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Discussion in 'News & Content Feedback' started by Spazmo, Sep 15, 2005.

  1. Saint_Proverbius Arcane Patron

    Saint_Proverbius
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    Well, considering Morrowind's hand scripted quests were often irritatingly simple fetch & find or kill the goblin quests, I'm not sure there's a point for knocking Sacred's randomly generated ones. Heck, I even said a few months ago I would probably be more accepting of Morrowind's quests if they were random. They were pretty crappy but if they were random, at least I wouldn't have to deal with the same ones each time. With random, it's the luck of the draw. You might not get one of those quests where you have to go all the way across the island and swim for a half a mile through the ocean to get to that dungeon where you're supposed to escort that chick through each time. When you're hand scripting something like that, I know that if I decided to play the game again, I get to eventually deal with that tedious travel each time.

    Subplots are peachy. Hooray for them. They're still just side quests, though. Sure, they up the entertainment value if they're done well.

    Yes, it does.

    The main plot, the thing you must do to "win the game", is still just as linear no matter what side stuff you do.

    I'm going to sound like a broken record here, but go play Fallout. There's gobs of main plot related things all over the world. They can all be done in any order and at any time. It's amazing that a game that was released in 1997 is a great example of how a game where exploration is a hefty feature demonstrates how to do non-linear story telling yet big name developers haven't been able to follow up on how Fallout did it.

    For example, the missing caravans quest in Fallout. The game leads you to thinking that a deathclaw is doing it. You go hunt down the deathclaw and find out that while there is a deathclaw, it turns out that it was supermutants doing the raids. It's part of The Master's big plan that the deathclaw just happenned to have interrupted. It gives you just a little piece of the puzzle and there's a huge bunch of these things littered all over the game within various seemingly unrelated quests that lead you towards a conclusion. You can do them in any order or not do them at all and still reach the goal. That's what non-linear is.

    Saying a game is non-linear because you can also do side quests, no matter how elaborate and lengthy those side quests happen to be, is nothing more than dumbing down the definition of non-linear. Games aren't non-linear just because you like them.
     
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  2. GhanBuriGhan Erudite

    GhanBuriGhan
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    I have to disagree, that is an entirely too narrow definition of non-linear. You equate the game with the "main plot", and nothing could be further from how many people play games like TES. I would much rather think that a game is linear when it does not HAVE anything besides a linear plot, makes you visit each location in an essentially linear manner, and thus channels you through a progression of events to an endgame. Therefore KOTOR and even Ultima Underworld would be decidedly linear, while TES, gothic, and of course Fallout would not be. That said being linear is not really a decisive qulity criterion for RPG's in general, as much as I enjoy it. KOTOR and UUW were highly enjoyable RPG's despite their linearity
     
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  3. Balor Arcane

    Balor
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    Well, there is nonlinear and freeform.
    Linearity referst to the plot, and freeform part - about everything else.
    In fact, Elite had no plot - so, it's all freeform, and it cannot be said 'linear' or 'nonlinear'.
    It's like measuring weight with meters.
     
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  4. Psilon Erudite

    Psilon
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    Well, yeah. In Daggerfall and Arena you had minimum level requirements to get to the main plot, and in Morrowind people apparently couldn't find Caius Cosades. Of course they'd go wandering.
     
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  5. GhanBuriGhan Erudite

    GhanBuriGhan
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    In an RPG I consider first and foremost my characters adventures as the plot, therfore I would say that a (considerable) freeform element in a RPG excludes it from bein able to be linear. The fact that parts of the game are presented to me in a linear fashion does not mean that my playing experience as a whole is linear, and I would say that that is what counts.
     
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  6. MrSmileyFaceDude Bethesda Game Studios Developer

    MrSmileyFaceDude
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    Blah blah blah, Morrowind blah blah. I wasn't comparing anything to Morrowind, I was asking about random quests in other games.

    So how about answering my question? In games with randomly generated quests, what are THEY like?
     
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  7. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

    Vault Dweller
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    Gearhead is the answer you are seeking, young padawan.
     
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  8. Chefe Erudite

    Chefe
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    Balor made a good point a few posts up, where he said that there's a different between freeform and non-linearity. IMO, Morrowind is a freeform and linear game. You can run around anywhere you want, and take up quests at any time, join any guild at any time, but once you get down to playing those quests, they're extrememly linear.

    Non linearity, as I see it, involves choices. Your character's adventures are the plot, of course, they're the plot in any game. Mario 64's plot revolved around the adventure of Mario to defeat Bowser. It's freeform though, as you can get the stars however you like to advance to the next level, but it is very linear. Morrowind, in the same respect, allows you to travel however you like and kill the bad guy or escort the peasant with sword or spell, but beyond that you don't have any choice. You can't tell the quest giver "I'd rather not do that, have anything else?" (which is where random gen quests come in well), or have different interactions with characters in that quest determining how the quest plays out.

    Imagine a giant field. Now, imagine there's five doors around the edges of that field. Each door leads to a very linear series of quests that must be played out in a specific order, and a specific way, to advance. To me, that's linear.


    Edit: Just to note, I don't equate a game like TES with the main plot. However, I do look at having a non-linear main plot as something that would be very important and that I really enjoy.
     
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  9. GhanBuriGhan Erudite

    GhanBuriGhan
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    Well I can accept that as the definitions as applied here at the codex if that's the consensus here. By that definition however, there are hardly any non-linear games that I have played, though. There is Fallout and ... nothing? Whats the use of categorizing games on being fallout and not-fallout? :)
     
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  10. Chefe Erudite

    Chefe
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    Arcanum has some non-linearity to it. Daggerfall does too.

    No game is completely non-linear, but in my opinion, the more non-linear it is the better RPG it is.
     
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  11. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

    Vault Dweller
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    Few more non-linear games for your list: Darklands, Wizardry, Ultima, ToEE, etc
     
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  12. Tintin Arbiter

    Tintin
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    Linear

    Press Start - > Do this - > Do that - > Do this - > Do that - > End Game
    /\Little distraction \/Little distraction

    Morrowind
    Press Start \/


    -> Do this (Main Questline) -> Do that - > Do this - > "Ending" Cutscene - > Continue doing other this - that
    ->Do this #2 -> Do that - > Do this - >
    -> Do this # 3 -> Do that - > Do this - >
    -> Do this # 4
    -> Do this # 5 -> Do that - > Do this - > -> Do that - > Do this - >
    -> Do this # 6
    ............
    ............
    ............
    ............
    -> Do this # 140 > Do this - > -> Do that - > Do this - >
     
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  13. Psilon Erudite

    Psilon
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    Geneforge 1 is another extremely non-linear game. There's only one thing you need to do to win, and that's escape the island. Everything else is completely optional.
     
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  14. Claw Erudite Patron

    Claw
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    Maybe to emphasize that there should be more games like that.
     
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  15. Balor Arcane

    Balor
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    Well, Hammer&Sicle is sure nonlinear.
     
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  16. Saint_Proverbius Arcane Patron

    Saint_Proverbius
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    Elite had a plot.
     
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  17. triCritical Erudite

    triCritical
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    It depends how well they are done. For one thing in games with heavy replayability they stop cheating the second time around. In other words, I don't know what flowers to pick up on the way to Balmora. Furthermore, each time you play its different. ES games are games in which on the PC people have been less likely to finish, but to start many different characters. In these kind of games random quest add something very refereshing.

    Diablo 2 I believe had random maps, however, I had always thought that was more of something to assist multiplayer, add varying experiences. Random l00t is also very cool. And was heavily used in the FP party based RPG's, ie. Might and Magic.

    The down side is that its incredibly hard to implement, but being a programmer you should enjoy the challenge. Not like that lazy biaaatch I work with that does not want to do a god damn thing if means changing anything.;)
     
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  18. Balor Arcane

    Balor
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    Which Elite and what kind of plot?
    The one I had on my ZX Spectrum certainly lacked in that department :).
     
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  19. Section8 Erudite

    Section8
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    It's really a matter of semantics with linearity. Morrowind has a linear main quest, but it's highly unlikely that any two characters will take the same actual path through a game, so I'm willing to give it the benefit of the doubt, even if it doesn't measure up to Fallout.

    Now, Ultima Underworld is an interesting one to bring up, especially given it's about what, 13 years old? I'd greatly question the idea of labelling it as essentially linear. Granted it basically consists of:

    Get the 8 talismans
    Get the 3 tripartite key pieces
    Defeat the Slasher of Veils

    ...but the actual acquiring of each of the 11 required items can be done in any order. You could definitely point at similarities between KOTOR and UU, but the presentation is the key. In KOTOR, the game constantly reinforced the idea that the player had to go to one of a few distinct locales, and do literally the same thing (find a map fragment).

    In Ultima Underworld, I never felt as though I was walking a path (except for the end game <chuckles>). In fact, it isn't until later in the game that the elements of the "main quest" are revealed to the player. In fact, the player is almost certain to have stumbled upon some of the goals without knowing, in their slightly misled quest to save a princess.

    And I think, therein lies the criticism many people here seem to level at linear plotlines and such. While games such as Fallout and Ultima Underworld present the player with a vague overarching goal that is transcended by the occurences of the player "freely" roaming in a logical, but unconstrained progression, games such as Morrowind set in stone that the character MUST sequentially progress through a series of enforced scenarios.

    Personally, I don't think linearity is at the core of this discussion, but rather the way the player is led. To compound this, in Morrowind's particular case, you have an incredible freeform world, and then in horrible contrast, a linear main plotline that entirely disregards the notion of choice and consequence. I'd even go so far as to say that it's also contrary to many character personalities. My Dunmer xenophobe may well be the Nerevarine, but he's not going to work for the fucking Empire, so he'll never find out.

    |ELITE|

    It's been a long time since I played it, but I definitely remember a plot. I think, once you progressed to a certain rank, you'd get offered actual missions beyond the freeform elements, and they paid ludicrous sums of money, so you'd be mad to decline them. The best I managed was a "Deadly" ranking, so I never got there. :/
     
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  20. DarkUnderlord Professional Throne Sitter

    DarkUnderlord
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    Like say, a "free the slaves" character having to BUY a slave and then transport her to an arranged marriage just to be named King of the Never Never. I still remember that and I still remember looking for other ways to finish that quest but every time I tried something, it usually involved killing someone and it usually involved that stupid "Oh dear, you appear to have fucked up your game" dialogue box. Let alone the fact that you're DECEIVING a guy by doing so because he thinks he's marrying a Telvanni Princess.
     
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