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The "Open World" Lie And Its Implications For Future Gaming

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posted on Oct, 1 2018 @ 06:16 AM
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Greetings fellow members and gamers.

I wish to discuss with you a topic that may be divisive, but cuts to the core of the future of gaming in a fundamental way.

I am sure all of those who have clicked upon this threads title, have played at least one game, if not many more, that feature an "open world" design. The like of GTA San Andreas, as well as the other iterations of the GTA franchise since, alongside games in the Elder Scrolls series, and heaps of others, have advertised themselves as having sprawling maps, enormous spaces in which the players adventure can play out, and surely they do have very large playing spaces, so large as to boggle the mind at first glance. Only with familiarity, do these environments become manageable to the mind. The best examples of these games feature busy, well fleshed out mission design, meant to entice the player into all areas at some stage, while preventing them from feeling that they are merely about busy work, and the very best avoid that much maligned fetch quest effect, by cleverly dressing up any such quest in a way which lessens the tedium. However, there is a glaring problem with the notion of the "open world" video game.

It is my belief that so called "Open World" games are named incorrectly, that the entire concept is a lie.

Whether it be the single city of GTAV, or the nation of Panau in Just Cause 2, Tamriel in Skyrim, the fact is that these are not worlds. They are cities, kingdoms, rarely even entire continents. An actual WORLD map though? This has, as far as I know, never been accomplished at a detail level which is up to modern snuff. An entire planetary body, with villages, towns, cities, counties, nations, continents, oceanic expanses which one must cross to visit other lands, different ecologies, terrains, prevailing weather conditions, local languages and dialects, differing political and religious structures in society... this has never been achieved. Calling a continental map a world map is inaccurate at best, and deceptive at worst. Calling one small part of a continental area a world map, is even more ridiculous.

Now, I am sure that some of you are thinking "But come on TrueBrit, the notion of an entire world, modeled as a planet, with no edges, as a sphere on which things play out at a depth of detail interesting to the sort of gamers who like the aforementioned games... Its not feasible given current technology!".

And I agree, it is not feasible given current technology. But the existence of the term "open world" and its use to describe nation states or continental maps at best, has permitted an even more outrageous example of overstatement. You will all recall, no doubt, the absurd claims made by the creators of No Man's Sky, about what manner of game it would be. Many suggest that the hype train was more at fault than the gaming house which made the game, for the disparity between what was actually in the game, and the impressions people were left with by its advertising. However, I would argue that this is in fact total rubbish. If you suggest you are going to build a galaxy spanning game, with obscene numbers of planets, you cannot expect reasonable people to assume that NONE of those planets will be developed in any way whatsoever, that ALL of them will be absent any intelligent life, bar the two or three members of another race alien to that world, who have set up some sort of pathetic base to study the place from. No one was expecting that at all, nor should they have.

Star Citizen appears to be a somewhat more promising prospect, but none of the footage I have seen thus far, suggests that it will feature planets with active civilisations on them either. I could be wrong, but at present, the only worlds I have seen in that game, have been small, barren places, featureless terrain without any particular thing to recommend them to a player. And yet, the bald description of these games, suggests to a person of reasonable intelligence and imagination, that more, far more should be in these games than there is, if they are to live up to reasonable expectation. There is no POINT in making a game like No Man's Sky, or Star Citizen, or Starfield, UNLESS you are as a games company, going to fill your universe, galaxy or star system, with rich, deep, incredibly complex detail, and free the player to explore cultures and civilisations not their own in unprecedented detail. Dropping out of space, onto a world with nothing on it may be impressive the first ten times, but it will, of course get utterly mind numbing after that, and so it should, because it is a genuinely tedious proposition. Its an endless fetch quest in No Man's Sky, for example, no matter how you dress it up. But dropping out of space and onto a planet with a civilisation on it, allows you to open up trade negotiations with businesspersons there if that is what takes your fancy. Alternatively, you could pirate around the system the planet is in, starve its population of their resources from off world, and take the place over. Alternatively to that, you could endear yourself to an ailing planetary population by bringing technology to them which would solve a problem, like air scrubbers to clean a polluted atmosphere, or medicine to fight a global epidemic. In a game worth playing ALL these things would be possible, but there is next to no way that they are in any game in development currently.

And all of this overstatement and bad advertising stems, I feel, from the fact that games developers got away for so long, with marketing the "open world" game, despite there being no such thing in any of the games which tout it as a feature.

At this point, I would like to throw the matter open for discussion, and get your thoughts.

Should games previously referred to as open world, be called "Large playing environment" games instead, or something similar? Should these space games that increasingly seem to want to build entire universes, despite the fact that no adventure game has ever made a fully realised planetary body yet, be forced to be a damned sight more careful in the way they advertise their products? Should the descriptions of what is in a game be more accurate, so that players know exactly what they are getting before the game is released?

I welcome your input, and look forward to the discussion!

HAVE AT IT!




posted on Oct, 1 2018 @ 06:30 AM
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I think the current "Sandbox" designation works well.

I play Elite Dangerous - 400 billion star systems and trillions of explorable planets.
Although so far only a hundred - at this time, have been discovered to hold ancient guardian ruins.

The game is constantly getting updates as more and more content gets released.
Its pretty breath taking when you end up beside a Super Giant star. Or Sag A's massive black hole.
Then theres the planetary landings - you can find some amazing caverns and fumerholes or various geysers.
Its definitely a game to try.



posted on Oct, 1 2018 @ 06:35 AM
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a reply to: TrueBrit




Should games previously referred to as open world, be called "Large playing environment" games instead, or something similar?



We park in a driveway and drive on a parkway?



posted on Oct, 1 2018 @ 06:42 AM
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a reply to: TrueBrit

Open World refers to the game world not the size of the world it inhabits , if a game gave you an entire planet to explore and adventure in how much more daunting would the task be , and how much bigger would the install size be ... gargantuan would be my guess.
As long as companies like CD Project keep pushing the boundaries of quest and game design then I'm happy with the definition of Open World being as it is , manageable but with the freedom to do as you please regardless of the main quest which is just there to guide the player should they get bored with going off the beaten track.



posted on Oct, 1 2018 @ 06:51 AM
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I consider "open world" to mean the player is open to do whatever he/she wants in that world. I doesn't necessarily have to factor in size.

I've read that the next iteration of GTA could dwarf the current map size. Possibly and entire map of the US. The problem with having an environment even close to that size is the length of time it would take to travel. My guess, is that you would have a cut scene if you were to travel from one city to another.



posted on Oct, 1 2018 @ 07:37 AM
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a reply to: Macenroe82

Now, sandbox is a description I have no problem with whatsoever, and Elite Dangerous does look incredible, but I must ask you, is there anything in it that qualifies as a separate civilisation than the one your character is a part of. If the answer is no, but there are all these planets, someone messed up completely, because thats a basic requirement of a space based science fiction game.



posted on Oct, 1 2018 @ 07:46 AM
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a reply to: gortex

But look at the terminology you used there. The words we use for things are important.



Open World refers to the game world not the size of the world it inhabits


Here, you use the term game world, despite the fact that this term is also a misnomer. Unless the games playable area comprises an entire planet, what you have is a play space, not a game world, or a world map, or an open world, but a large play area or play space. Thats FINE, I am not saying that games that are less than a planet in size are pointless, because not only would that be idiotic, but also entirely hypocritical (I love an awful lot of the games that are guilty of failing to describe themselves accurately in this fashion).

All I am saying is that using the term world, when what you mean is area, is just not realistic or applicable in fairness, which has become more obvious, the more expansive these play spaces become, and the more ambitious games developers get. Starting on these space sims and suchlike, before being able to build a planet spanning game, seems to be jumping the gun in a very ill advised way, because surely, in order to be able to make a universe work, one must first be able to at least build one, fleshed out and populated planet?



posted on Oct, 1 2018 @ 07:51 AM
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Give it another year and someone will map out the Earth and import it into a game. Google VR has something like that I think.



posted on Oct, 1 2018 @ 07:54 AM
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a reply to: jtrenthacker

Now that will be interesting.

I am very interested to see how the new GTA works out, in terms of size and traversal methods. I think a player should be able to select whether they want to make the best fist of the traversal by their own methods, for example, stealing a plane and flying it to wherever is next on the insanity tour, or fast traveling instead. But I don't like the idea of cut scenes as a matter of course, if only because getting places is not boring, and some people are going to want to do that their own way. The other thing is this... time taken to transit is only a drawback if you make the controls to whatever vehicle you are using really, super boring. Bombing clear across the map in a car in GTAV is just some of the best fun you can have with your clothes on and a controller in your hand, for my money, and I will always prefer stealing a plane and flying from one side of the nation of Panau in Just Cause 2, over fast traveling across. Why? Because the controls of the vehicles that you use to make these things happen, are just awesome fun to mess around with. Its not half an hour of boredom, its time spent in enjoying terrain and curves and town planning and the like!



posted on Oct, 1 2018 @ 07:57 AM
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a reply to: DrumsRfun

I don't know about you, but I have NEVER driven on a parkway, or been a passenger in a vehicle traveling on a parkway. There are roads, pavements, and driveways, but no parkways hereabouts.



I hear what you are saying, but you must understand that from a linguistic point of view, the fact that you drive on a parkway and park on a driveway is fundamentally stupid, and at some point the average intelligence of your people will rise to the point where they can no longer stomach this affront to reasonable use of language?



posted on Oct, 1 2018 @ 08:02 AM
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originally posted by: Macenroe82
I think the current "Sandbox" designation works well.

I play Elite Dangerous - 400 billion star systems and trillions of explorable planets.
Although so far only a hundred - at this time, have been discovered to hold ancient guardian ruins.

The game is constantly getting updates as more and more content gets released.
Its pretty breath taking when you end up beside a Super Giant star. Or Sag A's massive black hole.
Then theres the planetary landings - you can find some amazing caverns and fumerholes or various geysers.
Its definitely a game to try.



Ummm...I've just started dabbling with Elite Dangerous...so I'm severely handicapped by the distance my gimme ship can travel...not to mention being shot down a few times...in port...and having to start over...

At least the game didn't penalize me my paltry 49k earnings after I got out of the slammer for accidently lazing the port authority...

I really like the game so far...I can tell it's going to take a lifetime to play...which could be fun...

I'm kind of disappointed in No Mans Sky...with the cartoonish graphics...hopefully future updates improve the overall look and feel of that game...





YouSir



posted on Oct, 1 2018 @ 08:10 AM
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a reply to: TrueBrit




Here, you use the term game world, despite the fact that this term is also a misnomer.

Not necessarily mate , the word also has other connotations.

world Definition
1 : The earth, together with all of its countries and peoples.
‘he was doing his bit to save the world’

2 : A particular region or group of countries.
‘the English-speaking world’
en.oxforddictionaries.com...


As technology progresses we may at some point get a fully fleshed out game world that spans an entire planet and beyond with plenty of stuff to see and do but as it stands now that is an impossibility , but as in the dim dark past when photo realistic 3D models were impossible the impossible can become reality ... it's a waiting game.



posted on Oct, 1 2018 @ 08:21 AM
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I love big open worlds..

I have been playing subnatica for some time.. I was in the belief it was a random generated map..
But then I found out it is all played out on a premade map.

I am looking forward to Star Citizen.. I hope they make it a endless universe with random generated planets as players discover them.. And I hope it will be a single server mmo like eve online.



posted on Oct, 1 2018 @ 08:44 AM
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a reply to: TrueBrit

There are 2 so far that have been discovered - And the thing is its up to the Elite dangerous community to find them.
We have the Thargoids - a seemingly evil alien race that will attack on site.
Then we have the guardians - a more benevolent race that has left foot prints in the sand so to speak for us to uncover on our own.
I play mainly the exploration role.
I set out in to the dark searching planets for resources, or amazing vistas.
Theres nothing like watching 3 suns rise while your in a 100 mile deep fissure watching magma and silica vapor jettison from geysers.
Its truly a humbling experience.



posted on Oct, 1 2018 @ 08:48 AM
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I think 'open world' is kind of an extension of 'non-linear' quest lines that used to be a thing. As in, work through in your own chosen sequence without restriction.

I hear what you're saying though. The terminology is clearly used to imply a level of expanse that just doesn't exist.

As far as No Man's Sky, I haven't had a chance yet, but it was always touted as being somewhat... Empty. They said from the beginning you could play and never meet another player.



posted on Oct, 1 2018 @ 08:55 AM
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a reply to: gortex

Fair enough, a little potato, potahto action, in a way.

I agree with your assessment of where this is all going though.



posted on Oct, 1 2018 @ 08:57 AM
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a reply to: Macenroe82

That does sound awesome, in the most accurate sense of the word.

Am I to assume, with regard to the alien races, that their homeworlds have not been located, and that planets in ED are not populated in the same sense that the Earth is?



posted on Oct, 1 2018 @ 09:32 AM
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a reply to: Macenroe82

I like Elite Dangerous, but I wish it would come out on the PSVR. That's what I've been playing lately - Skyrim VR, to be exact.



posted on Oct, 1 2018 @ 11:45 AM
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originally posted by: Spacespider
I love big open worlds..

I have been playing subnatica for some time.. I was in the belief it was a random generated map..
But then I found out it is all played out on a premade map.

I am looking forward to Star Citizen.. I hope they make it a endless universe with random generated planets as players discover them.. And I hope it will be a single server mmo like eve online.






Ummm...WOW...I just looked at Star Citizen...that's definitely a must have game...I love the photorealism of the graphics...
I watched the "trailer" and where they're taking this game is awesome...it puts Elite Dangerous and No Mans Sky to complete shame...

Thanks for the heads up man...





YouSir



posted on Oct, 1 2018 @ 11:54 AM
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a reply to: TrueBrit

You make some valid points. I bought a PS4 just for No Man's Sky, and it was... well, we all know what happened there. That being said, video game advertising has always been shady. Games so rarely live up to the hype that it almost seems embarrassing. Then you have all the magazines that review games so differently, and the players don't agree with the critics, and...

So I get where you are coming from. I think that as we get closer to quantum computers, AI, and VR, we will eventually be able to play in totally immersive worlds. However, I have to ask you: is that really what you want? If what you have described actually existed, we would be able to ignore reality to a large extent. Virtual worlds would be amazing, but they would be addictive to the point of an epidemic, and dangerous to mental health. People have already died from playing games. I love gaming. I have all of the consoles and over one thousand games. But I rarely play. I have a life to live. I shudder to think at what may happen to an entire generation raised in a world that does not exist.

But hey, maybe this world does not really exist, and I am missing out on my fantasy kingdom. Who knows?




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