Author Topic: My Love/Hate Relationship with Games  (Read 5483 times)

Offline madcow

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Re: My Love/Hate Relationship with Games
« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2013, 06:32:55 PM »
It sounds like based on your tastes, you honestly might want to try delving into board games ;)

There's a thread in the off-topic section that goes into some of them.  They can be finicky in that you need to keep track of stuff, and find/recruit players - but they can offer a full range of strategy from simple to complex.  And all levels of player-based interactions - politicking, trading, allying, backstabbing, traitors, or even minimal interactions. They can be cooperative, competitive, or even some blend of the two.

I've honestly found that (computer) strategy games tend to fall on either feeling overly like spreadsheet problems, or like they are repetitive/micro intensive (or just have a UI/learning curve so steep it doesn't feel worth it).  There are a few gems of games that break the mold however.  But board gaming really adds tons more options there if you can grab others to play them with you.

Offline x4000

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Re: My Love/Hate Relationship with Games
« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2013, 06:59:37 PM »
Seconded on board games being awesome.

You might also try out Rebuild 2 as a great indie strategy title that probably meets most of your criteria.  Give it 30 minutes to figure it out, and if you're like me you'll be hooked until you master it.
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Offline apophispro

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Re: My Love/Hate Relationship with Games
« Reply #17 on: April 24, 2013, 07:21:35 PM »
Wingflier: Yea, I understand the audience factor. The AI could need to be really complicated. It would definitely have to be dynamic and evolving, but I feel like Chris is on the right track with making AI emergent based on a smaller over-arching variable rather than hugely dynamic and complex in every conceivable area.

Obviously I haven't come close to mapping anything out yet, but much of what you're describing would create Spore-syndrome. Spore was a great concept, but they tried to execute every aspect of it. Ultimately it turned out to just be a bunch of games that already existed built around that one concept. So for instance a "grunt discovery" couldn't be anything more than a possibility with an associated notification (sort of like Crusader Kings), or you end up with a mini-game inside the game. I don't want a clever strategy with a rogue-like sneaking game built into it. In that sense, it may not have to be as complex as you imagine. The main layout of the game, whatever it is that forces you to think in the improvisational creative manner, would just have to work really really well on its own.

Of course I certainly see the merit to what you're saying, but I think stuff like this often gets blown out of proportion. There's a general rule in animated filmmaking of not adding detail that doesn't matter. I've had the same sort of discussions on using choices in games that actually affect the gameplay. I've had people argue the point that the choice-trees would be so large as to make it impossible to program, but to me that's sort of limited thinking. You don't have to make every tiny choice affect gameplay, but you have to set up a system in which you can make larger ones that do. To me, AAA titles have not done a good job of this. They create games where you literally feel like you're waiting to make another choice.

I was completely unimpressed with The Witcher because it was a lot of treking around killing stuff until you hit a dialogue piece. Then the dialogue pieces affected each other, but nothing else that you did in the actual gameplay had any impact. Dragon Age was even worse. Not only did you trek around linearly killing hallways full of monsters, but the choices didn't offer you any choice at all. They never changed the gameplay, and they always had the same results in that moment of gameplay no matter what your choice was (murder the wife and son of the ruler and he'll still just send you to kill the dragon). For some reason consensus seems to be you can't make the player feel like everything they do impacts the game, and you can't change the gameplay at the time. I think you can, but you have to be clever about it. Draw focus in exactly the same way a movie does so you don't notice you just skipped four hours of dinner in half a second.

Anyway I certainly agree that these things are complicated to figure out, but I've always had this innate sense that they're easier to implement than people think. They don't actually require military-grade super robot soldier AI or programming to function.

Offline x4000

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Re: My Love/Hate Relationship with Games
« Reply #18 on: April 24, 2013, 07:26:24 PM »
The graphics coding on those is the big challenge.
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Offline apophispro

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Re: My Love/Hate Relationship with Games
« Reply #19 on: April 24, 2013, 11:07:56 PM »
Chris, Rebuild is really addictive. I spent a couple of hours taking the whole city just because I wanted to see what would happen. I was playing on "challenging" on a small city map. I'm definitely curious to see how the difficulty ramps up and how the larger maps play out. I brought five of my best survivors to a "seriously hard" "big" city, but I haven't played it yet. I met two win conditions in the first game. I did the 25 lots and chose to still find the city hall then I killed that gang. Then I kept playing and still took the city hall after that. The only thing I couldn't figure out how to do was the helicopter. I made the stupid choice in a trade early on where I was offered a part for it, but I never got another choice. I searched a bunch of buildings, but I never found any parts for it. I had both the builders ready along with the power tools. Anyway thanks for the recommendation. Hard to believe one of the better games I've played in a while is online for free though I can see why.

Anyway yea, since you mentioned it graphics programming scares the hell out of me. I'm always fine with nested loop hierarchies and that kind of thing, but sprite-based collision detection and even 2D graphics engines make me cringe. Perhaps I should take another stab at it though. Out of curiosity, I would imagine the AI in AI War wasn't actually the hardest part to program. Am I right about that? I would think figuring it out would be complicated, but once the approach was mapped out then it wouldn't be as hard to implement as some other features. Although, I would also imagine, since it is emergent, there was an awful lot of setting up corrections for AI behaviors that had to be done after the base features were in place.

Offline x4000

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Re: My Love/Hate Relationship with Games
« Reply #20 on: April 25, 2013, 06:47:43 AM »
Glad you like rebuild. :) if you want to support the dev, there is a paid ios and possibly android version. I played it on my phone.

For ai war, the hardest part was the ai and the auto targeting. The sheer scale of things makes everything extra-difficult even over regular ai, and the ai itself is very different from most game ai. Not that the graphics coding was easy, or the GUI code. Or etc etc. but the ai was the hardest.

The cool thing is, with my latest game skyward, the graphics code and GUI code is nonexistent. The design is there, sure, and designing a good GUI is always really hard. But the code part of those elements is already part of our engine, so not something we have to code from scratch every game.
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Offline apophispro

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Re: My Love/Hate Relationship with Games
« Reply #21 on: April 26, 2013, 08:03:39 PM »
Hey Chris,

I think you're on to something with Rebuild. It's helped me narrow down what I'm looking for a little more and understand why it seems so multi-genre while rejecting titles I feel I should like.

What it comes down to is a non-linear approach to a variety of challenges. I've been looking at Sandbox games a lot without realizing I was looking mostly in the wrong direction. I want an interesting goal defined for me, but then I want the freedom to pursue it how I want to. Simultaneously I want to be able to develop immediate approaches that aren't reliant on balancing a lot of mathematical variables.

So a few examples of what I'm referencing. I was right in that what I was looking for is a strategy of sorts, but it's not one I would find in most strategy games which focus more on larger-scale abstraction. I like dealing with the smaller elements in creative approaches best. Because of that, I started looking at sandbox shooters, but I got bored. I want a strategic goal, and I also want a variety of them with capacity to build on themselves. Opposition is also a crucial element. A few examples.

Just Cause 2 and Saints Row 3 both got boring for me because I don't want to define my own goals. I want the puzzle element where I have to defeat someone else's thinking in a clever way. I really like debate. The goals in most sandbox shooters are pretty simple and generally not the point of the game. Something like Crayon Physics is more fun, but it still only really offers challenged opposition in the manner of the player setting their own goal to beat. The same problem is true of open world RPGs like Skyrim where the goals are finishing quests and leveling up, neither of which require much in the way of strategy.

A game like Plants vs Zombies is fun because it sets up a series of progressive challenges with a few elements you can use in any non-linear way to beat the scenario. Most other tower defense games become too linear, and I would like to find something with a little more staying power than Plants vs Zombies; which was very easy. Red Faction: Guerrilla I think is successful for the same reason. There are a wide variety of goals (beating the sector, bringing up morale, bringing down control, and all of the mini-missions) which can all be approached completely non-linearly with the elements at hand.

The crucial part of both of those games is an open-ended WYSIWYG immediate strategy. When it abstracts out to managing the mathematical variables, I don't like it as much. I like the simple math of a gun kills a person if you shoot them in the head, rather than X upgraded cannon deals Y damage to Z ship when hull strength is A and shield strength is B. That's too much mathematical management for me. Far Cry 2 and open-world shooters/RPGs require too much of setting your own goals and not enough clever strategic situations. Dishonored and Homefront both provided a nice variety of fairly non-linear situations in the first run through, but they don't provide enough variety to last more than 6 or 7 hours of playtime.

Anyway that's my current clarification of what I'm looking for, and thanks for your recommendation. Based on that, do you have any other recommendations of games that might fit that profile? Particularly ones that would provide a varied and increasing challenge on that scale? Of course I've continued looking myself, particularly in indie games. I don't think Incredipede offers enough of the sustained kind of challenge that I'm looking for, but I was playing Demolition Inc this morning which I found a lot of fun.

Madcow: There was a point in time where I did start looking into board games. It's something I still have back burner plans to do more of. Most of the reason I don't do more of it is I tend to like games for their boot it up and play aspect. I tend to like things that are single player and things that I can just pick up and beat (or attempt to beat) a 30-minute challenge before going back to something else. I still want it to challenge me greatly, but needless to say from my other posts I already have a lot of creative avenues. I don't want a game I'm playing to totally dominate my time unless I'm taking an off day.

Offline x4000

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Re: My Love/Hate Relationship with Games
« Reply #22 on: April 26, 2013, 08:13:11 PM »
I think that basically what you're describing is someone who already gets enough mental challenge during the day, and then is looking for something a little more toned-down when they relax.  That more or less describes me these days, too.

Things you might like, but YMMV...

- PixelJunk Monsters (PS3 -- it's tower defense, but has a great and satisfying optimization path).
- Block Fortress (iOS, possibly others -- it's sandbox + goals.  Didn't fully do it for me, but it's very popular and you might like it)
- Terraria?
- Triple Town (this is incredibly deep, and the board is small.  My wife scores 2+ million points whereas I struggle to get to 75k, so it's obviously not fully my bag.)
- 10000000 (this isn't really the sort of game you're mentioning by and large, but it's satisfying and has some interesting challenges)
- Kingdom Rush (tower defense again, but a satisfying and interesting one again).
- Mega Mall Story (iOS -- this game is freaking awesome, if you have iOS.  Seriously, don't let the theme put you off.  This game won't let you go, if you're at all like me.  The other Kairosoft games are also solid, but none approach this level for me).

And I imagine there are others that would fit, but those are the ones I can think of straight off.
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Offline apophispro

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Re: My Love/Hate Relationship with Games
« Reply #23 on: April 26, 2013, 08:55:05 PM »
LT: Large audiences have their own merits. The small audience can be intimate, or it can be downright hostile. It depends on a large variety of factors that are often out of your control. However the small audience is often the appeal of something like Black Box Theater. A large audience is great because of the energy. You can't get that level of energy from a small audience. Of course if there's an off-night, nothing will ever be more energy-sucking. So they both have their pros and cons. Music you have to be able to feel on the same level. I've seen plenty of people play piano well with no feeling. You have to be able to speak it as a language, not translate it as a mathematical system. So in performance, it's actually very similar to acting. Just change the language from verbal to musical.

Talent isn't about the amount you practice or the rate you learn. It's about ability. It took me up until my late teens to realize most people don't automatically hear all of the parts in multi-part harmony. I've been able to since I was a baby. Many artists discover the same thing. Other people can't see the same way they can in order to be able to draw something. Most people don't see the mechanics and mathematics of the world the way a physicist does. These professions tend to start with talent, an innate set of abilities that the person possesses.

I have many gripes with the movement in modern education towards pretending everyone is equal. Everyone isn't equal. You'd have to be incredibly naive to believe that everyone has the same potential to be a doctor as a painter. This sort of unspoken blank slate nurture theory is nonsense. So the idea of talent is basically saying utilize the abilities you have. Any great artist will tell you success is talent + hard work. Nobody by calling you talented is saying you aren't practicing. It's simply noting you have some abilities that most others don't. Furthermore, I've always found it obvious that people drift towards what they're good at. Don't be too quick to assume that others aren't practicing only because they're lazy. People often don't like what they aren't good at. I wasn't playing piano when I was 3 because anybody told me to. I could just remember stuff that I heard, and there was this interesting set of keys that when pressed in the right combination would reproduce it. If I had no musical recall, I never would have been doing that. I'm not trying to take credit away from your hard work either, but the best work is play.

You put a lot of pressure on yourself. Sometimes I sit down and consciously listen to music. Sometimes I have it on in background for a completely different effect. The reason I've grown away from music with words is because I can't really hear the words to begin with. I naturally listen to melody, harmony, rhythm, instrumentation, thematic and harmonic progression, and so on. Vocal music is, to be perfectly blunt, boring to me. The person's voice is just another instrument to me, and I'm just not impressed with what most rock bands can do with 5 instruments when any composer could do far more with just one. It comes down to what you're listening for. I can only casually listen to complicated music because when it's simplified down to just a melody line and a bass line that are repeated over and over with very little variation, it becomes monotonously distracting for me. I don't think that means I have more "refined" tastes than you, depending on your definition of refined. "Good" is subjective. I can't say classical is better than rock. That's subjective. Complexity is empirical, and I can definitively say classical is far more complex than rock. In that sense, my musical tastes may be more complex than yours, but that doesn't make them better. On a side note, Michael Giacchino listens to absolutely everything. So my musical tastes are more complex than yours and equally complex to but more limited than his. Funny how that goes around in circles.

Walter Murch wrote that you shouldn't ever tell a volcano to be a volcano or an iceberg to be an iceberg. He may have stolen that from Stravinski. I can't remember. The point being if someone is an iceberg, you should tell them to be a volcano and vice versa. You're an iceberg. Be a volcano. Don't read more of Stanislavski. It will confuse you. You'll go too far intellectually into it trying to be the best actor you can be. Read Harold Guskin and Keith Johnstone. They will free you up more. If you can't make mistakes, you're creatively screwed. I know, I know. Intellectually you're probably sitting there saying, "No it's not making mistakes I'm concerned about..." The point is you have to take it less seriously. The shark being underwater through most of the movie in Jaws was only because the animatronic shark rarely worked. The iconic scene in Raiders of Indy shooting the swordsman was because Harrison had a sprained ankle. Robin Williams isn't good because he's practiced. He's good because he will give freely in any direction. Acting is about learning to free yourself up, not constrain yourself to a system. Music is the same way. Don't look for a system you understand, either in profession or in approach to a profession. Look for what frees you up to do anything you want to. There's a mistake that a lot of beginners make thinking that learning to act is learning not to trip on stage. Learning to act is learning to trip on stage, not have so much as a second of intellectual analysis or self-conscious thought, and just go with it.

Offline apophispro

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Re: My Love/Hate Relationship with Games
« Reply #24 on: April 26, 2013, 09:09:12 PM »
Hey Chris,

Thanks for the quick list of recommendations. I think you're right in that I'm already getting my primary intellectual challenge from other pursuits, but I still want my relaxed challenge to be...well...challenging in a dynamic way. I just don't want to have to research it to do it.

PixelJunk looks like fun, but I don't have a PS. Triple Town actually looks like something I might really like so I'm going to have to try that one. 10,000,000 probably doesn't have enough of a challenge for what I'm looking for, but it does look like fun. Anyway I'm going to try out some of these, and thanks for all your help and recommendations. I think I'm at least on the right track towards the kind of experience I'm looking for now with more of an idea what directions to go in. I wish there were more shooters and RPGs like this (a Skyrim where I really could tactically use all the weapons and skills), but it doesn't seem as common. I'll keep an eye out though. I'm also thinking about at least giving Far Cry 3 a shot, but I've heard it's mostly still as repetitive as Far Cry 2 was. I'm still pissed they made Red Faction: Armageddon linear.

Offline x4000

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Re: My Love/Hate Relationship with Games
« Reply #25 on: April 26, 2013, 09:16:55 PM »
No problem.

Red Faction: Armageddon was probably my biggest disappointment in recent memory, after RF:G was so amazing.  I enjoyed Far Cry 2 just fine, but I only played it in certain doses and went out of my way to make it interesting for myself.  In other words, not always pursuing the most optimal path, but instead pursing the most interesting path.

Sometimes it was fun to crash a jeep or whatever right into a hugely busy outpost, killing one guy, then hop out and run around the back.  Guys are everywhere around you, and you've now got to figure out what to do with them with lightning reflexes.  Fun!

I recall this other fortress thing up on a hill, and you could approach across the field or down the road.  The road was easy, and you pretty much just walked up to them and shot the guards and moved in.  I approached from the field, where they would snipe at you from.  I also gave some... encouragement for them to do more of the same.  I shot some rockets and such up there, and the guys coming out in a hurry.  Interesting tactics ensued.  I really loved that castle, because sometimes I'd sneak up the road and get into the castle really well, then mess with them in various ways to get challenges.  Very epic stuff, sometimes: leaping off the balcony to escape, or tossing a grenade for a diversion and then circling around and slaughtering everybody, etc.

It was kind of a "roll your own tactical situations" sort of game for me, but the fact that it was open-ended enough to do that was why I liked it.  STALKER kind of had some of that going on also, although it was more intentionally designed I think.  A bit messy of a game in some ways, though.  I wonder how the sequel is, I keep meaning to get that.

Oh, and there's always Left 4 Dead 1 or 2.  I find that quite entertaining and tactical with my wife.  It gets somewhat repetitive, but not too bad.  We don't play it every day (let alone every three-months) anyhow.  But from time to time that is great fun, and we played it regularly before our son was born.
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Offline LaughingThesaurus

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Re: My Love/Hate Relationship with Games
« Reply #26 on: April 27, 2013, 01:18:23 AM »
I have not had a small hostile audience actually. That's interesting. The small amount of people must magnify the effect of all the positives and negatives and could really mess with the performance in a big way. Now, I have been in a bigger production (small part, but I was actually IN the audience at one point and as close to in front of the audience as I could be by virtue of being in the 'choir' of the play). There is a loooooooot of energy there, because there are a lot of people. What I've been doing as far as piano goes is really letting the music have feeling. I've had drilled into my head from multiple angles that what's written on the page is not music. It's notes and rhythm, and you use that to create music. I love music. I don't want to not create music, so my goal has been to allow all of the swells and dynamics and emotion flow as it should. Maybe it comes more easily with acting experience. I'm intrigued to see how the emotional exchange will feel on the night of the showcase actually.

So, talent is sort of like... those skills that you invest in at first level, almost. It's what you just have, and what you just know. Now, the thing that I wonder about is the fact that I can pick up on things that I feel like I don't actually know about before I'm exposed to them. It's like with some games, it's been like that with piano as well. When I really sit down and practice I could probably get a song that's tame on the key signature completely down in a couple days. Maybe that's because of some underlying skill that I just didn't know about or didn't realize anything about. However, I'm not very good at singing. Other people will disagree, but I am completely dwarfed by those that have more experience (as if that wouldn't be a given) and I feel like I'm miles away from them. That makes it harder to enjoy singing, because I feel like I am under pressure that I can't keep up with. However, that doesn't mean that I don't enjoy singing, and I would love to practice for months and months and strengthen my voice. I haven't really picked up on anything like it was completely natural. I guess I've never been bad enough that the other people in my section go "Hey, I'll help you out" or whatever. Maybe that's all I can really expect to be at the moment, is just 'adequate'. I'm really hoping that is the start of being much improved later down the line. I have big dreams of sounding nice (but I totally don't really need the limelight, I just want the music).
I suppose the 'everybody is equal' philosophy might be encouraging people to do work most on the things that they enjoy. Because, even if you have to work hard at it, if you can work hard AND enjoy it, you're pretty much set I would think. Probably a bit less set as somebody who doesn't even have to work at it nearly as much. Again, that's something that I like to think. It may or may not be true, but the hope is that you at least have a little control over what you do. ;)

Well, I said refined to mean that you prefer more complex pieces. I don't guess that means your tastes are objectively better. Sometimes I do listen to songs just as background. I don't really like to, though. There have been things that I've learned that support this feeling as well. For instance, some of the people that I admire most are the ones that pursue everything that they do with the utmost passion. If I'm listening to music, I want to really, really listen to it. I don't want it to just basically amount to being background noise. Even if it means I'm humming a different instrumental part in my mind each time I listen to it, I'm still paying the attention that I think it deserves. It's not as if I kick myself for letting it sink into the background, but I really prefer to not let that happen. I needs my music. Regarding taste, there are some more complex pieces that I do really like. I just never really hunt them down. Give Baba Yetu or Madokara Mieru a listen. Christopher Tin is fantastic.

The aspect that I take seriously is the very integrity of the performance. Happy mistakes are things that I love and take in stride as much as I can. I've got a million stories about those. But, I also have stories of colossal blunders involving breaking character, forgetting lines, singing out of key by virtue of starting a little bit sharp, and all of the above. Those are the mistakes that hurt me the most, because those are just... me being bad. However, there was a case in one of my very first scenes, where I dropped the pills (tic-tacs) that I was supposed to be giving to my acting partner, who was playing my character's burden of a sister. This was on the actual performance for class as well, beyond the rehearsals. Not planned, not in the least. But, we make decisions... and I did not get new pills, I didn't do anything but make the simple decisions of looking back at her with a devilish grin, and picking the pills up off the floor to give to her anyway. I say I made those decisions, it almost was like the character took over. Like, we were so prepared and I knew so well what the character and relationships were like, that I just knew how to take that in stride. That sort of thing happens, and I actually do like it when that happens. The shame of what is basically just a lack of preparation is what really hurts me the most, because then it's nobody's fault but my own. And, well, it hurts beyond just feeling underprepared.

Now, what I am interested in is studying the others in the field of acting. If you've got more names for me to check out, I'd be interested in doing that. If you include a full length post replying to everything I guarantee there will be even more text inflation. I am a man of many many words. =D

Offline apophispro

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Re: My Love/Hate Relationship with Games
« Reply #27 on: April 27, 2013, 01:22:22 AM »
Hey Chris,

Armageddon was such a disappointment. All anybody was waiting for was Guerrilla with new places and cooler toys, and then they changed the whole formula. I really don't understand what happened there.

I do feel like Far Cry 2 was getting close to what I wanted. I think the things I really couldn't stand were smaller like the constantly respawning guard posts, and the feeling that I was never changing anything no matter what I did. Also the pill popping business was awful. I did have some fun: like sneaking into an enemy base, hiding in a room off-center, throwing grenades outside and picking them off when they came by to investigate. There were definitely some cool things you could do with it.

Just Cause 2 had some similarly great moments of hijacking jets and slingshotting people into a gang. It was just such an easy game. So was Saints Row 3. There are all these articles going around about hardcore gamers playing shooters on easy because they never realized how much fun it was, and I'm sitting here like no please make them harder. It's just I hate the cheap ways of making them harder like the HP increase/decrease.

Skyrim was kind of a disappointment for me as well. Don't get me wrong. I think it is a great game. I'm really happy Bethesda is getting this much attention now with Skyrim and Fallout 3. They deserve it. However I just had these hopes for where the games would go. I haven't found the Morrowind feeling in a game since Morrowind. You could actually make a difference in that world. Guards didn't respawn. Quests didn't reroute. There weren't just lengthy loot dungeons, but there were actual stories. Kwama caves that were attached to mines, and the whole Dwemer civilization. The Kwama caves were always lit by the eggs, but the Dwemer ruins you had to have torches or it was pitch black. You could discover things about all of that stuff. There was the slave revolution to get involved in, but you had to figure that out. The assassin's guild was hidden in the most backwater ridiculous building in Vivec under 3 layers of sewers. However if you joined they would have you eliminating political figures and guild members. Those would get you permanently kicked out of the guilds.

There was so much life to Morrowind. No scaling leveling. I remember going exploring and sliding down a mountain straight into a gang of level 10 thieves at level 5. It felt like something a stupid young adventurer could actually do. Now it's all been streamlined and made easy. I was waiting for them to have the technology to make all of the abilities and weapons even more realistic in their function, to create deeper guild feuds, and a world you could have even more of a permanent effect on. They had so much more resources to create even more layers. Instead you can go anywhere and do anything easily. Only the greenest RPG player would ever need a guide. You can't really affect anything. I drove my bounty up to 20,000 in the first 7 hours of the game just to see where the boundaries were. It just feels like they took all of the life out of it. After Morrowind, the Elder Scrolls games stopped feeling like worlds and started feeling like games.

Anyway having gone way off topic in that rant, in some ways I'm looking for the sequels to Morrowind and RF:G that never happened. The ones where all of that dynamic tactical stuff was upgraded even further, and you could have an even larger, more intricate effect on a living world. It doesn't seem like any games like those are coming out though.

Offline LaughingThesaurus

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Re: My Love/Hate Relationship with Games
« Reply #28 on: April 27, 2013, 01:35:17 AM »
I haven't been following the gaming side of this conversation, but have you given Guild Wars 2 a shot? Don't get me wrong, it absolutely has its limitations, being an MMO. However, what they were going for is actually fantastic. They wanted an MMO with a world that feels alive, with stuff always going on. So, you never get real quests. You'll encounter events going on around the world, and you can follow the flow of events, resources, monsters, and other players, and ride a constant wave of progression without ever realizing that you're playing an MMO. It's a game that truly inspires adventure with the amount of content there is to it. You may find the combat shallow, but it is an MMO. Granted, you do die really quickly if you don't use all of your abilities well later on.

Offline apophispro

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Re: My Love/Hate Relationship with Games
« Reply #29 on: April 27, 2013, 02:04:12 AM »
LT: I'm a man of many words as well. It's kind of amazing when an audience just doesn't like the show. I mean some productions crash under that pressure, but the only one I was ever apart of where that happened we all just kept it together. There was this unspoken moment where none of us cared about what the audience thought anymore. They already considered us hapless fools so we were just going to be bigger hapless fools and do whatever we wanted. It was a lot of fun.

Swells and dynamics is definitely on the right track, but as stupid cliche cheesy as it sounds, those swells and dynamics are in me. When I play a piece, even in practice, I just play it so it entertains me. If I'm going through a few measures and start feeling bored, I change it. Sometimes that means just a tempo change. Sometimes that means completely throwing out the rhythm and structure that's in front of me. In those instances 4 measures could easily become 14 or 1 or be subbed out for some earlier theme.

Singing and musical talent aren't as related as people think. Musical talent is an art. Singing is more like a sport. I'm not saying that to imply that singing isn't an art, but it requires a lot of innate physicality. You can't give yourself a different voice than the one you've got no matter how good your grasp of music is. Listen to some of Alan Menken's demo tapes sometime. I enjoy listening to him, but he wouldn't have made it in musical theater. Yet he's written some of the most famous hit musicals. So the innate abilities for composing versus singing aren't quite the same. You don't even need to understand much music theory to sing.

Somehow I knew you were going to allude to biological determinism if I brought up the everybody is equal and innate abilities thing. It's not so much not having control over what you do. That's sort of the typical free will mistake. There is no free will. I argue for human agency, but free will is nonsense. You can't sprout wings if you feel like it. Case closed. So in that sense you're always going to be a victim of some amount of biological determinism. That, to me, is where the talent lies. However a neuroscience study conducted on predicting how religious someone would be based on elements present in an fMRI said, "Even if we could predict how religious you'll be, we can't predict WHAT religion you'll be." I think that's the important part. Most people grow up to do things where they see similarities to things they were doing as a child. Part of this could be rewriting of memory, but I think the evidence is far too much of a landslide to think all of it is. So I think you have talents, but perhaps which ones of them you'll use and how you'll use them is more up to you (and environmental factors).

I don't disagree. I don't typically just keep music constantly running in the background either. Richard Williams printed a little comic of Milt Kahl in The Animator's Survival Kit that I'm fond of. Milt was one of Disney's Nine Old Men. A genius animator. By the end of his career, he could freehand draw the progressive frames of character animation without referencing them. Anyway Richard at one point asked him if he listened to classical music when he draws, and, as he put it, "Milt blew up. 'WHAT?! Of all the STUPID things I EVER heard. I'm not SMART enough to think of more than one thing at a time!'" So you're not alone.

Integrity of a performance is important, but dubbing a mistake 'happy' happens in retrospect. Every actor will do all of the things you mentioned at some point. The point is all of the happy mistakes I mentioned came out of very poor errors. Robin Williams talked about a performance in college where the set literally fell apart around him that he just kept going in. To me, that's acting. Acting isn't being prepared, having everything go well, and a few minor blunders create some spectacular moments. The artistic director of a theater company I'm highly involved with did a show where the back wall literally started falling onto the stage, and he had no choice but to stand there through scenes he wasn't even in and hold it up. Fortunately he was playing the bartender, but a lot of scenes had to be spontaneously revised. I've been highly complimented for a performance where my partner and I in a two-person show forgot half of our lines and ended it early. Nobody knew. It's certainly good to keep a personal sense of integrity, but don't let it get in your way. How you handle a lack of preparation is almost more important than how you handle the preparation itself.

You asked for it.

The two giants are Stanislavski and Michel Saint-Denis. It's really interesting to contrast their approaches. Stanislavski wants you to focus on internal work. Saint-Denis thinks internal work is stupid and wants you to focus on external work. They've created the best schools of acting around today, but I haven't seen anyone convincingly unite their theories. It's a bit of a pet project of mine.

Keith Johnstone wrote Impro on improvisation. The Second City Almanac of improvisation is also good. Harold Guskin does serious acting theory in a similar realm.

The Group Theater was the one that created Stella Adler, Sanford Meisner, and Lee Strasberg. Read all three of them, but it would be good to understand how Adler and Meisner felt about Strasberg first and why (they hated him). In a similar vein look at Uta Hagen. There's also a wonderful DVD of her classes.

In other Russians, Chekhov could be worth reading though I didn't find it personally valuable. Boleslavsky is fairly famous as well.

Larry Moss is a modern coach who's work is worth reading.

However for the broad overview, both volumes of The Great Acting Teachers and Their Methods like I said before. That's very well-written and includes a lot of teachers from a more objective viewpoint (rare in acting). It helps to get some perspective on all of them and the evolution of the craft. Watch every episode of Inside the Actor's Studio you can find. I also found James Lipton's (the host) book Inside Inside to be an excellent read.

There are countless other books and teachers. Also, predictably egotistical, a great many actors have written memoirs or published journals. Some of those can be valuable. Interviews are better. The journals and memoirs are often proof of a story I have now forgotten the source of. It was someone on Inside the Actor's Studio. To put it in short, a famous actor is having dinner with another much older famous actor at the end of his career. The older actor turns to the younger one thoughtfully with a slight smile and says, "You know why we do this?" He beckons the young actor closer. The young actor, still early in his career, is intrigued by the potential revelation to come. He leans in farther and farther until the old man is right next to his year into which he yells, "Look at me! Look at me! Look at me! Look at me! Look at me!" Ed Hooks, on the other hand, would say actors are shamans. I think they're both right.