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About googoogjoob

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  • Birthday 01/20/1992

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    Deus Ex, Anachronox, Machinarium, Geneforge, Thief, Mark of the Ninja, Hard West, Bus Driver
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  1. I don't think we'll ever get quantified lore information about anything in Geneforge (or in any Spiderweb game). The answer to any question like "how far is it in kilometers between these two cities?" or "how many people live on this island?"- or "how many creations can a master Shaper control at once?" or "how many Shaper schools are there?"- is always going to be "as many as are necessary for the story to keep humming along." Avadon is the only Spiderweb series thus far that's had a deliberate effort behind it to do any concerted worldbuilding on topics before they come up; mostly, Jeff's style seems to be to come up with the plot beats of the story, then come up with plausible in-universe reasoning behind why things must be as they are. Geneforge thus has a compelling story, but many lore discrepancies and holes, which probably won't ever be fixed.
  2. It would've been neat to see Khyryk in 5, as he's one of the most interesting characters in the series. Maybe in the remake... I don't think there's any reason to assume him dead as of 5. You last see him in 4 in the Grayghosts, on the opposite end of the continent from the events of 5; given his distaste for both major sides of the war, and his reluctance to commit himself to joining anyone, I think it's at least equally plausible that he might've set up for himself somewhere in the wilds, using his Shaping and magic abilities to hide out. He's powerful enough that I imagine he could fend for himself like that for quite a while, if he managed to stay hidden: he was able to shrug off Monarch's magic and slip out of his heavily-guarded base with ease. Alternately, he could've finally given in and formally joined the Trakovites. In this case, since they operate such that no member is generally told about the missions of other members, there's no reason Litalia or anyone else in the base would tell you about what he was up to.
  3. If you have Greta with you on Gull Island, Khyryk is the one who teaches her better spells, improving her attacks (although having Greta with you means you're rebel-aligned, and will probably end up killing him). Then, too- although this is only really evident in hindsight from 5- much of the non-Drakon rebellion must've been drifting towards Trakovitism by the time of 4, as an alternative to the Drakons' domination. So I can buy Greta as having some lingering fondness for Khyryk, even if they've happened to end up (ostensibly) on opposite sides of the war.
  4. Short answer: no. Longer answer: I'm not 100% certain, but IIRC how GF3 works is that if you help the rebels on either Harmony or Dhonal's, you can get into the center building in Stonespire and help them on Gull; whereas you don't need to have helped the Shapers before to be able to get to Khyryk and help them on Gull. And then, in either case, which side you help on Gull locks you into that side's endgame on Spears. So you can have helped the rebels prior to Gull, and pull back and spare and side with Khyryk, which will put you on track for the Shaper endgame; but then you must kill Khyryk to continue on the rebel path.
  5. There's actually a Penguin edition of the collected fiction of Lu Xun, which is somewhere near the top of the list of books I intend to read. Lao She and Ding Ling were interesting to read about, but Lu was the one who really stood out to me, reading The Gate of Heavenly Peace, as consistently, strongly, even brutally incisive, and the one whose work I'm most interested in. I also need to find a good straight narrative history of the Chinese Revolution(s), which is tricky given a) the extreme complexity of the period, b) the overwhelming focus of English literature on the Communist Revolution, short-changing the 50 years leading up to it; and c) because of b), the frequently polemical or heavily slanted nature of most of the books available.
  6. I have recently read: The Lord Darcy stories, by Randall Garrett, and the two followup novels by Michael Kurland; fun but slight. The Peshawar Lancers by S M Stirling; the same. Dee Goong An, translated by Robert van Gulik; basically the same. Caribbean, by James Michener; solid as usual with Michener, but maybe felt like he had less of a sympathy for the region (itself heterogeneous and complex) than in some of his other novels. Richard I: The Crusader King, by Thomas Asbridge; slight, as it's a pocket biography for a series of pocket biographies, but solid. The Gate of Heavenly Peace: The Chinese and Their Revolution, 1895-1950, by Jonathan Spence; basically a prosopography of the Chinese intelligentsia during the first half of the 20th century, which is an interesting angle to take, and was fascinating. The Southern Reach trilogy, by Jeff VanderMeer; a spectacular first novel, followed by a dull second and an appalling third. It's been quite a while since I've had my expectations dashed so harshly (at least by books).
  7. The QW Kickstarter ended with 2151 backers, and an average pledge of $46. Thus far, Geneforge has 1412 backers with an average pledge of $42. QW saw a few bumps in support as it neared its end, and I expect Geneforge will too; that said I'm a little surprised that it's been sort of underperforming compared to QW. Geneforge is pretty well-known among CRPG initiates, and pretty well-liked, and the basic hook of the game (stranded on an island filled with ruins and lost knowledge, shape monsters) is, I think, more attractive than the hook of QW (serve as viceroy of your mother's empire, manage vassals and forts) to newcomers. Maybe it's just the time of year it was launched (winter vs summer).
  8. It actually still hasn't even hit $50k yet. I'm pretty confident it'll hit both stretch goals, but so far it's (surprisingly) slightly underperformed compared to the Queen's Wish Kickstarter. I strongly suspect the remake will only feature the original game's nine basic creations, plus the new one. It'd take more work to integrate the three later-series creations into the game- balancing them, distributing several canisters raising the player's level in each creation's skill through the game world and balancing out that, retconning their existence into earlier in the series. Not a catastrophic amount of work, but something that isn't really necessary.
  9. It'd require a tremendous amount of kludging. Getting Avernum and Geneforge, for example, into the same setting would basically require establishing that they take place on separate continents without any mutual knowledge of each other (barring the isolated Sholai contacts in Geneforge 1 and 5, maybe), and that each society had developed in very different directions not just culturally and politically, but also in terms of science and technology (which is to say, since these are fantasy stories, in terms of magical development). The civilization of Geneforge obviously has Shaping, and more broadly advanced biological and medical knowledge, while the civilization of Avernum has advanced knowledge of teleportation, demonology, etc, which the people of Geneforge lack. There are common features between most Spiderweb series- GIFTs in both Avernum and Nethergate, demons being conceptually very similar across Avernum, Geneforge, and Avadon, magic-users tending towards being absent-minded and callous, etc- but these are more indications that these are just ideas Jeff Vogel likes and likes writing into his games. Most of Kim Stanley Robinson's novels set in the future feature a giant city on Mercury, sometimes physically visited and sometimes not, that moves around the planet on giant rails to stay in the terminator at all times; but the internal stories and histories of the novels are all incompatible, so it just amounts to being an idea he likes writing. So putting Spiderweb games in the same setting geographically would require, basically, still segregating the two settings to such an extent- basically setting them on opposite sides of a planet with no knowledge of each other, or on different planets entirely- that they would still, functionally, be separate settings. Segregating the settings by chronology instead of geography wouldn't really be practical either without enormous kludging- the geography of the continent we see in Geneforge, and of the one continent we see in Avernum, are totally incompatible, and there are no indications of either series's society in the other; so you'd have to say that one series takes place millions of years before or after the other, with tectonic drift accounting for the geographical differences, and the wear of time wiping out all indications of the prior civilization. Which is, again, basically just saying they're separate settings. Nethergate is actually trivially easy to incorporate with either Avernum or Avadon, as it takes place on Earth, but the ending features magical creatures being seeded across the timeline of some (unspecified) alternate world; it'd be easy to say that this is how the GIFTs got into Avernum, or that the Fomorians got stranded in the world of Avadon and eventually became known as ogres, etc etc. But this is also a trivial and meaningless linkage, because none of the magical creatures in those games have any knowledge of or tradition that they came from another world. So I think that that's really the only plausible way you could merge the settings for a big crossover game- explicitly situating them in alternate universes and having some way of travelling between said universes to get characters from each setting together. But you can do that with any collection of fictional settings, and it's trivial and meaningless in terms of unifying the settings or lore.
  10. I think maybe the most telling thing is that, as far as I know, every Spiderweb release (at least back to the original Avernum, not sure about the Exiles and can't check right now; so that's for at least 20 years) has had all its graphical assets in freely-accessible form, in various formats, and to my knowledge nobody has ever pilfered them, or at least not in any way resulting in a public scandal or lawsuit. I don't think most of the assets would be very useful to a thief, anyway, unless they happened to be making a 2d isometric fantasy game at coincidentally the same view angle height as a Spiderweb game. Maybe some of the portrait art would be useful. The scripts would be worthless, of course. On the other hand, the free accesibility of all the games' assets has resulted in a decent number of very good mods, even apart from Blades scenarios.
  11. I suspect there will be as few changes made to the plot and dialogue etc as possible. The RPG mechanics will probably be reworked, but the canisters are a big enough part of the game, not just as a way to learn skills absent trainers, but as a plot point and their frequent use as reward for exploration or quest-solving, that I imagine they'll probably play a basically unaltered role in the remake. It'd be a lot of work to rework it into something like the later games, where canisters are less common and less important. (Maybe the remake will make using at least one canister actually mandatory, and not just theoretically mandatory, like using the Geneforge in 4 is.) The protagonist suffering or not suffering from canister-based derangement would, I think, not really make much difference to the endings, anyway. The existing endings focused on the player character becoming power-mad and destructive all also feature them having used the Geneforge, which is more than enough to explain that sort of megalomania. There already is sort of a nonaligned ending- where you just get on the boat and leave the island without resolving the Geneforge issue. This de facto means Trajkov winning, but also resenting you for not helping him win. The story is set up so that it's not really possible for no one to win per se- even destroying the Geneforge so no one can use it counts as a Shaper loyalist victory, because that's what the Shapers would want. I don't know of any major inconsistencies between the depiction of the Sholai in 1 and plot elements in later games.
  12. EXTRAVERSION 1 (Excitement-seeking and Cheerfulness both 1... sounds right.) AGREEABLENESS 75 (But Trust 4.) CONSCIENTIOUSNESS 11 (But Cautiousness 96.) NEUROTICISM 98 (All 98 or 99, except Anger 35 and Immoderation 19.) OPENNESS 40 (Adventurousness 1, Liberalism 97. Artistic Interests torpedoed to 31 because of my lack of interest in visual art. Sad.)
  13. If FDR had died four months earlier, Wallace would've been president! And then he and LaRouche were actual candidates, but not really viable ones. Anyway: FDR HST DDE JFK LBJ
  14. Timur, Richard the Lionheart, Saladin, Philip II Augustus.
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