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Codex Interview Wasteland 2 RPG Codex Interview - Part 2: Michael A. Stackpole

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Crooked Bee, Mar 6, 2012.

  1. Shannow Waster of Time

    Shannow
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    I've asked it before: Is Wasteland a storyfag game?
    If we were talking about PS:T 2 I'd have no problem in accepting CB's arguments, and instead of stating that priority on emotioneering, quest markers and VOs makes me uneasy, I'd be commenting on how to implement them in a non-retarded fashion (though that's impossible where emotioneering is concerned). But AFAIK we're not talking about a sequel to a storyfag game. Correct me if I'm wrong.
     
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  2. 4too Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    4too
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    A Puzzle, In A Mystery, In An Enigma



    Why couldn't the proposed Wasteland 2 GPS be a dysfunctional accessory and mock the Pip Boy, and the i-Pads, by emulating the narration mania of 'The Hitchhikers' Guide'?

    Why not mix clues with crippled quest vectors, and be the source for yet another puzzle that must be validated by exploration and divining retro 'key words' from red herring dialogue trees?

    As long as it's clearly part of the gameplay why would the casuals whine?

    'Teh' hard, or 'teh' different, why can't the FEAR FACTOR of failure return to video games?



    4too
     
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  3. Crooked Bee wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire MCA Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Most of its fans are there for the setting, that much I'm sure of. People love their post-apoc.

    (Again, in everything I wrote, and in the kind of demographics I described and tend to observe on more mainstream forums, I wasn't really talking about "emotional engagement" -- I mostly had quest compass in mind. Not sure about the "emotional engagement" kind of demographics, really.

    I'm just saying there are TWO kinds of “those who love old CRPGs”, no matter if they played Wasteland or not. TWO. NOT ONE. One is the kind you describe (who "aren't easily frustrated", etc.; = the Codex); the other one is the kind I have described above.

    There are two factions, basically. Imagine you’re a dev. You can either join the first faction (‘us’, anti-quest compass) or the second faction (‘them’, pro-quest compass). Whichever faction the dev joins, depends entirely on whichever faction is more numerous and therefore more likely to donate. In my own humble experience of reading various RPG-related blog/threads/forums on the internet, the second faction is very widespread, alas.)

    EDIT: Another (likely) outcome is that they're going to try pleasing BOTH. That just... won't end well, since that'd require too delicate a balance: making quest compass optional so that the game's design wouldn't revolve around it, etc.
     
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  4. thesisko Emissary

    thesisko
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    Project: Eternity Wasteland 2
    Read a bunch of his reviews and fail to see your point. He seems much like myself when it comes to tastes in games and I highly doubt someone like him would be an advocate of hand-holding and simplification when it comes to Wasteland 2.
    Just because someone doesn't outright declare their hate for every game featuring quest compasses or romances á Skyway doesn't mean they want those things in every single game. His reviews certainly didn't give me that impression.
     
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  5. Crooked Bee wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire MCA Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    That'd be... too good to be true. You should post it on the official forum. :P

    Now you've made me sad. :(

    That said, the fear factor works well in case of, say, Dark Souls, so maybe not all hope is lost.
     
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  6. 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
    Read his Icewind Dale or Morrowind reviews.

    And yeah, he's not an advocate, but he's not complaining about it either, and that matters. If the value of a feature is neutral to most and positive to a few, that feature will be added in.
     
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  7. thesisko Emissary

    thesisko
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    Project: Eternity Wasteland 2
    The features you describe aren't mainstream. NWN2, Risen, Divinity 2, Dark Souls are mainstream compared to this project and they didn't have them. They're "AAA"-multiplatform "accessible"-"have to make sure every single living person and his grandmother can win the game or we won't sell 10M copies"-kind of features.
     
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  8. thesisko Emissary

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    Project: Eternity Wasteland 2
    Added in as a helpful cheat? Why not, I have nothing against that either. Might even use it if totally stuck.

    But just because someone doesn't mind playing a game designed around the quest compass doesn't mean he'd like the same for every game. This guy certainly seems intelligent enough to see how a game like Fallout or Arcanum would be affected by being completely designed around having magical quest markers.

    I love New Vegas and didn't really mind the quest compass, but it would certainly have been possible to improve both the quest design and the exploration aspect if it would have been optional / less specific. I think most gamers who are capable of enjoying a game like Fallout or Arcanum but also like newer games can see that the some features just serve to limit the potential of the game and won't not just rabidly demand their inclusion.
     
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  9. 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
    Maybe you're right. Ultima Lazarus didn't have quest compasses, or a quest journal for that matter, or any other modern convenience. You can't go more hardcore than a freeware game.
    Would it have been ruined with those features, though? I'm not sure. Depends on how detailed the compass would be, ie, the difference between pointing you in a general direction and hovering over the head of an NPC.
     
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  10. thesisko Emissary

    thesisko
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    Project: Eternity Wasteland 2
    Something else to consider: Most gamers don't really analyze the mechanics of the game. Take my brother, he was talking about how Risen was more fun than Oblivion because "you have to pay attention to solve the quests". He doesn't think in terms of "modern features" or quest design. He just plays the game and likes the way it plays. The people who demand specific features from game X to be put into game Y because X sold millions are publishers, not gamers.
     
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  11. darkpatriot Arcane

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    You seem to be confusing engagement with attachment. I know this in fact because of your use of the phrase "Emotional engagement to the characters". It would be "Emotional engagement with the characters". not 'to'. You have an unclear understanding of the word engagement, it's meaning and how it is used.

    I understand how you could come to that conclusion if you look at Bioware games with their focus on NPC party member interactions. That is the primary means they use to try and achieve emotional engagement. And I could see how you then be concerned every time you see the term because you associate it with a bunch of drama/romance with NPCs.

    Emotional engagement in a game is engaging the emotions of a player in a game. That's it. If you are talking about the narrative of the game it could be further specified to engaging the emotions of the player with the story of a game. Characters will come into it of course because people generally don't relate to/identify with inanimate objects. Not unless you personify them. But emotional engagement isn't defined by the extent that players form an emotional attachment to the characters. You are confusing one technique for the whole thing.

    Edit: Also most of the people that will be donating to kickstarter are not old players of the first wasteland. It will be new players. And an even higher percentage of the people that purchase the game after development will be new to the franchise. Old wasteland players are not going to be the core target of the kickstarter or the game. Their aren't enough of them and like Crooked Bee has been saying the ones that there are aren't unified in opinion and game tastes. The target audience is people who like old style RPGs. And most of them have no problem with adding a few modern amenities.

    Wasteland 2 is going to be made with all the considerations of modern games in mind. They would be stupid not to. It will still hopefully be a much harder core RPG than anything that has been seen by midsize+ developers in a long time.

    All Inxile is trying to do is make the best game they can, in the way they know how, within the budget they get, and they will try and target a market that they would like to target but publishers haven't been willing to.
     
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  12. St. Toxic Arcane

    St. Toxic
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  13. Country_Gravy Arcane Patron

    Country_Gravy
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    Wasteland 2
    I thought he was talking about the GPS being optional and only work in some locations. If it is optional and even further restricted by not working on indoor areas or underground or someplace where there is interference or something then couldn't everyone be satisfied? As long as the quests give you good directions on where to look for the next part of the quest and you can solve the game without the use of any sort of quest compass then it should satisfy both sides of the argument here. The main complaint with quest compasses seems to be that either you can't turn them off or the game designers assume that you are using them so they don't give good directions on where to go to complete the quests. These seem to be easily fixed.

    How come so much bitching about this interview? Most of the complaints seem to be reading way to much into what is said or just misunderstanding what he is talking about. The game hasn't even really started preproduction and the website and forum just went live yesterday. Half the shit this guy says sounds like he is just brainstorming on stuff that COULD be included in the game.
     
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  14. Brayko Self-Ejected

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    If the game has magical quest compasses I'm not even gonna bother. That seriously detracts from the gameplay. Written, clear cut directions or some level of detective work on where to pursue the quest, imo. I would not like this to be another game targetted at ADD 7th graders, considering that I would be paying to fund it.
     
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  15. Carrion Arcane Patron

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    Another option could be to make the GPS system more vague so that it would only point you to the general direction such as a town or a building instead of giving you the exact location of an objective. I'd have no problems with something like that.
     
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  16. Johannes Arcane

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    I don't remember ever playing a game with a quest compass so I might not properly understand all its (real or presumed) implications, but what's so horrible about having some GPS device show a route to a location for you? It's not like finding your way around in Wasteland or Fallout was difficult. Are there examples of games that suffer from quest compass, that have topdown camera anyway?
     
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  17. Brother None inXile Entertainment Developer

    Brother None
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    But that's not really what they're doing. They've got a core design ready to go for a while now. Fan feedback is a factor, but it's not the basis. That's a pretty important distinction.
     
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  18. Crooked Bee wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire MCA Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    That's good to hear. Really.
     
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  19. St. Toxic Arcane

    St. Toxic
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    Well, it's pretty common in hack'n'slash games, where the idea is that actively having to look for your objective detracts from the game's core game-play which is simply to beat the shit out of everything. Sure, if all you're doing is cleaning the game-world of various baddies in some specific order, you might as well skip the frustration of having to find them for yourself, especially if the world isn't interesting enough on its own to make that process entertaining. When we're talking about more meaningful quest sequences though, and in an open-world scenario where exploration is a big part of the game-play experience, having all the pit-stops pointed out to you beforehand can turn an interesting, well written quest-line into a series of fed-ex deliveries along the lines of quests in less rp-centered games such as mmos and hack'n'slash games.

    I also fondly recall quest-lines that would affect several different people, and could be tackled from various sides of the conflict and so weren't being emitted from the same hub but possibly two or three different sources. In a compass-assisted game you'd either get a marker for each potential quest giver, thus spoiling any surprise that might stem from an unexpected alternate solution, or prioritize one quest giver over the other based on either alignment or just tag whomever you met first, which in most cases would mean that players are less likely to try solutions alternative to those specified by the compass. In short, the quest compass is one of the ultimate stream-lining tools of the next-gen gaming scene, making it possible for people who lack patience or free time to have an rpg experience, but ultimately making that experience more shallow and less meaningful.

    That aside, a GPS would imply several functioning satellites still in operational condition, which in my opinion makes the "apocalypse" seem like a more lukewarm affair than it really should be. Even then, the GPS would hardly supply you with information on where you need to go in regards to various people or organizations, unless they and you were connected to some sort of GPS network and openly sharing their position, which I would consider a fairly dangerous operation. If you just want to know where you are geographically, which is what a single functioning GPS would tell you, you'll do just as well with a map. A good map and the ability to mark places of interest and add comments yourself and you're set; heck, maps might even be good economical items and map-reading isn't a bad skill to invest in.
     
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  20. hiver Guest

    hiver
    Are you insane?

    Are you... completely insane?

    Do you even have the ability to.... understand what you yourself is saying?
    ...

    WITHOUT EMOTIONS HUMANS WOULD NOT BE INTERESTED IN ANYTHING OR FIND FUCKING ENJOYMENT IN ANYTHING!! OR FUCKING ANYTHING ELSE!!
    YOU FUCKING DUMBSHIT!
     
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  21. Brother None inXile Entertainment Developer

    Brother None
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    Because a quest compass is definitely in? Your troll-fu is too weak to challenge me, bro.
     
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  22. St. Toxic Arcane

    St. Toxic
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    You don't build cars based on what people are likely to feel about them. That doesn't mean there won't be emotions when you hit a brick wall going 250 an hour, albeit very briefly, but those emotions are simply not part of the blue-print for the system that enables them to occur. In essence, unless you're a woman you better put a lid on the idea of actually feeling things. But more specifically, keep emotions out of art, games, movies and literary works; the holy trinity of programmable human states, which we've been harping on for the last 200 years of our entertainment, has stopped being effective on anyone with taste more discerning than pony enthusiasm will allow.
     
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  23. hiver Guest

    hiver
    We were not talking about making cars but games.
    Thing is, youre such a simpleton that think "emotions" are only the strongest ones that you know.
    A game that does not evoke any emotion at all does not exist nor ever will. Gmes evoke a myriad of them, not only HATE; LOVE; FEAR; LUST!!! and similar shit.

    What we call reason and emotions are inexorably linked to and infused with each other.
    In everything we do.

    Thats a fact, Toxic. Regardless of anyone that "feels" better in any way to deny it.
    You are a stupid simpleminded, limited brain capabilities moron.

    As you evidently fathom these complexities yourself im forced to point out, once again, that you said you enjoy poker you fucking stupid turd.

    -youre putting bronone on ignore list?
    :lol:


    -edit-
    btw, as far as this interview is concerned... THOSE kinds of emotional engagement this fellow mentioned is an mass market media equivalent so in most probability it does mean they will go down the cheap, shallow, superficial route in design.

    Quest compass and full voiced dialogue sound stupid too, each for its own reasons.
    The way he describes "text" as the only and bad alternative to voiced dialogue (which i presume he means full voiced dialogue) is stupid too and the way he avoids giving answers to questions in that shitty shallow PR manner is telling too.
     
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  24. St. Toxic Arcane

    St. Toxic
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    And what, you're telling me cars can't be entertaining? That people aren't emotional about their autos? What are you, some sort of hippie scumbag?

    My emotional depth is quite irrelevant, as nobody's talking about designing a game for me specifically and basing it on a biography of my life so far. When it comes to whacking a few million people with the "emotional sledgehammer", the holy trinity is sad, happy, angry, which is all that games these days attempt to offer up.

    The games that don't try to emotionally engage their players, but rather construct interesting, open-ended scenarios and make people think about them as part of the interaction, are quite capable of awakening deeper, though more varied, emotions in the people that play them.

    The essential difference here is, humans are emotional enough without external forces pushing infantile feelings down their throat. Games, movies and books do not need to construct emotions for you to feel, they only need to construct plausible scenarios for your private emotions to exist in.

    What about counting? 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7...

    Yeah, but so does staring at the wall or wiping your ass or closing your eyes or frying an egg. Despite all the attempts by Prosper, we have yet to see this behavior result in viable design documents.

    I don't doubt the validity of your emotions, in fact you seem to have quite a lot of them to throw around. I just think it's part of being a man not to wear them on the outside. We are after all supposed to be rational beings first and foremost, and to retain any coherence in discussion, reach valuable conclusions and accept compromises we are bound to think outside of our personal feelings on the subject, and thus it shames our gender to give in to mindless self-indulgence.

    Your emotions, after all, are part of your own private little universe in the same way as your body is; flaunting either in public is nothing less than a mating call. Suffice to say I am not interested in mating, and my only advise is not to act like a woman unless you want to be one.

    EDIT: Oh,

    First off, enjoyment can hardly be quoted in as part of a game's design, unless the game is chemical and you inject it into your brain and it stimulates some section involved in creating euphoria or something. Which is more like dope really.

    Secondly, it's not much of an emotional state as it is a description of the subjective quality of various emotional states. A horror themed game might cause you great anxiety and scare the shit out of you, and you'd still enjoy that. If you hate games, not playing a game might be quite enjoyable. If you hate having emotions, a game that puts you in a meditative trance and makes you feel empty might be quite enjoyable. I guess you can enjoy a coma, provided you wake up at some point in order to express that enjoyment.
     
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  25. Johannes Arcane

    Johannes
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    Funny how that's my fear with AoD's fast travel, all the options are pointed to you straight up.

    Best way though to ensure everyone can find what they are looking for, I think, would be to make townspeople give directions like in Arcanum or Outcast. And for the bigger scale map, give out maps or GPS or whatever.
    In any case though I don't see finding location/people that are not specifically hiding, or walking around in random patterns or such, would prove difficult in a game with birds eye camera position. Only in a 1st person or close-up 3rd person it can prove difficult to grasp your bearings.
    Or actually, Tarant was big enough to get lost in at first. But that's easily fixable by a good map I think, if the game is to feature a city of that size (probably it won't).
     
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