Mass Effect 3 announced - HOLY SHIT

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Re: Mass Effect 3 announced - HOLY SHIT

Post by Mr. Smith » Fri Apr 06, 2012 17:16

All of you are fucking homos.
The ending was fine (well the green ending) On the massive scale of things, yeah it did suck that a lot of your choices really didn't matter, BUT WHEN THE GALAXY IS BEING INVADED BY A FORCE SO STRONG IT CAN WIPE OUT ALL ADVANCED LIFE, then choices like that don't matter. You gave your live to save the galaxy, it was the only choice, the fleet couldn't defeat the Reapers, they were too advanced, too large in numbers. Sometimes choices in the past don't really matter, it's the choice you make in the now that does. Sheperd was always going to die, he/she was always going to give their life to save the galaxy, nuff said.
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Re: Mass Effect 3 announced - HOLY SHIT

Post by Saladin » Fri Apr 06, 2012 21:41

I agree with you. The only thing about it that I thought was bad was that the actual visuals are the same across endings, that it was all kind of lazy and that they don't have any sort of epilogue for the other characters.

Otherwise, I thought they were ok. Or at least not nearly as bad as they're made out to be.
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Re: Mass Effect 3 announced - HOLY SHIT

Post by Ransom » Sat Apr 07, 2012 03:01

Mr. Smith wrote:SOMETIMES CHOICES DON'T MATTER
the only reason any of those choices were even made was precisely because they were supposed to affect the outcome. you're just advocating bad game design here.

don't make your game about choices if they're just fake choices.

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Re: Mass Effect 3 announced - HOLY SHIT

Post by Saladin » Sat Apr 07, 2012 03:18

To be fair, that's a really easy argument to make as a consumer.

Most choices in most choice-based games don't matter, and that's ok! Plenty of amazing games give you six dialogue options that essentially do absolutely nothing, such as VtM:Bloodlines. But you never even notice.

That's because constructing the illusion of choice is often the better way to go about it since all choice really does is assist immersion.

Having a game with no trivial choices is an unbelievably difficult feat to pull off, one that, as far as I'm concerned, no one has even come close to. Which is not surprising seeing as how It's mathematically absurd since you have essentially an exponential expansion every time you want to add a meaningful choice that isn't essentially another line of dialogue or some levels swapped around.

Saying it's "bad game design" is kind of like saying using CG in an epic movie is "lazy." Well, ok then, I guess they totally should have gotten ten thousand extras with makeup on instead right?

Even if you do that, there's no guarantee it will make your product more interesting as a result.

In that sense, you have to be realistic about what games are and what they can actually accomplish. Otherwise the criticisms aren't grounded in anything..
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Re: Mass Effect 3 announced - HOLY SHIT

Post by Ransom » Sat Apr 07, 2012 09:15

Saladin wrote:Having a game with no trivial choices is an unbelievably difficult feat to pull off, one that, as far as I'm concerned, no one has even come close to. Which is not surprising seeing as how It's mathematically absurd since you have essentially an exponential expansion every time you want to add a meaningful choice that isn't essentially another line of dialogue or some levels swapped around.
you keep strawmanning. quit it. nobody said anything about having no trivial choices! of course that's silly. the issue is there are no significant choices.

the bloodlines comparison doesn't work. as you said, nobody is bothered when that game disguises one choice in six dialogue options. that's because the game sells it. the tremendous furor over ME3 makes it pretty clear that ME3 didn't sell it at all: three arbitrary endings would've been an easier pill to swallow if an effort had been made to wrap them up in a package that had the flavour of your prior choices coming to a head, but this effort wasn't made.

your choices are reduced to numbers. that's fine. the problem is they feel like it. also, bioware themselves have already handled consequence in a compelling way elsewhere in this very series, so i don't know where you're going with this angle.
Saying it's "bad game design" is kind of like saying using CG in an epic movie is "lazy." Well, ok then, I guess they totally should have gotten ten thousand extras with makeup on instead right?
that analogy doesn't connect. maybe you misunderstood what i meant when i said bad design.

the series, if it's about anything, is about player choice enacting consequence in the narrative. the ending is designed perpendicular to that philosophy, and not in an intentional, juxtapositional way either. that is bad design.

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Re: Mass Effect 3 announced - HOLY SHIT

Post by Saladin » Sat Apr 07, 2012 19:19

I'll agree that the ending could have been done better, but you're not listening to what I'm saying. The analogies do work here.

Creating "meaningful" choice, along with being a subjective judgment some minority of fans will always be let down by, is an unbelievable amount of work.

Can you imagine if literally every important choice you made across all the games mattered in each ending? Obviously, at least a few of them should, but think how badly things branch out even when you only have, say, six binary choices. That's something like 2^6 ending paths assuming the choices don't cancel out. That's 64 different ending paths to create if you meaningfully address all of those choices.

My argument was mainly addressing the ease at which you say something like that, not ME3 specifically. Obviously, the different colored endings are really lazy and I'm glad they're actually going to attempt something competent.

But all "choice" based games usually have only a few choices that actually matter to the ending, with all other choices simply affecting local paths. Because it's an explosive mathematical procedure to have even more than 3 choices affect the ending.
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Re: Mass Effect 3 announced - HOLY SHIT

Post by Ransom » Sun Apr 08, 2012 01:39

no sir you are the one who is not listening! nobody's asking for 'literally every important choice you made across all the games' to matter. i already said that was silly. i understand the exponential complexity choice adds, please stop behaving like this is some secret wisdom. i made a choice-centric game, god damn it, i know this first-hand.

game developers are clever dudes and choice in endings is generally handled very smartly. new vegas is a recent example that is terribly ingenious about choice and consequence. it's a pity you haven't played the witcher, because it succeeds exactly where ME3 fails.

it is easy to say because ME is about choice and they panicked and fumbled its own design premise at the last minute, because the series promised something it for whatever reason was unable to deliver. not because i view implementing meaningful choice as somehow easy.

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Re: Mass Effect 3 announced - HOLY SHIT

Post by Saladin » Sun Apr 08, 2012 06:05

I'm not defending the quality of the ending, like I said, I was just making a larger point.

I don't know about the Witcher, but you bringing up New Vegas is a good idea of what I'm talking about. There are essentially three endings, each with some sub-endings with some nuances depending on certain details. Almost nothing besides maybe what you've done with the chip is factored into the final decisions. And, depending on what you decide, you could even pull a 180 and switch to the Legion's side at the last second if you really wanted to, so it *really* didn't matter in some sense what you did beforehand.

In fact, so long as the recent additions have a prologue, I don't see why they couldn't salvage the "choices not mattering" problem. I actually really like the ending up until you actually make your final decision.
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Re: Mass Effect 3 announced - HOLY SHIT

Post by Ransom » Sun Apr 08, 2012 08:28

Saladin wrote:I don't know about the Witcher, but you bringing up New Vegas is a good idea of what I'm talking about. There are essentially three endings, each with some sub-endings with some nuances depending on certain details. Almost nothing besides maybe what you've done with the chip is factored into the final decisions. And, depending on what you decide, you could even pull a 180 and switch to the Legion's side at the last second if you really wanted to, so it *really* didn't matter in some sense what you did beforehand.
the fact that you can change your mind is part of the design, though! it's another choice. it's an example of new vegas' dedication to player agency in its narrative design and partly why i think it's ingenious.

now, correct me if i'm wrong: your larger point is that players have unreasonable expectations of consequence in choice-centric games. is that right?

what i'm trying to explain is the mechanical problem of choice you're fixating on - that exponential complexity - is not the pertinent issue. what's important is acknowledgement of choice; the flavour of consequence. you responded to my remark about fake choices, so i'll bring that back here: a fake choice is one that does not inform later events, either by changing the scenario or (here's the important part) by changing the context.

so. in new vegas there are essentially four major choices, you're quite right. NCR, Caesar, Mr House or Wild Card. what's salient is over the course of the narrative all the smaller choices are informed by the overarching choice between those four options, which in turn are - in the player's head - informed by the smaller choices. it all feels connected and relevant, and when you get to the end there is a sense of those choices coming to a climax and, afterward, of closure.

look at this shit: http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/Fallout:_ ... as_endings

these choices don't need to interact in an insane mathematical explosion to be meaningful and satisfying to the player. the mistake you're making is assuming that a choice must be meaningful to the game's creaking internal gears for it to be meaningful to the experience. when you're dealing with a scripted narrative the latter's what players are asking for and it's the minimum of what you are promising when you make a game about choice. it's not easy! few worthwhile game concepts are. but i don't think it's an unreasonable expectation at all.

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Re: Mass Effect 3 announced - HOLY SHIT

Post by Saladin » Sun Apr 08, 2012 22:52

Alright then, I guess we were just disagreeing about what "meaningful" choice means. To me, if it's only really affecting a dialogue decision or two, is it really meaningful? I see it as affecting game mechanics or levels or progression or how other characters treat you (or some combination of all of them).

To me, if that's the only issue you're having, then isn't it really a matter of presentation rather than design? Because, other than maybe the pacing, I don't see the choices in New Vegas being particularly different from the kind of choices you make in ME3.

If that's the case, wouldn't all you need to be satisfied is just an improved ending with more narrative and perhaps more mentions of previous choices? If so, then it's not really bad game design, since New Vegas and ME3 have very similar design (binary choices, previous choices not mattering, etc.). It's just lazy presentation on Bioware's part. The framework is all there, they just didn't bother to include it in the final cutscenes in a meaningful way.
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Re: Mass Effect 3 announced - HOLY SHIT

Post by iamthelordhitman » Mon Apr 09, 2012 01:24

SUDDENLY
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Re: Mass Effect 3 announced - HOLY SHIT

Post by Ransom » Mon Apr 09, 2012 02:23

Saladin wrote:Alright then, I guess we were just disagreeing about what "meaningful" choice means. To me, if it's only really affecting a dialogue decision or two, is it really meaningful? I see it as affecting game mechanics or levels or progression or how other characters treat you (or some combination of all of them).
man come on. you've just moved the goalpost from people making unreasonable requests of developers to essentially nitpicking my word choice. can we wrap this up please

(i'm kidding this is an interesting discussion)

all right well first of all, presentation is part of design. we're talking about fiction here. you can't divorce how an element is presented from its underlying function because how it's presented affects how the audience perceives it. but let me stop being a dick for a second and acknowledge the thrust of your point here. it's in part a presentation issue, definitely - i think you'd find a lot of people would be more content with the ending if it had payoff for all your choices, regardless of whether it actually affected that final decision. but that's only half the issue.
If so, then it's not really bad game design, since New Vegas and ME3 have very similar design (binary choices, previous choices not mattering, etc.)
seriously? there is a crapload more to the design of choice and consequence in games than this.

you seem to have missed my point when i brought in new vegas, which was that the difference between the design of those two games' endings is the one in new vegas feels informed by the rest of the choices you made, regardless of how much it's mechanically affected by them (which i think is more than you're giving it credit for, but whatever). in ME3 it's divorced, mechanically and story-wise, it's almost literally in a hermetically sealed bubble untouchable by the rest of the narrative. that's the other half of the problem and it's absolutely a design issue.

new vegas you've got the khans suicide-bombing the dam, you've got the boomers doing their thing, you've got all these allies and enemies, large and small, all of them determined by your choices. the rest of the game is steeped in clever choice design, too; just look at that wild card quest line. look at it. the player can conspire against the other major characters over the course of the story! they can play one against the other, they can hedge their bets! does this stuff affect the final four-way decision? no! does it empower the shit out of the player and effortlessly mutate the shape of the narrative around their whims? you're goddamn right it does.

please tell me you can't see the difference between this and mass effect's leading of the player through its string of disparate choices, its not-even-binary FIGHT REAPERS ON EARF MAYBE CORTEZ WILL DIE IF YOU DIDN'T LOVE HIM ENOUGH

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Re: Mass Effect 3 announced - HOLY SHIT

Post by Saladin » Mon Apr 09, 2012 05:20

I can, and in some instances your choices do matter. The Krogan or Geth or whoever will show up to fight on Earth depending on what you decided, which kinda mirrors New Vegas. Although you're right, it hardly compares.

I guess I was thinking of Game Design in stricter terms (as in, the mechanics the player interacts with) rather than just the design of the game as a whole. If you consider presentation as part of Game Design (and there's not necessarily any reason you shouldn't), then yeah, Bioware really fucked that up. Hopefully this DLC will fix that, I doubt it though.

Honestly, in that respect, Bioware has never been able to hold a torch to Obsidian. You're talking about the guys who are descended from the creators of Torment and the original Fallouts, who produced BG1 and 2, who made KOTOR 2 (which, in comparison to Bioware's KOTOR, is a fucking order of magnitude better even unfinished). IMO, the companies don't even compare.

Like I said, I'm not really defending ME3's ending (although I really wasn't that upset by it). I just take issue with how easily our community permits harsh criticism.

It's fucking hard to ship something so substantial that fast. The ambition of modern AAA games has sort of jaded everyone to just how hard it is to pull off some of the shit most of us just say "meh" to. Sure, you can criticize them for shitty design, but coming full circle, it's both a Bioware standard and an industry standard. It's a letdown, to be sure, but an understandable one that will hopefully be fixed by the DLC.
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Re: Mass Effect 3 announced - HOLY SHIT

Post by burnfire88 » Mon Apr 09, 2012 09:04

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Re: Mass Effect 3 announced - HOLY SHIT

Post by Ransom » Mon Apr 09, 2012 16:37

Saladin wrote:It's fucking hard to ship something so substantial that fast. The ambition of modern AAA games has sort of jaded everyone to just how hard it is to pull off some of the shit most of us just say "meh" to. Sure, you can criticize them for shitty design, but coming full circle, it's both a Bioware standard and an industry standard. It's a letdown, to be sure, but an understandable one that will hopefully be fixed by the DLC.
it being industry standard doesn't put it beyond criticism, but i'm guessing that's not what you're saying. it's interesting to note that obsidian's notorious for aiming high and missing, but it's easier to forgive that - some people even love them for it. i think people are so quick to criticise bioware here because it felt like they gave up. i wonder if it's just a case of bioware misreading what players considered important.

the ending can't be completely fixed, i think, not without a total rewrite; its premise is just too disconnected from the player's narrative. a good chunk of it is repairable, though. the character stuff especially. i'm optimistic.

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