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March 17th, 2011, 12:25
Good post DArt, I agree. The iPad being the new focus of indie RPGs would be devastating in my opinion because they would be much more dumbed-down on average and DRM'd up the ass on a closed platform. Not to mention the fact that I will never buy a $500 thing that does less than a laptop. The thought of the iPad being the focus of indie RPGs scares me.

Keep indie RPGs on the PC as much as possible, please.
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March 17th, 2011, 12:34
Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
I am really curious at what price it would be for the iPad, I mean $25 sounds too high….. for this medium.
As someone who has way too much invested in the App Store 'ecosystem' (iOS & Android), I would say that if it is >$9.99 it is DOA ('dead on arrival' for non-TLA folks )

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March 17th, 2011, 12:42
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I also detect quite an emotional investment or support for these Spiderweb games, and though I can't talk about Avadon - it seems pretty obvious that it is indeed a streamlined "mainstream indie" game. Contradiction in terms? Nah, not really.

Not saying that's a bad thing, as that would depend on personal preference.
I don't know what that means.

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March 17th, 2011, 12:48
Originally Posted by DoctorNarrative View Post
Good post DArt, I agree. The iPad being the new focus of indie RPGs would be devastating in my opinion because they would be much more dumbed-down on average and DRM'd up the ass on a closed platform. Not to mention the fact that I will never buy a $500 thing that does less than a laptop. The thought of the iPad being the focus of indie RPGs scares me.

Keep indie RPGs on the PC as much as possible, please.
Yes, it scares me too. But I'll probably live

My main concern is that most people don't seem to have a problem with inferior versions, that are also typically much shorter and smaller in scope overall.

If you look at pricing, I can understand where the average consumer is coming from. 5-10$ for a 10 hour "semi-RPG" seems like a good deal.

Note that I'm not talking about Avadon here - but those that I've personally tried, like Dungeon Hunter, Avalon, and others. They're either very short - or simply VERY inferior versions of ancient PC games.

Then again, my idea of good pricing is not about "value" in terms of time or length.

I'd gladly pay full price and more for a good strong title, but for anything "semi" they might as well be free - as I don't want them.

Time is much more precious to me than money.

For a great game like, say, what I expect Deus Ex 3 to be - I'd pay 100$ without a second thought - as I think of my purchase as a "vote" to support, as I've mentioned before. But obviously, they'll never set it at that price - and the industry is not based on the "honor" system.

It's about minimising effort and maximising revenue - and smartphone/gadget games are NOT there for the consumer.
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March 17th, 2011, 12:52
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
I don't know what that means.
It means you seem (note the word, please) personally invested in Spiderweb and this game in particular. You seem protective of it.

Not something I can object to, because we all care about different games and developers. I'm a huge fan of the old Looking Glass, for instance, and as such I'm likely to overlook flaws in games like System Shock.

It's more about the vibe you give off about this, and you're seemingly oblivious to how mainstream it seems to have become - or you don't think it's a bad sign.

In any case, it's not possible to prove - and if you're completely neutral, then I'm just wrong about this.
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March 17th, 2011, 13:36
Mainstream? Even in the worst possible case, that would still be a gross overstatement, don't you think?
Regarding the mobile/App-store Angst - personally I think more platforms simply mean more potential niches for interesting games. If Apple helps to keep RPG makers like Jeff in business, then bring it on.
Mike, I highly doubt Jeff will undermine his own Mac/PC pricing policy by selling the game for under $10 - but we will see. I think he will follow his old rationale that his are niche products, and he can afford to ask a high price, because his audience will pay it. I don't think he has any intention to go for the angy birds phenomenon. And if I am right and he will charge far more than even the top 3D game Apps - well, it will be interesting to see how that goes.
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March 17th, 2011, 13:40
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
Mainstream? Even in the worst possible case, that would still be a gross overstatement, don't you think?
How so?

How would you describe the changes from Avernum to Avadon?

Try as I might, I can think of no better word to describe the transition. But it's not mainstream as in AAA mainstream, but as in appealing to as many people as possible given the limited budget and flash in such a game.
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March 17th, 2011, 13:51
You said "you're seemingly oblivious to how mainstream it seems to have become". I see the same ancient engine, with no bling and no ingame music and no voiceacting. I see the same story-centric, long, turn-based RPG he has always done. There is really nothing mainstream about it.
Yes, he too thinks about how he can make games attractive to more players, and has made some changes to his formula that one can dislike (but he was lambasted for sticking so closely to his formula previously). But to call the result "mainstream" is, sorry, just laughable.
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March 17th, 2011, 14:09
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
You said "you're seemingly oblivious to how mainstream it seems to have become". I see the same ancient engine, with no bling and no ingame music and no voiceacting. I see the same story-centric, long, turn-based RPG he has always done. There is really nothing mainstream about it.
Yes, he too thinks about how he can make games attractive to more players, and has made some changes to his formula that one can dislike (but he was lambasted for sticking so closely to his formula previously). But to call the result "mainstream" is, sorry, just laughable.
This from Mike's review:

In that way it is much like Dragon Age 2 – and I can see the basic appeal: rather than agonizing over setting up a character or party before getting started, these games allow you to simply choose a path and wade into the game immediately.

Vogel has been vocal about wanting to get people engaged in the game quickly and easily without losing depth, and with Avadon I feel he struck the perfect balance.

In most role-playing games you get some amount of personality defined for the main character either prescriptively or through dialogue. You also will get the main characters you interact with described and fleshed out. Seldom does it go much further – the only time most games give a characters a personality is if you need to interact, and even then all you get is the minimum requirement. That has never been true for Spiderweb games – Vogel has always meticulously described a wide array of characters at all levels in the game.

One thing missing from the overall development is a diplomacy path. In the Geneforge games, which were single player focused, you could become a very charismatic leader and use your skills to influence outcomes of just about every situation.

This from some disgruntled player, and I honestly don't know if it's true - but it seems to be from comments on the Watch:

regenerating health and MP, auto-revival after fights, no stats or skills unlocking special dialogue options, quests markers, less classes, less difficult (Vogel stating that no one should die on normal difficulty)…

—-

I might have worded it badly, as the game is obviously not mainstream in the traditional sense of being targeted at the mainstream audience.

I'm talking about taking something and streamlining it - making it simpler and more accessible. Since we're talking about an indie game, I feel it's very appropriate to call it a "mainstream indie" - as in appealing to the largest audience within that circle.

The end result might not be a "mainstream" game, but the direction certainly seems to be.

Again - it depends on personal preference whether that's good or bad, and Mike obviously thinks it's mostly good.

If you think my claim is "laughable" - then you obviously disagree.

Once I get to play it, I'll return with my final judgment - and I'll apologize if it's not true.

For now, it seems some of you are being overly forgiving, and you seem to be very unwilling to see what's right in front of you.

Then again, you're all pretty forgiving people in general in terms of gaming. Mike, Dhruin, and Ghari are all pretty lowkey slack-cutting people - so it seems to fit your profile
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March 17th, 2011, 14:50
I might have worded it badly, as the game is obviously not mainstream in the traditional sense of being targeted at the mainstream audience.
This. Thats really all I meant. Streamlining or making it more accessible are descriptions that seem more appropriate.

The merit or failure of the changes he made can certainly be discussed. But I am not a good person for that discussion anyway, as I have only really played Nethergate, and a bit of the last geneforge. And none of the Avadon demo (although I will once it comes out on PC). I am seroulsy considering getting Avadon - just as others said, entering a series at the beginning has a certain appeal, as much as other games in his series may have been"stand alone" adventures.
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March 17th, 2011, 14:57
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
This. Thats really all I meant. Streamlining or making it more accessible are descriptions that seem more appropriate.

The merit or failure of the changes he made can certainly be discussed. But I am not a good person for that discussion anyway, as I have only really played Nethergate, and a bit of the last geneforge. And none of the Avadon demo (although I will once it comes out on PC). I am seroulsy considering getting Avadon - just as others said, entering a series at the beginning has a certain appeal, as much as other games in his series may have been"stand alone" adventures.
I haven't played any of the games in-depth, as the visuals/UIs have not met my demands.

This is the first Spiderweb game that seems to meet my demands in a visual sense, but unfortunately the changes mentioned do a lot to dissuade me from trying it.

In my mind, it's quite possible to have a visually attractive game that's ALSO deep, complex, and mentally engaging. I don't need auto-revival or simplified mechanics to be engaged, and I don't mind investing myself - if the reward is a better experience.

It's like many developers/publishers think it has to be one or the other.

But, as I said, until I actually try this game - it's all based on what I'm reading - and I see no reason to doubt what Mike's saying.
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March 17th, 2011, 16:08
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
Regarding the mobile/App-store Angst - personally I think more platforms simply mean more potential niches for interesting games. If Apple helps to keep RPG makers like Jeff in business, then bring it on.
Platforms inherently change games. The Xbox thoroughly changed PC gaming, most would say for the worse. I am of the opinion that iPad gaming could change indie gaming for the worse and I don't think that's a stretch.
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March 17th, 2011, 17:06
DArtagnan absolutely nailed several things IMO:
- The 'mainstreaming' - it doesn't make the game dumbed down *at all*, just gets you into the game much quicker. I honestly didn't even think about it the first time I was playing (of course, it was the first beta so I had more pressing issues )
- The App Store mentality - there are many good games on the App Store. Some are remakes (Final Fantasy I & II are updated PSP versions, then there is Broken Sword, Myst, Vay, Devil May Cry, Street Fighter IV, Phoenix Wright, etc), some are originals 'right-sized' for iOS (hidden object stuff from G5 and Big Fish), still others are rip-offs (Game loft is notorious with their Halo clone (NOVA), StarCraft (Starfront), Modern Combat 2 (Modern Warfare), and so on), and some are actual new properties. But as he says, these might be 'good', but simply porting Baldur's Gate II or Dungeon Siege or Morrowind to iPad would blow them all away.

As for what this all means … we don't know. Some genres are perfect fits for certain platforms - that is certainly true for consoles. I really see iOS & Android smartphones eating away at the Nintendo and Sony handhelds (I know I barely touch my DS or PSP anymore), but tablets like the iPad offer an interesting option as the screen is relatively good, the performance is quite good, and for certain game types they are a pretty solid fit.

But the price point for acceptance means making choices - as mentioned it is tempting to go the Angry Birds path - sure it is ubuitous, but more than 30% of users paid $0, and 95% paid <$1. That is no longer about 'wanting' the game! At $10 you hit a point where someone has to actually WANT the game, but you can still make some money - it is just a different business model.

And since we've gotten somewhat off kilter here I really loved having my review quoted to bring us back

— Mike
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March 17th, 2011, 17:13
@DoctorNarrative:
Even on the PC, a significant indie RPG scene is only emerging just now (Spiderweb alone did not make a scene). Currently we see more indie PC RPG projects getting published or getting close to publishing than ever before in my memory. Despite the Xbox, the PS3, the whateveryacallit, the iPhone, Androids, tablets and whatever shit is out there. In fact they are partly being made BECAUSE those platforms (and the market and todays worthless youth, yadda, yadda) have changed the mainstream games. Will they have success and keep making games for our favorite plattform, the PC? Will some of them be able to grow a little and make AA games, like what D'Artagnan would wish for? That depends on their success, but so far I don't remember a prominent team quitting (well Zerosum did, but that may have many reasons, among them their game crashing every 5 minutes…). If these teams were after the easy money, none of them would ever have started making an indie CRPG in the first place.
At the same time I see a number of small companies making fun litte RPGs for the iPhone/iPAD, that I had never heard of before, so I don't think they are disgruntled PC developers. I wouldn't want these games to be the only choice available, of course not. But they are fun for what they are: little diversions for playing on the train or for half an hour before bed.
Right now, I will not cry wolf. Every new development brings both risks and chances.
Last edited by GhanBuriGhan; March 17th, 2011 at 17:34.
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March 17th, 2011, 17:21
We know Ossian is bringing their game to iOS as well as Jeff having plans to do the same. My hope is that the infusion of folks like these will continue to raise the level … if we look at the earliest iOS games they were ugly, trivial crap. Dead Space iPad is pretty darn good, as are many others. The potential is there - the question is how to alter the business model for the App Store ecosystem.

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March 17th, 2011, 19:05
I think the main thing is that both markets are emerging right now. If the iPad market shows that it can make an indie dev a lot more money than the PC market, PC indie games will suffer. If Avadon sells 10 times more copies on iPad than PC and Mac why would Vogel NOT make his next game with the iPad first in mind? And how would that effect the PC version, if there even is one?

Think of it like the Xbox again. How many PC developers started out making a console version of their game only to see it sell amazingly well, so then their next game was console-focused or even console exclusive? Morrowind to Oblivion anyone? The same thing could happen with the iPad.

I'm not trying to be Mr. Doom and Gloom, I just personally don't see what iPad development gets me, and I do see what it could cost me. Why would I be supportive of it?
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March 17th, 2011, 20:21
Originally Posted by DoctorNarrative View Post
I'm not trying to be Mr. Doom and Gloom, I just personally don't see what iPad development gets me, and I do see what it could cost me. Why would I be supportive of it?
That is a very reasonable point, and I completely support that idea - while we all want deep, hardcore RPG development to continue, ultimately we want it to continue on our platform of choice.

However, there is always THIS that you said before:
Originally Posted by DoctorNarrative View Post
For the record I didn't mock the iPad version because of game mechanics, I mocked it because the iPad is an overpriced piece of shit from a company that makes money by convincing people they need their products to be cool.
Um … so while I agree with your more recent statement, you have already revealed a bias built on subjective mis-statements taken as fact …

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March 17th, 2011, 20:40
Nonononononono! Let's not go there, ok?

Back on topic: Not saying you should support it - I'm just explaining why I am not really that worried at the moment. Maybe time will prove you right, but I think right now thats just a worry based on conjecture, and not worth too much hand-wringing.
I agree with Taxa that the price structure is a problem. Interestingly the low price craze on the istore has one notable exception: Navigation software. TomTom, Navigon etc. sell for up to well over $100 (well swiss francs, but I assume the US will be similar), and regularly dominate the "most profitable" lists. So if you can convince consumers a product is worth something, you can get them to pay such prices even on the iStore.
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March 17th, 2011, 21:12
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
Nonononononono! Let's not go there, ok?
agreed … I am sorry

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March 18th, 2011, 10:14
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
It means you seem (note the word, please) personally invested in Spiderweb and this game in particular. You seem protective of it.
I meant the part about the mainstream indie, which you later explained. Still, I'll address this.

Hell, no - I'm not neutral. I've been a Spiderweb beta-tester since the early Geneforges and rank some of his games among the best I've played.

The "protective" part is frustration that a "hardcore" CRPG community often won't even try these games with various silly excuses. I then watch various people make pronunciations without even having tried them.

It's more about the vibe you give off about this, and you're seemingly oblivious to how mainstream it seems to have become - or you don't think it's a bad sign.

In any case, it's not possible to prove - and if you're completely neutral, then I'm just wrong about this.
Ah, but I've played it and you haven't. Who has the better perspective? You even say "become", which implies some knowledge of the previous games, which you also don't have. Correct?

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
This from Mike's review […]:

Vogel has been vocal about wanting to get people engaged in the game quickly and easily without losing depth, and with Avadon I feel he struck the perfect balance.
See the "without losing depth"?

One thing missing from the overall development is a diplomacy path. In the Geneforge games, which were single player focused, you could become a very charismatic leader and use your skills to influence outcomes of just about every situation.
I can't disagree but it isn't quite that simple. Avernum has never had a Leadership skill (that was Geneforge only) and I see this as the replacement for Avernum. In other words, it's exactly as it always was. On the other hand, I'd say there are more choices in general than Avernum (do you agree Mike?), which makes it an improvement.

This from some disgruntled player, and I honestly don't know if it's true - but it seems to be from comments on the Watch:

regenerating health and MP, auto-revival after fights, no stats or skills unlocking special dialogue options, quests markers, less classes, less difficult (Vogel stating that no one should die on normal difficulty)…
I posted that in another thread in a different context.

Regen is correct but betrays that the poster may not have played previous Spiderweb games. In Avernum, the First Aid skill replenished health at the end of a battle. Any seasoned player took an appropriate amount - I would often leave battle with more health than I started (small combats could be as good as a healing potion). New players wouldn't know this…which is a bit silly. Why not automate it, rather than just have your knowledgeable players exploit it?

Don't point out he could use a different system altogether - I don't disagree - but the discussion is mainstreaming. Avernum let you auto-heal after a battle - and so does Avadon.

No stats unlocking dialogue - didn't exist in Avernum, anyway (oops, maybe this guy doesn't know what he is talking about).

Quest markers - a handful, mostly in the tutorial. My current map has…oh, look - none!

Less classes - true, but Avernum was a skill system! The "classes" only governed some starting stuff.

Less difficult - also true - but I found "Normal" in AV6 to be reasonably hard, so it should be toned down. I know everyone will overreact (dumbed down! Oh no!) without having played any of them but "normal" should be just that - not "hard" for an experienced player.

There are "hard" and "torment" levels for those that want it and the descriptions are plain to see.

For now, it seems some of you are being overly forgiving, and you seem to be very unwilling to see what's right in front of you.

Then again, you're all pretty forgiving people in general in terms of gaming. Mike, Dhruin, and Ghari are all pretty lowkey slack-cutting people - so it seems to fit your profile
Most people here like The Witcher, right? No character creation, simplified skill medals, action combat, no diplomatic skills that unlock dialogue…and yet, it's a pretty good game. Sometimes a few lines of negative description don't encompass a game.

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