Extra Punctuation: Not All Sequels Suck

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That's what I've been Saying (rambling) for a LONG time now! Personally, I want Valve to release a retail version of Source that lets us Noobs make 3D FP games without any (or very little) technical knowledge.

The one reason I'd argue against the toolset idea is that the only way for it to be simple is for the writer to not get quite as involved in the game's subtleties of its mechanics, which are usually meant to be the star piece of the set. Braid had time travel as Tim's "alternate way of viewing the world." Bioshock had you using plasmids as a demonstration of what kind of shit caused the city to collapse.

The best contribution a writer will make to a AAA game is deciding how the mechanics work, not even necessarily what the dialogue is like.

Raiyan 1.0:

The_root_of_all_evil:
Alien/Aliens

I would have to disagree with that. While I respect Cameroon's sequel for creating a number of popular tropes, it was largely underwhelming compared to Ridley Scott's tension-filled, well-paced narration. It's like comparing Amnesia to Dead Space.

When I was a kid it seemed everyone apart from me thought Aliens was better than Alien. I prefer Alien.

Superman 2 is better than Superman.

Nice article. If there was a game making tool that was as easy to pick up as say, Powerpoint, or even Buzz tracker (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buzz_Tracker), I'd definitely be making games...

Yahtzee Croshaw:
I definitely think it applies to traditional storytelling media like films and novels,

There are plenty of examples there too.
Terminator 2 > Terminator
The Colour of Magic is inferior to most of what came later.
Aliens is regarded as being as good or better than the original.
Star Trek went through an entire TV series and Star Trek: The Motion Picture before Wrath of Khan came out.
Army of Darkness is better than the original Evil Dead.
Lord of the Rings came from The Hobbit.

Something about this article that felt off to me was that you pointed out how Mario and Zelda almost never really change, while praising Symphony of the Night for being one of the few platformers that encourages exploration. But that's exactly what Super Mario 64 did, and it came out a year before SOTN. Speaking of, aside from its' token story of having to save the princess and having the same characters, almost everything about that Mario game was different from the ones before.

That's all for criticism, I for the most part agree with what you had to say and am pretty much on the same page when it comes to my attitude about sequels. Even when that sequel happens to be good, there's just something that makes me want to hate them. Whether it's because it isn't very creative, makes me think the developers/publishers just want a cash cow, or maybe even because everyone is so willing to go along with them without questioning it, I'm not sure really.

That idea about the Holodeck? Yeah, it exists, it's called Neverwinter Nights Toolset. Start modelling. Oh wait, there's actual effort involved with moving a written idea into a visual, let alone interactive, format? Drawing and programming and testing and timing and math and other useless shit? Well, FUCK THAT! I don't have time to actually BE a Renaissance person to feel I deserve to OUTPUT like a Renaissance person. I demand more from my consumer level entertainment. A LOT more. Intel, you're seriously slicking up the loo floor, here. Get cracking.

I mean, seriously computer industry, where the fuck IS my real Holodeck? Not the force fields thing that would only be used for protein dispersal and backrubs. I'm talking about the guts part, the super-connections intuition part. You know, the one that knows how to do a simple fucking pallette/model/ruleset/metagame/ARG/DLC template system that reads my twisted gas huffing mind and feeds what I want right back into my tail-sucking gullet?! Why can't we have the computers do all the hard menial tasks and let us just spew great ideas and have them massage us into the deep slumber of an eternal night in space.

Oh shit. As usual, nature provides already. It's called HEROIN.

BreakfastMan:
... Make things more complicated and you loose a lot of the potential creators that are out there, simply because they cannot get into it. ...

If you're not willing to endure difficultly for your ideas then you probably don't deserve to be recognised for them though. It's a matter of evolution, those who aren't committed or ingenious enough to overcome the challenges of creating something new fall by the wayside and the standards gradually improve. I'd like to make it clear that I'm referring only the creative process itself, and not to publishing and reproduction where the evils of the profit margin tend to have the last say.

GrizzlerBorno:
That's what I've been Saying (rambling) for a LONG time now! Personally, I want Valve to release a retail version of Source that lets us Noobs make 3D FP games without any (or very little) technical knowledge.

It isn't Source, and it isn't exactly amazing looking. Hell, the AI included in it is perhaps the worst you have ever seen. But if you want to get introduced to making FPS games, try googling for FPS Creator; it has an included set of textures and stuff, it's quite easy to get into. It's very basic but worth a try if you've got some time on you.

The_root_of_all_evil:

Games: GTA 3 vs GTA 1 or 2? Street Fighter 2 vs Streetfighter? Dungeon Keeper 1/2?

It's a good rule of thumb, but it's not set in stone.

And just to annoy Yahtzee, Buffy (TV Series) beats Buffy (Movie).

I actually enjoyed the first two GTAs more than GTA3, but then again I'm a 2D freak.
But yeah, Buffy the series is much, much better than the movie.

believer258:

GrizzlerBorno:
That's what I've been Saying (rambling) for a LONG time now! Personally, I want Valve to release a retail version of Source that lets us Noobs make 3D FP games without any (or very little) technical knowledge.

It isn't Source, and it isn't exactly amazing looking. Hell, the AI included in it is perhaps the worst you have ever seen. But if you want to get introduced to making FPS games, try googling for FPS Creator; it has an included set of textures and stuff, it's quite easy to get into. It's very basic but worth a try if you've got some time on you.

Never seen that before. Will definitely look up when I can, Thanks!

Hello, I'd like to introduce you to someone:
image
This is (sometimes) CHARNAME, the protagonist from the two Baldur's Gate Games on PC. He is quite cross because you didn't mention him, what with BG2 being a good sequel in every way: more gameplay, in many ways more fun; a better villain; more character development for more characters with more relationships... Everything the first BG did, the second dis better, along with it's own touches and additions.

I find it weird that you apologized for making a hasty statement, and then go on to make the exact same statement about another medium, not only that but you went to say game stories only improve because of the technology and that's not true either, nice way to undo your apology. As for the Inform 7 it's a good idea that well allow for more games, which is good but I don't think many would be good, even if several novelists used it. Game writing has a few extra aspects to it like giving the character consequence for failing, limited control on pacing, and presenting puzzles in a way that any one can find the solution(I think this is where most writers well fail). I do think would be a good teaching tool for game development students though.

Maybe I'm just biased here but that game dev platform sounds a lot like UDK if it was a little more user friendly. I mean everything in UDK can pretty much be done by working with pictograms represent complex codes and links. Programming with kismet, material creation, linking animations, designing levels, queuing sounds, pretty much everything is accomplished through graphics and flow charts. Its not as user friendly as it could be meaning that some time needs to go into cracking what goes where but its still the most user friendly thing you can do with a non-programmer base. Maybe that's just me.

I dont dislike Meteroidvanias but I think that Castlevania 1, 3 and 4 are much better. But thats just my opinion, probably because I prefer simple games with harder difficulty.

And you know what, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is definitely better than its predecessors. The Castlevania series existed for the longest time in that Mario/Zelda position of churning out essentially the same game with somewhat improved graphics every time someone figured out how to crowbar more pixels onto a cartridge, but Symphony of the Night led the way by eschewing the traditional level-based structure in favour of open-ended exploration platforming. Although future instalments sort of missed the point by ripping off Symphony of the Night instead. To all those people who say that every Mario is the beta for the Mario that comes after it, I would point out Symphony of the Night and ask if it isn't better to spread out into new ideas than concentrate eternally on spinning the same straw into gold.

I'm sorry, this last bit at the end of this paragraph confuses me to hell and back. Didn't Yahtzee make at least two EP articles on how every Mario game ISN'T the same? (which is hypocritical since he continues to say every Zelda game is the same which is wrong) Now he's changing his mind all of a sudden? Also I wouldn't say that about the original pre-SotN Castlevanias. Castlevania IV had the whole omni-directional whip mechanic which made getting past a lot of normally tricky areas more manageable which baffles me as to why Konami hasn't made that a permanent mechanic in future installments. (Haven't played any recent Castlevania games lately so feel free to correct me if I'm wrong about that)

SOTN was happy to stay on the 2D pile with the previous generation and become their leper king, with ridiculous numbers of art assets and detailing. Better to rule in 16-bit than serve in 32, right?

Your elitism is showing again Croshaw. You realize that really depends on what the game/franchise is, right? Simply using the extra processing power to dress up a 2-D game doesn't always work. SotN isn't a classic simply because it's graphics still hold up today, I can tell you that right now. It was also gameplay and level design that did most of the work. Why do you think Konami keeps using the Metroidvania blueprint in future games so much in the first place?

Kopikatsu:

NightmareTaco:
Just because the story's good doesn't mean the game's good, of course. RPG Maker comes to mind.

Some RPG Maker games are pretty incredible.

Leo and Leah Incredibly thought provoking story. (Especially after chapter 4)

Sunset over Imdahl Shows just why time travel is never a good idea...

Ara Fell Widely hailed as the most beautiful RPG Maker game.

Exit Fate Basically Suikoden

Edit: FEH! I completely inverted the point of your post. I apologize for that. RPG Maker game with a good battle system...? Well, the one that comes to mind is...

A Home Far Away Youtube up some gameplay videos.

Indeed. One game made on it is my 2nd or 3rd in my top 10. Its called Broken Hearts, but you will probably never play it because its czech game but combat is best I have ever seen in JRPG, difficulty is rather brutal and it only add to the story when you finish it because it is so good/bad that it just broke for 2 days and I hated it year after I finished until I slowly realized that even story with very bad ending can be a good story.

Yahtzee:
But what if mainstream gaming took the Inform 7 approach? Create a deep, intuitive toolset designed for non-programmers that can let you create models, textures and game mechanics with dropdowns and a visual mouse-driven interface to as complex a level as the user desires, so that any lone developer, like ones who specialize more in aesthetics or story writing, can create a game that could then be sold in mainstream circles or over Steam to anyone who wants to look for it? .

Um... Little Big Planet 2, much? I know it's not perfect, but I've played Plants Vs. Zombies, Classic Zelda, Zombie Survival Games, and a Heavy Rain thing (one of the coolest levels ever published) all on my PS3 for $60. The Controllinator has gotten the game creation past the "always including Sackboy" thing and there are awesome, easy to use tools for making top down shooters, platformers, puzzle games, strategy games, and even a rudimentary FPS. Someone just programmed a 3d camera, for god's sake. Just check out "Hansel and Gretelbot" and tell me that it doesn't have amazing potential!
image
By the way, everyone play Fruit Fight: Cherrybombers! Does that count as self promotion?

The_root_of_all_evil:
Games: GTA 3 vs GTA 1 or 2? Street Fighter 2 vs Streetfighter? Dungeon Keeper 1/2?

In order: tech upgrade sequel, tech upgrade sequel, and haven't played them.

". And from an enlightened modern standpoint, absolutely nothing looks worse than PS1-generation polygon graphics, not even photos of dying children. "

That gave me a good laugh. I'm not so sure about the rest of the article though.

The_root_of_all_evil:
Films: Alien/Aliens, Godfather II, Dawn of the Dead, Goldfinger (though that may be cheating), Star Trek 2, Terminator 2, Empire Strikes Back (Dodgy ground but it's a contender), The Dark Knight, Mad Max 2, The Toy Story Trilogy, Lethal Weapon 2, Addams Family Values

Novels: Dexter in the Dark, Barchester Towers (The Warden), Huckleberry Finn (Tom Sawyer), War of the Worlds (The Crystal Egg), A lot of Lovecraft's "inspired by" works, Wild Cards.

Games: GTA 3 vs GTA 1 or 2? Street Fighter 2 vs Streetfighter? Dungeon Keeper 1/2?

It's a good rule of thumb, but it's not set in stone.

And just to annoy Yahtzee, Buffy (TV Series) beats Buffy (Movie).

Damn you, ninjaing me a good 3 hours before I read this article. Damn you and time machine uses!

They do have games that are made by writers using a simple programming language and an intuitive interface. It's called Table Top RPGs. No computer game ever has or will match the freedom, story telling, or sheer fun of a good session of D&D.

Sequels better than the original? Matt Hazard: Blood Bath and Beyond. Same protagonist, similar sense of humor, but they realized that the gameplay in the original was reeky and boring so the sequel played nothing like the first.

P.S. Thanks

BloodSquirrel:

BreakfastMan:

I actually think that is a bad thing. Let us look at books for example. Would it have really been good if writing books was so complicate that only a select few with years of training could write them?

Well, actually, it already is. Writing takes both talent and experience, and is much more involved than "have a good idea and then write 400 pages of your characters diong things". Very few people actually write on a level that is publishable. See: Fanfiction.

And yet, because there are so many people writing and reading compared to just two hundred years ago, literature has blossomed and expanded a hundredfold.

What you're talking about is Sturgeon's Law: 90% of everything is shit. Good law, although obviously the percentages don't have to be that precise. But the point is, when the number of people producing stuff expand, both the pool of awful stuff and the pool of 'good' stuff get wider and deeper. More than that, having a rarefied, hermetic elite (like the field of game development has been, although increasingly less so with the upsurge in indies) as the only producers of art doesn't tend to give us good art, it just tends to lead us to accept what they are producing, bad or good.

Besides, even awful stuff sometimes has value to those who created it. Is there a reason to deprive people of the ability to create something for themselves that they can value, simply because most others don't have a similar opinion?

I can't say that I've played the first two Baulder's Gate games but my favorite RPG is Baulder's Gate: Dark Alliance I'm not sure if it's any better than the original or the second one but that might be a moot point due to introducing new characters and such.

There are some programmes that allow people to creat games with little to no knoweledge of programming (such as the Blender Game engine and it's logic bricks) however most of these sytems are very limited and it can be very hard to create something decent.

BloodSquirrel:

BreakfastMan:

I actually think that is a bad thing. Let us look at books for example. Would it have really been good if writing books was so complicate that only a select few with years of training could write them?

Well, actually, it already is. Writing takes both talent and experience, and is much more involved than "have a good idea and then write 400 pages of your characters diong things". Very few people actually write on a level that is publishable. See: Fanfiction.

The point is that those people can actually create a story (or at least something that vaguely resembles one in many cases) with a relatively small amount of effort. No, they will probable not be published, but they can at least make something without years of technical know-how. Video games don't even have that.

cynicalsaint1:

BreakfastMan:

Yahtzee Croshaw:

But what if mainstream gaming took the Inform 7 approach? Create a deep, intuitive toolset designed for non-programmers that can let you create models, textures and game mechanics with dropdowns and a visual mouse-driven interface to as complex a level as the user desires, so that any lone developer, like ones who specialize more in aesthetics or story writing, can create a game that could then be sold in mainstream circles or over Steam to anyone who wants to look for it?

I actually think this is your strongest point in that entire article. I had been thinking about the same thing myself recently. All other forms of story-telling (books, movies, music) are all very easy to create. All you have to do is just pick up a pen and some paper/video camera/instrument and go at it. Video games are not at the point were they can do that (the closest thing is Game Maker, and even that needs a decent amount of technical expertise), and I think that is really hampering the medium. You hear that developers? Make a freeware program that makes creating games so stupidly simple my grandmother could do it! Get on it! >:(

I think the problem with this is that the more you simplify the language the less control you have over what you can create with it. Making a text adventure game is one thing, but when you start talking about more complicated games its a different story. While toolsets and specialized scripting languages can help remove complexity from programming and such, they tend to be rather focused in what you can do with them. So no matter how powerful your toolset you're always going to be limited by what its capable of, and generally speaking the simpler the toolset the less powerful it is.

So sure coming up with a simple intuitive language for creating text based games is one thing, but more complex games will always require more complex tools, and more complex tools will always require more technical knowledge.

Really I think the best route is to the kind of scenario being talked about here is through modding toolsets. You can take out a lot of the complexity due to the fact that most of the guts of the game are already put together.

I do agree, that is a problem. That is probably the only reason something like that does not exist at this point. But I can dream, can't I? :)

'Speaking as a novelist, writing a novel is easy. Well, actually it's probably a lot harder than most people realize, but it's a lot easier technically speaking than making a game. But what if mainstream gaming took the Inform 7 approach? Create a deep, intuitive toolset designed for non-programmers that can let you create models, textures and game mechanics with dropdowns and a visual mouse-driven interface to as complex a level as the user desires, so that any lone developer, like ones who specialize more in aesthetics or story writing, can create a game that could then be sold in mainstream circles or over Steam to anyone who wants to look for it? Would that not spark the same creative renaissance in gaming that inexpensive digital cameras created in the film industry?'

Oh, so now he's all behind the idea of creating a development toolset system that easliy enables those with little game design experience to craft their ideas. So much for only wanting games by 'professional game designers' (see LBP review) eh Yahtzee, you quixotic, hypocritical shit.

beema:
I really wish more of those early 3d-era games had taken the "leper king" approach.
The awful low-polygon count blobs that made up so many games then are a complete turnoff for me, both at the time they came out, but more especially now when I want to go back and experience some of the ones I never played.
I know people love the shit out of FF7, but for me the hopping marshmallows that were the characters on environment maps that were super detailed made the game feel absurd. I always imagine how cool it would have been if they had stuck with 2D sprites for just one more iteration, and just made them super-detailed.

Yeah, it's fun to play the "guess the pre-rendered background part" game. :p
(... where by "fun", I mean "an interesting distraction"...)

My personal pet peeve is actually the control scheme: It's really, really hard to tell, sometimes, where you can get to from where, and they really like making you go directions that don't correspond to the cardinal directions on the gamepad.

Well, I guess it's time to look up Inform 7 and experiment with some text adventures. I've written a short one before in Jython, but the complexity that even that required made me despair of ever being able to have the time for something more complicated.

Thanks muchly for the Inform 7 recommendation. I've been banging my head off a brick wall trying to learn programming for too long and doing a full time course isn't an option. This could be what I'm looking for : )

what about half-life 2?

I play Mario games for the story, well the RPG's anyway.

"Another one was Resident Evil 4, the head-and-shoulders standout best of an otherwise TERRIBLY OVERRATED SERIES, and which featured the same protagonist as Resident Evil 2."

What a shame, yahtzee has indeed jumped the shark.

I keep telling myself that as game development becomes more complicated and involved, the tools will have to get easier to use and it's only a matter of time before people with little knowledge of programming or rigging a skeleton can make a game. I think everyone (well at least most people on the escapist) would have had at least one idea for a game- it'd be cool if it were easier to make them without learning all the details of programming.

I think books are a good example- anyone could write a book if they applied themselves, so it's not really about who can afford to go and get the best education and then spend years working their way up the industry, it's about who has a good idea and has an understanding of the medium deep enough to make something worth reading.

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