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February 2nd, 2008, 16:36
@BroNone

Here Here! Well said. Bravo! Usually I'm at odds with your approach but I agree with the both your sentiment and the details you esouse here.



Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
With regards to the topic, a diversity of choices is a good thing, so if developers can find new directions to take their RPGs that open new roleplaying opportunities, I'm all for it. That said, I firmly believe the "classic" model is still the best when properly exploited and it expands the roleplaying options rather than limits them.

And Ed de Castillo sounds like a walking next-gen action advertisement. Lots of flash - time will tell on the substance.

I agree that video games are a visual medium but (currently) there are restrictive practical limits on content creation, so the insistence that a game have high visual fidelity is obviously a strength for what most people call "immersion" but a limitation on the number of possible options and interactions. I can't scale walls to enter an upper window in most games because the additional animations and so on are just too much work for little payoff, but I can easily have as many text based options as the designer wishes to imagine. I'm not suggesting games should abandon nice graphics and only rely on text but some of the old techniques have advantages for this genre in particular.
Exactly. Developers who are being trained in the next shiny have not had any interest in the mechanics of such games for decades. The first time these were around such games were just being introduced. Now we have a generation of devs that only watched movies and played twitch arcade games and consoles.

They seem to be be inspired by the themes and the sales figures of these kinds of games they seem to despise the mechanics and think the technology is there to dismiss it altogether.

Bioware did an about face a few years ago when they teamed up with the Unreal group to create an RPG layer for the engine. I think the results are less than stellar (if anything at all) but FPS are drastically missing depth. In my Applications Programming class my main guy loved working with the NWN engine. He was an expert with Unreal and was starting to feel extremely limited in that you could only create graphics and mazes for it.


Rather than incorporating what is good with RPG's taking them in different directions has always been more successful. Its actually one of the main points of the article but he interprets it as a move away from PnP instead of varying on the idea or seeing the value of different companies interpreting them for computers. Ultima brought out wilderness exploration, exploring the town was central to Bard's Tale, Rogue did what it did to DnD, UU made CRPG's First Person, the Japanese did what they did to it, and then we have online. The stat layer is a good example of adding RPG functionality to what is a multiplayer Adventure game. Again, Adventure predates D&D publishing by two years.



@RC and Jaz - After running one of the top servers on NWN for years I believe the article failed to miss the importance of this game. No other product tried to emulate the PnP experience on computer as much as NWN did. Unfortunately, the idea was completely missed by the casual computer gamer and their


I'm glad he is familiar with some history of CRPG's like Pedit5, DnD and Oubliette. Those are going to be part of an article I'm going to write.

My last note is that the writer completely missed the fact that WotC is on the same wavelength as his article. D&D 4.0 is also attempting to streamline and use the computer model more. Since the D&D Diablo they've been pushing for models more familiar to computer users with monty haul type trasure and the twitch of D&D Online, abandoning their own ruleset.

Developer of The Wizard's Grave Android game. Discussion Thread:
http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22520
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February 2nd, 2008, 17:07
The original thought for D&D was brilliant, not so much for the way it was expressed but for the way it was received. It struck a chord that was immediately recognizable. It was like a welcome sound that had been missing.

Computers really ought to further develop that original brilliant concept, and that's the thing that really hurts my head about this article. It sells the idea that RPG software should mimic arcade games and that that should be obvious to everyone.

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February 2nd, 2008, 18:08
Originally Posted by Lucky Day View Post
@RC and Jaz - After running one of the top servers on NWN for years I believe the article failed to miss the importance of this game. No other product tried to emulate the PnP experience on computer as much as NWN did. Unfortunately, the idea was completely missed by the casual computer gamer and their
The product may have tried to emulate the experience, but it didn't get it across. At least not for me. I've been an avid - not to say rabid - pnp gamer since '82, still DMing on a regular base (if less frequent nowadays than back then)… but NWN captured none of the roleplaying game feeling, neither in its very boring SP campaign nor in any of the MP modules I took part in either as a player or a DM. While it may be somewhat entertaining to watch players enter your traps, it's much more fun when you can see their faces. The player experience was even blander, mainly due to the point of view. I just don't feel like I was part of a party when all I can do is watch myself and the others from above - iso view hardly ever managed to suck me in. Hexen (and Doom and… name any shooter you like), for that matter, was (and still is) a much more personal experience due to its first person view. It has nothing to do with not-so-shiny graphics… it's not the level of eye candy, t's the point of view that ultimately makes or breaks the intimate impact of a game on me.

So, IMO, if game designers want to simulate role playing on machines, they should forget all about D&D and try to create a very personal role-playing experience by any means they have available. I'm still waiting for 'real' VR (think 'holodeck').

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February 2nd, 2008, 18:28
Okay, what Dhruin said then.

I just have difficulty seeing the difference between what Ed Del Castillo is describing and a plain ol' generic run-of-the-mill action game. It's pure marketing claptrap to try and position his game as "superior," and to try and win over the larger action-game fanbase to try RPGs - who typically regard the genre with the same enthusiasm as a math test.

I do "get it" - I mean, many of my favorite CRPGs (which include Ultima VII, Ultima Underworld, and the Elder Scrolls games) lean in the direction of this philosophy. And the abstractions required to make a good human-playable, human-moderated RPG do NOT translate to making a good video game. That's fine.

But a lot of what I keep hearing from these mainstream RPG designers is removing the essence that really scratches the RPG itch for me. It feels like the opposite of evolution to me —- it's crawling back to the very large pool of homogenization.
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February 2nd, 2008, 19:26
Originally Posted by Jaz View Post
It has nothing to do with not-so-shiny graphics… it's not the level of eye candy, t's the point of view that ultimately makes or breaks the intimate impact of a game on me.
That could explain why I found Zanzarah so immersive … I *really* had the feeling as if I was walking within a forest or wood … including the occational ability to lose my way.

It really *felt* like a wood … I've never seen this before. Even in Gothic, which is in my personal list what comes closest to Zanzarah in terms of immersion - a forest never felt so "thick", so dense. So … alive.

It was like … A level designer places a lawn and some trees in a special way. He or she usually has a "design goal" in mind. Usually this "design goal" is bound with the layout or/and the goal of the mission itself. Place a few big rocks for hiding. Put some trees there for hiding, too.

Zanzarah, and in part Gothic 1, never felt this way. Everything felt naturally, because I was … "moved" into the feeling as if everything just had grown so … Trees can grow in a huge variety of shapes, rocks erode during time, meanwhile some softer stone materials evolve in rounder rocks and some harder stone materials result in more edgy rocks … I have so far never had the feeling that an designer had tried to capture the feeling of walking through a dense forest with the tools of level-designing. Just the emotional feeling, the emotional immersion wasn't there.

To me, games tend too much to focus on just what's rationally perceivable … The cliché says that men are rather rational, meanwhile women are rather emotional … and games are to 95 % made by men - I was just about to say "for men", but tjat's not right, although the number of male gamers is still quite high.

In FPS games, in RTS games, everything where there's combat … that's a thing you use your logic for. It's a men's thing, because combat requires strategy which requires logic to be successful.

There is almost no really emotional experience of games, and I believe that this is why FPS and RTS games can be usually found in second-hand shops in huge quantities and adventure games are there almost non-existend: There is no emotional bonding (as i call it), no emotional experience that lets the game be kept in the gamer's minds.

As long as there's logic used (FPS, RTS), there's a point where you might master the game … And from this point on the game loses its … "charm", its replayability value, its … experience. Its athmosphere. Its reason to buy it, ultimatively.

And when you've mastered a game, then it becomes boring, because now you know how it goes.

But … - emotional experiences imho bind the gamers - like readers of good books. They want to read it again and again because of the shivers that run down the spine. Or the tragedy of a love that can't be, or that something is foul in the state of Denmark. Or the resurrection of a fallen, mechanised Dark Lord of the Sith. Or the blossoming of a bloom in the spring.

Games don't focus on emotions. They focus far to much (imho) on aspects of logic and ratio. And this is imho to be expected, because games are to 905 % made by men.

There are no true storytellers in the gaming industry. There's too much logic involved. Imho.

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February 2nd, 2008, 23:44
Originally Posted by RampantCoyote View Post
But a lot of what I keep hearing from these mainstream RPG designers is removing the essence that really scratches the RPG itch for me. It feels like the opposite of evolution to me —- it's crawling back to the very large pool of homogenization.
Ditto. I can quite enjoy a range of games including RPG-lite action crossovers but the traditional stat-and-rule-based systems have a unique appeal and this article makes it sound so obvious that I should see the inferiority of such approaches.

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