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About Mnemon

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  1. I was among the backers but am only now on my first play as I didn't have the required hardware previously. My major big wish would be to at least experimenting and considering a switch to a turn-based combat system with the basis of what is here, already, during the early design phase of the game. I know it diverts from Baldur's Gate series, but I am seriously annoyed how much Real Time with Pause is in the way of what is a pretty solid system otherwise. Combat diverts far enough from Baldur's Gate and D&D as is. If it turns out to be completely impossible to re-work it, then fair enough. But I feel that the core aspects of PoEs system, i.e. making positioning matter a lot, the focus on micro-managing movement, and on abilities and counter abilities that clock down, all would lend themselves so much more to a real turn based or phase based (see Frozen Synapse, et all) system. PoE's combat is focused on precision and exactness in game-play which is cool. The more chaotic nature of a real-time system underlying it all is at odds on that end. It'd make it so much easier to design more challenging, but fewer, combat encounters, too.
  2. I both agree and disagree with your post throughout. I don't think displaying [skill] checks is a good thing, but I DO think tags that highlight intended tone of answers are useful. The latter are not the game providing information to the player (warning skill check) but the player providing information to the game (out of all these options, some of which are similar, I intend the one that has a specific intent). Planescape got that right often. That's a part I agree on. What I don't agree on is that rewording all dialogue in an attempt to make it as "clear" as possible is a good idea. Looking away a bit from computer game dialogue: Ambiguity in dialogue in literature (given PE will focus on simply displaying text, rather then full VO, that makes the most sense to look at) is resolved by the author through showing the impact of what has been said. Good writing does that - and does that subtle. Ambiguity is important - it gives the writing tension and realism; opens up chance for conflict and surprising insights into a character's thought processes. Rewording everything to be unambiguous is limiting and flattening the dialogue and would risk, a lot, that everyone sounds alike. Plus, I think, trying to be completely unambiguous is, ultimately, impossible, anyway. Words are ambiguous. A lot of good writing is good because it allows for that. Unlike books games can't resolve ambiguity in dialogue choices by showing reaction of the other person. When the player makes a choice it has to be clear how the dialogue choice is intended as the reaction is only illustrated after. If the expectation of the person making a choice doesn't match the outcome it creates frustration. We do agree on that. But as above - I'd much rather have strong dialogue that's in character. Notice how your unambiguous examples are a lot more wordy? That the original "Your offer is not acceptable." is so much more snappy? That there is a clear difference in characterisation between the two i.e. someone that says "Your offer is not acceptable." and indicates with tone of voice that that is an attempt to be polite is a very different person from someone that hedges: "I am very much afraid that your offer is not quite high enough." You change the character, how he/she presents her/himself to the world, a lot. Indicating intended meaning is so much more elegant. It makes sure that in writing the dialogue natural flow is more important. I'd want that. I'd love to see misunderstandings, even if the player chooses the tone of an ambiguous statement: A "[polite] Your offer is not acceptable." can still be taken as aggression by an NPC. The difference is that there's much more of a chance to clear that up in the next few dialogue steps when the implied tone was [polite] compared to the player choosing the [impolite] tone for the same statement - doing a u-turn on that one should be hard (and that is, really, where your character's abilities should come into play!). I'd love that level of reactivity from the dialogue system - where your choices have consequences that you have to react to, within the limits set by your characters abilities. I agree with the rest of your post, again, after that
  3. Because what you put forward here is the antithesis of what the word 'mature' actually means. Because this isn't representing sexuality - you know, realistic, mature relationships between people - but, indeed soft porn (and your focus on women only here is absolutely vile). Because I'd rather have a good story with believable characters that behave consistently and believable as characters and in line with the setting rather then romance, nudity and sex crowbarred in.
  4. Does it need to be fixed though? [i am just replaying PS:T at the moment.] Yes, only people that had more to say are highlighted with names, but not all of them are quest givers. A lot of the named characters are parts of quests; i.e. you can talk to them, learn about them, but they only become 'useful' for the character at a later stage. And likewise a few select characters only provide quests after certain conditions are met. I.e. you still had to talk to the right person at the right time. The game helped a little by picking out the right ones, but there was a large enough cast that you'd still had to find them yourself. It's similar to that discussion about a more 'immersive and interactive' journal elsewhere. Journals serve a function and moving too far away from it only adds annoyance not more 'immersion'. [i find that a so undefined concept by now that I don't think the word has much purpose.] The same is true, I think, with named characters. Yes, it's an abstraction, but one that's useful to keep the game flowing easily. It works well enough and is not something that needs fixing and, I think, pretty much any fix would just add tedium and reduce 'immersion'.
  5. I also think that Planescape: Torment's Sigil is the city that felt most alive - and that it is what to look to most for inspiration with this one. It's not just the NPCs walking around with a 'clear' aim, but the Dabus working (which add a lot to the place feeling 'busy') and of course the audio ambience. But also - the areas weren't necessarily big, but crowded (some more than other's - but there was a logic to that, too - the Hive's market area is a lot more busy then the Ragpicker's Square). It's dynamics like that that make a difference, too. Loads of side alleys, even near really busy pedestrian areas, easily can be quite vacant. I don't think a city, as a game location, has to be big (loads of different places to go to) to feel big either. Just clearly a lot more densely populated and giving a sense of size - where every area you visit clearly is part of something more.
  6. I haven't played the original Bioshock - it wouldn't have run on my laptop. I've read about it before release and seen the response after - but that's not really the same, of course. I did play and love both of the System Shocks - and at least that latest video plus commentary looks sufficiently different if they pull things off. I think not being a weak and lost individual could provide for a really different story line, and I love unusual protagonists - one of the many things that made Shiny a great developer. To be honest the Little Sister / Big Sister dynamic could be interesting if they balance it right. It'd be much more interesting if you'd need adam to survive, not just develop your character. And if that only means that with out adam no resurrection. The resurrection system in the System Shock 2 (less in one) worked because you had to - times and again - venture out of the safety zone and even within what was safe you only were able to be resurrected if you had money. That's one of the things I'd love them to copy. If adam would be required for re-spawning, but at the same time harvesting also results in bringing about your worst enemy - one that can really harm you - there's a lot of potential for difficult decisions along the way. And while death isn't the game stopping result it's still something to fear and to avoid. It also could re-introduce resource management. I know that you could re-set plasmids in Bioshock - and again, the simple system of system shock that anything you did required resources could be applied here, too. But then again ... it's unlikely a game that is as difficult as the System Shocks would be made as a multi-platform high budget title . I'd prefered if they'd managed to remain a semi-indy type developer.
  7. Yar. That's why I included that bit about morals and get people to change behaviour. Which won't work by cracking down on anyone - or at least not only by making laws and enforcing them. I don't know - that's sort of what I feel is lacking and really damaging of the type of Capitalism/Social Conduct that is spreading these days - part of the idea of capitalism as promoted in the first place WAS to spread wealth and to provide fair chances. I think that vision beyond the mere financial is what is being lost. Whatever political/economical system one has it really should at least aim at having some written or unwritten rules that aid building a society (and with that I mean a community/group of people with a common goal), rather then creating something that is only about egoistical purposes with no regard for the larger picture. -Mnemon
  8. Still feel this is much to simplified. The right question has been asked in this thread but not really picked on. "Why do the immigrate illegally in the first place?" Whatever your notion is of that, being an illegal definitely is not something you do for fun. And there's more --- they really don't come without a reason and without a chance of survival either. I.e. - they will have to earn money, which means someone is paying/employing them (and if it is related to further illegal activities [drugs, prostitution, etc.]). Just going the "harsh" route of closing borders won't work, no matter where you have illegal immigrants - anywhere in the world. In this specific case the area is just much to big to cover, too. As long as there also is a demand for "the services" these illegals are willing and able to "provide" they'll use their chances - specifically if Mexico continues to be a much poorer country then the U.S.. Fences don't work - people that are desperate enough will find ways around it, even if it means physical harm. A responsible reaction would be to not just crack down on the illegals, but look at those on the US side that support them and the immigration. You can't just only blame one side and assume the problem can be solved through that. If you want a lasting solution getting people to accept a change in behaviour is required - make sure employing someone illegally instead of "legals" has to be a heavily shunned thing to do, morally - solving drug problems means making sure there is no market for them - which means investing effort into people not needing drugs in the first place. -Mnemon
  9. There is no recipy to writing, there is no recipy to writing, there is no recipy to writing. Really. Other then the one above. It doesn't matter if you use flashbacks or not, many words or not, challenge your reader or not [When I write I usually ask the reader to think though], ... as long as it works. Do your own thing. In writing as much as in life (but remember that everyone has some responsibility towards others in anything you do). If you write well you'll always find your audience. Full stop. -Mnemon
  10. It is no mans land, and I doubt anybody could easily claim it. As far as I remember, there are regulations that give each state the same rights on both the high sea (water above ground) and the area (subsoil, seabed and ocean floor which is considered "common heritage" of mankind). There is a special organisation - the ISBA (International Seabed Authority) that is open to all states regulating the rules and conditions regarding the area - I'd guess there is a similar organisation for the rules regarding the high sea. -Mnemon
  11. Which basically is the problem of how LS and DS where portraied. Fallout allowed you a whole lot of variation between a Good and an Evil character - you had more of a possibility to shape the role your character should take. As such it allowed vor a wide variety of Grey as well as several takes on what Good or what evil is. Kotor obviously followed the LS and DS in very specific ways which made sure there only was an absolut Black and White setting in terms of how good and how evil is defined. Of course part of that results from what the setting was. But in the area of how LS and especially DS was defined Kotor really lacks choice. Killing stuff all the time is not the only - and usually not a very successful - way to "be evil." I'd much prefer choices to have a higher moral variance - give more than one way to be good and more than one to be evil in any given situation even if you are limited by such a clear LS-DS distinction. And of course, make those decisions have an impact on how your character is received by those around her/him and those that are to judge the person, which your actions as a player define. In terms of a linear story based game - Planescape: Torment proves you can include choices that feel meaningful to the player (at least to most) while still maintaining linearity and story. -Mnemon
  12. Ahem, sorry for doing an in between Off-topic post, but I noticed this during the first couple posts on page one - as usual Anarchism is considered the rule of chaos, lawlessness etc. ... that is not what Anarchism tries to achieve. Please inform yourself about Anarchist Theories here: Anarchist F.A.Q. on "What is Anarchism?". It doesn't matter whether you believe in it or not, but when talking about theories, especially political ones, one should know what these theories _really_ try to achieve. -Mnemon
  13. Reply to Azarkon I'd like to hear the answer to this question from some game devs as well, but I think you should specify what you mean by "moving towads a similar way." Do you mean that games would have big budgets? [...] Or do you mean that gams would become more "cinematic" or "mainstream"? No, and no. What I meant was that, if there would/is a possibility that after all the concentration and economical focus that happens right now, there might come a chance for more "artistic" games, along side the way it happened in the movie industry, to be financiable. I.e. if there ever would be alternative ways of financing movies. Especially in Europe movies and other "art" can fall back on public support and funds - resulting in a quite different "cinema" then what you get from your general hollywood like movies. I think the way Valve goes with "Steam" is actually quite interesting. They are building a way to publish games without having to rely on a publisher. Giving the high modability of the Source Engine and the wide variety of "mods" that were build upon the old Half-Life [i.e. Quake] engine, I could imagine Valve offering mod-teams to market their games using the "Steam" network in exchange for some share of profits. After all, they did release fan-made mods for Half-Life as "official" projects in the past. If such a marketing model would result in other companies offering similar possiblities there might be some interesting changes coming along - as long as other ways of covering the initial costs of games then what we have now develop as well. Now you are opening a completly different can of worms. I will only comment on this shortly, because getting into detail here will throw the thread way, way off-topic quite quickly. First of all, that people have so little free time is a problem of our capitalist systems. It is not like there is too much work for too little people. Second, I - and a lot of "art" - actually considers the "making it" in life as you bring it forward here, to be an utter rubish attitude that supports and helps captialist exploitation of people. In short, appealing to circles holding up these values, is not anything I feel worthwhile to do.
  14. Reply to Role-Player's Post Indeed. I am surprised there weren't more coming around. On the other hand I have been pre-occupied elsewhere for quite some time now. Nothing all that fixed IMO. To me art that manages to "be" art is something that transcendents beyond pure pictures/letters and entertainment. There is a difference between being skilled at producing something and producing art. A lot of the big Hollywood style action movies involve a lot of craftmanship and talent, yet none of that is used to produce Art. Hollywood largely only produces "entertainment", similar to what the Game Industry does. You will find movies that transcendent beyond the level of entertainment, that explore human nature our society in a multitude of ways and leave options to interpret and re-interpret the content in the context and believes of whoever experiences (as opposed to consuming, which is the case with pure "entertainment") that movie (or art in general). Just because of that art always IS subjective to a large degree, by necessity. I am sticking with the movie comparisons because I established that in the first post, and because it is the most similar genre and industry to the gaming industry. Plus both are team orientated creations, as opposed to literature and photopraphy (usually). As a few examples of movies that where artful for me, lately - "Ping Pong" by Fumihiko Sori and "S
  15. I agree. We are very much at the strongest point of Hollywood supremacy over the industry - relatively spoken. There are some exceptions, but few games "deliver" in respect to creativity and originality. This is the now, I was speculating about the how could things be, however. Okay, that was a quick shot example taken from the top of my head, and we go a little off topic here (off topic is fine though). Point of the original post was not to define what "Art" is in reverance to Computer Games, but what a possible way of games being produced, in respect to financing, and organisation, might look like. Regardless of whether the outcome can be defined as Art. Quite a number of movies are not to be considered art either IMO. Actually most that come out every year aren't. Torment was, naturally, a bad example in terms of utilising the visual and other possibilities of the genre. It came closest to being "Art" in as much as being closest to a "Novel". I am not saying coming close to a quality "novel" - but closest to the general format. I agree about Syberia, actually - haven't played Riven/Silent Hill 2 (long enough) to comment on these. Sounds like I should have a look at them sometime . I don't really believe we have any artistic game at all per se yet - not as art is done elsewhere. I have yet to see a game that takes the Genre "Computergames" to it's boundaries or experiments with the stylistic options we have. At the moment the only trend that really exists is to try to make things more "realistic" or "blow things up spectacular". Naturally that is far from art per se. True. That's what I was aiming at when writing "closest to art". Your take and definition is downright accurate where my wasn't. I guess a couple would have to be added - some "Adventure game", "Jump n' Run" and "Shoot Em'Up" certainly qualifies in the classic section as well, even though those aren't genres that are still getting (a lot/any) follow up titles these days. Again I agree. No Computer Game, as of now, can be ranked as "art" in comparison to what Literature and Painting has produced. Movies and Fotography have some examples of art, yet, a good deal of what is produced ain't "art". Still both are found worthy to receive funding as art projects. Coming from a literature studies background I'd argue that any movie working on an existing book ain't creative in it's onset. Indeed - that was part of the original post, though I only merely implied it and not spelled it out at all. What I was hinting at is that in several aspects the gaming industry developed rather similar to what the movie industry does, in a quicker timeframe. My question was will we see the gaming industry arrive at the full circle - will we see games being produced as movies are these days? That is will developers (that are not bound to any Publisher) approach publishers with a concept (finished "story board) for pre-financing, then lend "cameras and equipment" (i.e. engines produced by other companies) to visualise that original story board? The other way round variation of the Publisher approaching the Developers - which is, usually in respect to the Film industry the case with sequels - already is practiced, as we can see. And here I disagree. Yes, we never will get away from the Hollywood-like games. Those _will_ be the heavy marketed blockbuster type things. However, in respect to movies there are a lot of releases that are not Hollywood style crap - not doing great on the earnings but have a stable enough income basis of people interested in more innovative and more interesting movies to be able to get financed and make some income. There are alternatives to Hollywood - those are the movies that I actually watch. Most of them likely ain't "art" either - but they are by far more "creative" than what Hollywood produces. Again, my question was, will independent games, produced with licensed engines have a market chance despite the blockbuster style of games? Will there be "gamebuffs" (like filmbuffs) that are interested enough in those to keep the companies going? We have an active indy scene in both music and movies that you can delve in if you are looking for alternatives. Another question in my orginal post was wether you think at some point (5, 10, 20, 50 years from now) we'll actually see games being funded by state or private organisations trying to help out the "creative arts" - that type of funding is how quite a number of European movies come to be? I wasn't speculating about the now, but about the might be, and about where the gameing industry is heading in terms of organisation and financial structure. Might the "modding community" turn out to be some form of "independent" movement, where more innovative games are produced? -Mnemon
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