Stateful games considered harmful

Stateful games considered harmful

Postby Lyberta » 12 Mar 2017, 17:55

Another my article which I wanted to write for a long time.
Stateful games considered harmful.
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Re: Stateful games considered harmful

Postby onpon4 » 13 Mar 2017, 04:25

OK, now you're just being silly. Surely you must be joking.

This will ruin the surprise and will ultimately result into failure to capture players.

That's inherent to a game being story-driven. It has nothing to do with whether or not a save feature exists. People spoil games all the time in all sorts of ways. Sometimes, they even include very specific walkthroughs that tell you exactly how to beat the game.

Also, you have it completely backwards. The whole idea of spoilers is very recent. Heck, have you ever read Romeo & Juliet? It establishes right up-front what the ending is going to be. It doesn't matter. If anything, spoilers usually convince people who were on the fence about something to give it a try, so they're beneficial. I do tend to avoid giving spoilers, but for the benefit of the viewer (so they can get two experiences rather than just one), not for the benefit of the work.
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Re: Stateful games considered harmful

Postby Lyberta » 13 Mar 2017, 10:48

I personally hate spoilers. And, for example, if I play Hexoshi right now, I'm most likely never going to play again when it's finished. Story-driven games are one off, you beat it once and uninstall.
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Re: Stateful games considered harmful

Postby andrewj » 13 Mar 2017, 12:51

I started reading the article, but it is not written very well. You describe what stateful games are, which is good, but then it seems to just devolve into various rants about what you don't like in different game genres. I guess somewhere in those rants is your actual point(s) about why stateful games are harmful, but I only scimmed that stuff. Such an article should discuss the problems of stateful games in a generic way first, and then look at one or two examples.

Plus the paragraph talking about "real life" as though it were a game added nothing to the topic at hand, again seemed like you wanting to have a rant about how much you hated going to school. Lastly your conclusion says that "extrinsic rewards" are bad, without defining what they are -- a good article will not use terminology that most readers will not know -- just one sentence to describe it would be good.

Hope this critique did not break your soul :)
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Re: Stateful games considered harmful

Postby onpon4 » 13 Mar 2017, 15:25

And, for example, if I play Hexoshi right now, I'm most likely never going to play again when it's finished.

If that were true, that would mean you didn't really like the game all that much.

Have I mentioned how many times I've played through Project: Starfighter even though I beat it years ago? I didn't take up maintaining it out of a sense of charity; I love that game. I must have beaten it at least a hundred times at this point, but I keep going back to it. That's what it's like to really love a game, or a movie, or a TV series, or what have you. If this happens to an incomplete game, that tendency is only amplified, because you will be excited to see what new things have been added since the last time you played.

But if you don't care for the game that much, only enough to play it to the end, then yeah, you're not going to be particularly motivated to play it multiple times. This is true regardless of what type of game it is.
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Re: Stateful games considered harmful

Postby charlie » 13 Mar 2017, 15:32

andrewj {l Wrote}:I started reading the article, but it is not written very well. You describe what stateful games are, which is good, but then it seems to just devolve into various rants about what you don't like in different game genres.

Indeed, I don't think I could see where it actually justified the conclusion that "stateful games" are harmful. The point of the article seems to have been missed by the author.
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Re: Stateful games considered harmful

Postby onpon4 » 13 Mar 2017, 15:53

Her main point is in the section about Splinter Cell:

There is nothing wrong with these games from the user standpoint but they are very hard to develop as free software. Usually, the player is captured by the unknown and plays the game to uncover the game world, this only works if the player haven't played the game before. However, free games are usually developed publically and player can build the game at any stage of development and see all it has to offer. This will ruin the surprise and will ultimately result into failure to capture players.


So basically, her premise is that people only play story-based games if they've never done so before. This is, of course, bogus. Her conclusion from this bogus premise is that since it takes a long time for most of these libre games to be developed, they can never be popular and are therefore a waste of developers' time.

So basically, this is just a rant about her personal genre preferences, except she is under the delusion that her personal genre preferences are objectively correct while everyone else's are objectively wrong, and the whole nonsense about "stateful games" is just a justification to come to that conclusion.
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Re: Stateful games considered harmful

Postby Lyberta » 13 Mar 2017, 15:58

I have given a link that describes intrinsic and extrinsic rewards. I didn't want to repeat the same in the article, but I guess I will.

My main point is that extrinsic rewards open the possibilities to exploit human psyche and are abused by proprietary software developers to no end.
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Re: Stateful games considered harmful

Postby onpon4 » 13 Mar 2017, 16:05

That video is just about good game design. It has nothing to do with genres or "statefulness".

What it basically boils down to is, "Don't make the player do boring shit to accomplish their goals." Or from the player's perspective, "Don't play games that make you do boring shit to accomplish your goals."
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Re: Stateful games considered harmful

Postby Duion » 13 Mar 2017, 17:48

From a developers standpoint, if you do not use psychological exploits to keep players in your game, you cannot compete on the market, so there is not much choice.
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Re: Stateful games considered harmful

Postby c_xong » 14 Mar 2017, 14:38

"Considered harmful" is old and obvious flamebait, I'll ignore it and assume the article is an opinion piece.

There are two key points which are interesting to me. First is the problem of open source story-driven games. This has been argued to death, but I have been exploring this recently and I'm keeping my eyes on two possible solutions.

One is procedural/emergent story-telling. The free/open community has lots of programmers and not enough artists/writers, but programmers are good at doing procedural stuff (roguelikes etc.), so if there's some way to create a system that produces stories, that's something that programmers can largely do. Ken Levine gave a pretty influential talk about his idea of "narrative legos", an example of a dynamic storytelling system. Others have noted that players also love to construct narratives out of games that don't have any plot, such as Dwarf Fortress, so perhaps there are ways to make more games like that.

The second possible solution is shared worlds. This is where the open development model is an advantage: given a free/open world setting, stories can be written collaboratively and with less duplication of effort. Unfortunately shared worlds is in its infancy, let alone games that are set in a shared world. But I think this is something that will gradually pick up steam, and we know that from "closed" worlds that have very active fanfic communities, that this could work and there's a lot of untapped creative potential out there.

The second point is about the evil of extrinsic rewards. I don't think that extrinsic rewards are necessarily evil, it can be good as well, for example if you give yourself extrinsic rewards to do some moral/ethical task. Instead, like most things, it exists on a spectrum of good/evil. On the extreme end (for games anyway) you have those F2P skinner boxes, but adding a "you win" message in a game is also an extrinsic reward and one that is benign. Also consider that intrinsic rewards can be evil too: someone might have an intrinsic reward system for "getting the job done", even if the job is an evil one.
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Re: Stateful games considered harmful

Postby Lyberta » 14 Mar 2017, 14:39

Duion {l Wrote}:From a developers standpoint, if you do not use psychological exploits to keep players in your game, you cannot compete on the market, so there is not much choice.


You might as well try to argue that proprietary software is good and is the only choice for developers.

c_xong {l Wrote}:adding a "you win" message in a game is also an extrinsic reward and one that is benign.


I don't think stuff that goes away after the game is closed is extrinsic.
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Re: Stateful games considered harmful

Postby dulsi » 11 Apr 2017, 02:39

Your premise of stateful being bad is hard for me to believe. You fail to prove your point in the first example. "These games can be compared to books or movies..." If that is true, wouldn't books and movies be equally bad. Story driven games can be hard to develop openly because early adopters learn the story but I don't think that means we shouldn't try. Blender Foundation puts out movies with open source resources. Granted I don't know how open they are during the development but if they were open it wouldn't make the end result worse.

Your argument doesn't even make much since because you aren't arguing against story-driven games. Taking Splinter Cell and removing saving would make the game stateless but I doubt anyone would say it would improve the game. Super Mario Brothers is stateless but the only reason it plays differently each time is because you can't perfectly reproduce your actions. People like different games. Like others have said you seem to discount anyone opinions on games but your own.
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