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 Tiny morsel of info on Heavy Rain
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Tiny morsel of info on Heavy Rain - Jun 26, 2008 21:03

David Cage: Spanning The Emotional Range

Cage centered his own talk on emotion in games. He opened his address by screening Quantic Dream' s tech demo The Casting, first shown during E3 2006 to tease the company' s upcoming PS3 game Heavy Rain.

The motion-captured actress' performance shown on the big screen was still impressive, though starting to show its age - Cage was quick to assure the crowd that the real-time 3D animation had been updated since the demo' s creation.

Cage argued that motion capture with substantial animator input, closer to the art of puppeteering, remains much more convincing in envoking emotion and empathy than the more clinical, procedural technology increasingly used in motion capture.

The designer described the range of emotions, beginning with the base, primitive human feelings of fear, excitement, frustration, and aggressiveness - these, he claims, and not the more " sophisticated" emotions, all too frequently serve as the emotional backbone for video games.

The more subtle, social emotions such as love, empathy, joy, sadness, jealousy, anger, and shame are frequently addressed in literature and cinema, Cage pointed out, but are rarely successfully tackled by games. He pointed to Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, Rez, Katamari Damacy, and The Legend of Zelda as a few titles that draw from both ends of the emotional spectrum.

Of course, the gamers and video games journalists attending the event expected to get some exclusive info on the so-far mysterious Heavy Rain, and entreated Cage to offer new details. The designer noted he couldn' t speak in detail on the game, but he did indicate that the game follows in the footsteps of Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy.

Though Cage is intrigued by the possibility of real-time player-to-NPC conversation, the current impracticality of such technology means the game will, like its predecessor, use traditional dialogue trees.

It will be a heavily author-controlled story, eschewing the open world trend in favor of delivering a fuller, more directed, emotional experience.


Any info on Heavy Rain is enough for me! Its good to hear the ambitions of a developer before a game. I reckon more complex emotions are what story based games are missing these days, and what sets them behind films. We' ll have to see if the final game matches the ambition however, something makes me think it' ll be harder than it seems.

Would have been cool to have the real-time AI controlled dialog, which unfortunately doesn' t sound like it' ll make it in.

Anyone play a game called Facade? It was a gaming experiment which let you type what you wanted to say, and allowed AI controlled responses from two other characters which would feel natural and make sense (mostly). It made for a much broader stage to play on than the more traditional dialog trees. Although the overall story arc would end in a few set ways, you never knew what responses you would get along the way.

Check out a couple of videos of how and how not to do it!


How not

You can download it free here.
< Message edited by choupolo -- 26 Jun 08 13:09:01 >

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RE: Tiny morsel of info on Heavy Rain - Jun 26, 2008 22:10
I loved indigo prophecy . The controls were not perfect but the story and narration were awesome , so i would not be surprised if Heavy rain would have an awesome story .

Facade is based on the concept of Natural language processing and is probably the first game to use the concept heavily . We might very well see NLP being used in a lot of games ( especially rpgs ) in the near future . I hope so since i am going to be specializing in NLP for my MS degree ..
< Message edited by 2pac -- 26 Jun 08 18:31:13 >

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RE: Tiny morsel of info on Heavy Rain - Jun 27, 2008 03:18
I played Facade, but I have to say I was a bit disappointed... it was hailed as a huge step forward in natural dialog, but frankly it was just like the Infocom games of old, with the added element of a time limit. It wasn' t bad, mind you, it just wasn' t such a great advancement as I was led to believe.

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RE: Tiny morsel of info on Heavy Rain - Jun 27, 2008 04:15
I know what you mean. You do see the same patterns emerging after a few playthroughs eventually. I guess our complex social interactions are more difficult to simulate than battle routines for example. It served as a nice tech demo at least.

Perhaps the breakthrough in social AI is more likely to come from a robot dog than a videogame?
< Message edited by choupolo -- 26 Jun 08 20:15:58 >

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