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Everything posted by Simon

  1. Gamespot storytelling feature

    I think it's also just cutting through some of the more vague ideas in those questions. Answering How do you balance the desire for a good story with the need for compelling gameplay?, Tim just says 'They don't work against each other at all! They don't need to be balanced. You can have both turned up all the way!' - which seems to ring true, and I don't think he needs to say anymore having established that position. Whenever Tim talks about game design, every sentence means something or makes a relevant point. Not to say the other interviewees are just talking fluff, but Tim kind of gets to the point. Also, maybe he missed the tone when being interviewed and thought he'd just be padding out a Gamespot story article, rather than his quotes standing alone. Another possibility is that Gamespot always interview Schafer, so maybe he's bored of it. He's said most of this stuff on many occasions. Kind of funny, coming from Mr More-Cutscenes-Than-Gameplay. I remember my party members in Ultima VII complaining when I murdered people or when they got hungry, but as far as I can remember, they never left me. We're still at about that level of character-realism. There's only so much depth RPGs can have if these characters surrounding the player voice disapproval, but don't do anything about it. Obviously it's very difficult to code/script for all the different eventualities, but if you're going to give the player companions, I think you should involve lots of possible dynamics, not just the surface of 'I don't think that's a very good idea...' when you do or say something evil.
  2. Kotor 2

    I've not played it, in fact I haven't got round to finishing the first one just yet. I will one day, but I lost interest at some point on Manaan. Anyway, KOTOR II seems to me a good example of why people should finish games before they review them. I've seen a fair amount of criticism of its (lack of) ending from players since it came out, but none of the reviews I read a few months back even mentioned it. Obviously it's a long game, but a role-playing game is about the whole journey, and a satisfying story that wraps itself up well and rewards you for dozens of hours of playing time. With a massive investment of hours, I don't want have a big anticlimax kick in the teeth at the end of it all. I'm kind of glad I haven't bought it yet, because the fan reaction since has made me have second thoughts. I will surely pick it up once it's budget-price though.
  3. New Zelda trailer

    It's looking pretty good. Interesting that they have gone the route of a far more realistic graphical style. I wonder how much the move was influenced by the Lord Of The Rings films. The whole tone seems to be of immense epicness, earthy rather than cute/cartoony this time. There's even a chase with some kind of giant spider monster in there somewhere, and Link riding something very much like a Warg. I love the final, very cinematic shot of the massive moon looming ever larger behind the howling wolf on a cliff-top above a vast expanse of forestry. Hopefully that has something to do with the game and the world, and isn't just eye candy.
  4. Tim on Gamespot TV Thing

    That article is great, very interesting with Schafer's musings on game design on PCs/consoles, text and graphic adventures etc. Also very funny. A lot of the Psychonauts articles are just repeating the same information at the moment, but that one's worth the read.
  5. Death to the digital canvas

    Interesting rant, one of your best (I always read the blurb underneath Captain August when I check the site). I find it more impressive when I see a work of art like a painting that has involved taking risks. Also, I guess I find it more satisfying to draw something I'm pleased with on paper in oodles of carefully-applied ink, than I do if it's a digital work, with endless use of CTRL-Z. But I don't think art should be about how hard something is, or an impressive process. For me, the end result is what matters. Digital can help you achieve certain things that 'analog' can't, and vice versa. I have absolutely nothing against creation in digital media not using 'real' materials, and I don't really stick my nose up at a webcomic drawn with a Wacom tablet or see it as inferior to one scanned from inked drawings just because of that. Often I don't even really think about it. I judge it for what it is, not how it became what it is. So, I think there's more skill and talent in an artist doing something awesome using predominantly 'analog' materials, because there is less room for error. But as interested as I am in the creative process and what goes on 'behind the scenes', I think it's unfair to judge things based on that process too much. I think people should respect the artistic choices for what they are, and consider the work itself. It's kind of like playing a World War II flight simulator and saying "Well, that wasn't very funny" - that wasn't what it was trying to do. I guess if you're saying "It fucking shows", then the art and the process are bound up in each other for you. Somehow I don't let it cloud things too much, which isn't a conscious thing. Now, valve guitar amps, those do matter.
  6. What would you happily murder someone for?

    One of these, maybe. It looks like they move between the crocodile and the fish when you tilt it, which would be hours of fun in itself. I think I saw someone's photos of a Grim Fandango promotional cardboard cut-out on the Internet once. I'd murder for that. Or a poster. The soundtrack is pretty rare too, but maybe I can live with just having it in mp3.
  7. I just got a Creative Zen Micro

    I had a look at my sister's new Zen Micro last week. It seemed nifty, but my clumsy fingers kept triggering new tracks when I was just browsing the albums in there. You have to get used to that touch pad thingy. Also I couldn't work out if you could queue individual tracks up to 'play next' by browsing the albums. I'd like to be able to do that. It looks nice, though. I'm not really excited by portable music enough to buy anything like that though. I make mixes for my car and that's enough excitement for me.
  8. Games everyone hates (but are really great!)

    I liked Toonstruck, the much-maligned cartoon/live action point and click adventure game, starring Christopher Lloyd and Dan Castellaneta. Also Mario Sunshine, but this thread has already made it clear that it's not hated by everyone.
  9. Tim on Gamespot TV Thing

    I was toying with the idea of avoiding all potential spoilers, but with a few months still to wait, I gave in and watched the intro movie from (thanks Thrik!). I've seen some of the game in action already, but this story stuff is the first big chunk of new Schafer dialogue that's been out there in a while, and it had me throughly amused, and unbearably excited to get my hands on the game. It's such a neat cut-scene, not wasting any time setting up the concept, whilst still being very funny. Fantastic animation too.
  10. I know it's for kids, and I know it's not like they destroyed all the classic Looney Tunes stuff and replaced it with this, but it still makes me sad. Also, I don't get the concept. Why is Daffy Duck now a 'weapons expert'? If they're going to completely change the characters, why not come up with a new cast, rather than violating the Looney Tunes characters? And finally, they all look too evil, it's stylised way too much in that direction. I can't imagine anyone wanting to see 'Buzz' Bunny saving the world with attitude, but it will probably be a massive hit.
  11. "This Is Why Your Game Magazine Sucks"

    Games magazines have been disappointing me for years, if not with their uninteresting journalism, then with their sloppy approach to scoring. I think it's partly out of not wanting to admit when there's a quiet season in gaming, always looking for a 'Game Of The Month'. Late-90s PC Gamer seemed to be handing out 90-something scores left right and centre. It led to a couple of occasions of me purchasing something very lame indeed. I've been getting GamesTM recently, but even that is irritating me slightly now. Their retro section is occasionally interesting but mostly feels pointless, and the previews don't seem to expand much beyond press-release info and screenshots. They do have a touch of industry depth in the news section, and some excellent interviews (Hideo Kojima a few months ago was a good one). But I think I will go back to just using the web to find out about games. It has all those advantages plus it's (mostly) free. The last print mag I really liked was PC Player, which I was reading in about 1993, and I guess it died sometime in the mid-90s. It had no coverdisks. I was only young, so it might have been rubbish and I wouldn't remember, but I fondly remember it because it was where I first heard about a lot of old games that I love. I wish I still had my copies.
  12. dude.

    I think it abbreviates 'legend' as in 'what a legend', I am not sure though.
  13. dude.

    Tim's Double Fine Action News update, which has even more funny than usual this time. Well, I laughed. It's about the comics page being revamped in PHP, and there are new comics too.
  14. Telltale Texas Hold'em

    Hmm, I can't say it excites me a whole lot. The art direction is sort of ugly and it seems like a desktop toy, rather than the kind of thing Telltale have been promising. Obviously it is a 'side project' though. I guess this might have been a sort of testing ground, maybe honing some coders' or artists' skills, or tinkering with the engine, before they really get the ball rolling on a bigger project. Just thought I'd mention that the excellent Graham Annable is now doing a comic on the Telltale website. It's that 'Bay Area game artist doing webcomics on the side' formula that you've come to love from the immortal (but recently neglected) DFAC. Remains to be seen whether it will be as funny as Scott or Nathan or Raz, but Annable's Grickle/Hickee stuff is mostly hit rather than miss.
  15. General World of Warcraft topic

    Damn. I was thinking I'd probably get round to buying and getting stuck into WoW next month sometime, when I have some free time. But now I'm thinking the Collector's Edition sounds awesome. Missed the boat there. Still, maybe I can catch up with you fellow Europeans on there sometime soon.
  16. Psychonauts PC Specs

    Then I think putting one together yourself out of various old and new parts would be like, er, an even better recipe for headaches? One where you're also allergic to all the ingredients. And the frying pan's really hard to wash up afterwards. I know from experience that PCs are cruel bastards at times, and they remain a less-than-ideal platform for gaming. Even nowadays with DirectX and other standards that everything's built on, you can never be 100% sure that your new game is going to play just fine. In fact, it seems worse than before, I've had many many more problems in the past year with games on my PC than I can remember from the whole time I was using MS-DOS. That said, most of my best gaming experiences have been on the PC and, seeing as I have one anyway for work and other things, I doubt I'd ever abandon it entirely as a gamer. But I am more and more drawn to consoles.
  17. Psychonauts PC Specs

    Awesome. I suppose I wasn't expecting it to be a bitch to run at all, but it's nice to have closure. I pretty much hit the 'recommended' specs that you've quoted. I bought my Thrustmaster Firestorm Dual Power gamepad in a large part because I thought it'd be good with PC Psychonauts, so it's good to know there's actually gamepad support there. Great to hear it fresh from the Info Cow's mouth too. I wonder if there's force feedback. "CD-ROM: 16X or better" suggests it will be on CD-ROMs rather than a DVD-ROM, and with 4 to 6 gigabytes to install, I'm imagining lots of discs. Hopefully the game won't need to read off the discs if you do the 6 gig install. So excited now, just waiting for the UK online shops to set up pre-orderable Psychonauts and then I'll be clicking my way to fun city.
  18. "Bonjour Mainstream"

    Yeah, thinking about it, that was part of Guybrush's character in the first two, and a lot of fun. I always wonder who wrote which lines. I tend to imagine the very best stuff that makes me really laugh to be Schafer's doing, rightly or wrongly.
  19. "Bonjour Mainstream"

    Well, that philosophy has worked for Tim a few times now. Ben and Manny oozed coolness and it was awesome to step into their shoes. But I'm not sure that it's quite the golden rule of character design, more just one good way of approaching it. There's a whole range of really fun games that don't have especially cool player-characters. Even staying within the LucasArts adventure games, Monkey Island and Day Of The Tentacle had you playing perhaps 'uncool' people - a wannabe pirate, and a nerd, respectively. Although Guybrush was a bit of a bumbling fool, the pirate/voodoo world he inhabited was very cool and fun to explore in those games. Also, as he was always trying to become a pirate, it was a friendly way to bring the player into the world, if you catch my drift there. So I think that kind of character makes sense too. Obviously, I haven't played Psychonauts, but I feel like leaping to the conclusion that Raz is kind of the middle ground in that cool-wannabe character spectrum. Apparently, the game isn't going to let us play the ultimate Psychonaut straight away, but we'll learn the powers and become 'cooler' as we get to use them all. It's tying the character development up in the 'rewards' of gaming, which are also obviously pretty important. Sorta like getting a powerful gun for the first time in an FPS. So yeah, I don't think Beyond Good & Evil deserves any flak for having a green-lipstick-wearing girl and a pig mechanic as its main characters, if those are really so lame. So far, the world is really well-developed and the game is plain good fun, which is what I'm enjoying about it.
  20. "Bonjour Mainstream"

    Interesting contrast with Schafer's recent 'go crazy, take risks' DICE perspective, which I think is much more positive and preferable. There have been many games that have been hugely original and enjoyable and not done that well, but just shrugging and allowing that to stifle creativity is worsening things. To be fair, Ancel is talking about a balance, but it's dangerously close to a mentality of trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator, which tends to create suckiness. Developers need to be creative, and gamers who don't know what they want yet will latch onto it, hopefully.
  21. Tim's Beard Speaks

    I'd love to have been able to watch it, even just Gamespy's paraphrased report is hysterical. Schafer always makes sense though, his views on creativity and originality always seem spot-on and well-reasoned, but he adds a delicious touch of chuckle-worthy wit.
  22. Tim's Beard Speaks

    You guys! Schafer at the DICE summit, with more new beard pics.
  23. Tim's Beard Speaks

    Wow, awesome. I always enjoy Tim interviews, and this one has some really good lines of questioning. Can't wait until Thumbs does bag a chat with Mr. Double Fine though.
  24. Psychonauts on pre-order!

    Wow, I'm so happy that it's finally happening. Waiting for a European PC pre-order and then it's buy buy buy for me.
  25. Technoholism

    But I don't think that the ultimate in interactivity is 'total immersion', I think it's more like 'total fun', and they don't necessarily equal each other.