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Morality in games.
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Morality in games.:

 51 The Hero Hartmut, Thu, 10th Nov '11 3:15:00 PM from Ireland Relationship Status: I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me
And that, as they say, is that.
I reckon there ought to be something a like Conscience meter, which goes down every time you do something that goes against the specific moral code of the character, or goes up the more you stick to it. Get it low enough, and it changes said character's standard behaviour for the worse (for instance, if the character is initially and explicitly opposed to stealing according to the narrative, and yet constantly finds themselves doing so, they'll begin to justify it to themselves and have less of a problem with it).

Perhaps in conjunction with a Red Dead Redemption-style 'honour' meter (representative of the opinions of the general public of the character). This way, through careful manipulation and obfuscation, you can end up controlling a Villain with Good Publicity if you like, or, for challenge gamers, setting up Zero Approval Gambits for characters with a 'decent' moral code, but a poor reputation.

The above does sorta base itself on the assumption that said character's moral code is aligned in such a way that they would be deemed to be good people by those who knew them; for characters defined as villains, this would work the other way.

edited 10th Nov '11 3:15:40 PM by TheHeroHartmut

Not Actually Indie
What I really want to see more of is more games with choices which represent a reasonable selection of options that people of differing character would choose if placed in the same situation. Offer a variety of plausible value systems which your character can follow. Don't use something like Jade Empire's method, where you supposedly get to choose between coherent value systems, but the choices for one system are all put forward by people who don't approve of it, go and collect people with different value systems, and ask them "what would you do in this situation?" And then implement those options.

Instead of a karma meter or morality system with however many axes, I'd rather track reputation with something more like Relationship Values.
...eventually, we will reach a maximum entropy state where nobody has their own socks or underwear, or knows who to ask to get them back.
 53 feotakahari, Thu, 10th Nov '11 10:15:35 PM from Looking out at the city
Fuzzy Orange Doomsayer
Catching up to the thread:

Can you give me a specific example of this in SJ? Because I stopped maybe midway and don't remember anything that extreme.

Apparently, the whole "destroying free will" thing doesn't show up until the ending, but the FAQs make it sound like you get it automatically if you're lawful. I actually did get to be lawful from shaking hands with people and completing missions dutifully, despite choosing the neutral answers to all the questions about humanity's nature and future. (It should be noted that neutral choices don't change your alignment at all—if you want the neutral ending, you need to balance lawful choices with chaotic ones, which sometimes means doing really stupid things.) Anyways, if the game doesn't provide some last-second opportunity for change that I never got to, then it's the worst implementation of morality I've had to deal with.

I reckon there ought to be something a like Conscience meter, which goes down every time you do something that goes against the specific moral code of the character, or goes up the more you stick to it. Get it low enough, and it changes said character's standard behaviour for the worse (for instance, if the character is initially and explicitly opposed to stealing according to the narrative, and yet constantly finds themselves doing so, they'll begin to justify it to themselves and have less of a problem with it).

Makes me think of how Iji handles the issue of violence—if you kill everything that moves, the main character goes from apologetic to barely sane.

Instead of a karma meter or morality system with however many axes, I'd rather track reputation with something more like Relationship Values.

That sounds really, really promising.

edited 10th Nov '11 10:16:15 PM by feotakahari

That's Feo . . . He's a disgusting, mysoginistic, paedophilic asshat who moonlights as a shitty writer—Something Awful
Another thing I think games with karma meters should do: make the karma bonuses/penalties somewhat dynamic, in relation to your current rating.

Example: lets say you have a simple good/evil style karma meter. A given action is labelled by the game as a karma choice. However, how *much* karma you get depends on your current rating. If your still at the neutral starting point, stealing stuff might give you a decent amount of bad karma. Once you get significantly into the "evil" range, however, stealing starts only giving you single points of negative karma. . . and if you get "evil" enough, stealing *stops* giving you bad karma. OTOH, if your alignment is rather high, stealing may give you *more* bad karma than it otherwise would.

The idea is, acts should be weighted to who is doing them, so that it is *hard* to reach the extremes of alignment.
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 55 dvorak, Sat, 10th Nov '12 1:59:24 AM from Directly behind you; masquerading as your shadow Relationship Status: Chocolate!
Him Without an Avatar
I like how Dishonored considers that the Mooks you fight are still people, even though they're not on your side, from Watchmen to zombies-I-mean-weepers. Thus, killing everyone in your way makes for a bad ending-Empress Emily is a tyrant and Dunwall is eaten alive by The Plague, while letting them live means that you don't send your daughter the message that people's lives are worthless no matter how evil or far-gone they may be, there's still cops to clean up corpses and do away with rats and Weepers, and there's still Overseers to offer moral direction and spiritual support to the surviving populace.

edited 10th Nov '12 2:20:08 AM by dvorak

I'll be in my lab, bathing in paste.
 56 Kayeka, Sat, 10th Nov '12 2:05:07 AM from Amsterdam Relationship Status: Brony
World's biggest wannabe
[up]Awwww, couldn't you wait one more day making that post? I don't think I've seen a necro of a thread after exactly one year before.

Also, Deus Ex: Human Revolution did it before Dishonoured, and I'm sure there must have been a bunch before that as well. "Killing everyone makes you the bad guy" isn't a particularly new idea.
 57 dvorak, Sat, 10th Nov '12 2:09:31 AM from Directly behind you; masquerading as your shadow Relationship Status: Chocolate!
Him Without an Avatar
[up] I never played Human Revolution, and I still say it's a good moral choice device. I used Dishonored as an example, nowhere did I say it was the only one.

edited 11th Nov '12 3:54:37 PM by dvorak

I'll be in my lab, bathing in paste.
 58 Kayeka, Sat, 10th Nov '12 2:22:20 AM from Amsterdam Relationship Status: Brony
World's biggest wannabe
Have a third: Lone Survivor did it as well.
hhehehe
Speaking of the karma meter...

It annoyed me in New Vegas actually. I would get good karma for killing feral ghouls, even if it's in self defense. Makes it kind of difficult to play a bastard character unless I play a "pacifist" bastard character... which I now realize I should try.

 60 Shirow Shirow, Sat, 10th Nov '12 8:05:44 AM from Land of maple syrup Relationship Status: In Lesbians with you
Saintia SHOU!
[up] Karma in the 3D Fallout games is pretty screwed up. 3 didn't consider me anything other than a saint unless I became Stupid Evil. They did remove the positive-karma feral killing in New Vegas with later patch though.

A Karma Meter can be done well but most games... Don't. I still think Dragon Age: Origins has one of the best portrayals of morality. What You Are in the Dark and all that.

edited 10th Nov '12 8:06:04 AM by ShirowShirow

"Well, of course they'd be "colorful" - they're male battle-whores." - Nomuru2d
I wish the actual karma awards were assigned more sanely in New Vegas, because I really liked how they had your karma rating largely be unimportant, *until* you beat the game.
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 62 Tam H 70, Sat, 10th Nov '12 11:12:46 PM from 合計虐殺 Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War ALWAYS changes. Man does not.
[up][up]You still get Karma positive points for killing SOME feral ghouls in New Vegas. And for Fiends, and Powder Gangers and...
 63 Mukora, Sun, 11th Nov '12 11:33:41 AM from a place Relationship Status: Love is an open door
Uniocular
That's mainly because Karma in New Vegas is The Artifact. The focus is on individual faction reputations.

Which is probably my favourite use of "Karma, " even if it isn't as fully realized as it could be.
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Total posts: 63
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