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  #1  
Old 05-21-2005, 03:51 AM
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Default Social Aspect

Ok here a nice long post, you've been warned.


The general discussion of this thread:

How should the social aspect of the game be handled?


One of the least explored and most overlooked aspect of any MMOG to me, is the social aspect. Time and time again we hear about Massively Multi-player games that are supposed to be games of people socializing in a gaming envoirnment. Yet so little is done to give them the actual tools to do just that. Games throw in guilds, with grouping and some coopurative objectives and tell us that's the social aspect. Oh, lets not forget chat channels and some emotes.

I often feel my little in game avatar is nothing more than a stickman on some strings. Sure I can make him do some tricks, but most of his actual character is left to my imagination or the imagination of others. Most everything about my character is stiff. I walk the same way as everyone of my race or class. I have the same emotes as everyone else. I carry my weapon the same as everyone else with the same weapon. Most importantly I have the same dull look on my face as everyone else. This is also the same with most of the NPC's. They all stand around the same way all day every day. Staring off into no mans land, waiting for someone to come by and poke them.

So what's missing? Simply put, life. Things like mood, body language and expression. People communicate by more ways than just talking. Give my characters more than just some emotes. Give them expressions, moods and body language. Let my characters mood show in everything he does. His walk, how he opens and closes doors, how he sits, his body movements when he talks( a clenched fist down by his side, quick sharp hand movements, or slow casual hand gestures and a respectfull bow.) and even the draw of his weapon. Breath life into the stickmen who run and stop, only to turn slighty and run off again. Give my characters the ability to walk, jog or run( or even march) if they wish and in differing ways. An angry character might walk hard or have a forward determined lean. While a calm martial artist might have a graceful stroll. Give them animation sets based on thier moods and some other variety based on what little skills they know. A blacksmith might go about communicating rougher than say a painter who is used to delicate precision. Let players decide what mood thier character is in. While still having outside influances from their surroundings or situations.

Bring these things to thier faces as well as thier eyes. A scowl with lowered eyebrows, or a causly relaxed face with perhaps a smile(sharing a drink at a tavern with my friends), concern(that monster looks pretty tough), surpirse(crap we got ambushed), determination(Im pretty sure I can win), confusion( can't pick the lock or figure out the puzzle) to even fear( Im hurt and this fight dosen't look winable). Have my characters eyes follow what Im targeting. Simply up, down, left or right eye movements adds life to a character.

This basic idea of imitating life also translates to NPC's as well. Bring cities to life, give NPC's daily agendas. Open and Close shops at certain times, Close city gates after certain hours. Have patrols make thier rounds. Adjust to the weather. If its hot and sunny that day, open the doors and windows of the shop, put up a tarp or awnning out front and perhaps some goods outside. If its raining, have the shopkeepers go inside and close the doors. Have the NPC's dress according to the weather, if its cold, have them dress that way. Make NPC's do things while they are in the shop not just idly stand behind thier counter. Have them clean it, or clean glasses, or restock shelves, or make weapons. There are so many things that could be done with cities and NPC's now that would truely immurse the players that just isn't being done.


Lastly back to players. One of the things I think is really annoying is names hanging over peoples heads. If I dont know you, why do I know your name? I shouldn't, at least not until you introduce yourself. More likely I shouldn't see your name unless I click on you and then only if I know you. Family/guildmates should be easily spotted. Thier names I should see over thier heads all the time. Unless of course I turn name displaying off. This would promote getting to know people and making those you do know alot easier to spot.



This is part 1.

More to come...
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Old 05-21-2005, 09:09 PM
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Default Re: [Q]Social Aspect

I really like what you are saying. I am going to have to agree with you wholey...and if it means the game will take longer to make, and we have to give more donations; then so be it! I totally hated everquest because it was like some cheap game you buy for 5$ at a store. Emotions and npcs doing stuff according to time of day and weather is perfect. I've worked before and I never just stood around! Anyways, I am going to /agree with this post 100%
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Old 05-21-2005, 10:18 PM
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Default Re: Social Aspect

I also agree, but adding that many emotions would require quite a bit of work... We'll try our best to do it, but it may be beyond us.

Theres a few ways we can do this without making each animation by hand BUT, it may not look very good.
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Old 05-21-2005, 10:46 PM
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Thumbs down Re: Social Aspect

Quote:
Originally Posted by Galvorn
Ok here a nice long post, you've been warned.


The general discussion of this thread:

How should the social aspect of the game be handled?


One of the least explored and most overlooked aspect of any MMOG to me, is the social aspect. Time and time again we hear about Massively Multi-player games that are supposed to be games of people socializing in a gaming envoirnment. Yet so little is done to give them the actual tools to do just that. Games throw in guilds, with grouping and some coopurative objectives and tell us that's the social aspect. Oh, lets not forget chat channels and some emotes.

I often feel my little in game avatar is nothing more than a stickman on some strings. Sure I can make him do some tricks, but most of his actual character is left to my imagination or the imagination of others. Most everything about my character is stiff. I walk the same way as everyone of my race or class. I have the same emotes as everyone else. I carry my weapon the same as everyone else with the same weapon. Most importantly I have the same dull look on my face as everyone else. This is also the same with most of the NPC's. They all stand around the same way all day every day. Staring off into no mans land, waiting for someone to come by and poke them.

So what's missing? Simply put, life. Things like mood, body language and expression. People communicate by more ways than just talking. Give my characters more than just some emotes. Give them expressions, moods and body language. Let my characters mood show in everything he does. His walk, how he opens and closes doors, how he sits, his body movements when he talks( a clenched fist down by his side, quick sharp hand movements, or slow casual hand gestures and a respectfull bow.) and even the draw of his weapon. Breath life into the stickmen who run and stop, only to turn slighty and run off again. Give my characters the ability to walk, jog or run( or even march) if they wish and in differing ways. An angry character might walk hard or have a forward determined lean. While a calm martial artist might have a graceful stroll. Give them animation sets based on thier moods and some other variety based on what little skills they know. A blacksmith might go about communicating rougher than say a painter who is used to delicate precision. Let players decide what mood thier character is in. While still having outside influances from their surroundings or situations.

Bring these things to thier faces as well as thier eyes. A scowl with lowered eyebrows, or a causly relaxed face with perhaps a smile(sharing a drink at a tavern with my friends), concern(that monster looks pretty tough), surpirse(crap we got ambushed), determination(Im pretty sure I can win), confusion( can't pick the lock or figure out the puzzle) to even fear( Im hurt and this fight dosen't look winable). Have my characters eyes follow what Im targeting. Simply up, down, left or right eye movements adds life to a character.

This basic idea of imitating life also translates to NPC's as well. Bring cities to life, give NPC's daily agendas. Open and Close shops at certain times, Close city gates after certain hours. Have patrols make thier rounds. Adjust to the weather. If its hot and sunny that day, open the doors and windows of the shop, put up a tarp or awnning out front and perhaps some goods outside. If its raining, have the shopkeepers go inside and close the doors. Have the NPC's dress according to the weather, if its cold, have them dress that way. Make NPC's do things while they are in the shop not just idly stand behind thier counter. Have them clean it, or clean glasses, or restock shelves, or make weapons. There are so many things that could be done with cities and NPC's now that would truely immurse the players that just isn't being done.


Lastly back to players. One of the things I think is really annoying is names hanging over peoples heads. If I dont know you, why do I know your name? I shouldn't, at least not until you introduce yourself. More likely I shouldn't see your name unless I click on you and then only if I know you. Family/guildmates should be easily spotted. Thier names I should see over thier heads all the time. Unless of course I turn name displaying off. This would promote getting to know people and making those you do know alot easier to spot.



This is part 1.

More to come...
Very, Very, well said, but for some reason I think it too hard to believe. And MUCH, MUCH work for the Devs, but it can be done, if people start pre0ordering and odnating, etc. If a MMO turned out how you have portrayed it to be, it would be truly amazing. Just think of it, poeple would get lost in the game, forgeting that they are even in a generated world and thinking that them, themselves are THE character. I give you props man, nice way to put things, If only it coould be done
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Old 05-21-2005, 11:43 PM
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Default Re: [Q]Social Aspect

Certainly this is what everyone one asks from most games, however it would be extremely hard to implement, so while so varyation would be good, i doubt whether we should expect heaps, except, maybe there could be a different set of character emotions choosen at the beginning of the game. I really dont no . Beebe out.
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Old 05-21-2005, 11:46 PM
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Default Re: [Q]Social Aspect

Hello,

I totally agree as well. From the NPC involvement to their facial features and overall attitude at you. Someone with better karma/reputation might get a smile or grin and someone with bad karma/reputation might get a scowl. That's a really good idea about the NPCs being more animated, as well as the thought that taking longer to accomplish some of these things will pay off I think, and make this game better.

I also agree about the names over heads, that is totally not needed. If you know someone you know their name. As well, I think that damage/hps over heads is lame. Any text in the console of the game outside of the text interface area usually detracts from the game context/realism aspect.

Now, more about the social situation in the context of MMORPGs. Social interaction and socializing are the very most basic components of a community. Whether a community of farmers, killers, or nobles if they do not interact/communicate/socialize then there is no community, but simply a loosely joined group with something in common. It is with socialization/interaction that communities become stronger and individuals become less so individuals and more a part of a community.

Communication is a key factor in this, but that could be accomplished by a simple text interface in game. Of course in real life situations, communication is carried out by body language <on a subtle level> voice tones, tonal inflections, eye movements. I totally agree with Galvorn in the sense that more body language should be implimented. It would be relatively easy to do just run "hostile body language" script at the first sign of either intiated violence or someone with a terrible reputation. The body language script could contain eye movement <shifty if untrusting>, fidgetting, etc. With different criteria set, each of the different apsects would either be set into play or not. I think there's some real promise there, and I've thought the same thing. Dealing with a gazillion NPCs that have the same basic emotions all the time and same basic dialogue can be monatonous. I have heard of some games implimenting voices for thier NPCs, but maybe instead; do dialogue in the dialogue box, and put that time/energy into making every NPC something that enriches the game experience.

More about interaction; if you want people in an online community to interact, there needs to be places to do this. The most effective usually involve selling places/markets, possibly auctions as I would imagine there were at least crude auctions during this time period. Broad auctions would not be good as that is not realistic, but maybe in a village sqaure, having a section where people could pay X amount of coins to use the auction area. About currency and money, I have read that there is going to be one static amount of currency in game. While that has some validity to it, some of the more known Lords minted their own gold coins/silver coins/even copper. Mine the gold, mint the coins type thing, static currency would work too. Then the Emperor <ADMIN> would mint more if needed. Town sqaure is another area where interactions are prevelant, as well as taverns, etc etc. Talk over combat is not usually conducive to creating a lasting roleplaying environment, and having meeting places <which I am pretty sure are in the works> would lend itself to having a solid roleplay setting. Zen gardens lend themselves quite well to this enviornment, as they were a place of contimplation/discussion. There should be a feature to landscape your own Zen garden/Buddhist water garden in game. I'd buy it just for that.

On this same note, I've seen a few posts about amphitheaters, stages etc. I think that is a great idea, as other activies outside of combat will make for a better overall experience. Plays were prevelant, music flourished, art, and literature were all a major component of the time. Elsewise, how would we, a civilization 500ish years later, know so much about the time period? Of course a smaller village would not play host to the intellect of that of a larger city, noble's estate or Emperor's courtyard. More about these sections.
  • Music: Of course we have no actual recordings from the time period, but many of its major instruments used during that time frame are still used today. There were three major sections of musical instruments:
    1. Drums, of course simple percussion instruments, sometimes used in ceremonies, as thier rhythm were a major part of Buddhist prayers/Sutras/chants. As well, drums were used on the battlefield/along with banners/pennants to signal what sqaud had what orders.
    2. Stringed instruments were as well a major part of Japanese culture of the time, though I have never seen one of these instruments I have read several stories of them being used during the timeframe of the 16th century. Most consist of a sitting player playing an instrument roughly 4 feet in length laying on thier lap. There are several variations to string instruments, all of which I am not aware of.
    3. The last would be wind instruments, the most prevelant of which was the flute. Made of bamboo, simple but beautifully sounding instruments. From what I know, music was mainly reserved for the elite, Emperors/Shogun types. Though I am not sure about this, I would wager that there were some singers of the time, and I also believe I've read text about windchimes/bells being used.
  • Theater: Plays consisted of mainly of musicians and dancers, with Buddhist themes mostly. During this same time Medieval Europe had what were called "Moral<ity> Plays", we see the same thing mirrored here in Japan during this time frame. Some did not contain dialogue, just dancing with symbolism, perhaps outfits. One outfitted character would represent lust/delusion perhaps another would represent truth/virtue... and the play would act itself out from there. From what I have know <not sure about this> only male actors played parts in plays during this time. Three major parts Noh, <oldest> Banraku, <puppet> Kyogen <comediec> comprise theatre in 16th century Japan. Puppets were also used as puppetshows. Geisha dancers were also a part of this timeframe, and I believe that make up first starting being used during this overall time frame.
  • Literature would be the next section to delve into. I will go so far as to say that the closest thing to a Renaissance the Orient experienced was during this time. Most texts were of a relegious nature, Buddhist, Zen, etc, as these provoke thought, many writings abound about them. Also being taught to read and write was a big deal at this time. Court ledgers, scribes also wrote the exploits of their Lords. Most of what I've read from the time is poetry, which flourished during this time. That coupled with Zen text you can a really solid feel for the time frame. Honor/family are among the main themes, as are the "Heavens", life and love. Though not completely clear when haiku became a popular form of poetry, it would fit into the context of this game. 17 syllabyls, it deals mainly with nature and ones releationship with nature. Imagery is a vital part of this form of poetry as its simplicity lends itself to creating a vivid mental image with as little words as possible. Like painting a beautiful picture with as few brushstrokes as possible. Military themed writings also were popular as they retold the tales of warlords and swordsmen alike and were more than likely commissioned most of the time.

In closing, society is based upon the social fabric of its inhabitants. While most of the commoners would not read or write, the scribes/students/artists of the time leave countless reflections of life during that time. Also, every Clan/Family had their own traditions in relation to culture and the finer points of it. What the Oda Clan did as a celebration of harvest/winning a battle might not be what the Takeda Clan did in the same instance. Different regions had different celebrations as the terrain was different, inland Clans/Families had a totally different mentality about water for instance then ones on the coast. Just my take on it, sorry for the rambling at start, was just waking up.

Communities communicate, societies socialize, and in the long run, a solid foundation for a community will make the game more solid and appeal to more mature roleplayers.
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Last edited by ShininShado; 05-22-2005 at 02:22 PM.
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Old 05-22-2005, 12:45 AM
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Default Re: [Q]Social Aspect

I'd also like to add that, there....shouldnt be Chat boxes? i mean, dont have it, or have some other, more realistic.

Maybe, there could be a Thoughts or Subconcious Brain window in the game. Where you can look at it, to see past sentences, or past actions. Just thinking
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Old 05-22-2005, 02:09 PM
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Default Re: Social Aspect

Quote:
Originally Posted by Galvorn
This basic idea of imitating life also translates to NPC's as well. Bring cities to life, give NPC's daily agendas. Open and Close shops at certain times, Close city gates after certain hours. Have patrols make thier rounds. Adjust to the weather. If its hot and sunny that day, open the doors and windows of the shop, put up a tarp or awnning out front and perhaps some goods outside. If its raining, have the shopkeepers go inside and close the doors. Have the NPC's dress according to the weather, if its cold, have them dress that way. Make NPC's do things while they are in the shop not just idly stand behind thier counter. Have them clean it, or clean glasses, or restock shelves, or make weapons. There are so many things that could be done with cities and NPC's now that would truely immurse the players that just isn't being done.
This, in itself, would add A LOT to the game.
I've always thought it a joke that you could go to any shop in any town at any time of day and conduct business. If NPC's are people, they should keep schedules like people. The passage of day and night just doesn't add enough.

Good thoughts, Galvorn.
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Old 05-22-2005, 02:24 PM
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Default Re: [Q]Social Aspect

ToshiMaru,

That's an interesting idea, but not sure how that could be accomplished. The little bubble/cloud next the head might be ok, but you'd still need to access/review it in chat interface box I think.
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Old 05-22-2005, 05:36 PM
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Default Re: [Q]Social Aspect

Hey, it was just an idea. I guess it wouldnt work anyways. So, the game cant be purely realistic anyways. Oh well.
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