[MUD-Dev] Continuity of experience in movies

Sean Kelly sean at hoth.ffwd.cx
Wed Jun 19 11:14:52 New Zealand Standard Time 2002


On Tue, 18 Jun 2002, eric wrote:
 
> This is relevant to game development in many ways however, the
> immaturity of the participants and their ego, and controlling
> desires. Most games are linear because the designers are control
> freaks.

Owch.  What about ease of development?  I would argue that plots are
linear for the same reason that spells like "passwall" and "fly" are
generally excluded from RPGs: it's just too darn difficult to
account for all possible uses of the spell/paths through the story.
Even much touted "non-linear" games, such as Deus Ex, are generally
completely linear.  In the case of Deus Ex, they allowed you
latitude in how you finished a particular mission, but you were
still railroaded through the plotline.  Non-linear games often allow
a player to choose how they handle inconsequential things, but not
how they handle critical plot points.  The only games I've
encountered that I'd consider truly non-linear are MUDs: games
designed from the get-go to be completely multiplayer-oriented.  And
even some of these (AC comes to mind) are linear.

Another obvious reason is that non-linear games require much more
development time, if the designers are responsible for creating all
the content.  I wouldn't say that this is the result of game
designers being control freaks so much as that they are operating on
a finite budget and hope to release a quality game in less than 5
years of development.

Non-linearity is easy.  Engaging non-linearity is not.

  (all the above obviously refers to RPG and adventure games)

Sean

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