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Thaeris

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About Thaeris

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  1. I happen to be craving some meaningful discussion with regards to forums right about now, so I'll bite... With regards to Spiderweb in particular, I'm stuck in the past. And I'm OK with it. This means that my first SW game was Nethergate (the original one!) and my next was Avernum II. Back then, I was a child, money was not abundant, and the games cost $30 each. On the bright side, they came on a gloriously printed CD in one of those cool clamshell cases (which I wish Jeff still sold). I've since nabbed the rest of the original Avernum trilogy, BoE is now open-source and free, and the games, lovingly made as they are, are now more accessible and affordable than ever. On the down side, I've not had the free time to invest in the newer games or the remakes. Even worse... I've not managed to coax myself into doing so, either. And so, I've become locked in the past. Andrew Hunter and Phil Foglio's artwork populate the lands of the underworld in my imagination, and I feel no desire to move past that. And because that's all in the past, what do I have to contribute now? Moving a little bit forward - I played the Geneforge demo till it could be played no more when I was young, but games like Avadon just didn't draw my attention. The engines and graphics of those games simply did not capture my imagination like those first Avernum and Nethergate games did. Perhaps Queen's Wish is different, and would be something I'd like? I'm sure it would be if I find the time - Jeff does fantastic work, after all. In the meanwhile, I just don't feel stirred enough to make such a change. The reason for this sentiment is as follows: what do the new games do so well that the old ones have not done already in terms of their mechanics? I've played many games focused on grinding, and after years of grinding in real life, that mechanic just doesn't appeal to me any more. There is no doubt some degree of realism to it, but the way in which characters advance by this method is not wholly convincing. In fact, such a method just seems tiresome to even contemplate. Because I am admittedly stuck in the past, my sentiments could be completely wrong, but I've not been steered otherwise. I've not been sold on a pitch that convinces me that my sentiments are wrong! And so, if I feel (key word there) like no innovation is taking place, why would I hang around? ...Perhaps the problem here is a consumer's dilemma. The Blades games let writers and developers go forth and create, but the heyday of that activity seems to have passed. What you are left with, therefore, are mere media consumers. This should not be taken as a smear on those people - all individuals on this forum are part of their number. But, solely being in such a position does not generally promote much of a lively conversation. Namely, a brief question is asked (I have done so several times), answered, and then the poster moves on. There just doesn't seen to be a whole lot of intellectual discussion going around when the majority of posts are focused on consumer issues rather than creative issues. Forums in general are centered around niche interests. So, if your niche interest happens to be games made by a certain company, but all you can come up with are consumer issues, how can you expect to have enlightening discussions? You need to have enlightening discussions in order to connect with other forumites and therefore have a community in the first place! So, in my opinion, if something can be done to break the "consumer's syndrome," that would be the first big step. The sad truth about solving said problem is that it's up to the individual consumers to solve it! As per being stuck in the past, that's my own fault. But, it's also a niche issue, and it's why I'm even here at all. As per what inspires us and what attracts us in games - ideas and innovation - perhaps that needs to be more of a focus here? It isn't to say that no such conversations occur, but the afore-mentioned consumer's mentality doesn't do much to keep those conversations moving. Unfortunately for me, I've seldom looked for that sort of content here, not found much of it, and when I do make it, it's generally on a different forum. To close with a question to which I have no answer: "How do you build an online community?"
  2. On another note, I will contend that most people who lift assets without consent tend to be hobbyists, modders, and the like. Their behavior is morally and ethically questionable at best, but their intent is generally fairly innocent. They will typically not see a dime for the hard work [of their own] which they do produce, and simply resort to using the assets of others because, well, it's hard work after all! I want to also clarify that I'm not condoning this behavior, but I do understand it. I have seen other modders do this sort of thing, no profit was involved, and they were just trying to tell a story in most cases. I would be surprised if anyone who's ever tinkered or thought of tinkering with games has not come into contact with such people, or was such a person at one time themselves. If there's an analogy for this, it might be like playing with Star Wars and GI Joe action figures in the same session as a child: the original IP holders would not approve, but it doesn't hurt anything. Marketing your own material by blatantly using those assets is a different story, however. ...So again, the real concern seems to show up when you either have shameless, blatant theft and plagiarism of ideas or materials, or otherwise when money starts to flow (or alternately, be diverted from the IP holder). Or worse, both. Fortunately (and unfortunately in some cases), those sorts of activities are generally quite apparent and easy to shut down. The bulk of people who tinker with game assets and use them for their own purposes just aren't worth the worry, so why bother making the assets hard to get to in the first place? As a further aside, note that many people have managed to get into the game development field because they were modders and tinkerers... It might actually hurt the industry in the long run if they made things too inaccessible. In the context of the forums, modders may end up in Avernum, but the unscrupulous will certainly wind up in The Abyss. 😋
  3. Fear of theft regarding intellectual property... from my opinion, is mostly just fear. However, someone who does lift art assets and use them in a different paid product without consent may very well not like it if they get caught. It's not to say it isn't done, but I'm guessing most of the culprits who engage in this activity are not profiting much, if at all, from their lack of originality. That said, unless they are engaged in blatant piracy, those individuals likely pose little-to-no threat to the original developers by using the assets alone. The threat to the original developer or IP holder would be a competing product (free or paid) which would reduce their own income. If that product also happens to use stolen assets, then the hammer swing just gets harder and faster. ...As per why the assets are accessible, consider that the original developer wants to access them as well. To make new filetypes or encrypt existing filetypes, etc., just slows everything down (possibly in more ways than one) and also discourages modding. The latter is not a selling point, especially if people will buy their product for the sole reason of running a mod the original developer didn't even have to make! That's kind of the selling point of Blades of Exile, after all.
  4. I assume this is Nethergate: Resurrection. Playing as the Romans in the original game, I do indeed recall fighting Sylak. The battle with Sylak was indeed a challenge, but it was possible, in fact perhaps necessary. I always wanted to send my party through the portal (I had enough marks, after all), but I could not get past Sylak without a fight.
  5. Well, I have never heard of running a Mac emulator as being illegal. My apologies for suggesting an improper course of action if that is indeed the case. I will also confirm that I don't see an easy way of getting OS7 from Apple as of this time, but from past experience, I will say that was the case at one point in time. I will conclude that my statements from past experience are true, though the current state of affairs may have changed things. Again, pardon my intrusion - I will comment no further.
  6. I am making a blatantly ignorant post here, but perhaps my musings have enough merit for someone to try out: Does someone here run SheepShaver or Basilisk II on Windows 10? SheepShaver and Basilisk II are Macintosh emulators. You can in fact (last time I checked, at least) download the whole of MacOS 7 directly from Apple, and the rest of the guts needed for the emulation come with the emulator download. Perhaps trying a different emulation route may solve some of the problems which I continually read about people having with Windows 10. ...On a side note, trying out a Mac emulator might introduce you to new things. One of the classic RPGs which was never made for Windows was Odyssey: The Legend of Nemesis. The game runs very well on SheepShaver, complete with its musical score. It was also a game which Jeff himself spoke very highly of back in the day. Just a thought.
  7. I might have to threadjack this thread a bit, because it's close to the subject matter I like to speculate about... 1. Light and fauna in "early Exile." Exile has always been a magical place. It doesn't need to be relegated to the supernatural entirely, as Jeff keeps a good deal of science fiction in play. Thus, natural light sources in the caves are not entirely magical, even if magic was used in the creation of [some of] the glowing fungus that illuminates the underworld. The lands of the Vahnatai are darker than Exile, but they are lit like the rest of the caves. If the caves above the Vahnatai were dark, why do the Slith have eyes? I always thought it would be a great storytelling point if you encountered a cynical character who countered the general story of how the mages lit the lands and provided the fauna: that stuff was always there. All the mages did was to make it more suitable to humans, and perhaps unintentionally, for the humanoids (the Nephil, etc.) who are made to suffer along side them. 2. Ecosystem and geology speculation. I tend to think about materials available in Exile more than I do other things. Materials available tend to influence what people are capable of doing or making, or at least doing with relative ease. Copper and tin should be relatively hard to come by if more realism is going to be written into what you make of Avernum. The nice thing about bronze is that it should require less energy to process into a finished good. Fuel is going to be your main concern. Iron and steel need much more thermal energy to process in comparison. Steel is simply iron fused with carbon, but you have to get the carbon in there somehow. You'd get that from the fuel of course, which could come from crappy cavewood, coal, or maybe even bones. Coal will require a lot of effort to mine, cavewood is not great and needs to first be made into charcoal/coke, and bones are... kind of intense, if you get my meaning. Next, we see that a lot of metal refining in Exile is done with magical fires. Perhaps these "fires" are just heat, and not combustion? I bring this up, as it's worth wondering about how much oxygen is produced by the fauna of the caves in comparison to how much is used by their occupants and their industry. If no one is gasping for air down there, one has to assume that the ecosystem is pretty darn robust (even without sunshine and assuming the worst about industry). There also seems to be enough airspace down there that gasses released into the caves are not high enough in concentration to, you know, kill everybody. So, to conclude my derailment, I believe it's safe to conclude that iron and steel are scarce in Exile because they're harder to refine. Perhaps a place like Fort Draco not only sits on a healthy iron deposit, but perhaps it also sits on a source of coal like lignite. Draco thus has enough of a carbon source, and potentially a fuel source (if magical fires are reduced in their importance) to make steel. The steel then gets distributed to craftsmen in the Great Cave, who have their own convenient natural furnaces to process it into whatever. *COUGH* So, derailment aside, light is an interesting discussion in Avernum/Exile. Light is naturally tied to the production of many life-giving processes, such as the production of oxygen. The latter of course is needed by humanoids and their industry. That said, there seems to be enough light, at least in the short term (consider the Vahnatai's sleeping period) to facilitate all of this fairly well, even without the intensity of sunlight. For how long and for how much seems like the makings of the next Avernum title.
  8. Have you tried Encyclopedia Ermariana? https://encyclopedia.ermarian.net/wiki/Main_Page
  9. Necroing - I've not played with Open BoE for a while, but the old UI, if it's not been messed with since making BoE "open," really could use a facelift. A few suggestions: 1. Control UI settings through the preferences menu. Have checkboxes for standard "retail" window sizes, or custom sizes. Then add linked boxes for those custom options - it's ideally an easy way to let the user make the game suit their needs. Just make sure that switching between retail and custom does not change the custom settings! 2. Retail window sizes are what they say they are... custom sizes would allow you to adjust how many tiles (or resolution in general) are displayed on the game screen. With the small resolution of the original graphics and the really good resolution of modern monitors, having a larger game screen would be really important for BoE... because it's still a wonderful game. 3. Game zoom/graphics smoothing would be a really cool feature to add. Zoom would allow you to make the tiles larger or smaller, obviously. Smoothing - which could be an optional feature - would automatically blend highly pixelated graphics into smoother ones. Some programs I use actually do this based on the zoom level. 4. A feature that could tie into zoom/smoothing might be no limits for the sprite resolution... only sprite ratio! Thus, if you want high-res sprites, you can upload very high res graphics into your campaign/mod, just as long as they are the correct ratio. ...I hope this suggestion finds the Open BoE folks well - community projects like this keep wonderful games like this alive.
  10. Tell you what, when I played the demo, I may in fact have finished the slime quest before I dealt with the bandits I recall fighting. Seeing as I'm getting ready to finish the slime quest myself, I'll pop back in when I've done so!
  11. A short question, after the prelude of course: I first played Avernum 3 as a demo in college. I really liked it, but being cheap and/or poor, I never bought the game. I recalled a variety of things to do in Upper Avernum, and that included fighting a hovel of bandits on an isolated island to the far north of the usual settlements. Buying the boat was a prerequisite to get to the area of course. Years later, and probably a few years between starting my current run and resuming it, I attempted to find the bandit island once again. The problem is that I have no idea how to get back there! Furthermore, looking at Harehunter's linked sites, I don't even see it on the maps! So, finally, the short question: Was this dungeon only in the demo, or can I just not recall how one finds it? Or, perhaps it was some figment of the imagination? Should the latter be the case, it was still pretty awesome. I do seem to remember that the dungeon was kind of a one-time affair. With the waterfalls surrounding the place, once you were in, you either succeeded or didn't, because there's be no way of going back without cheating.
  12. I for one love the architectural styles of the original Avernum series. ...I've been contemplating what Avernum and the world above would look like for some time now regarding weapons and architecture. Exile presented a more old-school fantasy vibe to things, original Avernum had that unique style mixed with cheerful Foglio art, and the new series looks like a reversion to contemporary high fantasy art standards. The challenge and fun would be finding how to blend everything together, I guess! As per old mechanics which don't show up in the new games - I kind of miss the manual aiming of arrows and spell in Exile/Blades of Exile. It would be really nice to chuck fireballs at invisible units and do area fire against them, even if I had a reduced chance to hit. I've not yet encountered invisible units in BoE, but I can only assume that manual aiming can make things a little easier in those situations.
  13. I'm happy to say I've been playing this for the first time since I downloaded the demo in, like, 2008. One of the principal problems I noted having with the demo was the loss of the boatyard in Krizsan. Is there anywhere else to buy a boat on the continent?
  14. That's the problem with an all-caster party. As much as it makes them awesome, it also limits their max levels in base skills due to needing... all the base skills! Even then, your characters tend to be biased towards certain skills regardless. Priests end up being pretty good fighters in most cases; combine that with elite warrior and you've got a really scrappy trooper. And I'd really love to give my priestess something a bit better than that steel greatsword... but meh, I'll yank it out of there sooner or later. (Just don't keep trying to do that, or you'll be waiting a long time indeed to level up again. )
  15. Going back to the Shrine puzzle, I have to wonder this... Is Blademaster a requirement for pulling out the Alien Blade? Or does a given character just need to have a lot of strength?
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