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<  Design concepts  ~  Emotion and sacrifice?

Posted: Sat Sep 26, 2009 1:11 am Reply with quote
Joined: 26 Sep 2009 Posts: 7
Hey, this is my first post so hello I am Ollie.

Just a few things that have be on my mind lately. I was thinking about shootem up games and how I feel no remorse or sadness when I kill the enemy. The answer is obvious its because they are just a bunch of pixels on a screen. They are not real. This seemed interesting to me. I got thinking what makes something emotional. I came up with the very basics of this and they are.

Love, Hate and Fear

To explain these I shall use a few examples.
Imagine you and your friend are in the army. Suddenly all hell breaks loose, bullets whizzing past you bombs going off. You are scared not just scared your petrified however you look over your shoulder and see you best brined pinned down by a machine gun. That fear turns into something else which would be love for your friend and hate for the enemy. You would risk or even sacrifice your life to save your friend.

Now imagine if this could be incorporated into a game. Another example
You are a machine gunner you can see the enemy walking up the hill heading towards you, walking straight into your team’s ambush. Suddenly all hell breaks loose, bullets whizzing past you bombs going off. You’re shooting at a guy behind a rock then you see what appears to be a team mate trying to help him. He runs in to the open and try to distract you fire onto him for a while giving his friend enough time to get to better cover. You kill him. His friend runs from behind a rock. Collapses over the body crying and sobbing trying to drag him to safety, screaming “medic”.

What do you do now? Could you kill him? Would you aim your fire elsewhere?

Who knows they are just a bunch of pixels right?

Finally "fear". That sense of sacrifice made for your team mates. You’re not going to die it’s a game! But, you don’t want to see your AI friends die because seeing them crying and dragging the soon dead corpse out the way or hearing them screaming for their mothers could be enough for you to put yourself in danger just to help these bunch of pixels.

I don’t know if this would really make the player feel more emotion in a game but, I think it’s an interesting idea and should be thought about when developing a game.
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Posted: Sat Sep 26, 2009 12:17 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 12 Apr 2008 Posts: 176 Location: Finland
Yeah, in most games I can't kill a humanoid enemy if they don't attack me first because I start thinking that they have a family and friends waiting for them.
The monsters unfortunately don't wake such an emotion, because they are rarely portrayed doing such things as raising cubs or anything of the such.
They just lumber around looking for something to kill.

Now that I think of it, when people say games cause violence, it may have a little basis in reality:
The gamers learn to eventually suppress their pity and compassion towards the enemy, because the game punishes them if they don't. Eventually, this feeling of compassion won't even arise.
I'd be very interested in a game where the game rewards your feelings of compassion and if you take the risk of not shooting first.

(Yes, it only parallels your post, Ollie. Sorry about that. Razz)
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Posted: Sun Sep 27, 2009 12:52 am Reply with quote
Joined: 26 Sep 2009 Posts: 7
I dont think that you could dismiss my post because you feel bad when killing a humanoid enemy. I happily go around GTA shooting people whilst 50 foot in the air because I know its a game and its fiction. I dont think im talking for a minority aswell. If you feel like they have a family waiting for them and hesitate to kill them what would you do if you saw they screaming in pain for that family? You could feel guilt.

I am not saying this should be brought into games its just an intersting concept worth thinking about.

It could also make a game less enjoyable because who wants the guilt of killing people when you havent even killed anybody?

Not me.
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Posted: Sun Sep 27, 2009 3:44 am Reply with quote
Joined: 23 Sep 2007 Posts: 612
I would play a game that did that.

I consider myself a gamer, but I stick almost exclusively with psychological horror. Why? Because those are the ones that actually make an effort to connect emotionally with the player. Horror tries to make many of it's characters seems human so you smile when they survive, feel remorse when they die, or cringe at their horrific struggles. I think I enjoy that because...hehe, I'm so happy most of the time, and that allows emotional variety without real risk. Not that there's anything wrong with shooters and puzzle games and the like, but I like some intellectual and/or emotional depth to go along with twitch reflex practice.

If someone makes a shooter like the one you describe, Ollie, I will play it.

On a barely relevant note: If you're looking for something that really tries to depict the horrors of war (as your example does), I'd recommend anything by Jonas Kyratzes. All very basic, but no less poignant. I actually thought The Great Machine was the most moving, and it's all in text.

Forgive the plug. Your example brought his works to mind.[/url]
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Posted: Sun Sep 27, 2009 9:51 am Reply with quote
Joined: 12 Apr 2008 Posts: 176 Location: Finland
No I didn't mean NO ONE would not feel bad killing people, I meant that !I! do. Surprised When I played GTA (Yes I've played it too) I couldn't steal a car if someone was driving it, because I would start thinking "How will they get home?" I couldn't shoot anybody.

Also, I was all for your idea, I just wanted to say that there are people who feel that way already even with the game punishing you. Razz I think it should be brought into mainstream just because kids these days aren't really learning what it means to kill somebody. (Or is it healthy if someone starts messing around in your voice chat, and you (as a under 14 years old kid) threaten to come and kill them? Some even explicitly describe HOW they will kill the one person who annoys them.)

I want the guilt of killing, because that way I can be affirmed that killing is wrong, but only having the guilt is not good- The game should also reward you for taking prisoners, too. Like I said in an earlier post.

So, that's that. I didn't mean to dismiss anything you said. Razz
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Posted: Sun Sep 27, 2009 1:48 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 26 Sep 2009 Posts: 7
Instead of the enemy AI having feeling if you could grow a strong bond towards you allies then that could bring even more emotion. Imagine seeing your "friends" die to the hand of the enemy you would feel awful almost blame yourself and you would hunt down the guy that killed them and probs not feel much emotion when killing him.

Could it be possible to make such a strong bond towards your fellow ally that if they died you could actually feel really upset and even cry?

I know what I am saying is easier said than actually done. However like I said this should be looked in to more when developing a game.
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Alex H
Posted: Sun Sep 27, 2009 4:10 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 20 Jul 2009 Posts: 47 Location: Baltimore, MD, USA
I'm not sure which is worse: a game that portrays violence in the way that it is portrayed in games now or one that portrays it for what it is?

The later could produce a terrifying, disturbing, but brilliant, experience.

Suprisingly, the only game that I've played that's gotten close to this was Halo, since the AI in that game is based off of emotions. For example, if you were to throw a sticky grenade onto one of the larger aliens, he'd yell in frustration and try to beserk the player before dying. One of the smaller more cowardly ones would yell "oh no, not again!" and scurry away. I did feel guilty sometimes at killing the little guys, so guilty that I tried to spare them whenever I could.

However, the repetition of this behavior, the AI's tendency to shoot at you regardless of your attitude towards them, and the non-human aspect of the aliens didn't make their behavior as powerful as it could have been.

As far as the relationship between the player and their allies, there were three instances in which I've been affected by the death of a friendly character: in Shadow of the Colossus when the player's horse, Agro, falls into the ravine, in Half Life 2: Episode 2 when Eli Vance is killed by the floating slug monster, and in Passage, when the wife dies.

In SotC, most of the game was spent on horseback. To create a realistic companion, the horseback controls did not directly control the horse: they directly controlled the player, which caused a delayed reaction on the horse's part. In addition, the horse had a mind of its own off the saddle. If he's near an oasis, he'll walk over to drink. If a giant monster stomps its foot in front of him, he'll freak out and run at top speed to a safer location. Its hard for a relationship not to form with the horse throughout the game.

HL2 E2 used a similar approach, but not as well. Since the game remains in first-person during the would-be 'cutscenes', the player had an intimate relationship with the character. In addition, the facial animation, script, and acting were pretty decent for a game. But it his execution that was most powerful. He dies in the grasp of an alien with his daughter watching him. Both of them know he's going to die, but like a real father, he still tries his best to reassure to her that everything's going to be alright. He tells her he loves her, he dies, the aliens leaves, she rushes to him sobbing, and the game ends, leaving you with that.

I don't know why the woman's death in Passage affected me so much though. In that case, she was literally nothing more than a bunch of pixels. Crazy, huh?
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Posted: Sun Sep 27, 2009 6:04 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 26 Sep 2009 Posts: 7
You have brought up an intersting poing. Animals it is alot easier to create an emotional responce from animals.

Fable 2 does this with you dog. You feel really bad when your little fury friend dies.

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Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 8:39 am Reply with quote
Joined: 04 Dec 2008 Posts: 154 Location: Sweden
Just play lose/lose (if you've got a Mac) and you'll be crying loudly when you notice what files were deleted.
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Posted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:05 am Reply with quote
Joined: 11 Jun 2007 Posts: 66
I was actually thinking about this recently after watching part of a war movie. Even these very action-oriented movies play on human emotions and attachment and such in a way that the most emotionally sophisticated games fail to do.

I'm not sure yet what it would look like in a game, but yes, the emotional attachment to your allies is probably the easiest place to start.
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Posted: Sat Oct 30, 2010 10:05 am Reply with quote
Joined: 23 Mar 2009 Posts: 129 Location: In the forest grove.
When I play violent shoot-em-up games, I really don't think about my enemies families or feel fear for my own character's life. If you were really living and fighting in the war, it would be far more dramatic because you were fighting for your life, and your bullets could end the life of another. Within a game, you are simply following the objective, and the game will not reward you for compassion.

When I read discussions such as this and others, it reminds me how many games in the market are based on violence, and I'm kind of tired with it. When game developers are coming up with their game, are they going to go out of their way to produce a peaceful game with deep meaning and emotion towards you and your enemies? No, they'll produce the stuff they always do. I want to see more stuff like what's here with Tale of Tales out in the world.
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Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 1:30 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 21 Dec 2011 Posts: 1 Location: Carthage, Missouri
I maybe too sensitive or what of what the title says.... Emotions and sacrifice as of what Philippines had gone through the typhoon Washi.... Many were dead and missing from Mindanao as the rain fall on the middle of the night were most of them are asleep. Sorry about this!!! Got emotional Smile Smile Smile

George Shelter
Ambit Energy , Sales Consultant
Carthage, Missouri
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