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Default Alpha Protocol - Preview @ Eurogamer, Games Radar

March 22nd, 2010, 10:03
Two new previews on Alpha Protocol and thanks to Omega for sending them both in. First, over to Eurogamer, who take a cautious approach:
In the genre-bending world of modern videogames, things are not always what they seem. Alpha Protocol looks, walks and talks like a shooter, but it's not - under the hood it's a skills-based RPG. It's far more about character stats than firepower, and interactive cut-scenes form a substantial portion of the action.
This has a lot of counter-intuitive implications. Empty a clip of bullets into an enemy's head, and the damage done is determined by your character sheet rather than where you're aiming or how powerful the gun is - so you can rush up to a boss and unload a shotgun into his stomach, and it will do practically no damage if your shotgun stat isn't high. Try to fire an assault rifle from far away without the requisite skill points, and you simply won't hit anything, no matter where you aim.
…and then Games Radar, who saw the game at a press event in Prague. They describe three different characters they tried:
Playing as a 'stealth' style agent
This required an altogether more sneaky approach to the mission. No longer rock-hard, we quickly realised that employing the balls-out fire fight tactic would make Thorton collapse to the floor in a heap of slow-motion deadness with alarming regularity.
No. The best way here was to exploit the stealth skills to their fullest. On-screen arrows now indicated enemy locations and temporary invisibility allowed Thorton to get close and execute fatal takedowns without being detected.
More information.
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March 22nd, 2010, 10:03
This has a lot of counter-intuitive implications. Empty a clip of bullets into an enemy's head, and the damage done is determined by your character sheet rather than where you're aiming or how powerful the gun is - so you can rush up to a boss and unload a shotgun into his stomach, and it will do practically no damage if your shotgun stat isn't high. Try to fire an assault rifle from far away without the requisite skill points, and you simply won't hit anything, no matter where you aim.
Ugh…that I do not approve of, whatsoever. It's ludicrous.
Honestly, had the Obsidian devs pushed the "skill-to-effect" towards influencing things such as the player's accuracy (by, for instance, implementing some aiming-reticule sway or whatnot), the ability of the character to rapidly fire, to swiftly reload, to maintain their weapon, to access new and more complex weapon modifications, to use the weapon in unique firing positions (as in, from the hip, while hanging from a ladder, one-handed, etcetera)…well, that I can get behind. It's logical: as in the real-world, you require skill to accomplish these things.
In what world, however, does the skill of a person dictate how much damage a shotgun blast to the stomach does? I can see it now: "Good heavens, you shot him in the head! Right between the eyes! …well, we're just fortunate it was your first time. Bullet bounced right off."
Hopefully AP comes with a toolset or engenders a modding community. Should such illogicality as this persist through to release, I will not be purchasing a copy.
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March 22nd, 2010, 11:21
I guess you don't really understand how shooting a gun works since even if you are steady you are likely to miss or just graze the person when you try to shoot them. One part is that even if you think you are aiming directly at the person or object it doesn't mean you are really aiming directly at them since you could be holding your gun at a slight angle and that would be enough for the bullet to miss or only do minor damage. (like hitting the side of the head or body or hitting the edge of a target) Another part is not being able to handle the recoil properly and holding the gun wrong which can increase recoil which will throw your aim off when you shoot. (shotguns have a lot of recoil and at the time you shoot your aim can be really thrown off) There are many other influences on your shooting accuracy even when you are steady have the target in your sights. This is also a game and not real life and things like mind set and psychological interferences. An example of this is say it is your first time or you are not accustomed to shooting people. You might be afraid or be against killing people but you need to do it to survive. Survival might get you in the right mind set but you still have that fear or are still against killing people. You go to shoot someone and you end up pulling up a little as you pull the trigger because you weren't really ready to do it.

PS. The first time I shot a rifle I was at a firing range and the gun was supported and I was steady on the target but when I shot I totally missed the target. I learned pretty quickly that you need to be careful on the angling of your gun, the way you pull the trigger, how you look at your sights, and the recoil in order to shoot where you want to shoot.

PPS. Even if you are 2 feet in front of your target the recoil from a shotgun could throw off your aim enough to hit them in the side or miss entirely. (you probably would have to be really inexperienced to miss entirely though)
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March 22nd, 2010, 11:28
It's a RPG, meant to reward you when you put points into a skill. Talking about accuracy is all fine and well, but if only accuracy was affected, then a player would easily be able to "break" the system in many ways. Especially since stealth is a pretty integrated element in the game. What's to stop me from using my high stealth skill to get up close to enemies, and blow them away with a shotgun or assault rifle that I might not have any skill in whatsoever?

Sure it can result in strange situations (hitting anyone in the eyes and having them carry on just fine in Fallout anyone?) but it's by far preferable to homogenizing the action and skills to the point where the skills are just a minor inconvineance. We get a system like Fallout 3 where I could complete nearly all of the game using a Laser Rifle even though I had never raised my skill in Energy Weapons at all.

I say thank god that the game seems to reward specialization character building to this point. The mainstream will undoubtedly hate it though. And besides, I'm pretty sure that you can spread skills over a larger number of skills and create a sort of jack-of-all-trades that is not master of anything.
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March 22nd, 2010, 11:49
I'm disappointed that they didn't take the Deus Ex route. Lack of experience with a gun resulted in major recoil and poor accuracy, especially over a distance, but close proximity to a target exponentially increased the likelihood of hitting your target. You also never, ever had a situation where the bullets were shown to physically hit the target but the game then said "nuh uh, the dice says you miss!"; I hated this in Morrowind, and it sounds like I might hate this in Alpha Protocol too.

It's possible that the segment Eurogamer got to play isn't indicative of the final game's balance, but it's certainly not sounding good. While it's not a good idea for an RPG of this sort to allow an FPS veteran to shoot like a pro without the stats to show for it, having shots physically hit but magically fail to harm the target doesn't make sense either.

Originally Posted by guenthar View Post
even if you are steady you are likely to miss or just graze the person when you try to shoot them … Even if you are 2 feet in front of your target the recoil from a shotgun could throw off your aim enough to hit them in the side or miss entirely.
That's all well and good, but Thornton is supposed to be a highly-trained super-spy, not some rookie who just got handed a particular type of gun for the first time. While he certainly wouldn't be a skilled marksman early in his career he would at least be able to fire commonly-used weapons properly.

In the real world, proximity to the target increases accuracy exponentially for even a moderately-experienced gun user, but for this game it sounds like proximity isn't as important as stats.
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March 22nd, 2010, 13:31
Originally Posted by guenthar View Post
I guess you don't really understand how shooting a gun works…
On the contrary, I understand all too well, having not only handled firearms for greater than nine years, but having been shot once as well. Best not to make assumptions about the probable skills of an individual you've never met, mate. It's bad form.

Originally Posted by guenthar View Post
…even if you are steady you are likely to miss or just graze the person when you try to shoot them. One part is that even if you think you are aiming directly at the person or object it doesn't mean you are really aiming directly at them since you could be holding your gun at a slight angle and that would be enough for the bullet to miss or only do minor damage. (like hitting the side of the head or body or hitting the edge of a target) Another part is not being able to handle the recoil properly and holding the gun wrong which can increase recoil which will throw your aim off when you shoot. (shotguns have a lot of recoil and at the time you shoot your aim can be really thrown off).
This is a joke, right? You did understand…
a) the context of my statement
b) recoil affects the gun after the shot has been made
c) see "a"
…if not, try reading the article anew. Better yet, allow me to point out the relevant passage: "unload a shotgun into his stomach"
We're not discussing the intricacies of handling or firing a gun, nor doing so at a distance. We're not even discussing a gun that fires a single slug. We're talking about a SHOTGUN that HIT someone in the STOMACH and did NOTHING.

Originally Posted by guenthar View Post
This is also a game and not real life…
Is it really? Well, blow me over!

Originally Posted by guenthar View Post
An example of this is say it is your first time or you are not accustomed to shooting people.
Arkose put it best: "Thornton is supposed to be a highly-trained super-spy, not some rookie who just got handed a particular type of gun for the first time."

Originally Posted by guenthar View Post
PPS. Even if you are 2 feet in front of your target the recoil from a shotgun could throw off your aim enough to hit them in the side or miss entirely. (you probably would have to be really inexperienced to miss entirely though)
What kind of wonky shotgun are you handling?
I've shot skeet with a standard 12-gauge and nary had an issue with shattering the little buggers at quite some distance. I've also blown away a watermelon at ten feet during a firearm safety demonstration. Again: recoil affects your ability to continue firing after the first shot has already been made.

Originally Posted by Starwars View Post
What's to stop me from using my high stealth skill to get up close to enemies, and blow them away with a shotgun or assault rifle that I might not have any skill in whatsoever?
I don't know…what is?
Honestly, how any one of you can accept this as even remotely logical is beyond me. Frankly, the scenario you describe sounds perfect to me. Why shouldn't this super-agent creep through the shadows and, on finding himself in possession of a shotgun, use it to decimate his foes? Sound tactics, from my perspective, yet in this world apparently his lack of "skill" means that weapon is best left as a paperweight.

Originally Posted by Starwars View Post
We get a system like Fallout 3 where I could complete nearly all of the game using a Laser Rifle even though I had never raised my skill in Energy Weapons at all.
That is a fairly horrid example, mate. What's more, the broken mechanics of one game need not reflect on another. I would also point out that implementing some of my ideas, as posted in my first reply, would negate such a thing.
For instance, what good would that Laser Rifle be, given your lax skill, if such a thing prohibited you from being able to repeatedly fire it without completely foregoing any sort of accuracy? If you were incapable of holding it securely enough to utilize such when running? If you could not reload it swiftly? If you lacked sufficient knowledge of its internal structure to service the weapon and, thus, maintain it in working order? If, when you chance upon some upgrade for such, you could not discern how it might be implemented? All these things would/are skill dependent, yet none are illogical.

Originally Posted by Arkose View Post
I'm disappointed that they didn't take the Deus Ex route. Lack of experience with a gun resulted in major recoil and poor accuracy, especially over a distance, but close proximity to a target exponentially increased the likelihood of hitting your target. You also never, ever had a situation where the bullets were shown to physically hit the target but the game then said "nuh uh, the dice says you miss!"; I hated this in Morrowind, and it sounds like I might hate this in Alpha Protocol too.
What he said.
Kudos, mate.
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March 22nd, 2010, 14:09
I don't know…what is?
Honestly, how any one of you can accept this as even remotely logical is beyond me. Frankly, the scenario you describe sounds perfect to me. Why shouldn't this super-agent creep through the shadows and, on finding himself in possession of a shotgun, use it to decimate his foes? Sound tactics, from my perspective, yet in this world apparently his lack of "skill" means that weapon is best left as a paperweight.
Because games are not driven by logic. It would seem to me that AP is a game that rewards specialization into certain skills. In my example, Stealthing would be so vastly overpowered because it would allow you to take down enemies with any type of weapon no matter your skill with it.
Again, this type of un-realism is very common in RPGs. In Fallout, you can shoot someone in the eyes with a shotgun, in TES game you can land hits on someones head with a heavy two-handed weapon, in Dragon Age you can spend a long time chopping at people with swords without them even flinching. You can't even equip certain weapons in D&D games if you lack a certain proficiency.

That is a fairly horrid example, mate. What's more, the broken mechanics of one game need not reflect on another. I would also point out that implementing some of my ideas, as posted in my first reply, would negate such a thing.
For instance, what good would that Laser Rifle be, given your lax skill, if such a thing prohibited you from being able to repeatedly fire it without completely foregoing any sort of accuracy? If you were incapable of holding it securely enough to utilize such when running? If you could not reload it swiftly? If you lacked sufficient knowledge of its internal structure to service the weapon and, thus, maintain it in working order? If, when you chance upon some upgrade for such, you could not discern how it might be implemented? All these things would/are skill dependent, yet none are illogical.
All well and good, but how much would this impact things in a game like AP? As far as I know, accuracy is already affected in AP by your skill with a weapon. I seem to recall mention (don't quote me on this, it's on the AP wiki however) that skill level *will* affect things like re-load time and recoil as well. Perhaps the developers felt that this is not enough to distinguish the skills from one another. That it would still be possible to play through the game as a shotgun guy with zero points into the shotgun skill even though it'd be a bit more troublesome.
And again, it'd completely overpower a stealth guy for example.

Realistic, no. Solid RPG design, yes.
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March 22nd, 2010, 15:18
Originally Posted by Starwars View Post
Because games are not driven by logic. It would seem to me that AP is a game that rewards specialization into certain skills. In my example, Stealthing would be so vastly overpowered because it would allow you to take down enemies with any type of weapon no matter your skill with it.
Nothing I say is getting through, is it?
Stealthing is overpowered in the real-world. Ever hear of the "element of surprise" or "taking them unawares"? Wonder why the assassins who avoid getting caught tend to stick with surprise attacks? Why absolutely no one who has any desire to win a confrontation, of any sort, ever begins by informing their opponents of their moves or intention? Because stealth is overpowered.
Good grief, I'm beginning to think gamers have actually come to embrace the AI development and balancing shortcomings that have led to the Rambo-approach becoming the most effective tactic…

Originally Posted by Starwars View Post
Again, this type of un-realism is very common in RPGs.
And pointing out the obvious accomplishes what?
Mind, it is not my intention to be derogatory, I'm merely curious as to how this is truly relevant. I understand your intent to validate such with the paragraph below…

Originally Posted by Starwars View Post
In Fallout, you can shoot someone in the eyes with a shotgun, in TES game you can land hits on someones head with a heavy two-handed weapon, in Dragon Age you can spend a long time chopping at people with swords without them even flinching. You can't even equip certain weapons in D&D games if you lack a certain proficiency.
…however, that leaves me with the same infallible recourse I used last: the broken mechanics of one game need not reflect on another.
It's like hitting yourself in the head, cringing at the pain, then doing it again. Why not…I don't know…stop? You're essentially arguing that, merely because everyone else has and/or is in the process of doing so, AP should hop on board.

Originally Posted by Starwars View Post
All well and good, but how much would this impact things in a game like AP?
I cannot say. Indeed, I sincerely doubt anyone short of the developers (for the moment) can.

Originally Posted by Starwars View Post
As far as I know, accuracy is already affected in AP by your skill with a weapon. I seem to recall mention (don't quote me on this, it's on the AP wiki however) that skill level *will* affect things like re-load time and recoil as well. Perhaps the developers felt that this is not enough to distinguish the skills from one another. That it would still be possible to play through the game as a shotgun guy with zero points into the shotgun skill even though it'd be a bit more troublesome.
If a character with "zero points" in the relevant skill were still able to play "the game as a shotgun guy," well, that's simply a hallmark case of poor game design, with particular regard to balancing and implementation of skills.

Originally Posted by Starwars View Post
And again, it'd completely overpower a stealth guy for example.
Again, stealth guys are inherently overpowered.
Besides, proper implementation of other game mechanics, such as an AI response to sound, would prohibit the more intelligent players from taking on the role of "shotgun guy" in any but the most extreme circumstances. After all, if you're aware, as a player, that the shotgun you chance across will allow you to level the next few baddies with little to no effort, yet bring the rest of the compound forces down on your head, set off alarms like mad and generally turn your stealth approach from a master stroke into an utter waste, why do it? Stealth kills would be such players natural forte, yet they should not be prohibited from using a shotgun if the case arises in which they desire to.
Really, this reads like the very case you cited (and I despise, as well): the D&D mentality of a character's inability to even equip something if they lack the proper proficiency.

Originally Posted by Starwars View Post
Realistic, no. Solid RPG design, yes.
And that's where we'll have to agree, to disagree.
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March 22nd, 2010, 16:42
The prospect of creating our own agent however we want is - right now - the single most appealing aspect of Alpha Protocol. The shooting seems competent at best, enemies have an intelligence deficiency and we're not convinced that the characters or plot will keep us hooked for the duration.
Yikes. That doesn't sound like much of an endorsement, but it does correspond to the video gameplay they've shown (i.e., as far as the shooting and enemy AI are concerned). Saying that the plot won't keep the payer interested, though, is quite a condemnation since most RPGs are typically story-driven.

More and more I find myself wishing for Splinter Cell: The RPG, which is kind of what I want out of Alpha Protocol. In other words, solid stealth action plus stats; some sort of Splinter Cell + Deus Ex combo. Maybe not everybody's cup of tea, but that's what I'd want a spy RPG to be like.
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March 22nd, 2010, 17:53
Nothing I say is getting through, is it?
Stealthing is overpowered in the real-world. Ever hear of the "element of surprise" or "taking them unawares"? Wonder why the assassins who avoid getting caught tend to stick with surprise attacks? Why absolutely no one who has any desire to win a confrontation, of any sort, ever begins by informing their opponents of their moves or intention? Because stealth is overpowered.
Good grief, I'm beginning to think gamers have actually come to embrace the AI development and balancing shortcomings that have led to the Rambo-approach becoming the most effective tactic…
No, it's getting through but thanks for the classy comment. I know that stealth is overpowered *IN THE REAL-WORLD*. And as I pointed out, my arguments are not for real-world logic, they are for game design. Nor is Alpha Protocol a realistic game. You have seen some of the characters already, you have seen some of the abilities used, you have seen that Thorton take bullets without flinching, you have seen health meters for bosses. The gameplay is not trying to be realistic. I don't want every game (even set in a semi-real world like AP) to have a stealth approach always be a superior choice.

And no, I most certainly don't endorse the rambo-approach. In fact, a main worry I have about AP is that if you put your points towards being a combat guy, then the game will become a cakewalk where you just move on and mow down whatever comes at you. I hope it's not true, but I fear it will be.
Furthermore, I'm the biggest supporter of inserting more of the "combat should be the last way out and be dangerous" mindset into the RPG genre, but I can see that games are designed differently from one another. It's been clear from the start that part of AP's design has been to allow a "running and gunning" type of playthrough, and starting from there, it should've been clear that this isn't a realistic game we're speaking of.

…however, that leaves me with the same infallible recourse I used last: the broken mechanics of one game need not reflect on another.
It's like hitting yourself in the head, cringing at the pain, then doing it again. Why not…I don't know…stop? You're essentially arguing that, merely because everyone else has and/or is in the process of doing so, AP should hop on board.
No, I'm pointing out that previous games, some of which are fantastic *games*, are "guilty" of the same crime. This is because gameplay is more important than realism. Some games are more realistic than others, and that does not speak of whether a game is good or not. I for one love playing some realistic games, but just because I like those games does not mean that I think every game should move towards that type of design. And again, very few RPGs have been about realism. This doesn't mean that the games were bad or not fun to play.

Hell, I wouldn't want to make a game like Fallout more hardcore. A game that is set in a dangerous wasteland, and that uses a number of real weapons. I wouldn't want to re-load my game each time my guy is hit with a firearm in a dangerous or semi-dangerous location. I bet the game's current gameplay is too "hardcore" for most people.

If a character with "zero points" in the relevant skill were still able to play "the game as a shotgun guy," well, that's simply a hallmark case of poor game design, with particular regard to balancing and implementation of skills.
Yes, and that is why they changed it to a better way (if it indeed was this way, I have no idea), where the players skill point allocation actually matters.

Again, stealth guys are inherently overpowered.
Besides, proper implementation of other game mechanics, such as an AI response to sound, would prohibit the more intelligent players from taking on the role of "shotgun guy" in any but the most extreme circumstances. After all, if you're aware, as a player, that the shotgun you chance across will allow you to level the next few baddies with little to no effort, yet bring the rest of the compound forces down on your head, set off alarms like mad and generally turn your stealth approach from a master stroke into an utter waste, why do it? Stealth kills would be such players natural forte, yet they should not be prohibited from using a shotgun if the case arises in which they desire to.
Really, this reads like the very case you cited (and I despise, as well): the D&D mentality of a character's inability to even equip something if they lack the proper proficiency.
Because once again, it's a game where character creation is (hopefully) important and will (hopefully) shape how you play. The entire focus of the game is how you will choose to play, reap the benefits of that playstyle and your specialization as well as accept the consequences of the skills you do not choose to raise. If you know that you can dispatch enemies with a weapon you have 0 skill in, then that fact takes away from the specialization.

Since shotguns are a real thing, you're not gonna get a realistic representation of them in a game where "shotguns" is a seperate skill to raise (if you're arguing against the fact that shotguns are a seperate skill, which I could understand, then that opens up a whole other discussion). What are you gonna "fill" the 10 steps of skill allocation with? Reload times, recoils, weapon mods? If the skill allocation scale is actually gonna matter in any way in gameplay (which is obviously important in a RPG), you're gonna have to put in absolutely silly reload times or ginormous recoils. There is the "diceroll to hit" approach. And here we have the AP approach which has the combination of worse aim (which gets better the longer you aim if I understand things correctly) and damage.

Action-RPGs are obviously finicky because often the player can override the skill allocation with his own skills (which is why I tend to not like action-RPGs), but whereas the AP way may be crude in the sense that seeing someone take a shotgun blast to the gut and not die or be wounded extensively can hurt "immersion", I much prefer that *if* it means that the points I spend matter in significant ways and if I know that I can expect a different type of playthrough when I decide to replay the game and put points in other skills.

Obviously I can't comment on the specifics of the "ruleset" because I haven't played it (and I'm quite sure there are a number of things I won't like), I'm arguing from the point of the skills that we know are there now, and how to have them balanced.
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March 22nd, 2010, 22:45
I thought that recoil was effecting my shooting accuracy when I first started shooting but maybe it wasn't. Maybe at first I was jerking on the trigger but it is hard to remember if I was or not. Jerking on the trigger is also a way that a beginner will lose aim while firing.

You complain about trying to say he is a beginner because he is supposed to be a "super spy" but that would invalidate your saying that he can be inacurate since he is a "super spy" so I guess this game shouldn't be an rpg at all because he is already an expert at everything. Since this is an rpg and his skills have to progress through the game he isn't the "super spy" that they say he is and is more of a beginner spy.

You also keep talking about "realism" but then you ignore things like usually you wouldn't be able to go up to someone and shoot them in the stomach with a shotgun because you would be dead long before you get close enough to do it. Even if you snuck up and did it you would be dead soon after. Since you can do that in this game makes the game unrealistic so how can you complain about that shotgun blast doing little damage being unrealistic when actually doing the act is unrealistic.

Since you want the game to be realistic it sounds like you don't want an rpg but rather a hybrid stealth/fps with rpg elements which this game isn't.
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March 23rd, 2010, 01:35
Shooting guns was more fun in ME2 than in ME1. Play ME2 for a bit, then load up a fresh new game in ME1 - it's quite frustrating trying to shoot guns.

Realism aside, it's just not fun to play a character who is completely inept. The idea that character stats affect damage directly is a bit off, too. I don't mind my skills improving accuracy, giving me new moves and so forth, but if I manage to get a bullet in a guy's head, I want him to fall down.

Damage can scale by giving us better guns through the game. Accuracy can improve as we get better guns, mods, and more skills. You can make stats count, gear count, but still allow an unskilled character to be able to make basic use of each weapon. A system like in ME2, but with more stats and abilities would be the ideal, I think. If you can use the weapon at all, you can use it somewhat effectively. It's just not fun to suck totally.
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March 23rd, 2010, 04:25
Originally Posted by Starwars View Post
No, it's getting through but thanks for the classy comment.
My apologies, mate, that was not intended as an insult of your intelligence or character. It was merely an expression of impatience.

Originally Posted by Starwars View Post
I don't want every game (even set in a semi-real world like AP) to have a stealth approach always be a superior choice.
Nor do I, however, my argument concerns the superiority of the approach given the context of Alpha Protocol: namely, spies. The rest of that particular line of thought ought to be apparent…

Originally Posted by Starwars View Post
This is because gameplay is more important than realism. Some games are more realistic than others, and that does not speak of whether a game is good or not. I for one love playing some realistic games, but just because I like those games does not mean that I think every game should move towards that type of design. And again, very few RPGs have been about realism. This doesn't mean that the games were bad or not fun to play.
I won't argue with your last comment, nor the overarching concept you put forth. That was never my intention, nor is it now. No, the flaw, as I perceive it, is this insertion of a "random dice roll" determining and/or simulating something that need not be portrayed via such. Countless games have shown that shooting mechanics can function perfectly well, some even integrating actual physics into their result, thus, why the insertion of a chance element, a relic from the days of pen-and-paper gaming that was meant to represent what otherwise could not be (namely, the accuracy of the weapon, mean distance of firing, enemy reaction and the countless other factors which can now be simulated via the actual game)?

Originally Posted by Starwars View Post
Because once again, it's a game where character creation is (hopefully) important and will (hopefully) shape how you play. The entire focus of the game is how you will choose to play, reap the benefits of that playstyle and your specialization as well as accept the consequences of the skills you do not choose to raise. If you know that you can dispatch enemies with a weapon you have 0 skill in, then that fact takes away from the specialization.
Not at all, I believe it would add to the experience. Again, I return to the idea of a character's forte versus their alternative options. Sure, they may possess zero skill with a select item (or items) but that in and of itself should be, in nine out of ten cases, reason enough to abstain from using them. After all, if you can sneak up and knife someone to death, given your skillset, only a fool would attempt to use the shotgun they found. Still, I do not believe that particular fool should be prohibited from trying, nor that the result should be determined by a direct violation of the laws of physics. Skill or not skill, a shotgun to the stomach should be game-over for the enemy in question.

Originally Posted by Starwars View Post
Since shotguns are a real thing, you're not gonna get a realistic representation of them in a game where "shotguns" is a seperate skill to raise (if you're arguing against the fact that shotguns are a seperate skill, which I could understand, then that opens up a whole other discussion).
To a certain degree, I am, yet I can also understand the need for such obfuscation as would lead to separate firearm skills. My primary gripe remains the inability to utilize them in a logical fashion, irregardless of skill level.

Originally Posted by Starwars View Post
What are you gonna "fill" the 10 steps of skill allocation with? Reload times, recoils, weapon mods? If the skill allocation scale is actually gonna matter in any way in gameplay (which is obviously important in a RPG), you're gonna have to put in absolutely silly reload times or ginormous recoils.
Not necessarily.
I am reminded of Resident Evil 5, wherein a wide range of weapons were available with various characteristics that might be improved upon: clip size, attack power, penetration and reload time. Now, personally, I thought penetration ought to have been handled via the ammo-type in use, but as RE5 did not differentiate between such (save for select weapons) it was a moot point. Apparently AP does, thus it cannot be used. The remainder, however, could. The reload time need not be, as you said, "absolutely silly," but a difference of a few seconds might be all that stands betwixt life and death. They could also, again, tie in skill-with-a-weapon with the ability to modify such: so you just picked up a great new scope, an extension for clips, a rare ammo type…but what good will that do if your character is so unfamiliar with the weapon-type that they cannot grasp how to mount the scope, how to lock in a clip, how to properly chamber the rounds?

Originally Posted by guenthar View Post
I thought that recoil was effecting my shooting accuracy when I first started shooting but maybe it wasn't. Maybe at first I was jerking on the trigger but it is hard to remember if I was or not. Jerking on the trigger is also a way that a beginner will lose aim while firing.
Indeed, anticipation of the recoil can throw a shot off.

Originally Posted by guenthar View Post
You complain about trying to say he is a beginner because he is supposed to be a "super spy" but that would invalidate your saying that he can be inacurate since he is a "super spy"
Not at all, nor can I understand where you pulled this from.
You profess to have some knowledge about firearms and, thus, must be aware that no amount of expertise allows for a perfect shot every time, correct? The experience garnered from repeated use of guns, however, which we might infer a spy such as Thornton possesses, ought to be sufficient for him to utilize whatever weapon comes to hand.
I, for instance, had never handled a pistol until last summer. My experience with rifles and shotguns, however, allowed me to rapidly progress in skill, while proper gun-safety training, breathing and stance techniques allowed me to circumvent much of what bogs down newcomers.

Originally Posted by guenthar View Post
You also keep talking about "realism" but then you ignore things like usually you wouldn't be able to go up to someone and shoot them in the stomach with a shotgun because you would be dead long before you get close enough to do it. Even if you snuck up and did it you would be dead soon after.
Now you are just flat-out wrong, mate.
First, the part about being "dead long before you get close enough" is a gross assumption. How could you or I possibly know that? Perhaps the NPC is unarmed and has their back turned? Perhaps they're asleep? Perhaps we're discussing an invalid armed with a knife in a wheelchair? Who knows?
Secondly, I already wrote this: "…if you're aware, as a player, that the shotgun you chance across will allow you to level the next few baddies with little to no effort, yet bring the rest of the compound forces down on your head, set off alarms like mad and generally turn your stealth approach from a master stroke into an utter waste, why do it? Stealth kills would be such players natural forte…"

Originally Posted by guenthar View Post
Since you can do that in this game makes the game unrealistic so how can you complain about that shotgun blast doing little damage being unrealistic when actually doing the act is unrealistic.
That's some convoluted and cyclical logic, given that it is based on your past assumption of the initial act being "unrealistic" (which I already addressed) and, even then, that a single unrealistic act validates all others. Come on, really? What's next? It's okay that you can ride around on a magical rainbow-unicorn because, after all, shotguns don't do damage unless you have skill in them?
I'm okay with some representations of real-world concepts, such as health bars and the like. That is game-design over reality, a concession that (generally) must be made in order to preserve the all-important "fun factor" (however you define it). Others, though, I just find bothersome.

Originally Posted by guenthar View Post
Since you want the game to be realistic it sounds like you don't want an rpg but rather a hybrid stealth/fps with rpg elements which this game isn't.
I'm going to stop you there, mate, as I'm in no mood to argue the semantics of the RPG genre. That's a minefield that no one escapes unscathed from. Frankly, where I'm concerned, RPGs are neither defined by their perspective (thus being an FPS does not matter), implementation or focus on select mechanics (thus a heavy emphasis on stealth does not matter), nor does realism even factor into the case.
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March 23rd, 2010, 08:24
Originally Posted by themadhatter View Post
Not at all, nor can I understand where you pulled this from.
You profess to have some knowledge about firearms and, thus, must be aware that no amount of expertise allows for a perfect shot every time, correct? The experience garnered from repeated use of guns, however, which we might infer a spy such as Thornton possesses, ought to be sufficient for him to utilize whatever weapon comes to hand.
I, for instance, had never handled a pistol until last summer. My experience with rifles and shotguns, however, allowed me to rapidly progress in skill, while proper gun-safety training, breathing and stance techniques allowed me to circumvent much of what bogs down newcomers.
The position I am coming from is that this is an rpg and you are saying the protagonist is already an expert so in rpg terms should already have maximum stats in everything right from the beginning which would make this not an rpg. To make this an rpg you can't be the best in what you do right from the beginning so that you can progress in your skills and abilities. Sometimes you miss even if you are an expert which translates to a critical miss from rolling to low in an rpg.


Originally Posted by themadhatter View Post
Now you are just flat-out wrong, mate.
First, the part about being "dead long before you get close enough" is a gross assumption. How could you or I possibly know that? Perhaps the NPC is unarmed and has their back turned? Perhaps they're asleep? Perhaps we're discussing an invalid armed with a knife in a wheelchair? Who knows?
Secondly, I already wrote this: "…if you're aware, as a player, that the shotgun you chance across will allow you to level the next few baddies with little to no effort, yet bring the rest of the compound forces down on your head, set off alarms like mad and generally turn your stealth approach from a master stroke into an utter waste, why do it? Stealth kills would be such players natural forte…"
Here I am going by the game and the situations presented so far and the enemies that have been presented are well armed and trained so if you run up to them in real life you would get your head blown off. In the game however you could run up to the enemy and take some damage and maybe heal yourself and then shoot them point blank. They could make it like real life where one or two shots could kill you and then you wouldn't get into point blank range to shoot but then it wouldn't be as much fun and would severely reduce stats and skills effect on the game. If you can absorb the damage and not get killed in one or two shots you could go and use stealth to sneak up to an enemy and shoot them point blank and absorb any shots that come your way. (instead of dying like in real life)


Originally Posted by themadhatter View Post
That's some convoluted and cyclical logic, given that it is based on your past assumption of the initial act being "unrealistic" (which I already addressed) and, even then, that a single unrealistic act validates all others. Come on, really? What's next? It's okay that you can ride around on a magical rainbow-unicorn because, after all, shotguns don't do damage unless you have skill in them?
I'm okay with some representations of real-world concepts, such as health bars and the like. That is game-design over reality, a concession that (generally) must be made in order to preserve the all-important "fun factor" (however you define it). Others, though, I just find bothersome.
The concept of shotguns not doing damage without skill in it is partially compensation for your ability to absorb damage in the game and heal yourself. In an rpg you are not playing yourself but are playing the role of the person in the game so their skill, ability, and weaknesses are what the game is trying to portray and not your own personal skills at shooting in a game. You may be able to shoot very well in a game with your personal skills but the character you are playing may not be as good or may even be better which is represented by stats and skills.


Originally Posted by themadhatter View Post
I'm going to stop you there, mate, as I'm in no mood to argue the semantics of the RPG genre. That's a minefield that no one escapes unscathed from. Frankly, where I'm concerned, RPGs are neither defined by their perspective (thus being an FPS does not matter), implementation or focus on select mechanics (thus a heavy emphasis on stealth does not matter), nor does realism even factor into the case.
Sorry maybe I should have said shooter/stealth hybrid with rpg elements or action adventure/stealth with rpg elements instead of fps. I was basing what I said on the game we are talking about (Alpha Protocol) which is and rpg with stealth and shooting elements. If you want realism of the kind you are speaking about you would be precluding the roleplay aspect of an rpg. Using your own skills instead of the skills of the the character your are playing to generate the outcome is playing yourself within the body of the character instead of playing the character.
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March 23rd, 2010, 09:09
Originally Posted by guenthar View Post
The position I am coming from is that this is an rpg and you are saying the protagonist is already an expert so in rpg terms should already have maximum stats in everything right from the beginning which would make this not an rpg. To make this an rpg you can't be the best in what you do right from the beginning so that you can progress in your skills and abilities. Sometimes you miss even if you are an expert which translates to a critical miss from rolling to low in an rpg.
That's your hang up right there, mate, I'm not saying that Thornton "is already an expert" at all, I'm saying that Thornton should possess some proficiency with every type of weapon.
Furthermore, I'm also stating that no amount of skill or proficiency, nor any other attribute should play a part in the damage that is done by a shotgun blast to the stomach. Ideally, that would be left to a physics engine and damage calculation system alone. As we don't yet have computers sophisticated enough to model the physics of hard-to-soft-body impact, the various types of energy involved and the penetration affect of all such things in real-time, I'd settle for the standard "stagger" animation (or the ridiculous "thrown off their feet and blown away" ragdoll one) coupled with the NPCs death.

Originally Posted by guenthar View Post
Here I am going by the game and the situations presented so far and the enemies that have been presented are well armed and trained so if you run up to them in real life you would get your head blown off.
Yet another point in favor of the "overpowered nature of stealth" as it were, but also another assumption on your part. I quote (as before): "…you can rush up to a boss and unload a shotgun into his stomach, and it will do practically no damage…" Sure, "boss" characters are traditionally tough, but who can say with this one? The article reveals nothing whatsoever about him/her/it. We don't know the circumstances, we don't know if they have some sort of body-armor on or are buck-naked in the shower.
Of course (again) my qualm has never been with the approach, but with the illogicality of a shotgun blast having no effect.

Originally Posted by guenthar View Post
They could make it like real life where one or two shots could kill you and then you wouldn't get into point blank range to shoot but then it wouldn't be as much fun and would severely reduce stats and skills effect on the game. If you can absorb the damage and not get killed in one or two shots you could go and use stealth to sneak up to an enemy and shoot them point blank and absorb any shots that come your way. (instead of dying like in real life)
Good grief…I'm just going to quote what I already wrote:
"I'm okay with some representations of real-world concepts, such as health bars and the like. That is game-design over reality, a concession that (generally) must be made in order to preserve the all-important "fun factor" (however you define it). Others, though, I just find bothersome."
and
"…if you're aware, as a player, that the shotgun you chance across will allow you to level the next few baddies with little to no effort, yet bring the rest of the compound forces down on your head, set off alarms like mad and generally turn your stealth approach from a master stroke into an utter waste, why do it? Stealth kills would be such players natural forte…"

Originally Posted by guenthar View Post
Sorry maybe I should have said shooter/stealth hybrid with rpg elements or action adventure/stealth with rpg elements instead of fps. I was basing what I said on the game we are talking about (Alpha Protocol) which is a rpg with stealth and shooting elements. If you want realism of the kind you are speaking about you would be precluding the roleplay aspect of an rpg. Using your own skills instead of the skills of the the character your are playing to generate the outcome is playing yourself within the body of the character instead of playing the character.
You're missing my point completely, mate, no offense intended.
For instance, I define Mass Effect, The Witcher, Arx Fatalis, Baldur's Gate and countless other games all as RPGs. I do so in spite of their mechanical differences, that is, the "twitch factor" that exists with such disparity between them. My point in "stopping you there" once you brought up "but it's an RPG!" was this: it does not matter. The meta-aspect of your own skill playing a part in the character's actions is inherently necessary, indeed, it must be present or you are not playing a game, you're taking part in a quasi-cinematic experience. Frankly, you'd be better off with a choose-your-own-adventure book.
Besides, I already addressed that: "this insertion of a "random dice roll" determining and/or simulating something that need not be portrayed via such." Why continue inserting dice rolls in lieu of simply allowing the act to occur? When it's a question of accuracy, dice need not enter the equation. Why? Because you have a little reticule, iron sights or whatnot that already simulate it.
It's a ridiculous redundancy, rather like inserting a random dice-roll after every dialog selection. You know, just to see if your intent was clearly expressed, if your body language played a part, if they understood you or if that gum you're chewing somehow messed with your pronunciation…there's simply no need for it. You pick a line: the line is delivered. You aim at something and click, that something is hit.
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March 23rd, 2010, 11:58
I guess you really don't care about roleplaying in an rpg since taking you reticule and aiming at someone and firing then hitting them and doing full damage every time is not your character doing it but you yourself. You mention several other games and not one of them (not sure about Mass Effect) use your personal skills to determine the outcome. In The Witcher you play a little game of timing that directs your character to attack an enemy and all damage done is based on his skills not really yours. Where you come in is on how well you do the game of timing which is an abstract on you directing the character to fight.I will use Oblivion as my next example since characters always hit. In Oblivion you direct your character to attack an enemy and all you are doing is moving him into place and pushing the attack button and it is your characters skills that determine the damage you do. (blocking isn't really good for roleplaying that much in that game through)

The main difference between what you want and roleplaying is that you are directly determining how the outcome is instead of the character. It would be like trying to guide someone to shoot a gun but just before the person shoots the gun you take it out of their hand and shoot yourself. In roleplaying you would be guiding the person to shoot the gun getting them in the right position and helping to aim it but the person shoots the gun. You would motivate the person to do what you want them to do and help them along the way but it would be the persons experience and ability that will determine the overall outcome.

The most realistic way to simulate roleplaying would be to have the character miss a good part of the time and do heavy damage when they hit but most developers have moved to the less realistic way of doing it (mostly because people complaining about missing so much when it looks like they are hitting) where you hit every time but have a low range of damage that you hit for. The only way to make it more realistic then the first is to make fighting more cinematic and you have less control over the characters direct movement. They could do something like a game like they did in The Witcher except show the give and take of the battle. In melee combat they could show the banging of the weapons together and the movement back and forward and side to side as they dodge and give and take ground while dodging. In gun combat your character would take cover and the character and enemy (both behind cover) exchange gun fire and while during the exchange and reload they would move to other cover to get an advantage and moving around to avoid being shot and to get to a position where the enemy isn't firing so you can get the surprise on him. This would be great for me but most casual gamers would complain over not having direct control over their characters so most developers won't do it. I think a good game to direct the melee combat would be similar to left click to attack, right click to parry, forward key to press the attack, back key to retreat, and the left and right keys to dodge left and right. For gun combat you could use the left and right arrows to move behind cover and move to different covers and use the up and down arrows to determine when to shoot or duck and use keys to switch weapons or throw a grenade.
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March 23rd, 2010, 12:29
Originally Posted by guenthar View Post
I guess you really don't care about roleplaying in an rpg since taking you reticule and aiming at someone and firing then hitting them and doing full damage every time is not your character doing it but you yourself.
[…]
The main difference between what you want and roleplaying is that you are directly determining how the outcome is instead of the character.
I give up. You obviously cannot be bothered to read what I actually write (either that or you just don't care), but these constant misinterpretations have grown wearying. Well, that and the illogicality of your arguments. Just mull over the bold-faced type above and I trust you'll see what I mean.
All said and done, I've already noted that I'm really not interested in a semantic discussion of what constitutes a RPG. As you seem intent on doing precisely that, I'm out. Enjoy…
Last edited by themadhatter; March 23rd, 2010 at 14:18.
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March 23rd, 2010, 14:19
There are various views on roleplaying but there is a constant on what it is. Roleplaying is taking on the role of another person in every way. That means you have the same capabilities as that person and don't have the capabilities of yourself. Since you can't actually create that person and go into their body and be limited by their capabilities you have to have a way to set the limitations of that character. The common way is through statistics that are determined to set limitations. Since that character should be able to progress like any living being does they need to implement a way for the character to progress through levels or something else. Now if that character was a real person then he/she would be guaranteed to succeed at anything within his/her means. As anyone should know that isn't how it works since something can happen at anytime and you can fail at what you are doing. An example is that I repair computers and have been doing this for 20 years but one time I was reinstalling windows on a computer and either I end up installing it on the wrong hd or I find out the disk is scratched and I can't continue. At that point I failed and would have to try again. Since we can't determine what the character is going to fail at or when then there needs to be something to determine the random chance of failure which needs to be based on stats since your stats determine how good you are at something. Also this would have to determine partial failure like missing and not fixing all problems in a computer. After this you would have a complete character in which you would roleplay using those artificial limitations so then you would be as close as possible to how that character would be in capabilities. There is the personality, history, and other parts but I'm going to stick to gameplay relative parts.

If you don't understand what I'm getting at up there then how can you say getting rid of the dice roll and replacing it with your own personal skills using a reticule isn't destroying most of what roleplaying is about. You wouldn't be roleplaying anymore since you wouldn't be relying on your characters capabilities that you are supposed to be going by while roleplaying.

PS. If you really don't understand what I am saying or that I am misunderstanding what you are saying give me examples of games that have implemented what you are talking about.

PPS. I read all of what you wrote which is why I have responded in kind. You are wanting a system where damage is only based on the gun you have and you want the how well you point your gun to determine whether you hit or miss instead of a dice roll determining whether you hit or miss. Also you talked about maintaining your gun being based on your stats with that gun.
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