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Everything posted by Azarkon

  1. The Nobel Literature prize, and I quote, is given to individuals who: "shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind" and "shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction." Source: http://www.nobel.se/literature/index.html Of course, that's the ideal. Any deviations from this ideal must be laid on the shoulders of those who are hired to implement it, and they're only human. EDIT: I advise you to read http://www.nobel.se/literature/articles/espmark/index.html for some perspective on the very confusion over what is considered Nobel material over the years.
  2. And alot of people did. Some people on this board, in particular, would so swear by PS:T that it kinda gets down to the point of being ridiculous, but I digress. I mean really when it all comes down to it it's your opinion against someone else's, and what maybe a masterpiece to one group of people might be complete trash to another. I think there's something to be admired from PS:T, and that people who love it, do indeed love it because it's fun, and that's the bottomline. Masterpieces of gaming are not some kind of "high art" that can only be appreciated from a impersonal, distantly objective perspective. They too can be loved, cherished, and appreciated for being "fun."
  3. Isn't that inevitable? I mean it's not like literary works can be judged from a purely objective standpoint. Subjective values and influence are hard to measure among the arts, and if you were sitting there in the Nobel commitee, I've no doubt that your decisions would be in part biased as well. We can only judge, after all, from what we know, and people don't know everything there is to know about anything.
  4. The two are not exclusive. Nobel prizes are typically given to authors who wrote multiple award-winning books or at least critically-acclaimed books. However, as Gromnir said, there is a politicized process involved here, which tends to award authors whose books are socially or politically significant than otherwise.
  5. Okay. That's what I was saying. Don't take every reponse as an argument. I genuinely wanted to know whether Harry Potter sold better than "one hundred years of solitude." How hard is it to understand that "fun" is crafted on multiple levels? You talk of "fun" as if it were some kind of universal interpretation. Neither in literature nor in games is that true. A masterpiece of gaming *IS* "fun", but it's fun on a different level than mindlessly hacking through a legion of monsters and collecting phat lewts in the process. The latter is "fun", too, but it's shallow fun, just as reading Salvatore is shallow enjoyment - but it's still enjoyment. Don't know 'bout how you separate literary masterpieces from hack writing, but to me they operate on different levels of appreciation, as do games. Companies nowadays seem to believe that shallow fun is all that players want, and so they give it to them in troves. Just look at all the Diablo clones - and for every one of those, how many new BG's, PS:T's, and Fallouts? Are those games not as "fun" as Diablo? What about a game like Civilization? It's popular, fun, original, a classic, and great game design all bundled up in one package. Being a "masterpiece" of gaming is really about being fun - on a higher level. I was more arguing along the lines that great literature has to be elitist in the sense that they must not be dumbed down, and as a result might be inaccessible to the masses. The phrasing of my argument, however, seems faulty, so I'll just make it simple and say that I agree with what you're generally saying.
  6. But did Harry Potter? It seems to me that it'd be a real burden if your manager or market analyst thought he or she knew what people wanted and then forced you to make a game based on those (often wrong) assumptions. Like many things in real life, it's not so much the cold hard facts, but what people perceive those cold hard facts to be, that create obstacles between commercial interest and artistic license. But then again I'm often reminded of one of Emerson's quotes (at least I think it was Emerson): "Genius is always sufficiently the enemy of genius by over-influence." It's not so much that the market analysts have the wrong ideas, but that they have the right ones and can exactly pinpoint what people want, and in the process, defeats the very drive for originality underlying true masterpieces. Part of what makes a book stand the test of time are its awards and its perceived value among literary circles, actually, but I strongly disagree with the notion that works of literary value must stand the test of time in order to be masterpieces. Frankly put, most people nowadays don't read books, and many of those who do only read junk that grants them instant gratification. To judge a book by its reception by these people simply defeats the whole purpose of writing literature, so in a way good literature *has* to be exclusive, *has* to be elitist, because otherwise the best literature would be something like Stephen King's horror novels (not his "greats", but his "horrors"), and American society would become truly shallow, indeed.
  7. Tyrell, part of what you say makes good sense, and part of it is bad logic. Let me attempt to separate the part that makes sense from the part that doesn't. Your basic point, as I understand it, is that you want your past choices to matter. After all, what's the point of making choices, if those choices all lead up to the same thing and you can basically undo them with a single choice 3/4th of the way into the game? The answer is that they don't, and that's why Bioware failed in this aspect of the game. This is the part that makes good sense. The part that doesn't make good sense is that in order to achieve this, you advocate taking choices away from players. Your idea is to make it so that players must deal with their choices by no longer choosing. This is ridiculous, because it's contradictory. You should always be allowed the option of choices in a game where choices matter, and those choices should include, ultimately, the choice to choose against what you've previously chosen. Given this, I should say that it *is* possible to advance the part that makes good sense without falling back on the part that doesn't. Imagine, for instance, that you were allowed to choose LS for yourself in KOTOR at the very end, but that the outcome of that choice differed based on your actions in the past. If you were a pure and good LS, that choice would have made you a celebrated hero, the ultimate champion of Jedi principles, and a respected, even worshipped, figure at the end of the story. All of your LS-aligned group members would have praised and respected you for your seemingly unshakeable virtue, and all traces of your past actions as Revan would've been forgotten. If you were, on the other hand, a DS who chose to go LS at the final, deciding moment, you would get a different ending. Instead of being the ultimate hero and champion of Jedi principles, you would've been the one who was "redeemed" at the very end, who demonstrated that the nature of a man can be changed. You would not be worshipped or held up as a great hero, but as a troubled, tragic anit-hero whose deeds few noticed, but all felt. Your group members, and others in the know, would remain dubious of your decision; some would attempt to, and maybe even succeed in, seeing your true goodness. Others might feel that you are nothing but a liar, and that you will always be a turncoat who could never be trusted. The universe would not see you as a completely changed man who had no links with the Revan of the past, but a continuation of that persona who must always be watched, lest the DS takes him again. Now imagine the same kind of dynamics with the DS option at the end, and you will have essentially achieved your goal of making choices made in the past matter, without denying players of that final, game-changing choice. Personally, I think that is what developers should be striving for: to give the player choices, and to make those choices matter through imbuing each choice, however small, with a consequence.
  8. Irenicus could've easily been made a more tragic/sympathetic character, simply by playing on his past a bit more, and the details of his fall. Same thing with Sarevok and his indignity at being abandoned by Gorion and having to fend for himself while the PC happily dwelt in Candlekeep (just one cutscene would've done tons for this). Heck, they had all the makings of a tragic love story for Sarevok, as well, but it simply wasn't developed. I'm starting to wonder why this is. Is Bio really clueless (which I doubt), or is there some kind of twisted logic at work that makes them believe that villain development isn't a good idea?
  9. One can argue that Sarevok and Irenicus were not simple villains. Sure they were *evil*, but they had reasons other than the desire to dominate the world. One was snared by the trappings of his blood, the other twisted by his fall. Overall, though, I'd agree that Bioware's games aren't the best in offering shades of grey, but then, as we saw with DX:IW, simply offering shades of grey doesn't really work, either. In the end, I continue to believe that it's the presentation of the villain, and not who he is exactly, that matters.
  10. Agreed. As a CS Major at UCB, I can pretty much tell you that what you learn in most CS classes have nothing to do with programming games or programming anything, for that matter. It's highly theoretical, and prepares you for more of a scholarly than commercial job (graduate school, in particular). However, with that said, if you're good enough to survive CS at one of the top universities like MIT, Berkeley, or Stanford, you'll probably have a far broader range of options. The market recognizes university names, much like consumers recognize brand names, and when push comes to shove (as is the case in today's programming market), the guy (or gal) with the higher, more prestigious degree will win out. Always good to have a back-up option, in other words, if game programming doesn't work out
  11. Actually that would defeat the whole purpose of the Amnesiac storyline The point of the amnesia is that eventually you *will* have to deal with your past. Look at how it was done in PS:T and KOTOR - your past does come back to haunt you. If it didn't, there'd be no point to use an amnesiac and certainly no advantage gained in the area of exploiting player background for plot line purposes. BTW, what you suggested also does offer a degree of control on part of the devs because they'd know, for instance, that the player must be an android, must have been built recently, etc. An analogy in fantasy games (aside from switching android with golem ) would be saying that the player was an Orc who just recently came of age, and then let the player take it from there. Similar effect.
  12. Look Zant, I don't want to get between you and Gromnir here, but with the amount of time you spend answering their posts you could've already written the story - or maybe you couldn't have, but at least then you'll know. Either way, I have a feeling that it's the best way to end this argument or at least give it some more fuel. As it is, all that I see is "everyone has their own opinions and I won't budge from mine" - which is typically how most internet arguments end up, but still. It's a bit pointless arguing only on theoretical grounds since, after all, game development is not theory.
  13. If you could determine the player's background/past actions, I'd say there's a nigh endless amount of ways you can start him/her off. If you can't, the options are pretty limited. This thread has covered most of the popular ones - and they're popular for a reason, because they tend to work and mesh well without requiring much overhead on the PC's background. Although I should say that the way Shadow Paladin has them listed, they're broad enough to be categorized as "archetypes" rather than specific beginnings - and there are only so many archetypes.
  14. Or... OE can make SWKotor2, make it a smashing success, prove that they're a capable group of developers, and with the profits they earn from Kotor2 create their own IP. Assumptions are great aren't they? So we should get TSR - o wait, they don't exist anymore - I mean WoTC to create all the D&D CRPGs in the future? We should get Ed Greenwood to design every new FR game? Yeah. Right. Even if JE fails Bioware still has a damn respectable resume behind them, and really that's part of the point here. KOTOR2 is much less likely to fail financially than an IP simply by virtue of its brand name, and being a new company OE really can't afford to fail. In the unlikely event that KOTOR2 is a dud, then OE will burn. But if KOTOR2 is a success, then OE is in a much better position to pursue their own IP both financially and reputationally - after all, they'd at least have one good game on their resume then. Not to mention the prestige of being trusted with one of the most successful RPGs ever. As for Troika: They made Arcanum. It flopped. They then tried to develop ToEE in a short period of time to make up for Arcanum. It was crap. Now they're working on someone else's IP. 'Nuff said.
  15. Considering how ridiculous it would be to add some form of resurrection to the Star Wars universe I can't say that I disliked the unconscious system.
  16. I said RPG, not CRPG, and yet even CRPGs (by which I assume you mean computer RPGs) are not all extensions of D&D roleplaying. Earlier CRPGs like Bard's Tale and Ultima had no "roleplaying", were not D&D, and was almost all combat with very little character development. Even the Gold Box games like Pools of Radiance are nothing like today's CRPGs except for possibly ToEE. Fallout and Arcanum are not D&D. BG/BG2 maybe D&D games but they are nothing like the earlier Gold Box D&D games, and their implementation of dialogue choices and NPC interactions make them into a different class of CRPGs, as does Torment. Daggerfall/Morrowind is on a level of their own, and so is Diablo, really. These are all labeled as RPGs as far as gaming is concerned. Is there any game here that maybe called more of RPG than another? If so, then my previous post applies to you.
  17. In modern CRPGs the story is part of the gameplay, IMHO. But then again, the very term "RPG" has so many different interpretations from so many different people that invoking it for the sake of making an argument is simply futile. Sure, you can answer every argument by saying: "It's a ROLEPLAYING game. If you don't roleplay, then it's not a RPG!" But that doesn't say much other than your personal opinion on what a RPG is. Or, if we stretch it, it becomes a criticism of the blurring of language in the modern world. Either way, the gaming industry, as far as I can tell, doesn't care for that particular view. In fact, it would be quite reasonable to call most CRPGs "interactive action-adventure games" and the definition would still hold quite well. So please, no more arguments based on the so-called definition of a RPG. Since the industry doesn't follow it, there's no reason why the rest of us should. Discuss games for their own merits, not whether they fit into some preconceived mold.
  18. Suiing people for pirating games is effective to a degree. The RIAA lawsuits on sharers in P2P networks have made many people queasy, and that's a good sign, because as long as people judge that the risks of getting caught are higher than the profits to be gained through piracy, they won't do it. The problem, though, is that it's basically impossible to monitor every avenue of sharing out there. You can hit the most popular ones like Kazaa, but for every Kazaa there's a IMesh, for every Napster there's a Bittorrent, and this is not mentioning the traditional methods of pirating involving mIRC (fat chance of regulating that) and FTP. And then there's AIM and CD-burning. Can't really monitor that without getting your fingers deep into right of privacy laws. So yes, making piracy a criminal offense is a good prevention mechanism and probably will do alot to deter piracy in the long run, but it's not a solution. Laws are worthless if they can't be upheld, and with a system as dynamic as the Internet, it'd pretty damn hard - and expensive - to uphold a piracy law even partially. You may catch a few thousand and prevent a few tens of thousands, but as long as you miss the hundreds of thousands out there perfectly willing to dodge and disappear at the first sign of trouble, only to appear a few days later on a different network, you can never really win. But maybe they won't have to win. Making people pay sizable reparation fees to the companies for being caught is a good idea. After all, that's the bottomline isn't it? Giving the gaming industry enough money so that it can grow and expand instead of shrivel. There are many ways of doing that.
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