Larian Studios - Swen on his obsession with Ultima VII - RPGWatch Forums
|
Your donations keep RPGWatch running!
RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Larian Studios - Swen on his obsession with Ultima VII

Default Larian Studios - Swen on his obsession with Ultima VII

December 29th, 2020, 00:11
PC Gamer interviewed Swen Vincke about his obsession with Ultima VII.


Satisfaction still eludes Vincke, though--who believes that Larian's games have yet to match his inspiration's unrestrained freedom. Even now, with Baldur's Gate III, the studio is still squeezing in features from Ultima VII--such as the stackable crates that can be climbed between different levels, like clumsy staircases.

"Maybe it's my imagination that exaggerates it now, but I remember scouring every single screen [of Ultima VII] trying to find clues, and often there were," he says. "Players should always be rewarded for their exploration: it's a lesson that we teach our designers today." Vincke sometimes sees those designers playing Ultima VII - a younger generation trying to understand the relic their boss never stops going on about. "I tease the programmers," he says. "'Well, you could do it in Ultima VII, I don't see why you can't do it with your team today.'"

Crate staircases aside, though, Vincke isn't looking to recreate the mechanics of Ultima VII - rather the platonic ideal associated with it. "Ultima VII did a whole bunch of things badly," he admits. "I only remember the things it did really well. We're shooting more for the feeling. That sense of entering a world where anything is possible, limited only by my own creativity. That strong motivation to do things because there's a storyline driving me forward, and that agency to impact all the denizens of that world."
More information.
Silver is offline

Silver

Silver's Avatar
Spaceman
RPGWatch Team

#1

Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 8,471
Mentioned: 63 Post(s)

Default 

December 29th, 2020, 00:50
Nice to know his love for Ultima 7 has got others in his company discovering it for themselves; that game should be experienced by everybody creating RPGs.
shamroxor is offline

shamroxor

shamroxor's Avatar
Watcher

#2

Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Northern Hemisphere
Posts: 93
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
+1:

Default 

December 29th, 2020, 00:58
Originally Posted by shamroxor View Post
Nice to know his love for Ultima 7 has got others in his company discovering it for themselves; that game should be experienced by everybody creating RPGs.
Yes - with one exception: the combat system.
HiddenX is online now

HiddenX

HiddenX's Avatar
The Elder Spy
RPGWatch Team
RPGWatch Donor
Original Sin 1 & 2 Donor

#3

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: NRW/Germany
Posts: 13,674
Mentioned: 90 Post(s)

Default 

December 29th, 2020, 02:04
So sad that Lord British was unceremoniously killed by that gold plaque in U7.
Don't fret; there's a new king among us. All hail Lord Belgian.
Vindicator is offline

Vindicator

Vindicator's Avatar
Primordial Dragon

#4

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 515
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)

Default 

December 29th, 2020, 02:24
Glad to see this article… gives a little more hope that “the rpg of all rpgs (in the spirit of u7)” is still to come…
--
If I'm right but there is no wife around to acknowledge it, am I still right?
TheMadGamer is offline

TheMadGamer

TheMadGamer's Avatar
SasqWatch
Original Sin Donor

#5

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Oregon
Posts: 2,853
Mentioned: 10 Post(s)

Default 

December 29th, 2020, 02:33
Originally Posted by HiddenX View Post
Yes - with one exception: the combat system.
Yeah, fights were a clusterf*ck and your party needed constant feeding but nothings perfect! Turn based combat in Ultima 7 would have been amazing!
shamroxor is offline

shamroxor

shamroxor's Avatar
Watcher

#6

Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Northern Hemisphere
Posts: 93
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)

Default 

December 29th, 2020, 04:18
Yeah, the combat system in Ultima seven left much to be desire. Still, although it's a big letdown, that is literally the only weak point in the game. It's nice to see someone pick an actual good game as their current measuring stick.
Carnifex is offline

Carnifex

SasqWatch

#7

Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Ormond Beach, FL.
Posts: 11,855
Mentioned: 38 Post(s)

Default 

December 29th, 2020, 04:44
Once again to many old timers with rose colored glasses.

--
“Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.”
Couchpotato is offline

Couchpotato

Couchpotato's Avatar
Laziest Man Alive

#8

Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Banana Republic of America
Posts: 25,629
Mentioned: 108 Post(s)

Default 

December 29th, 2020, 10:26
It's been well known for years that Swen has a soft spot for Ultima VII. Even during the Divine Divinity days you could see the influence on that game in its game world object interactivity and simulationism despite having a combat system more akin to Diablo II. Certainly this tradition continued more overtly in Original Sin as well.

I'm glad that he's gently teasing his programmers about what was possible in Ultima VII. Pity that doesn't apparently extend to night/day cycle and NPC schedules though. Even BG3 doesn't have this yet which is a bit odd.
--
Diddledy high,
Diddledy low,
Come brave blood sheep,
You've a goodly way to go.
- Brilhasti Ap Tarj
Last edited by Pessimeister; December 29th, 2020 at 12:16.
Pessimeister is offline

Pessimeister

Pessimeister's Avatar
Living Backwards
Original Sin 2 Donor

#9

Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 1,956
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)

Default 

December 29th, 2020, 11:19
"Ultima VII did a whole bunch of things badly,"
Area of effects?
Redglyph is offline

Redglyph

Redglyph's Avatar
Keeper of the Watch

#10

Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Good old Europe
Posts: 900
Mentioned: 19 Post(s)

Default 

December 29th, 2020, 13:28
Originally Posted by Pessimeister View Post
Pity that doesn't apparently extend to night/day cycle and NPC schedules though. Even BG3 doesn't have this yet which is a bit odd.
As much as I'd love those, I understand how much of a headache it would be tying it to all the other variables in their games. It may have to wait for advances in machine learning to take the brunt of calculating that amount of data - something which I find more exciting for the future of immersive games than advances in graphics.
shamroxor is offline

shamroxor

shamroxor's Avatar
Watcher

#11

Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Northern Hemisphere
Posts: 93
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)

Default 

December 29th, 2020, 13:54
Originally Posted by shamroxor View Post
As much as I'd love those, I understand how much of a headache it would be tying it to all the other variables in their games. It may have to wait for advances in machine learning to take the brunt of calculating that amount of data - something which I find more exciting for the future of immersive games than advances in graphics.
It's not too complex indeed (I assume it was irony? ), and many already implement this, Baldur's Gate already had both, Skyrim too, and Pathfinder: Kingmaker (NPCs remain static though). Well, they do need to find at least a place NPCs can rest, so there's a bit of work.

Not sure why Larian's recent games avoided it. Perhaps they feel it doesn't add something to the gameplay. When it's night, you have to wait for the day, annoying. A fun game would avoid that.

Perhaps they're afraid people would complain or fail to complete quests because such or such NPC cannot be found (because it's night)?

Or maybe it's just the additional work of managing the state, extra path and schedule (I don't think so), and stopping the never-ending loop dialogs at night. Yes, that last bit is probably the most difficult for them

Most probably a combination of all that, versus a questionable advantage.

Instead, they decided in BG3 that the night happened during a long rest.
Redglyph is offline

Redglyph

Redglyph's Avatar
Keeper of the Watch

#12

Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Good old Europe
Posts: 900
Mentioned: 19 Post(s)

Default 

December 29th, 2020, 13:59
Originally Posted by shamroxor View Post
As much as I'd love those, I understand how much of a headache it would be tying it to all the other variables in their games. It may have to wait for advances in machine learning to take the brunt of calculating that amount of data - something which I find more exciting for the future of immersive games than advances in graphics.
How would you apply machine learning to that?

And yes BG also had it. And while it takes more development time imho you get enough back.
--
We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.
- George Bernard Shaw


Currently playing: -
Morrandir is offline

Morrandir

Morrandir's Avatar
SasqWatch
RPGWatch Donor
Original Sin 2 Donor

#13

Join Date: May 2013
Location: Germany
Posts: 3,875
Mentioned: 24 Post(s)

Default 

December 29th, 2020, 14:44
Yeah, day-night cycle and NPC schedules would definitely be nice. I think it adds a lot to the world as far as atmosphere and immersion goes.

Look at Gothic 2 where NPCs went to the bar in the evening, and to bed at night.
--
Exitus acta probat.
wiretripped is offline

wiretripped

wiretripped's Avatar
Machiavellian
Original Sin 1 & 2 Donor

#14

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Leuven, BE
Posts: 2,180
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)

Default 

December 29th, 2020, 14:55
Originally Posted by Redglyph View Post
When it's night, you have to wait for the day, annoying. A fun game would avoid that.
Well that's purely subjective of course. Lots of fun things can occur at night if enough events, interesting encounters or quest elements are implemented for it. In Baldur's Gate you could especially have a great time with stealth at night and the ambience during these moments was often fantastic. You could also get up to some naughty tasks with the Avatar at night in Ultima VII.

I'd make the argument that if a game wants to be considered the successor to a long celebrated series, then it should generally endeavour to cover most of the well known elements the games are celebrated for and even innovate where possible.

It's therefore no surprise why Ultima VII continues to be held up in such high regard. Not all of its aspects of virtual world simulationism have been surpassed or superceded.
--
Diddledy high,
Diddledy low,
Come brave blood sheep,
You've a goodly way to go.
- Brilhasti Ap Tarj
Pessimeister is offline

Pessimeister

Pessimeister's Avatar
Living Backwards
Original Sin 2 Donor

#15

Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 1,956
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)

Default 

December 29th, 2020, 15:25
Originally Posted by Pessimeister View Post
I'd make the argument that if a game wants to be considered the successor to a long celebrated series, then it should generally endeavour to cover most of the well known elements the games are celebrated for and even innovate where possible.
Exactly.
Same with the locked companion choice (if that's still in).
--
We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.
- George Bernard Shaw


Currently playing: -
Morrandir is offline

Morrandir

Morrandir's Avatar
SasqWatch
RPGWatch Donor
Original Sin 2 Donor

#16

Join Date: May 2013
Location: Germany
Posts: 3,875
Mentioned: 24 Post(s)

Default 

December 29th, 2020, 16:29
Originally Posted by Pessimeister View Post
Well that's purely subjective of course. Lots of fun things can occur at night if enough events, interesting encounters or quest elements are implemented for it.
Personally I entirely agree with you, and I'd also like to see NPCs following a schedule. I found it interesting in Skyrim, when someone was not available and if I couldn't or wouldn't wake him/her up, then I had to see if I could advance in another quest. And maybe use the night as cover, as you said.

My comment was an attempt at being objective and understanding what Larian's motive could possibly be. I'm pretty sure it's not only a technical limitation or the little extra work it would require. Day and night lighting is already there, and adding a NPC sleeping bags would be enough in most cases. In Skyrim some NPCs would actually walk home, which means extra buildings had to be made, or at least made habitable. But some simply had a bed in the same or another room.

BG3 doesn't even have any notion of time. So it's always daytime, and when the user starts a long rest, the party is magically teleported to the fixed camp location, against all logic, and night falls immediately. When they wake up, it's day again. The game could use time as an interesting strategic decision on when to sleep, if the party could sleep where it should - at their current location. They would need to adapt to the enemy races living in the proximity, for example near goblins they would rather sleep during the day to avoid bad surprises, unless they need to sneak into their lair for a quest.

One can always dream

EDIT: saying all that, I think we would appreciate it, but I doubt it's for the wider audience they're used to have. Anything that hinders progression or slows it down has a tendancy to be removed. Combats already take a lot of time.
Redglyph is offline

Redglyph

Redglyph's Avatar
Keeper of the Watch

#17

Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Good old Europe
Posts: 900
Mentioned: 19 Post(s)

Default 

December 29th, 2020, 16:34
Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
Once again to many old timers with rose colored glasses.

haha - yeah, since U7 arrived when we were young married couple and I was not gaming much, it wasn't until a decade later that I played it, and so I had to deal with the not-great things and how it had aged rather than the wonders of playing it when new. Always a tough challenge - seeing what was great upon release when you are struggling with how poorly some main systems have aged.
--
-- Mike
txa1265 is offline

txa1265

txa1265's Avatar
SasqWatch
Moderator

#18

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Corning, NY USA
Posts: 14,689
Mentioned: 23 Post(s)

Default 

December 29th, 2020, 16:57
Originally Posted by Morrandir View Post
How would you apply machine learning to that?
I'm looking forward to what tricks developers will use when advances in graphics aren't enough to grab the headlines.
If they can get the program to take care of how many loaves of bread are made in the local bakery, how many npcs desire loaves that morning, if any npcs are likely to riot if denied loaves, how many guards are around to deal with the riot etc then track the inventories of the dead bodies after the riot, the families of the dead now hungry cos no loaves
The possibilities are endless if all that reactivity can be offloaded to a 'virtual developer' working within a bunch of rules set up by the human developers.
It's crazy developments like that I'm looking forward to!
shamroxor is offline

shamroxor

shamroxor's Avatar
Watcher

#19

Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Northern Hemisphere
Posts: 93
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)

Default 

December 29th, 2020, 17:16
Great game but hate the combat and the dungeons.
Saxon1974 is offline

Saxon1974

Saxon1974's Avatar
Keeper of the Watch

#20

Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 827
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Larian Studios - Swen on his obsession with Ultima VII
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT +2. The time now is 11:45.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
vBulletin Security provided by DragonByte Security (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2021 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2021 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Copyright by RPGWatch