[suggestionish] Guards and Workers With Names

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Re: [suggestionish] Guards and Workers With Names

Postby xander » Thu Feb 20, 2014 12:15 am

Currie wrote:That said, having bought a prison simulator, I'd prefer that the prisons be as realistic as possible.

Then I suppose you would like to see less rioting? No tunneling? Fewer escape attempts in general? Trees that actually take 20 years to grow? No armed guards in the parts of the prison occupied by prisoners? Prison Architect is, first and foremost, a game. Realism can and should take a back seat to the story that the artists are trying to tell. This could mean not personalizing the staff (which is the approach that I would take were I Chris), or personalizing the staff to the greatest possible extent (which is what I presume you would do). Ultimately, it is an artistic decision, and appeals to realism kind of miss the point.

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Re: [suggestionish] Guards and Workers With Names

Postby nini » Thu Feb 20, 2014 12:39 am

But simulator means near enough exacting replica of reality, witness the simulacra of prison life right there as it truly is.... with rioting and constant shivving, why it's a real death trap because reality!

Again, this is not your nerdtastic Tycoon game but it's not your almost film-like dramatisation of the worst prison imaginable where everyone is a psycho itching to get out.
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Re: [suggestionish] Guards and Workers With Names

Postby Watsons27 » Thu Feb 20, 2014 6:56 am

Another point is that your staff is perminate unless they die. They actually can last you hundreds of years of sentence. So you will get to know them if you want to or not.
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Re: [suggestionish] Guards and Workers With Names

Postby nini » Thu Feb 20, 2014 10:05 am

Do I need to know them? Does it improve the game besides imposing a psychological reaction that should be reserved for the inmates? Right now they're interchangeable with each other and before a few releases back they all looked the same so maybe you'll get their names around the time they fix the hands to be the right skin tone for everyone.
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Re: [suggestionish] Guards and Workers With Names

Postby Currie » Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:04 pm

xander wrote:
Currie wrote:That said, having bought a prison simulator, I'd prefer that the prisons be as realistic as possible.

Then I suppose you would like to see less rioting? No tunneling? Fewer escape attempts in general? Trees that actually take 20 years to grow? No armed guards in the parts of the prison occupied by prisoners? Prison Architect is, first and foremost, a game. Realism can and should take a back seat to the story that the artists are trying to tell. This could mean not personalizing the staff (which is the approach that I would take were I Chris), or personalizing the staff to the greatest possible extent (which is what I presume you would do). Ultimately, it is an artistic decision, and appeals to realism kind of miss the point.


Let's re-read what I wrote.

Currie wrote:That said, having bought a prison simulator, I'd prefer that the prisons be as realistic as possible.


Oh what was that last part?

Currie wrote:as realistic as possible.


Oh but those last two words?

Currie wrote:as possible.


As possible.
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Re: [suggestionish] Guards and Workers With Names

Postby xander » Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:44 pm

Currie: what is your point? My entire point was that arguing that certain changes would make the game more realistic misses the point. Gameplay and aesthetics trump realism.

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Re: [suggestionish] Guards and Workers With Names

Postby Watsons27 » Fri Feb 21, 2014 11:41 pm

Read below
Last edited by Watsons27 on Fri Feb 21, 2014 11:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [suggestionish] Guards and Workers With Names

Postby Watsons27 » Fri Feb 21, 2014 11:51 pm

xander wrote:Currie: what is your point? My entire point was that arguing that certain changes would make the game more realistic misses the point. Gameplay and aesthetics trump realism.

xander




Gameplay and aesthetics...... And what is currie's point..... Xander you just gotta stop arguing for the sake of arguing I think you dissect every word people use a little too much. Just relax and read their ideas not every small word. Your like the person who takes too many notes in a class but does not actually get what is going on.

But I don't see how anyone would be bothered by staff members with names. Also to tell this games story or what ever you call it humanizing the guards will lead to more humanization of the prisoners.

Small little experiment to do. Try to remember like 20 prisoners by name most i can do is 5-10Then try to keep track of a guard like have only 1 white guard or something. You will care more when the guard dies.

Also prison size has a lot to do with how much you care about people. I currently try to have my prisons around 75-125 just because I find that size is the most fun and I am able to care about things. When I make those giant 300-500 prisoners I seem to care a lot less about most everything besides the prison layout and flow. That being said I really just end up watching the giant prisons more than playing them.

So on a small prison level guards are more personal but large prison nothing is personal i could care less about most things as long as the prison is running smooth.
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Re: [suggestionish] Guards and Workers With Names

Postby xander » Sat Feb 22, 2014 12:24 am

Watsons27 wrote:Gameplay and aesthetics...... And what is currie's point..... Xander you just gotta stop arguing for the sake of arguing I think you dissect every word people use a little too much. Just relax and read their ideas not every small word. Your like the person who takes too many notes in a class but does not actually get what is going on.

If people would stop making bad arguments, I wouldn't feel the need to counter them. You and Currie keep arguing that personalizing the staff more is good because it enhances realism. The point that I have kept making is that the choice to personalize or not personalize the staff should not be made only on the grounds of realism (and, in fact, that making the decision on the grounds of realism alone would be a very bad way to make the decision), but that narrative and gameplay concerns should come first. If you want to argue that the staff should be more personalized, don't appeal to realism---put forth an argument about how it would improve gameplay, or how IV might be missing a chance to tell a different story (Currie did that a few posts ago and, while I disagree with his statement that people who work in prisons are saints, that post, at least, made reasonable narrative arguments). If you don't like my responses to you, either (1) stop giving me something to respond to or (2) make better arguments.

Watsons27 wrote:But I don't see how anyone would be bothered by staff members with names. Also to tell this games story or what ever you call it humanizing the guards will lead to more humanization of the prisoners.

I don't think that anyone would be bothered by it. But that also misses the point. IV have the opportunity to tell a story with Prison Architect, and the decision to name or not name the staff changes the emphasis of that story. Personally, I prefer the emphasis on prisoners (as I think I have made clear), but it is ultimately up to IV to decide what story they want to tell.

Watsons27 wrote:Small little experiment to do. Try to remember like 20 prisoners by name most i can do is 5-10Then try to keep track of a guard like have only 1 white guard or something. You will care more when the guard dies.

Also prison size has a lot to do with how much you care about people. I currently try to have my prisons around 75-125 just because I find that size is the most fun and I am able to care about things. When I make those giant 300-500 prisoners I seem to care a lot less about most everything besides the prison layout and flow. That being said I really just end up watching the giant prisons more than playing them.

So on a small prison level guards are more personal but large prison nothing is personal i could care less about most things as long as the prison is running smooth.

It isn't about caring about the prisoners more than the staff. It is about how the story is told, and what is emphasized by the narrative. Perhaps the point is a bit too academic, by why shouldn't video games be thought of within the same framework as other media? Why shouldn't we use the techniques of literary analysis when discussing games? Sure, you can appreciate (for instance) Petrushka for purely aesthetic reasons (hey, it is great music and fun coreography---what's not to love?), but the composition of the ballet was not dictated by aesthetic concerns alone. The original choreography was an intentional dismissal of traditional ballet choreography (which was an interesting narrative choice in pre-revolutionary Russia). The music is built from the DNA of popular and folk music, but applies to it an avant-garde approach (again, this has interesting narrative implications in pre-revolutionary Russia). Do most of the people that watch Petrushka understand most of the history and context of the work? Probably not. But the choices were made intentionally, and anyone who is really paying attention will see and understand them.

Prison Architect is no different---there are certain decisions that IV can make that will have very little impact on the gameplay, and which most people probably won't notice, but which nevertheless convey a point of view. Naming the staff (or not naming the staff) is one of these decisions.

xander

EDIT: And to preempt the obvious "Stop over analyzing things!", please read this.
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Re: [suggestionish] Guards and Workers With Names

Postby nini » Sat Feb 22, 2014 11:16 am

I'm wondering, does having staff with names impact anything? No. Does it affect me given I very rarely pay attention to inmate names unless they look like they were created by some 13 year old nerd? Probably not. I could have asked why give staff differing body shapes or skin tones. Could have kept all the staff as identifiable by their body shape as by their uniform, make them more implicitly interchangeable. But IV didn't do that, they added different body shapes and skin tones so why is naming these guys and gals not such a hot idea?

The staff getting a wider range of looks probably was just down to not wanting everyone to be a clone so this adds a bit of reality and visual interest as it's kinda weird having every one of your fifty guards look exactly the same. Giving them names though doesn't add an awful lot more than good ol' realism and a slight annoyance that Richards is now dead after a riot but does it affect the gameplay? Does it make you consider your deployment options more? Should it if everyone you hire works to the same level (and no, I really don't want a Theme Hospital-esque "pick the right person for the job" thing, I hated that about TH) and those names don't mean much within the game?

If you really must have names then make those names mean more than a slight case of individuality, have them act as individuals if you're going to imbue them with a name for something other than humanising them alone. But then having them act as individuals isn't what this game is about nor should extra time be placed into writing a staff subsystem that gives them more automata like acting independently or shift working. Your (as in you and anyone else who plays the game) interest in the staff isn't involved and to a degree there's no good reason to be more concerned than deploying them correctly, having enough and having a staff room so they don't become useless through fatigue. Currie mentions that they might not know everyone but at least they know the names of the people who do work in their building because I suggested you wouldn't know their names due to the layers of management between you and them anyway. They might but in the game there's a few people (wardens, chiefs of staff) between you and the staff and I still think it's within logic that you won't know the names of your serfs nor should you need to.

There might come a reason to personalise some staff, staff we don't have yet but play roles where interpersonal relations actually count for something such as the ones Currie mentioned way back in their first post (besides calling them practically saints, it's a bit much). Right now though as the game exists, there's not a need for them but maybe there can be in the future.
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Re: [suggestionish] Guards and Workers With Names

Postby dragonsdoom » Thu May 21, 2015 3:27 pm

I like the original suggestion. I disagree with the argument that the objective is or should be to focus on the prisoners and their stories exclusively.

Here are three arguments supporting naming guards:
1) I think we can all agree that emergent gameplay is both fun and a core design strategy of this game. I argue that emergent gameplay includes emergent narrative - stories arising from gameplay. Going on that argument, EG is fun and EG can include EN. Emergent narrative possibly contributes to the fun when purposefully introduced to an EG system. I think naming guards would provide more opportunities for spontanious EN, which would create fun.

2) A hypothetical extension to argument 1: Would a game of Dwarf Fortress be less fun if half of the dwarves were all named "Dwarf"?
I think in the early game of PA your non-prisoner units make up about half of the units in the prison. If your chances of generating EN are based on prisoners, you are looking at a relationship between the number of prisoners and the amount of EN. If you change that to a relationship between the number of prisoners + number of guards and the amount of EN, you are indirectly increasing the fun potential in the early game.

3) Other people are asking for it:
http://forums.introversion.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=43&t=20615
http://forums.introversion.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=43&t=20720&p=535848&hilit=guard+name#p535848
http://forums.introversion.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=43&t=20167&p=531584&hilit=guard+name#p531584
http://forums.introversion.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=43&t=18688&p=519643&hilit=guard+name#p519643
http://forums.introversion.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=43&t=18148&p=515080&hilit=guard+name#p515080
http://forums.introversion.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=43&t=51152&p=579614&hilit=guard+name#p579614
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Re: [suggestionish] Guards and Workers With Names

Postby xander » Thu May 21, 2015 5:48 pm

dragonsdoom wrote:1) I think we can all agree that emergent gameplay is both fun and a core design strategy of this game. I argue that emergent gameplay includes emergent narrative - stories arising from gameplay. Going on that argument, EG is fun and EG can include EN. Emergent narrative possibly contributes to the fun when purposefully introduced to an EG system. I think naming guards would provide more opportunities for spontanious EN, which would create fun.

2) A hypothetical extension to argument 1: Would a game of Dwarf Fortress be less fun if half of the dwarves were all named "Dwarf"?
I think in the early game of PA your non-prisoner units make up about half of the units in the prison. If your chances of generating EN are based on prisoners, you are looking at a relationship between the number of prisoners and the amount of EN. If you change that to a relationship between the number of prisoners + number of guards and the amount of EN, you are indirectly increasing the fun potential in the early game.

I don't really agree that emergent narrative is necessary to making a game---even a game that relies on emergent gameplay---more "fun" (NB: I don't think that "fun" should be the primary concern, for many of the same reasons that "realism" should not be a primary concern---but fun is a *far* better argument than realism) or that naming guards inherently leads to more or better emergent narrative, but I do appreciate that the argument is cogent, and that my disagreement is a matter of opinion.

As to the rest of your post, argumentum ad populum is unconvincing.

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Re: [suggestionish] Guards and Workers With Names

Postby dragonsdoom » Thu May 21, 2015 6:53 pm

xander wrote:I don't really agree that emergent narrative is necessary to making a game---even a game that relies on emergent gameplay---more "fun" (NB: I don't think that "fun" should be the primary concern, for many of the same reasons that "realism" should not be a primary concern---but fun is a *far* better argument than realism) or that naming guards inherently leads to more or better emergent narrative, but I do appreciate that the argument is cogent, and that my disagreement is a matter of opinion.

As to the rest of your post, argumentum ad populum is unconvincing.

xander


Thank you for the thoughtful and flattering words. I agree, emergent narrative is not a necessity in an emergent gameplay game, but I do think it is an opportunity for additional fun to spawn. In my estimation, it would be a "quick win" for fun; low development cost and modest reward.

I'm not sure we agree on game objectives - I think fun should be one of the highest concerns, possibly the highest apart from real world financial objectives / completing the project, but that is just an opinion based on my limited experience.

I agree that there is no certain link between naming guards and increasing fun / improving emergent narrative. The argument is theoretical until implemented by a developer or a modder.

I'm not sure I understand the reference to ad populum. I'm not trying to argue that adding named guards must be a good thing because other people are suggesting it, I'm trying to argue that since other people are suggesting named guards the suggestion is worth considering as a suggestion. My intention for these arguments is in favor of considering the suggestion, not forcing the implementation.
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Re: [suggestionish] Guards and Workers With Names

Postby MMZ>Torak » Thu May 21, 2015 7:30 pm

I just wanna jump in here and say I don't think "fun" is a really valuable metric. Fun is entirely subjective; and as such is not useful in comparing and contrasting ideas for game development. People find their own fun. And while I think more options are always better, there are much better arguments than "X would be fun" or "Y would be more fun".

I don't really have a dog in this particular fight so I guess I don't really have an opinion on the topic at hand other than while it might be nice to have names for the guards and workers I'd much rather have something with more impact on game play like the previously mentioned gangs.
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Re: [suggestionish] Guards and Workers With Names

Postby xander » Thu May 21, 2015 11:02 pm

dragonsdoom wrote:I'm not sure we agree on game objectives - I think fun should be one of the highest concerns, possibly the highest apart from real world financial objectives / completing the project, but that is just an opinion based on my limited experience.

Many years ago, Chris posted an "Introversion Manifesto." I can't seem to find it anywhere, but it outlined a philosophy of game design that specifically stated that fun was not the goal. Indeed, he seemed pretty offended at the idea that games should be primarily about having fun. Instead, I get the impression that Chris thinks that games should be regarded as art, and that he has serious desires to produce meaningful art (notice that the themes that he has taken on tend to deal with big questions like gamification of war and role of technology). Narrative (as in the intentionally narrative that IV wish to convey) and aesthetics can (and should) trump "fun".

Of course, there is also the above argument that fun is subjective. ;)

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