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What do we have to look forward to aside from remakes?


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Yeah, I don't particularly think any of the major objectives are "weak" in their depictions or "need" to be improved. Especially not when we look at what does happen when there is an Epic Godlike Demon Death Ouroboros threatening us with certain doom and the game puts that threat front and center all game -- because, well, I just described Avernum 4. QED.

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Oh, for crying out loud. I was using "completely different" as an expression to mean, idiomatically, "quite substantially different" -- not "different in every possible way" -- which is consistent wi

I got the sense that someone was bored and found a thread on the internet.

I can't tell you how many times I played the Exile 2 demo, doing the waterfall trip every now and again. EFTP was great, but the Avernum 2 remake is really what I was looking forward to.

Exile was probably one of the first RPGs I ever played. It will always be near and dear to me, I still have disks of nearly all games released on CD. I own the Geneforge Saga, the Second Avernum Trilogy, and both Avadon 1&2 on Steam. When A2:CS is released, I plan on buying it day one. So I would be considered a fanboy of Spiderweb, and Jeff in general.

 

That said, every game is different. Exile was fiendishly difficult, I consider Exile 2 to be harder in the beginning chapters, (losing all your food in the waterfalls :( ) I've poured more hours into Exile 3 than any other game I have played.

 

Then I discovered Avernum and fell in love all over again. It took some getting used to, since the isometric environment was unusual to me and most of the mechanics were different. Still, it's a good story and I was able to fall right into place. Same with A2 and A3.

 

So my opinion is that all the games have reasons to be cherished. I look forward to A2:CS and eventually A3:RW. I would assume that somewhere in there will be Avadon 3 as well. I don't consider the remakes to be doing the same thing all over again, since you must approach each game with a new mindset and different strategies.

 

Side Note: I welcomed Garzahd's larger role in A:EftP. I think it leads to a better setup of the war. We don't know what Jeff has in store for us with A2:CS and it could be possible that Madhavi will play a larger role this time around in the 3rd game.

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If it weren't for the remakes, I probably never would have gotten into the Avernum series. I have no shame in the 120 hours I've put into A:EftP, and I'm extremely glad that the sequel is being remade. I just have to be careful with avoiding spoilers here!

 

I'd think that if you played avadon and liked it, then you'd be checking Spiderweb's other games anyhow... so I guess I don't understand where you are coming from. I missed this thread for a month... I'll check out the rest later.

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I'd think that if you played avadon and liked it, then you'd be checking Spiderweb's other games anyhow... so I guess I don't understand where you are coming from. I missed this thread for a month... I'll check out the rest later.

Yes, presumably people who like Avadon are going to go try A:EftP. But are they going to try Exile 1, v1.0? (Will Exile 1, v1.0, even work on their computers?) I'd be inclined to think most will not. So without the remakes, there would be Spiderweb games that a lot of people wouldn't try.

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I have to use Windows XP mode to run the Exile series. It's unsupported by Microsoft, so I disconnected it from allowing to access the internet in order to preserve what security I can. I've heard of using DosBox to install a Windows environment (3.1) to run older games in DosBox that required the Windows environment. It's a lot of work and requires you to have access to a 3.1 installation.

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Yes, presumably people who like Avadon are going to go try A:EftP. But are they going to try Exile 1, v1.0? (Will Exile 1, v1.0, even work on their computers?) I'd be inclined to think most will not. So without the remakes, there would be Spiderweb games that a lot of people wouldn't try.

 

This sniped my previous posts/post

 

It's kinda like, if you're a superficial gamer and started your gaming career at 2015, played all awesome, modern graphics games with all those AA FXAA stuff max ultra settings on your powerful rig. And one day, people stated that Deus Ex is 3207448 times better than Deus Ex: HR. The gamer would then check out DE, but would he even bother to play it with the combat system, or the graphics? Or maybe Thief 1 vs Thief 4, a lot of people play Thief 4, but what if Thief 1 was remade? I bet 3207448 people would play the remade Thief.

 

Last example: Elder Scroll's Daggerfall and Arena. I'm being superficial, but I don't want to play games on a DosBox or something. If Bethesda remade those two games, I would, no doubt, be tempted to play them.

 

That goes the same for Spiderweb

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If the forums ever pick up, I'll do it again. I still have a set of more pointed and interesting questions for the next time. I'm not sure we could even get 60 responses at this point, though.

 

I am pretty certain that you are right. The topic "Tell us about yourself" received 49 replies in three months, a fair number of which were from people even newer to the forums than I am, which probably makes it likely that they have not played very many of the games.

 

I remember seeing some forum activity graphs that someone did a while ago. How big was the spike after Avadon 2 was released last fall?

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He gets mention, at least in passing, in A2 and A3, but he's never in any kind of spotlight. It's a little difficult, what with him being canonically dead.

 

—Alorael, who supposes anything's possible in re-remakes. Garzahd gets a surprise cameo in A4, and maybe Jeff feels like more callbacks to old villains.

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fwiw, the old saw "jeff has to feed his family" is tiring. He could stop remaking games tomorrow, look for and find a job (any job) and feed his family. And sometimes that is what people do when the creative spark is gone and they realize that they are selling the same thing in a different package to (mostly) the same group of people over and over. Patreon would be more honest.

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It's not the same thing in a different package. That's suggesting that the game itself consists of just the story elements, and that the mechanics, including everything from party and stat mechanics to movement and spell variety, are simply "packaging." It's silly to suggest that either of those components are anything but part of the game.

 

Also, it's not the same group of people, not even parenthetically mostly. SW's customer base has expanded pretty dramatically in the time since A1-3. There are certainly a lot of players who stick around because there are few people still producing games that fit in this particular niche. And many of us have a lot of criticism for some directions some of the games have taken -- but I'd absolutely prefer the games Jeff makes, remakes and originals, with all their flaws, to having nothing at all.

 

I don't think I've heard the "feed the family" thing from SW itself in years, btw. But I mean, SW is a company, not a nonprofit. What were you expecting?

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It's probably why we won't see another Blades. He's gotta make things that pull in new customers without alienating too much of his old customer base. Blades is a great idea and all, but I don't think it met with much commercial success. Sticking with the Avernum story line, which is arguably his most successful work, is best for business. He alternates with Avadon right now, I would assume again to avoid burnout.

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Avadon was Jeff having a plot idea that didn't fit well with his other series. It allowed him a starting point with some game mechanics differences like classes that were really different from each other.

 

Jeff has mentioned he has an idea for an Avernum prequel that he might do some day.

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fwiw, the old saw "jeff has to feed his family" is tiring. He could stop remaking games tomorrow, look for and find a job (any job) and feed his family.

The creative spark obviously isn't gone, since Jeff's also doing new stuff and also adding at least a little bit of new stuff to even rereleases.

 

But he's a businessman. He's doing this for a profit and to feed his kids (and, as he has mentioned a few times in the blog, eventually send them to college). Sure, he could do something else, but his work for long enough to call it a career, and in fact his only career, is selling his own games. He's going to do it in a way that maximizes his profit. And sometimes may alienate people, it's true, but he's in it for the money and the artistic integrity comes strictly second.

 

—Alorael, who actually harbors the suspicion that despite the cynicism Jeff could not, in fact, actually manage to churn out games with no artistic/creative spark driving them. But he's definitely not unwilling to be flexible when it comes to making sure the profits are there. Because this is a business, not (just) a labor of love.

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Jeff has mentioned he has an idea for an Avernum prequel that he might do some day.

Jeff mentioned that many years ago -- like a bit after Avernum 4 came out, I believe, so 2006. He was also talking about wanting to do a humor-based RPG lampooning the genre, back then. I can't cite it, but I believe he's said more recently that he doesn't think those ideas are likely anymore.

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Jeff does seem to be burning out, but as long as he can make money doing remakes, he seems to be reducing new content. After Avadon 3, I don't see him doing a new game series.

Based on what? He's slowing down, but Avadon 2 doesn't really seem like a burned-out game.

 

—Alorael, who hates to prognosticate too much on what Jeff may or may not do some 2-3 years in the future. Or more, if Avadon ends up as more than a trilogy,

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Based on what? He's slowing down, but Avadon 2 doesn't really seem like a burned-out game.

 

—Alorael, who hates to prognosticate too much on what Jeff may or may not do some 2-3 years in the future. Or more, if Avadon ends up as more than a trilogy,

 

well i mean, based on the fact that he's been complaining about burnout for pretty much as long as he's had a blog, for one thing

 

on the other hand that also means he's not burning out especially fast. still, he's expressed doubt over whether he has another new series in him

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With his pace slowing down, he definitely faces a business decision. Does he devote the time and energy to creating a new series or does he focus on remakes. Going with the assumption that the Exile 3/A3 remake will follow Avadon 3, that puts him into mid 2017 or so to start his next project with a release date of late 2018. If the Exile remakes have been selling well (he will have a good idea from A:EFtP and A:CS, then it would probably be worth remaking A4-A6 which will be 12+ years old at that time to continue the Avernum story with the new audience that he has acquired. He could alternate the A4-A6 remakes with either a continuance of the Avadon series or by remaking Geneforge (by then 16 years old) for another 10 to 15 years which gets him pretty much to the end of his career. From a business perspective, he has a pretty good idea about the profitability of the Exile/Avernum remakes and Avadon games. He has less data on how profitable a new game would be (he can use Avadon as a basis, but a new series is always risky) and far less data on a Geneforge remake.

 

Without seeing his books, I have no idea what the best path would be, but based on the fact that he is staying in business and not complaining about lack of money despite his slower release schedule, what he is doing now seems to be working.

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Yeah. I can think of a few other considerations. For one thing, there's the question of how playable the older games are. G1 needs an interface lift for sure, but what computers will it run on? I think it will still run on current generation Macs and PCs, right? That puts it in a different category from A1-3, at the moment, but maybe that will change.

 

Another consideration is remake-flak. This may not be a big deal, but it would no longer present as "remaking the aged but classic flagship series while releasing new Geneforge or Avadon games," but rather "remaking everything instead of releasing new games." I could imagine a negative reaction that might make it into reviews, etc.

 

I could see maybe alternating 2 remakes with 1 new game, though, particularly since the remakes will probably be a lot less work for games made with the Geneforge/SecondTrilogy engine. (See also how quickly the N:R remake was pumped out, despite being very high in quality -- having the right data formats must have helped immensely.)

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I could see remakes to make them playable on tablets since most of the other games are still playable on current computers. He's got demand and should find third parties that would help him port the existing games to more platforms. Jeff could concentrate on content and leave the mechanics to others.

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(See also how quickly the N:R remake was pumped out, despite being very high in quality -- having the right data formats must have helped immensely.)

Similarly, Jeff Carbonized the original Avernum Trilogy when OS X came out and didn't even both to call it a remake. If it's just about tinkering with the internals a bit, it really is just a new version of the same thing, not a remake with new graphics and new mechanics and such (compare Avernum v1.0 -> Avernum v2.0 to Avernum v2.0 -> A:EftP). Thus, to the extent that the early GF games have compatibility problems with newer computers, he doesn't really need to do wholesale remakes as he did with Avernum. GF1 is a little graphically crude, and has a little bit of a crude interface, but I don't see the point of redoing the internal game mechanics or introducing a new interface.

 

In other words, other than porting, I don't see a future for Spiderweb in remakes after Avernum 3. Given a few years (which is what he has), I bet Jeff can come up with enough new ideas to create a new storyline in a new world (or in an old one, maybe). And I bet it will be pretty good.

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While A4-6 are playable now, they may not be 3-4 years from now which is when he would be able to start a remake. It would also have the benefit of keeping the people who have been purchasing the remakes but who are not hardcore SW fans. An updated GF1 may very well attract new fans to the series and to SW. I wonder how many copies of the old games do they sell in a month? Do the people who have purchased A:EFtP or Avadon 1&2 as their first SW games make very many purchases in the older part of the SW catalog?

 

He definitely could pump out more games if he were to contract out the remakes and the porting, the question there is if there is enough profit in his games for him to do it. This would allow him to create more games, but he may perceive it as riskier financially.

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Do the people who have purchased A:EFtP or Avadon 1&2 as their first SW games make very many purchases in the older part of the SW catalog?

There are the players that have played earlier games and didn't know the company was still in business that go back and fill in some of their missing games, at least when they post here. Then there are the ones that buy because they like the game genre, but some are waiting for remakes.

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There are the players that have played earlier games and didn't know the company was still in business that go back and fill in some of their missing games, at least when they post here. Then there are the ones that buy because they like the game genre, but some are waiting for remakes.

 

The first line probably describes me as this is the third time in the last 18 years that I have played SW games and I have purchased some of the missing games. And I know that Jeff does indeed sell copies of the older games every month, I am just curious as to how much Avadon and the Exile re-remakes serve as a gateway to the rest of the catalog.

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Yes, presumably people who like Avadon are going to go try A:EftP. But are they going to try Exile 1, v1.0? (Will Exile 1, v1.0, even work on their computers?) I'd be inclined to think most will not. So without the remakes, there would be Spiderweb games that a lot of people wouldn't try.

 

Why would they try to play Exile when Avernum is the more modern remake that works fine on current systems?

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because exile doesnt have silly isometric crap, it has better spells, 6-player party, and really is infinitely better in all ways.

 

new is not always better y'all

 

According to people here, it also doesn't work on modern machines, and the already done remake does. Are the new remakes going back to the old spells or party configuration? If not, then I don't see the argument here.

 

He can add some more spells and 2 more party members, but for me personally, I've been there and done that already. Minor modification isn't enough for me to play through it again.

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While there are a number of details and a measure of depth that was lost in the translation (particularly in the detail and diversity of items and spells) there are definitely improvements enough in the remakes to make up for it.

 

I'll always maintain that the bottomless junk bag is one of my favorite things to come out of Spiderweb as a whole.

 

Infinite carrying capacity? That sounds like a damned, dirty cheat. Then again, years ago, so would automatic healing and "resurrection" at the end of every combat. Now there's no need to haul around massive piles of healing potions and other restoratives around, pay out the nose when combat goes wrong to undo that unhappy string of critical hits…

 

Is it realistic? Oh hell no. Is it convenient? Does it add to the game? Could more developers learn from this idea? Definitely.

 

Someone, sometime, somewhere, said that the downtime between combat where you're forced to sit around sucking on health lozenges or whatever, doesn't really add to a player's enjoyment. Years later, it seems Jeff likewise came to the shining realization that having to make multiple trips back and forth between Dungeon Whatever and the Pawn Shop doesn't help matters either. This is one of those things I think we all knew in the depths of our subconscious, but were too afraid to deviate from the established rules that implement, nay, demand a minimum amount of tedium in such things.

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I'll always maintain that the bottomless junk bag is one of my favorite things to come out of Spiderweb as a whole.

 

Back in the 90s computer RPGs tried to make their inventories marginally more "realistic" by giving items volume in addition to weight. In the case of Ultima 7 this meant that you couldn't jam three suits of full plate armor into your backpack even if you could carry it. (So just wear a full size treasure chest on your back.) In Might and Magic 6 this meant that each object occupied a certain 2d array of squares. Inventory management reduced to solving a 2d packing problem.

 

Inventory in all these cases, including Spiderweb games that predate the junk bag, can be reduced to the knapsack problem -- each item has a value, and when your inventory is full, you need to decide what to keep and what to pitch to optimized your stored value. NP-hard problems can be made into fun games, but with inventory management, it just feels like work to me.

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Back in the 90s computer RPGs tried to make their inventories marginally more "realistic" by giving items volume in addition to weight. In the case of Ultima 7 this meant that you couldn't jam three suits of full plate armor into your backpack even if you could carry it. (So just wear a full size treasure chest on your back.) In Might and Magic 6 this meant that each object occupied a certain 2d array of squares. Inventory management reduced to solving a 2d packing problem.

 

Inventory in all these cases, including Spiderweb games that predate the junk bag, can be reduced to the knapsack problem -- each item has a value, and when your inventory is full, you need to decide what to keep and what to pitch to optimized your stored value. NP-hard problems can be made into fun games, but with inventory management, it just feels like work to me.

 

I remember this in an old game called Castle of the Winds - Exile styled grid scrolling gameplay (with graphics that made the original Exile's graphics look like the revision's graphics in terms of quality) in a Diablo-esque mono-dungeon form for the most part. The interface was pure Windows 3.1.

 

It had its charms to be sure - belts with specific storage capacities made me feel like a viking version of Batman, for instance. Unfortunately, that exact "I'm wearing a treasure chest!" nonsense you describe is pretty much what its volume/weight/bulk inventory boiled down to.

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Hey, I remember Castle of the Winds!

 

I also think of Diablo 2, where different belts allowed for more potions to be stored in a type of quick slot, and once you got the Horadric Cube, it could hold another 3x3 space worth of items.

 

I prefer a weight system, even if it is inconvenient.

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It's not the same thing in a different package. That's suggesting that the game itself consists of just the story elements, and that the mechanics, including everything from party and stat mechanics to movement and spell variety, are simply "packaging." It's silly to suggest that either of those components are anything but part of the game.

 

Also, it's not the same group of people, not even parenthetically mostly. SW's customer base has expanded pretty dramatically in the time since A1-3. There are certainly a lot of players who stick around because there are few people still producing games that fit in this particular niche. And many of us have a lot of criticism for some directions some of the games have taken -- but I'd absolutely prefer the games Jeff makes, remakes and originals, with all their flaws, to having nothing at all.

 

I don't think I've heard the "feed the family" thing from SW itself in years, btw. But I mean, SW is a company, not a nonprofit. What were you expecting?

I don't expect a business to make it personal, which is what "feed my family" does. And while you may find that the difference between A1 and A1(v2.0) is significant, I don't. Arguing opinion is difficult. It's the same story, and although the chapters are altered slightly, I know where the story is headed, I know what steps need to be taken to progress, including the sidequests and the out of the way significant stops like "ancient battlefield" and the value of "bag of sugar". I agree that there is some value in re-reading a book, when it's the same copy. But I'm not likely to purchase a 2nd edition when I already have the first.

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We can pretty objectively say that the story elements are nearly identical, and also that the game mechanics are completely different. We can also pretty objectively say that story elements and game mechanics are both major parts of RPGs. I can totally understand your opinion, but there's a difference between saying "I have no interest in a game with a recycled story, like this one" and "I have no interest in v2.0 of an existing game, like this one." One of those statements is clearly accurate and one of those statements is at odds with how everyone else uses those English words. *shrug*

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