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Default Older games = harder games ?

July 23rd, 2007, 07:34
great discussion. enjoyable reading. how do people feel about online activation. bioshock is going to do this, but i'm not aware of any other games that do this. seems like a good idea. crappy for those without internet, but i can't imagine people playing "new" games and not having an internet connection, often required for monster size patches. my only concerns lay with if its easy to use, allowable if you change computers and reinstall, and what happens if you sell the game, can it be unregistered and registered by someone else. i buy a hefty amount of used games, so that could be a future problem.
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July 23rd, 2007, 07:58
Perhaps registration could lapse after one year, allowing someone else to register the game!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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July 23rd, 2007, 11:41
I've went back, recently, to the old school Rpg's. Realms Of Arkania, Darklands, Betrayal At Krondor, Fantasy Empires… and the slightly more recent Fallout 1&2, Baldur's Gate 1&2 (on Hardcore Rules - the originally *intended* setting), and a Strategy game with Rpg elements , X-Com 1.

When graphics are limited, there are usually more resources spent on AI, concepts, subtlety, strategy, creativity and challenge.

Imagine if you were to make a new Pc-Rpg, except you were limited to Pong-era graphics. Now there won't be much resources and time spent on eye candy, so guess what ? Your creative game designing will be invested in things OTHER than eye candy.

And that's the problem with the newest Pc-Rpg's : so much time, money and effort is spent on making them look visually appealing, and being bugfree with maximum graphical whollop, that not much time, money and effort is spent on other more crucial elements, which make Rpg's what they are.

Let's consider Gran Turismo : not an Rpg - so the time, effort and resources will (and should) be spent on making it look extremely realistic, impressive, and smooth in 3-D. That's cool, because a driving sim doesn't have all the other nuances, concepts and intricacies which are unique to Rpg's.

I find that most of the Online Rpg's, and Action Rpg's, tend to toss party based play, dialogue, story, originality, subtlety, game length and Npc variety & depth in the TRASH CAN, while overloading the player with graphical immersion. But it's not a driving sim, so there should be more, ALOT more, than eye candy maximization taking place.

But of course, if they went to older era graphics, and offline play, then the industry wouldn't be able to compel (gouge) you to fork out 1000's of dollars on online fees and graphic card upgrades, now would they ?

Generally, the new Pc-Rpg's are first-person clickfests, without much variation or in-depth thought required. Movies largely became this way too : action romps with maximum visual stimulation, but not much else.

The new Rpg's are being designed for a fast food society : shallow, hyperactive, impatient, aggressive, flashy, glossy and repetitive… with next to zero variation in the contrived, juvenile formula.
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July 23rd, 2007, 12:27
Yep, most of us would agree with you, and welcome to the forums!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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July 23rd, 2007, 12:56
Originally Posted by Arpyjee View Post
When graphics are limited, there are usually more resources spent on AI, concepts, subtlety, strategy, creativity and challenge.
Yes; this the feeling I always have when I look at Nethack.

What's also right is the shift from a game for gamers to a game for more financial income.

What I mean is the difference in principle : Do I cook a meal with love because I want the family or the customers in the restaurant have a satisfying experience (read: full belly of tasty meal ) or do I cook because I want my restaurant to generate profits ?

Nothing against profits for a living, to make this clear, but the shareholder thing is like a bird feeding its hatchlings to me.


To me, the love for games is gone.


And by the way : I don't like online payment at all. (Although it might well be an alternative for really small companies/groups.) I still want to do things manually (and i mean NOT the keyboard with that ! ), I mean walking into a shop and buying CD-ROMs there.

I think we could need a few indie games shops.
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July 23rd, 2007, 14:14
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
What's also right is the shift from a game for gamers to a game for more financial income.

What I mean is the difference in principle : Do I cook a meal with love because I want the family or the customers in the restaurant have a satisfying experience (read: full belly of tasty meal ) or do I cook because I want my restaurant to generate profits ?

Nothing against profits for a living, to make this clear, but the shareholder thing is like a bird feeding its hatchlings to me.
Comersialism isn't necesarily a bad thing, but usually you forget WHY pepole buy your product (be it a game, music, shoes or whatever) when you make it with profit as your only goal (I've mostly thought in these terms when it comes to music). It's usually when you're only concerned with makeing your product as good as possible (and not with money at all, although this is really just a hypothetical situation) you create your best products. In todays gameing industry (with downloads), with it's large scale productions, margins are very small, and the developers doesn't want to lose any sales at all. Therefore they remove any distraction (read: they dumb their games down ). We who like those "distractions" are left to indie games…

Allthough I allso agree that "hard" games isn't that desireable (at least I don't desire it). This thinking made me think of KotOR 1. For most of the game I just spammed greater whirlwind, which stunned everyone around me. This meant everyone died without being able to touch me. This wasn't challenging, and therefore it just felt like a waste of my time. Then it was the final fight. I played as a good jedi, and I had allso gone for a casterroute. Therefore I needed all my buffs just to stay alive. One round when I tried to buff myself was gold for the boss, so I had to stun him first. The boss whas the only character in the game who made his saveingthrows. And he was faster than me, so running didn't work either. So what I HAD to do was to save before stunning, and then reload until he failed his saveingthrow. This made for a lot of reloading, and wasn't very fun either. Some call this battle challenging, I call it annoying.

Another good example is KotOR 2. In this game EVERY fight after level 5 (or something like that) was just a question of time before you won. After level 10 or so no one could touch you, and you killed your opponents with one hit. The "challengerate" was increased by adding more opponents who couldn't touch you. So one fight usually took 15 or 16 rounds, but you never took a scratch (unless you took a critical, then they took you down from 100 to 95 hp). If the battles are like that, then they're just a waste of time too. That and the fact that most of the fights in KotOR 2 is pretty unmotivated (you walk from point A to point B. 15 thugs is waiting for you in an allyway…) really dragged KotOR 2 down.

My feelings on combat is that there's too much of it. In games where battle consists of you clicking on an opponent and waiting for him to die, so you can click on the next opponent and wait for him to die etc you really should avoid putting battles in it, because those kinds of battles isn't fun (and I agree that games should be fun). If your battles are like that, then you could at least make sure you can avoid those battles by sneaking (which never works since most of your characters can't sneak…) or talking. In the case of the KotOR 1 final battle it would have been gold if you could fool the boss in some way in order to make beating him easier. Computergameing in general today would be a lot funnier (IMO) if you could find clever ways to avoid fighting as an alternative to fighting.

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July 23rd, 2007, 15:00
Originally Posted by Corwin View Post
Yep, most of us would agree with you, and welcome to the forums!!
Thanks.

I've noticed that this is one of the few forums where even when folks disagree, they're not disrespectful or insulting. Quite rare indeed.
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July 23rd, 2007, 15:16
Originally Posted by Ubereil View Post
Comersialism isn't necesarily a bad thing, but usually you forget WHY pepole buy your product (be it a game, music, shoes or whatever) when you make it with profit as your only goal (I've mostly thought in these terms when it comes to music). It's usually when you're only concerned with makeing your product as good as possible (and not with money at all, although this is really just a hypothetical situation) you create your best products. In todays gameing industry (with downloads), with it's large scale productions, margins are very small, and the developers doesn't want to lose any sales at all. Therefore they remove any distraction (read: they dumb their games down ). We who like those "distractions" are left to indie games…

Übereil
I think profits are crucial. I mean who wants to go bankrupt, or suffer financial strife & failure ? But profits can be *balanced* with other things, like respect for the genre, creativity, variety and fresh ideas.

I wonder if *rampant*, *extreme* commercialism (greed) , when it exists all by itself, is actually the problem here. I mean, look at CNN (Commercial News Network). 30+ minutes of commercials / hr., many of which are pushing pharmaceutical drugs on the populace, so that the billionaire BigPharma CEO can get his 7th yacht, and perpetuate a monopoly. Profits become more important than news itself !

There were times in the 1970's, 80's and 90's where the desire and need for profits was actually balanced with *other* values. But now, in this new world of global corporatism, the priority list looks like this…

1) Profits
2) More profits
3) Short-term increase in profits
4) Image
5) Hype
6) Medium-term increase in profits
7) Cutthroat competition : DESTROY The Opposition !
8) Exponential increase in profits
9) Long-term increase in profits
10) MONOPOLY !!!

There should be some other things on the priority list. That would make the Rpg genre more varied & inclusive, rather than stifling and conformist.
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July 23rd, 2007, 15:50
Originally Posted by Arpyjee
1) Profits
Yes, but there are two ways to increase a profit: increase sales, or reduce costs (i.e., smaller teams, shorter development cycles). Sometimes I wonder if the absolute number of people who would buy a game such as Ultima IV - VII nowadays (presumed to be made at the same development costs, with a similarly-sized team, but of course with somewhat improved graphics and gameplay thanks to the reduction of technical constraints) is really smaller than it was back then.

Sure, they constitute a smaller percentage of the market, and back than, Ultima was at the technological forefront, probably pulling in its share of casual gamers of the time, but is the potential audience for such a game really smaller in absolute numbers today? And if not, why should such a commercial success not be repeatable if you work with modest teams and shorter development cycles? Sure, it may not constitute the global maximum of profits, but Jeff Vogel has already demonstrated that it is at least possible to survive. But is the absolute size of the target audience really so small nowadays that a new indie developer couldn't strike it rich as Garriott once did, and build his or her own Britannia Manor?

Sorry about trailing off from the more concise topic of the thread a bit…
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July 23rd, 2007, 17:35
Originally Posted by curiously undead View Post
great discussion. enjoyable reading. how do people feel about online activation. bioshock is going to do this, but i'm not aware of any other games that do this. seems like a good idea. crappy for those without internet, but i can't imagine people playing "new" games and not having an internet connection, often required for monster size patches. my only concerns lay with if its easy to use, allowable if you change computers and reinstall, and what happens if you sell the game, can it be unregistered and registered by someone else. i buy a hefty amount of used games, so that could be a future problem.
A new trend. Bioware's DD games can't be played without a connection and obviously other digital versions can't either.

If you look at the Interplay games suddenly went belly up after a few short years. They could no longer support the websites where they linked to for old patches and FAQs about the games. And then they sold off the assets.

So there's a potential danger to these kind of games. Is it a type of planned obsolescence you wonder or a long term goal to kill abandonware? That may be far fetched but its an idea.
Last edited by Lucky Day; July 23rd, 2007 at 17:45.
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July 23rd, 2007, 19:22
RPGs tended to be more difficult in the past afaik, but I think that while they have definitely gotten easier (have the Gothics gotten easier??), RTS games for example have kinda stayed the same. The advances in interface have made the management of units easier, which was always the problem that I saw, not so much was the actual game content itself challenging. Fighting the game interface might give one the impression that overall the game is now easier. Not really, it just isnt such a pain in the ass to play anymore!
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July 26th, 2007, 15:08
Why always blame the publisher? Look at it this way, if more people are playing and enjoying the big titles being made, how is the devleopers and publishers wrong to make them that way? Why should they make a game that a lot less people would like? Isn't that unfair to the majority? Should developers and publishers pander to the minorities?

How many more people get enjoyment out of NWN 1 and 2, Oblivion, the Kotors, etc, that wouldn't even look at them if they were made for some one with my tastes? I'm guessing that if my favorite game, a rpg that had everything I wanted and was looking for in it, not many people, even the ones in this thread, would like it. Should bioware try and make as many people as possible happy? The way to make as many people as possible happy is the same way as trying to make the most profitable game. The more people that buy it and are happy buy it, the more profitable it becomes. Its not a corporate consparicy, its common sense. We are screwed because some of us have good taste and that does not translate into popular taste.
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July 26th, 2007, 17:55
Originally Posted by Roqua
We are screwed because some of us have good taste and that does not translate into popular taste.
Perhaps what we need are NPRPGs - National Public Role Playing Games… I can see the pledge drive ad: "Have you noticed that you can bargain with Foozle instead of bashing him with that enchanted axe of yours? With your help, we can continue to bring you the choices and consequences that you have come to appreciate about RPGs…"

Anyway, don't you think that the publishing companies to some extent create the "popular taste" with their pre-launch hypes and advertising blitzes emphasizing flashy graphics and non-stop action? If Jeff Vogel or any other indie developers got a few more imaginative writers on their teams and then somehow, hypothetically speaking, launched an advertising campaign on Oblivion scales, is there really no chance that the trend may be swayed, at least sufficiently for the secondary maximum of profits to become commercially more viable? If not by altering the tastes of today's average gamer, then perhaps by attracting other segments of the population to computer gaming that are currently turned off by the prevailing perception of games as a quick, loud, and shallow thrill? Or am I overly optimistic?
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July 26th, 2007, 18:02
I think you're overly optimistic but it could be done. I just don't think it will be.
Except if you have several millions of dollars to give Vogel.
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July 26th, 2007, 18:31
Originally Posted by roqua View Post
Isn't that unfair to the majority? Should developers and publishers pander to the minorities?
Look at art museums or any other kind of serious museums.

Are these for the masses ?

No, I think only a minority is really interested into serious arts and other themes museums are built for (archaeology is my most favourite hobby, by the way, I visit archaeological exhibitions frequently).

We have a small museum of art here in my own town, which isn't visited by the masses at all. The masses rather visit the parties, go into the next town etc. .

Still, we have them. The art museums. Despite them not being visited by the masses.

So, I more and more strongly believe that we just need games for a more mature, a more "serious" audience - and i do NOT mean that this automatically means "horror, dark & gloomy" ! (Because ALL rather aduld-oriented games are either horror, or mystery or something else dark & gloomy - maybe that was what people made thing Lego Star Wars was only for kids until they found out that even suich a cheerfully colourful game can be fun to ANY age class !)
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July 26th, 2007, 18:33
Originally Posted by Atrachasis View Post
Perhaps what we need are NPRPGs - National Public Role Playing Games… I can see the pledge drive ad: "Have you noticed that you can bargain with Foozle instead of bashing him with that enchanted axe of yours? With your help, we can continue to bring you the choices and consequences that you have come to appreciate about RPGs…"

Anyway, don't you think that the publishing companies to some extent create the "popular taste" with their pre-launch hypes and advertising blitzes emphasizing flashy graphics and non-stop action? If Jeff Vogel or any other indie developers got a few more imaginative writers on their teams and then somehow, hypothetically speaking, launched an advertising campaign on Oblivion scales, is there really no chance that the trend may be swayed, at least sufficiently for the secondary maximum of profits to become commercially more viable? If not by altering the tastes of today's average gamer, then perhaps by attracting other segments of the population to computer gaming that are currently turned off by the prevailing perception of games as a quick, loud, and shallow thrill? Or am I overly optimistic?
I don't think so. Publishers and developers fund and develop what they do not because they make whats popular popular, or that marketing makes it popular, but because buying trends and hard data show it to be popular. The function of marketing is awareness and to try and create a need. But there has to be a need in the first place. A car add isn't going to work on you, no matter how devuous it is, if you have no need or desire to buy a car. Sometimes I get mixed up in all the hype and buy a stupid game that i know i won't like. I went to the store to buy a game a long time ago, and since there wasn't anything better i bought DS, which I knew i wouldn't like and I didn't. Was it the hype, marketing, great reviews, or lack of choice?

The PT Cruiser was released with out much marketing and sold like hotcakes. It went on backorder. Harley kept their motercycle popular without advertisment by restricting the sales. Same with like ferrari or some italian automaker that only makes 20 cars a year (and laughably has to crash one for the safety rating thing). That shows you how powerful want is, and how advertisment functions more as an awerness campiagn for people that aren't retarded. My thinking is that if you are stupid enough to be tricked by hype and advertisment then you, as all fools, will soon be parted with your money. And good for the advertisers. If people want to stop being tricked by ads, stop being retarded. Feeb your brain. I find it hard to believe the majority of people are stupid enough to just make purchasing decisions based on ads. I think people are stupid and have bad taste, or have bad tatse because they are stupid, but not stupid enough to see an ad and run to the store like a retarded zombie consumer.

And if you break it down, there is some sort of catagory that your tastes are mainstream in, and you make purchases like the majority of people in who spend money ion that market. For me its movies. I like popular movies. I like getting to the movies early so i can see coming atractions (ads) on future movies I will see like a lemming. I like the movies that get bad reviews. I don't even get mad when the ads were tricky and lies. Like with V for Vendetta. The ads made it seem like it was action packet. It wasn't. it was a talky film. But, i still liked it even though the ads were pure lies. It would've been better if it was far more actiony, but I'll take what it gives and enjoy myself.

Things are popular in a free marlket because the consumers make them popular, not the advertisers. I'm not saying advertisment isn't important, but there is far too much data to indicate that advertsiment isn't a deciding factor in financial analysis for the funding of a product. If it was more important it would have much greater weight in any formula I know about.


And ask yourself this: if spiderweb spent enough on an ad campaign, would it generate enough interest to justify the cost of the ads? I don't see it. How many people do you know that dismise games with far better graphics off-hand?

But, I heard the Wii is the best selling platform out of ps3 and xbox 360, and also has the worst graphics of all 3. That might be a ray of hope for the future of how people value games. Of course, I also heard one factor of why wii is popular is because it and it's games are very "accessible", which usually means "even retards can figure it out." So, who knows?

Maybe the staff here can ask Jeff Vogal what he thinks about this subject and get him to write an article on it, that is: do the game-buyers control the market and if his games would be a lot more popular if he had a top-knoch ad campiagn?
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July 26th, 2007, 18:35
Yeah, that would be really interesting.

Or even better : This as a question to the RPG round table !
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July 26th, 2007, 19:12
Older games = harder games = definitely.
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July 26th, 2007, 19:15
Uhmm, if advertising didn't work I don't tink so many billions of dollars, euros, yens, pounds would be invested in it.

It doesn't make people who see an ad run to the store to buy that product, but people who let's say are going to buy a new tv aren't going to buy some TV from a firm they've never heard about, they will however buy a Sony, Panasonic, Phillips,… TV.
Same with games. If people go to the store to buy a game, and they're not sure what game to buy, but they know the genre of game they want. They'll mostly buy the game which trailer is shown on the big flat LCD screen with next-gen graphics next to a thousand of that game's boxes instead of another game which is hidden behind several other games and costs the same prize whit inferior graphics.

Of course advertisement and marketing isn't the only factor but it is a major one, I believe.
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July 26th, 2007, 19:29
Originally Posted by Pladio View Post
Uhmm, if advertising didn't work I don't tink so many billions of dollars, euros, yens, pounds would be invested in it.

It doesn't make people who see an ad run to the store to buy that product, but people who let's say are going to buy a new tv aren't going to buy some TV from a firm they've never heard about, they will however buy a Sony, Panasonic, Phillips,… TV.
Same with games. If people go to the store to buy a game, and they're not sure what game to buy, but they know the genre of game they want. They'll mostly buy the game which trailer is shown on the big flat LCD screen with next-gen graphics next to a thousand of that game's boxes instead of another game which is hidden behind several other games and costs the same prize whit inferior graphics.

Of course advertisement and marketing isn't the only factor but it is a major one, I believe.
I agree it is a major factor, but in which regards? Maybe if Oblivion and Gothic 3 had the same marketing clout the would have seen similar sales, but would Spiderweb having the same marketing clout translate similar sales? Maybe people would be more aware of it, maybe a bunch of new people would try the demo, but would that translate into sales?

What spiderweb belongs in is a niche market, niche markets are usually filled with educated consumers and information seekers. Ads do not work on consumers in a niche market in relation to that market. Its like during an election in the us. You have the swing-voters which would be the consumer impacted by advertsiment. Are thes swing voters going to vote for the person running on the libertarian ticket, like bendarick? No. The will vote for a D or R.

Or another example would be lets say my daughter wants a pet, so I become a member of the petr buying market. Maybe if I went to a pet store and they had a horse I walk over and look at it, pet it, admore it, but I sure as hell ain't buying it. I'll buy her a gerbal or a mouse or something small and will die soon and won't cost a lot of money. Maybe, just maybe, if she is persuasive enough I'd buy her one of those filthy dog things, if it is small enough and doesn't have hair on it, and its old and will die soon. Cat? No. Not unless that will be dinner next week and our goal is to fatten it up until we eat it. Horse? Never. Its a niche product, and no amount of advertisemnt or anything will get me to buy a horse, even though I'm in the pet-buying market.

A lot of money is spent on advertsiment, and that money is spent to make you buy my widget 101 over that guy's widget 101, but if your in the market for dohickey 305's, my ads are wasted on you.
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