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Default Indie Game of the Year @ GameTunnel

December 9th, 2007, 21:51
Originally Posted by rune_74 View Post
Overall, I have enjoyed Basilisk games commitment to its fans more then I have spiderweb, which is rather lacking.
I want to be careful because this post (and others) may come off as bashing Eschalon, which isn't my intention and may seem to contradict other comments I've made or will make, including previews and the upcoming review. I'm making the comments in the context of this comparison that is being used all over the place.

So, I understand your comments about the professional presentation, which is stellar, and deserves to be commended. What I don't get is why Basilisk gets credit for that but Spiderweb gets accused of not loving their games, despite pretty much any of them having 4x times the content of Eschalon. Seriously, GF4 has a better story, better lore and background, better quests, better dialogue, better NPCs, factions and actual game-changing choices. You just write all that off as irrelevant because the graphics are largely the same.

I just don't get that. I completely understand that a Spiderweb game may not be someone's thing or that you aren't going to buy all of them (Jeff himself says he doesn't expect most players to get all of them) but graphics is "commitment" and actual game content is worth nothing. Huh?

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December 9th, 2007, 23:47
Well I do like the content however, the big thing to look at is that its the fourth incarnation of the game and it is borrowing from the games before it. So, if this was the fourth installment of say eschalon I expect it to continue on and use lore from the others. I would not say geneforge 1 had four times the content. I would say hey were omparable for first games.

See what I think what I am not getting across is that content is great and I love it but I wan to see spiderweb take it too the next level, trust me I like their stuff I just think they have been riding the old graphics fora bit too long….how hard would it be to spiff them up some. I'm really hoping spidwerweb looks at eschalon and says hey we can do that too…and it improves things. Seriously though, his games do borrow from each other alot (spell system identical).

Also, what I meant when commitment to fans is that you have him as a regular commenting on sites as well as his own forums. Its nice to see that.
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December 11th, 2007, 00:45
Dhruin: I myself concur that we don't have the lore or depth of Geneforge's latest, if for no other reason than Geneforge is in its fourth installment and is built with all the knowledge and assets that Jeff has acquired from his 14 years of making RPGs. Eschalon is a new series built on a new engine by a new developer. Our development assets were a dream, some used equipment and a couple near maxed-out credit cards.

I would not want people to compare E:B1 toe-to-toe with Avernum or Geneforge because that was never my intention when making Eschalon; I specifically wanted to avoid people thinking E:B1 was an Avernum clone. I am hopeful that our game is looked at for how enjoyable it is on its own merits rather than people stating that Game X has more Y factor, and so by default it must be a better game. If Book I is enjoyable to play, then as a game it has done what I wanted it to do.

Hopefully with a strong fan base and some much needed profits from this first game, we can continue to build a franchise that stands against any game, including some AAA titles. We've got some really cool ideas for Book II!
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December 11th, 2007, 01:20
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
I want to be careful because this post (and others) may come off as bashing Eschalon, which isn't my intention and may seem to contradict other comments I've made or will make, including previews and the upcoming review. I'm making the comments in the context of this comparison that is being used all over the place.

So, I understand your comments about the professional presentation, which is stellar, and deserves to be commended. What I don't get is why Basilisk gets credit for that but Spiderweb gets accused of not loving their games, despite pretty much any of them having 4x times the content of Eschalon. Seriously, GF4 has a better story, better lore and background, better quests, better dialogue, better NPCs, factions and actual game-changing choices. You just write all that off as irrelevant because the graphics are largely the same.

I just don't get that. I completely understand that a Spiderweb game may not be someone's thing or that you aren't going to buy all of them (Jeff himself says he doesn't expect most players to get all of them) but graphics is "commitment" and actual game content is worth nothing. Huh?
I'm not sure I agree with you, Dhruin, mostly because you're comparing apples and pears.

As are people who say "Spiderweb is better than Basilisk!" That's nonsense too, because as Thomas here rightly says, one is a first-timer and the other a vet.

But the complaint of dedication in Spiderweb isn't about the depth of the game, the variance of its storytelling or those kind of things. It's about whether or not Spiderweb is offering us something new with each title. You can argue that's a peripheral thing, but I find it completely impossible to play Spiderweb games back-to-back, and usually need a half-year break between 'em. That's not just about graphics, that's because the game design, the story structure and the game's feel are always exactly the same, which makes a series just a parody of one big, long game.

Can I live with them never updating graphics? Sure. Can I live with constantly tired repetition of the same themes in endless sequels without creating new properties…that's tougher. Jeff's own motives in doing so are secondary, maybe he has to do it this way, maybe this kind of serial storytelling suits him best, but at the end of the day, it's a major flaw in mind-numbingly repetitive gameplay…

But then we switch topics as rune 74 claims Basilisk is somehow "more committed." And I agree with you there, but for different reasons. I don't think Spiderweb's talents in storytelling show a particular commitment by definition, but Thomas just made the game he wanted to make with Eschalon, and he delivered a polished, well-made product. But commitment down the stretch? I don't know, and I don't see how anyone, including Thomas, can.

PS: and as you tend to write of criticasters of Spiderweb as "they probably haven't played it" a lot (sorry D), I did play GF4, even bought it, but I got bored with it a few hours after the end of the demo.
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December 11th, 2007, 01:54
Guess I'll be the one to point this out: you're posting in a thread about a Game of the Year competition. So it is entirely appropriate to compare the Spiderweb games to E:B1 in the given context. That isn't to say it's easy to do. But it is appropriate.
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December 11th, 2007, 04:45
Originally Posted by chamr View Post
Guess I'll be the one to point this out: you're posting in a thread about a Game of the Year competition. So it is entirely appropriate to compare the Spiderweb games to E:B1 in the given context. That isn't to say it's easy to do. But it is appropriate.
Yeah, but I was replying to a comment about "commitment". Game of the Year discussions are never about the long-term commitment of a company, hell, commitment as a concept doesn't relate directly to quality, though it's sometimes needed for quality.

So don't look at me, y'all
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December 11th, 2007, 06:13
Unless I'm mistaken, rune meant commitment to customer service via interaction on his forums. Not in some game design sense.
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December 11th, 2007, 06:30
Originally Posted by chamr View Post
Unless I'm mistaken, rune meant commitment to customer service via interaction on his forums. Not in some game design sense.
I'm pretty sure he didn't. He discussed GF4 as "but its just the same as the ones that came before it", then went on the praise Eschalon. Dhruin commented in kind noting "what does it matter if the graphics aren't updated" (which rune complained about, not upgrading graphics), I commented in kind by focusing on the whole "same as what came before it isn't just about graphics".

And thus I joined a discussion that was rolling on fine as long as people didn't nit-pick about the thread title. Is this worth discussing further anyway? Not really, but have the last word if you want it
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December 11th, 2007, 07:58
If you insist…

Originally Posted by rune_74 View Post
Also, what I meant when commitment to fans is that you have him as a regular commenting on sites as well as his own forums. Its nice to see that.
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December 11th, 2007, 11:27
Originally Posted by Brother None View Post
It's about whether or not Spiderweb is offering us something new with each title.
It is interesting that this same discussion is happening now with the upcoming GTA IV … some people feel confident because they know it will be 'good ol' GTA' with some new setting stuff … which pretty much describes GTA 3 on up.

— Mike
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December 11th, 2007, 12:25
After reading Basalisk's post, I agree its like comparing apples with oranges. They are both great but they have their different flavours that makes them good.

As far as the game of the year goes, I never really pay attention to those anyways. So what if everyone and their mother says that (insert game name) is the best. We all have different views as to what makes a great game.

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December 11th, 2007, 12:42
Originally Posted by Brother None View Post
PS: and as you tend to write of criticasters of Spiderweb as "they probably haven't played it" a lot (sorry D), I did play GF4, even bought it, but I got bored with it a few hours after the end of the demo.
That's crap - I've never done that.

Oh, OK - I do. In my defence, I'm tired of seeing posters (mostly at RPG Codex, which for some reason makes it more irritating) who say something like "I've never tried Spiderweb's games but I heard they are all the same. Are they worth trying?". If you've never played even one, what difference does it make if they are all the same? Play one, enjoy it, move on. Or they argue with me they are all the same and they can't stand the lack of walking animations. *sigh* Maybe try a recent demo instead of assuming they're all the same? But I digress - it's just a personal bugbear.

It's about whether or not Spiderweb is offering us something new with each title. You can argue that's a peripheral thing, but I find it completely impossible to play Spiderweb games back-to-back, and usually need a half-year break between 'em. That's not just about graphics, that's because the game design, the story structure and the game's feel are always exactly the same, which makes a series just a parody of one big, long game.

Can I live with them never updating graphics? Sure. Can I live with constantly tired repetition of the same themes in endless sequels without creating new properties…that's tougher. Jeff's own motives in doing so are secondary, maybe he has to do it this way, maybe this kind of serial storytelling suits him best, but at the end of the day, it's a major flaw in mind-numbingly repetitive gameplay…
I could be pedantic and point out the releases are always at least 6 months apart.

But seriously, who would play them all back to back? The last three releases have been Avernum 4 (more linear and "actionised" than most of Jeff's work, party-based), Geneforge 4 (simply an excellent RPG, less linear, choices, factions, single char plus summons) and Nethergate: Resurrection (remake, different setting), spaced over almost exactly 18 months. To me, these games play very differently, despite the residual engine similarities. Frankly, I would expect AV4 to be too linear for a lot of RPG fans and NG is a remake, so that leaves GF4 in a two year period as particularly worth checking out…that doesn't sound all that repetitive to me. I find each one has a different flavour and I enjoy the stories, questing and basic gameplay.

Again, I appreciate they aren't too everyone's taste, which is fair enough. Getting back to my original point, however, we both know most of the people reading this site (and RPG Codex and GameBanshee) haven't played every one of Spiderweb's games - and probably haven't played any - so similarity between the games is overstated for most people - and GF4 has considerably more content and more complex content than Eschalon.

In summary: I really liked Eschalon but I still don't think it clearly eclipses GF4, which is what I originally responded to.

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December 11th, 2007, 16:42
Hmmm, I'm not most people but I've played every Spiderweb game; at least the demo portion. I own Exile 1-3, Avernum 1-3, Geneforge 1-2, and Blades of Exile.
I stand by my comments that Vogel is rehashing his games ad nauseum. I think he does it because he needs to make a new game every 6 months or he doesn't meet his financial goals. Jeff makes games for a living. He doesn't have a fallback profession, so he can't take time off to learn how to program. It's going to take people not buying his games to make him change and he may just stop making games altogether if that happens. In my opinion, that's no longer a big loss.

I'd much rather see Eschalon 2 than Avernum 6. Why? Tom is still listening to his customers and making changes to please them. Jeff stopped doing this ages ago. He doesn't care anymore and it shows in his games. Just like Dhruin, this is just my opinion.
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December 11th, 2007, 17:06
I se eyour point Dhruin and you are honestly making me want to go back to geneforge 4 and give it another try I also understand frustration at rpgcodex, thats easy too see. I was just a little concerned they didn't even nominate eschalon wasn't even on their radar…seems a bit strange. Did not mean to step on any toes about it.
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December 11th, 2007, 19:35
Originally Posted by crpgnut View Post
I'd much rather see Eschalon 2 than Avernum 6. Why? Tom is still listening to his customers and making changes to please them. Jeff stopped doing this ages ago. He doesn't care anymore and it shows in his games.
Huh? What gave you that idea?
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December 12th, 2007, 00:28
Hey Thomas - I somehow missed your post earlier. Let me clarify a few things, in case I've put my case too forcefully and distorted my point. I really enjoyed Eschalon. I really enjoyed GF4. I don't think they need comparing (for heaven's sake, buy both) - the issue came up purely in relation to this Game of the Year thing and comments that Eschalon beats both the "contenders" nominated.

And yes, I absolutely accept that Jeff has 14 years of material to draw on, so that isn't meant as a direct criticism. All I'm trying to say is that if a new player comes along, both titles have different things to offer. Since Eschalon has a lot of newly passionate fans (good on them), I'm just being a Spiderweb fanboy and saying "hey - the graphics might be crap but don't forget the factions and other good stuff" that "balance the ledger" from my perspective.

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December 12th, 2007, 16:24
@BillSeurer Do you read Jeff Vogel's comments about gaming and how he's tired of it, etc.? Have you noticed that his post counts are WAY down in the last 2-3 years compared to in the past? Have you noticed that he doesn't bother to respond in the forums like he did for years and years? I really don't feel like linking to all this, but if you're really interested it'll take you a few hours to notice that Jeff isn't nearly as passionate about crpgs as he used to be.

Here's a direct Jeff quote. It was tongue-in-cheek but there is a strong kernel of truth in this statement all the same.

"During my recent intense bout of this market research (heh!), I finally came to terms with the fact that, after 23 years of playing them, I hate fantasy RPGs. I hate them, and I hate myself for making them."

It shows Jeff, it truly shows. In fact, you don't make them anymore. You just rehash the ones you used to make. As long as people are stupid enough to keep buying them, why would you change? Then again, most of Jeff's sales are to Mac players, and they're desperate for games.

Bah! I'm becoming to Spiderweb as Kharn/Brother None is to Bethesda. Sorry
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December 12th, 2007, 20:50
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
Oh, OK - I do. In my defence, I'm tired of seeing posters (mostly at RPG Codex, which for some reason makes it more irritating) who say something like "I've never tried Spiderweb's games but I heard they are all the same. Are they worth trying?". If you've never played even one, what difference does it make if they are all the same? Play one, enjoy it, move on. Or they argue with me they are all the same and they can't stand the lack of walking animations. *sigh* Maybe try a recent demo instead of assuming they're all the same? But I digress - it's just a personal bugbear.
That happens to many series, though. Many people never played Fallout yet rag on its boring TB combat. People who never played Troika's games say they're worthless because of all the bugs.

That's just the way it goes.

Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
I could be pedantic and point out the releases are always at least 6 months apart.
Yes. And it usually takes a month or two for me to finish one, then at least 6 months to start a new one. I generally end up playing 1 per year.

Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
To me, these games play very differently, despite the residual engine similarities.
To me, they don't. The residual engine similarities aren't small, they're smack in your face to the point of combat always playing the same, always having the same kind of challenges, similar quest structure, similar story structure.

And maybe I haven't played enough GF4, but other than there being 2 different paths, how is it more or less linear than the Avernum titles?

Originally Posted by crpgnut View Post
Bah! I'm becoming to Spiderweb as Kharn/Brother None is to Bethesda. Sorry
You mean a very reasonable, very clever, very handsome criticaster?

Nothing wrong with that.
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December 12th, 2007, 22:26
It's alright to be passionate about something. I love the TES series I think TES has a special place in my gaming heart because I used to talk to Mary Jo Dibella alot back when she was beta-testing Daggerfall. How about that? A beta-tester becoming a goddess who's name is recognized by millions
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December 13th, 2007, 01:26
Sorry, but I've never heard of her!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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