PDA

View Full Version : Open Environments



MrPibbs
5th Nov 2008, 04:19
My absolute favorite thing about the original Deus Ex was how open the environments were. With the proper augmentations, you could just romp around and explore. That's the greatest reward for getting augmentations, exploration. Invisible War really let me down in that regard. It just felt too polished and too claustrophobic.

I loved the feeling of walking around in Hong Kong, knowing that Maggie Chow was standing in her penthouse suite 20 stories up. There was no load time separating it into two areas, and the windows were right there. It was fun to think about possible ways to reach the top without using the elevator. That's what I love about Deus Ex. Just the overwhelming sense of freedom and possibility was fun.

So please, don't let me down in that regard. I know that Invisible War was designed around the limitations of the engine, but please consider this and don't sacrifice an open world for more fancy lighting effects and more polygons on a leather armchair.

GmanPro
5th Nov 2008, 04:30
Well they already stated that they are focusing on having very big very awesome levels.

I also want to have awesome levels to explore, so EM has made me happy with this. :D

spm1138
5th Nov 2008, 06:03
The engine they've chosen is already used in lots of games all about big open worlds and exploration.

I think this bodes well.

rockyrr
17th Dec 2008, 20:40
My absolute favorite thing about the original Deus Ex was how open the environments were. With the proper augmentations, you could just romp around and explore. That's the greatest reward for getting augmentations, exploration. Invisible War really let me down in that regard. It just felt too polished and too claustrophobic.

I loved the feeling of walking around in Hong Kong, knowing that Maggie Chow was standing in her penthouse suite 20 stories up. There was no load time separating it into two areas, and the windows were right there. It was fun to think about possible ways to reach the top without using the elevator. That's what I love about Deus Ex. Just the overwhelming sense of freedom and possibility was fun.

So please, don't let me down in that regard. I know that Invisible War was designed around the limitations of the engine, but please consider this and don't sacrifice an open world for more fancy lighting effects and more polygons on a leather armchair.

the same here friend ;)

Freddo
18th Dec 2008, 02:58
I loved the feeling of walking around in Hong Kong, knowing that Maggie Chow was standing in her penthouse suite 20 stories up. There was no load time separating it into two areas, and the windows were right there. It was fun to think about possible ways to reach the top without using the elevator. That's what I love about Deus Ex. Just the overwhelming sense of freedom and possibility was fun.
Totally agree with that :) Infact, I did a post about the very same thing on this forum a while ago, and mentioned too how awesome it is that there are no loading times between the street and the Maggic Chow apartment.

K^2
18th Dec 2008, 03:04
The engine they've chosen is already used in lots of games all about big open worlds and exploration.
Unfortunately, CD engine feels a little scripted in that regard. Most of the time, you explore following the paths intended by the devs. I like situations where the rules on which the game world is built lets you find paths that devs did not think of.

Basically, the first rule of open-environment world building is that if something looks like it can be used a certain way, it should be usable that way. Fallout 3 really felt like a let-down in that regard. The piles of rubble separating areas looked like you should be able to climb it, and yet... This kind of thing should not happen in a real open-environment world.

One of my favorite things about GTA III and GTA VC was looking for ways to cross to locked off islands. I found my own way of reaching VC's second island and III's 3rd island. One of the things I liked to do in GTA III is to get to 3rd island's safe house from start, and then do all of the missions from there, using the Dodo to move between islands. When I got my hands on GTA LCS I kept trying to do the same thing. I found a way to use a flipped car and a motorcycle to make the jump long enough to reach second island. I was sailing through the air, and it looked like I was going to land on the other side of the bridge. And then I hit an invisible wall. I quickly finished the game and never touched it again. These kinds of things should not happen in an open world.

(Edit: I'm a bit borderline on GTA SA's approach. I could get to any part of the world from the start, but it was an action challenge, rather than an exploration one. Once you know how to enter airport, you can get any item from any part of the map if you can out-drive, out-fly, and out-shoot the "guards". Still fun, but not quite the same.)

Unfortunately, TRU is littered with invisible walls. I don't know if EM will follow the same path, or find ways to make CD engine work without them. I really hope the later, but it would be achievement on part of EM, and little to do with the engine.

OuttaZyme
18th Dec 2008, 07:45
Basically, the first rule of open-environment world building is that if something looks like it can be used a certain way, it should be usable that way. Fallout 3 really felt like a let-down in that regard. The piles of rubble separating areas looked like you should be able to climb it, and yet... This kind of thing should not happen in a real open-environment world.

This bugged the hell out of me in Fallout 3, and I nearly stopped playing because of it. Where Deux Ex constantly amazed me with the things that I was able to do, Fallout 3 hit me with far too many WTF moments from the outset.

An example of this was the lockpick skill in Fallout 3; instead of using the skill rank to simply improve your odds of success at picking any lock (resulting in fewer expended resources), the ability to even attempt a pick was exclusive to specific skill levels. In this regard I much preferred Oblivion's and Morrowind's lockpicking mechanic, where you could sit there and bust picks all day long on an average lock if you wanted to, on the outside chance that you might just get lucky. Not so with Fallout.

I suppose this turns the lockpick skill into nothing more than a means towards conserving resources, but I like that in a game. Give me the choice to expend the picks, blast the thing open with a LAM or a rocket, find the key, or drop a piano on it. That's one of the things that makes Deus Ex so replayable, to this day; even if most of the choices boil down to nothing more than various aspects of resource management, there's still a choice.

singularity
18th Dec 2008, 09:53
My all time favorite memory of the first Deus Ex had nothing to do with the story, or a cool kill or anything of the such. On my first playthrough, in Hell's Kitchen, I had jumped over a fence and droped down an elevator shaft, and after a loading screen discovered that I had left an objective incomplete in the area behind me. I'm something of a completionist, so I was hell-bent on getting back.

It took me an hour, but I was able to gather enough trash, boxes and random items to build a huge set of stepping stones to get up the elevator shaft and then again over the fence. I completed my objective, and went back on my way. At that moment, I redefined what video games were capable of. I was able to go back somewhere I wasn't intended to -- not by exploiting a glitch or using a gameshark, but by being patient and clever and using the tools available within the game.

If DX3 can give me the same level of satisfaction, I'm sold.

K^2
18th Dec 2008, 11:39
Give me the choice to expend the picks, blast the thing open with a LAM or a rocket, find the key, or drop a piano on it.
The most important thing I learned from cartoons as a child is that Grand Piano's primary function is to be dropped on people and things. And then I started playing video games, and this essential element is nowhere to be found. I've dropped cars, crates, and other assorted heavy items on enemies in games of all sorts, but never a piano. I feel that a game that fixes that is long overdue. And where the hell are anvils, anyways?

It took me an hour, but I was able to gather enough trash, boxes and random items to build a huge set of stepping stones to get up the elevator shaft and then again over the fence. I completed my objective, and went back on my way. At that moment, I redefined what video games were capable of. I was able to go back somewhere I wasn't intended to -- not by exploiting a glitch or using a gameshark, but by being patient and clever and using the tools available within the game.
That's the thing that game devs have to keep in mind when designing levels. With enough crates, we can get anywhere. Unfortunately, most devs that do realize that are bent on stopping us, and they tend to use the worst of means - invisible walls. I say, if there is a way to beat the game by killing end boss in the first level simply by stacking every single crate on the level into one amazing tower, it's not a flaw of the game. Now, if I can do that with 1-2 crates, that's bad level design, but it still doesn't warrant an invisible wall.

Edit: Though, if invisible walls do end up getting used in the game, bonus points for character making an observation about "some sort of a force field," or a crack about IW when running into one.

Alai
19th Dec 2008, 02:41
I loved the feeling of walking around in Hong Kong, knowing that Maggie Chow was standing in her penthouse suite 20 stories up.

Haha, that was great I agree. Did you ever try to shoot a GEP gun on the exact window where Maggie was standing by? As the rocket hits, you'll hear a blood-curdling scream and then the window shards and human giblets shower down from up top. One of the most memorable game moment for me. :lol:

rhalibus
19th Dec 2008, 02:51
A famous example of the freedom of Deus Ex was when someone found out that you could stand on the LAMs when you stuck them to the wall...The player simply used two LAMs to climb up the Statue of Liberty and bypass the entire first part of the level.

This was definitely not a game flaw, but a reward for player ingenuity.

_.Frylock._
19th Dec 2008, 05:05
hm, never tried standing on lams, but really no need to bypass the first level, even on realistic mode it's still fairly easy. id like to see multiple or random guard routes. i must've beat dx1 at least 10 times, and probably closer to 15. it just becomes a practice of hitting all your angles and usual shots. with random guard locations or at least multiple spots it would make for way better replays.

NK007
19th Dec 2008, 13:38
I don't know about just how large the environ's should. There should be enough detail in there to make it more interesting. DX 1 hit that mark really well, DX 2 was just too claustrophobic. If DX 3 would have really large environments, and nothing in those environments, that would suck. For instance, if you look at a barracks, make it so that there are semi-naked pictures of ladies inside some footlockers, stains on the mattresses, blankets are a bit torn, the paint on the ceiling is peeling away, the windows are a bit messy, etc. etc.

Not everything has to be so clean and perfect as it so often is in gaming.

GmanPro
19th Dec 2008, 16:41
One of the things that I didn't like about Fallout 3 was that, it felt like you couldn't really interct with the environment that much. All you could really do was pick up objects/throw them around with cool physics. Which is cool too, especially when you start bumping into shopping carts and people hear you.

I'm making a mod for nwn2 and Im trying to focus of making everything seem highly interactive. Instead of having a dusty old ancient sarcophagus just chillin in a crypt waiting for someone to come loot it, I gave it a conversation. So now it tells you what your character is seeing and then gives you 4 or 5 options to proceed. Sometimes when people read things like that it tends to make them think more you know? Because I could just have easily (more easily infact) have just thrown a lock and a trap on it and call it a day. But that's just not as fun imo.

Jerion
19th Dec 2008, 17:16
Yeah. One of of the most impressive features I found in Crysis (and naturally, to a lesser extent in DX) was the ability to play with virtually anything you came across, form plates to rocks to metal crates. I would really like to see that in DX 3.

rhalibus
19th Dec 2008, 21:19
What I would really like Eidos to make sure is that not only do we have large, open levels; but the objects in the levels are fully searchable. The fact that you could directly open and search safes, lockers, and even desk drawers in Deus Ex really helped the immersion--regardless of whether there were hi-res textures or not.

Please, none of this Bioshock/Mass Effect/Fallout 3 "pseudo-immersion" in which you get an interface screen of objects when you open a locker...In Deus Ex the objects were actually placed by the level designers inside the locker, not in some reality-breaking database.

Radox Redux
20th Dec 2008, 01:03
The most important thing I learned from cartoons as a child is that Grand Piano's primary function is to be dropped on people and things. And then I started playing video games, and this essential element is nowhere to be found. I've dropped cars, crates, and other assorted heavy items on enemies in games of all sorts, but never a piano. I feel that a game that fixes that is long overdue. And where the hell are anvils, anyways?



Hitman: Blood Money my friend. It plays a lot like Deus Ex, there are many ways to assassinate your target, I usually go into levels without any equipment at all... just becuase you can. And yes... there's a grand piano you can rig to be dropped on someone.


As for open levels, I still think the definitive map in DX1 was the Warehouse District. That's the model I want the DX3 developers to follow, although I'd love more emergent gameplay concepts... opportunities cleverly hidden. Deus Ex didn't have enough hidden means... the only one I can think of that comes close is the bit on Liberty Island, where you can throw the explosive over the sunken ship and then.... BANG!

Big Orange
20th Dec 2008, 01:20
I'd have the boundries a location to be cleverly presented, with convincing barriers preventing you from walking off a map instead of having carboard boxes and flimsy chicken wire blocking the way of 6ft tall cybernetic killing machine that can punch holes into 3 inches of tungsten steel and lift ojects five times his body weight.

NK007
20th Dec 2008, 04:04
Hitman: Blood Money my friend. It plays a lot like Deus Ex, there are many ways to assassinate your target, I usually go into levels without any equipment at all... just becuase you can. And yes... there's a grand piano you can rig to be dropped on someone.


As for open levels, I still think the definitive map in DX1 was the Warehouse District. That's the model I want the DX3 developers to follow, although I'd love more emergent gameplay concepts... opportunities cleverly hidden. Deus Ex didn't have enough hidden means... the only one I can think of that comes close is the bit on Liberty Island, where you can throw the explosive over the sunken ship and then.... BANG!

What? Deus Ex is absolutely full of hidden means. FFS, someone finished the game with absolutely no items in the inventory. How divine is that for a game design?!

gamer0004
21st Dec 2008, 11:03
What? Deus Ex is absolutely full of hidden means. FFS, someone finished the game with absolutely no items in the inventory. How divine is that for a game design?!

Hey, it was without augs or skills too! :rasp: (though I wasn't the first... that was Alginon).

But hey, there has been a guy who finished the game without legs. And someone beat the game in 45 minutes. And I believe there was someone who wanted to finish the game walking backwards all the time, but I don't know whether he made it :P

Lady_Of_The_Vine
12th Jan 2009, 01:49
I'd have the boundries a location to be cleverly presented, with convincing barriers preventing you from walking off a map instead of having carboard boxes and flimsy chicken wire blocking the way of 6ft tall cybernetic killing machine that can punch holes into 3 inches of tungsten steel and lift ojects five times his body weight.

LOL, yeah. :D