Unimpressed

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Bannerdog
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Unimpressed

Post by Bannerdog » December 5th, 2013, 12:28 am

I'm a big fan of old-school RPGs.

I played advent and zork before the TRS-80, Apple II, or Commodore came into being.

I like rogue-like games.

I loved the old Pool of Radiance series.

The original Fallout was awesome.

However, I'm rather unimpressed with Wasteland (1).

The interface must have been designed with the goal of being as unintuitive as possible.

I can't even exit the game without using Task Manager.

(The Escape key has no effect, as far as I can tell).

It seems to me that any effort put into making the game playable on current hardware was a waste of time.

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Re: Unimpressed

Post by Crosmando » December 5th, 2013, 12:45 am

If you save your game, it asks you afterward if you want to Quit. Or you can Alt+Enter to make dosbox go into windowed mode.

As for the interface, I don't see how it's any worse than the Gold Box games, just read the reference card and just use the keyboard commands, don't bother with the mouse control. Once you get the hang of the interface it really isn't that bad.
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Re: Unimpressed

Post by macksting » December 5th, 2013, 10:57 am

I often return to Ultima IV, and every time I do I must relearn the old interface. There wasn't a lot of standardization yet at the time these games were made.
I'm sure Wasteland 2, being designed in the modern day with more tools and standards, will be more intuitive. That said, this criticism surprises me from an Ultima fan. Do you only play the later titles, or have you found a way to make Ultima IV's interface more intuitive? Some kind of mod?
I'm serious, no sarcasm involved.

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Re: Unimpressed

Post by Drool » December 5th, 2013, 8:12 pm

Bannerdog wrote:The interface must have been designed with the goal of being as unintuitive as possible.
I've found it to be be possible the most direct, straight-forward, and simple interface of any game I've ever played. When I want someone to use something, I press U. If I want to save, I press S. If I want to look at character number three, I press 3. If I want the group to move up, I press the up arrow key.

Honestly, I don't know how it could be any simpler.
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Re: Unimpressed

Post by macksting » December 6th, 2013, 12:40 am

There's simple, and there's intuitive. Still, I suspect I'm better off begging to agree to disagree on where one ends and the other begins.

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Re: Unimpressed

Post by paultakeda » December 6th, 2013, 9:23 am

It's intuitive in that every command displayed on the screen tells you how to activate it by the first letter of the word, or by the word space and the four arrows.

Having played it when it came out, it was, quite honestly, one of the best UIs out there. I didn't need to reference a card with the key commands and combos (save the macro function), which is something you would have to do for many games of that era.

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Re: Unimpressed

Post by macksting » December 6th, 2013, 6:04 pm

Personally, I don't think the ESC key should be a command to activate things. Very counterintuitive to me, sort of like if they were using Pause/Break as a turbo button.

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Re: Unimpressed

Post by Lucius » December 6th, 2013, 6:08 pm

macksting wrote:Personally, I don't think the ESC key should be a command to activate things. Very counterintuitive to me, sort of like if they were using Pause/Break as a turbo button.
So...your entire issue revolves around one button, thus the entire UI is unintuitive? Because you talk about is the ESC key. Really?

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Re: Unimpressed

Post by macksting » December 7th, 2013, 10:25 am

There are other little quibbles, such as the mouse control occasionally making keyboard control temporarily impossible, but I'm not the main plaintiff in this matter anyway. All I said is that the controls could be more intuitive, and that Wasteland 2 will probably be more intuitive. As older games go, I'd say the controls are pretty solid, and their simplicity generally makes up for any counterintuitive elements thereof.

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Re: Unimpressed

Post by Zombra » December 7th, 2013, 10:55 am

bannerdog, if you're still reading, the Esc key is a "rest" key in Wasteland 1. It makes time pass without your party doing anything. Hope that helps.
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Re: Unimpressed

Post by Lucius » December 7th, 2013, 11:06 am

macksting wrote:There are other little quibbles, such as the mouse control occasionally making keyboard control temporarily impossible, but I'm not the main plaintiff in this matter anyway. All I said is that the controls could be more intuitive, and that Wasteland 2 will probably be more intuitive. As older games go, I'd say the controls are pretty solid, and their simplicity generally makes up for any counterintuitive elements thereof.
I apologize, I thought you were the original poster this whole time. Thats what I get for only half paying attention to the thread.

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Re: Unimpressed

Post by macksting » December 7th, 2013, 12:09 pm

We all make mistakes. Given my post count, I can anticipate making a great many more mistakes than I have thus far before I hit your number. *bows to his elder*

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Re: Unimpressed

Post by Drool » December 8th, 2013, 6:13 am

macksting wrote:There are other little quibbles, such as the mouse control occasionally making keyboard control temporarily impossible
Okay, that will get no arguments. The mouse support for Wasteland is atrocious. Probably because mice weren't especially common, especially for the C64. With this current release, the best course of action is to use the mouse for clicking the paragraph links and pretend it doesn't even exist for everything else.
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Re: Unimpressed

Post by pedtrog » December 8th, 2013, 6:55 am

Drool wrote:With this current release, the best course of action is to use the mouse for clicking the paragraph links and pretend it doesn't even exist for everything else.
Speaking of which, a nice feature would be to enable reading the paragraphs with the keyboard.
"read paragraph 161 (1)" -> Hit Ctrl+1 -> pops the paragraph window.

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Re: Unimpressed

Post by ad1066 » December 8th, 2013, 7:07 am

Good idea, but I'd use the Shift key instead. Ctrl+[Fkey] is for recording macros.

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Re: Unimpressed

Post by pedtrog » December 8th, 2013, 7:11 am

ad1066 wrote:Good idea, but I'd use the Shift key instead. Ctrl+[Fkey] is for recording macros.

-- Ben
I said, Ctrl+1, not Ctrl+F1, anyway, it's the basic idea.

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Re: Unimpressed

Post by ad1066 » December 8th, 2013, 7:21 am

Sorry, wasn't paying attention. This is an excellent idea, I'll fully support anything that makes it possible to play this game without the mouse (as I have done for years), even with the new enhancements.

-- Ben
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Re: Unimpressed

Post by Nobody999 » December 8th, 2013, 8:34 pm

I'm glad someone else brought this up, because I didn't want to be the lone sour grape.

I have to say I find Wasteland 1 kind of annoying. Never having played it back in the day, I wasn't sure what to expect, but I can see that it is a good representation of RPGs from its era. That being said, I think I prefer the style of Fallout, where there are more visual clues to what you can do or where you should look.

The only experience I have playing a game like Wasteland was the NES port of Ultima:Exudus, which was another game I found to be annoying (even at the time 25 years ago). I think my biggest quibble with games of this era is that I find I difficult to figure out what the NPC are actually talking about. The text is either generic or some half-assed riddle. The constraint on data really limits clear communication. "Take this visa to some guy in Quartz" - Okay, where is Quartz? Where should I look when I get there? How can I recognize the guy? Can I ask anyone in town about him? These are all thing I would expect the guy to be able to answer.

By the time Fallout came out in 1997, those data constraints were gone, for the most part, and I could work through a semi-coherent dialog tree.

Oh well, its a 25 year old game, I didn't really expect all that much. I was kind of hoping it would be more engrossing than Angband, but alas, no.

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Re: Unimpressed

Post by macksting » December 9th, 2013, 1:43 am

Our experiences vary.
For one thing, I've always found ZAngband way more engrossing than Angband, at least until the more recent versions where they did away with the familiar and reliable overland areas and replaced them with unreliable random generation. (Dammit. As if the game wasn't hard enough as was.)
I do agree Fallout's more polished by years of gaming development and technological improvement, and I'd say Fallout 2 even moreso by additional experience with the engine*, but I nevertheless find Wasteland more engrossing than Angband so far.

So you never tried Ultima IV? Just Ultima V on the NES? I have that, by the way, in both PC and NES formats somewhere.

* I always say, I prefer Fallout 1 over Fallout 2, but I'm a sucker for plot and backstory; and so, if Fallout 1's plot, tone and setting were done with the experience and polish of Fallout 2, it'd be hands down the better game. As is, I consider them tied due to Fallout 2's additional replay value. I hope the true believers in Fallout will forgive me this transgression.

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Re: Unimpressed

Post by ad1066 » December 9th, 2013, 8:06 am

I never had a problem with Wasteland's interface, as far as the command keys. What always bugged me was the inconsistent methods of using items. Sometimes to give something to someone you had to Use the item in the direction of the NPC. Other times you had to Use the item on the square you were standing on. And I would have liked to have seen an actual conversation system.

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