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FortKnox's Journal: If you've ever played a _Resident Evil_ game... 6

Journal by FortKnox
... you need to read fridays Penny Arcade. Its about time someone started thinking of the "prior to zombie infestation time" on resident evil games (or any kind of game that requires odd keys and combinations to move around). Think about it. The lab in which the infestation starts happens to be the one in the deepest part of the installation that requires finding keys scattered all over the base, and, if you worked in that lab, you'd have to leave for work 2 hours early to get all the keys to get in. Honestly, what kind of scientist would put up with such an overly secure work environment? What if something goes wrong? Get out? Hardly!!
Well, I guess that would explain why the infestation started in that lab. No one had enough time to get out, nor had enough time to get in there to destroy it before it got out of control. I'd think that if I had a lab that ran overly exotic and extremely dangerous experiments under the radar of the local government, I'd use a little more planning....
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If you've ever played a _Resident Evil_ game...

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  • Not just RE (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kingfox (149377) on Monday May 06, 2002 @10:34AM (#3469461) Homepage Journal
    That's a problem in most games out there today. It comes from two different forces duking it out during the design of the game itself, realism and playability. Like the invisible hand pushes supply and demand around in economic thought, the game developer must push the point between those two competing forces.

    Every time I, or someone I know, works on a game we see those tradeoffs. Sure, you could require the character to pee after drinking, with stat drops if they hold it for too long... but that sucks away playability. Sure, you could require them to drink in the first place, but who wants to deal with finding food and water all the time? Notice how most RPG's dropped that, while that was the standard in the 80's. Most RPG's now have food be an extra health bonus, like the fighting games from the 80's.

    If we want to take this to an extreme, look at death. Most games give the player 'lives', while some really do make you restore from a saved game if you die. Some games allow you to take a few bullets before you die, while others such as Rainbow Six drop you after a well-placed bullet to the head, hero or not.

    So do you set up the secret underground research facility as realistic running system with all the details that not every player will appriciate, or do you scatter keys about in an unrealistic fashion to create tension and challenge for the player?
    • I understand the balance of realism vs. playability, but in a game involving a giant plot, you really need to ensure the plot, itself has realism (not "realistic", but realism as in a science fiction novel). The realism vs. playability should factor into the actual gameplay, not the story.

      For example, look at halflife (single player). The story and plot had incredible realism, and the "go around and collect keys" had realism (to "testfire the jet engine, you had to fuel it and power it").

      Getting gems and odd artifacts and use them as keys? Sure, maybe one secret passage would use it, but every door in the game? I find it a little overboard.

      BTW - You talk as if you are a professional game designer. Are you (I ask, cause I've got questions I'd like to ask a pro game designer)?
    • by JMZero (449047)
      Here's exactly how game developers decide to add more find-the-key problems:

      1. We wanted to make this game/level a little longer.
      2. We are not creative enough to come up with interesting content.

      Other ways to pad your action/adventure game without adding anything enjoyable:

      1. Jumping puzzles!
      2. Push-the-crate jumping puzzles!
      3. Switches that open doors/move platforms!
      4. Finding "ID" tags (which are good variety, not just keys) to get past security!
      5. Finding the disguise to walk by the guys you would normally just kill but can't because it's a "Puzzle!"
      6. Finding the "ventilation duct", with optional "shoot it off" lock.
      7. My very favorite: teleporter mazes! YEAH!

      Things that would perform the same function of elongating a game, but would require too much effort:

      1. Making a level signifigantly larger that required - making the player actually look around (or navigate) to find something.
      2. Using a creative puzzle, possibly involving signifigant interaction with your environment (and neither pushing crates nor blowing up walls counts).
      3. Including any sort of red herring - a key that doesn't open up any particular lock. An area you don't need to explore. Items that don't do anything. A building that has visible contents that you can't get into/don't need to enter. Having options about what you want the control panel to do.
      4. Guarding a door with waves and waves of identical enemies with poor AI (oh wait, maybe they do do this one...)

      .

      • Items that don't do anything

        Most of your "require too much effort" stuff is in my fav game, system shock 2, but the items that don't do anything especially.
        If you shoot/open up a garbage can, will you find ammo? Not likely, but there will be lots of garbage! Not to mention cans that are useless and potted plants (which give entertainment if you want to throw them around and break them). The best is cigs. You can carry them around, and if you use them, it blows smoke but also causes a little bit of damage. I've even heard you can get addicted to them (although you'd REALLY have to get into character to cause that. Its bad enough that you keep getting hit by the zombies and are desperate for health).
        • There are definitely some good games out there (I haven't played System Shock - perhaps I'll run into it in the bargain bin).

          Perhaps some context to my rant - the last two games I've gone through are Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force and 007: Agent Under Fire. Both fairly highly rated games. Both based on expensive licenses. Both had high production values. Both were _painfully_ bland.

          I started going through Half Life: Blue Shift (another game with a colon!), and I don't think I'll make it through. After doing another "puzzle" involving switches, oil drums, and crates, I had to end task because I didn't want to have to wade through exiting.

          On the other hand, "Typing of the Dead" is a great game.

          I think most of the current genres have become stagnant - hopefully that means the next wave of games will distinguish themselves by their creativity.
          • Some suggestions:
            Thief and Thief2: FPS/RPG's with STYLE. No going around gun-ho with a large weapon, but instead sneaking around. In Thief2 especially. You draw your sword with more than one guard, and you are TOAST. Sniping in the shadows with your bow and arrow is fun, though. ;-)

            System Shock 2: I already mentioned this. My fav game. Starts off a tad cheesy, but by the middle and end, you'll be scared sh*tless (unless, you choose to be a marine and get a whole buncha guns and ammo and can repair your weapons well).

            Deus Ex: Lets face it... Warren Spector is a god (if he didn't directly make the game, which is the case for Deus Ex, he had a large part in the creation). Anyway, Deus Ex is a FPS/RPG mix, where you get to pick the stats and customize your character. The really great part is every problem you face has AT LEAST three ways to solve them (lockpick the door, blast the door down, find the key). Each "solution" has its downfalls (loose a pick, everyone with a gun is alarmed, taking the time to find the key or swiping the key from the person who holds it). Truely a great game (although it does require some good hardware to play. Was decent on a 800 Athlon with a TNT2 and 128MB RAM).

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