What aspect of gaming has progressed the least? What should be Focused on in the next generation?

deathbydeath

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Eh, the indie market is honestly filling in a lot of gaps. Take Bastion for example; it did pretty much everything better than everybody else that year.

Anyway, I think companies should go smaller in order to go bigger. If larger companies produced games with smaller budget (when appropriate, which is almost always), then we'd see a wider variety of large-budget games in the market, with more genres and styles of genres available to the consumer. Also included would be more creative freedom, more innovation (shaddup Jim Sterling), and more interesting ideas.

EDIT: To people whining about bad AI: hush; games where good AI is necessary have fallen out of the limelight.
 

tippy2k2

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deathbydeath said:
EDIT: To people whining about bad AI: hush; games where good AI is necessary have fallen out of the limelight.
Whoa whoa whoa...either I am grossly misunderstanding what you are saying or that is one of the most ludacris things I have ever heard. Are you seriously telling us that good AI is not necessary in modern gaming? Please tell me I'm misunderstanding you here...
 

TehCookie

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King Aragorn said:
TehCookie said:
The creative part. Old games have wonderful fantasy words that were interesting to explore. Part of that may be because the graphics weren't good enough to mimic reality so they had to change it but I loved that. Current gen games are way to focused on realism. Chrono Cross still look gorgeous to me and has a beautiful world that draws you in, or even the older Final Fantasies do that well. Not to mention the soundtracks were great in both as well and were used to enhance the experience. I don't play that many modern games that make me go "wow this looks beautiful" even though graphics are so much better.

Then again I feel like one of the few people who plays games to escape reality. I also like protagonist I don't relate to since I like the opportunity to be someone I'm not, it the devs aren't completely to blame but also the market.
Games still have such worlds. Take a look at Dishonored, for example. Creativity has not got anywhere, people, in my opinion, are just too focused on your brown and grey shooter, and for that, many titles fly over their heads.
A better rebuttal would be it's because I remember all the old great games and forgot all the bad ones so I'm comparing great games from the past to present mediocre ones. Of course there are still good modern games and bad old games, I think the ratio of bland settings to great settings has changed. Naming one title doesn't change that. Also do you think I'm not looking for games that appeal to me?
 

Adventurer2626

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Really hard to say. There are genres that need to be rebooted. A little more climbing is needed still to get us out of the uncanny valley: after all, graphics is emotions. More creative writers need to get scooped up by developers. Publishers need to get real.

I think I'm going to hop on the AI bandwagon on this. The reason this is becoming so glaringly obvious and is still a spectacular failure in many games is that this is really hard to do right. Many developers (if not all) don't really know an efficient way yet to make the AI "smart," beyond volumes libraries of scripted events and stacking the odds miles high against the player. Want to make some money? Come up with an amazing and intuitive AI script-writing tool and sell it to developers.
 

deathbydeath

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tippy2k2 said:
Whoa whoa whoa...either I am grossly misunderstanding what you are saying, or that is one of the most ludicrous things I have ever heard. Are you seriously telling us that good AI is not necessary in modern gaming? Please tell me I'm misunderstanding you here...
Both?

My point was that the FEAR ninjas and outflanking/group-coordinating brilliant strategists in games like FEAR and UT99 are not as important because games where those are optimal A) don't play well against a gamepad, and B) most games are developed for consoles these days, changing how shooters shoot more than you'd think and PC gamarz are all software pirates. "AI that doesn't suck" is still as necessary as always (although most of it has to do with scripting these days), but "good AI" requires much more active motion and "twitch" aiming that a gamepad simply isn't designed for.
 

tippy2k2

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deathbydeath said:
Both?

My point was that the FEAR ninjas and outflanking/group-coordinating brilliant strategists in games like FEAR and UT99 are not as important because games where those are optimal A) don't play well against a gamepad, and B) most games are developed for consoles these days, changing how shooters shoot more than you'd think and PC gamarz are all software pirates. "AI that doesn't suck" is still as necessary as always (although most of it has to do with scripting these days), but "good AI" requires much more active motion and "twitch" aiming that a gamepad simply isn't designed for.
We shall probably end up having to agree to disagree here but I'll throw this out there anyway...

I would kill to get AI in modern games to out-think me.

Call of Duty goes from a linear, glorified duck hunt simulator (this coming from a CoD fan btw) to something much greater. You and your noble group of colorful characters move into the hallway but don't bother to go through each room like your buddy Captain Price taught you. Currently, the AI will just shoot at you on your way to the doors. But what if instead of doing that, they STAYED in the rooms until you passed? You run into a group of enemies ahead of you and now the trap is sprung. You just lead your team into the meat grinder...

But why limit it to shooters?

Madden 2013 goes from a "find the play that always beats the AI" to an actual chess match like football should be. Playing franchise mode against friends, I can now "read" what my opponent is doing. One opponent LOVES to do curl routes, which are a ***** to cover...unless you know it's coming, in which case it's an easy pick. Knowing this, I bump his receiver at the line and then turn with him for an easy interception. The computer should be able to do the same thing.

As to the last point, I have been console gaming all my life and will just have to say I disagree about the "AI can't be great because the controller limits you". I remember games for the older generation that could sometimes outsmart you and the controller didn't limit that at all. "Brothers in Arms" I feel is an excellent example and designed around suppression and flanking. However, your team wasn't the only one who could do that and the computer sometimes made you sit back and wonder how you were outsmarted by a computer when the group of Nazi's show up on your flank and cut you into pieces before you can say "SNELL!"
 

sanquin

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A combination of story and aesthetics. Quite a few seem to say AI, but I don't agree. AI has stagnated, yes. But story and aesthetics have gone backwards. Both story and aethetics used to be incredibly important since graphics were still 8/16/32 bit. So they had to actually go for a good story and aesthetics (well, and gameplay of course...) to be able to sell their games. But these days the graphical capabilities have increased so much that for some reason devs have decided to almost fully focus on graphical fidelity and flashy effects, going back to the days of minimalism in terms of story and aesthetics.

Captcha: one small step for man
 

Toxic Sniper

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Artificial intelligence isn't the problem. If you look at the notes of Bungie on the original Halo CE, the artificial intelligence actually used to be better. They toned it down because, at a certain level of intelligence, the player stops noticing what the AI is doing. They don't realize that the AI is forming complex strategies beyond whatever piece of cover they're hiding behind. Half Life 2 has some great enemy AI for its time with enemies forming distinct roles, yet people rarely talk about it. Why? Because even the best artificial intelligence cannot hold scrutiny when taken out of its element. It's the classic movie joke of how if you give a robot a logic contradiction, the machine can't handle it; because the logic contradiction is something the robot is not familiar with, its "robot-ness" becomes obvious.

The worst ai can be improved by the level design. Take Super Mario Brothers; a goomba has virtually no AI and just runs forward until it hits an obstacle. However, you don't notice this bad ai because the areas that Goombas are placed in the level generally have them bouncing between pipes or falling off a cliff right after they miss you. You are not given time to think "derp, Goombas are dumb because they just run in one direction", because that one thing they do makes sense in their given situation. People complain all the time about modern shooters having terrible AI, yet they love System Shock 2 and Doom, games that had worse AI. Why? Because the rudimentary AI wasn't given the opportunity to be rudimentary; everything it did was effective. You see a shambling zombie at the end of a hallway; it's probably not the sharpest knife in the drawer, since all it can do is shamble and pathfind and bite you. But, because the hallway is cramped and your only way is through the zombie, the AI is allowed to excel at what it does.

Let's compare two games, Dark souls and Assassin's Creed. In Dark Souls, the artificial intelligence is dumb as a brick; enemies will walk towards you and attack without tactics. In Assassin's Creed... The AI is also as dumb as a brick. However, in Dark Souls, one of the things people enjoy is that normal enemies will not wait for you to kill one of them before fighting you. In Assassin's Creed, the AI is infamous for how it sits back and waits for you to beat up its buddies. The AC example actually uses better AI, because it has the added intelligence of being able to wait for you to beat up its buddies. However, the AI is not working at what it's supposed to be doing (killing you), so it feels worse than Dark Souls's basic "hack at him until dead" design.

There are a lot of ways to manipulate the situation so that an AI seems smarter; level design was already mentioned, and limiting the AI's story role also helps (People expect less intelligent decisions out of a mindless zombie than out of a human civilian).
 

DSK-

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I would say the milking of games and platforms into trilogies with very little creativity involved has progressed exponentially. That isn't to say that it hasn't happened in the past (C&C95, RA95). Games nowadays are about micro-evolution of the 'product' instead of the actual 'game'. There are exceptions to the rule though.
 

King Aragorn

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TehCookie said:
King Aragorn said:
TehCookie said:
The creative part. Old games have wonderful fantasy words that were interesting to explore. Part of that may be because the graphics weren't good enough to mimic reality so they had to change it but I loved that. Current gen games are way to focused on realism. Chrono Cross still look gorgeous to me and has a beautiful world that draws you in, or even the older Final Fantasies do that well. Not to mention the soundtracks were great in both as well and were used to enhance the experience. I don't play that many modern games that make me go "wow this looks beautiful" even though graphics are so much better.

Then again I feel like one of the few people who plays games to escape reality. I also like protagonist I don't relate to since I like the opportunity to be someone I'm not, it the devs aren't completely to blame but also the market.
Games still have such worlds. Take a look at Dishonored, for example. Creativity has not got anywhere, people, in my opinion, are just too focused on your brown and grey shooter, and for that, many titles fly over their heads.
A better rebuttal would be it's because I remember all the old great games and forgot all the bad ones so I'm comparing great games from the past to present mediocre ones. Of course there are still good modern games and bad old games, I think the ratio of bland settings to great settings has changed. Naming one title doesn't change that. Also do you think I'm not looking for games that appeal to me?
Which is where I disagree. Dead Space, Dragon Age, Mass Effect are other examples. I don't think myself creativity has taken a step back/lessened, and yes, everybody does look for what appeals to them, but when the biggest games on the market and grey/brown shooters, I think people think too much of the idea that everything is like that.
 

irani_che

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tippy2k2 said:
I think this has actually taken a step backwards, let alone had progression and is, in my ever so humble opinion, THE most important thing that the next generation has to focus it's efforts on.

Graphics
More grey and brown
More shooters
More darkness and angst
More hookers
...actually, un-strike that last one but that's not my "official" answer here.

Artificial Intelligence

I can not remember the last modern game that outsmarted me. They've out-played me. They've beat me because they were stronger, faster, and better than me. But it's been a long long long time since I've gotten to do my Jurassic Park "Clever Girl..." impression at a video game.

The current generation is a bunch of dumb blondes with big ol' boobies: Looks great but a few fries short of a Happy Meal. The next generation NEEDS to improve this and I am cautiously optimistic about this.


one game that gave me the clever girl moment was Dead space 2, there were these necromorphs that did work in pairs or even in packs to distract you and blindside you. They even once or twice feinted when i expected them to charge me, I turned just as they stopped and ran away, letting their friend kill you from behind.

they had the best AI I had ever seen, but they were only used in the game about 3 times.
 

irani_che

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Toxic Sniper said:
Artificial intelligence isn't the problem. If you look at the notes of Bungie on the original Halo CE, the artificial intelligence actually used to be better. They toned it down because, at a certain level of intelligence, the player stops noticing what the AI is doing. They don't realize that the AI is forming complex strategies beyond whatever piece of cover they're hiding behind. Half Life 2 has some great enemy AI for its time with enemies forming distinct roles, yet people rarely talk about it. Why? Because even the best artificial intelligence cannot hold scrutiny when taken out of its element. It's the classic movie joke of how if you give a robot a logic contradiction, the machine can't handle it; because the logic contradiction is something the robot is not familiar with, its "robot-ness" becomes obvious.

Let's compare two games, Dark souls and Assassin's Creed. In Dark Souls, the artificial intelligence is dumb as a brick; enemies will walk towards you and attack without tactics. In Assassin's Creed... The AI is also as dumb as a brick. However, in Dark Souls, one of the things people enjoy is that normal enemies will not wait for you to kill one of them before fighting you. In Assassin's Creed, the AI is infamous for how it sits back and waits for you to beat up its buddies. The AC example actually uses better AI, because it has the added intelligence of being able to wait for you to beat up its buddies. However, the AI is not working at what it's supposed to be doing (killing you), so it feels worse than Dark Souls's basic "hack at him until dead" design.

There are a lot of ways to manipulate the situation so that an AI seems smarter; level design was already mentioned, and limiting the AI's story role also helps (People expect less intelligent decisions out of a mindless zombie than out of a human civilian).

AC's enemies needed that level of dimmness, AC's fighting is based off that of martial arts and swords movies where you are surrounded and you beat them up one at a time.
the original bruce lee movies show bruce surrounded, he darts to one side, knocks out them, before turning to the enemies on the other. as martial arts movies became lazier and employed actors who lacked bruce lee's superhuman speed, they had to simplify the fights into being surrounded but the enemies attack one at a time


Skyrim occasionally had this problem of being surrounded and you strike the enemies one at a time and block the same way
the shouts, especially Fusrodah were there to help clear fights if you were surrounded and had to deal with too many people at once. Thats why they gave it to you so quickly.

I never played Dark souls but it looks like it requires alot of dodging, circling round and not getting surrounded
 

deathbydeath

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tippy2k2 said:
"But why limit it to shooters?" and other such shenanigans.
To answer the quoted question, I hadn't thought of that. What you are thinking of regarding Madden, however, isn't necessarily "better AI" and merely varied AI. It is better as a whole, yes, but it doesn't necessarily require more programming talent, just good design.
 

Toxic Sniper

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irani_che said:
AC's enemies needed that level of dimmness, AC's fighting is based off that of martial arts and swords movies where you are surrounded and you beat them up one at a time.
the original bruce lee movies show bruce surrounded, he darts to one side, knocks out them, before turning to the enemies on the other. as martial arts movies became lazier and employed actors who lacked bruce lee's superhuman speed, they had to simplify the fights into being surrounded but the enemies attack one at a time
If that's the tone they were trying to go for, I can understand. I didn't play very much of Assassin's Creed, so I only got used to the AI of the normal soldiers. You do tend to feel like an actors on wires martial arts movie badass, so they accomplished that goal.

However, even if it works at its intended role in Assassin's Creed, it still makes the computer look dumber than the one in Dark Souls, even though the one in Dark Souls is dumber. Weird how it takes more effort to make a computer look like a worse fighter.

irani_che said:
Skyrim occasionally had this problem of being surrounded and you strike the enemies one at a time and block the same way
the shouts, especially Fusrodah were there to help clear fights if you were surrounded and had to deal with too many people at once. Thats why they gave it to you so quickly.
That's a good example of getting out of this sort of trap; instead of letting the ai look dumb, the player is encouraged to be in situations where the ai can excel.

For all the crap I give Skyrim's ai, that's pretty damn smart.

irani_che said:
I never played Dark souls but it looks like it requires alot of dodging, circling round and not getting surrounded
That's pretty much it, and when it works, it makes the ai look very relentless. Unfortunately, the Dark Souls ai does have a fatal flaw of not aggroing from long distances, meaning that a bow-reliant character is less likely to enjoy it than a melee character or even magic-reliant character. Also, the simple pathfinding becomes MUCH more obvious on levels with bottomless pits where the ai will merrily run over an edge to get to you.

It's all about the situation. A smart ai can look like an idiot if the level design or enemy placement works against it, while the worst ai an look like a genius if it's in a place where the few things it can do shine through.
 

TehCookie

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King Aragorn said:
TehCookie said:
King Aragorn said:
TehCookie said:
The creative part. Old games have wonderful fantasy words that were interesting to explore. Part of that may be because the graphics weren't good enough to mimic reality so they had to change it but I loved that. Current gen games are way to focused on realism. Chrono Cross still look gorgeous to me and has a beautiful world that draws you in, or even the older Final Fantasies do that well. Not to mention the soundtracks were great in both as well and were used to enhance the experience. I don't play that many modern games that make me go "wow this looks beautiful" even though graphics are so much better.

Then again I feel like one of the few people who plays games to escape reality. I also like protagonist I don't relate to since I like the opportunity to be someone I'm not, it the devs aren't completely to blame but also the market.
Games still have such worlds. Take a look at Dishonored, for example. Creativity has not got anywhere, people, in my opinion, are just too focused on your brown and grey shooter, and for that, many titles fly over their heads.
A better rebuttal would be it's because I remember all the old great games and forgot all the bad ones so I'm comparing great games from the past to present mediocre ones. Of course there are still good modern games and bad old games, I think the ratio of bland settings to great settings has changed. Naming one title doesn't change that. Also do you think I'm not looking for games that appeal to me?
Which is where I disagree. Dead Space, Dragon Age, Mass Effect are other examples. I don't think myself creativity has taken a step back/lessened, and yes, everybody does look for what appeals to them, but when the biggest games on the market and grey/brown shooters, I think people think too much of the idea that everything is like that.
Dead Space is a grey shooter, and Dragon Age is generic fantasy, neither are very unique. I'm not saying they aren't good games, but they aren't very creative. Better examples would be games like Xenoblade Chronicles or Nier and Mass Effect is another good one you mentioned. A lot of others ones I enjoy are all series that started last gen like Disgaea, which may not have a graphical pretty world but you still get a good grasp of what the world is like, and it's completely different that draws my interest.
 

polymath

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The biggest thing for me is that games need to take a step up in the depth side of things. I don't want to turn this into a games are art debate but for me no game has really been able to maintain a consistent tone and exploration of a theme between gameplay and story. And I don't just mean how it breaks the flow when control is taken away for a cutscene or staged events that the game is deliberately bringing you towards.

Admittedly it is difficult to make a game consistently fun if you want to really explore a theme in depth (i.e. an fps can't really critique violent media in it's plot if the mechanics are driven by a fun factor because either the tone will be completely off when it switches from story to gameplay, or the game will undermine it's core message.) I'm not saying it's impossible but I'm not sure if anyone out there has really figured out how to subtly explore a theme through gameplay.

It comes down to the problem of the player. Cutscenes have the most obvious inconsistency, (Nico can harp on about the horrors of violence and the life he left behind all he wants, but it's kind of undermined when the game is so quick to allow you to indiscriminately fire upon random bystanders, or Snake can engage in an expertly choreographed duel with Ocelot but the moment the player takes over the awkward controls make a mockery of that whole scene) but really most games can't match the mechanics of the game and the performance of the player with the story it's trying to tell and the message it intends to convey. Bioshock and Spec Ops looked at how the player blindly does what they're asked and then showed the darker side of that, but the message would be a lot stronger if the game was designed with the option to refuse the order to be available to the player, but by not communicating it to them and so forcing them to choose not to. That would make the question of choice and decision making a lot more relevant to the actual mechanics of the game because the option would exist. Raising questions about following orders and free will doesn't really work if the gamer doesn't have a choice regardless of their personal feelings on the issue because they have to to progress through the game.

Ultimately the problem I think is that games are too focused on matching the structure of other media, but the way a game works makes that ultimately like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. If games are interactive than to truly explore a theme or idea, they need to move beyond a point where they try and tell a story by forcing the player to listen to them, they need to figure out a way to actually make the way you play the game and the way the game plays allow for an exploration of the theme or idea behind it and to make it so that the tone of the game is in keeping with the actions that the player is capable of. Too many games suffer from tonal whiplash right now for them to really have the depth necessary for them to lay claim to an argument for games as art.

Games haven't had their "Citizen Kane" moment, that is to say there hasn't been a game released that is irrefutably a significant cultural moment that also could only have existed and more importantly, could only have really explored the ideas at it's core the way it did by being a game. This generation we are going to be about 40 years on from the invention of the video game, it took film 30 to start to really use the strengths of the medium in a way that the art that came before it couldn't, games need to embrace their uniqueness this time out for me.