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The tip of the iceberg

The tip of the iceberg
« on: January 17, 2012, 04:36:06 pm »

When designing a game, I usually don't feel like I should tell anything to the "user" in advance, except the most basic things about the controls. Everything else should be in the responsibility of the audience. So I refer to this type of style "the tip of the iceberg". I show you the tip of the iceberg, the rest is up to you to find out.

Of course you can get into trouble, when the audience is not expecting there to be more than the tip. It might help, if the user is looking at the file size of the game. He should be wondering what those 100 MB of data/program might contain.

So hand-holding is not my thing. There is too much hand-holding going on these days. The best experiences in cultural things I had, when nobody told me what to think or how to perceive a work.

cheerio
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Re: The tip of the iceberg
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2012, 11:25:54 am »

I agree there's too much hand holding in video games these days. Or at least they are doing it in an obnoxious way. There's been plenty of times when I have shut down a game during its tutorial. Not because it was too hard, but because I felt so insulted by the condescending tone that I couldn't bear to continue. And since I never got through their tutorials, I never played those games.

That being said, I do sense a difference between an art audience and a games audience. An art audience is naturally inquisitive and delights in being surprised or put on the wrong foot. A games audience is far more passive. And they often actually appreciate being guided, even in their interpretation. I intuitively feel the same as you: don't tell people what to do, just let them explore. But with videogames I feel I need to force myself to help players, otherwise many won't find that thing that they might like in my work.

The best experiences in cultural things I had, when nobody told me what to think or how to perceive a work.

I think you might be underestimating the things you did learn, along the course of your life, that help you enjoy a certain work. I feel that videogames tap into the knowledge people already have far to little. They always want to invent new rules. But there's plenty of rules and habits and experiences in the real world that can be used in a virtual context.
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Re: The tip of the iceberg
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2012, 03:54:07 pm »

Hello György and Michaël,
I am new on this forum, but it so happened that I started by reading your discussion, and spontaneously wanted to join in.

I think the issue is partly a question of  personality. I myself is the type that likes to study a map and site descriptions before I travel to a place. I like imagining the place beforehand, speculate over what I can and cannot expect to meet and experience there etc.  Of course reality always turns out astonishingly different from what I had imagined … but that is as it should be.  No question about replacing the authentic experience with an idea about it, or picture of it. c

An introductory guide to a computer game could serve to eliminate the wrong and unfruitful preconceptions one may have when appoaching it. Which is of course especially important if it is a ”new” game, un unconventional game, that demands something different from me than what I am used to.

And why not permit me to join the creators adventure, by getting to know a bit about the intentions behind the game .. (OK. For many an artist it can be difficult to describe their intentions in words. Just let the work speak for itself !  I respect that attitude – but let us not turn it into a principle. )

Pehr
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Re: The tip of the iceberg
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2012, 06:00:25 pm »

hmm... maybe we could rescue the old manuals that went together with games so we can leave the game itself instruction-free? Like what Chris Crawford did in "Trust and Betrayal", which had in the title screen written something like "Don´t play this game if you haven´t read the manual, you are wasting your time".
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Re: The tip of the iceberg
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2012, 08:11:55 pm »

hmm... maybe we could rescue the old manuals that went together with games so we can leave the game itself instruction-free? Like what Chris Crawford did in "Trust and Betrayal", which had in the title screen written something like "Don´t play this game if you haven´t read the manual, you are wasting your time".

Haha. Reminds of Schopenhauer chasing his readers away by saying that they need to be intimately familiar with the work of Immanuel Kant before reading his work.  Cheesy
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Re: The tip of the iceberg
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2012, 02:31:12 pm »

Using your eyes to read a text and using your eyes to look at an image are two very different activities.
So I am much in favour of keeping them apart. But "manual" sounds too technical - why not just "companion".
Pehr
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