It's the best game ever!

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ClymAngus
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It's the best game ever!

Post by ClymAngus » Tue Nov 15, 2016 12:20 pm

I've been watching WAY too many let's plays and steam play throughs than is healthy. And it has occurred to me that the games industry is slowly feeling around for the "perfect" Sci-fi game. A lot of people are trying to find it but falling down on one thing or the other so my question is two fold really:

1) What would the Perfect sci-fi game have in it?

2) Why hasn't it been made yet?

Personally I really like the build mechanic and survival aspects of Space engineers.
No mans sky looks excellent world generation wise.
Elite (for my money has a good trading system)
And something like limit theory or dangerous for the sheer number of worlds.
Eve does get a mention for allowing humans to be humans (basically taking great joy in being a bunch of a-moral c***s to each other)

No one is the whole package however. I think this is because a lot of people want a lot of things from an "ultimate game" and some of these wants run in polar opposite to each other.

Sandboxes are all well and good but no sandbox user wants to spend weeks building a ship just to have it torn apart by the nearest twelve year old with an ichy trigger finger.
In the same vein the dakka-dakka boys and girls will loose their sh*t if they have to spend weeks building a craft. Sure you can go high and low sec on this but that's an unsatisfactory solution at best. Some like their constructive utopia and some their destructive dystopia and the two DON'T MIX!

In short the more real you try and make it the more frustrating it becomes and the less like a game it is. I was toying around layers of games but the more I think about it the more checks and measures you'd need to stop every other "goon squad" stuffing the peaceful moisture farmers and stealing their stuff. At which point all the moisture farmers sod off and your left with just another Dakka-dakka fest. It's tricky.

What do you all think. Is it insurmountable?

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Re: It's the best game ever!

Post by Disembodied » Tue Nov 15, 2016 4:34 pm

ClymAngus wrote:Is it insurmountable?
I think what is perhaps insurmountable is the creation of any massively multiplayer game, in any genre, that isn't either plagued with griefers, or - to dissuade griefing - made so realistically deadly that the life expectancy of anyone doing bold, exciting things would be best measured in minutes. MMOs will always fail to live up to their promises, I fear.
ClymAngus wrote:Some like their constructive utopia and some their destructive dystopia and the two DON'T MIX!
That pretty much sums it up! The only sane solution is to go single-player, or possibly to allow some form of play restricted to user-defined groups - either co-operative or competitive. No single game will ever satisfy all types of player: as with any art form, the really important decisions when designing a game are what to leave out, not what to include.

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Re: It's the best game ever!

Post by cim » Tue Nov 15, 2016 6:38 pm

I would agree that it's not been made because it's impossible - and furthermore, that of major commercial releases Elite Dangerous is the only one that gets even slightly close, even with its well known and lesser known flaws, because everyone else is looking at how difficult the problem is and picking something easier where you could get ten times the sales for less effort.

The major problem I think is the scale problem (as repeatedly discussed on this forum...) - there's no point in setting it in space if you don't use that to have something approaching space-like scales, but if you do that what you mostly end up with is mostly really dull by volume, so then fitting interesting gameplay on top of it becomes an issue.

You end up with some massive compromises between "space is big" and "you can get from one bit of action to the next in less than a month of play" that are never going to keep everyone happy, and it's going to be tough to even keep one person happy all the time - which get even tougher if the game is multiplayer and you want people to be able to meet up at all. (On the other hand, the scale can make it easier to "solve" the problem of aggressive players by making it vanishingly unlikely you'll ever meet one).

Add on to that the different priorities for "things to do in space" - is it about flying a spaceship as in Elite-likes, is it about commanding a spaceship, or is it as much about the economic side (X series, for example, or EVE)? Fitting all three into the same game is really tricky. Then add on "planets are in space so you should be able to visit them" as a requirement and it gets horrendously messy.

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Re: It's the best game ever!

Post by Redspear » Wed Nov 16, 2016 11:49 am

When I was knee high to a grasshopper etc. I used to dream of combining the planet surface goings on of Mercenary (more wireframe shenanigans) and Starship Enterprise (long range scanners and tactical navigation); I wanted a bunch of other stuff too but I thought that those three would make a fairly rich experience that wasn't jarring.
ClymAngus wrote:Some like their constructive utopia and some their destructive dystopia and the two DON'T MIX!
Doesn't that just depend on who's winning? Tetris, Civilisation, etc rely (in part) upon the conflict between the two, even Solitaire relies on an inherent difficulty in 'building' something in order to make it rewarding when the player succeeds.

One thing that the original elite 'promised' but didn't quite deliver was freedom of role: trader, pirate, bounty hunter, miner, the player was still steered rather heavily to doing some trading and if you didn't like that then the game got less interesting. So crafting, exploring and the like should IMHO be there if you want them rather than essential play elements.
Disembodied wrote:the creation of any massively multiplayer game, in any genre, that isn't either plagued with griefers, or - to dissuade griefing - made so realistically deadly that the life expectancy of anyone doing bold, exciting things would be best measured in minutes.
An entire galaxy offers (or perhaps should) a go anywhere, do anything 'sandbox' and could also offer varying difficulty and challenge. Like trading but you really struggle with and even dislike combat? A heavily policed area should suit you. Like a spot of piracy but don't want so many police around making it difficult? Why can't there be an area that meets your needs? These two areas may not mix in the sense that they are near opposites and yet the galaxy is a big place, does not the presence of one enrich the other?

I'm not really a fan of MMOs but if you could really get the non-player elements to be varied and interesting then roles that might be tedious to play (ineffective police, 'sitting duck' traders etc.) can be provided effectively. Not challenging enough? Head somewhere else. Too tough? Head elsewhere. I appreciate that I'm being somewhat simplistic here but I don't think it needs to be so complex.

Conflict is the basis of most games - whether between players directly or between player(s) and obstacles/difficulties; without this conflict we lose something in terms of reward.
cim wrote:You end up with some massive compromises between "space is big" and "you can get from one bit of action to the next in less than a month of play" that are never going to keep everyone happy, and it's going to be tough to even keep one person happy all the time - which get even tougher if the game is multiplayer and you want people to be able to meet up at all.
I agree that the 'meeting up' thing presents particular challenges. IIRC 'solo' play in the new Elite game requires you to be indirectly subject to the actions of other players, you just don't meet them. Then there's 'normal' play in which you could meet anyone. Isn't there also 'just you and your mates'?

You could be given a free pass (almost) to any system a friend is in - would need some balancing but it needn't destroy the 'space is big' idea. Elite Dangerous seems to be creating lots of 'unique' points of interest so that everyone and his dog wants to go there in the same week, that presents other issues.

In truth, to keep everyone happy, you probably need to offer everything. The closest we have to that is real life and yet not everyone is happy.

It's only 'impossible' until someone actually does it, the 'fact' that they haven't suggests it may well be impractical. I suspect however that may have more to do with the nature of happiness than with game design itself.
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Re: It's the best game ever!

Post by Cody » Wed Nov 16, 2016 12:33 pm

I know nothing about art game design, but I know what I like!
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Re: It's the best game ever!

Post by Cody » Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:24 pm

Certainly interesting - and I'm inclined to agree. Mind you, I have no experience of VR - nor do I wish to.


Were there 'rules-of-engagement' on Star Trek's various holo-decks? <thinks Voyager - yawns>
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Re: It's the best game ever!

Post by Disembodied » Fri Nov 25, 2016 4:11 pm

I think the holodeck was entirely fine with players murdering people … of course, it could be relied on to "go wrong" and try to murder players every other week, but everyone had so much fun they never, ever learned.

I have minimal experience of VR - playing with a great big 3D view of the solar system, as part of a museum exhibit. Fun while it lasted, but hardly immersive. As technology improves, though - even leaving out a (still fictional) whole-sensorium you-can't-tell-the-difference brain plug - it's going to get more and more real-seeming.

Technology has always developed faster than our ability to socialise it. Although just as it's true that killing pixels is easy, it's also true that it's often oddly easy to empathise with pixels, too.

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Re: It's the best game ever!

Post by Cody » Fri Nov 25, 2016 4:33 pm

Disembodied wrote:Technology has always developed faster than our ability to socialise it.
Didn't take long to socialise digital watches. <grins>
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Re: It's the best game ever!

Post by ClymAngus » Fri Nov 25, 2016 4:38 pm

Battlefield highlights:

A) Putting semtex round a sniper, running in front of him and blowing him up as he draws a bead on you.
B) Strapping anti-tank mines to a hummer and driving it at a tank
C) Creeping up behind anyone and pull off their dogtags with the twist of the knife you've just used to stab them in the throat.

What do you mean "we'll soon get to kill people virtually" we're already doing it in the most despicable and inhumanly taunting ways and we've been doing it for about a decade now.
We're turned virtual death into a intercontinental "F**k you" delivered directly to someone's monitor.

And when we come up with a NEW way of giving someone the finger from the bowels of the internet, we record it, post it, turn it into hits and slap ourselves on the back for being "a bit clever". It will continue to get worse as long as there is money in it.

What I'm waiting for is for someone cottoning onto the staging power of virtual reality. We've programmed in the capacity to do this and this and this and this...... But you don't HAVE to.
Don't want to throw a baby out the window? You don't have too. But you could.......... We've programmed the dynamics.

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Re: It's the best game ever!

Post by Disembodied » Fri Nov 25, 2016 4:57 pm

ClymAngus wrote:What do you mean "we'll soon get to kill people virtually" we're already doing it in the most despicable and inhumanly taunting ways and we've been doing it for about a decade now.
I take your point, but I would contend that there is a difference between doing this on a monitor in what is obviously your own bedroom, and experiencing it more viscerally via VR. Although that said there are drone pilots sitting with gamepads watching monitors killing real people, too …

All that said, even non-VR games can provoke feelings of guilt: see for example Surviving at Any Cost: Guilt Expression Following Extreme Ethical Conflicts in a Virtual Setting, based on the survival horror game DayZ - a game where death is much more meaningful, in that killed players lose everything and start again from scratch:
As a result, user behaviors tend to be more realistic: they can choose to either attack other characters, or team up with them in order to increase their own chances at survival. Betrayal is common, selfish behaviors can be observed on a regular basis, and so can acts of altruism and loyalty.

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Re: It's the best game ever!

Post by Alex » Sat Nov 26, 2016 8:21 pm

ClymAngus wrote: In short the more real you try and make it the more frustrating it becomes and the less like a game it is.
Ye, where is the fun in reality? I've been playing Oolite since 1.65

I play coz I have fun. Newton, Go have a nap. Einstein, join Newton and have a laugh.

Tis but a game that has lasted decades.

If you want it 'real' go play Elite.
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If you do not see "Press Space" more often than you want.. Your not trying!

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Re: It's the best game ever!

Post by Astrobe » Sun Nov 27, 2016 9:50 am

ClymAngus wrote: What do you mean "we'll soon get to kill people virtually" we're already doing it in the most despicable and inhumanly taunting ways and we've been doing it for about a decade now.
We're turned virtual death into a intercontinental "F**k you" delivered directly to someone's monitor.
That's why I dislike history-based or realistic games. Things like Battlefields or Call Of Duty. I find it disrespectful to make a game of real wars or terrorism (CoD). But maybe it's just me. I only play FPS games that have a fantasy setting: you don't kill people, you eliminate avatars.

That's why I also dislike competitive multi-player. Too often they are played by young people that are in that stage of their life where they build their alpha-male status. Oh well, since it's all virtual nobody gets physically harmed. But that's really exhausting at times; it wakes bad instincts, especially when you're a sore loser like me - something I discovered when I started playing multi-player games; I naïvely believed I was a nice guy.

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