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Interview with Tom Sloper, Veteran Game Designer

michael posted more than 13 years ago | from the leather-goddesses dept.

Games 94

Giles writes: "Listen to veteran game designer and producer Tom Sloper talk about what it was like to make games for the Vectrex, discuss the addictiveness of current MMORPGS and some game development disaster stories. And why is the voice acting in games so bad, anyway? An interesting inside look at the game industry from an old-timer."

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just try it here (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#107377)

Try and return an opened CD package (DVD, CD, CDROM). You'll be laughed at. Once you spend your money on software, whether it lives up to the hype (or works at all) is at the expense and risk of the consumer.

And yes, I've been involved in the QA area of gaming for a few years now and of the projects I've been part of (two of which were hugely successful) all of them successfully installed and ran when the user first popped the cd into their machine. There were bugs here and there like any product but at least people were able to install and play the damned things and the bugs were usually patched by the time a significant number of customers actually ran into the problems (yes we had fast turnaround).

Okay, so I'm not involved in any MMORPGS (but have been part of other multi-player releases). But a game that has taken four years to reach the shelves and hasn't even been successfully used by the majority of customers after a week is astonishingly bad form. Would it have hurt to take another three months and work out the kinks? Or to open the beta up as wide as necessary to make sure the system will hold? What did they do, try to guage a 30,000 user load by running a 2,000 user beta?

I'll give them time. For something as massive as AO, you can't expect it to be perfect. I'm not saying it should be. I'm just saying that for four years of development and millions of dollars dropped for a useless product in the first week of release, it'd be nice if the more simple things (like registering your product or logging into the server) worked. If you can't rely on those simple functions, how in the world can anyone trust the more complex areas of the game?

Back to your smartass retail trade comment. Next time you're in the unied states, pick up a copy of a game. I don't know make it Sims or Diablo or whatever. Open the box. Take it home. Bring it back a day or two later. Try and convince the clerk or manager of the store to take it back. You'll have an easier time playing hide-the-donut with Margaret Thatcher.

juggling dozens of other projects at the same time (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#107378)

In answer to question 3, (game development horror stories), I notice how many times he says I was juggling dozens of other projects at the same time while explaining how the developer messed up.

I don't even remember what the developer was angry about -- I was juggling dozens of projects at once, and this one fell down and, um, crack'd.

Maybe they were angry about you juggling dozens of projects, and not paying attention to any of them?

the U.S. developer was programming the game in Forth, had lost their artists, and was generally botching the game big time. I was not only producing the game, I was also soldering development systems, designing graphics, and juggling dozens of other projects at the same time.

Sounds like the classic case of an external producer failing to recognise how important they are to a successful project. A lot of producers have the attitude of "I'm here to police you and make sure you hit deadlines". An alternative, and very successful approach is "I'm the member of the team that is the firefighter and evangelist at the publisher and my job is to support you guys in making this game great." Its true that many developers take on a symmetric role to the external producer, i.e. "This guy's job is to shaft us, so we'll make his life difficult." Those developers could do well to look at their external producer as someone who's life they want to make easier, say by hitting a deadline on time, or by doing that marketing demo.

Re:more like this (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#107379)

  • Producer: It's release time. How much of the code do we have done for "Super Death Mecha 2001"?
  • Developer: Umm, we have the Flash demo that we showed to the investors, and this code that draws a spinning wireframe cube.
  • Producer: Why weren't any of these milestones met?
  • Developer: Because me and the other developers were too busy fucken around with nerf toys and playing our competitor's game in deathmatch on company time.
  • Producer: Well, take the cube code, add some shiny menus, and throw in some code to make sure it crashes on the "loading" screen. We'll use the stuff from the Flash demo for box art, and when everybody complains that the game crashes, we'll blame it on DirectX incompatibility. We'll spend the next month creating the actual game, and we'll release it as a 200MB patch for download. Let's get to work!
  • Developer: <back to playing deathmatch>

Re:Not really but... - Digistar II (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#107380)

PLA-NET-AARIUM....

Leave me be!

PLA-NET-AARIUM

Just leave me alone...

here's a disaster story (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#107381)

Anarchy-Online. 'nuff said. 40,000 people drop $50+ to basically beta test a game for funcom. Funcom claims "oh, goodness gracious, poor us! we had no idea there were going to be so many users!" as their excuse.

They avoid the fact that whether they expected 10 or 100,000 users, a bug is a bug and not being able to register your cd key or log on isn't a scaling issue. It's a code issue from the get go, making me wonder if they EVER tested their live server before it was fully deployed.

They also contradict themselves by stating that the number of users is overwhelming and they are straining to accomodate everyone. Yet in their marketing for months they had been claiming they were going to become the most popular and most populated MMORPG in existance. They claim that the 40,000 users was more than double what they expected though but i doubt they could even support those 20,000 that they counted on.

I'm one of those who wasted by $65 on the game and am tired of sitting around waiting for it to be finished. Why didn't they just charge us the $65 four years ago and say "some day we'll have this cool game and you'll be able to play it.. for now, you can just pay us the money and we'll use it to write the program and debug it... kay?".

You can bet your ass Ford wouldn't get away with selling you the shell of a car for $30,000 and promising that in a few weeks or months, they'll get around to putting the engine and interior in it so you can actually use it.

Re:What about Sakura Taisen? (1)

jnik (1733) | more than 13 years ago | (#107382)

Has anyone here seen/played Sakura Taisen? The voice acting in that game is terrific. Granted, there is a good deal of FMV, but even the "normal" scenes with the characters speaking is rather well done. Besides, the FMV is an integral part of that game!

Pretty simple: the Japanese VA industry is light-years ahead of American. Disney's pretty much the only company in the US that takes the time to do truly good voice work. There are exceptions, and it's getting better, but "give a guy a bunch of words to read" is still norm in the US, whereas generally in Japan the VA's interact in a sort of "reader's theatre" setup.

Combine that with a relatively high-profile, high-budget game like Sakura Taisen, and you've got a winner.

Re:just try it here (2)

stripes (3681) | more than 13 years ago | (#107383)

In order to refund things, it often has to be something else then "consumable goods". I think anything below like $100 is "consumable goods", you buy it on your own risk, and it is hardly worth the trouble to return it.

Legally I don't think price enters into it. Would a $5 paperback missing a few pages be worth returning to the store? Maybe, if you really wanted to read those pages, or the store is on your way to someplace.

The book Bad Software had a pretty good description of how to return bad software. Unfortunately I think the UCITA may have made it obsolete, at least in places like VA that signed the dread thing into law. It had good advice on how to return things that had a shrinkwrap license, or things like DVDs or CDs to best buy where they have a policy of not allowing refunds, only exchanges on things like that.

It relies on UCC case law, and UCC regulations about things like the consumer having a short time to test the item. If you can't play a CD you can't test it...Same for software. If you return it right away (say the same day, or the day after) there pretty much isn't anything legal they can do (er, except the UCITA can or could change that). It's time consuming to find someone in Best Buy who will stand still while you quote law, but they do give in. For me, it ain't worth it for low cost items, unless they are just so bad that I can't stand the though of the makers getting any money for the item.

Re:voice acting doesn`t work ? (2)

Chris Hiner (4273) | more than 13 years ago | (#107384)

It takes a lot of work to get the voice parts correct...
For some examples of this, and some good laughs,
listen to some out-takes from the script recording for Black and White:
http://main.bwgame.com/bwouttakesdownload.shtml

Re:here's a disaster story (1)

bungatron (9546) | more than 13 years ago | (#107385)

oh dear. maybe all this 2d gaming talk has ruined your sense of perspective.

yes, you should do more homework before lashing out usd30k than usd30.

yes, both ford and video game producers manufacture shoddy products and try to heist them on consumers, and wheedle their way out. one important difference to remember about 'suitability for purpose' and 'merchantable' is that if the product does not match up to these claims, you are entitled to your cash back, although obviously dodgier retailers and outfits will try to claim otherwise. Taking payment for (product) is a legally binding contract.

The main issue the original poster missed was that if the video game I buy is buggy and rotten, at least it won't spontaneously reverse into fast moving vehicles or blow up, killing me. So yes, it's fair*er* to rip people off with games than with cars, after a fashion. (I'm informed that on the detection of a critical flaw in a car, the manufacture asseses whether it's cheaper to pay out-of-court settlements and keep quiet, or recall and fix the vehicle; obviously less suffering the latter route, but costs more, and in the long run hurts the manufacturer/models image. I watched a documentary recently about Ford, where this is common practice, and has indeed happened in recent history.)

BTW, did you never notice that most game releases happen at christmas? This is done *deliberately* so that the games industry can flog their most rotten products to non-gamers looking for gifts for gamers; think granny buying a game for her grandson. I've seen flop games increase tenfold their original sale by a cynical christmas release.

Re:here's a disaster story (1)

bungatron (9546) | more than 13 years ago | (#107386)

Did you add an "s" to "asinine" to make a point about me, or your post? :)

No. You Are Wrong. 80% of games sales *do* happen at xmas, but a lot of companies are very cynically dependant on the granny buys. There are (or have been) many second-rate me-toos released that are hugely dependant on buyers who don't know games but know it's called something like... oh... what's the name... uhh... oh, this one looks right, I'll buy that.

I have first hand experience of several dump projects, games that were so dire, but could be flogged at xmas.

And partly, yes, they do release games at christmas because people tend to buy them then. And they can also slip their turds in and do well for them by association.

It's not just games, every company see christmas as a fantastic shitfest, where they can hawk any old trash.

Re:just try it here (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 13 years ago | (#107387)

All you have to do if they fail to refund your money in the UK is to say "Do you really want a visit and fine from Trading Standards; if you don't give me a refund now." - Works every time for me.

If a product is not 'fit for purpose' (and that can include the fact that the game you've bought is buggy) you have a right to a refund which overrides any statement in a shop that they will not refund your money.

Re:One you (and every one else here) missed: (1)

BadmanX (30579) | more than 13 years ago | (#107388)

Actual voice log from System Shock II:

Unknown voice: "Please God, don't do it, I -"
Korenchkin: "Glory to the Many. I am a voice in Their choir."
(shotgun report)
Unknown voice: "No, Jesus, no-"
(shotgun report)
Unknown voice: (screaming)
(shotgun report)
Unknown voice: (screaming stops suddenly)
(shotgun report)
(shotgun report)
(shotgun report)

Needless to say, the superb voice acting combined with the writing to send chills up my spin when I first heard this log. Superb game.

Interesting idea about the glasses. (1)

Restil (31903) | more than 13 years ago | (#107389)

I like the VR glasses he was mentioning. You
walk around hallways and the computer superimposes images of monsters into your reality, basically turning your entire life into a game. I don't know if this would be addictive or annoying, but it would sure be cool. :)

I'd imagine the porn industry would find this product useful as well. :)

-Restil

El Cheapo System... (2)

cr0sh (43134) | more than 13 years ago | (#107390)

Get some low mass mirrors - go down to a craft store (like Craftmart), and purchase some small (1/2 inch) square or round mirrors.

Use epoxy or superglue, and glue them onto small speakers (buy some at rat shack, or pull some out of old radios). You will need two speaker/mirror combos.

Now, the hard part: arrange the speakers at orthogonal 45 degree angles, such that one speaker deflects the beam horizontally, and the second speaker deflects that beam vertically (note, you may need a bigger mirror on the second speaker, to make up for deflection).

A third speaker could be rigged to act as a "shutter" deflector, that would deflect the final beam into a "black box", or cut it off somehow.

Hook these speakers up to the stereo channels of your sound card, and have fun!

Worldcom [worldcom.com] - Generation Duh!

What I wonder... (2)

cr0sh (43134) | more than 13 years ago | (#107391)

New and exciting games...

Ok, maybe what I have to say won't be new - but why isn't it exciting?

Have you noticed how many people read? I mean, bookstores aren't going down the tubes, most all of us read, many other individuals read - just the other day I went with my SO to a book signing for one of her favorite authors (Janet Evanovich) - it was a standing room only crowd - over 450 people showed up. This is a typical showing at her book signings, from what I understand.

I am sure for other "celebrity" authors, it is the same way - in short, a ton of people read.

So why is it text adventures are looked upon as "stale" gaming experiences?

I know all about the z-engine games that are made by adventure game designers and such - the contests, etc - that have a following. What I wonder is why there is not a clammoring from people worldwide to play these style games?

Is it too much to ask for to type commands - or to read? Have game players become too enamored with glitzy graphics? Is it too much to ask for them to actually think, and not just point and shoot?

Don't get me wrong - I like 3D games and shooters as much as anyone - in fact, there is a lot of promise in making very interactive and immersive style games with this format...

I just wonder why we don't see text adventure game authors (and I mean this in it's utmost sense - the authorship being paramount - the game should read like a book, like many of Infocom's games did) today?

Worldcom [worldcom.com] - Generation Duh!

Re:Ever play a text adventure (2)

cr0sh (43134) | more than 13 years ago | (#107392)

Yes - many. My favorites being from Infocom and Scott Adams.

Infocom especially - I love the Zork series.

A well designed adventure is not only entertaining, but thorougly logical. If you got to such a point in an adventure, as you describe, then:

a) You missed the key somewhere, or maybe there is a different way to open the door (a lever in the basement, perhaps?) or,
b) (rarely happens) Something is wrong with the code, allowing you to get to a point without the key or whatever, and no way of going back.

I have played text adventures enough to know that when the answer appears, it is like "Duh!" - and a revelation occurs - causing me to descend deeper into the game. All adventure games should be mapped as they are explored (nothing beats making a map with pencil and paper, notes jotted down only to be smeared, etc) - sometimes you can study the map, and figure out where something may be, and why - and usually - it is there!

I enjoy adventure games because they give me situations to think in - they are more on the level of chess than other games. I think other games could come to this level, and some have, but they are rare - and for some reason, tend to bomb on the shelves...

Worldcom [worldcom.com] - Generation Duh!

Another thing... (2)

cr0sh (43134) | more than 13 years ago | (#107393)

Seeing as your "script" is not likely from a typical game, what you might see is:

>Look
You are in the living room of the house. To the east is a closed, locked door. Next to the door is a painting. To the north is a hallway leading to the kitchen. A mouse runs across the floor by your foot.
>Look floor
You watch the mouse. He scurries away into a hole in the baseboard next to the locked door.
>Look hole
You put your finger into the hole, and are bit by the mouse - OUCH!

At this point, one would realize "Maybe I can find some cheese" to lure the mouse out. Once you have baited the mouse (or, maybe you need the cheese, and a trap - which might be located in the shed outside! Hehe) from the hole, you can then reach in, feel for a key (or a button, or switch, or lever) to open the door (which of course leads to the basement).

A perfectly logical chain of events - one that might leave some scratching their heads (or banging them on the wall - you might even have the mouse run up a clock just for the hell of it!), but is perfectly obvious given some thought!

Worldcom [worldcom.com] - Generation Duh!

Re:Not really but... - Digistar II (1)

chrysalis (50680) | more than 13 years ago | (#107394)

Ahaha, ça roule. C'est rigolo de te retrouver sur ./
-- Pure FTP server [pureftpd.org] - Upgrade your FTP server to something simple and secure.

Re:Not really but... - Digistar II (1)

chrysalis (50680) | more than 13 years ago | (#107395)

Waahhh... les miennes n'ont jamais été acceptées, huhuh (c'est con, j'aurais bien aimé voir celle sur le problème des licenses liées à un auteur particulier, et ce qu'elles devenaient après sa mort) .

-- Pure FTP server [pureftpd.org] - Upgrade your FTP server to something simple and secure.

Re:Not really but... - Digistar II (2)

chrysalis (50680) | more than 13 years ago | (#107396)

Yup, but your brother is crazy :)
(Jedi)

-- Pure FTP server [pureftpd.org] - Upgrade your FTP server to something simple and secure.

Re:Not really but... - Digistar II (2)

chrysalis (50680) | more than 13 years ago | (#107397)

Je capte pas, pourquoi tu aurais le droit de faire ça avec des vinyls alors que c'est interdit pour des cd ?
-- Pure FTP server [pureftpd.org] - Upgrade your FTP server to something simple and secure.

Re:here's a disaster story (1)

wolf- (54587) | more than 13 years ago | (#107398)

I managed to get onto the beta for AO.
I'm glad I did, because it kept me from wasting $50. I tested Asheron's Call, ran like a dream, feedback from the developers was quick and to the point. Funcom shipped AO with bugs that were reported early in the public beta cycle. They werent listening to the testers, they had a timetable, and it shipped.

Re:If only... (1)

AndrewHowe (60826) | more than 13 years ago | (#107399)

How do you deflect the beam?

Re:If only... (1)

AndrewHowe (60826) | more than 13 years ago | (#107400)

No need to be rude, I just asked a question, it wasn't even a stupid question.
Seeing as we're talking about a vector display, not a raster display, perhaps the mirrors need to do something more complicated than just "spin"?

What about Sakura Taisen? (1)

MikeyNg (88437) | more than 13 years ago | (#107401)

Has anyone here seen/played Sakura Taisen? The voice acting in that game is terrific. Granted, there is a good deal of FMV, but even the "normal" scenes with the characters speaking is rather well done. Besides, the FMV is an integral part of that game!

One you (and every one else here) missed: (1)

offline (94346) | more than 13 years ago | (#107402)

Probably the best voice acting i've ever heard in any game goes to the System Shock series - from Shodan on down to the fear in the voices on the logs. SSII was incredible, but SS set the bar on voice-acting in a game, as far as i'm concerned. Pure gold from start to finish.


C
--

Re:If only... (1)

mindriot (96208) | more than 13 years ago | (#107403)

Well, actually you should consider that all games using 3D are practically vector based games ;-)

Re:MMORPG (1)

weinford (97037) | more than 13 years ago | (#107404)

They are having serious connection and server uptime issues, which is pissing off all the players

Well, that is exactly why the game is called "Anarchy Offline" by most players I know ;-)

Re:here's a disaster story (3)

Steeltoe (98226) | more than 13 years ago | (#107405)

Norwegian trade-law ("angrefristloven") grants you the right to return your bought product (does not apply to services), no questions asked, within 10 days of purchases outside the store (yes, Internet included). If you haven't got an obligatory return-form, the period may be extended to 3 months until you do get it. I can imagine this applies to AO as well, but people aren't aware of this fact. For some reason people have been scared away from asserting their legal rights when it comes down to software. As if you are some kind of pirate if you return software. Don't be a fool, you're only supporting crappy software by being apathetic with your money.

Here's a norwegian link on the law. [odin.dep.no]

- Steeltoe

Re:Not really but... - Digistar II (4)

Dr_Cheeks (110261) | more than 13 years ago | (#107406)

My brother used to work in a Planetarium, in France, where they had a vector-based hemispheric display device.
While the engineer was still taking some classes to understand the way it basically worked, he just read the doc and started to code some games on it, like an asteroids-clone...

Did he ever come up with hypnotic displays and laser shows to tempt small badly drawn kids into returning to the Plane'arium time and time again?

Re:Innovative Gameplay (2)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 13 years ago | (#107407)

I'm not convinced. I was looking at the raft of games that have come out in the last year, or so and I'm quite impressed with the innovation in them. Consider;

The Sims
Black and White
The Longest Journey (yeah, not too innovative but brilliant and at least not another FPS)
Thief (which sadly didn't sell as well as it should have)

And now I see something called "The Sting" that looks promising and maybe even innovative.

There's always _some_ room for innovation in compuer gaming, although maybe not enough.


Dune II, not Dune. (1)

Svenne (117693) | more than 13 years ago | (#107408)

C&C is a "clone" of Dune II, not Dune. Although, I have to say that I enjoy Dune a lot more than most of the RTS games today.

---

Re:here's a disaster story (3)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 13 years ago | (#107409)

Do you have *any* experience of the gaming industry? and esp. MMORPG's? or even Diablo?

They've all been plagued with launch issues affecting availability and the like. I was part of the AO Beta, even after downloading the 500Mb game you had to download a patch to get it working!

Now I'm not defending shoddy practice but if I'm going to invest $65 in a game that should immerse me I think I'm going to do a bit of research first.

You wouldn't just read an online review, walk down the car showroom, plonk down $30k for a car and then wonder what went wrong.

In our country if you get something home and it doesn't work yuo can take it back to the shop and get a refund. If you a really having problems then visit your local Trading Standards Office or write to the Office of Fair Trading.

One would think that after thousands of years of retail trade the lessons learned might have filtered down to you by now.
.oO0Oo.

Yeah, (1)

pallex (126468) | more than 13 years ago | (#107410)

have you seen a vectrex? I did, when they were first launched. They were a joke then, and they are a joke now.

Next week... (1)

pallex (126468) | more than 13 years ago | (#107411)

..we`ll be speaking to the manager of the Amiga port of Judge Dredd. Just how DID he go about getting those 16 colour ST sprites touched up.

Re:Yeah, (1)

pallex (126468) | more than 13 years ago | (#107412)

yeah, i played on one too. It was that, or an Atari 2600! Guess!

I like some vector games (rip off, asteroids), but not because they were vector games.

Re:Don't Trivialize The Word "Addictive" (1)

igrek (127205) | more than 13 years ago | (#107413)

We all are sex-addicts. It's a feature, not a bug.

Re:here's a disaster story (1)

FunkSoulBrother (140893) | more than 13 years ago | (#107414)

"BTW, did you never notice that most game releases happen at christmas? This is done *deliberately* so that the games industry can flog their most rotten products to non-gamers looking for gifts for gamers; think granny buying a game for her grandson. I've seen flop games increase tenfold their original sale by a cynical christmas release."

That is the most assinine thing I have ever heard. Mayhap they release games at christmas cause thats when everyone will buy them, good or bad. They are not trying to dump anything on you any more than the rest of the year.

Re:If only... (2)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 13 years ago | (#107415)

Actually, the main use is interpolation. I mean, cartoon animated games have been around for a long time, as have vector, and vector games always look more smooth. Interpolating when everything is vertices and points is easy as heck. So, unless you're working in full 3d (which assumes we're talking full boxen here, which isn't necessary - think palm, or cheapie, or disposable)... plus, as suggested in a previous post - vector based graphics could be linked to a laser projection system, which could be entertaining.

Develop and design your own Vectrex games... (2)

Spoing (152917) | more than 13 years ago | (#107416)

Mmmm...vectory-goodness. From Spike's Big Vectrex Page [classicgaming.com] , Emulation section;

  1. In 1996, John Dondzila released a new Vectrex Game, Vector Vaders, and since then has been joined by others in doing so. The limitations of the system itself forces the games to be straightforward and uncluttered, with emphasis on gameplay, helping many of the games become instant classics.

On another note, unlike many other commercially abandoned consoles, all Vectrex games have been released for public, non-commercial, use.

The Mame and XMame [mame.net] packages now include Mess, so a general emulator is readilly available to run the old classics, and the new one that you just need to make. (Go ahead, get coding!)

Re:MMORPG (2)

Spoing (152917) | more than 13 years ago | (#107417)

  1. MMORPGs [massive multiplayer online role playing game] are completely different from the usual product, because shipping the CD is not the final step -- it's only the first. These games have to be continually supported, not just by tech support and moderators, but by programmers, artists, designers -- an entire development team has to keep working on these games, to add new levels, new worlds, new storylines, new scenarios. To not only entice new players, but to keep the existing players playing.

...or, you can build your own [worldforge.org] . WorldForge has fairly complex and differing rule sets, differnt UIs, and high-quality art work. Already, the starter game Acorn [worldforge.org] has some interesting game concepts and on the development side Python scripting and it's own game compiler/protocol engine named Atlas-C++ [worldforge.org] .

Best of all...it's in active development!

Re:who cares ? (1)

mindpixel (154865) | more than 13 years ago | (#107418)

Yeah, no kidding. I wrote that question to Tom and now I really wonder what the heck he did...

Re:If only... (1)

mindpixel (154865) | more than 13 years ago | (#107419)

With the modern LED lasers about, you could build very nice a portable laser projector vector game... I've thought about this a lot and have built some prototype systems... but I'm all alone here in South America and need some buddies to help me.

Voice Over Done Well (1)

Landaras (159892) | more than 13 years ago | (#107420)


The game that I feel has the best VO I've ever experienced would have to be Icewind Dale. Although Black Isle Studios has generally done an excellent job with all of the Infinity Engine games (as far as VO goes), Icewind Dale just seemed to stand out. I think the many different player voices that were available upon character creation really impressed me.

What was extremely important for Black Isle when they were creating these games based on D&D is that they have to draw the player into the experience. Apathetic voice actors would very quickly kill the illusion, and that's why I'm glad that BIS took the time to do it in four different titles (Baldur's Gate I & II, Icewind Dale, and Planescape:Torment).

Re:Voice Over Done Well (1)

Landaras (159892) | more than 13 years ago | (#107421)

I actually bought a copy of Crusaders after playing the demo. The demo was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, the demo was the only good part of the game. Instead of requesting a refund from 3DO, I just played my friend's copy of Heroes III a lot.

Re:voice acting doesn`t work ? (1)

andr0meda (167375) | more than 13 years ago | (#107422)


On my Amiga, to speak you have to write in a Shell :
SYS:> echo "hello happy few!" >SPEAK:

But, you can change accents (klingon anyone ?) stress or any parameters you need. The voices from WipeOut ARE voices from SPEAK: copied on the Amiga sound system.


I don`t think you read my post at all.. It`s not about how voice works, that`s usually taped anyway. It`s about the combination with computer graphics that makes voice acting look unnatural or 'unbelievable'.

ignace.

Re:Sometimes it works out just fine (1)

andr0meda (167375) | more than 13 years ago | (#107423)


I guess what this means is that the problems aren't so much technical, as you suggest. Instead, I believe it has to do more with suspension of disbelief. In a realistic, or "serious" setting (the world is at peril! you must rescue it! hurry!) this is much harder to achieve. Also,most dialogue in games (as well as in B-movies) sucks anyway, so there's no way for someone to make it convincing

Hmm yeah, very well put. That`s about as much as I wanted to say. The genre of the game may very well have his influence in how voice acting is perceived, regardless of the effort.. still I played various types of games and especially quests like the Monkey Islands have allways hugely entertained me. Possibly because the c&c voices are quite repetitive and action games are person centric, leaving little room to let your character actually be involved in interesting discussions about various subjects, other than the usual yelling of commands and describing features and hints and tips. On the other hand I seriously enjoyed homeworld and the great effort they put in making the voices non intrusive. So it`s definately possible but you have to understand your medium and setting. So yes, out-of-this-world scenery probably lends itself better to accept voice overs than real life settings, like you mentioned.

ignace

voice acting doesn`t work ? (2)

andr0meda (167375) | more than 13 years ago | (#107424)


Yes, I would really like to know what he meant by "voice acting doesn`t work in computer games."

Voice acting is just telling a tale and using enough intonation and emotion in you voice, adding a mindset to the graphical context, building a plot in the viewer`s mind. What CAN go wrong is the synching with the digital actors, and I`m sure back in the days there wasn`t much room for synching or modelling phonemes on a mouth. If you look at Final Fantasy, voice acting can definately be made realistic. What gets in the way is plastic skin.. maybe.. look at the 'The Banana Queen' video by Zita Swoon.. some great art there.

Maybe what he meant is that the character and the guy impersonating the character`s voice do not have the same featureset, that somehow his voice doesn`t sound convincing because the kind of stress he puts in his voice doesn`t exactly match the character`s movement. But I think this stems from the fact that cartoon or computer graphics generated models are generally animated without much regard to the emotional content they might or should or must contain. Or they are overemphasised to make them look very Disney. Something in our mind says that synthetic being is not real, and the voice therefore is not real either. On the other hand, Homer Simpson has a great voice, so it`s definately possible to give a cartoon the voice he needs. But then again The Simpsons are so absurdly normal that their absurdly normal voices stick good with them. Usually, toons are animated like this or that, because the moves look realistic or hot, and because usually there isn`t much room for including 'slips and defects of the skin' or movements that are non functional but preserve the integrity of the character, or 'believability', to use an obscene word.

Atleast I believe that lipsynching and facial animation based on naration and voice can be convincing. It just takes a tremendous amount of effort to make it realistic. Between the lines you can see Tom saying that when a production is to be finished, the voicepacks are usually the last thing studio`s do, and in order to get the game out of the door, things get rushed. But that doesn`t mean things can`t be done better.

At least, that`s what I think..
cheers,
ignace

who cares ? (4)

Bender_ (179208) | more than 13 years ago | (#107425)

I read until i came to this in the first paragraph, then my attention dropped.

"Can you tell me specifically what the dev system was like for Vectrex?"
Well, I'm not a programmer, so I never actually used a Vectrex dev system myself.

wtf ? I thought it was about developing games on a vectrex ? Back in these days there was hardly a lot to do for so called 'game-designers'.

Re:just try it here (2)

boaworm (180781) | more than 13 years ago | (#107426)

This is the way it usually is though. At least when you spend rather small amounts of money on something. I mean.. do you try to get a refund if the burger did not taste the way you liked it ? Do you try to get a refund if the book you bought was not just that good ?

That is why there are demos, reviews etc, to give you a chance to verify if you like the product or not.

In order to refund things, it often has to be something else then "consumable goods". I think anything below like $100 is "consumable goods", you buy it on your own risk, and it is hardly worth the trouble to return it.

Re:Uh oh, my facial tic is back (1)

Dan Jagnow (181761) | more than 13 years ago | (#107427)

From the interview with Sloper:

I "foresaw" a videogame system that would let the kid play on the TV at the same time the parents were watching the TV. The kid would control a little game character who could run around in the foreground -- and make karate moves and stuff, so that the kid could punch and kick the actors in the TV show that the parents were watching, in real time. And whenever a kick "connected" with an actor, the machine would display a "biff" or "pow." Of course, the actors wouldn't show any reaction, but the kid would be having fun.

That has never happened in the 15+ years since I foresaw this. It still might, I guess.

I now understand why cool, truly innovative games are so rare.

The kid(s) can play on the TV while you watch?! (1)

ferreth (182847) | more than 13 years ago | (#107428)

I "foresaw" a videogame system that would let the kid play on the TV at the same time the parents were watching the TV. The kid would control a little game character who could run around in the foreground -- and make karate moves and stuff, so that the kid could punch and kick the actors in the TV show that the parents were watching, in real time. And whenever a kick "connected" with an actor, the machine would display a "biff" or "pow." Of course, the actors wouldn't show any reaction, but the kid would be having fun.

Let me just state, for the record, that should such a 'feature' ever come to pass, I will NEVER buy this. Furthermore, I can't see this appealing to any kid over a gaming system where the characters react to your input!

And that list of 'worst ever' game development experiences - half of them were attributed to "I was juggling a lot of other projects at the time". Humph! Just goes to emphasis the number one problem in game design: Not enough time (=$$$) put in to do it *right*. With more forthought, a lot of flawed designs wouldn't make it off the conceptual boards, and with more careful implementation, fewer quick hacks, a good concept would't fall down upon implementation.

BUT, no one can wait three years for a game to come out for a system that will be obsolete by then. Personally, I don't think the current state will change until the obsolecence cycle lengthens signifigantly and companies can count on systems being there for the long-haul production.

Re:MMORPG (1)

Erasmus Darwin (183180) | more than 13 years ago | (#107429)

No game is perfect though. Well, Pac-man, maybe...

Not even Pac-man. If I'm not mistaken, it had a problem with the level counter rolling over and messing everything up after 255 boards.

Re:Tom's CV (1)

FuzzyBad-Mofo (184327) | more than 13 years ago | (#107430)

POKE 53281,1 POKE 53280,0

Ah, that would be a white screen with a black border (on the good ol C64). Did you really prefer those colors? Seems like an invitation for eyestrain, I always preferred a black background, with gray border and cyan text, myself. :)

Fuzzy

Re:Voice Over Done Well (1)

xmutex (191032) | more than 13 years ago | (#107431)

Soul Reaver for the DC and other consoles had very solid voice acting... I hope the second one fares as well.

Re:here's a disaster story (1)

eam (192101) | more than 13 years ago | (#107432)

> You can bet your ass Ford wouldn't get away with
> selling you the shell of a car for $30,000 and
> promising that in a few weeks or months, they'll
> get around to putting the engine and interior in
> it so you can actually use it.

Actually, it was only about $27,000, and they included the engine & interior. However, I understand that I'm supposed to get on a waiting list for the right tires.

Re:Not really but... - Digistar II (1)

mirko (198274) | more than 13 years ago | (#107433)

ca ne reste pas dans les mains du dernier descendant vivant durant 50 ou 70 ans apres la mort ? (droit d'auteur typique) ??? sinon, je leur avais demande une fois si, ayant des albums en vynil, je pouvais les recuperer en meupeuh3 sur le woueuhwoueuhwoueuh sans probleme de copyright.
--

Re:Not really but... - Digistar II (1)

mirko (198274) | more than 13 years ago | (#107434)

l'idee est en fait de savoir si je peux, possedant le vinyl, revendiquer le droit d'avoir les mp3 correspondants realises a partir du CD d'autrui.
--

Re:Yeah, (2)

mirko (198274) | more than 13 years ago | (#107435)

Have you ever not *seen* but *played* with a Vectrex ?
I still enjoy playing Armor Attack in 2-player mode.
A friend of mine once said... "these were the times when ergonomy was still a concept"
I don't agree anymore :
Now, ergonomy has become a concept, at these time, it was a necessity :
How else would you have made a game running on a so pathetically-powerless console entertaining ?
Really, get yourself an emulator and just discover what gaming meant at these times so that you'll end this troll on the right side.
--

Not really but... - Digistar II (4)

mirko (198274) | more than 13 years ago | (#107436)

My brother used to work in a Planetarium, in France, where they had a vector-based hemispheric display device.
While the engineer was still taking some classes to understand the way it basically worked, he just read the doc and started to code some games on it, like an asteroids-clone...
On a 20meter-diameter ceiling, this was excellent :-)
--

Turning computers off.. (1)

K45 (207177) | more than 13 years ago | (#107437)

"I have a hard time turning my computer off to go to bed at night."

Bah, must be a Windoze box.

I'll reboot my machine when I get that new video card, any day now...

K45.

Electronics Boutique (1)

Elbows (208758) | more than 13 years ago | (#107438)

...has a 10-day return policy for PC games. I have never had any trouble making a return, as long as I save the receipt, and it's come in handy on several occassions.
I knew people who used to buy games, beat them within 10 days, then return them and move on to the next game...

Re:here's a disaster story (1)

bowb (209411) | more than 13 years ago | (#107439)

I'm not convinced that TCP was the wrong choice, mainly because I don't know enough about networking to form a solid opinion. Certainly I don't trust the opinions of the hordes of technically clueless, who couldn't code a minesweeper game if their lives depended on it (I'm not talking about you; I don't know you), who proclaim that it was the wrong choice on message boards. Without question, some sort of reliable protocol was needed.

Yes, it has many flaws, but appalling? Really? The amount of work and design that must have gone into that game blows my mind. Maybe, because I'm a programmer by trade, I'm taking the whining by the clueless too much to heart.

Anyway, my post got modded as a troll; it wasn't meant to be. I was trying to provide some counter-balance. Thanks for listening :)

Tom's CV (1)

Hooky1963 (215931) | more than 13 years ago | (#107440)

Looked at his site and came across his resume [sloperama.com] . In 1983 he assisted in the development of Vectrex games for DataScan? I wonder what he really did? "Made sure lines had accurate shade of blue/green." or "Made sure coffeee pot was warm at all time" didn't sound as impressive.

I'm surprised he didn't claim that he programmed the AI for the 2nd ghost in Ms Pac-Man as well.

The one thing I always liked about the Activision designers of old (i.e. Atari 2600 games) is that they were amazing programmers that knew the console in and out. Yes, gameplay is always number one, but to have an outstanding game, you have to add something new. David Crane did his platform thing with Pitfall and Carol Shaw (?) did River Raid. With those games, they pushed the limit and added something completely new. I wonder what innovative things Tom did?

Cheers,
Hooky1963

Re:MMORPG (1)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 13 years ago | (#107441)

EverQuest is also evolving their storyline over time to fit the new areas they bring up, but like mentioned, they have patches almost every week, many of them lasting 8 or more hours. And almost always after the patch is the patch to the patch because it wasn't properly tested.

From what I've experienced though, other then the patches (which are almost always announced days ahead of time) there is very little server downtime. There have been several times when I experienced either severe network lag or packet loss, and you get to watch a lot of the game sprites of PCs and monster 'jump' around a lot because of it.

No game is perfect though. Well, Pac-man, maybe...

Kierthos

How will economies work in NWN ? (2)

tmark (230091) | more than 13 years ago | (#107442)

When I read this post, and then the referred-to article, I couldn't help but wonder how they are going to allow DMs to create their own worlds, create their own magic items, and interact with players, while still allowing the players and items to transfer to other worlds. How are they going to prevent me from setting up an easy scenario with lots of easy booty and experience points just to jack up my friends' characters ?

The only things I can thing of that might work: 1) you make the DM pay for stuff with real money...maybe as more people who play his scenario, he gets credits to create more stuff. 2) The game restricts how much stuff (treasure, etc) can be awarded for a given amount of monsters that must be slain. But it seems like it would be nearly impossible for the game to effectively enforce such a policy.

Re:Voice Over Done Well (1)

sideshow-voxx (242126) | more than 13 years ago | (#107443)

hehehe if you want to hear some REALLY bad voice-acting, try Crusaders of Might and Magic. It had me in hysterics!

Innovative Gameplay (1)

sideshow-voxx (242126) | more than 13 years ago | (#107444)

I keep on reading in all these articles about the tension between a game with innovative gameplay and one which is likely to sell. I have to ask - how many FPSs do we need? Or how many Tomb Raider clones, Ultima clones or C&C clones?

When are people going to say "I have played that game enough times now" and go and actively seek something new?

Sadly, I fear that if you really have a good new idea for a game, you'll have to make it in your spare time, give it away for free, and let someone else make a whole bunch of money out of a clone of it if it takes off.

Re:here's a disaster story (1)

dopplex (242543) | more than 13 years ago | (#107445)

On the other hand, with regards to AO, they've stated that they aren't going to start charging yet. (When they will is a mystery still: "Until further notice" I believe. Presumably this means: "You can start paying when the game is playable") Statement Here [216.74.158.92]
Again, Funcom would like to apologize to all of our customers who have been troubled by these various issues. We would like to inform you that the first included month of playtime will not start until further notice. Funcom can also assure you that most of these issues will be solved in the near future that we will work very hard to prove that Anarchy Online is the very best online there is! :-)

Personally, I think I'll be satisfied with it. The design (IMO) has some major improvements over EQ (I haven't played AC) in the mission system and a skill system that requires a bit more choice and should result in a bit more individuality at higher levels. What I disliked most about EQ was that two characters of the same race, class, and level were essentially identical, apart from equipment. To my mind, an RPG ought to offer multiple ways for each class to accomplish things. Right now, it seems like AO may do this. Of course, I haven't been able to play it for more than 20 minutes without it crashing.... But perhaps someday!
-Daniel

no udp (1)

Kraft (253059) | more than 13 years ago | (#107446)


by the way, I'm pretty sure they use UDP and not TCP
Nopes, they only use TCP. Check out this thread [funcom.com] on the AO forums.

You are definatly not the one only bitching about this game.... just check out the General forum for AO, and you will see some complaining and bug reporting [funcom.com] .

-Kraft

NeverWinterNights, an E(xpandable)MMORPG (1)

Kraft (253059) | more than 13 years ago | (#107447)

In the MMORPG genre, I'm retty excited about NeverWinterNights [rpgplanet.com] (official site here [neverwinternights.com] ) by BioWare [bioware.com] , the ppl who brought you Baldur's Gate. It's RPG style online game, big and 3d, but it will have the possibility to build your own Worlds with an included kit. You can then connect your worlds with others, so the release of the game is really just the first step. They kinda promised to pre-release more tiles (building blocks) to create worlds. Woh...

What I find TOTALLY cool about NWN as a D&D fan is that NWN is based on 3rd Edition D&D and you will be able to [neverwinternights.com] let your Game Master create a world (a town, a desert or a whole planet), and only let his players join. This way I can play D&D over the net, just with my friends. If we feel like it, we can portal to other worlds, and, as a team, slay other ppl. My RPG group has been looking for remote playing software forever, since we live pretty far away from each other.

Disclaimer before I get flamed to hell: take all of this with a pinch of salt. The general attitude of BioWare seems to be "maybe we will have this or that, I can nearly guarentee it", so I know, it's not for sure we will see ALL of this functionality.
btw, ETA for NWN is Spring 2002.

-Kraft

too late, sorry... (1)

Kraft (253059) | more than 13 years ago | (#107448)

found at dictionary.com, (c) The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition

n.
  1. One who is addicted, as to narcotics or a compulsive activity.
  2. A devoted adherent; a fan: "We are all... addicts of change" (Christopher Lasch).
I have no problem with "addicted" being watered out, but "love" and "hate" losing their meaning due to insincere use, bothers me.

-Kraft

MMORPG (3)

Kraft (253059) | more than 13 years ago | (#107449)

MMORPGs [massive multiplayer online role playing game] are completely different from the usual product, because shipping the CD is not the final step -- it's only the first. These games have to be continually supported, not just by tech support and moderators, but by programmers, artists, designers -- an entire development team has to keep working on these games, to add new levels, new worlds, new storylines, new scenarios. To not only entice new players, but to keep the existing players playing.
A friend of mine is an Anarchy Online [anarchyonline.com] addict, and he told me that Funcom is planning that story to develop over 4 years. Right now the Omnitechs and the Rebels (the two opposing forces your character can join) haven't even met yet.

However, developing the story seems to be Funcoms smallest problem right now. They are having serious connection and server uptime issues, which is pissing off all the players. From what I hear, the game only uses TCP/IP and no UDP like most other online games. This means that every packet has to be confirmed, which is not always needed.

Apparently the game is very addictive (I think my friend will lose his job, if he doesn't quit playing during work).

-Kraft

Re:just try it here (1)

Nitar (261628) | more than 13 years ago | (#107450)

do you try to get a refund if the burger did not taste the way you liked it ?

Yes you do, if they cooked it wrong. If I order a rare burger, and it comes out well done, I fully expect a refund.

Do you try to get a refund if the book you bought was not just that good ?

Again, you sure do. Most large bookstores offer a 30 day refund on books. If I buy a technical book that sucks, or is filled with errors, you bet I'm going to return it. Sure, a $6 paperback might not be worth it, but a $40 - $50 book is absolutely worth returning.

Here's the deal. Most places that sell software will only give you an exchange for the exact same piece of software that you purchased. This is worthless. If the software that I bought sucks, or especially if it doesn't work, I should get a refund. If I bring AO into most chains and tell them that it doesn't work on my computer (which is true), they will tell me, "That's fine, grab a new copy of the same game." Of course the new one won't work either. The problem was not the physical material that I purchased. The problem is in the product itself. It DOESN'T WORK! In essence, I have just burned $50.

Fortunately there are places in Atlanta that you can return softare for any reason. It costs a little more, but if there's a game that I am not sure is going to be good, I'll pay the extra fee for the privelege of being allowed to return a faulty product if I need to.

State of MMORPG'S (4)

ColdrenX (300531) | more than 13 years ago | (#107451)

An avid Ultima Online player, I can tell you that MMORPGs have the potential to be HUGE! But there are a few shortcomings to MMORPGs that are obvious to anyone who has ever played one that pose an equally huge threat to the market:

Connection Speed -- Not everyone has cable or a T1 line to connect with. The simple fact that your ability to enjoy a game can be jeaprodized by a telephone line poses a major problem for most users.

Play Styles -- Not everyone can play nicely together. Player Killers (PK's) and Roleplayers despise one another. Plain and simple. Need proof? Look at UO again. For the longest time you only had one "realm" to play on. Complaints by people to Game Counselors and support staff grew to such magnitude, OSI (aka, minion of the hellspawn known as EA) had to double their servers capacity so that there were now 2 realms for every shard: This worked out to be at least 10 new servers at that time that had to be maintained on the prexisting budget. Imagine the hit R&D took!(That would explain why UO3D sucked my dogs balls) And once the non-pking shard was opened, 2/3 of the client base went to the new "Non-Pking" facet known as Trammel, leaving the former facet nearly desolate.

Content-Control -- Individual users have little to no say about what they want the game to become despite the fact that they pay for it. Only massive quantities of emails and posts agreeing on a new aspect get implemented (and some that are NOT agreed on). Take UO yet again. Once player housing was allowed, everyone wanted a house. This lead to servers being jam-packed with new data from all the subsequent houses. To solve this problem, OSI imposed housing placement limitations (some of which in my mind were LUDICROUS! You can't place a house within a few steps of a certain type of grass for example)that caused a tremndous outcry from players. They had lost control of an aspect of a gaming world they pay for. Piss off too many players, and you loose money.

These are just 3 of the major aspects that stick out in my mind that the article didn't mention when they said online games were "The Next Big Thing". Although I have to agree MMORPG'S are really awsome.. I'm drooling over Shadowbane [carnage.net] right now.

Re:more like this (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 13 years ago | (#107452)

  • Developer: Umm, we have the Flash demo that we showed to the investors, and this code that draws a spinning wireframe cube.

You guys got your cube to spin? Ours just twisted itself inside out. Something to do with the Matrices being back to front, apparently, although they haven't released the Matrix 2 and 3 yet, so I don't get that... unless they're prequels...

Re:more like this (2)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 13 years ago | (#107453)

Actually, this is funny, not OT - unless you're a technically illiterate goober, that is.

Hey, I've got karma to burn and I'm tired of being modded down by ignorant bitches. Do your worst, bitches.

Re:here's a disaster story (2)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 13 years ago | (#107454)

  • Do you have *any* experience of the gaming industry? and esp. MMORPG's? or even Diablo?

I do.

  • They've all been plagued with launch issues affecting availability and the like

OK. But the AO developers didn't even take the time to learn about trivial stuff, like that TCP sucks (for bulk game traffic)? I wish them well, but it sounds to me like whoever made that decision needs to be shown the door, and soon, if AO is to rescue itself.

But hell, they've got nice box art, so it'll do well. ;)

Re:here's a disaster story (2)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 13 years ago | (#107455)

  • If you want to live on the bleeding edge, expect a few hiccups, otherwise wait for a while. They've created this amazing piece of software, this amazing piece of engineering, and all you can do is whine!

My, what a rant. Unfortunately, AO is an appalling piece of engineering. TCP? TCP?

Re:here's a disaster story (2)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 13 years ago | (#107456)

I say appalling advisedly.

I'd be the first to say that network architecture of a MPOG ("Massively" is meaningless without context or quantification) is a complex beastie, and very tricky to get right first time.

But this mistake has been made over and over again. There is a great article about the screw ups made in X Wing vs TIE fighter, that explains why you need to send some (most) traffic by UDP. My god, Netrek [netrek.org] worked through all this ten years ago.

Uh oh, my facial tic is back (3)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 13 years ago | (#107457)

Reading this, I was reminded of the producers/designers I've met in the games business over the years.

They have all been, without exception, soulless, talentless, buzzword compliant corporate cocksuckers with an "enthusiasm span" of about two weeks and all the loyalty and team spirit of a rattlesnake with a migraine.

The big giggle is that they grab the credit for great games (check the credits list in your favourite game), but shit never sticks to them. No matter how tits up the game goes, producers/designers always manage to pin the blame on development and stagger on to the next project, usually with a better package, because, hey, they gained valuable experience, right?

Here's a typical conversation between a producer and a developer.

  • Producer: I can't accept this, it needs better gameplay.
  • Developer: OK, in what areas?
  • Producer: All of it! I've got ten projects on the go, I can't think of everything. Just fix it!
  • Developer: How can I fix it if you won't tell me what you want?
  • Producer: I don't like your attitude.
  • Developer: What? I want to fix it, but...
  • Producer: Oh, wait, I've just got a better offer from Zappo-O-Games, I'm outie. Bob here will be taking over.
  • Developer: The fuck?
  • Producer Bob: Hi! I'm Bob! I'm twenty years old and I've got no practical experience to speak of, but boy can I fake sincere short term enthusiasm for this project! I just love your Mecha combat game! Really, I love it! But we need you to change it into a racing game with giant armoured spheres! Six weeks OK?

Think I'm joking? I only wish.

I just HAVE to say it... (1)

Strangely Unbiased (313686) | more than 13 years ago | (#107458)

Interview with Tom Sloper, Veteran Game Designer

What the hell is a veteran game?

Sorry.

The future of gaming... (1)

glenkim (412499) | more than 13 years ago | (#107459)

is ColecoVision? Talk about tongue in cheek.

Sometimes it works out just fine (1)

s21980uh (415606) | more than 13 years ago | (#107460)

...but, in my experience, only if the acting is more or less "cartoony" or stereotypical. In Grim Fandango, for example, I thought the voice acting was superb, very convincing and hilarious. But then that game also took place in a completely ludicrous setting, with heavily put on stereotypes (remember the beatniks in the cafe, anyone?) that made lack of realism not such a problem. Same with DiscWorld Noir: the heavy film-noir pastiching made unconving dialogue not such a big problem.

I guess what this means is that the problems aren't so much technical, as you suggest. Instead, I believe it has to do more with suspension of disbelief. In a realistic, or "serious" setting (the world is at peril! you must rescue it! hurry!) this is much harder to achieve. Also,most dialogue in games (as well as in B-movies) sucks anyway, so there's no way for someone to make it convincing.

on usenet (2)

DkY (444692) | more than 13 years ago | (#107461)

I remember last year I had the opportunity to ask Tom Sloper a few questions on a newsgroup, I forget which one, a games design one I think.

Anyways, he gave really good answers to my questions and was generally very helpful. Take a look at his website aimed at giving advice to budding games designers-->> Sloperama.com [sloperama.com]

This is of course a bit offtopic I think, have mercy on me!!

Re:Don't Trivialize The Word "Addictive" (1)

John F. Ketamine (454506) | more than 13 years ago | (#107462)

God dammit, that post was funny as fuck. Mod him up!

Re:NeverWinterNights, an E(xpandable)MMORPG (1)

DaftMule (456308) | more than 13 years ago | (#107463)

Thank god they decided not to make NWN a pay to play MMORPG. The ability to create and serve up you own D&D worlds is what gives NWN it's true potential. I would guess that new tile sets for the world-building tool will appear in fairly short order after the release of the game which will allow more flexibility in generating the look and feel you want for your own worlds. The question is, will the ability to create new tile sets be released to the playing public? Hope so...

Haha.. (1)

houTTni (463318) | more than 13 years ago | (#107464)

I returned the "software" (read: Ford Explorer) for a better version (read: Audi TT). Seems that the first piece of software had the bug that would cause it to unexpectidly blow up your system.


"Press any key to begin."

Re:Innovative Gameplay (1)

nixxy (463440) | more than 13 years ago | (#107465)

The reason there are clones of the games you mentioned is because they work. not to mention how much of a pain it would be to create new genre's of games.

I'm a big fan of War strategy games, First one I played was Dune (Which is what C&C is a "clone" off). In my experience the "clones" are better than the originals I love playing C&C but I prefer Total Annihilation but on the other hand I prefer quake to the QII and QIII.

Its like movies when they find something that works they stick too it, without realiseing people get tired of the same thing (Screen1-3, I know what you did last summer, I still know what you did last summer, I have a freind who knows someone who mentioned something about what you did a few summers back).
------------

If only... (2)

Richard Bannister (464181) | more than 13 years ago | (#107466)

Anyone know if there are any modern Vector-based game systems available? I've not seen any, either arcade games or console - but then I do live in Europe!

Is there a solid technical reason why vector systems are not made any more, maybe?

The real problem with MMORPG (1)

LizerdKing (464780) | more than 13 years ago | (#107467)

The real problem with online RPG's is that no matter how hard developers try there is never an even advantage/disadvantge for the users.
I played UO for a LONG time. The people who started playing after me didn't have the advantage of certain bugs which would increase their skill like it had mine. They would patch the game to remove the bugs that allowed me to raise my skill faster. Anyone who didn't use the bug, or just started playing the game was at a disadvantage.
Then they decided that the different weapon skills were unfairly balanced. I had picked to be an archer because I knew the archer's had an advantage. Lo and Behold another patch, all of a sudden Mages were at an advantage.
The problem wasn't with the gameplay or lack of servers abilities, it was the fact that it wasn't ready when it was released. The game was patched to the point that no matter what I had done online previously, it was a wasted effort.
The problem isn't in the actual game most of the time, it's with the Patches.
If they had left Ultima Online alone, I would still be playing it.
Lazy Developers are the problem!

Re:How will economies work in NWN ? (1)

Nakaru (465167) | more than 13 years ago | (#107468)

It's stated somewhere in their FAQ - you have the same sort of open/closed character system as in Diablo2, whith closed characters stored in their vault (i.e. server) and when you check it back in, if you have gained too much XP, or too powerful of items, then it gives you the option to keep the items and become an open character or reduce the gains to what is acceptable and stay closed. Thus there is a standard for keeping play level across the board, while Monty Hauler's can play according to their own style without impacting others.

Re:Tom's CV (1)

tsloper (465210) | more than 13 years ago | (#107469)

Hr. Hooky1963 wrote: "In 1983 he assisted in the development of Vectrex games for DataScan? I wonder what he really did? "Made sure lines had accurate shade of blue/green." or "Made sure coffeee pot was warm at all time" didn't sound as impressive. The Datascan producer, Jeff Corsiglia, was not getting anywhere with the programmer of the game 3D Narrow Escape, Richard Moszkowski. I stepped in, worked with Richard, explaining the game concept to him and assisting him in getting the game designed and running. The coffee pot was cold, BTW. Any other questions about my resume? Tom

Re:who cares ? (1)

tsloper (465210) | more than 13 years ago | (#107470)

mindpixel wrote: "Yeah, no kidding. I wrote that question to Tom and now I really wonder what the heck he did..." -- I was a designer. I was not a programmer. Listen to the speech I gave at the GCE about what I did at Western Tech. There's a link at my website. -- Tom
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