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id Software On Rage, Storytelling In Games

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the my-rocket-launcher-does-the-talking dept.

First Person Shooters (Games) 97

Tom Willits of id Software took some time recently to speak about storytelling as it relates to id's previous games, and how it will be a part of their upcoming shooter, Rage. He also dispelled rumors that Rage would suffer content cuts due to Xbox hardware limitations. Unfortunately, he called into question whether mods will be a possibility for the game, saying that the issue is still under consideration.

cancel ×

97 comments

hmm (3, Funny)

nomadic (141991) | more than 5 years ago | (#25046467)

As if reading the audience's minds, Willits began, "So id Software is actually giving a talk on storytelling -- that doesn't make much sense!" But Willits feels id's public perception is "sometimes a bit skewed."

No, our perception is spot on I think.

Re:hmm (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25046909)

Hey! Some of the best stories ever made are just about a lone marine killing tons of aliens, Nazis, and hellspawn. It is just like Shakespeare. Only without the words and with more firearms.

Re:hmm (5, Funny)

NuclearError (1256172) | more than 5 years ago | (#25046941)

More people die in Shakespeare though.

Re:hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25047197)

Are you reading The Compleat Works of William Shakespeare - The Nightmare Edition?

Re:hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25049537)

Shit yeah- it was awesome when Othello fought that Cyberdemon.

Are There Still "id Fanboys"? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25047221)

Id is a relic of the 1990s who for some reason haven't gone away. Gaming has long past them by.

It was just embarrassing to have to listen to Carmack crying over how he couldn't handle modern console graphics hardware and parallel chip design. Or listening to him try to impress people with silly marketing buzzwords like 'mega-texturing'.

Either close the fucking place down or hire some competent engineers who aren't still living in the 1990s like Carmack.

Re:Are There Still "id Fanboys"? (3, Funny)

BiggerBoat (690886) | more than 5 years ago | (#25047425)

"Let's see... just our recent mobile games have sold over a million copies, and our last in-house PC title was our best-selling ever, but Anonymous Coward here says we should close up shop! Hmmm... what to do, what to do..."

Don't mess with us, man. ID Software is no more. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25048337)

I was one of the forum participants back on LINUXQUAKE.COM, and we remembered when hosting a Quake 1/2/3 server was worth somthing. We remembered when people with *class* would downport and crossport, and be satisfied with the release. Going way back to xquake on RedHat 5.0 is where I'm talking about. If ID Software would have gone all-out Linux, then they wouldn't be in the bad shape they are in today. There would even be a more popular 3-person POV Quake-engine game out there that would keep Linux going as with any partnership, but instead the developers split and gone to either GuildHall, Unreal, or worse...Eidos. ID Software is a shell of its former splendor. And here we see classics like Quake 1 being re-invented with Pixel Effects and Vertex Shading, re-presented by the Tenebrae and Dark Places engines somtimes with abridgments of complete texture replacement projects, and they turn more environment effects than Quake4 and Doom3.
 
ID Software just has too much competition against it to continue. There is too much independent development, and like Blizzard with respect to buyout by a better management company, should've died-out if not for licensing their code. The IP police can only get beyond negative outlook if it is a unique and highly attractive title, for which ID Software just has not been able to continue. What do they do nowdays that they haven't already done in their ground-breaker Quake 1? Their groundbreaker is Shit(tm) story, and lots of graphics.
 
So many more developments have been made and incorporated through audio effects and ID Software just doesn't touch any of those. The first perfection was an off-beat title Hexen, and none have followed the audio effects anymore. Not even Duke Nukem 3D could touch Hexen, yet here we are and even 3D Realms is having a hard time to continue a good story with an engine they kept trying to buy and adapt from ID Software. Can you believe that, 3D Realms is even failing because of ID Software's failure in product exendability?
 
    Anyways, they (ID) don't even keep to their original product whoring from ID-mom Pam, or any of the related box-packing assembly-line staff and technical support. It's no longer a family-like atmosphere, but a stock-ticker clicking for every sale per second. I remember looking forward to Radio Shack or Target to look in the trialware aisles because I know the short-version was much more suspense than buying the full-version; my first let-down was 60 US dollars for Quake 2 from Target, which was just someone from ID Software's graphics department shooting their nugget of brown shit on my SVGAlib console. I couldn't even finish Quake 2 when it hit Windows 95, because of its stability issues needing so much harddrive access and its implementation of copy-protection over such large data files. This in a day the average PC was 166MHz MMX Pentium and no more than 32MB RAM. Rich kids could afford that Voodoo2 at 600 US Dollars, and that extra 96 or 128MB RAM from Fry's Electronics for US 700 dollars. That was their heyday, and it sucked evein in Quake 3.

There is only one trace I can make to ID Software's failure and that is its original attachment to Apogee shareware distribution.

Re:Don't mess with us, man. ID Software is no more (1)

BiggerBoat (690886) | more than 5 years ago | (#25049295)

So, long story short: you haven't liked anything they've done since 1997. Simple question: so why do you still have so much invested in them to write a 500 word tirade? You know what I do when a company makes games I don't like? I don't buy them and move on, regardless of how many other people like them.

Re:Don't mess with us, man. ID Software is no more (1)

BiggerBoat (690886) | more than 5 years ago | (#25049511)

Oh, and by the way:

1. id's "mom" is named Donna not Pam.
2. id hasn't spelled their name "uppercase I, uppercase D" since about '92 or '93.
3. The Duke Nukem Forever project has been using Unreal tech for about the past 5 years. What's their excuse now?

Re:Don't mess with us, man. ID Software is no more (1)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 5 years ago | (#25063869)

I wasn't rich back then - I was about 19 years old and my friend and I both saved up for the VooDoo2. It was not $600. It was $200.

If you are talking about an Average PC in 1995, you have some problems:

- The original VooDoo Graphics chip was produced in 1996. It didn't show in consumer cards until very late 1996 and mostly 1997 with cards like the Diamond Monster 3D
- The VooDoo 2 was released in 1998. It was $200, not $600
- In 1995 by far the most common average PC was an Intel or (more likely) an AMD 486 DX4
- The Pentium 166 MMX wasn't released until 1996 and was not an "average CPU" it was a high end CPU

In 1995 you didn't need to put 128MB RAM into your machine to run Quake, actually you didn't need anything to run it in 1995 because it wasn't released until 1996.

Quake II was release in 1997.

If you had a Pentium MMX 166 and a VooDoo 2 you were rockin' Quake 2 and made your friends jealous.

I'm beginning to think that perhaps you just weren't very good at playing, and got owned by your friends so much that you blame your ruined childhood that ensued because of your shame.

Or, you're just stupid.

id Software did a lot for the computer gaming industry, and personally, I though Doom 3 was a lot of fun to play. id has usually been about balancing both great new technology and solid gameplay. What they did with Doom 3 and fully calculated lighting changed all games since. Have other done things better than id since? Sure. Are id's games the best? Maybe not. They've been very influential in the industry and we're better for it.

ps. id hasn't failed. YOU FAIL.

Re:Are There Still "id Fanboys"? (5, Insightful)

delysid-x (18948) | more than 5 years ago | (#25047587)

Just like how Apple is a relic from the 80's.

Re:Are There Still "id Fanboys"? (1)

Negatyfus (602326) | more than 5 years ago | (#25051969)

While I disagree, I feel that Carmack lost some of his credibility when he claimed that the iPhone is more powerful than the PSP and DS "combined" and close in graphical power to the Xbox. Carmack is a smart man, I really have to wonder why he made such a statement. Can I still trust him?

Re:Are There Still "id Fanboys"? (1)

TJamieson (218336) | more than 5 years ago | (#25056085)

The obvious answer is he knows something you do not. I mean, the guy's been intimately involved with OpenGL since the beginning; he can probably evaluate the hardware better than most.

Re:Are There Still "id Fanboys"? (1)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 5 years ago | (#25063945)

Your username is TJamieson? My last name is Jamieson, spelled the same way with the IE. If that's your last name, you're probably as tired to telling people "No, it's IE. I.. E... Not just I, not just E. Not EI. GRR!!" as I am =)

ps.

"NIC Card" has always been the most annoying redundancy to me =)

Re:Are There Still "id Fanboys"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25096831)

Gaming has long past them by

"passed".

Re:hmm (5, Funny)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 5 years ago | (#25047869)

To help clarify, I'll translate some key excerpts:

FPS pioneer id Software doesn't exactly have a reputation rooted in strong game stories.

Here at id, we feel that any "story" beyond "here's a gun, shoot anything that moves" is for pansies.

Yes, in the past, we have developed games that have very limited narratives. But to say that a game with limited narrative has bad storytelling is really a narrow-minded approach to what storytelling is.

But it turns out that there are a lot of pansies out there, and it turns out they have money. So now I'm going to actually redefine what "storytelling" is in order to make it fit more nicely with what we've done in the past, and more importantly, what we'll be doing in the future.

Information, he maintains, is learned through experiences, and the experience of playing a game is what forms a narrative, by its nature.

See, here we go. "gameplay" ------>>> "storytelling"... Done!

The first and most important thing is start with a solid, straightforward plot.

*Really* straightforward. As in, get a gun, kill anything that moves. That counts, right?

Matt Castello, who penned the story for Doom 3...

I'll bet that napkin could be sold on eBay for a bundle!

If you've played Doom 3 you know that our pacing was pretty intense. It started up easy enough, but then we kicked up the intensity and kept it there for the whole game.

Non-stop hellspawn popping out of closets behind the player! It was insane, I tell you!

Broad stroke visuals really portray to the user about the wasteland, and what the authorities are trying to do to the wasteland. A character is not trying to tell you, 'Hey these guys are bad, look what they did to the wasteland.' You can see it for yourself."

You can tell this is going to be an innovative game, because we're going to be subtle. And also, we have a *wasteland*! How original is that? Seriously, it's not just dark dungeons and corridors - er, well, it's mostly that inside - but outside, it's a wasteland!

Willits says that Doom 3 players "zoomed right through" the game's highly handcrafted levels, so for Rage, "we have focused on reusability."

It takes an assload of time to hand-craft these levels. Appreciate them, damn you!

His bottom line for Rage? Delivering more choices and more variety for more people, while still delivering "classic id-style mayhem."

Don't worry, it will all come down to shooting everything that moves anyhow.

Re:hmm (1)

fadethepolice (689344) | more than 5 years ago | (#25050059)

Depends on what you want from storytelling. As a good background return to castle wolfenstein's story has spawned a host of world war 2 remakes and can arguably be called the basis for the hellboy scripts. That is most definitely my kinda storytelling. ID's approach to good storytelling and good gameplay is just what I have been looking for for 18 years. Rock on.

Re:hmm (1)

Incredible Elmo (86263) | more than 5 years ago | (#25057977)

Interesting, I thought that the Hellboy comics (started in 1993) wer the basis of the scripts? I've never read them, though, but I was always under the impression that the whole WWII-Rasputin thing was from the comics...

Re:hmm (1)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 5 years ago | (#25050833)

Don't worry, it will all come down to shooting everything that moves anyhow.

in a way I agree with you

and in another way, I think you're being hypercritical

even the best 'storytelling games' involves really poor writing and really poor story telling

why place this demand on game developers?

if you want a good story, read a book
be sensitive to games - they can't attract the talent for story telling because ultimately, if your good at writing stories, you wouldn't be working in the industry

Re:hmm (2, Interesting)

Incredible Elmo (86263) | more than 5 years ago | (#25058113)

even the best 'storytelling games' involves really poor writing and really poor story telling

why place this demand on game developers?

if you want a good story, read a book
be sensitive to games - they can't attract the talent for story telling because ultimately, if your good at writing stories, you wouldn't be working in the industry

While that is true, I liked the stories of e.g. Deus Ex and Wing Commander IV, and of course several adventure games and RPGs (including KotoR).

Of course, none of these reach the levels of literature, but they are good stories, as opposed to "run through this level, shoot at everything that moves and push the button".

While shooting at stuff is cool, the story keeps me motivated enough to turn that next corner and shoot more stuff. Or, if there is a lack of story, I get bored relatively quickly.

Re:hmm (1)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 5 years ago | (#25068339)

and in another way, I think you're being hypercritical

I hope you can tell I was just trying to be funny. I actually like id, and the work they do - at least from a technical standpoint. I just think it's slightly amusing that they're trying to re-define what "storytelling" means. Why not just own up to the fact that your games have been all about the action and cool technology? If you want to go a different direction, just say it.

if you want a good story, read a book
be sensitive to games - they can't attract the talent for story telling because ultimately, if your good at writing stories, you wouldn't be working in the industry

I hear that a lot. Why do you feel games shouldn't tell stories? A story provides a great motivation for moving my character through the action. I absolutely love playing big, epic roleplaying game. And I really appreciate a story even in my action games - it simply adds another layer of enjoyment to the experience for me. If that's not your cup of tea, I won't diss it. But please, don't tell me how I should be enjoying my games.

And incidentally, I do happen to work in the industry. I'm a programmer myself, but just next door to me are a whole team of very talented writers (some of whom are published authors, and others I've worked with have gone on to careers writing novels). The two are not mutually exclusive.

I believe that many games have crappy writing not because studios often don't feel the need to hire professional writers. It's the reason you'll see a multi-million dollar production game come out with what looks like junior-high-level writing (I was going to say high school level, but that would be a bit insulting to any decent high school aged writer). I've seen time and time again the job of writing dialogue fall to the game designer, who may or may not be qualified to do this job. The industry is still finding its footing in these sorts of places. I've actually seen, from my admittedly small vantage point, an increase in demand for professional writers among game studios.

Re:hmm (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#25051657)

Willits says that Doom 3 players "zoomed right through" the game's highly handcrafted levels, so for Rage, "we have focused on reusability."

It takes an assload of time to hand-craft these levels. Appreciate them, damn you!

More like "People bought Halo in droves so we're going to use copypasta level design too".

Re:hmm (2, Funny)

oracle128 (899787) | more than 5 years ago | (#25049299)

What you talkin' bout Willits?

New record? (4, Funny)

CaseyB (1105) | more than 5 years ago | (#25046597)

The very first word in this post is wrong.

Nice work, Soulskill.

Gimped 360 Version Confirmed (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25046625)

PCs have 300-500 GB drives standard

PS3s have 25/50 GB BluRay drives and easily upgradeable off the shelf laptop drives

And the goddamn Xbox 360 only has a 7 GB DVD format and no standard harddrive.

Just fucking cancel the damn 360 version. Or let some other company come out later with a downgraded 360 port.

Fucking Xbox. Microsoft needs to wake the fuck up and kill this turd of a console off and get back to supporting PC gamers.

Re:Gimped 360 Version Confirmed (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#25046741)

Is it just me, or are the posts by sony's employees getting more angry? Or should I say desperate?

Re:Gimped 360 Version Confirmed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25048963)

No, Sony employees only get mad when talking about the Wii. It is hard to get angry at a company that can barely keep up with the PS3 when Nintendo is outselling both machines combined.

Re:Gimped 360 Version Confirmed (3, Funny)

renegadesx (977007) | more than 5 years ago | (#25049297)

Didn't you get the memo from Sony? The Wii doesn't really exist

PC/PS3 Version and 360/Wii Version (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25046829)

Ideally id should just work on the PC and PS3 for the real version or Rage and let another company do a combined 360/Wii port with smaller/less levels and downgraded graphics. The Wii actually has more storage than the 360 with the Wii having 4.25/8.5 gigs per disc and the 360 having only 3.5/7 gigs per disc.

Also the 360 is closer to the Wii graphically than the PS3 and desktop PCs. The 360 graphics hardware is designed for 480p with 4XAA.

Re:PC/PS3 Version and 360/Wii Version (2, Interesting)

morari (1080535) | more than 5 years ago | (#25047505)

Ideally, Id should just work on the PC for the real version and let another company do a downgraded console version.

Really though, Id has a lot to prove after Doom III. RAGE, while it does sound like a good design, has a lot of iffy little catches floating around it. The mere fact that Id is questioning whether or not to have mod support is bizarre to say the least.

Welcome to the emerging future of gaming, where everything is dumbed down so as to be marketed toward console kiddies.

Re:PC/PS3 Version and 360/Wii Version (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25047705)

Ideally, Id should just work on the PC for the real version and let another company do a downgraded console version.

Really though, Id has a lot to prove after Doom III. RAGE, while it does sound like a good design, has a lot of iffy little catches floating around it. The mere fact that Id is questioning whether or not to have mod support is bizarre to say the least.

Welcome to the emerging future of gaming, where everything is dumbed down so as to be marketed toward console kiddies.

Indeed. One of the things that killed the possibility of a trilogy for Deus Ex was the second game, which was made for PC and XBox. The problem was that rather than making it for the PC and then downgrading it for a later console port like what happened with the first game, they made the sequel with the console as a baseline!

As the fans of the original game were mostly PC gamers (which was it's original format), they were understandably disappointed in the second game while the console players who had never played Deus Ex saw little reason to pick up the sequel. And so the franchise died.

Re:PC/PS3 Version and 360/Wii Version (2, Interesting)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 5 years ago | (#25049109)

Indeed. One of the things that killed the possibility of a trilogy for Deus Ex was the second game, which was made for PC and XBox. The problem was that rather than making it for the PC and then downgrading it for a later console port like what happened with the first game, they made the sequel with the console as a baseline!

Ever play the PS2 port of Deus Ex? It's not actually downgraded. I'd use the term..altered. They upped the graphics (character models are better), divided up levels into pieces, kept most of the interface with some minimal streamlining AND they put keyboard and mouse support in (though I personally recommend playing with analog stick and mouse)

Re:PC/PS3 Version and 360/Wii Version (2, Interesting)

johannesg (664142) | more than 5 years ago | (#25051127)

I think you are only partially right though: the first game was great because it had a great story that turns out to be more and more like the world we live in. The second game had dumbed-down mechanics, but it also had a crappy irrelevant story where you could switch allegiance on every level if you wanted and it never mattered.

As for Deus Ex 3... It is in production, but I fear the worst. About the only info we have is that it will be a game about "what it means to be human". That's not at all what DX1 was about - DX1 was about what it means to live in a world where those in power are unscrupulous powerhungry bastards.

Ok, so maybe we don't actually need a game anymore to see what the result of that is, but that is what DX1 was about. That, and open, non-linear gameplay, and interesting locations and characters, and mildly amusing AI and physics problems ;-)

Re:PC/PS3 Version and 360/Wii Version (5, Informative)

lowlymarine (1172723) | more than 5 years ago | (#25048225)

Also the 360 is closer to the Wii graphically than the PS3 and desktop PCs. The 360 graphics hardware is designed for 480p with 4XAA.

I know you're just a troll, but this "360 graphics suxx" thing is an absolute fabrication. The 360's GPU is more powerful than the PS3's. Xenos [wikipedia.org] is a prototype R600 (eg, HD 2900), while the RSX [wikipedia.org] is based on the G70 (eg, GeForce 7800). So please, stop posting this nonsense.

Re:PC/PS3 Version and 360/Wii Version (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25048683)

lowlymarine: "a freelance tech writer"

Using fucking Wikipedia for your console fanboy arguments???

Thank you for giving a perfect example of the huge number of total fucking fanboy idiots out there in the media. Just like how there are fucked in the head Palin supporters out there who think Jesus rode Dinosaurs four thousand years ago.

You're a loser. A fucking pathetic loser.

Re:PC/PS3 Version and 360/Wii Version (1)

renegadesx (977007) | more than 5 years ago | (#25049365)

Arn't you the guy that just trolled me on the MGS4 posts? Face it, you are either a troll or a sony fanboy, proberbly both. Now start backing up your arugments rather than just 'your a pathetic loser as sutpid as creationists" type mud slinging.

Put up or shut up fanboy

Re:PC/PS3 Version and 360/Wii Version (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25051371)

Your attempt at making Palin haters look like morons half succeeded. Good thing we don't all generalize by association, eh?

Re:PC/PS3 Version and 360/Wii Version (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25054031)

If you know he's a troll then you should also know that he's not going to stop posting nonsense even if you tell him to. You spent all that time looking up facts and posting links -- do you think he even intends to read them? He's making you waste your time and then sitting back and laughing at you for doing it.

Seriously. All you "I know you're a troll" people need to get off your high horse and just STOP RESPONDING TO THEM. If you know what their game is why are you playing it anyway, because you think you're smarter than they are? You're still giving them what they want either way.

That cliches it... I'm old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25054059)

I've been writing software and dealing with the PC scene for many many years and all I just read was, "The whoosiwhatsa's R600 HD doohickie with the 360's hullabaloo flagonjalookie is totally better than the flackadoogala's wickijaboobia!"

Yup... I'm old now... today... now, where's my calendar?

Re:PC/PS3 Version and 360/Wii Version (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 5 years ago | (#25063927)

I just visited those Xenon and RSX pages and compared the stats and it looks like the RSX has a bit of an edge.

Re:PC/PS3 Version and 360/Wii Version (1)

bevoblake (1106117) | more than 5 years ago | (#25076793)

They both have fantastic graphics, but the PS3 has a WAY better blu-ray player.

Ahhh, who am I kidding? It's like trying to decide which of your children you love more.

Re:PC/PS3 Version and 360/Wii Version (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 5 years ago | (#25081987)

I only have a PS3 but I suspect that's pretty close to the mark.

Games seem to focus too much on graphics (3, Insightful)

modzer0 (1366073) | more than 5 years ago | (#25046721)

It seems to me that as the quality of graphics have gone up the gameplay and story behind the scenes has suffered as many companies focus on graphics rather than gameplay. There are exceptions but a lot of games are just disappointing. They may look great but controls and bad plots take their toll on a lot of titles.

Re:Games seem to focus too much on graphics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25046977)

Take their toll is right--all those damn artists cost a lot of money.

Re:Games seem to focus too much on graphics (1)

lightboxx (1030210) | more than 5 years ago | (#25047351)

it's true, socraties did say that plot was the most important element of a story, then comes characters which the audience becomes emotionaly invested in, without good representation of these elements it becomes forgetable.

Re:Games seem to focus too much on graphics (3, Insightful)

BPPG (1181851) | more than 5 years ago | (#25047737)

I agree, and it's also a bit frustrating when fancy graphics actually kind of get in the way of playing the game. Hi-res console games tend to look very poor on older and/or smaller televisions. I guess the assumption is that if you can afford a modern console, you could also afford a big-screen.

The Prettiness factor tends to wear off quickly, anyways. And just because it's very Pretty doesn't mean it's easy to look at, or understand what's happening.

Re:Games seem to focus too much on graphics (1)

ksd1337 (1029386) | more than 5 years ago | (#25048205)

I don't know why this was modded troll. I agree. It's the reason I play a Genesis emulator and Doom. I think the gaming CEOs got some mod points today.

Re:Games seem to focus too much on graphics (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 5 years ago | (#25049149)

I disagree. Maybe I just cherry-pick quality games, but the games I play either will have quality story, or not will not be meant to have a story at all (e.g. Civ). There is trash out there, but I have never had trouble finding games where gameplay and story were good, while also having good graphics.

Re:Games seem to focus too much on graphics (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#25051729)

Not really, the stories got more attention, at times more than the gameplay. Hey, stories are a good reason for adding pretty cutscenes for the player to watch and to drag the game out for dozens of hours without introducing any new gameplay elements! Who needs to keep the player interested with challenging and varied gameplay when you can hook him on the story (that's not much above a hollywood action flick but people don't expect more anyway, they WANT the movie experience, right?)?

And of course the market supports this whole concept with the demand for more and more expensive blockbuster games that rival Hollywood movies in budget, right?

Oops [vgchartz.com] . The only games with a story that goes beyond what fits into a CD booklet in the top 30 are the GTA games and they're more famous for the freedom they give the player than the story. Well, Pokemon too if you count that laughable excuse for a story. The really story heavy stuff starts only at spot 31 with Final Fantasy 7.

Looks like the market prefers games with less story/graphics focus and more gameplay...

Re:Games seem to focus too much on graphics (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 5 years ago | (#25053755)

Looks like the market prefers games with less story/graphics focus and more gameplay...

That's not a correct conclusion from your data, imo. Considering how many of those games are either classic games (no one really did story in the NES/SNES days), or games in genres without story at all (Gran Turismo), we can't really draw conclusions about how the market feels about story. We'd need to look at comparisons between two games in the same genre, one with an excellent story, but mediocre gameplay, and one with excellent gameplay, but a mediocre story. Then we would know something.

Not to mention that comparing sales numbers for any of the games on that list is basically a pissing contest. They're all wildly successful games, the fact that one sold more than another doesn't mean much.

Re:Games seem to focus too much on graphics (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#25067611)

Means something for the bottom line.

I don't think we have to compare within a genre, if the genres with less story are more successful than those with that's already data. That classic games sold more than modern games is another piece of data (what changed to make the sales of the top sellers lower instead of higher over the years?).

Re:Games seem to focus too much on graphics (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 5 years ago | (#25069475)

That classic games sold more than modern games is another piece of data...

A meaningless (probably) piece of data. The classic games have sold more because they've been out longer. Hardly could be said to be surprising.

Re:Games seem to focus too much on graphics (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#25077431)

Only if newer versions count as sales for them, most are on obsolete consoles and no longer sold in their original form.

FPS Storytelling? (3, Interesting)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#25046737)

There are a few FPS games that do a decent job of storytelling. Half Life comes to mind, but even that doesn't have much of a storyline. id did some nice things with datapads in Doom 3 and such to try and tell a story, but id games, and the FPS genre in general is certainly not famous for story.

Re:FPS Storytelling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25046859)

Outlaws from Lucasarts comes to mind, but yeah, they're few and far between.

Re:FPS Storytelling? (1)

jaymz2k4 (790806) | more than 5 years ago | (#25046885)

When i was playing doom 3 the last thing on my mind was reading pages of 'text' on a virtual PDA or checking my 'email' mid game. Having said that I have sometimes found myself reading books in Oblivion, but not enough. It is a nice touch though but I did wonder 'wow, someone has had to sit and write all this stuff down for probably only 0.01% of people to even _open_ it let alone _read_ it'

Re:FPS Storytelling? (4, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | more than 5 years ago | (#25047255)

If you have to read text in a game to find the storyline, the game is doing it wrong. You should participate actively in creating the storyline, not read about it! Or is someone confusing storyline with backstory?

http://marathon.bungie.org/story/ (3, Interesting)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 5 years ago | (#25048067)

Well, if you're supposed to 'participate actively in creating the storyline', as you inside, then there's absolutely no problem with today's FPS's. If it's all in your head, why spend the time creating a story for the game?

Personally, I prefer a well-wrought story, that allows the ability to affect the story, around the edges. Branching level progression, for example, that depends on player decisions during the game.

http://marathon.bungie.org/story/ [bungie.org] , for example, Bungie's previous FPS trilogy before Halo, is still regarded by many as one of the pinnacles of story design in an FPS, and this came out in the mid-90's.

Re:http://marathon.bungie.org/story/ (2, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | more than 5 years ago | (#25048293)

How did you get from "actively participating in creating the storyline" to "all in your head"?

In most FPSs you actively participate in creating a pretty dull story. "I shot zombie #1 with my pistol .... I blew up zombies #154-157 with my rocket launcher". Not much there. OTOH, look at Half-Life 2. The story wasn't very deep, but you participated in a lot more of it. The important events in the story most happened where you could see them as you played. "Show, don't tell" and all that.

Re:FPS Storytelling? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25050037)

Or is someone confusing storyline with backstory?

Instead of ending your posts with sentences like that, you could try wearing a T-Shirt with "CUNT" written across it, front and back. You would achieve much the same effect.

Re:FPS Storytelling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25050429)

I've got to disagree with you on that. I really liked the way Metroid Prime presented it's storyline. It really was all backstory as you say, but it was so well done that it added a sort of archeological layer to the game.

Re:FPS Storytelling? (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 5 years ago | (#25053895)

Depends, if the only story in a game is text, ala Metroid Prime, then it sucks pretty badly, since you have no connection between the game an the story. On the other side if the text is there to provide additional backstory, like say Resident Evil 1, it works quite nicely to enrich the gaming world, since it gives you insight into events that already happened. The important part is simply that those text pieces have to fit the setting and have to be an addition to the main story, not a replacement.

Re:FPS Storytelling? (1)

BPPG (1181851) | more than 5 years ago | (#25047999)

This sort of thing made me laugh when playing the new Grand Theft Auto. At various points in the game, your character has access to a television, car radio, and computers with Internet access. There is so much additional content to read and hear, very few players will see it all.

Re:FPS Storytelling? (1)

slashgrim (1247284) | more than 5 years ago | (#25088929)

I read the books in Oblivion...

Re:FPS Storytelling? (1)

bckrispi (725257) | more than 5 years ago | (#25047063)

Did you forget about Deus Ex?

Re:FPS Storytelling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25047559)

Deus Ex was an action RPG, not an FPS.

Re:FPS Storytelling? (1)

delysid-x (18948) | more than 5 years ago | (#25047661)

Does that include System Shock 2 as well? It's my favourite FPSs ever. I'd hate to think that it was just an RPG, then UT would win.

Re:FPS Storytelling? (1)

BPPG (1181851) | more than 5 years ago | (#25047875)

Did you forget about Deus Ex?

Deus Ex was an action RPG, not an FPS.

Strictly speaking, it was both. It had conversation based gameplay, and attribute upgrading, but relied heavily on FPS gameplay. It's also got a good story, but for the social/conversation based gameplay aspect, it pretty much requires a decent story.

Re:FPS Storytelling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25051711)

I think the part about "relied heavily on FPS gameplay" is not quite true. You could indeed get through with hardly killing anyone, so IMO it did not rely on it at all, though you could play it as an FPS (though a bit too few enemies for that for my tastes, so I more played it the sneaky way).

Re:FPS Storytelling? (4, Funny)

rhyder128k (1051042) | more than 5 years ago | (#25047083)

John Carmack: "Woah guys!"

Employee: "JC, what's up man?"

JC: "Oh baby, I just had a dream and it's INSPIRED me to take Id in a totally new direction story wise!"

E: "Story? You mean a new way of utilising pixel shaders for better lighting?"

JC: "No, an actual story, IN the game."

[silence]

E: "To be honest, we've already got a guy to write the bit on the back of the box."

JC: "Come on guys, the game could have a story to it this time rather than the best looking renderer in a shooting game. We could finally put all that red key/blue key shit behind us."

[silence]

JC: "Erm... I've though of a new way of drawing shadows. It means that everyone's going to have to upgrade their rig or play on minimal settings."

E: "Whoohoo, top notch man! The Carmackster does it again. Working here rocks!"

Re:FPS Storytelling? (1)

lightboxx (1030210) | more than 5 years ago | (#25047227)

you did forget about bioshock and system shock 1 and 2

Re:FPS Storytelling? (4, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | more than 5 years ago | (#25047361)

Sadly, the interesting story in Bioshock was almost all backstory. Even the Clever Twist midgame was all done in backstory. While playing I kept thinking "why is the game set after all the interesting stuff is done happening?" Good storytelling would have been playing through the fall of the civilization, and influencing how or whther it fell apart, not coming along *after* all the action and learning about it through sound clips.

Bioshosk stands about because it had any storytelling *at all*, not because it was good at it.

Re:FPS Storytelling? (2, Informative)

WNight (23683) | more than 5 years ago | (#25047487)

System Shock 2 was that way. One of the bits that stands out was finding survivors and then watching on the other side of an absolutely unbreakable door as they get slaughtered, seconds before you could have really interacted with them.

Neat game, but way too forced. It's only in comparison to the other FPS games of the era that it looked like a masterpiece.

Re:FPS Storytelling? (2, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | more than 5 years ago | (#25048121)

I should mention Deus Ex, as it was very sharp in the way they allowed your actions to have consequences without blowing the budget. You could save your brother, or not, and influnce that actions of various characters, and choose whether to kill certain bad guys before the character was sure they were bad guys. It was all limited, but the impressive thing was how well they worked it into the storyline.

Your actions would have definite consequences in terms of dialog and "color", affect what items you had available for a fight, and so on: changes that just required a bit more diliog writing during game develpment. Regardless, you fought in the same sequences of areas - no expensive artwork was "wasted". It was a great way to give you the felling of participating in the story without having to be unrealistically open-ended in terms of level creation.

Creating a story that feels immersive and open ended the first time you play really doesn't need to blow the budget of the game: it only takes thoughtful story writing.

Re:FPS Storytelling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25073247)

Actually the Story of System Shock 2 was weak compared to the original System Shock...

Re:FPS Storytelling? (1)

Wooky_linuxer (685371) | more than 5 years ago | (#25052755)

Heck, I agree. I've installed it a few weeks ago, played a bit, then started wondering what was everyone was talking about. Bioshock do have a wonderful art direction, the levels are very consistent, life-like and incredible consistent, detailed and atmosferic.

But, put that aside, and it doesn't stand much different from the basic promise of any classic FPS: experiment goes awry (here the experiment has a sociological basis, but then what?) and produces lots of mutants/zombies/aliens that of course want to kill you and have to be dealt with. While I don't think a repetitive premise makes for automatic bad storytelling - HalfLife had that exact premise and a quite compelling story - it certainly helps to be original.

Bioshock has its merits, but I really think it is way overrated.

Re:FPS Storytelling? (1)

stiller (451878) | more than 5 years ago | (#25071801)

It basically comes down to: Writing a storyline costs money. Writing two storylines costs twice the money. Every choice offered to the player requires a subtly different plot. Infinite choices cost infinite money.

Re:FPS Storytelling? (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 5 years ago | (#25076759)

Hiring someone to write plot is *way* cheaper than art assets. It's a small fraction of the creative content that you pay to create. Often developers foolishly assume that you can't have a branching storyline without a bundle of addition expensive art assets, and in fact all you need is some cheap (but clever) plotting.

But heck, even if you don't have a branchin storyline at all, make the cool action in your world happen to (or at leats in view of) the player! Don't waste your cool ideas by *narrating* them!

Re:FPS Storytelling? (1)

bevoblake (1106117) | more than 5 years ago | (#25077137)

I disagree. This thread is almost entirely opinion; so I'll qualify my statement as that of an opinionated fan but here goes:
As you said, Bioshock did have a ton of back story. However, it also had a ton of movement of the plot within the game, often skillfully so (beware spoilers ahead). For example, the "befriending" of Atlas, the revenge of the crazy artist (I wish I remembered more of the names), the redemption of the scientist who helped set off the entire mess, and your choice to change your physiology in the game.

The designers could not have possibly told this entire story arc and the downfall of the civilization in an FPS because the game would've taken a decade to develop, cost 100s of millions to make, and been always hopelessly behind on technology (*cough* Daikatana *cough*). So, the company chose an appropriate scope of the tale and told it well.

Also, the twist in the game, while scripted and largely passive rather than active participation, was a pivotal event that was supported by backstory, rather than just backstory. The player is learning his "motivations," killing one of the two leaders in the world, and becoming an enemy of the other leader. I'd say that qualifes as a plot advancement even if they have steeped it in backstory to add weight to the proceedings.

All in all, I agree that they had extensive use of backstory, but that provided context for and elevated the main story-line, which was appropriately scoped for a single FPS. Again, this topic is almost entirely opinion, but I wanted to represent a counter-opinion to the parent poster.

Final note: the story-line was fairly linear for a game that's advertised as having consequences to your in-game choices, but I'm willing to overlook that for the top-notch storyline and the well executed graphics.

Re:FPS Storytelling? (2, Interesting)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 5 years ago | (#25047525)

FEAR [wikipedia.org] ...no idea why I'm referencing Wikipedia for this.

That was a first-person shooter with a great story, was actually scary, and had you reeling at just how screwed up it all was after you finished playing. I recommend.

Re:FPS Storytelling? (1)

fuzzlost (871011) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062667)

Mod parent up. FEAR had an amazing story that kept you wanting to play more, if nothing else than to find out what the story was. It was the first FPS I played that scared me, after playing all the Dooms, quake, UT, HL, HL2, it was by far the most interesting/emotionally charged FPS I've played.

Re:FPS Storytelling? (2, Informative)

Joelfabulous (1045392) | more than 5 years ago | (#25047735)

They took the whole notion of picking up PDA's and examining them from System Shock 2. I highly recommend it, as it was well written and a seminal FPS masterpiece. You can get a higher poly texture update from various fansites on the internet.

Good luck getting it running though... It's kind of flaky as it came out just before the major transition over to Windows 2000 IIRC. Sometimes it works flawlessly on XP / Win2k, whereas other times it might not even load past the title screen.

I can't say that any other game has been as genuinely disturbing as that, though Clive Barker's Undying is a close second at points. I'm guessing this Rage game will be a rental grade formula shooter... I hope id will prove me wrong, but I don't see the point in getting my hopes up.

Re:FPS Storytelling? (1, Informative)

GaryPatterson (852699) | more than 5 years ago | (#25047795)

Marathon.

The series had so much depth that people were still discussing points over seven years later.

The way that a lot of story was delivered was through terminal screens, readable in-game. Not groundbreaking, but some amazing stuff was in there.

Re:FPS Storytelling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25047891)

No, that's just Halo they're talking about. :)

Re:FPS Storytelling? (1, Redundant)

Saib0t (204692) | more than 5 years ago | (#25048353)

While half-life had good storytelling, the best imho is Deus Ex. That one was excellent.

In a way, max payne was too, except it told a story too passively, you shot stuff, then a bit story, the more shooting. In Deus Ex, you lived the story.

That's not redundant... (1)

darkvizier (703808) | more than 5 years ago | (#25055849)

Stupid mods. This is redundant!

EA (1)

Pesticidal (1148911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25047969)

If this game gets Spored by EA as well, it's not going to be pleasant.

Other games with good stories (2, Interesting)

BPPG (1181851) | more than 5 years ago | (#25048085)

Story games are good, but sometimes you have to appreciate the games that take a minimalist [soldat.pl] approach to story-telling [progressquest.com] .

id Software on storytelling in games? (1)

duckInferno (1275100) | more than 5 years ago | (#25048493)

Because when I think rich storytelling in games, I think id Software.

Seriously though - why are they talking about storytelling? The most they could muster is "scientists break through into a lair... FROM HELL! ... and one of the scientists becomes a demon." Shouldn't they be talking about the evolution of the shotgun as a diplomatic medium in their games?

Re:id Software on storytelling in games? (2, Interesting)

duckInferno (1275100) | more than 5 years ago | (#25048549)

And while I'm ranting -- ideally a game designer shouldn't even need to shoot down any rumours regarding graphics. A good game doesn't need to rely on super realistic FX... and this goes for "mindless" FPS games, too. Just look at Painkiller for the epitome of a fun game where you shoot things with guns (mind you, any game with a lightning-enchanted ninja star gun is going to come out ahead).

Re:id Software on storytelling in games? (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 5 years ago | (#25049609)

Seriously though - why are they talking about storytelling? The most they could muster is "scientists break through into a lair... FROM HELL! ... and one of the scientists becomes a demon." Shouldn't they be talking about the evolution of the shotgun as a diplomatic medium in their games?

Hey, a story written by a junior high school heavy metal fan is still a story.

Typo on the guy's name (2, Insightful)

mon196k (1359327) | more than 5 years ago | (#25050501)

It's Tim Willits, unless the guy recently decided to change his name. Although I didn't read TFA, isn't story supposed to be "just there" like in pr0n? Seriously, the only good games ever came out of id was the ones adhere to that principle. I'm still waiting for a Q3 or Doom with modern day graphics.

Wasn't it Carmack who said a long time ago... (1)

SamP2 (1097897) | more than 5 years ago | (#25051461)

that "Stories in video games are like stories in porn movies -- just a pretext to get to the action"

A wise man once said.. (1)

eedok (1229362) | more than 5 years ago | (#25054901)

Story in a game is like a story in a porn movie. It's expected to be there, but it's not that important.

He then went on to make some of the greatest FPS games of all time. I wonder what ever happened to him..

Story? (1)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 5 years ago | (#25055075)

I mean, i enjoy a good storyline in a game as much as anyone else, but the thing is, some games don't really need good stories in order to be enjoyable. Specially FPSs, which has been iDs' forte since forever. There are a lot of games with "deep" storylines that are shit to play and boring too.

No Linux version, no care. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25078845)

No id tech 5 / doom 4 (native) for Linux, no care.

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