Friday, April 8, 2011

Steps and Storytelling

There's something that tends to annoy me to varying degrees in videogames. Stairs and their steps. Sometimes I wish that climbing and going down stairs was more realistic. Usually they'll just continue the run animation straight up/down what is basically a ramp with the skin of steps. In some games the running will be a bit slower in an attempt to simulate real life. Others disregard this completely figuring that if your character has the stamina to run their way through the plot, they might as well be able to run up them stairs.

I've seen games trying to tackle this problem. They will make sensibly sized steps and have their characters actually climb those steps one by one or two by two like regular people. I think Metal Gear Solid 2 did this but, seeing as my stealth skills, as Bart once put it, both suck and blow, I never played it enough to be sure. Problem with this is the game starts looking more like an exercise video and less about whatever the game might concern.

I'm not sure I'll ever be happy with the way these developers nowadays deal with the issue of ascending and descending a series of steps. Then again, if I want realistic step-climbing I could get off my shapely ass and do some climbing myself.


For all my complaining about the restrictiveness of games, there's one opportunity that has presented itself plenty of times over and I've always dodged. Much like I always do. It's been a long time since any of us have played a pen&paper chronicle and we've been jonesing for it. If you're looking for a sandbox game (from the perception I have of this genre which I'm still not sure is accurate) what better game than one you make yourself?

Nothing restricts your actions apart from the Storyteller. You want to climb that wall, go ahead and try. You want to kill that cat, go ahead and try. You want to be that cat, go ahead and try. It is possible that my cringing when faced with restrictive gameplay stems from my days as a WoD player, particularly Mage, where if you want to do something you just have to invent a way to accomplish it.

So. I keep going on about how I like making shit up but never before have I taken the mantle of ST. As in real life, I've been pretty content to just be a participant rather than a shaper of events. But I think I'm finally ready to go under the scrutiny of uncooperative players. There's just some things I'd like to throw at them.

I think I might even have come up with a plot. A somewhat interesting one at that. Possibly. Only thing now is, without knowing what characters the players are going to make, they all seem kind of unimportant at this stage. Well. We'll see.
Christopher Shy was kind enough to illustratea lot of things
for World of Darkness and the world is a beter place for it

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