PDA

View Full Version : The success of DX:HR depends on these two things!



Graeme
10th Jun 2010, 05:03
The original Deus Ex was not a game based around details like graphics, AI or even weapons (although when they did get those right it added immensely to the experience). Third-person, a cover system and health-regen will not make or break DX:HR...granted they are big details, they are details nonetheless and in my view there are more important things to consider. If the devs of DX:HR going to recreate the DX experience then there are two things have to get right.

I'll sort off by saying what won't guarantee a re-creation of the DX experience:
-just by letting us choose conversation options, will not recreate the experience
-having non-linear level design (vents or bribe?), though an important addition, will not guarantee a DX experience
-being able to explore
-being able to mod your weapons
-skills system, augs, etc. etc.

These things are important but are not the key ingredients. Here is what is:

1. Linearity and Non-Linearity

Deus Ex has a linear main plot. Think of it as a highway...you go from loyal UNATCO agent, to NSF sympathizer, to fighting to beat your switch in Hong Kong, to an Illuminati henchmen, to uncovering the whole conspiracy and choosing a side at the end. This is an unalterable progression of events. The non-linearity features in two respects: firstly, there is non-linear level design which allows freedom to choose how you do each part of the game. Secondly, there is non-linearity in the variety of side-plots and characters that you interact with (i.e. Renton, Denton, Reyes (aug or killphrases?), Jacobsen, Navarre, Curly and MOLE code? (I don't rob), Smuggler, Jojo, Joe Green, Jock and the bomb?, Sam Carter and the armory scandal?, Simons and the prisoners (a sensitive matter...), the showdown with Simons, let the Australian girls into the club?, Maggie Chow (in the fresh), AND SO ON). Consider for a minute the richness that all of these encounters gave the game as you progressed through the main, unalterable plot. These are like side-roads, running along side the main highway, sometimes intersecting...sometimes not, depending on your choices in previous encounters with these characters. This formula, if you will, brought the game to life and made the game feel like a progression of events in the real world.

In the real world, not just you go from level to level but everyone else comes along as well and changes depending on how you dealt with them. It was almost as though when you got to Paris...Tong was still in Hong Kong doing his thing and Paul (if you saved him) was with him. UNATCO was currently in shambles as Simons went on the witch hunt for spies and so on. Quite clearly, these things were not happening in that map...the only map that was loaded was the Champs Elysees, for example, yet it felt like the other characters were coming with you into the future. They were progressing with the story with you.

Compare this to Invisible War which had to feature linearity as it consisted of sequential maps. In this highway of linearity however, the devs tried to fit in this business about choosing your sides as you progressed. Essentially they tried to run a non-linear system within a linear game...and the result was that it didn't really mean anything if you completed a level for the WTO or for the Order because it was a sequential map progression and it was headed to the same ending point regardless. Not only that but the maps were so effing crowded and there were too many 'hub' maps and it looked too spacey (no good old chain link fences and crisp pistol fire, watch dogs and alley ways). Alex looked soft. The beginning was so confusing...a raid on Tarsus Academy...Academy with 5 people in it. I get out on the street and everyone is just walking around...there are two guards outside, "Hi, I just survived a f**king raid by religious wackos in that building right there. Why is everything going on as normal here?" Anyway...this is all disgustingly off topic.

My point is I want to play through a story and get my dose of non-linearity by uncovering (reading or talking about) clues concerning the conspiracy by exploring as the story progresses AND memorable side-quests and characters that develop alongside the main plot and come with me into the future as I progress. I do not want to play a choose-your-own-adventure book with meaningless alliance opportunities, poorly implemented game-play choices and protagonists with no sun glasses.

---

2. The World is Alive Whether You're There Or Not

The second thing ties into this and has to do with the importance placed on the character. I felt like in the original Deus Ex, JC Denton was a small piece of the puzzle who caused a problem for the conspirators by uncovering more about himself and about their plans than they wanted him to. As they progress to fulfilling their objectives, JC is in a race to foil their plans. He is a thorn in their side, you could say. This means that the missions in DX are reactive...in that they are in response to moves the bad guys are making. First you're chasing the terrorists and their Ambrosia...then you're avoiding your killswitch and are soon playing catch-up with the bad guys, trying to stop them. This whole reactive attitude helped create the illusion that there was actually some bad guy plot building up as you went through the missions...that is, the fact that you are always reacting to something the badguys are doing, makes it seem more real that the badguys are doing something.

Anyway, compare this to IW where you are the gem that everyone is after from the beginning. Everyone wants a piece of Alex Denton. You are the star. Progressing through the game without the feeling that you are reacting to the badguys and are hot on their trail makes it seem like the world is not moving until you get there and then it only comes alive when you are at that level whereas in the original game, the world felt very much alive outside of the current map you were on.

None of this is articulated all that well but it is late and wanted to finish it up so I can go to bed. I hope that makes sense - please comment.

Corpus
10th Jun 2010, 05:47
Hopefully people can see beyond TP and Health Regen when they read this, I would have to agree on all points although those few factors at the start still contribute somewhat to the game, Not as heavily as people are trying to imply though.

rhalibus
10th Jun 2010, 06:13
Very well put, Graeme. Sometimes it's difficult to extrapolate on the heart of Deus Ex; why it's so loved and respected. I also enjoyed the duality in which the developers provided the what and the player created the how. I hope EM is seeing the light.

Badmaker
10th Jun 2010, 09:35
Yeah, i have a feeling 3rd person cover system and health regeneration will ruin this game.
There are tons on health regeneration games, its the time when the developers must think of something else.
About FPS, its FPS, nuff said-classic, this doesnt require any changes.

JimHefti
10th Jun 2010, 12:10
Great post OP. You nailed a couple important points. While I think that health re-gen is a cop-out, I don't think using that system makes this game instantly horrible. And I don't know what could be used, as I also don't want to be hunting through levels for health-packs. IMO, there simply isn't an intuitive health system thses days that makes sense and everybody likes. As long as they avoid the "you've been shot, the screen is now red and black and splattered with blood" effect, I'll be fine.

With 3rd person cover, I feel as they are simply trying to over-come a weakness of stealth in FPS games. In Deus Ex, if you were sneaking, and you peeked around a corner and saw a guard, he would say, "I think I just saw something, a guy in a coat" and come investigate. In this, you should be able to take cover on a corner, and the camera will switch to 3rd person, so you see the guard, but he doesn't see you. You wait for him to turn his back and exit cover, shooting him, or move to another spot for cover if you're going for stealth.

Anasumtj
10th Jun 2010, 15:41
as I also don't want to be hunting through levels for health-packs

Please tell me at length how terrible you were at playing the first game.

Lady_Of_The_Vine
10th Jun 2010, 15:44
Please tell me at length how terrible you were at playing the first game.

*chuckles"
Yeah, if anything, there were too many medi-packs.
I guess the original game made health-management easy in that sense.

Graeme
10th Jun 2010, 16:35
As for health, the regen aug with a few upgrades is just ridiculous anyway plus there are enough biocells and health kit around to make it not a huge deal. Agreed that in this case, things like health regen and the cover system and so on are big deals...they don't make the game instantly a failure, like someone said above.

I think that if we imagine a cover system and health regen and that sort of thing in current DX maps and level design and so on...obviously it wouldn't work. I think the reason the devs are so adamant that they can pull it off, is because the level design and so on is more conducive to a cover system and health regen and that sort of thing.

Edx
10th Jun 2010, 16:48
With 3rd person cover, I feel as they are simply trying to over-come a weakness of stealth in FPS games. In Deus Ex, if you were sneaking, and you peeked around a corner and saw a guard, he would say, "I think I just saw something, a guy in a coat" and come investigate. In this, you should be able to take cover on a corner, and the camera will switch to 3rd person, so you see the guard, but he doesn't see you. You wait for him to turn his back and exit cover, shooting him, or move to another spot for cover if you're going for stealth.

But for me I hate 3rd person unless its a toggle and I dont have to use it.

I want to immerse myself in the world, I want to see what the character sees. If it switches to 3rd person I am now basically in some kind of GOD MODE where my third eye, for lack of a better term, can now see what my character cannot see.

This does not help immersion in a game for me.

Its like no clipping around a level, it ruins it.

Anasumtj
10th Jun 2010, 17:02
With 3rd person cover, I feel as they are simply trying to over-come a weakness of stealth in FPS games. In Deus Ex, if you were sneaking, and you peeked around a corner and saw a guard, he would say, "I think I just saw something, a guy in a coat" and come investigate. In this, you should be able to take cover on a corner, and the camera will switch to 3rd person, so you see the guard, but he doesn't see you. You wait for him to turn his back and exit cover, shooting him, or move to another spot for cover if you're going for stealth.

DO NOT WANT

Maybe this is just me being a crotchety, grumpy "vet" from an older generation, but I liked that enemies would detect me if I wasn't quick with my peeking. If you're going to be sneaky, you don't leave your head poking out the whole time. You take a quick glance, make sure the coast is clear, and progress forward. The fact that leaning wasn't a completely safe game mechanic that carried a potential risk made it interesting, and I liked those "Oh ****!" moments where you got spotted and had to double back or quickly intercept that mother****er holding the flamethrower before he wisened up.

Far more engaging and in-line with the "simulator" aspect of DX as opposed to this "lol i see u, but u don't see me" third-person, perfect cover system.

Rindill the Red
10th Jun 2010, 17:20
The original Deus Ex was not a game based around details like graphics, AI or even weapons (although when they did get those right it added immensely to the experience). Third-person, a cover system and health-regen will not make or break DX:HR...granted they are big details, they are details nonetheless and in my view there are more important things to consider. If the devs of DX:HR going to recreate the DX experience then there are two things have to get right.

Wow, great post OP. I also think that the immesive and engaging qualities of Deus Ex had a lot to do with the interactivity of the game world and narrative with the player. How it managed to put the player in the story and feel "real". There was a reactivity of the narrative/gaming world to the players actions with regards to his interactions with the various people and places. At the same time the player has to react, and is compelled forwards through the plot due to other characters actions and to what is going on in the gaming world. All the while it maintains a healthy dose of "realistic" freedom of action and openness while moving towards objectives.

Very cool! :thumb:

On the other hand, I think that switching to third person may harm the immersive qualities of the game. Sure, in Deus Ex you are stuck in first person with the various consequences. (Although really, I don't see a reason why a cover system can't be implemented in first person.) When you are stuck in first person, you can't "leave" the character you are playing and so you are more "in tune" with the roleplaying aspect of the game. It "puts you in" the character, rather than just letting you "control" the character. Seen?

JackShandy
11th Jun 2010, 05:08
Far more engaging and in-line with the "simulator" aspect of DX as opposed to this "lol i see u, but u don't see me" third-person, perfect cover system.

"lol i see u, but u don't see me" pretty much sums up the original Deus Ex system. After crouching right in front of a guy for a few seconds, the guard will look at you, ready his weapon, and say "Thought I saw something!" If you retreat around the corner, he'll say "I'm just imagining things." and go right back on patrol. That's just ridiculous.

Assumably, they'll make it so that the guards in HR actually see you instantly as soon as you come into their line of sight, to balance out the third-person cover. It'll make a lot more sense, in my opinion- and hopefully, they'll upgrade the AI so it's still just as hard.

Spartalk
11th Jun 2010, 06:30
wall-o-text

Anasumtj
11th Jun 2010, 07:29
"lol i see u, but u don't see me" pretty much sums up the original Deus Ex system. After crouching right in front of a guy for a few seconds, the guard will look at you, ready his weapon, and say "Thought I saw something!" If you retreat around the corner, he'll say "I'm just imagining things." and go right back on patrol. That's just ridiculous.

That was due to AI limitations. Third-person cover is a design choice that confers great advantages.

I ultimately find leaning to be a more interesting game mechanic than taking on the power of omniscience.

Graeme
11th Jun 2010, 17:46
1. Balance of Linearity

As someone said above, the summary of my point about linearity (see original post) is that the game decides 'WHAT' and the player decides 'HOW'. I think that people boast about the non-linearity of Deus Ex while failing to see that the plot progression is actually entirely linear.

I said in the original post that I think IW tried to make the game more non-linear by the whole 'choose who you work for along the way' thing. Yet the progression of the game still had to be linear, so it ended up not really mattering who you chose to work for. I've had second thoughts about that actually...could DX:HR still have you decide who you work for and maintain the same level of immersiveness as the original game? If it is done in a tactful way, I think it is possible...but the blatant-ness with which IW put those choices to you, right from the get-go in Seattle, was very poorly done. At the same time, a lot of the original immersiveness came from the idea that you were being pulled along by the story trying to stop what was unfolding...which, in terms of gameplay, manifested itself as deciding for you who you worked for along the way, not letting you choose. When you get to have that much choice (choices that have to be meaningless because the game has to be linear on some level), I think it ceases to feel like you're being pulled by the story.

In short, I think its best if DX:HR keeps the non-linear elements of the game to side-plots (e.g. Sandra Renton) and to the level design (which is standard DX policy). Trying to make the player feel like he can alter the main plot by choosing who he/she works for does not work in a game that has to be linear. Let us decide how we play the main plot and let us be affected by our decisions concerning side-plots. Decide for us the progression of the main-plot.

2. Environment/Weapons

The other thing I wanted to comment on, since we're talking about immersiveness is the fact that DX, thought it was in the future...felt very grounded in reality. Harvey Smith said something similar in that DX interview on YouTube...and that is that there is a balance of futurism but there are still environments we're familiar with, especially in those early levels. I think DX:HR can pull off the cyberpunk atmosphere, but it needs to still feel grungy and real...like the streets...not like the overly manufactured feel of Invisible War. Also on that note...I'm worried that the weapons are looking a bit too futuristic. When they start looking that slick, they don't feel as powerful and real when you fire them. I want it to be a big deal when I pull the trigger - loud and crisp...not like Crysis or something where I can just strafe through three guards with an assault rifle that doesn't have any balls.

Eager to hear everyone's thoughts on either of these topics.

Pinky_Powers
11th Jun 2010, 18:00
1. Balance of Linearity

As someone said above, the summary of my point about linearity (see original post) is that the game decides 'WHAT' and the player decides 'HOW'. I think that people boast about the non-linearity of Deus Ex while failing to see that the plot progression is actually entirely linear.

I said in the original post that I think IW tried to make the game more non-linear by the whole 'choose who you work for along the way' thing. Yet the progression of the game still had to be linear, so it ended up not really mattering who you chose to work for. I've had second thoughts about that actually...could DX:HR still have you decide who you work for and maintain the same level of immersiveness as the original game? If it is done in a tactful way, I think it is possible...but the blatant-ness with which IW put those choices to you, right from the get-go in Seattle, was very poorly done. At the same time, a lot of the original immersiveness came from the idea that you were being pulled along by the story trying to stop what was unfolding...which, in terms of gameplay, manifested itself as deciding for you who you worked for along the way, not letting you choose. When you get to have that much choice (choices that have to be meaningless because the game has to be linear on some level), I think it ceases to feel like you're being pulled by the story.

In short, I think its best if DX:HR keeps the non-linear elements of the game to side-plots (e.g. Sandra Renton) and to the level design (which is standard DX policy). Trying to make the player feel like he can alter the main plot by choosing who he/she works for does not work in a game that has to be linear. Let us decide how we play the main plot and let us be affected by our decisions concerning side-plots. Decide for us the progression of the main-plot.

2. Environment/Weapons

The other thing I wanted to comment on, since we're talking about immersiveness is the fact that DX, thought it was in the future...felt very grounded in reality. Harvey Smith said something similar in that DX interview on YouTube...and that is that there is a balance of futurism but there are still environments we're familiar with, especially in those early levels. I think DX:HR can pull off the cyberpunk atmosphere, but it needs to still feel grungy and real...like the streets...not like the overly manufactured feel of Invisible War. Also on that note...I'm worried that the weapons are looking a bit too futuristic. When they start looking that slick, they don't feel as powerful and real when you fire them. I want it to be a big deal when I pull the trigger - loud and crisp...not like Crysis or something where I can just strafe through three guards with an assault rifle that doesn't have any balls.

Eager to hear everyone's thoughts on either of these topics.

I agree with you completely.

Graeme
11th Jun 2010, 18:18
Actually? Or was that just you telling me not to type so much?

Pinky_Powers
11th Jun 2010, 18:45
Actually? Or was that just you telling me not to type so much?

I "actually" read it all. I wasn't going to, but you wrote out your thoughts in a very accessible way, and it kept me interested.

Graeme
11th Jun 2010, 22:15
I "actually" read it all. I wasn't going to, but you wrote out your thoughts in a very accessible way, and it kept me interested.

Touched to hear it.

Destroyerzero
13th Jun 2010, 07:30
The original Deus Ex was not a game based around details like graphics

I just wanted to say that when it was released, it was by far the most demanding PC game to install and run. It ran with 128x128 textures and higher, while Quake 3 Arena and Unreal Tournament both used a lot of 32x32 and 64x64 textures. 128x128 were common place in DeusEx, while not common place in other shooters.

I remember going from a TNT-Riva to a GEForce 3 Ti-200 and found that even with that, I did not get the maximum possible framerate to break 60 at 1024x768 with the current line of processors. The graphics were cutting edge and original as well. It wasn't until I got a Radeon 9800 Pro (and I knew others with Radeon 9700s) where they were able to run on everything maximum and maintain 60+ FPS. While on a GEForce 3 TI-200 I was able to maintain 60+ FPS in other shooters.

The attitude and detail behind the graphics really are what made the environments come out alive and look like a cyberpunk feel to it. Everyone remembers the statue of liberty without a head. A story is told, but graphics and gameplay represent the feel to that story. Anyone can run the original DeusEx today and still have some elements that are still ahead of its time and a completely different graphics scheme.

I loved walking to every bookshelf so you could read every newspaper, book and see if you can find anything. Even bags of chips and chocolate bars were items you could nab. Hacking ATMs, reading emails...and hearing that under the dark music the game had to offer was priceless. :)

Graphics + Detail + Attitude made it great. Here was my favorite ^_^

http://www.psujp.com/screenshots/smokes.bmp

Graeme
13th Jun 2010, 15:00
Well firstly, I was under the impression that DX graphics were not great, even at the time. I didn't play it when it first came out, so I can't support that with my own experience...that's just what I thought the consensus was.

That's besides the point, because the fact is that it remains a great game even now that the graphics aren't exactly comparable to something like Crysis. It remains a great game because of the other things I mentioned. Still, the way the textures and so on were implemented certainly has some merit to it...so point taken about that.