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Sylvius the Mad

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Posts posted by Sylvius the Mad

  1. Oh yea, that was annoying for stealth players. It was way worse in deus ex:HR. The company for dhr tried to blame another company that worked on the ending as the culprit, but it was the original company that sighned off on it. One of the devs said they wanted a big action fight to make you feel you accomplished something. um...what? If you go through the game 90% with stealth, you do NOT want an action fight...grrrrr.

    It's rare that a game will let you get through the final encounter without fighting something, but it clearly can be done. KotOR did it.

  2. I think that companions not in party not receiving XP is a bad game play mechanic. The biggest reason is for the one previously stated that it locks you into the companions you have been playing with, because other companions are now too far behind.

    That's only true if you assume a bunch of other things about the XP system. If the power curve is steep and linear, yes, this would be a problem.


    But with a shallower power curve, this problem goes away. Being far behind isn't a big deal, because the gap between low-level characters and high-level characters is pretty small overall.


    Or, if the XP curve is exponential, then low-level characters should catch up really quickly (BG did this).

    • Like 1
  3. ...No, they're reacting to what you tell them is your motivation. There is no inference if you're telling them plainly.

    Only if they know with certainty, that you're telling them plainly. But they can't know that.


    Either way, we seem to agree that the NPCs can only react to their understanding of your motives, regardless of whether than understanding is correct.

    Also, for a lot of people, that distinction you made is irrelevant. It's your choice if the motivation you've chosen is really yours or not. It's your choice if you choose a [LIE] dialogue option but you're not really lying. Do what you want. But many people are going to think that you're complicating yourself needlessly. If you have a diverse array of answers that cover what you want your character's motivation to be, why not choose the one that matches?

    The problem arises when none of them do. That's usually the case.


    Early in DAO, there's a greedy merchant surrounded by an angry mob. You can defend the merchant or distribute his goods to the mob. I once had my Warden defend the merchant for altruistic reasons, as he thought defending property rights offered greater social benefits. That's not a motive that was likely to be persented to me as an explicit option.

    You guys were honestly worried that people were advocating for things like autodialogue and removing control from the player? On the Obsidian forums, by the people who routinely trash Bioware? Seriously?

    I would describe this as a central feature of KotOR2. Obsidian made KotOR2. That's why.


    And because someone above was claiming that roleplaying is impossible in a single-player CRPG because the PC is always pre-defined. I insist he is not, and this discussion arose from that.

    From what I percieve, what people want is a diverse array of answers that cover pretty much all possible motivations your character could have, including lies and various forms of manipulation. If you have that, why would you need to pretend you're not saying what you claim?

    Because we realise that no finite list can cover all possibe motivations. Only a system that allows the true motivation not to be listed allows maximum roleplaying freedom.

    Choose the [LIE] option if that's the case; that way you get to say and preserve your character's motivation, and the game knows what you want so it can make the people of the world react accordingly. Isn't that better than having to play it in your head?

    No, I hate the [LIE] option. Because people shouldn't be able to tell that I'm lying. And what if I change my mind later? The [LIE] option encourages writers to set plot flags and offer different options based on those responses. Sometimes quest lines get closed off because I said I was or wasn't going to do something, though if I'd been lying (or telling the truth) that shouldn't have happened.


    Like in NWN2, you're asked whether you're going to seek help from the Watch or from Moira's Gang - some games would actually make one of those options unavailable based on your answer to that question, and that's stupid.


    When I'm asked a yes/no question, I may not yet know the answer, but that shouldn't preclude me from offering the answer that I think will serve me best in this particular conversation.

  4. Again, where we differ a bit. I don't mind if the game takes input from me, the player, to indicate my character's motivations and the game adjusts quests and such accordingly. I think the game can be allowed to know the PC's motivations if it allows the player to tell the game those motivations directly in some way.

    As long as the player gets to decide, sure. But without mind-reading, I don't see how it would make any difference.

  5. Motivation can't affect the world, but it can affect how the NPCs see you. They are part of the world too.


    Maybe it's not your real motivation. Maybe you lied, and your reasons for lying can be very variable. It's your choice if you want to lie or not; the point is, stating your motivations can make people react to you. If people want reactive NPCs, giving you the option to state the why adds to this reactivity.


    Hell, in the case of PE, even lying could cause a reaction too. We have psionics. Maybe they can tell if you're lying.


    Now, you can enter the debate of whether this can be done well or not, but that's a debate of implementation. I agree that it's usually not done very well, and you can only state your motivation with complete freedom in PnP roleplaying to a real GM. But that's why cRPGs are simulations. If the simulation can be good enough, it can add a lot to the game, I think.

    But even here, the NPCs aren't reacting to your motives. They're reacting to their own inferences about what your motives are.


    This discussion started because people were worried that the writers would define the PC's motives rather than leaving them for the player to define, and nothing you've said here requires the motives (or set of possible motives) be defined by the writers. You're only requiring that the set of possible motives the NPCs can perceive be defined by the writers, and I don't see anyone objecting to that. I certainly don't mind if the NPCs react to what they think my motives are, as long as the game doesn't demand that those actually be my motives.


    The game can do that a number of different ways. DA2 did it by having Hawke say things I didn't want him to say, thus contradicting my character design. Some games open or close quest options based on the PC's claims about his motives, effectively assuming them to be true. As long as these things don't happen, sure, the NPCs can respond to their perception of the PC's motives all they want.

    Wow, you just trashed an entire school of ethics in a single sentence. Way to go.

    I have a degree in that crap. I know exactly how baseless most of Ethics is.


    Ethics has serious epistemological problems, and this is one of them.

  6. As it happens, I did the opposite in DAO - I picked one party and stuck with it.

    I usually did as well, but that was mostly because I didn't use a mod that gave access to a "respec" item and thought that the "auto-builds" for characters were terrible. Also my PCs usually felt more comfortable around people they were already familiar with.

    Yeah, I used No Follower Auto Level to make every joinable character level 1 when I met him.

  7. There is no "metagame" forcing you to switch characters out.
    If you want to keep all companions viable, ie. at equal levels at all times, then you must switch them between missions, and that is a metagame forced upon you by bad game mechanic.

    Isn't keeping all of the companions viable a metagame desire?


    Or you could approach the issue in character. You know that, by not using some companions, they will fail to learn the new skills they need, so you can, in character, swap out party members to keep them all viable.

  8. -I want LaRPing-

    Ok, you two really need to learn the difference between a cRPG story with a set narrative and LaRP.

    1. LARPing requires other players. That defeats the entire purpose of playing CRPGs. I see the job of a CRPG as to reproduce a tabletop RPG experience without the need for other players. Anything that detracts from this is a negative feature.

    2.. I flatly deny that any game with a set narrative is an RPG.


    CRPGs have two narratives. There's the authored narrative, created by the writers, and the emergent narrative, created by the player's gameplay choices. Only by combining those two things do we have anything that could be broadly described as the game's story.

    Writers are not there for you to fantasize the story and your character's motivations in your head. If the writer leaves the protagonist's feelings and motivations to the player's imagination, they have failed at making a believable character and rationalize their choices.

    Your argument is circular. You've presupposed a definition that precludes roleplaying, and then are using that to argue that roleplaying is impossible.

    I'm completely serious and I mean no offence, but you need to play ME1-3, Skyrim, Oblivion, DA2; they are perfect for the both of you. The characters are devoid of motivations, so you can roleplay as you like. The story has no major reaction, if any at all, to player choicem it's linear and overall they are perfect for what you describe.

    The ME games and DA2 are exactly where BioWare went wrong on this. It is there where they started to define the PC's motivations and deny the player control over them.


    DAO didn't do that. KotOR didn't do that. NWN didn't. BG didn't. Fallout didn't. IWD didn't. Torment didn't. NWN2 didn't. ToEE didn't. Where do you see games that do define the PC's (or PCs') motivations?

    • Like 3

    Just wanted to chime in to say that I disagree with this assumption. What if you want the world and the NPCs to react to your motivations?

    I don't uinderstand what you're asking for. Unless the NPCs can read your mind, they can't react to your motivations. They can infer your motivations from your words and actions, and react to that, but that's already available without defining the PC's motivations in advance.

    And just like NPCs should react to the player's actions, I think it can be interesting to explore their reactions to their motivations. Maybe you just hate the guts of that character and want to make patently clear to him that you did what you did just to piss him off; I damn well expect a reaction in that case.

    He'd be reacting to words or actions, though, not motivations. If you make it clear that you hate him, he'll react to that expression of hatred. He can't react to the actual hatred, because he can't perceive the actual hatred.


    As such, there's no benefit to having the writers force that hatred (or any other motivation) upon the PC.

    Or maybe you simply want to have a conversation about souls or something about the world with the NPCs; playing off your motivations and your world views with theirs can give you a good insight into the characters and affect your influence with them. Going further, this motivation choice could even be recorded in your savefile, so that the characters could bring it up later when it's relevant; for instance, if you do something that strays from what you said earlier the character could call you out on it, which a) would be very unexpected for the player, and b) could let you build even more complexity into your motivations (were you lying earlier? did your character's views change? why?).

    That would be great. But none of that requires that the writers limit the PC's motives in any way.

    This is resembling a lot the arguments for and against romances, don't you think? The people for them argue that "it really adds to the game", while the antis argue that "it's better if it's not there". Just like you believe that C&C regarding PC motivations shouldn't be there (because it can't cover the motivations of your PC properly, I understand?),

    Mostly it's because it doesn't make any sense. NPCs can't read the PC's mind. As such, the PC's motives will always be a mystery. Defining those motives thus provides no C&C benefit at all.

    I'm not sure that I really understand your point here; there's a difference between someone's past being important to them vs being important to other people. I never got a feeling that the PC in KotR2 was straight-jacketed by the past ("you are always fundamentally you, even if you don't remember what you've done"), only that the past was always there and those people who knew the past would react to that, rather than who you are. Or am I missing your point?

    In KotOR2, there was no reason why the Exile wouldn't have known about his past actions. The player didn't, so the player couldn't ever correctly adopt his character's perspective. There's a pivotal scene with Atris that made no sense because the player had no idea what she was talking about, but she was talking to the Exile like he knew what was going on (and he should have, given what it was). But because the player was kept entirely out of the loop, the game just fell apart.

  10. Sylvius, isn't it amazing? I mean, you expect this kind of push back from Upsettingshorts and others defending the direction BioWare had taken with games like Dragon Age 2 -


    you wouldn't expect people backing Obsidian and "old school" cRPG's in the IE model (from leads who love games like Wasteland and Fallout or created games like Fallout and ToEE) to be arguing for more graphics, more voice, more cinematics, and less player control over their characters.

    I'm not too surprised, actually. First, KotOR2 is very heavy-handed in its definition of The Exile. That's one Obsidian title where it's very clear that the player doesn't get to decide who the PC is (and the game suffers badly as a result, I think).


    Also, the many discussions I've had with people about the extent to which KotOR defines the PC - I think not at all, others think very much - has highlighted a perspective on identity that I'd not previously considered. Some people seem to think that you are always fundamentally you, even if you don't remember what you've done. But if you could do them at some point, then that will always define the sort of person you can be. Basically, that a person can never escape his past, even if that personality ceases to exist and he gets a new one rebuilt with magic. It's a sort of strong rejection of dualism. I've also seen this from people who didn't like Torment - they think that TNO's past defines him such that he's a horrible person who isn't fun to play.


    I obviously disagree - I see no necessary connection between the person I am now and the person I was before (particularly in cases of amnesia like KotOR and Torment) - but this perspective makes KotOR2 work really well as a game (where I think it fails badly). And people who like the KotOR2 approach would absolutely want the PC's character defined by the writers.

  11. I'll give you an example; You choose to do something to the Companion A, later Companion B pulls you to the side and asks why did you do it and game gives you several options for the motivation, and depending on what you choose, it affects your relationship with the Companion B but also potentially Companion B's relationship with Companion A. See now?

    That the PC claims a specific motivation doesn't necessarily make that the PC's actual motivation.


    The PC can lie. The PC can always lie. We don't need a [LIE] tag on a dialogue option to speak falsely.

    What about the writer wanting to show several potential motivations for the player character to choose from and building up the character they have written or do you think you are better coming up with them than MCA for his character, for example?

    It's not his character. It's my character. It has to be my character. I need to know everything about my character's state of mind from the very first instance he steps into the game world so that I can correctly interpret events from his point of view.


    That's what roleplaying is: perceiving the world through someone else's eyes. We can't do that without full control over that character's perspective.

    Edit and addendum: Now, this is important - they have to show the motivations in the context of the gameworld how it (the world itself, characters etc) react to the motivations of the player character or otherwise dealing with the whole theme is moot because there would not be points of reference to which compare player character's motivations and actions vs. the gameworld how the writers want.

    How can anything in the game world ever react to a character's motives? Nothing in the real world ever reacts to your motives, because your motives only exist inside your head. No one can see them. Therefore, no one can react to them.


    A CRPG is about giving me a detailed setting (filled with interesting characters and interesting events going on - that's the authored narrative), into which I can release the character I've designed to find out what he does and how he deals with those events.

    • Like 1

    So let me get this straight... you want (or prefer) a RPG which has minimal amount of reactivity, choices & consequences and ways of game to react for your decisions, which is basicly opposite of what Obsidian has always been doing?


    Are you sure you're in the correct forum since reactivity/reacting to the players choices, C&C and your decisions actually making a difference are Obsidian's forte? If what you say is true then you should just love Bethesda's games because they have very minimal amount of reactivity and you are free to "roleplay" character you yourself create.


    Isn't the whole point in roleplaying a character to see how the world and others around react on what you do and why you choose your actions, then they react to your actions as their characters would and then in turn you react how your character would and so on, and that's why people roleplay when playing PNP or in multiplayer games like MMO or NWN where you can see the reactions in other characters?

    The game should react to my character's actions, yes. My character's motives, though, aren't knowable outside my character's head, so it would be unreasonable to expect the game to react to them.

    What if game gives different motivation to your actions in later dialogue than what you have imagined in your head to the character, do you disregard your own imagined motivation, or do you take what the game and the writer has given?

    If that ever happens, the game is broken. That simply shouldn't ever be done.

    • Like 2
  13. There's nothing about single-player games that necessarily precludes that sort of character design. I routinely create detailed personalities for my PCs in single-player games.
    The difference between jarpie's characters and yours is that yours are completely disconnected from the game. If neither the gameworld or other players/npcs react to your PC's actions/traits/etc they might as well not exist.

    They do react. They just don't react directly. Since my PC's traits directly impact him actions, and his actions are modelled within the game such that the NPCs react to them, the NPCs are reacting to those traits. Indirectly.

    That's where you are wrong. The player shouldn't have to do the writer's job.

    Defining the PC's personality is unequivocally not the writer's job. If ever the writer does that, the game if fundametally broken as a roleplaying environment.

    You are taking upon a role, you don't make your own.

    Yes you do.

    You are a lead actor, who has some choices on how the story progresses.

    The very existence of the story isn't knowable from within the game. When making in-character decisions, even knowledging that there is a story requires that you break character. Any awareness of the writers' authored narrative is metagame information, and can be ignored by the roleplayer.

    But that doesn't mean the narrative should fail do its job. That's what bethesda does, because they can't write a character for ****(of course that doesn't stop them from throwing the idiot ball at the player). That's also why actions by the player need to be recognized by the world. They don't all have to be world changing, but if the world and people(again not everyone is required to) living in that world don't recognize them, the story fails, the immersion fails, the suspension of disbelief has been broken. Your character and their choices are disconnected from the world. And that's why "romances", that are there just to satisfy every sexual wish fulfilment ever, are not good. They don't work with the plot, they don't give the main character any character progression, other than what goes in on your head.

    Character development of the PC can only ever occur inside the player's head. Any attempt on the part of the writers to do that themselves prevents the player from making any decisions. if you don't have perfect knowledge of your character's state of mind (and if the writers are defining it, you don't), how do you them choose among the options presented to you? You can't, because you don't know what your character's motives are. You don't know whether he values justice over security, for example. You don't know if he values fairness over equality. How can you possibly make decisions for your character if you don't know everything about his mind?

    One of the first things I learned in ****ing middle school, is that authors don't write something big, like a romantic relationship in this case, without using it as a plot device. Romance in stories, for the hundredth time, should not there for fan-service.

    What is true for books has no relevance in CRPGs, because books aren't interactive. Books don't ask the player to make decisions on the protagonist's behalf.

  14. And anyone who brings up "roleplaying" when talking about single-player RPG, you are playing a character and its aspects/varitations what writer has written for you to choose from, you are not playing character you can delve into and roleplay role you want.

    This is nonsense. Of course you can roleplay in a single-player RPG. In fact, that's the whole point of a single-player RPG - to be able to roleplay without having to find other players.


    Yes, you're restricted, to some degree in what actions your character can take, but that doesn't mean you can't roleplay that character. Whenever a set of alternatives is presented to you, you choose the one that best suits the character you've designed. The reason your character does anything is not limited by the writers at all. Your character's interpretation of events is not limited by the writers at all. Your character's perception of the world around him is not limited by the writers at all. At any point, your character's state of mind is created entirely by you. That state of mind informs everyhing the character does. That state of mind has a direct impact on how the in-game events make your character feel, what motives your character has, what means he deems acceptable to achieve those objectives.


    Roleplaying is absolutely possible in a single-player roleplaying game.

    In the timeframe and the usual amount of the dialogue between you and the companions, it's pretty damn hard to establish anykind of relationships with your companions - especially multiple branches and make them all believable; why do you think it's been done so rarely where you can take different routes with the companions?

    I'll agree with this. Unless the player posits extra interactions that occur off-screen, there isn't really enough time to form any meaningful relationships between the player-created PC and the other party members (whom I also consider PCs). However, if the player created multplpe PCs within the same game (like he can using the Adventurers' Hall in PE), then those characters could well have an expensive shared backstory. They could have a meaningful relationship.

    If you really want to play a role you should look into RP servers in MMOs, or even better RP Persistant Worlds in Neverwinter Nights 1 or 2, I played in RP-server in NWN 1 for 3-4 years and I played probably dozen completely different kind of characters with their own personalities what I myself created with their backgrounds, behaviour, strengths and flaws and interacted with the characters of other players - single player game gets -nowhere- near of that experience.

    There's nothing about single-player games that necessarily precludes that sort of character design. I routinely create detailed personalities for my PCs in single-player games.

    • Like 2

    On the contrary, it's a matter of "are we making a game where the player will pick one set of companions and play with them exclusively" or "are we making a game where we want ALL the companions to (hopefully) go with the player throughout the game, just not all at the same time".


    Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate 2 were pretty much the former sort of game, where you pick your companions in the first half of the game and play pretty much exclusively with those companions in the second half. Oh, you might cycle one or two but your core party is going to remain. Whereas in Dragon Age I was constantly cycling people in and out depending on what I was doing.

    As it happens, I did the opposite in DAO - I picked one party and stuck with it.


    But you're not describing BG accurately at all. There was so much XP available in BG that you could level 10 different characters to the cap without running out of game content. Swapping out party members there had basically no cost.


    So you stipulate that the only thing going on in the entire world is what the PC is doing. If they're off-camera, how do you know what they've been doing? For all you know they went and killed 4,000 dragons and they rightfully ought to be level 50 by now.

    If they're killing dragons, why do they never die?


    Whatever they're doing, it's risk-free. Why isn't the PC doing it, too?

  17. The only thing I don't understand is why, along with cutting out the publishers, not cut out the distributors (Steam, GOG etc.) as well? No, you don't need a supergigawesome server, all you need is torrent and a private tracker - when a person pays for the game they get a unique key with which to connect to the tracker.

    CCP used this distrbution method when they ended their publisher agreement with Simon & Schuster. The EVE client was downloaded and shared using bittorrent, and then CCP collected the activation and subscription fees directly from the users.

  18. Let us import our own portraits.

    I'll take the NWN2-style portrait that reflects what the avatars actually look like in the game. I ended up using the "blank face" option in NWN1 quite a bit as the supplied portraits simply didn't reflect my character concept, so I'm content to let A = A in this case.

    If you import your own portrait, then you can have it match your character concept pretty much exactly.

    • Like 2
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