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Bladel

Decision system, battle system

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Amuse and company come from French, and as is typical in French the a- prefix doesn't mean "not", it connotes direction or cause: "to make one muse" -- a distraction or a diversion.

 

In case it wasn't clear, though, I was lamenting the _loss_ of the fantastic in RPGs.

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Originally Posted By: Excellence of Being Prudent
I'd say it's in large part a post-Baldur's Gate II development. That was a game that let you pursue romances with party members. It was also probably the most sprawling RPG ever made. Its successors have tended to be more tightly focused, and they also generally want you to see more of the content. The result is that rather than being able to have romances, you're often able to stumble into romances by accident.


So true. Dragon Age bored me with constant flirting from party members and random NPCs. I've heard about my PCs good looks all the time. And the concept that people will want to sleep with you if you are not a total jerk is... strange. I didn't want anybody from party - guys, we have to save the world, everything else can wait. So I couldn't talk to anyone without loosing their loyalty. The same for Mass Effect.

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Originally Posted By: Sage of Numenor
Amuse--Greek.

No, the verb really does come from French. The Greek word is not muse, it's mousa; that gives us the nine Muses as well as music, because in Greek it either refers to the Muses specifically, or to music and song. So even if "amuse" came directly from Greek (which it didn't) you couldn't interpret it as "to not think," it would be "non-musical."

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Slarty, I thank you for defending the loss of the fantastic and fanciful. It seems like so many games today are focused on earning adjectives like "modern," "gritty" "dark," and "realistic." Alas. frown

 

 

Also, huzzah for refuting false etymologies! laugh

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Originally Posted By: Sell thy trowels
Again, take a look at BioWare, Slarty. Its D&D-based games have some very tactical, or at least strategic, thinking. Mass Effect may be a first-person shooter in RPG clothing, but Dragon Age proudly carries the tactical banner. So does Fallout 3 despite its shooter trappings, I hear, although I haven't played it myself.


If you play as an Adept, ME2 is far more tactical than Dragon Age is. The physics and positional system really shines when you have a controller play style (Singularity is the greatest power ever). Dragon Age works okay as a controller -- there are many, many variations of immobilization spells -- but I found myself getting into the one-two punch of "cone of cold"+"shattering attack" so often that it became repetitive.

Fallout has zero tactics, and is far more shooter than RPG. From a design standpoint, the VATS system is an utter failure. There is never any reason to do anything other than a headshot in VATS; the percentage to hit is similar and it takes just as long to immobilize a limb as it does to kill them with head shots. There are no controller abilities at all. And as a final insult, you are penalized for having a companion (because XP goes to the person who made the kill), so the game incentives you to solo as much as possible. However, flanking is the only type of real tactics you can have in a pure shooter, so this kills any last chance they had for tactics.

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Originally Posted By: Walker White
Fallout has zero tactics, and is far more shooter than RPG. From a design standpoint, the VATS system is an utter failure. There is never any reason to do anything other than a headshot in VATS; the percentage to hit is similar and it takes just as long to immobilize a limb as it does to kill them with head shots.


to be fair this was true about 90% of the time in fallout 1 and 2 as well, once you got a decent amount of combat skill

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Originally Posted By: Bladel
Gameplay. Similar system: you decide who's in your party and after that you levelup them on the same scheme of development, no surprises, no second thoughts, all the choice is like "will I rise Endurance now and Melee later or vica versa?" And you'll get either +3% HP or +5% to-hit, you don't feel like you've changed something.

Now I want to see a game in which your attributes are all tied to things you say, decisions you make, your current mood - basically anything but murder.

Originally Posted By: CRISIS on INFINITE SLARTIES
All this technology, now, the capability to make games that deliver the same kind of shining experience as the best films -- and we get Grand Theft Auto.

The slaughtering of fantasy, 6:21 through 14:14 here:

Originally Posted By: Triumph
Slarty, I thank you for defending the loss of the fantastic and fanciful. It seems like so many games today are focused on earning adjectives like "modern," "gritty" "dark," and "realistic." Alas. frown

Nonsense. Like any other sort of media, video games present diverse environments, scenarios, and attitudes. If you think that Grand Theft Auto is representative of the industry as a whole, or that there's something inherently wrong about 'dark' or 'gritty' games even existing, then you really need to get out more. There's a whole wide world of "fantastic" games, though I suppose if you're a cynic (and I lament the perversion of the term - alas) you'll have a hard time seeing them.

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The problem that I see it is that old-school RPGs are still trapped in this archaic "head-on combat" style of play. By that, I mean that the basic gameplay is designed to focus on a single encounter where all of the enemies are fully engaged against you.

 

When I think about the way I play pen-and-paper RPGs, this is about as far away as you could possibly get from my play-style. My group plays infiltration-style parties with no tanks. Combat (when it happens) consists of carefully designed ambushes, together with distraction techniques that get the enemies to move about the fortress/dungeon/generic-level exactly as we want them to.

 

In fact, when I think about combat in my pen-and-paper RPGs, it much more resembles what you would see in the modern stealth games Assassin's Creed or Splinter Cell. You pull guards toward you with sound or an enticing dead body, or send them away with a similar distraction.

 

Jeff has been sympathetic to stealth as a play style in the past, particularly with Geneforge. However, his stealth abilities have largely been restricted to "do not get detected." Anything else -- such as setting up an ambush or creating a distraction that moves guards to another area -- has to be heavily, heavily scripted. The beauty of the modern stealth games is that they show that this type of gameplay can be emergent without the need for scripting.

 

What I would like to see is for the non-scripted gameplay from modern stealth games to find its way into old-school RPGs. Seriously, if you look at AC2 -- which has side missions, upgrades, inventory system, and a BioWare-style power wheel -- the only thing keeping that game from being classified as an RPG is that the fact that there is no player-controlled dialogue. If you stuck a conversation wheel in AC2, it would be every bit as much an RPG as anything BioWare has put out in recent memory.

 

In my mind, this is what we need to break out of the tank-oriented doldrums. Tanks are what you use to locally distract enemies because you were not careful enough to distract them ahead of time, and could not set up an ambush position to protect your DPS units. If we had more control over how the combat is set-up in the first place, this would allow for more interesting tactics.

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Re: Thricebornphoenix:

 

Don't combine arguments: I have no problem with games that are modern, or dark, or gritty. My complaint is the replacement of imagination and fantasy with sensualized violence and sex. Or to put it another way:

 

"Fantasy is true, of course. It isn't factual but it is true. Children know that. Adults know it too, and that is precisely why many of them are afraid of fantasy. They know that its truth challenges, even threatens, all that is false, all that is phony, unnecessary, and trivial in the life they have let themselves be forced into living. They are afraid of dragons, because they are afraid of freedom." Ursula K. LeGuin

 

The key element isn't a medieval or a modern world, a bright or a gritty one, a light-hearted or a dark one; the key element is the thread of enchantment, of parallel truth, that underlies the whole setup. Shadowrun was ultramodern, ultragritty and fairly dark, but it had those things too. Are they still around in today's games? If yes, then please correct me: it just doesn't seem like it.

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Originally Posted By: CRISIS on INFINITE SLARTIES
The key element isn't a medieval or a modern world, a bright or a gritty one, a light-hearted or a dark one; the key element is the thread of enchantment, of parallel truth, that underlies the whole setup. Shadowrun was ultramodern, ultragritty and fairly dark, but it had those things too. Are they still around in today's games? If yes, then please correct me: it just doesn't seem like it.


honestly this just seems to me like nostalgia on your part, i'm still not clear on what you think old games have that new games don't

is it possible that you're just growing out of games in general? i mean when was the last time you even finished one

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But how about the Elder Scrolls series?

 

Not that I have something to say about it. Just thought it was a nice addition to the RPG-talk maelstrom you have here.

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"And the concept that people will want to sleep with you if you are not a total jerk is... strange."

 

Really? Because I feel like this happens a great deal in real life. Particularly to women, but men are by no means exempt. Heck, some people want to sleep with people who are total jerks (despite, because, or a bit of both, depending on the specific case). Simply put, people not infrequently fall in love/lust for pretty stupid reasons.

 

Also, while I'm somewhat sympathetic to the 'we have to save the world, no time for love triangles' idea, that is not how it has traditionally played out in most fantasy/space opera fiction, for better or worse. The focus on sex is new, but the idea of people falling in love while saving the world is absolutely not. And really, it's easy to see how such situations would encourage that sort of thing as much as discourage it: as comfort and solace to detract from the stress and grief of the adventuring life, the potentially sexy exhilaration of being caught up in a thrilling, dangerous, and important mission, or simply the hope, in the face of mortal danger, to not die alone and unloved.

 

Also, I can't speak for the Mass Effect series, but in KotOR and Dragon Age there are definitely ways to be nice to one's party members while keeping things platonic.

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Originally Posted By: FnordCola
Also, while I'm somewhat sympathetic to the 'we have to save the world, no time for love triangles' idea, that is not how it has traditionally played out in most fantasy/space opera fiction, for better or worse. The focus on sex is new


tell that to robert a. heinlein

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The point I meant to get across was that in video games in particular the focus on sex was new (aided by realistic graphics and voice acting). Of course, reading back over what I said, said statement didn't actually convey that. Apologies.

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Originally Posted By: Lilith
Originally Posted By: FnordCola
Also, while I'm somewhat sympathetic to the 'we have to save the world, no time for love triangles' idea, that is not how it has traditionally played out in most fantasy/space opera fiction, for better or worse. The focus on sex is new


tell that to robert a. heinlein


or I.Y. Asimov, or A. C. Clarke.

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In all those games mentioned, I would hardly say there is a focus on sex. It's a small part of a much larger game, and you can play the game without ever romancing anyone. It's a side quest, no different than fighting in the Spire arena. Which may result in a 30 second cut scene tamer than Cinimax After Dark.

 

I think obsessing over this as some harmful new focus in CRPGs is like walking into a forest, pointing at a rock and saying "SEE! All forests are about rocks these days!"

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Originally Posted By: dave s
"SEE! All forests are about rocks these days!"
They certainly are if its cavewood in Avernum. tongue

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Originally Posted By: dave s
In all those games mentioned, I would hardly say there is a focus on sex. It's a small part of a much larger game, and you can play the game without ever romancing anyone. It's a side quest, no different than fighting in the Spire arena. Which may result in a 30 second cut scene tamer than Cinimax After Dark.


Let me go back a few posts:

Originally Posted By: Lilith
well i wouldn't say a major part in terms of the amount of play time you spend attempting to do so, but yeah most western rpgs and a few japanese ones let you mack on various party members or other characters (and the japanese ones that don't will usually just set the protagonist up with a specific character instead)

it's got to the point where lgbt groups get up in arms when a game doesn't include at least one gay option for both male and female PCs (seriously, some people got very angry when they found out that the option for a male PC to date Kaidan was cut out of Mass Effect late in development)


No one has argued that sex has become the focus of games, but it's become an element of a lot of successful RPGs. That's like walking into a forest, pointing at a meadow, and saying, "SEE! All forests have mdeadows now. There's nothing wrong with it, but why are meadows in every forest now?"

Quote:
I think obsessing over this as some harmful new focus in CRPGs is like walking into a forest, pointing at a rock and saying "SEE! All forests are about rocks these days!"

I'm also not seeing the value judgment. The consternation seems to be over the prevalence, not the perniciousness.

—Alorael, who perhaps sees it as a trend towards having player characters be more than generic, silent ways for the player to interact with the world. Now those characters also interact with the world and the people in it.

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There are a few other posts that play up the sex a lot more. I just don't feel like messing with the quote system.

 

But that aside, I grew up playing Dragon Warrior, Final Fantasy, Ultima and other "old school" rpgs. I've got a rich background in western and jrpgs. And still enjoy them both. While Avernum certainly feels like Ultima, I don't think the modern RPG has really shifted focus or lost anything, even with shifts to real time combat.

 

Elder Scrolls contains much of the same open world feel as Avernum. Even more freedom really as Avernum often has plot devices for keeping you from exploring everything right away. Not to mention the skill-leveling system where you gain ability in the skills you use. I think that more than anything really increases immersion.

 

Bioware games have decision systems very similar to SW games. With a main storyline you have to do, but many ways to get there, again often more options than Avernum. Maybe not as many as Geneforge, I never played those games.

 

Now, going back to an earlier topic, that of a decision system that matters. I could envision such a game, where a few key choices drastically alter game play from that point onward, to the point of where you go, what you do, how the story unfolds. It would take either more development time or more likely, shorter scenarios. Phantasy Star III is probably the closest to this I've ever seen in a game. Usually you just get the same set of missions, but maybe in one you defend a fort in another you take the fort, or something where you are one side or the other. To make it really worth it, you'd have to have completely different missions, maybe even completely different goals that lead to completely different places based on your choices.

 

I know, I'm dreaming there, and considering I don't make games, I can't talk. But I can wish.

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i can think of a few RPGs where you can totally alter the course of play through your decisions, but they're mostly SRPGs. it might be harder to do the same in a conventional RPG for various reasons

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Originally Posted By: dave s
Now, going back to an earlier topic, that of a decision system that matters. I could envision such a game, where a few key choices drastically alter game play from that point onward, to the point of where you go, what you do, how the story unfolds. It would take either more development time or more likely, shorter scenarios. Phantasy Star III is probably the closest to this I've ever seen in a game. Usually you just get the same set of missions, but maybe in one you defend a fort in another you take the fort, or something where you are one side or the other. To make it really worth it, you'd have to have completely different missions, maybe even completely different goals that lead to completely different places based on your choices.

I know, I'm dreaming there, and considering I don't make games, I can't talk. But I can wish.

You could always make that wish come true and pick up one of the Ogre Battle games. :3

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Also frequently known as tactical RPGs, which often makes much more sense. Of course, if you want decisions that alter the course of the game from that point forward, you really are discussing strategy rather than tactics.

 

—Alorael, who wants to see a game in which the player character is a general commanding troops, but also with personal stats. Having to have the wits to realize the fatal flaw in another general's battle plans and the physical fitness to run quickly enough to give a messenger that critical information in time would add an interesting new dimension to strategy games!

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Originally Posted By: Absolutely Peerless Broth

—Alorael, who wants to see a game in which the player character is a general commanding troops, but also with personal stats. Having to have the wits to realize the fatal flaw in another general's battle plans and the physical fitness to run quickly enough to give a messenger that critical information in time would add an interesting new dimension to strategy games!


King's Bounty: The Legend sort of counts, except that your stats mostly just affect how your army performs in combat.

you should still play it though

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Originally Posted By: Absolutely Peerless Broth

—Alorael, who wants to see a game in which the player character is a general commanding troops, but also with personal stats. Having to have the wits to realize the fatal flaw in another general's battle plans and the physical fitness to run quickly enough to give a messenger that critical information in time would add an interesting new dimension to strategy games!


Then you should definitely check out the Dominions series. smile

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Battle For Wesnoth has elements of this. The main character in each campaign both recruits an army and is usually one of its stronger combat units. Makes for some interesting strategic decisions, especially in smaller missions, since the hero can add substantially to your force's strength in battle, but also causes a game over if s/he dies, and can only generate more troops from certain terrain types (keeps), which are usually far from the action.

 

It's also completely free, which is a plus.

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You have missed both sarcasm and the point. King's Bounty and Dominions both give you a character who is more like a customization of the army as a whole. Battle for Wesnoth just treats the leader as another unit type, which is absolutely not what I was going for.

 

Imagine a game in which you design one character, much like the beginning of many RPGs nowadays, but instead of going out and slaying foes you mostly stand towards the rear of a battle by a command post and send out orders and receive information, or maybe you sometimes climb hills with a spyglass or peer into a crystal ball. It's roleplaying, but instead of playing a hero you play a general.

 

I'm not sure it could be done in a way that was fun, but it certainly could be an interesting section in an otherwise standard RPG. Some games come close, but I've never seen anything that was actually more than a small flowchart of decisions.

 

—Alorael, who doesn't want to be given games that don't involve actually being a single character, or at most a party, who have a physical location in relation to the troops they command and who may deliver whatever instructions they would like whenever they want to deliver them, and who must also give the necessary commands to receive new information with which to continue giving useful orders.

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It's also completely free...

 

don't you hate it when the're is this GREAT NEW GAME that's free...only...you need to pay this green stuff for it.

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i think he was actually griping about the difficulties of posting with a psp, which for all its many virtues does in fact have the worst web browser on Earth

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Actually, Waterloo looks very close to what I'm imagining.

 

—Alorael, who is impressed. by either your knowledge of games or your search-fu. Maybe both.

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It's more a statement of my age. I had Waterloo on my Amiga, and it was actually a lot of fun - even though I kept losing because I didn't understand what's going on. wink

 

I'd love to see a remake, actually. Maybe in the time while waiting for Avadon? tongue

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I think the closest non-strategy RPG to what I'm looking for in how decisions affect the story and gameplay is in Phantasy Star III. At the end of each chapter you pick a wife. That determines the plot for the next chapter, including which character you start the next chapter with, where you start, the fate of other cities, the order in which you find different locations, which companions you can recruit, etc...

 

Too bad the actual gameplay is boring and the plot isn't actually all that good.

 

But the idea behind it, it's something I haven't seen since and have always longed for. I think Spiderweb games could easily lead themselves to such a system, it just would take a lot more dialogue and writing on Jeff's part, which considering he is an indie game developer for a niche audience, I can't see the time needed justifying the result.

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Originally Posted By: FnordCola
Battle For Wesnoth has elements of this. The main character in each campaign both recruits an army and is usually one of its stronger combat units. Makes for some interesting strategic decisions, especially in smaller missions, since the hero can add substantially to your force's strength in battle, but also causes a game over if s/he dies, and can only generate more troops from certain terrain types (keeps), which are usually far from the action.

It's also completely free, which is a plus.


Because I didn't have enough to do already, I am now addicted to that game. Thanks.

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