Why I Will Not Play Avernum V

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AuthorTopic: Why I Will Not Play Avernum V
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Just a warning...this is going to be a wee bit long, here.

I first discovered Spiderweb Software games way back in 2000 or so...my family had just moved to California and I was looking through all of the CDs we had for our computers to try to find something I used to play when I stumbled across a CD full of game demos.

One of those games was a game series I'd never heard of(not surprising...I didn't hear about a LOT of game series' because my gaming was confined strictly to the PC for most of my life...I didn't even touch a console until 2003) called Exile III: Ruined World.

I looked at it...it was intriguing, so I installed it and started playing, and I was immediately hooked. It was fun...it felt innovative in some ways, and retro in others...all in all, it was really great. I loved just how huge it was...even the confines of the demo was massive. I played that demo many, many times through, starting up a new party after doing everything I could do demo wise since I didn't know the company that made the game was still active. Given its general look I figured it was a much older game and that I couldn't register it.

Then I finally hit upon Spiderweb Software's website and I was amazed to see that not only could I still register it, there were a lot of other games to play.

But before I touched any of those, I registered Exile III and had a huge amount of fun finishing off the game. Having never played the previous two games, the dynamics of the Vahnatai were partially lost on me, but I definitely did not miss how shocking it was to see that the ally of Exile was actually the ones responsible for the plagues on Valorim. (I didn't fully understand why...as I said, I hadn't played the previous two games, so I didn't understand at that time the whole Crystal Soul dynamic.)

The whole Empire becoming friendly bit was also very satisfying and intriguing...I was moved by Empress Prazac's willingness to become an ally of Exile. Again, the dynamics were partially lost on me, but I could understand enough to realize how shocking and abrupt this was for Exile.

Of course, I did wish I had been able to explore Exile itself. Everytime I wandered down to the Tower of Magi I vainly tried to exit to Exile, and of course the game wouldn't let me.

After I played my heart out on Exile III, I decided to take a look at the other Spiderweb Software games. At first I was going to head straight for Exile I and Exile II, but then I noticed something even better: Avernum.

When I first looked at it, it seemed like the Avernum series was similar to the Exile series but subtly different...I didn't realize at first that it was really just a remake with some much needed updates. I read a couple reviews...many people noted that Avernum I and II were much better than their Exile counterparts because their Exile counterparts were "rough around the edges" and "needed refinement" and so on.

So I downloaded a demo of Avernum I to try it out, and I was hooked again. Sure, it was different at first...it looked better(not that I cared too much...while I appreciated the increase in graphics quality, I'd have been just fine with the look of Exile) and the spells functioned differently...I was at first disappointed with that until I realized Jeff had simply made the spells more efficient through the power levels. Rather than have huge lists of spells, the simpler list made it easier to use them effectively, and made the gameplay different, and better for it.

I also missed a couple other nice little touches Exile had...such as Ember Flowers versus Energetic Herbs, but those were minor little losses at worst. Avernum took what Exile did well and made it better while making better also what it did not do so fantastically, and overall the gameplay was much better. It had its own fantastic style. (I especially liked how the character editor--a tool I always had fun messing with in Exile III--was now a subprogram within the game itself rather than a completely separate program. Much less clunky.)

Avernum I was great, but Avernum II was absolutely superb. I'm replaying it right now, in fact, as some of you may have seen from my topics in the Avernum Trilogy board. It improved even more on what Avernum I did, added a couple much needed features(such as integrating the movement of the party into the left mouse button and making the right mouse button a look button) as well as improving storywise. I know now, of course, that the vast majority of the story was the same as the Exile II story, but it was still fun to play, and it made so many things I didn't understand about Exile III make so much more sense...

Then I played Avernum III. I was a little worried at first...sure, Avernum I and II had a fantastic style, but I was worried Avernum III would feel...to be honest, I'm not sure entirely what I was worried about. I was worried about it being the same, about it being too different, about my prior experience playing Avernum III giving me an edge, about it not giving me an edge...many worries, but none were really founded, because Avernum III was superb yet again.

After I played all of those games to death, I wanted something new. I knew Avernum IV was going to come out at some point soon(though I refused to learn even the slightest detail about the game...I once spoiled myself entirely for a game I was looking forward to and that made the game a letdown when I finally played it. I did not want to do that again.) but I was impatient, so I took a look at a new series: Geneforge.

Geneforge was something I'd heard about when I first looked at Spiderweb Software for registering Exile III, but I didn't take much notice of it at the time. When I finally did, I was intrigued, but a little worried...it looked very different from Avernum. It had a completely different visual style, and--as I could see once I started playing the game--the gameplay was extremely different. It functioned differently...the controls varied wildly, especially the way the mouse worked. Having been extremely mouse dependent with Exile III and the Avernum series, this was uncomfortable at first.

But I got past that, and what I saw after I did, I was really impressed with. It was different...it was new. It had so many fun things all to itself. It wasn't Avernum...it was Geneforge. It was its own style.

I'll admit, there were a couple things I had a bit of a problem with when it came to Geneforge games...the three games I played didn't feel as different and improved upon as the Avernum games did...and the vaguely disconnected way the maps went together was slightly buggy...but apart from that, it was really good on its own.

Unlike Avernum, you had total control over the story. Rather than going about a basic set story path to a final conclusion(Avernum might be very non-linear, but there is that element of linearity you are stuck upon) you had different factions to join, different character types to play. You created your allies on the field rather than just setting up a party and using that. You had control over the story...you determined the various endings that could come across. Geneforge had a great style all to its own, distinct from Avernum. Both game series' were great, and I wouldn't have picked one as better than the other.

In a way, it's like having two uncles you have fun with that visit occasionally. They are basically both uncles, but beyond that basic simalarity are two distinct people.

You have Uncle Gene, the animated uncle with wildly fluid movements, always in motion, always talking and going. He tells you stories and lets you be a full participant, choosing this and that and then letting you know what happens. He might lack slightly in some variation on his creativity, but he's great.

Then there's Uncle Av(short for Averforth), who's not as animated. He's a bit stiffer, more precise and measured in his movements, but he captivates you in a way Gene doesn't. While he doesn't let you decide the flow of the story, he does create epic tales of intrigue and amazement...stories full of battles and wars and grudges of powerful races you just do not want to mess with.

Both uncles are great. Both are distinct. Both are different. Sometimes you want Gene, and sometimes you want Av, but you always know that when you see one, you get that person. You get that style, and you love it.

Then I finally heard about Avernum IV coming out for Windows. That filled me with glee...I was eager to play a new Avernum game, to see Uncle Av again, as it were. I refused to let myself look at the pictures Jeff had put up for Avernum IV on the download page while I was downloading the game. I was eager...twitchy, almost, to finally find out what was going to happen after Avernum III's story.

Then I start to play it...and everything shatters.

Uncle Av isn't there anymore. He's disappeared all of a sudden. You can't call him. You can't e-mail him. You can't send him a letter. You can't reach him at all.

Suddenly, you hear he's coming to visit. You're excited...you're thrilled. You can't wait to hear from Uncle Av again finally. But when you throw open the door, you gasp in shock and in horror. That isn't Uncle Av standing on the doorstep! It's Uncle Gene, with the absolute GALL to wear a MASK of Uncle Av, to act like Uncle Av, to pretend to be Uncle Av!

You shout at him! You cry out, asking "What is this?! Where did Uncle Av go? Why are you pretending to be like Uncle Av?"

Uncle Gene doesn't answer. He just keeps trying to act like Uncle Av, but he can't succeed. The mask is only a thin layer, a thin veneer which, when peeled away, reveals Uncle Gene being himself as always.

You're disgusted...you're disappointed, and above all, you're really, really angry. You wanted Uncle Av, not Uncle Gene wearing a mask. You've been lied to...you've been cheated. You don't even want to look at Uncle Gene anymore now. You try to forget the memories you had of him, all the while thinking furiously about the memories you had of Uncle Av, replaying them in your mind, wondering why he suddenly vanished.

THAT, my friends, is what it felt like to play Avernum IV. Suddenly Jeff completely dismisses the style of Avernum and replaces it with Geneforge. Oh, sure, it tried to look like Avernum. The map was set up to look like Avernum. A few new graphics were made to look like Avernum graphics on the Geneforge engine. A few items had their graphics switched around, so that lockpicks didn't look like living tools...but it wasn't Avernum. It was Geneforge wearing a mask.

I was angry...very angry. Avernum and Geneforge had distinct styles...they were their own series', and yet Jeff just throws away Avernum's style...he threw away everything that made Avernum Avernum. You can't just toss a mask onto Geneforge and call it Avernum, because it's such a different style...Avenum isn't just the caves. It isn't just the basic PC graphics we've come to associate with it. It isn't just the Vahnatai, or the cities, or the Empire.

It was the stillness of the graphics, the way they were static. It was the inventory system, the AP system, the way statistics worked. It was the spells, the dichotomy, the experience ratios, the character traits...it was Avernum.

I look at Avernum IV, and I see something that just plain disgusts me. It's like Uncle Av died and Uncle Gene is treating me like a child who can't understand death, like he's trying to make me think Uncle Av is still there when he's gone.

I can't even stand to look at the Geneforge games anymore. I used to like them, but I now find them simply disgusting, now, because of what Jeff has done.

Nor could I stand to play Avernum IV for very long...I don't think I got very far past Formello before I deleted the game and never looked back at it. And from what I've read of the plot, I didn't miss much either...it was basically a recycle of story elements from the first three games tossed into an attempt to be a new story...just like as if Uncle Gene had tried to duplicate Uncle Av's style by taking what he had heard and mixing it together.

And when I look at Avernum V, I see the same thing all over again. Oh, sure, boats are back, and SUPPOSEDLY the AP system works more like Avernum's did, but it's little changes that aren't enough. It's still not Avernum. It's still the unholy mixture, the concoction, the masked Geneforge pretending to be Avernum.

As far as I'm concerned, the Avernum series is dead. What is being made now is just a mask, just a veneer.

I don't know why Jeff did what he did. I don't know why he tossed away the style Avernum had in favor of making everything just like Geneforge. But I can tell you this much: I will not accept it. I refuse to play Avernum V, and I will refuse to play Avernum VI, and maybe even other new games he creates if he keeps treading down this path.

I'll keep my memories of Avernum. I'll replay the trilogy occasionally, but that's all.

Sorry if this bothers anyone...I just needed to get all of that out. Make fun, mock, or whatever it is you wish to do of what I have to say. Feel free to agree or disagree...I'm just letting out my full opinion, that's all.

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Posts: 91 | Registered: Thursday, January 19 2006 08:00
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My friend you have just revealed the exact reasons why I only plyed A4 through once.

But you have missed out a few points (Forgive me if I missed them, I skimmed a few bits)

A4 I think was more an experiment. It did lack the beauty of the Exile and Avernum series while not opening itself fully to the power of the Geneforge series. I most certainly wouldn't call it a faliue but it dosent have the homeliness of Exile or the Story-Line of Geneforge.

I do honestly hope they get rid of the avernum movment system in A5, it just does _not_ make the game better in any way with that style of graphics.

What I really want is to see another game with Avernum's graphics engine. I miss them almost painfully at times.

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Posts: 942 | Registered: Sunday, October 8 2006 07:00
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Mmmmh...

You sure went through a lot of trouble just to explain why you were unhappy with Avernum IV. You lost me along the way why you can't stand looking at uncle Gene no more. I sort of understand some of your notions though and would like to comment on them, if you don't mind.

I remember going through a different yet similar stage after I finished Nethergate (ye olde). While I found it was innovative, intriguing, amusing, etc. I missed ye olde Exile feel of things. When I bought Avernum I was very disappointed, not because I thought it was a bad game - it isn't. But it felt different than Exile, different rhythm, different way of haunting me at night through closed eyelids after playing way too many hours.

When I quit playing Spiderweb games (just before Avernum 2 came out) I noticed how much time I had on my hands I I was very happy about that. (Okay, that changed with Diablo 1 & 2, but still).

It wasn't until Avernum IV that I came back, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Sure, the plot wasn't entirely stunning, but I really liked the interface, the way things looked and felt. It was a very rewarding gameplay (after all: I did enjoy the Diablo series and let's be frank: Avernum IV runs circles around them story-wise).

I realize that this experience was partially due to my long absence from Jeff's games, but I liked it a lot. Afterwards I played Geneforge 3 and liked that even better. I realize, of course, that this particular Geneforge sequel is considered the Avernum IV of the Geneforge series, but I disagree. It matters a lot whether you've played the other ones before or - like I have done - afterwards. And guess what: I liked Geneforge IV even better.

To sum it up:

When Uncle Ave starts behaving oddly it might just be that you've seen enough of him for a while. Uncle Gene all of a sudden getting on your nerves, too? Stay away from family parties for a while. Take a break. But go easy on the vows that never ever again will you talk to these annoying people. You might miss them eventually.

PS: Before I go I should like to point out that I don't think it fair to accuse Jeff of cheating his customers, even though it happened very subtly and probably wasn't even meant like that. I think he's really keen on pleasing them.

Edit: fixed typos

[ Wednesday, September 12, 2007 01:43: Message edited by: Locmaar ]
Posts: 183 | Registered: Sunday, March 19 2006 08:00
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quote:
Originally written by Locmaar:


PS: Before I go I should like to point out that I don't think it fair to accuse Jeff of cheating his customers, even though it happened very subtly and probably wasn't even meant like that. I think he's really keen on pleasing them.

Edit: fixed typos

That wasn't my intention, though...I'm sure he works hard to please everyone. Considering what he is as an independent game designer, he does a LOT, and I do appreciate it.

I just had that whole huge rant coming for a long time and I finally had to spill it all out, and I wanted to make clear exactly what I found at fault with Avernum IV, and that if V repeats the mistakes, I will not play it. I'm hoping, however, that Jeff will take things like this into account and fix the mistakes, give Avernum back that which made it Avernum...I really hope he does that, however he might choose to do so.

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Well that signature was out of date, since I've not been here in forever.
Posts: 91 | Registered: Thursday, January 19 2006 08:00
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I guess you wont play A5, it is already in beta.

You know, this is why someone should rewrite A4...as a BoA scenario!!!

It would be a challenge to those who could.

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Muffins n' Hell|Muffins n' Hell: The Muffins Are Back Again
I have an addiction to Spiderweb games.
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FYI, Iffy is short for Infernal Flamming Muffin.
Posts: 1799 | Registered: Sunday, February 4 2007 08:00
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quote:
Avenum isn't just the caves. It isn't just the basic PC graphics we've come to associate with it. It isn't just the Vahnatai, or the cities, or the Empire.

It was the stillness of the graphics, the way they were static.
Somehow I knew it was leading up to this. One of your big reasons for disliking Avernum 4 is that there is more animation, more depth in the graphics, and more "realism"?

I mean, I'm all for retro, believe me, but it almost sounds like you're arguing Ultima 6 Engine should have been used rather than the Ultima 7 Engine because that's what you are used to. (Now if we're talking Ultima 8...well...I could understand)

I've played for a half hour or so on the demo of Avernum 4 and Geneforge 4 and if anything I was disappointed in the "floating feet" syndrome.

Even the graphically inferior Ultimas of the early 1990's had moving feet, if memory serves.

Static characters that hover over the terrain is something I usually associate with early attempts at RPGs in Windows - the Visual Basic types, or just less impressive efforts than Jeff's recent ones. Take "Dungeon Odyssey" for instance: http://www.malfador.com/domain.html . Or really old pre Times of Lore Origin stuff of the black screen / white characters variety.

I remember being disappointed by the newfangled RPGs that came out for Windows in the early 1990's, when I saw that in some ways the graphics were actually inferior to my Commodore 64's! Sure, they were "clean" and less pixelated, but they lacked animation and good sounds.

Is it possible that you've just played so much on one engine and fell in love with it that you're inflexible to a new environment?

I guess I want to hear more concrete examples of how this affects gameplay. Does the Geneforge engine slow things down, for instance? Where is the negative to having "less static" characters?

quote:
captivates you in a way Gene doesn't. While he doesn't let you decide the flow of the story, he does create epic tales of intrigue and amazement...stories full of battles and wars and grudges of powerful races you just do not want to mess with.
I can't really comment on that aspect of the differences. Can you pin it down some more? Does Jeff skimp on the room and location descriptions because of the nicer graphics, for instance?

Remember also that in a recent interview Jeff said that the old BOA engine could only handle 800x600 resolution --- you can't keep doing that forever with the way people's monitors keep growing, not unless you are aiming for retro.

I'll agree with one part of that problem --- I think Jeff faces a dilemma there. One the one hand his games DO attract retro gamers. So how much can he improve his games and modernize them before turning people off?

Anyway here's the quote I was thinking of:

quote:
RPGWatch: I believe you are using the Blades of Avernum engine – why this engine and what are the pros and cons? Is there a danger using the BoA engine will homogenise Nethergate with Avernum but without offering, say, the improved resolution or animations of your latest two titles?

Jeff Vogel: It was a very tough call going with the older engine, but the truth is that it would have taken too long to adapt the game to the Avernum 4 or Geneforge engine. We’ll sacrifice some to adapt this game we love to the newer market, but there is a limit. It already took more time than we expected as it was.

But the Blades of Avernum engine is pretty good. It’s got a good and smooth interface and I really polished it for Nethergate: Resurrection. My main regret is that it can only support 800x600 resolution. But you can play the game in the window, which makes it nice for casual gamers.
http://www.rpgwatch.com/show/article?articleid=53

I'm not saying you're wrong in your assessment, I'd just like to hear a more convincing argument beyond "its too animated!".

If you mean the way the story plays out is more like Geneforge, then that seems more of a valid point to argue.

I think Iffy has a point in that BOA is out there for anyone who likes the retro graphics to keep playing with forever, all we need are more scenarios.

[ Wednesday, September 12, 2007 05:53: Message edited by: Ming ]
Posts: 102 | Registered: Monday, September 3 2007 07:00
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How exactly is A4 like Geneforge? Graphics? Sure. That's unavoidable. Combat? Well, the AP system is Geneforge's. But that's it. What else screams non-Avernum to you? There's plenty of dissatisfaction with A4's plot, but it's not at all Geneforge-esque. The lack of outdoors isn't Avernum, but it isn't Geneforge either.

Maybe Uncle Av is gone (well, you can still play old games...), but uncle Worth (short for Aversworth) is doing fine in A4 and A5. Your problem isn't that A4 is Geneforge-like, it's that it's not identical to A1-3. That's fine, but that's also different.

A4 wasn't my favorite game, but I don't think that's reason to write off all sequels. A5 is better. A5 is good. It's not A1-3, but it's not trying to be. It's A5, and it does A5 very well. But if you choose not to even touch the demo, it's your loss.

—Alorael, who recommends not remaking A4 as a scenario. That would make Jeff cranky, probably. It's also just not quite enough of a plot to stand up among better scenarios. The fun is all in the engine, and remaking that in BoA would be more pain than it's worth. Make the BoA equivalent of At the Gallows instead.
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To Ming(I'm not quoting because the quote system on this type of forum is confusing):

It's not that I'm complaining about the graphics being animated or being still...I'm hardly one to think less or more of graphics either way. The key was the STYLE, the essence of Avernum was preserved in the way it was depicted. By changing that dynamic, you change what makes Avernum Avernum, as I already said.

By intergrating the Geneforge engine, you also make it very Geneforgish. Look, if Jeff had wanted to make a new engine that looked nicer, I wouldn't have as much of a problem with it. Some grumbling probably, because you're right in that there is some inflexibility, but I'd have been fine with it.

But he didn't make a new engine...he just copied the Geneforge engine. He basically took Avernum's style and replaced it with Geneforge's style. That was the big issue...that was the problem. Not that it was new graphics so much as that it was the graphics and style of another already established and completely different game series.

And as for the resolution...I'm running my monitor most of the time at 1280x1024, so I can understand why people have problems with 800x600...whenever I'm alt-tabbing out, everything else is just so freaking huge compared to what I'm used to...but that's okay because I can adapt and change pretty easily, and I don't intend on going for a larger monitor than seventeen inches anyway. Why would I need something bigger? So long as it can handle the capabilities of my graphics card (Currently a Leadtek 7900+ GT...or is it GTX? I can never remember...) and render things effectively, it's fine.

I don't think I'd call myself a retro gamer...I freely play both old games and new games. Before I started up on my new Avernum binge I was playing things like Titan's Quest: Immortal Throne and Supreme Commander.

What I'm trying to say is that Avernum had a style, a familiarity, something that held constant from game to game. Some might call that a lack of innovation...I call it preserving the style of a series, making each game identifiable as part of that series.

I don't have a problem with the Geneforge style either...as I said, I liked it for itself when it was itself. My whole problem was not preferring one style or the other, or hating one thing, but the fact that one style was tossed away in favor of the other, and that was the biggie.

Again, in my example, it's like Uncle Gene pretending to be Uncle Av. He tries and tries, but he can't do it, because the gameplay, graphics, and so on are so purely Geneforge rather than Avernum. The style of Avernum was simply not there anymore.

I know, this is a little difficult to understand, but play the Avernum games again, even if for just a few minutes to see what I mean. Take a look at how the statistics work with the weapons, armor, and so on. Take a look at how spells function. Take a look at the AP system, the item functions, the pictures for the statistics, the layout of the menus onscreen, the overall gamplay, and, yes, at the way the graphics work together. All of it melded together is Avernum's style.

Now take a look at Geneforge. Take a look at how ITS statistics function, how its weapons and armor work, AP system, and so on and so forth. They work in a much different way, and go together with the graphics to form the Geneforge style.

In Avernum IV, the Geneforge style was all over the place...only a thin layer of Avernum was painted onto the Geneforge style in the sense of the use of the setting of Avernum, some of the graphics--Sliths, Nephils, and so on that weren't in the original Geneforge engine. But once you peel away those layers, what you see is a Geneforge game.

That was the huge issue. Not that I didn't like Geneforge's style by itself, but that it was being substituted for Avernum's style.

To Alorael: Please see the above for how I've explained what I mean. If it's still not clear, I'm not sure how I can make my meaning clearer.

All I want is for Jeff to give Avernum V the style of Avernum back. Sure, go ahead and make new graphics, but for the sake of Avernum's style, make them DIFFERENT from Geneforge. Rework the menu system too so that it doesn't look like Geneforge. Rework the statistics so they work like the Avernum games rather than Geneforge's. Bring back those statistics pictures. Return the armor and weapons to the Avernum statistical style, and so on and so forth.

Is it too much to ask for Avernum V to actually feel like an Avernum game?

[ Wednesday, September 12, 2007 06:25: Message edited by: DanielJacksonMPC ]

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Posts: 91 | Registered: Thursday, January 19 2006 08:00
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quote:
Originally written by DanielJacksonMPC:

To Ming(I'm not quoting because the quote system on this type of forum is confusing):

It's not that I'm complaining about the graphics being animated or being still...I'm hardly one to think less or more of graphics either way.

By intergrating the Geneforge engine, you also make it very Geneforgish. Look, if Jeff had wanted to make a new engine that looked nicer, I wouldn't have as much of a problem with it.

He basically took Avernum's style and replaced it with Geneforge's style. That was the big issue...that was the problem. Not that it was new graphics so much as that it was the graphics and style of another already established and completely different game series.

In the same interview link I posted above, Jeff said he didn't expect people to play all of his games.

From reading the forums here I know some people are buying Geneforge or Avernum exclusively.

You've played a lot more of Jeff's games than anyone stumbling onto Jeff's site for the first time in years, so you are hyper-aware of the similarities and differences in his games.

Do you consider the Geneforge engine inferior? From reading your original post, it seems that you actually quite like Geneforge.

So would you deny the pure Avernum player who refuses to touch Geneforge due to a less traditional fantasy-type story - the "better" engine?

I think Jeff is seeing it this way. He just wants to use the best engine whenever possible.

At least that's what I gathered from his interview regarding Nethergate. If time had allowed, he would have used the Geneforge engine for Nethergate.

And now, well, with Avernum IV having been on that engine for some time now, I don't even think we can fairly call it the "Geneforge Engine" anymore.

Jeff wants to build games. If he had another employee working as hard as he does developing, then maybe he could afford to co-develop two unique engines.

But I'm going to guess that is not the case.

One more fact to consider. Since I have only extensively played Nethergate: Res (and an old Exile game long ago) I noticed a lot of the same graphics carried over. Like leather armor in Geneforge 4, for instance. The items look awfully similar. So I'd think that would make it even easier to keep that Avernum feel you miss...? Perhaps I saw similarities where you see differences.

One thing I'd like to see is newer character portraits in Avernum! I mean, 5 games and they still have that dude with the goatee in every screenshot? :) Heck, if Jeff will pay me a buck or two if it makes him happy, I'll bust out my old art skills and draw him some new portraits!

BTW, have you tried Nethergate: Res (I know you played Nethergate at one time)? What do you think of the way he "polished" the BOA-style engine? Do you see any improvements?

Maybe if enough people ask for it he'll do

[ Wednesday, September 12, 2007 06:53: Message edited by: Ming ]
Posts: 102 | Registered: Monday, September 3 2007 07:00
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Do I consider the Geneforge engine inferior? No. It's just a different engine. And yes, I did like Geneforge, for being Geneforge and having that distinct style from Avernum, whereas I liked Avernum for being Avernum and having that distinct style from Geneforge. They were two different games series with two different styles.

And yes, I did play Nethergate: Resurrection...I was very glad to see the Blades of Avernum engine because that engine is basically the Avernum engine just with a little interface switch-around(and possibly some other differences behind the scenes...I'm not a programmer so I wouldn't be able to tell the difference.)

No improvements as such...if anything, Nethergate: Resurrection was almost disappointingly shorter than the Avernum games and felt less dynamic, especially if you were playing as a Roman.

The styles, though, are more in the gameplay and the way the interface is set up than anything else. I became extremely mouse-dependent with the Avernum trilogy games, with the way they moved around. I was very used to holding down the mouse button and just directing my party that way.

In the Geneforge games, you can't do that, because clicking the mouse on a spot will have you teleport to that spot, moving many spaces at once. It's a nice system if you're not used to the mouse movement of Avernum, but if you are, it's jarring. That was one of the more distinct differences between the games I would have appreciated being preserved.

If Jeff only changes one thing back to the way Avernum worked, I would choose the way the mouse movement worked. (Though having an explorable world map would be a very close second. I really, really liked having world maps in the Avernum trilogy...I want that again, please.)

He does copy a lot of graphics between things though when it comes to items...and all of the monsters in Nethergate: Resurrection were monsters in previous games...for instance, the Dark/Spectral wolves? Those were Alien Beasts in Avernum III. The Fomorians? Giants...giants all over. In many ways, Nethergate felt like another Avernum game. It still had its own style with the Celt/Roman dynamic, but beyond that it still felt like an Avernum game.

To be perfectly honest, while I like both the Geneforge and Avernum styles, if I had to pick one to favor over the other, it would be the Avernum style, if only because that was the one I played first and was more used to, and I just want Avernum games to have the Avernum style, that's all.

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Well that signature was out of date, since I've not been here in forever.
Posts: 91 | Registered: Thursday, January 19 2006 08:00
Guardian
Member # 6670
Profile Homepage #10
My pet theory that Look & Feel is the most important criterion after basic functionality for the average end-user gains more support. Nothing inherently wrong with that, just realize that Jeff Vogel probably has bigger priorities when he's programming his games than maintaining separate engines. If I was him, I'd do the same thing - one engine for any games of the same genre.

I didn't mind the different engine, but then again, I haven't played the Geneforge series, so I haven't developed the emotional attachment to each engine.

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Work is the curse of the drinking classes.
- Oscar Wilde
Posts: 1509 | Registered: Tuesday, January 10 2006 08:00
Law Bringer
Member # 4153
Profile Homepage #11
quote:
Originally written by Iffy will bring you happiness.:

You know, this is why someone should rewrite A4...as a BoA scenario!!!
Good lord no. There are too many things that we can't do, and too many things nobody would want to do.

Raise your hand if you want to transcribe the Eastern Gallery chitrach tunnels into Blades towns. Keep it raised if you want to decide where to use elevation and where not to. Put it down unless you want to re-write Rentar's dialogue.

If your hand is still up, shoot yourself.

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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
Warrior
Member # 6714
Profile Homepage #12
Yeah...Iffy, that's a terrible idea...trust your brother on this one, okay?

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Well that signature was out of date, since I've not been here in forever.
Posts: 91 | Registered: Thursday, January 19 2006 08:00
Lifecrafter
Member # 7557
Profile #13
*Embarks on a long philosophical lecture about the value of life, game violence, silver bullets, dead flesh and the dangers of shooting yourself with one hand in the air*

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First person to call me a mercenary gets necromatized.
Posts: 942 | Registered: Sunday, October 8 2006 07:00
Apprentice
Member # 9589
Profile #14
Well I've enjoyed the Geneforge series and Avernum 4. I'm not your average gamer, I'm 52 and partially disabled with plenty of time on my hands. These games are a pleasant diversion.

On the Avernum 4 demo, there are plenty of things that can be done. I got so mad at Gisnak (or whatever his name was) Southwest of Formello that I finally went off on his nasty French sounding butt and kicked it.

I think I've run out of stuff to do and things to kill on the demo though. I've even dropped the magic barrier into the Eastern area, but I'm now at the end of the demo. Is there a list of everything I can do on the demo? I'd like to know I've played it for all it's worth before I buy the game because funds are short on disability.

The only game I haven't enjoyed is Netherworld. The graphics are too tiny for these old eyes.
Posts: 5 | Registered: Sunday, August 5 2007 07:00
Warrior
Member # 1668
Profile #15
quote:
Originally written by Argyll:

The only game I haven't enjoyed is Netherworld. The graphics are too tiny for these old eyes.
The new Nethergate:Resurrection iteration allows for full-screen graphics, which should make things easier on tired eyes...

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"Mongo only pawn in game of life" -- Mongo
Posts: 75 | Registered: Monday, August 5 2002 07:00
Warrior
Member # 10234
Profile #16
quote:
Originally written by wary wanderer:

quote:
Originally written by Argyll:

The only game I haven't enjoyed is Netherworld. The graphics are too tiny for these old eyes.
The new Nethergate:Resurrection iteration allows for full-screen graphics, which should make things easier on tired eyes...

Maybe he's talkign about overland travel where your group becomes tiny little icons. And the game defaults to full-screen for me, I casually looked for the window mode for a few seconds (after reading about it in the RPG watch interview) and didn't immediately see it so I've just kept playing fullscreen.
Posts: 102 | Registered: Monday, September 3 2007 07:00
Apprentice
Member # 9589
Profile #17
Perhaps I just need to change the resolution. I like Netherworld, just the characters are so tiny, it makes things tough.

I love Avernum 4 and all of the Geneforges.
Posts: 5 | Registered: Sunday, August 5 2007 07:00
Agent
Member # 27
Profile #18
My two biggest problems with Avernum 4:
1. Graphics looked like Chess pieces
2. Getting around was even worse than in Geneforge 3 which, if you haven't played it, is horrifying.

Otherwise I didn't think it was so bad. I didn't buy it, but I thought a few things were interesting like the new system for area of effect spells.

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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
Apprentice
Member # 10408
Profile #19
1: Geneforge 3 was not hard to get around in!

2: I have signed up as a beta tester-- if Jeff picks me, I'll be able to see whether it's like Geneforge...

3: but I won't be able to tell you because of the Non-Disclosure Agreement! :D

Ha ha ha ha haaaa...(goes off laughing maniacally)

-

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Microsoft is like a herd of dragons with amoebic dysentery: massive, difficult to redirect, awe-inspiring, entertaining, and a source of mind-boggling amounts of excrement when you least expect it.

Death takes a holiday.

How not to do it: "Hi, Mr. Dragon. I've come to destroy you, so would you mind if I borrowed your Fireproof Skin Balm recipe first?"
Posts: 13 | Registered: Monday, September 10 2007 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 6785
Profile #20
I can tell you that the movement is pretty much the same as in Avernum 4. Mouse clicking moves you to the space marked so you can inch the mouse over an move a square at a time or better is to use the keyboard arrow keys.

It does seem better than A4 in that with the revised AP system there is no more accidently moving next to a monster that you wanted to hit with a missle and finding out that you don't have the AP for a melee attack.

There is a delay between certain actions like using a battle discipline and being able to fight when you have the graphics special effects turned on. You have to watch that the game is ready for your next command.
Posts: 4643 | Registered: Friday, February 10 2006 08:00
Apprentice
Member # 10408
Profile #21
!!!?!?

How do you know this?!

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Microsoft is like a herd of dragons with amoebic dysentery: massive, difficult to redirect, awe-inspiring, entertaining, and a source of mind-boggling amounts of excrement when you least expect it.

Death takes a holiday.

How not to do it: "Hi, Mr. Dragon. I've come to destroy you, so would you mind if I borrowed your Fireproof Skin Balm recipe first?"
Posts: 13 | Registered: Monday, September 10 2007 07:00
Councilor
Member # 6600
Profile Homepage #22
Several of the returning beta testers have already begun testing.

Dikiyoba.

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Episode 4: Spiderweb Reloaded
Posts: 4346 | Registered: Friday, December 23 2005 08:00
Triad Mage
Member # 7
Profile Homepage #23
My main complaint with the Avernum and Geneforge is how SLOW they are. Exile was my favorite engine and interface because it was quick and snappy and detailed. Avernum and Geneforge seem molasses-slow in comparison. They're nonresponsive and dumbed-down - also the clicking noises in Exile just seem snappier and crisper. I also hate that Geneforge gigantic cursor. And it's slow. Can we have a real cursor again?

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"At times discretion should be thrown aside, and with the foolish we should play the fool." - Menander
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Drakefyre's Demesne - Happy Happy Joy Joy
Encyclopedia Ermariana - Trapped in the Closet
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You can take my Mac when you pry my cold, dead fingers off the mouse!
Posts: 9436 | Registered: Wednesday, September 19 2001 07:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 2123
Profile #24
I only found Av 4 a little hard to get into for the first three days. The conrols were diffrent and I needed time to get use to them. Once I did I found it quite fun and that I really needed to level up a lot more then in the over Av games.

Basicly, I'm looking forward to Av 5.

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Rahhar...
Posts: 228 | Registered: Monday, October 21 2002 07:00

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