Gamers and Realism

  • This is intended to be a semi-serious discussion about not only Chivalry’s community, but the gamer community at large.

    I pose a question to you: Why are so many gamers obsessed with realism?

    Now, for a lengthy elaboration: If the readers of this thread peruse other boards, particularly the Suggestions and Balance forums, they should be familiar with a continuing trend: the suggestion of changes based on realism.

    It would appear that the developers’ design direction has never made popularly clear, given these suggestions. Only some people are aware the game was never meant to be a simulator, but was merely developed on an aesthetic base of realism and then taken from there to meet a standard of fun they sought.

    Let me tell a personal story. Picture it; 2004, the days where the mainstream consisted of Halo, and Unreal Tournament was in its last years of the spotlight. They were the shooters to play, and realism was not something most people talked about. I’d imagine suggesting Unreal Tournament get ironsights to make it more realistic would’ve seen you being laughed off the forums. Medal of Honor was around back then (as was Call of Duty), but I don’t think it was ever a very realistic game. The gaming industry was largely about fast-paced action. The mantra of many a gamers (especially in reference to their distaste for tactical shooters) was “Gameplay > Realism.”

    I myself was a fan of arena shooters such as UT, and UT2k4 served to be one of my favorite games at the time. Fast forward to about a year later; I discover an Xbox game called Rainbow Six 4: Lockdown. While I never stopped loving arena shooters, this sparked my fascination with tactical shooters and military simulations. I went on to play Ghost Recon 2: Summit Strike, as well as Operation Flashpoint: Elite. I played Rainbow Six 3, Red Orchestra, ArmA, and more.

    I was a humongous fan of realism. Every game I played needed to be realistic. Only a year before I had enjoyed Day of Defeat, but now I couldn’t stomach it. Instead of being too slow and plodding, Halo was now too unrealistic and not tactical. But this was not a popular perception.

    And now here we are, where the majority of people are arguing based on realism; decrying features based on their departures from reality rather than examining their effect on gameplay. This is normal behavior on the forums of Red Orchestra 2 or ArmA 2. But why is it happening for games like Chivalry? Is it happening elsewhere?

    I suspect games like Gears of War (which was cover-based; all realistic shooters are “cover-based” though generally not by game mechanics, but by virtue of real-world combat) as well as Call of Duty 4 had a hand in it. But even this is puzzling; neither of these games are especially realistic, nor were they intended to be. Does anyone really view CoD 4 as a tactical shooter?

    Apparently, some do. But tactical shooters aren’t always intended to be as realistic as possible. Rainbow Six Vegas is generally accepted as a tactical shooter even despite its many unrealistic features. But CoD? I think most would agree, proponent or opponent, that it’s a fairly arcadey game, given its pace and mechanics.

    Somewhere along the line I personally relaxed with my desire to see games being realistic. I still crave it, but those cravings are well satiated by games like Red Orchestra 2. The upcoming Takedown: Red Saber hopes to be a spiritual successor to the likes of Rainbow Six 3, as long as 505 Games doesn’t cock things up with executive meddling. My point being, I understand some games need nothing to do with realism, and features added for that sake generally get in the way of game balance (whereas because of their dedication, realistic games are enhanced in gameplay by realistic features).

    So, I ask again: what made gamers so enamored with realism? Why isn’t ArmA 2 ridiculously popular (barring DayZ, which is likely only popular due to Zombies)?

    Discuss! :P

  • There are tons of games that fill a semi-realistic niche. CoD4, or even chivalry. While not being 100% realistic, they try to present a world and weaponry in a realistic way, then gameplay is more hollywood like than realistic. The point of this is to balance the need of fast gameplay with the realism part.

    Real life and fantasy look nothing alike, real life is boring. If you buy a simulator, of course you are doing it for the realism, slower gameplay and more attention to detail is expected of it. But if you are looking to shoot some dudes/chop some heads for an hour before going somewhere, you dont choose the simulator.

    Graphic example:

    Real life:

    TOTAl fantasy:

    Modern games are attempting to look and feel like the first, while actually playing like the second.

    A sense of realism adds immersion, makes gaming an experience that few other types of entertainment can provide. If the world you are in is believable, you will get involved in the story, the characters, and you will feel like you are in the game. If the game has ridiculous looking laser guns in it, or lets you bunnyhop around, the immersion is decreased. Noone can get immersed in a game like super mario. Except maybe Remixx. But notice how call of duty adds tons of scripted sequences to make the game more “cinematic”, even if it ruins basic gameplay.

  • It isn’t realism that people are obsessed with, but things that should seem common sense. That guy running around with a dagger killing people in CoD is libeled and many people call it unrealistic. Partly because it is a cheap tactic and partly because, hey, I have a fucking gun. And he killed me with a KNIFE? I SHOT HIM KHDGIOHSAGIO. This comes from the fact that we know a gun beats a knife. It’s common sense to us. That is as things should be. From a balance stand point it makes sense, though, it’s a high risk tactic that rewards reflexes and allows for fast, silent takedowns of unsuspecting enemies. But that doesn’t change the fact that it breaks our world when they head at us from the front.

    HALO for the most part has escaped the realism binge to to it’s in universe lore and game mechanics. That energy sword isn’t unrealistic for 1 shotting you, it’s made out of pure energy! Sniping someone in the head kills them dead and lower caliber weapons take multiple shots to the head due to the shield system. Without the shield system I guarantee you that people would cry UNREALISTIC a lot more.

    UT escaped from such probably also due to it’s mechanics and weapon balance. They feel right. Shotgun does more damage up close. Lighting gun does good damage if you keep the bead on your target. Rails do great damage. And so do Rockets. But if you made rockets do, lets say, half or less of their current damage then people would use realism as an argument, cause, hey, it’s a rocket, they x-pload and destroy things.

    Chivarly also suffers from this. We KNOW that greatsword should not be parried by the dinky little dagger. Chivarly also suffers from being fairly immersive while in first person which only heightens this effect. You don’t see people crying that it’s unrealistic that feints exist or that it’s unrealistic that lookdown overheads are a part of the game. Because they fit into our notion of the game world.

    It happens when something breaks our immersion into a game. Unloading a clip into a humanoid creatures head will feel unsatisfying in a game because we know that should be a weak point and it shouldn’t take so many at all. Even if it is some sort of final boss (this is partially my issue with Borderlands since damage is partially tied to level, I shouldn’t have to shoot shit that much for it to die!). It breaks the game world and brings, front and center, that this was made by man.

    I fear I may have rambled. But I think that covers my thoughts on the matter.

  • A post by Wingy that is on topic? :o

    He nailed it right on the head, though! Immersion is a big thing for games it seems… Like people want to escape their boring lives to jump into something filled with action and awesomeness… Making it as “realisitc” as possible helps draw people in because it relates to real life a little bit closer than something like Super Mario with completely unrealistic atmosphere and bright colors…

  • You calling me out, bro? 1v1 me, bro! I bench press sponges! SPONGES!

    "Do you even know what it truly means…to enjoy video games…boy?

    Wingy nailed it though. The setting will set the mindset of how things are suppose to work. Even then people want realism in some way. Could be a phase as well. Next year we could be wanting more goofy games again. Like Rayman Not 2 but still is episode 2.

    • one for WIngy being on topic. Also Corsair for making some excellent points.
      I believe highly realistic arcade styled games like chivalry suffer a bit from being in the middle ground.

    Personally I don’t care how far any one direction a game leans so long as I enjoy playing it with others and myself. but I can imagine people who are used to one style of game(I.E. DOOM or Quake on one hand with Operation Flashpoint or America’s Army on the other hand) having a hard time with a game that feels extreamly immersive while still keeping its fast paced arcade roots.

    P.S. I would love to see a video of ReMixx being immersed in a super Mario game.

  • I can easily get immersed in a fantasy game, the world just has to be consistent and make sense, and explain itself or be very clear in how the rules of the world work.

    I can get terribly immersed in an awesome sci-fi like the original Mass Effect, purely because of the lengths they went to with the codex and everything else, explaining how the game worked and letting me be part of that world, even to the point of designing my character to be as close as me as possible.

    I could even get slightly immersed in WoW because of the huge amount of lore and backstory, putting myself into the world (Human Fire Mage, BobT, Not played it for over two years now though), rather than being something else within it. I never went full on “RP”, but I did try and get immersed in what I was doing and what I was trying to accomplish in the lore and quests. Letting me build my own set of skills and “identity” of how I played and what I could do was awesome too, pity it was later dialuted to where everything was as generic as possible.

    Games like CoD and so on don’t immerse me whatsoever because I don’t really WANT to be part of it, the worlds are too rigid and only based on what the devs thrust in your face, rather than what they let you explore. The first Dead Space made me shit myself because I was actually feeling vulnerable. Watching gameplay footage of the 3rd? Immersion completely broken as the camera control, and complete control of the player character, is ripped from the player at every damn possible moment to show something “dramatic” happening. It’s as if the game is trying to play itself for you. I’d watch a bloody movie if I wanted that, not play a game.

    Chiv is quite immersive in that it gets you really into the combat due to it’s realistic sorta setting and adrenaline that it gets flowing, while being completely fictional. The moves, response and feeling of desperate, anger and strength you get flowing when you’re clashing swords and trying to overcome someone, or seeing a huge hammer heading right for your face, is fantastic.

    So yeah for me it’s about control, being able to be part of the game (rather than the game just displaying itself to me), and consistency (the game explaining or making sense in it’s world and rules). Sound and graphics help that to an extent, but once immersed, my imagination can do the rest. (The sound work is FANTASTIC in Chivalry though and does help a shitload, hearing that “TING!!!” from a parry, or someone gurgling after being shot through the throat etc).

    Anyone who claims it’s all about graphics are silly, I can get immersed in a good book or story just as easily if it is well written, described and presents itself well. Graphics can help some where they’re used and applied well, but only as back up for the rest of the world, they’re certainly not the main thing at all.

    Badass DoW vid Wingy. From what I’ve heard those games go heavily into the lore and stuff too. If I played them I’d be all like FOR TEH EMPRAH! *Charges.

  • timesplitters is one of the best games ever made.

  • I think the basic feeling from everyone is nothing breaks immersion unless it doesn’t make sense for the game itself. Wizards would break immersion in Chivalry because it’s fantasy-realistic, whereas in a full fantasy world that isn’t the case. Similarly, even though longswords fit in Chivalry and are a real thing, a guy running around with a longsword in Battlefield 3 would be ridiculous as well.

    Even in universes that don’t conform to our reality, things can be immersive but that immersion can be broken just as easily. For example, you can be fully immersed in a fantasy game like Skyrim, but if you start running into bandits with AK-47s it’s no longer “believable”; even a world with magic has to conform to its established level of technology. Unless you have some weird time travel stuff happening or something. Games like that usually forget about immersion completely though.

  • Finally found a word I was grasping at, versimilitude!
    the appearance or semblance of truth; likelihood; probability

    And if something in a game or anything else lacks that, it breaks immersion and gets cries of unrealistic. Regardless of where it comes from or how realistic it looks. Hollywood explosions from gas tanks aren’t realistic, but the seem probable so we buy it. Same with sparks from gunshots and dozens of other things.

  • @Corsair:

    Finally found a word I was grasping at, versimilitude!
    the appearance or semblance of truth; likelihood; probability

    And if something in a game or anything else lacks that, it breaks immersion and gets cries of unrealistic. Regardless of where it comes from or how realistic it looks. Hollywood explosions from gas tanks aren’t realistic, but the seem probable so we buy it. Same with sparks from gunshots and dozens of other things. … nrealistic

    Anyway, thanks for the discussion, everyone! It’s made me consider some stuff I hadn’t previously.

    More personal stuff: when it comes to my own tastes, games that straddle the middle ground between realism and arcade (like Call of Duty) tend to bore me to tears. Chivalry is a skill based melee combat game; one of my favorite genres (even though they’re extremely rare; Mount&Blade, Dark Messiah, and WotR are other examples), so I love it. But I don’t really find it immersive.

    WotR is more realistic, but has far too much silly stuff going on to be immersive as well. It’s also third person, which generally precludes any immersion at all.

    However, I find tacsims like ArmA 2 and RO very immersive, because they’re not just realistic in look and feel, but in gameplay, too.

    I think it’s a matter of priorities. Gameplay matters most to me in terms of both fun and immersion. Other people need accessibility and rewards for fun, and production quality for immersion; good voice acting, graphics, story, and so on. And of course, some people are a mix of all of these, or just needs one of them. No doubt, some aren’t nearly as picky as I.

  • @BobT36:

    seeing a huge hammer heading right for your face.

    I get a bit fidgety around all the sledgehammers at the warehouse I work at now thanks to chivalry…

    But yeah, good discussion.

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