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Josh Sawyer's tweets and teasers, part IV

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Sawyer retweeted this from Art Director Matt Hansen:

 

 

 

"Sure," he says, "I can do layout and typography for your ~200 page RPG book in 2 days. No problem."

I'd say momma didn't raise no fool, but she didn't raise no lair.

 

So, there's a rush on for something in the coming days.  Seems reasonable to guess that they want to do all their announcements in one go-- the TTRPG rulebook, the final challenge mode, the big patch/update we've been waiting for, and maybe more info on the console release.

Looks like Matt delivered on the TTRPG:

 

https://twitter.com/jesawyer/status/1119063636322869248

 

Momma didn't raise no lair [sic] indeed.

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Sawyer retweeted this from Art Director Matt Hansen:

 

 

 

"Sure," he says, "I can do layout and typography for your ~200 page RPG book in 2 days. No problem."

I'd say momma didn't raise no fool, but she didn't raise no lair.

 

So, there's a rush on for something in the coming days.  Seems reasonable to guess that they want to do all their announcements in one go-- the TTRPG rulebook, the final challenge mode, the big patch/update we've been waiting for, and maybe more info on the console release.

Looks like Matt delivered on the TTRPG:

 

https://twitter.com/jesawyer/status/1119063636322869248

 

Momma didn't raise no lair [sic] indeed.

 

so matt rushes to get done that which will now languish 'til at least after easter?

 

deserves two swearengens

 

tenor.giftenor.gif

 

HA! Good Fun!


"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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Posted (edited)

FYI, the forum update means we can finally just copy/paste twitter links!  Huzzah!

 

 

Edited by Ethics Gradient
Not just posting a silly picture, looks like they're filming something for an update. 👀
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Posted (edited)

interesting stuff  in the post mortem.

Couple of things that stood out to me 

  1. One criticism they took from the first game was Slow Start / Ambiguous Motivation
    • I really dislike this change in 2 story. They did the whole God Smash story because of it but the story feels so disjointed from exploration and factions and josh talks about this in talk. I still havent finished the game because of the story. I get lost in motivation. In the back of my head i know im suppose to follow ethos but there are these tons of other cool quest i find and it paralyzes and bugs me and this anxiety makes it not fun to keep moving. 
    • I liked the first game mystery. I liked the slower start and not being some god savior right away. I like not being known by everyone and their mamma. Yes mr npc i am the god prince watcher fear me. arg. hehe
  2. Ship to Ship combat - 40:15 "Its was the most expensive feature in terms of dev time/ money spent" - geez and Josh mentioned he wanted to cut this feature because he realized it was going to be a time/money sink for something lots of people will not like but a manager above Josh put it back into the game. This seems like a pretty big misstep. 
  3. DOS 2 put a lot pressure to do full VO which seemed to cause issues with narrative and pushed the game back months because of needed time to implement. Another decision by management above josh  who wanted a partial VO experience. I am mixed about this. its cool sounding as a feature but if it hurts the overall game i like to read alot already so screw the vo lol. 
  4. Josh mentions the turned based wasnt perfect since it didnt preserve the action economy of RTWP. Josh said compared to the ship combat the turned based implementation was nothing. geez if not for the ship combat the game would prob be better haha wow
Edited by draego

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And I was wondering what I should do this afternoon. Nothing productive I see, let me grab my popcorn. 


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Very nice talk.


Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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I love Josh's postmortem. I think it is very interesting to hear developer's thoughts about their project, and their reflection on what went right and what went wrong. I pretty much agree with everything there, plus some interesting insights. 

5 companions - it was a fine decision. Game didn't suffer for it. I can do with 5 or 6. I never felt the need for the 6th character. 

Relationship mechanic - I don't think this works in a handcrafter world like PoE. It might be a good system in a more abstract, procedural game. In a handcrafted adventure it all leads into predetermined outcomes, while the path of getting there didn't feel as organic as it was hoped for. There might be a way to impliment it the right way, but I need to be proved wrong first. 

Ship2ship combat - yeah, it is the feature which should have been cut. It did have a promise, and I can imagine it working well (presentation isn't the problem for me). But as Josh said it is a game within a game. You would need to design a good system to make it work. How, bringing it back as a crowdfunding goal after the feature was already cut in alpha was very... shortsighted, or just plain naive. I would take tentacles attacking the ship over ship2ship combat. 

Full VO - full VO is nice, but it doesn't make a game. It is not kind of a game, which relies on movie-like spectacle. I feel bad for devs who had to endure because of that decision. Did it need to be on launch? 

DLCs - are fantastic. I would prefer a on big expansion though. 

 

Owners need to trust their devs more. It might be Josh throwing them under the bus for making bad decisions, while not crediting them for good ones. Still, bringing back Ship combat was a bad, bad choice.

I am sad Josh won't be helming PoE3, hopefully his insight and experience will be of help to the new lead.

Full VO expectaion worry me. It feels like a problem Bioware run into in the past - were increasing production cost were constraining what the game can be more and more. Full VO is nice, but not when it comes at the cost of game itself, or the team. The last thing I want to see is reactivity, companions or writing revision getting cut.

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the post mortem is revealing, as much for what he don't talk 'bout as he does. 

as a person who were fine with the amount o' vo in poe, is disheartening to hear how the narrative team were stifled by the late added goal o' full vo. am not certain poe2 writing woulda' been any better w/o vo, but the possibility for improvement were limited by a choice which did little to improve our game... stress am recognizing Gromnir's relative indifference to extensive vo.

w/o context is difficult to figure out just how much effort went into ship combat, more than tb, but... *shrug* regardless. assuming ship combat were indeed sucking "quicksand," then am sympathizing with the regret sawyer feels. to us, ship-to-ship combat were a mildly exploitive minigame, but it didn't add much to our overall appreciation o' deadfire. if developer efforts coulda' been spent elsewhere on more relevant features, am feeling loss for the mighta and coulda beens.

...

am thinking the postmortem also reveals josh blind spots. for example, when speaking 'bout what he describes as plot ambiguity, he fails any mention o' how a sandbox game impacts the pacing and ambiguity issues he recognizes. pacing is necessarily gonna be affected the existence o' dozens o' potential tangential sidequest opportunities, each with their own insular and discrete subplots. move to sandbox compared to poe less open clear impacted pacing, but not a mention in post mortem? why? 

how he talks talk 'bout plot ambiguity also reveals a conceit josh has 'bout narrative, 'cause he ain't talking character or thematic development. most fantasy plots is... dumb. heroic fantasy is even more limited and is no shock when folks wanna compare every new epic fantasy story to tolkien.  destined hero or everyman, must overcome a series o' character defining obstacles which eventual makes possible for him/her to deal with the Great Threat to _______. plot is often a secondary concern in modern writing. plot provides opportunities for character growth and it reinforces theme, but plot itself may be lackluster w/o story suffering. nevertheless, josh fixates on plot.

etc.

regardless, we watched the post mortem in its entirety, so congrats to josh for holding our attention for near an hour. were enlightening.

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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Full VO is why we have tons of filler text ("furrowed brows" anyone?) and purple prose, and it's the main reason why the dialogue is chopped up one sentence at a time ('Continue' mashing), with each sentence being recorded as a separate audio file in most cases. While the voice acting for the companions and important characters like the faction leaders and gods is decent, the poor quality of VO for the rest of the NPCs is immersion-breaking at best and wholly atrocious at worst.

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Posted (edited)

I see some parallel with Mass Effect 1 in therms of main quest.

It's just a copy - to hunt an Eothas/Saren. But why do people liked ME 1? Maybe, because it was character focused adventure - saying "focused" i mean focused on our main protagonist, our companions, main antagonist. There was a lot of planets we can land end explore, (just like in Deafire) but all in all all this planets and sidequests were ****ty. But the main quest was interesting, there was a mystery about Protheans, about Reapers...

Deadfire main quest (and whole game philosophy) lack the same, but more than that - sidequests and DLC appears more interesting than main quest. They draw player's attention, they corrupt all pacing. But pacing of what? Eothas? Who cares?

I say, if the Deadfire game were focused not on Eothas hunt, but more grounded themes - fight between factions, characters, our companions, our protaginist - game would only be better.

Edited by Phenomenum

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Posted (edited)

P. S. Full VO is never can be a bad thing, and never can be a justification for bad writing ("furrowed brows" anyone?) . Every AAA game have full VO, but not so many of these have a good writing. It's not related things at all.

Edited by Phenomenum

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@Gromnir some really good point regarding Josh not acknowledging some major issues with the narrative. 

I would agree that Deadfire moved from being a story to being a plot. While a lot of Eora lore has been in the background in PoE1 (books etc.), Deadfire focuses mostly on lore, with shallow representation of how individuals react to events around them. Deadfire is really interested in metaphisical and sociopolitical landscape of Deadfire, and while interesting, it's not very engaging.

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46 minutes ago, Phenomenum said:

P. S. Full VO is never can be a bad thing, and never can be a justification for bad writing ("furrowed brows" anyone?) . Every AAA game have full VO, but not so many of these have a good writing. It's not related things at all.

actual, josh example is a strong argument for the admitted limited example o' when full vo might be an excuse for bad writing. writing takes much resources and a whole lotta time. find out only after development has progressed deep you gotta wrap up writing asap 'cause gonna do full vo and such scheduling issues take precedence? writers think they got many tens o' man hours to finish and then revise dialogue and narration only to discover they is effective needing wrap up their efforts... yesterday.

am only able to imagine the kinda roller coaster gut-lurch, followed by cold sweats, which musta' accompanied the full vo announcement being delivered to narrative team.

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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On 4/18/2019 at 7:26 PM, Enoch said:

I'd say momma didn't raise no fool, but she didn't raise no lair.

Well, good to know he didn't grow up in a lair.


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

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1 hour ago, Phenomenum said:

P. S. Full VO is never can be a bad thing, and never can be a justification for bad writing ("furrowed brows" anyone?) . Every AAA game have full VO, but not so many of these have a good writing. It's not related things at all.

AAA action/adventure games don't even come close to cRPGs in terms of the total amount of dialogue. Considering the limited budget/time that Obsidian had to contend with while making Deadfire, the decision to implement full VO had an overall negative effect on the writing quality (mostly in terms of having to cut the amount of actual dialogue in favor of filler prose).

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Posted (edited)
34 minutes ago, Gromnir said:

actual, josh example is a strong argument for the admitted limited example o' when full vo might be an excuse for bad writing. writing takes much resources and a whole lotta time. find out only after development has progressed deep you gotta wrap up writing asap 'cause gonna do full vo and such scheduling issues take precedence? writers think they got many tens o' man hours to finish and then revise dialogue and narration only to discover they is effective needing wrap up their efforts... yesterday.

The answer is simple: If you forced to change writing in favour of full VO because of lack of resources, then you shouldn't do full VO. Anyway, even with full VO Deadfire was annihilated by Divinity in therms of sales AND in therms of user interest. Then... full VO obviously is not a recipe of success.

Edited by Phenomenum

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6 minutes ago, Insolentius said:

AAA action/adventure games don't even come close to cRPGs in terms of the total amount of dialogue.

Ha-ya. Did you see Mass Effect series or God of War 3 of Horison Zero Dawn or or or. They have a tons of VO but ME series, God of War, Horizon have a strong main quest / plot. I want to say again: it's just bad writing of Deadfire.


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That was an entertaining talk.  While it seems like Josh identified many of these issues with hindsight, it does make me wonder what the game could have been like if they were able to just cut the ship-combat minigame.  Maybe we would have seen some more interesting scenarios with ship to ship combat, sea monsters, or some other feature that would have resonated a bit more.  

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23 minutes ago, Wormerine said:

I would agree that Deadfire moved from being a story to being a plot. While a lot of Eora lore has been in the background in PoE1 (books etc.), Deadfire focuses mostly on lore, with shallow representation of how individuals react to events around them. Deadfire is really interested in metaphisical and sociopolitical landscape of Deadfire, and while interesting, it's not very engaging.

yeah, am not certain if josh believes what you describe is a problem, which is why we brought it up in the first place. 

am recalling during a twitch stream, there were talk 'bout deadfire setting and mood and how game would be less dark, so Gromnir kinda offhand mentions that deadfire would not be channeling The Mission? josh explains to twitch audience what movie we were referencing in our question, then agreed deadfire would be less bleek... but would focus more on themes such as colonialism.

...

colonialism? is not that colonialism wouldn't work as a central theme... well, yeah, am thinking colonialism is too impersonal to work as central theme. make integral to game is fine, but you gotta personalize somehow and a crpg with a nameless and faceless protagonist is not gonna be the ideal vehicle for showing the human costs o'... colonialism.

am not sure if josh recognizes the problem wormerine describes as being problematic.

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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21 minutes ago, Phenomenum said:

Ha-ya. Did you see Mass Effect series or God of War 3 of Horison Zero Dawn or or or. They have a tons of VO but ME series, God of War, Horizon have a strong main quest / plot. I want to say again: it's just bad writing of Deadfire.

That said the quite you use acts as counter argument to what you say. It's not that full VO means bad writing - but in an sprawling RPG, with many different dialogue paths an amount of writing in it it will take resources to write, revise and improve. While a one game might have a modest amount of writing and full VO, another might invest more in writing and less in VO.

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28 minutes ago, Phenomenum said:

Ha-ya. Did you see Mass Effect series or God of War 3 of Horison Zero Dawn or or or. They have a tons of VO but ME series, God of War, Horizon have a strong main quest / plot. I want to say again: it's just bad writing of Deadfire.

Those games had a much higher budget relative to Deadfire, and besides - the amount of dialogue in games like Mass Effect, Horizon or God of War pales in comparison to the number of lines in typical cRPGs. Do you get what I'm saying? I'm not claiming that full VO is the main culprit here, but it didn't help the writing process one iota.

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54 minutes ago, Phenomenum said:

The answer is simple: If you forced to change writing in favour of full VO because of lack of resources, then you shouldn't do full VO. Anyway, even with full VO Deadfire was annihilated by Divinity in therms of sales AND in therms of user interest. Then... full VO obviously is not a recipe of success.

the answer may seem simple, but it wasn't. while full vo wasn't a recipe for success, obsidian believed, and still does believe, full vo is approaching being a prerequisite for success. is not that full vo woulda' guaranteed profitability, but absence were believed to be a death knell. josh compared to feedback of pathfinder:kingmaker and how owlcat were criticized for lack o' vo in spite o' fact such a thing were prohibitive considering their budget.  

disagree with obsidian conclusions, but while josh agrees it were not best for the game to try and implement full at the point in development when deadfire became committed to such a feature, he also seems to recognize how the vo bar has, for now at least, been raised. regardless o' deadfire success or failure, divinity 2 and deadfire both implemented full vo creating a level o' consumer expectation for similar future games.

HA! Good Fun!

 


"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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Posted (edited)

josh's talks are always interesting, and i agree that that post-mortem was very interesting and quite revealing.

it is disheartening to see just how much of a quicksand ship-to-ship combat was - i was definitely in the "has promise, but can you tweak more?" camp and now I feel like I was part of a black hole destroying more productive developer time. at this point I mostly appreciate it as a crutch to get easy XP on PotD with challenges, so from a cost-benefit and overall "works with the game" perspective, it would've been better if feargus hadn't overruled josh's decision and we just had boarding combat (which would've been perfectly fine IMO).

re: full VO - I hope this isn't as much of a future trap as Josh makes it out to be. I had a sense that full VO was expensive, but had no idea how demanding it could be of everyone's time, not to mention not realizing the effect it has on locking down writing and narration polish and changes. Maybe players will be more forgiving of games without full VO as games can demonstrate how much more they can do when they aren't blowing lots of cash and time and locking in early writing to support full VO. But maybe the die is cast for the next few years now, given the pathfinder feedback.

Edited by thelee
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Posted (edited)
52 minutes ago, Gromnir said:

but absence were believed to be a death knell.

Absence of good writing and good main quest is a "death knell". And this is true. Full VO it just a good bonus to other things - writing, strong main quest and so on. But if you sacrificed all those "other things" to made full VO... Same thing about ship combat. Wasted a tons of time and money because of one idiot says he want to see it in the game... Are you serious?

I can't say more. As i said dozen of times, Microsoft should kick out half of crippled programmers, whole QA department, and some of SEO idiots. If they will do that + take a good writers, Obsidian may start to produce a true masterpiece games.

Edited by Phenomenum

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