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Thread: DX1 was good because of a design flaw?

DX1 was good because of a design flaw?

  1. #1

    DX1 was good because of a design flaw?

    So, I have a pet theory about why Deus Ex is still so popular despite a decade of gameplay advances-- I think the designers may have hit upon something accidentally that's been lost to more careful and sophisticated game design: in DX1, it wasn't always clear what your options were for progressing through the game.

    Take the scene in the jet, for instance-- You have three options: Kill the rebel and complete your mission objective, stall and let Navarre do it, or murder Navarre and save the rebel. In a modern game, all three options would probably be clearly presented-- there might be a cutscene followed by three dialog choices, one of which would be something like "I can't let you kill him, Anna, even if I have to fight you.", after which you'd receive a new mission objective like "Kill Agent Navarre". Deus Ex, on the other hand, doesn't even make it clear that it's possible to kill Navarre, much less that the plotline will adapt to and reward your action, rather then just giving you an "Ally Killed; Mission Failure" screen.

    That's very bad game design by modern standards, and it wasn't even consistent- Gunther was unkillable just outside the hangar. But when I discovered that option, and some of the other less obvious plot paths, it made the entire game feel as though it would adapt to whatever I tried to do. It gave the illusion that the game was some sort of impossibly sophisticated sandbox, rather then just a railroaded plotline with a few multiple choice events.

    So, what I wonder about Human Revolution is: how well hidden are the alternate paths through the game, and will new paths be triggered by player actions, or just selected from a list of options?

  2. #2
    It's not good game design to tell you the outcomes of a situation, it's just modern day convention on game design. More consistency would be nice, but this should definitely not be "fixed"...


    Press "x" to save Lebedev and watch a cutscene...
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  3. #3
    artifex0:

    This may be one of the odder (I'm really restraining myself here) things I have read on these forums. Telling you everything beforehand is "good game design"? Actually letting you figure things out yourself, and choose based on your own psychology and philosophy (or the way you think JC would act) is "very bad game design"?
    "Isn't the universe an amazing place? I wouldn't live anywhere else." G'Kar, Babylon 5.

  4. #4
    Originally Posted by Fluffis
    artifex0:

    This may be one of the odder (I'm really restraining myself here) things I have read on these forums. Telling you everything beforehand is "good game design"? Actually letting you figure things out yourself, and choose based on your own psychology and philosophy (or the way you think JC would act) is "very bad game design"?
    Well, that seems to be the assumption among game designers these days. Games like the Mass Effect and Bioshock series go to great lengths to make sure you know what your main options are, and I think they're probably worse off for it.

    I suppose making your options unclear in Deus Ex could have been an intentional design decision-- it's probably even insulting for me to assume otherwise. Either way, I hope Human Revolution doesn't make it's non-linear paths too obvious for the sake of accessibility

  5. #5
    Originally Posted by artifex0
    I suppose the hidden options Deus Ex could have been an intentional design philosophy
    I think you can take that for granted...
    "Isn't the universe an amazing place? I wouldn't live anywhere else." G'Kar, Babylon 5.

  6. #6
    I wouldn't say it's bad game design. Rather the opposite. It's rather ingenious to be honest. You can call it something different than the norm of what other game developers were doing and still are. Thinking for one self in a game when you don't know what's going to happen was a great idea. When I had to kill Lebedev on the 747 the game surprised me and basically I did what I thought I'd do. I asked myself is this right? Should I kill this unarmed man just because some * ordered me to? I think the devs wanted to give you a real choice and decide right in that situation what would you really do.

    The only game flaw in terms of choice was when you save Paul or don't. Where it's more likely don't go out the window to save Paul or do and he dies or just accidentally die in the Ton and he lives. I killed everybody in the Ton and still went out the window. Not because I wanted him to die but because strategically why would I go out the front door where several UNATCO troopers are waiting for me. It was a ty placed trigger and hopefully won't happen in DX:HR

  7. #7
    Originally Posted by artifex0
    That's very bad game design by modern standards, and it wasn't even consistent- Gunther was unkillable just outside the hangar. But when I discovered that option, and some of the other less obvious plot paths, it made the entire game feel as though it would adapt to whatever I tried to do. It gave the illusion that the game was some sort of impossibly sophisticated sandbox, rather then just a railroaded plotline with a few multiple choice events.
    Good observation, Tim.

    Once you realize that Anna can be killed in the 747, you start wondering just how early on in the game you can kill her. You start wondering if, as you mention, you can kill Gunther as well. Manderley even? What's to stop you? By the time you get to the abandoned NSF base, you're totally convinced that you don't have to send the distress signal from the rooftop to the French at all.

    You see though, that's what gets me to play through the game a second, third...x time. It's not a total mood killer if I find out that you can't do any of these things. At that point - when I begin wondering just how far I can push the game - the barrier between what the game allows me to do and what I want to do dissolves. The game and the story become your own, and you feel like the choices you make are yours - because you're the one who came up with them in the first place - not told them through some obvious alternate dialogue choice or cut-scene that you have to watch when you reach a certain point *cough, hack, splutter.*

  8. #8
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    I'd call it engaging game design. Which, by the way, is part of the true definition of interractivity. When the player thinks of a possibility, and the game follows thorugh as if his possibility was the one solution destined for it, you create a connection that no "select your path" cheap design can possibly produce. Interractivity has nothing to do with the fact that you physically control the player or his actions. A book, a song, or hell, a painting, can be immensely interractive. It's all in the connections you create between the piece itself and the public that views it. I'd say a majority of games, in fact, are less interractive than many a book.

    The only "flaw" is that in two or three plot-changing instances the game didn't follow through to the possibilities many players had imagined and tried to convey.

  9. #9
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    Yeah, I'm actually annoyed that most modern games (Notably RPGs) don't allow for this. Mass Effect sort've had this going for it, due to the carry-over from decision made in the first to the second, but even that felt neutered and forced... I think if DX:HR can manage this particular detail, that could and probably will be it's saving grace for those who are reeling from the health regen and third person issues.
    "Square Root of 912.04 is 30.2... It all seemed so harmless..."

  10. #10
    Originally Posted by Romeo
    Yeah, I'm actually annoyed that most modern games (Notably RPGs) don't allow for this. Mass Effect sort've had this going for it, due to the carry-over from decision made in the first to the second, but even that felt neutered and forced... I think if DX:HR can manage this particular detail, that could and probably will be it's saving grace for those who are reeling from the health regen and third person issues.
    It would certainly go a long way, I can tell you that.
    "Isn't the universe an amazing place? I wouldn't live anywhere else." G'Kar, Babylon 5.

  11. #11
    I'll adapt to whatever the game-play if the story offers enough of these kinds of ambiguous "What if?"moments. However, in the absence of any substantial story, all that's left will be the game-play to dote upon and whether or not it delivers, but I doubt that events will conspire to be as such.
    Qu'est-ce que

  12. #12
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    Originally Posted by TrickyVein
    I'll adapt to whatever the game-play if the story offers enough of these kinds of ambiguous "What if?"moments. However, in the absence of any substantial story, all that's left will be the game-play to dote upon and whether or not it delivers, but I doubt that events will conspire to be as such.
    See, to me, the story HAS to be fantastic in this game. I can forgive gameplay decisions and all that, so long as the single player experience was memorable, which to me, typically comes down to the story. Now, an adaptive story is hard to pull off, but if properly executed, by far the most memorable, as it's yours.

    PS, loving the new signature. lol
    "Square Root of 912.04 is 30.2... It all seemed so harmless..."

  13. #13
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    Yeah, these days saving Lebedev would probably be a quick time event. That's not good game design. It's pampering to... I really don't have polite words for that category of gamers.

  14. #14
    Originally Posted by K^2
    Yeah, these days saving Lebedev would probably be a quick time event. That's not good game design. It's pampering to... I really don't have polite words for that category of gamers.
    Most developers like to call that pampering "accessibility". Everything nowadays has to be "accessible". Although the phrase should mean that it is easy to begin with gaming the meaning seems to have changed to hand-holding. Intuitive controls and a clear menu structure would be improving accessibility. Instead games incorporate quest compasses that guide you with unerring precision to whatever it is that needs to be done. Everything is clearly laid out in front of you. Most devs seem to think that "accessibility" should mean that a game can almost play itself.
    Rule 30: A little trust goes a long way. The less you use, the further you'll go.

  15. #15
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    Yes, when modern games like ME2 tell me beforehand what is likely to happen it ruins a lot of the fun of gaming. Better to leave things a mystery so when you do find out what happens you think it was you're idea.

  16. #16
    I totally agree with you artifex. I think people underestimate the greatness this mechanism added to the game. Even if I still hope DX:HR will keep this aspect of the first game, I really doubt it as it can creates for casual players a feeling of being lost in what to do... And we all know that one of the most important goal of Eidos Montreal is to make the game a popular hit commercially.

  17. #17
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    Originally Posted by Irate Iguana
    Most developers like to call that pampering "accessibility". Everything nowadays has to be "accessible".
    They really need a logo to warn hardcore gamers that the particular game is accessible. There isn't even a need to invent anything new. They already have a logo for places that are accessible. Just use that.




  18. #18
    Originally Posted by K^2
    They already have a logo for places that are accessible. Just use that.
    That made me lol.


    Trivia time; the word lol means fun in Dutch. Interesting to see how internet shorthand and real life can overlap.
    Rule 30: A little trust goes a long way. The less you use, the further you'll go.

  19. #19
    So what does rofl translate to?
    Qu'est-ce que

  20. #20
    Originally Posted by TrickyVein
    So what does rofl translate to?
    "bloody Belgians"
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  21. #21
    Originally Posted by K^2
    Yeah, these days saving Lebedev would probably be a quick time event. That's not good game design. It's pampering to... I really don't have polite words for that category of gamers.
    I would just call them part-time gamers; people who expect instant gratification, pretty graphics, big explosions and the like without having to exert any effort.

    Your statement re: the Lebedev encounter made me laugh because it seems like such a likely scenario. A shame, really.

  22. #22
    Originally Posted by artifex0
    So, I have a pet theory about why Deus Ex is still so popular despite a decade of gameplay advances-- I think the designers may have hit upon something accidentally that's been lost to more careful and sophisticated game design: in DX1, it wasn't always clear what your options were for progressing through the game.

    Take the scene in the jet, for instance-- You have three options: Kill the rebel and complete your mission objective, stall and let Navarre do it, or murder Navarre and save the rebel. In a modern game, all three options would probably be clearly presented-- there might be a cutscene followed by three dialog choices, one of which would be something like "I can't let you kill him, Anna, even if I have to fight you.", after which you'd receive a new mission objective like "Kill Agent Navarre". Deus Ex, on the other hand, doesn't even make it clear that it's possible to kill Navarre, much less that the plotline will adapt to and reward your action, rather then just giving you an "Ally Killed; Mission Failure" screen.

    That's very bad game design by modern standards, and it wasn't even consistent- Gunther was unkillable just outside the hangar. But when I discovered that option, and some of the other less obvious plot paths, it made the entire game feel as though it would adapt to whatever I tried to do. It gave the illusion that the game was some sort of impossibly sophisticated sandbox, rather then just a railroaded plotline with a few multiple choice events.

    So, what I wonder about Human Revolution is: how well hidden are the alternate paths through the game, and will new paths be triggered by player actions, or just selected from a list of options?
    so you mean the game should tell you you have several options, even though the game sells with the promise letting you solve problems in different ways, and you say the game also must tell you how to solve the problem in any other way than the given ?

    whats the fun in that ? I love when you have to figure things out yourself, and not get hand held all the time like some kid.
    I'm a thinking grown man, I don't need any one to tell me how to solve things and when I can solve things in any other way, believe me I can figure it out now.

    And how can something be considered hidden if the game points out where the hidden area is ?
    Lets hope they view us as grown adults and not kids needing to be guided all the time.
    Guy behind wall - 'I'm quitting my job as generic ingame thug tomorrow! to pursue my dreams as beeing a Tetris block instead!'

    Adam Jensen -'Well see about that!' *SMASH* *etc*

  23. #23
    Originally Posted by Pretentious Old Man.
    "bloody Belgians"
    Thank you, for making my "morning" (just woke up, but it's nearly 3 pm here).
    "Isn't the universe an amazing place? I wouldn't live anywhere else." G'Kar, Babylon 5.

  24. #24
    There is a point that accessibility just make me think that some games are made for an unspeakable kind of people; and this represents a lot of stupidities at the point that the games loose most of their interactivity. or even offer stupidities like quick time events and cousins of it. And I approve the K^2's idea, really some games really needs it.
    If you want to make enemies; just dumb something down
    The manderley song => http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WnBeglPl7s

  25. #25
    Originally Posted by Fluffis
    Thank you, for making my "morning" (just woke up, but it's nearly 3 pm here).
    Any time.
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