Mars War Logs
Mars War Logs Review
The recently released Mars War Logs has been reviewed by Fluent and he wasn't too thrilled with what he found.
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Neverwinter Nights: Bob McCabe Interview
Lucky Day met with former Bioware employee Bob McCabe to talk about Neverwinter Nights.
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Poll WatchDo you Kickstart?
Yes, I've supported a bunch!
Yes, but only 1 or 2.
I'm waiting for the right project.
No! No finished product, no money!
No - but only because of my tight budget.
Original Sin Fundraiser - We Need Your Input by Corwin
Ghost of a Tale - Funded by Dajjer
Bloodlust Shadowhunter - A New ARPG Adventure with Vampires by Couchpotato
Might & Magic X - Legacy of Shantiri's Ruins by HiddenX
The RPG Podcast - What Is The True Definition of a Role-Playing Game? by Alrik Fassbauer
Thursday - May 09, 2013
Legends of Eisenwald - Post-Funding Update #35, Beta News
Last week an update came available for Legends of Eisenwald that informed us that patch 0.85 is out and tha the first stage of beta has been concluded, with these being the highlights of that patch:
- French translation added;
- Quest journal significantly expanded - quests are marked on the mini map and tabs for all, completed and not completed quests are shown correctly;
- Personal items are displayed in the info window of a character;
- Added calculations of payment for mercenaries and units without castle support;
- The cost of hiring depends on the relationship to buildings owners;
- Skills are displayed in the info window of a character;
- Added icons of a character’s hiring status (mercenary units, followers, regular units with castle support have no icons).
They also could use more votes to get greenlighted on Steam.
Information aboutLegends of Eisenwald
Release: In development
Dungeons & Dragons - Warner Bros. To Make D&D Movie
According to Flixist Warner Bros. is going to make a new film series about the fantasy role-playing tabletop game, Dungeons & Dragons. This is not the first time a D&D movie was made for the big screen.
Warner Bros. is set to develop a feature film franchise revolving around the fantasy role-playing tabletop game, Dungeons & Dragons. And before you ask, yes there was a previous Dungeons & Dragons that was made back in 2000 starring various actors such as Marlon Wayans, Jeremy Irons, and Thora Birch. Let’s just that it is a very, very bad movie.
Regardless, it seems that Warner Bros. is set on restarting the film franchise with a script from screenwriter David Leslie Johnson (Wrath of the Titans). Producing the film will be Roy Lee (Oldboy, How to Train Your Dragon) and Courtney Solomon who produced and directed the original Dungeons & Dragons. Also jumping on board is Allan Zeman who served as the executive producer of Dungeons & Dragons will be the executive producer for this as well. I believe there is a trend developing here and it isn’t a good one.
Hopefully Warner Bros. knows what they are getting into.
Information aboutDungeons & Dragons
Shroud of the Avatar - Request for New Tier Titles
It seems Lord British wants your help renaming the tier titles for new and old backers.
Greetings and Salutations!
Lord British has a request to make of you, his Royal Subjects. We are in the process of defining the new titles for new tiers and would like your input! Our current thoughts are to add the prefix Royal to many of the Kickstarter only titles, making the basic title available to any new pre-launch pledges. We would like to know what you think of that!
And then, there are a few titles that just didn’t seem to work with the Royal Prefix, like Lord (and have been left blank in the chart below). So we would like some feedback as to what titles should be given to new backers for those tiers.
We are also open to considering new names for the existing tiers. For example, during the Kickstarter campaign, some players suggested that “Lord of the Manor” be changed to “Archduke”. So if you have any suggestions for alternate titles, now is the time to share your feedback!
Please leave your feedback in the comments, or preferably on the forums in the following thread: Community Feedback Request for New Tier Titles.
Information aboutShroud of the Avatar
SP/MP: Single + MP
Release: In development
Eador: Master of the Broken World - Patch 1.0.6 Released
Snowbird Games continue their bug-fixing for Eador: Masters of the Broken World. The update can be downloaded using the game's auto-update utility. Here is the list of changes.
— ‘Endless siege’ bug.
— Berserk barbarian animation caused the game to crash.
— Selected building is not correctly highlighted in the city screen.
— Effects bug of ‘A portal to Chaos’ event.
— Battle starts before some of the dialogues are over.
— Capitals generating on neutral terrain types.
— AI controlled hero doesn’t attack the castle’s garrison while it’s under siege.
— Delays in selection, giving orders and showing tooltip for units.
— Problem with necromancy skill and hero information display after the battle.
— Inability to sell an item in some cases.
— Bug that caused heroes to receive new skills and parameters earlier than intended.
— Attack of the enemy castle with no units in the garrison.
— Bug with provinces capturing where defenders could become guards in some cases.
— Karma transfer from the shard map to the astral.
— Killing a skeleton during a battle could cause the game to crash.
- Added information display of other players’ spent points.
- Updated prices for units, spells and items.
- Improved chat.
Information aboutEador: Master of the Broken World
Neverwinter - Full of Disappointment, Lacking in Everything Else
Well this time we have a small preview of NeverWinter from GameSkinny. The writer is not happy with the game and writes why.
Everything in Neverwinter feels empty and useless.
The truth is that the game feels hollow. A fun combat system can't make up for a lack of depth, nor can it make up for a game-and-business model that aims to squeeze as much from the player as possible. Cryptic deserves no praise in this release.
I've played around 60 to 70 hours of the game since open beta began, and I'm still not clear why the standard copper, silver, and gold currency is included in the game at all. While there are certainly several items you can purchase from NPCs with gold, often you can get those same items with Astral Diamonds.
Astral Diamonds are, in practice, the game's primary currency. You use them to exchange for Zen (cash shop currency), buy and sell things on the auction house, and some items can only be bought with Astral Diamonds. Identification scrolls are one example that is completely baffling. Aren't they common enough to just keep to gold currency? Why should I spent my hard-earned diamonds on identification scrolls, when every other supply can be purchased with gold?
The above is not to say that the Astral Diamond currency isn't common, but you need such massive amounts for anything worthwhile that I just feel like I'm being ripped off in-game.
I got 600k for purchasing a founder's pack, but that 600k's worth is undeniably low in-game. It costs 300k to 600k on the auction house to buy a bag. A bag! And let me tell you, those people selling bags on the AH didn't get them from playing the game, they got them from the cash shop. How is this good, non-predatory game design?
It's hard not to feel like Cryptic and Perfect World Entertainment are taking us all for a ride. Their reputations in this field speak for themselves, and sadly Neverwinter has not proven to be the exception to the rule. The PvP is fun, but it's not fun enough to justify the mess that is the rest of the game. There is simply no excuse for the game's lack of depth, distinct void of challenge, or currency clusterbang.
The game had and has a lot of potential, but as it is now Neverwinter is not worth playing or investing even a few hours of time into. Five days in, I already found myself regretting the purchase of the Guardian of Neverwinter pack. This is not worthy of being related to Dungeons and Dragons, even the bastard child that is 4th Edition. If this is where the MMORPG genre is going, I think I may have to take a hiatus.
Release: In development
SW: TOR - Revenue "More Than Doubled" Since Going Free-to-play
EA and Bioware annnouced that Star Wars: The Old Republic has more than doubled it's income since going F2P. Polygon has all the details.
Monthly average revenue for, BioWare's massively multiplayer online role-playing game, has more than doubled and subscriptions have increased since adopting the free-to-play model last year, Electronic Arts president of labels Frank Gibeau revealed in an earning's call today.
EA announced that the MMO would adopt a free-to-play model last July, and the transition took place in November 2012. Since then, Gibeau said the game has grown significantly.
"Since it was induced in November, we've added more than 1.7 million new players on the free model to the service," Gibeau said. "And the number of subscriptions has stabilized at just under half a million.
"The really interesting thing that's happening inside the service right now is monthly average revenue for the game has more than doubled since we introduced the free-to-play option. And as we look forward, we're going to continually invest in new content for the service and for players every six weeks or so."
Information aboutSW: TOR
Hellraid - Dead Island Meets Oblivion
Techland's new game Hellraid looks to recapture the magic of '90s PC gaming. To showcase their ambitions Techland has released a small trailer. Eurogamer has a small article with more information also.
Bethesda Softworks - E3 Schedule Detailed
Bethesda Softworks announced their schedule at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2013.
Bethesda will be showcasing their recently announced projects The Evil Within and Wolfenstein: The New Order, as well as The Elder Scrolls Online. However only Wolfenstein: The New Order and The Elder Scrolls Online will be playable at Bethesda's booth.
The presentation and playing the games at the booth should take an average of 2 hours.
For those attending E3 the booth number and hourly booth appointment time are as follow:
Bethesda Softworks Booth Number: 523, South Hall
Hourly Booth Appointment Times:
Tuesday, June 11:
12:00pm; 1:00pm; 2:00pm; 3:00pm; 4:00pm & 5:00pm
Wednesday, June 12:
10:00am; 11:00pm; 12:00pm; 1:00pm; 2:00pm; 3:00pm; 4:00pm & 5:00pm
Thursday, June 13:
10:00am; 11:00pm; 12:00pm; 1:00pm; 2:00pm; 3:00pm & 4:00pm
Information aboutBethesda Softworks
Obsidian Entertainment - Hoping To Work With EA/BioWare On Star Wars
RockPaperShotgun has a new article on Obsidian, and how they still want to work on another StarWars RPG.
We now live in a world where The Sims: Star Wars or Need for Speed: Tosche Station could become things. I’m not saying it’s likely (though the former would not shock me in the slightest), but Star Wars is under new management, so who knows? For now, all we can say for sure is that BioWare, DICE, and Visceral are actively adding their own chapters to the space opera, but we won’t see results from those initial efforts until at least mid-2014 – and much later, in all likelihood.
You’ll remember, however, that Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II developer Obsidian also has a rather ambitious idea floating around, and – last we heard – it was about to lay it before the greatest Sith Lord of them all: Mickey Mouse. So then, what happened there? And where does Obsidian’s new Star Wars RPG end up now that EA’s pulling the strings? I got in touch with Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart to find out.
First up, Disney. Turns out, the developer never actually ventured into the hallowed halls of the House of Mouse. The reason? Things were simply too unstable at the time.
“As for Disney, we didn’t end up talking with them directly, since we were waiting to see what might happen with the license as a whole,” Urquhart explained to RPS.
Now, however, all the pieces have fallen into place, and Urquhart’s ready to see if there’s room for Obsidian in EA’s master plan.
“We are certainly going to try,” he said. “We would love to work on another Star Wars game, and if it was possible for us to hook up with BioWare and EA to do so, that would be pretty amazing.”
Information aboutObsidian Entertainment
Original Sin - Post-Funding Update #39, Scripting
In this post-funding Kickstarter update for Original Sin more information on scripting is presented.
In this moving pictures part of the update, Bert, our resident script guru, explains how it is possible to implement "generic behaviours" that affect all npcs in the game world, and thus increase the amount of reactions they have. He gives a bunch of examples of what you can do with Osiris, the scripting language used in Divinity: Original Sin, just to get you thinking of all the things you could be doing with it.
In other words - characters in Divinity: Original Sin react.
There is also information on Paypal closing soon:
Paypal pledging is still possible but will finish this weekend, meaning that in practice it'll stay open until monday morning GMT+1. Right now the counter is at $57.596,60.
We will add the total number of backers via paypal to calculate the size of the lair beneath the phantom forest, and at that time we'll also take stock of the amount of Facebook likes to calculate the amount of Bellegar encounters Divinity:Original Sin will feature.
And more information on precessing the pledges: and rewards
We've answered quite a lot of private messages and mails about how pledges are going to be managed, and in an effort to save our fingers a bit, here's an overview of how we envision things will work:
- All backers (Kickstarter+Paypal) will receive an account at The Larian Vault
- Your account will contain an overview of your rewards
- If we need information from you to send you your rewards, you'll be able to fill it in there
- You will be able to add extra add-ons to your reward tier via The Larian Vault too. Not all add-ons will be available, but there will be quite a few. You'll also be able to upgrade your reward.
Information aboutOriginal Sin
SP/MP: Single + MP
Release: In development
Wednesday - May 08, 2013
Larian Studios - Being Selective
Larian Studios' Swen Vincke has penned down a new article, which this time is about the press attention (or lack thereof) in their Kickstarter campaign, the effort it took them and the quality of (p)reviews in general, concluding that it is better to be selective in where you devote your attention to.
Anyway, it was observations like the above one that lead me to conclude that we should start screening who we show the game to, and review the quality of their articles, prior to actually demonstrating the game to them. In the past I abstained from doing that, even when I wanted to know, but now I think it’s good practice. We’ve been perhaps too eager for attention past, and happy to show our creative babies to anybody who passed by. That delivered us some good but also quite a lot ofbad results, the most memorable one being PC Gamer UK giving Divine Divinity 56% wheras their US sister magazine gave it 84% and later put it in their top 100 games of all times. The irony
Perhaps there’s another more focussed approach that might yield more benefits. I remain intrigued by the click-through numbers in our Kickstarter campaign and the link between article appearing/pledge counter increasing. It was clear who had what impact, and the results were very counter-intuitive, at least to my traditional view of games media.
To give you an example – There exists no such thing as IGN, the person. There’s only Joe, John and Daisy working at IGN reviewing and previewing games. If there’s a John who like turn-based fantasy RPG’s and played several of them, it makes sense to show him Divinity: Original Sin, if his editor will let him.
But if Joe, John and Daisy think the world ends with Assassin’s Creed and Battlefield, then perhaps we should not send a version to them, because nothing good can come from it. You wouldn’t offer mushroom-only dishes to a gourmet critique who hates mushrooms and is the editor of “fabulous cooks that don’t use mushrooms monthly” either.
Information aboutLarian Studios
Legends of Dawn - Post-Funding Update #21, Achievements
The Legends of Dawn devs bring us news that their game has over 140 achievements and that this will be fully integrated with Steam (although it also works off-line). In addition there is also news on voice-overs and the beta.
As we informed you on March 20th we got Steam SDK and beside working on voice overs we were studying that stuff. So over the course of last few weeks we have revamped Achievement system. This is mainly due to the fact that now we have access to Steam systems. We are striving to make the game as compatible with Steam as we can. This, however, does not mean that non-Steam players will lack anything. All achievements are available in off-line mode as well.
Our upgraded Achievements panel had three categories with 7 achievements in each category. After these new upgrades we have implemented over 20 achievement categories with more than 142 different achievements. We hope this will make better playing experience for all our players.
Some of these achievements are quite easy to complete and some are really difficult. Some of them even require that you play the game multiple times.
We'd like to hear in comments section about experiences that you had with Steam achievements (particularly with single player RPGs).
And on the beta:
Yet another unexpected and important job is in front of us; Many backers requested the game through GoG and we were already in discussions with them about releasing Legends of Dawn on their platform. However they request that the game should be playable 100% in off-line mode. Legends of Dawn isn't online game however we built it in a such a way that the game requests an IP so the computer has to be connected to router when starting the game. Afterwards the connection isn't needed however this is a limitation that they do not want so as soon as we test the achievement system we'll work on that.
Originally we planned to release the beta as soon as we test all VOs, however expansion of the achievement system and planned work on GoG's request are core features that have to be a part of beta testing so we'll first do all that and then we'll have to learn how to publish the beta through Steam to a selected few testers.
Information aboutLegends of Dawn
Release: In development
Project Eternity - Post-funding Update #52
Project Eternity has a new post-funding update that shows concept art, and gives information on the monk class.
Monks in Eternity are different than you might expect. There are no restrictions on armor and weapons – you could wear plate and use a sword, if you wanted to, and the talent system is flexible enough so you could build a great monk that specialized in that gear. But at the core of this class is a little rule about how monks take damage. You see, when a monk gets hit, only part of the damage is inflicted on him or her immediately. The rest is redirected to a Wound, which is an effect that causes damage over time (called a DoT effect) to the monk. That slowly-ticking Wound would only seem to be delaying the inevitable result except for one thing: the monk can get rid of that Wound by using special attacks.
The monk gets all kinds of cool special attacks that do extra effects beyond simply damage and, as a side effect, also eliminate his Wounds. Some of their special attacks include:
- Torment’s Reach - this ability increases the range of melee attacks by 200% for a short duration. Enemies between the monk and his or her target are also attacked. Costs 1 Wound to activate.
- Turning Wheel - if the monk suffers from a DoT effect (including Wounds ticking down), he or she adds a proportional fire bonus to his or her melee damage. This is a passive ability which works automatically whenever the monk has any DoT effect.
- Clarity of Agony - when used, this ability cuts the duration of hostile status effects in half. It lasts for a brief amount of time, halving both incoming effects and ones that are currently on the monk. Costs 2 Wounds.
Each of these attacks makes monks stronger in battle, and many also consume their Wounds, hopefully before those Wounds have done the damage the monks were originally supposed to take.
Concept artist Kaz Aruga has been developing the look of some of Project Eternity's various cultures. So far, he's created concepts for people from the Dyrwood, the Vailian Republics, the Aedyr Empire, and the Valley of Ixamitl. We hope you like the range we've come up with. Let us know what you think!
Information aboutProject Eternity
Release: In development
Information aboutFallout 3
Platform: PC, Xbox 360, PS3
Dragon Age 3 - Details Coming at E3 2013
BioWare has plans to reveal more information about Dragon Age III: Inquisition at the upcoming E3 2013. Think of this as the usual announcement of an announcement nonsense that seems to be all the rage lately.
Mike Laidlaw states via Twitter that, "I was unclear! Yes, there will be some DAIII at E3. Not just "stuff." DAIII stuff."
Information aboutDragon Age 3
Release: In development
Van Helsing - Steam Release Date
Neocore Games announces that The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing will be released on May 22 exclusively on the PC on Steam.
The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing is a real-time Action RPG filled with fierce and demonic battles, memorable characters, and a refreshingly unique story loosely based on Bram Stoker's classic novel Dracula.
Set in a gothic-noir universe resembling a fantastical 19th century Europe filled with monsters, magic, and weird technology, The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing will follow the son of the famed hunter, known in-game as Van Helsing, in a tale wrought with wry humor and snappy dialogue. Van Helsing, a larger-than-life hero possessing a dark yet romantic charm, will follow his path to the dismal land of Borgovia where former supernatural foes have enlisted his help to defeat a new scourge terrorizing the ravaged city.
Information aboutVan Helsing
SP/MP: Single + MP
Release: In development
Jagged Alliance: Flashback - Update #12, JAF Team Expansion and Modding Details
Full Control has another update for Jagged Alliance: Flashback. This time the update deals with modding, and new team members.
Chris Camfield is joining the Flashback Team
We are super happy to be able to welcome Chris Camfield to the Jagged Alliance: Flashback team.
Chris has worked on the implementation and design of several Jagged Alliance titles and ended up as lead designer on Jagged Alliance 3 that sadly was never released.
He will be joining the team as an advisor while keeping his day job at XMG Studios. Chris’ role will be to help us on essential pieces of implementation knowledge.
WHY were things implemented in a certain way in JA2. Not only HOW. The how could be deducted by most programmers by looking at the open sources.
Understanding the core mechanisms and how they were designed to fit together is essential knowledge to hitting the right balance once we add factions, better AI and other potential improvements/changes to the mechanics.
Establishment of Modding Advisory Team
In addition we are announcing having established a modding advisory and co-design team.
Currently this team includes R@S, creator of the Blue Sun Mod for 7.62 - High Calibre and DepressivesBrot from the 1.13-Crew.
We are also in contact with additional high profile modders to expand the advisory team even more.
Their role will be to work with us to identify essential modding hooks, directory structure definitions, design the templates for modding files and some proof of concept tests.
Having these great modders on board gives us the ability to not fumble the ball on mod support, and will make it easier for everyone to later potentially port their existing mods.
Details on Modding Support
Modding is a wonderful thing and has kept Jagged Alliance 2 alive for many many years. It is also something that takes time to implement right.
If we do not hit some of the higher stretch goals, then we can still support basic modding and hope for adding more options down the road.
Together with the modding advisory team we will prioritize the modding capabilities, that we from initial feedback have grouped into 3 areas.
1) Tweaking of configurations
For example being able to go into xml files to turn on/off line of sight via a boolean, or change the base movement cost per terrain.
2) Adding additional content
Having the ability to add a new mercenary, a new weapon or that “used condom” that you’ve always thought missing as a trash item.
3) Adding additional features
Coding new functionality like wind direction having influence on accuracy while shooting or alternatively altering existing calculations for damage models.
Exactly what is going to be moddable is something that is decided upon during detailed design and ongoing through development with the help of the modding-community.
Information aboutJagged Alliance: Flashback
Release: In development
Ghost of a Tale - Interview @ IndieGameMag
IndieGameMag has a new interview on Ghost of a Tale. We posted another interview earlier also. Both offer new information so be sure to read both.
If you search for the name “Lionel Gallat” on IMDB, you’ll find the name attached to a number of animated feature films: animation director for The Lorax, animation director for Despicable Me, supervising animator for Shark Tale, and the list goes on.
But more recently, Gallat has stepped away from animated feature films, and started developing a video game…on his own. The game is called Ghost of a Tale, and with one look at a screenshot it is easy to see that Gallat’s artistic skills have easily transitioned into the video game. Ghost of a Tale looks beautiful.
“As an animation director I was responsible for the animation of entire movies, leading 60+ [person] teams,” Gallat explained to IGM. “I was longing to go back to the nitty-gritty of creation; writing, modeling, painting, rigging, programming and… playing. I’ve already been in a position where I mostly tell people what they should do (and it’s probable [that] one day I’ll go back to that position) but today I’m having a lot of fun doing things myself for a change!”
Gallat, who is in the middle of promoting the funding campaign for his debut title Ghost of a Tale, chatted with IGM for a bit about his experience transitioning from Hollywood to the game development scene, his woes with Kickstarter, and why Ghost of a Tale deserves your support.
IGM – What inspired you to start working on a game, and move out of the animation industry?
Gallat - It was a good time for me to do so. I’ve always loved games and I’ve always enjoyed writing stories, creating models and animating them. But I also love programming (I’ve written tools used in production in several studios). So it wasn’t really that far-fetched for me to put the two together.
As an artist who programs I can get lost in a coherent game world and get to look everywhere I want, and interact with things that I created. In a nutshell it’s a lot of fun. I feel like a kid again, when I was programming moving sprites (an achievement!) in Microsoft Basic. It’s a huge amount of work obviously, but so rewarding.
IGM – So if the game isn’t fully funded…is that it? Would Ghost of a Tale cease to exist?
Gallat - Yes, probably. Several people have asked me that same question recently. I’ve been working on Ghost of a Tale full-time for more than a year (that includes changing engines), funding everything from my own pocket. So if I can’t remain financially independent and get a modest budget to pay for a handful of collaborators I’ll have to pull the plug at some point. Although let me tell you in all honesty it would hurt like hell, since I love this project with all my soul; I’ve poured so much time, energy and love into it.
If the campaign isn’t successful I would still try to keep working on the project for as long as I could afford it. But at some point my savings will eventually run out. I’m not complaining though; it’s the risk I took so I’m the only one responsible.
I also have to be lucid on the fact that if there aren’t enough backers maybe it means that there simply aren’t enough people interested in a game like Ghost of a Tale. That’s what frightens me most.
Eador: Master of the Broken World - Review @ Softpedia
Softpedia has a review after the rocky release of Eador: Master of the Broken World.
Eador – Masters of the Broken World has serviceable graphics, considering the genre and the indie development team, and the strategic map has managed to get all the fantasy cliches right.I would have liked a little more attention paid to the tactical battles and the way information is offered to the player.
The game also offers multiplayer for those who have the patience required to play a turn-based game with another human and feel that the A.I. is no longer posing a challenge.Those who plan to buy the game should also be aware that some players have reported game breaking bugs, although I have not found any during my time with the strategy title.
Eador – Masters of the Broken World is the kind of game I can see myself playing for 20 hours or more, honing my tactical skills, deciding which hero best suits my needs and the perfect composition for the army. But the interface issues and the somewhat repetitive gameplay mean that I might be forced to abandon it much sooner to focus on more polished experiences in the same genre.
Information aboutEador: Master of the Broken World
Rampant Games - A Knock At The Door
Jay Barnson has a new blog post on imagination, and how leaving blanks for the player to fill in might actually help storytelling.
I’ve written many times about the inherent conflict between narrative and gameplay. We have to sacrifice the principles of (linear) narrative for the sake of good gameplay, or sacrifice gameplay (often locking out interaction completely to tell stories in cutscenes) for the sake of providing solid narrative. The two don’t work well together, and in an interactive medium – like real-life experiences – good narrative often comes from reorganizing and editing of events after the fact.
But that’s linear storytelling. As Chris Crawford once pointed out in a talk I attended many years ago, it’s quite possible to assemble a story from a series of vignettes or one-sentence events that combine to modify the context. In other words, complex stories can be formed of simple atoms (his example was the sentence, “He kissed her.”) that can be endlessly reused. At the time, Crawford’s efforts were focused more on having the computer tell the story interactively with the player.
But might we find ourselves able to construct more powerful narratives if we let the designer and the player take care of the creative heavy lifting? Let the designer imply connections, let the player form and breathe life to those connections, and let the computer just do it’s thing to provide the tools and mechanics to facilitate this?
Don’t worry – I’m not getting all artsy-fartsy and experimental for the next installment of Frayed Knights. I’m just kinda circling around a handful of concepts for how to think about non-linear storytelling. On a budget. After all, if a closed door is more frightening than anything else in the world, isn’t it a waste of time and money for indies to create what might lurk behind it? Well, yes, but for the fact that this focus makes opening the door the single most important thing a player wants to do when that unexpected knock (or pounding) is heard. We just need better ideas of letting the player’s imagination fill in what might be lacking on the screen or in the dialog.
Information aboutRampant Games
Gaming-Enthusiast - The Force Is Strong With EA
Well with the news that EA has exclusive rights to all StarWars games, we have a new editioral article from Gaming-Enthusiast defending EA.
After EA acquired the rights for the Star Wars franchise last night I’ve seen a lot of negative feedback from ‘non-EA’ supporters who don’t realise the studios that EA actually own. I can be somewhat cynical when it comes to EA, but I can’t help to be excited by them taking the rights from Disney to produce Star Wars titles for core gamers in the future.
It seems that gamers have seen the dreaded EA label, and forgot about the studios that EA own. The likes of Bioware, DICE, Criterion, and Visceral Games. As a massive fan of Star Wars, and a gamer, I can’t help but get excited for the possibilities to come from the Star Wars gaming rights being in EA’s hands.
I was surprised to find that not many people knew that The Knights of the Old Republic series is already being made under EA, by Mass Effect developers Bioware since 2003. Surely Battlefront being in the hands of DICE and being developed on their Frostbite engine, can only prove to be a positive thing, right?
There are possibilities for EA to take the Star Wars gaming franchise forward, Need for Speed developer Criterion taking the handles of a pod racing title, maybe even another Rogue Squadron game developed with Most Wanted’s Chameleon engine? Dante’s Inferno developer, Visceral Games to unleash the force in the form of a Jedi hacks and slash title. – These are just a few ideas I’ve thrown together, no doubt EA have already started planning their strategy with they’re studios.
EA have a bit reputation with gamers, they can’t afford to make the same mistakes with unfinished (seemingly untested) Star Wars titles being released. Star Wars is a very sensitive subject, and EA could suffer if they don’t get things just right.
As you can see I’m excited by EA taking the reins since Disney closed down Lucas Arts – who haven’t exactly produced the greatest of Star Wars titles in recent the years, in my eyes. Hell! Look at that god awful Kinect game. Hopefully, EA will bring a fresh new approach to some titles, while revitalising some previous titles that have falling off the track, as well as bringing back some titles – like Rogue Squadron – back to the fans.
I’ve thought of other developers that could possibly take over, Ubisoft, Activision, etc. In my opinion EA are the perfect choice with the developers they have in their portfolio. So I ask you, with their assets, are EA really that bad for our beloved Star Wars?
Tuesday - May 07, 2013
RPGWatch - We have moved
Ghost of a Tale - Interview @ Venturebeat
The Ghost of a Tale campaign at Indiegogo has still 2 weeks to go (the duration was increased recently with one week) and is currently at 27K€ out of a requested 45K€.
In the meantime an article style interview showed up at Venturebeat with developer Lionel Gallat.
“All those influences, just being able to put some cute animals … into a situation where they have to really face danger, but also find empathy in the player, so that the player can care a little bit about the characters and understand, even though they don’t look human,” he said. “That’s what I’m trying to do. To be able to show that even though they don’t look at all like us, we can really understand [them].”
“I’m just trying to do something that’s charming, sympathetic, but I’m not shying away from violence or danger or stuff like that,” he added.
Eschalon - Book I & II on Sale @ GOG
Information aboutEschalon: Book I
George Ziets - Interview @ RPGCodex
RPGCodex interviewed game designer and writer George Ziets about the games he worked in in the past, the games he is working on currently (Project Eternity, Torment Tides of Numenera), Baldur's Gate 3 and more.
How would you describe the 'Ziets approach' to game design? Which designers and writers have influenced you the most over the years?What’s unique about the medium of games is its interactivity. A game is really a shared narrative between the developer and the player, and the more we can do to make the player an equal partner in that exchange, the better.
So my goal as a designer is to make the player feel like the most important character in the game… and to give the player as many ways as possible to customize their experience. Examples: Let the player decide who their character is and was – avoid imposing an identity upon the character if you can. Provide multiple ways to solve every problem, make sure the player is aware of their options, and provide clear consequences for the player’s choice. When important events happen in the story or world, they should result from the player’s actions, or they should play out differently because of the player’s choices. Anticipate what cool thing the player would want to do in any given situation, and try to find ways of letting them do it. Make your villains threaten things that are important to the player - not just to NPCs. And never impose words or actions upon the player in a cutscene (or anywhere else).
Another important goal is to think of all elements of the game as part of a coherent whole. No element – gameplay, story, art – is more important than any other. They all need to work together to create a unified experience. Ideally, we should approach every game with a high-level idea of what kind of experience we want to craft and then make sure that the story, mechanics, and art style all reinforce that big idea.
This perspective can be difficult to keep in mind at mid- to large-sized studios, where disciplines have become increasingly specialized, with one person doing nothing but combat design, another doing nothing but writing and story, another focused entirely on items, etc. This is one of the reasons I favor the older system of designers as generalists, which tends to encourage us to look at the whole experience, rather than one specific part.
Finally, I always prefer to put the player into a situation where they don’t know the rules. I’m not referring to game mechanics (which should always be clear and understandable), but to the story and the world. If you can drop the player into an unfamiliar situation that isn’t quite like anything they’ve seen or experienced before, they’re going to be more attentive and engaged, leading to a more memorable experience. Everyone likes a mystery – the key is to use plenty of unanswered questions about the setting, the story, and the characters to drive the player through the game.
Influences are tough. I’ve ingested such a mixed-up cocktail of games, books, movies, and TV over the past 30+ years that it’s difficult to pick out the ones that have had the greatest effect on me as a designer.
Certainly the team at Obsidian – Chris Avellone, Josh Sawyer, etc. – has had a significant impact because we share a lot of the same sensibilities and because I’ve worked with those guys longer than anyone else. The Infinity Engine games, in general, had a strong influence. Also the early to middle Ultima games from my childhood, so I’d include early Richard Garriott and Origin Systems as another influence. Sid Meier too – especially the open-ended structure of his original Pirates game, where the player could even determine when the game ended. As a storyteller / world builder, influences include Greek mythology, real-world history, psychology, and current events, Japanese animation (especially Miyazaki, but others too), the Fighting Fantasy novels of the 80s, Tad Williams, George R. R. Martin, David Brin, Steven Erikson, Gene Wolfe, and probably many authors that I’m forgetting. And it’s difficult to ignore the influence of D&D, since it played such a big part in my early creative work.
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