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Default Dragon Age 2 - PulseTV with Mike Laidlaw

September 30th, 2011, 03:16
From the Dragon Age II site:
This week’s episode of BioWare Pulse features Dragon Age II Creative Director Mike Laidlaw!
More information.
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September 30th, 2011, 03:16
In this case, the awesome button would be?
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September 30th, 2011, 05:18
Although Dragon Age is pretty much dead to me now, I'm perversely curious if he continued his trend of putting his foot in his mouth and making cringe-worthy statements, though not curious enough to make myself watch it.

Any volunteers want to take one for the team and summarize?
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September 30th, 2011, 08:00
Originally Posted by Motoki View Post
Although Dragon Age is pretty much dead to me now, I'm perversely curious if he continued his trend of putting his foot in his mouth and making cringe-worthy statements, though not curious enough to make myself watch it.

Any volunteers want to take one for the team and summarize?
Yeah, this guy has some great quotes, and the best part is, he doesn't see what the issue is. My favorite was his reason for the emoticons in the DA2 dialog wheel - because "text is a horrible medium for conveying sarcasm or sincerity". Awesome line from a lead designer on a project employing 24 professional writers.

But in this clip, his main 'foot in mouth' moment was where he talks about stealth as an 'innovation' as if he was experimenting with it, pioneering something. He talks about seeing if it had a future in the franchise going forward. Did he forget that Brent Knowles, the lead on DA1 already had the feature in within Origins? Keep on innovating Mike. At this rate, you might one day make a game as good as its predecessor. But treat carefully - all that stealthy stuff might turn of your target Call of Duty audience. Killstreaks, f**k, yeah!
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September 30th, 2011, 11:11
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
In this case, the awesome button would be?
Instant mis-reading on my part : "Awesome BEEEP". [Deleted by myself for security reasons ] Uh.
I shouldn't post here before noontime.

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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September 30th, 2011, 12:21
TV Ads, a good and proven way to brainwash your audience. Good to see BioWare continues to learn new ways to spread the awesome.
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September 30th, 2011, 16:18
just watched it.

They have invented a totally new way to play called stealth gamplay. Not sure what that is but can't wait to hear more and if we really really like it they will expand on it in the future. We can only hope other developers will follow biowares lead here and introduce this totally new gameplay idea into their games.

We get to wear really pretty clothes and talk to people. We can only hope that all of those people are voiced by felicia day. The best voice actor in the whole wide world!

They are adding…wait for it……wait for it….. Puzzles. That right you read that right. Another mind blowing innovation. Don't worry though for the puzzle challenged they are totally optional so still no thinking requires in this series.

And last but not least they are adding a new monster that's not a darkspawn! The wyvern and you can actually go on a hunt for it. Amazing.

Well I don't know about the rest of you but i'm off to take a bottle of sleeping pills and wash them down with vodka in hopes that I can sleep straight through to oct 11th. So it will get here faster.

Sweet dreams all.
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September 30th, 2011, 16:24
Originally Posted by sakichop View Post
And last but not least they are adding a new monster that's not a darkspawn! The wyvern and you can actually go on a hunt for it.
How original.

Takes me back to 1998…
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September 30th, 2011, 16:55
Sigh……

Nothing surprises me any more since the best people are working on the other games and were stuck with the rejects making dragonage.

"Beware the potato for he is easily angered."- Couchpotato
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September 30th, 2011, 17:10
Funny, I could have sworn I used this new 'stealth' thing all the time in Dragon Age Origins. I must have been dreaming.
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September 30th, 2011, 18:25
Damn! Too late for the hunting party. Already slaughtered.
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September 30th, 2011, 18:56
Originally Posted by hishadow View Post
Damn! Too late for the hunting party. Already slaughtered.
Laidlaw is always good for a laugh if nothing else, if we should ever get so lucky that he loses his day job, he can always have a second career in stand up comedy.
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September 30th, 2011, 19:41
Have you guys seen this interview?. She is one of the writers working in bioware. Anyhow read yourself and prepare to get shocked. I'm puzzled myself. How can you write for games if you don't like playing them?

Few examples.

What is your least favorite thing about working in the industry?

Playing the games. This is probably a terrible thing to admit, but it has definitely been the single most difficult thing for me. I came into the job out of a love of writing, not a love of playing games. While I enjoy the interactive aspects of gaming, if a game doesn't have a good story, it's very hard for me to get interested in playing it. Similarly, I'm really terrible at so many things which most games use incessantly — I have awful hand-eye coordination, I don't like tactics, I don't like fighting, I don't like keeping track of inventory, and I can't read a game map to save my life. This makes it very difficult for me to play to the myriad games I really should be keeping up on as our competition.
Do you consider yourself a hardcore gamer? How many hours a week do you get to play (besides the title you are working on)?

As I've mentioned before, God no. I'll usually play a few hours on the weekend, but not much beyond that unless I'm really pushing myself. To me, sitting at a computer will always feel like work, so it's not something I tend to do on my own time.
If you could pick one game as the best game ever, what would it be?

Deus Ex was absolutely the game that made my husband and me realize that game stories had advanced to the point where they could do as much or more than any other kind of fiction. Every time we thought the story was wrapping up, we hit a new wrinkle, and both the gameplay and the dialogue were tight and fun and always kept moving. For me, the gameplay itself was a little difficult, though, and I really needed my husband to take the controls when the shooting started.
Do you have an opinion about the current state of the industry with regard to females and gaming? If so, what is it?

I think that the biggest detriment to more varieties of games being made which appeal to women and casual gamers, is simply the fact that people who don't love games don't become game designers. A game company tends to be filled with people whose best memories come from the games they played, who spend all their time swapping war stories with other gamers, and it's not too surprising that they end up wanting to make games that recaptures those experiences. A lot of ground has been broken in other media when someone who is dissatisfied with his existing choices decides to try something new (Samuel Beckett comes to mind, as the self-professed playwright who hated drama).
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September 30th, 2011, 20:12
What is your least favorite thing about working in the industry?

Playing the games. This is probably a terrible thing to admit, but it has definitely been the single most difficult thing for me. I came into the job out of a love of writing, not a love of playing games. While I enjoy the interactive aspects of gaming, if a game doesn't have a good story, it's very hard for me to get interested in playing it.
This resonates with me. I like her. Too bad she's already married.

These lines clearly say this : "I am a Writer. I am an Artist. I am NOT a gamer !"

And that makes her different. Someone with her dedication shouldn't work on games like ME or DA2.

Someone with this dedication should imho work for something unique !

Edit : She also says this :

In college, I got into paper-and-pencil RPGs (particularly Vampire and Shadowrun), and that was really my entry into this career.
What type of work did you do before you got into the industry and what jobs in the industry have you held?

Pretty much all the jobs I count have been writing jobs of one sort or another. I began writing for paper-and-pencil roleplaying games while I was still in college, writing supplements for games including Shadowrun, Earthdawn, Legend of the Five Rings, and Paranoia. I was actually writing my "Cyberpirates" book for Shadowrun on the afternoon of my college graduation, because my deadline was the next day. I also got my first taste of computer game writing during this time, doing a few freelance bits of writing and editing for an online trading card game, Sanctum.
So she does have some background.

Also interesting is this, imho :

If you could tell developers of games to make sure to put one thing in games to appeal to a broader audience which includes women, what would that one thing be?

A fast-forward button. Games almost always include a way to "button through" dialogue without paying attention, because they understand that some players don't enjoy listening to dialogue and they don't want to stop their fun. Yet they persist in practically coming into your living room and forcing you to play through the combats even if you're a player who only enjoys the dialogue. In a game with sufficient story to be interesting without the fighting, there is no reason on earth that you can't have a little button at the corner of the screen that you can click to skip to the end of the fighting.
I think it says a *lot* on the importance of fighting in games …

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
Last edited by Alrik Fassbauer; September 30th, 2011 at 20:23.
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September 30th, 2011, 20:56
she may be better off working for company who makes adventures games?

Anyway why don't we have a gaming genre where there is no combat? It will be interactive story telling, puzzle solving, you can even have NPC companions etc. Or is that adventures gaming? I am not being sarcastic since I have never really played an adventure game
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September 30th, 2011, 21:07
Originally Posted by lostforever View Post
she may be better off working for company who makes adventures games?

Anyway why don't we have a gaming genre where there is no combat? It will be interactive story telling, puzzle solving, you can even have NPC companions etc. Or is that adventures gaming? I am not being sarcastic since I have never really played an adventure game
That more or less is Adventure games. While they were hugely popular at one time with games like King's Quest selling many (relatively for the time) copies, the genre has been mostly marginalized in recent years and most gamers seem to look down on it, if they even know it exists.

At any rate, I don't think what she is saying is necessarily bad per say, I just think it depends on how that sort of writing is applied and you do need to keep in mind that writing for an interactive medium is quite different than writing for a book or movie.

The interview she gave is actually from 2006 and she worked on Dragon Age: Origins, which was actually a relatively decent game. She's also not the main person pulling the strings so I don't think she has that much control either way. I don't think she necessarily made Origins good or DA2 crappy, though she worked on both.

If anything, I think Bethesda could use a few people like her to get some halfway decent writing in there and Piranha Bytes could use some women working on their games to balance out the testosterone overload in those games.
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September 30th, 2011, 22:05
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
This resonates with me. I like her. Too bad she's already married.

These lines clearly say this : "I am a Writer. I am an Artist. I am NOT a gamer !"

And that makes her different. Someone with her dedication shouldn't work on games like ME or DA2.

Someone with this dedication should imho work for something unique !
Why do you say that? She likes writing not playing games… Sounds as if she would prefer games be interactive movies, with optional content(IE parts you could fast forward). The good thing, as a writer, she has very little say over game design…

(IMO) Gaming, as a medium, lends itself to a different kind of writing style or technique. A game's true strength is not it's ability to convey a story(books, comics, tv, movies ect already accomplish this). Rather, as an interactive medium, the ability to be a part of that story and not just immerse yourself in the game world/environment. RPGs that contain meaningful C&C and/or a branching narrative are the pinnacle of that "part of the story" approach. It is why I prefer the RPG genre over others, it has the potential to come closest to that type of immersion… It is why I find a predefined voiced protagonist incredibly limiting - in terms of RP.

I don't think a "good" writer will necessarily translate into a good writer for games…
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September 30th, 2011, 22:44
Originally Posted by MasterKromm View Post
It is why I find a predefined voiced protagonist incredibly limiting - in terms of RP.
I see people saying that, but I don't feel that way at all. Quite the contrary in fact. When I play a pre-defined character I feel like I am playing it and reacting how I would if I were this person with their history and experiences, but I think to any extent it would be like that anyway even if you created your own character.

It doesn't bother me that I didn't set their history and in fact it makes the character fit in better in that world because they have a real history, friends, enemies, acquaintances, memories etc. They are a real part of that world and they belong as opposed to some nameless stranger that just got plopped into the world 5 minutes ago.

I think some of the pre-EA Ultima games sort of took a balance between this approach by having the character basically supposed to be 'you' transported to another world and you get to pick what sort of character you are yet that character still has a history with that world, but that's a balancing act that is hard to do.

I know many will vehemently disagree with me on this, but honestly if I get a choice between a bland, generic Bethesda PC or one like the Witcher with a rich, fleshed out history yet I still get to make the choices and play his or her role, I will pick the latter every time.

I don't think a "good" writer will necessarily translate into a good writer for games…
I agree to a point but I think it depends on what they are doing. If they are doing whole scenarios then absolutely, the writer needs to take into account the player's role in that scenario, making that a rewarding experience for the player, and also any potential non-linearity branching off. Obviously if you are not a gamer and have no desire to ever be one that could be a problem.

If the writer is doing dialog, in-game books, background lore or things of that sort then I think a more traditional script or novel writer is fine and probably even preferable.
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October 1st, 2011, 01:17
Originally Posted by Motoki View Post
I see people saying that, but I don't feel that way at all. Quite the contrary in fact. When I play a pre-defined character I feel like I am playing it and reacting how I would if I were this person with their history and experiences, but I think to any extent it would be like that anyway even if you created your own character.

It doesn't bother me that I didn't set their history and in fact it makes the character fit in better in that world because they have a real history, friends, enemies, acquaintances, memories etc. They are a real part of that world and they belong as opposed to some nameless stranger that just got plopped into the world 5 minutes ago.
I get what you're saying, it goes to the whole "tighter experience" argument of a game, like TW2. But you don't have to be a completely nameless stranger either. That either or scenario completely ignores chargen, where you could have to one degree or another some of what you mentioned… Games have fixed protagonists because, generally, that is the easiest approach to a "story driven" game.

Originally Posted by Motoki View Post
I think some of the pre-EA Ultima games sort of took a balance between this approach by having the character basically supposed to be 'you' transported to another world and you get to pick what sort of character you are yet that character still has a history with that world, but that's a balancing act that is hard to do.
It comes down to preference, but for me that would be a better approach…

Originally Posted by Motoki View Post
I know many will vehemently disagree with me on this, but honestly if I get a choice between a bland, generic Bethesda PC or one like the Witcher with a rich, fleshed out history yet I still get to make the choices and play his or her role, I will pick the latter every time.
Again, I don't think it has to be an either or scenario here… I'd take a game with an advanced chargen(selectable backgrounds, traits, histories, et cetera) over TW any day. As for TW, I say it is a game of character suggestion more than role playing. Too much of Geralt's history and personality are pre-defined to take ownership of Geralt's actions or motivations… The flashbacks are a jarring reminder you are not playing your character. Admittedly, for some that is not a big deal, it may even be a positive. But shouldn't your actions within TW universe matter, at least when controlling Geralt? Apparently not, if you romanced Shiani in TW1 you were still stuck with Trish. And that last example is what a fixed predefined protagonist is all about… It's not your story, it's theirs.

Let me preface this by saying I don't have anything against a fixed predefined protagonist or those who enjoy playing one. But for an interactive medium, I feel the best approach is one where the player is as reasonably engaged and involved as possible. A fixed predefined protagonist will never have universal appeal. As an example, restricting the gender to male will never do much to engage female(or to a lesser extent certain male) gamers.
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October 1st, 2011, 03:19
Originally Posted by MasterKromm View Post
But shouldn't your actions within TW universe matter, at least when controlling Geralt? Apparently not, if you romanced Shiani in TW1 you were still stuck with Trish. And that last example is what a fixed predefined protagonist is all about… It's not your story, it's theirs.
That wasn't because of a fixed protagonist, that was the devs being lazy and/or not wanting to go to time and expense to run the whole game through with both Triss and Shani. They could have checked the imported file and reacted accordingly. There's a short remark about Adda for instance that only happens if you saved her in TW1 and imported your save. Otherwise she's dead.

The Shani thing was extra annoying because they didn't even attempt to come up with some half baked reason she isn't there. Like they could have had Geralt say a couple of lines how things didn't work out between them or she went off somewhere or whatever but they didn't even bother with that.

As an example, restricting the gender to male will never do much to engage female(or to a lesser extent certain male) gamers.
I really don't mind playing a female and although I realize it's some huge issue for some people to play the opposite gender, I personally don't feel that way or understand it.

I don't play games to be myself, I'm already myself, I play to be someone else. If that's a woman, or alien or robot or whatever so be it.

For a story RPG I want to be part of that story and not generically plopped on. I tend to think of games where you roll your character as very much being the latter. However, if a game pulls off an Ultima or Dragon Age: Origins system that gives you a fair degree of control over the character you create and still allows them to have a past and people in the game world who react to it, I'm all for it.
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