The art of video games

Design, music, great cut scenes, fan art

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Re: The art of video games

#21  Postby Aern Rakesh » May 19, 2012 11:47 am

Wiðercora wrote:
Animavore wrote:I don't mind stories in games but I prefer when the story is woven into the game. Cut-scenes make me twitchy. I can't remember which dev said it but if you're going more than two minutes without playing something's wrong and it's a sentiment I completely agree with.
I don't like when games won't let you skip cut-scenes.


I don't mind. You know what my favourite cut-scene ever is? Right at the beginning of DX:HR, in the lift with Pritchard. Why? Hell if I know, it just is.


Is it possible, please, to post a YT video of that? For those of us not in the know?
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Re: The art of video games

#22  Postby Thommo » May 19, 2012 11:52 am

Nora_Leonard wrote:Oh, it's a fascinating discussion. And I think you're absolutely right about the 'media' presentation. But I did have to laugh because I so wanted to post that Thane/FemShep video and I could just imagine you saying "typical woman!" LOL!


Post what you like, I certainly didn't want to guilt you out of posting interesting things. :?

There's nothing wrong with the stereotype anyway (and I'm certainly not convinced you conform even if it has a basis in reality), I think the best games are the ones that blend story with novel ideas, visuals, sounds (Hearing the theme music from Final Fantasy 10 still gives me a sense of nostalgia) and gameplay. I'm with Ani and against Hepler mode though - the best story is that which is integrated in the gameplay.

Nora_Leonard wrote:So here I am experiencing a male gamer fully engaged in the story and emotionality of it. Which is not to say he doesn't enjoy the other game elements, he does.


Even here I'd want to clarify what I said before - the guy was talking about "fun" of gameplay as a source of emotion, the gal was talking about needing storytelling to create love or hate or passion.

Edit: Just to add, the tone of this seems very cold, but I can't work out how to fix it (think I'm a bit tired). Thanks for a nice thread and for your thoughts Nora. :cheers:
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Re: The art of video games

#23  Postby Wiðercora » May 19, 2012 12:09 pm

Nora_Leonard wrote:
Wiðercora wrote:
Animavore wrote:I don't mind stories in games but I prefer when the story is woven into the game. Cut-scenes make me twitchy. I can't remember which dev said it but if you're going more than two minutes without playing something's wrong and it's a sentiment I completely agree with.
I don't like when games won't let you skip cut-scenes.


I don't mind. You know what my favourite cut-scene ever is? Right at the beginning of DX:HR, in the lift with Pritchard. Why? Hell if I know, it just is.


Is it possible, please, to post a YT video of that? For those of us not in the know?


[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZ0BhUx-qn4[/youtube]

This is the opening sequence. It looks like gameplay, but you have no actual control over your character so I count it as a cut-scene.

The lift sequence is between about the 6 and 8 minute marks.
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Re: The art of video games

#24  Postby epepke » May 19, 2012 12:34 pm

Nora_Leonard wrote:Oh, it's a fascinating discussion. And I think you're absolutely right about the 'media' presentation. But I did have to laugh because I so wanted to post that Thane/FemShep video and I could just imagine you saying "typical woman!" LOL!


I doubt it's gender-related, because if it were, then I'd be female, which is assuredly not the case. I've always been interested in the storytelling and narrative aspects of games. A stint at a game company disabused me of some of my enthusiasm for making it happen, though it did give me some minor cred: http://www.metajets.com/english

There is some controversy over whether games should tell stories. The guy who wrote http://www.artemis.eochu.com/ is pretty adamantly against it.

I think there may be some gender differences, though. The Sims was the first game to get a large female audience. About that time, I saw a panel wherein Ken Perlin made a tongue-in-cheek comment. From memory, it was something like, "Computer games are good at making aliens in realistic environments where you can kill them. Now, if only we could figure out how to make aliens in realistic environments where you could make them feel really bad, women would play."

I have recently been playing the "casual" adventure games available at bigfishgames.com. There are hundreds of them, mostly made in Russia and Eastern Europe. They usually have "hidden object" scenes (some too much) which I have notices appeal more to women than to men. Most of these games have female protagonists. The settings tend toward horror gothic, with ghosts, or magical fantasy. They are universally gorgeous, and many have a higher standard of artwork than the Myst series. They have also established a certain user-interface paradigm, which I think is better than Myst. It solves some of the problems of getting lost in navigation (most games are based on a tree of locations other than a directed graph), and they finally deal with inventory in a non-confusing way.

One particularly notable example of storytelling it A Twisted Carol, which tells an alternate version of A Christmas Carol from the perspective of Marley's ghost.

I find it a bit dismissive to call these games "casual." They are shorter than Myst. One of these typically takes me one or two days to finish, while each installment in Myst took me about four days.
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Re: The art of video games

#25  Postby Aern Rakesh » May 19, 2012 2:01 pm

Thommo wrote:
Nora_Leonard wrote:Oh, it's a fascinating discussion. And I think you're absolutely right about the 'media' presentation. But I did have to laugh because I so wanted to post that Thane/FemShep video and I could just imagine you saying "typical woman!" LOL!


Post what you like, I certainly didn't want to guilt you out of posting interesting things. :?


Well you didn't and I did! (I was referring to the Warrior Angel video) :smile: Anyway you haven't sounded cold at all to me.

Thommo wrote:There's nothing wrong with the stereotype anyway (and I'm certainly not convinced you conform even if it has a basis in reality), I think the best games are the ones that blend story with novel ideas, visuals, sounds (Hearing the theme music from Final Fantasy 10 still gives me a sense of nostalgia) and gameplay. I'm with Ani and against Hepler mode though - the best story is that which is integrated in the gameplay.


I can see that for many gamers coming from games that were e.g. traditional FPS games, story elements—and especially extended cut scenes—might start to feel like intrusions. Whereas for some people coming to games now, when the graphics quality is almost cinematic (in ME3 I have to remind myself that I'm watching computer generated characters, not film actors), being able to direct the flow of the story might be the thing that most engages them. So now, after having this discussion, I really see the value in what Bioware did for ME3, i.e. allowing the player to choose whether they wanted to play in an action, story or traditional RPG mode. But again I'm saying all this without the benefit of being able to actually play it for myself.

Thommo wrote:
Nora_Leonard wrote:So here I am experiencing a male gamer fully engaged in the story and emotionality of it. Which is not to say he doesn't enjoy the other game elements, he does.


Even here I'd want to clarify what I said before - the guy was talking about "fun" of gameplay as a source of emotion, the gal was talking about needing storytelling to create love or hate or passion.


I'm not sure if this is what you meant, re: the fun of gameplay, but this was one of the most exhilarating moments in our LP, when we discovered that we could actually get the sparklie in an unconventional way. You don't have to watch the whole video, but the relevant bit starts around the 3:30 mark. (I should point out that I got bossed around a lot! But this particular part of the game was really spooky when I had to do it by myself and didn't have Sven there to distract me.)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUlxd0d46vc[/youtube]
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Re: The art of video games

#26  Postby Aern Rakesh » May 19, 2012 2:23 pm

Wiðercora wrote:
This is the opening sequence. It looks like gameplay, but you have no actual control over your character so I count it as a cut-scene.

The lift sequence is between about the 6 and 8 minute marks.


Thanks. I had to watch it twice because I got distracted when he disappeared (i.e. it switched to first person view). For a while there I thought he was supposed to be a ghost! Anyway, I went away and read a bit about it in wiki and then watched it again and I can see what you mean, it is a nice sequence.
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Re: The art of video games

#27  Postby Aern Rakesh » May 19, 2012 2:51 pm

epepke wrote:There is some controversy over whether games should tell stories. The guy who wrote http://www.artemis.eochu.com/ is pretty adamantly against it.


To me it seems inevitable. Or at least an inevitable possibility. I mean once graphics and desktop technology had improved, the imagination was bound to seize on possibilities. So there you've got someone like Aislinn Trista taking captures of what is already a cinematic game and telling a story with it, a different story.

In fact I wanted to do that with the Myst Online environment and with specially created avatars. This partly came about because we'd do practice runs and for those we had special avatars that were named after characters in books we are each writing. (We did this so we could run round the city and Sven's YouTube fans wouldn't come up and interrupt us as we were doing a practice run.) In the end we only did two videos 'in character', the first and the last.

epepke wrote:I think there may be some gender differences, though. The Sims was the first game to get a large female audience. About that time, I saw a panel wherein Ken Perlin made a tongue-in-cheek comment. From memory, it was something like, "Computer games are good at making aliens in realistic environments where you can kill them. Now, if only we could figure out how to make aliens in realistic environments where you could make them feel really bad, women would play."

:lol: That reminded me again of Matt, whose blind LPs of all the ME games I've watched. So he'll get all choked during an emotional scene like that death I mentioned, but then in ME2 when they're driving the Firewalker round on that planet with the cow like creatures he's blasting them all away with the Firewalker's guns, to the point that the vehicle's own VI starts to say "they're just helpless herbivores!"

epepke wrote:I have recently been playing the "casual" adventure games available at bigfishgames.com. There are hundreds of them, mostly made in Russia and Eastern Europe. They usually have "hidden object" scenes (some too much) which I have notices appeal more to women than to men. Most of these games have female protagonists. The settings tend toward horror gothic, with ghosts, or magical fantasy. They are universally gorgeous, and many have a higher standard of artwork than the Myst series. They have also established a certain user-interface paradigm, which I think is better than Myst. It solves some of the problems of getting lost in navigation (most games are based on a tree of locations other than a directed graph), and they finally deal with inventory in a non-confusing way.

One particularly notable example of storytelling it A Twisted Carol, which tells an alternate version of A Christmas Carol from the perspective of Marley's ghost.

I find it a bit dismissive to call these games "casual." They are shorter than Myst. One of these typically takes me one or two days to finish, while each installment in Myst took me about four days.


Thanks for pointing me to that. I see they have Mac games, so I might give some a go.
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Re: The art of video games

#28  Postby Matt8819 » May 19, 2012 9:22 pm

Another amazing game, this time more from the soundtrack and narration. Gameplay is somewhere between very good and great, and the art style is just as incredible as Limbo, but in a totally different way. The game itself is up in my top ten, maybe top 5 all time, but the soundtrack...is amazing. Almost the best soundtrack ever written. It's been obsessed about in other threads, but here it is again.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8cELTdtw6U[/youtube]
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Re: The art of video games

#29  Postby paceetrate » May 20, 2012 7:10 am

Okami's in the exhibit (I'm going to go see it this July! :D) but I'll post this here anyway, since it's one of my absolute favorite games.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XMg9V7he24[/youtube]

And Monster Hunter never gets enough recognition in the west. ;P


[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvcqtPpvk8w[/youtube]
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47DKoSDeOUQ[/youtube]

And one of the most underrated rpg's ever.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lB0b0fHbAY[/youtube]

Suffered from voice acting that ranged from meh to B-grade horror movie so-bad-it's-good, but that was really it's only severe weakness. The story was good, the soundtrack was awesome, the visuals were gorgeous for a Gamecube game, had a card based battling system that not only didn't suck, but was actually tied into the story in a meaningful way... and not in a "everyone plays this game and our entire society is built around it for some bizarre reason now strive to the best!" pokemon style story that just about every other card-based game used. AND, also used an immersion trick I have never seen done before or since: breaking the 4th wall as an integral part of the story, not as a one-off gimmick like Psycho Mantis in Metal Gear Solid or for the sake of humor. Unlike most games where you take on the role of the main character, in Baten Kaitos you are not the main character Kalas, you are his guardian spirit, and he will routinely break the 4th wall to talk to you and ask for advice and input. There is even a point in the game where, not to give too many spoilers, you are... um... forcibly removed from Kalas, and the game mimics your TV fading to static and then turning off.
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Re: The art of video games

#30  Postby VazScep » May 22, 2012 1:36 pm

epepke wrote:There is some controversy over whether games should tell stories. The guy who wrote http://www.artemis.eochu.com/ is pretty adamantly against it.
Jonathan Blow, the master of condescending time-travel games, highlights some problems with story-telling in games: http://youtu.be/mGTV8qLbBWE

I'm pretty sympathetic to what he's saying. I think the point for me is that, if I want an absorbing narrative game, I the player have to work with it, and so the obligation of the game designer is to make sure I can do that in a way that is intuitive, predictable and consistent. Deus Ex failed for me, not because I could carry an American flag around with me everywhere I went, but because the only consistent model I have of the main character is one where I side with the government over the terrorists.
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Re: The art of video games

#31  Postby Varangian » May 22, 2012 5:15 pm

Thommo wrote:One of things that instantly caught my eye in that video was the completely polar attitudes of the male and female commentators, propounded in these quotes:

0:22 "One of the things that's really fun with games is the whole idea of the playful mind and how can we make games surprise you."
1:16 "You don't need technology to create feelings and love and fear and hate and passion, you need great storytelling."

I don't know if it's stereotyping, but it's not the first time I've noticed this gender difference in attitudes and I find it intriguing, especially in the example of "Hepler syndrome", and the backlash against it.

I don't think those two comments are mutually exclusive. Storytelling can enhance the tech, and the tech can enhance the storytelling. Striking the right balance between the two is what sometimes make or break a game. That being said, I think most gamers are more tolerant of lacklustre tech than an unengaging story.
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Re: The art of video games

#32  Postby Thommo » May 22, 2012 5:19 pm

Varangian wrote:
Thommo wrote:One of things that instantly caught my eye in that video was the completely polar attitudes of the male and female commentators, propounded in these quotes:

0:22 "One of the things that's really fun with games is the whole idea of the playful mind and how can we make games surprise you."
1:16 "You don't need technology to create feelings and love and fear and hate and passion, you need great storytelling."

I don't know if it's stereotyping, but it's not the first time I've noticed this gender difference in attitudes and I find it intriguing, especially in the example of "Hepler syndrome", and the backlash against it.

I don't think those two comments are mutually exclusive. Storytelling can enhance the tech, and the tech can enhance the storytelling. Striking the right balance between the two is what sometimes make or break a game. That being said, I think most gamers are more tolerant of lacklustre tech than an unengaging story.


I'm not quite sure what you mean by tech here. Maybe something has been lost in translation, the first comment relates to fun/playfulness rather than technical prefection. Perhaps you can clarify?
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Re: The art of video games

#33  Postby Varangian » May 22, 2012 6:20 pm

OK. If that first comment was more on the entertainment aspect instead of technical solutions that makes the game more playable, then making a game fun doesn't have to mean that storytelling is sacrificed. Most succesful games combine fun gameplay with good storytelling. Take for example Portal, where you have both a challenge in terms of problem solving and a storyline that reveals more and more, making the game personal despite playing a character who cannot be improved and who is silent all the time.
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Re: The art of video games

#34  Postby Thommo » May 22, 2012 6:35 pm

Varangian wrote:OK. If that first comment was more on the entertainment aspect instead of technical solutions that makes the game more playable, then making a game fun doesn't have to mean that storytelling is sacrificed. Most succesful games combine fun gameplay with good storytelling. Take for example Portal, where you have both a challenge in terms of problem solving and a storyline that reveals more and more, making the game personal despite playing a character who cannot be improved and who is silent all the time.


Oh yes, I think in general the best AAA games do successfully combine the two elements, but they definitely represent two different approaches to the problem, and one approach or the other will clearly be the primary appeal to some people.

Of the two elements only one can be dispensed with, while still remaining to be a video game though (in my opinion), you can have highly enjoyable games like Braid, Mario, PGA tour golf etc. that have no writing or story worth speaking of. I suppose to some extent the opposite extreme would just be a CGI film, but without the interactive element it's not a game, and as long as both elements are present mediocre writing is a lot more forgivable than mediocre game mechanics and level design.
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