Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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Development Info Frayed Knights - I wanna cast 'Magic Missile'!

Discussion in 'RPG Codex News & Content Comments' started by VentilatorOfDoom, Feb 4, 2011.

  1. AlaCarcuss Arbiter

    AlaCarcuss
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    Ha, yeah. Still, better that than the other way around? :salute:
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  2. PorkaMorka Arcane

    PorkaMorka
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    I must say, I've been reading news updates about this game for what feels like several years now and I've never had any interest in it, in large part due to the art style.

    Indie developers seem to have this idea that going for a cartoonish look will cover for the lack of a graphics budget, but I'm not real convinced it works.

    I much prefer the serious but primitive / semi-serious but primitive methods.

    Even Vogel has about 4 portraits that are useable albeit poorly drawn.
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  3. RampantCoyote Novice

    RampantCoyote
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    It's probably counter-productive to try and explain design decisions prior to the game coming out so people can see it for themselves, but it comes down to a few points:

    The inspiration for this game was drawn from places like the comics Order of the Stick, Dork Tower, Knights of the Dinner Table, games like Munchkin, and movies like The Gamers and the way-better The Gamers: Dorkness Rising (get it from Netflix or watch it online - it's awesome and funny). The more cartoonish approach seemed to work here.

    (Of course, as a budget indie, trying to reconcile the art difference from a half-dozen artists and multiple sources of "off-the-shelf" content, is a nightmare. But that's just part of the job - makes no difference to you, the player.)

    So yeah. We go over-the-top. Deliberately. The sheer quantity of spells is part of the joke. The erring on the side of cartoony is there to advertise this fact, make sure it's front-and-center. If the idea sounds reprehensible to you, then you probably aren't going to like the game in the first place. And that's okay.

    But I've always maintained that Frayed Knights should not just rely on humor and goofiness --- it should be able to stand on its own as a game, even if the premise was converted to The Most Boringly Generic RPG ever. Underneath it all, it still has to be about the things that I love as a CRPG fan. At least as well as I can manage on this go-around.

    And I want to do some interesting things with it. Experiment. That's why we've got detailed trap-disarming screens, and the whole drama star thing. I may be diluting the focus by throwing so many different ideas in there, and maybe I'll learn the better of it for future games. But for now, I really just want to make something that I hope a lot of people will have fun playing - whether they are grinning at in-joked or trying to survive a pitched battle against the Rats of Nom.

    We'll see, huh?
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  4. Shannow Waster of Time

    Shannow
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    But the Ratcatcher Guild has nothing to do with the House of Nom. They're not even on the same continent?!? (;))
    Anyway, the cartoonish look and comic elements have been part of the project from the beginning. I'm not partial to them myself but the demo played quite nicely. And I can forgive meh atmosphere + good gameplay more easily than meh gameplay + good atmosphere...
    Anyway, when's the next demo coming out? I want to give feedback ;)
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  5. zeitgeist Arbiter

    zeitgeist
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    Can one replace the entire UI too? And can one replace everything else that the person responsible for allowing those portraits and those art assets to make their way into the game either directly created or allowed to be put in, including but not limited to: the names, the story/plot/quests/writing, the animations, the game mechanics, and so on?

    If they can't even recognize how horrible this looks overall, how can they be capable of making any part of the game good enough (except maybe the extremely rare parts for which you don't need any sense of aesthetics at all, in which case they should rethink their choice of career)? What kind of a person can a game developer who doesn't look at that screenshot, look up to the sky and ask themselves, "What am I doing? How has it come to this?" be?

    Do note that I am not claiming that someone can't enjoy a game with such a ridiculously absent sense of visual style and art direction.

    I am, however, claiming that someone who thinks any game is supposed to look like that strongly enough that they can in fact actively choose to create a game with such visuals, can't design a good game.

    A properly done cartoonish look demands a graphics budget comparable to any other look really. If not the budget, at least a comparable (or, to be truthful, likely higher due to the relative complexity of animations) level of competence of the artist(s).

    But for some reason, people are confusing a "cartoonish look" with "back-of-the-math-notebook doodles haphazardly thrown together and colored as garishly as possible".
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  6. poetic codex Learned

    poetic codex
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    I'm an atmosphere fag so take my comment with that grain of salt.

    The art style, even though it was explained so well above, and I understand it, is enough to ruin the game for me. :/

    The thing about humor is that it is so subjective, that you could risk alienating otherwise willing customers by creating such a hurdle for us to jump over.


    However, since that stylistic choice was deliberate, and you only want to attract those people who would also enjoy that in-your-face humorous cartoonish art style then I must say that it took courage to make such an expensive choice as an indie. A more neutral art style would have brought in more customers (like me), but perhaps you feel that that would dilute your vision for your game.
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  7. Baron Arcane

    Baron
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    I think butthurt with games is largely due to unmet expectations, either from failure to meet the advertised quality standards (Radiant AI) or simply not being the game the customer expected (Black & White). Which is always the fault of the game's marketing (or Peter Molyneux.)

    Thanks for the explanation Rampant Coyote. Just suggest you constantly reinforce your webcomic influences with the game when you discuss it to ensure gamers know what to expect.

    I admit that it is absurd that as a grown man and gamer that I demand that my elves and warlocks to be portrayed with the utmost gravity! But there it is, I do. What works for me in a webcomic holds no interest for me as a cRPG, not sure why. Sustaining the jokes, I expect. This is particularly odd given the majority of pen and paper sessions were always played for laughs. But there you get to bounce jokes off others. Sitting alone at the computer late at night my computer orcs and I all have poker faces.

    Good luck with the game.
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  8. Mangoose Arcane Patron

    Mangoose
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    I dunno, maybe aesthetic taste isn't tied to design ability? For example, you have good aesthetic taste, but you are probably a shit game designer.

    You can claim all you want, but anybody with an inkling of rationality can see that there is no logic behind your claim. By your logic, Vogel, who while has better aesthetic sense than RampantCoyote, still lies on the bad-aesthetics side of the spectrum, and thus is a crappy designer. There is no correlation between artistic sense, a sensory ability, with mechanical design, which is purely a logical/intuitive activity.
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  9. quasimodo Scholar Patron

    quasimodo
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    The rest of the game seems good, but much like Voge'ls recent games I would rather have a blank spot than those cartoonish character portraits.

    If RC would make them easily replaceable or better yet give me a choice I would be more likely to buy the game.
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  10. Damned Registrations Prestigious Gentleman Furry Weeaboo Nazi Nihilist

    Damned Registrations
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    After checking out their forums a bit, I can say I'm rather interested. Traps look like an interesting system, and I appreciate keeping the fanbase in the loop during development. Devs that refuse to spend 5 minutes to update the fans even once a month on how the development is going piss me off to no end.

    The portraits are truly awful though. I'll be ok as long as I can replace them with something else. I can handle ASCII games, but those portraits are just too jarring, I can't see them without being reminded that someone drew them instead of connecting them with chracters they should represent.
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  11. zeitgeist Arbiter

    zeitgeist
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    Well, it isn't, at least not directly. Quality is not related to taste. Competence is not related to taste. Something can be both competently designed, and still not be to someone's aesthetic taste. Tastes differ.

    Or are you trying to say that understanding basic visual design concepts isn't at all tied to understanding basic concepts of other forms of design? If so, I have to disagree.

    That is absolutely correct.
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  12. Mangoose Arcane Patron

    Mangoose
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    You can disagree all you want, but all you will do is sound like a blowhard. You haven't made any supporting arguments besides "I claim this" and "I disagree with that." And, no, circular arguments don't count.

    :roll: Uh huh. Please explain how Geneforge's overall design is bad. I can wait a few days for you to actually play the game instead of deriding it out of graphics whoredom.

    On the other hand, need I list the dozens of games that have good aesthetic design but shit-for-all game design?
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  13. Mackerel Scholar

    Mackerel
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    Webcomics sprung to mind when I saw the portraits the first time, so I'd say they are successful at conveying the feeling of the game. Be happy if it completely turns you off, that way you "know" you won't enjoy the game, and can simply pass it by. Personally, I couldn't care less, but then I take things less seriously as I've gotten older.

    The fonts kind of bother me though.
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  14. Damned Registrations Prestigious Gentleman Furry Weeaboo Nazi Nihilist

    Damned Registrations
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    Didn't make me think of webcomics at all (And I've read quite a few.) The art style only reminds me of crappy children's cartoons and self parodies. I think it's largely the blonde hair + gaping white smile on two of the characters. They look like caricatures of barbie dolls. I loathe things that look like that.
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  15. Morkar illiterate

    Morkar
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    The game is meant to be tongue in cheek, so cartoonlook is fine for me. But if they go that route I expect jokes on the level of monkey island and order of the stick ;)
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  16. mondblut Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    mondblut
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    Who says you can?

    A built-in ability to import one's own graphics in a gaming product is pretty uncommon, and storing the default graphics in an unpacked form and generic file format even rarer. Add the "I spent months crafting these wonderfully witty game personas, how could it even occur to anyone for a moment to replace their ideally suitable cute looks with some lifeless third party crap?!?!" mentality, and you're assured you'd have to indulge in some softice-level hacking to get to these portraits.
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  17. Mangoose Arcane Patron

    Mangoose
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    Pretty sure you can use custom portraits in BG, BG2, IWD, IWD2, NWN, NWN2, Kotor, Kotor 2, Wizardry Gold, Wizardry 8, Avernums, Arcanum, Freedom Force, JA2, ToEE, Jade Empire, and Dragon Age. Basically any game with portraits. Very uncommon, indeed.
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  18. mondblut Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    mondblut
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    WUT?

    Troika and Bioware are not the only companies making games with portraits, you know.
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  19. Mangoose Arcane Patron

    Mangoose
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    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=wizardry+8+custom+portraits

    Guess how to find out about the others?

    Troika and Bioware are not the only companies making games with portraits, you know.[/quote]Only 7/17 of those are made by Troika or Bioware.
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  20. mondblut Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    mondblut
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    Like, this?

    http://www.ja-galaxy-forum.com/board/ub ... Post186256

    Well, if having a personal hacker chained to your bedpost debugging a game's resource storing and custom graphic encoding algorithms, coding utils and editors to extract and convert them to generic format and back, and writing instructions on how to use them equals "the game allows custom portraits", then every game allows them, indeed. Including those without portraits at all if you are lucky.

    To the point: KOTOR has no built-in custom portrait support, and I have no reason to expect KOTOR2 does. JA2 has no built-in custom portrait support, and I have no reason to expect Wizardry 8 does. DA has no 2d portraits at all, let alone custom ones, it uses a render from the 3d facegen.

    WizGold, I don't remember, but it might be that rare case of storing graphics openly in a generic format.

    Altogether, you listed 8 games with built-in custom portraits support (2 of which are full-fledged construction sets ought to have fucking everything customizable, and 4 others using identical engine), 2 games (well, 1 game and 1 series) using unpacked bmps for graphics, and 2 games I don't know nor care about. Out of how many dozens?
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  21. Mangoose Arcane Patron

    Mangoose
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    Woops I'm wrong about one of my examples, I guess that means my whole argument is invalid!
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  22. mondblut Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    mondblut
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    You wish.

    Out of generosity, I can add Natuk (and probably the 2 unfinished games derived from it) to your list, no portraits there, but combat icons can be imported from pcx files. And a couple of old games allowed for pixel-by-pixel portrait editing, Challenge of 5 Realms for one. And that's about it.
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  23. flushfire Scholar

    flushfire
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    while I also find it hard to ignore cartoony art, what really put me off is the huge difference in the actual look of the gameworld and the portraits. the textures and colors used on environments look realistic to me, with maybe some objects that retain the cartoony look (doors for example). it was weird seeing a cartoony portrait on a realistic looking frame, hung on a realistic looking wall for example.
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  24. Clockwork Knight Arcane

    Clockwork Knight
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    A new low for the Codex, lots of baaawing about character portraits not looking grittydark enough and only a few snarky comments on the spell mechanics. This in particular made me feel actual sadness.

    You cockgobblers deserve all the gay romance Bio throws at you, ffs

    edit: Jesus, I am actually mad right now. You people just ruined my month-long distance therapy from the Codex. I feel the bile flowing through my veins, once more.

    Fuck you. In the ass. With a spiky dildo. Smeared in tabasco sauce.

    /Jaesun

    /DraQ
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  25. Crooked Bee Nyadmin Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    Codex 2014 MCA Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2
    Nope, that is the way it usually is, and has long been, around here.
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