Talk:Nonlinear gameplay

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Issue: Gameplay is inherently non-linear[edit]

Why is there a page for "nonlinear gameplay" but no page for "linear gameplay"? If anything, gameplay that is linear should be the exception, since gameplay is inherently, by its nature, non-linear. It seems to me that this is based on biases formed by the last 10-15 years of digital games, ignoring the thousands of years of games that came before it.--Keithburgun (talk) 03:19, 11 January 2012 (UTC)

Naming: "Nonlinear" versus "Linear"[edit]

This article is called "linearity". But if you check the "what links here" page, most of the articles that link to it are usually discussing how nonlinear a game is. Nobody really describes a game as "linear" unless they're comparing it to something that's not. For all the contexts that linearity comes up, I think changing the name of this article to "nonlinear gameplay" would be more suitable (no hyphen, see the dictionary). Again, the only time that linearity comes up is to point out how nonlinear a game is. Randomran (talk) 16:33, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

  • There was a prior article about sandbox-designed video games that had a merged-in subject matter about open-ended gameplay in general. Since an article about open-ended gameplay was redundant with the article about linearity/nonlinearity, it was merged with this article now called nonlinear gameplay. As such, this has become a comprehensive article about open-ended gameplay, nonlinear level-design, games without fixed storylines, and games without clear victory conditions. Randomran (talk) 22:32, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

"Open World" as a subset of "Sandbox"[edit]

While the focus of this page is to briefly discuss types of non-linear gameplay, I noticed that you described Grand Theft Auto as a "sandbox" title. While it certainly shares traits with sandbox games, designers have gone on to call this genre of games that share an open world with shared rules that the player inhabits as a character within that world an "open world" game. Sandbox more correctly refers to games that operate like a sandbox by allowing the player to build things up and watch them go. Rather than being from the point of view of an individual character, a sandbox game usually has the point of view coming from an overhead position and allows the player to make decisions for multiple characters (The Sims, Sim Hospital) or individual characters are automated and not controlled by the player or only controlled in very limited ways (Sim Theme Park, The Movies, Sim City). I think this page could be improved by adding the distinction between these two types of non-linear games.Bean23tx (talk) 03:22, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

On wikipedia, editors aren't really supposed to say anything. This article just quotes what other people have said on reliable game sites. What you say sounds very interesting. If you can find reliable resources that say what you just said, the article can be updated to reflect that. Randomran (talk) 03:26, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
Were you the main author of this page? If so, do you read game developer trade sites like Gamasutra? This information is general knowledge really, so finding a professional article that says this might be difficult. However, the developers of open world games refer to them as open world games in most interviews. I'll see if I can't get someone in the media to ask this question of an open-world game designer so that you guys have a nice neat reference. In the meantime, this is common knowledge that this article does not have correct.Bean23tx (talk) 13:22, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
The article was in pretty rough shape before I showed up. I added a few references based on what I could find. In wikipedia, the standard for including information isn't truth or correctness, but verifiability. I really honestly don't care what the article says so long as we can verify it with a reliable source. Gamasutra would be great, if you can find something. Randomran (talk) 15:14, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
You could draw whatever you like from my recent article: here.-- Enjoy! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:44, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

Naruto in Sandbox Gameplay?[edit]

In the examples of the sandbox gameplay, one of them is Naruto. However Naruto is not just a game, its a franchise. There are also Naruto games that do not feature sandbox style gameplay. Some Naruto games I have seen are turn-based card game (PSOne) and the Street Fighter-like (PS2). Kindly change the link to a specific game that features real 'Sandbox Gameplay' Triadwarfare (talk) 10:31, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

We should probably just stop adding unreferenced, unreliable, inaccurate information. That's why we use references in the first place. Randomran (talk) 14:41, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

Image copyright problem with Image:FFE.jpg[edit]

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This is an automated notice by FairuseBot. For assistance on the image use policy, see Wikipedia:Media copyright questions. --01:32, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

Sim City and Elite?[edit]

The article doesn't mention the (IMHO) two best examples of nonlinear, sandbox games yet. Sim City and its sequels are the epitome of this genre, and Frontier: Elite 2 and Frontier: First Encounters are very open-ended having a (some would say) ridiculously short plot. Can somebody add them? I'm not a good writer myself. (talk) 21:34, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

Non-linear vs. Sandbox[edit]

So, it looks like someone decided to merge the Sandbox article with the Open-ended article (which makes some sense) at the same time they decided to merge the Open-ended article with the non-linear article (also could be reasonable) but now you have a situation where sandbox is being used synonymously with non-linear gameplay, which is something completely ridiculous. This really ought to be fixed.

Games like SimCity, Spore, and arguably even stuff like Elite could describe "sand-box" gameplay, which is to say, games where the player is free to do as he chooses without or independent from specific goals. But I could argue that they're non-linear, since they're not really even goal oriented at all.

What makes GTA a sandbox game is not simply the fact that some goals can be achieved out of order, but rather the amount of latitude afforded the player in accomplishing (or not accomplishing) those goals. It's a distinct concept from non-linear design.

It might be the fault of the old sandbox gamplay article not making certain points clear. I propose a split and a rewrite of the Open-ended/Sandbox article. Thoughts? Frogacuda (talk) 00:24, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

I might support a split/rewrite in the long term. I put together the initial merge myself, because the topics were very much intermingled. A lot of the time the terminology is used to describe several different concepts, making things degenerate into unclear scope. My suggestion, in order to avoid the old problems, is to work on expanding the "sandbox" section within the article, and then splitting it out when we're sure it's been well-defined. Another article to look at might be open world, which is sometimes used interchangably with "sandbox", but has a more clear scope, IMO. I would worry too much about degenerating into the old problems if we didn't come up with a clear sense of scope and strategy in advance. Randomran (talk) 01:08, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
I think "open-ended" is probably less limiting than "open-world" because I don't want to imply that as an ethic, sandbox game design is limited strictly to exploration of physical space, nor that a large explorable space alone is the same as a sanbox game (flight sims, for example). Admittedly, "sandbox" is a contemporary term that had become a buzzword post-GTA, so if you think "open-ended" might be a better term to launch the article, I'm willing to go along with that.
As for a strategy, I think the best tack would be not to discuss it as a genre, but rather a design philosophy that divered from the typical goal or score-oriented styles of traditional gaming forms (including traditional games like card games and board games). There's a pretty rich history of these games as they developed predominantly on computers in Europe, and then reach widespread popularity internationally and across platforms following GTA3.Frogacuda (talk) 07:40, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
I definitely agree with you: it's best to talk about an overall design philosophy of open-endedness. But then, isn't that what this article is currently about? Nonlinearity and open-endedness are so similar as to make separate articles unnecessary, as far as I can tell. And even if we could draw a line here in this discussion, I'm not sure the line is so clear in the research out there, thus making it really hard to pull these two apart. I maintain that the best thing to do would be to expand a section of this article, and if it's distinct and long enough do a split. Randomran (talk) 22:36, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
I think there's really a very clear distinction when you discuss them as design elements and not genres. Where confusion might arise is the number of games that employ both non-linear and open-ended design, but they aren't interchangeable. Many games might demonstrate both, but others employ only one or the other.
If you're really insistent on having a single article, I think discussing non-linearity as a more limited kind of openness would be more accurate than discussing openness as a kind of non-linearity, since many sandbox games fall outside of the scope of linear/nonlinear entirely. But really I think they're conceptually exclusive ideas, even if they're highly compatible in execution. (in much the way that the idea of hit points and an inventory system have nothing to do with each other, but most RPGs have both).
I'm not insistent on a single article. I just still don't see the distinction. I think the best thing to do is to start developing a section on open-ended gameplay within this article and see how big it gets. If it starts looking like it's own topic, I'll be the first to endorse a split. But until then, I just don't see the difference. Randomran (talk) 06:17, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
The distinction is that non-linear games have a pre-defined set of goals that, while they can be fulfilled out-of-order, are still pre-defined. Open-ended games on the other hand don't have pre-defined goals at all. You make up whatever goals you want as you play the game. Discounting emergent gameplay, this is not possible in other games. SharkD (talk) 00:17, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
The distinction is simple: One is about the order in which goals are completed, as applied strictly to objective based games. The other refers to a design philosophy (ostensibly derived from pen-and-paper role-playing games) wherein the player is encouraged to solve problems in any way he sees fit. It has nothing to do with lines or sequence, and totally falls out of the scope of the current article. It would be difficult for me to try to write it in a way that would be relevant to this article.
For example, the original Zelda, is a non-linear game. Certain things can be done out of order, but there's very little latitude in how these goals are accomplished. Mercenary, on the other hand, has certain objectives, or sets of objectives, that do have to be completed in order, but these tasks can be completed in many different ways, and the possible solutions are nearly infinite. This is a sandbox game (with mission based elements).Frogacuda (talk) 00:48, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
Ultimately, you're going to be asked to provide research to substantiate these claims, and to show that the existing research is somehow false. (Nevermind the fact that Wikipedians aren't even supposed to be doing any independent research—this being considered synthesis—and are instead supposed to provide sources that directly support any and all claims.) SharkD (talk) 22:29, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
I see what both you and SharkD are saying. The distinction you're talking about -- nonlinear versus open-ended -- makes sense. But I'm not sure the research will actually reflect that. I guarantee you, as we start googling around for reliable sources on nonlinear versus open-ended, you're going to see them both mentioned in the same breath, or used interchangably to describe the same games and concepts. That's why I'd rather just start expanding this article rather than splitting it off. We should only split it off when we're sure that reliable sources can actually verify a meaningful distinction, enough to allow two distinct articles that don't end up repeating each other. Randomran (talk) 22:08, 21 February 2009 (UTC)
I agree that games with the "Sandbox" label tend to have a little of both. However, I think that the sentence, "A game that is noticeably nonlinear will sometimes be described as open-ended or as a sandbox." may constitute WP:SYNTHESIS, and that it has the effect of blurring the distinction we're debating. SharkD (talk) 03:39, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
If you look at the article it describes a "sandbox mode", not a "sandbox game", so I don't see why you are bringing this issue up here. SharkD (talk) 04:17, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

I think the satement about only 'recent' games allowing moral choice is a little off. Edited it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:01, 7 June 2009 (UTC)

Linear redirects[edit]

Why does Linear game play and associated terms redirect to this page? This article does not really address those types of games other to say that they are the opposite of this type. It may be confusing to someone seeking info on Linear games to present them with Sandbox or open-world information and describe Linears simply as "not these". Shouldn't there be a Linear game play article as well. Its like describing the front of something by saying "its not the back". I see the value of saying as much, but in and of itself, it doesn't really describe the topic effectively. --Trippz (talk) 06:55, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

If you'd like to write an article or section about linear gameplay, feel free to. SharkD (talk) 01:26, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
Well, ok. If I get the time I might. In the meantime, do you think it would be a good idea to remove the redirects? I'm just trying to figure out why/how the redirect was justified before making the edits. --Trippz (talk) 02:39, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

Redirect concerns[edit]

I came to this page from a link on Left 4 Dead, that pointed to Emergent gameplay#Emergent narrative, a section that has disappeared or has been rewritten. If you look at Special:WhatLinksHere/Nonlinear gameplay you'll notice a lot of redirects and pages pointing to here. I'm worried that many of those section-specific links are broken and outdated, making this destination page seemingly unrelated to the link. Any ideas on how to amend this? BlazerKnight (talk) 11:47, 3 October 2009 (UTC)


Why there's "1998 to present" about Banjo-Kazooie? Rare said Nuts & Bolts was the last game of the franchise, as they're working only on the disappointing Kinect. --Walecs (talk) 16:03, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

The entire 4th and 5th paragraphs are an eyesore.[edit]

Can someone make this easier to read?

The nonlinear style of gameplay has its roots in the 8-bit era, with early examples including Bosconian (1981), Time Pilot (1982), TX-1 (1983), Mega Zone (1983), Elite (1984), Dragon Slayer (1984), The Battle-Road (1984), Ginga Hyoryu Vifam (1984), Brain Breaker (1985)


QuackOfaThousandSuns (Talk | Contributions) 18:10, 6 December 2011 (UTC)

I've turned it into lists in the article body. Diego (talk) 18:35, 6 December 2011 (UTC)

Broken citation for "Assassins Creed and the Future of Sandbox Games"[edit]

Said citation, currently reference #1, appears to be broken. returns the equivalent of a 404 error. Does someone know where the article is or should the reference just be deleted? Macks2008 (talk) 12:59, 11 August 2014 (UTC)

Perhaps the broken reference should be deleted and the text marked "citation needed"? Sorry, not used to this. Most wiki's I use are wikia-based. Oddly enough, the most popular wiki of all is the exception when it comes to me knowing what the proper thing to do is. Macks2008 (talk) 14:42, 15 August 2014 (UTC)

"It has been suggested that Open world be merged into this article"[edit]

User:Bubby33 created this merge request but didn't make a talk page entry.

  • Oppose: not sure why one would think that these two are appropriate for merging. Those are pretty different concepts (one is about gameplay the other about open worlds in video games). Totally inappropriate. --Fixuture (talk) 19:31, 6 August 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Who came up with this ridiculous idea? Indrian (talk) 20:18, 6 August 2015 (UTC)