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Outside the Ox

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About Outside the Ox

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    The Demon of Good Taste
  • Birthday December 25

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  1. Outside the Ox

    Keyboard shortcuts in Avadon?

    Keyboard shortcuts did not get dropped, in general. You can customize these by clicking on "Keyboard Shortcuts" in the pause menu. Some specific ones have gotten dropped -- the requirement to use letters to select targets hasn't been a thing since the original First Avernum Trilogy (2001-2004), IIRC.
  2. Maybe, but I don't think anyone has mapped out the file format.
  3. That's the link Falastur used. The problem, I believe, is that using the sound fix (also described on that page) overwrites the auto-registration status that now comes with the game.
  4. EDIT: Ohhhh, wait. misc.dat is what stores the registration status, isn't it -- so using the sound fix means the old registration status is wiped. Huh. Not sure what to suggest there.
  5. Outside the Ox

    Geneforge 4 Trakovites *Spoilers*

    Actually, choosing a weak power flow doesn't result in a Trakovite ending at all. You have to pick a strong power flow to get the Trakovite stalemate ending.
  6. Yeah, I think it's worth emphasizing that Exile/Avernum 1, Exile/Avernum 2, and Nethergate are all shining examples of how goog's ideals can be realized in a positive way. And that includes for non-open-world, more linear games. Exile/Avernum 2 has a long, linear, non-repeatable part to it early on that has generally been quite well received.
  7. Outside the Ox

    Geneforge 4 Trakovites *Spoilers*

    Hmm, interesting. So it seems that there may be "points of no return" where you are locked out of the Shapers or Rebels, but that they only apply if you have been consistently (perhaps even 100%) siding with the other faction.
  8. Exactly that! Alo articulated it a lot better than I was.
  9. Outside the Ox

    Geneforge 4 Trakovites *Spoilers*

    That's not true, although it can seem like it is. First, if you helped the Shapers in the Barrier Zone, they will help you leave the Fens even if you give Monarch's notes to the Rebels. Shaper and Rebel options also both become available at certain points in Burwood (after Quessa-Uss) and in Northforge Warrens (from Miranda) -- I believe no matter what. I don't think anything pre-empts these options; could be wrong about that, but giving Monarch's notes to the other team definitely doesn't if you handled the Barrier Zone in the opposite way.
  10. Outside the Ox

    ARW Dumb Questions

    Bigail is one big island.
  11. Triumph: not the implementation of quest acquisition in general, but rather the stale and formulaic way they tend to be laid out when given from a quest hub in particular. (And to be clear, this is not by any means a Spiderweb-specific problem.) Minion: An evolution, sure; but I would argue against that evolution being "natural." It's definitely true that some game-makers, over time, start producing games that have a greater quantity of content and which have a consistent and predictable level of good quality to that content; whereas their older games tend to be viewed as fresher, more original, and (by some of us) as higher quality as fully assembled wholes, even if the pieces may be rougher. But not all game-makers evolve in this direction, particularly not when we're talking about indie developers. I can point to some contemporary CRPG devs whose games are on Steam; for a more commercial outfit, I'd point to some of the game-makers whose games Jeff has cited as inspiration and the way they evolved in the late 80's and early 90's -- Sir-Tech (Wizardry), Richard Garriott (Ultima), SSI (the gold box games, among others).
  12. I really don't understand how you get that from "quest hub". Call that a required quest, a gatekeeper, whatever -- that's simply not what the word "hub" means. I mean, here's what Giant Bomb says it is: https://www.giantbomb.com/quest-hub/3015-6065/ We've been talking about it in terms of people (Bob) rather than locations, but it applies the same way there. It's a central person with multiple quests. OK, now I'm just confused. You said before that quest hubs were the "result" of going away from the open world system. Now you seem to be arguing that these open world games all had quest hubs?
  13. Again I disagree. In Exile 1, quests were all over the place, and often quite informal. The bigger quests were interwoven amongst a number of different characters. Erika tells you about a bunch of stuff you need to do, but most of that info comes from other people as well. Micah I think is the only person in the game who actually gives you rewards for a sequence of accomplishments -- but again, about 800 people talk about those quests and how great it would be for someone to take out Sss-Thsss, etc. Those are not quest hubs. Compare to E3: although Anaximander isn't the only person who tells you to go after the plagues (which after all the whole game is about), he nonetheless gives you explicit directions, missions, and rewards, spanning the entire game. In Nethergate and G1, many quests do require speaking to your faction leader either to hear about them, or to activate them, depending. How exactly are you defining "quest hubs" such that G3 and A4 have them, but Nethergate and G1 (for example) do not?
  14. I strongly disagree. "Quest hubs" in Spiderweb games predate the scripted-path world by quite a bit. E3, Nethergate, G1 and G2 all had quest hubs, even though scripted-path didn't replace open-world until G3 and A4. And even in G3-5, quest hubs weren't quite as formulaic as they became in A5-6 and, especially, in Avadon. It's part of the same general evolution of SW games -- absolutely. But it's not the result of scripted-path world design. -- It's one thing to have a faction leader or a commander who you collaborate with over the course of the game, an organic part of the game world like Cartumnus or Ellhrah. It's another thing to have 10 different hubs that you repeatedly check in with, each time the story advances, to get new quests, and who all magically have one new quest per new area. That becomes mechanical and, worse, transparent. It kills the suspension of disbelief. And you can certainly have scripted-path world design without quest hubs: JRPGs did that for a good 15 years. JRPGs did that by having game progress be plot-based. In early SW games, like most Western CRPGs of the era, progress was more gradual and atmospheric. Both of those ways of doing things can work out great. With the focus on quest hubs, though, progress is instead hub-based. Mechanical. Perfunctory. With good stories and good writing, sometimes it's possible to gloss over this. But that doesn't always work out.
  15. I wish the concept "quest hub" was not a thing. Just in general...
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