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Final Fantasy VII Remake The remake of FFVII announced at E3 on June 15th, 2015 -- OUR WHOLE LIVES HAVE BEEN LEADING UP TO THIS MOMENT!!

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Old 03/28/2018   #1
X-SOLDIER
Default The Potential of Disorienting Game Techniques in the FFVII Remake

Today I was randomly reminiscing on the internet and something sparked my memory about old techniques for blocking off players from certain areas by using intentionally strange, or physically impossible loops. In FFVII, the place that comes to mind most immediately is the Sleeping Forest if you try and enter it without obtaining the Lunar Harp, and how you get twisted and looped around to prevent you from passing through. I've been thinking about iterations of this type of technique in modern games, and how they might be used in a lot of ways and places in FFVIIR.

For the Temple of the Ancients, its M.C.Escher-like presentation is something that really feels like it could be nailed very effectively. The ability for doors to exit in the wrong locations or for things to loop around strangely is much easier to achieve with rooms and corridors, as the P.T. Demo and Layers of Fear both utilize the technique of passing through doors or around certain corridors to block off loading areas. Something like that along with strange puzzles would be excellent to see there.

For Cloud's recurring memory problems, it'd be really interesting to see the sort of hallucination techniques that Arkham City employed used on Cloud when he starts to have little lapses in his memory. His fade-to-white flashbacks would be an interesting way to implement transforming things like the Midgar Reactors to the ones in Nibelheim so it helps to underscore the situation directly impacting Cloud's mental state, so as the player, you get a better sense of just how NOT OK Cloud is.

The Sleeping Forest is the only one I can't quite think of a modern example, since it's an unreachable goal that becomes locatable with an item. For things like that, there's the endless staircase in Mario 64 as an older example, and I guess to some degree the flashback scene in Arkham City loosely applies the same technique, but the advantage is that those destinations are also an obscured vanishing point, so they're not QUITE the same. I am curious if anyone knows of any modern games that've employed a technique to achieve something like this.

Overall, especially with the hiring of level designers, I'm really curious if there'll be an attempt to generate some sort of twisting perspective for the player in locations like this in the Remake, and I genuinely hope that there is. If anybody else can think of other game techniques that do things like this or places in the game that might fit using them, I think it'd be a fun concept to chat about during the seemingly ever-present news lul.


Also, maybe if we flesh this out a bit more, it might make for an interesting article? (We could even loop in bits about Jenova's portrayal into that).


EDIT: I did make it into an article after all: https://thelifestream.net/news/final...-ffvii-remake/





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Shademp – on the subject of my seemingly boundless optimism wrote: After Ungoliant had sucked the light from the trees Telperion and Laurelin, she found that there was a third tree but whose light was too potent and immortal for her to absorb. Thusly, Ungoliant left Valinor in tears for she could not absorb the light of the tree named X-SOLDIER.

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Old 03/29/2018   #2
hian
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The forest thing is pretty easy to achieve by simply having a looping map, and using fog to mask the obvious nature of it.
Have the map be a spheroid, use a lot of trees and underbrush, and put a heavy fog in it prevent players from seeing too far ahead.

I'm actually more worried about the temple of the ancients, because impossible geometry I think its going for only really works in 2D
(case in point)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SjWZm2MwqM
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Old 03/29/2018   #3
X-SOLDIER
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They don't all have to just be things like penrose steps that rely explicitly on perspective.



I'd check out Layers of Fear where the impossible geometry is concerned, because the house frequently turns in and around on itself in ways that don't actually fit in real space. So long as you have corridors, there're plenty of ways to implement transitioning through environments in geometrically impossible ways:
• Entering a corridor and emerging from somewhere else it doesn't connect to (invisible portals).
• Entering a corridor, and exiting somewhere else coming out sideways, without even experiencing a shift in gravity or a visual change in direction (another application of portals, but with context-specific gravity).
• Entering a place of an infinite series of right-hand turns that lets you out somewhere different after you turn around (essentially just an elevator trick of loading a new area once the old one is out of view).

All of those are definitely possible in games, impossible with real geometry, and decidedly M.C. Escher-like.






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Shademp – on the subject of my seemingly boundless optimism wrote: After Ungoliant had sucked the light from the trees Telperion and Laurelin, she found that there was a third tree but whose light was too potent and immortal for her to absorb. Thusly, Ungoliant left Valinor in tears for she could not absorb the light of the tree named X-SOLDIER.

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Old 03/29/2018   #4
Ghost X
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How about non-euclidean geometry.
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Old 03/29/2018   #5
hian
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X-SOLDIER wrote: To long as you have corridors, there're plenty of ways to implement transitioning through environments in geometrically impossible ways:
That's the thing though -
The temple of ancient's impossible geometry does't apply to its corridored spaces.
It only really applies to the open space, where the problem thus, also still applies.

The example from the movie Inception is not a demonstration of this working in 3D space, because Inception is not 3D movie.
In fact, it can use the exact same trick as static 2D art, like drawings, to throw the viewers off by clever use of perspective.

This doesn't work when the player can freely rotate the camera in 3D.

I agree that, as long as you have corridors, you can obviously create the illusion of impossible geometry by having looping hallways, or simply triggering teleports of the player from one location to one that obviously cannot be physically connected to it.

The problem though, is that this is not how Temple of The Ancient is structured in the original game. It isn't just a bunch of hallways, and to the extent that it has hallways, those are fairly straight forward as far as I remember.
The primary maze like structure making up the first map is a giant open space.

Now, can you make alternatives to this or change the design? Sure. I am was simply expressing concern for the fact that this is yet another place the remake will probably be very different from the original.
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Old 03/29/2018   #6
Tetsujin
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The temple doesn't really have any impossible geometry, it is pretty convoluted and confusing but there is no MC Escher-esque trickery or weirdness.

Would be interesting if they did go for such a thing in the Remake somehow actually.
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Old 03/29/2018   #7
hian
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Tetsujin wrote: The temple doesn't really have any impossible geometry, it is pretty convoluted and confusing but there is no MC Escher-esque trickery or weirdness.

Would be interesting if they did go for such a thing in the Remake somehow actually.
Sure. I'm speaking in princple, and I think the principle still applies -



Whatever confusion and puzzle element this kind of image invokes, is totally lost when you're in full 3D, and can use the camera manually to gauge your own position relative to where you want to go.
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Old 03/29/2018   #8
X-SOLDIER
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hian wrote:
X-SOLDIER wrote: To long as you have corridors, there're plenty of ways to implement transitioning through environments in geometrically impossible ways:
That's the thing though -
The temple of ancient's impossible geometry does't apply to its corridored spaces.

The example from the movie Inception is not a demonstration of this working in 3D space, because Inception is not 3D movie.
In fact, it can use the exact same trick as static 2D art, like drawings, to throw the viewers off by clever use of perspective.

This doesn't work when the player can freely rotate the camera in 3D.
(I know that Inception's Penrose steps are NOT a functional example, that's exactly why I included the image from when you can see the illusion being broken from a rotation in perspective).

hian wrote: I agree that, as long as you have corridors, you can obviously create the illusion of impossible geometry by having looping hallways, or simply triggering teleports of the player from one location to one that obviously cannot be physically connected to it.

The problem though, is that this is not how Temple of The Ancient is structured in the original game. It isn't just a bunch of hallways, and to the extent that it has hallways, those are fairly straight forward as far as I remember.
The primary maze like structure making up the first map is a giant open space.

Now, can you make alternatives to this or change the design? Sure. I am was simply expressing concern for the fact that this is yet another place the remake will probably be very different from the original.
hian wrote: Sure. I'm speaking in princple, and I think the principle still applies -



Whatever confusion and puzzle element this kind of image invokes, is totally lost when you're in full 3D, and can use the camera manually to gauge your own position relative to where you want to go.
We're probably never going to get the original EXACT layout in 3D, but rigidly adhering to that specific map isn't the point. What matters is the overall look and feel. Speaking in general, what that layout DOES have is a number of overlapping staircases, doorways, and ledges that seem to twist in, over, and around on themselves – which is why I ALSO included the MC Escher drawing that would be totally achievable with the techniques I mentioned.

Because the original design ALSO includes doorways, that means that you can VERY easily utilize tricks with Impossible Geometry here to achieve the portrayal of the twisting, confusing maze, without needing to lock player control of the camera.


tl;dr – The original doesn't actually have ANY impossible geometry. Impossible geometry is a way of providing the same sense of a maze-like entanglement in a game where you have free control over the camera.




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Shademp – on the subject of my seemingly boundless optimism wrote: After Ungoliant had sucked the light from the trees Telperion and Laurelin, she found that there was a third tree but whose light was too potent and immortal for her to absorb. Thusly, Ungoliant left Valinor in tears for she could not absorb the light of the tree named X-SOLDIER.

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Old 03/29/2018   #9
Mr. Ite
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I don’t see how it would be that hard to implement. Make the trees thick and plentiful enough to obscure distant landscape, and procedurally generate them ad infinitum.
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Old 03/29/2018   #10
X-SOLDIER
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I think it's more wondering about how it'd be implemented since I can't think of any actual examples of anyone having done that in modern games to use as a reference (but I feel like there might be).



The original one seems like it's pretty straightforward to do as constantly walking towards a central vanishing point, but given that that forest around it is traversable, I kept thinking about things like wandering off at 90 degrees into the forest and coming across the path again even without turning around, and other things where you have an infinite forward progression, a Pac-Man-like looping horizontal progression, but moving backwards immediately takes you out.




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…Xenomorphaux Pas…



Shademp – on the subject of my seemingly boundless optimism wrote: After Ungoliant had sucked the light from the trees Telperion and Laurelin, she found that there was a third tree but whose light was too potent and immortal for her to absorb. Thusly, Ungoliant left Valinor in tears for she could not absorb the light of the tree named X-SOLDIER.

#TotzCanon


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Old 03/29/2018   #11
Obsidian Fire
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This reminds me of The Stanley Parable and Antichamber. Impossible video game maps should really look at both those games for more inspiration on how to mess with the player's perspective of where they are. Both those games are worth a play-though for that alone.

The Stanley Parable has so many instances where the space you taverse ends up being larger then the space you saw the first time (using pillars that give different impressions of how big the space was depending on what angle you viewed them at was a memorable one). Or changing things right as you went past them so if you turned around it was totally different. Backtracking is almost impossible in that game.

Antichamber plays around with space in similar ways. Several puzzles can only be solved by aiming the viewpoint of the camera in a different direction then you are moving in so that walls "don't exist" or exist in the right places. Other puzzles have things like infinite staircases in both directions or puzzle rooms going to the same place other puzzles can... while the puzzles are on opposite sides of the "map".

I'd say player perspective can be very easily messed with. It's just that the map level design has to be top-notch and really carefully thought out. It also works better with simpler graphics which help hide what's going on. But honestly, most of it is probably thinking about map design in a totally different way then most games use it.
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Old 03/31/2018   #12
Vyzzuvazzadth
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RiME (an excellent game in many ways) also uses an infinite corridor at one point, similar to the ancient forest. Granted, it is a large corridor and not an open forest, but it works the same. You can walk straight forward ad infinitum but as soon as you turn around, you're at the beginning again.

SE could do practically the same for the ancient forest if they design it essentially as a wide corridor with thick plant growth on either side.

Or as X-Soldier suggested, the "map" loops sideways as well in which case it can be an open forest in which you'd literally get lost as long as you don't turn back.
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Old 04/01/2018   #13
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Mario64 has it too, but speedrunners figured out you could hax that by doing a dank reverse turbojump kinda thing, beating the system.
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Old 04/02/2018   #14
X-SOLDIER
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I'll try and take some time to dive through gameplay of the other suggested things here this week, and see if I can't get some formatting together that might make for a serviceable article to spark interest during the news drought. No promises but I'll try and get something together by this weekend, time allowing.



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…Xenomorphaux Pas…



Shademp – on the subject of my seemingly boundless optimism wrote: After Ungoliant had sucked the light from the trees Telperion and Laurelin, she found that there was a third tree but whose light was too potent and immortal for her to absorb. Thusly, Ungoliant left Valinor in tears for she could not absorb the light of the tree named X-SOLDIER.

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Old 04/23/2018   #15
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Got a decent draft together of all this. Pinged Shad, but if any other Staff folk have some time to give it a look through to make sure that it's decent enough for something on the Front Page, it'd be much appreciated since it's been ages since I cobbled something like this together.





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__________________
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…Xenomorphaux Pas…



Shademp – on the subject of my seemingly boundless optimism wrote: After Ungoliant had sucked the light from the trees Telperion and Laurelin, she found that there was a third tree but whose light was too potent and immortal for her to absorb. Thusly, Ungoliant left Valinor in tears for she could not absorb the light of the tree named X-SOLDIER.

#TotzCanon


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