Saturday, September 22, 2012

Magic Candle: Wax On, Wax Off

My party resorts to manual labor.
 
The Magic Candle cheats at gambling. I worked it out tonight. I'm not much of a gambler, but my business is numbers, and I've had the chance to apply them to gambling several times lately. At Harrah's in New Orleans earlier this year, I won enough money at blackjack to pay for the trip and an iPad for my wife. In Las Vegas a couple weeks ago, I encountered a casino where they apparently didn't want to pay for croupiers any more, and all of the blackjack tables were run by virtual dealers. Theoretically, it used regular casino blackjack rules, but there were all kinds of bonus bets and whatnot, and in the process of trying to analyze the whole thing, I lost over $500.

I was also, admittedly, a little distracted.
 
So this was on my mind when I returned home this week and started playing The Magic Candle. It features a basic dice game where the player with the highest roll wins. You would think the odds would thus be 50/50 (after eliminating ties, which exchange no money), and indeed on first pass, I thought they were. But I decided to analyze it more closely and I found a curious pattern. Check out my ratios at different betting levels over 30 trials each:

Betting 1 Gold Piece:
13 wins (43.3%)
13 losses (43.3%)
4 ties (13.3%)

Betting 10 Gold Pieces:
14 wins (46.7%)
11 losses (36.7%)
5 ties (16.7%)

Betting 50 Gold Pieces:
7 wins (23.3%)
19 losses (63.3%)
4 ties (13.3%)

The first two results are well within the realm of random probability--in fact, the first is suspiciously exact--but the third should only happen 1/20 times on the basis of random chance. I want to try it with more betting levels, but you know how I feel about save-scumming: I was betting real money here, and I lost most of it. I won't be able to continue the experiment until I make some back, but if any of you want to go at it and let me know the results, I'd appreciate it. I'd like to know exactly where the cutoff is where the game starts cheating, plus what happens at higher amounts (the maximum is 99).

Collecting data.
 
You want more evidence? I also recorded the actual rolls. In a random game, there should be no significant correlation between the amount bet and the resulting roll. However, the statistics show a 0.20 correlation between the amount bet and my opponent's roll, and a -0.12 correlation between the amount bet and my roll. Another way to look at it is with averages. The average roll for both of us should be around 7, but here are the actual averages at the three levels, with the opponent's given first:

1: 7.5 - 7.6
10: 6.6 - 7.1
50: 8.2 - 6.8

My conclusion: something about a higher bet influences the opponent's roll upwards but leaves the player's roll unchanged. I'll report back when I have more gold. Now, in real life, I'd report this to the NGC, but who do I report it to in Deruvia? On the other hand, maybe I'll keep it secret. If there's an amount that influences the casino to win, there's probably an amount that influences the player to win, and I want to find it.

Because gambling for money is so much more civilized than this.
 
If you're wondering why I'm so obsessed about money all of a sudden, it's because I need it. Badly. As I started exploring the areas around Keof and Bondell, combat got a lot harder, and I need better armor, a good supply of mushrooms, new spellbooks, healing potions, and training in my combat and magic skills. But after my visit to Bondell (where I dumped a lot into increasing charisma), I barely had enough to buy passage back to the mainland. Battles produce cash, of course, but it doesn't appear to me that there are many random encounters in the game. Thus, I find myself in the common CRPG paradox of needing improvements to win battles but needing battles to afford improvements.

Two of these sessions cost the last of my gold.

Thus, after returning to the mainland, I went back to the Royal Castle and dumped the 4 characters I had who didn't have a trade and enlisted two gemcutters, a metalsmith, and a carpenter (my existing character, Min, was already a tailor). I took them to Port Avur and put them to work at their respective trades, earning between 5 and 7 gold pieces per hour--24 hours a day.

Oh, yes. I'm sure you'll be a great...uh...adventurer.

Giauz, meanwhile, lacking a trade, kept adventuring while his colleagues slaved away in their sweatshops.



After three days, I had about 2,500 coins, which I figured was enough for a decent stash of 'shrooms and gear. I returned to the castle, sent the manual laborers packing, rejoined with my real party, and bought a bunch of stuff at the Port Avur general store. This was facilitated by the higher charisma Min had achieved by studying with the halfling version of Dale Carnegie in Bondell.

"How to win friends and influence shopkeepers."

Concerning the main quest, between my visits to Port Avur, Soldain, Keof, and Bondell, this is what I've been able to discover:

  1. To restore the Magic Candle, I need to find what it says in the Zirvanad.
  2. The Zirvanad is stored in a vault in the caverns below Lymeric.
  3. To get into the vault, I need a star-shaped key carried by a White Wolf.
  4. To summon the White Wolf, I need hoyam essence.
  5. The dwarves in Soldain have hoyam essence.
  6. The dwarves will only give it to me if I return the Hammer of Thorin.
  7. The Hammer of Thorin was stolen by orcs so that their chief, Chambur, could be buried with it.
  8. Chief Chambur is buried in Vocha, an orc town/dungeon on the Isles of Ice.
  9. To raise the gates of Vocha, I need three words: HOKDE, KAFLTH, POKANDAJO.
  10. A dwarf suggested I visit the uninhabited island of Kuskunn before going to Vocha.

Stumblilng on Dermagud.

So it appears that my next quest-related step was to take a boat to Kuskunn and then head out to Vocha. However, I decided to engage in some character development first by finding and exploring the dungeon of Dermagud. I finally found it, but I haven't been able to get very far.

This is where a pick comes in handy.
 
The rooms have tough creatures, there are a lot of traps--including an annoying "time" trap that burns about half a day--and there's a section of corridor blocked by snakes. You might imagine that I could slash through them, but according to the manual, the "repel" spell "is the only way to resolve conflicts with the poisonous snakes that infest some dungeon corridors."

These are some tough snakes.

There were several times that I was glad I learned dwarven:

"Two steps south, four steps west, six steps south, dig." There were three diamonds there.

A few stray notes:

  • The counter is freaking me out a bit. Yes, I still have over 950 days, but it's a constant reminder that I can't dither around and waste time. I don't think there will be any more manual labor sessions.
  • In an amusing and slightly annoying way, you often encounter the same NPC multiple times on the road.You'll speak to him, exit the conversation, take a step, and there he is again. Since you don't find out the NPC's name until you "greet" him, and because so many bits of lore and quest-related material are dependent on talking to NPCs, I feel like I need to stop and check every time, just to be sure.

I know. We've met 17 times already on this same stretch of road.
 
  • My dwarf apparently doesn't like traveling the waves. This prevents him from sleeping, repairing, or doing anything useful during boat trips.
 
  • I learned the hard way to set a watch while sleeping outdoors. You get ambushed otherwise.
  • In past postings, I've noted that like in Ultima V, NPCs keep schedules and are sometimes not available, but unlike in Ultima V, the NPCs do not move; they simply disappear when they're not around. However, the game compensates for this a bit by having multiple NPCs tell you basically the same things and give you the same clues. Thus, missing an NPC isn't as critical in this game as in both Ultima IV and Ultima V.

This is the second person to tell me this.
 
  • I keep forgetting to "repair" my weapons while camping, which means they have a chance of breaking in combats.
  • Based on your comments and the evidence in the game, there appear to be no more weapons than what you can simply buy at the shop. No magic weapons, no special artifacts. Since better weapons require more strength, I need to find a way to increase strength before I can improve this aspect of my characters.

It's a rare CRPG in which my greatest aspiration is to wield a "great axe."

  • I had a good laugh at this pair of encounters in Keof:




I have just enough for the Sabano spellbook I need for the "repel" spell, so I'm going back to Soldain to buy it. Then we'll see if I can finish clearing out Dermagud.

81 comments:

  1. Huh, I was almost sure that some comments mentioned magical weapons?

    Also, why the great-axe? The "grand" sword definitely sounds much more appropriate for a master bladartist like Giauz.

    PS: concerning the post before last- I would classify Magic Candle and Ultimas 1-5 under 'World Map CRPGs' and games like Morrowind and M&M under 'First-Person-Perspective [FPP] Open-World CRPGs.'

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    1. I don't think Giauz ever will be strong enough to wield a Great Axe anyway.

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    2. That's actually Sakar the dwarf at the counter; he's the only character that can wield axes.

      I might be wrong about the magic weapon thing.It's just that enemies don't leave any loot and all three places I've been that sell weapons have sold the same selection, so I assumed.

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    3. You know what they say about assuming... sometimes you're right and sometimes you're wrong. ;)

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  2. I never used the casinos in this game. I remembered a voice from the past;
    "gambling only pays when you're winning".
    Only game I used to gamble in was the ancient ZX Spectrum game Dun Darach where you could throw dice to win money. My system was very simple: start with a low sum and then double until I eventually won. As long as I had a decent starting capital it usually worked.

    There are a few (well, at least one) magical weapons you can find.

    Also, you have more time than you think. It's only in the first part of the game you "waste" time on work and training, and later you can use the Teleport spell and the teleportals to move quickly around. And having enough shrooms means you don't need to camp to get your beauty sleep.
    Don't forget that Bad Guy replaces his patrols every three months, so taking your time means fighting the same patrols all over again if you need to revisit the area.

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    1. That's called a Martingale strategy, and it's not better than any other strategy if the game isn't rigged.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martingale_(betting_system)

      "Since a gambler with infinite wealth will, almost surely, eventually flip heads, the martingale betting strategy was seen as a sure thing by those who advocated it. Of course, none of the gamblers in fact possessed infinite wealth, and the exponential growth of the bets would eventually bankrupt "unlucky" gamblers who chose to use the martingale. It is therefore a good example of a Taleb distribution – the gambler usually wins a small net reward, thus appearing to have a sound strategy. However, the gambler's expected value does indeed remain zero because the small probability that he will suffer a catastrophic loss exactly balances with his expected gain. The likelihood of catastrophic loss may not even be very small. The bet size rises exponentially. This, combined with the fact that strings of consecutive losses actually occur more often than common intuition suggests, can bankrupt a gambler quickly."

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    2. Interesting; thanks.
      There is no guarantee against bad luck, which is why I never gamble anymore. :-)

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    3. I have a fool proof betting strategy, since I discovered you get a random amount of gold from gems you sell in Pool of Radiance 5,10,50,100,500,1000 or 5000 gold, I use save-scumming to always get 5000 gold when I sell gems. That makes the game a lot easier, but on the other hand I don't wanna spend hours on grinding and I think the game cheated on me before by giving me too little money for my gems. I don't wanna spend a whole night grinding just because the game decided to go cheap on me.

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    4. In my replay of POR, about 1/4 way through, I ran into the bug which continuously spawned infinite jewelry into my inventory which overloaded me. I tried forever to drop it all and be fair but it just kept happening. eventually the process of continually emptying my excess jewels so i could grab real loot made the game UN-enjoyable.

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    5. I once ran into a bug where I got a nameless useless object from a fixed encounter. I was supposed to get a ring of protection I think.

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    6. Sounds like the si from ADoM. I wont say anymore so that when the addict gets to ADoM in 50 years he doesn't have a spoiler.

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    7. Ancient Domains of Mystery. Popular rogulike, if a bit dated. I'll alert our local expert next time I see him online.

      Which is right now, I expect he'll be along shortly.

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    8. Ryan, Ancient Domains of Mystery is a game that was created by a German programmer (Thomas Biskup) in 1994, and for years it was considered one of the best roguelikes, mainly because it features an overworld, several quests and dungeons, and a main storyline.
      However, the game was left alone for quite a few years and has been superseded by more modern ones (such as Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.) It is still enjoyable, though, and features many races and classes to play.

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    9. It is the spiritual descendant of Omega which our dear addict liked so much.

      Also work on it and its sequel has been revived by Thomas Biskup due to a successful crowdfunding campaign.

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  3. One nitpicky note: croupiers work the roulette table, while blackjack is handled by dealers.

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    1. I don't mind nitpicking, but in this case you're wrong. "Croupier" is a general term that refers to an attendant at any gambling table, including dealers. I used it because the casino didn't have any physical attendants: even the roulette wheel and craps tables were staffed by virtual croupiers.

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    2. Interesting. You learn something new every day. Thanks!

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    3. One of the reasons I like this blog, which i mentioned a while ago. builds my vocabulary up a bit. :)

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    4. ...We should buy Chet a copy of some H. P. Lovecraft. Then we'd really learn new words.

      Or just read it yourself.

      http://cthulhuchick.com/free-complete-lovecraft-ebook-nook-kindle/

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  4. I dont recall combat being so difficult. Odd you hare having a hard time. But at the same time you went quickly away from port avur and its surroundings too. I dont think another game charmed me like MC did until U6 turned up.

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    1. After I posted this last night, I realized you can eat mushrooms BEFORE battles start as a way to get an immediate edge. This helps considerably. I think I have enough for a combat posting next.

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  5. I quite like the idea of having to develop your characters a bit before they can use "standard" weapons from a smaller pool than we're used to.

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  6. I couldn't read "Min has 0 Bootss" in the screenshot without thinking "precioussss, preciousss bootses..."

    I'm really enjoying reading about Magic Candle. It's a game that I read about back in the day but never played. Now I can indulge my curiosity easily.

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  7. Thanks for the link to the interview. A little shorter than I expected.

    I know you seem to like those header posts to put information, but in case you were not aware, they don't show up in RSS feeds.

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    1. Even though I visit the blog, I had totally missed that. Totally worth a post.

      Also, everyone has heard about a new isometric RPG from Obsidian right, mostly ex-black isle employees, i.e. the people who played Baldur's Gate? On Kickstarter right now.

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    2. Which brings to mind... I hope UbAh has noticed that Linux stretch goal has been reached.

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    3. Thanks Random, I hadn't yet noticed, so I am off to spend money for a promise ;-)

      Also regarding something I said about publishers who will soon be trying to undermine kickstarter there was an article I read detailing how it has already begun. http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2012/09/19/publishers-wanted-obsidian-to-use-kickstarter/

      Soon you will see some lobbying attacks and some attempts to undermine the projects in public opinion. So now that the games have begun, are people smart enough to see through the BS and keep crowd funding alive?

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    4. This wave of crowd-funded projects is amazing. I would never have guessed the out-pour of donations would be so great.

      I do worry, however, how this first wave of successfully funded games will turn out. I wonder if people will have the same patience with the inevitable patches or bugs, or what scale will be used to judge the quality of a crowd-funded video game.

      To my knowledge none of the successfully funded games that we read about here on the Addict's blog have yet been completed. If the 1st wave of games does not live up to expectations, what will that mean for those trying to do the same later. How much faith will the people have. Cynical, I know, however, these are human beings wrought with imperfections, as we all are.

      I just know how powerful our expectations can be, sometimes to our benefit, and sometimes not. I certainly hope that in the next couple years I am playing (AND loving) Wasteland 2.

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    5. FTL was great fun and it was crowdfunded.

      My only disappointment is that they could have done more with the excessive amount of money they received over their asking amount. That could easily be explained by them wanting to get a finished product into the hands of their eager backers, and they plan to add additional content soon.

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    6. Unfortunately quick look at Subset Games forum didn't reveal any plans for add-ons, but personally I'd give them couple months to collect end user experiences and fix bugs. I'm sure there's still lot to discover in even basic game at moment.

      Otherwise, learned there couple interesting things I'd like to share:

      First is fan-sequel to Ur-Quan Masters being under work: http://code.google.com/p/project6014/

      Keeping thumbs up but not yet holding my breath.

      Another's sale on Cryptic Games, which was (for me) completely new indie developer: www.crypticcomet.com.

      They seem to be specialized on boardgame-type strategy games, and with sale they are funding their new game - Occult Chronicles - described as lovecraftian strategy roguelike, whatever that means.

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  8. "I promise you a great adventure, if you do some tailoring for me. It won't take long, just a few days and we'll be off."

    A few days later...

    "You know, I don't think you're cut out to be an adventurer. It's best we parted ways... and I'll take the money you earned as well."

    For shame!

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    1. Annnnnnd human supremacism........ just joking..... Oh, yeah, and mentioning my skill with 'sword-chucks.'

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  9. Regarding that interview on the top of the page.

    You (as in CRPGAddict) mention your skepticism towards remakes. I fully agree, not just because the people who made the original isn't involved (which is in itself bad), but mostly because the technology available is vastly different and sets different expectations. This makes a remake very hard to do.

    If the remaker just change the graphics and nothing else, the interface and gameplay will feel very archaic and strange (what we accept in a DOS game is not at all the same as what we accept in a modern game).

    If you start to change the gameplay and interface it usually ends with a cascade effect so that you need to change things that depended on what you changed etc. and finally you have something that is more "In spirit of" rather than a remake or even something that is hardly recognizable.

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    1. It's more about expectations of todays gamers which make it difficult to make a faithful remake.
      I wouldn't mind to improve the tilebased graphics, interface and bring in some portraits and other visuals. Give more equipment and varied loot (like in M&M series)and flesh out the dialogue, maybe even allow multiple choice answers here and there.
      I would love such a game.

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    2. To me, the only reason to "remake" a game is if the plot is so original or intriguing that it just demands to be ported to modern graphics and sound. There aren't many games that, to me, fit that bill. Ultimas IV and V offered such original plots that it would really be interesting to see them with a modern engine, but I honestly can't think of another one. I'm enjoying The Magic Candle, but I can't honestly say that it's plot is so unique (at least, not yet) that it begs to be re-told.

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    3. What do you think of Baldur's Gate: Extended Edition? It is upsampling the graphics to support modern screens, redoing the UI, adding modern multiplayer support (The old one mostly used services that don't exist anymore, and was a pain to get working without them), incorporating the BGII engine, and adding a bit of new content.

      Oh, and mostly original people working on it, the lead guys anyway.

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    4. Oh, I'm definitely looking forward to it. But an "enhanced edition" and a "remake" aren't quite the same things.

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    5. Regarding to The Magic Candle I think there is enough room to improve the game and make a modern version of it. Keep in mind most people played the game years ago ;)
      But I fully agree that U4 would more qualify for a remake because the really defining cornerstones of the series only started with U5 (dialogue). This is especially true with all the inconsistencies in U4 and the later retconning.
      For BG2 I don't see any need for a remake. It still looks and plays fine for me and there is a big selection of mods available. The EE looks only interesting for me if I would like to play it on a tablet.

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    6. @Morkar

      Not so much expectations of modern gamers, but the expectations of what a modern game brings. I think even someone who just played the original will think some things strange with a modern UI and graphics but all gameplay is exactly the same as in the original.

      Take the dialog system in Ultima IV and V for example. There you have to type a single word and see if you get a response and a big thing is to find these keywords to ask people about. This would look a bit out of place in a modern looking game. Sure you can do some adjustments (having a list of suggestions, etc.). The combat system will probably also have adjustments etc.

      It is very difficult to update a game to feel modern and at the same time keep the core game mechanics and story as is.

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    7. To be honest my expectations for modern games are lower than for oldies. RPGs reached its peak with the old Fallout and Baldur's Gate series imho. They brought interface improvements, more and better dialogue, storytelling and more varied questdesign compared to most older games. Games after this period only improved the interface for me and even that was going backwards when rpgs went to full 3D and consoles.
      For your U4 example you could just make it like in Fallout; dialogue trees and allow keywords. The combat in U4 was absolutely simple. You could make the turnbased combat more complex with more options.

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  10. A modern remake of this game would be AWESOME. Don't change the game at all, just change the graphics and environment. I'd pay good money for it.

    As an aside, why don't game makers make this kind of game anymore? A game with 100 plus hours of gameplay, and a game that challenges your mind?

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    1. Simply put, a true remake would probably hit around the same amount of customers as the first did. As Noah Antwhiler said on 'The Spoony Experiment,' he had to upgrade his computer every time a new Ultima came out. So, I imagine it would be for people who spend seriously on their gaming PCs, they like tactical turn-based combat, they enjoy fantasy and an open-story format, and finally all the micromanagement, note-taking, and use of extra-game-materials (manual, map, feelies.... ok, maybe not necessarilly this).

      Because everyone is unique and these types of games complement a very specific combination of qualities, we end up with the relatively smaller distribution of "old-school" CRPGamers that we have when compared to game subsets complementing much more present qualities. It's just how life is.

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    2. To clarify, development costs for 2012's AAA games versus 1980s'-90s' AAA games is astro-nomically higher. Publishers felt that in the current economy AAA games needed to rake in as much cash as possible in order to maintain the practice of making AAA games. That is the best uninformed opinion that I can make based upon what I've picked up accross the web.

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    3. They are so much "astronomically higher" as you put it that I don't even consider them in the same class. The various kickstarter games or larger indie titles are much closer in scope to the 80's/90's high end titles.

      As I see it, the AAA game didn't exist before 2000. It's an entirely new creature.

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    4. I do believe Brian Fargo (vs. let's say Richard Garriot-...whatever his name is currently....) has the right idea. The quality of the game is supported by a team that wants to do old-school CRPGs and the money of the customer base. Because it has left the industry standard of best software on best hardware in a way that it will make enough to do anywhere from break even to tremendous profits (condense all of that into highest cost=profit/AAA), WL2 can now exist as dev team and fans would appreciate it most.

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  11. I can only imagine how a remake of Magic Candle would look like. You wouldn't see the trees for all the quest compasses.

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    1. I tell you, I wouldn't mind a quest marker for Valon's temple. I'm told by NPCs that it lies between two lakes, but damned if I can find a way to get to it.

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    2. Don't forget that the world is 3D and not everthing is on the surface.

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    3. Thanks. I found the dungeon route shortly after I posted this.

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  12. Hey, just wanted to comment on your previous post (regarding buying a book): I'd be happy to donate to the upkeep of this blog through a paypal donate button (or similar). I didn't really want to buy the book because I had no idea what portion of my money would be going to you.

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  13. Giauz is gonna have a bad hangover after all this 'adventuring'

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  14. I am not too keen on this book, but I too would send a donation your way via pay pal. I value this blog and would definitely support it.

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  15. So I went into Dermagud and chanted to the sleeping god. Not to give away anything, but my guys went up in Stamina (hit points in this game) amongt other things... Everybody but Sakar. For some reason Sakar actually LOST stamina? I didn't notice it at the time, but he used to have 50 for stamina, but now he has 36 or something like that. That's not very cool. How is this even possible. Does anybody know?

    I'm also into September and I can report that yes, the enemy patrols definatley come back. Thankfully I am much better off this time around to knock my way through some Zorlims and Orcs pretty quickly.

    Off to the Isles of Ice later this evening to smash some Orcs. It's nice to have 2 Wizards with the SHATTER spell now.

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    1. Getting stats increases only works for the stats that are not yet maxed out. But losing stamina definitely sounds like a bug.

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    2. Yeah, bummer. I wish I had noticed it earlier, I've already moved on pretty far and I'm not going back to restore at that point. Just sucks because he had the highest stamina in the group and now even my Wizards have more :/

      Whats the deal with bowls of milky liquid in the dungeons? (in my best Jerry Seinfeld voice) I know what to do with them, but that falls under the "who would leave bowls of milky liquid laying around the dungeons?"

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    3. "Whats the deal with bowls of milky liquid in the dungeons" I this a euphemism for something?

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    4. All I know are the pearls are more valuable as something to sell.

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  16. Oh, and yes... I'd rather give a direct donation than to purchase this book. Please provide a paypal acct.

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    1. All of you asking for that are missing the point. It's not about the money at all. It's okay if you don't want to buy the book, but that's all I'm asking for right now.

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  17. I bought the book and think it a pretty good read so far ;)

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    1. I'm glad you like it. I thought it was pretty good for a first novel.

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  18. OOOOOOHH MR. Addict. I don't know what it is. Your either too humble, ignorant (in a nice/respectable non-derogatory way) or just too busy.

    A book would be a great idea. I bought my father a copy of Barton's book the day it came to my local B&N. before he got it though, both my brother and I had to read it. It was GREAT! HOWEVER, the articles were VERY brief and MANY games were left out. We ALL read the whole book in 2 days. None of us could set it down until we read every passage, looked at every picture. And this is a book that comes NO WHERE CLOSE to your elegant writing or depth of description. I can only imagine how your book would be better in EVERY regard.

    Having access to a store of information like this at a blog is great. Having access to the same information in book form is even better. I would certainly buy 3 copies (one for each of us), and I can imagine how little work my father would get done for the week it would take to get through. Barton's book is like a KIDDIE version of this, and it is pretty much the only competition.

    I would like to see it in a few volumes, divided much as Barton did, into the 3 or 4 different "Ages" of computer games. (just like they do comic books) This way you could do the 1st volume relatively soon.

    I guess all I am saying is that I hope you do not dismiss the idea just yet. It may not make you rich, but it will CERTAINLY make you some money and a LOT of people happy. :)

    Keep up the good work

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    1. Barton's book is a different story, since he hadn't already posted all that material on a blog. Would people really pay for a book consisting of stuff that's already been published online? (Even if the answer is yes, I'm not sure I could bring myself to publish it.)

      But thatnks for your comments on my writing. I really appreciate it.

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    2. How about after you finish each era, you write a short ebook, no more than 100 pages. You could think of it like a long blog post to cap off the era. It would be fun to read what stood out to you and what your broader thoughts on the genre are during each time period.

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    3. I don't mean to belabor this, but why wouldn't I just write a "long blog post to cap off the era" on my actual blog?

      I can't see spending time on a print book unless it would somehow offer a better experience and value for my readers, and I just don't see how that would happen when you can already get everything I say about CRPGs for free.

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    4. I guess I see your blog as a resource for either dedicated followers who read every post or for people just following a link to a specific game or posting. But, what about people who are interested in the subject, but not in reading every post? They might buy an ebook that gathers your major takeaways for each era. And dedicated followers would buy the ebook as well to support the cause.

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    5. That's a fair reply. I do have some free time coming up. I'll try to sketch an outline.

      Delete
  19. I'm not really a RPG player (must have been many years since I played one), but I started this up and love it so far. The only complaint is that spellbooks are a bit hard to come by...no-one told me where to get a Demaro (I would have known where to get most of the other ones), which meant I HAD to include Eflun in my party (dropping someone with quite some experience gained so far) to be able to advance in the dungeons over Energy fields and Water. And I actually had to go all the way back to the castle from Vocha to do this (yeah reading the manual would have helped here)...

    But the good definitely prevails. I love how people tell me things that make no sense at all at first, until some time and talking to other people later I finally get what they were trying to tell me.

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    Replies
    1. This game would be much more difficult (it's already kinda hard) without having both Eflun and Ziyx. I haven't had a guy die in a long while, but for a bit there I was reviving after nearly every battle... especially when I travelled to Fubernel a bit earlier than I should have. Also, the Shield spell is IMPERATIVE against all those spell casting creeps. (Zorlims, Jerrahs and Death Knights!)

      I purcahsed an extra book of Sebano so they can both cast SHATTER now, which really speeds battles up. I haven't learned where to purchase an extra book of Demaro yet, and I'd prolly get one of the other books I don't have yet before purchasing another Demaro.

      The other day I was messing with turning the turbo switch on and off (I play all of my games on my Packard Bell Legend 316SX, so this entails pressing CONTROL ALT and + or -) and I got the game to run really fast... really fast as in a comfortable normal speed. I find that even on 386 speed it's a bit painful to explore. I have no idea what I did, but I couldn't repeat it yesterday. I got some message when DOS was loading but I can't remember what it was or what I pressed to get it to run like that. Dang it.

      Also, just the other day I hooked the 386 up to my 46" Sony TV. It is AMAZING to play these games on a 46" monitor while sitting in my easy chair. This winter is going to be A-ok.

      Delete
    2. Point taken. I haven't had a single clue on Demaro yet.

      Delete
  20. I have a request: In the comments a few posts ago, we were discussing screen aspect ratios.

    Would it be possible to set up your blog so that the screenshots are stretched by an extra 20% vertically? This would cause the aspect ratio to be as the game's artists intended it to be. Maybe more trouble than its worth, but not if it's as simple as just entering a different default size for the images. And the images are already getting scaled, so it wouldn't look any more blurry than it already does.

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It would make more sense, I think, if I could get DOSBox to display in that aspect ratio. Doing it on the blog requires me to edit the HTML every time I insert an image. I'm not sure if either solution will work out.

      Delete
    2. Hey, I know you said messing with the aspect ratio always looks bad (blurry I assume). I thought you could still fix the blog screen shots, because they look blurry anyway due to being enlarged slightly.

      Alas, if there is not a universal setting in blogger to affect all of the images, it's probably not a very practical idea. Thanks for considering it though.

      Delete
  21. Hey. I have been reading your blog for a long time and I wanted you to know that I just realized you have clever puns and wordplays in a lot of your titles. This one just came to me. Both a play on "candle wax" and the idea of doing something repetitive for the purposes of development (a la the Karate Kid). This could apply both to your characters doing menial jobs and you spending so much time logging dice rolls.

    "Candle in the Wind" is both a reference to the song and the idea that your party is "in the wind" (e.g., out there, exploring). Now I have to read through all of them and figure out what other references I missed!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Another crpgaddictaddict enters the fold ;)

      Delete
    2. Speaking of which, Chunkations has some explaining to do:

      http://crpgaddictaddict.blogspot.com/

      Delete
  22. Commenter quarex submitted a comment that I accidentally deleted: "This comment is utterly useless to you four years later, but might be worth considering for others playing this: you say encounters do not respawn, but it sounds like you can trigger all the encounters you want by not setting a guard when camping at night. Unless the ambush is like a primitive cutscene where you learn you were robbed or something."

    That may be a good point. I can't remember if nighttime encounters draw from the ones in the surrounding environment or whether they're just random. In any event, I was wrong about encounters not respawning, and there turns out to be far more encounters than you'd ever want anyway.

    ReplyDelete

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