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Default Larian Studios - FUME!

October 29th, 2013, 00:22
Well it's a weird title but it's the topic of a new blog post from Swen Vincke were he gives his opinions on the game industry.

FUME, in short, is my method for measuring the quality of character development a game is going to give me, character development being the feature I care the most about in a RPG. The higher the FUME score, the more I love it and the lower the FUME score, the less likely it is to remain on my hard drive (or even be installed if I judge the FUME potential to be low)

The F in FUME stands for the Freedom of character development available.

Can you make the avatar you want to play? Or are you forced into a particular stereotype conjured by the designers of the game, who for sure will not have thought of your particular fantasy. Itís an important question, because it directly affects how immersed I will be in the game.

Freedom also reflects the degree of linearity present - you canít have a very high Freedom value in a linear game. It also stands for the liberty that is given to you to make decisions that have some in-game consequences. If I donít get to make at least a few decisions that affect at least a few things in your gameworld, chances are youíll score very low on my Freedom scale with your RPG.

The original Fallouts scored quite high on my Freedom scale whereas (perhaps surprisingly) most Bioware games actually scored quite low for me, even if I did enjoy the Baldurís Gates & Icewind Dales a lot. Sadly, most RPGs are a far cry from what Iíd want to see, but there have been steps in the right direction, so I remain hopeful.

Next up is the U, whichstands for the Universe in which you develop your character.

Is it interesting? Is it diverse? Is it original? Can you have cool and fun adventures in it? Is there sufficient depth? Do you care about the game world? Is it consistent with itself? Is it the type of universe that is interesting to play in as a starting character, but also as a well-developed hero? And also, is it a place that reflects your actions? Does it change as a result of your heroic deeds? Do you make an impact? If the answer to all or most of these questions is yes, I might be tempted to play the game even if it sucks at all the other levels. I like to explore new universes. They are a projection of the complex mix of cultures that make up a game development team, and thereís often something to be learnt from them.

The M then stands for the Motivation that is given to you to develop your character.

This doesnít always have to be the main story: Diablo for instance was a game that got its Motivation from item fever and a few cutscenes, rather than from its complex storyline. However, itís clear that having a good storyline can be instrumental in increasing your desire to explore a gameís universe. When the Universe falls flat (as it often does), itís very possible that Iíll continue playing if my motivation to discover what comes next is strong enough. In general I find that if both Universe and Motivation score too low, Iím not going to be interested in a game.

An interesting case here is World of Warcraft. I had 2 level 70 characters, a number which is far from impressive for a lot people, but by my standards, considering the amount of free time I have, thatís a number thatís insane. Now, I didnít play World of Warcraft because I thought it had a good story, or because I was impressed by its universe Ė I only played it because I was motivated by Ö the other people playing it. So, anything that motivates you to keep on playing goes I guess, though my personal holy grail will remain a strong storyline that will emotionally impact me.

Finally, E stands for the quality of the Enemies against which you can develop your character.

You can interpret this very broadly. The E would probably better be replaced by an A, as what I really mean is the Antagonist(s) against which develop your character, but FUMA doesnít sound as sexy.
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October 29th, 2013, 00:22
That certainly added a lot to my understanding of RPGs and how much I like them.

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October 29th, 2013, 00:50
That was really quite interesting. Thanks for posting, Potato!
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October 29th, 2013, 05:02
The entry tells me how Swen sees CRPGs but I don't believe it adds anything new except the wordplay part. For example, enemies-the concept can conflict against freedom since it means the players cannot choose whom to side with, go against or even remain neutral-I'd prefer word "characters" rather than enemies. If a game has given antagonists, then, it must be linear in this direction. About motivation, as a game designer, it must be important for him to always make sure of being conscious of player's possible motivations, which, however, largely depend on which of these components they are interested in. Now as I see it, they would be C&C, settings, stories, and characters, which make CSSC. This doesn't read sexy and rather ended up traditional but, as I wrote, I don't think the entry challenges existing concepts except the wordplay. So, please go back to work on DOS (lol).
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October 29th, 2013, 05:30
Can't please everybody but don't worry I posted a new Divinity: Original Sin update. So he is working on it.

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October 29th, 2013, 06:56
Oops. I just meant I'd rather like him to continue working on the game than this entry. I wasn't complaining of the head-up and I usually find Swen's blog entries are interesting and recommendable. I wonder if I offended Swen's feeling by telling that I'm looking forward to their games rather than a single blog entry, either.
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October 29th, 2013, 11:25
Bodes well for D:OS. Sure glad I backed!

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October 29th, 2013, 13:17
Originally Posted by Dusk View Post
For example, enemies-the concept can conflict against freedom since it means the players cannot choose whom to side with, go against or even remain neutral-
I personally believe that the "conflict" approach is kind of wrong.
I explaned here http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showp…&postcount=130 , why.

In SWTOR, people really WANT to play neutral, "grey" characters.
It's a small or even tiny player base - but it does exist.

But "the industry" doesn't let them. Or, rather, the current approach doesn't let them.

What I like about DDO is that even "evil" races are living in "good" towns - albeit in smaller numbers, as pretty normal citizens. There are indeed a few Kobolds, Orcs and Hobgoblins out there, who sell wares, services and are friendly.

I'm so sick nowadays of the usual "ggod vs. evil" approaches - meanwhile it goves good motivations in/for players, I firmly that it has been overused by now.

And now, I don't like "greyness", either. That has imho been overused by the current "dark & gritty" fashion as well, imho.

Me, I'm rather looking for a "third way" right now : To make traditional "evil" races as "the good ones" …
This approach has been tried before. Skullduggery Pleasant is such an example. Or Terry Pratchett, who manages to change almost everything in his discworld universe … and who made Elves evil, by the way (much like they are in traditional folk tales, if I interpret Wikipedia correctly).

ď Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius Ė and a lot of courage Ė to move in the opposite direction.ď (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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October 29th, 2013, 14:42
Shouldn't you also thank Lar for the blog entry ?

Originally Posted by Fluent View Post
That was really quite interesting. Thanks for posting, Potato!
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October 29th, 2013, 14:50
Originally Posted by you View Post
Shouldn't you also thank Lar for the blog entry ?
Shouldn't you be asking pointlessly pedantic questions in every thread and not just this one?
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October 30th, 2013, 14:47
Shouldn't you just be you ?

(So much about pointlessness … )

ď Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius Ė and a lot of courage Ė to move in the opposite direction.ď (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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