Interactive Storytelling

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A1:

geldonyetich:
Okay, he just said it was "not non-linear," like, a million times. Happy now, A1? ;) If not, I wish I could afford to fund a trip so you could visit the Mana Bar and ask him to write "linear" on a piece of paper. Then draw a line under it to clarify he understands the concept of linearity.

Yahtzee:
Anyway, the build currently consists of a small asteroid cluster littered with the debris of a crashed ship, with five salvage crates scattered around that make a little thing pop up on the GUI when you collect them. The first problem I've run into is that it's as boring as shit. This tends to be the way things go with game design; you can have all the theory in the world but the moment you put anything into practice it sprouts issues like a Chia pet.

A-freaking-men. I must have created over a dozen little projects over the last couple years that I abandoned for this reason. Right now, I'm thinking maybe it's best to go completely freeform, which refutes something I believed earlier: that it's best to have the entire game designed in advance.

I can only assume that you're talking to me with that first part of your post (thank you for lacking clarity on that).

Yeah, I was talking to you, and the clarity should have been self-evident by the context of the link to the post where we left off on this.

Unfortunately Yahtzee doesn't really provide any new answers. He really only repeated something he already said in his video review. But worst of all he only addressed one particular aspect of the game and not the game itself. He has still done nothing to reconcile his contrasting statements and formulate one overarching and all-encompassing conclusion. So I guess we're going to be stuck in mixed and ambiguous territory for the foreseeable future.

Curses. I need to win the lottery so I can have that in-person Yahtzee line drawing exercise I was talking about done.

Ah well. As I've surmised for awhile now, some matters cannot be resolved via talking them through, but rather by a fundamental change of the nature one or more involved parties. It seems to me that it's just too important for you right now to believe that Heavy Rain is a "great game" to try to understand how it is that Yahtzee has painstakingly explained it is not.

Why doesn't he add the "choice" of turning of the jet engines in FSG? So the space ship could pretend to be an asteroid?

How does one give the player a sense of freedom while at the same time telling them where they need to go to advance the story?

I think the clock tower series used the whole "The killer can be different people depending on how you play the game" angle.

Honestly I get the feeling that's what they started with originally for Heavy Rain, but somewhere along the line it got cut for time. I mean the first 3/4 of the game are basically spent setting up EVERYONE as a viable suspect, even the big reveal was animated in such a way that it seems like they could easily use the same scene and swap the names out where appropriate. It could be that somewhere along the way they just went "fuck, now I've got to write like 8 different endings to get each killer, and then every possible permutation of those endings depending on who lived and who died..." and decided to just stick with making it the same guy every time.

As for the space game, why not have the game spawn more enemies closer to you if you get away from the first one? Maybe every time you evade a group of enemies, the next group to spawn has even more, thus having the game become gradually more challenging as you accomplish the objective (Assuming the objective is meant to be "Get away from the bad guy". It could be something entirely different in which case this might not work).

DuLt:
Why doesn't he add the "choice" of turning of the jet engines in FSG? So the space ship could pretend to be an asteroid?

Because adding easy "I win" buttons does not make for entertaining games.

Although I guess it depends if avoiding detection is 100% the goal or not.

Welcome to the forums, by the way. Not to be too alienating - your question was a bit more interesting than most of the stuff I see bouncing around here.

There's a whole lot of stuff that can easily destroy a ship and most of it is invisible. Maybe the area is surrounded by a "shell" of anti-matter and you can't leave until the big ship has mined it all for its weapons research or all your atoms will be neutralized and turned into nothingness. The anti-matter was probably be drawn to the gravitational pull of the asteroid cluster, hence why is wasn't there before you flew into the area, you could even have the skipper saying something along the lines of "if it's not bad enough that I'm surrounded by anti-matter, I'm also cornered by the second-biggest ship I've ever seen. I better hide."

Well, there's my useless suggestion quota filled for the day, now I'm off to sell doors, door-to-door.

jVictor:
For FSG:TG you could set up the scenario as not wanting to be "identified" by said big bad ship. If they shot at you (and they likely would, seeing as they are characterized as technological fanatics) you could evade, and likely even counterattack with varying degrees of effectiveness. But you're on a salvage mission and your goal is likely profit. If this ship managed to make it back to the intergalactic trade commission (or whatever) with your ship information, then most of the goods you recovered could be tagged as contraband and ruin any prospective trade opportunities if not mark you outright as a criminal. Normally these fanatics would just blast you out of space for touching their tech, but since your ship is likely capable of outrunning theirs I'm sure they would find other ways to screw you out of your payday, and what better way than to complain to some government bureaucrats?

I swear this sounds familiar, wasn't it in the opening sequence on an episode of Firefly?

Even though I'm not a game designer in any way, I have the unquenchable urge to give you advice. For the problem in your game in which the player may just run away like a little shit from the enemy ship. You could have it that the enemy ship will detect you if you move too much, thus giving a reason that a player can't high-tail it out of there.

when talking about a game being fundamentally flawed yahtzee, it's funny that you seem to be finding fundamental concept flaws in your own game.. a little sad maybe, but funny in that sort of high cognitive function way that appreciates irony

good luck with tackling that beast, seems you started a project just because of a control scheme, and unless your games called bionic commando, don't think that was a very bright idea, but maybe you'll salvage it once you can spend time with it.

Journeythroughhell:

SilverKyo:

Journeythroughhell:
I still disagree with your "the killer never changes complaint". A murder mystery where the killer is always different can never have the wonderful things such as "foreshadowing" and "subtle nods". Yes, you might not see a point to replaying it (I did see one, though) because it's practically always the same but changing the killer would mean screwing up the story.'

Actually, they could have, and it wouldn't have been particularly hard to do either, just more work.

With the concept and the idea they've had, it would've been haaard.
The whole point of a detective story is that you're trying to figure out the killer.
If the killer is random, that won't work.
If the killer changes depending on your actions, that would totally fuck up the whole HR universe. IRL, the person responsible for JFK's assassination won't change no matter what I do.

The choices you make lead to different areas with different pieces of evidence and different leads that point to different people. They could have programmed different killers who did things for different reasons, and because they spent most of the game trying to point fingers at everyone, it wouldn't be hard to justify that anyone did it.

geldonyetich:

A1:

geldonyetich:
Okay, he just said it was "not non-linear," like, a million times. Happy now, A1? ;) If not, I wish I could afford to fund a trip so you could visit the Mana Bar and ask him to write "linear" on a piece of paper. Then draw a line under it to clarify he understands the concept of linearity.

Yahtzee:
Anyway, the build currently consists of a small asteroid cluster littered with the debris of a crashed ship, with five salvage crates scattered around that make a little thing pop up on the GUI when you collect them. The first problem I've run into is that it's as boring as shit. This tends to be the way things go with game design; you can have all the theory in the world but the moment you put anything into practice it sprouts issues like a Chia pet.

A-freaking-men. I must have created over a dozen little projects over the last couple years that I abandoned for this reason. Right now, I'm thinking maybe it's best to go completely freeform, which refutes something I believed earlier: that it's best to have the entire game designed in advance.

I can only assume that you're talking to me with that first part of your post (thank you for lacking clarity on that).

Yeah, I was talking to you, and the clarity should have been self-evident by the context of the link to the post where we left off on this.

Unfortunately Yahtzee doesn't really provide any new answers. He really only repeated something he already said in his video review. But worst of all he only addressed one particular aspect of the game and not the game itself. He has still done nothing to reconcile his contrasting statements and formulate one overarching and all-encompassing conclusion. So I guess we're going to be stuck in mixed and ambiguous territory for the foreseeable future.

Curses. I need to win the lottery so I can have that in-person Yahtzee line drawing exercise I was talking about done.

Ah well. As I've surmised for awhile now, some matters cannot be resolved via talking them through, but rather by a fundamental change of the nature one or more involved parties. It seems to me that it's just too important for you right now to believe that Heavy Rain is a "great game" to try to understand how it is that Yahtzee has painstakingly explained it is not.

Unbelievable. "To try to understand how it is" you say? That's exactly the problem. No one should have to try to understand how someone's opinion is after they've supposedly given it. Yahtzee has not made his opinion particularly clear, if at all. All we have are a bunch of varied and contrasting implications. To make matters worse Yahtzee has also had a tendency to be somewhat unpredictable with regard to his opinions.

For example he gave a thoroughly negative review of Uncharted 2 yet he still included it on his list of the best games of 2009.

And on the other hand he was much more lenient and easygoing with Dragon Age: Origins yet he did not include Dragon Age: Origins on that same list. On top of that he also strongly implied that anything not included on the list was bad.

My issue with his opinion on Heavy Rain is pretty much the same issue I have with his opinion on Bayonetta. He may give us a rough idea of what his opinion is, but at the end of the day we've got no conclusive proof one way or the other.

Trying to understand how it is? That sounds an awful lot like interpretation. And as far as the idea of proof is concerned interpretation is by it's very nature a dead end.

For the space game, you could say either that if the enemy sees you they will use a tractor beam on you, or that the asteriods are very explosive, similar to the asteriods on peragus 2 at the beginning of KOTOR 2, and that if they see you, they'll fire on the asteriods, causing them to explode and destroy your ship.

A1:
Trying to understand how it is? That sounds an awful lot like interpretation. And as far as the idea of proof is concerned interpretation is by it's very nature a dead end.

You're an interesting fellow to first demand Yahtzee better explain himself and then to follow that up with the point that that a person's interpretation would make such an endeavor pointless.

Personally, I thought Yahtzee couldn't have been clearer in that last review when he flat out said, "as a game, Heavy Rain is a pile of poo poo pancakes." You questioned my saying that he was saying the game was overly linear, Extra Punctuation clarifies he says this is "not non-linear" several times.

As my university department lead professor is fond of saying, there's a difference between understanding that something can be interpreted in many ways and believing that every answer is right. I think you're well over the line on this one, to draw the conclusions I have are unusually well within reason in the particular case of his Heavy Rain review and follow up textual supplement.

I don't agree with the whole "killer changes depending on actions" angle. I'd play a detective story to find out who the killer was. Knowing that there was no truth to be found except for my actions would kind of spoil it for me. It lends itself to a certain linearity, but that's allright with me because the whole point of the genre is to work towards the reveal.

As for the limited replayability this offers, if a randomized killer is too much work it doesn't matter too much for me if the game is best the first time. In fact, I hate it when a game assumes that I play it several times to get value for my money.

Zombie Nixon:
Doesn't shattered memories have PS2 and PSP versions?

Yes it does. I played any beat it on PSP. It a lot like the Wii version.

geldonyetich:

A1:
Trying to understand how it is? That sounds an awful lot like interpretation. And as far as the idea of proof is concerned interpretation is by it's very nature a dead end.

You're an interesting fellow to first demand Yahtzee better explain himself and then to follow that up with the point that that a person's interpretation would make such an endeavor pointless.

Personally, I thought Yahtzee couldn't have been clearer in that last review when he flat out said, "as a game, Heavy Rain is a pile of poo poo pancakes." You questioned my saying that he was saying the game was overly linear, Extra Punctuation clarifies he says this is "not non-linear" several times.

As my university department lead professor is fond of saying, there's a difference between understanding that something can be interpreted in many ways and believing that every answer is right. I think you're well over the line on this one, to draw the conclusions I have are unusually well within reason in the particular case of his Heavy Rain review and follow up textual supplement.

Okay, now you seem to be interpreting, or perhaps twisting, my words in a certain way. Yes, I would like Yahtzee to better explain himself. But I never said anything about interpretation making that pointless. My point is that if you want something definitive, then interpretation is not the way to go. In this case and in the case of Bayonetta, I would like something definitive. Something that doesn't leave any room for any reasonable doubt.

And I didn't question you saying that the game was overly linear. I merely stated that you were saying something, namely using the word "linear", that Yahtzee didn't. But now indeed the word linear appears to be officially in play. And that's fine.

However this does nothing to resolve the overall issue of Yahtzee's non-existent final conclusion. How exactly does a pile of poo-poo pancakes get better later? And how exactly does a pile of poo-poo pancakes have some genuinely good bits? These are questions that you can certainly think up some perfectly reasonable and logical answers to. But only Yahtzee can truly answer these questions because this is Yahtzee's opinion we're talking about. Which brings me to my next point.

I never said that your conclusions weren't within reason. But you see that's totally irrelevant. The words that leap out at me this time are "personally, I thought". Sorry, but this is not about you. This is not about what you think.

This is about what Yahtzee thinks, and not what you think Yahtzee thinks. And it would seem that until Yahtzee draws a definitive and unyielding final conclusion about the game as a whole this issue is going to remain unresolved.

For your little boss problem.
How about the boss creating a large energy field arround you so you cant fly out.
Or he has a "tractor beam"-like mechanic so you cant fly too far away

Dear Yatzee, I have an idea for the fun fun space game,

How about whenever enemy ships detect the presence of you in the game, they set up a large force field that encompasses the player and surrounding given area. Therefore, you can't just fly away because running into the forcefield will greet you with a gameover screen.

From there you could set up any kind of mission you wanted in the forcefield (Keep in mind, the force field area could be big enough to enclose a galaxy.) In some missions, you could have the player use stealth to reach the force field generator and shut it off, so that you are free to go to light speed and escape. In other missions, you could have a "destroy all enemies" mission where the force field can't be deactivated until all ships are destroyed.

So, it would be possible to have a main base where you can go to get various upgrades for your ship that would be in an RPG style. Some upgrades are good for stealth missions, others for fighting missions. Maybe the ship could even turn into some kind of Gundam robot thing!

Ok, so these are the ideas I came up with while I was bored at work, I hope they help!
I also hope you read all the comments on your articles...

Dulkal:
I don't agree with the whole "killer changes depending on actions" angle. I'd play a detective story to find out who the killer was. Knowing that there was no truth to be found except for my actions would kind of spoil it for me. It lends itself to a certain linearity, but that's allright with me because the whole point of the genre is to work towards the reveal.

How about this for a detective game?
You have a open world and there a few crimes to solve. Then when you done you can see how devious you are by going online and comiting a crime and posting it online for others to solve. Players wouldn't run out of killers to catch.

Dulkal:
I don't agree with the whole "killer changes depending on actions" angle. I'd play a detective story to find out who the killer was. Knowing that there was no truth to be found except for my actions would kind of spoil it for me. It lends itself to a certain linearity, but that's allright with me because the whole point of the genre is to work towards the reveal.

I think what should have happened is that, not only did the killer changed based on your actions, but that the clues revealed during the story also changed depending on your actions.

And for the space game, why not just let the player fly away from the big enemy? If he has a reason to salvage the stuff while avoiding the enemy, he will; if he doesn't want to salvage, then he'll just fly away.

Journeythroughhell:
I still disagree with your "the killer never changes complaint". A murder mystery where the killer is always different can never have the wonderful things such as "foreshadowing" and "subtle nods". Yes, you might not see a point to replaying it (I did see one, though) because it's practically always the same but changing the killer would mean screwing up the story.'

Hubilub:
Shame, I was hoping he would address Michael Atkinson in this issue.

Oh well, maybe he'll comment on it later

He apathetically adressed that one in Twitter.

I disagree, you can have foreshadowing and all that, it'd just take a shit load more time and money.

Somethings strange...half, if not more, of the people replying to your article seem to be more interested in Fun Space Game: The Game. And I'm one of them (no offense).

I actually have a couple questions/suggestions. Although you probably aren't taking design ideas from the hundreds of yokels on this board(myself included).

Question 1) If you have to move at a constant speed, then how exactly can you use debris and such as cover?
Suggestion: Make it so that you can attach yourself to an asteroid or ship, but you HAVE to make it a challenge to do so. Maybe you can make it so that you have to match the direction of rotation and get your speed just right in order to attach to the asteroid. And if you fail, then you can take damage and possibly alert your enemies to you.

Suggestion 2) When it comes to boundaries, going out and exploring absolutely nothing can end up in some real disasters, especially if the player has no way of knowing how to get back. There's a lot of things you can do to fix this issue.
1) Have enemy pirate ships come out from no where and destroy you when you get to far
2) Have a waypoint so that you know which direction to travel to get back
3) Not sure if your toolkit will be capable of this, but dynamically allocate entirely new areas almost by random(but still implement the waypoint back). I would be willing to bet that would be the best solution as it allows you to just go explore if you ever get board, or just need a small break from the current mission.

Ok, about your space game. Why are you trying to force players to play a certain way. Option 1 would be to hide in the garbage filled asteroid field and wait for the enemy capital ship to leave. Option 2 is to haul ass away into the void so you stay out of their sensor scanners, and wait for the capital ship to leave far away. Then fly all the way back to finish your mission. Problem solved. Just make sure that the play will understand that both options are viable. And that option 3, fighting back, is a stupid choice.

I agree with SuccessAndBiscuts!!! Whats wrong with Glasgow?? Glasgow is a bloody good city too end up in!!!

There you go then. Yahtzee says Heavy Rain is not interactive storytelling.

I'm inclined to agree, without even having played the game.

Solution the scary ship has a tractor beam which will beam you back if you make a break for it... after it has you it kills you... or you use an expensive anti tractor beam (a 1 use device you find in the boxes) to escape and hid. this rewards the player who doesn't run.....

A1:
This is about what Yahtzee thinks, and not what you think Yahtzee thinks. And it would seem that until Yahtzee draws a definitive and unyielding final conclusion about the game as a whole this issue is going to remain unresolved.

Well, I thought it was pretty clear what he thought, but I guess that it doesn't matter. I'm not going to hold what he thinks as being at all important to my world view. Why should I? Frankly, I've been gaming at least as long as he has. That's probably why I can understand what he's saying without ambiguity while you're still uncertain.

Well I haven't played Heavy Rain because I played Indigo Prophecy and after a rousing 8 hours of finger DDR and accidental suicides (how was I supposed to know those where the kind of pills you don't mix with alcohol?) I've had enough of the interactive story games for a life time

and yahtzee just make up a bunch of eally long scientific sounding words to explain everything that isn't directly related to something

You could say that cosmic radiation had concentrated in the area and that if you wandered too far away... radioactive death! And I suppose you say something about a magnetic field emitting from the asteroids is protecting you. Also, this could be a reason to be getting the crates (beside the normal scavenger things), protection to leave the system. Just a thought.

"But if there's a big enemy around, what, exactly, is keeping the player from just fleeing to a safe distance?"

You could always make it a ship that is some part of the organization, and it will identify the player if they try to run rather than hide, which will mean any other ship that is part of that organization will try to attack/capture/etc since they've already been notified about who the player is and that they should be dealt with.

[quote="Journeythroughhell" post="6.182596.5438107"]I still disagree with your "the killer never changes complaint". A murder mystery where the killer is always different can never have the wonderful things such as "foreshadowing" and "subtle nods". Yes, you might not see a point to replaying it (I did see one, though) because it's practically always the same but changing the killer would mean screwing up the story.'

haven't you ever watched any mystery shows/movies? seriously it's pretty much impossible to tell who the vilain is until the last few clues. sure, they usually bring up something from near the start but they could do this with any suspect. also, "foreshadowing" and "subtle nods" usually happen to the innocent suspects just as much as the actual villian.

i can't remember what it's called but there was some live mystery show on ages ago where who the villian is changes everytime you watched it.

'cause that would make dodging asteroids too easy and therefore make the game boring, exactly as he said.

i suppose you could have a complete shutdown mode where you can't do anything, as long as it took ages to start up again or some other penalty.

Edit: sorry, screwed up my quoting, twice. i've got it right now

Er, never mind, stuff was here but I was wrong so I erased it.

k-ossuburb:
There's a whole lot of stuff that can easily destroy a ship and most of it is invisible. Maybe the area is surrounded by a "shell" of anti-matter and you can't leave until the big ship has mined it all for its weapons research or all your atoms will be neutralized and turned into nothingness. The anti-matter was probably be drawn to the gravitational pull of the asteroid cluster, hence why is wasn't there before you flew into the area, you could even have the skipper saying something along the lines of "if it's not bad enough that I'm surrounded by anti-matter, I'm also cornered by the second-biggest ship I've ever seen. I better hide."

perhaps have it that when the ship comes in to salvage it puts up some kinda sheild around the area for protection against pirates or whatever. then when the ship finishes salvaging it leaves a bomb behind to destroy anything thats useless to them but they don't want their enemies to find. as it leaves it doesn't take down the sheild because it needs it to contain the explosion. instead it makes a hole in it, to get out you have to sneak close behind the big ship (perhaps attach yourself to it?) to get through the hole before it closes or you blow up. when you get out you're free to check out everything blowing up as you float safely outside the sheild.

this could be used as a tutorial for sneaking or something.

I'm afraid Yahtzee has misconstrued the intent of Heavy Rain's developers. Replay value was not in fact any kind of priority for them. David Cage (the writer/director) even explicitly said in an interview that his best-case-scenario of a player's reaction would be for the player to play the game through and then set it down, because that would be his own personal story, unique to him. Even though I am replaying it extensively, I'm very pleased with that design philosophy, because it means the developers didn't skimp on any of the endings or story branches - a disturbing trend in many recent western RPGs.

With regard to the killer always being the same, I believe that there's a very important line of dialogue that sets the stage for the whole game in the first chapter. Ethan explains to his son, "Sometimes, things just have to happen - even when you don't want them too." It obviously foreshadows the premise of the mystery, but more subtly initiates the player into the dynamics of the game's concept of control. There is much control over the game's story by way of determining what choices the characters make, but the four protagonists are the ONLY thing under your control. The outside world continues as it would have, reacting to your choices only when you directly affect it. The killer's identity is just one more thing that "has to happen - even if you don't want it to" because it is outside of your characters' power to change it.

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