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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Avernum: Escape From the Pit - Blog Post

Default Avernum: Escape From the Pit - Blog Post

December 18th, 2011, 22:18
Jeff Vogel has blogged about the release of Avernum: Escape from the Pit saying - as always - things that will annoy some people. He explains his tastes are changing with age but Avernum is a (temporary) return to more "old school" values:
I am constantly accused of never innovating, and this vexes me. I have worked hard to try new things in my RPGs and stretch the genre, and I've been doing this from day one.

Example: Avernum doesn't have one storyline. It has three. The game has three long, arcing, game-winning quests, each of them almost entirely separate from each other. It is possible to achieve one of them, say escaping the underworld, be told you have won, pat yourself on the back, and never realize that the game still has two epic storylines remaining.

They aren't three different endings. They are three different games.

I did two games this way, and I've never seen another RPG that does the same thing. I eventually let it go to focus on more detailed single stories, but I still think it was a really cool idea.
More information.
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December 18th, 2011, 22:18
The whole 3 different story line thing was very innovative….back when it was first released about 20 years ago. When Jeff decided to redo the exact same story with the exact same three paths for the third time, that's the type of thing that causes people to accuse him of not innovating.

I'm still a fan of Jeff and Spiderweb overall, and I think he has made a lot of progress in terms of game design, mechanics and balance. But at this point there is no way he can claim he is being innovative in terms of story design.
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December 19th, 2011, 13:38
Originally Posted by fadedc View Post
The whole 3 different story line thing was very innovative….back when it was first released about 20 years ago. When Jeff decided to redo the exact same story with the exact same three paths for the third time, that's the type of thing that causes people to accuse him of not innovating.

I'm still a fan of Jeff and Spiderweb overall, and I think he has made a lot of progress in terms of game design, mechanics and balance. But at this point there is no way he can claim he is being innovative in terms of story design.
But this isn't just a line-by-line remake of the original. So while he left the original game there he has improved it in every way possible.

As for the other thing … how many other games do this across the course of dozens of hours of gameplay? Oh yeah - none. So while he isn't being innovative here (I mean, it is a remake of a remake, so it is inherently derivative) the bottom line is that the concept and execution REMAIN innovative.

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December 19th, 2011, 14:51
I don't see anything "wrong" with capitalising on the re-use of assets, but I can't say I have much respect for the creative aspect of such a thing.

Still, if people keep buying the same thing - it must be because they want it.

Sort of like what Hollywood is doing with 95% of modern movies.
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December 19th, 2011, 19:12
Here's the bottom line….a rehashed Spiderweb game is going to be superior to 95% of the current crpg's available. Fact. You can count on getting a story, you know it will be fun while meeting the definition of an rpg, and you better believe you're going to find some tough encounters, yet have a blast doing it all.



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December 19th, 2011, 19:12
Avadon was my last attempt to get into a Vogel game. It felt so much like Avernum that I couldn't really tell the difference. Till Jeff massively changes how his games look, I'll pass. They might as well be text games.

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December 19th, 2011, 20:56
Originally Posted by Carnifex View Post
Here's the bottom line….a rehashed Spiderweb game is going to be superior to 95% of the current crpg's available.
Let's be a little more realistic here at least.

I've tried a few of the demos (Geneforge, Avernum), but I just couldn't get into them. Still, I'm glad to see an indie dev doing as well as he is.
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December 19th, 2011, 21:25
I'll have to wait for the PC version to come out before I can comment on how different it is, but I have enough faith in the game that I will buy it and make that judgement, even though part of me absolutely cringes at repeating the same story for the third time.

I'm not quite as clear about what exactly you are saying that no other games does over dozens of hours of gameplay. Honestly the original idea was never that dramatically innovative to begin with. It just had 3 goals you could complete in any order you wanted rather then a big overall story. It was different certainly, but it also lead to balalance/pacing issues as well as a less cohesive overall story. If I were going to give examples of an innovative story that Jeff did I might be more inclined to point to the original geneforge or nethergate. His issue certainly isn't that he can't innovate, just that he often chooses not to.

Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
But this isn't just a line-by-line remake of the original. So while he left the original game there he has improved it in every way possible.

As for the other thing … how many other games do this across the course of dozens of hours of gameplay? Oh yeah - none. So while he isn't being innovative here (I mean, it is a remake of a remake, so it is inherently derivative) the bottom line is that the concept and execution REMAIN innovative.
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December 19th, 2011, 21:57
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
Let's be a little more realistic here at least.

I've tried a few of the demos (Geneforge, Avernum), but I just couldn't get into them. Still, I'm glad to see an indie dev doing as well as he is.
I think it is realistic … if you are a hardcore rpg fan of old school rpg games, you will rqther obviously find Spiderweb games better than Oblivion, Two Worlds, Gothis 4, Dungeon Siege III, Dragon Age 2 and many others. And if you prefer those, chances are it is because you are actually an action game faan. Nothing wrong either way … I love Jeffs stuff but I know I am an action game fan primarily.

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December 19th, 2011, 22:24
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
I think it is realistic … if you are a hardcore rpg fan of old school rpg games, you will rqther obviously find Spiderweb games better than Oblivion, Two Worlds, Gothis 4, Dungeon Siege III, Dragon Age 2 and many others. And if you prefer those, chances are it is because you are actually an action game faan. Nothing wrong either way … I love Jeffs stuff but I know I am an action game fan primarily.
I think you mean if you're an RPG fan who likes turn-based combat and doesn't mind very dated visuals. His games are indeed probably better than the examples you give, but games like DS3, Arcania, and DA2 don't represent quality crpgs for many people.
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December 19th, 2011, 23:06
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
I think you mean if you're an RPG fan who likes turn-based combat and doesn't mind very dated visuals. His games are indeed probably better than the examples you give, but games like DS3, Arcania, and DA2 don't represent quality crpgs for many people.
How about one that like s things like story and progression and character development and branching and consequences and so on.

But sadly the genre erodes as people value style over substance.

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December 19th, 2011, 23:32
Well I mean I do enjoy spiderweb games more then many of the current games, but it's more because I enjoy turn based combat and challenging strategic fights then because of story and character development. The story in spiderweb games ranges from great to awful, but on average I don't find it any better then modern games. If I want story and character development I'll turn to Bioware over Spiderweb any day. But when I want well done turn based combat, Spiderweb is my go to company.

Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
How about one that like s things like story and progression and character development and branching and consequences and so on.

But sadly the genre erodes as people value style over substance.
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December 19th, 2011, 23:34
I like Spiderweb games - but I don't play the same thing for the third time.
I recommend the Exile/Avernum story for all new young crpg-fans out there - try it.

For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. - HL Mencken
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December 20th, 2011, 00:25
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
How about one that like s things like story and progression and character development and branching and consequences and so on.
You act as if those things can't be found anywhere else. There are still plenty of titles out there that feature the types of substance that long-time RPG fans enjoy.
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December 20th, 2011, 00:54
I'm not sure why you felt the need to qualify txa's "old school" with "turn-based" and "dated visuals" as if genuine old-school fans would be dismayed by their inclusion.

Anyway, quite a few Spiderweb games offer combinations that genuinely aren't available in modern games. I absolutely understand why some people don't like the series repetition but Avernum 6 (etc) offers an open world with challenging combat, choices, story and outstanding exploration that other titles just don't have.

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December 20th, 2011, 01:10
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
I'm not sure why you felt the need to qualify txa's "old school" with "turn-based" and "dated visuals" as if genuine old-school fans would be dismayed by their inclusion.
Those are simply factual details about Spiderweb games. I wasn't saying "old school"=TB & dated, nor did I intend to imply that those things are negative aspects to everyone.
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December 20th, 2011, 05:40
Originally Posted by Carnifex View Post
Here's the bottom line….a rehashed Spiderweb game is going to be superior to 95% of the current crpg's available. Fact. You can count on getting a story, you know it will be fun while meeting the definition of an rpg, and you better believe you're going to find some tough encounters, yet have a blast doing it all.



-Carn
I like spiderweb games, however, he has been recycling his games forever…see exile that became avernum…the way I see it, all you have to do is play his current games and you can skip the titles before hand since they are all very similar in a series.

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December 20th, 2011, 05:48
Originally Posted by rune_74 View Post
I like spiderweb games, however, he has been recycling his games forever…see exile that became avernum…the way I see it, all you have to do is play his current games and you can skip the titles before hand since they are all very similar in a series.
As opposed to … Bioware? Bethesda? I am not saying you are wrong, but neither is he alone … actually he IS alone, and Bioware is FAR less original, and they have teams of writers. They had a good story in 1998 … and re-release it every couple of years.

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December 20th, 2011, 06:02
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
As opposed to … Bioware? Bethesda? I am not saying you are wrong, but neither is he alone … actually he IS alone, and Bioware is FAR less original, and they have teams of writers. They had a good story in 1998 … and re-release it every couple of years.
So was that a jab at me saying bethesda/bioware? No, I mean he actually reuses his stories. Exile was an older version of Avernum. The game systems for avernum have not changed much over the 6 games….same with geneforge. I think maybe I'm just tired of playing the same game with a slightly different story. It's not the graphics that bug me, it's just that he hasn't tried anything new in awhile.

It's not fair to compare him against big companies, so I wasn't.

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December 20th, 2011, 06:06
Originally Posted by rune_74 View Post
So was that a jab at me saying bethesda/bioware? No, I mean he actually reuses his stories. Exile was an older version of Avernum. The game systems for avernum have not changed much over the 6 games….same with geneforge. I think maybe I'm just tired of playing the same game with a slightly different story. It's not the graphics that bug me, it's just that he hasn't tried anything new in awhile.

It's not fair to compare him against big companies, so I wasn't.
He readily acknowledges that Exile became Avernum became … well, Avernum 2011. But many in the thread dismiss him for 'reusing everything', so I apologize for lumping you with them.

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