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Subject: 999 (Nintendo DS)
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8026  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Fantasy... on: July 08, 2007, 11:00:35 PM
OoT had absolutely NO sequence breaking.

It had a part where you could do about three or so dungeons in any order, I think. Water, Fire, and some other temple.

The original Legend of Zelda didn't rely on items being the thing that would help you solve the puzzles.

Quite. Same for... the second, sort of. The Theme Item Per Dungeon gimmick is a tad oldish... And the whole "Item X has limited use outside of it's intended dungeon" DEFINITELY was in LttP.

star ocean 3 rewarded the player for exploring each map.

Yeah, but this was, like, broken. While the idea was to "explore" the map,it was based on completely filling in the map. And doing so was stupid, because the area that got filled in on the map was very tiny in relation to your character, and you'd basically have to do two passed per each 'corridor' to fill it in on the map completely.
8027  Media / Single-Player RPGs / BOFDQ: Good or bad? on: July 08, 2007, 10:51:12 PM

Russian :D Anyway, might I ask what Chetyre is, and what it's the fourth of?
8028  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Fantasy... on: July 08, 2007, 12:24:56 PM
I've heard people talking about Zelda games losing their sequence breaking as of late, but it's not something I recall the games ever having much of. And  at least a few of the instances were a result of bugs, and not intended nonlinearity.

anyway, one of the most obnoxious sequence-based puzzle-things I've seen was in this IF game called Christminster, that got a lot of love from various sources. Anyway, the sequence made sense, unlike the GK3 one, but I don't know if it, well, made the MOST sense, and the sequence you needed to do stuff in was quite rigid with little room for error.
8029  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Fantasy... on: July 08, 2007, 01:53:49 AM
The most that really happens is just idiotically holding you back because they want you to do this or that first which just pisses me off and REALLY fucks with the whole interactive aspect of games.

I know what you mean in terms of RG, but I don't recall this happening in DDS2, although I'm not terribly far in it.

Anyway, this is why people didn't like betrayal in antara much. Krondor DID hem you in and stopped you from going to certain areas too soon, but within the area you were being confined too in that chapter, you had a lot of control over where you went. Antara was like, "We're sticking to this one road, and that's it. Capiche?"
8030  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Fantasy... on: July 07, 2007, 07:05:48 PM
Ballsy things with gameplay - you get to eat people! - tick!

Given what you said about Jenne
I guess she's pretty ballsy too ;)
8031  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Fantasy... on: July 07, 2007, 10:58:57 AM
It's a vanilla product because of that. Xenogears on the other hand was a much stronger drama because it did things we didn't expect.

Yes, but the stuff I didn't expect happened from things just not making sense. For instance:

I didn't expect Fei and Id to be the same person, because dissociative fugues usually don't make your appearance change completely. Not... to mention being really off about how multiple personality disorder works in general

Alternatively, things happened I didn't expect because a lot of the stuff in th game was just sort of poorly explained.

Also, I don't remember the
Citan Betrayal
at all. I re


On Topic.

You can have a linear storyline that doesn't change much, and largely non-linear gameplay. I think Morrowind's something that people consider highly non-linear. However, the main plotline is almost entirely linear: you can sequence break if you know what to do, and it changes slightly depending on whether or not you kill a certain character, but beyond that, the storyline is linear. Morrowind achieves nonlinearity by giving the players options of stuff to do OUTSIDE the bounds of the main quest.

Ultima 7 worked on a similar approach. Main storyline was pretty linear, but you could influence the world and go exploring and do all sorts of sidequests outside of it.

Likewise, if you have a linear storyline, you can offer a nonlinear approach to it. Let's say that in an adventure game, for instance, you basically have a standard sequence of lock-and-key type puzzles, where you need X item to get rid of Y problem, thus solving the puzzle. Let's change this. Item A, B, or C will get rid of problem Y. Depending on which items you have left, future puzzles and sub-puzzles will play out slightly differently. the underlying narrative's ultimately linear, but you have different courses of action for dealing with it. Something like that.

Anyway, limitting character growth to just getting magic and stat-boosts on level ups, without any sort of input from the player, is something that has made several games get really boring to me. Making character growth totally uninteractive takes the fun out of it.
8032  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Fantasy... on: July 07, 2007, 04:16:26 AM
Anyway, I wasn't focusing on the entire post. It's mostly the back-half of those points he listing and explaining. I wannt try and relate some of those more to RPGs. Tomorrow.
8033  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Fantasy... on: July 07, 2007, 03:08:05 AM

This is the link I was talking about. Mostly the article from 1989. Not so much the comments at the end which are probably written by ???s and drunks.
8034  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Fantasy... on: July 07, 2007, 02:33:51 AM
It seems over the past couple years we've had a lot of big named RPGs that were more concerned about telling a huge sprawling story rather than taking its core group and building them up. Final Fantasy XII and Star Ocean: Till the End of Time spring to mind immediately.

Fans want this sort of stuff. Anyway, I have an immense amount to say about this, actually, but I'm a bit too, er, on Robitussin to really say what I want to.

In brief, though, in a game like X-Com, none of your squaddies have set personalities (As opposed to, say, Jagged Alliance 2, where there aren't ANY generic soldiers). However, they do have individual stats, which increase depending on what you have them do and what 'level' they are (Squaddies have more 'points' in stats than rookies do, I believe. Likewise, if you want the strength stat to go up, have a soldier trug some heavy crap around for awhile).

anyway, there's sort of this emergent personification thing that goes on. Lets say that Gunther Bremke just has a really high natural strength stat, meaning he can actual lug aroun the rocket launcher and a few spare rockets. So you basically set him up the same way every mission. He becomes your demolitions expert. And then whatever sort of personality you associate with demolitions guys, Gunther Bremke there starts to take it on.

You can't have this going on with characters that have pre-defined, fully written-out personalities. Ergo, if they're not well developed, they're not going to get their own 'emergent' development going on. They're just going to remain underdeveloped, because the player can't internalize them, and apparently the writer couldn't either.

However, as I said, the trend of having sprawling, epic stories with poor character development isn't anything new. That IS what the majority of roleplaying gamers want (or wanted until recently) -- really intricate storylines with lots of twists.

Besides. It's not like Star Ocean 2 had particularly memorable characters either.

On the flipside, RPGs are highly underdeveloped in their ability to inspire us and force us to think about things.

True. But they're also games. I know I'm probably alone here, but I'm not looking at RPGs or games at all as a source of massive social change or artistic inspiration. I like games being games. If games have to stop being games to focus on narrative, than I really, really want nothing to do with gaming anymore.

In general, my idea of a game is something that involves playing. I'm not the sort of elitist gamer that believes that games should be gamerly and for nerds and confusing and require a lot of though. I just act like that in various places because it's funny and gets people going.

When I say 'involves playing,' I mean involves the player on some level more than just responding vaguely to stimuli (which a lot of console and PC RPG battle systems basically are). In an RPG or a strategy game, decision making is a good way of doing this. "I want to go and explore that mountain, just because it's there and I can," or "What happens if I try to bounce this grenade off of the wall, into an invariably enemy infested room? Will I still have enough movement points left to get clear?"

I've noticed that as narratives get more central to gaming, the player isn't allowed to do stuff "wrong" or experiment or whatever as much. And at this point I'm probably inadvertantly paraphrasing some ex-Lucas Arts employee wrote in the late 80s about Maniac Mansion. Anyway. If the narrative gets so central that the devs want nothing more than for the player to experience there carefully laid out narrative, I believe that they WILL limit the gameplay choices to, ultimately, boil down to a very basic form of responding to occasional stimuli.

Anyway, the things I find memorable in games are the things I do myself. Games can have memorable narratives, but that's not the *game* portion of the game. From Xenogears, the most memorable part for me, really, is how I finished it with massively, massively underpowered characters.

Epic final bosses are a dime a dozen. That time you got polymorphed into a succubus in Nethack and accidentally died by seducing a cockatrice, on the other hand, isn't.
8035  Media / Single-Player RPGs / BOFDQ: Good or bad? on: July 05, 2007, 07:37:05 PM
If there's even a chance that I can't beat an RPG due to running out of time,

There's not really even a chance. If you don't use the DRush thing constantly, You'd have to spend 20 some hours dicking about running back and forth to run out of time. Doing the whole dungeon only takes like, seven hours on a single run-through.
8036  Media / Single-Player RPGs / if it's not broken dont fix it... on: July 02, 2007, 03:32:12 PM
ATB is something I wouldn't call non-broken, though.
8037  Media / Single-Player RPGs / if it's not broken dont fix it... on: July 02, 2007, 11:12:07 AM
On the other hand, the battle system change from Chrono Trigger to Chrono Cross was pretty drastic (but once I spent some time with CC's battle system, I dug it.)

Yeah, but there was a greater period of time between CT and CC than FFVI and FFVII, which is worth considering. Also, CT's original battle system was QUITE similar to the FF ATB system, so I imagine that they wanted to distance the game from the FF games they had at. Also, it did share some features with XG (sort of) which DID have some dev team from CT and CC on it, I believe? If that's the case, than the progression is somewhat more visible.
8038  Media / Single-Player RPGs / if it's not broken dont fix it... on: July 02, 2007, 01:40:32 AM
WA:ACF is the second game I've played (Some GBA Harvest Moon being the first) where you hit a point and the text allocation tables fuck up and NPCs start speaking in complete gibberish. Stuff like: "good candy is an excellent ship. . Head east of Neutchfel to find". Being someone that obsesses over talking to every NPC, stuff like that really BOTHERS me.

Also, they took out various skills and things and generally removed a lot of the gameplay and replaced it with a bunch of additions which are only really there for the final dungeons. Yeys?

So yeah. It's not so much "Don't fix what isn't broken," as it is, "Don't fix something unless you seriously not what you're doing, otherwise you're likely to sever a thumb."
8039  Media / Single-Player RPGs / if it's not broken dont fix it... on: July 01, 2007, 09:26:19 PM
thesearingstar: Did you see my later post explaining my first post? I *really* am sorry about that misunderstanding :/
8040  Media / Single-Player RPGs / if it's not broken dont fix it... on: July 01, 2007, 08:34:10 PM
Look harder.

Give me some examples?

Why? Because you don't want developers to push the envelope, you don't want developers to make better games.

This is completely wrong. Stop telling me what I'm thinking. You're misinterpreting me, and I don't like that.

You seem to be under the assumption that I'm just ignoring these things you're talking about. I'm not ignoring them.

Never mind games capture entire body movement, or have hundreds more animations in one character than last gen, or have draw distances that go off into the distance for miles and miles.

Motion capture's relatively new for games, but as a concept, it's not that new, and it's been used in movies for a long time. The additional animation is nice, sure, and so are the large view distances.

How, though, do these matter at all on the gameplay front?

Never mind that computer AI evolves and reacts to the player, and never mind realistic physics, streamlined online play, downloadable content that extends the game experience, never mind that all.

Realistic physics is, certantainly, realistic, but I've yet to actually see anything besides, say, Gmod, this gen, use physics in an interesting way -- it's mostly been ragdoll physics and stuff like oblivion's traps which I've never actually seen work properly. Exile probably has one of the most interesting uses of game-physics I've seen, and that game's from '88.

Physics aren't that hard to model, though. I mean, Frontier: Elite 2 and Frontier: First Encounters had quite realistic Newtonian phyiscs for space flight (Which, I believe, isn't particularly common. Partially because whether or not it's fun is debatable, but eh).

I'm not sure what sort of games you're refering to, when you say AI. Of the top of my head, I can't really think of any PS2 or GC RPGs with adaptive AI. I don't play much in the way of FPSes on consoles because the controls don't really jive with me for it, but, say, Metroid Prime 1 and 2 don't have adaptive AI, I know. Very obvious pattern-based enemies. Same for the Zeldas.

On the PC front, Unreal and Half-Life both had pretty strong AI, but that was some time ago, and I don't think they were adaptive, either. I also hear Half-Life's AI is almost entirely based on what sort of path-nodes you have set up or something. UT2K4's bots were strong, but not really revolutionary. Call of Duty 2 had pretty standard AI. Same for 1. Strong, but nothing really revolutionary. More often than not, I read reviews and here complaints about the AI in a lot of new games.

Now, I do remember some very interesting simulations from the mid-nineties with really interesting AI. Creatures 1 and 2 come to mind. Galapagos was also relatively interesting adventure sort of game based around operant conditioning.

Truthfully though I don't really remember a lot of games actually having adaptive AI, so I'm guessing this is a feature from Halo or something.

I also seem to recall a few games apparently recording play styles or something, saving them across game sections, and tweaking the AI as per whatever got found in the recorder play styles, but I don't know if this feature was ever actually implemented, and I haven't heard of it in any recent games.

Downloadable content... Well, that's been around since the internet took off in the late 80s. Nethack has sharable bones files. Adventure had... user-made mods, I guess. That's not really the internet, though. Anyway. A lot of games had free mission pack type things. GalCiv I and II are recent examples. Daggerfall and some various strategy games are older ones. Morrowind also had a fair amount of free, official mods. Also, I'm not even mentioning the extremely massive freeware games scene.

The modern incarnation seems to lead to things like GTA editions that ship without content. Er, no thanks. I'd prefer stay in the days when downloadable addon content was free.

And streamlined internet play? Again, relatively newer, but nothing THAT new. Battle.net's an ooooold service. Sierra's Wow service had a decent run, I guess. Gamespy arcade's also been around for some time. I don't think modern player-matching systems STARTED with UT99, but they've been around since at least that long.

Basically, though, I'm really not ignoring the technological advancements. I'm just not impressed by what people are doing them. I don't think most devs are pushing the systems to their limits at all. They're using the hardware exactly how it's meant to be used, and not really going beyond it at all.

Also, even IF the CGIs in games get prettier, that doesn't mean the art directions going to get any better either. If you're a crappy artist or suck at 'directing' CGIs, it doesn't matter if you're working with low-poly, flat-shaded models on a PS1, or highly detailed models on a PS3.

Be it a little shader, or a bit more detailed water, those techniques and that detail will be shared and continue on in future games, and they will also look better in time.

Sure, that's dandy, but I'm not going to spend 60 dollars on a game just so I can look at the water (Unless we're talking some incredibly unlikely sequel to Aquanaut's Holiday or something).
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