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Newcomer, and the philosophy of the RPG

psykobillypsykobilly NYC, NYPosts: 338Member

 

For those old-schoolers that don't know - Ultimate Newcomer is about to released.  It's a commodore 64 RPG that has been 20 years in the making.  You can see info about it at:

http://www.protovision-online.de/games/newcomer.htm

http://www.newcomer.hu/

I've played the earlier versions of the game, and can say it is one of the most compelling RPG's I have ever played.  But what really caught my eye (and the point of this thread) is the developers philosophical statement regarding modern game development (http://call.of.cthul.hu/~hoild/Hype.html):

"The project is for proving a few facts mostly neglected in the CRPGs we have seen so far:


1. High levels of interactivity could be implemented in computer games with no need for heavy computing resources, but for time and effort by the designers.


2. High level, dedicated scripting languages are a key feature to develop sophisticated adventure and role-playing games, and such dedicated scripting languages could be implemented on, and be used for serious development in extremely memory-constrained, 8bit computing environments. The need for such a language is to empower the game/level designers, so that they could enhance and detail the game as much as they want, on their own, with no intervention by lesser life forms (i.e. programmers).


3. Storyline non-linearity and interactivity as well as interaction with NPCs could be developed to the extreme, while still keeping a coherent storyline and playable gaming environment – we think that "sandbox game design" and "Physics Is The Game" are just attempts to reduce development cycles and at creating games by mere programmers rather than game designers and storytellers.


4. Not even an enormous plenty of in-game items, levels and eye candy can replace the feeling of catharsis at the end of, and during hundreds of hours of smart, advancing, progressive gameplay. Yet all the above could be implemented at the same time."


I'm not personally aware of any MMORPG that uses the kind of high level script language, non-linear NPC interaction, or in-depth story that a game like Newcomer has.  Does anyone know if such exists?  I think the Newcomer devs set the bar for game design for all future MMORPG's even though their implementation of the idea is an old 8bit platform.  As their statement says - the approach is valid for any modern RPG (and especially I think for the modern sandbox MMORPG).  


I'm not sure what's going on in the modern game-design world, but the Newcomer guys are far ahead of the curve in at least a few aspects of game design.


Sorry to all the kids who never got to play a c64 RPG and don't understand what the hell I'm talking about...  it's not too late to download an emulator.



 


 


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Comments

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,666Member Uncommon

    Are you saying that you want to see more personally-tailored instanced content in MMOs or are you trying to compare what can be done in single-player RPGs to what can be done in massively multiplayer RPGs?

     

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • psykobillypsykobilly NYC, NYPosts: 338Member

    Originally posted by Loktofeit

    Are you saying that you want to see more personally-tailored instanced content in MMOs or are you trying to compare what can be done in single-player RPGs to what can be done in massively multiplayer RPGs?

     

     

    I am a sandbox MMO player (of which there are few), and I'm not big on instancing in general...  but these suffer from the critique posed by the Newcomer developers - they are mostly 'physics as game'.

    What those developers are saying (and have proven with their game) is that you can have massive non-linear storytelling content using almost no memory footprint whatsoever.  It's not a single-player vs. MMO thing - any game can do it regardless of size.

    The idea of the high-level script language is that storytellers can operate independently from programmers.  Imagine every NPC in game having a miniature artificical intelligence algorithm.  Most MMO's I know of have limited interaction:  Buy from the vendor, sell to the auction house, get the quest from the quest giver.  Even in the rare cases where you get to ask a question to the NPC, it is usually a pool of pre-scripted choices, with a similar pool of pre-scripted answers.

    So to answer the qustion:  I want to see more universally-tailored non-instanced content in MMO's, without comparing the differences between single and multiplayer RPG's.

     

     

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,666Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by psykobilly

    Originally posted by Loktofeit

    Are you saying that you want to see more personally-tailored instanced content in MMOs or are you trying to compare what can be done in single-player RPGs to what can be done in massively multiplayer RPGs?

     

     

    I am a sandbox MMO player (of which there are few), and I'm not big on instancing in general...  but these suffer from the critique posed by the Newcomer developers - they are mostly 'physics as game'.

    What those developers are saying (and have proven with their game) is that you can have massive non-linear storytelling content using almost no memory footprint whatsoever.  It's not a single-player vs. MMO thing - any game can do it regardless of size.

    The idea of the high-level script language is that storytellers can operate independently from programmers.  Imagine every NPC in game having a miniature artificical intelligence algorithm.  Most MMO's I know of have limited interaction:  Buy from the vendor, sell to the auction house, get the quest from the quest giver.  Even in the rare cases where you get to ask a question to the NPC, it is usually a pool of pre-scripted choices, with a similar pool of pre-scripted answers.

    So to answer the qustion:  I want to see more universally-tailored non-instanced content in MMO's, without comparing the differences between single and multiplayer RPG's.

    The issue is specifically the number of people interacting in a persistent virtual world.

    "I'm not personally aware of any MMORPG that uses the kind of high level script language, non-linear NPC interaction, or in-depth story that a game like Newcomer has.  Does anyone know if such exists?  I think the Newcomer devs set the bar for game design for all future MMORPG's even though their implementation of the idea is an old 8bit platform."

    In a separate and controlled environment, like in a single-player game or a game where new people are not leaping into the story at random points, almost ANYTHING is doable. There is explicit control over what will be done and how. There is explicit control over the amount of polies and number of textures every given scene has. There an extreme amount of freedom to decide and react to outcomes because you are doing so for one group or participant.

    To present it from another angle: 

    A public town of NPCs (and the state of objects in that town) cannot cater specifically to your story, my story and the story of thousands of other people at the same time without creating very generic and disjointed experiences. The more controlled the environment, the more epic a tale can be crafted for the individual participants.

     

    "I want to see more universally-tailored non-instanced content in MMO's, without comparing the differences between single and multiplayer RPG's."

    Without exploring why it does work in single-player and non-persistent worlds, it's hard to explain to you why it doesn't work in massively multiplayer persistent state worlds.

     

     

     

     

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • psykobillypsykobilly NYC, NYPosts: 338Member

    Originally posted by Loktofeit

    In a separate and controlled environment, like in a single-player game or a game where new people are not leaping into the story at random points, almost ANYTHING is doable. There is explicit control over what will be done and how. There is explicit control over the amount of polies and number of textures every given scene has. There an extreme amount of freedom to decide and react to outcomes because you are doing so for one group or participant.

    To present it from another angle: 

    A public town of NPCs (and the state of objects in that town) cannot cater specifically to your story, my story and the story of thousands of other people at the same time without creating very generic and disjointed experiences. The more controlled the environment, the more epic a tale can be crafted for the individual participants.

     

    "I want to see more universally-tailored non-instanced content in MMO's, without comparing the differences between single and multiplayer RPG's."

    Without exploring why it does work in single-player and non-persistent worlds, it's hard to explain to you why it doesn't work in massively multiplayer persistent state worlds.

     

    It will work in massively multiplayer persistent state worlds, it just hasn't been tried yet to my knowledge.  Hence my saying these guys are way ahead of their time.

    In fact the NPC's CAN cater to thousands of people without creating disjointed experiences.  The environment does not need to be controlled and pushed along in themepark-like style.  Now, my interaction with an NPC will be generic as compared to another player only if I say the same things and ask the same questions.  Ask a different question that another player didn't think of, and that opens up a new set of possibilities.  

    If you tried the game, I believe you would say... 'ahhhhh NPC's can be like this in every game.... even MMO's'.  The difference between single-player and multi-player is that in MMOs you would have groups of people working together in different parts of the game world trying to figure out the different story paths.  Whether this is interesting or not depends entirely on the storyteller.

     

     

     

     

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,666Member Uncommon

    Ok.

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • AccountDeleted12341AccountDeleted12341 Houston, TXPosts: 351Member

    It's a pain to goto some websites on my tiny netbook, so instead I hope it is okay if I ask a simple question instead.

    What is, specifically, so special about this game's A.I. or "advanced" features? An explanation in terms of gameplay, perhaps?

     

    {mod edit}

    Most on here are also so young, they don't even know what a C64 is except by cultural reference. (So they do know what it is, but not really, having never played it). In fact, you'd be sore to find anyone who was actually into the C64 to the extent of being a real gamer and on-the-edge of that current tech. Even real gamers (like myself, with over a decade of hardcore gaming) have only played a few times or through rom's or as a pass of time far after the C64 era. It's quite rare to find ANYONE who played these old systems like a real gamer would. Especially on these forums.

    Heck, even the main administrator of the forums is younger than even myself, and I am young compared to some of the more ancient gamers :P It's phenominal when you find out that the forum administrators of every forum are younger than you, and some of the people they ban are double their age. It's a scary world, really, to know that such immature people have so much power on what many older adults find to be their enjoyment (forum communities). Very scary, and very strange, but it's quite common. I find most moderators to be about 24 years old on average, and tend to be very biased and one-sided, having favorites and people they dislike (and thus ban). I've seen it for a long time on here, most people who get banned are in their late 30's, late 40's. The Generation X, Y, and all Millenial's concepts are not the same as the baby boomer's, not by a long shot. Talk about moral & culture clashing!

  • LordPsychodiLordPsychodi east northport, NYPosts: 101Member

    You're proud because they rubbed their programming wands for 20 years and produced a game for a dead system almost nobody plays on making a game probably about a deep as Baldur's gate II but simply because of the medium, a  strictly inferior experience? WHAT TOOK THEM THAT LONG. I mean, even Duke nukem forever only took 14.

     

    And to be perfectly blunt, don't be condescending about your old experiences. Nostalgia vision really doesn't work and save for a number of titles, lets not pretend most gamers of the 80s and 90s missed out. They had the Nintendo/SNES. 

  • psykobillypsykobilly NYC, NYPosts: 338Member

    Originally posted by Disatisfied9

    What is, specifically, so special about this game's A.I. or "advanced" features? An explanation in terms of gameplay, perhaps?

    Most on here are also so young, they don't even know what a C64 is except by cultural reference. (So they do know what it is, but not really, having never played it). In fact, you'd be sore to find anyone who was actually into the C64 to the extent of being a real gamer and on-the-edge of that current tech. Even real gamers (like myself, with over a decade of hardcore gaming) have only played a few times or through rom's or as a pass of time far after the C64 era. It's quite rare to find ANYONE who played these old systems like a real gamer would. Especially on these forums.

     

    I don't really think they are advanced features.  Neither do the Newcomer devs...  they are pretty basic features that are lacking in most modern MMORPGS.  I can't converse with NPC's in any recent MMO's I've played.  When you are in Newcomer, you don't necessarily have any idea what an NPC's function is until you try to talk to them and ask them questions.  In a modern MMO you see a bubble over their head that says 'vendor' or something equally silly.  In Newcomer, you may have to know someone's friend or just be nice in order to get them to sell you something.  You may think you have exhausted every possible interaction with an NPC, then meet someone who knows that NPC on the other side of the world, only to have to go back to find out what they 'really know'.

    The point is that by having dynamic high level script languages integrated into the mid-level game physics core, you can have members of the design team purely focused on story, plot, immersion, lore, etc.  They don't need to know how to code, as long as they are good story tellers.  I have no problem with twitch gaming (which I enjoy greatly), but I like to have some depth and some puzzles or problems in game that actually require intellect over reflexes.  That is completely lacking in the modern MMORPG, but it is at the core of the original RPG concept.

    I understand most people on here are young and simply won't get it.  They don't know that the Fallout series is based on a c64 game called Wasteland, for example (which was much 'deeper'  and more fun than the Fallouts, imo).  This post isn't directed at them... it's directed at the odd game designer who might see it and try to figure out what I'm getting at.  There is a lot the modern designer can learn about what was 'right' in the old games that has been lost in the current era.

    For everyone else, enjoy your Wow-clone, or seamless death match arena, or whatever you're into.

     

     

  • psykobillypsykobilly NYC, NYPosts: 338Member

    Originally posted by LordPsychodi

    You're proud because they rubbed their programming wands for 20 years and produced a game for a dead system almost nobody plays on making a game probably about a deep as Baldur's gate II but simply because of the medium, a  strictly inferior experience? WHAT TOOK THEM THAT LONG. I mean, even Duke nukem forever only took 14.

     

    And to be perfectly blunt, don't be condescending about your old experiences. Nostalgia vision really doesn't work and save for a number of titles, lets not pretend most gamers of the 80s and 90s missed out. They had the Nintendo/SNES. 

     

    The critical reading skills seem to be lacking here so I'll explain for you.

    The post is about the philosophy of game design, not about the game in question.  Never did I say I was proud of anything.  The game is deeper than Baldur's gate II, but that's just an opinion.  I think the new Newcomer will take me longer to playthrough than it will take me to playthrough Skyrim, and I intend to put that to the test when both are out.  I assume what took so long is that no one is doing it for money, and that everyone working on it has a real job (I'm doubting you do at this point).

    I fail to see where I was condescending, although I'm leaning towards it now.  A lot of modern MMORPG's (and regular RPGs) have shitty depth compared some older examples and that's just a fact of the medium - without high-end graphics, developers were forced to have a highly evolved story to make the game interesting.  For the record, I had a nintendo and a c64 in the 80's at the same time.  There is no comparison - c64 RPG's would take weeks if not months to finish, while any nintendo game on the market could be played through in a couple of days to a week tops. 

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