I have to experience every single action or else I feel like I missed out
I genuinely want to make a game where this is impossible. (EDIT:
remembered I am)
exploration games are more like real life, which is so vast that you can't possibly do or see even a fraction of what there is to do or see. exploration games are more realistic in that sense, they're about exploring worlds, not surpassing challenges. but most 'games' have trained you into wanting to 'do and see everything' or 'beat everything'. but that's just a habit you'll overcome if you play a lot of exploration games and get into them.
In my book this is what a genuine exploration game should be. Aquaria is one of my favorite games because it *nearly* embodied this and presented a depth of experience as I meandered. I still explored everything, or so I thought--somehow around 40% of the artifacts eluded me.
The sense of being in a great, wide world and wandering about half-directed in it, motivated by novel discoveries which reward the search. That's the ideal. And it's very hard to achieve. It means content, content, content. Procedural generally can't cut it on its own but it can come close sometimes.
(I actually created what I believe to be one of the world's largest non-procedural sidescrolling explorative games because I like the genre so much. Players generate the content when they reach the edges of the world. It still needs more tinkering.)
A fun case study I'd like to bring up:Photopia
- Interactive fiction - You make a number of one-or-the-other choices that give you the illusion of free motion, when really the game is largely linear and the plot can't be affected by different decisions. In the short term, your actions have results, but all paths re-integrate by the time the next part of the story is reached. It gives the feeling of openness without requiring huge amounts of content.
Explaining further: In the game's first scene, you may move freely about an open wasteland. Other than already visited areas (EG, N, W, S, E) each movement brings you to the next in a sequence of discoveries. Once all have been explored, your character expresses that other areas are simply "open wasteland" and a trinket you've picked up should be promptly returned to your ship. It does this differently with a few other areas, and later puts the player into an illogical labyrinth. She doesn't escape until the player has meandered a little, at which point she grows uncomfortable in her space-suit, takes it off, and the player realizes she has wings.
I think the concept could be used in other types of games such as sidescrollers without much difficulty. It's something the player will never be aware of except in repeat plays.SirNiko:
That's an interesting viewpoint. But it's that very same thing that leaves me disappointed with games. That, and how the big ones can get shallow by spreading themselves thin.