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Talking Tactics with Jeff Vogel

Jason

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Tags: Jeff Vogel; Spiderweb Software

<a href="http://www.spiderwebsoftware.com/" target="blank">Spiderweb Software's</a> Jeff Vogel stopped by Codexia for a Q&A session.
<br>
<blockquote>Look, in a turn-based RPG, with a small number of dudes fighting a small number of dudes, there isn’t much in the way of tactics that is possible. The math isn’t there! I think you’re wanting something closer to chess. Sure, chess is complex, but that’s sixteen pieces on sixteen. For a single-player RPG, the fun is in the story (on a high level) and the stat building and lewt finding (on a low level). The combat is a means to an end. So make it fast and lively, end it, and get on to the next fast, lively combat. I do put in fights with odd tactics, generally weird or boss encounters. It’s nice variety. But combat is still the means to an end.
<br>
<br>
If you really want tactics in an RPG, play chess and give your pieces cute names. Like, “I declare, forsooth, that Queen Zzelma, my 18th level Rogue-Paladin, doth move 4 spaces diagonally in defiance of the Darkbeetle Empire. Hark, she hath slain a Knight, and is thuseth Level 19. Huzzah.” Chess is about quality. RPGs are about quantity.</blockquote>
<br>
<a href="http://www.rpgcodex.net/content.php?id=187">Read the full interview.</a>
 

Zomg

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Holy shit at one point you reacted to something he'd said instead of the whole thing consisting of handing him a questionnaire interview, crazy Codex Interview 2.0.
 

Volourn

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What a fucking dumb answer. LMAO How the fuck do people like his fuckin' games?
 

OSK

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For someone who makes some pretty good RPGs, he's got pretty poor taste in games.
 

RK47

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HAAHHAHAHA chess and rpg .
 

User was nabbed fit

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Jeff should just stick to making games. And making them better.
 

Wyrmlord

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Jeff Vogel is seriously fuck up.

No wonder Jasede hates him.
 

Wyrmlord

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Oooooooooooooooooooh, so that's what mondblut was talking about.

Now I understand the whole, "Jeff Vogel hates his own games, but it does not matter. Gaming is a business, we are a target audience, and Vogel exploits us for money. As long as we get the games we want, we should be happy."
 

Zomg

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Funny part is the people that shill for his games the hardest are usually jerking off about the combat and character development and not taking his, "RPGs are self-aggrandizement mills for tasteless people" position.

Anyway, this kind of shit is why I don't like reading Vogel interviews - it's like, why am I getting pissed off at this dude for being basically an ambitionless guy that would rather be writing hack genre paperbacks, when he at least does yeoman work. There are better people to get pissed at, even in the already weird context of getting critically pissed off about videogames. There's plenty of room in the world for Jeff Vogel.
 

ushdugery

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I hated the ui for avernum, the quests were a bit of a grind and pretty damn bugged in that you can't hand in quests because you did them before you found the quest giver. Individual npcs don't stand out, the writing is dreary, the graphics aren't in anyway aesthetically pleasing and I enjoy completely text based games. The character creation is okay but not really inspired and although the combat is turn based it's hardly very tactically challenging at all. Now I find out he's a bit of a shallow dick that doesn't really care about the games he makes which is probably why his games are so mediocre, I just want to know why he has any market at all?
 

spacemoose

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btw jeff vogel is basically telling me what I like in this interview

I'll have to take notes to adjust my purchases in the future
 

Murk

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ahhh, good old fashioned passive aggressive bitching.

so the guy's main reference of rpg is fallout 3 eh? didn't see that one coming
 

mondblut

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He does make some sense with "many small quick fights with an occasional large and slow boss fight", after all, this have been a staple in RPG design since day one. Which doesn't mean those small quick fights couldn't scrapped altogether or something.

But claiming that a fight of a small band against a small band leaves little space for tactics... First of all, it is bullshit, as all games classified as "squad tactics" feature teams of 4-8 player characters, just like RPGs. Second, half of the argument is a blatant lie, as the average hostile band in any RPG routinely numbers well above 15-20 enemies, his own games including.
 

Shannow

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He seems like a nice enough guy. His views on RPGs are just diametrically opposed to mine (judging from previous comments "ours").
Mondblut already mentioned it but this gets me going every time I see it
The whole structure and pace of RPGs is based on having many small fights, occasionally interrupted by a big one. Everything people like about the genre comes, in some way, from that. And small quick fights can't have strategic depth. Because they are, after all, small and quick.
No. Just scrap the filler combat and make every encounter a "boss fight". There, problem solved. No need for twitchy combat with unchallenging enemies that may be shorter than TB but just as boring. I currently can't make myself continue TW and Drakensang for all the boring filler combat. It is the scurge of the genre whether in TB, RTwP or (most) RT-twitch.
 

Volourn

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"Second, half of the argument is a blatant lie, as the average hostile band in any RPG routinely numbers well above 15-20 enemies, his own games including."

O RLY? 'Well above' 15-20? Are you shit crack?
 

mondblut

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Elwro

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Divinity: Original Sin Wasteland 2
Trash said:
Vogel is awesome and this interview confirms it once again.
QFT. He knows exactly what he's doing and he's not ashamed to talk about it. I finished Geneforge 1 and the first three Avernum games and I have to say that even though I can see what he means by "RPGs are about quantity", his games contain lots of good writing, too. Definitely helps the imagination.
 

sheek

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You can have one-on-one combat with tactics... obviously you need a ruleset slightly more complicated than D&D, and Jeff doesn't even come near to D&D.

Complexity = number units is wrong. Total complexity is multiplied as you increase units of the same base complexity obviously but you can increase base complexity.

early 80s cRPGs "fight" "flee" "talk"

Jeff's RPGs "move", "spell", [if close enough] "whack enemy in adjacent square"

Fallout: "move", [if ranged weapon and within range] "shoot", [if multiple mode firearm] "shoot burst/aimed", [if melee weapon] "thrust/slash, kick/punch, location optional" with differing AP costs, accuracy, effects

TOEE: all of what Fallout has multiplied by special attacks (from feats, class abilities), multiplied by all the spell/item combinations multiplied by 5-8 character parties, attacks of opportunity etc.

Game like Rolemaster: each round can take half an hour (in PnP, for some reason nobody's tried importing to computers which could do it in a minute), with multiple rolls for several dozen types of attacks, damage effect tables for every weapon with weight, armor etc effects, stunning, bleeding, fatigue, combat stances.

Riddle of Steel: everything Rolemaster and every other game offers in an easy and intuitive system that all fits together, and it's even realistic.

http://www.driftwoodpublishing.com/whatis/

Quick Start rules pdf download:
http://www.driftwoodpublishing.com/support/TROSQS.zip
 

Wyrmlord

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Mondblut, something is not right.

I have not faced a battle with 15-20 enemies in a Jeff Vogel game.

Ever.

10 would be pushing it.

Now, there may be battles with 15-20 enemies, but that is hardly "average".
 

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