185: Make Your Own Fun

Make Your Own Fun

Sometimes you have to throw out all the rules for the real game to begin. Darren Sandbach dives into a few virtual worlds where players are ignoring the developers' intentions and making it up as they go along.

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I'm glad to see that I wasn't the only one who had those sorts of ideas regarding Operation Flashpoint. I'm dying to invite some of my mates around to take part in a little racing competition I've set up around Nogova, with a Ka-50 Hokum providing the impartial referee, complete with cannon, rockets and even a couple of anti-tank rockets.

That sort of free-thinking gameplay came in quite handy when Halo 3 came out with its more limited but still fun Forge editor. Upon seeing one of the arenas, I remarked that it would make a great racing course, and a brand-new form of gameplay was born.

Indeed, I've even done it with far more restrictive games than that. Gran Turismo 4's Skyline pace-car made me think instantly of a game of cops-and-robbers, and I join you in the rocket-jumping club, using it a few times successfully in id Software's older but no-less fun Quake II. So, thanks for writing this article, and letting me know that there are kindred spirits, people willing to push the boundaries of what a game can do.

Good old rocket jumps. I'm surprised that you didn't mention speedruns, Mr. Darren Sandbach, as most of them require competitive runners to find and then push the limits of a game's physics engine or 'sandbox borders'.

I remember my friends and I would always make up games to play in our other games. Some of my favorites mostly include turning multiplayer versus modes into co-op modes. We would play one of the battle maps in the original Mario Kart and fire off green shells, then work together to keep track of them and avoid getting hit. We also both loved doing the Katarina map in Star Fox 64 as co-op.

The thing I find odd is that these rocket jumpers and online inventors are often labeled as griefers. I just recently picked up Phantasy Star Universe and already hear constant complaints about the players who hang out in the game's main lobby and just chat or dance or play dice games. Yet I just see these people who are enjoying an online game without playing the game portion.

I'll never understand speed runs. I just don't see the sense of accomplishment accounting for restarting a game again and again every time a minor nudge of the joystick costs you a few seconds. Yet, I'm sure a lot of people don't understand the joys I described of green shell hunting. So, yes, I agree inventing games within games takes all kinds of people.

Ah, good old Zombie maps in Counter Strike. I often create CS 1.6 servers with a friend, and it's just the two of us versus, say, 20 bots wielding NOTHING except for their knives. It's a load of fun to shoot at those "zombies" (because it is so enthralling that you end up thinking they are actual zombies) with a friend. It's like a cheap version of L4D.

Ah, making your own modes. I love doing that.

I keep wondering, though. Am I the only one who thought up call of duty suicide-grenade matches?

This article reminded me of Rope racing in Worms Armegadden, we used to play it every lunchtime and self study session for a year. (Along with our version of connect 4 in maths) Then half of us failed highschool, and we stopped playing that.

Combined:
Ah, making your own modes. I love doing that.

I keep wondering, though. Am I the only one who thought up call of duty suicide-grenade matches?

Me and a couple of mates used to do suicide grandes all the time, back in the day of MOH:AA. Because in that game multiplay, each player has 6 grenades, each grenade has a 5sec fuse, and after you die, your grenade kill still counts. So, it's kind of a skill to all jump around in the same room, throwing grenades at each other.

AWESOME! I thought I'm the only idiot on the server, when I started the Feng Shui lunacy in our server in CS: Source. When I started playing, I noticed that I can still move stuff with the E-key, like in HL2. The metaphorical lightbulb switched on above my head, I took all the movable objects in the vicinity, and barricaded off entriways and doors as much I could. This was most annoying on the smaller maps, like cs_office, or cs_assault, where I usually barricade off the entrances to the hostages, so the CT-s can't get in without shoving the stuff out of the way first, giving me enough time to pick them off one-by-one with shotgun :D I have a little signature move on cs_italy, when I play as T, I always put the armoire in the window of the little house with the hostages in it. "It is good Feng Shui, now we are sure to win! XD"

I started calling my little retarded minigame as Feng Shui, and how "it messes up the Chi of the other team" and stuff like that. To my big surprise, my idiocy spawned many followers, stacking furniture and whatnot into doorways and windows in the name of Feng Shui, trying to "destroy the Chi of the enemy". I have now a little cult of Feng Shui followers on the server :D It sometimes detrimental to the game itself, because when the entire T team is off to get more junk to build a fortress into the doorways, build a huge sculpture on an empty space or just shove all the junk on the map into one pile, and not to kill the CT-s... there is something seriously wrong with that :D But it's amazingly fun and entertaining. It beats shooting each other in silence, round after round, map after map. Brings some color into the otherwise boring game. Sometimes we even forget we suppose to shoot at each other, and the two teams building idiotic contraptions together, round after round. But when someone fires a shot... all hell breaks loose :D

Clashero:
Ah, good old Zombie maps in Counter Strike. I often create CS 1.6 servers with a friend, and it's just the two of us versus, say, 20 bots wielding NOTHING except for their knives. It's a load of fun to shoot at those "zombies" (because it is so enthralling that you end up thinking they are actual zombies) with a friend. It's like a cheap version of L4D.

If you listen to the commentary, that was actually the inspiration for L4D.

This was heartwarming! Tricking It2 is a perfect example of this text. I wonder why you didn't mention counter-strike or gary's mod;D

In worms armageddon, we just to play at lan, stacking all our worms in a pile and the middle one dropped a dynamite.. We never got everyone dead in one dynamite, but i would love to see a "draw" in worms with one worm got over 10k damage in one round!

Thank you for this article, it made my day.. Aah the memories!

I quite like the article, and I'm all for playing Calvin Ball in any game, but I'm not quite fond of how you listed climbing the top of the Agency tower in Crackdown to just obeying the developer's orders. I dunno about you, but I tend to look for everything that can be climbed, especially in a game that is heavily focused on climbing everything in sight. I did it without being aware of the achievement. I climbed up, realised that if I jumped off I'd die, and saw the litle bit of water that could save me, and jumped. Wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooshploosh! Bleep-Bloop!

that is why hacking is so popular...

DirkGently:
I quite like the article, and I'm all for playing Calvin Ball in any game, but I'm not quite fond of how you listed climbing the top of the Agency tower in Crackdown to just obeying the developer's orders. I dunno about you, but I tend to look for everything that can be climbed, especially in a game that is heavily focused on climbing everything in sight. I did it without being aware of the achievement. I climbed up, realised that if I jumped off I'd die, and saw the litle bit of water that could save me, and jumped. Wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooshploosh! Bleep-Bloop!

MMMMMMM..... Calvin Ball.

Crusnik:

DirkGently:
I quite like the article, and I'm all for playing Calvin Ball in any game, but I'm not quite fond of how you listed climbing the top of the Agency tower in Crackdown to just obeying the developer's orders. I dunno about you, but I tend to look for everything that can be climbed, especially in a game that is heavily focused on climbing everything in sight. I did it without being aware of the achievement. I climbed up, realised that if I jumped off I'd die, and saw the litle bit of water that could save me, and jumped. Wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooshploosh! Bleep-Bloop!

MMMMMMM..... Calvin Ball.

Ah, if only one could properly implement Calvin Ball into a video game.

pyromcr:
that is why hacking is so popular...

Do you mean 'modding'?

Thanks for the good feedback everyone, glad you enjoyed the piece. There are endless examples of this kind of messing about in games, but I just wanted to capture some of those that have caught my eye and stuck with me over the years.

DirkGently:
I quite like the article, and I'm all for playing Calvin Ball in any game, but I'm not quite fond of how you listed climbing the top of the Agency tower in Crackdown to just obeying the developer's orders. I dunno about you, but I tend to look for everything that can be climbed, especially in a game that is heavily focused on climbing everything in sight. I did it without being aware of the achievement. I climbed up, realised that if I jumped off I'd die, and saw the litle bit of water that could save me, and jumped. Wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooshploosh! Bleep-Bloop!

I get what you're saying, not sure I agree. Climbing, running and jumping is an integral part of the Crackdown experience. To be honest, I'd probably list it as the base element of the design of the game. That counts regardless of whether or not there's an achievement for reaching a particular spot; the Agency Tower in particular is there to be conquered as an indication of your progress in the game and it can only be climbed once you've spent X amount of hours in the game.

Messing about in the game and seeing if you can get a Jeep to the top of any point, though? That's something that's wholly reliant on a sense of experimentation on the part of the player.

And if you don't agree with that, then maybe you will this; none of the examples given are absolutes, none of them all-encompassing. The point of the piece is that you make whatever you will of a game, regardless of the rules and constraints a developer sets out for you. That's exactly what you felt you were doing.

Get ten different people in a room, and they'll have tried ten different things. That's kinda the whole point of the piece.

GTA4 online is fun but it's very limited. You can't enter many of the locations of the real game, or buy anything in any of the stores. Cops are too good to hold off for long. I'll play for an hour or two, now and then, but it's not very engrossing.

Whereas in Saints Row 2, you can only do two person co op, but can do ANY MISSION IN THE GAME. Including special two person versions of missions, two-person-only competitive modes, and you-run-I'll-gun kind of things.

I'd really prefer a better mix - maybe 8 or so people, but full customization.

Surprised Valve hasn't been mentioned here as a lot of their games are famous for producing alternative game-modes. Take TF2's Prop Hunt:


Though that requires a certain degree of modding, not sure how much that counts here. In any case, L4D2's Jockey Riders 'mode' is more applicable:

And there's of course Garry's Mod which is build from the ground up as one big playground.

Another personal favourite of mine is vehicle tossing in BC2:


And there's also the possibility of quad racing around, say, Panama Canal. Made more interesting by placing C4 on certain locations.

 

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