#pentagram@irc.freenode.net logs for 15 Dec 2003 (GMT)

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[10:44:00] <Darke> Nanoo!
[10:54:29] * wjp thinks up other weird-sounding thing to say
[10:54:46] <wjp> Konnichiwa! will do, I guess
[10:57:49] <Darke> Awoooooga! would also work I suppose. Provided you didn't mind sounding like a fog-horny thing.
[10:59:15] <wjp> hm, let me try that
[10:59:24] * wjp shouts "Awooooooga!" while sounding like a fog-horn
[11:00:38] * Darke watches a couple of ships turn around and sail in the other direction.
[11:13:06] <wjp> hm, interesting effect
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[12:08:24] <Colourless> hi
[12:08:53] * Darke ponders whether to greet with Awooooga! or Nanoo!
[12:31:40] <wjp> hi
[13:28:35] * Darke was talking to a friend earlier who had *just* finished his first playthrough of SystemShock2. He was complaining he was going to have nightmares of a computer named SHODAN for the next week. I was polite enough not to laugh maniacly. *grin*
[13:29:03] <Colourless> heh
[13:29:24] <Colourless> such an amazing game that one
[13:30:03] <Darke> Yeah. So fun to play through again and again too. *grin*
[13:32:00] <Colourless> it's great multiplayer too. You don't have that fear of death, so you can play it in a completely different style
[13:32:54] <Darke> Yup. Myself and my little brother were playing it through like that a while back. Amazing fun for something that was really just hacked on to it. *grin*
[13:33:22] <Colourless> well, hacked on sort of, it was intended to be multi out of the box
[13:34:41] <Colourless> the game itself works substantially better when played multi than a lot of other rpgs do.
[13:35:03] <Darke> *nod* It just feels hacked on, because of the lack of polish. It would have been nice could they have managed it with the game itself.
[13:35:05] <Darke> Yup.
[13:35:43] <Darke> Of course, should SS3 ever be created, it's almost certainly not going to live up to the expectations of the fans after SS2. *grin*
[13:36:06] <Colourless> yeah. As far as I know, there was only one programmer at Looking Glass who was doing the multiplayer stuff
[13:36:56] <Colourless> and you have to consider that lead designer Ken Levine at Irrational (and as far as I know the opinion was the same for most of the irrational staff) didn't really have much interest in the coop mode
[13:37:27] <Colourless> SS3 will never live up to expectations
[13:37:43] <Darke> Nope.
[13:38:07] <Colourless> even big fans of SS1 complained about SS2
[13:38:57] <Colourless> i imagine that any SS3 would get the following complaints. Either too similar to SS2, or too different from SS2
[13:39:01] <Darke> Yeah, I remember that. Complaints about the inventory system suddenly being limited. Complaints about the story line. I don't think anyone complained about the keybindings.
[13:39:51] <Darke> Sounds like the complaints about DX and it's expansion. *grin* And Doom/Doom2, and SeriousSam 1/2, and... well, pretty much every sequel in existance.
[13:43:34] <Colourless> If SS3 were to attempt to merge the features from SS1 and SS2, you'd get fans complaining on both sides
[13:43:57] <Colourless> SS1 was not a RPG, while SS2 was heavy on your RPG stats
[13:47:34] <Darke> Which is what I liked in the case of SS2. Anachronox has been the only 'pure' RPG I've been able to have the patience to play recently, and that's more because I keep getting too distracted laughing myself silly to get bored hitting the auto-attack-again button. *grin*
[13:48:34] <Colourless> I think the workable solution would be keep SS2 stat system with a few tweaks. In addition, add in all the Implants that you could get in SS1. Implant stuff would probably work like the DX1 augs
[13:48:51] <Darke> Yup.
[13:49:09] <Colourless> it is still sufficently similar, but sufficently different at the same time
[13:49:49] <Colourless> of course, you'd have people complaining, "They stole the implants idea from Deus Ex" when SS1 actually had them first :-)
[13:49:58] <Darke> Heh.
[13:50:42] <Darke> Locking the programmers up in a room with the QA people until they balanced the weapons/psionics properly would be a good idea too. *grin*
[13:51:44] <Colourless> as far as user interface goes, rework it a bit, not to say that it doesn't work, just to make it fresh in in your face.
[13:51:55] <Colourless> s/in in/and in/
[13:52:57] <Darke> Yeah.
[13:55:20] <Colourless> the hacking, weapon moding, repairing 'mini games' should really have more relevance to the task, not just some grid where you click boxes and have a random chance at success
[13:55:25] <Darke> A bit more variation on the hacking/repairing/upgrading mini-games would be good too.
[13:55:36] <Colourless> :-)
[13:55:38] <Darke> Oi! Out of my head! *grin*
[13:56:16] <Darke> Have you seen the Anachronox minigames for the character skills?
[13:56:38] <Colourless> considering i haven't ever seen the game, I think you can answer for me
[13:57:04] <Darke> Hrm... I'll see if I can locate piccies or descriptions of them.
[13:57:26] <Darke> The game's *really* worth getting your paws on and playing. Despite the... err... 'problems' it had at launch.
[13:58:17] <Colourless> as you could imagine, finding it now is sort of hard
[14:00:55] <Darke> There's an image of one minigame, the hacking one which co-incidentally I didn't like much *grin*: http://www.planetanachronox.com/images/image.asp?/help/walkthrough/palworldskill/palworldskill.jpg
[14:03:49] <Colourless> from what i understand of the game, if Anachronox was made by any other company than Ion Storm it probably would have done all right
[14:04:15] <Colourless> it's problem wasn't that it was a bad game, that it was perceived to be a bad game
[14:04:49] <Darke> Another one's a lock-picking one, where you have a time limit, and a certain number of tumblers you've got to guess the code (between 0 and 9) to. You had a lock pick that would take around 2 seconds to scan and tell you how far away from correct you were in a graphical format, you alter the number and try to get it correct. Success moves to the next tumbler, opens the lock if you unlock them all.
[14:05:12] <Darke> Yeah. It's actually a brilliant and brilliantly funny game.
[14:06:28] * Colourless looks at the screen shot and has no idea what is going on
[14:06:42] <Darke> It's main 'problem' at such was it didn't play stabily on win2k at the time it launched. But at the time it launched MS was lying and saying that 2k wasn't for home use, whilst their hardware division was selling joysticks with drivers that just so happened to support the OS. Oh, and all of their game divison's games supported it too, and...
[14:07:33] <Colourless> yeah well, IIRC the 2K stuff was really a programming screwup at ion storm more than anything else
[14:07:34] <Darke> You have to use the tiles to fill in the circuts making a line from the starting point to the ending point. Placing a tile over a 'bad circuit' area caused it to fry, so you have to go around them.
[14:08:22] <Darke> I don't really like this mini-game because there really isn't any skill involved.
[14:08:40] <Colourless> looks like that would be fairly straight forward
[14:08:47] <Colourless> any limit on the number of times you can use each piece?
[14:08:55] <Darke> Nope.
[14:09:07] <Colourless> ok then. No skill required :-)
[14:09:24] <Colourless> just race the clock
[14:09:39] <Darke> The primary skill is determining which are bad circuits and which are good. Since it's almost impossible to tell on a normal monitor. *grin*
[14:10:17] <Colourless> that was probably half the point :-)
[14:10:55] <Colourless> if there were limitations on the number of times you could use each piece it would be more interesting.
[14:11:59] <Darke> The one thing I like about Anachronox is the support. One of the original programmers just released the second patch to it nearly 2 years after he was fired from the programming team. Makes the game *so* much more prettier and more stable too. I particularly appreciate the changelog attached to it which has a strangely open honesty you normally associate with open source programs, since closed source ones tend to have PR people 'sanitise' them for dispariti
[14:11:59] <Darke> ve comments to other programmers in the team. *grin*
[14:13:10] <Colourless> PR is an irritant
[14:13:56] <Colourless> they have this feeling that people can not possibly be allowed to know that you are anything less than perfect
[14:14:04] <Darke> Grump's 'Yammer' skill is pretty much a twitch mini-game. Dr Rho Bowman's 'Analyse' skill does require a bit of thought and planning, rather then twitching.
[14:14:14] <Darke> Yeah. It's very weird.
[14:14:34] <Darke> It's like they've got an inferiority complex or something.
[14:14:50] <Colourless> sometimes they do :-)
[14:15:04] * Colourless points at Nvidia PR vs ATI PR at the moment
[14:15:16] * Darke cackles.
[14:18:19] <Colourless> as far as game companies go, Eidos and EA are the worst as far as PR goes
[14:18:28] <Colourless> some of the others aren't too bad, such as Activision
[14:20:12] <Darke> Hrm... actually, I can't remember ever wanting to slap Activision silly for doing something stupid... again. Unlike the other two.
[14:23:03] <Darke> Quote from the Anachronox patch readme: "Fixed an evil pointer bug or three. THere was a really fun one that would randomly write a backslash to a random part of memory every time a model was loaded. Oh, and another one where free would be called on an invalid pointer, slowly fragging memory. I don't understand how people were able to finish the game at all..."
[14:25:03] <Colourless> hence the Win2k problems :-)
[14:25:11] <Darke> That sounds like half the problem it wouldn't run on 2k right there. *grin*
[14:25:18] <Darke> Oi! Stop that!
[14:25:46] <Colourless> you can write bad code that will run in Win9x that will crash instantly when you use it in 2k.
[14:25:59] * Darke puts up fences around his mind with "Colourless: Keep Out!" signs around it.
[14:26:04] <Darke> Don't I know it. *grin*
[14:26:12] <Colourless> yeah right, as if :-)
[14:27:52] <Darke> "Wrote a new afex system from scratch, in perl. Afex was our poor broken asset crawling tool which would start at the first map of the game and attempt to find all scripts, textures, models, etc. references. But being a broken pile of crap, it missed a lot of important files. So the size of the patch is bigger to include these missing sounds and other files."
[14:28:23] <Colourless> :-)
[14:28:46] <Darke> (On rewritten filesystem code): "Probably a couple pointer bugs were fixed in the process, since the old filesystem code was such complete and utter ass."
[14:30:23] <Darke> (On a new savegame system which as a bonus replaces the old cinematics viewing system): "In many cases it replaces the very buggy 'View Cinematics' menu which contains code I dare not gaze upon lest my eyes be blinded."
[14:31:08] <Colourless> heh
[14:31:23] <Colourless> sounds like they had some seriously inexperienced coders
[14:32:26] <Darke> Yeah.
[14:33:19] <Colourless> you know, there are a lot of bad programmers out there in computer game land
[14:33:45] <Darke> Surprisngly enough, I actually played quite a bit of before this patch on a 2k box (it was after 'patch1' though, which apparently fixed most of the eggratious 2k incompatability bugs), and it was surprisngly stable, despite the theoreticaly gamebreaking bugs up above. *grin*
[14:33:57] <Colourless> the amount of times you hear "We can't release the editor because it's extremely unstable" is terrible
[14:34:04] <Darke> Yep.
[14:34:35] <Colourless> a good example would be Dromed (Thief, SS2)
[14:35:07] <Colourless> it did eventually get released and was so incredibly unstable. You'd be doing a normal function and it would spit out assertion failures
[14:35:15] <Darke> Yup.
[14:36:14] <Darke> Then there was the fallout2 editor too, which they didn't want to release for the same reason. *grin*
[14:36:45] <Colourless> of course Dromed was originally a dos based program which got hacked/ported to be a windows app
[14:37:16] <Colourless> fallout2 editor also was a dos app ported to windows
[14:37:19] <Darke> Really, it's a simple case of "make it work, make it work *well* so our content developers can do their work, rather then fanaticly saving every 5 seconds and restarting the program every 10."
[14:38:18] <Colourless> i think one of the main things what happens with the devtools are a content builder goes, can I have this feature for this circumstance
[14:38:29] <Darke> Yet more patch comments: "Fixed bug where party followers would sometimes start floating off somewhere during dialog." *blink*
[14:38:48] <Colourless> of course the feature get added with no error checking or error checking but no error handling)
[14:38:58] <Darke> Yup.
[14:39:55] <Colourless> sometimes you have to wonder though how games manage to get through QA with obvious problems
[14:40:22] <Darke> If you wander around the diablo2 modding forums you'll see thousands of complaints about all these special cases, all of which change minorly between different versions, and all with various lack-of-error correction. *grin*
[14:42:33] <Colourless> reminds me of something the Bioware did with a NWN update (1.30 i think). They decided to rename a script that was used to trigger revealing hidden doors. Consequently it broke more than just a few mods in the process
[14:42:37] <Darke> They get forced through, that's how. They don't allow enough time for QA, schedule it right at the end of the dev cycle, rather then incrementally, then the suits push it through the door to meet an arbitary target retail date, and yet people purchase it and complain about it's bugs as if they expected this game would be less buggy then any other game they had purchased recently.
[14:43:29] <Darke> Sounds about right. Market a game towards modders, yet don't bother warning them you're going to depreciate/rename stuff. *grin*
[14:44:24] <Colourless> You know, the dev time for SS2 was almost exactly 1 year
[14:44:37] <Colourless> which is pretty damn amazing if you think about it
[14:45:57] <Colourless> actually it was a little bit longer than a year but not much.
[14:46:10] <Colourless> it was announced in march, then was released the next september
[14:46:22] <Darke> Yeah. I remember reading a post mortem or two just after they'd finished it, and was amazed at how everything somehow worked. It's even more amazing when you consider it was essentially considered a second class game internally (IIRC, they wanted to reuse the thief engine for something else, and decided that it'd be cool to make another Systemshock), and so didn't really get all the support it might have needed.
[14:50:01] <Colourless> it actually makes me wonder how they managed that game in 18 months, where so many other spends years for nothing *cough*DNF*cough*
[14:50:46] <Darke> Eh? Did Not Finish? Oh, that Duke Nukem game, forgot about that.
[14:52:00] <Colourless> thinking about it
[14:52:14] <Darke> I think having any mention of time, especially unlimited time, in the name of your game, is a deathwish.
[14:52:18] <Colourless> the design process for SS2 was probably different for other games
[14:52:44] <Colourless> it's not like you can tell all the level designers, ok go make cool looking levels
[14:53:03] <Colourless> then have them have 50 levels, and picking the best 15 or whatever
[14:53:15] <Colourless> s/have 50/make 50/
[14:53:38] <Colourless> for something like SS2 you know that your levels need to fit togther
[14:53:54] <Colourless> and would would design it more like designing a building
[14:55:09] <Colourless> so you would have a basic design of the ship(s) being major corridors done fairly early one, with most of the time spent making it seem like a ship
[14:55:16] <Colourless> of course I'm just guessing about things here :-)
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[14:55:38] <Darke> IMO, one of the main reasons that SS2 'worked', was that they designers could design and prototype from the get go, since they had an engine with most of the features required were there, they could design and easily adapt their design in the prototype stage, finding out what worked and what didn't before getting too far into it.
[14:56:14] <Colourless> also i think you need to consider, the designers already knew how to use the tools.
[14:56:45] <Colourless> it's not like a generic engine license where you need to learn the tools before you can do things
[14:56:53] <Darke> It's one of the reasons recently that most games which do well and are the most coherent in level design/implementation, are built from 'stock' engines, tailored to their unique needs.
[14:56:58] <Darke> That too. *grin*
[14:58:23] <Colourless> developing your own engine is nice, but it can really bite you in the ass
[14:59:05] <Knight> what's ss2?
[14:59:31] <Darke> Yup. Either develop your own engine, or develop your own content, not both. *grin*
[14:59:31] <Colourless> System Shock 2
[15:00:05] <Knight> oh.. i liked that game
[15:00:22] <Knight> I think i still have it sitting on my shelves somewhere
[15:01:10] <Colourless> you think??? shelves????
[15:02:21] <Knight> ?
[15:02:33] <Knight> lol.. what i said didn't have meaning i think..
[15:02:42] <Knight> lol i think i'm really sleepy..
[15:02:56] <Knight> it's somewhere inside my room, i think..
[15:03:32] <Colourless> i was having a go at you for no knowing where it was, and then you think you have it 'stored' somewhere
[15:03:45] <Knight> lol..
[15:03:47] <Colourless> it should be next to your computer ready to be played at a moments notice!
[15:03:53] <Knight> lol
[15:03:55] <Knight> hehehe
[15:03:56] <Knight> ok...
[15:04:00] <Knight> i will go look at it..
[15:04:01] <Knight> :)
[15:04:26] <Knight> I liked mixing chemicals in that game
[15:04:35] <Colourless> yeah... that's what they all say :-)
[15:04:43] <Knight> which engine was used for it?
[15:04:52] <Colourless> the Dark Engine
[15:04:58] <Knight> lol
[15:05:06] <Knight> what a dark and cool name ;)
[15:05:26] <Knight> I would like to make somekind of Arena engine, kinda the one of ff7
[15:05:32] <Colourless> it was the engine designed for Thief: The Dark Project
[15:06:23] <Knight> never played thief :(
[15:06:52] <Colourless> it's sepecialty of course shadows and light influcence AI behaviour
[15:07:06] <Colourless> also add sound to that too
[15:07:48] <Knight> for what i read the imuse engine of lucasarts games is really nice..
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[17:27:18] <wjp> time to go; I'll be back later
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[17:57:33] * wjp is back
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[18:41:43] <wjp> hi Fingolfin, watt
[18:41:52] <watt> Hiya.
[18:46:16] <Colourless> hi
[19:24:55] <Colourless> My henchman is a kobold!
[19:43:48] <wjp> yikes, what did you do to deserve that? :-)
[19:44:21] <Colourless> i got my other 2 possible henchmen killed
[19:44:55] <Colourless> well, i didn't really get them killed, they were killed during an ambush and i was occupied elsewhere and couldn't defend them
[19:45:18] <Colourless> and I had no way of ressurecting them
[19:45:50] <Colourless> sure I could have reloaded, but i didn't really care :-)
[19:46:00] <Colourless> of course this is probably going to make the game harder now
[19:46:11] <wjp> hm, I see
[19:46:14] <wjp> first expansion?
[19:46:19] <Colourless> yes
[19:46:28] <wjp> which level are you at currently?
[19:46:51] <Colourless> Rouge 6 + Assassin 2
[19:47:32] <Colourless> The Kobold is a Level 8 Bard
[19:47:43] <Colourless> not exactly the best combination in the world :-)
[20:01:43] <Fingolfin> which game is that, NWN?
[20:02:12] <Colourless> yes
[20:02:25] <Colourless> (and the first expansion Shadows of Undrentide)
[20:02:53] <Fingolfin> BTW no channel logging takes place ?!?
[20:03:00] <Fingolfin> yeahb I also play NWN + SoU
[20:03:05] <Fingolfin> on Mac
[20:03:23] <Fingolfin> My Ranger-Rogue is at level 6+3 :-)
[20:04:14] <Fingolfin> but I am only playing the original campaign, not the SoU one, ATM
[20:04:18] <Colourless> [06:32] <Fingolfin> BTW no channel logging takes place ?!?
[20:04:24] <Fingolfin> http://www.math.leidenuniv.nl/~wpalenst/exultlog.php
[20:04:28] <Colourless> what do you mean?
[20:04:30] <Fingolfin> --> cut off right after I joined the channel
[20:04:36] <Colourless> we are in #pentagram
[20:04:40] <Fingolfin> gah
[20:04:44] * Fingolfin is stupid :-)
[20:05:13] <Colourless> well, wjp just finished the NWN original campaign yesterday
[20:05:54] <Fingolfin> ah
[20:06:03] <Fingolfin> I am somewhere in chapter two
[20:10:13] * Fingolfin looks forward to being able to play a Red Dragon Disciple in the new expansion :-)
[20:10:35] <Fingolfin> of course I need to get the PC version, then extract the PC data files from it, so I cna use it on my mac NWN <sigh>
[20:11:22] <Colourless> will that work?
[20:11:41] <Colourless> HotU might require an updated executable
[20:18:25] <Fingolfin> well it worked just fine with SoU
[20:20:27] <Colourless> might work with 1.32 and HotU
[20:27:12] <Fingolfin> 1.32 is the current version on Mac
[20:48:47] <Colourless> ok HotU is at version 1.59!
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[20:49:09] <Fingolfin> ah
[20:49:18] <Fingolfin> well I hope they'll release an update soon then =)
[20:49:31] <Fingolfin> I won't buy it before I heard from others that it's possible to use HotU anyway :-)
[20:49:44] <Colourless> 1.60 update should be coming soonish
[20:49:51] <Colourless> and it will be for all versions
[20:55:17] <Fingolfin> how do you know?
[20:55:35] <Fingolfin> are there websites dedicated to this stuff like for Diablo II during its prime ? :-)
[20:55:53] <Colourless> the bioware HotU forum :-)
[20:56:14] <Colourless> i have no idea if there will be a mac update. You'd hope so
[20:58:33] <Fingolfin> well usually they are released pretty much at the same tiem
[20:58:35] <Fingolfin> time even
[21:06:22] <wjp> from what I hear at least the linux 1.60 should be released at the same time as the windows one
[21:11:09] <Fingolfin> heh maybe one day we can play together over the net or so :-)
[21:11:24] * Fingolfin remembers the good old days when wjp and him played some Diablo II together =)
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[21:27:43] <wjp> I'd certainly like to try a multiplayer NWN game sometime :-)
[21:28:18] <wjp> of course it would've helped if I replied while Fingolfin was actually still here :-)
[21:33:38] <Colourless> going
[21:33:41] <wjp> bye
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[21:53:25] <wjp> ugh, 1.3Gb of NWN saves
[21:53:38] * wjp wonders if he saves too much :-)
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