Archive for the ‘design’ Category

Free Sacred 2 art book

Posted in design, news  on January 29th, 2009 by: ian

cdv USA have made available a free art book of Sacred 2 art in pdf format.  If you are interested in having a look, then go here.

According to cdv, ‘This lushly illustrated e-book showcases hand-drawn character designs, renders and other artistic creations from the game’s diverse universe, while also showcasing the progression of Sacred 2: Fallen Angel from an imaginative vision to an incredibly compelling RPG for next-generation consoles and PC.’

It features some great artwork, so if you’d like to see some of the concept art of Sacred 2 or you’re interested in the concept art stage of developing computer games, then it is definitely worth checking it out.

cdv USA have made available a free art book of Sacred 2 art in pdf format.  If you are interested in having a look, then go here.

According to cdv, ‘This lushly illustrated e-book showcases hand-drawn character designs, renders and other artistic creations from the game’s diverse universe, while also showcasing the progression of Sacred 2: Fallen Angel from an imaginative vision to an incredibly compelling RPG for next-generation consoles and PC.’

It features some great artwork, so if you’d like to see some of the concept art of Sacred 2 or you’re interested in the concept art stage of developing computer games, then it is definitely worth checking it out.

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The blog of the Black Hound

Posted in design  on January 23rd, 2009 by: ian

If you’re interested in the game development process, then you may want to have a look at this blog.  It’s about the development of a Neverwinter Nights 2 mod, ‘The Black Hound’.  The interesting thing about this is that it is being developed by J.E. Sawyer formerly at Black Isle Studios and currently working at Obsidian.

It is loosely based on the initial design for Baldurs Gate 3 and is looking very interesting.  Currently looking at a late 2009/2010 release, if you’re interested in the spiritual successor to one of the best rpg games that have been made then it is defintely worth checking out.  Also look at this site if you’re after some more information.

If you’re interested in the game development process, then you may want to have a look at this blog.  It’s about the development of a Neverwinter Nights 2 mod, ‘The Black Hound’.  The interesting thing about this is that it is being developed by J.E. Sawyer formerly at Black Isle Studios and currently working at Obsidian.

It is loosely based on the initial design for Baldurs Gate 3 and is looking very interesting.  Currently looking at a late 2009/2010 release, if you’re interested in the spiritual successor to one of the best rpg games that have been made then it is defintely worth checking out.  Also look at this site if you’re after some more information.

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Lord British is back… probably!

Posted in design, news, pc rpg games  on January 6th, 2009 by: ian

In an interview with the BBC Lord British (AKA Richard Garriott), the developer of the Ultima series, has stated that, ‘I’m keen to get back into the fray and work on a new game. Probably medieval fantasy and probably online’.  Good luck to him, hopefully he’s planning on bringing out something that will revolutionise the industry in the same way that the original Ultimas did.  I grew up on these games and still think that in some ways they haven’t been bettered yet – anyone remember the Radiant AI of Oblivion? It was supposed to be revolutionary but instead was the same as the AI in Ultima 6, just not as good!

I think the most interesting part of the interview actually comes from the one developer that I hadn’t heard of.  Paul Barnett.  He made a number of interesting comments, including, ‘It was a year of disappointing big games; budgets too big, development too long, platforms underdeveloped, and expectations were too high.’  I’m not sure about the expectations bit as I tend to have very low expectations until the game actually comes out but I definitely agree with the bit about budgets and development time.  I think that it is getting to the point where the size of the budgets are making it impossible to cater for anyone apart from the casual gamer, just because the hard-core market is so much smaller.  This could have grave consequences for any of us who actually want a challenge.

Paul also says, ‘At the same time, 2008 was the year that web browser games came of age’, now the current rpg browser games are still pretty primitive but you can begin to see all of the potential here.  Does anyone want an article on current web browser rpgs?  Does anyone currently play any?

One part of the interview that I have to disagree with though is from Peter Molyneux where he says, ‘However, only a few people actually saw all the cut sequences because the game was so tough to play. Are we making games too difficult?’  To which I can only say No!  Some of us still like to play games that give us some kind of challenge!  The current trend of moving towards the lowest common denominator in games is one that I really hate, and it is really disappointing that it seems my only chance to continue to play games that can really challenge me can be found in the indies.

In an interview with the BBC Lord British (AKA Richard Garriott), the developer of the Ultima series, has stated that, ‘I’m keen to get back into the fray and work on a new game. Probably medieval fantasy and probably online’.  Good luck to him, hopefully he’s planning on bringing out something that will revolutionise the industry in the same way that the original Ultimas did.  I grew up on these games and still think that in some ways they haven’t been bettered yet – anyone remember the Radiant AI of Oblivion? It was supposed to be revolutionary but instead was the same as the AI in Ultima 6, just not as good!

I think the most interesting part of the interview actually comes from the one developer that I hadn’t heard of.  Paul Barnett.  He made a number of interesting comments, including, ‘It was a year of disappointing big games; budgets too big, development too long, platforms underdeveloped, and expectations were too high.’  I’m not sure about the expectations bit as I tend to have very low expectations until the game actually comes out but I definitely agree with the bit about budgets and development time.  I think that it is getting to the point where the size of the budgets are making it impossible to cater for anyone apart from the casual gamer, just because the hard-core market is so much smaller.  This could have grave consequences for any of us who actually want a challenge.

Paul also says, ‘At the same time, 2008 was the year that web browser games came of age’, now the current rpg browser games are still pretty primitive but you can begin to see all of the potential here.  Does anyone want an article on current web browser rpgs?  Does anyone currently play any?

One part of the interview that I have to disagree with though is from Peter Molyneux where he says, ‘However, only a few people actually saw all the cut sequences because the game was so tough to play. Are we making games too difficult?’  To which I can only say No!  Some of us still like to play games that give us some kind of challenge!  The current trend of moving towards the lowest common denominator in games is one that I really hate, and it is really disappointing that it seems my only chance to continue to play games that can really challenge me can be found in the indies.

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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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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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