Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Game 391: Legends of Valour (1992)

       
Legends of Valour
United Kingdom
Synthetic Dimensions (developer); U.S. Gold (U.K. publisher); Strategic Simulations, Inc. (U.S. publisher)
Released in 1992 for DOS; 1993 for Amiga, Atari ST, and PC-98; 1994 for FM Towns
Date Started: 28 November 2020
   
Older gamers, who remember the era before the death of game manuals, often talk about that magical time in between purchase and play, often during the car ride home, when they opened the manual and started to get a sense of the plot and mechanics. The manual to Legends of Valour would have left me absolutely drooling. It promises an immersive, gritty, personalized experience in a complex simulated fantasy environment. I've said multiple times that I prefer small, local, personal stories to world-threatening events, so I am 100% on board with playing a young naif freshly arrived in the big city, looking for his cousin Sven.
    
The city is Mitteldorf, built on a volcanic island named Wolfblood ("build your cities on the slopes of Vesuvius" indeed). A newspaper (The Mitteldorf Post) presents it as an unruly place of haves and have-nots, ruled by a semi-competent king named Farley. A City Watch keeps a certain amount of order, but justice is only a distant aspiration. It is a place of taverns and brothels, shops and arenas, thieves and scoundrels. Men and monsters mix on the streets, cults and guilds compete for members, and of course there's a dungeon underneath the city. Into that dungeon, Sven has disappeared, searching for a lost jewel.
       
I got pretty lucky on the dice this time, I think.
       
The manual suggests that the player may eventually join a guild and get quests--and of course, there's probably a "main quest" that will become apparent at some point--but at the outset, he'll be occupied with keeping himself sheltered, fed, free of disease, and out of jail. The setup makes Valour sound a lot like Alternate Reality: The City with an actual plot; I can't imagine that the developers were not familiar with and inspired by The City.
     
What the manual promises, the game matches--at least in its opening moments. There is a pre-title sequence with some lovely cinematics, including what is probably the best water animation that we've seen so far. We zoom in on a mountain; a hawk flies in circles; a large dragonfly beats its wings above a rippling surface; a lone figure pilots a small rowboat as giant manta rays swim beneath him. This is some next-level stuff. I know from reader comments that the game doesn't hold up, but I'm not discouraged by the beginning.
      
This probably has nothing to do with anything you can do in the game.
          
(The pre-title sequence actually begins with three Nietzsche quotes stuck together to suggest that they're part of the same passage. We'll see some of the same material later at the beginning of Baldur's Gate. The specific use of this material got my hackles up, and the original draft of this entry grew to about 2,000 words on Nietzsche, how he is both misunderstood and perfectly understood, and how the CRPG hero is an ironic Nietzschean archetype--ironic because I think Nietzsche would have hated video games and regarded anyone who spent his life playing them with utter contempt. Anyway, as you can see, it was getting out of hand, so I cut the material and saved it for a later special topic about the use of Nietzsche in CRPGs.)
  
The game distinguishes itself from all those less-philosophical RPGs.
        
The character creation process isn't bad. The game automatically rolls for strength, intelligence, health, speed, and "inheritance" (your starting wealth); the manual warns you not to get too hung up on these figures, since you have lots of chances for improvement. You select a male or female and from human, dwarf, and elf options that change the character portrait in predictable ways.
   
The character's face is customized by clicking on its parts on a stone tablet. You can cycle through six hair options (alas, no bald option), nine hair color options, seven eye options, eight nose options, nine lip options, and six facial hair options. You cannot escape a healthy set of sideburns (which oddly do not change color with the rest of your hair) no matter what you do.
    
Once you accept the character, the game gives you a random name for your father (I got Sedgley Cooper), his trade (baker), and your town of birth (Headless Cross). You enter your own name.
         
The provincial little place I'm about to abandon.
      
You're then given a chance to spend your "inheritance" at the blacksmith's shop and general store in your village before heading off to Mitteldorf. My first negative impression of the game comes from the use of only a single suit of "armor" in the game. While perhaps historically accurate, it's far less satisfying than having different pieces of armor to find, purchase, and equip throughout the game. Even worse, the different types of armor appear to have no names, just styles and prices. You can get an all-golden set for 210, a vaguely-samurai set for 230, or an all-silver plate set for 240. You can also get two shields--both cleverly named "shield"--for 32 and 38--and an axe for 40. 
    
For those players who are more price-conscious, the general store has three "costumes" for 70, 80, and 98, and, mysteriously, a chunk of "ore" for 12. I could have afforded the most expensive of everything, plus the ore, but I decided to go with a "costume" instead of an armor set to save some money for Mitteldorf. I bought an axe and, of course, the ore. That was just too odd not to buy.
       
The styles are eclectic in Headless Cross.
         
The game really begins as you arrive in Mitteldorf. I think a lot of the content, including names, is procedurally generated, so from here my experience may not match anyone else's.
       
An NPC greets me as the game begins.
          
I'm greeted as I enter the town by a bounty hunter named Storr Wildfowl. He welcomes me to the city and advises me to read the notices outside the Custom House, across from the town gates. The dialogue interface gives me a few keyword starters, plus buttons for attacking, pickpocketing, and insulting. I spent a little time on the dialogue. "Where" and "What is" bring up sub-menus where, altogether, I can ask the following questions:
    
  • Where is the town gate?
  • Where is the market square?
  • Where are you going?
  • Where am I?
  • Where is the Custom House?
  • What is the day?
  • What is the time?
  • What is your name?
  • What is your religion?
  • What is your trade?
          
Some dialogue options.
     
I'm not sure how the game determines whether the NPC likes you, especially minus a charisma statistic. The game seems to roll for success after each question, which creates the following humorous exchange:

  • Me: What is your name?
  • Storr: Storr Wildfowl
  • Me: What is your trade?
  • Storr: Bounty hunter
  • Me: What is your religion?
  • Storr: I worship Aegir, God of the Sea
  • Me: What is the time?
  • Storr: None of your business
    
Amidst a lot of restarting (Storr walks away if I take too long to take notes), I check out the "insult" system, which involves randomly-generated slurs. "Your mother was a geriatric dung beetle," I say. "And you have the dress sense of a rotting ogre," he replies. This reminds me of Swords and Sorcery (1985), another British game, although the two seem to share no ancestry other than their country of origin.
      
As Storr glides away (more on that in a minute), I spend some time studying the interface. The three boxes in the upper left are for unique magic items that I will apparently find later. The lower left has "examine" and "disk options" buttons, plus a box in which various objects appear when I encounter them in the environment. There's a set of status bars for health, energy, injury, "appeal" (that must be the charisma bar I was looking for), hunger, thirst, and fatigue. Next to that is a set of controls that I am dubbing the "GTFO Panel," named after my reaction if you tell me that you actually use this, instead of the far more convenient arrow keys, during actual gameplay. Then we have the action panel, which includes three options for combat (crush, thrust, slash), the game map, buttons for casting mage and priest spells, sleeping, using, and shouting, "Hey!" The word "Hey" literally appears in the game window.
   
The upper right has your pockets. By default, it shows your gold, but there are six buttons that change the display to show the other trading items used in Mitteldorf: gems, spices, pigments, ore (aha!), hide, and tar. In a nod to realism, the manual notes: "That doesn't necessarily mean that you have several tons of merchandise in your pockets; some of your goods may consist of letters of credit, bills of lading, that kind of thing."
       
Buildings indicate what kind of place they are.
        
The lower-right box shows what you're holding in your hand, along with arrows to throw or drop it, and the six boxes above it show your backpack contents, which may be readily transferred to the hand.
   
Keyboard backups for these buttons are unforgivably scant. The action panel is replicated with the function keys, but in a weird configuration. F1 executes "thrust" (middle of the top row), but neither of the other attack options have keys. The middle row picks up with F2 (map) and continues in order through F7 (Hey!). Gods know why they didn't just go from F1 to F9 with all the buttons. Nothing else has a keyboard shortcut.  
   
That leaves the main game window, a mix of good and bad elements. On the plus side, you can see enemies and NPCs in the environment, which immediately puts it above the Gold Box and most Wizardry derivatives. On the negative side, the window is non-interactive--you can't even move your cursor into it--which puts it below Dungeon Master and any game based on it, and of course Ultima Underworld.
   
In between, we have a couple of neutral factors. The graphics are uninspired, and the ground looks particularly blah. There's an option turned off by default to add some texture to the ground, although even this goes away when you move. 
      
NPCs use several means of locomotion.
      
Like Alternate Reality, the game features continuous movement--or, at least, movement in very small increments so that it appears as if it's continuous. I realize that this is supposed to be appealing, but I'd rather have a tiled game with immersive graphics and an interactive environment than a continuous game with the opposite. The existing system must have slowed down a lot of PCs, because there are game options to use a smaller window and to have the game render shorter distances.
   
A game day lasts about 16 minutes of real time. You get a static transitional screen when day becomes night and night becomes day. 
    
The sky graphics for night turning to day are nice.
     
The game map is interesting. It shows the streets and paths of a large and sprawling city and gives you the names of its establishments. It's up to you to annotate their precise locations on the actual map. I'd like to do that, but I haven't been able to find a high-resolution copy of the original map; the one at the Museum of Computer Adventure Game History, for instance, has the annotations already printed. Someone let me know if you have a good source for a blank one.
    
Sven's letter said that he's been staying at The Boarding and drinking at The Snakes, so I need to be on the lookout for both places, but to begin I'm happy to check out the Customs House notice board. This requires going into the Customs House, which buys and sells the various commodities. The owner greets me and promises me the best prices short of the black market. His "notices" board has the following notices:
    
  • Government warning: Beware of everyone! Especially the government. The last part looks like it might be graffiti.
  • Rusty Cutlass All your medical needs. Open every day, daylight only. Specialty leaching service. This one has a little map indicating how to get there from the town gate.
  • Legends of Valour helpline. This gives a U.K. phone number and says it costs 48p per minute most times and 36p per minute.
  • A note from Sven! He says he's been delayed but will meet me at The Hanged Man later.
  • A job to collect a chest from the Hanged Man and deliver it to Potch's Supplies. Payment is 22 groats, the game's currency.
     
It looks like I'm looking for The Hanged Man next. This just the sort of place I could find immediately or not find until the end of the game depending on my exploration pattern. I try my best to explore right around the town gate (which is on the eastern edge of the map) first.
        
NPC images are digitized photos, which is not something I particularly like.
     
The first door I try (you open doors just by walking into them) opens into a set of guard barracks, which in turn opens into the Guild of the Men at Arms. This is one of three guilds mentioned in the Mitteldorf Post; the others are the Thieves' Guild and the Mercenaries' Guild. There are also two "fellowships" and four temples that you can join. The Post specifically says that the Men at Arms are recruiting, having lost members recently "in a series of mysterious accidents." The guild also has two ads, one offering training, the other offering used weapons for sale.
    
My impression is that I can join multiple guilds, so I figure I might as well do it while I'm here. It turns out maybe I was a little hasty. After I pay an initiation fee of 24 groats, the guildmaster tells me that my "trial" is to "secretly" fetch a bronze helmet from The Armoury within two days. "The code word is 'blueboar,'" he says. The Armoury is a shop, according to the map. I have no idea why I'll need a codeword. I also pay 50 groats to improve my weapons skills to "the first Dann." I trust this works, I've yet to figure out how to actually see my skills.
         
What the heck.
      
Out in a courtyard, I hail a guardsman and ask him where The Armoury is. "51 poles northwest" is his reply. The Hanged Man, he further offers, is 30 poles west. I have no idea how long a "pole" is, but the same guard says that the Market Square, which is marked on the map by default, is 48 poles west. It's about halfway across the map, so The Armoury should be about that, just to the northwest, and the Hanged Man should be a little more than halfway to Market Square. I go to save my progress so far and find that you can only save at taverns, hostels, and inns, so I guess it's the Hanged Man or bust.
      
After wandering into several generic hovels and residences, I figure out that most shops have clear signs on the outside. I soon wandering into a major square called The Stone Circle, and lo and behold, an inn on the north side is labeled "The Hanged Man." I enter just as the game switches from day to night.
      
The Stone Circle was easy to find.
         
There's one NPC in the tavern, Choker Bloodaxe, the town executioner. He has no dialogue on Sven, but he tells me The Armoury is 23 poles north of here, so I guess I've gone far enough west.
    
The tavern has its own notice board, some of which duplicate the Custom House. There are rules for roach racing, a gambling game the tavern offers. Sven has left another note, saying there's "something weird" happening in the city, and he'll meet me at the Troll's Arms. I can choose from a variety of unappetizing food and drink options. I don't see any option to take the quest to deliver the chest.
       
We have a roach burger, a brain, and two pie-looking items with horns sticking out of them.
       
The roach racing gambling game costs 1 gold piece and pays out 2, 3, 5, or 10 depending on which roach you bet on. Theoretically, the first roach (paying 2:1) has the best odds. I'm going to have to spend some time recording trials when I have more gold and time.
      
"Roach races" were in the PLATO Oubliette, which partly influenced Alternate Reality, but I don't remember roach races in Alternate Reality.
     
I save the game. Despite a bit of trepidation, I decide to head out on the streets at night, since I only have two days to return to the guild. A couple blocks north, a guy in a hood asks if I want to buy insurance. I say no, but then ask him where The Armoury is. "Here," he replies. I turn and, sure enough, the building next to me has a pair of crossed swords on it. Finding things in this game is going to be easier than I thought.
    
Despite the late hour, the door is open, but when I walk up to the "counter" inside, I get a message that it's closed. I wander upstairs and find a set of "Power Gauntlets" on a table. I guess maybe there are individual pieces of armor. I don't know much about this game's approach to ownership and thievery just yet, so I decline to take them. Instead, I head back outside to wait for daylight.
   
A werewolf wanders along as I wait. The Post had an article about how werewolves were becoming a problem on the streets at night. I hail him and he says "Grrrr" to all of my questions, but he otherwise doesn't seem interested in attacking me.
         
What is your trade?
        
In the morning, I enter The Armoury again. The notice board has a "message for blueboar" that the item I seek is no longer here. Instead, it gives me directions to a nearby place called the Charterhouse. The directions are solid, and pretty soon I'm in the Charterhouse, where I find the bronze helmet on a table upstairs. I grab it and hightail back to the Guild of Men at Arms, where I am welcomed as a Grunt. I decline to pay the fee to take on the next quest just yet.
 
I'm confused as to whether I'm in a plot to steal this helm, or whether I'm just picking it up.
         
Finding the bronze helmet. Note the image in the lower left.

I feel like your guild ought to have some hyphens in its name.
     
As Day 2 comes to a close, my food, water, and fatigue meters have hardly budged. I haven't officially fought any combats, but a couple came upon me--random NPCs with a bone to pick--while I was typing up paragraphs for this entry, and both were easy. Thus, Valour may have been inspired by Alternate Reality's mechanics, but it was definitely not inspired by its difficulty. 
    
Speaking of inspiration, Bethesda's Todd Howard has noted several times that The Elder Scrolls series was modeled partly on Legends of Valour. You can see it in its guilds, guild quests, and focus on skill development. It amuses me that The Elder Scrolls is only two steps away from Alternate Reality on the RPG family tree, particularly since Alternate Reality was influenced by the PLATO games. That's yet another major RPG family we can trace back to PLATO.
    
So far, I like the setup of the game, but I'm less enamored with its interface and mechanics. By next time, perhaps I'll have gotten used to the latter.
   
Time so far: 3 hours

133 comments:

  1. "What does not kill me makes me stronger" is the quotation from Nietsche that everyone knows. And, in fairness, it is surely almost definitive of the gameplay of CRPGs!

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    1. That was one of the quotes. I realized after reading your comment that I forgot to include the screenshot with the quotes, so I just added it.

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    2. Would love to see an RPG instead open with the following quote in ominous red gothic text:

      "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger
      Stand a little taller
      Doesn't mean I'm lonely when I'm alone."
      - Kelly Clarkson

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    3. I'm guessing, based on the genre and the year (and the buff PC portrait), this is a reference to the opening of the Conan the Barbarian movie, which started with that exact quote from Nietzsche.

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  2. I'm not sure what you mean by "incremental" movement. I watched some clips of both Amiga and DOS versions, and for my $0.02 it looks like regular 3D movement, except when taking the very smallest of steps forward
    (forward steps seem to have a minimum distance, where sidesteps or "strafing" do not.)

    Those Nietzche quotes make me laugh a bit. A lot of times people use quotes to add meaning and gravitas to their game, and often it just makes the quoted phrases seem silly and trite.

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    1. Maybe I'm perceiving a difference that doesn't exist. My technical knowledge fails me here.

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    2. I assumed we were talking "incremental" movement in terms of smooth-ish 3D movement through an environment without being bound by movement rules that don't otherwise make sense...

      ... as opposed to the grid-based movement in Dungeon Master or early Might and Magic titles where you can only face the cardinal directions and pressing "forwards" moves you forward an entire grid square.

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    3. I suspect it is effectively continuous movement (using fixed-point arithmetic), but the limitations of art scaling and FPS make it seem more discrete than it actually is.

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  3. I got hold of a demo of this around the time it came out. As a 12 year old, I was more than content to just wander the city in dumb awe of the graphics. I get the feeling they're probably the only impressive thing about the full version too (and maybe haven't aged very well at that, as your digitized photos comment shows), but it's still interesting to see what I missed out on. Not that I would've had the patience to get very far actually playing it at that age!

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  4. "What is your trade?"

    I'd like to meet his tailor!

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    1. He's on his way to drink a pina colada at Trader Vic's.

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    2. Knock knock!

      Who's there?

      Ow!

      Ow who?

      WEREWOLVES OF LONDON!

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  5. "a later special topic about the use of Nietzsche in CRPGs"
    Yes, please. I'd love to read this, especially the part about how he is both perfectly understood and misunderstood. His disdain for the worship of suffering sounds like a rallying call for social justice movements to improve quality of life for everyone everywhere... but then we have "The invalid is a parasite on society". I can't fit him into a neat little box.

    "Headless Cross"? I don't think I'd want to get the death penalty in THAT down.

    That first NPC portrait when you commented on their digitization, that looks like Patrick Stewart. He'll truly sell out to anyone, won't he?

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    1. Headless Cross sounds like a "T"

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    2. Just change "invalid" to "identity group in the social justice movement's dishonored list" and it makes perfect sense again.

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    3. Yeah, you can make any statement, however dimwitted, make sense by using different words to make it say something else. Probably even your own anonymous alt-righty keyboard warrior witterings.

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    4. Lol.

      Why is it that right-wingers are the first to complain about not wanting politics in entertainment discussions, yet these snowflakes can't stop polluting comment sections with their own idiotic opinions about same?

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    5. Headless Cross?!?!?! Someone is a Black Sabath fan!!!

      https://youtu.be/bcE--jVsFcM

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    6. Seconded on looking forward to a Nietzsche post. He was an utterly paradoxical figure who's almost always totally misrepresented, and whose writing is full of irony that's totally lost on many readers.

      I think the basic deal with Nietzsche is that he always inveighed against those very traits that were acutely present in himself; by all reports he was a profoundly sensitive and gentle man.

      But of course he realized this: "In warring against stupidity, the most just and gentle of men at last become brutal. They are thereby, perhaps, taking the proper course for defense; for the most appropriate argument for a stupid brain is the clenched first. But because...their character is just and gentle, they suffer more by this means of protection than they injure their opponents by it." (from Human, All Too Human)

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    7. Clenched fist, obviously. Oh, for an edit button.

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    8. I love the irony if someone choosing to go by "anonymous" in a sub-thread about Nietzsche.

      I often wonder what would happen if I started enforcing my own rule against anonymous comments. Would it keep away some of the more useless ones, or would it just encourage the previously-anonymous commenters to create names like "addict sux"?

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    9. I must confess I'm looking forward to the Nietzsche post almost as much as the eventual Daggerfall post in 2023.

      I remember you had a lot of interesting things to educate us with regarding Arthurian legend and while I forget the name of the game that spawned them, I do remember enjoying the posts immensely.

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    10. I'm not sure that hard-core gamers will really appreciate the direction I was taking. It was a reflection on the irony of the RPG hero following Nietzsche's mandate to live dangerously and vigorously, to nobly assert himself and claim his place in the the world, while the RPG player was simultaneously occupied doing the opposite.

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    11. You really think we'll have made it to 1996 in three more years of this blog?

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    12. “Everything the State says is a lie, and everything it has it has stolen.”

      “State is the name of the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly it lies; and this lie slips from its mouth: 'I, the state, am the people’.”

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    13. To be fair, that had been written well before the idea of welfare state became a thing, even before the introduction of pensions.

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    14. Actually, Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1st part) was published the very same year mandatory health insurance was introduced in Germany... so it was written only _just_ before Germany developed the first marks of being a welfare state, and well _after_ the idea had become a thing.

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    15. We could argue definitions and timelines here, but my point is that the state the Nietzsche had knowledge of and experience with - that is, nationalist, militarist and reactionary 19th century state - was operated, conceptualized and rhetorically dressed very differently from contemporary state. Which limits the applicability of his political thought beyond its immediate historical context (provided you can take an aphoristic formula at face value in the first place).

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    16. And perhaps he would say it is all the more applicable to the bloated, confiscatory welfare states of today. Let's have a seance and ask him.

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    17. I just need to say that this discussion is redundant when everybody knows the ultimate way to experience this game was on the Atari ST.

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    18. I, too, would love a special topic on Nietzsche and the RPG. I've studied him a few times, but like sand through the fingers of my brain, he always seems to slip from my grasp.

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  6. Yeah, that's basically my memory of the game, or at least its main quest - wandering from tavern to tavern to find "the princess is in another castle" messages with not much to do in between.

    You can see a much more direct influence on early TES in the cities of Arena and Daggerfall: huge, with very similarly looking buildings, lots of generic locations like taverns and shops, and wandering NPCs that you can ask for directions.

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    1. The town screenshots are a dead ringer for similar situations from Arena.

      I really, really can't wait until the blog reaches Daggerfall. I have a feeling it will dethrone a few "highest rated" games and produce a lot of high-quality postings, provided Chet doesn't encounter any game-breaking bugs too early.

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    2. I'm not sure about that. DF will probably score high on gameworld, characters and possibly quests categories, but definitely low on NPCs and perhaps economy, and the rest is harder to predict.

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    3. The first thing I thought as I initially read through the post was that this reminded me a lot of Arena. I was not surprised to get to the end and read about the influence of LoV on the Elder Scrolls.

      Seeing this chronology documented is one of the things I like about this blog!

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    4. Seems like some of us here still haven't learned the lesson. What happened with Ultima 7 will happen again every time you start a bloody hype.

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    5. It’s not necessarily the hype but I got the feeling that Chet has played Ultima VII enough times in the past that he decided to screw around during his play through to keep it interesting. Obviously that also showed the frayed edges of the open world which you could normally ignore due to it being novel at the time, and playing normally masks a lot of it.

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    6. "...provided Chet doesn't encounter any game-breaking bugs too early."

      Calling it right now: He'll die to the imp hanging out by the first dungeon's exit.

      Bonus side-bet: He gets lost at least once trying to find the first dungeon's exit.

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    7. Ultima VII is a great game despite its rough spots. If my coverage seemed to be more about tearing it down than enjoying it, it wasn't what I intended. I hope no one who was looking forward to my entries felt their experience was ruined because I was overly-critical.

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    8. Not at all, Chet! It still shows as a great game and is still on my list to return to when time/life permits. Too many great games to play through.

      I appreciate your writing style and wit, as well as the way this allows me to separate the good, the bad and the no chance. Keep up the great work!

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    9. I said it already in its GIMLET post; as someone that loves U7, I have zero issues with the Addict's coverage or rating of the game.

      It is a very lopsided game and the GIMLET rewards more those games that are solid across its categories.

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    10. As much as I love Daggerfall, it's a highly flawed game and its randomly generated (not procedural during gameplay but generated beforehand and plopped into the game) dungeons will frequently cause what DF players call "dungeon vu" as they're all constructed from the same building blocks, so you'll encounter the exact same room several times.

      The hand-made main quest dungeons are pretty great (Mantellan Crux) but the majority of dungeons get pretty repetitive rather quickly.

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    11. Gosh, I really wish Chet could play the fan remastering of Elder Scrolls II, Daggerfall Unity, in lieu of the original Daggerfall for this blog. Daggerfall Unity turns the game from an inspiring mess into something quite worthy of being called groundbreaking.

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    12. Daggerfall Unity is great. I feel like some of the enhancements are silly though, like giving enemies the ability to strafe and having awful bilinear filtering on by default.

      I feel like the only thing really holding the original Daggerfall back gameplay-wise (besides, yknow, the bugs) is the fact that the automap is so hard to make out due to the low resolution. It's perfectly readable in DFU, making the dungeons much easier to navigate, but on DOS it's just a laggy mess of brown and grey pixels.

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    13. DFU will become an option when the blog reaches 2019.

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    14. Will Daggerfall beat Fate Gates of Dawn as the game that needs more hours to complete? :D

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    15. Not really, most of DF's content is optional and fast travel exists. DF's main questline can be reasonably completed in 25-30 hours. Of course, if you play without fast travel, that time would easily stretch tenfold.

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    16. Is playing without fast travel an option in DF? In Arena you can leave cities on foot, but I think you can't ever reach another city unless you use fast travel. Come to think of it, Arena's world is probably the largest RPG world that is entirely optional.

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    17. In Daggerfall, with enough patience it is possible to travel between settlements manually in the wilderness. I had to do it a couple times (with the 6 times speed debug option) when fast travelling was fatal due to disease.

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    18. Boroth, thanks for your answer. I think I never tried walking around outside, based on my experience with Arena.

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    19. Someone walked through the Daggerfall map from east to west in just under 70 hours, so it is possible.

      https://howbigisthemap.com/daggerfall-walk-across-the-map-part-0/

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    20. I immediately made the associations between this game and Daggerfall, but ... not in a good way? I was very late to the game but gave Daggerfall a shot a couple of years ago, and my experience of that game was primarily the distilled essence of being lost. There may be a lot of medieval realism to finding your way through a sprawling city to an unlabeled building, having to stop half a dozen times to ask people if you've gone far enough or too far as you try to triangulate, but that realism did not make for fun gameplay for me.

      I did walk between towns once, partly because I got pretty badly lost and then assumed I was closer to the next one, but had no idea just how long it would take. To steal a line: another supposedly fun thing I'll never do again.

      Delete
    21. FWIW, in both Daggerfall and Arena you can bug NPCs in town until they mark the building on the map. It can take a while if your Personality is too low, and you have to keep trying different NPCs--you can't keep asking the same one.

      I never understood the appeal of Daggerfall's huge world. It's big, sure, but it's empty. All you're missing by using fast travel is miles of mostly-flat terrain and little tree sprites.

      Delete
    22. Daggerfall's always seemed like one of those games where there's a lot of potential, but the actual execution falls flat. Sure, you have a realistically sized world, but when you can cut out 99% of it and effectively lose nothing, does it really do anything but serve as a talking point? Nothing in the game actually makes use of it, and all it really does for the player is make slow travel completely unviable as a way of getting from place to place

      Delete
    23. It adds a sense of scale, and I think that was all that it was intended to do. But hey, if you want to walk from a village to the next on in an hour, you can. You could just as well make the argument that slow travel is unviable is later Elder Scrolls games, as doing so exposes the world as the little theme park it is.

      How much you get out of that depends on the player. It's a little too generic for my tastes (at least some major roads would have been nice), but I had fun playing it, and it wouldn't have been the same with a smaller world.

      Delete
    24. DF's large world is generic, but luckily the game has more to offer than that. Different guilds, large and complex dungeons (most of them are generic, but the main quest dungeons are not), an interesting spell crafting system, ok combat, good character development, OK interaction with NPCs and plenty of lore and world building. It's closer to Morrowind than to Fate, I think.

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    25. Daggerfall/Arena's "huge world plus fast travel" is the ideal solution what I tend to think of as the "Ultima 6 problem".

      In Ultima 4 and 5, Britannia feels big, because settlements very obviously exist at a different map scale to the wilderness. (The thing where LB and Blackthorn's palaces occupy more space than the towne of Britain is a bit of a weirdness, but it's bearable.)

      In Ultima 6, you get this nice, seamless, smoothly realized world... where everything is at the same apparent map scale, so Britannia feels tiny compared to how it feels in U4/U5.

      Delete
    26. Personally, I found Might&Magic 6 to be the game that strikes the best balance in terms world scale vs. content density. If only the world itself made more sense.

      Delete
    27. @Buck
      "You could just as well make the argument that slow travel is unviable is later Elder Scrolls games, as doing so exposes the world as the little theme park it is."

      Eh. Sorry, but I honestly can't say I follow your logic. The whole point of slow travel is exploring the world. You're traversing it to find stuff and experiencing its content, not to get a sense of scale. It's when the world is literally devoid of content that there is no incentive to explore it. That's why the wilderness between towns in Arena and Daggerfall is little more than a novelty, something that it's only there for the sake of it. Its presence doesn't hurt, but a smaller world (or "theme park") with actual content would provide an actual reason to slow travel.

      @Martin
      Sure. As long as the world has actual content and it's not super monotonous.

      Delete
  7. The horned pie looks identical to the cow pie from long-running Scottish comic strip Desperate Dan. I would be very surprised if it were not a direct reference.

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  8. I am genuinely surprised that this was also an Amiga game, as the Amiga struggled with Doom-like 3D, but a quick bit of research suggests that the Amiga port has different graphics. Better, apparently, as the programmers used their experience on the PC version alongside some technical tricks to deliver an improved experience.

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    1. You can find videos of Amiga version on Youtube. It definitely doesn't look better and runs very badly as well.

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    2. That's about what I expected given how badly the Amiga did this sort of 3D. I was reading text articles that suggested the Amiga was using a different graphics style to get around the problem. Apparently not!

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    3. Although that said, having compared the two on Youtube (as I should have done already) I can see that aside from the (much) smaller window and the (very) poor refresh rate, the Amiga version does improve in some places. Real windows, for example.

      Not enough to offset the generally inferior experience, of course. :)

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    4. Heh, you're right. That's super weird that they went for such a costly effect as transparency in a game that already pushes the available hardware to its limits.

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    5. My understanding is that things like the transparent windows were quite easy to do on the Amiga, so they got chucked in even while the rest of the engine was struggling.

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    6. The Amiga suffers from the fact that its graphics modes are based on bitplanes while the PC's 256 color VGA mode is planar. That means that you can set a pixel on the PC by just writing one byte into memory. So in the best case, you can fill a 320*200 screen with 64000 bytes written. In practice, you have overdraw in games like this, so you might end up with twice that amount, but still...one pixel, one byte. On the Amiga on the other hand, it depends on the color depth being used. In this case, it looks like a 16 color/4 bit mode to me. Each bit of a pixel's defining 4 bit resides in its own plane, hence the name bitplanes. That means, that, to set one pixel, you have to access 4 bitplanes, i.e. you have to write four bytes. And as if that's not enough, you change only one bit of each of these bytes. To do so, you have to read the byte first, so what you basically do is to read 4 bytes, modify them and then write them all back.
      So what is one write on the PC, becomes 4 reads and 4 writes on the Amiga. That 8 times the amount of work. But since you are reading the bytes anyway, transparent windows basically come (more or less) for free here while on the PC, they would require an additional byte read (which would still be faster).
      In case anybody is wondering, why the Amiga does it that way: It's quite good for 2D games and effects. Not so much for 3D. That's why the CD32 had an additional chip on board to convert between planar and bitplanes on the fly to speed up this process. It didn't really help it in the end though.

      Regarding other changes in the graphics: The Amiga version obviously does perspective correction for the texture mapping while the PC doesn't. If you look at a wall at an angle, you'll notice that, on the PC, the scaling of each tile in X direction is linear, while on the Amiga, it takes perspective into account, so that for example the individual stones become smaller (again, in X direction...Y is covered by the scaling anyway) in the distance. The linear way is faster (it doesn't require an additional division per column) but visually incorrect. It makes textures wobble when you move along them at an angle, while on the Amiga, they stay in place and look fine. The Playstation One had the same issue, which causes this wobbling effect in all of it's 3D games.
      I guess they simply hadn't figured out how to do perspective correction when working on the PC version but they got it later and implemented it in the Amiga version.

      Delete
    7. Thank you EgonOlsen (from the Olsen gang? Man I love those, cheesy as they are), that was an interesting read.

      Delete
  9. >The character's face is customized by clicking on its >parts on a stone tablet. You can cycle through six hair >options (alas, no bald option), nine hair color >options, seven eye options, eight nose options, nine >lip options, and six facial hair options.

    This is the first time we see this kind of customization if I'm not mistaken?

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    1. I think to this level, yes. There were other games with paperdolls on which you could change sex and race, at least.

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  10. The "vaguely-samurai" armour in the screenshot is really more of a Roman legionary getup. Also I'm pretty sure those are supposed to be your character's cheekbones rather than some righteous sideburns.

    This game looks pretty good so far. I can't wait to see how it all goes wrong.

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  11. The French map on MOCAGH had only 5 or so places written on it, I cleaned those off.

    http://retro.land/upload/valour-map-clean.jpg

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  12. My map is on Mobygames. There's no writing on it. https://www.mobygames.com/game/legends-of-valour/cover-art/gameCoverId,608119/

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    1. Thanks. Between you and Laszlo, I have the options I need.

      Delete
  13. The story goes that some of the digitized photos are of UK games press folks. The insinuation being that this was the reason for the high scores in UK Amiga magazines, despite running very poorly, and the game being kind of clumsy.

    LoV falls into an awkward gap of being conceived as something ambitious, yet it was already eclipsed when released. Excepting perhaps for the fantasy of simulating a life-like fantasy city in first person free movement 3D.

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    1. At least a couple amiga magazines gave it glowing reviews, higher than they had given to rpgs since eye of the beholder. I was a bit underwhelmed when I played it, admittedly, it was twenty years later and after I had played the likes of Arena and Daggerfall (and maybe Baldur's Gate 1).

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    2. Ultima Underworld is the obvious answer.

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    3. Yes, both Ultima VII and Ultima Underworld came out before this, and both were technical marvels/nightmares. After them LoV was not such a marvel, and it still was a bit of a nightmare in terms of performance.

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    4. However neither of those were on the Amiga, and PCs were still crazy expensive in the UK n and so weren’t main gaming machines quite yet. It probably also helped that Amiga magazines here were quite openly hostile to RPGs - possibly due to a lot of them feeling very MS DOS, and so raised feelings of Computer tribalism

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    5. Feeling MS-DOS? I don't recall that being an issue when the game "Gloom" was released, do you wonder what DOS had like that? Sounds like the Amiga fans were in the unenviable position of having to defend their expensive computer whose only upgrades were half-baked and even more expensive - I'm not sure even an Amiga 4000 from late 1992 could compete with Doom. Less than a year later Myst released but for Mac and Windows, heralding the death of the Amiga being THE computer for "artistic games" (better than the NES, Atari ST, or EGA DOS [You know, Commander Keen]) that it had been touted for in the late 80s like Unreal and Agony. And even in the 80s it was getting handicapped by lots of games just being ported from Atari ST as a base and not getting improved for Amiga. And then in the 90s when Atari ST died, the Mega Drive and SNES were eating Amiga's lunch on action games and JRPGs! And I already said how Commodore failed to compete in the 3D era with a lack of Doom and Myst. What poor sons of bitches the Amiga community had ALWAYS been, first screwed over by the shoddy game ports and then by the expensive, undercooked "upgraded" new Amiga models! I WANT to feel less sorry since these are just computer games, but the Amiga was always EXPENSIVE! It's hard for me not to sympathize with people getting swindled through the 8 years of the Amiga's brand lifetime, desperately trying to show off ANY game to the DOS guys to justify their purchase!

      Rant over! My point is, if you detected animosity from the Amiga guys against the DOS guys, know this; they had a reason! Amiga snobs truly were self-loathing bullies.

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    6. The devs were well aware of what they were going to be compared to, to the point of having cocky advertisements like (from Wikipedia): "Ultima Underworld, move over! ... Experience the hottest, smoothest 3-D scrolling graphics ever in an underworld, or any world!"

      Didn't really work out for them...

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    7. Well, you can't fault them (or whoever wrote the ad copy) on their confidence.

      Delete
    8. Amiga kids used to lord it over the kids with c-64s,NES, sega master system and the poor sods still with spectrums. Atari ST was a rival, although seen as an obscure oddity. SNES was the first to give the amiga a bloody nose (with street fighter 2 imo) but they brushed it off as it wasn't a proper computer. PCs were seen as vastly overpriced machines with few games until around x-com and ultima 7. Then DOOM came out and they knew it was all over. I could have bought several A500's for the price of my first PC, so not sure where you get the expensive bit though..

      Delete
    9. "but the Amiga was always EXPENSIVE!"

      The vast majority of Amigas in the wild were A500 or its entry level successors, so much that >90% of games ever released for the platform are compatible with the base configuration (some required additional 512KB RAM update).

      Ad Boroth said, an A500 was way less expensive than an Apple or IBM PC and, while it lasted, one of the best deals for computer gaming.

      By 1992, VGA and Sound Blaster were commonplace in PCs, and even a "lowly" 386 ran circles around Amigas.

      By then most Amiga owners saw the writing on the wall and knew it was time to switch, but it was a great machine to have owned.

      Delete
    10. Ah the good old Amiga vs. PC wars... I watched from afar since I had a C64 until the end of 92. Then came UW and Doom and it was all over. Still feeling sympathy for Commodore folks, they were most loyal users despite the company going down hard.

      Delete
    11. I should add, as a retrogamer I'm glad to be able to choose from all the good stuff from the past I missed out on ALL systems. Have a real 500 and 1200 in the closet now together with my old C64, and praying that that old Commodore monitor will continue work a few years, when finally my only option will be emulators.

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    12. I think If you picked the best reasonably priced non-console gaming system for each year...are you picking anything over the Amiga 500 from 87-'91?

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    13. And even being a PC & RPG guy, I'd pick the Amiga 1200 as the best reasonably priced non-console gaming system for 1992-1994 or even 1995.

      My take is that the Amiga was still the king of the 2D arcade game until, most probably, the success of the EA Sports franchises on the PC

      Delete
  14. Here's an explanation for the 'GTFO panel':

    https://www.dsogaming.com/news/legend-of-grimrock-fan-requests-a-gui-for-disabled-people-devs-respond-and-add-it-in-due-time/

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    1. Well, I guess I can't really call it that then, can I.

      Delete
  15. Is there a previous blog post or another article somewhere about the "RPG family tree"? That'd be really interesting to see laid out!

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    Replies
    1. I don't think there's any previous blog post on it explicitly. It would actually be kind of a difficult thing to map out, lots of games take inspiration from multiple "branches" of the tree as things go on. It's more obvious what the inspiration is with earlier games as the devs had fewer games they could use as a reference for what a CRPG should be.

      Delete
  16. This is a great entry. Can't believe I missed this one when it came out. Love the manual-excitement phase :)

    Now I need advice. Should I go for Witcher 3 or Skyrim for my first modern CRPGA in 15 years?

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    Replies
    1. Play one first then the other they are both good, but my personal opinion is start with witcher becouse I liket the story better but Skyrim is a nice big playground. Of you son't like one of both just quit there are many more good ones out there to suite your taste.

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    2. On the Gimlet scale, I'd say Witcher wins on NPCs and Quests, while Skyrim edges on character development, encounters and gameplay. Witcher also may have better combat (if by better you mean more skill-based), while Skyrim has better magic (although still a pale shade of what was possible in previous TES games). Skyrim also wastes your time less with less empty space, shorter dialogs and fewer cutscenes - but I don't know your tastes, so it might well be that long dialogs and cutscenes are precisely what you're looking for. Neither is deep enough mechanically to support the amount of content they have.
      If you want to play something that looks pretty but plays like an old-school game, I suggest checking Legend of Grimrock 2 or Prey (the 2017 one) instead.

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    3. For a focused game Witcher 3. For a more sandbox feel Skyrim

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    4. If you haven't read the Witcher books and stories, I'd do that before attempting the RPGs. That's something I wish someone had told me. Otherwise, I agree with what the other respondents have already said.*

      *With the asterisk that Skyrim can be plenty focused if you just play the main quest and maybe one of the factions. The problem is that people get too lost in the open world. You don't HAVE to do that, any more than you have to accidentally wander off to San Diego the next time you go out to the store for milk.

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    5. I love the Witcher, having beaten the first and third and read nearly all the novels. I think the 3rd game is one of the best CRPGs ever made.

      It's definitely its own thing, though--you are playing Geralt, not just any guy you want to be. I haven't played Skyrim but I have owned literally 4-5 copies of Morrowind and 3-4 of Oblivion. I love TES also, but they're very different games, despite being similar open-world, AAA CRPG titles.

      I'd agree that Skyrim is the more sandboxy but that the Witcher offers an awesome cinematic, open-world experience (at the cost of more set characters).

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    6. Jumping into Witcher 3 is like starting watching Game of Thrones at Season 3, there's a hell of a lot of characters that the game makes out as super important and you have no idea who they are. It's still a great game in spite of this, I would say both it and Skyrim are two of the best RPGs of all time. As mentioned by others, Skyrim is a bit more of a free-roaming sandbox whereas Witcher is more story focused, so choose based on your preference to that.

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    7. To be fair (and this from somebody who loves the series), Witcher 1 already had this feeling and often left me with moments of "huh, should I know that guy? He talks like we're old friends, but I don't _think_ he was in the prologue... was he?"

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    8. I got into the witcher story by first playing the third installment and had no problem catching on people's relationship, since then I played the other games and Read some of the books, I thought it was interesting to play a character with a backstory and not a clean slate. And the game reveal some of the history you have with the NPCs as you play along and this made me interested in the rest of the lore. It was also fun to experience the backstorys for the first time this way. So if you are willing to accept that your character have, for you, unknowed relationships it is fully ok to start with the third game.

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    9. You really don't need to read the books before playing Witcher 3. The in-game glossary contains everything you need to know about every character you've met before.

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    10. You don't need to read the books to understand, but you might need to read the books in order to care. The game does a pretty good job of establishing the relationship between Geralt and Ciri, but I think it assumes you're already invested in Geralt and Yennefer being fated lovers. That's the big one that impacts the narrative as a whole. Most of the other returning characters (all the sorcereresses, who I still find confusing) are mostly there to give the world texture and make it feel lived in.

      Delete
    11. Yes, Thecla says what I would have said. Glossary entries are bloodless and never give you the full pathos and context. W3 is heavily about the relationships between the characters, and I feel like I missed a lot by playing the game BEFORE I read the books. Now I've read the books and am eager for a replay of the series at some later date.

      If no one else feels like they missed anything, good for you, I guess. But based on my personal experience, I would still recommend reading the books first.

      Delete
    12. I think I'm going to go with Skyrim first as it kind of prefigures Witcher 3 game-history wise. Now I just have to choose between Skyrim and Divinity OS :)

      BTW, in relation to Neitsche, let me quote Emerson, who I consider as a kind of anti-Neitsche:

      "There is a deeper fact in the soul than compensation, to wit, its own nature. The soul is not a compensation, but a life. The soul is. Under all this running sea of circumstance, whose waters ebb and flow with perfect balance, lies the aboriginal abyss of real Being. Essence, or God, is not a relation, or a part, but the whole. Being is the vast affirmative, excluding negation, self-balanced, and swallowing up all relations, parts, and times within itself. Nature, truth, virtue, are the influx from thence. Vice is the absence or departure of the same. Nothing, Falsehood, may indeed stand as the great Night or shade, on which, as a background, the living universe paints itself forth; but no fact is begotten by it; it cannot work; for it is not. It cannot work any good; it cannot work any harm. It is harm inasmuch as it is worse not to be than to be."

      https://archive.vcu.edu/english/engweb/transcendentalism/authors/emerson/essays/compensation.html

      Both great writers, but where Fredrick leaves me feeling depressed, Ralph leaves me uplifted.

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    13. I haven't played Witcher3 yet. I've read the books and played 1 & 2. Played MW, Oblivion & Skyrim. I would recommend you play the Skyrim total conversion Enderal. Huge city to explore and better quests and dungeons than the base game.

      Delete
    14. I agree that if you're going to read the Witcher books, do so before playing the game, but don't skip the game because you don't have time to read the books. Maybe I'm in the minority, but I much prefer the game to the books. Likewise, not having read the books is not a good reason to play Skyrim instead of Witcher 3.

      Put another way, if you want to get the most out of the game, read the books first. If you're looking for a game to play, don't let the fact that you haven't read the books keep you away.

      Delete
    15. Go with Skyrim. It's a great example on how the classic crpg gameplay is adapting to modern interfaces (well, once you mod it so it does not have the pretty awful vanilla interface if you may) and gameplay.

      Delete
  17. Those racing bugs look adorable.

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  18. the three empty squares are for extra equipment like glows and boots of I remember correctly

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    1. Would you say that those gloves and boots are unique magic items that I may find later?

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    2. Probably but somebody with a better memory could probably give a better explenation of this

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  19. Hoo boy, I've been waiting for this one. Never played LoV myself. It got bashed in all reviews I saw, but it was technologically neat - texture-mapped 3D was the hot new thing at the time and LoV promised to bring it to platforms that couldn't really handle it normally.

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  20. I know this game isn't remembered well, but I loved it. I had exactly the experience Chet described with the manual and then spent hours just wandering around the city. I know I didn't get far and certainly never beat it before I abandoned it for... maybe The Summoning? But those first few hours were magical. Years later, when I played Daggerfall for the time, I immediately recognized the LoV influence and was smitten.

    Part of me was sad that TES cities got smaller after Daggerfall, I always wanted to see a massive, fully fleshed-out city, explorable in first-person like this game promised. I'm not sure I really got that until maybe the first Witcher, but this is the game that gave me that dream.

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  21. I was thinking all the way through your posts that this was a very clear precursor to Elder Scrolls: Arena, and then your second last paragraph made that clear.

    I haven't played this one and it's fascinating to see that missing link between titles like Bard's Tale and Might and Magic and the subsequent Elder Scrolls approach to western CRPG worlds.

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  22. I can vouch for the pleasure of opening the manual. I still have Arcanum's manual for instance, which may be the best of the RPG genre.

    But the best manual I have seen are those of the wargames or sim. The Ancient Art of War at Sea was a 120+ pages monsters with a narration of all the great naval battles of history, some notes on the difference between French, Spanish and English naval doctrines (gunnery, crew training, ...) during the Age of Sails and a naval glossary, and OF COURSE the history of the USS Constitution

    https://archive.org/details/The_Ancient_Art_Of_War_At_Sea_Manual/page/n91/mode/2up

    Red Baron 3D, in addition to a control manual, had a whole "history of military aviation to 1918" booklet which also covered a general history of WWI.

    I still have a part of my library for those manuals, and only some of the space is occupied by RPG manuals.

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    Replies
    1. My copy of the Ultima I + II + III trilogy for Apple IIe came with a manual printed on faux-parchment, that was some sixty pages long and concluded with all the spells from Ultima III illustrated with original art + the "magic words" to cast them. Good times. I think there may have also been linen maps of all three game worlds in there, but I could be wrong about the "linen".

      Delete
    2. I remember "Tie Fighter" Had a little novel about an Imperial Pilot

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    3. Secret weapons of the Luftwaffe and Alpha Centauri have great manuals too. I agree, I also enjoyed greatly reading them.

      Delete
  23. Herman GigglethorpeDecember 2, 2020 at 7:31 PM

    "Older gamers, who remember the era before the death of game manuals, often talk about that magical time in between purchase and play, often during the car ride home, when they opened the manual and started to get a sense of the plot and mechanics."


    That's an accurate statement about my experiences with console video games up through the mid-2000s. I distinctly remember looking at Romancing Saga Minstrel Song's manual during a car ride!


    (It probably won't happen, but it would be interesting to see a CRPG player's perspective on Romancing Saga 2, come to think of it. It's non-linear compared to most Japanese RPGs, has decisions with consequences in the plot, and the economy represents a national budget rather than the party of 5 that you control.)


    It's interesting to see a link between Alternate Reality, Legends of Valour, and Elder Scrolls. Were there any notable developers who were influenced by Fate Gates of Dawn, or was that a "dead end" in the Alternate Reality branch?

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  24. Those boxes rarely remained unopened on the ride home back from Software Etc or Electronics Boutique! I fondly remember re-reading the manuals of games like Lords of Magic and Quest for Glory IV: Shadows of Darkness over and over, simply for sheer enjoyment. The latter example, especially, really shone for the quality of its printed items- there was even an "in-world" journal for would-be Heroes (really, a hint book).

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  25. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  26. First crpg with freedom of movement, no more grids.

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    1. That would be Sapiens, if you consider Sapiens a RPG.

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    2. Ultima Underworld doesn't have a grid, either.

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    3. I don't regard "no more grids" as a universally positive thing any more than I regard color filmmaking as superior to black and white. There are things you can do with grids that you can't do with continuous movement (like map them), and vice versa, and I'll happily take a good grid-based game over a bad continuous one.

      Obviously, continuous movement was a technological goal, and every developer wanted to be first with it. But in terms of game quality, I rather wish they'd waited a couple of years.

      Delete
    4. Wasn't there a game around this time that was effectively grid based but allowed for "free movement"? Maybe Stonekeep?

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    5. @Pedro, that's Realms of Arkania: Star Trail from 1994. The dynamics of free movements there is very janky, especially when turning, as if the engine was lifted from a racing game. But there's one chest on one map that's inaccessible with grid movement.

      Delete
  27. actually, the unappatizing meal in the lower right corner looks more like a pâté with a bay and two leaves of holly stuck on top

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  28. I was thinking all the way through your posts that this was a very clear precursor to Elder Scrolls: Arena, and then your second last paragraph made that clear.

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