Raven10's forum posts

#1 Edited by Raven10 (2050 posts) -

@milkman said:

Look at the best games of this year (or any year). Look at how almost all of them are about saving the world or some other giant conflict. Gone Home is a human story. It's completely inconsequential to everyone else in the world. But to the characters of the game, it's the most important conflict in the world. There are NEVER games like that. That's why it's special.

This. I would be pretty hard pressed to think of a single other story driven game that didn't involve some sort of massive conflict usually in some sort of fantastical environment. Even something like To The Moon still had a sci-fi bend. I think one of the key issues with gaming among the general populace is that the types of stories games tell are all very similar. They are summer blockbuster type stories, maybe not in scope, but in style. There has never been, to my knowledge, a game equivalent to something like American Beauty. Many of the best movies don't see the world in danger. Many don't see anyone in danger. Many just involve the lives of everyday people and the things they deal with. Now Gone Home is not the greatest story ever told, but it is the only story of this type ever told in a game. It paves the way for similar games to tell better stories.

As far as this specific story and the way it is told, I think the best part about it is how it plays with your expectations. At the beginning of the game you expect something terrible to have happened. You hear Lonnie's messages on the answering machine and expect that she is in danger, not in the throes of young love. You expect the red liquid in the bathtub to be blood not hair dye. You expect the basement to contain the ghost of year's past and the attic to contain the dead body of your sister. You expect the parents to divorce, the father to fail at getting another book published, the mother to have an affair. But in the end none of those things happen. By playing with tone and player expectations, Gone Home manages to keep things unexpected. You keep expecting things to go terribly wrong but they never do. And that is true of both gameplay and story. It's a merger of gameplay and narrative that defines the best interactive stories. Nothing bad happens in the gameplay of Gone Home. There are no monsters, no ghost, nothing. You expect the gameplay to go in a certain direction based on the setting and the tone, just like you expect the story to go in a similar direction. It is in fact the exact opposite of ludo-narrative dissonance. It is one of the few games to achieve true ludo-narrative harmony.

EDIT: Also, @roadshell, I noticed you used the term cognitive dissonance to describe this game, but cognitive dissonance is a mental issue where a person believes one thing but does the exact opposite. I think you meant ludo-narrative dissonance, which describes when the gameplay of a game is incongruent with the story it is trying to tell. Maybe the best example of ludo-narrative dissonance is the Uncharted series where Nathan Drake is presented as this nice, likeable guy in the cutscenes but in the gameplay he ruthlessly murders hundreds of people without a shred of remorse. Nothing in Gone Home in any way presents ludo-narrative dissonance. Contrivance? Yes. But contrivance occurs in everything from books to movies, and this game was at least a bit more believable than your standard audio logs.

#2 Edited by Raven10 (2050 posts) -

I'm going to second In-N-Out Burger as a must. And Disneyland is great if you don't have to stay downtown. Honestly, if you have never been to a Disney amusement park I would find some way to get there. It's an awesome experience. Try to go this week, though, as once kids get out of school the place is going to be mobbed until New Years. Not that it isn't mobbed every day, but you might get on a full three or four rides this week, while you'll spend 3 or 4 hours waiting for a single ride starting next week. Other than that I don't have any suggestions beyond those mentioned. I would also say to eat some traditional Mexican food if you are the type of person who believes a taco involves putting hamburger, cheese, and lettuce inside a giant tortilla chip.

#3 Posted by Raven10 (2050 posts) -

You referred to the degree as your "dream" and you seem to have an amazing deal as far as the money is concerned. You are 24. Unless you are married and with children in school already then don't hesitate. I'll also speak a little to moving from IL to Boston. If you lived in rural IL in a relatively conservative community then Boston will be a huge shift for you in quite a few social ways. For one, Boston is much colder from a weather standpoint, and also on the coast, meaning you risk things like Hurricanes. The upside of living on the coast is that Boston seafood is arguably the best in the world and definitely the best in the country. The city itself is a really awesome mix of old and new. Boston is probably the oldest still major city in the US. There are businesses there that have been around since before the formation of the country. And these very old buildings stand at odds with a very modern and liberal way of thinking. The politics in Boston and the entire North East are very different than what you are used to in the midwest. While Chicago can be quite liberal it is nothing compared to New York City or Boston. The main religion in Boston is Catholicism. But from my experiences there even the most religious members of that community pale in comparison to the nut jobs you get in in the South and much of the Midwest. The republican party in the North East is basically the democratic party just with stronger beliefs in small government and big business.

As far as BU itself is concerned, my parents both went there as well as my sister-in-law and they all had incredibly nice things to say about the school. Boston has a great public transportation system. It's subways from my experience are not as nice as, say, those in Toronto, but are equivalent to the ones in New York City with Chicago coming up in the rear. I'll admit, though, that I've had less experience with the Boston public transport system than the other 3.

To sum it up Boston has terrible weather, going from scorching hot in the summer to freezing cold in the winter. It has the best fish and seafood in the country, and is only 4 or 5 hours from New York City if you want to travel to an even bigger city. The actual city itself is one-of-a-kind, with many of the buildings and businesses dating back several hundred years. The Union Oyster House, just to use one of my favorite examples, is the oldest business in the country. It's been around for something like 250 years and remains in the same building it was in back when it started. But right down the street you get one of those modern organic burger joints and that is a block away from a street market with actual individual vendors selling things along the street. And then surrounding that area you have a strip mall. It's this weird mix of modern and old that you usually don't find in this country. Finally, BU is from my understanding a great school and I think it would be interesting to study theology in a traditionally Irish Catholic city that has an interesting influence from having Harvard and BU located within the city.

#4 Edited by Raven10 (2050 posts) -

Well for me I have to say Bioshock Infinite as well. I actually don't think it is bad. In fact I loved it and would say outside of The Last of Us it was the best game of the year. But it wasn't as good as the first game and after waiting five years for it I just felt like the end result was great, masterful even, but maybe not as masterful as I hoped. All that says is that my expectations were pretty unrealistic but it's the honest answer.

#5 Posted by Raven10 (2050 posts) -

I'll comment on this arbitrary list with my opinions because why not, huh? I agree with the best action game and best licensed game. For third person shooter I guess I preferred Gears 2 to the first but I would agree on a Gears game of some sort. For best RPG I would have to say The Witcher 2, unless we are exclusively counting console games. Then I would probably go with Mass Effect 2. For MP game I would probably want to split it between Co-Op and competitive. For co-op I would say either Left 4 Dead or Journey and for competitive I would probably say Halo 3. For best first person shooter I would choose Bioshock and for best overall game I would be torn between Braid, Bioshock, Journey, The Last of Us, and Portal 2.

#6 Edited by Raven10 (2050 posts) -

@aegon said:

I always felt like there was an abnormally high amount of amazing grades in these kinds of threads.

Either this is a smart community or the American education system has low standards. Depends on your mood.

My Dad was talking to a professor at State University of New York Albany who teaches chemistry over there. My Dad has worked in chemistry for over 30 years and he constantly complains about how little the new recruits know. And mind you he currently works for GE's power research division so they only take the best of the best.

Anyways, this chemistry professor was saying how he found a copy of a final he gave to his students 30 years ago around the time my Dad was in school. And he told my Dad that he didn't think his current students could have answered a single question on that exam. He wasn't even sure anyone who graduated from the school could answer a single question. He said that the students they got these days came in with so little knowledge that the university ends up spending their entire time teaching students things that 30 years ago they wouldn't have graduated middle school without knowing.

#7 Edited by Raven10 (2050 posts) -

Well this is a sad situation. Here's a couple of thoughts -

Comcept is the team behind Ninja Gaiden Z, a game up there with Suda 51's work as being some of the most sexually juvenile shit in the games industry. If they have someone on the team to try to counterbalance that then good on them.

Community Manager is one of the lowest tiers on the development team. Are they expecting Comcept to hire some artistic master as a CM? She doesn't have a lot of experience. That is why she is not the lead artist. Everyone has to start somewhere. I don't know how old she is, but maybe she is a bit too young to have played the original Mega Man games? They came out in the mid-eighties so if she was born then she probably wouldn't have started playing the series until the SNES days which could explain why she has only played the X games. That is just speculation on my part of course, but if she is in an entry level position I would imagine (or at least hope) she is no older than her late 20's which would make her birth year sometime in the late 80's.

I guess part of the problem is that none of the Mega Man games up until the PS1 games probably had a budget of more than $250,000 and I doubt any of the PS1 games had a budget above $750,000. This is important because even if they hired every person who worked on every classic Mega Man game they would probably still need more people to develop a $4 million game. They are going to have to add new talent and that new talent is likely going to have been born too late to play the original NES Mega Man games.

#8 Posted by Raven10 (2050 posts) -

@jeust: I don't see why not. The cost of the disc itself is not that high anymore and as I said, the size of the game on the disc and the scale of the in game world are not proportional in any way so what would make it cost prohibitive? Like I said originally, Rage could easily release a 100 GB HD version if they wished. Many PC games include additional HD texture packs for those with the bandwidth and hard drive space to use them. Another aspect that could take up more space is audio. A lot of audio is super compressed in games, but more and more games are including HD audio for those with the hardware to make use of it. HD audio can take up massive amounts of space and it costs no more to include HD audio over compressed audio. The audio starts at the highest quality and is lowered down to fit onto the disc. If a game were to include 7.1 24 Bit FLAC audio then it could take up 100 GB's easily.

#9 Posted by Raven10 (2050 posts) -
@jeust said:

@brainling said:

@jeust said:

@raven10 said:

Forever is a long time. On current gen systems maybe not. But if you wanted a game made for 4K or 8K monitors then definitely. Almost all textures end up getting compressed before being pressed onto the disc. If you look at something like Rage, that game was over a terabyte uncompressed. At the time it wasn't feasible to release a version more than 25 GB, but they could have made a 100 GB version if they wanted. So long story short, yes, definitely. Maybe not anytime soon but eventually.

Well that is supposing that it will ever be proffitable that amount of work on a game... If at 40GB the game it is already bordering on financially unfeasable, then if they ever reach 100GB+ it probably is insanity as of now.

Forever is a long time, but will we and consoles live long enough reach those extremes? With every variable from digital distribution, to development costs it is hard to say if it will ever happen.

You can't compare size to cost quite that linearly. As texture sizes go up, the tools used to create them get better. At some point purely photo realistic super high res textures become the norm, which are no harder to create, they are just huge. Textures are by far the largest contributor to game size in the modern era.

This of course assumes we continue to use textured polygons for rendering, which as of right now seems likely for the foreseeable future, but who knows in ten or fifteen years.

Yeah, but haven't costs been rising with the high tech graphics? Tools can minimize the increased financial effort, but can't reverse it. Costs in AAA from sd to hdtv have rising quite significantly despite the increasingly better tools.

But in your argument you have forgotten that the textures are designed by people that have to be paid, and the resolution improves so does the work slow down, as well as as much more textures are employed as much more people and/or time are needed to design those said textures. Tools can slow down the financial climb, but that's that.

I can't see costs diminuishing, as someone has to design every facet of the increasingly complicated game.

@brainling is correct. Textures are currently scaled down from their original quality. Since many textures are based on photographs you can have incredibly high quality base images for your textures. The top cameras these days can take photos at like 16k resolutions. Making a texture have more detail costs a bit more but not in a linear manner at all, especially considering that most textures are made in much higher resolutions than will ever be displayed in the game. The cost of a game doesn't directly rise along with scale. Plus the scale of an in game world doesn't correlate at all to its total size on the disc. Skyrim takes up far less space on a disc than Uncharted 2 or 3 do for example. Most games use a process called instancing to create their levels. What that means is you have a single asset, say a table, and every time you need that table to appear in the game you tell the game to find that table on the disc and then put it in the game world. The table only has to be on the disc a single time even if it is used 100's of times throughout the game. Skyrim and other open world games tend to use this technique to an extreme degree. If you look in Skyrim the number of unique textures is actually probably not as great as some linear games as in those games each level may contain an entirely unique set of objects. There are dozens of dungeons in Skyrim but only a handful of different graphical styles among them. Meanwhile, again to use Uncharted as an example, virtually every level in an Uncharted game uses almost entirely unique assets. Plus, Naughty Dog uses an interesting technique in which they store the same assets multiple times on the disc so that they are always close by when needed. That's how they manage to avoid lengthy installations and manage to stream in new content like they do. GTA5 actually streams content from both the hard drive and the disc at the same time which let's them get the assets into the RAM as quickly as possible. This, again, means that content is sometimes repeated on the disc.

Last point is that in the previous generation (meaning 360 and PS3) quite often the most space on the disc was actually reserved for cutscenes. Bink videos used in a large number of games take up a huge amount of space on the disc but are used because they allow you to stream in the next level in the background. In the last Castlevania game which took up two DVD's the entire game outside of the cutscenes fit easily onto a single DVD. But the cutscenes actually doubled the size of the game. With required installs and massive amounts of RAM this generation we won't have the same sort of bandwidth issues so I would hope Bink videos are used less.

#10 Posted by Raven10 (2050 posts) -

Forever is a long time. On current gen systems maybe not. But if you wanted a game made for 4K or 8K monitors then definitely. Almost all textures end up getting compressed before being pressed onto the disc. If you look at something like Rage, that game was over a terabyte uncompressed. At the time it wasn't feasible to release a version more than 25 GB, but they could have made a 100 GB version if they wanted. So long story short, yes, definitely. Maybe not anytime soon but eventually.