They're Random, Baby!

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Modern video games have a number of expectations placed on them by consumers

  • Players expect Novel situations
    If Pac Man came out today reviewers would say it had no replay value
    the ghost AI is repetitive and predictable
    there's no exploration, no story and the mission goals are always just 'Eat everything'
  • One method of achieving Novel situations is through Heavy scripting - Medal of Honor
    Positive aspect of this method is that the game feels like a movie
    negative aspect is that it feels like a movie, not a game
    players get the sense that everything is pre-ordained
    this method is also time-consuming and technically demanding on level designers
  • Players also expect Total Interactivity
    People are tired of "one man against the mindless evil horde"
    They want every character to acknowledge them and react to them
    the Player wants to be able to manipulate other characters
  • A common method to accomplish this is through an Extended interface - Unreal Tournament Bots
    Unfortunately the Player is often forced to be a manager instead of a hero
    the end result is that the Player often ignores this option
  • Players also expect a significant challenge
    Gamers have become sophisticated
    many of them have played games in your genre for years and they want a challenge
    this is especially true of reviewers and early adopters, so it's even more important
  • Some games provide this challenge through omniscient and relentless enemies - Quake III
    This method feels like bullying
    nobody wants to have a reflex competition with an electron
    it requires precise tailoring to player's reflexes (which can be difficult in solo campaign)
    and it also becomes a barrier to the mass gamer because they can't improve their talent level and there are no alternatives offered to achieve success

Please don't take this slide to be criticisms of the games I mentioned, I intentionally only chose games I really enjoyed as examples it's just an attempt to briefly explain why we decided not to use any of these methods