Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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Review Sword and Sorcery -- Underworld review

Discussion in 'RPG Codex News & Content Comments' started by Elwro, Apr 4, 2011.

  1. Topher Liturgist

    Topher
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    I agree. You could have purchased either Etrian Odyssey or Dark Spire brand new in box at release. Both of those titles come with a box, manual, professional level graphics and solid gameplay for those interested in the genre. Why is your game worth as much as those other titles which by my measure offer more? Many indie developers seems to be under the impression that their game, by digital download I might add, is worth a full retail release price point and that's just not something I'll indulge. Steam seems to have brought this type of pricing the the forefront but none the less I wouldn't even think of paying more then $10 for this title.
  2. waywardOne Augur

    waywardOne
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    is it too much to ask to let death be a possible consequence? fucking pussies.
  3. Azrael the cat Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    Hate to tell you this kiddo, but back when they actually made text adventures they sold them for a price that was - in today's dollars - more than $20. $2 just doesn't give you the time, whether it's for a text adventure or otherwise. If you're going to make a game of this scale, it's going to be around a $20 charge for the sheer enormity of time, even if it's pure text (c/f the prices for the old Infocom games and adjust for inflation). So you may as well slap on some graphics and charge the same price - heck, at worst he should have included an option for turning the graphics off, and kept the price as is. Given the rate at which indies get pirated, and the amount of graphic-whore newbie-Bioware-loving-but-want-to-pretend-to-like-indies-because-it's-edgy morons are out there, you're more likely to get x people to pay $20 than you are to get 10x people to pay $2.

    Fact is, most of the folks who talk big here about how much things have declined since the golden age (and they have) wouldn't even buy a Geneforge or Eschalon game. You'll talk about how great the old classics are, but I bet about a fifth of the talkers still play them - heck, half of them have probably NEVER played them. Because I have to say, my Ultima 3 game had some pretty shithouse art direction as well, and I don't see how the blocky figures of Wizardry 1 fit the setting either - in Wiz1-3 if the fuckers weren't labelled you couldn't tell whether the graphic was representing a kobold, an undead kobold, a goblin, a bandit (yes, they used the same fucking graphic - the EXACT same fucking graphic - for about 4 different monster types, all found on the same fucking level). If you ventured on, you'd find the same graphics - all of which had the artistic direction of a Rorschach blot, but with a less defined shape - reused over and over again. Invent a new graphic, or new monster type? Nah, fuck it, we'll just call them bubbling slimes rather than slimes - hey, we've still got the word 'ooze' left, we can re-use the graphic for about 3 more monster types with ooze in the title too. And guess what - the games were fucking awesome.
  4. quasimodo Scholar Patron

    quasimodo
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    I played the demo and bought the game.

    I liked the gameplay and the graphics/ art style though odd did not bother me.

    The price was fair....I sometimes pay more for lunch.
  5. Charles-cgr Developer Patron

    Charles-cgr
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    Sorry, had to go and it seems I have so catching up to do.

    @felipepepe I wasn't acknowledging the kid didn't make sense, just thought it was the most likely cause for your comment. There's a kid at that spot, so there's a kid drawing. Now for the images not blending in well, I agree. It's due to the nature of the monster images compared to the environment I could muster.

    @Morkar thanks for the tip. I did try that but the engine isn't 3D so it isn't about changing texture. Each wall is a separate graphic. That will change for the next one though. As for completely filling out the dungeon window you mean the mob pics right? That could work just before combat starts but the illustration during combat...

    @Roguey - sorry I don't see what you mean by internal logic. I was thinking about less random encounters for the next one & only story related (My best guess at what you meant) but it's another ballpark. The way I see it you'd practically only be fighting NPCs... Wouldn't that mean hundreds more images & quest/dialogue scripting? A resource issue would come up quickly.

    As for the price debate... On the basis of comparison with games like Penumbra, Etrian Odyssey or even Recetear... My thoughts is that it would be a very bad mistake. I'm 90% sure I would make FEWER sales at $4. 99.99% sure it would never add up to 5X more sales.

    Also I'm pretty sure being on gamersgate did not amount to many more (will see if I'm wrong when the first report comes in). I don't expect them to push it much, if at all. It's there for the odd visitor checking out the turn-based RPG section and that's fine. I didn't even expect them to accept it at first.

    In short, yes, I'm being elitist despite my game's remaining flaws. I'm not expecting a windfall on the first go. I'll be reconsidering some of my choices in the art department in the future but not the pricing, because if I do that then I'll DEPEND on gamersgate & reviews entirely, which was never my strategy. advertising has to remain viable, which it cannot be at a $2-4 price point. Also, dungeon crawlers only get reviews on prestigious, elitist sites :)

    Oh and @waywardOne death occurs when an unconscious character sustains further damage. The AI doesn't go for that often because when it did death simply became a CERTAIN consequence and the game quickly got extremely frustrating.

    I was about to hit submit & checked again so thanks to quasimodo & Azrael & sorry if I'm missing someone but this time here goes.
  6. Metro Arcane

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    Hate to tell you, Sonny Jim, but I'm 34 and this isn't the mid/late 80's. The market is a far cry from what it was back then. You talk as if indie developers have zero tools with which to work with today and that technology hasn't advanced/become more accessible.

    I'd rather buy and replay the old classics for $5 (and I do quite often) than pay $20 for this -- get off your high horse. I don't wish any ill will to Charles, I wish him the best of luck but I just don't think even amongst long-time RPG fans, that this is going to be a draw for $20. Maybe I'll be proven wrong.
  7. felipepepe Prestigious Gentleman Codex's Heretic Patron

    felipepepe
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    We know that, oh ancient one. We also know that in the last 25 years tecnology went throught some advances, with leads us to the whole "Frictional put out stuff like Penumbra and Amnesia for $20" that you just quoted (and ignored).

    Once again, this was standard for the time. Everything was blocky, it was the best available. So why pay $20 for a 2010 game that has the same issues as games from the 80's? Just go to eBay and get the originals with huge game manuals. Especially since half of the people here never played them, as you claim.

    The "sense" was more on the art direction criteria, as you just said. Lame 2D backgrounds with some nice but rough-edged 3D images applied. As Morkar said, why didn't you use stock images for background too? Would be an great improvement already.

    And I also mean you no harm. Is only that all the energy and effort you spend on the game is burried really deep, due lack of any polishing. It is truly hard to get excited with what I see...and even more to pay $20 for it. :/
  8. Topher Liturgist

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    I'm not sure how how you figure that you'd sell less copies of the game if it were cheaper. I'm going to assume that it was either poorly worded or that I simply misunderstood what you're trying to convey because to be honest that doesn't make any sense. I agree that you'll make more money in the long run by selling it for $20 then you would if you'd only sold it for $5, that's a simple fact of the very specific market that you are appealing too. What I can for sure is that I'm not interested in your game at a $20 price point.
  9. 7hm Learned

    7hm
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    I'm going to guess that pricing at 4$ wouldn't make a difference to his sales. People who are choosing not to buy it aren't making that decision based on price. (if you disagree, you're lying)

    Maybe what he said wasn't completely accurate, but it probably isn't far off. And he'd obviously have much lower total revenue.

    For what it's worth, I played and enjoyed the demo, but haven't bought the full version - waiting for money to be less tight (20$ isn't a lot, but games aren't a must-buy for me). The graphics suck, but hey, I don't give a shit. I want gameplay.

    stfu artfags. This is why we can't have nice things (and art aside, this is in fact a nice thing).
  10. Darth Roxor Prestigious Gentleman Wielder of the Huegpenis

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    So, something that was perfectly fine and didn't stand in the way of enjoyment in the games long past is a #1 issue here that makes the game completely unplayable?

    You disgust me, you retarded, hypocritical fucking next-gen cocksucker in disguise. The market changed? Well fuck me sideways, I thought it changed for the fucking worse and people keep ranting day and night how they can no longer play something like the classics, and when something finally is released, dumb shitheads like you and your clique of dickmongers crawl out of your holes, writing it off because of shoddy graphics? I'll be fucking damned, wasn't it said gazillions of times that pretty graphixxx are supposed to be the least concern and it's gameplay that matters? What the fuck would it change if it was text-based, for example? You could wank yourself to death over playing 'such oldschool stuff!!!!'? No, I'll tell you now what would happen: you'd be here, in this very thread, yelling that text-based games are a thing of the fucking past and the market has changed and it would even be better if it had graphics done in ms-paint.

    This is exactly the same thing as fucking Knights of the Chalice. Was THAT game ugly as shit? No. The graphics were basic, but functional. And what were many dumbfucks saying? 'Oh lawdy, it's like 20 years ago, sux', 'dat perspective, I ain't playin' that'. Hope you already pre-ordered Skyrim you spoiled piece of shit so the bloom can gouge your eyes out while you jack off to the changed market that brought this magnificent piece of art style.

    Frictional? There's more than one guy working in Frictional. Just by the fucking way.

    God save the fucking queen. Decline of the Codex of the highest fucking intensity :decline:
    visions Brofists this.
  11. Lord Rocket Scholar

    Lord Rocket
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    My feelings are hurt. I never finish anything, no matter how good the gameplay might be. I've been playing Elite for some 14 years now and I've never even gotten to the second mission (by that point it's usually gotten a bit too easy - military lasers etc.).

    Yo Charles, for what it's worth, I would personally pay $10 - actually $15, now I think about it, although I'd prefer $10 - for your game. It's been out for, what, six months now (checked: closer to ten)? You're obviously trying to exploit a niche here, which is admirable especially given crawler fans are starving for new games, but chances are anyone who is willing to pay $20 for an old-school FP RPG have already done so (I'm assuming people at the Watch, Decklin's Domain, Ironworks et cetera are aware of the game). Especially one made in Game Maker, which yeah to be honest does put me off a little (I do know the tools used to make a game have nothing to do with the quality of the final project. It still bothers me). Anyway, all I'm saying is if sales are petering out, try lowering the price. Or releasing an expansion or sequel or some shit. These kinds of things can help renew interest and spur new sales. Anyway like I say, let me know when the price drops, I'll take it off your hands then.
  12. Topher Liturgist

    Topher
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    Again, I agree. It was probably a sound strategy to release at $20 because most people who would be interested in buying this game won't be concerned about the price so long as it's within reason. I however am not one to ever ignore price and I'm extra harsh on pricing where digital distribution comes into play.

    Fact is that I payed $30 for the first Etrian Odyssey, $10 for Dark Spire and I won't be paying $20 for this. Both of those titles offered me professional quality and an actual physical copy while this title does not. What else can I say?
  13. Metro Arcane

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    Don't bother. Most of the people playing the 'Decline of the Kodex Kard' probably won't even buy the game.
  14. Elwro RPG Codex Staff Patron

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    Of course death is a possible, and likely, consequence. Read the review goddamnit. This applies also to the other 80% "contributors" to this thread who can't be arsed to do something more than click on pictures.
  15. SkepticsClaw Potential Fire Hazard

    SkepticsClaw
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    :bravo:
  16. waywardOne Augur

    waywardOne
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    oh you mean this?
    so the AI is too stupid to actually finish off a character that by rights should already be dead.

    this only reinforces my query. next time just address the fucking issue.
  17. Charles-cgr Developer Patron

    Charles-cgr
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    Well, I thought I did above. I tried going with that but found that death would practically be a guarantee. Especially in the beginning.

    They don't ALWAYS finish you off, but some do. So there IS pressure to heal ASAP, therefore making the use of healing ingredients (by non priest classes) worth considering.

    Considering price, my idea was simple. I aimed at finding enough people willing to pay enough to support further releases. $5 doesn't do that.

    I don't agree that modern tools make these projects any easier to make. The only kind of tools I could think of would be ready-made engines. Those are plentiful for jRPGs (RPG Maker) or 3D games (Torque, Dark Basic...) but I had to build mine from scratch, just like Caneghem did back in the day (Game Maker doesn't help - it isn't rigged for single-person view but to facilitate the making of platformers). Jon VC had a pal working on the graphics (not the finest either, for both the in-game & the manual art), but I still remember paying $40+ for it (er... getting my parents to), which equates to $80 today. $20 doesn't seem like such a bad deal, even if MMI had a larger world & more trash items.

    So why did I use GM? By accident. That's the tool & language I started fiddling with first. Once I made progress with that I considered it not worthwhile to switch & learn another proprietary language.

    If it isn't worth it to you, you're not my target market & I'm fine with that. The question is... Does my target market exist? It's probably out there, but spread out & hard to reach.
  18. Topher Liturgist

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    Every screen shot I've seen for KotC was colorful as fuck... it's graphics are sort of simplistic but I though they looked well designed and interesting. A large part of what's holding back this games aesthetic appeal isn't the simplicity but the amateurish feel and overall boring design. I've seen a lot of great work done with limited resources it just requires extra effort and creativity. It might have been gimmicky but the game could have been entirely set in grey scale and then used a sketched style for all the art making it reminiscent of an old adventure film with all the enemies an items looking like they'd been lifted off of an old treasure map. It would catch my attention. You can try to pretend that paying for decent art would be cost prohibitive but I spend a lot of real-life time around artists who want to make a career out of their work. It's not hard to dig up a dozen at the drop of a hat who could and would draw a whole pack of generic designs for a few hundred bucks and some beer. They're about the cheapest labor money can buy for fucks sake.

    Anyway games are largely a visual medium and as such being visual board isn't exactly something I'd rush out and pay for. People can scream that it's all about the gameplay... well fine, I'd agree but in the absence of well done graphics the gameplay has to carry the load. So how does it stack up? By all accounts that I've come across it's fairly generic and doesn't bring anything new to the genre, I could easily be mistaken on this point. Anyway, it's something new and there are a lot of genre fans craving something they haven't played before, that's a good market to cater too, but I'm not one of those fans. That's not to say that I'm not a potential customer, I'm just not clamoring for it, and better aesthetics or an exciting gameplay element might have been the extra draw needed to bring in myself and others like me who enjoy the genre but still have older titles from it to play.

    Graphics don't make the game, that's for sure, but it's still a visual medium and because of that they're still an important part of the experience. Games are a complete package gameplay, graphics and price. I just don't see what this game offers in any category that I can't get more of elsewhere for the same price. What does it offer that other games don't beside just being something new for fans who've already played everything else. If I'm wrong then for god sakes man let me know.

    *Charles-cgr at the end of the day you actually got your game out there and that's damned impressive. What can I say against that except... good luck.
  19. felipepepe Prestigious Gentleman Codex's Heretic Patron

    felipepepe
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    No, THIS is why you can't have "nice things":
    All I see is a bunch of wannabe-hardcore-guys talking about graphics whore, decline, and all that premade shit, not a single one bought the game they are so defending so hard! And it's been a year the game is out! There is your fucking decline.

    At least some of us has the balls to say straight that won't buy, and why. I bought Knights of The Chalice (and fucking finished it; something rare, it seems). The graphics were old, but were done with care, to have a sense of unity. And it was cheaper than this game.
  20. zeitgeist Arbiter

    zeitgeist
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    It's not even close, KotC was at least deliberately mimicking an anachronistic visual style (although with a few jarring additions which didn't really work). This is just plain bad.

    [​IMG]

    If the game resembled this, I imagine there would be less complaints. It's kind of hard to justify the level of incompetence seen in the screenshots of Charles-cgr's game to people who have seen firsthand that it's perfectly possible to make a visually consistent game regardless of technological constraints. So as it usually turns out to be the case with retro indie games, actual fans of old games aren't really the target market.
  21. commie Magister Patron

    commie
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    If you don't buy one copy of this game for every time you used 'fuck' in that rant, I'll call you out as the Arcania playing faggot that you are. ;) Trying too hard Darth, what's wrong? You are not Serious Business. Besides you miss the fucking point. It's not the shittiness of the graphics themselves that are the problem, it's their nature which distracts in a way that none of those pixellated CGA crawlers with that butt ugly font that was the norm in the old days, did. YES it's fucking subjective, and if you like the Hallmark card cutesy cutout of the little boy and don't let it grate on you then kudos to you. Others, myself included, find it extremely distracting and at a price point where you normally get better, more professional art direction, it just doesn't appeal. KOTC actually looks fine, has that old Ultima style and is perfectly serviceable. Jeff Vogel's games, even the earliest ones also look pretty good. I'm sure those you deride, like any number of games that have primitive graphics because they know that gameplay is the important thing. For $20 though you should expect a bit more aesthetically, as the game itself looks worse and plays no better than many shareware and freeware crawlers from the early 90's. Check out Devil Whiskey for how this game should look for $20.


    :thumbsup:
  22. ortucis Educated

    ortucis
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    All you need is love..

    [​IMG]


    :lol:
  23. PorkaMorka Arcane

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    Comparisons to KoTC don't seem right.

    KoTC had professionally done, consistent pixel art graphics, designed to create a certain "feel" throughout, while this is a mishmash of stock pictures with widely different art styles.

    You have to ask yourself, are you taking the position that graphics don't matter at all, and we should play ugly games and be happy, or are you taking the position that "it's sad that so many people today can't appreciate the graphical appeal of older games".

    Personally, a big appeal of older games for me is the graphics/art.

    (Haven't upgraded my graphics card in years, almost exclusively play older / tile based games)
  24. turn_based_fanboy Educated

    turn_based_fanboy
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    Let me guess you guys don't use electric kettles at home since they are :decline: Or would you be exactly the hypocrisy type of guy you mentioned in your post ?

    Just because people miss the old school mechanics and gameplay of games it doesn't mean they want them to look like something that returned back to the future from early 80s.

    And also the higher asking price the higher are people expectations for an acceptable level of graphics and polish.
  25. MicoSelva Prestigious Gentleman Filthy Casual Patron

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    Thanks for the informative review, Elwro. I have one issue with the game. 12-hour long grid-based Dungeon Crawler? It's like a demo of a real one.
    Then again, I don't have as much time for games as I used to, so this might be an advantage in the end.

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