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391  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: "Number Crunching" on: June 01, 2011, 12:07:58 PM
The wrong numbers lead to the wrong conclusions. The right numbers, properly interpreted, lead to correct conclusions. Poorly interpreted, yet more wrong conclusions.

So from a "scientific" or "analytical" perspective, you of all people should know that the notion "you can use numbers to prove anything" is the purview of the person who doesn't actually want to give the numbers their full critical analysis.

Outside the bounds of what we're talking about here, but let's just say computers wouldn't work and ergo video games wouldn't exist if you could "use numbers to prove anything". From the perspective of the software designer. ;-)

As to the design issue of artificial barriers based not on skill but on time commitment, which now that we've discussed it farther seems to be the real crux of the matter: I think it is perfectly okay for these things to be a matter of taste, but these design decisions often come down to very real cost issues. Perhaps dollars are not a legitimate excuse, but in the end it's a business and sometimes you need to make decisions on where you want your money spent.

Finally, as for wanting to play the game in ways aside from the way the designers intended - the difference between video games and other media is that there is a limit to how much FREEDOM one has to explore. You can let your imagination wander past those hills on the horizon for example, but if a designer didn't build anything beyond them to actually see yourself, you can't actually go there. Same thing with a boss battle. If a battle is designed a certain way (and the more complex the battle and AI, the more money required), trying to do things a different way may in fact prove frustrating (or ridiculously easy or otherwise unbalanced). That doesn't always mean it's a failure on the part of the devs or the designers. Your choice between the sniper rifle and the shotgun still had to be put there and accounted for in some way by the devs to even be possible, let alone fun.

Dragon Age is actually a really good example of what you are talking about. As a story, I thought Dragon Age: Origins soared. As a GAME however, something I play within the bounds of tactile input and mechanics, I thought it was pretty awful precisely because of the way choice was such a transparent illusion, exacerbated greatly at higher difficulty settings.

In the end internet forums are probably the most imperfect place possible to have a conversation like this. It would be better to discuss it with a bottle of cognac and some cigars.
392  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: "Number Crunching" on: June 01, 2011, 10:25:35 AM
A little bit, yeah. :-)

As for the math - the human brain is notoriously terrible at interpreting randomness. I particularly recommend the book The Drunkard's Walk for anybody interested in the topic. The human mind is actually SO bad at randomness that typically when you are doing it EXACTLY right, you will be accused of doing it WRONG. I remember way back when iTunes had to release an update to its shuffle algorithm to make it LESS random because people were accusing it of playing the same songs too often!

EDIT: http://www.amazon.com/Drunkards-Walk-Randomness-Rules-Lives/dp/0375424040
393  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: "Number Crunching" on: June 01, 2011, 10:13:03 AM
I'll say here what I said in the editor forums when we were discussing this particular editorial:

In this day and age, why play games that have an element of randomness if you don't like randomness? At this point there are so many games that borrow storytelling and character building elements from RPGs that if you don't want to ever miss something if you have enough skill to line up your shot, then you can play those games! They exist in abundance!

Same goes for D&D really. Why, games like Sorcerer, Dogs in the Vineyard, etc. - these are games built by people who enjoyed the storytelling and creative elements of D&D but hated the randomness. They were built to cater to exactly the audience Rob is representing here. So why not play those instead?

I think that the point of view is perfectly valid (even if I think the math in the editorial is terribly misleading for reasons already pointed out) - the author likes games where SKILL is rewarded consistently. There are a massive pile of games like that. It seems strange to me to criticize a game for having an element of randomness when it was designed specifically to have randomness.
394  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Dungeons And Dragons: Daggerdale. on: May 27, 2011, 11:34:12 AM
Also D&D at this point can mean a lot of things anyway. Do we mean D&D settings like Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, or Planescape? Spelljammer? Ravenloft? Eberron? Or do we mean rules sets? I dunno.

Just like there are crummy D&D tabletop games run by crummy DMs, it doesn't mean D&D itself necessarily sucks.

I do feel ya though Zyco, it would be nice to see a really solid new video game set in one of the D&D universes. It does seem like its been a little while. But to be fair D&D has had plenty of awesome games spread out over the years. Heck the Gold Box games by themselves were pretty fantastic.
395  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Dungeons And Dragons: Daggerdale. on: May 27, 2011, 10:54:02 AM
I will hear no disparaging remarks about Wrath of the Dragon God!

396  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Bioware already working on Dragon Age 3 on: May 24, 2011, 10:11:17 AM
You have to admire the effort though! RAGE AGAINST THE DYING OF THE LIGHT
397  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: The girlfriend won't let me play video games, WTF!? on: May 16, 2011, 02:58:34 PM
The issue here isn't even games. It's about respecting the things that make each other happy.
398  Media / Miscellaneous Games / Re: Yakuza 4 on: May 09, 2011, 11:07:48 PM
Playing through Yakuza 4 now and I like it even better than 3. Both are fantastic.
399  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Hockey Thread! on: May 05, 2011, 08:53:55 AM
Hard for me to get sick of overtimes. In fact I'd take a few of them if it keeps the Flyers alive a bit longer.
400  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Hockey Thread! on: April 27, 2011, 10:04:32 AM
I just sort of assume the Flyers are pretty much hated everywhere but Philly. :-(
401  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Hockey Thread! on: April 27, 2011, 08:42:34 AM
Really a bummer about Chicago - was pulling for them. :-(

Plenty of room on the orange and black bandwagon, all are welcome.
402  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Hockey Thread! on: April 26, 2011, 10:28:00 PM
403  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Hockey Thread! on: April 25, 2011, 04:07:02 PM
Let's go Flyers.

404  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: What keeps you going everyday? on: April 21, 2011, 03:24:09 PM
You seem to have a fantastic wife Grim. I hate to inform you that she isn't the best wife in the world though, that would be mine ;-)

You're both incorrect.
405  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: What keeps you going everyday? on: April 20, 2011, 11:33:00 AM
How awesome today is and how much more awesome tomorrow will be.
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