Do we have a future?

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AuthorTopic: Do we have a future?
Warrior
Member # 5274
Profile #0
Hi everybody. The last time I posted on these forums was in happier times when BoA was brand new little program, meandering peacefully on its way through cyberspace, picking up a new scenario here and there and generally doing ok.

How times have changed. Now there is a new kid on the block full of technical gimcrackery and offering some direct competition, most probably to the detriment of BoA.
Not to be presumptive but I thought now would be a good time to sit back and contemplate the future of BoA. I think *i is trying to discretely canvass this issue with his topic asking about the number of active BoA players, and I though this additional topic would be helpful.

My question is this. Now that BoA has been superseded both in technical terms and in the attention it will recieve from Jeff Vogel and possibly players, do you think it has a future as a place for designers to tell their own stories about Avernum or will it instead be die a slow lingering death like the exile series?

I confess to being a pessimest on this issue. It seems to me that BoA has done quite well in the number of scenarios produced for it, considering the time it has been released and the familiarity and expertise needed with the editor to create a passable scenario. However because of the lack of time to establish BoA as a "brand" or as a "community" or watever you want to label it, I just don't see the impetus for new designers to invest the time needed to learn how to use the editor when you have the option of playing Avernum 4 or whatever Jeff Vogel will call his next attempt to squeeze money out of a tired franchise.

The way I see it the only incentive for authors to release scenarios is the individual satisfaction they will recieve from their efforts as well as praise and accolades from their fellow designers and players. Now that the door is open for more Avernum sequels and that attention is distracted I am no longer sure where BoA stands.

With that in mind I ask for your opinions in this matter. Please disagree with me angrily or feed me horror stories from when Avernum was released, but BoE scenarios continued to be made but everyone lived happily ever after, because right now the only light at the end of this tunnel is from the oncoming Avernum 5, 6 and 7 trains.

[ Monday, December 26, 2005 04:23: Message edited by: Poit ]

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I assume my reputation for arrogant presumption precedes me
Posts: 107 | Registered: Thursday, December 9 2004 08:00
Lifecrafter
Member # 4682
Profile #1
I think that the BOA boards will return to their former glory, or, failing that, at least a small following of people who post regulary, once the excitement of a new game has faded a bit. Once people start finishing A4 for the 2nd or 3rd time in a row they'll come back to BOA because scenarios for BOA will probably come out sooner than the next SW game.

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Posts: 834 | Registered: Thursday, July 8 2004 07:00
Master
Member # 5977
Profile Homepage #2
quote:
Originally written by Poit:

How times have changed. Now there is a new kid on the block full of technical gimcrackery and offering some direct competition, most probably to the detriment of BoA.
Do you mean a person, like me, ho is trying to understand Avernumscript, or do you mean Avernum 4 (which grately dissappointed me)?
BoE has been around for more then ten years, i think, so its not surprising how many scenario's there are now for it. boA isn't around very long, so there are less scenario's. Actualy, its not like the other avernums. its more a tool for people to (as you already said) "create their own stories about Avernum." As long as there are people who want to tell their story, their will be scenarios made. i don't really worry about that.

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Play and rate my scenarios:

Where the rivers meet
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Posts: 3029 | Registered: Saturday, June 18 2005 07:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 932
Profile #3
quote:
Originally written by Poit:

My question is this. Now that BoA has been superseded both in technical terms and in the attention it will recieve from Jeff Vogel and possibly players, do you think it has a future as a place for designers to tell their own stories about Avernum or will it instead be die a slow lingering death like the exile series?
I hope not. I'm seriously considering buying BoE just to play the, oh, 3 trillion or so scenarios that have been released. BoE has still managed, despite slowing down a lot, to seduce people into producing new content.

I'm now curious as to whether there will be a more substantial influx of designers moving from BoE to BoA, as they grow increasingly fustrated with BoE players being poached by it's younger, more attractive sibling.

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Posts: 215 | Registered: Sunday, April 7 2002 08:00
Warrior
Member # 5861
Profile Homepage #4
Honestly, I'm not sure what the future of BOA is going to be. For myself it's is still my favorite spiderweb software game. Even though I've been playing A4 a little bit, and I've dabbled some into A1, and I've downloaded bunches of demos for their other games, BOA is still the one I always go back to. Shoot, last night I stayed up till 6am playing a BOA scenario! While I was playing I kept thinking that I still like this better than the new A4, even with A4's nicer graphics. All the stuff I miss in A4 is in BOA and it just makes me want to play BOA more. So I speak for mainly myself in saying that I will always play BOA, even if it means playing the same scenario more than once.
Posts: 72 | Registered: Sunday, May 29 2005 07:00
Warrior
Member # 4238
Profile #5
I loved BoE. It came out in an era where making your own content pretty much meant starting from scratch. But ever since the huge success of Half Life and its mods, practically every game on the market is moddable.

BoA came out in this new environment, and unfortunately not enough was changed. The scripting language is weak, and what you can do is very limited. It occupies this unfortunate niche where it's more difficult than BoE to develop content, but it's not much more powerful. I don't see much of a future.

If Jeff ever makes a new "Blades", I hope he'll spend some time catching up with modern practices first. With Tcl, Python, Ruby, Lua, Perl, etc to choose from, there's no need to reinvent your own scripting language. Plug in an interpreter and let scenario designers play with the inner workings of the engine.
Posts: 70 | Registered: Monday, April 12 2004 07:00
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #6
BoE came out in late 1997. People have been talking about the death of BoE since 2000, if not earlier, and scenarios were still being made at a pretty good rate until just recently (and they may pick up again someday). Likewise, people have been talking about the death of BoA since the month after it came out. It's not going to die any time soon.

I've been debating when the best time would be to start another round of the BUGS thread (and perhaps even a Things That Work thread). There's still a lot of hysteria about A4 right now, but I think that might not work against us.

Small contests annoy me a bit, so I don't want to have another one, but I'd like to stimulate some discussion. Anyone have any thoughts on whether now is a good time for starting up some new conversation on BoA?

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
Smoo: Get ready to face the walls!
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

Kelandon's Pink and Pretty Page!!: the authorized location for all things by me
The Archive of all released BoE scenarios ever
Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
Warrior
Member # 5274
Profile #7
quote:
Do you mean a person, like me, ho is trying to understand Avernumscript, or do you mean Avernum 4 (which grately dissappointed me)?

I was referring to Avernum 4.

quote:
I hope not. I'm seriously considering buying BoE just to play the, oh, 3 trillion or so scenarios that have been released. BoE has still managed, despite slowing down a lot, to seduce people into producing new content.

Funnily enough I was considering the same thing, although in a way it would be depressing to play the fruits of a great game that is now in a terminal condition. Like the first few posters on this topic I'm a love child of the Avernum series but I've always had a certain dislocation in hearing people continually refer to BoE scenarios that I've never played.

quote:
Shoot, last night I stayed up till 6am playing a BOA scenario! While I was playing I kept thinking that I still like this better than the new A4, even with A4's nicer graphics. All the stuff I miss in A4 is in BOA and it just makes me want to play BOA more
That's something I've found to be very interesting. I've found there to be a very widespread feeling of disappointment in the Avernum 4 graphics, not necessarily because they are different from the previous games but because they are nothing new, simply recycled from the Geneforge series. (Recycled just like the plot was recycled from Av 3.)

There is a certain charm in BoA graphics, perhaps in their miniscule size. It just feels the way an RPG should to me, I like the feeling of walking into a room and seeing one hundred and one different items scattered everywhere, bread in the ovens and little touches like that. It is clear there is a demand for BoA scenarios but the question is will new designers bother to learn the skills to create them.

quote:
I loved BoE. It came out in an era where making your own content pretty much meant starting from scratch. But ever since the huge success of Half Life and its mods, practically every game on the market is moddable.

BoA came out in this new environment, and unfortunately not enough was changed. The scripting language is weak, and what you can do is very limited. It occupies this unfortunate niche where it's more difficult than BoE to develop content, but it's not much more powerful. I don't see much of a future.


I found this to be interesting. Do you mind telling what me you have liked to see in BoA? Bear in mind that no suggestions anyone offers will ever be implemented or probably even considered by Jeff.

quote:
BoE came out in late 1997. People have been talking about the death of BoE since 2000, if not earlier, and scenarios were still being made at a pretty good rate until just recently (and they may pick up again someday). Likewise, people have been talking about the death of BoA since the month after it came out. It's not going to die any time soon.

This was my first reaction, give BoA time and eventually something will come of it. However there are different circumstances between now and when BoE was released.

Firstly Jeff started making the Avernum series as his next project after BoE which was less work intensive than creating a completely new game from scratch, meaning BoE was his principle cash cow for a lot longer possbily giving it more of his attention.

Secondly BoA requires a larger investment of time to learn how to use competently meaning on average less scenarios will be released in the beginning. This in itself would not be a problem if BoA was rendered "obselete" within a year by Avernum 4 and if we did not have to contend with possibly more additions to the Avernum series being released using a newer engine.

The way I see it if Avernum 4 brings in completely new players who have never touched a Spiderweb game before we should try our hardest to attract them to BoA. The really crippling thing here is that the only way to attract new players to BoA is to have a database of worthwhile scenarios. As CPeters mentioned people even today are buying BoE simply because of the wealth of scenarios it has built up over the years. Without those why would people bother to learn to use a game that is quite dated in all other aspects?

My fear is that we have nothing with which to attract new players and designers. The period of incubation required to produce a BoA scenario is a major drawback to our efforts to establish it as a viable alternative to Avernum 4 and whatever comes after that. I think that we have had a good year in terms of the scenarios released but I don't think we have the critical mass necessary to attract and sustain new designers and players, who will instead consider BoA outdated when comparing it to the newer Spiderweb games.

[ Monday, December 26, 2005 19:03: Message edited by: Poit ]

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I assume my reputation for arrogant presumption precedes me
Posts: 107 | Registered: Thursday, December 9 2004 08:00
Law Bringer
Member # 4153
Profile Homepage #8
BoA is understandably dormant, what with A4's arrival and all (not to mention how some of us were diverted from designing by testing). But, once it sinks in that this is all of Avernum that we'll see for a long time (since Jeff mentioned distinctly non-Avernum projects), I think people will return to BoA. Besides, A4 gives us all a lot of plot to work off of, though the next person who brings back a major character (like Rentar in UV) gets slaughtered.

By all means, let's revive and restore the discussions. I've personally been happy to see more threads and questions in the BoA forum, as well as the editor forum (even if most of them are from one person). So there's definitely still hope. We just need another motivator... maybe another contest once the A4 hype has subsided. Hopefully it will not go the way of The Pearl.

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Gamble with Gaea, and she eats your dice.

I hate undead. I really, really, really, really hate undead. With a passion.
Posts: 4130 | Registered: Friday, March 26 2004 08:00
The Establishment
Member # 6
Profile #9
The problems with the pearl I see were this:

1) Too focused of a topic. Many of the good designers already have something in the works and will not stop for some little project like this.

2) No incentive. For a more expansive contest, it may be possible to get a few prizes out of Spiderweb. Extrinsic motivation works wonders.

3) Perceived small audience/designer base. The problem is a chicken and egg one. We do not have many players because of a slow rate of scenario release and we have a slow rate of scenario release because there are too few players to justify the effort. Addressing this was the topic of my "Active" posts.

So, what should be a course of action? I have ideas, but I want to hear input first.

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Posts: 3726 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Master
Member # 5977
Profile Homepage #10
We, as you said, need more designers. I understand that many people are already bussy making a scenario, but its going to slow. The big problem, in my opinion, is, that many players don't dare to start with designing because of the Avernumscript. they think its too difficult, that they wont gonna finish it. to solve this, we might need something to reassure people. maybe new, more usefull tutorials, tht explain everything in a more satisfying way, so people will think its a lot easier then they thought. I heard that a new version of the editor is being made. if that version will be easier to use, people may also start designing more. I think, that if we can make it easier for designers with no experience in coding at all (like me), that more scenario's will be made. heck, I'll tke myself as an example. The only reason i waited so long with starting to make my scenario, were only because I was afraid of coding! Not so much the editor. Luckily, kelandon had a few good tutorials, but otherwise i would have given up quite soon. I'm glad i didn't.

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Play and rate my scenarios:

Where the rivers meet
View my upcoming scenario: The Nephil Search: Escape.

Give us your drek!
Posts: 3029 | Registered: Saturday, June 18 2005 07:00
Warrior
Member # 5274
Profile #11
quote:
The problems with the pearl I see were this:

1) Too focused of a topic. Many of the good designers already have something in the works and will not stop for some little project like this.

2) No incentive. For a more expansive contest, it may be possible to get a few prizes out of Spiderweb. Extrinsic motivation works wonders.

3) Perceived small audience/designer base. The problem is a chicken and egg one. We do not have many players because of a slow rate of scenario release and we have a slow rate of scenario release because there are too few players to justify the effort. Addressing this was the topic of my "Active" posts.

So, what should be a course of action? I have ideas, but I want to hear input first.

I think you hit the nail on the head with the chicken and egg comparison, at this point I don't think we have a lot of options that don't involve staging another contest. It seems we have a need to artificially intervene and offer some cash to get the scenario production line rolling again. This is by no means a cure all, but if we can generate enough buzz around the contest maybe we can bring new players attracted by Avernum 4 into the BoA fold.

I'm by no means certain that Jeff would want to even consider this but perhaps suggesting he use some surplus funds from Avernum 4 to prop up BoA is worth a try. I think we should argue that BoA has not been given time to reach its full potential and may not be able without outside aid.

Personally I'm aiming to release my scenario within a month when hopefully the first round of Avernum 4 players will be looking for something else to sample. I know that Smoo, Thralni and possibly others are designing as well, so hopefully we can attract some player attention and encourage others to design.

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I assume my reputation for arrogant presumption precedes me
Posts: 107 | Registered: Thursday, December 9 2004 08:00
The Establishment
Member # 6
Profile #12
It is by no means certain Jeff will support; however, he has been decent about it for community sponsored BoE contests even five years after it has been released.

What would be nice is a GUI dialogue/script editor one could call within the editor itself. Creating such a dialogue thing would not be overly difficult actually, just time consuming.

What it would do is read in a dialogue script and store the entries based upon which dialogue state. You could then click on that talking node in some menu similar to the BoE Editor and you would be given options of state, action, etc. Of course, you would be able to write your six lines of text also.

I'm wondering if such a utility would be useful.

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Your flower power is no match for my glower power!
Posts: 3726 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 4557
Profile #13
quote:
Originally written by *i:

one could call within the editor itself.
That could get ugly. Better to make it standalone.
Posts: 264 | Registered: Wednesday, June 16 2004 07:00
The Establishment
Member # 6
Profile #14
Maybe, depends on how the editor is set up. At any rate, I don't have time to make such a utility with my own scenario project going and other things. I'm just suggesting it as a possibility to help newer people learn this scripting stuff.

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Your flower power is no match for my glower power!
Posts: 3726 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #15
There was a dialogue editor that someone made at some point. Niemand, apparently.

I just realized that I've been hosting it but never put a link to it on my main page. Oops. I'll fix that now.

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
Smoo: Get ready to face the walls!
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

Kelandon's Pink and Pretty Page!!: the authorized location for all things by me
The Archive of all released BoE scenarios ever
Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
Agent
Member # 5814
Profile #16
quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:

There was a dialogue editor that someone made at some point. Niemand, apparently.

I just realized that I've been hosting it but never put a link to it on my main page. Oops. I'll fix that now.

Mac users get all the breaks. :(

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quote:
Originally written by Kelandon
Well, I'm at least pretty

Posts: 1115 | Registered: Sunday, May 15 2005 07:00
Infiltrator
Member # 5576
Profile Homepage #17
I wrote it in Java, all that would be necessary to make a PC version would be to get rid of the crazy menu bar moving code I had to put in to make the Mac version work, and to compile it. I can't do the latter, but surely someone could.

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Posts: 627 | Registered: Monday, March 7 2005 08:00
Law Bringer
Member # 4153
Profile Homepage #18
Hm... have we thought of trying to revive discussions at the Lyceum? I mean, besides the fact that the ezBoard system is evil incarnate...

Alternatively, we could drag people from the Lyceum over here... but forging some greater link between here and there might really help things pick up again.

(Returns to working on scenario)

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Gamble with Gaea, and she eats your dice.

I hate undead. I really, really, really, really hate undead. With a passion.
Posts: 4130 | Registered: Friday, March 26 2004 08:00
Warrior
Member # 6368
Profile Homepage #19
what i think of BoE and BoA is:

BoA is a sweet game. but i cantn stand playing it for long periods of time.

BoE has play-ability, and thats what I like about it.

I can make a extremely over-powered character with the editor in BoA and its like.. invincible. even a level 3 slith in BoA if you just erase the edged weapons and useless stuff it can hit 32.. i mean.. its not that fun.

in BoE i made a over powered level 50 and make a scenario with monsters ive made up. like death caster that casts kill spell and has 1500hp your over powered team still has a chance of dying against dark wyrm things when theres alot of em.

I think the BoA forums will slower die with the up coming releases and i seriously think exile needs to be continued :( but thats just my thinking and im somewhat of worthless ideas :o *sigh* well atleast i figured out how to script edit exile

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Posts: 91 | Registered: Monday, October 3 2005 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 6489
Profile Homepage #20
quote:
Originally written by green kid:

I can make a extremely over-powered character with the editor in BoA and its like.. invincible. even a level 3 slith in BoA if you just erase the edged weapons and useless stuff it can hit 32.. i mean.. its not that fun.

in BoE i made a over powered level 50 and make a scenario with monsters ive made up. like death caster that casts kill spell and has 1500hp your over powered team still has a chance of dying against dark wyrm things when theres alot of em.

Depending on the scenario, god-parties can still be in serious trouble. Nephilim Mystery comes to mind. I'm not saying Nephilim Mystery is good, mind you, I'm just saying that even a god-party can have trouble with that scenario.

Edit: Forgot a slash

[ Friday, December 30, 2005 11:00: Message edited by: Tyranicus ]

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Posts: 1556 | Registered: Sunday, November 20 2005 08:00
The Establishment
Member # 6
Profile #21
Scripting, of course, can be used to make ANY level challenging.

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Your flower power is no match for my glower power!
Posts: 3726 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 4153
Profile Homepage #22
Of course, there are scenarios like the early versions of Canopy, which just crashed for god parties. That's a really good way of discouraging god parties.

And, responding to green kid's complaints, you could always learn BoA scripting and make it harder for that kind of stuff to happen... we could always use more designers.

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Gamble with Gaea, and she eats your dice.

I hate undead. I really, really, really, really hate undead. With a passion.
Posts: 4130 | Registered: Friday, March 26 2004 08:00
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #23
A HLPM god party is pretty invulnerable, though. Unless you script something to kick out god parties (which can always be removed by savvy players), you're stuck with the possibility of god parties.

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
Smoo: Get ready to face the walls!
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

Kelandon's Pink and Pretty Page!!: the authorized location for all things by me
The Archive of all released BoE scenarios ever
Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
Councilor
Member # 6600
Profile Homepage #24
Originally by Tyranicus:
quote:
Depending on the scenario, god-parties can still be in serious trouble. Nephilim Mystery comes to mind. I'm not saying Nephilim Mystery is good, mind you, I'm just saying that even a god-party can have trouble with that scenario.
A HLPM god-party would have no trouble winning that scenario. A demigod-party that got there by working their way through every previous scenario definitely has the work cut out for them. The problem with god parties is that nothing can hit them, not even a 100-level monster with an obscene amount of strength and dexterity. I tried to make a god-party scenario but it was merely obnoxious, not challenging. The only thing I know of that can damage a god-party is "darkness." Scripting would probably work, but I don't have the patience for that.

Dikiyoba finds god parties very useful. They test Dikiyoba's partially-completed scenarios, and downloaded scenarios to make sure they are worth playing with a proper party.
Posts: 4346 | Registered: Friday, December 23 2005 08:00

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