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Fallout RPG history and development on YouTube (mostly Black Isle, post links to others)

MicoSelva

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Hey, bros.

Over the years I have been watching, and re-watching a lot of YT videos dedicated to history and development of Interplay (mostly Black Isle) era RPGs, and their derivatives from later years. At some point I started to lose track of what I have already watched and what I did not, especially since devs like to repeat information a lot.* So I made a list to keep track and now I am sharing it.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLXg5km51C3tVy6kn2Ri9DqzfG5kNsOjRy

Maybe some of you are interested in this topic and can use it too. Maybe some of you know other videos that can be added here. I am not limiting the list to Interplay games, that is just how it naturally evolved so far.

I especially recommend all Tim Cain's talks. They tend to be both smart and funny.
Also, Brian Fargo's 2011 talk from Chinese GDC is great, as it shows the state of this genre just prior to Kickstarter Revolution.



*Chris Avellone is especially guilty of this, especially in podcast interviews - but I can't be mad at him about it because I love listening to his dreamy voice.
:love:

EDIT:

This video interview/hangout with Burger Heineman cannot be added to a playlist since it is marked as "directed towards children" (?), so instead I am posting it here:

 
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MicoSelva

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I added Colin McComb's Let's Play of Planescape Torment to the list. It is mostly :decline: but serves as a valuable lesson and explanation for the game's final state. Also, these videos have been made Unlisted on YT by inXile so this might be the only (?) way to access them easily.

Also, a trailer of Van Buren.
 

MicoSelva

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I added this Brian Fargo Unite2012 talk to the list. Instead of talking about Unity engine development, he talks mostly about how crowd fuding changed the reality for him and like he would have probably left the industry otherwise. Part 2 to 4 are in the first spoiler tag, but there are seven parts in total on YT.

You can sort of treat them as a direct follow up to the 2011 GDC China talk, since that one was given directly before inXile crowdfunding campaign for Wasteland 2. The contrast is amazing. I linked this one in the second spoiler tag.







 

MicoSelva

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Added this historically significant :roll: video to the list.



Joking aside, I hope Josh changes his mind and decides to lead design a game in the future (given the opportunity), since the industry has a general shortage of freak nerds passionate people who like to work on RPGs with decent budgets.
 
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Added this historically significant :roll: video to the list.



Joking aside, I hope Josh changes his mind and decides to lead design a game in the future (given the opportunity), since the industry has a general shortage of freak nerds passionate people who like to work on RPGs with decent budgets.

Attributes in class-based games don't seem fun anymore because they're being used in a way they weren't designed for.
You rolled your ability scores, then picked a class based on what you rolled.
Now you pick a class, then assign ability scores optimally. Unless you want to purposely gimp yourself, there's no reason to pick less than optimal attributes here.

Still good in classless because ability scores are used in place of the class to define the character.

His example with the mage with high intelligence for a normal person but intelligence not high enough to be one of the greatest wizards alive is everything wrong with Sawyer, btw. A mage limited by their own intelligence and going on quests to find a way to get around his natural limitations would make for a fine character.
 
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Zed Duke of Banville

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Attributes in class-based games don't seem fun anymore because they're being used in a way they weren't designed for.
You rolled your ability scores, then picked a class based on what you rolled.
...
Even Gary Gygax himself didn't follow the rule for determining ability scores by rolling 3d6 in order, which is why AD&D presented four options for ability score determination that allowed for re-arrangement or selection of scores by the player and for much higher score distributions:

Dungeon Masters Guide said:
As AD&D is an ongoing game of fantasy adventuring, it is important to allow participants to generate a viable character of the race and profession which he or she desires. While it is possible to generate some fairly playable characters by rolling 3d6, there is often an extended period of attempts at finding a suitable one due to quirks of the dice. Furthermore, these rather marginal characters tend to have short life expectancy - which tends to discourage new players, as does having to make do with some character of a race and/or class which he or she really can't or won't identify with. Character generation, then, is a serious matter, and it is recommended that the following systems be used. Four alternatives are offered for player characters:

Method 1:
All scores are recorded and arranged in the order the player desires. 4d6 are rolled, and the lowest die (or one of the lower) is discarded.

Method II:
All scores are recorded and arranged as in Method I. 3d6 are rolled 12 times and the highest 6 scores are retained.

Method III:
Scores rolled are according to each ability category, in order, STRENGTH, INTELLIGENCE, WISDOM, DEXTERITY, CONSTITUTION, CHARISMA. 3d6 are rolled 6 times for each ability, and the highest score in each category is rejoined for that category.

Method IV:
3d6 are rolled sufficient times to generate the 6 ability scores, in order, for 12 characters, The player then selects the single set of scores which he or she finds most desirable and these scores are noted on the character record sheet.
The first two methods allow re-arrangement with substantially higher scores, the third disallows re-arrangement but has an extremely high score distribution, and the fourth allows the player to select freely from 12 characters created with the original method (thus achieving a substantially higher score, if the character with the highest average is chosen).

9yyd9h.png


IIRC, methods II and IV have about the same mean ability score as method I, although the particulars of the distribution are somewhat different. Method IV is clearly worse for the player than the first two methods due to not being able to re-arrange scores for any character but instead selecting from 12 possibilities (if it allowed the player to re-arrange scores after selecting one set of scores, then it would be more or less equivalent to the first two methods). Method III lacks any re-arrangement (as in I and II) or selection (as in IV) but this is countered by the extremely high score distribution seen in the graph above.
 

Zed Duke of Banville

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The point is that in Methods I and II the player freely re-arranges the ability scores rolled, while in Method IV the player selects from 12 possible sets of ability scores, in either case choosing the optimal scores for the character class desired by the player prior to rolling for ability scores. The only real limitation is that certain classes (e.g. paladin) had multiple ability score prerequisites with a considerable chance of not being met even with these methods. Method III does not allow for re-arranging, but has an average score of 14.2 (compared to 10.5 with 3d6 or 12.2 with 4d6 drop lowest), with low scores nearly eliminated and the bulk of the probability distribution constricted into a narrow range. The most commonly used method for rolling ability scores in AD&D was Method I (roll 4d6, drop the lowest, and arrange scores as desired), which was retained in AD&D 2nd edition as Method V.

In Unearthed Arcana (1985), Gary Gygax introduced a fifth method for rolling ability scores, in which the player first selects a character class and then rolls a certain number of six-sided dice (taking the best three rolls) for each ability as prescribed in a table:
rcro6i.png


The above table indicates that a fighter or barbarian would roll 9d6 for strength, taking the best three rolls, which yields a 17.8% of obtaining an 18, a 62.3% chance of obtaining at least a 16, and a 94.5% chance of obtaining at least a 13. Similarly, for magic-users rolling for intelligence, clerics and monks rolling for wisdom, thieves, assassins, and illusionists rolling for dexterity, cavaliers and rangers rolling for constitution, and paladins and druids rolling for charisma. Note that each class rolls every number of dice from 3 to 9 once each for one of the seven ability scores (including comeliness as the seventh ability), which means the average ability score via this method is 13.8, considerably higher than three of the existing four methods. The average score by number of dice increases from 10.5 for 3d6 to 15.8 for 9d6 (taking the 3 highest).

There were three articles in Dragon Magazine dealing with probability distributions by method of rolling for ability scores:
"What Are the Odds" by Arthur Hedge in #117 (January 1987) was specifically interested in the Unearthed Arcana Method V, but in so doing presented a table for each number of dice from 3d6 to 9d6 (taking the 3 highest) and therefore included Method I and the original method.
"Let the Good Dice Roll" by Scott Gray in #132 (April 1988) presented four distribution tables, for the original method (3d6), Method I (4d6 take 3 highest), Method II (take the 6 highest of 12 3d6 rolls for the entire set of ability scores), and Method III (take the highest of 6 3d6 rolls).
"Your Best Chances" by Ed Friedlander in #153 (January 1990) examined the methods for AD&D 2nd edition and, rather than present score distributions, presented the odds of meeting each class' prerequisites, e.g. the odds of meeting the requirements for a paladin ranged from 0.13% for 2nd edition's Method I (3d6, no re-arrangement) to 90.0% for 2nd edition's Method VI (start with 8 in each ability, roll 7d6, add entire amount of points from each individual die to any ability score as desired but cannot add a die to a score if this would cause the score to exceed 18).
Note that none of these articles are without error in the numbers, however. :M
 

Zed Duke of Banville

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so what you are saying is even gygax didnt trust the dice
No-one, not even Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax, played Dungeons & Dragons exactly according to the rules as written in the original D&D booklets, with or without the rule supplements. The changes made in Gygax's AD&D rules reflected the disparities between his own campaign and the original rules, and one of the notable differences is that DMs are presented with four methods of rolling for ability scores that not only substantially increase the average score (with an exceptionally large increase in Method III), so as to make PCs exceptional relative to the hoi polloi, but also allow players to select their preferred class by re-arranging the scores (Methods I and II) or selecting from 12 sets of score (Method IV). Gary wanted to trust the dice, but at the same time he wanted the dice to provide every player with an exceptional PC that met the stat requirements for the player's desired class, and it seems even the four methods in AD&D eventually dissatisfied him, since he developed a fifth method revealed in Unearthed Arcana that was even closer to optimizing ability scores for the specific character class desired by the player. :M
 

lukaszek

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so what you are saying is even gygax didnt trust the dice
No-one, not even Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax, played Dungeons & Dragons exactly according to the rules as written in the original D&D booklets, with or without the rule supplements. The changes made in Gygax's AD&D rules reflected the disparities between his own campaign and the original rules, and one of the notable differences is that DMs are presented with four methods of rolling for ability scores that not only substantially increase the average score (with an exceptionally large increase in Method III), so as to make PCs exceptional relative to the hoi polloi, but also allow players to select their preferred class by re-arranging the scores (Methods I and II) or selecting from 12 sets of score (Method IV). Gary wanted to trust the dice, but at the same time he wanted the dice to provide every player with an exceptional PC that met the stat requirements for the player's desired class, and it seems even the four methods in AD&D eventually dissatisfied him, since he developed a fifth method revealed in Unearthed Arcana that was even closer to optimizing ability scores for the specific character class desired by the player. :M
in before you learn that his dice were loaded anyway
 

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