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chingchong

"Christian" Games/ Developers ?

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Hi there,

 

i was thinking long about posting here, since i dont want to start a religious debate.

I've made the experience that very often postings of such kinds (religious intents/ or contents) end in flame wars.

Therefore im just asking in advance before you post here, please have in mind, that i dont wont to debate on how silly my intents are, but just want to have constructive replies.

 

Here my request:

 

Since i bought 3dCoat back in 2011,  my first intent was to create a game with a strong christian Background. I know that there is not much market for that kind of games.

And much more, the only available "christian" games ive seen so far are very much naive or childish. Sometimes even the seriousness of the bible, or the faith is very rough handled. Sometimes its even unintentional ridiculous

 

I was wondering if there are some like-minded People out there in the forums, which share the same Vision:

Create playable Video games, with a seriuos and solid moral intent and content, based on our faith. To give our children and other people the choice of an alternative to current game designs and game content.

Since Pilgways founder has also a Christian Background (wheni read his statements, i just had to buy to Support him :)),  i thought it would be possible, that there are some users gathering here with similiar intents.

 

I agree, that my position is maybe not of majority, but this is what drives me.

 

Your comments are very much welcome.

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Hi there,

 

i was thinking long about posting here, since i dont want to start a religious debate.

I've made the experience that very often postings of such kinds (religious intents/ or contents) end in flame wars.

Therefore im just asking in advance before you post here, please have in mind, that i dont wont to debate on how silly my intents are, but just want to have constructive replies.

 

Here my request:

 

Since i bought 3dCoat back in 2011,  my first intent was to create a game with a strong christian Background. I know that there is not much market for that kind of games.

And much more, the only available "christian" games ive seen so far are very much naive or childish. Sometimes even the seriousness of the bible, or the faith is very rough handled. Sometimes its even unintentional ridiculous

 

I was wondering if there are some like-minded People out there in the forums, which share the same Vision:

Create playable Video games, with a seriuos and solid moral intent and content, based on our faith. To give our children and other people the choice of an alternative to current game designs and game content.

Since Pilgways founder has also a Christian Background (wheni read his statements, i just had to buy to Support him :)),  i thought it would be possible, that there are some users gathering here with similiar intents.

 

I agree, that my position is maybe not of majority, but this is what drives me.

 

Your comments are very much welcome.

Yeah, the games industry is almost entirely secularized and it would be hard to find a game that doesn't attempt to tickle the hormone levels of young teens/males with some busty warrior babes in it...or gratuitous violence. If there is not much of a market for something, it's very hard to attempt to do anything that's high quality. It's why you don't see hardly any film animation with a Biblical/Christian background. It's a limited market...at least in the sense of getting the right funding and marketing behind it. Many thought there was no market for major films based on Biblical content. The Passion of the Christ proved them wrong. And recently, there have been a spate of Christian oriented films that have made profit margins at the box office that would make any production studio or distributor green with envy. So, it really is a quality issue and a distribution issue. If both of those are there, even a game has a chance to break the mold.

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Another good game option that might sell well in the Christian market, is a game adaptation of the classic CS Lewis Novel "Screwtape Letters" or a more modern version of it, by Randy Alcorn..."Lord Foulgrin's Letter's." The game would involve characters of a typical family, and they are tempted by these demonic characters everywhere they go. The only way to defeat these demonic spirits is to find the right scripture passage(s) which counter their lies/deception. Once you enter an applicable passage, then suddenly the player is armed with a bright-glowing "Sword of the Spirit" (Ephesians 6:17)...to which they can effectively fend off the demonic characters (send them fleeing from that game level).

 

The longer it takes to find an applicable passage, the more the person becomes enticed/ensnared. After a designated amount of time (20-30seconds?), if they do not find the right passage, they cave in and lose that level.

 

The principle behind such a game would be that Jesus used the Word to fend off Satan, in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11), and the passage in Hebrews that says..."For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart" -Hebrews 4:12

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Thanks AbnRanger for your comments.

 

Indeed,  storywise, a AAA Level Production of Pilgrims Progress could easily made, even for a movie.. 

But as you said, funding such game would be very hard, so thats not my primary goal.

For me it would start as a side Project, as i have a Job for funding my expenses.

 

Your suggestions seems like sort of a quiz-game with abstract exercise / use. Personally its not my favourite Game Design, or at least what ive thought of.

Although the idea would fit, if you want the users to learn the word more precisely; But im not seeing this played willingly outside a community with prior knowlegde.

 

I would like to transport christian values more through a storydriven game.  With realistic situations/ conflicts.

And as you play and Progress in the game, you will learn (through the game mechanics) the practical use or solutions for such conflicts based on our biblical/christian foundation.

The game mechanics itself should also not lead the whole approach ad absurdum. 

 

A genre what i think would suit  well to my Vision would be "Point'n Click' Adventures" or " Adventures" generally.

Surely genre mixups are also possible.

Edited by chingchong

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Thanks AbnRanger for your comments.

 

Indeed,  storywise, a AAA Level Production of Pilgrims Progress could easily made, even for a movie.. 

But as you said, funding such game would be very hard, so thats not my primary goal.

For me it would start as a side Project, as i have a Job for funding my expenses.

 

Your suggestions seems like sort of a quiz-game with abstract exercise / use. Personally its not my favourite Game Design, or at least what ive thought of.

Although the idea would fit, if you want the users to learn the word more precisely; But im not seeing this played willingly outside a community with prior knowlegde.

 

I would like to transport christian values more through a storydriven game.  With realistic situations/ conflicts.

And as you play and Progress in the game, you will learn (through the game mechanics) the practical use or solutions for such conflicts based on our biblical/christian foundation.

The game mechanics itself should also not lead the whole approach ad absurdum. 

 

A genre what i think would suit  well to my Vision would be "Point'n Click' Adventures" or " Adventures" generally.

Surely genre mixups are also possible.

It could be in a first person shooter (without the shooting part :D ) format, where you are looking through the character's eyes. As they encounter a temptation or deception in a given interaction with another person or in a given activity, the player could maybe put on a pair of glasses that reveal the demonic spirits that are behind it, and instead of aiming a weapon, there might be a pop-up in the corner of the screen, with the Bible open. As the user types in the passage, the pages turn to that part and reads the passage. If the passage correctly fits within the database for that given topic (database of passages that relate to that topic), then suddenly the pop-up disappears and a glowing/flaming sword appears in his hand (symbolizing the Word, the Sword of the Spirit) to which the player can wield to ward off the demons.

 

In advanced levels, the player could lop of limbs of the demons if they don't flee the scene, but the demons could counter with a number of deceptions/lies, and while the player searches for an appropriate passage to defend against it, the demons can slowly grow back their limbs. It would take some thought to do it right, but those are just some ideas that I think would provide not only clean entertainment, but also some rigorous training in scripture memorization. Could be a great tool for every youth group in every Church, worldwide. Doesn't have to be aimed at an audience outside of it, which has little to no interest in anything clean

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The player could use word searches during the game, to try and find the right passage, but the longer it takes, the more their Spiritual man is drained and their carnal man is enabled

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I think the idea of an adventure game might be a good way to convey, in allegorical form, some of the Truths we know and experience.  I prefer an experiential point of view - rather than a doctrinal one.  But, no matter how well something like this is produced - it really can only stand as a "picture" - a "type"  of what is real - not the Reality, Himself.

 

In the case of the writings of C.S. Lewis, for example - the vivid allegory and fantasy being so well described - people tend to become engulfed in the picture and lose the experiential Reality of what the author may have intended to convey.  A kind of idolatry, really.

 

 

Greg Smith

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I think the idea of an adventure game might be a good way to convey, in allegorical form, some of the Truths we know and experience.  I prefer an experiential point of view - rather than a doctrinal one.  But, no matter how well something like this is produced - it really can only stand as a "picture" - a "type"  of what is real - not the Reality, Himself.

 

In the case of the writings of C.S. Lewis, for example - the vivid allegory and fantasy being so well described - people tend to become engulfed in the picture and lose the experiential Reality of what the author may have intended to convey.  A kind of idolatry, really.

 

 

Greg Smith

That's pretty much what the Chronicles of Narnia and even the Lord of the Rings, did. Used allegory to convey Biblical themes.

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Thanks Greg and AbnRanger

It could be in a first person shooter (without the shooting part :D ) format, where you are looking through the character's eyes. As they encounter a temptation or deception in a given interaction with another person or in a given activity, the player could maybe put on a pair of glasses that reveal the demonic spirits that are behind it, and instead of aiming a weapon, there might be a pop-up in the corner of the screen, with the Bible open. As the user types in the passage, the pages turn to that part and reads the passage. If the passage correctly fits within the database for that given topic (database of passages that relate to that topic), then suddenly the pop-up disappears and a glowing/flaming sword appears in his hand (symbolizing the Word, the Sword of the Spirit) to which the player can wield to ward off the demons.

In advanced levels, the player could lop of limbs of the demons if they don't flee the scene, but the demons could counter with a number of deceptions/lies, and while the player searches for an appropriate passage to defend against it, the demons can slowly grow back their limbs. It would take some thought to do it right, but those are just some ideas that I think would provide not only clean entertainment, but also some rigorous training in scripture memorization. Could be a great tool for every youth group in every Church, worldwide. Doesn't have to be aimed at an audience outside of it, which has little to no interest in anything clean

Yes youre right, it could have its use, but im aiming for a more immersive game. It should have a balance of Entertainment, Knowledge Transfer, Emotions and Faith. Something people would like to play more than one time. Something you can play with the whole family, if you want. Not to much allegoric, but still told with strong pictures. Thinking of, how Christ heavily used pictures to convey this points. For example you can take Onesimus and build a story around that person. Experience his life, his mistakes, his escape, and his return.

You can learn also very much of christian value through such life portraits ( transfered in a video game). You know , like in a good book. Why shouldnt this be possible with video games also?

But your concept could fit in form of a minigame inside such game.

Peter

Edited by chingchong

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Hi Chingchong: 
While I am not a Christian, I do support what you are trying to do.   I do not know much about gaming, but I do know something about story forms.  I took many literature classes in college.
 
 I noticed both Tolkien and C. S. Lewis were mentioned.  Both men were Christians and very good friends. 
 
 I have not read C. S. Lewis's books; however, I have seen the Narnia movies.  The movies were entertaining and the compelling.  They were not expressly Christian, but they did reflect Christian values.  I liked the movies.
 
 
I do know Tolkien's books  really well..  Tolkien wrote the Lord of the Rings to be a mythology for britian.  He would not have called the Lord of the Rings an allegory.  He said he did not like allegories.  Notes: Tolkien: Allegory and Applicability
 
The Lord the Rings is a heroic cycle.  The heroic cycle is very common story form.   It is also referred to the heroic journey.  It exists in most cultures, Christian and non-Christian alike.  Many of the Arthurian Legends are Heroic Cycles.  Ireland has many early Christian heroic cycles (The Ulster Cycle). Hawaii and Africa have many heroic cycles in their cultures.   The Ring Cycle is a Norse heroic cycle.  Hercules, Perseus, Gilgamesh stories are all heroic cycles  Modern day heroic cycles include Star Wars and Harry Potter (I know, many Christians do not like Harry Potter because of the magic; it is still a heroic cycle). 
 
While heroic cycles can be written either to reflect or not reflect Christian value, they appeal to people across different cultures and religions.  So it may be suitable to your goals.  I suggest you research heroic cycles.  Joseph Campbell is a good resource on heroic cycles.  Joseph Campbell - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The web has many pages dedicated to the heroic cycle as a story form.

 

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I was asked about Pilgrim Progress game that we wanted to do. There are main problems:

1) It is not easy to do rpg-like gameplay where fighting is not main "background" action. There should be some background action, what may it be? We had idea of hero with many moral characteristics that does not always submitted to player, in some cases he may have own will based on his moral principles.

2) Generally it is too hard to make sort of gameplay based on Christianity, at least on protestant version of Christianity. If salvation does not depend on deeds there is almost no gameplay if purpose of game is salvation (like in PP book).

3) To be honest, after year of thinking over making game I started to disagree with main idea of the book. Mainly because of (2). There is almost no "gameplay" in traditional Christianity. So many peoples are just loosing real interest in deep christianity after several years and are becoming formal, loosing sense in deep inversigation. Generally it led me to another view on Christianity and on what I believe - http://lawinmind.org/index.php?lang=en (not all translated to English, all text written by me, it was written initially on russian and then translated to English).

So, I think that games with moral background are good and helpful, pity it is rare. But Pilgrim's progress is far not easy book to make game based on it.

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@pagankmck: Thank you for pointing up that page: even in the bible you can find heroic cycles. Samson, King David, Judge Joshua e.g.

 

@Andrew: Thanks for your reflections.

Ive also came across the problem of contradiction between pacifism and fighting. Thats why i choose the P'nC Adventure/ Adventure as format.  Here you have a gameplay, which gets along without any fighting, even without any violence at all if you try. But in terms of beeing realistic i wouldnt skip a portion of violence, conflicts, because it would be naive. We are not living in a heavenly place, yet. That does not mean, that the user have to fight, or use violence himself. But if thats necessary to reflect his current situation a the game progress, it could also be implemented.

 

I dont know, if you ever played or heared of the classic Lucas Arts Adventures, or Broken Sword Series, Syberia. Such gameplay i have in mind. Story driven, but interactive, without the need to fight anything.

Thats my Vision so far, till i get the idea  of an other fitting gameplay. And even in normal  Third Person View/ Ego Adventures you can get along without fight and war.

You can use quicktime actions for example to enrich the Story, along with discovering, experiencing the world. Should only be well balanced, as i mentioned above.

 

The Simple Church concept sounds very interesting.

Coming from a russian/ukrainian mennonite Background, i feel the pain of the conflict between  formalism and real life, and even the bible. 

Due to the fear of this closed communities for any new media, i think that i will not making any friends there with my Vision at all.

Edited by chingchong

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Andrew:

 

Too bad we are so separated by an uncommon language.  It is very time consuming for you to translate these thoughts and reflections into English - and, as of today, impossible for me to accurately translate my thoughts and beliefs into Russian or Ukrainian.  Otherwise I would love to have a private conversation about some of these matters with you.

 

In reading your article of why you left your "mother church" I can say I have had a similar experience, myself - though for other reasons, in addition to those you mentioned.  I can tell you from my 45 years of experience in Christianity that there is an enormous difficulty in reconciling the territory of the mind and logic (especially so-called "science") with the territory of the spirit/Spirit and faith.  Maybe it is, for the time being, an un-traversable gulf.   One best avoided - lest you fall in.

 

Here's my favorite part of what you wrote, "However, here’s what we are teaching... Most often it is to go and teach all the nations teaching all the nations to teach all the nations..."  Big problems emerge with this practice and philosophy.

 

 

Greg

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ok back on topic ;)

maybe i share some info on gameplay , i have in mind, with one example .

1) Character you playing comes into a situation, where he has to decide. He desperately needs an item for his inventory, to combine it with another to progress further in the game. And suddenly there comes an opportunity to get this thing. He could do it the easy way an "borrow" it, without asking the owner, since the owner probably will never take notice of this action ( such action is very common in many adventures ive played so far, but principle questionable) or he search for the owner for asking himself about that tool, there may come some difficulties. During the decision process, the character will have an interactive monologue about the situation, what the best way would be, etc. But in the end its the decision of the user which way he goes.

But each ( or some) desiscion will have consequences during the progess of the game. the owner might see you, if you "borrow" the tool, without permission. And you will get in Trouble. Story will take another route.

Just One example of many ideas i have.

Edited by chingchong

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Great thread chingchong.  I am very interested in this topic and I am working on a couple of Chistian games at the moment.  Very slowly mind you.  

I've had a big problem with eliminating violence and fighting from the gameplay of the games I'm currently working on and more so focusing on bringing the Christian themes in through the narrative, but there are ways to make games not centered around violence I believe.

 

My main thing with the games I want to make is to illustrate the true consequence of sinful decisions in a way that secular media does not.  I think a game can be a very powerful teaching mechanism.

 

I have a lot of ideas, but for example, one idea that I had was for a game called Atonement.  And the main character is a former gangbanger who's been incarcerated for many years.  He got saved in prison, and when he comes out he's committed the rest of his life toward atoning for the sins of his past and serving Christ to the best of his ability.  The player will be rewarded for doing good deeds.  The idea hasn't developed much beyond that, but I think it'd be an honest portrayal of a Christians struggle rather than something over the top 'preachy' which would turn off those most needing to hear the message.  

 

Edit:  I know that deeds alone don't grant us salvation, but I think that every Christian, as a changed being, struggles towards Christlike perfection for their whole life and hopefully becomes closer and closer as they go down that road.  Maybe something in the game where the character achieves levels...staring as a child in the faith and the gaining different levels of maturity as their walk strengthens.  Being stronger in the face of certain temptations.  Also falling down a level or two for too much willfully going against God.

Edited by gbball
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Great thread chingchong.  I am very interested in this topic and I am working on a couple of Chistian games at the moment.  Very slowly mind you.  

I've had a big problem with eliminating violence and fighting from the gameplay of the games I'm currently working on and more so focusing on bringing the Christian themes in through the narrative, but there are ways to make games not centered around violence I believe.

 

My main thing with the games I want to make is to illustrate the true consequence of sinful decisions in a way that secular media does not.  I think a game can be a very powerful teaching mechanism.

 

I have a lot of ideas, but for example, one idea that I had was for a game called Atonement.  And the main character is a former gangbanger who's been incarcerated for many years.  He got saved in prison, and when he comes out he's committed the rest of his life toward atoning for the sins of his past and serving Christ to the best of his ability.  The player will be rewarded for doing good deeds.  The idea hasn't developed much beyond that, but I think it'd be an honest portrayal of a Christians struggle rather than something over the top 'preachy' which would turn off those most needing to hear the message.  

 

Edit:  I know that deeds alone don't grant us salvation, but I think that every Christian, as a changed being, struggles towards Christlike perfection for their whole life and hopefully becomes closer and closer as they go down that road.  Maybe something in the game where the character achieves levels...staring as a child in the faith and the gaining different levels of maturity as their walk strengthens.  Being stronger in the face of certain temptations.  Also falling down a level or two for too much willfully going against God.

 

Hi :)

thanks for your reply. 

 

Are you going for a RPG format? (Im asking because you mentioned the levelling aspect)

 

Personally i have two ideas at the moment. 

One is based on a historically biblical person --> Onesimus

 

Second is a fully fictional story based on seafarers. I developed that concept for our youth camp. It was a  whole-day adventure game, with live action, role playing, with extra build sceneries and complex interaction, full of decisions to make and reflections on your action.

Actually the kids loved it, they said, it was the best live game they ever experienced in the past camps. 

That concept could be easily transfered to videogame.

 

Ive already found my tool for game creation: http://www.visionaire-studio.net/

Some successfull games were done with it.

It practically has no need for programming skills, if youre into adventure format.

 

Would be nice if we (and any other with interest) could gather somewhere (on the web) to discuss and maybe to help each other with the projects.

 

Is it gonna be a good and bad ending type of game?

 

Im not sure, who you were asking. In case if it its me:

 

With first concept, it would be a happy end due to the historical facts. Here the  storyline would be straight forward.

With second concept, there will be atleast both types of ending. Because it depends on the decisions you made, and the consequences which follow.

Edited by chingchong

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Is it gonna be a good and bad ending type of game?

Hey Speider,

 

Not sure if you were referring to me or chingchong, but I would have one main ending, a good one, with possibly a few bad endings that would occur much sooner (essentially a glorified game over) depending on the actions you take.

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Hi :)

thanks for your reply. 

 

Are you going for a RPG format? (Im asking because you mentioned the levelling aspect)

 

Personally i have two ideas at the moment. 

One is based on a historically biblical person --> Onesimus

 

Second is a fully fictional story based on seafarers. I developed that concept for our youth camp. It was a  whole-day adventure game, with live action, role playing, with extra build sceneries and complex interaction, full of decisions to make and reflections on your action.

Actually the kids loved it, they said, it was the best live game they ever experienced in the past camps. 

That concept could be easily transfered to videogame.

 

Ive already found my tool for game creation: http://www.visionaire-studio.net/

Some successfull games were done with it.

It practically has no need for programming skills, if youre into adventure format.

 

Would be nice if we (and any other with interest) could gather somewhere (on the web) to discuss and maybe to help each other with the projects.

 

I was thinking something like that too actually, I was very busy before, and I'm just getting my head back above water.  But I was thinking of even doing like an open project with the 3D Coat and Blender community to help demonstrate what the software can do.  This idea was for a really short basketball clip with another 3D Coat user who also happens to be a Christian brother.  But perhaps that is an idea.  Create an open project and break it up into tasks and allow people to contribute as they are able.

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@chingchong

Syberia has good concept, I played it, but we was considering some freedom for player. We was aiming to do something like Oblivion/Skyrim but with christian background. Include moral characteristics that force personage to do some uncontrollable thinngs. For example:

- beat someone who is in bad relations with character even if player wants to stay peaceful.

- avoid moving to some locatio due to too big "fear" of character.

- steal something even if player does not want - just because player used to steal before.

- stop fighting just by speach if character has experience in communication and fights never or rarely.

- giving some money/items to other characters without will of player if character is kind.

@Psmith

Could be interesting to know your opinion on other articles, first article is just introductory, just questions and short story.

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sidenote opinion:

to do something like Oblivion/Skyrim the team need to develop an equivalent to Radiant_AI, or may be license Havok

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