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About Yst

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    (5) Thaumaturgist

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  1. HAHA, I did the same thing. I closed the door in Lady Webb's office and couldn't open it. HOWEVER, I got super lucky. I'm a Ranger with a bear, just kept clicking outside the door and my bear somehow teleported outside it. Since now the bear can SEE the front of the door, I could open it from the back. Yeah, I think the problem is that the interactable part of the door only works if you can see the front of it. True. But I tried my own method with other door in (late) Raedric's dungeon, and it didn't work. Had to take the long route Likewise, this didn't work for Raedric's dungeon given any quantity of clicking and positioning whatsoever, in my case. Just impenetrable (and unselectable). Sigh.
  2. Just in case it's still any help at this point, below is my save file with a character stuck at the location pictured by a few users above - Raedric's Hold Dungeons. Character is positioned immediately next to the unselectable door: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B30SyIedlfHUQ2oxc0pZOTRDa2M/view?usp=sharing
  3. I'll throw my support behind the idea that a female narrator would be a compelling departure from tried and tired fantasy conventions, in this sort of area. That having said, I think that narration by a character who is either insinuated into the story (merely for the sake of lending them tangential relevance to it), or already present within the story, is generally a good idea. I don't feel there needs to be an unnamed omniscient narrator, in a modern RPG. However, I'd be interested in what anyone's argument would be, for an unnamed omniscient narrator specifically, rather than a narrator from a frame story, or a narrator from within the story.
  4. I’d like to comment on something which I believe makes Planescape: Torment’s characterisation and thematisation among the strongest in the history of RPG writing, and ask how that strength can be brought, or whether it should be brought, to Project Eternity. The strategy I’m considering here isn’t an all or nothing approach to game storytelling. And the question may indeed be be best stated “to what extent should Project Eternity employ certain familiar tropes which seek to overcome ludonarrative dissonance?” Game Storytelling: Problems at the Outset There are certain things we do, very often, when writing games, or playing pen and paper RPG characters, to avoid the creation of the ludonarrative dissonance which comes of our "gaming" a storytelling experience. Even before we start thinking about "gaming" the story (i.e., engaging in reward-seeking player behaviour), in an RPG, this dissonance is the kind which emerges from the fact that, for example, 1) we just sat down to play a character we know nothing of, and 2) our character already exists, narratively, as a human being with all the personal motivations and desires which form across a lifetime, none of which, it now becomes apparent, we directly share in. We want to play a fantastical character radically different from ourselves, most of the time. Drizzt the Drow, not Gary the Gamer. So our wishes in that respect find themselves at odds with our interest in playing a protagonist we can effectively identify with. Likewise, we want to jump into this hero, rather than read the annotated history of the first 16 years of his life, from potty training to pimples to stubbing his toe last Tuesday. So we aren't going to intimately familiarise ourselves with his past enough that we might truly, immersively live his present. What we’re left with is a bit of a predicament. Non-game narratives face the problem of plunging us into the unknown and asking us to feel engaged. But game narratives are trying for something even more ambitious. They’re not just asking us to be interested in the protagonist. They’re telling us we are the protagonist. And they’re asking us to reconcile our motivations with those of the protagonist and to experience the character’s motivations. Storytelling Tropes: Creating a Blank Slate There are a few solutions which games (and RPG players) often use to mitigate the problem of jumping into a character in medias res. The most popular is simply to explain away the eerily absent backstory. Which is to say, circumstances mean that the character’s past is no longer important. And so, the character’s only intimate acquaintances have died; he is exiled to a distant land; he is an orphan or a bastard born. We’ve seen all of these a dozen times. This extends beyond characters, to setting, as it must, lest the character know everything about a world of which the player knows nothing and so experience it in a fashion radically different from the player. Consequently, the player (in gameplay terms) and the character (narratively) are equally familiar with their surroundings, and the player can immerse himself in the experience of the character exploring a new world. The player and character are equally alien to the land and to the people they meet. And dissonance is avoided. But this comes with a cost. To the extent that we take away the things that make the character a person (his loved ones, his home, his knowledge of his surroundings) we make him less so a character at all. And we cease to play Drizzt the Drow. Because we have taken measures to make his being a Drow unimportant, by taking him from a familiar setting, by removing him from familiar faces, perhaps even by stealing his memory. Which brings me to the crux of the matter. Turning Strength into Weakness: Thematising the Amnesia Trope So we can throw in a narrative excuse for the player and character being on even footing easily enough. But the character becomes less substantial by virtue of our doing so, as his past ceases to be. We can create a scenario where they are in harmony with each other, as far as their relationship to others and the world goes, but it is a scenario where our character is less so a character in any meaningful sense. We are after all, depriving them of the very things - experiences, relationships, affections - which make them human. Ideally, we could tell a story which puts the player and the character on similar footing, but let's them share in strong and meaningful motivations, with rich implications for characterisation. And in this respect, perhaps what Planescape: Torment does is the best one can do. It gives us an excuse for the protagonist's initial dearth of personhood, via the amnesia trope. But it tells us that, rather than accepting this trope as an awkward necessity of game storytelling, we should struggle to confront our character’s past as an unsettling reality. It makes the player objective - to explore and discover the character and world - consistent with the character objective (to find out who he is). And it does something more - it takes the problem of the character's past (to which we have no attatchment) imposing itself upon the character, mutually, the problem of the character. The crisis of the character is, in effect, the crisis of the RPGer - the dissonance between the player experience and the larger rediscovered character history aligns with the dissonance between the portion of TNO's life of which he has direct memory and the rediscovered memory of what occurred before, which threatens to tell him who he is whether he likes it or not. And, more generally, this develops as a theme which addresses the question of how much who we have been explains and determines who we are and will be. The story furthermore addresses the erasure of our personal relationships and the formation of our 'party', as has inevitably happened, by asking us how it is we justify the binding of these people to us, who will suffer for us, and perhaps die for us. The story is conscious of the egocentrism of the RPG narrative, and asks (as does KotOR II's narrative) "can you justify your taking the world into your grim service, chosen one, erasing the stories of those around you to make them your own? And who but you, yourself, names you chosen one? Who are you, to call this your story?" This is all extraordinarily brilliant. It is the best treatment of the problem of ludonarrative disonnance that I have encountered in gaming. It makes the tropes associated with RPG storytelling not weaknesses, but thematic strengths, insofar as they can be. We care, because we relate to the world the way our character relates to it. But two questions emerge from this: 1) How much do we want to alienate the protagonist from his surroundings and acquaintances, in order to serve the purposes of our playthrough? Do we let him keep his identity and a few acquaintances, with whom we’ll do our best to establish his prior relationships, but drop them all on the other side of the world, so any new acquaintances are equally new to him? Or do we just kill off his key acquaintances in the prologue, wherein the village burns down, or the helldaemon rises, or the grand betrayal occurs, or what have you, and the player must set off on his lonely quest (with entirely new acquaintances)? Or, do we simply give him a strong motive to set out on his quest which does not necessitate his bastardy, or the murder of his family and friends, or the erasure of his past? Perhaps he just sets out on a pilgrimage to a half-familiar province, as all the members of his order do, at his age, and brings companions he well-loves with him. How much do we take away, and how much do we keep, of his character’s past? 2) The amnesia trope works very, very well. It is the ideal solution to the problem of creating an entirely new characterisation experience which aligns the character’s and the player’s exercise of world-discovery, self-discovery and friendship-formation. But is it overused? Is there still mileage in it? Or do we need to shelve it for a bit, at this point in history?
  5. Wow. Interesting how huge the Italian support has become. Also just interesting, generally, to see where support for Western RPGs lies, in the western world. It was a bit of a surprise to many of us in the original Infinity Engine games' time and in their subsequent history, just how big Poland would become in RPGs via CD Projekt. It was thanks to a Polish project, after all, that the English speaking world got to revisit its favourite 10-15 year old PC RPGs (through GoG). But it doesn't feel like Italy's ever made its mark, in game development. Yet, plenty of support from the fans, seems like. And good to see it.
  6. I doubt that's going to convince any naysayers. Some people here, in keeping with the fashion of the times, just seem to have turned rapidly, ferociously anti-steampunk, as that trend waned, and consequently react to that downtrending of steampunk by essentially enforcing the view that anything which isn't 100% pure Tolkien-inspired AD&D 2E doesn't belong in fantasy (a rather silly overreaction, but there it is). Throwing a steampunk game in their faces is not going to convince them. What one ought to do is try to convince them that just because they've gotten tired of steampunk doesn't mean that everything which isn't exactly reminiscent of the Tolkienian subset of Forgotten Realms lore must therefore be precisely the kind of steampunk stuff they've gotten bored with.
  7. As someone who has never had fewer than two monitors on his desk (and generally three) for the past 15 years, I have to say, this just makes no sense, to me. No kinaesthetic sense. I don't see how turning my head to look at another monitor (keeping in mind, most people have rather large - and horizontally large - monitors at this point in history) is more efficient or immersive than pressing an inventory hotkey. Multimonitor gaming is something we forward-thinking gamers have always been interested in. But so far as I know, functional aspects of the interface have never been implemented in a multi-monitor interface for a game of this kind in such a way that functionality is actually improved. Multi-monitor interfaces can sometimes improve immersion in 3D first person games, by sticking something in our peripheral vision to give us a better surround experience. They can be good for driving games and FPSs, for this reason. But that's not at all what you're suggesting, and that's not at all this game. And so I reject outright, for now, the idea that sticking functional aspects of the interface on a series of separate monitors would actually improve the game experience at all. Particularly in the age of ultra-widescreen monitors, which are so much wider than earlier monitors already.
  8. There are ways to stylise quest mapping in interesting ways. Provide annotation of quest destinations on a papyrus style map (thematic implication: created by your character) in the journal, or what have you. I think there are all sorts of opportunities to turn this sort of information into immersive content.
  9. When people get so set in their notion of 'fantasy' that the simple idea of a weapon they're not immediately familiar with from prior 'fantasy' becomes profoundly uncomfortable, I think it ceases to be fantasy altogether. If someone's idea of the 'fantasy' genre is so strictly defined as that, I want nothing of it. I'll instead go to authors and artists whose writing offers invention and imagination. Not authors who don't stray too far from what elves are supposed to be like or what fantasy weapons are supposed to be like or what fantasy creatures are supposed to be like. That's just the dirty sense of 'genre' at work. When everything becomes generic. When an imagined world doesn't exist any more to stimulate the imagination, but just to retell a tale we've heard before, with characters we've seen before, in a setting we've visited before. Worse yet is the idea that if the chronology of a fantasy work's history doesn't exactly reflect the chronology of the history of medieval Europe, it's in error. I'm fond of alternate history and historical fiction. But so far as I am aware, this is not a historical fiction game. So for those who object to the characters of Project Eternity's world using firearms because the Dutch weren't using firearms until 50 years later, or what have you, I just have nothing to say at all. It's hilarious, really.
  10. A case in point for how carefully selected and specifically purposed voiceover can be marvelously valuable, without impeding freedom of interpretive experience (as full VO does): The most powerful and most memorable voicing for me, in Planescape Torment, is the voicing for Deionarra. But she needed only have spoken a sentence, to break my heart. That was enough. That was entirely sufficient, to make her story (experience in depth, in text) heartbreaking. She needn't have spoken a word more. Had she spoken it all, it could not possibly have been as haunting.
  11. I've seen this addressed quite well elsewhere. But the most prevalent position, it seems to me, and the one I agree with, is that a certain amount of spoken dialogue is desirable, so as to allow for the communication of some of the character's general personality and manner. But this is just groundwork for establishing the character. A maximum of freedom in developing a character and their story is allowed for by the restriction of most subsequent dialogue to text. The player can infer moods and intentions, as they desire, in interacting with their best favoured NPCs. The characters can become their own. They're not at the mercy of a voice actor, who may impose feeling which they don't associate with the character, for the sake of some given exchange. You mention ambient sound, and I think you are right that this is important. Sounds which 'set the scene' are the most important ones. Sounds do not need to tell the story. They need to create the desired atmosphere, so that the player can tell their own story. The Infinity Engine games generally pursued this approach. And it's the one I naturally hope to see revisited. Of course, cost and logistical difficulty is a very important reason as well, for avoidance of unnecessary voicing.
  12. Lizardmen have been done quite well and quite frequently, of course. There's nothing wrong with that fine old standby. Dragons, likewise, of course, are fine. There's a great deal of mythology to draw on there, and some less trod paths, within it, provide for unpredictable spins on a common fantasy staple. Dinosaurs in the very literal sense of archaic reptilian megafauna, however, imply an entire world history, in their nature. One isn't proposing this type of creature exist, so much as one is proposing that the world has been visited by a history which will allow for them. And such a history has to stand on its own merits, I think. Without knowing the underpinnings of such a backstory, we can't say whether it would be for good or ill. But in general, an age when lizards ruled the earth has no special great appeal, to me.
  13. I will echo a sentiment spoken by a few others, which is that I love Sweet's work, and while I think it would be fantastic too see, if his work did indeed synergised well with Project Infinity's aesthetic and goals, this will not necessarily be the case. Project Infinity may pursue an aesthetic, or a manner of presentation, which just doesn't quite match with this style ideally. We can't yet know for sure. If this type of art works well for Project Infinity, it would then be great to see Justin Sweet's return. But if not, so be it. Project Infinity can't be beholden to a specific art style, merely for the sake of a given portrait artist appearing in the credits.
  14. The novella more than anything, had me leaping for the new Digital Only tier. Some years ago, Chris Avellone characterisation and storytelling, more than anything, made me a Black Isle/Obsidian fan in the first place. Seeing the Obsidian guys let loose on an RPG title free of Publisher impositions is great. But seeing Mr. Avellone let loose on an RPG story, free of the constraints of game design itself - that I can't wait to see!
  15. Axonometric Projection is simply the clearly superior manner of projecting a large cityscape, or any broad expanse, for that matter, which does not have a singular point of focus, and which would not benefit from one. China caught on to that much quicker than the west. Perspective projection is clearly preferable, if a game wishes to create a sense of their being a personified observer. As inherently, it creates a point of view, with a specific location in space. Axonometric projection is clearly preferable, if a game wishes to remove the sense of the view being that of a personified observer. As the viewpoint lacks fixed perspective or focus, and hence any specific observer or point of view located in space. We are not looking down on the party in an Infinity Engine type game, from a fixed point of view. We want to remove any sense of our possessing a specific viewer perspective, as no such viewer exists within the context of the world. For an Infinity Engine style game, axonometric perspective is the immersive choice.
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