War... War never changes.

Discussion in 'BOARDANIA' started by Garner, Jun 16, 2007.

  1. Garner Great God and Founding Father

    So, I may well be the only one here who cares about this, but that's fine.

    A long long time ago, a computer game called Wasteland became a bit of a cult success in the computer role playing games communities. It was set in a post-apocolyptic future, mainly in California and Nevada if i remember right. About ten years ago, give or take, a spiritual successor was developed. The game was Fallout. Originally, this was going to be the first computer game to use the pen and paper RPG G.U.R.P.S., though lisencing problems resulted in the developers writing their own rule system instead. That rule system, incidentally, seems to have had a bit of an impact on the development of the third edition of D&D, almost certainly the most famous role playing game system there is.

    But what made this successor so significant was not the rule system (which was damn, damn good), nor the atmosphere (which was, after all, harkening back to an earlier game), but the method through which you were immersed in that atmosphere and setting. For pretty much the first time (at least in my experience) in a computer game, you could ROLE PLAY. Talk to someone, and you would have four or five (or more) possible responses.

    The nature of the response you chose would have profound impacts on the relationship between you and the character you spoke to, and on the game world itself. Most innovative of all, if your character happened to be particularly intelligent (or, god save us, particularly stupid), this was reflected in your dialog options. Characters in the bottom 20% of the intelligence bracket could not communicate effectively, and had to find other options to proceed through the game than dialog or diplomacy. Characters in the top 10% of the intelligence bracket could often talk their way past every obstacle in the game. This gave an amazing semblance of life to the game world, and a real sense of character and personality to the.. um.. characters you met there.

    And above all, it let you feel like you were playing the game YOUR way. Be a hero, be a villan, be something in between, you were only limited by the branching dialog trees written into the game and there were PLENTY of branches to follow. Because of this emphasis on dialog and real conversation (in many role playing computer games before this, conversations were either non existant or pre-scripted and immutable), I often played through the game to simply see what other ways these personalities could respond to my various characters. It wasn't just about killing mutants to go up levels.

    But oh, oh the killing. Fallout's homemade rule system included a wonderful combat system that worked in turns so you didn't have to have perfect reflexes or marksmanship skills like in an action game, and it offered an unprecedented level of tactical choice in the form of targeting your shots. Many times I was out there in that barren radioactive desert with just a few shots left in my rifle, and my life was saved by making a harder shot aimed at a bandit's eyes rather than his torso. If the shot connected, the results were often spectacularly gory.

    Fallout offered a dark, hostile world that was a challenge to survive. Life after a major nuclear war isn't pretty. But they also managed to imbue the game with some very dark humor and blackest comedy. In a game this grim you might find it odd, but I laughed out loud with Fallout as often and as hard as I've laughed with Pratchett. The game was rife with references to sci-fi, monty python, and other pop culture references. I recall stumbling on a rare encounter in the wilderness where I found a crashed UFO. Stenciled on the side of the craft was the legend 'property of Area 51', and inside the UFO were two desicated and mishapen skeletons, one of which was holding a velvet painting of Elvis.

    Fallout was so successful and impressive that a sequel was released which, in almost every way, expanded on the good qualities the original had. The publishing company started to face financial difficulties however, and some less than inspired spin offs were released that were devoid of the 1950's cold war feel of the role playing games, the witty dialog, and worst of all the fun. Then the publishing company announced that the studio that had developed Fallout, Fallout 2, and Planescape: Torment (one of the two computer games that actually caused a profound change in my life, it was that good) among other titles was to be disbanded. Eventually they filed for bankruptcy and lisencined the Fallout IP to another company.

    That was in 2004. A month ago, we saw the first trailer for the new Fallout 3, and I nearly wept it was that good. Today, I found a transcript of an article in a computer game magazine that had me squeeling out loud and giggling madly in my excitement. We can only be thankful that Grace has been out all morning teaching so that she didn't have to witness my near orgasmic bliss at reports on an early demo of the game. The game isn't due out until fall of next year, and I'm already having palpitations.

    For those who want to glean even more insight into just how sadly devoted I (and many many other people) are to this franchise, this is a transcript of the article in question: No Mutants Allowed - Your Post Nuclear News Center!

    Over on the official message boards for the game, debate is still hot and fast and vitrolic on issues such as first person vs. third person perspective, real time vs. turn based combat, and other game related issues. Most stunning of all, to my mind, is the debate that took shape after that trailer was released, with a number of people angrily protesting that the developers were trying too hard to please the die hard fans by making something that looked exactly like what they'd want.

    There's just no pleasing some people.

    But not me. I'm still giggling and am about to go find my Fallout cds for a few blissful strolls through the bombed out ruins of Los Angeles. Lord knows it looks better in a ten year old video game than it ever did in person.
  2. TamyraMcG Active Member

    I'm happy for you Garner, sounds like you have the something to look forward to part of the recipe for a happy life settled on for a while, and then it can be your something to do. You already have a very nice someone to love, so you are doing wonderfully well now. You should be proud of yourself.

    This is in no way intended to be snarky, I'm in a pretty good mood right now even if I do need a rootcanal:) Heck I'm not even hung over and I was at two bars last night, so I only had one beer at each place,I'm still glad I did it.
  3. Garner Great God and Founding Father

    I'm sure it might seem silly to be so excited about a video game, but hell, I'm not into sports or anything, and I gave up following rock journalism a long time ago (i'm not sure when Rolling Stone was last worth reading, but i suspect it may have been before i was born), so there's precious little else i'm a super fan-boy about.
  4. Katcal I Aten't French !

    How about... Terry Pratchett ?
  5. Garner Great God and Founding Father

    nah, I got a wife out of that obsession, and then lost interest.
  6. Maljonic Administrator

    Well you've got me interested, in fact I wish I'd played the game in the first place by the sound of it.
  7. Hsing Moderator

    And me, my computer might actually be able tio run a game if it is ten years old...
  8. Pepster New Member

    You are definately not the only one who cares about this game.

    Unfortunately I missed the original games when they came out, however I managed to pick them up as a single volume on DVD for my birthday:smile:

    And I recently managed to pick up Planscape: Torment recently, so much retro gaming goodness has been occupying my little free time.
  9. Roman_K New Member

    Goodo, Pepster. :)

    Clay, add another Fallout fanboy to the list (myself, though I'm not as fanboyish as you ;-) ). I thought the trailer rocked, and I'm now starting to read that article that you linked to.
  10. Buzzfloyd Spelling Bee

    I played a bit of the original Fallout, and I found it enjoyable, understandable and easy to play, a fairly rare coincidence in my experience of computer games. I'm looking forward to Fallout 3, although I probably won't play it for a few years.
  11. Garner Great God and Founding Father

    i continue to be amazed by the community response to the available materials.

    the concept art shows a strong respect for the original feel and design of the aesthetics,

    the trailer shows an unmistakable effort to keep classic Fallout elements in the new game (right down to using the Inkspots for the music and Ron Perlman to narrate),

    the article talks about a very nifty sounding means of providing a turn based combat feel to a real time game (and even its name is a reference to the first game!),

    and people bitch and complain about how this new game is going to suck?

    man. even roman's not this Nerdcore.
  12. Buzzfloyd Spelling Bee

    A quote from the article Garner linked to:

    I was delighted when I read this. There is a twofold problem that I have with a lot of computer games: they are designed for people who have spent years playing computer games and who are therefore familiar and experienced with the relevant controls; and they often contain unavoidable mini-games that require a totally different skill-set to complete. For example, the podrace in KOTOR 1 - I'm here to play an RPG, idiots, not a racing car game. Including something like that completely blows any chance of my being able to continue playing the game. Or the flipping Quidditch in the Harry Potter games - I'm here for the puzzle adventure, morons! Stop making me jump through hoops! Luckily, I have a hardcore gamer for a husband, who can take over for me when I'm supposed to suddenly develop twitch responses for a style of game I do not wish to play - but not everyone has that. And then game producers ask why it's so hard to reach past their core market.

    So, I'm really excited by the prospect of a game in which I can think my way through fights; but, apparently, there are people who are upset by the prospect of the VATS combat system in Fallout 3. Now, you'll note in the quote above that it says using this system is optional. So what on earth are these people upset about? I don't get why anyone would have a problem with a game including an option to play combat in a different way. Especially one that is in keeping with the other skills required for the game, rather than requiring a skill unpossessed by the kind of gamer who might otherwise play the game.

    Of course, I'm someone who thinks WASD is too complicated, so maybe I'm not the best person to comment.
  13. spiky Bar Wench

    Hope you mean with Terry Pratchett and not the wife...
  14. Roman_K New Member

    *remembers how Clay was bitching over MSN about Fallout 3 and Bethesda until fairly recently, unlike me*

    And I'm the super-nerd, right? :-b

    Stupid though it may sound, it's because VATS is more rewarding to the player rule-wise. So those who prefer shooters (and most likely shouldn't be playing this game anyway) feel like the developers prefer the roleplayers to the shooter-fans (which, by the way, is true). They feel like they're second-class, at least a little.

    Now, this is a game. A game not intended to be a shooter. So those who don't like it not being a shooter ought to get some common sense and shut up. That's that, really.

    And the VATS system does sound interesting, I agree.
  15. Garner Great God and Founding Father

    can't it be both?
  16. Roman_K New Member

    Having read through the forums, I must say I was wrong. The general sentiment there is that it's too much like Oblivion and not a carbon-copy of the original Fallout games.
  17. Buzzfloyd Spelling Bee

    Not having read the comments there, I can't really discuss them that much. But I would have thought Fallout 3 was bound to be more like Oblivion because it's more contemporary with it. Although, as far as I can see, the writing, design and gameplay are very Fallout, so it's just that the engine is more like Oblivion. I would personally be very unhappy if the game engine was a return to the feeble constructs of the mid-nineties.
  18. spiky Bar Wench

    Only if you never want Grace to never speak to you, cook you dinner or engage in nuptial responsibilities. You can be over both. Thats your choice.

    Although i wouldn't put it past Grace to go all evil baby on you...
  19. Garner Great God and Founding Father

    hey, *i* do the cooking around here.
  20. Katcal I Aten't French !

    Yes. There are whole topics about the consequences of that... :cool:
  21. Rincewind Number One Doorman

    Mmmm, steak.
  22. Buzzfloyd Spelling Bee

    Stop encouraging him! :wink:
  23. spiky Bar Wench

    Just like garner to want the evil baby treatment...
  24. Garner Great God and Founding Father

  25. Roman_K New Member

    A very good article... well, aside from the constant feeding of Richard Garriot's ego, that is. ;)
  26. Maljonic Administrator

    Is this game nearly ready yet?
  27. TamyraMcG Active Member

    Thanks Garner, I'm glad to hear stuff about Chris, we are in the middle of the third game of Scrabulous and I'm doing pretty good.
  28. Garner Great God and Founding Father

    Fallout 3's release date is penciled in at the moment as some time around October.

    Amazon has pre-orders up for the collector's edition. It comes in a lunchbox.

    Now, the lunch box is painted to resemble a poster for the vaults from the original game. its slightly different, but very very close to the original. It was greeted with a comment along the lines of "Bethesda clearly have no intention of trying to stay true to the vision of the original games. Why would anyone buy their copy-cat garbage?"

    .... so, they're doing it differently... by copying the original?

    Ah well. At the moment, our game focus is on Penny Arcade Adventures: On The Rainslick Precipice of Darkness. (Welcome | On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness)

    And, in about two weeks time, Mass Effect finally comes out for the PC. Do not expect to see me online for a week following. If you do see me, do not expect me to be coherent. I'll only be looking for a strategy guide.
  29. Garner Great God and Founding Father

    Also, an indi game that may attract a lot of attention from the old-school fallout crowd: Age of Decadence (Age of Decadence). the lead developer does not mince words, and speaks his mind freely. The game is post apocalyptic, but set in a roman empire-analog rather than the 21st century.

    Looks interesting. No idea when it will be done though.
  30. TamyraMcG Active Member

    I'm going to try Honorverse when it comes out in the fall, and I started the process of playing Settler's of Catan online, but my big games are Ogame.org and The Kingdom of Loathing. My planet is named Argenae and I gave that name to our "Town" in the D&D campaign I just joined.

    I'm in my first run as a Turtle tamer in KoL but I'm on level 11 so it is getting interesting. My friend James is on his first ascension, this run through he's going hard core and is a pastamancer, his first run through was as an accordion thief. If anyone wants to start KoL message me there, I'm Tamide, and I can get you at least a decent weapon for starting out. Maybe even buff you a little.
  31. Garner Great God and Founding Father

    "I think I'll check up on Fallout 3 and see if there's any news... oooh, there is! What's this? Amazon exclusive... 'Survivor Edition'? Oooooh, all the stuff in the collector's edition plus a digital clock modeled after the iconic PIPBoy PDA? I might have to have that... let's see, amazon dot com.... fallout three... there we are- ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY FUCKING DOLLARS?! Jesus Christ on a crutch, that's got to be a goddamn typo!"

    No, no it isn't. Amazon.com: Fallout 3: Amazon.com Exclusive Survival Edition: Video Games
  32. Roman_K New Member

    Grace! Quick, hit him with a mallet before he preorders it! He's shocked about the price *now*, but give Clay a couple of days and he'll rationalize through paying $120 just to get the cheap pip-boy toy he'll never ever wear.

    He'll even build a little altar for it.
  33. Garner Great God and Founding Father

    1) It's a desk clock, you retard

    2) I'm going to pay 35 quid for the collector's edition. assuming they release the 'survivor' edition in the UK, i would consent to paying 40, but no more.
  34. Roman_K New Member

    A desk clock? Bah, that just makes it worse. I can already envision you arranging various figurines around it.
  35. Katcal I Aten't French !

    Is it just me or *shivers* does this make Roman technically right?
  36. Ba Lord of the Pies

    When has he ever been any other kind of right?
  37. spiky Bar Wench


    I'm either missing the joke or Ba's gramma has gone the way of the cheap desk clock...
  38. redneck New Member

    I took it to mean that Roman is often technically correct while being way off base in every other aspect. Doesn't mean I agree with it, just thought it was funny. (Poor Roman. As we say in the South, "Bless his heart")
  39. Ba Lord of the Pies

    Redneck is correct. This is why he is a Collector of Ensurance Monies and Spiky is in whatever inferior position she occupies in the Doorsian Heresy.
  40. TamyraMcG Active Member

    Ba, you have yet to appoint me to any position of servitude under your divinity, haven't you any place for me?
  41. spiky Bar Wench

    But at least the signs in the bar of Doors are grammatically correct and spelt right too.
  42. Garner Great God and Founding Father

  43. Ba Lord of the Pies

    Ba's post was grammatically correct. There were no spelling errors. Does Spiky require pictures to make it more clear?
  44. spiky Bar Wench

    Yes, yes I do. Please do.
  45. Ba Lord of the Pies

    Bauke! Illustrate Ba's point with pictures!
  46. Maljonic Administrator

    Anyway I just finished Fallout 3 the other day, it made a nice change from my usual computer games but didn't seem to last long enough to get all the levels up as high as I wanted - though I did miss out some of the quests because I didn't realise it was going to end when it did.
  47. Garner Great God and Founding Father

    I liked the game, i hated the ending. The fact that bethesda are now going to sell us the real ending as an expansion pack particularly rankles. Bethesda got the feel of the game right, but they dropped the ball on the characters. it was easily the best they've ever done, and that just makes me sad at how far they still have to go just to get up to mediocre.

    There's a manditory settlement you have to go through in the game, and its populated by foul mouthed children. you see, fallout always had mature themes, but where as the tallented writers at Black Isle could create the grittiest post apocolyptic wasteland you'd ever love to visit, Bethesda just about manage to have grasped the concept that 'children swearing worked for southpark'. only they didn't grasp the concept that Parker and Stone are decent writers.

    I'm not 12 years old. I'm not impressed by how often someone can fit the word fuck into a sentence - no doubt because i'm no longer proud of my own record (about 84 times, with the use of semicolons), but also because it's just absolutely dire. i liked the way they handled combat, but while they felt the 'humour' of the original was from the ultra gore, they failed to present the ultra gore in such a way as to be truely 'omfg' that shocked you into stunned laughter.

    instead, i laughed when i shot someone in the head and his head, completely intact, popped off and rolled away. see my previous rant about the last Soldier of Fortune game for a similar sort of reaction. i laughed thinking 'jesus... couldn't they have coded the death animations to respond to ranged vs melee attacks...'

    and then there's the whole role playing part of it. Bethesda are a lot like Will Wright without the talent. They give you a toy to play with, and expect you to invent the game from it. they're very very good at this. but they can't make the same kind of roleplaying game that Black Isles did. Bethesda give you really well made and detailed toys, like a McFarlane action figure.

    Black Isle gave us literature, oil paintings, and symphonies, they gave us a story, but they let us choose how it would unfold. and then, when it was all over, they told us how our choices had changed the world. I remember deciding that I would put my faith in bethesda because they announced that now the game had, instead of the six variant endings originally planned, it now had a hundred gadjukabijizzillion endings. that sounded more like it!

    it didn't have any endings. in fact, it's supposed to show you about three different variant slide shows of incomprehensible pictures and no explaination, with a few words about if you were a good guy or a bad guy. now, i chose the selfless sacrifice ending. and you know what? the game got it wrong and told me i'd been a great guy up until the last minute when i picked one of the nasty asshole endings.

    well done bethesda. well done. i hope you catch herpes and aids. on that subject, Rincewind i've booked you a ticket to Maryland.

    now, all this time, there's been a guy in the background working on a different sort of role playing game. something inspired by the original fallouts, with writing and depth. it's set in a sort of 'decline and fall of the roman empire' wasteland, rather than a sci-fi wasteland. the creator is very outspoken and a bit edgy and in your face at times, but not like Cliffy Retard, more like me when i'm pontificating.

    today I read an exeprt of an interview with him that struck me as "YES! he understands!" you see, the original fallout had a central design principle: every quest, every mission, had to have three equally viable solutions - fight, talk, or sneak. it's possible to 'beat' fallout 1 and 2 without killing a single thing, and its also possible to beat it by killing absolutely everything (and under a certain condition, yes you can even kill the overseer.)

    to be fair to bethesda, they did show evidence of doing this in at least one or two places. they weren't completely ignorant of the right and just approach.

    but so many role playing games aren't role playing. you may have stats or character classes or whatnot. but you're playing an adventure. hell, even the absolute all time greatest, Planescape: Torment (made by Black Isle) still suffers from giving you a preset begining. but from that one little point, you're free to go where you wanna go, and affect the world in a way that bethesda never really learned how to do.

    Anyway, here's a quote from Weller's interview, and a link to the article:

    “Let’s take “The Witcher” as an example. For storytelling reasons your character is arrested when he tries to enter the city and thrown in jail. In the jail your character is asked to kill a creature in the sewers where he meets an important NPC. That’s the drama- and twist-filled story. It works great in a book format where the reader is following adventures of the main character, but it’s too restrictive in a game where the player IS the main character.

    A better design would have been to offer an alternative. Allow the witcher to enter the city via the sewers (after fighting the guards and escaping or after being warned about the ambush as a reward for developing relationship with the villagers) and then run into the above mentioned NPC who will offer you to join him to kill the creature. As you can see, it’s still the same overall story and direction, and the alternative doesn’t require new art assets and tons of development time. It reuses the same situations - the arrest, the creature in the sewers, the knight NPC, the same villagers, and the same sewers, but suddenly you get an important choice instead of a forced situation that you are unable to avoid.

    That’s our design “philosophy”, for the lack of a better word.”

    Unknown Pleasures 2009: Age of Decadence | Rock, Paper, Shotgun
  48. Garner Great God and Founding Father

    Roman: Dragon Age: Origins - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Why was I not told of this?

    Clay: because i keep making the mistake of assuming that just because you're legally an adult that must mean you're able to actually look after yourself.

    do you need me to hold your fucking hand next time you cross the street? baby.
    and i'm pretty sure i've mentioned it to you before.

    Roman: Now, were this to come from someone other than the man who gets me to look things up for him three times a day, I would have accepted it.

    Clay: if not,
    well played sir
    well played
    now, as i was saying, if i haven't mentioned it to you before...
    hey roman, guess waht

    Roman: What is it, Clay?

    Clay: bioware are working on a new fantasy RPG, supposedly of the baldur's gate ilk!

    Roman: Wow!

    Clay: i got ten quid says it includes a prophetic chick who acts as a tutorial guide and you can bang if you 'role play' enough

    Roman: Duncan – The reluctant yet dedicated warrior leader of the Grey Wardens who serves as a mentor of sorts to the player character.
    Doesn't sound like a chick.

    Clay: does he have prophetic visions? wait, no, hang on, i can do this... does he... does he have a lost child and does he lament this to slightly somber music?
    Roman: Damn, that might even work...

    Clay: lord knows it has for their past three games.

    Roman: BioWare : Dragon Age : Noveltst

    Clay: well, okay, two and a half. Carth II, whatever his name is in Mass Effect, didn't have a kid... just a girlfriend or something when he was a kid

    Roman: The game isn't even out yet, and Bioware area already publishing a novel.

    Clay: yeah? they got bought up by EA, man. they whore more often than a whore who whores a lot.
  49. Hsing Moderator

    A tentative yay from me.
  50. Garner Great God and Founding Father

    i liked Baldur's Gate, and I really really liked BGII, but I think that they've been in a slump since KotOR. they're making that same mistake bethesda do, of focusing on spectacle and sacrificing a bit in other areas.

    the fact that their past three games (i'm not counting Sonic: Dark Brotherhood because i haven't played it so it doesn't really exist) have all featured too many similarities for comfort.

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