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Old 01-25-2012, 12:37 PM   #61
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I guess that might set Dear Esther apart from a movie, that you can decide when to take the next step, when you heard and saw enough from a certain place in the environment, and when you want to progress. It basically uses an audio-visual medium to create the pace of a book, something which movies aren't able to offer.
Funny, but that's how I often choose to watch movies. Especially nowadays with all the HD detail you can analyze at your own pace.
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Old 01-25-2012, 01:24 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by Shuyin View Post
I'd recommend playing the mod before you pay money for it, but hey... it's your money.
I guess "try before you buy" is always good advice!

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Originally Posted by Shuyin View Post
Playing around with architectural/modelling software like it was a game, does not make it a game. No matter how much you play with it
And i'm quite sure that's not what inspired Will Wright to make The Sims; he has quite a background of making simulations and after his Sim series he wanted to make a more complex simulation hence The Sims and Spore.
Well, regarding Will Wright I found the following. This is from a Gamasutra interview:
Quote:
I've read that home design software was the inspiration.

WW: I was always interested in architecture, and so one of the original things that was a really inspiration for The Sims was this book, A Pattern Language, by Christopher Alexander. He's very much into trying to apply formula. He's a physics guy that went into architecture and was frustrated because architecture wasn't enough of a science. But at the same time, he's got a very interesting humanist side. He felt all the principles of architecture should be clearly reducible back to fundamental principles, which is what he kind of tries to do in that book.

Basically his book's interesting because it's like random access. He's got 256 patterns that are organized in these rough groups, but each pattern is really just a couple of pages. For every pattern he has some statement about humans and their needs, and human psychology. The patterns started from the very large, like how you'd place a city within a region, down to where do you put a bed in your room or a bench in your backyard.

But every single pattern starts with some observations, and from that he extrapolates design-wise, pattern-wise, that says this should always be [like this]. It might be that humans have a need for privacy, and so a house should have private areas and public areas. It's really random access rules that you can apply to any design or architecture design problem, no matter how large or small.
This from a Gamespy interview:
Quote:
Wright: Well the original prototype I did in '93 was really focused on the build mode. The first thing I wanted was basically "Sim Architect" and I really enjoyed that. Even with the prototype I really enjoyed just building the different houses. That part I knew, very early on, worked for me. The home design part of the game I thought: 'I could spend hours on this.'

Then once we got to the behavioral part and we started doing the simulation there was some point in there which we went through a couple major rethinkings of how the whole thing would work. We ended up with a pretty elegant structure fairly early on, about a year into it. When I could step back and I could imagine "oh yeah this is a simple structure that we can simulate almost any object we can encounter and the Sims would use it in an appropriate manner." It wasn't on screen at that point -- it was just in my head -- but I understood we had the right approach for pushing the AI.
Okay, not that important for this discussion, but I wondered myself if I remembered correctly. I'm still not sure. Either I mixed something up or maybe he only mentioned it in the one interview I just can't find anymore? At least the Gamasutra interviewer seems to remember the same thing.

Can home design software be classified as a video game? Probably not. But I remember that the one I played with had a 3D render mode where you could walk around in the building you created. It had something of a game. And if it wasn't intended as such, I really don't care. Yeah, it's not like the best game, or much of a game, but you can play around with it, create environments and walk around in the environments. You could even say it had resource management because there was a limit on how many walls you could build!
Okay, I'm being facetious, but I think the boundaries aren't, imo, as strict as you think they are. Just like with the music of John Cage.
And btw, Plan 9 from Outer Space is one of the unintentionally funniest movies ever. Doesn't change a thing that it wasn't meant to be. It still works this way, maybe only this way.

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Funny, but that's how I often choose to watch movies. Especially nowadays with all the HD detail you can analyze at your own pace.
Hm, I dunno. Clearly you can't pause a movie while it's playing in the cinema, but yes, you certainly can at home. But when you do it, the movie basically stops. You can then look at the still frame, which I also sometimes do, like when a newspaper article is being hold into the camera.
With Dear Esther you can take it at your own pace without pausing the experience, I guess.
I should play it.
But then, I should also learn.
I better shut up now.
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Old 01-25-2012, 01:44 PM   #63
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I am aware that using 3D Studio Max is not a valid comparison to playing a game in the same manner that watching security footage of a gas station is not comparable to watching Citizen Kane. That's an unfair comparison that deliberately disregards the intent and purpose of similar products (3DSM vs a game; security footage vs Citizen Kane). I am aware of this. Please don't insult my intelligence. I didn't bother going into specifics because I assume people in this forum are intelligent enough to infer the breadth of my reasoning.

It is possible to skew any argument by slamming it with broad convictions that take the original point out of context. (sigh) I am beginning to suspect that any attempt to explain my beliefs will be met with more blind criticism than consideration. But I am not trying to win over any converts. I just feel like my points are deliberately being taken out of context by overly broad rebuttals. You see, I am willing to disagree with people; that's okay, as it is an expected outcome in any stimulating discussion. I am not out to prove anybody wrong, only to disagree. But it is coming to my attention that others aren't merely satisfied with disagreeing with me, but they also have to prove me wrong in every way, as if we were discussing religion. This is when I leave the room, because it has gone from a stimulating discussion to a heated argument. And a heated argument is something you just don't do on the internet.

It is a much tougher feat to try to define what something is, than it is to point the finger and denounce what it isn't. So maybe I'm on a fool's errand.

(sigh) Life is too short to argue theory. I'm going to go make a game. Or something like that.
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Old 01-25-2012, 03:52 PM   #64
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Okay had a huge discussion with my professor. Like I stated before, we aren't fighting about interactivity. Its whether or not Dear Esther is a game or not.

Dear Esther, unlike what some people people say, is completely interactive. A book is interactive, but a book is not an interactive digital medium. Therefore, this product is interactive, no denying it.

Now if its a game or not. To me, Dear Esther is an interactive story, setup like an artistic interactive form. It may not be a game, but hell, no one knows how the remake will play. For this instance the original definitely isn't considered a game.

Dear Esther (the original) isn't a game but it is INTERACTIVE.
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Old 01-25-2012, 11:59 PM   #65
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If it isn't a game, what is it?
"Interactive story" isn't a term of much help, because that could also refer to choose-your-own-adventure books, and to video games with more gameplay than Dear Esther has. Adventure games, at least most of them, are also interactive stories, no?
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Old 01-26-2012, 12:04 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by ozzie View Post
If it isn't a game, what is it?
"Interactive story" isn't a term of much help, because that could also refer to choose-your-own-adventure books, and to video games with more gameplay than Dear Esther has. Adventure games, at least most of them, are also interactive stories, no?
There is no other term for it. Interactive literature? A choose your own adventure also ventures into the realm of pass or fail scenarios resembling a game.

Whats a dvd menu? Its an interactive medium but not a game. Interactive stories is the best term as long as 'game' isn't used in conjunction with it.

Whats an interactive art piece in a gallery? Is it a game? No. Its an interactive painting.

EDIT: Actually it can be considered an Interactive Piece of Art since a lot of it can be interpreted in many ways, without the confines of a game.
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Old 01-26-2012, 01:28 AM   #67
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WARNING! WARNING! MUCH INCOHERENT RAMBLING FOLLOWS!

Quote:
Whats a dvd menu? Its an interactive medium but not a game.
Well, your toaster is also interactive. As is your washing machine.
I know that some years back a few visual novels were released that could be played with the DVD player. Sometimes DVDs come with mini-games, like a variation on memory.

Games usually have an equivalent to a dvd menu, a game menu. I'd compare it to paratext in literature. It's not part of the experience, the text, but it's part of the work. But no, pure paratext is no literature, just as much as a game menu is not enough to make a game.
We have words to distinct between text and literature. We don't have the same thing for video games. Would you call a virtual long corridor that has walls decorated with family pictures a game? It'd be the equivalent to a family photo album or to a letter from a relative. We wouldn't call the latter literature. Or as Peter254 pointed out, security camera footage doesn't make a movie (though movies can consist of it).
But Dear Esther, as a book, I'd call literature. So why wouldn't I call Dear Esther, a game, a game? Maybe artistic intention comes into play...
I don't know if you agree with Shuyin, but he said that home design software could never be thought to be something like a game because it was never intended to be a game. But if that's true, wouldn't the opposite be equally true as well? That if something was thought to be a game, then it is a game?

Man, I'm rambling on today. I haven't much of a point, just some loosely connected thoughts. Maybe you can get something out of it...

Quote:
There is no other term for it. Interactive literature?
I think when there's no other appropriate term for it, then "game" will have to suit just fine! Maybe one day we'll stumble upon a more accurate one.

Quote:
A choose your own adventure also ventures into the realm of pass or fail scenarios resembling a game.
That's interesting. Are you saying that choose-your-own-adventure books resemble games more than Dear Esther does?

BTW, what's an interactive painting?

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Old 01-26-2012, 03:21 AM   #68
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Originally Posted by louiedog View Post
Oh cool, a Dear Esther thread. I've been thinking about downloading the mod or maybe waiting for the paid release. It looks interesting. Maybe I'll find some good insight about it here.

*reads thread and has soul crushed*
Tell me about it.

I wish I hadn't created this thread now, given the amount of judgemental comments from people who haven't even played the game yet.
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Old 01-26-2012, 09:24 AM   #69
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I did the amazing thing now and actually played Dear Esther! Yeah! I know!
And I thought it was - good.

Yes yes, it was quite rough around the edges. When a game tells me to go in a certain direciton, then I'll try all other ones before I'll take it. So, I swam out into the ocean - the game killed me. I wandered around - and got stuck in the environment. I climbed up a mountain - and managed to see the level border.
For such a game light on gameplay, and without any danger, it's astounding how easy you can screw up. It's especially annoying since it ruins the moment. This game is all about exploring and soaking in the atmosphere, and the replay value is kinda low, so being put back at the start of a level is rather discouraging. Why should your protagonist be mortal, anyway? Why weren't artificial borders an option?
But anyway, when it works, it works well. The sound collages and the environments produce a chilling atmosphere. The narration is interesting at times. I barely listened to it, but it was nice to hear how it related to the environment you were exploring. I wished the letter were more, I guess, more direct, more emotional, I wish I could tell what kind of character it was who wrote it. It all felt too distant, artificial, too artsy I guess.
There's a lot of potential that's not quite fulfilled here. Like I said, it feels clunky at times. I carried a shovel around with me for long stretches of the way, so I guess that's a hint that I didn't take it seriously all the time. I wish the game encouraged more exploration and that it allowed to explore the island more freely. Or at least that all the glitches that happened to me don't happen, if it has to be linear.
The walking is too slow. It's especially annoying if you're trudging around in an uninteresting place without any of the narration or sound collages on the soundtrack. To be honest, there are some interesting sights to behold, but at times there's nothing of interest.
But like I said, when it works, it works. The caves were wonderful, truly creepy and moody. There are mysterious occurrences and some intriguing questions left open. It's all pretty vague, but that adds to the appeal. It's a place that you explore, nothing more, but I think that's enough.

Well, let's see how the commercial release will hold up. I thought this was pretty good so far, but it could be much better.

Oh, and this is definitely a game and could be nothing else.
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Old 01-26-2012, 11:55 AM   #70
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Tell me about it.

I wish I hadn't created this thread now, given the amount of judgemental comments from people who haven't even played the game yet.
Nobody was judging the QUALITY of Dear Esther. All the discussions were about whether or not it is a game, or whether or not it is interactive. Quality has nothing to do with that, so nobody was judging Dear Esther itself...
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Old 01-26-2012, 12:49 PM   #71
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Nobody was judging the QUALITY of Dear Esther. All the discussions were about whether or not it is a game, or whether or not it is interactive. Quality has nothing to do with that, so nobody was judging Dear Esther itself...
Ignoring the extremely judgmental use of the word 'disappointment' a lot.


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Originally Posted by ozzie View Post
WARNING! WARNING! MUCH INCOHERENT RAMBLING FOLLOWS!
Well, your toaster is also interactive. As is your washing machine.
I know that some years back a few visual novels were released that could be played with the DVD player. Sometimes DVDs come with mini-games, like a variation on memory.

Games usually have an equivalent to a dvd menu, a game menu. I'd compare it to paratext in literature. It's not part of the experience, the text, but it's part of the work. But no, pure paratext is no literature, just as much as a game menu is not enough to make a game.
We have words to distinct between text and literature. We don't have the same thing for video games. Would you call a virtual long corridor that has walls decorated with family pictures a game? It'd be the equivalent to a family photo album or to a letter from a relative. We wouldn't call the latter literature. Or as Peter254 pointed out, security camera footage doesn't make a movie (though movies can consist of it).
But Dear Esther, as a book, I'd call literature. So why wouldn't I call Dear Esther, a game, a game? Maybe artistic intention comes into play...
I don't know if you agree with Shuyin, but he said that home design software could never be thought to be something like a game because it was never intended to be a game. But if that's true, wouldn't the opposite be equally true as well? That if something was thought to be a game, then it is a game?
The first part was pointless. The is a reason why we string two words together to make a specific term. Interactive Media == Interactive Medium. Not Toasters or washing machines. Games are not an equivalent to a DVD Menu. Two destinct separate uses. They are interactive to a point where you can make a very arbretary form of a game, but its usually never used to make a game.

What you're saying is that 'reading a restaurant menu' is just like reading a 'scifi steampunk novel'. They are two completely different things.

A game is formed up with win/lose and goals/rules. Dear Ether has no win/lose conditions, nor does it have any goals/rules that break out of the realm of Interactive Art.

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That's interesting. Are you saying that choose-your-own-adventure books resemble games more than Dear Esther does?
Well isn't it obvious since Adventure games was the product of choose-your-own-adventures? Dear Esther isn't a choose your own adventure.

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BTW, what's an interactive painting?
You don't get out much? Generally seen as an 'interactive piece'. Artists nowadays and for decades experiment with interaction from the viewer with their artistic scene/piece. Its to provoke an idea, feeling, perspective. Art isn't specifically defined to one idea, like Dear Esther. Interactive Art. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interactive_art
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Old 01-26-2012, 01:00 PM   #72
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Ignoring the extremely judgmental use of the word 'disappointment' a lot.
Meh. Not everyone likes to play visual novels, so lots of people will hate Dear Esther too.
If it's not "the reviewers' kind of game", then we're not going to see a very objective opinion about it, now, won't we?
Especially if it's experimental even within the visual novel subgenre...

Yes, I'm using "visual novel" to describe it by lack of another "better" name...
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Old 01-26-2012, 01:06 PM   #73
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Meh. Not everyone likes to play visual novels, so lots of people will hate Dear Esther too.
If it's not "the reviewers' kind of game", then we're not going to see a very objective opinion about it, now, won't we?
Especially if it's experimental even within the visual novel subgenre...

Yes, I'm using "visual novel" to describe it by lack of another "better" name...
Even visual novel's give you a choice and pass or fail.
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Old 01-26-2012, 01:47 PM   #74
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The first part was pointless. The is a reason why we string two words together to make a specific term. Interactive Media == Interactive Medium. Not Toasters or washing machines. Games are not an equivalent to a DVD Menu. Two destinct separate uses. They are interactive to a point where you can make a very arbretary form of a game, but its usually never used to make a game.
okay, fair enough.


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What you're saying is that 'reading a restaurant menu' is just like reading a 'scifi steampunk novel'. They are two completely different things.
I did not say that! Like I specifically stated, a letter from a relative is not literature! Security camera footage doesn't make a movie! How can you then say that I'd say something like this???? Did you even read what I wrote?

Quote:
A game is formed up with win/lose and goals/rules. Dear Ether has no win/lose conditions, nor does it have any goals/rules that break out of the realm of Interactive Art.
It's interesting that you started out in this thread stating reasons why Dear Esther is a game. What changed your mind?
BTW, it's possible to lose Dear Esther. Jump from a cliff. Swim out into the ocean. Yeah, these are rather leftovers from conventional games, but it's not like they aren't there. And your goal is to get to the end. There is a end. You know you reached it when a cutscene plays. And you know how to reach it by following the path.

Quote:
Well isn't it obvious since Adventure games was the product of choose-your-own-adventures? Dear Esther isn't a choose your own adventure.
It isn't, right. But since, you know, Dear Esther is a fully realized 3D world, with physics, narrations, sounds and animations that respond to your actions, I'd say there's more to it than some text and choices. It has no choices, but since when are choices like a higher form of interactivity anyway?


Quote:
You don't get out much? Generally seen as an 'interactive piece'. Artists nowadays and for decades experiment with interaction from the viewer with their artistic scene/piece. Its to provoke an idea, feeling, perspective. Art isn't specifically defined to one idea, like Dear Esther. Interactive Art. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interactive_art
Ah, you meant art installations. I understood something like interactive paintings? Now it makes sense.

Lots of edits on this one! From feeling grumpy to not so grumpy anymore!

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Old 01-26-2012, 03:38 PM   #75
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It's interesting that you started out in this thread stating reasons why Dear Esther is a game. What changed your mind?
BTW, it's possible to lose Dear Esther. Jump from a cliff. Swim out into the ocean. Yeah, these are rather leftovers from conventional games, but it's not like they aren't there. And your goal is to get to the end. There is a end. You know you reached it when a cutscene plays. And you know how to reach it by following the path.
I never stated if its a game or not until later not after a huge discussion on why the game is interactive and should bar people from considering it as a cable interactive piece of media. The only times I used game is the fact that it is being sold as a game.

That argument also states like it has been said many times before, just a book and turning the pages.

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It isn't, right. But since, you know, Dear Esther is a fully realized 3D world, with physics, narrations, sounds and animations that respond to your actions, I'd say there's more to it than some text and choices. It has no choices, but since when are choices like a higher form of interactivity anyway?
But the point was, a choose-your-own adventure is an adventure moreso than interactive art. A choose your own adventure is pretty much an adventure game. Dear Esther.....an interactive tour of a story.

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Ah, you meant art installations. I understood something like interactive paintings? Now it makes sense.

Lots of edits on this one! From feeling grumpy to not so grumpy anymore!
Art Installations? Oh, you mean Art Galleries? Art installations usually are places where art is made over here in the US.
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Old 02-10-2012, 10:00 AM   #76
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Only four days to go, then the critics of this game can actually PLAY it and make some accurate judgements .......
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Old 02-12-2012, 09:49 PM   #77
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The trailer has me completely intrigued. If I get a good dose of beautiful scenery, prose, and music, that's worth my money. Supporting indie devs is a necessity anymore if we want to continue to see unique projects.
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Old 02-13-2012, 03:44 AM   #78
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well the new upgraded version will be available shortly for everyone critic
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Old 02-13-2012, 06:22 AM   #79
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RPS has an early review:

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012...k-dear-esther/
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Old 02-13-2012, 11:17 AM   #80
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Kotaku's ('not a game') review
http://kotaku.com/5884520/dear-esther-the-kotaku-review
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