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Company News Bethesda: Games must evolve & grow!

REX

Novice
Joined
Mar 5, 2006
Messages
16
Location
A flat country in Scandinavia
Pete has no fucking idea what the the posters are complaining about, that 80 hours argument is really pissing me off big time.

Its like saying HEY people are going to play it, even if we make it a huge pile of crap, so we dont need to make it good. Other games have sucked so ours can suck aswell.

Ofcourse people complain when they have bougth a game that suck and doesnt at all even resemble the hype description, but they stil play it since they have spent money on it and also because theres nothing as sad as seeing something with alot of potential that has just been mutilated beyond all logic.
 

FaranBrygo

Educated
Joined
Feb 16, 2006
Messages
99
Kendar said:
Even if the FF are completely lacking in term of rople-playing, they are damn good at telling a story. If you happen to like the story, you will simply face the favourite games of your life.
FF only rivals the back of a cereal box for story quality.
 

TheGreatGodPan

Arbiter
Joined
Jul 21, 2005
Messages
1,762
Drakron said:
The problem is all challanges became absolute, your character either can do then or cannot ... there is no middle ground.
That sounds like you're describing karma vs. fortune mechanics, which is a seperate issue from character development.
 

Visbhume

Prophet
Joined
Jun 21, 2004
Messages
984
The reason none removes it because it simply destroys character grow, if someone does that it would simply create a "action adventure" game.
There is, the fact PnP roleplaying systems never successeful adapted it is a indication if you take away level progression you just get Interactive Fiction and LARP

Well, an RPG without levels could have other rpgey features to distinguish it from typical adventure games: complex character creation, a sophisticated bartering system, strategic combat, a variety of possible companions, and so on.

Levels are are just a lazy way of showing a sense of character grow. Why not make a game were progression is only measured by your reputation and degree of influence on other NPCs, for example?

What happens if someone makes an RPG where the story only takes place within one week, or even within only one day full of events? Should we gain levels by the hour? Be a poor farmer at dawn, a demigod at sunset?

The problem is all challanges became absolute, your character either can do then or cannot ... there is no middle ground.
A sufficient variety of possible companions and/or hireable NPCs could solve that . Finding the right companion for the quest and convincing him to follow you is more fun than "kill 100 foozles, then try again" anyway.
 

Saint_Proverbius

Administrator
Staff Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2002
Messages
12,546
Location
Behind you.
flabbyjack said:
Translation : "Yeah, we sold out tES: Oblivion, and we're gonna ruin Fallout 3 as well. It's called progress, baby! *Rolls in a pile of money*"

That's *Rolls naked in a pile of money*
 

elander_

Arbiter
Joined
Oct 7, 2005
Messages
2,015
I do believe that it's important to change games to make them better (i.e., more fun). Honestly, there are a ton of conventions from old-school RPGs that simply aren't very fun. They are artifacts of systems designed 20 years ago that we hold as sacred, but they aren't necessarily any good. We tried to fix or remove these where we could. Some don't like the changes, and I respect that opinion. Honestly, I fought against many of these changes (including fast travel, the compass, and leveled creatures), but in the end, I think most of them make the game better.

Don't see the big deal with this statement. It is almost offensive in the way it was stated but it holds some truth. Daggerfall is not finetuned to the point that Fallout is and is much more experimental. It's no secret that many Daggerfall old fans questioned some features in the game like the use-based skill system and the leveled things system and these were only admissible at the time because there was no better technology available. These features didn't caused more problems becasue they were balanced by experienced game designers with a good background in rpgs like Julian LeFay and Ted Peterson. The problem is the new game designer guys like BlueDev and Todd Howard that are very inexperienced in crpgs. Even with more advanced technology they can't balance their games properly.

Lets see this sacred cow argument at the light of the new technology they have available. Their main focus was in simplifying skills, making less skills and more generic, and simplifying chargen replacing advantages and disadvantages with powers. Their argument is that skills were rarely used and thus hard to raise in the use-based skill system and needed to be compacted. Another argument was that advantages and disadvanatges gave too much choices and were confusing. But confusing to whom? In a well balanced game this stuff is not confusing for player. Instead it enances the role-playing experience and allows for creating more deep characters if quests help. So i can only conclude they are trying to excuse themselves with players because they aren't experienced enough to balance a complex rpg properly and make it fun and accessible.

The proper way to solve this problem is not to screw up what is good, that is, killing the wrong sacred cow. But instead to attack the use-based system and the simplified skill gain scheme they are using almost unchanged since Daggerfall. The system is a bit simplistic but it was ok in Daggerfalls time and it's negative effects were minimized by a proper game balance. Whenever you successfuly use a skill it increases y a little bit stored in a float variable. When it sums up to 1.0 the skill gets increased. This works well for combat skills or other skills like running that are used a lot but not for skills that are only used ocasionaly. For these skills we have to use trainers.

But did they tried to solve this problem by attacking the way skills progress? No they tried to solve the problem by removing skills and making skills more generic and by dumbing down the char gen system. Even when they acknowledge that some old game features are sacred cows which is true they failed to recognize which are the ones that need to be attacked and how to attack them and which are the ones that are valuable to the series.

Another issue they have is with replayability. This something that MSFD mentioned a lot in these same forums. They are now convinced that replayability is bad game design and that the player should be able to everything with only one character. Replayability is necessary to create deep characters. It's not possible to have deep characters and one that can do all quests and join all factions in the game. A lot has to be sacrificed because of this. Still they insist on attacking the wrong sacred cow rpg features without discerning what they are doing. You can't turn a game into a fps with fps quests and only a bunch of skills and claim you are innovating.

Unfortunatly with so much incopetence among game designers even a bad designer is considered a genious. This industry needs to learn how to do games again.
 

voodoo1man

Liturgist
Joined
Feb 10, 2003
Messages
568
Location
Icy Highlands of Canada
Haha, check out the guy's response to Pete:

I doubt that I will make another account and my time here will be long.

Do you see how much insight you have?

And you are the PR person? You are not good at your job.

Too true. Honestly, I was expecting Pete "monkeyboy" Hines to get fired a long time ago. I wonder what's keeping him around?
 

onerobot

Scholar
Joined
Apr 6, 2005
Messages
163
Those threads are hilarious. Thanks for the best laughs I've had all week.

That video review of Oblivion was awesome as well, as it reminded me what playing Morrowind was all about. Revolutionary Role-Playing experiences? No. Running around throwing shoes at people? Oh god yes.
 

Slylandro

Scholar
Joined
Nov 27, 2005
Messages
705
some ESF moderator said:
[...]
I see the criticism in this thread. I don't see the "constructive" part though. Where are the possible solutions to these shortcomings?

Heh, I can see his point, but it's kind of naive to think that gamers should have to not only mod Bethsheba's game now, but also make design decisions for the developers too. Especially when said gamers are from the ESF.
 

Lumpy

Arcane
Joined
Sep 11, 2005
Messages
8,525
REX said:
Pete has no fucking idea what the the posters are complaining about, that 80 hours argument is really pissing me off big time.

Its like saying HEY people are going to play it, even if we make it a huge pile of crap, so we dont need to make it good. Other games have sucked so ours can suck aswell.

Ofcourse people complain when they have bougth a game that suck and doesnt at all even resemble the hype description, but they stil play it since they have spent money on it and also because theres nothing as sad as seeing something with alot of potential that has just been mutilated beyond all logic.
He didn't say it sucked. he said it was a good game with a generic fantasy gameworld. Which is true enough.
 

Section8

Cipher
Joined
Oct 23, 2002
Messages
4,321
Location
Wardenclyffe
I do believe that it's important to change games to make them better (i.e., more fun). Honestly, there are a ton of conventions from old-school RPGs that simply aren't very fun. They are artifacts of systems designed 20 years ago that we hold as sacred, but they aren't necessarily any good.

Too true. I mean how many threads get bandied around here along the lines of "<RPG convention> is questionable, what's a better way?" or "<Sacred cow> needs to be challenged"?

But, coming from the mouth of a Bethesda developer, I'm not buying it. They're fucking lying to us, and very probably themselves, because they're not out to improve anything. They're pandering to the lowest common denominator, and would scrap "fun" as a concept in a nanosecond if the marketing data predicted a market for games that aren't fun.

We tried to fix or remove these where we could. Some don't like the changes, and I respect that opinion. Honestly, I fought against many of these changes (including fast travel, the compass, and leveled creatures), but in the end, I think most of them make the game better.

As I say, bullshit. For instance, I think getting rid of to-hit rolls in a first person game is a positive change (even if Oblivion's implementation is poorly thought out) but I just can't shake the notion the Bethesda made the change as a result of gamer complaints, not because they analysed the design and saw deficiencies to be improved upon.

And I think that's true of most of the changes "for the better". They're nothing but oil for the squeaky wheels, and any yahoo who owns an oilcan can make those fixes. True talent would design a system that self lubricates. True innovators would debate whether wheels themselves are necessary, and theorise alternatives.

For instance, I'm fairly certain we'll see some sort of poorly conceived alternative to levelled lists as a result of the consumer backlash. Even if the current stance considers it "good design" and "progress".

--

Oh, and anyone notice the biggest difference between that Goodall comment and any post-Oblivion comments from Neo-Bethesda? ;)
 

Prime Junta

Guest
Section8 said:
But, coming from the mouth of a Bethesda developer, I'm not buying it. They're fucking lying to us, and very probably themselves, because they're not out to improve anything. They're pandering to the lowest common denominator, and would scrap "fun" as a concept in a nanosecond if the marketing data predicted a market for games that aren't fun.

Hyperbole is cool.

Strictly speaking, though, you're wrong. They are improving something -- namely production values and accessibility to the masses.

My hope is that if games like Oblivion succeed and bring more people into playing CRPG's, it'll expand the overall market, which will make room for niche games that are less "accessible" but have deeper and more involved content. Seriously, everyone's gotta start somewhere, and most RPG-ers, whether C or PnP, start from the you-enter-a-10-by-10-foot-room-an-orc-is-guarding-a-chest phase. Oblivion is a pretty close analogue of that in the computer realm.

Most will always stay there, of course, but some will go on to other things. That will increase wiggle room for small outfits operating commercially but targeting niche groups rather than the mass market. The folks who are making Bad Taste and Brain Dead now can go on to Meet the Feebles and Heavenly Creatures, even if they never make it to/decide to try for Lord of the Rings.
 
Joined
Oct 31, 2005
Messages
64
Drakron said:
There is, the fact PnP roleplaying systems never successeful adapted it is a indication if you take away level progression you just get Interactive Fiction and LARP.

The problem is all challanges became absolute, your character either can do then or cannot ... there is no middle ground.

This just simply isn't true.

A great many tabletop games - and a vast majority of the best of them - have dumped levelling altogether, and some have dumped gross character progression, too. That doesn't mean the characters lack resolution. In, say, a Shadowrun game that I ran years ago, I let the players create their characters with the idea that they would be creating Molly Millions, not Dipshit-One-Spell the Level 1 wizard. The characters created varied a great deal - in role, in story, and yes, in "power", since that which is most interesting sometimes isn't that which can kick the most ass.

If much of the joy of the genre lies in creating an alter ego that somehow reflects characters you've loved in books and movies, what harm in letting people play Molly Millions from the get-go?

Besides, there was progression. The characters gained reputation. They gained money, and with it, the access to better goods. But even without the reactionary psycho-capitalism of cyberpunk, you could do this. None of the basic enjoyments of RPGs necessitate levels or even advancement.
 

Abernathy

Scholar
Joined
Jan 20, 2006
Messages
174
Location
New Zealand
Prime Junta said:
The folks who are making Bad Taste and Brain Dead now can go on to Meet the Feebles and Heavenly Creatures, even if they never make it to/decide to try for Lord of the Rings.

I believe that's Peter Jackson you're talking about there :)

Dunno about Heaveny Creatures, but I think the first three were his - just to derail the thread, of course :)

But anyway, I read the whole thread on ESF, and Pete came way too close to flaming. I hope he does it again and gets fired for it. Tosser.
 

Prime Junta

Guest
Abernathy said:
Prime Junta said:
The folks who are making Bad Taste and Brain Dead now can go on to Meet the Feebles and Heavenly Creatures, even if they never make it to/decide to try for Lord of the Rings.

I believe that's Peter Jackson you're talking about there :)

Yup.

Dunno about Heaveny Creatures, but I think the first three were his - just to derail the thread, of course :)

Heavenly Creatures is his too. It's a wonderfully warm, funny, delightful tale full of fantasy and imagination, about two teenage girls who beat the brains out of one of their moms with a brick wrapped in a sock. Based on a true story too. Worth a look-see.
 

Abernathy

Scholar
Joined
Jan 20, 2006
Messages
174
Location
New Zealand
Prime Junta said:
Heavenly Creatures is his too. It's a wonderfully warm, funny, delightful tale full of fantasy and imagination, about two teenage girls who beat the brains out of one of their moms with a brick wrapped in a sock. Based on a true story too. Worth a look-see.

Ahh - caught it on TV a few years back, but I didn't recognise the title. Yeah, it was good viewing. For some reason I thought 'Heavenly Creatures' was a relatively new release, never connected it with the story. Thanks for that :)

Now I'll hand us all back to the bitching and whining about Pete Hines' bitching and whining about people bitching and whining, if this is the right thread. If it's not, I don't care. Pete's a fucktard in any thread.
 

Section8

Cipher
Joined
Oct 23, 2002
Messages
4,321
Location
Wardenclyffe
Hyperbole is cool.

Strictly speaking, though, you're wrong. They are improving something -- namely production values and accessibility to the masses.

Neither of which I consider necessary to a game. Both are double edged swords. Accessibility is good, I love an in game tutorial (done well) but all too often it results in the game having little to no challenge, and no cerebral depth. Production values are more curse than blessing, since they inevitably require more work and resources for less actual content.

And Oblivion has both in spades, featuring mainly the negative aspects. The built in walkthrough, GPS, constant handholding and across the board simplification really cruel the game for anyone desiring complexity or a need for intuitive thought.*

The full voiceovers resulted in a lot less dialogue, zero-dimensional NPCs (at least Morrowind's were one-dimensional) and other "production values" such as the graphical tech resulted in a game with a far smaller scope and much lower quantity of content than Morrowind.

My hope is that if games like Oblivion succeed and bring more people into playing CRPG's, it'll expand the overall market, which will make room for niche games that are less "accessible" but have deeper and more involved content. <snip>

That's true to an extent. I seem to remember cutting my teeth with Dungeon Master, a real-time, first-person dungeon crawl, and discovering "true" RPGs from there, and I will freely admit that Oblivion probably would have knocked my socks off I was ten years younger and dumber, but...

It's a very different market climate these days. Theoretically, RPG newbies might then discover more complex games and enjoy them, but who's going to make the more complex games? It's not hard to see why Oblivion is successful, and it's those trends that publishers will follow.

For all our bitter ramblings here of how flawed Oblivion is (and even the "wailing and moaning" over on the ESF) Oblivion is a complete success. Rave reviews, 1.7 million units shipped, so why take a chance on a niche title?

As for small outfits gaining wiggle room, I don't see how Oblivion ultimately helps in that respect. Oblivion is all glitz, with no substance, and it sells on the back of a marketing push and core concepts that are beyond the reach of small dev houses.

And it helps to usher in the motherfucking chocolate milk generation who will draw inspiration from the critically acclaimed "best RPG ever". Fuck, there are already too many developers around now that haven't cut their teeth on the classics.

Besides, there was progression. The characters gained reputation. They gained money, and with it, the access to better goods. But even without the reactionary psycho-capitalism of cyberpunk, you could do this. None of the basic enjoyments of RPGs necessitate levels or even advancement.

I think this is probably one of the more interesting concepts being bandied around the place at the moment. Character development vs character advancement. I think as long as actual development is approached intelligently, then traditional models of advancement are redundant. I also think it's probably a very healthy and mature step to try and dig RPGs (and electronic entertainment in general) out of the fucking skinnerbox rut that it's in. I don't think the whole capitalist idealism ethic is doing anyone any favours.
 

Prime Junta

Guest
Section8 said:
Hyperbole is cool.

Strictly speaking, though, you're wrong. They are improving something -- namely production values and accessibility to the masses.

Neither of which I consider necessary to a game. Both are double edged swords. Accessibility is good, I love an in game tutorial (done well) but all too often it results in the game having little to no challenge, and no cerebral depth. Production values are more curse than blessing, since they inevitably require more work and resources for less actual content.

Oh, I agree. But "they're not improving anything full stop" is different from "they're not improving anything that I consider necessary for a game." Which is what I was pointing out.

(snip stuff I agree about, especially VO.)

My hope is that if games like Oblivion succeed and bring more people into playing CRPG's, it'll expand the overall market, which will make room for niche games that are less "accessible" but have deeper and more involved content. <snip>quote]

That's true to an extent. I seem to remember cutting my teeth with Dungeon Master, a real-time, first-person dungeon crawl, and discovering "true" RPGs from there, and I will freely admit that Oblivion probably would have knocked my socks off I was ten years younger and dumber, but...

It's a very different market climate these days. Theoretically, RPG newbies might then discover more complex games and enjoy them, but who's going to make the more complex games? It's not hard to see why Oblivion is successful, and it's those trends that publishers will follow.

I've said it here before, but why not say it again: I believe that a clever studio licensing an engine that does the bling-bling, and concentrating on high-value, low-cost content such as dialogue, scripting, and music, could produce a very deep game at a fraction of the cost it would take to do it from ground-up, and let them do it with production values that won't turn off a large part of the potential market.

For all our bitter ramblings here of how flawed Oblivion is (and even the "wailing and moaning" over on the ESF) Oblivion is a complete success. Rave reviews, 1.7 million units shipped, so why take a chance on a niche title?

Mun-ny. I've no idea how much Oblivion cost to develop, but it ain't cheap. Big-budget efforts tank too. Software is notorious for going over budget and over schedule. Propose a project that targets 10% of Oblivion's market, but costs 2% to develop, demonstrate that you're capable of delivering software on time and on budget, and I don't think it'd be too hard to make a business case interesting enough to get financing.

As for small outfits gaining wiggle room, I don't see how Oblivion ultimately helps in that respect. Oblivion is all glitz, with no substance, and it sells on the back of a marketing push and core concepts that are beyond the reach of small dev houses.

It expands the market. A bigger market means more opportunities for everyone in the market, including indies and niche players.

Again, I think the movie market is a pretty good analogue of what the CRPG market could be: there's room for both Pitch Black and Star Wars, and at least some people who saw Pitch Black wouldn't have seen it if they hadn't been hooked on sci-fi flicks by Star Wars.
 

Hazelnut

Erudite
Joined
Dec 17, 2002
Messages
1,490
Location
UK
Prime Junta said:
I've said it here before, but why not say it again: I believe that a clever studio licensing an engine that does the bling-bling, and concentrating on high-value, low-cost content such as dialogue, scripting, and music, could produce a very deep game at a fraction of the cost it would take to do it from ground-up, and let them do it with production values that won't turn off a large part of the potential market.

That would be great, but I think there's a flaw in the plan. Art assets & animation. It's expensive to do for today's bling engines (what a great name for a game engine :cool: ) and that's not something that comes with the engine. I think what you're suggesting is only going to be possible if a TESCS that allows game mechanic changes using modules of real code, a better API, a bigger library of art assets that can be added to and no restrictions to use beyond a reasonable licence cost. Then it may be possible. I'm sure VD can enlighten us as to how much work AoD is and that is not even aiming at cutting edge bling!
 

doctor_kaz

Scholar
Joined
May 26, 2006
Messages
517
Location
Ohio, USA
Prime Junta said:
Mun-ny. I've no idea how much Oblivion cost to develop, but it ain't cheap. Big-budget efforts tank too. Software is notorious for going over budget and over schedule. Propose a project that targets 10% of Oblivion's market, but costs 2% to develop, demonstrate that you're capable of delivering software on time and on budget, and I don't think it'd be too hard to make a business case interesting enough to get financing..

Add on top of that, the fact that so-called "niche" titles often outsell "mainstream" titles. Compare Bioware's D&D games to "Jade Empire". Compare PC D&D games with dumbed down button mashers like "Demon Stone" and "D&D: Heroes". Compare "Fallout" with "Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel". Compare "Deus Ex" with "Deus Ex: Invisible War". Compare "Rome: Total War" with "Spartan: Total Warrior".

Not every game is Oblivion or Halo. Ion Storm and Black Isle are more representative of what happens to "niche" title makers when they destroy their products by dumbing them down for consoles. There are a lot of flops out there, and when you cater to just the mainstream, you have to bend over backwards to sell every game too. When it fails, the game is a huge bust. "Niche" titles have built-in audiences ready to buy the game, although sometimes these audiences aren't huge.
 

Dreagon

Scholar
Joined
Nov 1, 2005
Messages
113
Honestly, there are a ton of conventions from old-school RPGs that simply aren't very fun. They are artifacts of systems designed 20 years ago that we hold as sacred, but they aren't necessarily any good.

This is Petespeak for "those conventions don't appeal to our new base of drooling morons, and we don't want to hurt their feelings by saying that. Not to mention a lot of them don't work well on controllers.
 

Prime Junta

Guest
Hazelnut said:
Prime Junta said:
I've said it here before, but why not say it again: I believe that a clever studio licensing an engine that does the bling-bling, and concentrating on high-value, low-cost content such as dialogue, scripting, and music, could produce a very deep game at a fraction of the cost it would take to do it from ground-up, and let them do it with production values that won't turn off a large part of the potential market.

That would be great, but I think there's a flaw in the plan. Art assets & animation. It's expensive to do for today's bling engines (what a great name for a game engine :cool: ) and that's not something that comes with the engine.

I believe pretty big libraries of animations for the human form do come with a quite a few engines; certainly with the likes of the NWN or TES engines. If our putative low-budget game eschewed fancy monsters and went with a human-centered game, I believe it could get by with very small to no amounts of animation. Static art assets like skins and textures or even non-animated 3D aren't particularly expensive to do.

I think what you're suggesting is only going to be possible if a TESCS that allows game mechanic changes using modules of real code, a better API, a bigger library of art assets that can be added to and no restrictions to use beyond a reasonable licence cost. Then it may be possible. I'm sure VD can enlighten us as to how much work AoD is and that is not even aiming at cutting edge bling!

That all depends on what limitations you decide to live with.
 

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