Archive for December, 2008

Memories of Baldur’s Gate

Posted in design, pc rpg games  on December 30th, 2008 by: ian

RPG Vault have a great article up that discusses the thoughts of some of the developers of Baldur’s Gate about some of their memories of the game, as well as some thoughts about the upcoming Dragon Age.  I think the best thing about the article is that it sounds like the team is attempting to recreate the magic of Baldur’s Gate in Dragon Age.  If they succeed then they will definitely have a massive hit on their hands.

I thought it was very interesting to find out the Imoen was a character added in at the last minute, ‘Her character was a late addition to fill a non-psychotic-thief gap in the early levels’, even more amazing was that she didn’t feel like it at all.

screenshot2 Memories of Baldurs Gate

Baldurs Gate 2

You can definitely sense the enthusiasm that the developers had for Baldur’s Gate, ‘we were just a bunch of small-town geeks, led by doctors, working on a D&D game. How cool is that!’ and hopefully that enthusiasm will carry through into Dragon Age.

One other interesting point I got out of it was how the players seemed to create their own relationships and story elements in the game, ‘Some parts of BG seem simple now, and many perceived character relationships were outright imaginary. The players imposed their own perceptions on those tiny sprites and unrecorded text’.  If this is the case then it is certainly worth considering from a development standpoint.  Do you need to give NPCs a lot of character or can you rely on the players to fill in the blanks if you make the characters interesting enough to be worth their time?

If you are interested in Dragon Age or want to get a look at the development process that went into creating one of the most influential pc rpg games of the last ten years then you can find the article here.

RPG Vault have a great article up that discusses the thoughts of some of the developers of Baldur’s Gate about some of their memories of the game, as well as some thoughts about the upcoming Dragon Age.  I think the best thing about the article is that it sounds like the team is attempting to recreate the magic of Baldur’s Gate in Dragon Age.  If they succeed then they will definitely have a massive hit on their hands.

I thought it was very interesting to find out the Imoen was a character added in at the last minute, ‘Her character was a late addition to fill a non-psychotic-thief gap in the early levels’, even more amazing was that she didn’t feel like it at all.

screenshot2 Memories of Baldurs Gate

Baldurs Gate 2

You can definitely sense the enthusiasm that the developers had for Baldur’s Gate, ‘we were just a bunch of small-town geeks, led by doctors, working on a D&D game. How cool is that!’ and hopefully that enthusiasm will carry through into Dragon Age.

One other interesting point I got out of it was how the players seemed to create their own relationships and story elements in the game, ‘Some parts of BG seem simple now, and many perceived character relationships were outright imaginary. The players imposed their own perceptions on those tiny sprites and unrecorded text’.  If this is the case then it is certainly worth considering from a development standpoint.  Do you need to give NPCs a lot of character or can you rely on the players to fill in the blanks if you make the characters interesting enough to be worth their time?

If you are interested in Dragon Age or want to get a look at the development process that went into creating one of the most influential pc rpg games of the last ten years then you can find the article here.

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The best indie pc rpg games of 2008

Posted in pc rpg indies  on December 29th, 2008 by: ian

GameTunnel have created a list of their best five indie rpgs of 2008. The list includes ‘Kivi’s Underworld’, ‘Savage 2: A Tortured Soul’, ‘Avernum 5′, ‘Mount and Blade’ and ‘The Spirit Engine 2′.

screenshot The best indie pc rpg games of 2008

The Spirit Engine 2

Between them they represent the best that is currently on offer in the form of RPGs developed by independant studios and I will be looking at all of these and a lot of other indie pc rpg games in the coming months.

‘Kivi’s Underworld’ is a light rpg that is easy to pick up, play for 15 to 30 minutes and then put down again.  ‘Savage 2′ is an online PvP game, while ‘Avernum 5′ is an rpg in the classic sense – dozens of hours of questing through an elaborate storyline.  ‘Mount and Blade’ is a freeform, combat-oriented game.  Finally, ‘The Spirit Engine 2′ is a beautiful 2d side-scroller, with a deep storyline and fantastic character interactions.

If you are a fan of rpg games then you definitely owe it to yourself to have a look at the games listed.  Let us know if GameTunnel have missed your favourite pc rpg game, or, if you have played any these games, let us know your thoughts about them.

The article can be found here

GameTunnel have created a list of their best five indie rpgs of 2008. The list includes ‘Kivi’s Underworld’, ‘Savage 2: A Tortured Soul’, ‘Avernum 5′, ‘Mount and Blade’ and ‘The Spirit Engine 2′.

screenshot The best indie pc rpg games of 2008

The Spirit Engine 2

Between them they represent the best that is currently on offer in the form of RPGs developed by independant studios and I will be looking at all of these and a lot of other indie pc rpg games in the coming months.

‘Kivi’s Underworld’ is a light rpg that is easy to pick up, play for 15 to 30 minutes and then put down again.  ‘Savage 2′ is an online PvP game, while ‘Avernum 5′ is an rpg in the classic sense – dozens of hours of questing through an elaborate storyline.  ‘Mount and Blade’ is a freeform, combat-oriented game.  Finally, ‘The Spirit Engine 2′ is a beautiful 2d side-scroller, with a deep storyline and fantastic character interactions.

If you are a fan of rpg games then you definitely owe it to yourself to have a look at the games listed.  Let us know if GameTunnel have missed your favourite pc rpg game, or, if you have played any these games, let us know your thoughts about them.

The article can be found here

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New patch released for The Witcher Enhanced Edition

Posted in news  on December 29th, 2008 by: ian

CD Projekt have released a patch for The Witcher: Enhaned Edition.  This patch seems to be pretty minor – it only covers a couple of fixes:

1) EAX technology problems – this patch resolves problems related to EAX technology, which did not operate properly in conjunction with the game, generating critical errors when activated in the Game Options panel.
2) The patch also eliminates the blur (deriving from “glow” effect augmentation) remaining after cut scenes and dialogue sequences.

If you’re interested in downloading the patch, it can be found here.

CD Projekt have released a patch for The Witcher: Enhaned Edition.  This patch seems to be pretty minor – it only covers a couple of fixes:

1) EAX technology problems – this patch resolves problems related to EAX technology, which did not operate properly in conjunction with the game, generating critical errors when activated in the Game Options panel.
2) The patch also eliminates the blur (deriving from “glow” effect augmentation) remaining after cut scenes and dialogue sequences.

If you’re interested in downloading the patch, it can be found here.

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RPG escapism – does perspective matter?

Posted in design  on December 22nd, 2008 by: ian

Just read a really interesting article on another blog titled ‘Escapism in RPGs: A Matter of Perspective’.  It discusses how escapism in pc rpgs has evolved with changes of perspective.   The basic viewpoint of the article is summed up as follows: ‘However, like any other genre, there are variations between games that can affect just how “escapist” an RPG can be, perhaps the strongest of which is perspective’.

The article goes onto discuss how first person perspective provides the most immersive

fallout3 RPG escapism   does perspective matter?

1st person - great great for putting the player in role of the character

experience, ‘First-person RPGs, like the recent critical smash Fallout 3 RPG escapism   does perspective matter?, represent, to me, the highest level of escapism in RPGs’, and this is where my viewpoint begins to differ.  While I agree that first person does provide the greatest level of immersion, I would disagree that this necessarily provides the greatest level of escapism.

I would say that escapism can be defined as getting so caught up in the game that you completely lose yourself in it.  The author says, ‘third-person RPGs, at least the good ones that I’ve played over the years, offer incredible narratives in place of true escapism’ and I would argue that offering incredible narratives, getting lost in an imaginary world and creating emotional attachments with the characters is true escapism.  The main advantage of third person perspective is that is helps a player to identify with the characters, especially the protagonist – and this is absolutely necessary in games where narrative must rule.

planescape2 RPG escapism   does perspective matter?

3rd person - great for strong narrative

My belief is that first person works well for ‘sandbox’ rpg games such as Fallout 3, but this cannot compare with the immersive experience of a game like Planescape: Torment RPG escapism   does perspective matter?.  In my mind, escapism is brought about by narrative, immersive worlds and emotional connections with characters, and this is not dependant on perspective.

However, saying this, I do believe that choosing the correct perspective for the game you wish to make (i.e. 1st for Fallout 3, 3rd for Planescape), can have an immense impact on the immersiveness of the game.

Anyway, have a look at the article and let me know what your thoughts are on the issue.

Just read a really interesting article on another blog titled ‘Escapism in RPGs: A Matter of Perspective’.  It discusses how escapism in pc rpgs has evolved with changes of perspective.   The basic viewpoint of the article is summed up as follows: ‘However, like any other genre, there are variations between games that can affect just how “escapist” an RPG can be, perhaps the strongest of which is perspective’.

The article goes onto discuss how first person perspective provides the most immersive

fallout3 RPG escapism   does perspective matter?

1st person - great great for putting the player in role of the character

experience, ‘First-person RPGs, like the recent critical smash Fallout 3 RPG escapism   does perspective matter?, represent, to me, the highest level of escapism in RPGs’, and this is where my viewpoint begins to differ.  While I agree that first person does provide the greatest level of immersion, I would disagree that this necessarily provides the greatest level of escapism.

I would say that escapism can be defined as getting so caught up in the game that you completely lose yourself in it.  The author says, ‘third-person RPGs, at least the good ones that I’ve played over the years, offer incredible narratives in place of true escapism’ and I would argue that offering incredible narratives, getting lost in an imaginary world and creating emotional attachments with the characters is true escapism.  The main advantage of third person perspective is that is helps a player to identify with the characters, especially the protagonist – and this is absolutely necessary in games where narrative must rule.

planescape2 RPG escapism   does perspective matter?

3rd person - great for strong narrative

My belief is that first person works well for ‘sandbox’ rpg games such as Fallout 3, but this cannot compare with the immersive experience of a game like Planescape: Torment RPG escapism   does perspective matter?.  In my mind, escapism is brought about by narrative, immersive worlds and emotional connections with characters, and this is not dependant on perspective.

However, saying this, I do believe that choosing the correct perspective for the game you wish to make (i.e. 1st for Fallout 3, 3rd for Planescape), can have an immense impact on the immersiveness of the game.

Anyway, have a look at the article and let me know what your thoughts are on the issue.

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The Witcher coming to consoles…

Posted in news  on December 18th, 2008 by: ian

But they still have two pc projects on the go!  There’s an article here discussing the planned port of The Witcher to consoles.  The screenshots look pretty good and if it’s a decent port, console gamers won’t know what has hit them!  It was a fantastic game on the pc with far more depth than most console games I’ve encountered so it could be revolutionary for these platforms (yes, I am pc elitist!)

However, CDProjekt have also stated that they currently have 2 pc projects that they are currently working on.  There’s no more information about them yet, but if they’re anywhere near as good as The Witcher then we should be in for a real treat!  I’ll be bringing you all the latest information about these games as I find them.

But they still have two pc projects on the go!  There’s an article here discussing the planned port of The Witcher to consoles.  The screenshots look pretty good and if it’s a decent port, console gamers won’t know what has hit them!  It was a fantastic game on the pc with far more depth than most console games I’ve encountered so it could be revolutionary for these platforms (yes, I am pc elitist!)

However, CDProjekt have also stated that they currently have 2 pc projects that they are currently working on.  There’s no more information about them yet, but if they’re anywhere near as good as The Witcher then we should be in for a real treat!  I’ll be bringing you all the latest information about these games as I find them.

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Which games would you like to see resurrected?

Posted in news, pc rpg classics  on December 17th, 2008 by: ian

I’ve found an article on IGN called ’10 franchises we want resurrected’.  It’s got some real classics in here, at number 10 we have Master of Orion – one of the best space 4X games ever (Master of Orion 2 was the best of the series)!

planescape Which games would you like to see resurrected?

The one pc rpg game is at number 8 – Planescape: Torment Which games would you like to see resurrected? with a storyline has hasn’t been bettered even now.  You take on the role of the Nameless One in his quest to regain his memories.  The game is heavy on dialogue, features a unique setting and the kind of deep characters that are incredibly rare in any game – where else can you travel with a talking skull?!

Anyway, if you want a really deep rpg that probably hasn’t been bettered then have a look at it.

Have a look at the article, and let me know what you think, what games do you think they missed that should be remade?

I’ve found an article on IGN called ’10 franchises we want resurrected’.  It’s got some real classics in here, at number 10 we have Master of Orion – one of the best space 4X games ever (Master of Orion 2 was the best of the series)!

planescape Which games would you like to see resurrected?

The one pc rpg game is at number 8 – Planescape: Torment Which games would you like to see resurrected? with a storyline has hasn’t been bettered even now.  You take on the role of the Nameless One in his quest to regain his memories.  The game is heavy on dialogue, features a unique setting and the kind of deep characters that are incredibly rare in any game – where else can you travel with a talking skull?!

Anyway, if you want a really deep rpg that probably hasn’t been bettered then have a look at it.

Have a look at the article, and let me know what you think, what games do you think they missed that should be remade?

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Top pc rpg games of 2008

Posted in news, pc rpg games  on December 17th, 2008 by: ian

Both Gamasutra and The Escapist have released their top-five games of 2008.  Both of them reckon Fallout 3 is the top game of the year (and while not and rpg, Gamasutra includes Sins of a Solar Empire at position 4 – which I reckon is a fantastic game)!  Gamasutra also includes Mass Effect in their honourable mentions, while The Escapist puts Titan Quest in at number 3.

So what would my top rpgs of 2008 be?  I reckon I would have to put The Witcher up at number one – I know the original came out last year but the enhanced edition is a big enough improvement that it still counts!  After that I would have to go for Mass Effect – it does what Bioware do best, tells an engrossing story that forces you to keep playing to find out what happens next.  Unfortunately I can’t count anything that I haven’t played yet (which includes Fallout 3 and the Neverwinter Nights 2 expansions – they’re on my Christmas list!)

What would you consider the best rpg of 2008 to be and what are you looking forward to most of 2009?

Both Gamasutra and The Escapist have released their top-five games of 2008.  Both of them reckon Fallout 3 is the top game of the year (and while not and rpg, Gamasutra includes Sins of a Solar Empire at position 4 – which I reckon is a fantastic game)!  Gamasutra also includes Mass Effect in their honourable mentions, while The Escapist puts Titan Quest in at number 3.

So what would my top rpgs of 2008 be?  I reckon I would have to put The Witcher up at number one – I know the original came out last year but the enhanced edition is a big enough improvement that it still counts!  After that I would have to go for Mass Effect – it does what Bioware do best, tells an engrossing story that forces you to keep playing to find out what happens next.  Unfortunately I can’t count anything that I haven’t played yet (which includes Fallout 3 and the Neverwinter Nights 2 expansions – they’re on my Christmas list!)

What would you consider the best rpg of 2008 to be and what are you looking forward to most of 2009?

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New campaigns for Fallout 3

Posted in Uncategorized  on December 15th, 2008 by: ian

Three new downloadable campaigns have been announced by Bethesda. The first of these campaigns is Operation Anchorage, where the player will be able to take part in the liberation of Alaska from the Chinese. This campaign is set for release in January, and looks set to last for about four or five hours.

No release date has been set yet for the other two campaigns, the first of which ‘The Pitt’ is set in Pittsburgh, while the final campaign, ‘Broken Steel’ appears to be a continuation the original campaign in Fallout 3 itself.

More information about these campaigns can be found at IGN.

Three new downloadable campaigns have been announced by Bethesda. The first of these campaigns is Operation Anchorage, where the player will be able to take part in the liberation of Alaska from the Chinese. This campaign is set for release in January, and looks set to last for about four or five hours.

No release date has been set yet for the other two campaigns, the first of which ‘The Pitt’ is set in Pittsburgh, while the final campaign, ‘Broken Steel’ appears to be a continuation the original campaign in Fallout 3 itself.

More information about these campaigns can be found at IGN.

Editor for the rpg Fallout 3 coming soon!

Posted in pc rpg games  on December 13th, 2008 by: ian

Bethesda have just released an editor for Fallout 3 to enable modders to create their own custom-content in the best known of all post-apocalypic settings!  It is called the Garden of Eden Creation Kit (I wonder how they could possible have thought that one up!)  and considering the ingenuity of the modding community, especially considering what they managed to do with Oblivion I really can’t wait to see what people can come up with.

If you  want to download the G.E.C.K, you can find it here and a wiki with help and tutorials can be found here.

If you are part of the modding community and have created a mod for Fallout, I would love to hear about it.

Bethesda have just released an editor for Fallout 3 to enable modders to create their own custom-content in the best known of all post-apocalypic settings!  It is called the Garden of Eden Creation Kit (I wonder how they could possible have thought that one up!)  and considering the ingenuity of the modding community, especially considering what they managed to do with Oblivion I really can’t wait to see what people can come up with.

If you  want to download the G.E.C.K, you can find it here and a wiki with help and tutorials can be found here.

If you are part of the modding community and have created a mod for Fallout, I would love to hear about it.

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Arx Fatalis released on GOG.com

Posted in pc rpg classics  on December 12th, 2008 by: ian

It looks like Good Old Games have added Arx Fatalis to their catalogue of gaming classics.  In case you don’t know, GOG.com is a site where you can (legally) download some of the classics of yester-year.  Prices tend to be under $10 and includes the Fallouts, Gothic and all kinds of non-rpg games.  If you’re interested in old classics then I can highly recommend looking at it.

Arx Fatalis is a dungeon crawling rpg in the style of Ultima Underworld, where the player is imprisoned in a subterranean world where several different races live in uneasy coexistance.  It’s quite a fun game, even though the storyline is of the generic ‘save the world from the evil god’ type.  It has plenty of atmosphere to it and decent puzzles, so if you’re looking for a dungeon-delving escape it may be worth giving it a try.

It looks like Good Old Games have added Arx Fatalis to their catalogue of gaming classics.  In case you don’t know, GOG.com is a site where you can (legally) download some of the classics of yester-year.  Prices tend to be under $10 and includes the Fallouts, Gothic and all kinds of non-rpg games.  If you’re interested in old classics then I can highly recommend looking at it.

Arx Fatalis is a dungeon crawling rpg in the style of Ultima Underworld, where the player is imprisoned in a subterranean world where several different races live in uneasy coexistance.  It’s quite a fun game, even though the storyline is of the generic ‘save the world from the evil god’ type.  It has plenty of atmosphere to it and decent puzzles, so if you’re looking for a dungeon-delving escape it may be worth giving it a try.

Tags: ,