Posted by Sweep (8927 posts) -

I want to say a massive thank you to everyone who leaves me kind words of encouragement and support at the bottom of my blogs. You guys are awesome.

I also want to say a massive thank you to everyone who inspires me to write. I have been asked a few times how I manage to think of something new to write about every day - and the answer is, just talking to you guys. Sitting in the IRC or on skype, sending PM's to people - there are a lot of clever kids in the Giant Bomb, and you are constantly filling my head with madness which I need to write about. Shout-outs go to several people in particular - Oni, Rowr, Virago, ZeroCast and most recently MattBodega. You guys hold this shit together.

So I figured it couldnt hurt to try something new. I spent a good hour yesterday talking to MattBodega about stuff, and it got pretty intense. I figured I would give him his share of the cradit and post up the entire conversation. Let me know what you think.

Skype Conversation - 01/November/08


Fable 2
Sweep: What the fuck is the deal with side quests? I cant bring myself to play through Fable II again because I cant bear to go through all those crappy missions that seem so unimportant. Why do we need them?

MattBodega: They're quests that don't pertain to the main storyline. They're the easiest way to increase the length of a game without stretching the length of the story past the breaking point. Without side quests you risk stretching the actual story portion of the game too far. Some Stories don't work for 40 hours. Some stories work for 10, and the other 30 a designer can fill with cool stuff.

Sweep: But quests that are not directly linked to the main storyline could still hold significance to the game as a whole. Why cant we have a variety of quests that all uncover a certain element of the story line - and by completing multiple side quests the main story is fleshed out in respective depth. I want "side-quests" that contribute to the point of the game. I’m sick of being told to "go kill these beetles because I cant be fucked" for some morality points.

MattBodega: Well, in the case of Fable and Fallout they do contribute to the point of the game. Those games are about your connection to the world. Those games are all about connecting you to an interesting environment/populace. They're not really about story.

Sweep: But the world still has an ultimate purpose - the idea that you have to complete the game.

GTA4
MattBodega: Does it? That idea exists within the player. I had a blast playing Oblivion and I didn't touch the story.

Sweep: What’s the point of enhancing your ethical standpoint if it doesn’t come into play at some meaningful point in the game. Does it matter if you are good or evil when at the end of the day you save the world? These moral decisions are left ingame, they don’t impose any significance on us in reality. We should just be able to play a game naturally without having "+5 Purity!" signs pop up.

MattBodega: That's why morality choices are dumb. What's the best part of Bioshock? The twist. Not the little girls.

Sweep: …..

MattBodega: What's the best parts of GTA?

Sweep: Twisting little girls?

MattBodega: The choices that DON'T respond to some kind of meter mechanic. Morality rating systems are dumb.

Sweep: Exactly. Its all about the subtlety of your decisions.

MattBodega: Yeah. The idea of putting an abstract concept like morality to a mathematical meter is ridiculous! It's one of the great parts of gaming that no one thinks about. That is why GTA worked so well. It gave you nothing but bad choices and at the end of the game, it posed the question "What did you do?" That's why GTA is the next watershed.

Mirror's Edge
Sweep: GTA4 was like "at the end of the day, the decisions you made have all been leading up to this point. how do you feel?" I for one was not prepared. Its like the game telling you to TAKE SOME RESPONSIBILITY which really freaked me out coming from a video game.

MattBodega: Choice in games is based on developer design, not “Free Will“. That's why GTA and Bioshock and even MGS2 hit home for me, because they're all games that are aware of the great conceit of the medium.

Sweep: A game doesn’t have to be about choice to be immersive. Don’t you get the sense  that developers are getting totally caught up in this morality crap, like its the next big important step for video games? Fuck that. Mirrors Edge is the next big step.

MattBodega: First person Parkour is the future?


Sweep: That game takes a step back and says "what do people expect?" and then goes in the opposite direction. Mirrors Edge does whatever the hell it wants. Its so confident. Its just a wonderfully fresh approach to game design. I wonder what would happen if you applied that same philosophy to MMO games, or RTS games? It just makes it so apparent how narrow the style of games in existence are, and how much potential there is to expand into new areas. Man.... I really want that game.

MattBodega: Damn! That sounds okay to me!

Sweep: We should totally have podcasted this entire conversation =/



BUT WE DIDNT AND YOU HAVE JUST READ IT!!


See, we work overtime. Its not like we have illegal chinese labourers churning these blogs out... not yet anyway.

Thanks For Reading
Love Sweep
#1 Posted by Sweep (8927 posts) -

I want to say a massive thank you to everyone who leaves me kind words of encouragement and support at the bottom of my blogs. You guys are awesome.

I also want to say a massive thank you to everyone who inspires me to write. I have been asked a few times how I manage to think of something new to write about every day - and the answer is, just talking to you guys. Sitting in the IRC or on skype, sending PM's to people - there are a lot of clever kids in the Giant Bomb, and you are constantly filling my head with madness which I need to write about. Shout-outs go to several people in particular - Oni, Rowr, Virago, ZeroCast and most recently MattBodega. You guys hold this shit together.

So I figured it couldnt hurt to try something new. I spent a good hour yesterday talking to MattBodega about stuff, and it got pretty intense. I figured I would give him his share of the cradit and post up the entire conversation. Let me know what you think.

Skype Conversation - 01/November/08


Fable 2
Sweep: What the fuck is the deal with side quests? I cant bring myself to play through Fable II again because I cant bear to go through all those crappy missions that seem so unimportant. Why do we need them?

MattBodega: They're quests that don't pertain to the main storyline. They're the easiest way to increase the length of a game without stretching the length of the story past the breaking point. Without side quests you risk stretching the actual story portion of the game too far. Some Stories don't work for 40 hours. Some stories work for 10, and the other 30 a designer can fill with cool stuff.

Sweep: But quests that are not directly linked to the main storyline could still hold significance to the game as a whole. Why cant we have a variety of quests that all uncover a certain element of the story line - and by completing multiple side quests the main story is fleshed out in respective depth. I want "side-quests" that contribute to the point of the game. I’m sick of being told to "go kill these beetles because I cant be fucked" for some morality points.

MattBodega: Well, in the case of Fable and Fallout they do contribute to the point of the game. Those games are about your connection to the world. Those games are all about connecting you to an interesting environment/populace. They're not really about story.

Sweep: But the world still has an ultimate purpose - the idea that you have to complete the game.

GTA4
MattBodega: Does it? That idea exists within the player. I had a blast playing Oblivion and I didn't touch the story.

Sweep: What’s the point of enhancing your ethical standpoint if it doesn’t come into play at some meaningful point in the game. Does it matter if you are good or evil when at the end of the day you save the world? These moral decisions are left ingame, they don’t impose any significance on us in reality. We should just be able to play a game naturally without having "+5 Purity!" signs pop up.

MattBodega: That's why morality choices are dumb. What's the best part of Bioshock? The twist. Not the little girls.

Sweep: …..

MattBodega: What's the best parts of GTA?

Sweep: Twisting little girls?

MattBodega: The choices that DON'T respond to some kind of meter mechanic. Morality rating systems are dumb.

Sweep: Exactly. Its all about the subtlety of your decisions.

MattBodega: Yeah. The idea of putting an abstract concept like morality to a mathematical meter is ridiculous! It's one of the great parts of gaming that no one thinks about. That is why GTA worked so well. It gave you nothing but bad choices and at the end of the game, it posed the question "What did you do?" That's why GTA is the next watershed.

Mirror's Edge
Sweep: GTA4 was like "at the end of the day, the decisions you made have all been leading up to this point. how do you feel?" I for one was not prepared. Its like the game telling you to TAKE SOME RESPONSIBILITY which really freaked me out coming from a video game.

MattBodega: Choice in games is based on developer design, not “Free Will“. That's why GTA and Bioshock and even MGS2 hit home for me, because they're all games that are aware of the great conceit of the medium.

Sweep: A game doesn’t have to be about choice to be immersive. Don’t you get the sense  that developers are getting totally caught up in this morality crap, like its the next big important step for video games? Fuck that. Mirrors Edge is the next big step.

MattBodega: First person Parkour is the future?


Sweep: That game takes a step back and says "what do people expect?" and then goes in the opposite direction. Mirrors Edge does whatever the hell it wants. Its so confident. Its just a wonderfully fresh approach to game design. I wonder what would happen if you applied that same philosophy to MMO games, or RTS games? It just makes it so apparent how narrow the style of games in existence are, and how much potential there is to expand into new areas. Man.... I really want that game.

MattBodega: Damn! That sounds okay to me!

Sweep: We should totally have podcasted this entire conversation =/



BUT WE DIDNT AND YOU HAVE JUST READ IT!!


See, we work overtime. Its not like we have illegal chinese labourers churning these blogs out... not yet anyway.

Thanks For Reading
Love Sweep
#2 Posted by Pepsiman (2485 posts) -

WHAT IF I DIDN'T READ IT AND SIMPLY GUESSED WHAT THE CONVERSATION WAS ABOUT BECAUSE OF MY LACK OF MAD LITERACY SKILLS!?

#3 Posted by Virago (2487 posts) -

That's briliant. I agree, the morality stuff could really go over the edge if poked to hard, and mirrors edge is definitely going to seed some brilliant games. at least that's what i'm hoping. I think games are leaving the idea of "go here because i tell you to" and veering more toward "well you could do this... but what if we just let you do whatever you want". I think Little Big Planet is also in that same category, as it really involves the player, not just in a "LB A A AX RB" kind of way. you have to plan things. Make it your own.

Thank you, sweep.
#4 Posted by Sweep (8927 posts) -

haha. Pepsiman is crazy =)

#5 Posted by tokyochicken (849 posts) -

Some day we'll have our chinese blog writing babies...one of these days...i know i dream

#6 Posted by Xero (159 posts) -
tokyochicken said:
"Some day we'll have our chinese blog writing babies...one of these days...i know i dream"
whaaaaA?
#7 Edited by Sweep (8927 posts) -

Xero if you read the blog you would realise that TokyoChicken is not, in fact, insane.

However we have our suspicions...

#8 Posted by Pibo47 (3166 posts) -
Pepsiman said:
"WHAT IF I DIDN'T READ IT AND SIMPLY GUESSED WHAT THE CONVERSATION WAS ABOUT BECAUSE OF MY LACK OF MAD LITERACY SKILLS!?"
HAHAHAHA! Nice. Thats all/topic
#9 Posted by Claude (16254 posts) -

Confidence goes a long way for many things. Nice post, thanks again Sweep.

#10 Posted by MattBodega (1907 posts) -

SWEEP IS PRETTY GOOD BUT THE GUY HE WAS TALKING WITH SOUNDED SUPER HOT AND SMART.

#11 Posted by brukaoru (5079 posts) -

That was an awesome conversation to read about. You should blog more conversations or have it in audio form, either way works! :P



#12 Posted by Pepsiman (2485 posts) -

I'M GLAD I'VE SPAWNED A NEW ALL-CAPS FAD BECAUSE OF MY LACK OF MAD LITERACY SKILLS! ALL CAPS MAKE EVERYTHING CLASSY, ESPECIALLY ON THE INTERNET!

#13 Posted by albedos_shadow (1485 posts) -

DEEP, MAN. DEEP.

#14 Posted by Torb (551 posts) -

Very enlightening. Though I would argue having a little counter go above your head can be helpful. What I mean is, I've picked morality choices in games that I thought were good but I received some evil points from. Wanting to get the "good" ending, I could redo it the way the game wanted me to to get the good alignment points. You may not agree, but it seems like it has its uses with a picky game...

#15 Posted by snide (2413 posts) -

Morale meter should be a new concept page!

#16 Posted by Sweep (8927 posts) -
snide said:
"Morale meter should be a new concept page!"

Done and done.


Morality Meter - Added!
#17 Posted by Rowr (5824 posts) -
Sweep said:
"Sweep: We should totally have podcasted this entire conversation =/"
I thought this half way through. Reading is such a strain :P

you guys should be on podcasts.
Online
#18 Posted by krazychris (210 posts) -

I'd agree about the morality meter stuff, me and my friend acually started to debate some of the decisions in GTA and what ones would be considered good and evil whereas Fable 2 clearly labels the good and evil options as such.

#19 Posted by smokeH (281 posts) -

"WHAT IF I DIDN'T READ IT AND SIMPLY GUESSED WHAT THE CONVERSATION WAS ABOUT BECAUSE OF MY LACK OF MAD LITERACY SKILLS!?"

LoL nice blog
#20 Posted by Oni (2104 posts) -

Yeah I agree with Matt, morality meters are dumb. Clearly, the flavor de jour in videogames is moral decisions. Bioshock, GTA 4, Fable 2, Fallout 3, even Spiderman: Web of Shadows, all these games feature moral choices. But whereas some games make it more subtle, like GTA 4, the opposite end of the spectrum is Web of Shadows which just asks DO YOU WANT TO BE GOOD OR BAD? Fable 2 is slightly more subtle than that but really not much. Fallout 3 has some more grey areas where it's not just binary choices, but there is usually a third option. It's still a pre-written choice, but at least there is more room for neutrality. And then there's The Witcher, where you have to make lots of choices over the course of the game, and you don't necessarily know how they will pan out. Often, you're forced to choose the what you think is the lesser of two evils, as it is never a perfect choice, and the results can be... unexpected. I think The Witcher has the best implemenation of moral choices and their consequences in any game so far, simply because it's all gray, there is no Light/dark choice or anything, no morality meter, the world is a pretty bad place, and no one is strictly a good guy, everyone has character flaws or bad aspects to them, and as such it feels far less videogamey in its interpretation of the choices/consequences concept. It really is a game that needs to be played by anyone academically interested in this morality concept. Get on that Matt/Sweep!

#21 Posted by SmugDarkLoser (4619 posts) -

sort of dumb.
Fable 2's morality crap works well

that being said, judging by the demo, Mirror's Edge isn't exactly innovative.  It's not radically diferent
The most innovative game thus far:

#22 Posted by Sweep (8927 posts) -

Thank you for your contribution SmugDarkLoser, you raise several interesting points - specifically when you mention that "Fable 2's morality crap works well". How very insightful. However we were actually discussing the concept of applying morality to such a mathematical spectrum. Not about how the design works within the context of the game.

Secondly - saying that Mirrors Edge isnt Innovative is just wrong.

"Innovate - verb (used without object)
1.to introduce something new; make changes in anything established."


Forgive me if i'm wrong but I dont remember any precedent for a first person parkour game - or even in terms of the approach and ethos behind the games design.
I'm sure Banjo will be great, but thats not really the point of this blog.


So yeah. You suck dude.