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Default Obsidian Entertainment - J.E. Sawyer's Blog

February 15th, 2007, 22:12
Titled Joshing Around, J.E. Sawyer has opened his Obsidian blog account and penned a piece called rpg mechanics 'n stuff - an interesting read:
I have written before about the strange position occupied by RPGs in modern computer gaming (PC or otherwise). In summary: tabletop RPGs and most of their CRPG kin were born out of mechanics necessitated by the realities of playing a game with dice, paper, and pencils. Everything was either uncontested expression on behalf of the player or a simulated contest governed by probability. Modern PCs and consoles can now, with a fair amount of accuracy, simulate movement, lighting, perception, and virtually any type of physical activity in the world or through mini-games. It leaves "probability simulation" RPGs, or perhaps all RPGs, in an odd place.
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February 15th, 2007, 22:12
"I think Oblivion's general balance of character and player skills is probably the way that most CRPG mechanics are going to work in the future. As long as the mechanics don't require Ninja Gaiden-esque levels of player skill, such systems find a very appealing sweet spot in which character building, immediate player choice, and a shallow learning curve can come together very smoothly."

This is the guy that was developing Van Buren, right? I bet certain recent posters are glad that Josh didn't get ahold of the Fallout license after reading this
How dare Josh praise Bethesda for creating a very appealing system that works for crpgs!
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February 15th, 2007, 22:39
Josh isn't praising Bethesda - merely pointing out that Oblivion's gameplay, for better or worse, is a likely design template candidate for the future. Even if he was praising it this wouldn't suggest he would try to apply the same design to Van Buren - especially since that project was very different than what Bethesda is currently doing.

From a technical perspective, as long as a system works it's appealing to any game, CRPG or otherwise. Oblivion has no particular advantage over other systems that haven't been done before; in fact, there's a likely handful of better systems out there which would be good candidates for a shift in the genre. From an action combat standpoint I'd much rather see developers looking at titles like God of War or Devil May Cry, or games like Metal Gear Solid or Splinter Cell for ways to improve stealth.

There's an undoubtable amount of design elements that would do well to spill into CRPGs. Personally, I have no qualms about the genre dwelling into a more 'physical' approach to its games which is to say, I can enjoy Fallout as much as Deus Ex as role-playing games. The only thing that bothers me is how character skills will play out in a player-driven context.
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February 15th, 2007, 22:49
Originally Posted by Role-Player View Post
. The only thing that bothers me is how character skills will play out in a player-driven context.
I can't disagree with you here, RP. This is one of the things that was fairly wimpy in Oblivion. I like to play around with my stats and skills alot more than what was possible in O. I'm hoping level progression is done much differently in F3 than it was in O. I would think that the Bethesda Devs are tired of TES rules and will do something different for the Fallout series. We'll see.
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February 15th, 2007, 22:53
Ahhhh, more regurgitated bullshit about how stats and die rolls are outdated because now computers can perfectly simulate stuff instead (just look at that brilliant speech minigame in Oblivion! ). It's an oldie, but a goodie! I guess I don't feel quite as bad about van Buren being cancelled when I read stuff like this.
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February 16th, 2007, 00:57
He says that computers can simulate physical activities with a fair amount of accuracy, that he and others find real-time tests of player skill more engaging and generally rewarding than die rolls, and that he can't really fault any simulation mechanic that's executed well. Although he qualifies most of his opinions as his personal feelings, I still see several opportunities to disagree with his argument without misrepresenting it.

Statues wouldn't be better if they could move. Model airplanes would not be better if they were the same size as airplanes.
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February 16th, 2007, 01:03
Originally Posted by doctor_kaz View Post
Ahhhh, more regurgitated bullshit about how stats and die rolls are outdated because now computers can perfectly simulate stuff instead (just look at that brilliant speech minigame in Oblivion! ).
Huh?

"I would like to see viable "traditional" CRPGs and tactical combat games stay strong in 2007 and beyond, but I know that such superfans are truly in the minority these days."

sounds like "pen and paper simulation cRPGs are DED" to you?

Nostalgic piece, at worst/best
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