Procedural Genrated Universe

The place to hang out and talk about totally anything general.
Stewsburntmonkey
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Postby Stewsburntmonkey » Sat Jan 27, 2007 3:23 am

KingAl wrote:The ridiculous idea is that everything that people enjoy is good. People enjoy gambling, and smoking. People enjoy taking illicit drugs. You can't entirely blame those who are addicted to these things for being attracted to the chemical effects of these things, particularly if they aren't labeled as bad by society - but this makes those who supply these services particularly reprehensible: they're exploiting a human weakness.


It is widely acknowledged that addiction is bad and that drugs can have a terrible toll on a society. Thus those who provide addictive substances are putting their own personal gain above those of others and society, which is terrible. It is also widely accepted that taking drugs is wrong. However you specifically say that gamers are not at all wrong, only the makers. If you want to argue games like WOW are bad, you have to also blame those that play them. Otherwise your argument makes no sense; it is just a rather silly rant against a games you don't like.

KingAl wrote:No, I did not dismiss them as entertaining. Let's forget the 'games can be art' angle, because at the current point its just confusing the issue. Essentially, elements of MMORPGs such as WoW cosist of things like 'XP farming'. First things first, this process alone isn't fun - ask any WoW player and they'll tell you it's laborious: you cannot compare it to mindlessly entertaining films. However, they still do it, because they seek the reward.


And? The work/reward process is part of what makes it fun. Fun is relative and you if you don't have some less fun moments the fun times will not be so enjoyable. Like any good novelist will tell you have to have low points to make the high points worth it.

Also, WOW isn't just XP farming. There is a lot of PvP and raiding.



KingAl wrote:Alas, you're merely misunderstanding my argument. Evolution is not a perfect process. Attributes which are advantageous survive, even when they are a disadvantage in a different context. Many people would consider religion a good thing - it brings people together, supports them emotionally in times of need etc., but at the same time the exact same thing leads to bloody wars. Physical addiction is a similar example: the body ceases to produce certain chemicals because they are being provided by an external source - a logical, useful process which ensures that when certain products are in abundance the body doesn't have too much of it and stop functioning properly. However as a result, if the external source - e.g. an illicit drug - ceases to provide the chemical, the body reacts violently: hence withdrawal symptoms and physical addiction.
So yes, the innate human tendency to seek gratification is a weakness. Gambling relies on the reward systems: people expect reward and so they continually stick more coins in the pokies and pull the lever. The drudgery of 'XP farming' is comparable to gambling, though less directly destructive: it isn't a fun process, it merely plays on people's drive for reward. This is exploiting a human weakness, just as much as gambling is, and just because people choose to play it doesn't make this any less true: people choose to gamble, even when they know that it's bad. Reward is addictive - full stop. Appealing to reward is definitely lowest-common-denominator game design. Hence my objection.


But gambling isn't bad in and of itself. We all gamble everyday in some form or another. You call these things bad, but never specify how they are so bad. You never say why one drive, reward, is any worse than another, emotional stimulation. People get addicted to emotional stimulation too you know. What do you think soap operas are? Your argument is so far just a thin shell you are trying to hide you dislike of games like WOW behind. You may even believe this shell is meaningful, but I have yet to see any meaning in it.

What I think you are trying to point out is that people can become addicted to games like WOW and spend hours upon hours playing them. People can do this to an unhealthy level. This is certainly true. However, that is not the fault of the game, but of individuals. Some people drink too much, but brewers and distillers aren't too blame for that. There are plenty of us who enjoy drinks without going too far. The same is true of virtually anything. There is almost always someone who will indulge too much in whatever it is. You can only blame the source if they are knowingly exploiting people's unhealthy dependence. There is no evidence Blizzard is exploiting anyone, so I don't see any reason for criticism in that regard.
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Postby Chucko » Sat Jan 27, 2007 4:10 am

Bah, enough of the long winded arguments that I don't have time to read. I just wanta inhabit uncolonized planets so when someone does land there, I can steal their ship and leave them stranded.
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Postby Chucko » Sat Jan 27, 2007 4:11 am

Infact, if this game were invented....I think I would never leave my house.
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Postby KingAl » Sat Jan 27, 2007 4:34 am

Stewsburntmonkey wrote:Your argument is so far just a thin shell you are trying to hide you dislike of games like WOW behind. You may even believe this shell is meaningful, but I have yet to see any meaning in it.


This is a case of chicken or the egg. I dislike them because of this aspect of the design - I'm not highlighting this process of design because I arbitrarily decided I dislike them. Furthermore, I don't dislike all aspects of MMORPGs, merely the whole 'XP farming' phenomenon within them.

You've argued that those who become addicted are equally as responsible as those who supply whatever they become addicted to. This is peripheral to the argument itself, however my primary point that this was derived from was that people naturally have certain weaknesses, and so those who have these weaknesses exploited are not as responsible for the effect as those who do the exploiting.
I agree that those who are outright addicted definitely are responsible to a certain extent for their addiction (though I believe that MMORPGs are more dangerous for the addicted due to the subscription/buying artefacts aspect), but that's not the aspect I was excusing gamers for: I was excusing them for being attracted to things which there is a natural human tendency to be attracted by - like moths to a flame, so to speak. People don't have to be addicted for this to affect them, but products which appeal to the lowest common denominator in this way I consider the junk of their respective medium. Most WoW players that I know consider XP farming drudgery, and yet they still do it because they want to get better characters. The process isn't fun, nor does it escape the requirement for fun via the observation made by IV's manifesto because it doesn't provide food for thought or anything of that kind - and thus in my opinion is merely bad design.

Stewsburntmonkey wrote:Also, WOW isn't just XP farming. There is a lot of PvP and raiding.


I've already said this and highlighted it as a positive aspect.

Stewsburntmonkey wrote:And? The work/reward process is part of what makes it fun. Fun is relative and you if you don't have some less fun moments the fun times will not be so enjoyable. Like any good novelist will tell you have to have low points to make the high points worth it.


The 'high moments' and 'low moments' are moments of complication versus resolution, not of turgid prose versus adept lyricism. My personal view of the 'less fun' aspects of MMORPGs is that they are more in line with the latter interpretation: they actually consist of variation in the quality of design, not variation within type of design. I believe that this is particularly true of 'XP farming' - which sadly makes up a significant portion of such games.

You've argued that people can become addicted to anything. This is certainly true, and I won't dispute that. Because of this fact, there's no hard and fast definition for what is 'genuine' and what is 'fake' - i.e. what can be said to be exploiting those systems. However, in my interpretation the 'XP farming' aspects of MMORPGs are veering towards the latter - they don't require skill, practice or understanding, they require the patience to keep clicking on the bad guy until you level up. I freely admit that this is my subjective view, but that's how I see it. Continually clicking on some enemy that is of a level miles below the player isn't gameplay. Montyphy has a great little game with essentially the same mechanics. The only difference between that game and XP farming in my view is a pretty graphical interface and 'level up' rewards.

I don't mean to create an all out flame war, and so I resent your personal attacks and statement that my argument is a 'thin shell' etc. I'm not prejudiced against MMORPGs - I have no reason to be - I've reached my opinion based on observations.
To distill it right down: XP farming, an integral feature of many MMORPGs at the moment, is not entertaining or fun in any way - doing better in the game is whats fun and entertaining. Thus, in my view, this approach constitutes poor design: surely there is a way in which the process of gaining large amounts of XP can be made 'fun', or this particular approach - which is effectively sanctioned by the game design - is discouraged and an alternative is presented.
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Postby Stewsburntmonkey » Sat Jan 27, 2007 5:23 am

KingAl wrote:This is a case of chicken or the egg. I dislike them because of this aspect of the design - I'm not highlighting this process of design because I arbitrarily decided I dislike them. Furthermore, I don't dislike all aspects of MMORPGs, merely the whole 'XP farming' phenomenon within them.


It is fine to not like XP farming, but to say it is somehow bad in general requires you make a rather substantial argument to support this assertion, which you haven't done. You seem to be taking a personal preference and masking it with a general assertion.

KingAl wrote:You've argued that those who become addicted are equally as responsible as those who supply whatever they become addicted to.


Actually you haven't. . .

KingAl wrote:First things first, I'm not criticising the people who play it, I'm criticising the basis of the entertainment, because I believe that developers of games should seek to transcend the work/reward basis for games. All games are based on reward - getting the highest score in Pac-man or Tetris, say - but the fun is in the experience, whereas a large portion of games like WoW seems to be reward for reward's sake. How is endlessly clicking on a random grunt until you level up any different from the 'button pressing' analogy? I reiterate - this isn't a problem with the gamers, because it's a hardwired human trait to seek gratification, it's a problem with the approach to the design of the games.


Right there you say the problem is not with the gamers, just with the design of the games.



KingAl wrote:this is peripheral to the argument itself, however my primary point that this was derived from was that people naturally have certain weaknesses, and so those who have these weaknesses exploited are not as responsible for the effect as those who do the exploiting.


But who is the loser in this situation? Is it exploitation if there is no real harm and all those affected are willing? Restaurants exploit my feelings (weakness) for food. Should they be condemned for it? Following your argument, we should condemn them.




KingAl wrote:Most WoW players that I know consider XP farming drudgery, and yet they still do it because they want to get better characters. The process isn't fun, nor does it escape the requirement for fun via the observation made by IV's manifesto because it doesn't provide food for thought or anything of that kind - and thus in my opinion is merely bad design.


Some "unfun" parts are critical to any good game design. You need peaks and valleys. There are parts of every IV game that are just as tedious and uninspiring as XP farming. What you perhaps don't realize is that XP farming is sort of like knitting to a lot of people, it gives them something mindless and repetitive to do so they can relax. People are able to think or just unwind when they are doing these sorts of mindless tasks and after a while they end up with the bonus of having produced something. It's a win-win.

Even without games like WOW people still do this. Most sports are based on the exact same principle of a lot of hard and tedious work with the aim of accomplishing some goal. Running is a perfect example of this. Running itself is torturous. I've been to races where people literally collapse and need medical treatment after they cross the line, but they are happy they went through all that to achieve their goal.




KingAl wrote:The 'high moments' and 'low moments' are moments of complication versus resolution, not of turgid prose versus adept lyricism. My personal view of the 'less fun' aspects of MMORPGs is that they are more in line with the latter interpretation: they actually consist of variation in the quality of design, not variation within type of design. I believe that this is particularly true of 'XP farming' - which sadly makes up a significant portion of such games.


You forget that in an RPG you are supposed to be acting out or experiencing the story through the eyes of the character. You are not being told the story, you are experiencing the story. Thus the "low moments" are to be experienced.


KingAl wrote:You've argued that people can become addicted to anything. This is certainly true, and I won't dispute that. Because of this fact, there's no hard and fast definition for what is 'genuine' and what is 'fake' - i.e. what can be said to be exploiting those systems. However, in my interpretation the 'XP farming' aspects of MMORPGs are veering towards the latter - they don't require skill, practice or understanding, they require the patience to keep clicking on the bad guy until you level up. I freely admit that this is my subjective view, but that's how I see it. Continually clicking on some enemy that is of a level miles below the player isn't gameplay.


Actually if you actually play WOW you know that killing an enemy "miles below" your level will give you little or no XP. Like I said what you enjoy and don't enjoy is your own business, but translating a personal dislike into a general statement about the worth of something isn't a valid argument. You need more than personal inclination to make such an argument.
Last edited by Stewsburntmonkey on Sat Jan 27, 2007 5:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby KingAl » Sat Jan 27, 2007 5:51 am

You seem to have misinterpreted a statement saying what you had said as saying what I had said. We could go on 'til the cows come home, but I'm getting rather tired of the argument.
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Postby Stewsburntmonkey » Sat Jan 27, 2007 5:53 am

KingAl wrote:You seem to have misinterpreted a statement saying what you had said as saying what I had said. We could go on 'til the cows come home, but I'm getting rather tired of the argument.


Umm. . . where?
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Postby KingAl » Sat Jan 27, 2007 5:57 am

Stewsburntmonkey wrote:
KingAl wrote:You've argued that those who become addicted are equally as responsible as those who supply whatever they become addicted to.


Actually you haven't. . .

KingAl wrote:<-snip->


Right there you say the problem is not with the gamers, just with the design of the games.


Here. I enjoyed hearing your point of view, by the way - good food for thought :) It's just getting too protracted for my tastes now.
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Postby Chucko » Sat Jan 27, 2007 6:40 am

....Wow.......You two argue more than my parents
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Postby Stewsburntmonkey » Sat Jan 27, 2007 7:40 am

KingAl wrote:
Stewsburntmonkey wrote:
KingAl wrote:You've argued that those who become addicted are equally as responsible as those who supply whatever they become addicted to.


Actually you haven't. . .

KingAl wrote:<-snip->


Right there you say the problem is not with the gamers, just with the design of the games.


Here. I enjoyed hearing your point of view, by the way - good food for thought :) It's just getting too protracted for my tastes now.


Ah, sorry about that, for some reason I saw "I've".
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Postby Spacemonkey » Sun Jan 28, 2007 8:51 pm

Shwart!! wrote:Question is where a limit would be reached. You could explore for 4 or 5 real weeks and reach he end of our galaxy-then what? Fly until you hit another one? I doubt you, or anyone else, would do that. If the galaxy was large enough, then a limit might never be reached... but then again, it still could.

Shwart!!


Our galaxy is massive, you could take 100,000 years to explore it and you still would of hardly seen any of it.

The galaxy in the the game wouldn't need to be as big, but because it's procedurally generated, it can be as large as you want, as you fly further an further out, the game would just generate more and more star systems.
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Postby BrianBlessed » Sun Jan 28, 2007 8:55 pm

At this point I would like to interject to say

wikipedia wrote:"The game (Elite) was originally intended to contain 2^48 (approximately 282,000,000,000,000) galaxies. However, the number was limited to eight when Acornsoft noted that such a gigantic number would make the artificiality of the game universe evident to the player.[2] Each galaxy containing 256 planets to explore."
Last edited by BrianBlessed on Sun Jan 28, 2007 9:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Spacemonkey » Sun Jan 28, 2007 9:00 pm

wikipedia wrote:"The game (Elite) was originally intended to contain 248 (approximately 282,000,000,000,000) galaxies.


That doesn't make any sense, are they saying that 248 is approximately 282,000,000,000,000?
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Postby Darksun » Sun Jan 28, 2007 9:17 pm

Bringing the thread ontopic, there was a 'game' I played a while ago. You controlled a ship and flew around a galaxy with hundreds of starsystems, and could explore the flora and fauna of various worlds. The graphics were pretty poor, the control system was godawful, and I'm not entirely sure on the inner workings of the game, but I assume it was procedurally generated. No idea what it was called, sorry :/
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Postby BrianBlessed » Sun Jan 28, 2007 9:23 pm

Spacemonkey wrote:
wikipedia wrote:"The game (Elite) was originally intended to contain 248 (approximately 282,000,000,000,000) galaxies.


That doesn't make any sense, are they saying that 248 is approximately 282,000,000,000,000?


That is supposed to be 2^48, the text formatting on wikipedia obviously didn't carry well.

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