Something I've noticed

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by YM, Jan 28, 2010.

  1. YM

    aa YM LVL100 YM

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    In so many games, where characters are not limited to human actors to portray them, all alien races are bipedal, humanoid and just under/over 6ft tall.

    This really pisses me off, where is the imagination.

    Examples:
    Half life:
    All the vorts/grunt type aliens are humanoid plus a third arm (stunningly original)

    Mass effect:
    Geth, Salarians, Asari, Turians, Batarians, Volus (the 'midget' actor, still humanoid)
    All but the Elcor and Hannar really, neither of which do anything interesting

    Doom[3]: (admittedly they're demons not aliens, but still)
    Imps, Revanant, cyberdemon, all based off humans and the ones that aren't are based of spiders.

    Halo:
    Covenant, prophets, arbiter, all humanoid

    The list goes on and on and on.

    Humanoid aliens don't bother me that much, but when a game (taking mass effect as an example) has 100% of the main races as 6 foot tall, bipedal races it seems really really lame. As I said before, with games we're not bound by actors in costumes so what is up with developers?

    I am disappointed!


    (you can argue that the antlions, rachni ect aren't at all humanoid or even based off existing Earth based life, however my complaint is aimed at main, sentient races that play a decent role in the story rather than just being the swarms of aliens you've got to mow down)
     
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  2. DJive

    aa DJive Cake or Death?

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    Although I've never thought about it i agree completely its weird and almost sad to see that given a world of options, designers go with the most common.
     
  3. Untouch

    Untouch L4: Comfortable Member

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    I think this is because humanoids are the most familiar alien "type".
     
  4. Sel

    Sel Banned

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    When the first halo was in development their engine only supported bipeds, (in fact the tag for characters is .biped) So for the most part I guess that's why they stuck with that.

    However there is always this thing, which didn't get seen outside of the dev kits until ODST.

    [​IMG]

    It's also very difficult to find a 6 legged 4 armed person to wear all the gear studio's use to animate their characters as well, so..
     
  5. Untouch

    Untouch L4: Comfortable Member

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    Metroid seems to break from this cliche, parasite queen anyone?
     
  6. Randdalf

    aa Randdalf

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    I think it owes a lot to Star Trek. The reason they probably went with the every-species-is-a-humanoid approach, is for budget reasons, and I suspect it's become a tradition. It also makes acting and posing characters much easier because you can simply use motion capture.

    That said, we're only intelligent because we're bipedal (or at least that's how one theory goes)
    a) Become bipedal
    b) Babies must be born smaller at a younger stage because of adaptions in the legs
    c) Because babies are smaller we need to have intelligence to care for them
    d) Intelligence grows
    e) Success!

    It could be said the same applied to other cultures.

    The problem I have with the way alien life is portrayed, is that it's essentially implied they're mostly all cellular beings, like us. (real) Life comes in other forms, I believe, but on another planet, it couldn't be said that aliens would develop in the same way as humans (which conveniently contradicts my bipedal-intelligence argument, thus making this post worthless).
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2010
  7. YM

    aa YM LVL100 YM

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    I mean aliens you interact with a lot, was she not just a boss you've gotta blow up?

    There is no shortage of inventive boss/hoard aliens

    Just no decent character aliens that you're more an equal with and help the story develop. like the vortigaunts of the later half life.

    Star trek and other sci-fi TV series' have stuff to do with making the accepted alien humanoid, but in the 21st century with technology as it is there is no reason we can't have far more creative aliens in games, and why do we need to mocap it all at once? an alien has four arms? great, just record one guy in mocap twice. AND that's assuming you limit yourself to using mocap.
     
  8. Pilk

    Pilk L2: Junior Member

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    I'm struggling to think of any non-humanoid characters.
     
  9. grazr

    aa grazr Old Man Mutant Ninja Turtle

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    Advisors in HL2 don't have any limbs. I don't think? You interact with those a fair bit through the episodes.
     
  10. Shmitz

    aa Shmitz Old Hat

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    Many science fiction settings (Mass Effect included if I recall correctly) cover this phenomenon with the idea of progenitors. Some ancient old race of super advanced space-faring aliens traveled through the galaxy seeding worlds to develop intelligent life. The nature of what arose on that world would then be a combination of that planet's indigenous life and their own bipedal humanoid form.

    The other thing to consider is that of human psychology. The humanoid form isn't chosen because of any lack of imagination. It's chosen so that the audience will be sympathetic towards the characters. Some people like you and I may be able to stretch our imaginations that far, but for a mass audience I can't fault a writer for choosing something closer to our own shape rather than a spiral-shelled 9 limbed pus-dripping slugbeast.
     
  11. Sel

    Sel Banned

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    Uh, compared to the other species, not really?
     
  12. Caliostro

    Caliostro L6: Sharp Member

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    I know! I've raged about this before... It's almost as bad as every nation on earth speaking English apparently...

    But the human mind needs reference points... It's hard to conceive things with otherwise "unimaginable" shapes, even harder when you need to animate them working. Requires a lot of mental capacity which most people seem to simply not have.

    That was one of the things I loved in Crysis. Although clearly inspired in the Matrix, the Crysis "aliens" were... aliens...
     
  13. MangyCarface

    aa MangyCarface Mapper

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    Convergent evolution

    The only thing that bothers me in mass effect is that asari and quarians have tits, and noses, neither of which are particular significant in the development of intelligence
    The elcor and the hanar are the best
     
  14. YM

    aa YM LVL100 YM

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    Yeah I've heard the story of 'seeding' worlds millennia before so all life ends up in roughly one form (Star trek, presumably Mass effect too although I don't recall it being explicitly stated)
    Its a fair explanation, however evolution from single cells/few celled life forms is likely to take vastly different approaches before reaching sentience, even if it all starts identical.

    I'm also happy with "Humanoid life is just a successful evolutionary endpoint" since that's very plausible too. Sympathising with humanoid and aliens that have humanish faces is much easier, since that's the main way we deal with emotion, body language and facial expression. It makes a lot of sense from a narrative point of view, getting your player to engage with the characters must be a challenge if they're vastly different from human physiology but it has to be possible and especially in a game as solid as half life or mass effect its also got to be worth the effort.
    Shmitz I think is taking it to the extreme with a 9 tentacled pus oozing creature, it doesn't have to be disgusting to be different but yes your point is valid.

    It would just be nice to get some good stories, with largely non-humanoid characters :(

    (Combine advisors haven't really entered the story of HL yet, they're episode 3's stars -hopefully)
     
  15. Nutomic

    Nutomic L11: Posh Member

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    They need tits to better sell the game :/

    Youme: You could write a story with a different style of aliens, get a mod team, and show everyone how it has to be done :D
     
  16. Radaka

    Radaka L7: Fancy Member

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    [ame]http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/zero-punctuation/218-Spore[/ame]
    (Click Title to View)

    The author of this video makes a good argument for why aliens with humanoid shapes are generally better recieved.
     
  17. Lancey

    aa Lancey Currently On: ?????

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    It's really hard to make anything else look convincing when holding a gun that the player may at some point hold, so that's my argument.
     
  18. SlayerBlitz

    SlayerBlitz L3: Member

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    my theory on it is that humanoid characters are easier for game designers to make. Imagine playing Half-life 3 as a dog!
     
  19. YM

    aa YM LVL100 YM

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    Way to completely and utterly miss the point :closedeyes:
     
  20. Shmitz

    aa Shmitz Old Hat

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    Or maybe he's suggesting that dogs are actually from another planet!