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Why Aren't Games Better?

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wafflesomd 17th May 2010, 18:28 Quote
When I first played Deus Ex myself in 2006, only then did I understand how crappy games are today.
CardJoe 17th May 2010, 19:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wafflesomd
When I first played Deus Ex myself in 2006, only then did I understand how crappy games are today.

The best part is that the engine has just been updated to support DirectX 11 and Eyefinity = ANOTHER REASON TO REPLAY!
technogiant 17th May 2010, 19:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by technogiant
You could also apply your argument about consoles to game engines, take the source engine for example, it has been around for along while and is still being used, although it is tweaked and improved it is not going to produce technology "WOOOW'S" anymore but neither has it produced any games that are culturally significant in the way the article is searching for even though it has had plenty of time to mature and for designers to be familiar with it.

Games just have to be more interactive and deeper. Also I think that removing the player from the central role and driving the story would be better. I mean as most games are player driven and everything just stops if you remain exploring an area until you hit the next trigger point.
How much better would it be if you take a world war 2 scenario for instance, imagine that you weren't a one man (or squad) army winning the war for the allies but infact were on the side lines, say in the role of a resistance fighter, the war could continue around you but not in a scripted fashion but rather the allies and axis fighting against each other would both be AI controlled in a manner similar to a stratergy game, you however could interact with this in a similar manner to a action/ adventure first person shooter gathering information rescources and alliegences and participatiing in and organsing counter attacks and disruptive actions all of which would impact on the AI controlled war between the allies and axis as it would also impact on you. Of course this would require a far greater amount of interactivity than we see in current games, but how much more fullfilling would that be?

Sorry to quote myself but I just remembered something that explained more clearly what I was talking about.....they are in the process of doing this with EVE online mmo and Dust 514....Dust 514 is going to be FPS style game that directly interacts with the worlds created by EVE online...the dust soldiers carring out missions on planets of the EVE universe both on their own volition and at the behest of EVE online players...the outcome of which will directly affect the EVE universe.....sounds friggin awesome.
Xir 17th May 2010, 21:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
The best part is that the engine has just been updated to support DirectX 11 and Eyefinity = ANOTHER REASON TO REPLAY!
What, of Deus Ex? Where? How?
Sloth 17th May 2010, 21:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by KayinBlack
I almost feel like I had a comment aimed at me, about stepping back from technology to storytelling...

As a designer (wow, I've become legitimate) I chose to go with 16-bit for a few reasons, one was of course ease of production-if I can easily work in the tools, the tools aren't a hindrance to storytelling. Another was the fact that I could control things such as art assets, which are growing ever more wild with each game published. But, I didn't want a person to look and say, "ooh, shiny!"-I want them to look at it and say this is a story in a graphic medium. A story they get involved in, that they want to invest time in. I would rather spend my effort and time creating characters that you give a rip about than making them pretty.

Technology is my friend in the Core i7 that I use to make the game. I like it in my shoes, or my knee brace, but I can see where we could stand to gain a lot from a 16-bit renaissance.
I haven't played your game (with a big fat "yet!" :D) but your posts seems to be spot on for my own thoughts. If a game can manage to tie in a great story with cutting edge graphics then sure, let it (Crysis?) but try to remember what the priority is! If graphics are to be the main goal then lets all go play Render Masters 3: Return of the Photorealistic

But your mention of a 16-bit renaissance also got me wondering about the actual gameplay mechanics of newer games and if they will ever really be helped. Thinking about older 16-bit games... some of them were pretty dire from a gameplay perspective. Look at the Final Fantasy franchise, they've hardly gone anywhere even if people love their games to bits (myself included). Over the course of 12 games (not counting FFXI) they're still quite similar, especially the first 9 (Add active time battle and some new jobs, maybe a little materia). The stories have been radically different and critically acclaimed, along with the games being visually on par with current technology, so at what point do we expect more from the game in terms of the game itself, the actual stuff you do?
Saivert 17th May 2010, 21:55 Quote
I disagree. Games is an art form, and it already has cultural importance. Sure it doesn't affect every single person on this planet. but so what? those who care about gaming feel that is is part of their culture and reference it all the time. How about all the memes, and fanmade stuff that revolves around gaming. Just the same as with movies, music, etc.

There is no way you can't say it has a cultural importance.

Funny that Half-Life was not mentioned here because it was in fact ground breaking with putting the gamer first and keeping he/she immersed in a world without ever breaking the 4th wall. Half-Life 2 took this further with more believable characters. But I do see that is just mimicking what movies can already do with real actors. Also there are different types of games. The old platform games of the 8-bit/16-bit era wasn't immersive the slightest but they did convey a story sometimes too if not for just providing the fun factor which games in fact is all about. I'm all for gritty games with darker or more adult themes but they are a source of entertainment nonetheless. Sometimes you seek different emotions than joy and you might get more out of a sad story depending on the mood you are in.
There is just too much psychological here to even cover it all.
CardJoe 17th May 2010, 22:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xir
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
The best part is that the engine has just been updated to support DirectX 11 and Eyefinity = ANOTHER REASON TO REPLAY!
What, of Deus Ex? Where? How?

Actually, I was wrong. It's DX 10, not 11.

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2010/04/29/deus-sex-dx10-dentons-three-way-adventure/
CardJoe 17th May 2010, 22:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saivert
I disagree. Games is an art form, and it already has cultural importance. Sure it doesn't affect every single person on this planet. but so what? those who care about gaming feel that is is part of their culture and reference it all the time. How about all the memes, and fanmade stuff that revolves around gaming. Just the same as with movies, music, etc.

There is no way you can't say it has a cultural importance.

Funny that Half-Life was not mentioned here because it was in fact ground breaking with putting the gamer first and keeping he/she immersed in a world without ever breaking the 4th wall. Half-Life 2 took this further with more believable characters.

M'eh. There were loads of games that stuck to a silent, first person perspective before Half-Life. HL just did it really well and combined it with a really bloody great shooter too. The second game was a damn good game too and had a lot of expectation around it which helped take it to a new audience, but by the time the second game was 1/4 of the way through the silence was already strained. ASK A DAMN QUESTION, GORDON!

Don't get me wrong, HL and HL2 are both great games. I love them. It's just that there's an awful lot of people out there ready to follow suit and say "Yeah, they have the best storytelling" without ever realising that the story is actually impossible to follow without extra-curricular reading.

For example, I challenge anyone who has only played HL1 (and expansions, if you want) and HL2 (but without reading forums and interviews) to explain why the Vortigaunts are suddenly on your side in HL2.

It's a critical part of the story and it's never actually explained properly within the story unless you run through every single line of dialogue or read around the topic. I knew a games journalist once who had played every HL game and had then come away thinking TF2 was an official part of the storyline like Portal, though that the G-Man was the same person as Breen, thought that the combine bosses were the same as the Nihilanth, Barney was Gordon's brother and that Mossman was Alyx's mother. The mind boggles.
s3v3n 17th May 2010, 23:13 Quote
Are you comparing the feeling you get playing current games to your feeling back when you were 8 playing the "old" games? I've tried playing some of the old games that I loved. For the most part, they suck.
Sonic, Mario Bros, Ninja Gaiden? It would keep me and my friends playing for hours when we were little. Now? Well, if you value those memories, don't replay them.
Games are better IMO. I've given my NES and SNES to one of my friends 7yr old and he thinks it's awesome. Breezing through Mario 2 with him was actually pretty fun because he finds everything I know about games to be new. We've merely lost our inner child. All the repeating elements in games we've played a thousand time over. A simple cartoon plumber jumping on turtles no longer entertain us.
Farting Bob 17th May 2010, 23:40 Quote
Films work well because they have to make every scene count in a few hours runtime, they can control what you see, what happens. Every minute of a great film is focused, and everyone sees the same thing, so we get a shared experience, which is something you can have again and again with different people, discuss and analyze. Repeat viewings can enhance your opinion of particular scenes.
In games you get the occasional scripted scenes (like in COD), but everyone will has a slightly different experience in general gameplay, and every time you do the same level it will be slightly different. Its much more in the moment wheras films are timeless once they are made.
Nature 18th May 2010, 01:52 Quote
My nephew was angry at me for not letting him play Halo 3. I told him he could when he's older because it's too violent for a 9 year old. Then he said to me: "but people just don't enjoy things as much when they're older!".

Wow. How true weather it's sex, food, or your hobbies he hit the nail on the head.

Quote:

"Immediately that distinguishes games from most other forms of culture; films, fine art, music, all of these generally aim for emotional impact first, fun later."

This is a very interesting point. because like in music, movies, and art there are diferent genres and directors, actors, writers, artists, musicians, and so many other people envolved like the familys of these people. They are all expressing they're inner talent and creation from all the back grounds in all the cultures. Weather it's Schindlers List, Farewell my concubine, Das leben der anderen, the band's visit, Edvard munch or piccasso.

Now, think about the best games out there and why most all of them are violent and bloody. Or why sci-fi, action, and rpg dominate. Is it because most people creating the games are technically proficient and favor these genres- or the public. What do old school super mario, sonic, tetris, or new school- world of goo, wii sports, and little big planet have in common?
Cool_CR 18th May 2010, 01:59 Quote
Honestly why would they give a count down of top 100 games its even more subjective than films. I liked ME more than ME2 still like VMTB more than DA:O even worse my fave game of the past is not Deus Ex its Star Craft they would have to go by a sales list or money made and we all know where that leads WoW and the SIMS sigh the less said the better.
Joeymac 18th May 2010, 04:11 Quote
The reason why film was a fun gimmick for a few decades was because technology restricted innovation. Film could only capture so much light, so you had to film in very specific places in bright daylight. Also the frame-rate wasn't consistent so people looked funny, there was no sound so you had to cut in written text. The cameras were too large to move around etc etc. Things didn't change, and it didn't become art for a while, because those who foresaw an opportunity to create something, didn't have the money to invest in the tech. It had nothing to do with "merits" of the media in an artistic sense. People had ideas about how to create a "narrative" by cutting and doing special effects from day 1, it was the tech and cost that held them back.

So to suggest the technology needs to be held back in order to some how make games into art is ludicrous. Over 100 years later, the advancement of film as a artistic media is still happening. The 5DMKII is still way too expensive for the man on the street to have a play with it but that has only just brought high quality lens technology (needed for depth of field effects which makes a film look like a film) to film makers on super low budgets. For film it wasn't a switch was flipped which made it art, it was a gradual climb.

The reason why films can make an emotional impact is because you believe there is something at stake, you empathise with the character's journey. To instil empathy into a computer game it has to feel real. Game designers have to do two things to achieve this.

The first is the visuals, physics and game design. They need to stop creating little cages where you can explore. All these do is remind you you are in a game. You have to be able to go anywhere, break down any door, kill anything you see, destroy any building or object and so on. Then there is something at stake. If you go crazy and shoot up a store in the middle of the afternoon, in a city with a living, intelligent, structured set of inhabitants, it's game over, you are thrown in jail and your entire character and everything you've earned is toast. Just like it would be in a film. That means no extra lives, no respawns, one life, and you have to look after it. Infinite lives and regenerating health remove all emotional investment entirely. I cared more about keeping lara croft alive in Tomb Raider 1 than any subsequent game of that series. It was hard to get her around half the level and not kill her. It built real tension. Note the main-stream recognition that game had...

The second thing they have to do is improve acting and voice work. Heavy Rain is sighted as an example in the article. I played that and it has terrible acting, atrocious voice work, it's characters are extremely dull and twitch/move like they have serious mental defects.. If Heavy Rain was a film, would that get a pass? Hell no. Uwe Boll has better acting in his films. They need to get some people in there and not just record there voices, the actors need to be there working with animators on developing every movement, linking actions and moulding the entire performance. That's their job.

Games have so far to go on a technical level it boggles the mind. Once there's sufficient room and ease of access for a Charlie Chaplin or W.C. Fields to come in and start something new, then we will see some amazing things. As it stands today, building a game requires an entire different art to be learned first, the coding. Chaplin and Fields were both stage vaudeville performers, not chemists or optical glass craftsman. They knew what he wanted to see, but it took the technology to catch up before he could use it easily.

Maybe the first step would be for game companies to hire actors and directors from the film world to making complete games. Then they use the technical employee's, like CG artists are used on films, as they would be anywhere else. You want to make games into art, hirer some art students types and get some workshops into places like this...... http://www.csm.arts.ac.uk/courses/37585.htm I don't see computer games in there!
mrbens 18th May 2010, 04:57 Quote
Yeah, we all know gaming isn't very well represented on TV. GameFace on Bravo isn't bad tho.
lacuna 18th May 2010, 10:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe


For example, I challenge anyone who has only played HL1 (and expansions, if you want) and HL2 (but without reading forums and interviews) to explain why the Vortigaunts are suddenly on your side in HL2.

It is explained in HL2. Its been a while since I played but Im fairly sure the vortigaunts that you meet in the storage container early in the game (that charge your suit for you) tell a bit of the story and then maybe later on when you are fighting the ant lions? I don't recall being confused while playing the game and I never read anything about a game while playing it in case I hit on a spoiler.

As far as I aware, valve haven't made much effort to provide any additional reading on the backstory and whatever is available on the net is just what people have gleaned from the games.
Quote:


I knew a games journalist once who had played every HL game and had then come away thinking TF2 was an official part of the storyline like Portal, though that the G-Man was the same person as Breen, thought that the combine bosses were the same as the Nihilanth, Barney was Gordon's brother and that Mossman was Alyx's mother. The mind boggles.

An ex-games journalist I hope. That looks like a deliberate effort to not understand the game as there are no reasons for coming to those conclusions. "Alyx doesn't seem to like Mossman, must be her mother" Yeah, thats an obvious one despite the fact that Eli tells Gordon that his wife died in Black Mesa when Alyx was just a child...
GiantStickMan 18th May 2010, 10:56 Quote
I was actually confused as all heck playing HL2 to begin with, i felt like I had missed something and it actually dullled the experience somwhat for me, though i can't say I jumped to any of those conclusions.
Saivert 18th May 2010, 17:48 Quote
To be true I didn't care for all the details in the game story of Half-Life series. I have learned more about the story from forums. But that is because there is just too much else going on (mainly me trying to stay alive and not get killed) in the game. It is a game after all, not a movie or a novel.
If I'm just going to listen to a story I will chose the other mediums. Games will never replace movies, novels for me.
I just think its unrealistic to try to force games into being one.
Xir 18th May 2010, 17:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
...explain why the Vortigaunts are suddenly on your side in HL2...

Ummm, I couldn't shoot them, so they must've been on my side! :D
Isn't that enough logic for a FPS?
CardJoe 18th May 2010, 20:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by lacuna

It is explained in HL2. Its been a while since I played but Im fairly sure the vortigaunts that you meet in the storage container early in the game (that charge your suit for you) tell a bit of the story and then maybe later on when you are fighting the ant lions? I don't recall being confused while playing the game and I never read anything about a game while playing it in case I hit on a spoiler.

As far as I aware, valve haven't made much effort to provide any additional reading on the backstory and whatever is available on the net is just what people have gleaned from the games.

Nope, not explained there. There are glimmers of info if you click on every Vort and harvest every screed of dialogue, but it's thin stuff. They talk about you freeing them from the Nihilanth, vaguely - but that only takes it back to HL1 where Nihilanth was never really explained. Most people who play just HL1 come away thinking the story is "OMG, experiment goes wrong, aliens come in and I go in and shoot them all and then mysterious Gman comes along". In fact, the Combine are an integral part of even HL1 and the plot is more like "Experiment is sabotaged deliberately, energy portal opens up and a subdued and oppressed race from another dimension is used by the Combine to invade earth."

There are hints to the Combine in HL1, but again it's very difficult to spot. It's alluded to in the shackles the Vorts wear, the muffled (read: Inaudible when in-game) lines Gman yells at Kliener in the opening and the reversed sound effects that Nihilanth screams in the final battle.

HL is a great game and it has a great story, but there are some big and important parts of the story that aren't told well within the game. But people don't realise because they think that story = Alyx and digital acting.
Quote:

An ex-games journalist I hope. That looks like a deliberate effort to not understand the game as there are no reasons for coming to those conclusions. "Alyx doesn't seem to like Mossman, must be her mother" Yeah, thats an obvious one despite the fact that Eli tells Gordon that his wife died in Black Mesa when Alyx was just a child...

Actually, I was mistaken before - he was a tech journo, not just a games journo. And actually he isn't in the trade anymore, no. Still, it goes to show how easy it is to misunderstand - especially since, IIRC, Alyx's mother is only mentioned twice in the entire series - both in the same scene and once of which you have to actively trigger by staring at her photo for a while.

I don't particularly care about the mother that much anyway, but it's interesting that the same person who makes that mistake is often the same one who loudly proclaims how excellent HL's story is.
CowBlazed 18th May 2010, 22:20 Quote
I liked how the story in HL wasn't spoon fed to you, also how there was speculation on almost anything in the story and how only discussing it with other people brought out some of the underlying themes.

Expecting the story to be so cut and dry and obvious is expecting games to be like other mediums.
thehippoz 19th May 2010, 00:05 Quote
that's a good point.. tech is moving so fast devs don't have time to really optimize for the old stuff

I love it myself- but I can see where it gets to be a nightmare if the platform is changing too quickly
somewhereoveryonda 19th May 2010, 00:25 Quote
Games are better.. look at the quality of what you see! And there just as addictive as ever.. though the old games do prove that simple things please simple minds :D
TheUn4seen 19th May 2010, 03:22 Quote
I don't have time right now to read all comments properly, I just skimed through them, but I see several problems both in article and comments.

First of all, the article is based on a wrong assumption: "films, fine art, music, all of these generally aim for emotional impact first, fun later.". I see this as a completely missed argument, mostly because:

-Fine art, fine music and fine films are very niche, really. How often do you see people watching films by Jarmusch, listening to a classical sonata or looking in awe at "Moscow I." by Wassily Kandinsky?
Fine games are just as rare as fine art.

-A simple quick look at the repertoire of the biggest cinema chain in my country reveals absolutely no movie that would aim for "emotional impact", in fact all of them are mainstream movies for a quick watch-and-forget time wasting. One can argue that even the most dull game is still more emotionally involving as people tend to commit more to a character they control directly instead of simply watching some guy on the screen.
My point is: most movies are mainstream crap, created for people with average and lower than average IQ, aimed at quick fun, without any deeper thought or meaning getting in the way of explosions/romance/idiotic jokes/etc. Mainstream games are very similar, but even then they involve more emotions and at least force players to be at least partially active.

(I have more arguments, but I also have a pile of damn documents I have to get ready for tomorrow, so I'll cut short for now)

And, finally, the main argument. I know that it won't make me popular, but the biggest problem is the fact that the vast majority of people are idiots. They don't want music, movies or games to make them think, they want a quick fun. Only 0.5% of all people have intelligence that allow them to enjoy something more than mindless shooting, half-naked pop stars or repetitive, dull games.
ForumNameHere 19th May 2010, 03:47 Quote
I, too, don't feel that the technology behind the product has any relevance directly. It might be tied up in the larger problem, which I feel is the commercial nature of the gaming industry these days; that's already been mentioned, I think. It's all about making as much money as possible, which means appealing to as many people as possible = lowest common denominator. Emphasis on common. I mean, here in the states, newspapers are written on an elementary school level so EVERYONE (well, nearly) can understand, want, and BUY,BUY,BUY them. If you can play the right cord, it doesn't have to be good as long as enough people like it: my daughter LOVES Hannah/Miley. Her (Hannah's) act has been refined over the years as it was complete rubbish initially, but is still tripe by my standards, yet she continues to outsell anything I'd (and most folks on this board, I would assume) consider worthwhile. Thus, her work is propagated. Much to my sorrow.
Perhaps part of what we're dealing with here is the vernacular: should the term "game" be scrapped entirely as the medium searches for legitimacy? It seems to me that searching for something meaningful/moving with a "game" is bit like going to a party to discover the meaning of life (6 X 7) or why it is that you hate your parents and like to sit alone in the dark. Because game ALWAYS equals party, right? Not on this board perhaps, but with the lowest common denominator it does.
ForumNameHere 19th May 2010, 04:12 Quote
Whoops, meant to quote the postabove me but missed.

I think un4seen had the same thought as me at the same time and said it much better: most people ARE idiots. And sadly, even individuals who aren't idiots become such when in significant enough numbers. I mean, hey, it was MY credit card that bought the tickets that my wife and daughter used to see Hannah--all so my daughter could come home and be like "she sang her new song 'I love rock and roll'. You just gotta hear it!" She was all like, Joan who?

So, yeah, that's the problem here and pretty much everywhere else for that matter.
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