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Eric Fenstermaker Narrative Interview at RPG Codex

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after game release, most questions directed at josh has been mechanical, but he has also answered more than a few o' the broad stroke narrative queries. 

 

Josh has remarked on broad strokes setting-related queries (not the same thing as "narrative"). I've read all of his Something Awful posts and he's had little to remark on the game's story, despite the story being heavily discussed there. It's very noticeable how he only chimes up when mechanics or setting stuff comes up.

 

And no, it's not just about pointing fingers about Chris Avellone. Keep your assumptions about the Codex in check, please.

 

we mentioned the failure o' the interviewer on multiple fronts.  we did not attribute such failures to a website-- that would be ridiculous.  lord knows we do not look at every failed vol or luckman post as a critique 'pon the obsidian message boards. 

 

oh, and attempting to divorce setting from narrative is idiotic.  the setting is integral to the poe narrative. duh.

 

keep your assumptions in check.

 

HA! Good Fun!

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"Those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards. They did not fear political change. They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty. To courageous, self-reliant men, with confidence in the power of free and fearless reasoning applied through the processes of popular government, no danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present, unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion. If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."--Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

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we mentioned the failure o' the interviewer on multiple fronts.  we did not attribute such failures to a website-- that would be ridiculous.  lord knows we do not look at every failed vol or luckman post as a critique 'pon the obsidian message boards.

Haha, see, this is why I can't take you all that seriously. You're against the Codex for being a den of "racist *ssholes" when your entire schtick is based around being kind of an *sshole here. You just like hanging around in a place where you can dish it out but don't have to take it. Lazy.

 

oh, and attempting to divorce setting from narrative is idiotic.  the setting is integral to the poe narrative. duh.

 

Great, but but that doesn't really change my point, does it? Josh talks about one kind of narrative but not the kind I wanted to know more about, so I interviewed Eric. I fail to see the problem here.

Edited by Infinitron
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"to me he's not saying a 60+ hour game automatically means a lot of time wasting content"

"he's observing that many games with a lot of 'content' are actually just mediocre time wasters"

 

Those 2 statements seem in direct contradiction.

 

1. "automatically" (a.k.a. always)

2. "many"

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"Some ideas are so stupid that only an intellectual could believe them." -- attributed to George Orwell

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am glad eric is more patient than Gromnir.  typical questions from the interview is loaded or skewed or misleading, and how many questions ask eric to comment on josh, adam or chrisA comments?  after the third such question, we would sent the list o' interrogatories back to the "interviewer."

 

Did you expect a gaming magazine-level civilized interview here? This is the Codex, and therefore the interview was designed to attempt to answer the most common questions on that forum without appearing biased. And believe me when I say that the interviewer (Infinitron) is one of the most outspoken Obsidian supporters over there.

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am glad eric is more patient than Gromnir.  typical questions from the interview is loaded or skewed or misleading, and how many questions ask eric to comment on josh, adam or chrisA comments?  after the third such question, we would sent the list o' interrogatories back to the "interviewer."

 

Did you expect a gaming magazine-level civilized interview here? This is the Codex, and therefore the interview was designed to attempt to answer the most common questions on that forum without appearing biased. And believe me when I say that the interviewer (Infinitron) is one of the most outspoken Obsidian supporters over there.

 

Gaming magazine interviews are all boring lifeless crap. Nobody really wants answers to questions that were asked by 10 other magazines/news people. Edited by archangel979

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we mentioned the failure o' the interviewer on multiple fronts.  we did not attribute such failures to a website-- that would be ridiculous.  lord knows we do not look at every failed vol or luckman post as a critique 'pon the obsidian message boards.

Haha, see, this is why I can't take you all that seriously. You're against the Codex for being a den of "racist *ssholes" when your entire schtick is based around being kind of an *sshole here. You just like hanging around in a place where you can dish it out but don't have to take it. Lazy.

 

oh, and attempting to divorce setting from narrative is idiotic.  the setting is integral to the poe narrative. duh.

 

Great, but but that doesn't really change my point, does it? Josh talks about one kind of narrative but not the kind I wanted to know more about, so I interviewed Eric. I fail to see the problem here.

 

your persecution complex is getting the better o' you.  there were nothing in our comments that suggested a slight towards codex.  you wanna discuss codexian failings too?  fine.  all you need do is indulge in those things you Claim we has been offended 'bout. and is that a Gromnir ' quote?  link please.  put stuff in quotes if we didn't say it? more bad form... though am not the least surprised at this point.

 

and yeah, josh has spoken 'bout narrative, on multiple occasions.  you not understand what is narrative?  you have different specific narrative questions 'bout narrative?  eric were also hesitant to answer your questions:

 

"I hesitate to talk a whole lot in very specific terms about themes and deeper meaning because people will start to use it as definitive evidence of this or that, and it deadens discussion."

 

perhaps josh were taciturn for same or complete different reasons?  dunno. if you want josh to specific answer such questions, ask josh.  as noted already, josh has shown willingness to answer narrative questions in the past. 

 

 

 

am glad eric is more patient than Gromnir.  typical questions from the interview is loaded or skewed or misleading, and how many questions ask eric to comment on josh, adam or chrisA comments?  after the third such question, we would sent the list o' interrogatories back to the "interviewer."

 

Did you expect a gaming magazine-level civilized interview here? This is the Codex, and therefore the interview was designed to attempt to answer the most common questions on that forum without appearing biased. And believe me when I say that the interviewer (Infinitron) is one of the most outspoken Obsidian supporters over there.

 

is not 'bout "civilized."  is 'bout stoopid.  the goal is to get eric to provide more insights, not less, yes?  

 

"I'm not sure what the question is referring to regarding Adam and Josh."

 

"I don't know about "my side of the story." "

 

etc.

 

if the goal is to be different than providing more or new, then congrats.  we assumed the interview were aimed at getting eric to share more info rather than to offer interrogatories 'bout co-worker and former co-worker contributions.  jesus, you can get the information the interviewer were aiming at w/o resorting to rusty chainsaw levels o' subtlety.  am moderate surprised that the interviewer didn't specific ask eric to throw adam josh and chris under the bus.  oh, wait, he kinda did.

 

stoopid.

 

HA! Good Fun!

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"Those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards. They did not fear political change. They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty. To courageous, self-reliant men, with confidence in the power of free and fearless reasoning applied through the processes of popular government, no danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present, unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion. If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."--Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

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Josh is usually pretty open about his thoughts on the Something Awful forums. Go read that thread if you want specifics. Anything beyond that is just media friendly material.

 

With that said, I never read anything from the Codex because I find it to be just as biased as the very biased media they claim to be against. Members of the Codex try too hard to be outspoken that they purposely choose outspokenness over everything else, which creates a bias in itself. lol

 

Infinitron is fairly entertaining; and likely too good to be wasting time and talent at the Codex.

Edited by Zenbane
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Slight derail: Oh Gromnir, is there any chance there's a translator online somewhere for your posts. I like you dude, I find your posts on topic and to the point and I love reading some of your insights into the gaming industry. But good lord, my eye's need a holiday after trying to decypher your accent / mannerisms / character speech... that is all... sorry, I had to vent. 

 

P.S. Please disregard this post, keep it up grom ;)

Edited by Koth
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I'm fine with shorter games as long as the price reflects it, if someone makes a great 10 hour game, great! Just don't ask 60$ for it.

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Generally speaking, I tend to lean more towards shorter RPGs nowadays. I like it more when all the effort is put in short, but highly reactive, games so to speak with little to no filler content.

 

However, I do hope that Pillars as a series continues to give us the really big experience. I just finished my playthrough of PoE plus the two expansions and overall I think it was a great experience that felt like a true journey, despite there being some ups and downs. If there are spin-offs and such, then I would certainly welcome shorter games but for any full-on sequels, I hope they'll continue with the huge scope.

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I too also think it's too bad the interviewer sometimes loses focus and try to dive too deep in "drama" questions because otherwise, he's doing a pretty good job.

And Eric's answers are fantastic, it's rare to see someone talk at length like that about his job.

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But the drama questions make it fun!

 

If I wanted to read a "professional" interview where the interviewer plays it safe and the answers are all marketing speak, I'd read an IGN or Kotaku interview, not an RPG Codex one... :)

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"Some ideas are so stupid that only an intellectual could believe them." -- attributed to George Orwell

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There's a middle ground between drama et PR bull****.

You can ask interesting, in depth questions (which, again, most of the time, the interviewer managed to do, kudos to him for that) without the "drama"...

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As nice as these "quality vs. quantity" arguments are with regards to game length, I honestly feel like the age thing is pretty important to. Speaking as someone who's only in his mid-20s, I only have so many hours in the day - and between working and trying to sleep occasionally, I clock maybe 6-8 hours of leisure time tops. I'm going to spend some of that time with friends and family, some of it exercising, and so on. I can spend a while playing a game for a handheld where I can do it while I travel, but when it comes to computer games that require me to sit down and devote my time exclusively? I can't do it anymore.

 

Given all that, a 12-20 hour game that's really entertaining and clever all the way through, like Stick of Truth? That holds a lot of appeal to me. On the other hand, even if I didn't think Skyrim was homogeneous and bland, I still couldn't really play it on account of how many months of my life I'd have to pour into it.

 

I've spent a lot of time playing video games - more time, frankly, than I'm happy with - and it's simply not a sustainable way for me to conduct myself. If developers want to give me games with less content that I get more out of, those are the developers who are going to get my money.

Edited by gkathellar
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If I'm typing in red, it means I'm being sarcastic. But not this time.

Dark green, on the other hand, is for jokes and irony in general.

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Personally, I would like to see us make shorter games (e.g. 30-40 hours instead of 60-80) where we cut the worst of our content and spend time iterating on the best. But there is pressure from the market itself (or at least perceived pressure) to make longer games so as to justify the game's sticker price with its "value" as measured in dollars spent per hour of gameplay. And I'm not sure if people understand that when you're on a budget, there's a zero-sum tradeoff between gameplay length and gameplay polish. There was some backlash for Stick of Truth, for example, for being "too short" at 12-20 hours. But that was a game where we cut the bad stuff and spent extra time on the good stuff, and I prefer that model. As a gamer, I'm getting old. I'm short on time. I'd rather spend $60 on a 12-hour experience that makes me laugh my ass off than on a 100-hour experience that routinely wastes my time. If any of you are in agreement, be vocal about it, because I think the dollars/hour guys are usually louder. Come to our forums and ask for a shorter, more polished game.

 

I'm gonna do my patriotic duty and chime in, then.

 

Pillars of Eternity is a wonderful game, but overall, I enjoyed Dragonfall more. It was just more polished, sleeker, far better-paced, with no tedious filler combat. I'd much rather play a 20 hour game with tons of reactivity and an extremely well-presented story than an 80 hour juggernaut like Icewind Dale 2. Of course, I recognize that the IE legacy looms over the Pillars franchise, and this sets certain expectations regarding exploration and sandbox elements, but I think 30-40 hours would be a decent compromise (Mass Effect 1 couldn't have been much longer than that, yet it still felt like journeying in a massive, sprawling galaxy full of interesting stuff to discover, after all).

 

If you do reactivity right, if you make me care about discovering what changes with my decisions, and offer gameplay polished enough for me to actively want to replay the game, I'll easily get 60-80 hours' worth of entertainment out of it anyway. I played through Alpha Protocol at least four times as well.

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we mentioned the failure o' the interviewer on multiple fronts.  we did not attribute such failures to a website-- that would be ridiculous.  lord knows we do not look at every failed vol or luckman post as a critique 'pon the obsidian message boards.

Haha, see, this is why I can't take you all that seriously. You're against the Codex for being a den of "racist *ssholes" when your entire schtick is based around being kind of an *sshole here. You just like hanging around in a place where you can dish it out but don't have to take it. Lazy.

 

oh, and attempting to divorce setting from narrative is idiotic.  the setting is integral to the poe narrative. duh.

 

Great, but but that doesn't really change my point, does it? Josh talks about one kind of narrative but not the kind I wanted to know more about, so I interviewed Eric. I fail to see the problem here.

 

 

I respect the hell out of you as an admin and poster and dev-botherer, genuinely.  But the massive continuing butthurt at the codex about PE alone makes it hard to respect.  ****, there are people who complain about build variety in PE still, when its vastly more flexible than most rpgs.  The way everyone is some kind of  "_____f*g" makes it harder.  The fact that Sensuki is a representative of a significant portion of vitriolic players there makes it even harder.  And the less than cute way you alter each others profiles for a vast number of personal insults.  I get that everyone there knows its a rough place but that doesn't make it more appealing.

 

I still read the news every two or three days.  No one else does rpg news as well.

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The Codex really is to CRPGs what 4chan is to tabletop games, isn't it?

 

Well, except 4chan is slightly less obnoxious, I guess.

Edited by aluminiumtrioxid
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"Lulz is not the highest aspiration of art and mankind, no matter what the Encyclopedia Dramatica says."

 

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Wait, you mean you guys read interviewer questions in any interview?

 

Nobody answers the question these days, anyway. 

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Wait, you mean you guys read interviewer questions in any interview?

 

Nobody answers the question these days, anyway.

I actually felt the questions were generally relevant and not especially obnoxious, and that Fenstermaker was courteous enough to take them seriously and address them inasmuch as he could. There was a bit of "address our forum drama plx," but not too much, and because actual questions with critical insight were asked, actual answers with designer insight were provided. Honestly, I thought the whole thing was very candid and straightforward, if just a bit hung up on personnel stuff.

 

The Codex really is to CRPGs what 4chan is to tabletop games, isn't it?

 

Well, except 4chan is slightly less obnoxious, I guess.

Eh, /tg/ gets a bad rap. They really like WH40K, and they're still 4chan, but they actually produce some cool stuffs.

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If I'm typing in red, it means I'm being sarcastic. But not this time.

Dark green, on the other hand, is for jokes and irony in general.

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Guys, Obsidian employees (current+recent) are directly responsible for more than half of the Codex Top 10 RPGs ever list. A couple of them have assumed the status of Deities, so to speak. If some of you are suggesting that the Codex had it coming for Obsidian, think again.

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There's a middle ground between drama et PR bull****.

You can ask interesting, in depth questions (which, again, most of the time, the interviewer managed to do, kudos to him for that) without the "drama"...

But, but... Codex is all about drama...

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I love these threads (mostly with the butthurt posts about the Codex).

 

I don't mind short games if they're good but I always have reservations going into them. While not an rpg, there was an adventure game called Stasis I recently played  that took just over 8 hours for me to finish. I heard it takes around 8-12 hours to finish before playing so I was under the impression this was going to be too short. I'd have to say that 8-12 hours was a good length and this was one of the best games I've played over the last 18 months.

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I'd much rather play a 20 hour game with tons of reactivity and an extremely well-presented story than an 80 hour juggernaut like Icewind Dale 2.

 

I agree in theory, but for some reason I loved Icewind Dale 2 as well...

 

Sure, it took me probably half a year to finish it, but so what! :)

The linearity and lack of reactivity actually helped with that, because remembering for several months what your status is in relation to countless NPCs and factions and story branches, would have been hard.

 


"Some ideas are so stupid that only an intellectual could believe them." -- attributed to George Orwell

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Wasn't Sensuki one of the beta testers for POE, filing endless lists of bugs plus youtube videos, and pushed for the IE Mod thing?

 

People like that tend to be outspoken. Combination of passion with perfectionism.

 

But even if that was a different person I'm recalling, the people who tend to focus hard on these rpgs tend to form their own sub cultures. Even though the RPG culture itself is a sub culture, it just sorts of goes down further once you get into card games vs board games vs war games vs the ones that use dice vs the ones that don't vs the fantasy x sci fi settings.

 

As for the interview, that's good hearing the design perspective. It allows me to make more informed and better criticisms of their work, if I know what their intent was.

 

"From Torment and BG II both came a sense that the degree to which a story is personal is a strong influence on the impact of the narrative. I don't think our story ended up being as strong in that regard, but it was a guiding principle, and it's the reason we elected to develop a past life backstory rather than having the player be a complete blank slate."

 

Knowing what I know now, my recommendation would probably be that a single narrative style should have been adopted for each of the different personalities, like stoic or passionate, which would then determine the 4 or 6 or whatever number of backstory combinations there was for the main crit path. Instead of giving 4 choices to the player. Why is the player choosing which of his memories are true? That doesn't even make sense and actually breaks the 4th wall, at times. Worst time to do that at.

 

That's why it isn't as strong. Because there's no beginning and end. It's just some random choices you pick up in the middle, due to whatever reasons, and nobody can figure out which is which by the end. There's no consistent vision from beginning to end, concerning player choices and reactions. The plot was consistent, of course, but the way it linked to the player was jumbled around too much. The dispositions were a good touch, but that was all, a touch not a slam dunk or knockout.

 

For example, if the player has 3-5 deceptive ranks in personality, then the soul personality that manifests in the visions would be that of a deceiver, one who wishes to deceive the world about x, y, or z. And that does come up in the central plot point once or twice. But it is consistent from beginning to end, narrative wise, and it is consistently poking the player with reliable gameplay details over time.

 

One of the problems of offering too many (randomish) choices to the player, is that the player will often times choose mutually exclusive things when testing role playing. And that produces cognitive dissonance, if people think about it for a few seconds. There's no way the plot can address the player's own internal doubts and questions either, it's not a reactive intelligence system. That happened with people clicking on Backer npcs too. A lot of freedom, but how do you handle edge cases where players use the freedom to make their experience less fun?

 

"You have to plan your project to make the best of the resources you have. That sounds obvious, but some people really struggle with that when they get excited about a particular idea or feature."

 

People do tend to get spoiled with the potential of technology these days. Which is why when I look at what people did with visual novels, just a basic script engine running text and some 2d backgrounds and sprites, I often recall that that was the kind of barrier Torment was breaking through as well. There was just no industry to support that kind of thing, because it wasn't even classified as a genre much less a sub genre of another genre. Not in the West at least, and not since the days of text adventure games and or MUDDs.

 

"Often you'll look to recent similar games to see how they solved your problems, but in our case, few of those games existed."

 

The Banner Saga was out for some time before, if I recall. The narration was strong there because the initial conditions were limited, but all the gameplay mechanics and stories linked together. In Pillars, I notice a lot of game systems that Stand Alone. Stronghold not connected to the main plot or side quests, main plot not connected to Dispositions, dispositions not connected to Main Crit path background visions, player background visions not connected to player powers, tactical combat, classes, stronghold, etc.

 

They all had their own unique flavors and gameplay bonuses for the user, but they weren't connected in a strong link. That isn't the responsibility of the content creators or the writers, that's more of a very high level design decision.

 

The writing and story craft/lore craft in Pillars is strong, but that alone isn't enough to connect the gameplay details together. And without that, the player's reaction and emotional feedback from the plot and events, is lessened as a result. That may be why some reviewers said this story was serviceable, but not extraordinary. The lore is quite well done, it is merely the way it is transmitted to a player that is playing a game. (Fenster mentioned Maerwald once before) They are not reading a book. There are ways to turn reading a book into an interactive game, of course, but that's not where Pillars went.

 

"We weren't going to build the vision environments (although we'd have loved to if we could have)"

 

Could have reused the stronghold and Endless Paths for some of that, then re used some of the art work, conceptual stuff, and modified it for an adventure text box. Of course, it's better if the player didn't get another load screen at that moment. But it's one way to tie the story around and link it to all of its parts, as it reduces the amount of work to make it visceral. The Engwithans at Caed Nua, was in the same era as when T started his own endless path. They might have had shrines there as well, with peculiar themes to them. Instead of looking at the Stronghold as a separate area, much could have been done if people used the Stronghold as an excuse to tie it in with the main crit plot as well. I mean, how many levels do you have in the Endless Paths to work with here?

 

"Ideally you want to develop that in your side quests, and we did that to a degree, but I don't think we covered enough of it, or made a big enough deal about religion and the pantheon in the first two acts."

 

That's where the PC starting off as a priest of X, would have helped out. Of course, you can't include that in the crit path because you can't assume the PC is class A. He may not be Class A. So the link is broken before it even begins. But there's always dispositions...

 

Link gameplay elements together. And try not to have so much reactivity like all those dispositions, which probably ends up being bigger word count than Durance uncensored. But that was probably Josh's part of systems design. Between disposition A through E, helping me understand the world, and better companions with more "stuff" to do with them, the latter part will always pull me into the plot and world harder than Disposition A through E as they are currently used in game.

 

"It was considered, too, that in BGII, the strongholds didn't have much of a connection to the narrative beyond the quest to acquire them, so I think that was chosen more as the model."

 

That's because in BG2, there were many many strongholds, and you couldn't have all of them without modding and editing files. How do you connect 5 strongholds to the main crit path when the player only uses 1 of them, some of the time? That's like having 5 dispositions that don't affect the critical path of the game's plot... because you can't just have a Game Over due to somebody's dispositions, there's too many (combinations) of them.

 

It is not necessarily the stronghold that needed connections, but the gameplay around it. Something more could have been done with the Steward, adding dialogue options to the UI instead of the stronghold mechanics being in the UI only. This would allow direct dialogue with the steward, which could be rolled into content like the 3.0 stronghold quests. Creating its own miniature narrative. Not using the NPCs that the player already knows about, or rather relegating the steward to a stronghold mechanic and nothing more, disconnects the gameplay from the rest of the world and story narrative. Adding more stuff isn't always better than just improving the quality of what's already there. Takes less time and resources for the latter.

 

"Later on in development, we got kind of a hyperlinked tooltip system that explained certain highlighted words when you'd mouse over them. This was used to explain systems primarily, but if I'd have known about the system early on, I think I could've made a lot of the early dialogue cleaner by offloading those explanations into some database the player has to opt into. Wouldn't have solved everything, but wouldn't have hurt."

 

Check out that visual novel Gahkthun of the Golden Lightning or Steins;Gate encyclopedias. Similar problems and solutions.

 

"I haven't seen what Torment: Numenera is doing, but hopefully they've learned from our mistakes, and I'm interested to see what they've come up with."

 

If I have it right, their quest designers have a pool of backer npcs with specific background, and they will sometimes pick one of the NPCs to tie it into one of their quests. So instead of that npc on the road you kill in Pillars area 2xb, that then ends up dying or getting sent to jail and they then escape, which was their entire content, now there's probably some kind of content onion, where an NPC is involved in more than 2-3 quests in total for that area. But that was often the case with Torment to begin with. There were a lot of NPCs in Pillars, who it would have been interesting to soul read their backgrounds as part of the dialogue, it would have made the Watcher thing more relevant to gameplay since dialogue and combat is like more than 75% of the game there. The backer npc text was very interesting, and I wanted to read more. But there wasn't more. There was just like dozens and dozens of them, all isolated, without context, beginning, middle or end. It was just there. Read a few paragraphs, like a trip to starbucks, go back to what you were really doing. Of course it distracted people and broke up their gameflow. What else could it do? Placing all of the backer NPCs at the STRONGHOLD or the second city would have made more sense.

 

On another note, looking at Carrie's writing and short stories, she is very good at writing short, succinct, pieces that capture strong or vivid images and concepts. Working on GM must have been very problematic, since Chris Avellone is... the opposite, for a similar end result. No wonder, thus, that Durance and GM felt like very different story companions, even though they should all have come from the same source material. The writing felt different to me, not just the content. Asking Durance about all the lore stuff, was great for me, but wasn't in it for GM, for example.

 

"They achieved their purpose at the time, which was to drum up enthusiasm among the backers, but some of the bigger goals probably cost quite a lot more to develop than they brought in - the second city, the megadungeon, and the expansion come to mind. Smaller scope would've afforded us more polish time."

 

Certainly, but there could have been ways to deal with it in a creative sense. Having the second city be Creitum in the past, for example. That would allow a direct development and link to gameplay, questing, combat, and the player's backstory. Caed Nua, also a timeslip back into the past. And all the old excuses that there's no VO or visual art resources for it, are easily shattered by that trace drawing for the adventure box narratives. Which weren't utilized as much as they could have. Ironically, the best parts of the game were the most experimental tech, that people didn't touch much of. There wasn't much of it to consume.

 

" I don't want to tip my hand, so pardon the vagueness. One would be having fewer, but far deeper and more interconnected companions"

 

I agree. Class changing them would also be neat if it could fit within the lore, as it allows people to fill in the party with whatever, without losing flexibility. Less important given Pillar's already good and hybrid like class system, however. More important for reading stories, though since it connects the companion npcs directly to the game fabric, the game lore, and the game mechanics. Which in turn, connects them to the player experience.

 

Even having extra companions sitting back at the stronghold can become a fun mechanic, if you could play from their perspective and do combat or quests, with an instant transition, leaving your main character elsewhere. 

 

"But better. More memorable. More like a real group of people. Less likely to be collecting dust in your stronghold."

 

Also less but more impactful dispositions. It's like Josh missed out on all the Fallout new vegas faction reputation points. But there's no factions. And dispositions aren't connected to the backstory, the soul, the plot, the combat (other than paladins), or the gods. Looking at the number of combinations and work put into it, the text lines themselves, that's a lot of work for little inter connectivity.

 

Going back to the subject of Backer NPCs, the reason Obsidian may have been caught off guard was because their backer beta testers saw the content there, but it wasn't clear that these were backer npcs. It was also not explicitly stated that this was ALL the content, always, same style, for the backer npcs, that they would have zero quests, zero connection with plot or companions. Zero.

 

At the time, the testers might have just been withholding judgment, because there were more interesting things to test and talk about. But if the designers had asked them straight out, "how do you think this would work if the npcs were everywhere, but they had no content and were just a paragraph of text, just like you saw in backer beta 333"? You all might have gotten some interesting responses, which would have lead to a more easy way to adapt to the gamefeedback from the public.

 

If you do not ask the right questions, you will not get the right answers, even if most of the answers are wrong to begin with.

 

This got long enough that I reread it and edited a few times. Editing, which is slightly less work than rewriting. (There is a VN called Rewrite, however)

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That was fantastic, Ymarsakar, and completely on target.

 

God, having the second city be Creitum during your past life ... that would have been ridiculously cool. Probably kinda resource-intensive to get right, but cool.

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If I'm typing in red, it means I'm being sarcastic. But not this time.

Dark green, on the other hand, is for jokes and irony in general.

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