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Bioshock: the new Deus Ex?
August 18th 2006, 04:55 CEST by Gunp01nt

A TTLG interview with Irrational Games' Ken Levine contained a few windows of hope:

Right now the biggest hurdle to this is story. We can use the microprocessor to spawn in bad guys, randomize loot, give the player a huge range of tools to choose from and have the AI interact with each other in groundbreaking ways. We can make a really emergent world that feels different to every player. What the microprocessor can't do is write a single line of interesting story. It can't create a single compelling character. It wouldn't know a plot twist if it woke up in bed with one.


What always bugs me about this is that it ignores the key component of what compels people to do nasty things: need. In BioShock, we put you in a terrible world that has exploited the weakest members of that world in horrible ways. Then we put you in a situation in which, in order to survive, it's pretty damn tempting to exploit the weak yourself. And there's no moral authority telling you what to do, what's right and wrong.


So, a game world with substance, moral decisions, story and plot,...
While being billed as the spiritual successor to System Shock 2, several things in the above quotes sound more like Deus Ex to me.

Obviously, Bioshock doesn't continue the Deus Ex universe. But could it be the next Deus Ex in terms of depth, story and decision making?
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Home » Topic: Bioshock: the new Deus Ex?

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#1 by BobJustBob
2006-08-18 05:15:29
Well that was fast.

"That probably entirely useless path, that probably lost day, that probably futile hope. What's the point of it all?" - Franz Kafka, The Castle
#2 by BobJustBob
2006-08-18 05:23:23
It sounds like they have a great game and they're right now trying to think of ways to ruin it.

"That probably entirely useless path, that probably lost day, that probably futile hope. What's the point of it all?" - Franz Kafka, The Castle
#3 by eggbert
2006-08-18 06:10:33
http://www.stuffresearch.com
And there's no moral authority telling you what to do, what's right and wrong.

This part I hope he didn't mean literally. I don't thing having a moral authority tell you what to do is so bad, as long as you are free to completely ignore it. Without that element, choosing between the 'good' and 'bad' choices is reduced down to which one of the choices is more efficient, or funnier. When my character does something bad, it damn well better make the good characters' "dude, that's fucked up" meters rise, and he should suffer the consequences of that action.
#4 by m0nty
2006-08-18 06:40:08
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
Pay fine
Resist arrest
Go to Jail
#5 by gaggle
2006-08-18 07:54:37
TFA doesn't work, so my opinions are formed on some E3-related articles I've read earlier.

Anyway, I don't care if they have a moral meter or not personally, but I guess we'll see exactly how that pans out. I started to worry when I read their thoughts on the AI, how they were going to have all kinds of variables and just go around doing their things. You know, realistic AI. They had a few examples that all sounded eerily like Trespasser to me. Trespasser started out with a whole bunch of rules governing the dinosaurs, but in the end they had to simplify it down because the player couldn't make heads or tales of it. Complicated AI has had a tendency to lead to wishywashy AI, leads to enemies behaving erratically. In one scenario an enemy was easy, in the other he's mean and viscious, all because.. what, he was hungry?

Maybe they'll pull it off, who knows. We can hope so I guess. Or maybe they'll end up paring it down as they get closer to release. The game certainly sounds promising and interesting (if a little concepty and lacking in actual gameplay), all the very best of lucks to them.

#6 by gaggle
2006-08-18 07:56:51
tales? .. sigh. Bleh, the whole post could use a good scrubbing.

#7 by Gunp01nt
2006-08-18 09:09:42
supersimon33@hotmail.com
They had a few examples that all sounded eerily like Trespasser to me.


Except that today we have the hardware to run acceptable levels of physics and AI.

If lusting after Alyson Hannigan is wrong, fuck being right.  Fuck it in the ear.
 - Warren Marshall
#8 by Leslie Nassar
2006-08-18 09:13:21
http://departmentofinternets.com
because in the past, physics and ai have been totally unacceptable!  anti-gravity gun indeed!
#9 by Gunp01nt
2006-08-18 09:19:46
supersimon33@hotmail.com
At the time Trespasser was released, home computers weren't fast enough to do everything they wanted so they had to simplify both the physics and the AI. It's all in the postmortem om Gamasutra.

If lusting after Alyson Hannigan is wrong, fuck being right.  Fuck it in the ear.
 - Warren Marshall
#10 by gaggle
2006-08-18 09:54:31
Indeed it is Gunp01nt, but I do believe the AI was simplifyed due to gameplay. As per that very postmortem article. Plenty of overhyped ideas they had to scrap due to a heap of technical problems I'm sure, but the AI rules didn't work in terms of what they player could understand.

You're right that modern games can do so much more, but how hard is it to have a series of rules that governs the actions of a creature? The animation systems and emoting-capabilities can be much more sophisticated today, and the pathfinding, abilities available to the creature, sophistication of sensors, all things that are vastly better today. But the basic backbone of the AI at the nitty-gritty level of going "if at 40% health it should flee unless it's 80% enraged" should be pretty basic stuff in terms of computing power required.

Again, if Bioshock provides us with a level of interaction with the AI that's simple and delightful then wahoo!, that'll be cool. But I couldn't help but think of the worst-case-scenario of erratic AI that frustrates more than anything.

#11 by Ashiran
2006-08-18 10:01:32
give the player a huge range of tools to choose from and have the AI interact with each other in groundbreaking ways.

Groundbreaking, sure...

Unless they invest about as much time in the AI as Stardock did in Galactic Civilizations 2 I'm considering this sales smoke blown up from the thrall vents.

This will not be the end of it.
#12 by bago
2006-08-18 10:45:04
manga_Rando@hotmail.com
Depends. How many elements will the AI reference in its execution cycle? How fragmented will they be? How will this scale in complexity according to the number of units in it's decision making graph? How many cache misses will this result in per frame?

We need to keep our arms open, our head up, smiles big and our middle fingers raised.
#13 by Ashiran
2006-08-18 10:54:53
Yeah, see, that was the part I wasn't talking about.

Working AI != Good AI

This will not be the end of it.
#14 by bago
2006-08-18 12:00:35
manga_Rando@hotmail.com
BRAIIIIINS!

We need to keep our arms open, our head up, smiles big and our middle fingers raised.
#15 by Leslie Nassar
2006-08-18 12:02:45
http://departmentofinternets.com
is there a crapper frappr?  who all are the UK crappers?
#16 by Marsh Davies
2006-08-18 12:26:02
www.verbalchilli.com
http://www.frappr.com/planetcrap

#17 by Matt Perkins
2006-08-18 14:39:31
wizardque@yahoo.com http://whatwouldmattdo.com/
I never played System Shock...

#18 by LPMiller
2006-08-18 15:00:10
lpmiller@gotapex.com http://www.gotapex.com
Doh, glad I don't have Dish network...bye bye dvr

"Testiculos habet et bene pendentes" — "He has testicles, and they dangle nicely."
#19 by Warren Marshall
2006-08-18 15:06:06
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
Oh snap?

Jesus Christ, that is unbelievably retarded! - lwf
#20 by Greg
2006-08-18 15:53:15
Keep in mind that good AI has to only provide a "decent" enough challenge. The AI cannot cause the game to become to difficult or unfun, otherwise it fails. This can give developers a way to cheat and take shortcuts with the AI.

こんにちは
#21 by gaggle
2006-08-18 15:59:43
Not even System Shock 2 Matt? For shame.


..actually I don't know if I'd call either one really universally good games. Important for their times and their genres, and personally I enjoyed the holy fuck out of them, but they were an aquired taste I think.

#22 by jjohnsen
2006-08-18 16:46:49
http://www.johnsenclan.com
Doh, glad I don't have Dish network...bye bye dvr

Damn, that sucks.  I have a Dish Network DVR, I think Ergo does too.  At least Dish Network says they're going to change them enough so they won't have patent problems.  I don't need much, just a fast forward and record button.

Actually, the liberalism of the media - as a general thing - IS a major fallacy. What the media is, is a whore.  -LP       Johnsen Family
#23 by Gunp01nt
2006-08-18 18:05:19
supersimon33@hotmail.com
Gamespot serves up FEAR and Chronicles of Riddick ads a lot. Did they release a budget/GOTY version for those games or did I step into a time machine and travel a year back?

If lusting after Alyson Hannigan is wrong, fuck being right.  Fuck it in the ear.
 - Warren Marshall
#24 by Marsh Davies
2006-08-18 18:15:39
www.verbalchilli.com
So apparently I can't play the official MP4 of that Company of Heroes game because I don't have some cunting codec. Can someone remind me what the fuck it is that I need to fucking do to play this fucking file?

#25 by gaggle
2006-08-18 18:17:13
A console?


Man, Company of Heroes is a real pretty RTS. They got a shitload of detail pressed into that title, I flashed back to what they originally did with Homeworld. It was a leap in detail compared to the then-current RTS', and CoH seems all about that as well.

#26 by Artur
2006-08-18 18:45:46
AVC?
#27 by G-Man
2006-08-18 19:36:24
So, I'm considering registering as a bone marrow donor. It seems like a pretty painless Good Thing™ to do. Anyone have any compelling arguments as to why I shouldn't?
#28 by Shadarr
2006-08-18 19:38:45
shadarr@yahoo.com http://digital-luddite.com
It's not painless.  Quite the opposite, from what I've heard.

I am not part of the solution.
#29 by Anonymous
2006-08-18 19:49:41
Donate your body for medical studies so that young medics have a cold carcass to play with. Painless!

#30 by Caryn
2006-08-18 20:03:15
carynlaw@pacbell.net http://www.hellchick.net
If you want a painless good thing to do, then just donate blood every 8 weeks, especially if you're an O- bloodtype. It's easy to do and the Red Cross will remind you when your next donation date is. Bone marrow is pretty painful to donate.

Current novel word count: 18,400 words (I'm hoping by putting it here it helps motivate me)
#31 by mgns
2006-08-18 20:03:21
So, I'm considering registering as a bone marrow donor. It seems like a pretty sweet ploy to meet clients.


For shame...

Tears of pleasure we weep, Inside our big sleep
Begging you please to keep, Your fist elbow deep
#32 by Ergo
2006-08-18 20:11:19
I'm assuming the after effects are the painful part? They use anesthesia when extracting the marrow.

Ergo is right, as he always is except the times when his opinion is different than mine.--Mr. Nutty
DVDs
#33 by mgns
2006-08-18 20:37:20
Suposedly, the anesthesia only dulls the pain, it still hurts like bloody screaming hell.

Tears of pleasure we weep, Inside our big sleep
Begging you please to keep, Your fist elbow deep
#34 by CheesyPoof
2006-08-18 20:43:41
#2 by BobJustBob
It sounds like they have a great game and they're right now trying to think of ways to ruin it.

How so?

Obviously, Bioshock doesn't continue the Deus Ex universe. But could it be the next Deus Ex in terms of depth, story and decision making?

I hope it can. Outside of the ending, I don't think DX presented very many moral choices. Yes, I can role play the game to make moral choices, but if there's not consequence I don't think it matters. They need believable and sympathetic characters if you want the player to buy into a moral choice. In DX, I can never let Jock die, so I make sure to find the bomb every time. What I want from a DX style game and choice are to be able to play the game multiple times, using different tactics and have a different experience. If they can make those choices difficult, then I say kudos to them. That would be great.
#35 by lwf
2006-08-18 20:48:34
I'm with Caryn, marrow donation is too great a sacrifice. Let the fuckers die already.

Today Officer Coon, Officer Nigger-hater, and Officer Keep-darky-down were acquitted of all racist charges.
#36 by jjohnsen
2006-08-18 21:13:49
http://www.johnsenclan.com
Everything I've heard says it is painful.  I donate blood, and like Caryn says it's simple and close to painless, why not try it?  Plus we may start to think of you as human if you go through with it.

Actually, the liberalism of the media - as a general thing - IS a major fallacy. What the media is, is a whore.  -LP       Johnsen Family
#37 by gaggle
2006-08-18 21:44:25
So, have we all heard of the new downloadable content for Chromehounds? I don't have a non-danish link, maybe someone else can dig one up? But we're talking purchasable content here, new arms and generators and stuff, content that obviously alters the gameplay.

How farfetched is it to imagine the new parts are so useful that you'll "have to" buy them after meeting them on the battlefield? You don't wanna fight against an unfairly powerful enemy do you? Either by design or neglect I think that'll have to happen with gameplay-altering content that costs money. This is a slippery slope I do not in the least enjoy.

#38 by Matt Perkins
2006-08-18 21:51:31
wizardque@yahoo.com http://whatwouldmattdo.com/
Can you buy parts that others can play against if they don't own them? If so, that would be pretty irregular.

#39 by None-1a
2006-08-18 21:53:43
Welcome to the Korean MMO buisness model.
#40 by Shadarr
2006-08-18 21:58:37
shadarr@yahoo.com http://digital-luddite.com
Can you buy parts that others can play against if they don't own them? If so, that would be pretty irregular.

As long as the new parts aren't horribly unbalanced, it shouldn't be a problem.  However if it's a case where you can buy a missile launcher that does more damage and has the same size and weight as the stock model, that would suck.

I am not part of the solution.
#41 by G-Man
2006-08-18 22:06:14
jjohnsen in #36:
I donate blood, and like Caryn says it's simple and close to painless, why not try it?  Plus we may start to think of you as human if you go through with it.

I've already donated blood plenty of times. BORING! Plus I'm not type O or AB negative etc. So the bone marrow people are liars, eh? Okay, that's enough to put me off of that. I might still get registered anyway, because the odds are that I won't even match with anyone who needs me. And if I know I'm "OMG SAVING LIVES!" for sure, a few days of soreness is probably worth it.
#42 by gaggle
2006-08-18 22:10:17
Maybe Chromehounds will somehow magically only implement perfectly-balanced items that never leaves you with a "damnfuckinghell that man has the 100-points-worth rocketlauncher", but even then the slippery slope dicates someone else will make a game that has that feature. I mean, marketing will want to have the cool toys be available through purchasable content right? There's going to be a constant pressure to include something that's just better, because that way more people will buy the item. Hooray! Monies!

I'm not part of whatever generation this appeals to, at least as long as I only have my worst-case scenarios to imagine I can't stand the thought of running around in Battlefield 4 having to buy access to the spiffy weapons. It's bad enough in Battlefield 2 already where you had to buy a specific expansionpack because the weapons it gave access to was made available on all servers (regardless of what expansionpack it was running). If the same thing starts happening with individual items, and in particular if the rumors are true that MS wants to implement purchasable content that degrades so you have to keep buying them, then.. then it's game over man, game over!

#43 by CheesyPoof
2006-08-18 22:15:51
It's not the test that hurts, but the actually bone marrow donation if you match someone and they ask you to donate.  I researched this a while ago but never got myself added to it, mostly because I got lazy. When donating marrow there's two methods they can do. One is they dig into your bone and take it out. IIRC they would put you under a general anesthetic and insert a huge needle into your hip, or another big bone, and take the marrow out. That will be sore for a few days. The other way was to give you some drugs for a few days that would stimulate your bones to create an excess of marrow. This ends up giving you achy bones for a few days while on the drugs but the actual donation is similar to a blood donation as they filter it out while you are sitting on a gurney. I don't remember if that takes 30 min. to get the marrow or you might have to sit there hooked up to the machine for 2 hours. I forget.
#44 by Anonymous
2006-08-18 22:19:37
And if I know I'm "OMG SAVING LIVES!" for sure, a few days of soreness is probably worth it.

So, what was the life changing experience in your case?

#45 by G-Man
2006-08-18 22:19:50
Meh: Sanity: Aiken's Artifact tried that and flopped, and like None-1a astutely observed, this stuff is the norm in Korea (see e.g. Gunbound) and the world hasn't ended there yet.
#46 by CheesyPoof
2006-08-18 22:19:55
Or you can look at the pictures in steps 5, Mr. Google.
#47 by G-Man
2006-08-18 22:24:49
Cheesy: Yeah, obviously, I have seen that page and read the details on the procedure, but they don't really tell you HOW painful it is, or how annoying etc. I'm going to do it, if for nothing else then to do it because you didn't.

Anon: No life changing experience, just seems like a good way to get all my good deeds for a decade or so out of the way in one blow so I can continue to be an asshole in good conscience.
#48 by lwf
2006-08-18 22:36:26
Even if is very painful you can always just do a ton of drugs until you feel better.

Today Officer Coon, Officer Nigger-hater, and Officer Keep-darky-down were acquitted of all racist charges.
#49 by Shadarr
2006-08-18 23:42:28
shadarr@yahoo.com http://digital-luddite.com
So that's why they get caught in those nets.

I am not part of the solution.
#50 by bago
2006-08-19 07:11:14
manga_Rando@hotmail.com
Ah, the coveted poutine endorsement.

We need to keep our arms open, our head up, smiles big and our middle fingers raised.
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