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April 29th, 2009, 01:17
Another potentially controversial post from Jeff Vogel, titled Why Nobody Should Ever Change Anything, Ever:
One of the biggest criticisms leveled at me over the years is that I only write the same game over and over again. This fills me with bitter, ironic laughter, because of one thing. Whenever I change anything, I get lots of angry E-mail asking me to change it back.
I've learned a lot running this business. Many lessons, most of them learned painfully. And I have gained no more aggravating bit of knowledge than this one:
There is no change you can make to your games, no matter how clearly obvious or beneficial, that will not anger some of your fans.
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April 29th, 2009, 01:17
Interesting post. I wonder if he has numbers to prove that increased sales were due to game changes rather than just a general increase in demand caused by a growing market?
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April 29th, 2009, 04:45
Interesting post. I wonder if he has numbers to prove that increased sales were due to game changes rather than just a general increase in demand caused by a growing market?
I don't think such numbers could exist, unless each purchaser was asked what made them buy. And even then, how accurate would that be? I don't find sales trends to be convincing support for his position. HOWEVER, the argument JV doesn't have to make is that this isn't 1989, and yet he's making a living writing his games EXACTLY the way he likes. How many people can say that nowadays? If he were screwing things up left and right with this history of changes, it would be hard to imagine his business continuing to flourish. On the other hand, you can flourish while pumping out crap that sucks too. Entertainment is not a meritocracy.
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April 29th, 2009, 14:10
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
Interesting post. I wonder if he has numbers to prove that increased sales were due to game changes rather than just a general increase in demand caused by a growing market?
Given he makes major engine changes only every 2nd or 3rd release I'd imagine the sales increases were more pronounced only on the first games following each upgrade. Could still be coincidence that the upgrades coincided with a bit of market growth admittedly, but I'd say he's got access to some pretty credible info.
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April 29th, 2009, 18:46
all i can tell is that i like his games for that reason, they dont change much, gameplay wise thats is. graphics can ofcourse be made a bit better.
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April 29th, 2009, 23:39
Or…some may complain but more will like the changes. Seems like an easy way to defend not advancing his games.
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May 1st, 2009, 18:40
I always felt that two or three releases of the same type of game with minor improvements is great.

Let me put it this way, Pen and Paper RPG don't change the rules every year or so. They add to them, improve them, but they don't overhaul the rules. That would be insane and stupid. You finally get used to a setting, rules, monsters etc… and then to change all that immediatly would be unwise. However, after a certain amount of time a nice overhaul of the rules, monsters and setting is a nice change.

Why is doing this so wrong with CRPGs? First make an engine and game with the first release. Improve upon it, add more detail to the setting/plot for the second. For the third wrap it all up with a great ending. Saves money, is still entertaining and if the first game was successful then your not taking any big risks of losing your core audience with major overhauls. You know where the mistakes are and how you can improve your game. So the second release SHOULD have a lot more polish on it and you can concentrate on actually making the game better instead of just making it work.

They do this with NWN and their expansion packs. Geneforge, Avernum (which is Exile just upgreaded for the 21st century) Hell even Halo did this and it worked out well for them. Gothic as well, however Gothic 3 really was where they messed up big time. The first Gothic was great. It introduced us to the world and was exciting.Gothic 2 was improved upon and NOTR is the ultimate finish. Gothic 3, new engine huge world and it turned out like crap. It took years for modders to fix it up. If they had done a major overhaul for Gothic 2, it would of taken a lot longer and it could of been just as bad as the 3rd one.

Here is another example not from the RPG genre. Compare Far Cry and Far Cry 2. Far Cry was fun and was well recieved by a lot of people. Far Cry 2 was a major change and it didn't go overwell with a lot of people. I don't know any actual numbers, but everyone at work and everywhere I read didn't have nice things to say about all of the changes.

If they had kept the core game the same and changed the settings to Africa, added in some new weapons and features then I think it would of been better recieved and finished making it a hell of a lot faster.

The point is when you change everything your taking a huge chance that isn't needed to be made until at least the third game. Gothic basically followed my example and it worked out great for them until the new game. Far Cry didn't and screwed the pooch on the 2nd game.
Despite all my rage.
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May 4th, 2009, 11:13
Another viewpoint, i would have loved to see Geff keep the theme continuing while at the same time diversify into other scenarios (yes a lot of work - hire some help!) such as a post apocalyptic world which would then have lead to a situation where comparisons from sales output could be evaluated.

I played all the demo's but don't buy any Avernum's because of "no change"

I most definitely would have bought a post apocalyptic, scavenger type game, maybe with magical elements etc' and i think the newer younger generation and casual players would also connect with such theme/scenario changes.

Jeff has explained in previous articles how he cannot change because the work would be overwhelming etc, this is however a change of stance…eg:-->

1. Previous - "I would love to change but i cant" - (insinuated)
2. Current - "I will not change!" - (followed by ironic laughter)
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