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  1. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Guardian View Post
    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.

  2. #82
    Lesser Hivemind Node TillEulenspiegel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wizardry View Post
    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.
    Last edited by TillEulenspiegel; 06-10-2012 at 03:47 PM.

  3. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by TillEulenspiegel View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by TillEulenspiegel View Post
    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:
    Code:
    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.");

  4. #84
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    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...
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  5. #85
    Moderator QuantaCat's Avatar
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    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.
    - Tom De Roeck.

    verse publications & The Shopkeeper, an interactive short.

    "Quantacat's name is still recognised even if he watches on with detached eyes like Peter Molyneux over a cube in 3D space, staring at it with tears in his eyes, softly whispering... Someday they'll get it."

  6. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by NathanH View Post
    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.

  7. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by archonsod View Post
    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.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  8. #88
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by archonsod View Post
    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.
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  9. #89
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus b0rsuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fiddlesticks View Post
    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.
    pass

  10. #90
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    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.

  11. #91
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    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.

  12. #92
    Quote Originally Posted by Wizardry View Post
    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.

  13. #93
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    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.

  14. #94
    Quote Originally Posted by arathain View Post


    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?

  15. #95
    Obscure Node jackieo's Avatar
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    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.

  16. #96
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus SirKicksalot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuantaCat View Post
    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.

  17. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Guardian View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Guardian View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Guardian View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Guardian View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Guardian View Post
    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.

  18. #98
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NathanH View Post
    Wizardry[...] has one of the most exciting visions of RPG possibilities on the forum...
    I'm thinking he uses mushrooms.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
    http://playingitwrong.wordpress.com/

  19. #99
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sparkasaurusmex's Avatar
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    Whatever works...

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

  20. #100
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Hypernetic's Avatar
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    Someone should summarize this thread for me!

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