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to sup on strange sustenance

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    Skribbane and sniping pedestrians.

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  1. Multivac Ken Burns 227 chitrachs wearing a human suit King Arthur The Doctor of Doctor Who (any or all) Benjamin Franklin An arbitrary Mind from the Culture Lord Havelock Vetinari Cardinal Richelieu (real or Three Musketeers) —Alorael, who doesn't belong on this list and asks to be omitted.
  2. I think we are talking about the same Dark Castle, just not here. —Alorael, who isn't talking about Dark Castle at all, or at least wasn't until just now.
  3. Spiderweb's first Ikonboard first opened on March 24, 2001. Today marks these forums' 18th birthday. We're grownups now, and it's time to put aside childish things and focus on the important stuff, like escaping from caves, fighting tyrannical regimes, and optimizing character builds. —Alorael, who will take a moment to remember some good threads long past and some people, now moved on to pastures with better themes, who are hopefully doing well.
  4. Queen's Wish is actually the origin story of the Empire. —Alorael, who now understands that the Empire isn't only nameless because there's no reason to name the only game in town. It's also because it's named after a PC, and of course there's no way to accommodate all the names. Thus, its eponym is lost in the mists of time and myth.
  5. Just to throw off your groupings, I'm going to say that it didn't really do much for me. I'd say I disliked it more than I liked it, but I didn't hate it. —Alorael, who fears this will simply have him removed from acquaintance pools entirely so as to maintain clarity.
  6. "Fiction" is mostly used to mean "writing" here. Playing a roleplaying game with D&D as the rules set in the Dragonlance world is obviously fiction, but it isn't writing. And that holds up generally: we all know that video games aren't real, but Avernum and Geneforge are rarely described as works of fiction. Even movies usually aren't, exactly, beyond the "all characters and events depicted in this film are entirely fictitious" disclaimer. Fiction just is, without any modification, assumed to mean written literature. —Alorael, who won't go into the possible layers. "The Tearing of the Bodice" in Exile/Avernum 3 is a work of fiction that is, itself, fictional, as it exists only within the fictional universe of Exile/Avernum. Which is a good thing, really, because it sounds abominable.
  7. I think there's a difference between good hub design and bad, or lazy, hub design. In E3/A3, you can go about your business quite freely, and dealing with plagues will get rewards from surface towns, but you also have reason to go back to Anaximander for the big rewards. Which makes sense, since he's nominally your boss and it's worth having some tie to make you remember that you're an Exile/Avernite, not just a random band of adventurers. In Nethergate, you again have a boss, and interestingly a largely open world with a linear plot. You need to check in with your boss to do new things, but again, it's not forced. You can go wherever, and even do many different things, without any return to the hub. Starting in later Geneforges, and even more noticeable in Avadon, the quest hub merges with the gatekeeping function. You have to complete quests to access new quests and also new stuff. The two get inextricably linked, which makes the mechanic of going home, trawling for new quests and content, and then heading out again become, well, mechanical. I think that's much more of a problem than having a hub in the first place. —Alorael, who actually likes the design idea of having places that you return to rather than abandoning all old areas in favor of new ones. Avadon doesn't always do it gracefully, but it does it, and that produces more of a sense of investment in a place (both Avadon itself and the areas you visit and revisit on quests). A home base and a home cast of characters are useful plot elements. They just need to feel like plot more than mechanics or the game loses story and starts feeling like a return to town in Progress Quest.
  8. To me it looks like a medieval map made by people who have inexact measurements and inexact cartographic skills. Quite a few of those are oddly blocky and distorted. —Alorael, who at least doesn't see any forking rivers. The world-building powers that be will brook no bifurcations.
  9. Please don't reply in threads that are six years old! —Alorael, who has no objection to your comment except timing. But the discussion is long over and most of the participants are long gone.
  10. Hi, MagmaDragoon! It's been a long time. Over a decade! Romance in video games was interesting when they first appeared because they were something new to games. Then they became an expected Bioware game element, just another design box to tick off. I would rather not have perfunctory romance put into a game unless it serves a storytelling purpose. A well-told romance can be its own purposes, to be sure, but I don't think that's where Jeff Vogel's inclinations or writing talents lie. —Alorael, who also thinks doing this well requires a lot of words and a lot of contextual changes. That's the kind of thing that's much easier to pull off when you have a stable of full-time writers for your game rather than a one or two person operation putting everything together. Just like Spiderweb can't compete in the pretty graphics space, it probably for surprisingly similar reasons can't compete in the romance space without substantially giving up on the parts of the games that have been the main draw to its games for twice as long as MagmaDragoon has been gone.
  11. Guess who finished his homework! Just kidding. Glad to see you and Aran still here! Kudos from Italy mate.

  12. When I first tried to register the check was returned. I spent years thinking Jeff must have moved or changed P.O. boxes early on, but actually, on reflection, I probably just addressed the envelope wrong. —Alorael, who could go back to a copy of original E1 to find out. He kind of likes keeping the mystery around. It’s ego-sparing.
  13. I'm agnostic about technology level. I think it's quite possible to make a ridiculous setting that doesn't justify guns and swords in the same combat, but that's not necessary. Mass Effect is a perfectly good gun RPG with some sword-like melee weapons. Want to classify it as a shooter with RPG elements? The Shadowrun games, then, which have near-future technology (plus magic), so there are some nuts who use implanted blades or swords but they risk getting mowed down by automatic fire. Or Pillars of Eternity, which has something like an early Renaissance level of technology, complete with the presence of slow-loading firearms that are useful but definitely not (yet) the only weapons worth using. —Alorael, who puts balance considerations and verisimilitude/plot considerations in separate bins. You can have a very consistent world with stupid combat. You can have an engaging and fun game with awful, nonsensical worldbuilding. You can have both very easily. And with good design you have games with neither.
  14. Kickstarters often have a burst at the end, so it’s not impossible. —Alorael, who wants to know what happens if there final tally is a couple hundred dollars short. A spiteful array of especially terrible sounds? A return of E1’s original “urk” “eek” perhaps?
  15. The number of piano tuners in Chicago is a classic Fermi estimation problem. —Alorael, who just may create a new demographic poll. He has some burning questions.
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