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6511  Media / Miscellaneous Games / Re: Most under-rated games ever? on: October 18, 2009, 08:15:23 PM
How is Alpha Centauri underrated..?

Also I have to admit I never got that far in Summoner 2 but absolutely adored what I played. Great example of allowing character customization while keeping everyone unique.

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RPGs up until Chrono Trigger were largely bogged down by slow pacing and artificial difficulty levels. CT eliminated a lot of that.

Eliminating egregiously bad is not good game design so much as it's something that should just be common sense. CT's corrections to the RPG formula don't so much speak for CT's quality in and of itself so much as they indicate how much of an absolute nadir RPGs were in prior to it.

It's actual novel gameplay additions are rather slight, and I'd have a hard time saying it added anything new from a strictly-mechanics standpoint outside of combo attacks, as the improvements to dungeons was more of a level-design thing, and the battles on the map thing was... strictly visual.

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As to the payoff between individual or team-up attacks: I don't know where you're getting that.

I'm getting it from me replaying CT this summer. A lot (*not* all) of the double attacks only do marginally more damage than their component attacks would together, unless you're hitting an elemental weakness in which case the double techs are actually generally stronger, but elemental weaknesses weren't ever hugely important *except* for a few fights, and except for a few dungeons, you wouldn't even be messing with techs for regular fights.

Triple techs I never really even bothered with and never really suffered for it. I've generally heard they weren't worth messing with from other people, too.

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Do you base a game's value solely on balance alone?

It depends on the genre, although I place a *huge* emphasis on balance for strategy games and traditional RPGs.

Strategy games, as a genre, are entirely built around balance. If balance is blown, the entire game is blown. This should be fairly self-evident.

As far as traditional RPGs go, they're generally turn-based, menu-driven, and lacking in novel gameplay mechanics. As I said, CT's main addition was combos. And selecting a combo from a menu is no more fun than selecting a regular attack from a menu, so balance is pretty important here. I'll post up some points on balance I made earlier, later.

The other important thing, to me, for RPGs, is dungeon/town/area design. This is harder for me to explain, though, so I won't.

I'd also place a really big emphasis on interactivity, but JRPGs don't really do this, so whatever.

For action games... level design is probably the most important thing throughout, with balance taking a back seat EXCEPT for arena-type games like Q3 or UT where balance is really fucking important to playability, because otherwise you get a single god weapon and it's too easy to lock out the match by getting said weapon and camping the weapon's spawn point.

For single player FPSes, I think weapon *novelty* is more important than outright balance. like, weapons with unique functions and, of course, the game providing you with opportunities to use these functions. Although really well-balanced weapons can sometimes do just as well. Depends on the level design, truthfully, which is why I really do think level design is the main guiding factor for FPSes and other action games.

Nice graphics, music, and story are always a plus, but the actual quality of the a/v and writing side of things will rarely, rarely change my opinion of a game unless it's something like Earthbound where the writing is exceptional enough to overcome the fact that the gameplay doesn't really have much merit (although I do find the area design to be pretty neat, especially the cities).

Of course, if I was still 12, I'd be QUITE happy to ignore the actual gameplay, and, say, use a certain character because I liked their personality or thought they were neat looking or something. This is because 12 year olds are smart enough not to analyze everything into oblivion.
6512  Media / Miscellaneous Games / Re: Most under-rated games ever? on: October 17, 2009, 11:20:31 PM
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Chrono Trigger is an example of excellent game design

No, it's not. The balance is wrong, both in the sense of the game being far too easy and in the sense of combo attack costs not really being matched to combo effectiveness (and combo effectiveness v. individual attack effectiveness being sort of flakey), and like most of Square's SNES games there's no gameplay outside of the battle system, except in this case it's even lacking character player-controlled character advancement.

Also, one of the major features -- that is, non-random battles -- sort of falls apart near the end of the game when they either get really hard to avoid or you hit "enemies just jump out of nowhere" points.

It doesn't require grind, and it marks a shift away from really stupid, large, empty mazelike dungeons towards dungeons that work more like semi-cinematic setpieces, which has sort of been the standard for RPGs since.

It's fun and it's non-offensive and it's probably better than Square's other 16-bit traditional RPGs, but I'd really be hard pressed saying it's actually an example of *good* game design, given that the mechanics are so slight and poorly balanced.
6513  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: RPGFan Game Journal XX - Sharpened Pencil Midnight Bathouse on: October 17, 2009, 10:28:06 PM
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Also: Plague sucks and I hate it.  Dying to lousy weak enemies because of a status ailment is total balls.

And you call yourself a Fatlus. what a poseur.

Completed the first quest thing in Aegis in Contact, I guess. Reward was a knife that gives me a 20+ to speed. While being weaker then the hammer I have, speed == more attacks == more important than strength to a degree.

Discovered Myst 5 runs bad on the desktop.

Did most of the tree age in Uru. That ages sort of has stupid puzzles.

Right now I'm eating Indonesian food. Indonesian food is really fucking good.
6514  Media / Brush and Quill / Re: Anime Light Novel comes to the US with 3D woman on Cover- Fans:"GRR" on: October 17, 2009, 02:09:15 AM
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Hmmm... what about American furry/werewolf porn?

That's always better because it's made of patriotism and eagles.

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Remember that 90% of everything is crap.

That's just something they tell you in highschool so you're not too disappointed when you become a balding wage slave without a sex life or anything of meaning to your name.
6515  Media / Brush and Quill / Re: Anime Light Novel comes to the US with 3D woman on Cover- Fans:"GRR" on: October 15, 2009, 11:12:41 AM
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What do you think?

I think people should read real books instead of creepy Japanese furry porn :(

Okay, all joking aside, the cover looks like some sort of crappy Twilight ripoff which will probably help this sell more since that WOULD immediately appeal to the teenage girl audience. I guess.

Is this even good? It doesn't sound very good. Is this still that "anime fans will watch anything that's anime even if it sucks" thing?

Also the girl on the original cover looks like some sort of creepy hydrocephalic rape artist with anorexia. Additionally EARS DO NOT COME OUT OF YOUR HAIR. Actually I miss 70s and 80s anime in general back when people were screwing with anatomy on purpose and actually knew what they were doing and still occasionally drew characters with real noses.

I mean seriously, here's Gundam: http://images3.jlist.com/g2/20090312140106_12_400.gif It's Japanese and anime but the anatomy more or less *makes sense*.

Can someone explain to my WHY anime is looking progressively more and more like some bizarre parody of anime?

Also http://www.arrakis.co.uk/jpg/danish_dune.jpg ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha oh god.
6516  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Mario passes away. ;_; on: October 14, 2009, 11:22:59 PM
http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/albano
6517  Media / Miscellaneous Games / Re: Sheena goes Brütal on: October 14, 2009, 04:45:04 PM
So I wiki'd this game and then wiki'd jack black and that took me to this thing which is called the "frat pack" and then I found this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:WillFerrellMay09.jpg

Holy shit he's only 42 ~?~?~?~?
6518  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: RPGFan Game Journal XX - Sharpened Pencil Midnight Bathouse on: October 14, 2009, 01:07:33 AM
Playing Uru.

My brain turned into coleslaw.

1. In the real world, Rand and Robyn Miller wrote Myst.
2. In Myst, it is possible for the D'ni to create worlds by writing them.
3. In Myst, the person that wrote Myst Island was Atrus.
4. In the real world, the person that wrote Myst Island was Rand Miller.
5. In Myst, Rand Miller plays Atlus.

This is already a metafictional clusterfuck.

And then Uru comes along.

Code:
6. Uru takes place in the early 2000's in the D'ni caverns, which are located beneath New Mexico. In this game, the D'ni Restoration Council is trying to renovate the old D'ni Caverns, and ages, in order to make them safe for tourism and science and exploration.
7. The DRC needs money.
8. So, as an in game plot point, they sell documents describing some of the ages and D'ni culture to Rand and Robyn Miller.

RECURSIVE FICTIONAL BREAKDOWN WHOOP WHOOP DIVE.
6519  Media / The Soundroom / Re: Song of the Moment: The Original RPGFan Post Count +1 Megathread on: October 13, 2009, 03:12:58 AM
Over the Rhine - Spark.

I have this obsession with Over the Rhine lately.
6520  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Legendary Rpgfan forums discussions... on: October 13, 2009, 12:15:59 AM
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Anyone who was around in 2001 or 2002 probably remembers the epic masturbation thread I started

What's so unusual about a Chrono Trigger appreciation thread?

~~~ooooooooooooooh~~~~~~~

Man I remember all the fanboyish LoM rants/arguments I used to get involved with because everyone hated it and it was my favorite game ever. i don't even LIKE that game anymore.
6521  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Games, Empathy, and Communcation... on: October 12, 2009, 10:53:20 PM
In regards to postmodernism stuff, I THINK death of the author isn't necessarily part of that. The idea actually seems bastardized in places. I guess it's not draw your own conclusion about everything, so much as anti authorial interference.

In other words, if you didn't put it in the story, fuck you you can't retcon it in. stop writing sloppily.

---edit---iup

I have this feeling like modern education is favoring trivial knowledge over actually being able to do anything. Four years and half of my major being computer science... You know, I can give laundry lists of C++'s features. I can talk about Big-Oh numbers and algorithms and operating systems and how stuff works and what stuff does.

And if you forced me to, I wouldn't be able to write a complete program.

There's no broad, over-arching structural knowledge here and I'm not sure where to get it. It's just minutia. Write a sorting algorithm or a binary search or a vector or or or...

This sort of came to an annoying head when I took the GRE a few weeks ago. I did sort of crappy on the verbal portion because I didn't know a lot of the words in the analogies and antonyms section, and frankly a lot of the words are archaic and ugly and the sort of things that, like ichor, if you ever actually DID use them in a work, you should probably be shot.

But the GRE is supposed to test what you learned in college. Is college really about learning a bunch of obscure words and super-trivial shit like that? Is that knowledge? Is that proving any sort of capability to doing anything? If you write using words that aren't known to the majority of the population, does that make you a good writer? I don't really think so. I think being a good writer is being able to convey ideas well. If nobody can understand you, you're not doing it right.

(Weird aside: Videogames sort of play into that a lot. Especially MMOs and the major multiplayer competitive things. You can minmax the hell out of everything and memorize tables and data and figures. Trivia stuff. Fox only, no items, final destination?

It's why I've sort of realized that Quake 3 is better designed than most RPGs. You actually have to be GOOD at Quake 3 to be good at it. Numbers do not fucking matter. Although this also applies to a lot of action games or any sort of strategy game where statistics are a lot fuzzier and contextual (and I'm not saying ALL RPGs have issues with this. Just a lot of them). Quake 3 isn't perfect. That's not what I'm saying. It's just... I don't know.

And then you have something absolutely brilliant like Persona 3 that has a thematic core ENTIRELY based around this entire thread).
6522  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Games, Empathy, and Communcation... on: October 12, 2009, 10:32:25 PM
One way of viewing games is as such:

Play can be seen as a form of creation. In particular, play can be seen as a form of narrative creation. RPGs and adventure games, oddly, are terrible at this. You might think otherwise, at first, as they are quite narrative based, but that's the problem. They have pre-packaged stories. You cannot *create* a story by playing a game. By playing your average JRPG, you only *witness* a story.

Even non-linear RPGs typically miss the mark, as you're still viewing a story. Just with some changes or in a different order.

Consider, instead, strategy/simulator games like Dwarf Fortress. It is difficult to explain, really, HOW a game without any storyline can turn out having such incredible stories. But it does. The game provides events and responds to actions and does this very thoroughly. It's easiest to see how this plays out by either playing the game or reading the famous Boatmurdered Let's Play.

Essentially, though, consider that a story is at its core a sequence of events. I think a better way of stating this is that videogames can be the narrators for the stories their players provide -- and vice versa, and when it's done well it's a constant and ever-shifting dance of roles.

This isn't, of course, limited to Dwarf Fortress. Most of Maxis' games do this well, as do a lot of Paradox's games (especially Crusader Kings, which has the benefit of characterization).

The difference between these games, and, say, a non-linear RPG, is that while a non-linear RPG might have a story that changes based on player actions, these games have stories that are ENTIRELY the result of player actions. And the player of course is allowed to do enough for these stories to be interesting.

---break--- ---edit---

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In fact, I'm starting to wonder if it commonly teaches us bad habbits, such as forgetting how to listen.

It does. Also, MMOs are solipsistic as fuck.

I have this unique disorder, though. It's called living in semi-rural Ohio. Look, I've talked about it before. Everyone in my hometown seems to have paranoid schizophrenia, and in Bowling Green... I've walked through the whole goddamn town. I've seen more streets than I can even mention. But I hardly ever see other people. You can't say "Good morning!" to a strange you pass on the street because there aren't any.

Most of my social interaction is, thus, online, because it's not even entirely clear to me whether there even ARE people offline that I can be talking to.
6523  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Games, Empathy, and Communcation... on: October 12, 2009, 10:07:28 PM
I'm writing two posts. This will be sarcasticy and commentatingy. The second one will actually be wort hreading.

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I’ve been mulling over an idea for quite some time about the psychological effect the video game medium has on people and a culture.

Videogames, like braincells, kill frat boys, and alcohol, thusly, loves them both.

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they do not offer insight into the mind of another person.

Okay, but whether books or movies even do this, I mean... that whole death of the author thing.

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"A narrator should not supply interpretations of his work; otherwise he would not have written a novel, which is a machine for generating interpretations."

Let's consider that. We can't really consider *anything* in a creative work concrete, because FOR it to be concrete there'd have to be some sort of word of god level... explanation. This is why I think death of the author is sort of bullshit.

If a creative work is nothing BUT interpretation, then why even write it in the first place? And if you're intentionally playing with this, then you're going to end up like those Deer Game fucks over at Tale of Tales.

More importantly, if I write a book, and you want to apply "death of the author" to *me*, then I'm going to apply "go fuck yourself with a horse dildo" to *you*. It's my IP and I can say whatever I want to about it.

On the other hand, if the author is staying mum on their own works, then it actually is true, and you have to freely admit that anything you're accepting as canon about a piece of work that is not absolutely, explicit stated, can be and probably is absolutely false. I mean I guess what I'm saying is if you consider death of the author, if a work is nothing but interpretations, can you even say it has any merit? Because what you find meritous might not even been what's intended.

This is why I'm a fan of the "it has a good beat and I can dance to it" school of rock criticism. I don't like seeing games as art. I don't like seeing anything as art. Art is boring and leads to nailing random pieces of garbage to a wall, or that Suda51 game about the hotel of dicks.

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Therefore, they only work to further isolate us from the world around us.

There's an essay in a Will Oldham album liner notes (Superwolf. Which is an Oldham/Sweeney collaboration, actually) that takes about how alcohol is inherently isolating, whereas hashish is more of a community experience. Hence, my original metaphor is even better.

I think someone should invent an iPod like device, only you can never listen to your own playlist. Instead, you can only beam it into someone else's machine. You can't do anything BUT share music. And you can like, put your contact info on the songs you send over, so they can get in touch with you. But you can never listen to your own music.

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we want to say everything ourselves, and not listen.

Additionally why death of the author is sort of bullshit.

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Transcripts of conversations from the 50s offered a lot more instances of individuals responding to each other’s ideas, empathizing with feelings and genuinely interested in listening to what the other person has to say.

This could just be people being less interesting, today. You don't have anything interesting to say, nobody's going to listen to you, and most people don't do anything interesting because instead of hauling ass across the country in a broken car, they do something stupid like going to college.

Of course, everyone believes that they really ARE interesting, even if they aren't.

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I myself, am diagnosed with a minor form of aspergers

HOLY SHIT NEWS OF THE CENTURY.

(j/k man. j/k)

Anyway, there's this essay out there, something like 10 reasons why the 20th century is making us miserable. Basically, there's not enough emphasis placed on achieving things, it's WAY too easy to cherrypick your friends and news and whatever else. And the kind of jobs that pay the most aren't usually things you can be passionate about.

So what you're saying is true.

Personally I just play videogames because I really do view them as kid's entertainment and I'm not finding any value in ever growing up.
6524  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Demon's Souls on: October 12, 2009, 12:42:10 PM
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People called Contra: Shattered Soldier hard.  Like DDR, games based on 'megaman memorization' just require practice.  It's not like an FPS where some people simply won't be as good as others.

Shattered Soldier isn't even THAT memory based. I mean, yes, it's memory based, but we're not talking Gradius 3 or even Hard Corps levels.

Although personally I think intense memorization in shmups isn't necessarily a good thing. Case in point I think Gradius 3 is utterly bastardly and not fair (namely, whenever you continue it's always in a fairly unwinnable spot with no items, which was probably done to pump money out of players by rendering continues effectively useless without entirely getting rid of them. Arcade origins and all). Also there is some validity to the point that once yu memorize the patterns the games tend to get really, really easy.

Which is why I'm really fond of SMT games for constantly finding a way to throw a dick in your machinations, forcing you to NOT rely on spamming the Best Attack You Have or whatever. Also the other problems with most JRPGs is that most patterns you find are useful in any particular context so it's just a matter of finding ANY pattern that works and spamming it everywhere...
6525  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Legendary Rpgfan forums discussions... on: October 11, 2009, 11:39:47 PM
Anything involving Russians, porcupines, and dicks.
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