Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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I'm looking forward to Oblivion.

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by Sol Invictus, Sep 15, 2005.

  1. MrSmileyFaceDudegender: ⚧ Developer

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    RAI makes the people go to the tavern to begin with. Instead of having a pre-populated tavern with hand-placed NPCs who randomly play drinking animations, and having to script placing them there, and script them not being there when the tavern's closed, NPCs will come & go as their schedules and other factors dictate.
     
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  2. Chefegender: ⚧ Erudite

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    So you're saying that placing a few NPCs in a tavern with some animations, and having them "not exist" when the tavern is closed, is tougher than programming an entire scheduling device and is more of a strain on the system than said device that lets them create whole routines for the day, different choices, and updates all the time?
     
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  3. MrSmileyFaceDudegender: ⚧ Developer

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    Oh hell no. Implementing something like RAI is obviously much harder. But it's also much, much more flexible and yields results which seem much more natural and realistic to the player. You're not necessarily going to see the same people in the tavern every time you go there.
     
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  4. Pr()ZaCgender: ⚧ Scholar

    Pr()ZaC
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    Thanks for stopping by MSFD. You make Balor happy too ;)
     
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  5. Chefegender: ⚧ Erudite

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    How many times in Arena or Daggerfall did you walk into a tavern and think "I wonder why there is never any different people in here?" You didn't, because you don't pay much attention to the individual people as you do to the tavern as a whole. You notice it is a tavern filled with many people drinking, conversing, etc. If it was the same people all the time, well, it's not like Cyrodill has any New York Cities in it. It's just the local patrons, so you'd probably expect them to be the same people in there all the time.

    It may be more realistic, but who's really going to spend all day following around NPCs? Well, we'll probably do that once, or maybe twice if we see a particularly interesting NPCs... but besides that it doesn't seem like it will matter a whole lot.

    It does sound cool, I'll give you that. However, this all goes back to the fact that RAI is the only feature besides combat and forests that is being talked about as the focus of the game, and also that we hear all the cool things RAI can do at the same time we're hearing about all the cool gameplay elements that haven't made it into this next chapter.

    Oblivion is being touted as the "RPG for the next generation" or whatever. Now, if it was being touted as a "Complete Fantasy World Simulator", and wasn't a sequel to such an amazing RPG as Daggerfall, I wouldn't have a problem. What I do have a problem with is that Oblivion will further redifine a modern concept that "RPGs aren't about deep choices. They're about pretty graphics, fancy gimmicks, and hack n' slash." I mean, when is the last time an RPG allowed your character to be a linguist?

    Of course, calling your game an "RPG" is the cool thing to do now and is great for marketing (especially when you're the only so-called game on a much-hyped upcoming next-gen console). I guess a little honesty from developers is too much to ask. The trend will pass one day, and RPGs will be forever scarred because of it.

    What would I personally hype Oblivion as? "A next gen immersive fantasy world that comes to life at your fingertips. You can create a character and experience this world and its intriguing storyline. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion will still feature RPG-like elements from past games in the series, but will be more focused on providing a realistic world to experience as opposed to a more classic RPG experience."

    ... not "Oblivion is the redifinitive RPG for the next-generation. Poised to set standers in RPGs for many games to come."
     
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  6. Elwrogender: ⚧ Arcane Patron

    Elwro
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    I think it's worthy to remind that Morrowind's dialogue system was capable of all that (I'm not sure only about the time of day-in-game variable as I never used it). The problem was that the multiple responses were very, very rare. It's not about dialogue engine capabilities, it's about how this engine is used. I just hope that the number of occasions on which the PC is given a list of well-written lines to choose from will be higher this time.
     
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  7. Balorgender: ⚧ Arcane

    Balor
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    Btw, about the interview article, notice the:
    So, again, a lot of people will be buying the Oblvion for sake of better CS.
    Exactly! All this was avalable in MW, but was almost never used.
    However, it was really awkward, too. Due to the fact was never really used, it wasn't given any polish, I'd wager.
    So, having all those nifty stuff does not guarantee gaving superb quests... it can be just dead weight.
    Modders did utilize that often enough, though :).
    I hope, since it's said to be improved, it will be used even more often, and to make better dialogues&stuff.
    I'm not a dialgue/quest type, though.
    I prefer to mess with global stuff like gameplay mechanics in whole... perhaps I have delusions of grandeur :).
    Quests get completed, reward items, no matter how cool, get forgotten... but you'll be reminded of my Herbalism each time you activate a plant, or cast a spell in case of my One Power... of don't train your skills in case of Leveling.
     
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  8. MrSmileyFaceDudegender: ⚧ Developer

    MrSmileyFaceDude
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    Some of the dialog-related stuff I spoke of was available in Morrowind, but it has been greatly expanded for Oblivion.

    Also in terms of customization, don't forget that you have access via gamesettings to EVERY SINGLE FORMULA in the game. You may not be able to add new attributes, skills or stats, but you can dramatically change how they affect the game. But you know all that already :)
     
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  9. Twinfallsgender: ⚧ Erudite

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    That is a very interesting interview, well spotted!

    Some extracts:

    Douglas Goodall:
    The thing that surprised me the most was also what disappointed me the most: procedural content. Arena and Daggerfall had more in common with random games (Rogue) than with traditional RPGs (Ultima et al.). Arena and Daggerfall were way ahead of their time, perhaps too far ahead of their time. I felt Morrowind was a step backwards in some ways.

    I was also disappointed with the main quest in Morrowind. Frankly, the main quest never made sense to me, and I felt it contradicted too much existing lore. I couldn't get emotionally involved in the main quest or discern the motivations of the key players.
    ......
    Could you enumerate a few of the design decisions that you disagreed with?

    Douglas Goodall:
    I didn't like the combat at all. I won't claim that the "move the mouse to control your sword" combat of Arena and Daggerfall was perfect, but at least it felt interactive. Morrowind's combat was too simplified, too automatic.

    I liked the dialogue system on paper, but in practice I think it makes it too hard for players to develop their characters (in a roleplaying sense). I don't like "putting words in the player's mouth," which is what all but the simplest dialogue choices require. But when playing more traditional RPGs, I noticed that I connected with my character more when I had to choose different dialogue responses. Am I playing a goody two shoes? A greedy bastard? Do I always choose the sarcastic response, even if it gets me in trouble? Light side or dark side? Lawful good or chaotic evil? Paladin, Fire Mage, or Mercenary? I felt Morrowind lacked even binary character development choices. I could be very good in Morrowind, and I could be very bad in Morrowind, but I rarely had the chance to tell anyone about it. The game didn't react to me being good or bad, except when I was caught committing a crime.


    And he's not afraid to point the finger at Ken Rolston, either. Good on him, it's a relief to finally read some dissent from Bethesda itself, saying all the very same things we have been.
     
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  10. Chefegender: ⚧ Erudite

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    My favorite thing from that interview with Goodall was that he wanted to implement NPCs that would betray you. How fucking cool would that be?
     
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  11. Twinfallsgender: ⚧ Erudite

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    But does the stuff that has been expanded on give you that greater 'connection' with your character, which Douglas Goodall pointed out above was so lacking? You've spoken of the condition system excluding/including topics, and the option of some distinct (ie non-topic) player responses. More of the latter is what's needed, surely. Let's face it, nothing can give you that 'fleshing out the character' more than well written distinct dialogue. Are there more distinct, non-topic player dialogue initiators as well this time?
     
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  12. Twinfallsgender: ⚧ Erudite

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    It's a little saddening to read that interview. He's someone people like us (old-school TES fans) would have benefitted from still being there. He's got that humble politeness and decency that seems to be a Bethesda thing, but he clearly thinks Morrowind was a real disappointment, and doesn't hold much hope for the next one, since the same people (Todd and Ken) are in charge.
     
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  13. Drakrongender: ⚧ Arcane

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    But it looked to be 2 vs 1 and that is not good.

    I have no doubt Oblivion will be a success, a XBox 360 success since besides FF XI (a old MMORPG) and whatever comes from those guys in Japan that MS set up (and truth be told, what I seen so far is generic JRPG) is pretty much what Oblivion is against, BioWare appears to have a Xbox 360 game in line but after JE ... and I dont put much hopes into Fable 2, I doubt project Ego can be put on "the next generation" consoles.

    But Oblivion success will just make things worst, developers will look at that and think its the way and even if I not against a more a "alive" world with pretty shinny graphics it sould not be at the expense of everything else that defines a RPG, perhaps RPG reviewers will weight Oblivion against Morrowind in relation to RPG elements and not grpahics ... but I doubt that.
     
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  14. Twinfallsgender: ⚧ Erudite

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    I wonder whether one of the major problems we have is a very serious difference between us (the type who post here) and the 'new generation' of 'rpg' gamers (young, big purchasing power, big TES board presence). That would be - we read. It's a generalisation, of course there are many exceptions, but I have a horrible feeling it is generally accurate to say that so many kids now do not read. Sure, they do the reading that's required for their homework, etc, but far fewer now derive their imaginative sustenance from books. It's been replaced by a fully-formed audio-visual experiental thing, this 'you are there' that they get from GTA et al. This is why they will prefer NPCs who walk around a lot, rather than who say distinct, interesting things, as being 'full of life'.....
     
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  15. Balorgender: ⚧ Arcane

    Balor
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    Ah-oh. So, it's official now - no new skills or stats in Oblivion too.
    Ok, no matter. I've pretty much gotten arond that anyway in my Levelling. It's only a matter of the skill now showing in the stats now, which can be duplicated by having a 'skill scroll', that would list your new skills and it's values.
    I think, I can try and cooperate with Galsian (if I'll find enough strength to mod after all those bummers) to make a completely alternate character system that would be compatible with new skills (any variety) to boot.
    Btw, I'm thinking that, in fact, it can be possble to make daggers and swords be separate skills.. at least for player.
    Just detect weapon type (it was possible in MW, hopefully it will be possible in Oblivion), if it's dagger - store skill progress in one variable, if it's a sword - in other. If you'll equip a sword after you'll rise your blade skill with dagger - the progress will be reverted by setskill... and vice versa.
    We'll see how it turns out...
    I think I'll go and duplicate that post in CS forum where it belongs, heh.

    Also, hmm.
    About game settings.
    Does that mean we'll be able to alter them 'on the fly'? I mean, in game, with scripts?
    That was impossible in Morrowind.
     
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  16. Athamegender: ⚧ Novice

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    Good to know.

    Nope, didn't know that.
     
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  17. DarkSigngender: ⚧ Erudite

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    Thank you for resisting the urge to make Oblivion Online :)
     
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  18. MrSmileyFaceDudegender: ⚧ Developer

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    Interesting the impressions of someone people can get from an interview :) Doug clearly outlines the disagreements he had with the Morrowind leads, and so I think you need to bear that in mind as you read or you're doing yourself a disservice. He is not attempting to be objective (not that I think he should be.)

    Oh and Ken's not the only designer, and Todd isn't a designer at all. There are a couple folks back from the Daggerfall days, a few from Morrowind and some newer faces including as you know Emil Pagliarulo, who worked on Thief & Thief 2. Doug left shortly after Morrowind shipped and obviously hasn't been privy to anything that's happened since then, so you should remember that he cannot speak with any authority on the directions the design team have taken since his departure. As he says, he doesn't know any more than any other fans. He also mentions that he never played Tribunal or Bloodmoon, which many feel had better written quests than most of Morrowind.

    Good find though, I'd been wondering what he'd been up to the past 3 years :)
     
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  19. Twinfallsgender: ⚧ Erudite

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    Cool! Who are the people back from Daggerfall?

    I do wish the designers agreed with him on things like for eg the conversion of an alien Cyrodiil into the Roman Empire. It looks from screenshots that this will remain, whereas I'd have loved to see a totally weird and new Cyrodiil and Cyrodiilians, rather than skirt wearing Romans. Get the imagination going - you know...
     
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  20. Pr()ZaCgender: ⚧ Scholar

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    Err... the departure of Douglas is one of my (our?) main gripes. His ideas didn't make it into Morrowind and that was just saddening. As it's been pointed out, Daggerfall, compared to today's RPGs is STILL ahead of its time and kills 100% of the RPGs shipped in 2005 in terms of freedom, choices and gameplay mechanics, including Oblivion. Daggerfall was a game with a soul which is still trapped in there, the soul of freeform gameplay and great decisions and of developers with great ideas. Consoles and dumb kids weren't a problem back then so they didn't need to over simplify their titles.
    Doug brought up MANY good points in that interview, it doesn't matter if the add-ons for Morrowind improved the original game. They came too late and added too little.
     
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  21. MrSmileyFaceDudegender: ⚧ Developer

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    Err... Doug joined in the middle of development and wanted to change everything, and left right after the game shipped because things didn't go his way. Now, if he'd been on from the beginning, and not after most of the design and development work on the game's quests and systems hadn't already been nailed down, he probably would have been able to effect more change. But that's not what happened.
     
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  22. Pr()ZaCgender: ⚧ Scholar

    Pr()ZaC
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    What about the rest of the Daggerfall team? Did they just accepted to build Morrowind the way it has shipped?
     
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  23. Vault Dwellergender: ⚧ Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

    Vault Dweller
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    We know. He's just a dumbass with a vision

    [sarcastic] What about LeFay and Peterson? Are they back? [/sarcastic]

    interview with Ted Peterson

    Here is a good question: if Bethesda has no respect for their own property, what are the odds that they would have any respect for the one created by others, i.e. the Fallout setting?
     
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  24. Twinfallsgender: ⚧ Erudite

    Twinfalls
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    From:

    http://www.computerandvideogames.com/r/ ... ry.php(que)id=120732

    Indeed, one of the things that strikes you about Morrowind is the oddness and peculiarity of its setting; it has all the ingredients of a familiar, generic fantasy world - elves, dwarves, monsters, swords and sorcery - and yet doesn't feel familiar or generic. This was Rolston's intention: "From Glorantha (PnP RPG), I took inspiration from a resolutely nothing-like-Tolkien set of cultural and religious conflicts in the fantasy setting. And then from LARP (live action roleplay) game design, I took the fundamental underpinnings of social, religious and political faction conflicts that give depth to the stories and characters in Morrowind."

    Oh really, Ken? No credit to the writers of the pre-existing lore?

    NOD NOD, WINK WINK
    Bearing in mind that final comment, one suspects that Rolston may have been behind some of Morrowind's quirkier aspects. The man himself remains tight-lipped when it comes to this subject. "There's a wealthy, alcoholic talking mudcrab in the islands on the south-east coast. What's more, many people have savoured the whimsical allusion to Icarus that plunges from the skies and crashes to the ground in front of you. I absolutely forbid our designers to allow any humorous nonsense like that into the final version of the game," he says with a wry smile. "I have no idea how it got past my ever-vigilant editorial delete key."


    Youre a barrel of laughs, Ken. A barrel.

    "We're always trying to create that PnP experience with the Elder Scrolls," adds Todd Howard. "So Ken was instrumental in how we set up and executed this freeform game where you could really roleplay, while also being challenged and entertained. He's brilliant and insane at the same time."

    Mmm. Only all the roleplaying mechanics were already in place, but were reduced in scope and effectiveness.

    So Morrowind may well turn out to be one of a kind, which suits its creators. "I loved it," says Rolston. "For all its flaws and blemishes, it's a classic monster whose like shall never be seen again. It was too big, too grand in conception, too overwhelming in scope to ever be produced. It was a miracle."

    :P
     
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  25. MrSmileyFaceDudegender: ⚧ Developer

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    Petersen wrote some books that are included in Oblivion. I have no idea where LeFay is. Only a very small number of people who worked on Daggerfall were still there for Morrowind. In fact, looking at Daggerfall's credits, only four people on that team now work for Bethesda, and two of them were not here for Morrowind. Daggerfall came out a long time ago -- teams change, and this company has changed so much in just the past 6 years -- even since Morrowind shipped -- that it's nearly unrecognizable.

    I have no idea where you get the idea from Ted's quoted interview that we "disrespect" our own property. The TES Lore fans seem to be pretty happy with Morrowind in that respect, and nobody who's not involved in development of Oblivion knows how the lore has changed -- or not -- for Oblivion, so it's impossible for an outsider to comment about that.

    As to the comments about Ken Rolston -- prior to joining Bethesda Softworks and working on Redguard, he designed and wrote about pen & paper RPG's for many years.
    Link
    Link
    He's not exactly new to this whole "game design" thing.

    And for the umpteenth time, Oblivion and Elder Scrolls have NOTHING TO DO WITH FALLOUT. Elder Scrolls isn't Fallout, Fallout isn't Elder Scrolls. Get it into your brain -- we know they're very, very different games. Jeeze! :D
     
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