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I really want to finish the series...


Meri20098

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But I can't. The wide open world concept (I mean compared to EFTP and AV:CS) it just doesn't appeal to me. I feel like there's something wrong with me lol. I completed AV 4 and 5 last year but doing a second run through just feels weird. I thought playing 4,5, and 6 would help me bide my time till Ruined World comes out. Did you have trouble completing the series at all? I really want to but I just can't for some reason. I completed the Geneforge series with no problem. But Avernum? I have no clue why I can't finish it. *sigh*

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Not weird at all. When A4 first came out, a lot of people who were used to the feel of the older games had that reaction.

 

A5 generally met with less of that, since it was mostly new areas -- it no longer felt like an old, enormous world map was being crammed into little actual-size areas.

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Yep, I second what Slarty said. When I first touched A4, I was thrilled to see the new skills and traits, but when the game started, I managed to get to either Grindstone or Formello before I had to quit it. The changes were too stronk for my tender soul and it took a couple of months to start a new, and by extension a successful, run through A4.

 

EDIT: Yeah I know what you mean, Meri. There was a more raw beauty to the old style. Something that simply connected so well with the world. ^^

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I gave up on A4 when I reached the first wide open area and just couldn't continue. Between the odd placement of indoors vs outdoors and the enemies attacking from just out of range I just couldn't take it anymore.

Fast forward about a year and I went back to it and this time it was much easier to continue and I completed it.

It needs time to grow on you.

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I always rationalized it in A4 that there was a transition between outdoors and towns, that whenever I stepped out of the gate the party members were walking several miles with each step, but still at the same time the journey allowed for seeing the highly detailed world from their eyes. When the enemies attacked, I just thought that they had entered a fight mode and when the fight was over they'd continue walking by leaps and bounds.

 

There's no other way I can, to this day, think about A4-A6 and the way how they handle the game world.

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While I do agree that Avernum 4 & 6 were the weakest of the series due to the abrupt style change, I think it worked for Avernum 5.

 

That said, I do kinda hope that when Jeff goes back and redoes those because technology has passed them by, he throws up his hands and gives them an "outdoor" world. Avernum just doesn't work when it's compressed like that.

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Not gonna happen. That would require creating two entirely new sets of maps for the entire game, without even being able to use the existing A4 maps very effectively as a template.

 

Also, keep in mind that however we old fogies feel about the changes, Jeff has often said "when I look at A4, I see the game that saved my business." I'd say the odds of Jeff putting in a truly massive amount of extra work on a game that sold incredibly well as it was, to please one fraction of his demographic, are next to zero.

 

Well... I suppose there is a middle ground. You could keep the existing maps, but instead of tying them together seamlessly, just stick them all on an abstract world map as Geneforge-style zones. I'm not sure that would really make a big difference, though.

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We can all dream, or we could always start a massive project using Blades of Avernum Scenario Editor to convert Avernums 4 and 6 into the old style... :p From what little I've seen, there have been some exceptionally breathtaking fan-made scenarios unleashed into the world, which means that there are some very skilled people out there.

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I started the avernum series with avernum 4(dont ask me why) honestly its not that bad. Exploring can be a pain and you're never ready for a fight. The honeycomb is a complete nightmare. But you get used to it and the story is worth it. I guess he was trying to make the game longer in terms of playing hours. Avernum 5 is much better. Its a bit unsettling to play as a soldier of the empire but the whole new area stuff and these continous scavenger quests are awesome. Plus battle disciplines. It was a tad less chalenging but i really liked it. Replaying the series the only hard to swalow game was the sixth. My personal worst game from spiderweb. Trumps black fortress in that aspect. Had none of the good things of the old games and none of the good things from the new ones. And the story was both disapointing and sad. But all in all gotta say. 4 is worth playing you get used to it and honestly from that cave in when you get the mark you feel special. On other games you dont feel special. You're either part of an army or just another adventurer on the good side of fortune.

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Jeff has often said "when I look at A4, I see the game that saved my business."

 

Jeff needs to stop being such a drama queen about these things. "BoA almost ruined my business." "A4 saved my business." You'd think the guy cares more about his business than the artistry. Hmm, maybe he does, and that is what ruined the company for some of us, while keeping the doors open for more sub-par games for the masses.

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"Ruined the company," Salmon? Now who's being dramatic? I like the older games better too, but that doesn't mean the newer stuff is bad.

 

And while I'm not normally one to stand up for profits-over-principle... it's his job *and* his wife's job, and they have kids. So it's not even "if I screw up, I gotta go find another job" like most of us deal with; it's "if I screw up, we both lose our source of income _at the same time._" I can understand paying more attention to that. It's probably less of a thing now with steam and the backcatalogue and everything, but 10 years ago?

 

I also note that the most original, less of a formulaic "sure thing", SW games all came before the kids did. I can believe kids put some extra pressure on things. IIRC, you also changed when you became a parent, Salmon, although for some reason you just became really hostile to everyone :p

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I started the avernum series with avernum 4(dont ask me why) honestly its not that bad...

 

Agreed, it's a good game, I enjoyed it too; but the problem for people who got used to the old Exiles and Avernums is that A4's game-world is cramped and weirdly proportioned when compared to the original games. While there used to be about 30 miles between Silvar and Fort Avernum, in A4 the distance is a couple of paces; same deal with The Castle and Blosk, etc. It's like the world had shrunk all of a sudden. That was perhaps the biggest turn-off.

 

OMG we should do it!! Except I don't know the first thing about coding and scenario making :( though I can be rather tech savvy at times

 

Not to worry, there could be tasks that wouldn't require coding nor scenario making. It would be good to have someone test the beta-versions, etc. ^^ And even so, learning the 3D Scenario Maker is not an impossible task because one can see the edited world just like you'd see it in the game, making it a lot easier than the original editor.

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"Ruined the company," Salmon? Now who's being dramatic? I like the older games better too, but that doesn't mean the newer stuff is bad.

Nor does it mean it's good. He got awards for E2, E3, and Nethergate. He then stopped developing what was clearly an open-ended series and started G1. Then G2, and somewhere in there began rewriting E1-3 as A1-3. So, I guess I still feel like he abandoned a great storyline (e3) in favor of playing with some new toy (Geneforge engine) and then felt he needed that design for everything, to the point where he would rather port E1-3 than write new material. I would guess I'm not alone in saying those games were not gameplay improvements, even though they might have played on newer hardware and appealed to a wide audience because of fancy graphics. Which, that's fine, if the gameplay doesn't suffer, which it did (imho). The only reason A4 could have saved his business is because he finally took up again the series that made him believe his company was a viable concern on which to base family decisions. In 2005 or so, 8 years after releasing E3. I'm not a great businessman, but even I know that you can only hang your hat on brand loyalty for so long before you lose customers when you don't create new work. Sure, they'll come back, but that's a long time for the kids to go without bread.

 

I also note that the most original, less of a formulaic "sure thing", SW games all came before the kids did. I can believe kids put some extra pressure on things. IIRC, you also changed when you became a parent, Salmon, although for some reason you just became really hostile to everyone :p

I think if you go back you'll see I was hostile to a certain subset of mewling entitled forum members, but not most people. I also mostly stopped posting before I had kids, because I realized with the demise of TM that the steady rejection of the things I had found attractive about the community was real, and my enjoyment of the same would indeed be finite. Best to get out before I was completely bitter over the direction in which Jeff ultimately took his business. I wonder how long he can keep rewriting his back catalogue before he realizes that he could just hire it out to some starving programmers in India for a few grand in order to go back to creating new worlds.

 

Also, good to see you again. Still in Chicago?

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He got awards for E2, E3, and Nethergate. He then stopped developing what was clearly an open-ended series and started G1. Then G2, and somewhere in there began rewriting E1-3 as A1-3. So, I guess I still feel like he abandoned a great storyline (e3) in favor of playing with some new toy (Geneforge engine) and then felt he needed that design for everything, to the point where he would rather port E1-3 than write new material.

A few time discrepancies here. First, Jeff had stated he was done with Exile before Nethergate came out. I believe the actual phrase was something about "If I have to design the Tower of Magi one more time..." and he categorically ruled out Exile 4.

 

Also, A1 and A2 *both* preceded G1. Surprising but true! A2 in particular took less than a year to develop and that was in a time when a ton of stuff was happening with BoE. Then you had G1, arguably the last game that lived up to the old standard of originality. So I wouldn't say anything was stagnant then.

 

I would guess I'm not alone in saying those games were not gameplay improvements, even though they might have played on newer hardware and appealed to a wide audience because of fancy graphics. Which, that's fine, if the gameplay doesn't suffer, which it did (imho).

As much as I love and prefer Exile, those games *were* gameplay improvements. Exile's gameplay was fun, but it was incredibly unbalanced, and while Exile has replay value, basically zero of it comes from the PC/combat mechanics themselves. (EDIT: Okay, with the exception of spells and dialogue and a bunch of other stuff. But they were definitely gameplay improvements in some ways.)

 

The only reason A4 could have saved his business is because he finally took up again the series that made him believe his company was a viable concern on which to base family decisions. In 2005 or so, 8 years after releasing E3. I'm not a great businessman, but even I know that you can only hang your hat on brand loyalty for so long before you lose customers when you don't create new work. Sure, they'll come back, but that's a long time for the kids to go without bread.

I agree with the sentiments but don't think that accurately describes the situation. Prior to A4 (and G3), Jeff spent two years developing a very new thing, BoA. Even though it was a "remake" of BoE, all that effort went into making the scripting engine powerful and accessible to users. Okay, so the accessibility part maybe did not go so well :) But that was ambitious and unusual. Those two years put into BoA absolutely cannot be described as "not creating new work." Unfortunately, that new work went in a direction that didn't sell well and even more unfortunately pointed SW away from some other cool possibilities. But that wasn't being stagnant, it was just being off the mark.

 

Also, good to see you again. Still in Chicago?

You too. And, um, not in a decade. It's been a lonnnnnnng time, Salmon :)

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So, I guess I still feel like he abandoned a great storyline (e3) in favor of playing with some new toy (Geneforge engine)

I like the E3 engine (with which I'm somewhat familiar from playing BoE), and it has good writing (which I know from playing A3). And A3, at least, is incredibly fun overall, so I assume it was much the same originally. But a great storyline? The actual plot from E3 was generally pretty weak.

 

I did feel as though the second Avernum Trilogy was relatively weak and derivative compared to more or less everything else that Spiderweb has ever made (although it got better as it went along — 5 is better than 4, and 6 is better than 5). But other than that, I don't have any real complaints about the games. I liked Geneforge (on the whole), and I liked Avadon. I can't say that I cared much for the Avernum remakes, but they were driven in part by compatibility and in part by branding (making everything look the same), so I'm not too concerned.

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I do still find it interesting that the Avernum remakes were somewhat better received by people who preferred Exile to Avernum, than those who preferred Avernum to Exile. I still think AEFTP is the best thing SW's done since G4.

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I'd put AII:CS over A:EftP, but that's largely because a) it's my favorite installment in the series, and B) some of the changes put in to "bridge the gap between installments" are... extremely objectionable in my eyes.

 

But other than that, I agree. I think the latest remakes capture an uncanny blend of modern advancement and respect for their origins.

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Yeah, A2CS is good too, and Exile 2 is unquestionably my fave installment storywise. I just find that I prefer the game balance in AEFTP to A2CS... even though it's less balanced in AEFTP, it was somehow more fun. Maybe that was just because it was newer. Or maybe it's because it seems better now that it's so many years in the past ;)

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A:EftP had more new content than A2:CS for a remake and it added the choices of factions (Avernum, Empire, or Kyass) for a group of quests that hadn't been that pronounced in earlier Exile/Avernum games. Exile/

Avernum 2 and 5 had a few quests with more than one person interested in an item, but A:EftP made it significant in affecting the party's views.

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I guess I never really could care much about Kyass simply because... We all knew how that was bound to end. You work really really hard, pour all your efforts into that cause, and years later an invading vengeance army slam-dances the whole thing apart like the Incredible Hulk at a hoedown.

 

Still, I did appreciate the addition. I wish AII:CS had something that extensive, and I have high hopes for AIII:RW when the time comes.

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