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Game News Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord remake now available on Early Access

Drowed

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I'm not going to pretend that I'm a big fan of the Wizardry series because honestly, I've only played the 8th installment. I tried playing the 7th one, but I remember giving up on it quickly. I didn't even dare to try anything before the 6th. It would be a good reason to go back and try to explore more of the series. Who knows, maybe it will lit a fire or something. I like the cartoony style here, I find it curious that so many people hate it. I don't think every game necessarily looks good in this style, but I don't see it as an inherently negative point.
 

Grauken

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I like the cartoony style here, I find it curious that so many people hate it. I don't think every game necessarily looks good in this style, but I don't see it as an inherently negative point.
The style is very reminiscent of random generic mobile "RPGs" and really lacks a unique aesthetic identity. It might have the Wizardry license, and it might even emulate the original gameplay but it doesn't really feel like Wizardry from what I've seen
 

DemonKing

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The style is very reminiscent of random generic mobile "RPGs" and really lacks a unique aesthetic identity.
At least it's not Anime style, given everything Wizardry recently until this announcement seems to be coming out of Japan.

I'll probably give it a whirl given I'm so old I finished the original back on my Apple II. I still remember every time I suffered a TPK having to snatch the floppy disk out of the drive before the game saved my "progress" :).
 
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bandersnatch

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When was this even a thing?! I must live a digitally sheltered life as this is the 1st time hearing about this. Who even owns the rights to Wizardry?
It's not just you, this was a surprise launch.

Not to everyone. I posted about this in multiple places times before you banned me for calling out woke devs. Funny how there is a whole thread on the Dex about woke devs here now and nobody getting banned. :shittydog:

https://imgur.com/a/vpccvrx

Anyone heard any more news about the Wizardry 1-3 re-releases that Fig funded? I guess configuring DOS box be harder than I thought.

This is where I originally found out. Funny enough Digital Eclipse, the developer, also raised 10mil on Republic and the former CEO of Fig is now working at Digital Eclipse. The game insdustry is a very incestuous place.
 

Rincewind

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I like the cartoony style here, I find it curious that so many people hate it. I don't think every game necessarily looks good in this style, but I don't see it as an inherently negative point.
The style is very reminiscent of random generic mobile "RPGs" and really lacks a unique aesthetic identity. It might have the Wizardry license, and it might even emulate the original gameplay but it doesn't really feel like Wizardry from what I've seen
I agree with your assessment. I like playing the C64/C128 version for nostalgic reasons. However, the loading time can be an issue for the less patient, so I can't recommend it for everybody.

The DOS version however is really good, probably the best overall version to play (with true CGA emulation, so cyan-red-white colours). It has the later "enhanced" graphics, not the Aplle II original graphics.

H0IySsy.png


If more people get into dungeon crawlers because of this, I'm glad, but the original feels like playing a board game or reading a book, and based on the trailer this is like watching some hyperactive music video.

And I really hope there won't be an automap or save anywhere feature. These two things would completely change the whole gameplay.
 
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felipepepe

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Gave this a spin, I'm disappointed... maybe it can still be improved since it's early access, but I'm not very hopeful.

For context, Digital Eclipse became famous for Atari 50 and Making of Karateka, "interactive documentaries" that mix documentaries with playable ports/remasters of games. Wizardry 1-5 are owned by the Siroteks, who got into a decade-long lawsuit with Andrew Greenberg over royalties, so calling him and Woodhead for a chat probably wasn't an option. So what we have here is "just" a 1:1 remake of Wizardry 1, with the original rules but some QoL features, like spell descriptions and an optional mini-map.

My issue is not only that the presentation is super generic, but this really doesn't add anything new. You can get all this with the Super Famicom port from decades ago - with far superior art! It's not as accessible and modern as Etrian Odyssey (huge missed opportunity to not copy their map system). And, taking it as an old-school remaster, it's not as polished as Wizardry: The Five Ordeals. Seriously, zero thought was given to improving things like transferring items between party members.

So it feels like "oh, nostalgia!" for normies... its biggest plus is that it's a legally available release of Wizardry 1, that runs on modern platforms. Which really doesn't add anything for the average Codexer.
 
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wader2k

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Dec 31, 2007
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Wizardry Proving Grounds was the first PC game I ever played...and completed. On a Vendex Turbo 8088 XT Turbo PC with 2 5.25" floppy disk drives and no hard drive. Mapped everything out by hand on graph paper and really felt like I accomplished something. Went on to play and complete most all the Wizardry series culminating in Wiz 8 which I long thought was the best game of all time. Might just have to take a look at this but I doubt it could ever possibly live up to the memories. Is this what it's like to get old?!
 

DemonKing

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Ok I played for an hour or so.

My thoughts are it's very faithful to the original - perhaps a little too faithful! It was fun to Hit F,F,F,P,P,P again though.

I struggled for a while to find the mouse option to navigate but it's not there - you're restricted to using a keyboard only. I ended up using an Xbox controller which worked fine.

The old school menus are not very intuitive - like if you want to access your inventory you have to enter camp first. Honestly it needs to be easier to inspect your characters and change their gear. Also I want them to add the option to quicksave - there's no excuse to not make things optional these days so players can choose between the default iron man mode and being a save scumming pussy.

I get the feeling this will be a great mobile game for a Steam Deck or Ipad but not sure it will tempt too many desktop PC players given the wealth of other options available when you're sitting in front of a PC.
 

Rincewind

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Also I want them to add the option to quicksave - there's no excuse to not make things optional these days so players can choose between the default iron man mode and being a save scumming pussy.
Yeah, but that would trivialise the gameplay. If someone wants that and auto-mapping, frankly, they shouldn't play these types of games.

It's a bit like making chess more "accessible" by allowing you to move your pieces anywhere you like...
 
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The style is very reminiscent of random generic mobile "RPGs" and really lacks a unique aesthetic identity.
At least it's not Anime style, given everything Wizardry recently until this announcement seems to be coming out of Japan.

I'll probably give it a whirl given I'm so old I finished the original back on my Apple II. I still remember every time I suffered a TPK having to snatch the floppy disk out of the drive before the game saved my "progress" :).
"Recently"

Japan became obsessed with Wizardry as soon as it came out and the genre has been more popular than ever was in the west. They still make "dungeon rpgs", most of them heavily inspired by Wizardry.
 

Jacob

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Grab the Codex by the pussy
The original game don't let us choose pronouns. At all. I hope this one fixes that. FUCK GENDER NEUTRALITY, I NEED MY ATTACK HELICOPTER.
 

TwoEdge

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Yeah, but that would trivialise the gameplay. If someone wants that and auto-mapping, frankly, they shouldn't play these types of games.
Make it all optional - that way you can play it as god intended or casually.
It's all optional. The game has granular toggles for the modernizations. AFAIK, only monster identification doesn't function exactly as the original.
 

Dave the Druid

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The DOS version however is really good, probably the best overall version to play
Dear God no. That's the version where the levelling's bugged to shit and your stats tend to go down rather than up when you level. Just... no. I swear a lot of Wizardry 1's reputation as being unfair comes from people playing that DOS version.
 

Rincewind

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The DOS version however is really good, probably the best overall version to play
Dear God no. That's the version where the levelling's bugged to shit and your stats tend to go down rather than up when you level. Just... no. I swear a lot of Wizardry 1's reputation as being unfair comes from people playing that DOS version.
That's what the devs wanted. They say so in the included manual. That was the result of further tweaking of the rules based on playtesting. I don't think it's a bug, and the stats decrease only occasionally.
 

Dave the Druid

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No. There's a possibility for stat decreases when levelling up in the other versions. But it happens way, way, way more often in the DOS port. It's bugged. Do not play the DOS version.
 

Rincewind

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No. There's a possibility for stat decreases when levelling up in the other versions. But it happens way, way, way more often in the DOS port. It's bugged. Do not play the DOS version.
There are conflicting views on that. For example:
I don't think the attribute fluctuations in the DOS version are a bug. I think it's supposed to be hard to raise your attributes. After my first party got wiped out, I started tracking how often my attributes went up and how often they went down whenever I went up a level. There's about a 50% chance of an attribute being modified each level. For each one that's modified, there's about a 55% chance it will go up, and a 45% chance it will go down. This has been pretty consistent over the 360+ changes I've recorded. It's too consistent to be a glitch, imo. Your stats do go up, but very, very slowly. If you don't spam stats during character creation, getting an elite class other than a Bishop and the occasional Samurai is going to be a pretty rare feat. My characters frequently have their attributes driven below starting minimums for their class; most of my fighters still have a strength around 11 by the 5th or 6th level.
(source)

Another interesting bit of info is that the DOS conversions were PC Booter games originally, so they were made for 4.77 MHz XTs (they ran straight from floppy, no hard drive was necessary; in fact, you could not run them from the HDD even if you had one). The much later re-releases for regular had a floppy emulator included so people could play the games on a regular PC under MS-DOS. They did not create a modernised version; they simply slapped on a floppy emulator that used the floppy images (source).

It's possible that running them on a too fast computer, or DOSBox with the default cycles setting of 3000, triggers the leveling bug (if it's indeed a bug). An interesting account that claims too fast processor speeds trigger the leveling bug (which conflicts with the previous account, so yeah, there's no 100% definitive answer here):

One thing worth noting is that some people claim there's a bug in the MS-DOS version which affects stat gains and losses. I'm not exactly clear on this, as this has become a case of "the telephone game" where the facts got mangled in endless retellings.
The people who make these claims, by the way, say that the series is best experienced on the Apple IIe where it was born. The NES version apparently has its own glitch where Armor Class doesn't do what its supposed to (again, not sure if this is true)--though the NES and SNES versions also replace some of the maps with all new ones, so they're worth playing even if you're an expert.
EDIT: Something Else Regarding the "Levelling Bug" - Some people claim to have noticed getting better level-ups when they play the game on slow computers, or with computers slowed down by artificial means (programs such as Bret Johnson's Slowdown in pure DOS, or low cycles counts in Dosbox). I habitually play the game slowed down and the first time I beat it over a decade ago, I was playing on a monochrome 286 laptop. These may be why I've never noticed a levelling glitch.
(source)

For the record, setting cycles to 300 in DOSBox would roughly emulate the speed of a 4.77 MHz XT if someone wants to experiment with this. The default cycles setting of 3000 is 386SX 20 Mhz territory; maybe when they created the version that used the floppy emulator such fast computers were not common. Then even more later when they re-released them in the CD-ROM Ultimate Wizardry Archives, probably nobody cared and they just wanted to make a quick buck...

In any case, I cannot confirm nor deny the DOS version bug from personal experience as I'm going through the series playing the C128 versions.
 
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Grauken

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EDIT: Something Else Regarding the "Levelling Bug" - Some people claim to have noticed getting better level-ups when they play the game on slow computers, or with computers slowed down by artificial means (programs such as Bret Johnson's Slowdown in pure DOS, or low cycles counts in Dosbox). I habitually play the game slowed down and the first time I beat it over a decade ago, I was playing on a monochrome 286 laptop. These may be why I've never noticed a levelling glitch.
It's easy not to notice something when you're not looking for it. I only found out there was something bugged with the PC version of Captive decades later on the internet

There's definitely a leveling bug in the PC version, it's not the intended gameplay (all other versions from the original AppleII to later ports behave not like that).
If you like the PC ports for aesthetic reasons it's fine, the bug doesn't make the game unplayable, but please don't act like its not there

If for whatever reason the changed attribute distribution on level-up was intentionally tweaked for the PC version, whoever is responsible for it was a moron

There are conflicting views on that. For example:
I don't think the attribute fluctuations in the DOS version are a bug. I think it's supposed to be hard to raise your attributes. After my first party got wiped out, I started tracking how often my attributes went up and how often they went down whenever I went up a level. There's about a 50% chance of an attribute being modified each level. For each one that's modified, there's about a 55% chance it will go up, and a 45% chance it will go down. This has been pretty consistent over the 360+ changes I've recorded. It's too consistent to be a glitch, imo. Your stats do go up, but very, very slowly. If you don't spam stats during character creation, getting an elite class other than a Bishop and the occasional Samurai is going to be a pretty rare feat. My characters frequently have their attributes driven below starting minimums for their class; most of my fighters still have a strength around 11 by the 5th or 6th level.

That's not a conflicting view, that's a moron who has head-canoned faulty/bugged gameplay, like I say whether intentionally tweaked during porting or unintentionally flawed implementation during porting, the PC versions because of this have the worst character progression of any of the Wizardry versions and I played quite a bit of them
 
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Rincewind

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If you like the PC ports for aesthetic reasons it's fine, the bug doesn't make the game unplayable, but please don't act like its not there
Oh, I'm not; I'm just saying I've read conflicting reports, that's all. I too would like to get to the bottom of it. I think octavius played the DOS version a while ago and he thought it was fine. I like the CGA aesthetics, but if the gameplay is broken, that's a bummer.

Specifically, I'd be interested to find out if this problem is indeed CPU speed dependent. That would settle the whole issue for once and all, and then we'd know it's meant to be played at XT speeds, which is easy to do in DOSBox.

I guess I could just play the DOS version with `cycles = 300` for a few hours, but busy with other stuff now.
 

Grauken

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If you like the PC ports for aesthetic reasons it's fine, the bug doesn't make the game unplayable, but please don't act like its not there
Oh, I'm not; I'm just saying I've read conflicting reports, that's all. I too would like to get to the bottom of it. I think octavius played the DOS version a while ago and he thought it was fine. I like the CGA aesthetics, but if the gameplay is broken, that's a bummer.

Specifically, I'd be interested to find out if this problem is indeed CPU speed dependent. That would settle the whole issue for once and all, and then we'd know it's meant to be played at XT speeds, which is easy to do in DOSBox.

I guess I could just play the DOS version with `cycles = 300` for a few hours, but busy with other stuff now.

Well, we can always say the PC versions are the hardcore versions, that should make them more appealing to certain people
 

Dave the Druid

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If you like the PC ports for aesthetic reasons it's fine, the bug doesn't make the game unplayable, but please don't act like its not there
Oh, I'm not; I'm just saying I've read conflicting reports, that's all. I too would like to get to the bottom of it. I think octavius played the DOS version a while ago and he thought it was fine. I like the CGA aesthetics, but if the gameplay is broken, that's a bummer.

Specifically, I'd be interested to find out if this problem is indeed CPU speed dependent. That would settle the whole issue for once and all, and then we'd know it's meant to be played at XT speeds, which is easy to do in DOSBox.

I guess I could just play the DOS version with `cycles = 300` for a few hours, but busy with other stuff now.
Just so you know I currently am playing through the DOS version on 300 cycles (via DOSBox Staging so thank you for that) just to prove you wrong (or right - dunno yet.) But it's still fucking Wizardry so I'm grinding up my guys on floor 1 currently. Will report back later.
 

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