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I'm wondering if there's been thought of collecting information of how players play and the gameplay choices made.

It'd obviously need to be opt-in, but I'd think there'd be many willing to share the info and would think the info to be useful.

A small package automatically sent when saving the game, or something like that.

 

Like, if there's this awesome quest that's only available if you pick this one companion, but it'd turn out 97% of players don't

pick the said companion and 57% don't even talk to him. Maybe he's in non-intuitive position or has an ugly nose, the data

wouldn't tell that, but it'd tell the raw numbers of very few players picking the character.

 

Then later, if there's this forum questionnaire, the said quest and companion would score very highly, nearly everybody

having had the companion and done the quest. Because majority of forum dwellers would have replayed and consulted 

a walkthrough, found the elusive companion and done the awesome quest and liked it.

 

Or if it turns out 33% of players abandon the game when getting a item strip and being hit with pox,

or when having to do some long quest in a long, long depressive dungeon. Or for whatever reason.

 

I'd guess stuff like that would be valuable data when designing the next game.

I'm sure there's plenty of feedback from testers and beta-testers, but they're unlikely to just give up halfway for example.

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It would be more interesting as some general data for the community as a whole. As for the developer. Nah. Not on design.

 

After all assembling this information lead to some stupid publisher\dev descicions in the past. Just because a majority doesn't do y, doesn't mean you shouldn't still be supporting y.

 

It may help as an indication of things that weren't done well, but in these cases I imagine direct player feedback is more important.

Edited by C2B
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I would personally agree with C2B, this shouldn't play a part in design decisions, I want to play the game that Obsidian made not their customers. After all if the scheme is opt out then they will not be collecting reliable information, and just because a majority likes certain features that does not mean they are the correct ones, thus the cancerous proliferation of romances and such degenerate content.

Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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I might be wrong about this but I swear that one of the Bioware Videos for Dragon Age Inquisition had a segment where the designers were tracking the paths taken by various players on a specific map and plotting how frequent various places were visited.  The idea was to use the information as feedback for encounter, treasure, side quest, and npc placements.  Assuming I didn't just dream this up in a merlot induced stupor, I think it's a fantastic idea in general.  If the thought of getting this information from game players is worrisome, then simply accumulate the information from the in-house designers.  Just exclude the  designer of that specific are. 

 

Acquiring the information from gamers during an alpha game test would still allow that information to be incorporated.

Edited by kgambit
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I might be wrong about this but I swear that one of the Bioware Videos for Dragon Age Inquisition had a segment where the designers were tracking the paths taken by various players on a specific map and plotting how frequent various places were visited.  

 

Now that you say it, there was something much like that on Portal's audio commentary.

But I'm sure that was with a dedicated alpha test player, someone who knows he's being watched and someone

who's not going to give up on a quest or the game.

 

And I'm not actually advocating designing a game based on majority vote, or that whatever majority picks is the right choice.

But I do think knowing what the majority (not just the majority of the vocal minority) thinks and chooses is something that could be valuable info for the developers.

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I might be wrong about this but I swear that one of the Bioware Videos for Dragon Age Inquisition had a segment where the designers were tracking the paths taken by various players on a specific map and plotting how frequent various places were visited. The idea was to use the information as feedback for encounter, treasure, side quest, and npc placements. Assuming I didn't just dream this up in a merlot induced stupor, I think it's a fantastic idea in general. If the thought of getting this information from game players is worrisome, then simply accumulate the information from the in-house designers. Just exclude the designer of that specific are.

 

Acquiring the information from gamers during an alpha game test would still allow that information to be incorporated.

They did this before as well in their games. Which among other things led to cuts. And if anything using it for placement and such can ruin creativity, lessen optional content and make things predictable.

 

Not saying that Obsidian couldn't control themselves. But, considering such data is what publishers do. And even outside of gaming this can lead to a suboptimal solution.

Edited by C2B
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I might be wrong about this but I swear that one of the Bioware Videos for Dragon Age Inquisition had a segment where the designers were tracking the paths taken by various players on a specific map and plotting how frequent various places were visited.  

 

Now that you say it, there was something much like that on Portal's audio commentary.

But I'm sure that was with a dedicated alpha test player, someone who knows he's being watched and someone

who's not going to give up on a quest or the game.

 

And I'm not actually advocating designing a game based on majority vote, or that whatever majority picks is the right choice.

But I do think knowing what the majority (not just the majority of the vocal minority) thinks and chooses is something that could be valuable info for the developers.

 

 

I remember seeing a "heat" map that showed what areas had been visited, sort of like seeing an infrared heat signature with colors from blue to red.  I thought the reference was made that they had tracked multiple players thru the area.  Again I might not be remembering this right.  If I am, it was clear that the players had pretty much all followed the same track with a few deviations along the way.    I thought it was a really ingenious way to get input back from testers.

 

You might have a better memory on this than me.  :)

 

I agree about not designing by majority vote.  Bad plan imho. 

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They did this before as well in their games. Which among other things led to cuts. And if anything using it for placement and such can ruin creativity, lessen optional content and make things predictable.

 

 

I can see the concern if that is what happened.  I was viewing it from the aspect of using that information to move things off the beaten path and encourage exploration as opposed to making them all just one step off the most frequently travelled path.  Guess it depends on how you see the process working.  :)

Edited by kgambit
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The one area I can see increased feedback as working is in features that should have been implemented originally, such as stashes or homebases for games where massive amounts of loot and quest items are available, but most of these problems are aired quite openly and solved with alacrity.

Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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Doesn't that end up taking away from the value of adventuring in general?  If all the good loot exists only along a beaten path, then a large part of the reward system is lacking.

I may be old-fashioned, but I personally don't care what 70% of players who rush through a game have done or will do-- and I don't like the thought of game designers attempting to reduce or restrict their creative art to a formula. 

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While my knee-jerk reaction is to agree with Sensuki, I can actually see some merit to this if used properly.  Perhaps a quest, plot twist or character that is supposed to be hidden to all but the most intrepid explorers has an unintended "tell" in the way the quest line originates that stands out to the experienced player this game is geared towards.  Now instead of a cool reward of sorts for the few it's a quest line everyone seems to be doing.  Conversely what if a support quest line for the main story is ignored by all but a few?  A tool like the one mentioned would allow Obsidian to review such scenarios and decide if they should make some type of change.  A tool of this sort and the two example situations would probably be best handled during the alpha/beta testing phases but could have a use post launch.  Post launch such a system could be used to track frequency of use for each companion and quest completion rates.  Not that this should be used to limit creativity or development of a wide ranges of companions/quests/options it would give Obsidian the chance to ask specific questions to the community about why the things that are unexpectedly popular/unpopular ended up so.  

 

My hope would be that rather than being used to limit the range of options and streamline a game a tool like that could be used to gain greater insight into players and make those niche quests/characters more prevalent.  Options and choice are good, especially if they add replay value.  If that can come about from a tool that allows the devs better insight into what drew/repelled gamers and why, especially when they were trying to do the opposite I would generally be in favor of it, at least in principle.  

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The day Microsoft makes a product that doesn't suck is the day they make a vacuum cleaner.

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  • 2 months later...

Then they can use this data to 'improve' the base game... and we get Dragon Age 2.

 

That alone should tell you... HELL NO.

^

 

 

I agree that that is such a stupid idiotic pathetic garbage hateful retarded scumbag evil satanic nazi like term ever created. At least top 5.

 

TSLRCM Official Forum || TSLRCM Moddb || My other KOTOR2 mods || TSLRCM (English version) on Steam || [M4-78EP on Steam

Formerly known as BattleWookiee/BattleCookiee

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Doesn't every game that connects to the internet send some info like that? Anyway, I don't really mind collecting such statistics, but the interpretation of them is another thing entirely. Just like forums might not be representative of the player base, so can statistics paint a wrong picture. Besides, sometimes things that people consider bad can add something to the whole.

To illustrate my point: I hate cinnamon on anything, but an apple strudel is just not as tasty without it.

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Doesn't every game that connects to the internet send some info like that?

No it doesn't.

 

And I do mind collecting any data from me playing games unless it's necessary for gameplay reasons (say: we talk about MMO or multiplayer with presistent features).

Using gibberish talk about some "improvements" as an excuse to collect data from all (or majority) of users is IMHO unacceptable.

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And I do mind collecting any data from me playing games unless it's necessary for gameplay reasons (say: we talk about MMO or multiplayer with presistent features).

Using gibberish talk about some "improvements" as an excuse to collect data from all (or majority) of users is IMHO unacceptable.

 

Completely agree. And even if Obsidian would use the data for something good (what good, dumbing down future games to only include features used by a certain big enough percentage of players?), I don't want everyone else to have access to my playing data. Every bit of data that moves over the Internet is monitored. Really hard to breathe freely in today's world of constant surveillance and scrutiny.

Citizen of a country with a racist, hypocritical majority

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  • 3 weeks later...

They should be doing this - in beta testing.  What's the point of having a wonderful sunroom if nobody can find it and it never gets used? Note that I'm not saying that all things have to be discovered by all players, some folks love to stick their nose in every corner and some don't.

 

There is a cost to anything being in the game, and if something (NPC, room or whatnot) is undiscoverable then the ROI is zero.

"I like cooking my family and my pets"

Use commas, don't be a psycho.

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What's the point of having a wonderful sunroom if nobody can find it and it never gets used? Note that I'm not saying that all things have to be discovered by all players, some folks love to stick their nose in every corner and some don't.

As soon as one finds it, it'll probably end up in a walkthrough, for all to read. So, yeah, it's fine if things are really really hidden...

^

 

 

I agree that that is such a stupid idiotic pathetic garbage hateful retarded scumbag evil satanic nazi like term ever created. At least top 5.

 

TSLRCM Official Forum || TSLRCM Moddb || My other KOTOR2 mods || TSLRCM (English version) on Steam || [M4-78EP on Steam

Formerly known as BattleWookiee/BattleCookiee

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  • 2 weeks later...

An example of questionable data interpretation: I've been following a couple of games that get balanced every now and then and the main metric seems to always be quantitative. Something is underpowered if it's not used a lot and something is too strong if the majority uses it, etc. While possible, I don't believe that would be the only reason. What about the fun factor, ease of use and learning curve, just happening to cater to more players or even vanity. I think you have to be very careful with metrics to see what you need to and not what you want to.

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Aye, statistics never tell the reason. The why for that is mis-interpretated... A LOT in the past. Which makes us weary to like it what-so-ever.

Being one of the main pointers of screwy Dragon Age 2 doesn't help.

^

 

 

I agree that that is such a stupid idiotic pathetic garbage hateful retarded scumbag evil satanic nazi like term ever created. At least top 5.

 

TSLRCM Official Forum || TSLRCM Moddb || My other KOTOR2 mods || TSLRCM (English version) on Steam || [M4-78EP on Steam

Formerly known as BattleWookiee/BattleCookiee

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