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Interview Vince D. Weller and Mark Yohalem RPG Mega-Interview by Chris Picone

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Infinitron, Feb 3, 2018.

  1. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    How many accounts you need Lurker King
     
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  2. Politician Lurker King

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    Player's standards are based on their own preferences, which are reinforced by lazy and ego-pandering design of most developers. Good luck trying to convince them that they should change their mindset for a change.
     
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  3. Politician Lurker King

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    There is no need to be rude, Infinitron.
     
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  4. Haba Harbinger of Decline Patron

    Haba
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    Codex 2012 MCA Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2
    What? That has absolutely nothing to do with replayability, it is the absolute opposite. The first time you meet an obstacle you can't overcome, you reload and bypass it.

    You might as well use cheat engine to cheat your way past.

    "I will play a charismatic character" v.s. "this challenge requires a charismatic character so I will now become more charismatic".

    Part of the charm in tabletop RPGs comes from failing the challenges and the situations you end up to due to that. You don't get to reroll your character and start the encounter again. Well, unless the DM is retard, that is.
     
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  5. SausageInYourFace Codexian Sausage Patron

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    Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Bubbles In Memoria A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Not sure the 'hoarding skill points' is a fair criticism of AoD, it doesn't really align a lot with my own experience at least.

    The game gives you tips to where to distribute your skill points by marking them in character creation and using them in the vigniette. You probably will still have to make decisions aside from that. But with some common sense and the experience from playing, plus the fact that you very often have several options to succeed at something, that shouldn't be much of a problem. Sure, on occasion I would hold back on a skill raise or two until I needed them but I think thats just smart play, I wouldn't consider it 'hoarding'. Sometimes you'll just have to live with not being able to do something or coming back later or with an altogether different character.

    By the way, isn't that actually your own philosophy of RPG play? to accept failiures, to not savescum and reload constantly, to not be OCD about content maximization and character optimization? (I am currently applying some of these principles to TToN with great success :))

    Anyway, what you consider a design that encourages savescumming in AoD is actually something thats supposed to encourage replaying and learning the game.

    Of course, if the constant need to replay parts of the game is actually that much fun in the long run is kind of a different story.
     
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  6. Kyl Von Kull The Night Tripper Patron

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    Compared to many modern games, BG2 was downright parsimonious with genuinely new gear. I think maybe the problem these days is level scaled/level capped items. Witness D:OS.

    It’s not like you were constantly upgrading your weapons in BG2. You’d get something great, stick with it for a long time, then replace when you found something better that you had a proficiency in, which wasn’t that often. Also, there were great specialized weapons that remained useful against undead or shapeshifters or dragons or giants (not actual giants but whatever big monsters the Kneecapper worked on). Whereas in many new games weapons are practically disposable and need to be replaced pretty much each time you level up. I’d argue BG franchise represents a happy medium between what MRY talks about and the current state of the industry.
     
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  7. Zombra Arcane Patron

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    Absolutely, but when my highest skill focus isn't good enough to pass an early game challenge, something is wrong. It's fine if my talky disguise/impersonator guy can't pick a lock on a chest; I'll let it go. But when he goes to impersonate a Loremaster and fails at that too, something is broken - either how the game works, or the way I think I'm supposed to play it. I couldn't change how the game worked so I adjusted my approach.

    And note that just because I hate save scumming doesn't mean I don't do it sometimes if a game tells me to. AOD pretty much demanded it.
     
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  8. Politician Lurker King

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    I think that the design assumptions that lead to this "problem" are the following:

    (1) Genuine character building implies that the character's abilities are completely governed by stats and skills.

    (2) The stats and skill requirements should reflect the difficulty of the obstacle that the character faces in the game world.

    (3) In a plausible game world, the player cannot anticipate some of the obstacles he will face.

    Now, most developers don't take (1) seriously, and they would rather implement fluffy and inconsistent character building. (2) and (3) are about taking the game world (and usually the setting) seriously, i.e., is about realism.

    tl;dr AoD relies on consistent character building and a realist/coherent setting.
     
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  9. Politician Lurker King

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    :bravo:
     
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  10. thesheeep Arcane

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    Is it, though?
    Imagine that spell getting (both in values and visually) stronger throughout the game. Or rather, not the game itself, but the character gets better and through that its use of the spell.
    The same way just slightly magical sword can be "meh" in the hands of a lvl 3 fighter, but damn threatening in the hands of a lvl13 one - because a spoon would be frightening in the hands of a lvl13 fighter as well.
    Character > equipment, which is something I always prefer (not that the opposite would make me put an otherwise good game away).
     
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  11. CryptRat Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Developer

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    That's how Disciples of steel handles this :
    - bonuses (+10, +40) always work
    - efficiency depending on the type of sword is capped to the user's skill, a short sword will be equally good to a large one for a low level warrior.

    This results in a low level warrior being better with a +40 short sword while a high level one will be better with a +20 large sword. The same applies to armors as well.
     
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  12. Politician Lurker King

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    - Using the same technique for most of the game gets old fast. Games that successfully do this are from other genres (platformers, etc.), and don't rely on character progression.

    - If you have the same spell, but the spell evolves then it is not the same spell, is it? You can't have the cake and eat it. If the spell keeps changing, then you still have progression. Of course, you could argue that having progression with the same item, weapon or skill (spell) is more interesting than the usual alternative. But notice that this works better with certain settings and design goals in mind, for example, if the game world involves a series of obstacles that can only be surpassed by this specific spell, then there is a reason to stick to it. Personally, I hate this design mindset. This is one of the reasons why games like Zelda feels gamey as fuck. Your magic items allow you to interact with a bunch of hand-placed stuff across the game world, kill specific bosses, etc. It's like getting a new weapon to fight a boss in Mega Man. It screams “hey player, this is the developer speaking and I want you to use this and that, in this order”.

    Progression = enjoyable character that rewards player's investment.
     
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  13. Bohrain Savant Patron

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    Some really good points there. I think more games should just not allow to quit without saving, so people would stop avoiding every hurdle by savecumming. Likewise escaping combat or parleying with the enemy if eliminating the opponent seems to require too much in relation to gain on both sides should be an option.
     
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  14. Delterius Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    what if I'm not an unpaid intern who lurks forums to sell ITS games
     
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  15. CSH Picone Educated

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    Just thought I'd take a moment to thank everyone for the kind words before this thread degrades into a flame war. The interview was quite lengthy, as you would have noticed (>13k words), so I'm happy to see it's well received. Peace.
     
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  16. Saduj Arcane

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    I tend to agree with Zombra but I suppose it depends on what you mean by "extra content". You can play through the critical path that is common to all professions without skill point hoarding. But for me personally, if I started the game under a certain profession with the intention of finishing the game as a member of that faction, then that faction's content is not "extra" for that play through. I'm not playing the game eight times under eight different professions just to play the main story line over and over. I don't need every play through to end optimally but I at least want to see my faction's story play out. It might be hard to screw up a merchant but it is easy to screw up some of the others while allocating skill points perfectly reasonably. I don't think that makes it any less of a great game. It is refreshing to play a game where you can't just fall back on killing everything if you can't skill your way through it and it takes balls to make a game that not only doesn't ensure success but that doesn't give a fuck if you fail completely. But part of not ensuring success is that players are going to do what they need to do.

    Anyway, it is a moot concern for TNW because there won't be any points to hoard.
     
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  17. Mastermind Arcane Patron Bethestard

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    fixed
     
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  18. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

    MRY
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    Goral That's a fair point that RPG puzzles are usallly not put on critical paths. I still find them somewhat offputting, and an additional factor I probably forgot to mention in the interview is that they don't really fit with the idea that the characters have intelligence/wisdom/knowledge that is supposed to exist irrespective of the player's intelligence/wisdom/knowledge.

    thesheeep (1) "I do not have that many memories of occasions where my character(s) failed, but the game just went on with some kind of disadvantage (or just different outcome) coming from that." Not a lot of games do it well, but I have fond memories of that from Thief, ADOM, and X-Com (losing beloved soldiers).

    (2) "Are you one of "those" people that just can't shut up after having been asked a question because everything must be very detailed (even if the original question has been answered sufficiently to everyone else involved)?" Well, "those" people usually lack the self-awareness to know, even when they ironically say things like "I'm posting a wall of text," so I can't reliably answer your question. My day job requires stopping on a dime when someone wants to ask me a question, but also requires that I convey the reasons why something is true, not merely my opinion *that* it is true. Maybe having the opportunity to answer questions without interruptions is just so euphoric for me, I enter a kind of mania of explanation.

    Zombra "[AOD Stuff]" Yes, I think this is consistent with the point I made in the interview about character creation/progression. The issue in AOD is that the player could have a clear view what kind of character he wanted to roleplay, but could have a hard time making that character. Arcanum is the same way. I know that some players like the puzzle aspect of AOD's character creation, but it didn't appeal that much to me.

    Trashos Thanks for the kind words.

    Politician (1) "Name" Yes. Surely you haven't been arond since 2016 because that question comes up every time I'm mentioned by name. There was a funny gif of Luke Skywalker shouting "NOOOOOO!" last time or the time before.

    (2) "Stick to the same spell": Not at all. Increasing a wizard's repetoire is actually a key part of the wizard archetype in fantasy (but see With a Single Spell, a fun little novel). That said, I do feel quite strongly that there's no reason to have the jRPG progression of spells (Fire1, Fire2, Fire3). Each new spell should offer something very different in terms of tactical possibilities. And, as thesheeep says, you have the old spells grow (think Magic Missile). I wouldn't have them scale constantly, but progress in a few significant jumps. This is chunky and thematic, which is the kind of progression I'm advocating.

    (3) "Player's standards are based on their own preferences, which are reinforced by lazy and ego-pandering design of most developers." As I said in the post you are quote: this mentality "often arises from player neurosis (a neurosis caused by designers in the long run, but not necessarily any given designer)." It is designers' duty to bend players slowly back in the right direction, the way you try to help any person or animal that has been deranged by mistreatment.

    Kyl Von Kull "[BG2 items]" Yeah, to be honest I think part of what happened is that in reaction to the Gold Box Games and other D&D titles (perhaps including BG2), designers realized that non-spellcasting classes often went a long time without getting anything fun, and came to the conclusion that an combination of Diablo-style ~magic skills and a Diablo-style gear treadmill would solve the problem.
     
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  19. passerby Learned

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    Are you talking about the black and white platformer ?

    I died like 4 times during first 90% of the game and I suck at platformers. I was moving slowly and often stopping to observe the environment, so most of the time I was able to either spot a trap, or dodge it.

    If you just run blindly forward, died and reloaded all the time, you were playing this game wrong. I've yet to play AoD but posts like this makes me wonder, if this famous AoD skill point issue is an issue with the game, or gamers.
     
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  20. Zombra Arcane Patron

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    Well that's one way to fix that problem! Looking forward to TNW much more now.

    Sure, it's possible that I'm just stupid, or more likely I don't have the perfect reflexes of you younger folk. I can only report on the experiences I had and whether or not I enjoyed them. LIMBO was a case where I had no idea what I was looking for, and then when I found it (by blundering into it), I had to try several times to avoid it, and every time my timing was a little off I had to sit and wait for 15 seconds while the game made me watch a slow, drawn-out death animation, the same one over and over. I was playing for 3 seconds and watching the same death animation for 15 seconds. Who knows, maybe I should try the game again. More likely I should just move on with my life except to bring it up when I want to bitch about a game I hated. Your implication about the last 10% of the game isn't encouraging.
     
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  21. Goral Arcane Patron The Real Fanboy

    Goral
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    Irrelevant. As long as it makes the game more interesting I'm all for it regardless of my character's build. Besides, in no game intelligence/wisdom/knowledge corresponds with what I do, in Arcanum even with maxed intelligence you need schematics, in Fallout there are smarter people than you (Vree from Fallout 1) and even this intelligent you're asking stupid questions, etc. etc. Also an extremely intelligent person might not be able to fix an engine or write a program or replace a switchgear for 12kV / 20 kA network, etc.
     
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  22. Kyl Von Kull The Night Tripper Patron

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    Hold up, you’re that Mark Yohalem? Do you ever worry about putting in content that will interfere with your inevitable appointment to the federal bench (obviously after you’ve had a few years to cash out in private practice)?

    I have admit, I am stunned that you post here without hiding your identity. The guilt by association factor... I mean, can you imagine your confirmation hearings?

    Senator Harris: about this RPGCodex.net, why would you actively participate in such a hateful, racist, misogynist forum?
    Yohalem: Kemala, baby, it’s not what it looks like. I just love video games, I swear. The forum is committed to a free and frank exchange of ideas. I am not responsible for the vile opinions expressed by tasteless edgelords, although... (Yohalem crosses his fingers behind his back)... I firmly believe most of these offensive remarks were made in jest.
    Senator Leahy: wait a moment, Mr. Yohalem. What exactly is an edgelord? Is that some kind of sex thing?

    And so on. I salute your bravery, sir. I hope you keep making games when they make you a judge. Or is sidelining frowned upon in the judiciary?
     
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  23. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    They've already put a Twitter troll on the bench, so a Codexer is only the next step.

    Besides he's never posted anything objectionable personally. At least not with that account. :shittydog:
     
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  24. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

    MRY
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    Well, I do try to draw something of a curtain between my day job as a lawyer and my hobby as a game writer, but it would be fruitless to try to wall them off entirely.

    To be sure, when I'm hanged, I'd rather it be for my own ample flaws than someone else's. But if someone wanted to find me guilty by association, they don't need the Codex. I taught in a prison in college, English to a serial wife beater and math to a man with an iron cross on one bicep and lightning bolts on the other; he needed to master more advanced mathematics to progress as an electrical engineer. (In fact, in those same years, I was in a fraternity with all the stupid associations that implies.) And over the summer vacations, I taught at a high school for drop-outs and expellees where my most engaged student was a cholo with the gang moniker "Hitler." In private practice I've represented corporations that can furnish plenty of grist for the mill. And I spent seven years as a prosecutor while hardly a day went past without a news story explaining how law enforcement was simply institutionalized racism, apartheid, Gestapo, etc. No doubt a price will be charged for all of these, maybe the Codex will be the one that bankrupts me, but at least for now, each seems a cost worth paying.

    I'm not a saint, and I've failed to always live by my own standards and certainly by others', but I don't think my posting here is a moral failing. I think it's a dangerous policy to shun people because of their flaws, and I view posting on the Codex with a humanist perspective as part of "tending my garden." As I've said before, and am happy to say again, I think people here should stop the bigotry and mean-spiritedness, because whether it is in jest or earnest, it is a crappy way to act, it can hurt people much more than you think, and it can alienate people who might have added thoughtful contributions to this site. But with perhaps a few exceptions, I don't think these little bigotries define people here any more than the stupid tattoos defined the man I taught in prison or the stupid moniker defined the kid I taught in summer school. We're all struggling in the same tar-pit, we're all tar-splattered, and we'll probably all sink, but we have no hope at all unless we spend our energies helping ourselves and others rather than shoving each other down deeper.

    Anyway, the real nightmare is, what if my former colleague Senator Lee asks me to define RPGs?
     
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  25. Delterius Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Delterius
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    Whoa. Your life is pretty interesting MRY, but now I'm afraid Vince might be Kim Jong Un. An actual Sturmfuhrer, if you will.
     
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