History SoYouWantTo / WriteAVideoGame

12th Aug '16 12:30:32 PM slvstrChung
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** Note, additionally, that there are ''different kinds of difficulty''. Players might have difficulty grasping the overall picture--"What's that MostAnnoyingSound mean, and why can't I ignore it?" They might have difficulty grasping the particular nuances of ThatOneRule, or be overwhelmed by LoadsAndLoadsOfRules. They might have trouble with the ''physical motions'' of using the controller (SomeDexterityRequired). When designing, keep in mind which of these flavors of difficulty you happen to be good at, and make sure to get a second opinion on the difficulty level you've created.



** The hybrid child of CoOpMultiplayer and Single Player is DropInDropOutMultiplayer, perhaps best illustrated by ''VideoGame/DeadSpace3''. During the 1P campaign, the first player controls {{protagonist}} Isaac Clarke; when a second player joins, an {{NPC}}, Sgt. John Carver, becomes their avatar, and fights alongside Clarke as he progresses through the plot. Visceral Games took pains to seed "trap doors" throughout the game's script, so that Carver could be PutOnABus (or have [[TheBusCameBack The Bus Come Back]]) at a moment's notice, without impacting or even changing the plot.

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** The hybrid child of CoOpMultiplayer and Single Player is DropInDropOutMultiplayer, perhaps best illustrated by ''VideoGame/DeadSpace3''. During the 1P campaign, the first player controls {{protagonist}} Isaac Clarke; when a second player joins, an {{NPC}}, Sgt. John Carver, becomes their avatar, and fights alongside Clarke as he progresses through the plot. Visceral Games took pains to seed "trap doors" throughout the game's script, so that Carver could be PutOnABus (or have [[TheBusCameBack The Bus Come Back]]) at a moment's notice, without impacting or even changing having any impact on the plot.story.



* '''''A'''''synchronous multiplayer is when only one person plays at a time. While this sounds ridiculous, it's OlderThanTheyThink: PlayByPostGames of TabletopGame/{{chess}} have been a thing for centuries. In video games, it's typically combined with AsymmetricMultiplayer: the player has different roles depending on whether they're logged on or not. In ''VideoGame/ClashOfClans'', for instance, players can only be attacked whilst offline, with the AI controlling your defenses on your behalf.[[note]]You also get to design your city in ways that funnel attackers towards your defenses, but that's more technical detail than this discussion really needs.[[/note]] When it comes to co-operative, it typically involves borrowing a friend's gameplay assets for use as {{Assist Character}}s. For non-combat, we turn again to ''VideoGame/FarmVille'', who pioneered the (for lack of a better term) "token economy" system: if you want to do [X], it requires special reagents, which can only be provided to you by friends who also play the game. (...Or [[BribingYourWayToVictory in-app purchase]].)

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* '''''A'''''synchronous multiplayer is when only one person plays at a time. While this sounds ridiculous, it's OlderThanTheyThink: PlayByPostGames of TabletopGame/{{chess}} have been a thing for centuries. In video games, it's typically combined with AsymmetricMultiplayer: the player has different roles depending on whether they're logged on or not. In ''VideoGame/ClashOfClans'', for instance, players can only be attacked whilst offline, with the AI controlling your defenses on your behalf.[[note]]You also get to design your city in ways that funnel attackers towards your defenses, but that's more technical detail than this discussion really needs.[[/note]] When it comes to co-operative, it typically involves borrowing it's instructive to look at ''VideoGame/BraveFrontier''. For each dungeon, you form a party of five characters... and are allowed to "borrow" a friend's gameplay assets character to serve as a SixthRanger. (It helps that ''Brave Frontier'' has LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters, creating incentive for use as {{Assist Character}}s. you to make friends ''and'' providing more options for you.) For non-combat, we turn again to ''VideoGame/FarmVille'', who pioneered the (for lack of a better term) "token economy" system: if you want to do [X], it requires special reagents, which can only be provided to you by friends who also play the game. (...Or game, which is why ''Farmville'' players are always sending you Facebook notifications asking for help. (Their alternative is [[BribingYourWayToVictory in-app purchase]].)
15th May '16 10:52:34 AM TheOneWhoTropes
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* Video Games are played on a console. Consoles are easier to program for because the hardware is standardized: every PlayStation4 has the exact same things inside it as any other (with the sole exception of hard drive space). You know exactly what the console can do. However, this requires a fair bit more in terms of licensing fees, and a bit more bureaucracy to wade through, since most console manufacturers want to do at least a little bit of Quality Assurance before they let the game released on their machines.

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* Video Games are played on a console. Consoles are easier to program for because the hardware is standardized: every PlayStation4 UsefulNotes/PlayStation4 has the exact same things inside it as any other (with the sole exception of hard drive space). You know exactly what the console can do. However, this requires a fair bit more in terms of licensing fees, and a bit more bureaucracy to wade through, since most console manufacturers want to do at least a little bit of Quality Assurance before they let the game released on their machines.
18th Apr '16 10:53:23 PM aye_amber
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You'll need to consider player agency. Video games are an interactive medium, where players are given choices--or, at least, the ''illusion'' of choice--and expect to see those choices respected and reflected in how the game proceeds. Sometimes this is merely a gameplay aspect--"I chose 'Burning Fist' instead of 'Frost Punch,' so I better be able to use Burning Fist when I press Circle-Circle-Square"--and if you're having problems you need to talk to your programmers or your Quality Assurance team. But sometimes it's a story choice. So if you give players choices over the events of your game's story, they ''have'' to play out over the course of the rest of the game. This is why {{Railroading}} is so decried as a trope: it not only renders the player's choices moot, but it pokes holes in the WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief. ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' had some bad examples of this. In the first game, you made a choice whether to wipe out an alien who was the LastOfItsKind or not. In ''[=ME3=]'', that alien reappears in a specific mission... regardless of what you chose. It was [[TropesAReNotBad kind of cool]] to have said alien appear no matter what, but--once again--this writing decision made the choice in the first game [[TropesAreNotGood retroactively meaningless]]. (And it was one of the most significant emotional beats of the first game, so having the writers just throw it out was a little disrespectful.)

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You'll need to consider player agency. Video games are an interactive medium, where players are given choices--or, at least, the ''illusion'' of choice--and expect to see those choices respected and reflected in how the game proceeds. Sometimes this is merely a gameplay aspect--"I chose 'Burning Fist' instead of 'Frost Punch,' so I better be able to use Burning Fist when I press Circle-Circle-Square"--and if you're having problems you need to talk to your programmers or your Quality Assurance team. But sometimes it's a story choice. So if you give players choices over the events of your game's story, they ''have'' to play out over the course of the rest of the game. This is why {{Railroading}} is so decried as a trope: it not only renders the player's choices moot, but it pokes holes in the WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief. ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' had some bad examples of this. In the first game, you made a choice whether to wipe out an alien who was the LastOfItsKind or not. In ''[=ME3=]'', that alien reappears in a specific mission... regardless of what you chose. It was [[TropesAReNotBad [[TropesAreTools kind of cool]] to have said alien appear no matter what, but--once again--this writing decision made the choice in the first game [[TropesAreNotGood [[TropesAreTools retroactively meaningless]]. (And it was one of the most significant emotional beats of the first game, so having the writers just throw it out was a little disrespectful.)
21st Mar '16 2:13:03 PM slvstrChung
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* CompetitiveMultiplayer is when you and other players ''compete'' to achieve different goals. The vast majority of video-game multiplayer, from FightingGames to FirstPersonShooter Deathmatches to sports games and more, take place in this space; they can use (theoretically) equal teams, or be giant free-for-alls. Typically, each competitor has the same goal--"Capture the Flag," "Kill ## people," "checkmate your opponent's King"--but recent games have begun to experiment with AsymmetricMultiplayer, where players have ''different'' goals. Some ''VideoGame/UnrealTournament'' or ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' matches involve one side attacking a fixed position and the other defending it, which has significant impact on the strategies and tactics each side uses, and the recent FirstPersonShooter ''VideoGame/{{Evolve}}'' revolves around this trope: all matches are 4v1, with human Hunters pitted against one very large alien Monster.

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* CompetitiveMultiplayer is when you and other players ''compete'' to achieve different goals. The vast majority of video-game multiplayer, from FightingGames to FirstPersonShooter Deathmatches to sports games and more, take place in this space; they can use (theoretically) equal teams, or be giant free-for-alls. Typically, each competitor has free-for-alls.
** Symmetric Multiplayer is a situation where both teams have
the same goal--"Capture the Flag," "Kill ## people," "Score goals," "checkmate your opponent's King"--but recent King." While this may sound boring, it should be pointed out that the vast majority of sports and games have begun throughout history use this model. It's also way, ''way'' easier on the developers when it comes time to experiment with AsymmetricMultiplayer, institute CompetitiveBalance.
** AsymmetricMultiplayer is
where players the two teams have ''different'' goals. Some ''VideoGame/UnrealTournament'' or ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' matches involve one side attacking a fixed position and the other defending it, which has significant impact on the strategies and tactics each side uses, and the uses. The recent FirstPersonShooter ''VideoGame/{{Evolve}}'' revolves around this trope: all matches are 4v1, with human Hunters pitted against one very large alien Monster.
Monster. Again, the downside of this is in balancing. Each character / ability / job class / whatever is probably stronger at offense than at defense (or vice versa), and yet it still needs to be viable when being used on the "wrong" side, so that the StopHavingFunGuys don't make too much noise.



* '''''A'''''synchronous multiplayer is when only one person plays at a time. While this sounds ridiculous, it's OlderThanTheyThink: PlayByPostGames of TabletopGame/{{chess}} have been a thing for centuries. In video games, it's typically combined with AsymmetricMultiplayer: the player has different roles depending on whether they're logged on or not. In ''VideoGame/ClashOfClans'', for instance, players can only be attacked whilst offline, with the AI controlling your defenses on your behalf.[[NOTE]]You also get to design your city in ways that funnel attackers towards your defensive towers, but that's more technical detail than this discussion really needs.[[/note]] When it comes to co-operative, it typically involves borrowing a friend's gameplay assets for use as {{Assist Character}}s. For non-combat, we turn again to ''VideoGame/FarmVille'', who pioneered the (for lack of a better term) "token economy" system: if you want to do [X], it requires special reagents, which can only be provided to you by friends who also play the game. (...Or [[BribingYourWayToVictory in-app purchase]].)

to:

* '''''A'''''synchronous multiplayer is when only one person plays at a time. While this sounds ridiculous, it's OlderThanTheyThink: PlayByPostGames of TabletopGame/{{chess}} have been a thing for centuries. In video games, it's typically combined with AsymmetricMultiplayer: the player has different roles depending on whether they're logged on or not. In ''VideoGame/ClashOfClans'', for instance, players can only be attacked whilst offline, with the AI controlling your defenses on your behalf.[[NOTE]]You [[note]]You also get to design your city in ways that funnel attackers towards your defensive towers, defenses, but that's more technical detail than this discussion really needs.[[/note]] When it comes to co-operative, it typically involves borrowing a friend's gameplay assets for use as {{Assist Character}}s. For non-combat, we turn again to ''VideoGame/FarmVille'', who pioneered the (for lack of a better term) "token economy" system: if you want to do [X], it requires special reagents, which can only be provided to you by friends who also play the game. (...Or [[BribingYourWayToVictory in-app purchase]].)



!!!Keep It Simple, Stupid

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!!!Keep !!Keep It Simple, Stupid



!!!Story Vs Gameplay: Fight!

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!!!Story !!Story Vs Gameplay: Fight!



Sometimes Story loses to Gameplay. ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'', and its notorious ending, is an example. Per WordOfGod, the CentralTheme of the story is, "[[TheChainsOfCommanding You can't save everyone]]." WarIsHell, and somewhere along the line you're going to have to choose [A] over [B] and watch [B] die a fiery, dramatic, slow-motion death with full OneWomanWail soundtrack in the background. In other words, there is no GoldenPath where you get absolutely everyone on your side. The salarians still believe that the [[SterilityPlague krogan genophage]], and resulting ChildlessDystopia, was justified? Then you have to pick between them and the krogan. The quarians won't stop fighting their RobotWar against the geth? Then you have to choose one or the other. The ''problem'' is, having no GoldenPath--especially in the final game of a trilogy, where The Player (correctly) expects you to wrap up all your loose ends--is a bad gameplay experience. Besides, the previous two games features ample chances to TakeAThirdOption, the doing of which often keeps you on ''their'' GoldenPath; it wouldn't do to [[UnexpectedGameplayChange suddenly remove it from the last title of the trilogy]]. So they kept the GoldenPath; it exists. You ''can'' get the quarians and geth to reconcile; and the salarians come around if you stick to your guns on the matter of the genophage. Even worse, situations in which there genuinely ''was'' no Third Option--in which you must condemn someone to death, with no recourse whatsoever, as you did on Virmire--were DummiedOut. ([[spoiler:It was to have been on Thessia: Liara and Kaishley were going to be your mandatory squad members, and you'd only have time to save one when the temple floor collapsed.]]) Thus, Story was defeated by Gameplay. And, even worse, [[PoorCommunicationKills the writers weren't told about it]], with the result that there's no GoldenEnding even though there's a GoldenPath. (That disconnect is why the ending was so notoriously ill-received.)

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Sometimes Story loses to Gameplay. ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'', and its notorious ending, is an example. Per WordOfGod, the CentralTheme of the story is, "[[TheChainsOfCommanding You can't save everyone]]." WarIsHell, and somewhere along the line you're going to have to choose [A] over [B] and watch [B] die a fiery, dramatic, slow-motion death with full OneWomanWail soundtrack in the background. In other words, there is no GoldenPath where you get absolutely everyone on your side. The salarians still believe that inflicting a SterilityPlague on the [[SterilityPlague krogan genophage]], krogan, and resulting ChildlessDystopia, was justified? Then you have to pick between them and the krogan. The quarians won't stop fighting their RobotWar against the geth? Then you have to choose one or the other. The ''problem'' is, having no GoldenPath--especially in the final game of a trilogy, where The Player (correctly) expects you to wrap up all your loose ends--is a bad gameplay experience. Besides, the previous two games features ample chances to TakeAThirdOption, the doing of which often keeps you on ''their'' GoldenPath; it wouldn't do to [[UnexpectedGameplayChange suddenly remove it from the last title of the trilogy]]. So they kept the GoldenPath; it exists. You ''can'' get the quarians and geth to reconcile; and the salarians come around if you stick to your guns on the matter of the genophage. Even worse, situations in which there genuinely ''was'' no Third Option--in which you must condemn someone to death, with no recourse whatsoever, as you did on Virmire--were DummiedOut. ([[spoiler:It was to have been on Thessia: Liara and Kaishley the Virmire Survivor were going to be your mandatory squad members, and you'd only have time to save one when the temple floor collapsed.]]) Thus, Story was defeated by Gameplay. And, even worse, [[PoorCommunicationKills the writers weren't told about it]], with the result that there's no GoldenEnding even though there's there ''is'' a GoldenPath. (That disconnect is why the ending was so notoriously ill-received.)



!!!Choices, Choices and More Choices

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!!!Choices, !!Choices, Choices and More Choices



Writing a game means making sure you give players choice. And that can be difficult, because every option The Player has? You had to decide to give it to them. In other words, (the illusion of) choice is something you have to ''create''. "DevelopersForesight" needs to be ''mandatory'' for your process, because if you don't, there's no game. It is your job to decide what actions are available. And that means you need to sit down and think about as many possible actions that a player ''could'' want to take, for fear of spiking WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief (InsurmountableWaistHighFence, WhyDontYouJustShootHim, etc).

Beware of {{Moon Logic Puzzle}}s, but also beware of the opposite: AcceptableBreaksFromReality. Video gamers are GenreSavvy enough to know that everything they can do is something you gave them the option to do, and so they will automatically assume certain things are impossible because ''you'', the '''programmer''', didn't think of them. If you did, this can cause real GuideDangIt moments. Two free examples: in the second ''VideoGame/GodOfWar'' game, there's a puzzle that you solve by raising a timed platform and then wedging it in the air using a pushable block. The problem is that you can only do this if the timed platform--which consists of a piece of floor on a pillar--is ''modeled'' that way in the game; it only works if the game treats it as a genuine T-shaped piece of level geometry, instead of a giant rectangle the way most players would assume it, and the way most ''programmers'' would've done it to save time. The other is from the seminal ''VideoGame/SpecOpsTheLine''. Late in the game, one of your NPC friends is strung up by a civilian lynch mob, with your characters coming across the process too late to stop it. The game suggests either letting them go or slaughtering the civilians; the [[TakeAThirdOption Third Option]], FiringInTheAirALot to scare them off, works pretty well in RealLife but might not in a video game because the civilians might not be programmed to be intimidated that way. That whole "DevelopersForesight" trope is ''nowhere'' near as prevalent as it could be, and ''players know that''. So never forget: the people you are asking to make choices are people who know their choices are artificially limited by ''your'' decision-making capabilities. It will take a lot of coaching, and a lot more excellent gameplay design, before this fact ceases to hold sway over gamers.

!!!'''Some Other Considerations'''

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Writing a game means making sure you give players choice. And that can be difficult, because every option The Player has? You had to decide to give it to them. In other words, (the illusion of) choice is something you have to ''create''. "DevelopersForesight" DevelopersForesight needs to be ''mandatory'' for your process, because if you don't, there's no game. It is your job to decide what actions are available. And that means you need to sit down and think about as many possible actions that a player ''could'' want to take, for fear of spiking WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief via {{Railroading}} or other silly obstacles (InsurmountableWaistHighFence, WhyDontYouJustShootHim, etc).

Beware of {{Moon Logic Puzzle}}s, but also beware of the opposite: AcceptableBreaksFromReality. Video gamers are GenreSavvy enough to know that everything they can do is something you gave them the option to do, and so do. They have also played a ''lot'' of video games where they will automatically assume certain things are impossible tried to TakeAThirdOption and were unable to because ''you'', the '''programmer''', didn't think of them. If you did, this it. The combination of "most developers are stupid" and "But I'm not" can cause real be some ''serious'' GuideDangIt moments. Two free examples: in the second ''VideoGame/GodOfWar'' game, ''VideoGame/GodOfWarII'', there's a puzzle that you solve by raising a timed platform platform, which is shaped like a T, and then wedging it in the air using a pushable block. The problem is that you can only do this if the timed platform--which consists of a piece of floor on a pillar--is ''modeled'' that way in the game; it only works if the game treats it as a genuine T-shaped piece of level geometry, platform has the collision physics ''of'' a T-shaped platform, instead of just being a giant rectangle rectangle, which is the way most players programmers would assume it, and the way most ''programmers'' would've done do it to save time. The other is from the seminal ''VideoGame/SpecOpsTheLine''. Late in the game, one of your NPC friends is strung up by a civilian lynch mob, with your characters coming across the process too late to stop it. The game suggests either letting them go or slaughtering the civilians; the [[TakeAThirdOption Third Option]], FiringInTheAirALot to scare them off, works pretty well in RealLife but might not in a video game because the civilians might not be programmed to be intimidated that way. That whole "DevelopersForesight" trope These are just two examples where the Dev Team Thinking Of Everything actually resulted in the Dev Team Failing To Think Of Everything. DevelopersForesight is ''nowhere'' near as prevalent as it could be, and ''players know that''. So never forget: the people you are asking to make choices are people who players know that their choices are artificially limited by ''your'' decision-making capabilities. It will take a lot of coaching, and a lot more excellent gameplay design, before this fact ceases to hold sway over gamers.

!!!'''Some !!'''Some Other Considerations'''



Type B shows how players can expect gameplay and story to be separated and simply another system. A subversion for type B could easily include moral choices having no effect on gameplay, seemingly, and then suddenly spring up as being important and recognized by other characters. A fantasy RPG has a moral choice system that seems to only effect what type of spells or skills are unlocked for the PC, and suddenly in the middle of a game a character mentions how the forces responsible for magic are actually paying attention to the player, and are granting him spells based on how he acts and solves problems. Done well, and followed up upon so it doesn't just look like a HandWave, it can actually be a surprise to the player about how this thing they had mentally placed as gameplay is touched upon by the world it happens in and has actual meaning. Done poorly it will still look like a HandWave, or maybe even a VooDooShark, and annoy the player that such things were being justified when it was just fine as a gameplay feature.

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Type B shows how players can expect gameplay and story to be separated and simply another system. A subversion for type B could easily include moral choices having no effect on gameplay, seemingly, and then suddenly spring up as being important and recognized by other characters. A fantasy RPG has a moral choice system that seems to only effect what type of spells or skills are unlocked for the PC, and suddenly in the middle of a game a character mentions how the forces responsible for magic are actually paying attention to the player, and are granting him spells based on how he acts and solves problems. Done well, and followed up upon so it doesn't just look like a HandWave, it can actually be a surprise to the player about how this thing they had mentally placed as gameplay is touched upon by the world it happens in and has actual meaning. Done poorly it will still look like a HandWave, or maybe even a VooDooShark, VoodooShark, and annoy the player that such things were being justified when it was just fine as a gameplay feature.
4th Mar '16 9:28:35 PM slvstrChung
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* The model pioneered by {{Collectible Card Game}}s and {{Card Battle Game}}s is the "Games As Collection" model: you buy ''pieces'' of the game. Such games typically incorporate a GottaCatchEmAll mentality to encourage continued purchasing. They require you to ''continue'' releasing {{Expansion Pack}}s in order to keep the game fresh, and as such it's ''very'' easy to release {{Game Breaker}}s on accident. But novelty is a very powerful factor, and a game that is constantly new, the {{metagame}} constantly changing, can be addictive on a "CrackIsCheaper" level.

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* The model pioneered by {{Collectible Card Game}}s and {{Card Battle Game}}s is the "Games As Collection" model: you buy ''pieces'' of the game. Such games typically incorporate a GottaCatchEmAll mentality to encourage continued purchasing. They require you to ''continue'' releasing {{Expansion Pack}}s in order to keep the game fresh, and as such it's ''very'' easy to release {{Game Breaker}}s on accident. But fresh. The upsides are that novelty is a very powerful factor, and a game that is constantly new, the {{metagame}} constantly changing, can be addictive on a "CrackIsCheaper" level.
level. The downside is that it's ''very'' easy to release {{Game Breaker}}s on accident. You're also going to have to deal with [[NewRulesAsThePlotDemands Complexity Creep]], since you keep adding on new features and such. Players who leave the game will have trouble returning, because so many things may have changed in their absence. (All of this is true of the "Games As Service" model too, by the way.)
30th Dec '15 10:11:26 PM slvstrChung
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Added DiffLines:

!!!'''Some Other Considerations'''
Graphics are always a big thing in video games these days. Everyone wants good ones... but creating good ones takes a lot of time and effort. It can also require a great deal of processing power in terms of the hardware necessary to run your game. Even worse, graphics ''age''. Games that were considered to have stellar, cutting-edge graphics ten years ago (''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVMorrowind'', ''VideoGame/TheSims II'', ''VideoGame/BattlefieldII'') look dated today. One simple workaround is to look at games which ''don't'' look dated--''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaWindWaker'', ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' and ''VideoGame/Limbo'' come to mind. What do these games have in common? Simple: they don't try to be photorealistic. Instead, they have an ''art style'' with graphics that aren't ''supposed'' to look like "reality" and instead like... well, whatever they're trying to achieve (cel shading, sliding silhouettes, etc). And, since they achieve it, their graphics become timeless. There's a Sliding Scale Of Photorealistic Vs. Artistic, and while both of them take money, the second one lasts longer.
14th Dec '15 6:07:54 AM Nohbody
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** The meta game: These are games whose entertainment lays not in a unique world, but their relation to other video games. They do not tear apart ideas, they show how ridiculous they are. They can be tongue in cheek (VideoGame/CthulhuSavesTheWorld, VideoGame/TeamFortress2 has this going on with making the story fit the gameplay to a very odd degree), or they can be serious (Franchise/BioShock, VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2, VideoGame/SpecOpsTheLine is so far in this end it's embedded in the wall), but they can be in between (VideoGame/{{Borderlands}}). What these games have, so far as meta value goes, is that they call attention to and sometimes even play with tropes you're expected to find in games. They can be as simple as a LampshadeHanging (VideoGame/CthulhuSavesTheWorld is very fond of this approach to {{JRPG}}s), or they can be important ([[spoiler:[[VideoGame/BioShock1 A man chooses, A slave obeys!]]]]) to the overall story. Done right, the game becomes a big hit because of how it makes the player think about how conditioned they are about the games or how they see everything in videogames.

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** The meta game: These are games whose entertainment lays not in a unique world, but their relation to other video games. They do not tear apart ideas, they show how ridiculous they are. They can be tongue in cheek (VideoGame/CthulhuSavesTheWorld, VideoGame/TeamFortress2 has this going on with making the story fit the gameplay to a very odd degree), or they can be serious (Franchise/BioShock, (VideoGame/BioShock, VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2, VideoGame/SpecOpsTheLine is so far in this end it's embedded in the wall), but they can be in between (VideoGame/{{Borderlands}}). What these games have, so far as meta value goes, is that they call attention to and sometimes even play with tropes you're expected to find in games. They can be as simple as a LampshadeHanging (VideoGame/CthulhuSavesTheWorld is very fond of this approach to {{JRPG}}s), or they can be important ([[spoiler:[[VideoGame/BioShock1 A man chooses, A slave obeys!]]]]) to the overall story. Done right, the game becomes a big hit because of how it makes the player think about how conditioned they are about the games or how they see everything in videogames.
13th Nov '15 4:43:46 PM DeisTheAlcano
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''VideoGame/BioShock'' had a similar issue: the story encouraged you to spare the Little Sisters, {{Heartwarming Orphan}}s who are victims of a heartless system, but ''gameplay'' encourages you to kill them, because if you don't, ''you can't buy new magic.'' And the magic is kind of important in Rapture, not just as a plot point (the game takes place AfterTheEnd was brought about by ''abuse'' of Plasmids) but because your character, Jack, is barely one step up from an ActionSurvivor, and needs all the help he can get. Ken Levine at least had the wit to include MultipleEndings depending on which decision you made, but it still eroded the {{escapism}} that video games often offer as one of their prime selling points. In this example, Gameplay lost to Story, because, in the ending at least, you're actually ''punished'' for having fun and playing the game to its fullest extent. This conflict was so egregious that someone actually coined an entire new term, "ludonarrative dissonance," to describe situations when Gameplay says to do the opposite of what Story does.

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''VideoGame/BioShock'' ''VideoGame/BioShock1'' had a similar issue: the story encouraged you to spare the Little Sisters, {{Heartwarming Orphan}}s who are victims of a heartless system, but ''gameplay'' encourages you to kill them, because if you don't, ''you can't buy new magic.'' And the magic is kind of important in Rapture, not just as a plot point (the game takes place AfterTheEnd was brought about by ''abuse'' of Plasmids) but because your character, Jack, is barely one step up from an ActionSurvivor, and needs all the help he can get. Ken Levine at least had the wit to include MultipleEndings depending on which decision you made, but it still eroded the {{escapism}} that video games often offer as one of their prime selling points. In this example, Gameplay lost to Story, because, in the ending at least, you're actually ''punished'' for having fun and playing the game to its fullest extent. This conflict was so egregious that someone actually coined an entire new term, "ludonarrative dissonance," to describe situations when Gameplay says to do the opposite of what Story does.



You'll need to consider player agency. Video games are an interactive medium, where players are given choices--or, at least, the ''illusion'' of choice--and expect to see those choices respected and reflected in how the game proceeds. Sometimes this is merely a gameplay aspect--"I chose 'Burning Fist' instead of 'Frost Punch,' so I better be able to use Burning Fist when I press Circle-Circle-Square"--and if you're having problems you need to talk to your programmers or your Quality Assurance team. But sometimes it's a story choice. So if you give players choices over the events of your game's story, they ''have'' to play out over the course of the rest of the game. This is why {{Railroading}} is so decried as a trope: it not only renders the player's choices moot, but it pokes holes in the WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief. ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' had some bad examples of this. In the first game, you made a choice whether to wipe out an alien who was the LastOfItsKind or not. In ''ME3'', that alien reappears in a specific mission... regardless of what you chose. It was [[TropesAReNotBad kind of cool]] to have said alien appear no matter what, but--once again--this writing decision made the choice in the first game [[TropesAreNotGood retroactively meaningless]]. (And it was one of the most significant emotional beats of the first game, so having the writers just throw it out was a little disrespectful.)

Writing a game means making sure you give players choice. And that can be difficult, because every option The Player has? You had to decide to give it to them. In other words, (the illusion of) choice is something you have to ''create''. "TheDevTeamThinksOfEverything" needs to be ''mandatory'' for your process, because if you don't, there's no game. It is your job to decide what actions are available. And that means you need to sit down and think about as many possible actions that a player ''could'' want to take, for fear of spiking WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief (InsurmountableWaistHighFence, WhyDontYaJustShootHim, etc).

Beware of MoonLogicPuzzles, but also beware of the opposite: AcceptableBreaksFromReality. Video gamers are GenreSavvy enough to know that everything they can do is something you gave them the option to do, and so they will automatically assume certain things are impossible because ''you'', the '''programmer''', didn't think of them. If you did, this can cause real GuideDangIt moments. Two free examples: in the second ''VideoGame/GodOfWar'' game, there's a puzzle that you solve by raising a timed platform and then wedging it in the air using a pushable block. The problem is that you can only do this if the timed platform--which consists of a piece of floor on a pillar--is ''modeled'' that way in the game; it only works if the game treats it as a genuine T-shaped piece of level geometry, instead of a giant rectangle the way most players would assume it, and the way most ''programmers'' would've done it to save time. The other is from the seminal ''VideoGame/SpecOpsTheLine''. Late in the game, one of your NPC friends is strung up by a civilian lynch mob, with your characters coming across the process too late to stop it. The game suggests either letting them go or slaughtering the civilians; the [[TakeAThirdOption Third Option]], FiringIntoTheAirALot to scare them off, works pretty well in RealLife but might not in a video game because the civilians might not be programmed to be intimidated that way. That whole "TheDevTeamThinksOFEverything" trope is ''nowhere'' near as prevalent as it could be, and ''players know that''. So never forget: the people you are asking to make choices are people who know their choices are artificially limited by ''your'' decision-making capabilities. It will take a lot of coaching, and a lot more excellent gameplay design, before this fact ceases to hold sway over gamers.

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You'll need to consider player agency. Video games are an interactive medium, where players are given choices--or, at least, the ''illusion'' of choice--and expect to see those choices respected and reflected in how the game proceeds. Sometimes this is merely a gameplay aspect--"I chose 'Burning Fist' instead of 'Frost Punch,' so I better be able to use Burning Fist when I press Circle-Circle-Square"--and if you're having problems you need to talk to your programmers or your Quality Assurance team. But sometimes it's a story choice. So if you give players choices over the events of your game's story, they ''have'' to play out over the course of the rest of the game. This is why {{Railroading}} is so decried as a trope: it not only renders the player's choices moot, but it pokes holes in the WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief. ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' had some bad examples of this. In the first game, you made a choice whether to wipe out an alien who was the LastOfItsKind or not. In ''ME3'', ''[=ME3=]'', that alien reappears in a specific mission... regardless of what you chose. It was [[TropesAReNotBad kind of cool]] to have said alien appear no matter what, but--once again--this writing decision made the choice in the first game [[TropesAreNotGood retroactively meaningless]]. (And it was one of the most significant emotional beats of the first game, so having the writers just throw it out was a little disrespectful.)

Writing a game means making sure you give players choice. And that can be difficult, because every option The Player has? You had to decide to give it to them. In other words, (the illusion of) choice is something you have to ''create''. "TheDevTeamThinksOfEverything" "DevelopersForesight" needs to be ''mandatory'' for your process, because if you don't, there's no game. It is your job to decide what actions are available. And that means you need to sit down and think about as many possible actions that a player ''could'' want to take, for fear of spiking WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief (InsurmountableWaistHighFence, WhyDontYaJustShootHim, WhyDontYouJustShootHim, etc).

Beware of MoonLogicPuzzles, {{Moon Logic Puzzle}}s, but also beware of the opposite: AcceptableBreaksFromReality. Video gamers are GenreSavvy enough to know that everything they can do is something you gave them the option to do, and so they will automatically assume certain things are impossible because ''you'', the '''programmer''', didn't think of them. If you did, this can cause real GuideDangIt moments. Two free examples: in the second ''VideoGame/GodOfWar'' game, there's a puzzle that you solve by raising a timed platform and then wedging it in the air using a pushable block. The problem is that you can only do this if the timed platform--which consists of a piece of floor on a pillar--is ''modeled'' that way in the game; it only works if the game treats it as a genuine T-shaped piece of level geometry, instead of a giant rectangle the way most players would assume it, and the way most ''programmers'' would've done it to save time. The other is from the seminal ''VideoGame/SpecOpsTheLine''. Late in the game, one of your NPC friends is strung up by a civilian lynch mob, with your characters coming across the process too late to stop it. The game suggests either letting them go or slaughtering the civilians; the [[TakeAThirdOption Third Option]], FiringIntoTheAirALot FiringInTheAirALot to scare them off, works pretty well in RealLife but might not in a video game because the civilians might not be programmed to be intimidated that way. That whole "TheDevTeamThinksOFEverything" "DevelopersForesight" trope is ''nowhere'' near as prevalent as it could be, and ''players know that''. So never forget: the people you are asking to make choices are people who know their choices are artificially limited by ''your'' decision-making capabilities. It will take a lot of coaching, and a lot more excellent gameplay design, before this fact ceases to hold sway over gamers.



Subversions to a video game are impossible, but as discussed in meta-game and deconstruction, actual gameplay expectations can be subverted. A good example is the moral choice system. Most players expect either A) The whole thing would have a major, or at least notable, impact on the game and being in the middle ground is pointless in terms of bonuses, maybe with the possibility that your alignment decides things, not what you have done to get it. (VideoGame/{{Infamous}}, VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic) or that B) It's just a small setup to give the player an illusion of choice and doesn't really matter in the end, except maybe for moral choice system having some impact on gameplay ''VideoGame/DantesInferno'' never really went anywhere with moral choices, but they did buy you upgrades. ''VideoGame/BioShockInfinite'' makes a small point in its gameplay on moral choices without actually having a moral system.

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Subversions to a video game are impossible, but as discussed in meta-game and deconstruction, actual gameplay expectations can be subverted. A good example is the moral choice system. Most players expect either A) The whole thing would have a major, or at least notable, impact on the game and being in the middle ground is pointless in terms of bonuses, maybe with the possibility that your alignment decides things, not what you have done to get it. (VideoGame/{{Infamous}}, VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic) (''VideoGame/InFamous'', ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'') or that B) It's just a small setup to give the player an illusion of choice and doesn't really matter in the end, except maybe for moral choice system having some impact on gameplay gameplay, ''VideoGame/DantesInferno'' never really went anywhere with moral choices, but they did buy you upgrades. ''VideoGame/BioShockInfinite'' makes a small point in its gameplay on moral choices without actually having a moral system.
3rd Oct '15 4:07:30 PM nombretomado
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You should do some thinking about what platform you want your game to be on. The PCVsConsole argument has been going on for ages, partially because BothSidesHaveAPoint.

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You should do some thinking about what platform you want your game to be on. The PCVsConsole UsefulNotes/PCVsConsole argument has been going on for ages, partially because BothSidesHaveAPoint.
27th Feb '15 1:58:15 PM slvstrChung
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* A single-player game features just you, your skills and your abilities. This kind of design is discouraged because (it is believed) it offers fewer hooks for IAP: players who want to triumph over other players will happily shell out money to do so, but not when facing only the computer. Careful balancing of the difficulty curve could avert this.
* CoOpMultiplayer is when you and other players work together to achieve a shared goal. Successful video games (''VideoGame/Left4Dead'', ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands}}'') and board games (''Forbidden Island'') have been created that utilize this model. Such games can be extra-vulnerable to {{troll}}s and {{griefing}}, so the programmers need to work in countermeasures, but when done correctly they create FireForgedFriends from strangers and can result in chaotic, spectacularly fun experiences.
* CompetitiveMultiplayer is when you and other players ''compete'' to achieve different goals. The vast majority of video-game multiplayer, from FightingGames to FirstPersonShooter Deathmatches to sports games and more, take place in this space; they can use (theoretically) equal teams, or be giant free-for-alls. Typically, each competitor has the same goal--"Capture the Flag," "Kill ## people," "checkmate your opponent's King"--but recent games have begun to experiment with AsymmetricMultiplayer, where players have ''different'' goals. Some ''VideoGame/UnrealTournament'' or ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' matches involve one side attacking a fixed position and the other defending it, which has significant impact on the strategies and tactics each side uses, and the recent FirstPersonShooter ''VideoGame/Evolve'' revolves around this trope, pitting four human Hunters against one very large alien Monster and giving unique abilities and tactics to all five players.

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* A single-player game features just you, your skills and your abilities. This kind of design is discouraged because (it is believed) it offers fewer hooks for IAP: players who want to triumph over other players will happily shell out money to do so, but not when facing only the computer. Careful balancing of the difficulty curve could avert this.
this. It also, well, lacks multiplayer. Two heads are better than one, and two people playing a game results in more interesting experiences. Having said that, a 1P experience is the absolute best platform for ''actually telling a story''; most multiplayer games that attempt to thatch their 1P campaign into the multiplayer experience (''VideoGame/AgeOfConan'', ''VideoGame/{{Titanfall}}'') do not succeed, and indeed have become laughingstocks to a certain extent for how [[{{Narm}} poor]] the attempts actually were.
* CoOpMultiplayer is when you and other players work together to achieve a shared goal. Successful video games (''VideoGame/Left4Dead'', ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands}}'') and board games (''Forbidden Island'') have been created that utilize this model. Such games can be extra-vulnerable to {{troll}}s and {{griefing}}, so the programmers developers need to work in countermeasures, but when done correctly they create FireForgedFriends from strangers and can result in chaotic, spectacularly fun experiences.
** The hybrid child of CoOpMultiplayer and Single Player is DropInDropOutMultiplayer, perhaps best illustrated by ''VideoGame/DeadSpace3''. During the 1P campaign, the first player controls {{protagonist}} Isaac Clarke; when a second player joins, an {{NPC}}, Sgt. John Carver, becomes their avatar, and fights alongside Clarke as he progresses through the plot. Visceral Games took pains to seed "trap doors" throughout the game's script, so that Carver could be PutOnABus (or have [[TheBusCameBack The Bus Come Back]]) at a moment's notice, without impacting or even changing the plot.
* CompetitiveMultiplayer is when you and other players ''compete'' to achieve different goals. The vast majority of video-game multiplayer, from FightingGames to FirstPersonShooter Deathmatches to sports games and more, take place in this space; they can use (theoretically) equal teams, or be giant free-for-alls. Typically, each competitor has the same goal--"Capture the Flag," "Kill ## people," "checkmate your opponent's King"--but recent games have begun to experiment with AsymmetricMultiplayer, where players have ''different'' goals. Some ''VideoGame/UnrealTournament'' or ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' matches involve one side attacking a fixed position and the other defending it, which has significant impact on the strategies and tactics each side uses, and the recent FirstPersonShooter ''VideoGame/Evolve'' ''VideoGame/{{Evolve}}'' revolves around this trope, pitting four trope: all matches are 4v1, with human Hunters pitted against one very large alien Monster and giving unique abilities and tactics to all five players.
Monster.



* '''''A'''''synchronous multiplayer is when only one person plays at a time. While this sounds ridiculous, it's OlderThanTheyThink: PlayByPostGames of TabletopGame/{{chess}} have been a thing for centuries. In video games, it's typically combined with AsymmetricMultiplayer: the player has different roles depending on whether they're logged on or not. In ''VideoGame/ClashOfClans'', for instance, players can only be attacked whilst offline, with the AI controlling your defenses on your behalf. When it comes to co-operative, it typically involves borrowing a friend's gameplay assets for use as {{Assist Character}}s. For non-combat, we turn again to ''VideoGame/FarmVille'', who pioneered the (for lack of a better term) "token economy" system: if you want to do [X], it requires special reagents, which can only be provided to you by friends who also play the game. (...Or [[BribingYourWayToVictory in-app purchase]].)

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* '''''A'''''synchronous multiplayer is when only one person plays at a time. While this sounds ridiculous, it's OlderThanTheyThink: PlayByPostGames of TabletopGame/{{chess}} have been a thing for centuries. In video games, it's typically combined with AsymmetricMultiplayer: the player has different roles depending on whether they're logged on or not. In ''VideoGame/ClashOfClans'', for instance, players can only be attacked whilst offline, with the AI controlling your defenses on your behalf. [[NOTE]]You also get to design your city in ways that funnel attackers towards your defensive towers, but that's more technical detail than this discussion really needs.[[/note]] When it comes to co-operative, it typically involves borrowing a friend's gameplay assets for use as {{Assist Character}}s. For non-combat, we turn again to ''VideoGame/FarmVille'', who pioneered the (for lack of a better term) "token economy" system: if you want to do [X], it requires special reagents, which can only be provided to you by friends who also play the game. (...Or [[BribingYourWayToVictory in-app purchase]].)
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