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6616  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: How long do you play games a day? on: January 27, 2010, 02:02:26 AM
The Cleveland Browns could kick your ass at counterstrike.
6617  Media / The Soundroom / Re: Song of the Moment: The Original RPGFan Post Count +1 Megathread on: January 26, 2010, 11:17:39 PM
Surprisingly enough, nothing from the new Owen Pallett album. Given how much I loved his last one, I figured I'd REALLY love this. It even got better reviews. It's more sonically dense but... it's also kind of repetitive and boring. It's symphonic but to the extent that the melodies sort of suffer. Lewis Takes Off His Shirt is the only song that I can remember what it actually sounds like when I'm not listening to it.

So yeah. Another album that disappointed me in a long string of albums that disappointed me :(
6618  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Vagrant Story sucks balls y/n on: January 26, 2010, 11:14:50 PM
Okay, this post will actually be about VS.

VS has a lot of game systems. I mentioned how you could do a lot of things in it and they all had different interaction chains, from an interface standpoint.

Well, from a mechanical standpoing, they're each their own gameplay system. VS tends strongly towards the formation of concrete gameplay systems, like most JRPGs.

CRPG's DO NOT tend towards systems. They tend towards loose mechanics, and in some cases, even loose rules. While they often do have, for instance, a separate battle system, it won't be as decoupled from the other elements of the game as it would be in a JRPG.

Ultimately, I think the JRPG method ends up leading to a far more complex experience. I can't really explain why though, I guess.
6619  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Lunar: Harmony of Silver Star on: January 26, 2010, 11:04:09 PM
Oh, my other point is that while Lunar IS generally more lighthearted with some darker moments, the tone never gets unreasonable. Xenogears could swing back and forth between really heavy stuff and, uh, random power rangers references in a matter of minutes, making it hard to tell if the game was ever being serious or what.

I'm find with humor in games. I'm fine with gentle shifts in tone. I DON'T like games that fluctuate inconsistently between two completely separate moods. It's why The Longest Journey and most serious adventure games bug me. That and the stupid puzzles.
6620  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: RPGFan Game Journal XX - Sharpened Pencil Midnight Bathouse on: January 26, 2010, 06:50:44 PM
Played SimIsle. The DOS version, since I'm planning on LPing it and the Windows version is crashy as hell. Windows version has some other odd behavior. Like, building's will start working without a proper road connection, and stuff like that. DOS version has some weird glitches thanks to DOSBOX issues, though. I think I could run it without dosbox but then I wouldn't get any music and SI's OST is one of my favorites ever.

Played Jazz on easy mode. Game's werid because the level layouts change a bit based on difficulty level, and on the harder difficulties some are impossible to beat.

Experimenting with a new road layout in SimCity 4: http://img42.imageshack.us/img42/378/roadlayout.png

The two red lines are an avenue, blue lines are streets, and green lines are roads. Basically the thicker the line, the higher the speed and capacity.

Every intersection will force traffic to stop which increases congestion. You get a lot of intersections and stuff gets really crappy fast. Especially when you're changing road type.

Let's start with the roads. Per neighborhood, I have four roads. If each road connected directly to the street I'd have four intersections. That's bad. So I connect the roads in a manner that I have two rectangular loops. And instead of putting a single connection between those and street, I have them connected, so for every four roads I combine them down into a single intersection.

I'm actually less sure about what's going on with the street-to-avenue connections. As it stands there's just some side streets that occasionally feed into the avenue. What I REALLY should do is uh adopt another tuning fork approach like I did with the roads.

The right side of the avenue might be the MOST ideal situation here although there's less connectivity between the individual neighborhoods which isn't... exactly desirable:


Something like this would be a further improvement: http://img137.imageshack.us/img137/1787/roadlayout3.png

Here, the streets are connected by segments of street that don't intersect the avenue. I don't know if I want to stagger them like that or not.

Additionally I think putting crossover points in the avenue MIGHT be better where the streets already intersect some I'm not creating new areas of congestion.
6621  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: How long do you play games a day? on: January 26, 2010, 02:14:36 PM
I agree that 2009 was a downer

Yeah outside of videogames, 2009's really in strong running for being the shittiest year of the decade in general.

I did get some "Holy shit this is awesome!" feeling from a couple games I played last year, but only two of them were actually new games (DDS2 and Devil Survivor) and the crash bugs really sort of hamper my love for the latter.

STALKER 3's coming out this year, though. That alone makes me happy. And that new EU3 expansion sounds really good (I just need to figure out if it'll actually work with the IN version of the BlueMap fix).
6622  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Sands of Destruction Release Topic on: January 26, 2010, 02:09:55 PM
That's because most gaming review sites were designed by college flunk outs who were completely happy getting 50%s on their reports, whereas RPGFan is run by smart, attractive, successful people that do not have cocaine addictions.
6623  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: RPGFan Game Journal XX - Sharpened Pencil Midnight Bathouse on: January 26, 2010, 03:21:04 AM
Played SimCity 4 briefly. Realized that this charming little neighborhood/apartment block I created is a lot nicer than where I live now.

Found the drug shipment in Gothic 2.
6624  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Vagrant Story sucks balls y/n on: January 26, 2010, 02:46:35 AM
(New post for clarity).

One thing I want to define here is what I'm calling the difference between a rule, a gameplay mechanic, and a gameplay system.

I consider a rule to be a single, atomic description of an event in the game. "The fire attack does 30 base damage. Magic defense is subtracted from spell damage. Being weak to fire doubles the damage." Those are three separate rules that would govern how damage would be calculated if you used some fire attack on the enemy.

A gameplay mechanic is a set of rules and logics and other things that give rise to some sort of... clear and idiosyncratic gameplay feature. In Secret of Mana, you have the charge bar governing when you can attack and if you do a special attack. The rate at which the charage bar charges, how much it can charge, and the like -- those are rules.

A gameplay system is a set of connected gameplay mechanics that work towards a common, larger gameplay... feature. You have a battle system. It's comprised of various mechanics that govern how attacks are carried out, what combo system you have in place, how turn ordering is figured out. And these are governed by smaller rules. And then rules can also govern how different gameplay mechanics interact with eacother.

Gameplay systems tend to be fairly distinct from eachother. Not always, though, and it's especially fuzzy when you've got something like SH:C where every character has their own method of advancement. Are these methods of advancement different gameplay mechanics? Absolutely. But are they concrete systems on their own? Eh, hard to say. Part of it's a question of complexity, I guess. A single-mechanic... system is probably not actually a gameplay system but just a free-standing mechanic.

Anyway though, in that case they're still going to be fairly distinct, so they SORT OF behave like a gameplay system.

The thing is, in any case, gameplay systems tend to be seperate from other gameplay systems. They influence and interact with eachother, generally by altering shared data, like the character stats, but, say, in FFX's battles, you never see the sphere grid pop up for the sake of performing an attack. (Again, SH:C is some oddity here because the... SH:C is an oddity in a lot of ways. Let's just ignore it).

What I see as the difference between WRPGs and JRPGs here isn't so much a difference in complexity but where the complexity is. I seriously need to sleep but here's an example.

In Vagrant Story, the block pushing puzzles, weapon making, and battle system are all very different chains of interactions.

In Gothic 2, all interactions generally all revolve around the same *kind* of interaction.

This is mostly an interface difference but I'll explain how this relates to the actually gameplay mechanics tomorrow.

Ultima games tend to be rather complex

The classic era ultima games -- that is, 4 to 7 -- have really simple gameplay mechanics. 6 and 7, for instance, have all of like, four stats for the character (Strength, wisdom, dexterity, and HP).

Also sort of take issue with the Scumm VM example. That's an interface thing and not actually an issue of gameplay complexity.
6625  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Dragon Quarter - Love/Hate relationships on: January 26, 2010, 12:51:57 AM
That's from that... fuck, whatever page someone linked to a few posts back.

4 I remember being really slow. like, a lot of late PSX games seemed like they were locked at 40 FPS, which made sense because something like FFIX or CC is pretty visually complex and you want a consistent framerate. BoF4 felt like it was like at about 30 FPS despite being sprite based and not even remotely visually complex (except the PSX sucks at drawing 2D sprites for some bizarre reason, apparently, so whatever).
6626  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Vagrant Story sucks balls y/n on: January 26, 2010, 12:50:11 AM
but it's still a staple of PC RPGs to feature more complicated systems

Not really. While this could possibly be the case with MMOs and more modern RPGs -- I wouldn't know because I'm too cheap for the former and don't have a video card generally capable of playing the latter -- most PC RPGs don't have complicated systems.

True, there were games like Realms of Arkania and MegaTravller that had endless goddamn skills (most of which didn't actually do anything) and confusing, ornate battle systems, but those aren't the norm.

The big difference with PC RPGs is that a lot of turn-based ones favor gridded combat where you can move around. This doesn't tend to be horrible complex. Think Arc the Lad or something. As for the rest... they're generally about on part with SMT games as far as complexity goes. I mean, yes, Xeen has skills and some nominal notion of ranged combat and needing to eat or whatever, but none of these were complicated things to do.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that JRPGs have systems. PC RPGs don't really have systems in the same sense. PC RPGs have rules, which are generally numerous but fairly simple. Mini-gameish things like VS's combo chaining or FFX's sphere grid or whatever wouldn't fly in a PC RPG.
6627  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Dragon Quarter - Love/Hate relationships on: January 26, 2010, 12:27:48 AM
but as a Breath of Fire, it further alienates and rejects fans who fell in love with the unique style of the first three games.

Since when is "generic JRPG" a unique style?

I sort of have this vague temptation to play BoF3 sometime but I didn't like 1 or 2 and I hated 4 so I mean... I'm not sure where this desire is coming from ~
6628  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Vagrant Story sucks balls y/n on: January 25, 2010, 09:21:45 PM
Most PC rpgs are more streamlined than VS.

I think the (generally) defining difference between JRPGs and WRPGs is that JRPGs tend towards complicated rules and lots of systems whereas WRPGs tend towards lots of really simple rules that interact in interesting ways. VS is definitely in the JRPG camp in this sense.
6629  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Lunar: Harmony of Silver Star on: January 25, 2010, 04:03:59 PM
TSSSC is one of those games that STARTS OUT childish and then gets darker as it goes on.

If you're looking for a "deep" RPG such as Xenogears

I'll just leave this here:

6630  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: How long do you play games a day? on: January 25, 2010, 03:59:46 PM
Last semester, probably... probably less than two hours a week.

This semester I can't really say. I actually *gamed* over break. I don't know. Maybe 9 hours a week?
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