Saturday, February 11, 2017

Fate: Very Long Game

Fate is the kind of game that makes you wait in real time while your characters take a train.
I think I might have mentioned it before, but this game is very long. Very long. Indecently long, really. I mean, I could come up with adverb after adverb to put in front of "long," and I'm still not sure it would adequately convey how long Fate is. 

And large, too. I guess that's a function of "long," or vice versa. We're talking 400 x 640 squares, 9 cities that each have a 56 x 56 grid (even if they don't use it all), and 5 dungeons of 7 levels each, each level of which has its own 56 x 56 grid. Even accounting for unused squares, if you mapped everything, you will have mapped over 200,000 squares. 

Speaking of mapping, I don't believe I'll be finishing mine, although I did make a few updates. This is where it ended up:
Mapping the rest on top of a nearly-300-hour game probably wouldn't be the best use of time.

Not much else to add right now. One wonders why I even published such a short post.

Time so far: 268 hours


  1. Very long game, very short post.

  2. That image from the train ride is pure comedy gold though.

  3. "One wonders why I even published such a short post."

    Because the next letter of the alphabet is W?

    Could it be? That the game is Won!?

    1. Penultimate post fo sho!

    2. "The world wonders!" (A wee WWII witticism.)

    3. You could have saved it and gone for Victory :)

      Which actually sounds more triumphant than a simple Won. Try to shout them out, which is more satisfying? :)

    4. Or it could be "Want The 300 Hours of my Life Back" :)

    5. Next post will be the Won! but probably wont be the last post because there's usually a rating and retrospective post after that, unless Chet is so sick of it that he squishes them together.

  4. You wrecked your PC because you are sick of this?

  5. Fate is a terrible game.

    I mean, when I say that, that there is nothing that could convince me the enjoyment of this title is worth the sheer amount of hours apparently essential to complete it. The journey is well and good, but I expect a reward at the end all the same. From what I've been reading on this blog, Fate is a game that is afraid to allow itself to be completed.

    I've been comparing Fate mentally to Daggerfall, the second Elder Scrolls game, which similarly had an obscenely massive, but all 'samey', game world. The thing that distinguishes Daggerfall from Fate, however, is that Daggerfall absolutely did not force, or even expect, you to actually cover every part of that massive game world on some fetch quest or another. Daggerfall only ultimately had a small handful of locations essential to the main plot, and word of them was brought *to* you more often than not, leaving you do go do whatever you liked in the meantime. Travel, join some guilds, do side-missions for cash, and in two weeks game-time maybe go to a setpiece dungeon. Fate, meanwhile, seems to be following traditional game world structure except on an absolutely ridiculous scale.

    I envy your patience, Chet. I would have given up on Fate ages ago. Life's too short for that kind of tedium when you've got Infinity Engine games ahead of you.

    1. But what's the point of chronicling on a blog the adventures of an Infinity Engine game?

      Everyone knows those already, you don't go read on a blog second hand adventures you can experience yourself. Maybe youtube let's play, but that's another matter.

      It's because this is an unknown gem (because of its qualities, that are unique and still there even if the package overall is not good) that it's worthwhile that this thing exists. Someone has finally documented with some depth this incredible game. It has been done, once. It retains an incredible importance.

      Documenting Infinity Engine games would be 100% irrelevant, and I doubt anyone would actually care. We know what these games are, we know how they work. There's nothing to discover there.

    2. Yeah - I have to agree that I'm oddly fascinated by Fate. Lots of people who have done a smidge of programming and have played D & D have at one point or another thought of creating their own game, and start off dreaming up vast landscapes and epic adventures. I know I have. But then you start working on everything that would be required to actually populate the world, and you start losing interest real quick. It seems like whoever the designers were made those grand plans - and actually followed through. There is a certain stick-to-it-iveness that I admire in both the designers to make such a behemoth (in fewer than 4 megs!), and in the Addict in exploring it so thoroughly. Because Lord knows, I would do neither.

    3. Was Fate advertised as being humongously large (size was generally considered a selling point at the time)? Or was the actual size left as a surprise - pleasant or otherwise - for the player?

    4. "Designer" would be more accurate, I think the game was designed and programmed almost completely by Olaf Patzenhauer. I read somewhere he was already working on it before he joined Reline.

      Here's an old ad for Fate which mentions "unbeliavable complexity", "9 dungeons with up to 7 levels" and "over 200 islands".

    5. Thank you! I was looking for an image of an ad for the final posting.

  6. You always have to remember that pretty much all games that are actually released have to downsize their initial ambition. I wouldn't be surprised if Fate was planned with a lot of more dedicated content, stuff to see in the rest of the world that feels unique, and so the rest of the "real" game ended up being "padded" and spread thin across that large map.

    I also imagine that making a world so big shouldn't take a lot of time. They probably built it with a simple map editor. There are an handful of actual "tiles" and so then you just need to "paint" the map in a way that looks realistic. There doesn't seem to be a lot of handcrafted stuff. It's a map made to fit an aesthetic of a gameworld.

    It reminds me this free roguelike almost no one has heard about, "Legerdemain". Look it up. It's a roguelike without the random generation, so it plays more like a RPG. It has a fully handcrafted world and a story, and it is TRULY massive. I've read it takes around 100 hours to complete. But for me the biggest appeal is in the actual aesthetics.

    You can see a collage of incomplete maps. It's not the full game, but an idea of what I mean:

    The guy who made the game actually sent me the complete maps of the whole thing and it's simply an aesthetic marvel.

    I was curious and I started to calculate the absolute sizes of these types of "epic" games. Fate has a 256.000 cell worldmap (plus dungeons), but half of it is sea and even the land is mostly empty use of a simple, repetitive tileset. Wizardry 7 is around 40.000 cells, another game that should take more than 100 hours. But it is also a lot more densely packed and interesting to explore.

    Legerdemain, being top down and so not a step by step/first person game like these classic dungeon crawlers, is a lot more fast paced, but the sheer size of its map is mindboggling. There are 68 maps and each built on a grid between 15.000 and 30.000 cells. That's easily more than 1 million cells. But because you race through it, being top-down, the amount of individual content is still fairly low.

    It actually left me with the impossible desire of using those assets in another game, and fill them with actual detail. The idea of truly massive game worlds is of course incredibly fascinating. And of course making them full of worthwhile, engaging content is almost always beyond practical, but still an utopia to pursue.

    1. To clarify some more, since the comment was already long:

      making a "large" game isn't hard, and Fate uniqueness isn't in that. Think about something like Oblivion. It's not like every rock, tree and blade of grass are placed by hand. You build a terrain generator that follows certain rules and then you touch it up by hand, add more detail and so on. The bulk of the work is automated.

      The same for using spawn lists. You divide maybe by region, place a bunch of spawn points. Once you have good tools and good rules it takes the pretty much the same time to make tiny map as it takes to make one 50 times larger. Size by itself is not something noteworthy. Fate falls in the same case, you have a simple tileset with an handful of features and you can paint with that a world as large as you want.

      But Fate instead is a game much more interesting than that. The depth of its own internal ruleset, the actual complexity of that gameword and the "moving parts", both in and out of combat, is unprecedented and dwarfs every other games of its time, as well as "modern" games.

      It's not "good" game design and lots of those options are too sporadically used and not intuitive most of the time, but the framework was really intricate and had an huge potential. Fate is a game of great ambition and it's that ambition to be worthwhile. The breadth and depth of interaction it offers is itself "epic" and way above everything else.

      Again, it's a very flawed game and in the end it's very frustrating to play. But this doesn't automatically cancel the amount of good stuff that is buried there. There's no game like Fate, and it's not just fluff.

  7. Not everyone knows what the "Infinity Engine" games are. I'd never even played an rpg before Skyrim and know very little, but I love this blog. Hopefully Chester never conquers whatever compels him to do this.

  8. one inch puddle the size of an ocean.

    And quit pulling our legs, we all know you put this post up just to get to the letter W.
    Finally, this will all be behind us. Sounds like a miserable game, seriously. But god bless your heart for taking it.

  9. That tremendous map was worth the post.
    Unlike a lot of people around here, I absolutely dig your Fate adventures. Like many of them, I'd never touch the thing with a stick!

  10. Not just going with 'Vanquished,' eh?

  11. 1. That top image, paired with that pithy caption? Possibly the most succinctly witty line I've ever seen you write. :D

    2. Your first paragraph reminded me of:

    "Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space."
    (--Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)

    3. Very glad to hear you're not letting the final mapping stand in the way of you getting on to better, shorter games! But I can't help but wonder if you'll keep that saved game around, to peck away at a bit here, a bit there; any time you're feeling too stressed or overwhelmed to put any serious brainpower into your next game - yet still could use the comfort of scratching that mapping itch... ;)


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