Harnessing the wind

Will they be equipped with the breasts with bullet firing nipples or just the one’s that expel whipped cream (Like those I have seen at bachelor parties)?

Aww, come on. You’ve gotta give the guy some credit. I mean, look at Mario. It’s an incredibly original setting, especially for its time! I read an interview on Gamespot once where Miyamota said he was inspired to create that game after he went on a walk in the forest. Interestingly, Gamespot forgot to note the part where he mentions how, once he got to the the forest, he got stoned off his ass and little walking mushroom men started attacking him. Musta just been a mistranslation…:)

What I wonder is if there’ll be some Nausicaä wind glider-game developed with these new wind-centric technologies.

Well, just think of the possibilities for the next Age of Sail/Sea Dogs games.

[obligatory snide wisecrack]It’s enough to make me hoist my mizzenmast.[/obligatory snide wisecrack]

Actually, maybe this could be a step towards true dynamic weather, which would be pretty cool. Actually, Morrowind pretty much already had that. How can wind express itself in a game except for slowing your movement in one direction or another, anyway?

Yeah. Much as I respect Miyamoto, that’s pretty much my response as well: so what? Most games restrict or channel your movement options already, so it’s not like this is some sort of groundbreaking new gameplay innovation. It’s just another game fiction to explain a very common gameplay mechanic. I don’t understand why this mechanic is particularly significant, or why it requires all the computing power of the GameCube to realize.

You guys are mean :(

Well, it probably does other things too.

What other things, exactly? I’m sure it, uh, blows things around. And, er, makes flags wave. But as Gordon said, I don’t see where the creative possibilities go from there. Miyamoto speaks as if the benefits of wind simulation are obvious, as thought it were a dream that developers have been trying to realize for years. If so, this is the first I’ve heard of it, and the sweeping potential is lost on me.

Wind power was important to the development of the textile industry. This culminated in huge wind (and water) powered cotton mills which housed some of the first large scale industrial processes. If you knew what you were doing, some of this could translate into gameplay. For instance, you might have to jump over it. And that’s just one idea I have.

Miyamoto speaks as if the benefits of wind simulation are obvious, as thought it were a dream that developers have been trying to realize for years. If so, this is the first I’ve heard of it, and the sweeping potential is lost on me.

Perhaps that’s why he’s the genius visionary game god, and we’re not. :?

Visionary game god who wants you to have his kind of fun, not your own kind, you non artiste!

Ultimately, though, it’s the developer in Miyamoto that objects to online gaming. In order to make a title that is captivating to hundreds (or even dozens) of simultaneous players, the developer has to relinquish a lot of control. After all, player interaction is what online gaming is all about. In taking that step back, though, the developer can’t dictate the course of the game, meaning it might not be true to their vision.

And that, said Miyamoto, is why you won’t see him working on an online title anytime soon.

“Nintendo is not actively pursuing the idea of bringing games into an arena where Nintendo can not guarantee the quality of the game” he said. “We want the ideal gaming situation for everyone.”

from Miyamoto not impressed by online gaming - Mar. 6, 2002

Great cut and paste, but you left out the rest of the story…

Ultimately, Miyamoto says, the excitement over online gaming is really an excitement about communication. Playing a game with friends is more fun than sitting on your couch alone. And that, he said, is something the company has long been aware of.

“You can see that communication between players increases enjoyment of the game,” he said. “But I think communication is a kind of fun that’s not something the developer creates, but draws out. Online is not the only type of communication, but that’s the one everyone has focused on - and I think that’s sad.”

–Dave

I left out the part of where he says concentrating on online communication is “sad”?

That’s the rest of the story?

Miyamoto is entitled to his point of view. I personally like online gaming because I have yet to see any single player AI work in a teams based game. Halo and UT come close, but still can’t capture the fun of playing another human.

That’s exactly what he’s saying DaveC. Online play is useful as a tool for communication and not as a means of selling more games just because it exists. Far too large a part of the industry (in March of 2002 when this was written) was concentrated on online being some kind of cash machine. Much of the industry still thinks that’s the case.

Miyamoto as always looks at it as just another part of the creation process and one that he believes is detrimental to the total gameplay experience. Given that Nintendo’s games have for years relied on carefully orchestrated gameplay that is always planned around fun things to do, his viewpoint is perfectly consistent with the company’s goal.

Great games give the player the illusion of control while retaining focused goals and rules and then breaking those rules to offer something new. The reason so many are bored with MMORPGs or games like Morrowind is because of the lack of focus. With no goal to shoot for, the games can devolve into creative dead ends. Most players look to the game creator for the imagination.

Also, Miyamoto focuses on how creating online games often means a loss of control over the enjoyment the designer intends. Given the problems inherent in most MMORPGs through player conduct that often was not foreseen before their launch, it’s easy to see where he’s coming from. It’s absolutely no fun playing with griefers or rules breakers, even just dealing with them through muting is bad enough. Most people seem to want to go online to play with friends anyway. So without some plan from the outset to get people together that want to be together, and then creating games with stricter rules to govern the interaction, the titles won’t be what Nintendo expects or may want.

Given Nintendo’s younger gamer appeal, they’ve got a lot more to be concerned about when it comes to the online experience. They can’t have guys like those you might find on Xbox Live cursing up a storm in game. That’s unacceptable from the word go and goes back to my points about games rated E being ratcheted up to M ratings or worse by their online components due to the conduct of the players.

So there’s a lot more to it than “Visionary game god who wants you to have his kind of fun, not your own kind, you non artiste!”

–Dave

I’m not really interested in staring a console war thread again. I simply think Miyamoto deserves to be knocked for arrogance on this issue. If we’re talking about his personal stance on whether he’s personally into making online games or not, that’s cool - it’s his call. He has legitimate concerns about adoption and money flow. But ignoring the segment (and having one 3rd party title playable online is ignoring the segment) for design reasons smacks of hubris.

And the “legendary god” bit was a rollover from the last message.

Dave Long - Some people really like the open ended nature of an MMORPG and games like Morrowind. Have a look at EQ and the numbers of subscribers. I dare say that Galaxies will be as big. Once again, it’s a matter of taste and to blanket all online efforts with the same statement. That’s as bad as saying the GC is all kiddie games. Miyamoto makes his styles of games very well, but there are people out ther like myself that crave something different and online play is it. Maybe Nintendo doesn’t think that online is it’s target audience and they may be right. However, to compete they have to step up to the plate eventually or be happy with 3rd place in the console wars.

Dave Long, with all due respect, can go fuck himself.

Players don’t want to be led by the hand by the developer… the nature of the development beast leads toward that NOT due to philosophy but rather due to practicality… its too labor intensive (per Morrowind) to create truly open-ended games until such time as computers can to a large part (the world objects and geography at least) create the game itself. Once that occurs the level of extraneous material that will result in a truly open-ended (player-driven plot also called emergent plot or emergent reality) game is enabled.

The problem is not that a game is “open-ended”, but that players CANNOT create their own plot since the games are not sophisticated enough to allow it. You do not create your own plot in Morrowind… you create a series of independent scenes.

Prior to this vision occurring in the single-player arena it will occur in a MMOG, since the players themselves can modify the game, taking the burden off the developers.

Artistically speaking, the grand goal of a MMOG developer should be to provide a gameworld in which players can create their own world. Player Creation is king.

Miyamoto can do whatever he likes, but I see the next big breakthrough in gaming coming from the MMOG arena in the manner in which I presented.

Maybe Nintendo doesn’t think that online is it’s target audience and they may be right. However, to compete they have to step up to the plate eventually or be happy with 3rd place in the console wars.

Read what you wrote again. If it’s not their target audience, how does that relegate them to third place in the “console wars”? Online gaming has not proven to be a magic bullet on either PCs or consoles. Xbox Live sales have dropped off now that the initial sell-through is done. Sony’s sales of the broadband adapter have been good but only equal 5% of their total userbase at most…consistent with the sell-through of most add-on products.

You’re both too far ahead of the game. Brian actually makes a good point that the technology is a stifling factor to online gaming. But players DO want to be led around. They only want the illusion of control. Compare the millions of copies of Diablo II sold to the less than 500,000 subscribers to Everquest. Also, compare the millions of single player games sold to those that are based on multiplayer only gameplay. Grand Theft Auto, a goal based game where you have the illusion of directing a larger scale story, has sold more copies than all MMOGs put together (though the gangster content is certainly a driving factor too). There is no evidence yet to support the industry’s widely held belief that online gameplay is the only future of gaming. If anything, the only online games that have proven their worth are parlor games…backgammon, chess, cards, etc. They’ve become so ubiquitous and are so easy to code, that no one will ever make real money from them.

As hardcore gamers, which both of you certainly are, you’ve got a completely different outlook on gaming than Joe Average. He’s typically a guy that wants structure and looks to the game to provide the goals. If the developer can create the game to allow multiple, logical solutions to the same problem, he’s happy. DaveC, I think you need look no further than the complaints about your own Neverwinter Nights to see what gamers crave. They’re not buying the multiplayer focus in droves…they’re asking you why the game isn’t structured more like Baldur’s Gate with better story and more things for you to control throughout. That smacks of a failure to understand the market. Yes, sales have probably been “good”, but if you had gotten it all right, sales would have been far greater. The newly announced expansion packs seem to exist to fill this definite gap in the original game.

You talk about me separating my feelings from commentary, but I think I’m the only one that has. When you look at the MMOG market, it’s still largely unproven. It hasn’t come close to equalling any single player focused game in sales and the mass market isn’t exactly asking for it. So Nintendo, in this generation, is smart to sit back and wait while thinking about these problems inherent in online gaming so they can smartly enter the market later. If you’ve followed Nintendo or console gaming for any length of time, you’d know that’s how they’ve operated throughout their history. They watch the market and only enter an area when they’re ready to do so. They don’t put out products that are “visionary” to watch them fail. That’s why they’ve got 8 billion in the bank and even when they introduce something brand new (Pokemon), it’s almost a guaranteed success. With all the problems in online gaming today, and most of them caused by the people that play them, I think they’re simply waiting until they have something truly groundbreaking to introduce online gaming on Nintendo systems the right way.

Their release of the broadband adapter and PSO Ep.I and II silently makes sense. It’s a port of a Dreamcast game so it’s not exciting anymore. However, it let them get their feet wet and placated Sega, who wanted to move forward with or without them. I’m sure Naka at Sonic Team would be more vocal if he believed Nintendo did something wrong with the release. Given the problems out of the box (cheating), it could’ve been a huge black eye for Nintendo. Instead, the problem is Sega’s to resolve and Nintendo can continue to look for better ways to leverage online and most importantly, be assured they reap the rewards AND retain the developer’s vision for the games.

Creating a world filled with 3D objects and populating it with spawn points isn’t a game.

–Dave

Are you not a hardcore gamer as well? If so, how is it that you can tell what “Joe Average” wants more than anyone else here? Your perspective is as inherently skewed as everyone else’s.

It hasn’t come close to equalling any single player focused game in sales and the mass market isn’t exactly asking for it.

The mass market is already playing online games, like Bridge and Hearts.

Anyway, your’re assuming the only way to judge success, or acceptance, is number of units sold, not revenue generated. EverQuest generates, what, $5 million/month in revenue? How many games generate that much in their lifetime?

Even if we look at sales figures alone, EverQuest has sold millions of copies; not everyone sticks with it month-to-month, but it’s an enormous mainstream success. EverQuest is what most people think of when they think of online gaming.

The mass market does ask for communication online, which is why there are 60 zillion ICQ and AIM users; turning gaming into a social endeavor, such as the Sims Online, is the next logical step. You don’t think that’s a mass-market product?

If you’ve followed Nintendo or console gaming for any length of time, you’d know that’s how they’ve operated throughout their history. They watch the market and only enter an area when they’re ready to do so. They don’t put out products that are “visionary” to watch them fail.

Two words: Virtual Boy.