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Hello All... New Around Here


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Hi Everyone,


I am new around here and wondered about something regarding the games Geneforgeand Avernum.


Since I am just starting out and it is too costly to think about purchasing both series here are my questions.


1. What are the main differences (Game Play, Engines, Graphics)?


2. Which would you suggest purchasing and why?


3. Which will hold up longer into the future (i.e. graphics, future Windows OS, etc.)?


I am sure there are more and better questions to ask about these two series, but I leave that for you all to fill in as I am not sure.


Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

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1. Avernum is a turn-based game where you control multiple characters. In Geneforge, it's less turn-based, and you control one character.


2. I cannot speak to the merits of the Geneforge series, but Avernum has a long, epic storyline, memorable battles, and awfully pretty graphics (at least in the first three).


3. Not sure I understand the question.


Personally, I'm a devoted Avernum fan.

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1. Geneforge is about being a single person involved in large conflicts between large groups. You can tip the balance. Its morality is less clear-cut, the choices you make that affect everyone else are more numerous and more ambiguous, and that's clearly what the game is built around. Also, it's more focused on a single primary character, possibly with some created accomplices.


Avernum is a more standard fantasy. You are the good guys, more or less, and you save the kingdom and/or world. The last few games give a bit more nuance, but that's the idea. It's more party-based, less single-character-friendly, and somewhat more generic in setting, although the setting is enjoyable enough.


The earlier Avernums have their own engine and graphics. The graphics are fine, but they're not as pretty as the ones in A4-A6, which are the same as the graphics used in Geneforge. Except some people prefer the A1-A3 graphics.


2. Download the demos of at least one of A1-3, A4 or A5, Geneforge 1, and Geneforge 4-5, I'd say. Then you'll get a sense of which ones you enjoy. I happen to prefer Avernum to Geneforge. A2, A5, G4, and G5 are all excellent games, though, and the rest of the series are fine as well. You can't really go wrong.


3. Jeff is committed to making sure his games stay playable. He's already more or less promised a remake of Avernum to update the engines and graphics and keep the story playable on newer machines. Other than that, though, the later games of both series are likely to remain playable for about the same length of time. A1-3 have a slightly older engine and may give out first, but as far as I know they're still fine on all modern machines.


—Alorael, who will reiterate that you want to try the demos. There's a reason Spiderweb provides them. They'll answer the big questions, 1 and 2, for you.

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The best way to determine which series you like best is to download a demo from each series. Avernum 1-3 are very different from Avernum 4-5 (and soon to be 6), so download one from each set. You'll get a pretty good indication of the graphics, story, setting, and gameplay from that. The older games have a less streamlined engine than the newer ones, but I honestly like some of the features of the older games a lot better than the new ones.


The overall favorite games around here are A2 and G1. For newer games, G4 and A5 have also been well recieved. While you're at it, Nethergate is also a favorite game, so it's worth checking out too.


Jeff is pretty good about upgrading his games so that they work on newer systems, so that shouldn't be an issue.


Edit: Curses! Dikiyoba knew that would happen.

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Not much to add that hasn't been said, but while Avernum does have choices that you make, and that may affect the ending, they are either relatively minor, or very late in the game, meaning that the game is identical for the first 80% (disclaimer: I have only played A5 and a bit of A1 and 3). Geneforge, on the other hand, is far more open ended. The game is vastly different if you make even the slightest different choice. It is, IMO, much more engaging. The morality in pretty much grey vs. dark grey vs. darker grey vs. black- there are no "good guys" in Geneforge. The characters are much deeper, and the potential for complex moral and philosophical issues is greater. Just look at all the canisters or shaper v. rebel or creation rights threads in Geneforge, compared to the much more gameplay oriented threads in the Avernum forum. Also, the creation system add a whole new dimension to the game (again, the amount of time spent discussing Drayk vs Eyebeast vs War Trall is fascinating, and the calculations each side makes to back it up are impressive), and nicely compliments the dark setting by adding a not-so-simple question of what is human and what is not. Geneforge torment character building is an art unlike any other, compared to Avernum, where the difference between picking the premade party and a custom party is helpful, but not game breaking, where in Geneforge, you mus push the engine to its breaking point.


To summarize:




Geneforge has plot, depth, choices, and a more interesting, although more complex, system of combat and magic. It also has nicer-looking graphics (than A1-3, at least)


Avernum has a streamlined simplicity to it that many RPG's like. It also has a much more stark contrast between the two sides. Cookie-cutter morality is also popular amongst many gamers.




Geneforge's real-time movement can be annoying at times, since in Avernum you can exit combat mode, save, and reenter, while in Geneforge, you have to exitsaveenter to avoid taking tons of damage from the level which gives you 100 points electricity damage per second. It is also, IMO, more difficult at higher levels. Plot can get repetitive, though (OMG. Shapers v Rebels. And someone thinks the war is stupid. Great.)


Avernum 1-3 has bad graphics. Most people won't like them. Some do, but most are so used to 3d photorealistic graphics, this may be a turn-off. I found Avernum also rather tiresome, plot-wise, and I dislike the whole Empire vs Avernum.


Click to reveal..
The Vanhanti I loathed. They were a poor plot device initiated because Jeff was too lazy to think up a way for Avernum to not get their asses kicked by the Imperial army without turning to alien saviors. What is this, Star Wars? Oh, and they are overused in BoA, too.


Really, do you prefer a standard RPG, with a little twist (Avernum), or something much, much different (Geneforge). The choice is yours.

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The hint books are helpful and convenient, but they don't have anything you can't get in more detail online.


—Alorael, who supposes the exception might be maps. If you don't need detailed maps, though, the hint books aren't necessary, just somewhat nice.

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