Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

News:

Latest WME version: WME 1.9.1 (January 1st, 2010) - download

Author Topic: Death  (Read 8088 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

loken

  • Lurker
  • *
  • Karma: 0
  • Offline Offline
  • Gender: Male
  • Posts: 11
    • View Profile
Death
« on: December 09, 2007, 05:50:06 PM »

Rather grim subject line for a newcomer, eh? Well anyways before I begin, just want to say thanks to Mnemonic for writing Wintermute. It's truly great software, and even better for being free. I hope to give back in some way when I can.

Anyways, I'm developing a game which carries with it the spirit of Space Quest. It's not a remake, nor a prequel or a sequel. I'm just trying to capture it's essence. So I've been playing through the originals and making notes of their design.

One thing in particular happens rather often in the Space Quest series, as well as other early adventure games -- you die. A lot. Often, unexpectantly. At least it's usually humorous, but it often gives rise to frustration from the player. It seems later adventure game designers realized this and completely removed the idea of player death.

My question is, do modern gamers care? What if dying wasn't so terrible and the player didn't loose their progress up until they bit it? Perhaps an autosave feature based on scene change would remedy the situation? Is there a situation to be remedied?

Logged
-loken

Mnemonic

  • WME developer
  • Administrator
  • Addicted to WME forum
  • *
  • Karma: 41
  • Offline Offline
  • Gender: Male
  • Posts: 5671
    • View Profile
    • Dead:Code Site
Re: Death
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2007, 10:30:53 PM »

Removing player's death from games seems to be an obvious trend nowadays, because it's considered to be too frustrating for the players (well, doh). And it's not only true for adventure games, but surprisingly for action games as well. Take Bioshock, for example, you can't actually die in this game. Similarly in Assassin's Creed, you don't die, you just "lose synchronization" and restart at nearest checkpoint. Many action games provide self-healing of the main hero etc.
In other words, modern gamers do care. It's because gaming is no longer aimed at hard-core gamers, like in the 80s, but it's a casual entertainment now. Even us, who remember the old days, are too lazy to play insanely hard games.

Back to adventure games though... my opinion is that the amount of deaths in SQ is ridiculous and most people would hate it today. However, the possibility of character dying can add a lot to the game atmosphere (when it makes sense). An auto-save is a good trade-off between frustrating the player and making the game look unrealistic. Another solution is coming with a design which describes the player's immortality in a reasonable way (like the vita chambers in Bioshock).
Logged
Yes, I do have a twitter account
Please don't send me technical questions in private messages, use the forum. ::wave

metamorphium

  • Global Moderator
  • Addicted to WME forum
  • *
  • Karma: 12
  • Offline Offline
  • Gender: Male
  • Posts: 1511
  • Vampires!
    • View Profile
    • CBE  software s.r.o.
Re: Death
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2007, 11:48:12 PM »

I like the idea where actor is dying all the time but it doesn't make him to replay anything. :) Like in Cosmology of Kyoto for example - death and hells are paired and in the hell you're supposed to play as well before you get back.
Logged
J.U.L.I.A. Enhanced Edition, Vampires!, J.U.L.I.A., J.U.L.I.A. Untold, Ghost in the Sheet

Jyujinkai

  • Global Moderator
  • Frequent poster
  • *
  • Karma: 1
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 350
    • View Profile
    • Jyujinkai's WME Development Blog
Re: Death
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2007, 02:09:27 AM »

I think player death can be a good thing, as long as it dose not interrupt to much. IMO, the key in a successful adventure game is the continual advancement of the story.  Death and reset, or large explorable areas you have to walk back and forth across, to hard puzzles... etc anything that makes the player start to repeat things and not advance the story will boar and make the game less fun.

Also with deaths, I think there is no point in having playr deaths if all you need to do is reset and start again till you learn a sequence. Examples of this is a conversation where you asy the wrong thing and die, or a maze or something were a wrong turn kills you. If you just reset and start again is is simply a matter of deaths untill you memorize a sequence. Annoying.

I think (spesh with the emulation of space quest) that a death should be somethings obvious. Something like sticking your hand in a electrified power conduit. Mabey with a few warnings, that get funnier untill it says "Fine.. put your hand there see if we care"

There is a WME project that you can download called The White Chamber that has some cool use of deaths. (spesh the "dorrway" death)
« Last Edit: December 11, 2007, 03:04:22 AM by Jyujinkai »
Logged
<Antoine de Saint-Exupéry> In any thing at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away...
<Carl Sagan> If you want to make a apple pie from scratch. You must first... invent the universe

sychron

  • Wanderer zwischen den Welten
  • Global Moderator
  • Regular poster
  • *
  • Karma: 0
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 223
  • There is no spoon. The enemy gate is down!
    • View Profile
Re: Death
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2007, 05:29:30 PM »

Death in games can add to the athmosphere, for it creates suspense. If you just cannot die, there is no suspense in action themes. For example The Longest Journey. There are some scenes in which you are in a dangerous situation, but you have all the time you need to solve them. Theese scenes are not creating suspense at all, they are just normal game scenes with heart pounding music.
If you would automatically die after a set time, or better: after a number of tries, this would be more suspense.

BUT: As it was already said, you have to think about how to handle Death. To keep the player in the flow, it's not advisable to present a "Game Over - Load Again?" screen. For simple handling, I would suggest a death sequence, showing the player what happened, and then auto-reload the scene he died in to have him play again imeaiately without and choice. If you give players a choice here, the answer might also be "no".

I read an interesting game design article about player choice requesters -- nearly all of them are counter productive, so you should generally avoid asking players what to do. For example, if you reach a checkpoint, don't ask the players wether they want to save -- of course they want to. Just save and continue. Same here: If the player dies, just load and continue. If the player really wants to bail out, he will find his way through the menu. Otherwise keep him playing without disturbing requesters, even after death.

If you're going for a fun adventure, try counting player deaths and make fun of them. An example NSC could note that the player is "somewhat pale", and the number of NSC remarks increases with the number of deaths.

The concept to play in hell for a few scenes is nice, but it may disturb the normal game flow. If the player died, the idea what to to instead might come while watching the death sequence. So let them try their new idea as soon as possible!
« Last Edit: December 12, 2007, 05:33:08 PM by sychron »
Logged
... delete the inner sleep ...

CMK2901

  • Lurker
  • *
  • Karma: 1
  • Offline Offline
  • Gender: Male
  • Posts: 35
  • Zoidberg is afoot!
    • View Profile
    • CMK Studios
Re: Death
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2007, 04:37:58 AM »

I think that in adventure games, especially such as Space Quest, humorous deaths help take away the sting a bit.  I'd say the best bet is to provide a "Retry" button, at least for deaths which aren't obvious.  You could even add some more humor to the ordeal by removing this option from really obvious deaths, like drinking acid.  Have the narrator say something about how you should have known better.

I find that death is also perfectly acceptable if the player knows it will be a result of the action.  It's just like any game; in Super Mario, it would be ridiculous if Mario just randomly died from jumping, but they aren't going to remove the death from pits just because it's frustrating.  Like everything in adventure games, make it logical and understandable.
Logged
CMK Studios
I don't think we're hearing the same voices.

maze

  • Occasional poster
  • **
  • Karma: 0
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 59
  • Good news
    • View Profile
Re: Death
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2007, 07:52:32 AM »

Take a look at CHARLIE FOXTROT http://www.vanwijst.com/games/charlie_foxtrot/.
I'll think you like it.  ;) Funny death scenes included.
This game shows good ways to die...and retry

Logged

organican

  • Occasional poster
  • **
  • Karma: 0
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 74
    • View Profile
Re: Death
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2007, 10:53:14 AM »

BUT: As it was already said, you have to think about how to handle Death. To keep the player in the flow, it's not advisable to present a "Game Over - Load Again?" screen. For simple handling, I would suggest a death sequence, showing the player what happened, and then auto-reload the scene he died in to have him play again imeaiately without and choice. If you give players a choice here, the answer might also be "no".

I read an interesting game design article about player choice requesters -- nearly all of them are counter productive, so you should generally avoid asking players what to do. For example, if you reach a checkpoint, don't ask the players wether they want to save -- of course they want to. Just save and continue. Same here: If the player dies, just load and continue. If the player really wants to bail out, he will find his way through the menu. Otherwise keep him playing without disturbing requesters, even after death.
No, most players don't like interruptions in the game. But there are also those who think that auto-saving is like cheating, or that it ruins the atmosphere of the game, or that it makes dying feel like it's without consequence. "You die, and then you're automagically restored, why even have death at all?" So however you do it you end up disapointing someone.

Maybe one way to do it, would be to make sure that the player can choose in the game settings if they want to have Auto-save and reload after death (on/off).

Then the hard-core gamer can have his game over screen when he dies, and casual players are revived with auto-reload.
Logged

jlinam

  • Supporter
  • Lurker
  • *
  • Karma: 0
  • Offline Offline
  • Gender: Male
  • Posts: 23
    • View Profile
Re: Death
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2007, 06:25:42 PM »

Maybe one way to do it, would be to make sure that the player can choose in the game settings if they want to have Auto-save and reload after death (on/off).

Perhaps an even better way is to make death itself an option. Maybe have a hard setting that includes death sequences, and an easy setting that doesn't. More work for the developer, but more satisfying for all types of players
Logged

Sally (MG)

  • wannabe supermom
  • Lurker
  • *
  • Karma: 0
  • Offline Offline
  • Gender: Female
  • Posts: 8
    • View Profile
    • MinuteGamer
Re: Death
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2007, 12:21:00 AM »

There's something called "second chance" in the Nancy Drew series of adventure games. You die (or something horrible happens that cause you to not be able to finish a game) and it shoots you to the main menu where you can choose "second chance" and it loads the game right up to the point where you made that decision. Or you can load up a saved game, whichever the player wants. There's really no "risk" involved so the player is free to try daring things. This could also lead to "alternate endings."

Remember that scene in LeChuck's Revenge (I might have my MI games mixed up) where Guybrush jumps off a cliff then bounced up like a rubber ball? That would be an acceptable point of death.

On an almost completely unrelated note, being "eaten by a Grue" randomly is not an acceptable death. The first time that happened to me I hadn't saved in 45 minutes or more and almost threw a drink at the monitor.
Logged

jlinam

  • Supporter
  • Lurker
  • *
  • Karma: 0
  • Offline Offline
  • Gender: Male
  • Posts: 23
    • View Profile
Re: Death
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2007, 06:56:12 PM »

On an almost completely unrelated note, being "eaten by a Grue" randomly is not an acceptable death. The first time that happened to me I hadn't saved in 45 minutes or more and almost threw a drink at the monitor.

Yeah, but I don't recall the Grue deaths being random. You're always warned "You've entered a dark place. You are likely to be eaten by a Grue." Then, if you just exit the way you came, your good. So, it's frustrating sure, but not totally arbitrary.

I remember in the Infocom game Lurking Horror, there's a bit near the end where you have to open a shimmering curtain to get into the next room where the final encounter takes place. As soon as you touch the curtain, you disintegrate. The first time it happened to me, I was really angry. The second time, I examined the curtain first, and there is a fairly obvious clue that tells you that the curtain is dangerous. The fact that the curtain is described as 'shimmering' is a clue to examine it closely before proceeding.

I guess the point here is that the death can seem arbitrary, but there is in fact a set of clues laid out to help the observant player avoid it. The old Infocom games were particularly good at this, and I think a lot of current game designers could benefit from studying their approach. The classic Sierra games always frustrated me, because so often the deaths there were random or arbitrary, though at least they were funny.
Logged

MrBehemoth

  • Lurker
  • *
  • Karma: 2
  • Offline Offline
  • Gender: Male
  • Posts: 18
    • View Profile
Re: Death
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2013, 08:18:03 PM »

Reviving and old thread to see what people think of my idea...

I'm usually against death and the 'game over' concept in general in adventure games, but the game I'm working on is supposed to be scary and has survival horror elements. With that in mind, I want to keep up the suspense and tension. For me as a player, if I know that I can't die and the only thing giving me a sense of urgency is the music, a la The Longest Journey, then I become aware of it and, paradoxically, it breaks my suspension of disbelief. So in my game the plan was always that the PC can die and then be put back to a safe place just before things got dangerous.

 I've been reconsidering this lately. In my game it's never totally clear whether the 'monsters' are real or hallucinations, or a spiritual rather than physical danger, so the idea I had was this:

The monsters get you. As your health decreases things get trippier. Eventually, when your health reaches zero, you move into a hellish 'dark world' version of the same scene (think Silent Hill) where there is some kind of semi-randomised puzzle that you have to solve to be able to get back to the 'real' world and try again at evading the monsters. If you want you can always load a saved game instead.

Pros:
There is a genuine disadvantage to dying, which keeps up the suspense/excitement.
Dying doesn't end the game.
Plays into the 'are the monsters real or imaginary?' question.
The semi-random puzzle will hopefully stop it from being repetitive if you keep dying.

Cons:
The player might feel like they were being punished for dying.
It might start to feel like a minigame that you have to complete in order to continue.
Once players realise that they can load a saved game instead, they might just do that every time.

What do people think of this idea?

Cheers,
MrBehemoth

Mot

  • Lurker
  • *
  • Karma: 3
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 20
    • View Profile
Re: Death
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2017, 02:32:41 PM »

Perhaps a way to avoid the cons you mentioned would be to include the 'being dead' portion within the main flow of the game, not just as a side game one has to complete in order to return to the main one, but an experience which may help the character in some way - for instance, by gaining knowledge, obtaining some tool, or allowing to solve some obstacle they met with earlier (in a different way, costly or with great difficulty even).

I would not make death a disadvantage from the perspective of gameplay, rather that it plays in the plot as an apparent disadvantage. For example, earlier your character was haunted by monsters/hallucinations, now they may have to deal with the unknown hereafter reality (real or product of their mind).
« Last Edit: June 12, 2017, 02:16:05 AM by Mot »
Logged
 

Page created in 0.263 seconds with 17 queries.