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Torment Torment: Tides of Numenera Thread

Discussion in 'inXile Entertainment' started by Florian Gheorghe, Feb 28, 2017.

  1. rusty_shackleford Arcane

    rusty_shackleford
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    [​IMG]
     
    • meh x 2
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  2. Luckmann Arcane Zionist Agent

    Luckmann
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    Reviews tend to skew upwards over time, especially for really shit titles. This is pretty common. I'm not sure what causes it, but I believe it is because over time, only the ones it strangely appeals to for some reason or another end up playing it, and they feel more compelled to give good reviews if the overall reviews are bad.
     
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  3. Moth Learned

    Moth
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    has
    the
    novella
    come
    out
    yet
    ?
     
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  4. Falksi Arcane

    Falksi
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    God almighty this game is dull as fucking dishwater.

    Now I don't mind a bit of reading, but absolute wave after wave of bullshit text which has fuck all of value to find within it? No thanks.

    The world looks interesting and somewhat unique, yet instead of interacting with it & being absorbed by it I'm left for hours on end reading the book about it.

    Literally put me to sleep whilst playing.
     
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  5. IncendiaryDevice Self-Ejected Village Idiot

    Self-Ejected
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    Well you can't say you weren't warned...
     
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  6. sorinmask Just like Yves, I chase tales. Patron

    sorinmask
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    Check the meres. That's MRY's work. They're good, at worst competent.

    The Bloom is interesting as an idea.

    The OST is cool.

    Don't bother beating the game - you'll gouge your eyes out.
     
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  7. UnknownBro Savant

    UnknownBro
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    Fixed for you.

     
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  8. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

    MRY
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    “At Worst Competent” should be my family motto. How do you say that in Latin?
     
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  9. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

    MRY
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    Also, I only did a subset of the Meres. Half, maybe?
     
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  10. Kyl Von Kull The Night Tripper Patron

    Kyl Von Kull
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    Apud pessimum competensis (NB my recollection of Latin is pretty hazy, but fortunately this is exactly the kind of awkward direct translation commonly found in family mottos).
     
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  11. roshan Arcane

    roshan
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    The OST sucks.
     
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  12. sorinmask Just like Yves, I chase tales. Patron

    sorinmask
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    I mean, that's... like... your opinion, man.

    I liked it.
     
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  13. daveyarsegallant Educated

    daveyarsegallant
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    The game is not bad per se. Its well polished and inoffensive. It does not take much effort to complete. Its a good choice if you just want to switch off in front of your PC.
     
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  14. BING XI LAO Savant

    BING XI LAO
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    I disagree on all counts
     
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  15. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

    MRY
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    It's certainly not a take on the game I've seen before -- in some ways, a sadder one than the most vehement negative Codexian reactions.
     
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  16. BING XI LAO Savant

    BING XI LAO
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    I'm definitely vehement about this game, it's been two and a half years and I'm still very butthurt about it.
    I remember liking the parallel dimension with the demons - I later heard you wrote that part?. I'm not trying to be mean... not to you anyway. If not for the tantalising tidbits of quality the game has, I would have quit it early out of boredom. Instead I played through till the end of the penultimate act and then ragequit because I realised the ending had obviously been butchered by cuts. By then I'd formed an abiding hatred for almost every part of the game - the flat lighting, the excruciatingly slow combat, the way every party member had a similar backstory of being fairly ordinary before some lost tech messed them up (played before Goo was added), the excessive word count (I am a very fast reader but there needs to be an eventual point to things) etc.

    What I dislike most of all is the setting, how atomised everything is. There is so much randomness to everything, and most things are completely unrelated to one another. The Bloom, which most people compliment, only pisses me off by literally embodying this problem. When things don't have consistent relations with each other, you don't have a setting - you have a mess, and it doesn't help the plot either.

    The absolute first things I would do if writing for the Numenera setting would be:
    -deciding what the numenera from each of the prior Nine Worlds generally looks like and does, per specific World by number. Perhaps the sixth world was the most sophisticated, perhaps there are still isolationist holdouts from the seventh, etc.
    -what the legends are surrounding the society, religion and eventual doom of each of the Nine Worlds, and how the different Worlds and their remnants compare to each other.
    -Which places Earth trades with through space travel

    Instead, there is ZERO description of the Nine Worlds as nine distinct prior civilisations and eras. The trade center shown in the game is the Bloom, which trades with different places and times (!) completely at random. I have a deep and abiding hatred for the way the setting was dealt with. If I was religious I would call such a total rejection of all order Satanic. Instead I guess I'll call it postmodern and throw in some grumbling about SJWs or something.
     
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  17. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

    MRY
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    Sorry, I meant daveyarsegallant's reaction (which reminds me a bit of the marvelous ending to The Demon Princes: "Deflated, perhaps. My enemies have deserted me. The affair is over. I am done."), not yours. His reaction was basically the game had nothing to engage with at all, and was just a polished nothing. To me, that's much worse than what I understood to be the main knock on it, which was that it was extremely rough and uneven, extremely dense and impenetrable, but occasionally good.

    I did write the Inifere character and his quests, but I didn't design the overall demon dimension (I'm blanking on its name now -- the Endless Gate?) itself.

    I haven't played the game enough to know if the criticisms are right, but I did have a similar reaction. I guess the way I would put it is that the weirdness was in perpetual ALL CAPS. There wasn't enough normalcy for the capitalization to enhance meaning and reader reaction; instead, it reduced meaning and flattened reader reaction. "The man's fingernail had the curious characteristic of photosensitive cells, a kind of primitive eye on his fingertip, though of course each finger had two tips, not one, and there were eleven fingers on each hand, and several hands on the arm (there was only one), and indeed this was no a man, properly speaking, but simply an arm emerging, tongue-like, from a giant mouth that split an otherwise smooth sphere of flesh, and when the mouth spoke (a tricky affair, for an arm is no tongue), it did so in a language that defied comprehension, and at such an unpleasant volume, that one might have hoped it could communicate with sign language instead -- but sadly its photosensory digits were used only for the occasional suggestive wink."* I mean, it's fun to write silliness like that, but it's only silliness, and if every man you have has some kind of goofy fingers, the joke starts to wear thin. Or, put otherwise, it's more farce/comedy along the lines of Hitchhiker's Guide (even Vance, who is my idol, played it mostly straight) -- it's certainly not uncanniness. The whole thing with Wolfe and Harrison (Viriconium) is that the ornate language is used to conceal normalcy, and the places where things are truly abnormal stand out against a backdrop that is otherwise fairly conventional -- cannibalism shocks in Shadow of the Torturer because while there is some weirdness to the moral dimensions of that universe, they are actually pretty humdrum conventional; if it were a world in which everything is permitted and a guy never just sat down for a roast with his family, the cannibalism wouldn't shock at all.

    Anyway, I'm rambling at this point, but mostly just saying I agree with you. But if TTON shot and missed the mark, it must have really missed if what it hit was "inoffensive" and "effortless," since I assume the intention was to challenge the player mentally (with the quantity, style, and content of the writing). The notion of someone breezing through what I wrote as if he were reading Dragonlance is crushing; I'd rather have them throw it away as shitty wannabe Wolfe.

    (* This was just stream of consciousness, nothing like that is actually in TTON, as far as I know.)
     
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  18. BEvers I'm forever blowing

    BEvers
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    I don't know if it's lack of engagement, or fatigue, or maybe a high incidence of asocial tendencies among the fanbase, but I've noticed that there isn't a lot of specific discussion of Torment's plot and characters to be found. Perhaps it's hard to fully engage with what is effectively a short story collection (or "long dialogue collection") held together by a bare-bones main plot.

    As for myself, I played the game about a year ago and have forgotten nearly everything about it. My most enduring memory is that the modifiers in Inifere's dream interpretation sequence were accidentally reversed, so giving him the obviously wrong and ignorant answers is the only way to persuade him that you truly understand his soul. Maybe the game needed more humor :shittydog:
     
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  19. BING XI LAO Savant

    BING XI LAO
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    Now that I think of it - the Numenera setting was not made for T:ToN, but is mainly a tabletop roleplaying game that (IF I remember correctly) avoids detailed, hard explanation of the actual setting because it's supposed to be merely setup for a DM to make stuff up for sessions on the fly. The setting is designed for random encounters. I think? Or maybe the guys that made it also have a bad attitude towards setting-writing.
    If so, why on earth did the people in charge of ToN decide to hold true to that lack of concrete setting description and extreme unrelatedness of everything, when they were writing a story-heavy cRPG? It makes sense (though is still not to my taste) for a tabletop game with lots of weird encounters, but it is horribly inappropriate for a single-player story-centric game.
    Exactly!

    I read Wolfe's Book of the New Sun series recently, great stuff.
    My favourite part was the run-in he has with Typhon the former Autarch. Severian turns against Typhon due to (among other things) Severian being sympathetic to the New Sun and the Conciliator, whereas Typhon mentions that he would seek to enslave both if he could.

    Now, the two characters have two things they're both familiar with; the title of Autarch, and the theological concept of the New Sun. If a similar encounter had occured in Numenera, Typhon's title would have been something mentioned perhaps once elsewhere if at all, and their theological views would be unrelated to each other. But at least Piaton, Typhon's second head who speechlessly beseeched Severian to kill them, would still have made it in.

    I guess what enrages me about Numenera is - the writers clearly ranged from mediocre to good, but it was all so uncohesive. I think I subconsciously felt as if you writers were all taunting me - saying ''See, we can write interesting stuff, we could write a good setting and a good plot, but instead we've made you wade through hundreds of thousands of overwritten walls-o-text with no payoff. Get trolled xd!"

    I suppose daveyarsegallent's indifference (someone remind me how to tag people?) is because of what you said - "There wasn't enough normalcy for the capitalization to enhance meaning and reader reaction; instead, it reduced meaning and flattened reader reaction."

    Also, it just struck me how similar Gene Wolfe's Urth is - as a dilapidated world with many hidden mysteries and strange names - to both Numenera and Planescape. I suppose it's a big inspiration for the settings and for writers such as yourself?
     
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  20. sorinmask Just like Yves, I chase tales. Patron

    sorinmask
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    You don't strike me as a person that likes to waste his or anyone else's time, so when you say something like this, as a person that worked on it, I can't help but think:

    "If he worked on it, and didn't find interest to beat it, then why should I?"

    By no means I am blaming you, nor my tone has any lack of appreciation or respect for your work on it, it is just the first thought that I went to - and I am sure I am not the only one.
     
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  21. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

    MRY
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    IMO, this is the least of the complaints one could lodge at Numenera as a system. As I mentioned somewhere back earlier in this thread, the bigger problem is that it's a quasi-narrativist design that depends on the DM to make the mechanical rules interesting.

    There was actually some very admirable loyalty to the setting. Somewhat insanely so, as when an obvious typo in the description of marteling whales became a diktat in my handling of the whale Mere. It's one of my favorite absurdities -- the description says "The largest marteling ever recorded was more than 300 feet (46 m) long from head to its multi-finned tail." AFAIK, Numenera doesn't have a 6.5 feet per meter conversion rate, but if it does, that's about as good an ALLCAPS as you're going to get. But better yet, "Cities of all sorts grow on the backs of martelings." As I pointed out to my handler, nuclear submarines are typically longer than the longest marteling (per this description) and can barely fit 130 people. The Titanic was three times as long, and carried 3,000 (no city, that). But no, I was bound to the measurements. :) I admire that Vhailorian commitment.

    It's a great scene, but you left out my favorite detail, was that Severian kills the engrafted head with a punch to the face that the body doesn't block because even though the conscious mind of the engrafted head controls the body, the autonomic reactions still belong to the original head. Wonderful touch.

    No one was trying to troll you, unless I complete misread people's attitudes. I think there was a tremendous commitment to having a good setting and a good plot, and to have payoff behind the walls of text. Doesn't change the outcome.

    No, it's not a big inspiration to me, although I adore the books and Wolfe. A much stronger influence to me within TTON was Viriconium. And Vance is a much bigger overall influence on me that Wolfe. I'm not good enough to be Wolfe; I'm not good enough to be Vance or Harrison, either, but when you shoot at those targets and miss, it's not as catastrophic.
     
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  22. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

    MRY
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    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    I think I mentioned earlier in the thread that my computer couldn't run the game at more than a few frames per second, at best, though I could've upgrade my computer. I don't really play games much anymore these days. And, if anything, my having worked on the game was a minus, not a plus: for one, I knew all of the surprises in the plot; for another, it is impossible for me to look at something I created (other than my children) and not focus on the flaws.
     
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  23. BING XI LAO Savant

    BING XI LAO
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    It's quibbling, but Typhon does block, being faster and stronger than Severian - but he reflexively protects his own face, not Piaton's. Severian anticipated that and therefore punched Piaton's head instead of Typhon's. But maybe you understood that anyway and I misunderstood.
     
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  24. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

    MRY
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    Ah, did I get it backwards? The engrafted head makes the body block the engrafted head, so the body's head gets hit and killed and the body dies? It's been over 20 years since I read it. Shame that I should forget the very detail I purported to like so much...
     
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  25. Kem0sabe Arcane

    Kem0sabe
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    The most accurate description of this shit is: "limp dick writers trying to group masturbate like John lenon and Paul McCartney but without the imagination necessary to do it without watching porn"
     
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