Dead End Ahead

Member
Posts: 144
Joined: 2004.07
Post: #1
It's been said before, and The Inquirer is saying it again.

I agree with Charlie and I would like to think we're smarter then the many developers in the early 80s. Could Nintendo be trying to stop us from not learning from the past (while keeping themselves afloat)?

I wanted to use this thread to serve two purposes. First I wanted to get the reactions from the people here (preferably from the people who have developed games for sometime and can spend their time designing and thinking rather then learning how to create them) and secondly I'd like to see a contest theme based around who can be the most original while at the same time being really fun. Even a greater emphasis on originality (over say graphics and audio) would be great.

I admit not everything I do is original, but I'm doing okay with the tools I currently know.
Quote this message in a reply
Moderator
Posts: 3,579
Joined: 2003.06
Post: #2
lightbringer Wrote:(preferably from the people who have developed games for sometime and can spend their time designing and thinking rather then learning how to create them)
I'm not really sure what that has to do with having an informed opinion about the state of mediocrity in the video game industry, but I'll take a big chance here and assume you won't flame me just because I haven't developed a game yet. Wink

I hold a somewhat contrarian viewpoint to that of the article. I have recently come to the conclusion that there isn't actually anything wrong with gameplay that isn't innovative. Plain and simple. That's right, I think rehashing gameplay over and over again is just fine. I *like* standard FPS's. Seeing crates and barrels in a game doesn't piss me off! It doesn't bother me that they haven't come up with anything new besides a laser blaster, a rocket launcher, and a chainsaw. I *like* standard RTS's, and drivers, and fight games. What I don't like are games that are done POORLY. Those games are the ones that really make a statement for the company that developed them: "We're just trying to take your money. Thank you for buying our crap, sucker! Move along please..." I think that is what gets many players all riled up about the "mediocrity" in the game industry. It's a basic human knee-jerk reaction to any unsatisfying entertainment.

I think it often gets overblown though. IOW, "I just played a first person shooter and it sucked, so therefore first person shooters are boring now and shouldn't be developed anymore." That's easy to say, but there are other things to consider. It may be that the FPS is boring because you've grown tired of that style of gameplay yourself, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be made anymore, because there are new people born every day. That would be like saying, "I've played solitaire until my fingers bled. It's boring now and nobody else should ever want to play it, so I'm giving it the 3 stars that I alone think it deserves instead of the fair 10 that I would have given if I was a new player to the genre." Chess: Boring! Checkers: Boring! Poker: Boring! Football: Boring! Mortal Combat: Boring! Doom3: Boring, boring, BORING!!!

Okay, so you're bored with everything. So now you (the prototypical one-man game programming geek) go out and attempt to make your own games and "show 'em how it's done". You'll change the world and they'll all come flocking to your new, original gameplay. I used to think this too, but after playing countless video games in my time, I've recently realized that quality content is truly king. It's still a bit of a mystery to me as to why, when I read yet another rant about the video game industry I hear the age-old snipe, "all they have is flashy eye-candy". Well, geez, I'm really sorry he doesn't like flashy eye-candy. I do, and I buy a lot of games. Maybe the author is in the wrong business.

It seems like all game programming contests already focus on new original gameplay "while being fun at the same time". In my experience, it is very rare to see great original gameplay come out of one of those contests. And even if it is great gameplay, it's often not something that interests me enough to want to buy it. Sorry to sound like such a party pooper about it. Instead, what I would like to see is a contest that focuses on one genre and simply challenges developers to make quality content. I'd like to see great art and hear amazing music and sound effects. I'd love to see well done particle effects. Eye-candy and ear-candy. And smooth controls that give a game a "great feel". What ever happened to that? I can get the feel for pretty much anyone's game because I've played so many of them, but it's rare for me to find one that just really nails the sweet spot. I've given up trying to give amateur developers advice on controls because they just never seem to get it, and they cop this attitude like I don't know what I'm saying. It's their way or no way. I'll read a forum thread with like ten people saying the controls are too stiff or something and the developer does the same thing or modifies some other aspect to make it easier to play instead of just working on the controls like everyone requested. It's like amateur developers have some type of listening-to-their-customers disorder or something, like they know best. Whatever... Rolleyes Just get the controls and the graphics and the sound right and I'll buy your game. I don't care if it's been done before. I still listen to rock and roll even though it's been done before too... As long as it's done well.
Quote this message in a reply
Luminary
Posts: 5,143
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #3
I think that calling it stagnation is a little unfair. Yes, the vast majority of games are repeats of older gameplay; yes, games are expensive; yes, the cost of failed innovation is too high for most companies to try it.

That doesn't mean that there are no original games though, or that there is no evolution within the genres. Try playing Warcraft III followed by Starcraft, for instance.

The movie industry is in much the same position -- making films is big-budget stuff, you can't afford to have one flop, so you play it safe and don't do anything really innovative. I don't see anyone predicting that Hollywood is going under!
Quote this message in a reply
Member
Posts: 144
Joined: 2004.07
Post: #4
I don't think comparing the Movie and the Video Game industry can be concluded as being similar enough in the innovation regard without taking a big leap. In other words I don't think you could say a genre like FPSs can be compared to a genre like Action movies (FPSs don't have the noviety and aren't as varied as action movies, it's not even close, in my opinion).

So maybe the sky isn't falling, maybe you don't follow in some of my views, but I still want to bring up a very valuable point we should all be aware of.


Sure the Mac platform isn't full of big game developers that keep us with the latest headline games, instead it's more about the smaller developers, the guys making Lugaru and Chopper. Of course we don't have the big pockets and time to create the massive games as those other guys, but in the tradeoff we get something else, agility. We don't have huge commitments that could be a flop and destroy us, instead we can switch on a dime and let our imagination take us anywhere. If anyone is going to be looking over someone else's shoulder wondering what's next, it should be the big guys looking at us.
Quote this message in a reply
Member
Posts: 749
Joined: 2003.01
Post: #5
Bah. We could make a "game design" contest, where you dont have to submit a game, just a design paper, and vote the coolest idea.

Unfortunately I dont follow the mainstream industry to tell if there's really so much repetition or also innovation. I would like statistics with the best selling games of the 5 last years to see how many I've actually seen... about 10% I guess.

Well here are last year's:

1 - Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas - PS2 - Take II Interactive

I played the original one for PC, I have to admit it's an incredibly good implementation of an incredibly cool concept.

2 - Halo 2* - XBX - Microsoft

Never seen it. I think it's a FPS.

3 - Madden NFL 2005* - PS2 - Electronic Arts

Never seen it. C'mon football is the most boring game evar. And videogame football must be like death or worst

4 - ESPN NFL 2K5 - PS2 - Take II Interactive

Never seen it. Hockey prolly

5 - Need For Speed: Underground 2 - PS2 - Electronic Arts

Racing, never seen anyone of the series actually. But racing is kind of boring.

6 - Pokemon Fire Red W/ Adapter - GBA - Nintendo of America

Bah.

7 - NBA Live 2005 - PS2 - Electronic Arts

Never seen anyone of the series. Some basketball games were actually good. I remember NBA jam was lots of fun about in 1996

8 - Spider-Man: The Movie 2 - PS2 - Activision

Damn I'd like to see the movie, I missed it

9 - Halo - XBX - Microsoft

Never seen it

10 - ESPN NFL 2K5 - XBX - Take II Interactive

Never seen it

But... I never thought of the mainstream industry as a competitor. I think we are in two different markets. People that buy John Madden dont usually buy shareware

©h€ck øut µy stuƒƒ åt ragdollsoft.com
New game in development Rubber Ninjas - Mac Games Downloads
Quote this message in a reply
Member
Posts: 198
Joined: 2005.01
Post: #6
The thing that gets me is that it seems like all the games coming out today are just an earlier game, redone. Which is cool if it's got improved content (like Jake said), but all too often it just seems like I'm playing the same game over and over again. Which is ok, too, except that there's now a serious fixation on movie-like plotlines and other things that really only work the first time through. And even that would be ok, except that they seem to expect me to keep spending money on it Smile

Tell me again why I would want to buy FF8, FF9, FF10, FF12, etc... when I have FF7? Smile I mean at least FF7 moved to 3D vs the earlier ones, but from there on out it's basically the same story lines, revamped character designs, more polygons, etc... I just get bored with it.

All IMO Smile

Cryptic Allusion Games / Cryptic Allusion, LLC
http://www.cagames.com/
Quote this message in a reply
Apprentice
Posts: 18
Joined: 2005.06
Post: #7
I think it's the content of the game that makes it really good. Gameplay, graphics, music, sound, all that helps, but there's still that region of the quality of the actual ideas that they put in there. For instance, Ev nova, is the same gameplay as the last two, with medium revamping to graphics and sound, and yet it is far superior to it's predecessors. Perhaps that's why the old MUDs are still fairly popular today, and not just with the fan boys, in this world of a million polygons. And it's not just the gameplay being popular (as most of them are fairly similar in that rescpect). If the mainstream dies, I think there will be a new riseup of the indie developers to the stores.

Freedom is the ability to say one plus one equals two. When that occurs, all else follows.
Quote this message in a reply
Member
Posts: 41
Joined: 2006.01
Post: #8
What bothers me is the lack of strategy, story and puzzle solving in FPS and games in general. It seems like they are all designed with care not to challenge the intelligence of anyone.
The missions and 'puzzles' in Diablo, for instance, are completed by following written instructions. I've worked for many folks who seem to feel that the customer is as dumb as a stump. I wish there were more really difficult puzzles and subtle strategies out there. Voilent, ham-fisted methods can always be provided as an alternate path.
Quote this message in a reply
Jones
Unregistered
 
Post: #9
Chris Ball Wrote:What bothers me is the lack of strategy, story and puzzle solving in FPS and games in general. It seems like they are all designed with care not to challenge the intelligence of anyone.
The missions and 'puzzles' in Diablo, for instance, are completed by following written instructions. I've worked for many folks who seem to feel that the customer is as dumb as a stump. I wish there were more really difficult puzzles and subtle strategies out there. Voilent, ham-fisted methods can always be provided as an alternate path.

I get that feeling too sometimes. I remember Kotor II had less "Smarts challenges" that Kotor I, and 1 was lacking them too. But then in II they would treat you like dumb-smurf then out of the blue there was the one level on Nar-Shadaa with the really hard door puzzle. Maybe it wasn't so hard, perhaps I am just dumb-smurf. Rasp

EDIT: Also, unrelated: LightBringer, I've just noticed the link to your game "drawing grounds" is broken, and It looks pretty cool. Thanks.
Quote this message in a reply
Member
Posts: 715
Joined: 2003.04
Post: #10
If you are playing games on only one kind of system, one kind of compute or one brand of console, then you are not getting a full picture of what is happening in the games industry.

Innovation happens in little steps, single items out of a huge library of similarity.
Innovation is a huge risk, the G4 Cube as one example, the fruit flavored iMacs as another (although the iMac was really the mac classic done better), and the new iMac is the 25th (or 20th, or 15th..losing track of the years) Anniversary Mac done affordably.

What can you innovate in a driving game, a space shooter, or an FPS that won't have gamers screaming? Well you mix them up and get Halo 2, yeehaa!

What caused the last game crash was not lack of innovative titles, because there was tons of innovative titles going on in the computer gaming arena, which drove sales away from the stagnated consoles, also the internet was being born and people were simply spending their time doing something else besides blowing dust out of cheesy cartridges.

I think its best to ignore people who get paid to whine and cry about various sorts of media because they are self absorbed asses that aren't even pretty to look at. Have you read any movie reviews lately...they haven't changed in twenty years, ie, its all bitching and moaning by people with no talent to make movies themselves and most likely no friends so they spend all their time getting paid to sit in movie theatre alone and then let the world know just what a miserable loser they are by writing up a terrible review for a movie that was written for a very specific target audience that they aren't included in. Same with games and the games industry.

The question to ask authors like the one above is ..wait maybe not a question but a threat "If you can't do better then shut your mouth or I'll shove one my wii controllers down your throat and the other up your rectum"

Anyone play X-men III: the Official Game? Innovative gameplay, how many games do you get to teleport and hang from all manner of objects, then teleport all over the battle zone beating the life out of your opponents, or zoom around on an character generated ice slide? Innovative gameplay in a movie title, thats unique!
Quote this message in a reply
Member
Posts: 749
Joined: 2003.01
Post: #11
Thread got back from the dead... most AAA games suck? No better news for the indies.

©h€ck øut µy stuƒƒ åt ragdollsoft.com
New game in development Rubber Ninjas - Mac Games Downloads
Quote this message in a reply
Moderator
Posts: 113
Joined: 2002.06
Post: #12
To be quite honest... When an individual feels that games do not give them the entertainment/challenge anymore, perhaps it's a mental awareness that they should seek different things to invest their time into. Read a good mystery book. Pick-up comic books again. There are plenty with mature and complex storylines these days as these markets have expanded.

Also, I'm not sure it helps by saying that the video game industry is going stagnint and will crash soon. Sure, many games are sequel after sequel, however, so is the film industry. There are many developers that have the creativity and (when necessary) money to take risks. The Nintendo Wii is a good example of this. I think it will reiterate that ultra-realistic graphics and a team of 250 people don't make a game great. The forgotten word of "game-play mechanic" will reign supreme and help companies protect themselves from a possible industry crash if that's what happens.

ProRattaFactor
(Retro-infused games for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and Mac)
Quote this message in a reply
Member
Posts: 715
Joined: 2003.04
Post: #13
Chris Ball Wrote:What bothers me is the lack of strategy, story and puzzle solving in FPS and games in general.
Ya want some puzzles? Try Tomb Raider: Legend!
Quote this message in a reply
Member
Posts: 131
Joined: 2004.10
Post: #14
gatti Wrote:To be quite honest... When an individual feels that games do not give them the entertainment/challenge anymore, perhaps it's a mental awareness that they should seek different things to invest their time into. Read a good mystery book. Pick-up comic books again. There are plenty with mature and complex storylines these days as these markets have expanded.
But I'm too old to play with LEGO!
Quote this message in a reply
Member
Posts: 92
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #15
Zekaric Wrote:But I'm too old to play with LEGO!

I recently discovered with my 4 year old son I'm not to old to play with lego. Thanks to a nature of hoarding as much as I can I've still got a rather impressive lego collection from my youth which my son can now play with. In a few years I'll also dig out my box of technic lego as well for him. Hours of fun Grin

Justin "LordFire" Baldock
Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply