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Default Jeff Vogel - On Old Games & Remasters

October 14th, 2017, 12:09
@Gamasutra Jeff Vogel decided to tell the story of Exile 3/Avernum 3/Avernum 3 Ruined World.

Old Games, Remasters, and the Joy of Owning Your Work.

by Jeff Vogel on 10/13/17 10:24:00 am Expert Blogs Featured Blogs

It's weird to see over four years of my life just sitting there in a lump.

I've been making my little indie games for a living for 23 years. Being a greybeard in such a weird and young industry comes with special privileges.

For example, while some of my peers are getting around to remastering their old games, I am remastering our most popular game, Avernum 3: Ruined World, for the SECOND time. It is only when you rewrite the same material twice that you really test your discipline and integrity.

Writing indie games has become miserably competitive lately. Most new games, even promising ones with a lot of work in them, are sinking without a trace. Yet, thanks to the grinding tedium of rewriting the same game again and again, I have a fighting chance of my business surviving enough to write cool new stuff.

So I'll tell the story or Exile 3: Ruined World/Avernum 3/Avernum 3: Ruined World. (Also on Steam.) There are things to learn here for any young person who thinks, "I wanna' make cool things (not just video games), and make a living doing it."

[…]
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October 14th, 2017, 13:16
Interesting.

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October 14th, 2017, 17:21
Jeff is the master of his of Dominium. Making the same games over and over again. Having fun - avoiding the headache of creating an entirely new IP -, also making money and his customers are happy that he is doing it over and over again.
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October 14th, 2017, 17:39
I don't completely agree that he's makening the same game again and again. The graphics and the game mechanics are mostly unchanged from game to game, but the stores, and the setting (between his three main series) are new, and that's what counts for me.

There are the remakes of course. They do actually introduce some new content, but admittedly not much. I certainly wish he made new games in stead, but … it's an opportunity for enhanced replay if you have the previous generation.

pibbur who btw likes the style of his graphics and therefore doesn't mind that they look dated.
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October 14th, 2017, 18:42
I have ten times the fun playing and replaying the Spiderweb games than I do ninety nine percent of the so-called big name games. Keep updating the old games, crank out a new one occasionally, and I'll continue to buy and gift both. When I buy these games, I know for a solid fact that I'm getting thirty plus hours (at a minimum) of sheer entertainment.
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October 14th, 2017, 19:16
I find his games average at best, with mediocre production values, but I'm glad other people enjoy them even if I can't.
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October 14th, 2017, 19:40
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
I find his games average at best, with mediocre production values, but I'm glad other people enjoy them even if I can't.
This is a really good statement. I couldn't get past the graphics but I have tried.
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October 14th, 2017, 21:02
I'm a big fan of Jeff's games. I think they become more enthralling the more you play. Avadon 2 was my first one and it started slow but then I found myself playing for hours. His games have a strange addictive quality that fans of pen and paper or old-school RPGs will find out after a few hours with the game.
@JDR13, I think you might like them if you give them more time. Not sure though. Maybe try something like Geneforge or Avernum, which are some of his best work. Avernum is an open-world with a really interesting setting and unique lore (Jeff's games mostly all have unique lore), and Geneforge is the same except with a mysterious setting and you create and control monsters as your party. They're really fun RPGs IMO.
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October 14th, 2017, 21:31
I've tried most of his games. I wouldn't have commented otherwise.
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October 14th, 2017, 21:32
Tried them for how long? Not that I really care or expect much of an answer. But the point was that his games got better for me after several hours.
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October 14th, 2017, 21:39
For at least several hours each.

Not that it matters because I'm sure you're already preparing your next rationalization about why my opinion must be incorrect.
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October 14th, 2017, 22:18
I dunno if your opinion is correct or incorrect.
All I know is that I don't want to see any more of his copy/paste products. Ever.
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October 14th, 2017, 23:02
Originally Posted by Lucky Day View Post
This is a really good statement. I couldn't get past the graphics but I have tried.
Fair enough.

His games are not for everyone. I fully understand people being put off by the rather simple graphics and the similarity between games. And for the record, I don't see the point in forcing yourself to continue playing a game you don't enjoy, to see if you eventually like it.

pibbur who considers the games to be very good. But not essential.
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October 14th, 2017, 23:23
Can't get into his games, but I love his blog posts.
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October 15th, 2017, 01:52
I cannot stand the repetitive nature of his stories, assets, overall structure and sound design. Yuck! It's been the same for so many years now, everytime I read his name or his company's I just roll my eyes in boredom.
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October 15th, 2017, 02:06
Originally Posted by pibbur who View Post
And for the record, I don't see the point in forcing yourself to continue playing a game you don't enjoy, to see if you eventually like it.
And for the record I agree.
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October 15th, 2017, 02:45
I *really* enjoyed Geneforge 1 when it was released. I also thought Avernum 4,5,6 were pretty good when I played them. I'm now playing Avadon 1, and while I think the story is interesting and I actually like the class/skill system, overall the game makes me feel like I've "been there, done that", mostly due to the level design, sounds and graphics. I think I'm officially burned out on Spiderweb games.

Also, you have to remember that Vogel decreased the party size from 6 to 4, and reduced the number of skills drastically, when "remastering" the Exile series. This is not a good thing, IMO. So take his "remastering" advice with a grain of salt.
Last edited by posfan12; October 17th, 2017 at 02:16.
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October 16th, 2017, 02:04
Vogel's games are right on the borderline for me. I prefer them to a lot of crap floating around the genre, but, at the same time, I never get the feeling I'm playing a proper game, I always feel like I'm playing a dollar-shop clone of something better. During his games I swing vigorously between really enjoying them and practically hating them, neither curve ever finding dominance. The games have some excellent creature comforts that I wish all games had while at the same time they suffer from so much general bloat and convolution that most of that goodwill gets drowned out pretty quickly.

Every time I finish one I think I'll never bother with those again, but then again I've played 5 now, which is probably more than any other single developer has managed from me. Will the 5th be the last one? Currently, yes, but who knows.
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October 17th, 2017, 02:11
Most of what this man says should be cherished as free lessons in video game design.
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October 17th, 2017, 21:04
There's a great quote on the best Avernum 2 walkthrough/guide site by a guy who's pretty much mapped everything out and quite clearly got a lot of enjoyment out of the game which quite accurately illustrates my point on how his games can make you have mixed emotions.

Towards the end of the game [no spoilers, don't worry] there's this very small map with a very convoluted puzzle in it. Even this guy feels the need to express an emotion in what is usually the very dry and purely informative process of providing a walkthrough:

Third Guardpost:Ooooh, fun. [he's being very sarcastic here, the previous small puzzle map was just "Ooh, fun."] On your return trip you can bypass this mess on the western side.
Which is what that puzzle is, just a random mess to slow progression to a crawl at a point in the game where you're fairly impatient to get on with it, being both outrageously OP and having finished all the plot/quests/game and just looking for the end-screen.

I found this because, obviously, after trial and erroring this 'puzzle' for half an hour I just couldn't be bothered with it, and, hey presto, even the walkthrough is expressing exactly what I was feeling.
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