229: Symphony of Play

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Ollie Barder:
I'd like to write about this in more detail one day obviously, if only to dispel the nonsensical myth on what designers do on a daily basis (personally, I think the title "designer" is a massive misnomer anyway!).

Do you mean how a lot more creative work goes into implementation of gameplay than the initial design or that game designers spend all of their time in meetings about filling in forms properly?

Epifols:
There is a reason being cinematic is good, and the article fails to realize this, GAMES ARE VISUAL! So why therefore, is it wrong to have emphasis on them flowing visually? The article rants on, but does not make that many concrete arguments in it.

Disco lights and paintings are also visual so I'm not sure how cinema has any special claim over games just because video games use visual displays. In fact, for me, comparing games to disco lights broadly is probably more useful than comparing them to films in fine detail. Maybe the important thing is that humans are visual not that cinema and games are both visual.

well music has always made the game and music can bring emotions video can't I mean in a sad scene I often don't cry in movies or games but if there is sad enough music to accompany it, well... it can be tear jerking. I find music much more compelling than movies and the same goes for video games

Epifols:
I don't buy it. So games have cues as to how a player plays them (some games have terrible triggers: COD4) and not everyone can just play one. Great, so what?

There is a reason being cinematic is good, and the article fails to realize this, GAMES ARE VISUAL! So why therefore, is it wrong to have emphasis on them flowing visually? The article rants on, but does not make that many concrete arguments in it.

And also, why must we even have these categorization? A game can be cinematic, fully interactive, and whatever it is the article wants them to be. If you guys haven't noticed, games incorporate more than one artistic aspect to them. There is interaction, visual art, sound, music and an array of writing in them. We can have all of these at once.

Well if you try to emulate cinema then you have the pacing set and you can't take into account people being stuck on a certain part and breaking the flow of the story and therefore losing people interested in the plot.

Acidwell:

Epifols:
I don't buy it. So games have cues as to how a player plays them (some games have terrible triggers: COD4) and not everyone can just play one. Great, so what?

There is a reason being cinematic is good, and the article fails to realize this, GAMES ARE VISUAL! So why therefore, is it wrong to have emphasis on them flowing visually? The article rants on, but does not make that many concrete arguments in it.

And also, why must we even have these categorization? A game can be cinematic, fully interactive, and whatever it is the article wants them to be. If you guys haven't noticed, games incorporate more than one artistic aspect to them. There is interaction, visual art, sound, music and an array of writing in them. We can have all of these at once.

Well if you try to emulate cinema then you have the pacing set and you can't take into account people being stuck on a certain part and breaking the flow of the story and therefore losing people interested in the plot.

Only if the devs forget that they are making a game and not a movie. Ultimately I think most of the things that people complain are flaws with games are just implementation, and not intrinsically there.

More Fun To Compute:

copycatalyst:
For many games, gameplay is quite divorced from any narrative meaning. Of course, there are notable exceptions, and these tend to prove the rule (HL2, Bioshock, Ico, Shadow of the Colossus).

I would disagree with that. You could say that gameplay always has narrative meaning but sometimes it is haphazard, not considered properly or actually works against the story the game is trying to tell. Bioshock is often named as an offender here. I would say that HL2 is fairly neutral with good and bad parts while only the Ueda games you mentioned are properly in tune (too keep up the music analogy.)

I guess what I was getting at is that gameplay is -almost necessarily- repetitive (from a narrative perspective). In a first person shooter you blast away guy after guy, and this isn't (usually) that important to the story, but it's what makes the game fun. Even smacking the shadow monsters in Ico happens enough to be repetitive from a narrative stance, and the puzzles can be taken the same way. That's the kind of gameplay I was referring to. Don't get me wrong; I don't find these games particularly repetitive, just from a narrative stance.

Oh, and what do you mean Bioshock is named as an offender. Named by whom? I don't think killing splicers is out of character for a guy who finds himself forced with limited options and, shall we say, something unknown compelling him forward.

It wouldn't be a problem if they just let the game be a game, instead of trying to marry it to a "cinematic" story-telling device.

I think that works. If a piece of music sounds good then it is good and if a game plays well then it is a good game. You can put a layer of meaning on top of that though, like if you play a sad tune then sing a comedy song on top of it then the tune becomes oddly comic. Games do that a lot in my opinion but in an unthinking way by using market proven gameplay then just building whatever sort of cinematic story they want on top of it.

Well, I agree with the point of adding comedy, but sometimes this may not have been the intention. My favourite cutscene in Devil May Cry 3 (which I like for the gameplay, but shrug at the "story") features Dante running vertically down the side of a tower, slicing up flying enemies in the most stylish badass way possible, leaping off dramatically and then... getting swallowed by a previously unseen giant flying whale.

Also: 'good' plus 'extra layer of meaning' does not always equal 'better.'

I think cutscenes that remove control from the player have their place, but for immersion, they don't really help.

The more I think about it, the more this cutscenes are bad because they remove control from the player idea sounds like a fallacy. To go back to the music analogy, is music bad when one of the performers stops playing an instrument for a moment and takes in what a soloist is doing? I don't think that removing cutscenes is a bad idea but think that they should not be allowed and enjoyed if they improve a game.

Your analogy is more akin to a co-op game with a section that one man goes solo while the other watches. If you must match the music analogy, a game with cutscenes is like a man playing a player-piano who sits back every now and then to let the piano do its own thing.

And by no means do I think all cutscenes are bad. It depends on the type of game. I just think for immersion, taking the control/camera away is like nudging at the fourth wall. Games like HL2, Bioshock, and COD make use of in-game scripting and cues to the player to draw the eye so he won't miss it. So you get the coolness of an impressive visual event without the immersion breaking forced shift in perspective.

copycatalyst:
Oh, and what do you mean Bioshock is named as an offender. Named by whom?

Clint Hocking wrote a long piece on it.

Also: 'good' plus 'extra layer of meaning' does not always equal 'better.'

That's sort of what I mean. Infinity Ward couldn't say that they want to make a game about saving the whales then say that they should make a military FPS about saving the whales because it's story they are telling that is the important thing and the FPS angle is just levering their fanbase and skills. It seems like some people do think like this, up to a point.

Your analogy is more akin to a co-op game with a section that one man goes solo while the other watches. If you must match the music analogy, a game with cutscenes is like a man playing a player-piano who sits back every now and then to let the piano do its own thing.

I suppose that some people do perform with drum machines and samples but we are probably pushing this music thing past breaking point now.

Epifols:

Acidwell:

Epifols:
I don't buy it. So games have cues as to how a player plays them (some games have terrible triggers: COD4) and not everyone can just play one. Great, so what?

There is a reason being cinematic is good, and the article fails to realize this, GAMES ARE VISUAL! So why therefore, is it wrong to have emphasis on them flowing visually? The article rants on, but does not make that many concrete arguments in it.

And also, why must we even have these categorization? A game can be cinematic, fully interactive, and whatever it is the article wants them to be. If you guys haven't noticed, games incorporate more than one artistic aspect to them. There is interaction, visual art, sound, music and an array of writing in them. We can have all of these at once.

Well if you try to emulate cinema then you have the pacing set and you can't take into account people being stuck on a certain part and breaking the flow of the story and therefore losing people interested in the plot.

Only if the devs forget that they are making a game and not a movie. Ultimately I think most of the things that people complain are flaws with games are just implementation, and not intrinsically there.

Thats true but its the implementation that need to be improved so that the entire package can work together rather than having to pick between story,flow and game-play

Perfect example to go along with this: Coheed and Cambria.

Amory Wars sucks as a standard story (in my opinion), but when it's told as music, it's one of the greatest tales ever told.

For those that misinterpreted parts of the article; reading musical notation is a purely visual exercise. Whilst the musical feedback is subsequently aural, the way it is parsed is remarkably similar to how games are played. That was the point really.

The argument made also stipulated that games should indeed find their own narrative voice but in order to do that the medium needs to acknowledge its functional roots. Musical performance was merely an analogy used to make that point.

More Fun To Compute:

Do you mean how a lot more creative work goes into implementation of gameplay than the initial design or that game designers spend all of their time in meetings about filling in forms properly?

Neither really, which is the point I suppose as a designer's job is not what most people assume it to be.

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