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Hattori
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(03-20-2017, 11:49 PM)
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Originally Posted by thomasmahler

Quoting your post because that was an absolute brilliant writeup. You always see this effect happening in all the Bethesda games as well - I remember being completely blown away by Oblivion and its open world, until you actually understand that it's all smoke and mirrors and most of that content is just repeated over and over and over again, which is what they just have to do because of the sheer size of the world. Once you're at the spot where you can look behind the magic and you understand the trick, it's not exciting anymore and you get bored quickly - Very similar to a magic trick, actually :)

wouldn't this magic trick be applicable to "tightly controlled environments" like your game and many others? It's all checkpoints (or gates) until the next power up rinse and repeat. It might be a slightly different area but the endgame is the same collect crystals, to open a gate encounter a boss, cutscene and off to the next area to do the same thing.
ghibli99
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(03-21-2017, 12:03 AM)
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When I think of the world of BOTW, I'm reminded of this interview that Roger Ebert did with Hayao Miyazaki 15 years ago in 2002. It's exactly what I feel when playing this game. So when I start to think of the world being too big, those are actually the exact moments where I get to reflect on what I've done, or to take a moment to appreciate the way the sun glistens off of each blade of grass, or to look up into the sky and see birds flying off into the distance.

I mean, when you read this, doesn't it sound precisely what we're experiencing in this game? It does to me, anyway.

I told Miyazaki I love the "gratuitous motion" in his films; instead of every movement being dictated by the story, sometimes people will just sit for a moment, or they will sigh, or look in a running stream, or do something extra, not to advance the story but only to give the sense of time and place and who they are.

"We have a word for that in Japanese," he said. "It's called ma. Emptiness. It's there intentionally."

Is that like the "pillow words" that separate phrases in Japanese poetry?

"I don't think it's like the pillow word." He clapped his hands three or four times. "The time in between my clapping is ma. If you just have non-stop action with no breathing space at all, it's just busyness, But if you take a moment, then the tension building in the film can grow into a wider dimension. If you just have constant tension at 80 degrees all the time you just get numb."

Which helps explain why Miyazaki's films are more absorbing and involving than the frantic cheerful action in a lot of American animation. I asked him to explain that a little more.

"The people who make the movies are scared of silence, so they want to paper and plaster it over," he said. "They're worried that the audience will get bored. They might go up and get some popcorn.

But just because it's 80 percent intense all the time doesn't mean the kids are going to bless you with their concentration. What really matters is the underlying emotions--that you never let go of those.

What my friends and I have been trying to do since the 1970's is to try and quiet things down a little bit; don't just bombard them with noise and distraction. And to follow the path of children's emotions and feelings as we make a film. If you stay true to joy and astonishment and empathy you don't have to have violence and you don't have to have action. They'll follow you. This is our principle."

Entire interview here: http://www.rogerebert.com/interviews...zaki-interview

I actually agree... if every moment in BOTW was compressed and nonstop one after the other, you'd be left with a pretty tiring game. It's the moments between those beats that contribute greatly to what makes this game special and memorable.

It's a hard thing to unlearn... which is why it makes me sad when people say that Studio Ghibli films are slow and boring to them. But different strokes, I guess.
phanphare
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(03-21-2017, 12:06 AM)
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Originally Posted by ghibli99

When I think of the world of BOTW, I'm reminded of this interview that Roger Ebert did with Hayao Miyazaki 15 years ago in 2002. It's exactly what I feel when playing this game. So when I start to think of the world being too big, those are actually the exact moments where I get to reflect on what I've done, or to take a moment to appreciate the way the sun glistens off of each blade of grass, or to look up into the sky and see birds flying off into the distance.

I mean, when you read this, doesn't it sound precisely what we're experiencing in this game? It does to me, anyway.



Entire interview here: http://www.rogerebert.com/interviews...zaki-interview

I actually agree... if every moment in BOTW was compressed and nonstop one after the other, you'd be left with a pretty tiring game. It's the moments between those beats that contribute greatly to what makes this game special and memorable.

It's a hard thing to unlearn... which is why it makes me sad when people say that Studio Ghibli films are slow and boring to them. But different strokes, I guess.

this is great. better explains why the fun per inch mentality would actually be a detriment to breath of the wild's world.
brad-t
Member
(03-21-2017, 12:08 AM)

Originally Posted by EatinOlives

This is for sure the most interesting approach to an open world game that I've seen since, well, probably GTA III (what many would consider the first modern open world game), but I can't shake the feeling that Nintendo doesn't quite stick the landing at the end of the through-line.

Great post. I definitely feel like they've stuck the landing but that, as you've written, the "rules" of the world are at times very bare. It's almost comical to see every cool event in the overworld culminate in a Shrine popping out of the ground. I hope now that Nintendo has developed the "rules of play" in their open world, so to speak, they can now move onto actually obscuring those rules.
thomasmahler
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(03-21-2017, 12:21 AM)
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Originally Posted by ghibli99

When I think of the world of BOTW, I'm reminded of this interview that Roger Ebert did with Hayao Miyazaki 15 years ago in 2002. It's exactly what I feel when playing this game. So when I start to think of the world being too big, those are actually the exact moments where I get to reflect on what I've done, or to take a moment to appreciate the way the sun glistens off of each blade of grass, or to look up into the sky and see birds flying off into the distance.

I mean, when you read this, doesn't it sound precisely what we're experiencing in this game? It does to me, anyway.

Entire interview here: http://www.rogerebert.com/interviews...zaki-interview

I actually agree... if every moment in BOTW was compressed and nonstop one after the other, you'd be left with a pretty tiring game. It's the moments between those beats that contribute greatly to what makes this game special and memorable.

It's a hard thing to unlearn... which is why it makes me sad when people say that Studio Ghibli films are slow and boring to them. But different strokes, I guess.

I think this just goes back to the argument that you need 'white spaces' within your world in order to not cause a sensory overload and nobody is arguing against that. What would be boring is if a Miyazaki film would have a panorama section where you stare at a blue sky for a full 2 minutes without engaging your brain in any way other than you doing one thing: Looking at a blue sky.

That's what we're arguing against here. The equivalent to looking at the blue sky in a film for games is traversing through an environment by holding your analog stick forward for a long time or by repeating the same repetitive actions all the time simply because that's what you have to do cause the world is that big.
thomasmahler
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(03-21-2017, 12:24 AM)
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Originally Posted by Hattori

wouldn't this magic trick be applicable to "tightly controlled environments" like your game and many others? It's all checkpoints (or gates) until the next power up rinse and repeat. It might be a slightly different area but the endgame is the same collect crystals, to open a gate encounter a boss, cutscene and off to the next area to do the same thing.

No, because the difference is that open world games are huge worlds where the same mechanics are used and repeated over and over and over again.

Whereas a game like ALTTP has uniquely designed stuff everywhere. The reward might still be a heart container or something you already got earlier, but it's about the journey here, not the destination. If the journey would always be the same, you'd get bored.
OrbitalBeard
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(03-21-2017, 12:25 AM)
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Originally Posted by ghibli99

When I think of the world of BOTW, I'm reminded of this interview that Roger Ebert did with Hayao Miyazaki 15 years ago in 2002. It's exactly what I feel when playing this game. So when I start to think of the world being too big, those are actually the exact moments where I get to reflect on what I've done, or to take a moment to appreciate the way the sun glistens off of each blade of grass, or to look up into the sky and see birds flying off into the distance.

I mean, when you read this, doesn't it sound precisely what we're experiencing in this game? It does to me, anyway.



Entire interview here: http://www.rogerebert.com/interviews...zaki-interview

I actually agree... if every moment in BOTW was compressed and nonstop one after the other, you'd be left with a pretty tiring game. It's the moments between those beats that contribute greatly to what makes this game special and memorable.

It's a hard thing to unlearn... which is why it makes me sad when people say that Studio Ghibli films are slow and boring to them. But different strokes, I guess.

yes yes yes yes YES

A thousand times yes. I remember reading that interview years ago.
Hero
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(03-21-2017, 12:30 AM)
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Originally Posted by ghibli99

When I think of the world of BOTW, I'm reminded of this interview that Roger Ebert did with Hayao Miyazaki 15 years ago in 2002. It's exactly what I feel when playing this game. So when I start to think of the world being too big, those are actually the exact moments where I get to reflect on what I've done, or to take a moment to appreciate the way the sun glistens off of each blade of grass, or to look up into the sky and see birds flying off into the distance.

I mean, when you read this, doesn't it sound precisely what we're experiencing in this game? It does to me, anyway.



Entire interview here: http://www.rogerebert.com/interviews...zaki-interview

I actually agree... if every moment in BOTW was compressed and nonstop one after the other, you'd be left with a pretty tiring game. It's the moments between those beats that contribute greatly to what makes this game special and memorable.

It's a hard thing to unlearn... which is why it makes me sad when people say that Studio Ghibli films are slow and boring to them. But different strokes, I guess.

You mean there's nuance to giving downtime so people can breathe or take in beauty?
Mister Saturn
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(03-21-2017, 12:31 AM)
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Originally Posted by thomasmahler

No, because the difference is that open world games are huge worlds where the same mechanics are used and repeated over and over and over again.

Whereas a game like ALTTP has uniquely designed stuff everywhere. The reward might still be a heart container or something you already got earlier, but it's about the journey here, not the destination. If the journey would always be the same, you'd get bored.

Well, actually ALTTP is essentially the same mechanic being used and repeated over and over and over, only with different clothes each time (the lock-to-key mechanisms that are the foundation of most "classic" zeldas).

If anything, BotW is the Zelda that breaks the cycle and actually focuses more on the journey than the destination. I'm not saying that I agree with your assessment of the game having numerous open spaces, but entertaining that aspect for the moment, I would contend that they are still essential to the games design because they allow for moments of passive reflection, a really powerful use of that "white space" that is commonplace in other visual entertainment like movies and TV, often to great effect.
Last edited by Mister Saturn; 03-21-2017 at 12:34 AM.
phanphare
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(03-21-2017, 12:31 AM)
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Originally Posted by thomasmahler

I think this just goes back to the argument that you need 'white spaces' within your world in order to not cause a sensory overload and nobody is arguing against that. What would be boring is if a Miyazaki film would have a panorama section where you stare at a blue sky for a full 2 minutes without engaging your brain in any way other than you doing one thing: Looking at a blue sky.

That's what we're arguing against here. The equivalent to looking at the blue sky in a film for games is traversing through an environment by holding your analog stick forward for a long time or by repeating the same repetitive actions all the time simply because that's what you have to do cause the world is that big.

pretty bad comparison considering that staring at a blue sky for 2 minutes isn't engaging whereas traversing through an environment is
brad-t
Member
(03-21-2017, 12:32 AM)

Originally Posted by thomasmahler

That's what we're arguing against here. The equivalent to looking at the blue sky in a film for games is traversing through an environment by holding your analog stick forward for a long time or by repeating the same repetitive actions all the time simply because that's what you have to do cause the world is that big.

The reason some people are having difficulty connecting with your arguments is that your description of what it's like to play Breath of the Wild doesn't correlate with what it feels like to actually play it (for many of us, anyway).

Are there a handful of moments where I've just been moving in a straight line and where there's nothing to interact with? Yeah. But these moments are seriously rare, and there is usually something cool to do a few steps or, at the worst, a quick paraglide jump or climb away.

The way you're describing gameplay is reductive. My interaction with the game does not end with the direction I push the stick or the buttons I press. Looking around, deciding where to go next, letting the world guide me or guiding myself through the world — these are elements of gameplay. A long walk towards something spotted in the distance is still gameplay — spotting it, deciding how to get where I want to go, and whatever I discover along the way. Without that distance, there would be no process of discovery. Just onto the next plot point or set piece.

Maybe the game is just not for you? Arguing that Breath of the Wild should be at all akin to a 10-hour linear experience is arguing in favour of the existence of an entirely different game.
Last edited by brad-t; 03-21-2017 at 12:43 AM.
Makonero
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(03-21-2017, 12:32 AM)
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Originally Posted by thomasmahler

No, because the difference is that open world games are huge worlds where the same mechanics are used and repeated over and over and over again.

Whereas a game like ALTTP has uniquely designed stuff everywhere. The reward might still be a heart container or something you already got earlier, but it's about the journey here, not the destination. If the journey would always be the same, you'd get bored.

uniquely designed kill rooms and switch puzzles? yeah maybe. BOTW has far more variety in types of puzzles and challenges in addition to more ways to explore and interact in the world.
watershed
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(03-21-2017, 12:45 AM)
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Originally Posted by thomasmahler

No, because the difference is that open world games are huge worlds where the same mechanics are used and repeated over and over and over again.

Whereas a game like ALTTP has uniquely designed stuff everywhere. The reward might still be a heart container or something you already got earlier, but it's about the journey here, not the destination. If the journey would always be the same, you'd get bored.

ALTTP has tons of repeated gameplay over and over. It's combat in particular is far less creative or "mulitiplicative" than BOTW's. Even its overworld design is more template-like than BOTW's imo.
Northeastmonk
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(03-21-2017, 12:55 AM)
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I remember walking to Hatero and taking in the city and the walls. It felt like I had stepped right into this rich fantasy world with a ton of life put into it. Those moments last quite a long time in BotW. I think it's when I got to mountain ridge and another area I needed to get over; that I just resorted to climbing and getting up in the air.

I agree about the dragon. That part was amazing because I saw it from the starting point after getting a heart container.

I wouldn't say it's a repetative adventure that some games have done over the years. It depends on what you want out of it. If you're impatient then you'll probably take in the magic and dodge the rest. For me, instant travel made the experience even better. I got to explore new areas because I got to a shrine about a couple minutes away. Others I died. Lol

I feel very fulfilled playing BotW. I'd say it brought me back to OOT except this isn't 1998.

My coworker complained about it being like Skyrim and he hated the weapon durability. To me, it added variety. I also thought twice and probably did better with having to save my weapons.

If any devs read this, I'd say take a mental note of how engrossed this game makes us feel. It's pure fantasy from when I was a kid all over again. Reminds me of playing Zelda on NES at my friend's house back in the early 90's.
Last edited by Northeastmonk; 03-21-2017 at 12:58 AM.
Charamiwa
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(03-21-2017, 01:10 AM)
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Originally Posted by EatinOlives

Yep, and to be honest this is a source of conflict for me. I don't really want to pin that as necessarily Nintendo's fault. After all, is there really any magic trick that is just as "magical" feeling after you have seen it and understand it? It almost feels inherent to the video game medium; spend enough time with any one game and you will see behind the curtain whether or not you legitimately want to.

And another thing to put in favor of Nintendo, is the fact that the "magic" was created at all. I've played enough open-world games that I've started to hit the ground running on these games already having knowing their inner workings (because those games tend to be derivative and not interested in capturing this sense of discovery), so the fact that Zelda was even able to make me genuinely think "holy shit, anything can happen!" is an accomplishment in and of itself.

I see some people are countering with the notion that the illusion lasts longer than that of many other games, therefore the criticism is invalid. First off, I wouldn't take away from the fact that the illusion lasts a long time. Like I said, I've spent probably like 25 hours and just now I'm having the "peek behind the curtain". Plenty of games I've played to completion in 25 hours (with my "peek behind the curtain" moment happening at like hour 5, if that), that's a great accomplishment! But it just doesn't really negate the criticism either. Maybe it's a certain notion that "the bigger they are the harder they fall". Maybe the notion that the game genuinely felt endlessly mysterious and full of possibility was only going to yield a bigger proportional disappointment when you uncover the inner workings of the game's mechanics. To wrap this back to the first paragraph, this does feel inherent to gaming in general. But one point I am confident in is this: there are plenty of areas where Nintendo COULD have further made the illusion last, or rather my point of contention is that the illusion ended up lasting much shorter than I would have anticipated. I referred to some ideas in my previous post.

As an aside, the illusion being broken doesn't mean the game is not fun, it only means it no longer has that magical feeling of mystery and "anything can happen!" as the first few hours did. The game still remains fun after 25 hours well after you've uncovered essentially every major game mechanic. After hour 20 I'm still finding it fun to see a "suspicious" rock and making my way over there to uncover the Korok to get his/her seed. But what I'm not doing is having any sort of illusion that I'll find anything BUT a Korok under that rock. And that's why some of the magic has been lost on me.

I get your point about the illusion being broken, but honestly part of the fun to me, 130 hours in, is knowing how this world works. It's all part of the sense of progression. Right now I have farming spots for all the bosses in the game, for the dragons, I know where to go and at what time when I want something. Now of course it clashes with the wonder of coming across a Hinox for the first time, it's not as wondrous anymore, but there is something to be said about mastering and understanding a world that was once scary and unknown. To me it's all part of the journey.

And yet, even if I know the map pretty well, I still find some surprises here and there. Recently, found a series of islands/columns east of the map, and did some crazy mining involving a hammer, updrafts, a lot of paragliding, some vertigo-inducing bridges and yes... a shrine at the end.

And it's true that a lot of stuff in this game end with a shrine. To this I can't say much, because after 104 of those I'm still happy to see one, because of the puzzle waiting ahead, and the Orb at the end. It just works for me.
watershed
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(03-21-2017, 01:16 AM)
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I also disagree with the idea that once you see the strings/peek behind the curtains and discover the magic, the game stops being fun. I know how movies are made, that doesn't stop me from enjoying movies. I know why coins are placed where they are in Mario games, but that doesn't hurt my enjoyment of the game. Good game design doesn't have to be invisible in order to be enjoyable, it just has to be good. BOTW has stellar game design from all angles.
DeanBDean
Junior Member
(03-21-2017, 01:22 AM)

Originally Posted by watershed

I also disagree with the idea that once you see the strings/peek behind the curtains and discover the magic, the game stops being fun. I know how movies are made, that doesn't stop me from enjoying movies. I know why coins are placed where they are in Mario games, but that doesn't hurt my enjoyment of the game. Good game design doesn't have to be invisible in order to be enjoyable, it just has to be good. BOTW has stellar game design from all angles.

Just to continue your point, for me I find it more engrossing to know the craft, know what the crafts makers are going for, and realizing how they make the magic happen
Totakeke
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(03-21-2017, 01:29 AM)
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There's plenty of comments about how the game doesn't sustain interest beyond.. let's say, 50-80 hours of gameplay. But from the Zelda's team perspective, perhaps they didn't even expect the game to get the reception has been getting nor that it would enthrall so many players to spend so much time on a game that allows you to beat the boss within the first few hours without any elaborate tricks. There are issues with difficulties and variety after playing for such a long time and that's maybe all perhaps linked to them not expecting as much from their own game. Perhaps they expected most players to spend less time with it and didn't feel necessary to really pepper the game with so much stuff that would still keep people playing after so many hours to be continually refreshed.

After all, this IS their first time making an open world game, and I doubt any developer would know that their game would be so highly acclaimed before it goes out to the world. They have been designing pretty linear games that takes less than 40 hours to beat and that's often with a lot of padding too.
watershed
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(03-21-2017, 01:30 AM)
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Originally Posted by DeanBDean

Just to continue your point, for me I find it more engrossing to know the craft, know what the crafts makers are going for, and realizing how they make the magic happen

I think there are three points:

1) The sense of newness and discovery inevitably wears off after having poured 50 plus hours into a game as I have. What was once new, I now have a deep familiarity with, even if that means a loss of wonder. That's just the natural process of growing to understand the game the more I play it.

2) Those things I now understand better are still fun and enjoyable to engage with AND the familiarity and understanding I've gained thru 55 plus hours increases my appreciation for the game design in BOTW.

3) The sense of wonder and discovery are not the only things that make BOTW fun. The gameplay is just consistently fun even after my 1000th fight or 600th Korok Seed.
En-ou
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(03-21-2017, 01:33 AM)
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Originally Posted by brad-t

The reason some people are having difficulty connecting with your arguments is that your description of what it's like to play Breath of the Wild doesn't correlate with what it feels like to actually play it (for many of us, anyway).

Are there a handful of moments where I've just been moving in a straight line and where there's nothing to interact with? Yeah. But these moments are seriously rare, and there is usually something cool to do a few steps or, at the worst, a quick paraglide jump or climb away.

The way you're describing gameplay is reductive. My interaction with the game does not end with the direction I push the stick or the buttons I press. Looking around, deciding where to go next, letting the world guide me or guiding myself through the world — these are elements of gameplay. A long walk towards something spotted in the distance is still gameplay — spotting it, deciding how to get where I want to go, and whatever I discover along the way. Without that distance, there would be no process of discovery. Just onto the next plot point or set piece.

Maybe the game is just not for you? Arguing that Breath of the Wild should be at all akin to a 10-hour linear experience is arguing in favour of the existence of an entirely different game.

Lol I was having second thoughts on whether Thomas even played the game or just went thru the motions as a game tester. Or maybe he didn't play much of the game at all.
Lionel Richie
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(03-21-2017, 01:36 AM)
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Originally Posted by ghibli99

When I think of the world of BOTW, I'm reminded of this interview that Roger Ebert did with Hayao Miyazaki 15 years ago in 2002. It's exactly what I feel when playing this game. So when I start to think of the world being too big, those are actually the exact moments where I get to reflect on what I've done, or to take a moment to appreciate the way the sun glistens off of each blade of grass, or to look up into the sky and see birds flying off into the distance.

I mean, when you read this, doesn't it sound precisely what we're experiencing in this game? It does to me, anyway.



Entire interview here: http://www.rogerebert.com/interviews...zaki-interview

I actually agree... if every moment in BOTW was compressed and nonstop one after the other, you'd be left with a pretty tiring game. It's the moments between those beats that contribute greatly to what makes this game special and memorable.

It's a hard thing to unlearn... which is why it makes me sad when people say that Studio Ghibli films are slow and boring to them. But different strokes, I guess.

Great post.
DeanBDean
Junior Member
(03-21-2017, 01:40 AM)

Originally Posted by watershed

I think there are three points:

1) The sense of newness and discovery inevitably wears off after having poured 50 plus hours into a game as I have. What was once new, I now have a deep familiarity with, even if that means a loss of wonder. That's just the natural process of growing to understand the game the more I play it.

2) Those things I now understand better are still fun and enjoyable to engage with AND the familiarity and understanding I've gained thru 55 plus hours increases my appreciation for the game design in BOTW.

3) The sense of wonder and discovery are not the only things that make BOTW fun. The gameplay is just consistently fun even after my 1000th fight or 600th Korok Seed.

Agreed on all points. It's like watching a comedy special you love. You may not laugh as hard as the first time, but you still enjoy the ride
thefil
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(03-21-2017, 01:55 AM)
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I guess it's the low (I think it's high personally) density of unique content people dislike? Because surely by even the most strict measure of uniqueness, between the shrine quests, hidden shrines, each Korok puzzle type, dragons, minibosses, and optional side areas, there is more unique, non-main-quest, non-fetch-quest content in this Zelda than in any previous. If you took a coarse comb over the world and extracted only one of each of those things, you could compress them into a smaller world I suppose.

I wouldn't want to. I enjoy the traversal and downtime immensely, as short as it is.

Also, can people not identify something as unique if it ends in a shrine? Much of the side content terminates in such a way, but that simply replaces the heart piece that would be there in previous games. And as has been stated, the shrines which give you a orb as soon as you enter are effectively embedded in the environment, since the actual challenge of them is in the world and not in the shrine tileset.

Still finding completely new stuff 70 hours in.

*edit* I suspect a lot of backlash about uniqueness is in the lack of types of "keys" that are ubiquitous in old Zelda. Without hard gates I guess it's harder to feel like you've progressed to something new. I have yet to feel the shrines have mined out their potential despite the lack of new mechanics - there are 5 tools including the ubiquitous bow, which is not many fewer than other Zelda games, plus unique shrine mechanics.
Last edited by thefil; 03-21-2017 at 01:59 AM.
Altairax15
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(03-21-2017, 02:17 AM)
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Originally Posted by thomasmahler

My argument is that open world games by the nature of that terrain-based stuff all suffer from the same bad core design issues of just encouraging designers to leave way too many open spaces full of emptiness in the world.

The overworld in the other 3d Zeldas has been pretty barren too despite having a much smaller scale. Most of TPs field was nothing, and the reward for exploring was only rupees or heart piece.
Shrines are a much better reward than anything ive seen in an open world game, being unique puzzles and waypoints.

They should have let you call your horse from anywhere like Witcher 3 (or past Zeldas) though, because having to visit stables is kind of annoying.
Last edited by Altairax15; 03-21-2017 at 02:37 AM.
Shamrock7r
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(03-21-2017, 02:29 AM)
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Originally Posted by EatinOlives

Then there's the other, less frequent elements of surprise that turn out unsurprising. I got into the Fountain of Power, and was told to find a "scale" from some name. The Adventure Log's description matched my thought. "Who or WHAT is that name!? How could I find that scale??" My mind raced with ideas, perhaps this was the kickoff to a complex questline like the Biggoron Sword sidequest of Ocarina of Time. THEN, independently of this questline I find a dragon! Unbelievable! Even the game acknowledges the mythical and mysterious nature of these creatures. Unfortunately, this only lasts until you realize that the only use of the dragon in the game world is as a dispenser for unique items that you then use later. Lo and behold, this scale was the one I was looking for. Well neat I guess, I can go to the Fountain and retrieve my prize! Well, except for that the "prize" was a standard shrine that yielded a standard orb. Even the name "Fountain of Power" invited the notion that this was a special place and that you would get something meaningful like say, a permanent small increase in your base attack stat or something? Nope, just another orb.

Uh, this isn't true though. The Fountain of Power shrine gives you a super rare elemental weapon. I forgot which type for each (I think the one of power gives you the Great Flameblade), but there are three areas where you get a fire, electric, and ice large sword, similar to the Biggoron sword thinking about it, lol. The weapon can pretty much be used forever if you are smart with it. Also, the dragons serve another purpose. They also release horn shards which are the only items that can upgrade the champion tunic

I mean it's ok to feel like the end reward wasn't what you hoped but let's not be disingenuous when stating things
Last edited by Shamrock7r; 03-21-2017 at 02:43 AM.
ghibli99
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(03-21-2017, 02:35 AM)
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Originally Posted by thomasmahler

I think this just goes back to the argument that you need 'white spaces' within your world in order to not cause a sensory overload and nobody is arguing against that. What would be boring is if a Miyazaki film would have a panorama section where you stare at a blue sky for a full 2 minutes without engaging your brain in any way other than you doing one thing: Looking at a blue sky.

That's what we're arguing against here. The equivalent to looking at the blue sky in a film for games is traversing through an environment by holding your analog stick forward for a long time or by repeating the same repetitive actions all the time simply because that's what you have to do cause the world is that big.

To say that you're just staring at something static like that for minutes at a time blankly in BOTW is being disingenuous. Whether I'm conscious of it or not, I'm always looking around at my surroundings or taking a moment to stop to look at something that stands out, no matter how small/minor.

I get it though... not everyone is going to approach a game like this the same, nor are they going to get the same thing out of it than someone like I will. I also am not someone who thinks BOTW is flawless. There are definitely things I would love to see improved, streamlined, or iterated upon, but that's games... the day we think games can't be improved is the day we all just quit. :)
Hattori
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(03-21-2017, 02:50 AM)
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Originally Posted by thomasmahler

No, because the difference is that open world games are huge worlds where the same mechanics are used and repeated over and over and over again.

Whereas a game like ALTTP has uniquely designed stuff everywhere. The reward might still be a heart container or something you already got earlier, but it's about the journey here, not the destination. If the journey would always be the same, you'd get bored.

Isn't that what the shrines are? They are all uniquely placed around the world and some even have challenges just to even uncover them. In fact I just arrived at one that rewarded me with a very memorable experience on top of a mountain.
culex-knight
Junior Member
(03-21-2017, 03:28 AM)
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Originally Posted by brad-t

The reason some people are having difficulty connecting with your arguments is that your description of what it's like to play Breath of the Wild doesn't correlate with what it feels like to actually play it (for many of us, anyway).

Are there a handful of moments where I've just been moving in a straight line and where there's nothing to interact with? Yeah. But these moments are seriously rare, and there is usually something cool to do a few steps or, at the worst, a quick paraglide jump or climb away.

The way you're describing gameplay is reductive. My interaction with the game does not end with the direction I push the stick or the buttons I press. Looking around, deciding where to go next, letting the world guide me or guiding myself through the world — these are elements of gameplay. A long walk towards something spotted in the distance is still gameplay — spotting it, deciding how to get where I want to go, and whatever I discover along the way. Without that distance, there would be no process of discovery. Just onto the next plot point or set piece.

Maybe the game is just not for you? Arguing that Breath of the Wild should be at all akin to a 10-hour linear experience is arguing in favour of the existence of an entirely different game.

I agree with much of his OP, but THISSSSSS so much. BotW nails breathing room vs content, even if the content needs some work.

I loved Witcher 3, but I think it had almost the opposite: the content was all amazing, but even for a world so big it felt so dense and daunting-- something to do every 20 ft almost (slight exag.)
Shamrock7r
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(03-21-2017, 04:07 AM)
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Originally Posted by thomasmahler

I think this just goes back to the argument that you need 'white spaces' within your world in order to not cause a sensory overload and nobody is arguing against that. What would be boring is if a Miyazaki film would have a panorama section where you stare at a blue sky for a full 2 minutes without engaging your brain in any way other than you doing one thing: Looking at a blue sky.
.

Multiple people have articulated in different ways how the quieter moments in progression and discovery offer entertainment in its own way. The excitement of approaching a new environment, exploring the area and taking in the visuals, and not instantly being assaulted with a task or a puzzle, the feeling a of a buildup as you reach an area of seeming interest. The game is still producing interest and excitement in an immersive way.
effingvic
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(03-21-2017, 04:26 AM)
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Originally Posted by ghibli99

When I think of the world of BOTW, I'm reminded of this interview that Roger Ebert did with Hayao Miyazaki 15 years ago in 2002. It's exactly what I feel when playing this game. So when I start to think of the world being too big, those are actually the exact moments where I get to reflect on what I've done, or to take a moment to appreciate the way the sun glistens off of each blade of grass, or to look up into the sky and see birds flying off into the distance.

I mean, when you read this, doesn't it sound precisely what we're experiencing in this game? It does to me, anyway.



Entire interview here: http://www.rogerebert.com/interviews...zaki-interview

I actually agree... if every moment in BOTW was compressed and nonstop one after the other, you'd be left with a pretty tiring game. It's the moments between those beats that contribute greatly to what makes this game special and memorable.

It's a hard thing to unlearn... which is why it makes me sad when people say that Studio Ghibli films are slow and boring to them. But different strokes, I guess.

This is it. Downtime allows me to appreciate the beauty of the game, reflect on what I've done and think about where I'm going next. Soon enough I'll see an animal that I want to hut, a Korok puzzle, a bunch of enemies, or a beautiful vista, or a crazy combination of all of these so a moments respite every once in a while is welcome and energizing.
Weltall Zero
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(03-21-2017, 04:57 AM)
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Originally Posted by Ripenen

I meant that Thomas was being both self-aggrandizing and reducing the work of others. I wasn't referring to you.

It's fine to critique a game, but throughout the thread this critique has been presented as a way to show how Thomas/Moon does design the "right" way with the fun per square inch or whatever and the comments about terrain tools leading to bad design habits. Suggesting someone could "Just imagine ALTTP in 3D and extrapolate from there" and somehow make it work as if that's easy is kind of insulting to game designers.

It's one thing to talk about this stuff with other game designers. Talk about it with your team at length. Have everyone play it and give a full deconstruct. A public forum of primarily video game fans and consumers just isn't a good place for this "critique".

Obviously you can do whatever you want. Just warning you it's not a good look.

I may be a bit late but I wanted to say this is exactly what I felt reading pretty much every single of Thomas' posts. "See, here's another thing that BotW does wrong, and how we did it beautifully right". This would be cringe inducing in the best of cases, let alone when directed at one of the most delightfully enjoyable games in history. Grow a bit of perspective and self-awareness, man. I had a lot of respect for the Ori dev team and all of this is making it plummet.
Last edited by Weltall Zero; 03-21-2017 at 05:00 AM.
Vanguard771
Junior Member
(03-21-2017, 05:21 AM)

Originally Posted by thomasmahler

I think this just goes back to the argument that you need 'white spaces' within your world in order to not cause a sensory overload and nobody is arguing against that. What would be boring is if a Miyazaki film would have a panorama section where you stare at a blue sky for a full 2 minutes without engaging your brain in any way other than you doing one thing: Looking at a blue sky.

That's what we're arguing against here. The equivalent to looking at the blue sky in a film for games is traversing through an environment by holding your analog stick forward for a long time or by repeating the same repetitive actions all the time simply because that's what you have to do cause the world is that big.

These are my favorite parts of the game. The lack of music and action lets me enjoy the little details present in the visual and sound design. Grass parting when running through it, surfaces becoming reflective in a sunny rain shower, Link's equipment clinking with each footfall, a restless cricket taking off with a buzz. While I may be holding forward on a stick the experience is only empty when I choose to ignore the world around me.
Schopenhauerian
Member
(03-21-2017, 06:00 AM)

Originally Posted by thomasmahler

...Yes, there are some folks who enjoy [X], but I'd argue that for the large majority of folks out there...

Originally Posted by Schopenhauerian

I would just note: arguments that make reference to specific preferences that are allegedly shared by a majority of folks can be greatly improved by the systematic collection of empirical evidence. My previous post mentioned one such effort (additional details here and here), and I know that Nintendo themselves employed systematic methods of collecting empirical evidence of gamer preferences, during the development of Breath of the Wild.

Originally Posted by thomasmahler

...I've been making games and been testing my designs over the better part of a decade now with lots and lots of folks and within Microsofts User Research Department during Ori's development and after some time you sorta understand what clicks for people and what doesn't. I'd even go as far as saying that there's a certain formula to fun and we just haven't really figured out the formula yet - but it's there. We're all doing things without knowing exactly what the math is in the background, but everything's based on certain rules and your brain lights up when certain conditions apply and doesn't when they don't...

Note that many folks who have disagreed with you in this thread have urged you to consider the differences between individuals in terms of personality (different types of gamers), and to consider the possibility that what was not at all fun for you, was in fact, nevertheless, fun for them.

Or in other words: to consider the possibility that the formula for fun may in fact be different, for different types of gamers.

Note that the abundant anecdotal evidence for this claim is also supported by data that has been collected more systematically, and it is certainly worth considering, in this context:

http://quanticfoundry.com/2015/06/18...ation-profile/
...I think most gamers, from their own gameplay experiences and playing with others online, have some folk taxonomy of some of these gameplay preferences. And we have labels for some of these preferences: “griefers” or “min-maxers”.

Over the past two decades, academic researchers and game developers have proposed many models and frameworks to codify these differences. From Bartle’s well-known Player Types to LeBlanc’s Aesthetics, from Lazzaro’s Fun Types to Sherry’s Gaming Uses & Gratifications, there is certainly no shortage of proposed models.

Despite the large number of proposed models, there has been a relative lack of quantitative data backing up most of the proposed models. From a statistical point of view, the following issues have typically not been addressed quantitatively…

http://quanticfoundry.com/2015/07/20...on-profile-v2/
We generated an initial inventory based on a literature review of existing models, tested it with 1,127 gamers, validated it with another 600 gamers, and used factor analysis to identify 5 groups of motivations... The factor analysis and hierarchical clustering results not only enumerate gamer motivations, they also show how the motivations are related to each other. One key challenge in studying gaming motivations is that it’s relatively easy to brainstorm and list potential motivations, but understanding the structure underlying those motivations, how they relate to each other, and how to reliably measure them require large amounts of data.

The Immersion-Exploration branch covers different ways of relating to the story and design of the game world, whether via the narrative, the characters, or exploring and customizing the game world.

The Achievement-Mastery branch covers different ways or progressing through and attaining power within the construct of the game world, whether this is leveling up, completing all its missions, or gaining mastery through practice.

The Action-Social branch covers more energetic and gregarious modes of gameplay, seeking out arousing gaming experiences whether this is from playing with other people, intense gameplay, or dramatic destruction.

The first two of these high-level groupings make intuitive sense. The Action-Social branch may be the least intuitive branch, but in hindsight, it is predicted by the Big Five personality model. The Big Five model is the current gold standard in describing and measuring personality in academic psychology. In this personality framework, studies have found that Extraversion bundles together traits related to gregariousness, excitement-seeking, assertiveness, and cheerfulness—an interesting mix of traits that is broader than the popular science description of Extraversion. The Action-Social branch seems to reflect this combination of Extraversion traits…

Also:

Originally Posted by thomasmahler

I think it'd be super interesting for people to see how we went about level design, how we tested certain levels with folks, then got some bad comments about them, changed them to be more dense or changed the focus and suddenly those levels were the testers favorites... That's why I'm naturally spotting certain problems we encountered and figured out how to fix when I'm seeing those problems in other games. My whole job every day is to analyze spaces that aren't fun yet and to fill them up with stuff that people enjoy, so I do often have a bit of a 'been there, done that' attitude when I see issues in games :)

Originally Posted by brad-t

With all due respect, you're replying to a post that links to another post detailing exactly how Nintendo tested and iterated on their designs. If you haven't yet, I'd highly recommend watching the BotW team's GDC talk or the Making of video series. It's a bit weird to see you take such a "been there, done that" attitude with the developers of this game as if they are complete novices in game design...

Note that brad-t is referring to this GDC talk, this ‘Making of’ video series (Part 2 / Part 3), as well as the following interview:

An English translation (of Gamekult’s French translation) of Aonuma’s description of the PC-based tool that was used during development:

French: http://www.gamekult.com/actu/eiji-ao...e-A172637.html
English: http://www.perfectly-nintendo.com/ze...e-shenanigans/

When it came to playtesting The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Nintendo did resort to companies offering playtesting services (there’s quite a few of them in Japan). This allowed them to have varied groups of people play the game, in an intensive way. Naturally, they also had Nintendo employees (that were working on other projects) playtest the game.

Since a lot of people were playtesting the game, Eiji Aonuma asked for a tool to be created, in order to have a map displayed on a PC. That map was to show the movements of 100 players in real-time, and simultaneously, with a marking point every hour.

It was all pretty amusing for Eiji Aonuma, because it showed the many different ways players were playing the game. Sometimes, lines would converge to a single point, which showed lots of players were going to the same place at a given time. When asked why they went there, players would give answers such as “Because there’s something there”, or “Because I found that thing”.

Very often, it was something he had not thought about, or simply didn’t notice from his point of view (as developer/dirctor). This also allowed the development team to see which places players were not visiting, so that they could make modifications: adding a path, modifying the topography, making a place more attracting, etc...

Burny
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(03-21-2017, 06:43 AM)
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Originally Posted by thomasmahler

That's what we're arguing against here. The equivalent to looking at the blue sky in a film for games is traversing through an environment by holding your analog stick forward for a long time or by repeating the same repetitive actions all the time simply because that's what you have to do cause the world is that big.

So what would be acceptable then? 30 seconds? Maybe 50? The game world should be a slave to whitespaces designed to hold a player a precise amount of seconds? What geography can be build to satisfy that constraints that's not plainly asinine? What space does a human like video game character cover in 10 seconds on foot? 80 meters on flat terrain in a flat out run? Any POIs of the game world then have to be no further apart than 240-400 meters or rather, every 240-400 meters the game should try to shove authored content down the player's throat? Why not drop the pretense and build a course or level based game to begin with?

If that downtime is necessary, but you're arguing that two minutes of crossing an ingame space is too long, that's more an issue with your attention span than the game.

Especially if the game allows you to already spend those two minutes gliding, riding a horse, teleporting, getting sidetracked collecting ingredients or exploring towards another landmark you saw in the distance. If that's all just 'pressing the stick forward' it's time to admit to yourself that open world games simply are not for you. Nothing you suggest 'to improve' aka make them more to your liking, especially not condensing the world, will not also simultaneously sour them for those who enjoy them. Those people plainly appreciate the minutes spend just traversing and looking at the world, which has been build to be appreciated, not just as means to an end for the designer to shove more content down their throats. Claiming to model a game world, then transparently filling the world exclusively with authored content to shove at the player, rather than because the world's inhabitants would have put certain things into the world at certain places or certain things would naturally grow/occur/etc. there, means failing at building an open world.

If the world size was an issue and not just a matter of personal taste, we'd see BotW slammed much harder for it, rather than being praised for it if scores are any indication. It's obvious at least some players and reviewers manage to appreciate the game for what it is, rather than take standards that may hold for a different type of game they personally prefer and try to apply them to BotW without stopping to think if those standards can even hold in relation to what the game sets out to accomplish.
Last edited by Burny; 03-21-2017 at 11:21 AM.
Mista Koo
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(03-21-2017, 10:09 AM)
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Originally Posted by thomasmahler

I think your assertion is definitely true - And I'm guessing it leads us to the big question of: "Why make Open World Games in the first place?"

Because different people play different games for different reasons?
I mean we are at a point where games don't even have to be inherently fun, we are way past thinking that an open world game is inherently better or worse. You keep directly comparing games with different design methodologies and goals in an unhealthy way.

Side note: I don't like aLttP, I don't think it holds up particularly well for people who never played it before (speaking from experience), and I'm glad BotW isn't that.
correojon
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(03-21-2017, 10:36 AM)
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I think OP is disregarding completely the aspect of pacing. Pacing is something really hard to do in an open world game, where every player can go through every part of the map in different directions and get through the same sections in different orders. And I think BotW does it as well as it can be done in an open world game. There are many subtle things trying to get you to go through the different locations of the game in a certain way (like paths, collectibles on the sides of cliffs, enemy locations, trails of flowers, birds in the sky, ore rocks...) but ultimately you have the power to choose if you want to follow them or not. And you also have to be "smart" enough to identify them. It´s like the world is constantly proposing you these little challenges and if you are able to identify them and choose to follow them you´ll find that the world does in have a structure aking to a detailed (and linear) level design.

Take for example the canyon after Dueling Peaks. If you follow it you´ll get through a series of encounters with different enemy layouts. There are even traps, like a blatant location of a Korok seed in a small island: go after it and you´ll get surrounded by 6 Lizalfos attacking you from the water by one side, while the ones in the opposite side take their chance to approach you and attack you in close range. There are more encounters along the way and you´ll also come across a Dragon who flies right above the canyon, which was a huge surprise for me the first time. In the end, you come to a big open plain, a huge contrast to the narrow canyon you´ve just been through, where you´ll encounter your first Lynel and Hinox. If you, again, choose to fight them you´ll get a hell of an end for this whole section. The full sequence gave me a huge flashback to getting through the Undead Burg in the first Dark Souls: a linear path with carefully planned encounters ending on a huge boss fight, which is a design template that´s really present in all DS regions and games...and which goes back to the NES days.

Right after this you start climbing a mountain: The weather changes, the environment becomes filled with snow, the music changes to a more calm and intriguing song from the battle theme you just heard and gameplay, after a slow hiatus, gradually shifts focus to almost pure exploration. This quiet moment, this calm after the tempest helps all the canyon and boss fights experiences sink in, give you a moment to reflect on what you´ve played through and is integral to making it all a satisfying experience and making it all a much memorable experience. That is masterful pacing.

You can´t have constant highs without having lows in between: if everything in your game is a high point, then none is. There are no changes and the whole experience ends up being dull and your players will get tired of it much sooner than later. In tightly designed 2D games like OP compares to there is this pacing: Mario follows a structure where challenges gradually scale and you have small minigames and secrets thrown in between them, providing changes in pacing. Tropical Freeze follows a western narrative structure to layout it´s challenges: several times there is a big crysis at the end of the introduction arc of the levels which gets followed by a slow section, to let the crysis shine more, allow the player to take it in and give him a momentary rest to adapt to the changes in the level. The player easily regards that as being a highlight and he takes in the section, which will later make him remember this level and reffer to it as "the big octopus level", "the fruit squeezer level", "the erupting volcano level"...It is integral to making the whole experience memorable. You can see this even in the most action oriented games: take Super Contra III for the SNES, a 2D sidescroller with design tight as can be and which will make your hair chest grow 2cm just by playing through the opening. The 3rd level is one of the hypest action levels ever, constantly topping itself right until the end, but it comes from the 2nd much slowly paced level, in a top down perspective to provide even more contrast.

The thing about BotW is that the player has total freedom to engage almost any aspect of the game however he chooses to do. This means that players can willingly (or unwillingly most times) ignore these invisible crafted levels and make all the gameplay and pacing structure fly out the window. Just as they can choose to fight the 100th enemy camp by using nothing but the most basic combat skills like they´ve been doing for the past 50 hours, or try using Stasis and some nearby trees and rocks to do something he´s never done in the 99 enemy camps prior to this one. BotW gives the player freedom in many aspects apart from "you can go wherever you want" and this means that a huge part of the enjoyment and variety of the experience falls on the player´s shoulders. But it also gives you the tools and lays out a bunch of invisible levels to go through a more crafted experience. In the end though, it all depends on the player. We wanted more freedom in Zelda games and we got it, but if we choose to ignore or are unable to identify the structure in BotW, the blame is in ourselves.
Sub Boss
Banned
(03-21-2017, 10:47 AM)
Thomas must have loved Skyward Sword at least.
Burny
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(03-21-2017, 10:47 AM)
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Originally Posted by correojon

I think OP is disregarding completely the aspect of pacing. Pacing is something really hard to do in an open world game, where every player can go through every part of the map in different directions and get through the same sections in different orders.

I think the opposite is the case: OP very much takes pacing into account. Only OP fails to recognize that the pacing they personally want (as seen above: 2 minutes is too much traversal time. WTF?) is in direct conflict with the basic premise of an open world game.

The critique that results from it is quite disengenous: OP does not like open world games. There's nothing really that would make an open world game to OPs liking. Instead of accepting the fact however, the supposed "fix" to make the game better is to turn an open world game into a different kind of game. That's not arguing for interface optimizations which can be analyzed by nearly objective metrics, that's arguing for changing the game's underlying nature.

That's about as useful a criticism as complaining that ArmA is not Counter Strike and vice versa. Well, no shit. Neither tries to, nor should be. If you only like either, not both, you should accept that turning one into the other is not a way to "fix" it, but to transform it into something else it never tried to be, because of your personal preference. Only where does that leave people who appreciated and liked it for precisely what it is and attempts to be, rather than disliked it? Those sure as hell won't appreciate the change of nature and general reviews suggest the new Zelda "template" introduced BotW is largely welcome. If anything, I've seen reviewers comment on how well designed and interactive the world is, which more or less aligns with my experience, rather than complain about having to traverse a game space for the unbearably drawn out timespan of two whole minutes. Sorry, but if that's too long and we're starting to assess the game world's quality by the seconds it takes you to get from content A to B, you're better off playing level and course based games and stopping to try and sell design paradigms that apply to those as objective "improvements" for actual open world games.
Last edited by Burny; 03-21-2017 at 11:33 AM.
thomasmahler
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(03-21-2017, 11:33 AM)
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Originally Posted by Burny

I think the opposite is the case: OP very much takes pacing into account. Only OP fails to recognize that the pacing they personally want (as seen above: 2 minutes is too much traversal time. WTF?) is in direct conflict with the basic premise of an open world game.

The critique that results from it is quite disengenous: OP does not like open world games. There's nothing really that would make an open world game to OPs liking. Instead of accepting the fact however, the supposed "fix" to make the game better is to turn an open world game into a different kind of game. That's not arguing for interface optimizations which can be analyzed by nearly objective metrics, that's arguing for changing the game's underlying nature.

That's about as useful a criticism as complaining that ArmA is not Counter Strike and vice versa. Well, no shit. Neither tries to, nor should be. If you only like either, not both, you should accept that turning one into the other is not a way to "fix" it, but to transform it into something else it never tried to be, because of your personal preference. Only where does that leave people who appreciated and liked it for precisely what it is and attempts to be, rather than disliked it? Those sure as hell won't appreciate the change of nature and general reviews suggest the new Zelda "template" introduced BotW is largely welcome. If anything, I've seen reviewers comment on how well designed and interactive the world is, which more or less aligns with my experience, rather than complain about having to traverse a game space for the unbearably drawn out timespan of two whole minutes. Sorry, but if that's too long and we're starting to assess the game world's quality by the seconds it takes you to get from content A to B, you're better off playing level and course based games and stopping to sell design paradigms that apply to those as objective "improvements" for actual open world games.

I'll refer you to this:

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost...&postcount=689

post of mine that I feel pretty clearly summarizes my thoughts :)
wanderingprostheyltite
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(03-21-2017, 11:59 AM)
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Originally Posted by thomasmahler

I'll refer you to this:

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost...&postcount=689

post of mine that I feel pretty clearly summarizes my thoughts :)

From that post:

Every item you'd get in a dungeon or through the Overworld would have to have tons of usecases within those environments and within the core gameplay pillars and you'd constantly find secret little entrances to amazing areas that were hand-crafted for you to enjoy. I'd still make it fairly non-linear, similar to Zelda 1, but keep the Zelda loop and the Zelda magic, every boss would need to be an epic event so that finishing a dungeon would feel insanely satisfying. I'd want to take players on an epic adventure where every second screams gaming bliss and I'd not ever be okay with having spots in the game where I'm doing nothing but holding the analog stick in a direction for a minute.

Then you don't seem to want an open world game. If your attention span for open world traversal is really that poor this just isn't the genre for you to try and shoehorn in those older gaming conventions into a 3d game. I mean, even within the context of dungeons in the 3d Zeldas there are plenty of times where you're just walking around trying to figure out what the hell to do. It isn't a constant feedback loop of "exciting gaming moments!", nor does it need to be.

I was just playing earlier this evening and being mindful of the downtime between landmarks and places of interest, enemy camps, etc. It's maybe 2-3 minutes at most for walking time between these spots on average, which is considerably less than your average open world title. Granted some regions are more barren than others but the bulk of the total map is impeccably distributed with things to do and see.

I feel like your argument would be more compelling if you would outline specific examples of how you'd implement "fun per inch" on say the Plateau area. I'm sure you're busy but it doesn't seem like it would take much time to find a map off google images and then do a rough series of labels across it in ms paint (ex: shrine, enemy encounter, secret, overworld puzzle etc). Because so far you're painting with pretty broad and starry eyed strokes, no offense. Would be nice to see some concrete examples of how you'd utilize this within the game world :)
Burny
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(03-21-2017, 12:55 PM)
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Originally Posted by thomasmahler

I'll refer you to this:

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost...&postcount=689

post of mine that I feel pretty clearly summarizes my thoughts :)

And just as I said, you highlight very succinctly in that post why open world games are not for you. You want tightly designed environments. That's a direct contradiction to an open world, because you can't design a natural feeling world with only artificial challenges designed around your core mechanics (gameplay is a non-word, btw, just like planefly or foodeat, the term is game mechanics). It's not a world anymore if it desn't model things transcending the game mechanics, like sleeping places for the inhabitants or environmental white spaces. It's an extract and therefore: a level. Even putting pathways in between levels (metroidvanias) or interweaving them (Banjo Kazooie) doesn't change that. It does not even have any right to claim to model a world if the whitespaces in between are omitted. If you can't move into the background of your sidescroller, if the inhabitants' dwelling places are an inaccessible place only mentioned in narration, you do not have a world, but levels.

I on the other hand value the proficiency of the game makers to create a believable world far more than the proficiency in creating a basic challenge course. The latter has been done to mastery for two or three decades, but it mostly bores me. If it doesn't build a convincing and compelling world giving me the agenda to do in it as I like, from collecting doodads, to taking on combat challenges I find there by whichever means I chose (charging onto them to outright ignoring them), maybe taking on some trivial sidequest of an NPC that rewards me with a tale and impression of the world, finding even totally none interactive indications that the world has a history or inhabitants, I even lack motivation to play a single player game, as tightly designed as its mechanics and environments may be. They'll only ever feel like playgrounds rather than worlds. All the level-based or entirely "handcrafted" games have been antiquated as means of modeling game worlds since the likes of GTA3 showed it's possible to go further. It made the attempts to model a convincing open world of the games before it obsolete. Just as old low res CRTs have been made obsolete by modern high dev displays (with acceptable input lag :p ).

Why do you think that no "high profile AAA" game is a 2D sidescroller or top down game anymore? Because games have moved beyond those old formulas spiced up with ever new gimmicks and artsy high def visuals, nowadays either going for entirely linear action experiences á la CoD/UC/etc. or straight to true open world games like the GTAs,Witcher, Eldar Scrolls and now, fortunately, Zelda. The latter types of games have made the entirely handcrafted experiences in terms of world building obsolete. Because you can't claim to have build a world anymore, when the player can't even do a trivial thing as leave the forest pass in your game to explore the forest, while other games allow them to. You will only ever have build a level, while the others build a world. Do not ever presume to think the level you build is more compelling to the player because you handcrafted it to provide a controlled experience. The player may instead value it much higher if you left them to follow their own agenda and path or at least what they think is their own. That however requires a world and white spaces, otherwise it's transparently not the player's agenda or path, but yours, the designers'.

Nothing wrong in disliking the world approach, but a whole lot wrong assuming the level or course approach is in any way superior, because it allows to handcarft every ingame inch of the experience. It isn't. It does different things better, while being entirely obsolete and very much inferior for achieving others. Your perception of what has more value is the only difference.
Last edited by Burny; 03-21-2017 at 02:02 PM.
manueldelalas
Time Traveler
(03-21-2017, 01:27 PM)

Complete Breath of the Wild critique from a Game Dev perspective

* Said game dev has only made one game, that is another metroidvania game, with the particularity that entire sections are cut off and you can't backtrack and 100% the game; there are other beginner's design issues with said game.
* He released a patch to fix said design issues. You need to pay for said patch.
* He has never made an open world game and has no idea what he is talking about.

Just imagine ALTTP in 3d and then extrapolate from there.

Just imagine Sonic 2 in 3d and then extrapolate from there.

OP, your opinion is no more valid than any other person's in this thread. You have no experience with open world game design (and very little overall game design), you just have the perspective of someone who played a game, completed it and commented on it. I respect your opinion, but your credentials don't make said opinion more valid than any other regular Joe's opinion that played that game. You would need to work and release an actual open world game, or a remotely similar game, to have an insider's opinion and something meaningful to contribute.
DieNgamers
Member
(03-21-2017, 01:42 PM)
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Originally Posted by manueldelalas


OP, your opinion is no more valid than any other person's in this thread.

No less, either, eh? I haven't followed all discussion but I'm definitely in the camp of moments of silence are important to the pacing of an open world. Opinions. ;D It's not like a game developer's personal taste makes Zelda's game design any less stellar.

I'm not a huge fan of Zelda AlttP and I'm in the minority here. I still respect that it's a masterpiece.
manueldelalas
Time Traveler
(03-21-2017, 01:49 PM)

Originally Posted by DieNgamers

No less, either, eh? I haven't followed all discussion but I'm definitely in the camp of moments of silence are important to the pacing of an open world. Opinions. ;D It's not like a game developer's personal taste makes Zelda's game design any less stellar.

I'm not a huge fan of Zelda AlttP and I'm in the minority here. I still respect that it's a masterpiece.

Of course not, his opinion is just as valid as yours, or any other that played the game.

From the title, you would think that by putting his credentials there, there would be insider information or something relevant added to all the threads on GAF, but from his posts, it's clear that's not the case, just another opinion to the pile.
The Dude
Member
(03-21-2017, 01:54 PM)
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Yea I think zelda games in general, Ocarina, mm, twilight, etc... Are all pretty much what I consider alttp in 3d. BoTW feels like it broke the mold a bit.. However I love the traditional zelda style and feel and I don't think I want every zelda the size of BoTW, but I love what it has achieved and hopefully they can keep blending the two styles going forward.
xevis
Member
(03-21-2017, 01:55 PM)
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Originally Posted by thomasmahler

I'll refer you to this:

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost...&postcount=689

post of mine that I feel pretty clearly summarizes my thoughts :)

TheMink
Member
(03-21-2017, 02:41 PM)
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Originally Posted by EatinOlives

The first dozen or so hours felt like the possibilities were endless. There were so many little instances of the unexpected, but after several hours of traversing the world map you start to see patterns and the illusion of a living, breathing world faded away and was slowly replaced by a video game landmass with a set of rules and #content. Which, I mean, even at the very beginning I certainly didn't genuinely believe it was anything but that (like, duh, this is a video game programmed by people with finite time and resources). But the illusion was there.

Take, for instance, the first time I encountered my first adversary from the Yiga clan. The idea that not every NPC is friendly and some will attack on sight was so completely unexpected and un-Zelda that it was an extremely pleasant surprise and made me deeply fall in love with that moment of "holy ***** truly anything can happen in the game!" but after 20 hours you see the same disguised Yiga people spawning in the same spot trying to pull the same trick and some of that magic is lost. It's no longer a mysterious NPC who pulled a fast one on you, it's now just another spawned enemy.

That was just one example. Imagine ~10 or so of these mechanics that, as you discover, tickle your sense of discovery and make you think "anything can happen!" Then after a couple of dozen hours you've discovered the ins and outs of that particular mechanic and you have completely compartmentalized said mechanic as a discrete set of rules that abide by video game conventions. Again, it's all realistic because we've yet to create a video game that doesn't do that. But along the way it's made me stop thinking of the game as a unique quantity that transcends any standard definition of "sandbox game" and I've actually started to carve together its spot in the crowded open-world genre.

This happens a lot. The first time you discover a Korok puzzle and inadvertently solve it, vs. the 30th Korok puzzle you encounter. The first time you find a camp with a Moblin in it vs. the 30th Moblin camp. The first time you find Beedle wandering in/out of a stable you happen to be at, vs the 30th time you find him in every single stable.

Then there's the other, less frequent elements of surprise that turn out unsurprising. I got into the Fountain of Power, and was told to find a "scale" from some name. The Adventure Log's description matched my thought. "Who or WHAT is that name!? How could I find that scale??" My mind raced with ideas, perhaps this was the kickoff to a complex questline like the Biggoron Sword sidequest of Ocarina of Time. THEN, independently of this questline I find a dragon! Unbelievable! Even the game acknowledges the mythical and mysterious nature of these creatures. Unfortunately, this only lasts until you realize that the only use of the dragon in the game world is as a dispenser for unique items that you then use later. Lo and behold, this scale was the one I was looking for. Well neat I guess, I can go to the Fountain and retrieve my prize! Well, except for that the "prize" was a standard shrine that yielded a standard orb. Even the name "Fountain of Power" invited the notion that this was a special place and that you would get something meaningful like say, a permanent small increase in your base attack stat or something? Nope, just another orb.

So this is what I mean by the longer you spending in the game, the more the magic being lost. It's hard to feel like any of the mysteries have anything other than a relatively shallow conclusion. It's like the old adage of horror movies where the mystery and buildup are almost always more intriguing than the boring truth. No matter how special and important the "payoff" in these mechanics may be, there's always a sinking feeling for me in grasping the entirety of a mechanic in Breath of the Wild. And that's why I fear that I'll be disappointed with the game when I finish it, because that's the point when I'll truly grasp the game from beginning to end.

It's hard to fault Nintendo for that, although I would have liked to see more than just a handful of "rules" of the mechanics. Like, did the Yiga clan dopplegangers REALLY have to spawn in the same exact spot? Did the shrine side quests always end with you finding Yet Another Shrine? Did every shrine HAVE to give you an orb at the end? I feel like Nintendo set the stage to expect the unexpected, but then turned around and made sure that nearly every mechanic fell into an expected pattern.

This is for sure the most interesting approach to an open world game that I've seen since, well, probably GTA III (what many would consider the first modern open world game), but I can't shake the feeling that Nintendo doesn't quite stick the landing at the end of the through-line.

This is the kind of discussion I want to be having. As clearly the game is amazing 10/10 blah blah blah...

With that out way I 100% agree with you, I could not have been more disappointed by the Dragon quest or about 90% of the games reward system after really getting toward the finish.

The weapons systems only real issue to me is not that it breaks, but that getting a weapon as a reward for something that seemed like it should merit something more permanent cuts hard. And occasionally I open up such chests and throw them away immediately because I don't want a heavy fire sword. Or better yet, there is a Fire Sword in a tree in an obvious location that I'm pretty sure respawns. Also enemies in general give you plenty of crap weapons, so for a weapon to be in a chest in a shrine I'm like "I just got a better weapon fighting the Guardian that was guarding this door..."

And to go along with your concept about subverting expectation and occasionally giving something other than a basic spirit orb, (I love the idea of a permanent strength boost by the way) I think that similar things could have been implemented with unbreakable weapons.
The stage was so set for giving high entry barrier rewards that subvert previously expected mechanical conventions. After using breakable weapons for so long giving a sword that couldn't break would be an incredible gift. Even the Master Sword is an incredible missed opportunity. How about leaning more into conditional weapon usage and giving specialized items for each enemy type. Unbreakable Bokoblin killer, Lynel killer, etc.

That's just an idea if they are so set on that concept. It's just to me like, I've already played 30 hours of this game. Why isn't there something SO COOL that you want?

Armor is close and the best reward you can possibly obtain, but even then some armors are essentially useless compared to others. How about permanent environment abilities? The ability to use full berserk in cold areas without items would be an incredible reward.
Adhering so closely to its ruleset in the early game is amazing but because they are early, that is what gives the best opportunity to then break those rules later to give you incredible rewards.

Counter arguments I've herd against this are that you can go anywhere and so they can't lock rewards that are too powerful.

Yes they can they did it with the Master Sword.

Put more barriers like that in the game, 50 shrines completed gives you this reward, all divine beasts gives you another. (by the way weapons are given for divine beasts and it's always like great...) A tower that can only be climbed with a certain amount of stamina and lock food out for that. IDK there are hundreds of potential barriers that could be implemented for high level equipment.

But more importantly the idea that a barrier would be necessary is absurd because I can just beat the game right away. The only reason you need to be stronger for the final boss is because I want to be. So if the only reason not fight Ganon right away is because I am self motivated to gather strength what would be the harm in higher tier rewards?

Anyway I digress.
Last edited by TheMink; 03-21-2017 at 02:45 PM.
Ripenen
Member
(03-21-2017, 03:00 PM)

Originally Posted by Weltall Zero

I may be a bit late but I wanted to say this is exactly what I felt reading pretty much every single of Thomas' posts. "See, here's another thing that BotW does wrong, and how we did it beautifully right". This would be cringe inducing in the best of cases, let alone when directed at one of the most delightfully enjoyable games in history. Grow a bit of perspective and self-awareness, man. I had a lot of respect for the Ori dev team and all of this is making it plummet.

Not sure if I want to see this thread locked because it's so embarrassing or left open to see where he goes next. So far he's claimed he can do better than BOTW, SOTN, Skyrim, and probably others I've missed. I haven't played Ori but man it sounds like I'm missing out on the most perfect game experience ever crafted.
thomasmahler
Member
(03-21-2017, 03:08 PM)
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Originally Posted by Ripenen

Not sure if I want to see this thread locked because it's so embarrassing or left open to see where he goes next. So far he's claimed he can do better than BOTW, SOTN, Skyrim, and probably others I've missed. I haven't played Ori but man it sounds like I'm missing out on the most perfect game experience ever crafted.

Yeah, nope, I didn't say that at all :D

This thread is here to discuss the design (and its issues) of BotW. BotW is an excellent game, but it's just so silly to say that if someone points out some inherent flaw that he perceives, that person thinks he can do it better.

I don't know if I can or can't. I never worked on an open world game and I have 0 interest in doing so. I'm crafting big, handcrafted worlds, that's what I do all day and I think there's some great input in this thread from a lot of folks that I think would be valuable for Nintendo to read. Both posts from TheMink and EatinOlives are awesome and would probably have been interesting discussions to have during development.

So let's please stay level headed and constructive here - It's nice being able to have a nice little fireside chat where we can discuss the ups and downs of a great game that was just released, right? Let's do that :)
manueldelalas
Time Traveler
(03-21-2017, 03:21 PM)

Originally Posted by thomasmahler

Yeah, nope, I didn't say that at all :D

This thread is here to discuss the design (and its issues) of BotW. BotW is an excellent game, but it's just so silly to say that if someone points out some inherent flaw that he perceives, that person thinks he can do it better.

I don't know if I can or can't. I never worked on an open world game and I have 0 interest in doing so. I'm crafting big, handcrafted worlds, that's what I do all day and I think there's some great input in this thread from a lot of folks that I think would be valuable for Nintendo to read. Both posts from TheMink and EatinOlives are awesome and would probably have been interesting discussions to have during development.

So let's please stay level headed and constructive here - It's nice being able to have a nice little fireside chat where we can discuss the ups and downs of a great game that was just released, right? Let's do that :)

You can do that in the OT (like many devs that posted there), and not create a new thread "from a Game Dev's perspective", when you have nothing relevant to add to the discussion.

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