Games Sony PS Psx Star Ocean-THE Second Story
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Games Sony PS Psx Star Ocean-THE Second Story
The Music of Video Games  Star Ocean 2
User reviews and opinions
|UNLEASHER||10:28pm on Sunday, October 17th, 2010|
|Ironicly while i was playing this game, it was raining, and didnt stop until the game was finished. This game was pretty damned awesome. This review is based on the Demo available on the Playstation Store.|
|www._vergroesserung.t||9:40pm on Sunday, October 10th, 2010|
|There have been times in the past generations when whiny gamers have referred to a video game as a movie. Heavy Rain is certain to go down as one of the most talked about titles of this generation. If it is an "important" game.|
|Addis||2:40am on Wednesday, July 7th, 2010|
|well what can i say heavy rain is a compelling story driven game with strange yet fun game play. not my cup of tea at all, with all the hype im very disappointed in this game, i thought it was a game like Fahrenheit for which i absolutely loved.|
|Dr. Mr. Vandertramps||3:19pm on Sunday, May 2nd, 2010|
|I finished playing through Heavy Rain completely before writing this review. I have not played it since, but I will. Innovation and creativity goes a long way for me in a video game. Heavy Rain definitely qualifies. After playing the demo, I kinda knew this game would be unique. So I picked it up, played it for a few hours and decided to write a review.|
|davelittle||1:19pm on Thursday, April 22nd, 2010|
|This game is a first in many ways. It feels ... Music, graphics, story line, emotionally compelling. I found the game very slow and the controls t... Graphics are good (not Uncharted 2 Good) SLOW|
|bside||12:09pm on Monday, April 5th, 2010|
|Heavy Rain can be described as a flawed maste... Excellent graphics A few minor technical glitches (screen tearing, freezing, collision detection) damn guys..i must tell u..this is a must buy ... has a very good storyline glitches|
Comments posted on www.ps2netdrivers.net are solely the views and opinions of the people posting them and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of us.
STAR OCEAN UI ANALYSIS ACROSS TIME 2011
INTRO TO MENU Contemporary video games deal with masses of information both visible (the player sees, interacts with, responds to) and behind the scenes (internal workings). Much discussion is raised in communities with relation to HCI (Human Computer Interaction) for use in designing video games. A user interface can make or break game experiences, especially when the user is required to do large amounts of work within a menu. Puchitao (2001) writes:
an unusable interface can do more to ruin a game than poor characterization, grainy sprites, or a hokey plot. We play games to have fun; no one is forcing us to play them. I can deal with -- I have to deal with, in some cases -- the mammoth complexity of, say, a badly designed IDE. But when manipulating a game world becomes a chore rather than a diversion, I'll sooner chuck the thing than continue playing.
Games shouldnt include a menu just because other games have them. Menus arent a standard mechanic and as such should be treated on a per game basis to whether or not they are required. Take the HP stat (also known as health, life, etc.). In life a person wouldnt be aware of their personal hp, this could be judged on physical/mental stability or fatigue, etc. Why is it necessary to display a health bar within a game? Why is a number used to represent a characters physical wellbeing? Life doesnt have a pop up menu, but games do because the developers want to provide the player with this information and allow them to manipulate aspects of it. Below is an example of these two functions. Displaying Information Manipulating Information Character Statistics (Health, Energy, Use/Equip Items Strength, Speed) Change Party Items/Inventory Save/Load Game Skills/Abilities Change Character Abilities Settings
Don Normans Design of everyday things (2002) evaluates the software interface and provides some effective insights into human perception of these interactions. Puchitao (2001) states on physical constraints:
The design of console-RPG interfaces was informed by one specific problem: How to navigate lots of options and data with only a "primitive" controller, containing at the very least a directional pad and two buttons.
Norman talks of physical constraints and how they restrict users ability in a way that simplifies the use of interfaces. Navigation in console menus is in ways aided by controller limitations, it supports Normans theory of physical constraints. The menu only allows cycling through specific options as opposed to the free moving capability given with a mouse.
INTRO TO GAME The focus of this paper is the Japanese Role Playing Game (JRPG) series Star Ocean. Star Ocean series was developed by Tri-Ace and published and owned by Japanese gaming titan SquareEnix. The specific titles to be analysed within the series are: 1. Star Ocean (original game Super Nintendo) 2. Star Ocean: First Departure (remake of the original Star Ocean Sony PSP) 3. Star Ocean: The Last Hope (latest release - XBOX 360 and PS3). An interesting fact and the driving force behind choosing these games is that the first two releases were remade (not just ported) on the Sony PSP in 2007. Series Producer Yoshinori Yamagishi stated that he wanted the remakes to feel as though theyre completely new games. Obvious enhancements for remakes are results of increased technology including graphical and musical updates. Tri-Ace went further and changed the combat of the original (one of the key mechanics) to use an updated version of Star Ocean: The Second Storys (Original Playstation) battle system. Along with the combat the games menu system has had an overhaul; changes will be discussed below.
ORIGINAL/REMAKE MENU OVERHAUL The menu can be thought of having three sections: Options: Links to sub-menus or functions (Items, Status, Equipment) Party: Displays your current party and their personal stats (HP, MP, EXP) Extra Display: Un-selectable and purely read-only information (Money, Time)
Where they differ greatly is in the layout. Shown below the original is presented in a single column and is very straight forward, nothing really grabs you or directs the eye. First Departure made amendments to this having a two column arrangement for Options and Party then a single panel at the bottom for the Extra Display.
Original Super Nintendo Version: Left, First Departure (PSP Remake): Right
Aesthetically the latter is a more appropriate choice. It unifies the three sections in an appealing fashion as well as having key objects and positions that tell the eye where to look. Hired Guns Design Agency (2011) writes the following:
In the western world, I run my eyes left to right along a horizontal line, because that is the way I read. In Japan, I read top to bottom, so I tend to scan images in a similar pattern.
Our cultural influence makes the top left corner of a screen the origin, we will scan images from that point unless our attention is manually drawn elsewhere. First Departures Options section is top left and layered above the 'Party' section. Options are meant to be read first. Motion and Colour are two ways of catching attention, in First Departure the party sprites are all rather colourful and definitely stand out from the background. These sprites are placed at the far left of the Party section and will assist in drawing the eye left towards the Options section. Colour Scheme is noticeably difference across the three games; the remake feels more professional as it uses a stronger, darker blue, opposed to the original which has more of a green, murky influence. Put simply when in comparison the original is the less attractive colour. Finally in discussion of these two is the use of a background element. The word STAR OCEAN is present behind the menu in the original but not in the remake ( a similar menu background reappears in Star Ocean: The Last Hope). It could be used to continuously promote its name within the game or simply to break up the plain background. Typically the content of the menu is important and users shouldnt be looking through and admiring the background.
CURRENT MENUS STAR OCEAN: THE LAST HOPE Each of the five games released between the Original and The Last Hope have their own gradual progressions in UI. As the games content is fairly consistent (across the series) we can make an effective comparison by using the first and last; seeing what decisions they have made differently. The Last Hope, being a much larger title has additional Options, functions and data to display. Despite all these extras the menu still remains pretty clean and in fact looks smaller and neater than the others, this is due to the use of a folder like system. The folder system allows multiple options to be grouped under one heading, for example if the player selects Items two additional sub-menus unfold and the player may now select either use items or equip items. This combines both inventory and equipment in one option. Although the folder system adds an extra step to getting where you wanted it leaves the interface uncluttered and means the player also does not need to scroll through unnecessary information.
See and recognize is easier than remember and type or remember and hunt.(Norman, 2002). Both First Departure and The Last Hope use symbols in addition to text for each selectable option. Using imagery makes the options quicker and easier to recognise, a cognitive principal Norman refers to as Automatic Processing. The games battle systems ( excluding the original) require you to take control of a single character; the menu reflects which character is controlled (the leader). How the leader is represented is different in First Departure and The Last Hope and therefore has different connotations onto what it means to be the leader. First Departure uses a medal as the leader symbol; this could represent a call of duty. The Last Hope on the other hand uses a symbol of a person with a raised hand indicating a volunteer for duty. In addition the Extra Display tags in The Last Hope have been replaced with images symbolising their meaning. The Labels Confirm and Cancel are also present with the associated button image, this uses Normans (2002) principal for users set expectations. The user now knows and has an onscreen reference for these buttons and their function.
Original Super Nintendo Version: Left, First Departure (PSP Remake): Middle, The Last Hope: Right
Norman (2002) also advises to Remind users of where they are and Provide explanations of your display; both of these are done in The Last Hope. MAIN MENU ( top left label) is a marker to tell the user which screen they are currently on. The help line is bottom left and displays information on the function of the current selection. The Last Hope and the original (not present in the remake) use a background image for every menu (simply the word Star Ocean in the Original and more detailed wallpaper in The Last Hope). When the user sees this screen they are being told this is a menu, your controls have changed. This doesnt happen initially but rather the player becomes accustomed to seeing this background image and through the use of Repetition and Association (Hired Guns Design Agency, 2011) they associate it with being a menu as opposed to combat or other game modes.
CONCLUSION The evolution of menu systems across the Star Ocean series shows a constant visual enhancement due to increased technology. Layout and content alterations however, are due to something much more related to the concepts of HCI. People need to enjoy playing games and being bogged down in an unusable interface doesnt help the cause. Developers need to keep up with these concepts so their game isnt brought down by bad user interaction. Other aspects that could be analysed include: Use and meaning of different fonts. A greater look into colour theory (Stat bars change colour across the titles). Any westernisation of content as the games reach a larger audience.
Star Ocean as we have discovered, is one series that has continuously improved interface throughout its lifetime. They have taken into account colours, layouts, symbology and more to create effective game menus. Through analysis we can conclude that menu creation is an iterative process. Design and Aesthetics wise if Tri-Ace continued to use the Original Star Ocean menu then the later titles may not have been as well received and suffered from an unintuitive UI.
Hired Guns Design Agency. (2011, February 24) Top 10 Ways to Control The Human Eye Retrieved from http://blog.hiredgunsdesign.com/?p=230
Norman, D. (2002) The Design of Everyday Things Retrieved from katsvision.com/canm606/session_3/03_norman_01.pdf
Puchitao (2001) What can games teach us about human-computer interaction? Kuro5hin Retrieved from http://www.kuro5hin.org/?op=displaystory;sid=2001/4/15/503/20814
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