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Everything posted by anubite

  1. This is exactly correct. Even if Unity "supports" multithreading, they will not write all of their code to be multi-threaded. They will write groups of code to accept multiple threads where performance is critical and many threads can get the job done faster. Pathfinding is one of those areas. Even doing this much, however, is costly. PoE does not do any dynamic terrain deformation, any dynamic simulation of ecomplex economic/physics elements (like DF or a simulation game), or even have massively complex pathfinding (DF has 3-tier path finding, finding the quickest path on an X,Y,Z grid that is as big as 256^3); I don't think multithreaded calculation is strictly necessary - unless there is something wrong and they realize they need that kind of optimization, but I honestly doubt it.
  2. Video Games aren't suited to telling stories. Obsidian is all about letting players tell their own stories. The best example of properly using stories I can think of is Dwarf Fortress - Toady and his brother think up stories they want players to experience spontaneously in their game. They write these stories and build game mechanics from them, so that those stories can occur dynamically without a script.
  3. I think I need a little more context. Data on a disc is still data - it's physical. It's real. Data is not imaginary. It is not "virtual" despite the word being used to it. A machine has to imprint data on a disc - it is a real thing. A "vritual thing" might be a sword you have in an RPG. That thing is a series of 0 and 1's on a disc somewhere, or in RAM. You may not own that physical disc the thing is stored on, but you "own" it because a program assigned a field to you that indicates you are its owner. In a sense, you "virtually own" the thing, because although the 0's and 1's do not belong to you, you have the permission to use that sword as you see fit. I'm not a lawyer, but I think it really depends what're talking about here. But maybe it doesn't. If the sword is an item in an MMO, then you maybe should have rights to that sword if the game does out of business - you were "given" the sword by the game's code, like you might receive a gift from someone. I don't know how "gifts" work legally, but I think you have a right to it once it has been given to you. Someone cannot break into your house to "get back" your gift. Similarly, a company should not have the right to take away something you virtually own. If the item in question is game code that was put on a disc, and you own the disc... is this any different from owning a book? You have a right to read that book whenever you wish; you bought it. It is a possession. The author of that book cannot come to your house and remove it from your possession. Those are the author's words in that book, but so what? It's your book. EULAs in games have gone unchallenged in court, and while there is no court precedence to back them up or shrink their authority, I don't think there can be an official stance on the manner. It's all going to come down to perspective until a number of courts rule on what companies can and cannot do with their so-called IP.
  4. I disagree. Shallow ideas are cheap, but fully fleshed-out ones are not. I have many deep game ideas that would take me weeks to document and put into some sort of pdf development guide sort of thing. The formalization of an idea into what needs to be built, and how, is the responsibility of an idea guy, and making one that is easy to follow, comprehend - that is complete, accurate, and well thought out, is a challenge. It is cheap to jot down some ideas and say, "Yes, that will be awesome." But that's not nearly enough of the work that needs to be done to create an idea that is ready to be presented to a craftsman, or a group of people who will bear the burden of putting that idea into reality. If the OP truly is an "idea guy" he needs to stop brainstorming at some point and document it all formally.
  5. You will never get consensus through forum discussion. Hell, you can't get two people to agree on something most of the time, nevermind one-hundred times that amount. And majority rules is sure to rub people the wrong way. You'll have a mess of a game after development if its design is dictated by a community. Video games need a consistent theme, vision and direction. Video games need guide lines. They need design which is easy to build and extend. You won't get any of this aruging on a forum. The best path to crowdsourcing a game is to sit down and build a design document under this idea: I want to make a game of __ genre. Please help me. -This is the engine we will use to make it. The levels you will build use these design parameters: --Maps are this size by this size --Maps are in this artistics style --Maps use these assets from these locations or created by these people who have volunteered to make them under these guidelines: ---Models/textures are in format Xyz ---Models/textures co-incide with 'this art-style' or 'that art-style' ---Models/textures agree with the story we've written here: ----The story should have these themes and these characters and these locations ----The story will support these gameplay elements/mechanics: -----The gameplay mechanics and elements are qrs, abc and 123 -----The focus of the game's mechanics is: its goal is to: et cetera, and will require these functions to be programmed in our engine: ------The scripts for our engine are written in language _, please submit your code to repository _ after thoroughly testing it If you build up documents that build upon each other, like so, you can solicit paid or free help from a community. But you or some group of architects need to lay down the law. If people like your idea, they will contribute. If they don't, you may need to offer monetary rewards... You won't build an engine from scratch this way, if you have no skills, you should stick to free/proprietary engines. You need to be driven to build an engine from scratch and you need an engine to even begin the foundational work of a game. Games built through a community/online or even by yourself require momentum. You need momentum. If it gets lost, enthusiasm dies and the project grinds to a halt. People will come if there are pieces in place to begin building and if the idea is good. You won't get very far being an "ideas guy". Your unwillingness to learn some process of the difficult work, or at least even begin to understand what it all takes, suggests to me you aren't ready to lead a project. Good ideas come from having experience or a background in how things are built and innovating from there. If you don't have a concept of how things are engineered - be it story, art, or mechanics, you will never innovate in any meaningful way. Anyone these days can hobble together a Megaman clone. It takes talent to make a game that exceeds or at least meets the expectations of people looking for "That Next Megaman"; to make a game worth widespread attention and some title of 'worthy Megaman clone'. You won't probably get funding through Kickstarter if you have no product to show and no history to speak of, even if you produce an outstanding video. At the very least, you'd need a strong cohesive vision to have a swing at it. Hiring a team to build a game from scratch is extremely expensive. You can't order a couple sprites/models and mechanics, spend under $500, and expect to have anything to show for it. Good programming takes time and dedictation (a new game-breaking bug could crop up any moment that needs fixing). Good art takes hours to produce. Unless you have a large well to draw from, you will not produce a game that can recoup its losses from the strategy you are describing. You need dedicated workers or a decent stream of free ones to create an end-product of any artistic or enjoyable merit. It is probably more productive for you to join one of the many game-creation forums out there and join a team. If they aren't looking for "idea guys" you can get some practical experience contributing to a working environment and understand a workflow process, how to manage people through the internet, the tools required to update/submit/create code or art, and the enjoyment of seeing a finished product. There are numerous mods for games that need people to help them come to fruition. Full-fledged games are things you should consider creating when you are more knowledgable. Common examples of what I'm talking about can be seen in Mecha the Slag's Kickstarter game, or in Barkley 2. Both of the teams behind these games came from long-standing free games/mods. Mecha the Slag used to run 10+ servers on Steam for TF2, each of them hosting a different kind of mod/game mode he wrote from scratch. That's the kind of history you need to have a crack at getting sufficient kickstarter funds as an indie.
  6. It's because Doom, WoW and CoD are first/third person. And developers play follow the leader.
  7. Game designers need to be proficient in a scripting language, if not able to understand game code I believe, there are often tools you have to work with that are very stripped down. Full Sail is... well, anything that runs youtube ads sounds fishy to me.
  8. I recently began a replay of New Vegas after purchasing all the DLC. I'd heard Dead Money was the best, so I'm saving it for last. I would not expect them to release any more NV DLC at this point, even if it were profitable (which I'm skeptical of) New Vegas is played out - level 50 level cap? For ****'s sake, by the time you're 35 you basically have 100 in 5+ skills, guns, bullets, and medical supplies bleeding out of your orfices... right now I have 90 stimpacks and I'm level 31. I haven't even killed Caesar yet. I've barely progressed the main story at all. In-fact, the game scarcely feels like Fallout. It felt closer to Fallout BEFORE all this DLC I've gone on. Old World blues was okay, I mean really, as far as DLC goes, there was plenty of content and some interesting moments... but just that DLC alone was enough to make me scratch my head and go, "What did I just play?" I recently did a replay of Fallout (the first one), and although there are campy, fun, cartoony moments in that game... I think Fallout 3 (alone with its mini nuke launcher) and New Vegas really are missing the tone, as well as the point of Fallout. Fallout should be about this conflict of survival vs morality. That's always been my take - at the beginning of Fallout 1 you have almost nothing, you can barely kill a couple of rats. And when presented with an opportunity to be an **** and steal your wayt o success... you make the difficult choice, or you don't. The fact there's no time-sensitive questing in FO3 or FONV alone is enough to destroy the tone. There's no sense of urgency. Much of the game is... lazily looking through filing cabinets or headshotting stupid robots (i'd love to shoot them in the arms or legs instead, but even on the hardest difficulty, it's usually not remotely practical). Obsidian / Bethesda need to start over. And I know we won't get it, but Fallout 4 needs to be on a new engine. It needs to be - Gamebryo gun combat just isn't fun. It's taken multiple mods to make New Vegas gun combat tolerable - and forget melee combat. Is there anyone who went deidcated melee through all the game's DLC and main story? You must have some tenacity. I like elements of New Vegas, but we need a fresh start. If Obsidian gets the chance to make another FO game, I hope they can learn from past mistakes. I hope they don't make any main games like Old World Blues or Honest Hearts, either. Not bad, exactly, but the stories and content found within aren't much better than Bethesda's work. Perhaps not as intellectually insulting, but they're not that deep either.
  9. I don't see these figures as being useful to talk about in a critical mathematical kind of sense - yes we have two consecutive years of profits, maybe you can say that's enough to attribute a trend of recovery, but it's not significant enough. Compare $100M to the amount of money Nintendo or Activision posts every year. Look at how THQ folded and how Capcom is on the verge of collapse. When was the last hit from EA that wasn't a sport title? What just happened to EA's sports monopoly lately? They were making 2,000M before 2009, the fact they're barely turning a profit now suggests more than a simple loss - it suggests they can't ever return to being that profitable again. The better way to look at these numbers it to say, "For the last four years EA has been making 1,000M to 2,000M less money than they could be." That's the way I see it - they are so far in the hole that they are no longer a major player on the market. Potentially. They have enough assets they can stay in the game for a while, but as it stands, they're sinking. And as they sink, they'll have to bail out developres that aren't performing well. If BioWare can't post 5M sales like Dead Space or the other studios EA has closed down - it's goodbye BioWare. And it's that pressure that drives changes at BioWare. It's that pressure that shifts the focus of development. These numbers are not suggestive that EA needs 'restructuring'. Restructuring - the cannibalistic behavior EA has done since '09 - has been their way of not posting record losses, but restructuring will never get them to post 2,000M profits again. They needs hits and EA hasn't had any in any recent memory of mine - their most successful franchises - that is, their most consistent ones - have been football/soccer titles. And those are starting to slump too with fatigue from over releasing. Will the Sims $ ignite excitement in consumers again? Will people want to rebuy all those same expansion packs for the third or fourth time? Will Sim City ever carry the prestige it once did for consumers? What properties are left for EA? They aren't creating any new hits to my knowledge.
  10. Two? http://ycharts.com/companies/EA/retained_earnings EA has been taking on water since 2009.
  11. Maybe my last post was poor and conjumbled, and certainly, I respect Alan for defending his company - I really don't expect anything less from him. It is his place of work - he's gotta pay the bills, or maybe he likes it over there. Things can be easily far removed from one another. I doubt he has any significant say in what goes on. BioWare might be a great place to work with great people - at least, in the vaccuum of the day to day living kind of thing, where you finish Mass Effect 3 and everyone on the team goes, "Huh? Why is everyone upset?" A kind of situation where you just don't notice things because they've been building for such a long time. I don't think I'm "blind", I'm pretty self-conscious about what I say and how I think. in my previous post I admitted that I don't really know how BioWare is structured internally. But I think my inability to trust Alan, or anyone from BioWare, stems from previous controversy with EA and BioWare. Gaming journos aren't wont to get private access into the dealings of EA or BioWare (for some mysterious reason, despite it being such a popular controversial topic), so there's no third party account we even have to make judgments on. All I can follow is a simple logic. Nobody at EA is hands-off. They've been losing money for how many years now? People have jobs and they do their jobs. EA wants BioWare to make maximum profit. Alan isn't a boss figure, so why would he be involved with EA's influence? How would he see EA's influence? As far as he's concerned, it's all coming from those above him, ideas generated in vaccuums contained in Canadian officespaces. If BioWare decides DA3 will have actiony Dark Soulsy combat, it's because the lead game designer thought it was a good idea - not because he went to that one meeting where those strangers in suits slapped down some big black folders on his desk and started talking about those focus group reports... EA has invested millions of dollars in BioWare. That's the easiest way to put it - Alan, you really can't believe money doesn't talk? That EA is a hands-off publisher? There's a uniformity to games published by EA, a kind of structure that just 'doesn't happen' without direct involvement by suits. EA doesn't believe in the 'invisible hand' of game development. This perception of mine is grounded in a simple reality that can be seen in most other spheres, right now, you're sounding like the people who defend the NSA with such lines as, "What, you don't trust the government to use their powers responsibly?" No, of course I don't! It's the bloody government! It's power. EA has power. Why wouldn't they exercise it? That's human nature, not the psuedo-science they call psychology.
  12. The problem is XP tied to bodycount means you are highly, highly incentivized to kill everything that moves. This makes roleplaying a 'pacifist' (avoiding combat to conserve resources) or reserved party (like a professional assassin) impossible. We understand that a successor to BG isn't going to likely allow a real pacifist run, but that you shouldn't be forced to kill everyone in a zone to feel satisfied. I like that the game will be designed around varying play styles. There should be benefits and deficits to killing everyone or leaving some alive. The alternative is that you can't really roleplay a wide spectrum of characters/parties and that developers have to design levels around you killing everything that moves to proceed. Who cares which design is more realistically logical? I don't.
  13. Here's why respeccing is stupid: 1. It lets you change from being an Archer to being a Mage at the drop of a hat. How does this make sense in our game world? Does this mean a Chef can become a Physicist if he pays some gold to some guy? If it doesn't let us change classes, at the very least, it lets us change what we're "good at" - which is still difficult to explain in a 'normal' context, it needs to be a special feature of the story to explain, it can't just be some trivial thing that everybody can just do. 2. It lets you game the system. I think we like 'gaming' the system, but we don't like gaming the gaming system - a sense of metagame where we decide that archers are good in the early game and mages in the lategame. If classes are balanced to have power curves or bumps in the road over the journey of the game, players should be forced to experience them, otherwise they're depriving challenge. This is negative because it reinforces negative player behavior. The name of the game is roleplaying, if you redefine your role 50% through the game - what the ****? Why play a roleplaying game? 3. It lessens the impact of choice. If you make a bad choice you should live with it. If no choices are bad why are we playing a game? Let's go watch a movie. You could canonize a feature in the form of a soul sucking machine and I could tolerate that **** if it set you back experience and gold and took a long ass quest - but I'd rather content generation time be spent everywhere. If the game is so poorly balanced there needs to be a respec feature... we have bigger problems than a respec feature. How many times did you restart Fallout 1 before you beat the game for the first time? I think it was twenty or more for me. It's the sign of a good game for me. If you don't enjoy restarting, if you frequently make bad character choices, if the game isn't designed well to make starting over easy and fun - then there's a problem. But it's not a problem of being able to press a button and receive a new character halfway through the game, which is what is meant by the term respec - a term created by EQ and WoW - a feature that 'streamlines' (aka dumbs down) RPG gameplay because developers believe players can't make good choices, that players can't tolerate their own choices, that they can't design systems that are balanced. A respec button is a sign of weakness, an uncertainty on the part of the developer, and a greedy wish from the players of the game. Diablo 3 was designed around the use of a respec button and suffers for it. There is no reason for any good RPG to have one.
  14. He's probably tired of the "it was all brilliant and then EA came and DESTROYED EVERYTHING" attitude. As he obviously knows better where decisions have come from and what has been the pressure of lack of it placed on the studio. I think you're way too optimistic. EA might not send boogey men down to tell BioWare what it wants to do, but you're crazy if they'd finance SWTOR without having significant oversight. SWTOR is almost as big as GTAV in terms of budget. As far as DA or ME go, they would at least have indirect influence... EA: "BioWare Boss A, we need to show our profits are growing by 26% next quarter. You will need to move X units of your next game or Y units with Z units of DLC. We've provided some market surveys which might help direct the finalization of your game's features." EA has already said all EA games will have online functionality. They have made formal announcements saying this. To accomplish this, they have directly provided instructions to their publishers - that they need to have teams developing systems for online play, that they need to ship online functionality. These developers did not volunteer to do this individually. I don't think they have people looking over artists' shoulders telling them to draw big breasts or transvestites to try and appease certain demographics (though I'm sure BioWare bosses givethe Y or N to concept art, and their Y or N comes from the frame of view, which is greatly influenced by EA)! I do think they tell the honchos at BioWare to make a profit - and not only that - they go so far as to say how they should make a profit. The BioWare bosses listen because they know if they don't do as they're told and things don't go well, at the very least, EA will be less happy to listen to their ideas in the future, nevermind their job could be at risk. Alan might be shaking his head - but he's not a head honcho, not from my understanding. He might be at 'all the meetings' but he's not at the ones behind closed doors. He isn't involved in financial decisions, or in gross company-wide movements like EA and upper echelon managers are. Granted, I am just making assumptions about BioWare's structuring, but there's no way EA lets BioWare be. No freaking way. They are very invested in BioWare, or at least, they were with SWTOR.
  15. It's very hard to balance potions. In Path of Exile, there were "Gauranteed Critical Hit" potions that give you 100% crit chance for X seconds. Obviously, they were very powerful and had to be toned down. I don't think the alternative they've created (which simply give you two chances to crit per attack) is quite as compelling. There were also armor potions that greatly increased armor rating, but even those turned out to be too powerful. And as a flip side example, Skyrim's potions, for the most part, are a joke. I think a good potion system needs to provide immediate results. For instance, the drugs in Shadowrun Returns? I was never tempted to use them - they provided small buffs for short durations and consumed a turn to utilize. No thanks! Because strategy games are a lot about timing and positioning, potions should be impactful. If an effect lasts a long time, it generally can't be impactful (or it's too easy to abuse them). Potions (or whatever you want to call a transient effect item) should provide effects that are game-changing, yet hard to abuse. They should be about timing and positioning. Perhaps they should exclude all kinds of healing potions and only provide us with effect potions - just make sure the effects are worth caring about and let enemies use these potions too? Perhaps, they should come with downsides as well - drinking an armor potion negatively impacts your spell resistance. The misuse of potions really has nothing to do with whether players hoard them or not. If they're balanced in combat, spamming them stupidly should be an ineffective startegy. I like PoE's potion system, as I've said, but it probably doesn't translate well to a BG-style game. Potions should be much more tactical. The worst way to do it is to do what DA2 did - you've got a dedicated potion button. Your job is to press it as soon as it comes off cooldown. That's action-game territory, nevermind that it boils many boss fights down to 'run around in circles until the potion comes back up'.
  16. EA controls BioWare's purse strings, if not directly, certainly indirectly. They are their boss. They listen, they cooperate, they're one entity. If BioWare doesn't operate under EA's collar, they sure haven't done a good job setting themselves apart from EA's policies - they've pretty much spearheaded all of them. Tacked-on online, ton of DLC, faster and more frequent releases, streamlining, misleading users about features*, et cetera Maybe BioWare gets more flak than they deserve, but there's no doubt EA has significant influence. *(You can pull interviews with prominient BioWare employees around the release of Mass Effect or Dragon Age and scratch your head about what universe they live in when they boldly proclaim things that turn out to be positively untrue: Interviewer: [Regarding the numerous possible endings of Mass Effect 2] “Is that same type of complexity built into the ending of Mass Effect 3?” Hudson: “Yeah, and I’d say much more so, because we have the ability to build the endings out in a way that we don’t have to worry about eventually tying them back together somewhere. This story arc is coming to an end with this game. That means the endings can be a lot more different. At this point we’re taking into account so many decisions that you’ve made as a player and reflecting a lot of that stuff. It’s not even in any way like the traditional game endings, where you can say how many endings there are or whether you got ending A, B, or C…..The endings have a lot more sophistication and variety in them." “There are many different endings. We wouldn’t do it any other way. How could you go through all three campaigns playing as your Shepard and then be forced into a bespoke ending that everyone gets? But I can’t say any more than that…” “[The presence of the Rachni] has huge consequences in Mass Effect 3. Even just in the final battle with the Reapers.")
  17. I don't think respecizalition should be possible in a roleplaying game. It opens things to abuse. If respecialization is possible it should come with incredibly, incredibly steep penalties - but then what's the point? Just start a new game at that point. The problem with respecialization is: 1) It reduces the impact of player choice. 2) It introduces obnoxious gameyness to the system - you can spec in ice up until you reach the anti-ice dungeon and then you can spec out. You should be forced to endure the negatves that come with choice. It's something that can be trivally done with a cheat command. If it has to be in the game, at least make players feel like they're cheating when they do it. They shouldn't canonize such a feature.
  18. I do agree that if magic allows for 'anything' to exist potentially, potions may not be the logical 'next-step' in such a world.
  19. Immersion isn't something computers do. Immersion is all in the head of the gamer. Maybe you can make the case for the Oculus Rift changing that, but that isn't here yet. I can be immersed in the world a book, song, or movie provides. Because video games are interactive, immersion is maybe easier, but that's probably it. Immersion for video games I think is really built around having a good initial premise to set you in the world, a strong soundscape that meshes with the visuals, and as few jarring breaks in gameplay as possible (loading screens, bugs, et cetera). VTMB is immersive for me because of its soundscape (sit in any of the urban areas and close your eyes for a few minutes), because of its visuals, and because it has fairly large continuous tracts of land to explore. I'd say any 'good well designed game is immersive' but maybe that's not entirely true. Still, I don't think immersion is something you can design explicitly for, you just need to make sure you have a good few dudes on sound, story and art direction.
  20. Fantasy is silly. Why should we be afraid of old men swinging shiny sticks wearing pointy hats? If potions are designed right, they can be an impactful in-battle strategic decision. In BG they are pretty much a, "Oh, I can't heal this person fast enough, so he will drink a potion this round." And since that character isn't acting now, chances are, they're just going to keep chugging potions. Thankfully, potions were pretty abundant after a point. Arbitrary restrictions like, "You can't do this in battle, you can't do this until that number thing ticks down to zero" are band-aid, "I don't know how to fix this" kind of solutions. If potions are designed right and populated in the world in a sensible manner there's nothing wrong with them, they're just another tool for solving complicated battle situations.
  21. Cooldowns can manage it but they tend to just break the flow of gameplay. As I suggested, Path of Exile's mechanics work such that you can run out of potions if you just spam them but there are no cooldowns on them.
  22. If a player is hoarding potions... (1) the game is too easy (2) potions are not impactful (3) potions are dropping too abundantly (4) potions are not valuable (to sell) (5) potions are too rare (and too expensive) One or more of these conditions is being met. Making potions expire will not fix anyof the underlying issues here. Although Path of Exile's potion system probably doesn't have a place in PE, it's proof there are plenty of potential potiion mechanics thave have gone unexplored and can be wonderfully executed. Cooldowns or expiration sound like bad, hamfisted ways to solve a difficult problem.
  23. From my understanding, warriors will not be spamming abilities to do damage (like they might in an action RPG). There will be active skills for fighters, but they arne't required. I'm not sure how this translates, but under such a system, it's possible a wizard with a high Strength stat willl do high damage with weapons and spells, though probably favor spells, because he will have active spell skills to spam. The only way a fighter has better damage with weapons is if there are a lot of passive class-skills that need to be purchased to utilize weapons effectively.
  24. There's nothing 'inherently wrong' with anything. Anything could work if it's done well enough, but since we don't have the game in our hands, we're speculating. The main issue is, if I have a high 'Strength' stat does it mean I can trivially do damage with both spells and weapons? It makes the difference between spells and weapons small, if a high single stat is all you need to utilize one or the other 'well enough'. It also makes "jack of all trade" builds more easy - and that's generally not a good thing in an RPG (we want role specialization to occur, if you're a generalist, you can't have skills that are on par with specialized peers).
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