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A question for all gamers :)
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Poll Result
  Which do you consider the more important part of a game?  
 23%  [ 4 ]
 11%  [ 2 ]
Game play
 64%  [ 11 ]
  Total Votes : 17  


Joined: 16 Jan 2004
Posts: 146
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 9:45 pm    Post subject: A question for all gamers :) Reply with quote

So, recently i was working on a design with one of my artists and it ended with a debate about which aspect is the most important, Im curious as to what everyone else thinks.

I myself believe that a good story just makes the game play much better.

EDIT: just to clear this up a bit, it isn't a case of neglecting any of them, but rather which part gets you the most enjoyment?

Last edited by Sorrow on Thu Jan 11, 2007 10:33 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Joined: 04 Nov 2005
Posts: 46
Location: England

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my opinion, it's like asking 'which is most important to life- water, food or air'. Technically you might say air, since you'll die pretty swiftly without it, but you can't really exclude any of them.

I suppose game play is the most obvious one to pick. But it really depends on the game. For an RPG, for instance, game play can take a back seat if the storyline is very good. For a more action orientated game, however, storyline is pretty irrelevant.
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Grammar Police
Grammar Police

Joined: 25 Oct 2003
Posts: 1068
Location: Sydney, Land of Censorship

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would say that being immersed in the game environment is important. Some Nintendo games (I'm thinking Paper Mario on GC) are excellent because they have lots of background activity that seems like it belongs but doesn't particularly distract you. Prey (though I've only played the demo) is also pretty good because it sets up a unique environment which strangely seems like it belongs.
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Pod Team
Pod Team

Joined: 14 Oct 2002
Posts: 3734

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Something Mark and I have talked about a lot is the trade-off between immersion and gameplay. This doesn't always happen, but with mainstream games especially, the need for 'realism' to back up immersion quite often means it takes up most of the schedule. You could often make far better gameplay if everyone could concentrate on that rather than having to worry about every last detail of the graphics.

As indies, it makes sense for us to concentrate on gameplay and story, as they are at least something we can be competitive on. It is however interesting to note that immersion and graphics are not the same thing - Immersion I find is often best served by not putting anything 'silly' into the universe you have created. I can be immersed playing a game of Elite, despite the dated, simple graphics, because it doesn't put things in my way that don't make sense for that universe. Games like Dark Star One (and many other space trading games since Elite), put stuff in the way of me 'getting into my own head'. E.g. DS1 has laughable characters that introduce the game. I'd argue it would have been better without the intro because then I could have imagined the rest.

As I often like to say: we aren't film makers. Though a lot of game developers seem to wish they were.
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Joined: 01 Mar 2004

Location: Olympia Washington

PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2007 12:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I just want to be able to do anything that I can think of.

Plot and graphics can suck it for all I care. If I have freedom than I can make my own plot and if i have imagination I can make my own graphics.

Freedom in games is best achieved by making it more realistic, and a good way to do this is making it more complex. Making a game complex can make it more realistic but you will be creating a game with a steep learning curve and drive away newbies. So it is a constant battle between detail and simplicity.

About plot,
You are right about the filmmakers thing. Games are NOT movies.
In a movie you sit down and shut the **** up while filmmakers tell there story. In a game the story teller is the player. When game makers learn to shut up and let the player tell his story, that that will be a great day for video games.

This may just be ramblings but I DID win time's person of the year award.

About Spore,
Will has the "wright*" idea with spore.
""I dont want to be Luke Skywalker or Frodo Baggins. I want to be Gorge Lucas or JRR Tolkien""**
I think that procedural generation is the future of games. It offers complexity from simplicity and makes the plot up to the player.

*lulz a pun
**If anybody can remember the exact quote I will thank them
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Starscape Jedi
Starscape Jedi

Joined: 21 Dec 2003
Posts: 522

PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2007 1:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Look over the list of all-time classic games. Chess... no immersion, no storyline, but beautiful play. Tetris, same thing. DooM had pretty nice graphics/immersion for its day, **** for a story, but of course what made it fun was blowing up demons. You can go down the line, and you're not going to find many games that make it onto the all-time favorites list for their storyline alone or for their immersion alone, but you'll find plenty that make it with very little storyline and very little immersion and excellent gameplay. Gameplay is the thing that gives the most enjoyment.

I think both immersion and storyline can be thought of as add-ons to gameplay... they enhance the gameplay that's already there. If your gameplay is already pretty darn good, then making the game more immersive or having a better storyline might push it over the top... but if you don't have gameplay, the other stuff is irrelevant.

Now, most games have some of all three, so the real tradeoff is not "which is best in an abstract sense", but "which of these would give me the best return on investment, considering what I already have?" That will vary from game to game, depending on how good each of those already is.

(Also, I second Fost's comment -- immersion doesn't necessarily mean realistic graphics, just consistancy of the world you've created.)
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Tryagain Infinity

Joined: 01 Aug 2005
Posts: 168
Location: You see that tank behind you...

PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2007 3:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm... Isn't the story part of immersion?

Heck, as someone else pointed out you don't need a good story to get immersed in a game like Doom, Tetris, or even chess. It's not always necessary to create some deep story line, but it does immerse you in the game. I've gotten games with one paragraph story lines (two if you can't the ending) and played them way longer than games that center around complex stories.

Come to think of it gameplay is part of immersion too. If the gameplay is horrible the immersion will drop with the gameplay.

So may I be so bold in saying that if you don't have immersion a.k.a. your player's attention you got squat.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2007 4:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I voted gameplay, but I think immersion is pretty important. A good example is the new Zelda game. A lot of things in that game are really silly. Like Kakariko village only has 2 people living in it. There's tons of people living in Hyrule Castle Town, but there's really no interaction with any of them. There are stores and shops in random places that noone but you would ever visit.

There are a few easy things they could have done to fix this. For example, at one point in the story you have to restore Lake Hylia. Previous to doing this, people in the town complain about how they can't go to the lake. However, after it's restored, it's practically empty (there's 2 NPCs in the whole area who run the shops there). If they just had some NPC's from town come down to check out the lake after you restore it, it would make the world seem more real. As it is, while the gameplay is excellent and the new items they've added are great, I really don't care about saving Hyrule or its people, and there's little to no sense of urgency (no one but you even seems to notice anything's wrong).

The lack of immersion "realism" really detracts from the game. It doesn't have to be real as in real-life, just make sense in the boundaries of your fantasy world. It's not even really dependent on graphics, just the little things (like someone said, in Paper Mario the town really seems alive and things change as you progress through the game and interact with people).
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Starscape Jedi
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Joined: 25 Apr 2003
Posts: 1143
Location: Glasgow, Scotland

PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2007 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bioforge and Bladerunner both had superb immersion and story but mediocre gameplay, and both were, to my mind, excellent games. The Knytt game that somebody linked to recently has the barest thread of a story and a thin (but good) layer of gameplay over an enchanting, evocative experience, and I think it works remarkably well.

I'd say that you can have fun games that are almost all gameplay, and you can have evocative games that are all about immersion. I'm not sure if you could have a good game that focuses on story to the exclusion of the other two, though.
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Joined: 09 Jan 2005
Posts: 155
Location: The Planet Stinky Socks

PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have seen some games that focus on the story to the exclusion of game play. For example, this, which to me looks a whole lot like a game that amounts to an animated choose your own adventure book. (the only reason I know of that one is that I saw a trailer for it a long time ago and flagged it to look at later and have never gotten around to it, so I haven't played it)
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