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Deus Ex ruined PC gaming for me.
April 24th 2002, 13:10 CEST by Nova Z

Suspension of disbelief.  That magical place where there is the game, and nothing else.  Where you are the character, and there is no monitor, no keyboard.  

Now, I've known about the concept of suspension of disbelief for a while, and I'd been sure I'd experienced it before.  But if I'd experienced suspension of disbelief before Deus Ex, then Deux Ex was as close to transcendental as you can get in a game.

Two other games in recent memory gave me the same experience:  System Shock 2, and Max Payne.  Now, I know from what I've read here that most of you don't think Max Payne was all that great, but bear with me.  All three of these games had the same things in common.  A high level of detail to the environment and game world, a high level of detail in the story and characters, control over only one character, and most importantly, a feeling of being in control at all times.  None of these games ever did anything that could break you out of the suspension of disbelief.  Deus Ex and System Shock 2 both fed you the story mostly through the use of communications devices, so that even when you were recieving story, you were still in control.  In Max Payne, the comic book storyline meshed naturally with the game, and the fact that the pictures were similar to what was in game, your brain filled in the little details, and kept the flow.  In all three games, the world seems to exist without you; you'll overhear conversations, and witness acts that progress the story, without interrupting your control.

Whether it was the overheard conversations of your enemies in Deus Ex, or the constant requests from the AI for your surrender in System Shock 2, or the soap operas and news on tv in Max Payne, all three of these game worlds just felt real.

So my question is, what are your experiences with suspension of disbelief?  Can you name other games that have had this effect on you?  What do you think helps and hinders the process?  More importantly, what do you think is still missing?  I've noticed that the same rules of suspension of disblief don't seem the same for me on console as on PC... why could this be?

I know I'm looking forward to Deus Ex 2, just for another fix of this crazy drug.
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#1 by Ashiran
2002-04-24 13:10:46
You sir, are a spoiled little piggy.

Civilized barcode, quick id.
#2 by Morn
2002-04-24 13:24:42
morn@planetcrap.com http://hmans.net
Right now, I am fully naked.

Hendrik "Morn" Mans • morn@planetcrap.com • admin/coder/lover/kraut
#3 by Bailey
2002-04-24 13:42:18
I am being naked with morn. But in different places, so that makes it okay.

Vigilantly deleting my history folder.
#4 by jafd
2002-04-24 13:55:04
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1000033180
I am wearing clothes, but my faerie ninja is naked right now. I undressed him, just to make this post funnier; I'll alt-tab back now, and get back to playing last year's RPGotY. (Maybe this year's, as well; place yer bets in the Morrowind Patch Betting Pool!)

Sure, Deus Ex 2, looking forward to it. But if it weren't for crazed fanatics hollering about it all the time, I wouldn't even consider it one day out of a week, on the average. I'm not the type of person to drool all over today with thoughts of the future... why? My present is looking pretty good.

Now, if you'll excuse me... INSTANT KILL!

You just don't like being told what to do. Admit it.
#5 by Martin
2002-04-24 14:03:52
http://www.mocol.nu
I confess!

Not you.

Oh, sorry.

-- Martin
Business as usual.
#6 by LPMiller
2002-04-24 14:33:40
lpmiller@gotapex.com http://www.gotapex.com
Deus Ex is the new nazi.

Will warez for food.
#7 by Matt Perkins
2002-04-24 14:37:35
wizardque@yahoo.com http://whatwouldmattdo.com/
Re: Nova's Topic (since no one else will talk about it fully clothed)

I didn't feel either Deus Ex or Max Payne did anything for me in the suspension of belief department.  I thought Deus Ex was a interesting game, for the part I played, but it wasn't something that made me forget I was in a game...  Maybe I'm not seeing what you're saying, but the only game that actually engrossed me enough to really get me involved is Half-Life.  On a couple of occasions, it scared the shit out of me (I have loud sound :) ) because I was so caught up in actually being in the game, worrying about my health and aliens, I started to feel like I was there, kinda...

Max definitly didn't do this for me, where as Deus Ex was much better, it just seemed to be missing something in the grab me theory.

Advertise your game here, ask about new cheap rates!
#8 by jafd
2002-04-24 14:38:14
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1000033180
Hey, STFU there, cowboy. Deus Ex is the new Bhudda, if anything.

Panting and sweating over titles that are over a year away from release, at least, that's the new nazi.

You just don't like being told what to do. Admit it.
#9 by piramida
2002-04-24 14:42:50
What would help the immersion in those action-adventure games is the missing few percent of feedback that humans usually receive from the surrounding world, namely smell and tactile senses, which are responsible for something like 5-7% of all accepted information (numbers stolen long ago from some marketing book).

Given a large monitor and a good sound setup you are almost there... Now add the smell of rotten flesh together with the unexpected zombie behind the corner, and the feeling of pain when you get wounded.. or are we getting too immersed here? :)

signatures are stupid.
#10 by Bailey
2002-04-24 14:47:09
I liked Max Payne, but I never felt immersed in it. I think those dream levels kept kicking my ass out of Max's head, because that's no place I'd ever want to be. Not because it's edgy or gritty or dark, but because it's annoying.

Now, SS2 was a great game, but I don't think the reasons can be summed up so easily, or else we'd have other game that provide the same experience. Thus far, nothing's really touched on stumbling around in the depths of the UNN Rickenbacker with angry mutants chasing you.

Deus Ex was Deus Ex. I liked it, it had some interesting, well-implemented ideas, but it didn't reel me in at any particularly point in the game.

Vigilantly deleting my history folder.
#11 by Funkdrunk
2002-04-24 14:55:51
jflavius@bellatlantic.net
Bailey

Now, SS2 was a great game, but I don't think the reasons can be summed up so easily, or else we'd have other game that provide the same experience. Thus far, nothing's really touched on stumbling around in the depths of the UNN Rickenbacker with angry mutants chasing you.


Agreed.

I think the reason why SS2 did so well to immerse the players was it's use of sound.  Hearing the shotgun mutants groaning in the distance made me nervous.  And the creepy cries of the nannies really freaked me out the first time I heard them.

Other games have tried to use sound to the same effect, but I don't think any game, or engine, have come as close using sound to create mood as SS2/Thief 1/Thief 2 and the Dark Engine could.

Funk.
#12 by "Erik"
2002-04-24 15:05:40
"a feeling of being in control at all times.  None of these games ever did anything that could break you out of the suspension of disbelief."

You're kidding, right?  I will say that I was in utter disbelief that I couldn't suspend Max Payne's awful cutscenes with the escape key.  Why, why, why, why, why would you include cutscenes - a lot of cutscenes, in fact - and not give the player the ability to skip them?  Especially when they're completely irrelevant to playing the game.  It wasn't like I needed to understand the plot in order to know who to shoot at.  Other than that, though, it was a darn good game.
#13 by MCorleone
2002-04-24 15:14:02
Yeah, MP was a good game, but the whole "tightrope walk on bloodtrails and guess your way around" was so drastically misguided.  That was pure filler and really killed the pace of the game.  That, and that stupid cut-scene where you talk on a phone three times.  One of the times some female voice says "You're in a game, Max!  Running around chomping on pills!"  

That knocked off a full point for my rating.  I can picture one of the devs saying "HA HA TahTH is THE FUNNEY!  IRONy!  You see?"

Do not, ever, break my disbelief in a game of that tone.  I don't rent a thriller and want to see comedy in it.  At all.  I couldn't believe it when I saw that.  Please:  If/when MP2, no destroying my suspension of disbelief, mmmkay?

Build a man a fire and you'll keep him warm for the rest of the night.  Light a man on fire and you'll keep him warm for the rest of his life.
#14 by MCorleone
2002-04-24 15:15:44
Incidentally, any hardcore quakers know how long previous idgames have taken and have any educated guesses as to an approximate ETA for NewDoom?  When talking about upcoming dream games Doom is suspiciously never mentioned.

Build a man a fire and you'll keep him warm for the rest of the night.  Light a man on fire and you'll keep him warm for the rest of his life.
#15 by Duality
2002-04-24 15:30:23
Dualipuff@yahoo.com http://stratoscape.ath.cx/
FYI, you could skip the cutscenes in MP.  There was a stop button, and I believe F1 would skip through (don't complain that its not the Esc key, either).

I thought the dream sequence fit well in the game, not unlike the Junky Limbo fit in well with Transpotting.  I just think it was implemented poorly.  The section of the house maze with whacked out FoV was good.  I think it should have stayed like that for a bit longer.  The blood trails, again, were terrible..

I think what really held suspension for me in regards to Deus Ex was the atmosphere.  Some of the characters were flat and boring to me (Paul and JC), but then their origin can explain that, I suppose.  But each map was absolutely well done with equally wonderful music.

You're the new nazis.
#16 by Duality
2002-04-24 15:31:45
Dualipuff@yahoo.com http://stratoscape.ath.cx/
Probably because the new Doom doesn't excite anyone outside of the technological steps it takes.  As is with all id games.  Especially not in the suspension of disbelief sort of way.

You're the new nazis.
#17 by Duality
2002-04-24 15:46:19
Dualipuff@yahoo.com http://stratoscape.ath.cx/
Speaking of disbelief ...
Some of you may be satisfied that Lucas admits Ep1 was a disappointment.

You're the new nazis.
#18 by jjohnsen
2002-04-24 15:52:07
http://www.johnsenclan.com
Wow did it only take him three years to realize that?

Warez is naughty, saving your game is a personal choice and the coffee was just too damn hot.
#19 by jjohnsen
2002-04-24 16:00:35
http://www.johnsenclan.com
I've read a few  early  reviews that all say this next one is much better than Episode 1

Warez is naughty, saving your game is a personal choice and the coffee was just too damn hot.
#20 by Leslie Nassar
2002-04-24 16:03:07
http://departmentofinternets.com
Does that mean I have to dislike Episode 1 now?  I must become one with the hivemind.

i like monkeys.  are you a monkey?
#21 by Leslie Nassar
2002-04-24 16:04:36
http://departmentofinternets.com
FWIW, the guy at AICN rained praises down on Episode 1 as well.

i like monkeys.  are you a monkey?
#22 by LPMiller
2002-04-24 16:18:32
lpmiller@gotapex.com http://www.gotapex.com
AICN would praise cow shit if it was produced by Lucas.

Will warez for food.
#23 by Matthew Gallant
2002-04-24 16:21:48
http://www.truemeaningoflife.com
Incidentally, any hardcore quakers know how long previous idgames have taken and have any educated guesses as to an approximate ETA for NewDoom?  When talking about upcoming dream games Doom is suspiciously never mentioned.


I had made a guess a while back here on PC. I don't remember exactly what I guessed. I think I guessed d3test would be out in a little while (maybe even out by now), and the full game in time for Christmas. I don't know. I guessed based on the release dates of major engine revisions since Doom 1; the time in between has grown slightly longer each time. I tacked a bit of time onto how long it was between Q2 and Q3, and came up with "real soon now".

This year's SIGGRAPH is late July, and John Carmack loves SIGGRAPH. I couldn't guess what effect that would have, but I just thought I'd throw that out there. What I do know is that historically the *test.exe's have come out of fucking nowhere, like a gorilla.

Marketing is a crutch for mediocrity and a handicap to excellence.
#24 by Greg
2002-04-24 16:37:32
I like Deus Ex. But I do not think it is the Best. Game. Ever. Made. Even if it was, should it ruin the enjoyment you get from other games? No.

Greg

-Swallow it all and be glad, for a shilling I've paid and a shilling's worth I'll be having!
#25 by jjohnsen
2002-04-24 16:38:12
http://www.johnsenclan.com
Does that mean I have to dislike Episode 1 now?  I must become one with the hivemind.


I don't know a lot of people that hated episode 1, but i was a little disappointed.


FWIW, the guy at AICN rained praises down on Episode 1 as well.


He liked it, but thought it failed in some areas, in his review he says Episode II will make you appreciate Episode I a lot more.  shrug, I just post the reviews, I haven't seen it.

  
 
AICN would praise cow shit if it was produced by Lucas.
  Some of their reviewers like moriety, I usually agree with.  Harry, the main reviewer is a little too geeky for me, but has good reviews sometime.  All I'm saying is those thre reviews give me a little hope that Episode II will be a little more like my favorite, Empire Strikes Back.

Warez is naughty, saving your game is a personal choice and the coffee was just too damn hot.
#26 by Warren Marshall
2002-04-24 16:40:56
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
Erik
You're kidding, right?  I will say that I was in utter disbelief that I couldn't suspend Max Payne's awful cutscenes with the escape key.  Why, why, why, why, why would you include cutscenes - a lot of cutscenes, in fact - and not give the player the ability to skip them?

Did you not see the gigantic button at the bottom of the screen?  The one that was in the center?  The one that did everything but flash?  Yeah, that skipped the cut scene.

Leslie
Does that mean I have to dislike Episode 1 now?  I must become one with the hivemind.

Oh God, don't admit to liking Ep1 ... just back away.  Trust me, this is the wrong place to go there.



As for the topic ...

The game that has wrapped me up the tightest in suspension of disbelief is Thief2.  I was totally immersed in that game.  No game has ever done so that effectively.  The constant state of fear crept over into real life as well.  It was great.

WoT?
#27 by Post-It
2002-04-24 16:42:34
keithlee@speakeasy.net
^
I think id does the right thing with just release their tests out of nowhere. IT gives it a more of an "underground" feeling than lots of press announcements and "Test coming soon" on all the big websites. I wouldn't be suprised if I was browsing the crap in the next 3-4 months and came upon a post with someone saying "D3Test is out grab it here!!!" It makes people feel much more like they are privy to something special, and no like every 133t d00d out there who is major kewl because they know about shacknews (no offense Steve).

Florida is the New Nazi FuckMonkeys.
-LPMiller (warzed quote, used without permission)
#28 by Warren Marshall
2002-04-24 16:43:35
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
In response to my typos and mistakes in #26, I"M POSTING DRINK!!!!111!

WoT?
#29 by Funkdrunk
2002-04-24 16:43:46
jflavius@bellatlantic.net
Warren

.  No game has ever done so that effectively.  The constant state of fear crept over into real life as well.  It was great.


Warren, do you think some of that was a function of the strengths of the Dark Engine, or do you believe that same mood was totally the result of superior level design and pacing?  Or a combination thereof?

Funk.
#30 by Duality
2002-04-24 16:48:05
Dualipuff@yahoo.com http://stratoscape.ath.cx/
So does that mean you sneak around armed with a club-like device ready to clobber people over the back of the head with it?

Or was that not in Thief2?

I read all of the spoilers for EpII on Corona's and it just made me that much more excited for the film.  I can't wait.

You're the new nazis.
#31 by jjz
2002-04-24 16:56:02
It was a fun kids movie.  Just like the other 3.
#32 by Charles
2002-04-24 17:06:36
www.bluh.org
I've purchased Thief, and I'm looking for a bargain copy of Thief 2.  Plan on playing them at some point.  (Though my backlog of games keeps getting bigger and bigger... which has been happening for the 3 years I've been in the industry.  I think I'm going to just quit playing new games as they come out.  Will allow me to slowly work my way through my existing pile)

The topic wasn't so much about the games I mentioned specifically, it was more about what you think goes in to the suspension of disbelief.

For me, the really core things happen to be sound and music.  Followed closely by gameplay and story.  I find that bad sound or music can completely kill a game for me.  Bad gameplay and story of course, are just as important, as they make the game fun to begin with.  But sound and music are what really raise the game's ability to capture me.  Anyone played the Silent Hill games?  Those are a good example as well.

Bailey:  Beep beep, motherfucker.
#33 by Warren Marshall
2002-04-24 17:14:01
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
funkdrunk
Warren, do you think some of that was a function of the strengths of the Dark Engine, or do you believe that same mood was totally the result of superior level design and pacing?  Or a combination thereof?

Well, IMO, it was a result of the design which was facilitated by the engine.  For example, being quiet was the goal and to enforce that, the engine had advanced features when it came to sound ... guards would hear you, react to that sound, etc.

WoT?
#34 by "Battle-Dwarf"
2002-04-24 17:14:17
Quote:
[It was a fun kids movie.  Just like the other 3.]


Youssa point es...well sed!



The Male Battle-D
#35 by Warren Marshall
2002-04-24 17:16:11
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
Nova
Anyone played the Silent Hill games?  Those are a good example as well.

Good call ... Silent Hill 2 immersed me as well.  But since it's on a console, it has a hard road ahead of it because of the controller.  Every time I want to turn around, I'm reminded I'm playing a game.

WoT?
#36 by Duality
2002-04-24 17:18:55
Dualipuff@yahoo.com http://stratoscape.ath.cx/
Well as I said about DX, it was the atmosphere, the level design that really took me into the game.  The same could be said about any other game that provided the same feelings.  Like you, however; there are few, few games that actually do that.

MP did to a lesser degree.  Though it seems wierd, I can get some of the feeling with SoF2 Infil.  Probably the first FPS since Quake to actually have me lurching forward in anticipating the enemy coming from that next corner.  I suppose it does it as well as any game of the type could.

You're the new nazis.
#37 by Matthew Gallant
2002-04-24 17:25:03
http://www.truemeaningoflife.com
Did you not see the gigantic button at the bottom of the screen?  The one that was in the center?  The one that did everything but flash?  Yeah, that skipped the cut scene.


That's great and all, but using the ESC to skip and SPACE to advance to the next scene is the convention. It's important. You don't map the ENTER key by default to make the character jump, and you don't alter the ESC key. Spitting into the wind and messing around with Jim are right out.

Sony has standards for what the different buttons on a PlayStation controller traditionally do, and they will even reject games based on it.

Marketing is a crutch for mediocrity and a handicap to excellence.
#38 by Hugin
2002-04-24 17:31:30
lmccain@nber.org
Sony's standards for what the controller buttons do aren't all that stringent, aside from X for enter and O for escape, and even those aren't universal.  At the end of the day, Erik's complaint was that you couldn't skip the scenes, yet you clearly could.
#39 by jafd
2002-04-24 17:35:58
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1000033180
Immersion comes as a result of the player... not the game.

Some people can immerse themselves in crap and be perfectly content. Others get all niggly-piggly at the slightest sign of whatever sign it is that twitches their itch.

Having said that... if a game has a "rich" backstory, immersion is more possible than not. For instance, in Max Payne, I felt zero immersion; I played it solely because I wanted to form an opinion of the engine and the gameplay, that's it. The story was so utterly shallow (not a slam, as I think the whole point of the game's development was style-over-substance) that I never, ever for a moment, did not realize that I was tromping through a game/tunnel.

Deus Ex, since you brought it up, had an asston of immersion; not just in the experience of the game character, but, the experience of playing the game itself. It wasn't so much that I forgot I was playing a game, but that for a few days, my life became the playing of the game. For the parts of the day that I was able to play, naturally.

And even then, I'd often consider how I was going to play the game when I was able to carve out more time for it. Should I replay that last level? Should I push on? What should I do with that AugCan that I just picked up? (I usually saved a session and quit playing right before installing a new ability, leaving me with a pleasant problem to gnaw upon in the meantime.)

For a game to be immersive, it must provide fertile ground for the player's imagination to take hold; games are not immersive, people become immersed in the experience of playing games.

Games may well be "immersible," I suppose, but the flip side of that is that one can end up with a game that is deemed too complicated, too confusing, too hard to figure out, according to the hoi polloi. Too much fertile ground just smells like shit to one unfamiliar with the territory of the imagination.

You just don't like being told what to do. Admit it.
#40 by Foodbunny
2002-04-24 17:37:43
foodbunny@attbi.com http://www.foodbunny.com
Pretty much anything in a first person perspective ruins my suspension of disbelief.  Mainly because those type of games only allow you to interact with the enviroment by killing people, jumping on crates, and flushing toilets.  Maybe you can beat up a soda machine and make cans come out.  But I haven't played Deus Ex.

I'm just more of an RPG or adventure game person, I guess.  Played ICO with Matthew last week and I thought it was great.

They're cute, they're cuddly and jam shoots out their heads.  I want 'em all!
#41 by Sgt Hulka
2002-04-24 17:46:55
Star Wars is nothing more than a big budget advertisment for crappy toys.

.....I see dumb people.
#42 by Warren Marshall
2002-04-24 17:47:15
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
Matthew
That's great and all, but using the ESC to skip and SPACE to advance to the next scene is the convention. It's important. You don't map the ENTER key by default to make the character jump, and you don't alter the ESC key. Spitting into the wind and messing around with Jim are right out.

I would tend to agree with you, if there wasn't a button on the screen that you could click.  If it was some obscure key combination that you had to hit, I would blame the developers.  But in this case, it's clearly user error.

WoT?
#43 by jjohnsen
2002-04-24 17:50:45
http://www.johnsenclan.com
Star Wars is nothing more than a big budget advertisment for crappy toys.


I put my star wars and transformers toys away when I turned 10 years old, but I'm willing to bet most of us here play with crappy toys.  What do you think the majority of video games are?

Warez is naughty, saving your game is a personal choice and the coffee was just too damn hot.
#44 by "hoodoo"
2002-04-24 17:53:30
If it's user error, it was due to the interface not being designed well. I never figured out how to skip those awful cutscenes either.
#45 by Matthew Gallant
2002-04-24 17:54:22
http://www.truemeaningoflife.com
At the end of the day, Erik's complaint was that you couldn't skip the scenes, yet you clearly could.


That is correct. He also said other than that it was a really good game. He must be switching medications or something.

Marketing is a crutch for mediocrity and a handicap to excellence.
#46 by Duality
2002-04-24 17:57:00
Dualipuff@yahoo.com http://stratoscape.ath.cx/
I seem to recall the game clearly stating, at one point, how to skip the cutscenes.

Or maybe I just know that pushing a button on the screen beneath them will do something.  Call me crazy.

None of my toys are crappy.  I pay top friggin' dollar for them!  Okay, there was that one Banpresto toy that I bought for $25 that didn't actually do anything.  But generally, all my toys rule!

You're the new nazis.
#47 by Bailey
2002-04-24 17:59:05
Warren

The game that has wrapped me up the tightest in suspension of disbelief is Thief2.  I was totally immersed in that game.  No game has ever done so that effectively.  The constant state of fear crept over into real life as well.  It was great.

The scariest thing in Thief 2 was the whole game falling into a tedious puzzle runner on the final level after so much great gameplay preceding it. Damn shame how that turned out.

Vigilantly deleting my history folder.
#48 by "Erik"
2002-04-24 17:59:38
Did you not see the gigantic button at the bottom of the screen?  The one that was in the center?  The one that did everything but flash?  Yeah, that skipped the cut scene.


I was unclear in my wording.  I'm not referring to the frequent, awful comic book panel cutscenes, but the frequent, awful in-game cutscenes.  The first one alone is over a minute long and fully ESC resistant. It's followed by a skippable out-of-game scene which leads to a twenty second load which segues directly into a ten second unskippable in-game cutscene.
#49 by m0nty
2002-04-24 18:09:48
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
I agree with Foodbunny, crates destroy my suspension of disbelief. I mean, how many crates do you see in normal life? I now associate crates with computer games, almost wholly. That's one industry convention that is sorely in need of revision.
#50 by Sgt Hulka
2002-04-24 18:20:37
m0nty, I hate to be the one to inform you of this, but I'm afraid you suffer from Crateophobia.  You CRATAPHOBIC!  

/me points finger at m0nty and shrieks like Donald Sutherland did at the end of Body Snatchers

.....I see dumb people.
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