Interview - posted by Saint_Proverbius on Mon 13 January 2003, 22:18:26Tags: Temple of Elemental Evil; Tim Cain; Troika Games
Our interview with Tim Cain over the upcoming Temple of Elemental Evil CRPG from Troika, published by Infogrames.
1.) You've said you felt nostalgic over the Greyhawk setting. Is this the only reason you picked it over, less conventional D&D settings like Dark Sun or Planescape?
Tim Cain: When the opportunity to do D&D 3E came up, I sat down with my entire collection (100+) of modules and tried to decide which one I wanted to do. The module had to be one I enjoyed playing (of course), but it also had to be big enough to feel "epic". Many of the modules that fit the bill were Greyhawk modules, which I had grown up playing with AD&D. The Temple of Elemental Evil became the obvious choice when I noticed the level range began at level 1, while my next favorite, Against the Giants, started much higher. ToEE is a big, fun adventure, more complex than the standard dungeon fare of the time.
There you have it, big and fun!
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Review - posted by Mistress on Fri 10 January 2003, 00:53:00Tags: BioWare; Neverwinter Nights: Witch's Wake
Our review of the Witchâ€™s Wake Part 1: The Fields of Battle, the first module in the official series for Neverwinter Nights.
Many aspects of the Official Campaign have been modified and replaced in this module, through the incorporation of community developed modifications. This is really more of a credit to the efforts of the community than to Bioware, and demonstrates what can actually be achieved with time and attention to detail. While itâ€™s nice to see that people have overcome many of the niggling issues with the game, through developing their own solutions, itâ€™s still a great shame that some of the more obvious and poor implementations werenâ€™t handled by Bioware themselves.
Review - posted by Saint_Proverbius on Fri 3 January 2003, 18:49:53Tags: Object Software; Prince of Qin
Our review of Prince of Qin, the ancient China themed CRPG from Object Software.
This Five Elements belief manifests itself in the mechanics of the game through a number of ways. For example, one elemental aligned item can push another elementally aligned item if the first promotes the second. If you have a weapon in your hand that's based on Fire, and a ring on that hand that's Wood based, abilities in that weapon will be unlocked because Fire is promoted by Wood. Likewise, a necklace with a Metal alignment can promote a helmet with a Water alignment, and so on.
Ah, sweet, sweet elemental alignments.
Information - posted by Calis on Tue 24 December 2002, 20:33:51Tags: The Year in Review
What did Saint Proverbius, Mistress, Calis, and Exitium think were the best games released this year? Read it and find out.
And here's a clip from the forward:
So, why not list the CRPGs we thought were the best? OF course, some will say that the big reason not to do it is that everyone else is. However, I'm pretty sure that most everyone else didn't play all the ones we played. In fact, I'm pretty sure that most of them haven't heard of some of the shareware games we cover, or the rogue-likes.
Review - posted by Exitium on Fri 20 December 2002, 22:32:48Tags: Arkane Studios; Arx Fatalis
French based company Arkane Studios was initially funded by 11 people in the month of October of 1999 with an initial investment of a hundred and eighty thousand dollars. Comprising of developers of various talents from EA, Infogrames, and Interplay, Arx Fatalis was their first and project as a team and the most ambitious one that any of them had ever worked on individually. Published by Austrian publishing house JoWood Productions, Arx Fatalis is the fruit of three years of their long nights at the office. Delve into our review of Arx Fatalis to see if their efforts paid off. Read the full article: [URL='http://www.rpgcodex.net/content.php?id=26']Arx Fatalis Review[/URL]
Editorial - posted by Mistress on Mon 16 December 2002, 22:36:39Tags: Black Isle Studios; Josh Sawyer
"A lot of users can't adequately describe why they like certain games -- or even why they like certain features of games. While it's certainly true that developers can listen too much to users, there's a frightening tendency for developers to respond to this deluge of opinion by simply ignoring the users. I think that the best thing to do is to listen to the users, but really examine the source of their praise and their criticism."
Thank you Josh!
Information - posted by Saint_Proverbius on Thu 12 December 2002, 10:07:25Tags: Mat Williams; Prelude to Darkness; Zero Sum
This is part 2 of the magic system of Prelude to Darkness. This one covers two magic skills, Gifts of Goddess as well as Thaumaturgy. Here's a bit of what Mat Williams wrote about Gifts of Goddess:
The Goddess allows certain folk of River lineage to channel her power. These gifts are granted generally as a result of a specific action. Most gifts are more powerful when used on the self or by touch as the link to the Goddess fades over distance, thus each gift usually has at least two variants one for the self or touch and another at range. -Mat WilliamsThanks to Mat Williams for helping with this article.
Interview - posted by Saint_Proverbius on Wed 11 December 2002, 20:13:50Tags: Harbinger; Silverback Entertainment
Straight up interview about Harbinger, the Sci-fi, actionish CRPG being made by Silverback. Here's the interest building clip:
4.) Science fiction CRPGs are very rare. Can you tell us why you picked science fiction over traditional fantasy? Do you think the setting will affect the type of people to which CRPGs are typically marketed?
Andy Muir: Honestly, it's because I'm sick to death of traditional fantasy games. I mean, I love them and I play them all, but there's a limit to the number of caves, crypts and cemeteries I can explore before it starts to get old.
I don't think that the Sci-fi people and the fantasy people are necessarily two separate camps. Everyone has their preferences sure, but for the most part, the people that enjoy Star Wars also enjoy the Lord of the Rings so I don't really expect this to be a factor when it comes to sales.
Editorial - posted by Saint_Proverbius on Tue 10 December 2002, 21:29:33Tags: Gareth Davies; Micro Forte
Gareth Davies, aka Section8, an artist/designer at Micro Forte has well as an instructor at The Academy of Interactive Entertainment, has written up a rather interesting and lengthy summary of the combat systems employed by CRPGs.
No matter what type of Role-Playing Game (RPG) you are playing, you can be 95% sure it involves killing things. Many so called RPGs provide no gameplay beyond hacking away and leaving swaths of dead monsters, sans any material posessions, and others might allow you to avoid combat situations altogether. However regardless of design philosophies, combat usually comprises the core gameplay, and so it's essential that it is well thought out and executed, but more importantly it has to be enjoyable and challenging for the player.
Thanks heaps, Gareth! I hope you didn't wear out your keyboard on it!
Editorial - posted by Saint_Proverbius on Fri 6 December 2002, 23:22:41Tags: Black Label Games; Chris Taylor
Chris Taylor, one of the main designers of Fallout and Stonekeep for Interplay, as well as Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring for the GameBoy Advance provides his unique spin on the design of CRPGs.
On my ring finger, you have story itself. RPGs without story are tactical combat and level treadmill games. Those can be interesting games, but not really conducive to creating a great role-playing game. The quality of the story can help determine the quality of the game, especially for RPGs. Planescape Torment would have been a good game without it's wonderful story, but was elevated to a great game by the quality of it's writing, story and dialogue.
Kudos to you, Chris Taylor! Thanks for the time.
Editorial - posted by Saint_Proverbius on Tue 3 December 2002, 19:02:09Tags: Leonard Boyarsky; Troika Games
Leon Boyarski, Troika Games, offers up an editorial on CRPG development, and how making money is important. Also, why marketting people suck.
When I sat down to write about RPG development, I went through the list of things I like to see in an RPG. Depth of characterization and plot. Reactivity of the world. Believable NPCs. Feeling like you?re playing a ?role?. Then I tried to decide which is the most important in RPG development ? and the answer is none of them.
Ah, reality. Such a harsh mistress.
Review - posted by Exitium on Sun 1 December 2002, 19:28:17Tags: Divine Divinity; Larian Studios
With the recent flooding of CRPG releases in the market, Divine Divinity finds itself in steep competition against many other games of the same genre, some of which that have been more received wider press coverage and have garnered a larger fan-base than Divine Divinity, Larian Studios' second effort into the already saturated CRPG market. Divine Divinity, a game with a tautological name as any others you would have noticed was a game plagued by constant delays ever since it was first put into full production in the year 2000 after the cancellation of Larian Studios' previous effort, "The Lady, the Mage & the Knight". How does it compare with all the others? Read the full article: [URL='http://www.rpgcodex.net/content.php?id=17']Divine Divinity Review[/URL]
Interview - posted by Mistress on Fri 29 November 2002, 20:21:25Tags: Prelude to Darkness; Zero Sum
Interview with Travis Williams, lead artist on Prelude to Darkness.
"1. Could you tell us a little about yourself, your role at Zero-Sum, and your involvement in the development of Prelude to Darkness?
Travis Williams: My background is pretty diverse: I?ve spent a lot of my professional life in academic research (cognitive psychology), freelance graphic design and illustration, and playing music. My work at Zero Sum represents my first serious foray into the world of video game creation."
Editorial - posted by Saint_Proverbius on Mon 25 November 2002, 22:21:41Tags: Tim Cain; Troika Games
Our first developer editorial on game design, and who better to start it with than Tim Cain, the man who helped usher in Fallout and Arcanum. Some of this words:
Another lesson that should be obvious: turn-based games are still fun. Despite the plethora of real-time computer games on the market, there is still satisfaction in playing a game in the old-fashioned turn-based method we all grew up with. Some newer games seem to be real-time for no other reason than because real-time is more modern. Why make a real-time D&D computer game, which requires you to ignore or change all of the rules having to do with D&D?s inherently turn-based nature? I am surprised no one has made a real-time chess game. I?ll even give you a good name for it: ?Xtreme Chess? And don?t forget the sticker: ?Now With Phat Lewt?.
Thank you, Tim Cain.
Review - posted by Saint_Proverbius on Fri 22 November 2002, 21:12:39Tags: Avernum 3; Spiderweb Software
My review of Avernum 3. Here's a snippet:
Probably the first thing you'll notice when you fire up Avernum 3 is that it's not the most modern CRPG out there. It doesn't have a lot of automation about it. It doesn't have the latest graphics to push your several hundred dollar graphics card. It doesn't have fast paced, passive combat that you spend most of your time watching. It doesn't make the claim that there are 300+ spells. It, frankly, doesn't have a lot of the hooks that modern CRPGs use to sucker you in to buying them.
That's not a bad thing at all, because what it does offer is a challenging and rewarding experience in the tradition of the older CRPGs. If you're looking for an old school CRPG fix, similar to Ultima, Wasteland, or the old Gold Box games, that's what Avernum 3 offers. It's a straight shooting, party based CRPG that involves a lot of quests, a lot of locations to save, or not save, interesting combat, and more.
Mmmm.. surface-y goodness.
Information - posted by Saint_Proverbius on Thu 21 November 2002, 01:46:46Tags: Mat Williams; Prelude to Darkness; Zero Sum
This article covers the Flame set of spells used in Prelude to Darkness. It covers how they work, what equations determine their effects, and so on. Here's a brief section from Mat Williams.
The general principal is that each spell is a specific pattern of thought which allows the caster to channel the Eternal Flame in some useful manner. By varying the amount of Chaos and Control within the pattern the caster can vary the spell somewhat to different effects. This generaly leads to three possible levels of the spell, the first is the balanced level, the second a more controlled version and the third a more chaotic version. Generally control improves range or duration or allows the avoidance of friend characters at a cost of damage or power and chaos does the opposite, i.e. greater power shorter range, etc... The forth level or blood level is based on using the casters own blood rather than just their energy and is the ultimate in power. -Mat WilliamsHappy casting!
Interview - posted by Saint_Proverbius on Wed 20 November 2002, 00:25:49Tags: Mat Williams; Prelude to Darkness; Zero Sum
The first interview with Mat Williams, one of the lead designers on Prelude to Darkness.
11.) Skills, particularly combat ones, offer more benefits when they get to certain levels. Can you give us an example of what types of rewards players can expect to see by reaching high skill levels in a combat skill? How about a non-combat skill?
Mat Williams: Non-combat skills primarily give attribute bonuses as they get better. We had a lot of other, more active, bonuses in place for them, but it got to be too much of a testing and balancing headache for us. I'd like to get more bonuses in for them, right now I don't think there's any non-combat bonus which compares to the advanced sword-spin attack. All the advanced combat moves are very useful, even key in the late game, and they're different enough to warrant playing with more than just swords.
Information - posted by Saint_Proverbius on Sat 16 November 2002, 02:54:12Tags: Prelude to Darkness; Zero Sum
A listing of the backgrounds in Prelude of Darkness, what they require, what they give you.
Interview - posted by Saint_Proverbius on Mon 11 November 2002, 21:42:39Tags: Avernum 3; Spiderweb Software
Just a little more loving of Spiderweb Software. Here's a bit of it:
11.) Timed events play a big part in Avernum 3, such as the razing of towns by monsters if you don't get to their nests in time, and quest situations that only occur after certain dates. Can you explain why Avernum 3 does this? Is making a dynamically changing world more difficult versus the added benefit of demonstrating urgency of situations? Do you feel this worked well for Avernum 3?
It's the thing I love most about the game. I love the size, the depth, the amount of stuff in it. And I love the way you can return to a town and find half of it smashed in.
It was a lot of work. But I think it was just cool.
And the link to the interview itself.
Review - posted by Exitium on Sat 9 November 2002, 17:53:41Tags: Black Isle Studios; Icewind Dale 2
Does it succeed as a strong title or does it falter like its predecessor? Read Exitium's unbiased and well-balanced review to find out if Icewind Dale II makes the cut. Read the full article: [URL='http://www.rpgcodex.net/content.php?id=10']Icewind Dale II Review[/URL]