Pages: [1]

Simply doing

Simply doing
« on: October 18, 2011, 10:08:45 am »

In our current design of the new version of 8, there's no puzzles nor combat. There are no obstacles to overcome. You simply do things.

It feels odd how this comes as a revelation. In our original design, even though it was supposedly unconventional, we somehow ended up with all sorts of convoluted ways of doing those things. We had the typical adventure game puzzles where you need to find one object to make a certain event happen which allows you access to another object, etc, and at the end of the chain is the object that you really need to make progress. In our current design, that final object is simply there, immediately available. You just bring your avatar to it and she picks it up. Done.

The great advantage of such simple design is that it allows you, almost forces you, to focus on the aesthetics of the world and things you do in it. Rather than figuring out all sorts of ways to make things complicated for the player, you try and make the experience beautiful, and emotionally impactful. It sounds obvious, but it took us 8 years to get here.

I think this approach makes sense for any game that is about experiencing a sort of adventure. That reminds me of the goal that Ernest Adams defined for such games:
to take you away to a wonderful place, and there let you do an amazing thing

So let's just take our players there and let them do this wonderful thing, and don't bother them with mundane puzzles or artificial obstacles. If the game becomes shorter that way: bonus! You've just saved your player a lot of time by giving them all of the experience in a smaller package. Games need to become shorter anyway.
Logged
Re: Simply doing
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2011, 02:20:25 pm »

Doing the same thing here. Just finished writing down the basic design of the first prologue chapter for our upcoming game, and it is interesting how not focusing on having puzzles can get you in another mind set. It is more about: "what can I add to make the player WANT to stay in this environment", instead of the more usual "what can I do to FORCE the player into staying in the environment". So far it has not been that hard coming up with activities either, but only time will of course tell how it works out when implemented, and also this is just a few smaller levels.

Another design decision related to this is to reward the player that try and act a role. Meaning that players who try and play it like a normal gamey game, jump on tables, only focus on finding goodies, will not get any rewards at all. Also gonna try and push player's straight at the start and let them know how they are supposed to play (still unsure exactly, but have added some "screw you" momements if the game is not approached seriously).
Logged
Re: Simply doing
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2011, 03:31:08 pm »

"what can I add to make the player WANT to stay in this environment",
instead of the more usual
"what can I do to FORCE the player into staying in the environment"

Hear, hear!
Logged
Re: Simply doing
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2011, 03:32:13 pm »

What kind of rewards are you talking about, Thomas?
Logged
Re: Simply doing
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2011, 06:15:18 pm »

I am thinking in terms of narrative awards, in the sense of events that help mold an interesting and coherent end experience. For example, standing in the chacter's kitchen, the game will reward players that interact in way that complies with the set framework. So a player that opens the cupboard looking for plat to put the food on, and then puts that plate on the table will have the game respond to the actions in a way that fits with how they are acting. Whereas a player that approach like an item hunt tearing out all objects, looking for goodies, will not get any response from the game (or find goodies for that manner). The thinking is that when behaving "in character" is _not_ explicitly forced upon players and since doing it the right way is an active choice, players should feel more attached and as if they are really in an environment.

An even better example is to have GTA changed in a way so that driving properly is what makes the most sense. You get interesting reactions from other people in city and it gives a coherent narrative flow. Whereas driving the normal GTA way, ie like a maniac, does not feel good mechanically or provoke any interesting responses from the virtual world. So what happens is that driving according to the law is what becomes the most rewarding experience. 

The first example is similar to something that is in the design, but the latter is just a dream of mine Smiley
« Last Edit: October 18, 2011, 06:19:55 pm by Thomas »
Logged
Re: Simply doing
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2011, 06:42:59 pm »


to take you away to a wonderful place, and there let you do an amazing thing


Don't really have anything to add, but I just think this is a really beautiful quote.

More compelling than "a series of interesting choices" anyway  Grin
Logged
Re: Simply doing
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2011, 07:33:04 pm »

I like how you're treating the game like a living thing, Thomas. The way you describe it almost sounds like making love: if you touch the game in the right places, it will return the favour and please you as well. This way, playing becomes something that you do together with the game.
Logged
Re: Simply doing
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2011, 09:47:10 pm »

I like how you're treating the game like a living thing, Thomas. The way you describe it almost sounds like making love: if you touch the game in the right places, it will return the favour and please you as well. This way, playing becomes something that you do together with the game.
The problem is just getting the play to learn this specific act of love making Wink

Also, I am guessing the idea sounds nicer than what will be the final results. But it beats coming up with obstacles and puzzles at least!
Logged
Re: Simply doing
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2011, 11:14:23 pm »

Make love, notgames!  Grin
Logged
Re: Simply doing
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2011, 01:46:30 pm »

This has been the central quandary of Zlythy: how to make it interesting in and of itself without resorting to puzzles and other obstacles to slow down the player. My current approach is two-fold - 1.) make the environment as beautiful as possible and 2.) make interesting toys to play with. I decided to break out one of the toys into it's own app. A.W.E. skips around the whole issue as the environment is the game and is in fact a toy for making environments. Toys are barely used in computer games, which is pretty odd if you think about it.
Logged

Irony is for cowards.
Re: Simply doing
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2011, 11:38:14 am »

"what can I add to make the player WANT to stay in this environment",
instead of the more usual
"what can I do to FORCE the player into staying in the environment"

This is exactly how I've been thinking about Flight of the Fireflies. And the more I work on it, the more it feels like the right approach.

I still think there needs to be interaction – not in the sense of change or agency or any of that, but more in the Crawfordesque sense of you do something, the game responds with something. You do something aesthetic, the game responds with something aesthetic.
Logged
Re: Simply doing
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2011, 11:59:48 pm »

So inspiring, thank you! Cheesy

After seeing hidden object games go through such great lengths to make the player's "doing" convoluted and puzzle-y, the idea of making it straightforward but expressive is... a breath of fresh air [I couldn't think of a less cliched way to put it].

Right now I am excited about the idea of making a point-and-click adventure just with photos, and without puzzles and such, just a little world to explore, and maybe a story to progress through. With photos instead of art, and no custom code, it can become more of a rapid prototyping sort of thing rather than a big production.

Also, it's interesting how when you think about creating a game to let a player do something, like express affection and nurturing to a sprouting seed, for example, the game mechanics come in as a way to give those actions more meaning and context beyond pressing a button and seeing an animation play. Mechanics serving a non-mechanical experience. They come into play and are useful, but not for their own sake. The end result may be similar, but the mindset is very different from a "how do we make this awesome and challenging and rewarding" approach.

Something to think about. Smiley
Logged
Re: Simply doing
« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2011, 10:43:17 am »

"what can I add to make the player WANT to stay in this environment",
instead of the more usual
"what can I do to FORCE the player into staying in the environment"

This is exactly how I've been thinking about Flight of the Fireflies. And the more I work on it, the more it feels like the right approach.

I still think there needs to be interaction – not in the sense of change or agency or any of that, but more in the Crawfordesque sense of you do something, the game responds with something. You do something aesthetic, the game responds with something aesthetic.

Of course, that's exactly the kind of thing why people would want to stay. Because they're curious about this creature that is your game. They want to find out how it will respond if you do this our that. Crawford is my great inspiration as well when it comes to interaction: it's a two way exchange between equal partners. Maybe we can even do little thought experiments reversing the roles and then see how we would design the game. How would the game react to the player? Can we express the joy of the game? Its curiosity? Its wonder about the player? Its desire to interact with him/her?
Logged
Re: Simply doing
« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2011, 12:23:11 am »

Maybe we can even do little thought experiments reversing the roles and then see how we would design the game. How would the game react to the player? Can we express the joy of the game? Its curiosity? Its wonder about the player? Its desire to interact with him/her?

Play in the proper sense of the word. You play with the game, and the game plays with you. I like that thought.
Logged
Re: Simply doing
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2011, 09:06:01 pm »

How would the game react to the player? Can we express the joy of the game? Its curiosity? Its wonder about the player? Its desire to interact with him/her?

That´s a very inspiring point of view!
Logged
Pages: [1]
Jump to: