried as backward and primitive; dissension is characterised as irrational, as "magical thinking" (Water Hazard). In Our Benefactors, Breen appeals to Freeman himself, asking him not to throw everything away by plunging the world into war with the Combine again, and accusing him of destroying things without having anything to replace them (Our Benefactors). Breen uses rationalism and science as rhetorical tools to get humanity to cooperate with the Combine. Blatant intimidation and coercion works as well; people are beaten up in the streets and taken away to Nova Prospekt by Civil Protection (Point Insertion). Citizens are enticed into enlisting with CP with a better quality of life (citizens getting food packs in Point Insertion say that they're tempted to join CP for more food). Also worth noting is the use of medical jargon to cover up the brutal reality of Combine oppression, as heard over the Combine radio. Lone troopers will often cry out "Outbreak! Outbreak! Outbreak!", for example.

The scenario: Following the end of HL1, the Vortigaunts invading Earth are freed from the Nihilanth's control and stop fighting, instead choosing to make a stand on this "miserable rock" (their words) against the Combine. They oppose the Combine for the same reason they opposed the Nihilanth - both the 'lesser master' (Nihilanth) and the 'greater master' (Combine) wish to enslave and subjugate (see the Vortigaunt sweeper in Point Insertion). The 'Portal Storms' (presumably what you saw at Black Mesa) continue for an extended period of time across the world and then the 7 Hour War begins. It ends in Combine victory, the destruction of the UN Building in New York and Dr. Breen being appointed interim administrator (all cuttings from Eli's board). Survivors from Black Mesa (specifically Barney, Kleiner and Eli) begin plotting to overthrow the regime, being disgusted as they are with former Black Mesa Administrator Breen's betrayal (Alyx says not to get her father started on Breen during Point Insertion). The world begins its transformation into what you see in HL2.

G-Man dumps you into City 17 and you are picked up by Barney before you run into trouble. Barney is working undercover with CP at the security post at the train station; arguably, he's keeping an eye out for you, since neither he nor Kleiner nor Eli nor Vance seem particularly shocked or surprised to see you reappear after so long (Alyx says "Funny you showing up on this day in particular," in Red Letter Day which suggests that she was expecting Gordon to pop up at some point - she's more intrigued by Gordon arriving on the day of the teleport than Gordon returning from limbo in the first place). It could be that the Resistance hired you from G-Man or his employers (see G-Man talking to Colonel Cubbage in Highway 17), or the Vortigaunts detected your imminent arrival, or just a strong belief that you'd return some day. Gordon is drafted into the teleport experiment (part of the Resistance's effort to smuggle more people out of City 17 and into the arms of the Resistance) but it goes wrong, the Combine realise that the Resistance's hero, the Opener of the Way, has arrived in City 17 (the chase in Point Insertion just being a 'Sector Miscount') and the game begins. I won't summarise the plot because you know what it is and it consists mostly of chasing after Eli Vance, so there you go.

Nova Prospekt: The name suggests "new prospect" or "new perspective" and smacks of 1984-Soviet-newspeak, much like the Breencasts. The architecture is clearly an old Soviet-era prison, with watchtowers and prison cells, communal showers, laundries, mass dining rooms, all with observation posts and balconies. It's apparently divided into two: a mostly unused older section (Nova Prospekt) and a newer, Combine-assimilated section (Entanglement) where most of the prisoners are stored in transportable metal cocoons. A train depot provides easy access, both for citizens redirected to Nova Prospekt from City 17 (Point Insertion) and (presumably) for outgoing citizens. It's somewhat implied that citizens undergo forced transformation into Combine troops or Stalkers at Nova Prospekt (the camera with the unclothed soldier on a surgery(?) bed, Barney and Alyx's constant hushed references to Nova Prospekt: "He was about to board the train to Nova Prospekt!" in Point Insertion, and "It used to be a prison... but it's something much worse than that now," "We don't go to Ravenholm..."). The connection has some tenuosity to it, and I didn't really like how Nova Prospekt turned out, since it didn't seem all that terrible and the Nova Prospekt chapter seemed rather pointless, but there's something in it.



blargh

There's your Half-life 2 story, and I didn't pull it out of a strategy guide or from a Valve interview - it's all in the game. It's right there. You just have to put it together.

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You know, most of the aforementioned arguments about "figuring out the story for yourself" could be made about Far Cry, or heck, even the original Doom, but I never see anyone claiming that those games had deep plots.

Do what I just did for HL2 for Doom and Doom 2, then try saying that again. I don't think those little episode blurbs really compare.



I would also like someone to point out why what was okay in Half-life 1 was a mortal affront in Half-life 2. They both took the same approach, you had to figure out the backstory for both games through playing them, so why was all that business with the Xen border world, the expeditions, the abduction and experimentation, the Xen factories, the Black Mesa facility and all that so easy to figure out, but alien oppression, transhumanism, Breen's collaborating, Black Mesa East and the Resistance so very difficult to figure out, given that neither game had a handy backstory summed up in a little easy-to-understand intro sequence?

 

Offline aldo_14

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Re: Thoughts on Gaming (Trends Pt two)
You realise 99% of that is guesswork?

 

Offline Colonol Dekker

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Re: Thoughts on Gaming (Trends Pt two)
Now with added 1% tosh

 

Offline Blaise Russel

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Re: Thoughts on Gaming (Trends Pt two)
You realise 99% of that is guesswork?

You realise I referred continuously to the game?

There's no guessing involved. These are conclusions drawn from what's presented in the game.

Would you mind pointing out how these conclusions are so outrageous as to constitute mere speculation? Or are you intent on remaining wilfully obtuse?

 

Offline aldo_14

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Re: Thoughts on Gaming (Trends Pt two)
I'm only going to be as obtuse as the game.

 

Offline Colonol Dekker

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Re: Thoughts on Gaming (Trends Pt two)
Now with 14.7% obtuse, 85.3% Scottish

All new Aldo MK II !  :lol:

 

Offline Blaise Russel

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Re: Thoughts on Gaming (Trends Pt two)
This is reading like the evolution thread. I post evidence, you tell me I'm wrong. I post more evidence, you refuse to believe me. I write an essay, you dismiss it out of hand. Incongruity, eh?

I was hoping for a discussion on original storytelling, as per the thread. I guess I'm not going to get it.  :(

 

Offline CP5670

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Re: Thoughts on Gaming (Trends Pt two)
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Do what I just did for HL2 for Doom and Doom 2, then try saying that again. I don't think those little episode blurbs really compare.

I think that is actually possible, but I have a life. :p Just search around for Doom fan fiction in google though. If you have the time and patience, it's not that hard to make up something that sounds believable and is based on the things seen in the game (various kinds of monsters, pentagrams, names of levels, etc.). I agree with aldo that most of what you said sounds credible, but is educated guesswork based off game events that could be interpreted in quite different ways. All I saw in the game was the standard sci-fi FPS material that was meaningless without any background or context, which the game failed to provide. Sure, I could use my imagination to make sense of it all, but that could be done in practically any game. I read the wikipedia article on HL2 after completing it and found that the "true" story was actually rather different than what I had guessed as I played the game.

Although I don't think even a good story could have saved this game. The worst part wasn't the story at all but the horrendously linear and repetitive level design that was devoid of any details. It reminded me of how maps in games looked about six years ago. Valve needs to take a good look at SCCT and see how things should be done in this respect.

I'm not against this approach of hiding things from the player so that he might speculate about them, as FS2 did it wonderfully, but I think in HL2's case it's being used as a substitute for a real plot instead of complementing one.

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And again, if it's okay for HL1, what's the problem with doing it again in HL2?

Because the standards have changed since then. We've come to expect more from games than we used to, and some other games do manage to deliver.

I actually think even HL1 was slightly overrated though. It was an excellent game for its time (far better than HL2), but it came out only a few months apart from Unreal and System Shock 2, which IMO both matched or surpassed it in different ways.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2006, 04:28:09 pm by CP5670 »

 

Offline aldo_14

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Re: Thoughts on Gaming (Trends Pt two)
This is reading like the evolution thread. I post evidence, you tell me I'm wrong. I post more evidence, you refuse to believe me. I write an essay, you dismiss it out of hand. Incongruity, eh?

I was hoping for a discussion on original storytelling, as per the thread. I guess I'm not going to get it.  :(

The whole point is that you're posting 'evidence', not story.  We have evidence for the Shivans in FS1/2; that doesn't mean we have any sort of story about them for FS3 (esque) purposes.

As a random example; "Following the end of HL1, the Vortigaunts invading Earth are freed from the Nihilanth's control and stop fighting, instead choosing to make a stand on this "miserable rock" (their words) against the Combine." is a complete guess.

 

Offline Blaise Russel

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Re: Thoughts on Gaming (Trends Pt two)
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I think that is actually possible, but I have a life.  :p

Hmmph. Less of that, please. Ta.

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educated guesswork based off game events that could be interpreted in quite different ways

Interpret it differently, then. Take all the evidence, take everything that you see and hear, and spin a different story (one that doesn't involve elaborate hoaxes or "It was all a dream!"). What did you think the backstory was originally?

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FS2 did it wonderfully

Because it was left incomplete, not because it was constructed that way. It wasn't wonderful. It was interrupted.

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Because the standards have changed since then. We've come to expect more from games than we used to, and some other games do manage to deliver.

Rose-tinted spectacles? Bad form.

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The whole point is that you're posting 'evidence', not story.  We have evidence for the Shivans in FS1/2; that doesn't mean we have any sort of story about them for FS3 (esque) purposes.

I don't understand this analogy. I post the backstory shown in HL2, through verbal and non-verbal means. Speculation about HL3, or G-Man's nature, or more details about the Combine like their origin and their intergalactic peers, or whatever FS3 equates to, is something else entirely, and does consist entirely of guesswork.

But that's not what we're talking about. We're talking about the Combine in HL2, the state of Earth in HL2, the Resistance in HL2 and how this connects to HL1.

As a random example; "Following the end of HL1, the Vortigaunts invading Earth are freed from the Nihilanth's control and stop fighting, instead choosing to make a stand on this "miserable rock" (their words) against the Combine." is a complete guess.
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No.

The Vortigaunts say "While our own lay scattered at your feet, you severed the vortal cord that bound the Nihilanth to life, and to us," "That sharp spur of hope has not dulled to this day. For once the lesser master lay defeated, we knew the greater must also fall in time." Gordon stopping the Xen invasion by killing the Nihilanth freed the Vortigaunts from enslavement.

At the end of HL1, we know that the Vortigaunts and Xen aliens have taken control of Black Mesa. There are Vortigaunts on Earth at the end of HL1.

"We have endured these chafing bonds for eons, yet a single moment of further servitude seems intolerable!" and "We take our stand beside you, here, upon this miserable rock," indicate the will of the Vortigaunts to resist the Combine, and in concert with humanity. We know the Combine will enslave the Vortigaunts because we see an enslaved Vortigaunt, with collar, sweeping in Point Insertion.

I don't know what else you could possibly require. It's cryptic, yes, but you have the context to break the code. You have Half-life 1, and its events, its depiction of Xen and Earth. You have Half-life 2, and its events, its depiction of the new Earth, the Resistance and the Combine. If induction from observed evidence towards conclusions (a la science) isn't enough for you, if you require an explicit explanation of what should already be obvious, well... I'll just be very, very disappointed.