Notgames Forum

Creation => Notgames design => : Henrik Flink July 11, 2012, 01:01:27 PM

: A little bit of beauty....
: Henrik Flink July 11, 2012, 01:01:27 PM
Today when I was reading a book something struck me, something that I'm missing from games, something that all the other medias provides me with. Pretty often in a book there's a certain phrase that's incredible beautiful and evokes a kind of beautiful imagery and feelings inside of me. The same goes for film, there could be certain shots that does exactly the same for me, and in music it could be some lyric or a part of the melody that evoke something special in me.

This is something I've almost never felt from a videogame, and another thing here is that allot of them might not have anything directly to do with the actually plot of the book/movie or "what it's about" / "meaning of the piece" but just a little poetic beauty injected into it.

So what is the equivalent and how can we achieve this in an interactive experience, especially through some kind of interaction? Often in games it feels like all interactivity that we create must be an "important mechanic" that's deep and can have allot of outcomes/effect on the world. Instead of this why not take advantage of that the interactive media could really be about the NOW, the being instead of how you change the world or the plot in a longer perspective, or that it's not about any "meaning" or message, it's more about the beauty in the details, experiencing the details and the beauty that's held within.

So instead trying to make something with a "meaning" why not only try to do something that evoke a certain feeling in the details, maybe small interactions that focus on evoking and enhancing this specific feeling, interactions that might not play an important part in the underlying systems in a traditional sense of a game.

And of course this is just one way of thinking of it in how we can create interactive experiences that would be different from games. Maybe it could be seen as some kind of poetry in an visual and interactive form, short but mainly focusing on evoking a certain feeling, no explicit goal for the user, just simply being.

: Re: A little bit of beauty....
: Michaël Samyn July 11, 2012, 01:31:37 PM
I think I'm trying to do a bit of this in Bientôt l'été ( But there's probably still too much structure in it, and too much concern with "going deep".

: Re: A little bit of beauty....
: Henrik Flink July 11, 2012, 02:27:03 PM
I think I'm trying to do a bit of this in Bientôt l'été ( But there's probably still too much structure in it, and too much concern with "going deep".

I totally agree, Bientôt l'été ( is one of the few interactive experiences that made me feel something in line with that. I definitely like that there's no explicit goal in it, I think that could be the first big step towards some kind of "notgame". One other game I've been returning to(replayed 3 times now, which has not happened with any game the latest 5 years) is Sword & Sworcery, it has something special with it's atmosphere and how I get immersed in it. And I think it also have this kind of poetic beauty that I'm looking for. Upon that it lacks in some strong explicit goal for the player and it's more of an exploratory goal that leads you through the experience. I think I would love a more non-linear S&S experience filled with small pieces of beauty for you to discover through the exploration of the world.

: Re: A little bit of beauty....
: Orihaus July 22, 2012, 01:22:47 PM
I totally agree that this is something we rarely see in games, and there is a obvious reason as for why we don't. How often is it that 'beauty' is something that a developer actively sets out to make? A typical AAA studio's understanding of it is simply 'nicer foliage shaders' or '4096x4096 grass textures'. And your right, Sword and Sworcery really gets it: "Small pieces of beauty for you to discover through the exploration of the world." is exactly what Superbrothers set out to achieve, and they pull it off. A real sense of place is something that games are so uniquely capable of, and yet it is something developers so rarely achieve to the medium's potential. In AAA land, some parts of Half Life 2 come to mind though as achieving it. Half Life 2 Art Director, Viktor Antonov really knows his stuff, and I'm hoping to see him pull it off in Dishonoured.

Apart from Sword and Sworcery, there are a lot of indie games that set out to create the same type of immersiveness. Nifflas has been making them for almost a decade now, and I'm kind of surprised to not see his name pop up so much here. Knytt is a good place to start, and the only latest work of his that hasn't nailed it is FiNCK, which was the only one not designed with immersion explicitly in mind. Another not mentioned here much would be the Japanese oddity Yume Nikki. It flails around in the dark a lot, but occasionally hits its mark, look for the Docks and the Rooftop. Also very much of note, the bizarrely massive popularity of Yume Nikki with the 'chans has spawned a incredible amount of fan-games, almost a genre of its own, all of which could be considered Notgames. Maybe we should start a topic about this, it's pretty relevant no? ( Is a directory of the bigger ones. Note that the larger fangames like Yume 2kki have hundreds of areas, by dozens of contributors. Sadly, none of the fangames even come close to the original, and like I said, the original is far from perfect. But with an entire scene dedicated to making exploration notgames, its only a matter of time. I hope.

And finally: The Void. ( Oh, and how can I forget Outcry, a modern Myst 'clone' that really gets it: (

: Re: A little bit of beauty....
: Mick P. August 19, 2015, 01:11:11 AM
This hits the nail on the head. It's why I hope this forum can make a comeback. There must be an anti-Silicon Valley (I hope that will be the Internet.)

: Re: A little bit of beauty....
: Mick P. August 19, 2015, 06:41:10 PM
Here is a supplemental post/essay? by Michael. Insanely prolific at posting content online.

I got this from here ( which I like even better:

Anduin wrote:
I've found many of the games praised as beautiful look extremely... sterile, to me- even those whose settings are rough and dirty warzones look odd, and I can't quite put my finger on why. Maybe it's just because modern games are starting to look more real... can the uncanny valley go for game settings as well, I wonder? Razz

We call it "shiny". Wink All modern games tend to look shiny.

Also, we don't call it "beautiful", we call it "looking good (TM)" as in "Trade-Marked". There is a certain way in which commercial games are supposed to look that has nothing to do with beauty, or even realism. It just has to look "good (TM)".

See alo:

To make beautiful games with current technology I think you have to be very discriminating, and go back to techniques that are older than those used in Tale of Tale's games for the most part. I don't know if the popular Unreal/Source/Unity "engines" afford the kind of control that allow for these kinds of decisions (I would encourage ToT to not speak ill of "C++" ::))

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