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5416  Site Related & More / RPGFan: The Site / Why the absence of fan fiction? on: October 20, 2007, 02:10:00 PM
I believe those staff who have tried heading the fanfic section in the past faced a number of issues:  One was lack of submissions.  Another was a glut of submissions, many of them subpar.  Another was also that writers who submitted a piece of a larger fanfic (say submitting a 10 chapter epic 3 chapters at a time) either disappeared, stopped writing, or something else.  So there were unfinished works and no response from the writer.  I also believe that we were getting too many hentai submissions, and RPGfan has a policy against hentai content.  And even with a fanfic section where submissions undergo a screening process, you'd be surprised how many writers don't spell-check their work and submit stuff with atrocious grammar and punctuation.  

And speaking as someone who does some proofreading for the site and used to proofread professionally for a publishing company, I can say that proofreading a review, preview, or news article is a MUCH different endeavor than proofing a piece of fiction.  I once proofread an acquaintance's 250 page novel one summer and it took me the entire summer to do it.  250 pages of non-fiction would have taken me far less time.  

In addition, getting news, reviews, previews, and that stuff would take priority before fan fiction.  If I had to choose between proofing one piece of fan fiction or multiple pieces of informative content (assuming both would take the same amount of time,) guess what I would choose?  

In other words, we feel that the fan fiction section has proven more trouble than it was worth and the bandwidth could be better used for other parts of the site.  In addition, it has always been a low traffic section compared to others like news and soundtracks.  

Plus, there are tons of gaming fanfic sites that do a better job of hosting fanfics than we ever did.  And since nobody on staff wants to handle fanfics, it's not worth having them.  Would you rather a section be present, even if it's headed by someone who doesn't give a damn?  I'd rather have no section at all.  And believe you me, finding dedicated editors/staff to manage various fan sections is no easy feat.  When I worked at the aforementioned print publishing company, turnover in the proofreading department was insane.  

I know this isn't the answer you probably want to hear, but I figured I should at least afford you a straight answer as to why we don't have and currently don't want to have a fanfic section.  I owe you that much.
5417  The Rest / General Discussions / The video game difficulty discussion on: October 19, 2007, 09:07:19 PM
MegaTen games usually tend to be driven as much (if not more so) by their gameplay as their stories.  If you can't get into the play mechanics and challengind dungeons, then it's not a series for you.  In addition, those games tend usually to be more about strategy than all out grinding.  After all, if you're level 99 and have crappy demons or personas, you'll still get your ass kicked.  However, one complaint I did have in Nocturne and recent MegaTen games is that you have to be the same level of the summon to get it.  See, in previous MegaTen games (i.e. the Super Famicom Shin Megami Tensei games, the Playstation Persona games) you could summon demons and personas up to FIVE levels higher than you were so you didn't have to grind as much (though you still had to use the personas a lot so they'd level up and learn skills.)  And that did not and would not make the games any easier.  I think MegaTen games should still allow you to summon demons/personas five levels higher than your character.  I don't get why that play mechanic was phased out; it's not like the games were any easier because of it.

Either way, I wouldn't fault someone for using a Gameshark on a MegaTen game.  I personally wouldn't, but then again, I find myself Gamesharking Final Fantasy games with zero guilt.
5418  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Rumor: Skies of Arcadia sequel in the works. on: October 19, 2007, 08:58:47 PM
I agree that inputting and executing commands was as quick as any turn based system could be, but I felt in the effort to make battles look more cinematic, they took too long.  I REALLY wanted an option to turn off battle animations.  And, again, the herky-jerky, seasick camera was a huge turnoff as well as those seizure-inducing flashy strobe effects for special attacks.  Those have got to go.  

Whatever.  Bottom line is that I didn't enjoy battling in that game and for me if I can't get into the battles then what's the point?  I mean 85% or more of an RPG is spent in combat.  If Skies of Arcadia had a more engaging battle system I'd have enjoyed it more.  But that is just one man's unpopular opinion.  

That's one reason why among the Dreamcast big 2 (Skies and Grandia 2) I much preferred Grandia 2 because, well, the Grandia series has the absolute best turn based RPG battle system ever created and I feel every turn based RPG would be 100 times awesomer with a Grandia battle system... even though objectively Skies of Arcadia WAS the better RPG (better storyline, better exploration, better atmosphere, better everything almost.)  

A Skies of Arcadia sequel would be wonderful for RPG fans, but my personal opinion is that Overworks needs to rework the battle system from the original Skies of Arcadia game; especially the ship battling which was boring.
5419  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Rumor: Skies of Arcadia sequel in the works. on: October 19, 2007, 02:29:59 PM
Hmmm... so long as the sequel fixes the battle engine, I may give it consideration.  I wasn't a big fan of the original Skies of Arcadia.  The atmosphere was excellent, but battles were not fun.  The herky-jerky, seasick camera, the seizure-inducing flashy strobe effects, and the general slowness of the battles (why couldn't I turn off the battle animations?  Why did I have to waste time watching party members walk up to enemies or have my battles interrupted to watch blows being exchanged in the background?)  Ship battles were pretty blah too.  

If there is a Skies of Arcadia 2, then it had better have a better battle system than its predecessor.
5420  The Rest / General Discussions / Stephen Colbert is running for President... on: October 18, 2007, 10:36:51 AM
But this relates back to the discussion in the vigilante justice thread and how people still can't quite tell the difference between actual reality and television reality.  I remember back when the show The West Wing was on the air and popular; enough people tried to write in votes for Jed Bartlett (the Martin Sheen character), a fictional character, as president.
5421  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Eternal Sonata (aka pretension sucks!) on: October 17, 2007, 11:42:47 PM
Eternal Sonata aside, we can safely say that there are many RPGs that do that.  I mean, many recent Final Fantasy games have told solid and straightforward stories, then 3/4 of the way through the game they pull some weirdass WTF plot twist out of thin air, the story/game stop making sense, and the endings are nothing short of wacky.  FF8 quickly comes to mind here.  Disc 4 made absolutely no sense whatsoever and the ending was nuttier than a fruitcake.  Or what of FF9 or FFX where an otherwise amiable protagonist is given a deep, dark, terrible secret at the 3/4 mark that just disrupts the flow, goes against the character's character, and shatters any semblance of sense the story made thus far.  

...Yet we still enjoy those games and sometimes hold them in high esteem.  Although Eternal Sonata, according to Damian, falls apart at the 3/4 mark that doesn't mean it can't be enjoyed.  

Sometimes I think when an RPG tries to be too epic or too meaningful or too anything, the plot just collapses on itself.  A story doesn't need to be epic, convoluted, twisted, or "pretentious" to be good.
5422  The Rest / General Discussions / The video game difficulty discussion on: October 17, 2007, 01:39:26 PM
I was going to put a reply like this in the difficult RPGs thread in the Console forums, but I think sentiments may fit better here.  

One thing I likely forgot to account for in this discussion is individual differences.  What comes easy for one person is a struggle for another.  There are plenty of RPGs that people deem easy that I have a tough time with.  On the other hand, there are RPGs I find perfect that others find too hard.  

Go figure, I've used cheat devices often in FF games yet I've never once used one in a MegaTen game... and FF is generally regarded as "easier" than MegaTen.  

And there's the aspect of whether or not one would feel guilty about using cheat devices at all.  I have zero guilt about using them in FF games, yet I would feel some guilt if I used them in MegaTen games.
5423  The Rest / General Discussions / Stephen Colbert is running for President... on: October 17, 2007, 11:57:33 AM
I still say George Carlin for president.  

I remember many many years ago after Jesse Ventura became a governor of Minnesota, Hulk Hogan said something somewhat jokingly about running for president.  I'd vote for the Hulkster.  

Or better yet, that ugly-ass porn star who ran for California governor for president!
5424  The Rest / General Discussions / Game Journal #9999 on: October 16, 2007, 10:47:01 PM
Still playing me some FFX.  Tidus and Rikku rock.  Cloister trials and the sphere grid do not.  Still, the game is way more fun, enjoyable, engaging, and addicting to me than FF12 was.
5425  Site Related & More / RPGFan: The Site / Holy Shit.....TEN YEARS!? on: October 16, 2007, 10:22:46 PM
I've been playing some FFX and as I was doing so, I started to reminisce about how General Mortars used to refer to Kimahri as "useless kitten" and referred to Rinoa as "ugly cow."  

And, well, I hated Rinoa too and I agree that Kimahri is a useless kitten.
5426  The Rest / General Discussions / Great Debate of the Week: Vigilante Justice on: October 16, 2007, 03:55:56 PM
...unless a police officer shoots to kill.  Then killing is bad and people start crying foul and say that the officer should have shot the legs or shot the gun out of the perp's hand... just like in TV shows or movies.  Reality doesn't happen that way.  Real life isn't a slo mo dive into a barrel roll guns blazing like in Lethal Weapon. Officers generally don't use their guns unless there is a legitimate life threat and when they do, they're trained to shoot to kill.  Not shoot the legs, not shoot the gun out of the perp's hand, but shoot to kill.

Heh, I believe Mythbusters even busted the movie myth about being able to shoot a gun out of someone's hand.
5427  The Rest / General Discussions / Work Stories on: October 16, 2007, 01:41:58 PM
Although I don't have "funny horror" stories like you guys do, there was one time whilst I was an assistant kindergarten teacher when one of the kids said one of the best quotes ever.  He said "my mom works in an office but my dad works at home.  He's an investment."  

Another great story was when the kids were playing and one of the girls said "Mr. Neal eat this.  It'll turn you into a rock star."  
Her friend said, "but Mr. Neal is already a rock star."  (I had brought my bass to the school the week before and the kids loved it.)
So I said, "but if I'm a rock star, I'll be spending so much time in the studio and on tour that I won't be able to teach you guys."  
To which the first girl replied, "Mr. Neal, you don't want to be a teacher.  If you're a teacher you just spend all day running around after us.  You want to be a rock star."  
I was struck speechless.  That precocious 6 year old girl completely owned me.  

In all the jobs I've held in my life (book shelver at a library, college dining hall, proofreader, assistant kindergarten/pre-K teacher, tutoring program coordinator) I've had my share of moments that made me want to pull my hair out or at least scream, but nothing like the tales you've all told.  

I get the feeling, though, that I'll have my share of crazy parent stories once I become a full fledged guidance counselor.  I'd ideally like to work in an ethnic neighborhood since ethnic parents are more respectful of educators than caucasian parents.
5428  The Rest / General Discussions / Great Debate of the Week: Vigilante Justice on: October 16, 2007, 11:32:30 AM
Dexter and vigilante justice aside, the bottom line is that everything looks/appears/seems better in TV and movies.  You don't know how many court cases have gone to shit because the jury watch CSI and call for tests and methodologies they see on the show that do not (and likely CANnot) exist in real life.  Such accurate forensic technology as seen in CSI does not exist yet.  It's a pie in the sky ideal.  It's pure fiction.  

The bottom line is that what works in TV and movies simply does not and cannot work in real life.  There are just too many complications and variables in real life that you don't find in the fictional worlds of TV and movies.
5429  The Rest / General Discussions / Game Journal #9999 on: October 15, 2007, 11:43:04 AM
Soul Nomad's on hiatus for a bit.  I seem to be underleveled for the Thuris battle, and I don't feel like starting the game over and levelling more.  So I'll wait for some cheat codes to surface for that game.  Yeah, I'm a wuss.  

So in the meantime, I'm borrowing my housemate's copy of FFX.  Excellent game I must say.  The good ol' fashioned turn-based battle system rocks my socks.  I only played it briefly years ago and remembered loving the battles.  

I like how Tidus is a more sociable and outgoing protagonist than the typical shy guys in JRPGs.  It was great in the beginning when Wakka told him not to get any "funny ideas" about Yuna and he said "no promises there, pal."  

My opinion on the Sphere Grid is pretty much the same as that of FF12's license board.  Needless pain in the ass.  Cheat codes will fix that, though:P
5430  Media / Single-Player RPGs / RPG battle engines topic: companion character AI on: October 13, 2007, 08:01:00 PM
If you look at a lot of recent (and even not so recent) console RPGs featuring hero parties, there seems to be a trend towards battle systems where you manually control your avatar and the AI controls the rest of your party members.  This has obviously been done in RPGs with real-time battle engines like the Tales of... and Star Ocean series but has also been done in some turn-based RPGs like Persona 3.  

Am I alone in not really liking this trend?  

I've heaped mountains of praise unto Persona 3 (best RPG for 2007 in my book), but the one thing I didn't like about the game was that AI controlled the rest of my party during battles.  The characters often never did what I wanted them to do.  Even when I would set AI commands, the characters STILL wouldn't do what I wanted them to do.  I was always burning my SP to set up All-Out attacks when if I had complete control of my party's actions in battle, I could have them set things up.  If I had complete control, I could've won battles at a smoother and quicker rate.  I can understand needing AI in real-time battles when you can't stop the action to think, but in a turn-based battle engine such as Persona 3's?    

I like Soul Nomad, but whenever my squad encounters another squad, the battles just play out.  I wished I could tell my squad members which enemies to target because they almost never did what I wanted them to do.  Bahamut Lagoon did this right.  

Maybe it's because I cut my teeth on more traditional turn-based RPGs that I prefer battle engines where I have complete control over each party member's actions.  

I ask once again, am I alone in not really liking this trend?  How about everyone else?  Do you think the whole you control "you" and the AI controls everyone else is a good thing?  Praise is often heaped on battle engines like Star Ocean's or FF12's that follow the "AI controls your party members" paradigm, but it's not really for me.  Maybe I just prefer control over action?  I'll take good ol' fashioned turn-based battling over some of this newfangled hoosefudge any day.  But that's just me.
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