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 @CraigBamford  @Fluffy776 Granted, it is just another form of library building as well. I've often bought books, not touched them for two years, and then when some association comes up and I need to read about it, I realise I've got just the right book sitting on the shelf. Not exactly the same thing - you don't necessarily play a game to look something up - but I guess you see my point.

1 year, 10 months ago on Downtime is disappearing in modern games. Is that really a good thing?

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 @CraigBamford  @Fluffy776 Another point of possible competition might be *within* gaming. It seems that with the advent of heavy sales and lower-priced indies we can buy a lot more games for our bucks, and they're just sitting there on the (virtual) shelf waiting for us to get bored with whatever we're currently playing. 

1 year, 10 months ago on Downtime is disappearing in modern games. Is that really a good thing?

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I take Carr's claims with a HUGE grain of salt. I've been PC-ing for ~twenty years, internetting for ~fifteen and I read more books than ever - two a week on average. Granted, that's anecdotal evidence, and there are sometimes distractions from our fast-paced information culture, but "I can't read books" seems like a different problem altogether, and might have more to do with the fact the reading, like gaming, is something you have to "get into". It takes practice.That said, lots of valid points about design! 

1 year, 10 months ago on Downtime is disappearing in modern games. Is that really a good thing?

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Excellent point! The key to making immsersive RPGs (and other worlds), if that's your aim, is to pay attention to the obvious, the things you might overlook. Eating and drinking can be some the great joys in life (our sources of revulsion), and that can be exploited on a very emotional level. All you need is some good descriptions.

 

Just noticed for the first time this week that there's a merchant in Planescape: Torment who sells a selection of outlandish foods, and you can just try them out for the heck of it - no effects at all. And of course the magic candies!

 

I keep mentioning this, but I always love the fact that in Baldur's Gate, there are over a dozen kinds of gemstones. Of course their primary use is to turn them into cash, but simply that they're there and that there are variants is a lovely touch of detail, and easy to implement. Of course, their use as ingredients in item enchantments is also present, and nice.

1 year, 10 months ago on Eating in a game should mean more than just food

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A significant parallel you draw here, thank you.

 

Many of us (I hope) have been thinking about the nature of violence in games for quite a while. Part of the problem might be that 'enemies' in games are very often set pieces in a game design that have only one particular function: obstacles to overcome. Multi-path / non-lethal design approaches sidestep this issue, offering a less or non-violent solution to overcome these (living) obstacles, but the core remains the same.

 

More nuanced are, for example, characters like Zevran in Dragon Age, who is first an obstacle only, but can become an ally through conversation and mercy. That said, this again sidesteps the consequences of violence should you choose to treat him as an obstacle rather than a potential friend. Like in almost all RPGs, you can safely dispose of enemies (even potential friends like him) without significant repercussions in the game world, other than a (minor) change in approval rating from your current companions.I'm currently playing The Walking Dead, where things are perhaps a bit different. Conflict between the human characters is tense and suspenseful - everyone is a potential ally *or* a potential enemy. Even the generic enemies - the zombies - are at times treated as more than just something to stick your hatchet in. There are numerous occasions where zombies are (re)humanised, forcing you as a player to consider the appropriateness of violence in different situations. I think The Walking Dead deserves (and will likely soon get) more study from this angle.

1 year, 11 months ago on At the Intersection of Police Brutality and Vigilante Tourism in Games

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 @sortiv Is it really that much of a different beast? The examples you mention yes, perhaps. All the same, no matter the nature of the fictional religion, the game is making a statement - implicit or explicit - about religion in the real world, by virtue of the comparison players will inevitably make.

 

The Chantry in Dragon Age, with its prophets and missionary attitude towards other races, seems little more than a veiled commentary on Christianity (or even Islam?). As such, it can be considered as an almost direct depiction of real-world religion. If other players notice the same parallel as I did, the game will have made a statement about Christianity all the same. Or am I reading too much into it?

1 year, 11 months ago on The depiction of religion in games is awful for non-religious and religious alike

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Thanks, interesting topic to bring up. Two thoughts: 

 

First, apart from it being easier to work with fuzzy depictions - if any - might it be that a majority of game designers aren't familiar enough with religion, or the religion that they could depict in their game, to do it justice? Are there any statistics on the religiosity of designers and other people in the industry?

 

Second: what criteria of quality would we pose for the depiction of fictional religions? How well fleshed-out do they have to be? I'm thinking of the whole spectrum from the generally polytheistic 'mythology-is-real' leanings in D&D settings like Forgotten Realms and Planescape to the cynical depiction of The Chantry in Dragon Age. Are there any good studies on these?

 

See also this series on religion in sci-fi by @spiralchris : http://onlyagame.typepad.com/only_a_game/2009/06/religion-in-science-fiction.html

1 year, 11 months ago on The depiction of religion in games is awful for non-religious and religious alike

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