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46  Creation / Notgames design / Re: The fourth wall does not exist on: July 19, 2015, 06:41:10 PM
It isn't the same. The player isn't an actor, at best they are a lone on-the-spot improviser (when they are not the mark) but I think the power of the fourth wall lies in the spectator, however much of that role remains (I would say all of it if not more, because the player-as-puppet-master has a heightened sensitivity to it because they are always working through something that is its fraternal twin of some kind: namely the interface.)
47  Creation / Notgames design / Re: Closure In Interactive Media And Games As Rituals on: July 19, 2015, 06:19:20 PM
Kenneth Anger would say art of this kind (perhaps of all kind) should be appreciated as a form of spell casting. Literally in his case I think.

This isn't at odds with closure. Games tend to resist closure. I think this is a big mistake, because it stunts the mediums growth by sheer numbers. People adopt games--individual games--as lifestyle, hobby, but there are few games for people who would like to play as many games as they watch movies, serials, or read books, and for the same reasons people have always done these things. So far video games defy convention, or at least what seems like convention. Perhaps it wasn't always so for these more mature mediums.

P.S. Stop me now if reviving lapsed topics is not in these forums best interest.
48  Creation / Notgames design / Re: Discovery on: July 19, 2015, 05:45:08 PM
I think this effect stems from feeling that you are bodily there doing the things. The more you straightjacket this the more this effect is compromised to the point that the medium's very strengths are drained from it leaving you wondering what is even happening? what is the point? wouldn't this make more sense as a movie?

I think you have to work with the strengths. And discovery is part of the immediacy, and that only comes with bodily games. That's not the only thing you can do with realtime-3D art, but it's the only thing where discovery has a potency. In fact I find that frozen worlds tend to be the only places that discovery works. In a frozen world things progress locally, but do not ripple outward from that. Occasionally there is a catastrophic event that alters the world globally, irreversibly, which is like a turning of the page. This is like a painting. Unlike in life, at least where there are people, you can stop and just stare at the faces or features of the world, and the NPCs won't think you are strange for it. You get to freeze time and just enjoy it...

You can't literally freeze time, because some things like flocks of birds will move of their own accord. But if you had to manually pause the world just to stare, it would lose this painterly quality. Still if you really want to freeze the flock in flight you must. In theory you can switch into director/editor mode at that point to get a different angle on the flock. But it can't be as simple as pausing, because computers need a way to go into a low power state, and that has to be the first effect of pausing.

A major contention I have concerning contemporary games, is every game feels like a bullet hell shooter to me. No matter the format, no matter the genre, because there is so much happening at once everywhere and so many confused details with no coherency or sense of composition, that inhabiting the world feels like a kind of hell. Navigating through a flurry at all times on instinct into what feels like in the moment the present safe space. This perfectly describes bullet hell. I just don't think it's what game designers think they are doing when there are a million different moving parts on every screen. Where do you look? Where do you go? Is it information overload. Where is the focus in any given scene. Where is the director? Has anyone seen the director? Oh he's permanently out to lunch. That sounds like a good idea, I think I'll join him Smiley


EDITED: In retrospect I want to say that I know what you mean about discovery, but that personally it doesn't really affect me. I like spoilers, I enjoy something more the more I know about it going into it. I know in watching a movie I never feel like I discovered something. But I'm not sure discovering something is such a dopamine rush, as much as just appreciating what you found. You probably found lots of things you didn't feel like you discovered, because you didn't appreciate them. Still in a received medium like film, you feel like things are revealed to you, but never actively discovered. As an active experience is transformed into a passive experience, it takes on different qualities.
49  Creation / Notgames design / Re: Lose control on: July 19, 2015, 05:26:53 PM
This has nothing to do with Sunset.
The thought was mainly triggered by ubiquitous conventions that are also used in Sunset.

Yes, I worked out as much ... or my subconscious did after a day or two. But I wonder is that a good example? Even though not an existing product.
50  Creation / Notgames design / Re: Lose control on: July 19, 2015, 11:25:05 AM
- We may need to give up the notion of direct control, of camera or avatar, and to consider the character as another person. This might harm the feeling of presence, though. But maybe there's ways to compensate for that.

 - We can't rely on the computer controlling the character because that always looks awkward. So all animation needs to be baked. Unless the character is controlled by a computer in the fiction (or is awkward, or cartoony perhaps). Which I consider a serious candidate but it does limit the stories we can tell.

 - Maybe we should abandon the always-on realtime nature of the medium. A pause functionality might alleviate lots. Just stop the animation before the character starts doing something awkward. And ponder the still screen before continuing.

Any other ideas? Or examples?

I was pondering this in the shower, taking the idea seriously not as how could "Sunset" be improved, but how to make a completely different kind of game.

The only thing that springs to my mind is a scenario where the player is like a Greek god seated at a chess-like table and gets to move mortals around on a board and see what that does, kind of like the Sims. It sounds like a big production, but if you want to animate everything? (you could map out all of the possible moves in advance and use other gods seated at the table to keep the number of possibilities manageable project-wise.)

I'm not sure it would be a format with broad appeal, but it might be an interesting next project since it kind of fits with the thematic direction of the games you've done before.


UPDATE: When I wrote this I think I was misreading the original post. I think I misread it a few different ways. What I was describing here is a game where the player has no control over the camera or protagonists that would not devolve into something like Dragon's Lair or David Cage's post Omikron games, although I'm not sure this concept would be a game as such, but it would probably look good on/in keeping with Tale of Tales resume Smiley
51  Creation / Notgames design / Re: Lose control on: July 19, 2015, 10:22:40 AM
It all sounds exciting and I hope you succeed.

But personally I'm not looking for "the same but better." I want a wholly different paradigm. I'm not entirely against requiring some learning, though I prefer my audience learn something nice (like read a story that will help them enjoy the game). But I feel design is the art of creating with what exists, working with how people are and not demand that they change.

I will abandon any interface that stands in the way of my content. If that means making screensavers then I'll make screensavers.

I didn't mean to disparage screensavers. But I guess that's the extreme of "losing control". Movies are screensavers, but I'm not sure how this relates to a game like Sunset. It sounds like you don't like what Sunset looks like, how it moves. I just want to remind you that it looks the same whether it's being demoed or played. What makes the player less valuable than the audience you'd like to impress now?

You can see how little people really care about videogames if you look at the controllers. I've never found a comfortable controller, and I'm not sure how to use the ones that exist. They do not even come in basic sizes like Small, Medium, Large. I'd gladly spend more money on something that will have a long term impact on my hands than the game player contraption itself. I'd hazard to say I cannot really play videogames as such as things are for the time being. Only elevating the medium can remedy this neglect. I think in reality you have to grapple with your body. To the extent videogames imitate reality or are their own reality you still always must grapple with a body. It's a truism.

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This is not what I meant. As far as I can tell, the avatar in Rain World is designed for the mechanics. I'm looking for the opposite. The avatar, the story, the content come first. Everything else follows.

But you say you don't want story. It's probably ideal to let the character act on their own volition. But how that manifests itself is tricky. For example in scenarios with keys and doors--this is unavoidable unless you do your damnedest to avoid it and just happen to come out unscathed--having the player fumble in an inventory for a key is not ideal in my opinion. The character should act on their own volition, recall that they have a key (not necessarily a literal key of course) and make use of it... and it also follows that the character may believe they have a key, and attempt to use it, only to discover that it doesn't fit.

The description Ariea gives of your games that require you to not input anything to let the avatar do their own thing IS incredibly attractive. Still often very attractive things fall just out of reach and for this niggling reason or that cannot be had in practice.


EDITED: Cut-scenes are an always effective way to Lose Control. I guess you have to ask what is the point of being in control? For me that's the edge videogames have. It's not a dominating control, but a sense of going through the motions that has the potential to enhance the experience. It's a really complicated problem sometimes, because usually you have to deal with not only the player character doing their thing, but a whole cast of characters and extras to boot.
52  Creation / Notgames design / Re: Lose control on: July 18, 2015, 08:02:56 AM
WASD+mouse is the absolute worst. Unfortunately there's no magic bullet.

How I've approached this is to develop a kind of robot with variables on top of variables as a kind of shrine to the magnificence of walking, moving through space. I hold my own work to standards at least an order of magnitudes above commercial video games. I don't think it's practical for every game developer to undergo the same journey and this sort of thing needs to be standardized and packaged for ease of integration ASAP.

It's a hard problem, that cries out for 3D media players made first and foremost for people.

- Definitely, there's only so many fingers (edited: two thumbs+3 good fingers to be precise.) We have to use every piece of the controls in every permutation, but that can't begin to cover every kind of movement, it can only drive heuristics. The game can ask is this character clumsy or adept? That kind of thing. I get the impression you are anti-controls, but at some point that is a screensaver. I think it makes more sense to learn to use a controller, like riding a bicycle, and barring that there needs to be assistive technology. To make this easier lets assume all bicycles are essentially the same everywhere.

- Ideally the computer can control the character, but that's a technological feat. Ideally you train it or let it learn from other players. Baked animations are the bane of natural controls. Games use them because they are stupid easy to arrange for. This robot I speak of, its movements are the products of the interplay between all of the variables at once. It's combinative. You can't animate most of it by hand, but it can drive/synthesize canned animations. It's not romantic, but the results are.

- There definitely needs to be a standard framework for making games that can constantly record themselves, and play themselves back. Games that feature time-twisting dynamics can usually do something like this. Something is really lost when a game with a replay system removes the replay system in future iterations. This has always made me long for a replay/playback system for everything I do. Add some editing features and you have a useful way to generate cut-scenes, and trailers. Pause, rewind, fastforward (play back what I did or play the game for me) should be standard features for every game or notgame with a story to show and tell.


What I want to stress in this reply is the necessity for conscious collaboration towards better tools and resources for the job so that ultimately we reach a point where it's child's play to make not only non-linear digital media, but linear digital media as well. It's too much to shoulder alone. Cameras are complicated but they're still basically point and shoot. Virtual worlds are every bit as complicated as reality itself, made even more so by the shear amount of possibilities.


EDITED: I wanted to say that controlling the trajectory of the eye might require an absolute pro to make it look good enough for a trailer, barring editing technology. But that could change with the VR headsets around the corner, since they let you do a kind of motion capture performance with your own neck. Controlling movement is much simpler. Our legs are more like controllers... our eyes/necks less so (I do think we are stuck with controllers, even if we control them with our mind one day, I don't think anyone wants to play a game that you control every little detail of an avatar's movement with our mind. Even if that can be done, it would lose all of its liberating qualities.)
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