Author Topic: Thoughts on Gaming (Trends Pt two)  (Read 13915 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline CP5670

  • Dr. Evil
  • Global Moderator
  • 212
Re: Thoughts on Gaming (Trends Pt two)
Quote
Hmmph. Less of that, please. Ta.

I'll admit that was a cheap shot, but you practically wrote a small book there. :D

Quote
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?

Well, for example, the combine troops seemed to me just your standard enemy security force. I only found out that they're supposed to be part of an alien race after I read that article.

On a side note, why didn't Kleiner teleport someone into Breen's office directly and get rid of him? IIRC the teleporter malfunctions and you get sent there for a moment, so it's apparently possible.

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

My point is that it had a lot of fully explained details that actually got me interested in the plot, enough to get me to speculate about the more obscure events. With HL2, the depth of the story as it was presented to me was about the same as that of Far Cry, so I wasn't about to carefully look for clues and try to "discover" some possibly deeper plot on my own.

Quote
Rose-tinted spectacles? Bad form.

What are you trying to say? Obviously I'm going to judge it in comparison to other games of its time. Pong would hardly be a revolutionary game if it came out today. :p

 

Offline NGTM-1R

  • I reject your reality and substitute my own
  • 213
  • Syndral Active. 0410.
Re: Thoughts on Gaming (Trends Pt two)
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?

You have the misfortune of asking someone who has made an art form out of doing this for things that do not allow him nearly so much freedom. Several alternate interpretations follow.

Earth won the 7 Hour War by nuking the hell out of the invaders. (Much like the original Black Mesa was nuked; play Opposing Force! You do not visit the original Black Mesa in HL2, people! It's Black Mesa East or something similar.) Unfortunately it provided a few unscrupulous people with the power to take over the world via adapting the surviving scraps of alien technology. Nobody had the firepower left to stop them following expending their NBC arsenals on the 7 Hour War. The troopers you see are as human as they look. Breen does not in fact answer to anyone; his relationship with the Combine is an alliance or a membership, not that of a vassal. The Striders, Gunships, and Dropships are either piloted or cybernetic/teleoperated constructs.

Breen is in fact leader of the Combine, and is not explaining his problems to his superiors but rather to his underlings to reassure them. The resistance, having never been able to infiltrate the Combine at above entry level, has never properly understood the relationship.

The G-man is in fact an agent of the Combine himself and is simply employing you to clean up Breen, who is conducting a rogue operation here on Earth and ruining the Combine's good name. Meanwhile the Combine smiles at Breen so he doesn't see the dagger in the ribs coming.

And I could well go on if I chose to devote more time to it.
"Load sabot. Target Zaku, direct front!"

A Feddie Story

 

Offline Unknown Target

  • Get off my lawn!
  • 212
  • Push.Pull?
Re: Thoughts on Gaming (Trends Pt two)
Funny thing is, all those could be right. The only thing that disproves them are obscure newspaper clippings that you can't even read on low-rez (which is a sever handicap btw; if you can't follow the "story" because you're computer can't handle high-rez textures, then that's pretty retarded).

 

Offline Mefustae

  • 210
  • Chevron locked...
Re: Thoughts on Gaming (Trends Pt two)
*Snip*
Bullocks. For one, your first little theory is proven completely wrong by the newspaper headline in Eli's lab that announces "Earth Surrenders!". Your second theory? There are multiple instances where characters specifically say that Breen was 'appointed' by the Combine. The third? The G-Man's motives are meant to be heavily ambiguous, it's just common sense when you play the game.

Now, please, go on. Sooner or later you'll realise that guesswork won't get you far, as the story in HL2 is far more solid than you seem to think.

Moreover, I challenge you to present evidence to the contrary of what Blaise posted ealier. But I believe you'll find that the information Blaise presented is not in fact guesswork, as it is made by the game itself, that's the crux of the issue here. He's not the one coming up with the various tidbits he posted earlier, they are all stated as such inside the bloody game! Granted, you have to look deeper that normal, considerably deeper than most other FPS's where the story is - as Blaise said - simply tagged on, but it's rather shallow to say the game had no story because you just couldn't be arsed to look for it.

Funny thing is, all those could be right. The only thing that disproves them are obscure newspaper clippings that you can't even read on low-rez (which is a sever handicap btw; if you can't follow the "story" because you're computer can't handle high-rez textures, then that's pretty retarded).
And you won't get much out of Freespace 2's story if you don't have a soundcard and can't read. Curse you :v: for not making the story clearer!!
« Last Edit: August 24, 2006, 11:49:16 pm by Mefustae »

 

Offline NGTM-1R

  • I reject your reality and substitute my own
  • 213
  • Syndral Active. 0410.
Re: Thoughts on Gaming (Trends Pt two)
*Snip*
Bullocks. For one, your first little theory is proven completely wrong by the newspaper headline in Eli's lab that announces "Earth Surrenders!". Your second theory? There are multiple instances where characters specifically say that Breen was 'appointed' by the Combine. The third? The G-Man's motives are meant to be heavily ambiguous, it's just common sense when you play the game.

Now, please, go on. Sooner or later you'll realise that guesswork won't get you far, as the story in HL2 is far more solid than you seem to think.

You don't get it. Even if its story was as concrete as you say, I cut my teeth on 100+ episode TV shows, with actual characters. (Which tangentially is another of HL2's faults; it is a story without a main character in any meaningful sense of the words.) I'm not trying. It took me two minutes to come up with that, no more.

Besides, come now. I already covered your objection to the second theory. Similarly by the time you arrive in Point Insertion, recent history has been erased. "They put something in the water to make you forget." ring bells? Why should it not suit the purposes of Breen and co. to manipulate people into believing Breen is all that's standing between Earth and the nasty extradimensional loonies?

You see a very small slice of the world in HL2. Very small indeed. A planet, if you'll forgive me for point out the painfully obvious, is a very big place. You'd never get everyone to surrender. (Hell, you'd have trouble getting everyone to believe they lost the 7 Hour War!) Isn't that the concept behind the Resistance? Why must they have a monoply? They are supposedly small, uncoordinated. But this is a  You have no idea what's taking place outside of a conservative 50 square miles. For all the player knows, Earth lost the 7 Hour War, surrendered...and then rose and threw off their shackles three weeks later. You're catching the tail end of the rebellion. The Resistance has been working for awhile, and they seem pretty confidant for a ragtag collection of untrained freedom fighters who are supposedly totally overmatched. Are they really what the game seems to portray them as?

Gordon Freeman is impressive, as he should be considering he is the player, but he hardly qualifies for "unique background". Others would qualify as equally capable as well; lest we forget the player characters who did their own part in turning back the Xen in Opposing Force and Code Blue. Breen is the face of the Combine that you know. He may well not be the only face. Or the first to fall.
"Load sabot. Target Zaku, direct front!"

A Feddie Story

 

Offline Mefustae

  • 210
  • Chevron locked...
Re: Thoughts on Gaming (Trends Pt two)
You don't get it. Even if its story was as concrete as you say, I cut my teeth on 100+ episode TV shows, with actual characters. (Which tangentially is another of HL2's faults; it is a story without a main character in any meaningful sense of the words.) I'm not trying. It took me two minutes to come up with that, no more.
Well then, try. You seem to agree with Adlo and CP that the game is loose enough to be interpreted considerably differently than what Blaise put forth, so let's see you back that supposition up.

Besides, come now. I already covered your objection to the second theory. Similarly by the time you arrive in Point Insertion, recent history has been erased. "They put something in the water to make you forget." ring bells? Why should it not suit the purposes of Breen and co. to manipulate people into believing Breen is all that's standing between Earth and the nasty extradimensional loonies?
If there was such a widespread operation to 'erase the past', you'd hear more about it. Moreover, it would stand to reason that the Resistance [namely those at Black Mesa East] aren't exactly going to drink city tapwater.

You see a very small slice of the world in HL2. Very small indeed. A planet, if you'll forgive me for point out the painfully obvious, is a very big place. You'd never get everyone to surrender. (Hell, you'd have trouble getting everyone to believe they lost the 7 Hour War!) Isn't that the concept behind the Resistance? Why must they have a monoply? They are supposedly small, uncoordinated. But this is a
When you're dealing with an extradimensional legion that can tunnel through to our dimension at any place on the planet, with an army undoubtedly bigger than the combined population of our entire planet, a massive technological superiority, and a... well, you get the idea. Anyway, the details of the war beyond the fact that we lost are quite inconsequential. All the player needs to know is that Earth lost the war, and the Combine is in [relatively] firm control of the planet.

While some may quite obviously disagree, I really like the fact that the game doesn't linger on the past, and instead focusses on the bleak present.

You have no idea what's taking place outside of a conservative 50 square miles. For all the player knows, Earth lost the 7 Hour War, surrendered...and then rose and threw off their shackles three weeks later.
They expand on the state of the world in Episode 1, showing outside [even arctic] locations. Indeed, the Resistance seems to have a pretty firm grasp of the situation on a global scale, and i'm sure they'd sorta mention it if half the planet was already free. Moreover, from what we see of the landscape outside of City 17, Xen and Borderworld creatures have run rampant all over the planet, especially in the [now draining] oceans.

You're catching the tail end of the rebellion. The Resistance has been working for awhile, and they seem pretty confidant for a ragtag collection of untrained freedom fighters who are supposedly totally overmatched. Are they really what the game seems to portray them as?
The Resistance was able to survive the same way they have in past human wars; you're going to know the ins-and-outs of your home a heck of a lot better than a foreign, occupying force. Their push to topple the Combine in City 17 succeeded entirely because of Freeman's actions during the game. The Combine focussed pretty much all it's resources in tracking you down and taking you out, allowing the Resistance to get into strategic positions to move once the time came [namely the destruction of Nova Prospekt].

Gordon Freeman is impressive, as he should be considering he is the player, but he hardly qualifies for "unique background". Others would qualify as equally capable as well; lest we forget the player characters who did their own part in turning back the Xen in Opposing Force and Code Blue. Breen is the face of the Combine that you know. He may well not be the only face. Or the first to fall.
Actually, he does. He was the primary focus of the G-Man in HL1, and the one who destroyed the Nihilanth. Indeed, the G-Man's interest in him quite possibly means that he is in some way 'special', supported by his ability to survive the invasion, and his subsequent extradimensional victories in Xen.

Granted, Shephard battled hard against the Race-X Aliens and the subsequent invasion by that big squid thingy, but his victory wasn't as large, not to mention that he survived in part because he was part of a group, rather than a lone-eagle like Gordon. His imprisonment in the void by the G-Man is evidence alone that, while special, Shephard just ain't Gordon.

Barney, on the other hand, was just some random guy. He wasn't a big hero, and only managed to get through the Black Mesa incident on luck alone. Hence, the G-Man quite obviously doesn't have any interest in him, or the other characters we've seen in further HL games, such as Dr's Cross & Green.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2006, 02:10:01 am by Mefustae »

 

Offline Turnsky

  • FOXFIRE Artisté
  • 211
  • huh?.. Who?.. hey you kids, git off me lawn!
    • The Foxfire Chronicles
Re: Thoughts on Gaming (Trends Pt two)
Dekker, word of advice, if you want to continue posting, don't spam the threads with irrelevant crap, just FYI

Hl1's story wasn't terribly wonderous, it WAS, however, cohesive, you were there from the get go, hell, the resonance cascade was partially your fault, if not caused by you.
HL2's story is a mish-mash of various things, ignoring commentary, Strategy guides (which are mostly conjecture anyway), what are you left with?

It's Set (roughly) 20 years or so after the black mesa incident (this was gathered by comparing the photo of alyx as a child in Vance's lab, it was the only thing he got out of black mesa)
sometime after you capped the nihilanth, the portal storms erupted (or so we assume, it might have been because the nihilanth was a controlling force, or that it was pure coincidence from the resonance cascade)
after those got worse, the combine happened upon earth, hence begun the 7 hour war.
after the 7 hour war, Breen the former black mesa administrator, mediated some kind of surrender, and occupation of earth.
the combine took over earth, and by the looks of it, drained the oceans, and instigated a regime, in which they ruled over the planet, Why?.. we don't know why, why they didn't just wipe out the human race, capture, or what, i don't know, their motives were never elaborated on.
the Vortigaunts are clearly not a combine race, or a race under the former nihilanth, their own motives are as mysterious as the G-man's.
The G-Man himself remains a mystery, just who, or what he is as big of a mystery, as anything else.
From what the G-man tells gordon, gordon himself is a freelance agent of sorts, which means that the g-man has motives in utilising Gordon, for money, power, who knows.

Blaise, you really are looking too deep into this, as far as i can see, the entire HL2 story can be squeezed into the one paragraph.

Doom 3's story wasn't that great either, but in a way, you could garner snippets of info from computers, voice recordings, emails, people, survivors, and whatnot.
all HL2 did was give you a couple of bullitin boards, a photo, and some sad survivors that didn't really give you much in the way of info.
i mean, there's no cohesion in the story, you don't know where precisely on earth city 17 is (or what city 17 -was-), nova prospekt, or even what year it was. so many details were left in the air in favor of "keeping the player as in the dark as the character" which doesn't make any sense, really.
'Cuz, you know, when in doubt, you'd ASK for any info, quite possibly this would be accompanied with a funny look, a comment about where you have been in the past X amount of years, and finally you'd get your info, which would be a logical progression to things..
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 Unknown Target

  • Get off my lawn!
  • 212
  • Push.Pull?
Re: Thoughts on Gaming (Trends Pt two)
And you won't get much out of Freespace 2's story if you don't have a soundcard and can't read. Curse you :v: for not making the story clearer!!

That's a pretty weak argument. Most all machines these days come with onboard sound, and honestly you wouldn't be playing the game if you couldn't read. Grasping for straws?

EDIT: And extrapolating from the excellent post that Turnsky just said; Doom 3 is an example of how to do what HL2 was trying to do, except it's an example of how to do it well (even though the storyline was not very complex - and neither was HL2's when it all boils down to it).

 

Offline Turnsky

  • FOXFIRE Artisté
  • 211
  • huh?.. Who?.. hey you kids, git off me lawn!
    • The Foxfire Chronicles
Re: Thoughts on Gaming (Trends Pt two)

EDIT: And extrapolating from the excellent post that Turnsky just said; Doom 3 is an example of how to do what HL2 was trying to do, except it's an example of how to do it well (even though the storyline was not very complex - and neither was HL2's when it all boils down to it).

complex story or not, it seems that valve took all conventional means of information gathering and threw it out the window.. Gordon's an MIT scientist for pete's sake, you'd think he'd at least 'ask' a question, even if he doesn't speak, most people in his situation would ask "what the hell's going on?"
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 Blaise Russel

  • Campaign King
  • 29
    • http://mysite.freeserve.com/sbre/index.html
Re: Thoughts on Gaming (Trends Pt two)
Quote
I wasn't about to carefully look for clues and try to "discover" some possibly deeper plot on my own

Then the failure is yours.

Quote
alternative explanation

I call Occam's Razor. You multiply entities unnecessarily; a Breen-led cabal distinct from both Earth and the Combine, the fact of Breen lying through his teeth to everyone about his relationship to the Combine.

Quote
That's a pretty weak argument.

Almost as weak as saying that something doesn't really count because you, individually, couldn't see it very well.

Quote
Blaise, you really are looking too deep into this, as far as i can see, the entire HL2 story can be squeezed into the one paragraph.

You didn't have to cite multiple references in order to convince people that the story didn't exist solely within strategy guides and Valve interviews. Anyway, you missed out most of the details. Also, we know what the Combine's intentions are: assimilating Earth into the Combine empire, taking what is best from humanity and using it in controlling their dominion.

As an aside, I found Doom 3's logs and movies rather tedious. Technicians and scientists blathering on about technobabble nonsense that wasn't the slightest bit interesting and rarely relevant to the plot and the main issue at hand, i.e. demons from Hell. Of course, I was incredibly bored by the non-verbal explanations of the Mars facility, with its randomly-mechanical randomly-electro-glowy automated machines, all called something silly like "Ionised Plasma Desalinisation Converter." Most of the scenes of destruction and devastation were meaningless because I didn't really know what an Ionised Plasma doohickey was supposed to be like in the first place. At least in HL2, I could say "That's a Soviet-era car; it is in disrepair," or "That's a house; a mortar shell went through the roof."

Quote
you don't know where precisely on earth city 17 is (or what city 17 -was-), nova prospekt, or even what year it was

Why do you need to know that? What relevance does it have to the story of alien oppression and tyranny overthrown by humanity? You're in City 17 - Earth is different now, the cities aren't called what they used to be called.

Quote
Gordon's an MIT scientist for pete's sake, you'd think he'd at least 'ask' a question, even if he doesn't speak, most people in his situation would ask "what the hell's going on?"

That's a game design decision. Half-life isn't about dialogue trees, cutscenes where 'Gordon' takes control and talks to people for the player. It's about guns and shooting and such in a realistic immersive enviroment. Gordon is a silent protagonist in order to minimise all possible perception of a separate 'Gordon' identity. Why is this an issue?

 

Offline Turnsky

  • FOXFIRE Artisté
  • 211
  • huh?.. Who?.. hey you kids, git off me lawn!
    • The Foxfire Chronicles
Re: Thoughts on Gaming (Trends Pt two)


That's a game design decision. Half-life isn't about dialogue trees, cutscenes where 'Gordon' takes control and talks to people for the player. It's about guns and shooting and such in a realistic immersive enviroment. Gordon is a silent protagonist in order to minimise all possible perception of a separate 'Gordon' identity. Why is this an issue?

The fact being, that silent protagonist or no, it wouldn't have taken much of a stretch for somebody to give you a brief recap of the twenty or so years that you have been 'indisposed', yes, gordon is silent, but, the other characters, aren't
for example, a random city 17 resident asking you, "do you remember during the 7 hour war, this happened?" or " did you fight in the 7 hour war?" or something to that effect, and when they're greeted by gordon's now trademark silence, they give you a small insult about where have you been, and give you some sorta explaination.

That aside, it looks like they're trying to give HL2 a story with the episodic content.
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 Colonol Dekker

  • HLP is my mistress
  • 213
  • Aken Tigh Dekker
    • My old squad sub-domain
Re: Thoughts on Gaming (Trends Pt two)
Obviously it's a cash in.............Or ALyx fans have simply bought all the company shares and ordered it.

 

Offline aldo_14

  • Gunnery Control
  • 213
Re: Thoughts on Gaming (Trends Pt two)


That's a game design decision. Half-life isn't about dialogue trees, cutscenes where 'Gordon' takes control and talks to people for the player. It's about guns and shooting and such in a realistic immersive enviroment. Gordon is a silent protagonist in order to minimise all possible perception of a separate 'Gordon' identity. Why is this an issue?

The fact being, that silent protagonist or no, it wouldn't have taken much of a stretch for somebody to give you a brief recap of the twenty or so years that you have been 'indisposed', yes, gordon is silent, but, the other characters, aren't
for example, a random city 17 resident asking you, "do you remember during the 7 hour war, this happened?" or " did you fight in the 7 hour war?" or something to that effect, and when they're greeted by gordon's now trademark silence, they give you a small insult about where have you been, and give you some sorta explaination.

That aside, it looks like they're trying to give HL2 a story with the episodic content.

Hell, don't need any of that.  Just let the player read the discarded newspapers they find in the likes of highway 17.  It's that simple; it even adds a richness and depth to the areas outside the city, and the player is still learning stuff in a realistic and immersive way as if they 'were Freeman'; i.e. exactly the justification for having a mute character and ****-all exposition.  It's all very well going 'oh, in reality people would assume you knew', but in reality you'd still bloody well ask.

Supposedly, Gabe Newell said in interviews the HL2 story was morally ambiguous; but the only briefest hint of anything like that is in Breens dialogue at the ending.  Your actions are entirely without context; you know nothing of what's happening to the populace, how widespread the rebellion is, how important the Citadel or City 17 are.... it's a corridor shooter with added physics.