Random encounters considered harmful

Tai_MT

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
May 1, 2013
Messages
5,452
Reaction score
4,771
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
FFVI and IX had terrible battle systems? The only negative I can think of for IX is that they dragged on a little too long sometimes. VI's battle system was probably the most intuitive of all the Final Fantasies, especially for its time. Each character had different ways to attack and different strategies, and random encounters usually ended pretty quickly, probably the fastest battles of the entire series. This isn't a nostalgia post either, I didn't play FFVI until last year.
Honestly, at this point, I'm just beginning to think Sailerius is just trolling...

We're already massively off-topic at this point.
 

Travatar

Summoned by candle, by book, and by bell.
Veteran
Joined
Sep 2, 2012
Messages
435
Reaction score
38
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
To get back on the subject at hand-- yes, random and touch have their disadvantages. But many people seem to make the argument that touch encounters are "less believable" because the enemy sprite doesn't match up, or the enemy doesn't chase them in what they feel is a realistic fashion, or that the encounter is forced, etc.


Uhm. Hello? Invisible monsters that just sort of sneak up on you? (even when they're giants, robots, dragons, or giant robot dragons) Having to go to a separate, static battle screen? Fighting monsters by pointing at words on the screen? Sorry, but if believability is a purported downside for touch encounters, I have to ask if we've been paying attention to the RPG genre at all.


And as for "forced touch encounters," tell me, other than games like Wild Arms and Exit Fate, how many random encounter games give you a choice when the God of Random Numbers comes a-calling? Do we need to make sacrifices to His Randomness? (I call him Modnar). If so, I've got a whole treefull of squirrels and I'm not afraid to use 'em.


I'd like to address some of your points though, Tai. I have to agree that abandoning all battles entirely is throwing the baby out with the grindy, repetitive and unnecessarily monotonous bathwater. I, on the other hand, fall into the "Reduce the battles drastically" camp.

And where did I say it wasn't? Ha ha. Combat is a means to an end for me. It's there because players tend to enjoy feeling strong and powerful by the end of the game.
First off, if you actually accomplish this feeling in an RPG, you'd be one of very few to do so. I get that this is the supposed reason for stats and leveling, but most RPG's--commercial and indie alike--fail when it comes to allowing the player to truly feel how strong they've become. It's a delicate balance, and rather difficult to achieve, but a leveling system is kind of pointless without it. That said, I wish you luck in your endeavor.
By disabling battles just to look around or enjoy the story, you're basically telling me you'd rather be reading a book than playing a video game. If that's the case, why not just read the book? Or watch the movie?
With some very rare exceptions, books and movies are linear narratives. If the only thing that turns a linear narrative into a "game" is a battle system and stat engine, that makes for a mediocre gameplay experience. Sure, a good story and interesting world might be able to redeem it as a multimedia experience (Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Xenogears, etc. are good examples), but as a game, it's barely one at all.
If you're playing D&D, this is a different story. But, as I'm sure most people know... D&D is absolutely nothing like a standard RPG Video Game. It just isn't. There is no comparison. Apples and Oranges here. When you program a specific game with specific events, it is meant to played in the way it is programmed. There's no way to do it differently.
Look, I know the Bioware/Black Isle games (Baldur's Gate, Planescape: Torment, etc.) were not perfect analogues for D&D-style roleplaying. But they're damn close, and many JRPG's and WRPG's could stand to learn a lot from them. Hell, even a lot of Bioware's current lineup could learn a lot from those two.
Yes, there are things you can't do, but when you compare it to the number of games that won't let you cast 98% of your spells outside of battle, the freedom you do have is almost mind-blowing. And there are many different ways to approach just about any sort of quest or encounter in those games. Stealth, lock-picking, blasting with an Entangle/Fireball combo from afar...


But I guess that makes them "not RPG's" according to the some of the posts from others about how stealth and such aren't part of the genre. If only those amateurs at Bioware knew that the true RPG experience is only accomplished by level-grinding in a 5x5 circle waiting for monsters to attack.


...


Anywho, I bring this up, because many of these things can be done in RPG Maker without even having to script. Sure, those games had a dynamic battle system(which would need some serious scripting to be duplicated, mind you) but even without that, there's a ton of stuff to do. That's RPGameplay.

Look at Mass Effect as an example. 99% of all the choices you make in game do not affect ANYTHING except some kind of "final score" at the end of the trilogy which can be buffed purely by spending enough time in the multiplayer. Because of the multitude of choices involved in that kind of "roleplaying", you're being railroaded without KNOWING you're being railroaded.
Maybe it's because I only played the first Mass Effect, but I could have sworn that going Renegade or full Paragon would open or close options in the game for me. I could also choose to kill or not to kill, to extort or not extort, etc. Even when it doesn't affect the ending at all, if it changes the way the game world reacts to you, or allows you to discover more of the game's universe off the beaten path, then mission accomplished. Even if you only have two ways of approaching a problem, it's still more than the vast majority of RPG's allow.
Can an RPG be made that involves zero combat and only a storyline? Yes, it can be done. The problem? These games rarely sell well because these games rarely have any "gameplay" in them.
I agree wholeheartedly. The only problem is, such a game would be seriously hampered even if it had battles, because "forward" should not be the only available direction in either a literal or figurative sense. If that's the case, even with battles, it's just barely a game, and missing out on the potential to be much better by incorporating more diverse gameplay elements.
I certainly don't want to spend $60 on a game that is essentially a 3 hour movie. LotR Trilogy is cheaper than that and much longer! It's the reason I refuse to get "The Walking Dead" and all its episodes. Doesn't feel like a game to me, doesn't feel like anything I do actually matters 'cause there are so many finite endings and much of what you do doesn't matter. Save someone in episode 1, they die in a different episode anyway. I don't want to spend my money or time playing a game that essentially plays itself.
I certainly wouldn't either. But as an adult with limited time on my hands, I'd be loathe to pay the same for a 40-hour turn based RPG that was essentially 37 hours of level grinding as well.
While battles do serve as a distraction, they also serve as filler, with level-grinding unnecessarily padding a 10-20 hour game into a 40-50 hour one. That's 30 hours that many of us have to claw and maneuver and finagle and fight for. Especially if we have family, work or other personal commitments. Then we have to spend that hard-fought time walking in circles because the developer was afraid we'd gorge ourselves on too many of the goodies in their game and wouldn't eat our level-grind-veggies.


Have I done that? Yes. Has it been worth it? Occasionally. But seriously- SCREW. THAT. With a chainsaw.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Tai_MT

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
May 1, 2013
Messages
5,452
Reaction score
4,771
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
To get back on the subject at hand-- yes, random and touch have their disadvantages. But many people seem to make the argument that touch encounters are "less believable" because the enemy sprite doesn't match up, or the enemy doesn't chase them in what they feel is a realistic fashion, or that the encounter is forced, etc.

Uhm. Hello? Invisible monsters that just sort of sneak up on you? (even when they're giants, robots, dragons, or giant robot dragons) Having to go to a separate, static battle screen? Fighting monsters by pointing at words on the screen? Sorry, but if believability is a purported downside for touch encounters, I have to ask if we've been paying attention to the RPG genre at all.

And as for "forced touch encounters," tell me, other than games like Wild Arms and Exit Fate, how many random encounter games give you a choice when the God of Random Numbers comes a-calling? Do we need to make sacrifices to His Randomness? (I call him Modnar). If so, I've got a whole treefull of squirrels and I'm not afraid to use 'em.

I'd like to address some of your points though, Tai. I have to agree that abandoning all battles entirely is throwing the baby out with the grindy, repetitive and unnecessarily monotonous bathwater. I, on the other hand, fall into the "Reduce the battles drastically" camp.

First off, if you actually accomplish this feeling in an RPG, you'd be one of very few to do so. I get that this is the supposed reason for stats and leveling, but most RPG's--commercial and indie alike--fail when it comes to allowing the player to truly feel how strong they've become. It's a delicate balance, and rather difficult to achieve, but a leveling system is kind of pointless without it. That said, I wish you luck in your endeavor.

With some very rare exceptions, books and movies are linear narratives. If the only thing that turns a linear narrative into a "game" is a battle system and stat engine, that makes for a mediocre gameplay experience. Sure, a good story and interesting world might be able to redeem it as a multimedia experience (Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Xenogears, etc. are good examples), but as a game, it's barely one at all.

Look, I know the Bioware/Black Isle games (Baldur's Gate, Planescape: Torment, etc.) were not perfect analogues for D&D-style roleplaying. But they're damn close, and many JRPG's and WRPG's could stand to learn a lot from them. Hell, even a lot of Bioware's current lineup could learn a lot from those two.

Yes, there are things you can't do, but when you compare it to the number of games that won't let you cast 98% of your spells outside of battle, the freedom you do have is almost mind-blowing. And there are many different ways to approach just about any sort of quest or encounter in those games. Stealth, lock-picking, blasting with an Entangle/Fireball combo from afar...

But I guess that makes them "not RPG's" according to the some of the posts from others about how stealth and such aren't part of the genre. If only those amateurs at Bioware knew that the true RPG experience is only accomplished by level-grinding in a 5x5 circle waiting for monsters to attack.

...

Anywho, I bring this up, because many of these things can be done in RPG Maker without even having to script. Sure, those games had a dynamic battle system(which would need some serious scripting to be duplicated, mind you) but even without that, there's a ton of stuff to do. That's RPGameplay.

Maybe it's because I only played the first Mass Effect, but I could have sworn that going Renegade or full Paragon would open or close options in the game for me. I could also choose to kill or not to kill, to extort or not extort, etc. Even when it doesn't affect the ending at all, if it changes the way the game world reacts to you, or allows you to discover more of the game's universe off the beaten path, then mission accomplished. Even if you only have two ways of approaching a problem, it's still more than the vast majority of RPG's allow.

I agree wholeheartedly. The only problem is, such a game would be seriously hampered even if it had battles, because "forward" should not be the only available direction in either a literal or figurative sense. If that's the case, even with battles, it's just barely a game, and missing out on the potential to be much better by incorporating more diverse gameplay elements.

I certainly wouldn't either. But as an adult with limited time on my hands, I'd be loathe to pay the same for a 40-hour turn based RPG that was essentially 37 hours of level grinding as well.

While battles do serve as a distraction, they also serve as filler, with level-grinding unnecessarily padding a 10-20 hour game into a 40-50 hour one. That's 30 hours that many of us have to claw and maneuver and finagle and fight for. Especially if we have family, work or other personal commitments. Then we have to spend that hard-fought time walking in circles because the developer was afraid we'd gorge ourselves on too many of the goodies in their game and wouldn't eat our level-grind-veggies.

Have I done that? Yes. Has it been worth it? Occasionally. But seriously- SCREW. THAT. With a chainsaw.
Let me see if I can address some of this here...  Much of it falls back on arguments I've already made before, but I'll do my best here.  My problem with touch encounters has always been that they're essentially "random encounters" without the "avoidable" aspect of them that is existant in nearly every RPG game with random encounters to date (almost every RPG to date, other than the "touch encounters" has an item or a skill you can equip that nullfies the random encounters altogether).  I am not against a player wanting to avoid SOME battles.  I'm really not.  From time to time, I want to avoid lots of battles as well.  I get tired of the ANNOYING monsters and just want to get past the area (Zubats and Bidoof, I'm freakin' looking at you!).  Again, I'm not against this FROM TIME TO TIME.  I'm against the absolute ripping of battles from a Video Game RPG because I feel that a battle system of SOME SORT (whether that's hitting a slime with a sword or negotiating with a king) needs to exist in there.  A game isn't a game without some form of player input and player challenges to overcome.  The person I was arguing with was basically against ALL of these things.  Their idea of fun was to disable basically all forms of conflict from the Title Screen and just blow through the story in about two hours.  My point was that if that's all you want to do...  Just read a book.  Just watch a movie.  Same exact experience.

I will agree that very often a player will NOT feel strong by the end of the game.  This happens more and more frequently in recent RPGs.  Earlier RPGs did allow you at some point to become literal Gods among men and lay waste to everything except a boss encounter in a single blow.  Sometimes, it even let you waste boss monsters in a single blow.  The typical issue with this becomes that the majority of the battles become BORING at that point.  A proper battle sysem needs to have moments where you feel like a God and moments where you are challenged.  A proper mix makes for a great battle system.  I'll aim high, but no guarantee I'll get there.  We'll see.

All games tend to be linear narratives.  At least Video Games tend to be linear narratives.  Everything you do doesn't really affect anything.  No, not even in Mass Effect.  I played the first game 7 times, doing every single mission from every single perspective.  You know when Quests were locked out to you?  Dependant on your starting build.  Depending on your origins and your history, the other four quests were locked out to you.  The only other examples I can think of is just outright refusing to do a specific quest... which would only lock out that specific quest.  It was even possible to do both Paragon and Renegade quest options if you got 'em both maxed out (there was one quest for each side of the meter that required 75% meter fill to activate the specific quest for each one).  Mass Effect 2 had even LESS lockouts than that.  Mass Effect 3's only lockouts were based purely on whether or not you did any of the DLC from the last game, even that was rare.  Lockouts really didn't exist in any of the games, and the storyline kind of ended up playing out the same regardless...  just perhaps with different characters depending on who got capped through your entire playthrough.  The game didn't even really change how characters reacted to you until the second or third game, and even then, only in response to already completed quests.

As for "not RPGs" or "are RPGs" argument.  An RPG is literally a "roleplaying game".  You play a role.  You step into the shoes of whatever character you are given control of and play out their lives for a short time.  You become someone else entirely.  Stealth has zero to do with it.  Stealth in an RPG?  If it's done well, I'll take it.  An RPG can play well without a battle system of any kind...  The problem is...  The "Battle System", whatever it is, tends to pad out the scenery as well as point out that you don't live in an easy-peasy world and it does have some conflict.  Granted, this battle system can take whatever form seems most interesting (or whatever tends to sell the best, since video games are made for profit most of the time), it generally takes the form of fighting monsters.  Monsters exist in the world as a pervasive threat, not just to the player, but to other NPCs (which most games do NOT emphasize and they should).

I agree about more diverse, or at least UNIQUE gameplay elements.  Do an RPG with no combat system and do it in another way that makes it fun and interesting to play.  I would try it just for the novelty of it.  Whether I kept playing would be dependant on if it was actually FUN or not.  But, that is what it is.

Your main issue seems to be about "grind" in an RPG.  I agree, grind is stupid and silly and need not exist.  Doesn't matter what battle system we're using or discussing, this grind exists in a fair amount of them.  Touch Battles, random encounters, it's all there, in every single one of them.  Few systems do it well or do it right where grind becomes an OPTION.  My own RPG is seeking to mitigate this somewhat.  I want the grind to exist, but be entirely optional in its implementation.  It's why I implemented a system in which levelling up only matters in "unlocking features".  Most of those features include shortcuts through an area or access to party members.  It's why I made doing the Quests (which are basically storyline or NPC related, as well as alignment and choice and blah blah blah) the way you gain skills as well as gain stats.  This basically forces you to go questing and not grind very much (unless one of my quests requires you to kill some enemies and collect an item for someone.  Don't want you avoiding all combat, after all!).

Grind is stupid.  It shouldn't exist.  Doesn't matter what RPG you're in.  Grind should exist as part of optional content.  Grind should be rewarded with MORE than "the ending", if it should exist at all.  However, I don't think removing the content altogether is a smart solution to "get rid of grind".  It's a silly solution to an easy-to-fix problem.
 

Tuomo L

Oldbie
Veteran
Joined
Aug 6, 2012
Messages
2,295
Reaction score
1,275
First Language
Finnish
Primarily Uses
RMMV
The first thing I decided when I started to create stuff to Ace was to tell the random encounters to go suck an egg. The next was to define a battle that wouldn't break immersion when the battle starts by suddenly tossing the player away from the map to some battle map. It's not that much harder thanks to scripting and makes the game billion times more immersive.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Vox Novus

Knight of Whispers
Veteran
Joined
Mar 18, 2013
Messages
3,307
Reaction score
2,480
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
N/A
In some ways I don't think random battles beak immersion as they sort of simulate being attacked unexpectedly. In real life for example many hunting animals first sneak up upon their prey before striking and wouldn't  just be walking around

so easy to spot; on a similar note some animals run or hide from people and so a random battle could instead simulate finding a monsters hiding spot. In the end both mechanics have their uses and can be fun especially if implemented well

within the context of the game. For example touch encounters could be done with enemies who are patrolling like machines or soldiers and random battles could be done for surprise encounters with "hiding or stalking" enemies such as in tall

grass (like the poke'mon games).
 

Lordslimjim

Villager
Member
Joined
May 14, 2013
Messages
15
Reaction score
0
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
I got a bunch of folks from my dorm and some clubs I was involved with to play the demo (none of which were involved with RM) and at least half of them cited the use of random encounters as the reason they quit..
So you had around a 50/50 split durin testing

I never got how people can quit a game based upon one mechanic in a game :/

Like the qte "discussions" I've seen on the tomb raider forums alot I people said they stopped playing because of the qte's, lets face it you can never develop a game that will please everyone and IMO anyone that can judge a game purely on one game mechanic (qte, random encounters etc) and can say they won't play/stopped playing, it was a game breaker) doesn't deserve the right to play any game o_O play based upon the story and how the game plays on your mind not a game mechanic
 
Joined
Apr 21, 2013
Messages
517
Reaction score
144
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
N/A
Touch encounters are nice, but it's getting to the point where every RM game looks identical with the same enemies: "rats, bats, and hornets in the starting zone... again". What if I wanted a snakeman, a behemoth, hawks, or elemental golems? "Damn, can't be in the game because I need to maintain consistency. Time for another plant monster."

I feel RM games with touch encounters feel less immersive now due to the sheer repetitiveness of battler choice. Of course if you have an artist or money to throw at one, custom sprites would make your game spectacular... but please... I'm willing to sacrifice touch encounters to see something new... 

P.S. No, I don't think it's okay for you to use the RTP ghost sprite for your twenty different phantasmal battlers of varying sizes.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Ratty524

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Apr 24, 2012
Messages
607
Reaction score
144
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
To me, both random and touch encounter systems are not independant enough to be used as a judge for whether a game is good or bad. Both are equally flawed.

It all comes down the battles themselves. If a battle is boring, nonstrategic, and doesn't offer a new challenge, then having to randomly and unexpectedly encounter that boring, nonstrategic battle will piss player's off.

The only reason why people like touch encounters is that they give the player the OPITION of avoiding those boring, nonstrategic battles, but the core problem isn't solved. The fact that I, and many others adore charging headfirst into battles in games like Super Mario RPG or Dragon Quest 3, is because they find the CORE MECHANICS of the game fun.

So yeah, I feel like saying random encounters are harmful is the same thing as saying the bucket that's carrying the puke is bad.
 

Hybrida

I LOVE YOU TOO
Veteran
Joined
Mar 29, 2012
Messages
125
Reaction score
7
First Language
American
Primarily Uses
Yep random encounters can be a pain. I remember playing the red/blue version of Pokemon. I was in a cave next to a power plant, and every few steps/moves was a battle. I finished one battle, and looked to the left-- then another battle started. Yes I didn't even walk. I turned one time  (Eff you Zubats).

...Yeah, so I use random encounters lightly. I never put them in mazes or areas I want the player to explore. I even give the player a heads up IE:  The main actor will say " I'm detecting high enemy movement in this area" or " I'm picking up no enemy targets in this area." Just my way of letting the player know when random encounters are off, or on when they enter an area. I do use touch encounters too. It's best to have a little balance with them. I always include at least one extremely high encounter area for grinding. "Enemy targets are swarming the area."
 

Ratty524

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Apr 24, 2012
Messages
607
Reaction score
144
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Yep random encounters can be a pain. I remember playing the red/blue version of Pokemon. I was in a cave next to a power plant, and every few steps/moves was a battle. I finished one battle, and looked to the left-- then another battle started. Yes I didn't even walk. I turned one time  (Eff you Zubats).

...Yeah, so I use random encounters lightly. I never put them in mazes or areas I want the player to explore. I even give the player a heads up IE:  The main actor will say " I'm detecting high enemy movement in this area" or " I'm picking up no enemy targets in this area." Just my way of letting the player know when random encounters are off, or on when they enter an area. I do use touch encounters too. It's best to have a little balance with them. I always include at least one extremely high encounter area for grinding. "Enemy targets are swarming the area."
This is a good move, really.

The thing that made Pokemon work is that it controlled its random encounters really well. From the very start of the game, it tells you that pokemon will be found in the tall grass, and you shouldn't go in that tall grass unless you are prepared. Caves and dungeons in that game were kind of like this, too. The game, both directly and indirectly, notified you where you are going to find encounters and where you wont. As a result, even though the encounter rates for caves and buildings were ridiculous  is it really the developer's fault for putting in too many, or the player for not being adequately prepared?
 

Vox Novus

Knight of Whispers
Veteran
Joined
Mar 18, 2013
Messages
3,307
Reaction score
2,480
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
N/A
Don't know if this was mentioned yet, but Wild Arms 5 handled random encounters interestingly, you could upon reaching the end of a dungeon beat a mini-boss type of enemy and then have the option of turning encounters off that way you could go back later and explore parts of the dungeon you may have avoided due to the risk of getting in an encounter. Eventually you can defeat mini-bosses to turn encounters off on continents. The later Wild Arms really handled Encounters well with there ability to avoid battles or heal through stamina gauges as well; its a shame the series has faded away like it has.
 

Travatar

Summoned by candle, by book, and by bell.
Veteran
Joined
Sep 2, 2012
Messages
435
Reaction score
38
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
Touch encounters are nice, but it's getting to the point where every RM game looks identical with the same enemies: "rats, bats, and hornets in the starting zone... again". What if I wanted a snakeman, a behemoth, hawks, or elemental golems? "Damn, can't be in the game because I need to maintain consistency. Time for another plant monster."


I feel RM games with touch encounters feel less immersive now due to the sheer repetitiveness of battler choice. Of course if you have an artist or money to throw at one, custom sprites would make your game spectacular... but please... I'm willing to sacrifice touch encounters to see something new... 


P.S. No, I don't think it's okay for you to use the RTP ghost sprite for your twenty different phantasmal battlers of varying sizes.
I can definitely understand this point of view. I guess it takes different strokes for different folks.
For me personally, when a game tells me my 16-year old player character is more qualified to save the world than any adult, is able to summon meteors but still needs a key to open a door, lets me loot random peoples' houses without consequence, whisks me off to another dimension (separate battle screen) where monsters politely wait their turn before attacking, and where fighting is done by pointing a cursor at a word and saying "do this!"... well, a generic placeholder sprite would probably be the last thing to break my immersion. If I can withstand all of that, there's very little that's going to be a dealbreaker.

To me, both random and touch encounter systems are not independant enough to be used as a judge for whether a game is good or bad. Both are equally flawed.
I agree with this in theory, and there are some notable exceptions that put a clever spin on random encounters. It's just the other 99% that makes some of us scratch our heads.
It all comes down the battles themselves. If a battle is boring, nonstrategic, and doesn't offer a new challenge, then having to randomly and unexpectedly encounter that boring, nonstrategic battle will piss player's off.


The only reason why people like touch encounters is that they give the player the OPITION of avoiding those boring, nonstrategic battles, but the core problem isn't solved. The fact that I, and many others adore charging headfirst into battles in games like Super Mario RPG or Dragon Quest 3, is because they find the CORE MECHANICS of the game fun.
I'd say it's one reason, but hardly the only. Even in games whose battle systems I enjoy--Super Mario RPG/Paper Mario, Grandia, Ys:oath in Felghana, Planescape: Torment, FFT, Diablo, Secret of Mana, Baldur's Gate, etc.--sometimes, I just want to get from Point A to Point B. If I've played a game for more than an hour, I've already established that conflict is a vital part to the game's setting. Adding a few dozen monsters between those points usually doesn't help with anything.
So yeah, I feel like saying random encounters are harmful is the same thing as saying the bucket that's carrying the puke is bad.
Agreed, but to be fair, the random-encounter bucket has carried a lot of puke in its day. Over-grindy puke with a chance of encountering chunks of battle-spam in it. If a game's creator wants to use that bucket, that's fine. But they'd be well-advised to clean it out first, and avoid regurgitating RPG leftovers.
For me, random battles don't necessarily break my immersion. But too-frequent interruption can be annoying (I'm looking at you, FFI-IX and Breath of Fire 1&2.) THAT'S what breaks my immersion. It reminds me too much of being at work. Going about my business, trying to finish a long-term task, but, out of nowhere, along comes a steady stream of other tasks that get in the way of accomplishing it. If these occur too often, I'm sometimes tempted to ask the monsters for the username and e-mail address that are associated with their account.
 

Tai_MT

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
May 1, 2013
Messages
5,452
Reaction score
4,771
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Can we talk about immersion for a moment?  Immersion is when you do not realize you are doing the task you're doing because you're so engrossed in it.  Read a really good book and you don't even realize you're reading the words and flipping the pages.  Talking about "immersion" in a video game is about as silly as talking about which screen door would best fit on your submarine.

Now, that's not to say some games do not accomplish a DEGREE of immersion.  However, most games do not accomplish this and almost none strive for it.  If at any time you know you're playing a video game, you have no immersion.  None.  Being immersed in a story is quit a bit different.  However, anything you arbitrarily have to do in order to get from story segment to story segment ALREADY breaks immersion.  That puzzle you had to solve?  Yeah, broke immersion.  Has zippo to do with the story and broke your focus on the story while you were doing it.  Those touch/random encounters you just had?  Immersion breaking as well.

No matter what battle system I've used (not just in RPGs either), I've always known I was playing a video game.  Features of whatever game I'm playing do NOT break "immersion" for me, because there is literally no immersion to be had in any video game you play.  Unless we're talking about some kind of VR gaming that seems to only exist in fantasy settings like dot hack.

I am seriously irritated with all the players claiming one battle system over another just because of IMMERSION.  It doesn't exist, people, not in a video game.  Not in a game where we are very aware of what actions we are taking and what we're doing every single moment we spend at the control.  If you want to say a battle system "breaks immersion", then I'd contend that a pause button breaks immersion, or a menu system, or the lack of an accurate day/night cycle!  You see where this silly claim goes?  Taken logically and rationally it makes zero freakin' sense.

If we're going to argue over Touch or Random, you need to have less nebulous reasons than "it breaks immersion", which could really mean anything and varies from player to player.  If you have no concrete reasons why something is better or worse in your opinion, then you don't actually have an issue with what you're arguing for/against.  A claim of "breaking immersion" is as silly as the Chewbacca Defense!

As for something better to use...  How about "interrupts game flow"?  Or "breaks game flow"?  Perhaps that would make a lot more sense and be less nebulous?  I can at least understand that.  A battle system typically interrupts game flow.  Doesn't matter what kind of battle system it is.  Some are more egregious than others.  That is a good and proper argument.

Can we get back to actual arguments on the usage of these systems now?

As for me...  I've played battle systems of all types.  I don't have a "favorite", though the "random encounter" doesn't even bother me.  I prefer using it because then I don't need to sprite each individual monster or squad.  But, that's just me from a design perspective.  I've played turn based, I've played live action, I've played touch, I've played random, I've played no encounters.  Tried it all.  They all seem to work equally well for me.  I honestly see no reason to argue for one over another unless you have some strange drive to make the world conform to your particular tastes in gaming.  Depending on what you want to do in a game, you create a battle system accordingly.  If you don't play a game just based on what battle system it's using...  Then you're kind of throwing out the baby with the bathwater.  A great game can have terrible fighting systems and still be great.  A terrible game can have a fantastic fighting system.  Encounter system likewise.  If a game is made or broken just based on what encounter/battle system it's using for you, then you need to re-evaluate how you judge a game.  Just like if good graphics make or break a game for you, same thing.  Video Game Elitism really does need to stop.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Joined
Apr 21, 2013
Messages
517
Reaction score
144
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
N/A
Games don't create immersion? Movies and TV shows don't create immersion? Immersion isn't necessarily forgetting you're playing a game. I've never forgotten that I'm reading a book and believed I'm actually the boy prodigy who's going save Earth with his genius tactics against aliens. Immersion just means you've invested your interest in something and use suspension of disbelief to allow yourself to be entertained. You stop questioning everything because the game, movie, or book captures your attention and the flow is perfect. Mario immersed me - I didn't ever say "how the hell are those blocks floating?" "the hell is this turtle walking around?" "does this game advertise drugs by eating mushrooms?" I was having fun as a kid, and the game was immersive. Now... if suddenly Bowser rapes the princess or Mario gets murdered by paratroopers with guns... that's breaking immersion. It has ruined the flow with an abrupt anomaly.

That brings us back to the argument: what mechanics in a game can be used to reduce this break in flow? Is it better to assume the player won't question or be annoyed by abrupt fights they've come to understand after many games, or will they be more dumbfounded by a touch encounter sprite that looks nothing like what it does in battle?
 

monkeynohito

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Mar 5, 2013
Messages
264
Reaction score
98
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
N/A
Either style of encounter doesn't really break any game for me, they both have their pros and cons. It may have been mentioned already, but the one big problem I have with touch encounters is the danger of becoming under-leveled. For a player that hates battles, they're going to avoid them as much as possible, miss out on exp and end up under-powered for the battles they can't avoid. That could be an easy game-killer if they hit a boss they can't beat. It's especially bad in a game where encounters don't respawn so you can't grind up to some of the harder fights or respawn with fewer enough encounters that grinding becomes a major hassle.

Some touch systems lose some sense of surprise too, but eh, it's usually replaced by the thrill of a chase you can't get with random encounters and you can always throw in surprise events like in Chrono Trigger. Running into rare enemies is something that can't work as well as with random encounters, but that's so rare anyhow, it's not the hugest loss.

I think it really comes down to what you're going for though; there's not a right answer. Do you want to keep the players on their toes or do you want them to choose their battles wisely? There's so incredibly much storytelling that goes into even which mechanics you choose for a game.
 
Joined
Apr 21, 2013
Messages
517
Reaction score
144
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
N/A
Regarding monkeynohito's response, why not incorporate the importance of stealth for a thief-like character where he gets full experience and gold for knocking out a sprite patrol from behind? And if he fails, you have to fight.
 

monkeynohito

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Mar 5, 2013
Messages
264
Reaction score
98
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
N/A
Regarding monkeynohito's response, why not incorporate the importance of stealth for a thief-like character where he gets full experience and gold for knocking out a sprite patrol from behind? And if he fails, you have to fight.
Yeah I'm a big fan of that sort of thing...There was something like that in the Mana Khemia games. For regular enemies, if you could them with an attack, you'd get an initiative bonus in the battle, but if they actually touched you first, they'd get to attack first. As you gained levels, you could just kill weaker enemies on the map with a hit and get items, but you wouldn't get exp. I've seen similar things done in some RM games too, but I can't remember.
 

Tai_MT

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
May 1, 2013
Messages
5,452
Reaction score
4,771
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Regarding monkeynohito's response, why not incorporate the importance of stealth for a thief-like character where he gets full experience and gold for knocking out a sprite patrol from behind? And if he fails, you have to fight.
There was a segment of this in Chrono Trigger.  If you knocked out guards from behind during the jailbreak, you could typically loot "Mid tonics" from them instead of getting a standard "tonic" from going through with the fight.  You sacrificed XP and $ for a better healing item (which depending on how levelled you were at that point in the game, was a Godsend).

As for your response to me...

I said video games accomplish a DEGREE of immersion.  It usually has to do with how a story flows and how it works.  I considered Final Fantasy 5 and 6 the greatest games I'd ever played because of the rich narrative and flowing story that never really left you in "no man's land" while you traversed a huge section of continent in search of the next plot hook.  Both games told you where you were going and how you'd get there and then gave you what you needed.  You could sidetrack if you wanted and not go immediately there, but you had the means to get to the next story segment quite quickly if you wanted.  Wandering for 2 hours in a Magitek Facility certainly didn't break the "quasi-immersion" the game had established for me with its story.  But again, it's the story that immerses you.  A gameplay MECHANIC does not involve immersion in the least.  A mechanic has the purpose of doing a few things, none of which drive immersion.  A mechanic can be as mundane as a battle system or encounter system which only exists to spice up the segments between story points as well as to add in some fun.  Not immersive, never will be, not ever.

As for movies...  I'd say they also give you more immersion than a video game.  Recent movies (in the last 5-8 years... maybe even ten) are a poor example of this.  A good sign you're immersed in a movie?  You have nightmares about it later.  You spend time analyzing the rich narrative and characters.  You actually begin to care about the characters in the movie beyond "this is who I should care about 'cause they're the hero".  That's television and movie immersion.  Hard to find it in this day and age, but it did used to exist.  I cite Firefly as the most recent example I've ever seen of this level of immersion.  I'm sure you've got your own that fall into this.

As for books...  They're more in the way of the movie way of immersion.  You become so engrossed in the story that you don't realize you're turning pages or reading words (great books always do this to me... the only thing that snaps me out of it is when I encounter something awkwardly worded or a spelling error).  You might be reading about Ender and his destruction of the Buggers, but if it's not an immersive story for you, you'll be aware that you're reading a book.  One has only to look at the Twilight books to see how immersed its fanbase is in the story (despite how utterly vapid and silly said books are).

The problem with video games lies in the fact that you are controlling the characters and you are very aware that you're doing this.  A story can become interesting and its characters endearing, but everything that lies outside the scope of the narrative immediately falls into "immersion breaking" territory.  The fact that most of your game takes place outside the narrative (navigating menus, changing equipment, changing party members, exploring randomly, picking up treasure, visiting shops, participating in mini-games, engaging in battle, making character choices, making player choices, crafting, levelling up, etcetera ad infinitum nauseum) means that it's basically impossible to become IMMERSED in a game to begin with.  Mario is easy to "immerse" in because of its well... lack of any of those features.  Here's your player, get to the end, overcome obstacles.  You manage only the items the game gives you at the time and continue going from level to level until you reach the princess.  It makes the game fun and you immerse yourself in that fun, but you don't honestly care about a firebreathing dragon turtle stealing a princess and carting her off to yet another castle.  The plot is superfluous.  On top of which, if your character dies, suddenly the immersion is broke.  Mario fell in a bit, back to the black screen with the amount of lives you have left, and then back to the start of the level.  Immersion immediately destroyed by a game mechanic.  Video games accomplish a DEGREE of immersion, but it's nowhere near what a movie or book accomplishes.  I would also like to point out that as children, our tastes aren't as jaded or cynical as they become when we are adults.  A game like Super Mario Brothers will grab and hold your attention because you are a child and it's fun for you.  A game like Civilization is less likely to even hold your attention for more than two minutes at that age.  As we get older, we've played a million versions of the "Super Mario Brothers" game with various characters and have seen pretty much all it can ever do.  It's no longer interesting to discerning adults.  Been there, played that.  Meaningless story just to get us moving fast and platforming.  Once you reach the age where you care about and understand stories, RPGs tend to be the staple game you play (at least it was for me and my friends, so this is anecdotal evidence at best).  Once you've seen the same story play out a trillion times, you're done with RPGs and move on to something you can do in a few minutes as an adult (because obviously your time is going to be more valuable to you at this point in your life).  A 10-hour campaign in a shooter tends to be what you come up with, or RPGs like Skyrim that don't require any kind of significant time-sink to get anywhere or do anything.  Meanwhile, that same quasi-immersion exists in all those games.  It's there enough to get you to have fun playing the game and then it's gone.  Your game that you were SO IMMERSED IN is suddenly gathering dust upon the shelf because it only "immersed" you for a single playthrough.  Which, by my understanding... isn't really immersion at all.  Excitement of a new game wearing off with no reason to ever play it again because it isn't immersive.  Not like a book.  Not like a movie.
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Latest Threads

Latest Posts

Latest Profile Posts

When you realize @Kupotepo is a champion among RM Web users, and it all makes sense now:
Worst nightmare this morning, tried to get 20 minutes of work done on my project before heading to work and got hit with a POWER SURGE. Restarted my computer and the project was CORRUPTED, luckily I made a back up a few days ago so I only lost 4 days of work but still
Ami
what the other name of Elixir?

many games are use that,i want name it different.
What does your project folder look like?
I was told that an iPhone can provide a personal internet hotspot...You learn something new everyday!

Forum statistics

Threads
100,458
Messages
976,182
Members
132,082
Latest member
nwr
Top