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Writing for the LCD: FPS games

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[USRF]Obiwan 23rd July 2007, 14:13 Quote
Well a good story makes a game more attractive. Like playing the first Half-Life. It was just plain amazing. I will always remember the "test-chamber" chapter. "test.. 1,2,3... ehm ehm.. freeman are you there?"
Da_Rude_Baboon 23rd July 2007, 14:34 Quote
That was very interesting and well written article. Top work Joe.
GamingHobo 23rd July 2007, 15:08 Quote
Don't forget you can always show the love via digg as well. ;)

As for article, top job Joe.

However, I must take issue with your dismissal of episodic FPS games. I think it's fair to say that not everything has gone perfectly just yet, but in SiN and Half-Life Episodes we've still only had two examples in a burgeoning arena. It stands to reason that it would take time for developers to settle on a formula that works. Moreover, although Valve has failed to deliver on a suitable time-scale for release - I blame console development for this btw - I still think the the Episodes have/will benefit greatly from the narrative flexibility that was outlined in the article. For all its brevity, I felt Episode One was very entertaining and densely plotted compared to Half-Life 2 which, although still brilliant, did rather plod along at times.

On a related note, I do hope we see a return of the likes of Opposing Force and Blue Shift - expansion packs that actually build upon what happens in the main story via differing means. To me these are great ways to build depth into a franchise/story without detracting from the main thread of the narrative. For example, you mentioned Halo 2 and the Arbiter and Master Chief plots. I can't help but think that actually the way in which that was done didn't work that well, especially since the ending was such a damp squib. I'd rather see something like the Arbiter story fleshed out separately, probably as downloadable content. Microsoft has the infrastructure for this, and I'm sure Halo fans would love it too.
Saivert 23rd July 2007, 15:19 Quote
That series title "Writing for the LCD" was clever.
GamingHobo 23rd July 2007, 15:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saivert
That series title "Writing for the LCD" was clever.

Lol, there you go Joe. You're vindicated and I take everything back. ;)

EDIT: About the name that is.
The_Pope 23rd July 2007, 15:25 Quote
Haha - was there a big debate? It's like "Writing for the Big Screen" or indeed "Writing for the Small Screen" in terms of cinematic screenwriting vs TV, except we're talking about computer games. :)
capnPedro 23rd July 2007, 15:37 Quote
I'd have to disagree that Duke spoke too much in Duke Nukem 3D. OK, so when he did, it may have made people feel like they weren't in control anymore, but so what, he was freaking hilarious. The one-liners were pure gold and the only time he really talked was during the end of game cutscene bit.
Hugo 23rd July 2007, 15:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Pope
Haha - was there a big debate? It's like "Writing for the Big Screen" or indeed "Writing for the Small Screen" in terms of cinematic screenwriting vs TV, except we're talking about computer games. :)

What if I use a CRT? Or play on my Plasma TV? eh?
GamingHobo 23rd July 2007, 15:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Archangel
What if I use a CRT? Or play on my Plasma TV? eh?

Indeed. Btw Hugo, please change your sig or I'll give you a slap. >:(
Hugo.B 23rd July 2007, 17:12 Quote
Archangel is also named Hugo?


H.B.
CardJoe 23rd July 2007, 17:42 Quote
Yeah, Hugo Bojling. We all call him H.B in the office :)
Hugo 23rd July 2007, 17:46 Quote
The surname is Swedish in origin btw in case your curious.

My TR forum profile

My brother
knuck 23rd July 2007, 17:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Pope
Haha - was there a big debate? It's like "Writing for the Big Screen" or indeed "Writing for the Small Screen" in terms of cinematic screenwriting vs TV, except we're talking about computer games. :)


ahhhhhh now I get the title haha

At first I thought it was going to be an article about LCD's that are good for FPS games or something... :D

oh and CRT's > LCD's
ChiperSoft 23rd July 2007, 17:58 Quote
I'm surprised there's no mention here of Prey, which I thought used character voicing quite well. The main character talks all the time, and often says the same thing I'm thinking. It helped me, personally, to connect with the character.
knuck 23rd July 2007, 17:58 Quote
Yep the character interactivity was pretty good in Prey. Too bad the enemies and guns were so bad :(
CardJoe 23rd July 2007, 18:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiperSoft
I'm surprised there's no mention here of Prey, which I thought used character voicing quite well. The main character talks all the time, and often says the same thing I'm thinking. It helped me, personally, to connect with the character.

Prey is mentioned, though not for that aspect. I thought the character responses in Prey were excellent (I AM CHEROKEEE! sent a shiver down my spine), but its an exception to a ussually steady rule IMO. I can't think of any other games which had character voicing like that which had such an effect.
Nature 23rd July 2007, 18:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by [USRF]Obiwan
Well a good story makes a game more attractive. Like playing the first Half-Life. It was just plain amazing. I will always remember the "test-chamber" chapter. "test.. 1,2,3... ehm ehm.. freeman are you there?"

I liked "Surface Tension" as a chapter
CardJoe 23rd July 2007, 18:37 Quote
Best chapter (you know its a good story when its a chapter, not a level. You know its trying to have a story when its an 'ACT', like in GRAW 2) was definitely Surface Tension. Just when you were bored of the labs then you got a chance to snipe from the cliffs. Excellent.
Tyinsar 23rd July 2007, 18:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Pope
Haha - was there a big debate? It's like "Writing for the Big Screen" or indeed "Writing for the Small Screen" in terms of cinematic screenwriting vs TV, except we're talking about computer games. :)
LCD bit was unclear because LCD also = Lowest Common Denominator but that works too (depending on how you define that).
CardJoe 23rd July 2007, 18:49 Quote
Thats what Tim thought I meant when he edited it, but frankly I'm just not clever enough to know more than one acronym...
ChiperSoft 23rd July 2007, 18:50 Quote
I think what helped with Prey is that the game opens with you looking in a mirror. It helps to tie the player to the character and make that link that you are him and he is you.

As for the guns, I thought Prey had a nice mix of weaponry. I'm playing it through again for a second time, and I find myself switching weapons pretty regularly. Sure, some of them seem rather weak (leech cannon could use a larger clip capacity), but they all serve a purpose.

I agree tho, enemy AI wasn't that great. They knew how to hide when they were out-gunned, that was about it.
Bluephoenix 23rd July 2007, 19:39 Quote
a couple games that did a reasonably good job in the story/immersion departments was both Metroid Prime and Star Wars: Republic Commando

Metroid prime was unique in that while there was no dialog, the way the story was told through scan points and the detail given to the environment kept everything in tune and immersive.

while the gameplay elements of republic commando were not stellar, the excellent voiceovers gave the characters more life than most other VG characters.

the end point is that if the characters are not fully fleshed out, the story doesn't really make a major difference.
Spaceraver 23rd July 2007, 19:43 Quote
Anyone ever played armed and dangerous II?? That is a hilarious game with the subtle (NOT) hints that they give away in the cutscenes.. The only thing that let the game down was poor graphics.
ChiperSoft 23rd July 2007, 20:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluephoenix
while the gameplay elements of republic commando were not stellar, the excellent voiceovers gave the characters more life than most other VG characters.

I was thinking of RC too. Most of the player's character dialog originated from actions the player did, so it felt like the player initiated the dialog.
RC impressed me largely because, even tho these guys are all clones of the same man (and have the same voice actor), each member of the team had unique personalities. The camaraderie between them made me actually care about the characters.
CardJoe 23rd July 2007, 21:01 Quote
I take your point about RC, though I consider character development to be an aspect of plot (or story, as a general term) and is why I spent a while talking about protaganists. Trust me, I could have gone on for another 8 pages or so talking about supporting characters, design and the effect of level design, but I thought best to focus on the core issues and not stray too far from the point.

Anything anyone want to know about Adventure games in the next installment, or ideas of who to quiz? A genre or topic you want discussed later? PM or email me at joe.martin@bit-tech.net, or add it on here.
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