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2003: The Year in Review

Editorial - posted by Spazmo on Fri 23 January 2004, 02:08:59

Tags: The Year in Review

We examine the big events in the RPG industry in 2003 and explain why they're mostly horrible.

During the summer of this year, the people at Bethesda Softworks saw fit to inflict upon us another expansion to The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.Bloodmoon has you investigating werewolves on the snowy island of--oh, who gives a shit? It's the same old hopelessly dull Morrowind gameplay. You run around fairly pretty countryside beating the tar out of hordes of stupid cliff racers doing completely pointless quests that involve murdering people for no real reason and occasionally 'talking' to the walking search engines the game calls NPCs. Morrowind is a terrible game and the expansions for it don't seem to fix any of that horror.

Oh, dear. Critical levels of sass are being attained, folks.

There are 29 comments on 2003: The Year in Review

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Metalheart Q&A

Interview - posted by Saint_Proverbius on Tue 20 January 2004, 02:13:14

Tags: Akella; Alexander Filatow; Metalheart: Replicants Rampage

Our interview with Akella's own Alexander Filatow and Alexander Shcherbakov about Metalheart, their isometric, sci-fi, turned based CRPG.

10.) Can you tell us a little bit about the factions in the game? For example, if your character is a Nomad, the story has differences than if you were a Human. Can you elaborate on this?

Lets make things clear. There are two main characters. Pre-generated characters. They are humans. And just cannot be nomads os somebody else. You can develop them in lots of ways, but in the end you’re playing the role of a man trying to survive and escape. The factions in the game, as I said before, have their own behaviour ‘patterns’. And the world in Meatalheart is alive, so you have to build relationship with different races, different groups.

No character creation is definitely a bummer.

There are 1 comments on Metalheart Q&A

Silent Storm interview

Interview - posted by Vault Dweller on Thu 15 January 2004, 08:16:25

Tags: Dmitry Zakharov; Nival Interactive; Silent Storm

Dmitry Zakharov of Nival Interactive has taken time to answer our questions about Silent Storm, turn-based tactical RPG.

2. Silent Storm has many interesting and rarely seen these days features: turn-based combat, role-playing, non-linear campaign structure, multiple paths to complete missions, and interactive environment. Please tell us why each option was chosen, i.e. turn based instead of real time, non-linear instead of linear, etc.

The ultimate goal for all these improvements and concept key-points was to provide players with maximum freedom at every level of gameplay. Thus, for Silent Storm we’ve chosen the turn-based genre as it offers full control over the tactical situation and every operative in your squad. It enables players to make the best use of equipment, weapons, combat patterns and so on. It allows you to immerse into your mission, step into the boots of your squaddies, scrutinize details or apply group strategy whenever needed, at your own choice.

Yet again, non-linear campaign structure means more freedom, flexibility and replayability for the game. Every time you start the game, special randomizer mixes up campaign missions, clues, sensitive information and other game evidence that drives you throughout and uncovers the plot. As you proceed and find these clues, new missions and objectives open up on the global map. This is where you decide which mission to take and in what direction you want to investigate and impose your subversive activity.

Appearance of multiple paths to complete missions was inevitable with the introduction of totally destructible environment and powerful graphical engine in Silent Storm, unseen in the games of its genre before. It lets you collapse buildings, crush through doors, shoot enemies through ceiling by the sound of their footsteps. So, for instance, you can blow a wall with a pack of TNT anywhere you please and distract enemy guards while doing silent killing on the side of the lab. This permits you to fully use your tactical thinking and equipment at hand to accomplish the mission in the best way possible or in your own style. That’s why we’ve chosen it.

Ok, I'm sold, from now on I'm playing only turn-based non-linear games!:)

There are 7 comments on Silent Storm interview

Be a Silent Storm Poster Child contest

Competition - posted by Saint_Proverbius on Sun 11 January 2004, 15:57:41

Tags: Encore Software; Silent Storm

Okay, we've got a little contest to do. Our first one here at this site. Basically, here's what you have to do to win one of three copies of Silent Storm, the soon to be released World War II themed tactical, mission based CRPG.

Make a World War 2 themed propeganda poster advertising Silent Storm, then email it to me by next Thursday, January 15th 2004. We'll pick the winners on Friday, gather their addresses up, and fire them off to Encore Software. They'll then send you the copy.

The rules would be not to use any trademarks other than Silent Storm stuff. Nothing involving naughty bits, either. Entries are to be in JPEG format. Only those living in the United States and Canada are eligible due to shipping stuff.

So, get photoshopping, GIMPing, or whatever thing you use to edit pictures up.

There are 11 comments on Be a Silent Storm Poster Child contest

Flatspace - the Interview

Interview - posted by Saint_Proverbius on Wed 31 December 2003, 14:21:33

Tags: Cornutopia Software; Flatspace; Mark Sheeky

An interview with Matt Sheeky about Flatspace, his 3D on a 2D plane space trader game with rogue-like elements. Here's a taste:

2.) Flatspace has some interesting features from rogue-like games, including permadeath, graveyards, random universe generation, and so forth. Can you tell us a little bit about why you've added features like this? What made you think they'd be interesting in this context?

Well, I like Nethack. Random elements always make a game better because they really add to the depth for such a small amount of development work. Once you've completed Half Life, there is no real reason to ever play it again so why don't they add random levels? Getting the computer to generate as much from seeds can lead to great depth and complexity without much outlay. The real Universe is generated algorithmically after all.

The exploration aspects of rogue clones is rarely used in games, yet those are some of their most interesting aspects. Every game is different. It keeps the game interesting even at the start, a plot driven game gets more and more interesting until you finish the game and never play it again. If a game is just as fun at the start as the end then permadeath is not a penalty.

Nice cover art, ain't it?

There are 3 comments on Flatspace - the Interview

Trinity Interview

Interview - posted by Ausir on Wed 24 December 2003, 00:54:00

Tags: Forlorn World; Ground Zero

Przemo_nie of Ground Zero has taken time to answer our questions about Trinity.

    6. Will the game be linear or not? How much freedom will the player have in exploring the world and the plot?

    The player will have only one purpose after starting the game: to survive as long as he can. We might give the PC some quest to do, which will be his goal in life. However, as in life, he won't have to reach it. All the quests, campaigns, adventures, will be only an addition to the Great History of the World. In this game, the PC won't be a hero saving the mankind. The history of the world will be created by those that inhabit it, and the PC won't be able to influence the most important events. He will be able to try to get to know its details, meet the NPCs creating the history, or run from the place of historic events - for his own good.

    As the freedom? Nobody likes limitations, and neither do we.

There are always some limitations. There's only RPG without any - Toon!

There are 0 comments on Trinity Interview

Teudogar and the Alliance with Rome Interview

Interview - posted by Vault Dweller on Mon 22 December 2003, 17:08:09

Tags: Teudogar and the Alliance with Rome; Wolf Mittag

Wolf Mittag of Teudogar and the Alliance with Rome fame has taken a lot of time to answer our questions about his new game

4. I played the demo which I recommend to all our readers, and I couldn't help but notice that there are magical weapons and wizardry skills. How does that fit into a historically authentic RPG?

I included wizardry into the game exactly in order to make it historically authentic: When you're playing "Teudogar", I want you to feel like a genuine Germanic barbarian - and that includes superstitiousness.

People strongly believed in wizardry, and this belief probably made it actually effective. E.g., if you believed in blessings, knowing that you'd been blessed would free you from worrying about a possible defeat. This would enhance your concentration and courage, thereby actually improving your chances of winning a duel. That fact that you attributed your success to a supernatural cause doesn't bother me as long as there is reason to believe such a "spell" genuinely worked.

This is the kind of "magic" included in "Teudogar". It's not about gaining instant victory by pulverizing your enemies, but rather about tilting the odds in your favor by giving you confidence, or by demoralizing your enemies. Today we'd consider it plain autosuggestion, psychology, placebo effects, or manipulation; yet it was equally effective when it was called "magic" and its effects were attributed to higher powers' interference.

That's actually a great way to handle "Magic" in a realistic game world. As George Constanza once said "It's not a lie if you believe it"

There are 1 comments on Teudogar and the Alliance with Rome Interview

Uberlong Knights of the Old Republic review

Review - posted by Saint_Proverbius on Wed 3 December 2003, 08:18:19

Tags: BioWare; Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Our [URL='']overly long review[/URL] of [URL='']Knights of the Old Republic[/URL], which I admit is a little long.. But I had a lot to cover, so take your ritalin before reading this. Here's a swath: [INDENT]Most players of PC CRPGs are used to having fairly easy inventories to deal with. You open a panel, and you have your inventory displayed in a nice grid along side a paper doll of the character that you can drag and drop items to and from in a simple fashion. Well, not in this game. In fact, the main inventory screen and the equip item screen are two different screens. Just to equip a blaster, for example, you have to open up the equip item screen, select the part of the body, then scroll through a single column list of items partaining to that part of the body. Then click on that item, and hit the "Okay" button. That may not sound like much, but it's far more annoying than simply dragging and dropping items like nearly all the modern CRPGs have had for the last five years. It effectively doubles the amount of interface use to do the same thing. You'll definitely notice the difference between this console style system and the more traditional system when you get a new follower later in the game and have to equip most every item on them.[/INDENT] Yes, the inventory does suck, despite what other reviews and [URL='']BioWare[/URL] claim. But, overall, I liked it.

There are 79 comments on Uberlong Knights of the Old Republic review

Anito chat log

Interview - posted by Saint_Proverbius on Thu 27 November 2003, 13:41:31

Tags: Anino Entertainment; Anito: Defend a Land Enraged

This chat log is taken from the chat with Anino Entertainment about their first game, Anito: Defend a Land Enraged. Here's a sample:

[VicViper] You've made a very unique game in my opinion... are there any game that you got an inspiration from?
[gabusch] VicViper: a mix of old RPGs and adventure games. everything we've played along the way
[cneal] gam?
[gabusch] there's a score system in the game. reminiscent of the old adventure ones
[gabusch] that's how you can keep track of how much of the game you've completed
[gabusch] and, depending on how completely you finish the game, you can get different proclamations at the end of it
[VicViper] similar to King
[VicViper] King's Quest?
[gabusch] yeah

I liked the Space Quest ones better, personally.

There are 0 comments on Anito chat log

Project Salus log of logs

Interview - posted by Saint_Proverbius on Wed 5 November 2003, 11:34:33

Tags: Cube Warfare; Project Salus

This is the uneditted chat log of our discussion with Matt Brown about Project Salus, which is an independently developed, post apocalyptic CRPG with management sim stuff as well. Here's a clip:

[Clockwork] Don't let those engineers die! The artist can go, but not those fixers of machinery and such
[Clockwork] :)
[MattBrown] in a sense, all technologies are available to you at the start... the problem isn't the technology, but the resources
[Clockwork] ok
[Saint_Proverbius] Artists create morale, and as a back up.. FOOD!
[MattBrown] heheheh exactly
[MattBrown] Technicians can repair equipment, but Engineers can actually fashion repair parts
[Clockwork] Solient Green is people!!
[MattBrown] which is very essential
[Saint_Proverbius] Soylent Green is ARTISTS!

Read the full thing for even more fun about eating people and babies and stuff.

There are 7 comments on Project Salus log of logs

Phase: Exodus chat log

Interview - posted by Saint_Proverbius on Wed 29 October 2003, 10:25:57

Tags: Phase: Exodus; Russobit-M; Svetlana Haninaeva

For those million of you who missed it, here's the uneditted, scary chatlog about Phase: Exodus, that turn based, post apocalyptic CRPG being published by Russobit-M and developed by Horns and Hooves. Here's a sample of the beast:

[OdinNMA] so what exactly was a quest matrix ?
[Fishka] The way you behave during the game affects the end.
[Human_Shield] Any voice-acting in the game? Getting a good english translation?
[MetalWyrm] Fishka, will the combat be turnbased, phasebased, or real time?
[blitzkrieg] im not communist
[Fishka] Quest matrix is a number of quests which are closely connected with each other.
[Spazmo] Good question from Odin: Define "quest matrix"?
[Fishka] The combat will be turn-based.
[Spazmo] Ah
[Pooperscooper] fishka great answer
[MetalWyrm] Fishka, good choice =)
[Exitium] Morrowind had a quest matrix, of sorts.
[Spazmo] Will most quests be related to the main storyline or will there be sidequests and such?
[Exitium] Do certain quests and you're given an open path to a series of new quests.
[OdinNMA] actually SP asked that..
[MetalWyrm] Fishka, assuming you're going to have cities, will you be able to be a villain in one city and a good guyin another ?
[OdinNMA] did you guys ask what the APARp system was ?
[MetalWyrm] Odin, you can read a bit about it hre I think:
[OdinNMA] well that's what I'm reading now...
[Pooperscooper] is there any screens of the game?
[Fishka] Spazmo, there will be many quests related to the storyline.

The quest matrix has you!

Yeah, pretty cheesy comment, and way too easy, but you get what you pay for!

There are 4 comments on Phase: Exodus chat log

Seal of Evil Preview

Preview - posted by Exitium on Mon 27 October 2003, 14:27:50

Tags: Object Software; Seal of Evil

This article covers the history, story and features in Seal of Evil, Object Software's latest Chinese themed RPG, and prequel to Prince of Qin. Here's a preview:

The story is set in the last few years of the Warring States period in ancient China more than 2,200 years ago, i.e. about 15 years before Prince of Qin. At that time, Qin gradually became the most powerful state in China and began making an overall plan to conquer the other six states. Meanwhile, Qin troops kept attacking the Baiyue people living in the southwest of China. As a result of these repeated invasions the whole race of West Baiyue led by Yan Bo was annihilated. The people of East Baiyue, under the leadership of Lan Xiong, then fought a desperate war against the Qin army.

There are 2 comments on Seal of Evil Preview

Shrapnel/Malfador chat log

Interview - posted by Saint_Proverbius on Wed 22 October 2003, 04:35:18

Tags: Aaron Hall; Shrapnel Games; Space Empires: Starfury

Yet another chat log, this one was done with Malfador, aka Aaron Hall, and some nice chaps from Shrapnel.

[Malfador] Dungeon Odyssey was my first DirectX game, and Starfury my first Direct3D game.
[Instar] Bumpmapping requires a fairly recent card to run right
[Exitium] Not really Instar.
[Malfador] They were intended to build an engine that I could use for SE5 to create true 3D ships for the display.
* Slith ( has joined #RPGCodex
[Exitium] Anything newer than the Geforce 2 will run bumpmapping just fine.
[Exitium] THose MX400 cards go for dirt cheap.
[Saint_Proverbius] Yup
[Exitium] And they handle bumpmapping perfectly.
[Instar] True. Bumpmapping does do wonders for games, look at Halo2 or Doom3
[Saint_Proverbius] Heck, look at BattleZone 2.
[SalsaDoom] Well, so long as it was optional, I don't see any problems with adding a few nice things..
[Instar] I don't know if its there in DX yet
[Exitium] Jedi Academy uses an engine that's a few years old and it's still pretty.
[Instar] it would require some more effort on the art people
[Malfador] Now, as to how many ships I can get into combat at one time, that's another question. But the main purpose was to move the space strategy genre on to the 3D era. (not that SE5 would be the first to do that).
[Saint_Proverbius] IG2 did it.
[Fyron] Yeah, but that game was lacking...
[SalsaDoom] Yeah, IG2's space battles were very pretty. To bad the game was over in an hour
[tesco] what is starshatter using ??
[Saint_Proverbius] 3D
[Saint_Proverbius] Starshatter is a sim, though.
[Instar] Aaron, what games are you looking forward to playing? I cannot wait to get my grubby paws on Doom3 or DeusEx2
[Malfador] Bumpmapping - I'd love to add all the bells and whistles to Starfury, but time is against me. The best thing to do is to add each of these features incrementally in each new game that uses the same engine. That way it doesn't take you 4 years to get the game out (O' FreeLancer, where art thou?).

Who doesn't like a good bumpmapped starship?

There are 1 comments on Shrapnel/Malfador chat log

Brian Fargo dev chat log

Interview - posted by Saint_Proverbius on Wed 15 October 2003, 03:39:54

Tags: Brian Fargo; inXile Entertainment; The Bard's Tale (2004)

This would be the uncut chat log from our talk with Brian Fargo about his up-start company, inXile Entertainment and the Bard's Tale stuff he's working on. Clippage:

[Saint_Proverbius] Okay, let's start. Brian's ready. I think we're all ready. So, how'd you pick the name, "inXile" anyway?
[Brian1] well.... right after Interplay I was going to E3 in May.,....
[Brian1] and I needed a quick name to get a badge...
[Brian1] i chose the "workshop" and as a joke I gave my title "Ceo in exile"... it got such a funny response
[Brian1] that we figured there was something to it.
[Brian1] and ended up with the inXile name since inexile by itself was taken.

And that's how it all started!

There are 0 comments on Brian Fargo dev chat log

Devil Whiskey dev chat log

Interview - posted by Saint_Proverbius on Wed 8 October 2003, 04:23:09

Tags: Devil Whiskey; Shifting Suns Studios

This is the uneditted dev chat log with the nice chaps at Shifting Suns, the guys making Devil Whiskey. Here's a bit about weed since it's rather funny:

[Split_404] oh, in the demo version it sounds like someone randomly asks to try some weed? I assumed they meant mead, was this deliberate?
[FyL] that should be something else we mention here too - in the full game, the in-game music is different depending on what instrument the bard is holding
[Justin] right - it's a very cool effect.
[Shevek] awesome *firing up demo now*
[Justin] oh, some of the sound effects will be revamped.
[Justin] and you're right - it should be 'mead'.
[Justin] :)
[Senrats] NO... It was Mead...
[Senrats] hehehe
[Senrats] No mention of weed anywhere ;)

Thanks to all the guys who showed up for this!

There are 0 comments on Devil Whiskey dev chat log

Temple of Elemental Evil Review

Review - posted by Spazmo on Thu 2 October 2003, 14:02:33

Tags: Temple of Elemental Evil; Troika Games

RPGCodex reviews [URL='']Temple of Elemental Evil[/URL]. I think it's just darling. [INDENT]Temple of Elemental Evil is a game that has its flaws but that also has got some very strong qualities. Although the role-playing aspect isn?t nearly as strong as such RPG juggernauts as Fallout or Arcanum and wary gamers may want to wait for a patch (official or otherwise) before leaping into ToEE, the combat is simply second to none and the game is a big bucket of fun. If you like big, tactical fights with some robust if somewhat limited role-playing and some great graphics and sound, ToEE is the game for you.[/INDENT] Mmm... Turn-based. Read the full article: [URL='']Temple of Elemental Evil Review[/URL]

There are 25 comments on Temple of Elemental Evil Review

Devil Whiskey interview

Interview - posted by Saint_Proverbius on Wed 1 October 2003, 08:46:43

Tags: Devil Whiskey; Shifting Suns Studios

Justin Binns of Shifting Suns has taken the time to answer some questions about Devil Whiskey. Here's a bit on the old school character creation thing:

3.) Some of the mechanics of Devil Whiskey seems to limit the character creation of a party. For example, you have to roll up your attributes and only then can you select a class based on those attributes. Is there any reason why you stuck with this type of creation system over one that allowed a less restrictive manner of creation?

When we set out on this project, our goal was to create a game in homage to the great old RPG's of the late 80's. In keeping with that goal, we made design decisions that would lead to a similar experience. We believe that part of what made those old games so great *were* their limitations. If you're not worried about spending 20 hours creating a character, because the system is so thoroughly dynamic that you can tweak anything and there are 1000's of options, you can move on to play the rest of the game more quickly. Not only that, but many of us have a heritage in the old books-and-dice RPG's as well, and many of them (particularly the old favorites) work in the style described - you roll your stats, and based on those, you have certain options.

That's funny, because I did that once as a DM. I made the players roll their character attributes first, then pick a class based on what they rolled, instead of the other way around.

There are 0 comments on Devil Whiskey interview

Restricted Area dev chat log

Interview - posted by Saint_Proverbius on Wed 1 October 2003, 06:16:34

Tags: Jan Beuck; Master Creating; Restricted Area

The mostly uneditted chat log for the developer chat with Master Creating, which covers their action CRPG with the cyberpunk theme, Restricted Area.

As you can see, it was a lot of fun:

[Saint_Proverbius] What rating is Restricted Area going for, since that's a big topic?
[JanB] It´s going for M
[Saint_Proverbius] M for what kind of content? Just violence?
[Motu] ...
[Motu] maybe...
[Motu] use of drugs
[JanB] Everybody how likes to get defeated by a clever AI and doesn´t care much about graphics should check out Imerion (
[Motu] use of alcohol
[JanB] Violence, Sex, drugs, speech
[JanB] All the funny stuff
[EEVIAC] Its not going to have a really out of place sex scene like Gothic 2 is it?
[JanB] No
[JanB] We are discreet
[Motu] but you can have sex
[JanB] Yes
[Motu] a lot of sex
[JanB] Stop that! ;)
[EEVIAC] With machines?

Thanks to all who showed up. Those who didn't, I hope your toes rot off.

There are 8 comments on Restricted Area dev chat log

Post ToEE chat log

Interview - posted by Saint_Proverbius on Wed 24 September 2003, 03:27:55

Tags: Temple of Elemental Evil; Troika Games

The post release chat log of Temple of Elemental Evil, where Troika said things like this:

[Exitium] [Mearas] Besides removing the kids, has the game been altered in any other signigicant way as a result of switching ratings?
[TimCain] Yes. Several dialogs and quests were removed entirely, as were some characters.
[[Troika]Tom] One whole map with side quests, the brothel in Nulb, was removed
[ReAnimator] ouch!
[TimCain] Plus, Tom said some bad words in a few dialogs...
[TimCain] :)
[[troika]hnguyen] :)
[[Troika]Steve] Code was generally untouched for the censors, so I had smooth sailing.
[[troika]hnguyen] i wish the bad words were still in :(
[TimCain] Also, you will notice that Dick Rentsch is now just Rentsch
[[Troika]Tom] Tim used a bad word once, too!
[TimCain] I did?
[ReAnimator] I had to cover up some private areas on some models
[[Troika]Steve] Because Richard is such a horrible name to name someone.
[[troika]hnguyen] LOL
* TimCain says "Done"

I want the naughty bits back!

There are 6 comments on Post ToEE chat log

Golden Land Zoology 7 - Old Marvia, Northern Jungle

Preview - posted by Saint_Proverbius on Mon 22 September 2003, 16:28:09

Tags: Burut Creative Team; Golden Land

Yet another Zoology report about the creatures of Golden Land, that Burut CRPG filled with guns, skills, and turn based fun!

Behold, the Mennada:

These ones are the flying demons in female forms, and they are extremely dangerous. Their enormous leather wings end with hands which have claws as sharp as razors. Mennades are the creations of one old witch. That witch was unlucky - the men always had forsaken her. Had created the mennades, she had revenged herself upon all men. That's why these creatures attack only men. Their kind of hunting is interesting. Having a walk, the man sees the figure in seductive red lingerie. Of course, every good man will try to find out what has happened, and if the young girl needs help... Some of the hunters, who, by chance, has stayed alive, explain such concern that way: they have daughters, and that's why they are so deeply touched by the different problems of young girls. So, the traveller, seeeing the mennade and walking to her, gets into the trap - and he is very lucky if he stays alive.

Heeeelllllllllloooooo, nurse!

There are 0 comments on Golden Land Zoology 7 - Old Marvia, Northern Jungle

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