Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura - All News
Monday - October 05, 2015
Arcanum - Review @ Hardcore Gaming 101
A sort of retrospective / review of Arcanum popped up at Hardcore Gaming 101.
[Arcanum] lies on the extreme end of the spectrum which runs between "boring but polished" and "ambitious yet buggy". Arcanum is very ambitious and very buggy. It's a logical evolution of 1990s computer RPGs, amplifying both their strong and weak points. At its best it's a narrative-heavy game (..). At its worst it's a tedious struggle against the enemies, the interface and the AI. It's a game that was clearly designed with a hardcore audience in mind. It has everything CRPG fans love (complexity, non-linearity, dice rolls, mod support).
Despite it's many issues, Arcanum is still a game worth playing. When it comes to narrative freedom and atmosphere it's one of the best and it deserves its place among the likes of Fallout, Baldur's Gate II andPlanescape: Torment. But when it comes to dungeons, combat mechanics and general polish, it's very lacking. Still, the good far outweighs the bad and almost anyone who has played the game remembers the story and the world even quite some time after playing the game.
Monday - May 11, 2015
Arcanum - Matt Chatt Retrospective
Matt Barton takes a look at Arcanum in his latest video.
Monday - October 07, 2013
Arcanum - Equilibrium Rebalance Mod
I came across a mod for Arcanum from a modder called mod here with more information.that rebalances every spell, item, and monster in the game. You can find the
What my mod changed:
-Stats on over 500 weapons/armors/items (almost every single one)
-Stats on almost every spell
-15 spells replaced with new ones
-170 extra portraits
-Stats on almost every monster
-Important schematic changes so that good items require a special rare component, typically only found at certain parts in the game
-Follower level schemes so that they are more useful and effective
-Much, much more of course!
What my mod does:
-Makes combat actually challenging to your character at times. Some enemies are now powerful boss monsters.
-Balances combat by making as many styles viable and equal as possible (particularly magic, guns, fighter, bows, thrower, tech)
-Balances follower favoritism by making even useless followers decent. I've won games with Jayna, Weldo, Jormund, etc.
-Removes overpowered abilities or features, such as most stun/paralyze effects
-Adds purpose to previously useless things. Fancy clothes give a charisma bonus, for example.
-Overall it makes people's character build decisions actually matter. In regular Arcanum, it's all easy as hell no matter what you do. With this mod, how you develop your character determines what is harder and what is easier as you complete the game.
Wednesday - February 13, 2013
Arcanum - Avellone's Let's Play
Chris Avellone has started his Let's Play Arcanum over at the Obsidian forums.
Currently I’m playing it without any fan patches, I want to play the release version. Part of me wants to contrast and compare if I do a second modded version (probably doing a tech-focused run). If that ends up being problematic, I’ll add the mods and then do a rush playthrough to get back to the point I was at so you guys don’t have to sit through the second playthrough. Well, unless you want.
Feel free to post suggestions for how you’d like me to play it on our forums or in YouTube's comments for the video – for right now, I’m just playing it as I would normally, which makes it a lot more relaxed. Hopefully, my in-game reactions and critiques should be enough if you’re interested on my RPG takes on any elements in the title.
If you have any questions about how I felt about certain elements (aside from Virgil’s sass), feel free to drop me a tweet at @ChrisAvellone and I’ll do what I can!
Monday - May 07, 2012
Arcanum - Interview with Leonard Boyarsky @ RPG Codex
RPG Codex has done one of their retrospective interviews - this time with Leonard Boyarsky, the man who worked on Arcanum, Fallout, Fallout 2 and currently working at Blizzard Entertainment on Diablo 3. It's rather interesting....
A quote about how Boyarsky got into the business
How did you find your way into role-playing video game design? Did you come from pen & paper RPGs?
I did not have a lot of experience with pen and paper RPGs, unfortunately. I was fascinated with DnD and other RPGs when I was younger, but I never found a good group of people to play with. My first PnP experiences were at Interplay with Tim Cain running a Conan campaign. He also ran a pretty cool GURPS Space campaign, if I recall correctly.
The fact that I ended up a game designer was purely by accident..... However, once we finished the art for the game and had the time to start playing it in earnest, we found that a lot of our original area design and philosophy somehow hadn’t made it into the game. I remember specifically that there was nothing in the Brotherhood of Steel apart from the NPCs with talking heads – and we were supposed to be shipping soon. So Jason and I, with the unbounded arrogance of youth, decided we were going to start writing and editing dialogues and adding quests for the game. And so I became a game designer.
And a qoute about a business decision:
In the book Gamers At Work, Tim Cain mentions that Troika might have kept itself afloat by taking on various non-RPG projects, but that he was unwilling to sign on to games he "had no interest in playing." How do you feel about this kind of decision today? Is there – was there ever – a place for this kind of idealism in the industry, or should pragmatism have ruled the day?
I don’t think it was idealism. If we had no interest in playing a certain style of game, we would have no passion for making it. Making games is not easy – you definitely need to have passion for what you’re doing to be successful. Without the passion, you’re sunk.
A quote about on what he sees as defining the rpg genre:
In your view, what makes a good role-playing game and what are the defining elements of the genre?
I don’t think there is one set of criteria for what makes a good role playing game—it depends on what type of RPG you’re making. There would be a whole different list of criteria for a Mass Effect style game than there would be for Diablo III, for instance. It just depends on what the goals of the game are. However, one thing all RPGs do need to have is the ability to choose how to play your character in terms of skills and abilities.
Lastly, Boyarsky's views on Kickstarter:
Given the recent Kickstarter success stories of Tim Schafer and Brian Fargo, what do you think of crowdfunding as an alternative way of video game publishing? Do you believe it can significantly change the landscape of the industry, and would you consider turning to crowdfunding yourself in the future? (For a Troika reunion maybe?)
I think it’s great. It’s wonderful that old school games are being funded this way. I don’t know that it will have much of an effect on the publishing industry, though, unless one of the games is a huge hit.
And I’m happy working at Blizzard, so I don’t see crowdfunding in my future—especially since I have no desire to run my own company again.
Thanks Crooked Bee!
Monday - December 06, 2010
Arcanum - GOG Version Now Win 7 Compatible
Time for the next surprise in the GOG.com's Holiday Celebrations. We're still working on adding Windows 7 compatibility to some of the games which have some issues with the newest operating system from big M. We're happy to let you know that Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura and Myst: Masterpiece Edition are now fully compatible with both 32 and 64-bit Windows 7. To get the latest, Windows 7 compatible versions of the games, you have to re-download and install them again.
Sunday - October 03, 2010
Arcanum - 50% Off @ GOG
If you don't already own Arcanum, $2.99 at GOG is an absolute steal for a classic game.
Monday - February 01, 2010
Arcanum - Review @ GameShard
It's nice to see a review of Arcanum to along side the recent GOG release. GameShard awards a score of 8/10:
Outside the few minor nuisances and outside the combat in general, the game is actually superb, the story is intriguing, the world is very interesting to explore and there are plenty of quirky characters to meet. The graphics are acceptable for the games age; they evoke the world well enough. And that is probably Arcanum’s biggest draw, the atmosphere is simply stunning, the style, the dialogue, the music, everything fits together perfectly to create this world before you. From the portraits of typical fantasy creatures dressed up like Victorian gentlemen. Well acted, and well written dialogue that feels reminiscent of a great Jules Verne style adventure novel. And simply incredible music. You can believe in the world Arcanum presents, and really, that is at the heart of what make a great RPG.
Thursday - January 28, 2010
Arcanum - Now Available at Good Old Games
Troika's classic steampunk crpg, Arcanum, now joins the catalogue of older games revamped for modern computers at Good Old Games. The price is $5.99 U.S.
Here's the announcement:
If you already know this game, you should require no introduction. If, for some reason, you haven't played it yet, you've somehow sidestepped a legend and should atone by experiencing it at your earliest convenience.
Arcanum is a computer role-playing game and at the same time the name of a unique world - a classic fantasy setting at its core, but intertwined with steampunk, with the world currently in the middle of an industrial revolution. Its creators took advantage of this by implementing a beautifully complex character creation system and having the world and storyline adapt to whatever character you have created. To top it off, you can travel the open-ended world as you see fit and complete quests in a variety of ways - from combat, through diplomacy, to plain thievery. It's simply one of the greatest RPG titles of all time. What more recommendation could you possibly need?
Sunday - December 27, 2009
Arcanum - Unofficial Patch v091225 Released
Drog has released a new version 091225 of his unofficial patch as a Christmas gift for the Arcanum fans. The patch is a compilation of his work during the last year or so and fixes many things, including a rather critical bug. Drog himself has moved on:
I lost interest in both patching and the actual game as well. I guess, everyone eventually moves on, and so did I. Anyway, this is still a substantial release.
The patch may be unfinished in a sense that I still have a few pages of unsolved bug reports, but this version has many bug fixes, including a number of engine fixes/tweaks. It even fixes a few very annoying critical bugs (e.g. Virgil not dying at the Sobbing Onion).
The full changelogs are included with the patch. Understandably, in the end this is still an unsupported work that is no longer maintained. I take zero responsibility for what this patch does. Use it at your own risk.
Source: RPG Codex
Sunday - November 29, 2009
Arcanum - Aged Well @ Bitmob
Another 'Aged Well' article at Bitmob. This article on Arcanum is, of course, very positive.
I had gotten hooked at the meticulous webwork of Arcanum's Victorian-esque society; I was reeled in by the clashing ideals of ancient magick and progressive technology, befitting of the steampunk genre; I was awestruck at the sheer multitudes of items and monsters that populated the game world, without being too overbearing; I was dumbfounded as to how Troika managed to pull it off.
Tying in to Cosmo's earlier writeup on the often fickle process of choice within video games, Arcanum continued the happy tradition set by Fallout that placed you in a game world in which you can practically do whatever the hell you want. That was another alluring element of the game -- if I wanted to strip off all of my armor and streak through the town while drunk, nothing could stop me! Well, except maybe the local constabulary, of course. Still, the freedom to actually pull off a stunt like that was a refreshing take on stuffy video game parameters that typically shunted you from linearity to linearity.
Tuesday - April 14, 2009
Arcanum - High Resolution Patch
I've been looking forward to this...Drog Black Tooth (of Unofficial Patch fame) has completed a high resolution mod for Arcanum that allows for any resolution. Here's the feature list:
- Full support for any resolution.
- All elements of the interface perfectly centered.
- All elements of the interface remain their original size with no custom graphics in any resolution.
- Full compatibility with any mods that are based off the 22.214.171.124 version.
- Full compatibility with older save games.
- Improved Compact UI. Can now be accessed anytime by pressing F10.
- Optional larger dialog and logbook fonts.
Thanks Licaon_Kter, who originally spotted at RPG Codex.
Wednesday - December 31, 2008
Arcanum - Unoffical Patch
Blues' News spots an interestig patching project for Troika's classic rpg.
The Codex Forums now offer a new unofficial patch for Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura, updating this RPG to version 081229. This is a homebrew patch, since developer Troika Games is no longer in business, and it looks like an ongoing project, as word is: "However, keep in mind, that this project doesn't tolerate any custom content at all. No balance changes as well. We just need to polish the game." A change log outlines what's new and different, and also outlines planned future changes. Downloads of the patch are mirrored on The Patches Scrolls.
Thursday - October 09, 2008
Arcanum - Multiplayer Server to Close
As collateral from the Activision/Vivendi merger 21 Sierra games are having their servers closed, which will include the final breath of Arcanum's Sierra game server. Other games to lose their multiplayer support are the Ground Control series, Empire Earth, Homeworld, Star Trek: Armada, Caesar IV and No one Lives Forever 2. For a full list go here. The closure will happen 1st of November 2008.
Source: Rock, Paper, Shotgun
Monday - August 25, 2008
Arcanum - v080823 Unofficial Patch
Our last entry for Drog Black Tooth's Unofficial Arcanum Patch is marked "final" but it seems development continues with a new version released a couple of days ago. A miscellany of things are fixed, so head over to the main thread at RPG Codex.
Saturday - July 19, 2008
Arcanum - v080708 Final Unofficial Patch
Drog Black Tooth's quest to fix Arcanum has apparently finished, with v080708 Final released. The latest version seems to concentrate on typos but there are still too many to list here - check out the original thread on RPG Codex for full details and links.
Monday - June 30, 2008
Arcanum - Unofficial Patch moves to v080626
Drog Black Tooth's Unofficial Arcanum Patch was updated last week, moving the latest version to 080626. The list of fixes is way too long to post here, so head over to the original RPG Codex thread for the latest.
Wednesday - June 04, 2008
Arcanum - Unofficial Patch Hits 080604
Drog Black Tooth's Unofficial Arcanum Patch has been updated with another list of fixes too long to post here - the collective changes are quite amazing. Head to this thread at RPG Codex for links and the full patch notes.
Monday - May 12, 2008
Arcanum - Unofficial Patch Goes to v080510
Gamebanshee posts the latest links for the unofficial Arcanum patch along with some notes:
Here we go. I've put a lot of work into this one, spend a lot of hours tracking and fixing bugs, finding and restoring lost content. The main feature of this release is that sprite mirroring is disabled. I was very interested in this matter from the very beginning, I even contacted Leonard Boyarsky this week (and he was kind enough to forward my question to Tim Cain, those guys are really amazing), and in the end, encouraged by Tim Cain's words I hacked the engine myself. Basically, the number of animations is now almost doubled, near 200 mb of disabled animations are back. Without any kidding, this is the most important and revolutionary update to Arcanum since its release back in 2001.
Note that the patch is designed to work with a vanilla English version of the game, patched to 126.96.36.199. It's recommended that a new game be started, and that no mods be installed as the patch is not compatible with them.
Saturday - April 19, 2008
Arcanum - Unofficial Patch Update
The fix list is impressive:
The patch is designed to work with a vanilla English version of the game, patched to 188.8.131.52. NO MODS SHOULD BE INSTALLED. The patch most likely won't be compatible with them.
The CD check has been removed as well, no point in it after all these years.
Although it's not obligatory, it's advised that you start the new game. Some fixes (i.e. Kraka-Tur journal) won't work with old saves.
-Added race icons for Dark Elves, Ogres and Orcs. Now you can distinguish them from their brotherly races. Note: icons were in the game, but due to laziness were unused. No idea why, they're actually quite beatiful.
-Fixed art for Elixir of Hypnotic Suggestion.
-Fixed typos in dialogue for Raven, Zan Alurin, Alice and Willow.
-Fixed Alexander's dialogue and dying script. This allows for properly getting his ending.
-Added a missing line to Nasrudin's dialogue.
-Fixed issues with Kraka-tur's journal and Kraka-tur's dialogue. Now you have an option to shame him if you read the journal, and he also properly recognizes both his journal and eye.
-Fixed mixed up responses for dummies in Pollock's dialogue.
-Fixed Surly Virgil's dialogue. Now he properly leaves the party and has a proper response when jilted.
-Fixed Virgil's dialogue so he now recognizes the crash site and tells PC about it when asked.
-Fixed wrong line number in generic npc class responses.(gd_cls_m2m.mes)
-Restored HEF2 (Half Elf Female 2) and NPCJay (Jayna Stiles) portraits from the beta version as the ones in the final are clearly inferior to them.
-Fixed palettes for Large Wool Jacket and Heavy Rags.
-Fixed Darm Helm. Its effects are no longer permanent. (Original script contained a typo, wrong line number)
-Fixed Black Stone Blade. Its effects are no longer permanent. (Original object had a wrong WIELD_OFF script attached)
-Fixed the exit of Stone Cutter Clan script. Now it teleports you to the proper location.
-Dark Elves, Ogres and Orcs stats are tweaked a bit to match their brotherly races.
-Ogres and Orcs are no longer considered monster (except for summoned ones).
-Kerghan's Dragon Form now has a monster flag, so he can do proper damage, 5-20 of normal, poison, fire and electrical, as it was meant by developers. Note: Critters in Arcanum can do custom unarmed damage only if they have one of the monster flags (monster, undead, animal, mechanical).
-Naked Halfling was missing an undead flag. Now he can do his proper damage, 15-40 of normal.
-Added large basic and bronze platemails, large and small dragon skin leathers, small dread armor, normal and small dark, bronze and red barbarian armor to shops. No way to get most of these types of armor otherwise.
-Fixed issues with Dweomer Shield and Reflection Shield spells. They no longer work on mind controlled creatures (this includes summoned ones), thus they won't allow for making anybody a permanent follower glitch anymore.
-Removed level scaling with random encounters (except Molochean Hand and orc bandits). Level scaling was unrealistic in the first place, you could meet certain creatures only on certain levels and no creatures except molochean hand and bandits on level 50, thus making the world feel more empty and making it more trivial to level up your followers.
-Drog Black Tooth now has a proper race.
-Ivory and Whysper in Qintarra now have proper races.
-Silver Lady is now leveled up, has no pickpocket, no disintegrate and no flee flags, and most of all has a missing floating animation restored.
-Race fixes for almost all guards in T'sen-Ang. (They were elves instead of dark elves and it's easy to see now with races icons fix)
-Void party: Gorgoth and Krakatur now have proper monster flags and proper custom damage. Bane of Kree is leveled up, Arronax now has a proper race (no longer human).
-Race fixes for 3 dwarves in Wheel Clan.
-Race fixes for Orc Bandit in the Boil, 2 Dark Elf Guards outside T'sen-Ang, Bunny at Madam Lil's, Halfling Villager in Shrouded Hills, Elf Thief, Half Ogre Bandit and Halfling Bandit on the Isle of Despair, Willoughsby (first appearance, with Smythe), Ogre Bandit at the Crash Site. They all had wrong races.
-Evil Joachim at docks is leveled up to match the one at the city entrance when you walk to Caladon on your own. (Yes, there are two of them, you get a one based on how you got to Caladon)
-Fixed basic proto issues for 10 Orc Berserkers in the Boil, proper gender and soundbanks now.
-Fixed Stringy Pete and his crew basic proto issues: they no longer do 0 damage if disarmed and have proper soundbanks.
-NPCs will no longer pick up boulders on their own.
-Both hushed revolver and hushed pistol are now silent. That is, they can only be heard within 2 tiles.
-Fixed descriptions for Chapeau of Magnetic Inversion and Potion of Intellect.
-Added a missing line to Simeon Tor's dialogue.
-A medical arachnid made by player is now functioning.
-Machined Plate now gives a proper strength bonus. (Script counters weren't set)
-Fixed Nasrudin's dialogue for dummies.
-Fixed typo in Magnus' dialogue and added global flag which affects Thorvald's dialogue.
-Swyft now properly disbands in Tarant in all cases.
-Now you can properly accept Swyft's quest with high haggle skill.
-All methods to become a friend of Molochean Hand now work correctly.
-Creep Armour now gives a bonus to backstab, just as the description says.
-Fixed wrong haggle conditions and missing global flags in the dialogue for the Molochean Hand Agent at Shrouded Hills.
-Fixed the Master Mage of Water's dialogue for dummies, now the former student appears in front of the gates in this case as well.
-Fixed Weldo Rubin's dialogue, now he waits, disbands and rejoins properly.
-Fixed Weldo Rubin's stats, now he has an auto-leveling scheme, so he can level up properly.
-Revolver Parts now have proper art.
-Small Robe of the Chameleon now has proper art.
-Tarant Sewers now use a correct music track.
-Geoffrey and Perriman dialogues and scripts are fixed, now you can have them both in your group if you're a master of persuasion and have charisma of 20.
-Fixed Simeon Tor's dialogue, now he properly recognizes Perriman and Geoffrey.
-Maxim will now recognize parts for a Mechanized Gun and build one for you.
-Fixed description on a Wise Woman in Caladon (no longer says "Halfling Villager").
-Fixed Nicholas the Bartender at Madam Lil's. He was using a generic bartender dialogue, while he had a proper one. His dialogue is rather funny, he gives you free drinks when you pay for a girl, and when you get drunk enough you get an option to sexually harass him, his comments are priceless (and random!).
-Magick Beans are now fixed.
-You will no longer be able to pick up hostile automatons and make them your followers.
-You can no longer sell the real Stillwater Giant's pelt to H.T. Parnell more than once.
Wednesday - February 14, 2007
Arcanum - Review @ GamersInfo
GamersInfo has a look back at Troika's Arcanum - here's the intro:
It has been a long time for me. I try and have faith good things will happen, really, I do. I want to think that the next newest and shiniest game coming out will really be a good game. It so rarely is. I can rant about MMO's being so focused on artwork and technical performance and then shoving all their customers in a empty, heartless world with little to do but grind grind grind. So here I am, reverting back to some old games; games with a heart. Back to a time when game developer's really designed their game, their world, and most importantly, they defined what RPG really means. With hope, I picked up some Arcanum CDs, remembering that it has been a long time, nearly six years now. If you have never played this classic RPG, and maybe feeling a little like me, give it a listen.
Information aboutArcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura
Developer: Troika Games
Regions & platforms
· Platform: PC
· Released at 2001-08-21
· Publisher: Unknown