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About Talin

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  1. Talin

    Resource Naming

    Leadership, Influence, Reputation or one of those that Tangireon already mentioned. Possibly a religious concept such as Faith, if it fits into your setting (consider having the player choose between different deities as well). If you want variety with 3 resources, try to avoid things that would just be another variant of material wealth (you already have gold, just use it to "buy" eveything) or magical currency (you already have mana, so use mana as a principal source of magic).
  2. During the last year or so, every time I was involved in a debate on this topic (or a closely related one) somewhere, this little thing was my main argument that games can indeed have immense artistic beauty and overall value. Somebody actually posted that link on this very forum, on some unrelated topic. I can't count the number of times I've played through it since, despite the game being quite short and linear. Generally, the easier solo game development becomes, the more enthusiasts and hobbyists will use games to express themselves, rather than impress an audience. Once people become aware of how accessible game development has become (and it will only get more accessible in time), more of them will take it up as a hobby. Programming, the traditional insurmountable hurdle to everybody's "making my own game" fantasy is really not so difficult to overcome nowadays with things like Python around. People no longer need to learn as much about hardware, memory management, advanced programming concepts, data structures and above all, the horrid C syntax. The internet is full of comprehensive learning resources.
  3. Talin

    Discovering Data

    Codex in Mass Effect was only flavour text, nothing gameplay related. Or at least I think it was, because I never read any of it past the first article, and I can't imagine too many people have. Same goes for books in Elder Scrolls games, or the ones back in the Infinity games. Ultimately, I think it's a waste of (significant) effort. Any information and lore that you can't pack in dialogues, mission briefings or item and ability descriptions (couple of lines at most) is probably not worth adding in the first place. Can't really understand why would anybody want to create additional features just to entice the players to read some more raw text about the game world. It's extra work for both artists and programmers, and their time could surely be better spent on more essential stuff. IMHO at least. I suggest looking at how Blizzard do it. The three worlds they use in their games are all incredibly deep and rich in lore, but (World of Warcraft aside) you actually get very little of it in the games - just enough to set the tone and keep you informed about what's going on.
  4. Talin

    The Impulse To Roleplay

    Actually, it's quite natural for people to pretend they're somebody else in a fictional reality. They have various fantasies about who they want to be and what they want to do. Whether they do it inside their heads, or as kids playing in the backyard, or by playing a computer or pen and paper RPG, or by acting or writing - most people still do it. Then again, many aspects of human personality are messed up, but they're still there. And very exploitable in games, as well.
  5. Talin

    The Impulse To Roleplay

    To name a few examples, the two games I find easiest and most natural to "role play" in are probably Rome Total War (mostly modded, though) and Football Manager series. There are very few things my two favorites have in common. The most obvious one is that they're pretty much sandbox - you pick an empire or a football club to run, the game starts, and you're on your own. Sandbox is the easiest part to figure out, though. Elder Scrolls games also check this box, as do most 4X games, and they still don't cut it for me in the roleplaying sense. The second thing Total War and FM have in common is that the game world doesn't revolve around the player (his empire/club). In Total War, the player can lead a small faction on the margins of the known world, fighting off the aggressive neighbours in battles that, although vital for the player, are completely insignificant in the big picture. Major empires will still engage in wars and shape the political map of the game. The world is not balanced to accomodate the player, and these games make a very strong point of it - often you'll find yourself in situations where it is impossible to win, yet they were impossible to avoid as well. The point I'm trying to make here isn't that games should be as realistic and unforgiving as possible - it's that defeats should be part of flavour and fun of the game, not a failure that makes you want to reload and retry. It makes the game world credible, as well as characters in it. Characters that eventually succeed at everything they attempt to do and don't suffer defeats are not believable characters. The third major thing the two games have in common is that they aren't impersonal. In Total War, each general has a name, a portrait (that changes as the character ages), and a set of personality traits that affect his in-game abilities but also tell you what kind of a man he really is. These traits change according to the character's actions in the game - such as showing bravery in battle, getting education, or just being rich and bored. They get married and have kids that will also one day become generals and governors (they'll inherit some of the father's traits as well). They can die in battles, they can die of old age, they can get assassinated, but they will die. As generic as they might seem at first, from a roleplaying perspective they're more real than any fully fleshed out protagonist that you just drag around from one quest to the other. Football Manager also makes a strong point of this. A typical game holds a database of around 10,000 people involved in the game, including footballers, staff, other managers, even referees and directors / board members. All of them have names, distinct personalities, dynamic relationships with any number of people they played or worked with during their careers, motivation and morale, and all of these factors are of massive imporance in the game (as much as their actual skills, and probably more). A significant part of the game is all about figuring out what goes on in a player's head, what to tell him before the game or at half time to get him motivated, and how to make him respect you. The game makes it really easy to think of them as actual people, even though they're only represented as textual character sheets.
  6. Talin

    How to destroy Earth?

    I'm no science major, but from a realism standpoint you would be hard pressed to think of a scenario that would make Earth an undesirable place to live (or re-colonize) without destroying the planet physically. No matter what you do to it, it will still be a more desirable place to live / re-colonize / terraform than Mars or Venus - not to mention the other planets in our system. Have your wars, have supervolcanic erruptions, radiations - all that can do is wipe out life on Earth (or only most of life), yet it would probably remain the most hospitable planet in the system. Aliens destroying it then leaving would center the whole story on aliens themselves - who are they, where did they come from, will they return and when? Tuch an event would sooner cause us to unite and work together to salvage what's left of humanity and ultimately survive, rather than split in mutually hostile (or competing) factions. Earth mysteriously disappearing is also an event that should be properly explained at some point in the game, and would have a similar effect on humanity as aliens wiping it out. It leaves two things on the list that I see as hypothetically possible in the late 21st century - - A really, really big asteroid that would throw it out of current orbit, possibly sending it on a collision course with the Sun, or out into the dark, cold space. - A persistent virus spread, lethal to humans (possibly manufactured?). Both are cliche, I'll give you that. But IMO it is preferable to have something that's been done before than something that plainly makes no sense at all - such as the black hole popping in, swallowing exactly one random planet, and moving along elsewhere. Please don't do that. :)
  7. Talin

    On Which Path To Take

    Whatever book on Python you've been reading, if you're only starting out, my advice is to start with this one (it's a free e-book). And this one would be a step further. You've picked the right language to start with. Python is a wonderful, wonderful thing. If you go with these two books, you'll have plenty of fun learning how to program in it. It's not everything you'll ever need, but once you get into it, the desire to learn more advanced programming techniques will come naturally, as will the understanding of programming principles and techniques. That's not something you can gain by reading a book, that's something you'll only gain by practicing what you've read.
  8. Talin

    How long should a game be?

    I remember when I was a "bit" younger that I wanted some games (story/campaign mode) to go on forever, and wished the developers would continue popping out expansions indefinitely. One such game was Heroes of Might & Magic (and 2 and 3, subsequently). Fortunately, 3DO did keep pumping out a great amount of sequels, expansions and mission packs regularly, and I readily devoured each one of them until the fourth sequel killed the whole series with "innovation". The easy answer is to go on as long as the game still provides entertainment. Getting more of the good stuff can't possibly be bad. It really comes down to the core gameplay's replay value, because that's what the player is going to be repeating over and over, regardless of the theme, story, background or customization. Another thing to look out for is not being creative enough when your game mechanics allow you to be. For instance, I've just been playing some Dragon Age, and got mildly irritated by getting the exact same challenge after opening three different doors in the same dungeon. I've fought roughly the same number of enemies of the same type (and appearance) that behaved the same, and - you're probably guessing - I defeated all of them the same way. Which is again similar to mostly all generic encounters the game provided so far. I don't want to be doing that for another 30 hours. I don't even want to be doing that for another 30 minutes. Which is why I'm not doing it right now and I'm writing a forum post about it instead.
  9. There are several decent "light" rule systems that don't interfere much with role playing, but still provide a tangible game structure and conflict resolution mechanics. I've had a whole list I can't find right now, but Fudge is my personal favorite.
  10. Talin

    Game idea: Mars Colonization War

    Is there some reasoning behind the faction names that I'm not aware of? They look as if they came from a random name generator, and not a particularly good one. I'd suggest changing those. Other than that, it looks more like a game design topic. The design sounds like it could be fun, though (if done properly).
  11. Talin

    Game Theory: Your Perfect MMO game

    Quote: 1A: What is your gender? 2A: How old are you? 3A: How long have you been playing MMO games? 4A: How did you get introduced to your first MMO game? 5A: How would you define your play experience as a gamer? (Do you consider casual vs. hardcore from strictly a time investment standpoint?) Male, 24, about 3 years actively (though I've tried various MMO games for the last 5-6 years). Not counting browser games and MUD-s, otherwise extend the period to about 10-12 years. I got literally dragged into it by a bunch of online friends who refused to play anything other than WoW. The ones I tried out earlier myself were the games I read about online - though my experience with them usually fit in 30 minute long sessions. I'd subsequently get bored, and quit/uninstall. I play all games casually from a time investment standpoint, though my way of looking at games is closer to a hardcore player's perspective. Quote:1B: Rate these game features from most appealing to least appealing. Assume that your lowest ranked item will still be decently implemented in the game. I didn't bother with the ordering, I hope my comments will be enough though. :) An amazing and engrossing storyline, rich with lore and with hidden areas to explore and ancient secrets to unlock. If my gameplay experience is heavily tied around the story, I will pay attention to it, but it's still mildly appealing at best - presence and actions of other players are bound to break any real immersion anyway. A completely modular game world where you can interact with nearly every object from sitting in chairs to destroying terrain all the way to killing NPC’s and casting spells to control the weather. Very appealing as an idea. A highly sophisticated combat system that rewards player skill and interaction that’s fast paced, exciting, dynamic and simply fun. Pretty much a #1 priority for me. Rich and stunning graphics that suck you into the game world and never let go, from plants swaying in the wind to detailed ancient ruins and vast landscapes. Appealing as long as it runs smoothly. However, the graphics don't have to be cutting-edge in technical terms. I put much more value in style, art and imagination (this is where, above all else, WoW really excels). Complete and utter character customization, starting from your first name, last name, nickname and all the way to coloring and personalizing armor, wearing different clothes and perhaps even giving each item a description for other players to read. Low priority / mildly appealing. A complete social network that includes local banks, caravans bringing supplies, advanced guild creation and management options, creating towns and laying siege other player’s towns. Extremely appealing - player-ran factions, economy and politics would be a big plus for me. A game that, above all else, stresses fun factor. This is a vague point really. On one hand, I want to have fun. On the other, I've found that I'm indifferent (at best) to many things that majority of people considers fun. Like the feel of overpowering other players or monsters with better items, level, gear, or in-game statistics? Absolutely not. Like the feel of overpowering other players or monsters with physical player skill? Yes, not that it happens too often though. :) Simply enjoy the fun factor of the game, win or lose, as long as it’s exciting. I don't mind losing, if that's what you were hinting at. Quote:3B: What keeps you playing an MMO? - The social network of friends you have made with other players and your guild. - New and more challenging PvE content for you and your guild to overcome. - Exploring the world, meeting people, leveling and having fun. - The role-playing experience or escape from reality a MMO game offers. - PvP, you live for the kill, either world PvP or a specific venue such as an arena. The friends I have playing WoW are the one single reason I'm still playing as well, though we go back a long time before WoW as well. 1C: Does it bother you when other players have an item or achievement that you’re working on, and you don’t, and you feel it’s because their class is more suited to gaining that item or achievement, or other “unfair” factors? It doesn't bother me at all. 2C: Would you prefer a class based system, or a skill system where you can choose whatever you want but with a skill cap? Is there another system you enjoy? Between those two, I'd prefer a skill system. Generally, I want to be able to develop a single character the way I want, rather than having 5 different characters to try out all the abilities and tricks I find appealing. 3C: Does “grinding” in MMO games annoy you, or do you feel it’s necessary for the game? It is the number one thing on my hatelist when it comes to MMO games. It's actually the reason why I hold the entire genre in low regard for the time being. It's a cheap substitute for gameplay really, as is the whole "progress and achievement" line of thought. It works, yes. But it's cheap, and it's inherently bad. 4C: Would you prefer PvE monsters to have AI or a script? AI would allow a monster to attack a “healer” whenever it decided to, for example, but make encounters more dynamic and interesting (sometimes). Absolutely. 4D: Do you enjoy a realistic (within the game world, we all know magic doesn't really exist) game? At what point does realism start to detract from fun factor? Realism doesn't have to detract from fun at all, or the number of things one can do in a world. You just need to be more creative to substitute some of the things that don't fit in a realistic game. Hypothetically, if somehow a pencil and paper RPG could be reasonably yet amazingly transferred to a visual MMORPG, which one would you play? Would you stick to a MMO game that doesn’t spawn from a paper game? Honestly, if I could play out my D&D sessions online in such an environment (with DM-ing and all), I'm pretty sure I'd never look for another computer game in my life.
  12. Talin

    Turn-Based with a GM - Has it been done?

    I don't think a full blown game has ever been developed around that feature, but as far as I remember, Neverwinter Nights supported DM-ing (unsure about NWN2 though?). Never played it online though, so I have no idea how it all looks. It's an interesting idea though, certainly unexplored and unexploited. It's pretty much the only way to bring actual role-playing games to the electronic entertainment world. But I think it could only be a success if it was licensed and backed by the Wizards of the Coast and the like - and it's not in their interest to move away from tabletop gaming just yet.
  13. Reminds me of The Lost Vikings a bit. :) Thanks for the shout though, I'll have to try this out.
  14. Talin

    How to make a MMOG more social?

    I always thought that simply allowing only one avatar per player would do a lot to make the social aspect more... social. That way, your in-game avatar is really YOU - it isn't just one of your generic assets you can use and discard at will.
  15. Talin

    Intro Problems possible?

    I don't really think you'll have any problems in that case.
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