• Friday, 29 June 2012

      Future of the Games Industry: Revolutionising Game Design

      Man the gaming Industry is one hell of a cluster ride especially when it comes down to innovation, revolution and ideas.
      Back in the days we've played the same types of games and genre that looked the same and played the same but with different story, characters and gameplay. Everytime we enter a new generation, the hardware becomes more powerful, the game designing will evolve, not by a little margin but vastly!

      In todays era anyone can see just how spoiled gamers are; who represents the Gaming Industry. Is the problem the younger generations or the problem are elitist who have been gaming since Atari? When new games comes out that looks like a previous well received game, gamers would brand that new game as copying the previous title. You can't have a new game today that borrows inspiration or idea from other games, without some elitist/fanboy/gamer calling out the game as derivative.

      The designing in games are starting to change, and we could perceive that formula right from great games such as Half Life that introduced a unique way of Scripted cutscenes during in-game. Before jumping into a game, we would be instructed how the controls and system works by going through a tutorial lesson, nowadays we can start a game by learning the system+controls along with the story without going through any tutorials. Controls schemes in games are starting to become easier and takes less time to understand, game system are also easier to blend in and work with.

      Gameplay Motivation
      Now the big change in terms of game designing is how the motivation plays while gaming. When you play many games today, you just start from 1 point and keep running straighth defeating respawning enemies until you get to a safe point. This is how games are made today but ultimately the flawed part is the getting to the safe point. How fun is it to get to a safe point? Why must we keep encountering the same enemies spawning out of no where?
      This is why I and many disliked games like Ninja Gaiden 2. Although the gameplay was solid, the problem was actually playing the game. You start from 1 end and run to the other end defending the same respawning countless enemies that spawn out of no where and in the corners.
      This is where Dead Space 2 reinvented the 3rd person Survival horror genre. Each area you go to, you don't encounter enemies popping out of specific points, or respawning enemies coming to get you. The pacing for enemy encounters were very well done and doesn't make the player bored when encountering enemies.

      Half Life 2's pacing was nicely done and man that game does deserve the '40 award'. One point you are solving puzzles, next you are riding, following to defending yourself against enemies, to helping civilians.

      Protagonist Personality and Life
      In todays games we have 2 types of player protagonist: 1. You are the protagonist and 2. You play through the eyes of a protagonist. Many like option 1 because you feel like you are the hero of the day, the person to save the world is you and whatever comment that protagonist will say will be determined and said by you. However the problem isn't number 1 but in fact number 2. Number 2 protagonist as we get his backstory and brief history of who he/she is, the problem is we don't fully understand why we play as him/her and why we should support him through his/her story.
      I was thinking about Ninja Gaiden 3 ending referencing to Left 4 Dead.
      I was hoping that when you finish Ninja Gaiden 3 and the credits roll, you'd see a comment saying "Total enemy killed: 30,768. You are now branded 'A Mass-Murderer'".
      why? well it makes sense, enemies are there to kill you and you kill them while they beg for mercy, you are branded a murderer. How about Halo? Master Chief the Saviour of Humans from Covenants, how many Covenants have you killed? you are NO different to your enemies whom you call Covenants.

      My point is, when we play as a Protagonist, there should be a FULL reason why we players must vote and support that protagonist. Why should I be killing Nazis as a soldier whereas I'm not different to them? there should be a reason why I kill Nazis and why it should affect me and the protagonist.
      The first time an assassin carries out his first ever mission and kills for the first time. Do you think his reaction, emotion and personality would be the same? No, it would twist inside of him and either he wouldn't take the assassin killings anymore or he might go mental and actually like killing.

      Dantes Inferno provides you a roller cluster ride into hell, we are there to save Betrice but we don't know why we should support Dante during his course in hell. Though the cutscenes that plays makes us learn who Dante really his and what he did in his past life.
      God of War 3 doesn't really provide the player a reason to vote for Kratos during his course, the story was nice but sort of had plots holes. The only game I could say that allows the player to understand their protagonist is Metroid Other M. While I personally haven't played this game yet, I can understand that the key part of the story is understanding all about Samus.
      This is one of the keystrokes Ninja Gaiden 3 is going for, so that we players can understand what ticks inside Ryu's mind.

      Just DON'T be surprise if Halo 4 provides a story that makes us learn all about Master Chief just like NG3 and Metroid Other M does for their protagonist. I believe EVERY game should have a plot in the story about the protagonist's life, what happens when they do what they should do during gameplay.

      Enemy A.I Reaction and Emotion
      Who would see this coming, games giving enemies a solid reaction and emotion. I am not talking about when A.I makes gestures about you like F.E.A.R 3 "get your f**ing head down", "get down on the floor now" or Half Life 2 "mumble gumble*radio static*". I'm talking about comments and reactions from enemies when you take cover or attack them. Halo: Combat Evolve was actually the first game I believe to give Enemies a dynamic Reaction pattern. Each time you shoot those grunts, they will try to fall back or cry out loud for mercy. The elites might cry out of frustration or make remarks about you while taking cover.
      I know other old games did this like Blood 2 but I'm talking about how the enemies in the game doesn't feel like shooting targets but more of a -you are you and they are your enemy/opponent-.
      Giving enemies reactions and emotion would allow the player to feel that, they aren't just fighting lifeless A.I bots but characters that are trying to kill you for a reason.
      Comparing Ninja Gaiden 3 and Ninja Gaiden/2 Enemy A.I. In Ninja Gaiden 1 the enemies are just there in the game, placed for no reasons are all; basically they are there to kill you without a reason. But in Ninja Gaiden 3, you sort of get a hint why the enemies want to kill you, they make gestures about you and cry for help when they are dying.

      Out of my head I can't really remember the games that provides enemies with good a.i reactions and emotions. Killzones Helgast do make reactions and remarks about you. But that game makes you feel like the Helgast ARE the bad guys. Though a good example is Batman Arkham Asylum, I love those bad guys so much. Everytime you get into a fight, they all interact with each other by making gestures, if you get hit by one of them ; one of the groups will yell out "ha, Hit him again!". Not forgetting with each enemy or groups you take down, Joker will always give an update to the goons what just happened, with this it causes a dynamic changes to how enemies will approach you. For an example groups of 4 enemies, you take out 1 of them; Joker will update the bad guys that one of them is down. 3rd person will go look at what happened, if you managed to take him down too; once again Joker will announce an update causing the remaining bad guys to panick, since they are panicking, both of them will approach the downed enemies together. Though one thing I love most of all is whenever Joker makes an announcement update, it always feels like you are constantly being watched by The Joker.
      The sort of understanding the feeling of enemies is a game I recently saw Hitman: Absolution.
      The way each characters talks and interact with themselves makes you feel like "wow these are actually human beings just like me". By the time you take one of their men as hostage, they become more aggressive and agitated and more determined to kill you. Whilst in that process, you still feel intermediate and feel something spark and change between those enemies. (watching the walkthrough felt like I was watching a movie man).
      In comparison to Splinter Cell Conviction, the enemies there just feels like the same normal bodyguards you've encountered many times and when you are caught, they give off the same pattern reaction and use the same dialogue context.

      Another thing I wanted to talk about is the presentation visuals in games. When you look at HUD in games you can tell how vast they've all evolved.
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      Doom HUD

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      Ghost Recon Advanced War Fighter

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      Metroid Prime HUD

      Doom 3

      I couldn't find a picture of Syndicate 2012 HUD and trust me, it's another vastly improved HUD system. You don't see How much Ammo you have left displayed on your gun, the ammo is displayed to the side of your gun like a hologram.


      Here are the HUD system evolution in Racing games
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      Gran Turismo

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      Burnout 3 Take Down

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      Split Second.

      I thought Split Second had the best HUD system that doesn't clung up the screen until I saw this:

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      Ride Racer Unbounded.
      Nothing clung up the screen, you see your point, laps appear interactivity on screen and do not stay static.
      I mean I was already blow away by Split/Second's HUD design, then this came up that wow me again. It instantly reminded me Splinter Cell Conviction style of HUD interactive:
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      3rd Person HUD evolution.
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      Resident Evil Zero Inventory sccreen

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      Dead Space Inventory screen

      This is why I'm proud of the Gaming Industry, the amount of innovation achievements they keep introducing is just stunning. Designers are always so open minded and some of the stuff they can think of are incredible, however the problem is down to the artist and programmers who would deny the designers of their idea is not possible.

      Many of these achievements I see today, I would always thank all 3: designer, programmers and artist. Designers are the one who think of these breakthrough ideas, artist are the ones who draws how it should look like and programmers are the ones who would make that idea work and function.

      Like I said before each time we enter a new generation the hardware becomes stronger allowing developers to come up with new innovative stuff.
      Just imagine the 8th generation, man the amount of ideas that would be so possible!


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