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Article - 'Realism in Games' by ATARI

An item about Game Design posted on Aug 8, 2003

Blurb

ATARI discusses factors concerning realism and how to apply it to your game

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Hi, It's me again, ATARI, I'm here to talk about making things more real



If you've ever played a game, and then something random pops up, or something really pathetic on a map comes, you sometimes have the urge to close the program, go "gaAaa!" and wave your hands and such. Some of this is do to lack of realism in many games.



What is realism in games? Well, realism is getting things close to as what they would be in real life. For example, you wouldn't have a talking chicken (unless it's a humor game) or things catching on fire for no reason (unless it's a humor game). Why? First of all, chickens can't talk and there is no reason for things to catch on fire for no reason. However, to replace it...., have the chicken go "BAWWK!" and use sound effects, and have someone light the thing on fire, and don't forget the sound effects for crackling and popping of a fire.



1. Sound Effects.

You don't need to go all out and make every movement your character makes a sound effect, but remember to make sound effects for things that would make a sound when you use them. For example, when you open a door, it makes an opening sound, going up stairs makes walking sounds (running sounds, sometimes faling sounds if you can't seem to get up) and ticknig clocks and sounds of the waves on an ocean map. Without these sort of things, your game can seem pretty pathetic and very annoying and kinda dumb. You want your player to feel like they're the character, no just a person pressing buttons on their computer. However, don't go to the extremes, like walking noises for every stinking npc and such, but a good amount of sound effects makes the game more real.



2. Terrain

A bridge is purely made from wood/cement and such, so when you cross a bridge and see grass beside it, there might as well not be a bridge. Remeber to make your terrian real like, EX: no grass on sides of bridges, etc.



3. Characters

How many people walk around cities in random movements? No one does that? Of course in an RPG, this is okay (even in FF7 they did that) but remember the basics of characters, but there is another tut thing in GamingWorld, so I won't talk much about this.



If you have a like two brothers in a game as main characters, or close to it. Now how often do siblings agree on everything? How often are siblings nice to other all the time? Not much at all. Making Characters get along all the time is just stupid. Avoid it at all costs. Even close friends fight, disagree on things, have different opions. However, don't waste too much time on this, or it'll make your game just a family problem solver. However, it does add to realsim.



4. Missions

In real life, not everything is just straight out, for example no one just says, "look in the cave of Happiness to find the pendant of doom," without searching, spending a while looking for it. Now if you have them tell you they've researched it a long time, it's okay, but remeber not everything just pops in your head and you become a know-what-all-to-do person.



Don't make all your quests within the game just, go out and do this. Make some quests that you have to find. Don't just make "go to the city of despair and bring me a cup of coffee," I played a game with straight out 'do what I tell you' quests and it got pretty darn stupid. Make your quests fit in with the plot unless it is a side quest, but don't have random quests to fill time. That doesn't really happen in real life. Doctors don't got out and search a junk yard for a part for someone just because they tell you to. However, don't make you character be obnioxous and talk back.



5. Personallity and Ending

Last thing, keep your characters personality/figure throught the entire game. A person that is really stupid isn't just all of a sudden going to turn into an Einstien or a really weak person become the worlds strongest person.



Some remember, realism in your games, but don't go overboard, be obniouxs and such, but the element of realism does make a game better.



Remember

"Even the greatest gamers were n00bs."