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View Full Version : Wanting a PC focus, complexity, challenge and depth is NOT "nostalgia"



thesisko
05-10-2012, 03:11 PM
I think that recent comments by RPS staff regarding Kickstarter show a fundamental misunderstanding on why projects like Wasteland 2 and Project: Eternity have been successful.

Backing these projects isn't about wanting "ugly animations, clunky controls and numbers everywhere". For me, and I suspect for most backers, it's about the fact that there hasn't been a really great party-based PC RPG in quite a while.

What the hell should Obsidian use for reference if they can't use BG/PST/IWD?

"Project Eternity aims to combine the reactivity of Alpha Protocol, the exploration of New Vegas and the tactical combat of Dragon Age"

Does that sound better and less "nostalgic"?

The fact is that many RPG fans have been disillusioned by how "modern" RPG's have placed an ever-increasing emphasis on action to increase marketability, reduced dialogue choices because of constraints of voice-acting and stripped away depth, challenge and complexity because it doesn't "appeal to a mainstream audience".

That's not "nostalgia" or rejecting progress, it's simply saying "Hey, I don't think I like this type of product they're labeling "RPG" these days, could I please have something that matches my tastes better?"

gundato
05-10-2012, 03:21 PM
...
And your tastes (and mine in many ways) match what was popular in the past. Hence, nostalgia. I miss back when fast food french fries were cooked with animal grease and had a metric crapton of salt. I could say that, but what I am really saying is that I am nostalgic for the unhealthy cardboard of my youth. There is nothing wrong with that (aside from the obvious health concerns :p).

Also
"Project Eternity aims to combine the reactivity of Alpha Protocol, the exploration of New Vegas and the tactical combat of Dragon Age"
Actually sounds perfect :p. Although, I would namedrop The Witcher (1 or 2) instead of Alpha Protocol.

I think the guy who was spamming up the forums with his game a few days ago is the best example of when nostalgia/old-school is bad. His game looked rather crappy, but he kept explaining it away with "it is meant to look like an NES game!"
That is "old school" as a crutch

Then you have games like Retro City Rampage which superficially resemble 16-bit era graphics (probably closer to 8, but the colors seem more vibrant), but demonstrate all the advances in 2D gaming that we are accustomed today. That is being stylish and "old school" but not using it as a crutch.


If someone were to release something that looked like Wizardry 1 (and even played like it, right down to obscenely unbalanced gameplay), they should get lynched.
If someone were to release a dungeon crawl with an emphasis on small parties, manually mapping things out, and makng you memorize your own spells while taking advantage of things like mouses and actual graphics, they would sell pretty well (Grimrock is a lot like that).

Wizardry
05-10-2012, 03:23 PM
"ugly animations, clunky controls and numbers everywhere"
This was the worst bit of the article for me and one of the worst things I've read on RPS. There's just so many things to get angry about here. Firstly, like you said yourself, people don't want old CRPGs due to their graphics or interface. People want them because of their superior and more complex gameplay, without as much influence from other genres like cover shooters. Secondly, "numbers everywhere" is both very misleading and also not necessarily a bad thing at all. I mean, I can't think of many CRPGs with "numbers everywhere". In fact, the Ultima games only had around 3 statistics and they are the most praised "old school" RPGs from the DOS era. And of course, why is "numbers everywhere" a bad thing? Getting rid of lots of attributes and skills and streamlining character development (by introducing things like skill trees) is one of the key reasons why modern RPGs are dumbed down in the first place.

NathanH
05-10-2012, 03:32 PM
And your tastes (and mine in many ways) match what was popular in the past. Hence, nostalgia.

That isn't really nostalgia, though. That's just liking things that used to be made and now aren't. That's not sufficient to call something nostalgia. If the world stopped making video games for twenty years, and then after twenty years you said "hey guys, I want some new video games", you wouldn't be being nostalgic, you'd just be wanting something.

dnf
05-10-2012, 03:36 PM
...


Then you have games like Retro City Rampage which superficially resemble 16-bit era graphics (probably closer to 8, but the colors seem more vibrant), but demonstrate all the advances in 2D gaming that we are accustomed today. That is being stylish and "old school" but not using it as a crutch.



Care to elaborate in these advances? Is savespots everywhere or save states a kind of advance? Most of the time indie games are just the worst of both worlds! Shitty graphics with casual mechanics is crap.

gundato
05-10-2012, 03:41 PM
That isn't really nostalgia, though. That's just liking things that used to be made and now aren't. That's not sufficient to call something nostalgia. If the world stopped making video games for twenty years, and then after twenty years you said "hey guys, I want some new video games", you wouldn't be being nostalgic, you'd just be wanting something.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/nostalgia?s=t
Yes, it would be.

Its like when older people complain they miss when pop music as all about acid/date rape rather than pot/sex. Yes, they probably have some very strong reasons for it, but it still boils down to them wanting a return to back when new stuff was made along their tastes.

Going by the silent movie example sentence from the page I linked to:

Good modern day silent movie: Something that actually tells a captivating story that embraces the concept. MANY operas could be done like this
Bad modern day silent movie: Hiring a bunch of deaf mutes because you get a tax credit.

dnf
05-10-2012, 03:42 PM
That isn't really nostalgia, though. That's just liking things that used to be made and now aren't. That's not sufficient to call something nostalgia. If the world stopped making video games for twenty years, and then after twenty years you said "hey guys, I want some new video games", you wouldn't be being nostalgic, you'd just be wanting something.

What about the people that start playing old games today? If he find a old game being superior to a newer game from the same genre(my case) is this nostalgia? There is lots of things i liked back in the day that i found mediocre today as well

mashakos
05-10-2012, 03:43 PM
And of course, why is "numbers everywhere" a bad thing?

A game design mechanic can be terrible if implemented improperly, so the OP might have been referring to those terrible games in the past that used stat building as filler.

NathanH
05-10-2012, 03:47 PM
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/nostalgia?s=t
Yes, it would be.

Its like when older people complain they miss when pop music as all about acid/date rape rather than pot/sex. Yes, they probably have some very strong reasons for it, but it still boils down to them wanting a return to back when new stuff was made along their tastes.

Going by the silent movie example sentence from the page I linked to:

Good modern day silent movie: Something that actually tells a captivating story that embraces the concept. MANY operas could be done like this
Bad modern day silent movie: Hiring a bunch of deaf mutes because you get a tax credit.

No, you are wrong. The very definition you linked to required that nostalgia is based on "wistful" and "sentimental" yearnings. This is more specific than liking things of type X, not having any new things of type X for many years, and wanting a new thing of type X. Nostalgia is a subset of wanting new things that are like old things.

gundato
05-10-2012, 03:47 PM
That's actually a good point mash.

I see a lot of people defending Inquisitor's combat and pacing because it is "old school". No, it is just bad pacing.

You should NEVER have to interrupt the narrative to go grind for a few hours. If you want to force that for the super-dungeons, fine. But not the main story dungeons. Otherwise, that is just filler.
Hell, even Final Fantasy generally used to get that right (not sure about these days, last one I played had Buttz and the job system).

A modern advance is to have a metric crapton of sidequests (to be fair, so did the older RPGs...). Those are also padding, but when done properly they add to the narrative. When done poorly, they are just a checklist for loot.

gundato
05-10-2012, 03:49 PM
No, you are wrong. The very definition you linked to required that nostalgia is based on "wistful" and "sentimental" yearnings. This is more specific than liking things of type X, not having any new things of type X for many years, and wanting a new thing of type X. Nostalgia is a subset of wanting new things that are like old things.
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/wistful?s=t

Can you describe Wizardry (the poster) as anything OTHER than wistful with respect to his love of early CRPGs? :p

The very fact that things are being played up as "old school" is a play to nostalgia. Otherwise, they would all be described with respect to their modern implementations.

NathanH
05-10-2012, 03:50 PM
None of your post addresses the two sentences that you wrote and I disagreed with:


And your tastes (and mine in many ways) match what was popular in the past. Hence, nostalgia.

This is wrong. I don't intend to get sidetracked.

gundato
05-10-2012, 03:57 PM
None of your post addresses the two sentences that you wrote and I disagreed with:



This is wrong. I don't intend to get sidetracked.
Actually, they kind of did. But let's give it another go in the interest of clear communication.

Many of the things I like about gaming come from the olden days, when I was growing up. For the sake of argument, let's assume that the abstract "you" agrees.

Many of the conventions in modern gaming do not match what I grew up with.

Now, I can give a long list of what I liked about the older games (and many modern games still have those...). But it boils down to me yearning for (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/wistful?s=t) a return to those old concepts and how they made me feel (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/nostalgia?s=t).

Maybe some of those are not actually good design. Maybe some of them are good things that developers have stopped doing. Maybe some of them are still being done and I refuse to acknowledge it (sort of like how everyone bitched that we had no new turn-based squad-level strategy games... and the consoles were full of them :p).

thesisko
05-10-2012, 03:59 PM
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/wistful?s=t

Can you describe Wizardry (the poster) as anything OTHER than wistful with respect to his love of early CRPGs? :p

The very fact that things are being played up as "old school" is a play to nostalgia. Otherwise, they would all be described with respect to their modern implementations.

What of me then? I played Fallout 1 after Fallout 3 and preferred the former. I first played the infinity engine games after I already played KOTOR and thought the combat was more fun and the exploration immensely more rewarding.
And say if they start making all TV shows as low-brow as "2 1/2 men" and in 10 years someone watches "The Wire" for the first time and wishes for more stuff like that. Nostalgia or a desire for quality television?

thesisko
05-10-2012, 04:06 PM
Oh, and there's a huge difference between changing tastes and market changes which drive certain niches out of business.

Having lots of complex, challenging PC RPG's available but refusing to play them because "they're not like I remember! *shakes fist*? Nostalgia.

Being told "The rising costs of development have forced us to cater to a wider market so we have to make our future games more "streamlined and accessible"? NOTHING to do with nostalgia.

gundato
05-10-2012, 04:07 PM
What of me then? I played Fallout 1 after Fallout 3 and preferred the former. I first played the infinity engine games after I already played KOTOR and thought the combat was more fun and the exploration immensely more rewarding.
And say if they start making all TV shows as low-brow as "2 1/2 men" and in 10 years someone watches "The Wire" for the first time and wishes for more stuff like that. Nostalgia or a desire for quality television?

Heh, that made me remember when O'Reilley, Generic Republican Sex Kitten, and Alan Combs (sp?) the Democratic Goblin were discussing music. The first two bitch about how music these days are all about drugs and sex and abuse. Combs (sp?) just goes on a rant about The Beatles (did they have anything that WASN'T about drugs or written while on drugs? :p) and the like.

And you are right, there are exceptions. Like how a lot of teens/hipsters get a taste for the previous generation's music. They probably aren't being nostalgic. They genuinely like the characteristics of said music.

But here's the thing: When someone's marketing is "We are making an old school RPG", they are targeting the nostalgic people. Otherwise, as you yourself said, they could just use modern terms. Because if it is ALL about game design, it shouldn't matter what game they reference.

The problem is when they use it as a crutch. When they have crappy models and say they are going for an "old school" vibe. When they have poor pacing and cite how we used to grind all the time in RPGs. That is bad design, which makes for bad games.
That's what RPS was saying, that's what I am saying. That's what anyone in their right mind should be saying.

QuantaCat
05-10-2012, 04:08 PM
Im sorry, but Im not a hardcore oldschool rpg lover, and I understand wiz' point perfectly. there is a certain lack of depth to all of these so called rpgs. Hence no, hes not being sentimental about it, unless you count being annoyed at developers for not producing quality is "sentimental".
Of course, he is looking for a certain quality, but thats not nostalgia or sentimentality, just taste.

Nalano
05-10-2012, 04:11 PM
1) Nostalgia is most commonly understood to be the feeling when someone mis-remembers something from their past to be better than it actually was.

2) I do not miss clunky interfaces, obvious kludges in translating tabletops to CRPGs, or wrangling with crappy AI or idiotic inventories. I do not miss textdumps or jump puzzles or escort quests or suffering the search for patches and fanhacks.

3) I do miss the worlds envisioned in previous eras' games - from the Azteca/Art Deco-themed afterlife with Manny Calavera to the I-read-too-much-William-Gibson cyperpunk dystopia under Eurocorp to the slap-funk 70s thriller motif with Groove and Taurus.

gundato
05-10-2012, 04:12 PM
1) Nostalgia is most commonly understood to be the feeling when someone mis-remembers something from their past to be better than it actually was.

2) I do not miss clunky interfaces, obvious kludges in translating tabletops to CRPGs, or wrangling with crappy AI or idiotic inventories. I do not miss textdumps or jump puzzles or escort quests or suffering the search for patches and fanhacks.

3) I do miss the worlds envisioned in previous eras' games - from the Azteca/Art Deco-themed afterlife with Manny Calavera to the I-read-too-much-William-Gibson cyperpunk dystopia under Eurocorp to the slap-funk 70s thriller motif with Groove and Taurus.
I actually agree with everything you just said. Scary

Heliocentric
05-10-2012, 04:17 PM
The tactical combat of Dragon Age? Said in a positive light?

Eww, I feel like I need to wash my eyes.

Wizardry
05-10-2012, 04:25 PM
A game design mechanic can be terrible if implemented improperly, so the OP might have been referring to those terrible games in the past that used stat building as filler.
Which games had stat building as filler? Can you name them please?


What of me then? I played Fallout 1 after Fallout 3 and preferred the former. I first played the infinity engine games after I already played KOTOR and thought the combat was more fun and the exploration immensely more rewarding.
This just means you've got decent taste.


The problem is when they use it as a crutch. When they have crappy models and say they are going for an "old school" vibe. When they have poor pacing and cite how we used to grind all the time in RPGs. That is bad design, which makes for bad games.
Actually, grinding is largely a myth in western RPGs. Only certain old dungeon crawlers ever required it. It was only ever prevalent in Japanese RPGs. For example, in the Gold Box games you tend to hit the level cap way before you reach the final boss, sort of like in Baldur's Gate.


1) Nostalgia is most commonly understood to be the feeling when someone mis-remembers something from their past to be better than it actually was.
This.


The tactical combat of Dragon Age? Said in a positive light?

Eww, I feel like I need to wash my eyes.
This.

mashakos
05-10-2012, 04:29 PM
Which games had stat building as filler? Can you name them please?
I made a whole thread about it: JRPGs

Wizardry
05-10-2012, 04:34 PM
I made a whole thread about it: JRPGs
Oh, okay. I thought we were talking about PC games in the PC gaming forum. Fair enough then, but JRPGs fucking suck.

Feldspar
05-10-2012, 04:38 PM
The tactical combat of Dragon Age? Said in a positive light?

Eww, I feel like I need to wash my eyes.

You know, that's what twigged with me, too. I think the combat was why I never finished Dragon Age; I was enjoying the story, the setting was different enough (although it relied on several fantasy staples so as not to alienate the faithful), but something in the mechanics was just not right for me.

mashakos
05-10-2012, 04:42 PM
Oh, okay. I thought we were talking about PC games in the PC gaming forum. Fair enough then, but JRPGs fucking suck.

I'm giving The Last Story and Xenoblade Chronicles a chance this month (on a PC) but in general, can't argue with you on that point.

Heliocentric
05-10-2012, 04:43 PM
Hey, high five. I didn't finish dragon age either.

The wife played it multiple times, also in ME3 I liked the original ending(the remade ending was terrible) ,she was outraged.

We don't talk about Bioware anymore.

Wizardry
05-10-2012, 04:48 PM
You know, that's what twigged with me, too. I think the combat was why I never finished Dragon Age; I was enjoying the story, the setting was different enough (although it relied on several fantasy staples so as not to alienate the faithful), but something in the mechanics was just not right for me.
Probably something to do with it being very similar to what World of Warcraft would be like if you controlled multiple characters.

Heliocentric
05-10-2012, 04:54 PM
Probably something to do with it being very similar to what World of Warcraft would be like if you controlled multiple characters.

I never played WoW but dragon age was like guild wars sans any kind of strategy. Also no coop.

If the combat had been like guild wars with multiple characters I would have drank it up.

TechnicalBen
05-10-2012, 04:58 PM
This was the worst bit of the article for me and one of the worst things I've read on RPS. There's just so many things to get angry about here. Firstly, like you said yourself, people don't want old CRPGs due to their graphics or interface. People want them because of their superior and more complex gameplay, without as much influence from other genres like cover shooters. Secondly, "numbers everywhere" is both very misleading and also not necessarily a bad thing at all. I mean, I can't think of many CRPGs with "numbers everywhere". In fact, the Ultima games only had around 3 statistics and they are the most praised "old school" RPGs from the DOS era. And of course, why is "numbers everywhere" a bad thing? Getting rid of lots of attributes and skills and streamlining character development (by introducing things like skill trees) is one of the key reasons why modern RPGs are dumbed down in the first place.

Yep. I tried the fan made remake of UFO (called UFO:AI). I had more fun with that then I'm expecting with X-COM. Why? Well, it's not the broken game engine, buggy levels, poor animations and dire artwork. It's the depth and gameplay. The game has so many options and just "works" as a game. I've dropped it since cos those bugs were big. But I'd prefer that game with the X-COM artwork any day for it's depth.

gundato
05-10-2012, 04:59 PM
Actually, grinding is largely a myth in western RPGs. Only certain old dungeon crawlers ever required it. It was only ever prevalent in Japanese RPGs. For example, in the Gold Box games you tend to hit the level cap way before you reach the final boss, sort of like in Baldur's Gate.
.
Agreed, but that doesn't stop people from claiming it makes something "old school". So it is easier to include it under that category and just attribute it to "nostalgia" as it were :p

QuantaCat
05-10-2012, 05:04 PM
Yeah but as far as I know, though xcom suffers from streamlining, Itll still be equally or more tactical thanthe original.

Nalano
05-10-2012, 05:15 PM
The tactical combat of Dragon Age? Said in a positive light?

Eww, I feel like I need to wash my eyes.

DA:O was proof, to me, that "tactical combat" is still inextricably tied with "clunky interface" in RPGs, or at least that some game designers connote the latter with the former.

DA2's combat was, for me, a great deal more fun, even if the story wasn't as epic or far-reaching.

gundato
05-10-2012, 05:22 PM
DA:O's combat was not that bad. It wasn't amazing, but it wasn't that bad. It just reflected a change toward an emphasis on AI scripts (which the BG-era combat DID have). If anything, I think it emphasized positioning a lot more, at the cost of lessened control (unless you did a LOT of pausing). But, at the same time, you didn't HAVE to control everyone on every single turn.

DA2's combat was fun to watch, but it really suffered from blatantly spawning enemies right behind you. So any opportunity for positioning was rendered pointless when the next wave rolled in.

SirKicksalot
05-10-2012, 05:23 PM
This thread:

http://www.abload.de/img/1348172774628lrs6j.gif

RogerMellie
05-10-2012, 05:38 PM
This thread:

http://www.abload.de/img/1348172774628lrs6j.gif

Come on dude, I'm just chuffed we're onto the 2nd page of a thread without someone calling the other a misanthropic, Nazi, communist, feminist, capitalist, DA2-loving pleb. There's hope for the RPS forums yet!!!!!

QuantaCat
05-10-2012, 05:48 PM
Basically, were at the discussion again about what should RPGs be. Recently, since everyone has shooter skills, the RPGs turned very shooty, because its assumed that players have a firm grip on them, and they are not interested in nonshootery RPGs.

But as Wiz is promoting, the actual work should be in the characters hands, not in the players. And this is what a lot of modern games seem to be forgetting. Youre not playing a character, really, youre just playing an awesome version of you.

Which is fine, but the awesome version of you should move and do in a way which is befitting the character, not you.

gundato
05-10-2012, 05:54 PM
Basically, were at the discussion again about what should RPGs be. Recently, since everyone has shooter skills, the RPGs turned very shooty, because its assumed that players have a firm grip on them, and they are not interested in nonshootery RPGs.

But as Wiz is promoting, the actual work should be in the characters hands, not in the players. And this is what a lot of modern games seem to be forgetting. Youre not playing a character, really, youre just playing an awesome version of you.

Which is fine, but the awesome version of you should move and do in a way which is befitting the character, not you.

I think you are mistaking "character sheet" with "character".
Chaotic Evil Halfling Ranger with a pet cat, two daggers, and abysmal wisdom is a character sheet
Belkar Bitterleaf, the Sexy Shoeless God of War, is a character

People roleplay without character sheets all the time (I am not a fan, if only because I like the structure and limitations the sheet provides) and instead rely solely on their acting abilities and the like.
Others are munchkins who will only help an old lady cross the street if they are guaranteed to get an XP bonus.

Older (C)RPGs definitely were about the character sheet. The only thing that differentiated your fighter and your mage were their classes. They had no personality.
Around the BG-era, the shift toward roleplaying the character became the norm, with the sheet just used for gameplay mechanics.
These days, for many RPGs it is all about the character, with the sheet being almost useless.

In Mass Effect: You are Commander Shepard
In The Witcher: You are Geralt of Rivia
In Baldurs Gate: You are Gorion's Ward

QuantaCat
05-10-2012, 05:58 PM
I think you are mistaking "character sheet" with "character".
Chaotic Evil Halfling Ranger with a pet cat, two daggers, and abysmal wisdom is a character sheet
Belkar Bitterleaf, the Sexy Shoeless God of War, is a character

People roleplay without character sheets all the time (I am not a fan, if only because I like the structure and limitations the sheet provides) and instead rely solely on their acting abilities and the like.
Others are munchkins who will only help an old lady cross the street if they are guaranteed to get an XP bonus.

Older (C)RPGs definitely were about the character sheet. The only thing that differentiated your fighter and your mage were their classes. They had no personality.
Around the BG-era, the shift toward roleplaying the character became the norm, with the sheet just used for gameplay mechanics.
These days, for many RPGs it is all about the character, with the sheet being almost useless.

In Mass Effect: You are Commander Shepard
In The Witcher: You are Geralt of Rivia
In Baldurs Gate: You are Gorion's Ward

No, Im not. a character sheet should be what the character is about, in all its actions.

Sure, you could argue "but then, why the player at all? isnt the player "playing" the character?, we could just let AIs take over and watch a movie of a game playing itself!!!111".

True, but the trick lies within letting players play the character as the character, not as an extension of the player. If you let a player shoot someone, in a shooting portion of the game, it relies on 1) your ability to use the mouse/keyboard equipment to its fullest so you can accurately do what the character should do and 2) your knowledge of shooting portions in games.

What it should rely on is: whether or not the character would shoot that way, no matter the shooting mechanics.

gundato
05-10-2012, 06:05 PM
No, Im not. a character sheet should be what the character is about, in all its actions.

Sure, you could argue "but then, why the player at all? isnt the player "playing" the character?, we could just let AIs take over and watch a movie of a game playing itself!!!111".

True, but the trick lies within letting players play the character as the character, not as an extension of the player. If you let a player shoot someone, in a shooting portion of the game, it relies on 1) your ability to use the mouse/keyboard equipment to its fullest so you can accurately do what the character should do and 2) your knowledge of shooting portions in games.

What it should rely on is: whether or not the character would shoot that way, no matter the shooting mechanics.

Well, Shepard in particular is a highly trained commando, so she knows how to shoot. The player is aiming for her, that is it.

Geralt is an amazingly talented swordsman, so he can make slicey slicey.

"Real" roleplaying depends on the player too.
No matter how good your rogue is at detecting traps, the player has to bother to look for them.
No matter how skilled your warrior is, the player has to say who to stab and when.
No matter how intelligent your wizard is, the player has to buy spells, know when to use them, and hopefully be smart enough to give the DM opportunities to roll against your learnings.
No matter how well endowed your character is, you still have to tell Abed that you want to bind the elf's arms and cudle for the appropriate amount of time.

Heliocentric
05-10-2012, 06:09 PM
But as Wiz is promoting, the actual work should be in the characters hands, not in the players
Progress quest?

Nalano
05-10-2012, 06:19 PM
Come on dude, I'm just chuffed we're onto the 2nd page of a thread without someone calling the other a misanthropic, Nazi, communist, feminist, capitalist, DA2-loving pleb. There's hope for the RPS forums yet!!!!!

It's a "defining RPG" thread, and it's not even barely disguised. Don't go holding out too much hope.


the actual work should be in the characters hands, not in the players.

That word. I don't like that word.

That word is why these arguments keep happening.

Stop using that word.

(That, and since nobody is actually picking up a gun and firing at a target, there is still a level of abstraction in design: Pointing and clicking and having the RNG determine how far the bullets stray from the target rather than... pointing and clicking and having the RNG determine how far the sword misses the target, oh gee, I think I just made another point, didn't I?)

QuantaCat
05-10-2012, 06:36 PM
That word. I don't like that word.

That word is why these arguments keep happening.

Stop using that word.


Then whats the point? Like I said in those posts: its about playing a role. The role should be played out. Unless you play roleplaying games for something else. Ideally, all of this would be an improv game played between friends, no rules, no game master, pure storytelling and different characters to play.

(ie. roleplay as the kids do it)

The fact that there are computer games to illustrate all that is around it, is just a way to get players to immerse more into the world whatever story teller is creating.

Koobazaur
05-10-2012, 06:53 PM
1) Nostalgia is most commonly understood to be the feeling when someone mis-remembers something from their past to be better than it actually was.

2) I do not miss clunky interfaces, obvious kludges in translating tabletops to CRPGs, or wrangling with crappy AI or idiotic inventories. I do not miss textdumps or jump puzzles or escort quests or suffering the search for patches and fanhacks.

3) I do miss the worlds envisioned in previous eras' games - from the Azteca/Art Deco-themed afterlife with Manny Calavera to the I-read-too-much-William-Gibson cyperpunk dystopia under Eurocorp to the slap-funk 70s thriller motif with Groove and Taurus.

Pretty much spot on. Albeit, many people due to nostalgia are used to clunky interfaces to the point where they find them preferable to streamlined ones; notice how every time a new version of software comes out people bitch and whine about the changes until they get re-used to it and only in retrospect realize that yes, the change was good. But many hardcdore old-school gamers never seem to make that realization.

There's also the concept of "aging" - some games simply age better than other. There are few that were mind blowing when they came out, but trying to replay them now is a pain (Arcanum, with its somewhat lackluster combat and graphics much more forgivable at the time); but then there are those which, despite their old nature, are still fantastic avoiding the oldschool pitfalls (Doom, Deus Ex).


Then whats the point? Like I said in those posts: its about playing a role. The role should be played out. Unless you play roleplaying games for something else.

Well, in gaming world, the genre names have little to do with what the genre is really about. RPG is really more about stats, leveling up, items, quests, stories, choices etc. Playing a role isn't strictly speaking part of the genre, at least not anymore than playing a space marine in Doom is.

QuantaCat
05-10-2012, 07:00 PM
Well, in gaming world, the genre names have little to do with what the genre is really about. RPG is really more about stats, leveling up, items, quests, stories, choices etc. Playing a role isn't strictly speaking part of the genre, at least not anymore than playing a space marine in Doom is.

And I think this is the core of the matter: not anymore it isnt. Thats what those people that cling onto "oldschool games" so much mean when they do that: they want the gameconcepts and genres of old, not this "new" meaning.

Of course, you dont have to get all silly about actual terms and ways of calling something, but someone calling Stereoscopic video material "3D" can drive me mad, for example. So I guess there is a fine line to thread here between "just doing it to be correct" and "omg RPGs used to mean something completely different, I want a new one of those pls"

Nalano
05-10-2012, 07:01 PM
Ideally, all of this would be an improv game played between friends, no rules, no game master, pure storytelling and different characters to play.

Yes.

So where does all this bullshit about how the world is abstracted fit in to all this? All systems have limits. It is only important that we have a world.

QuantaCat
05-10-2012, 07:03 PM
Yes.

So where does all this bullshit about how the world is abstracted fit in to all this? All systems have limits. It is only important that we have a world.

see my previous post which probably was posted while you were replying.

TillEulenspiegel
05-10-2012, 07:08 PM
notice how every time a new version of software comes out people bitch and whine about the changes until they get re-used to it and only in retrospect realize that yes, the change was good.
And designers tend to fall in to the opposite trap, assuming that all change is good. Look at the new sluggish (on a top-end PC running Chrome with a 50Mbit DSL connection!) Ajax-y interfaces of Twitter and Facebook and tell me those are better than before.

Or the new GMail interface, where previously labeled buttons have been replaced with abstract monochromatic icons. Quick, what does an exclamation point inside a hexagon do? A down arrow on a box? How about a horizontal line inside a square? I have to hover every fucking time when previously I could just read the damn label. The old interface wasn't pretty, but it worked.


Albeit, many people due to nostalgia are used to clunky interfaces to the point where they find them preferable to streamlined ones;

But many hardcdore old-school gamers never seem to make that realization.
I've never seen anyone who was nostalgic for old "clunky" interfaces. Any time I mention Darklands or Realms of Arkania in glowing terms, I also whine about the interfaces. Because they're shite, made in an era when you had to handle raw mouse input all by yourself.

If you're talking about new console/gamepad-oriented interfaces, that's another matter entirely.

Wizardry
05-10-2012, 07:18 PM
People roleplay without character sheets all the time (I am not a fan, if only because I like the structure and limitations the sheet provides) and instead rely solely on their acting abilities and the like.
Indeed they do. This is because Role-Playing Games (RPGs) are a specific type of game that facilitates Role-Playing. They are not synonyms. Incidentally, CRPGs started out as computer adaptations of this specific type of game, literally being Computer Role-Playing Games. What we have now are other types of computer games facilitating Role-Playing, based purely on video game concepts like shooters and hack & slashers. These games are also called CRPGs, but rather than being computer adaptations of RPGs, they are computer games that facilitate role-playing like RPGs did.

This is the heart of the difference between "old school" and "new school".

Nalano
05-10-2012, 07:33 PM
Indeed they do. This is because Role-Playing Games (RPGs) are a specific type of game that facilitates Role-Playing. They are not synonyms. Incidentally, CRPGs started out as computer adaptations of this specific type of game, literally being Computer Role-Playing Games. What we have now are other types of computer games facilitating Role-Playing, based purely on video game concepts like shooters and hack & slashers. These games are also called CRPGs, but rather than being computer adaptations of RPGs, they are computer games that facilitate role-playing like RPGs did.

This is the heart of the difference between "old school" and "new school".

Who gave tabletop an open-ended monopoly on roleplaying? Gary Gygax made a ruleset, not a religion.

Defining RPGs by how closely they adhere to TT is like defining fantasy by how closely it adheres to Tolkien.

Wizardry
05-10-2012, 07:53 PM
Who gave tabletop an open-ended monopoly on roleplaying? Gary Gygax made a ruleset, not a religion.

Defining RPGs by how closely they adhere to TT is like defining fantasy by how closely it adheres to Tolkien.
No. That would be defining RPGs by how closely they adhere to OD&D. Defining RPGs by how closely they adhere to TT is like defining fantasy by how closely it adheres to fantasy.

Sparkasaurusmex
05-10-2012, 07:57 PM
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/nostalgia?s=t
Yes, it would be.

Its like when older people complain they miss when pop music as all about acid/date rape rather than pot/sex. Yes, they probably have some very strong reasons for it, but it still boils down to them wanting a return to back when new stuff was made along their tastes.

Going by the silent movie example sentence from the page I linked to:

Good modern day silent movie: Something that actually tells a captivating story that embraces the concept. MANY operas could be done like this
Bad modern day silent movie: Hiring a bunch of deaf mutes because you get a tax credit.

I don't believe that nostalgia actually has anything to do with the medium people feel nostalgic for, that is just the reminder. Truly they are nostalgic for the way they used to perceive the world.

Hypernetic
05-10-2012, 09:03 PM
I feel like whoever wrote that recent article was mistaken in believing devs have said kickstarter allows for more innovation. The gist of most of the kickstarters so far has been "Publishers don't allow us to make the game we want to make" and not so much "publishers stifle innovation".

Sparkasaurusmex
05-10-2012, 09:16 PM
Yeah, it's sort of an indirect thing, you have to connect some dots (which makes for great journalism, don't you know!)
KS has definitely had this tone of "Publishers won't make this game" but there has also been this bit about publishers stifling innovation, so I guess that somehow KS will lead to innovative games?

Koobazaur
05-10-2012, 10:03 PM
And designers tend to fall in to the opposite trap, assuming that all change is good. Look at the new sluggish (on a top-end PC running Chrome with a 50Mbit DSL connection!) Ajax-y interfaces of Twitter and Facebook and tell me those are better than before.

Or the new GMail interface, where previously labeled buttons have been replaced with abstract monochromatic icons. Quick, what does an exclamation point inside a hexagon do? A down arrow on a box? How about a horizontal line inside a square? I have to hover every fucking time when previously I could just read the damn label. The old interface wasn't pretty, but it worked.


This really goes both ways, some designs are better than others. For instance people bitch about Metro but I can see a computer unsavvy mom&pop loving the simplicity and intuitiveness of it. I also gotten used to the Ribbon interface in MSWord and see the benefit of it too; it makes a lot of options more accessible (while I do stumble trying to find where others are "hidden" but its just a matter of re-adjusting).

I do agree about FB though, these guys just keep changing stuff for the sake of changing it. Some of it was good, but most is.. meh. Not even bad or good meh, just change for change's sake.


I've never seen anyone who was nostalgic for old "clunky" interfaces. Any time I mention Darklands or Realms of Arkania in glowing terms, I also whine about the interfaces. Because they're shite, made in an era when you had to handle raw mouse input all by yourself.

If you're talking about new console/gamepad-oriented interfaces, that's another matter entirely.

Hmm my wording in the previous post wasn't clear, I meant that some "oldschoolers" prefer bad "oldschool" interface not so much because they like clunkiness, but because they are familiar with it, hence it feels "comfortable" to be using it. You would agree that the difficulty / entry barrier for many PC games (controls/big manuals/lack of tutorials/*.ini editing etc.) is often brought up as element of pride, like this is what defines a real "hardcore" gamer and if you can't get used to it, GTFO. In reality, inaccessibility is just poor design.

You mention consoles/gamepads, which are a great example of this, with PC users always crying "consolitis" and feeling superior without ever stopping to think that, hey, maybe some of the streamline decisions are good (90% aren't but no one ever recognizes the remaining 10%)? Compare Deus Ex to DX:HR controls, the latter is far streamlined, yet equally functional. If you watch the video of Warren replaying DX (it was posted a while back) he struggles with controls and remarks how they almost "used every key on the keyboard" just because it was available.

Finicky
05-10-2012, 10:18 PM
I think that recent comments by RPS staff regarding Kickstarter show a fundamental misunderstanding on why projects like Wasteland 2 and Project: Eternity have been successful.

Backing these projects isn't about wanting "ugly animations, clunky controls and numbers everywhere". For me, and I suspect for most backers, it's about the fact that there hasn't been a really great party-based PC RPG in quite a while.

What the hell should Obsidian use for reference if they can't use BG/PST/IWD?

"Project Eternity aims to combine the reactivity of Alpha Protocol, the exploration of New Vegas and the tactical combat of Dragon Age"

Does that sound better and less "nostalgic"?

The fact is that many RPG fans have been disillusioned by how "modern" RPG's have placed an ever-increasing emphasis on action to increase marketability, reduced dialogue choices because of constraints of voice-acting and stripped away depth, challenge and complexity because it doesn't "appeal to a mainstream audience".

That's not "nostalgia" or rejecting progress, it's simply saying "Hey, I don't think I like this type of product they're labeling "RPG" these days, could I please have something that matches my tastes better?"

Good post and thanks for the effort, but you knew gundato would swoop in on post one to shit on this thread and bury it with a barrage of asinine semantics arguing.


Anyhow: nostalgia keeps being used as the default 'I'm out of valid arguments' rebuttal by people who don't understand what made a series popular or loved by the people discussing it.
Just take it for what it is, the person throwing in the towel, and ignore it as best as you can.

Jockie
05-10-2012, 10:29 PM
Erm, wrong thread!

soldant
06-10-2012, 01:21 AM
Innovation is not nostalgia. Remaking Game X from 1995 is not innovative. It's just another rehash of an old game. We complain about reboots and rehashes and ultimately that seems to be what we're heading towards - a rush to recover the "golden age" of the 90s by basically doing whatever the 90s did and calling it a feature.

The article never said that PC centric development, complexity, challenge, or depth was entirely nostalgia. It just suggested that devs on Kickstarter weren't doing anything innovative by basically copying whatever the 90s did and calling it innovation. It's just bringing back a dead concept, that's all. And really, the article was right on that point - copying the mechanics of a dead and buried title isn't innovative, you'd have called it a clone if it was done in the same year as that game.

But the thing the article didn't necessarily say was whether this was bad for us as gamers. A reduction in innovation isn't good for progression, which the article questioned, but the fact is that a lot of people liked those mechanics from the 90s. It's not necessarily bad to rely on tested mechanics as a foundation for the game, provided it's used appropriately and the game world itself is engaging. People seem to have decided that the article is saying "old games are bad and should never be brought back" which wasn't the point at all.

From my perspective, where I believe the 90s was the golden age of gaming (also including maybe the first half of the 2000s as well, mostly for technical innovation and progression before the 360 basically killed it), I don't have an issue with bringing back old games or their mechanics, provided that doesn't mean bringing back crappy old interfaces or stupid arbitrary design decisions because that's the way they did it back then on a 386 and 4MB of RAM, because that's absurd. Alternatively, I can choose not to buy or Kickstart those games.

But by the same token, I won't call it innovative, because it isn't. It's not innovative to do what was done before. It's not even novel. And that's what the article was getting at - not that bringing back old games or their mechanics is bad, just that the idea that Kickstarter was going to be a big revolution in allowing for developer innovation wasn't going to happen, and that in the rush to bring back old games there's little true innovation going on. Not that it's a bad thing necessarily, just that it's not the torrent of new, fresh ideas that some people might have hoped for. But anybody who has watched Kickstarter news could have told you that early on, because most things are clones of other popular (or marketable) indie titles, or effectively resurrect dead games. And they sell themselves on nostalgia, which is fine if that's what we want.

mashakos
06-10-2012, 01:45 AM
Which is fine, but the awesome version of you should move and do in a way which is befitting the character, not you.
Isn't that what Mass Effect attempted with it's combat system? Everyone said it sucked. (I liked it)

archonsod
06-10-2012, 02:00 AM
No, Im not. a character sheet should be what the character is about, in all its actions.

As championed by that ongoing famous RPG, Microsoft Excel.


That, and since nobody is actually picking up a gun and firing at a target, there is still a level of abstraction in design: Pointing and clicking and having the RNG determine how far the bullets stray from the target

Silly thing there is that something like weapon accuracy isn't decided by the character. Nor is it decided by random chance. It's decided by ballistics, which is something a modern desktop can actually model. The reason for the character sheet was to provide an abstraction of real world interactions that the average human brain could cope with in a reasonable time frame. Given we're at the point we can model real world interactions in the spare capacity of the graphics card, it makes the whole thing somewhat redundant.
The only reason to ride a steam train in the 21st century is because you like steam trains, which is fair enough. But trying to claim they're something fundamental to the concept of rail transport or represent some halycon era of mass transit is sheer absurdity.

Wizardry
06-10-2012, 02:36 AM
As championed by that ongoing famous RPG, Microsoft Excel.
Microsoft Excel is a better RPG than Lord of the Rings.


Silly thing there is that something like weapon accuracy isn't decided by the character. Nor is it decided by random chance. It's decided by ballistics, which is something a modern desktop can actually model. The reason for the character sheet was to provide an abstraction of real world interactions that the average human brain could cope with in a reasonable time frame. Given we're at the point we can model real world interactions in the spare capacity of the graphics card, it makes the whole thing somewhat redundant.
The only reason to ride a steam train in the 21st century is because you like steam trains, which is fair enough. But trying to claim they're something fundamental to the concept of rail transport or represent some halycon era of mass transit is sheer absurdity.
Yes. Aiming and shooting at a moving target is an important and thought provoking RPG decision. You can aim for any pixel on the screen and you can even choose exactly when you want to hit that pixel to the millisecond. If you want to shoot a man in the eye at a distance of 100m within 0.1 seconds of seeing him then that's a choice you can make. Whether you succeed or fail at this activity is of course purely down to the character, because every single player in the world will be able to at least pull off the required series of rapid hand movements at the required speed...

The fact of the matter is that the activity of aiming a cross-hair in real-time has nothing to do with RPG decision making. Choosing to actually shoot a target is, because that target could be friendly, could be unarmed, could be easily subdued etc. You control the decision making of your character. You don't control how good they are at pulling off the required steps to execute your decisions. This is fundamental to the genre, and I do feel really sorry for those who can't wrap their head around it. It's almost like they are missing out on a whole genre of games, a genre that happens to be called role-playing games.

mashakos
06-10-2012, 02:45 AM
You control the decision making of your character. You don't control how good they are at pulling off the required steps to execute your decisions.
lame!

Seriously, what does Role Playing have to do with Management sims? I always thought this line of thinking made sense with board games because of the limitations of the medium itself rather than a desire by "table top" game designers to keep players removed from the actual actions of the characters they play.

EDIT: To put it another way, actually performing the actions adds gravity to them. See:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=IimjoFyUktY#t=190s

dnf
06-10-2012, 02:52 AM
People always talk about nostalgia as remembering positive things, but there is a lot of reverse nostalgia in some arguments. Take Doom for exemple: Some people bitch about the level design in Doom as being too complex and defining it as a "key hunt fest".

Well I find this statement quite silly, because i played Doom 1 and 2 some months ago(first run BTW), and i find the level design very easy to navigate, only getting stuck in one level so far(out of what, 100?)! Maybe this kind of argument is generated by the level of suckiness of a portion of gamers at that time, that put the blame of their innability in the game and not themselves.

I remember my time in Doom fighting hordes of enemies, and not searching for coloured keys. If i where to criticize Doom by today standarts, the features would be the graphics and the gunfights(which where good in 94, today, not so much). Thankfully we have Brutal Doom to ease the dated features.

Wizardry
06-10-2012, 03:03 AM
lame!

Seriously, what does Role Playing have to do with Management sims? I always thought this line of thinking made sense with board games because of the limitations of the medium itself rather than a desire by "table top" game designers to keep players removed from the actual actions of the characters they play.
Computer role-playing games are single player computer simulations of tabletop role-playing games. If you want to act out the actions required then what you probably want is a CLARP or something. Yes, I did make up that term, and yes, it does stand for computerised live action role play.

dnf
06-10-2012, 03:22 AM
If you have a warrior that sucks at thief-like activities, you dont expect said warrior to be sucessfull at sneaking or other thief related stuff

soldant
06-10-2012, 03:49 AM
Why are people arguing with Wizardry? I thought we'd all learned not to do that by now.


People always talk about nostalgia as remembering positive things, but there is a lot of reverse nostalgia in some arguments. Take Doom for exemple: Some people bitch about the level design in Doom as being too complex and defining it as a "key hunt fest".
I don't think anybody bitches about the levels being "too complex". The thing that people say about it is that it's not really non-linear. You still have a very specific path to take which you are placed on by hunting for keys and switches. It just increases backtracking to artificially extend gameplay time. There's still only one exit, one way to get there, and you'll need these keys in this order to do it.

But as with most things in retrospect, people relabelled it "non-linear level design" and hailed it as a golden age, when all it did was just create a load of backtracking. Doom (or really any sector-based engine) has excellent levels because they're fairly well paced - they're not too long for the most part, they incorporate a variety of spaces, and their abstract level design (a limitation of the technology) is aesthetically pleasing for most people (I love Doom 2's suburb/city areas for example, even though they might as well be anything). Ironically, some of the best PWADs depart from the backtracking and move towards more modern FPS design (like Action Doom) while maintaining a bit of exploration. Half Life levels are largely the same - it's still a very linear game but there are side rooms to look at to pick up ammo. The fact that you can get slightly sidetracked by exploring a storage closet does not make a level non-linear.

That's not to say that the endless desert corridors of your average CoD game are superior or vastly inferior (CoD games are heavily scripted, a highly linear design makes sense). But the idea that Doom levels were all awesome and represent a great example of non-linear design is flawed.

Also the endless demon hordes and gunplay is ultimately what makes Doom fun. But the downside of that is that players get fatigued easily when there's just an endless onslaught of enemies (something the Serious Sam games never got right, there's no pacing). Valve on the other hand are masters at establishing pacing.

QuantaCat
06-10-2012, 06:49 AM
Also, why is there this aggressive tone to all posts? I dont get it.

(ignoring Doom here, as we are not "jazzing up" something from before that wasnt there)
Anyhow, thats why they are called Roleplaying Games: they give you a world to roleplay in. Or atleast, ideally. Im not saying make another 1980s pnp conversiony type CRPG, Im just saying that they shouldnt depend on any given thing, and just go to the core of what they *say* they are going to make. (there werent any computer game preconceptions back then, because the medium was so young; but of course, some TT preconceptions carried over)

Also, I hope they dont "faithfully" recreate Baldurs Gate with that Project Eternity, that would be made of suck. I wasnt the biggest fan of BG, though I know it was a great game for its time. (and I also knew it at the time, and yes, I played through the second one and its expansion as well as big parts of the first one + expansion) There are some serious flaws with BG, but not necessarily to do with "wrong" preconceptions, just a bad system.

Heliocentric
06-10-2012, 09:33 AM
Also, why is there this aggressive tone to all posts? I dont get it.

Reader bias?

BillButNotBen
06-10-2012, 11:05 AM
Also, why is there this aggressive tone to all posts? I dont get it.

because you're on an Internet forum and that's unfortunately how they are. Lately I've been trying to moderate my Internet language and be more open and constructive, but it involved writing huge disclaimers infront of any opinions, and it doesn't tend to work as people seem to read everything with an aggressive tone even if that wasn't how it was written.
---
I think there IS a huge amount of nostalgia in the mix, but that tend to be unavoidable. It's also the reason we get things like Transformers movies. It doesn't mean they shouldn't do it anyway.

I tend to find that nostalgia works the other way. People tend to complain about modern things based on nostalgia. I think they have to at least consider that the world and the market has changed, and that their nostalgic memories they are using as a point of comparison aren't always unbiased or accurate.

Sometimes the new version has different characteristics to the old one, but that can be a great thing or a terrible thing depending on your memories of the old one and how successful the new one is at what it attempts. On the other hand a new version that slavishly follows the old format can be great or awful depending on the suitability of the template - but it does sometimes seem a little redundant.

deano2099
06-10-2012, 11:35 AM
Computer role-playing games are single player computer simulations of tabletop role-playing games. If you want to act out the actions required then what you probably want is a CLARP or something.

But the language has evolved to the point where people are just calling them RPGs now. Might not be ideal, but since far more people understand the later definition, if you really feel the distinction is important you may have more luck making up a new term for the former definition, CTRPG or something?

Anyway, the original article was entirely horrid. I want John's time machine so I can go play all these KS games, none of which are done yet, and many of which aren't even out of the design phase. The assumption that there will be nothing innovative in them because they're based on older games is insulting. Planescape was based on BG2, used the same engine even, yet was clearly an innovative game. Pretty much every old LucasArts point and click evolved and innovated somewhere - I'd be shocked if the Double Fine game doesn't at least include one new mechanic that hasn't been done before.

It's perfectly possible to make something in the style of something else while still innovating.

Voon
06-10-2012, 11:46 AM
Oh, joy! Another "What's an RPG thread" on RPS! I'll get my popcorn

fiddlesticks
06-10-2012, 11:49 AM
Oh, okay. I thought we were talking about PC games in the PC gaming forum. Fair enough then, but JRPGs fucking suck.
I'm a bit surprised you dislike JRPGs as a genre, considering they're often closer to earlier PC roleplaying games than most modern western RPGs nowadays are. Do you feel they took the wrong lessons from those older games?


Planescape was based on BG2, used the same engine even, yet was clearly an innovative game.
As much as I love Planescape, I'm not sure I would call it particularly innovative. The setting was unique to be sure, but in terms of gameplay it was very close to the other Infinity games, only with a greater focus on dialogue and a lesser focus on combat.

Heliocentric
06-10-2012, 12:00 PM
Oh, joy! Another "What's an RPG thread" on RPS! I'll get my popcorn

"You people" are half of the problem.

thesisko
06-10-2012, 12:09 PM
As much as I love Planescape, I'm not sure I would call it particularly innovative. The setting was unique to be sure, but in terms of gameplay it was very close to the other Infinity games, only with a greater focus on dialogue and a lesser focus on combat.
As opposed to more recent party-based RPG's like Dragon Age 1&2? Most of the "innovation" shown by party-based tactical RPGs post BG2/PS:T are in production values made possible by bigger budget.

And saying that the desire to play a party-based RPG with tactical combat is "nostalgia" because we have Mass Effect is a strawman, comparable to saying "You want turn-based strategy for nostalgic reasons, strategy has evolved to realtime now".

deano2099
06-10-2012, 12:09 PM
As much as I love Planescape, I'm not sure I would call it particularly innovative. The setting was unique to be sure, but in terms of gameplay it was very close to the other Infinity games, only with a greater focus on dialogue and a lesser focus on combat.

It innovated in terms of theme. Notably by actually having one.

Voon
06-10-2012, 12:20 PM
"You people" are half of the problem.

By being a bystander? Yeah, sure man. Reading a thread is definately a problem.

Heliocentric
06-10-2012, 12:40 PM
By being a bystander? Yeah, sure man. Reading a thread is definately a problem.

http://forums.riftgame.com/attachments/general-discussion/8085d1346098178t-some-respect-please-not-sure-if-serious.jpg

NathanH
06-10-2012, 12:45 PM
As opposed to more recent party-based RPG's like Dragon Age 1&2? Most of the "innovation" shown by party-based tactical RPGs post BG2/PS:T are in production values made possible by bigger budget.

DA2 had some innovations that were lost amid the crap. DA:O innovated in that it brought MMO aggro-based gameplay to single player party-based RTwP RPGs, although this innovation was probably not worth doing...

Gray Guardian
06-10-2012, 01:39 PM
Mr Wizardry summed up his views perfectly IMO in the comment section of the Obsidian interview article, let me paraphrase 'Star Trail is one of the most complex rpgs ever, it had over 50 skills, sadly not all of them worked'. This demonstrates the mentality of more complexity, more numbers, more features, MORE EVERYTHING even if it doesn't work at all and has no purpose in enhancing the gameplay. I really don't think there is a point in arguing this kind of attitude.

NathanH
06-10-2012, 01:44 PM
Mr Wizardry summed up his views perfectly IMO in the comment section of the Obsidian interview article, let me paraphrase 'Star Trail is one of the most complex rpgs ever, it had over 50 skills, sadly not all of them worked'. This demonstrates the mentality of more complexity, more numbers, more features, MORE EVERYTHING even if it doesn't work at all and has no purpose in enhancing the gameplay. I really don't think there is a point in arguing this kind of attitude.

Exactly right. Only a fool would think that the sensible evolution of a game that had a lot of complexity but didn't get it all right would be to make a game with a lot of complexity that did get it all right. Only a fool.

dnf
06-10-2012, 02:49 PM
I don't think anybody bitches about the levels being "too complex". The thing that people say about it is that it's not really non-linear. You still have a very specific path to take which you are placed on by hunting for keys and switches. It just increases backtracking to artificially extend gameplay time. There's still only one exit, one way to get there, and you'll need these keys in this order to do it.

I think the non linear part that people talk about is the order of things you have to do to get to the exit. Sometimes you take the blue key first, sometimes you take the red,etc... Im not to fond of this kind of praise neither.
As for the backtracking, most games with complex level design have it, so i think is silly to criticize backtracking because is inerent to the design philosofy. For me, Thief Level design is perfect, yet there is lots of backtracking. So,to criticize backtracking is akin to asking for linear level design.




That's not to say that the endless desert corridors of your average CoD game are superior or vastly inferior (CoD games are heavily scripted, a highly linear design makes sense). But the idea that Doom levels were all awesome and represent a great example of non-linear design is flawed.

COD level design is non-existant,thus inferior(scripts dont take the role of good level design,sorry). Doom level design is good for the most part. Of course there exist games with better level design.


Also the endless demon hordes and gunplay is ultimately what makes Doom fun. But the downside of that is that players get fatigued easily when there's just an endless onslaught of enemies (something the Serious Sam games never got right, there's no pacing). Valve on the other hand are masters at establishing pacing.

im my experience, i find the enemy pacing in Doom good enough.

Wizardry
06-10-2012, 03:20 PM
Mr Wizardry summed up his views perfectly IMO in the comment section of the Obsidian interview article, let me paraphrase 'Star Trail is one of the most complex rpgs ever, it had over 50 skills, sadly not all of them worked'. This demonstrates the mentality of more complexity, more numbers, more features, MORE EVERYTHING even if it doesn't work at all and has no purpose in enhancing the gameplay. I really don't think there is a point in arguing this kind of attitude.
There are so many things wrong with this. Firstly Realms of Arkania was based on the German pen and paper RPG Das Schwarze Auge. They didn't just throw random skills in there because they thought them up, they threw them in there because they were presumably in the pen and paper game. In fact, in each of the games in the series they attempted to implement more of them, so even if some skills don't do anything in the first game there's a good chance they do when you import your characters into the second. In the end this is a good thing, because it avoids the problem of importing your characters into a feature rich sequel only to find out that you'd be better off remaking your characters and putting points into new skills. Still, there were skills that weren't used at all throughout the series, but if I remember correctly the manuals told you which ones they were.

And then the biggest problem with your statement is that you're looking at "50 skills, sadly not all of them worked" and reading "5 skills and 45 non-working skills". This isn't correct, and in fact the game only needs around 20 working skills to have more than the vast majority of CRPGs. It looks like you haven't played the game. It's one of the best RPGs ever made.

TillEulenspiegel
06-10-2012, 03:39 PM
They didn't just throw random skills in there because they thought them up, they threw them in there because they were presumably in the pen and paper game.
Waaah, DSA is needlessly complex! Streamlined is better! Who has time to learn all those rules?

You know what each individual skill gives you in an RPG? New and unique gameplay possibilities. Lots of skills means you might be able to have a game where you do something other than swing swords and cast fireballs. If reading a skill list doesn't excite you, your imagination is broken.

Burning Wheel (P&P) has Accounting as the first skill on its alphabetized list. Sounds frightfully dull, but think about it. You could help run a business, or an estate. Or investigate someone else's records. And do it in a way that's mechanically interesting, not just picking from a list of preset outcomes.

Wizardry
06-10-2012, 04:21 PM
Waaah, DSA is needlessly complex! Streamlined is better! Who has time to learn all those rules?

You know what each individual skill gives you in an RPG? New and unique gameplay possibilities. Lots of skills means you might be able to have a game where you do something other than swing swords and cast fireballs. If reading a skill list doesn't excite you, your imagination is broken.
Indeed. I'm just thinking about something like Planescape: Torment (which was the point of comparison) where you literally fight, and then go into multiple choice style conversations. That's all there is to the game really. Is that honestly what people want to see in RPGs? Talking and fighting? There are so many possibilities and Realms of Arkania actually did its best to provide them. It wasn't perfect, and yes some of the skills were left unimplemented, but so what? Surely we should think about the possibilities of RPGs rather than exactly what has been made in the past. Imagine Realms of Arkania but with even better implementations of all those skills! Is that a possibility? Yes, it is.


Burning Wheel (P&P) has Accounting as the first skill on its alphabetized list. Sounds frightfully dull, but think about it. You could help run a business, or an estate. Or investigate someone else's records. And do it in a way that's mechanically interesting, not just picking from a list of preset outcomes.
Indeed. Not like the following:

if ((target == "Bob") && (player.characters[0].skills.hunting > 50))
write("I see you are hunter. If you kill 10 boars I'll reward you with 10 gold pieces.");
else
write("If you kill 10 boars I'll reward you with 5 gold pieces.");

NathanH
06-10-2012, 04:31 PM
It amuses me that Wizardry is always the one accused of nostalgia and living in the past, yet oddly has one of the most exciting visions of RPG possibilities on the forum...

QuantaCat
06-10-2012, 04:34 PM
finally, someone realised. I realised this some time ago, and I am a believer of the way of the wizard(ry). It truly makes for interesting game design, and we do need a lot more of that.

archonsod
06-10-2012, 04:35 PM
Exactly right. Only a fool would think that the sensible evolution of a game that had a lot of complexity but didn't get it all right would be to make a game with a lot of complexity that did get it all right. Only a fool.

And only a fool would think more stuff equalled more complexity.

NathanH
06-10-2012, 04:44 PM
And only a fool would think more stuff equalled more complexity.

I suggest you read the post I quoted, in which the "more complexity" was accepted, and then realize that you're being a stupid little troll as usual. Archonsod off.

Nalano
06-10-2012, 06:38 PM
Silly thing there is that something like weapon accuracy isn't decided by the character. Nor is it decided by random chance. It's decided by ballistics, which is something a modern desktop can actually model. The reason for the character sheet was to provide an abstraction of real world interactions that the average human brain could cope with in a reasonable time frame. Given we're at the point we can model real world interactions in the spare capacity of the graphics card, it makes the whole thing somewhat redundant.

Pointedly ignoring the rest of this thread, I'd like to point out that I'm not so much talking about the lack of bullet physics and stuff like that. I'm talking about the fact that, if you hold down the trigger, bullets fly in a wide arc. The abstraction comes from the simulation of how much the gun is pushing back on the person who fires it, not so much by the ballistics of the projectiles.

b0rsuk
06-10-2012, 07:14 PM
I'm a bit surprised you dislike JRPGs as a genre, considering they're often closer to earlier PC roleplaying games than most modern western RPGs nowadays are. Do you feel they took the wrong lessons from those older games?

There's a bit of truth in that. JRPGs, especially ones like Zelda, are hugely inspired by Ultima III: Exodus. One of my favorite games - but it has to be said it has a number of design flaws. In particular, extreme grind is required to finish the game.



As much as I love Planescape, I'm not sure I would call it particularly innovative. The setting was unique to be sure, but in terms of gameplay it was very close to the other Infinity games, only with a greater focus on dialogue and a lesser focus on combat.

I agree. Infinity engine games really are just conversations and combat. You can describe tons of games like that (Half Life and just about any other FPS with story). The thing is, cRPG games, especially ones with a huge open world, pretend to be more. That's why it's surprising and disappointing. One thing that particularly annoys me is non-interactive environment in Infinity games. I can't chop a tree, nothing really moves. Once you explore a zone you can forget about it. Everything is static.

Chris Avellone, Obsidian and company seem to equate RPG games with a story. Wizardry has a point when he says cRPG games can be innovative without obsessing about story - focusing on new and interesting mechanics. I love interesting game mechanics.

arathain
06-10-2012, 07:18 PM
Modern RPGs are trying to give players a sense (illusionary or otherwise) that they have influence over who their characters are, in terms of personality and how they react to the world. That's really great.

But there's more to a character, and thus to roleplaying of any sort, than who a character is. There's also what they can do, and what they can't do. I have a strong sense of empathy and a calm temperament, but have a short attention span. If you want to know me you also have to know that I'm a good person to have around if you want to purify proteins and that I make a very satisfying carbonara. My skills and personality inform each other, as well- I really like long walks, but I'm not all that fit, so I like the idea of hiking more than I'm able to execute. I have a great immune system, but it makes me less cautious around situations where there's a risk of infection.

The old school games that Wizardry loves had far more interesting things to say about what a character is able to do, and how to simulate that. It's a interesting aspect of computer simulation in gaming that has largely been left behind, and I agree that's a shame. A well designed system lets you look at a list of statistics and see a believable person, as much or more so as Jennifer Hale doing the voice work.

Wizardry
06-10-2012, 07:28 PM
The way I try to see things is by comparing the sorts of activities you do in a typical CRPG to what you do in real life when undertaking a task. How much of your time is spent talking to people or killing people? In reality, not too much. There are so many possibilities out there in the world that don't involve conversations or fighting each other. Rock climbing, swimming, cooking, gambling, hunting, fishing, studying and all sorts. With care, these things can be modelled in CRPGs too.

Gray Guardian
06-10-2012, 07:35 PM
There are so many things wrong with this. Firstly Realms of Arkania was based on the German pen and paper RPG Das Schwarze Auge. They didn't just throw random skills in there because they thought them up, they threw them in there because they were presumably in the pen and paper game. In fact, in each of the games in the series they attempted to implement more of them, so even if some skills don't do anything in the first game there's a good chance they do when you import your characters into the second. In the end this is a good thing, because it avoids the problem of importing your characters into a feature rich sequel only to find out that you'd be better off remaking your characters and putting points into new skills. Still, there were skills that weren't used at all throughout the series, but if I remember correctly the manuals told you which ones they were.

And then the biggest problem with your statement is that you're looking at "50 skills, sadly not all of them worked" and reading "5 skills and 45 non-working skills". This isn't correct, and in fact the game only needs around 20 working skills to have more than the vast majority of CRPGs. It looks like you haven't played the game. It's one of the best RPGs ever made.

I played Shadows over Riva years ago. Well in my book implementing any skills in a game that don't actually do anything is a pretty major flaw for any game and they actually mislead the player into investing points which are not going to pay off in any way. The fact that the skills were present in the p&p game is not an excuse, it's enormously lazy just to throw in everything without making sure it makes sense in a video game context, the job of the dev is to adapt the system into a workable computer game.

I believe I see a bit of a contradiction in your views here since you accuse Planescape Torment of lack of skills even though P:T is an adaptaton of d&d rules which simply didn't feature skills at that point (they were I believe added later in d&d 3.5). If according to you it is a virtue to faithfully translate the p&p system into the game then you shouldn't hold Torment liable in that respect. Also, the dialogue options in P:T were often reliant on the charachter's stats and that includes not only charisma, intelligence & wisdom but also strength and dex in some cases. I really think your charachter setup reflects on the stuff you can do in the game quite nicely.

The point I'm trying to make here and elsewhere is that the revered 'old-school' crpgs are not in fact that complex, they merely are good at maintaining an appearance of complexity by the wealth of features, stats and numbers. A great example of this is Fallout 1 & 2, I remember being impressed at first at the numbers-rich charachter sheet, but late discovered a lot of them had no real effect on the gameplay. Some examples: the poison resistance stat when there is only one type of poison-using monsters (radscorpions) and you only really face them early in the game and usually have plenty of antivenom anyway. The devs could have just not bothered with the stat, but they programmed it to put up this air of 'serious rpg'. There are entirely useless skills like gambling and repair (only a hadfull of opportunities to use it throughout the game), and systems like the 'crippled limb' feature which ended up not really being used (try playing with a charachter with an eye gouged out; it just makes more sense to reload the game). Again, all the underlying systems in the game are really simple when you peel of all the unnecessary features which have no real purpose.

Some recent action-rpg games like Dark Souls and Witcher 2 are I belive equally taxing on the brain as 'old-school' stat-centered rpgs. They do in fact require a tonne of planning, preparations, the consideration of tactics if you want your char to survive - all that under the press of time when some axe-wielding maniac is charging you aready. In real time good use of abilities and items plays an even more important role than in games based on static number crunching. Some dogmatic rpg purists couldn't be more wrong when dismissing said titles as dumbed-downed action games.

arathain
06-10-2012, 07:48 PM
Some dogmatic rpg purists couldn't be more wrong when dismissing said titles as dumbed-downed action games.

I've never seen anyone do this. I think RPG purists instead think of them as complicated-up action games.

Gray Guardian
06-10-2012, 07:56 PM
I've never seen anyone do this. I think RPG purists instead think of them as complicated-up action games.

While at the same time claiming that they are somehow 'killing the rpg genre' despite the fact they are not even part of the genre! How does that make any sense?

jackieo
06-10-2012, 08:05 PM
I think people latched onto the mention of Project Eternity too heavily (the pitch for which, btw, explicitly says part of their aim is to recapture the nostalgia of classic RPGs.) I spend a lot of time looking at game Kickstarters and you really don't have to dig deep (read: at all) to see that the majority of pitches want to rehash an old IP and/or make ample use of "retro" and "classic" in their descriptions. If you take the time to read the pitches, a lot (though not all) of the ones based on old IPs really do focus on the old aspects of the game and mention improvements that are basically just bringing the game to modern standards (e.g. adding the physics many people take for granted in modern games). The main point taken from the article should be "if you look at the language used by Kickstarter campaigns, a lot of them appear to be making explicit appeals to your nostalgia."

Appeals to old things we liked wouldn't be such a problem except that SO MANY people are taking this tack (and really, the indie devs appear to be the worst about it). We complain about endless military shooter/space marine clones, and then you look at the place where something new could happen and most of the options there are themselves clones, just not of military shooters. I think that's something okay to be a little worried or disappointed about.

SirKicksalot
06-10-2012, 08:29 PM
finally, someone realised. I realised this some time ago, and I am a believer of the way of the wizard(ry). It truly makes for interesting game design, and we do need a lot more of that.

Sometimes I daydream about the videogame stuff I would do if I were a rich dude. One of those fantasies involves giving Wizardry lots of money and any support needed. I want to see what game he would make.

Wizardry
06-10-2012, 08:40 PM
I played Shadows over Riva years ago.
That game was much inferior to the previous two that they aren't even particularly comparable. It doesn't even have the over world travel, quite possibly the best part of the previous games, as it's set in a city. I'm not going to ignore your points of view because I'm not that petty, but if you have the time you should really give Star Trail or even Blade of Destiny a go.


Well in my book implementing any skills in a game that don't actually do anything is a pretty major flaw for any game and they actually mislead the player into investing points which are not going to pay off in any way. The fact that the skills were present in the p&p game is not an excuse, it's enormously lazy just to throw in everything without making sure it makes sense in a video game context, the job of the dev is to adapt the system into a workable computer game.
Possibly, but I don't know for sure what they were allowed to do with the licence. It's more than possible that the licence holder dictated terms. Interestingly, we've seen lots of non-RPG D&D games (even a terrible fighting game), yet we've only recently seen a non-RPG DSA game (some adventure game that came out this year). Of course, this may not mean anything.

But anyway, I don't think anyone is saying that having unused skills is a good thing. It just happens to be something Realms of Arkania features. If they took away all the unused skills there would still be a healthy 35+ I believe. So yes, Star Trail would be even better without the unused skills. But it would be even better if those skills were actually implemented.


I believe I see a bit of a contradiction in your views here since you accuse Planescape Torment of lack of skills even though P:T is an adaptaton of d&d rules which simply didn't feature skills at that point (they were I believe added later in d&d 3.5). If according to you it is a virtue to faithfully translate the p&p system into the game then you shouldn't hold Torment liable in that respect. Also, the dialogue options in P:T were often reliant on the charachter's stats and that includes not only charisma, intelligence & wisdom but also strength and dex in some cases. I really think your charachter setup reflects on the stuff you can do in the game quite nicely.
Ah, but Planescape: Torment didn't accurately follow the D&D rules. To start with, the combat is real-time with pause, which itself violates the standard of D&D combat in a significant way. On top of that you've got the fudging of the character development where you gain an attribute every level up (though perhaps this is something to do with the Planescape setting, I can't verify this). The way you can effectively change class at certain levels in the game doesn't conform to AD&D either.

Yes, every single computer adaptation of pen and paper rules breaks something, so there's no point in nitpicking. But some conform better than others. And with all its unused skills and accepting that I've never actually played DSA, I'd still say that playing through Star Trail is an experience more faithful to its tabletop version than playing through Planescape: Torment. Though of course this is going to wrap back round to arguing about what different groups play pen and paper RPGs for. I can predict that much.


The point I'm trying to make here and elsewhere is that the revered 'old-school' crpgs are not in fact that complex, they merely are good at maintaining an appearance of complexity by the wealth of features, stats and numbers. A great example of this is Fallout 1 & 2, I remember being impressed at first at the numbers-rich charachter sheet, but late discovered a lot of them had no real effect on the gameplay. Some examples: the poison resistance stat when there is only one type of poison-using monsters (radscorpions) and you only really face them early in the game and usually have plenty of antivenom anyway. The devs could have just not bothered with the stat, but they programmed it to put up this air of 'serious rpg'. There are entirely useless skills like gambling and repair (only a hadfull of opportunities to use it throughout the game), and systems like the 'crippled limb' feature which ended up not really being used (try playing with a charachter with an eye gouged out; it just makes more sense to reload the game). Again, all the underlying systems in the game are really simple when you peel of all the unnecessary features which have no real purpose.
I agree with you on this, especially with Fallout. But what you have to realise is that even if these "old-school" CRPGs aren't as complicated as people make out, they are still more mechanically interesting than the majority of modern CRPGs. I've been saying for years that the RPGs of old aren't these complicated beasts that are impossible to get into. In fact, only their interfaces pose a problem to modern gamers. But compared to the big mainstream games of today like Mass Effect, Dragon Age II and even Skyrim, there's this big gulf.

My position isn't that I want to see CRPGs from around 1990 resurrected. My position is that I want games like those CRPGs but with the advancements of features and game mechanics that modern development methods (and budgets/team sizes) provide. Take Star Trail (as an example). That game came out in 1994. Imagine what they could have done with that formula in these 18 years. All those flaws we've pinpointed in the game such as unused skills and others not being well implemented? They could have been quashed by now. Yes, we'd probably have other new flaws, but we'll always get flaws in video games, but what I'm trying to point out here is that the resultant game would be vastly different in style to what we have today.


Some recent action-rpg games like Dark Souls and Witcher 2 are I belive equally taxing on the brain as 'old-school' stat-centered rpgs. They do in fact require a tonne of planning, preparations, the consideration of tactics if you want your char to survive - all that under the press of time when some axe-wielding maniac is charging you aready. In real time good use of abilities and items plays an even more important role than in games based on static number crunching. Some dogmatic rpg purists couldn't be more wrong when dismissing said titles as dumbed-downed action games.
Whether they are "dumbed down" or not has nothing to do with why I don't care about them. I don't care about them because I do not like action games, and I don't like action in my RPGs (or RPGs in my action). They could even be more challenging and more strategic than traditional RPGs, but I still wouldn't like them.

Heliocentric
06-10-2012, 09:05 PM
Wizardry[...] has one of the most exciting visions of RPG possibilities on the forum...

I'm thinking he uses mushrooms.

Sparkasaurusmex
06-10-2012, 09:08 PM
Whatever works...

After reading this thread I have to agree, in general, with Wizardry.

Hypernetic
06-10-2012, 09:13 PM
Someone should summarize this thread for me!

archonsod
06-10-2012, 09:20 PM
I suggest you read the post I quoted, in which the "more complexity" was accepted, and then realize that you're being a stupid little troll as usual. Archonsod off.

I suggest you come to terms with the fact that people may not accept what you accept. If it's not too hard on your brain that is.

Gray Guardian
06-10-2012, 09:24 PM
That game was much inferior to the previous two that they aren't even particularly comparable. It doesn't even have the over world travel, quite possibly the best part of the previous games, as it's set in a city. I'm not going to ignore your points of view because I'm not that petty, but if you have the time you should really give Star Trail or even Blade of Destiny a go.

Damn, I thought the consensus was that Riva was the best and most advanced part of the trilogy. I might have to check out Star Trail some day, since it's available on gog.com.

That said, I think I have no choice but to accept your points on the other matters!

Sparkasaurusmex
06-10-2012, 09:30 PM
I expect to accept complexity- except extra excess is less than excellent

Wizardry
06-10-2012, 09:40 PM
Damn, I thought the consensus was that Riva was the best and most advanced part of the trilogy. I might have to check out Star Trail some day, since it's available on gog.com.

That said, I think I have no choice but to accept your points on the other matters!
Shadows over Riva probably has the best combat encounters actually, but it's very small scale and all set in a town. It also has a 3D engine to move around in outside, while the previous two games were tile based. The first two games, with Star Trail being the best, provide you with a huge map when you exit the starting town. You plan your route to your destination and you set off. Night and day pass, and you can set up camp for the night. Once you've set up camp you can go looking for plants to make potions and you can even go hunting for food. You have to buy bedrolls for your characters to sleep on, and there's weather and climate too, depending on your location, that can cause diseases that need to be treated. Your characters have to dress appropriately for different conditions, and their boots can be warn out through travelling. You come across lots of things while you're travelling, whether they are merchants or even boats offering you alternative passages/short-cuts. It's incredibly detailed, but admittedly not everyone's cup of tea.

Nalano
06-10-2012, 09:46 PM
Someone should summarize this thread for me!

Wizardry happened.

Heliocentric
06-10-2012, 09:47 PM
Someone should summarize this thread for me!

Lots of game namedropping, then the thread lost its way and started being meta commentary about itself.

fiddlesticks
06-10-2012, 10:02 PM
As opposed to more recent party-based RPG's like Dragon Age 1&2? Most of the "innovation" shown by party-based tactical RPGs post BG2/PS:T are in production values made possible by bigger budget.
I never said the Dragon Age games were particularly innovative and neither do I consider them to be. Bioware in general hasn't deviated much from the formula that made Baldur's Gate 2 succesful and the same could be said of almost anyone else. In the past few years, the only title from a big developer that I would say pushed the boundaries of the RPG genre was Alpha Protocol and even that relied a lot on the template provided by earlier games. RPGs have borrowed quite a bit from other genres, but the general concept of what an RPG is supposed to be hasn't really changed since Fallout.

There's nothing inherently wrong with that. Planescape: Torment wasn't a bad game because it didn't reinvent the genre. Neither was KotoR or Mass Effect. It's nice to see a game with new mechanics, but it's just as nice to see a game that uses preexisting mechanics well.

I originally wrote this post in the Brenda Brathwaite and Tom Hall Kickstarter thread:


I doubt we'll ever see much innovation on Kickstarter. When you look at their most successful gaming projects, they almost always rely on nostalgic feelings to gather support. People are more than willing to back you if you're selling something they know and love, but they're hesitant to show support if there's no real indication how your idea will turn out.
In retrospect it sounds a lot more condescending than I intended it to and I apologize for that. But I didn't mean to dismiss all those Kickstarter projects. I've backed many of them. I'm looking forward to playing them. They are just as valid as any other release. My point is that these projects cater to a very specific demographic, the kind of people than enjoyed older titles and are sad that games like them are no longer made. And that's fine, that doesn't make them subpar in any way.

If I understand you correctly, and please do correct me if I don't, you're annoyed because the RPS staff criticized Project: Eternity for appealing to nostalgia and lacking any innovative features. It's perhaps an unfortunate choice of words, but it's understandable. They are gaming journalists, they are excited about innovation and new ideas. It's why they devote so many articles to indie titles that feature a unique concept.

What I'm trying to say is that there's no problem with looking back fondly at the past. It's okay to be nostalgic for old RPGs because many of them were genuinely fantastic. And it's okay to support Eternity because you liked those older games. When people on this forum use the word nostalgia they often don't mean it in a derogatory sense. No one thinks less of you because you want another Baldur's Gate.

Well, that was a lot of words about very little. If you actually bothered to read the entire post, help yourself to a cookie. You earned it.

thesisko
06-10-2012, 11:18 PM
What I'm trying to say is that there's no problem with looking back fondly at the past. It's okay to be nostalgic for old RPGs because many of them were genuinely fantastic. And it's okay to support Eternity because you liked those older games. When people on this forum use the word nostalgia they often don't mean it in a derogatory sense. No one thinks less of you because you want another Baldur's Gate.
What I object to, is the claim that it's nostalgia to want things like character creation, tactical combat and more complex mechanics in an RPG.

I don't desire these features because of happy childhood memories (I didn't even play any RPG's before 2003). I want them because I enjoy them (when they are implemented well), just like I enjoy the challenging action combat of Dark Souls.

It's not nostalgia to like something that isn't mainstream. It's simply having niche tastes. So why didn't Obsidian reference any newer titles then? Because the NWN2 engine wasn't at all suited to controlling a whole party in combat and Obsidian wasn't involved in Dragon's Age or Drakensang. Not to mention that Obsidian's design philosophies differ from Bioware's recent offerings.

But hey, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the majority of Project:Eternity backers aren't RPG fans who like character creation, party-based combat and some complexity in their games. Maybe they all just want to relive their rose-tinted memories of playing Baldur's Gate in high school.

Gray Guardian
06-10-2012, 11:58 PM
Shadows over Riva probably has the best combat encounters actually, but it's very small scale and all set in a town. It also has a 3D engine to move around in outside, while the previous two games were tile based. The first two games, with Star Trail being the best, provide you with a huge map when you exit the starting town. You plan your route to your destination and you set off. Night and day pass, and you can set up camp for the night. Once you've set up camp you can go looking for plants to make potions and you can even go hunting for food. You have to buy bedrolls for your characters to sleep on, and there's weather and climate too, depending on your location, that can cause diseases that need to be treated. Your characters have to dress appropriately for different conditions, and their boots can be warn out through travelling. You come across lots of things while you're travelling, whether they are merchants or even boats offering you alternative passages/short-cuts. It's incredibly detailed, but admittedly not everyone's cup of tea.

That does sound mighty interesting, for me in Riva the most irritating thing was the constant jumping between the first person camera and isometric view; the first person view was incredibly static, it didn't have any npcs or moving objects, when it got dark you couldn't see a thing. It was generally awful.

Wizardry
07-10-2012, 12:24 AM
That does sound mighty interesting, for me in Riva the most irritating thing was the constant jumping between the first person camera and isometric view; the first person view was incredibly static, it didn't have any npcs or moving objects, when it got dark you couldn't see a thing. It was generally awful.
Well there's still a first person view in dungeons and towns in Star Trail and Blade of Destiny, but because they have tile-based movement (step by step, 90 degree turns) it doesn't seem so bad at all. I guess with improved graphics comes more expectations.

soldant
07-10-2012, 12:54 AM
I think the non linear part that people talk about is the order of things you have to do to get to the exit.
But it's still linear. You're still on a single path as intended by the devs. It's not like Skyrim where you could go off into nowhere. Hell, there aren't even multiple ways to the exit - you must get that blue key.


So,to criticize backtracking is akin to asking for linear level design.
It depends on how the backtracking is used. If it's actually part of a non-linear design (a true non-linear design) then there's no issue. But pointless use of backtracking shouldn't be applauded as non-linear design, nor is it advocating for the death of non-linear design. There's a joke PWAD for zDoom about this, perhaps you've played it or know of it: it's a loooooooooooooong box separated by a fence, with a switch on the other side of the fence. You go all the way to the end of the box, around the fence, and down to the switch... which activates a switch back where you started. Rinse, repeat about 5 times, and get to the exit. It's absurd, but it does demonstrate that backtracking due to key or switch hunting is not non-linear design, nor does it always constitute good level design.


COD level design is non-existant,thus inferior(scripts dont take the role of good level design,sorry). Doom level design is good for the most part. Of course there exist games with better level design.
CoD level design is non-existent? Nonsense. The fact that you don't like it doesn't mean that there was no map designed. As for scripts - the majority of FPS levels rely on scripting, however primitive, to make the map interesting. Half Life popularised scripted sequences in FPS games. Hell Doom's line and sector actions were an early form of level scripting - cross the line and the lights go off and the door goes down to release a flood of enemies. Without scripting, levels are incredibly static, and they'd be much more boring. Take a Wolf3D map for example.


im my experience, i find the enemy pacing in Doom good enough.
It is good. I don't necessarily know that it was intentional, but I totally agree that it has the right mix of hordes of enemies and smaller battles with interesting level design.


Someone should summarize this thread for me!
Wizardry said some things. Lots of people argued with him. Doom is awesome. Nobody accomplished anything. The end.

MoLAoS
07-10-2012, 12:10 PM
So who else is up for forming a disciples of Wizardry club?

I'm so bored with this dumb rose tinted glasses bullshit. I like certain older games because of the game play not because of some stupid first time I played an rpg or mmo type crap.

Stellar Duck
07-10-2012, 07:23 PM
This has been a pretty interesting read, if for nothing else, then the fact that Wizardry has basically finally convinced me he's in fact a hell of a lot more on the right track than the wrong (or a design dead end or whatever you want to call it).

I may not be super familiar with the games he often talks about, having started my RPG diet on Ultima 7, Lands of Lore and Betrayal at Krondor (which I still think is great) and then moved on the Baldur's Gate and Fallout and the given up on most cRPGs again in recent years, but the stuff he's said about skill systems has got me convinced that most RPGs are going about it the wrong way.

I've been unable to really put a finger on my dissatisfaction but now think it has to do with the ever decreasing importance of the rule sets and mechanics. There's a reason I prefer to play a PnP session with my mates where we play our characters as a character and not an extension of ourselves only in armor. I think I forgot about that somewhere along the way.

That said, I'll still buy Project Eternity.

MoLAoS
07-10-2012, 08:09 PM
I once tried to argue on MMORPG.com that MMOs are RPGs and therefore the capabilities should come from the character and not the player. So no LoL or Starcraft style APM being the most important thing in combat and so forth. Started quite the firestorm of people aiming their brain feces at me. MMOs should be about using your brain to create a stellar and unique character from an open set of skills and stats and such I said. "Go **** your sister while I **** your mother and throw my **** at you" they said to me. Forum PVP is the only real PVP I guess :P

It feels like people want to bring fighting games into RPGs these days. And god forbid that classes play in different styles for different factions.

Also I remember one argument that I started where RPGs should feel like and have the same options as those of characters in fantasy novels. Using the environment like Drizzt dropping an icicle on the dragon for instance. Having a certain situation only solvable by a certain kind of character, having magic be rare but powerful and what not. These days it feels like basic warrior classes have as much magic as a mage in RPGs. That one didn't go so well either.

Nalano
07-10-2012, 08:12 PM
I once tried to argue on MMORPG.com that MMOs are RPGs and therefore the capabilities should come from the character and not the player. So no LoL or Starcraft style APM being the most important thing in combat and so forth. Started quite the firestorm of people aiming their brain feces at me. MMOs should be about using your brain to create a stellar and unique character from an open set of skills and stats and such I said. Go **** your sister while I **** your mother and throw my **** at you they said. Forum PVP is the only real PVP :P

It feels like people want to bring fighting games into RPGs these days. And god forbid that classes play in different styles for different factions.

Also I remember one argument that I started where RPGs should feel like and have the same options as those of characters in fantasy novels. Using the environment like Drizzt dropping an icicle on the dragon for instance. Having a certain situation only solvable by a certain kind of character, having magic be rare but powerful and what not. These days it feels like basic warrior classes have as much magic as a mage in RPGs. That one didn't go so well either.

Again, but without the supercilious condescension.

I wanna see if you can actually defend old-school shit without insulting fans of new-school shit. Go.

NathanH
07-10-2012, 08:31 PM
I may not be super familiar with the games he often talks about, having started my RPG diet on Ultima 7, Lands of Lore and Betrayal at Krondor (which I still think is great) and then moved on the Baldur's Gate and Fallout and the given up on most cRPGs again in recent years, but the stuff he's said about skill systems has got me convinced that most RPGs are going about it the wrong way.

I don't think it's so much that the current "things-that-are-called-RPGs-now" are going about things the wrong way. Things like modern Diablolikes and fusions of action-RPG and choose-your-own-adventures like Mass Effect are exploring some interesting territory. What has been forgotten is that there is other territory to explore, and it's territory that's more consistent with pen and paper roleplaying ideas: define a character, choose an action from a large set of plausible choices in all manner of situations, and have the world react to the choice through the character's definition. Modern RPGs usually only have that behaviour in combat situations, if they even have it at all.

Stellar Duck
07-10-2012, 08:54 PM
I don't think it's so much that the current "things-that-are-called-RPGs-now" are going about things the wrong way. Things like modern Diablolikes and fusions of action-RPG and choose-your-own-adventures like Mass Effect are exploring some interesting territory. What has been forgotten is that there is other territory to explore, and it's territory that's more consistent with pen and paper roleplaying ideas: define a character, choose an action from a large set of plausible choices in all manner of situations, and have the world react to the choice through the character's definition. Modern RPGs usually only have that behaviour in combat situations, if they even have it at all.

Yea, I'd say you're right. It's a shame, really. And it's not like I don't want the more modern games to exist. I do enjoy some of them, but I just think the more mechanics based ones should be a thing as well.

TechnicalBen
07-10-2012, 09:18 PM
Why is Kickstarter mainly referencing old works... I don't know, perhaps this will be an example.

Kickstarter in a parallel universe where "nostalgia" related comments don't exist:

Hey, I've got this new game. It's totally new, but if you want something to compare it to, it's going to be like Halo 5/COD8/Battlefield 4
Think they would get much interest, perhaps only from lawyers?

Kickstarter currently has people referencing old games, because that won't get too much IP suits on their case. It also means people can think of what it's like, but not the same as. They may think of the gameplay, and not the artistic style. Where as if they relate to current games, people will expect a AAA game on a shoestring budget. If you compare your game to "a modern version of Quiver" they think of what improvements you can make. If you say "it's like a 50,000 COD", well, they will be thinking of what you cut to get it in budget. :P

So it's not really nostalgia, it's finding what they can relate the audence to and what the budget allows.

MoLAoS
07-10-2012, 10:01 PM
Again, but without the supercilious condescension.

I wanna see if you can actually defend old-school shit without insulting fans of new-school shit. Go.

I didn't insult them. They spewed forth filthy invective at me. I guess I should put the profanity stuff in quotes and said specifically that it was directed at me? W/e.

QuantaCat
07-10-2012, 10:17 PM
ignore the provocative trolls, they are just that.

And yes, I understand what you said. I am also in favour of making such an RPG, which has all the options, not just progression streamlined into combat experience points. I mean, I get that they are making these games, they used to exist in pen and paper as well, they have a very basic feel to it, almost earthly, tribal, dreamlike, but I do like complex themes and solutions; simply things that make you think, instead of make you live a world that is simpler.

soldant
08-10-2012, 01:41 AM
So it's not really nostalgia, it's finding what they can relate the audence to and what the budget allows.
Thing is that there's no requirement for them to remake the games of yesterday over and over again. There's nothing to stop them coming up with a fresh new system. The article noted that "retro" or "nostalgia" has become a marketing tool, a feature to splash across the box. It's the entire pitch for the game in some cases. It's like "Hey there, remember that old turn based strategy game? Well, we're effectively making that, except with different art! I'll take all your money please."

I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with that, just as there's nothing wrong with a Kickstarter remaking a CoD style game (and no, there'd be no lawsuits unless it was an actual CoD game, they can't go for them for having a modern warfare themed FPS). If it's something that people enjoy, then why not make it? I wanted to see a new XCOM, so I paid for Xenonauts (didn't Kickstart though, one payment is enough). There are lots of old games that I'd like to see a sequel to, or old mechanics I'd like to see resurrected. I can't 100% follow the RPG argument going on and I've never played cRPGs, but I like some of the mechanics that people are describing.

But that's not innovative and Kickstarter effectively won't drive gaming forward as some have suggested if all devs do is remake things from the 90s. It's just another iteration of what came before. Not everything needs to be innovative, which is good because some of the best games aren't innovative and some that innovate do a poor job of it and are crappy games, but the original article's point still stands. Kickstarter has always been about making a game that will make money when all is said and done, and nostalgia sells lately on the PC. But it's by no means innovation to bring back a dead gameplay mechanic.

NathanH
08-10-2012, 09:45 AM
A few points, Soldant:

Something may not be innovative, but that doesn't automatically make it nostalgia-based. If you follow the system of a game developed a long time ago, but update it so that the interface and documentation is modern and can be easily followed, then you haven't innovated, but you're not appealing to nostalgia either, you're just making an improved version of an old game that never got the improved version its mechanics deserved.

Next, any of these major kickstarter games are going to have some sort of modern take on things. Even subconsciously they'll be influenced by modern culture and sensibilities. They're not going to be remakes, they're going to have new ideas.

Finally, it has been a long time since some of these types of game have been made. It's quite a lot to ask from a particular developer that they capture all the good ideas from a game that have been lost over the years, and also do lots of new things. Somebody earlier put it like this. A long time ago, a crossroads was reached, and a genre's development sped off down one road. If we want to explore a different road, the first step is to go back to the crossroads.

JackShandy
08-10-2012, 10:00 AM
Nostalgia is over-hated. The entire videogame industry is only a few decades old. Looking back isn't miring ourselves in mawkish sentiment, it's just stopping for a while to get some perspective. We spend all our time burning our dead and rushing forward into the next new advance. It's absolutely worth going back and trying to see some of the alternate routes we could have taken. We're only the modern technological manifestation of a medium that's existed for centuries.

r3dknight
08-10-2012, 10:18 AM
I agree, this is why Fallout 3 is bringing back a beloved franchise is a cause for much celebration, right?

Mohorovicic
08-10-2012, 10:23 AM
"Alternate routes" not "blatantly worse routes".

TillEulenspiegel
08-10-2012, 10:56 AM
We spend all our time burning our dead and rushing forward into the next new advance.
This trend was at its worst in the late 90s, when 3D was the new hotness. Even though at that point 3D looked like shit and played like shit, everything had to be 3D.

Compare 1995 (http://us.blizzard.com/_images/games/legacy/war22.jpg) with 1998 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Myth2pic.jpg). Progress!

It took years for 2D to become acceptable again (for anything other than casual games), and that's mostly thanks to indies and mobile platforms.

soldant
08-10-2012, 01:12 PM
Something may not be innovative, but that doesn't automatically make it nostalgia-based.
That's true, in that it's an update to an older idea, but a lot of Kickstarters are pitching themselves based on nostalgia. "Hey, remember that game mechanic from 1996? Well, here it is! Again!"


Next, any of these major kickstarter games are going to have some sort of modern take on things. Even subconsciously they'll be influenced by modern culture and sensibilities. They're not going to be remakes, they're going to have new ideas.
They have new IP (except for some which are straight up sequels, like Wasteland 2, which got funded basically because Wasteland was good - apparently, I never played it) but plenty of them still tred the same ground that others did before them. Again, I never said that it's a bad thing to do that, it can be quite the opposite and each game should be assessed on its own merits. But that alone doesn't change the fact that they look back, not forward.


Finally, it has been a long time since some of these types of game have been made. ... If we want to explore a different road, the first step is to go back to the crossroads.
That's fine, as I said. You seem to have taken me to say that it's a bad path that they've taken, when it isn't necessarily bad at all. But the article questioned whether all of this going back to the past is innovative, and whether it will lead to innovation, and how that fits in with the idea that Kickstarter was going to be a way for devs to come up with fresh, exciting, new ideas free from the yolk of publishers. It's a tiny bit ironic that instead of the wave of new ideas, we're resurrecting old ideas (I say "we" because we're funding them after all). Obviously Kickstarter and the new model is in its extreme infancy, the afterbirth hasn't even yet been delivered with its mess of blood and flesh and... erm... afterbirth and...

Uh, anyway, we don't yet know if going back will take us forwards or just keep us stuck in a time warp. Again bringing back old mechanics and dead genres isn't a bad thing if the game is good, but I think that the article is essentially correct, for the moment, that the wave of innovation wasn't ushered in with Kickstarter. People tend to get more excited about projects promising to be oldschool or coming from devs relying on their oldschool credibility. Which is okay, but innovative? Not necessarily, and in that the article was probably right.

NathanH
08-10-2012, 01:36 PM
Again, I think it is completely unreasonable to expect a developer to resurrect a long-forgotten type of game, update it to fit with modern standard and sensibilities, and do a lot of new and innovative stuff. First job is to resurrect the long-forgotten type of game and give it a modern coat of paint with a nice UI and good documentation and so on. If that's successful, then the next wave can start doing new things.

The article was being correct and stupid when it made the innovation criticism. It was being wrong and stupid when it made the nostalgia criticism.

I think the smaller scale kickstarter projects tend to be more innovative. That makes sense, because it's harder to sell unusual and speculative things to the large number of people you'd need for a big project. The big projects are more about doing things that publishers wouldn't back, rather than doing anything innovative. In some sense it is a bit disappointing that Obsidian don't look to be trying anything too exciting, because they could have got the funding with a more speculative idea, on account of their current reputation. Most of the other big projects are trading more on older reputations, which we can't trust so much, so they need to make their pitch less speculative.

Nalano
08-10-2012, 02:33 PM
Again, I think it is completely unreasonable to expect a developer to resurrect a long-forgotten type of game, update it to fit with modern standard and sensibilities, and do a lot of new and innovative stuff. First job is to resurrect the long-forgotten type of game and give it a modern coat of paint with a nice UI and good documentation and so on. If that's successful, then the next wave can start doing new things.

Why is that the first job? Why is innovation not​ the impetus for everything?

b0rsuk
08-10-2012, 03:01 PM
Projects like Castle Story and FTL are still getting funded, and I consider them innovative. Or at least, I can't remember any similar games.

JackShandy
08-10-2012, 03:16 PM
Why is that the first job? Why is innovation not​ the impetus for everything?

Refinement is generally more important than innovation, because making good stuff is more important than making new stuff.

Nalano
08-10-2012, 03:28 PM
Refinement is generally more important than innovation, because making good stuff is more important than making new stuff.

But this isn't a race to figure out how to cook the perfect steak. This is more along the line of putting a burrito in the microwave to satisfy some comfort cravings.

arathain
08-10-2012, 03:39 PM
I'm not sure I agree, Nalano. Older cRPGs were doing some pretty interesting stuff, in terms of simulation and flexibility, among others. They were somewhat hamstrung by being unrefined and having clunky interfaces, rendering them a pastime for the patient or the free time-rich, and leading to their extinction. Surely there's tons of room to apply modern interface design, as well as doing a little concept refinement (for example, learning from the ever-present evolving Roguelikes, their closest surviving relatives), or from console games (Etryian Odyssey, say).

To stretch your analogy until it doesn't work anymore (average Internet time for this to occur: 1 post), it's more like carefully seasoning a stew to bring all the flavours into balance.

Do we really think that everything worthwhile in the genre has been done?

JackShandy
08-10-2012, 04:11 PM
But this isn't a race to figure out how to cook the perfect steak. This is more along the line of putting a burrito in the microwave to satisfy some comfort cravings.

If your burritos take teams of professionals a year or more to microwave, sure.

Nalano
08-10-2012, 04:32 PM
If your burritos take teams of professionals a year or more to microwave, sure.

All games, good or bad, take a year or more with a pile of professionals. What's your point?

archonsod
08-10-2012, 09:26 PM
I never said the Dragon Age games were particularly innovative and neither do I consider them to be. Bioware in general hasn't deviated much from the formula that made Baldur's Gate 2 succesful and the same could be said of almost anyone else.

That kinda depends on what you're looking at. DA2 does some interesting things in terms of narrative, but it's laid on top of what is ultimately a typical MMO style system (although in that sense it's not the cod D&D they used for everything from BG up until DA, so ....).

Thing is, the innovation that has occurred is what people are decrying. For most of the past 40 years of cRPG's, it's been developers porting across pen and paper systems. The more actiony RPG's like Mass Effect are kinda the opposite of that; developers bringing in aspects of other computer games into the traditional RPG.

I don't think it's so much that the current "things-that-are-called-RPGs-now" are going about things the wrong way. Things like modern Diablolikes and fusions of action-RPG and choose-your-own-adventures like Mass Effect are exploring some interesting territory. What has been forgotten is that there is other territory to explore, and it's territory that's more consistent with pen and paper roleplaying ideas: define a character, choose an action from a large set of plausible choices in all manner of situations, and have the world react to the choice through the character's definition. Modern RPGs usually only have that behaviour in combat situations, if they even have it at all.

So did past RPGs. The fundamental problem you have with any RPG on the computer is that we don't yet have a sophisticated AI capable of playing the GM. As a result you have no real option but to limit the choices, except for combat which is sufficiently simple enough the computer can handle it. In fact, it's the more sandbox stuff such as what Bethesda tend to put out that's more consistent with the pen and paper RPG; the earlier games committed the cardinal sin of railroading the player (in fact, really you could say something like Baldur's Gate was closer to the adventure gamebook than it was an actual RPG). The problem there of course is that you have to sacrifice narrative to do it.

It's also kinda odd to marry the pen and paper model with complexity and depth. The pen and paper systems are naturally limited because the system generally needs to be calculable by a human within a reasonable period of time, which isn't a limitation we face on a modern computer. FPS style games regularly model what could be termed 'character' effects on accuracy, we can also (should we wish) model a physically realistic ballistics simulator capable of tracking everything from bullet trajectory to the effects of a given projectile on a given material. It doesn't feel complex to the player since it's just pointing the mouse and clicking, but the underlying system is inherently far more sophisticated than that used in any pen and paper system, which ultimately tends to abstract the number crunching involved into "randomly generate some numbers which must be higher or lower than this number".
Which I guess is part of the problem. It's all very well to demand more complex, challenge and depth but without being able to define what we mean by those terms it's something of an impossible task to expect a developer to be able to produce it. The combat model of say Mount & Blade is far more complex; on a system level; than any pen and paper melee system (barring perhaps Rolemaster anyway), yet we wouldn't generally say it was a more complex game than say Baldur's Gate.

TillEulenspiegel
08-10-2012, 10:56 PM
Complexity (as a desirable quality) is better defined in terms of the number of choices a player has and the level of impact those choices can have on the game.

Being able to determine the precise 3D vector along which you swing your sword in M&B may present a near-infinite array of choices, but they are not particularly meaningful in the broader context of the game.

"We don't have strong AI" will always be a poor excuse for simplistic mechanics. I point you to Dwarf Fortress.

JackShandy
09-10-2012, 01:07 AM
All games, good or bad, take a year or more with a pile of professionals. What's your point?

Man, what's yours? I'm saying the team of professionals probably don't consider their years work a microwave burrito. As far as I can tell you're saying "Who cares if the game's no good, it's fast and cheap." Well, I care. The people who spent all their time making it care. Maybe you buy games you don't enjoy just to fill up time on the train, but I don't think that type of gaming is relevant in a thread about old-school RPG's.

soldant
09-10-2012, 01:54 AM
I point you to Dwarf Fortress.
Things Dwarf Fortress does well:
- Has a unique gameplay premise
- Has lots of choices

Things Dwarf Fortress doesn't do well:
- Interface
- Explaining itself
- Documentation
- Interface
- Warfare
- Everything else

DF is an oft-cited example of deep and complex gameplay, when really it isn't - the depth and complexity comes only from the nigh-impenetrable interface, which makes even the simplest tasks the most difficult to accomplish. The depth comes from having like a billion items, none of which are explained, and giving you absolutely no guidance on anything at all. Even with 3rd party addons to try to make the game a bit easier to play, it's still a goddamn mess.

Which is why I sometimes get concerned when people complain about "streamlining" - streamlining does not always equate to making things stupid. Streamlining is frequently the removal of pointless or useless mechanics that make the game harder to play for absolutely no reason. "Depth" as found in DF is not depth and is not good complexity. Needlessly cryptic interfaces, poor explanation of gameplay elements, a myriad of items which are in effect duplicates of each other, overly opaque mechanics with no reason - none of that is good depth or complexity!

I totally agree that 'complexity' should be based more on the player's choices, to a point. I'd further add that mechanics that require the player to become more involved with the game world adds complexity as well (say for example proper sniping mechanics in a sniper game).

Nalano
09-10-2012, 04:52 AM
Man, what's yours? I'm saying the team of professionals probably don't consider their years work a microwave burrito.

Do I really have to break this shit down for you? Here:

We're supposed to like these guys because what they did ten years ago was innovative. The implication of this is that, given free piles of money, what they'd do now would be innovative.

Instead, we're demanding that they just keep doing what they did ten years ago. That's not asking to be wowed, or to increase one's palate. That's asking for comfort food.

Now, the reason this view was attacked as nostalgic is because certain grognards like to tout their favorite shit from the olden days as simply more complex than the consolefied kiddie bullshit of today. And I'd agree in the sense that the shit from yesteryear appeared - at least when I first played it - far more outwardly complex. We certainly had developers at the time bragging that their games "used almost all of the keyboard" and there were bosses that were patently unforgiving if you didn't read the Cliff Notes on Bards' level 4 abilities, but fuck that shit.

Seriously.

The gameplay itself was far more straightforward and hokey than stuff today. So many possibilities of attacking the exact same problem, because that's what dungeon crawls are. They play out largely the same way, no matter how you build your druid. Those limitations of the day were actual limitations, and not all of them can be explained away by the technology. Whenever I hear Wizardry or whomever describe their vision of the Bestest Game Evar™, they reminds me of an semi-autistic nerd I know who'd rather play with his Blackberry than other people: Those games he puts on a pedestal had incredibly narrow scope, even if they were wide in other respects. Meanwhile he attacks games that are wide where his are narrow, because they are narrow where his are wide.

soldant
09-10-2012, 05:16 AM
We certainly had developers at the time bragging that their games "used almost all of the keyboard"
This one still gets me. The fact that you can map each individual action to its own key shouldn't be hailed as complexity. People lament that the F or E key is the universal "interact with world" key, but that shouldn't be an issue because we don't need 104 keys if 8 or so will suffice. Needlessly binding keys to actions that could be amalgamated into one is bad design.

A lot of the games of yesteryear only used the majority of the keyboard because mouse-driven interfaces were largely impractical due to the low screen resolutions - you'd get a UI that took up an absurd amount of space if you relied too heavily on the mouse. We don't have that problem today, so an over-reliance on keyboard shortcuts isn't required.

One of the few good things about the ARMA UI is the action menu - go up to something, little box pops up, use mousewheel and MMB to select what action you want, or just press MMB to perform the most common action for that object. Or going back to the oldschool days, Quake didn't even have a use key, you'd just run into a button to press it.

r3dknight
09-10-2012, 05:48 AM
ME3 is the biggest offender with its space-bar for everything

JackShandy
09-10-2012, 05:55 AM
We're supposed to like these guys because what they did ten years ago was innovative. The implication of this is that, given free piles of money, what they'd do now would be innovative.



You're addressing some ghost audience who believed Planescape was innovative and told you to like it because of that. Who are those guys? I can't be responsible for what they're saying, and I can't argue against any points you're putting to them. If you want to talk to me, I believe Planescape was a refinement on what came before.

They're continuing to make the type of game they are good at making. This is obviously a good plan. It'd be dumb to ask Frazetta to stop painting sexy ladies, and it'd be dumb to ask Chris Avellone to stop making dialogue-driven RPG's. Asking HR Gieger to make something that isn't creepy isn't asking to be "Wowed" or "Increase ones palette", it's just asking him to do something he's terrible at for the sake of novelty.

r3dknight
09-10-2012, 06:09 AM
South Park RPG is obviously MCA's magnum opus.

soldant
09-10-2012, 06:18 AM
ME3 is the biggest offender with its space-bar for everything
True, because it bound space bar to running and rolling, which was absurd and shouldn't have happened. But that doesn't mean that the other end of the scale where everything has its own key is a smart move either.

Lukasz
09-10-2012, 07:26 AM
True, because it bound space bar to running and rolling, which was absurd and shouldn't have happened. But that doesn't mean that the other end of the scale where everything has its own key is a smart move either.

depends on the game mate. in fps? of course not.

a proper simulator having dozens of keys? yes. its a smart move.

soldant
09-10-2012, 07:54 AM
depends on the game mate. in fps? of course not.

a proper simulator having dozens of keys? yes. its a smart move.
Even then though sometimes it's inappropriate to use up the entire keyboard. ARMA for example (I guess this is leaning towards sim mode) has an absurd number of keys which could have been condensed down, and really BIS seem to just be keeping them because it was like that in OFP.

For flight sims? Yeah, I'll give you that, at least in part, mostly because you need to be able to bind various functions to other controllers. But you also can't amalgamate many of those controls because of the game design, so it's not really contrary to what I'm saying.

NathanH
09-10-2012, 09:30 AM
So did past RPGs. The fundamental problem you have with any RPG on the computer is that we don't yet have a sophisticated AI capable of playing the GM. As a result you have no real option but to limit the choices, except for combat which is sufficiently simple enough the computer can handle it. In fact, it's the more sandbox stuff such as what Bethesda tend to put out that's more consistent with the pen and paper RPG; the earlier games committed the cardinal sin of railroading the player (in fact, really you could say something like Baldur's Gate was closer to the adventure gamebook than it was an actual RPG). The problem there of course is that you have to sacrifice narrative to do it.

It's true that Elder Scrolls games are about the only major RPG games left that try to do this sort of thing. They do it in a very simplistic way, though, compared with something like Realms of Arkania. When it comes down to it, there aren't many interactions in Skyrim other than steal, sneak, fight. You're given much more freedom to decide which of these you want to do, but it's still not much.

I doubt we need a GM to put some more RPG into RPGs. I doubt it even necessarily damages narrative if that's important to you: you can increase interactivity and the range of things a particular character can do without making their effects "global", which is the big problem for a fixed storyline. Looking at another genre, consider a game like Thief, which to me is a great way to run a first-person game: you have levels with lots of possibilities, paths, tactics, and so on. The final state of a particular level and the way that play went will differ wildly between playthroughs and players, but at the end none of that influences the story. Interactivity and options is more difficult for RPGs than FPS games, but I think it's quite cowardly and negative to back away from it.


It's also kinda odd to marry the pen and paper model with complexity and depth. The pen and paper systems are naturally limited because the system generally needs to be calculable by a human within a reasonable period of time, which isn't a limitation we face on a modern computer.

The pen-and-paper model that I was meaning was more the philosophy of play rather than the rules of play. In a pen and paper game, or a LARP game, or a no-rules RPG, the fundamental point is that the players decide their action from a large set of plausible possibilities. Clearly they will always have more freedom to choose their possibilities than in a video game, but isn't it a bit sad that the modern cRPG basically only allows the player to make combat choices?

As an aside, though, even a cRPG is going to have to keep some of its systems relatively simple if you want the player to be able to define their character. They need to have a fair idea of what their choices are going to mean. There are so many RPGs past and present that present me with a lot of choices without telling me what they mean. It's quite annoying. And so if you have a really complicated simulation that takes full use of the computer's massive powers, you're risking turning character advancement into the choice "do you want sprarks, woobles, or finchkins this level?"

deano2099
09-10-2012, 10:52 AM
A long time ago, a crossroads was reached, and a genre's development sped off down one road. If we want to explore a different road, the first step is to go back to the crossroads.

I disagree. I think it's perfectly reasonable to expect them to go back to the crossroads, then take the first step in down the other road. Thing is, there's no evidence that these projects aren't doing exactly that. They're still in the early design phase, so yes in general terms we know they'll be broadly similar to what came before, but in the parallel universe where games continued down the other path, that's probably all we'd know about the game at this stage in development.

I could turn out to be entirely wrong, but I'm almost certain that most of these 'nostalgia' Kickstarter games will have a bunch of new, clever things in them.

The only thing you can't KS is something unimaginably new and different, because if backers can't get a grip on what it is, they won't back it. But innovative evolutions of old genres? That might be exactly what we're getting.

NathanH
09-10-2012, 11:12 AM
Yeah, there will definitely be some new ideas and modern twists on the old in these games.

Heliocentric
09-10-2012, 02:07 PM
ME3 is the biggest offender with its space-bar for everything

Run, take cover, exit cover, vault cover(+direction), revive, switch, roll, pickup item= Space

Wizardry
09-10-2012, 03:50 PM
Thing is, the innovation that has occurred is what people are decrying. For most of the past 40 years of cRPG's, it's been developers porting across pen and paper systems. The more actiony RPG's like Mass Effect are kinda the opposite of that; developers bringing in aspects of other computer games into the traditional RPG.
Why this and not developers bringing in aspects of RPGs to other computer games?


So did past RPGs. The fundamental problem you have with any RPG on the computer is that we don't yet have a sophisticated AI capable of playing the GM. As a result you have no real option but to limit the choices, except for combat which is sufficiently simple enough the computer can handle it. In fact, it's the more sandbox stuff such as what Bethesda tend to put out that's more consistent with the pen and paper RPG; the earlier games committed the cardinal sin of railroading the player (in fact, really you could say something like Baldur's Gate was closer to the adventure gamebook than it was an actual RPG). The problem there of course is that you have to sacrifice narrative to do it.
Can you tell me why it's fair to point out that earlier RPGs supposedly railroaded the player? Did Blade of Destiny or Star Trail railroad the player? How about Darklands? How did Ultima 4, 5 and 6? Wizardry 7? Wasteland? Any Might and Magic? How about The Magic Candle? Disciples of Steel? Even Fallout and Fallout 2 didn't.

On the other hand, Bethesda games have map markers and quest compasses that will literally guide you through an entire quest chain once you've picked up the initial quest. Yes, there are lots of different quest chains spanning a rather large and almost completely open game world, but this is a minority design method when compared to the story driven BioWare style games. And don't forget that the Bethesda games are severely watered down by their action game design. You can have the most non-linear, open world game with infinite quest solutions, but if it's a first person shooter, text adventure, flight simulator or city builder then you don't have the best RPG.

I'd take a Skyrim if it were party-based and had turn-based combat.


It's also kinda odd to marry the pen and paper model with complexity and depth. The pen and paper systems are naturally limited because the system generally needs to be calculable by a human within a reasonable period of time, which isn't a limitation we face on a modern computer.
But this limitation is something that defines pen and paper RPGs. Having things calculable by humans means that decisions that affect varying factors can be judged fairly and accurately by humans. Instead of asking the player "which pixel do you want to target" you can ask "which square on the grid do you want to target". This shifts the skill requirement over to the territory of the thinking man.

Having realistic ballistics favours time, practice and patience. If the player is burdened with positioning and angling the bow, and drawing back the string, the player is no longer making decisions suitable for a given character and is instead playing a mini-game where there is only one single objective for any given character.


The gameplay itself was far more straightforward and hokey than stuff today. So many possibilities of attacking the exact same problem, because that's what dungeon crawls are. They play out largely the same way, no matter how you build your druid. Those limitations of the day were actual limitations, and not all of them can be explained away by the technology. Whenever I hear Wizardry or whomever describe their vision of the Bestest Game Evar™, they reminds me of an semi-autistic nerd I know who'd rather play with his Blackberry than other people: Those games he puts on a pedestal had incredibly narrow scope, even if they were wide in other respects. Meanwhile he attacks games that are wide where his are narrow, because they are narrow where his are wide.
What you mean by "They play out largely the same way" is in fact "They don't branch the story like in Alpha Protocol". I don't really know how you can claim that Mass Effect has less straightforward gameplay than even old dungeon crawlers. What gameplay does games like Mass Effect even have? You fight enemies in a less sophisticated and less challenging way, and then you pick one of three dialogue options that change little other than future dialogue options and cut-scenes (in other words not gameplay). So in other words you've got combat as the only actual gameplay in Mass Effect, and even then that's closer to Gears of War than anything else. So basically what you're telling me is that Wizardry 7 is more straightforward than Gears of War.