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ComfieDev
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« on: June 02, 2022, 01:25:00 PM »

Hey!

I love indie games. They are the reason why I fell in love with games, and they are a constant stream of inspiration and motivation for my own projects. Still, I'm mostly drawn to the older indie games. The so called classics that were made in the so called golden age of being an indie game developer.

There's a weird richness in those games, and that's something you don't find in modern games usually. It feels like something of that richness has died down at some point in time. It's almost like you can sense the richness in a game.

It's really weird because I can't figure out what causes this richness. In IGTM Jonathan Blow says "Part of it is about not trying to be professional... That creation of this highly glossy, commercial product Is the opposite of making something personal". This could be a part of it. People might've just stopped making personal games. Maybe developers won't share a part of themselves through their work.

The indie dev scene has also grown immensely. Maybe there's still as many rich games as there were before, but now those games are being covered with well, just normal games.
 
Of course richness in indie games hasn't died down completely. Games like elechead and Far: Lone Sails embody the feeling of richness perfectly. There's just something about those games that feel rich.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!
Cheers. Smiley
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michaelplzno
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« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2022, 01:44:51 AM »

I guess I don't really understand what you mean by "rich." Seems like "atmospheric and mournful, somber, hint of sadness" are part of your idea of rich? I guess the definition is "Magnificent; sumptuous."

I personally would like to make something like a Saturday morning cartoon in my ideal world. You don't see much of that either.
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« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2022, 07:34:34 AM »

There may also be an element of nostalgia: The games (and works in other media, for that matter) that we encounter early in our experience tend to be especially impactful to us, and thus may at times appear to be superior to those that we encounter later.

And as you say, there may also be an element of the opening of game-dev to greater numbers of devs may at times result in a bit of a discoverability issue.

But I do think that personal, heartfelt games are still very much being made by indies.
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Guntha
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« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2022, 06:27:04 AM »

Hi,

Like michaelplzno, I'm not sure what you mean by "rich". Maybe you could mention a few of the older (indie or not) games you feel are "rich". I didn't play either elechead or Far: Lone Sails, so I can't guess what you feel in those games.

I think I can identify three reasons I don't have the same feelings in indie games as before, though I don't know if that means they were rich:

1)No need for profitability/survival: I started playing independant games through free games, because at the time my computer couldn't run the current commercial games and I couldn't afford to buy a game if I wasn't sure it could run. In a game like Cave Story that was free at first, which took 4 years to complete (and many developers don't manage to complete a game), it felt like the developer crammed everything they wanted in it, instead of sticking to sensible rules we apply for commercial indie games like "focus on one idea and do it well".

2)Discoverability/Expectability: around 2010, it was faster to download an entire indie game than any video of a few minutes showcasing it. (I believe it still is, but now with our fiber/4G connections, with no data cap in most countries). Apart from a few screenshots and a description to give you an incentive to download it, it was mostly a jump into the unknown, and you had a longer-lasting sense of discovery while playing it.

3)Game-design resources easily available: this is partly in mirror with the first bullet point: you don't care as much to design a game to please to a large amount of people without a profit incentive. Around 2010, I don't even know if there were any free conference videos on the GDC vault, Game Developer Magazine was still a thing and was not cheap. It's a blessing because more available resources make it easier to make a good-enough game, and then the last difficult/luck-requiring part is marketing, but it's also a curse because, after absorbing that knowledge, it's hard to innovate by breaking or bending those rules.

The last game I felt was "rich" was Infra: it starts like a walking-simulator, but it still keeps platforming mechanics made available by the Source engine, and you can even die, so it doesn't entirely fit one game genre. There are still clumsy parts that make it look less professional/smaller budget (almost no character in the game because animation is hard, some voice acting that feels off...), but you want to stay in it to explore those gorgeous landscapes and find everything the developers wanted to tell (I personally love the huge amount of fake brands they made for this game :p )

Less recently, Ghost of a Tale also felt very "rich" to me. It's still "indie" in scope, but it shows the love the developer put in its content.

I remember Knytt Stories for how it made me feel when playing it, mostly for its soundtrack and its emptyness. I don't know if it counts as "rich", but I don't think any other game made me feel the same way.

A non-exhaustive list of games that I don't think I found any recent game that made you feel the same: Darwinia, Lugaru (I feel like its sequel Overgrowth lost something), ... Unfortunately I don't have that old computer with older indie games anymore, so I can't mention everything :p
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michaelplzno
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« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2022, 04:33:35 PM »

I was just reflecting on the semantics of "rich." back When I was on the facebook dating app I would run into these "bots" that I was sort of not convinced they were human and they made such a big deal about how much money they had. One of them was bragging about buying a $60,000 lipstick case encrusted with diamonds and it was the tackiest grossest thing that made me just think what an unpleasant person? bot? scripted catfisher? I was talking to.

There are people who think that rich means just having a lot of money and that money is everything. I don't think OP is saying that but it just gets me thinking about how different people's point of views are.





The other thing is that we can lose the whole world in semantics, so saying art or games must be "sublime" or "rich" or "fun" or whatever one word descriptor you want to drop an entire universe of creativity into does a bit of a disservice to articulating that je ne sais quoi that makes something really amazing.
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flowerthief
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« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2022, 08:39:22 AM »

Well I can tell you why the indie scene fails to excite me personally. I don't know if this is what the OP meant, but it does tie in with the Jonathan Blow quotation.

I'm a hardcore gamer. I like games that can immerse me for tens if not hundreds of hours. Although I gravitate towards rpgs since they tend to be more on the hardcore side of things, I'm capable of enjoying any genre whether it's platformers, real-time strategies, fighting games, rhythm games, cooking or farming simulations, really anything...just as long as the gameplay is deep. Give me something I can become obsessed about.

But there are no shortcuts to making a deep game. It requires writing, implementing, testing, and graphically representing heaps and heaps of content.

That last bit--graphically representing things, or in other words, presentation--is imo where the bottleneck lies. In order to produce a game with heaps and heaps of content that meets "glossy" standards of presentation, you need hundreds of employees. Only a AAA game corporation can do it.

To say that the other way, an indie developer can make a deep game if and only if they cut back on presentation. All that art, animation, music, fancy lighting tricks and frills, etc, which certainly does enhance a game, but is taking time/resources away from other things. And--here comes my larger point--if they were interested in making a deep game, marketing concerns aside, that is what they would do. Because while presentation is helpful with marketing, for *most* games it does not matter as much as the game system and/or story. Thus, most of their time and resources should not be put into it.

Plenty of very deep and replayable games have been made with the most primitive presentation. Sometimes simply text or ascii graphics. And often developed by a single person. (I also think that the potential of the text parser as an input method has not been fully tapped)

An example I often go to is the freeware roguelike Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup, which I have been playing for years and am still discovering new things about, new playstyles, new secrets, etc. It's as deep and complex and replayable as any commercial game I know. And it's only one step up from ascii graphics; characters are represented as tiny static sprites.

So it's totally possible for any development team, no matter its size, to produce a game that can entertain me to the same degree as any high-end game.

And yet when I browse ichi.io, it's all casual games as far as the eye can see. I can tell from looking at them (and my suspicions are almost always confirmed when I actually try them) that they won't occupy me for more than an afternoon at most. Don't get me started on the mobile scene.

What I think is happening is that indie devs are trying to cut a middle ground where their games looks reasonably nice...and consequently are not very deep. Because they CAN'T be too deep if they're also going to look nice, not without enormous resources sunk into them. A person of my tastes will pass them by. I'd rather be playing a deep and complex game on the high end of presentation such as something Fromsoft produces, or a deep and complex game on the low end of presentation such as Dcss. My playing time has become split on the two extremes.

In fact, it might be getting to the point where nice presentation almost has a negative impact on me. I think, these screenshot looks nice so the game system will probably be simple. Mind you, not that there is anything objectively wrong with simple. I'm just one guy with one guy's tastes which current trends don't cater to.
(I will completely drive by any game that tries to pass off a title screen as a legitimate screenshot, which to me is like saying, "there's no gameplay worth speaking of here so let me show you something that doesn't matter at all")

Obviously, overemphasis on presentation plagues Hollywood too, and nobody who is well-watched is not going to have at least some low-budget low-res black & white films on their top 100 list, presentation not being what makes stories meaningful.
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DarkGran
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« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2022, 12:20:43 AM »

Interesting!

It's true - making the game visuals can take unbelievable amounts of time. In my case, it can easily take 5-10 times the time that I needed to code the game (ie. make a functioning prototype without the visuals, with placeholders only). And the result isn't even that good, mostly because I'm very new to artwork so I'm still learning (as is probably the case with all indie devs :p)

Your post is really making me think that maybe I (and other indie devs too) should do something about this... because while we all like nice visuals, you are right that the scene (both indie and AAA) is oversaturated with casual games. I have many friends who used to play games, but now they don't (not all of em got married with kids mind you), because current games don't speak to them - they also require complexity for the game to interest them.

Guess it's good fun to play casual, but only hardcore(complex) games can create true passion... ?

EDIT: Just wanted to add that the motivation doesn't have to be "profit", but simply "popularity" - I mean my recent projects had no profit in mind, but I do wish people played it and liked it (even when I just play games, I prefer multiplayer, so "why would I make a game just for myself"). And I already made a loveproject/game that ate 2 years of work (spread over 6 years!) because of its complexity and lots of content (visuals took only around a half a year out of these 2 years), after which majority of people told me that the visuals are too dark and not pretty enough so they didn't even download it to try it out (btw I even had some paid advertisement, around 30K people saw the game screenshots, which resulted in 2 downloads (these got scared off by the fact you need to register, but thats not important rn) - no wonder I'm focusing on the presentation ever since. ;)

The gutted version of the game with brighter and bigger graphics, which I made around a year ago and took only a month (maybe two) to make, has already been played by more people, even though I'm not advertising it at all... (well, it is on itch)

Then again, this might be related to the genre, as I was making a collectible card game, where's a lot of focus on the quality of collectibles (ie. card portraits).

(guess it's gonna be, as everything, about balance (of content vs visuals), and possibly strongly connected to game's genre too (?))

EDIT2:
Trying to think of a game definition graph. One axis be "hardcore vs casual" (how it plays). The other "visuals vs content" i guess? Not perfect (semantics), but I think something like this could work... (if you like useless graphs; and as long as "amount of content" does not necessarily connect to complexity... but I guess it usually does xD damnit, I'll come back to this train of thought later :p)
« Last Edit: June 19, 2022, 01:38:00 AM by DarkGran » Logged
flowerthief
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« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2022, 08:19:59 AM »

^ There you go. You, too, felt the pressure to be more visually appealing and to up your presentation. We all feel that pressure. I guess the difference between myself and the rest of the indie dev scene is that I think it's a pressure that ought to be resisted beyond the point that it compromises your fundamental vision, given that time and resources with which to make a game are finite.

Again, looking at ichi.io is downright disappointing. The overwhelming majority of those games (even the freeware ones!) are using as their main image either a title screen or concept art. NOT an actual goddamn screenshot of the actual goddamn game with which to give me an idea, without clicking further, of whether it's a game I would even enjoy.

How did it get so that that whole community thinks wowing people with visuals is more important than showing what their actual game system looks like? Is it that they seriously believe that presentation is more important than gameplay, or is it that they believe players can't tell the difference? Are they correct to assume that most potential players are not like me--the type who will walk in the other direction when I see indications that a developer's priorities are towards (perceived) marketing expectations rather than the developing of a great game system? I'm not sure what the answer to this last question is.
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DarkGran
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« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2022, 08:45:52 AM »

^ There you go. You, too, felt the pressure to be more visually appealing and to up your presentation. We all feel that pressure. I guess the difference between myself and the rest of the indie dev scene is that I think it's a pressure that ought to be resisted beyond the point that it compromises your fundamental vision, given that time and resources with which to make a game are finite.

I agree with that completely. In the case of my game (and its two versions, dark and bright) it was probably a good thing to "fix" what was wrong with the visuals - however, now it would be super easy to go beyond that mentioned point (um I may have already done that a bit)... and that, I agree, would actually hurt the game.
(even if the better visuals do get more attention, in the end the game will not hold those players as long as it should or could - or at least thats how I see it now)

Again, looking at ichi.io is downright disappointing. The overwhelming majority of those games (even the freeware ones!) are using as their main image either a title screen or concept art. NOT an actual goddamn screenshot of the actual goddamn game with which to give me an idea, without clicking further, of whether it's a game I would even enjoy.

True. I also notice now that theres a million of beautiful pixel art games that however do not have much of a content.

How did it get so that that whole community thinks wowing people with visuals is more important than showing what their actual game system looks like? Is it that they seriously believe that presentation is more important than gameplay, or is it that they believe players can't tell the difference? Are they correct to assume that most potential players are not like me--the type who will walk in the other direction when I see indications that a developer's priorities are towards (perceived) marketing expectations rather than the developing of a great game system?

It really is an amazing thing, but it does make sense. Visuals are something you hear about all the time. You can hear your friends say "well it may not be best but look how it looks like", as they show you their newest AAA racing game. And it's not just about PC games - if you ever collected card games IRL, you know it's a LOT about how the card portraits look like, much less about the stats on the card (MUCH less than the competitive community wants you to think).
With that, when you're trying to figure out how to make people to try your game, it seems obvious: it has to look good. "It HAS to look good, because people click on pretty stuff only," you think.
(All this becomes even "more obvious" when you're the kind of dev who actually dreams of making AAA games (however impossible), instead of "just some ASCII nerdgasms".)
You will rarely hear "i'm playing a game that looks like shit, its just letters, but its GREAT", because some people actually won't admit it so they don't look like nerds, and when someone actually does, you're thinking "wow, how exotic... definitely not mainstream... ergo not my target audience anyway". :p

Addressing your last question, seeing how dissatisfied the gaming community (around me) is, the assumption clearly isn't correct (no matter at what exact point the player walks away, it's definitely too soon). We are drowning in copies-of-beauty but there is nothing good to actually play over a longer period of time, be it a free game from a 12 year old (because nice pics but thats all there was time for) or an AAA game that came out last year and still costs 60 bucks (because nice models but nobody actually gave it a thought).
(edit: btw notice the most popular big (not necessarily AAA in origin) games right now are League of Legends, that gets complexity through shitloads of champions, items, runes, and their combinations; Minecraft, that gets complexity through all the crafting you can do (and also the "randomness in exploring"); and Fortnite, which is a shooter with extra complexity thanks to the scavenging+building system)

Great topic, lots to think about. :) (and I'm glad I stumbled upon it, as it will help me justify future focus on gameplay over visuals :p)

EDIT: One thought: Some damage may have been done by the fact that we started to categorize games as either "Casual" or "Hardcore" (and also accepted that "majority of players wants to play casual", which may not be entirely true). We mentioned this here before, but I just realized - we did not use to call games like that! We called players to be casual or hardcore - and both types played the same game, its just that one guy played it on easy and havent finished yet, while the other one finished 3 times already so he's now playing it on super-hard. xD .)
(this one sounds a bit like stand-up comedy number, but I do think there may be something real in there)

(EDIT2: holy crap what's with my grammar today :p)
« Last Edit: June 19, 2022, 11:21:00 AM by DarkGran » Logged
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« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2022, 01:39:36 AM »

I'm inclined to disagree, myself.

One thing to remember is "Sturgeon's Law": To paraphrase, 90% of all works are poorly-made. So naturally a market like itch will have a large proportion of poorly-made games.

This can (arguably) be reduced via curation, of course.

Further, not all indies are interested in making the sorts of games that are described above as "deep"--and that's okay! Not everyone is looking for "deep" games, either.

(I mean, one of my Sunday activities is trawling through itch.io looking for short, interesting experiences. Little puzzle games, or exploratory things, or the occasional mini-metroidvania, etc.)

The overwhelming majority of those games (even the freeware ones!) are using as their main image either a title screen or concept art.

Wait--when you say "their main image", do you mean the tile that appears in the game-listings--i.e. the one that you click on in order to access the game's page? If so, then... yes, I'm pretty sure that it's not really the done thing to use a screenshot there; generally speaking "packaging" uses some form of "cover art".

Now, if you're referring to the screenshots on the game's page, then I'd still say that starting with a main menu--and possibly concept/key/promotional art--is fine, and indeed, something that might actually be advised. After all, the advice that I've seen given is that when promoting a work (such as a game) one does so via the fantasy that the game provides, which such art helps to convey.

How did it get so that that whole community thinks wowing people with visuals is more important than showing what their actual game system looks like?

I mean, has this not pretty much always been the case? Have games not long come with box-covers or title-screens or key-art that convey the fantasy of the game rather than the in-game graphics?
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« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2022, 07:42:31 AM »

@DarkGran

Good point about how casual and hardcore players used to play the same games! The Street Fighter series (any of them since at least Street Fighter 2) is an example. At a low level of play, it's you and a buddy mashing buttons and having a great time. At a high level...well, if you've ever observed what the tournament scene in the fighting game community is like, you know that there are much, much, MUCH higher levels of play one can attain to. Although only a tiny fraction of players ever get remotely near high level play, a fighting game needs to have that depth baked into it from the core or else the hardcore base will reject it.

Haha, I have no problem at all admitting that I enjoy playing games with letters. I recommend games with just letters all the time. Sometimes people take my recommendations, often they don't. I also have enjoyed plenty of games that use text to describe the world, going back as far as the original Zork series. The presentation value of a text-based game is zero.

Isn't it funny that most people accept text as a medium when it comes to, for instance, a paperback novel, but not so many when it comes to a game? The presentation of a paperback novel approaches zero. There might be an illustration for the cover and usually that's about it.

You might be familiar with Roast My Game. It's a site where devs can post their games for anyone to critique. What I have noticed is that very often the first sentence of a critique is something to do with the visuals i.e. "The graphics are good" or "The graphics aren't good", which I worry can easily lead the dev to the false conclusion that graphics should be the most important thing about their game. (maybe for some games it should be, but not for all!)

Have you ever read a review for a paperback novel that began with "There weren't enough illustrations" or "The cover art wasn't good"?

If we demanded high presentation value from every story anyone tried to tell and every fictional world anyone tried to create, countless great stories would never have been told. That includes stories that eventually did go on to be remade into more visually appealing forms including the works of Tolkien, Rowling, Martin, and any other famous author you can name. First there needed to be an audience willing to accept the primitive and abstract vehicle they were using to tell their stories back before they had a big budget.

Text is certainly not the ideal way to tell a story from the audience point of view; visuals are far more efficient, a picture being worth 1000 words and all that. Text is good for the author, not for the audience, because there is hardly a cheaper and easier means to create content. I hope that authors and audiences alike would understand that there is a tradeoff between what's good for the author vs. what's good for the audience.

I also think that too much abstraction can be a serious disadvantage. For instance, I sometimes see games posted on this site where the visuals are all numbers and grids and shapes like triangles and squares. I feel bad for such games because I know they will struggle to find an audience. They may very well be interesting and engaging games, but players don't relate to triangles and squares the way they relate to sprites that look at least a little like people. By the time of the 8-bit era we had sprites that did look like people, which might be (part of) the reason why the 8-bit era is when games really took off?

To the extent that a dev does try to be visually appealing, they'll get more mileage by focusing on an art style that is original and unique, even if the graphics aren't particularly sophisticated.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2022, 08:04:32 AM by flowerthief » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2022, 07:44:00 AM »

@Thaumaturge

Yes, I meant the tile that appears in the game listings.

Of course you're right that box-art, title screens, etc is something that has always been done. I'm more welcoming of that kind of thing when it's packaging. If I'm reading an instruction manual that also has concept art on its pages, that probably means I own the game already. I already know what it's about and I know that I'm interested in it. It's when it's my first introduction to what the game is...that's when I don't like art that conveys the fantasy of things, because it really tells us very little.

Granted that can still happen when browsing games at GameStop, but even then I typically ignore most of the box art in front of me on the shelves and reach for the games that I already know something about. DarkGran's point about presentation enhancing the collectible value of a thing applies here. I'm happy to have that fancy box art for a game that will sit on my own shelf at home which I will gaze at hundreds of times over the course of many years owning it. But fancy art on a tile listing on itch? This has no value to me as a collector. I'd prefer that space be used for the practical purpose of showing what the game actually is.

There are some games on itch that DO show a screenshot for that initial tile in the game listings, which is appreciated.
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« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2022, 05:13:03 PM »

I've been around long enough to have made both games that are deeper with crappy graphics as well as simpler games with more fancy graphics. I still don't really know the secret to making a game that people like. I did a game with very simple graphics that was all about the game design and it did not get much reaction at all. In fact, it got such a small reaction it sort of drove me crazy that it was so hidden from everything, it made me think I launched it into another dimension or something.

"Deep" is a good word to use about games and one worthy of a bit of semantic scaffolding. Games you can play over and over are often more prized than ones that you just one and done. But is playing a game multiple times the defining trait of this "deep" characteristic? I wouldn't replay Myst, which seemed like a deep game due to how immersive and easy to lose yourself in the game was. Similarly there are candy crush games that you can play, and obsess over, playing millions of times that are still somewhat superficial. Also, would you say something like poker is a very deep game because you can play it a million times?

So yeah, deep is something worth examining but I still wonder.
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« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2022, 08:17:47 AM »

@Thaumaturge

Yes, I meant the tile that appears in the game listings.

...

That is... interesting. And counter to what I think is likely advised practice, I think! It's certainly not what I'd be inclined to do, I do believe.

And indeed, I think that I'd likely react in the opposite manner to you: To me, a gameplay-screenshot as a cover-tile would be a point against a game, while some decent cover-art would be a point in its favour. (Especially if I'm looking for something particularly good.)

I'm more welcoming of that kind of thing when it's packaging.

Why is that, if I may ask?

Indeed, it seems to me that the cover-tile of a game on itch is its packaging, effectively.

"Deep" is a good word to use about games and one worthy of a bit of semantic scaffolding. Games you can play over and over are often more prized than ones that you just one and done. But is playing a game multiple times the defining trait of this "deep" characteristic? ...

So yeah, deep is something worth examining but I still wonder.

I think that different people are likely to value different things in a game.

For example, speaking for myself, I don't generally look much at replayability when considering a game, I believe

Have you ever read a review for a paperback novel that began with "There weren't enough illustrations" or "The cover art wasn't good"?

I suppose that one question might be: Do we see such critiques of books that do have internal illustrations? I'm wondering whether graphics that are disliked aren't worse-received than no graphics at all.

Text is good for the author, not for the audience, because there is hardly a cheaper and easier means to create content.

Cheaper, maybe, but a text-only work rests more on the quality of its writing and narrative, neither of which is all that easy, I feel.
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« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2022, 05:44:35 AM »

I think that different people are likely to value different things in a game.

For example, speaking for myself, I don't generally look much at replayability when considering a game, I believe

Yes! But we should be able to agree on what a deep, or rich, or ragaflam or whatever kind of game even IS, right? Even if you don't like deep games we should be able to know what kind of game we are talking about in a common objective way. Or do you think that the definitions of words and types of games are so personal that your version of "deep" is different than my version of "deep?"
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« Reply #15 on: June 23, 2022, 08:16:14 AM »

Yes! But we should be able to agree on what a deep, or rich, or ragaflam or whatever kind of game even IS, right?

Not necessarily, no.

Or do you think that the definitions of words and types of games are so personal that your version of "deep" is different than my version of "deep?"

Exactly!

A person who values narrative might find depth in a game's story, even if the mechanics are paper-thin; a person who values replayability might value elements that produce variation between playthroughs, even if there's little to the story; a person who values moment-to-moment

Or, looked at from another perspective, we might be able to come up with something fairly general--my first attempt might be: "Depth" or "richness" is whatever makes a game (or other work) more engaging and engrossing for a given player.

In short, we're talking about a subjective perception, something that--to one degree or another--is likely to be specific to each player.

I do admittedly, think that one might come up with attributes that commonly contribute to "richness" or "depth". Perhaps, for argument's sake, most--but not all--people consider well-depicted characters to provide some "depth".

To give an actual example, one of my absolute favourite games, one that I'd very much consider to be "rich", I think, is Gabriel Knight 2. Now, that game has very simple mechanics--it's a point-and-click game with a "left-click to interact, right-click to look" interface and a straightforward inventory. There are a few other elements--for example there's a (once-off, I think) tape-splicing minigame--but for the most part that's it, mechanically.

And yet I've replayed it a number of times--more than most games, I daresay!

And that is, I think, at least in part because its narrative is enthralling, its characters interesting and engaging, and its visuals beautiful! (And of course because it has narrative elements that I enjoy, such as werewolves.) And, well, even with those simple mechanics it nevertheless has some decent puzzling. It doesn't matter that it plays more or less the same way each time.
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flowerthief
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« Reply #16 on: June 23, 2022, 01:23:39 PM »

Why is that, if I may ask?

Indeed, it seems to me that the cover-tile of a game on itch is its packaging, effectively.

Virtual packaging hasn't got collectible value the way that physical packaging does. (or it has weak collectible value to be more precise; I suppose you could right-click and save virtual packaging images, but who does that?) It has value to me only to the extent that it is used to show me the actual product.

Why? Because, from my experience, the correlation between good packaging and a good product is tenuous. In fact I'm not sure there is any correlation at all. Just as a paperback novel with a good cover might have a bad story and a novel with a bad cover might have a bad story, a game with a good cover might be a bad game and a game with a bad cover might be a good game. This is what is meant by the saying, "Don't judge a book by its cover". I don't decide what books to read based on their covers, what movies to watch based on their posters, or what games to play based on how they are packaged.

When you said "Especially if I'm looking for something particularly good" you seem to be implying that there IS a correlation between good packaging and a good product--that you do judge a book by its cover. Is it your experience that good packaging correlates with a good product? Do you select what books to read, movies to watch, and games to play in this way, and have the products you've chosen to consume because you found the packaging to be good turned out to actually be good?
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michaelplzno
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« Reply #17 on: June 23, 2022, 11:38:40 PM »

In short, we're talking about a subjective perception, something that--to one degree or another--is likely to be specific to each player.

This is a dangerous road that strips all words of meaning and creates a wasteland where only people you know personally or in great detail can produce language that has any impact or significance and I would argue is quite elitist in that only those who get to establish what they mean by redefining the language when they use a given word can actually say something without being completely misunderstood.

I'm willing to concede some subjectivity in what makes great works great. Though great works are commonly regarded as great by many different peoples. Perhaps each one finds a work great for different reasons, but part of what makes great art so *great* is that deep in side we're all the same. That is, great art creates a commonality, day I say even a community, between all its viewers.

The more we fight for individuality, where not only the art itself has subjective elements, but even the very foundations of the written word cannot be defined objectively, and thus the word "the" isn't just an article, but actually means something opaque and subjective to just me and no one else such that I laugh at everyone's use of that 3 letter word there can be only one result of such a tower of babble: great art is impossible.

And I get that we are all snowflakes, but for example, even snowflakes seemingly unanimously agree that there is a danger from global warming, right? The whole point of art is to create expressions of complicated combinations of emotions and logic with which we can build a framework to commonly discuss human experiences that may be difficult to communicate about. If we surrender to the wasteland "its all subjective because even language is too personal to define for someone else" we are really in trouble when it comes to even basic words like "fun" or "happy" or "sad" or even the word "or" because after all, how can we know that your version of "or" works the same way my version does? And I get a bit prickly about defending words and their meanings but hopefully you can see why I want the air I breathe and the molecules my body is made out of to be part of the same universe as everyone else. As opposed to one where two competing definitions of what should be a basic word, like "deep" result in a "worlds are colliding" type crisis.




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« Reply #18 on: June 24, 2022, 07:25:12 AM »

Virtual packaging hasn't got collectible value the way that physical packaging does. (or it has weak collectible value to be more precise; I suppose you could right-click and save virtual packaging images, but who does that?) It has value to me only to the extent that it is used to show me the actual product.

Ah, I see. I don't much look at cover-packaging for the purposes of collection either.

Why? Because, from my experience, the correlation between good packaging and a good product is tenuous.
...

When you said "Especially if I'm looking for something particularly good" you seem to be implying that there IS a correlation between good packaging and a good product--that you do judge a book by its cover. Is it your experience that good packaging correlates with a good product? Do you select what books to read, movies to watch, and games to play in this way, and have the products you've chosen to consume because you found the packaging to be good turned out to actually be good?

I see what you're saying, and to some degree I agree with you.

However, while I do agree that there's little correlation between cover-art and good works, I conversely feel that there's likely a correlation between a lack of cover-art and poor works.

And again, it's a matter of adding to the fantasy: the cover-art tells me what fantasy the work is trying to build, in a way that a gameplay screenshot tends to be poor at.

To draw on an older example, I still remember fondly the cover for Thief: The Dark Project--it's lovely and evocative, I find.

I don't have the box, and I don't care to, because I'm not a collector. But that art helps to build the fantasy of being a master thief in a fantasy setting.

Further, those small tiles that itch provides seem rather limited for the displaying of gameplay screenshots--at least of the sorts of games that I might like. The larger screenshots provided within a game's individual page are, I feel, better-suited to that. Cover art then may do a better job of indicating somewhat of the game--its tone, its type of setting, a drop of narrative, that sort of thing--than a screenshot is likely to do in the same space.

This is a dangerous road that strips all words of meaning and creates a wasteland where only people you know personally or in great detail can produce language that has any impact or significance and I would argue is quite elitist in that only those who get to establish what they mean by redefining the language when they use a given word can actually say something without being completely misunderstood.

I strongly disagree.

Some thing are inherently subjective; other things (solipsistic perspectives aside) are not. To say that some things are subjective doesn't imply that all things are.

And I did give a somewhat-objective definition of "richness", I think--it's just one that accounts for the individual nature of the perception.

Further, returning to your point about conveying words, a given person's individual definition of "richness" can potentially be conveyed, allowing for discourse.

Though great works are commonly regarded as great by many different peoples.

I would say rather that some works are widely considered great.

Perhaps each one finds a work great for different reasons, but part of what makes great art so *great* is that deep in side we're all the same. That is, great art creates a commonality, day I say even a community, between all its viewers.

There can still be community--it just needn't be between all of a given work's audience.

The more we fight for individuality, where not only the art itself has subjective elements, but even the very foundations of the written word cannot be defined objectively, and thus the word "the" isn't just an article, but actually means something opaque and subjective to just me and no one else such that I laugh at everyone's use of that 3 letter word there can be only one result of such a tower of babble: great art is impossible.

I see your fear, but I don't think that it's truly founded. I think that you're perceiving a threat that isn't really there in the subjectivity of experience.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2022, 07:35:30 AM by Thaumaturge » Logged

michaelplzno
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« Reply #19 on: June 24, 2022, 09:29:35 AM »

The reason I'm so "fearful" of subjectivity is that it seems to be the genesis of a ton of crap that simply cannot be cleaned up without OBJECTING to so many people's warring tribal narratives. When people disagree, we can cut the crap till the Truth is revealed. Its not popular but cleaning isn't popular either.

We can take a glass, and smash it into a million pieces, and then try to reconstruct it where each person has their own little shard, their own little universe with its own little narrative: "my piece was in the corner of the room but your piece was swept under a chair." Such a glass will never hold water.

Edit: If I'm fearful of subjectivity, then it seems the bulk of people I run into on the internet are utterly horrified to the point of abject terror at the idea of the actual honest to god truth.
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