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Game musings and news

Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:06 pm
by Mongrel
So a friend was over and was showing me Far Cry 3 and it really struck me how much this recent crop of FPS/storyline games have become similar (of course Eidos seems to just make the same game over and over). Differences in combat mechanics aside, you essentially have unlockable areas full of goons to gun down. If your attacks fail, the old tried-and-true of running 100 metres away will bail your ass out and re-set the area. Far Cry 3 also features occasional random events to make the place feel a little more organic: Your allies will sometimes attack a goon area on their own and there are random neutral encounters with your allies, like finding them on the roadside with a broken-down car you help to fix. I actually thought those were nice touches.

What I started to think about is how cool it would be for the game to link things up so that they actually mattered. You take the basic concept, your character is the "hero" of a sandbox where there are goons and friendlies, and actually add some advanced RTS/DotA elements.

Let's say that instead of unlinked areas with random battle spawning, the game could actually track a proper geographic "front", so that there were actual battle lines. I mean, arguably this has been done, with areas of a map linked to "control points", but it would be neat to actually move to a system where the lay of the land determines control with much clearer lines, such that guys aren't always idly roaming about in all areas. That would make infiltration feel a lot more interesting and risky than just "I went over here and wasn't seen". If you get into trouble, you would have to retreat back to your lines, or even a fallback point if you brought a mess home.

Essentially, you would be affecting the shape of the front as you moved from area to area, rather the way heroes do in DotA games. I hate DotA, but applying some of that to an RTS game would be great. Maybe you could even add an economic element where you have secondary goals which will increase your arms shipments or cash flow or the like, though I think this may already be sort-of present in some games.

Let's also say you could run training sessions. The more training sessions you run, the better trained your allies are, but the less time you spend at the front, fighting fires.

You could also tie those cute little random events - fixing cars, solving supply problems, whatever - to battle outcomes on the front. The crucial limiting factor will be time, so there's much less possibility of a twinkie-style do-everything strategy.

In a best-case scenario you could actually coordinate larger strategies, ordering attacks or retreats in certain regions in order to better shape your lines or take advantage of a weak enemy position or salient.

I guess since I have zero coding ability, that's all blue-sky stuff, but it really seems that that would give the genre a nice push forward, taking these little cutesy things that are trying to give a sense of "realism" to a pretty shallow game and linking them up to make your actions much more meaningful and interesting.

I'd also like to see more storyline FPS games make individual combats more. Fewer goons, but harder ones, requiring better planning or strategy (similar to what was done with the big boys in Bioshock). I guess this happens sometimes, but from what I've seen, the endgame always involves just amping numbers of goons or tacking on some armour on them. Of course this really depends on better bot AI. I'm interested to see what Valve eventually does with all that data they get from running MvMs.

Re: Game innovation musings and news

Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:21 pm
by Blossom
It's not a first-person shooter, but you did sorta just describe Jagged Alliance 2.

Re: Game innovation musings and news

Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 4:17 pm
by Mongrel
It often amazes me how some very advanced and interesting game concepts have already been explored in twenty year old games without ever being revisited.

Or maybe it doesn't amaze me all that much anymore. :I

Re: Game innovation musings and news

Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 9:57 pm
by Thad
Mongrel wrote:It often amazes me how some very advanced and interesting game concepts have already been explored in twenty year old games without ever being revisited.


I'm surprised by how influential Chrono Trigger's been in some ways and how people have completely ignored its mechanics in others. I can't think of any other game that's duplicated its combo system, I can't say I've seen another game that plays the time travel mechanic as well, and for fuck's sake it took Japan another decade to decide maybe that whole thing with getting rid of random encounters was something they should follow up on.

Re: Game innovation musings and news

Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 10:18 pm
by Büge
I think we discussed this a few weeks ago. My personal conclusion was graphical improvements are easy compared to compiling new AIs.

Re: Game innovation musings and news

Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 10:22 pm
by zaratustra
My conclusion was that people, even game designers, can't tell good mechanics apart from their own arseholes.

Re: Game innovation musings and news

Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 10:28 pm
by Healy
Sometimes the hardest thing to rip off well is great design.

Re: Game innovation musings and news

Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 10:51 pm
by Mongrel
It's interesting, because I can't actually think of any game companies that I see as a real gameplay innovator right now.

I guess Valve, but they're tied up in so many other things that new Valve game releases are less frequent than global ice ages.

Re: Game innovation musings and news

Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:37 pm
by Thad
Healy wrote:Sometimes the hardest thing to rip off well is great design.


Sure, but it's easy to rip off great design poorly, and yet nobody even seems to be doing that.

Re: Game innovation musings and news

Posted: Sat Jan 25, 2014 1:25 am
by Cthulhu-chan
Good designs don't necessarily mean good sales, and re-hashed mediocre garbage keeps selling like hotcakes, so you can't really blame publishers for taking the low road.

edit: well you can, but they don't give a shit.

Re: Game innovation musings and news

Posted: Sat Jan 25, 2014 12:39 pm
by Thad
I guess I see what you mean; everybody SAYS they want another game like Chrono Trigger but even as western-style RPG's are bigger than ever, JRPG sales are on a major decline. As far as stripmining somebody else's game to cash in with a cheap knockoff, it's a poor choice.

It'd be a good project for some enterprising indie dev, but that's the thing -- I bet like 75% of aspiring indie devs try to make another Chrono Trigger and give up.

Re: Game innovation musings and news

Posted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 7:28 pm
by Classic
Aren't there like... 3 big [url=https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/482445197/unsung-story-tale-of-the-guardians?ref=liveJRPG[/url] kickstarters up?

Or maybe just the two. Derp.
And one of them is out of kickstart phase.

Re: Game innovation musings and news

Posted: Sat Feb 08, 2014 3:23 pm
by Mongrel
Read this: http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=765440

Make sure you see this: http://abload.de/img/matrixswallow3dsh7a1x.gif

EDIT: (slight thread title change for more general applicability)

Re: Game innovation musings and news

Posted: Sat Feb 08, 2014 3:39 pm
by Smiler
Maybe I'll digest some of the code. :brainproblems:

Re: Game musings and news

Posted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 1:46 pm
by Smiler
First Impressions of Thi4f based on a twitch stream:

Seen so far:

-Compass icons on guards telling you their alertness, which stay on your UI even if they're not on your line of sight anymore.
-Tiny levels, constant loading screens.
-Guard AI non-existent.
-Horribly blurry screen. I guess this is for indicating your visibility but it's just like someone smeared vaseline all over.
-Terribly designed NuGarett.
-Horrible swooping action.
-Godawful voice acting.
-Horrible Jason Bourne wubwub music playing on top of each other/doesn't know when to cue properly.
-Garett stands in closet with guard next to it --> opens closet, pushing guard out of the way. Guard oblivious.
-Constant close-ups of whatever he's doing. Lockpicking, opening windows,...
-Third person cutscenes in the midst of a level.
-No need for stealth, you can just pummel multiple guards in their face, and finish them with execution moves.
-Max Payne dream sequences.
-I think I saw an enemy stand there, Mortal Kombat style, waiting for the fatality after some blackjack pummeling.
-BLOODY SCREEN, so real. Even comes with damage direction indicators.
-"I want you to steal the key to THE TRUTH, Garrett!"
-UI compass direction icon, with distance indicator.
-You can hear conversations from miles away and they repeat.
-Every level looks the same.
-Spying on people having sex, CreepyGarrett
-Garrett sees flashbacks of dead people or whatever.
-Instant kill traps, but focus mode shows you which button to press by highlighting the whole trap in red and blue.
-I've seen little or no use of the old thief elements. No noisy floors, no moss arrows, no rope arrows, no water arrows. It's just mostly running around and fighting guards

Basically it seems even worse than everyone was expecting.

Re: Game musings and news

Posted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 1:49 pm
by Blossom
Don't wanna spend the time grinding to max level in WoW before you can start playing the actual game? Don't worry, for $60 we'll do it for you!

Re: Game musings and news

Posted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 2:24 pm
by Defenestration
$60 is about right. It's representative of the time and effort it takes to hit the level cap, and is still competitively priced so that there's no way that RMT can offer similar for a profit.

The fact that it exists at all, however...

Re: Game musings and news

Posted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 4:50 pm
by Niku
Offering a free level 90 character with the purchase of the expansion is a really good move for bringing people up to date whenever the new hotness comes out, which is when most people return to the game. There is literally no way they can offer this service without also making it possible for people to simply buy more copies of the game and expansion to get that "free" level 90 character multiple times. As a "we'll let you do this, but don't" it's pretty much exactly right.

Re: Game musings and news

Posted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 4:15 am
by Defenestration
I still don't agree wish that they give you a free 90 with the expansion. Not that I have a dog in that race, WoW can go to hell.

Re: Game musings and news

Posted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 3:57 pm
by Niku
http://nintendoage.com/forum/messagevie ... did=121230

Inept scam artist gets caught scamming. It is hilarious.