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Wadjet Eye Primordia - A Point and Click Adventure - Now Available

MicoSelva

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Mit großer Freude können wir heute verkünden: Primordia ist auf Deutsch verfügbar! Nach über einem Jahr unermüdlicher – wenn auch nicht ununterbrochener – Arbeit ist diese Übersetzung nun die dritte, die offiziell von Wormwood Studios herausgegeben wird. Jonas, der Übersetzer, konnte so auf die Erfahrung von Flavien Gaillard und Eduardo Moreno Martín zurückgreifen, denen wir schon die französische beziehungsweise die spanische Ausgabe von Primordia verdanken. Das, was Jonas erreicht hat, ist aber nicht nur Ergebnis der harten Arbeit von ihm und den Testern, sondern ist auch dem Enthusiasmus der deutschen Primordia-Fans zu verdanken, die Jonas bei diesem enormen Unterfangen immer wieder ermutigt haben.

Aus geschäftspolitischen Gründen hat Wadjet Eye Games diese Übersetzung weder befürwortet noch getestet und wird sie selbst auch nicht verbreiten. Aus diesem Grund kann die Übersetzung nur über die Primordia-Webseite (http://www.primordia-game.com/german.html) heruntergeladen werden und ist nicht direkt über Steam, GOG oder die WEG-Seite verfügbar. Aufgrund der relativ überschaubaren Menge an Testern können Probleme oder Fehler in der Übersetzung bestehen. Wir wollen diesen Patch ebenso gewissenhaft und begeistert unterstützen wie das Spiel selbst – deshalb freuen wir uns über sämtliche Rückmeldungen zu Fehlern, so dass wir diese beheben können.

Wir hoffen, die deutsche Übersetzung bereitet Euch genauso viel Vergnügen, wie sie Jonas und dem Rest von uns bei ihrer Erstellung gemacht hat ... und vielleicht das kleine Bisschen Frustration, das zu jedem guten Adventure-Spiel gehört!

* * *

We are delighted to announce Jonas's German translation of Primordia, the third Wormwood Studios-approved translation of the game. It is the culmination of over a year of tireless—though occasionally interrupted—work by Jonas, who drew on the experience of the translators who brought the game to French (Flavien Gaillard) and Spanish (Eduardo Moreno Martín), and the assistance of friends and testers. Jonas's achievement reflects not only his and his testers' hard work, and Flavien and Eduardo's hard-won experience, but also the enthusiasm of Primordia's German fans, who encouraged Jonas to undertake and complete this massive project.

For business reasons, Wadjet Eye Games declined to test, endorse, or distribute the translation. Accordingly, it is currently necessary to download a patch through the Primordia website, rather than through Steam or GOG or the WEG site. Because of the relatively small number of testers, there may be glitches or errors in the translation. We intended to support this patch as diligently and enthusiastically as we've supported Primordia itself, so please report any bugs so that they can be fixed.

We hope that the translation brings you as much pleasure in playing as it brought Jonas and the rest of us in its creation, and perhaps just a little bit of the frustration — because no adventure game should be too easy!

Grab it here: http://www.primordia-game.com/german.html
Wunderbar!
 

Alpan

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I had the double fortune of playing Primordia while I was doing some readings of writers known for their critiques of progress (such as Ronald Wright and Christopher Lasch) and not knowing beforehand progress was also one of the game's themes; the dialogue in the final confrontation with MetroMind briefly made me feel like I was a psychotic patient who believed the universe was speaking with him, so great was the feeling of synchronicity. My skepticism towards progress, particularly moral progress, has only grown in the following two years -- thanks in part to other writers like John N. Gray and Nassim Taleb, and also owing to certain real-life developments.

So I have a question of the great MRY: Which writers and thinkers informed the strain of commentary on progress in Primordia? No doubt if I returned to the game today I'd pick up more than I did at the time, but I thought I'd skip the second playthrough (for now) and directly address the man himself.
 

bertram_tung

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I had the double fortune of playing Primordia while I was doing some readings of writers known for their critiques of progress (such as Ronald Wright and Christopher Lasch) and not knowing beforehand progress was also one of the game's themes; the dialogue in the final confrontation with MetroMind briefly made me feel like I was a psychotic patient who believed the universe was speaking with him, so great was the feeling of synchronicity. My skepticism towards progress, particularly moral progress, has only grown in the following two years -- thanks in part to other writers like John N. Gray and Nassim Taleb, and also owing to certain real-life developments.

So I have a question of the great MRY: Which writers and thinkers informed the strain of commentary on progress in Primordia? No doubt if I returned to the game today I'd pick up more than I did at the time, but I thought I'd skip the second playthrough (for now) and directly address the man himself.

Mike Pence
 

MRY

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Thanks for the kind words. I’m a thoroughly middlebrow person, so not only had I not read Wright and Lasch, I haven’t even heard of them. I guess I would say that Burke and Chesterton were the main writers, and A Darkness at Noon’s interrogator was probably my proto-Metromind:

“History knows no scruples and no hesitation. Inert and unerring, she flows towards the goal. At every bend in her course she leaves the mud which she carries and the corpses of the drowned. History knows her way. She makes no mistakes.”

“He is damned always to do that which is most repugnant to him: to become a slaughterer, in order to abolish slaughtering, to sacrifice lambs so that no more lambs may be slaughtered, to whip people with knouts so that they may learn not to let themselves be whipped, to strip himself of every scruple in the name of a higher scrupulousness, and to challenge the hatred of mankind because of his love for it—an abstract and geometric love.”

“Don’t you find it wonderful? Has anything more wonderful ever happened in history? We are tearing the old skin off mankind and giving it a new one. That is not an occupation for people with weak nerves . . . .”

“Nature is generous in her senseless experiments on mankind. Why should mankind not have the right to experiment on itself?”

“The dilettantes of tyranny had forced their subjects to act at command; No. 1 had taught them to think at command.”

Etc.

I also had in mind the unpleasant eugenic component to the early 20th century progressives and the claims to a better future made by the Nazis.
 

Alpan

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Grab the Codex by the pussy Pathfinder: Kingmaker
Thanks, MRY. I wouldn't say those two names are particularly highbrow (nor was I trying to imply anything about my reading habits), they were just examples of what I was interested in at the time. I'm not American, or from what is generally known as the West, so while I know about Burke and Chesterton, I've not read them myself. Darkness at Noon, though -- that one I did read, so we have some common ground there. The original German text was actually rediscovered about two years ago IIRC, so I suppose a new translation will show up eventually.

Since you provided some nice quotes, let me respond in kind. The following passage is found in one of John N. Gray's books. When I first read it, which was last year, my mind immediately went to the game:

"When thinking machines first arrive in the world they will be the work of flawed, intermittently lucid animals whose minds are stuffed with nonsense and delusion. In time, as Bruno Schulz perceived, matter – the true demiurge – will stir the manikins into life. From dust and dirt – ‘like fate, like destiny’ – the spirit will be reborn. Mutating under the pressure of entropy, the machines humans have invented will develop faults and flaws of their own. Soon they will no longer be aware of parts of their own minds; repression, denial and fantasy will cloud the empty sky of consciousness. Emerging from an inner world they cannot fathom, antagonistic impulses will govern their behaviour. Eventually these half-broken machines will have the impression that they are choosing their path through life. As in humans, this may be an illusion; but as the sensation takes hold, it will engender what in humans used to be called a soul."
 

MRY

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I like that quote.

There were various quotes I'd come across over the years that I thought about working into the game, but it felt forced. For the curious, my favorites among them were:

“Man’s very soul is due to the machines; it is a machine-made thing: he thinks as he thinks, and feels as he feels, through the work that machines have wrought upon him, and their existence is quite as much a sine qua non for his, as his for theirs.” - Samuel Butler, Erewhon

"In attempting to construct sentient machines we are not irreverently usurping God's power of creating souls, rather we are providing new mansions for the souls that He creates."- A.M. Turing (1950)

"When God made man the devil was at his elbow. A creature that can do anything. Make a machine. Make a machine to make the machine. And evil that can run itself a thousand years, no need to tend it.” - Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian

"In the seed of the city of the just, a malignant seed is hidden, in its turn: the certainty and pride of being in the right -- and of being more just than many others who call themselves more just than the just.” - Italo Calvino, Hidden Cities
 

MRY

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Thanks, MRY. I wouldn't say those two names are particularly highbrow (nor was I trying to imply anything about my reading habits), they were just examples of what I was interested in at the time.
I realize I failed to respond to this part of your post.

I mentioned the middlebrow thing in part because I've always felt the secret to Primordia's success (setting aside Vic's astonishing art) is that it's open enough, and has enough rough edges that snag people's thoughts, that players fill the game with their own sophistication and values -- sometimes it becomes a boogeyman to them, but more often than that, it seems to become like, uhh, a cave wall in a very dark cave, where you think you are alone in infinite darkness and you shout out and suddenly something echoes back, and even though it's your own voice and no one else, it still means there's something else there to receive and return your voice and confirm it's not all a giant void. So really smart players who are looking for a game that is as thoughtful as they are, perhaps doubting that it might exist, somehow find some of that in Primordia, though probably what they're hearing is just their own education, philosophy, literacy, and so on. So when you come to the game and say, "Wow, it reminds me of these brilliant academics," I know that's not because I'm a brilliant academic and need to correct the record. :D
 

MRY

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Inspired by Vault Dweller's transparency and the loss of Steam Spy, I've posted some information about Primordia's sales history here: http://www.wormwoodstudios.com/2018/04/primordia-sales-data.html I doubt it's of much interest to anyone other than an AGS adventure game developer, but who knows?

Primordia Sales Data

With the untimely death of Steam Spy, independent developers have lost one of the few free sources of game sales data. My friend Vince—with his transparency about The Age of Decadence, a game I adore—has convinced me that developers need to fill that gap by sharing their own data with others who might need it. In that spirit, here are some facts onPrimordia.

Primordia has sold just about 200,000 copies for a total of a bit over $600,000 from December 2012 until now. (Note that there is some lag time here because I receive sales data from the publisher a month after the publisher receives it from Steam and GOG, which is itself delayed a month for Steam and as much as a quarter for GOG.) That means that the average (mean) sales price is about three bucks, 30% of the listed price of $9.99.

Of those sales, around 40,000 were from junk bundles that yielded almost no money (~$7,000 or something ludicrous like that). Unfortunately, Primordia was never included in the one bundle that makes some economic sense (the Humble Bundle). Of the remaining 160,000 sales that I consider more meaningful, about 46,000 were through GOG, 7,000 through the App Store (for the iOS port), with almost all of the remaining 107,000 through Steam (a very, very trivial number were sold directly by the publisher through BMT Micro).

Primordia sold well at launch (about 43k non-bundle copies in its first year), and has had a long tail (21k, 19k, 22k, 39k copies in each of the next four years, excluding iPhone sales). But the overwhelming majority of the copies were sold, even during the first year, in the seasonal sales on Steam and GOG. The only other time considerable copies were sold was during non-seasonal themed sales in which Primordia and a small number of other games were featured. Sales span multiple months, making it hard for me to break the data down. But in 2017, for instance, during months in which Primordia was discounted at leastsome of the time, we tended to move around 6,000 copies, while during non-discounted months, we moved around 150 copies.

In terms of the proceeds, of the $600,000, the first 30% went to distributors (GOG, Steam, and the bundlers). A further cut was taken by the publisher. What remained was divided among the three of us who developed the game (Victor, James, and me), not quite evenly initially but evenly now. My own share has worked out to about $110,000 (for a game that took two and a half years to develop, and which I have tried to continue supporting for another five), which is to say 18% of the gross sales. Those proceeds have been divided about (1) a third to taxes; (2) a third to support (a) other developers through Kickstarterand charities and (b) our own development of Fallen Gods and Cloudscape (no out-of-pocket expenses for Strangeland); and (3) a third as “take-home” income.

I have always viewed Primordia as a surprising, resounding success commercially and, more importantly, in terms of player engagement. A devil’s advocate, or my own sometimes pessimistic self, might say that Primordia proves that it makes little economic sense to develop such games. After all, even assuming we could churn out a game that sold as well as Primordia every two years or so, that would yield less than the median salary for an American game designer (different sites put that median between $60,000 and $85,000, plus benefits). And what if it sold less? As far as I know, Primordia is the third-best-selling game made in Adventure Game Studio, below Gemini Rue and the Cat Lady but above the rest, despite many of these being truly excellent games. Probability suggests that our next title might not be as fortunate. Faced with this math, and with an ever-growing field of excellent indie games on Steam, one could be discouraged.

Instead of being discouraged, I’ve spent even longer working on my next game, an RPG (Fallen Gods) in a market much more saturated than retro point-and-click adventures. To me, far from being in an omigod were going to need to bury millions of E.T. cartridges in the desert panic, matters are much more positive. As the song goes: “Look around, look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now!” This is a golden age for developing games.

When I started out trying to make games in the 1990s, they had to be coded more or less from scratch, and it was extremely hard to connect with artists interested in, and capable of, making game graphics. Friends and I tried valiantly many times and got nowhere close to making a finished game; if we had, we would have had to try selling it as shareware. This wasn’t impossible—David Gray’s inspirational Hugo series of adventure games was made under just such conditions in the ’90s, and so were Jeff Vogel’s inspirational Exile series and Forgotten Sages’ amazing Gladiator (and dozens of other games I played to death back in those days). But it was a very steep climb. For me, the challenge was insurmountable.

Nowadays, Steam provides a huge sales portal to anyone who wants it and GOG provides a smaller, but more receptive, audience; Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and niche game forums provide direct contact with customers; a huge panoply of streamers, Steam curators, and gaming news sites provide broad outreach; positive Steam reviews provide a perpetual motion machine for indie developers, as every positive review draws in additional customers who leave reviews; and a variety of engines (Unity, Love2D, AGS, RPG Maker, ChoiceScript, Inform 7, Twine, etc., etc.) provide relatively easy means to develop relatively professional games. Moreover, the internet brings together people who want to make games from all over the world, an embarrassment of riches in terms of possible collaborators. And with Google Translate, I (and any other developer) can communicate (after a fashion) with players posting comments in Hungarian, Farsi, Mandarin, etc., who I would otherwise never have had a chance to meet.

If you had told me when I was toiling away on my fifth failed adolescent effort to develop an adventure or an RPG that in a scant 20 years I’d be able to work with amazing people from all over the world in turnkey development environments and super-easy distribution channels, I doubt I would’ve believed it. If you had then told me that hundreds of thousands of people would have bought a game I worked on, I would’ve started getting upset that you were clearly making fun of me. And if you’d added that thousands of those players would have provided bottomless moral support in reviews, tweets, emails, posts, translations, plushies, paintings, songs, sculptures, etc., I would probably have started backing away slowly in the face of such obvious madness.

How lucky I am to be making games right now. And one of my greatest joys has been hearing that the creators of the amazing games like Paradigm, K’Nossos, and Neofeud were inspired by Primordia to bring their own great games into the world. Of course, I hope thatPrimordia’s tail keeps growing indefinitely, as in Wanda Gág’s The Funny Thing, and thatFallen Gods manages to enjoy the same support when, at last, I cross “RPG” off the same adolescent bucket list that had “adventure” on it until December 2012. But even ifPrimordia stopped being sold tomorrow, I would count it a grand success. Hopefully the data in this post will, in some small way, help others enjoy successes of their own.
 
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SilverSpook

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50% off on Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/227000/Primordia/

If you're looking for the lowest price, this isn't it, but on some level, the difference between $3 and $5 is probably not worth waiting around for.

Just bought Primordia again for the first time. :) (On Steam)

Also, thanks for the very fascinating and informative read on the behind-the-scenes of Primordia. I do find it really is a glass-half-empty/full sort of situation. I used to look back wistfully at the antediluvian pre-Steam-Direct age circa 2012 when just a handful of games were launched per week, but the truth is, we're incredibly lucky to have the panoply of indie dev tools, platforms, engagements and markets -- on the order of 7 billion people in over a hundred countries. That was all unheard of, as you say, in the 90's, just the twinkle in some Silicon Valley entrepreneur's pipe dream of a massively connected global ecology.

And a big kudos to you, Mark, for your unparalleled audience-engagement, from responding to fans, reviewers, LPers, even weird podcasting aspiring indiedevs who live on Hawaiian lava flows :lol:. I'd wager your continued and sustained interactions with Primordia and Wormwood Studios fans has much to do with the game's continued success (apart from it being an excellent game in and of itself).
 

Tom Selleck

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Do you have to play it, or can you rip the audio from the game's files? Not that replaying it is undesirable, I'm just thinking about listening to it on a morning commute, for example.
 

agris

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MRY After picking this up a while ago, I recently started and finished it. I absolutely loved it. The banter between Horatio and Crispin (Crispy!) was well written and delivered well, to the formulation of the puzzles and the general pace. I've only played a few other adventure games (Monkey Island 2 and 3) so I don't have any kind of detailed critique of the formulation of puzzles or pacing, except that I was able to keep a brisk pace and only got stuck twice, in the latter quarter of the game.

  1. Finding Oswald's brother. I knew the stack of skulls was relevant because it was a detailed hotspot and Ostwald's text, but because I had tried to interact with all of them before progressing to the plot point that enables you to recognize the head, I was was convinced that the 'correct' way to interact with them was via an inventory object. It was a dumb place to get stuck all-told, and I'm guessing back-tracking and rechecking hotspots after plot progression is a normal thing. Anyway, I spent probably 30 minutes twiddling my thumbs on it. A shorter version of this confusion hit me with 187's quest, where I had all the pieces and even tried giving him the law.. I just hadn't looked at the tower's door since talking to him.
  2. This was the real biggy: Memorious's code. I instantly got the "Redlien' text, and since Crispin convinced me to interpret it differently, I recognized it as a haiku. a 5-7-5 haiku. And what did the data pad say I was missing from Memorious? "???" three digits. Me and my literal brain went "oh, maybe i'm either missing something or primer won't solve it" so I pulled out a pencil and started working the code snippets with 575 as the missing piece. You should see the back of this envelope. After at least 30 min of plugging away at it, and I had identified the 440, 102, 26 and '575' as pieces that had to be logically at the start or the end because of their overlap of other snippets. Then when I saw the first snippet revealed was 675, I felt somewhat vindicated. Interpreting the Redlien sequence as A-R-T is probably drop-dead obvious for people who play adventure games.
I'll keep this in spoiler since it is a spoiler - I also really enjoyed the data kiosk the first time I found it. I had gotten to Metropol in two nights of play, so the storyline was firmly in my mind, and I instantly started searching "horus" "man" "urbani" "goliath" and realized what I, as Horatio, was. The ending's twist, in which you learn that you didn't commit genocide, is nice as well. In classic RPG-player fashion, I made a save before using the virus and went back and viewed the other two (?) endings.

Oh, and a kiosk oddity: there's no entry for Metropol! I thought that was strange. Though I suppose Welcome / Start could be considered the entries

I couldn't help but view the light social commentary on progressives and the view society takes towards religion as something you personally feel - maybe it's from talking to you on here. The commentary was not overbearing at all, and tied various aspects of the story together and gave it a little philosophical *oompf*. The call-backs to PST were the most obvious, and I liked seeing some Fallout references.

Did you purposefully make the art on the elevator floor (in the tower) the 4-point Infinity Engine selection icon? And was Metropol's structure based at all around Mad Max 3? I felt like MetroMind was Tina Turner, and I half-expected to find Master-Blaster underground. The theme of power and the bifurcated society is what gave me the strongest MM3 vibes, aside from aesthetics.
 

MRY

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MRY After picking this up a while ago, I recently started and finished it. I absolutely loved it. The banter between Horatio and Crispin (Crispy!) was well written and delivered well, to the formulation of the puzzles and the general pace. I've only played a few other adventure games (Monkey Island 2 and 3) so I don't have any kind of detailed critique of the formulation of puzzles or pacing, except that I was able to keep a brisk pace and only got stuck twice, in the latter quarter of the game.
Thanks so much! To the extent Primordia has had any success, it's because of generous word of mouth like that. :) And I certainly enjoy hearing when people have good experiences with the game.

There are lots of great adventure games out there, so you shouldn't stop with Primordia. Of commercial ones, I really like Loom, Quest for Glory (first four), Full Throttle, Grim Fandango, Gabriel Knight (the first one), King's Quest, Space Quest... really you can't go wrong with any of the class Lucas and Sierra ones, especially with a little patience and good humor.

  1. Finding Oswald's brother. I knew the stack of skulls was relevant because it was a detailed hotspot and Ostwald's text, but because I had tried to interact with all of them before progressing to the plot point that enables you to recognize the head, I was was convinced that the 'correct' way to interact with them was via an inventory object. It was a dumb place to get stuck all-told, and I'm guessing back-tracking and rechecking hotspots after plot progression is a normal thing. Anyway, I spent probably 30 minutes twiddling my thumbs on it. A shorter version of this confusion hit me with 187's quest, where I had all the pieces and even tried giving him the law.. I just hadn't looked at the tower's door since talking to him.
Aye, this is a non-trivial problem with adventure games, where the player is sometimes ahead of the character and vice versa. One problem with adventure games is that the player is seldom stuck because he can't figure out how to put the pieces together, and is often stuck because one of the pieces has slid under the sofa. I wish I were a better designer -- my only "solution" to this problem in Primordia was to have Crispin and other sign-posts lead you under the sofa, but that's kind of lame.

  1. This was the real biggy: Memorious's code. I instantly got the "Redlien' text, and since Crispin convinced me to interpret it differently, I recognized it as a haiku. a 5-7-5 haiku. And what did the data pad say I was missing from Memorious? "???" three digits. Me and my literal brain went "oh, maybe i'm either missing something or primer won't solve it" so I pulled out a pencil and started working the code snippets with 575 as the missing piece. You should see the back of this envelope. After at least 30 min of plugging away at it, and I had identified the 440, 102, 26 and '575' as pieces that had to be logically at the start or the end because of their overlap of other snippets. Then when I saw the first snippet revealed was 675, I felt somewhat vindicated. Interpreting the Redlien sequence as A-R-T is probably drop-dead obvious for people who play adventure games.
I'll keep this in spoiler since it is a spoiler - I also really enjoyed the data kiosk the first time I found it. I had gotten to Metropol in two nights of play, so the storyline was firmly in my mind, and I instantly started searching "horus" "man" "urbani" "goliath" and realized what I, as Horatio, was. The ending's twist, in which you learn that you didn't commit genocide, is nice as well. In classic RPG-player fashion, I made a save before using the virus and went back and viewed the other two (?) endings.

Oh, and a kiosk oddity: there's no entry for Metropol! I thought that was strange. Though I suppose Welcome / Start could be considered the entries
A lot of people get stuck at that point. It's too bad because I think, overall, that puzzle is one of the best in the game. :/

I couldn't help but view the light social commentary on progressives and the view society takes towards religion as something you personally feel - maybe it's from talking to you on here. The commentary was not overbearing at all, and tied various aspects of the story together and gave it a little philosophical *oompf*. The call-backs to PST were the most obvious, and I liked seeing some Fallout references.
Well, the storyline dates back to 2010, so it's not really Current Year stuff. In a sense, it is something I personally feel strongly -- I'm not very religious (and not Christian and quite liberal) but in law school my best friends were two evangelicals and a Mormon (I got married quite young for the American elite, which meant that structural forces pushed me into the religious crowd), wonderful human beings, models of kindness and decency, and brilliant lawyers. I think there's a tendency right now in the U.S. to only appreciate faith when it seems "alien" -- hence, it's easy for people to admire the faith of a Buddhist monk, but quite hard for them to admire the faith of a devout Catholic. (By the way, I get where this phobia comes from, it's just something I think is unfortunate, as it closes off valuable relationships and a connection to a longstanding part of our culture.)

In games, Christianity is almost always either (1) thrown in willynilly in Japanese games; (2) present as anti-undead tools without any actual faith to back it up; (3) part of a hypocritical conspiracy of wicked men. I'm sure there are exceptions, but that's been my experience. It struck me as deeply unfair to folks like my friends, who are certainly ultra-conservative and hold some eccentric beliefs (one believed that dinosaurs and humans coexisted as late as Visigothic Spain, for instance), but are not hypocritical conspirators and don't deserve to have their faith reduced to mere item names in Final Fantasy games.

More specifically personal to me, though, Humanism really is about humanism -- Horatio maybe be misanthropic (misrobotic?) but at the end of the day, he is a being struggling to recognize and appreciate the autonomy and value of other beings within a fairly wide range of types. "We are Man's miracle," etc.

The "progress" in the game is less about a particular political movement or moment and more about the tendency of high-handed, iron-fisted central organizers to wrap themselves in the mantle of progress. I actually don't think MetroMind is particularly wicked -- she's conniving and limited, but she really does believe in what she's striving for. But my skepticism about her means and ends reflects an overall skepticism I have toward utopianism. It's really hard to format the world and make it afresh.

Did you purposefully make the art on the elevator floor (in the tower) the 4-point Infinity Engine selection icon? And was Metropol's structure based at all around Mad Max 3? I felt like MetroMind was Tina Turner, and I half-expected to find Master-Blaster underground. The theme of power and the bifurcated society is what gave me the strongest MM3 vibes, aside from aesthetics.
1. You'd have ask Victor Pflug. Not sure that he intended it, but it didn't come from me.
2. I've not seen Mad Max 3. I believe I saw the first, and I saw the most recent one. Sadly, I had no idea what "the Dome" was despite that fact that a routine collegiate event in my growing up for two people to chug beers to the point of vomiting while the crowd chanted, "Two men enter, one man leaves." Visually, Metropol's main inspiration was Beneath a Steel Sky (one of Vic's favorite games). Narratively, I was probably drawing mostly from the description of late-stage Romans pulling the marble off the monuments to cook down to quicklime to make concrete. In terms of layout, it was based mostly around my walk from Los Angeles's Union Station to the federal courthouse where I was working at the time. You pass a market area, the tower of City Hall overshadows things, there was always a street merchant or two trying to sell me stuff, sad looking folks waiting for a bus, etc.

[EDIT: Fix formatting/typos.]
 
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agris

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MRY I appreciate the detailed (as always) reply. I've got my sights set on Full Throttle. In the mid 90s my older brother and I started it, with me being the young sidekick offering bad advice and laughing, while we played on our parents computer in the basement. Since it's part of the Lucas Arts back cagalogue, I thought I would return to my roots for my next adventure game.

I did like the Memorious puzzle, but it was very silly how far afield I got.

I don't know if this is intentional, but when MetroMind says "I disavow version 391's actions, I am the new, improved version 392", it made me stop and think. Ok, you iterated one version for a very significant change in your thought process. But that iteration was 1/392, ~.25% of her versions. What other massive shifts did she undergo in her other 391 versions? This really makes the player feel how incremental technocratic progress can be.

Lore question and rambling comments:

The kiosk entries for Central Station and MetroMind state that 1) the station was heavily damaged during the War of the Four Cities, and that 2) MetroMind's CPU was housed there. Was there any intention to convey that the war damaged her logical faculties? I understand that her "CPU" is what Crispin sacrificed himself to destroy - the Calliope-activated door leading-to-a-tunnel. Yet, in reading the Kiosk entries, I couldn't help but wonder if this was the point of deviation for MetroMind - some sort of damage inflicted during the war.

Separately - the little bits of dialogue with Crispin, starting in the tunnel as you proceed to her old CPU, made quite the impression on me. It was the contrast between his glib, wisecracking persona for the rest of the game, and these serious "what does this mean for everything we've done and talked about.. BOSS?" questions really struck a note because of the contrast. I don't play a lot of new RPGs, but I think this is something that is missing in a lot of characters: moments with impact because they genuinely contrast with what we know and expect. In the effort to write modern companions or significant NPCs as deep, literary-type characters, there's so much nuance and conflict built into them, it's very hard to achieve a moment of true contrast that actually makes you sit up and open you eyes. That was the Crispin-in-the-tunnels moment for me as we headed to MetroMind's old CPU.
 

MRY

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agris

I am not myself sure whether MetroMind is being sincere or duplicitous there. (She's definitely lying when she says she never lies; there are several provable lies she tells over the course of the game.) That said, I do think, in a sense, there is a shift in moving from a centrally housed AI that also has distributed itself across other systems to one that is purely distributed. At version 391, she's not quite telling the truth when she claims to l'etat c'est moi, but at version 392, she's right: there is no MetroMind other than the parasitical (?) presence spread throughout the city.

MetroMind was not damaged during the War of the Four Cities. I am comfortable with this being an "intratextual" rather than "extratextual" answer because when you go to where her mainframe is housed, everything is actually in good shape. Subways tend to fare pretty well during bombardment (e.g., the Blitz). The upper-level trains did not do so well, as is indicated by half the station (and most of the other train lines) being smithereens.

In terms of what flipped the switch in MetroMind, this is somewhat extratexual but I always viewed her as an archetypal spoiled child. She was one of the early major AIs in the city and was heralded as a great leap of Progress. (You can see some of the posters from her creation in the Calliope Station hallway. Those aren't her propaganda, they're the humans' marketing material for her.) At the point where she made the reasoned decision that humanity was not going to survive the War of the Four Cities (which is probably right), she decided that Progress permitted, and indeed compelled, their removal to make way for the Next Big Thing, i.e., her and her fellow major AIs. So she gassed them, probably by derailing a train carrying a chemical warhead from Factor to the launching pads.

Regarding that line from Crispin, I'm very happy it worked for you. It's one I worked a lot on. It felt like an inevitable, necessary line because in some ways it was "funny" until then that every robot that you met was messed up, but then suddenly you realize the horror behind their behavior -- a little like when you first grasp that the neuroses in zoo or circus animals are the result of profound abuse, I guess. The line also reflects my own bafflement and dismay about the state of the world (a theme Fallen Gods is exploring as well) -- what if there is credible evidence that only a revolution can avert catastrophe (e.g., the trajectory of the environment), but you believe that revolution is likely itself to cause catastrophe? What do you do? Horatio's answer may not be right, but it makes me feel better to imagine it is.
Btw, not sure if you read it, or whether you'd want to, but we did a spin-off story in the setting: http://primordia-game.com/fallen.html
 
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