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Research Project: Realism in Sandbox Gaming

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  • Research Project: Realism in Sandbox Gaming

    Hello.
    My name is Matthew Brown, i am a first year student at Sheffield Hallam University.
    As part of my Critical Analysis project i am researching into how Realism in the Sandbox genre effects gameplay.
    I posted this on a few "popular gaming communities and got alot of immature answers, so i come to you in an act of desperation.

    The question i would like to ask relates to your opinions.

    Out of the following games which do you find most 1) Realistic 2) Fun to play.

    GTA4
    Saints Row 2
    Crackdown

    Things i urge you to consider while answering my question are:

    In terms of realism i mean
    a) how it looks graphically
    b) the physics
    c) the context, meaning the story and background of the game. and/or its justification for its realism.
    d) the compromise developers make between making their game realistic and fun to play.

    I would love to hear your views and will appreciate any input, and hopefully use it in my project.
    Thank you for your time.

  • #2
    Re: Research Project: Realism in Sandbox Gaming

    I seriously doubt you'll get many immature answers here. This community loves to help people out with research projects.

    As far as the three games listed goes, I would have to find that GTA4 is probably the most realistic of the three. For sheer entertainment value, it could be a tossup between any of them as they all do have intriguing and engaging aspects at various points.

    For your specific criteria, I'd break it down as follows:
    -GTA4 has fairly good graphics, as does crackdown. The graphics on SR2 are much more reminiscent of GTA3 and its spinoffs.

    -The physics for each of the games also varies. I'd have to say that the physics in GTA4 are probably the best. Realistic bullet drop, as well as deviation, player physics and movement. SR2 doesnt incorporate physics as much in this sense because the range on firefights is often very short. Crackdown's physics are on par with GTA4, but it has the added element that the player becomes increasingly immune to physics as the game progresses.

    -The context of each game is fairly absurd in its own right, but being the fact that it's a video game marketed toward a specific age demographic (that being adolescent males), it's going to have to follow a high degree of fiction in order to keep the target base entertained. GTA4 poses that crime is everywhere and guns can be found on every streetcorner (not to mention lying in parks). Saints Row 2 has the implication that everyone everywhere is in a gang. Crackdown poses that you are a supersoldier who can power himself up to be a superhuman colossus, and again, violence is everywhere. In all three scenarios, it is a single main character who solves the problems of entire cities. Basing the realism on backstory is going to be very difficult in that regard.

    -As we have seen time and again in the gaming world, realism and fun can coincide, however, this is a market much more seen on PC gaming. All of the games listed for review are primarily console games and are aimed at a target demographic with an extremely short attention span as a hallmark of their age, thus the developers must focus on the "fun factor". In said light, realism can be achieved, as it is very accurately with games like Battlefield Bad Company 2, Ghost Recon, Call of Duty and others, but the common denominator those have is that the single player games are short, focusing on instant multiplayer action repeated over and over and over. More drawn out single player campaigns, such as those seen in the games up for judgment have to make a large sacrifice in the realism department in order to keep the player engaged in the non-constant action, or by giving the player a chance to create their own action. All of the games you listed provide a very good example of this by showing us a primary character who can control any vehicle, handle any weapon and do it all for endless periods of time without rest.

    Concluding: each game has its realistic aspects, but none of them can be viewed as being realistic overall. The developers did make a large compromise between reality and fun, but, as explained, its almost a prerequisite to do so for video games these days if you want them to sell.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Research Project: Realism in Sandbox Gaming

      Going on gta 4 as it's the only game i've played listed.

      a) how it looks graphically
      Very realistic and probably one of the most robust you'll find. The engine has the ability to use 4 video cards of memory in the graphic processing. It also has future tech abilities written in that allows it to take effect when the developers decide to enable it.

      b) the physics
      The physics are quite realistic as far as what's capable in a game. The great thing about physics in the game is you see it all the time but it's so natural you don't really notice it's happening. Some little things that are great examples are when you bump into someone on the street. You see them take the initial hit and the rest of the body counters to keep them from falling over. It's pretty awesome. You see it in slow mo movies for the game the most. There is also car physics you see with hanging bumpers that bounce when you go over bumps. So much realistic physics in this game it's amazing. When you sit and really look for it you see why it's the most expensive game ever made.

      c) the context, meaning the story and background of the game. and/or its justification for its realism.
      Great story here and very american. You got an immigrant (illegal) in the pseudo new york city and getting caught up in bad early 90's type activity. Lots of mob action going on and a lot of old school enforcement/punishment. The guy see's the ugly part of america (niko) while his companions see all these fantastic things like fake boobs, over zealous jewelry as the american dream and ofcourse starting your own business as roman does. As you go through other story lines they are more hollywood but some are freakishly realistic and kinda scary.

      d) the compromise developers make between making their game realistic and fun to play.
      Yep lots of compromise in the name of fun with this one but that's the gta style applied over top what is a very realistic world. Lots of racial slurs, unrealistic activity on the street and blatant ignorance by cops not to mention their all fat and love donuts lol.

      Hope that helps :)


      - -

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Research Project: Realism in Sandbox Gaming

        I haven't played any of the games you listed but I'd just like to say good luck with your project! As Ferris said, we get a fair few people who need to do a survey/research that drop in here so we're used to it. :)
        |TG-Irr| westyfield

        Sig pic by Sonic, avatar by Chalcas. Thanks!
        Irregular since 2007.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Research Project: Realism in Sandbox Gaming

          Im glad to see a good community here, and some very good answers.
          Ferris, i love your point on how it depends on the type of game, this is why we focused on sandbox games, because its supposed to be a type of game that supplies endless amount of fun and re playability, as well as an in depth storyline. As technology advances, games are getting more realistic every year, and developers are under pressure to focus on realistic elements of the game. What we are trying to do is to see how this is affecting games and what lies ahead in the future.

          GTA4 has just scraped through in my view, it is the most expensive media ever RELEASED (there is a game being worked on that has already exceded GTAs cost) and took years to make which is how they were able to go into so much detail, but there is still evidence in where things were rushed. For example there is the abilitie to buy clothes, but there is such a small range to choose from compared to previous games, and the mini games such as darts and bowling are very poorly made.

          Back to ferris point on realism vs fun. I agree they can coincide in mature games, such as Project Reality which i often play. But with these been sandbox style games, which do you think have delivered the most entertaining game that includes fun gameplay throughout and replayability? (not including multiplayer)

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Research Project: Realism in Sandbox Gaming

            Realism comes with fun for me.
            I play ArmA 2 here almost everyday. I love the difficult to make the right shot, the tension, the tactics, the technical communication etc... I have much more fun playing ArmA 2 on TG than TF2.

            Yeah, I know that I didn't helped much, but just to make things clear...

            Edit: sorry, i didn't saw the your post above. But I think you can considerate ArmA 2 a sandbox game on an angle...
            Anyway, sandbox games like GTA shouldn't be like ArmA 2, the "pseudo-realism" of Mafia 2 is enough to me.

            Sapientiam Autem Non Vincit Malitia

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Research Project: Realism in Sandbox Gaming

              Re-installing GTAIV to remember what it was like so I can better answer your question.

              Any specific deadline?
              |TG|Ghost02
              TG Pathfinder



              "I travel alone through the valley of the shadow of death, yet in my heart I carry no fear, for Gods hands will guide me to Truth and Honor."

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Research Project: Realism in Sandbox Gaming

                Its all in by thursday, theres no need to go out of your way :)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Research Project: Realism in Sandbox Gaming

                  I'll reinstall anyway, forgot what a good game it is!

                  Good luck on your paper.
                  |TG|Ghost02
                  TG Pathfinder



                  "I travel alone through the valley of the shadow of death, yet in my heart I carry no fear, for Gods hands will guide me to Truth and Honor."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Research Project: Realism in Sandbox Gaming

                    Hey guys, sorry for leaving you in the blue,
                    finally got round to getting back to you all.
                    We finished the project, and im very happy with the results.
                    Here is a link to our final screencast on youtube:
                    The quality is a pit poor on the youtube, but i promise you, the real submission looked MINT.
                    Thanks for all your contributions,
                    i hope you like it :)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Research Project: Realism in Sandbox Gaming

                      I own GTA4 and blooody love it! It's really good graphics wise, physics wise (forgetting nade jumping and the swingset of death =P) and story wise, i just love it.
                      I also have saints row 2. It looks crap, the missions involve spraying **** everywhere and i hate it to bits.
                      And i never even heard of the other one, so yeah, i love realism.

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