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X-COM rumors, again...

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  • TAZ
    http://www.gamespot.com/news/6238162.html?tag=other-user-related-content;3 *sigh* Back in the day everyone made a tank game, after X-COM, it seems that every
    Message 1 of 27 , Nov 3, 2009
      http://www.gamespot.com/news/6238162.html?tag=other-user-related-content;3

      *sigh*

      Back in the day everyone made a tank game, after X-COM, it seems that every dev with a little free time played with a tactical squad level combat game.

      Just to spark a little discussion, if you had this franchise, what would you do with it? Alternately, have you've every taken a stab at the genre? What did you like or what would you want to change?
      --
      TAZ
    • Wayne Imlach
      UFO: Enemy Unknown (X-Com) is one of my all-time favourite games. As far as remake, I d keep the same basic format and upgrade the following: General UI - both
      Message 2 of 27 , Nov 3, 2009
        UFO: Enemy Unknown (X-Com) is one of my all-time favourite games.

        As far as remake, I'd keep the same basic format and upgrade the following:

        General UI - both tactical and strategic. The original could be a little
        overwhelming and clucky.
        Destructable terrain - make it more physics-based and realistic rather than
        the simple tile-based of the original (Red Faction Guerrilla is a good
        example of what's possible today).
        First Person View - you can jump between each soldier and view the location
        from their viewpoint. This provides easy line-of-sight estimates for
        spotting enemies and shooting.
        Alien Campaign - play as the aliens.
        Multiplayer - X-Com vs Cydonians.

        As well as turn based, a real-time version with squad-level AI might also
        work quite well - modern squad based shooters nowadays seem to have
        reasonable AI that deal with variable terrain and tactical decision making
        without looking too stupid. This is however quite a different style of game.

        I'd also perhaps experiment with the 'simultaneous move'
        turn-based/real-time hybrid system as used in Laser Squad Nemesis (something
        of a younger sibling to X-Com).






        2009/11/3 TAZ <tzircher@...>

        >
        >
        > http://www.gamespot.com/news/6238162.html?tag=other-user-related-content;3
        >
        > *sigh*
        >
        > Back in the day everyone made a tank game, after X-COM, it seems that every
        > dev with a little free time played with a tactical squad level combat game.
        >
        > Just to spark a little discussion, if you had this franchise, what would
        > you do with it? Alternately, have you've every taken a stab at the genre?
        > What did you like or what would you want to change?
        > --
        > TAZ
        >
        >
        >


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • TAZ
        Aye, to add to that, a co-op mode would be nice either in campaign or as part of a multi-player team game. I ve been pondering the UI question. I think a
        Message 3 of 27 , Nov 3, 2009
          Aye, to add to that, a co-op mode would be nice either in campaign or as part of a multi-player team game. I've been pondering the UI question. I think a right click context sensitive menu might be the way to do to reduce on-screen clutter. I'm also a big fan of the right click and hold camera control scheme used in games such as MechCommander 2. Ideally, reduce the controls to a single mouse interface so that I can spare the other hand for beer and pretzels. :-)

          The multi-mode camera (first person, 3rd person, overhead) would be a snap to do in a true 3D scene. It's just a matter of moving the camera around inside the scene. [Something that could not be done with the older isometric displays.]
          --
          TAZ

          --- In gamedesign-l@yahoogroups.com, Wayne Imlach <wimlach@...> wrote:
          >
          > UFO: Enemy Unknown (X-Com) is one of my all-time favourite games.
          >
          > As far as remake, I'd keep the same basic format and upgrade
          > the following:
          >
          > General UI - both tactical and strategic. The original could be
          > a little overwhelming and clucky.
          > Destructable terrain - make it more physics-based and realistic
          > rather than the simple tile-based of the original (Red Faction
          > Guerrilla is a good example of what's possible today).
          > First Person View - you can jump between each soldier and view
          > the location from their viewpoint. This provides easy line-of-
          > sight estimates for spotting enemies and shooting.
          > Alien Campaign - play as the aliens.
          > Multiplayer - X-Com vs Cydonians.
          >
          > As well as turn based, a real-time version with squad-level AI
          > might also work quite well - modern squad based shooters nowadays
          > seem to have reasonable AI that deal with variable terrain and
          > tactical decision making without looking too stupid. This is
          > however quite a different style of game.
          >
          > I'd also perhaps experiment with the 'simultaneous move'
          > turn-based/real-time hybrid system as used in Laser Squad
          > Nemesis (something of a younger sibling to X-Com).
        • LingMac
          Ok... I think that in 99% of the systems of game morality nowadays, it s way too easy to be good . I think these systems do not accurately capture the essence
          Message 4 of 27 , Nov 8, 2009
            Ok... I think that in 99% of the systems of game morality nowadays,
            it's way too easy to be "good". I think these systems do not
            accurately capture the essence of the thing, in that "need is the bane
            of virtue".

            As I was saying the other day, I'm toying with this idea of a
            post-apocalyptic world which incidentally would be just about perfect
            to bring the monstrous side in anyone and everyone. :)
            Yeah, it's way too easy to be generous and magnanimous when you're
            this mobile powerhouse with nearly infinite resources, and who can
            "reload" the game whenever something doesn't go your way. No more of
            that for you! There's no reloading; you die, it's back to the start
            with you. With another procedurally generated world. You're just
            another average joe here, at least at the start. Food is scarce,
            shelter is scarce, there are ultra-aggressive ravenous creatures
            roaming all over the place. The life expectancy here is something like
            5 years. When you haven't eaten for 4 days, all your stats are halved,
            you're about to collapse and you stumble upon this little girl
            clutching her loaf of bread... that's when we'll get to see what you
            REALLY are about, deep down.

            So you see, that's the idea. Suppose you don't want to present a
            "theme-park" version of this apocalyptic world, that you really aim to
            show the grittiest side of human nature, but not heavy-handedly so
            either. I reckon such a world would feature a whole lot of raping.
            Just look at any war scenario for empirical evidence.
            Indeed, a substantial portion of the conflict between human males in
            such a world would probably be over females. And here's the problem.
            Suppose that you want to tempt the player to commit rape. Unlike
            stealing, and - in some cases - murdering, it brings no in-game
            benefits whatsoever; it just causes victim, family and friends to want
            your fucking head on a platter. Men rape because they feel an
            intrinsic urge that cannot be be emulated by a game. So what do you do
            here?

            1 - Remove raping from your game altogether, which results in this
            "apocalyptic' world feeling quite a bit... off

            2 - Have some of the NPCs in the simulation commit rape, perhaps even
            give the player the option to do so, but offer no tangible benefits to
            it whatsoever. From a strategical standpoint, the player should never
            touch it, and the NPCs are putting themselves at a disadvantage by
            doing so.

            3 - Implement some ultra-cheesy "sex need" system to force the
            player's hand, effectively making the option to rape strategically
            meaningful. Then complain endlessly that no one will take your game
            and its message seriously.

            Is there any way to pull this thing off at all?
          • Brandon Van Every
            ... Is the gameplay going to be interesting enough for me to be willing to retread old ground over and over again? Civ games sorta meet that bar, but I
            Message 5 of 27 , Nov 8, 2009
              On Sun, Nov 8, 2009 at 10:50 PM, LingMac <lingmac@...> wrote:

              >
              > Yeah, it's way too easy to be generous and magnanimous when you're
              > this mobile powerhouse with nearly infinite resources, and who can
              > "reload" the game whenever something doesn't go your way. No more of
              > that for you! There's no reloading; you die, it's back to the start
              > with you. With another procedurally generated world.
              >

              Is the gameplay going to be interesting enough for me to be willing to
              retread old ground over and over again? Civ games "sorta" meet that bar,
              but I wonder if an impartial observer would simply say I'm obsessive, and
              that I've wasted way too much of my life on a fundamentally boring game.

              You're just
              > another average joe here, at least at the start. Food is scarce,
              > shelter is scarce, there are ultra-aggressive ravenous creatures
              > roaming all over the place. The life expectancy here is something like
              > 5 years. When you haven't eaten for 4 days, all your stats are halved,
              > you're about to collapse and you stumble upon this little girl
              > clutching her loaf of bread... that's when we'll get to see what you
              > REALLY are about, deep down.
              >
              > Handled in an average manner, I'm probably about finding something else to
              do with my time other than play this game. I'm not sure what theory of
              exposition would make me want to stay the course. Why don't you do
              something easier and more direct, like write a Holocaust oven simulator?
              Sure the Jewish Anti-Defamation League would jump all over you, but it
              wouldn't require any big time investment to cut to the chase and do
              something evil. Why don't you make a game about feeding dogs poison meat
              and watching them die horribly? Or throwing people into iron maidens? All
              of these have been done in film, it's the DIY aspect in a game that makes
              people squeamish. People still see games as instructional materials or
              simulators. So, PETA jumps on you because it's "not just a game," it's
              gonna make some copycat person poison all the dogs in the neighborhood.
              Yeah, I'm a dog owner too, I'm not sure what action I'd take against such a
              title. Probably depends on how it's done.


              > Suppose that you want to tempt the player to commit rape.
              >

              Then you get an "Adults Only" rating at a minimum, and are probably banned
              from certain markets. Are you comfortable with the economic implications of
              that? Plus the occasional death threat, depending on who you piss off? Is
              "Your Art" worth it? I've thought about rape, torture, murder, and gas oven
              games, but frankly none of those themes are sufficiently near and dear to my
              heart to take the crap that's gonna come along with them.

              Unlike
              > stealing, and - in some cases - murdering, it brings no in-game
              > benefits whatsoever; it just causes victim, family and friends to want
              > your fucking head on a platter.
              >

              There doesn't have to be an in-game benefit. The player just has to want to
              do it.


              > Men rape because they feel an
              > intrinsic urge that cannot be be emulated by a game. So what do you do
              > here?
              >

              I don't know much about the psychology of rapists, but that sounds like a
              sweeping statement. Aren't you really saying you're squeamish about writing
              a game where you as author have to take responsibility for the rise you
              might give the player?

              Also, why is the player gonna care? You can't make the player care by
              fiat. This is a problem as compared to novels, where the reader can merely
              observe a bunch of human relationships and reason about them as plot
              devices. In a game, often you are enmeshed in the relationships, and it
              begs the question of whether you the player - not your character, but you
              sitting in front of the screen - actually care about any of these other
              people. The writing in games is typically pathetic, so generally speaking
              you don't care, and would be perfectly happy to blow everyone's brains out
              at the slightest provocation if the game gave you the chance.


              Cheers,
              Brandon Van Every


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • LingMac
              ... Spelunky and countless rogue-likes have done it, and they re quite successful. ... What does that have to do with anything? All people can relate to the
              Message 6 of 27 , Nov 8, 2009
                Brandon Van Every wrote:
                > On Sun, Nov 8, 2009 at 10:50 PM, LingMac <lingmac@...> wrote:
                >
                >> Yeah, it's way too easy to be generous and magnanimous when you're
                >> this mobile powerhouse with nearly infinite resources, and who can
                >> "reload" the game whenever something doesn't go your way. No more of
                >> that for you! There's no reloading; you die, it's back to the start
                >> with you. With another procedurally generated world.
                >>
                >
                > Is the gameplay going to be interesting enough for me to be willing to
                > retread old ground over and over again? Civ games "sorta" meet that bar,
                > but I wonder if an impartial observer would simply say I'm obsessive, and
                > that I've wasted way too much of my life on a fundamentally boring game.


                Spelunky and countless "rogue-likes" have done it, and they're quite
                successful.


                > You're just
                >> another average joe here, at least at the start. Food is scarce,
                >> shelter is scarce, there are ultra-aggressive ravenous creatures
                >> roaming all over the place. The life expectancy here is something like
                >> 5 years. When you haven't eaten for 4 days, all your stats are halved,
                >> you're about to collapse and you stumble upon this little girl
                >> clutching her loaf of bread... that's when we'll get to see what you
                >> REALLY are about, deep down.
                >>
                > Why don't you do
                > something easier and more direct, like write a Holocaust oven simulator?
                > Sure the Jewish Anti-Defamation League would jump all over you, but it
                > wouldn't require any big time investment to cut to the chase and do
                > something evil. Why don't you make a game about feeding dogs poison meat
                > and watching them die horribly? Or throwing people into iron maidens?


                What does that have to do with anything? All people can relate to the
                scenario of doing horrible things in order to survive. To an extent,
                they can also relate to the scenario of having been dealt such a
                short, bleak, unforgiving existence that one would succumb to any
                little pleasure life presents them with, regardless of consequences to
                others. That it does happen is a fact; again, take a look at any
                real-life war-torn scenarios. Now, only the most deranged individuals
                would be interested in playing a game where you poison and then watch
                dogs die in great agony; and frankly, I'd rather not be involved with
                them in any way, shape or form. That would be trivializing precisely
                what I want to show with subtlety and depth. What causes a "normal",
                sensible person to do evil? Are those who do evil in such
                circumstances really that different from us?


                >> Suppose that you want to tempt the player to commit rape.
                >>
                >
                > Then you get an "Adults Only" rating at a minimum, and are probably banned
                > from certain markets. Are you comfortable with the economic implications of
                > that? Plus the occasional death threat, depending on who you piss off? Is
                > "Your Art" worth it?


                I doubt a rogue-like that includes these things, but is not ABOUT
                these things would attract that sorta wrath. Especially not an indie game.


                > Unlike
                >> stealing, and - in some cases - murdering, it brings no in-game
                >> benefits whatsoever; it just causes victim, family and friends to want
                >> your fucking head on a platter.
                >>
                >
                > There doesn't have to be an in-game benefit. The player just has to want to
                > do it.


                That would be counter-productive to the player's ability to survive,
                however. Remember, the player is no super-man here, even a single
                other human poses a substantial threat to his life.


                >> Men rape because they feel an
                >> intrinsic urge that cannot be be emulated by a game. So what do you do
                >> here?
                >>
                >
                > I don't know much about the psychology of rapists, but that sounds like a
                > sweeping statement. Aren't you really saying you're squeamish about writing
                > a game where you as author have to take responsibility for the rise you
                > might give the player?


                Rise? I doubt an indie game could even dream of having the art assets
                necessary to giving the player a "rise" there. ;)
                It's all about concepts. Even though the player himself is not hungry,
                I can emulate the crippling need for food with status changes and
                eventual death. If those weren't present, the player (assuming he's ok
                with the objective of surviving) wouldn't care that his character is
                "starving", right? That's the thing, in the real world, say, in a war,
                many people would take considerable risks to rape. How do I translate
                that to "gamist" terms without making it ridiculous at the same time?


                > Also, why is the player gonna care? You can't make the player care by
                > fiat. This is a problem as compared to novels, where the reader can merely
                > observe a bunch of human relationships and reason about them as plot
                > devices. In a game, often you are enmeshed in the relationships, and it
                > begs the question of whether you the player - not your character, but you
                > sitting in front of the screen - actually care about any of these other
                > people. The writing in games is typically pathetic, so generally speaking
                > you don't care, and would be perfectly happy to blow everyone's brains out
                > at the slightest provocation if the game gave you the chance.


                There would be no scripted plot per se, it's all about simulating. I
                think the one thing that can generate empathy in a simulation is for
                entities to behave in purposeful, intelligent ways. They must provide
                the illusion of minds with fears and wants behind each of them.
              • Rainer Deyke
                ... I don t think that s going to make evil more tempting. There are basically three kinds of player. Let s call them moral , amoral , and immoral . (This
                Message 7 of 27 , Nov 8, 2009
                  LingMac wrote:
                  > Ok... I think that in 99% of the systems of game morality nowadays,
                  > it's way too easy to be "good". I think these systems do not
                  > accurately capture the essence of the thing, in that "need is the bane
                  > of virtue".
                  >
                  > As I was saying the other day, I'm toying with this idea of a
                  > post-apocalyptic world which incidentally would be just about perfect
                  > to bring the monstrous side in anyone and everyone. :)
                  > Yeah, it's way too easy to be generous and magnanimous when you're
                  > this mobile powerhouse with nearly infinite resources, and who can
                  > "reload" the game whenever something doesn't go your way. No more of
                  > that for you! There's no reloading; you die, it's back to the start
                  > with you. With another procedurally generated world. You're just
                  > another average joe here, at least at the start. Food is scarce,
                  > shelter is scarce, there are ultra-aggressive ravenous creatures
                  > roaming all over the place. The life expectancy here is something like
                  > 5 years. When you haven't eaten for 4 days, all your stats are halved,
                  > you're about to collapse and you stumble upon this little girl
                  > clutching her loaf of bread... that's when we'll get to see what you
                  > REALLY are about, deep down.

                  I don't think that's going to make evil more tempting.

                  There are basically three kinds of player. Let's call them "moral",
                  "amoral", and "immoral". (This isn't intended as a value judgment of
                  those player types.)

                  The moral players want to play the hero. They thrive on heroic
                  sacrifice. In short, they are masochists.

                  The amoral player's motto is "it's just a game". They will do whatever
                  gives them the greatest gameplay advantage while completely ignoring the
                  morality aspect of the game.

                  The immoral players are sadists who use the game to act out their
                  anti-social fantasies.

                  (I personally am usually a moral player, but sometimes become an amoral
                  player when the game is unwinnable without doing evil.)

                  If you make evil the option that gives the best gameplay rewards, the
                  effect on the three type will be:
                  - The moral players won't be tempted. (However, they might appreciate
                  that their path isn't the same as the path of the amoral players.)
                  - The amoral players will take the evil path without hesitation or
                  regret. It's not temptation, it's a rational decision. After all, it's
                  just a game.
                  - The immoral players will take the evil path regardless of the
                  gameplay rewards.
                  - The only players who are "tempted" in any meaningful sense are those
                  on the edge between the moral and amoral player types.

                  Increasing the strength of the temptation won't change these basic
                  reaction. The amoral and immoral players don't need temptation, and the
                  moral players will continue to be unaffected.

                  > Men rape because they feel an
                  > intrinsic urge that cannot be be emulated by a game. So what do you do
                  > here?

                  Getting the player to rape in a game is trivial. Just put in a
                  pornographic rape scene. (It won't affect the moral players, or those
                  who simply consider rape scenes to be distasteful, but that's to be
                  expected. Even in war, not everybody is a rapist.)


                  --
                  Rainer Deyke - rainerd@...
                • Wayne Imlach
                  The pressure to do evil things would have to be situational, and could be massaged by the games designer depending on how the victims of such acts where
                  Message 8 of 27 , Nov 9, 2009
                    The pressure to do evil things would have to be situational, and could be
                    massaged by the games designer depending on how the victims of such acts
                    where portrayed. Demonise your victims and treating them accordingly becomes
                    so much easier.

                    One of the strongest motivators would be social acceptance - membership of a
                    group demands participation, with reluctance bringing exclusion or even the
                    risk of becoming the target.

                    Survival is another motivator, though as mentioned acts that bring no
                    tangible gain (random rape, murder or destruction) are harder to make
                    'desirable' to a player.

                    From a gameplay standpoint, the following might work:

                    Membership of groups that bring tangable benefits requires participation in
                    evil acts.
                    Fear or reputation can make other people subservient (and therefore
                    controllable) - commiting evil acts, perhaps seemingly at random, can
                    enhance this reputation making it easier to get what you want.
                    Plain old survival of the fittest.

                    I'd probably do some research on to the psychology of evil - I'm sure
                    there's plenty of articles on the subject, and it's not quite so simple as
                    'intrinsic' urges to do bad stuff.



                    2009/11/9 LingMac <lingmac@...>

                    >
                    >
                    > Ok... I think that in 99% of the systems of game morality nowadays,
                    > it's way too easy to be "good". I think these systems do not
                    > accurately capture the essence of the thing, in that "need is the bane
                    > of virtue".
                    >
                    > As I was saying the other day, I'm toying with this idea of a
                    > post-apocalyptic world which incidentally would be just about perfect
                    > to bring the monstrous side in anyone and everyone. :)
                    > Yeah, it's way too easy to be generous and magnanimous when you're
                    > this mobile powerhouse with nearly infinite resources, and who can
                    > "reload" the game whenever something doesn't go your way. No more of
                    > that for you! There's no reloading; you die, it's back to the start
                    > with you. With another procedurally generated world. You're just
                    > another average joe here, at least at the start. Food is scarce,
                    > shelter is scarce, there are ultra-aggressive ravenous creatures
                    > roaming all over the place. The life expectancy here is something like
                    > 5 years. When you haven't eaten for 4 days, all your stats are halved,
                    > you're about to collapse and you stumble upon this little girl
                    > clutching her loaf of bread... that's when we'll get to see what you
                    > REALLY are about, deep down.
                    >
                    > So you see, that's the idea. Suppose you don't want to present a
                    > "theme-park" version of this apocalyptic world, that you really aim to
                    > show the grittiest side of human nature, but not heavy-handedly so
                    > either. I reckon such a world would feature a whole lot of raping.
                    > Just look at any war scenario for empirical evidence.
                    > Indeed, a substantial portion of the conflict between human males in
                    > such a world would probably be over females. And here's the problem.
                    > Suppose that you want to tempt the player to commit rape. Unlike
                    > stealing, and - in some cases - murdering, it brings no in-game
                    > benefits whatsoever; it just causes victim, family and friends to want
                    > your fucking head on a platter. Men rape because they feel an
                    > intrinsic urge that cannot be be emulated by a game. So what do you do
                    > here?
                    >
                    > 1 - Remove raping from your game altogether, which results in this
                    > "apocalyptic' world feeling quite a bit... off
                    >
                    > 2 - Have some of the NPCs in the simulation commit rape, perhaps even
                    > give the player the option to do so, but offer no tangible benefits to
                    > it whatsoever. From a strategical standpoint, the player should never
                    > touch it, and the NPCs are putting themselves at a disadvantage by
                    > doing so.
                    >
                    > 3 - Implement some ultra-cheesy "sex need" system to force the
                    > player's hand, effectively making the option to rape strategically
                    > meaningful. Then complain endlessly that no one will take your game
                    > and its message seriously.
                    >
                    > Is there any way to pull this thing off at all?
                    >
                    >


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Gerry Quinn
                    From: LingMac ... Perhaps. A significantly relevant factor is that it s easier to do a game with one plot thread, series of
                    Message 9 of 27 , Nov 9, 2009
                      From: "LingMac" <lingmac@...>


                      > Ok... I think that in 99% of the systems of game morality nowadays,
                      > it's way too easy to be "good". I think these systems do not
                      > accurately capture the essence of the thing, in that "need is the bane
                      > of virtue".

                      Perhaps. A significantly relevant factor is that it's easier to do a game
                      with one plot thread, series of objectives, etc., than two or more. And the
                      benefits of an 'evil' path are unclear as regards the majority of players.
                      Most people are happy to play the hero, even if they are not heroes in real
                      life. Movies mostly feature heroes, and are not therefore despised by the
                      non-heroic.

                      Even the hero in games or films gets to operate considerably outside the
                      ordnary constraints of life. Gunning down bad guys at will is frowned upon
                      in all societies, and would be even in rudimentary post-apocalyptic
                      societies. In a society with no law, vigilantes may make the law, but they
                      will soon evolve into an effective government, and freelance vigilantism
                      will be illegal.

                      > As I was saying the other day, I'm toying with this idea of a
                      > post-apocalyptic world which incidentally would be just about perfect
                      > to bring the monstrous side in anyone and everyone. :)
                      > Yeah, it's way too easy to be generous and magnanimous when you're
                      > this mobile powerhouse with nearly infinite resources, and who can
                      > "reload" the game whenever something doesn't go your way. No more of
                      > that for you! There's no reloading; you die, it's back to the start
                      > with you. With another procedurally generated world. You're just
                      > another average joe here, at least at the start. Food is scarce,
                      > shelter is scarce, there are ultra-aggressive ravenous creatures
                      > roaming all over the place. The life expectancy here is something like
                      > 5 years. When you haven't eaten for 4 days, all your stats are halved,
                      > you're about to collapse and you stumble upon this little girl
                      > clutching her loaf of bread... that's when we'll get to see what you
                      > REALLY are about, deep down.

                      I don't think taking her bread would be sufficient to define you as evil, in
                      such circumstances. Perhaps a moral act would be to take only half of it...
                      Raping her would be evil, obviously.

                      > So you see, that's the idea. Suppose you don't want to present a
                      > "theme-park" version of this apocalyptic world, that you really aim to
                      > show the grittiest side of human nature, but not heavy-handedly so
                      > either. I reckon such a world would feature a whole lot of raping.
                      > Just look at any war scenario for empirical evidence.
                      > Indeed, a substantial portion of the conflict between human males in
                      > such a world would probably be over females. And here's the problem.
                      > Suppose that you want to tempt the player to commit rape. Unlike
                      > stealing, and - in some cases - murdering, it brings no in-game
                      > benefits whatsoever; it just causes victim, family and friends to want
                      > your fucking head on a platter. Men rape because they feel an
                      > intrinsic urge that cannot be be emulated by a game. So what do you do
                      > here?

                      You could give it game benefits if you wished. The general concept is not
                      new: in the early '80s there was an arcade game in which points were awarded
                      for running over pedestrians in your vehicle.

                      Maybe raping would refill your black 'evil' bar by a percentage. If it ever
                      went to zero there would be a short animation of you having a crise of
                      conscience and hanging yourself, and it's game over.

                      > 1 - Remove raping from your game altogether, which results in this
                      > "apocalyptic' world feeling quite a bit... off

                      Gamers must suspend disbelief on a lot of issues; this one won't add extra
                      problems. One issue that all developers of such games do consider is that
                      of killing children. Typical solutions are to remove children from the game
                      altogether, or to make them invulnerable to weapon fire, or otherwise
                      unkillable..

                      > 2 - Have some of the NPCs in the simulation commit rape, perhaps even
                      > give the player the option to do so, but offer no tangible benefits to
                      > it whatsoever. From a strategical standpoint, the player should never
                      > touch it, and the NPCs are putting themselves at a disadvantage by
                      > doing so.
                      >
                      > 3 - Implement some ultra-cheesy "sex need" system to force the
                      > player's hand, effectively making the option to rape strategically
                      > meaningful. Then complain endlessly that no one will take your game
                      > and its message seriously.

                      The trouble is that they are correct not to take it seriously, because this
                      *is* what you are doing. You are just looking for a way to make it less
                      cheesy.

                      - Gerry Quinn
                    • Gerry Quinn
                      From: LingMac ... And Torchlight is currently taking the gaming world by storm! ... But why would someone be interested in playing a
                      Message 10 of 27 , Nov 9, 2009
                        From: "LingMac" <lingmac@...>
                        > Brandon Van Every wrote:

                        > Spelunky and countless "rogue-likes" have done it, and they're quite
                        > successful.

                        And Torchlight is currently taking the gaming world by storm!

                        > What does that have to do with anything? All people can relate to the
                        > scenario of doing horrible things in order to survive. To an extent,
                        > they can also relate to the scenario of having been dealt such a
                        > short, bleak, unforgiving existence that one would succumb to any
                        > little pleasure life presents them with, regardless of consequences to
                        > others. That it does happen is a fact; again, take a look at any
                        > real-life war-torn scenarios. Now, only the most deranged individuals
                        > would be interested in playing a game where you poison and then watch
                        > dogs die in great agony; and frankly, I'd rather not be involved with
                        > them in any way, shape or form. That would be trivializing precisely
                        > what I want to show with subtlety and depth. What causes a "normal",
                        > sensible person to do evil? Are those who do evil in such
                        > circumstances really that different from us?

                        But why would someone be interested in playing a game where, as you say,
                        they are "dealt such a short, bleak, unforgiving existence that one would
                        succumb to any little pleasure life presents them with, regardless of
                        consequences to others"?

                        >>> Suppose that you want to tempt the player to commit rape.
                        >>>
                        >> Then you get an "Adults Only" rating at a minimum, and are probably
                        >> banned
                        >> from certain markets. Are you comfortable with the economic implications
                        >> of
                        >> that? Plus the occasional death threat, depending on who you piss off?
                        >> Is
                        >> "Your Art" worth it?
                        >
                        > I doubt a rogue-like that includes these things, but is not ABOUT
                        > these things would attract that sorta wrath. Especially not an indie game.

                        >>> Men rape because they feel an
                        >>> intrinsic urge that cannot be be emulated by a game. So what do you do
                        >>> here?
                        >>>
                        >> I don't know much about the psychology of rapists, but that sounds like a
                        >> sweeping statement. Aren't you really saying you're squeamish about
                        >> writing
                        >> a game where you as author have to take responsibility for the rise you
                        >> might give the player?
                        >
                        > Rise? I doubt an indie game could even dream of having the art assets
                        > necessary to giving the player a "rise" there. ;)

                        It would have to be text based, I think. Literotica.com manages okay
                        without graphics.

                        > There would be no scripted plot per se, it's all about simulating. I
                        > think the one thing that can generate empathy in a simulation is for
                        > entities to behave in purposeful, intelligent ways. They must provide
                        > the illusion of minds with fears and wants behind each of them.

                        Simulation is easy, stimulation is hard ;-)

                        - Gerry Quinn
                      • David Lamb
                        ... So perhaps the only way to survive is to join some sort of gang, and they have initiation rituals requiring particular evil acts? Plausible. Various
                        Message 11 of 27 , Nov 9, 2009
                          On Mon, Nov 9, 2009 at 4:02 AM, Wayne Imlach <wimlach@...> wrote:
                          > The pressure to do evil things would have to be situational...
                          > One of the strongest motivators would be social acceptance - membership of a
                          > group demands participation, with reluctance bringing exclusion or even the
                          > risk of becoming the target.

                          So perhaps the only way to survive is to join some sort of gang, and
                          they have initiation rituals requiring particular evil acts?
                          Plausible. Various atrocities throughout history have had at least a
                          component of establishing dominance, either over one's own group
                          ("look how badass I am, I obviously belong / don't mess with us") or a
                          subject population ("don't even think about resisting, or worse than
                          this will happen"). Or even self-esteem ("I can do whatever I want to
                          these people, I'm king of the world"). So I suppose the basic
                          approach is to build in mechanics that reward these things. A
                          morale/dominance stat that influences NPCs?

                          I don't know *why* you'd want people to experience all this stuff,
                          though. Just to be a different sort of game?
                        • Brandon Van Every
                          ... What does that kind of success mean exactly?  Sure they survive as an open source genre, among seriously tweaky hackerheads, half of whom think ASCII
                          Message 12 of 27 , Nov 9, 2009
                            On Mon, Nov 9, 2009 at 2:08 AM, LingMac <lingmac@...> wrote:
                            > Brandon Van Every wrote:
                            > > On Sun, Nov 8, 2009 at 10:50 PM, LingMac <lingmac@...> wrote:
                            > >> There's no reloading; you die, it's back to the start
                            > >> with you. With another procedurally generated world.
                            > >
                            > > Is the gameplay going to be interesting enough for me to be willing to
                            > > retread old ground over and over again?
                            >
                            > Spelunky and countless "rogue-likes" have done it, and they're quite
                            > successful.

                            What does that kind of success mean exactly?  Sure they survive as an
                            open source genre, among seriously tweaky hackerheads, half of whom
                            think ASCII displays are a good thing.  The genre has a limited
                            commercial following ala Spiderweb Software.  I'm not terribly
                            familiar with other commercial vendors of such games, but people are
                            welcome to name some.  You can't buy one of these things at retail at
                            Gamestop, BestBuy, or WalMart.  Are you saying that for your "death
                            punishment" game, you're happy to garner no more than a niche of
                            hardcore, old school gamers?

                            > > Why don't you do
                            > > something easier and more direct, like write a Holocaust oven simulator?
                            > > Sure the Jewish Anti-Defamation League would jump all over you, but it
                            > > wouldn't require any big time investment to cut to the chase and do
                            > > something evil. Why don't you make a game about feeding dogs poison meat
                            > > and watching them die horribly? Or throwing people into iron maidens?
                            >
                            > What does that have to do with anything?

                            The idea is, if the game is about having players do horrible things,
                            just have them do horrible things. You don't have to make them wait
                            to do them, or punish them with boring game reloads if they don't do
                            them.

                            > All people can relate to the
                            > scenario of doing horrible things in order to survive.

                            What's so important about "to survive?" Is that your core authorial
                            theme here, and you're envisioning some kind of Tom Hanks "Castaway"
                            game? You also talked about rape. You don't need to rape to survive.
                            In fact, it can decrease your chances of surviving. The only way it
                            might improve your survival is if you're a member of a dominant
                            society and rape everyone in an oppressed society, such as happens in
                            Darfur. The act of rape is warning / coercion / terror from one
                            ethnic group to another. It increases the survival of the dominant
                            group *if* they can sustain the terror. It worked for the Romans; all
                            slaves were property and could be penetrated at will by their masters.

                            > To an extent,
                            > they can also relate to the scenario of having been dealt such a
                            > short, bleak, unforgiving existence that one would succumb to any
                            > little pleasure life presents them with, regardless of consequences to
                            > others. That it does happen is a fact; again, take a look at any
                            > real-life war-torn scenarios.

                            But many modern militaries have standards of behavior and court
                            marshal. In such militaries, most soldiers *do not* behave as you
                            describe. So I guess you're interested in wholly barbarous
                            militaries, whether historically or in the present day.

                            > Now, only the most deranged individuals
                            > would be interested in playing a game where you poison and then watch
                            > dogs die in great agony;

                            I don't agree. People watch horror films; why do people have to be
                            deranged to play a doggie snuff film? I don't like Texas Chainsaw
                            Massacre, but I don't accuse the filmgoers of being deranged. Rather,
                            they're engaging their Jungian Shadow.

                            > and frankly, I'd rather not be involved with
                            > them in any way, shape or form. That would be trivializing precisely
                            > what I want to show with subtlety and depth.

                            I don't like the horror / splatter genre generally speaking, precisely
                            because it is not subtle and has no depth.

                            > What causes a "normal",
                            > sensible person to do evil? Are those who do evil in such
                            > circumstances really that different from us?

                            Well, one complication in a computer game is that people aren't
                            normal. They don't have to care about what they're doing, as it's
                            only a game.

                            > > There doesn't have to be an in-game benefit. The player just has to want to
                            > > do it.
                            >
                            > That would be counter-productive to the player's ability to survive,
                            > however. Remember, the player is no super-man here, even a single
                            > other human poses a substantial threat to his life.

                            Who says the player has to want to survive? I don't necessarily want
                            to play the game on your authorial terms. I want to do what's fun and
                            amusing for me.

                            > > I don't know much about the psychology of rapists, but that sounds like a
                            > > sweeping statement. Aren't you really saying you're squeamish about writing
                            > > a game where you as author have to take responsibility for the rise you
                            > > might give the player?
                            >
                            > Rise? I doubt an indie game could even dream of having the art assets
                            > necessary to giving the player a "rise" there. ;)

                            How do you suppose books accomplish it?

                            > That's the thing, in the real world, say, in a war,
                            > many people would take considerable risks to rape.

                            Um, ok, *WTF* are you talking about here? Rape in war, from nearly
                            every historical account I've ever read, is an act of conquest. There
                            is no risk involved. The risk was already taken, the battle was won.
                            Now the city is sacked, the women are raped, the males executed, and
                            the children thrown off of cliffs so they can't grow up to take
                            vengeance. This was standard operating procedure for the ancient
                            world. And in the modern world, Darfur isn't all that different.

                            > How do I translate
                            > that to "gamist" terms without making it ridiculous at the same time?

                            Stop pretending it's about survival and just give the players the
                            opportunity to rape something. Cut to the chase.


                            Cheers,
                            Brandon Van Every
                          • LingMac
                            ... I believe I m personally that type of player. I try to roleplay a generally decent, somewhat brave (but not too much) character, who happens to be no
                            Message 13 of 27 , Nov 9, 2009
                              Rainer Deyke wrote:


                              > The moral players want to play the hero. They thrive on heroic
                              > sacrifice. In short, they are masochists.
                              > (...)

                              > (I personally am usually a moral player, but sometimes become an amoral
                              > player when the game is unwinnable without doing evil.)

                              > If you make evil the option that gives the best gameplay rewards, the
                              > effect on the three type will be:
                              > - The moral players won't be tempted. (However, they might appreciate
                              > that their path isn't the same as the path of the amoral players.)
                              > - The amoral players will take the evil path without hesitation or
                              > regret. It's not temptation, it's a rational decision. After all, it's
                              > just a game.
                              > - The immoral players will take the evil path regardless of the
                              > gameplay rewards.
                              > - The only players who are "tempted" in any meaningful sense are those
                              > on the edge between the moral and amoral player types.


                              I believe I'm personally that type of player. I try to roleplay a
                              generally decent, somewhat brave (but not too much) character, who
                              happens to be no Mother Theresa or martyr either. I also "pretend"
                              that I cannot reload the game while making decisions on his behalf,
                              and I generally stick with their results unless they result in a game
                              over or something that makes no causal sense (for instance, a
                              heavy-handed author deciding my character gets lung cancer because he
                              chose to run away rather than trying to save the trapped little girl
                              who was about to be attacked by 200 infectious zombies).


                              > Increasing the strength of the temptation won't change these basic
                              > reaction. The amoral and immoral players don't need temptation, and the
                              > moral players will continue to be unaffected.


                              Indeed, but I think the hybrid types like me will find these
                              procedurally generated dilemmas delicious. I mean, Spelunky offers
                              that sort of thing all the time, though in its case they're more of
                              risk VS payoff dilemmas.


                              >> Men rape because they feel an
                              >> intrinsic urge that cannot be be emulated by a game. So what do you do
                              >> here?
                              >
                              > Getting the player to rape in a game is trivial. Just put in a
                              > pornographic rape scene. (It won't affect the moral players, or those
                              > who simply consider rape scenes to be distasteful, but that's to be
                              > expected. Even in war, not everybody is a rapist.)


                              Might work the first time around, but in a game that's meant to be
                              replayed over and over again (I mean, I'm close to my 200th attempt in
                              Spelunky, still couldn't reach the end!), it'd lose the appeal REAL quick.
                            • LingMac
                              ... Well, I think it might result in a very compelling game. Imagine the procedural plots that might emerge, from just the various entities going about their
                              Message 14 of 27 , Nov 9, 2009
                                David Lamb wrote:
                                > On Mon, Nov 9, 2009 at 4:02 AM, Wayne Imlach <wimlach@...> wrote:
                                >> The pressure to do evil things would have to be situational...
                                >> One of the strongest motivators would be social acceptance - membership of a
                                >> group demands participation, with reluctance bringing exclusion or even the
                                >> risk of becoming the target.
                                >
                                > So perhaps the only way to survive is to join some sort of gang, and
                                > they have initiation rituals requiring particular evil acts?
                                > Plausible. Various atrocities throughout history have had at least a
                                > component of establishing dominance, either over one's own group
                                > ("look how badass I am, I obviously belong / don't mess with us") or a
                                > subject population ("don't even think about resisting, or worse than
                                > this will happen"). Or even self-esteem ("I can do whatever I want to
                                > these people, I'm king of the world"). So I suppose the basic
                                > approach is to build in mechanics that reward these things. A
                                > morale/dominance stat that influences NPCs?
                                >
                                > I don't know *why* you'd want people to experience all this stuff,
                                > though. Just to be a different sort of game?


                                Well, I think it might result in a very compelling game. Imagine the
                                procedural "plots" that might emerge, from just the various entities
                                going about their AIs. Say, a band of around 20 survivors fended off
                                attack after attack from the creatures. In their mutual struggle, they
                                bonded with each other and generally decided to stick together. A
                                hierarchy has slowly formed among then, the guy who killed 5 creatures
                                all by himself in order to save a child has become greatly respected
                                and turned into the defacto leader. All of this has been simulated
                                before you even knew about their existence. You just stumbled upon
                                them. The current balance of power here is somewhat tipped in favor of
                                altruistic individuals, so they decide to feed and welcome you. A few
                                days later, the leader orders you, Joshua, Mathias and James to go
                                scout a place that might have supplies. You see, Joshua has a
                                psychopathic personality deep down, and he happens to have a thing for
                                Mathias's wife. James happens not to like you because you refused to
                                share food with him a few times. During the mission, all hell breaks
                                loose, the group splits in three, you're all alone. You them stumble
                                upon Mathias's body, with a bullet hole in the back of the head, right
                                as Joshua was about to leave the body for the creatures to carry away
                                and feed upon. He didn't expect you to see that. Will he open fire at
                                you on sight? If you have some sort of relationship with him, will he
                                ask you not to mention any of this to the others? What will YOU do?
                                Suppose that you decide to go along with his story for whatever
                                reason, and James then goes back and tells the leader YOU killed
                                Mathias. Will the leader believe him? That depends on how trustworthy
                                James has been in the past, and how much the leader trusts you as well.

                                Of course, creating AIs complex enough to make these sorts of
                                decisions believably can be a real challenge, but think of how sweet
                                it wouldn't be if it could be done...
                              • Rainer Deyke
                                ... Rape simulation is a proven genre with hundreds of titles, ranging from small indie freeware games to big commercial games. In addition, a huge number of
                                Message 15 of 27 , Nov 9, 2009
                                  LingMac wrote:
                                  > Rainer Deyke wrote:
                                  >> Getting the player to rape in a game is trivial. Just put in a
                                  >> pornographic rape scene. (It won't affect the moral players, or those
                                  >> who simply consider rape scenes to be distasteful, but that's to be
                                  >> expected. Even in war, not everybody is a rapist.)
                                  >
                                  > Might work the first time around, but in a game that's meant to be
                                  > replayed over and over again (I mean, I'm close to my 200th attempt in
                                  > Spelunky, still couldn't reach the end!), it'd lose the appeal REAL quick.

                                  Rape simulation is a proven genre with hundreds of titles, ranging from
                                  small indie freeware games to big commercial games. In addition, a huge
                                  number of games and visual novels from other genres have one or more
                                  pornographic rape scenes thrown in. I wish I was kidding about this.

                                  Every game gets old eventually. There is no reason why the sex scenes
                                  would necessarily have to get old before the rest of the game.
                                  Especially if they're relatively sparse and well done.


                                  --
                                  Rainer Deyke - rainerd@...
                                • Brandon Van Every
                                  ... Heh! ... I disagree that your set of categorizations is exhaustive. The only truly immoral player is probably the one who trains with Quake in preparation
                                  Message 16 of 27 , Nov 9, 2009
                                    On Mon, Nov 9, 2009 at 2:37 AM, Rainer Deyke <rainerd@...> wrote:
                                    >
                                    > There are basically three kinds of player. Let's call them "moral",
                                    > "amoral", and "immoral". (This isn't intended as a value judgment of
                                    > those player types.)
                                    >
                                    > The moral players want to play the hero. They thrive on heroic
                                    > sacrifice. In short, they are masochists.

                                    Heh!

                                    > The amoral player's motto is "it's just a game". They will do whatever
                                    > gives them the greatest gameplay advantage while completely ignoring the
                                    > morality aspect of the game.
                                    >
                                    > The immoral players are sadists who use the game to act out their
                                    > anti-social fantasies.

                                    I disagree that your set of categorizations is exhaustive. The only
                                    truly immoral player is probably the one who trains with Quake in
                                    preparation for a genuine Columbine massacre. The vast majority of
                                    people who "take a walk on the dark side" in an entertainment
                                    experience are not immoral people. Anymore than reading a book about
                                    a murder is immoral, or watching Texas Chainsaw Massacre. People do
                                    not need "gameplay" excuses to engage in depravity and violence in
                                    games. They are perfectly willing to engage in such acts for their
                                    own sake, because it's a game and there are no real world
                                    consequences. The reason the public gets much more upset about the
                                    moral implications of computer games, is that computer games haven't
                                    been around for all that long, the non-gamers aren't dead yet, and
                                    although game culture is now mainstream, it is hardly ubiquitous the
                                    way film and TV are. Give it a few more decades, and torturing NPCs
                                    in games may become about as controversial as watching a Hannibal
                                    Lechter murder mystery is today. I say "may" because activity is
                                    indeed different from passivity, and I can't hope to guess where
                                    society will eventually draw the moral boundaries on that one. It's
                                    certainly not immoral to be an actor in a repugnant theatrical
                                    production, so perhaps what will happen is, theater will become
                                    populist. People won't need special acting credentials to act out
                                    various roles.

                                    > - The amoral players will take the evil path without hesitation or
                                    > regret. It's not temptation, it's a rational decision. After all, it's
                                    > just a game.

                                    Yes. It's worth noting that if a player is predisposed to amoral
                                    action in a game, and just sees it as a collection of rules that make
                                    numerical counters get bigger, then you're going to have a hard time
                                    getting the player to deal with the story or theme in your own
                                    moralistic authorial terms. You might even go so far as to classify
                                    them as a hostile audience. They're certainly going to turn hostile
                                    if your game mechanics suck, like if you make them restart a bunch of
                                    times for not very good reasons.

                                    > - The immoral players will take the evil path regardless of the
                                    > gameplay rewards.

                                    I will call my 4th category "Vicarious" players. As far as I'm
                                    concerned, there's a lot of 'em out there. They will do the evil
                                    things, because the evil things are part of the content and there to
                                    be done. Do you pay to see Texas Chainsaw Massacre to *not* see
                                    people get chopped into little bits? Surely you don't think Grand
                                    Theft Auto is popular because of the stellar game mechanics that can
                                    be so readily minimaxed? No, it's because you can blow innocent
                                    people away, wreak general mayhem, and have sex with prostitutes.

                                    > - The only players who are "tempted" in any meaningful sense are those
                                    > on the edge between the moral and amoral player types.

                                    Temptation also exists for moral-vicarious fence sitters. Is it ok to
                                    be bad in a game?


                                    Cheers,
                                    Brandon Van Every
                                  • Brandon Van Every
                                    ... It worked for Roman militaries. Can t remember what account of what Consul I recently read... he said, violence and pillaging wasn t his thing really, but
                                    Message 17 of 27 , Nov 9, 2009
                                      On Mon, Nov 9, 2009 at 4:02 AM, Wayne Imlach <wimlach@...> wrote:
                                      >
                                      > One of the strongest motivators would be social acceptance - membership of a
                                      > group demands participation, with reluctance bringing exclusion or even the
                                      > risk of becoming the target.

                                      It worked for Roman militaries. Can't remember what account of what
                                      Consul I recently read... he said, violence and pillaging wasn't his
                                      thing really, but he knew his men wanted to do it, and keeping up the
                                      morale of his men was important to his leadership and political power
                                      base. And let's see this from an ancient grunt's perspective. A
                                      Consul is almost certainly rich beyond belief. A grunt is not. So, a
                                      grunt wants to take money and resources from the conquered victims,
                                      along with some nookie while they're at it. This is economics 101.
                                      How many opportunities do you think a young man had in the ancient
                                      world? And what do you suppose their life expectancy was?

                                      > I'd probably do some research on to the psychology of evil - I'm sure
                                      > there's plenty of articles on the subject, and it's not quite so simple as
                                      > 'intrinsic' urges to do bad stuff.

                                      Indeed. Write a Roman slavery simulator.


                                      Cheers,
                                      Brandon Van Every
                                    • Brandon Van Every
                                      ... It is described as a Diablo clone. http://diablo3x.com/torchlight-released  As far as I m concerned, Diablo is not a nethack / roguelike.  There s no
                                      Message 18 of 27 , Nov 9, 2009
                                        On Mon, Nov 9, 2009 at 7:59 AM, Gerry Quinn <gerryq@...> wrote:
                                        > From: "LingMac" <lingmac@...>
                                        >
                                        > > Brandon Van Every wrote:
                                        >
                                        > > Spelunky and countless "rogue-likes" have done it, and they're quite
                                        > > successful.
                                        >
                                        > And Torchlight is currently taking the gaming world by storm!

                                        It is described as a Diablo clone.
                                        http://diablo3x.com/torchlight-released%c2%a0 As far as I'm concerned,
                                        Diablo is not a nethack / roguelike.  There's no random map
                                        generation.  There's no simulation of a world or ecology of monsters,
                                        there's just maps with monsters that spawn and try to kill you when
                                        you get near them.  Despite having different level-up paths, there's
                                        not much to the tactics compared to a Nethack.  All the tactics reduce
                                        to "click to kill;" it is a video game.  Diablo is essentially a
                                        Nethack prettied up and dumbed down for the mass market.

                                        > But why would someone be interested in playing a game where, as you say,
                                        > they are "dealt such a short, bleak, unforgiving existence that one would
                                        > succumb to any little pleasure life presents them with, regardless of
                                        > consequences to others"?

                                        Why not?  Why read a murder mystery?

                                        > > Rise? I doubt an indie game could even dream of having the art assets
                                        > > necessary to giving the player a "rise" there. ;)
                                        >
                                        > It would have to be text based, I think. Literotica.com manages okay
                                        > without graphics.

                                        Audio.

                                        > Simulation is easy, stimulation is hard ;-)

                                        Pun intended?


                                        Cheers,
                                        Brandon Van Every
                                      • Brandon Van Every
                                        ... Yes, obviously.  Any other action is not credible in terms of his character development.  It s one thing to have fun writing a simulator, but it s not
                                        Message 19 of 27 , Nov 9, 2009
                                          On Mon, Nov 9, 2009 at 4:40 PM, LingMac <lingmac@...> wrote:
                                          > You them stumble
                                          > upon Mathias's body, with a bullet hole in the back of the head, right
                                          > as Joshua was about to leave the body for the creatures to carry away
                                          > and feed upon. He didn't expect you to see that. Will he open fire at
                                          > you on sight?

                                          Yes, obviously.  Any other action is not credible in terms of his
                                          character development.  It's one thing to have fun writing a
                                          simulator, but it's not going to be all that impressive if it authors
                                          goofy things that wouldn't survive Screenwriting 101.

                                          > If you have some sort of relationship with him, will he
                                          > ask you not to mention any of this to the others?

                                          Your simulator would have to spend a lot more time on the buildup and
                                          politics of this for it to be credible.  The scenario you actually
                                          gave is, you pretty much just met these guys.


                                          Cheers,
                                          Brandon Van Every
                                        • Rainer Deyke
                                          ... Yes, I realized after I posted that it has some flaws, but... ... Stop! That s NOT what I meant by immoral . What I call immoral players are NOT bad
                                          Message 20 of 27 , Nov 9, 2009
                                            Brandon Van Every wrote:
                                            > I disagree that your set of categorizations is exhaustive.

                                            Yes, I realized after I posted that it has some flaws, but...

                                            > The only
                                            > truly immoral player is probably the one who trains with Quake in
                                            > preparation for a genuine Columbine massacre.

                                            Stop! That's NOT what I meant by "immoral". What I call "immoral"
                                            players are NOT bad people. Instead, I'm talking about how people
                                            translate their morality into the game.

                                            "Moral" players use the game to act closer to their ideal morality than
                                            they are able (or willing) to do in real life.

                                            "Immoral" players do the opposite. They use the game to act out their
                                            destructive tendencies so they don't have to do it in real life.

                                            "Amoral" players use the game to escape from the issue of morality entirely.

                                            All three use the game as a form of escape. If I had to guess, I'd say
                                            that the "moral" players generally do MORE morally questionable things
                                            in real life than the "immoral" players, based on what they're using to
                                            escape.

                                            The flaw in my system is that I only considered two types of
                                            "roleplaying" gamers: the "good" and the "evil". For example, it is
                                            also possible to roleplay a "line in the sand" type of character, who is
                                            basically a selfish bastard but has some sort of line that he is
                                            unwilling to cross, such as a thief who refuses to murder, or an
                                            assassin who won't touch children.

                                            > I will call my 4th category "Vicarious" players.

                                            Gamers can change from one type to another from game to game or session
                                            to session, but that doesn't invalidate the basic types. At any time,
                                            the player is either roleplaying some sort of character (with some set
                                            of values and possibly some sort of moral code) or just trying to win
                                            the game on the mechanical level.

                                            Of course, it is possible to roleplay a "good" but weak-willed character
                                            who gives in to temptation and turns to "evil". However, I strongly
                                            suspect that only a tiny minority of players would want to play a
                                            weak-willed character.


                                            --
                                            Rainer Deyke - rainerd@...
                                          • Brandon Van Every
                                            ... Perhaps it would be better if you called it playing immorally then. Maybe that s splitting hairs, maybe it isn t. With regards to books, what would it
                                            Message 21 of 27 , Nov 10, 2009
                                              On Mon, Nov 9, 2009 at 11:42 PM, Rainer Deyke <rainerd@...> wrote:

                                              >
                                              >
                                              > Brandon Van Every wrote:
                                              > > The only
                                              > > truly immoral player is probably the one who trains with Quake in
                                              > > preparation for a genuine Columbine massacre.
                                              >
                                              > Stop! That's NOT what I meant by "immoral". What I call "immoral"
                                              > players are NOT bad people. Instead, I'm talking about how people
                                              > translate their morality into the game.
                                              >


                                              Perhaps it would be better if you called it "playing immorally" then. Maybe
                                              that's splitting hairs, maybe it isn't. With regards to books, what would
                                              it mean to "read immorally?" It doesn't really make sense, as there aren't
                                              that many ways to read a book. Most people read a book 1 way, the exact
                                              same way. Their impressions of the book may differ, owing to what's already
                                              in their mind, what's on their mind when they're reading, or how often they
                                              pick it up and put it down, but pretty much it's the same process for
                                              everyone and nobody's making important choices about how to read the book.
                                              Maybe the lit crit crowd has more ways of reading a book, but the general
                                              buying public does not.



                                              >
                                              > "Immoral" players do the opposite. They use the game to act out their
                                              > destructive tendencies so they don't have to do it in real life.
                                              >
                                              >
                                              That's one possible motive, but not the only one. In fact, the most
                                              glaringly obvious motive, ala GTA, is being destructive is a lot of fun for
                                              many people. People enjoy being aggressive and destructive, it gives them a
                                              sense of power.



                                              > "Amoral" players use the game to escape from the issue of morality
                                              > entirely.
                                              >
                                              >
                                              I think that's ascribing too much motive. Amoral players have no basic need
                                              to deal with morality when playing the game, so they don't need to escape
                                              from it. They completely ignore it. The game is a collection of rules to
                                              be minimaxed; whatever gives them an advantage, they'll do. Hm, note that I
                                              don't object to the term "amoral player." I think it accurately describes a
                                              lot of players.



                                              > All three use the game as a form of escape.
                                              >

                                              I think focusing too much on "escape" could be problematic. Why does a
                                              person need to retreat or shrink from something else? Why can't they just
                                              enjoy the game, its process, for its own sake?


                                              Cheers,
                                              Brandon Van Every


                                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                            • Rainer Deyke
                                              ... How that different from what I said? People have destructive urges. This is equivalent to saying that people find destruction fun. Games let people act
                                              Message 22 of 27 , Nov 10, 2009
                                                Brandon Van Every wrote:
                                                > On Mon, Nov 9, 2009 at 11:42 PM, Rainer Deyke <rainerd@...> wrote:
                                                >> "Immoral" players do the opposite. They use the game to act out their
                                                >> destructive tendencies so they don't have to do it in real life.
                                                >>
                                                >>
                                                > That's one possible motive, but not the only one. In fact, the most
                                                > glaringly obvious motive, ala GTA, is being destructive is a lot of fun for
                                                > many people. People enjoy being aggressive and destructive, it gives them a
                                                > sense of power.

                                                How that different from what I said? People have destructive urges.
                                                This is equivalent to saying that people find destruction fun. Games
                                                let people act out those destructive urges in a consequence-free
                                                environment.

                                                >> "Amoral" players use the game to escape from the issue of morality
                                                >> entirely.
                                                >>
                                                > I think that's ascribing too much motive. Amoral players have no basic need
                                                > to deal with morality when playing the game, so they don't need to escape
                                                > from it.

                                                I think morality is a basic human function. Recreating allows people to
                                                use their basic human functions that they don't get to adequately use
                                                during normal life. Some people feel that their sense of morality is
                                                overused in daily life, so they spend their free time doing something
                                                that has no moral dimension. Others feel that their sense of morality
                                                is underused, so they choose to spend their free time exploring their
                                                own sense of morality. Both are attempts to fulfill the basic needs
                                                that are not fulfilled by their daily life. In this sense, both are
                                                attempts to escape from their daily life.


                                                --
                                                Rainer Deyke - rainerd@...
                                              • Brandon Van Every
                                                ... I m harping on the phrase so they don t have to in real life. The vast majority of people aren t going to act out any destructive tendencies in real
                                                Message 23 of 27 , Nov 10, 2009
                                                  On Tue, Nov 10, 2009 at 10:07 PM, Rainer Deyke <rainerd@...> wrote:

                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > Brandon Van Every wrote:
                                                  > > On Mon, Nov 9, 2009 at 11:42 PM, Rainer Deyke <rainerd@...<rainerd%40eldwood.com>>
                                                  > wrote:
                                                  > >> "Immoral" players do the opposite. They use the game to act out their
                                                  > >> destructive tendencies so they don't have to do it in real life.
                                                  > >>
                                                  > >>
                                                  > > That's one possible motive, but not the only one. In fact, the most
                                                  > > glaringly obvious motive, ala GTA, is being destructive is a lot of fun
                                                  > for
                                                  > > many people. People enjoy being aggressive and destructive, it gives them
                                                  > a
                                                  > > sense of power.
                                                  >
                                                  > How that different from what I said? People have destructive urges.
                                                  > This is equivalent to saying that people find destruction fun. Games
                                                  > let people act out those destructive urges in a consequence-free
                                                  > environment.
                                                  >

                                                  I'm harping on the phrase "so they don't have to in real life." The vast
                                                  majority of people aren't going to act out any destructive tendencies in
                                                  real life no matter what. So to posit that they "need" the foil of a game
                                                  for real life, is stretching it IMO.



                                                  >
                                                  > I think morality is a basic human function. Recreating allows people to
                                                  > use their basic human functions that they don't get to adequately use
                                                  > during normal life. Some people feel that their sense of morality is
                                                  > overused in daily life, so they spend their free time doing something
                                                  > that has no moral dimension. Others feel that their sense of morality
                                                  > is underused, so they choose to spend their free time exploring their
                                                  > own sense of morality. Both are attempts to fulfill the basic needs
                                                  > that are not fulfilled by their daily life. In this sense, both are
                                                  > attempts to escape from their daily life.
                                                  >


                                                  Again, too much concern and contrast with "real life." For some people,
                                                  real life is not driving their behavior in games. An analytical person
                                                  often engages in amoralist behavior because they're primarily concerned with
                                                  abstract rules and systems of consequences, like doing a big math problem.
                                                  They can't necessarily do the same things in real life, i.e. to play Chess,
                                                  you must play Chess. Such players may be inclined to see moralistic games
                                                  as "Chess with irrelevant nonsense attached," so to speak. Like dialogue in
                                                  porn.


                                                  Cheers,
                                                  Brandon Van Every


                                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                                • Rainer Deyke
                                                  ... All people need some sort of outlet or they will eventually crack. Games aren t the only possible outlet. People can also daydream, watch movies,
                                                  Message 24 of 27 , Nov 10, 2009
                                                    Brandon Van Every wrote:
                                                    > On Tue, Nov 10, 2009 at 10:07 PM, Rainer Deyke <rainerd@...> wrote:
                                                    > I'm harping on the phrase "so they don't have to in real life." The vast
                                                    > majority of people aren't going to act out any destructive tendencies in
                                                    > real life no matter what. So to posit that they "need" the foil of a game
                                                    > for real life, is stretching it IMO.

                                                    All people need some sort of outlet or they will eventually crack.

                                                    Games aren't the only possible outlet. People can also daydream, watch
                                                    movies, participate in sports, get a job at the crushing cars into
                                                    blocks of scrap metal, get into passionate arguments, or an number of
                                                    other things.

                                                    It's not a matter of either playing games or going postal. It's a
                                                    matter of playing games, or doing one of a million other things that
                                                    fulfill the same need, or going postal.

                                                    > Again, too much concern and contrast with "real life." For some people,
                                                    > real life is not driving their behavior in games. An analytical person
                                                    > often engages in amoralist behavior because they're primarily concerned with
                                                    > abstract rules and systems of consequences, like doing a big math problem.
                                                    > They can't necessarily do the same things in real life, i.e. to play Chess,
                                                    > you must play Chess. Such players may be inclined to see moralistic games
                                                    > as "Chess with irrelevant nonsense attached," so to speak. Like dialogue in
                                                    > porn.

                                                    Fundamentally, people play games because the game fulfills some sort of
                                                    psychological need. If they have some other way to fulfill those needs,
                                                    they have no need for games. Conversely, if they have games, they have
                                                    no need for other ways to fulfill that need. If they have both, they
                                                    can pick which one they prefer. All else being equal, people tend to
                                                    prefer to fulfill their psychological needs in a way that also fulfills
                                                    their material needs, which is generally not possible through games.


                                                    --
                                                    Rainer Deyke - rainerd@...
                                                  • Brandon Van Every
                                                    ... I disagree. I think people are under vastly unequal pressures. Someone with a stable income, a good sex life, and a fulfilling social network is not
                                                    Message 25 of 27 , Nov 11, 2009
                                                      On Wed, Nov 11, 2009 at 2:50 AM, Rainer Deyke <rainerd@...> wrote:

                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      > Brandon Van Every wrote:
                                                      > > On Tue, Nov 10, 2009 at 10:07 PM, Rainer Deyke <rainerd@...<rainerd%40eldwood.com>>
                                                      > wrote:
                                                      > > I'm harping on the phrase "so they don't have to in real life." The vast
                                                      > > majority of people aren't going to act out any destructive tendencies in
                                                      > > real life no matter what. So to posit that they "need" the foil of a game
                                                      > > for real life, is stretching it IMO.
                                                      >
                                                      > All people need some sort of outlet or they will eventually crack.
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      I disagree. I think people are under vastly unequal pressures. Someone
                                                      with a stable income, a good sex life, and a fulfilling social network is
                                                      not under the same pressures as someone who's poor, not getting laid, and
                                                      doesn't have anyone reliable enough to call a friend.


                                                      >
                                                      > Fundamentally, people play games because the game fulfills some sort of
                                                      > psychological need. If they have some other way to fulfill those needs,
                                                      > they have no need for games.
                                                      >


                                                      Only if they value the other activity more than games. Having options
                                                      doesn't mean you turn away from games.



                                                      > Conversely, if they have games, they have
                                                      > no need for other ways to fulfill that need.
                                                      >


                                                      Only if the game is good enough to give the kind of satisfaction they're
                                                      seeking. This gets into the depth and replayability dept., for analytical
                                                      games at least.



                                                      > If they have both, they
                                                      > can pick which one they prefer.
                                                      >

                                                      They don't have to pick, unless the demands on their time are too great.



                                                      > All else being equal, people tend to
                                                      > prefer to fulfill their psychological needs in a way that also fulfills
                                                      > their material needs, which is generally not possible through games.
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      I can't agree with this at all. I will agree that large numbers of people
                                                      are materialistic.


                                                      Cheers,
                                                      Brandon Van Every


                                                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                                    • Rainer Deyke
                                                      ... They can only do one set of activities at a time, therefore they have to choose. They can choose differently five seconds later. ... All else being equal.
                                                      Message 26 of 27 , Nov 11, 2009
                                                        Brandon Van Every wrote:
                                                        > On Wed, Nov 11, 2009 at 2:50 AM, Rainer Deyke <rainerd@...> wrote:
                                                        >> If they have both, they
                                                        >> can pick which one they prefer.
                                                        >
                                                        > They don't have to pick, unless the demands on their time are too great.

                                                        They can only do one set of activities at a time, therefore they have to
                                                        choose. They can choose differently five seconds later.

                                                        >> All else being equal, people tend to
                                                        >> prefer to fulfill their psychological needs in a way that also fulfills
                                                        >> their material needs, which is generally not possible through games.
                                                        >>
                                                        > I can't agree with this at all. I will agree that large numbers of people
                                                        > are materialistic.

                                                        All else being equal. You can do X, or you can do X and get paid for
                                                        it. Which do you pick?


                                                        --
                                                        Rainer Deyke - rainerd@...
                                                      • Brandon Van Every
                                                        ... Things are *never* equal when money is on the line. Cheers, Brandon Van Every [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                                        Message 27 of 27 , Nov 11, 2009
                                                          On Wed, Nov 11, 2009 at 1:35 PM, Rainer Deyke <rainerd@...> wrote:

                                                          > Brandon Van Every wrote:
                                                          >
                                                          >
                                                          > >> All else being equal, people tend to
                                                          > >> prefer to fulfill their psychological needs in a way that also fulfills
                                                          > >> their material needs, which is generally not possible through games.
                                                          > >>
                                                          > > I can't agree with this at all. I will agree that large numbers of people
                                                          > > are materialistic.
                                                          >
                                                          > All else being equal. You can do X, or you can do X and get paid for
                                                          > it. Which do you pick?
                                                          >


                                                          Things are *never* equal when money is on the line.


                                                          Cheers,
                                                          Brandon Van Every


                                                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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