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  • #46
    Here's a question.

    Since you mentioned that you're not focusing on having 1 central antagonist, or evil master mind boss. You will be dealing with what is essentially a multi-plot structure.
    Since this allows you to basically have no primary direction for where you want to take the story, what measure are you guys taking to make sure that roots of the story all remain connected to the central spine of the story? And what is the central spine of the story? I haven't been able to really piece it together outside of "bad things have happened".

    Whats the point of the hero/anti-hero's existence in the world? Why should your character/I give a shit? What is his/their primary objectives? Or, even sub-primary objectives?

    My only fear is major loss of direction, and ending up feeling lulled. Many games do not have good stories, most are mainly just plots. This is fine, but having many roots branching out in different directions always runs the risk of eventually making little sense, or being overly complicated and end up being completely irrelevant to the starting path, if there is one. They usually don't relate nor link to the spine of the games initial direction (take AC,EQ,WoW, etc for example.), this in turn leaves the player/hero with a sense of no real purpose in the game, and it's a real danger if there isn't a core or solid spine to start with.

    All evil things, regardless of what people perceive as their level of evil, either lead to one instigator or benefactor, or team of benefactors (legion of doom, etc). If there is no set bad ass, or team of bad asses who's the cause of all this, what guarantee is there that there is a point to it at all? And what's the driving force? Survival?

    Did that make sense to anyone?
    Last edited by Refried; 11-12-2010, 06:23 AM.
    r/Grimdawn
    www.reddit.com/r/Grimdawn

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    • #47
      Originally posted by medierra View Post
      Wow, this might win the award of the most mind-blowing thread ever.
      I'll take that as a compliment

      Originally posted by medierra View Post
      I'm really not sure how two inhuman, merciless, supernatural forces possessing far greater power than the crushed remnants of humanity equate to lesser races of illegal immigrants being persecuted over cultural differences.
      Whenever some Leader wants to wage war againts another race or culture, he always labels them exactly that way: inhuman, merciless, opposing forces, threatening the very way of life of his own people.
      But maybe you shouldn't always believe all the propaganda.

      Originally posted by medierra View Post
      If anything, Aetherials possessing human bodies to use them as tools seems to parallel enslavement, not scamming off the welfare system.
      Maybe slavery is part of their culture. That doesn't mean that possibly within their culture there don't exist political groupings who'd like to abolish slavery. Humans had slavery too - still that's a political thing, not a fault you have been born with.



      Originally posted by medierra View Post
      Really though, this isn't about race, it is about survival pure and simple against powerful and implacable forces. It is eat or be eaten. I think this is what a lot of fantasy hearkens back to - a time when humans were fully engaged in the struggle to survive.
      Which could totally be against each other. It doesn't have to be another race.

      Look this is like in action movies. If you see the beginning of a pop-corn action movie, and there's a guy - ex-marine - depicted as caring father with a loving family, playing with his children...
      You instantly know for sure, that family is going to be slaughtered in the most horrible way.
      Then the protagonist of the movie can go on a killing rampage, murdering and slaughtering hundreds, even sadistically torturing them - he still is the good guy, he is not a murderous bastard, what he does is right and just. Just because it's all about revenge.

      Fantasy games tend to use races, which are inherently evil - so that slaughtering them would actually seem to be an act of doing good...

      But I think that's just as cheap an excuse as that "it's for revenge" thing of action movies.

      Originally posted by medierra View Post
      We live in a world now where most of us are very removed from a direct struggle for survival with the natural world, yet, I think those impulses are ingrained in us and explain why survival themes resonate so well with people. The loss of this struggle, or at least the abstraction of it, may make life more comfortable but it also deprives people of purpose. Games help to fill this void.
      Well I think just a different explanation could make all the difference. If you say it's not the race but an organisation/institution (be it a religious, political, military or commercial organisation) - this very organisation could be racist in that they don't accept members of any other race.
      (And there could be members of that race who oppose what that organisation is doing.)

      And the humans - beeing racist on their own part - would just call them by the name of their race, assuming that anyone of them was the same, and they all are monsters.

      So in my opinion it's a big difference whether you say it's that organisation (composed of members of that race) that you have to fight against - since that organisation is something that can be dissolved, and something that has been formed by will - OR if you explain that the attackers are a race - because then they just have been born that way, and genocide is the only "solution".


      Originally posted by medierra View Post
      I think the inspiration for orcs and other such "tribal" fantasy races comes not from some sort of latent racism but rather from this fear people living in early civilizations had of "barbarian invaders".
      Yes, I think that's totally true.
      But whatever the inspiration and the reasons for the creation of this race was - after the race has become iconic, it has become an embodiment of any clichè and any prejudice that is commonly associated with Africans.

      And fact is, in history there never existed any "Barbarians". That was always a label some race/ethnic group got in the eyes of other peoples who deemed themselves more advanced. Julius Caesar considered every other culture to be barbaric, and used this as an excuse for conquering them (to bring them civilisation, and free them from their barbaric culture)

      Originally posted by medierra View Post
      Given that Tolkien drew heavily from dark and middle age history / folklore, the closest parallel I see is the viking invaders that many cultures lived in perpetual fear of during those periods. Is this the parallel you're referring to? Could it be the Assyrians or "Sea Peoples" that invaded and occasionally plundered Egypt? Maybe you mean the various Gothic hordes that sacked Rome? Could it be the Mongol horde that plundered or coerced tribute from cities and civilizations stretching from China to the Middle East, and into Europe?
      [DELETED - While I do not wish to suppress good spirited discussion of modern social issues, this topic has gone too far and this forum is not an appropriate venue for it. Please refrain from discussing racially-specific subject matter, even though it may be well-intended. Please keeps the discussion on an abstract philosophical level.]

      Originally posted by medierra View Post
      For most of human history, groups of humans have lived in terror of bandits, pillaging hordes, and invading armies.
      But all of those are organisations, not races. You are not born a bandit, because your skin has a certain color. A bandit is something you can become, regardless of what race you were born.


      Originally posted by medierra View Post
      There are two reasons the primary enemies aren't humans and neither has anything to do with racism.
      Even in Tolkien Dwarves and Elves don't like each other - because of prejudice. That is pure racism - but in that case it is okay, because it is depicted as such. It is a fault in the behavior of both races, to despise the other.

      Originally posted by medierra View Post
      The first is that some of our largest expected markets are in countries that are sensitive to human on human violence. It is already somewhat of a risk that we even have human enemies in the game but making the primary enemies human would greatly increase the risk of the game receiving a restrictive rating or being outright banned. It is already likely that we will have to remove blood or make human blood green for some countries.

      The other reason is that many people simply do not want to kill humans. I personally am not a huge fan of ambiguous violence in games. I want to feel like my enemy poses a direct and unavoidable threat to me or other innocent people so that I can feel justified in exploding them into a shower of gore.
      As I wrote above... If it's about revenge, or if it's against an inherently "evil" race, then it's okay.
      Next time some warmonger comes around, he'll use just that, will depict the other state as kind of an inherently evil, inherently violent species, a danger to your homeland, and people will think it is justified to attack preemptively, and kill some thousand women and children.

      Originally posted by medierra View Post
      Here is a hypothetical question: There is a zombie outbreak. Zombies, this scenario, are undead humans who want nothing other than to eat the brains of the living.
      Zombies are different, because they are not a race, nor do they have a culture. That's exactly the reason why they are so extremely popular. Killing a zombie is freeing a tortured soul from being trapped in a decaying body in a most unnatural way.
      It's similar with demons. Both have been invented by some writer just to be able to have an enemy that you can slaughter without feeling the slightest remorse.

      But there's all that "Games as Art" and "Games have to grow up, they are no longer a toy for kids" discussions.
      And I believe that suggestions of mine, are one step in exactly that direction. Making games grow up, and become a serious medium that can deal with serious topics, like movies and books can.

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      • #48
        Originally posted by medierra View Post
        Here is a hypothetical question: There is a zombie outbreak. Zombies, this scenario, are undead humans who want nothing other than to eat the brains of the living.

        Do you:

        A) bust out a shotgun

        or

        B) set up a sensitivity training program?
        Sorry but i am stealing this and putting it in my sig. this is win.
        Oppa is Gangnam style!
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bZkp7q19f0

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        • #49
          A lot can be said of Jonathon Blow's thoughts on game design

          http://braid-game.com/news/?p=129

          It is quite a good listen. Games don't have to touch on deep societal issues in order to grow up..

          I think Crate would prefer to make a good solid game, not a arty game for the sake of being arty.

          Also, thanks Medierra for investigating the pronounciation.

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          • #50
            Originally posted by hooby View Post
            Whenever some Leader wants to wage war againts another race or culture, he always labels them exactly that way: inhuman, merciless, opposing forces, threatening the very way of life of his own people.
            But maybe you shouldn't always believe all the propaganda.
            This may be true in real life but it is not true in Grim Dawn. Grim Dawn is a fictional universe and these two enemy groups are not, in fact, human. You're trying to ascribe human thoughts, motives, and characteristics to fictional supernatural beings. It seems like you are stereotyping based on your biases as a human and not truly respecting that they are different lifeforms driven by motives inexplicable to you.

            I mean, consider infectious viruses. Is not their natural function to inject their DNA into the cells of other organisms and thereby reproduce, thoughtless to the damage they inflict on their living hosts? Is there ever an individual infectious virus that makes the conscious decision to willingly abstain from infecting living organisms? I'm fairly certain viruses do not have brains, let alone the capacity for thought but maybe I am just dehumanizing them to justify vaccination? Even were viruses sentient, would they not still continue to behave as they do because it is their natural function just as lions will continue to hunt gazelle?

            Why can't a fictional race be driven by such an unavoidable natural impulse without being ascribed human intent and morality?

            It's similar with demons. Both have been invented by some writer just to be able to have an enemy that you can slaughter without feeling the slightest remorse.
            Just as the supernatural forces in Grim Dawn have been invented by some writer for exactly the same purpose?

            Well, I think we've reached the end of this ride. Let's wind this discussion down before we all end up in hot water.

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            • #51
              Moral ambiguity...

              I know this might go against your natural tendencies, but please don't make the storyline "too smart" for its own good. Grim Dawn is your first major release, and while a lot of the hardcore fans want an engaging storyline, I'm hoping it's not too engaging. Please make sure that your product is somewhat marketable to a mainstream audience. Your first product needs to differentiate itself from the variety of competitors, but you don't want a complex morally ambiguous storyline reducing its impact as a mainstream product.

              Part of the reason that fantasy games tend to stick with orcs, goblins, etc. as the enemies is because these types of antagonists have a storied tradition as evil bogeymen. Everyone instantly internalizes them as the 'bad guys' and most people have no issues with killing them. I'm hoping that your antagonists are inhuman enough that they won't be mistaken one bit as human and your game can enjoy decent mainstream appeal. While you can have humans as villains, make sure they are denoted as evil, possessed, etc. types and not just different factions (at least not in the original release). While history is replete with human on human violence, it is not a safe mainstream medium for a story. Especially an indie story. One bad review about how this game wants us to 'kill humans' can really hurt Crate's chances of success.

              I know that the producers of TQIT wanted no human villians in the game which felt limiting to the developers, but that was a very sensible business decision. Grim Dawn is hoping to push that envelope, but you will be hurting the ability to generate sales if you push it too far. As mentioned earlier, make sure you have adequate descriptors emphasizing their evilness and villainy and don't try introducing an opposing morally ambiguous faction as an antagonist.


              Dejnov.
              Evil Medierra:
              It would be really great if your FACE WAS ABOVE THE SKILLBAR!!! OOOHHHHH BURNT! Sorry, you totally set yourself up for that one!

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              • #52
                Originally posted by Dejnov View Post
                Part of the reason that fantasy games tend to stick with orcs, goblins, etc. as the enemies is because these types of antagonists have a storied tradition as evil bogeymen. Everyone instantly internalizes them as the 'bad guys' and most people have no issues with killing them. I'm hoping that your antagonists are inhuman enough that they won't be mistaken one bit as human and your game can enjoy decent mainstream appeal.
                Not to fear, the Aetherials are basically wraiths, and the Chthonians are basically demons. Though we're trying to give them a little more backstory, they are still pretty recognizable "traditional evil bogeymen" and are distinctly not human.

                Also - I'm closing this thread because I think it has gotten too far off-course, partially through my own fault, into matters too sensitive for a game forum.

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