Extra Punctuation: Not All Sequels Suck

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i don't know that this should be titled not all sequels suck. it's more like "this is stuff i would have said during absense of punctuation but didn't have time".

still good aritcle and an interesting read. I so want a holodeck.

Sylocat:
Just the other day, I was dreaming of a game dev tool exactly like the one Yahtzee suggests. Even GameMaker is too programming-intensive for most people.

Would be nice if we had something like LabVIEW for game programming. Anyone who's worked in science or engineering has probably used it at some point; it's a graphical programming language for data acquisition and signal processing applications, mostly. You can write programs by moving function blocks around and wiring terminals together, and it assembles and compiles your result into C code.

I remember an ancient game-maker program called Klik n' Play, which was developed by Maxis. It had kind of the same premise, graphical programming interface and all, but wasn't nearly powerful enough to be a viable for present-day developers. It was pretty much just a game-making sandbox strictly for dicking-around purposes as opposed to serious game development.

You're overlooking other very tangible benefits to sequels:
1: Developers learn from developing, and can release a game, then release a sequel that improves on that game using what they learned from making the first one, and any other games along the way.

2: Developers can space out a game they couldn't afford to make otherwise so that they can use the first game to get financial backing to finish their stories.

3: If game A is good, and a sequel to game A (Let's call it game AA) is more of game A, then game AA is more good stuff.

Abe's Oddysee and Exodus were both 2D titles which mastered 2D graphics on the PS1 instead of jumping into ugly 3D, and I think Exodus may have been better than Oddysee.

Not sure how they compare to SotN, but the three DS Castlevania games all seem to get a lot better in terms of how combat is done and sub-weapons upgraded.

Dawn of Sorrow: Sub Weapons are Souls. One is casted like a spell/ranged attack, another is an effect that is triggered and must be held and will continuously drain mana for an effect and the last is a passive benefit.

Souls are aquired from killing a creature. Sometimes it's soul will fly about the room and your character absorbs it. Now do that, for the most part, 8 more times to get the maximum power of that soul, whatever it's effect is. Combined with the fact that some souls are RIDICULOUSLY low drop chances, combined with mana being slow to regenerate, the game lacks a decent kind of flow for it's sub-weapon system.

Portrait of Ruin: System is tweaked, you control two characters. One being a Jonathan with various additional weapons or attacks as his sub-weapon, the other being Charlotte whose sub-weapons are her spells. These are aquired in more varied ways than the previous game, you can find certain ones in levels, buy certain ones in shops, as reward for quests.

Charlotte's spells are static and only scale in damage with your stats, but Jonathan's weapons must be mastered. Hitting an enemy with a sub-weapon and killing it will improve the mastery by 1. As you raise the mastery, the weapon does more damage and will grow in size and effect. It's a far better system than the chaotic randomness of Dawn of Sorrow, and certain sub-weapons for Jonathan are low on the mana side, which helps as mana is still an arse mechanic in the game as it still regenerates too slow.

Order of Ecclesia: Previous system of main attack and sub-weapons that use mana combined. The game now has two attack buttons and whatever abilty you've aquired can be mapped to it. Duel-wielding swords? Go for it. Sword and a Fireball? Sure! As long as you have the mana, you can attack away. Mana also restores itself incredibly quickly when you've not attacked for a second or two, allowing for strategic use of dodging and attacking.

The game calls it's system "Glyphs", glyphs are found in a similar way to the previous games, dropped from monsters at a rare rate, aquired from quests or progressing to story, just around in the world (Sometimes the glyph is making a hazard in a room that you must navigate to find the glyph and absorb it). Mastery is back, but is not limited to each glyph, but instead the element or effect the glyph has, be that Fire or Blunt (For hammers). This can lead to you developing one or two types of attack far above the others and having trouble when said attacks do next to no damage to a particular foe (Such as Holy damage to an Angel).

Overall, the combat system over these three games just evolves in a really great way, each time the developers think about ways to tweak and improve the way the player fights. With the slightly confusing dual-character gameplay of Portrait of Ruin (Having that second character out was more of a hiderance than help), they succeed in this aspect. And considering Order of Ecclesia could be hard as hell, it needed to improve the system too.

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?

Although I am a programmer and enjoy coding, I would kill (something non-human) for this.

I used RPGMaker XP for a good while and although it's not THAT intuitive, it's not too complex, and once you understand how all the tools work, you can make some REALLY awesome stuff with just the pre-installed tools.

If I could have that, but for 3D graphics, and multiple styles of games...*drools* Yeah, that would kick serious ass.

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?

Sorry but reading this to me felt like reading a plea for a pen that would allow someone to draw a beautifully illustrated comic without knowing how to draw. That goes triply for BreakfastMan up there. Have you ever tried to make music? I don't mean a roughly recorded jam, I mean a properly mixed song. Have you ever tried to make a movie, even a short film? Mind, again, I don't mean an extremely amateur youtube video.

The_root_of_all_evil:

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

The Buffy scenario isn't really a sequel. It's a reboot, which I think is more in line with what Yahtzee is saying is a better idea.

rankfx:
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.

I think you're almost there with the idea, but it takes more than just an idea and an understanding. I think it also takes ability and drive.

You have to have the ability to take your idea and understanding and be able to apply it as needed, as well as the drive to do it.

I have an idea that I think would be great, and I have an understanding of how the idea would work, but I have neither the ability to code it, nor the drive to really learn how. At this point, it's almost easier to hire people to do it for me.(It's not a book, so don't worry about that)

Someone mentioned Neverwinter Nights, and I'd like to mention that I've seen people code things that were considered beyond the scope of the game engine into the game, without using any .hak packs. That's what made it so interesting, is that it seems with the right knowledge and skills, you can go beyond preset limits.

I'd pay good money for a program that let me make games without the technical knowledge currently required. I've got a bunch of ideas i'd love to bring to life.

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).

Could I ask you a question? I loved the Dexter TV series, something in the order of S5, S1, S2, S3, S4. Would I like he novels? Are they even worth reading now? I hear they are largely the same, with some minor differences (like Dexter and ... however you spell his Asian co-workers name's relationship getting more time and depth, and Dexter never really likes Debra or the kids).

ScottMcTony:

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?

Sorry but reading this to me felt like reading a plea for a pen that would allow someone to draw a beautifully illustrated comic without knowing how to draw. That goes triply for BreakfastMan up there. Have you ever tried to make music? I don't mean a roughly recorded jam, I mean a properly mixed song. Have you ever tried to make a movie, even a short film? Mind, again, I don't mean an extremely amateur youtube video.

I think it's a fair call to ask for something to make the process of actually realizing an idea a little easier. I fancy myself as an amateur muso, and know just how hard it can be to write, record and fine-tune a song, and actually come out with something that's listenable. And while stuff like Music 2000 for the Playstation and even Mario Paint let users dabble around a bit and enjoy creating without too much knowledge, it still took a bit of talent to make something that was actually good. All people are asking for is the ability to dabble.

smudgey:

ScottMcTony:

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?

Sorry but reading this to me felt like reading a plea for a pen that would allow someone to draw a beautifully illustrated comic without knowing how to draw. That goes triply for BreakfastMan up there. Have you ever tried to make music? I don't mean a roughly recorded jam, I mean a properly mixed song. Have you ever tried to make a movie, even a short film? Mind, again, I don't mean an extremely amateur youtube video.

I think it's a fair call to ask for something to make the process of actually realizing an idea a little easier. I fancy myself as an amateur muso, and know just how hard it can be to write, record and fine-tune a song, and actually come out with something that's listenable. And while stuff like Music 2000 for the Playstation and even Mario Paint let users dabble around a bit and enjoy creating without too much knowledge, it still took a bit of talent to make something that was actually good. All people are asking for is the ability to dabble.

A little easier is good. Well, any amount easier is ideally good, and I apologize if I sounded like I was suggesting things should be hard in some eletist way. But unlike a lot easier, a little easier is possible and constantly happening. As someone who fancies themself both an amateur comic artist and game designer I can say I'm happy I live in a time when Corel Painter 12 and Photoshop CS5 exist, as well as Game Maker and Unity, rather than only C++ or even Assembly for games and, well, pencils for art. Although for anything complex, in pretty much any field, a degree of technical knowledge and ability will always be required, I imagine. And I know Yahtzee was pretty much just dreaming, but the other dude sounded almost outright dismissive of the idea that other mediums require anything besides creativity, which is insulting, and also seemed to think such a toolset was actually feasible.

Yes, programming is still the greatest bottleneck in game development. I do know (studying C++ at the moment, know a little LISP-based SCHEME as well - certainly not a language for game devs) how much time and effort it takes in comparison to all the other aspects of game development, even if you're using a stock engine. I wish such a tool would exist, it sure would've made a lot of lives easier.

TheOneandOnly:

Apologies for the giant quote, but...

The "toolset designed for non-programmers" which Yahtzee describes sounds rather like the Unreal Development Kit, which I fear is destined to do more harm than good. In his Little Big Planet review, Yahtzee made the point that the average person playing the game is not a creative genius who can make a fantastic level just because they have the right tools at their disposal. Game development has long been somewhat elitist, there being relatively few people capable of making anything noteworthy out of the millions of people with access to current tools and hardware. Personally I feel this is how it should remain. Once you start making it "easy" to make games, you open the flood gates to the talentless hoards who want their five minutes of fame, and devalue the development process of all games.

In metaphorical terms, if you want to build a bridge, hire the trained engineer, not the guy with the DIY toolset who works at the scrap metal yard...

I do not really agree with this notion. At least not entirely.

One of the fundamental problems with any task that involves programming is not that someone is capable of designing an algorithm but rather simply implementing the algorithm. The same is generally true of video games. It is often said that there is literally no shortage of ideas for games (thus why no game company ever actually wants to hear a random fan's idea; they have plenty of their own to work with). Most people who visit this board have, at least in some idle moment, prototyped some system for some theoretical game in our minds and yet most of us have done nothing else to see the idea implemented in any way.

A significant part of the problem, it would seem, lies in the fact that the effort required to do this by someone completely ignorant of any relevant skills is almost incomprehensibly enormous. Further lowering the basic requirements of making any game, even a bad one, would almost certainly encourage the development of a host of bad games but the potential benefits would dramatically outweigh these problems. Starting at the most obvious, even if most of these games are terrible, at least some small portion of them would be good and some subset of those could even be great. Beyond that, simply making it easier to make a game would have enormous benefits for the professional industry at large; escalating costs of making games is an area of enormous concern and is often cited as a key reason why the industry is so often risk adverse.

But the real problem I have is simply that the fundamental assertion you made was deeply flawed. The construction of a bridge has real consequences; when lives are at stake it is generally considered wise to hire an experienced professional rather than an eager amateur. Few lives hinge on the quality of any particular game, especially when they are made as amateur projects. Even with the barrier of entry as low as it currently stands we still find that the vast majority of games made (by all games I mean everything from 30 million dollar AAA titles to the countless thousands of flash games and so forth) are, quite simply, bad. Yet, somehow, we all manage to spend our time playing games we like rather than floundering through endless masses of awful or simply mediocre games.

What's more, the assertion dismisses the fact that a great many games beloved by millions began their lives as the work of enthusiastic amateurs. The professionals that dominate the industry today ALL began as enthusiastic amateurs. If you want to know what such people can accomplish, look at things like Counter Strike or Team Fortress or Portal Killing Floor. Each of these games began their lives as the free work of amateurs and hobbyists. Among that list are countless titles worthy of playing made by various independent developers. Minecraft and Dwarf Fortress are but two in that lengthy list and both have made quite an impact on this community.

Onyx Oblivion:
I think the DS sequels managed to make Castlevania: SOTN's formula even better. Well, and Aria of Sorrow on GBA. Added a new abilities system over sub-weapons for AoS and DoS, made a 2 member mage/warrior split for PoR while escaping the usual castle setting thanks to the portraits, and OoE split the line between "classic" and "Metroid"vania.

Minus the generic anime art style for character art in Dawn of Sorrow and Portrait of Ruin being a huge downside.

This:

image

Personally I'm of the opinion that Order of Ecclesia is the best Castlevania since Symphony of the Night, and possibly even better. As much as I've enjoyed most of the other GBA/DS games, SOTN just felt better constructed.

Yahtzee Croshaw:

Better to rule in 16-bit than serve in 32, right?

This is kind of the approach that Sega took with the Saturn except it was cruelly ignored by the masses. Whilst everyone was queueing up to enter the PlayStation's 3D nightclub, the beggar king Saturn and I drank and danced in the 2D alleyway round the back whilst people gave us funny looks and tried to ignore us.

Things haven't really changed for me. Good to see a lot of Saturn games getting their due recognition these days and sorry for derailing the thread!

I think Yahtzee got Star Treck and Red Dwarf mashed up at the end there.

Narrative continuity is the bane of video games.

In fact I think stories in video games are almost irrelevant. I'm loving the hell out of MvC3 and there's no story there because they didn't need one. If the player wants to make up a story about why Dante, Spider-Man and Albert Wesker have to team up to fight She-Hulk, Shuma-Gorath and Tron Bonne then good luck to them.

But I think it's much more of a game (as well as an awesome virtual box of action figures) than "Portal 2," which I think was an interactive novella routinely interrupted by puzzles.

Don't get me wrong, I loved P2. But what I loved was the story and, gimmicks aside, I don't think the gameplay itself evolved. They reskinned the un-stationary scaffolds as excursion tubes, faith plates and light bridges, made the acid pools into bottomless pits, and added goop to let you move faster, jump higher, or shoot portals in new locations. But playing was still a matter of shooting the right portals at the right surfaces in the right order at the right time. Except in those instances where the game held your hand, of course.

To be fair, MvC3's characters don't have much personality beyond what the player may remember from their original games. There's nothing more to them besides hitboxes and combos. But that's fine because it's a game, not a book.

So there's no reason for gameplay-centric games like that, or Mario, or Gran Turismo, or Rock Band to not go through an endless number of versions. Because they are GAMES first, and I think we can do with more of those and leave the storytelling to the storytellers.

Additionally, if a game is really fun and enjoyable and the gameplay has room to grow *that alone* should be the guiding principle in deciding whether or not to make a sequel. The story should take a back seat if it's even considered at all. Should they stop the Mario series when his "character arc" has finished? Hell no. He's a rotund Italian plumber who kills dinosaurs by hitting them with his butt. He doesn't have a character arc.

Should they stop setting games in Silent Hill? Aside from the fact that the Western developers wouldn't know a scary story if it snuck up on them in a dark alley, no. It's just a foggy ghost town. Give your protagonist-du-game a reason to be lost in a foggy ghost town, call it "Silent Hill," and scare the crap out of the player. Mission accomplished. Don't worry about the legacy or the backstory of the other games or any of that crap. It's supernatural. Horrible things happen there because horrible things happen there, period.

A story has a beginning, a middle and an end. It has a narrative arc and it will have a message about the human condition. The same cannot be said of golf. If you can garnish a round of golf with a drama about why Player A must defeat Player B and make it entertaining, fine. But it's not necessary and must not get in the way of the *game*.

I dunno Croshaw, saying that giving everyone the power to make games would make gaming better is a BIG shout. I mean, you're right, anyone can technically buy a camera and create a movie out of it, and on extremely rare occasions you get Paranormal Activity level things that use their limits to their advantage and make an infinity percent profit margin...

But pretty much all of us ignore the indie film industry because its largely shite. See where I'm going with this?

NinjaDeathSlap:
Not sure if anyone mentioned it first time around but Assassins Creed 2 was much much better than its predecessor, and yet you still had Desmond, Lucy and Vidic.

That doesn't apply, because the majority of the games are spent in the virtual world of the Animus. You only spend time in the real world for about 15% of the game. Plus, most people would agree that the cast of Desmond, Lucy, and Vidic, no one cares as much compared to Ezio and the world of Rome.

boradis:
Snip

Great post, very well written and some good points.

A question for you, on the back of that, if you fancy it.

Would you argue that games that attempt the storytelling crap, and gamers that argue for it, are trying to make playing with electronic toys more acceptable for grown-ups then it currently is? That gaming can't be more then a distraction and shouldn't try to be?

I'm honestly not being pedantic or rude to your views in any way, we don't often get intelligent individuals arguing against the grain, I just wondered what you thought on the matter of evolving gaming =]

Lordofthesuplex:

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)

I agree the Suplex Lord here in regards SoTN elitism and overall quality. I don't understand how you can even compare it to previous Castlevania, it doesn't play in any similar. It was an experiment that did succeed in regards in taking elements of Metroid gameplay, and adding some RPG elements. The development team did a lot of work making sure the gameplay wasn't sloppy and still engaging even when you had no idea where to go.

That is until the second half of the game where they literally copy paste the entire castle, they give absolutely more no story or cutscenes, little to no more powers to look for, and provide you weapons right off the bat that completly break the game. Its just sloppy, and it seems that were just arbitrarily lengthening the game. This wouldn't be the first time Konami did this sort of thing, Castlevania II did the same thing.

Egoraptor here demonstrates the importance of level design in both Linear & Non-linear design

The last portion of the video really sums up my feeling with SoTN. Its really fun to play through and waste hours to explore, but It never really reached any sort of satisfying climax in either story or gameplay, nor did it test the player. By the end the game just hands you victory, and you just feel empty afterwards

Tools available for everyone to use would be nice, but dont expect that to create a pletora of geniuses. Itll just create more shit, and once in a while, a gem will come out of it. There is a reason I dont make music, but i enjoy listening to it. I suck at making music, but i love hearing it, when its well made. People are too confortable these days. Its like hard work is BAD for you. NO! hard work will only give you benefits. why should it be easier? accessible, yes, i agree with accessible, and were almost at that point, but why easy? make it so everyone can spend time and effort in learning and making a game, but dont make it easy for them to do it without having compulsion and determination.

In my PERSONAL and private view, i dont like seeing people do stuff because they can. That is sth i like about games. you wanna make one, you work hard for it, you make sure you do it well. Thats why flash and UDK have spawned shit after shit instead of works of art. too easy, no need for effort, no need to work.

draythefingerless:
Tools available for everyone to use would be nice, but dont expect that to create a pletora of geniuses. Itll just create more shit, and once in a while, a gem will come out of it. There is a reason I dont make music, but i enjoy listening to it. I suck at making music, but i love hearing it, when its well made. People are too confortable these days. Its like hard work is BAD for you. NO! hard work will only give you benefits. why should it be easier? accessible, yes, i agree with accessible, and were almost at that point, but why easy? make it so everyone can spend time and effort in learning and making a game, but dont make it easy for them to do it without having compulsion and determination.

In my PERSONAL and private view, i dont like seeing people do stuff because they can. That is sth i like about games. you wanna make one, you work hard for it, you make sure you do it well. Thats why flash and UDK have spawned shit after shit instead of works of art. too easy, no need for effort, no need to work.

Why shouldn't it be easier? Making interesting and balanced gameplay, neat looking graphics and animations, atmospheric music, competent voice acting, interesting story and good dialogue. There is enough artistic work left to justify simplifying the technical side of the game development. But if I follow your logics correctly: game devs are to be bound by law into using their own made tools. Goodbye Unreal Engine! Goodbye Photoshop! Goodbye 3DSMax! Goodbye Pro Tools! Maybe even goodbye C++!

Why not go a step further and make them program games directly through bits by magnetizing clusters on a hard drive? Probably wouldn't make a good game, but man, they'd sure work their asses off!

CrawlingPastaHellion:

draythefingerless:
Tools available for everyone to use would be nice, but dont expect that to create a pletora of geniuses. Itll just create more shit, and once in a while, a gem will come out of it. There is a reason I dont make music, but i enjoy listening to it. I suck at making music, but i love hearing it, when its well made. People are too confortable these days. Its like hard work is BAD for you. NO! hard work will only give you benefits. why should it be easier? accessible, yes, i agree with accessible, and were almost at that point, but why easy? make it so everyone can spend time and effort in learning and making a game, but dont make it easy for them to do it without having compulsion and determination.

In my PERSONAL and private view, i dont like seeing people do stuff because they can. That is sth i like about games. you wanna make one, you work hard for it, you make sure you do it well. Thats why flash and UDK have spawned shit after shit instead of works of art. too easy, no need for effort, no need to work.

Why shouldn't it be easier? Making interesting and balanced gameplay, neat looking graphics and animations, atmospheric music, competent voice acting, interesting story and good dialogue. There is enough artistic work left to justify simplifying the technical side of the game development. But if I follow your logics correctly: game devs are to be bound by law into using their own made tools. Goodbye Unreal Engine! Goodbye Photoshop! Goodbye 3DSMax! Goodbye Pro Tools! Maybe even goodbye C++!

Why not go a step further and make them program games directly through bits by magnetizing clusters on a hard drive? Probably wouldn't make a good game, but man, they'd sure work their asses off!

the problem with flash and UDK isnt its accessibility, and in retrospect, i shouldnt bash UDK that much, since it does take some work to get into it. its that they make it a fucking cake walk. like i said, i think making it available to everyone to make games is good, but effort brings forth quality. that is undeniable. case in point, LBP levels. 95%, crap, 5%, good job. accessibility with challenge, thats what we should be asking. give them UDK and Flash and Unity, but make them need the determination to see it finished. the hand held camera allowed for everyone to film stuff, and that just created youtube, 95% crap, 5% good stuff. i want people to be able to make something, without the added arrogancy that they are brilliant for doing so. i want them to say, oh i should try and make a game, but i want them to give up half way if it was just a lil fantasy they had. creatively accessible, so that anyone can pick it up and spend some time learning th groundings, but creatively challenging, where they need added effort to see it thru, and to see it thru with quality.

draythefingerless:

the problem with flash and UDK isnt its accessibility, and in retrospect, i shouldnt bash UDK that much, since it does take some work to get into it. its that they make it a fucking cake walk. like i said, i think making it available to everyone to make games is good, but effort brings forth quality. that is undeniable. case in point, LBP levels. 95%, crap, 5%, good job. accessibility with challenge, thats what we should be asking. give them UDK and Flash and Unity, but make them need the determination to see it finished. the hand held camera allowed for everyone to film stuff, and that just created youtube, 95% crap, 5% good stuff. i want people to be able to make something, without the added arrogancy that they are brilliant for doing so. i want them to say, oh i should try and make a game, but i want them to give up half way if it was just a lil fantasy they had. creatively accessible, so that anyone can pick it up and spend some time learning th groundings, but creatively challenging, where they need added effort to see it thru, and to see it thru with quality.

So, I will ask you yet again. How is simplifying the technical side going to harm the gaming industry? You cannot simplify the artistic process. What is the problem then?

Game development is foremost an art form. But in its current state it's also a heavy technical field. Like Yahtzee said, that's exactly what's holding most artists back into trying out this relatively new medium. By now most games are created by programmers in the first place, and artists second. Why not eliminate that dependency on tech folks altogether, if it's art we're talking about?

You don't seem to discern between quality on the technical side, which is, what it just is - technical. And the quality on the artistic side, which undoubtedly requires a lot more creativity than the technical one. By freeing game devs from the technical shackles a whole new frontier of creativity could be presented to them. Even from the most banal pragmatic side of allocating more funds, thus manpower into artistic department.

Gaming would benefit greatly from it, there is no doubt about it.

Eclectic Dreck:
What's more, the assertion dismisses the fact that a great many games beloved by millions began their lives as the work of enthusiastic amateurs.

No it doesn't. You seem to think I'm bashing amateurs here, which I'm most certainly not. The problem I have (as do a few others posting here by the looks of it) is with people who want the hard work and the research done for them. If they're happy to think within the confines of the box someone else has made for them, how do you expect any real progress to be made? In addition, people who may otherwise have had the motivation and ability to create something new get dragged off down a different path because it's easier. There are a lot of talented designers making content with the UDK, but they're not contributing to anything truly progressive because they're stuck on the end of Epic's leash.

In my experience, the more like "natural English" you make a programing language, the more vague, long winded, and hard to debug or do complex things with it becomes. For example I worked in Applescript a number of years ago. It really is a interesting language and it has a fairly easy to understand syntax based on everyday English phrasing. The problem is to do anything beyond the basics really involves a lot of weird counter-intuitive conventions that don't become apparent at first, so it quickly loses the simplicity and easy understanding.

Really though, programing isn't as hard as you might think. I think the more pressing concern is dealing with the tangled mess of API and driver stuff, and finding a good language that doesn't overwhelm people with strange syntax conventions. Honestly I sort of wish we could go back to the days of good old ASM. I mean sure, higher level languages like C may be slightly easier to use, but at least with ASM you had a fixed set of opcodes, registers, and memory locations, and when you wanted to do something you just did it, without the mucking about with figuring out stuff. Literally everything you need to know about ASM can be on one sheet of paper sometimes. It's just a lot more work.

"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..."

MediaMolecule did it. LBP1's creator was limited when creating stuff besides platforming and button/lever puzzles, but LBP2 has introduced a whole lot of new mechanics that let you go much deeper than that. And yes, you can create awesome interfaces and menus with LBP2. Levels like "Windows: LBP Edition", "Classic Zelda", and many others can prove that. You can create your own textures by photographing stuff and converting it into stickers, make dynamic enemies or NPC's and program their AI's with the sackbots... You can wire some nifty circuits in your machines with the condition-activated sensors and logic gates, make cutscenes and scripted events with sequencers. You can even make the character/vehicle/cursor/whatever you want to be playable and define its gameplay mechanics with custom controls. And all that is easy to use once you get used to the creator.

Go look for some awesome levels under the "MM picks" section. They're effing rad :D

HUH? I totlly disagree, that ps1 3d polygons are awful, take Spyro the dragon or Crash bandicoot series, they looked awesome back then and I'm proud to admit, that I still prefer those over (quoting Yahtzee) "Gunmetal grey lotsofbloom" shooters, and I don't give a shit that they're kids games, they're fun and colorful and far better than some of the recent mainstream platformers :P

CrawlingPastaHellion:

draythefingerless:

the problem with flash and UDK isnt its accessibility, and in retrospect, i shouldnt bash UDK that much, since it does take some work to get into it. its that they make it a fucking cake walk. like i said, i think making it available to everyone to make games is good, but effort brings forth quality. that is undeniable. case in point, LBP levels. 95%, crap, 5%, good job. accessibility with challenge, thats what we should be asking. give them UDK and Flash and Unity, but make them need the determination to see it finished. the hand held camera allowed for everyone to film stuff, and that just created youtube, 95% crap, 5% good stuff. i want people to be able to make something, without the added arrogancy that they are brilliant for doing so. i want them to say, oh i should try and make a game, but i want them to give up half way if it was just a lil fantasy they had. creatively accessible, so that anyone can pick it up and spend some time learning th groundings, but creatively challenging, where they need added effort to see it thru, and to see it thru with quality.

So, I will ask you yet again. How is simplifying the technical side going to harm the gaming industry? You cannot simplify the artistic process. What is the problem then?

Game development is foremost an art form. But in its current state it's also a heavy technical field. Like Yahtzee said, that's exactly what's holding most artists back into trying out this relatively new medium. By now most games are created by programmers in the first place, and artists second. Why not eliminate that dependency on tech folks altogether, if it's art we're talking about?

You don't seem to discern between quality on the technical side, which is, what it just is - technical. And the quality on the artistic side, which undoubtedly requires a lot more creativity than the technical one. By freeing game devs from the technical shackles a whole new frontier of creativity could be presented to them. Even from the most banal pragmatic side of allocating more funds, thus manpower into artistic department.

Gaming would benefit greatly from it, there is no doubt about it.

therelies the problem with not grasping how games are made. you know WHY you see copy pasting ALL over gaming? SPECIALLY casual and social games? because its being made by people who cannot surpass the first level of game developing. they learn the basic, and then just do the basic. most games you see out there had to be INVENTIVE in how you control the machine. people think computers are amazing, when really, they arent. they are stupid limited machines. it is only thru VERY ingenious human minds that we are able to take out potential from them. Literally, right now we are juicing their cognitive abilities to the max. Computers are very limited, and for you to make a game, not a fucking story wich is what many people here LOVE to shout about, how a game is a STORY(i blame RPGs really), you need to be inventive, you need to be able to take the plethora of libraries and paradigms in languages, and make sth out of it.

to put this in perspective, what we are doing with computers nowadays is taking fucking sticks n stones and making a real scale model of the eiffel tower. you cant make a tool right now or the near future that can comprehend anything more than what a stick or a stone is, let alone an eiffel tower. but we CAN and we SHOULD make it accessible for anyone to be able to grasp the tools and use them. what yathzee is asking is for a computer to read what he is thinking and make a game. well, impossible, so lets go into the reality realm here. he wants to make some language and tools that allow for one to, using simple english for example, make a full blown game, AND THEN SELL IT, thats the most important part.

this arouses various problems.

1. computers right now, cant do that. they are too stupid. you would need higher powers, or even if i am allowed to go a lil extreme, quantum boxes for this. neither exist right now or the near future.

2. making a game to be sellable is FAR beyond creative knowledge. you have to be sure you make the game AT LEAST a bit accessible and friendly to use, wich is sth hardcore games, made by professional companies, fail at. making a game isnt writting a book or filming a movie. it is WAY more personal to each individual. you cna make a movie, and the most theyll do is to a screening to a random audience to see a bit of that. games are that, a hundred fold. this requires studies. academic or homebrewed, but it requires study. then you need to understand a bit of marketing. not everyone is gonna have the minecraft miracle, trust me.

if reading ones mind perfectly did exist, it still wouldnt be enough to have a good game experience. many times youll see teams correcting and sharing views because one single person is incapable of grasping evth in a game, in a manner sufficient to make the game enjoyable by others.

CrawlingPastaHellion:

draythefingerless:

the problem with flash and UDK isnt its accessibility, and in retrospect, i shouldnt bash UDK that much, since it does take some work to get into it. its that they make it a fucking cake walk. like i said, i think making it available to everyone to make games is good, but effort brings forth quality. that is undeniable. case in point, LBP levels. 95%, crap, 5%, good job. accessibility with challenge, thats what we should be asking. give them UDK and Flash and Unity, but make them need the determination to see it finished. the hand held camera allowed for everyone to film stuff, and that just created youtube, 95% crap, 5% good stuff. i want people to be able to make something, without the added arrogancy that they are brilliant for doing so. i want them to say, oh i should try and make a game, but i want them to give up half way if it was just a lil fantasy they had. creatively accessible, so that anyone can pick it up and spend some time learning th groundings, but creatively challenging, where they need added effort to see it thru, and to see it thru with quality.

So, I will ask you yet again. How is simplifying the technical side going to harm the gaming industry? You cannot simplify the artistic process. What is the problem then?

Game development is foremost an art form. But in its current state it's also a heavy technical field. Like Yahtzee said, that's exactly what's holding most artists back into trying out this relatively new medium. By now most games are created by programmers in the first place, and artists second. Why not eliminate that dependency on tech folks altogether, if it's art we're talking about?

You don't seem to discern between quality on the technical side, which is, what it just is - technical. And the quality on the artistic side, which undoubtedly requires a lot more creativity than the technical one. By freeing game devs from the technical shackles a whole new frontier of creativity could be presented to them. Even from the most banal pragmatic side of allocating more funds, thus manpower into artistic department.

Gaming would benefit greatly from it, there is no doubt about it.

TL DR for my previous post

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUeRtHu0MdA (i dun fuckin know how to use this sites embedding system)

listen to particularly the part about why they did not accept Sovereigns technological knowledge.

draythefingerless:

therelies the problem with not grasping how games are made. you know WHY you see copy pasting ALL over gaming? SPECIALLY casual and social games? because its being made by people who cannot surpass the first level of game developing. they learn the basic, and then just do the basic. most games you see out there had to be INVENTIVE in how you control the machine. people think computers are amazing, when really, they arent. they are stupid limited machines. it is only thru VERY ingenious human minds that we are able to take out potential from them. Literally, right now we are juicing their cognitive abilities to the max. Computers are very limited, and for you to make a game, not a fucking story wich is what many people here LOVE to shout about, how a game is a STORY(i blame RPGs really), you need to be inventive, you need to be able to take the plethora of libraries and paradigms in languages, and make sth out of it.

to put this in perspective, what we are doing with computers nowadays is taking fucking sticks n stones and making a real scale model of the eiffel tower. you cant make a tool right now or the near future that can comprehend anything more than what a stick or a stone is, let alone an eiffel tower. but we CAN and we SHOULD make it accessible for anyone to be able to grasp the tools and use them. what yathzee is asking is for a computer to read what he is thinking and make a game. well, impossible, so lets go into the reality realm here. he wants to make some language and tools that allow for one to, using simple english for example, make a full blown game, AND THEN SELL IT, thats the most important part.

this arouses various problems.

1. computers right now, cant do that. they are too stupid. you would need higher powers, or even if i am allowed to go a lil extreme, quantum boxes for this. neither exist right now or the near future.

2. making a game to be sellable is FAR beyond creative knowledge. you have to be sure you make the game AT LEAST a bit accessible and friendly to use, wich is sth hardcore games, made by professional companies, fail at. making a game isnt writting a book or filming a movie. it is WAY more personal to each individual. you cna make a movie, and the most theyll do is to a screening to a random audience to see a bit of that. games are that, a hundred fold. this requires studies. academic or homebrewed, but it requires study. then you need to understand a bit of marketing. not everyone is gonna have the minecraft miracle, trust me.

if reading ones mind perfectly did exist, it still wouldnt be enough to have a good game experience. many times youll see teams correcting and sharing views because one single person is incapable of grasping evth in a game, in a manner sufficient to make the game enjoyable by others.

You don't always need to grasp how something works to make something beautiful. It's like saying a painter needs to learn chemistry in order to understand how the various types of paints interact with each other. Or a musician needs to learn physics in order to understand how sound waves affect our eardrums.

You once again mix technical ingenuity with artistic ingenuity. Art and science lie in two opposite domains. Science is dictated by reason. Art is governed by human emotions.

Simplifying gaming technicalities by the means of providing us with easier to use tools would be like making a step from chalky cave drawings to the canvas oil paintings.

I don't think that Yahtzee's "brain scanner" would accomplish much though, since thoughts need to be organized into a readable form in the first place. But an easy to use SDK with only a minimum to none at all knowledge of programming/scripting languages required would benefit us all immensely.

Still a "brain scanner" is tempting none the less. But it only begs the question: if we're capable of creating something of this magnitude, what stops us from conceiving an A.I. and thus making us obsolete as a species.

P.S.: Gameplay is art as well. A more subtle type, but art none the less. There are no rules set in stone for it, only guidelines.

Dulcinea:

Could I ask you a question? I loved the Dexter TV series, something in the order of S5, S1, S2, S3, S4. Would I like he novels? Are they even worth reading now? I hear they are largely the same, with some minor differences (like Dexter and ... however you spell his Asian co-workers name's relationship getting more time and depth, and Dexter never really likes Debra or the kids).

*deep breath*

It's a tough call. The Dexter novels are almost entirely focussed on Dexter's train of thought and he does go off rather silly in Dearly Devoted Dexter(book 2), but overall it's a fascinating ride through the mind of a sociopath.

The real problem is that there are so many huge differences between the series and the book. Debra is stunning in the novels, but ...strong... in the series, Doakes is a bad-ass in both (and if I say "potato", you'll see the book 3 readers flinch) but the series has inflated the side-characters to main ones. In the novels, the only real character is Dexter, and Batista(no relation) is a slimy sod.

Dexter adores Cody and Astor, and to an extent, Rita; but Cody/Astor turn out to be...

Well, that would be giving it away.

Dexter the series is a Soprano style soap opera, Dexter the novels is more like hitching a ride with the Dark Passenger. It's a LOT darker.

They're different beasts really. Michael C Hall creates a wonderful Dexter, but the rest of the cast is more "viewer-friendly" than they are in the book. That being said, "I own you" is one of my favourite bits of the entire series.

I'd read through Darkly Dreaming and see what you think. There is a HUGE difference between the novel and the series, which I won't give away, but if you like it - go for it.

(Just take Dearly Devoted with a pinch of salt - It's like trying to equate the Dresden Files Books with the TV series - both are great, but they're very different.)

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