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"The End of Blades" Discussion


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The time has come. Blades has been host to great minds and innovators, but now the community is moribund. One of the last vessels of creativity and inspiration in cyberspace is but a fleeting memory. The demise of Blades was long foretold and is now at hand. All things must die, all circles must close, and Blades has reached its silent end.

 

This will be the topic of the next (and perhaps the last) Blades Chat on Saturday, February 18 at 6 pm EST.

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My perspective will be, as it has always been, that those who talk about the end of Blades will always be around, just as Blades will always be around. I say this now because I probably won't be home until 9:30 EST at the earliest, and I want my point of view (that a short lull in the release of scenarios does not signal the death of the medium) to be well-known.

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Quote:
Originally written by *i:
The time has come. Blades has been host to great minds and innovators, but now the community is moribund. One of the last vessels of creativity and inspiration in cyberspace is but a fleeting memory. The demise of Blades was long foretold and is now at hand. All things must die, all circles must close, and Blades has reached its silent end.

This will be the topic of the next (and perhaps the last) Blades Chat on Saturday, February 18 at 6 pm EST.
My sarcasm detector is giving me strange signals, but I never knew *i to be sarcastic. Is the detector functioning correctly?
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2 have been being made since the dawn of time, if you want to go by that. One is mine, and it just passed its fourth anniversary back in October. The other is Drakefyre's, and it was already ancient when I joined this place.

 

So if you go by that, Blades is never going to die. In a manner of speaking.

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I doubt they'd put BoE as open source, but if they madeit open-source to a bunch of designers who want to upgrade it, but let JV still sell it, it would benefit both the community and JV. I still playBoE, even though it's outdated, but, like others, I think a patch (or totally re-done version) is well in order.

 

- Archmagus Micael

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If Jeff would bother at all, he might possibly release the source of the scenario editor, since that is a free tool not connected to the paid program - he did the same for BoA after all.

 

However, since the game is equally buggy, it is not clear how much this would change.

 

Except that editing could become a whole lot more convenient if tools like a better dialogue or node manager were built into the editor.

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For those who missed it, Jeff is actually considering releasing the source someday.

 

And Blades just isn't going to die. I'm still making my scenario, and others are still working on theirs. The most important thing that any of us can do to keep Blades alive is finishing a scenario and releasing it.

 

That means it's up to each and every one of us. TM, Thralni, Stareye, you're all working on scenarios. Finish them! Release them! And no one will be talking about the "death of Blades" anymore.

 

EDIT: I'm reminded of a thread on the Lyceum, probably deleted now, that described the BoE community as dead sometime before the 6th Contest. TM was one of the few who was saying that he was still around and designing scenarios, but everyone else was gone. Right after that, we had the 6th Contest, with not many entries, and then the 7th Contest was one of the strongest so far. These things go in waves.

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There is a kind of irony in the dilemma that releasing the source could be the single greatest step towards reviving the BoE community, while at the same time Jeff would not want to release the source until he is sure he cannot sell the game anymore...

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Quote:
Originally written by *i:
The time has come. Blades has been host to great minds and innovators, but now the community is moribund.
(rewrites post several times)

I choose to ignore this hopelessness-laden comment, and to continue work on my scenario.
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That's odd. About a month ago, a thread was started asking how many people are in the midst of designing a scenario. Even if a tenth of those people actually complete one, the Blades community is far from dead.

 

--------------------

Triad: We wish the return of Linda.

Conrac: Oh, swell. She only summoned a demon lord into the tower once. She's only mildly insane. What a wonderful idea! Let's proceed at once!

Triad: We appreciate your acquiescence.

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Quote:
Originally written by Ephesos:
I choose to ignore this hopelessness-laden comment, and to continue work on my scenario.
Yeah, the thing is, a lot of people are working hard but it's gonna take time for the fruits of our labours to blossom, as it were. But in a month or two, there should be more BoA scenarios. And more players. And more potential designers... You see where this is going.
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Quote:
Originally written by Thralni, The flying Dutchmen:
I hope my scenario is ready for beta testing next week. Same goes for Supanik's scenario, I heard. Oh, the tension! Oh, the antisipation!
Awesome... let me know when the first beta hits.

With a bit of luck, I'll have a beta in three weeks, but then I'll be burnt out for a month.
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Quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:
EDIT: I'm reminded of a thread on the Lyceum, probably deleted now, that described the BoE community as dead sometime before the 6th Contest. TM was one of the few who was saying that he was still around and designing scenarios, but everyone else was gone. Right after that, we had the 6th Contest, with not many entries, and then the 7th Contest was one of the strongest so far. These things go in waves.
The 7th contest was lucky enough to have a handful of really good scenarios. But in terms of total entries, it didn't outstrip the 6th.

I've been around a long time, and I'm with Stareye. I don't doubt that Blades will occasionally spit out a new scenario, or that it could experience a revival, but this is definitely the least alive that I've seen it.

EDIT: That said, I'd probably have a go at a scenario if I had a registered copy of BoE - one of my disks died, so I can't get it on my new computer. Yeah, I bought BoE on floppy disk. That's how old I am. :p
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stareye - why stir the pot? If you are trying to challenge folks to step up to the plate, perhaps in an effort to improve the community, then I applaud you. It seems to have worked, but I'm not so sure that it wouldn't have happened anyways. If you are deciding for yourself that blades is dead, that is a decision you can only make for yourself.

 

It seems that the current crop of would-be designers have a multitude of responsibilities that are more pressing than designing and finishing role-playing scenarios. I asked why Alcritas was no longer designing and "real life" was the answer. It may be the answer for a lot of people that are trying out, or continuing, the designing thing.

 

It's all well and good to hope that BoA matches or exceeds the success of BoE, but everything hasn't been equal. BoE found itself amongst a group of high-school (and younger) aged adherents, with the smarts and free time to make it what it became. College adds a bit more reality to life and work even more, and Blades must be what suffers.

 

If BoA is to match BoE, it needs school age designers. People with lots of free time and the imagination to make a desirable scenario. I'm not seeing a lot of that yet, except for UV and ALR, which immediately were soundly criticized. One of the more prolific designers, mike slack, is doing exactly the right thing for blades by making what he wants and finishing it. Yet he also gets criticized for the content of the scenarios.

 

In short, it is the attitude of the players, and not the desire or competence of the designers, that is "killing" blades. So, lighten up and ease off the trigger a bit. She hasn't hit the high note yet.

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Ash: You can just let JV know that you bought the game once upon a time and now need to re-download it. He's pretty good about that sort of thing.

 

One more general thing about this topic: Saying that Blades is dead is a slap in the face to up-and-comers like Ephesos and Smoo (and dare I include myself?). Maybe we need a couple of slaps to get our scenarios done, but bear in mind that every time you say that, that's what you're doing.

 

And the great designers for BoE were almost universally not in high school. Check out the Hall of Fame sometime. Alcritas, Stareye, Drizzt, Brett Bixler, and Measle (and probably others with whom I'm not as familiar) have all been college-age or beyond during their times of activity. There are a few notable elite designers who have been younger, but certainly not many.

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I really like BoA. I would hope it's not dead...

I'm not a designer, but I've had a few ideas--for example, why not do a version of Doom for Blades?

Or take a game like Deus Ex and make a scenario for that? (I'm working and going to school so I don't have alot of time, but if I did, that's what I'd do with this game...I really like how Michael Slack adapted Wizardry 1 for his "Proving Grounds, for example.)

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I'd like to see the scenarios that are currently out but buggy, short, unbalanced, and filled with typos but have a relatively (it's a matter of opinion, I know) good premise fixed up than have more bad scenarios created.

 

Dikiyoba plays the good scenarios more than once as opposed to the bad ones, which get played halfway through and then thrown away.

 

Edit: Dikiyoba hasn't seen an error message when trying to post before. And yet it's oddly appropriate that it happened in this topic.

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Quote:
Originally written by Millicent, Dear Millicent:
Aww, how sad. I have a scenario being planned, but since my creativity has been shot lately, I haven't been able to come up with anything in...about five months. If I could, I'd probably get it finished. Somehow.
Be at the next chat, and we'll help iron it out (provided we can wrench the conversation away from the downers). Or just PM/AIM one of us, and we'll be happy to help.
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Quote:
Originally written by Arancaytar the Grey:
Uttered motivational, optimistic phrases.
Aran's right. The more all of you try to defeat this notion by talking, you prove it.

All we're suggesting for right now is open-sourcing BoE. And hell- even if we don't open source it, I'm willing to start pirating it like hotcakes. It's just that all other ideas are exhausted, and putting BoE out there as a penultimate demonstration AND a more feasible designing platform is a good idea at this point.
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Quote:
Originally written by Ephesos:
Quote:
Originally written by Millicent, Dear Millicent:
Aww, how sad. I have a scenario being planned, but since my creativity has been shot lately, I haven't been able to come up with anything in...about five months. If I could, I'd probably get it finished. Somehow.
Be at the next chat, and we'll help iron it out (provided we can wrench the conversation away from the downers). Or just PM/AIM one of us, and we'll be happy to help.
Well, the problem is, I got a basic two sentence plot beginning five months ago, and could not think about anything since. Which makes me sad.
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I'm finishing my penultimate town AS I POST. I then need to draw and script the last town, which may take a few days owing to work and "real life".

 

It's too early to ask for beta testers, and I don't want to tempt fate, but look for a new thread in this forum around Thursday next week...

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I fiannly finished ALL towns in my scenario. coding of dialogue for two and a half town is left, plus coding of specials in about five towns. however, most of these things will be easily and hopefully quickly done.

 

I also drew an extremely ugly map of the outdoor section of my scenario. one can look at it on my website. Just look at the most recent "news" addition (2 - 17 - 2006), and click on the "here" link.

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Quote:
Originally written by Prometheus:
Quote:
Originally written by Arancaytar the Grey:
Uttered motivational, optimistic phrases.
Aran's right. The more all of you try to defeat this notion by talking, you prove it.

All we're suggesting for right now is open-sourcing BoE. And hell- even if we don't open source it, I'm willing to start pirating it like hotcakes. It's just that all other ideas are exhausted, and putting BoE out there as a penultimate demonstration AND a more feasible designing platform is a good idea at this point.
Ahem. Comments along these lines will get you ejected from the boards, even if your others don't.
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See, I was just noticing that the people who were saying that Blades was dying (and thus the people who you were addressing) were the ones who have been the backbone of Blades for a long time. Stareye has made six scenarios (three of them are immense), I, in partnership, have made six, and TM has made some utterly ridiculous number. Plus all the other stuff we've done. So it's an odd sentiment to be directed at people like that, from someone who has done a couple of graphics and has a couple of unfinished scenarios. Blades isn't dying because of OUR lack of commitment to it.

 

Just saying.

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... I wasn't adressing anyone specific... I wrote that post while wondering how to get new designers involved, including (maybe) myself.

 

Edit: And I know that dinky little graphics are nowhere near as hard or time consuming to make as scenarios themselves, but I like and have a knack for making graphics, so I hope that my minuscule contributions will inspire someone.

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Furthermore, two things:

 

1. Those of us who have been in the community for over 5 years (this is how long Creator has been in it, I believe) have a better perspective than most. When we say things like "the community is incredibly slow" or "people have no sense of organization," it ain't just blowing smoke. It's a crisis that aught to be addressed.

 

2. Meaningless rhetoric is meaningless. This is not the same as good ideas- for instance, if you have a suggestion on how to improve the rate of design or how to make it an easier process or something we haven't thought of, that's awesome. But if your ultimate conclusion is "make more scenarios," then your statement is vacuous. You may as well say that the solution to ending poverty is for the poor to have more money.

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I actually agree with what TM just wrote there, specifically point 2. People won't just design because people tell them too, or because BoA is "dying." People start designing, in my opinion, for several reasons:

 

1) They want to do something new. that is why I started.

 

2) they have some great ideas, of which they can only find BoA as a good way to make that idea reality.

 

3) Some people started designing as they wanted to learn about coding, or even just designing by itself.

 

Now, In my opinion, most people don't start designing for these reasons:

 

1) they think it is to difficult for them to grasp. Hey! if I understand how to make a complete factory with working machines, then why not you? To solve this problem there must be made more utilities, and probably also more usefull articles, that relate to BoA. most articles, though not strange, relate to BoE.

 

2) Some people have an idea, but don't know how to make a scenario from it, and some people have no idea at all. With the chat currently running, this problem is being resolved.

 

3) the last rpoblem is that some people just don't want to. others are doing the work, so why bother? there is no real solution for this, but to persuade this people to start designing, which most probably won't work.

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Quote:
Enraged Slith: Remind me... how much have you done to stop Blades dying?
Quote:
1. Those of us who have been in the community for over 5 years (this is how long Creator has been in it, I believe) have a better perspective than most.
Attitudes like these are snobby and unproductive. I doubt the lack of scenarios is not primarily to do with laziness, in fact I'd wager that the very nature of BoA is the primary cause of the low number of scenarios released.

The first thing to consider is the familiarity and expertise needed with the editor to create a passable scenario. Of course you don't have to be a rocket scientist to operate it, (hell even I can manage,) but it takes time, far more time than a BoE scenario. The larger investment of time means on average less scenarios will be released than we've grown accustomed too with BoE.

I don't think the lack of scenarios at this stage is something to be alarmed about, rather it's the lack of players and designers that should make us poop ourselves. The crippling thing about the lack of new talent is that the only way to attract new players and designers to BoA is to have a database of worthwhile scenarios, which in turn require designers to create. People even today are buying BoE simply because of the wealth of scenarios it has built up over the years. Without those why would people bother to learn to use a game that is quite dated in all other aspects?

This is the main thing we're lacking and I honestly don't see much of a way to attract new blood, there are just too many other games and distractions out there. This really hit home the other day when I was almost heartbreakingly close to finishing my BoA scenario, (Note to other designers: never announce when you intend to release your incomplete work, *kiss of death*,) but only until Fallout 2 came along to amuse and distract me with it's charm. I honestly can't see how BoA can capture and hold someones attention when better alternatives present themselves.

At this stage BoA seems to be the bastard halfspawn of the Avernum series, the red headed stepchild of the Spiderweb family. It's already been superseded in both technical and story terms by Av4, and I'm not sure if we really have much of a chance.
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Quote:
*i shone these words into existence:
This will be the topic of the next (and perhaps the last) Blades Chat on Saturday, February 18 at 6 pm EST.
Nuts! And just when I was thinking about joining in, the chat has to be around 3 am. I'll be sound asleep way before that.

Quote:
Earlier written by Supanik:
Yeah, the thing is, a lot of people are working hard but it's gonna take time for the fruits of our labours to blossom, as it were.
I never work hard (too lazy) but you're right. Backwater Calls took me about six months and Magus of Cattalon possibly slightly less to complete. During the design of BC I had school to worry about and I was only learning Avernumscript and when I was making MoC I had plenty of free time due to my employment status. Right now I only have the time to make my scenario during weekends and even then I could be too drained to even get started. So it might take another six months for me to release a much shorter scenario. Arr(gh)!

Quote:
Jumpin' Salmon surfaced and spoke:
If BoA is to match BoE, it needs school age designers. People with lots of free time and the imagination to make a desirable scenario. I'm not seeing a lot of that yet, except for UV and ALR, which immediately were soundly criticized. One of the more prolific designers, mike slack, is doing exactly the right thing for blades by making what he wants and finishing it. Yet he also gets criticized for the content of the scenarios.
If BoA is to match BoE in terms of quantity then yes we need more school age designers. I would prefer quality but I takes what I gets. UV and ALR were both criticized for a reason, but I hope that hasn't scared Archmagus Michael and the designer of ALR (Omikron I believe) out of designing scenarios. Seriously, you can only go up from that and in my opinion as long as someone likes your scenarios it was worth releasing them. Also, I think it's great that mike slack is designing and releasing scenarios but that doesn't mean I have to like his work.

Quote:
Kelandon spake thusly:
One more general thing about this topic: Saying that Blades is dead is a slap in the face to up-and-comers like Ephesos and Smoo (and dare I include myself?). Maybe we need a couple of slaps to get our scenarios done, but bear in mind that every time you say that, that's what you're doing .
Pfft! Even though Blades would be deemed dead by consensus I'd still make and release scenarios (dead things are hawt!1!!) if only for myself and my brother to play. By the way, I have a "coming soon" thing-o-ma-jig on my website about my new scenario and I might even update it as I progress.

Quote:
Dikiyoba told Dikiyoba to write:
I'd like to see the scenarios that are currently out but buggy, short, unbalanced, and filled with typos but have a relatively (it's a matter of opinion, I know) good premise fixed up than have more bad scenarios created.

Dikiyoba plays the good scenarios more than once as opposed to the bad ones, which get played halfway through and then thrown away.
Hey! I fixed the typos and bugs in BC. Stop yelling at me! Wah, wah, wah. That's it! I quit! You'll never see me again! wink

I play all the scenarios through, be they short, buggy or just generally horrible. And by the way has there ever been anything besides a slow release pace for BoA scenarios?
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Poit makes a good point, albeit one that has been said before (saving the stepchild business). What we need then, is an incentive for more designers to get designing... hmm, bad wordiness.

 

Anyway, I believe Stareye was talking about getting Jeff to give away some prizes for another contest, and we could organise ones that allow people to knock out easy-to-make simple scenarios.

 

As well as this, the current atmosphere of the more-established members of the community helping us n00bs seemed to be working. TM's methid of getting us all to write out a small paragraph seemed to have worked, since lots of people answered.

 

The key is time, as other members have said. But give it a couple of months, and there will be more scenarios out there, and more players. We just need something to break the dryspell, which is happening already, and then hope that it encourages others to create their own stories.

 

Don't know how useful that was. If at all.

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Quote:
Supanik sez:
Anyway, I believe Stareye was talking about getting Jeff to give away some prizes for another contest, and we could organise ones that allow people to knock out easy-to-make simple scenarios.
You mean like the Pearl Contest and the Short Scenario Design contest that produced EM and DaC? Those didn't go very well. Cash prices probably would help give people the extra kick they need to get started. I know that's one of the reasons I entered BC for the first contest even though I didn't think I'd win anything.
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Quote:
Originally written by Kaartinjaakari Smoo:
You mean like the Pearl Contest and the Short Scenario Design contest that produced EM and DaC? Those didn't go very well. Cash prices probably would help give people the extra kick they need to get started. I know that's one of the reasons I entered BC for the first contest even though I didn't think I'd win anything.
Precisely. It doesn't even have to be $500 or whatever it was. But if Jeff were to give away cash/games, more people would take an interest and design, and it might just be the boost the community needs.
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Quote:
Originally written by Kaartinjaakari Smoo:
And by the way has there ever been anything besides a slow release pace for BoA scenarios?
Roses of Reckoning. Release date: 4/7/2004.
Babysitting. Release date: 4/30/2004.
The Cave of No Return. Release date: 6/20/2004.
Emerald Mountain. Release date: 8/10/2004.
Death at Chapman's. Release date: 8/17/2004.
A Perfect Forest. Release date: 9/5/2004.
Canopy. Release date: 12/25/2004.
Xerch'de. Release date: 12/27/2004.
Bahssikava. Release date: 2/20/2005.
Backwater Calls. Release date: 2/27/2005.
Lord Putidus. Release date: 3/29/2005.
Nine Variations on Point B. Release date: 4/7/2005.
Cresent Valley. Release date: 4/15/2005.
Undead Valley. Release date: 5/24/2005.
Druids of Krell. Release date: 6/5/2005.
A Large Rebellion. Release date: 6/6/2005.
Mad Ambition. Release date: 6/9/2005.
Nephilim Mystery. Release date: 8/2/2005.
Proving Grounds. Release date: 10/17/2005.
Magus of Cattalon. Release date: 1/8/2006.

It appears that the period between Bahssikava and Mad Ambition was the most active period for BoA (nine scenarios in four months). It appears that right now is the slowest (two scenarios in the past six months). The previously slowest period was right after the release of the game (three scenarios in five months).

It probably helped that the period between Bahs and MA was the period right before the deadline of the last contest.
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Quote:
Originally written by Kaartinjaakari Smoo:
. There is the General Scenario Design Contest. If it gets a cash price for the winner and it gets voiced out enough then maybe we'll see another rush of scenarios this November.
That's the one I was thinking about. If Jeff could be successfully petitioned, then it should be great for the community. Has anybody approached him yet?
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Well, in our productive meeting, we spoke of the idea of asking Jeff to provide some financial backing for this contest. My idea was this:

 

1st prize: $100

2nd prize: $60

3rd prize: $40

4th and 5th prizes: a free game

 

This is about 1/5th what he offered last time, and it totals about $250 in value. Thoughts? Should we start lower than that?

 

Also, who ought to ask him, and how? Some have suggested that I ought to do it, but I'm not sure.

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