anon474 Posted April 25 Share Posted April 25 (edited) thoughts on the beta footage so far: firstly I would like to congratulate the development team on a job well done, it's very hard to make video games and the development team has certainly outdone themselves here. I also have some feedback on two topics, the writing, and the gameplay. 1 on writing. the writing outside of dialogue is generally pretty amazing, really top notch. the "we know what you're thinking AGAIN!" is a great example of humor, as is the IMP questionnaire, really captures the original heart of the writing in JA2, and even maybe improves upon it. However, some of the one-liners, I think, can do with a bit more work. Examples: steroid on strategy screen: "I will be putting oil on my chest". Fox: "Not enough time for a Quickie. Battle I mean". There are three problems with these and similar one-liners. Problem 1: too on-the-nose. There's a difference between using euphemisms to describe what happens when a man loves a woman very much, and describing the act in unnecessary and graphic detail, sometimes even changing what that act is, and the intent behind the act. An example of how to rephrase Fox's line without being too overt and obvious in a crude way is to say something like "You've kept me waiting for SO LONG". It's clear that she's not just referring to the situation. But it's also not exactly clear what she's referring to, and this exists in the precise space between unnecessary and sometimes graphic and crude information, and telling somebody no information about something. By using euphemisms, and really making things unclear, you can avoid creating somewhat painful, crude or unnecessarily graphic one-liners. In fact a lot of the most memorable starcraft and red alert one-liners from units are ENTIRELY based on euphemisms. Almost entirety of starcraft 1s or red alert 2s VO for units is some kind of nod or euphemism or funny metaphor/play on words that has a double meaning in this precise situation. Look at Rocketeer (there are many examples) in RA2, it's a flying unit for the alliance, and the things he says are: "Ridin' high", "Check out the view" and "Igniting boosters", all of which take on new meaning when said by the flying unit. Problem 2: There is a trend in modern writing, especially in places like marvel, to make characters quirky (or ironic and smug). And then the characters that aren't quirky, are desperate. And desperate characters (see this new IMP email, see Speck from the original JA2) can be funny, but quirky characters just come off as smug, or ironic. Fox I think comes off as a bit smug in this one-liner, and I wish she wasn't. Smug characters aren't endearing to listen to, or enjoyable to listen to, they kind of make you angry, because they're designed to make you angry. Problem 3: Telling what the character is, vs showing. I don't need dialogue to tell me that steroid is a bodybuilder. His name is "steroid" and his bio already told me this. So when I hear one liners like "Haha I will kill the major myself, with my BICEPS!" (steroid's line from the first sector) or when he says things like "I will be putting oil on my chest", these are overt examples of what this person's background is. It's not necessary. In fact, most mercs in JA2 went (almost) the entire game without making any kind of overt reference to who they are, and it's not necessary for them to disrupt us by forcefully reminding us that "hey they're a bodybuilder" or "hey, they're a porn star". In fact, all they need is a ridiculous personality, and it doesn't even matter if we know what their precise background is. Steroid worked perfectly well as just a guy who was a bodybuilder but didn't tell us he was a bodybuilder constantly, he just spoke with a ridiculous accent and was very loud and brash and maybe a bit stupid. We also don't know anything about Maddog, does it mean he's any less of a character for it, no. SOLUTION: 1 Broken english. Broken english is the king of adding character to mercs in JA2. It's a good start. 2 Euphemisms and non-overt references to aspects of the merc's background, personality, or just other unique mannerisms. 3 UNIQUE MANNERISMS. Perhaps more important than anything else, the mercs weren't just memorable because of their background, or their personality. They used unique mannerisms. Why does Tarballs call everybody "woody"? It doesn't matter! And there's probably no reason. If all you want to do is to give character to a merc, make them talk in a funny way (meaning tone of voice, and their apparent disposition via their tone of voice), make them use unique slang, some that may be very old fashioned, make them use unique phrases and words (this will be inevitable because you'll hear the same line 100 times so), and maybe give them unique observations that they come up with randomly during certain events. 2 on mechanics 1 the emphasis on abilities vs stats and items. I think the core of JA2 was very much an emphasis on stats, and in terms of what you had to do in combat, it was very very simple, you just had to run around, and shoot. And that was it for 90% of the battles, and if you really had to do something extra it'd be the use of an item. It seems like in JA3 there's an emphasis on abilities vs items and stats, and I think this is a bad decision because it makes everything seem unrealistic, and moves us away from serious strategy, to more of a domain of "well as long as you have the right ability, it really doesn't matter what your stats are". I can show an example of this. Take Igor (or any merc). Let's say we give him an ability called "battle rage", and he can come back to full HP after hitting 0 HP once per battle. Now is there anything inherently mechanically wrong with this ability? No. But does it feel wrong, and unrealistic, and not "WYSIWYG"? Yes. And this is the point here. Systems like "grit" and "freemove" take me out of the hard strategy of realism by creating this weird system of extra HP that doesn't really exist, or this weird system of movement that's not really movement. Mechanically all of these systems have justifications. But realistically, they're a bit out there. I know this probably won't happen, but to solve this, I would go completely back, and turn JA3 into entirely a case of "stats and items" and make the things you can do limited yes, but also realistic and no "vashe zdorovie" and similar abilities and if there is an item that you want to give people buffs to, put it on the item, don't put it on an ability for igor, that never goes away and is on some flask that never dissapears and refills itself - WYSIWYG doesn't just apply to visuals, it can also apply to items. If a character uses an item or should use an item (like ammo) it should be in his inventory. In fact this is why ammo in squad inventories has already bothered some people, because it feels unrealistic and not WYSIWYG. Convinient yes, unrealistic, also yes. In light of that fact, should there be this level of convienince? I don't think so. In fact, I would say that it makes more sense to let mercs have extremely huge backpacks and unrealistic ability to carry all this crap around, than it would to create this magical top hat from which rabbits can be pulled out of with the squad inventory. Because one is exaggerated reality, while another is completely unrealistic. And if we want Igor to have a unique perk that gives him extra bonuses from alcohol, then that is a perk that applies to any alcohol Igor consumes, versus having some flask that only he can see. And maybe it's not a Igor-only perk (or maybe Igor has a stronger version of a perk everybody can have), but it's a "alcoholic" perk, that anybody merc can get, if they so wish. Also please consider adding swappable models (not including the head) for mercs, because otherwise it really does look like we have a bunch of civilians holding guns which just looks ridiculous in my opinion. And if people are worried about their characters looking identical with the same gear on, you can vary up primary colors of the model (that shouldn't be too difficult, just change some variables on a material in the editor), or maybe there's about 5 or 10 generic outfits anybody can put on, like a jeans+tshirt+plate carrier type look (you often see this on guntube influencers), cargo pants+tshirt+plate carrier (been popular since 2000s), and a traditional camo shirt and pants with army boots (and then also urban versions of soldier uniform like you see in metal gear solid type games, basically a soldier's uniform only without camo and it's all black uniform). Edited April 25 by anon474 4 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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