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And my heart too.

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  1. And my heart too.

    Queen's Wish - Romance

    At the extreme, there's also the (not so popular) "Sylak's Puzzle Box" mode of storytelling, where the author drops in massive numbers of clues but deliberately avoids having a single narrative to find in the first place. See: the 2017 season of Twin Peaks. (In that case, it pretty clearly wasn't an exposure or marketing gimmick as you suggest, but rather an authorial statement about mystery. As one of the Log Lady intros to the first series put it: "So now the sadness comes - the revelation. There is a depression after an answer is given. It was almost fun not knowing. Yes, now we know. At least we know what we sought in the beginning. But there is still the question: why? And this question will go on and on until the final answer comes. Then the knowing is so full, there is no room for questions."
  2. And my heart too.

    Queen's Wish - Romance

    What do you mean the joke ending? The ending isn't a joke; there's bits of humor, maybe, but it's quite serious, IMO, a real capstone for the themes brought out in the course of the game. Which speak to the human condition, particularly in the modern era, as much as anything. I know you said "to me" at the beginning; I still think your assessment is unfair. Yes, maybe this is the big difference between us. Vice versa on those, though Medusa's a lot more interesting.
  3. And my heart too.

    Queen's Wish - Romance

    I think you hit on a good distinction: I may be happier with implication than you are. If anything, I think I prefer things not going too far in the direction of being completely spelled out. Piecing together the running threads in the history of the Meldrews through deduction and inference and incomplete entries in the reference book, which mostly wasn't mechanically necessary and never provided a complete picture, was maybe my favourite part of Curses. I certainly don't claim it has better elements than the rest of that list (much of which I've played and loved), but I give it credit for a certain freshness, a lack of technical artifice -- "mechanical" actually would be the last word I'd use to describe its beauty. Sometimes that's more important to me, and that's really why I still play so many old, old games.
  4. And my heart too.

    Queen's Wish - Romance

    This is a mistake, but do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law. Also, CURSES. And a whole of bunch of other IF, that's just the lynchpin for me. But I suppose then we're treading the line between video games and writing, anyway...
  5. And my heart too.

    Queen's Wish - Romance

    Oh. 3 in Three. 3 in Three is totally, completely, sublime art.
  6. And my heart too.

    G2: Creation Questions

    The "just walk away from the valley" ending is not the non-aligned ending, just to be clear. That's the "I give up" ending. 😛 The non-aligned ending is what you get when you destroy the Takers and Barzites (and optionally the Awakened and Loyalists, that's up to you, IIRC) without allying with any sect. (Well, without remaining allied with any sect, if we're being specific.) And it's great. Not depressing at all, one of the most triumphant and positive endings in the series.
  7. And my heart too.

    G2: Creation Questions

    Um, alhoon, as you can see, that entire post was only about G2. Again, I don't know what you are talking about.
  8. And my heart too.

    G2: Creation Questions

    The non-aligned ending in G2 is by far the most satisfying ending in any Geneforge game. IMO.
  9. And my heart too.

    G2: Creation Questions

    I have no idea what you are trying to say here, since you quoted a comment about G2.
  10. And my heart too.

    G2: Creation Questions

    Ice is a really favorable attack type in G2 due to inherent accuracy and stunning bonuses, while fire attacks just have bad stats period. Magic Shaping's still better in G2, but Fire's functional.
  11. And my heart too.

    Queen's Wish - Romance

    I know you acknowledged art in general above, but I do think the difference is not that great. There's a lot of really bad writing out there. Obviously, video games as a medium aren't well suited to do some things that novels, for example, can do. But they can absolutely speak to the human conditions the same way fairy tales and folktales can, and that's sort of the same category as some of the better fantasy & SF lit. To take one example, if you break down and analyze the story in Final Fantasy IV, it's remarkable how closely it tracks with both Lord of the Rings and Star Wars. There's just enough subtlety that no one really notices it, but once you look, the parallels are remarkable. Are most CRPGs closer to Eragon than Lord of the Rings? Absolutely! But so are most fantasy novels.
  12. And my heart too.

    G2: Creation Questions

    G1 is the only game in which it's favorable to make new creations throughout the game, and even then, it's not always the best option. In all other games, you want to make good creations as early as possible and keep them alive forever. The definition of "good creations" differs from game to game. Fire is doable in G2, thanks mainly to Cryoas and Cryodrayks. When you do G3, if you play a Shaper, you'll want to go Magic for sure.
  13. And my heart too.

    Queen's Wish - Romance

    In fairness, most romances in novels are also pretty bad. This is especially true in the fantasy and speculative genres that most frequently find their way to RPGs.
  14. And my heart too.

    Queen's Wish - Romance

    Leadership? Geneforge did this. Meh
  15. And my heart too.

    Queen's Wish - Romance

    Comeliness? ...
  16. Just to piggyback, re difficulty settings, they have a greater impact as enemies rise in level. The goblins at the start of A4 are extremely low level, and Icy Rain is indeed super strong at the beginning of A4. Things won't stay that easy. By the Eastern Gallery you'll be unhappy, trust me.
  17. And my heart too.

    Homeland: The Stone of Night...anyone?

    Based on some rudimentary internet sleuthing, I'm not sure I think that siennilox is actually related to the author of Homeland.
  18. And my heart too.

    Geneforge remakes.

    And frequently the flaking is caused by their realizing there are more lucrative opportunities for them! Especially if they are being paid that little. 50-100 hours a month for $300 will never attract even remotely good talent. It's not that $300 isn't a lot for some people, it's that there are much better opportunities even remotely over the internet. Feel free to link to that example and prove me wrong...
  19. And my heart too.

    100% Energy Resistance

    Exile and Nethergate don't have resistance stats in the first place.
  20. And my heart too.

    Magic Items

    To be clear on the math, you actually multiply by (1 - resist%) for each separate piece of armor/resistance to determine damage received. So wearing two 40% armors gives you 60% * 60% = 36% damage taken, or 64% armor total. Multiplying the armor percentages directly will never give you the right answer, except for with 50%, because 1-.5 = .5
  21. And my heart too.

    Geneforge remakes.

    Yeah... you run into the same problem though. Anyone who's going to be meaningfully helpful could just make their own game. That way they get to make their dream a reality, and they get to make money off of it. And that's one of the main reasons indie game makers are overwhelmingly one-programmer outfits. Anyway, Jeff has written about this in the past. Probably in his blog somewhere; he's definitely also discussed it in AMAs and the like. The bottom line is it's just not how he wants to do things.
  22. And my heart too.

    Geneforge remakes.

    Part-timer or not, anyone who is actually doing the coding is going to make a lot more than $10-15 an hour. And when I say "a lot," I really mean a lot.
  23. And my heart too.

    Name Cameos in Jeff's Games

    Name Cameos in Jeff's Games and other sources of names 1. talk.bizarre personalities talk.bizarre was a newsgroup frequented by Jeff in the years leading up to the first Spiderweb games, and was the single largest source of names in Exile I. It was also used quite a bit in Exile II. At least a few of these folks served as beta testers as well. Exile I: Andrew Solberg Ron Echeverri Mr. X of X Industries (a.k.a. Xian) Tom Boutell Blair P. Houghton Elspeth Ty Nance Starcap'n Ra Crisper Than Thou Sunshine on Leith Yong-Mi Kim Markian Gooley C.J. Silverio Zed Kevin "Chevyn" McAuley Gypsy Miles O'Neal Diane Wilson Caitlin Burke Josh "Doc" Hayes Billbill (Bill and Bill) Zvi Gilbert J. Eric Townsend Ken Johnson (Captian Johnson?) Exile II: Tom Limoncelli Julian Waldby Johnathan Vail Paul Egli Jenine Abarbanel Nathan Torkington Genevieve Williams Kevin Schnitzius Avernum: M. Legare Avernum 4: Soren Ragsdale (Sorengard) 2. Rutgers math colleagues A number of characters, mostly in Exile I, were named after grad school colleagues. Jeff quit his program after Exile I turned out to be a commercial success. Exile I: Tor Gunston '98 Carol Hamer '98 Rita Cskany '98 Aimee J.R. Tom Bohman '96 Marco Lenci '99 Exile II: Marie-Cecile Vidican (Rutgers-related connection) 3. Society for Creative Anachronism friends Source for several noteworthy names in Exile I. Patrick Padraig Hathwisa Bevan Anastasia 4. Television and film Beginning in Exile II, Jeff has taken sets of NPC names from TV shows and occasionally movies. Comedy Central receives thanks in many readme's and shows up all over this list, especially early on. Exile II: Absolutely Fabulous Eddy Monsoon, Patsy Stone, Saffron Monsoon, Justin, Oliver (Blosk) Saturday Night Live Gilda Radner, Dan Ackroyd, Lorraine Newman, Jane Curtin (The Castle) 3rd Rock from the Sun Kristen (Kirsten) Johnson, John Lithgow, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jane Curtin (The Castle) Felix the Cat Felix (Patrick's Tower) Exile III: Kids in the Hall Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Mark McKinley, Kevin McDonald, Scott Thompson (New Formello) Babylon 5 Ivanova, Londo, G'Kar, Delenn (Golddale) Laverne & Shirley Laverne, Shirley, Carmine, Lennus (Lenny), Squiggus (Squiggy) Trainspotting Spud, Renton, Begbie, Sick Boy (Shayder) Irvine Welsh (author of the book, also in Shayder) Blades of Exile: The Daily Show Craig Kilborn, Lizz Winstead, A. Whitney Brown, Beth Littleford, Felix Unger (Blinlock) South Park Eric Cartman (Zaskiva); Kenny (added in BoA) Titanic James Cameron, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet Geneforge: Sports Night Dan Rydell, Dayna (Dana) Whitaker, Isaac Jaffee (Jaffe), Natley (Natalie) Hurley, Jeremy Godwin (Goodwin), Pixley, Aaron Sorkin (Pentil) Geneforge 2: Black Books Manny, Bernard The Office (UK) Brent, Gareth, Dawn, Finchy (Gheth) The Wire Kima, Macnulty, Bunk (Loyalist Encampment) Blades of Avernum: The Daily Show (again) Jon Stewart, Steven Colbert, Steve Carrell, Samantha, Corddry, Helms, Walls (Seleucia) Geneforge 3: Arrested Development Michael Bluth, Gob Bluth, Tobias Funke, Maeby Funke (Dhonal's Keep East Docks) Avernum 4: Lonesome Dove Pea Eye Parker, Lorena Parker, Woodrow F. Call, Bolivar, Augustus McCrae (Silvar) Horror/suspense film characters Carrie Jason Vorhees Gunderson (innkeeper) Geneforge 4: Veronica Mars Veronica Mars, Duncan Kane Geneforge 5: Mythbusters Adam Savage, Jamie Hyneman Avernum 6: Mad Men Joan Halloway (Holloway), Roger Stirling (Sterling), Freddy Rumson (Rumsen), Peggy Olssson (Olson) (Fort Draco raiders) 5. Girlfriends Some or all of the provinces (and possibly other locations) in Exile III were named after Jeff's girlfriends. This was apparently stated by Jeff someplace. To wit: Mariann Krizsan Monoroe (Shirley Monroe) Sharimik (Shari Moskow?) Karnold (K. Arnold?) Bigail (Abigail?) Shayder (Shaynee Snider?) Footracer (Tracey?) 6. Authors and editors It's unclear if these were intended as a deliberate tribute, or whether books and other written works were simply a convenient source of names that had just the right ring to them. Exile I: General authors Christopher Marlowe, Samuel Johnson (Bargha) Arthur Leo Zagat (Spire), Roberta Rogow, Cynthia Felice (Bargha; all three are SF authors) Bill Maher, John Cleese (Bargha; comics but also authors of books in 1993-1994) John Calder, publisher of some Nathaniel Hawthorne works (Bargha; see fictional characters below) Exile II: General authors Thomas Gibbon, Tom Stoppard, Orson Welles, John Locke Blades of Exile: Kurt Vonnegut DC Comics Bigwigs, Editors, Artists, and Writers Paul Levitz, Richard Bruning, Lillian Laserson, Dave McKean, Dorothy Crouch, Bruce Bristow, Axel Alonso (VoDT); Robbin Brosterman, Lillian Laserson, Joan Hilty, Stephano Gaudiano, Chuck Kim, Ray Houlihan, Michael Zulli (ASR); Jenette Kahn (both); Abe Ocampo, Sheldon Mayer, Kimzahn (Timothy Zahn) (ZKR) Geneforge 3: SF authors Michael Swanwick, Mike Resnick, Connie Willis Avernum 4: New York Times writers Paul Krugman, Joe Conason Geneforge 4: New York Times writers Jay Mouawad, Louis Uchitelle, Kate Zernike, Martin Fackler, Michael Barbaro, Kirk Johnson, Rachel Swarns, Ian Urbina, George Vecsey, Lynn Zinser, Sabrina Tavernise, Randal Archibald, Manohla Dargis Geneforge 5: The Onion A.V. Club writers Tasha Robinson, Genevieve Koski, Josh Modell The Seattle Stranger contributors A. Birch Steen, Megan Seling, Brendan Kiley, David Schmader, Charles Mudede, Dan Savage 7. Literary characters Books became a consistent source for characters, alongside TV and film. Exile I: Nathaniel Hawthorne's works Hester Prynne (Bargha), Eustace Bright (Spire) Samuel Johnson (Bargha; an author as well as a character in a Hawthorne book) Exile III: Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace The "Unspecified Services" organization name Blades of Exile: DC Comics, mostly involved in Crisis on Infinite Slarties Earths Maria [several possible], Penelope Black, Bradley Covington (VoDT); Stone [family], Smith [several possible], Maya, Caroline Dean, Eric O'Grady, Helena [several possible], Luna Nurblin (ASR); Vale [several possible], Edward [several possible] (ZKR) Note: the Crisis event involved a massive number of characters, so name overlaps would be expected; I consider these likely only because they are in the same context as the clearly evidenced list of DC editors in the above category. Geneforge: Chekhov's plays Maria "Masha" Kulygina, Vassily Solyony, Nikolaj Tuzenbach, Aleksandr Vershinin, Ferapont (The Three Sisters) Konstantin Treplev (Treplyov) (The Seagull) Mikhail Astrov, Aleksandr Serabryakov, Sofya Serabryakov, Ilya Telegin (Uncle Vanya) Anya, Varya, Leonid Gayev (The Cherry Orchard) Nikolai Ivanov, Michael Borkin, Avdotya, Gavrila (Ivanov) Geneforge 3: Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, by Susanna Clarke Jonathan Strange, Arabella Strange, Gilbert Norrell, Susanna Clarke Avernum 4: Wicked Elphaba Emperor of Ocean Park Kimmer Madison, Talcott "Misha" Garland, Mariah Garland, Oliver Garland Geneforge 4: Watchmen Dave Gibbons, Adrian Veidt, Fred Motz Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle Jack Shaftoe, Eliza of Qwghlm, Moseh de la Cruz Avernum 5: The Skin of Our Teeth, by Thornton Wilder George Antrobus, Lilly Sabina, Maggie Antrobus Kurt Vonnegut's novels Kilgore Trout, George Pefko, Norman Fuller Geneforge 5: Bleak House, by Charles Dickens Harold Skimpole, John Jarndyce, William Guppy, Richard Carstone Hyperion, by Dan Simmons Lenar Hoyt, Brawne Lamia, Martin Silenus Anathem, by Neal Stephenson Erasmus (Erasmas), Orolo, Sammann Avernum 6: Waiting for Godot, by Samuel Beckett Vladimir, Estragon King Lear, by Shakespeare Regan, Edgar, Edmund (Almaria) possibly also Noam and Tardiff, critics who wrote about Lear The Stand, by Stephen King Nick Andros, William Hapscomb, Stuart Redman, Frannie Goldsmith (Fort Duvno) Avadon: Les Miserables Cosette, Eponine, Varoche (Gavroche) 8. Musicians An occasional but clear presence. Jeff frequently gives shout-outs to the bands he listens to while programming in his readme's, so it seems possible there are more references we haven't caught. Exile II: Tori Amos Melissa Ethridge (Etheridge) Avernum 4: Sleater-Kinney Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein, Janet Weiss, Sleater-Kinney Avernum 6: Neko, Case (Webbed Woods) Avernum EFTP: The New Pornographers Carl Newman, Neko Case, Kurt Dahle, Dan Bejar, Kathryn Calder 9. Comedians The Exile I entries are questionable, since Jeff did not use very many produced-content sources for names in that game, but they are comedians who seem to fit perfectly with Jeff's sense of humor (as well as the Scorched Earth Party). Exile I: Bill Maher John Cleese Avernum 4: Dave Chapelle Redd Fox David Cross Patton Oswalt Sarah Silverman Terry Gilliam 10. EverQuest (and the Chaos Justice guild) A major name source around the Avernum 4 era. Jeff gave us a lead on this one. There are a surprising number of trails for this on the web, despite the timeframe being a decade ago. Most of these names came from other characters in his guild, or who raided with his guild, though there are a few from raid targets as well. Geneforge 3: Meraia, Tuona, Muram Barxt (raid target) Avernum 4: Kabraxaz, Nociduas, Abisynthe, Trysbrina, Lyun, Uggluk, Imiriel, Sinedin, Tuona, Kasaz, Zarbonn, Kragg Keldovan, Hanvar (raid targets) 11. World of Warcraft Jeff has talked about WoW even more than EverQuest, and mentioned it in more readme's. Many names, especially in Avernum 4 and beyond, sound like they could easily have come from WoW characters. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find reliable googleable material the way I was for Chaos Justice, but it's a safe bet that this was a prodigious source for names for a number of games. 12. Nearby locations Mainly a source in Exile III, which of course required naming more small friendly towns than any other SW game. Exile III: Golddale (Silverdale), a town Jeff was once associated with Port Townsend Bremerton Poulsbo Colfax Gorst Geneforge 5: Zoka, a Seattle donut shop (also has a readme callout) 13. Spiderweb affiliates Hat tips to people who've been there for Spiderweb. Exile III: Jordan Bojar of Foglio studios Nethergate: Phil Foglio Geneforge: Brent Heustess, beta tester Geneforge 4: Reiner, tileset creator Paul Ellsworth, beta tester 14. Family The first was stated by Jeff; his immediate family receives frequent use, but he has said sometimes that he just likes the names. Exile I: Elmer, Jeff's grandfather Various: Mariann Krizsan, Jeff's radiant wife Cordelia, Jeff's daughter, but also a favourite name of his Miranda, Jeff's daughter, but also a favourite name of his 15. Other friends Some of these are simple Facebook speculation, but the source of one rather important name, Erika Redmark, was supplied by Jeff. Exile I: Erika, a high school friend Jennifer Rippel (?) Shaynee Snider (?) Exile II: Prazac, a high school friend Tina Mancuso (?) Avernum 4: Lark Griffin (?) Geneforge 4: Sharon Crowley (?) 16. Miscellaneous Name sources that don't fit into the above categories, but seem likely due to unusual similarities (Zanthia) or Jeff's background (Sylow, Moon). Exile I: Sylow, a Norwegian mathematician Zanthia, the alchemist protagonist of The Legend of Kyrandia 2 Exile, name of a one-way transport mechanism in Julian May's Saga of Pliocene Exile (cited by Jeff as inspiration; related inspiration from Robert Silverberg's short story "Hawksbill Station") Exile III: Moon, a town in Ultima 3 Malloc and Calloc (towns), C functions Blades of Exile: Newsworthy figures of the time Steve Forbes, Chelsea Clinton, Michele Aboro, Welde, Madeleine Albright (ASR Willow) Geneforge 3: Galileo Galilei's family Maria Celeste, Vincenzio Galilei, Sestilia Bocchineri Alcholic beverages Sauza tequila, Macallan single malt whiskey, Maker's Mark bourbon, Bailey's Irish cream, Captain Morgan rum, the Aunt Agatha mixed drink Avernum 6: Djokov and Baghdatis, pro tennis players Avernum 2 CS: Morrigan, Celtic warrior goddess Venus Castinan, aspect of goddess related to non-male-performing men 17. Names from the news In the Geneforge and Second Trilogy years, googling a set of names from the same town often turns up a newspaper or magazine of the appropriate era, and it's sometimes one local to Seattle. It's unlikely that this is always a coincidence, but in many cases the names are so common that it's not really possible to establish a definitive tie, either. 18. Name generators You may have noticed that the most recent SW release, the Avadon and Avernum Remake series, do not show up on this list very much, even though the Avadon games involve a real slew of new names. Googling those names doesn't turn up much. However, googling those names often turns up name generator name lists. I'd wager Spiderweb is using a relatively nice name generator, and probably one that generates names of particular linguistic backgrounds, as we've seen a few clusters of names that closely resemble common Slavic names, to take one example. This document is not complete -- it is a work in progress, and we'd love your help in continuing to expand it! If you have any ideas or see names that look familiar, please feel free to post in this thread. Some other names we are currently suspicious of, but don't feel confident enough about to include in the main list, are below. OTHER CHARACTERS WE EYE SUSPICIOUSLY Linda (Linda Strout? no -- most likely predates her) Strout (G1 Servile, A4 Fort Monastery resident -- Linda Strout? -- unclear) Micah Bernie ("the Chart") Mairwen Karzoth Skunky Joe Etunimdiam (G4 gazer) -- sounds like "et unum diem", Latin for "and a day" -- has an xbox live account listed under Seattle, WA Skarp (A5 Exodus) -- Seattle WA band. Elinor, Klivans, Haedrich (ASR Selathni) -- cookbook authors; Vonnegut in same town Commander Wallace and Craftmaster Pynchon in Zhethron's Keep (Av3) -- see thread Potential Slithzerikai inspiration in the Sleeth of Gamma World (tabletop RPG) SIMS (F. Paul Wilson novel) as potential inspiration for Serviles
  24. There's nothing wrong with not optimizing! And literally no one in either thread has ever said there was. The problem is with presenting inaccurate information about the power of different skills, creations, etc., as if it is an authoritative guide. That's misleading. If you don't want to be criticized for inaccurate assessments, then I suggest either 1) respond to people when they write friendly replies that attempt to help with these things, as in the previous thread; or 2) call your work "how I beat Torment with class X" or something, rather than "guide to class X". "Guide" implies that you are guiding people with, you know, effective information. So if people disagree with your advice, they are going to say so. It's not because they are "offended" by the fact that you didn't "hyper-optimize", it's because they don't want people who read your guide to be misled. 3) The other option, of course, is to just be cool with the fact that there will be criticism. IMO, #1 is the most productive choice, but to each his own. And just to be clear: I 100% respect the time you put into writing these guides. I think it's a great project. But that doesn't mean I'm going to ignore their flaws, any more than you should when I write something.
  25. I'm going to be less kind this time, because you didn't engage with any of the (frankly, kind and thoughtful) feedback we gave you about the previous guide. Nobody's going to rip on you for not using Vlish in G4, where they aren't actually that great; but it is really unfortunate that, even in this second guide, you have not corrected your erroneous understanding of the ways creations can gain levels, including via shaping skills. That changes the balance of different build options dramatically, and explains why you may be basically the only player ever to recommend Kyshakks over Wingbolts. Kyshakks are fine, but G4 Wingbolts are serious competition for G3 Vlish when it comes to being a brokenly powerful creation. Sorry. Wish I could be more enthusiastic.
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