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What is Thief really about?


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#51 firoso

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 04:23 PM

I agree wholeheartedly, I think that the thief's role in a "boss" type situation should be influence at best, a thief stays to the shadows both figuratively and literally... TMA would have been better served if the Garrett had found a way to expose Karras subtlely and the players still got to witness a nice scripted lynching :-P, using the city watch for his own benifit? sounds like Garrett to me... as for Thief 1... I have to admit I never finished the maw... got annoyed and bored with it...

Thief 3's ending was a bit better, but it was also rather anticlimatic at the same time... kinda a letdown.
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#52 Vadrosaul

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 06:24 PM

That's the problem with games, the plot has to be stupid just so you can manufacture gameplay from it.
It wouldn't be much use the if the boss and his minions were so clever and on the case that you couldn't beat them.

That's obviously true, but since when have game story's been held up to the standards of great novels or movies? Each form of expression has its own self-contained standards for every major element. When creators have to 'fit' a narrative into a form of medium, obviously a lot is going to be pared down and/or lost in translation. Pointing that out and deriding it is just preaching to the choir of the observant.

Some books should be games, some games should be movies, some movies should be books, and many shouldn't be any of the above.
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#53 Crispy

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 09:14 PM

Thief 3's ending was a bit better, but it was also rather anticlimatic at the same time... kinda a letdown.

I much preferred Thief 2's ending to Thief 3's. I'm scratching my head trying to think why, because after all they both just come down to button-pushing in the end... I think it's for a couple of reasons. Firstly, Thief 2's last mission was actually a decent challenge. Thief 3's last "mission" was a total cakewalk. Secondly, Thief 2's had more atmosphere. OK, so Karras is a fairly archetypal bad guy, but he's still fun to hate. He taunts you over the loudspeakers, System Shock style. His twisted personality and voice is reproduced all over the place in the form of the robots' speech. It felt like a personal feud. So even though all you were doing was pushing buttons, the ending was still satisfying.

OTOH, in Thief 3 there's just this rather abstract monstrous thing lurching around the place, and you stroll around frobbing stuff until you get a cutscene and it dies. Ho hum. Even though half the game is about fighting it (indirectly), and it's killed a bunch of characters and tried to frame you, I just wasn't involved as much as I should have been.
My games | Public Service Announcement: TDM is not set in the Thief universe. The city in which it takes place is not the City from Thief. The player character is not called Garrett. Any person who contradicts these facts will be subjected to disapproving stares.

#54 oDDity

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Posted 13 April 2008 - 04:15 AM

That's obviously true, but since when have game story's been held up to the standards of great novels or movies? Each form of expression has its own self-contained standards for every major element. When creators have to 'fit' a narrative into a form of medium, obviously a lot is going to be pared down and/or lost in translation. Pointing that out and deriding it is just preaching to the choir of the observant.

Some books should be games, some games should be movies, some movies should be books, and many shouldn't be any of the above.


But that's exactly what game developers do, they follow in the shadow of action movies and fantasy novel plots all the time. I don't think any game developer has ever sat down and thought out a 'new way' specifically for the gaming medium.
I've always said that games are a terrible medium for storytelling, the best you can do it work in a cheap superficial plot of some kind to instigate the gameplay and give the player a direction to walk in and someone to kill (or steal from in this case) and there is a hard limit, and quite a low one, to how well you can do that in a game.
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#55 Crispy

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Posted 13 April 2008 - 06:20 AM

But that's exactly what game developers do, they follow in the shadow of action movies and fantasy novel plots all the time. I don't think any game developer has ever sat down and thought out a 'new way' specifically for the gaming medium.

Like what?
My games | Public Service Announcement: TDM is not set in the Thief universe. The city in which it takes place is not the City from Thief. The player character is not called Garrett. Any person who contradicts these facts will be subjected to disapproving stares.

#56 oDDity

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Posted 13 April 2008 - 08:25 AM

I'm not a game developer. You're trying to be, so you should be looking for the solution to that.
However, I believe the real change can't come until the near future, until games can be complex enough not to need a plot per se, when the gameworld itself can provide the player with enough rich experience not to need one, and actually generates dynamic content based on what the player does, through the self-interaction of the world and its AI. That's the real potential of games, not these shoddy attempts at emulating movies or board games that we currently see.
The games we've seen up until now are only a fledgling start into the real potential of the gaming medium, which is one that is not connected to literature or even movies, but a true powerful medium in it's own right.
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#57 AluminumHaste

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Posted 13 April 2008 - 10:52 AM

I'm not a game developer. You're trying to be, so you should be looking for the solution to that.
However, I believe the real change can't come until the near future, until games can be complex enough not to need a plot per se, when the gameworld itself can provide the player with enough rich experience not to need one, and actually generates dynamic content based on what the player does, through the self-interaction of the world and its AI. That's the real potential of games, not these shoddy attempts at emulating movies or board games that we currently see.
The games we've seen up until now are only a fledgling start into the real potential of the gaming medium, which is one that is not connected to literature or even movies, but a true powerful medium in it's own right.


That is nothing more than a sandbox to play in. You can do that now, in Crysis. Create an island and just populate it with random AI and go have some fun. It's a sandbox, there is no plot or story, and the environment is pretty rich in detail and interaction. You can drive vehicles, cut down trees, pick up and and throw objects, climb mountains, destroy buildings, and with careful modding, make your own buildings, fly planes, watch the sunset/sunrise on the beach, go fishing with dynamite, go seagull hunting, get eaten by sharks etc. etc.

What you are suggesting is that we keep everything in Crysis but just get rid of the plot and story and scripted events, and that would make a better game. :blink:

Edited by AluminumHaste, 13 April 2008 - 10:55 AM.

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#58 Forsaken

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Posted 13 April 2008 - 11:30 AM

He's basically suggesting a MMORPG or RPG with extreme AI.

oDDity is just afraid of storyline in games. They are the same medium as everything else, but no one ever said writing a story is easy.
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Children, Children of the Moon are hiding from the Sun and the Sky

© The Alan Parsons Project - Children of the Moon

#59 oDDity

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Posted 13 April 2008 - 11:56 AM

That is nothing more than a sandbox to play in. You can do that now, in Crysis. Create an island and just populate it with random AI and go have some fun. It's a sandbox, there is no plot or story, and the environment is pretty rich in detail and interaction. You can drive vehicles, cut down trees, pick up and and throw objects, climb mountains, destroy buildings, and with careful modding, make your own buildings, fly planes, watch the sunset/sunrise on the beach, go fishing with dynamite, go seagull hunting, get eaten by sharks etc. etc.

What you are suggesting is that we keep everything in Crysis but just get rid of the plot and story and scripted events, and that would make a better game. :blink:


Don't be a fucking idiot. The world and AI in crysis are crude and simplistic automatons. It's not interesting in any way to interact with them, any more than the aliens ships in Space Invaders.
Your lack of brain capacity is disgusting.

oDDity is just afraid of storyline in games. They are the same medium as everything else, but no one ever said writing a story is easy.

I'm not afraid of them, but bored by them, since they're invariably shit, and always will be. Writing a storyline for a game is extremely easy, anyone could write the sort of derivative, predictable stories you find in any major game title.
What's the point in a game where the outcome is already set up in advance because the story is already written, and all your given is a few alternative routes to get there.
Plot and story do not utilise the potential of the gaming medium at all, but simply stagnate it, locking it to older mediums which are actually designed for storytelling.
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#60 Vadrosaul

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Posted 13 April 2008 - 01:57 PM

I'm not afraid of them, but bored by them, since they're invariably shit, and always will be. Writing a storyline for a game is extremely easy, anyone could write the sort of derivative, predictable stories you find in any major game title.
What's the point in a game where the outcome is already set up in advance because the story is already written, and all your given is a few alternative routes to get there.
Plot and story do not utilise the potential of the gaming medium at all, but simply stagnate it, locking it to older mediums which are actually designed for storytelling.

The same argument can be applied to professional wrestling. They try to be a soap opera, but compared to actual soap operas their storylines are absolute low-brow garbage. Yet fanatics of it still reference examples of good story's against examples of bad story's.

For better or worse, stories are a staple of that medium as well as games, and the best you can do is either numb your expectations, analyze them within a vacuum, or look for the very few that stick to what their medium does best. Thief was a high standard to compare to, since it had a different playstyle, premise and atmosphere.........elements that a good game needs to make of paramount quality before even gauging how a story would factor into it.

I donít know about anyone else, but I donít need much of a plot to play Thief levels or FMís. The impetus to steal to make ends-meet, or because I simply am good at it, or because the place in question is a great challenge that will stroke my ego is enough for me. Some of the better FMís & OMís had dynamic situations cropping up during burgling, but thatís narrative level design and not story.
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#61 Forsaken

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Posted 13 April 2008 - 02:35 PM

I'm not afraid of them, but bored by them, since they're invariably shit, and always will be. Writing a storyline for a game is extremely easy, anyone could write the sort of derivative, predictable stories you find in any major game title.

But that's not what I am talking about... I am not talking about current storylines, I am saying you are afraid of the storyline your game will have because your relation to them is that they can only be bad.

Primarily, I do not believe they are all bad. They may be worse than some critically acclaimed novels, but you will find plenty of novels worse than critically acclaimed novels so that really doesn't bear any significance. The purpose of a story is not to compete with other stories, especially in a game, its purpose is to complement a game.

A game without a storyline, or with a cliche one, would remain a game of a lower class for me always. My interest in games is to have them take me to the other side, and only a game with atmosphere can do that. Atmosphere comes from the background of the game and the storyline. You can just have black walls in Thief with some random lion coat of arms, or you can have hammers, and you can have the backstory behind what those hammers represent, and why they are there, which adds to the overall belief of the game as realistic, and allows to perceive it as more than just a toy. Otherwise, developers of Fallout, OoT, TES, BG, SC, and some other games with relatively good storylines would never bother with the development of those storylines and just leave raw gameplay. OoT without the storyline it has would be considered worthless by many people, including me. I wouldn't be a fan of heXen without it's crappy half-baked storyline written by 10 different people at different time periods...

Of course, if you blatantly place yourself in the position "games are just games", and "game storylines suck" you'd never understand that.
Too late to save us but try to understand
The seas were empty -- there was hunger in the land
We let the madmen write the golden rules
We were just Children of the Moon
We're lost in the middle of a hopeless world
Children, Children of the Moon watch the world go by
Children, Children of the Moon are hiding from the Sun and the Sky

© The Alan Parsons Project - Children of the Moon

#62 bardic

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Posted 13 April 2008 - 05:29 PM

I think oDDity wants games that are so dynamic that the player changes the world based on cause and effect. Games like Oblivion do this with many quests, but the quests don't have a very big effect on the world, or an effect on the main quest/plot.

The closest you come to this is probably by viewing all the Thief OMs and FMs as a single game instead of viewing them individually. Basically a choose your own adventure, but your only major choice in that situation is which mission to load up.

The goal would be to have all the stories integrated into a single game, and all the possible changes to the world, and a system of making different stories available and unavailable as the character progresses (but better than the randomly generated dungeons in Oblivion). Which means combining the story and resources from 20+ full games into one, or getting an AI that can generate its own well made missions based on the play style of the user. Companies would rather release 20 different games than create one massive one if most players won't even hit 10% of that content. Forsaken said it right, it sounds like an MMO game. The goal is to cram that much content into a normal game somehow.

#63 Forsaken

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Posted 13 April 2008 - 05:33 PM

I think oDDity wants games that are so dynamic that the player changes the world based on cause and effect. Games like Oblivion do this with many quests, but the quests don't have a very big effect on the world, or an effect on the main quest/plot.

Then he's misplacing his argument, he seems to be comparing game storylines to books, while in books, storylines are completely straight and rigid. It's not like the reader may choose which character goes where.

Non-linearity is in the hands of the developers. If they want it to be non-linear they can do it, but that has nothing to do with storyline at all.

There is no point in genre combining. It makes the game developers disperse (see Oblivion and Spore), and in the end, all individual parts are weak, such as thievery in Oblivion compared to Thief.

Edited by Forsaken, 13 April 2008 - 05:34 PM.

Too late to save us but try to understand
The seas were empty -- there was hunger in the land
We let the madmen write the golden rules
We were just Children of the Moon
We're lost in the middle of a hopeless world
Children, Children of the Moon watch the world go by
Children, Children of the Moon are hiding from the Sun and the Sky

© The Alan Parsons Project - Children of the Moon

#64 Crispy

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Posted 13 April 2008 - 07:43 PM

I'm not a game developer. You're trying to be, so you should be looking for the solution to that.

Copout answer. :P Thankfully you posted more, so I have something to respond to:

However, I believe the real change can't come until the near future, until games can be complex enough not to need a plot per se, when the gameworld itself can provide the player with enough rich experience not to need one, and actually generates dynamic content based on what the player does, through the self-interaction of the world and its AI. That's the real potential of games, not these shoddy attempts at emulating movies or board games that we currently see.
The games we've seen up until now are only a fledgling start into the real potential of the gaming medium, which is one that is not connected to literature or even movies, but a true powerful medium in it's own right.

This is what I thought you probably meant, and I agree. It's very much a holy grail; the technology simply isn't there yet.

I have a game concept in my head that's basically that, set in the context of a mafia-style organisation (or, better, several competing ones) and surrounding world. To do it properly, even on a small scale, you'd need to simulate with reasonable accuracy the motivations, emotions, and actions of 100+ characters all at once; no small feat, considering how complicated (and screwed up) humans can be. The programming workload would be massive, it would take ages to tweak the thousands (if not millions) of variables in the simulation, and you'd likely need an insane amount of computing power to run the thing. Even then, it wouldn't be guaranteed that it would make a good game.

That's not to say it couldn't be done, just that it's more in the realm of research than practicality right now, and regardless would probably take the better part of a decade to make. Which is why it hasn't been done.

Worse, to actually sell it to anyone except hardcore nerds living in basements, you'd have to add graphics and crap on top of that. All of this makes it far too risky a project for a commercial developer to take on. If/when something similar is made, it will come out of research labs and/or indie developers first.
My games | Public Service Announcement: TDM is not set in the Thief universe. The city in which it takes place is not the City from Thief. The player character is not called Garrett. Any person who contradicts these facts will be subjected to disapproving stares.

#65 DrSpock

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 12:33 AM

I have to disagree with the majority sentiment here.

For me, games are rather dull without a story, no matter how well the atmosphere is pulled off. For example, Doom 3, the engine that TDM is based off of. It's undeniably a very moody, game, with environments perfectly suited for what they intend to convey. But in the end, I found the game boring and disappointing, because the story was complete garbage. There was no sense of any real accomplishment, and it didn't feel like anything new even happened in the story after the first 10 minutes of the game.

I think the main problem is that for the vast majority of video games, story is always a secondary concern to graphics and gameplay, which is why it so often is lacking compared with other mediums.

Games however, have the potential to have far superior stories to any other media, because they have the potential to let the user actually participate in something, rather than sit back and consume it from the sidelines like TV or books.

I don't know how many of you played KotOR, but for me, and many others, the story of the game, a story which only could be pulled off in a video game, was superb, and critical to the greatness of the game. For any Star Wars fan, it was the ultimate experience of actually living through events set in the universe rather than just watching them. And not just rehashing what has already been done in the movies, but having a unique, compelling storyline.

I think the cohesion and immersiveness good stories create are essential for the best games, and it is a shame that story will always be put on the sideline for substance-ess crap that appeals to the great masses (like the Halo games).

#66 sparhawk

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 03:14 AM

But in the end, I found the game boring and disappointing, because the story was complete garbage. There was no sense of any real accomplishment, and it didn't feel like anything new even happened in the story after the first 10 minutes of the game.


Because the game itself is boring and the story doesn't change that fact. I played Overlord and had a lot of fun with it, but I have absolutely no clue what story is there to back it, if there is any. Yeah, there were some cutscenes, but I didn't really get any sense of a story unfolding there, but the game is still great and I can only recommend it. Same for Painkiller. There is an excuse of a story, but you can totally disregard it and it's still a really great game to play.

I think the main problem is that for the vast majority of video games, story is always a secondary concern to graphics and gameplay, which is why it so often is lacking compared with other mediums.


If I want a story, I read a book. It's as simple as that.
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#67 AluminumHaste

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 02:23 PM

Don't be a fucking idiot. The world and AI in crysis are crude and simplistic automatons. It's not interesting in any way to interact with them, any more than the aliens ships in Space Invaders.
Your lack of brain capacity is disgusting.


I'm not afraid of them, but bored by them, since they're invariably shit, and always will be. Writing a storyline for a game is extremely easy, anyone could write the sort of derivative, predictable stories you find in any major game title.
What's the point in a game where the outcome is already set up in advance because the story is already written, and all your given is a few alternative routes to get there.
Plot and story do not utilise the potential of the gaming medium at all, but simply stagnate it, locking it to older mediums which are actually designed for storytelling.


Are you always this hostile? Makes coming here a very rewarding experience. :wacko:

I always assumed I'd taste like boot leather.

 

#68 phide

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 02:39 PM

Rewarding and/or aggravating.

#69 oDDity

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 02:41 PM

Yes, I believe that disagreements are best conducted in a heated and temperamental fashion. That way, even in the remote circumstance where I'm in error, I can still beat the other person into submission, and distract everyone from the real issue.
IT hardly matters, since we're not exactly discussing how to bring an end to world famine, but simply engaging in silly meaningless little arguments, and so they should be treated as such.
Civillisation will not attain perfection until the last stone, from the last church, falls on the last priest.
- Emil Zola

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#70 AluminumHaste

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 02:58 PM

Yes, I believe that disagreements are best conducted in a heated and temperamental fashion. That way, even in the remote circumstance where I'm in error, I can still beat the other person into submission, and distract everyone from the real issue.
IT hardly matters, since we're not exactly discussing how to bring an end to world famine, but simply engaging in silly meaningless little arguments, and so they should be treated as such.


You seem to have quite a high opinion of yourself, have you ever taken an IQ test? Just curious, not saying that I'm smart, just wondering how smart you are.

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#71 slavatrumpevitch

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 03:05 PM

as much as I disagree with a lot that Oddity says, i'd say it's a safe assumption he's pretty damn smart. I mean, when I disagree with him, it's almost always on a personal/subjective level and just a matter of opinion, or drastically different mental perspective. what he says is clever, and valid, and in no way factually wrong for the most part, he just has a different outlook than just about anyone you'll meet.
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#72 Subjective Effect

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 03:16 PM

Is that a slurping I hear?
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#73 Forsaken

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 04:40 PM

If I want a story, I read a book. It's as simple as that.

If I want a game, I want it to be realistic. For that, I need good story. Simple as that.
Too late to save us but try to understand
The seas were empty -- there was hunger in the land
We let the madmen write the golden rules
We were just Children of the Moon
We're lost in the middle of a hopeless world
Children, Children of the Moon watch the world go by
Children, Children of the Moon are hiding from the Sun and the Sky

© The Alan Parsons Project - Children of the Moon

#74 sparhawk

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 02:47 AM

Is that a slurping I hear?


:laugh:
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#75 sparhawk

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 02:52 AM

If I want a game, I want it to be realistic. For that, I need good story. Simple as that.


LOL! I'm replaying Need for Speed Hot Pursuit 2. No story at all, just mindless racing. :)

And for realism. NFS is a fun racer. NFSHP2 is exactly that. No tuning, no complex damages, just get in the car and drive. With the later installments, they decided to take more and more realism into it, and guess what happened. They took the Fun out of the Fun Racer part with it. With the latest installment you have to adjust the angles of the spoilers, your wheel, gear etc.. Very realistic and very boring to play. Well, you got a background story now, but that doesn't really help to make the game better, because the game itself is BORING.
Of course if you are looking for a realistic racing simulation then you are happy with it, but then there are other racers which are even better.
So it really depends on the game and what you expect. "Realism is better" is just a stupid buzzword that gets mindlessly repeated, but isn't true in all cases, because the world has more colours then black and white. ;)

The important part of ANY game is to capture the essence of the gameplay you want to achieve. Realism, story, and everything else are just the technical means to do this, but they are not the game on it's own.
Gerhard




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