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Everything posted by demagogue

  1. Great news. Flowing water can have some great gameplay functions ... also a good way to move someone through space without it feeling like you're actually moving them.
  2. Well, MUDs are different from IF like Zork, of course, because they are multi-user, and have top-down ascii graphics. (I love IF, too, but just to distinguish the two). The text-based MUDs I know (from 10 years ago) are more like ultima 1 if you remember it. It's all ascii art, the dungeon walls are like "I" and and the PC ("*") and monsters ("M") and other users and items, etc. You use the keyboard to move around, and there are special keys to do special commands, like rest, cast a spell, attack monster, get item, etc. And since there are other people in the dugeon at the same time, you can also talk to them, and interact in other ways, trading, buying and selling items. And as you advance through levels, there's more you can do ... so in a lot of them you see some level 90 wizards just zipping through the whole MUD looking for hapless newbies to harass. But all in all, they are fun to run through for a quick jaunt ... sort of like WoW unplugged.
  3. Not too long ago I finally discovered the world of C64 emulation and finally got to play some games I literally hadn't seen in well over a decade. I was struck how much they still have their magic, and found it quite natural to fall back into playing some of my old favorites.
  4. I can see the PC being made visible, but it should be noticably less, that is, by quite a notable factor. The way I think about it ... the player should recognizably feel less exposed than just strafing/creeping a bit to the side and back, otherwise what's even the advantage of leaning at all - s/he may as well just walk into the hallway a bit and back. But I have some trust, esp if you playtest it enough, that you guys will get it right. And for the record, I liked how Darkengine kept me dark when leaning, too. It really made me love the leaning function as something that was really being my friend in the game, smudging reality for my benefit, maybe ... so I liked to use it all the time, because that situation comes up all the time.
  5. Interactive Fiction isn't everyone's cup of tea, but it's worth trying out some of the top ranked games just to get a feel for how interactivity and good story-telling can go hand in hand, if you've never tried them. (Everything you need to do it you can get from here.) I live for the day when FPS's can do as good a job integrating the two; DX is the only one that even approached it, but is still way off from the potential.
  6. Yeah, such great atmosphere ... really credible as a gargantuan, buried, unholy crypt. I'd have said I was sold on the game when I entered the main chamber ... but really, they had me at "Inside at last..." The most magical level remains for me Constantine's mansion. RTC got a bit spoiled since I didn't actually (fairly) finish it first time through. But geez that level had me absolutely petrified time after time, when I'd feel heroic for simply dashing into the next room!
  7. The TTLG thread on Randy's interview is also good (link), and has the benefit of an appearance by Randy himself to explain himself a little more. Also, note that the second half of the interview just came out yesterday (link). It doesn't talk much about the Thief series, but some good discussion on the future of gaming, or at least the direction he'd like to see it go ... more philosophical.
  8. Well, apparently you've got the job, because you already have "beta mapper" in your profile. Congrats on joining the team.
  9. Back in the day I liked old school RPGs ... the Ultima Series, the Bard's Tale series, Wasteland ... and IF. Anything that could tell a really good story and make me part of it in the game.
  10. Well, as long as you keep things in perspective. The Dark Project is widely held to be the best in the series, the most "magical" in the sense of everything coming together, gameplay, story, atmosphere, level design, etc. This is how Randy -- a level designer on all three, lead designer in T2 and project head of T3 -- recently summed the three up, admitting that the next two never matched that level in his own estimation, and I and lots of people agree. There was some undead, but no monsters, and the sneaking aspect is largely the same for undead as guards, I think. Anyway, as for "time", if you have time for *anything* Thief related, you should spend that time playing the Dark Project before anything else. Seriously, I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that I can't think of anything else in the entire Thief oerve that out-does it taken as a whole package. It's the standard, the benchmark against which everything afterwards is graded.
  11. Try flipping through TTLG's member list! (although granted they let you order by post count. Can you not do that here?)
  12. Ah-ha, that would explain the T2 water contest and the leaning question ... like the T2 oldschool vibe hit you in a big way. By the way, in case you haven't read or thought about it, you can start learning the ropes for Doom3 editing now from the sticky at the top of this page (or one of them, anyway) to a D3 editing forum. And they (TDM) have a position for beta-mapping where you can get your hands on the current tools early-on to start mapping, so they can get the perspective of out-of-the-loop mappers while developing. It might be useful for you if you plan on doing an "all the basics in one place" newbie-tut for TDM like you did for T2 and TDS (maybe not start it any time soon, but later on as release time nears). But I know the TDM guys are going to put out a set of their own tutorials when they release, and this may very well include this kind of tutorial. So I don't want to precipitate any turf war over it if they already have plans to do it. But it was just a thought.
  13. The TDS forum was starting to slow down last year, but a turning point in my mind was when Krypt admitted that the engine was something of a fluke and the T3 devs themselves hated using it ... and from his and Randy's description of things, it was the main culprit behind most of the disappointing features and design-work of TDS, which just adds insult to injury. It just sort of officially confirmed everyone's experience that FM making on it is not only an uphill battle, but against the spirit of the original games even in the dev's minds. I'm happy that FMs are being made on it while TDM is in production, though, and with the minimalist additions I even hope they'll continue like T1 FMs come out on occassion ... adding spice to the mix (actually, better if they come out more often than T1 FMs, because the technology is more advanced). But, yeah, my chips are with TDM for the future. By the way Komag, I was wondering when you'd finally register on these forums and start posting. What took you so long? Or maybe the right question is, what brought you here now?
  14. I was so going into that game expecting the US to get wasted by Italy, given all the negativity by the press, etc ... so I'm happy they came out with at least a tie.
  15. demagogue


    ZB may have a point in that there is something to be said for the "default" to be with undroppable for core equipment, and then mappers can easily add a droppable feature if they want (I'm not sure if that's where he was going in his last post, but anyway that's the suggestion it implies). Anyway, I can see the use of giving mappers the choice, but it's the default set-up that I'm questioning here. I have an intuition that most mappers (maybe in need of verification) will want core equipment undroppable than droppable so they don't have to worry about whether it's there or not while building (in the same way as jumping functionality, etc, core equipement = core functionality) so e.g., they don't have to worry a player may have to cross the entire map to pick up a blackjack in placing things. Sure you can say that may be bad mission design, but then the argument is that undroppability as a default limits the chances for "bad mission design" problems to even come up. And since more mappers seem on that side rather than the other, at least ex hypothesi: one argument for default undroppability is for reasons of economy ... even agreeing with the argument that there can be real advantages if designers want droppability. I can agree that it's good that mappers shouldn't be pampering players, that's one thing, but maybe the default editor set-up also shouldn't be pushing harder work and more design-failure-worries onto mappers, at least not as a default feature. Mappers can still happily take on the extra responsibility/burden of tweaking with core functionality (and all the design worries it raises) if they want with the ability to add dropability as a property, and we can applaud those that do it well ... but *that* should be the *choice* they make (a proactive design decision), not the other way around I think, and having the default switched around is the way to accomplish that. (You might say that the change is as easy as a checkbox, although probably a quite buried one, but that sort of glosses over the fact that a lot of designers may not think about the design issues that in-game tweakability of core functions throws at them unless they are prompted to. There might be a learning curve here as TDM FM making matures, though ... it's hard to sense.) Edit: and to preempt a little here, don't think I can't hear Oddity's argument roaring in the background, "what you're saying is practically admitting we should encourage lazy/player pampering designing" (at least as I imagine it). One, I don't think it's true that it would encourage lazy or even necessarily pampering design. But anyway, I can also just stick with the "economy" argument, even aside from that issue. The idea there is: You get fewer, more resolute people coming to the forums to ask how to *add* droppability (to an undroppable default) when they want to proactively add a design feature that in-game takes away a core functionality to give more player freedom (sort of like coming to ask "how can I let players drop jumping ability" in-game) than the alternative of more people coming to the forums to ask how to revert back to undroppability (from a droppable default) because the default set-up is raising incidental design issues that actually block their vision of clean gameplay throughout their mission and give them something they don't want to proactively think about. Having the default set-up go with the flow is better for economy reasons.
  16. I don't think I've read this before, and anyway can't hurt to ask: So presumably TDM will be out before the D3 source is released. But when the D3 source code is released, are there any plans to add to the TDM package? Or will you just leave well enough as it is. And are there even things you could do with the source code that you can't do with the SDK, anyway?
  17. FYI, we got a response from Randy in the other forum: http://www.ttlg.com/forums/showthread.php?...488#post1462488 I've (or at least a post of mine) never gotten a direct response from a dev, so sort of cool. Sounds like he's not as bitter in retrospect as I had expected. E.g., he recognized that other guys had gone on to do successful things, so it wasn't so much an inevitable clash of personalities but more situational. (I get the feeling he's maybe talking about Spector here? I'd agree it's hard to pin that guy down.) Sounds like a healthier attitude, anyway. He really does come across as sounding like he was going to bat for the fans and the situation soured against him. Something to keep in mind, I guess. I get the feeling the team we have here, for as boorish as it can be at times, has a much healthier environment than was the case for TDS (not a high bar to top, maybe). Not having the market/time pressure and having such a better engine to work with I'm sure helps, but probably also not letting your ambition run away to lose track of what you're doing.
  18. I posted the following in ThiefGen at TTLG, but knowing how useless that forum's been in the last year I'm not expecting very much good discussion (maybe, hopefully I'll be surprised) ... but anyway it occured to me I'll probably get a better discussion going here. I'm interested in what people here think about Randy's views on T3, esp given how they tend towards the bitter end. So this is the post: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- link to the interview. I thought this was a pretty frank and insightful interview, also helps put the three Thief's in perspective as a whole. I don't think there was anything really new here, but a few interesting things to note. It was interesting to note that cross-platforming wasn't even in RS's top 10 design issues with T3 ... sort of fits in with Krypt's thoughts that one of the biggest problems was the rushed/shoddy job on the engine put them on crutches from early on. But Randy seems to take it the next step that really cross-platforming was way down the list. Makes you wonder what was closer to the top, in addition to the engine limitations... This quote: Quote: The team had many great design ideas (too many, in fact, one of the problems I brought to the troubled development environment at ION Storm), and it was sad that many of them were cut or compromised. is particularly revealing, but I'm wondering what to make of it. It sounds at first like he's talking about feature creep, or maybe room creep, but the way he phrases it makes it sound more philosophical ... like he had a particular design agenda that was just hitting one road block after another, and not just because of the limitations of the engine (or maybe parasitic on the limitations). And I wonder if there's some connection between this and the fact that T3 was so deficient in features as it was ... sort of a funny result, or maybe I'm not really connecting the dots. Maybe it was like a gas-on-fire sort of situation, where RS was pretty assertive with a design agenda at the same time the engine was giving them roadblocks left and right, time was pressing, and the two worlds just collided. Also, the way this is worded, I wonder if he's at all blaming himself here, a little, like he thinks in retrospect he should have held back for the better of the whole project, or if this situation was just a breakdown waiting to happen. I don't know, what do others think? It's really a shame that the series had such a bitter end for Randy, since for many of us here I think he contributed so much to the heart and soul of the series, and the disappointment he had with T3 mirrors a lot of people's here, as well. He almost sounded a little satisfied T3 was a market failure, didn't he? (which also tosses away any hopes for T4, I'd think). (Although one has to admit it was better than DX:IW on that engine; it could have been worse.) If you're out there Randy, I think you'll find a lot of people around here are on your side on this ... and the same magic you talked about with Thief: TDP and T2 you'll find a lot of sympathy here ... and I only wish, like you say, you could have experienced the magic of The Dark Project as a player like we were able to.
  19. Ok, good ... there's more to work with there and I can clear up some confusions. Although ... unfortunately, not much time here, I'll have to answer this later, but maybe I can outline a bit here. Yeah, I can agree with you that there's probably a visceral reaction at the sight of certain kinds of gay behavior across a very broad demographic, but I don't see the rest of the argument following at all. So going back to my cogsci days ... disguist is handled by the anterior insula (in the double-dissociative sense it's both necessary and sufficient for the feeling of disgust). Two problems. 1. One, I'd argue that culture is doing more work to drive a-i activity (or rather, cultural and "identity" understandings, work going on in the parietal lobe taking cues from social context) in this case than a-i activity is driving culture, certainly more than you are giving it credit for ... that's a big claim that requires more effort than I can give it here, though! But lots of ways to support the idea: (1) cross-cultural a-i studies (some cultures, guy-hand-holding is disgusting but not in others; cock-in-mouth disgusting over a broader range among males but not 100% nor uniformly, more to say there), (2) plasticity of a-i activity within one culture over time (this idea of "habituation", like prisoners), (3) cross-modal studies (that is, comparing a-i activity at (a) the sight of puke or crap even an erect cock to a male (in a non-gay context, though, disgusting to non-homo males for quite straightforward natural-selection reasons) vs. (b ) a token gay scene (& be sure to separate what is disgust at the gayness of the scene itself vs digust just, e.g., at seeing a cock that would be ok in a traditional marriage context). So I'd argue that the former (a) are going to be much more "reflexive"; the latter (b ) are in a family of reactions more like taking instructions from a higher-level, so to speak, more a signal of parietal-lobe disapprobation ("I'm not the kind of person that tolerates that kind of "sick" behavior") than a visceral reflex within the a-i itself. That is, I don't think you are justified to use the word "instinctual" with gayness itself, and I'm not sure the science backs you up on it), or (4) cross modal studies with other forms of pornography vs. gay porn, and then (5) that cross-cultural. I mean, whatever anyone wants to speculate on, the answer here lies within the work of the anterior insula, and it's a much bigger wash than the idea you seem to have of how it works. But I think "instinctual" is not the right concept to be going with. Although I grant the feeling may be quite "visceral" for some persons, ideas of "gayness" triggering the a-i doesn't seem to work like seeing puke the way I understand it; it's much more "top-down". There's just a lot of argument to cover that one, can't do right now. I mean, seriously, lots of work to be done here to make sense of this argument one way or another, making distinctions, drawing lines, getting the evidence lined up... So I'll just leave it at a wash, grant that it's visceral for a wide male population, but won't let you get away with saying it's driving culture any more than Nazi disgust at Jewishness was "instinctual" and driving their cultural norms. The idea of "instinct" just doesn't fly with concepts at that high level. 2. But two, the reason I can skimp on #1 in any event, is that: even if that weren't the case and you were right (which I don't think you are), it would make zero difference to the moral authority of claims that homosexuality is unnatural. I mean, doesn't everyone remember we had a whole enlightenment to deal with this issue? A cultural aversion does not a moral judgment make; doesn't matter how loud you cry "tradition!". I don't give 2 shits what some Amazonian native gets sick at his tummy at seeing ... We in the civilized world base moral restrictions on reason, the most basic rule being: A moral restriction has moral authority just to the extent that it would be irrational for anyone under the restriction to reject its application. Are gays being totally irrational when they say social approbation for their sexual preference is unfounded? No, it's the perfectly reasonable response we'd expect them to have. I may just be misunderstanding the point trying to be made. I think you can try to say as a historical fact, the work of the a-i (e.g., with the hypothesis that it is genetically hardwired to "see gayness -> disgust") explains in descriptive terms why so many anti-gay laws exist, whether they're morally right or not. And I'd reply that, to my understanding, it's actually a relatively poor explanation and that parietal-lobe-centered "cultural" understandings, put into social context, is a much better explanation, and the a-i at best plays a supporting role by taking instructions from the parietal lobe in eliciting feelings of disguist at the thought of certain gay behavior. But anyway, all of this is a debate in the discriptive analysis; what explains social attitudes on gay-ness. As for the moral (normative) analysis, to me all of this just seems flat irrelevant, maybe at best a good argument for prohibiting public lewdness. But the "harm" of a-i activity by unseen sexual behavior is simply laughable as a serious moral claim to restrict homosexual behavior. And it's the moral argument that's the important one. Anyway, it's a fun exercise to think through ... Not that many hold-outs even left in the culture wars nowadays (in the West, anyway), so I feel like we should argue 'em up before they're all gone.
  20. Ok, put aside male-dominated-ness for the moment; no need to sidetrack ourselves more. (In that case, cultures are even more varied on that than homosexuality, so you'd need to go into even greater specificity to explain what we see today.) The point I'm trying to make is that I don't take these cultural biases as for granted as you do. The way I've studied them, there's nothing natural about them, they came out of very specific historical circumstances that *really* could have gone the other way, and if you're not talking about those circumstances, you aren't saying anything about the culture at all. I mean, the Greeks didn't *have* to be overshadowed by the Romans or (even more likely) Roman authority really could have been swept aside by the Huns in the 400s if Atilla hadn't been food poisoned, in which case all of Europe and the Western Hemisphere would be significantly more gay-friendly than the way it did turn out. Neo-conficionism really didn't have to become culturally ascendant in 12th Century China, e.g., over more naturalist pre-conficion worldviews like Toaism (or in Japan: Shito) which were much more naturalist about sex roles, including homosexuality. And take away Mohammad and Bedouin muru'a values would have just withered away into the sands of time, and some other cultural value would have filled the gap; keep the Hun story above and it would have been Hun animism. I mean, it's funny. Here you are with this Zola quote: religion is a sham; don't trust its claim for moral authority. But put the *same* moral stance under the heading of "culture" and suddenly you are the same stupid blind sheep Zola despised (to put it in a provokative style you are fond of, if you are saying what it looks like you're saying): "The fact is that a distaste for homosexuality already existsed in almost ever culture that created a religion." What do you mean by that? That now "biology" (filling in the role of God) instilled this moral distaste, so it has a certain authority? ... or if not "biology", what? Historical necessity? Social darwinism? Just what is it that's giving this widespread historical practice any moral authority? I don't think anything does. I think there are very specific historical explanations that explain for "every" culture why it turned out homophobic (but only individually for *each* culture) that in almost every case really *could* have gone in another direction tweaking history this way or that (and, of coure, that *has* gone in another direction with the rise of modernism and democratic liberalism and the social-revolution in the West in the 1960s, where many parts of the US and Europe are quite open to gay lifestyles and it's actually traditional sexual mores that are losing their cache.) The problem here IMO isn't that what you're saying is implausible, it's that it's not specific to any situation, and you are trying to generalize without having a basis for generalization. So, I can totally agree with you that religions are just reifying moral values that are already out there and have no unique moral authority. But I think *you* are making the *same* mistake when you say that moral values already out there are really the natural ones and have some kind of moral authority. Of course they aren't. Get specific! Why are Muslims homophobic? Because Islam reified pre-Islamic muru'a values (muru'a = sort of like Latin American machismo; men are very macho and cannot be "girly"). Why? Because of Mohommad et al and his jihad inculcated the value by sword. Did it have to turn out that way? No, e.g., not over the more Hellinized areas of N. Africa if they were never exposed to Islam. We don't even have to ask why muru'a values tended towards homophobia; it doesn't even matter if it never spreads. But there's an easy explanation if one looks for it, of course: it comes from a nomadic society where survival means people take their social roles seriously. Men need to provide authority, labor and sperm for making babies and there isn't enough social tolerance for expecting less of them (which of course has it's own twisted logic maybe for nomadic tribes in a 6th century Arabian desert; but nothing to do with what the Muslim population looks like now, overpopulated and oil-rich.) I mean, correct me if I'm wrong, but you give the impression that because so many cultures historically tended towards considering homosexuality as unnatural that there is some kind of moral authority for the value that it really is unnatural. Whereas to my eyes, it's just a series of historical accidents in the strong sense and worthy of no moral authority at all. Because history really could have gone the other way, adding up historical trends is a terrible way to establish moral authority. A better way is using a rational basis for values, like democratic liberalism, which might state that "healthy sexuality" is (1) consensual by all partners, (2) does not physically/psychologically harm any partner, and maybe (3) does not critically undermine a person's productive life (so, e.g., you might still want to say that having sex with 4 people a day is unhealthy to one's productive life). But aside from those three, not sure you'll have a rational basis to morally constrict a person's sexual behavior more, and if there's no rational basis, then how can it have any moral authority at all?
  21. demagogue


    BTW, while the subject is up again, I too was thinking about going around Manhattan after the bar exam when I have some free time and scoping for some textures along some choice streets with a digital camera, laptop, girlfriend, and Paintshop. I used to make them years ago and I did professional webdesign for a little while (well, who didn't in the 90s?) so know my way around Paintshop pretty well. But I know there's a lot more work involved with D3 textures given the higher resolution, bump mapping, specular mapping, etc. But then I figured I could read some tuts on that stuff and try to catch up to speed, and anyway it's mostly an excuse to tour around the city looking for cool architecture (of which Manhattan has plenty) and you can take only what you like, if anything; doesn't stop me from using the project to get up to speed. Anyway, if you've noticed on the Doom3 boards, the main tutorial for D3 texture making is down (first link on this page). Others are up, but not the central, first-pass one. Of course there are plenty of generic tutorials around. First, does anyone have a copy of that first tutorial? Or if not, a way to get up to speed about what's special about D3 texturing that I could build off a generic tutorial and my own past experience? Or any advice generally? I'm not trying to kid myself that it's trivially easy to pick up; plenty of the tutorials I have read let me know how much time, effort, and skill is involved. But I thought, too, it's worth the time just collecting interesting source material around NYC and playing around with them in Paintshop, which is not new to me ... and if I was going to do that ANYWAY, why not do it so I can help out the Dark Mod while I'm at it? Anyway, it's the D3-specific information that I really need, though, before I can do anything ... so that's why I'm posting about it.
  22. Yeah, moving from biology into culture is a big step ... and when you talk about what kind of behavior is socially acceptable/encouraged, that's culture. The argument that there's a clear trend across cultures is something to explain, but does not justify your sweeping generalisation as obscurus says. First, there have been plenty of cultures quite open to homosexuality. Ancient Greece, old hat example, of course the *norm* for established males was to have younger male lovers; whereas it was revlied in Roman morality (which just gets tagged on to Christianity). So, Rome > Greece = Europe is anti-gay for most of the rest of its history; Europe = entire Western Hemisphere after 1492. You could say the same thing for Song neo-Confucion (via Zhu Xi, et al, sythesis with Tao and Buddhism; supremacy of 1-sided obedience obligations: citizen to king; wife to husband, son/daughter to father expecting normal marriage, etc...) and the entire Far East (Korea, Japan, Vietnam) since 1100; 5th Century Bedouin muru'a values (via Mohommad and Islamic jihad) and all of North Africa, entire Middle East, much of SE Asia ... I mean, go region by region, culture by culture, and you can trace specific cultural values (like homophobism) to very particular social groups with very particular cultural values embedded in very specific historical circumstances, gaining cultural ascendancy in very specific instances (*this* battle, *this* rebellion, etc) ... and then setting and defining the cultural values for that region -- sometimes by the sword, sometimes by socio-economic ascendancy (you want a good job, you do what's "right" according to your employer's morality), sometimes mixed reasons, but always in a social context -- until some other power group or historical circumstance supplants it. And in each case, it's not like anti-gay attitudes were just a "normal" reaction, just like most strongly held cultural values; e.g., in the same way that most historical moralities are misogynistic (male-centered; women can't get into power); they had a power agenda behind them, e.g., a very unnatural form of estheticism which gave them a foundation to assert claims of moral, and thus political, authority. There's nothing "natural" about it. It's something asserted by human will with an agenda behind it.
  23. obscurus, pick up a book and read about mimesis why don't you. It's an ancient debate to what extent cultural artifacts, from art to literature to theatre to cinema, should represent nature faithfully. All the same rules apply to gaming, the main one being: the representation of reality is always at the service of whatever the artifact is trying to do, not the other way around. In literature, it goes under the heading of dramatic license ... tweaking reality to fit it into the confines / purpose of the medium (e.g., events are closer together in time so their point isn't missed to the story, or events exaggerated so their underlying "truth" isn't lost in the details).
  24. I actually thought the PC's comments were better for observational commentary ... something the player (probably already) knows and the PC is just confirming, maybe nudging the player about what to do next. So more like: "It's a long way up." "It's a long way down." "brrrr... that's cold" "yah, that's hot." "where am I?" "What's my map say?" And just generic asides (probably the most used in actual FMs) : "dammit!" "What the..." [i bet this is the single most used PC comment in FMs, to cue the player that something plot-important is going on] "uh oh" "ah ha" I loved Dante's voice in GatI, sounded just about right, not too low end to sound brutish, but not so high brow to seem above being a Thief. Anyway, happy hunting for somebody...
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