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Old 03-15-2009, 11:18 AM   #1
Silveredge9
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Questionaire for Uni study

Hey guys, I'm conducting a study for some University work, part of which requires input from gamers concerning their preferences for RPG's.

I would be greatly appreciative if you answered the 3 questions below:

1) Do you feel more involved as a player within a video game's storyline if the game in question presents you with choices which can influence the outcome of that storyline? (Think KOTOR, Mass Effect, Fallout)

2) In some games you play pre-determined characters with pre-determined personalities (Think Master Chief, Solid Snake, Cloud Strife), whilst in others you as a player shape the character from the ground up by choosing a gender, name, appearance, and to some degree through dialogue options, a personality. Which do you prefer as a gamer and why?

3) Do you think Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic would have been better or worse had the developers not chosen to implement a character creation and a interactive dialogue feature and instead had you play a pre-defined character (Think Carth or Bastila) with predetermined non-interactive dialogue (Think of cutscenes in other games where you don't do anything but watch)

Thanks in advance to everyone who answers, you will be a big help!

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Old 03-15-2009, 11:35 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Silveredge9 View Post
Hey guys, I'm conducting a study for some University work, part of which requires input from gamers concerning their preferences for RPG's.
Hm... sounds like one hell of a class. Where do you go to again?
Quote:
1) Do you feel more involved as a player within a video game's storyline if the game in question presents you with choices which can influence the outcome of that storyline? (Think KOTOR, Mass Effect, Fallout)
Yes, most definitely.
Quote:
2) In some games you play pre-determined characters with pre-determined personalities (Think Master Chief, Solid Snake, Cloud Strife), whilst in others you as a player shape the character from the ground up by choosing a gender, name, appearance, and to some degree through dialogue options, a personality. Which do you prefer as a gamer and why?
I prefer to create my own character, as it allows you to both "act" and "direct" the game, to an extent.
Quote:
3) Do you think Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic would have been better or worse had the developers not chosen to implement a character creation and a interactive dialogue feature and instead had you play a pre-defined character (Think Carth or Bastila) with predetermined non-interactive dialogue (Think of cutscenes in other games where you don't do anything but watch)
It would have definitely been worse. Interactive dialogue is great, as long as it is well written and allows a wide variety of options, rather than just the average "good response/bad response/exit" dialogue trees.
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Old 03-15-2009, 11:42 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silveredge9 View Post
Hey guys, I'm conducting a study for some University work, part of which requires input from gamers concerning their preferences for RPG's.
That sounds like a fun study. What is the university going to do with the results (besides the obvious 'write a paper on it')?

Quote:
I would be greatly appreciative if you answered the 3 questions below:

1) Do you feel more involved as a player within a video game's storyline if the game in question presents you with choices which can influence the outcome of that storyline? (Think KOTOR, Mass Effect, Fallout)
I certainly do--I like to know that what I do with my character makes a difference in the game. This was one of the reasons why I like Kotor so much--if I play a good guy, I save the galaxy, if I play the bad guy, I conquer the galaxy for my nefarious evil purposes. It was also one of the big disappointments for me in NWN2--no matter how I played the game, I was squashed into pixel-paste by a ton of falling rocks at the end. They could have had an ending where you were heralded as a hero and were made a new Lord, or where you take over Nasher's throne and become the next evil dark overlord, or something, but no, we get stupid rocks. It was a horrendously anti-climactic ending to an epic game.

Quote:
2) In some games you play pre-determined characters with pre-determined personalities (Think Master Chief, Solid Snake, Cloud Strife), whilst in others you as a player shape the character from the ground up by choosing a gender, name, appearance, and to some degree through dialogue options, a personality. Which do you prefer as a gamer and why?
I much prefer to shape my own character and build them out to work with my particular gaming style. VtMB had some pre-determination in characters by limiting your class choices which limited your appearance to the one male or female model in that class, but there were so many other choices in dialogue and assignment of attributes that the appearance limitations didn't really bother me. I do prefer the option to play as a female--I feel weird as a female playing a solely male character when I'm roleplaying. However, if the game is good enough, I can work with it.
Quote:
3) Do you think Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic would have been better or worse had the developers not chosen to implement a character creation and a interactive dialogue feature and instead had you play a pre-defined character (Think Carth or Bastila) with predetermined non-interactive dialogue (Think of cutscenes in other games where you don't do anything but watch)
It wouldn't have been a role-playing game then, and I wouldn't have been as interested. If the dialog was still as good as it is now and there were some choices allowed, I would have enjoyed it, but not to the same degree I enjoyed it from a role-playing standpoint.


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Old 03-15-2009, 12:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silveredge9 View Post
1) Do you feel more involved as a player within a video game's storyline if the game in question presents you with choices which can influence the outcome of that storyline? (Think KOTOR, Mass Effect, Fallout)
Yes. A game which offers choices that affect the world and its characters in that game makes your involvement and your importance in that world that much bigger.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silveredge9 View Post
2) In some games you play pre-determined characters with pre-determined personalities (Think Master Chief, Solid Snake, Cloud Strife), whilst in others you as a player shape the character from the ground up by choosing a gender, name, appearance, and to some degree through dialogue options, a personality. Which do you prefer as a gamer and why?
I'd like to create my own character. You get more the feeling you're playing as yourself. Especially forming the characters personality through dialog I find an important part in a game, as you can shape how people see you as, and how your character responds to situations. With pre-determined characters, you are sometimes pushed into a direction you yourself wouldn't be going if it wasn't enforced onto yourself.

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Originally Posted by Silveredge9 View Post
3) Do you think Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic would have been better or worse had the developers not chosen to implement a character creation and a interactive dialogue feature and instead had you play a pre-defined character (Think Carth or Bastila) with predetermined non-interactive dialogue (Think of cutscenes in other games where you don't do anything but watch)
Worse, most definitely. The strength of the game partially lied in the fact that you could react to situations yourself, making you feel like you were really in control and really were making a difference. Interacting with other characters was a prime gameplay element in the game, and letting you decide how you interacted with them gave you a sense of freedom and doing things your own way, even though the story was straightforward.


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Old 03-15-2009, 12:49 PM   #5
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1. ) Absolutely, it's great to be able to make serious decisions that end up having serious outcomes. But that doesn't mean that's all I like, I'm fine with perfectly linear games as well, it's just the handling that matters.

2. ) Something of a mix between the two. That is, a fixed character with a known background and perhaps even attitude and style, but loose enough to allow the player to express themselves. Good examples would be both protagonists from the Deus Ex games, JC Denton and Alex D.

JC for example, is a strong character as he is; an anti-terrorist agent with style but you can still blend your own styles with them. Better yet, he blends into your style, justifying whatever actions you do. That's what I prefer. Other names would be The Nameless One from Planescape, or Gordon Freeman from Half-Life.

If I have to pick between the two, I'll pick pre-determined character.

3. ) Can't say. Japanese RPGs like Final Fantasy or Golden Sun can be very entertaining and fun gameplay-wise while denying the player any story/dialogue choices. I can't pick whether it would be better or worse, again, it's upto how the game is handled.

If I absolutely need to pick, I'd probably say worse. Reason is that dialogue options etc. allow for great replayability, if anything. There is also a sense of freedom, as Militiades noted, allowing you to play at your own pace.


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Old 03-15-2009, 01:58 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Silveredge9 View Post
Hey guys, I'm conducting a study for some University work, part of which requires input from gamers concerning their preferences for RPG's.
A most interesting choice for a study, to be sure. What class is it for, if I may ask?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silveredge9 View Post
1) Do you feel more involved as a player within a video game's storyline if the game in question presents you with choices which can influence the outcome of that storyline? (Think KOTOR, Mass Effect, Fallout)
Most definitely. I've played both 'types' of games, and I definitely enjoy games in which I can choose my dialogue/actions. KotOR being the prime example, of course.

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Originally Posted by Silveredge9 View Post
2) In some games you play pre-determined characters with pre-determined personalities (Think Master Chief, Solid Snake, Cloud Strife), whilst in others you as a player shape the character from the ground up by choosing a gender, name, appearance, and to some degree through dialogue options, a personality. Which do you prefer as a gamer and why?
With each game, you're going to have unique characteristics. It depends on the scenarios and storylines for each game, but, in general, I prefer games in which I have control over my character's actions. I generally prefer to influence the direction that the story will take, probably because this type of story offers so many paths to take and ways to play.

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Originally Posted by Silveredge9 View Post
3) Do you think Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic would have been better or worse had the developers not chosen to implement a character creation and a interactive dialogue feature and instead had you play a pre-defined character (Think Carth or Bastila) with predetermined non-interactive dialogue (Think of cutscenes in other games where you don't do anything but watch)
I would have to go with 'worse,' in this case. The dialogue choices in KotOR helped shape your character and the storyline, and to lose that would be to alter the game itself.
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Old 03-15-2009, 02:14 PM   #7
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1.) it does help to immerse you a bit more into the story of the game. when there are multiple outcomes that stem from either a single or a series of choices, i think it forces the player to try and get inside the mind of the character that they've been playing as the whole time. that is what good storytelling is all about in the first place, IMHO: getting somebody to think and understand from the vantage point of a character.

2.) honestly, it depends on the game. i can't just look at a game and damn it because it lacks player customization or visa versa. i judge the game be a lot of other factors ranging from the genre and the style of gameplay to what kind of story is presented in the game. it helps me get a bit more into the game if i'm not familiar with the character i'm playing as, but its not essential.

3.) i'm not sure. on one hand, its perfectly plausible to make a game with a great story that has very little dialog interaction (The Force Unleashed is an excellent example), and you can do this with any genre or subgenre. in that generalized case, the only limitation is similar to more traditional drama's in that its the writing that makes the biggest difference.

on a the other hand, you have to think of KotOR on a more specific level in which case you lose a lot of interactivity which is all of what helps a player get into that kind of game. to be honest, aside from the big twist, the story was fairly basic, and if there wasn't a level of choice in the dialog and character customization and so on, it would've been more difficult to pull off the fairly weak story. i still think, though, that with enough creative talent behind the story, it still could've been done without all the interactions and dialog.


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Old 03-15-2009, 04:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silveredge9
1) Do you feel more involved as a player within a video game's storyline if the game in question presents you with choices which can influence the outcome of that storyline? (Think KOTOR, Mass Effect, Fallout)
You say it like its a question! Yes, I do think that I feel more involved if my choices can change the outcome of a story... though it does make sequels very hard to do just right.

Quote:
2) In some games you play pre-determined characters with pre-determined personalities (Think Master Chief, Solid Snake, Cloud Strife), whilst in others you as a player shape the character from the ground up by choosing a gender, name, appearance, and to some degree through dialogue options, a personality. Which do you prefer as a gamer and why?
I prefer the first one with hints of the other. (I.E. given a character that you determine the skill sets for.) However if I'm forced to chose I think I'd take the first one for a shooter-type game and the second for RPG's... so the second one is my final answer.

Quote:
3) Do you think Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic would have been better or worse had the developers not chosen to implement a character creation and a interactive dialogue feature and instead had you play a pre-defined character (Think Carth or Bastila) with predetermined non-interactive dialogue (Think of cutscenes in other games where you don't do anything but watch)
I think that KotOR would've been better from a cinematic perspective if there wasn't any character creation. However, I think that it would've killed the game slightly since it's selling point was that your choices affected the games outcome. It's pretty difficult to implement that type of system if you don't make any choices.


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Old 03-16-2009, 12:31 AM   #9
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Thanks for the responses so far guys and gals. Keep 'em coming.

And this is for a research assignment centered in part around player influenced narratives within video games. KOTOR was the best example I could think of; given my familiarity with it. I take a media related course at Uni, so I get to do stuff like this and get graded for it. :P

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Old 03-16-2009, 12:59 AM   #10
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1) Do you feel more involved as a player within a video game's storyline if the game in question presents you with choices which can influence the outcome of that storyline? (Think KOTOR, Mass Effect, Fallout)

Yes, it helps with the immersion. If we were talking like in TSL, that is not what I would prefer. I like paths that branch, like in Fallout 3, where I COULD blow up
spoiler:
Project Purity, or poison the water kill everything but Enclave
. The type of endings I like is where my actions throughout the game noticably affect what happens after.

2) In some games you play pre-determined characters with pre-determined personalities (Think Master Chief, Solid Snake, Cloud Strife), whilst in others you as a player shape the character from the ground up by choosing a gender, name, appearance, and to some degree through dialogue options, a personality. Which do you prefer as a gamer and why?

Kinda split between both. Depends on the context. If you talking about a shooter, for example, I would prefer to have a predefined character. In and RPG like KOTOR, I like having a predefined character to base mine off of.

3) Do you think Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic would have been better or worse had the developers not chosen to implement a character creation and a interactive dialogue feature and instead had you play a pre-defined character (Think Carth or Bastila) with predetermined non-interactive dialogue (Think of cutscenes in other games where you don't do anything but watch)

KOTOR would have been a lot worse off. If the diologue sections were cutscenes, then that would take away a good chunk of the "choosing your own path" thing. If I couldn't modify the appearance, that isn't as much a big deal, but it does cut down on the sutomization factor a little.

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Old 03-16-2009, 01:13 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silveredge9 View Post
Hey guys, I'm conducting a study for some University work, part of which requires input from gamers concerning their preferences for RPG's.

I would be greatly appreciative if you answered the 3 questions below:

1) Do you feel more involved as a player within a video game's storyline if the game in question presents you with choices which can influence the outcome of that storyline? (Think KOTOR, Mass Effect, Fallout)
Yes
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silveredge9 View Post
2) In some games you play pre-determined characters with pre-determined personalities (Think Master Chief, Solid Snake, Cloud Strife), whilst in others you as a player shape the character from the ground up by choosing a gender, name, appearance, and to some degree through dialogue options, a personality. Which do you prefer as a gamer and why?
I prefer choosing mine and having most of my choices be my choices. Predetermined characters get boring because they're aways predictable and rarely ever human. If I was about to go save some village I had never been to in my life and its population consisted of a merchant, a mercenary, a healer merchant and a quest giver, I had better be getting something in return for saving their asses, and a pair of boots is not adiquite. That is a situation where I wish more games were like Deus Ex or Fallout and I could kill everyone in that village and take all of their boots. Which would be a totally acceptable reward. Its not like they need them anyways, they can just have some other adventurer subjugate a nearby less human race and steal their boots.

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Originally Posted by Silveredge9 View Post
3) Do you think Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic would have been better or worse had the developers not chosen to implement a character creation and a interactive dialogue feature and instead had you play a pre-defined character (Think Carth or Bastila) with predetermined non-interactive dialogue (Think of cutscenes in other games where you don't do anything but watch)
It would have been republic commando with lightsabers in the way way past. And that would have sucked compared to the actual product.



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Old 03-16-2009, 02:58 AM   #12
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1) I do find that fairly important, in an RPG

2) Depends, in RPG's I like to create my own character, but sometimes it's much better having predetermined characters, and if done well, can be absolutely awesome. The perfect example would be Solid Snake in Metal Gear Solid. He was a predetermined character, but he had alot of background, style, and actually seemed human.

So for me it depends on the style of game

3) It would've been much worse off. That, I believe, is one of the standout points for the game, besides its pure awesomeness


Yes
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Old 03-16-2009, 03:13 AM   #13
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Old 03-16-2009, 04:28 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Silveredge9 View Post
1) Do you feel more involved as a player within a video game's storyline if the game in question presents you with choices which can influence the outcome of that storyline? (Think KOTOR, Mass Effect, Fallout)
I'd say in general, choices that affect the outcome of the game are always great, as long as they are executed well. However, I don't think that it necessarily has to be a choice between being good or evil, as is the main focus in these most recent WRPGs, especially the ones you mentioned. Take a look at Chrono Trigger, the greatest RPG ever, there were 13 different endings, granted the only 'choice' there was when you wanted to beat the boss, but it's still a choice. Just trying to point out that choice's in RPG's don't necessarily mean choices between being good or evil.

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Originally Posted by Silveredge9 View Post
2) In some games you play pre-determined characters with pre-determined personalities (Think Master Chief, Solid Snake, Cloud Strife), whilst in others you as a player shape the character from the ground up by choosing a gender, name, appearance, and to some degree through dialogue options, a personality. Which do you prefer as a gamer and why?
Apparently I differ from everyone else here, maybe because I grew up on JRPGs, where at the most you could change the name, but I prefer that my character has a preset image, history and personality. I like to treat my RPG's like a good adventure book. Where I'm following the life of the main character, whom has their own emotions, and beliefs and I'm watching their life story unfold and I can relate to the characters.

I don't like creating a character from the ground up, because no matter what the game, you're trying to transport yourself into a story that already exists, so it just feels like you're Mr/Ms. X and sure you can give yourself a background story in your head, but none of the other NPCs in the game will know that and wont react to you as such. Mass Effect tried to give your created player a background story and I don't think it was very effective, because in the end, all it did was limit your life story to 3 possible scenarios, lame.

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3) Do you think Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic would have been better or worse had the developers not chosen to implement a character creation and a interactive dialogue feature and instead had you play a pre-defined character (Think Carth or Bastila) with predetermined non-interactive dialogue (Think of cutscenes in other games where you don't do anything but watch)
It's hard to say on this one, KotOR was great as it was, so it's hard to argue against it, however if they could have created a character as memorable as a Luke Skywalker, than obviously it would have been great that way as well.


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Old 03-16-2009, 12:11 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silveredge9 View Post
Hey guys, I'm conducting a study for some University work, part of which requires input from gamers concerning their preferences for RPG's.

I would be greatly appreciative if you answered the 3 questions below:
Oooo, interesting. I'll offer my thoughts.

Quote:
1) Do you feel more involved as a player within a video game's storyline if the game in question presents you with choices which can influence the outcome of that storyline? (Think KOTOR, Mass Effect, Fallout)
For an RPG, yes, definitely. Story is one of the most, if not the most, important element of and RPG in my mind. There's a certain thrill to be able to take a character into a story and have it change based on what my character does. Even though I don't roleplay and see the character, not myself, it's really what I do that effects the story.

That really adds a lot of replay value to a game, and I think that's part of what makes RPGers fall in love with their game(s). With a static story, you can play through once and never really need to play again. Sure, you may want to play again a few months down the line, but if the story really draws you in, and you can control it through your character, there's a lot more incentive to immediately replay the game and try different things.

Quote:
2) In some games you play pre-determined characters with pre-determined personalities (Think Master Chief, Solid Snake, Cloud Strife), whilst in others you as a player shape the character from the ground up by choosing a gender, name, appearance, and to some degree through dialogue options, a personality. Which do you prefer as a gamer and why?
As an RPGer, I love building my own characters. I definitely feel closer to my character when it's mine and not predetermined. However, the drawback is that the depth of the character is largely in my own mind, and not in the game world. While that in itself is fine, the problem with player created characters is it's very easy to have a concept in your mind that the game may not account for at certain times, usually through dialogue choices.

Many times, I will play a game, and as I'm listening to or reading the dialogue of another character, I will know what I want to say in response, only to be presented with a number of choices that don't fit what I want my character to say. This can be quite jarring and a reminder that the character really isn't yours. It can take you out of the game as fast as if John Tobias popped up on the screen yelling "TOASTY!"

Okay, maybe not that bad, but it's a definite annoyance. There is never the illusion that a predetermined character is yours, so you are never taken out of it.

The other advantage to predetermined characters is that they can have a lot more depth, in the gameworld, than is possible with a tabula rasa character. Player made characters can often seem wooden when compared to the rest of the characters in the game.

On balance, I greatly prefer making my own characters, but there are instances where it can be a hindrance to game enjoyment. My hope is that developers can find a way to take our player made characters and really expand the possibilities in game to allow us to really make them part of the game world while holding true to our concepts. I hope to someday be able to make a character that has as much "life" as Gerralt has in The Witcher.


Quote:
3) Do you think Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic would have been better or worse had the developers not chosen to implement a character creation and a interactive dialogue feature and instead had you play a pre-defined character (Think Carth or Bastila) with predetermined non-interactive dialogue (Think of cutscenes in other games where you don't do anything but watch)
For KoTOR, I think the ability to make our own character in a Star Wars story is one of the major draws of the game. Sure, we are all Revan in the end, but my Revan isn't your Revan.

One instance in particular really bothered me in K1, and I almost (but not quite) would have preferred to see a deeper response from my character such as wasn't possible with the way dialogue was implemented. I'm referring to the "Revelation scene." It came of wooden, to me. As I played through the first time, I was completely taken into the story. It was one of those true "Oh, WOW!" moments in gaming.

But then... I had to make a dialogue choice.

That really took me out of it. It wasn't that I had to choose dialogue, but that none of the dialogue really worked. Now, let's compare that scene to the "Luke, I am your father!" scene in Empire Strikes Back.

Luke's responses were quite natural. With Revan, we basically could either just say "No, I don't believe you" and listen to Malak explain why it was true as we just kind of stood there, or we we could calmly (especially considering what we just learned) ask Bastilla for conformation. Then we could either lash out at Bastilla or just calmly say "Oh... okay. I understand."

It seemed a very wooden scene especially compared to the emotion that I, as the player, was going through at that moment. Back to Luke, he really displayed the emotions one would expect at that moment while Revan came off as a statue in comparison.

In this instance, a cutscene could have really played out better to show the emotions Revan was going through. Part of the problem is that we had a choice to basically chose darkside responses or lightside responses and not a more natural shock/disbelief then move onto either darkside or lightside.

However, as a whole, I think the game greatly benefited from us making our own character, and even with what I said, the Revelation was stronger because of it. Perhaps it seemed more like something that was happening to me. As I said earlier, I don't roleplay when I play games, but I guess at the same time, there is a part of me in any character I create in a game. I suppose I empathize more with them, if that makes sense.

The Revelation itself was stronger, but the scene could have been more powerful with fully developed, premade character.

And while this is one instance, I feel it holds true throughout the game. Sure, there are benefits to the predetermined character, but the immersion is a lot greater with our own characters.


Quote:
Thanks in advance to everyone who answers, you will be a big help!
You're welcome! I must admit, it was a pretty fun post to make. I hope it's helpful and understandable. I tried to develop solid answers instead of just a simple "yes/no" and fully illustrate my feelings with each question. I just hope I didn't go too far with it and make my response seem like I didn't really answer after all!

Good luck with your study!



Last edited by Bob Lion54; 03-16-2009 at 12:19 PM.
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Old 03-17-2009, 10:42 PM   #16
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Again, thanks for the responses, they were rather interesting to read.

I have more than enough responses to aid my study, so I believe this thread has served it's purpose, and can be closed.

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