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The Stupidest Word in Videogames

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Unread postby JoshF » 12 Dec 2008 09:19

"System", probably.
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Unread postby Magnum Apex » 14 Dec 2008 09:56

I was about to type up my whole thought process on how I ended up understanding the uselessness of the word "gameplay." See, if I weren't a game designer, it would've been far easier to digest the article, because I would've only been exposed to the offending word from gamers and videogame publications. It would've been easier to eradicate the word from my vocabulary if the only instances of its use were found in fanboy rants and vague videogame reviews.

However, because I deal with the word every day in different ways, I found myself cringing and struggling every time I heard the word since reading the article, and every time I was about to type it in the game design document. See, the word "gameplay" is extensively used everywhere in the game development workforce to the point where people will get confused if you don't use it. Publishers, Producers and Executive Producers use the words "gameplay concepts" liberally to describe a particular phase in which a level must be completed. To name the systems of a videogame that support game mechanics, they've come up with "gameplay systems." This is probably to differentiate from other possible systems, such as those on the code-side of game development that aren't directly affecting on how the game plays.

For example, a "gameplay system" in the videogame Shadow of the Colossus is the grappling system used to hang on to ledges and colossi fur, whereas there can be a system in the game that is not "gameplay-related," such as whatever system is used draw different Levels of Detail (LODs) of the environments based on how far away they are from the Player's position. Again, the difference between the two would be that one is tied to a game mechanic (grappling), while the other is not (LODs). So, a designer would be responsible with designing the grappling system, while a programmer is responsible for designing the LOD system. This is, of course, just an example of my assumption on how we ended up with these terms.

Let's also consider other uses like "Gameplay Programmer" or "Gameplay Scripter." Most people looking for an industry job will immediately know that the Gameplay Programmer position will not involve programming on the core technology. Then again, why not call that Gameplay Programmer a Game Programmer instead? Is it because any programmer working on any facet of a game, be it core tech or otherwise, is by definition a game programmer?

This is where the issue gets confusing. Game developers have embraced these terms, and in some level understand what they mean when they are used in the workforce more than they would other terms, even if other terms are more appropriate and descriptive. It's not laziness. It's just what they know. For example, I've been having trouble labeling the narrative of a particular chapter in our current project. A narrative of a level (most people call it "gameplay narrative") is a chronological description and breakdown of everything that happens in the chapter, including cutscenes and dialog. Therefore, the first thing in the Narrative is a section called "Cutscene." This tells the cinematics team what they would be expected to deliver for the opening cutscene of the chapter. Then would come, *shudder*, the "Gameplay" section. The cinematic team knows everything that happens in this section is of no concern to them, but of importance to the level designers and scripters. Now, consider a videogame like Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, where cutscenes occur multiple times throughout the playthrough of a single act. When a designer sits down and lays out the narrative of act five, he'll have to constantly switch up between "Cutscene" and "Gameplay" sections so the rest of the team can discern one from the other for development purposes.

Then again, as I'm just now thinking about it more, "Gameplay" could be replaced with "Level Design and Scripting," or "Play," could it not? But I guess my point still stands, in that developers would actually prefer and be more comfortable with the word "Gameplay" in there above anything else. Unfortunately, it's the word that comes to mind first when thinking about these topics I've commented on.

How does one stop an industry-wide bad habit?
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Unread postby mees » 14 Dec 2008 11:07

"One" doesn't lol.
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Unread postby icycalm » 15 Dec 2008 00:56

He doesn't have to stop this practice industry-wide; he just has to stop it in the company he works for, and that's easy to do. All he has to do is convince one person: the boss. Print out the article and this whole thread and give it to him. If he becomes convinced he can send copies to everyone and make the change overnight. If he does not become convinced, well, that would mean that he's not very smart and/or doesn't really care much about videogames (shovelware makers, for example, could hardly be expected to bother with changing any of their practices -- after all, they are only in it for the money). So yeah, what I am saying is that I don't know what kind of developer you work for, but if it's not a decent one then who cares. (And I am not even going to dwell on the practical aspects of replacing gameplay-derivative terms with alternatives, because as I've already said that's the easy part.)

That the above is a perfectly practical solution can be seen also from your MGS4 example. MGS4 is perhaps the most cutscene-heavy game ever, a game in which -- conventional wisdom would have it -- the word gameplay would have been more useful during development than in any other game. And yet Konami managed to develop it just fine without it. So, you know, it's obviously possible to get by with it.

For example, a "gameplay system" in the videogame Shadow of the Colossus is the grappling system used to hang on to ledges and colossi fur, whereas there can be a system in the game that is not "gameplay-related," such as whatever system is used draw different Levels of Detail (LODs) of the environments based on how far away they are from the Player's position. Again, the difference between the two would be that one is tied to a game mechanic (grappling), while the other is not (LODs). So, a designer would be responsible with designing the grappling system, while a programmer is responsible for designing the LOD system. This is, of course, just an example of my assumption on how we ended up with these terms.


With the derivative terms, maybe. But the original term "gameplay" must have come from journalists. I've seen it used as far back as the late 80s, when most games were developed by a handful of people with no design documents whatsoever. They had no use for the spastic-autistic neologisms back then. They didn't even bother writing much down: they just coded the games. So it must have been the journalists.

Look, I really appreciate the rundown you gave us on how things work on the design side. It's certainly interesting, to an extent. But I want to stress that this word is hurting game criticism much more than game design (or much more directly, at least, because bad criticism eventually leads to bad design). We are, after all, discussing a word, and words are and always will be more important to writing than to anything else -- criticism, of course, being far more reliant on writing than design.
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Unread postby icycalm » 23 Jun 2010 22:29

From that blog post I've already linked a couple of times today:

http://www.vigigames.com/?p=1339#comment-270

ChristianHardy wrote:seeing as you’re a pretty big fan of games that are based almost entirely around their gameplay concepts


GAMES BASED ALMOST ENTIRELY AROUND THEIR GAMEPLAY CONCEPTS.

ChristianHardy wrote:Games can go ahead and be "art" if they want to, but only if they don’t forget to include actual gameplay


GAMES THAT DON'T FORGET TO INCLUDE ACTUAL GAMEPLAY.

Does anyone here speak fagotspeak?
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Unread postby Morzas » 24 Jan 2011 07:04

Saw someone copypaste part of this essay on 4chan. People still don't understand it. I've put what I saw of the thread before I stopped reading it on pastebin: http://pastebin.com/raw.php?i=jxae96Zv
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Unread postby icycalm » 25 Jan 2013 01:26

http://oxforddictionaries.com/us/defini ... h/gameplay

Definition of gameplay
noun

the tactical aspects of a computer game, such as its plot and the way it is played, as distinct from the graphics and sound effects.


words cannot express
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Unread postby icycalm » 22 Feb 2013 19:19

People still seem to have a massive problem talking about game videos after all these years and all these explanations. This is the latest in a long line of dumb attempts to overcome it:

http://culture.vg/forum/topic?f=1&p=19571#p19571

Joshua wrote:A few minutes of live footage: http://youtu.be/Cz0plDgpl_Q


"Live" footage, as opposed to "dead" footage I guess.

Why not just simply call it footage and avoid sounding like an idiot? Even "game footage" is a pleonasm, since everyone is already perfectly aware you are talking about a game. The only time you need to differentiate is when the video is cutscene-only, in which case you just simply say "cutscene video" or "cutscene footage" or whatever. And the same thing should work with trailers: you have trailers, and then you have cutscene trailers.

I don't think this issue is that difficult to deal with, people. Am I wrong?
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Unread postby Joshua » 22 Feb 2013 21:01

"Live footage" seemed to make sense when I wrote it lol. Oh well.

You're not wrong at all. But maybe I can help you to understand what's been bothering people like me, i.e., stupid people who are at least smart enough to listen to you but who have a, I don't know, obsessive-compulsive aspect to their personality.

You created an imbalance. You banned the word "gameplay" without banning its companion word "cutscene". Now I hate the word cutscene, not just because it sounds dumb, but because it implies that we're "cutting" away from the "gameplay" to watch a scene. But gameplay doesn't exist, so neither can cutscenes, since even in the midst of "gameplay" we're continuously watching cutscenes reacting in real-time to our button-presses.

It goes without saying that cutscene is still a useful word (for theory/criticism purposes) for designating the part of the game where you're not pressing any buttons for an extended period. (I feel that cinematic, however, is a much better word, since it doesn't sound silly and it's both an adjective and a noun. You can watch a cinematic, yet an entire game can also be called cinematic. So the insights of your theory are in a way "built in" to the word!)

But! We have this specialized word "cutscene" for describing the non-button-pressing section, yet you took away our special word for the button-pressing section! So that's where the imbalance lies.

Insomnia's been getting along just fine without such a specialized word, but Insomnia is the best of the best. So what are the rest of us poor mouth-breathing aspie retards with no imagination supposed to do across the rest of the Internet lol?
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Unread postby icycalm » 22 Feb 2013 23:47

lol good point. Do your best I guess.
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Unread postby icycalm » 22 Feb 2013 23:49

Joshua wrote:But gameplay doesn't exist, so neither can cutscenes, since even in the midst of "gameplay" we're continuously watching cutscenes reacting in real-time to our button-presses.


And props for getting this from the cutscene essay. Now try explaining it to the rest of the retards who are still stuck on the gameplay article.
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Unread postby icycalm » 07 Feb 2014 23:02

Final emphasis is mine:

http://shmups.system11.org/viewtopic.ph ... 36#p989136

n0rtygames wrote:
Cagar wrote:so I could say that any visual sweetness doesn't really swing my thoughts about a shmup in a way or another, it's just the gameplay and balance that matters.



This is such rubbish Cagar :)

Graphics do matter. Yeah okay - you CAN enjoy a game without good graphics. But if a game has good gameplay and good graphics you're gonna enjoy it. You like Crimzon Clover - why? Because its pretty as hell. You keep saying on my stream that I need to add more glow to something

btw:
http://25.media.tumblr.com/44bf18ac50cc ... 1_1280.jpg

When you see new art on my stream, you're always "omg, these graphics!" and yeah I gotta hand it to the art dudes - it's pretty damned nice if I may say so. Point is, I dunno why you're on the "I'm so hardcore I could play with ascii characters biatch" wagon. Nobody really feels that way. Everyone would like good graphics.

I think you've misinterpreted the need for explosions as meaning we dont give a crap about score. If that's the case - I'll upload a video to youtube later on replacing all the graphics in my game with simple single coloured geometric shapes, strip out all of the sounds and graphical effects - make it have single 1 frame explosions that are a circle and no particles at all. Then I'll send you that as your demo build you keep asking for.

The point is that feel is actually more than just graphics you see. You can have a whole bunch of things that feel good using very simplistic graphics. I've praised your mods to TW3 for having this stuff in. Even if you did use single colour shapes - you could still do other stuff like having little hit particles come off when you shoot the enemies that were also little pixelly square things and a cute little "phut" sound as the bullets hit.

One of the biggest things about gaming in any genre where things get competitive - is the synergy between human being, input device and game. The game needs to give you some kinda feedback that your senses can interpret. A sound for hitting something, a crunchier sound when something dies - a nice 'plink!' sound when you pick up a score item. Single sounds played at a time that interrupt each other rather than overlapping so you can "feel" each individual pickup adding more to your score.

These are part of the gameplay - because you as a player are a part of the game. y u no get?
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Unread postby icycalm » 26 Jun 2014 22:18

lololol

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_rover/

Fueled by engaging performances from Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson, the tension-filled The Rover overcomes its narrative faults through sheer watchability.
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Unread postby icycalm » 08 Apr 2015 03:45

https://archive.moe/v/thread/289899649/#289907598

Anonymous wrote:Shut the fuck up all of you . Gameplay sounds like a retarded german term and you know it. Cease and desiat and speak proper English, or to communicate on your level. Speak proper wordspeak. Your wordspeak is talkbad. NEENER NEENER LOOK AT ME POSTSHIT I TALKSPEAK LIKE AN IDIOT AND USE WORDPLAY LIKE GAMEPLSYR HUGHRGH
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Unread postby icycalm » 18 Apr 2015 09:09

The newest Battlefront trailer uses the term "GAME ENGINE FOOTAGE", which is very acceptable.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3BctD4dOMQ

Other acceptable terms would be "in-engine footage" or, shorter still, "play footage", like we use in the News forum.

I wouldn't be surprised if someone at DICE/EA had read my article, otherwise there's no reason they couldn't have used "GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE" like every other company. Or maybe they are so proud of their engine, that this made them subconsciously use a terminology that emphasizes its existence. Either way, I was very pleasantly surprised to see this, and hope it becomes standard one day.

Who am I kidding... it WILL become standard by the time every game developer in the world has read my article. It will even be the no. 1 Google search result for gameplay one day.
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Unread postby icycalm » 29 Apr 2015 15:41

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=821608

PlumCantaloupe wrote:I really loved the game play in this game.


I really loved the game play in this game while playing it.

I really loved playing the game play in this game while playing it.

I really loved game playing the game play in this game while playing its game play.

Anglo-Saxons lol.
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Unread postby icycalm » 01 Jul 2019 23:49

Long time since this thread was bumped, but I think this quote warrants it:

Нанотехнологии wrote:The game's beautiful in its own way: it's not meant to be a "gameplay" game


https://steamcommunity.com/id/kuchumovn ... ed/505230/
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