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Future of Videogames...

Discussion in 'General Video Gaming Chat' started by NeoBlade, Jul 3, 2002.

  1. NeoBlade

    NeoBlade
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    Since theres a few old-skool gamers about it would be interesting to hear your views on how videogames have progressed, not just in terms of visuals and audio, but more specifically in terms of gameplay.

    Of course everyones invited to voice their views... Anyway here are a few points that I think are worthy of debating...

    Are videogames becoming too easy?

    Back in the day we had R-Type as a challange... And now we have... Well, not too many games that would prove to be a total challange. I for one would like to see the difficulty levels back in action if implemented well. For example Perfect Dark on the N64.

    Choosing the easiest setting would give the gamer a linear game and wouldn't reward exploration much because many of the areas would have been locked out... So there would be less objectives for the given mission. Choosing a harder difficulty would result in more freedom in the levels and more objectives to complete... Rather than just giving you less health, ammo and taking more damage per hit.

    Badly explained example I know, but at least RARE have thought out on how to make a game harder using various ways than to just up the enemy AI and make them require more shots to kill.

    This is just one point of many but because its 4am I want to go to bed ^_^ Hope to hear from you guys soon. Laters.
     
  2. thestorm

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    Originally posted by NeoBlade
    Since theres a few old-skool gamers about it would be interesting to hear your views on how videogames have progressed, not just in terms of visuals and audio, but more specifically in terms of gameplay.


    Gameplay wise... things are a lot deeper,
    eg Space Invader Vs Halo
    rather than dodgy
    blocky pixels moving about the place! Games now incorporate A.I
    unlike say Space Invaders!
    there's more choice, the games are more affordable,
    I'm an xbox owner and considering buying a game cube too
    esp since it's affordable.


    Are videogames becoming too easy?

    Yes and no.
    Oddworld's Munch's Oddysee : that took me only 1 week to finish.
    Which was so much fun and its such a funny game.
    I laughed my a$$ of throughout. I played it 2hrs each day.

    Halo : ..well im still 1/2 way through it. I refuse to play it on an easy level.

    Moto GP : it's taking me ages to get used to the bike's control
    system, once i got it mastered it'll be up and running.


    Back in the day we had R-Type as a challange... And now we have... Well, not too many games that would prove to be a total challange. I for one would like to see the difficulty levels back in action if implemented well. For example Perfect Dark on the N64.



    R-Type was crap ..really..u took one hit and that's it u had to start
    all over again. But the gfx and enemy were great! u know HUGE
    enemy ships and u had to fly around knocking out the missile
    launchers.

    Thank God for the more intelligent games after that...
    eg Elite, on the BBC Micro.

    Halo is actually quite challenging..have u played it yet?
    or some of these fighting games like Dead or Alive 3, to master
    each character's exclusive moves it takes AGES!
    And once u're playing against an opponent and you execute that exclusive move
    it's really satisfying..it makes all the hardwork wothwhile!


    Cya,
    Shaz
     
  3. lechacal

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    Games probably are a lot eaier than they used to be. But then they are trying to appeal to mass market audiences and appeal to a wider range of tastes than they ever used to before. Games like R-Type were made with the arcades in mind (even though they got home conversions), and (relative to the population) it's always been a relatively small number of gaming die-hards that have gone to arcades.

    On the whole, I think level systems are a bad idea. If you implement the game elegantly with well thought out levels and a smooth learning curve, you shouldn't need them. To me, when you have to choose your difficulty level it shows that whoever made the game couldn't or wouldn't put the effort that they should have done into the design of the game itself. Rather than go back to start the game again at a higher level when you've finished the game once, there should be replay value within the game to keep you coming back for more. I'm talking about things like gold medals, optional objectives, areas and gameplay elements that are only unlocked when you achieve perfects completes on certain levels etc.
     
  4. Azrikam

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    In the old days, if you only had 3 screens in the whole game, you made it as hard as possible to make it seem deeper than it actually was. Try playing some old arcade gems to see what I mean. (I still can't get to the 3rd level in Burgertime :) )

    Games are much more complex these days, and are definitely much easier. (and forgiving, for the most part) But, if todays massive games were made as difficult as games of old, only a fraction of the players would get to see the entire thing; which is a waste of development time and money. (not to mention frustrating to the gamers) If I pay £50 on a game, I don't want to have to play it for 6 months just to get to the last level.

    So, at the risk of removing that amazing feeling you got when you finally beat a horrendously difficult level, games are much more entry-level. (for lack of a better term)

    I think difficulty levels like they used in Perfect Dark are a great balance, but even that has been softened to increase replayability. Take Halo, for example. Even on Legendary (which is brutally hard), the game checkpoints are staggered very forgivingly. This keeps me coming back, even after I've been blown to bits dozens of times... because I know it's possible. The frustration of having to play an entire level from the start every time I died turned me off many a game in the old days. You often had to be very clinical in your approach, and not make a single mistake to beat some of the challenges. Although some people thrive on this, I think at that point it becomes more like work, and less like play.

    Games have changed, and so have gamers. Expectations are much higher these days, and rightly so. But just imagine if a brand new game came out in which only 3% of the people who played could get to the last level. Sure, it would have a bit of a cult following, but the majority would be turned off.

    I'm starting to repeat myself, so I'll end with this. I don't think it's any coincidence that the old Atari 2600 controllers could withstand being stomped on without breaking. (believe me, I've seen terrible things done to those controllers in moments of frustration) :D
     
  5. Sinzer

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    One problem is that there are so many games that you get the impression that games overall are easier. I thought wow yes the new games are helluva easy, but then I thought of the recent games I have played and a lot of them are anything but easy.

    Like it is mentioned above games these days are a lot longer, the difficulty is ramped by the ability to persevere!!! A good example of this is the online RPGs, they essentially start off easy but then by later levels the areas become very hard and you have to plug in a lot of hours.

    Difficulty is now increased by playing against a human, most home arcade games are built for human vs human playability, beat-em-ups, footie games. The best example of human created difficulty is Counterstrike, this game really does sort the men from the boys.

    Some games are a lot more complex, this lends itself to strategy games, these games are very difficult to complete, the latest advance wars is easy on the first setting. But I am still only rank 80 showing that I have a huge amount of the game to go.

    There are still some great examples of difficulty in computer games, but most big hype releases need to be applicable to a wide age group and wide arrangement of players. I know a lot of players that are so dexterously challanged that they get stuck in Final Fantasy or find Medal of Honour the hardest FPS in the world.

    As for the future, the next step is waiting for VR systems or holographic TV's, then you can have huge immersiveness. Combined with online play we start looking at the Matrix!!! Would be pretty sweet.
     
  6. Azrikam

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    One thing that I failed to mention before was where videogames are going. For the last few years, I think developers have been playing catchup with the expanding capacity of videogame systems. (be it PC or console) We've seen staggering advances in graphical output to the point where games as recent as 2 or 3 years old are looking very dated.

    But, I think gameplay and innovative design have fallen by the wayside while all this is happening. I'm speaking about developers in general now, not including a few who are actually doing ground-breaking, quality stuff. Graphics can only get so good before gamers stop paying attention to the difference. Eventually, graphics will reach the point where there will be very little difference between watching a war movie, and playing a war game: both will look as real as possible. (although the game will obviously be more immersive)

    Barring a few exceptions, I think true game innovation isn't going to happen until that point. Sure, there are great new games coming out, but there are also tons of sequels and clones that bring nothing new to the table besides cleaner graphics and better sound. But once games look as good as DVD's there will be nowhere to go for developers to stand out amongst the crowd... unless they offer something new. At that point, it should be a free-for-all for designing the strangest, most original game concepts ever imagined. It could be argued that we are reaching that point in games history right now, but I think it's still down the road.

    Anyway, that's my gaming utopia... I just hope I live long enough to see it. ;)
     
  7. NeoBlade

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    Good views there guys. I should have edited my original post to say that because games now are aimed at the mass market they do need to become more accessible (for the difficulty debate anyway).

    The PSX really made gaming mainstream which has its good and bad points in the industry. Good points would have been the massive growth of the industry so much so that now it is an acceptable form of entertainment in society.

    Back to the points made, of course graphics have improved dramatically over the years which have allowed more complex games to be rendered. I'm more interested in the current situation now though where all next gen formats and PCs are at a good graphical level... So much so that there isn't too much that you cannot do with it (in terms of gameplay). So with this much firepower... Would it spawn new gaming genres? Would we see more innovation from games because the barriers have been lowered?

    Looking at the current crop of games I can only see gaming hybrids where the most popular ones now are FPS merged with RPG elements and stealth. Sure its an evolution... But where will the next revolution come from?

    Back to someone saying that R-Type was crap... Hardly! Because of the one hit kills the gratification of completing levels was superb, much like doing a fast clean lap on Grand Prix Legends or doing juggles on Tekken Tag/Street Fighter Alpha 3...

    I haven't played Halo just yet, but I have played Half Life, the Quake Series, Unreal, Deus Ex, GoldenEye, Perfect Dark, Project IGI, etc etc... I plan to buy an Xbox just for Halo and Tekki once I've saved a bit up... Should look sweet in prog.scan ^_^

    As for Dead or Alive 3... I'm not a huge fan of it at all sorry. To me its a mindless button basher with probably the worst fighting balance around. Just do a few counter moves and you've won the round... Which basically encourages turtling. Sure is has many moves per character... But how many of those do you really need to complete the game? Not many...

    To me 2D fighters offer the best in terms of fighting mechanics and gameplay, SFA3, SFIII, KoF, Last Blade II, Capcom Vs SNK 2, etc. The 3D fighters are not really 3D... Sure DoA3 has the sidestep moves but how often do you include it into your strategy? 3D fighters like Soul Calibur, VF3 tb and Tobal used the system well, whereas Tekken and DoA don't.

    To me DoA 3 is a crowd pleaser, great when you'v got your mates round after a few drinks but when theres the time for a fighting competition then the other games come on top, since you cannot win by using one button or by randomly mashing. (there are other points as well but this isn't a fighting post ^_^).

    lechacal made a good point about lerning curves... To me Zelda 64 had a superb one yet almost everyone I know gave up about 15% through the game because they couldn't get the Z-Targeting going. Often enough though perfect lerning curves are hard to come by and going back to Perfect Dark (which had a very good lerning curve) it added more to the game once you chose the higher difficulty levels, simply adding more to the game increasing its difficulty. Of course this was only one way at how the game made things harder, so its a shame that it came out late on the N64 when no-one was really interested.

    Going back to gold medals and that like in StarFox, Rogue Leader etc it is a great way of adding replay value and optional difficulty but it could be deemed as a repetitive one at that rather than one based on its learning curve. In an ideal world I would rather have both aspects implemented well, rather than cheaply.

    It depends on the game really.. If we're talking about Ultima Online or any MMORPG then it will take ages to do everything. If we are talking about the more standard genres then yeah, 6 months would be far too long and it would be hard to maintain a level of interest for a game so long. IMO 30-50 hours is about right and while games like Metal Gear Solid might be short to some, it does offer plenty of replay value.

    Basically every game has an elite level or challange of some sort... Look at Pac-Man. Easy enough to play and the high score challange was good enough to hook gamers back. One fan even played the whole game to get the highest possible score and was put into the Guinness book of records for his efforts. That to me though is taking gaming to the extreme...

    I think everyone would agree that some games are becoming easier for good or worse... Advance Wars is basically a watered down version of Fire Emblem, but thats not to say that the game is poor... Its just stupidly addictive ^_^ So much so that Nintendo should really release Fire Emblem in the US and Europe, Actually more japanese titles should make it out overseas purely because there are some weird and odd ones that try to be different. Advance Wars is one of those titles and it sold pretty well.

    This is quite a long post so I'll start another to comment on Sinzer's and Azrikam's points ^_^
     
  8. NeoBlade

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    VR was another point I wanted to make... The hardware is there alright but the software isn't. VR arcades that were £3 a pop didn't offer much since you were just in a flat shaded 3D world shooting multicoloured cubes... Hardly great but it was the shape of things to come. Or so we thought. Not too much else has happened in the world of VR other than for tech demos and demos of future buildings. The technology is there for the hardware and software front, but I think interest in VR has died down and it has missed its chance of fame for now.

    Thats why I feel like the gaming market now is saturated. Instead of more original games because of the graphical level, we're getting more cash cows - FIFA, NHL, Tomb Raider, F1 (basically any EA title...), Mega Man, etc.

    I can understand the reasoning to milk a cash cow. Next gen consoles and PC platforms are not cheap to develop for, so paying for R&D would take up a huge amount of your budget. Then theres the publishers who don't want to take a risk by signing a game thats too radical or different from the current trend. Just look back at the gaming scene before Tony Hawks Pro Skater came out and SSX Tricky... Hardly any great sports titles outside the football and NBA scene. Once THPS sold so well everyone developed extreme sports games to basically clone it. Many even sold well even though they were not a patch on THPS.

    Azrikam shares the same viewpoints as I do about innovation... It just isn't happening right now. I still believe that the current consoles are quite evenly matched (except for the Xbox, which is stupidly powerful in terms of raw poly power) so much so that come another year of development we will see more innovation from 3rd parties.

    Only a select few would rate a game higher because of the better bump mapping, vertex lighting, FSAA, etc but I would agree with Azrikam again that (for the mass market) only when the visuals are on par with pre-renders from the likes of Pixar we will see better differentiation between the games and formats. You could argue that Nintendo has already done this by aiming for a niche market but then they have had a lot of flak because they choose to be different from Sony or Microsoft.

    For gaming to improve I think the publishers have the most control to do that by signing up new, raw talent. I know some publishers have done just that but it needs to grow. Underground gaming development back in the day helped videogames expand to now horizons. Now that bedroom programming is a thing of the past the publishers have the most power to do something different. Sadly though, 95% of them would rather earn a quick buck then to take a chance like Sierra did with Valve... And look at what they produced...
     
  9. Sinzer

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    VR was another point I wanted to make... The hardware is there alright but the software isn't. VR arcades that were £3 a pop didn't offer much since you were just in a flat shaded 3D world shooting multicoloured cubes... Hardly great but it was the shape of things to come. Or so we thought. Not too much else has happened in the world of VR other than for tech demos and demos of future buildings. The technology is there for the hardware and software front, but I think interest in VR has died down and it has missed its chance of fame for now.

    Not really VR paved the way for 3D games as we see them today, of course we are missing the helmets as they are too cumbersome :). However, some interesting developments in science may overcome this with the use of headbands, which measure neural activity.

    Azrikam shares the same viewpoints as I do about innovation... It just isn't happening right now.

    Agree and disagree :p On the surface games are less innovative, but the discerning gamer will find those gems of creation there. However, they are never really hyped mainstream games, a lot of them come through mods or small independant publishers. Consoles tend to be more swamped with Duplicate Graphical Improvement 10 than the PC. Rez is perhaps the only recent game (I can think of) that has really pushed some boundaries

    Sadly though, 95% of them would rather earn a quick buck then to take a chance like Sierra did with Valve... And look at what they produced...

    Guilty as charged and Sierra only really made the money from a player made mod.
     
  10. NeoBlade

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    Heh yeah, the helmets of yesteryear were huge. VR still has plenty of potential though, but is there reall a mass market for it...

    As for innovation... It only happens with mods yes and some big name titles. Thats why I think publishers should help encourage mods more and up the creative force and energy used into some of these gaming mods. Mods are probably the best way to get into the videogame industry actually since its an interactive creation of your own using someone elses engine... So you don't need to spend months creating a game engine, but to use that time to focus on gameplay aspects and level design. Thats probably why Morrowind and Neverwinter Nights interest me atm..
     
  11. Azrikam

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    As a testament to the game, Pac-man came out in the 70's, I believe, and the guy who got the perfect score on it did it very recently. (last year?) That's an awfully long shelf-life for a game. :)

    I was reading an interview with Peter Molyneux (I'll take a look for the link), and he was talking about the same things. He said that developers are going for the sure-sell, and because of the cost to develop a game, nobody wants to take any chances. In this respect, videogames are finally reaching the same position that Hollywood currently occupies. 95% of movies these days are bottom of the barrel, bubblegum filler garbage that's produced for the masses. (see Scooby Doo's box office receipts for proof that there is no God :devil: ) It's dumbed down to appeal to the widest margin of people, and Hollywood is floating on sequels, comic book / videogame / TV show tie-ins, and star-packed "blockbusters". (man, I'm awfully bitter :) ) Unfortunately for console gamers, PC titles are always going to be more innovative, because developing a PC game is much more accessible. I can't get my hands on an XBox dev kit, but I could certainly struggle through C# and develop at least a skeleton of a game on my laptop.

    I think publishers should be more open-minded to independent, rookie developers. Just like a bunch of kids armed with super-8 cameras and karo syrup trekked to a cabin in the woods to film Evil Dead, the next great idea for a videogame might be sitting on some 16-year-old's computer in the middle of nowhere.

    I could probably write pages of response to the other posts, but I'll wait until I'm at work tomorrow. ;)
     

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