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How good is a console's library?

So many games per console, but not all are looked upon equally.

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Dialogue Delivery: What Story Do You Think It Is? pt2

We talked about the way dialogue and story elements were delivered in older generation-style games in the previous post which talks about player-paced plot-delivery and how clunky this mechanism is, especially when compared to the evolution of plot-delivery and character-paced delivery that we’ll discuss in this post.

There are two means of delivering the dialogue gaming, using either the In-Game Engine (IGE) or using pre-rendered Full-Motion Video (FMVs).

 

The IGE delivery uses the in-game gestures that the characters are normally seen using. They are made up of primitive gestures that when tied in sequence make up the acted emotions of the scene. These primitives are generally simple gestures like move over to point A, waving your hand to say “Hi”, putting your hand to your chin to show “I’m Thinking,” looking down to show “That’s Depressing/Disappointing.” For those who’ve played any MMORPG, these are simple emotes, showing a generalization of what emotion you’re trying to portray, but are blocky and look irregular because the motions aren’t fluid and are 1-dimensional.

FMVs, on the other hand, are scenes crafted by hand or by motion-capture suits in order to have the choreography and the dynamics of the scene seem realistic, being lived out on screen, rather than actions being dictated to them “Now look angry. Now look frustrated. Now look like you’ve been inspired with an idea.” In PS1/N64 ear games, FMVs were choreographed by the 3d artists, meticulously moving the arms and legs to proper locations, keyframing the locations that characters needed to be at in order to make the scene seem believable and compelling. Nowadays there is a mixture of this 3d-Artist ballet intermingled with real actors providing motion-captured animations so that the timing, the delivery and the drama feel organic because of its timing, the subtle strenuousness of basic movement when walking across a room while monologuing.

But these are the only the delivery systems for plot and dialogue, but the actual content being delivered can vary and impact how the player engages and experiences in the games themselves.

Continue reading “Dialogue Delivery: What Story Do You Think It Is? pt2”

Dialogue Delivery: Where Actions and Emotions Stray

When the character’s emotions don’t match their actions, it looks extremely odd. Like someone is just reading lines from a script, trying to grasp at but not completely understanding how they’re supposed to act, voice, or react when something dramatic happens. They stand there making some idle gesture while some sounds come out of their mouth, or the player is freely moving the characters around while dialogue is being played in the background and the player is supposed to understand the emotion being portrayed based on a partially synced audio/video? This is the problem when companies develop a competency for portraying emotion through just dialogue or just video. With many developers not able to completely develop an understanding of getting their game’s acting and dialogue to be wholly believable, I wanted to at least delve into the different mechanisms developers can use in order to connect emotion, story, and motivation to the player.

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This is your Gaming on Data p3


When two must fight over one

And both are similar to one another,
They must evolve.
If one becomes successful,
The other must find a way to win,
Or find another to pursue.
What are developers making?

A Tale of Two Consoles

Circles. Circles everywhere. But not a drop to drink. Circles: Dev by Genre Color: Genre Size: Number titles of Dev in Genre Sort: Most Titles in Genre (inner--outer) Source: VGChartz
[1] Circles. Circles everywhere. But not a drop to drink.
Circles: Dev by Genre
Color: Genre
Size: Number titles of Dev in Genre
Sort: Most Titles in Genre (inner–outer)
Source: VGChartz
When a game is developed, developers try to keep in mind the audience that they are trying to reach. What the above [1] shows is where their focus is being put with many games opting to stay in the traditionally popular categories of Action and Sports, with fewer and fewer developers focusing on genres that typically swing towards one series in particular. Fighting games have their Street Fighters taking up the majority of its audience, Gran Turismo taking up the Racing genre, etc… But what’s important is to focus on the differences between the consoles, in particular the PS3 and the Xbox 360 since we already focus on the Wii last time and the conclusion was that it was a gimmick machine that printed money for Nintendo and Ubisoft, but rarely for any other developer. LINK

This is not a tale of triumph, one of mischief or of woe.
It is a tale of rivals, finding a crowd for which they’d know.

Continue reading “This is your Gaming on Data p3”

Persistence to Play More

I remember a time when I was a kid where I would go to Toys ‘R Us once in a blue moon and pick up a game, whatever looked like would be fun, meaning something Mario, something Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, something Kirby, etc… I would go home, pop the cartridge into the console and play. Then the next day comes by and I’d keep playing. Weeks may go by without touching the thing, but I’d come back to playing it at some point. I’d even go back to games rented from Blockbuster. If the game seemed like fun at the time and they had a copy in stock, I’d pick it up again and keep playing it. After some time, my game collection kept getting bigger, games kept getting longer, and my time to play them kept getting cut due to the “responsible” things I needed to get done. Because of this, there arrived a time when I would stop revisiting old games. Games that were good got revisted more often than others, but even bad games were revisited in the past. Maybe because my selection is too vast, spending time on shitty games isn’t worth the time, and the mentality of “why replay something when I have another game waiting to be played” started to become the norm. I know if I had to spend $60 on a game in my early teens, I would have kept the game in my roster continuously until I accumulated at least 20+ hours for the game, unless the game was really just horrendous. But at what point do we start to abandon the games that we buy? And why would we abandon playing the game after only completing the game once or not even finishing the game at all?

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This is your Gaming on Data p2

What Developers are making?

A Tale of CrapWare

With a crash of thunder and spark of genius,
Came a brave little console, here to guide us.
But how will he get there, through peace or through wrath,
Little Wii-Knight, motion controls in-hand, creates his path.

The Developers Apirations

#Titles per genre per console. Top: Colored by Consoles Bottom: Colored by Genres Sorted by Most inside--Less outside
1. #Titles per genre per console.
Top: Colored by Consoles
Bottom: Colored by Genres
Sorted by Most inside–Less outside

What’s interesting about having all of this data at your disposal is seeing quickly how consoles can be remembered, or to drudge up old arguments with harder proof about what assumed at certain points but couldn’t really prove it yet. What the above shows is just how much developers spread across various genres on various consoles. Below are the pictures split-up.

Continue reading “This is your Gaming on Data p2”

Let’s Talk about Infamous: Second Sons

Infamous, the experiment in developing an original Superhero with the freedom of creating abilities and lore that’s untied to any pre-existing superhero universe. Two surprises from the PS3 generation was the ambition of Infamous and Prototype in creating an original open-world Superhero universe, but it would seem that Infamous had the staying power between the two with its 3rd installment released on the PS4. While the first 2 followed Cole and his very Spiderman-like origin story and his various continuous acts of self-sacrifice throughout the two games, we move on to Delsin and his X-Men-like origin story. The game tweaked a few aspects from the past few games but still did a great job at creating an original identity to both Delsin and the game instead of just another iteration of the same franchise. That doesn’t mean that everything went well, which is the topic for discussion to see how the experience can be overall different.

Continue reading “Let’s Talk about Infamous: Second Sons”

Why this game feels new – 2D Platformers

I’ve come to help you with your problems, so we can be free.

                Just how much room for improvement is there? When I look at a game, what gets me interested can vary greatly. Mechanics, story, perceptual shifts and so on are all aspects where the medium of gaming is leaps and bounds over the immersion of other media, but when going through the list of games month after month, there are very few examples that I can point to that “this is what gaming should exemplify and aspire to be, and the rest of you lot are the uninspired novelists hunting for words in a coffeeshop for hours a day.” I guess that’s a bit hypocritical because I’m in the middle of writing this at a coffeeshop-esqure environment, and have written at length in such an environment for quite some time because it is important to know where you work best and this environment is one of them for me. And I’d like to think that my level of output is greater than what some put out, especially after seeing how much time of others is spent on FB or random YouTube searches, but I digress.

The point is, most games that people tend to jump on the hype-train don’t have much to set themselves apart from predecessors and contemporaries, especially when there is so much more that can be done within the various genres that it makes it a chore to find a game that doesn’t “borrows heavily” from another which came out all of a few months prior.

A lot of this seems to come from incestual idea-sharing, where there are only so many new ideas that come out and once an idea is created, it gets passed around like an answer sheet throughout a class of overachievers. Only a few people create new ideas every development team tries to figure out how they can use that idea in order to make the game seem current and ingenious.

Continue reading “Why this game feels new – 2D Platformers”

Let’s Talk about: Metal Gear Solid 5 – Ground Zeroes

       Where have all the cowboys gone.

              Let’s get all of the normal complaints out of the way. Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes (MGSGZ) is a $30 demo, Keifer Suterland is not David Hayter and has some gritty vocal shoes to fill, the controls are too streamlined, and the narrative is very loose. All that being said, it was still a short but fun experience with some rough patches here and there. But I’m not just here to talk about my experience with the game, since it is a bit masturbatory to do so and everyone’s experience will differ, but there issome uniqueness to this MGS from previous ones because of the changes in design from sneaking down hallways to sneaking across the playground.

Continue reading “Let’s Talk about: Metal Gear Solid 5 – Ground Zeroes”

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