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Game News The Two Most Important Factors For Organic Virtual Worlds...

Joined
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Tags: Deep Silver; Risen

...are an unintrusive user interface and NPC schedules. Risen's publisher, Deep Silver, had their man, Daniel Oberlerchner, <a href="http://blogs.ign.com/DeepSilver_Risen/2009/07/29/125782/">say some words</a> on IGN's new Risen blog.<blockquote>Sometimes Risen doesn’t feel like an RPG but more like a medieval fantasy simulation because of the dense and authentic atmosphere. One important factor to create believable worlds is the immersion and most people tend to forget that a complex or distracting UI can destroy much of the level designers work by reminding the user every time that he/she is playing a game. The interface of Risen on the other hand is both functional and minimalist at the same time since it only consists of a quickslot bar and two bars which display your health/mana at the bottom of the screen.
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The second most important component for an organic world is the simulation of believable NPCs. Every NPC has its own daily routine and requirement which means that they will take a bite if they feel so and sit down if they are tired. Even the monsters take a nap at night in the woods which kind of leads to strange situation when you’re stumbling over a sleeping boar in the pitch dark night during a short stroll in the woods nearby.</blockquote>Why am I getting such a case of deja vu here?
<br>
Spotted at: <A HREF="http://gamebanshee.com/">Gamebanshee</A>
 

Monocause

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Re: The Two Most Important Factors For Organic Virtual World

... And, y'know, the two opponents start circling themselves, y'know, the people around form a ring and start watching the fight, y'know, and don't forget that sometimes a thief can break into your house and steal your stuff, just like you can. Y'know.
 

MetalCraze

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One important factor to create believable worlds is the immersion
Immershun.

most people tend to forget that a complex or distracting UI can destroy much of the level designers work by reminding the user every time that he/she is playing a game.
So what else they are doing?

Complex UI not good for immershun, makes brain hurt
 

Elzair

Cipher
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No.

I agree that those two elements are important, but I think there is one overriding principle that is more important: avoiding themepark design. Unkillable Cat has already mentioned Ultima VII's greatness, so I think I will elaborate.

The designers of the later Ultimas (V-VII and maybe VIII) seem to have first crafted a believable world and then integrated elements of fun into it. Theme-park designers start with a list of game elements that they think would be cool and/or fun, and then they craft the world around those elements. The Ultima approach gave VII:BG an amount of verisimilitude unparalleled in any other RPGesque I have ever played; the only RPGs that, incidentally, come close are Gothic I & II. The theme-park design of Ascension gives us the sunken city of Ambrosia, the very pretty (and very unhumble) voyeur domes of New Magincia, the haunted main building of Trinsic (that is required to pass through to get anywhere), the tree-houses of Yew, and, worst of all (beating by a narrow margin the treehouses), the city of Valoria that rests inside an active volcano!
 
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For a "fan of RPGs and an avid gamer", Daniel sounds a little over-enthusiastic over features that were all there in the original Gothic.
I'm hardly a person to say no to a good Gothic game, but I've yet to hear about a single substantial feature that's unique to Risen (monster re-branding doesn't count, neither does making the nameless hero look metrosexual).
 

ElectricOtter

Guest
Re: The Two Most Important Factors For Organic Virtual World

Edward_R_Murrow said:
Sometimes Risen doesn’t feel like an RPG but more like a medieval fantasy simulation because of the dense and authentic atmosphere.
Bull-fucking-shit. I have never played a RPG after Morrowind that has totally and utterly immersed me in the game world. It's okay if they hype a game up a bit, as long as it's good, but that's just a flat out lie.
 
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Re: The Two Most Important Factors For Organic Virtual World

ElectricOtter said:
Edward_R_Murrow said:
Sometimes Risen doesn’t feel like an RPG but more like a medieval fantasy simulation because of the dense and authentic atmosphere.
Bull-fucking-shit. I have never played a RPG after Morrowind that has totally and utterly immersed me in the game world. It's okay if they hype a game up a bit, as long as it's good, but that's just a flat out lie.

AFTER Morrowind? So did you player Gothic 2 before then? Confused how you could like Morrowind's world, but not think that G2's was immersive. It's basically Morrowind with C+C, good quest design, ok dialogue and personality.

G3 sure did suck though:-(. But again, that was basically Oblivion, just with better dialogue, quest design and personality. Sadly the base game sucked too much for the improvements to be worthwhile.

Given their track record I'm seriously amazed that Risen isn't turning out to be a post-apocalyptic 'I-can't-believe-it's-not-FO3' game, advertising their 'innovative combat tech' called VATZ, with Liam Neeson's unknown body-double from Star Wars doing a key NPC's voiceover - except, once more, with better dialogue, quest design, C+C and personality:)

I'm only semi-skeptical about this news. At least the developers have managed to pull off good NPC schedules and an immersive world before, and everything they've said seems to be pleading 'please forget G3 ever happened. We're trying to make it like G2, honest!' My main concern isn't actually lying hype - they aren't promising anything that they haven't previously delivered - but that the obligatory next-gen tech and stream-lined, i.e. dumbed-down, gameplay will ruin any underlying talent.
 
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Marquess Cornwallis said:
For a "fan of RPGs and an avid gamer", Daniel sounds a little over-enthusiastic over features that were all there in the original Gothic.
I'm hardly a person to say no to a good Gothic game, but I've yet to hear about a single substantial feature that's unique to Risen (monster re-branding doesn't count, neither does making the nameless hero look metrosexual).

That's actually my biggest source of hope for the game. That they've actually pulled off this stuff before, and aren't promising things they can't deliver. Of course, that doesn't mean they can't screw it up. [sigh]
 

ElectricOtter

Guest
Re: The Two Most Important Factors For Organic Virtual World

Azrael the cat said:
ElectricOtter said:
Edward_R_Murrow said:
Sometimes Risen doesn’t feel like an RPG but more like a medieval fantasy simulation because of the dense and authentic atmosphere.
Bull-fucking-shit. I have never played a RPG after Morrowind that has totally and utterly immersed me in the game world. It's okay if they hype a game up a bit, as long as it's good, but that's just a flat out lie.

AFTER Morrowind? So did you player Gothic 2 before then? Confused how you could like Morrowind's world, but not think that G2's was immersive. It's basically Morrowind with C+C, good quest design, ok dialogue and personality.
Sorry, should have worded that better. Yeah, I played Gothic 2 before I played Morrowind. I'm weird like that.
 

Shannow

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Re: The Two Most Important Factors For Organic Virtual World

Azrael the cat said:
Given their track record I'm seriously amazed that Risen isn't turning out to be a post-apocalyptic 'I-can't-believe-it's-not-FO3' game, advertising their 'innovative combat tech' called VATZ, with Liam Neeson's unknown body-double from Star Wars doing a key NPC's voiceover - except, once more, with better dialogue, quest design, C+C and personality:)
????????? Track record of copying Beth????????
What?????
The only way Beth "might" have influenced PB was in the excessive focus on graphics, "huge" worlds and "streamlining" gameplay for G3. But considering that all the industry was yapping (and sadly still is) about that, one can hardly speak of copying. Much less of a track record of copying.
The games had nothing in common. They had different settings/gameplay/char-dev systems/dialogue/story/lore/races/monsters... basically everything apart from exploration, swords and magic. And even that was done in completely different ways.
So:
WTF??????????????????????
 

poocolator

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unintrusive user interface and NPC schedules
Hmmm... they tried this in Oblivion and it didn't go down too well. In fact, it was proof that NPC schedules don't add to realism at all, unless you're not supposed to be interacting with the NPCs, but rather watching them scurry about in the background. It would have worked in... say... the city screen for HoMM 5.

What these game developers strive for is a world you'd never get bored of because there's always something new to try out and people to interact with, a world that is inexhaustible. What they don't get is that unless it's a MMORPG, then it's supposed to be exhaustible; you are supposed to ditch it after completing it, or go through again trying a different approach. You're not supposed to hang around and interact with NPC's, ad nauseum, because they're shit and their schedules are a joke. Either develop something revolutionary or fuck off.
 

shardspin

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Actually, Gothic 1 and 2 had NPC schedules and it was a main factor contributing to the unique atmosphere. They didn't overdid it because they seemed to have realized that there is a limit to what you can do with this and that you only need very little (small scripts are enough) to accomplish having the illusion of a "breathing world". They also had minimalistic UIs, but a quick slotbar is defnitely too much - this might mean that potions play a larger role in Risen, which could be game-breaking.

I'd estimate the propabilty that Risen will suck (compared to Gothic 1 and 2) to about 10-30%.
 

DraQ

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Re: No.

Elzair said:
I agree that those two elements are important

No, they are not important.

Beneficial, yes, but not important. They are somewhere around FPP and RT in terms of immersion building (admittedly, schedules, even as vacuous as in OB, rank higher in terms of gameplay opportunities) - they help immersion when used right, but there are so many other things that are so much more important, that it's hard to imagine the case where anyone would fucking care.

It's easier to get 'immersed' in a game where interface is non-intrusive - same as with the game that doesn't force you to watch action from any unnatural point other than inside the PC's head or game where combat isn't artificially chopped into discrete chunks with elaborate rules to circumvent unnatural and lulzy exploits resulting from such unnatural and lulzy mechanics.

Then again, the immersion is made or broken by other things, more relevant to the creation of the world player tries to get immersed in, and those low-level immersion helpers don't really matter in the long run, especially given that player already does use intrusive interface in the form of keyboard and mouse (or pad if he's a consoletard we all so despise) anyway, which provide a very different input method than actually running around using your legs, looking around using your head and eyes, or swinging your sword using your arms.

Bottom line - if you can get immersed in a book, which has even more intrusive interface, doesn't necessarily use FPP and I can swear that combat descriptions in Temeraire books felt suspiciously turn-based, you can begin throwing tomatoes* at misguided author.

*) canned tomatoes preferable due to possibly mind altering effects of head injury - even though hope is slim.
 

kris

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Re: The Two Most Important Factors For Organic Virtual World

Edward_R_Murrow said:
Even the monsters take a nap at night in the woods which kind of leads to strange situation when you’re stumbling over a sleeping boar in the pitch dark night during a short stroll in the woods nearby.

A boar isn't a monster.
 

kris

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Re: The Two Most Important Factors For Organic Virtual World

ElectricOtter said:
Edward_R_Murrow said:
Sometimes Risen doesn’t feel like an RPG but more like a medieval fantasy simulation because of the dense and authentic atmosphere.
Bull-fucking-shit. I have never played a RPG after Morrowind that has totally and utterly immersed me in the game world. It's okay if they hype a game up a bit, as long as it's good, but that's just a flat out lie.

Morrowind have a nice setting, but flat or non-people NPCs.
 

shardspin

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I think immersion is not really created through different aspects, but that it is the feeling which is left after substracting the immersion breaking aspects. Afterall, you are willing to immersive yourself in the medium by choosing it. That is why books are more immersive than interactive fiction, where you are often constantly reminded that your using an interface. Or why a continous simple casual game can be more immersive than a high end shooter.

But when playing more complex games and especially role playing games, that to some extent strive to simulate real world behaviours, it is inevitable that at some point you will notice aspects that are immersion breaking. And in my opinion the first two Gothics did a very good job at slowing down this progress.
 

DraQ

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shardspin said:
That is why books are more immersive than interactive fiction, where you are often constantly reminded that your using an interface.
No, books are more immersive because they are not restricted by arbitrary mechanics and story tailored to the gameplay.

The more intuitive (not in gamer's terms) and hidden the mechanics becomes and the less the storytelling will use typical game-y filler, the more immersive the game will be.

Have you ever encountered a lousy fantasy novel that read as if it was a PnP session transcript? This is the very problem that plagues interactive fiction and needs to be demolished.

Or why a continous simple casual game can be more immersive than a high end shooter.
Wait what?
 

Raapys

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Personally I always thought the best thing about the Gothic games was the world design itself. NPC schedules and such helped alot obviously, but the way they've created the entire world by hand in 3DStudioMax is simply amazing. It's alot more impressive than Morrowind/Oblivion's copy-paste thing where they just placed pre-made objects around the world, and you can definitely tell the difference when playing the Gothic games.
 

poocolator

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It's easier to get immersed in a game if NPCs have actual dialogue with the player. Schedules add another dimension of bugs and game-breakers to sort out, if not done correctly-- they never are; those schedules never add "immersion" to the game because they just don't have the same effect as good dialogue. Playing a game where both are done right sounds like a wet dream of mien.

In taking shortcuts to excuse their "Freeform/Sandbox" world, Bethesda implemented a very shitty schedule system for very shitty NPCs.
 

DraQ

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poocolator said:
It's easier to get immersed in a game if NPCs have actual dialogue with the player. Schedules add another dimension of bugs and game-breakers to sort out, if not done correctly-- they never are; those schedules never add "immersion" to the game because they just don't have the same effect as good dialogue. Playing a game where both are done right sounds like a wet dream of mien.

In taking shortcuts to excuse their "Freeform/Sandbox" world, Bethesda implemented a very shitty schedule system for very shitty NPCs.
Even this shitty system enriched the gameplay significantly (hey, you could stab people in their sleep) and was better than it's abscence.

OB, however is all the proof one needs, that neither schedules, nor unobstructive interface don't make (or break) teh immershun - as any relevance they might have was crushed by a steaming pile the rest of the game was - from retarded dialogue, through transparent level scaling, unconvincing everything, to extremely dull game-world and broken lore.

It's as if giant anus appeared in the sky and took a huge dump on TES (and Todd saw that it was good, for he was secretly a scatophile).
 

Chefe

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DraQ said:
scatophile

I'm glad scat is now associated with scat. It truly was one of the worst musical stylings ever conceived, and was probably the first "decline" in music. It is fitting that its legacy lives on in such a putrid word.
 

poocolator

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Female09.jpg
 

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