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Everything posted by Squidget

  1. So the judge gets a choice between five sweaty gamer guys? Those are the people who win FPS tournaments. In other news "Ha ha."
  2. Along with those already mentioned, HK-47 was pretty cool.
  3. There probably are, but this kind of immersion tends to come at a cost of developer options in gameplay. Once you set the rules for what choices the player can make you've limited yourself. System Shock 2 probably did this 'best', in the sense that there are never really any moments of broken immersion because you can't shoot some NPC. The price this came at was never actually seeing any NPCs face-to-face (or at least, never seeing any that weren't about to die anyway.) You only saw monsters and ghosts and voices, but never anything you weren't 'supposed' to kill that you could shoot at anyway. Was System Shock 2 an immersive game? Sure - but at the same time, one can't really say it had any kind of player choices, and not being able to actually meet directly with NPCs was probably a part of that.
  4. So what are you asking for here, really? Was KOTOR's system really that different to RP in than NWNs (the story differences aside?) In KOTOR you couldn't attack someone unless the plot demanded it, while in NWN you could attack anyone but the plot-specific characters were invulnerable. Either way you're getting a clear OOC message that the NPC can't be attacked (a message which has no equivilant IC), so why is one really more immersion breaking? Would D: X really have been a better game if you lowered your gun a bit when facing key NPCs and couldn't actually shoot them, like in Half Life 2? In both scenarios the game is essentially saying "You cannot make this choice, k thx", so is the question here really just method of delivery?
  5. A lot of the problems with this sort of approach are actually 'mechanical', in the sense that RPGs are inherently limited by their interface. Taking the NWN example - say you figured out that Desther was an evil spy and not the good helmite he was attempting to be (though it should be noted that you couldn't do this without metagaming, as the game only gave evidence that Desther was an incompetent arse.) Even if that were the case, does it make sense that you'd just walk into his room and attack him? If you did, would you really expect the town not to go hostile, unless you'd brought them proof that he was a spy? Since there wasn't any proof it seems like this option doesn't really lead anywhere. I guess getting killed by the city guard might be more 'immersive' than hitting an invulnerable NPC, but probably not worth designer time. Sure, you could add dialog options to talk to Aribeth about your suspicions, but once you start adding dialog options you inevitably spoil the plot for people who didn't figure it out in advance. KOTOR's plot twist would have been completely ruined had there been a "Hey, maybe I'm really R-person!" dialog option pre-revelation, because players would have seen the dialog option even if they hadn't figured out the plot twist in advance. So in all seriousness, how would you suggest that a game handle the player figuring out stuff like this, without demonstarting future plot twists to a player who hasn't figured it out? Further, how do you derive motivation from action - how does the game KNOW whether the player is attacking Desther because he actually thinks Desther is a spy, and not just because he's RPing a psycho? You can add different dialog options to determine these things, but trying to add a dialog option for every concieveable player motivation is doomed to failure.
  6. So what was your favorite boss battle? The two JAPANESE ZOMBIES in business suits? Multi-stage action where you must shoot one's tie so the other moves to adjust it, then shoot the brain of the adjusting zombie as it comes into view! The CRAZY GUY WITH A FLYING AFRO where the boss and his hair are two seperate stages? Or perhaps just fighting the POWER RANGERS? And I don't know what anyone is talking about with 'weird game.' It all made perfect sense to me.
  7. To Herve: And that's all there is to say about that.
  8. http://money.cnn.com/2005/09/08/commentary...oney_commentary
  9. Huh? NWN is entirely about playing PnP style, PWs aside. And you yourself have played many a game on Neverwinter Connections, if memory serves. Their site is down at the moment or I'd bring up your profile there.
  10. Very true - but this won't change until there is a reason for it to change. Console developers could build hard drives and online support into their core systems right now. There just is no particular reason for them to do so. Online gaming is a nice increase to sales, but is only really utilized by a relatively small percentage of the market, and most of that percentage is willing to pay the extra. A lot of gamers are perfectly content with non-online systems, so it is only offered as an optional feature. If Costykian's ideas were implemented and gained support of major developers, you bet you'd see online support integrated into core console systems in record time - because it would be a means for gamers to access more good mainstream games, and the publishers (along with the respective companies behind the next-gen consoles) would reap the benefits. Undoubtedly a Steam-like system of Digital Distribution would start out as a platform for primarily PC games, but if they're mainstream PC games it won't be long before the consoles want to play them too. Imagine PC/console titles like KOTOR and Half Life 2 being released through digital distribution only, and available on X-box Live instead of being a port you can buy in a store. Naturally the sales of X-Box Live would shoot through the roof, because gamers would want to play those games, even if it meant being online to do it. The problem, of course, is that this calls for developers to collectively put their own necks on the line and deliberately open their blockbuster games to a smaller audience at first. No one wants to do that, and if the games don't catch on and those developers go under the game industry will be down some very innovative people. It would be a risk, but ultimately I think it would pay off. Someone simply has to make the first move.
  11. Just been playing it tonight and I'm really impressed. The missions within Sorrow's Furnace are above and beyond anything seen anywhere else in the game, both in variety and enjoyment. Any other spoiler-free thoughts? Good update? Worth the wait?
  12. Anyone here play Shadowhearts? The first climax of the game as the mastermind behind it all escapes, your character stands on the top of the tower and screams to the world "Baconnnnnnnnnnn!" If you don't laugh, you cry.
  13. Agreed heartily. The alien bits were incredibly irritating. That's not even full VO though, that's just soundclips. The repetitive alien clips would have been solved if Bioware had implemented 'true' full VO rather than just throwing in a couple irritating bits of gibberish.
  14. My point is, you're not going to see an RPG with the text of Torment or BG in today's market for a lot of reasons, not including VO. Blaming VO for the shortening of games in the industry is barking up the wrong tree. Games are shorter and have less depth because of the rising costs of graphical and game development, primarily. Likewise, the market has shifted such that the majority of gamers want a more streamlined game. Love it or hate it, this is the case, and it really doesn't have anything at all to do with VO - it has far more to do with graphics and technology improvements in general. Less dialog allows for VO, but if game development still allowed PS: T-style dialog then full VO would probably be less of a requirement. As it is, if you removed VO from a game like KOTOR I doubt you'd see better dialog at all. As Gaider said, they were allowed to write that dialog irrespective of VO limitations after the first disasterous try, which means that if you don't like the writing then the blame should fall squarely on the heads of the writers. I do agree with you that GOOD VO is important and the repetitive alien voices in KOTOR annoyed me too, but that's a problem with the implementation rather than the concept. You can implement any feature poorly enough to detract from the game, but it doesn't logically follow that implementing that feature well will detract from the game. Again, I'd strongly suggest playing Eternal Darkness if you have access to a Gamecube. It's not an RPG, but it's an excellent demonstration of good voice acting and how it can add to a game (aside from being really awesomely fun for those who enjoyed the works of H. P. Lovecraft.)
  15. What makes you think this is the case? Remember, in game development most dialog gets written, looked over, snipped down, looked over again, ect. The less important stuff gets cut. This makes writing dialog a lengthy process - considerably more so than recording a few lines of dialog with an actor you already have. The limitations on dialog in recent are generally writing-based rather than VO-based. But hey, don't take my word for it...ask a dev! This is not necessarily true. It was not true in KotOR, for instance, and for a very good reason. Would you believe that KotOR had a first draft? It was a completely written game at one point, with the shortest dialogue we could possibly get away with because we were under a very draconian word count limit due to the cost of VO. It was also terrible. Awful. If a character had more than one line it, out of necessity, both introduced itself and gave it's quest by the time the second line was done. When you have a 10,000-word limit on a chapter, though, there's not much wiggle room. And the Powers That Be acknowledged the problem. That version of KotOR was scrapped and we started over... with complete carte blanche to write dialogues as long as we felt were necessary. I think it showed in KotOR's writing and we're doing DA the same way. Indeed, we're actually going out of our way to make extra paths the standard. And while we can't do character names, we *do* intend to do such references as he/she and him/her, only sparingly. As you can imagine, doing one of those requires two seperate lines, but when you have another line for an elf and one for a nobleman and one for a barbarian and... well, you get the picture... then it doesn't seem like such a big deal. In short, I would agree that VO can be a huge limiting factor on the writing... but only when it is done cheaply. If the Powers That Be are willing to put the writing first and the VO second there really shouldn't be a problem (beyond having no NPC ever actually say the player's name, which is a bit of a trick to get around... but they didn't do it in KotOR, either, and I don't think it was actually missed.) It should also be noted that less VO does not equate to more writing/more story. Us writers do not work on VO, so it's not as if having less VO means more time for us to write. So yeah, I don't think that Full VO is hugely limiting to writing, and as least some devs and successful companies seem to agree. I will say that Full VO makes things a lot more difficult for anyone attempting to mod the game. Just ask Team Gizka.
  16. In my opinion, VO is a valuable addition to an RPG game. It allows for more things to be said with less actual dialog, which allows for more dialog in total. Consider, for example, the difference in meaning and feeling among these sentences: WHAT the hell are we going to do?! What the HELL are we going to do?! What the hell ARE we going to do?! What the hell are WE going to do?! What the hell are we going to DO?! The meaning is different in each one, but it's controlled by emphasis, not words. Sure, there's text means of indicating emphasis, but they break down when it comes to sentences where the emphasis isn't so obvious to begin with. So in that respect, VO adds a lot, and it adds this equally whether you're dealing with Joe Nobody or a major NPC. I also agree with those posters who have said that it can be jarring to have one NPC or one line voice acted and another silent. It just feels a lot more artificial to me. Finally - I wouldn't worry about VO heavily cutting into writing time. Two entirely different departments, and the limitations on dialog are almost always writer-based rather than VO-based. A writer can only create so much dialog for a given character, and a voice actor can speak written dialog faster than a writer can write new dialog, in most cases. Now, there are some things that VO interferes with - most notably, the sort of line that requires a minor change. Mentioning the PC's name is the obvious factor of note, but there are others to think of as well. "Greetings good Fighter, can you help me find my cat?" "Greetings good Rogue, can you help me find my cat?" "Greetings good Mage, can you help me find my cat?" {Repeat for 11 classes.} In non-voice-acted dialog this is a simple {Class} command, while in voice-acted dialog this requires 11 different lines all individuall voice-acted, which takes up more space on the CD. Regardless, in most cases I think VO seriously adds to the game, most notably those games which pursue atmosphere. The atmosphere of a game like Eternal Darkness is incredible, but it wouldn't be nearly as impressive without the awesome voice-acting that goes with it.
  17. I've played CoH. It has the character customization hands-down over just about any other game, but I didn't really like the skill system much compared to GW. With GW there are so many skill options that the 8-skillslot restriction creates a huge amount of tactical choice before the battle starts. Do you want to use that extra skillslot on self-healing? Self-defense? Damage? Energy management? How does whatever you choose combo with your other skills? Likewise, it makes a good build that can do several things effectively through combinations of skills very difficult to make, and much more interesting than a CoH build. The ability to tweak your skill selection between missions is even more important, because you can experiment and use what's best rather than being stuck with one skill selection and a few chances to change it throughout the many hours you spend on the game. The downside of this is that there are less tactics to skill selection in battle. Because of the limitations it's usually quite clear what skill you should use next without a great deal of thought (though now and then there are tough choices - do I raise the party healer or try to finish the last critter off on my own?) Personally I haven't found this too horrible, as GW battles keep me busy enough as it is. Managing aggro, keeping the party alive, and dealing damage through my skills as well as watching my energy and skill recharges takes pretty much all of my attention.
  18. Judging from the forum thread I'd say it was some of both. As I said they were looking at a follow-up article, but the general impression I got was that UQS was pretty badly destroyed, but managed to pull out of their troubles through a series of rather daring moves made on a showstring budget. They apparently were the first in the game to defeat an NPC faction, and in doing so they secured a lot of extra assets, and are now stronger than ever. So to most it might have been a killing blow, and it was through skill that they pulled out rather than grind - as near as I can tell.
  19. Happy about it? Probably not, but I wouldn't be angry about it either. As neither of us play EVE, I'll try to draw an analogy to a different medium. Say you're in a tabletop PnP game. Your party has been playing for a while and you've worked hard to reach the mid levels of power. However, one of the players has been secretly working with the DM all along as an evil force, dedicated to befriending your party and betraying them at a crucial moment (don't laugh - I've had games where I played exactly that role.) So, at the important plot line, he betrays your party masterfully and as a result your character is killed and the rest of the party barely escapes. The DM puts them through a difficult quest over the course of the next few weeks to resurrect you, at which point you are back in the game and fully recovered. The betrayer's character, no longer interacting as a member of the party, is essentially out of the game except if the DM plays them as an NPC. Say you'd made friends with the player OOC during the game. Would you still feel any qualms about meeting him outside the game even though he betrayed your character, or would you feel that your friendship was over because you were temporarily inconvienced in a roleplay? Sure, you might not be exactly happy about it, but it probably wouldn't be anything more than an annoyance OOC. It's 'just a game' after all. I think it's a tribute to the EVE online community that they seem capable of differentiating between the two so easily, and not being emotionally devestated because they lost some cool bit of loot.
  20. Well, she didn't post, did she? In general though, I'd say the leaders of the corp (which Lord Artemis is) probably speak for at least a good percentage of them, and I'm pretty sure they also stood to lose quite a lot as a result of this. Remember, the vaults and hangars were raided, not just Mirial. All sorts of stuff was probably lost, belonging to all sorts of different people. I doubt a single person who posted didn't lose something, but they seemed ready to pick themselves up and walk away. And it's not as if Mirial was booted from the game. She just had to return to an earlier clone. Not a huge deal, and it sounds as if they've recovered fine. In fact, judging from Page 9 of that thread it sounds as if PC UK may be doing a follow-up article detailing their miraculous recovery. I honestly doubt anything any of us can say will convince you, but there are some games where screwing over other players is not only legal, it's expected. The monopoly analogy is an apt one - you might not congratulate the guy who takes all your money with a Boardwalk hotel, but if you lose the game because of it you don't shout at him for 'cheating' or being mean. It's just how the game is played. And judging from what I've seen of EVE's community, I honestly doubt that Mirial would have ever gotten as far as she did if she didn't understand that. In fact, it sounds as if she screwed over a fair few people in her time. It's not wrong, anymore than it's wrong to roleplay an evil character so long as you do so within the expected confines of the game.
  21. From the discussion thread on the Eve forums: That enough for you? Sounds like 'GG' to me.
  22. I just listened to the one interview, but I don't think he ever said that. Question: Would you support a 10-year-old buying GTA without having to have parental permission to do so? (Note: Again, I disagree with most of his points and I think he's a brain case in general, but I like playing devil's advocate.)
  23. Does he? Maybe I shouldn't have listened to it at 4 AM last night. I remember him saying that he thought now that Rockstar had released information on Bully the American public (who wouldn't understand that it was a 'not for kids' game) was liable to come down hard on them and probably bankrupt the company. I'd hate to see video games become any kind of major issue in politics and I honestly doubt they will at this stage, but if Rockstar gets manufactured into a major issue then there is a chance they'll crack under the strain.
  24. This is going to get me in trouble, but he isn't entirely wrong. Judging from his e-mails with Scott I have to admit this guy definitely seems like an airhead with an agena... But let's not let that stop us from listening to everything he got to say. I heard the interview he posted earlier, and he said essentially that his goal is to see ESRB ratings (or some equivilant) enforced in the game industry. Personally, that's a setiment I agree with. I don't think a 10-year-old should be able to go buy GTA without a parent. If the parent later decides it's not worth finding out about then that's their own problem, but I do think stores should enforce the ratings. Prior to all this stuff they didn't, now they do (I have a friend at a Gamestop retailer who told me they had to be a lot more careful about who they sell games to now.) Let's not let the whole of his message be drowned out in some of the crap he's spewing - in some ways, he's got a point. Not that I'm denying he's an opportunistic jackass, mind. He is.
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