The Future of Blades of Avernum

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AuthorTopic: The Future of Blades of Avernum
Apprentice
Member # 9297
Profile Homepage #100
I am a little late to this conversation, but I thought I would throw in my two cents. I discovered Spiderweb through Exile II on a shareware disk, what feels like ages ago, but was probably about 12 years ago. I have been a huge fan of all of the Spiderweb games since then.

I just wanted to make a comment about BoA's poor sales, Thuryl's opinion that it was due to the registration barrier, and Yama's response that the registration barrier was the same for BoE. If I remember correctly, the registration barrier for BoE was NOT the same; you could play all three of the built-in scenarios without registering, you just couldn't play other scenarios or create your own. Playing through all three scenarios gave me a good appreciation of the range of scenarios that were possible, both to play, and to create, and contributed to my decision to purchase.

The lure of Spiderweb games has always been the depth of gameplay that is available before buying the game. Whenever I start a Spiderweb demo, I do it knowing that by the time I reach the registration barrier, I am going to be so immersed in the game that I won't be able to stop myself from buying it. And that's ok, because I am never disappointed. BoE accomplished the same thing, even though it used three different scenarios and no cliffhanger; the draw was what was possible when other people started creating their own scenarios.

Unfortunately, I was disappointed with the quality of scenarios that came out for BoE. There were a few good ones, but nothing that I felt matched the quality of the games built by Spiderweb; and there were a LOT of bad ones, too. This was not terribly surprising; most of the scenario developers were "amateurs", without the benefit of JV's experience. Still, it left a sour taste in my mouth.

Similarly with trying to create my own scenarios; I found it very difficult to do even the simplest things. Especially as a programmer myself, I became frustrated quickly at the lack of basic constructs that I am used to using to express my intent. This is not wholly JV's fault; building an editor to process complex decision trees (without using a flexible scripting engine, as he tried to do with BoA) is a difficult task, and I don't think the result was bad given the effort he was able to put into it. But it meant that I was never able to bring my ideas to life the way that I had hoped I would be able to.

BoA didn't even have the benefit of three scenarios to draw people in before registration. VoDT was not bad, but that by itself didn't have the cliffhanger effect that Spiderweb has proven is so effective at driving sales. Combined with my own bad experience with BoE, BoA became the only Spiderweb game that I have never purchased, and don't plan to.

All that said, I am planning on looking at BoE's source code now that it has been released. I doubt I will do much if anything with it; but its always a thrill to take a peek behind the curtain :)
Posts: 7 | Registered: Wednesday, July 11 2007 07:00
Apprentice
Member # 4231
Profile #101
BoE also limited you to Valley, as I recall, and still claims to if you download the binary from the game page. This means that the open-sourcing is the first time ASR and ZKR have been available to play for free.

And VoDT, I agree, doesn't have the same hook effect as all the other games - although it can be a good place to start for players as they can get a complete story pre-registration.

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Lifetime Spiderweb Gamer
and Fan of Classic Style Graphics
Posts: 42 | Registered: Saturday, April 10 2004 07:00
Warrior
Member # 6096
Profile Homepage #102
The shareware barrier was exactly in the same place in BoE as it was in BoA. However, it was not a bad thing when I played BoE. I thought VoDT was good (though not excellent) but the other two scenarios were slightly disappointing (though not bad). I also thought they were too small.

Hmm. When I first played a few custom scenarios many years ago, I also thought they didn't match the quality of Vogel's scenarios. Since then, however, there have been new inventions in BoE scenario designing over time and I'd say the quality of the best scenarios has improved.

Still, if I was a new player, I couldn't say if I prefered any of them to the default scenarios, because I now have 10 years of experience of playing, and play differently from how I used to. And different designers have different styles that might require getting used to.

It would be interesting to do a research of all Blades players, not just the ones who write on the forums. Because if I design a BoE scenario and have it beta tested here and it gets rated on the Lyceum, it's naturally impossible to know how well those opinions reflect players' opinions in general.

[ Thursday, July 12, 2007 00:33: Message edited by: *Milu* ]
Posts: 77 | Registered: Sunday, July 10 2005 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 4153
Profile Homepage #103
This thread, like so many others, must be saved from the purge.

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TM: "I want BoA to grow. Evolve where the food ladder has rungs to be reached."

Gamble with Gaea, and she eats your dice.
Posts: 4130 | Registered: Friday, March 26 2004 08:00
Agent
Member # 27
Profile #104
Hmm, new suggestion. Though Jeff has stated he isn't going to fix any of BoA's problems any time soon, do you think he'd be willing to sponsor the next BoA design contest? I'm not talking about judging or offering prizes, but giving the contest some ad space on the home page.

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Enraged Slith's Blades of Avernum Website

Look out, there's a three-headed monkey behind you!
Posts: 1233 | Registered: Wednesday, October 3 2001 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 4153
Profile Homepage #105
I have no idea about how likely Jeff is to actually do that, but it couldn't hurt for us (as a group, not all individually) email him.

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TM: "I want BoA to grow. Evolve where the food ladder has rungs to be reached."

Gamble with Gaea, and she eats your dice.
Posts: 4130 | Registered: Friday, March 26 2004 08:00
Shaper
Member # 3442
Profile Homepage #106
Or, failing that, put a link to the Blades page on the main page. He used to before, right? Why not now?

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Nikki's Nook - White, two sugars. :)
Posts: 2864 | Registered: Monday, September 8 2003 07:00
BANNED
Member # 13806
Profile #107
People shouldn't design for money. Do you people really have that much free time that you cannot wait for the next Geneforge but cannot learn some knockoff programming language and write a little story?
Posts: 134 | Registered: Sunday, February 3 2008 08:00
Guardian
Member # 5360
Profile #108
Yes. Some of us, at least. Nalyd can't design for crap, though.

[ Monday, February 04, 2008 16:42: Message edited by: Agrajag ]

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Fear us, mortals, but never envy, for though we burn with power, our fuel is our sorrows.
Posts: 1636 | Registered: Wednesday, January 5 2005 08:00
Lifecrafter
Member # 7557
Profile #109
quote:
Originally written by Diprosopus:

People shouldn't design for money. Do you people really have that much free time that you cannot wait for the next Geneforge but cannot learn some knockoff programming language and write a little story?
What? Like a plot for "Whack the Artilla"

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"I've never owned Subterra" -Ed

"XP is Win32" -Nicoa
Posts: 942 | Registered: Sunday, October 8 2006 07:00
Shaper
Member # 3442
Profile Homepage #110
quote:
Originally written by Diprosopus:

People shouldn't design for money. Do you people really have that much free time that you cannot wait for the next Geneforge but cannot learn some knockoff programming language and write a little story?
It has nothing to do with money. Within a competition, scenarios of hugher quality are likely to be produced, since everybody wants to win.

And, with all respect, when you "write a little story" based off "some knockoff programming language", you can criticise. If there's one thing Blades needs right now, it's not cheap shots.

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Nikki's Nook.
Posts: 2864 | Registered: Monday, September 8 2003 07:00
Shaper
Member # 73
Profile #111
quote:
Originally written by Nikki.:

And, with all respect, when you "write a little story" based off "some knockoff programming language", you can criticise.
Are you sure Diprosopus hasn't already done so, perhaps many times?

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My Myspace, with some of my art
The Lyceum - The Headquarters of the Blades designing community
The Louvre - The Blades of Avernum graphics database
BoE Webring - Self explanatory
They Might Be Giants - Four official websites for one of the greatest bands in existence
Posts: 2957 | Registered: Thursday, October 4 2001 07:00
Lifecrafter
Member # 6193
Profile Homepage #112
Now hold on just a sec Nikki. I think he's taking shots at the Geneforge crowd-- we just might agree with him. :P

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"NOW PASS ME MY BOOTS. I HAVE AN APPOINTMENT WITH A FACE." -Nikki

Tales From the Tabard Inn: Now if only there was a 3600 Hour Contest.....
Posts: 900 | Registered: Monday, August 8 2005 07:00
Shaper
Member # 3442
Profile Homepage #113
quote:
Originally written by Lazarus.:

Now hold on just a sec Nikki. I think he's taking shots at the Geneforge crowd-- we just might agree with him. :P
Umm. Maybe.

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Nikki's Nook.
Posts: 2864 | Registered: Monday, September 8 2003 07:00
Agent
Member # 27
Profile #114
Don't feel bad, I thought he was insulting us too at first. Honestly, I still can't figure it out.

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Enraged Slith's Blades of Avernum Website

Look out, there's a three-headed monkey behind you!
Posts: 1233 | Registered: Wednesday, October 3 2001 07:00
BANNED
Member # 13806
Profile #115
quote:
It has nothing to do with money. Within a competition, scenarios of hugher quality are likely to be produced, since everybody wants to win.
Win? Isn't this supposed to be about being creative? "I'm more creative than you, ha ha?" :rolleyes:

quote:
Are you sure Diprosopus hasn't already done so, perhaps many times?
Yes. :P
Posts: 134 | Registered: Sunday, February 3 2008 08:00
Shaper
Member # 3442
Profile Homepage #116
quote:
Originally written by Diprosopus:

Win? Isn't this supposed to be about being creative? "I'm more creative than you, ha ha?" :rolleyes:

That's exactly the spirit!

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Nikki's Nook.
Posts: 2864 | Registered: Monday, September 8 2003 07:00

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