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Dreamshadow
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« on: October 13, 2005, 03:37:10 PM »

I would like some feedback from the readers on this article:

http://www.consolegold.com/News/news.php?NewsID=4071

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Thursday!Consider this situation:  You are standing on the engineering deck of the latest spaceship.  The ship is under attack by mysterious alien forces, and the main reactor is damaged.  If you don't do anything, it will blow in two minutes. You have everything you need to repair the reactor, but you don't know how the different pieces go together.

This kind of setup was common in the Infocom and Sierra adventure games.  You were the hero,  you had what it took to overcome any challenges, and the world was going to explode in two minutes.  Well...not really.  Older adventure games suffered from a serious flaw.  You could stand there figuring out the puzzle through trial and error over several hours, and the game would happily wait for you.  And this problem isn't limited to the older late 80s to mid 90s games.  In some cases, this persists into current adventure, RPG, and platform games.  The story would impose a time limit on you, but the world itself would sit and wait until you talked to the next important story character, or connected that importand widget to advance the plot.  This reliance on event based situations takes all the urgency out of the story.  You, the player, had no reason to be drawn in to the situation.  For some players, this can completely break the story or the immersion in the setting.

The upside to this event based planning is that the player can play the game at their own pace.  This allows for more puzzles that need to be thought out and carefully considered.  On the other hand, it would be interesting to have a game that ran in real time.  If a designer took a series like “24” and turned it into a game that took twenty four hours to play, you would have some very different adventure/action/mystery concepts on your hands.  They could use a branching structure that allowed for mistakes to be made, and/or allow for multiple plays through the game.  Maybe there could even be different endings for the game.

I would like to hear from you!  Would adventure/RPG/action games benefit from a real time concept?  Or does their dependence on events to drive the story appeal to you?  Please email me at [email protected]
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Tom "Dreamshadow" Tjarks
Aunt Wu: Care to hear your fortune, handsome?
Iroh: At my age there is really only one big surprise left, and I'd just as soon leave it a mystery.
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« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2005, 04:23:06 PM »

This was supposed to happen in Fable. If you didn't get your ass in gear, you may have found another set of adventurers leaving the dungeon (cleared of items and the treasure) and you could contratulate them, pout, or kick their ass and loot them.

As I see it, I'm all for games with reasonable time limits. I don't like the whole "keep-up" game, and a games time has to be tempered with the controller complexity.

Key plot points should be "missable" based on a reasonable time.
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"If it weren't for Philo T. Farnsworth, inventor of television, we'd still be eating frozen radio dinners." - Johnny Carson
Nth Power
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« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2005, 07:30:07 PM »

I don't really like imposed time limits that equal GAME OVER by not being fast enough.  Especially in adventure games where I like to have time to examine the surroundings and figure out the puzzle.  I suppose a time limit wouldn't be too bad if you could restart right away and there wasn't much hassle (a.k.a. frustration) getting back to that point, but generally I wouldn't enjoy it.
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bluntman72
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« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2005, 08:51:17 PM »

I dont enjoy time limits in games, especially RPG's and would not buy a game that had alot of timed situations. The only time I want to be racing against the clock is in a racing game.
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flyinj
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« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2005, 10:27:54 PM »

I HATE time limits in games. Especially games with an over-arching time limit.

I'm sorry, but what you've described sounds absolutely horrid. So, I'll invest about 20 hours in a game, just to find out I didn't do things fast enough and lose? My only option to restart the game and play 20 hours of content I've already seen?

No thanks.

The same thing happened to me in Star Control 2. I played for about 25 hours just to find out that I spent too much time building up my fleet and funds... and the game was impossible to win. To add insult to injury, there was absolutely zero indication or warning that there was a time limit.

(Don't get me wrong, though. Star Con 2 is still in my top 10 ever. But definately NOT because it had an arbitrary time limit imposed)
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