Suspension of Disbelief

Over the weekend, I produced a (mostly finished) game called Abandon for the Ludum Dare competition. I've learned a lot from this experience, and will be incorporating scripts, artwork, and concepts from my project into Against the Wall. For instance, large-scale buildings based on real-world architecture.

During the competition I realized that I wasn't experimenting enough with my designs. I was being too practical, thinking too logically when it came to the physical scale and structure of buildings. How would a dome or arch work structurally if it is sticking out of The Wall horizontally? Wouldn't a tower be useless if there is always higher ground? Where would people get the material for all of these buildings?

These questions are a bit similar to the one that I keep getting about how the trees stick out horizontally rather than face the Sun. One answer: Every tree uses the same model at various rotations, in addition to the Sun moving in a circle around the sky. I would have to create a large number of tree model variations AND animate them in order for the trees to face the Sun constantly. Another answer is that they are not really trees.

The gist of what I'm saying is, If I bind myself to a conventional understanding of physics, I may have fewer people questioning the game world but I also limit what I can do there. Remember the size of the facility in Portal 2? That game was set on Earth, and the physics and logistics of the whole complex make no practical sense whatsoever! The game was so cool that people suspended their disbelief and just enjoyed the ride. It would be presumptive of me to suggest that Against the Wall is as cool as Portal 2. However, the underlying premise of my game is as absurd as quantum tunneling devices and sentient robots.

I'll concentrate on making a strange, gigantic world that is fun for people to wander around, above all other considerations.

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4 comments on “Suspension of Disbelief
  1. zikron says:

    The link to Abandon seems to be broken. Until the post is fixed you can find it here: regards to the post, as Morpheus once said "Free your mind." As a graphic designer on certain projects I find myself thinking in terms of how things are in the real world and when I catch myself doing that I have to take a step back and think about what would look better/be more intuitive for the user because that is most important.Looking forward to seeing the strange, gigantic world take form.

  2. Michael says:

    Hi zikron! Thank you correcting me on the link! Not sure what happened there.

    And yes, that is pretty much how I feel. Constraints are a good thing, and I will limit myself in some areas (for example, using quasi-medieval technology for everything) but I cannot keep thinking in terms of Earth physics and familiar reality if I am to create something interesting.
  3. xzile40 says:

    Michael, in one of my past forum posts, you said to my idea (…or an idea I was quoting, responding too… Can not remember :-/)  "it doesn't have to be realistic".  Think about that, and remember that.  After all, you are the one that said that, and I have also quoted that myself for future reference. :-) Nothing in a game has to be realistic, thats what makes games fun!

    • Michael says:

      Yeah! Games should be an escape from reality, rather than rooted in it. "Realism" in video games is rarely fun. At worst, you get GTA IV or "dark and gritty" re-imaginings of franchises. I'd rather experience the silliness of Saints Row the Third, grapple and parachute through Just Cause 2, and the punch logs out of trees in Minecraft. Reality bites, games rock.

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