Chris Avellone Plays Arcanum

Discussion in 'Arcanum Discussion' started by RunAwayScientist, Feb 7, 2013.

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  1. symban

    symban New Member

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    Re:

    I completely agree with Zanza, if anything watching him not giving a shit while pretending to play annoyed me.
     
  2. lonecourier

    lonecourier New Member

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    I looked up the first part on Youtube, but I just couldn't bear to watch the whole thing, so I skipped through most of it, but what got to me most was how he dumped all of his points into non-combat stats and skills and wondered why he sucked at combat. This, coming from one of the designers of Fallout 2, a game where without a metric crapton of points in combat skills, your character might as well be using threat-avoiding ammunition.
     
  3. Muro

    Muro Well-Known Member

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    Following the first video, extracted from Project Eternity update #45, here are three 10 minute-ish episodes of Chris Avellone being impressively painful to watch.

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PE5Wyd6XNTM[/youtube]

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgEgJSfrPj4[/youtube]

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7USjNHHfb6M[/youtube]

    While I know Arcanum might not be the easiest game to make out in the first couple hours of playing, I would expect a guy who has been designing cRPGs for a living for 15 years to have a bit more of an intuition when it comes to figuring out the workings of a random cRPG.
     
  4. Leonidus

    Leonidus Member

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    A lot of you who watch this are probably seeing it after taking your knowledge of Arcanum for granted. I actually found arcanum in November of 2011 so I still remember how weird it was to really learn this game. It was extremely unintuitive, most buttons don't actually have labels, the manual is not nearly as descriptive as it should be (and is often wrong or missing incredibly important info) and so on.

    I remember when I first began playing, running and passing out over and over just trying to move around the crash site and not knowing why. I eventually discovered the game doesn't automatically take you out of combat mode sometimes after a battle, and if you have always run on and are in combat mode you lose FT, and so you lose FT and pass out, over and over and over. Just the fact that most characters have a decent chance of outright suicide from a critical miss early on is pretty fucking ridiculous. To pick a lock you have to buy lockpicks and place them in a boxed hotkey slot and use that slot to lockpick, and there is no other method or general button for the real lockpick skill. The tech crafting screen is just a joke. Your tech expertise is listed as a blue number in a freaking box on the side near the top, no label, no explanation, no real purpose, just kind of hanging out, you know, chillin next to your degree in the field.

    I mean, it all looks cool, but as far as actual usage goes, much of the design of Arcanum is an outright betrayal of the purpose of menus and screens. They are designed in Arcanum for design purposes only; to look pretty and not to function effectively or obviously.

    Floating text doesn't even start on verbose....WHAT THE F-

    Edit: this is coming from someone who before Arcanum played Fallout 1 and 2, Baldur's Gate 1 and 2 and so on.
     
  5. Muro

    Muro Well-Known Member

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    Hotkeying is optional, you can use lockpicks from your general inventory.

    Having played Fallout 1 & 2 prior to Arcanum I too tried to use the lockpick skill with my bare hands at first. Arcanum's approach is the more logical, though. How would you expect to pick a lock without any tools? Then again, the same could be said about the repair and disarm traps skills which do not require any additional equipment in-game.

    Explanation is provided when the cursor is over the degree or the expertise. Also, crafting items from found schematics is quite a real purpose.
     
  6. Leonidus

    Leonidus Member

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    But there's no lockpick button, even though in every other rpg before and after they somehow had the prescience to include one.

    Don't misunderstand on tech expertise, I wasn't implying it has no purpose in the game, that sentence was about it's nameless and bizarre placement. It would obviously be better to have it in the tech crafting menu where it plays a part instead of unlabeled in the tech section of the character sheet. On a schematic, your relevant expertise(s) should be shown somewhere there, like maybe the unused bottom left corner, with something impossibly difficult to think of, like perhaps:

    "electrical expertise: x"

    which may or may not be extremely important when you are looking at the tesla coil schematic.

    Instead you have to open the schematic, see what the requirements are, close the schematic, go to the tech part of character sheet, click the field in question to see your expertise, then go back to the schematic to craft it.

    WHY?!?!? Just...WHY?!
     
  7. Gillsing

    Gillsing New Member

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    It was unfortunate that Avellone's path to Shrouded Hills appeared to be "blocked", but he didn't explore the world map all that much, so I'm not sure if he did what he was supposed to do there. Though it is kind of illogical/unintuitive that going through the world map would bring you safely past the wolves that do seem to be blocking the only way out of the valley. In any other game a combat encounter might have to be cleared before the map is available, though in this case the NPC follower did indicate that it should already be available.
     
  8. Jojobobo

    Jojobobo Well-Known Member

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    I first played Arcanum when I was 10 - I got it shortly before my 11th birthday - and I never found it too counterintuitive; but I guess I always have tried to methodically puzzle things out. The only real thing that got me was difficulty, because back in the day I didn't really have any sense of how to build a character.
     
  9. werozzi

    werozzi Member

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    I think Arcanum really lets the player discover it's features, rather than giving them away from the start, the first playthrough is really enjoyable if you play like that.
     
  10. Muro

    Muro Well-Known Member

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    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jrG0M_x7yc[/youtube]

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDTD7fgcNtY[/youtube]

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIRHwqz9r0Y[/youtube]
     
  11. Gillsing

    Gillsing New Member

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    I was impressed by his wolfslaying. And oh, how I laughed when he was running for 'the exit'. There were even more wolves than I remembered. :lol:

    And it was interesting to hear that the ghost in Fallout 2 had been Tim Cain's idea. Apparently he has a thing for ghosts then? :/
     
  12. Seriously Hurt Sir

    Seriously Hurt Sir New Member

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    a) Diabolical advertisement for such a fantastic game, i am not amused.

    b) Harm being overpowered is getting a bit old yes its a powerful spell and should either be further down the tree or more expensive to cast but its hardly game breaking. (Like say Hasted Expert backstabber with 20+ Str) Substituted harm for rock throw one playthrough which hardly made a difference.

    c) So Chris Avellone stop making lame excuses for having not played Arcanum before.
     
  13. DivinePonies

    DivinePonies Member

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    This 'Let's Play' was embarrassing to watch. I've never heard of the guy prior to this, but if he's supposed to be the famous RPG maker then all the more shame on him.
    Arcanum was the first RPG and one of the first games I played ever. I was maybe 13-14 when I saw a friend playing it and I immediately wanted to play it. I never once had any problems discovering stuff and understanding UI and mechanics. I think I even passed notorious BMC on my first try (though, I think I played full magic, Harm using-abusing character). Now, when I see a veteran in RPG field playing like that I really don't know what to think of him. Is he an idiot or is it just the theatrics for the people watching the series?
    One more thing, back then I didn't know there's turn based combat so I played it hack and slash style which, later comparing the two, seems a lot more difficult.
     
  14. Ruda

    Ruda Active Member

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    Re:

    I feel pretty much the same way. The only thing I couldn't quite grasp during my first playthrough was the crafting system, as I thought the expertise number meant the amount of components needed. ("Do I need 80 fucking clockparts do build a tech dagger!?") I got the picture later though. Therefore, I'm pretty sure it's all theatrics on his part as you say, since Arcanum is pretty (in)famous for being difficult in both gameplay and mechanics. Nothing's more fun than to further an ill repute, is there?
    Generally, you're entirely right, but the one exception I can think of is actually a harm-abusing character. That's because you can spam harm a lot faster in real time than you can in turn based (in real time, as fast as you can click; in turn based, costs as many action points as any other spell).
     
  15. Gillsing

    Gillsing New Member

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    Using regular guns in real time works quite well too, particularly against slow moving targets, of which there are many. Really puts the hurt on anything that lacks a run-animation.

    As for Chris Avellone being bad at RPGs, I attribute his critical failures to two things:

    1) He's probably too busy making games to play and replay old RPGs, and has gotten used to modern, more forgiving games.

    2) He's putting Arcanum to the test by roleplaying a d├ębutante who doesn't know anything about the world (his refusal to read the manual) and who thinks that she knows best (refuses to take advice from the guide NPC) and who is too obnoxious to use her only ability (couldn't be bothered to talk her way past the assassin - though perhaps that was an intentional grab for the robe that he didn't have). I'm guessing that Avellone's reasoning is this: If Arcanum is as good as people claim, he should be able to play it this way and still make it through the game. Which I suppose is unfair, since he's really going out of his way to make things difficult for himself.
     
  16. DivinePonies

    DivinePonies Member

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    Your points don't hold the ground:

    1) That's absolutely no excuse to not use common sense. Arcanum is not that complex mechanics-wise. He's, I assume, 30+ years old and I believe this is not his first encounter with this type of game. After all he's making RPGs for living, right?

    2) If that was really his reasoning, as you say in your last sentence then his reasoning would be like saying that you should be able to win in a racing game if you drive only in second gear or pass Mario level without jumping.
     
  17. Gillsing

    Gillsing New Member

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    1) Common sense is less common than you'd expect. It's been a long time since Fallout 1 & 2, and the games Chris Avellone has been working on during that time have probably been quite different. And we don't even know how he played those old games in the first place. Maybe he's more of an 'enjoy the atmosphere' guy than a 'lets use an optimal strategy' guy?

    2) Racing games are about winning, roleplaying games can be about playing a role and getting away with it. So he's trying to see what he can get away with. And so far he's only had one opportunity to use diplomacy, and had a reason not to (he really wanted another robe). Apparently he'll be finding his way to Shrouded Hills next time, so I'm assuming that he finally figures out how to use the World Map. (I think he was looking for something like an exit grid after the way to Shrouded Hills was 'blocked' on the map.) Maybe then we'll see if he'll keep being obnoxious to people, or if he'll try to take advantage of his single skill. Because he is supposed to be able to play the game with a diplomatic character, isn't he?
     
  18. Zanza

    Zanza Well-Known Member

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    Depends on how he goes about his diplomatic character. I stopped watching after skimming through the first video. Diplomatic characters can win diplomatically if he maxes himself out and goes the correct course but I doubt he will accomplish that after the wolf debacle. His bet bet would be to stack up on the correct companions so that he can overwhelm his final encounter if he ever makes it there but I again doubt he will play that long.
     
  19. Muro

    Muro Well-Known Member

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    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXcJNo9eYsE[/youtube]
     
  20. Ruda

    Ruda Active Member

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    Suppose this thread should be updated
    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNOJ5DRO7uQ[/youtube]
    While his progress is just as unimpressive as earlier, I find myself quite amused none the less. Also, the mention of a blog concerning the different elements of the game and which of those that could be implemented into future game sounds very interesting.
     
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