1. Join Now

    AVForums.com uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Ever had a game that just... suprises you?

Discussion in 'PC Gaming & Rigs' started by russraff, Nov 15, 2003.

  1. russraff

    russraff
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2000
    Messages:
    2,315
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    Newcastle
    Ratings:
    +51
    Ever had that feeling? I have a few times, and it's great. Clive Barkers Undying was one, so were Planescape Torment and No One Lives Forever 2. All of these games offered much more than I was expecting. They were also part of the "cheaper than you'd think" club, either because they were slightly old, or no one was buying them.
    Imagine my surprise when I saw a demo for a game called Contract J.A.C.K. set in the No One Lives Forever milieu. I hadn't even heard of this game, but by God, the demo is great. Contract JACK looks and sounds good (that music is just right) and retains the humour of the other NOLF games - the Russian conversation in the second demo level had me in stitches.
    I reckon that this is another game that has grabbed me amid the hype of other titles, like Call of Duty. The fact that it can be had for £15 from Play.com is icing on the cake.

    Russell
     
  2. Hawklord

    Hawklord
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2003
    Messages:
    3,443
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Aldershot, Hampshire
    Ratings:
    +266
    Here's a few more titles worth playing (if you haven't already) and can be found in the bargain bins from about £5.

    Theif 2
    Deus Ex
    Mafia
    Operation Flashpoint
    Alien Verses Predator
    Civilisation 2
    Swat3

    all are absolute gems and will keep you busy for ages. I started call of duty last night and I have just finished it this morning (on the second hardest level). Even though it was intense and enjoyable not my idea of value for money. I hope this is not going to be a trend - I'm all for quality (which cod is imo) but 10 hours of gameplay is not enough to justify the £25 price tag.
     
  3. russraff

    russraff
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2000
    Messages:
    2,315
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    Newcastle
    Ratings:
    +51
    I'd go along with Deus Ex, Mafia and Alien vs Predator (the second one, too), though I haven't tried Thief 2. But Operation Flashpoint? I just couldn't get into it - all that Army jargon and bug ridden graphics (shallow, I know) put me off. It's strange, 'cause I should really like the title- a bit like the Morrowind of army games - but something just put me off.

    I bought Call of Duty the other day. Hope it's as good as the Demo would let you believe. I can't see how you can sit for ten hours playing a game, though. I think I would rather play for a couple of hours max, rather than one mammoth sitting.

    Russell
     
  4. james.miller

    james.miller
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2002
    Messages:
    2,616
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Ratings:
    +143
    thief2 is a real classic. Don't forget system shock II - that is truly an ausome game.
     
  5. Hawklord

    Hawklord
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2003
    Messages:
    3,443
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Aldershot, Hampshire
    Ratings:
    +266
    give theif 2 a go and you'll be ready for when theif 3 comes out. In a interview with Warren spector he commented that he would be including things in the game that he couldn't do in deux ex2 .

    see here:-
    Ion Storm chief and industry legend Warren Spector discusses Deus Ex: Invisible War and the videogames scene present and future

    16:20 Being presented with the opportunity to gas with a bona fide videogames legend isn't exactly the sort of thing that occurs on a regular basis. Nope, maybe once in a blue moon, and only then it's down to a stroke of fortune or greasing the right palms with promises of half a shandy complete with cherry and umbrella down the local watering hole.
    So, when we got the call that Ion Storm boss and gaming luminary Warren Spector was in town and willing to blab about all things Deus Ex: Invisible War and beyond, we hot-tailed it into the heart of London, streams of fire left in our wake...

    Now that Deus Ex: Invisible War is finished, how do you feel it's turned out - is it what you wanted?

    Spector: I'm never one for getting satisfied, so I look at Invisible War and think: "We improved everything we wanted to improve, and we've got pretty close to our original vision," but you always want added time or energy or money or something.

    In addition, this time we had the added complication of all this new technology - the new renderer, the new sound system, the new physics, all-new AI, all that stuff. In the same way that the first games that come out for a new console are never as good as the ones that come out three or four years later... it's the same thing.

    We're still figuring out what we can do with our technology, so I think what we'll see is... you know, Invisible War is impressive in terms of how technology influences the gameplay, but Thief is going to take this a step further, and then subsequent games are going to be unbelievable. Well, I hope. Obviously I don't know [laughs].

    There are some obvious things that we know we want to do better next time. I think we can do - I probably shouldn't be specific because there's a PR person around... Our characters, you know, are still mannequins. We've got to be better... I mean, as an industry we've go to be better with characters. Half-Life 2 is certainly going in the right direction but there's plenty more we can do beyond even what Valve is doing.

    But overall yeah, I'm really happy with it.

    How important is the introduction of such technology as Havok physics to the videogames scene overall, would you say?

    Spector: We can't lose sight of the fact that we're in the software business. There's a tendency, especially among non-technical designers such as myself and Harvey Smith who's the project director on Invisible War... there's a tendency to want to say it's all about design.

    But the reality is that technology is very important, and we're still... I often say that we're this infant medium trying to figure out how to walk. So we're not done with technological leaps forward. You can't just use them to make prettier pictures or more realistic pictures; you have to think: how does this technology serve what makes games unique?

    That attitude I think is the thing more than anything else that sets Ion Storm apart from a lot of other developers. We're not thinking about how to make games more cinematic - I couldn't care less about that. We're not about making games more like movies, we're about making games unlike anything else that the world's ever seen. And technology is an important part of that.

    How optimistic are you about the games industry at the moment - in the UK over the last couple of weeks we've seen a number of studios close down...?

    Spector: I wouldn't say I'm optimistic about the games industry [laughs]... I am hugely optimistic and hopeful about the potential of this medium. The future of games could be amazing, but the industry is a whole other story. The industry as a whole is not interested in the potential of games as a medium of communication and expression.

    So I would say that you're dealing with two different things. On the one hand I'm very excited and on the other I'm not so.

    Similar to GTA, in Deus Ex: Invisible War players are dropped into this sim environment and can proceed through the title in not limitless but a huge number of different ways depending on how they want to play - is it your dream to design a game that's completely freeform?

    Spector: I have mixed feelings about completely freeform gameplay. It's funny because, you know, Will Wright is the king of sandbox gameplay. He imposes less on his players and gives them more freedom than anyone else. I admire and respect that beyond words.

    I'm not quite ready to give everything up to the player. The way I describe it is we [Ion Storm] want to collaborate with players. I want to tell a cool story - I love telling stories. I don't want to take developers completely out of the picture. I want to find ways that we can work together with our players.

    Looking at the flipside, do you think gamers are ready yet for a completely freeform game, or do you think people still want to be directed to a certain extent?

    Spector: That's a really good question. I was talking to someone earlier about the future of gaming and it's cool that we're becoming more mainstream and that more people are playing. But, fundamentally, I don't think we're ever going to be as big - in terms of numbers of users or players - as the movies and TV. Fundamentally, most people don't want to interact.

    As much fun as games are, they're work. There are plenty of games that are really cool and cinematic and tell great stories and they put you on the rails and it's like a rollercoaster ride.

    You have some control over the speed of the rollercoaster, but when you get into games where people have to make choices - look over the shoulders of someone playing Invisible War and it's almost like they get paralysed.

    The more choices you give people, the more a lot of people get overwhelmed. We're going to get bigger, and we're going to get better at what we do, and we're going to make more interactive experiences. Plenty of people are making great rollercoaster rides; and we're making games is the way I think about it at Ion Storm - we make games.

    And... I guess I'm rambling on a little bit [laughs]. But what the future of gaming is is an interesting question.

    Working on the PS2 version of Deus Ex meant you had to slim down pages of stats and the HUD to suit the controller, and in essence you've kept this for Invisible War. Are you happy with the way the HUD has turned out and how it looks?

    Spector: Yeah, really happy. The Xbox is a nice piece of hardware and it really is capable of supporting the experience we wanted to provide - the PS2 version of Deus Ex was a great learning experience.

    Sadly, because I'd love to reach out to people with PS2 because there are a lot of them, but we just didn't feel that we could provide the experience that we wanted on it - Sony will never speak to me again [laughs]!

    But from a technical standpoint Xbox is capable of supporting the renderer, the physics, the AI, the sound - you name it. And am I happy with the way it looks? I think it looks pretty darned good. I think it looks better than any other Xbox game out there to be frank. And we're maybe getting 50 percent of what our technology is capable of, so as I said the future is looking really bright.
     
  6. Hawklord

    Hawklord
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2003
    Messages:
    3,443
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Aldershot, Hampshire
    Ratings:
    +266
    part two here:-

    14:48 Whether considering the moral ambiguities involved in slaughtering Greasels, or mocking spacestation romps where you have to save humanity (what could he be talking about?) Warren Spector's enthusiasm for all things Deus Ex hasn't waned - just don't compare him to Miyamoto...
    You can read part one of our exclusive interview by clicking here.

    Have you balanced the difficulty this time, so that different approaches don't offer hugely varying degrees of difficulty?

    Spector: I think we did a much better job of that this time round. In the first game, because we built on top of the Unreal engine - you know, Unreal was fundamentally a shooter, a shooter with a very powerful engine, but still a shooter. And the resulting game, if you tried to play it not as a shooter, was way hard [laughs]. Way hard.

    So this time what we did, and thank god we had that foundation, was take all the elements that weren't exactly what we needed for our game, and we ripped them out and replaced them with the elements we knew we wanted.

    And so the AI is ours, the lighting model is ours; the stealth experience is better, more robust than it was in the first game. Sadly, pulling a virtual trigger is always going to be easier than adopting a stealthier way of playing, it's just a fact.

    So if you want the easiest experience, you're still going to stick with the shooting approach. But it's certainly better balanced this time, maybe as good as we could hope to make it.

    So the game constantly gives you different ways to approach it?

    Spector: Totally; it's funny because I was playing through the game once, and I had an absolutely magic moment, which I won't go into detail about it, but this unbelievable, unpredictable thing happened, as a result of a decision I made in the game.

    And so I ran out, I was running around the halls screaming, through the studios, and so I had everybody start sending me their own moments in the game when something magical happened to them.

    I have got a folder full of moments from the guys on the team, saying "here's how I played through this bit, this is what I did here," and that's what I'm trying to achieve, you know, a game with options.

    So people are playing it in all sorts of ways - it's all about finding a way to play that's personally meaningful to you. A perfect example of that - my wife was playing the game. Frankly I'd be divorced right now if I hadn't left my debug kit at home; I was not gonna take that thing back to the office, she made that abundantly clear.

    She was playing through and we had these transgenic creatures called Greasels from the first game, and there's a place called the Greasel Pit that's basically awash with Greasels, and she found herself in the basement where the Greasels were and she couldn't quite bring herself to kill them even though she was supposed to.

    So she ended up taking a side quest, interacting with the Greasel leader, and when she entered the leader's apartment, she found that Greasels eat cats. And she loves cats! So from that moment on she became a full on Greasel hunter. Every Greasel had to die! Her identity had to be that person who took out all the Greasels.

    So that's an illustration of the way unexpected things happen as a result of your interaction with the game, and it's stuff the designers aren't even expecting. You know, you're the last guy on the space-station who can save the world from alien invasion - who cares!

    There needs to be some personal reason for what you're doing, and it's just not there in so many games. Again, we're all about people expressing themselves, and people can find all sorts of ways to express themselves in this game.

    How have you made the AI so impressive?

    Spector: Okay; about the best answer we have is that it's gruellingly hard work. You do a lot of playing. But the bottom line is that this whole real life stuff is really catching on, as in Knights of the Old Republic for one example.

    It seems a lot of people are jumping on the bandwagon, and we've had the advantage where we've been doing this stuff since the late eighties. And so we design games that are specifically designed to allow things to emerge naturally from gameplay running its course.

    So we know kind of what to think about, we know what to include; once we've created game systems that allow the characters to try different things, we know enough to predict where problems might come in, and so we plan our AI to cater for the stuff that we know could go wrong.

    But fundamentally we just make the game playable - it's no fun at all. You test and you tweak, you test and you tweak, and eventually you lose your mind!

    But eventually you get the game to a point where you're supplying almost every player's choices every step of the way. What we're just starting to do now is sort of work on some of our testing processes; we can now track every step that a player takes on every map, we can track every shot, we know exactly how much ammo you have at every moment in the game.

    And so when we're testing we can flick a switch that just turns on the metrics and tracking stuff on, which will let us know stuff like "no human being has ever set foot there, on that part of the map. Let's do something that will encourage players to explore that area." Or we could use it to determine that every single player runs out of ammo at this point, so let's add more ammo here.

    Are you still excited about the whole Deus Ex universe? Do you think there's still much more to come?

    Spector: Let's put it this way, we've already started thinking about the third game in the series... That should tell you about the level of enthusiasm we have for the whole Deus Ex universe. We're not even close to burn out.

    In certain circles you're described as the Miyamoto of PC games design - what do you think of that?

    Spector: No, that's crazy! Miyamoto, I've never had the privilege of meeting him and I don't even want to because I'd probably start drooling; I respect Miyamoto to the degree where I would gladly have his children; don't even get me started!

    I think the difference is those guys, they're artists. The way I see myself, I will pat myself on the back and say I have a very clear vision of what my games should be, and I can't even tell you how passionate I can get about realising those ideas.

    So I try to surround myself with similar people who get that vision, who are convinced that that's the future of gaming, who feel like I do. I'm not a Miyamoto, that's crazy; I'm just good at collecting good people.


    looking good:smashin:
     
  7. Garrett

    Garrett
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2001
    Messages:
    33,159
    Products Owned:
    2
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    167
    Location:
    The best thief you’ll never see.
    Ratings:
    +4,375
    I too would definitely recommend Thief II (The Metal Age) and Thief (The Dark Project) if you can find it, which scared quite a few members on the forum. Which both I have played a few times. :smashin: I find the first one a lot darker story line and the last 4 quest are to die for.[​IMG]


    Also I too would recommend Deus Ex which I will be playing again shortly.


    Also Diablo and Diablo II and the expansion pack are good. Diablo graphics are a little dated but once you get into ot it such thing will not bother you.
     

Share This Page

Loading...