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Verelor

Avernum 4 Complete Wish List

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As most Spiderweb Software fans know by now, Avernum 4 has begun to be developed and screenshots/info about the game will soon be released. Spiderweb has a terrible reputation of hardly changing anything between sequels (Avernum 1 to 3 and Blades were painfully identical), so if Avernum 4 just happens to be Avernum 1-3 with a new storyline, I'll be hecka mad and Spiderweb has officially gone sleazy corporate :-). Without further interruptions, I have written a full and complete list of what, in no particular order, Avernum 4 will hopefully feature in order to make it one of the best games ever made!

 

1.- First of all, while the Avernum/Exile series and Geneforge series both have fantastic stories (though in all fairness, Geneforge is really the better series), what the Avernum series has always lacked on was more of a choice. I beg you, Spiderweb, that in Avernum 4 you will allow the player to be able to choose from many paths, factions, or walks of life and be able to witness how your choices affect the entire game universe. It won't be a tough job, you already were able to accomplish this in the Geneforge series. If Avernum series' storylines were great before, just wait till they becoem so much fun they respond to the player! This would also add MAJOR replay value.

 

2.- I've said this one before and I'll say it again: animations! Spiderweb has always been kinda stingy with graphical work (that dern Geneforge 3 boat graphic was nearly unforgivable!). However, after 10+ years in computer game design, I expect you to be able to have graphics with actual animations. Imagine the world of Avernum 4 brought to beautiful life with animations. The easiest and most logical way to totally revamp A4's graphics would be to start with the Geneforge 3 engine and go from there. (In fact, this would be fantastic)

 

3.- Lut us play a party of 6 again, like in Exile series. Sure the party would be stronger in numbers, but if you care about balance you'd also have more people to take care of. I'm sure there must be a logical reason Spiderweb cut the party size from 6 to 4 in the Avernum remakes, so if anyone knows please tell me. This also cut any hope of Exile veterans going back with a version of their original parties to play Avernum games, unless their parties had 4 or less people.

 

4.- Even the Avernum story is starting to go a bit numb after 3 games (or 3 and a half, if you're...picky?) It'd be great if this time the story was told from a completely different angle (perhaps from the Vahnetai standpoints) in the far future from the end of Avernum 3 (80 years would be nice). (A world in the future from A3 in which the once Exiled nation is now violent and destructive and makes the rules the Empire loyalists are in turloil and on their last legs while the benevolent and distant Exalts, concerned with the good of the dying world, and include the Vahnetai, must sit and watch this occur) this would be so cool, or an equally awesome plot idea.

 

5.- A magic item creation system like Geneforge 3's would be cool.

 

6.- Another great idea would be the ability to choose a couple additional races. The Vahnetai would be a prime candidate.

 

7.- This is a problem with nearly every RPG out there, but this time around the cities should be actual cities rather than just something meant to give the impression of a city.

 

-THIS SUGGESTION HAS BEEN BURNED AWAY-

8.- Please, if it will make the game better in any way, don't hesitate to lose Macintosh compatability. If you're a Mac owner and a gamer at the same time, then you're already fresh out of luck.

-THIS SUGGESTION HAS BEEN BURNED AWAY-

 

9.- More more more spells! Amazing that as Spiderweb Software's games have only gotten bigger and better, their spell lists have only shrunk. Exile just had a veritable compendium of spells. Avernum really cut the spell lists a lot and made the progressions more linear. Geneforge 1-3 has even less spells! They took out all the funnest spells!

 

10.- Allow low-level summoning spells and abilities to not completely suck.

 

11.- New classes and skills would be good, although I have few ideas on the matter.

 

12.- Movie cinemas is a bit too much to ask from a shareware company, but at least please include cutscenes with a large picture a little more often.

 

13.- A quick access spell belt and item belt like in Geneforge 3 would be a great addition and very very easy to implement.

 

14.- The menu graphcis in Avernum 4 should be less on the funny comic strip sketch side and more on the coolness side.

 

15- This is probably out of the question storywise, but in Avernum 4 if the party's mage is of an extremely high level with exceptional Mage Spells and Arcane Lore skill and completes a very very difficult quest, he or she should be able to cast Quickfire as a spell! I know no human magician is supposed to be able to cast such a powerful spell, but the epic quest required to attain this spell could provide very special circumstances (perhaps a diety or powerful magical entity rewards the party for their benevolance by allowing them to cast this unmatched magic.)

 

16.- Some very masked and criptic Geneforge series references thrown into the dialogue could give Spiderweb loyalists the reward they deserve.

 

17.- This is something that will never ever happen no matter how much I want it to within the next 10 years, but it'd be fantastic if Spiderweb's enxt game was fully 3-d! (Yes, it's funny, but unlike most of Spiderweb's fans i've actually seen a PS1 game before :-D)

 

18.- Yet another thing that is never ever going to happen is for Avernum 4 to finally have a music sountrack. It would be a perfectly rational suggestion for any other 3-game-old series out there, but soemhow with Spiderweb Software's games music actually seems awkward. Funny.

 

19.- Insert more randomness back into picking locks, disarming traps, bashing doors down. In Avernum series it just seems like with a certain object rogues can either do it or they can't.

 

20.- From monsters to weapons to environment types, more variety of everything in Avernum 4 would be killer.

 

21.- This is something that has so little chance of ever happening I should be smacked for even posting it, but would an online Avernum be too much to ask for? Yes yes, and yes.

 

22.- The limited ability to incorperate skills of swimming, climbing, and jumping as well as the party's perceptive skills to hear or see something from a certain distance would all come together to make exploring the environments fun all over again.

 

23.- Slings were great weapons for roguish characters in the Avernum games because although they were the weakest of the ranged weaponry, they allowed the character to use a ranging ability without the costliness and weight of ammo. The ability to purchase lead sling bullets that were pricy and weighed something but were also better than using unloaded slings would be a fine and easy improvement.

 

24.- Massive army vs. army battles where each character on the battlefield is actually a unit and the characters later on can be generals in command would be an awesome detraction from the monotony.

 

25.- Other basic interface abilities such as being able to move somewhee simply by clicking on the automap and not having to move the party in perfect unison like little congo dancers (just use Geneforge's movement system) would be a vast improvement.

 

26.- The ability to dual-wield weapons (with significant penalties unless the character has high dexterity and skill in that weapon) and wear more than one ring.

 

27.- A feats system that will allow for even greater character customization (Any Dungeons & Dragons or D20 player will know what I'm talking about)

 

28.- Of couse everyoen agrees on being able to have multiple endings, but being able to choose from among multiple starting points is also a good idea. Think Nethergate.

 

29.- I can think of few things more fun than the ability, limited or not, to buy or construct your own fort in this game or take a political position in a small town or earn ranks as a general. I'm sure I am getting rabid skeptics at this point, but what could this sort of frankly awesome interaction hurt if it is OPTIONAL?

 

30.- The gender of the character should have some small overall effect upon the character. It would be much smaller impact than race choices and hardly makes a difference in the long run. If it adds to the realism and flavor without sacrificing anything, why omit genders and stat effects.

 

31.- Many different types of mounts should be available. Boats and horses and camels fit for desert travel and even elephants, which are considerabely slower but have large battle advantages.

 

32.- "Item descriptions like in the Exile games, also different weapon classes such as ..." : Mithril, Adamantium, Vahnatai-craft, perhaps a rare and powerful metal from Avernum called Avernite that has innate magical properties of it's own (dark blue would be a cool color for that). - Suggested by VCH

 

33.- "Some new military equipment for the empire army. I'm sure they could come up with some form of a scorpion or trebuchet." - Suggested by VCH

 

34.- "A new exciting race something like the Vahnatai were." - Suggested by VCH

 

Good idea. I suspect if SW does it all correctly we'll have a choice of 5 races for A4.

 

35.- "Street crime graffiti in the big cities mugging in the back alleys. More realistic to real cities." - Suggested by VCH

 

36.- Please Spiderweb please remove the Avernum level cap forever. The fact that the entire Avernum series had a level cap was pointless and some people disliked them so much they stopped playing the game. Possibly, remove levels and just allow us to gain experience (about 150) toward individual skill points.

 

If they're just graphically there and visible, cool. If they're being actively described, I don't want any of it.

 

Well there it is. A long, good list of what Avernum 4 will hopefull have in order to be a worthwhile game. I hope you buttwheelers enjoyed this because it sure took a lot of consideration and thought on my part.

 

If anyone has any questions, comments, or additional suggestions, please do not hesitate to reply and state them. If they're good enough, I might even add them to the list.

 

AND REMEMBER SW, EVEN WITHOUT ALL THESE FEATURES THE AVERNUM SERIES IS STILL GREAT.

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8) The games are developed Mac first, and more than a third of spidweb's customer base are Mac users. If anything, dropping Windows support would improve the games, since spidweb wouldn't have to waste three to four months porting each game.

 

10) I disagree - it is the high-level summoning spells that suck.

 

11) Personally, I'd prefer scrapping the classes entirely.

 

12) Blades of Avernum and Geneforge 3 have both started to add cutscenes.

 

15) This was possible in Exile (one of the many reasons that it's better than Avernum :p )

 

16) Or GIFTS, or Cordelia, or Anaximander unzipping his robe ...

 

18) Jeff has said that no spidweb game will ever have music. Play MP3s in the background if you really want it.

 

21) Yes, it would be too much to ask.

 

24) That will hopefully never happen. EDIT: Like Kel, I like battles with allies against massive numbers, but not what you describe.

 

25) Hopefully it will stay turn-based.

 

A lot of this is up in the air - it is too late to change much, and Jeff has said that Avernum 4 will have its own engine.

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IMHO:

 

1. Don't like it, don't want it. I liked the AT over the GF series by FAR.

 

2. He's doing this already. I just hope he doesn't go too far.

 

3. Don't like it, don't want it. I'll probably play with a duo anyway.

 

4. From another point of view seems unlikely. From another time, perhaps — this seems best to me.

 

5. I half-heartedly agree.

 

6. This gets requested all the time, but I don't really like the idea. The vahnatai are too different and unusual to play.

 

7. Not possible under Jeff's budget and time constraints.

 

8. They're designed for the Mac first, because Jeff primarily uses a Mac.

 

9. Yeah, agreement here.

 

10. Sort of agreed. Abilities at the moment are terrible, but low-level summoning is actually useful if you use it for the right things. High-level summoning, on the other hand, is pretty pointless.

 

11. Since Avernum has never had real classes, putting them in now seems like a bad idea. New skills may be okay, though.

 

12. You know I'm a fan of cutscenes. Well, if you play BoA. :p

 

13. I didn't think this mattered at all, but others seem to like it a lot. Eh, don't care.

 

14. Disagree here. I don't think it matters, and I'd rather that other graphics get an upgrade than ones that don't matter.

 

15. This was possible in Exile. Could be done again. Not too hard in BoA, so probably not too hard in A4. Not sure that I care, though.

 

16. Heh. I'm a fan of in-jokes. Agreement here.

 

17. Uh, no.

 

18. Yeah, definitely not.

 

19. Agreement here. I like the percentages.

 

20. Variety is always good. Agreed.

 

21. NO, NO, NO.

 

22. Uh, perhaps, but I doubt this is the direction that he's going.

 

23. Disagree. Slings should stay as they are.

 

24. Disagree. I don't even really know what you're talking about. But I loved the battle in front of the Ziggurat in A2 — large numbers of enemies both against you and allied with you, and you had to put your forces in the right places to make the biggest difference. I'd like to see that again.

 

25. Ewwwwwww. No. Please, god, no.

 

26. Hmm. Maybe. That might be interesting.

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Spiderweb software is so hopelessly conservative about designing their games... :-( Saying something like we'll never make a game with music or a 3-d game was like Metallica saying they'd never make a music video. Someday, you'll get to big for that sort of thinking. Though who am I to argue with one of the designers?

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Here goes. If I don't reply to a point, it's either because I don't find it too objectionable or because other people have mentioned it so many times that I'm sick of addressing it.

 

Quote:
Originally written by Verelor:

2.- I've said this one before and I'll say it again: animations! Spiderweb has always been kinda stingy with graphical work (that dern Geneforge 3 boat graphic was nearly unforgivable!). However, after 10+ years in computer game design, I expect you to be able to have graphics with actual animations. Imagine the world of Avernum 4 brought to beautiful life with animations. The easiest and most logical way to totally revamp A4's graphics would be to start with the Geneforge 3 engine and go from there. (In fact, this would be fantastic)

Please, no. It was bad enough when he included mines in BoA scenarios for the sake of having mines.

Quote:
7.- This is a problem with nearly every RPG out there, but this time around the cities should be actual cities rather than just something meant to give the impression of a city.
Surprisingly, having to spend hours walking through mostly residential buildings of no relevance or interest to the player is considerably less fun than a barrel of monkeys. Even if the monkeys are infected with Ebola.

 

Quote:
8.- Please, if it will make the game better in any way, don't hesitate to lose Macintosh compatability. If you're a Mac owner and a gamer at the same time, then you're already fresh out of luck.
Um. You're aware that around 50% of Jeff's customers are Mac users, right? Alienating half your audience is usually a bad idea.

 

Quote:
9.- More more more spells! Amazing that as Spiderweb Software's games have only gotten bigger and better, their spell lists have only shrunk. Exile just had a veritable compendium of spells. Avernum really cut the spell lists a lot and made the progressions more linear. Geneforge 1-3 has even less spells! They took out all the funnest spells!
Okay, this is a fair point. Not that the majority of Exile's spells were particularly useful, but still, I'm kinda sore about some of the things that were taken out.

 

Quote:
10.- Allow low-level summoning spells and abilities to not completely suck.
Create Illusions is okay if you know how to use it. Summoning is basically a defensive strategy, not an offensive one.

 

Quote:
11.- New classes and skills would be good, although I have few ideas on the matter.
Not sure about classes. Experienced players mostly use Custom anyway, and it doesn't make a whole lot of difference at higher levels.

 

Quote:
12.- Movie cinemas is a bit too much to ask from a shareware company, but at least please include cutscenes with a large picture a little more often.
Play a few of TM's BoA scenarios. Be careful what you wish for.

 

Quote:
14.- The menu graphcis in Avernum 4 should be less on the funny comic strip sketch side and more on the coolness side.
Don't be dissin' Phil Foglio.

 

Quote:
15- This is probably out of the question storywise, but in Avernum 4 if the party's mage is of an extremely high level with exceptional Mage Spells and Arcane Lore skill and completes a very very difficult quest, he or she should be able to cast Quickfire as a spell! I know no human magician is supposed to be able to cast such a powerful spell, but the epic quest required to attain this spell could provide very special circumstances (perhaps a diety or powerful magical entity rewards the party for their benevolance by allowing them to cast this unmatched magic.)
Is it really that often that you want to murder an entire town and render it uninhabitable to both you and others?

 

Quote:
16.- Some very masked and criptic Geneforge series references thrown into the dialogue could give Spiderweb loyalists the reward they deserve.
It's fun to speculate, but seriously, there's no evidence Jeff ever intended Avernum and Geneforge to be set in the same world.

 

Quote:
17.- This is something that will never ever happen no matter how much I want it to within the next 10 years, but it'd be fantastic if Spiderweb's enxt game was fully 3-d! (Yes, it's funny, but unlike most of Spiderweb's fans i've actually seen a PS1 game before :-D)
You know, not all of us play SW games purely because we're too poor to afford games with the latest fashionable engines. Some of us actually like them as they are.

 

Quote:
18.- Yet another thing that is never ever going to happen is for Avernum 4 to finally have a music sountrack. It would be a perfectly rational suggestion for any other 3-game-old series out there, but soemhow with Spiderweb Software's games music actually seems awkward. Funny.
Jeff's said that he hates music in games, so this is one of those things that's probably not going to happen. (Mind you, Exile 1 and 2 did have optional music, even if it crashed the game occasionally.)

 

Quote:
19.- Insert more randomness back into picking locks, disarming traps, bashing doors down. In Avernum series it just seems like with a certain object rogues can either do it or they can't.
Whereas in Exile you just kept trying (and reloading to a saved game if necessary) until you succeeded. I'd rather spend those 5 minutes of my life playing the game instead of casting Unlock on a stubborn door over and over again. All things considered, this is one of the things Avernum handles better.

 

Quote:
23.- Slings were great weapons for roguish characters in the Avernum games because although they were the weakest of the ranged weaponry, they allowed the character to use a ranging ability without the costliness and weight of ammo. The ability to purchase lead sling bullets that were pricy and weighed something but were also better than using unloaded slings would be a fine and easy improvement.
If you want to have a versatile Thrown Missiles character, use a sling as your main missile weapon and carry javelins for when you need more oomph. In practice, sling bullets wouldn't really add any variety to the engine that isn't already there.

 

Quote:
24.- Massive army vs. army battles where each character on the battlefield is actually a unit and the characters later on can be generals in command would be an awesome detraction from the monotony.
This would be fine if done well and obnoxious if done badly. Since Jeff isn't in the business of making strategy games, it's something he'll probably stay away from.

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7) I actually think Jeff does a very good job here - his city design for Exile/Avernum was very good (although Geneforge was a little different, but excusable).

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He's not going to incorporate a whole lot of animation because he's not an animator. You can't just do it if you suddenly feel like it. And I doubt he's going to hire one because it's too expensive. We're a greedy bunch of jerks.

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Quote:
Originally written by Tool:
We're a greedy bunch of jerks.
Absolutely! :p

But he does have small cutscenes already. There won't be huge animations in the style of — new RPGs that I don't play that have fancy graphics... Final Fantasy? — but there will be little ones, I presume.

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And complex attacking animations and such would just slow down the game without really adding much. It's not worth it.

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Hey, Jeff already proved he could do half this stuff and do it perfectly with the Geneforge series.

 

Also, I will be cutting the suggestion about the removal of mac support. Sorry about that. That one is out. Also, if I say it will never ever happen, I'm not the slightest bit serious about it, so you can ignore those.

 

Also, I am keeping the one about music because I do believe it should be there at least as a selectable option. If you think no Spiderweb game has ever had music, you should check out a little ugly duckling called Homeland: The Stone of Night.

 

On a final and not so lighter note, if a little attacking 2d animation slows down the game to the point of unplayablility, it's just plain time to upgrade to a new computer.

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Exile I and Exile II had optional MIDIs, and Homeland is not a spidweb game, it's just sold by them.

 

EDIT: not to the point of unplayability, but to the point of annoyance, yes. The attacking animations already provided are fine, but when you talk about going more in depth, a line has to be drawn.

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I think I am going to keep most of these suggestions (and addnew ones) despite all the adversity I am getting because unlike most of the people around here, I see the value of change and trying something that seems a bit out of there.

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Quote:
Originally written by Verelor:
unlike most of the people around here, I see the value of change and trying something that seems a bit out of there.
Perhaps you still need to be acquainted with Jeff's stated design philosophy: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." :p

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Quote:
Originally written by Manhood Typing Kelandon:
Quote:
Originally written by Verelor:
unlike most of the people around here, I see the value of change and trying something that seems a bit out of there.
Perhaps you still need to be acquainted with Jeff's stated design philosophy: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." :p
Oh, so by the same theory you're ok with buying the same Pokemon game for the 11th-something time?

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I still play Ultima IV. Most players of SW games remember an era when RPGs took 100+ hours of repetitive gameplay to complete -- we've grown comfortable with a certain degree of monotony.

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An RPG that takes 100+ hours to complete? Sounds great. Until you threw in the repetitive part. Why play a game for 100 hours if it is repetitive and frankly not fun? Prolong the pain?

 

Anyway, we're getting way off topic here. Someone please offer feedback on the individual suggestions or suggest new ones. I haven't got any suggestions yet. I'd much prefer them to criticism of soemthign that may not be realistically programmable on Jeff's budget but is nice to dream about.

 

And could everyone just quit with their "Animations? Strategy elements? Please God no" demeanor? It really doesn't make you look more hardcore. Well, maybe. :rolleyes:

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Quote:
Originally written by Manhood Typing Kelandon:
Perhaps you still need to be acquainted with Jeff's stated design philosophy: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." :p
You've got that all wrong. His design philosophy is more like: "If it's broke, then it ain't broke."

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Don't get me wrong. I still sometimes fondly play text adventures. Though the fact that my computer's modern Windows XP SP 2 running computer has lost most or all MS-DOS compatability limits my classic gaming options severely.

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Quote:
Originally written by Marx' Martyr:
You've got that all wrong. His design philosophy is more like: "If it's broke, then it ain't broke."
That's his customer service philosophy. :p

I'd like A4 to stay turn-based. I'd like it to involve scripts, like BoA, but I'd rather that it not go fully Geneforgized, because gosh darnit, it's an Avernum game. I'd like the villains to have realistic motives (like the vahnatai in A2, not the vahnatai in A3). I'd like there NOT to be another slith or vahnatai war. And I'd like an entirely new location — somewhere other than Valorim or mainland Avernum.

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Quote:
Originally written by Verelor:
An RPG that takes 100+ hours to complete? Sounds great. Until you threw in the repetitive part. Why play a game for 100 hours if it is repetitive and frankly not fun? Prolong the pain?
Jeff Vogel once wrote an article entitled "The Whittling Part of the Brain", which unfortunately no longer seems to be available online but summarises his position nicely. Whittling is an activity whereby one uses a knife to turn a piece of wood into a smaller piece of wood. It's time-consuming, repetitive and produces nothing useful. It's still a very popular way to pass the time.

I mean, for heaven's sake. Some people play golf for fun. Why does the idea that someone might enjoy a monotonous game surprise you?

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I dunno cause golf is a game, something you would do for fun and enjoyment, and it's....dull.

 

Also what concerns me is all these games that say they get really cool you just have to play them for awhile. I know designers work their hearts out for games, but imagine if you were starved for 2 weeks and got to eat a fantastic 5-course meal but first have to sit through a 2-hour sermon about the rigors of chewing and proper tooth cleanup after meals.

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Play what you enjoy, then -- there must be enough of it out there already. No need to try and turn things that people with different tastes play and enjoy into things that you'd enjoy more if only they were different. If a designer doesn't design what he personally would most enjoy playing, the result isn't going to turn out well anyway.

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I think it's worth pointing out that Jeff Vogel almost never visits these forums and doesn't take suggestions—even eminently practical suggestions, like fixing egregious bugs—from his customers. Besides, for everyone who wants something, someone else won't want it. Yes, that even goes for vahnatai as PCs.

 

—Alorael, who would apologize for raining on a paraded if the parade weren't all about arguments anyway.

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I think he was more pointing out that Jeff does not have much of a record of listening to suggestions at that point. The "someone will disagree with anything" was a transition.

 

But it's fun to dream, which is why people actually bother doing these Wish List topics.

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Jeff says fixing bugs is bad because people don't want to have to upgrade their game every time he fixes something.

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I'll be happy with a new engine for A4 and Jeff pushing it to the limit. Whatever he makes should incorporate some of the things done in BOA 3rd party scenarios, only better. He should totally rework the look of the game, new graphics menus etc. But then I believe he is. I quite liked the item descriptions in E1-E3 perhaps they could return too.

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Blades has spoiled me. I don't think I'll even bother playing the A4 demo.

 

If I had a wishlist, it would be something like:

 

1) Actual characters.

2) Storylines that are complex without being complicated.

3) Combat that is vaguely challenging/interesting.

 

But I don't really care.

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I'm still a gamer... I'm just a gamer who isn't playing games at the moment. wink

 

Seriously, I really do mean to get a computer and play all these scenarios that have been made since I moved, and maybe even make a scenario of my own. I just don't care about Jeff's games any more.

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Right. OK, that's maybe what YOU want. The animations of the Avernum series I find the best animations there are! I find it kind of relaxing when you know for sure that the enemy won't do anything without you taking your turn first. That is also my biggest objection against Geneforce (although the story is good). About the Mac I agrre with what the others say. if jeff wouldn't make Avernum 4 for the Mac, he would lose quite a few customers. including me!

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First off, thank you for making this thread, Verelor. It's refreshing and this board really needed that.

 

Secondly, we acknowledge that progress can be made, but we're wary, since with progress comes the potential to focus more on eye candy than on story and character development. I think from Exile to Geneforge we've seen a trend towards more 1-dimensional characters, and we tend to associate that with the modernization and newer graphics.

 

Personally, I don't think that 'more advanced' graphics make a game better. I think that the Exile graphics are better than the Avernum graphics because they help provide a real atmosphere. You feel right in the midst of your characters, rather than looking down on them from afar in Avernum.

 

And with such things as strategy elements, etc., most of us do not mind those things, but it's that they have no place in Avernum. Maybe in a new game, but Avernum doesn't need that, and I don't think that it would add much.

 

I don't think that the games are monotonous - I think that they do a relatively good job of advancing the storyline quickly while still giving many hours of gameplay. I think that increasingly similar encounters with rogues in Geneforge is definitely heading towards monotony, but in the Exile and Avernum games, there is such a large variety of everything that things never get boring. You won't fight goblins for the first half of the game and then empire archers for the second half - there are so many levels of difficulty, and the monsters get stronger as you do.

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Quote:
Personally, I don't think that 'more advanced' graphics make a game better. I think that the Exile graphics are better than the Avernum graphics because they help provide a real atmosphere. You feel right in the midst of your characters, rather than looking down on them from afar in Avernum.
I actually completely agree with you about this. Though Avernum's graphics happened to be more complicated and were isometric (poor movement), Exile's still somehow remain better after all these years (though Exile's graphics still handle some things like water, pits, ledges, etc. sort of emberassingly).

Where do you get the idea, though, that as a game's technology gets better the story and characters get proportionately worse? Let me site a good example: mostly every Final Fantasy game improved technically over it's predecessor yet looked better and better (and Jeff says he hates music in games). You SW people have heard of Final Fantasy before, right? :p Just kidding.

I am definitely still for Avernum 4 having a soundtrack. However it'd be best if it were handled this way. Let us look back upon an old gem called Lords of Magic, a several years old PC title. It had background music most of the time that didn't do the least to disturb the player (it was more that soothing, elevator type of music, but more...fantasylike). Then when a battle begins in the overworld map (and only in the overworld), like LoM Avernum 4 should have some really cool, exciting battle music, with a few alterating selections, so it wouldn't get repetitive. So everyone would be happy, Jeff would of course give us the option to just switch it off. And perhaps have A4's sounds to not be so quick, taplike, and abrupt.

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Originally written by Drakefyre:
I think that increasingly similar encounters with rogues in Geneforge is definitely heading towards monotony, but in the Exile and Avernum games, there is such a large variety of everything that things never get boring.
Need I sum up Exile/Avernum 1?

"Oh, look! There's a cave/tower/fort of bandits!"
*hack, slash*
"Oh, look! There's a cave/tower/fort of goblins!"
*hack, slash*
"Oh, look! There's a cave/tower/fort of nephils!"
*hack, slash*
"Oh, look! There's a cave/tower/fort of bats!"
*hack, slash*
"Oh, look! There's a cave/tower/fort of aranea!"
*hack, slash*
"Oh, look! There's a cave/tower/fort of sliths!"
*hack, slash*
"Oh, look! There's a cave/tower/fort of demons!"
*hack, slash*
"Oh, look! There's a cave/tower/fort of drakes!"
*hack, slash*
"Oh, look! There's a cave/tower/fort of giants!"
*hack, slash*
"Oh, look! There's a cave/tower/fort of soldiers!"
*hack, slash*
"Oh, look! There's a cave/tower/fort of golems!"
*hack, slash*
"Oh, look! I won."

Exile 2 offers something interesting until you hit Vahnatai homeland- then it's just more of the same, except you add more soldiers, hydras and some chitraches to the mix.

Exile 3 has plagues. Do you even know why this sort of thing is shouted down in BoX scenarios?

And saying that Geneforge is "nearing" monotony is like saying that our president is "nearing" conservatism. Geneforge is as monotonous as being damned to the level of hell where you are alone in a room and push a red button for the rest of eternity.

Jeff needs more spice in his games. He managed to design well until after Anwnn in Nethergate- it's not like he can't possibly do this and still make a game that sells.

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To sum up TM's post: Wonk wonk wonk.

 

I think that the Exile games were very fun. Everything you were seeing for the first time, and things changed as you went on. There is a certain thrill in sanctifying an evil altar of undead to protect Formello, and then going on to beat up a cave of Nephilim. Especially because you need to change your tactics against them. Not everything needs to be deep and insightful or radically different.

 

Quote:
Where do you get the idea, though, that as a game's technology gets better the story and characters get proportionately worse? Let me site a good example: mostly every Final Fantasy game improved technically over it's predecessor yet looked better and better (and Jeff says he hates music in games). You SW people have heard of Final Fantasy before, right? [Razz] Just kidding.
But Jeff doesn't have the means to create better graphics without losing focus on plot. I'm just talking about what's happened with his games. He's trying to do what he can't, and the gameplay is suffering while it attempts to look nicer.

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And saying that Geneforge is "nearing" monotony is like saying that our president is "nearing" conservatism. Geneforge is as monotonous as being damned to the level of hell where you are alone in a room and push a red button for the rest of eternity.
I disagree. In Geneforge 2 and 3 and even 1 every day was a new adventure. Maybe you're just bored. You might be somewhat right about Exile 1, but that was a first effort and very good for one.

Also, what is so bad about having plagues in your games? What? Valley of Dying Things was some of the best Avernum gaming out there.

Did you ahve to diss almost every Spiderweb Software game in existance in a single post?

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That's TM for you.

 

I disagree about the Geneforges - we're a bit jaded from our Blades of Exile experience (which was quite wonderful, I might add), and I found Geneforge 1 to be quite involved and interesting because it was new, while Geneforge 2 and 3 started out interesting and new, but degenerated into boring, repetitive drudgery.

 

EDIT: What an amazing run-on sentence.

 

About plagues: the monster plagues are fine in my opinion, and so is Valley of the Dying Things. They are a bit clichéd (think the Bible), but I wasn't thinking about that while trying to negotiate between the troglodytes and giants.

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If they ever decide to make a Blades of Geneforge (and by God, they'd better not call it that), that would be so great. I'd have about the only game I need for the next 2 or 3 years laugh

 

Here's to hoping SW considers the idea (which is probably too much to hope for).

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I have no doubt that they are considering BoG, and that it will be out in several years (once BoA is starting to die down).

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Several years? Hm that's enough for the release of a completely new, original trilogy (though I ahve absolutely no idea what it could be like. Horrer adventures might be a nice idea). Unless they think releasing Geneforge 4 and Avernum 4 and potentially 5 is a good idea in that period of time, which would be a very poor idea indeed.

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All I want is more spells , a bigger game, more items, the Vahnatai as a playable race and possibly more characters in the party

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Here's to Spiderweb designing Avernum 4 off of the Geneforge engine. I do think that would be perfect. Otherwise why even play Avernum 4 when Blades of Avernum has spoiled us over?

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That's what we were wondering ourselves.

 

And Geneforge 4 and 5 will definitely come - that series is nowhere near over.

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No one has designed an Avernum-style game for BoA yet. BC was sort of close, but it had less direction than Avernum and a little bit less of all the things that make Avernum good. The reason to play an A4 while BoA exists is that no one designs in the same style as Jeff, and some people like Jeff's style.

 

I do very much hope that GF4 and GF5 aren't just duplicates of GF3 and GF2. I really felt that GF1 was interesting, but GF2 was pretty much more of the same with a few engine improvements, and GF3 was yet more of the same with a few more engine improvements. I got pretty sick of the same thing over and over again by GF3.

 

I just hope that A4 does the things that made Nethergate and the AT fun. GF just doesn't do it for me, and if he makes A4 into a GF game, I'll be pretty annoyed.

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"I think that the Exile games were very fun. Everything you were seeing for the first time, and things changed as you went on."

 

Changes? Tell me, who has actually been convinced by those crummy "ruined towns"? Monster levels, I suppose, go up- and hey, you can unlock new dungeons to kill 'em all!

 

Don't get me wrong. The premise of Exile is interesting, the Vahnatai are an interesting invention, and the plagues almost sorta (but not really) had potential. All that SW sales indicate, though, is how good JV is with his "shareware cut-off" points. Beyond that, the gameplay is as rigid as one could wish and as monotonous as one is in bed, except without the entertainment value for the participant.

 

"There is a certain thrill in sanctifying an evil altar of undead to protect Formello, and then going on to beat up a cave of Nephilim."

 

Look, mommy! I'm performing eugenics for god and country! Sheesh- it's like living through every action of every RPG stereotype. If I want to do that, I may as well unzip my pants and watch back-to-back marathons of Conan the Barbarian and Zelda: Warrior Princess.

 

"Especially because you need to change your tactics against them. Not everything needs to be deep and insightful or radically different."

So 'Bless + Haste + Repel Spirit' becomes 'Bless + Haste - Repel Spirit'? Admittedly, that's as complex as most BoA scenarios have been, but that's still pretty bad.

 

"I disagree. In Geneforge 2 and 3 and even 1 every day was a new adventure."

 

Ooh! Ooh! Now that the Fyoras are dead, let's kill the Clawbugs! And then Cyroas! And Battle Alphas! Gotta kill rogues! Gotta kill rogues!

 

"Valley of Dying Things was some of the best Avernum gaming out there."

 

...

 

...

 

...

 

...

 

Next argument.

 

"Did you ahve to diss almost every Spiderweb Software game in existance in a single post?"

 

I didn't. Nethergate is fine stuff (and so is, for that matter, BoE's A Small Rebellion)- which is why I even bother complaining. JV can and has done better.

 

"About plagues: the monster plagues are fine in my opinion, and so is Valley of the Dying Things. They are a bit clichéd (think the Bible), but I wasn't thinking about that while trying to negotiate between the troglodytes and giants."

 

The trogs are probably E3's best plague. But if you'll look at the rest of it, you have the slimes which and roaches which are vaguely interesting, the giants which are one massive (no pun intented) chore and a glorified hackfest, the golems which are genuinely repetetive and include machinery because it's just gotta be there, the alien beasts are worse than the golems since their tactic is "charge and bite you", and then there are the Vahnatai, who are the black men of the Spidweb universe.

"What? Your wife was murdered? In her sleep? And there was no break-in?"

"Yeah. I saw a Vahnatai next to our bed with a bloody waveblade, muttering something about crystal souls before he teleported away."

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You know, someone can like different things from what you do without being a complete idiot.

 

We're playing computer games, here. Would you argue with someone who likes different kinds of food than you do?

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Marx' Martyr, maybe you shouldn't be playing Spiderweb Software games or most games altogether if you hate them so much. Perhaps you require an in-game genre changeup every 15 minutes but that won't work out for a small shareware games publisher. Go go far away from this discussion. Noone's even responding to the original topic anymore! Please stay on topic! Let us please get back to the original Avernum 4 dream list and not worry about whether Jeff will or will not implement the suggestions! That's why it is a simple wish list: you just suggest what you want to see or not see in the next game without worrying about the technicalities unless it's just out of the question.

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Frankly, unless you are an experienced Spiderweb junkie, you will be hard-pressed to tell the difference between a screenshot of 3 different Avernum games which game is which. This is what risk-free game design policies get us. Not even being able to tell differences between titles without close examination. Tomb Raider, Mario Party, Pokemon series to a lesser extent are all guilty of this sort of stuff. Frankly, I think the important thing is being able to make everyone happy.

 

While it is important for Jeff to stick to his artistic visions, one of the best ways to improve games and one of the worst ways not to is to design around the feedback of your fans. I believe someone mentioned earlier that Jeff almost never visits these forums, though that is an all-important step in good game design.

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