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Disputorium => English => Thema gestartet von: Melan am 16. August 2013, 13:56:39

Titel: It is for your own good: How Thief 4 is being optimised for maximum fun
Beitrag von: Melan am 16. August 2013, 13:56:39
So, Thief 4, the sequel to the ground-breaking and influential PC stealth game is coming, and - among other things - the ability to jump outside of designer-approved places has been put on the chopping block. Why, you ask? Because it is more fun that way, and - get this! - the old method of allowing you to jump where and how you liked was a broken, outdated feature that had to go. All for you, Dear Beloved Customer!

Here is what (http://forums.eidosgames.com/showpost.php?p=1943475&postcount=399) the publisher's community rep has to say (emphasis mine, note how familiar it is):
Zitat
LOL! Everybody needs to calm down and relax.

This is such a non-issue. You can absolutely jump and move through the world fluidly and freely. The game has been designed specifically to achieve this goal. You're looking at this like you're losing a feature, but the reality is that you're gaining dozens more.

Anybody claiming the game will somehow be ruined because you can't free jump, when there is no reason to be jumping, would have to agree that Gran Tourismo is ruined because you can't choose to pop the trunk - right? No, of course not.

Saying that immersion is broken because of the absence of a feature allowing you to physically break out of character is akin to dividing by zero. Garrett would never randomly hop, skip and jump through the world. He just wouldn't. Honestly, if you need to spam the jump button continually for no reason to truly feel immersed a game, or need to be able to randomly pop yourself into the air like a grasshopper with the hiccups - then hell, maybe Thief isn't for you. But, check out Team Fortress 2 - it's free to play and you'll probably love it!

As someone who has played the game more than anybody else outside of the dev team, I can assure you that free jumping would ruin immersion. Pogo hopping through the world like a shop manequin on a spring would seem incredibly out of place, dated and overly simplistic within the context of the rest of the rich and tactile mechanics that have been created soley to make you feel like a Master Thief slipping through the world.

Like I said yesterday, this is not tomb raider, this is not The Last of Us, this is not an early 2000's game with cheesy pre-programmed hot spots. Forget what you know about the word "contextual" - it's been turned into a dirty word of late, but don't make the mistake of judging Thief on how "contextual" actions have been handled in other, completely unrelated games.

Consider that this only has become an 'issue' on the forums here after someone quoted a snippet of a text interview. It was never brought up when you guys first saw the E3 gameplay footage. Nor was it ever brought up as an issue by any of the journalists who played the game - including the few more 'critical' reports. MT didn't even scream bloody murder or beg the team to change the feature after he played the game. Why? For 1 very simple reason: It's just not an issue. Nobody felt restricted. Nobody felt they were missing anything. Chances are when you're finally playing the game, neither will you!

You can't free jump just for no reason - but you can jump whenever and wherever you need to jump. It's fluid. It's slick. You tap the jump button in the EXACT same way, with the exact same timing as if you had a free jump. In fact, if you weren't told that you couldn't free jump, and only tried to jump when you needed to jump to, you would have NO idea that you couldn't bunny hop around like convulsing jack-in-the-box. It's only when you tap the jump button while standing in the middle of a room with nothing to jump on that you DON'T jump.

So, I hear you asking, what happens when you DO press the jump button, but there is nothing to jump on?

You SWOOP!

It's AWESOME - just like a very small dash.
In fact, if Garrett didn't hunker down to avoid being seen, you would say that it feels like a jump, in a way (be clear: It is NOT a jump). The swoop is used to empower stealth gameplay, and can be used in any direction - forwards, backwards, side to side. You can even rotate/change direction while you're swooping. It cannot be spammed for a continual speed boost. It offers total freedom and mobility, completely aligned with the movement and grace of a master thief who makes his living by sneaking from shadow to shadow. Those hoping for Garrett the Master River Dancer will be disappointed, everyone else has nothing to worry about.
The future is in good hands, everyone!

(Also, they removed the game's traditional factions and replaced them with an Evil Baron Running a Police State, threw out most of the game's weapons and equipment, changed the main character from a cynical and world-weary professional into a consummate eyeshadow-wearing artiste living for thr thrill of thieving, and hired someone else instead of the protagonist's usual voice actor because, I kid you not, "he could not perform the character's physical stunts". All for you! Well, except for you nostalgia-ridden Master River Dancer-wannabes and bunny-hoppers, I guess.)
Titel: Re: It is for your own good: How Thief 4 is being optimised for maximum fun
Beitrag von: MK Ultra am 16. August 2013, 18:09:23
Yes, grow up and get out of the sandbox  ???
Titel: Re: It is for your own good: How Thief 4 is being optimised for maximum fun
Beitrag von: Settembrini am 16. August 2013, 21:55:13
What is to be gained by insulting both audiences: the power gaming speed-optizers and the people wanting to just play the fucking game?
Titel: Re: It is for your own good: How Thief 4 is being optimised for maximum fun
Beitrag von: Benjamin am 17. August 2013, 08:04:47
Zitat
Honestly, if you need to spam the jump button continually for no reason to truly feel immersed a game, or need to be able to randomly pop yourself into the air like a grasshopper with the hiccups - then hell, maybe Thief isn't for you. But, check out Team Fortress 2 - it's free to play and you'll probably love it!
Publisher's community rep? Not just a drunk they found somewhere?
Titel: Re: It is for your own good: How Thief 4 is being optimised for maximum fun
Beitrag von: Melan am 17. August 2013, 18:07:46
Looking into it a bit more: in this particular case, I am starting to believe the publisher is getting desperate. Strange to see computer game fans showing more discernment than P&P roleplayers, but except for the usual circle of paid shills, Thief 4 is almost universally being savaged, and the arguments are not being bought.

(Granted, the Thief series has always had an older, less ''gamer'' fanbase.)
Titel: Re: It is for your own good: How Thief 4 is being optimised for maximum fun
Beitrag von: BoyScout am 18. August 2013, 10:20:34
for the sake of game world atmosphere it's absolutely reasonable to prevent theplayer not to jump around like an idiot. Its not about Gameplay. However, a game designer does not necessarily need a jump feature to implement a branching gameplay experience.
Doom should have told you that.
Titel: Re: It is for your own good: How Thief 4 is being optimised for maximum fun
Beitrag von: Settembrini am 18. August 2013, 16:09:50
I think "branching" is not the experience sought after. Continuum seems more like it.
Titel: Re: It is for your own good: How Thief 4 is being optimised for maximum fun
Beitrag von: alexandro am 18. August 2013, 16:43:25
It is perfectly reasonable not to include a certain option (like jumping) in a game. In the old days this didn't even need an explanation or justification from the designer. It is sad to see how the diversity of gaming is reduced in recent times, with designers trying to cram every option under the sun into the game, to "make it appeal to a broader audience" (= make the game as bland as possible).

However, while I applaud the choice of the designers not to cave in to peer pressure and include a certain feature just "because everyone else has it", I cannot ignore the fact that their PR-spokesman is acting like a colossal douche. You don't dismiss or insult Gamers who don't like or enjoy the way you designed your game. You just don't.
Titel: Re: It is for your own good: How Thief 4 is being optimised for maximum fun
Beitrag von: Melan am 18. August 2013, 17:27:13
To make it absolutely clear, this is a feature that has traditionally been an integral part of the series, one which is offering a particularly high freedom of movement, and which was originally built on the design philosophy of complex environmental interaction and exploration (with a strong vertical component). As a historical curiosity, the same company created Ultima Underworld, which was Doom's contemporary and already featured jumping. Settembrini is right to point out ''continuum'' - that's a good way to characterise the approach, since it presents situations with a lot of non-binary choices. In this context, even jumping around like an idiot has an emergent function: the sounds alert guards to your presence and draw them towards your position, while you can circle around them undetected and sneak through a previously tightly guarded checkpoint. A slightly messy, but workable approach.

So we are right back at the point where a feature gets cut, this regression is justified with an appeal to the alleged design expertise of the people working on the title, and it is repackaged as ''progress''. And this is where it is hard not to see the parallels with P&P games.
Titel: Re: It is for your own good: How Thief 4 is being optimised for maximum fun
Beitrag von: Benjamin am 18. August 2013, 19:54:23
In this context, even jumping around like an idiot has an emergent function: the sounds alert guards to your presence and draw them towards your position, while you can circle around them undetected and sneak through a previously tightly guarded checkpoint.
And that's what gamers do. Fuck immersion, fuck story.

 ;)
Titel: Re: It is for your own good: How Thief 4 is being optimised for maximum fun
Beitrag von: BoyScout am 19. August 2013, 20:11:06
no, "continuum" just like "branching gameplay experience" are both guesses. We don't know their plans for the game. I admit that it's more likely to be a continuum, that's why i said "a game designer doesn't need...." not "Squeenix doesn't need...".
I'm not even sure if there are game designers left in this company ;D

Zitat von: Melan
In this context, even jumping around like an idiot has an emergent function:
yeah, that's what i told you. It can have a (gameplay) function but that's a different term as "game world atmosphere". I can think of many functions which would enhance the gameplay complexity and none of these has anything to do with portraying a "movie like master thief". Jumping around like an idiot is one of these. So should we integrate all of them for the sake of gameplay, disregarding what we actually want to simulate? A grim, movie like master thief.

But, again: One could achieve both at the same time and this is the true art about game design.


Zitat von: Melan
And this is where it is hard not to see the parallels with P&P games.
qft. Instead of flexibility many P&P's today are "designed" around certain features and fall apart if you put freedom of choice back on table. Which happens at least.... every gaming session?
On the other side, not even classic, retro, old-School - whatever - "rules" could handle true freedom of choice without arbitrary GM interventions. So, the grail is still out there.
Titel: Re: It is for your own good: How Thief 4 is being optimised for maximum fun
Beitrag von: alexandro am 20. August 2013, 19:00:09
But, again: One could achieve both at the same time and this is the true art about game design.

True. With good games, you don't have to choose between emergent gameplay and immersion/story ("Chrono Trigger" is great in this regard).

But then, the Thief-series never was very good in any sense of the world (any game where the only way to win is the "trial'n'error-reload" combo is one that is quickly deleted from my harddrive).
Titel: Re: It is for your own good: How Thief 4 is being optimised for maximum fun
Beitrag von: BoyScout am 20. August 2013, 23:59:03
jap.

I personally lack the patience necessary to wait 2-3 mins for a npc guard to walk by anyway, so i never got into these stealth games and will never understand the fascination of doing literally nothing in a game.
Titel: Re: It is for your own good: How Thief 4 is being optimised for maximum fun
Beitrag von: Benjamin am 21. August 2013, 08:27:27
I guess you guys really loved HL2 and Portal for it's heavy mood and it's linear levels? Oh wait, you could always jump ...

If the developers of Doom had the technology for true 3D back then, they'd included jumping.

So should we integrate all of them for the sake of gameplay, disregarding what we actually want to simulate? A grim, movie like master thief.
Like with P&P adventures, if I'd wanted to share the exact story of an author with the set mood for any given situation, I'd go watch a movie or read a book. But since that's a game, I want to try stuff and explore. What else is the purpose of a game?

But, again: One could achieve both at the same time and this is the true art about game design.
There is no art in it. If at all, try Dwarf Fortress or Mount&Blade. Only, the makers are no artists, but really good game designers.

It's the same with adventures for DSA, in so many games there's always the illusion of choice. And I know some designers think this is the grail, but it's just not.

There's nothing to say against some puzzle games like Portal or FPS like HL2 (which I both enjoyed much), but here were no good game designers at work (meaning working out complex world mechanics in game terms), but brilliant level designers (meaning people who can build puzzles or shooting arenas respectively).
Titel: Re: It is for your own good: How Thief 4 is being optimised for maximum fun
Beitrag von: Melan am 21. August 2013, 11:06:19
But then, the Thief-series never was very good in any sense of the world (any game where the only way to win is the "trial'n'error-reload" combo is one that is quickly deleted from my harddrive).
I am sorry to point it out, but there is virtually no trial and error in Thief: there is 'good at it' and 'not that good at it'. If you are good at it, the AI will not even know you have been there.  ;)
Titel: Re: It is for your own good: How Thief 4 is being optimised for maximum fun
Beitrag von: Melan am 21. August 2013, 11:24:52
If the developers of Doom had the technology for true 3D back then, they'd included jumping.
See: Quake, Duke Nukem 3d, Ultima Underworld - once designers figured it out, they added it to their games because it added to the 3D experience. You see this trend towards increasing environmental interaction and mobility, even experiments with complex physics and destructible terrain (mostly still unexplored). In comparison, you have a modern strain of 'cinematic' gaming, that doesn't believe extending the scope of interaction and simulation, as well as player choices is advantageous, and instead prefers a much more directed experience. The Half-Life series, particularly the HL2 episodes, is the game that has epitomised this philosophy the most.

The question is, how does a game give you the feeling of being a master thief: by locking you into a set of mechanics that simulate mastery, or by giving you a set of abilities you can master (even in different ways)?

Here is another example: in Dishonored, you play an assassin who gains supernatural abilities including short-range teleportation, summoning rat swarms to devour your enemies, possession, the works (you can also jump and mantle very well). Yet you can play the game in a way where you are an assassin who does not actually kill anyone (it is bloody hard, BTW, and, well, some of the guys you meet really deserve to be killed). Does that make Dishonored a bad (unfocused) game about a master assassin, or a very good one?
Titel: Re: It is for your own good: How Thief 4 is being optimised for maximum fun
Beitrag von: Benjamin am 21. August 2013, 13:39:45
Short answer: Cut scenes yay! ;D

The game that made me most angry was Venetica, where you got struck down in cut scenes, from opponents you'd otherwise easily defeated. I wrote a (german) article about it here: Venetica by Deck13 (http://der-eisenhofer.de/2012/venetica-angespielt)
Titel: Re: It is for your own good: How Thief 4 is being optimised for maximum fun
Beitrag von: Settembrini am 22. August 2013, 11:08:54
Why anyone would want his gaming experience to be more like movies is beyond me.
Gaming is the stuff I do when I am fed up with listening and watching.

Titel: Re: It is for your own good: How Thief 4 is being optimised for maximum fun
Beitrag von: alexandro am 22. August 2013, 19:18:23
But then, the Thief-series never was very good in any sense of the world (any game where the only way to win is the "trial'n'error-reload" combo is one that is quickly deleted from my harddrive).
I am sorry to point it out, but there is virtually no trial and error in Thief: there is 'good at it' and 'not that good at it'. If you are good at it, the AI will not even know you have been there.  ;)

I'm sorry to point it out, but that is just not true.

Because of the cramped quarters, scouting is almost entirely chance-based:
you turn around a corner and find yourself within 1-2 meters of a guard. If you are lucky, the guard is facing in the opposite direction. Otherwise you just hit your first reload.

Because of the danger of "just scouting ahead" taking out guards or luring them away is a pain in the behind. Oftentimes you attract too much attention, because there were other guards you didn't see (because you couldn't get past the first set of them) and you have to deal with an agitated flock of them wandering around and eventually running into you (because you have no way to know where they are and limited "safe" passages to retreat to). *Blues-Brothers-ragequit* (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmjEMDen3B8).  >:(

One of my friends likes the game, however, and claims to have completed it without reloading. I asked if I could see him Play and - I kid you not - he was continually pausing the game and drawing a 2D-map of the building he was in, marking the position of the guards and plotting where his next move.

(https://forum.rsp-blogs.de/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Ffstatic0.mtb-news.de%2Fimg%2Fphotos%2F1%2F1%2F1%2F9%2F4%2F6%2F_%2Flarge%2FTacticalFacepalm.jpg%3F0&hash=bbe3383cfe4dadcf62f93be38d9c73c9c34841a7)

Just more proof for me, that 3D-sneakers don't work (isomorphic Sneakers, like "Commandos" on the other hand... I loved those to bits)
Titel: Re: It is for your own good: How Thief 4 is being optimised for maximum fun
Beitrag von: BoyScout am 22. August 2013, 19:45:42
3rd Person does the work pretty well in 3D-stealth games. 1st person is almost every time unplayable since you can't imitate a human 180° view on a monitor without distortions. Aliens vs Predator tried this of course.



"if you can't jump, it's not a game"
is that the quintessence?

Zitat von: benjamin
But since that's a game, I want to try stuff and explore. What else is the purpose of a game?
There are different kinds of games. At some point we all have to deal with the fact that not all of them are tailored around our personal preferences.
Who would deny that there are awesome, strictly linear games out there (even ones i wouldn't play myself). Somehow they even managed to do some without jumping feature. Could Diablo 2 be better with jumping? Maybe. Surely with pirates ;D
Of course there're also games that benefit from jumping but also non-linear games that don't need it.
If "more" would mean "better" in every case, why can't garrett fly? More freedom of movement, more to discover. He is human? Ah, fuck that when you can explore the Shores of "the city"...

Movie-like doesn't necessary mean "i have no choice". Likewise, "movie atmosphere" and "movie mechanics" are different terms. I would use german komposita if i could to make this easier to understand.
Thank god, many game companies stopped harassing us with this - still not working - sandbox crap like Elder Scrolls XXXV or the like. There were great non-linear, non-jumping games since the early digital years anyway. Nowadays I'd rather prefer any The Witcher 2 (Geralt can't even jump, i never noticed up to this point) and there are still much of choices in it. At the moment i'm playing lords of midnight from 84' and despite it's minimilatistic approach (there's no jumping btw) there are some tough decisions to make, too.
Titel: Re: It is for your own good: How Thief 4 is being optimised for maximum fun
Beitrag von: Melan am 23. August 2013, 09:31:38
I'm sorry to point it out, but that is just not true.

Because of the cramped quarters, scouting is almost entirely chance-based:
you turn around a corner and find yourself within 1-2 meters of a guard. If you are lucky, the guard is facing in the opposite direction. Otherwise you just hit your first reload.

Because of the danger of "just scouting ahead" taking out guards or luring them away is a pain in the behind. Oftentimes you attract too much attention, because there were other guards you didn't see (because you couldn't get past the first set of them) and you have to deal with an agitated flock of them wandering around and eventually running into you (because you have no way to know where they are and limited "safe" passages to retreat to). *Blues-Brothers-ragequit* (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmjEMDen3B8).  >:(
That's not how it works. Thief relies on moving from safe position to safe position while observing your environment for clues of the AI's presence and activities.
This is always more than enough to sneak through a level without killing or even knocking out any AI (although the latter way to play is harder). And I have never met anyone who drew detailed patrol maps, although I guess that's also a way of playing it.

Just more proof for me, that 3D-sneakers don't work (isomorphic Sneakers, like "Commandos" on the other hand... I loved those to bits)
Clearly all those Thief players have been doing it wrong for more than a decade, then. (And we are back to the thread's original point: reinventing games to save them from faults they did not have.)
Titel: Re: It is for your own good: How Thief 4 is being optimised for maximum fun
Beitrag von: Melan am 23. August 2013, 09:42:13
"if you can't jump, it's not a game"
is that the quintessence?
"Removing a feature that was fairly integral to a game series, and trying to justify the decision with an appeal to designer authority is not a sign of good design" is more like it.
Or maybe even: "Games with complex environmental interaction and games which focus on creating a 'cool cinematic experience' have different needs."
Titel: Re: It is for your own good: How Thief 4 is being optimised for maximum fun
Beitrag von: alexandro am 24. August 2013, 00:44:52
Zitat
  • As long as you are in the shadows and don't make much noise, you will never be noticed unless a guard bumps right into you
Considering the tight corridors, when a guard is moving in your direction you can
a) stay where you are (and the guard will bump into you, since it can't move around you)
b) try to evade the guard (which means moving out of the shadows and possibly being spotted)

Zitat
  • There are keys to lean sideways and forwards, which allows you to peek around corners without getting detected.
The controls are hell, though. Trying to move just enough to get into a peeking-position (but not enough that you turn the corner completely)...well, it sucks.

Zitat
Most AI are on a patrol route, which you can observe and exploit to sneak through a gap
Which requires
a) identifying the patrol ("Is this the same one I saw ealier, or a different one?")
b) not getting lost in the maze (as The Doctor put it: "All the corridors look the same!")
 
Zitat
(their footsteps and grumbling, together with the pretty accurate 3d sound propagation system, provides more than enough clues they are coming).

The sound propagation is anything BUT accurate. You never know which side the sounds are coming from (playing the game, I felt like being in an echo chamber).[/list]
Titel: Re: It is for your own good: How Thief 4 is being optimised for maximum fun
Beitrag von: Melan am 24. August 2013, 10:20:14
Well, it looks like our differences on Thief are irreconcileable. So it goes.
Titel: Re: It is for your own good: How Thief 4 is being optimised for maximum fun
Beitrag von: Dirk Remmecke am 30. August 2013, 14:34:24
Oh. When I was at gamescom in Cologne last weekend I was thinking of you when I saw this:

(https://forum.rsp-blogs.de/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bilder-hochladen.net%2Ffiles%2Fjekp-2-c81e.jpg&hash=4c1ca4cd35078ede11e2515c9d51c016cc0e6ff9) (http://www.bilder-hochladen.net/files/jekp-2-c81e-jpg-rc.html)

Too bad that it seems to suffer from the same problems as 4e. Namely, a redefinition of the play experience.
Titel: Re: It is for your own good: How Thief 4 is being optimised for maximum fun
Beitrag von: Settembrini am 12. September 2013, 19:15:26
What is yours is mine.

How poetic!
Titel: Re: It is for your own good: How Thief 4 is being optimised for maximum fun
Beitrag von: alexandro am 29. Oktober 2013, 18:02:27
Another take on a related matter:

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/jimquisition/8340-The-Survival-of-Horror
Titel: Re: It is for your own good: How Thief 4 is being optimised for maximum fun
Beitrag von: Benjamin am 31. Oktober 2013, 07:23:22
Sometimes money just seems to attract idiots who make idiot decisions. Ah well. The Making Games magazine is full of it. Sometimes they have a brilliant head writing, but most of the time it's tyranny of fun.
Titel: Re: It is for your own good: How Thief 4 is being optimised for maximum fun
Beitrag von: Teylen am 02. Dezember 2013, 15:19:34
I'd be less worrierd about a missing ability to jump, but that the designers expect the players to know when it's approtiated / possible to jump.
Unless there's a visiual indicator (not very immersive) it just sounds like an aweful idea.

Another rather awkward thing is that they mention they'll tweaked the "swoop"-move so it can't be used to run. Sounds like:
Welcome to the extra slow sightseeing experience. You'll just love to walk / sneak by that marvelous, lone, dark alley for the 20th time.