Theme and Aesthetic in TUG

mcmanusaurmcmanusaur REGISTERED Posts: 141
edited December 2013 in Design
Hopefully I'm not the only one who feels this way, but one of the things that has slightly bothered me so far is that I don't feel like I have much of a concept of what constitutes the "big picture" of the TUG experience. I have come upon this realization because it doesn't seem that I am having too much success pitching TUG to my friends. This is roughly how it goes:

"Well, it's sort of like a better-looking version of Minecraft, but also much more", I find myself admitting after I mention the crafting and voxel-based building, mechanics present in many mediocre Minecraft clones (even if TUG handles them more gracefully). "But it also has a more solid RPG angle, including some really interesting character progression aspects!", I insist, unable to substantiate that claim in much greater detail. "It looks great for exploration, especially with the cool art style!", and while those aspects are enough for me to be excited for TUG, they just don't seem to be enough to draw others' interest in and of themselves. Just about the only thing I have left to add is that the lore seems to have a bit of a "souls" theme going on as far as I can tell, but even that I'm not sure about.

Of course, the unique composition of the Nerd Kingdom team is another thing that distinguishes this project from others for me personally, and the focus on research/metrics adds a lot of potential in my eyes, but such meta-game factors don't actually describe the contents of the game itself. Along these lines, it can be difficult to say exactly why TUG seems like it has so much potential when I don't have that much to say about the game itself. Altogether, the above just doesn't seem to translate into a winning pitch, and the most success I've had is eliciting the odd "Hmmm, interesting..." here and there. While "whatever you want" may be a great answer to "what is the game about?" for the purposes of a kickstarter pitch video, it's not that convincing when it comes to spreading awareness by word of mouth.

I know that there are good reasons for not releasing the details of the alleged lore yet, but I do think that there are ways to communicate the overall aesthetic of the game and some themes- things that ostensibly exist even in the absence of a conventional narrative in TUG- without compromising the lore's integrity. I think these things are really important to TUG's success because most Minecraft clones- even if the make minor improvements to the basic mechanics- are just as lacking in these regards as Minecraft is, and thus there is little reason to choose them over Minecraft. Maybe with a more cohesive aesthetic and some interesting thematic elements such projects could actually be successful in carving out their own niche.

At this point I'm finding it much easier to pitch TUG as a platform than as a game, but even then most of the mechanics understandably haven't been introduced yet at this stage of development. I remain confident that TUG will be a quality product at some point, but I'm having trouble figuring out what kind of product it is. So I was basically wondering whether anyone else shared this impression, or had any insight that might clear up my confusion and uncertainty. I think it could be a cool thought experiment if everyone tried to think of broad and abstract aesthetic/thematic words that describe their vision of TUG and shared them here. Here are some of the more obvious ones that come to mind:

Exploration/Discovery
Creativity (building)
Survival
Cooperation (social interaction)
Fantasy
Competition
Advancement (character progression)

The ironic thing is that judging by the above list TUG is trying to achieve a lot of different aesthetics, but all of those are exceedingly vague terms. How would you prioritize that list in the context of TUG; what is most important? Additionally, I couldn't really think of any theme words that apply to what I know about TUG; potential examples (which may or may not have anything to do with TUG) of such are as follows:

Rags to Riches
Good vs. Evil
Lost Civilization
Souls/rebirth
Voyage/quest
Hidden potential
Environmentalism
Free will/destiny
Uncertainty/suspense
Heroism
Romance
Fear/escape
Apocalypse
Crime/greed

et cetera, et cetera...

Anyway, am I the only one who is experiencing this issue? What abstract/broad words would you use to describe what TUG means to you? How do you pitch TUG to your friends? What is TUG about, at its core? Are there any particular themes you'd like TUG to explore? What do you think could make it easier for TUG to garner more outside interest?

Comments

  • JoeJoe REGISTERED Posts: 264 Seed
    Minecraft, with smooth edges, trees that aren't limited to being placed in a voxel based environment, while also being rotatable and scale-able, and an interactive playstyle that, over time, is shaped by players interactions with the world, creating a dynamic environment that gives a different experience to all.
    Just tell them it has the same limitations as EVE, and if they know anything about EVE, they will be interested.

    I'd be hooked at the "smooth edges" bit.
  • Youngy798Youngy798 REGISTERED Posts: 905 Seed
    Its difficult to explain TUG, the kickstarter videos explain it really well, but people don't tend to want to spend time researching something. COD is easy to explain, you run around the map shooting. Battlefield is easy to explain, an FPS with vehicles, destruction and indepth features. Minecraft is easy to explain, a sandbox build game made of blocks. TUG however.. not very easy, most of my attempts to explain it have ended when people just think its like Minecraft.
    If you think about it though, not being able to explain TUG means that its going to indepth and complex. if you can describe something easily, it usually means it has a limited style of gameplay. However if you have to spend ages explaining it, it means that there are tons of different things that are possible.
    Some people simply don't like TUG because of the art style not being ultra realistic, but I like that it isnt, it gives it a unique feel.
    Hello there! I am Youngy future owner of Plainhold (hopefully), go read the topic about Plainhold, and the Lemurian Empire, maybe also some of my other posts, like my mining suggestions! :)

    Bye!
  • AxtriviumAxtrivium REGISTERED Posts: 49
    I ran into this problem as well but I figured out what it was (in my case at least) I kept trying to link things to other things in TUG without fully explaining the first one that I was talking about and then I would go into a particular thing I'm excited about but they aren't and lose them, so here's how I go about it now.

    I start off by saying that its a little similar to minecraft but very different, for instance the official servers have two modes creative and survival so if you're more keen on just building and talking with people then creative is the way to play but if you want a challenge then the survival servers offer threatening AI creatures, constant PvP and permadeath to a point - so survival is all about banding together with others for protection or getting strong enough to protect yourself, or even to kill everyone else. Not just physically either, there's systems in place like magic to boil the flesh off your enemies bones, alchemical potions to aid people or poison their food, thats the great thing about TUG it wants to put as much in place to give players the freedom to become anything they want so instead of the game shaping the players, its the players shaping the game.

    Just that small 'speech' gets people interested becuase you don't try and explain the mechanics in-depth but leave enough for them to want to go and research it themselves, you plant that seed (heh) of curiousity :)
  • WingidonWingidon REGISTERED Posts: 1,128 Seed
    All I do is to ask them if they know TUG, tell them some very little about it and then I send a link to the main page.

    I reckon, that's what I do for peeps in my Steam friend's list and not people in general, but I am not even trying to convince anyone outside the computer realm.
  • mcmanusaurmcmanusaur REGISTERED Posts: 141
    Thanks for the responses, guys. I'm glad others can at least agree that TUG is slightly difficult to describe. I am really curious though; if you had to describe TUG in only five words, which words would you choose?
  • VisigothVisigoth REGISTERED Posts: 268
    lol, well written post (OP) good "lengthy" read.

    that's pretty much it... TUG is in this awkward stage of development where the potential is without defined boundaries (who knows what the end product will be) and the Devs are kind of doing that on purpose (they themselves probably don't know how far it can be taken/they can take it)

    so until the "game" is farther along in development I wouldn't expect much in the way of 'narrowing definitions/clear goals' just be happy with the rest of us who are also enticed/ excited by the possibilities/potential of TUG.
    mcmanusaur wrote:
    if you had to describe TUG in only five words, which words would you choose?

    Modifiable
    Sandbox
    SupperAwesomeFunTime!
    RPG
    Adventure!
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  • Youngy798Youngy798 REGISTERED Posts: 905 Seed
    5 words?

    Vast
    innovate
    exploration
    building
    civilisations
    Hello there! I am Youngy future owner of Plainhold (hopefully), go read the topic about Plainhold, and the Lemurian Empire, maybe also some of my other posts, like my mining suggestions! :)

    Bye!
  • SmartyOf95SmartyOf95 REGISTERED Posts: 394
    The thing is everyone loves to compare it to minecraft. The game is very much not minecraft. Minecraft was essentially built as a game where you could build stuff. Survival came later and because of this is vastly over simplified and easy to progress in. There are mods that attempt to fix this, but it's not the actual amount of progression that is bad in minecraft, it's the way progression was implemented, crafting being far over-simplified and ores being far to easy to obtain.

    TUG on the other hand is built on four main pillars of development (from what I can see): Social Interaction, Survival, Lore and Building. Building in TUG seems to me like it's going to be the thing least focused on when we are actually playing the game, rather than the most focused on aspect like minecraft. In other words being able to build in minecraft is the ultimate goal, while in TUG that goal is far more boundless and personalised. The ultimate goal for one person might be to run an empire, for another it might be to master the arcane and for still another it might be simply to play the game and make as many friends as possible. Building may be apart of this goal (a master wizard needs a tower, an Empire cities etc.), but it is not the main aspects of these goals and is merely a vector for achieving them.

    Unlike minecraft, TUG lets you do all these things, it is geared towards giving players the most rich and rewarding experience a game could possibly give while also being an experiment which in turn is also aimed at improving the gaming experience across all genres. This is why I am so excited about TUG. Not because it's another minecraft. It is not, and never will be just another minecraft. It is minecraft and so very much more.

    edit: I actually had this problem the other day at me and my friends annual LAN party, I was asked to explain TUG and get people excited about it. What I was left with was people thinking "meh, it's another minecraft spin off". It is very difficult to explain to people what this most wonderful game, TUG is about. It's about Exploration, Discovery, Lore and Survival. But mostly, it's about Fun.
    - Member of the Arcane Council, the Ruling body of Ars Arcanus.
  • JoeJoe REGISTERED Posts: 264 Seed
    Youngy798 wrote:
    If you think about it though, not being able to explain TUG means that its going to indepth and complex. if you can describe something easily, it usually means it has a limited style of gameplay. However if you have to spend ages explaining it, it means that there are tons of different things that are possible.
    When I read this I thought of a quote by Albert Einstein: "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough". While this may be a different take on what you are saying, I believe that we ourselves don't fully understand TUG, so we can't really explain it to the best of our abilities. The more TUG develops, the more we will know, and the more features will be available to explain thus the easier to coerce people to have a look.
  • mcmanusaurmcmanusaur REGISTERED Posts: 141
    Thanks for all the response, guys. Along with the recent update on Kickstarter, I definitely feel clearer on a few things now. That said, my one observation is that most but not all of the words you guys are choosing pertain more to the game's genre from a mechanics/aesthetics standpoint than from a thematic standpoint. So I guess we're still mostly in the dark about thematic stuff, but I'm glad to hear about the PvP thing NK has planned (even if I'm not sure how much it would appeal to me personally).
  • RinRin REGISTERED Posts: 668 Seed
    if i had to, even though this thread is extremely old (yet is still top), i'd define it as a sandbox voxel adventure-rpg. whereas i'd define minecraft as a sandbox voxel game. no real adventure, no real rpg, just build whatever.
    Warthunder, TUG and world of tanks fan/beta tester.
    member of The Lemurian empire and the Merchants guild
    Soon to be alchemist/apothecary in TUG
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  • SinnonSinnon REGISTERED Posts: 383 Seed
    This is not minecraft, lets take TUG as it is, I'd bet all my money this will be a quite good project even more than DayZ Standalone and other uprising game.
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    Enlist your faction in Seekers Order, sub-groups or alliances are not problem with the enlisting, since we are a not a clan, just a UN sistem of organization.
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