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Everything posted by PsychoBlonde

  1. They're talking about designing and programming a working dungeon-based ecosystem. That sounds pretty significant to me. Unless I'm just looking at this completely the wrong way. This degree of oversimulation isn't necessary. It's just things like, if you put in a level that's supposedly been sealed for 3000 years, it shouldn't be populated by anything that isn't immortal. Likewise, if you have a level with creatures supposedly living there, then either you need water and some kind of food source, or they need an exit to the surface where they can go out and find said water and food. It's really not that complicated. What bugs me is when you have three sequential rooms, one occupied by kobolds, one with a displacer beast, and the last one a hell hound. It just doesn't add up.
  2. I think referring to ALL different versions as if they were "subversions" is doing a disservice to a lot of people's creativity here. It'd be like calling a black person a "subversion" of the white person trope. They're not a subversion. They're black. An actual subversion of an elf trope would consist of not giving them pointy ears and then making a point of mentioning this. In any case, I'm just not looking for yet another version of Humans With Pointy Ears. If you're going to have elves as a racial option, have something that makes them different.
  3. I really don't care. The only game where I even NOTICED the gore was Fallout 3, and that was largely due to my penchant for using VATS and a rifle to kill everything via a long-distance slow-motion headshot. I will say that it was pretty entertaining in Titan Quest that if you seriously overkilled monsters they'd launch violently into the air. Skeletons flew apart. But they didn't spray red paint everywhere. I refuse to call it blood. It doesn't look or act anything remotely how blood does. How do I know? I used to chop up dead people for a living.
  4. Ooh, logic fail, I convinced myself that this wasn't the case because I was envisioning the earth's plane of rotation changing with the seasons and not realizing it. Nvm it's too complicated to explain why I was visualizing that wrong. Poor brain, it overworked.
  5. True, true. I think I mentioned something about this earlier, where in Gothic even though people went to bed and slept, you could still wake them up easily and get them to accept your quests, so it wasn't a big problem. Plus, Gothic had other mechanisms that encouraged YOU to go sleep at night (because you couldn't see for spit) so you weren't often hassling people at 2 am. But I do think that even if the people are just acting as quest dispensers and not wandering around, sleeping, eating, pooping, whatever, there can be other reasons to have them be people instead of a message board. Just the esthetic difference does contribute something more personal even if it isn't a HUGE difference.
  6. Be wary of too much reductionism. Just because you decide against fully elevating a given feature, that doesn't mean it's a good idea to completely eliminate it. It is a complex interlocking system of tradeoffs, not an either/or reduction. Otherwise, you'll wind up saying things like "if you're not going to pursue the latest and best nth-degree bling-mapping for graphics, just make the game text-based". Mmmm . . . no.
  7. Yes. If you arrive at your destination exhausted at 3am, it's pretty clear that you're not stopping to camp when it gets dark. If you stop and camp when it gets too dark to see, you have to arrive at your destination during the day. Granted, if it works out that it's quite late in the day, you might still be fatigued, but this still precludes 3am and fatigued. It could theoretically be possible that you rested every day except the last day when you inexplicably decided to keep walking for six more hours in order to show up exhausted at 3am, but really, this is a boggling complexity that anyone conversant with Occam's Razor would throw out unless it was definitively demonstrated.
  8. Because this is how city construction works. The old construction subsides over the years and gradually gets covered by the new stuff. If ruins are abandoned for a substantial length of time, dirt builds up on top of them, sinking them even deeper. Plus there are events like volcanic eruptions like the one at Pompeii which can bury an entire city under an enormous depth of ash and mud. I, personally, haven't heard of any cases where new construction was expanded *down from* existing construction. It is usually built on top of the old stuff, or the remnants of the old stuff. That's not to say that this couldn't be reversed with a naturally underground-oriented race, though, who tend to expand downward instead of upward/outward.
  9. The only good dungeon of this kind that I've ever seen was Monte Cook's Banewarrens. Personally, I prefer setups more like the idea behind Eye of the Beholder, where you have multiple groups building structures or making use of naturally-occurring structures in the same area that interconnect in various different ways. In general, I'm not a huge fan of dungeons just because they have huge logical inconsistencies. If nobody can get in or out, where do all these monsters come from? What do they eat? How do they avoid killing themselves in the death traps sprinkled about the place? It's like you wandered into an Evil Monster Convention. Granted, that might be a pretty amusing idea.
  10. I read the manuals (when there's one that consists of more than telling me what hotkeys do what...) ... but I don't mind tutorials. I never read manuals any more--the only reason I ever looked at the the stupid things was to find that list of all the hotkeys, but generally you can find this now just by checking the keymapping options. I have to actually look at the game for a while before anything in the manual makes any sense to me, and by then, I've already figured out how to play it. That, and most modern manuals are so sketchy about what your abilities actually DO for you that I generally just find out everything by trial and error anyway. Plus, it's more fun that way.
  11. IIRC you couldn't just rest in the street in either BG game, but it's been a while so my memory could be foggy.
  12. It would be vastly superior if they just gave you a button to push and made you figure out the explosion timing on your own. Also, if they let you soak the thatch on the other village buildings in order to prevent the fire from spreading. Of course, if you don't think to do that . . . Presumably you'd also have to figure out how to get and keep the zombies' attention when they first show up. Which would all be enormously more fun than some random result.
  13. Just as long as they don't do it like the spirit meter in MotB. It was a pointless mechanic for classes that didn't need to rest much, and in some cases HUGELY painful for casters.
  14. I would really enjoy it if Endless Paths is an Eye of the Beholder homage with perhaps a few references to that most awesome of dungeon crawls. A few suggestions for references that could work without getting stupid: Having a "hidden bonus" on each level. The original Eye of the Beholder game had these, where, say, if you put a bunch of rations in a room marked "pantry", they'd get upgraded to iron rations. Or if you put all the kenku eggs in the "Nest", you get an impressive magical halberd. Have the levels be connected by magical teleportation gates that require specific items to activate. I think stuff like that would be cool but also subtle enough that it wouldn't be baffling or annoying to people who don't "get" the reference. Also there should be tons of puzzles and interesting secrets. TONS. The levels should be interconnected in a very convoluted way. And KEYS.
  15. It's In medias res. In Latin. I took four years of it in high school. Applying the concept to video games means you start the game STORY in the thick of things--they dump a bunch of details on you first and then explain them later. It has nothing to do with whether you can or cannot control your character during the course of this dumping. For example, say the game starts with a huge combat scene. People are fighting! You don't know why! They're killing each other! Now they're attacking you! This is an example of an in medias res beginning regardless of whether it's done in a long JRPG-style cinematic or whether they just let you start fighting on your own. It also has nothing to do with whether the game tries to explain to you HOW to fight or just lets you die over and over until you figure it out. The converse would be a game that starts with a more conventional exposition. It doesn't matter whether there's a cinematic that tells you "this is the castle of the Elemental Masters" or whether you're in-game standing on the steps, and when you walk up to the only visible NPC and talk to them, they say "welcome to the castle of the Elemental Masters!". The difference is between stuff happening then explanation or starting off with explanation. It does not matter what particular form the stuff or the explanation takes, whether it's cinematic or gameplay. And NEITHER relates to whether there is or is not a tutorial. Honestly, if you're going to talk about something, it really helps if you have some kind of clue what you're talking about.
  16. This is a silly situation in a game where you can reload. You're not "taking a chance" in order to "possibly" get an outcome. That would be true in real life where there's no possible option to reload and get a different outcome. In a GAME, this sort of thing means that the devs are holding the cool outcomes hostage dependent upon your willingness to do it over and over and over until you get what you want. It's like rolling your stats instead of assigning points. It doesn't contribute anything meaningful to the game and, in fact, makes a lot of people crazy. If you really want random-ish outcomes, pick your options by rolling a die or flipping a coin. The result will be the same and you won't have created a massively annoying game feature in the process.
  17. This is sometimes referred-to as "bang-driven" storytelling, in which the game or the GM hits you with periodic events ("bangs") that are largely independent of where you choose to go or what you choose to do. On the one hand, it allows the players enormous latitude regarding side activities. On the other hand, it completely removes ANY latitude regarding the development of the main plot. What happens if you get bored with side quests but the next bang isn't set to go off for another 3 weeks? Do you hang around an inn hitting the rest button over and over? This really only works well with a human GM who has the judgment to discern when players are getting bored or restless or distracted and need a kick in the pants. Of course, the method adopted by Oblivion, Skyrim, and Fallout 3 isn't great, either. They give you explicit instructions on where to go for the next "main quest" step. Unfortunately, if you follow them, you wind up missing out on 99% of the game. Either that, or you complete your nominal "motivation" very early on so now you're just . . . randomly running around. Until you get bored. The story is completely disintegrated from the game. This was particularly bad in Fallout 3 because if you stuck with the main plot the game actually ENDED when you completed it. Boo. It was handled MUCH better in Morrowind because the "what to do next" stuff was integrated with the TYPE of game Morrowind was. Instead of sending you off to complete singular dungeons or objectives, the meta-plot gave you meta-objectives like "join a guild" or "get the great houses to nominate you". They were objectives that by their nature contained and steered you toward myriad sub-objectives, which themselves would open up sub-objectives, and encourage/develop the main focus of the game, which was running around and exploring stuff. Baldur's Gate wasn't too bad in this respect--if you followed the main course of direction, you would skip exploring a lot of what the game had to offer. But the bandit camps were sufficiently difficult for a low-level party to tackle that you'd likely wind up exploring just to level up a bit more. That, and the areas you visited by following the direction contained many optional objectives that would drive you into the corners of the game. So it wasn't terrible, either. It was more subtle. So, what's the conclusion? The degree and method of direction should reflect the nature of the game. If it's a very linear game, step-by-step, clear directives are fine. If it's more open, you need more meta-objectives that cause you to at least walk past a lot of other game content. This is particularly great if the optional content is designed in such a way that it at least attempts to suck you in as you walk past it.
  18. I actually tend to dislike mechanical disadvantages in games because I dislike "situational modifier creep". If you want to put situational differences into a game, then create different situations. Want people to find the night oppressive? Don't give them combat penalties. Make it so much darker that people run off cliffs or straight into nasty monsters they couldn't see. I suppose some mechanical disadvantages on characters could work okay--having a character move, attack, or cast more slowly, for instance. Having them become fatigued faster. But colorblindness? Not so much.
  19. You can skip the section where you play as the droid on the Ebon Hawk, yes, but not the whole of Peragus IV. Not that you'd want to, because it was AWESOME. I don't despise gameplay-related loading screen tips, but I think the method I'd prefer for them would be to have text related to what's going on appear. I'm not talking about "you are on your way to the swamp of Despond" or anything like that. I mean, if you're on a quest involving a dwarven cleric and you go to the area where the next part of the quest would take place, you get a passage of dwarven religious poetry on your loading screen. This method would work best if the transition screen required you to hit a button to continue, so you could finish reading a longer passage if you were so inclined.
  20. True, my suggestion was largely to just have a few visual differences, but this is a neat idea. Someday, I will make a game with all this cool stuff in it.
  21. IIRC you can skip the Candlekeep tutorial by going directly to Gorion and saying "let's blow this popsicle stand". You don't actually have to go around curing cows, finding swords, killing rats, or any of the other little side activities. I'm in favor of this kind of optional, sure, in that you can breeze through it without breaking stride. I know some people found Irenicus' dungeon in BG2 to be overlong and annoying, and it was not the same kind of optional that Candlekeep was--you had to fight your way out so you were kind of forced to go around collecting the bits. That being said, my favorite sequence in a game to date was the beginning of KotOR 2 both on the Ebon Hawk and on Peragus IV. It was by far the best part of the game.
  22. All the swamps I've ever been in or near in RL are neither spooky nor oppressive. They're just soggy and filled with bugs the size of your head. Not to mention a ****load of other things that bite you, including but not limited to snakes, alligators, turtles, and leeches. Swamps shouldn't be eerie and dark and ****. They should be DISGUSTING.
  23. Ugh, I don't know where to start explaining what's wrong with this idea. Well, here goes. I have no interest in playing these games even once. What do *cut scenes* have to do with whether or not there is a *tutorial*? Where is the word "tutorial" in here? What does this have to do with a *tutorial*? I'm detecting a trend here . . . OMG actually mentioned the tutorial. So what's your rationale behind this? In most of the games I have played, it made little difference whether the initial easy zone was optional or not--it was short enough that I'd voluntarily play it through even if it was possible to skip it, as in Neverwinter Nights 2. The game always felt a bit weird if I didn't. Plus, I got a free cloak. It's "In medias res". This is a narrative technique which has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not there is an opening cinematic sequence. You can have games that start you out in medias res via cinematics. This is all about delivery of story exposition and not about whether you can control your character right away, in fact, just setting the player down with direct control over their character tends to militate AGAINST this approach because it will not be a simple matter to deliver a stream of unexplained uncontextual exposition to someone who is still figuring out how to get from one side of the room to the other. It virtually guarantees that there will be a slow progression of initial exposition as the player fumbles their way from one point of interest to the next. Which means the opening section is going to involve a lot of fumbling around, i.e. be a tutorial. An opening cinematic or narration is not a *tutorial*. A tutorial is an in-game section that either explicitly teaches you or at the very least gives you a little "easy" environment where you can experiment with the controls and gameplay mechanics to get a handle on how the game operates before they throw you in the pit with the giant tiger-bear and expect you to fight for your life.
  24. Considering how cheap a lot of the enemies in the BG games were, I don't feel bad at all. Not even a little. Friggin casters.
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