November 2017 Reboot Update Discussion

Discussion in 'System Shock' started by Flatfingers, Nov 7, 2017.

  1. Flatfingers

    Flatfingers New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2016
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    17
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Gender:
    Male
    As the title suggests, this thread is for discussion the video update of the System Shock Reboot.

    What did you think? Anything make you pump your fist in the air and shout, "Yes!" (I heard a couple things like that!)

    Anything make your jaw drop, followed by exclaiming, "What Are You Thinking?!"

    Anything make you stroke your chin thoughtfully and murmur, "Hmmm...."

    To get this party started, here are some thoughts I thunk based on this latest update....

    --------

    Firstly, a big thanks to the team for this update. That it answered some questions and raised others is a feature, not a bug!

    I would like to say that my own preference is for text updates, not video. I don't mind the occasional video, especially when there are new art assets or dynamic behaviors to show off. But I generally do not enjoy being held hostage to the delivery speed of someone's narration; my personal preference (as just one data point) is for text updates.

    That said, on to specifics.

    1. 0451 -- heh. :)

    2. In the art section, was movement done using a controller? Or mouse & keyboard?

    If a controller (for some reason) is being used, will mouse & keyboard control get as much dev/testing time so that this experience feels as polished as the controller experience?

    3. In James Henley's section, I saw "lean" in use. Strongly approve. :D

    4. "...adjustments to layouts in order to support a variety of play styles and approaches to problem-solving."

    This is both gratifying (awareness that supporting multiple play interests is worthwhile) and terrifying (it can be used to justify any amount/degree of changes).

    In what areas do the design team believe the original game failed to sufficiently support multiple play styles and solution approaches, "necessitating" potentially major changes?

    I'm not looking for some reason to object. If there's a plausible reason for why some area of the original game didn't support different ways of dealing with a challenge as much as can be done today, I'm ready to agree. But I'd like a better idea of what those areas are first.

    5. "Our goal has been to ground Citadel Station's levels in believability," and "to couch them in realistic, recognizable contexts taken from the world around us." Would I be correct in thinking this is one of the "modern level design principles" frequently cited by NightDive as a reason why altering the original game's geometry is required?

    I've got some strong concerns about "realism" as a design metric for imaginative computer games. I think "plausibility" is a much more useful (and achievable) yardstick, and that this distinction is not just some semantic nuance.

    But the larger point -- of engaging today's players with the novel (not-real) features of an invented world by more-or-less faithfully rendering certain aesthetic and physics-based characteristics of the real world they know -- is not a bad one altogether. If the selection of recognizable objects and processes is handled thoughtfully, with constant reference to what delivers the core "feel" of the game, then that's just good game design regardless of what year it is.

    So I'm tentatively on board with "believability" as a reason for changing the original System Shock's levels... but I'd like to see and hear more, in more detail, to sign up fully to it. (I mean, for whatever that's worth. :D )

    6. From James's brief mention of "skulking" and environmental manipulation and direct combat as general modes of play, I get the impression that the overall design notion is to apply the old Thief / Mage / Fighter model of play styles to System Shock -- that this model is one of the "modern design principles" NightDive want to apply.

    If that's something like accurate, I'd first note that this trinary model is not exactly a new thing. ;)

    Secondly, I could maybe make an argument in favor of tweaking the gameplay and objects of System Shock to fit better in this model if the deeper intention is to retcon System Shock into looking and feeling and playing more like System Shock 2:

    • "Skulking" = Thief = Navy/Hacker
    • Environmental manipulation = Mage = OSI
    • Direct Combat = Fighter = Marine

    If this is the idea, I don't know if I support it. My gut feeling is that if someone wants to play System Shock 2, they can play System Shock 2 -- the original System Shock had its own unique feel in which these different ways of playing, while supported, weren't treated so distinctively but were more organic. It would be a shame to lose that, IMO. (Also, I need to think some more about how to better describe this viewpoint.)

    Note: I never played any Metroidvania games, so I have no idea whether, rather than Thief/Mage/Fighter or SS2, the actual intention is to try to warp System Shock to feel more Metroidvania-like. If that's the case, I really would appreciate some deeper explanation.

    7. "Agency": this is a magic word. I'm looking forward to future updates where it's spelled out in more detail how NightDive intend to emphasize player agency as a core design tenet in this reboot, and how doing so will change the original.

    8. More seamless "level" transitions: sounds interesting -- how will this work with gating the player through different parts of Citadel Station as the usual means of enforcing plot point motion through the main story?

    9. "I'm not talking about open-world here.": You say that like "open-world" is a dirty word. :D What specifically about open-world games is it that you feel would be inappropriate for a redesign of System Shock?

    --------------

    Overall, a nice, meaty update, with plenty of material to chew on.

    Also, apparently it's suppertime here. :D

    Thanks to the NightDive team!
     
    Andre and Hexchild like this.
  2. Shaun Gupta

    Shaun Gupta Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2016
    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    16
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Gender:
    Male
    I posted this in Discord but I'll go ahead and post my thoughts here as well:

    My feedback about the video! The shatter system is awesome, and overall I like the level layouts and new art. For example, I like the addition of a kid's section, a more robust reception, and the red stripe leading to various areas. I thought the area with plants and robot arms hanging about was really neat also. As far as the video updates themselves, I found your commentary really interesting and insightful (and done in a fun way as well).

    My one remaining constructive criticism (and it's completely subjective, but it is my opinion) is that I still miss a lot of the vibe (garish cyberpunk neon color scheme/geometry/door styles/laser effects etc.) of the original Unity demo. That vibe is definitely a bit more here than the previous UE4 video, so I like the general direction overall and know this is still very early, but some areas still seem quite a departure.

    Part of what's showcased here certainly does feel like Citadel (one example appeared to be a maintenance corridor of some kind....and there was a very early look of the room next to where you wake up in the original), but other rooms (specifically the surgery room with X-Rays on the wall, as one example) feel like they could be in Alien: Isolation or Deus Ex, not the cyberpunk retro-futuristic medical beds of System Shock with the neon and flashing lights.

    That look achieved here in itself isn't a bad thing as those are great games and the things look good in their own right, but I feel like the original Citadel felt like no other space station I'd ever seen before (or since) and that these other looks have been done many, many times before. I'd personally love for the distinctiveness to remain in System Shock.

    Please don't underestimate that retro Cyberpunk is a very rare look, and if you forgo that look, you risk blending in with many other shooters. On the other hand, I know going full neon Cyberpunk is a risk, but I personally think one worth taking, as it distinguishes System Shock from the rest of the crowd and stays true to its roots. When I play a game, part of the appeal is a unique environment I can't get anywhere else, and while this is getting closer, I still feel like enough of it is still missing here to not make it quite feel like the Citadel I remember yet. I get the urge to modernize, but I think in this case, you might be better off sticking with retro and fantastical ideas of technology in the 80's/90's, as that's a lot more interesting to look at even if not strictly believable in my opinion. From my point of view, strictly realistic in a game is not always better if it's not as fun/interesting to look at.

    Also, please take all my comments as my personal own, subjective, and know I'll enjoy the hell out of this no matter what, I'm sure. Just my personal opinions. Also, keep in mind that overall, I think this update looks great. :)
     
    Hexchild and amurshock like this.
  3. Flatfingers

    Flatfingers New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2016
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    17
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Gender:
    Male
    Huh. I don't usually get to say "I agree with every word So-And-So wrote," but...

    ...I agree with every word Shaun wrote above.

    I also noticed that floor stripe; I assume there'll be different colors coded to different functional areas of the station. The grognards will complain you're dumbing down the the exploratory fun of the original, and I'm not sure that criticism is entirely wrong. (Although I'm not sure we know whether these kinds of visual aids were excluded deliberately, left out to hit a release schedule, or just not thought of at the time.) But then there's that "plausibility" thing -- maybe people today expect hospitals to have thick colored lines showing them how to find places. So I think I'll hold my fire on this until I see more of it.

    On the commentary for the video, of course I heard the audio processing. Funny. :cool: But yes, a nice touch.

    And as for the visual aesthetic as shown so far, I agree in full with Shaun that retaining the early cyberpunk vibe of the original System Shock reboot really does have value. It's an appropriate gesture of respect for the original, and it helps this System Shock stay distinctive versus the gritty and "artsy" shooters.

    I don't generally get worked up about art direction until late in production, though. We've been shown some of the art that (I think) Nate Wells has put together, which I've previously described elsewhere as wonderfully evocative of late '50s / early '60s science fiction paperback cover art. Between that and Kevin Manning's work as described in this video, I think we can assume there's a visual design reference available to the reboot team. That's the main thing for right now.

    Further into production, it gets more important that textures and assets clearly deliver on the visual reference. For now, though, I'm happy to think the reboot art team is planning to incorporate more materials that satisfy the spirit of Shaun's suggestions, which will help the new System Shock echo the original while still having its own look that isn't like anything else out there.
     
  4. amurshock

    amurshock Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2016
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Gender:
    Male
    I absolutely agree with Shaun here. It’d be interesting to know what the intentions of Looking Glass were, in regard to stylization. What I’ve seen of the System Shock 3 concept art so far makes me believe that Otherside is most likely aiming at a very stylized approach for the third installment, which in return makes me question Nightdive's collaborative efforts, since they appear to be aiming for realism instead.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2017
  5. Judicator

    Judicator New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2016
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    3
    TL:DR: I think NDS are hard at work on something I think is just related to SS1 and not on a true SS1 remake.

    I appreciate the work NDS put into the last update but if have to be honest I'm far from being impressed.
    I've said it multiple times during the campaign, on reddit and hinted in my comment in the last update and I could elaborate further here but I feel like NDS has chosen a path and they are not going to steer from it.
    Since the beginning they said they wanted to make a SS1, SS2 and Bioshock Hybrid, honestly I couldn't feel worse when I read that or like when I read they can take inspiration from Die hard.

    The thing is this: they want to remake a game which is one of the best ever made, an influential game which shaped the titles we are still playing today and they want this remake to be based on those same titles it has helped to shape.
    Adjustments to layouts, believability, modern level design principles can mean everything and nothing the one problem I see here is the lack of the System Shock style and character: I think they are trading those dinstinctive points for more common, generic, reassuring, usual ones.

    This is nonsense to my eyes.

    A clear example is the footage they made for the update (again I thank NDS for the efforts they've put into the video): they basically abandoned the dinstinctive look of SS1 for a seen-many-times generic Sci-Fi look, the freeze and shatter mechanic (BS1) doesn't belong to SS1 but they apparently want it in the game.
    You know what?
    Be it.
    This is not my game, not my vision, and nothing that even resembles SS1 anymore based on what we've seen.
    If they want to turn SS1 into a one of the many generic shooter with pseudo multi approach to problem solving, hey, not my concern anymore but System Shock was none of this, quite the opposite.

    Many of us have raised these concerns but they appear to remain unheard.

    And that's it, honestly, as an old gamer and long time System Shock lover and purist I feel sad, hurt, deeply.

    Again I have respect for the people at NDS and for their work and I think we have just different visions on what this game should be, right, wrong doesn't matter anymore to me.
    Since I've seen those new concepts my doubts and fears seem to be confirmed and i know that System Shock and the Citadel Station as it was, as I remember it are not going to come back.
     
  6. Flatfingers

    Flatfingers New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2016
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    17
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Gender:
    Male
    Judicator, if I'm being honest, I could have written any number of your sentences myself. (In fact, I pretty much have. In several places. Repeatedly.)

    If I had to try to boil it down, I might say something like, "If the original System Shock was so great that you want today's player's to be able to enjoy it, why are you changing anything beyond the graphics and controls? How is it System Shock any more if you alter it so much that it's unrecognizable?"

    I get the impression that some fans of System Shock 2 and BioShock (and console stuff in the "Metroidvania" style, whatever that is), once they had the System Shock license, simply decided that the original game would be better -- and perhaps more commercially successful -- if it were changed to look/play/feel more like those games, because they like those games. I certainly could be wrong about that, but it's a theory that explains what's been said. (And what hasn't been said.) If that's the belief motivating this reboot, no perspectives from anyone since then have had any impact on that belief.

    But having said all that, it is what it is. We're not going to get original System Shock with modern graphics and controls. NightDive are making a new game inspired by System Shock. I can stay grumpy about that, or I can let go of what I can't control and try instead to offer constructive thoughts regarding this new game, dealing with it on its own merits (whatever those are revealed to be).

    I'm choosing the latter option. But that's me. If you're out, I can respect that.
     
  7. Judicator

    Judicator New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2016
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    3
    And I respect your opinions and your attitude and I think that it's good that you keep providing constructive criticism.
    But, you know, we kept repeating the same stuff over and over since the KS campaign and every time, after every interview and every update we are at it again, always beating the same dead horse. It just seems that they are carefully avoiding, surgically cutting off, what made System Shock the game it is.
    And I want to state it clearly: I'm not complaining about the people involved in the development: I'm sure they are all professionals and nice people, I'm aiming my gun at what those professionals are doing because of the management or something else, who knows.

    I can't help but ask myself: - What's the purpose of this? Is it right/worth it what I am doing?
    Because it may well be the case that it's them being right here. I mean maybe following their line of development could be really commercially successful.
    But we know good that a commercial success isn't necessarily a good game and vice versa.

    A completely different matter is whether there are other ways to achieve commercial success, ways that are more interesting, innovative and faithful to the spirit of the original game.
    But I'm stating the obvious here.

    And that gets me back to my post: what should I do? Keep speaking my mind providing criticism knowing that my vision is hardly going to match theirs or should I just passively accept it well knowing that my contribute would be marginal/useless?
    I don't know.
     
    Flatfingers likes this.
  8. Psi-Hacker

    Psi-Hacker New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2016
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    3
    What I'm looking for, to consider this an actual remake instead of some pale imitation of the original is things like are the levels recognisable, are the weapons the same, is the plot largely the same etc. I expect to have to navigate retractable ledges, get floated around by certain tiles, push buttons on keypads, wire up circuits and the like. I expect to spend half my time running scared from Shodan's creations and being thoroughly creeped out by the atmosphere. I expect to have software and lights and cool skates that boost my speed.

    I don't expect an exact replica of System Shock because, well, that was a long time ago and the world's moved on since then. I'm also not fussed if cyberspace is replaced by something that isn't designed for a joystick or gamepad, largely because that's one of the things that didn't work for me in the original.

    There are things that bother me about what we've seen so far. I agree with people who say that they haven't got the look and feel of the original yet, however it's still early days for that. I am worried that the resulting changes will be too great and I'll barely be able to recognise the game, but that's just something to keep an eye on.

    However, I'm not willing to go as far as saying that because it's "not System Shock", it shouldn't be included. I think that altering the game play has the potential to really add to the original game, rather than spoiling it and I'm interested to see what Nightdive Studios do with it. There are several levels of 'moving away from the original' that they can currently go through without me thinking that it's not really System Shock any more and that I've been ripped off.
     
    Flatfingers likes this.
  9. Flatfingers

    Flatfingers New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2016
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    17
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Gender:
    Male
    We discussed some of this in the "Progress so far" thread -- if you haven't read it, it's got some comments you might find interesting (including from Jason Fader). The ideas there might be worth poking at some more.

    For this thread, I'm curious whether after watching the video update you felt more OK about the direction NightDive seem to be taking their System Shock reboot, or if it left you more concerned that their reboot may not meet your hopes and expectations.

    I'd also be interested in knowing which of the three groups Jason mentioned you consider yourself most aligned with:

    • Originalist: played original System Shock, loved it, would enjoy updated graphics but the gameplay/levels/story don't need changing
    • Fan of ImSims: enjoyed BioShock and new Deus Ex and Dishonored and Prey, heard SS was great, want to play an updated version of it
    • General gamer: play lots of different games, big fan of NightDive's work bringing back games, want to support them by trying their ImSim game

    Understanding your expectations might help clarify how your impression of the November video update was either satisfying to you or not.
     
  10. amurshock

    amurshock Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2016
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Gender:
    Male
    Let's not forget here that System Shock is, for the lack of a better word, a product of its time. Even though I'm still a bit skeptical and share many of the views Flatfingers and Judicator have laid out here, I tend to support the approach Nightdive is taking.

    - The level size and design, the sound, the amount and variety of enemies and other attributes of the original System Shock were hugely impacted by the limitations of computing hardware back in the early 90s. The game was basically designed around these limitations.

    - The end result of a project always differs from the original vision and this is especially apparent in the gaming space. That's why I'm glad NDS consulted Paul and Warren (among others) in order to get a sense of what the original vision of the game was.

    As a result of hardware limitations and time / money / quality constraints, System Shock turned out to be what it is today. But I'm 100% sure (and I'd love to hear the former Looking Glass guys elaborate on that) it's not an exact representation of what Looking Glass envisioned for the game. Could Nightdive just reproduce the original game? Sure they could. But should they? As I said a few times before, the original game doesn't go anywhere.

    While we will never be able to experience what the original unaltered vision of the game was, NDS has a chance to undo some of the design decisions that were made simply because the developers had no other choice.

    NDS is extracting the timeless elements and bringing them in line with the original vision and their own interpretation of the Shock universe. Sounds good to me.

    And yes, I was really hyped about the idea of a straightforward remake.

    But from a game design standpoint the current approach makes a lot of sense. I‘d hate to see these guys come to realize in the middle of development, that the game they‘re making has already been made before and probably won‘t attract an audience much larger than the longtime System Shock fan.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017
  11. Psi-Hacker

    Psi-Hacker New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2016
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Well, a large part of it would be I missed the original when it came out, and started looking to play it relatively recently because I had enjoyed SS2 so much. Yes, it's a good game, but would I have touched it if not for it's sequel? Umm... Probably not, actually. The original experience was enjoyable but not impressive, and I therefore don't have any real attachment to the idea of keeping it unchanged.

    Actually, what I've heard about the re-make so far strikes me as an improvement on the original. I was hoping the remake would being the game up to date. The things I'm hearing about being changed are things I wasn't too fond of to begin with so I'm not awfully upset about them. I don't think it's actually possible to experience the game in the way that people who played it when it came out would have done. People come at it with different expectations and would find the things that hard core fans of the original loved frustrating and poorly designed. I can understand why developers would want to change the game to avoid that.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017
  12. Flatfingers

    Flatfingers New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2016
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    17
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Gender:
    Male
    Thanks! This is good stuff, and I hope more people will speak up.

    Personally -- and I'm sure this will come as a great shock :D -- I'm an unrepentant originalist. Not, as I've said before, because I've got nostalgia goggles stapled to my head; there are parts of System Shock that I don't think worked as well as they might have. It's because despite some individual quirks, the whole package of the original System Shock worked as a one-of-a-kind play experience to an extraordinary degree. That, and not any one particular feature, is what makes System Shock a gameplay experience that was utterly unique in its day and a key inspiration to virtually every immersive simulation game that followed it.

    Because I see System Shock as a whole game whose feel depends on the combination of its particular features, when you start fiddling with any of those features, or removing them, or adding new features that alter the play experience, you start to lose the defining spirit of the game -- the very reason we are still talking about System Shock today.

    To say it again: If you (generic "you") think System Shock was so great that you want to bring it back to today's gamers, why would you change anything beyond the two things that everyone agrees need to be updated (graphics and controls)? Why wouldn't your goal instead be to faithfully render in the new version as much as possible of the original's mechanics and dynamics and aesthetics?

    I don't hold this view because I want to play that System Shock again. I can already do that. It's because the original was so phenomenal that I want today's gamers to be able to have as close to the same experience of playing System Shock that I had -- but the more it's changed, the less the new game will be capable of helping today's gamers understand why I and others rave about the original. I can't help but feel that's a needlessly lost opportunity, and be a bit disappointed.

    The reboot may be an excellent game. I'm hoping that's the case, and I'm sincerely interested in supporting NightDive in whatever small way I can to accomplish that. I'll always wonder "what might have been?" but that won't stop me from wishing the reboot team the best in making the inspired-by-System-Shock game they want to make.

    Whatever that is. ;)

    Which brings me to something I've been wanting to ask my fellow forum members who are cool with tweaking the original: what, specifically, would you change, and why?

    There've been a number of comments about "limitations" and things folks weren't fond of... but what are those things? For example, regarding enemies: is the number of enemy types in original System Shock really lower than the number of enemy types in Dishonored? or Prey? I don't think so; I think today's ImSims may actually have fewer enemy types than System Shock, and that System Shock's enemies actually had quite a good amount of variety -- but I'm interested in why people have this perception that they were limited by 1990s tech. I'd certainly agree that the tactical AI was pretty rudimentary (and that's being generous)... but what's the argument for why that was a Bad Thing that can't be permitted to survive in the reboot?

    So what are these flaws? And how can they be changed without breaking the generally coherent combination of them that was (IMO) what gave the original game its distinctive flavor?

    I'll start: 1) I never found the puzzles engaging; they were more trial-and-error blockers that interrupted exploration than minigames requiring and rewarding cleverness. I think those could be replaced by some consistent form of hacking puzzle that better reflects the Citadel Station aesthetic as well as helping to deliver story. A more integrated puzzle format would strengthen the feeling of Citadel Station as a working place, which was cited in the November update video as a NightDive goal.

    2) I'd retain the difficulty level settings from the original game but find many more opportunities to apply those settings to gameplay. I've already proposed this crazy idea :D , so I won't belabor it further here. Again, this set of changes would actually intensify a core architectural design feature of the original game.

    3) Cyberspace. Here, I think we do have a feature that was a product of the early 1990s. I don't think it was "bad," exactly; it was an entirely reasonable attempt to render a kind of vision of "dynamic code," as though you'd been transported Tron-style into the machine. But honestly, I turned that difficulty slider to "1" just to get through the cyberspace parts as quickly as possible so I could get back to exploring the physical station. If any part of System Shock could tolerate a massive overhaul, I'd say cyberspace qualifies. What would a vision of being "inside the computer" look like today, and how could the look and dynamics of a modern cyberspace do a better job of delivering the "feel" of System Shock?

    So what other things (again, specifically) of the original System Shock do you consider broken or unacceptable by today's expectations (and what are those expectations?); and how would you address these defects in a way that amplifies what was great about the original game rather than undercutting it?
     
    Judicator likes this.
  13. Judicator

    Judicator New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2016
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Let me clarify that I'm not against the inclusion of different mechanics into the game but that freeze&shatter mechanic reminds me too much of Bioshock a game with a good story, good setting and art direction but a gameplay with basically minimal/no tradeoff regarding the balance between weapons, plasmids and perks, and that clearly impacted the gameplay.
    I don't want that and other things of BS that really rub me the wrong way.
    Bioshock 1 clearly targeted casual gamers.

    I kind of see myself not falling in any of those.
    I could be an originalist but with an open mind to improvements in the graphics, level design, mechanics, gameplay.
    The key word here is IMPROVEMENTS followed then by additions carefully designed to coherently fit in the original game.
    After watching the video update I felt like they are aiming at a good quality as regards the graphics but, always based on what we've seen, they are steering too much from the original.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2017
  14. Judicator

    Judicator New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2016
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    3
    TLDR: I don't think System Shock need to be radically changed. I think the original game as it is must be used as a base to expand upon to achieve greater complexity.
    As I've already said I'm open to changes but those need to fit in the original game expanding it not replacing the existing content, so I think I'm on the same page of Flatfingers.


    I'd like to say that System Shock is, yes, a product of its time but there's a big thing to take in consideration here: System Shock was one of the best, one of the most technically advanced and one of the best looking game of its time.

    So what would I change?

    Level design: Many modern gamers may find intricate and difficult to navigate the original game's levels (play the original Wolfenstein 3D and Spear of destiny then tell me) but I prefer that over the modern tendency of level design where you are basically in a very nice looking corridor. I'd like to have the same levels but larger, more complex, expanded, much more rooms with similar layout of the existing levels, with many ventilation tunnels, maintenance areas/corridors and secrets.
    One of the good things of System shock is the non linearity: you can basically change level as soon as you find an elevator, many modern games are still much simpler than that.

    Cyberspace: I like the the cyberspace and I would like a bigger, more intricate place as Shodan's turf. Let's point out that CS is an astraction of the network so it could have any shape but honestly I like the original.

    Plot: The plot could be expanded, here we are again: not replaced entirely but expanded by adding more missions and making it more complex and difficult.

    Puzzles: I liked the puzzles, I even like more more of them, more variety and more complex ones. Don't even think to stuff like the flowing water and the pipes, no, period.
    What could be added could be physics puzzles: SS1 has been one of the first games to have a rudimentary physics emulation (throw stuff, drop stuff, bodies had inertia). More platform puzzles also.

    Difficulty: I'd like to keep the range of difficulty settings of the original so that everyone could shape the game according to his/her tastes, needs.
    The game at the hardest difficulty setting has to be completed with a time limit of 7 hours. Achieving that in the first run is hard, very hard if you want to listen carefully to all the logs and find all the secret areas and try all the weapons.
    Today's games are easily shorter: 4-6 hours.

    Broken things: The only things I can think of as broken in the game are those unnecessarily complicated or pointless like the infinite crouching/leaning/head angle states, the two and half meters arms, the difficulty of the controls, which by the way I love and still think are great addition and innovation.
     
  15. Psi-Hacker

    Psi-Hacker New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2016
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    3
    OK, so the flaws in System Shock:

    Cyberspace. If they want to throw out the way cyberspace was done and replace it entirely, then as far as I'm concerned so much the better.
    Then, I'm not saying that the environmental puzzles need to be removed entirely, but having sequences of easy to miss jumps where it takes a minute or two minimum to get back to the starting point each time you miss can be a little frustrating. Particularly if you aren't good with those sorts of puzzles.

    Also, having some means of recording important information as you find it, such as photos or a log book, would really help deal with situations where you end up having to run round half the station in order to get a combination you need.

    As for expectations, well, I think that the worst culprit has already been taken care of. People expect the interface help them rather than be an obstacle. This is pretty much the reason why I say that the only reason I was willing to play the original SS was that I enjoyed the sequel. A game where you have to click on some part of the UI to look up or down while being attacked by enemies? Many people today wouldn't touch that with a barge pole.

    Again, there is, rightly or wrongly, an expectation for environments to be easy to navigate. Making the SS levels easy to navigate would ruin them, but those environmental puzzles I mentioned? Those are the kind of thing that would make people abandon the game in frustration, so if they were just slightly easier to get past, that could be a real improvement.

    I get what you mean about Bioshock, but I think it's too early to judge how they affect game play.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2017
  16. Replicator

    Replicator New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2017
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Gender:
    Male
    as Psi has stated, i played SS2 before SS1 waay back in 2001 and it is my all time favorite game. Its been a fairly long time since i last played through any game since but maybe 10 years ago i downloaded the orignial SS and just couldnt get over the clunkiness of the interface. it was completely unexpected and pulled me out of the experience and i never finished the game. Later an enhanced version had come out with better controls and by the time i had found it, behold! NDS released a playable demo of a reboot to the original game.
    For as short a time i played the original, that demo was not only instantly recognizable as system shock 1, but had a very unique art style which updated the visuals, whilst also paying homage to the original. I think it was a mistake to abandon this art direction in favor of "cutting edge" graphics and I cant see them changing much from what we have now seen. It would be another waste of resources and would mean that the project would be unfinished, or worse, rushed.
    The pacing of the first game was completely different due to its controls and i can see why levels would have to be updated to fit the modern control scheme. However, i dont think the levels needed a complete redesign as to make them pretty much unrecognizable. Modest additions/modification to original content would may have been more acceptable, and more efficient, to impose "believability". After all, 20 years of play testing with a fairly large sample group could give valuable feedback on what worked and didnt work in the original as far as gameplay and level design.
    I have to agree that cyberspace in SS1 was not done well (it was here that i stopped playing the original game) and anything would be an improvement in its place IMO. For me, you dont have to keep the original music but definitely keep the sound design.

    So what now?
    As soon as i started to think of this as a reboot and not a remake, its easier to understand what NDS wants to accomplish. Ive accepted the changes that have been made, and we know that NDS have been talking with former members of LG. If this is in fact what the original vision for the game was then they should listen to their feedback if ours is not considered.
    irregardless, It will be hard for them to satisfy everyone, and its a tall order to fulfill. Hopefully they go the way of Denis Villeneuve's Blade runner 2049, favoring the experience over current trends
     
    amurshock likes this.

Share This Page