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Avoid making a encyclopedia lore book about every single thing.


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chippets

Considering that isn't a word in the English language, I'm going to assume you meant "snippets."

 

Anyway, there is no codex in NV (strictly speaking, there is no codex in any video game unless it's a hefty tome of religious scripture or ancient literature,) when you refer to murals and cave paintings you're referring to unwritten narratives, not "codex entries."

 

But yes, the best way to expand upon a game world is to do it in game, not through UI-accessed menus.

Codexes are lazy, particularly for fantasy games where printing press is usually not invented, and books should be scarse. If you'll remember Tolkien, aside from some written chronicles, he used folklore to tell about history of his world. Fantasy characters should sing songs about heroes and villains, about historical events and about fantastic places they have seen. They should have tales and fairytales to share. World's lore should exist in those, as well as in architecture, clothes and food.

Codices.

 

I don't see how clothes and food are "lore." Besides, there's no legitimate argument against the world's history in text. The Bible and ancient classics from Hellenic Greece and Rome to Han Dynasty China were preserved by being written down. There are still Han-era administrative records in existence, that's how serious the Han people have always been about bureaucracy. You can't say it's unrealistic, unbelievable, immersion-breaking or what-have-you when real people have been keeping tax and census records from 2000 years ago, in addition to classic literature, scripture, theater and poetry.

Edited by AGX-17
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A good example might be the Song of Ice and Fire books by George R. R. Martin, where you hear different accounts of events from different people, and it's interesting to hear the different sides of the story and the inclusion/exclusion or outright lies about various information from different people.

 

They (Obsidian) mentioned that exposition will be handled in a similar manner

That's... not really analogous.

 

Not as a whole. I was talking about more of the gossipy type stuff where people give their own account of say Robert's Rebellion based on the rumours they've heard. From what Josh has said, NPCs will not be just exposition dumping but taking a similar approach to that (haven't played an Obsidian game since NWN2 so I can't really compare it to New Vegas), that's probably the closest example I know. Most games are guilty of NPC exposition dumps.

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Not as a whole. I was talking about more of the gossipy type stuff where people give their own account of say Robert's Rebellion based on the rumours they've heard. From what Josh has said, NPCs will not be just exposition dumping but taking a similar approach to that (haven't played an Obsidian game since NWN2 so I can't really compare it to New Vegas), that's probably the closest example I know. Most games are guilty of NPC exposition dumps.

Yeah... in a lot of games, the NPCs tend to either: A) Know the entire truth of what's going on, or B) be completely oblivious to what's going on. About the only thing that strays from that is the use of strong opinions on things. Someone knows what's going on, but they convey it to you under so much particular perspective that you aren't really getting just the truth. You're getting the truth coated in something else. Like when something dirty looks like it's made of metal, then you wipe it off and realize it's just dirty plastic.

 

Which, all that's fine and dandy, but it'd be nice if we could actually run into people who know SOME of what's going on -- some useful stuff, and some not so useful (and maybe not even accurate) stuff -- and we'd have to piece all the bits together to really get the most information available to us (or we could do so, optionally, at least).

 

I'm also sick of these "mysteries" games have us solving.

 

*You found a journal entry entitled Help me, I'm turning into a werewolf at night.*

*Continuing on, you found patches of fir littering the floor.*

*Steve is never ever seen in anyone's company during any of these creature encounters/deaths*

"Hmmm... I wonder what's going on here... I'm gonna need to stock up on magnifying glasses and trenchcoats for this one!"

 

I hate talking to 17 people and finding 10 journals, all basically saying, in a rather flavorful manner, that crazy deaths are happening, and everyone's terrified and oblivious.

 

Then, of course, there's the NPC quest markers. "I don't know anything, except that you should probably go in that building over there to continue this quest."

 

Ooooh! I can almost taste the depth of the world, where people direct you to places based on simple noises and/or hunches! :)

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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  Considering that isn't a word in the English language, I'm going to assume you meant "snippets."

 

But it's such a good word!

Yeah, snippets. I tend to just make up a new word if I can't recall the correct one.

 

And (murder) mysteries in games.

Reminds me of BG2, played it through twice and both times got stuck, because I couldn't find the stairs down in tanners house.

The second time I even knew what to look for and still failed, mistook the stairs for a pile of boxes or something.

 

But that has nothing at all to do with lore so I should probably just edit away this random rambling. Wont, though.

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Considering that isn't a word in the English language, I'm going to assume you meant "snippets."

 

But it's such a good word!

Yeah, snippets. I tend to just make up a new word if I can't recall the correct one.

 

 

Considering that nothing was a word in the English language until people decided to come up with words and dub them an official part of the English language, I'm all for word-spiration. 8P

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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I don't see how clothes and food are "lore."

Check food merchant and bartender in Torment.

Check on food and armor in Morrowind.

 

The Bible

Is a religion centered text which has nothing to do with how lore is represented in games today. It's a book with purpose. Codex purpose is usually to tell player about the game. DA:O codex is an example on how it should not be done.

Edited by Shadenuat
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There are ways doing lore right and ways of doing it wrong. Personally I think kingdoms of Amalur did it really wrong. Boring hack and slash offline world of warcraft game. The ye old irish lore what you hear from interacting with stones, I can't remember if it were stones, did absolutely nothing to help the game and enrich the game world. Nothing wrong with a game having a beastiary. Lore doesn't get criticism in games but I think it should. It can be done poorly like any other thing in the game. 

Edited by Failion
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I agree with OP. For some reason people wrongly think that explaining everything makes a world deeper.

 

This is a redicio ad absurbum argument since no game can possibly explain everything about a setting.

 

Creating little or no lore makes a conventional setting shallow and mundane. Ergo, having meaningful lore adds depth. Adding more lore adds more depth, although I'll admit there's bound to be a point of diminishing returns.

 

Some people will want to see more lore than others. Hence, you please the most people by accommodating the those who want a lot of lore. If you don't like all the lore, nobody is forcing you to read it.

 

Hence, I'm not still seeing a problem here.

Edited by rjshae

"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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I agree with OP. For some reason people wrongly think that explaining everything makes a world deeper.

 

This is a redicio ad absurbum argument since no game can possibly explain everything about a setting.

 

Creating little or no lore makes a conventional setting shallow and mundane. Ergo, having meaningful lore adds depth. Adding more lore adds more depth, although I'll admit there's bound to be a point of diminishing returns.

 

Some people will want to see more lore than others. Hence, you please the most people by accommodating the those who want a lot of lore. If you don't like all the lore, nobody is forcing you to read it.

 

While I'm not disagreeing at least entirety of the point, I must point out you're now doing the same reductio.

 

It's really not like people who want less wordy explanations are going to be happy with huge encyclopedic volumes,

by cleverly only reading 10% of each book, or only reading every fifth volume or whatever.

 

The solution would only serve those who either want the maximum amount of lorebooks, or no lorebooks at all.

Now it might actually be the group in between is a tiny minority, but it might also be otherwise.

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I agree with OP. For some reason people wrongly think that explaining everything makes a world deeper.

 

This is a redicio ad absurbum argument since no game can possibly explain everything about a setting.

 

Creating little or no lore makes a conventional setting shallow and mundane. Ergo, having meaningful lore adds depth. Adding more lore adds more depth, although I'll admit there's bound to be a point of diminishing returns.

 

Some people will want to see more lore than others. Hence, you please the most people by accommodating the those who want a lot of lore. If you don't like all the lore, nobody is forcing you to read it.

 

While I'm not disagreeing at least entirety of the point, I must point out you're now doing the same reductio.

 

It's really not like people who want less wordy explanations are going to be happy with huge encyclopedic volumes,

by cleverly only reading 10% of each book, or only reading every fifth volume or whatever.

 

The solution would only serve those who either want the maximum amount of lorebooks, or no lorebooks at all.

Now it might actually be the group in between is a tiny minority, but it might also be otherwise.

 

Well not exactly, but okay. Perhaps a solution is to provide a thesis statement for people who are in the tl;dr group, then a longer and more colorful discussion for the other extreme. Those in between can then judge which ones they want to explore in depth.

Edited by rjshae

"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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Well not exactly, but okay. Perhaps a solution is to provide a thesis statement for people who are in the tl;dr group, then a longer and more colorful discussion for the other extreme. Those in between can then judge which ones they want to explore in depth.

 

That would be a solution, but quite laborious one at that, requiring the writing of two versions of many/most lore books,

trying to make sure the important bits are in both versions. In some settings, finding a readers digest versions of books could be hilarious.

 

It's actually a strategy already used in many RPG's. Not in lore books, but conversations,

where the wizened geezer is doing plot exposition and asks "do you want the long or short version".

 

Anyway, I'm sticking with my view that it'd be optimal to dress up the books nice.

With readable fonts, nice layouts, a sprinkle of pictures an diagrams, it's possible to keep my mind from wandering,

and finger from click-click-clicking through the book.

While that would no doubt be the more laborious solution, it'd be one where the labor is better spent. IMO.

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I agree with OP. For some reason people wrongly think that explaining everything makes a world deeper.

 

This is a redicio ad absurbum argument since no game can possibly explain everything about a setting.

 

Creating little or no lore makes a conventional setting shallow and mundane. Ergo, having meaningful lore adds depth. Adding more lore adds more depth, although I'll admit there's bound to be a point of diminishing returns.

 

Some people will want to see more lore than others. Hence, you please the most people by accommodating the those who want a lot of lore. If you don't like all the lore, nobody is forcing you to read it.

 

Hence, I'm not still seeing a problem here.

 

 

I believe I nuanced my point well enough in the rest of my post.

Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
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What I want is, when I'm told there's that X, I can go and ask around about X, instead of instantly getting a codex entry with mysteriously stacked together "exerpts from" and such. Partly, that devil, VoiceActing, is to blame for that happening. Compare Morrowind to Oblivion and Skyrim. Almost everything you know about lore from last two games in TES series usually comes from books, loading screens and the main plot, with rare exeptions. On the other hand, Morrowind used keywords as dialogue system. It seemed bland and encyclopedic to many, but it still was a better way to explain lore than books (not that it had problems with books). Ask an ashlander, a redoran guard, and a telvanni wizard about something like Empire or the Nine, and they will tell you three different opinions. Just another strength of heavy text game with little VO.

Edited by Shadenuat
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Basically, if you can't stand to spend more time than is required to heat up a frozen dinner, you get a microwaveable dinner. If you want to spend the time to procure ingredients and cook everything, you get a lovely, handmade dinner.

 

Either way, though, you get dinner. I think that's how it should work. Lore conveyed simply enough for those "Oh, so these people are at war with those people" types who just want to get on with things with the minimal amount of details, while complex lore is readily available for those who want to figure out the 17 ways to deal with some sticky situation, or locate the ancient king's tomb within the catacombs, etc.

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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I'm a fan of interactive and setting-appropriate lore. Some types buried in books or chiseled across walls are great. Like an abandoned dungeon or a historical archive. That makes perfect sense and other players who aren't interested can just run right past those. Baldur's Gate handled that just fine. The type where you have to converse with NPCs like in PS:T would be even better, with the option to tell the NPC to bugger off, of course (especially interesting if the lore you get from NPCs may change depending on your race or sex or whatever--just a thought). 

 

The reason why I despised Dragon Age's codex style was because it was immersion-breaking for me: You ran to a spot on the map and instantly learned something about that statue over there, and then there's an annoying popup, and a bunch of nondescript computery icons stuffed into the user interface. The noninteractive nature of that type of information was more metagame to me (I'd rather peruse an online wiki than have my combat flow interrupted by a codex notification). So I say NO to a codex and YES to interactive lore sources--AND a robust player journal that feels appropriate to in-game character use. No blinky computer icons, please.

 

I think for a game like this, a combination of BG-style passive lore and PS:T active lore would be wonderful, and it's best to err on the side of Lots; just make the access element optional.

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I don't see how clothes and food are "lore."

Check food merchant and bartender in Torment.

Check on food and armor in Morrowind.

 

The Bible

Is a religion centered text which has nothing to do with how lore is represented in games today. It's a book with purpose. Codex purpose is usually to tell player about the game. DA:O codex is an example on how it should not be done.

 

 

Your strawman here is that because there is lore associated with a good or item, the good itself is therefore lore in and of itself. If you pick up a tunic with no description in a game, it's not lore. A description of things you couldn't possibly know simply by looking at an object without supernatural/4th wall breaking information doesn't by proxy make any/every object you see "lore."

 

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lore

 

Being told a story about something is lore, buying "Bread" whose description is "Bread" doesn't make "Bread" lore. If you want to be pestilentially technical (as you obviously do,) anything you are taught is lore. The object itself, however, is not lore. It is an object. Being taught by your parents that a rock is a rock can technically be called lore. The rock itself is not lore. The passing on of knowledge that the object or substance is known as "rock" can count as lore. Even if you have been taught what an object is, what its history is, etc., the object itself is not lore unless you want to be even more insufferable and claim that the definition of "lore" is not what the definition of "lore" is simply to suit your own purposes and cheat at winning a debate.

Edited by AGX-17
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AGX-17, your dumb attitude of turning everything into semantical debate is getting old. I, as some others, were talking about the ways of delivering lore (to player), which also is used frequently as "lore" term when it comes to games, inbetween gamers. Either make some effort to understand what people say or just **** off.

 

cheat at winning a debate.

I am not you. I am not that much interested in winning debates, or debates at all. I am interested in ideas on game design, learning from them and sharing them. Debate can have those sometimes, but not always.

Edited by Shadenuat
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On the contrary: I love game lore, I always found the random lore on load screens, codex entries, etc. fascinating and helpful to understanding the world, and I always felt they were far enough out of the way that you didn't have to read them if you weren't interested. (For example, while you find random codexes everywhere in DA, the game just informs you that it's there so you can decide whether you want to click it or not.)

 

Also, no offense, but if your character is supposed to be a denizen of the world and be familiar with surrounding laws, religions, customs, etc. I think it makes sense for the developers to find creative ways of slipping information to the player. Not only can you feel confident about your character's place in the world (understanding it yourself), but your character doesn't have to ask a million questions about things s/he should already know just so the player can learn how the world works. Remember: You might just be entering the world for the first time, but odds are the character is supposed to have been there his or her whole life (unless it's written in the game that your character has severe amnesia, just woke up in a strange land, etc.), so it makes sense for the developers to find ways of letting you know what's going on without having your character have to ask who his/her long-reigning king is, why the local garrison doesn't like him/her, who his/her childhood friends are, etc.

 

Last but not least: If you don't want to read an encyclopedia lore book, then don't read or buy one. I'm sorry to be blunt, but I think it's pretty selfish to ask the company not to make one just because you don't want to read it, even though there are people out there who might want it. 

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I'm kinda ambivalent on the codex idea.  I prefer my lore to come from ingame texts a la TES style.

On the one hand, I absolutely did not like how the codex was implemented in Dragon Age.  There was too heavy a disconnect between what I was percieving in the game and what knowledge I was aggregating in my codex.  It seemed I could walk into a room and a little hud popup would inform me that I had learned advanced economics because I might have witnessed a coinpurse lying on a desk somewhere.  On the other hand, the Witcher 2 had a codex, and I rather welcomed it.  When I became acquainted with somebody, I was usually well enough informed ingame of their background and relationships, but would also get a codex entry detailing their background as should be common knowledge in the world, and some of Geralt's immediate impressions of them.  As more information was gleaned through the story, the codex was updated accordingly.  Creatures upon first encounter would get a basic desciption in your codex, and would only be detailed further upon the reading of particular books (I prefer this method as opposed to having my codex fleshed out dynamically as I fought them (e.g. "you killed 10 goblins, you now know a weakness of theirs!", "you cast a fireball at a troll, you now know trolls are susceptible to fire!")).

 

Basically, I like it if a codex would reinforce knowledge I have already acquired ingame, and don't like my codex to be the first to acquiant me with it.  If I open a book on hyrdodynamics of submersibles, it's fine to me if I get a codex entry summarizing it - whether or not I as a player read the text - so that I don't have to lug the item around with me for later perusal, but can if I want to.  I should not get an entry on the hydrodynamics of submersibles simply because I encounter such a vessel though.

 

Also, broad-knowledge loadscreen tooltips are cool.

Edit: spelling.

Edited by Pipyui
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Personaly ( and I know that it's pretty much impossible) I would love if codex work by way of updating, when I read something about event in book for example We have book about one war we read it and codex is update about this war, we read diffrent book about it and codex is update again with something new about it, and if thouse snipets would be tied to some skill I would be overwhelmed as in we get more in-depth description if we have two points in skill then if we have only one , for example if we have one point and get book about orc culture then we only learn that they are war like but if we have two points then we will get in codex more about this culture

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On the contrary: I love game lore, I always found the random lore on load screens, codex entries, etc. fascinating and helpful to understanding the world, and I always felt they were far enough out of the way that you didn't have to read them if you weren't interested. (For example, while you find random codexes everywhere in DA, the game just informs you that it's there so you can decide whether you want to click it or not.)

 

Also, no offense, but if your character is supposed to be a denizen of the world and be familiar with surrounding laws, religions, customs, etc. I think it makes sense for the developers to find creative ways of slipping information to the player. Not only can you feel confident about your character's place in the world (understanding it yourself), but your character doesn't have to ask a million questions about things s/he should already know just so the player can learn how the world works. Remember: You might just be entering the world for the first time, but odds are the character is supposed to have been there his or her whole life (unless it's written in the game that your character has severe amnesia, just woke up in a strange land, etc.), so it makes sense for the developers to find ways of letting you know what's going on without having your character have to ask who his/her long-reigning king is, why the local garrison doesn't like him/her, who his/her childhood friends are, etc.

 

Last but not least: If you don't want to read an encyclopedia lore book, then don't read or buy one. I'm sorry to be blunt, but I think it's pretty selfish to ask the company not to make one just because you don't want to read it, even though there are people out there who might want it.

A lot can be implied, it's called subtlety

Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
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Personaly ( and I know that it's pretty much impossible) I would love if codex work by way of updating, when I read something about event in book for example We have book about one war we read it and codex is update about this war, we read diffrent book about it and codex is update again with something new about it, and if thouse snipets would be tied to some skill I would be overwhelmed as in we get more in-depth description if we have two points in skill then if we have only one , for example if we have one point and get book about orc culture then we only learn that they are war like but if we have two points then we will get in codex more about this culture

I think this is a brilliant idea Cryticus.

 

My view:

 

As far as the look and feel of lore, I really liked the way it was handled in TES: Oblivion. Despite aforementioned problems in readability and accessibility, the delivery system for lore (books, that is) in oblivion had perceived value, at least to me. Maybe because they were worth in-game currency, maybe because they could be the possessions of NPCs (stealable), maybe because the stories were actually not half bad, I found myself collecting the books even though I was sure they did very little as far as gameplay was concerned because I had high hopes that they were in fact going to be useful. In case the books were actually useful and you are like "what the hell is this guy talking about", my 87 hour oblivion game got overwritten by my friend who started a new game on my computer while I was in the shower. The perils of using autosave as your main. I was never able to get back into the game.

 

As far as what I would like to see in PE, its an amalgam of what has already been stated in this thread and my personal preferences. In my opinion...

 

Lore should not be:

...shoved down your throat (via NPC babble and unavoidable dialogue options). 

...compilable into a full novel length-history of the land. (It's a computer game, not an ebook with combat)

...require the player to read exorbitant amounts of text. (Some people, like myself, enjoy reading very much, but are very slow readers and find it straining. Others are dyslexic and put enough energy into reading dialogue options that are not voice-acted let alone pages and pages and pages of text)

 

Lore should be:

...interesting (one poster mentioned lore that describes the position of the sun in an account--this is ridiculous, unless of course the position of the sun is relevant to something the PC may do)

...pertinent to the game world and the player's role in it (if I put in the effort to read lore [and please know that I'm not talking about 'just not being lazy'] I want my PC and or her companions to be able to act on that information, whether it be though dialogue options, hidden quests, and the like, at least most of the time)

...talented-ly voice acted! (I suppose I'll probably get flak for this whether because of the production cost or some sort of immersion-breaking aspect to voice acted lore. In anticipation of this, my response is that PE raised a hell of a lot more money than that said they required for the game, but I guess thats an empirical matter. With respect to immersion-breaking, voiced lore could simply be turned off.) 

 

I would be beyond thrilled...I would be ecstatic if PE communicated lore this way. An how great would it be if you could choose between a Patrick Stewart lore narrator and an Edward James Almos lore narrator. hahahah I know, that will never happen. And with Cryticus' idea of a codex or journal that is updated as a paraphrase of 'read' lore, the voice acting wouldn't be shoved down anyone's throat who doesn't want to listen to it. That's my 2 cents.

Edited by Ristora
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I hadn't noticed this thread. I'm of the oppostie opinion than the OP. I want a codex about everything. I want to read until my eyes start bleeding. I want lore about factions, locations, culture, people and everything else they come up with like monsters, plants, etc. It helps flesh out the world and those who don't want to read that stuff won't have to.

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