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Game News Avernum 2: Crystal Souls announced, coming Q4 2014

Infinitron

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Tags: Avernum 2; Avernum 2: Crystal Souls; Spiderweb Software

Spiderweb Software is still around! Yesterday, they announced the upcoming release of their latest remake-of-a-remake - Avernum 2: Crystal Souls. Here's the trailer:



And the obligatory press release over at Gamasutra:

Spiderweb Software Announces Avernum 2: Crystal Souls, A Fantasy Role-Playing Game for Macintosh, Windows, and iPad.

September 4, 2014 – (http://www.avernum.com/avernum2/) The end has come. Years ago, your people were imprisoned in the underworld, doomed to end their lives in the darkness. Then that was not enough. Your captors have invaded your caves, determined to kill you all. They are winning the war.

Spiderweb Software, Inc. announced today their return to their epic Avernum saga, to continue the story of the underworld Avernites and the war against their oppressors. Avernum 2: Crystal Souls is the second chapter in this indie fantasy role-playing saga, a tale of desperate exiles and their battle for survival and a land to call their own.

The surface world is commanded by the tyrannical Empire, the eternal power that controls all known lands. Everyone who spoke out, misbehaved, or didn’t fit in was cast into the dark, volcanic pits of Avernum, far below the surface. They were meant to die. Instead, these exiles survived, gained power, and struck back. They assassinated the lord of the Empire.

Now the Empire will have revenge. They have invaded Avernum, seizing cave after cave and destroying your people. Your land needs a hero, and it needs it now. If you can’t find a way to stop them, and soon, you are all doomed.

Avernum 2: Crystal Souls is an epic fantasy role-playing adventure in a unique, massive world, full of strange caves, cunning dungeons, and the alien inhabitants of the underworld. Fight to complete up to three game-winning quests. Explore a massive nation of tunnels and caverns, seeking over 100 towns and dungeons. Master over 60 spells and battle disciplines and hunt for hundreds of magical artifacts. Avernum 2: Crystal Souls is a total, ground-up rewrite of the award-winning indie hit Avernum 2. It will be open for adventuring in Q4, 2014.
Two down, one to go.
 

almondblight

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The weird part is the fanboys on his forums. They talk about how awesome his games are, then every time he comes out with a new dumbed down remake they talk about how it's a good thing because the prior version sucked because it was too hard.

What's disappointing is that Vogel's actually done some really good stuff in the past.
 

Correct_Carlo

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Don't understand the Codex hate for Vogel (or, I do understand it completely, but I think it's unfounded). Geneforges are some of the best RPGs ever made and the Avernums are great, bread and butter, Ultima clones. His Avernum 1 remake was pretty good, I thought.....like it was good enough to be worth playing through the Exile/Avernum 1 storyline for the 3rd time.

People will bitch about the new skill trees as an example of "dumbing the game down", but in practice there's not much difference between Avernum 1's old stat system and Escape from the Pit's, as Avernum 1 used a "special skill" system that had pre-requisites. Thus, it basically worked out to be a skill tree anyway, even though it didn't look like one. So the difference is mostly cosmetic. All EFTP's skill tree did was eliminate the need for pre-game metagaming to determine what special skills you needed to build you characters toward, as all of your possible character progression paths were made clear to you from the start from just looking at the character screen.

The weird part is the fanboys on his forums. They talk about how awesome his games are, then every time he comes out with a new dumbed down remake they talk about how it's a good thing because the prior version sucked because it was too hard.


I post on SW forums quite a bit and I've never heard anyone say that. Besides, his newer games, when played on torment, actually tend to be harder than his older ones. Casuals might bitch about the interfaces of his older games, but torment Escape from the Pit was way harder than Avernum 1.

Plus, his older games are really well respected on the SW forums. Even the Exile forums still have daily posts in them from people playing them, so they definitely haven't been abandoned by his fans.
 

Explorerbc

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I dunno, Escape from the Pit was the first spiderweb game I played and I really enjoyed it. I had also tried Avadon in the past but I got bored and dropped it after an hour or so.

It is a shame the newer versions are dumbed down compared to the old ones (though I can't comment much on that), but even that way I think they are good games on their own. That said, I can understand why a fan would be disappointed, especially if he gets the same game again and again.

Overall I am looking forward to playing this and the rest of the avernum saga
 

almondblight

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I post on SW forums quite a bit and I've never heard anyone say that.

Ehh...

Realising that 10 hours of gameplay went to waste because you've been building your characters in a way that's not viable in the long term, and now you'll either have to cheat or give up, isn't very much fun for most people.

Older Spiderweb games differed in that you could, if you wanted, put all your points in picking locks, making potions, and intelligence. You could make characters incompetent even on easy difficulties.

—Alorael, who guess he doesn't see the value in being forced to start over.

My pattern with with previous AV games was always this: "start out, get a few levels, realize that the builds I'm using are crappy, start over, get a few levels again, still die a lot (on normal), change my mind about builds again, start over again, eventually go online for help about where I should put my skill points, read about all the different opinions on every skill and trait, get totally overwhelmed with it all, give up/get distracted by another game."
 

Jaesun

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How many times is he going to tell the same story make the same game...? :roll:

Personally, I don't see him doing one of his VERY older games with his new engine. While the old versions...... work, they are pretty fucking old (and they show).
 

Achiman

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I played some Geneforge 1 or 2 back in the day and thought it was pretty damn cool.
I got the Avadon game and played up to the last act. It went full retard though, every fight just had 7 or 8 guys with hp bloat. I'm not sure but I think the miss percentage or skill failure was increased too, because all of a sudden my characters sucked balls.
Meh, I might try it out when its 90% off on steam.
 

Zeriel

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I post on SW forums quite a bit and I've never heard anyone say that.

Ehh...

Realising that 10 hours of gameplay went to waste because you've been building your characters in a way that's not viable in the long term, and now you'll either have to cheat or give up, isn't very much fun for most people.

Older Spiderweb games differed in that you could, if you wanted, put all your points in picking locks, making potions, and intelligence. You could make characters incompetent even on easy difficulties.

—Alorael, who guess he doesn't see the value in being forced to start over.

My pattern with with previous AV games was always this: "start out, get a few levels, realize that the builds I'm using are crappy, start over, get a few levels again, still die a lot (on normal), change my mind about builds again, start over again, eventually go online for help about where I should put my skill points, read about all the different opinions on every skill and trait, get totally overwhelmed with it all, give up/get distracted by another game."

That's so depressing. I was an actual kid when I played the original Exile 1 & 2 and I figured them out without any help, and had a lot of fun doing so.

Today I learned my twelve year old self was smarter than grown adults on the interbutts.

... Although I suppose it's possible they were also kids at the time.
 

TigerKnee

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Maybe this would be more exciting if Vogel didn't walk the path of decline and dumbing down all his games. I wouldn't mind playing through the Exile storyline again if each remake added new features and made the games more complex, but seeing as how this is the opposite... nah, I'll pass.
 

JarlFrank

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Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
So what else is updated other than the character portraits not looking like they've been drawn by a 5 year old anymore?
 

J1M

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I still prefer the graphics of Exile III. The change in perspective shrunk the useful information on each tile.

Also, with 6 party members instead of 4, there was room to take at least one character and experiment. A smaller party puts more pressure on the player to build something traditional to ensure they can complete the game.

With the game I'm working on, I will allow for a larger roster of characters that can be changed around. That way, the player has the tools they need to deal with unusual and interesting challenges. (Even though it might take some failure, regrouping, and planning.)
 
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pippin

Guest
Also, with 6 party members instead of 4, there was room to take at least one character and experiment. A smaller party puts more pressure on the player to build something traditional to ensure they can complete the game.

This is why I think games like Icewind Dale or Wizardry (7 and 8 are the ones I'm more familiar with) are the perfect party based rpgs. With 6 characters you can cover the usual fighter-mage-cleric-thief model but also experiment with something like a bard, a ranger or a multi classed character. It seems to me that this kind of games were made with "replay value" in mind.
And about this, I'd like to see Vogel releasing Nethergate on GoG, since for some reason it's the only game he wouldn't release there.
 

Correct_Carlo

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I post on SW forums quite a bit and I've never heard anyone say that.

Ehh...

Realising that 10 hours of gameplay went to waste because you've been building your characters in a way that's not viable in the long term, and now you'll either have to cheat or give up, isn't very much fun for most people.

Older Spiderweb games differed in that you could, if you wanted, put all your points in picking locks, making potions, and intelligence. You could make characters incompetent even on easy difficulties.

—Alorael, who guess he doesn't see the value in being forced to start over.

My pattern with with previous AV games was always this: "start out, get a few levels, realize that the builds I'm using are crappy, start over, get a few levels again, still die a lot (on normal), change my mind about builds again, start over again, eventually go online for help about where I should put my skill points, read about all the different opinions on every skill and trait, get totally overwhelmed with it all, give up/get distracted by another game."

That is probably one area where the remakes are easier, but I think the older games' added difficulty in character building came down more to a lack of transparency than their being "more complex." You could fuck up builds much easier in older Spiderweb games, just because the way the skills work wasn't readily apparent just by looking at the skill screen (as I said, the highest level skills are "invisible" at the start of the game. You only discover them later by getting the pre-reqs for them, which makes planning viable builds nearly impossible without some level of meta-gaming. Or just trial and error over several playthroughs). Like, you could completely make a character ineffective if you wanted by sticking points into random skills. You can still do that in the remakes, I think, but because you have to put points in base skills before putting them in higher level skills, the degree to which you can monumentally fuck up character builds is mitigated somewhat.

That said, though, I don't think this made the older Avernum games more "complex" and the newer games "less complex" mainly because the older Avernum games still had fairly narrow ranges of effectiveness in terms of character builds. Unlike the Geneforges, the Avernums weren't games where a huge variety of playstyles could be effective. Both the older Avernums and the newer avernums have roughly the same number of viable character builds, it's just that all the potential character paths you could take in the older Avernums were much less obvious from the start. You either had to do shitloads of meta-gaming from the start to plan out what would be the most effective, or just trial and error into what would work.

Personally, I do prefer the older Avernum's skill models just because I like that added freedom and danger of monumentally fucking up in games (when I played them, I'd spend like 4-5 hours at the start creating my parties, which is the sort of OCD thing I totally get off on). However, I don't think a skill tree model is as terrible for the Avernums as it would be for the Geneforges (which are way less combat focused and thus allow for a much wider distribution of skills than the Avernums ). You can still create as many viable hybrid builds in the remakes, it's just harder to monumentally fuck up a build and easier to tell, just by looking at the character screen, what paths those potential builds can take.

And the newer games are harder to play, I think, just because the combat is more difficult and the AI is slightly better (in the oldest Avernums groups of enemies almost always ganged up on your first party member, which means you never had to worry much about defense for your 2nd, 3rd, and 4th members. Put alll your defenses on the first guy, glass cannon the rest and you could steamroll everything. The latter games are much better in that regard. And EFTP even had torment differences beyond just resistances and hit points, like different monster strategies and spell uses and stuff).
 
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Night Goat

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This is good news. Avernum: Escape from the Pit was a huge improvement over the first Exile remake, and Exile II was better than the first one, so I'm expecting incline. And while the Exile games introduced me to the RPG genre and will always hold a place in my heart, I just can't deal with that interface anymore.

Besides, at least it isn't another Avadon game.
 

Pope Amole II

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Don't understand the Codex hate for Vogel (or, I do understand it completely, but I think it's unfounded).

Of course it is founded! And most people here don't hate Vogel for Exiles, Avernums and Geneforges. Or, rather, no more than average amount of people hate him for these - we're on the Codex, after all, and you have all kinds of extreme opinions here. But, starting with Avadon, he really dropped the ball. It's not only shit-talking about your core audience (which is dumbfuck when you're a niche developer, but I guess his avadon 1 success made him think he's not one anymore), but just the fact that he stopped to produce anything new. Nothing new at all - while the RPG system of the Avernums & Avadons may be reworked, they are the same games. The spells are almost the same, the combats are pretty much the same, same gameplay. And while his system was good in the Avernum 5 & 6, it also completely exhausted itself there. Those games are huge, they offer insane amounts of both trash & boss combats, and his 3 last games feature nothing really new. If you don't have a memory of a goldfish, I dunno what you can enjoy in them - it's just the repetition of the same stuff. Some new combat scripts are there, true, but their amount is, like, 10% - what a treat!

But stale gameplay is only half of the problem. The other part is utter unprofessionalism. Look, while he was small, barely surviving, niche developer it was ok and acceptable for him to reuse the same shitty assets game after game. And note that his assets are really, really shitty - not because they're simplistic, but just because his "art team" (?) has no taste and modeling & "animations" always looked horribly silly. But, the point is, he sells on the steam now. Quite good, if we believe him. Then look at the Styg's Underrail. Look at the Lords of Xulima. Look at whatever other aspiring RPG project are there. Do you really think he can't afford the same budget as them atm? Do you really think he, with his established fanbase and mainstream media success, doesn't outsell the Underrail? Of course he does. Of course he can. But he doesn't give a fuck. I dunno whether he's lazy, greedy, burnt out or just plain stupid (because he's going to crash & burn if he doesn't change his ways - can't continue this shit on a crowded market), but whatever it is, he doesn't give a fuck. Not about his games, not about his fans.

And if he doesn't give a fuck, why should we?
 

SuicideBunny

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This is good news. Avernum: Escape from the Pit was a huge improvement over the first Exile remake, and Exile II was better than the first one, so I'm expecting incline.
all the post-avadon remakes use the biowarian mechanics of avadon, so no, not good news at all.
 

pippin

Guest
Vogel is too old to try anything new, plus, he kinda knows the Exile games are the ones he's most famous for. It gives me the impression that he's just making his own "spiritual successors" and "enhanced editions" now. This is why he hasn't done anything with the Geneforges, imo.
 

Mortmal

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Its true , i like the exile and geneforge , but now if you compare to the new indie teams , hes not making much effort .I suppose if you never played either exile 2 or in avernum 2 its worth getting it , but for an oldschool grognard like me a graphical revamp is of no interest. I am not even sure its enough for the steam crowd , it probably looks prehistoric to them .
 

almondblight

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I still prefer the graphics of Exile III. The change in perspective shrunk the useful information on each tile.

Yeah, the Exile colors were quite vibrant whereas his newer games have felt washed out and dead. The graphical move from Exile to Avernum (though I guess Nethergate started the trend) was disappointing - six tile giant roaches now only took up a single tile, the slow terrain change from grass to rocks to impassible mountains and with snowcapped peaks in the center became completely vertical brown walls.

There was actually a lot of improvement between Exile I and Exile III. It's a shame Vogel didn't continue in that direction. But as others have said, one gets the feeling he doesn't care anymore but since it's his job he keeps pumping these out.
 

Amasius

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I'm not a fan of Jeffs new stuff (Avadon), but I can hardly await his remake of Geneforge 1. ;)
 

Morkar Left

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I like the graphics of his new games. The sprites and assets are simple but do their job and like that oldschool-style. I would like to see some gear on the sprites similar to BG; showing heavy armor, robes, the kind of weapon someone wears etc.

Avernum: EftP was good including a return of the travelmap. What isn't good is some simplified rules (e.g. hp back to full whenever entering the city) and no progress in advancing the gameplay mechanics like implement some stealth rules and make the world more reactive. If you keep rehashing the same game a third time including sequels you should at least advance and expand the gameplay.
 

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