Grid vs free movement

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Caerdon
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Re: Grid vs free movement

Post by Caerdon » April 24th, 2015, 10:12 am

Gizmo wrote:In LoG2, you can descend downward, but not upward.
Well, duh...

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Re: Grid vs free movement

Post by thebruce » April 24th, 2015, 10:15 am

lol, nice catch :lol:

I presume in LoG2 they also restricted you from ascending downward?
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Re: Grid vs free movement

Post by Gizmo » April 24th, 2015, 10:21 am

Actually it is is quite possible to fall on to a teleporter and land on the floor above. There are ropes in the game as well, and they only work to descend ~even though they would logically have to be tied or looped around something on the level above.

The developer prefers the downward only mechanic, with limited ascent.

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Re: Grid vs free movement

Post by dorkboy » April 24th, 2015, 10:36 am

Even if particular mechanics theoretically can be translated from a grid to a non-grid system, does that really mean they are as likely to be implemented?

Still not sure what the benefit of free movement is supposed to be here. Sounds pretty cosmetic, if you ask me..
Is it superior because it's less abstract? More "immersive"? :?
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Re: Grid vs free movement

Post by Zombra » April 24th, 2015, 10:37 am

thebruce wrote:If you can't see the factual design-related differences between a grid environment and a free movement environment (NOT that things can be 'translated' from one to another), then there's no hope to satisfy your demand for valid and non-discardable points.
I can't see them because no one is stating them. Honestly, if there are all these thousands of impactful design elements that don't work with free movement, you should be able to freaking name one.
As for taste, that is the point. Our taste is for all that is tied to and necessarily comes with the classic trilogy grid-based environment. That's it.
And like I keep saying, that's valid. Just don't pretend it's based on more than "teh feelz" unless you're willing to back it up.
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Re: Grid vs free movement

Post by dorkboy » April 24th, 2015, 10:43 am

@Zombra
I think the notion that it has to only be possible in [insert system here] ignores the fact that different systems do the same (or equivalent) aspects better/worse. A better question, IMO, would be: what does grid/free movement do better?

2.1 cents.
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Re: Grid vs free movement

Post by Zombra » April 24th, 2015, 11:04 am

Excellent points, dorkboy (in that and your previous post). Image

I'm too fried and argumentative right now to give you well-thought-out replies. (It's easier to tear down than create on an angry morning at the office.) Let me think about it and remind me later if I don't respond to these.
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Re: Grid vs free movement

Post by Gizmo » April 24th, 2015, 11:42 am

Zombra wrote:
dorkboy wrote: A better question, IMO, would be: what does grid/free movement do better?
Excellent points, dorkboy (in that and your previous post). Image
That has been the point from the start. It has never not been the point. Image

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Re: Grid vs free movement

Post by thebruce » April 24th, 2015, 11:59 am

Gizmo wrote:The developer prefers the downward only mechanic, with limited ascent.
Well if you're referring to teleports, then I suppose it is even possible to ascend downward if you climb into a teleport :P

dorkboy wrote:Still not sure what the benefit of free movement is supposed to be here. Sounds pretty cosmetic, if you ask me..
Is it superior because it's less abstract? More "immersive"? :?
heh, less abstract, yes; but more like a different type of immersiveness. A less abstract one :P

Also, 'abstract' is that other word I was looking for when I went with 'analog'. thx :)

Zombra wrote:I can't see them because no one is stating them.
Then you're blinded from seeing them... :o
Zombra wrote:Honestly, if there are all these thousands of impactful design elements that don't work with free movement, you should be able to freaking name one.
We did. Repeatedly. And no one said thousands. Stop that.

Zombra wrote:
As for taste, that is the point. Our taste is for all that is tied to and necessarily comes with the classic trilogy grid-based environment. That's it.
And like I keep saying, that's valid. Just don't pretend it's based on more than "teh feelz" unless you're willing to back it up.
We did. And round and round we go... let's stop arguing about arguing.

Gizmo wrote:
Zombra wrote:
dorkboy wrote: A better question, IMO, would be: what does grid/free movement do better?
Excellent points, dorkboy (in that and your previous post). Image
That has been the point from the start. It has never not been the point. Image
Eeeexactly.

Both grid and free have their benefits, because they directly affect certain elements of the game content, as explained and repeated throughout this thread. Whether one prefers grid/analog/abstract gameplay vs free/dynamic/realistic(er) gameplay is entirely subjective. They are two very different styles of gameplay that do (and still) exist in "modern" games, both digital and physical, especially in RPG and strategy. To state that the former has no place in RPGs because it's "outdated" is... well, fill in the blank.

Like the types of games you want to like. It's good that we have diversity, both in community and game selection. Yay for variety!
I still want a classic, faithful sequel to BT, which includes the mappable grid among other aspects of the trilogy. :mrgreen:
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Re: Grid vs free movement

Post by Gizmo » April 24th, 2015, 12:10 pm

thebruce wrote:
Gizmo wrote:The developer prefers the downward only mechanic, with limited ascent.
Well if you're referring to teleports, then I suppose it is even possible to ascend downward if you climb into a teleport :P
Doesn't exist in the game AFAIK. :)
(Though I've done it in mods. Technically, the way the engine works, trying that causes the party to climb up from the destination. Since there is no collision on the ceiling, this can put them outside of the map.)

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Re: Grid vs free movement

Post by dorkboy » April 24th, 2015, 12:17 pm

Gizmo wrote:
Zombra wrote:
dorkboy wrote: A better question, IMO, would be: what does grid/free movement do better?
Excellent points, dorkboy (in that and your previous post). Image
That has been the point from the start. It has never not been the point. Image
It has an odd way of showing it sometimes, though.. :)

---

I'm by no means an expert on dungeon crawlers, but it seems to me like grids are just better at unambiguous area triggers. Open/outside areas.. not so much. Whatever, I guess it's already been decided...
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Re: Grid vs free movement

Post by Zombra » April 24th, 2015, 12:26 pm

thebruce wrote:
Zombra wrote:I can't see them because no one is stating them.
Then you're blinded from seeing them... :o
Zombra wrote:Honestly, if there are all these thousands of impactful design elements that don't work with free movement, you should be able to freaking name one.
We did. Repeatedly.
Look man. All you have to do is restate one valid element. One time. Once. Instead you have chosen to say "we already did" 50 times ... so we know you're OK with repeating yourself. This time, instead of repeating that you've already mentioned many grid-necessary gameplay elements, just name a grid-necessary gameplay element. It won't kill you, I promise. It will save us both a lot of wasted time and effort.

If you continue claiming that there are many such elements but persistently refuse to name even one, I have no choice but to assume you're talking crap. I want to believe you're being honest, so please don't talk crap. Just name one element.
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Re: Grid vs free movement

Post by Gizmo » April 24th, 2015, 1:49 pm

Do you know what the 'uncanny valley' is?

The Uncanny Valley is when a thing is only partly realistic; almost there, but not quite enough ~and makes it creepy instead of cool.

Everything about a dungeoncrawler is inherently abstracted. The mechanics work because all things are bound by them. Adding free movement to a game that works on a grid injects an awkward surrealness to the environment. Where not everything seems to play by the same rules. Free movement seeks to naturalize an unnatural abstraction; a mental exercise that exists for reasons other than first person immersion in (simulation of) the environment.

It's a puzzle, combat in-game is an impediment of the puzzle; and makes it stressful, or interruptive... This is the point. Failing at combat removes the option to progress with the puzzle. Put another way... The labrynth should stand on its own without any monsters in it; ideally they are like icing on the cake; and they do improve it... but if all it was was rooms full of monsters, the game would be a tiresome bore. Hacking at monsters in a realistic simulation, is not what makes the game. Put another way... The monsters are like marshmallows in a cereal box (scattered amidst the cereal). Dungeoncrawlers without the puzzle element, are like a cereal bag with only marshmallows in it. (It'll soon make the player sick of it too. :D )

The puzzle element itself is unnatural abstraction that follows the mechanics of the game; and trumps realism. The player knows the mechanics of the game; knows ~for instance, that the solution to a puzzle is not going to be micro-movement related; knows that a hidden button in front of them WILL be visible from where they stand in the cell; knows that entering a cell with a plate WILL trigger the plate, unless it's set to ignore the party. There is no allowance for tip-toeing around the edge of it ~as this goes against the fundamental mechanics of the game.

Allowing free movement implies logical options that should not need to be considered, (IE. it over complicates things). During play the player should not have to account for their arbitrary position in the game world; that should be a known constant. One move == ten feet. Consider the player trying to deduce the possible location of a hidden room. The player uses the known layout of the map ~and the grid based nature of it, and from this can realize that there is a space where it can exist in the walls. They might remember a pit upstairs; they count the number of [10x10] steps and decide that one pit among many is unaccounted for downstairs... and they may try that pit to see where it goes.

What facilitates the viability of this is the non-arbitrary nature of the maps, and the way that they are traversed by the party. There are locations where one cannot stand; and they are naturally exempted from consideration. This thins the possibilities down to a more manageable few. In the end, the object is to support the puzzles, not to support immersion. The game can look good (more the better), but its looks should never impair or interfere with the player's understanding of the puzzle. The grid-step mechanics simplify the player's task by making distance a quantifiable constant [at a glance] that can be applied to the map and everything in it.

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Re: Grid vs free movement

Post by Zombra » April 24th, 2015, 2:06 pm

Whoa. Excellent post, Gizmo, and beautifully put. Thank you. I see now what you mean by limitations strengthening certain forms of gameplay, and grid-based gameplay in particular. It can be a concrete gameplay benefit to have four directions instead of 360, as this sets boundaries and framework for player expectation and exploration. I get it now. Thanks again and carry on.

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Re: Grid vs free movement

Post by thebruce » April 24th, 2015, 2:46 pm

Post removed; edit: Was going to respond to Zombra, but gizmo hit the nail on the head. Thank you for keeping a clear head and being able to word thoughtfully what has been expressed insufficiently throughout this thread - at least enough to satisfy Zombra.

ETA: Extra points for bringing up 'uncanny valley' which I had considered mentioning a long time ago but couldn't find the right words to put it in good context here :P
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Re: Grid vs free movement

Post by Zombra » April 24th, 2015, 3:13 pm

Note to thebruce - sorry if I got heated. Glad we can stop bitching at each other now. :) Looking forward to your posts in the future.

Also, I still hope to address dorkboy's thoughts above once I get it together mentally. You brought up some points worth exploring further, I think.
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Re: Grid vs free movement

Post by Woolfe » April 24th, 2015, 6:30 pm

Dammit.. forgot to hit submit on my work computer before racing off to see Avenger's age of Ultron on Friday Arvo.... Soooooo I won't try and restate everything.

I listed all the places you guys explained it. And until Gizmo's post just above you never differentiated it well. This is why myself, and I presume Zombra were frustrated. I don't have a problem with the grid. What I did have a problem with was the description of specific elements being supportive of only it, where it was demonstrably not the case.

I don't agree that realtime movement in a grid environ would be "Uncanny Valley". However I do agree that it overcomplicates things. In several of my suggestions I have stated elements would be possible, although they would be more complex.

That image of LoG2. It does appear that you could walk across those joins between grid squares. But that is a graphics issue. If you had free movement, and looked at that you might think exactly that. But that could have been solved by simply changing the look, so that it was clear you couldn't do it. In which case free movement would not change the way that room worked.

The concept of the grid defining the puzzle is in a way part of the problem. Why can't the secret passage be halfway between the 2 10 x 10 blocks. By applying the grid you also apply restrictions that are limiting. Now as you say that is the strength of it, but it is also the weakness. You always know exactly where the door will be. Oh sure it might one of 5 choices, but it WILL be one of those 5.

Perhaps, I need to clarify something else. There is no such thing as free movement. Every move in the game is controlled by a step in a direction, free movement looks free simply because the component steps are so small as to appear nonexistent.

For me I guess I would like to see the grid expanded upon. So whilst your party may take up a 10x10 square, the grid that square moves over may be greater. So rather than the grid being 10x10 squares that you jump between, having a 10x10 square being 4 grid positions, or 16 or more. So that then incremental values are able to be used. The benefit being to remove the "uncanny valley" elements. That won't work in a step by step movement. Because you wouldn't be able to stop at the incremental points(unless the movement was in those smaller increments which then becomes onerous perhaps? 4 steps to cross what normally would take one).
Free movement allows the increments to be accessible whilst not changing the basic underlying function.
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Re: Grid vs free movement

Post by IHaveHugeNick » April 24th, 2015, 10:11 pm

Wow, some of you people have absolutely bizzare concept of what constitutes a kind of gameplay that's "faithful and true to the series".

BT is a dungeon crawler. It needs to have mazes, it neeeds to have puzzles, it needs metric fuckton of combat, it needs to be party based, and it needs to be based on BT lore. Those are the core elements to the series. Everything else is up for a change.

If the design ambition for this game is to be cloning everything with better graphics, then its a complete waste of time. A trained monkey can do game like that. I expect crowdfunded projects with potentially millions worth in funding, to be a little more ambitious then that.

The key question I think - I hope - InExile are asking themselves, is how do we make a game that all has the core elements of original BT, and how can we improve those core elements with 30 years worth of know-how and technological advancement. Grid-based movement is not a core element of gameplay, hell, it can't even be considered an intended part of gameplay. It was there, because it had to be.

Expecting it to come along for a sequel 30 years later, is like expecting every Wolfenstein 3D sequel to only have straight walls, because original game had it. Do you want entire soundtrack to be played through PC speaker too, because fart-imitating high-tones were such an important part of oldschool experience?

Every genre has its defining archetypes, and every game within a given genre has its defining features, that faithful sequels need to mantain. Sheep-cloning 30-year old technical limitations is just some absurd exercise in preservationism. I want a game, not a museum exhibition.
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Re: Grid vs free movement

Post by Drool » April 24th, 2015, 10:50 pm

IHaveHugeNick wrote:The key question I think - I hope - InExile are asking themselves, is how do we make a game that all has the core elements of original BT, and how can we improve those core elements with 30 years worth of know-how and technological advancement.
They probably asked that when doing WL2, as well. I, for one, was not fully satisfied with the answers they came up with.
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Re: Grid vs free movement

Post by Gizmo » April 24th, 2015, 10:55 pm

IHaveHugeNick wrote: Grid-based movement is not a core element of gameplay, hell, it can't even be considered an intended part of gameplay. It was there, because it had to be.
Who you tryin' to kid? ;)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0AebBt6Q3z4 (Shipped 1992; you mention it yourself; not a dungeon crawler.)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Ix9iD64pV4 (Shipped 1991 ~with a scale model of LA in it; not a dungeoncrawler.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aX0hbPajB1c (Shipped 1995; dungeoncrawler.)
Expecting it to come along for a sequel 30 years later, is like expecting every Wolfenstein 3D sequel to only have straight walls, because original game had it.
Hell no. To be accurate, it's expecting a sequel to not be a 'Call of Duty' clone, and to not have regenerating health or levels that overflow with ammo instead of presenting carefully balanced levels [actually puzzles themselves], such that the player can just barely make it through alive.
*Else why make a sequel to Wolfenstein 3D?
Do you want entire soundtrack to be played through PC speaker too, because fart-imitating high-tones were such an important part of oldschool experience?
Technology [usually] improves over time; anything that builds on the foundation is generally welcome. A change in audio quality only furthers the core experience. Your example is needlessly derisive, and troubling if you take it seriously.

I'll give you an example...
This is "Dawn of War": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p84eRvGk2AU
This is what a "Dawn of War 2 or 3" should resemble: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzVlpUf7e5w
... And not this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skWrVz33qrc
Both are great styles, but they are different styles after a different experience each; neither is improvement on the other... .Both are a bad sequel to the other.
Every genre has its defining archetypes, and every game within a given genre has its defining features, that faithful sequels need to mantain. Sheep-cloning 30-year old technical limitations is just some absurd exercise in preservationism. I want a game, not a museum exhibition.
This is being obtuse.
To be equally obtuse (for point sake), this is the mindset that would demand nonsense like Super Mario in FPP.

**There's this wonderful bit in the Hitchhiker's Guide about this shape shifting alien that need longer arms to grab coffee, and mutate on the spot to get longer arms... and in the process lose the ability to drink the coffee.

Game sequels should not mutate away from the basic game, no matter how else they are improved. If it has to be that different for some reason, then it should be it's own new game, and not an ill conceived sequel.

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