Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Tim S, 16 Sep 2008.
That sounds interesting...
I agree with Cliff that there are fewer sandbox games...or perhaps it's more accurate to say that there are more linear, 'on rails' games - and I, too, don't like them.
However, I disagree that quests, achievements etc are part of the problem. Most people need an objective, but my objection comes when your mission/quest/achievement/task can only be completed in one way, using one style of play. The great bit about the early parts of Crysis were the fact that you could run & gun, use stealth, or if you creative enough, use the destructible environment to do the damage. [OK, I know the bigger plot in Crysis was still on rails, but you had some discretion]
One of the best games I ever had was Gunship on the C64. You could dictate the difficulty, choose your aircraft and payload. You had a career where you could earn medals and promotions if you wanted, and you were given a free had to accomplish the primary and secondary objectives however you wished. The career aspect of it was what appealed the most to me back the - it was the first game I came across that had this idea.
Garry's Mod is probably the most sand-boxy 'game' in recent times, to the extent that I downloaded it, play a few sick and perverted games with a few ragdolls, and then got bored and moved on.
Unfortunately since Sim City was owned by EA. It has random crashes. I am hoping for the next game like Sim City to be from Monte Cristo Studios which is in the process of making Cities XL. It should be very good since they are a semi-indie developer.
And I have to admit Cliff that even when I was editing the article I was constantly thinking in the back of my head: "Garry's Mod or Freelancer, fool!"
Although you could do what you wanted in Freelancer (and X3 and Elite), don't you think it was a bit same-y? Although you could go anyway you wanted, the missions you got were very repetitive, IMHO - more so than most games, anyway.
I didn't get any sense of immersion...
meh, I have to disagree with this one.. perhaps I didn't read the article closely enough, but I honestly felt like there've been too many 'sandbox' games recently ..and I like the story aspect of linear games. [shrugs] to each their own
The offical name will be Cities XL the website can be found here -> http://www.citiesxl.com/index.php
I agree with preferring story definitely on a personal level, but I'm also reminded of something in Philip Marlowe's feature on bit-tech a while back which discussed games that encouraged and rewarded sheer exploration. I can't thing of a game which really incentivised or rewarded that since Deus Ex, and even then that was only in the lamest possible +50xp kind of way.
That looks awesome
I must admit that gets on my nerves. It's one thing to congratulate the user for doing something fairly complex, but for just moving the mouse or pressing a key, that is basically the developer having a laugh (at us).
They must think the average user resembles something like this.
Is that George W. Bush standing over the bones of the American Economy?
Yours in Gaming while the Game is up Plasma,
Games have become too linear, but there a good times to be linear they just dont try to hide it anymore they want you to get all the trophys and ****... gta is 50% linear 50% sand box but it disguises the linear parts well. Quest and strict Pvp killed MMO's for me, screw finding elf armor and dyeing it 3 times for some stupid npc (Runescape ahh back in the day....) I just want to kill some nerdy kid and take his ****.... is that too much to ask?
AHHH! they changed sim city D: WHY! My one true love.
One thing i've noticed, this writer always throws what appears to be a cheap plug of his own games into his articles. 'This is bad, my games don't ahve this *link*'. This may be part of the deal, but the way they are slipped in always seems a bit blunt.
Jet Set Willy - Has to be one of the first non-linear games. OK your aim was always to collect all the shiny objects but you got a free choice with regard to which order to visit which rooms.
On the other hand Manic Miner was very linear but still a good game too.
Allow me to present Armadillo Run. I'm sure many of you have played the Fantastic Contraption flash game that's been popular lately; Armadillo Run is the same concept with far more levels, more parts and options, and a proper physics engine. It's a great sandbox; there are levels with goals, and you're somewhat constrained by the hardpoints and budget in the levels, but you can also use the editor to create on a totally blank slate.
I'm pretty sure this has been one of my favorite games; anyone who agrees with this article should at least take a look at the demo (be warned, if you finish the demo and want more, you'll have to replay the levels from the demo before you get into the new stuff). Also please be aware that some of the things shown in that video are the result of either exploiting small bugs in the physics engine or editing game files; by default you get one ball and I have no idea how the massive rubber bumpers work. Everything else seems kosher, though, so it should give you a pretty good idea of what's possible.
As many others have said:
GTA Series, Saints Row 1/2, Sims (though I never saw a point until Sims Life Stories), Sim City, Sim Societies, Oblivion, Farcry 2.
Of all of these, I think GTA/Saints row is the best example of balance between story and sandbox.
I think MMO's are sold a little short. While grinding and repition is annoying, there is a story and immersion if people take the time to get into it.
Sure there could be more variety, but you can still do what you want in the ways you want.
All in all though, it is a good article and good food for thought.
I think the answer lies in a balance between reward/progress and open-world.
The original FarCry is for me the closest to sandbox fps you can get. Yes there is a goal. But you get to roam around, finding new ways to the objectives.
And forgive me for asking.
A good RTS is nothing but a sandbox when you get online.
There's no deal at all actually as Cliff isn't paid to do these columns at all but volunteers them on issues that occur to him, when they occur to him. In fact, the raw columns that Cliff sends don't have any links in them. The links are all added by me as I see fit, to illustrate points Cliff touches on. In the end, Cliff knows about his games and they are relevant to the discussion, so why not? Give the indie some love!
enough people have mentioned garry's mod already, but most people i know outside of the internet that played it shared the sentiment i read, about playing around with a couple of ragdolls and then getting bored. this is a sad thing, as that's where the greatness of garry's mod lies, in being able to create nearly anything you can think of, aside from creating your own models and physics to insert. i'm pretty uncreative when i play the game, but there's still something fun about strapping rockets to a bathtub on saw-blade wheels and ramping it.
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