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Interview BioWare guy on carrots at GameSpot

Discussion in 'News & Content Feedback' started by Saint_Proverbius, Jul 3, 2005.

  1. Saint_Proverbius Arcane Patron

    Saint_Proverbius
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    Tags: BioWare

    <a href="http://www.gamespot.com/">GameSpot</a> has a little <A href="http://www.gamespot.com/news/2005/07/01/news_6128476.html">interview/editorial</a> about leading the player and getting inside his head with <A href="http://www.bioware.com">BioWare</a> guy <b>Karl "Doc" Martens</b>. Here's a little bit on freedom not being free:
    <br>
    <blockquote><b>GS: Are there any tricks that give a player a greater illusion of freedom than they actually have?
    <br>
    <br>
    Kevin Martens:</b> Freedom means different things in different genres. In single-player RPGs, a player might say that he wants to have the freedom to go anywhere and explore the world, just like in real life. If we take that statement at face value and create a huge continent-sized world with hundreds of towns and villages and a million characters, there's no possible way we can write all of those characters, add enough plots, or spend time on every encounter to make it compelling, and even if we could, it wouldn't be able to run any machine out there with our level of complexity. So we'd resort to generic systems to fill the world with generic things to do. The player tells us this is boring and that it's not what he wanted at all.
    <br>
    <br>
    So what we've done at BioWare is the area system within our greater world. Baldur's Gate II and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic both have huge epic adventures that, in one case, spans a continent, and in another, several solar systems. We pick the most compelling adventure areas within these regions and stuff them with hand-crafted content to offer players the most focused and most fun-per-hour gameplay that we can.
    <br>
    <br>
    Exploring the entire wookiee world in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic would have to be, by necessity, much more generic than the fewer, much more fun areas that we did put in. Likewise, in Baldur's Gate II, the City of Athkatla had many large areas filled with subplots, encounters, treasure, unique characters, and other fun things while still remaining much smaller than a real city of a million people. A real city would take a day to walk across; in the game, you can use the map and get across in a few minutes, seeing only the most interesting parts.
    <br>
    <br>
    To still give the player freedom, they have a lot of different areas to explore with a lot of different themes and can do them in any order. This is the freedom that the players are actually telling us they want and giving us positive feedback on.
    <br>
    <br>
    Frankly, real life and life-sized areas are filled with a large amount of drudgery and boredom. Games shouldn't be. </blockquote>
    <br>
    While I agree with the statement that large cities with gobs of useless people wondering around that don't do anything for the player is lame, pointless, and boring - I also thought it was kind of silly to have multiple planets in a planet hopping Star Wars game where each planet was just a small town. Saying you can visit four or five planets is technically true, but implies a little larger scope than what's actually in the game.
    <br>
    <br>
    Thanks, <b>Taluntain</b> of <A href="http://www.sorcerers.net">Sorcerer's Place</a>!
     
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  2. Gromnir Liturgist

    Gromnir
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    "Saying you can visit four or five planets is technically true, but implies a little larger scope than what's actually in the game. "

    is that what it implies? we surely didn't infer such... after all, we knew that game was gonna be 'round 40 hours, regardless of number of planets visited. (Gromnir actually got 'bout 50 hours, but we did everything.) the more planets/locales developers put in game is necessarily meaning that you is gonna be able to develop each o' those locales less. is axiomatic. all the multiple planet thing implied were that you were gonna get diverse locations... not necessarily large ones.


    HA! Good Fun!
     
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  3. dojoteef Self-Ejected

    Self-Ejected
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    Well said Gromnir.
     
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  4. fnordcircle Liturgist

    fnordcircle
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    Bioware commenting on exploration and free-roaming in games, yeah this is going to be a valuable viewpoint. :roll:
     
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  5. Spazmo Erudite

    Spazmo
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    You'll note the question is about how to effectively fake exploration and free-roaming.
     
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  6. Sol Invictus Erudite

    Sol Invictus
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    I'll take fake free roaming over the mundanity of an MMORPG any day of the week.
     
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  7. Shagnak Shagadelic

    Shagnak
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    But is marginally better than populated areas with no population in them (a la DL) :wink:
     
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  8. Kortalh Liturgist

    Kortalh
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    I suppose that aptly puts Morrowind into the "free roaming, but dull" category.
     
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  9. Sarvis Erudite

    Sarvis
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    You mean like Guild Wars?
     
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  10. taks Liturgist

    taks
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    definitely.

    this also brings up the problem of having all these generic characters, but which ones to talk to? if the game has "commoner" everywhere, then suddenly "John the Plot Device" you immediately know who to talk to... but you've lost a little something in the process; you immediately know who to talk to.

    smaller local worlds allows better discovery in this sense in that you really do need to poke around to find out who has answers you may be looking for...

    taks
     
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  11. Saint_Proverbius Arcane Patron

    Saint_Proverbius
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    Actually, I finished it in under 30 hours both times through, doing everything. Then again, I didn't spend a lot of time talking to myself in the third person while playing, either.

    That said, a planet is typically a huge thing. It's like a big spheric container of cities. No, I know that it'd be impossible to make a whole damned planet in a CRPG and hand script everything, but the towns in KotOR were pretty tiny. Tattooine and Kashluuk(however it's spelled.. WOOKIEWORLD) were pretty tiny and most of the time spent on both of those places was just walking from one barren area to another, occationally fighting wooly cow things and lizards and what not.
     
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  12. Gromnir Liturgist

    Gromnir
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    "No, I know that it'd be impossible to make a whole damned planet in a CRPG and hand script everything, but the towns in KotOR were pretty tiny."

    complain that the towns were too small for you got what relevance to your multiple planet observation? place all the kotor towns on one planet and would sp complaint be any different? you realize that making a whole planet (or even a significant portion o' one,) would be impossible in a 40+ hour game, (lay off the amphetamines while you is playing crpgs... the games will last longer and you will miss less,) and yet you were surprised that kotor did not offer those planet sized locales?

    ...

    is like some folks don't even try to come up with valid criticisms anymore.

    "Tattooine and Kashluuk(however it's spelled.. WOOKIEWORLD) were pretty tiny and most of the time spent on both of those places was just walking from one barren area to another, occationally fighting wooly cow things and lizards and what not."

    HA!

    perhaps the developers had you do lots of walking 'round to give you the illusion o' greater size... 'cause apparently some of the dimmer folks were expecting to fully explore multiple Planets in kotor. wookie planet and tatooweenie were largely empty and Gromnir agrees that the space in those sections were underused, but only a complete moron woulda' expected large maps for exploration simply 'cause it were noted that you would be able to visit multiple planets. again, the multiple planet bit were an implication o' diversity and not size.

    am having no problem with folks complaining that some kotor locations were underutilized. however, the suggestion that a false expectation were created by bioware simply ‘cause they said that multiple planets would be visited in kotor is… retarded.

    HA! Good Fun!
     
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  13. Saint_Proverbius Arcane Patron

    Saint_Proverbius
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    Okay, here's the point as simple as it can be:

    If you have a planet which has all these people on it with all these cities, how come nearly all the places you visit are little tiny towns? How come there's nothing of interest elsewhere on the planet?

    It's one thing to say the game has four townsto explore. It's another thing to say it has four planets to explore.
     
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  14. Gromnir Liturgist

    Gromnir
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    "If you have a planet which has all these people on it with all these cities, how come nearly all the places you visit are little tiny towns? How come there's nothing of interest elsewhere on the planet? "

    'cause you is exploring areas in a game... you ain't exploring a planet... or planets. 'cause only a fool would expect massive planet-scale exploration of multiple planets from a 40+ hour game. the more planets they told you that you could explore, the LESS you shoulda' been expecting from each of 'em. kotor got 7 separate worlds and a couple of space vessels. given that kotor were advertised as a 40 hour game, only a complete dolt would expect to be able to explore sizeable geography on each o' those planets.

    multiple planets = diversity of locations

    your complaint is silly… at best.

    HA! Good Fun!
     
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  15. Volourn Pretty Princess Pretty Princess

    Volourn
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    "How come there's nothing of interest elsewhere on the planet?"

    There is. Just not for the point of a particular game. Duh.
     
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  16. Saint_Proverbius Arcane Patron

    Saint_Proverbius
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    Considering the only two people disagreeing with my statement are a guy who talks to himself in the third person and Volourn, I think I'm on solid ground.
     
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  17. Volourn Pretty Princess Pretty Princess

    Volourn
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    Aye. Since you live in Stupid Land, I guess you'd consider that solid ground.

    R00fles!

    P.S. And, actually, some of the others disagree with your words as well. Don't be stupid.
     
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  18. Diogo Ribeiro Erudite

    Diogo Ribeiro
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    I think the difference here is between interesting locations and locations of interest. KoTOR's planets had locations of interest to the game's story, but they were not necessarily interesting locations themselves.
     
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  19. Gromnir Liturgist

    Gromnir
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    how many flaws in logic can you fit in one tiny post? maybe makes a game of lookiing for all the fallacies and flaws.

    HA!

    is particularly funny that we see an appeal to popularity from sp... and in a thread that only has had 'bout a dozen posters, none of whom seem to really be supporting sp neither. odd. besides which, sp might wanna reread thread... thinks he missed at least one other dissenter... not that it really matters.

    am disappointed (though hardly surprised,) to see sp retreating to the tired antics we typically see from rex.

    *shrug*

    sp had a weak argument and we ain't surprised he wants to abandon it in favor o' something he knows he gots local support for... vol is a fanboi and Gromnir is a jackass, right? can't go wrong there, eh?

    nevertheless, if you wanna actually discuss your assertion that bioware's mentioning that kotor would allow you to explore multiple planets were actually creating a reasonable expectation o' massive exploration for each o' those diverse locales (HA!) we will gladly continue to emasculate you publicly on such a topic... though probably not for much longer as such a suggestion were just too damned stoopid to take serious anyways.

    HA! Good Fun!
     
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  20. Gromnir Liturgist

    Gromnir
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    bioware seemed to really be aiming for a nostalgia factor with kotor... they went out of their way to finds locations and characters that would evoke warm and fuzzy recollections o' the first three movies. unfortunately, the designers responsible for the big tree planet and the dune planet seemed to waste a great deal of potential as those locations offered relatively few opportunities to do much other than follow the critical path.

    lord knows that only a fool would expect to be able to explore a sizeable portion o' multiple planets in a 40 hour game, but we thinks that bio coulda' crammed more stuff into the locales they did provide. the 'mount o' space we got woulda' been fine if there were more to do in those locations... a point which, oddly 'nuff, sp alluded to earlier in this thread. yeah, tatooine were s'posed to feel likes a big empty wasteland, and kashykk were 'posed to make us take note o' the grandeur o' the trees... or some such, but a handful of compelling and tangential multi-step quests in those locales woulda' gone a long ways towards making those planets seem less... wasteful.

    HA! Good Fun!
     
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  21. Avin Liturgist

    Avin
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    This topic would be GREAT if the guy was talking apout PARROTS instead of carrots.

    Bioware make a game with some large areas where most people, right or not, believed that had some freedom (BG1) and a game which areas were "everything in the world happens here" like Kotor and NWN. Poor choice, I think.
     
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  22. fnordcircle Liturgist

    fnordcircle
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    Frowning at my monitor as I read your dumb post.
    I'm tired o' your gimmick.
     
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  23. Naked_Lunch Erudite

    Naked_Lunch
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    I'm tired of you.
     
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  24. Diogo Ribeiro Erudite

    Diogo Ribeiro
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    Gimmick or no, I pretty much agree with what Gromnir has being saying.

    LOOKOUT HERE COEMS THE GOOK POLICE QOUTING MY APPROVAL OF SOEMTHING GROMNIR SAID!
     
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  25. Gromnir Liturgist

    Gromnir
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    there were a great deal of negative posting on the totsc board and the bg2 board 'bout the largely useless and empty wilderness maps o' bg1. given the relatively slow walking speed of bg1 characters, and the overwhelming number o' small-scale bandit attacks and fed-ex quests on those wilderness maps, we were not too surprised by such a responses. after people played through durlag's tower, they wanted more such dungeons/locations. less walky… more fighty.

    bio responded.

    'course now there is lots o' complaints 'bout lack o' exploration.

    *shrug*

    illusion o' freedom and exploration is all well and good as long as there is things worth doing to make the exploration worthwhile. the emptiness of tatooine and kashykk made folks feel like they were simply wasting effort as 'posed to exploring. seemed like the empty spaces did little more than pad the playable hours.

    personal opinion: is better to sacrifice the illusion o'f freedom in favor o' compelling quests, rather than the other way 'round... not that we think either need be sacrificed, but getting the balance right so that everybody approves seems difficult at best.

    HA! Good Fun!

    p.s. Gromnir would probably stop posting this way if not for the people who seem bothered by it.
     
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