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Default Jeff Vogel - Why all Our Games Look Like Crap

August 27th, 2019, 08:32
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
Oh there are definitely some games out there with shit music. However, I think the music/sound being so bad that it's better to turn it off completely is pretty rare.

One thing I experience quite often though is the default volume for music being too loud for my liking. I usually end up setting the music slider at around 50% of the soundFX/speech volumes. Background music should be, you know in the background.
Absolutely. Especially when you are recording videos it's so annoying to have standard settings which are all 100%.

Worst case: You have to adjust the windows settings (and OBS settings) to make it a comfortable listening experience.
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August 27th, 2019, 08:37
I often turn in-game music off, and in stead play my own music. For fantasy themed games I often end up with Jethro Tull. For post-apocalyptic settings it's usually some heavy metal.

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PS. My all time favourite game music is the intro to Monkey Island 3. DS.
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August 27th, 2019, 08:45
I have to agree that if there's one thing his games really lack, it's music of any kind. He can cope with main menu music, but even that stops playing after it's run its 30 second course.

Like most things, you get used to playing his games without music but I think he's missing out on music's ability to help enhance your game's environment, which would be of particular use when you're not going all-in on graphics.

The originality of the Avernum concept would have been a wonderful opportunity to invent almost a completely new style of music, one that could only utilise the products of the cave system and one that would use things like echo to fantastic effect.

Originally Posted by Pladio View Post
I tried one of the games a long time ago, and in theory I should like it, but it just didn't grab me.
Which one did you try?
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August 27th, 2019, 11:51
I'm surprised that some folks like to mute or mask the sound in games. During my gamedev studies, that's a topic I've seen come up a few times - the importance of not overlooking sound design as a key component, and tacking it on at the last minute. A concept they often discuss is "juice", which means the way all the different elements work together to give a satisfying feel - the animation, the camera control, the input response, the VFX, and the sound. Essentially, in any game you are asking a player to perform fairly repetitive tasks for a long time, so if it doesn't "feel" good doing them, it's unlikely to satisfy them and hold their interest. So, I'd have thought that removing the sound is quite likely to diminish that. Perhaps less so in a very abstracted style of game like this.

Each to their own, of course, and I'm sure the deaf still enjoy their games.
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Last edited by Ripper; August 27th, 2019 at 13:20.
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August 27th, 2019, 12:17
His games do have a lot of sound design, including effects, background noises and the like, one could even argue his town sounds and birdsong effects are a kind of music, but it's just thematic music specifically that he seems to avoid. Just out of curiosity, which games of his have you played?
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August 27th, 2019, 13:09
Geneforge is the one I persevered with the longest, years ago, because the concept interested me. I've tried at least most of the demos over the years, and not been all that impressed. He does tend to have some basic environmental sound - dripping water in caves, and so on.

But I'm not talking about his games, and I wasn't responding to your post - I'm on the tangent about sound design and that some people like to disable game sound in general.
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August 27th, 2019, 13:58
Ah right, funnily enough, Geneforge was the only game I've played of his where I hated the sound effects. Or, one specific sound effect drove me nuts, this oriental sounding lady who would screech out "HaPaBaLaaaUnCahHeTah" or some such string of syllables with overbearing frequency and at a pitch entirely distinct from all the other sounds. It even made me loathe having to go into the town areas.

But if I turned off the effects then I'd lose all the effects I didn't mind. I don't think any games are advanced enough to the point where you can have every single sound variant be an on/off option.

-------------------------------------------

On a more on-topic point regarding Kickstarter and money, my view is that Vogel has never been given the chance to 'go large'. And this is often the case with people who start out as indy developers, particularly auteur developers.

Let's take the two big Kickstarters: Torment and Pillars. In both cases these Kickstarters garnered millions of dollars. Millions. Pillars ended up with $4m in pledges alone and Torment amassed $4m as well.

And have the developers of these games ever been 'indy' developers? Black Isle Studios (who trained J. Sawyer and also had Feargus as it's boss even back then) was a company that was born within a large professional company, Interplay Entertainment. The budget and marketing was there from the outset of their first cRPG.

The game these two were then tasked with making, Pillars, was to be a spiritual sequel primarily to an old but still popular Bioware game. The founders of Bioware made their first game with $100k of their own money, which would be $170,000 in today's money, more money than Vogel has ever had to make a video game. They were happy to sign on to Interplay Entertainment as well, because they were businessmen first and game developers second. That is why they then sold out to EA Games just over 10 years later.

Now, in terms of gameplay, imagine if Pillars of Eternity had been made for $100k. Reduce the graphics, remove the music, reduce the staffing all-round, would it have been half as interesting as a Vogel game? Pillar's user score on Metacritic is 8.3 even with all the bells and whistles, Avernum: Escape from the Pit sits at 8.4 from user score on a literal fraction of the budget.

And Pillars was generally accepted when it was released. Torment on the other hand bombed like a poorly tasted joke at a charity event. It has a 7.0 user score on Metacritic. Again, Torment was made by people who have never experienced true independent development. Colin McComb worked for bigger companies, just doing his bit. He also has very little video game experience as compared to many others who work in the industry, and yet he was given the title of Creative Lead for Torment.

The people who made Torment, InXile studios, are, again, all people who have never been what one would call indy developers. Brian Fargo was the son of incredibly wealthy bankers who, as his first entry into the world of video games, started a development house, the above mentioned Interplay.

And how is all of this relevant to Vogel? Because people just put money on top of money. It's almost like people watching celebrities because they are celebrities, which makes the celebrities even more of a celebrity. And this tends to happen when you work for someone else and that someone else needs to use you and your name to sell a product.

Vogel isn't a celebrity, he's an indy developer who never sold out and never uses his talents for someone else's work or benefit. He's not one of the gang who get's work and hype because 50 of his mates upvote his twitter and make nice threads about him and his games. He is not a part of the bung network.

But he does make quality games.

So why don't we 'find out' if Vogel would make a 'AA' game if he had $4m?

It's all very well saying his work is lacking this that and the other, but by doing so you automatically lock him in the ever-repeating cycle of "his games are too low budget for me, hence I shan't contribute to his success".

Instead of us giving 8m to two sets of old has-beens to make two games which scored lower than a Vogel game on Metacritic, how about we, just for once, just one single time, try out Vogel for $8m and see what happens?

Can't be worse than anyone else… right?
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August 27th, 2019, 15:01
Originally Posted by lackblogger View Post
Instead of us giving £8m to two sets of old has-beens to make two games which scored lower than a Vogel game on Metacritic, how about we, just for once, just one single time, try out Vogel for $8m and see what happens?
My guess is that Vogel will shy away and would like to stay in his comfort zone where he has control and able to plan development and progress, and I would agree with him in this case. Having this huge sum of money comes with expectations and new challenges that can possibly produce negative effects.
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August 27th, 2019, 15:07
Originally Posted by SpoonFULL View Post
My guess is that Vogel will shy away and would like to stay in his comfort zone where he has control and able to plan development and progress, and I would agree with him in this case. Having this huge sum of money comes with expectations and new challenges that can possibly produce negative effects.
Oh, I agree with you entirely. I've no doubt he suffers from Vertigo, like a lot of people.

However, he made a Kickstarter. Kickstarters can go anywhere. In the above paragraph-fest I noted how Pillars made $4m, but they only asked for $1m'ish.

Vogel could have ended up with millions. He was prepared to go larger and out of his conform zone by even saying he would add music for the right amount of money.

But his Kickstarter didn't go wild. And that's my point.

Why didn't we all go wild for Jeff? Why didn't all the industry veterans take the opportunity to come out the woodwork and big the guy up. Why didn't we make this Vogel's moment.

You know what I mean.
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August 27th, 2019, 15:30
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
I tend to think he's just flat-out full of shit.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. Really all that needs to be said.

Every time Vogel opens his mouth, all I can think is You made one game, like, 25 years ago. I mean, congratulations on milking that teat this long -that is honestly amazing- but how does it qualify you in any way to have an opinion about games, you pompous ass?
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August 27th, 2019, 16:14
I guess I just prefer my own music rather than what might be included in a game. There have been exceptions, I did listen quite a bit to Everquest back in the day, Baldur's gate, and Vampire: Masquerade also come to mind. All things considered though, I like what I like, and most music is just a bit…..soft and pretentious for me to easily tolerate.
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August 27th, 2019, 16:26
Originally Posted by Carnifex View Post
I guess I just prefer my own music rather than what might be included in a game. There have been exceptions, I did listen quite a bit to Everquest back in the day, Baldur's gate, and Vampire: Masquerade also come to mind. All things considered though, I like what I like, and most music is just a bit..soft and pretentious for me to easily tolerate.
Out of curiosity, do you keep the sound effects on and just replace the music with your own? Or do you mute all the game sound and just listen to your own music while playing?
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August 27th, 2019, 18:09
I’m another that turns down the music. I crank up the ambient sounds though. When I’m strolling through a forest. I want to hear forest sounds, not an orchestra.

As for Vogel, I could have sworn he wrote something like this already a while back but maybe I’m mistaken. I tried Avernum? I Believe. Some years ago, I quit after a few hours as it didn’t really hold my attention. I don’t really have a problem with the graphics though, I just wasn’t having much fun and I always have a backlog of games waiting.
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August 27th, 2019, 18:52
Originally Posted by Ripper View Post
Out of curiosity, do you keep the sound effects on and just replace the music with your own? Or do you mute all the game sound and just listen to your own music while playing?
You didn't ask me, but I'll answer anyhow: I turn off only the music, and I take care not to let the music I play drown the sound effects.

pibbur who realize that what he does somtimes require very careful and difficult adjustments, with sometimes incosistent (unpredictable) results.
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August 27th, 2019, 19:26
I once suggested that Jeff implement a playlist system, similar to the mod for Skyrim. It lets you replace all the situational music tracks with music of your own choosing - so you can set a list for exploring, one for combat, one for dungeons, etc. He could do the same sort of thing with his games, except not ship any default music with the games - just let the user fill the various playlist folders with their own music, played in the appropriate locations.
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August 27th, 2019, 19:46
If your regularly turning sound off in media, it speaks more to its low quality and a missed opportunity by the directors/designers of that media. I personally find it frustrating to play a game where a developer obviously just doesn't care.

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August 27th, 2019, 19:48
I think I've figured out where some of that Kickstarter money from the Queen's Wish campaign went. Vogel gave lackblogger a cut to do PR for him.
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August 27th, 2019, 20:08
As oppose to you taking a cut to lay into a game from a developer you already loathe and by definition you really should have stopped bothering to repeat yourself over decades ago.

Do you really want me to go and dig up the umpteen times you've got riled every time someone criticises a game/series you're particularly fond of?

You about this game from your… ahem… codex account:

For me, this game is a perfect example of something I'll never play unless I was extremely desperate. Luckily, my gaming backlog is large enough to ensure that will never happen.
But I'm sure that wont stop you posting in every thread about it…

And how do you react when other people do this? Ooop, someone said something about Baldur's Gate you disagreed with:

Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
I don't think people are disagreeing with you because BG is some kind of sacred cow. I'd say it's simply a case of us having different views
Different viewpoints

Further, I have no love for the graphics. The graphics do put me off. I've said countless times that I don't like the graphics.

I just have no idea why people hate his games when they are perfectly fine games. I also have no idea why these people need to take every opportunity to shove in their dagger at the first sign of an opportunity.

Yes, we know the graphics are shit, the question is "who cares, it's a vogel game" and "well, don't buy it then" and "go find a different topic to stalk for bait LOLs".

If you want to make an issue about the 101 things he could have done with 100k, then feel free to discuss those topics that I have attempted to discuss with you. If you do not wish to reply to those topics, but instead just want to lay out one-line 'bait-jokes', then what does that say about the points you made? Not a lot.
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August 27th, 2019, 20:16
Originally Posted by screeg View Post
Thank you, thank you, thank you. Really all that needs to be said.

Every time Vogel opens his mouth, all I can think is You made one game, like, 25 years ago. I mean, congratulations on milking that teat this long -that is honestly amazing- but how does it qualify you in any way to have an opinion about games, you pompous ass?
And that makes him different to… who exactly?
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August 27th, 2019, 20:37
Originally Posted by sakichop View Post
Im another that turns down the music. I crank up the ambient sounds though. When Im strolling through a forest. I want to hear forest sounds, not an orchestra.

As for Vogel, I could have sworn he wrote something like this already a while back but maybe Im mistaken. I tried Avernum? I Believe. Some years ago, I quit after a few hours as it didnt really hold my attention. I dont really have a problem with the graphics though, I just wasnt having much fun and I always have a backlog of games waiting.
Yes he did. It was slightly more about the development but had similar themes iirc

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