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KickStarter ATOM RPG - Wasteland Soviet style!

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by Atomboy, Oct 1, 2016.

?

Will you back?

Poll closed Nov 28, 2017.
  1. I will consider it!

    39 vote(s)
    54.9%
  2. No! I would never!..

    9 vote(s)
    12.7%
  3. kingcomrade

    23 vote(s)
    32.4%
  1. TwinkieGorilla does a good job. Patron

    TwinkieGorilla
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    Serpent in the Staglands Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech
    Fuck yeah, man. I loved what I played a few updates back. Been savin' myself for marriage full release, stoked AF it's right around the corner!
     
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  2. HoboForEternity Arcane Patron

    HoboForEternity
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    merry atomic christmas indeed!
     
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  3. AdolfSatan Learned

    AdolfSatan
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    Well, I do happen to be on a seven year-old desktop with a radeon gpu... Hopefully it won't be one of those three! Don't mind playing on minimum settings, tho, that's what I've done pretty much all my life anyways.

    Glad to see there are no important bugs then! Will be purchasing this on my first weekend after it's released to properly pull an all-nighter.
     
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  4. Tancred Educated

    Tancred
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    It's quite playable with integrated graphics, using minimum settings (at least in my experience).
     
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  5. EnthalpyFlow Learned Patron

    EnthalpyFlow
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    Oh man, thank you kindly to take the time to post here Atomboy. You're a legend in my book! Looking forward to the release :fuuyeah:
     
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  6. bataille Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    bataille
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    Holy. Shit.

    I'll try to explain.

    So, I've finally bought the game. Played it for a some 5 or 6 hours. And I have some things to say about its narrative, textual, and contextual methods. For the record, I've spent unhealthy amounts of time in uni learning about that dissident, unofficial Soviet stuff, so it wasn't too hard to pick up on. And yes, I had to play it in Russian.

    First of all, unless you have had great exposure to Russia's 20th century (counter)culture (or you're a well-read and hip rusky yourself), you can forget about getting what this game is trying to communicate to you. Like, at all. The amount of references, indirect and direct quotations, intertextual nods, etc is through the roof. In these few hours I've played, the game have quoted from some of the most prominent Russian (read: unknown) postmodernist writers (direct citations from Vladimir Sorokin, Ilya Masodov, Venedikt Erofeyev). The mythical Russian ressentiment towards Perestroika has been invoked on numerous occasions. There've also been some more 'pop' references from the internet era as well. I didn't care much for those. I'm sure I didn't get even one tenth of them.


    For christ's sake, they even reference Grigory Klimov, an obscure antisemitic conspiracy theorist that wrote about degeneracy and zionist conspiracies. I suspect natives are more familiar with a colourful character like that, but I was like whaaaa~! Klimov? In a video game?!

    Given that I haven't had too much interaction with Russian culture after uni, I was simply blown away and overwhelmed with memories that the game brought back. Sure, the texts themselves are somewhat uneven and could use a good editor (or maybe three), but the sheer amount of a nation's unconsciousness in the jungean sense this game presents is stupefying.

    To be honest, I can see how in a couple of years some scholars who are specialized in Russian culture may study it as a sort of art brut (c'mon, it's a video game). It's that loaded. Sure, it's not high art, but it's a super curious piece of PM culture that begs for a study.

    Anyway, I'm rambling; and it's too early to put the game through a literary analysis (I've played enough to get to level 5). But right now my brain is scattered and in disarray. I doubt there're (m)any non-native players who are stupid enough to spend half a decade studying such a specific thing as Soviet culture, so it's probably a unique feel unlike other players'. I'll definitely play as much as possible--and maybe create a write up at some point. Literate Russkies are probably all over it already, though.

    If you think that Fallout 2 is the pinnacle of postmodernism in RPGs, play ATOM and think again. That's all for now.

    Show Spoiler
    Oh, and it's a solid RPG--mechanically. Lmao.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2018
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  7. EnthalpyFlow Learned Patron

    EnthalpyFlow
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    Fuck it, I'm buying it right now.
     
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  8. Harry Easter Learned

    Harry Easter
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    Now I'm curious and want to learn about all that stuff you mentioned. And play the game. Thanks :D!
     
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  9. HoboForEternity Arcane Patron

    HoboForEternity
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    Atomboy comment on bataille comment? that sounds like quite a high praise.
    admittedly, my knowledge on the topic is . . . very lacking. i know basic history, as well as the more mainstream russian literary example such as tolstoy or dostoevsky, but the game seems alot more in depth than "fallout but stalin"

    interesting
     
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  10. FritzedProcess Learned

    FritzedProcess
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    From what little I have played (about 25 hours) I can tell you that is quite correct. There are plenty of references to Russian literature and cinema that the average non-Russian person won't catch. I have read an seen more Russian stuff than most myself, and I'm quite sure I have missed on several references, but the characters are written with a lot of wit and charm, and it has been a great experience regardless.

    I'd recommend you a visit to the Mosfilm youtube channel. There's lots of subtitled films to watch there for free (I recommend "White Sun of the Desert" and "Gorod Zero" to begin with). Also there might be a reference to "The Place of Meeting Cannot Be Changed", or I may have imagined it, but it's a great miniseries based on a novel anyway (with Vladimir Visotsky in one of the starring roles, no less!), and it's been uploaded to Youtube by some user, with English subtitles also.

    Quest trees are much better than most games out there, too.
     
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  11. bataille Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    bataille
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    You also need to take into account the reason why 'fallout' is so 'popular' in Russia. It's not really Fallout as a franchise but rather the story of a world that has been destroyed. The one without any sense of direction or substantive replacement for the things that are gone now.

    As I see it, it's mostly an unconscious feeling that has to do with USSR's dissolution and Perestroika. 'Russian fallout' is usually a setting soaked in Soviet nostalgia and the signifiers of the era past. Usually, nobody is rebuilding anything in it. People are kinda caught in the perpetual state of trance, reliving the realities of the time long gone (agitprop, social realism, the elements of everyday life).

    Psychologically, it's a much deeper topic than the western postapoc. For Russia, apocalypse was very much real, and they're still getting over it. It's too early to let the history go and move on. Until then, people are gonna cherish these ruins, an epoch done and gone. While Fallout is a trauma gotten from a threat of nuclear annihilation (hence Fallout's more rational and detached approach), things like ATOM or You Are Empty are the result of a very real trauma, the annihilation of the Soviet world. And since it was not very 'tangible' an annihilation (in the sense that the cultural death is not as tangible as the one caused by nuclear explosions), the consequences are more rooted in culture, art, and the psychology of people that are shaped by said art.

    Not very surprising that an esoteric cultural phenomenon like this has deep implications and rich (sub)textual content, both literal and figurative.

    Sure, some writing in ATOM is a conscious effort, but I feel it's got very, very deep social and cultural voices that are not the authors' per se. The voices of a dead nation--if that's not too corny a description.

    It's not an original interpretation, too. It's been discussed to death concerning the bleak and depressive Russian art of the last two thirds of the nineties, a very much apocalyptic setting in its own right.
     
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  12. ERYFKRAD Barbarian Patron

    ERYFKRAD
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    Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Finally I know why Russkies dig Fallout.
     
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  13. HoboForEternity Arcane Patron

    HoboForEternity
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    damn, this is actually really interesting topic. While fallout deal with the physical threat of being annihilated (loss of life, materials, etc) it really never delve too much into the lost of intangible things such as identity and that feeling of belonging in a particular groups.

    Sure, they still do it. Albeit in much smaller scale with the enclave wanting to restore the american way, or any internal factions stories such as BoS, etc. Externally, america never had this huge, explosive cultural shift, instead a slow evolution that occurs naturally as generation come and goes. The closest America have to such event is probably 9/11, but it touches more on the classic western post apo you mentioned, the threat of getting harmed, while american culture itself undergo minimal shift.

    I guess the themes in ATOM touch more of that side, of a more intangible loses like you said. The question posed is aimed towards that feeling of "who are we?". As history and culture degrade into myths, half truths and blatant fictions.

    As far as russian post apoc goes, i think metro 2033 novel touched the same things too, where the old russia become a myth that people (especially that it take place not long after the apocalypse and people old enough to remember the time before are plenty) yearns for, while ironically losing the more tangible aspect of the culture, and leaving the clouded yearnings remains.

    I already have high hope for this game, your post makes me really excited for december lol.
     
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  14. Serus Arcane

    Serus
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    Battaille certainly makes very good points but it might go even deeper than that. As in, the fall of Soviet Union might not be the only reason and there might be deeper and older roots in history and culture that also contribute to that. Russians and fondness for such scenarios - end of civilization kind of stuff might be found earlier than in late 1980s as far as I know. But I'm not the biggest specialist on Russia and its culture and I don't feel qualified to make a proper lecture on that here so let's just leave it at that.
     
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  15. bataille Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    bataille
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    Oh, there's definitely an underground complex of influences. They stem from the history of violent cultural 'civilizing' of Russians and putting them in the context of Western (in the broad Spengler's sense) cultural paradigm performed by some energetic and talented people: from Peter the Great to Lenin to Gorbachyov, and the crisis of identity caused by it. These influences are not linear, too, and they kinda intertwine from all ends and angles. These uprootings are focal points of Russian cultural history, though, in my opinion. There's been so much wiping the slate clean that no one nation should endure (if it desires to continue to exist that is).

    It's just that such intricacies are kinda complex and out of scope for a tiny insight about the game. Maybe I'll try to elaborate later when I have sat on it for some time.
    Show Spoiler
    And it's a lot of work, too. Me brain hurt, wah.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2018
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  16. Atomboy Atom Team Developer

    Atomboy
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    Hi, bataille!
    We have several writers on our team, but I can speak only for myself. Let me tell you, I was real happy reading the stuff you wrote. Every single time I descend into a post commenting on Atom, I'm crossing my fingers in hope a scholar would pop out, and here you are! It really makes me happy how much you found out and understood. Like that culturological hypothesis about us former Soviets actually surviving a mental (and economical) apocalypse and thus unconsciously clinging to postapocalyptic stuff culture produces. I'm no longer feeling silly for thinking so, because now it seems I'm not the only one! :D

    Also very awesome of you to point out the layers in the text. I'll explain them anyway, to confirm, but still, it's amazing how deep you went into the hypertext. I knew there was a reason I was hoping to meet a scholar!

    The main thing I want to point out is that people "who are not stupid enough to spend half a decade studying such a specific thing as Soviet culture" shouldn't fear that they are missing out on something or losing some narrative.

    When I make an in-game character, I try really hard to make him understandable and at least somewhat interesting and fun for anyone, even if a player lived on the Moon for all of his life. It's only then, after the character is created and looks realistic enough, I graft some meta-text on top of him. It's like I'm writing this popular, fun book all ages can enjoy, but in it's text I encode some obscure and crazy shit one may read either if he IS in the know, or wants to make an effort to BE in the know for some weird reason.

    Example: We have an in-game follower, who's an old guy with an explosive temper, and his nickname is Hexogen. Hexogen like TNT is an explosive material, the old guy is very passionate and like I said has this "explosive" quality to his actions, so everything is nice and clear. However if you dig a bit deeper, you'll find a 90's conspiracy theory novel "Господин Гексоген \ Master Hexogen" and if you actually read it, you'll find that the language style in-game Hexogen uses for talking is a direct parody of the writing style writer Alexander Prohanov uses in the aforementioned novel.

    Thus, the character of Hexogen hides a reference to a weird old book, and is a parody of a weird old writer nobody outside Russia knows. But you don't need to know that to enjoy Hexogen as a character! Not in the slightest bit!

    The only actual reason I'm putting in those obscure references (disregarding the times I do it completely subconsciously) is because the popular saying "People are alive as long as they are remembered" really hits home with me for some reason and I want to prolong the lives of things I like through it. Like, I really enjoyed a book by Zabolotskiy, a poet who's not even studied in most schools nowadays, so I made his poetic Чигирь звезда \ Hesperus star, a new celestial body in ATOM, it's the brightest thing in the sky of the world of Atom - people talk about it all the time, link it to religions, worship and fear it. I grew up on Sorokin's books, so there you have it, I'm prolonging the old guy's life in the only way I can.
    Klimov was referenced by another writer, but I would also gladly do so, because he should be remembered as well. Like, when I was 15 I wrote him a prank letter, stating I'm his huge fan even though I'm a homosexual hook-nosed half-jew who enjoys the smell of cheeses and has one leg shorter than the other and also a hare's lip (that's a description of the worst possible person according to his books) and he replied to me that although there is no way for me to ever become a good person or feel love, my evil can be used in a good way, like, when I eventually become a murderer I should only kill other degenerates like me. That's like some anime plot! How can anyone be mad at the guy?
    It's the same with Hlebnikov, Solzhenitsin, Turgenev, Babel, Spektr, The Mighty Boosh, the God Hand and Killer7 video games, etc, etc. The idea is 1 out of 100.000 players who has nothing better to do will google a strange phrase my character Ivan the Crane utters while interrogated in the circus, and he'll find it's out of an old Shakespeare's play "Titus Andronicus" and while reading about the play on wikipedia, he will note that it was actually made into a weird art-house movie in 1999, and if he watches that movie after reading about it, this movie will live through him, all thanks to me! I really like that movie! It has human pies in it. But if you WON'T google that quote, won't read the wiki and won't watch the movie, ATOM won't become less of a fun game to play!

    When I want to make a reference I actually NEED players to understand, I only use popular culture. An example of this would be a sleeping pill popping junky in Krasnoznamenny called Rudolph Karpov, who's actually using because he is on a dream-quest of finding an unnamed city deep in his subconsciousness. Randolph Carter, get it? Dream-questing? Remember Lovecraft? Remember Lovecraft, right?!

    So on one hand, ATOM always was this giant, obscure time capsule of ideas, feelings and works only an educated native would understand, but, what's much more important, you don't need to see this side of ATOM to enjoy it 100% just like it was meant to be enjoyed! But knowing also doesn't spoil anything. It's a win-win. Thank you very much again for starting this talk!

    P.S. Found one thing you were wrong at... "Literate Russkies are probably all over it already, though."
    Yeah... One would think that... But you're among the first who noticed. :D That write up sounds really exciting!
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2018
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  17. Fenix Cipher Vatnik

    Fenix
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    Well, people on ruthracker dissatisfied by some controversial stuff about how USSR was showed in game. It was something about "liberal clishe" or somehting.
    So, I'll play it myself anyway, but I'm a little aletred.

    This one I believe just explains by "people felt that disintegration of USSR is near".
    Also, while you could probbaly think there could be another cultural "fallout" in 1917, I'm not sure they are comparable.
    There was a future after that, the hopes for new and better times. It existed even in 90s where people were dying in millions, but not today.

    Exactly, in Russian it's not that obscure. That's what I talked above - they were mentioned Hexogen and him being a parody on Prokhanov, but not only that.
     
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  18. Atomboy Atom Team Developer

    Atomboy
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    Yup, read that rutracker post too. I think it was there, where we were accused of disrespecting Stalin, or something? People tend to forget, that the in-game character that "disses Stalin" (!?!) is an over-the-top comical parody. Why would anyone think we would actually use an over-the-top comical parody character to express our heart-felt political views? That's actually very sad, because ATOM has no politics what-so-ever. We have stereotypes and parodies, sure, but they are in no way politically motivated. But people do sometimes see what they want to see, and we can't do anything about it. The fact that ATOM has an over the top parody of a Warhammer 40k character does not make us anti-warhammer, right? We also have an over-the-top parody of a bitcoin dealer, but nobody claimed we were anti-cryptocurrency. But having a parody of an old-school Soviet era Novodvorskaya-style liberal somehow makes us liberals or maybe anti-liberals or something else?.. Characters like that are in game only because they are there in real life. And art, even art brute, tends to copy life :D The saddest bit concerns Prohanov. I will swear on anything that the only reason he is there, is because when I was 15 and first read his books, I found his verbose style really entertaining, and started copying it to the extent of my abilities. I just like the guy's style.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2018
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  19. Fenix Cipher Vatnik

    Fenix
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    I think everything is politic/al.
    Things someone mocking are very political, especially these days.
    But I will refrain from any conclusions utill I play the game, as I said.

    I like Prokhanov, he is "last soldier standing".
    Today is the age of moral dwarfs - people with noble motives, wth willingness to self-sacrifice are laughed and mocked by crowd. So heroes are treated as jesters, and jesters - as heroes.

    Show Spoiler
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2018
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  20. Atomboy Atom Team Developer

    Atomboy
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    I get what you're saying: anything can be viewed as political, if viewed from a political position. Like, if someone catches me singing the International, I'll probably be doing it just because I like the melody, but a person with politics on his mind will probably think I'm a Communist. If that's the perspective you will be taking, you will 100% find Atom political. Can't say in what way, because we were accused of being liberals as much as we were accused of being conservatives. Just keep in mind, that all the political stuff you see is there because you went looking for it. As a team, we will forever be neutral and won't bring any of our irl political views into the game.
     
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  21. Alienman Arcane Patron

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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2
    Fuck, now I will have to google every phrase uttered in the game.
     
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  22. Safav Hamon Liturgist Village Idiot The Real Fanboy

    Safav Hamon
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    I need help. Should I buy this or Stellar Tactics?
     
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  23. Taka-Haradin puolipeikko Arcane

    Taka-Haradin puolipeikko
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy Bubbles In Memoria
    This has full release at this December.
    Stellar Tactics has still long way to go before its complete.
     
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  24. Kyl Von Kull Arcane Patron

    Kyl Von Kull
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    Also, this looks much better.
     
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  25. Safav Hamon Liturgist Village Idiot The Real Fanboy

    Safav Hamon
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    Stellar Tactics looks cooler to me, but I'll purchase Atom since it's closer to release.
     
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