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Blog: "Finding videogame's true voice"
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Thomas Offline
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Post: #1
Blog: "Finding videogame's true voice"

Some musings on what might be missing from story telling video games.

http://frictionalgames.blogspot.com/2011...voice.html
(This post was last modified: 05-16-2011 09:43 PM by Thomas.)
05-16-2011 09:43 PM
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Sexbad Offline
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RE: Blog: "Finding videogame's true voice"

I really hope that you get a computer that can play Cryostasis some day.

Anyway, typo in the second paragraph: "Obviously, I do think this is the right approach. Instead..." I imagine that you actually don't think it's the right approach.

Anyway, now for my input into this discussion. I've never really taken the time to write a whole essay (as I should) about this, but I'm not really going to focus on the so-called gaps that we fill with our minds.

I think that in order to take the vidya to its limits as a storytelling medium, we need to focus on interactive storytelling, not just telling a story through the environment.

The latter option is what most storytelling-advanced games do. It follows the age-old adage "Show, don't tell." Since games are interactive in nature, they have something more special than any other known medium. Their adage can be even better: "Touch/do/access/play, don't show." I feel that Penumbra touched on this concept by having characters like Red and Clarence who responded to your actions while remaining in character. For instance, Clarence's reaction to you in the Library expanded on his character because of how you looked around for a solution and perhaps ignored the book.

Other games like Cryostasis (every time I mention it, I get a mini-orgasm) take this even further by having you perform very interesting actions that have severe significance in the plot. For instance:
1.) Fighting against highly representative monsters, the effects of weapon impact and the color scheme of the environment changing while shit happens.
2.) Not only learning of the demise of the crew, but actually taking part in their demise and eventual revival (This is the best use of gameplay telling a story that I've ever seen).
3.) Thrusting you into representative situations full of bizarro stuff. I'm not going to brag, but at one point in the game, you literally
Spoiler below!
fight a film.

[Image: jao3z.jpg]
05-17-2011 12:04 AM
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Thomas Offline
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RE: Blog: "Finding videogame's true voice"

Thanks for the typo find! Fixed! Smile

I have played Cryostasis btw. Think it was quite nice with very thick atmosphere. There are some really great scene, like when you ride the boat with a search-light or walk around in the deep-sea diver suit. The flashback also worked quite nicely. What buggered me was that the game felt kind of repetitive after a while and that the combat was a bit annoying.
05-17-2011 07:49 AM
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Tanshaydar Offline
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RE: Blog: "Finding videogame's true voice"

(05-17-2011 07:49 AM)Thomas Wrote:  What buggered me was that the game felt kind of repetitive after a while and that the combat was a bit annoying.

Try to play it with overall 8 FPS.

05-17-2011 08:17 AM
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hollowleviathan Offline
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RE: Blog: "Finding videogame's true voice"

(05-17-2011 07:49 AM)Thomas Wrote:  What buggered me was that the game felt kind of repetitive after a while and that the combat was a bit annoying.

I didn't have an issue with the combat, myself, but the game definitely needed to iterate on the level design/pacing in the middle third of the game. Not enough revelation or variety in location, which I admit is a challenge for an authentic icebreaker, but not impossible, considering the beginning and ending thirds of the game.
05-17-2011 08:29 AM
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bobbo Offline
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Post: #6
RE: Blog: "Finding videogame's true voice"

(05-17-2011 08:17 AM)Tanshaydar Wrote:  Try to play it with overall 8 FPS.

Just downloaded the demo and had the same problem, absolutely unplayable on my rig even on the lowest settings. Too bad since it looked very promising in gameplay videos.
05-17-2011 10:14 AM
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Tanshaydar Offline
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RE: Blog: "Finding videogame's true voice"

(05-17-2011 10:14 AM)bobbo Wrote:  
(05-17-2011 08:17 AM)Tanshaydar Wrote:  Try to play it with overall 8 FPS.

Just downloaded the demo and had the same problem, absolutely unplayable on my rig even on the lowest settings. Too bad since it looked very promising in gameplay videos.

I finished the game with 5 to 17 fps on lowest settings. Though, I can say it was an incredible experience in terms of storytelling. Gameplay-wise, it wasn't my best experience.

05-17-2011 11:27 AM
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hollowleviathan Offline
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RE: Blog: "Finding videogame's true voice"

I had terrible framerate, so I shelves it until christmas and extorted my friends and family into getting a screaming rig that could play it at passable framerates. I swore it was the CryEngine purely on how punishing it is. I wish I could go back in time and suggest waiting for a monstrous (preferably evil and otherworldly) machine on which to play it.
05-17-2011 10:47 PM
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Leu Radu Offline
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RE: Blog: "Finding videogame's true voice"

Considering 3D first person games, where you play a certain character...

I think that video games are right know caught between "games" and all the other media in the way they are perceived, though they are truly unique and should not be like that. The video game experience gives us total control of a character (which will never be possible in film or literature) yet, unlike most non-video games, gives us a complex world, story, characters etc., that we experience directly (just like in other media).

It is my opinion that the player should completely interact with the whole game world: environment, characters, story. He should be and feel at it's core. He should feel as being part of the game world. The magic of video games is that it takes us to very special places. But, unlike literature, they are vivid worlds, very palpable, not just products of our imagination.

I believe that to become part of the game world, one must train himself to override the technical aspects (this is always easier for experienced gamers). Some games aid quite a lot in this matter. Amnesia is a good example: most actions that a player would naturally take (hide, open doors, drawers, picking up objects) are simple. Players do not need anything beyond what the game mechanics offer, and it has a natural feel. (Good work, FG!).


P.S. I would like to thank Frictional Games for running the development blog. It is beyond interesting, it opens our mind to many aspects of gaming that would otherwise be untouched by us, the casual gamers. Thank you!
05-18-2011 11:51 AM
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xiphirx Offline
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Post: #10
RE: Blog: "Finding videogame's true voice"

I have Cryostasis, and am able to run it smoothly, but I can't get into it... It feels too clunky and boring :|

05-18-2011 06:35 PM
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