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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Legend of Grimrock - Jeff Vogel on Design Space

Default Legend of Grimrock - Jeff Vogel on Design Space

May 12th, 2012, 21:48
Vogel lives in his own little world. Love the guy, but some of the things he says just make absolutely no sense. What does he think they're going to do? Keep releasing the same game forever? They should follow Vogel's lead and release the same game over and over again with tiny tweaks here and there until an eventual new engine? Don't get me wrong I love those games, but to be honest that is all they are and I'm happy like that. It gets the game out sooner.

What I hope to see eventually is this:

Vogel:
If any other indie developers are looking for an old design to pick up, dust off, and have great success, Ultima Underworld is just sitting there. This was the next step in the design progression started by Dungeon Master. It still takes place in one huge dungeon, but, instead of taking place on a grid, it is fully 3-D with 360 degree movement.
Not the movement. Couldn't give a rat's ass about the grid movement. But bring in the attention to detail that game brought. The NPCs and everything else that Ultima Underwold did so good (not the UI. That sucked.)

Truthfully it bewilders me that Vogel doesn't think that the company isn't heading down that path right now. That's what Vogel did. He made Exile (the same game as Avernum) with a new engine, but he did make more than one Exile. 4 of them I think.

He needs to back off and let them do their thing. Vogel got that chance to make the same game over and over again for awhile and we all loved him for it. Let them do it too. Although I want to see wilderness next time and maybe an NPC or two Small tweaks like that would make it interesting enough to buy again and see what's new……Maybe a plot this time around too

Despite all my rage.
I'm still just a rat in a cage.
Last edited by skavenhorde; May 12th, 2012 at 21:58.
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May 12th, 2012, 22:23
I also find it funny that Vogel of all people would say something like that……

There are so many such a games in the past, and there are a lot of ways to make them really interesting. However if they are to do like Jeff and make legand of Grimrock 2 using the exact same assets, dungeons, mechanics, puzzles, etc it would get old fast…. just as his own games, inpite of them being much more complex.
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May 12th, 2012, 23:50
I can't see why the engine in itself should prevent making interesting games. On the other hand I can't see the need to put more into his blog than what he actually says.

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May 13th, 2012, 04:22
Originally Posted by fadedc View Post
I think your focusing too much on your criticisms of Avernum and missing the point of what he is saying. He says it's a great game and recomends that people go out and buy it. I don't see how that's "knocking down others".

Personally I agree with him. You certainly can expand the formula, but that's not the point of what Grimlock does. Grimlock is about pure old school nostalgia and not expanding the formula. It's about recreating the games we played back in the day, warts and all. It works really well, but I don't think it really needs sequels that badly.
The fact that you can't be bothered to get the title right indicates your bias from the start. Of course sequels are a good idea. Was EOB2 really pointless? It added tons of features and expanded the gameplay of EOB1 a fair bit. Lands of Lore added even more. The genre was hardly stagnant when it died and since Grimrock doesn't even reach EOB1 levels of complexity, the franchise has plenty of places to go just remaking the complexity of the later dungeon crawlers. After that, well, the skies the limit.
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May 13th, 2012, 04:26
I bought Grimrock and thought it was an outstanding game. With all that said, I'd be less enthusiastic about Grimrock 2. Releasing an editor (which I realise is in the works) and a few modules/expansions may be a good way to finish off Grimrock, rather than a full on sequel.

I thought the same about Jeff Vogel games. I don't anticipate his sequels or rather frequent rebuilds of the same game with minor tweaking. I have no attachment to my player characters or the npcs of his world in a game world with very similar mechanics.

What I really do desire now is a Lands of Lore type game. Exploring new worlds, meeting characters with a main storyline to suck me in. Admittingly, it would be a risky move to attempt something like this and be successful. I could quite easily anticipate a sequel to a game with similar mechanics, if the world, characters and storyline sucked me in.
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May 13th, 2012, 04:49
I don't know…adding an over land map with multiple dungeons and towns would work fine in my mind. Why can't we walk through a town? I don't think it would water it down at all.

Jeff Vogel is terrified of trying something new. Almost all his games use parts of the other ones. He makes decent games, but I would hardly take what he says on the viability of game to heart.

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May 13th, 2012, 04:53
Yes clearly the fact that I had a typo means that I'm unfairly biased. Your logic is astounding.

As I said in my last post, I don't disagree that there are more games that can be made using the 3D grid engine. I just think that LoG is much more then just it's engine. It's a finely crafted piece of old school nostalgia. A LoL style game could be good, but it wouldn't be LoG 2.

Originally Posted by darkling View Post
The fact that you can't be bothered to get the title right indicates your bias from the start. Of course sequels are a good idea. Was EOB2 really pointless? It added tons of features and expanded the gameplay of EOB1 a fair bit. Lands of Lore added even more. The genre was hardly stagnant when it died and since Grimrock doesn't even reach EOB1 levels of complexity, the franchise has plenty of places to go just remaking the complexity of the later dungeon crawlers. After that, well, the skies the limit.
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May 13th, 2012, 06:57
Originally Posted by darkling View Post
I certainly do. His point is that he's upset that LoG sold a lot more than his Avernum remake on Steam.

You can build plenty of variety with this style of gameplay as is proven by the half-adventure game Lands of Lore and the much more hardcore Amiga games like Black Crypt and Captive.

Seriously, he needs to get over himself and hire an artist. Also he needs to fix his godawful inventory management. I mean, picking stuff up from the ground in Avernum is still as much of a chore as it was in Exile. He needs to step up his own game rather than knocking down others.
Well, this sums up my opinion about Vogel and his games pretty well, I must admit.
After all he's the same guy who keep repeating that improving on the production value for his games would be pointless cause it would be far more expensive and just a niche would buy them anyway.

The irony is that LoG's developers essentially proven his theory wrong, and yet he's handling them unwanted suggestions about how to run their business.
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May 13th, 2012, 07:44
It's a design discussion piece. I'd ask you to point out where he gave them "suggestions about how to run their business" but I see you've all got your pitchforks out, so no matter.

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May 13th, 2012, 07:58
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
It's a design discussion piece. I'd ask you to point out where he gave them "suggestions about how to run their business" but I see you've all got your pitchforks out, so no matter.
Yeah, it's a design discussion.
Beside the fact that personally I wouldn't take any design advice about long term variety from Vogel, it actually sounds to me as if he's subtly calling out Almost Human for being a "one trick pony", with a very short future unless they find some entirely new vein to exploit. Which I still find quite ironic, coming from him.
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May 13th, 2012, 09:26
To me, it's just veiled butthurt. His "insight" is completely redundant and anything but insightful.
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May 13th, 2012, 10:43
Why would he be butthurt? His own games have sold far beyond his expectations both on steam and on iOS as far as I heard.
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May 13th, 2012, 13:10
Originally Posted by Demiath View Post
Maybe I'm just stating the bleedingly obvious here, but I think we need to be very careful about how we phrase this complaint. The limit is not in the grid-based structure as such (i.e. that you can only move in four directions); it's that the rigid Dungeon Master formula - and an engine built exclusively to emulate said formula - focuses on Myst-like mechanical puzzles and dungeon mapping and not much else.

In principle, however, you could make a deep story-oriented game like Planescape Torment within a grid-based structure just as easily as a mere Dungeon Master clone (see Irien's comment above). A good example is Wizardry VII, which is more or less an open world game with lots of complex NPC interactions and emergent gameplay possibilities but still grid-based in its perspective and controls.
I agree. Grid-based structure is one of the limiting factors but not everything. I should have used a more precise phrase.
Thanks for the clarification.
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May 13th, 2012, 14:04
Originally Posted by pibbur v.57 View Post
I can't see why the engine in itself should prevent making interesting games. On the other hand I can't see the need to put more into his blog than what he actually says.
He goes for a sequel though, legend of grimrock 2. Which sounds different from doing another game based on the same engine.

Considering the cost of developpment, it is no luxury to dismiss the sequel amortization trick and to go for a different universe and a different era. They can do a scif fi dungeoncrawler.
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May 13th, 2012, 14:07
Originally Posted by Tuco View Post
Well, this sums up my opinion about Vogel and his games pretty well, I must admit.
After all he's the same guy who keep repeating that improving on the production value for his games would be pointless cause it would be far more expensive and just a niche would buy them anyway.

The irony is that LoG's developers essentially proven his theory wrong, and yet he's handling them unwanted suggestions about how to run their business.
The limited space of the design allows for high production quality. If they grow more ambitious, try to build on different features, they will grow out of the capacity of their niche of gamers.

Maybe one solution for him would be to reduced his own design space and deliver more on the production quality.
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May 13th, 2012, 14:18
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
Why would he be butthurt? His own games have sold far beyond his expectations both on steam and on iOS as far as I heard.
Because it's an indie by a newbie that's massively successful based almost exclusively on the production values - with a low price.

I know people are saying they love LoG - but there's no way it would have been such a hit without the modern production values - and the effort spent on building hype.

The combination of strong production values and a low price, are exactly the two lessons Vogel has been refusing to learn for years.

Oh, he's coming around now - but given the non-information nature of his comments, I see nothing but a "veteran" trying to criticise something based on its success (that he could have had himself many years ago had he not been so out of touch), and trying to appear as if he's spouting industry wisdom. The latter having eluded him despite all his years being a part of it.

It's a very human reaction - and he'd have to be very special not to be somewhat negatively affected by the success of LoG. A more intelligent individual would probably not have said anything at all, though.

Beyond that, the basic elements of LoG don't need to evolve at all. They just need to care more about the story and implement stronger interaction with the environment. Personally, I think they should move away from the Portal-type puzzle-structure and go for a more immersive and lore-fitting set of challenges. But that's me.
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May 13th, 2012, 17:17
My belief is that Vogel really doesn't care about making a better game, just more money. His skills really haven't improved in 20 years. He makes the same basic game with very minor graphical and gameplay tweaks. He'll never improve unless his games stop selling. I don't foresee that happening anytime soon. Some people like playing the same game over and over again. That's fine. Jeff fills their need.

'nut
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May 13th, 2012, 18:18
That is the point. He is aware of it, lives off it and still raises controversy with the limited design space comment and denies this studio a future as he predicts they will fail to milk the formula.

I dont see the purpose of his comment.
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May 13th, 2012, 18:21
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
But that's his point. He can do that because his engine allows to tell a relatively wide range of stories and can create a varied range of scenarios that work for a number of games.
Yeah, like grid based first person blobber engines haven't been used to do exactly that in the past…

Are you saying that say Lands of Lore, Ishars, Dungeon Masters, Wizardries, Might & Magics and Anvil of Dawn are in any way inherently more similar to each other than the stuff Vogel realeases every other year?
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May 13th, 2012, 18:30
Originally Posted by ChienAboyeur View Post
That is the point. He is aware of it, lives off it and still raises controversy with the limited design space comment and denies this studio a future as he predicts they will fail to milk the formula.

I dont see the purpose of his comment.
Denies???

As for the purpose, I think there is no purpose except just expressing an opinion. No more, no less. Like many (most?) other comments.

pibbur who also thinks his comment serves no particular purpose.

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