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April 10th, 2007, 13:15
J.E. Sawyer has made some nifty comments about their work on the Alien RPG at the Obsidian forums:
Things are going pretty well, but please understand that we're still very early in development. The game is many months off and we're still doing a lot of prototyping/core technology development. The design staff is refining a lot of early work on the project right now. Chris Avellone is the Lead Creative Designer on the project and he has been helping develop our dialogue tool and banter system. We want something that feels "natural" in flow and delivery but still gives the player a great deal of control and good options to take relationships in different directions. Paul Boyle joined us a couple of months ago as our Lead System Designer. Paul previously worked at Maxis on Sims titles and on Spore. He's been working a lot with me on our core system designs. We have good arguments discussions on ideas and he has been building a top-down 2D prototype for our tactical combat systems which is giving us great data on interface and AI/pathing issues. It's also allowing us to do rapid iteration on the crunchy numerical aspects of the game. Finally, Mike Stout joined us from Insomniac as our Lead Level Designer. He worked on several Rachet & Clank titles and as the Lead Multiplayer Level Designer on Resistance: Fall of Man. Mike is working with the art team to develop our level pipeline and establish building metrics. He's also been doing research on different types of non-linear games to see how they handle various aspects of revealing areas, opening up quests, scaling difficulty, etc.

As for me, I'm re-learning Flash to implement several prototype interfaces. The last time I had anything to do with Flash was when I made this. Yay!
Thanks, dowon.
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April 10th, 2007, 13:15
Did it mention that they are researching "scaling difficulty"

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April 10th, 2007, 15:31
Originally Posted by bjon045 View Post
Did it mention that they are researching "scaling difficulty"
if that shit is in it iam not buying it !
still gonna play it though….

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April 10th, 2007, 16:49
but they did not say "AUTO" difficulty scaling.
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April 10th, 2007, 16:56
Originally Posted by bjon045 View Post
Did it mention that they are researching "scaling difficulty"
Difficulty scaling can work very nicely, as it does for parts of SiN Episodes, which adjust the difficulty of encounters to your demonstrated skill level. Not every variable difficulty system is a code-word for copying Oblivion.

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April 10th, 2007, 18:03
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
Difficulty scaling can work very nicely, as it does for parts of SiN Episodes, which adjust the difficulty of encounters to your demonstrated skill level. Not every variable difficulty system is a code-word for copying Oblivion.
One small difference, SiN is a FPS which is skill based, meanwhile this is supposed to be an RPG which are not supposed to be skill based.

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April 10th, 2007, 19:41
I'd say the odds that Obsidian would make an Oblivion clone out of this are pretty low. It just isn't their style.

It's not a pc only title, and I imagine it will feature a lot of action. How hard core an rpg it will be will depend on what Sega has in mind, but I don't think they would have picked the likes of Urquehart, Avellone and Sawyer it if they didn't want to follow a traditional rpg path at least to some extent.

bjon45, don't most combat scenarios in rpgs have some sort of difficulty scaling? I know it's pretty rare to fight creatures that are ten levels higher. From the phrasing in the article it's hard to tell, but it doesn't use the word "sandbox" anywhere. anyway.

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April 10th, 2007, 20:17
Non-Linear means you can pretty much go explore as you wish and don't have to nesessarily follow the main storyline so the world is open for you rather then you being directed like in linear games. (you can go wherever you want in the game world usually)

Almost every game that exists has difficulty scalling in someway and difficulty scalling doesn't mean it is going to have level scalling like in oblivion. You can scale the difficulty of all the creatures on an equal scalling system where even if every creature is scaled to you the creatures that are way above you would still destroy you and the ones way below you would be destroyed by you. That is equivalent scalling where all creatures are scalled at an equal amount which keeps creatures that are more or less powerful then you at that point but ones that are close to you in power at your level.

That is just one example of difficulty scalling that is different then Oblivion's difficulty scalling.
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April 10th, 2007, 20:18
Originally Posted by guenthar
Almost every game that exists has difficulty scalling in someway and difficulty scalling doesn't mean it is going to have level scalling like in oblivion.
I think that is a bit of an exaggeration. I would say most RPG's historically have not had level scaling, although that is certainly changing these days. Just a few examples would be Fallout, the ultimas, the old gold box games, Bards Tale, and most of the wizardry games.

Originally Posted by magerette View Post
bjon45, don't most combat scenarios in rpgs have some sort of difficulty scaling? I know it's pretty rare to fight creatures that are ten levels higher. From the phrasing in the article it's hard to tell, but it doesn't use the word "sandbox" anywhere. anyway.
BG2 was the first example I can remember that had scaling, and at least in BG2 some of the monsters didn't scale and the scaling was almost seamless (and items weren't scaled or randomly generated). I guess I just prefer the old days when developers actually carefully balanced the game and didn't cater to the lowest denominator.

A retarded monkey banging on a keyboard would eventually win most cRPG's designed these days.

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Last edited by bjon045; April 10th, 2007 at 20:28.
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April 10th, 2007, 21:16
Most RPG's I remember had scaling but they were limited. On a first level dungeon for example you had a ceiling of level 2. On a 10th level dungeon you had a floor you could have a floor of a measly level 80.

They are especially pronounced in wilderness encounters. I think Wizardry 8 did a good job of it.
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April 11th, 2007, 00:00
We have good arguments discussions on ideas and he has been building a top-down 2D prototype for our tactical combat systems which is giving us great data on interface and AI/pathing issues.

I hope the 'tactical combat systems' end up in the finished product.
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April 11th, 2007, 01:26
Originally Posted by guenthar View Post
Non-Linear means you can pretty much go explore as you wish and don't have to nesessarily follow the main storyline so the world is open for you rather then you being directed like in linear games. (you can go wherever you want in the game world usually)
Nonlinear means "not in a straight line". Its normal use encompasses both games with more than one path and games with no path at all.

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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April 11th, 2007, 02:09
I couldn't say where the first uses of scaling in a CRPG ever occurred but it's definitely both common practice and a very useful design tool in essentialy every modern RPG. The problem with Oblivion is/was the universal single algorithm used almost the board. Judicious use with caps (both low and high) is very useful and shouldn't be looked down on.

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April 11th, 2007, 06:32
Actually in all games I have played having multiple paths would be still considered a linear game when you are just being led around the game world. A non-linear game wouldn't have those restrictions against where you can go unless they restricted an area because of storyline purposes.

Examples of a non-linear games would be the Might and Magic games, Elder Scrolls series, (only the main series) the earlier Ultima games, and the Gothic series, etc.

Examples of linear games would be nearly all Japanese console RPGs, Ultima 7, (both parts) Neverwinter Nights 1 & 2, Bioware games, etc.
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April 11th, 2007, 12:32
I'd say Oblivion is a pretty linear game as well, since only the order in which you do quests can be chosen - the quests themselves are always completely linear, with only one way to start the quest, and one way to finish it.

Non-linear, to me, means the ability to choose the outcome of a quest. For a game to be truly non-linear, the main quest itself must be non-linear, such as Arcanum, Planescape: Torment, Might & Magic 7 and Gothic 3, where there are multiple endings depending on the players choice.
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April 11th, 2007, 12:51
I think you'll find that Planescape: Torment is an action-straight line with nonlinear elements.

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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April 11th, 2007, 15:06
The Codex introduced me to the useful destinction between freeform (go anywhere, anytime) and nonlinear (contains a branching plot). One concerns primarily the world design and movement in the world (and content) space, the other concerns narrative structure. One could argue that freeform games alway comprise a certain nonlinearity, since the narrative an individual player experiences is not linearly determined, but freely chosen in content and order by the player. But that does not change the fact that this does not lead to a truly branching story in current games (although minor elements may exist, e.g. choice of your Great House in Morrowind). However, if game actions in a freeform game would lead to longterm consequences, these games could become truly nonlinear (as the possible plot elements would then dynamically depend on past actions, similar to branching quest structures), even if there is no prearranged branching plotline.
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