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Default Fallout 3 - Todd Howard demo @ Gametrailers

July 15th, 2008, 01:27
Originally Posted by Keldryn View Post
Once the journalists have some one-on-one time with the game over the next couple of days, we'll see some previews that focus on more than just the combat.
The reality is that in the game media community it is literally not allowed to have anything but a positive sneak peak, or preview, or hands-on experience.

Even games that wind up sucking at the boxoffice (Hellgate), receive glowing previews. The "journalists" are always optimistic and hopeful, and if they mention any bugs or crashes (as they always do to appear balanced) they always follow it up with a disclaimer that they were, after all, just test-driving an unfinished product.

There are two groups that are protected by this culture: the indie developer and the big-budget studio developer. Nobody wants to be the one to write a negatively-slanted preview of a game like Fallout 3. There's just too much at stake and too much s*it would be stirred up.

The preview/trailer/sneak-peak industry is a colossus on its own and needs fan-boy sites like Gamespot and IGN to direct traffic.

In the end, all games get great previews. For a realistic (though we could argue this) impression of the game, you have to wait until it is released.
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July 15th, 2008, 02:54
Very good trailer, with that music and the gameplay it seemed a lot like Bioshock which is a great thing.
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July 15th, 2008, 02:56
Originally Posted by martink View Post
The reality is that in the game media community it is literally not allowed to have anything but a positive sneak peak, or preview, or hands-on experience.
Well, it would be foolish for the developer to let the game media community have a negative experience. When you put together a demo for a trade show or a media preview, you generally show a pretty narrow slice of the gameplay that's been gone over internally with a fine-toothed comb to minimize the unexpected. If an element of gameplay is still undergoing major polishing, it's best not to emphasize it when showing.

I did have the privelege of attending E3 2001 on a media pass, and I did actually get to see some closed-door previews that were rather rough around the edges (Morrowind, Neverwinter Nights, and Black Isle's TORN and a couple of other games that never saw the light of day). All of the previews shown to a room of journalists tended to be very polished and "controlled."

Originally Posted by martink View Post
Even games that wind up sucking at the boxoffice (Hellgate), receive glowing previews. The "journalists" are always optimistic and hopeful, and if they mention any bugs or crashes (as they always do to appear balanced) they always follow it up with a disclaimer that they were, after all, just test-driving an unfinished product.
It's a pretty huge risk to show off part of a game that is really rough around the edges. When I saw Black Isle's TORN in 2001, I thought that it was not in a state that should have been shown externally. Given that journalists are often covering games that they have an interest in, it's not surprising that they lean towards optimism.

Originally Posted by martink View Post
There are two groups that are protected by this culture: the indie developer and the big-budget studio developer.
There aren't really many other groups left outside of those two categories, are there? Not a lot of mid-range budget games happening anymore, and the low-budget games generally don't get much press coverage anyway.

Originally Posted by martink View Post
The preview/trailer/sneak-peak industry is a colossus on its own and needs fan-boy sites like Gamespot and IGN to direct traffic.
Yeah, not much different from the film industry in that respect. That being said, I'm a designer with one of the big-budget development studios (Rockstar Vancouver), so I can't really complain too much about the system that pays my bills. ;-)

Originally Posted by martink View Post
In the end, all games get great previews. For a realistic (though we could argue this) impression of the game, you have to wait until it is released.
Always true, and I almost always withhold judgment of a game until I have a chance to play it myself. Unless it's something like a sports game or racing game, which I can be 99.999999% certain I'm not going to like.

I've been following the major news releases about Fallout 3 and reading some of the previews, but I'm not following it as obsessively as I did with Ultima IX. For five years I scoured the Net, devouring every bit of information I could about the game. So I learned never to get so emotionally invested in previews, because they don't always give an accurate portrayal of the game and, perhaps more importantly, things change a lot during development and what was true in a preview two years ago may have changed into something else entirely. I read a little about "Project Ego" when it was first announced, but didn't really follow much of it, and then I played Fable after it had been out for 6 months or so (came bundled with my Xbox) — and I actually enjoyed it a lot, because I could appreciate it for what it was instead of what it wasn't.

I like most of what I've seen about Fallout 3 so far (and I wasn't a fan of any Elder Scrolls games), I think they've nailed the tone and look of the world pretty well, and I'm looking forward to playing it. It's not Fallout 2 Part 2, and I'm fine with that.

But I digress (which is a habit of mine), and my original point was that these "canned" presentations for the media are always going to highlight the less subtle, more flashy aspects of a game. When the journalists actually get to the small closed-door presentations or get to play the game on the floor (depending on what stage of development the game is in), we'll see some more in-depth coverage of quests, skills, dialogue, and the stuff that Fallout fans care about — probably 80% or more of the journalists in the room during these first-day E3 presentations haven't played many 10 year-old PC games.
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July 15th, 2008, 03:05
Keldryn, I'm definitely not going to disagree with anything you said.

Originally Posted by Keldryn View Post
That being said, I'm a designer with one of the big-budget development studios (Rockstar Vancouver), so I can't really complain too much about the system that pays my bills. ;-)
LOL - I'm in Vancouver too (Ash/7th) and probably can see you from here

My point wasn't really about the media being exposed to rough-around-the-edges presentations. Obviously, everyone has a vested interest in presenting/viewing a good presentation.

I was trying to say that anything the studio produce is lapped up by the media as a great thing - far too often. I remember how positive Gamespot was about Hellgate, for example, when they were previewing it after getting time at the stick. Nobody at that point was raising any of the issues - design issues, mind you, not bug-related issues - that were there.
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July 15th, 2008, 03:41
I thought it was a pretty good trailer… IMO, It looks like it will possibly be a real fun shooter with stats… I'm pretty excited about it, taking it for what it is… if I try to think of it as the successor to Fallout 1 and 2, I would think more negatively about it. But as a Stalker-esque shooter with stats it looks like it will be plenty of fun.

And who knows… we could all be surprised… and it could be a true RPG that hits the spot just right… who knows

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July 15th, 2008, 03:43
Originally Posted by martink View Post
LOL - I'm in Vancouver too (Ash/7th) and probably can see you from here
I hope you can't see me from there, because the title we're working on hasn't been announced yet and is very hush-hush at the moment. :-)

Originally Posted by martink View Post
I was trying to say that anything the studio produce is lapped up by the media as a great thing - far too often. I remember how positive Gamespot was about Hellgate, for example, when they were previewing it after getting time at the stick. Nobody at that point was raising any of the issues - design issues, mind you, not bug-related issues - that were there.
I agree completely. It seems to have become "cool" to praise and gush over previews of everything, elevating expectations to impossible heights, and then rip it apart once it actually gets released. I usually call it "Phantom Menace Syndrome," though I accept that a lot of people genuinely disliked the film on its own merits. (I'm a rare geek in that I loved the new films almost as much as the originals, as I never expected they would have the same impact on me as Star Wars did when I was 3 years old, and I don't let my enjoyment of them be ruined by what they aren't) We see this again and again with any major film, TV, music, gaming, etc events. It's hip and trendy for journalists to do this, apparently, as a whole lot of them seem to do it.
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July 15th, 2008, 03:47
Originally Posted by narpet View Post
I thought it was a pretty good trailer… IMO, It looks like it will possibly be a real fun shooter with stats… I'm pretty excited about it, taking it for what it is… if I try to think of it as the successor to Fallout 1 and 2, I would think more negatively about it. But as a Stalker-esque shooter with stats it looks like it will be plenty of fun.

And who knows… we could all be surprised… and it could be a true RPG that hits the spot just right… who knows
Well, Deux Ex was a really fun shooter with stats that still felt more like an RPG than a shooter to me (FPS games generally bore me to tears). Metroid Prime seemed like a shooter on the surface, but still played more like an adventure game.

Fallout itself was a "spiritual" successor to Wasteland, made about ten years later. And it's been ten years since Fallout 2. The gaming industry has changed immeasurably in those ten years, and when that much time has lapsed between installments in a franchise, I think you're generally going to get sequels that are successors in a spiritual or thematic sense but not so much in terms of gameplay. The technology and the market in general have changed so much that I think it's inevitable.
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July 15th, 2008, 04:35
Originally Posted by Keldryn View Post
Well, Deux Ex was a really fun shooter with stats that still felt more like an RPG than a shooter to me (FPS games generally bore me to tears). Metroid Prime seemed like a shooter on the surface, but still played more like an adventure game.

Fallout itself was a "spiritual" successor to Wasteland, made about ten years later. And it's been ten years since Fallout 2. The gaming industry has changed immeasurably in those ten years, and when that much time has lapsed between installments in a franchise, I think you're generally going to get sequels that are successors in a spiritual or thematic sense but not so much in terms of gameplay. The technology and the market in general have changed so much that I think it's inevitable.
Trust me… I know what you mean about the industry changing… I was there when Wasteland came out… bought it at the store and played it when it was new. And it's still an amazing game (yes I still play it when I get the itch).

I wasn't putting FO3 down… just saying that it looks (and looks can be deceiving) like it will play more like a shooter than a CRPG. That doesn't mean I won't like it… I may very well love it. It also doesn't mean that just because the industry changes, that I have to change with it. If CRPGs eventually all become first person shooters with stats (and less stats as the years go by)… and if they all become 20 hour epics (sarcasm intended there) like some of the AAA titles that come out lately… I don't have to like it… even though I may still like the games (I will just like them on a different level). I will just get my old-fashioned CRPG fix off of my shelves of hundreds of games from the days of yore

It's just that when you've been playing computer games since there's been computer games… it can be kinda sad to see things change for what some see at the worst, and others see as the better. The focus on graphics and short-attention span gaming make me a bit sad…

But forget all that … if Bethesda delivers on half of what they've promised, Fallout 3 could very well be a truly great CRPG… we just have to wait and see. It's hard to gauge when, on paper they tell you all this beefy RPG goodness stuff… but then the trailer shows very little, if any of that… instead focusing on how good it looks and how pretty the bad guys blow up.

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July 15th, 2008, 05:03
Originally Posted by danutz_plusplus View Post
The whole problem is that Fallout isn't supposed to be an FPS. It's supposed to be an RPG.

And it is - Running, Pyrotechnics, and Gunning
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July 15th, 2008, 10:27
I guess some companies re-define "RPG" on-the-fly, just as they need it fit.

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July 15th, 2008, 13:24
I think its a bit unfair to give a make or break over this game based on this small trailer. This just showed the combat mode, and well… all fully 3d first person games look more or less like that. Its the story, the roleplay, the non combat parts that will make or break the game.

Being a silly German I must ask my fellow Americans… does this looks believable like Washington after the bomb dropped? If you know Washington, do you regocnize it?

I admit I kinda miss the old top down Fallout. And looking at Dragon Age or Drakensang there sure would have been a place for a good isometric Fallout 3, but well, since Mass Effect was great too, I still give it the benefit of good doubt.
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July 15th, 2008, 13:47
Originally Posted by elikal View Post
Being a silly German I must ask my fellow Americans… does this looks believable like Washington after the bomb dropped? If you know Washington, do you regocnize it?
Like most Americans, I suspect, I've never been to DC, and wouldn't recognize it if I did. The Washington and Lincoln Monuments are iconic, the Whitehouse is always being shown on the news, and some of us could even recognize the Capitol Building — though apparently a large portion of people can't tell the Whitehouse from the Capitol Building. Also the Pentagon, but only from the air, not that they'd let you fly over it. The rest of it? Would never recognize if I did see it.

Previews have already made it clear the major monuments will be in the game, so people are going to recognize it as DC, while those few people familiar with DC will be complaining that the area is too small, buildings are missing or in the wrong place, etc…

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July 16th, 2008, 00:59
Originally Posted by elikal View Post
Being a silly German I must ask my fellow Americans… does this looks believable like Washington after the bomb dropped? If you know Washington, do you regocnize it?
Imagine the Brandenburger Tor in a similar manner.

Or the parliament, the Reichstagsgebäude.

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July 16th, 2008, 01:50
Originally Posted by narpet View Post
Trust me… I know what you mean about the industry changing… I was there when Wasteland came out… bought it at the store and played it when it was new. And it's still an amazing game (yes I still play it when I get the itch).
A distressing number of gamers posting on forums and journalists writing articles about games lack this historical perspective. I loved Wasteland when I first played it on my C-64 around 1988, but I would have a really hard time getting into it today — not so much because of the graphics (I play a lot of DS games) but because the interface is pretty clunky.

Originally Posted by narpet View Post
I wasn't putting FO3 down… just saying that it looks (and looks can be deceiving) like it will play more like a shooter than a CRPG. That doesn't mean I won't like it… I may very well love it. It also doesn't mean that just because the industry changes, that I have to change with it.
I felt that Deus Ex played more like an RPG than a shooter, but I also felt that Thief played more like an RPG than an action game. I'm pretty fast and loose with my genre definitions these days; to me it's more about the thematic elements of the gameplay than the mechanics themselves. But games like Zelda and Okami also feel like RPGs to me as well. I grew up playing D&D in the 80s and computer/console games like The Bard's Tale, Ultima, Might & Magic, Dragon Warrior, Zelda, Wasteland, Phantasy Star, and the like. They all try to capture that essence of what made a great session of D&D special, and while I could split hairs and label some games as action/adventure with RPG elements, action-RPG, tactical-RPG, etc, I don't bother because I see a very clear distinction between any of those games and Quake or Halo. And Deus Ex (for example), felt more like an Ultima game to me than it did a Quake or Doom game.

Originally Posted by narpet View Post
If CRPGs eventually all become first person shooters with stats (and less stats as the years go by)…
Fewer stats don't bother me. The Realms of Arkania games had a bit too much stat-crunching for my tastes, for example. And the Ultima games were always very light on stats — especially VII, which is often considered the height of the series.

As an aside, I still find it ironic how the first-person perspective is generally associated with shooters now, when it was the dominant perspective in RPGs for many years: Might & Magic, Wizardry, The Bard's Tale, Ultima Underworld, Dungeon Master, Eye of the Beholder, Lands of Lore, Dragon Wars, Shining in the Darkness, and The Elder Scrolls were all strictly first-person perspective games. The AD&D "Gold Box" games (Pool of Radiance, etc) all used a first-person view for exploration and an overhead tactical view for combat, as did the Realms of Arkania series. The first five Ultima games used a first-person view for dungeons, as did the first Phantasy Star game. When RPG fans go off on a rant about not having an overhead view (not accusing you of it here, but I've seen it a lot on other boards), I am admittedly a bit confused, as first-person was pretty much the default presentation for PC RPGs (albeit in 90-degree turns and 10' steps) for most of the early years. The overhead view used for towns and the overworld in early Ultima games was fairly unusual; the Magic Candle borrowed it, the Phantasie series and Wizard's Crown series, and I believe Temple of Apshai used a similar perspective. Other than that, I think it was mostly console RPGs like Dragon Warrior, Phantasy Star (towns and overworlds in the first game), and Final Fantasy that made the most use of the overhead perspective until well into the 90s. Real-time combat in RPGs is fine with me if it's done well (i.e. it's not an exercise in fighting with the control scheme instead of the monsters). I liked the real-time combat in The Summoning, Ultima Underworld, Deus Ex, Baldur's Gate (and other Infinity Engine titles), Jade Empire, and KOTOR. I hated the real-time combat in Dungeon Master and the Eye of the Beholder games, because you had to control 4-6 characters in "real time" yet the monsters didn't have to cope with a user interface and could attack you from all sides at once so no matter what direction you turned, your magic-users in the back kept getting whacked. Ahem, back to our main topic of discussion…

Originally Posted by narpet View Post
and if they all become 20 hour epics (sarcasm intended there) like some of the AAA titles that come out lately… I don't have to like it… even though I may still like the games (I will just like them on a different level). I will just get my old-fashioned CRPG fix off of my shelves of hundreds of games from the days of yore
I used to thrive on the 60+ hour epic RPGs, but that what when I was a teen and in my early twenties, living with my parents, and not in a long-term relationship. Now I'm 34, married, a homeowner, and we're looking at starting a family within a couple of years. I don't have the time for games that I used to. Both Zelda: Twilight Princess and Okami took me just short of 60 hours to play, my first playthrough of KOTOR clocked in at about 49 hours and the second at about 42. If the game is compelling and delivers a great experience all the way through, then I still enjoy the longer epics. But a lot of games bore me by the 10 hour mark. RPGs are bad for including a lot of filler (random battles, fetch quests, needless backtracking, etc), and in the end I'd rather play a game with a solid 20 hours of compelling, fantastic gameplay than one that is basically 20 hours of gameplay extended to fill 60 hours.

Also, if I remember correctly, the original Fallout only took me about 20-22 hours to complete, and I did the majority of the sidequests. It wasn't a terribly long game, and I was quite okay with that.

Originally Posted by narpet View Post
It's just that when you've been playing computer games since there's been computer games… it can be kinda sad to see things change for what some see at the worst, and others see as the better. The focus on graphics and short-attention span gaming make me a bit sad…
I don't see games focusing any more attention on graphics than they did 10 years ago or 20 years ago (and I've been an avid computer/video gamer since my family got an Intellivision in 1982). It's always been a big selling point, and it is a very visual medium. Granted, high-end graphics today are exponentially more complex than they were 10 years ago and thus require a lot more money and manpower. I think the "short attention span gaming" comes less from the "oh no casual gamers are taking over the market and are too dumb to enjoy the games we like" idea and more from the fact that the core gamers are getting older and our gaming habits are changing — and game developement studios are primarily made up of lifelong gamers. As I said, I'd still love to play a solid 60+ hour epic RPG, but I can probably handle one or two of those games in a year. On top of that, when I play an epic-length game, I don't want to be staring at environments made up of the same half-dozen "tilesets" for 60 hours (hence why I don't like the Elder Scrolls games much). Epic-length content requires epic-level budgets. :-)

Originally Posted by narpet View Post
But forget all that … if Bethesda delivers on half of what they've promised, Fallout 3 could very well be a truly great CRPG… we just have to wait and see. It's hard to gauge when, on paper they tell you all this beefy RPG goodness stuff… but then the trailer shows very little, if any of that… instead focusing on how good it looks and how pretty the bad guys blow up.
It was a trailer put together to show in front of hundreds at Microsoft's press conference. The vast majority of those attending would be bored to tears watching him navigate dialogue trees.
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July 16th, 2008, 04:52
Keldryn -

I hear everything you're saying… and that's the beauty of life… that we are all different and have different tastes. You're right about Wasteland's clunky interface… but there have been plenty of modern games with clunky interfaces (and there will be plenty more). And I thoroughly enjoy playing all of my old games… and actually I usually enjoy playing them more than I do newer games.

And you're also right about many of the early CRPGs being first person. But there was a big difference and that was that they weren't complete twitch-fest games. At least half of the games you mentioned were turn-based… and I've never seen a turn-based first person shooter… so that was really my analogy… that if CRPGs basically become first person shooters I will lose a bit of interest in them. It doesn't mean I won't play them… it just means i won't enjoy them as much. And keep in mind… that's just my personal taste. On a side note: one of your examples is a good example of what I mean… Look at Eye of the Beholder. Yes, it was first person, and yes it was in real time. But you didn't just swing your sword over and over. You had to control your party and you had to manage magic and melee combat, and other things all in real time… it was actually quite involved and could be quite difficult. You would never find a AAA game like that today because the game companies would be too woried that the masses wouldn't buy it (and they would be right).

I also understand about limited play time. I work about 60 hours a week, have a wife and two children who I spend all my free time with, and have other responsibilities… but I would still prefer a nice long, well made, stat heavy, story driven RPG instead of a 20 hour twitch fest. I've posted before how I make time for my gaming habit… and it involves lots of sleep deprivation (for over 20 years). I spent about 50 hours playing the first Geneforge game (I had never played any of the Geneforge games before a couple of months ago), and I loved every minute of it. On the other hand I spent about 20+ hours playing Jade Empire and it bored me to tears (just my personal experience there people). The tendency toward short-attention span gamers is a sad thing for me… but that's my own problem… because the market will continue to be driven by what makes the most money for the company, and not what the old-fogey hard-core CRPG gamer wants.

And this quote is correct as well

It was a trailer put together to show in front of hundreds at Microsoft's press conference. The vast majority of those attending would be bored to tears watching him navigate dialogue trees.
That further demonstrates the short-attention span that people have slowly begun to exhibit (and not just in gaming). 20 years ago, the press and anyone at a demonstration would be ecstatic to hear all the "boring" details about the game system. Think of what was one of the most created and played type of PC game at the dawn of PC gaming… Turn-based war games. These games took hours to learn… took even more hours to play… and were more involved than building your own small liquid-engine rocket. And now that type of game is all but extinct.

And soon, what I call the CRPG will be all but extinct… or as some will see it… evolved. But evolution isn't always good.

So… I can see your points… but I will stick to what I enjoy… like I said earlier, even though the entire gaming market may change… I don't have to change with it. I have so many games that I could play them every day for the rest of my life and I'd never get bored.

So… we all have different tastes and that's what make the world of gaming great… and this website great.

And last but not least I will finish like I did before… Bethesda could completely surprise me, and FO3 could end up being a hardcore, revolutionary CRPG.

<edit> For historical sake… here's a list of strategic wargames… tons of them made in the 1980's…. almost none now <end edit>

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July 16th, 2008, 13:14
Originally Posted by narpet View Post
<edit> For historical sake… here's a list of strategic wargames… tons of them made in the 1980's…. almost none now <end edit>
The list expands until last year, for completeness' sake.

You must click on the next 20 or so at the bottom.

But none of them would be turn-based, I agree.

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July 16th, 2008, 16:12
Trailers/teasers very rarely tell me a lot. Judging by the latest Dragon Age teasers, it's a fantasy strategy game, but I have no doubt it'll be a good RPG (time will tell whether it's good, great or incredible, but a minimum of "good").
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July 16th, 2008, 22:17
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
The list expands until last year, for completeness' sake.

You must click on the next 20 or so at the bottom.

But none of them would be turn-based, I agree.
Not true at all. There are more wargames released now than ever before - turn-based even. Most of the distribution has just moved to internet (except som russian games like fantasy wars/kings bounty) so you might not notice them so easily. Also do not trust mobygames to list all games - in example it has only around 10-15% of the games matrix has released (most of them old ones) which means it misses most of them.

If you want turn based strategic wargames matrix games is a good place to start. War in the pacific 1941-45 and its addon "Admirals edition" is my favorite along with commander europe at war and advanced tactics and UFO: Extraterrestrials.

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July 16th, 2008, 23:14
Originally Posted by narpet View Post
Keldryn -
I hear everything you're saying… and that's the beauty of life… that we are all different and have different tastes. You're right about Wasteland's clunky interface… but there have been plenty of modern games with clunky interfaces (and there will be plenty more).
Great example of a modern game with a clunky interface that absolutely ruins it for me: Gothic. I really tried to like that game, but the interface gets in the way every time.

Originally Posted by narpet View Post
And I thoroughly enjoy playing all of my old games… and actually I usually enjoy playing them more than I do newer games.
I often do as well. The newest PC game I have is Civilization IV. And I often go back and re-play old favourites instead of playing games that I haven't played yet.

Originally Posted by narpet View Post
On a side note: one of your examples is a good example of what I mean… Look at Eye of the Beholder. Yes, it was first person, and yes it was in real time. But you didn't just swing your sword over and over. You had to control your party and you had to manage magic and melee combat, and other things all in real time… it was actually quite involved and could be quite difficult. You would never find a AAA game like that today because the game companies would be too woried that the masses wouldn't buy it (and they would be right).
I loathe Eye of the Beholder because it wasn't actually real-time for you — just for the monsters. You had to click on each character's icon in turn to make them do something. When going through one character's inventory or spell list, the other 3-5 characters in the party just stand there with their thumbs up their butts getting whacked from all directions. If you have to manage a group of characters in real-time, they need to have some sort of basic autonomy so that this doesn't happen. At least the Infinity Engine games do that much. I don't agree that you'd never find an AAA game today that requires that level of real-time management of multiple characters, because there is an entire genre of games based on precisely that concept (RTS).

Eye of the Beholder (and Dungeon Master, which was obviously the template for EOB) was definitely a difficult and challenging game, but a lot of that isn't the good kind of challenge; it's the frustrating kind of challenge that results from poorly thought-out design. The mazes of the game provided a challenge that wasn't from poor design, although very few players seem inclined to want to draw their own maps. Etrian Odyssey (Nintendo DS) really surprised me, as it is a brutally difficult game, in the vein of the old Wizardry titles, and you have to draw your own maps. I wouldn't classify it as a AAA title though.

Originally Posted by narpet View Post
I also understand about limited play time. I work about 60 hours a week, have a wife and two children who I spend all my free time with, and have other responsibilities… but I would still prefer a nice long, well made, stat heavy, story driven RPG instead of a 20 hour twitch fest.
I hate twitchy action games. But to me, the difference between "twitchy" action and "non-twitchy" action is all about the pacing. Diablo feels pretty twitchy to me, as to the vast majority of classic arcade games. The Legend of Zelda does not. Compare the combat in any of the 3D Zelda titles (Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, Wind Waker, or Twilight Princess) with a more typical action game like Devil May Cry. Hammering on the attack button doesn't really get the job done; most battles you approach by raising your shield and circling your opponent, waiting for an opening. When you get that opening, you strike, then resume a defensive stance. When "action" RPGs have that kind of pacing, I really enjoy them. Morrowind, on the other hand, felt more like Diablo because it didn't really have a more "thoughtful" pacing. I was just clicking my attacks as quickly as I could, watching my shield occasionally block because my Blocking skill check was successful. Blah.

Originally Posted by narpet View Post
On the other hand I spent about 20+ hours playing Jade Empire and it bored me to tears (just my personal experience there people). The tendency toward short-attention span gamers is a sad thing for me… but that's my own problem… because the market will continue to be driven by what makes the most money for the company, and not what the old-fogey hard-core CRPG gamer wants.
I rather enjoyed Jade Empire. I found the combat was a bit too easy for the most part, but the story and characters were interesting. It wasn't as good as KOTOR, but still quite enjoyable.

Part of the problem is that the "old fogey hardcore CRPG gamers" want long, epic, involved games. But those games are getting increasingly expensive to make. In the 90s, we seemed to be satisfied with large worlds built from relatively limited sets of tiles or objects. I get bored with that much more quickly than I used to. I love exploring the world in RPGs, but I find it less and less satisfying to spend a long time finding some out of the way place just to discover that it is a slightly different arrangement of the same graphics I've been staring at for the past 20 hours.

Content is by far the most expensive part of the game production process, and the higher-fidelity equipment that we run them on demands more varied and detailed game elements. Palette-swapped monsters, cloned townsfolk, and repetitive environments don't cut it anymore, and that has I think less to do with attention spans and more to do with budgets.

Originally Posted by narpet View Post
That further demonstrates the short-attention span that people have slowly begun to exhibit (and not just in gaming). 20 years ago, the press and anyone at a demonstration would be ecstatic to hear all the "boring" details about the game system. Think of what was one of the most created and played type of PC game at the dawn of PC gaming… Turn-based war games. These games took hours to learn… took even more hours to play… and were more involved than building your own small liquid-engine rocket. And now that type of game is all but extinct.
Civilization is probably the closest to that style of game — but I never really enjoyed the old-style wargames myself. Was always more of a "builder."

As for the short attention spans… well, I don't seem to have quite the same attention span that I used to. But I also discovered a couple of years ago that I actually do meet all of the diagnostic criteria for ADHD/Primarily Inattentive, which explained a hell of a lot of things about my life. When I get really interested in something, I get super-focused on it to the point where I can't focus on anything else. When something doesn't grab my interest fairly early on, I just can't get myself to focus on it for the life of me.
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July 17th, 2008, 01:47
Originally Posted by Keldryn View Post
Great example of a modern game with a clunky interface that absolutely ruins it for me: Gothic. I really tried to like that game, but the interface gets in the way every time.
I completely agree with you there… I loved Gothic, but the interface was about one of the clunkiest I'd ever seen for the era when it was released. I still loved it though… once you get past the control issues it really is one of the greatest games ever (for me anyway).

May all your hits be crits!
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