View Poll Results: what is better in a game non linear or linear stories?

Voters
79. You may not vote on this poll
  • yes, linear is the best type of story.

    10 12.66%
  • do'nt care as long as the story is good.

    22 27.85%
  • yes, non-linear is the best type of story.

    47 59.49%
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Thread: linear or non-linear stories?

linear or non-linear stories?

  1. #1

    linear or non-linear stories?

    What kind of story is the best, linear or non-linear strories. Like metal gear solid is linear and deus ex is non linear stroy. What would be the best type of story for a game??? please give your comments, Thanks

  2. #2
    Non-Linear is by far the best; I love it because it is FAR more realistic than completely linear. I love having that go anywhere, do anything capability that you had in Deus Ex. Other good features are the choices you made that changed the ending, or even some things before then (like killing Navarre on the NSF plane or helping Paul at the Hotel). It's just the perfect way to make an FPS.

  3. #3
    Non-linear, if done well, is a lot more immersing because you -chose- to do this or that. We are still really far away from totally non-linear games... GTA3 is a non-linear game, but every player will make the same missions eventually. What I'm talking about is a game where just about everything is caused by the player's actions, of course it would need a system which would generate the content (missions, objectives, whatever). I'm dreaming, so I might as well go on : in dialogue, there would be a voice recognition system which would analyse your tone and the meaning of what you said, and it would generate the appropriate answer considering what you said and the personality of the person you're talking to, then process it, complete with adjustments to give the character a unique voice.

    Like I said, I'm dreaming...

  4. #4
    Well, Lawnboy, that would be REALLY cool. A game based on everything you do and the opponents and enemies respond accordingly and customizing your character so deeply that he has even a unique voice... wow. But, although we are quite far off, I'm satisfied with the non-linear gameplay presented in DX. All I want to see is that built upon in DX2- and a little more character customization, AT LEAST as far as appearance goes...

  5. #5

    Character apperances

    LOL i agree Jeff heheh

  6. #6
    Theres still nothing wrong with linear games. I voted neutral. Deus Ex was based on its... non-linearness. A game like Enter the Matrix is based on beating the out of people. A game like Metal Gear Solid is based on tactical espionage action (hence its subtitle). As long as the concept is good, and the story as well, then I say it'll be a good game.

  7. #7
    Deus Ex was not based completely on its "non-linearness." Much of it was the interaction between NPC and player, stunning graphics, long gameplay, appealing HUD, multiple endings, character development, great story, and a number of other things. It's non-linear gameplay just was one, and a main reason why it was great. It seems that the public generally likes to take time to explore such beautiful environments.

  8. #8
    Deus Ex was not based completely on its "non-linearness." Much of it was the interaction between NPC and player, stunning graphics, long gameplay, appealing HUD, multiple endings, character development, great story, and a number of other things.
    The game was not based on:
    -who you talk to next
    -walking around cities for a look at things
    -spending as much time as possible playing the game
    -looking at the pretty colors you can change the HUD to,
    -(sadly) seeing what ending you'll get after all the time you've played
    -or doing tasks for the sole purpose of making yourself stronger.

    I couldn't say the game wasn't based on a story because it wouldn't make sense, but it is based on it's non-linear gameplay. Ion Storm made it so you'll be faced with doing key things at key moments and choosing the way you want to play.

    (i.e.)You don't feel like running through the front door with your assault shotgun blazing? Fine, go to the roof and crawl through the ventalation system until you get to where you want to go.

    You move through the game looking for another non-linear thing to do while advancing yourself through the story. Period.

  9. #9
    The thing is that Deus ex is totaly non linear, cuz you could do whatever you wantet at whatever time you wantet, You can say that you could not travel to other destination, Thats logic, you id not have a way to travel on, Well do you always have that???? Lets not forget that you do aint a cop that could leave work at 4. and dont think about work, you where in the story, so surely you had to do something to get the next area, cuz it would not make sence to travel to Hong Kong at the beginning of the game! You also went where the chopter went, so you could not decide where to go, since that did the pilot! And he is a computer carachter, not a human!!!!!

  10. #10
    You arent always in charge of your real life either, are you????

  11. #11
    Trollslayer Guest
    As much as i liked DX its somewhat linear story path put me a bit down. I found more fun on the path branching each level provided.

    On an aside, what i like most depends. If a linear story has a good emphasis on story and has path branching (like DX1), i'm good for it. If on the other hand it presents a non-linear storyline but has path converging, i also might like it. Depends, mostly.

  12. #12
    Well, the idea is that you helped to choose the outcome of the story. And as rebuttal to theDerf's comments, I did not mean the entire game was BASED on these aspects, but it was rated highly BECAUSE of these aspects. You cannot truthfully say the game would've been even nearly as highly rated, fun, or moving without even one of these aspects. That is what made this game great- the perfectly flawless integrating of all of these things.

  13. #13

    Post good idea

    as I read all the posts here I came over the idea:
    non-linear game could be only multiplayer [but unfortinately the main objective "kill opponent" bleibs stehen] where every person [even a kid] is a player.

    to make the player actions non-linear as much as possible the story should be linear, for example, the time goes on in the game, the days change, every day Alex receives new objectives, if not completed, for example, you left the game running and did not complete any objective the "boss" would fire you -> game over. But such gameplay comes with it's negative side - as the story never changes the player could save and load and prevent many happenings, like terrorist attack [Minority report], save ppl from sniper attack and whatever happens in the game
    of coure, Alex could go as a bad guy

  14. #14
    This may have allready been said allready, but it largely depends on what the story actually is. It can be either way, I mean, Halflife had a linear story, it was great. Daikitana had a linear story, it was crap. Green? Super green?

  15. #15
    well, i don't mind eitherway. Like MGS1 was linear but was really fun to play and uncover the story. And also Silent Hill, Silent Hill 2 was really fun also and that was linear. I think if the story is great, than i am all for it.

  16. #16
    Ok, a game that is linear, can be perfect, but also the other way, it comes on to what you like, and dont, and how well the game is! what is it point exactly, one point in deus ex, is that you should interact whit your eviroment, and that you could kill whoever you want, and dont kill anyone!

  17. #17
    Well, a game can be linear on different levels. The story can be linear, with only one ending, but also have non-linear levels. Medal of Honor had really linear levels, and the feeling of being on a rail was bad for the immersion.

  18. #18
    yes, it's the same thing for Max Payne and Enter the Matrix, not only have you a linear storyline, but inside every level, you have only one way to go from point A to point B, it's like running in a corridor, with moving target on the way.

  19. #19
    Interactive storytelling has a long way to go in games. I have yet to see a "non-linear" story that is truly non-linear - Deus Ex was in effect a linear environment in that each mission had to be completed in sequence and key parts of the story line were completely fixed. It was, however, FAR more flexible during play than, say Metal Gear.

    The single most important story feature from Deus Ex was not the story - it was the ability for a player to have the story play out successfully regardless of how the player decided to approach the game (rocket toter, ninja sniper, etc.).

    I'd love to see feedback on whether anyone would be truly interested in a *real* interactive story - one where the story truly changes based on what you do. As one example of how DX did NOT have this (but what I would like to see) is:

    At the point you have to chose between staying with UNATCO or leaving to work with the "terrorists", you have no options. A real interactive story would let you stay with UNATCO and the next mission(s) would be sensible for that, while continuing to show the clues that UNATCO is a front.

    I work in the industry, and I know the conventional arguments about *real* interaction - but what do you all think?

  20. #20
    Actually, Deus Ex was almost completely linear, you had no real say in the way things went, other than picking the ending and a few minor elements.

    Deus Ex was about the freedom to do what you liked between mission segments, but at the end of the day, there was no character development and you could not change the course of the story, other than a few, simple yes or no options, such as, "Does Paul survive?", "Does Maggie Chow die in her apartment or in VersaLife?", "Does Jock survive?", etc, etc. No matter your choices on these things, they did not affect the outcome of the story line to a degree where you could say that the game was anything but linear.

    If they could give DX2 more freedom and add some levels of non-linear to the gameplay and storyline that would be great, but DX was not non-linear. You could simply take different paths to the same result.

    (I just noticed the post before mine basically said this)

  21. #21
    Originally posted by TheDerf
    The game was not based on:
    -who you talk to next
    -walking around cities for a look at things
    -spending as much time as possible playing the game
    -looking at the pretty colors you can change the HUD to,
    -(sadly) seeing what ending you'll get after all the time you've played
    -or doing tasks for the sole purpose of making yourself stronger.

    I couldn't say the game wasn't based on a story because it wouldn't make sense, but it is based on it's non-linear gameplay. Ion Storm made it so you'll be faced with doing key things at key moments and choosing the way you want to play.

    (i.e.)You don't feel like running through the front door with your assault shotgun blazing? Fine, go to the roof and crawl through the ventalation system until you get to where you want to go.

    You move through the game looking for another non-linear thing to do while advancing yourself through the story. Period.
    I wouldn't say it's BASED on its non-linearness, (if that's a word) but it was definately a major feature of the game. It was BASED on the life and adventures of JC denton i guess...

  22. #22
    Non-linear stories tend to be fairly weak. That's because the story has to be able to accomodate a wider range of role-players. A few nonlinear-type games have managed to create a great story, like Planescape:Torment, but they are kind of rare.

  23. #23
    Uh, while I thought Deus Ex was the best game I've ever played, it had a pretty linear storyline, and the fact that it had levels, much like most other First Person Shooters had levels, levels you couldn't go back to, it doesn't really have any more of a "go anywhere, do anything" feel to it than a game like Goldeneye or Doom has. You could do quite a bit, yes, but to say it had that kind of feel to it is stretching things a bit.

    Deus Ex had open-ended gameplay, where you could tackle one obsticle in various ways. That's not non-linearity.

    Morrowind let you go anywhere and do anything. I've never played it, but judging from reviews and watching my friends play, Grand Theft Auto lets you go anwhere and do anything.

    Anyway, as for the poll, I don't know. I like them both, depending on their execution. But an open ended world seems more suited for online multiplayer games, like MMORPGS. It's always fun to run around doing whatever you want, but I think the comparitive advantage single player games have over massively multiplayer games is it's capacity to present a deep, focused, well paced narrative. And with that said, I guess I'll go with linear stories... with open-ended gameplay.

  24. #24
    Trollslayer Guest
    Originally posted by El Padrino
    Uh, while I thought Deus Ex was the best game I've ever played, it had a pretty linear storyline, and the fact that it had levels, much like most other First Person Shooters had levels, levels you couldn't go back to, it doesn't really have any more of a "go anywhere, do anything" feel to it than a game like Goldeneye or Doom has. You could do quite a bit, yes, but to say it had that kind of feel to it is stretching things a bit.


    I believe that DX had a linear storyline, with few branching points. The true non-linear aspect of the game was how you could go about, and finish, levels. You could kill everyone on Liberty Island, or just avoid them. You could stun them, or snipe them. You could give Gunther a weapon, or let him fend for himself. Not forgetting your decision of which skills and augs to use/upgrade. Your decisions trough the fixed levels were what was non-linear.

    Deus Ex had open-ended gameplay, where you could tackle one obsticle in various ways. That's not non-linearity.


    Actually, it is non-linearity from a gameplay point of view, but its not non-linearity in terms of game advancement.

    Morrowind let you go anywhere and do anything. I've never played it, but judging from reviews and watching my friends play, Grand Theft Auto lets you go anwhere and do anything.
    Morrowind and GTA are slightly different in their approach to open-endness. Morrowind puts you in a vast gameworld (a vast island, that is ), and the vast majority of said island is open to you. Whats not open, you can lockpick, or find quests that deal with any closed off location. But it relies heavilly on a player's own exploration focus. The big problem with MW is that the main storyline in itself isn't that great - and since you can lose yourself in other quests, you lose focus. Had the story been more interesting, or the game had been shorter in size and bigger on story-focusing, it could've avoided being so boring at times.

    GTA on the other hand is and isn't linear. You can walk all over around the city, jack and drive cars, boats and even a plane, kill pedestrians, policemen and gang members. You can find and buy guns and overall do what you will. However, it has limitations - you can go anywhere but not everything will be open to you, no matter what you do. For instance you won't be able to enter buildings at any time (except for construction yards, garages or in cutscenes).

    The game structure itself puts you on one part of the city to begin with - after doing certain missions, the way to the other part of the city will open up. The same happens for all 3 parts of the city. The game is mission based, and while you can decide at times who you work for, the main-story missions have to be played out for the story to progress (and for the island to be completely unlocked). And the gameplay itself is more about car theft (as the name implies) and completing missions while driving, though that doesn't exclude missions where you can walk and do things. But since the maps are smaller, more populated and with more action, the game, while less open-ended as Morrowind, gives more immediate fun playing it. The fact that there are diverse missions and combat can be more strategic than MW's, it racks up more points in fun.

  25. #25
    Originally posted by Trollslayer

    Actually, it is non-linearity from a gameplay point of view, but its not non-linearity in terms of game advancement.

    Agreed -- I think that's the fundamental point that's missing in a lot of this thread. I think we'd all agree that, while games with completely linear gameplay can be interesting, games are more fun the more different ways there are to finish individual objectives. Ideally, a game would have a engine detailed enough that you could McGyver together solutions to any given objective all day.

    However, non-linear story is a completely different idea. While it's true that some stories are compelling purely because of the world they're in, and that just walking around in that world would be enjoyable, I contend that most stories are compelling because of the choices the characters make. Crime and Punishment is not interesting because of the world Raskolnikoff lived in, but because of what he did, and the effect it had on him.

    Similarly, to the extent that a game's story branches, it will diminish the time that the authors have to spend on any particular story line, and, in all likelihood, the impact of each story line as well. Of course, in an ideal story line, the writers of a game would have the time to develop a spiderweb Nobel-prize winning storylines for each game. This world is far from that ideal, though.

    A common claim is that linearity gives games a forced and less enjoyable experience. I disagree. Linearity in solving individual objectives is certainly annoying -- it makes sense that I can kick over the trash can. If I can't, the gameplay is diminshed. On the other hand, if my character has been believably set up as a tough-guy cop who believes that the best way to deal with perps is to off them all up front, and in a cut screen he then misses a shot and kills the widow, I don't feel annoyed that I didn't get to try the shot myself; the action made sense in the context of the story, I accept it, and I'm interested to see where the story goes next.

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