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Author Topic: Heavy Rain  (Read 26711 times)
Auriea

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« on: January 26, 2010, 04:46:05 PM »

found this video of the first 9 minutes: WARNING SPOILERS but i'd suggest you watch it anyway!
http://notgames.tumblr.com/post/354475393/via-heavy-rain-first-9-mins

i really wonder what it will feel like to be in control of the character. will you feel like he is your avatar or constantly as if he is a puppet you cannot relate to?
(by the way, this video is posted to the notgames tumblr i've started up ...if you'd like to contribute notgames-y posts to it to it, let me know.)
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God at play

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« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2010, 06:54:43 PM »

Is the notgames tumblr the blog that Michael was referring to?
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Michaël Samyn

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« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2010, 07:01:11 PM »

Is the notgames tumblr the blog that Michael was referring to?

No. The Tumblr thing is just to collect reference material (video's, pictures, quotes, links). It's basically an extension to this forum.

The blog I was talking about before is for original material: articles and reviews we write ourselves, to educate the world about our initiative.

But feel free to correct any of my ideas. I'm not very familiar with the Web 2.0 community stuff.
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God at play

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« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2010, 07:07:47 PM »

Yeah, that's kind of what I had in mind.  Tumblr is more appropriate for shorter content.  Articles will likely be long.

Thanks for clearing that up Smiley  Sorry to hijack the thread...
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Auriea

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« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2010, 10:33:24 PM »

i started the tumblr as a sort of feed for notgames links and videos... a way to aggregate things that are of interest.
http://notgames.org/forum/index.php?topic=41.0
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Thomas

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« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2010, 08:44:25 AM »

I really like the mundane events that is going on, it is really unusual to find this kind of of stuff (outside of IF games).That said, it looks a lot like Fahrenheit (Indigo Prophecy) which I did not really care for (except for the first 10 min, what was in the demo essentially). I do not like seeing all the options (which mostly is one option) seem so limited to me.

One thing about Heavy Rain that I am not sure about is the promise of the branching plot. While it sounds nice that all actions have consequences and that one never has to do anything over twice, it also makes me wonder with how many interesting stories they can come up with. Most games/books/films have trouble getting one narrative good Smiley I also wonder how much they can really branch. A branching story line grows exponentially it would be impossible to support this after just a few choices. My guess is that most choices are either superficial (will I drink juice or milk) or converges back to the same path after a while.

Still, I would really like to try it out and see what it all feels like.

Some more info in case anyone is interested:
http://www.gametrailers.com/video/japanese-special-heavy-rain/61125
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Michaël Samyn

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« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2010, 09:21:13 AM »

I really like the mundane events that is going on

I didn't like that at all. It seemed like it was trying so hard to feel like a movie but it was wasting precious time that could be used for drama. I can't remember a movie where people get up and shower and brush their teeth etc, without something interesting about it (like Chantal Akerman's Jeanne Dielman, which was great!). The only thing I could imagine was that this sequence was some kind of drawn out tutorial. It had zero narrative significance. It was just bland information, dull facts, and no drama.

I'm still curious about the game, though, if only because David Cage is one of the few people who is really trying to get away from the games-as-games thing and towards a new medium. And the only one who has a serious budget for this.
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God at play

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« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2010, 03:41:29 PM »

Maybe he'd be interested in joining?
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Michaël Samyn

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« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2010, 12:04:48 AM »

We've tried to contact him before. He doesn't respond to email. Maybe we should corner him in a conference somewhere.
But it's probably best to wait until after Heavy Rain is launched. If he's not totally crunching now, he's probably a nervous wreck. I can imagine the last thing he needs right now is inspiration and challenge. Cheesy
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Erik Svedäng

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« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2010, 08:23:32 AM »

Gah! I kinda understand the thinking behind making the player go through this but still... so boring. I'd so much rather take a shower and drink OJ in real life.
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Michaël Samyn

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« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2010, 10:36:51 AM »

I'd so much rather take a shower and drink OJ in real life.

So true!

We should do things in virtual life that we can't do in real life. Or that are better in the virtual.
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Thomas

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« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2010, 10:58:41 AM »

I still think it nice that they try this kind of stuff in games. Although the shaving and toothbrushing seems a bit too much. I think it could help build the character although boring. I mean, he is supposed to be a boring guy right? Smiley Also this kind of mundane stuff could be a large contrast to upcoming events and make these stronger.


Speaking of mundane gameplay. Here is an IF game with a very boring (and non-gamy) start, but it has an excellent twist to it:
http://ifdb.tads.org/viewgame?id=qzftg3j8nh5f34i2

It only takes 20min or so to complete so I encourage all to check it out!
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Michaël Samyn

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« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2010, 02:36:37 PM »

I brush my teeth too. And I shower. But I am not boring!  Shocked
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Thomas

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« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2010, 02:55:44 PM »

I brush my teeth too. And I shower. But I am not boring!  Shocked
Didn't you know missing some teeth and smelling bad are the first steps towards becoming interesting? Wink

Jokes aside, from a game standpoint these are the acts of a really boring characters (Kratos sure never brushed his teeth). So for a player it conjures the feelings of a "boring" (average better word?) character and thus is a help in conveying emotions. I think this can be a good thing to have in games  but perhaps not so early (since one usually wants to grab attention at the start).

Do not think I am some heavy rain fan boy now Tongue I am actually quite skeptical about it (not liking Fahrenheit very much) and this opening scene could probably have been made better.

To do some constructive work. Does anyone have any ideas on how to make it more interesting? If the meaning (guy wakes up an prepares for childs birthday) needs to be remain, how can one do this better? I am think perhaps adding a glimpse of something to come (hinted by flashes or whatnot) + cutting down on the toothbrush and shave mini games is start. Interested in hearing what all else think!
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Michaël Samyn

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« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2010, 11:39:37 PM »

It would be nice to learn a bit about what is not average about this person.

We don't even know how he feels. Is he happy this morning? Is he sad?

Why is the room so insanely clean? Is he neurotic? Is his partner? Do they have a neurotic maid? And where did he get his taste in interior decoration? Why is everything perpendicular? Why do they live in an architecture vizualisation? Is this a technical compromise or is there a narrative reason? Does he not care about aesthetics? Does his wife have bad taste? How does he feel about this?

One of the big problems with the narrative is that it is a slave to the interaction. The character can't do anything without the player's input. Which means that he has to just sit there and stand there until the player does something. If it wasn't for that, we could think he is in doubt, or even depressed. He looks like he doesn't know what he's supposed to do. But this is not for reasons of narrative. It's because he has to wait for the player to do something. So because of the interaction that is required, this person ends up looking like an idiot.

Why is the note from his wife on the floor? It doesn't make sense. Why not put it somewhere meaningful, so we can have a little bit of narrative. Tape it to the mirror in the bathroom because the wife knows he's going to look there. Or on the toilet seat because they're always having arguments about leaving it up or down. Ditto when he's putting the note down. Why not give that action a bit of character, so we know how he feels about the message: is he annoyed? Amused? Bored? We don't know.

Is the reason for this "neutrality" that Cage wants us to project our own emotions onto the character? But how can we do that if the character does not express these emotions in his body language?

He looks at the bird but again nothing happens. He could smile. Or remember something. Or clean its cage. Or maybe the bird is not significant. In which case there is no point to interacting with it.

The least they could have done is have a radio playing that gives us some context about where they are and what the situation is.

And the whole scene with the shaving. Why doesn't he have any opinions about this? Does he like shaving? Does he hate it? Does he do it everyday? Does he shave his chest?

Also, seriously, in such a mundane sequence of scenes, just showing us his penis really would have helped to think of him as a real person. If only because the elaborate concealing of his private parts only reminds you that you're watching a movie. It takes you away from the idea that you are playing this character.

He throws away his towel casually, yet the rest of the bathroom is squeaky clean. How come? I hope the reason for this becomes clear later in the game. And I hope it is significant. Otherwise it's just another wasted gesture.

And what grown-up man would start playing with a remote controlled toy right after getting out of bed and taking a shower? That's just such a nerd thing to put in. And there has been no narrative justification for thinking that this man is infantile. Again, rather than cleaning up, as a normal parent would do, he simply puts the controller back on the floor, where supposedly the kid had left it. It's absurd.
Ditto drinking out of the carton of juice. There is no narrative justification for this clean-freak to be so sloppy. Again, the way he drinks could have been used to make a statement about his personality and mood. But instead they go for the nerd thing. Or the thing that is easiest to do, technically.

The narrative conclusion from this scene is that this man is a slightly depressed neurotic who doesn't care about his child, his partner or his life simply because he's too stupid. I hope that was the intention of the authors.


I really appreciate what David Cage is trying to do. And I admire him for immediately trying to do this with a AAA budget, in the hopes of having an impact on the industry. But I have a feeling that he's trying to do too much and can't handle it. The budget may be big but still this entire opening sequence seems to be filled with compromise and cheap decisions. And the authorial direction is vague at best (perhaps even non-existent). I think we need to do lots of small steps before anything this big can be pulled off with the appropriate impact. And that, my friends, is why we are here.  Grin

I guess it would be interesting to do a contest with "Man gets out of bed in the morning" as its theme. Smiley
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