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Game Content, The Good, Bad and Ugly.

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#26
Skyrim is complex (all the questioning en searching) but "philisofical"?? Unless any thought whatever thought (A: go stealth, B: talk to the priest, WOW!) is considered philOsofical... Then marketing brainstorming also is... (god forbit)
When I play it I use it mostly for sightseeing and tourism :) (trying to be as sincere as possible for your research Kreij)

Then we have BF (BF3 par example) it is all about fun and skills (and serious quality graphics, audio) but is closer to Pacman survival hectics then, say, Operation Flashpoint series (Arma, etc), which as a whole has a more submerging, involving storyline that you HAVE to immerse in, unlike the CoD, MoH or BF singleplayer kitsch CNN corridor storylines...

It is way old and unavailable, but 1944 Across the Rhine or -later- World War II Online had me totally kidnapped, because somehow you were part of it, or just like -briefly- Need for Speed when the police cars were hunting you down: you just had to manage it!!! It WAS important, not like Skyrim which seems a world that turns and turns on its own, with or without you....
 
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#27
Idk.. The imagination is a wonderful thing.. I have yet to see an upside down pig, shooting poop for bullets, in a world where apple cores are king.. Just sayin.. I like originality and story.. Catching the imagination of people is hard to do but when it's done, you get things like Starwars, Goonies, E-T, Close encounters, Time Bandits.. etc etc etc.

You don't forget games or movies like that.. They become more a part of culture then just a footnote in gaming..
Maybe I'm an old sap but I think that's worth a heck of a lot more, than just pointing and clicking..
 
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#28
Dawngaurd brought back a lot of immersiveness that Skyrim was generally lacking (for me) but I think that was due to their well made environments, excellent new characters (voice acting,e tc...)and story line and my new ENB mod.

Every factor of the game weights in. They work together like a symphony. If the violin section (artists) is lacking or the cellos are lacking (writers) then the whole symphony pays for it.

As for thought provoking, If a game can make you think and engulf you in its world then it is surpassing all other games.
 

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#29
@erixx : I'm not doing any research. I just like yakking with TPU'er and like to hear their real opinions instead of regurgitated crap from all over the internet. Your last comment about the "world turning with or without you" is very interesting.

@D007 : But what is capturing the imagination of people in those movies? What is the hook? I've read hundreds and hundreds of Sci-Fi/Fantasy books (I collect them) and the Star Wars story is generic crap, yet it captures our imagination. Why? Something that connects us in a personal way to the story?
 
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#30
I agree. So what are some games that you think used previous ideas to good new effect?
Nice question. Prince of Persia inspired Tomb Raider series in the middle 90s. TR devs said that in their interview (they also talked about other games but tbh I don't remember their names, those game were from the 80s lol). The effect was amazing. 2D game inspired one of the most famous 3D games of that era. TR just like PoP had pits with spikes, doppelganger, timed doors and all that awesome stuff with traps and puzzles. But they implemented that so differently.


With first person shooters it's easier. Definitely they are inspired by Wolfenstein3d. All fps we see today are just the same Wolfenstein just with different engine/physics and graphics lol.
 
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#31
Well Half Life used mainly the Quake engine and was originally inspired by Stephen Kings novel The Mist.
 

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#32
With first person shooters it's easier. Definitely they are inspired by Wolfenstein3d. All fps we see today are just the same Wolfenstein just with different engine/physics and graphics lol.
This seems true, but there are some that stand out to me. I was impressed with Prey. They took a generic shooter concept and made a game that was really different at the time.
 
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#33
This seems true, but there are some that stand out to me. I was impressed with Prey. They took a generic shooter concept and made a game that was really different at the time.
Yes gravity walls and portal systems were very original. And do you remember that spherical rocks with artificial gravity? :roll:

Another amazing FPS is Duke Nukem 3D. His kinky jokes, weird alien weapons and all that stuff make this game legendary and very memorable.

Serious Sam with his stupid oneliners and endless hordes of enemies is also original.

However we can see that all those games had something Doom-esque.
 

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#34
This is where Bethsoft falls short. The storyline in Skyrim (and Fallout 3 for that matter) is just a sideproduct, and it's not made that good. The dialouge (which carry the storyline) is generally speaking pretty stupid. Yes the ES universe has a ton of interesting stuff, but it's all relegated to the background, and hunting butterflies for wings and trying to climb mountains with a horse while turtles snap at your feet is the foreground. And that bugs me. In a game where you can do "anything", the specifics and fine detail is pushed away. But credit where it's due, Skyrim would've been a better game if they included a hardcore mode, you know when you have to eat and sleep etc. Now it's just a bunch of stuff to do but you don't gain anything by doing it, except levels, but when there's nothing to do other than randomly explore and fight of wolfs that keep attacking you (and the occasional dragon fight) it gets rather pointless. Yes you can shout, and the shouts are pretty cool, but to what end? The world is so open it feels cramped and pointless. There's no effort to anything, except grinding (which shouldn't exist in a SP game and anyway it's not a real effort), it's an empty shell. You're pretty much a God, and that is not a good way to do these kinds of games.
Side product? They have so many in game books it's unreal. And they have to do with the history of the universe. And beyond that theres so many small stories and books that cover the people and their lives just in that specific game of the series. Almost every dungeon seems to have a story about a person in there who inhabited it or was there at some point, and I love that.

As far as eat and sleep, ES or Fallout series is about mods, it's why you buy the games for computer. Those mods exist, if you want to have that, go get one, it's super easy. And it's the great thing about the series, if something wasn't put in the vanilla game, it most likely has been modded in.

As far as butterfly wings and mountain climbing vs turtles, I don't even know what that story means. I haven't ran into silly quests like that. You say that when it gets boring you can explore (but then you trivialize it), either you haven't played the game or you tore through it and didn't read journals. Learning the history of where you are is the best part of the game, and is what makes exploring worth while. And you seem to have lost that point, I just can't identify with anything you have said about ES or Fallout series there, it sounds like a review from someone who played the main storyline in record time, never looked at anything else or read a single book/journal then said the game lacks depth of story.
 
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#35
I believe what Frick is trying to say is the stories are there, but mean nothing or are part of the quest already that you are forced to do by one way or another. The ability to explore and put stuff together yourself and fail at it hard due to lack of having the right experience and or equipment is lacking.


Things feel to readily available to me.


There is a SNES game called Uncharted Waters where you have a story you follow, but you can spend years doing it, or you can do it fast, and in the mean time there is lots to do, and if you start off ill equipped and or without the skills you don't progress, and no amount of money or doing the same thing again and again will get you to the point where you can actually make progress without venturing and putting yourself at risk.
 
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#36
To me Kurgan that is the problem rightaway. Tolkien based his opus on traditions and old books, recycling stuff that MEANT something for hunderds of thousand of ol' folks before the Dark Ages. Things that were sacred or well known legends to actually our forefathers.
So far in Skyrim, the stories -which I stopped reading very soon- are all pastiches and 3rd grade remixes of remixes, names that most of the time are unexistent before and everything seems a creation ad hoc of the devs. I mean, it lacks some REAL connection to the REAL antique world.

But maybe it is just me, because I am dedicated to history, not fantasy. Romans, Vikings, the Cathars, Goths, Napoleon, WWII are significant to me, pure parallel worlds fiction not.
 

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#37
In the fantasy and Sci-Fi genres you don't have to reference historical facts or fiction, but you do have to relate your story to the human condition. Good Sci-Fi, in particular, is not about science or technology per se, it is about placing your reader into a fantasy word to explain or extrapolate your views (as the author) on current events and how they may/or may not affect the people reading the book. That is the real hook with great writing in the fantasy genres.
Bladerunner (or better the book it was based on ... Philip K. Dick's "Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep") is a perfect example of this.

While I love the ES games (and have them all), I think they are generic and do not relate to the human condition well. The Tolkien books (in particular, the Lord of the Rings trilogy) draw you in because it is based upon an "against all odds" setting. Something that did, and still, resonates with many people due to their lot in life.

Great discussion. Carry on.
 
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#38
I tend to prefer games which don't have a storyline to follow, but still have nice lore in the game. I rarely finish games, even ones that I like, since I usually find following the story through to the end boring.
 
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#39
I don't think there has to be or good carried story or bad free story only. Baldur's Gate and Neverwinter Nights for me are probably the best games where the sandbox style and a good story mixes well. Even there are great mods created by the community using the editor of neverwinter.
 

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#40
While I agree that BG and NWN are great games, they are not sandbox type games. But it is true that opening them up for modding has extended their life well past anything one would expect for that type of game. One would think more devs/publishers would get the point when it comes to game longevity.
 
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#41
Not sandbox type like minecraft, but in those games you had freedom on how you could do the things to carry on. Ignoring or following characters, side quests, being a good person or a complete criminal had it's different advantages or disadvantages. Also your race, stats, abilities and class had a real impact in the game. It was more closed compared to skyrim, you were more tied to the story and the characters yet I didn't feel like been on wheels compared to FF7 for example. For me was very well balanced.
 
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#42
Games have surely evolved over the years from when I started playing them in 1990 all the way until today (dam I feel old). Their primary intention was to pass as pure entertainment. Looking at even earlier games, they were rather primitive in the sense that they were just made up of dots and lines that moved, case and point, PONG! I got into games back when Super Mario Bros, Zelda: A Link to the Past, Wolfenstein 3D, and Duke Nukem were climbing the charts. Most of the games of this era were beginning their experimentation into telling deep stories, however simple they were at the time, to the masses.

However, now I think games are trying to compete with movies on a small scale. Call of Duty anyone? Story is weak, but the sales are absolutely ridiculous, which is why we see a new COD every single year. It's the same with a bad movie series that keeps getting sequels, ex. Resident Evil.

A game like Skyrim is only a small portion of the lore of the Elder Scrolls universe. It spans across 5 games now. I actually like the amount of content there is available in that game. I don't know how I would react if the content was changed to make it more deep in favor of sacrificing the amount of content it has. I like it the way it is. It just goes to show everyone how versatile video games are in their industry and somewhat in the movie industry as well.
But I do think that in order to create that amazing experience that will leave you walking away thinking about it time and time again, and it has you going back to play it again, time and time again it does need to have a fulfilling deep story in favor of the amount of content.
 
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#43
@Erixx : I'm not doing any research. I just like yakking with TPU'er and like to hear their real opinions instead of regurgitated crap from all over the internet. Your last comment about the "world turning with or without you" is very interesting.

@D007 : But what is capturing the imagination of people in those movies? What is the hook? I've read hundreds and hundreds of Sci-Fi/Fantasy books (I collect them) and the Star Wars story is generic crap, yet it captures our imagination. Why? Something that connects us in a personal way to the story?
It's hard to ask a specific question in regards to so many people. Each one could have a different reason..
For one it would have to be strong acting skills. Not many B movie actors can really achieve that.
A well written and thought provoking script.
Engrossing environments.
Music.. So many people forget how important music is..
To me music is the dark energy, to this "faster than" light speed universe.
Music can bind people better than words..

My best example is like the FF series.. They made scripts that got you attached to characters.
They made you want to fight for them and save them..
If one died, you actually got sad..
Palom and parom sacrificing themselves and turning to stone, to stop the walls from crushing you.. ; ;
Cid jumping into the volcano, with a bomb strapped to him, to stop it from blowing everyone up.
When Aeris died.. Idk about u guys but I about shed a tear..

That game created emotion..
Love, hate, conflict, triumph, defeat, sacrifice.. It was epic..
 
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#44
I'm too of the opinion that if I want a good story I read a book and if I want nice cinematics I'll watch a movie. If I want to play a game, I want it to be a game, not a movie. And I want immersion. So I hate extense storytelling in games. If I'm suposed to live in this world, why the hell is this character telling me about the world and history. I should either know or learn it on my own. That's how real life works and that's what I want in games.

I still like story in a game mind you, but it has to "unfold before my eyes" and not be told of it. For me an example of good story implementation in a game is Half-Life 2 and ES series (for the most part, Morrowind more than Oblivion or Skyrim). And an example of bad story implementation, just to name an otherwise kinda great game that will shock more than one, Mass Effect. I never finished it, I could not be bothered to continue playing and I was always thinking that certain story elements were kinda cool, which made me continue playing a little more even if it bored me to death. I might some day read the book (books?), but there's so many more books which are far better and have not read yet...
 
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#45
I buy a game for pure entertainment. video games are like.. bad television. it's okay to indulge in Storage Wars because it's bad, it's not uplifting but that's partially what makes it pleasurable. some games I thought were very ambitious and enjoyed this generation are Bioshock and Mass Effect which you will find at the Smithsonian Museum.
 

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#46
Sadly the game with the most content that ive ever played is...... Dwarf Fortress.. easily
Sadly? That game is awesome! :D

I'm too of the opinion that if I want a good story I read a book and if I want nice cinematics I'll watch a movie. If I want to play a game, I want it to be a game, not a movie. And I want immersion. So I hate extense storytelling in games. If I'm suposed to live in this world, why the hell is this character telling me about the world and history. I should either know or learn it on my own. That's how real life works and that's what I want in games.

I still like story in a game mind you, but it has to "unfold before my eyes" and not be told of it. For me an example of good story implementation in a game is Half-Life 2 and ES series (for the most part, Morrowind more than Oblivion or Skyrim). And an example of bad story implementation, just to name an otherwise kinda great game that will shock more than one, Mass Effect. I never finished it, I could not be bothered to continue playing and I was always thinking that certain story elements were kinda cool, which made me continue playing a little more even if it bored me to death. I might some day read the book (books?), but there's so many more books which are far better and have not read yet...
Lets talk Dwarf Fortress, because I love that game even if it has ASCII graphics (which is the REAL way to play it) and no story; I love it because it's the essential Game. You control a group of dwarfs and carve out a home somewhere underground. And that's it, and the depth and attention to detail is extraordinary and quite mind boggling at first. And of course, it's one of the hardest games you'll play. Which is why it's so satisfying when you get your first well to work. You create things, you create your own story (read Boatmurdered, a DF LP, it's great) and you feel for each dwarf even if they're just represented by a smiley and some statistics. That kind of game is excellent as well. And now back to Skyrim:

It's on many levels the opposite, and a lot I've already said. It's a huge world (good) with a lot of nice things in it (burrows, elks, giants etc) but there's no sense to it. No fine details, no creating, no sense of completion, just that huge world with some mediocre dialouge. I think the game would've been much better as a survival game. Make away with the pretentions of storytelling (because that's a sidenote anyway) and focus on the land itself and how you interact with it. And make it difficult! I want to be able to make my own leather clothes, but those elks and wolves should not be easy to take down. It's an empty soccer field.

And I don't know what it is, but it feels more and more games are being catered to 14 year olds.

EDIT: That was not true, I know exactly what is wrong but I won't go into that now.
 

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#47
Isn't the problem actually the NPC's, as in they typically don't matter?
It wouldn't take that much effort to write more depth into a number of key NPC's, so for example, in FO3, if Lucas Simms was more interesting and more involved with you, you might feel bad about nuking Megaton, but he's just a deep voice in a hat.

I'm speaking mainly about RPG's of course, as the typical run and gun got boring in 2006.

On the combat side of things, FO3/NV and Skyrim with a difficulty mod are all quite good, in fact, I'm 42hrs in New Vegas and only now feel I can try and clear a few of the tougher sections of the game{very hard in hardcore mode}.
 

Frick

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#48
I'm speaking mainly about RPG's of course, as the typical run and gun got boring in 2006.
RPG's made by Bethsoft and Bioware have this problem. It's why Kotor 2 is better than Kotor 1, Fallout NV better than FO3. At least from an RPG standpoint. And Mass Effect is .. kinda cool in some parts but boring. The characters are all US Marines with alien skins.
 

Kreij

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#49
No fine details, no creating, no sense of completion
I disagree on the fine detail as I think that is one thing Skyrim has a lot of in both the world and the lore (the ecosystem in the game is amazing), but I will give you that there is no real creating in the game (other than simple recipies for things).
That never really was the focus of Skyrim though. It's a game of exploration ... of finding things (places, people, etc), experiencing things, and learning things about your surroundings (lore).
A lot of things you describe as "missing" can be found in mods, such as greater difficulty and hardcore play and some of the mods are really on-par with professionally made content.
 

Kwod

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#50
. At least from an RPG standpoint.
I don't think it can be denied that New Vegas improved a number of things over FO3, but I like things like the Antagonizer vs the Mechanist, and also think with the HD pack, FO3 is a beautiful game that has some of the best imagery ever seen in gaming, FO3 also has the ability to distract you from your path, same with Skyrim, yet in Vegas, I felt less inclined to venture as much.

Vegas is very good combat shooter, though on the hardest difficulty, I think they've undercooked a lot of the weapons, so I'm forced to use only a handful of the stronger ones, IOW, the mods don't boost the basic weapons high enough on many occasions, but would obviously be fine on normal difficulty.