Extra Punctuation: Time for Gaming's Physical

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Time for Gaming's Physical

Realistic physics have come a long way, except for how game developers use them.

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I for one welcome wooly mammoth cold cuts.

Great points and those stealth/infiltration bits would make for great gameplay.

I've been wanting this from a spy or heist game for awhile. They like to up the action in the genre - but the problem with action games is the sheer amount of mass murder your character is responsible for. Sure, it's self defense, but video game (and action movie) villains have a vast amount of wealth to pay for a private army progressively better trained soldiers.

Erik Prince doesn't have this much capital.

Hitman did something really well - it gave you less of a score for messy and unnecessary killing and destruction.

I have a feeling that if Yahtzee was asked to game development meetings and developers actually LISTENED to his points, we'd be seeing a lot more unique and creative games on the market. Not to mention fun, so long as we don't get those silly processor explosions everyones worried about.

Imagine Minecraft 2000 but rather than sticky blocks it was actual particle physics like From Dust. It could allow for realistic metalworking like building of arbitrary molds from sand and clay then pouring in molten metal to make various useful objects. Or a before a bridge could be built it would need to be buttressed to prevent collapse. Or you could be in danger of caveins if you dug the support out from under a hill.

I kinda like that idea of escaping from a building being completely destroyed and you have to get out of it alive. What would really be cool is if it's like a huge castle near water and not only do you have to dodge debris but avoid drowning. The physics in that game would be incredible if done right. I'd imagine running around jumping from place to place would be close to Assassin's Creed gameplay, but hey, it would work.

I'm just waiting for a game that allows me to blow up the wall around the door that I'm supposed to open with a key.

Optimally, I think if you destroy things, it shouldn't be a "mission failed" either... it should continue the game with those details changed. And in the end, if you just blew everything up, bad ending, because your origination had no intelligence, hiding holes, or supplies... since you blew them all up.

I don't recall being able to build stair cases out of boxes in Thief.

Love the game idea about when it's prudent to not smash things, Mr. Y. I would actually profoundly enjoy such a game. The more options I have to get something done, the better.

I like the idea you're going for. Maybe there could be a game similar to that Wii game where you play as a spider and a scorpion, but you play a crab living in a huge sand castle. Only it was made too close to the beach, and now you have to get out before the high tide comes in and causes it to collapse.

The gameplay could be a mix of platforming, puzzles, and fighting other beach creatures all whlle the castle is getting more and more unstable.

I think it could work.

Surprised given how often Yahtzee references Freud that he hasn't read about the "Death Drive" or the "Uncanny", says pretty much the same thing here. i.e. first that we've gotten to a point where we actually distrust how ordered things are, and long to dissolve back into the 'natural', entropic state, the ultimate version of which is death and decomposition. That's described in Beyond the Pleasure Principle, Uncanny talks about how we still have all these little superstitious distrusts of the 'civilized' world and half expect it to come crashing down. Actually, I think a lot of gaming references these two ideas, both in violence and in 'creepiness'/magic/'karma'-luck, and of course the whole idea of destroying things/dying and having backup 'lives' in order to help us deal with/deny the reality of our own impending death.

I agree that a version of Hitman with destructo-physics would be awesome. What would be even better than that would be the same thing online, where you compete with 3 rival assassins for the contract, each starting in seperate points and having to work your way to the target. And to combat the fact that 2 days after the release all anyone would do is sprint straight at the target and shoot him in the face, have doing this cause you to become a new target, with whoever takes you out getting the credit for your kill too.

You'd have to be careful implementing a game like this, because the slightest mis-step could send the game into a fail state. Even things like saving and loading, or subtle differences in processor speeds between users could render a scenario solvable on one player's system but impossible on another's.

It should be noted that this is already an issue for some Flash 2D collision engines, and the solution among flash developers is generally use the most advanced physics engine possible, dumb the graphics down as much as possible so you can devote more processor time to physics, make your world as simple and self-contained as possible, featuring only enough physics objects to depict the important gameplay elements, and do a hard reset at the start of each level.

In other words, don't expect this in AAA first-person shooters any time soon. Mainstay features like saving and loading, ragdoll corpses, large levels, and outdoor sections would all cause problems. The best we can probably hope to do at this point is a game like Portal. One box, one button, a few moving objects, a definite Start and Goal.

If it seems like most hardcore shoot 'em ups only use physics as a special effect, this is why. If a special effect fails, the game still works.

Um, Yahtzee... there have always been physics in video games. Duh.

Yahtzee, there's a game you might very much enjoy called Dishonored. I highly doubt you actually read this comments, and it doesn't actually have destruction, but you reminded me of it. Basically, everything you described in this column short of destruction (which was a key component, admittedly).

Anyway, it's sort of a Victorian steam-punk affair where you use stealth, gadgets, and magical powers to... do shit, I suppose. I'll let the good folks at Game Informer do the rest of the talking: http://www.gameinformer.com/games/dishonored/b/xbox360/archive/2011/07/11/getting-to-know-dishonored.aspx

From my half-remembered readings of things you've written previously, it sounds right up your alley. If Thief and Sherlock Holmes had a baby it would most likely resemble this game and almost certainly be able to write a better x meets y. It actually doesn't resemble Sherlock Holmes in anything but setting, but I couldn't say Thief twice, could I? Deus Ex, maybe.

Fuck it, now I'm rambling. More people should know about this game, is my point.

Crayon Physics maybe? Personally i like having realisitc physics even if you don't do much with them as they add to immersiveness of the universe. Something like STALKER actually has pretty amazing physics (when they aren't spazzing out) and it makes the world feel that much more grounded.

Well, you don't really need all the fancy physics parading to melt a computer. Just one badly coded line and there you go. Case in point: Starcraft 2 menus.

Javarino:
I have a feeling that if Yahtzee was asked to game development meetings and developers actually LISTENED to his points, we'd be seeing a lot more unique and creative games on the market.

I very much doubt Yahtzee is the only one with unique and creative ideas. I'm pretty sure ideas such as these get left at the CEO of Activision's front door every single day, yet there's little money in what will always sound like a niche and potentially risky title. The masses want their bread and circus, and it's not a matter of offering them deep experiences that only the commited will follow, but of being the one to deliver what the masses want. However you look at it, there's losses involved in trying to develop the next Silent Hill 2 instead of the next Halo.

Worms don't really have "physics" like the ones today, but it can include some kind of "i shouldn't destroy everything or i'm doomed" gameplay mechanics.

I like the game concept, I really do. The option to break through walls and cut off power source to eliminate security cameras/turrets/lights to effectively reach your objective undetected or simply ambush a room full of enemies is very intriguing. Dues Ex 4?

A complex and demanding game if you want to get the physics part right but boy does it tick off so many interesting features modern PC gamers want to see today! (Yeah PC ftw my friends).
- A form of feeling powerful
- Option of being stealthy and tactical
- Limitations giving rationale on why you should/nt go destructive crazy
- A possible sandbox mini-game out of it
- User created maps? A map editor!? Oh my...
- A new demanding game for PC lovers to test their skynet machines on
- Your limitations can become the enemies downfall if you have the know how. This is regarding tricks such as breaking water pipes from the above room and breaking long wires. Finally punching a hole to the floor and shoving the content down with it somehow. Then watch the combinations burn your enemies down stairs to crisp.

Ok I did enjoy Dues Ex despite some limitations and flaws but I think its about time the team decided to remake it under Yahtzees influence. Go! *claps hands twice*

That or just make a new game concept based on this, it doesn't bother me. (But suddenly thinks of Crusader no remorse).

LobsterFeng:
I'm just waiting for a game that allows me to blow up the wall around the door that I'm supposed to open with a key.

Sounds like you missed out on the original Red Faction my friend

its almost poetic how an artcle so concerned about buildings is also written as one, using references to previous articles as foundation and building upwards with infinite ideas.
i wonder if he planned for it to be like that or thats how the pieces FELL?

Yahtzee, I love that last paragraph. It would be a great idea to implement.

Live in a sandcastle? Sounds like Minecraftian philosophy to me. :3

Now my ideal game would be a fantasy warfare style game with:
Fully Destructable Environments (for the warriors... thieves get wall climbing, wizards levitate).
possibly FP perspective in an Eldar Scrolls Kinda way...

Basically my dream is town-wide melee's with multiple people, people charging through walls, stuff getting set on fire, thieves having rooftop skirmishes whilst the roofs are there... and if there are no more walls to hide behind, the wizard gets to mop up with fire and lightning... *sigh* a guy can dream though

I like to think that the reason people like destroying things other people have made is that other people are assholes. Odds are whatever complicated structure they built either has nothing to do with you or is designed to take stuff from you/kill you and take your stuff.

Office building? Either takes you time or shuts its door to you. DMV? Takes your money and your time. Any of the Vaults in Fallout? Um, yeah.

Otherwise excellent points. I would totally play a game where you're running out of a building with realistic physics that falls apart on its own rather than in a scripted way.

poiumty:

Javarino:
I have a feeling that if Yahtzee was asked to game development meetings and developers actually LISTENED to his points, we'd be seeing a lot more unique and creative games on the market.

I very much doubt Yahtzee is the only one with unique and creative ideas. I'm pretty sure ideas such as these get left at the CEO of Activision's front door every single day, yet there's little money in what will always sound like a niche and potentially risky title. The masses want their bread and circus, and it's not a matter of offering them deep experiences that only the commited will follow, but of being the one to deliver what the masses want. However you look at it, there's losses involved in trying to develop the next Silent Hill 2 instead of the next Halo.

Well, one can always dream of alternate universes, where indie games make millions of dollars and Bobby Kotick was pummeled to death with Call of Duty CDs within hours of becoming CEO.

poiumty:
[quote="Javarino" post="6.310097.12530325"]However you look at it, there's losses involved in trying to develop the next Silent Hill 2 instead of the next Halo.

Ordinarily I'd apply what I've learned the hard way and let that drop (and maybe I still should because maybe you just picked a name at random), but Halo is... well not the solution to the problem, but there are some truly amazing things that can be done with Forge-- the "object editor" in the two latest major releases-- and the physics engine. Most of them could be done, and maybe done better, in things like Little Big Planet, but the detail possible, the added possibilities from being able to shoot things at a distance, and of course full 3D, make it a worthwhile space to play around in.

Physics engines are underused and abused, certainly. Yahtzee makes a good point when he says that games need to widen their horizons in how they apply these engines and diversify an experience. Not just how something blows up, but what we can do with it after it partially blows up, and even the proper dismantlement of objects and being able to put them together again.

As with all art forms, destruction is many thousands of times easier than creation. If we can build worlds which we can recreate and rebuild as easily as we can destroy them, then that will be a huge advancement in gaming. Not to say that it hasn't been touched upon already.

It is also a bit of a problem when we go from a game with a brilliant physics engine like HL2 then enter a later released AAA game that has little to no engine for this, like Fallout 3. So the increased integration and advancement of physics is an important part of improving games as an immersive experience in general.

rembrandtqeinstein:
Imagine Minecraft 2000 but rather than sticky blocks it was actual particle physics like From Dust. It could allow for realistic metalworking like building of arbitrary molds from sand and clay then pouring in molten metal to make various useful objects. Or a before a bridge could be built it would need to be buttressed to prevent collapse. Or you could be in danger of caveins if you dug the support out from under a hill.

Your idea here is brilliant, and well done on that. However, you'd have to give it thirty years before it's viable on the kind of scale that people would really like, assuming that technology continues its advance as it has been (it may yet run into some concrete walls of improvement).

I do agree with everyone here in this thread, and Yahtzee most of all. His Extra Punctuation columns proves that he is more than a troll... or maybe he's just a very professional one, I dunno.

But yeah, implementing physics engines like this would be a bit of an innovation to both linear and sandbox games where levels where you're required to kill a target, progress through a level, avoid dying, etc. can have environments drastically altered by your very actions. Of course, in missions that require precision timing, I can expect doing too much damage would be detrimental to the efforts, but it would be nice seeing this kind of destructive physics engine be used more often, as well as it being used in stealth games such as Assassin's Creed.

"...as much as games like Assassin's Creed might refute this, the last thing an infiltrator should want to do is draw attention to himself."

God, I've been waiting to hear that from you.

I think there are generally two ways to add player interaction.

One way is to map out every action that the player may want to attempt and design each an every one individually.

The other is to create a coherent world and then interactive options simply may appear automagically.

The first approach is far the simplest when only a low level of complexity is desired. But at some point the number of options become so great that the second approach becomes viable.
Comparing the first Deus Ex to DE:HR seems obvious. DE:HR uses individually designed choices, if there is a vent it will probably lead you somewhere beneficial. The original DE makes use of the second approach, it maps a complete building with ladders, vents, walkways etc in a logical layout. Some of the pathways may lead somewhere beneficial but the player needs to decide the best approach.

I think the same goes for physics. At a certain stage of world building the environment may reach a critical mass where stuff simply reacts as we would expect, without the need to specifically design for it.

This is of course obvious for sandbox games since they are designed for making use of full worlds, but structured games could make more use of it as well.

General Vagueness:

poiumty:
[quote="Javarino" post="6.310097.12530325"]However you look at it, there's losses involved in trying to develop the next Silent Hill 2 instead of the next Halo.

Ordinarily I'd apply what I've learned the hard way and let that drop (and maybe I still should because maybe you just picked a name at random), but Halo is... well not the solution to the problem, but there are some truly amazing things that can be done with Forge-- the "object editor" in the two latest major releases-- and the physics engine. Most of them could be done, and maybe done better, in things like Little Big Planet, but the detail possible, the added possibilities from being able to shoot things at a distance, and of course full 3D, make it a worthwhile space to play around in.

No i think you missed his point, i think he meant there are losses trying to develop a deep interesting game for a low number market(silent hill 2) vs devolping a standard FPS that thousands will buy and make millions.

well, gta 4 made a "Realistic" physics. see where that went.

on the other hand, a hitman with red faction guerilla physics engine would be a fun thing.
physics in games were made very well available by the nvidia due to thier physx engine that radeon is still trying to replicate (tee-hee). Problem is that due to the trend of "no optimization is cheaper" games with good physics loose most of its audience simply because they cant run it anymore.

P.S. capcha: seanse above ???

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