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Avernum 5, May Update in Avernum 4
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"An Anama Redmark?"

No true Redmark would tolerate being a member of some marginalized, pissant mini-cult.

- Jeff Vogel

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spidweb@spiderwebsoftware.com
Posts: 960 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Firing every gun in Blades of Avernum
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One other thing. I am a huge fan of the Sopranos.

In one episode a couple seasons back, we see, very briefly, that the main character, Tony Soprano, has a hand grenade hidden in his house. Not just a gun. Not just an assault rifle. A FRICKIN' GRENADE.

Nothing has ever come of this. I hope nothing ever does. I hope it's just there to provide an extra touch of dread.

I worship Chekhov. But, on the gun issue, he was wrong. But remember, he was writing at a time when goofy melodrama was the primary theatrical mode. In that context, gun has to be fired, sure.

- Jeff Vogel

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spidweb@spiderwebsoftware.com
Posts: 960 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Firing every gun in Blades of Avernum
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"Pearlblossom's necklace must fall into the red herring bin as well."

Normally I wouldn't comment on this, but this thread is about design theory, so sure.

In Nethergate, for those not familiar, you meet this sad old pixie named Peaseblossom, who was banished from the lovely faery fort because some old faery biddy mistakely though Peaseblossom stole an earring, Years of players of this game have tried to right this injustice.

But it can't be done. The earring was permanently lost or found centuries ago by someone else, or whatever. All it is is a sad story and a red herring. It was designed to serve as such.

Why do this? To frustrate the players? To be mean? No. It makes a point about the world of the faeries: that it is a harsh place, and not all rights can be wronged. It creates an emotional involvement that a tidy loose end and a "quest completed" message never could.

When I rewrote Nethergate, I seriously considered and rejected adding some closure to the Peaseblossom quest. But, like the puzzle box, I left it be. I want Shadowvale to still have some mystery to it.

So there is my answer to the loaded gun question.

- Jeff Vogel

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spidweb@spiderwebsoftware.com
Posts: 960 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Firing every gun in Blades of Avernum
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Profile Homepage #6
"Aha! So you're saying Shaper Monarch is really Sylak."

It's Garzahd, FTW!

- Jeff Vogel

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spidweb@spiderwebsoftware.com
Posts: 960 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Avernum 5, May Update in Avernum 4
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"So the chances of a resurrected Erika is slim to none."

I'd put the smart money on "none".

But there are other members of the Redmark clan. With very different careers and personalities, but with a similar ability to find themselves in the middle of chaotic events.

- Jeff Vogel

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spidweb@spiderwebsoftware.com
Posts: 960 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Firing every gun in Blades of Avernum
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Chekhov is one of my favorite playwrights. I'd rather see a good production of one of his plays than just about anything else. He knew his stuff. But he wasn't necessarily a good computer game designer. It's good to leave a few misdirections and loose threads in.

"Then there is the gun brought on stage where its purpose is forgotten by the creator. For example the Nethergate puzzle box in the lair of Reptrakos."

No. I am not stupid. I'm not sure why you assume I am.

I create items like that to leave me options later on. Later on, I might need a game element to tie in somewhere, and the puzzle box gives me a potential tool to use. And, if I never have a place in, it's a perfectly good red herring, and it creates a little sense of mystery. I "forgot" nothing.

And, by the way, the puzzle box has exactly the same position in Nethergate: Resurrection as it did in the original. It's doing exactly what I want it to do.

If you want to see another excellent example of this, head on over to the Geneforge 4 forum and look for threads about the true identity of "Shaper Monarch."

- Jeff Vogel

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spidweb@spiderwebsoftware.com
Posts: 960 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Release the old games as freeware? in General
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I think this ugliness has gone on long enough.

Releasing a game for free is a bad idea. You run a successful business by selling stuff for more than you paid for it.

Giving a game away for free for publicity is a bad idea. My demos are already free downloads I give away for publicity. But they are selling actual, concrete games you can buy right now, instead of the vague idea of some company called Spiderweb Software that sells something you might want to buy sometime, maybe, after most of your free time has already been eaten by the free game.

In other words. I go to a lot of trouble to get downloads of my games. When I get a product in front of someone, I want it to be selling something to them, like, right now.

But you had every right to ask the question, and it was a reasonable one. And I have a reasonable answer why not.

- Jeff Vogel

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spidweb@spiderwebsoftware.com
Posts: 960 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Avernum 5, May Update in Avernum 4
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For the record. This thread was the first I can recall ever hearing of a scenario called Exodus. It isn't even on our web site, as far as I can tell. And, as I never even touch scenario submissions, its absence here has exactly nothing to do with me.

Part of the reason I don't look at scenarios is that I simply have no time. And part of the reason is to insulate myself from insinuations of plagiarism. Most people in my position avoid looking at user suggested ideas for the same reason.

I am sure that nobody here would be so thoughtless as to suggest I was ripping off a scenario designer based on what little information I have released about Avernum 5. But I did want to make all this crystal clear.

- Jeff Vogel

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spidweb@spiderwebsoftware.com
Posts: 960 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Avernum 5, May Update in Avernum 4
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"After several generations of living in a green-glowing cave eating mushrooms, you'd be crazy too."

QFT.

Not everyone in Avernum hates the Empire. Heck, some people in the underworld just came from there. However, some groups of people have long memories. In the real world as well as my fantasy one.

One more thing about the way the game is structured. What I really wanted Avernum 4 to be was a journey. I had a lot of Lord of the Rings in my head, and I wanted it to be a long trip through many cool lands. I wasn't as happy with how that came out, because, in my view, the stuff you encountered on the trip wasn't distinctive enough.

Avernum 5 I'm trying again. It's a long journey, and the stuff you run into along the way will be much more unusual.

But this sort of structure doesn't allow the "giant clump of stuff you can freely encounter all at once." Win some, lose some. If the Shire started out right next to Mordor and Frodo only went on a side trip to visit the elves to pick up a bunch of nice rope and lembas, not as much of a book.

- Jeff Vogel

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spidweb@spiderwebsoftware.com
Posts: 960 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Avernum 5, May Update in Avernum 4
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The world design is still progressing at the expected pace. I'm still happy with what is coming out, even though it is a lot of work.

Whatever you feel about the Avernum 4 engine, it is very demanding to design for. Even more so, now that heights are in the mix and I know that if I put in too many filler encounters people will jump on me for hypocrisy (because of what I've been writing on RPG Vault).

Pretty much every section that doesn't have a town has a hostile area of some sort, generally with some sort of boss-type creature. The bosses near the beginning are fairly straightforward (mages, priests, things that spawn adds), but they'll get fairly baroque later in the game.

I have also reworked how I prioritize my time. Actual dungeons with significance get more time than the did before. The first major storyline dungeon has far more scripted events, special stuff, and so on than practically any dungeon in Avernum 4. Having had plenty of practice working with the engine helps a lot.

Oh, and for people who missed the interviews, in Avernum 5 you will be Empire soldiers, who have had the misfortune to be sent to the underworld. This is not actually the first official Avernum adventure where you work for the Empire. (That honor goes to the Blades of Exile/Avernum scenario A Small Rebellion, which is coincidentally one of my favorite scenarios I've designed.)

So, for the first time in a long time, Avernum is an alien land, full of crazy people that hate you. Writing from this perspective has been a lot of fun.

The game is structured in nine parts. Each section has a bunch of optional adventures and quests. Some sections can just be passed through freely. Others require you to do something first. This will disappoint people who wanted to be able to instantly freely roam a huge range. However, I'm not going to design games like that anymore. They are too difficult to balance properly. Sometime, if people are interested, I'll write why. Or maybe you can puzzle it out for yourself. :-)

I plan to release the official page and first screenshots in a few weeks. I still hope to have the Mac version out for XMas, though that'll take a few months of serious design grinding. Wish me luck.

- Jeff Vogel

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spidweb@spiderwebsoftware.com
Posts: 960 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Nethergate: Resurrection, Fantasy Role-Playing Game for the Macintosh in Announcements
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For Immediate Release

Spiderweb Software Announces Release of Nethergate: Resurrection, Fantasy Role-Playing Game for the Macintosh

May 23, 2007 - Spiderweb Software, Inc. announced today the release of Nethergate: Resurrection, a fantasy role-playing game for the Macintosh. Nethergate: Resurrection sends the player on an epic adventure in the lands of ancient Britain. Explore deadly dungeons, take on multitudes of quests, and try to rediscover and master the lost art of magic. Play as the powerful Romans or the cunning Celts and experience two entirely different adventures.

Britannia is a land ravaged by war. The natives of this land, the savage Celts, have long been subjugated by the Roman invaders. At last, they have risen up in bloody rebellion. Battles rage across the land. Cities are sacked, the inhabitants massacred. And, lost in the chaos, in the small, forgotten valley of Shadowvale, a plan is being formed.

Soon, a band of barbarians will rediscover the lost secrets of magic. They will find a way to rid their lands of the Romans forever. And you, as the Celtic warriors, will attempt to free your people.

Or you, as the Romans, will attempt to crush them. For the good of the Empire.

Screenshots and more information are available at

http://www.spiderwebsoftware.com/nethergateres/index.html

Nethergate: Resurrection is a complete, ground-up, expanded rewrite of the fantasy role-playing classic, Nethergate. Explore a unique setting, assault a multitude of cities and dungeons, attempt dozens of quests, and experience a fascinating storyline. Learn over forty spells and seeks out hundreds of different magical items. Play as either the disciplined, battle-hardened Romans or the savage Celts, trained in the secrets of the druids. Each side offers a completely different storyline, skills, and adventures.

Spiderweb Software, Inc., an independent game-design company based in Seattle, WA, is fanatically dedicated to creating fun, exciting fantasy role-playing games for Windows and Macintosh. Past titles include the award-winning Geneforge and Avernum series. More information on the company is available at http://www.spiderwebsoftware.com/.

Contact: Jeff Vogel, Spiderweb Software, Inc., PO Box 85659, Seattle, WA 98145
E-mail: Spidweb@spiderwebsoftware.com Phone: (206) 789-4438
FAX: (206) 789-6016 URL: http://www.spiderwebsoftware.com

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spidweb@spiderwebsoftware.com
Posts: 960 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Released in Nethergate
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Profile Homepage #14
"When is it expected to come out Jeff?"

Most likely the end of July.

- Jeff Vogel

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spidweb@spiderwebsoftware.com
Posts: 960 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Good and Evil Powergaming (spoiler) in Nethergate
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"It looks like Jeff left out some points to deliberately make it impossible to get both rewards."

I am not smart enough. I just got lucky. :-)

- Jeff Vogel

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spidweb@spiderwebsoftware.com
Posts: 960 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Released in Nethergate
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I do want to stress that I see using the Blades of Avernum engine as a selling point, not something to apologize for.

It is no secret that, while Avernum 4 has been our most successful game in years, there are quite a few people that miss the old engine and ask for its return. And a lot of those people never played Nethergate. (I can tell by comparing the sales figures for Nethergate and the Avernum games.)

So if you missed the old engine, here it is again. If you didn't, Nethergate: Resurrection is still a very good game.

My only regret, and it isn't a small one, is that the engine is sort of stuck at 800x600 resolution. I wish I could make it work bigger, but it just doesn't. On the bright side, it can be played in a window.

- Jeff Vogel

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spidweb@spiderwebsoftware.com
Posts: 960 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Released in Nethergate
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The Blades of Avernum was definitely the best fit for Nethergate. Porting Nethergate to the newer engines would have taken a prohibitive amount of time. And considering how many people have been begging me, on these forums and over E-mail, to release another game with the Blades of Avernum engine, well, here we are.

- Jeff Vogel

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spidweb@spiderwebsoftware.com
Posts: 960 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Blades of Exile Source Code Released in Blades of Exile
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If you have any links you do't mind being made public, let me know, and I can add them to the source code page.

- Jeff Vogel

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spidweb@spiderwebsoftware.com
Posts: 960 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Jeff Interview at IMG in General
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"I wonder how that can be reconciled with being Empire soldiers."

Empress Prazac's increased tolerance of the non-human is already established in the game world. It seems like it would be plausible (in fact, desirable) for the military to have a few agents from these races for certain jobs. Such as, say, dealing with Avernum.

- Jeff Vogel

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spidweb@spiderwebsoftware.com
Posts: 960 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Jeff Interview at IMG in General
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"Pity that there won't be a G6, though. Nalyd is sure that you have your reasons, though."

1. The storyline would work better at 5 than 6 parts. Though it's a close decision. 5 1/2 games would be perfect, but it won't work.

2. I am suffering real design fatigue in that engine. New play elements in Geneforge 4 helped a lot, but I don't think I have enough juice for two full games. (Please note when I say that that I am very very proud of Geneforge 4.)

- Jeff Vogel

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spidweb@spiderwebsoftware.com
Posts: 960 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Jeff Interview at IMG in General
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I'll be posting another Avernum 5 progress update in a few days. All I will say at this point is that your starting role in Avernum 5 (as Empire soldiers) is a kick in the pants, and I'm having a lot of fun writing it. For the first time in a long, long time, Avernum is truly an alien environment. Except this time, instead of welcoming you, they hate you and occasionally try to make you have an "Accident."

"So, revisiting Exile takes us to Avernum.

Revisiting Avernum will take us???"

To Exile. :eek:

I have a religious belief here, and I am not going to be talked out of it. I do not believe that good old computer games should die and disappear, any more than good old books or movies should. I think Fallout 1 and 2 should be playable in the year 2010 or 2020. Same for Baldur's Gate 2. And KOTOR. And, yes I'm gonna say it so brace yourself, Exile.

As long as I live and breathe and there are new generations of gamers who are discovering rpgs, I am going to update my games so that they run on comtemporary machines and have the flashiest everything I am capable, with my limited skills, of providing. And when I die, I'll make sure all the source code is released, so anyone who cares can do the same.

I am sorry that some portions of my audience is irritated by this. But seriously, I think my view has merit, and I am busting my hump creating cool new games. So cut me some slack.

Oh, and I have exactly no plans for new Avernum games past 6 and Geneforge games past 5. It will be past time for something all new.

- Jeff Vogel

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spidweb@spiderwebsoftware.com
Posts: 960 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Moderators in General
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"How exactly do you become a mod?"

To visualize the process, it's sort of a combination of WarGames and Fight Club. And at the end it looks like that bit at the end of Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith where Darth Vader rises up on that platform, his once bright, hopeful features ravaged by lava and Ewan McGregor.

- Jeff Vogel

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spidweb@spiderwebsoftware.com
Posts: 960 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Blades of Exile Source Code Released in Blades of Exile
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I just put out new versions of the Windows source, which contain all of the files. Some of them were missing.

"Strange thing. There are files called LARGE.h MEDIUM.h and SMALL.h which are basically lists of towns from Exile 3. Are these files really necessary to compile BoE? I'm on Windows, BTW."

Those are superfluous files from Exile 3 put in there by mistake. Phear mah organizational skillz!

- Jeff Vogel

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spidweb@spiderwebsoftware.com
Posts: 960 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Compiling BoE source code for Windows in Blades of Exile
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OK, go to the source code page now and redownload. All the files should be there now.

- Jeff Vogel

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spidweb@spiderwebsoftware.com
Posts: 960 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Compiling BoE source code for Windows in Blades of Exile
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Unbelievable. These files are indeed missing. I'll look for them and try to put them in int he next few days.

- Jeff Vogel

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spidweb@spiderwebsoftware.com
Posts: 960 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Blades of Exile Source Code Released in Blades of Exile
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If you are going to use XCode (a very wise idea), you will probably want to shoot straight for a OS X Carbonized version. Apple has made it difficult to do anything else. Forget Classic.

Once that is done, Universal is the natural next step. Once someone has a Carbonized version up and running, were that peson to ask me for Universalizing tips, I woud be happy to give them.

- Jeff Vogel

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spidweb@spiderwebsoftware.com
Posts: 960 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Blades of Exile Source Code Released in Blades of Exile
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One note about using XCode. The way I use resource files in XCode is to not include them in the project but to open them with HOpenResFile as soon as the program launches.

It's not optimal and I'll have to change someday, but it'll work for now.

- Jeff Vogel

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Official Board Admin
spidweb@spiderwebsoftware.com
Posts: 960 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00

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