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Discuss Gameplay Ideas for Antilia

Currently: 277 Topics, 3458 Posts

Zeek illuser

Jen: 40
Thursday, January 1, 2015 8:45pm
blueslyster

Jen: 106
...well you're not wrong about .hack, despite my huge love of it. But I can't for the life of me counter that...

Far as narratives for MMOs, whatever doesn't make the player "THE greatest hero of all time" or forced to go on story quest after story quest but just side lores that players may be interesting in knowing of a certain area, a race, dungeon, etc. then I wouldn't mind so much, like the virtual game The World from .hack (there's my counter!) did. There is lore of the game world, but you don't have to do quests related to the story to get better gear or level up fast. Just need 1,000 xp per level, and mobs give a fix amount of exp based on your level. (However if too low you won't get much exp or none.) There are quests but they're not required, or pestered, to do them. (GO AWAY NAVI!) They're just there to make the game more interesting with a bit of challenge given at a good level range.
Thursday, January 1, 2015 10:24pm
Sly da' Talikus aka LongSly
I will mallet all who question me! O.O
Direlda
Volunteer
Jen: 77
Part of the problem, I think, is that we tend to think that game narratives must be structured in the same way and employ the same techniques as novel or film narratives. And while novels and films often have the same narrative structure with an exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and denouement, they don't use the same techniques in telling that narrative. That is because the medium of the narrative is different. It is very easy to convey thoughts in a novel, but it is difficult to convey thoughts in film without breaking some of the immersion. You are able to use pans and zooms in film to quickly convey a sense of the setting while novels have to find the right balance of words to describe a place.

Video games are a different medium from novels and film and so are able to do certain things better, certain things worse, and not be able to do some things in the telling of a story. And then MMOs take the medium of video games and add their own constraints. Skyrim might be able to tell the story of the chosen hero because you don't run into other people who also fit the bill. But a MMO like Guild Wars 2 runs into difficulty when it portrays your character as the chosen hero who will save the world because everyone who is playing fills that role. ((It would be interesting to compare the player population to the NPC population to determine what percentage of Tyria or Azeroth's total population is made up of chosen heroes who are destined to save the world.)) In other words, MMOs make the you-are-the-child-of-prophecy-who-is-destined-to-save-the-world narrative hard to pull off without breaking immersion.

Just as the types of shots used in film or the layout of panels in comics affect the delivery of the narrative, the mechanics of a game affect how its narrative is conveyed. Having to draw patterns to cast a spell will give combat a different feel from pressing buttons to cast a spell. WoW's system of resource nodes creates different interactions from Guild Wars 2's system and both have different interactions from Antilia's system in prior alpha tests. Take mining nodes as an example. In WoW you are competing against other players as you move from node to node in a zone. In Guild Wars 2 you move from node to node in a zone and possibly help other players if they are being attacked near a node. In Antilia you hold conversations with people who have gathered around the node.

Finally, narrative in games is not solely the creation of the developers. Just read through the After-Action Reports (AARs) from games such as Total War: Shogun 2 or Crusader Kings 2 to see how a game with a minimal narrative can acquire a narrative. The narrative of Shogun 2 is that you are the daimyo of a clan, you have aspirations of becoming the Shogun of Japan, and you must do so by a certain date while holding so many territories including the capital of Japan and a few provinces that are significant to your clan. But from that players have woven stories that tell of triumphs and failures in conquest and diplomacy.
Friday, January 2, 2015 5:10pm
May God bless you and may a star shine down upon your path.
Direlda lives here: www.direlda.net
Winterchain
Jen: 20
I think that you can make even a silly rat hunt epic at lv1 if you have imagination and a story telling talent.

I host frequently paper or tabletop rpg sessions, when i get new players that are seasoned they most often ask me to skip the noob area and show them the good stuff. Thing is, i manage to keep them in my world in this lv1 kill rats.

How to use imagination to make a simple lv1 kill rats quest fun and engaging?

Put lets say 7 rats in a cave, avoid numbers like 10 or 5 or a X number of those mobs and 2 of those. Avoid anything that is chewed up spat out and then chewed up again and diggen up from the depts of the digestion system.

So, 7 rats and a cave, how is that exciting?

Observe:

When you enter the cave - lets say from a narrow, realy narrow tunnel that you barely made it trough (probably had to remove the armor as well to fit) you can smell that something much more bigger than just rats dwell here. Your point of entry is a valid exit for the rats once they get hungry, and its fairly concealed in the woods/canyon so only the quest giver knew about this location (hunter or scavenger for immersion) It is pitch plack at first, but once our hero adapts to the new surroundings you can start to see some fluorescent mushrooms light in the cave, its a little, but its better than pitch black cave with an unknown beast and..right 7 rats.

Our hero can:

Pernamently block this cave network exit from outside, safest option, least rewards. Try to gather the villages attention on the matter that there is a beast or more in the cave, but providing no evidence. That ight bite back.


option 2:

Scout the cave a bit maybe sneak up on a rat or two to get their skins, try to find something the beast left behind, some sort of valid proof to this mad claim. a bit more rewards and a bit credibility.

option 3, find the beast memorize its appearance or make a sketch of it, find its leftovers, it probably has a pile of food - that foo probably has still equipment on it..of sorts + find and kill all 7 rats + claim their skins.


You probably know by now that, for missions this would require instanced areas, but this is good. This gives you closed environments that benefit the designers of what they can put in there, from rock formations to clutter to mazes etc etc etc

no immersion breaking players afking or claiming your quest mobs, or no high level guys beating the beast you are suppose to be afraid.


1 maze cave, 7 rats and a hulking beast that does not mind an extra bite on the side if the player will be to reckless.


There is also a MARGINAL chance of killing the beast, claiming its fur and claws, teeth and stuff. grabbing the loot pile (or what you can carry) This would require a level and mechanic design friendly for combat situations like this. so there would be sneaking areas, that take time to get into. (so that the players cant just escape there in combat, the beast would mince him then. and ledges, open areas that will be the deathmatch primary zone. To actually pull this off you need:

combat orientation that prefer one strong opponent, a weapon that can hurt that thing (unique monster)

agility that makes circus acrobats awe

preferably a poison dripped in the monsters water source beforehand.


i would expect the game to have alot of side quests found on the site that are unmarked so that you will appeal to a bigger player base.


so here you have:

a simple enter and exit quest for those who don't like to do pretty much anything

a semi challenging treasure hunt for the east clavs or fangs that he lost when opening his food from armor that he dragged in here + lets say 3 rat skins and a nice story to tell to the quest giver ( i prefer ultima system dialouge it leaves alot of room for the player to choose his pace)

harcore sneaking sim that rewards the player with few ites from the monsters pile of loot + 7 rat skins + evidence + sketch or a description.


or... an battle of epic proportions that will leave you trembling after you are done with all the rewards you can get.

Limited only by your carry cap. (if the beast is killed there will be a cave in - once the player tries to flee he will learn that he cant go back. If the player will be encumbered he will die and he will need to re do the dungeon - items and character are saved upon exit, data monitored to ensure no foul play is in the game)


^ this appeals to all players types but it requires alot of work, every quest would have t be hand crafted to perfection
and in 100% cases mmo devs say NO to this. They want a product that will get them money as soon as the download button is up.

so they force feed us with nonsense quests with nonsense rewards and nonsense adventures that we forget when we pick up another dull quest.


what mechanics i would like to see?

I would say... something like Arx Fatalis. Skill is the only bar you need to top. Some places require quest items, but you can o whatever you like.
Sunday, January 4, 2015 7:00am
Winterchain
Jen: 20
**we cant edit or im blind...?

A good way to tell a story is a narrator going with you on THOSE moments in a game where you have to walk slower or wait for a drawbridge, I belive it is not good to have only text based story.

An intro here and now is a good idea, does not need to be AAA HD, just image going into another image, with 5/6 pictures you can have a 1 minute instanced mission intro
Sunday, January 4, 2015 10:49am
blueslyster

Jen: 106
Quote by Winterchain:
**we cant edit or im blind...?

A good way to tell a story is a narrator going with you on THOSE moments in a game where you have to walk slower or wait for a drawbridge, I belive it is not good to have only text based story.

An intro here and now is a good idea, does not need to be AAA HD, just image going into another image, with 5/6 pictures you can have a 1 minute instanced mission intro

Like Trine, Eden Eternal (except it's text and timed which isn't best since it goes by a bit too fast to read), and Bastion?

After 30 minutes I believe you can no longer edit/delete your post.
Sunday, January 4, 2015 11:41am
Sly da' Talikus aka LongSly
I will mallet all who question me! O.O
Direlda
Volunteer
Jen: 77
I'm going to divide this up into multiple posts to make it easier to read. Otherwise I'd probably end up writing a post as long as the dining table I'm working at and everyone's eyes would just glaze over. And by breaking it up into multiple posts I might end up writing less overall... ((Don't get your hopes up too much...))

Quote by Winterchain:
I think that you can make even a silly rat hunt epic at lv1 if you have imagination and a story telling talent.

I host frequently paper or tabletop rpg sessions, when i get new players that are seasoned they most often ask me to skip the noob area and show them the good stuff. Thing is, i manage to keep them in my world in this lv1 kill rats.


I agree that a good storyteller or DM/GM can make a rat hunt epic. Your tabletop RPG sessions sound like they would be plenty of fun, which makes me want the people I do tabletop RPGs with to get their schedules sorted out again.

But I also feel that maybe this is the wrong way of going about solving the problems game storytelling runs into. Many MMORPGs and some RPGs treat the players as if they are the only competent people around, which results in quests that feel like they should have been dealt with by the people assigning them.

In Guild Wars 2, for instance, there are quests where you are asked to assist farmers with removing grubs or aid in the repelling of roving undead. Presumably the grubs are a natural part of the ecosystem, so the fact that the farmers aren't used to rooting them out and must stand back and let the hero take care of it breaks some of the immersion. And the undead are known to be active in the areas surrounding settlements you protect from undead, so you would think that having been a long-established village that they would have better defenses to protect from an assault that one elementalist is able to take care of.

Part of Guild Wars 2's problem comes from the fact that the personal story quests and instances are giving the impression that you are going to be a mighty hero destined to save the world with help from your companions while the mechanic of the renown hearts gives the sense of a helpful soul with the power to sense when people need help no matter how mundane. The first has an epic tone--gaining in power and gathering allies to be able to face the dragons and defeat them. The second has a mundane tone--you notice Old McDonald has a bad back and so take slop to his pigs and emote to his cows to make them not depressed. ((there is, actually, at least one quest where you must emote at cows))

And so having a quest giver tell you to hunt rats (or iichii) would be out of place in a game trying to make you out to be an epic hero if it were an infestation that they should be able to deal without your help. Now if the people they sent to deal with it haven't come back, then that lets the player know that this is most likely not an everyday problem. It's about time we stopped making players the errand-runners for lazy NPCs.
Tuesday, January 6, 2015 11:37am
May God bless you and may a star shine down upon your path.
Direlda lives here: www.direlda.net
Direlda
Volunteer
Jen: 77
So making sure the tone of the mechanics matches up with the tone of the narrative is important, which is what the Extra Credits video talked about. And using imagination is one way to accomplish this.

Quote by Winterchain:
How to use imagination to make a simple lv1 kill rats quest fun and engaging?

Put lets say 7 rats in a cave, avoid numbers like 10 or 5 or a X number of those mobs and 2 of those. Avoid anything that is chewed up spat out and then chewed up again and diggen up from the depts of the digestion system.


While I agree that imagination is integral to making a kill rats quest fun and engaging, I'm not so sure that the numbers matter as much. Granted, 10 and 5 are numbers that get used a lot, as their multiples are some of the more easily remembered. But having 7 or 11 rats instead of 5 or 10 isn't going to be what most people remember about the quest. Rather they are more likely to remember if it felt challenging, if they pulled off something that felt epic as part of the quest, if it gave good loot (or bad loot compared to the effort they felt they put in), if it was a fairly unique quest, or if the NPCs involved were particularly interesting in some way. It is important to remember in designing things that most of the time you are not the user and that how you would interact with something is not necessarily how your intended users would interact with it.

So if you are designing for people who care about the number of creatures you encounter in a quest and who will call it a bad quest if it has 10 of the same creature, then you should go for less-used numbers. But if those people aren't your primary intended users, then you shouldn't worry so much about it if you end up with 10 of the same creature.

Now the point about avoiding regurgitated ideas got me thinking, especially since it was mentioned in the context of a "kill these rats" quest. It's not so much that you avoid ideas that have been done over and over again, but that you avoid doing them the same way as they've been done before. Kill rats quests have been done to death. And yet Winterchain has provided the seeds of a way to make the quest fun and possibly unlike any kill rat quest you've had to do.

The trick, then, is to look at what has been done before and use it as a starting point. Perhaps you can take a type of quest and make it feel fresh and new again by altering some aspect of it. Or maybe after looking at the sorts of quests that have been done before you realize a new type of quest to try out. Or you see a combination that hasn't been done before.
Tuesday, January 6, 2015 12:31pm
May God bless you and may a star shine down upon your path.
Direlda lives here: www.direlda.net
Direlda
Volunteer
Jen: 77
So taking things that have been done before and making something new from it is essential and imagination can help with that. Take a look at this part of what Winterchain wrote--there's something in there that got me really intrigued and something that got me excited.

Quote by Winterchain:
When you enter the cave - lets say from a narrow, realy narrow tunnel that you barely made it trough (probably had to remove the armor as well to fit) you can smell that something much more bigger than just rats dwell here. Your point of entry is a valid exit for the rats once they get hungry, and its fairly concealed in the woods/canyon so only the quest giver knew about this location (hunter or scavenger for immersion) It is pitch plack at first, but once our hero adapts to the new surroundings you can start to see some fluorescent mushrooms light in the cave, its a little, but its better than pitch black cave with an unknown beast and..right 7 rats.


Most of that paragraph describes things I've seen at least once in games. The idea that got me excited was that your character could smell that something other than rats lived in the cave. Considering that the characters in Antilia are anthropomorphic animals, the thought that more senses than just sight could be employed was amazing. Of course, it would take a lot of work to integrate characters being able to detect smells into a video game. Would smell be an activatable skill that allowed you to detect nearby scent traces or would it be something passive that was always on or would it be something like Batman's detective vision in the Arkham games which creates an overlay? Would you see the scents left by everything or would only significant scents be shown? A skill for identifying smells would probably need to be separate from detecting them, as being able to smell something doesn't mean you know what the smell is. There's a lot more thought that would need to be done around this before deciding if it would be worth the effort or not.

The idea that got me intrigued was that you had to remove your armor to squeeze through the passage. Most video games don't care that you wear your armor while doing everything once you put it on. Swimming in plate armor is often treated the same as swimming starkers. Going to bed while wearing a chain shirt doesn't leave your character feeling uncomfortable and more tired the next morning. Merchants don't bat an eye when you buy herbs dressed like you are ready to slay monsters. Having a system that took your wearing of armor into account while swimming to see if you would be able to stay afloat, or while sleeping to see if you were well-rested, or while wandering around town to adjust how people react to you would be more realistic, but it probably would also get frustrating (not to mention being a lot more coding). Plus, it would make sense to also take into account a character's body size if you were going to make them remove armor, which would add a whole lot more coding and perhaps make some people unable to do the quest because their character is too large.
Tuesday, January 6, 2015 1:21pm
May God bless you and may a star shine down upon your path.
Direlda lives here: www.direlda.net
Direlda
Volunteer
Jen: 77
Part of what we need to keep in mind is that Antilia's dev team have other jobs they do to make a living. This means that the time and effort required to implement features will sometimes be the deciding factor of whether or not it gets included. Having characters have a sense of smell that they can use to detect things is pretty unique as far as video games are concerned and would be a mechanic that could enhance the narrative being told about the Taipii. But it would require a lot of work. So if it wasn't a thought that had crossed the dev team's minds prior to today as something to include, then they might look at it and decide that while cool, there just isn't enough time to add it in. This is something we need to be fine with, since devs do need to eat, too.

Quote by Winterchain:
this appeals to all players types but it requires alot of work, every quest would have t be hand crafted to perfection
and in 100% cases mmo devs say NO to this. They want a product that will get them money as soon as the download button is up.

so they force feed us with nonsense quests with nonsense rewards and nonsense adventures that we forget when we pick up another dull quest.


Making money is often a cause of why a product is shipped before it should have been, but think about it from another angle. A company has been developing a game for several years paying their employees off the sales of prior releases. But sales are starting to taper off and the employees still want to be paid for their work. At some point the company is going to have to release this game they've been working on in order to keep paying the same number of workers at the same wages. Hopefully they've done enough QA on the game that it isn't that buggy when it comes out. But it probably won't have every quest be fresh and innovative.

Now I'm not saying we should be happy when developers pull something like some of the more recent video game debacles such as Sim City or Total War: Rome 2 where the game obviously needed more bug testing. Those are instances where we as players and consumers have a right to be upset. But if a game is released that does what has been done before we shouldn't be as quick to attack the developers. Remember that companies try to minimize risks and if something was popular they often see that as an indication of a formula to follow. Gamers buying early access to a game or getting in on pre-release sales or getting sucked into the Steam sale frenzy or not using reviews (such as Total Biscuit's WTF is... series) and let's plays and demos to get a sense for the game have also helped create an environment where a game can sell more than it would have if people had realized what it was, which gives publishers and developers a skewed idea of what people are willing to buy.

It is easy to follow tropes and to do what has been done before. It takes more effort to play with tropes or riff off them to create a new blend. It takes even more effort to come up with something completely original. And it takes more effort than can be given to create something that pleases everyone, which is why it is important to know who the primary audience is. There's only so much time, so much effort, and so much budget that can be allocated to various aspects of a game.
Tuesday, January 6, 2015 2:13pm
May God bless you and may a star shine down upon your path.
Direlda lives here: www.direlda.net
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