Open worlds: fun or boring?

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Post » Mon Sep 06, 2010 1:58 am

Hello everyone.

I played a little minecraft, I'm playing FUEL right now.

Minecraft is addicting as hell, even though it's not even finished and has no objective or reward system.
FUEL is a racing game with 14400 square Km worth of continuous free roaming terrain for offroad, with swirling dirt and paved road criss-crossing it and ramps, junk and forest spread all over the place. Somehow, it manages to feel boring (or so I had read, now I confirm).

Why is that? Given my interest into procedurally generating game worlds, I'd like to read your thoughts on what makes a game FUN or not, specially if it has a really large and continuous world.
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Post » Mon Sep 06, 2010 2:48 am

My opinion:
A racing game with no track, or reason to stay on the track?

That sounds boring. Just imagine the same idea with a fast running character.
It just seems pointless. Twisted metal or vigalante 8 is similar but with the objective of fighting eachother

I think rules, or objectives are necessary, even if they aren't clearly defined, but are merely emergent. I haven't tried minecraft, but I watched some vids, and even though there isn't leveling and such. You have the objective of creating a cozy place to survive the night, and other people made it about building impressive structures, or rollercoasters.

Maybe the racing game would be fun if a bunch of people got together and were able to create and follow the rules of a game of tag, or a trick or high jump contest. A racing game doesn't give you as much to do as minecraft, and isn't as complex a world. Keeping in mind I havet seen the game you're talking about. It'd be like if minecraft only let you walk around and not collect or fight or dig or break or build. Just walking, but faster.

I think open-ended games need to have interacting consequences for actions and for not taking action. The less rigid the goals, the more complex the world has to be. In gta its fun to drive around and kill random people when you're not doing missions because when you do, it becomes a game in itself. Cops chase, and that becomes a game of stealth or survival, sometimes racing away from a scene trying to keep your car in tact also becomes a game because there are cars everywhere. If you could just drive down the sidewalk forever killing everyone it'd get boring quickly, the same if you just drove in the city aimlessly.

That's one of the things spore suffered from now that I think about it. You're not free to do anything really other than the objectives. You spend time in the most impressive character creator ever, and then you can't do anything other than predefinied empty minigames. Its no fun to explore the world because there's nothing to do. You can't do anything cool. The world is dynamic on a global scale, but it has no substance on the small scale. You can't so much as eat all the fruit near a species nest to force them to move elsewhere.

Just my take on it. Good question
Spriter Dev
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Post » Mon Sep 06, 2010 3:22 am

lucid summed it up quite nicely. In gta the goal is escaping the cops or exploring. Open worlds are fun, if used correctly. The world must be put to use , i.e, goals or situations. Create situations that involve that use of the world and it's different attributes. Make things that traverse the world in different ways and make it seems fresh.
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Post » Mon Sep 06, 2010 6:49 am

yeah, well put, Lucid.

in this racing game (youtube it, for reference) you go faster if you stick to the road and there are dirt roads, off-road is the slowest, then dirt is faster, then tarmac is smooth sailing (even sort of boring). I guess the idea was having to decide which shortcuts to take, taking them right and judging if the terrain and accidents would really shave off the few seconds you need.

But it turns out it's rather bland.

I love GTA to tiny bits, you just get out of the apartment and get into trouble. I walk around places, see the sights (sights in FUEL are great, but samey since it's a rural zone) and then mess with somebody or steal something and then run away from the police, which usually escalates to "omfg helicopter after me" levels. Which is fun. It's the minigame of getting away with it. And as a reward I get to keep the car I stole. I used to collect police cars, for example. SWAT vans, etc. The difficult kind. In FUEL you can just win or lose the race and that's it. It's even hard to crash, you'll usually just bump into things and keep going, you have to go really fast to get into a real crash.

come to think of it, a multiplayer circuit editor or just getting jumps graded would have spiced things up. Even grading spectacular crashes. You think that would do it? or is open world a no-no for racing? has anyone tried the OTHER open world racers? (Test drive Unlimited and Burnout Paradise) are they any fun? why?

It still puzzles me that I found Minecraft addicting considering its simplicity. I inmediately started tunneling. Perhaps the promise of a large hidden mine? or the goal of building a nice fortress kept me interested. Maybe multiple simultaneous goals is the way to go?
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