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Re: Scratchware

Francesco Orsenigo, Xarvh Project wrote:
> This may fit into the game developement thread, i found it quite 
> interesting...
> http://www.the-underdogs.org/scratch.php
> Francesco Orsenigo

What I always find interesting is just what people argue is the best way 
to design a game.

Some people argue that since graphics make up a large portion of the 
game, then good graphics make the game. I am being serious that someone 
once said this on a forum. You can be sure that he was flamed, but I was 
surprised that no one else had done it before I got to this post. I say 
that graphics demos and movies can give you all of the special effects 
you need, and freeciv and bzflag have a big following even though the 
graphics aren't hot stuff.
Some people argue that good story makes a game good. I say that books 
can give you all the story you want, and Tetris and Quake 3 Arena are 
good games that didn't have much in the way of story.
Some people argue that originality makes the game good. I say 
originality is definitely overrated, and sequels to good games such as 
Doom (ahem, Doom 3 seems to be hotly anticipated for a lack of 
origanity...), SimCity, and Warcraft, Super Mario Bros, etc always get 
good press and good reviews from gamers.

While I understand the merits behind each of the arguments, they alone 
do not make the game.
Making an incredibly original game is not necessarily going to make a 
good game. There are plenty of original games out there that do not sell 
as well as even a mediocre FPS.

Everyone knows (or they should) that they only play games that are fun. 
  I just read some reviews of the the Contra game for PS2, and I am 
still shocked by lines like, "And the best part of the game was the 
intro! The graphics were amazing!" Um, yeah, cause I bought a movie...oh 
wait, I forgot, it is a game.
I would love to play the game on the merits that I had fun with the 
previous Contra games (again, originality is overrated. If it is fun, I 
will play it).

Tetris was fun. Nothing special about Tetris, as the millions of indie 
game developers who knock it off within a day or a week can tell you. 
No story.
Originality is refreshing, but not if it sucks. When Real Time Strategy 
games started, it appealed to a lot of people, but not to everyone. Some 
people didn't find it fun to micromanage in real time.

It is hard to give examples of mediocre yet original games. I don't know 
of many, and it isn't the marketers or the industry's fault. It is the 
fault of the game. People don't like crappy games, and a clone of 
something popular can't easily be as crappy as something new.

I am not saying that more of the same should be made. I am saying that 
people should stop complaining about the "glut" of these games. People 
buy them, so they make them. If you want to support innovative titles, 
buy them. Get your friends to buy them. But don't support crappy titles, 
whether original or not, for the sake of supporting something.
We might disagree on what is considered fun, but that is the point. 
There are different genres, and I can enjoy a large number of any of 
them. FPS, RTS, TBS, platform, puzzle, etc. Fun is the bottom line, not 
amazing graphics or story. Final Fantasy had a decent story, but the 
gameplay was not dominated by it. Alien vs Predator 2 has an amazingly 
immersive storyline in that it is revealed during gameplay, not just in 
"amazing" cut scenes. It is like being in the movie, but not watching one.

Games are meant to be interactive, not watched or read. My choices are 
important, so cut scenes are not.
You want to break down to the basic game? Guess the Number. Ask a 3 year 
old if it is fun (they might say no, but they might say yes). They make 
choices, and they find out what their choices resulted in (right or 
wrong). Sequel to Guess the Number? Start telling them if they are low 
or high to the actual number. I mean, choices make up a big portion of 
the game. Lack of choices make a movie or story. They might be good 
movies or stories, but they are not games.

A lot of people say that they want good RPGs, and they say that to make 
such a thing you need a good story.
Diablo 2 seems to be pretty popular...
Final Fantasy is not fun these days just because the gameplay is slow 
compared to the RPGs that some people have gotten used to.
Final Fantasy N (where N is a sufficiently large integer...I couldn't 
remember which game) went to the opposite extreme from that first game 
and decided to make a series of amazing cut scenes...but the gameplay 

Gameplay is made by choices, and good games are made by making those 
choices fun things to do.
Simcity was fun in general because your choices can make impacts on what 
has been described as not a game so much as a simulation.
Simcity 2000 was fun but the most unfun part of the game was placing 
water pipes. If I build all of these buildings, wouldn't that be handled 
for me? It is a no brainer that these pipes should be there, and I will 
end up putting them there anyway, so the program should do it for me.
This is not the same as saying that I am going to shoot the enemy so 
they should die on site automatically. I still have choices to make 
there. What weapon, when to shoot, when to duck, etc.