Author Topic: Why I hate the term "Permadeath"  (Read 20115 times)

AgingMinotaur

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Re: Why I hate the term "Permadeath"
« Reply #15 on: May 11, 2013, 10:33:36 PM »
Popularity and financial success are poor indicators of quality.
I think that most game developers want their games to be popular and financially successful. Most game devs probably spend a lot of time trying to make their games popular and financially successful.
Of course they do. But that in itself doesn't exclude that some (or most, as YMMV) commercially successful products are crap :P

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Vanguard

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Re: Why I hate the term "Permadeath"
« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2013, 01:33:37 AM »
Jim: excellent post.  Good insight.

Permadeath is a very small feature to exclude something as a roguelike over. It's a smaller feature than tiles.

This is crazy.  So many roguelike mechanics are fundamentally built around permadeath.  They don't make sense without it.  A roguelike with tiles is still the same game.  It looks different, but plays exactly the same.  Allow unlimited saving and loading in most roguelikes and the end result is complete nonsense.  Risk-reward mechanics no longer function - risk is completely negated, leaving only reward.  Item identification and other knowledge-based mechanic stop functioning.  You can chug every potion you find right then and there.  Even if it's a potion of death, there's nothing to worry about, because you can't actually die.

And all of that applies to a hundred other mechanics as well.  Everything changes when you replace permadeath with persistent saves.

Ex

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Re: Why I hate the term "Permadeath"
« Reply #17 on: May 12, 2013, 09:46:14 AM »
Jim: excellent post.  Good insight.

Permadeath is a very small feature to exclude something as a roguelike over. It's a smaller feature than tiles.

This is crazy.  So many roguelike mechanics are fundamentally built around permadeath.  They don't make sense without it.  A roguelike with tiles is still the same game.  It looks different, but plays exactly the same.  Allow unlimited saving and loading in most roguelikes and the end result is complete nonsense.  Risk-reward mechanics no longer function - risk is completely negated, leaving only reward.  Item identification and other knowledge-based mechanic stop functioning.  You can chug every potion you find right then and there.  Even if it's a potion of death, there's nothing to worry about, because you can't actually die.

And all of that applies to a hundred other mechanics as well.  Everything changes when you replace permadeath with persistent saves.
Well, I completely disagree.

Nekoninja

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Re: Why I hate the term "Permadeath"
« Reply #18 on: May 25, 2013, 08:56:07 PM »
I hate the term "permadeath" because it mean "Start over from scratch and learn from your mistake!" What if I died just before I was able to kill the boss at level 666th level and have to start over from level 1 to kick that final boss again.

I like the reincarnation concept where you start over from the last save and not repeat the same mistake that go my character killed before as long it doesn't cost me too much like paying the death tax in RPG currents (gold), stripped of everything or lose something I collected such as weapons and armors.
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guest509

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Re: Why I hate the term "Permadeath"
« Reply #19 on: May 26, 2013, 04:37:38 AM »
Being able to actually lose is a core feature. The only thing that differentiates this genre from the wider RPG genre.

Ex

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Re: Why I hate the term "Permadeath"
« Reply #20 on: May 26, 2013, 05:13:19 PM »
Being able to actually lose is a core feature. The only thing that differentiates this genre from the wider RPG genre.
There are tons of games that aren't roguelikes that use permadeath. I honestly find it really funny that anyone would consider it a core feature, let alone the most important core feature. I bet that if myself and several other people hadn't brought up our dislike for it that no one would think it was any more important than any other feature.

Here's some other core features just to remind everyone:
Random Environment Generation
Turn Based Interaction
Single command set
Free form
Discovery mechanics
Single player
Plenty of content
Complex non-trivial world and object interactions
High ramped difficulty
Monsters are players
Character-based display
Hack and Slash

guest509

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Re: Why I hate the term "Permadeath"
« Reply #21 on: May 26, 2013, 09:04:10 PM »
Nope. Still a core feature. Not a unique feature, arcade games also have it. So do some strategy games, all of them if you don't allow reloading old saves.

st33d

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Re: Why I hate the term "Permadeath"
« Reply #22 on: May 29, 2013, 07:07:59 PM »
Static games require frequent save states to be comfortable to play. I played some stupid ass long level of Hotline Miami last night and I'm in two minds now whether to do their "stamina level" again because I've a lot of compiling to do tonight. It's disrespectful of my time.

Random games, why bother. If the start, middle and end aren't of equal quality then it's the game's fault, not how far in you need to be before it stops being crap.

Holsety

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Re: Why I hate the term "Permadeath"
« Reply #23 on: June 23, 2013, 02:08:05 PM »
Fuck everything. I wrote a post long enough to cover two screens before I just deleted everything. So let's try doing this again, but shorter. The article was confusing enough that I thought I hated the writer, but in truth I agree with him on some things. My mind kept ping-ponging between "he doesn't understand shit, how can he be so dense?" and "fuck me, he understands after all, time to delete 4 paragraphs".

First off you use the Wikipedia definition of permadeath for some incomprehensible reason (not wanting to make horribly offensive statements? what? hard to explain without all the videogame baggage? I wonder why? Could be because it's a videogame term, hmm!).
And you use this wikipedia definition, but it's not appropriate because it's FUCKING WRONG for this context.
Quote
In role-playing video games (RPGs), permanent death (sometimes permadeath or PD) is a situation in which player characters (PCs) die permanently and are removed from the game.[1] … This is in contrast to games in which characters who are killed (or incapacitated) can be restored to life (or full health), often at some minor cost to the character.
That ^ is not what permadeath is about in roguelikes at all, and I'm surprised you could make such an obvious mistake. Permadeath is when the game ends and the save is deleted. DONE.

In the first draft I ranted on and on about you claiming that Tetris has permadeath. Let's put it shorter: it doesn't. Games are played, and then they end. Whether it's short games (Tetris), slightly longer games (Nethack) or long games (Xenogears). The player will reach the game-over or credits screen, and then the game is done.

The writer doesn't "get" why people like/dislike permadeath in singleplayer games, because not having permadeath cancels out your actions having any meaning in the face of player persistance. The article is confusing as fuck, with improper use of the term "permadeath" just about everywhere, but I agree with this statement! Not having permadeath cancels out your actions having any meaning in the face of player persistance!
He claims that this mandates permadeath though;
Quote
[...]you should understand that if you’re dismissing permadeath, you’re dismissing the single-player strategy game altogether.
I'm not sure how to feel about that, because it's not always true.

[this is the only important bit, really. sorry]
I divide games into four categories, personally:

A)Yes, you could grind to ultimate power in a singleplayer RPG like oblivion, quickloading at every setback...
But when you kill the final boss the credits roll all the same. You can choose not to end the game by playing like it's a sandbox game (read: masturbation-type gaming). But whether you end the game at level 1 or 100 is the player's choice; the road he travels. The game that he plays, his way. And that's a freedom that the player should have, probably. This is a modern type of videogame where players are offered a variety of experiences to take in prior to ending the game at their choice.

B)A game like Half-life lets you control fate just like Oblivion, except that here your resources are finite. It's not a sandbox this time around, and the only way to progress is forward. This is exactly the same as above, except that the experience is more tightly controlled by the designer. Also a relatively modern form of gaming.

C)REAL games like Tetris/Pac-man/Touhou/Rogue put you in a situation where not giving any input (or in the case of roguelikes giving a repeated input of one step north, one step south) will have you reach the GAME OVER scenario. The game is actively trying to end the game-state one way, whereas the player is actively trying to reach the other game-over state (ie the credits rolling instead of the game over screen). The oldest form of gaming, and arguable the only true form of videogame.

D)Games where the only progress is forward, barring decisions (if at all possible) by the player to actively move backwards. Examples are MMORPGS and Facebook style games. The game has no ending, no credits will ever roll. The game is over when the player stops playing. Disclaimer: these are not actually games, they're masturbation.

Permadeath works in category C because active participation is needed to avoid the negative game-end state and the objective is the journey from start to either endgame-state. Deleting your save is fine, since it's not about your "character" or the wealth you accumulated in a previous playsession, it's about what you'll DO in THIS play-session.

For games in categories A and B permadeath won't work. They're not DESIGNED from the GROUND UP to AIM towards giving the player a GAME OVER. If you walk in a circle in oblivion nothing happens. You're SUPPOSED to go through the scripted story, all the way to the final instance, and then receive your credit roll. Getting a game over is simply the result of the player allowing himself to get in a situation where that is possible. The goal of such games is to get the player to the end. Everything between start and end is padding with the sole purpose of tricking the player into thinking he had "fun" with it so he doesn't ask for his money back from the people who just wasted hours of his life. You could argue that the hours he "wasted" could be entire replaced by a book or a movie, seeing as how his input was really not necessary, the entire game being about as meaningfull as playing a game of Simon Says, outside of the emotional impact it had on the player. But that's really a different sort of conversation, no?

That roguelikes are a category C game is amazing and probably entirely thanks to procedural generation.
If a roguelike had static terrain it would suck, with or without permadeath. This has been said several times on this forum.
[/this is the only important bit, really. sorry]

Quote
So, when I hear that a game has “permadeath”, I feel like the speaker doesn’t really understand what’s going on there.  Like, no one would say that Tetris has permadeath, and not just because of the theme.  To people, it’s obvious that Tetris with persistence would be pretty silly.  It’s also obvious to most (if a decreasing amount of) developers that adding persistence to multiplayer competitive games is a bad idea.

I hope that this article will push the conversation forward, where we can understand what permadeath is in a more holistic way.  If we do, we can realize a lot of stuff, and make better single-player strategy games than the world has ever seen.
Multiplayer competitive games fall outside of the scope of the entire article. By default they're designed around single play-sessions if they're NOT persistent. If you add persistent elements that impact gameplay to multiplayer games you automatically default on the competitive element.

For all my talk of disliking modern games, I'm suddenly becoming aware that the more deterministic a game is, the less it is a game and more of an exercise in tedium. Would playing Pac-man over and over with the same sequence of inputs not give the same result? Is Pac-man then not a game? I love Touhou, but if I used the same sequence of inputs the result would be identical. Is my enjoyment of the games now less valid? (yes)
Could it be that roguelikes and games that provide randomized fields/challenges are the only true games?
HOW RANDOM DO YOU HAVE TO BE TO ESCAPE DETERMINISM?
FFFFFUCK.
The more unpredictable a category C game is, the closer it is to being a true game? But can it be quantifiiiiiiiieeeeeeeed?
Fuck this, I'm out before I have a nervous breakdown.

Ed: Oh great, I'm not the only one cresting the event horizon. The article's comments section also shows what happens to people when they decide to start deconstructing the very thoughtscape to it's most intimate components.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2013, 02:20:27 PM by Holsety »
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… and it won't stop until we get to the first, unknown ignorance. And after that – well, who knows?

Vanguard

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Re: Why I hate the term "Permadeath"
« Reply #24 on: June 26, 2013, 11:32:45 AM »
I love Touhou, but if I used the same sequence of inputs the result would be identical. Is my enjoyment of the games now less valid? (yes)

Don't these games usually include some randomization in their patterns as well?  Even when they don't, many enemies aim at your exact location, so if at any point in the game you even slightly deviate from repeating your previous set of inputs, you'll get a different result.

I don't see the problem is what I'm saying.

Vanguard

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Re: Why I hate the term "Permadeath"
« Reply #25 on: August 19, 2013, 03:34:44 AM »
Wrong it owns.

guest509

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Re: Why I hate the term "Permadeath"
« Reply #26 on: August 30, 2013, 01:21:28 AM »
Lol I agree Holesty but I'm not so militant.  :-*

Gr3yling

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Re: Why I hate the term "Permadeath"
« Reply #27 on: December 01, 2013, 06:10:08 AM »
It's so strange to me that this isn't the norm anymore.

Hmmm.  It suddenly strikes me that the original Zelda or Dragon Warrior are games that "you couldn't lose", at least by this definition.  And they are pretty fundamental defining in the adventure/RPG genre, wouldn't you say, Vanguard? 

In fact, based on what you are saying, it seems like (console and many computer) RPG's have been "unlose-able" from the beginning.  "Perma-death" seems like an addition to an already existant genre, more than anything else.

Vanguard

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Re: Why I hate the term "Permadeath"
« Reply #28 on: December 01, 2013, 06:43:07 AM »
Hmmm.  It suddenly str ikes me that the original Zelda or Dragon Warrior are games that "you couldn't lose", at least by this definition.  And they are pretty fundamental defining in the adventure/RPG genre, wouldn't you say, Vanguard? 

In fact, based on what you are saying, it seems like (console and many computer) RPG's have been "unlose-able" from the beginning.  "Perma-death" seems like an addition to an already existant genre, more than anything else.

Yeah but I'm talking about games in general, not just RPGs.

And even within the RPG genre we obviously can all see the value in permadeath because otherwise we wouldn't be posting on the roguelike forums.

Gr3yling

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Re: Why I hate the term "Permadeath"
« Reply #29 on: December 01, 2013, 07:06:36 AM »
And even within the RPG genre we obviously can all see the value in permadeath because otherwise we wouldn't be posting on the roguelike forums.

There is value in it, I definitely agree.

But...Do you think that, say, Zelda, or Dragon Quest would be better with its presence?  Just curious.  Because I thought that you were arguing that games today were deviating from the precedent set by those earlier games?

EDIT: I'm certainly open to that argument, incidentally, I'm just curious as to where exactly you would take it.