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April 14th, 2007, 03:01
Feargus Urquhart has answered another question from the "Top 10" questions thread on the Obsidian forums. This one is a lengthy response, so here's the first paragraph:
Will Obsidian continue to make "safe" games (i.e. those of established properties) or will it branch out and take the risk of creating its own settings?

Well that's a loaded question. So I'll go with a safe answer - both. This is pretty much because I like working on both licensed properties and original settings. I really believe that they both have their place in the industry and in running a healthy independent development studio. While I do think that licensed games can be less risky, it's not particularly the reason why I don't have a specific preference between them and original ideas. I guess I look at it as a game maker and not just a business guy. That may seem odd, because normally the business guy would say that making licensed product is the smart way to go because lower risk is always better. However, if you run an independent studio one of the things you always think about is the "end game" - what are we really trying to do here. Are we just going to be independent forever or are we looking to get purchased by a publisher. Creating original ideas (also called new IP - "Intellectual Property"), when successful, makes a studio more attractive to a publisher since they are getting more than just people and technology when they buy you. That's why you see a lot of studios really pushing to get their own IP published.
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April 14th, 2007, 03:01
"The Infinity Engine, notably, integrated the strategic nature of D&D into RPG combat, especially through full party control - while others strived to bring out the more 'personal' side of combat (TES). What parts, if any, of the former direction do you believe are appealing and desirable in future CRPGs?"

Sorry, I had to reply to this since I 100% believe that engine killed strategic rpg combat. Am I the only one that absolutely hated the combat of every IE game for having such strategy free, redundant, and too much combat? Of course, far worse can be said for nwn and nwn2 or whatever game that came after, but this was definitely the beggining of the end.

BG 2 had a couple memorable battles, but so does most utter crap games. I just see this statement/question as being as retarded as saying, "Diablo really brought a lot of choice and consequence into the dialogue-heavy sandbox rpg, blah blah blah."

I just don't see it and a lot of people seem to be fans of not just the IE games (which I could see taken as the total game) but of the IE combat (which just doesn't register in my head as being possible).

I am more than willing to admit that the combat in my favorite games was too heavy, but it was good, and would be great if the removed half the battles and made the rest 10x harder. But in order to make the combat good in an IE game you would have to removed 90% of the battles, make the battles 50X harder, and also replace the mechanics with new ones.

Am I alone? Please say someone else is with me on this.
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April 14th, 2007, 03:08
"Two of the products that we are making right now use licenses and one is an original IP that we are creating."

We know the two licensed products Obsidian is working on are Aliens RPG and NWN2 expansion pack. I wonder when Sega and Obsidian will officially announce Obsidian's original IP.
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April 14th, 2007, 03:57
I'm obviously ignoring the fact that Feargus said what Dowon quoted above, i.e. "Two of the products that we are making right now use licenses and one is an original IP that we are creating."… but here it goes… possibly the craziest conspiracy theory in a while…

/batshitcrazyconspiracytheory

Reading that Feargus thread, I noticed two possibly noteworthy oddities.

Firstly, Feargus made this one post where he was talking about the Fallout franchise on April 4, 2007. This happens to be the exact day and date when Bethesda struck that deal with Interplay about the Fallout IP.

Secondly, at the end of that post he said… "As for Fallout, like I said, I'm not sure if we'll ever get the chance, but I know that I'd love to make another Fallout - plus, I think Avellone's already designed the next 12 of them".
Sooo… why did Feargus write "12"? Is it a coincidence that Interplay issued the SEC filings for the Fallout IP on April 12? Why didn't Feargus say 3, 5, 7, … any other number. Why 12? A hidden hint to keep those eyes open for announcements made on the 12th of the same month in which the post was made? And why didn't he say "but as you all know the rights are with Bethesda right now so the chances of us ever getting the chance are slim" or something like that?

Well, who knows… maybe what the deal between Bethesda and Interplay means is that Bethesda, Obsidian and Interplay got together and that Bethesda has handed FO3 over to Obsidian and Bethesda will be splitting teams, doing Fallout Online instead (yes, this would be possible according to the agreement) and ES V.

\batshitcrazyconspiracytheory
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April 14th, 2007, 07:25
Originally Posted by roqua View Post
Am I alone? Please say someone else is with me on this.
You're not alone. I hated the real time combat in IE games. If they'd had decent turnbased combat they would have been, in my humble estimation, much better games. I gave up on Icewind Dale after the storyline got crushed under the weight of combat, but if said combat had been TB I would have stuck with it to the end.
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April 14th, 2007, 09:02
I love Mo's theory!! I don't really believe in it, but I do love it!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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April 14th, 2007, 10:08
Originally Posted by Cormac View Post
You're not alone. I hated the real time combat in IE games. If they'd had decent turnbased combat they would have been, in my humble estimation, much better games. I gave up on Icewind Dale after the storyline got crushed under the weight of combat, but if said combat had been TB I would have stuck with it to the end.
They'd definitely have been better as turnbased. I did enjoy them, however, and playing NWN2 (and KotOR/2) reminds me how much better IE combat was than more modern realtime implementations.

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April 14th, 2007, 11:22
Ok - here's a thought.

I dislike, abhors, and even hate turnbased combat . (not that much, but just to give you a different perspective on things ).

I find it boring, shallow, and not being able to help the flow of things in the game, especially the combat. I find the IE's combat much better, as it real time with pause.
If you read any of the IE's games' manuals you will learn that it really is roundbased combat. Each character has his or her own initiative. The strategy comes from placing your characters in the correct positions before, during, and while the combat lasts. (I know this, because I have had a very hard time in BG2, not that I mind this, but I just think it is telling that you need to plan ahead for each combat in BG2….)
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April 14th, 2007, 13:54
Cormac, I agree TB, like cheese or ketchup, makes everything better, but mentioning TB in this is a sure fire way for people to get defensive about the issue instead of actually thinking about it.

I think RT combat can be a lot better than the combat in the IE games, such as in the second UFO aftermath game, darklands, etc.

As a whole game, I liked BG2 and PS:T a lot as total games, but the combat brings instant classics to intolorable.

And this is keeping in mind almost all my favorite games had an over abundance of combat that stopped me from finishing them. But, no one touts the combat of these games as being fantastic, where the reverse is true for the IE games.

And if what aries says is true: If the only strategy comes from placement (which is only important in the 1% of battles that aren't midless) you are left with only one small aspect of combat that is strategic in a handfull of fights. How is this good?

In darklands, every choice you made was important, same with the ufo game (speaking generally, obviuosly both games had some mindless combat), wouldn't that be far more strategic than 99% of the battles just being one click, set it and forget it?

WHat about the people that really loved the combat in the IE games, r thought it was combat done well: why? Can you tell us what was good about it and what was strategic?
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April 14th, 2007, 15:46
What if…

IE games combat was like in TOEE. Would you like it? I know i would…
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April 14th, 2007, 16:18
Originally Posted by roqua View Post
WHat about the people that really loved the combat in the IE games, r thought it was combat done well: why? Can you tell us what was good about it and what was strategic?

I would've loved them to be TB, because coming from the Golbox Games I am a sucker for that. I even played my way through POR2, using the speed patch. I never and far into TOEE, because it is even slower than POR2 and has no speed patch. The story is even as lame as POR2.

But.. Roqua, why do you start this discussion everywhere you go? It has been done to death and I think everybody should accept the IE games had mediocre RT combat implemented and BG1 and the IWDs had a shit load of unnecessary battles.

But the IE engine is no more. If you want an answer to your question you should write an email to the guys from Planewalker Studios, because as far as I have understood they copy the RT implementation of the IE games in Broken Hourglass, don't they?

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April 14th, 2007, 17:09
I agree with Dhruin, NWN2's implementation of RT combat is worse than the IE games. It's maybe, in part, the fault of the UI. Another thing: when I was playing NWN2 I put every NPC on puppet mode; but reading various boards I was surprised to see players actually preferring to let the AI control their party's actions (at least to some extent), and that in spite of the fact that the AI was retarded. I wonder, is that what players want, script some general behaviors for each party member and let the AI do the fighting ?

Roqua, I guess I misunderstood your first post.
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April 14th, 2007, 18:33
Re:Moriendor's \batshitcrazyconspiracytheory

I wondered about that statement("would love to make FO3-12") at the time. And to further enforce the BSCCT, look at this remark from the current thread:

However, if you run an independent studio one of the things you always think about is the "end game" - what are we really trying to do here. Are we just going to be independent forever or are we looking to get purchased by a publisher.
This clearly indicates beth could buy them and use them for the FO license!!!

er,…except he then had to say this :

Creating original ideas (also called new IP - "Intellectual Property"), when successful, makes a studio more attractive to a publisher since they are getting more than just people and technology when they buy you. That's why you see a lot of studios really pushing to get their own IP published.
which might be deemed shooting the theory in the foot, but….as a conspiracy theory, it still works since they usually are well able to ignore little things like that.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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April 14th, 2007, 18:43
Originally Posted by Sir_Brennus View Post
I would've loved them to be TB, because coming from the Golbox Games I am a sucker for that. I even played my way through POR2, using the speed patch. I never and far into TOEE, because it is even slower than POR2 and has no speed patch. The story is even as lame as POR2.

But.. Roqua, why do you start this discussion everywhere you go? It has been done to death and I think everybody should accept the IE games had mediocre RT combat implemented and BG1 and the IWDs had a shit load of unnecessary battles.

But the IE engine is no more. If you want an answer to your question you should write an email to the guys from Planewalker Studios, because as far as I have understood they copy the RT implementation of the IE games in Broken Hourglass, don't they?
Because no one ever answered. this isn't about RT w/ pause vs. TB, this about a specific implementation of RT w/ Pause. That provided in the Infinity Engine. With the narrative of the quite I used.

I can explain why I liked the combat in the games I liked it in, and i can do it without nonsense statements. Someone before told me that RT w/P is a lot more strategic and tactical than any other type of combat in games, but had retarded examples that were the same as me saying, "I like steak more than fish because steak tastes more like fish than fish does." Its not a valid answer.

It from what I read, I that the Plainwalker guys are trying to make Rt w/ P combat that requires more involment from the player. RT twitch games require constant imput from the player. same with TB. That equals player involment in games labelled rpg, a label thats consistent staple throughout the years means why too much combat. A lot of RT w/ P systems require very little player involment. Just one click at the onset of battle, then sit back and watch. Maybe drink a potion. No real reason to cast a spell since the combat would be over sooner if you didn't take the time move the mouse and cast the spell, nevermind if you wanted to pause and cast.

There are crap RT w/ pause, crap RT twitch, and crap TB systems. I hate the combat in the Gothic games, but I can see why people would love it, and they can explain it in a way that makes sense. It requires a lot of player involvement and skill. You have to pay close attention and time it right. Its not mindless (generally). There are a lot of Tb systems that would be better by being RT, since all being TB does is slow the combat down. If my only choice at my turn is to hit this guy, why not make that go faster by making it real time, so at least my meaningless involvement and unnecessary unput is removed for the sake of speed (since my involvement was superficial anyways).

So, now back to the IE games. Obvioulsy its combat was popular. If you like RT w/ P we know why. By why specifically the IE game's combat so much? And if you do find it strategic, how so?
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April 15th, 2007, 04:13
Originally Posted by Cormac View Post
I agree with Dhruin, NWN2's implementation of RT combat is worse than the IE games. It's maybe, in part, the fault of the UI. Another thing: when I was playing NWN2 I put every NPC on puppet mode; but reading various boards I was surprised to see players actually preferring to let the AI control their party's actions (at least to some extent), and that in spite of the fact that the AI was retarded. I wonder, is that what players want, script some general behaviors for each party member and let the AI do the fighting ?

Roqua, I guess I misunderstood your first post.
Just a further comment - sorry for headng away from Roqua's question. I've switched back-and-forth between puppet mode and the AI system. Currently, I'm playing with the AI. Why? Because the UI drives me insane. Frickin' insane.

Prior to 1.05, I found it tedious without a "select all" or rubberbanding. When 1.05 beta came out, I was overjoyed with the select all. But it sucks. You can't open a door or loot something with everyone selected, so you have to change selections every 30 seconds.

Then, without the AI, all the controls like following distances are switched off and there are no formation controls, so Qara (who runs faster) keeps blocking Khelgar (who seems to have a "fatter" footprint) in doorways…I keep getting belted because only one character gets through the door. Finally, quite a few of the spells light up the screen so I can't see what is happening and there are no "pause" or "interruption" controls (such as when a target dies).

All of this was better in every IE game.

In frustration, I tried the AI again and I find the AI improvements in 1.05 are better and all those UI problems are ameliorated. Plus Qara chucks out spells like someone possessed and nukes everything, which is dull gameplay but expedient and somehow satisfying in some powergaming way. Since you can rest so often, it isn't much of a problem.

Without turns, I miss individual rounds and can't manually throw spells as fast as the AI, so I'm not as deadly.

The gameplay ends up simplified, kind of like playing Dungeon Siege or something, but the UI was driving my blood pressure up.

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April 15th, 2007, 07:03
I kind of felt that NWN2 almost forces the AI mode on you, and I was playing a caster. Most of the time I was tweaking the NPC settings(spells on /spells off-(no other real difference in the spell settings between fry and super-fry) or right-clicking and hollering at them all the time: follow me/stand still/guard me…it was absolutely THE most irritating party control I've ever played, and many times I just gave up and used the AI until some suicidal move forced me to manually control someone. (Of course, I played the game anyway and enjoyed it in a masochistic way. )

So to answer Cormac's conjecture, maybe that is what some people want, because it's easier than the alternative— if you can ignore the fact that you aren't in charge of your party. The game flows along and you are basically a passenger riding from cinematic cutscene to cinematic cutscene. Renting a movie would be a lot cheaper, though.

@roqua
I'm not a fan per se of the IE, so I can't mount much of a spirited defense, but it did allow some rudimentary party control.
As to anything strategic in the IE engine combat, I can only say retrospectively it's better than it's NWN/NWN2 incarnation. I played mainly spellcasters and clerics, so the waiting and cueing up rt/pause thing worked okay for me.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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April 15th, 2007, 08:04
Dhruin, you're feeling the same pain that led me to produce the review I've written!! Maybe we should include your comments in with mine when we release it!!!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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April 15th, 2007, 09:00
I'll consider adding a few lines.

The frustrating this is, I love a party-based RPG and this shows enough glimpses of the "good ol' BG2 days" to reel me in. Plus, after a horrifically dull start, the story is pretty damn good.

Compelling and frustrating at the same time.

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April 15th, 2007, 09:26
Yep, it has a number of things it almost does well, but for me the frustrations over implementation won out. I've been considering my shorter review of the MP aspects and will probably write it in the next week or two. I want to play around with the DM tools a little and try one more MP mod first.

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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April 15th, 2007, 16:13
As I understood patchlog of 1.05 final, implementation of Multiselect is still beta. Hope, they will improve it with 1.06. But it's the right step. I'm optimistic it will becomne better, at least through MotB.

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