Cranford's GDC 2018 Talk

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Re: Cranford's GDC 2018 Talk

Post by Gizmo » April 9th, 2018, 6:09 pm

phimseto wrote:
April 9th, 2018, 5:10 pm
Michael's current focus is on audio-based gaming on Alexa and expanding possibilities in that space. If you're a fan of his, consider checking out some of his current projects: https://daysfly.com/Home
Interesting... since there was news about Alexa telling Bedtime stories... perhaps it could turn out that Alexa becomes a DM. Certainly this could also open up cRPGs (more so) to the visually impaired.

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Re: Cranford's GDC 2018 Talk

Post by ZiN » April 9th, 2018, 10:23 pm

"Alexa, run Bard's Tale!"
...
"Death and drek, you shout as you face death itself in the form of... one... goblin. Will your gallant band... Fight, or... Run?"
"Fight, A, A, A, D, D, D!"
"Are you sure?"
"Yes!"
"El Cid hits... goblin... for... three... thousand... six... hundred... seventy... five... points of damage... killing it. You have won, each party member earns... one... experience and... one... gold."

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Re: Cranford's GDC 2018 Talk

Post by Gizmo » April 9th, 2018, 11:22 pm

Actually... I think that the original BT games, practically as-is, done verbally, could work pretty well as a hot-seat multiplayer game on Alexa.
They should consider doing it. ;)

*The ones with the screens could even show the monster art.

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Re: Cranford's GDC 2018 Talk

Post by thebruce » April 10th, 2018, 6:41 am

Without the screen it could be more like Zork, text-based dungeon crawlers, with NSEW commands and descriptions of every 'room' :) That could actually be a pretty neat game to be played entirely and exclusively audibly.
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Re: Cranford's GDC 2018 Talk

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » April 10th, 2018, 4:23 pm

Agreed! You might be on to something, Zin. The audio remasters for the Alexa platform.

And, just think there would be no visible automap, which means... the case for graph paper is strong. ;)
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Re: Cranford's GDC 2018 Talk

Post by Lord of Riva » April 11th, 2018, 4:40 am

He also talked some about things like purpose, sacrifice, and destiny as being human desires that can be realized in good games. At the end of his talk, someone asked a followup on this, and he said that he was all for inclusiveness and he felt that the elements of good game design that he had mentioned were not tied to any gender, ethnicity, creed, socioeconomic class, etc....
In fact, he said that he wanted the game to be a way to realize immortality and indestructibility on several occasions in the talk. He wanted to empower the player, as he himself wanted to be empowered as a player. He cited the Destiny Knight from II as an example at several points.
He seems to get it. :)

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Re: Cranford's GDC 2018 Talk

Post by miasma » April 19th, 2018, 8:01 am

_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
March 31st, 2018, 3:16 pm
[*] Michael mentioned both at the beginning and the end of the talk that he feels like many modern movies and games lack "soul". Lots of money is invested in graphics and special effects, but they lack a driving purpose.
I haven't yet watched his talk, so maybe I'm misunderstanding him or not getting the context of his point, but I don't think the above statement is really fair. While it's certainly true that many modern games do spend more on graphics and special effects, they also often put more effort into story, characters, etc. I enjoyed the BT games (obviously), but they were pretty shallow in terms of plot and characters, particularly the two that Cranford worked on. And that was fine because that was par for the course back then, but there are plenty of games today that take place in much more fully-developed worlds, populated with much more strongly defined NPCs, and which present the players with more meaningful choices and purpose, beyond just "keep killing monsters until you level up enough to kill bigger monsters." Even the players' characters have significantly more depth today than the ones in the BT games (honestly, even back in the 80s, there were RPGs, such as Alternate Reality, that offered deeper player characters than what BT offered.)
So I'm not quite sure what he means by "lacking soul" or "purpose," but I do think plenty of today's games offer a richer experience than the BT games did, and not just in terms of graphics and special effects. Again, I'm not saying this to bash BT at all. For their time, the BT games were great, and I invested many, many hours in them throughout the 80s.

Maybe I need to watch his talk in order to fully understand what he means. I'll check it out when I get home from work.

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Re: Cranford's GDC 2018 Talk

Post by thebruce » April 19th, 2018, 10:54 am

I do think plenty of today's games offer a richer experience
I don't think he would disagree.
He did say "many"... and
While it's certainly true that many modern games do spend more on graphics and special effects, they also often put more effort into story, characters, etc.
Many of many is still many ;) he didn't say all. So I'm sure he would agree that there are games that do strike an excellent balance of technical quality and soul. But I think his point was that these days the trend has been towards flash and flare, graphics and technical quality, because that option is now available, which takes away (draws away from) a priority on soul and non-technical depth. Which of course is not to say they can't coexist, merely that the accessibility of higher technical qualities means more effort is, generally, spent there than the other aspects of game (or movie) development.
I'm not in disagreement with that...

OTOH, there's certainly been a huge uptick in recent years of indie games, and quality indie games that have depth and soul without focusing (or being able to focus) on costly technical creative processes. In a way, that's hearkening back to the old days of gaming.
Like, if you can't provide high-tech quality, the only way to convince people to buy your stuff is to make is great in other ways. Usually that's with story, plot, engagement, depth, length... maybe sometimes online networking/multiplayer aspects, especially in passive resourcey and never-ending type games.
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Re: Cranford's GDC 2018 Talk

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » April 19th, 2018, 12:27 pm

miasma wrote:
April 19th, 2018, 8:01 am
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
March 31st, 2018, 3:16 pm
[*] Michael mentioned both at the beginning and the end of the talk that he feels like many modern movies and games lack "soul". Lots of money is invested in graphics and special effects, but they lack a driving purpose.
So I'm not quite sure what he means by "lacking soul" or "purpose," but I do think plenty of today's games offer a richer experience than the BT games did, and not just in terms of graphics and special effects. Again, I'm not saying this to bash BT at all. For their time, the BT games were great, and I invested many, many hours in them throughout the 80s.

Maybe I need to watch his talk in order to fully understand what he means. I'll check it out when I get home from work.
I would definitely recommend watching his talk.

I wouldn't equate "soul" or "purpose" with richer experience though. If you take a 2004 game by the name of "The Bard's Tale". It was about "coin and cleavage" and looking out for one's self. Contrast that to a 1985 game, also known as "The Bard's Tale". In this one, your group of adventurers made great self-sacrifice to save a town from the sway of an evil wizard. There might not have been much "deep character development" from the developers, but there was definitely noble purpose to the game.

If you listen to his talk, you'll hear Cranford mention more about things like self-sacrifice, fulfillment of destiny, etc.... (You can have a game full of colorful characters and it can be devoid of any meaningful objective other than to experience the "richness" that they provide. I think his point is that a game can provide something deeper.)
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Re: Cranford's GDC 2018 Talk

Post by ZiN » April 20th, 2018, 7:24 am

miasma wrote:
April 19th, 2018, 8:01 am
I enjoyed the BT games (obviously), but they were pretty shallow in terms of plot and characters, particularly the two that Cranford worked on. And that was fine because that was par for the course back then, but there are plenty of games today that take place in much more fully-developed worlds, populated with much more strongly defined NPCs, and which present the players with more meaningful choices and purpose, beyond just "keep killing monsters until you level up enough to kill bigger monsters."
I think you value different content, as depth and soul, than I do. Let's face it, dungeon-crawlers are all about killing monsters, leveling up and killing bigger monsters (or stomping smaller ones), while exploring many levels of dungeons and other environments. And in that, the BT games are indeed quite rich. Alternate Reality is a really bad example to be honest: A single character game, with 1 city, 1 dungeon and about 10 monster types. I know it is unfinished, but still.
miasma wrote:
April 19th, 2018, 8:01 am
So I'm not quite sure what he means by "lacking soul" or "purpose"...
I'm not sure either, but when a dungeon-crawler starts focusing on heartstone combat, dark humour, rich story, deep characters, or whatever, it has certainly lost its purpose, in my eyes. And by trashing the cool, power-fantasy theme and unique world of Bard's Tale and instead switching to pseudo-Scottish, drunken foolery, it has lost its soul. Or rather, sold it...

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Re: Cranford's GDC 2018 Talk

Post by miasma » April 20th, 2018, 9:45 am

ZiN wrote:
April 20th, 2018, 7:24 am
miasma wrote:
April 19th, 2018, 8:01 am
I enjoyed the BT games (obviously), but they were pretty shallow in terms of plot and characters, particularly the two that Cranford worked on. And that was fine because that was par for the course back then, but there are plenty of games today that take place in much more fully-developed worlds, populated with much more strongly defined NPCs, and which present the players with more meaningful choices and purpose, beyond just "keep killing monsters until you level up enough to kill bigger monsters."
I think you value different content, as depth and soul, than I do. Let's face it, dungeon-crawlers are all about killing monsters, leveling up and killing bigger monsters (or stomping smaller ones), while exploring many levels of dungeons and other environments. And in that, the BT games are indeed quite rich. Alternate Reality is a really bad example to be honest: A single character game, with 1 city, 1 dungeon and about 10 monster types. I know it is unfinished, but still.
AR's not really a bad example at all, though I should have specified that I was referring to AR: The Dungeon, since The City was a bit too incomplete. Although AR:TD only had a single player character, the player's choices throughout the game affected that character much more than choices made in BT. Come to think of it, BT didn't really offer choices to the player. In AR:TD, you could align yourself with different guilds depending on which quests you took, and there were advantages and disadvantages to each. And your stats could affect things like how successfully you could bargain in the shops. Temples could refuse to heal you if your actions throughout the game had been evil. Etc, etc.

Keep in mind, though, I'm not saying that having more choices or depth is necessarily better. Obviously that's a matter of preference. Sometimes it's fun to simply bash monsters. My point was more about the terms "soul" and "purpose." To me, those terms evoke more than monster-bashing.

@ _noblesse_oblige_
I totally agree with you about BT2004 not having a "noble cause," but that was the gimmick of that game. It was intentionally a response against the countless games that ARE focused on a "noble cause." But in that regard, it was an anomaly, not representative of the majority of RPGs out there.

Anyway, I don't want to turn this into an argument or to seem overly negative. Obviously I enjoyed the BT games, or I wouldn't have signed up to discuss them. So I think it's safe to say we're all on the same page in that regard.

I did start watching Cranford's talk last night, and I have to say, it's quite interesting. I look forward to watching the rest of it this weekend.

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Re: Cranford's GDC 2018 Talk

Post by ZiN » April 20th, 2018, 10:38 am

miasma wrote:
April 20th, 2018, 9:45 am
I don't want to turn this into an argument or to seem overly negative. Obviously I enjoyed the BT games, or I wouldn't have signed up to discuss them. So I think it's safe to say we're all on the same page in that regard.
No worries, it is a pleasure to talk with old-school CRPG players. I bet most folks in the gaming industry haven't even heard about Alternate Reality, never mind, having played it, like us. And yes, the creator was a genius programmer and a solid designer.

Now about choices: The things you have listed, like joining guilds/factions, being good, or evil, or having bargaining skills and so on, are all over the place, World of Warcraft, Skyrim, Pillars of Eternity, you name it. By backing an old-school dungeon-crawler, I wouldn't miss these features at all, in fact, I would be glad, if they didn't spend any resources on implementing anything like these, and focused on building dungeons, monsters, more monsters (ones I recognize, from 30 years ago) and a very solid, quick and responsive interface of old-school aesthetics.

At this point, I feel, that backing BT4 is like ordering a veteran car, then finding out, that they plan to replace the engine, the gear, the wheels, the seats and the body, with the latest trending types, before finally shipping it to me. Of course, it is now super easy and safe to drive, even a child could do it!

As always, I would be glad to hear your thoughts about Cranford's talk, after you have finished watching it! : )

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