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SWG: Attack Of The Continuity Errors
May 18th 2002, 23:38 CEST by m0nty

A piece in the June issue of Wired on Star Wars Galaxies, the upcoming MMORPG from LucasArts and Verant, makes some interesting points about the great lengths to which all of the assorted merchandisers and licensors of original material have to go in order to remain true to the Star Wars canon, and how this may make playing SWG a bit less enjoyable than might otherwise be hoped.

For instance, the Galaxies team struggled with how to bring characters back after they have been killed. One obvious solution was cloning: Players could go to a facility and create a replica of their character. When they died, their characters would be released from a cloning vat and go back to adventuring.

The problem with the above (on the second page of the story) is that at the time that SWG is set, cloning is not only illegal, it's very rare to find anybody who actually knows how to do it - which makes one wonder how ten of thousands of PCs will be able to use it willy-nilly. The justification for the decision to go with cloning as the respawning mechanism, along with much more supporting information, is contained in an official board post by LucasArts producer Haden Blackman, along with a follow-up post too. One of the more jarring aspects is the concept of equipment insurance, which conjures disturbing visions of Tuskan actuaries and Gungan insurance salesmen, and there are many other continuity problems like this within the game design of SWG.

Opinion is divided amongst potential users, as can be seen from the thread, with some fanbois going as far as quoting precedent from SW novels to support their positions. If this is what discussion in-game will be like, SWG may get a bigger reputation for being a haven for role-playing nazis than Underlight. Then again, this may be what the game designers are aiming for, as the Wired article points out:

The game's success depends on players' willingness to invest themselves (financially and emotionally) in their characters. They have to become citizens of this world if it is going to thrive. Players are as much a constituency as an audience. They, as much as the artists and programmers, will be the creators of this experience.

How can a MMORPG in the Star Wars universe work in practice when you have fanbois, newbies, l337 d00dz and script kiddies all mingling in the same milieu? Will the game "feel" like Star Wars, or will compromises such as the cloning feature make it into something alien to the traditional environment? Should MMORPGs be based on licenses at all, or do they only work as an original concept? Should we just forget about the inconsistencies and plot loopholes, and just enjoy SWG as an extension of the playful space opera it was always meant to be?
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Home » Topic: SWG: Attack Of The Continuity Errors

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#1 by Frijoles
2002-05-18 23:41:40
Screw SWG.. AC2 all the way.
#2 by Leslie Nassar
2002-05-18 23:44:06
http://departmentofinternets.com
Fuck continuity.  Next thing you know these guys will want their characters' exploits to become part of the Expanded Universe.

i like monkeys.  are you a monkey?
#3 by Stralutia
2002-05-18 23:51:39
stralutia@hotmail.com None
I think that Star Wars as a MMORPG is a bad idea, period.  Continuity would be one of the reasons why I say that, and yes it is a fairly big issue.  If George Lucas is unable to maintain continuity in a setting he has created himself, how will a team of people trying to take that vision (which lacks continuity initially), and turn it into a gameworld that makes "sense" (I use sense loosely here, as it is a sci-fi setting) be able to do so?  I don't think its possible.  

To be perfectly honest, I'm not looking forward to SWG.  How many people want to be "just another average Joe" in the Star Wars universe?  Can I see a show of hands?  I'm sure initially the rush of being "in" Star Wars will wear off, and all you will have left is a bunch of 0bi_Wan9382s running around.  

-Stralutia
#4 by Darkseid-D
2002-05-19 00:08:40
rogerboal@hotmail.com
huh ?


oh right, since you can quite easily design around this...


what? oh ? specifics?

you dont die, you merely fall unconcious and `awaken` in a medical facility someplace, or by your ship (your astromech dragged you there)and the `penalty` is docked from your skill percentages, much like being shoved in jail in morrowind.

Ds

Never argue with an idiot, theyll drag you down onto their level, then beat you with experience.
#5 by sepultufart
2002-05-19 00:34:21
sepultufart@yahoo.com http://www.mp3.com/sepultufart/
If you could build an army of droids that obey your every whim, take over the whole universe and then torture all the winy players, ruin their game-play, impose outrageous taxes for as long as you could! I'm all for it!

But I just know these places don't want you to "win" the game, they want you to log in over & over... So I'll never bother...
#6 by yotsuya
2002-05-19 00:35:27
Fuck continuity.  Next thing you know these guys will want their characters' exploits to become part of the Expanded Universe.


HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA.

How many people want to be "just another average Joe" in the Star Wars universe?  Can I see a show of hands?


*raises hand*

If I'm going to pay $10-$20 a month for a game, let it be in a Universe I can enjoy. I'd rather do Sci-Fi than argue if arrows kill red dragons. I don't play MMORPGs, but I might play this one.

Arizona Diamondbacks 2001 World Series Champions
"It's all about positioning! So assume the position!" JMCDaveL
#7 by Stralutia
2002-05-19 01:12:00
stralutia@hotmail.com None
*raises hand*


I count one.  Any more takers?  

My point simply was that from my experiances with MMORPGs, and the people who play them, there are generally a few reasons why people pick them up initially.  A large part of it is simple escapism.  Most of the people who want to play these games don't play them to be "average".  These games are built around the idea of "progress", or some form of "levelling up".  This allows for the person playing to see his (or her) character become more and more powerful as time progresses, to a point where the character is far more powerful than he would ever be in his real life, where he eats, sleeps, goes to work, and repeats.

I am of the opinion that a lot of the people who will be buying the game to be (insert "cool" star wars character here).  That's the problem with creating an online universe from a pre-existing template.  People have their expectations, and the game-buying majority will want to be like the characters that they thought were cool in the movies; characters like Boba Fett, Obi-Wan, Darth Maul, etc.  But the reason why these characters were so cool in the movies was because nobody else was like them.  They were unique.  That was a part of their appeal.  They each offered something different.  I feel that a MMORPG's lasting appeal is based on the in-game player character interactions.  If many of the people playing the game were to play as though they were the aforementioned characters, wouldn't the game become repetitive very, very quickly....

....Oh wait, I nearly forgot.  This is a MMORPG.  How could it get boring and repititious?

-Stralutia
#8 by George Broussard
2002-05-19 01:21:04
georgeb@3drealms.com
How many people want to be "just another average Joe" in the Star Wars universe?  Can I see a show of hands?


*raises hand*
#9 by LPMiller
2002-05-19 01:41:24
lpmiller@gotapex.com http://www.gotapex.com
lame.

I believe I can fly......urk.
#10 by Bailey
2002-05-19 01:59:23
As I believe it's skill-based, rather than level-based, there might be less tedium. It's not a game I'm interested in much, but I have to give Verant a nod for taking a step in the right direction. I'll wait and see if they can pull it off.

Life without shame.
#11 by Bailey
2002-05-19 02:07:51
And as long as we're talking GIPs, the public beta on Project Entropia starts May 20th. So if you've never bothered to check out one of these bloated monstrosities, now's your chance. As for the game itself, it's an Anarchy Online clone that was funded with nazi gold via the Swiss govt, and you can exchange real world money for game items, or vice versa. Korean guilds, start your hackers! (kekeke~la)

Oh yeah, and it still looks as undeveloped as it did a year ago. But they've got light sabers! You kids like light sabers, right?!

Life without shame.
#12 by Darkseid-D
2002-05-19 04:15:40
rogerboal@hotmail.com
no yuo!

they have laser swords, since Lightsaber is a copyrighted term :)


oh and Im already signed up for the beta test *grins*, I boggled at last years footage, with the xwings n star destroyers and planet hopping (and t16 skyhoppers and in-334 landspeeders, and r2 units and 3pos...)

Now if you had an MMPOG game looking as good as Morrowind can...

oh wait .. thats the new Dark Ages of Camelot engine...



Ds

Never argue with an idiot, theyll drag you down onto their level, then beat you with experience.
#13 by rizzuh
2002-05-19 05:01:19
rze@counter-strike.net http://csnation.counter-strike.net/
Most of the people who are (heavily) interested in this game are Star Wars fan[atic]s. For that reason, it is important to the developers to maintain continuity.

Your weekend starts here!
#14 by rizzuh
2002-05-19 05:07:39
rze@counter-strike.net http://csnation.counter-strike.net/
Okay, I'm not dumb enough to leave a simply statement with no logical though. I'm just dumb enough to hit Post instead of Preview.

Anyway, Ds shows that not only is he the font of sarcasm, but that it is very difficult to maintain stats without some sort of logical explanation. Cloning, also the respawn method of PlanetSide, seems to be favored in the combat genre of massively multiplayer games. There doesn't seem to be a good alternative.

Some times in combat games you have to flat out die, so a hospice wouldn't be that useful. Some sort of life-giver-backer wouldn't just fix your wounds magically (I mean these are games, they have to follow rules like this!!!!). Simply switching to another body wouldn't explain why your abilities would be the same.

Cloning, however, is the easiest to rationalized. It's the best cliche of the future.

Your weekend starts here!
#15 by Greg
2002-05-19 05:28:51
I know its not a MMORPG, but I like the way Bioware and Lucasarts are handling Knights of the Old Republic. As per the name, the game takes place 1000 years or so before the typical SW universe. That way they don't have to really worry about continuity errors.

-RAWWWWWRRRRRR!!! Quit cramping my style, bitch! RAAAAAWWWRRRR!!!
#16 by Matt Perkins
2002-05-19 05:38:12
wizardque@yahoo.com http://whatwouldmattdo.com/
I say fuck continuity.  If the game is fun and in stars wars universe as much as possible, who cares?  Would you want the developers to sacrifice gameplay so the game world could be exact?  No.

On the other side...  it's Verant, I have no hope for this game.  :(

LPMiller - "Really, I'm just a get along kinda a guy, all about the love."
#17 by Bailey
2002-05-19 05:44:57
The thing to keep in mind wiz, that if anything is going to make this work: A) a lot of the old guard Verant folk have left or been ushered off the lot, B) LucasArts is riding Verant all the way to retail. Obviously, LucasArts is no guarantee of quality, but it does imply that there'll be a second opinion in most issues. Perhaps enough to avoid the Verantisms of the past. Or maybe worse, can't say.

Not that I really have any hope for the game, but devil's advocate is a momentary diversion.

Life without shame.
#18 by LPMiller
2002-05-19 05:47:42
lpmiller@gotapex.com http://www.gotapex.com
Most of the people who are (heavily) interested in this game are Star Wars fan[atic]s


Which is why it is one MMORPG I will never, ever play. It exceeds my geek tolerance.

I believe I can fly......urk.
#19 by Matthew Gallant
2002-05-19 06:03:46
http://www.truemeaningoflife.com
It exceeds my geek tolerance.


But you've got to admit, overclocking and benchmarking all those videocards gives you elevated levels to begin with.  You could exceed your geek tolerance just by glancing at the cover of a college mathematics book.

Marketing is a crutch for mediocrity and a handicap to excellence.
#20 by Charles
2002-05-19 06:04:26
www.bluh.org
Well, the whole fanatic thing might work in SWGs favor...  they are more likely to roleplay.

Bailey:  Beep beep, motherfucker.
#21 by Matthew Gallant
2002-05-19 06:06:22
http://www.truemeaningoflife.com
they are more likely to roleplay.


Yes! When they are about to die, they'll say, "What a drag!"

Marketing is a crutch for mediocrity and a handicap to excellence.
#22 by JMCDaveL
2002-05-19 06:38:31
Raph Kosters working on it, apparently he's learned about overreaching what he can possibly do this time around, so sounds good.

And jesus christ the game is beautiful looking, watch the 23 minute movie.

--jmc
ICQ-121684 AIM-jmcdavel U=FAG0T
#23 by Sgt Hulka
2002-05-19 07:11:30
Is there a hierarchy in geekdom?  Why yes Virginia, I think there is.

I don't know all levels, but there are many.

I know Star Wars geek is a plateau I've yet to attain.  I came close once, back in 1980, but my hopes came crashing down in 1983 due to some dancing Ewoks.

....Don't be Left with the chimps. Evolve with us...
#24 by Greg
2002-05-19 07:26:09
Sample SWG conversation:

<JEDIWANNABE431>dude, need dir to mos faloot
<SpaceGuy12>huh?
<LEIA99191024>hlp plz kill bntha!
<SpaceGuy12>huh?
<SpaceGuy12>look at the grass!
<JEDIWANNABE431>oh no real jedi!
LEIA99191024 has been killed by PKJEDI666
SpaceGuy12 has been killed by PKJEDI666
JEDIWANNABE431 has been killed by PKJEDI666
<JEDIWANNABE431>[Ghost]why cant i be jedi?
<SpaceGuy12>[Ghost]i heard you have to pay 50 bucks a month
<JEDIWANNABE431>[Ghost]this sucks
JEDIWANNABE431 has left the area

-RAWWWWWRRRRRR!!! Quit cramping my style, bitch! RAAAAAWWWRRRR!!!
#25 by yotsuya
2002-05-19 07:30:17
Stralutia,

You bring up some good points, but I would venture to say that most Star Wars fans DON'T want to play the cool character. Rather, they want to be able to meet and interact with them. Again, I have never played MMORPGs, but being a bouty hunter in the Star Wars universe has some appeal for me. I DON'T have to be Boba Fett to enjoy it. What I want to be able to do is go to a bar in Cloud City and have Lando offer me a cool, smooth Colt .45. That's what I want.

Arizona Diamondbacks 2001 World Series Champions
"It's all about positioning! So assume the position!" JMCDaveL
#26 by Bailey
2002-05-19 07:44:03
JMCDaveL

And jesus christ the game is beautiful looking, watch the 23 minute movie.

What, the one with the yammering fucktard with the jiggle-cam wanking it all over the demo booth? I could only watch that with the sound turned off, and even then I got bored and started skipping ahead looking for interesting parts.

Life without shame.
#27 by Slappy
2002-05-19 07:46:56
Ah yes, purified in the crucible of too damn many decision makers, we can be sure that Star Wars Galaxies will have a bare minimum of originality outside of the tried and trusted lightsaber combined with the original John Williams score.

I raise my hand to toast the cowering developers living in daily fear of alienating the billions of raving star wars fanatics with an errant feature, while appeasing the tremendous ego of the Lucas juggernaut.

"Yes master Yoda. You have great imagination... much greater than ours. We vow to not use imagination without your guidance as that is the path to the dark side...."
#28 by jafd
2002-05-19 12:14:04
I count one.  Any more takers?

I am already counting my money!!!

jafd, inc. -- "You build it, we break it."

Who's at the center of the wheel; the inventor of the wheel, or another spinning servant?
#29 by "Anonymous"
2002-05-19 15:04:32
TEMPORARY THREAD HI-JACK


Looks like a certain company has decided to once again pull on its green jackboots and do some damage.
#30 by "Anonymous"
2002-05-19 15:06:56
Lets try that again
#31 by m0nty
2002-05-19 15:12:19
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
Mr Anon, please wait until the topic is voted upon. PlanetCrap will still be here if/when your topic gets enough votes.
#32 by Leslie Nassar
2002-05-19 15:14:16
http://departmentofinternets.com
What's the matter, the topic spending too long in the bin?  Perhaps nobody gives a shit?

i like monkeys.  are you a monkey?
#33 by jafd
2002-05-19 15:17:30
Perhaps???

"Gamespy rules with an iron fist!!!" Oh, really? Meanwhile, sky is blue and poo smells funny.

Who's at the center of the wheel; the inventor of the wheel, or another spinning servant?
#34 by jjohnsen
2002-05-19 15:18:15
http://www.johnsenclan.com
Maybe Rodzilla got sick of waiting, and went anon to get a discussion going.

jjohnsen's Mighty Mormon M203 O' Murderin'
#35 by m0nty
2002-05-19 15:20:45
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
Back on-topic, I forgot to mention that the beta for Star Wars Galaxies is now accepting applications. However, it is a requirement to be a member of the SWG Fan Club, thus branding you as an Officially Indoctrinated Star Wars Fanboi, which is a worry.
#36 by Leslie Nassar
2002-05-19 15:22:55
http://departmentofinternets.com
Yoda can spam me whenever he wants.

i like monkeys.  are you a monkey?
#37 by Dis
2002-05-19 15:37:37
rcn.p@virgin.net
I wonder if there are really enough star wars geeks in the world to role play this to the levels some people seem to aspire to. Is is it possible that SWG will be heavily policed by continuity nazis? A bit of a scary thought really - hundreds or perhaps thousands of people telling everyone else how to play the game. Sound enjoyable? I think not.
#38 by "Anonymous"
2002-05-19 16:42:11
I would venture to say that most Star Wars fans DON'T want to play the cool character


Yes, this very well may be true.  I suppose only time will tell.  It seems that most of the Star Wars fans here don't want to play the cool character.  However, as we all know, PC does not represent the entire game buying community by a long shot.  Regardless of whether or not people intentionally attempt to "be" their favorite character or not, everyone who will play the game will have at least seen some of the movies, and their actions in game will be shaped by their preconceived notions of what a Jedi is supposed to be, or how a Wookie is supposed to act.  

One could always argue that the same goes for any MMORPG in a familiar setting, an example being the fantasy world of Everquest.  People do have preconceived notions of what a Warrior should be like, or how an Elf should act.  However, these notions are based upon a wide range of works.  So although the player is given a template or has some idea of how his character "should" be, he is not placed into such a rigid paradigm from the start.  The preconceived notions a player has when he enters a medieval fantasy setting are based on a plethora of books, movies, television, and fairy tales, to name a few.  The average SWG player only has five movies to draw upon, and a handful of books, which most people have not been exposed to.  A person attempting to create a character in such a situation that "fits" with the setting of the game may be out of luck, unfortunately, because regardless of whether or not they wanted to be that "cool" character they saw in the movies, their actions are limited by their narrow frame of reference that the "cool" characters provided, seeing as how they were the focus of the movies.

I am aware that I am being very general, but seeing as how none of us have played the game (I think) yet, we are unable to say what people will do in certain situations.  I just tend to think that this is one very likely scenerio that could occur.  Regardless of whether players want to "be" Obi-Wan or not, if they choose Jedi as a class, they will end up acting like Obi-Wan simply because he is one of the few character inspirations they have to draw on.

Or everyone will simply powerlevel to sixty in an attempt to get their "phat lewtz".

-Stralutia

P.S. yotsuya: I would buy the game just to be able to go down a smooth Colt .45 with Lando.  I laughed so hard when I read that my side hurt.
#39 by Stralutia
2002-05-19 16:43:53
stralutia@hotmail.com None
*thinks how signing in first would be a good idea next time*

*smacks forehead*

-Stralutia
#40 by m0nty
2002-05-19 17:25:13
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
Regardless of whether players want to "be" Obi-Wan or not, if they choose Jedi as a class


Not everyone gets to be a Jedi, Stralutia, and it's not available as a class. That is already another sore point.
#41 by "Anonymous"
2002-05-19 17:28:37
DryHump@evilemail.com
Im the one who posted the SS forum link

Sorry guys, I wasn't aware it was in line to be voted on. I had gotten an auto-email from the SS forums because it was being moved. After I saw what was going on I emailed it to a few news sites. Im not a regular here but I thought it would be of interest is all.

Sorry for any ettiqutte rules Ive broken.

TJ "Hump" Landry
DryHump@evilemail.com
#42 by m0nty
2002-05-19 17:33:47
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
This explains the current official line on the Jedi character thing. One aspect which players may not like is that lightsabres are supposed to be relatively rare. I'm sure the good ol' boys at BlackSnow Interactive are licking their lips at the prospect of being able to offer double-ended lightsabres in a glittering array of hues to the discerning (and colour-coordinating) gamer.
#43 by LPMiller
2002-05-19 17:34:14
lpmiller@gotapex.com http://www.gotapex.com
Matt in 19
But you've got to admit, overclocking and benchmarking all those videocards gives you elevated levels to begin with.  You could exceed your geek tolerance just by glancing at the cover of a college mathematics book.


True, and I do worry about going into seizure when I'm driving too near the University.

I believe I can fly......urk.
#44 by m0nty
2002-05-19 17:36:11
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
/me extends the hand of friendship to "Hump".
#45 by Matthew Gallant
2002-05-19 17:39:41
http://www.truemeaningoflife.com
You're not humping my hand of friendship, beardo.

Marketing is a crutch for mediocrity and a handicap to excellence.
#46 by m0nty
2002-05-19 17:41:05
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
/me extends the colostomy bag of disdain to Rip Torn.
#47 by jafd
2002-05-19 18:20:13
Sorry for any ettiqutte rules Ive broken.

Your apology may be accepted. What you need to do, is to:

a) register,
b) choose a clever pseudonym, icon, and .sig,
c) continue to be polite and erudite. Or, at least, make an honest attempt.
d) patrol the Bin as though it were a political party that needed your kind nurturing.

Do all that, and you're golden. Fail to do so, and it's to the pigs that ye'll be thrown.

Who's at the center of the wheel; the inventor of the wheel, or another spinning servant?
#48 by Warren Marshall
2002-05-19 18:28:42
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
Leslie
Yoda can spam me whenever he wants.

Spam you mercilessly, he will.  Add 3 inches to your penis, he can.

WoT?
#49 by Bailey
2002-05-19 19:47:57
Caution: The extra three inches will be green.

Life without shame.
#50 by Bailey
2002-05-19 19:52:19
m0nty

Hrm, well, if I was going to be playing that game, I figure I'd say "hell with it" and do whatever it takes to become a jedi. Problem is, I'm only a casual fan. Every last fanboy out there frothing at the mouth for this game is going to be taking the same approach.

If nothing else, it'll be interesting to see if Verant's learned that any system they build, the players can destroy.

Life without shame.
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