Great Debate: Realism vs. fun

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Alena Rybik
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Great Debate: Realism vs. fun

Postby Alena Rybik » June 5th, 2015, 8:44 am

Topic: theHunter should be developed with the main focus on realism, with fun as a by-product.

The Contenders:
Taking the affirmative position is Knut. Mediocre (in his own words!) biologist and passionate real-life hunter, known for his vast knowledge of fauna, mountains and hatred towards the infamous Bullpup rifle.

Taking the negative position is TundraPuppy. Level designer by day, gamer and theHunter forum moderator by night, known for his appreciation of canines and relentless attitude towards trolls.

We'll begin with opening statements. Knut, you're up first.

PS: Everyone is allowed and welcomed to pitch in into the debate AFTER the guys make their opening statements!

More info on this debate here.
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Re: Great Debate: Realism vs. fun

Postby Alena Rybik » June 5th, 2015, 11:09 am

I've removed the already made comments and I'm locking the topic until the opening statement are made ;) There seems to be a lot of people who have strong opinions about the topic, so it already started to get out of hand :) You are all welcome to follow it and join later!
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Re: Great Debate: Realism vs. fun

Postby Knut » June 8th, 2015, 5:09 am

I am honoured and mortally frightened at the same time to be the one allowed to place the opening statement of the very first debate of this kind on theHunter forums.

And then directly taking a header into it with a topic debated that is probably the most controversial of all. A topic that regularly and often violently splits the crowd, separates the debating contenders — frequently up to a point where it gets messy and unpleasant. And yes, I ruefully admit, I have been in the middle of it, probably more than every now and then.

And yet I utterly fail to see the origin of this conflict. Fail to see the opposing difference of the two things. In general terms I fail to see how realism conflicts fun. Hampers fun. Impedes it.

For me, realism is the core concept in the genesis of fun, entertainment and joy this game. It is the source of the pleasant gaming experience. Realism is absolutely and undeniably vital for theHunter.


Why is a Hunting Game Fun?

That for me is the key question to understand why the debate of fun vs. realism isn't a battle, but actually two sides of the same coin. Because the realism is the fun.

There are three words in the header that are worth to have a look at:

Gamewhat is a game and why do we play?

To understand that is fundamentally important in understanding why a game is fun. Why a game has to be fun, to be a game, actually. Most animals that are capable of more complex behaviour are known to play or thought to play. Why do they do it? Why do we do it? What's the purpose of playing?

Playing is thought to be a behavioural mechanism by which we use leisure time and energy to train our brain and/or our body for life tasks to come. We play to be ready. It's in us since birth. And because playing is good for us, it feels rewarding to play.

But to be a rewarding behaviour, playing a game needs to happen at a level that it also challenges us. Because without a challenge and thus learning to adapt to this challenge, there is no sense in playing a game.


Hunting — why is hunting such an interesting activity?

Hunting is a vital part of the human behavioural inheritance. It is in us. We know e.g. from dogs that hunting is a self-rewarding behaviour. A dog enjoys to hunt. As do we naturally. The tasks of searching for an animal, to outwit it, to bring it down and have the success of harvesting it, these are all rewarding behaviours. This is in us.

And it is in our playing behaviour. This is why games that train the basic principles of hunting are rewarding. This is why games like "catch/tag" or "hide-and-seek" are such evergreens amongst kids, and will ever be. They are rewarding activities because they train basic behavioural principles that we might need later in life (if we would still depend on being hunters, that is, of course). That's why they are fun.

And that's why a hunting game is in itself rewarding. It combines and envelopes many of these things in a virtual environment. And provides us with this type of tasks at a complexity level that suits us. A complexity that grew out of the hide-and-seek simplicity — the same thing but a little better suited for the grown up brain.


Funwhat makes us experience fun?

To understand why we experience fun playing a game, we need to know about rewards. Rewarding is any behaviour that makes us feel good. This is vital for us to form the basis of learning behaviour and becoming better at it.

Life is often so complex that we cannot really easily link the consequences of a behaviour to our actions, because they're often too long apart, or the connections between them are too complex. And thus games that give us a more direct link between action and consequence are more rewarding, more fun. We can eliminate the unknowns we encounter in real life between our actions and their consequences and feel the rewards directly.

But to be rewarding and fun, a hunting game needs to mimic the principles of reality, needs to be based on real life. Because it is the real life hunting that is the source of the enjoyment in the first place.
And that is why theHunter vitally needs realism, there is no hunting game without it. Realism is the fundament the game is built on. Because hunting is the fun.


Realistic Hunting is Fun

And that's why the development of theHunter should stay true to its slogan “the most realistic hunting game” — in the end it's realism that draws the crowd.

This game has its strength in the depth of gaming experience, in the way it engulfs you in this hunting activity of finding, outwitting and harvesting an animal. Hunting is a complex, tedious and enduring task that culminates in the achievement of harvesting the animal you were going for. It is aiming for this one joyful and rewarding achievement rather than a plethora of small achievements that by themselves are negligible.
The joy of hunting is most present when all the hard work preparing and planing comes together in a successful kill, that is an outstanding sense of achievement.

But not only that is enjoyable. The way to get there is as well. The work of locating an animal, tracking it, getting in range for the harvest might seem tedious at first, but executing the whole procedure successfully is rewarding. An once this has been mastered a few times, solving the little puzzles of tracking, trying to outsmart an animal by predicting what it is about to do, designing the best luring setup to bring the animals in – these are all rewarding activities.

And these are the activities that make the harvest so much more sweet. If it'd be too easy to shoot an animal, it would get boring pretty quick. Compare it with going to the range in the game: the first few bullseyes shot are fun, but then the fun is soon over. You'll hardly visit the range again, besides the odd need to understand a new weapon.

The complexity and difficulty of realism make hunting fun. And that's why a realistic hunting game will always be superior to an arcade-style game based on some type of hunting theme.



Realism — the good, the bad and the pointless

So while I firmly believe that realism is the foundation of a pleasant gaming experience in theHunter and vital for the game's success, I am not so dumb as not to realise that there isn't a line separating good realism for bad.

Surely there are realistic things that aren't worth to be implemented into the game. That mustn't be implemented. Needing to take a leak for example wouldn't add anything to the gaming experience. Or having to deal with a relationship partner that complains about you spending too much time hunting (actually, that might happen in reality when playing the game, anyway). These are of course examples of the extreme, which obviously would be pointless to have in the game, but even the most fanatic fan of a realistic game experience has to understand that not all realism can be included into a game. Realism for its own sake can and will be detrimental for the gaming experience, no doubt.

TheHunter should not and actually cannot be a simulation. Hunting is far too complex an activity that it can be simulated in a computer application, and even if it could, it wouldn't be worth it.


Realism — is that really the point?

But there are plenty of realistic aspects that could be beneficial to be part of the game. Because real-life hunting is complex and involves a lot of steps that lead to the final achievement. And the more of these complexities one successfully mastered, the more pronounced is the rewarding sense of achievement.
That's why the debate isn't actually about realism, but about complexity. And as more realism often means more complexity, the two terms are frequently intermingled in usage. I guess, most don't even realise that they actually speak about complexity when they talk "realism".

Complexity — why is it vital for the fun?

And finally we are at the crux of the problem. Because how complexity of a game translates into fun is ultimately individual. A game is only fun when it is rewarding. But we don't get the feeling of being rewarded when the correlations between our actions and the consequences aren't understandable for us. When it is too complex.
On the other hand we don't get a feeling of being rewarded when it is too easy, when there is no challenge involved.

That is why the game's complexity has to fit our own needs of complexity to provide fun.


Image
You only experience fun when your own need for complexity is met by the game's level of complexity.

The readiness for complexity isn't necessarily linked to the ability to understand or digest complexity, its about the will. While one wants to enjoy a game with leisure and not invest too much of an effort into solving complexity and simply wants to realy enjoying an easy game, another one will take joy exactly in the opposite way.

But there is more to game complexity, because the area under the two lines and your personal fun point represents the amount of game experience, of versatility and ultimately of fun you can have.


Image
the amount of possible fun is defined by both the amount of realism and your readiness of understanding it. If both is higher, a deeper gaming experience is possible

Which is why more realism offers more fun – if you're willing to digest it, that is.

In general, I'd say that the Hunter is a rather complex game that is more tailored for players that enjoy solving more complex task and also enjoy investing more time into solving them.
And that is why I am strongly of the opinion that the game generally benefits from being realistic, and thus complex.

Of course that will mean that the game is tailored for more specific needs and restricts its player base due to its level of complexity. But if that's the price I think it is worth to be paid. Because there is a plethora of less complex games, even hunting themed games out there that are tailored for the needs of fast rewards with less involvement into solving complexity.

For those that want the game to be more entertaining, more fast-rewarding fun and more frequently rewarding, I find a polemic statement someone posted in these forums once pretty fitting: “Go Cabela's”

Because this game is excellent when it comes to realism and complexity and the sense of achievement resulting from mastering those.
Compromising between fun and realism in the end will result in both being diluted and weakened. To be polemic again: it will dumb things down.
A too pronounced compromise will harm both ways of enjoying a game. And as theHunter's strength is realism, I say: focus on that strength. Build on it. Even expand it, where possible.

Go realistic!


Aaaand that's a good a note as any to close on, although there is a whole other topic on the immersion-breaking nature of neglecting realism. But I guess I need cannon fodder for future rebuttals :D


Disclaimer: all embedded links to further reading serve only the sole purpose of underlining my rad-ass smartness and vast pool of near-to-useless-ballast-knowledge. So they're purely for showing off. And entirely unnecessary for my argumentation. I often even haven't read them in detail. ...no, ok, I have. But then again, I'm a total geek and do such useless stuff.
“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'" ― Isaac Asimov
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Re: Great Debate: Realism vs. fun

Postby TundraPuppy » June 8th, 2015, 5:12 am

Hello everyone! I'm terrible at introductions, but I'm going to give this a go!

First, I share Knut's absolute terror at this. If there is anything that I know as a moderator here at theHunter, it's that we've got a tough, discerning crowd. There's people here on both sides of this debate, and they are often times dug hard into their positions. I've even had to wade into some threads about it, pleading for peace! So I'm here to tell you in the nicest way I possibly can...

...that the realism people are wrong!

I kid, I kid. You're not wrong, per se. It's just the term "realism" is an emotionally charged one in game design, we use it to mean "like the real world we exist in", and we fall into the trap all the time about looking at games as being black and white - like the only two choices are it's either super realistic like a military simulator, or it's "casual fun" like a Super Mario game.

The reality is that games run a wide gamut of realistic to fantasy, and the whole argument about realism is really misunderstood by a lot of people. So I'm here to try and explain why a game like theHunter really needs to be fun first, even at the expense of serious realism, and why that won't destroy the game (and will actually make it better).

So get your scroll wheels going because as you all know by now, once I start talking about game design, it's impossible to get me to shut up. I promise I'll try and make it interesting at least. I'm also going to tell you why "realism" is a terrible word to use when talking about game design too, and what word we should be using instead (spoiler: it's "adherence").


--The realism trap--

To start off, we should talk about one of the common misconceptions about realism in games, and that is the very definition of what realism is. Too often, players look at the question of "How realistic should this game be?", and decide that the game must mirror real life - in effect, the reality the player experiences in day to day life. This is a seductive decision, but ultimately a wrong one. So what do we really mean when we say "We want games to be realistic"?

First, it should be noted that many games are not realistic at all - chess is one of the most famous examples (and many board games are not realistic), but is extremely popular and has survived the test of time far more than electronic games have, even if it's not realistic. However, I would suggest that games which are not fun do not survive long at all - as an exercise, what games do we continue to play for enjoyment which are not fun? This should be enough to really cinch the debate, but I understand more proof is wanted, and that is what I aim to provide!


--OK, but what makes a game fun?--

This is the real essence of the debate, and if you don't read anything else in this opening statement, read this paragraph. Games are fundamentally exercises in learning - we look at rule sets that a game gives us, whether it's theHunter, chess, or any other game you like, we figure out how those rule sets work, then we use those rulesets to beat the challenges the game throws at us. Nowhere in that description, you will notice, is realism. This is because realism simply is not required for a game to be fun. Realism can absolutely flavor a game, much like spice on food, but the long term joy in a game is not based on realism, it's based on the player learning the systems of the game and then using his knowledge to solve the puzzle in the game, whether it is capturing a queen in chess, or harvesting an Ibex in theHunter. At a fundamental level, that is what a game is, and that is what makes a game fun.

(For a really, really interesting book about all of this, check out "A Theory of Fun for Game Design" by Raph Koster. It's worth your time, I promise, and is one of my design reference books that I use a lot.)

Again, that should also be enough to end the debate right there. But we can still dig a little more from another angle, and figure out what exactly realism can do to hinder a game, and what role realism plays in the creation of a game. I have some examples that I often talk about when I discuss the topic of realism versus fun with people, and I'd like to share them with you, not just because it will illustrate my point, but also because I think they are kind of interesting and good visual aids.


--Realism gets in the way of memorable narrative--

One of my favorite examples that I like to use is the story of Hansel and Gretel. To quickly summarize, two kids (Hansel and Gretel) realize they are going to be left out in the woods by their parents after a family dispute, so they leave a trail of breadcrumbs as they are marched into the woods. Woodland animals eat the breadcrumbs, and they wander the woods, lost, until they find a witch's house which is made of candy. The witch captures them, then tries to cook the children in an oven, but the children outsmart her, shoving her into the oven. They steal treasure from the witch's house, then return home with the help of a swan which carries them over a lake.

This story is completely unrealistic according to our human reality, but what happens if we make it realistic using the rules of our common human reality? Well, the kids probably would have died in the woods from exposure after wandering around lost, which would make a short (and tragic) story. Leaving a long winding trail of breadcrumbs would require them to bring a lot of bread which (due to the required amount) they would not have been able to carry with them. Assuming they even get to the witch's house (and as we know, witches are not real either), it can't have been made of gingerbread and candy because it would have deteriorated from humidity, the environment, and animals simply eating it. An old woman (who remember, can't be a witch) capturing two healthy kids is a bit unrealistic, but even more so are the kids shoving her completely into an oven and cooking her - if she's so weak she can't fight back, how did she capture them in the first place? And let's not even discuss the physics that would be required for a swan to carry two children across a body of water.

How boring would a story like that be!?

The thing which is memorable about Hansel and Gretel isn't that it's realistic. The thing which makes it stand out as memorable is that it's very unrealistic and unique - it's so different to our own reality. It's realistic in terms of the world the story takes place in - that this exists in a magical world where houses can be made of gingerbread and witches are real - but it's very unrealistic in terms of our own human experiences. This is why we can remember stories like this, but we barely remember what we did two weeks ago. Sadly, our existence is fairly boring, which is one of the reasons we do like playing games - they are concentrated fun which is memorable and doesn't have the slow, boring stuff to sidetrack us from our enjoyment.

Would theHunter be better if we had tag limits? If we had to field dress an animal after we found it, then haul it back to camp? If we had to sit motionless for hours for a shot at a deer? If it rained? Well, I know the answer to the last one - people here hate the rain! Realism gets in the way of the narrative and the experience, and a lot of people would love the choice to choose whether it rains or not - thus bypassing the realistic aspect of incliment weather. We play games to get away from the boring limitations that our "real world realism" applies to us, and we yearn for options like a rain toggle which removes those limitations.

We want to talk about the excitement of harvesting a monster deer, not talk about sitting in a tree for two weeks before going home empty handed. We want to tell stories about shooting geese down one after another, not sitting around for four hours and returning home with only three geese and wet socks. The coyote that we called in before getting it into perfect positioning for a bow shot is a lot more interesting to talk about than the one that watched us for half an hour at the treeline, out of range, before vanishing into the woods because it's senses are so much better than ours. These narratives are important to us as players, and fuel a lot of excitement on the forums as we talk about our own experiences in the game.


--Realism is a tool, not a goal--

A lot of people who just start out wanting to make games fall into a common trap of thinking that realism is a goal, like a finish line, and once the game is real "enough", it's crossed the line, and it's finished. A better way of looking at realism is a tool, like a hammer.

Think about the steps and tools (the production) involved in building a house (the goal). It would be silly to say "The most important thing in building a house is a hammer", because I wish you good luck in cutting wood accurately with a hammer. But it's also silly to say "Ok, then I guess the most important thing in building a house is a saw", because you're going to look very silly trying to pound nails with a sawblade. The lesson we take from this is that we have different tools available as designers - tools like realism, or narrative, or emotional connection, or rulesets, and we apply these tools as needed and in different amounts to create the final product - a game which is fun (and this is a safe connection to make - no one sets out to make a game which is -not- fun).

So realism really is a tool which is used where appropriate - when we want to ground the player in a fundamental way to the limitations and possibilities of the game world. But once the player is grounded in a way that he understands how the world works, then (much like building a house) we can apply other tools. We can use narrative to give players a purpose, or emotional connection to make the player care about the world, or rulesets in order to create a framework for the puzzles (which is a roundabout way of saying 'goals') that the game uses to challenge the player. We mix all these things together in a crucible of design, and out pops a fun game.

The hammer is not -why- we build a house, nor is realism -why- we make games. There is a reason many of us are playing theHunter and not actually hunting!


--So if "realism" is so bad, how do we define realism to make it useful when we talk about games?--

That's actually a great question, and a really useful one to ask. I, and some other designers, would argue that a more useful definition of realism (as it applies to games) is that we call a game "realistic" when it adheres to the reality of the game world itself. Some game worlds are based on worlds similar to our own, which I would agree that theHunter is fairly similar to. Other game worlds take place in an entirely different reality (like many RPGs where player sling fireballs and spells to vanquish foes), and some (like chess) are extremely abstract. Even in a game like an RPG where players are throwing fireballs at each, we understand that the fireballs are 'realistic' because the world the game takes place in is a magical land. If we suddenly introduce something like a thermonuclear weapon to a medieval fantasy RPG, players are going to raise eyebrows because even if it's realistic in -our- world, it's not realistic in the -game- world.

So when we talk about realism, it's important to eschew the concept that it has to match our world. And because of that, in a game like theHunter, we need to make sure we're mapping our expectations to the world of theHunter, not our own world - expecting theHunter to be realistic according to our world is like expecting chess to be realistic according to our world, and that's simply not going to get very far. theHunter is not our world, it's Expansive World's world, and as the designers, they create the rules.

The important thing to take away from this is we're not arguing that theHunter is or isn't realistic according to our own world - we already accept it's not realistic and shouldn't be (unless you sincerely want to add stuff like having to go to the bathroom every few hours). We're really arguing how -many- real-world realistic things it should include - but specifically, we understand we want it to be unrealistic according to real life to some degree!


--If realism is a terrible word, what should we be talking about instead?--

Personally, I prefer the word "adherence". I think it gives a more visual example - that the rules and expectations of those rules are "sticking" to the game world correctly. I want games to have adherence to the game world - that no matter how realistic or fantastic the game is, the rules make sense, are fairly applied, and are always pointed in the direction to make the underlying concept of the game stable so we can learn how the game works (and thus, beat it and succeed in our goal). That adherence makes the game fun.

There are fundamental differences in theHunter's reality and our reality - we hunt on a private island which is always fully stocked. The animals don't mind being crowded together like they are. Their senses are certainly not as responsive. Our guns are magically sighted in perfectly for us. Vast expanses of terrain like the Alps are consolidated into small reserves so we can have both low and high altitude hunting areas. We have a mysterious man named Doc who seems to arrange for our prey to be taken back to camp for us, but also spies on us from the treetops to correct us for using the wrong ammunition on the wrong animal. Wind always blows the same way, calls always work to lure the animals, and we never have to go to the bathroom!

With that said, adherence is only part of the mixture which creates the overall goal. Adherence is simply part of the base (which many other abstract concepts like narrative, emotional connection, rulesets, and other concepts also exist in) that we build the game itself on, and the end result is (hopefully) fun. It does not matter if a game is realistic in terms of it being realistic to our world - it is only important that it adheres to the rules of the game world itself (whether that world is similar to ours or not). That's why realism is such a terrible word to use when describing games.


--So should theHunter be unrealistic as long as it adheres to the game world the designers made?--

The million dollar question! I certainly argue that if the stars align and real-world realism creates a scenario which is genuinely fun, then absolutely include it! As an example, hunters do enjoy hunting, so shooting geese is real-world realistic, and provides an opportunity for hunters to have enjoyment at solving the "How do I shoot geese?" puzzle of the game. However, when we try and make it realistic by long gaps between goose spawns, to the point where people alt-tab to the desktop to check the news, then I would argue that's no longer fun, and that specific part of the game (the long gaps) should be removed. When we create scenarios in a game where real-world reality conflicts with simply having fun, then no, we should jettison that reality, and look for an alternate reality which still adheres to the ruleset of the game. Does that mean we should simply fill the air with geese? Of course not, and there is hopefully a way we can adhere to the game world, but still deliver that fun.

But if not, then we should see if those rules should be changed.... why should we play a game that isn't fun?


--This was all really long and boring. I feel myself getting older. I want my money back. Give me the quick summary!--

I apologize! This is my quick summary: Don't focus on realism as it applies to the real world. Focus on how the rules of the game adhere to the game world, and make sure those rules allow you to learn how they work and then use them to solve the challenges of the game, because that makes games fun, and that fun is why we play games - realistic or not.
Am I doing a good job? I thrive on feedback! Please PM me, or my bosses Alena Rybik or Tod1d with comments, criticisms, or accolades!
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Re: Great Debate: Realism vs. fun

Postby Alena Rybik » June 8th, 2015, 5:32 am

The opening statements by team Knut and team TundraPuppy are posted and the great debate is ON. Carefully read what the guys had to say before jumping in, and then feel free to comment, express your agreement, disagreement and further elaborate on the topic. Knut and TundraPuppy will lead all this mess by debating each other's arguments and commenting on posts of others.

Important reminder - remain civil and if you disagree, express your point of view with respect to the opponent (the same applies to throwing in things like the whole debate, the debate topic, idea is rubbish / stupid / waste of time etc. ;)) The topic is hot and interesting and deserves a mature discussion.
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Re: Great Debate: Realism vs. fun

Postby gunrangejohn » June 8th, 2015, 6:07 am

First of all great opening statements,but im with knut 10000000 percent the realistic feeling of the
game is the fun part. its not 100 percent real or like hunting in real life but the closest you can get in a game today.i for
one hope this stays at the forefront of the game design and never compromises that. :)
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Re: Great Debate: Realism vs. fun

Postby ronMctube » June 8th, 2015, 6:08 am

i prefer realism over more arcadish titles . as it gives depth and learning curves.

arcade titles often are more fun short time but ! realism often holds a person playing longer.


(are these debates linked to how this game may go ? this needs to be said if any influence is going to be taken from this thread. ;) )


take a look at cabelas for eg. their title comes out often. quite a few buy it then a month later its over. if that long.

then look at people like me for eg. i played this most days for just over 6 yrs.

would i of done this with a cabelas game ? not a chance.


lets look at games at the moment on the whole. the games really succeeding on pc are focusing on their strengths.i think that is the key for theHunter.what is its key attribute ? Realism.

many may argue its not realistic as it could be but..its more realistic than anything else about.it has a nice balance.


so realism wins for me.
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Re: Great Debate: Realism vs. fun

Postby BucksNBuffalo » June 8th, 2015, 6:11 am

Just a quick tidbit before I head back to bed here (stupid thunderstorm woke me up at 2am, finally now getting tired again). I think elements of both really are needed. I think a more appropriate word to use instead of "realistic" that would embody both is "semi-realistic". Let's face it, we are dealing with death. And death is not pretty in real life. Even when out hunting and you get that giant trophy Whitetail, it is not magically whisked away and that's the end of the story. There is a sinister, and primal side. There is lots of blood, guts, dismemberment, and it doesn't smell pleasant. That's the reality of it. And it's not for everyone, especially not the weak-stomached. I posted a thread a while back basically challenging people in a round about way. It was out there to pretty much speculate just exactly how realistic people wanted. Needless to say, most that tauted and talked all this realism only stuff of course didn't like the idea (even tho it wasn't an idea to be taken seriously, unbeknownst to anyone lol). I had brought up about including Bear death moans, and I posted a vid that had this in there. That's what bears do when giving their last. They die in pain, and they are loud about it. Well, most people said "oh no, I don't want that in the game because of this and that" but the interesting part of that discussion was that the majority of people that didn't want the bear death moan were the same people that wanted complete realism in this game! Well, I guess that was just too real for them, right? But, again, that's exactly what happens when you successfully hunt and kill a bear, be it with a firearm or bow. So, I always remind people to keep in mind that this is a game first with realistic situations, and does not reflect real life. Sure, I wouldn't ever wanna see anything that is far-fetched or makes no sense just for the sake of fun. But, being a game, you cannot just abandon the "fun" factor for the sake of realism. Both elements need to be present in a game like this. Hence why I believe the better term (not the slogan haha) to describe this game is "semi-realistic.

Ok, bed time. I'll leave you two with that thought for now. Best of luck you two, you're both friends of mine and I know and understand where both of you are coming from. ;)
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Re: Great Debate: Realism vs. fun

Postby gunrangejohn » June 8th, 2015, 6:12 am

if it were too realistic very few of us would have any trophy animals.like Ron
said,it has a great balance.
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Re: Great Debate: Realism vs. fun

Postby caledonianblues » June 8th, 2015, 6:32 am

Great opening statements gents!

I'm sure a lot of people felt themselves swaying from one side of the coin to the other as they read the underlying arguments of each statement. I certainly did. The fact is there's no right or wrong answer. It's entirely subjective.

I'm sure we can all agree that if theHunter took fun to the extreme and became a point-and-shoot title, there would be far more subscribers and, certainly in the short term, a significant increase in revenue for Expansive Worlds. I doubt however that it would be sustainable, and I'd question the dependability of that recurring revenue.

On the flip side, if realism was taken to the extreme, it would quickly become a chore and I'm sure a lot of subscriptions would lapse. I think what gives theHunter longevity is the balance between fun and realism which, in my opinion, isn't too bad at the moment. I know some people want more realism, others want to remove (or have control over) some of the realism, such as weather mechanics etc. That variation in expectation is what makes finding a balance that pleases everyone impossible.

I've been playing PC games since the late eighties and only one other title has captured my attention for as long as theHunter. Flight Simulator. I've had every version and over the years I've spent a lot of money on add-on content and hardware to get the most out of it. Arguably, it can also be referred to as a niche product like theHunter. A niche product with a very specific target audience.

As a pilot in real life I can confirm that there are a lot of aspects of Flight Simulator that are very realistic and a lot of commercial pilots use Flight Simulator as a training aid. However it's also fun, whether you're a pilot, or just someone with a passion for aviation. There are some details which are totally neglected and I find that utterly frustrating at times, but they're not a deal breaker because I understand limitations. If it was entirely realistic, it would probably only be used by pilots and would offer little or no reward to people who just loved aircraft, or the concept of flight.

I suspect theHunter is very similar in this respect. I'm not a hunter in real life so I don't have the same grasp on what's realistic and what's not, compared to someone who hunts regularly in real life. I do however have a passion for firearms, nature and animals, which is why I play theHunter. I realise the ballistics are probably not as accurate as they could be, but then again, I don't know because I was brought up in a country where owning a firearm was close to impossible. So I've not fired enough weapons to know what's accurate and what's not. What I do know is that I enjoy shooting the weapons in the game, and I love the challenge of tracking the animals and achieving good shot placement. There are some parts of the game that I think could benefit from an increase in realism, but I fully understand that those changes may have the opposite impact on another player.

I can confidently say that theHunter will never be as realistic as going hunting in real life. On the other hand, I hope the game doesn't turn into an arcade point-and-shoot title. So my preference for the future of this game is that it remains fun but challenging with close observance to what can be considered realistic for the virtual world we hunt in.

Knut your opening title was absolutely fantastic and I respect you both as a forum member and player of the game. I enjoy reading all of your posts in the forum and generally I agree with everything you say. However, on this occasion I have to side with TundraPuppy, only because I don't want to be seen to be sitting on the fence. The truth is I think both elements are important but without a primary focus on fun, this game would attract only hardcore real life hunters, which I fear would not pay the salary bills.

Kudos to both of you though.
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