Monday, August 30, 2010

Immersion and stuff

I am just going to list a few points here.

1) Some people value credibility and (internal) consistency more than other people.

2) Everything depends on the kind of game you want to create/play and the way the player approaches it. (Hard to stress this enough).

3) Credibility and "gameplay flow" most often complement each other and only sometimes disturb each other. To play one off against the other is foolish.

4) The word "realistic" needs to be scrapped from this entire debate. Only thing it has ever done is create strawman arguments, like "Fantasy is never realistic". Yeah, thanks.

5) There is a reason most games strongly assemble real life: It is a wonderful box full of potentially interesting gameplay mechanisms. E.g. smithing in a Tale in the Desert.

6) A MMORPG has to be as immersive, credible and consistent as possible and as little as necessary.
Ergo: Don't sacrifice credibility for no reason. Search for ways to increase gameplay, flow, credibility, consistency or immersion without decreasing any of it.

Fantasy is never realistic. But it can be credible, consistent and immersive. It can also create "flow".

Flow is what Tetris has, but Tetris is not immersive, because you don't even have a 'char' or any entity that you control.

Flow is still necessary for MMORPGs.
But MMORPGs also need immersion: The feeling that you are the char you control; like an actor who plays another person in a different situation and maybe even with a different personality. Immersion is connected with flow, but not the same.

To make you believe to be in the world, to make you ask the subconscious question: "What would I do next if I were him?", you need to be immersed. To immerse you, a game needs to be credible and logically consistent. It does not need to be realistic. The best game I know at immersion is Fallout 3, if played right. (See point (2) above).

I know it is all semantics. But the semantics are important here.

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