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What is this all about & FAQ

Discussion in 'The cRPG Player's Handbook' started by felipepepe, May 12, 2014.

  1. felipepepe Prestigious Gentleman Codex's Heretic Patron

    felipepepe
    Joined:
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    What sorcery is this?

    My esteemed colleagues, some of you may already know, but after I've finished working on the Top 70 cRPGs list some weeks ago, I've decided to undertake another madman's task: to compile a glorious book on cRPGs.

    Taking in the results, criticism (and limitations) of the voting, I'll be expanding it into a full guide book to RPG players.

    The features:
    • More than thrice the content, with over 250 games being reviewed through ~400 pages.
    • No more rankings; the listing will be chronological, starting at 1978 with the first commercial RPGs, Beneath Apple Manor and Dungeon Campaign.
    • Longer and passionately written reviews, accompanied by screenshots, curiosities and box arts, that make you want to try out every game.
    • 100% free, downloadable as a cute .pdf, with bookmarks, hyperlinks and all.
    • Hopefully also available as a paperback (looking into hardback), to be sold at cost price.
    I want a attractive book, one that you'll buy and keep around in your living room or bathroom, taking it sometimes for a flip through. The e-book as well, should be fully bookmarked and ready for a quick read on the tablet. I own some books like that, on music and movies. Even though describing music through text is weird, they are interesting books that I'm always re-reading and using to search for new stuff to watch or to hear.

    I want readers to have an overall feel of the genre and it's history, to have fun reading interesting articles and seeing nice screenshots, to be persuaded AND motivated into trying new games. And, perhaps due the racial trait of being a brazilian, I want the book to pass on the sense of passion and involvement the genre has. I want people to read Crooked Bee calling Uukrul her favorite RPG, an article on how someone spent his childhood mapping Wizardry on the graph paper and even the sadness of a professor hearing his students saying that "Ultima IV isn't fun" should be in.

    I have been asking all kinds of fans to write on their favorite games, from users in various forums to bloggers, youtube personalities, journalists and developers. A very diverse cast is already onboard, such as Chris Avellone, Josh Sawyer, Tim Cain, Colin McComb, Scorpia, Ian S. Frazier, George from SuperBunnyHop, Jay from Coyote Games and Kurt from HardcoreGaming101, among others, with hopefully even more to come.

    There's also the articles and other resources. So far DU and Bee kindly allowed me to tap from the Codex's articles (and made this cozy sub-forum), Myrthos gave me pass to RPG Watch archives (and a bit of RPG.dot) and VD to his interviews & rants at Iron Tower forums. MobyGames, the CRPG Addict and DJ Old Games also gave me their support and authorization to use their images.

    I will compile & edit all content into a cute ~400 page e-book, and make it freely available for download. If the project goes well, after the e-book is released I'll try to print full color 8 x 10" paperback books, likely via Amazon's Createspace. Again, no profit intended, sold at cost price. ;)

    Here's the current list of games I intend to cover: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1t-49SyrsdP0M5re68sDH9cB2MrPqVKwQQiFF_54VibI/pubhtml

    And here's a sneak peak on the book (WIP - Full of placeholders):

    Show Spoiler

    [​IMG]
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    [​IMG]


    Currently I am:


    - Recruiting extraordinary gentlemen to write reviews & some articles.

    How you can help:

    - Suggest games that should be reviewed;
    - Post what games you would be willing to write about (please only those that you really like);
    - Suggest interesting content that you think should be in, as well as people that should be contacted (like someone from the Circle of Eight to review Temple of Elemental Evil).
    - Bitch and moan about stuff. Every feedback is useful. ;)

    FAQ:

    Show Spoiler
    1 - Why make such a book?

    Besides RPGs, my hobby is music; I'm a record collector and a huge fan of Progressive Rock (Mike Oldfield, Rick Wakeman, Zappa, etc...). I own books like the fantastic "Strawberry Bricks Guide to Progressive Rock" and the brazilian "Rock Raro", that I've read countless times. Reading about the records, seeing the cover art, and listening to albums I've never heard before is something that I greatly enjoy.

    One day I thought "why I can't have something like this on RPGs?". And now, here we are.

    Also, I get really sad seeing our genre be so disrespected and sold short, especially the early titles. Richard Garriott manages to stay on the spotlight with its flamboyant persona, but slowly early RPGs are vanishing from the media, with Baldur's Gate turning into the "old-school RPG" people point out when speaking about the "old classics". The last drop was when I read "1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die", where 30 professional journalist didn't think relevant to list a single Wizardry, Might and Magic or Gold Box title among 1001 essential games... clearly something had to be made.

    2 - How is this different from Matt Barton's "Dungeons & Desktops" ?

    I own Matt's book, and while it's very interesting and well researched, it doesn't scratch my itch. The book focus on the overall history of the genre, it doesn't "sell" me the games; I don't feel curious to try them and the black & white images kill any visual appeal.

    I want a beautiful colored book that I can keep on my coffee table / iPad / Desktop, randomly open, see some interesting images, look at the awesome box arts, read a passionate review and decide to try a new game. And I want it to feature a wider scope of RPGs, with more "exotic" and obscure games that one might enjoy.

    3 - Ok, so what definition of RPG will you use?

    An extremely broad one, absolutely arbitrary and biased.

    I have no aspirations of making a perfect “Definitive Guide to RPGs”. In fact, every work of the sort always glaring mistakes, like missing important titles, being biased towards a certain aspect/genre, or even simply not adding your favorite track in a band’s “Best Of” album. My solution to avoid disappointing people with an arbitrary book is to make it openly arbitrary from the start. Genius, I know.

    So beware, I'll be adding "hybrids" like System Shock 2 and Deus Ex, as well as various "debatable RPGs", like King of Dragon Pass, Dark Omen, X-COM: UFO Defense and many, many more...

    4 - So everything is an RPG now? I guess you should include Mario and Doom as well...

    Back to music, I own a Heavy Metal book that features an amusing list titled “Top 10 Metal artists that aren’t Metal artists”, with bands like King Crimson, Jethro Tull and Yes. Why is it there? Because those bands provide something that metalheads are sure to enjoy, but the genre definitions don't "allow" the book to recommend them alongside the Tr00 Metal bands.

    I find that a unnecessary workaround to a stupid issue. If a reader loves RPGs with tactical turn-based combat, why shouldn't I recommend XCOM? Because the game doesn't have dialogs, so it fails criteria #32 of someone's definition of a RPG? Chris Avellone doesn't consider System Shock 2 a true RPG because it doesn't have story-related choices, so I should remove from my list one of the best "hybrids" ever made?

    Hell no! No genre exist in a vacuum, either in music or gaming; the only thing being so strict about a definition will result in are great games being left out, and that doesn't benefit absolutely anyone. This book will be a recommendation guide for the CRPG player, not an academic essay on the definition of RPGs, so my focus is to provide interesting things to the reader.

    5 - Then why are jRPGs out?

    Is not that jRPGs are out, it's just that most jRPGs are console exclusives, and this book is to PC gamers. Believe me, I'm a big jRPG fanboy, and I would love to have titles like Chrono Trigger and SMT: Nocturne, but I have to make a choice here. Considering only RPGs available for the PC, I have a excel sheet with about 250 games that I believe deserve a review. Fitting that into a manageable book is already being a pain, if I added console games the list would easily double in size.

    Maybe once I'm done with this I'll work on a second volume, dedicated only to console RPGs... who knows? But for now, rest assured that I'll do my best to cover jRPGs that did came out for the PC, including fan translations.

    6 - How about all the omissions from the RPG Codex's voting, like Skyrim and Diablo II?

    The Codex's voting was about the Codex's Top RPGs; they don't consider Skyrim a Top RPG, so no one voted for it. Simple as that.

    Here I'm making a more universal list (and without any ranking), so of course I'll add all the relevant games like Diablo II, Skyrim, Fallout 3, etc... And I promise I'll find someone that loves them to write the reviews. ;)

    7 - What will be the book's title?

    Currently it is "The cRPG Player's Handbook". I'm somewhat satisfied with it, as it has that classic P&P feel and it hints a book for the cRPG player, not the genre. But I think we can do better.

    One of my favorite books on music is called "The Strawberry Bricks Guide to Progressive Rock". The name is an inside joke of the prog community: one day a journalist asked Jon Anderson, Yes' singer, what he thought on people calling his band "Symphonic Rock". He replied that he wouldn't put his music in any category, that "Symphonic Rock" sounded like "Strawberry Bricks".

    I would call this book something like that.

    8 - Will it really be free? Will you not shut up and take my money?

    Yes, the .pdf will be 100% free, and the printed version will be sold at cost price. The only thing I'll do is maybe set up a donation paypal, for those that want to pay me a beer.

    Why? First, because this book will be built by the community: reviews, articles, cover art, proof-reading, etc will all be made by nice people like you. Yes, you reading this now, pen me a review!

    Second, is it really that odd? How many fan-made patches, mods and even fan-made games you ever played? My 100 hours in Skyrim mostly come from the work of modders, and fan-made patches are the reason why I can have so much fun with games like Temple of Elemental Evil and Arcanum. Not to mention 100% free games, from Rogue to Heroine's Quest. And I never payed a single dime for any of that, so I think a "freeware book" is just a way to repay the community.

    Third, it will reach more people, spread great games and overall happiness. I'm serious here, I like doing this kind of stuff to make the world a better place and all that. My previous "volunteer work" was doing the trailers you see on Steam for Age of Decadence and Underrail, as well as gave a hand to Dead State's kickstarter video. Some people donate large amounts of money to a cause, to games at kickstarter or waste on fancy stuff. I don't have that much money, but I have my skills as a marketing graduate/professional video editor, and my free time, and I'll gladly donate that to a worthy cause, like a lone developer making a kickass spiritual-successor to Fallout all by himself.

    And that cause now is this book. It's not a cure for cancer, it's not food for children in Africa, but I think it's something that many people will enjoy (including me!), and that's good enough for me. :)


    If you're feeling shy, feel free to PM me, or send an e-mail to the freshly created crpgbook at gmail.com. :)
     
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  2. raw Arcane Patron

    raw
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    PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015
    first
     
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  3. dukeofwhales Arbiter

    dukeofwhales
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    Holy balls this is a lot of effort. I'd probably buy a copy though.

    Would suggest charging slightly more than cost price for the paperback, you should at least get paid something for your time, even if the pay per hour is going to be jack shit.
     
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  4. felipepepe Prestigious Gentleman Codex's Heretic Patron

    felipepepe
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    Nah, I'd rather keep it at cost price and set up a donation paypal or something like that.
     
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  5. dukeofwhales Arbiter

    dukeofwhales
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    Eh, if people don't want to contribute a bit extra for your time they can download the PDF imo. I think people are less averse to knowing you're making a couple of bucks on something they're already buying than for going through a whole other transaction separately. Your call though, obviously.
     
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  6. LeStryfe79 Whisper Network Patron

    LeStryfe79
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    I'd buy that for a dollar!
     
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  7. ERYFKRAD Barbarian Patron

    ERYFKRAD
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    Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    If you need help proofreading and such, I could help.
     
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  8. Gregz Arcane

    Gregz
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    Ambitious project, but if there's anyone on the Codex who can pull it off, it's you.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2014
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  9. laclongquan Arcane

    laclongquan
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    Point 1: Start with this top 70 first. You can do an update with top 200 if you have the energy later. Start small, and 70 is just big enough for you already. We are talking about a 200-300 page ebook here. 200 mean a 600 page ebook... I dont think you know how monstrous that is. Take it from a profesional bookmaker.

    Point 2: list it by order of importance. or fun to play. Make it so they want to read the next few entries. Put te old games first will put off your readers, unless you just want oldfags. Put an index by year first if you really want to, but i dont recommend it.

    Point 3: Put an index by order of alphabet FIRST so people can skim through it to find the game they are curious about. This I recommend.

    Point 4: Consider a kickstarter campaign. Oh the money is just gravy. The main thing is to introduce your book to target audience.

    Point 5: 5-15 buck for a printed version. How? Try lulu.com or something similar. ebook version can be free or dirt cheap ($5-)
     
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  10. Alchemist Arcane

    Alchemist
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    Wow, this is going to be epic! Will definitely buy and/or back this.
     
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  11. CrustyBot Arcane Patron

    CrustyBot
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    Codex 2012
    Fundraising Drive: RPG Codex to fund an RPG Codex!

    :greatjob:

    Brilliant idea though felipepepe. Would be happy to contribute as a proofreader if you need it, or for Darklands and perhaps the Geneforge games (though probably not in the immediate future, as I'm only playing for the first time at the moment).
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2014
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  12. undecaf Arcane Patron

    undecaf
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    This sounds like a really cool idea. Good luck with it Felipe.

    It would probably be a good idea include a dose of some of the common criticisms to the "want to try" reviews - if they can be added in a way that makes sense and doesn't overwhelm the intent of the reviews. It's more work, but it'd make the reviews more objective in their nature and possibly a bit more interesting&informing to read. The coin always has it's flipside, and all that.
     
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  13. bloodlover Arcane

    bloodlover
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    It would be nice to not write the reviews in the old Codex fashion though. Otherwise the entire thing will be seen as "that book from the nostalgia/fanboys/trolls from the Codex". The reaction on other forums regarding the Top 70 RPGs sadly proves how most people outside the Codex think and see us.
     
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  14. mindx2 Codex Roaming East Coast Reporter Patron

    mindx2
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    Codex 2012 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Serpent in the Staglands Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    I disagree. That is exactly what makes the Codex unique compared to every other site/ book/ etc.
     
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  15. evdk comrade troglodyte :M Patron

    evdk
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    Codex 2012 Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign
    Inb4 abandoned on page 3.
     
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  16. Ed123 Arcane Patron

    Ed123
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    Needs more pics.
     
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  17. Minttunator Arcane Patron

    Minttunator
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    Codex 2012 Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Codex USB, 2014 Divinity: Original Sin 2
    You are insane (in a good way). Good luck! :salute:
     
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  18. Telemetry Educated Patron

    Telemetry
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    Well, shit. Best of luck to you. If you can do better than Matt Barton I'll donate a heap ;)
     
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  19. felipepepe Prestigious Gentleman Codex's Heretic Patron

    felipepepe
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    Yeah, I was thinking about making alpha & beta releases... like first a 50 page version to spread the word, then collect more and make a 150 one, and so on... but I worry about "Early Acess" burnout. A book is only news once or twice, no one will care for "cRPG Book 0.62b".

    No, I hate how Matt's book does crazy jumps like from Temple of Elemental Evil to Betrayal at Krondor. It kills the context and sense of progression. Besides, ranking games by fun, really? I would start the book with Dynasty Warriors. :3

    I'll open with the chronological index, but I guess I can make bookmakers everywhere cringe and add a alphabetical index right after it.

    I fully agree with you, but I am huehue, Kickstarter won't allow me near it. I can follow Cleve's footsteps and go indiegogo... but that doesn't have 1/100 of KS appeal...

    Their color books are way too expensive if you don't buy bulk. They ask $45 for a 350 page colored book, while Amazon's createspace makes the same for $27.

    I won't be allowing the more... controversial things, like "RPGs have devolved into dating sims/choose your own adventure games for retarded people". You can say the same thing without sounding such a biased fanboy.

    What you mean? Like saying that Arcanum is awesome, but also a mess?
     
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  20. undecaf Arcane Patron

    undecaf
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    I mean "sneaking" in (for the lack of a better word) subtle criticisms that are commonly known in RPG circles. "Arcanum has recieved some criticism for it's lack of systemic balance and somewhat clumsy combat, but that hasn't stopped it from climbing among the most memorable of RPG experiences." Or some shit in the same vein.
     
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  21. Drowed Arcane

    Drowed
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    Really, an amazing job (if ever completed). I will definitely want a copy. :incline:
     
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  22. Monty Arcane

    Monty
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    Great idea, even the brief reviews on the top 70 list were really interesting to read. Will you consider having more than one review/opinion per game, as in the top 70? Also love the thought of Swen reviewing U7, Sawyer on Darklands etc.

    I'm currently replaying all the gold box games (had missed a couple years ago) so would be happy to contribute on those.
     
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  23. MicoSelva Prestigious Gentleman Don't call Abigail Patron

    MicoSelva
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    Codex 2012 Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy Serpent in the Staglands Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Divinity: Original Sin 2 Bubbles In Memoria A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    A noble effort. :salute:

    Let me know if I can help in any way (preferably one that does not require much work ;-) . I used to be an editor for a fanfiction site back in the old days, so I am a bit skilled at working with text, catching typos, correcting sentences, etc.

    I can also translate to and/or from Polish if you will have any need for that.
     
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  24. felipepepe Prestigious Gentleman Codex's Heretic Patron

    felipepepe
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    Let me vent you something from the bottom of my heart: for this, books are shitty and outdated.

    I'm in a constant battle to make stuff fit the goddamn book. A average RPG Codex front page review would take 8-10 pages of my book, with no screenshots. To be able to fit many reviews, I'll give only one page to most games. On one meager 8x10" book page I want to fit 2 big screenshots AND the full review. UGH.

    So no, I won't be able to fit two reviewers, but I will be much more selective on the reviews. To me, Bee's review of Uukrul is one of the best of the whole list, being passionate and personal, while also being descriptive of the game's mechanics and why it's great. If I'm able to keep a standard like that, two reviews became unnecessary.
     
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  25. Don Peste Arcane

    Don Peste
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