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7486  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: RPGFan Super Game Journal Turbo II - The New Challengers on: January 10, 2009, 12:33:42 AM
Okay. I was playing Crusader Kings. Um... Let's see.

I'm playing as Georgia, and I'm on my second monarch. It's 1078 and I'm 2000 gold in debt, with a prestige of 117, crappy piety, a personal demesne of 9 provinces (want to get that down to about 7) and I think there's something like... 14 total provinces in my empire.

Early in the game, I took some pagan and Muslim provinces bordering Georgia, which at that point was mostly situated on the eastern shore of the black sea. After expansion, I think I got... Albania and dwin. Actually, my first war ended in an inadvertant treaty with some pagan tribe. Major whoops.

Anyway, I'm essentially boxed in by some muslim super alliance to the south and across the caspian sea, and the tribe of Cuman to the north. They're allied with the tribe of Ural. Neither are impossible by themselves, but as I said--allies. I can raise an army of about 11000. Combined, they can do something like 20000, and it's a two front war. Still, not as bad as the mulsim super-alliance, so I do some early northward expansion and get Ilin, and later saray ,and then prompty lose saray because some BS tribe has a claim on it.

Several bouts of saving and reloading later, I discover that I really, really cannot deal with cuman head on. However, eventually (1076 or so) and ally of mine, alania, declares war on Ural, so I go to their aid. Somehow, cuman DOESN'T get involved and it's during a Crusade, so I'm guessing they're already busy elsewhere, and Ural's forces are down. So I take about 6000 guys north, steal some provinces, and... Azerbaijan and the Emirate of Derbent, two allied muslim nations, declare war on me. Azerbaijain takes Dwin, I try to take some of Derbent's provinces on the west shore of the caspian, I do horribly because Azerbaijan is huge. Then Azerbaijan takes over Albania and KArtli. But Derbent gets control of them. So I get Azerbaijan to leave me alone by recognizing their claim on Dwin, finish my war with the Ural because three provinces is enough and I need the 2000 or so soldiers there to help in the south, and... yeah, then I stomp Derbent out of existance, and georgia's doubled in size. Except I have a disconnected norther part, and I'm hugely in debt. Whoops.

Additionally, my dioecese bishop became heretical because I made him take too much money from the church, and apparently invented a new religion, as he gained some decent prestige for converting my sister into a heretic. Good job dude!

Main threats in the future are massive Muslim uprisings and the Golden Horde. I have about 130 years till that happens. Additionally, I'm bordering Saray and like a stone throw's away from Kipchak. Which were uh, kind of the major seats of power for the Golden Horde.

So, current long term strategic options for saving myself is basically to extand my northern claims and break out of the Caucasus.

* Get enough prestige to vassalize Alania. That way, North Georgia and Caucasian Georgia can be... approaching contigious.
* Find away to take out Cuman. They're the major block on northern explanation.
* The two major non-Muslim, non-Pagan empires are Byzantine, which I'm not sure I want involved with, and Rus, which is a bit of a mess right now, apparently, although I've started marrying off family into Ryazan and stuff.
* I could potentially move into Turkey, but I'm not sure that'd be worth it as the muslims are very, very well organized.
7487  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Do you like the Star Ocean-style RPG structure? on: January 09, 2009, 11:59:26 PM
I liked it in 2 and I didn;t like SO3 for getting away from it.

SO1 and 2 were, style aside, very much like PC RPGs. Linear, yes, but lots of side events, and really involving, non-linear characters customization. I love that. And a lot of my favorite games have tons of side events.

but in 80-hour epics like Star Ocean it annoys me greatly.

Wait what? In SO2 I got to
energy nede
at like 20 hours. No way that game is 80s hours long.

Wait.. what's so different about the third one?

Everything you like about SO1 and will like about So2 is probably gone in So3.

Also SO3 has a lot of weird little bugs. Sometimes the AI breaks in battle so one of your dudes just stands there doing nothing. There's also the map completion thing which DOESN'T WORK.

Visual style was also very rigidly stuck in the uncanny valley.

Also the dungeons are all essentially huge mazes, devoid of any detail.

Also the color scheme gives me a massive headache. I mean that literally. Something with the visuals is like eye seizures for me.

And go ahead and hate the VA in SO3 as much as you want, but nothing compares to ear-torture catastrophe that was SO2s voice work.

Yeah but SO2 was an early PSX game. None of them had good VA. SO3 came out in the US at a time when VA standards were far higher.
7488  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Have you ever cried or gotten emotional from an RPG? on: January 07, 2009, 12:58:55 PM
I'm just putting this whole thing in tags. This is in regards to the CC stuff.

I was specifically refering to the movie at the VERY end of the game but since it came up... I looked up some stuff about the ending summer 08 when I was reaplaying the game, specifically the stuff about Zurvan because that was weird as hell. Mostly I'm just going to say look it up on Wikipedia, because anything other than that will PROBABLY lead me into an unsettling argument about authorial intent and whether or not the damn thing was actually some sort of guiding mythology behind the game's story or just something they threw in at the end.

The stuff about the sperms is just a weird elaboration on what Lucca says if you take her to the Lavos fight at the end of CT as far as I can figure. Very near parallel, except Lucca was talking about Lavos snarfin' all the peeps' genetic information and Schala's talking about that planet doing... that. Apparently Schala's just doing it to explain that Serge actually isn't useless to the universe, which much of the game had implied. Personally I think the insemination metaphor is kind of neat and wish it had been developed more over the course of the game instead of just in the ending bits.
7489  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: RPG Makers on: January 06, 2009, 07:51:12 PM

Take a page from ToadyOne and live by the mantra "organization is everything." No matter what else you do, keep the project organized, maintanable, and have a good idea what you're going for. Feature creep kills stuff fast.
7490  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: RPGFan Super Game Journal Turbo II - The New Challengers on: January 06, 2009, 07:41:57 PM
I thought about getting NA and In Nomine (In Nomine needs NA, right? Or MM Platinum needs them both?) but they're a tad bit pricey, there's two of them, and EU3 doesn't really work right on my hardware T&L-less laptop unless I download that static, hand-drawn map background which WOULD work except I pretty much play the game in political map mode. The CK expansion is a BIT more appealing to me because CK does work on my laptop I guess.
7491  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: I'm pretty sure this ISN'T what Jerry Lee Lewis was talking about. on: January 06, 2009, 07:25:07 PM
7492  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Name your favorite rpg. You can only choose one on: January 06, 2009, 11:30:38 AM
Final Fantasy Legend 2, if I haven't already said so.
7493  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: RPG Makers on: January 06, 2009, 11:29:19 AM
I probably didn't explain myself clearly enough. Writing stuff late at night'll do that to ya.

Basically, in brief, and I'm not sure if this is still true or not, but a large part of the RPG Maker community really didn't put a lot of energy and love into the games they were making, made really bad games as a result, still wanted praise for having made a game, and were utterly adverse to recieving any sort of criticism. In other words, the games were bad, they makers were behaving in a problematic manners so people didn't want to deal with either after a point.

Also, this was going on when RPG Maker 2K was still the main version. RPG Maker 2K3 was out, but still fairly new, and not a lot of people were using it, and those that were didn't really have a good grasp on its capabilities yet, so most of the games being made were being made with 2K. Having used 2K, it's incredibly inflexible and no matter what you do, pretty much everything made with it is going to play the same, and the built-in gameplay mechanics you were sort of forced to use just weren't very good. Not to mention that on the internet, most indie game makers are more interested in gameplay mechanics and couldn't really care less about story, and if you're using a system that essentially prevents you from coming up with your own gameplay mechanics, they're not going to be interested by default.

But right, though. Seriously, the core of this thing is that disproportionately huge number of RPG Maker games are bad, and so people don't really expect quality from RPG Maker, and are turned off when they hear that something was made in RPG Maker because of this.
7494  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: RPGFan Super Game Journal Turbo II - The New Challengers on: January 06, 2009, 12:34:38 AM
Europa Universalis: Playing as Russia, I annexed Kazan and got something like 30 victory points for it, because it was a mission. My next goal will be to take out the Teutonic Order, as they're fairly small, but they also have a lot of allies. Also that might get the Catholics mad at me. The Golden Horde might prove an easier target but then that might get the Sunnis even madder at me (they apparently didn't like me taking Kazan). I have to admit, the presence of random events and missions makes things a bit more... interesting than in EU3.

However, really, I think the Golden Horde sort of deserves to get conquered by Russia as payback for like... everything. Unfortunately, they didn't add in scorched earth policies until some EU3 expansion I don't have :333

Russia also has this funny problem where it's frozen half of the year so my armies always freeze to death. So if I take on the Teutonic Order, that means MORE wintery fun and death by freezing.

Now I have this weird urge to go play Russia in Crusader Kings and see if I can get the Rurik dynasty to last >:3
7495  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: RPG Makers on: January 05, 2009, 11:51:30 PM
Just a few points about your article I want to respond here and I may as well do it here. Actually, it's mostly just one point but I have to put up a bunch of other stuff to get to it as coherently as possible.

The central question at your article is "Why does RPG Maker get a bad rap?" and I'm going to try to answer that.

You draw a parallel between the Unreal Engine and RPG Maker. The Unreal Engine and RPG Maker are very different things. On one level, RPG Maker is a complete development tool, and, to the best of my knowledge, the Unreal Engine is not. Most importantly, though, the amount of difficulty and work required in creating a 3D renderer that works on the same level as, say, the Unreal 3 engine doens't really compare at all to writing an engine for a 2D RPG. For the latter, you can get by with a basic knowledge of C, and a fairly good knowledge of SDL and LUA. I have no idea what the former involves, honestly, but I'm pretty sure you have to know, in addition to programming, a great deal about how GPUs work, at the least, and a whole lot of conceptual stuff that pertains to 3D rendering.

In any case, though, it's not so much RPG Maker itself that bothers a lot of indie developers. Nobody complains about Clickteam products (Unless you're using Klik n' Play, but that lacks any capabilities for making a fun game). So, no, it's not the tool itself, but the community. More specifically, there's a certain mindset that a lot of the RPG Maker users tend to have. In brief: "I'm just doing it for fun, so it doesn't matter if it's good." Screwing around with making games for your own amusement isn't really the problem either, though.

I'm sure you've heard the saying that 90% of anything will be garbage, whether it be music, writing, movies, or video games--and this also filters down into all the different genres (personally, I think this number is a bit inflated, but I digress). Apply this to RPG Maker games, though, and the number shoots up to something like 99%. Yes, there have been a few good RPG Maker games. But the vast majority are utterly horrid, don't do anything creative, and are just a massive ball of typo-ridden, incoherent text and ripped sprites.

Need I say anything more than "Phylomortis?" And that was on the high end, as far as production values go (and its incoherence came from a completely different source).

Once bitten, twice shy, you know? It's not that RPG Maker gets a bad rap. RPG Maker games get a bad rap because mostly, they are bad, and it's very hard to seperate the wheat from chaff because it's mostly chaff.

Actually, the ripped sprites have a lot to do with it. If you're just doing something for fun, then you probably are just going to rip sprites, because you're not going to invest a whole lot of time in making a professional-level project with all original graphics and music. Of course, ripped sprites look sloppy, and it's also very bizarre to see a recolored Crono sprite standing next to a recolored sprite from Phantasy Star 3 because, stylistically, they don't go together at all.

But people also have a problem with ripped sprites on the ground that, well, technically, it's questionably legal and there's a bit of copyright infringement going on. It's specifically the ripped sprites that are a problem. Nobody cares if a game maker doesn't do there own art if it's from a public domain or with-permission source. Amaranth did this for a couple of their games, I believe. Using ripped sprites is lazy, looks lazy, and you could get far better results for free if you just looked around or asked around a bit. Or just modified the included sprite sets which are fairly good and, if I remember correctly, not that hard to modify.

But that's not even the problem, really.

And you do mention a warped sense of entitlement in your article. True, this is a problem, but it goes both ways. No, you shouldn't deserve to feel entitled just because you wrote the game from the ground up in C++. Just the same, you shouldn't feel entitled to praise just because you made a game. If your game doesn't have an appealing story or script, and none of your audio-visual assets are original, you shouldn't expect anyone to take you seriously, and you shouldn't get mad when they don't.

Or, if you were just don't it for fun and didn't care how good it turned out, don't get mad when it turns out bad, and if you show it to other people, don't get mad when they tell you this.

It all kind of comes back to programming though.

Two guys make a game. One makes it in RPG Maker and the other guy programs it himself, from scratch, in C++. Both games suck. Utterly atrocious. However, the guy that programmed it himself made his own engine, and at the least, has that. The guy that used RPG Maker really doesn't have anything at that point.

(I'm not saying this is necessarily how I feel personally, though. This is mostly just the impression I get from other people).
7496  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Have you ever cried or gotten emotional from an RPG? on: January 04, 2009, 06:53:14 PM
SoM's ending scene isn't that sad but the sequence of events leading up to it is a bit unsettling given the otherwise very lighthearted tone of the game.

Let's say the bit starting with finding the memory orbs or whatever they were called. Maybe when you get to the subway station. Basically, when you find out that the game's taking place on post-apocalyptic Earth, I guess
. THAT'S when it starts getting weird.
And then Flammie dies

Then again, and while I can't speak of anything after the first for, Seiken Densetsu games are always sort of mean to the characters.

Rachel, Flammie, Sprite, Karl, EVERYONE HAWKEYE EVER LOVED, that red caped guy who's name I can never remember, all of the Jumi, Matilda, Irwin, the junkyard full of toys

Of course
Rachel was sort of the only time in an RPG where I can remember you having to actually stab the character yourself

Although there is that part in Albion where you
can do the first dungeon the wrong way which involves killing the living crystal inside of it, which makes the dungeon get all sad and dead looking and it's rather sad in a nutpunching kind of way
7497  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Boys, we missed out on something when we were kids. on: January 04, 2009, 05:52:42 PM
's not competitive menstruating at least.
7498  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Have you ever cried or gotten emotional from an RPG? on: January 04, 2009, 05:42:06 PM
I think I've gotten more emotional as I have gotten older

Have you started crying during commercials, yet?

Yeah, but you can probably dummy Sephiroth into your party as well, cause you play as him as well for a bit...

I sharked my entire party to be Red XIII because I'm such a goddamn furry (and cait sith is !@#$ing suck).


Chrono Cross:

The live-action ending movie, where Kid is walking across the train tracks and stuff. First time I saw it I thought it pretty appropriate and kind of meloncholy and nice. Now, I guess it doesn't really make me sad, but like... Lots of dead rails going off into the distance and overgrown fields is basically what Ohio is to me. So... I don't know. It's not something that really made me sad or cry or anything. Just brought back a lot of weird, old memories.
7499  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Did FFVII ruin RPGs on: January 04, 2009, 05:34:41 PM
For me, SMT:Nocturne ruined RPGs because it made me realize all the stupid crap I put up with during the 16-bit era, with status attacks not working and the like, and now I can never enjoy them again.
7500  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The Dark Spire - Any impressions yet? on: January 04, 2009, 01:59:14 AM
I mean, why wouldn't I just play Wizardry instead?

This is what I say about all of those Elite clones that never actually try to IMPROVE on Elite (and for the love of god, no, Elite WAS NOT perfect. Innovative and way ahead of its time, sure, but come on).

Of course, the biggest problem with modern games trying to be oldschool is that they miss the point. Here's where PC gaming is a bit different from console gaming. You went to toys R Us in the mid-nineties, you'd find tons of console games. There'd be computer games, but not a whole lot. Same for other big box retailers. And there were gaming mags, sure, but not a lot dealing with PC games, so you were kind of in the dark whenever you went to get games because the internet wasn't that widespread back then. And then you had the huge labyrinthian shareware system to sort through, too. So basically, no matter what you were playing, there was a pretty low chance that most of your friends had ever heard of it unless it was something REALLY popular like Doom. There was this weird mystery to it. Like you were the first person to play any of these things, ever.

Kind of like you're fiddling with your AM radio at night and somehow find a weird, Czech number station that you really don't think should be there.

Maybe that's not how it happened, but that's how I remember it. Now, pretty much everyone plays everything. I'm not really sure WHAT was lost from the old school era, but I will say that I haven't really seen it reclaimed.
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