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Damp Annals

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Everything posted by Damp Annals

  1. Ah, you didn't mention that you were just using laptop speakers before... those are notoriously bad for sound quality. But I guess that's not the issue if it sounds worse on headphones. If you haven't updated your audio drivers recently, that could potentially make a difference. I can't find anyone else mentioning this issue. Given that these games have been around forever, and have a user base that pretty frequently uses old and/or low end computers, it seems like a reasonable guess that whatever is happening here is specific to your machine. Out of curiosity, what's your actual laptop model?
  2. Have you tried playing the audio on a different output device and seeing if that makes a difference? I ask because the AMD HD AD driver you mention typically sends sound through a monitor. If you hook up some headphones directly to the CPU box, do you get the same sound issue?
  3. Static is not normal. Steam shouldn't have anything to do with that, either. I'm not quite sure what you mean by static though -- it sounds like it's not so loud that you can't hear the actual intended background sounds. How loud is the static? If it's quieter than everything else... is it possible that you just have multiple volume settings turned up really loud, and the not-perfectly-pristine audio samples end up with some magnified fuzz? Alternately, if you're worried about your computer's specs or sound processing, you might want to share what those specs are. Finally, I believe there is an option, in the options menu, to turn off (or turn down) background sounds.
  4. There's a very clear lineage from the D&D system Edgwyn describes down to Geneforge. The Ultima series initially copied the six AD&D stats, but by its most influential game, Ultima IV, had dropped down to just three: Strength, Dex, Int. Jeff has specifically cited Ultima as one of his main influences. The game mechanics influence is particularly clear in Exile, but the Str/Dex/Int triad has persisted through every version of every Spiderweb game. I love Edgwyn's idea that the scores represent skill in using an attribute more than the attribute itself. Haven't heard it before. It makes a ton of sense, given that the attribute scores start out at a base of 1 or 2 (depending on the Spiderweb game) but are easy to raise -- most dramatically for creations and NPCs, where they all rise on their own every other level. If I had to guess, though, I'd put 2/3 odds on Int in the Geneforge remakes working like it does in Avadon and the Avernum remakes, where its most obvious effect is increasing spell power. It will be interesting to see if Jeff uses skill trees there, too. Could make the different classes significantly more distinct from each other than they were in the originals.
  5. 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.
  6. Maybe, but I don't think anyone has mapped out the file format.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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).
  14. 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?
  15. 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?
  16. 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.
  17. I wish the concept "quest hub" was not a thing. Just in general...
  18. Be careful about drawing conclusions here! There are two things that might be likely to affect that part of the ending. One of them is your "reputation", the number that lots of actions (and a few conversation choices) alter. The other is specifically how you resolve the major quests at the end of each chapter. The rewards from Manohla in Derenton Freehold depend SOLELY on the reputation number. I would be careful about assuming that that is what affects the ending rather than how you resolved the major quests. It's certainly possible, I just don't think it's a given. Both of these things could be tested by using shift-D to edit SDFs right before the ending, if you wanted to. Re repairing Moseh... I believe that buying creations from Duncan simply requires a slightly pro-shaper reputation and does not depend on Moseh specifically. You may wish to consult this: https://minmax.ermarian.net/g4/g4q.html
  19. I don't think this has been done much, because it's generally simpler (and there is definitely less chance of collateral damage) to just edit a dialogue script in a zone to increase a stat (or whatever you need).
  20. Actually, the majority of the linked article comes directly from the Avernum 3 ending. The bit about the City of Dawn and Redmark College is a collective fan invention.
  21. Awesome! What a happy ending. I'm moving this to Tech Support so the solution will be easier for other people who are having problems to find.
  22. Just wait until you want to go back and do something on a previous island and have to backtrack through multiple boats, walking in and out of 4 different zones to get there
  23. It's not. (I mean, I can't speak to how you played it -- I think replenishing SP would be a more likely cause of extra trips than inventory -- but those spells definitely do not exist ) Look, people really trust your word around here, Randomizer; I wish you wouldn't speak authoritatively about stuff you're only guessing about. If you're basing your statement on a vague memory from a decade ago -- or, equally, on a vague statement Jeff made -- I really wish you'd indicate that. People take your factual statements as expert opinions, because of the detailed work you put into your atlases, and so on. You are trusted. Which makes it extra important that you say something different when you just mean to bring up a thought as a possibility that you aren't sure about. When you don't, that's how we end up with urban legends about game mechanics
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