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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Age of Decadence - News Catchup

Default Age of Decadence - News Catchup

June 23rd, 2007, 19:29
It's been a while since we've posted anything "official" for Age of Decadence, so I thought I'd scare up some stuff from the forum at RPG Codex.
First off, a while back community member Elhoim was recruited to work on improving the appearance of the interfaces - you can read about it in this lengthy thread with lots of samples.
VD comments on character creation and options here, and in May made a few comments on the status:
So, from one, purely technical point of view, you can say that it's 100% done and playable. From a more demanding point of view, it's about 60% done, meaning that I would like to replace about 40% given an opportunity (just like we replaced the interface, for example). I can post a list of things I want to fix, if someone's interested and, perhaps, would like to help.
Well, one thing that always bugged me was the complete and utter lack of anything resembling art direction. I underestimated this aspect, which is probably the biggest mistake I've made developing AoD. We have visually interesting locations like the towers, the Petra-inspired location, the temple, some tombs and underground places, but the towns look… I don't even know what word I'm looking for. Generic? Uninspiring? Boring?

Somehow they don't look like towns, but like a loose collection of buildings. At least in the Spiderweb games the towns are way too abstract for someone to say "wait-a-minute! That doesn't look like a proper town at all" (I'm too lazy to take screenshots right now, but I think we have a town shot on the website, so take a look). Anyway, we decided to throw away the town maps and start basically from scratch, splitting each town map into districts and spending more attention/time on each district, doing it right this time.
…and more recently, posts about the reason for delays:
I decided to start posting short updates to a) show that the project is not dead and b) to entertain you with crazy game development stories.

For the last 4-5 months we've been working on the combat system. While it sounds simple (I kill you with death -> u die lol!!!!), it's actually not. And no, I'm not taking about all kinda hit/miss calculations, clevar AI, the ruleset, or anything remotely interesting. I'm talking about some annoying, minor, but time-consuming crap like dropping and picking up weapons and other junk.

Our general pick-up system is simple. You click on the eye icon* and get a window that shows you all available (not in containers) items in each map(!). We have, basically, an invisible container where all the local junk is contained and dropped into when you discard an item or kill someone. Since we don't have a lot of junk lying around that seems to work well. All ingredients (leafs, sulfur, etc) are also in the container (different areas have different items - there are no leafs in desert locations, obviously). The access to the ingredients is skill-based. Let's say there are 40 "healing" leafs in an area. If your alchemy is 50, you only see 8 leafs in the pickup box. You can't see any items, weapons or ingredients, on the ground; everything is handled via the pickup window.

Anyway, moving on. In combat your can't access the general pickup window. Some battles involve allies and smarter testers waited for a better equipped characters to die and then grabbed their stuff telekinetically, being 5-10 squares away. That didn't work for us, so we had to change it. You can pick up only what's on the square you stand on (think XCOM). That way if you see a dropped weapon and you want it NOW!, you move your ass to that square and pick it up. Alternatively, you can wait for the battle to be over and then pick up everything through the general pickup window.

Now, that seems to work, but you can't see items that are on the ground, which creates a problem. Yesterday my character was disarmed by NPC A and then was knocked away by NPC B's hammer of painful death. So, here I was, disarmed and far away from the square with my axe. What was worse I couldn't even remember which square it was after the NPCs moved a bit. So, we decided to use the NWN2 "lootbag" system, which I hate with passion. We wasted a few weeks trying to come up with a better system and trying different things, but failed. Well, we'd have stupid little chests instead of bags. After a battle is over, the chests will disappear and all the loot will go into the main invisible chest. So, that's the kinda stuff that we are dealing with at the moment, in case someone's wondering.

* It also gives you a description of the area in the interface text box.
More information.
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June 23rd, 2007, 19:29
Commies, all of them. Specially their leader, the so-called Vince D. Weller who fights against free economy and freedom with these subversive "games".
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June 23rd, 2007, 20:10
I forget: is it catchup or ketsup?
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June 23rd, 2007, 20:16
Kinda ripped off your newspost for NMA, Dhruin. Sorry!

Good news, tho'. I haven't had time to follow it with scrutiny, I'm glad they're that far. Though overhauling the art direction this late might turn out a bit messy.
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June 24th, 2007, 17:00
Whats funny is for a guy who rails against things in the industry he actually concedes he had to make some of the same decisions which he bashed neverwinter nights for but his game gets a pass for doin it?

It looks decent, however I found teh marble backing in the interface made it harder to read then it should be…a plain color would look nicer.
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June 24th, 2007, 17:39
Originally Posted by rune_74 View Post
Whats funny is for a guy who rails against things in the industry he actually concedes he had to make some of the same decisions which he bashed neverwinter nights for but his game gets a pass for doin it?
Who's giving him "a pass" for doing it? I've yet so see anyone there go "hmm, Neverwinter Nights was too mainstream for doing X but Age of Decadence is oh so hardcore when it does the same so let us rejoice brothers, for the hipocrisy of our ways is validated!".
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June 24th, 2007, 18:36
Originally Posted by rune_74 View Post
Whats funny is for a guy who rails against things in the industry he actually concedes he had to make some of the same decisions which he bashed neverwinter nights for…
Care to elaborate?
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June 24th, 2007, 20:26
Originally Posted by rune_74 View Post
Whats funny is for a guy who rails against things in the industry he actually concedes he had to make some of the same decisions which he bashed neverwinter nights for but his game gets a pass for doin it?
Others have asked, but I would ask too. Can you link to this supposed discussion where people gave him a pass for doing NWN-ish things?

As far as I can tell, his game is a repudiation of many NWN things. It does things differently, and that's part of the appeal. At least to me….
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June 24th, 2007, 23:50
personally I give him a lot of credit for putting his money where his mouth is. this was a huge challenge to begin with. he's clearly learned a lot about game development already and this will give him more cred if or when he does say something about another game.
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June 25th, 2007, 02:54
Originally Posted by rune_74 View Post
Whats funny is for a guy who rails against things in the industry he actually concedes he had to make some of the same decisions which he bashed neverwinter nights for but his game gets a pass for doin it?

It looks decent, however I found teh marble backing in the interface made it harder to read then it should be…a plain color would look nicer.

What the fuck are you babbling about? What did he concede? What direction? I'd really like to hear this douchebag's sorry ass comeback.
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June 25th, 2007, 04:17
Please avoid comments of a personal and insulting nature!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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June 25th, 2007, 10:38
So I just clicked on rune_74's profile, and his last 3 posts are all about F3 love & Vault Dweller hate. So I guess he's just trolling.
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June 25th, 2007, 15:46
Well, this of course means that anyone who spends most of their time bashing Bethesda/Fallout/Oblivion is also a troll. I'd say the forum is full of trolls then. Rune74 is just from a different tribe of trolls than Lucky Day, Brother None/Kharn, Role Player, etc At least Rune_74 doesn't link to his troll den constantly in his posts.

I admit his picking on VDweller seems incoherent at best. What was he talking about?….Part of his problem might be that linking to the codex can be problematical. You never know what type of tasteless material may be in any given thread.
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June 25th, 2007, 16:05
Originally Posted by crpgnut View Post
Well, this of course means that anyone who spends most of their time bashing Bethesda/Fallout/Oblivion is also a troll.
Maybe. I wasn't calling him troll just because he's got an anti-Vault Dweller thing going on, but also because he's not substantiating his claim with links to the topics that show his assertion was based upon real happenings. If you're suggesting that anyone who spends their time bashing AND the bashing is baseless, then yeah, I'd agree with you, they're all trolls. But one of the reasons I respect at least some of these guys is that they're not baseless. Case in point is Vault Dweller himself. The problems he has with Fallout 3 are real and tangible enough that he was able to build a game that does things the way that he feels is best. Seeing someone say, "this game has problems, here, I'll build a new game that does it differently so you can see what I mean" strikes me as very non-trollish.

But what do I know, I'm not building games. Just MHO.
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June 25th, 2007, 16:12
I think this is a really cool thing, and look forward to supporting his efforts as they move along.

— Mike
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June 26th, 2007, 18:32
It never ceases to amaze me how hard up for a cause some people are. I wish we could get this excited about changing our government, ending war, etc.

I appreciate VD for not just carping about his betrayal at the hands of Interplay, Beth et al., and instead making his own attempt to create a good game. Looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
Last edited by magerette; June 26th, 2007 at 18:56.
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June 26th, 2007, 19:36
The only connection I could see is a delay due to aesthetics? i.e. the towns being upgraded for, in my opinion, rediculous reasons. Town layout in an rpg is about as important as having a cool intro for the publishers name, or a typo in the ending credits. No one cares, or no one sane at least, in my opinion. And that's stretching any sort of link to NWN. Other than that, I can't see it. Unless, he is talking about VD talking more about art direction and other aesthetic related topics, which of course was important for both nwns, and was admitted by a developer that it wrecked nwn 2.

I would consider myself a fanboy of AoD, and since I strongly believe that superficial nonsense is very unimportant and is just a waste of resources that could have been used to make a game actually better, VD's aesthetic talk kind of makes me a little miffed. But, when I look at it from the big picture, and I have to be truthful and realize that superficial nonsense it what most people seem to make their game purchasing decisions on, and that I want AoD and other indie developers to do very well (without being sellout bandwagon, graphic whore bitches ((I'm still allowed to swear right?))) to spur the development and viable market of other indie rpgs, I can't really complain.

I would rather have a less aesthetically pleasing game sooner rather than vice versa, but he also posted about actual game related issues that are delaying release, such as items on the group, etc. I wish he'd talk about that more than the graphic whore crap. But que sera sera.

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June 26th, 2007, 20:09
Originally Posted by roqua1 View Post
The only connection I could see is a delay due to aesthetics?
It's not a delay due to aesthetics. From one of the posts:

"Hard to say, really. Look at it this way. Suppose you decide to make a table one day. You figure out that it would take a couple of days and start working. In a couple of days the table is completed and you proudly observe your masterpiece. Hmm… The good news is it's definitely a fucking table and nobody would confuse it with a chair. The bad news is the table leaves much to be desired. In my opinion, at least, but then again, in this particular case, my opinion is the one that truly matters. So, you start tinkering with the table: replace a leg or two, add some drawers, carve some details, and polish this fucker until you hate the day when you decided to make it.

So, from one, purely technical point of view, you can say that it's 100% done and playable. From a more demanding point of view, it's about 60% done, meaning that I would like to replace about 40% given an opportunity (just like we replaced the interface, for example). I can post a list of things I want to fix, if someone's interested and, perhaps, would like to help.

Here is another explanation. Gothic 3 was shipped when all the pieces were put together. It was a brilliant, but absolutely unpolished game, which is a shame, because

a) it almost killed PB and whether or not the studio will recover is unclear.
b) it ruined gameplay for many players and created an impression that the game sucked.

The game should have been in development for at least another 6 months or another year. That's the mistake that we are trying to avoid. Unlike a real development studio, we don't work full time, so a few months of regular development time mean 6 months worth of work for us. Well, patience is a virtue."

… i.e. the towns being upgraded for, in my opinion, rediculous reasons. Town layout in an rpg is about as important as having a cool intro for the publishers name, or a typo in the ending credits. No one cares…
Indeed. I don't care about town layouts and never did. I do care about the art direction though, but that's a different matter. It's not about making the game look pretty, it's about area design that matches what you are told about the area.
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June 26th, 2007, 20:18
Is Pete Hines gving you PR classes on marketing double speak? I heard a rumor that you guys were dropping the Torque engine and using the Oblivion/FO3 engine now and release has been pushed back to 2012. WTF!!!!

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June 27th, 2007, 01:49
Hopefully, even VD will have a good laugh at that comment!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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