default header

Theory

Ask me anything

Moderator: JC Denton

Ask me anything

Unread postby icycalm » 02 Jan 2017 13:05

This is the same thread that I have on Orgy, and for the same purpose.

http://orgyofthewill.net/discuss/viewtopic.php?t=173

I wrote:When the book is done, I want to make sure I have answered all the major questions, and as many of the minor ones as I can conceivably cover, so here's how you can help me do that. Use this thread to post any philosophy-related questions you may have (or to quote and link other people's questions). And when I say "philosophy", I don't just mean about very general concepts such as Life, God, Happiness, the Universe, etc. You've seen the frontpage: everything is fair game as long as the rabbit hole goes deep enough. Philosophical questions are not so much determined by the subject matter of the question, but the depth of the answer.

Don't worry about making a fool of yourselves -- at least in this thread. If your questions are that stupid, I'll ask you to stop posting them, but either way I am not going to tell off or ban anyone for them. Consider this the reason you are paying me 50 euros a year: for the privilege of being able to ask me any question that you have.


I wrote:Note that I may first respond to a later question, and only much later to an earlier one. Don't take my silence as a sign that I am not planning to answer your question, it's just that, for some questions, I will need to develop several other ideas first before I can answer them, so just post your questions and be patient. Just keep posting as many questions as you want (including multiple ones in a single post) as they occur to you, regardless of whether any of your previous ones have been answered.


Actually, the Orgy thread is about to be expanded into an entire subforum, but for Insomnia's purposes a single thread will do since videogame and art theory are a much smaller subject.


P.S. Other people are welcome to answer people's questions too, if they think they can.
User avatar
icycalm
Hyperborean
 
Joined: 28 Mar 2006 00:08

Unread postby Amor fati » 02 Jan 2017 22:31

How can quantum mechanics be applied to video game reviews?

Will the Chinese and Indians ever create video games to rival the West and Japanese?

Will automated software become advanced enough to create video games as good as or better than the best video game designers?
User avatar
Amor fati
 
Joined: 25 Mar 2010 01:36

Unread postby icycalm » 02 Jan 2017 22:37

Amor fati wrote:How can quantum mechanics be applied to video game reviews?


This may or may not be in the Acquiring Taste essay. If not, it will be in Orgy, because it's really more a philosophical than an art theory question.

Amor fati wrote:Will the Chinese and Indians ever create video games to rival the West and Japanese?


I've no idea, it's up to them. If they really want to, and if they try hard enough, I don't see why they wouldn't be able to.

Amor fati wrote:Will automated software become advanced enough to create video games as good as or better than the best video game designers?


Here you are just asking me if we'll ever get human-level artificial intelligence, and the answer is again that I don't know. It's possible, but whether we'll get there no one can know before we actually get there.
User avatar
icycalm
Hyperborean
 
Joined: 28 Mar 2006 00:08

Unread postby Amor fati » 05 Jan 2017 22:19

Thank you for your answers to my first questions. Some more questions:

What are the advantages of video games with higher than three spatial dimensions? How would they work?

Are there significant educational benefits from video games? If so, should they be incorporated into the formal education system and in what manner?

What would happen if a video game was created that was so superior to all others making them redundant? Would this signal the end of video games?
User avatar
Amor fati
 
Joined: 25 Mar 2010 01:36

Unread postby icycalm » 05 Jan 2017 22:30

Amor fati wrote:What are the advantages of video games with higher than three spatial dimensions? How would they work?


When you tell me how higher-dimensional space works, I will tell you.

Amor fati wrote:Are there significant educational benefits from video games? If so, should they be incorporated into the formal education system and in what manner?


I will briefly touch on this in the "serious games" essay, but the obvious answer is that there are benefits, but I am not personally interested in exploring them, so I don't have much to say on the subject.

Amor fati wrote:What would happen if a video game was created that was so superior to all others making them redundant? Would this signal the end of video games?


If that game only lasted, say two hours (like most future games), you would still have to find other games to play afterwards. There are already games that are absurdly superior to everything else out there, but I still don't play those games all day long. Variety is the spice of etc.
User avatar
icycalm
Hyperborean
 
Joined: 28 Mar 2006 00:08

Unread postby icycalm » 05 Jan 2017 22:43

Besides, you are already playing the best game ever every moment of your life, and no other game will ever be able to top that since it already exists ;)
User avatar
icycalm
Hyperborean
 
Joined: 28 Mar 2006 00:08

Unread postby Bread » 14 Jan 2017 18:11

Regarding games with higher spatial dimensions, we'll probably find out when Miegakure [ > ] comes out. It would have the advantage of allowing new kinds of challenging puzzles. Or, less optimistically, a novel visual effect. Either way, that's just one possible way higher-dimensional space could work in games.
User avatar
Bread
 
Joined: 28 Nov 2009 03:26
Location: London, UK

Unread postby icycalm » 14 Jan 2017 19:52

I thought he meant it in an internet autist sense, which is why the snarky response. In the mathematical sense, there's not much to say about it. The most you could do with it is indeed a puzzle game, but the puzzle genre is inherently anti-immersive. I plan to explain that in the Not Art review of Portal. Is there a puzzle movie genre? No. In the best of cases you have the occasional puzzle in Indiana Jones; in the worst cases you have Inception. But neither of these movies is completely dominated by puzzles, and no matter how many dimensions they explore, the actual footage is in 3D because humans can't intuitively parse more. So in answer to Amor fati's question, I don't see any advantages to higher-dimensional games, and would indeed actively avoid them unless some miracle happens and a decent one gets made. As for how they would work, I don't know and don't care, but I guess with Miegakure we have an example now, and it's not looking in the least interesting from where I am standing.
User avatar
icycalm
Hyperborean
 
Joined: 28 Mar 2006 00:08

Unread postby icycalm » 14 Jan 2017 19:59

Breadcultist wrote:Or, less optimistically, a novel visual effect.


If you can't see it, it's not visual. Hence the puzzles.
User avatar
icycalm
Hyperborean
 
Joined: 28 Mar 2006 00:08

Unread postby Amor fati » 14 Jan 2017 20:32

Ok, thank you both for your answers. Some more questions:

To what degree should randomness or pseudo-randomness exist in video games?

Are there common traits in the greatest video games that set them apart from all others and allow them to be more readily identified?

Why is art considered less valuable and important compared to science by society at present? Is society correct to do so?
User avatar
Amor fati
 
Joined: 25 Mar 2010 01:36

Unread postby Bread » 14 Jan 2017 23:10

Now I'm interested in the use and abuse of 'puzzles' in art. A puzzle-dominated film would be a mess, right? But an occasional puzzle can enhance a story.

It it ever good for a game, or film or novel, to have absolutely zero puzzles, no mentally-challenging elements, no mysteries?

Could science fiction stories that are about scientists be considered essentially as about characters trying to solve a puzzle? For example, In Greg Egan's Diaspora, the characters transport themselves to a 5D universe, land on a hypersphere planet with an alien ecosystem and try to figure out what's going on. Miegakure's environment seems to be made of tiny separate islands, but couldn't a really imaginative developer could create an integrated higher-D world that's a compelling place to explore?

(When I was a kid I was briefly obsessed with ideas about higher dimensional geometry, so this topic is close to my heart.)
User avatar
Bread
 
Joined: 28 Nov 2009 03:26
Location: London, UK

Unread postby icycalm » 14 Jan 2017 23:15

Amor fati wrote:To what degree should randomness or pseudo-randomness exist in video games?


I don't care to find a formula. I just point out when it's used well and badly in each specific case.

Amor fati wrote:Are there common traits in the greatest video games that set them apart from all others and allow them to be more readily identified?


That's what videogame theory is about. That is literally the point of theory: to identify these traits.

Amor fati wrote:Why is art considered less valuable and important compared to science by society at present? Is society correct to do so?


There's no "society", there are specific groups, and some believe the opposite of what you say. As for the second question, I guess you are asking me for an order of rank of human activities? That's a philosophy question.
User avatar
icycalm
Hyperborean
 
Joined: 28 Mar 2006 00:08

Unread postby icycalm » 14 Jan 2017 23:19

Breadcultist wrote:Now I'm interested in the use and abuse of 'puzzles' in art. A puzzle-dominated film would be a mess, right?


Not as far as you are concerned. Judging from your Steam profile, The Witness is one of your favorite games.

Breadcultist wrote:But an occasional puzzle can enhance a story.


That seems to me an autistic way to put it. The vast majority of stories I am aware of would be ruined by adding to them a puzzle.

Breadcultist wrote:It it ever good for a game, or film or novel, to have absolutely zero puzzles, no mentally-challenging elements, no mysteries?


lol, equating mental challenge and mystery with puzzles.

Breadcultist wrote:Could science fiction stories that are about scientists be considered essentially as about characters trying to solve a puzzle? For example, In Greg Egan's Diaspora, the characters transport themselves to a 5D universe, land on a hypersphere planet with an alien ecosystem and try to figure out what's going on. Miegakure's environment seems to be made of tiny separate islands, but couldn't a really imaginative developer could create an integrated higher-D world that's a compelling place to explore?


I have zero interest in all this shit. Literally zero. Merely reading your words gives me a headache.

Breadcultist wrote:(When I was a kid I was briefly obsessed with ideas about higher dimensional geometry, so this topic is close to my heart.)


I believe you.
User avatar
icycalm
Hyperborean
 
Joined: 28 Mar 2006 00:08

Unread postby icycalm » 17 Jan 2017 07:44

More on what I think about puzzle games:

http://culture.vg/reviews/in-depth/supe ... 4-one.html

I wrote:They are trying to market it as a tactics-action title ("single-player co-op", as all the sites oxymoronically call it, not being able to tell the difference between the player and the avatar, like all subhumans who try to parse modern art), a thinking man's run & gun, but the tools they give you are so crazily overpowered that any problem seems to be solvable immediately by just pulling a couple extra characters out of your ass and just brute-forcing everything. And even if there ARE sections somewhere down the line that have been carefully planned to FORCE you to utilize your absurdly overpowered resources to the max to pass them (which I extremely doubt! it'd take a genius to create situations that fucking REQUIRED thirty fucking characters onscreen at once in a fucking sidescroller!) — guess what. I couldn't give less of a shit because trying to turn a side-view action game into a puzzle game is A DUMB AS FUCK IDEA. The ENTIRE POINT of the side-view action genre is to get away from the abstract shapes and ping pong balls bouncing around of early videogames (which is part of what the "action" means in the genre's name, fyi), and the LAST THING I am looking for in this genre after decades of evolution is to go back to the boring ass puzzle mechanics that Green Beret and the like WERE TRYING TO GET AWAY FROM IN 1985. Hooray for "innovation"! But that's what happens when you are an utter imbecile who was born yesterday and has never played a real game.
User avatar
icycalm
Hyperborean
 
Joined: 28 Mar 2006 00:08

Unread postby Amor fati » 17 Jan 2017 18:46

Thank you again for your answers. Some more questions:

What are your thoughts on augmented reality (AR) games?

What effect will the advent of quantum computing have on video games?

What was or will be the last genre to be created?
User avatar
Amor fati
 
Joined: 25 Mar 2010 01:36

Unread postby icycalm » 17 Jan 2017 19:12

Amor fati wrote:What are your thoughts on augmented reality (AR) games?


Instinctively against them. But then again I don't know much about them, precisely because my instinctive repulsion slows me down from looking for info on them. But the way I understand it, AR includes motion and motion sensing by definition, ergo GO TO > essay on motion sensing.

Amor fati wrote:What effect will the advent of quantum computing have on video games?


From what little I have read about the technology, it won't have a qualitative effect on computing, only a quantitative one: i.e. things will simply run faster. So there won't be any benefit beyond the usual benefits that come with things running faster.

Amor fati wrote:What was or will be the last genre to be created?


The Cinematic Videogame. There will be a full essay on that near the end of the last book.
Last edited by icycalm on 17 Jan 2017 19:16, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
icycalm
Hyperborean
 
Joined: 28 Mar 2006 00:08

Unread postby icycalm » 17 Jan 2017 19:15

By "last genre", by the way, I mean the highest genre. Obviously people will still be able to create genres after that, just like people still churn out improved (or worsened, for that matter) bicycle designs many decades after automobiles were invented.
User avatar
icycalm
Hyperborean
 
Joined: 28 Mar 2006 00:08

Unread postby icycalm » 17 Jan 2017 19:22

There is now a link to this thread from the Read.Me menu option at the top of each page, so you can quickly navigate here from every page of the site.
User avatar
icycalm
Hyperborean
 
Joined: 28 Mar 2006 00:08

Unread postby Amor fati » 02 Feb 2017 13:23

Thank you, one more question at this time:

Why do video games with stylistic visuals age better than those aiming for photorealism? Does this indicate stylistic visuals are aesthetically superior?
User avatar
Amor fati
 
Joined: 25 Mar 2010 01:36

Unread postby icycalm » 02 Feb 2017 15:51

What does "stylistic visuals" mean? People throw these dumb phrases around without pausing for a second to think what they mean, and then they spend their lives wondering why they end up with so many unsolvable problems. All videogame visuals are "stylistic" in some way or other: that's what it means to have a style. A photograph, on the other hand, has no style, at least in the sense that an illustrator would use that term, since none has worked on the image to imbue it with one. Photorealism then is the absence of style, from an artist's perspective, so it should come as no surprise that visuals that have no style do not fare well in the context of a criticism that ranks, basically, style. When we look at man-made visuals we want to see a man-made influence, otherwise we'd just look outside the window. And videogames that aim for that and try to eliminate the artist's influence are just not interesting to us when we are in the mood for an artistic experience. That doesn't mean that low-res Katamari Damashii visuals are superior to high-res stuff like Mirror's Edge. The reason that it's much easier to make a low-res aesthetic that will survive to a high-res one is because it's simply easier to make something good in a lower resolution than in a higher one. It requires less inspiration and less skill, as explained in the Genealogy, all the way down to an "image" with a 1x1 resolution, which is basically -- and can only be -- a solid color, that anyone can make with no talent or training whatsoever. I mean how do you fuck that up? You can't, and conversely an 8K image will be fucked up by everyone but the most talented and dedicated of artists working under conditions of inspiration of the highest rank.
User avatar
icycalm
Hyperborean
 
Joined: 28 Mar 2006 00:08

Unread postby icycalm » 02 Feb 2017 16:11

Moreover, as the resolution rises, aesthetics that worked before no longer do. No one falls in love with shiny, metallic-looking Sonic or Mario at 8K, and these aesthetics become borderline repulsive to us; at the very least they feel "lifeless" because they were not originally conceived with enough detail to fill out an 8K image and make it feel alive. That's why those aesthetics will be remembered at the resolution for which they were created, and why people tend to reference 16-bit sprites even today when they refer to those aesthetics instead of their high-definition versions. And that's why all contemporary Western animation can only be justly described by the word "grotesque": because the talent to create good art at those resolutions simply doesn't exist in the West at the present time.

In a deeper sense, as the resolution rises, your options for stylization diminish due to the uncanny valley effect, and that's why a man in a Sonic suit on the street is impossible to be made to look good; until finally at the level of the universe there is only one "style" remaining that can possibly look good: reality as it is; true "photorealism"; an eternal "image" that admits of no criticism, whether positive or negative, simply because there exists nothing apart from it to compare it to (or anyone capable of making such a comparison, which amounts to the same thing).
User avatar
icycalm
Hyperborean
 
Joined: 28 Mar 2006 00:08

Unread postby Helios » 04 Feb 2017 21:13

I am surprised at how empty the thread is.

1. In terms of pacing what's the best way to play videogames? By pacing I mean things like when to switch to another game, playing in short bursts vs. longer sessions, etc.

2. How the hell did you put up with the fucking jeep section in Far Cry? I can't see how anyone can say it's one of their favorite games after doing that 50 times on Realistic. Or more generally what's the best approach to take when dealing with badly designed aspects of otherwise great games?
Last edited by Helios on 04 Feb 2017 21:38, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Helios
Banned
 
Joined: 04 Feb 2017 16:43

Unread postby icycalm » 04 Feb 2017 21:19

Helios wrote:I am surprised at how empty the thread is.


Maybe it has to do with people reading the OP and not filling the thread with off-topic nonsense, like you did.

Edit out all the off-topic shit from your post and I will respond to it.
User avatar
icycalm
Hyperborean
 
Joined: 28 Mar 2006 00:08

Unread postby icycalm » 04 Feb 2017 21:21

Lots of your questions are on-topic here, however: http://orgyofthewill.net/discuss/viewtopic.php?t=173

But you'll need another subscription for that lol.
User avatar
icycalm
Hyperborean
 
Joined: 28 Mar 2006 00:08

Unread postby icycalm » 04 Feb 2017 21:49

Helios wrote:1. In terms of pacing what's the best way to play videogames? By pacing I mean things like when to switch to another game, playing in short bursts vs. longer sessions, etc.


I don't even know why anyone would be wondering about something like this. Obviously it depends on the person and also a great deal on the genre, e.g. Civ vs. Asteroids, etc. I do have some general habits, but I talk about them when the need arises in individual reviews and essays. I wouldn't know where to begin to assemble all of those fragmented observations and post them here for you, nor do I have enough of an interest on the subject to attempt to formulate a theory of pacing that you seem to want.

Helios wrote:2. How the hell did you put up with the fucking jeep section in Far Cry? I can't see how anyone can say it's one of their favorite games after doing that 50 times on Realistic.


I am assuming you mean Far Cry 2. I've no idea what you mean by "jeep section". The game has vehicles that you use all the time, and they handle great. No complaints there. If there is a specific "jeep section" later in the game, I haven't reached it yet (I only played for a few evenings). But even if there is a horrid "jeep section" later in the game, how would it invalidate the best-ever fun that I had with my first dozen or so hours with the game? How would those hours magically cease to be the most fun I've ever had with a game just because of something that happened after those hours were finished?

Helios wrote:Or more generally what's the best approach to take when dealing with badly designed aspects of otherwise great games?


It depends on the genre, and, usually, also on the specific title involved, so it's a question best left for a genre essay or for each game's individual review.


P.S. Could you please get a nice-looking game-related avatar? It makes the forum easier to read and more pleasant. Thank you, and welcome to Insomnia.
User avatar
icycalm
Hyperborean
 
Joined: 28 Mar 2006 00:08

Next

Return to Theory