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-   -   Crpg-Meter for Geneforge 4 (https://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1390)

HiddenX February 22nd, 2007 23:50

Crpg-Meter for Geneforge 4
Lets measure the crpg-ingredients for Geneforge 4:

To determine if a game should apply to a certain level, all the mentioned demands must be fulfilled in that level and the levels below.

CRPG Categories: Story, Characters, NPC’s, Gameworld, Manipulation, Combat.

Other interesting categories: Graphics, Sound, Game length, Difficulty, Perspective and Play-style.

Each category is divided into 6 frames from "none" to "Heavy" CRGP-elements giving a score from 0 to 5 points.

A games points from each category will be added together and then divided with 6 and will classify it's CRPG-score to the following list:

RPG-Elements Score 0 - < 1 point => "No CRPG"
RPG-Elements Score 1 - < 2 points => "CRPG ultra light"
RPG-Elements Score 2- < 3 points => "CRPG light"
RPG-Elements Score 3 - < 4 points => "CRPG"
RPG-Elements Score 4 - 5 Points => "CRPG Heavy"

The RPG-element categories and their 6 scores/frames.

- How many quests, side quests, puzzles, riddles are in the game ?
Lots of side-quests, 2 main quests (play a shaper or a rebel), only a few puzzles or riddles.
- How great is the non-linearity of the game - can the quests be solved in more than one way ?
great non-linearity, many quests can be solved in more than one way.
- How many side-stories, legends in books or from NPC's are told ?
a few side side stories are told, legends, secrets are rare, some links to Genoeforge 1-3
- Are there different game-endings ?
yes - 3 endings -> maybe more
is it a game with many choices and consequences ?

No: 0 Points:
-The story is told in the beginning, and finished in the end, AND is not changeable during the game.

Ultra light: 1 point:
-A Few ”events” (NPC’s, happenings (Disasters, divine influences etc), Full movies interludes etc.) evolves the story, but still in a given path.

Light: 2 points:
-The story is developing through chapters or milestones, which still have an almost fixed path.
-A very few side stories/quests, OR noticeably different paths you can take to advance the same story, are available.

Medium: 3 points:
-The story develops as the game proceeds, meaning new information’s/events contribute for developing of the story on a frequent basis.
-Events (See above) impact on the story are considerable,
-The gamers actions have considerable impact on the development of the story.
-More than one path is possible in the ”main” story. Not necessarily more endings, just the possibility to choose between different “story” path’s of the “main story”. (Side quests not directly related to main story don’t count).
-A few side stories/quests besides the “main story” must be available.

More: 4 points:
-A few different endings is possible
-More than 2 ways to go through the story
-Lots of side stories/quests are required.
-Quests or tasks got often more than one solution!

Heavy: 5 points:
-Very open ended, with very high replay value regarding the story alone.
-Many events will contribute to many side / main story topics and respond to many different approaches from the player.
-Lots of books or other materials can give additional information’s about world for the interested player.

Geneforge 4: 5 points

- How many different characters can you play ? (race, gender, profession, …)
5 basic character types
Soldier, Infiltrator, Servile, Lifecrafter, Shocktrooper
- How many different skills can be choosen for your character(s) ?
- How many different traits can be choosen for your character(s) ?
no traits
- How many levels can be reached ?
Level 40 is a common end level.
- How much can the character(s) be changed at each level ?
you get 5 learning points at each level, that can be used for increasing skills
- How many guilds, groups can be joined ?
Rebels, Shapers, work for both and the Trakovites
- How many different ranks in these guilds can be achieved ?
No ranking with ranks, but you can achieve a reputation value, with a higher reputation you can access new quests and gear
- Can you get a reputation ?
see above - a reputation can be achieved for rebels and shapers

No: 0 Points:
-No development other than a better weapon, armour and a few pre-distributed skill points after each chapter / milestone.

Ultra light: 1 point:
-Max 2 points to distribute on the character(s) abilities (Attributes /spells / treats / skills) each time they develop levels and a maximum of 10 upgrades(Levels) of the character(s). Learning by doing covering the same amount of development is acceptable too.

Light: 2 points:
-Max 5 points to distribute on the character(s) at least 5+ different abilities (Attributes /spells / treats / skills) each time they develop levels and at least 10+ upgrades(Levels) of the character(s). Learning by doing covering the same amount of development is acceptable too.
-A minimum of social development / regards in the game-world societies is necessary) (Wiping out a society/guild is not counting)

Medium: 3 points:
-More than 5+ points to distribute on the character(s) at least 10+ different abilities (Attributes /spells / treats / skills) each time they develop levels and at least 15+ upgrades(Levels) of the character(s). Learning by doing covering the same amount of development is acceptable too.
-The characters can have considerable social impact on more than one society / guild. (Wiping out a society/guild is not counting)

More : 4 points:
-Now a party of at least 3 fully controlled characters should be possible,
-The choice from different professions / races should give a combination of at least 10 possible different characters (Note: Different mug-shots don’t count).
-Considerable social impact on more than 2 societies / guilds is possible. (Wiping out a society/guild is not counting)

Heavy: 5 points:
-More than 10+ points to distribute on the character(s) at least 15+abilities (Attributes /spells / treats / skills) each time they develop levels and at least 20+ upgrades(Levels) of the character(s). Learning by doing covering the same amount of development is acceptable too.
-+15 different races/ professions to choose from.
-Plenty of societies/guilds which the characters have a social impact on. (Wiping out a society/guild is not counting)

Genforge 4: 4 points

- How many dialogues are in the game ?
- How many dialogue options do you have ?
only a few
- Are these options depending on your skills, alignment or deeds ?
There are depending on a) finished quests and reputation
- Have your answers an influence on the game ?
- Have the NPC's a life of their own ?
- Is trading available / is it balanced ?
yes and yes

No: 0 points:
-Few NPC's most only merchants.
-Pre-determined dialogues.

Ultra light: 1 point:
-The dialogues now have a few options, but it still contribute to the same story, AND each choice is reversible in consequence.

Light: 2 points:
-NPC's are presented in small societies, AND some of them can make a difference in further development of the game.

Medium: 3 points:
-NPC's acts truly as a part of a bigger community.
-NPC's in each society are much aware about social status also toward your characters.
-More than one society with NPC's are present in the world.

More: 4 points:
-There are fleshed out dialogue trees,
-Choices is most final and irreversible.
-NPC’s have considerable impact on the amount of Main / side- stories.

Heavy: 5 points:
-NPC's are aware of the continuously developing situation in the game-world, AND react clearly to the gamers actions and deeds.
-More than 2 bigger societies of NPC's must be available.
-Reputation, skills, alignment, attitude etc. have considerable impact on the NPC reaction.

Geneforge 4: 5 points


No: 0 points:
-The task to get from A to B has no or few options to go away from a fixed physical path.
-The game-world only inhabits monsters and a few merchants.
-The world is without (none monster) societies.

Ultra light: 1 point:
-Still a strict physical path, but with a few small societies on your way.

Light: 2 points:
-A few areas are optional on your path each chapter / milestone.
-Societies will give some quest / story material.

Medium: 3 points:
-There are at least several physical path's to choose between, AND more will open up as the game proceeds.
-Societies must give the feeling of a live community, with their own daily business, AND not just a few NPC's waiting for the hero's to come along and pass on a few quests.
-The size of the game-world must be considerable.

More: 4 points:
-Societies must be very different and have strong relation to the game-world and each other.
-We are no longer talking about a few path's when exploring the world.
-The appearance of monsters and societies must make common sense.

Heavy: 5 points:
-The world is totally open for extreme freedom to explore, AND it's your own task to decide if your character(s) are good enough
to take on the different part of the world.
-The diversity of the game-world environment must be significant.
-Day & night cycles, and different weather conditions and /or different seasons.

Genforge 4: 3.5 points

HiddenX February 22nd, 2007 23:50

- Can you manipulate the gameworld ? (levers, buttons, secret doors,…)
- Can the gameworld manipulate your character(s) ? (traps, teleports, …)
- Can you pick up items, herbs, raw materials and then mix new potions, make new weapons,… ?
a lot

No: 0 points:
-Almost no action possible besides walk/run and combat, except maybe a very few items.
-Game-world itself is very static.

Ultra light: 1 points:
-Very few limited interactions besides walking and combat.
- A few chest barrels is scattered through the game.

Light: 2 points:
-There are a few weapons, armours, items in the game.
-Traps, levers, keys and alike is available in it's simple presence.

Medium: 3 points:
-The game-world have a considerable amount of weapons, armours, items, skills, spells in significant variations.
-The things to do will quickly fill up more than one page in your journal, AND keep it that way for most of the game.
-Custom items must be available. (Custom items are items that can’t directly be found in the game-world, the player needs to either combine more items or process an item with (Fire, acid, poison, magic, tool-masters etc (repairing items don’t count)). It’s not limited to weapons and armour only)

More: 4 points:
-You can see /influence changes in the environment, OR use it either to create/ manipulate things or get strategic possibilities in combat. (Summarised: Game-world environment itself offers several interactivity possibilities: (Chopping trees, make fire, diving in water, hide behind objects, move/destroy/manipulate objects, etc.)
– A few different ways of making custom items must be available. (See above).

Heavy: 5 points:
- Many different ways of making custom items must be available. (See above).
-Alchemist, spell-casters, smiths, herbalist and other item collectors are in heaven due to the tons of items for manipulation.
-Game-world environment itself offers many interactivity possibilities: (Chopping trees, make fire, diving in water, hide behind objects, move/destroy/manipulate objects, etc.)

Geneforge 4: 5 points

- how many tactics, strategies, spells/counterspells you have to use to survive in combat ?
(remark: this has nothing to do with real time vs. turn based combat. example: Rage of Mages: Real time and very tactical)
a lot, but unfortunatley you do't need them most of the time
- Are there many different monsters, enemies …
- how good/complex is the enemy AI ?
- Is it critical for combat to have a good equipment management ?
- Do you need resistances against poison, fire, … to survive ?
yes-this is very important
- is the combat balanced ?
always balanced - some very challenging and interesting boss fights

No: 0 points:
-You put your character(s) into position and they solve combat on their own, or the combat result is only affected by your skills on the keyboard.

Ultra light: 1 point:
-Real-time combat only without any pause options.
-Options are limited to the choice of the opponent to attack.

Light: 2 points:
-Character skills and/or players strategic abilities have a noticeable more impact on the outcome of the battles too.

Medium: 3 points:
-Players can more decide the pace of the battle,
-Strategic positions of the party is more vital, and the options for each character is more plentiful.
-At this point it's also important that monsters offers some diversity not only in numbers, but also in strategies necessary to win.
-Monsters AI are more than attacking the closest enemy!
- There must be more issues for your characters during combat, than loosing or giving hit-points. Ex. Poisoning, paralyse, curse etc.

More: 4 points:
-Their must be alternatives to swing your sword and cast a spell during combat Ex. Skills, traps, spells, treats, or items to use in battles.
-Different strategies are necessary for survival.

Heavy: 5 points:
-Each characters can be controlled individual down to the smallest detail and in any pace wanted.
-The monsters must offer a lot of difference both in numbers, abilities, battle environment, which must offer quite a diversity in battle approaches.
- Monsters AI are considerable.

Genforge 4: 3 points



An “Year” of evaluation should follow the graphics score!
We try not to express how beautiful the graphics is (It's difficult to separate entirely), just how many specific graphic technology elements it contains (Like shadows, lightning etc), and it's standard compared to others at the time of the review!

0 points: Text only.
1 point: Static pictures, and/ or low 2D resolution in relation to other games in the year of evaluation.
2 points: Higher 2D resolution in relation to other games in the year of evaluation.
3 points: Mediocre 3D or 2D with up to date standard compared to others in relation to other games in the year of evaluation.
4 points: Fully 3D with up to date standard compared to others in relation to other games in the year of evaluation.
5 points: Fully 3D. Absolute among the best in it's category, with a few ground breaking content compared to others at the time it is reviewed.

Genforge 4: 2 points (year 2007)


This determines the amount and the degree of acoustic technologies in the sound, not directly the quality or realism of the sound, and not how many different sound boards it covers.

0 Points: No sound.
1 point: Mono sound.
2 points: Very sparse and basic Stereo sound
3 points: Plentiful Stereo sound
4 points: Support of more than 2 speakers, and considerable environmental sounds.
5 points: Fully real surround sound support (At least 5.1), with ultra real 3D feeling

Geneforge: 2 points


An average length is used for calculation, a second score in “( )” for maximum hours searching under every stone and solving every quest could be mentioned if it brings the game into another score-area.

0 points: Under 8 hours.
1 point: 8 - 20 hours.
2 points: 20- 50 hours.
3 points: 50- 80 hours.
4 points: 80 - 150 hours.
5 points: over 150 hours.

Geneforge 4: 4 points


0 points: No brain teasers at all, only walk /run and hack 'n slash
1 point: Easy brain teasers that don't slow the game pace down considerable.
2 points: Some problems (Riddles, events, combat, NPC's etc) can make you stop for a short while until you find the relative easy solution!
3 points: Not all problems are obvious in solution, but there are more possibilities to get help. The amount of problems must also be considerable.
4 points: Some problems can't be solved without help/things from other places or without some in vain tries first!
5 points: The game is loaded with more or less hard problems, and many problems can only be solved by extensive brain use!

Geneforge 4: 3 points


A Non-score category:

TXT: No perspective (e.g. no graphics), text games.
FIX: Fixed viewpoint (Not changeable).
FLEX: Flexible distance/orientation . The viewpoint distance can be changed and/or the screen can be rotated.
ISO: Isometric view ( Any angle between vertical top-down and 1.st person view, but still seen from above the party/ characters.
SHOULDER: The close overhead / shoulder view, where the gamers viewpoint follow the character(s) heading, with a look just above the head/shoulders of your character(s), and the character(s) can be seen in the button of the picture.
FP: The 1.st person view where gamers viewpoint is the same as looking out of the eyes of the character(s)
BIRD: From the sky the players has a vertical down view point on the game-world.
SIDE: View points like Platform games or the elder Kings/Space quest games

Geneforge 4: ISO-FIX


A non-score category.

SP: Single player
MP: Multiplayer
OP: Online play possible
MMO: Massive multiplayer online!
Co: Co-operative multiplayer possibility
PvP: Player versus player mode in multiplayer mode.
P: Parties possible.
S: Single character game

Geneforge 4: SP/P

Geneforge 4 is very stable (no crash) and I could not find a bug

Conclusion for Genforge 4:

RPG Factors: Story: 5, Character: 4, NPC: 5, World: 3.5, Manipulation:5, Combat: 3.
RPG Score:= 4.25 => CRPG heavy
Other Factors: Graphics: 2 (2007), Sound: 2, Length:4, Difficulty:3, Perspective: ISO-FIX, Style: SP-P.

Bottom line:
A very good game for old school turn based combat crpg fans. Choices and consequences everywhere, develop your character the way you like it, cool story with many different pathes, a second play through is a must.

crpgnut February 23rd, 2007 02:01

Because several had mentioned that they were enjoying G4, I grabbed the demo. To me, if you've played ANY of the other games, there's no reason to play this one outside of the storyline. Same graphics, same skills, same attributes, 85% same creations. 2 new classes but neither offer any different skills than the existing old ones. I found no reason to continue after finishing 6 or 8 maps. I want a new series from Jeff!

Corwin February 23rd, 2007 02:32

Yeah, but Jeff hates RPG's remember!! :)

crpgnut February 23rd, 2007 04:17

Yep, I can tell from his past 4 releases :)

HiddenX February 23rd, 2007 08:36

yep - Geneforge 4 is more of same good old Geneforge series.

I think Jeff can't exchange the game engine every year, because he's only a one man team.

It would be nice to see what comes out, if Jeff would be hired by a major company as a lead game designer.

magerette February 23rd, 2007 09:54

As always, HiddenX, you have a keen eye for the elements we all wish more game designers would pay attention to! Haven't played the Genforge series but tried out Avernum4. Not user friendly for me.

crpgnut February 23rd, 2007 17:06


Originally Posted by HiddenX (Post 20434)
I think Jeff can't exchange the game engine every year, because he's only a one man team.

It would be nice to see what comes out, if Jeff would be hired by a major company as a lead game designer.

I don't know about the whole engine, but I'd love to see him add some skills and traits to each iteration. Something for us folks who could care less about the storyline.

Jeff is a good writer. Other aspects of his game design are simplistic, but I love his writing in each first game of his series'. To me, Geneforge 1 and Exile 1 are the best work Jeff has done.

Dhruin February 23rd, 2007 22:51

Nice analysis, HiddenX.

Jeff has said (both in our interviews and on their forums) he will add more active skills to combat but it may not happen until G5.

In my opinion, G4 is better than G1 across a number of elements (apart from the inarguable fact that G1 introduced the new IP, of course). On the being hired by a major developer thing…do you really think it would work out? I found G4 pretty difficult, for example…BioWare would never allow that. There were quite a few areas my (current) characters weren't able to traverse…BioWare wouldn't allow that.

crpgnut February 23rd, 2007 23:57

It must get much more difficult later. I played the demo portion of G4 with a single infiltrator and no pets. I can't remember a tough fight, though you couldn't just run into the middle of a map willy-nilly. It's good to hear that the game becomes challenging at some point.


I only played til you escorted the serviles and a captain from the first Citadel. I took them past a few maps but got bored and quit the game. I was expecting a big showdown with Shaila, but she dropped easily. I was just playing on normal difficulty though.

HiddenX February 24th, 2007 02:28

The story until Shaila is easy - it's the introduction for players, which are new to the series.

Some levels are designed to be extreme hard. Most players are forced by the game to sneak through - I think it was challenging and interesting. If you are able to find a way through it is some kind of satisfaction.
A feeling that I'm missing in many modern games, because there are too easy for me.

Dhruin February 24th, 2007 05:34

@HiddenX, Oh, I totally agree. I enjoyed the difficulty (although it came as a little of a shock after so many easy modern games). My comment was that no big developer (in my opinion) would allow such a thing, so if Jeff ever worked for a big company, his work wouldn't be the same.

@crpgnut, as HiddenX said, that's very much still in the tutorial. I could just suck of course (and I admit I'm not the type that goes straight to the "hard" setting) but there were fights and areas halfway through the game that I came back to at the end and still couldn't beat!

Alrik Fassbauer February 24th, 2007 15:01

I must admit that Geneforge was never on my radar …But you get me become interested …

Arma February 24th, 2007 15:39

So far I've tried some of the demo. I finished escorting the serviles through the gates. However, unlike the other games, there is a strict sence of "been there - done that" so far. Enter a new area, clear it out, do some quests if available. And so far the only quest I couldn't finish was the one where I had to sneak after an alchemist in some village to find some herbs. And the other one of the same type in Southforge. Though I enjoy the new type of quest (and the lack of gathering ones, I'm not at all fond of them).

The new storyline is nice, however. I like that we start as the underdogs, unlike the previous games. The new effects like light aura in dark dungeons are nice among others, but did we really need that? I liked what the previous games looked like, even enjoyed them more because of it since the text desciptions were providing better athmosphere that none of the more technically advanced games could manage.

crpgnut February 25th, 2007 03:37

@Arma, I could almost see the subtitles for the Geneforge series:

Geneforge: An Awesome and Unique Adventure
G2: Deja Vu
G3: Come Again?
G4: Been There, Done That


Okay, I've gotta quit picking on this game. I'm starting to feel like Kharn with Bethesda. Truly, Geneforge has some good points. It's cheap to buy and you
get to play a lot for free before making that decision. It's why I love shareware.

Dhruin February 25th, 2007 05:05

Just curious -- and yes, I'm being a little argumentative (hopefully in a friendly way :) )…being a fan of Oblivion (IIRC), I assume you would not buy Shivering Isles (or the other ones) because absolutely no game mechanics have changed and you don't care about the story?

Arma February 25th, 2007 20:09

Good Joke! Though the previous 2 sequels were good, I think that part of the problem is 1) Vogel's dissatisfaction with RPGs in general, as he has implemented zero to minimal gameplay tweaks in his titles since Geneforge (1) - and implementing the Geneforge engine into the Avernum series did not improve that, just added to the deja vu feel, and 2) the engine starts to show its age. It's been bout 2 years I believe since G3 and for me, after all this wait (I had huge expectations for G4) I was a bit disappointed. The wait b/n G1 and G2, and subsequently after G2 and G3 was shorter, and there were more improvements in those sequels - G2 had more spells, creations, etc as the typical sequel while G3 showed the completely overhauled inventory system and to some extend showcased a different approach in general - smaller islands, forgeable items, etc. The only really new thing in G4 so far seems the new storyline and point of view.

Jaz February 25th, 2007 20:18

O_O You know, at first I read 'Crap-Meter'… glad my eyes deceived me.

Alrik Fassbauer February 25th, 2007 20:26

"Vogel" seems to be a German name, because exactly this word means in the German language the equivalent of the English "bird".

crpgnut February 26th, 2007 00:50


Originally Posted by Dhruin (Post 20573)
Just curious -- and yes, I'm being a little argumentative (hopefully in a friendly way :) )…being a fan of Oblivion (IIRC), I assume you would not buy Shivering Isles (or the other ones) because absolutely no game mechanics have changed and you don't care about the story?

Yep, I'll buy Shivering Isles first day :) As far as mechanics goes, SI will offer several more ingredients and my primary character is an alchemist. Outside of alchemy, I didn't get enough of the gameplay that Oblvion does offer. I just love the exploration aspect of Oblivion. Finding what's around the next bend is its' primary allure to me. Even with 600 hours logged in Oblivion, I've never played a thief character. I'll probably start a thief for Shivering Isles, although I may play my alchemist. My alchemist has logged about 70% of my hours in O.

Geneforge doesn't offer me a hook like that. If it did, I'd play the other games more than I did. A tip for geneforge players. If you find a container that gives a spell, don't open it until you've already bought the skill as high as you can. That way it will give you a free high level of the skill. Same with creations. I always save my game before opening a container. A level 4 daze spell is extremely useful for a LONG time. It'll stun almost everything for two rounds, even bosses.
Dumb creations will be stunned for 4 rounds.

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