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February 10th, 2013, 18:01
Originally Posted by Asdraguuhl View Post
In JA2, good group coordination greatly increases your chances of succes. In fact, the game mechanics are built on the concept of coordinated group tactics.

I'd say that those who play solo do so as a challenge or to exploit the fact that your character levels up faster, not because of the gameplay being a pain in the ass. Needless to say, I do not agree with your assessment.
While I agree, there are also games where the gameplay is a pain in the ass when playing a group. And that is also one of the reasons why the streamlining kicked in.

In a turn based combat system you need to do each and every combat, which can be extremely boring if it takes long and you will win anyways.

In a pausable real-time combat system it can be a pain in the ass just to coordinate all the different characters because the AI doesn't do the job. I actually never finished NWN2 due to that. Dragon Age 1 wasn't that much better either, where I changed the difficulty to easy for the DLC as the fights there were so boring (well, the story was as well, but that's on a different page).

So I guess I can see where this is a problem.
In addition a first person/ one character perspective is more immersive than an equally good third person/ party based perspective.

Both have their pros and cons of course. Personally I either want a turn based group RPG or a real time/solo RPG (first person if possible). Compromises between these two things don't really work that good for me but this is what you mainly get nowadays, even if it's just "on the side" like these extremely superfluous and incredibly stupid companions in the Bethesda games which need to be immortal in order to work in the game.
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February 10th, 2013, 18:02
Fact is that players drop co ordination. While co ordination might increase chances, it is also non mandatory.

Players got that and therefore dont (bother to) manoeuver.
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February 10th, 2013, 18:11
@MigRib:

So many things to comment on here.

First off, I pretty much entirely disagree with your view on games and art. Games don't need to become movies to be art. Movies can already do that, and the further down that line they go, the more they just become.. movies. Not games. The two forms of media operate on entirely different principles, and it doesn't make sense for games to slavishly emulate something that's not interactive. If games are to be art, they need to be both -games- and -art-. It's terribly deep or anything, but a game like Hotline Miami comes closer to game-as-art, IMO, than all the strong-narrative-but-weak-interactivity style games. Why? Because the narrative, the game mechanics, the visual esthetic, and the music all come together to create a common experience. You essentially lose your damn mind playing the game, and it's glorious.

When it comes to RPGs, I think likewise. RPGs, as a genre, shouldn't go for a ME-ish movie narrative with a few slight tweaks to the story due to player choice. As you yourself note, they should be about role-playing. About making your own decisions in a world. Not only does that strongly differ from your focus on games-as-interactive-movies, but it also complicates your obsession with voice acting. Insofar as games provide voice-acting, they'll be less capable of creating a truly dynamic or interactive environment. You can technically have both, but it becomes increasingly expensive and difficult as the amount of true dynamism and role-playing increases. At a certain level, I'm not even sure the two are truly compatible. Imagine a game as open ended as Dwarf Fortress with voiced dialogue. It doesn't even make sense.

Now, don't get me wrong, there is a place for movie-style games and thoroughly voiced games. However, they're just different than games that focus on dynamism and role-playing. To some extent, you can compromise. You can voice only so many characters or only so many dialogues. You can reduce the complexity or dynamism of your game. You can streamline the potential choices, a la Mass Effect. However, at the end of the day, you can really make a game of one type or the other.

As for this discussion of tactics and RPGs, I think it's worth pointing out that the earliest RPGs were wargames. Chainmail, the immediate predecessor, was a wargame. Gary Gygax developed it with some 'Lake Geneva Tactical Studies Association' acquaintances. After this, D&D co-creator Arneson took chainmail and used it to resolve combats in his own wargame, Blackmoor. This is when RPG progression mechanics were developed, and, not long after, D&D was created.

The association with wargaming was not accidental, and it did not begin with computer games. The fact is that D&D is a descendant of wargaming the same way birds are descended from the dinosaurs. It's clearly a new, different thing now, but you can see traces of the roots everywhere.

Of course, not all the earliest PC RPGs were tactical. The PLATO games were more like proto-roguelikes then, of course, there are the roguelikes themselves. There's also the Ultima/Akalabeth-style RPG, which didn't really introduce tactical elements until later. However, once parties became the primary operational element, rather than single player characters, some sort of turn-based element became necessary to make this manageable. Wizardry did this with a turn-based combat screen approach. Then the Gold Box games, some later Ultimas, and a few others went with a full-on tactical approach.

There's nothing about this approach that made them "lesser" RPGs or anything. It was just a different emphasis on the original PnP mechanics. If anything, I think the early party-based RPGs were more successful in role-playing and capturing the PnP games than the solo RPGs, but, of course, that's arguable. At least these still captured the idea of parties working together to deal with issues, and the possible social interaction of the different party members.

In any case, I don't think that tactical-style combat is -less- of an RPG experience, especially when real life skill-based gameplay is the alternative. There's certainly no twitch gameplay in PnP.
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February 10th, 2013, 18:29
Originally Posted by ChienAboyeur View Post
It is quite usual for so called RPG players to dismiss the idea of progress… At some stages in the history of porting the RPG genre to computers, if they show the ambition of pushing toward role playing, they could be called RPGs, even though they did lack some critical features. The very idea is that, with progress, the features would be added as they came. Today, it is no longer the case.

It is rather useless to call for a historical approach if you cant accept the idea of progress, that some games that could be called tennis game in their own times, considering the stage in the historical developpment of the genre, missed certain critical features to properly represent what tennis is.
Huh??? What you quoted me saying had nothing to do with technological development of video games. I was addressing the preference in PnP games to use systems and systems' combat less, not video games. Clarify please.
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February 10th, 2013, 18:30
Amazing gameplay video. Even at this point it seams as instant classic. So glad I supported the kickstarter
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February 10th, 2013, 18:31
Yes, that's true. Not my style, but other people's style. I'm not here to decide what anyone else likes or dislikes…
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February 10th, 2013, 18:41
To add to tolknaz, I think your dual objectives of immersive design detail and actual "Role-playing" are intractably at odds and that is confusing us. The distaste for tactical combat is a very unusual dislike for someone who proclaims such a long history with RPGs and we could have an entire argument over that PnP-wise, but that's for RPG.net on another day. I acknowledge your preference and recognize the PnP game style; I've seen it before.
Uncommon, yes, in a global way, but you probably know of some people who like my style of play, PnPwise. Most of my players were of the same opinion, the ones who weren't didn't play with me for long and went to other groups where tactical combat was the main course.

My problem is that you've already acknowledged the expense of full voice, but still proclaim the greatness of it without really acknowledging the inherent limitations.
You probably skipped some bits, too much text already… I acknowledge the limitations, but I can live with them. Not only the limitations in game, but also the limitations due to the cost of voice acting, that means that I rarely find a cRPG that I like. Fortunately Bethesda's games take long hours to finish and even BioWare's are long enough to take my spare time. On some ocasions I turn to adventure games or action adventure.


If full voice acting is really *that* important to you, then I can say with pretty good certainty that absolutely no RPG will be available to you for a budget less than, oh say, $12 million US (You know what? don't even let me quote a number. Even that may be low). The cost of paying talented designers and engineers plus all the ancillary stuff to make VA worthwhile is an order of magnitude greater than what we're working with here. Quality of the actors isn't nearly as big a concern as the production required to make it happen. This kickstarter stuff just isn't your world.
Again there was a misunderstanding. The voice acting theme went a bit out of proportion after a while. I wasn't expecting this game to be fully voice acted, but was expecting to see something more Falloutish. Maybe it will become so over time. Anyway, I mentioned earlier that kickstarter games really aren't for me, and Wasteland 2 was one of the very few I even gave a second thought about, just because of Fargo and Avellone.
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February 10th, 2013, 18:54
First off, I pretty much entirely disagree with your view on games and art. Games don't need to become movies to be art. Movies can already do that, and the further down that line they go, the more they just become.. movies. Not games. The two forms of media operate on entirely different principles, and it doesn't make sense for games to slavishly emulate something that's not interactive. If games are to be art, they need to be both -games- and -art-. It's terribly deep or anything, but a game like Hotline Miami comes closer to game-as-art, IMO, than all the strong-narrative-but-weak-interactivity style games. Why? Because the narrative, the game mechanics, the visual esthetic, and the music all come together to create a common experience. You essentially lose your damn mind playing the game, and it's glorious.
I am not saying that for video games to be acknowledged as fine arts they have to BE movies. What I mean is that they will have to improve what is artful about them, and that is almost the same thing that is artful about cinema - and your description of what you care about in Hotline Miami proves it - visual aesthetics, music, narrative. I just add to it voice acting, because it's the kind of acting in a game. Of course they still have to be games. But the code behind the game, the mechanics will never be artistic, even if people who understand it can find them beautiful.

Now, don't get me wrong, there is a place for movie-style games and thoroughly voiced games. However, they're just different than games that focus on dynamism and role-playing. To some extent, you can compromise. You can voice only so many characters or only so many dialogues. You can reduce the complexity or dynamism of your game. You can streamline the potential choices, a la Mass Effect. However, at the end of the day, you can really make a game of one type or the other.
I don't really want all games to be interactive movies, though I can play them and they are interesting. Mass Effect did what had to be done effectively. Bethesda's games too, in my opinion.

As for this discussion of tactics and RPGs, I think it's worth pointing out that the earliest RPGs were wargames. Chainmail, the immediate predecessor, was a wargame. Gary Gygax developed it with some 'Lake Geneva Tactical Studies Association' acquaintances. After this, D&D co-creator Arneson took chainmail and used it to resolve combats in his own wargame, Blackmoor. This is when RPG progression mechanics were developed, and, not long after, D&D was created.
RPGs are the children of wargames, but I wouldn't go calling wargames RPGs. The father had it's own identity.

In any case, I don't think that tactical-style combat is -less- of an RPG experience, especially when real life skill-based gameplay is the alternative. There's certainly no twitch gameplay in PnP.
No less of an RPG experience, but also not more. Different. Very different, indeed. I do prefer role playing with a reduced element of tactical combat. It is my opinion and my option. Our opinions diverge, as many others do. In here I am at a disadvantage because most people agree with you. And I probably stopped making sense a while ago, because I'm trying to answer a lot of things coming from different people at the same time. I', already lost.
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February 10th, 2013, 19:30
"and your description of what you care about in Hotline Miami proves it - visual aesthetics, music, narrative."

You took my statement out of context and, in the process, entirely robbed it of its meaning. For me, games-as-arts require that esthetics, music, narrative, -and game mechanics- all come together. The problem with voice acting is that, while it can help with immersion, it simultaneously takes away dynamism. Therefore, I don't really think of voice acting as a net positive or net negative when it comes to games-as-art. On the other hand, it also really depends on the genre. In the right genre, voice acting could be hugely important, perhaps even central to what a game-as-art is trying to create. But the fusion with mechanics is at the core of my argument.

Basically, I think all games -contain- art and are made up of it. But to talk about games, as a coherent product, being artistic in nature, you can't just have pretty graphics, nice music, or an interesting narrative. Your mechanics need to be, themselves, central to the overall artistic experience, or you're experiencing art-in-games rather than art-as-games.

"I don't really want all games to be interactive movies, though I can play them and they are interesting. Mass Effect did what had to be done effectively. Bethesda's games too, in my opinion."

To be fair, I'm not judging movie-ish games as being objectively worse or anything. I like some of them a fair amount. However, I don't think they're good representations of games-as-art because they focus on the aspects of games that are really at the periphery of what gaming is. As I said above, they become almost art nested in games rather than games-as-art. I really think art in gaming needs to focus on weaving the mechanics into other aspects of the presentation in a way congruent with some artistic goal. When the vast majority of what an artistic game achieves could be achieved just as well as a movie, I just tend to not think of it as a piece of gaming art, even if such an object is still artistic in a different sense and even though such a product could be quite fun/great/moving in its own right.

"RPGs are the children of wargames, but I wouldn't go calling wargames RPGs. The father had it's own identity."

I was just identifying Blackmoor and, to a lesser extent, Chainmail as transitional. Blackmoor was arguably the first RPG while also being a wargame. Chainmail was the direct ancestor to the earliest RPGs while also being a wargame. That's all I meant.

"No less of an RPG experience, but also not more. Different. Very different, indeed. I do prefer role playing with a reduced element of tactical combat. It is my opinion and my option. Our opinions diverge, as many others do. In here I am at a disadvantage because most people agree with you. And I probably stopped making sense a while ago, because I'm trying to answer a lot of things coming from different people at the same time. I', already lost. "

Just to be clear, I'm disagreeing with your argument, sometimes implicit but often explicit, that tactical elements make a game less of an RPG. It's perfectly fine that you don't prefer that kind of game, haha, and I understand that. I'm not even arguing that tactical-style RPGs are objectively better games. This is a purely definitional discussion.
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February 10th, 2013, 20:24
Basically, I think all games -contain- art and are made up of it. But to talk about games, as a coherent product, being artistic in nature, you can't just have pretty graphics, nice music, or an interesting narrative. Your mechanics need to be, themselves, central to the overall artistic experience, or you're experiencing art-in-games rather than art-as-games.
Theoretically I can see your point and maybe agree with it. But I'm not sure and this is so off-topic that I think I'll cut it short. The example you gave, Hotline Miami, does not help, because, even though I didn't play it (just watched videos on Youtube) I had a hard time believing it was a real game and not a joke, and then was amazed when there critical praise to the game. So… I don't know.

Just to be clear, I'm disagreeing with your argument, sometimes implicit but often explicit, that tactical elements make a game less of an RPG. It's perfectly fine that you don't prefer that kind of game, haha, and I understand that. I'm not even arguing that tactical-style RPGs are objectively better games. This is a purely definitional discussion.
OK, maybe I implied and sometimes was more explicit that I really do not like tactical elements. You couldn't sell me a cRPG with heavy tactical elements (although you could easily sell me X-COM - but just on sale -, because it's a strategy game with some elements of an RPG thrown in, and that I can play - although not for long, a couple of hours and I'm already tired of it). If you invited me to play a PnP campaign with a strong tactical element I wouldn't accept the invitation. That does not mean I refuse the concept of RPG with tactical combat, lot's of strategical planning. It exists, there are games that revolve around that, I even played some in the past. It just isn't my thing.
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February 10th, 2013, 21:09
Originally Posted by MigRib View Post
Yes, true, I guess that maybe my opinion is not that popular around here, but at least it's being understood. Good to know that.
No your not alone voice overs have ruined rpg's for me also. I can still play games without them though. Don't worry though there are always people who get offended just because your opinion is different than theirs.

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February 10th, 2013, 21:17
"The example you gave, Hotline Miami, does not help, because, even though I didn't play it (just watched videos on Youtube) I had a hard time believing it was a real game and not a joke, and then was amazed when there critical praise to the game."

I think Hotline Miami is a decent example just because the insanity of the gameplay and the act of repeating a stage over and over to get it -just right- latches well onto the narrative (insanity) and the esthetics (sort of an 80's video game on drugs, with the violence being much more over the top). I mean, once you've played a level 10 times you just reach this point that.. well… I can't describe. You start to lose it. However, to be clear, Hotline Miami is not, in any way, a deep game. It's not a thought-provoking narrative or anything, but it's a decent example of what I think of when I think of games-as-art.

I guess part of what I'm saying is that, in a proper art-game, you wouldn't possibly be able to get the sense of it from watching it being played. The act of playing it should be central to the artistic experience.

In any case, I think we're largely on the same page now.
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February 10th, 2013, 21:23
I have to admit I may be wrong; it looks like this really might be TB only, and not a TB/RT hybrid like Acranum or FOT. If so, this game is an absolute must-buy. Maybe kick-start means developers stop making extremely detrimental (to my taste) game design choices for broader appeal and sales potential after stating something else and actually will now do what they say they will.
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February 11th, 2013, 00:56
Originally Posted by Impregnator View Post
I have to admit I may be wrong; it looks like this really might be TB only, and not a TB/RT hybrid like Acranum or FOT. If so, this game is an absolute must-buy. Maybe kick-start means developers stop making extremely detrimental (to my taste) game design choices for broader appeal and sales potential after stating something else and actually will now do what they say they will.
It is turn based for combat real time for everything else.

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February 11th, 2013, 02:33
Looks amazing to me. I'll buy this any day of the week and twice on sunday.
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February 11th, 2013, 04:15
Originally Posted by Impregnator View Post
I have to admit I may be wrong; it looks like this really might be TB only, and not a TB/RT hybrid like Acranum or FOT.
Did you even watch the video? I think it's fairly obvious!
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February 11th, 2013, 09:41
Originally Posted by Bedwyr View Post
Huh??? What you quoted me saying had nothing to do with technological development of video games. I was addressing the preference in PnP games to use systems and systems' combat less, not video games. Clarify please.
My comment addresses this line among others:

The distaste for tactical combat is a very unusual dislike for someone who proclaims such a long history with RPGs and we could have an entire argument over that PnP-wise, but that's for RPG.net on another day.
Once put into historical context, tactical combat is no essential feature in RPG. It is simply a feature that designers knew how to make from the start when starting to ponder over what role playing games are.

The knowledge was inherited from wargaming. Designers usually go for some secure knowledge when they start to developp a new genre in gaming.

Tactical combat is not role playing. When playing a RPG, you are not interested in tactical combat, you are interested in RP. Wargamers are interested in tactical combat. Not RPGers.

So here the idea of progress is dismissed: just because designers went for secure knowledge at the start of developping what would be a new genre is forced as being a essential in the genre. No. It simply shows that people start on some basis, and when a commercial project, will usually look for something that is already well developped.

It is similar to the turn based notion.

Used by video gamers, this term exclusively refers to the turn sequence known as UgoIgo. It is very strange for two reasons:
- because tabletop and board games designers' efforts have been focused on getting away from that sequence. That is the history of those games. But most of them are turned based. They have simply moved away from the UgoIgo sequence.
-because the UgoIgo turn sequence is convenient for TTGs and BGs as players have to manage the resolutions by themselves but inappropriate for computers. Computers are somehow good at something: computing. And when usually the computations involved in a TTG for a four hours session or more only takes one second to be resolved on a computer.

In both cases, the idea of progress is rejected. It is rejected in BG, TTG and it is rejected as computers's specificity is under used.

Why did designers go for tactical combat and UgoIgo sequence at start? Because they knew how to do it. But they were mere stages on the path to developping the RPG genre. They never were essential.

Pressing the tactical combat or UgoIgo sequences as marks of a RPG can not hold.

RPG's essence is not about combat. It is neither telling or tailoring a story. It is role playing.
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February 11th, 2013, 11:18
RPG's essence is not about combat. It is neither telling or tailoring a story. It is role playing.
Although the tailoring of a story is, understandably, more easily confused with the concept of role playing games. Maybe not in the world of video games, where it appears that tactical combat passes off easily as role playing (and tailoring stories is more the realm of adventure games), but in PnP, where there's even a theory, much in vogue a few years ago, claiming that the construction of a narrative should be the aim of the new role playing games. Notice that I am not endorsing any of these concepts, just stating them. I understand the reasons behind them, it is easier, as you already wrote, to base cRPGs in tactical combat, as it easier to base a PnP RPG in the construction of a narrative, taking turns among the people around the table, than it is to… just role play.
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February 11th, 2013, 11:21
Just a hint:

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February 11th, 2013, 14:17
Originally Posted by MigRib View Post
Although the tailoring of a story is, understandably, more easily confused with the concept of role playing games. Maybe not in the world of video games, where it appears that tactical combat passes off easily as role playing (and tailoring stories is more the realm of adventure games), but in PnP, where there's even a theory, much in vogue a few years ago, claiming that the construction of a narrative should be the aim of the new role playing games. Notice that I am not endorsing any of these concepts, just stating them. I understand the reasons behind them, it is easier, as you already wrote, to base cRPGs in tactical combat, as it easier to base a PnP RPG in the construction of a narrative, taking turns among the people around the table, than it is to… just role play.
Games for which the aim is to build a narrative are not new role playing games. They are not role playing games. They are narrative games.

One thing is sure: the influence of video games and the way the concept of role playing games has been distorted will show in the other forms of role playing games.

Before, players played role playing games before they played video games (and such so called video games)

Now, players come to other forms of role playing games after playing so called role playing games on computers.

The result is predictable: they will tend to consider more and more what they call rpgs on computers as being role playing games elsewhere.

It is something I've been monitoring (loosely) I noticed that players that started by video gaming and who maybe never play a role playing game in their life other than so called role playing games on computers tend to call wargames on a skirmish scale are RPGs. Discussing it with some players, if games like Infinity or Eden had progression systems, they would call them RPGs.
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