Video Game Thread
#1
Poast about elements of games you like, games you dislike, games that are mediocre but still live rent-free in your head, et cetera. Long strings of posts on the same topic may be spun off into their own threads.
#2
Gave into the hype and torrented Elden Ring. So far it seems like dark souls 3 but in an open world, which while unimaginative is a pretty fun concept. Doing a prisoner class run with a griffith character, will update my opinion on the game as I go along. Anyone else playing?
#3
Currently also playing a prisoner run. It's certainly more Dark Souls 3, which I'm okay with because I enjoyed Dark Souls 3. Never played a spellcaster class before, feels like something that severely hamstrings you up until you reach the high 50s in levels, especially since none of the starting areas have any decent spellcasting gear.

Coincidentally, I also modeled my character more or less off Griffith.
#4
I mostly play Doom. I don't like retro graphics, but Doom wads are genuinely one of the few places with "vanguardist" level design that I can point to. The average (modern) Doom wad is more sophisticated than any FPS I can think of, including, of course, the dreaded "boomer retro shooters".
#5
@Vitilitagation Elaborate.
#6
Doom wads are the closest that videogame have come to architecture; it's all about the feeling of traversing and interacting (this, of course, through shooting) a space. This is due to Doom's design, that encourages abstraction, and certain unforeseen quirks, like the so called "voodoo dolls", that allow rudimentary scripting, or the untapped at the time potential of demon infighting. In Doom mapping, enemies are more like structural elements of a building you have to take in order to traverse it. Also, the fact that it's been being refined for decades while being able to ignore all "commercial" considerations have make it into particularly challenging in a way that no other FPS manages to be. 

Take as an example the infamous "archvile carousel" room from the penultimate level of Sunlust, my favorite wad, which illustrates everything I try to say with my post (at 4:29)

[Video: https://youtu.be/HqEnIvpFAuk?t=269]
#7
Everything you've said about Doom is absolutely correct. I personally think it's the best example of an FPS where every aspect of the game works in perfect harmony. The enemies being the perfect example of this, since they are themselves structural elements of the level, as you said. Their movement and abilities make them as much a part of the architecture as the walls and platforms. Some examples being that the archvile, baron, and mancubus all have area denial capabilities built into them in different ways. The archvile through its lock-on zap, barons through their large health pools, and mancubi through their projectile spam. Each forces you to move around the map in different ways, blocking you and making you take cover or pushing you out into an even more dangerous position. You have to take the unique aspects of the enemies into account when moving through the space of a Doom wad, to an extent that other FPSs don't come anywhere close to reaching. 

It's also worth mentioning how the weapons in Doom harmonize with the enemies and architecture. They serve as tools for traversal and have specific situations in which they're used best. They fit in the space between over-specialized tools and the "pick your favorite" mentality of twitch shooters, where the only real difference between weapons is fire rate, capacity, and range. Every weapon in Doom is meant to be used in tandem with your other tools, while serving different functions. Often these functions overlap with each other, but the weapons become more or less viable depending on the situation you find yourself in. As an example, the chaingun can't put out too much damage relative to other options like the Super Shotgun or the rocket launcher, but has its applications as a great tool for sniping and stun-locking through abusing the "pain state" (another quirk of the engine which turned out to have applications unforeseen by id). Still, there are times when it's a better option for taking care of big threats than the higher damage weapons. Taking another example from Sunlust, the chaingun becomes very helpful for taking out the stationary archvile on the zig-zagging upper platform of MAP31 when your shotgun ammo is limited and cover is far enough away where using close-ranged weaponry (SSG, Berserk fists) becomes extremely risky. Where the chaingun would normally be one of the last things you might use to take out an archvile, here it becomes one of the best options you have. Of course, that's only one possible strategy you can use to "traverse" this part of the map. The strategy you take changes completely depending on the architecture of the map, which of course includes the placement and movement of the enemies, which makes Doom's gameplay incredibly dynamic.

"Vanguardist level design" is a perfect way to describe Doom wad design. You could pick out any year from the past decade or so and find a few wads with better level design than almost every major release that's come out within the last five years. I can't think of a single game that uses space in the same way that the best Doom wad authors can. Thank you for posting about Doom, definitely my favorite game and possibly the greatest game ever made if only for its engine and the development of its wad scene.
#8
One of the things I like about Doom wads, that ties into the vanguardist thing, is that it's the only place that I know of where you can find auteurship in the level design. You can recognize the authors of certain level just by their prefered aesthetics and how the combat feels to play, including some very idiosyncratic people, like B.P.R.D. was at the time or Benjogami nowadays. It's one of the few videogames where you can also track it's evolution by seeing how different of these "authors" interacted and influenced one another. It's very interesting for me.

I think a great videogame nowadays would still be something like Doom: a series of very maleable rules and an easy to use level design. Doom, unfortunately, is full of quirks and forces one to go into many roundabouts for things that should be done more easily. GZDoom solves many of those, but still... 

It's also why I think that boomer retro shooters are reactionary. Videogames shouldn't feel like Doom in the 90s.
#9
I think the somewhat recently released Haste is a good showcase of auteurship in Doom wad design. It's possible to guess exactly which author out of the line-up made each map entirely by the aesthetics, layout, and combat scenarios present. Each has a strong creative vision, and the influence they've had on each other is more than noticeable, to where even though their styles are distinct, each map in the set is congruous with all the others. The topic of influence in Doom wad design is incredibly interesting for me as well. You have wad authors like Erik Alm and skillsaw, whose influence on Doom mapping is analogous to the influence that directors like Griffith or Hitchcock had on cinema. I don't think it's too much of a stretch to draw parallels between the two media. 

The weakness of the Doom engine when compared to both GZDoom and the engines made today is unfortunate, yet it's still great despite its lack of advanced features like scripting and true room-over-room. Some of these limitations could arguably be responsible for the vanguardist level design we see in modern wads. The fact of the matter is that some of the, if not the, most exciting and interesting videogame design is being done on a nearly 30 year old engine. Whether that is a testament to the flexibility of the Doom engine and the creativity of its mappers or an indictment of design trends and philosophies in the modern games industry is unclear to me. It certainly shows how hollow the "boomer shooter revival" is, thoughever.
#10
The one game I think is closest to a creative toolkit right now would be—without a hint of irony—Roblox. It's more like a host website to several games created by the same engine. OGRE is incredibly flexible, with the creator being to forgo most of the conventions in Roblox as to do with character models, mechanics and movement with relative ease. Lua is also especially easy to code in (and was implemented with this in mind) which means the barrier to entry to making advanced games is very low. This can come together to make some very impressive games.

I would like to demonstrate this point with a recreation of Sonic Generations in the Roblox engine:
[Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0K0in4HGmts]

That being said, I would not recommend playing Roblox. I've recently tried it out again out of nostalgia for hours spent in my very early teenage years on the game but was sorely disappointed with the decrease in quality. Most of the newer games have become iterations of previously proven profitable models (the minigame collection, the tycoon, the anime fighting game, etc.) to suck money out of gullible children. This shouldn't be a surprise since it's a children's game with very explicit profit incentives, but I still think it's important to emphasize that Roblox is one of the very few games who've implemented the "toolbox" idea successfully. Something similar but with a broader audience could potentially replace doom as the premier platform for independent level/game creation. 

Addendum: I would also like to point out that booth classic DOOM and DOOM eternal have been adapted with relative faith in the Roblox engine. If you wish to have a look, I'll link two short videos showcasing some of the gameplay. The reason the DE adaptation still uses the classic sprites is because the game is still in development, but the team plan to implement 3d models in the future. Both games also have their original soundtracks.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WclypjOnJsk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcWxWcbYm8E
(There's a limit of one embedded video per post so you'll just have click them yourselves).
#11
(03-15-2022, 05:34 AM)Sharmat Wrote: The one game I think is closest to a creative toolkit right now would be—without a hint of irony—Roblox. It's more like a host website to several games created by the same engine. OGRE is incredibly flexible, with the creator being to forgo most of the conventions in Roblox as to do with character models, mechanics and movement with relative ease. Lua is also especially easy to code in (and was implemented with this in mind) which means the barrier to entry to making advanced games is very low. This can come together to make some very impressive games.

[...]

That being said, I would not recommend playing Roblox. I've recently tried it out again out of nostalgia for hours spent in my very early teenage years on the game but was sorely disappointed with the decrease in quality. Most of the newer games have become iterations of previously proven profitable models (the minigame collection, the tycoon, the anime fighting game, etc.) to suck money out of gullible children. This shouldn't be a surprise since it's a children's game with very explicit profit incentives, but I still think it's important to emphasize that Roblox is one of the very few games who've implemented the "toolbox" idea successfully. Something similar but with a broader audience could potentially replace doom as the premier platform for independent level/game creation.

I have very fond memories of Roblox (from ~2011-2014). Its ease of use, and the fact that every game was multiplayer / networked right off the bat, made it a fertile breeding ground for original game concepts that I haven't seen anywhere else. Very surreal, dream-like social experiences. Seeing younger relatives play it, I can't help but lament the extent to which the platform has degraded since then - almost everything nowadays is either a microtransaction loop w/ lootboxes and skins first and foremost, or else a ripoff of a AAA game. I'm not sure if something like classic Roblox had existed before, or will ever exist again. It was really a magical thing.
#12
If you have any experience or interest in Computer Science/Software Engineering, I highly recommend reading "Game Engine Black Book: Doom". It really shows how the game was a masterclass not only in video game design but also in software architecture. Carmack is a genius.

(03-16-2022, 12:27 AM)Chud Wrote:
(03-15-2022, 05:34 AM)Sharmat Wrote: The one game I think is closest to a creative toolkit right now would be—without a hint of irony—Roblox. It's more like a host website to several games created by the same engine. OGRE is incredibly flexible, with the creator being to forgo most of the conventions in Roblox as to do with character models, mechanics and movement with relative ease. Lua is also especially easy to code in (and was implemented with this in mind) which means the barrier to entry to making advanced games is very low. This can come together to make some very impressive games.

[...]

That being said, I would not recommend playing Roblox. I've recently tried it out again out of nostalgia for hours spent in my very early teenage years on the game but was sorely disappointed with the decrease in quality. Most of the newer games have become iterations of previously proven profitable models (the minigame collection, the tycoon, the anime fighting game, etc.) to suck money out of gullible children. This shouldn't be a surprise since it's a children's game with very explicit profit incentives, but I still think it's important to emphasize that Roblox is one of the very few games who've implemented the "toolbox" idea successfully. Something similar but with a broader audience could potentially replace doom as the premier platform for independent level/game creation.

I have very fond memories of Roblox (from ~2011-2014). Its ease of use, and the fact that every game was multiplayer / networked right off the bat, made it a fertile breeding ground for original game concepts that I haven't seen anywhere else. Very surreal, dream-like social experiences. Seeing younger relatives play it, I can't help but lament the extent to which the platform has degraded since then - almost everything nowadays is either a microtransaction loop w/ lootboxes and skins first and foremost, or else a ripoff of a AAA game. I'm not sure if something like classic Roblox had existed before, or will ever exist again. It was really a magical thing.

I agree with your opinion on ROBLOX, it's incredibly sad just how much it has gone off a cliff. You really have to look hard for a good experience on there. I don't play any of the new popular games anymore, I only play old favourites or the niche but flourishing milsim games on there.
#13
Bumping this to see what everyone is playing at the moment. I've mostly always been into RPGs and and Strategy games, along with anything involving a kind of open-world sandbox to explore mixed with rpg elements. Obviously spent a lot of time playing the Bethesda RPGs the came out during the late 2000s and early 2010s like FO:NV, Oblivion, Skyrim. Eventually as I got older I started getting into slightly older stuff and fell in love with Morrowind and the original isometric Fallouts made by Interplay/Black Isle (if any of you haven't played those yet I'd highly recommend). Also played a shit ton of the Paradox Games during HS and College, mostly EUIV and CK2.

Recently I've been trying to get into even older rpgs or ones that are in some way more complex or challenging. Been playing DAGGERFALL which is very interesting, it's got an incredibly large world and a number of different factions, but because the world is so large the exploration aspect that made other Elder Scrolls games so fun is unviable, and it basically just becomes a Dungeon Crawler of sorts. Still, if you enjoyed that aspect of the ES games I'd say it's worth giving it a shot. The other game I've been playing a lot of is KENSHI, which is essentially a post-apocalyptic rpg with rts elements and technology capped at (basically) an iron-age level (so swords, lances, polearms, etc, no guns). Kenshi drops you into an active world with roving bandits and numerous factions with high level characters, while you start out with some food, a weapon, and no stats. It's a grind just to stay alive and for most of the time playing you feel like an insignificant pawn in the world at large. But with that being said you have a ton of freedom to do whatever you like, so long as you can survive in the beginning. Join a faction and genocide all non-humans, become an independent hemp farmer +salesman, or just genocide every faction in sight, it's up to you.

I've tried my hand at some more complex games as well, like Dwarf Fortress or UnReal World, but I think I'm just too retarded to actually spend the time learning them. I'm sure they're great games but the learning curve seems so high, and the gameplay itself only seems fun if you're willing to go full autist mode. Maybe once I get bored of everything else I'll succumb to putting enough mind energy into enjoying stuff like that. If anyone has played those regularly I'd love to hear how you got over all the hurdles and actually started enjoying them.
#14
(03-23-2022, 10:46 PM)Leverkühn Wrote: I've tried my hand at some more complex games as well, like Dwarf Fortress or UnReal World, but I think I'm just too retarded to actually spend the time learning them. I'm sure they're great games but the learning curve seems so high, and the gameplay itself only seems fun if you're willing to go full autist mode. Maybe once I get bored of everything else I'll succumb to putting enough mind energy into enjoying stuff like that. If anyone has played those regularly I'd love to hear how you got over all the hurdles and actually started enjoying them.


Dwarf Fortress is one of the few games I still play these days. There's something awe-inspiring in seeing just how vast the world around you is, how everything you do fits into the larger framework of history. Being able to encounter (or cultivate) famous and powerful people, and make world-historical changes that way... or just starting and retiring many fortresses in succession, watching your favorite dwarves live independently, marry, have children, even arrive in future fortresses as migrants.

Every fortress spawns at least one great story or character arc. I still remember fondly the nude woman who crushed a giant spider monster to death by leaning on it with her shield; the crippled veteran who leaped out of his hospital bed to protect a child from a feral ogre (and killed it without a scratch); the miner, cuckolded from his arranged marriage by the militia captain, who had to lie in the bedroom next door and listen to them go at it all night, until he finally snapped and clove the captain's head open with his pickaxe; the little girl who beat a raging giant cave spider to death with her bare hands after everyone else was either eaten or evacuated, and spent the rest of her childhood wandering through the blood-soaked halls of the empty fortress...

If you want to learn how to play the game, just follow the Quickstart Guide. Your first fortress will be relatively uneventful; it's when you've learned to negotiate the harsher climes the game has to offer that the real Fun begins.
#15
(03-23-2022, 11:18 PM)Chud Wrote: If you want to learn how to play the game, just follow the Quickstart Guide. Your first fortress will be relatively uneventful; it's when you've learned to negotiate the harsher climes the game has to offer that the real Fun begins.
I'd like to add that the game is much more forgiving than it seems; the level of challenge is totally modulated by your goals and willingness to cheese. If you play conservatively and are willing to abuse the game mechanics you'll rarely have problems.

Anyway, do game dev projects fit in this thread? I'm making a roguelike for fun, not much progress yet but I want to do an open world with minecrafty sandbox elements like building and survival. Picture is a screenshot of the current test build.

[Image: https://i.imgur.com/3mFJuTd.png]
#16
@Leverkühn

The best part of Daggerfall is the climbing skill. You can climb any house at night and then break inside to rob and kill their occupants. You can also climb castle and dungeons to access hidden parts. It's a shame that few RPG, apart Thief's rope arrows, picked up this robber mechanic


Daggerfall have the most big open world ever created. This guy took 69 hours to cross it


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2ALLDB8bFE 
Walk Across the Map of Daggerfall in 1 minute (Timelapse 4096x)
#17
I love Elden Ring. It is a good game.
#18
(04-02-2022, 02:47 AM)Gabriel Matzneff Groyper Wrote: @Leverkühn

The best part of Daggerfall is the climbing skill. You can climb any house at night and then break inside to rob and kill their occupants. You can also climb castle and dungeons to access hidden parts. It's a shame that few RPG, apart Thief's rope arrows, picked up this robber mechanic


Daggerfall have the most big open world ever created. This guy took 69 hours to cross it


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2ALLDB8bFE 
Walk Across the Map of Daggerfall in 1 minute (Timelapse 4096x)
Yeah I love the ability to climb around places. It's also great how all of the dungeons have numerous fake walls and triggers to open doors; it actually has some of the most fun dungeons to traverse even if so many of them are probably randomly generated. What I also enjoy about Daggerfall is the complexity of skills; every subsequent ES game has simplified the game which has in turn stripped them of more and more RPG elements. Similar to Fallout with FO4 cutting out skills entirely. I think Morrowind hit the sweet spot with easy-playability and enough RPG elements where you actually have to pay attention to your build; magic is annoying early but is a huge pay off later. 

I'm sure ES:VI will be graphically amazing and have lots of mod potential, but at this point I'm really just expecting a sandbox adventure game with no rpg elements and a shit story. No faith they can craft interesting lore anymore but I guess we'll see.
#19
I just played Black Mesa again recently. Played it way before it had Xen so I barely remembered it. I found it kind of gay and outdated. One /v/ criticism I found particularly good. "Leapster puzzles". You walk into a room and look for the piece of moving scenery that can be used as an elevator to lift you to a rail that you can walk along to a vent, or you find the switch that will turn off the environmental hazard. It feels like a massive 3d Legend of Zelda dungeon but with less charm and variety. And more importantly those dungeons end and let you do new stuff between them.

And *more* importantly, Zelda evolved into Breath of the Wild. The mentions of Daggerfall climbing brought this to my mind. BOTW gives you a similar radical level of freedom to master your surroundings with. Key difference being BOTW is handcrafted end to end. BOTW is a better fulfillment of the professed spirit of Half Life than Half Life. That being 'Run. Think. Shoot. Live.' Of course Half Life is old as hell now so it gets a pass, but the question is why other video games didn't evolve this way, including Valve's. Valve's games run on letting intuition lead the way, but for the sake of accessibility they can't get too complex and there's always one answer. Their games are fantastically presented rail-experiences. Quite cool, but not quite 'Run. Think. Shoot. Survive.' I'm hardly thinking and surviving if my goal at every point is to find the signaled right way to go forward. I'm effectively working out how to read my place in a script through subtle signs rather than direct orders. Almost like a call of duty campaign only instead of "RAMIREZ GET TO BURGER TOWN" there are various subtle lighting cues in place to guide me towards burger town as it's the most interesting and dynamic thing in sight, and if I explore elsewhere it's all locked doors and dead ends. I'm still in control, but am I really?

Not too many years later I think Farcry2 did this 100x more interestingly. You get a general instruction and a mark on your map, then you get set loose. Job done when some guy kilometers away is dead, no further instructions or signals or handholds.

Deus Ex is another strong example. The game is script driven, but due to heroic dedication to the idea of self-determination just about anything you could think of doing is accounted for and allowed to play out to some kind of logical conclusion. Both in individual action challenges and greater plot-driving decisions.

Black Mesa got a lot less fun after I had seen every *intuitive* trick they had for leading me out of a locked room for the third time. By the end I wished I was playing a game that would actually let me make my own answers to organically emerging problems. The single crafted track is fun but only for so long. I think this is a big part of why most people agree the new Xen is a chore even though it's so well crafted. By that point in the game the formula is 100% *done*. New scenery isn't enough to make this fun again.

Cool game on the whole, but should have been shorter.
#20
TES VI won't even have Jeremy Soule. it's over.


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