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A Vampyre Story

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An original LucasArts adventure? Well, almost... Bill Tiller tells us A Vampyre Story

Oh, to be a LucasArts veteran. To have lived through the days of Monkey Island and Full Throttle, and slipped away when it became about bad Star Wars games. To live as some sort of renegade idealist, criss-crossing the country on a Harley, rounding up a posse of old friends and starting your own development studio to produce a completely original adventure game. It's been done - a few times now in fact, (just look at Psychonauts) - so could we be about to see it happen again?... read more

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A Vampyre Story

Postby Mogs » 20 Jun 2007, 14:01

Hmmm, not too sure about this. Perhaps the latest Broken Sword game is just a really bad game (the last adventure game I played), but the whole point & click gameplay mechanic just felt like it had no place in today's world.

Much like RPGs sticking to right clicking on an enemy then a series of dice rolls and turn-based nonsense ensuing, with +7 frost attack and other such b*****ks & tiresome levelling up systems...where was I..ah yes, much like those old conventions drastically need modernising if not downright scrapping, so too does pointing & clicking being the extent of interaction in an adventure game.

Randomly waving the cursor around everything in a room until you find something to interact with, then trying every combination of 'use' or 'combine with' until something happens to work = NO! :x

Don't let nostalgia get in the way of progress. I'm all for more adventure games, but the interaction with the world really needs to be brought up to scratch.
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Postby bio_tech » 20 Jun 2007, 16:52

lovely screen shots
CRouCHiNG MuNKee, HiDDeN BaNaNA
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Postby humorguy » 20 Jun 2007, 18:10

Looking forward to this - Have no problem with these games, as I am a retro player and I have just finished (for the third time!) The Longest Journey - a year 2000 point and click adventure par excellence!

Only thing I worry about is that PC Zone doesn't seem to want any point and click adventure game that is not humorous. It seems to think serious is just for FPS and RPG games, not adventure games.

I would like to see more point and click. I'd like to see a university produce an incredibly intelligent text parser and get text adventures back. Imaging literally being able to type anything and get a reasonable answer? The last Infocom adventures had excellent text parsers that you could hardly confuse, imagine if the research had continued for the last 10 years! We would truly have 'living books', and they would run on any PC, and any MAC and any console or handheld with a keyboard menu option or add-on.

'Remember history or you are doomed to repeat it' is the negative saying, but i'd rather think that by remembering PC gaming history we could turn PC gaming around!
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Postby Aircool_212 » 20 Jun 2007, 20:09

ahhh, the old classics, even MI3 was a good 'un, although I never really liked the 3D ones (apart from the one with the dead guy).

I still remember one of the puzzles; there was this snake surrounded by golf clubs, sticks, broken bottles etc... As soon as you took any action though, you got eaten by the snake. Whenever you put the cursor over any of the items, their names had changed to snake whacking club, snake battering stick, snake clubbing broken bottle etc....

Well, I found it funny...
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Postby escaped_monkey » 21 Jun 2007, 00:19

humorguy wrote:I'd like to see a university produce an incredibly intelligent text parser and get text adventures back. Imaging literally being able to type anything and get a reasonable answer?


You're not happy with being able to pick up a bottle in full three-dee rather than having to type 'get bottle'? Show any adventure game to a gamer who's seen nothing but exits to the north, east, south and west, and he'd s**t his pants.

Either way, Facade is a great example of excellent parsing, if you haven't tried it out already.
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Postby humorguy » 21 Jun 2007, 07:48

escaped_monkey wrote:
humorguy wrote:I'd like to see a university produce an incredibly intelligent text parser and get text adventures back. Imaging literally being able to type anything and get a reasonable answer?


You're not happy with being able to pick up a bottle in full three-dee rather than having to type 'get bottle'? Show any adventure game to a gamer who's seen nothing but exits to the north, east, south and west, and he'd s**t his pants.

Either way, Facade is a great example of excellent parsing, if you haven't tried it out already.


Thats the whole point. It wouldn't be 'do you want to go N,S,E or W' it would be much more natural than that, and there is no reason why you couldn't just say 'go to the kitchen' to go to the kitchen rather than type N, but more importantly you would have much more natural conversations with NPC's and therefore much more fully rounded characters allowing for more sophisticated stories than you would ever get in a 3D 'Action/Adventure', which let's face it, are mostly just slightly more detailed FPS and rarely have much 'adventure' in them!

If nobody is going to think outside of the ever shrinking PC games ideas box, we will end up with a box so small it will only contain the Sims and Half Life series and no other PC title release at all!
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Postby Whiteball » 21 Jun 2007, 09:56

humorguy wrote:
escaped_monkey wrote:
humorguy wrote:I'd like to see a university produce an incredibly intelligent text parser and get text adventures back. Imaging literally being able to type anything and get a reasonable answer?


You're not happy with being able to pick up a bottle in full three-dee rather than having to type 'get bottle'? Show any adventure game to a gamer who's seen nothing but exits to the north, east, south and west, and he'd s**t his pants.

Either way, Facade is a great example of excellent parsing, if you haven't tried it out already.


Thats the whole point. It wouldn't be 'do you want to go N,S,E or W' it would be much more natural than that, and there is no reason why you couldn't just say 'go to the kitchen' to go to the kitchen rather than type N, but more importantly you would have much more natural conversations with NPC's and therefore much more fully rounded characters allowing for more sophisticated stories than you would ever get in a 3D 'Action/Adventure', which let's face it, are mostly just slightly more detailed FPS and rarely have much 'adventure' in them!

If nobody is going to think outside of the ever shrinking PC games ideas box, we will end up with a box so small it will only contain the Sims and Half Life series and no other PC title release at all!


I agree with humorguy. I think the PC needs to try new and old ideas so as not to limit itself and consign it to a small niche pidgeon hole of a games machine. It has the potential to be the best all round platform. Inovative, exciting and different, but not going all out radical and losing sight of what makes things good or bad.

Why can't a really good adventure be like reading a good book, only interactive. I know people that always said graphic adventures were not as good as text only as there imagination could picture a scene far better than a graphic display could. They also said that the imagination tended to 'run a bit' with ideas and 'flower things up' into a more detailed and interesting world, whereas graphics blocked that and just put too much of a definition on everything and they could not 'fit it' into the way they were seeing things and so it was limiting their enjoyment.

Whether this is how people see things or not, I believe there is room for really good story driven adventures whether they have graphics or not. I remember in years past that Magnetic Scrolls made some glorius adventure graphics (especially for their time) but they never appealed to me as much as the likes of Infocom or Level 9 text adventures.

It is good to move on, but only if you are going forward, and forward for the right reasons!

We all have computers and websites to read but books are still 'best sellers'. People still like and enjoy old things done in the old way. Why? because they 'just work'.
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Postby humorguy » 21 Jun 2007, 13:12

Thanks whiteball, now think even more outside the box, with speech recognition getting better and speech synthesis! The options are enormous, if only we had a media and a PC games business that had 1% of imagination in them!

As I said, from the Vampyre article you'd think PCZ was saying only funny adventures are acceptable now!
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Postby disappointment » 21 Jun 2007, 16:50

Without putting words into the man's mouth, Steve wasn't saying "will it be funny?" because all point and clicks have to be funny to be acceptable. It's because it's being touted as a funny game. A less ambiguous, but more tortured way of putting it would have been "will it be as funny as we're being led to believe, given the development team and the Monkey-esque graphics"? My own opinion, such as it is, is that a genre that's all too associated with bad acting, sub-par scripting and uninspired puzzles has to be very careful about taking itself too seriously.

*thinkthinkthink*

The idea of "interactive books" sounds interesting in theory, but the second you try to put it into practice, you come up with the problem of trying to describe a vaguely appealing concept. Just look at our FMV feature for how "interactive movies" turned out, and that was a path filled with good, blind intention.

I'm genuinely interested in what you're saying, but I'm not sure what it is that you mean. This could well be the same failure of imagination you're both talking about, but if you were pitching your idea to me, I'd link fingers, put them under my chin, and say "do go on". Meanwhile, I'd be secretly getting off on the power imbalance, and rubbing my nuts between my legs.

I think the same goes for intelligent parsing; "go to the kitchen" was available in Little Computer People, as was "play the piano please" and "feed the dog, Terry". In my case - and I imagine, the case of everyone else who played Little Computer People - this encouraged an aggressive form of experimentation, and inevitable disillusionment, as the stubborn bastard refused to s**t upside the lampshade. Which is best? Being dealt with by a chatbot algorithm, or a huge amount of scripted responses to every possible situation? As a player, I'll plump for the latter, because computers rarely write with flair, humour, style or poetry.

(As a writer, I'd opt for the algorithm, because the amount of scripting that goes into games like Jade Empire scares the grundies off of me)

Facade was excellent, but I ALWAYS got asked to leave. I'd love it if this thread came up with the solution to all PC Gaming! That would be way cool.

In the meantime, DUNGEON MAN!
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Postby humorguy » 21 Jun 2007, 18:30

Disappointment, if text parser technology had continued from the days of Infocom, not only would be have parsers able to handle sophisticated conversation input, but could understand much more logic of the English language with regard what was meant by what was typed.

Also, if parser technology had continued, and more and more detailed, sophisticated stories had had been produced, we would have better, deeper stories in our FPS's and RPG's rather than the washed out, bland stories we normally get. We would have got to the Planescape Torment and Fahrenheit type games sooner and would have seen a wider range of genres in general keeping the wolves from PC gamings door (and without they're sitting on the sofa eyeing you!)

Also parser technology would have linked in with AI in general, and again we would have much better AI than we generally get now.

Until you can show me a 3D game of something like Infocom's 'Deadline', with the same deep characters and character interaction and same detailed story-telling, I don't think we will have a mainstream PC gaming market. In fact taking nearly all the Infocom titles as templates for modern adventures and RPG's would not be a bad idea at all. At least we would have a wider range of genres which PC gaming desperately needs!
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Postby Mogs » 22 Jun 2007, 00:43

It's just a sad consequence of game development becoming an evermore corporate enterprise. Games costs are always rising, publishers are less inclined to deviate from what they perceive to be 'safe'. Hence a gazillion WWII games and clichéd fantasy RPGs.

Make no mistake, if there was an outcry from the gaming public for these things, they'd be made. But there isn't.
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Postby humorguy » 22 Jun 2007, 07:26

Mogs, a few of us are trying (and getting flamed in the process!)

All we can do is tell it as it is, the best way we can, rather than believe and follow like sheep the media and industry hype that 'all is well', because they think if they talk about a failing PC games market they will create one. I believe if we DON'T talk about it, and the causes for it, on a regular widespread basis, WE will be part of the reason the PC games market fails!
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Postby MIPhantom » 22 Jun 2007, 11:30

Im looking forward to this. Presentation looks good.
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Postby disappointment » 10 Jul 2007, 11:30

This might be of interest to you, humorguy

http://www.edery.org/2007/07/language-processing/
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Postby humorguy » 24 Sep 2007, 08:56

Thanks for the link Disappointment, that was an interesting read!

All I will say, that we are lacking in the 'behind the scenes' parts of gaming while we get better at the 'stage show', and it's killing PC gaming.

By behind the scenes, I mean AI, story telling, characterization. Some of the things that would have improved much more drastically if the media had been kinder to text parser technology and the adventure game genre.

The stage show, is of course, the graphics, animations and sounds, which are getting better, not polygons and pixels, but art and level design, lip synching, etc. It general though, because we have little respect for what goes on 'backstage', we get shallow, great looking characters and we get worlds that look brilliant but are devoid of 'presence'

Some games, very rarely 'get it'. STALKER 'got it', Planescape Torment 'got it'. But mostly we get easily defined 'Hollywood Games'. The Supreme Commanders and Bioshock's are seen as hit titles, but even they are quite 'formulaic' in their approach. While we consider games likes STALKER and Planescape Torment and other titles as 'small sellers' I believe, when taken over the long haul, they do a lot better. Bioshock will probably stop selling long before Planescape Torment stops selling, even if we just talk about budget label sales!

Ebay can be a good research tool in this regard. With five year old 'hit' game selling for 0.99p on a 'Buy Now' and another one with bids at £12.87 with two days to go! Investigate ebay and you find out which games truly are the classics! :) It's the proof that retro gaming on PC is in a growth spurt at the moment, with 10+ year old games going for quite high amounts, considering the age of the game! Of course, DOSBox has something to do with this, making old DOS games easier to install and play than some modern games!
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