Whats Wrong With Linearity? 27 replies

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Guest

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#1 9 years ago

Seriously, giving a game a lower score because of being linear is almost as stupid as giving a game a lower score because of weapon sounds that don't sound good enough. Seriously, the only time i should ever hear anyone ever bitching about linearity should be if when you play it, your walking down a small hallway, killing enemies straight on, and theirs no objects whatsoever, i mean come on, do you expect dev's to completely put an overly large amount of space in a map, most of which might probably never even be discovered! Alls i need is a simple room, some space for maneuvering, a few objects here and their, some smart AI, and that's a perfectly basic setup right their which is not linear. The term linear practicaly doesn't exist anymore, in all actuality. I mean i've even heard people saying Halo 3's levels are linear, LINEAR, i practicaly couldn't even believe what they were saying, them calling Halo 3's levels linear is like calling an aircraft carrier a raft. It's not just about Halo 3 though, that's just an example of how misused the word "linear" is. Do you consider this linear? h3thestormfp03.th.jpg gfs631662222.th.jpg gfs63166253.th.jpg If you've answered yes to 1 or more of those, you do not deserve to have an opinion on games AT ALL, ANYMORE. Even Doom 3's environments, although consisting of mostly hallways, have branching rooms and some alternative paths, and at many points, very large rooms. Calling Doom 3 linear would be a stretch, calling the original Elder Scrolls, while inside of a dungeon linear, NOW THATS, linear, some of you kids these days have NO IDEA what linear is at all. Linearity is in the past, only on original NES and SNES consoles will you really find true linearity anymore. Some people... And in case your going to use "but, were talking about how missions and objectives in the game are are completed, sob sob cry cry" well, then if you say that's what linearity is... just think about this, you'd be calling CRYSIS, LINEAR... And i've heard people call crysis linear, they deserve to be castrated.




Day_Man

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#2 9 years ago

In the case of games, "linear" means that the levels only consist of get from point A to point B. In that case, Halo 3's levels are linear




Ipse

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14th April 2007

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#3 9 years ago

Linerarity and non-lineratity both get boring after awhile. Its just that linerarity gets boring faster.




Badha1rday

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#4 9 years ago

Doom 3 IS linear. There may be rooms that branch off the main path, but you have to go the same EXACT way every time you play the game.




Guest

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#5 9 years ago

In my mind linearity in gaming is ultimately only having one way to complete the game. Even in the case of Crysis to beat the game you have to fulfill certain criteria. My idea of non-linearity is Morrowind, Oblivion, Far Cry 2, and GTA, Spiderman 2, because you don't even have to beat those games to play them. There could be no goal and the game wouldn't change much. 50% or more of the game is exploration. That is the epitome of non-linearity.

The epitome of linearity would be a game like Super Maro Bros. You literally go in a line to complete the game. Most other games, like Halo or Crysis fall somewhere in between.

Another rule of thumb for me is if there is only one way for the game to end it is linear, to a greater or lesser degree.




Mastershroom VIP Member

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#6 9 years ago

A linear game does not mean you move in a straight line down a narrow hallway the whole time. It means that there is only one path from start to finish. Crysis is an example of a non-linear game, because although you have to end up in a certain place, you have your choice of paths to get there. Halo 3 is a completely linear game. You have to go through the same rooms and hallways to get where you need to go, no matter what.




Serio VIP Member

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#7 9 years ago

I'll describe how I personally see linearity.

Linearity - Past Around the time of Half-Life, Unreal, and Quake, linearity was simple to describe. You go from point A to B, without being confused by alternate routes, and advantages versus disadvantages. Half-Life demonstrated it perfectly, by first showing the areas, and later allowing you to enter. One exception is the level "On The Rails", as most of the time you'd get lost due to the repeating textures and complex systems of tunnels.

Linearity - Present Now, Linearity is better described as going to Point A, with secondary objectives down Path B, C, and D. That means your primary objective is down down Path A, but if you wish to get a 100% completion score, you'll need to head down Path B, C, and D. That means alot of backtracking. Crysis is, as Zamamee stated, a good example of a non-linear game. Most of the time Path B, C, and D have alternate routes such as E, F, and G that leads back to Path A.

So unless you're able to get from Path B to Path E, back to Path A without backtracking, the game is hardly non-linear. Prince of Persia is another example, as you'll have the choice with backtracking, but if you continue on you'll still be able to go back and get to Point A. There really isn't anything wrong with non-linear games. In fact, I'd enjoy it if more games were build like the original Half Life, or similiar. Games where you would only have a single path, and wouldn't get thrown off your objective by distractions. The problem is that with most engines today, the engine itself generates most of the maps, leaving minimal work for the level designers.




Bs|Archaon

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#8 9 years ago

Linearity is fine as long as the game makes up for it in some other way. It could be an engrossing storyline, great gameplay or great graphics, something that makes the game worth playing. A linear game with no good attributes is a boring game, it's that simple.

On the other hand a non-linear game provides a form of challenge and interest that a linear game can't provide. You can play yourself in an average non-linear game for far longer than you can play a good linear game, because even though the game may not be as good objectively there's that extra subjective factor there to keep you playing.

One can be as good as the other, but making a linear game interesting is harder, and that's why they get knocked down in reviews - it's not because they're linear, it's because the games in question are often repetitive and/or boring on top of being linear. A good game is a good game, but a good non-linear game can be truly brilliant in a way that linear games just can't manage.




Guest

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#9 9 years ago
Serio;4822373I'll describe how I personally see linearity. Linearity - Past Around the time of Half-Life, Unreal, and Quake, linearity was simple to describe. You go from point A to B, without being confused by alternate routes, and advantages versus disadvantages. Half-Life demonstrated it perfectly, by first showing the areas, and later allowing you to enter. One exception is the level "On The Rails", as most of the time you'd get lost due to the repeating textures and complex systems of tunnels. Linearity - Present Now, Linearity is better described as going to Point A, with secondary objectives down Path B, C, and D. That means your primary objective is down down Path A, but if you wish to get a 100% completion score, you'll need to head down Path B, C, and D. That means alot of backtracking. Crysis is, as Zamamee stated, a good example of a non-linear game. Most of the time Path B, C, and D have alternate routes such as E, F, and G that leads back to Path A. So unless you're able to get from Path B to Path E, back to Path A without backtracking, the game is hardly non-linear. Prince of Persia is another example, as you'll have the choice with backtracking, but if you continue on you'll still be able to go back and get to Point A. There really isn't anything wrong with non-linear games. In fact, I'd enjoy it if more games were build like the original Half Life, or similiar. Games where you would only have a single path, and wouldn't get thrown off your objective by distractions. The problem is that with most engines today, the engine itself generates most of the maps, leaving minimal work for the level designers.

Well, i for one certainly know would know what true linearity by your thoughts since i'm a rail-shooter freak, but my perception of linearity isn't "if there is only one way for the game to end" or "that there is only one path from start to finish", since both of those conceptions would include way more then half of the entire gaming industry. I see linearity as a game with "challenges that can be completed in a number of different sequences" or challenges that can be approached and completed various different ways, be it with speed, style, or however you play, with the possibility of you being able to overcome that challenge a second time through, a different way (not completely different, even just the smallest difference). Like for instance, in the game Turok, an example of extreme non-linearity would be a part where you come to an outpost on the edge of a cliff. You could approach this multiple ways, lead the herbivores close to the enemy, and fire at them a couple times, causing them to run torward, and trample the enemy and assault them, or mabye go up the ladder to a tower, shoot some raptor eggs and watch them do the work as the aggravated mother kills your enemy's for you, or you could go up in the tower and snipe them with your arrows and use a combination of the two, or yadda yadda yadda. Getting from point A to point B is a common goal in any game, how you get their and by what means of getting their (be it branching paths, different play styles, different weapons used to different effect, manipulation of the environment, and even at what speed, all count) is how linearity should be use'd and is defined.




Junk angel

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#10 9 years ago

I think you have a misconception there. You see non-linearity on the way you can finish a level or an area. These various methods still don't change the fact that you do all this for the simple reason of getting into the outpost. Now if you had the option to complete go around the outpost, or do a number of things first and then return to it - that would be non-linear.

A very good example of a GOOD linear game is half life - both 1 and 2. A few reasons why a) The games tend to drive you forward, without actually railroading you. Even if there are these moments - the extremely apparent - GO DO THIS BECAUSE THE DEVELOPER WANTS YOU TO isn't that present. b) It has a strong linear story - which is the thing that drives you forward c) levels tend to allow variations in solving them. Albeit not much, a certain variation is still present

On the other hand, a non-linear does have a beginning and end like a linear game, but from these only the beginning sharp and focused. You generally have multiple ways to reach the end, bypassing a number of areas altogether. Having multiple game important ways to solve problems. - It's not like in a linear game where solving a problem just get's you forward. These problems tend to have longer term impact. Good examples would be Planescape: torment and I believe the metroid prime games were supposed to be non-linear as well.

No why is PS:T a non-linear game?

a) Generally you can access multiple areas at once, and each of those areas tends to have important instances. Some connected and some not. b) The way you can get party NPC's, the impact it has on the storyline and another extra way of solving quests. c) somtimes if you finish quest b before quest a, you will suddenly have a simpler way of solving quest a - or harder. Depends on the factions involved, in the way you solved the quest etc etc. d) While some railroading is present in some areas, it's not enforced in most places. e) diametrically differet way to solve quests in such a way that they have an impact on the game.

For instance a few linear and nonlinear games

li. Half life series fallout 3 unreal 2 halo series total annihilation jedi academy starcraft most jrpgs

A few non linear ones on the other hand

PS:T Metroid prime Fallout 1|2 Deus ex 1|2

If you notice - in both non-linear as well as linear games you have extremely good games. both linearity and non-linearity can be both awesome and bad. But generally when you get a bad game, it tends to be linear, as making a bad linear railroading plot tends to be far far easier and cheaper than making a bad non-linear plot.