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Help me with my year 3 Thesis?

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Help me with my year 3 Thesis?

Hi there guys, I'm a third year Uni student so the time has come for me to do my dreaded Y3 thesis. Would anyone mind filling this survey in it's about RPG's both old and new:

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/QTQMLCW

[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Not the most fun thing ever, but you'll be helping me out a lot.[/FONT]

[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]also any relevant (But civil) discussion would be useful also as my thesis is based around the opinions and thoughts of community members and consumer in general of the current AAA space, to help with quoting some form of pseudonym would be mighty useful so I can use it directly.

(Any input from Red's would be good too, but obviously it might be a little risky so PM's maaaybe?)
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Cheers guys!
 
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Laux-Antille;n6924780 said:
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]also any relevant (But civil) discussion would be useful also as my thesis is based around the opinions and thoughts of community members and consumer in general of the current AAA space, to help with quoting some form of pseudonym would be mighty useful so I can use it directly.[/FONT]
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Do you have any specific topic you want addressed? I'd be happy to write some personal thoughts to help with your thesis. But it's kind of hard to do so when I don't even know what your thesis is about outside of the questions asked in your survey.
 
Phinnway;n6926010 said:
Do you have any specific topic you want addressed? I'd be happy to write some personal thoughts to help with your thesis. But it's kind of hard to do so when I don't even know what your thesis is about outside of the questions asked in your survey.
It's a report which is meant to collect a range of opinions via forums such as this on what the current state of the AAA RPG genre is. Mechanically, Narratively etc and whether you think it's improving or getting worse, or a mix of both.

Any welcome additions to the genre through mixing with other genres? Basically your opinion as a consumer on what the AAA space is doing to the genre.
 
Alan989;n6927760 said:
That's one complicated topic, I wouldn't know where to start.
Any input at all is helpful, I mean I have to write the essay itself, just need points to bounce off of an expand upon.
 
Laux-Antille;n6926980 said:
It's a report which is meant to collect a range of opinions via forums such as this on what the current state of the AAA RPG genre is. Mechanically, Narratively etc and whether you think it's improving or getting worse, or a mix of both.

Any welcome additions to the genre through mixing with other genres? Basically your opinion as a consumer on what the AAA space is doing to the genre.
Hi!

I have spent long hours thinking and discussing these things and you can read some of my previous posts in the Playing Classic RPG's thread. I will try to summarize my opinion in here however.

PART I. Role-Playing and Playing a Role

RPG is a loosely defined game style with many particular subgenres. We cannot possibly reach a satisfying definition that will correctly describe all games from Betrayal at Krondor, Baldur's Gate II, Planescape: Torment to Diablo, The Elder Scrolls and The Witcher. Some people say RPG's are about "taking on the role of a character" but that is more likely the definition of most modern video games, except perhaps for puzzle and card games. So i would say computer RPG's are, among other things, games where the character we choose determines how we may approach the world and very importantly how the world responds to us. The character we play and the way we play it effectively close or open up gameplay opportunities, with short and long term consequences. Lastly and most importantly, playing this role involves deliberate decision-making in many levels, both macro and micro management as well as short and long term planning. Choices that don't qualify when taken out of context would be choosing to finish a boss with fists or sword, or choosing between strong or fast characters. There are similar choices in fighting and racing games. These characters with stat-isolation behave like micro worlds inside the game world. How will my character see the world after becoming stronger? Will he simply do exactly the same things the same way but, you know, cause more critical damage? Instead, an example would be being able to find a hidden path because my character is good at spotting secret passages, and exploiting an enemy's weakness because I learned about it from reading his secret diary.

Something similar happens with so called experience points. They represent a character's progress and internal change. A character is not aware of its experience points, so they cannot be a motivation to play a proper RPG!

This has somewhat delimited what I understand as a proper computer RPG. Like any other genre, it can be mixed, for better or for worse.

PART II. What goes on inside an RPG

Because RPG's often involve long-term deliberate planning, they are set in elaborate worlds with a rich history and folklore. This may be conveyed in many ways but an effective way which I find quite pleasant is creating a rich setting where the game simply "happens to take place". Look for instance at Pillars of Eternity, a perfect example. D&D games like the famous Infinity Engine set were backed by hundreds of novels (many of which of questionable literary value however). Because these worlds are busy and loaded with detail, they tend to be quite open and offer many possibilities for different interactions. For instance, a nimble character may be able to climb to the second story of a building and steal a jewel, whereas the strong character would be force to fight his way through to reach the same jewel. Another character may be able to intimidate the house owner. The best of all schemers will steal the jewel, pretend to find it and bring it back to the house owner for a huge compensation. Because of this variable nature, it is quite common for computer RPG's to behave like books rather than movies. It is far too expensive and time consuming to animate and voice all possible outcome combinations. (This example was actually taken from Pillars of Eternity :)).

When the genre is mixed with others, there are huge compromises. In order to appeal to a certain demographic, the book approach may have to be substituted with a movie approach. This severely limits the game both mechanically and in narrative, as you can imagine. The Witcher 3 is particularly good at simulating cinematic interactions for many possible conversations, but still quite limited in what game-Geralt can do, even (or especially) being a witcher. His famous wit and sarcasm, for instance, is for the most part simply gone.

PART III. Future directions

Because of my obvious bias towards the traditional, book-like RPG's with long term deliberate planning, I tend to think that genre fusion is doing the RPG genre a disservice. We have examples of games that insist on being called RPG but essentially offer hammers of different colors to hit the same inconsequential nail over and over again. We have interesting examples of very lively and interesting action RPG's, that somewhat balance the compromises of action with variable interactions, such as Fallout New Vegas and The Witcher series. The Witcher series is also a warning: with every iteration we had less RPG and more action. Less narrative depth and more cinematic cutscenes. More arbitrary numbers and in-game collectibles and less world coherence. The fusion is not bad in its own right, but at one point so many elements are sacrificed the original genre is barely recognizable anymore.

PART IV. The AAA Industry

By AAA I understand games with such high budgets, that they need major investors and publishers backing up the whole operation. This means pleasing a whole lot of people that have very little to do with game design, and a lot to do with business, returns and profit. They want something that sells well, something easy to digest and something that will reach the largest possible audience without bothering anyone too much (avoid complicated emotions, avoid making player think).

There is the occasional good "AAA" game, but most of them are over hyped technical demos with shiny graphics and no depth, whose goal is to impress quickly and just as quickly be forgotten so the public may move on to the next game with even better, shinier graphics. Add to that archaic business and distribution practices with unethical monitoring software (such as DRM). If you ask me, the "AAA space" has poisoned the gaming scene and the RPG genre is no exception.

It is similar to the blockbuster movie industry. Do we really another, even shittier, reimagination of an overly used 19th century tale or another car chase movie with tons of explosions? NO! So why do they do it and how do they stay in business? Well, there is an army of hungry, gullible, cheap media munchers out there ready to eat the filth their overlords regurgitate. Sorry if too graphic. The point being, there is a market for this crap so it keeps selling.

The truly interesting market for computer RPG's is not "AAA" anymore, but the self financed or crowd funded approaches. Look at what Obsidian, inXile and others are doing and what they have already accomplished. Thankfully now, the genre is not dead. The AAA understanding of RPG is very different though, and often hard to compare with the so called "classic" approach.

That's it basically. Let me know if you want to talk about it more.

PS: I actually have an academic interest in action selection for planning and decision making, and it is my active area of research. There are other people who also like these games for no particular reason though.
 
volsung;n6929360 said:
Hi!

I have spent long hours thinking and discussing these things and you can read some of my previous posts in the Playing Classic RPG's thread. I will try to summarize my opinion in here however.

PS: I actually have an academic interest in action selection for planning and decision making, and it is my active area of research. There are other people who also like these games for no particular reason though.
Oh my, thank you, ahah, I'll read this intently soon, thanks for this. It will be extremely useful.

(Oh dear the spoiler tags are broken).
 
Laux-Antille;n6926980 said:
It's a report which is meant to collect a range of opinions via forums such as this on what the current state of the AAA RPG genre is. Mechanically, Narratively etc and whether you think it's improving or getting worse, or a mix of both.

Any welcome additions to the genre through mixing with other genres? Basically your opinion as a consumer on what the AAA space is doing to the genre.
Do we have a deadline? I want to write some thoughts, but this is definitely more of a non-work night when my wife has gone to bed type project because it'll take time.
 
You could mention how AAA games have changed in the last decades. How do they look now (from gameplay and narrative perspective) and how do they look now. How differ western RPGs and Asian RPGs (this one I mentioned in papers for university myself, grinding etc, and how JRPGs lack of evolution, how they were bestsellers back then and how they struggle now).

If you need some input I could write a few sentences but a deadline would be nice.
 
Well, one thing about AAA games is how the main AAA genre has changed through the years. In the PS1/PS2 era it was action-platformers. In the Xbox/Xbox360 era it was FPS. Now in the PS4/Xbone era it's these open-world GTA-like games.


Also, if you are talking about how the RPG genre has been affected by trends in AAA games than you might want to cover the background of why AAA games declined in quality in the first place.

IMO, it's really only since around 2009 - 2010 that mass market appeal has taken over AAA game production. You could also mention how the 2008 stock market crash affected AAA game companies.I watched a video about this once and during the stock market crash the values of Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony, Activision, and EA's stock dropped by 66% and only Microsoft's stock value recovered. That's also the time period when a lot of game companies went out of business. THQ, for example. It's also when Ubisoft went from a "B" publisher to a AAA publisher on par with EA and Activision to fill the void left by other "B" publishers going out of business. It's also when companies began introducing microtransactions and overpriced DLC to try to recover their losses, and when AAA companies shifted to a design focus that emphasized mass market appeal.

Winding back up to RPGs, I would probably mention specific examples of RPGs in the AAA genre from that period, and how they took the RPG genre forward or backward. Examples could include Fallout 3 and New Vegas, Dragon Age Origins and 2, Fable 2 and 3, Dark Souls, Witcher 2, Skyrim, Mass Effect 2 & 3, and Kingdoms of Amalur.
 
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Rawls;n7115930 said:
Do we have a deadline? I want to write some thoughts, but this is definitely more of a non-work night when my wife has gone to bed type project because it'll take time.


Not due til January, I am just working on the community opinions part now actually so any time soon is the perfect time, I can always add more.
 
VikingStudios;n7117920 said:
You could mention how AAA games have changed in the last decades. How do they look now (from gameplay and narrative perspective) and how do they look now. How differ western RPGs and Asian RPGs (this one I mentioned in papers for university myself, grinding etc, and how JRPGs lack of evolution, how they were bestsellers back then and how they struggle now).

If you need some input I could write a few sentences but a deadline would be nice.

I am focusing on Western RPG's as I don't personally play many Eastern ones.
But I have done 3000 words comparing Fallout 1 and 4 so I've got the shift in design covered, this part I need help with is because it's based on what community opinions are (In a civil, non-angry, way).

January is the deadline, I can write and re-write it as I wish until then and adding in new quotes is no problem.
 
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