|Games have the potential to be infinite, so why are you still working on a throwaway project?||Locked|
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|Apr 5 2013, 10:59am Anchor|
Games have the potential to be infinite, so why are you still working on a throwaway project?
Lets get this straight. Books, images, music and video are a single-use item. Once you've seen them, read them or listened to them, the discoveries has been made and you move on to something else.
Sure, you may revisit them for a second or even a third go, but by that time, they're already old. You know what happens, you know what it looks likes and how it feels. Its done.
A throwaway product.
Before I continue, I do infact recognize that its a throw-away product for a single person. It may have as many uses as there are the amount of people, which are born every day, making its potential lifespan infinite in that sense.
But thats not the point. Lets get a bit selfish here.
This article about you as a consumer, not the whole world.
So you've experienced some neat scripted game and its now over. It was fucking awesome.
You want more.
There is none at the moment.
Lets also mention that making games is a hard and slow process.
That sucks, doesn't it?
You're back to square one. You experienced something inspiring, but it ended and thats it. You wanted more, but the experience was cut off as soon as the content ended. Now you're left stranded to look for something else to enjoy.
Whats worse, is that it may take a long while before you get something that good again, but if its the same limited design, you'll consume it in a few hours like the last game and be back in this same state of emptiness.
Waiting till the next good game comes around.
Its an endless cycle. So what's the point of continuing this?
However, there is another way.
Something a computer program can that a movie can't.
Video games have something that movies, music and books don't. The potential to be infinite.
When I say infinite games, I don't mean those simple highscore-based arcade games, no.
If you're freaking out and saying this is impossible, then stop. It is. The main difference between those above examples and the infinite game, is that you play as yourself and not forcibly being someone you're really not.
From the perspective of gameplay design, it works much more fluently, is more consistent and doesn't require the artifical constraints you get often get in a scripted game. It just works.
Most of the time, unless your main goal is to specifically teach something or tell a story, which movies, visual novels and books are more fluent at, these games are meant to give you a specific experience. A thrill, an emotion or some particular feeling. An atmosphere.
The trick is to focus on that experience and build around that, rather than stuffing the player into a some arbitrary role, when the real goal of the game is to simply give an experience, like being a pilot, monster, soldier, hunter, spy, hero, adventurer, commander, god... you name it.
The whole aspect of putting a player into a specific character's role only shifts the focus from what is really important, which is about delivering an experience, not being someone you're not.
Were not really making the games we really want, are we now?
But alas, the games industry, both AAA and indies, seem oblivious to all this and keep doing the same thing over and over, despite deep down really wanting that infinite game. Talk about the definition of insanity, eh?
Whats mind boggling, is that developers spend years of their life to create games, only for them to have such a limited - and often rather shoe-horned - design that can be exhausted within a few hours, some times even in just mere minutes.
This is understandable for movies and books, since they're not interactive by nature and cannot generate fresh new content like a computer program is capable of doing, either through multiplayer, user content or procedural random generation.
But come on, whats with the obsession of shoe-horning the scripted movie framework on video games?
This is especially the case when the player is put in the role of a specific character, usually with the hopes that he or she will experience the story from a more closer angle.
There is a huge problem with this design. A big conflict.
Fitting a square peg in a round hole.
You put the player in full or even partial control over a character that has a previously established past, abilities and perhaps a personality of some description.
The problem is that the player can do anything he wants. Any story or personality the character has or the path that he takes will get perverted in one way or another.
Its no mere coincidence players are having fun doing absurd things that the character they play as would never ever do. Like tea-bagging corpses. Or going AFK during a conversation with an NPC in the middle of something important.
Typical player behaviour in a video game universe.
Why? Because you simply can. As the player you're in control, after all.
A game is an interactive system and its natural for this behavior to occur, so your attempt to tell a convincing scripted story and creating strong immersion in this way goes right out the window.
And yes, an obvious thing to do against this is to limit what the player can do, to the point that the pretty much runs on rails, but at that point your game has turned into a glorified movie.
Doing so cripples the game's ability to be infinite and it greatly limits its flexibility in terms of gameplay and what the player can experience within it. Thats just contradictory game design right there.
Trying to force a storytelling approach to a video game while giving the direct control over a character to the player is as shoe-horned as it can get. The more serious a game tries to take itself, the more cringe worthy it becomes.
So you're basically shooting yourself in the foot with a design that adopts the approach of movie and books.
So, back to the point of infinite games.
Like mentioned previously, there are three big things that make the whole infinite game idea possible; multiplayer, procedural random generation and user content. In addition, there are two more; persistency and emergent behaviour.
Using these five concepts, either all of them or even just a few of them, it is possible to create a video game that never gets old or lame unlike a movie, book or those traditional scripted video games do inevitably.
With all that said, I return to my initial question:
Why would you spend years creating something so complex as a video game with the goal to deliver an experience that limits itself with a scripted, finite design?
All that hard work you put in would get used up in mere hours, where instead you could create a game with a design that is infinite?
Not only you could create something that will have virtually infinite longevity for yourself to have fun with endlessly, but also provide a lasting product to your players that offers them same infinite entertainment, with much wider flexibility on how it can be played.
To infinity and beyond!
Talk about some seriously huge value for their money. This is what video games were meant for. This is what they're capable of.
Besides that, people are starved for infinite games, you can see signs of this in any hardcore gaming communities when you ask them about it. Theres a huge opportunity to be had here for success and a new form of games to enjoy.
Go out there and design your games with infinite gameplay in mind and a strong focus on the atmosphere and emotion its supposed to evoke in you. Its all a matter of design.
ambershee Nimbusfish Rawks
|Apr 5 2013, 11:24am Anchor|
That was a very longwinded, meandering post that really didn't go anywhere.
Long story short; procedurally generated content doesn't generate a well crafted experience and never will. The results are usually pretty poor, and this isn't going to change any time soon.
|Apr 5 2013, 11:34am Anchor|
I have a hard time believing that people wouldn't get bored of an "infinite game". Randomly generated content has novel value only so far, it will get boring at some point. Also, people have always liked memorable stories, and I see no reason to believe that there shouldn't be story-based video games in the future. And if we're talking about story-based games with randomly generated story content, well, good luck with developing one. You're going to need it.
On a final note, infinite games wouldn't be so infinite after all. People get bored of looking at the same graphics engine, same art style, same assets and so on all the time. They will eventually want something fresh and new. Also, from the business point of view, it makes no sense to develop a truly infinite game, unless you can be sure that people will continue to pay a monthly subscription fee until the end of the game's lifetime - which would be infinite. If that could be done, don't you think someone would have done it already?
|Apr 5 2013, 11:45am Anchor|
hmmm I don't think you understand the game development process very well for writing stuff like this...
--->if it was possible, it would have been done<----
|Apr 5 2013, 8:15pm Anchor|
Sorry, but I gotta disagree.
I'd rather have 40 hours of content with every minute detail tweaked to perfection than an infinite number of legos randomly slapped together. Some games have already kept online communities for years - TF2 anyone? Besides, even randomly generated content is still going to have to be designed by SOMEONE, and eventually things will start to repeat. As for story, I've cared more about Mass Effect's characters far more than any book or novel I've seen, (at least until THAT part), and Spec Ops: The Line's "shocking moment" wouldn't have had nearly the same impact had it been in a movie.
Edited by: Squared55
Ragendar Associate of Madness
|Apr 6 2013, 1:18am Anchor|
That just reminds me of dungeoneering in Runescape, and I cringe.
I think you're wrong. The game doesn't always end with one story's conclusion. That's what this website is about.
|Apr 6 2013, 1:58am Anchor|
Making a game "endless" with procedurally-generated content isn't a new or successful way to make a long-lasting experience in a game. Hell, I spent a lot more time in Morrowind than Daggerfall. However, something you sort of touched on that I would love to see is naturally-evolving conflict in the game world. Occasional shifts in the balance of power that happen independently of the player. Take Skyrim, for example. There is a massive civil war between two armies when you enter the game, but you can resolve it for one side relatively quickly and the political turmoil ends there. What if another Jarl wants to take the throne? What if another force outside Skyrim wants to take advantage of the fragile union? It would be possible to procedurally-generate massive conflicts similarly to random fetch-quests, and without the need to randomize any of the landscape or architecture that makes games like Runescape feel like a chore.
|Apr 6 2013, 5:56am Anchor|
I am currently building a fully procedurally generated game--including story--and this isn't an "idea" or a meandering thought. We're on schedule to release a demo in a couple weeks and have been in development for a year, so please take my word that it is a serious endeavor. Even so, I disagree wholeheartedly with this post.
When my team set out to make Kingsport, we wanted to make this so called "infinite" experience. Randomized story, randomized maps, etc...And personally I feel it has been one of the most rewarding projects I have ever worked on. And I will vehemently disagree with anyone who says procedurally generated games are random poo piles not worthy of anyone's time, or that they are incoherent. With time and a strong understanding of procedural algorithms, it isn't too difficult to make meaningful randomized stories or well built procedural maps.
But procedural games are very different than linear games (or games with tree dialogue systems, like Mass Effect), and really can't be compared. The problem with this line of thinking--that every game should be procedural--is that like every good narrative in a game, the gameplay and mechanics have to sync with the story. So when you play a procedural game with nonsensical map layouts it's immersion breaking, because the developers weren't thinking: narrative and mechanic harmony, they were thinking procedural generation = infinite gameplay yaaaaaay!
Procedural generation lends itself well to certain genres, or a certain caliber of game. It's a fairly new idea with a lot of ground to cover, and it's not being applied because right now it's just a huge risk. Having worked on a fully procedural game, I can tell you right now that it is far from currently possible to craft a beautiful, theme-ridden, linear story which will keep gamers coming back for years. And honestly, I don't think that's a bad thing. Procedural generation is almost an entirely separate genre--it shouldn't just be thrown into games for the sake of infinite gameplay. If the gameplay and story (and premise!) don't make sense together, then it doesn't matter how infinite it is, because no one is going to endure it.
tl;dr I am currently working on a fully procedural game--including story--and I disagree with this post because I believe procedural generation only belongs in certain types of games or genres (for the time being, or until the industry has played with the idea longer).
|Apr 8 2013, 3:29am Anchor|
What the smart people above me said.
One thing I would like to add to the "I disagree" pile. Multiplayer.
The idea that multiplayer is infinite is a false one. On paper it sounds great. An ever evolving game where strategies and tactics change from match to match, like real sports! That is true for the select few. Counter Strike, Starcraft, DotA, what have you. But the rest?
Here's a little experiment. Pick up any Xbox shooter game more than 3 months old that isn't Halo, Gears of War or Call of Duty and try and find a match. I'm willing to bet that "no games found" will be the result. Ironically, multiplayer is the most finite form of gameplay there is, because while I can go and boot up, say, Fear 3, AvP, or Turok and play the single player, I can't play the multiplayer, because no one is playing. I might be able to get some 2 player co-op going with a friend, but competitive play is dead, and likely has been for a long time.
SinKing bumps me thread
|Apr 8 2013, 4:31am Anchor|
One of the few games I can imagine where the infinite bonus really applies is something like a space game, which generates new galaxies based on simplified rulesets of how we believe the Universe was created. That's interesting, because your playground in the universe is more or less infinite, so it would make sense to attempt recreating this experience and allowing a player to do what they cannot do in their lifetime. Fly into space and explore and always keep exploring.
Most human experiences aren't infinite - in fact none are. Why doesn't a game of tennis go on infinitely? - Left aside the physical limitations - because it would be boring! Stories have structure: beginning, middle, end. Everything has structure and even when it hasn't our mind is determined to give it meaning (like when we see a face in a cloud formation or a rock).
I see how procedural content can do great things even for a conventional game, but why should it be either one or the other? You can still stream a lot of content, without losing a grip on the realities of a limited game experience. I really don't know if you were serious with your post or just wanted to create some extreme reactions. If you look at a game or a movie from less than a technical standpoint, the beauty of it is the joined effort of many people that create a unique experience. Admitted - not all game experiences are unique, but I think that's more a matter of the publishers want to make money.
To me, infinite games are those that don't create infinite worlds of repeating experiences, but instead create near infinite fun in a limited design. Team Fortress 2, as mentioned is a good experience for that kind of good game.
Edited by: SinKing
|Apr 8 2013, 6:06am Anchor|
Look at the following games:
they are my perennial favorites.
Other games are infinite only because of a bundled editor like say,
And some of the other games mentioned in the thread above (plus countless other games where the developer place their level editor in the hands of the player - leave it to the player to create near infinite variations of levels).
This is why I am creating an infinite game that generates asteroids for the player to build up a base in. It's not going to be a throwaway for those who are interested to continue playing. It's kind of like Minecraft and Terraria, but with the emphasis of the game centered around asteroid mining and defending against pirates and aliens.
In fact, most of my other game ideas awaiting development are infinite-themed and I don't wish them to be mere throwaways. I agree that you need to be careful in designing the procedural generation algorithm... If you however KISS it, I'm very certain you will get a game that can sustain a player's interest for quite a while. We are after all once kids who love to play with LEGO bricks and make believe.
One last thing - Which game would win The-ultimate-infinite-game-there-could-ever-be Award?
Why, I think it would be Dwarf Fortress.
When. It. Is. Finished.
That world is truly infinite in many ways. Unfortunately, I feel there's way too much information for most players. Anyway, if you wish to look at extremes, that would be one. It's "alternate reality" personified, and not a throwaway for that rare few who love such über complexity.
Edited by: gameswarp
|Apr 8 2013, 11:46am Anchor|
You can make an infinite story by pulling random words out of a dictionary to try and keep it going. That doesn't mean it would make sense or would be any good whatsoever. You could be a million pages into writing it, and a skilled author would still make a better, more interesting short story within one page.
Good things end. Being infinitely bored isn't appealing.
Edited by: Cryrid
Henley the sun never sets on the eternally cool
|Apr 8 2013, 7:39pm Anchor|
You lost me at your opening statement.
|Apr 9 2013, 12:42am Anchor|
|Apr 9 2013, 11:42am Anchor|
My, people really have a very limited and single minded idea of what an infinite game is and can be.
Many of you seem to be concerned about that infinite games feel empty and lack the emotional impact of a finite story. This is only a matter of design.
The cool thing about such a thing is that all these individual stories and adventures happen within a persistent and consistent universe. Things you did in the past will have their outcomes appear in someway on your future adventures. The whole thing works the same way like real life.
You live a constant life and do basic daily things, but once a while major events come up that you react on and these make up the adventures. They can vary in length and importance, but they're all self-contained adventures. From real-life examples, they could manifest as going to buy the groceries, taking an adventurous vacation at some holiday resort, going to school, work, find a need to achieve something - like going to the moon - and doing that.
Any of these can be an adventure with a definite start, middle and ending.
As for new content and the way to have it provide an interesting experience ultimately boils down to the robustness of game's framework.
The key is to have everything being interconnected, rich in detail and cross-compatible.
When you've got a content system that is very rich in detail, you can add a single new piece of content, but combined with all the existing content already in the game, you may have thousands of new possibilities, thanks to how the system allows every piece of content to interact with each other in unlimited ways.
An example of this: You have a caveman engineer game and you build structures and machines out of elements around you. Then you add a new piece of content: The wheel.
Now the game takes a completely new turn. The applications for a wheel are immense. You can now build cars, windmills, unicycles, looms and anything else where a wheel's amazing spinning properties may be used.
|Apr 9 2013, 4:33pm Anchor|
The problem there is, such a game is not realistic. What you are essentially talking about is a simulation of the real world, the matrix.
But assuming you are talking about something more restrained. It still doesn't work. Perfect example of this is Borderlands, or other games like Diablo and Torchlight. The claim of "a bizzilion guns" actually comes down to a small selection of weapons that technically differ in colour, stats, role, ect. In practice, it feels like a small, generic weapon selection, compared to the limited selection of a game like Resident Evil 5, which feels like it has alot of weapons as each is radically different and you spend alot of time getting to know them.
A real world example is cars. There are virtually infinite cars. In practice, most of them are a chair in a box on wheels. Or to get a bit grim, the old saying of "a death is tragic, 1000 deaths is a statistic.".
By limiting the scope, you can get more personal, and a finer crafted experience. Left 4 Dead is one example. The random enemy placement on paper allows for infinite replayably, in practice, the game is over after the first campaign, as the random-ness leads to a game so generic as to be boring. Fixed spawns, as in Sven co-op, have the opposite problem in that after 1 or 2 plays of a map, you know where the enemies are and how to deal with them.
So, when saying it won't work, it's not a case "lack of vision" "lack of imagination" or whatever else, it's a case of weighing the options. Either developing for infinity would require a prohibitive amount of work. In your cave man example, having to add all the rules and physics for every component without slowing the machine to a crawl. Or it could result in something that looks good on paper, but in practice feels generic, again, in the cave man engineer example, technically millions of possibilities for the wheel, but only a few practical applications.
|Apr 9 2013, 5:36pm Anchor|
it is not a matter of design.. even if you "designed" the wheel into the caveman game, you would have nothing more than carts and gears. you would have to code all of this into millions of possibilities/etc., requiring millions of code lines. you have to code everything, design doesn't even matter.
|Apr 9 2013, 7:15pm Anchor|
I think they actually mistook you for being serious, and not talking about your vision of what the holodeck will be like on the SS Enterprise in the year 2363.
Edited by: Cryrid
|Apr 9 2013, 9:27pm Anchor|
Reactorcoregames.com <---What a joke.
|Apr 10 2013, 2:37am Anchor|
Things like this never turn out good.
|Apr 10 2013, 6:56am Anchor|
I like where you are going with the idea, and on paper it sounds great. But when it comes to developing and play testing things don't always work out so well.
A great example of this style of game play was the classic Freelancer game on PC. Whilst this game still is a lot of fun to this day, it has some of the limitations of Minecraft and Skyrim, the experience only goes as far as your imagination and after a while things get very repetitive.
The goal of a good game is to present to the player a set of challenges, challenges that will entertain the player. Just because this experience is limited in length it doesn't take away the joy that it brings. In fact in some cases it may well improve the experience. Having dialogue or a set of events that are fine turned to fit the mood of the story/challenges you want to present is a good thing.
In fact I would say that the limitations are not the game play mechanics at all, look at mutiplayer games like League of Legends, Call of Duty, etc... These games are often played over and over again and are still fun and the out come is different everytime. The limitations come from the game world and human NPC interaction. AI on current market ready platforms is basic at best. It is very hard to capture the desires and dreams of a real human soul in a game, so NPCs seem flawed and make stupid decisions.
Here is a thought for you, why not let the players build everything in the game, craft everything from the basic minerals and let the users create their own world with a market they control. Have you played Eve Online or Second Life?
One last point I would like to make, sometimes I want to be a power ranger and other times I want to be a pokemon. At some point I am going to start playing a new game.
Edited by: GamerKnight
We are still in need of some extra people to join the team. The most urgent of which is an animator.
We have created a new post recently with more up to date information on the project and what we have created so far:
iQew Enjoy Life
|Apr 10 2013, 11:57am Anchor|
Again, if it all is such a good idea and all a matter of design, which you claim to have understood, why don't you just create such a game or at least a prototype of it to make people shut up instead of writing walls of texts? Let your product make the talking and not your words.
You lost me at your opening statement.
Edited by: iQew
TKAzA Community Manager
|Apr 10 2013, 3:13pm Anchor|
You lost me at your opening statement.
Going to be blunt.
Edited by: TKAzA
|Apr 10 2013, 10:15pm Anchor|
I see what you're trying to say, but the points you raised are really a matter of design.
About the example of borderlands' infinite guns thing. Its a very limited system once you strip away the color and numbers that make up the bulk of the infinite variations. In the end, its boils down to a pistol, shotgun, machinegun and a sniper rifle. They just look different, have different numbers on how fast they fire, how much damage do they produce and then a special flavor of what effects the bullets produce on impact - flame, electricity, acid - you get the point.
This entire design is cheap, shallow and artificial. If you wanted to make a system that really made a difference, take a look at Dead Space 3 on how those guns were made out of modules. Now imagine a system that would generate new modules that would decide how the actual projectiles behave, in terms of basic physics and their effect on the target.
So instead of generating a different copy of a pistol, shotgun, sniper and machinegun, it would generate completely new weapon types, regardless of how retarded they are. It could generate stuff like grenade launchers, grenade shotguns, antigravity mortars, gravity guns, tractor beams, bending repulsion lasers arrays, vertical launch bomb launchers that detonate midair, launching needles everywhere... the possibilities and application are endless.
I'm sure you're aware of Minecraft, right? Go to youtube and search some redstone videos to see what kind of crazy things people have created using the basic blocks the game offers in some really creatives ways that show just how a single object can have infinite applications you never even thought it could. Thats what my caveman wheel example was referring to.
Also, calm down, an infinite game doesn't necessarily need to be a 1:1 simulation of real life. Thats just impossible anyway.
You can simplify a lot of things, but keep them detailed enough to emulate real life as much as a game needs to but keep it simple enough in its mechanics that its easy to grasp when you actually play it. Minecraft demonstrates this very well. Its pretty much a simulation of a real world, but it simplified it to the point where it works as a video game.
An infinite game is totally within the acceptable limits of being possible to develop even by a solo developer. Its all a matter of design and you just need to look at it in a creative and simplistic perspective.
Hey, I'm not saying you should stop playing anything else if you're playing an infinite game.
I do know very well that even in real life we get those situations where we want to try something else for a change, thats completely fine. Besides, a single infinite game can only provide you with a certain experience, but you will need another infinite game if you want something else.
An infinite game designed for a singleplayer experience cant give you a multiplayer experience.
However, the cool thing about the infinite game is that you can return to it after you've taken a break from it. And it will still remain fresh and offer something new. I finished Bioshock Infinite just a while ago and sure, I did enjoy for what it was worth, but would I play it again? Nah, its old. I know what happens already and that alone kills the experience of trying to play it again.
This is not the case with an infinite game. You can literally come back to it like its a companion or hobby which can be played infinitely with and it will always remain fresh.
|Apr 10 2013, 11:27pm Anchor|
guns in borderlands 2 are made in modules just like you said. sure it could have been better, but it would have taken more time. sacrificing other parts of the game. it's not "all a matter of design" like you always say. technical and time ressources are far more important than design.
about that minecraft example, redstone stuff in minecraft allows you to make things using minecraft's assets. you can make automated houses or arena tournaments or snake games, sure. but you can't make a cart, you can't make a horse, you cannot make an asset which did not exist in the game.
the idea of this is : wheel can make cart, wheel can make mill. it's not complicated
now in your game you have cromagnon tools, planks, wheels and screws. you can't go really far with that
if you disagree with that, refute me and show me the way it can be done
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