The only videogame levels: grass, egypt, fish, trees and hell
Also, still excited for Silent Hills for all the reasons I rambled all wild-eyed and sleep-deprived about yesterday, and also because when The Radio in P.T. describes a man who, “hung himself with a garden hose,” and as it says, “garden hose,” another voice mutters, “umbilical cord,” someone there knows exactly what they fuck they’re doing. That’s the brain horror. That’s what recent installations of the series have been missing in spades. It doesn’t even need to mean anything, is what’s important about that sorta stuff. It helps a lot, sure, and works out better long-term because you can build on it, but if they know how to tap into that Feeling with words that Feel right even without context, then I can trust them to turn out good shit regardless, yanno?
(Also also, I’ve never gotten anywhere near the Metal Gear Solid games and was trying to figure out why I went, “Eck,” when I heard everyone geeking out about the head director behind that series getting involved in Silent Hills, and yesterday realized that it’s just because the most frequent context in which I’ve seen the games brought up is obnoxious nerdbros who everyone hates using a recent MGS game cover featuring Solid Snake from behind and screenshots from trailers of same wherein his butt was in-frame to demonstrate how everyone complaining about the way camerawork and game art in/from various games framed women’s asses are just oversensitive misandrists because clearly the fact that you can see men’s asses ever means the treatment of all is identical and the only reason anyone could have a problem with it was because we hate these dudes in particular and wanted to make their lives harder and eventually consign them all to a feminist dystopia in which all games are just 50-hour simulators of getting laughed at by superhuman lady cyborgs in heels who are better than them at everything. Or something. Which I totally don’t blame the head of Metal Gear Solid for. And yesterday, Z told me about some of the delightful mindfuck Mr. Kojima has employed in his games and I actually teared up in anticipation because I am an emotional wreck for games that want to break me from the inside out and can actually follow through.)
One day I will calm down and stop writing these uninsightful rambly-ass posts about personal reactions to P.T. and related, but today is clearly not that day.
Hello again, I still haven’t been able to sleep but have been reading up on Silent Hills and, y’all, I’m officially pumped as hell for this game. It looks so solid.
Games since 3 have just all utterly failed to do it for me in one way or another, usually because they either had a poorly implemented gameplay element that left me too fed up to want to ever bother getting it for myself and playing through properly (like The Room’s escort stuff; unnecessarily frustrating escort missions were really the bane of that whole era, eh?) or because they were just loud and clunky and sidekick-having and…not subtle horror, yanno? Not the insidious sorta stuff that P.T. does so incredibly fucking well.
And in the background of that excellent execution is one of those two big creative minds behind it, I forget which and Googling is for CHUMPS, saying how they decided to not give the player any way to fight in P.T. because that would decrease feelings of helplessness and they didn’t want that. Which, regardless of whether or not it’s a design decision that carries through to Silent Hills, points to folks who know what the fuck they’re doing and tend to hit the horror buttons that I, personally, really get off on. As does, yanno, their putting together of P.T.
(I feel like all the random shit I post right now is excessively blathery and kinda pretentious-sounding and I see it but I can’t stop, I’m too fucking off-kilter right now. Sorry, though.)
I HAVE WAITED 3 YEARS FOR THIS MOMENT, I AM GOING TO CRY
OH MY GOOOOOODDDDDDDDDDD
Hello all, just wanted to let you know that there’s this game on Steam called Postmortem: One Must Die that’s on sale for 1.75 USD until August 8th. I haven’t touched it yet, but it’s self-described as, “The Walking Dead meets Home and The Last Express, with a dash of To The Moon!" and loaded with reviews praising its nuanced characters, which personally made me hyperventilate, so I wanted to share in case any of you wanna go check out its details and see if it’s your cup of tea!
Entropy just published my piece about Serious Platformers for Serious Dudes, and why I hate them. GO READ MAH SHIIIIIIIT
Gameplay is all about decisions. Designers offer interesting choices in their levels which in turn causes the player to make a decision. In a shooter, the placement of things such as weapons or ammo elicits the decision by the player to risk their safety to get an advantage over their opponent or the decision on whether they must conserve their shots or freely lay down a shower of bullets on their enemies.
This idea of interesting decisions is what players enjoy about games and gives them a feeling of accomplishment when they have made the right decision or an even greater sense of triumph when the decision leads to even more meaningful decisions. Even when it is not the player making the decision but merely observing other players or NPCs in the environment making choices, it still leaves people with a sense of wonderment and a more solid grounding in the world the designer is trying to create. Think of how many times you’ve seen an enemy in a game look broken due to bad AI. Granted this makes it easy for the player to get an advantage on the enemy but at the same time it breaks down the illusion of the game world. The suspension of disbelief is broken and the player’s experience is lessened.
AI can never be perfect, nor would we really want it to be. While seeing huge imperfections in a system breaks the player’s immersion, so does a robotic, systematic pattern. Human players have imperfections or do things erratically so we would expect our AI NPCs to mimic some of that same level of pattern differentiation.
When working with AI in a system, we want to start off with the basics. As with any game system a lot of complexity at the start also means a lot of complex bugs to work out as the system is being built. For TUG, we started prototyping the prey AI first. This AI system had the easiest set of requirements for the AI to function. Prey needed to be able to roam its environment, graze or idle and avoid danger, mainly the player. Our first prey model is the goat.
The goat’s basic AI decisions should all have a meaningful choice behind them. Deciding whether to graze or roam around is a fairly 50/50 choice. Neither decision really affects the goat’s well being but can be driven by two factors; am I hungry or am I near danger? The player represents the goat’s main threat at this stage, so adding in a check for the player’s distance provides an influence on the goat’s decisions. With this little bit of logic, the goat can begin to make more intelligent choices. Is the player near me? I should go into alert and search for the player. Is the player dangerously near me? RUN!
Hunger is the other driving influence on the goat. Adding in a hunger range on the goat influences his choices as well. Once a goat reaches certain thresholds of this hunger level, his decisions begin to drive him more towards grazing and not just the casual type of grazing but seeking out his favorite foods like crops grown by the player! Adding in this conflicting type of decision tree, the goat may now override his fear of the threat to satisfy his hunger. This type of meaningful choice makes the goat’s actions seem more real and adds a level of gameplay for the player. They can now choose to hunt the goat based on luring it toward food or find ways to prevent goats from destroying a field of crops.
So with a few control points in his decision making we’ve created the prototype for the prey. The prey can occur in certain biomes which is handled through our generation system, it can wander and graze the land, it actively searches for threats by the player and it has an insatiable hunger for player’s crops. So now what about the predator?
Well at first glance, it would seem the predator is a whole different beast from the prey. But with careful analysis, the predator is not that much different in his decision making. We want the predator to live or at least start off in certain biomes. We want the predator to actively search for food, in this case, the prey but also the player. Finally, we want the predator to, well, act like a predator once it has found its prey: stalk the prey and take it down!
So with a few tweaks to the prototyped system in place for prey, we can have the predator searching based on his own hunger meters. The more hungry, the more actively they search for food. But also we want an alert system for their decisions as well. When the player gets too close, the predator would be alerted and immediately switch to his attack phase. Finally a decision path of what to do when it is hungry and near food would need to be in place, is it stalking the prey or has it closed enough distance to switch into its attack phase.
And with that we now have two AI prototypes that benefit from the same decision trees to make a basic cast of Critters to fill out the world and add to the player’s experience. Further tweaks to the exposed controls for these systems can add variety and expand on the functionality to create new Critters in the future. So enjoy hunting goats and watch out for that sneaky predator lying in wait just behind you!
John aka (@x_nekochu_x)
The Princess is trapped in the tower, and the Knight is on a Quest to save her.
Everyone’s heard that story before. Everyone knows how this game ends.
But what happens when the Knight’s Quest fails? What if the only hope left is the Princess?
Can you save the Knight? Can you save yourself?
Evade your guards, explore the castle, talk to those you encounter along the way. Search for an escape. But be careful… the way out may prove to be stranger than you expect.
(reblogs are appreciated also!)
Arcanum is a cool game because I was just reading a thread on a game forum in which folks were talking about how certain areas are more tech-y or magical and will affect the player’s aptitude for either (and so skills linked to magic or tech) accordingly, and someone replied with, “Wait… woah. What? I have literally never noticed this in my 11 years playing this game.” It’s just full of random fleshy stuff like that, and it doesn’t particularly care to make it obvious to you.
(I get that, “Doesn’t tell you about notable game mechanics,” isn’t necessarily a plus to a lot of folks, but we all have our tastes and gosh do I love apathetic games.)
this shit goofs me up i just want to play as an Ordinary Dude in skyrim look like a tourist in disneyland
*The DRAGONBORN walks in wearing his SKYRIM LOGO T-SHIRT tucked into his JEANS*