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Sid Meier On Industry State 121

Posted by Zonk
from the what's-up-with-all-the-ww2-games dept.
Gamespy had a talk with Sid Meier and Soren Johnson at the DICE event last month, and they've got some interesting commentary on the current state of the gaming industry. From the article: "I think the thing is, if you're going to make a multiplayer game, the days of trying to 'shoehorn' in multiplayer are over. As an aside, I think we're almost reaching a point where single-player games are getting under-served. One reason I really enjoy World of Warcraft is that there's so few good single-player RPGs for the PC right now. I mean, I play with my friends, but I also like to solo -- I have separate characters for each -- because there aren't really any good single-player RPGs out there to play! But anyways, if you're going to make a good multiplayer game, you need to make that a priority from the beginning."
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Sid Meier On Industry State

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  • by kniLnamiJ-neB (754894) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @02:42PM (#14917906)
    I think the game industry is pretty healthy. I think it's changing rapidly, but there are a lot of good examples as to what's good about gaming. Zonk's comment about ww2 games in the "department" shows one problem, however... a lack of creative ideas. World War 2 games are great, I'm a big-time Call of Duty player. But we do need some inventive ideas. However, if ww2 games were all made like CoD and CoD2, I'll play 'em just the same. Those are awesome.
    • The industry as a whole may be "healthy" but it's lacking innovation. Most new games are far too similar to their predecessors. There hasn't been a whole new genre introduced for at least a decade (at least none I can think of, correct me if I'm wrong).

      I love WWII games and there are often fun new things in each game. But they're still all basic FPS. Sure we can now talk with our comrades in arms, but it's still the same game. I'm not seeing much rapic change in anything except graphics.
      • New genres don't necessarily mean anything. Or I should say, a lack of new genres doesn't mean no innovation. Spore looks to be the same as Civilization just starting a little further back in time. I wouldn't really call this a new genre. Take a look at the gravity gun in Half-Life 2. Same old FPS? Not really. That was a simple innovation that really added to the life of the game.

        What I'd really like to see is more co-op play. I'm slowly developing a mod for Half-Life 2 like this. I just wish I h

        • Stupid school always getting in the way. I don't want to know recurrence relations. I want to know how to make a mod for Half-Life

          But you see, grasshopper, you will make one mod for Half-Life. Recurrance relations you will have to deal with over and over and over again.

          • But you see, grasshopper, you will make one mod for Half-Life. Recurrance relations you will have to deal with over and over and over again.

            Said Wen Shu to the wiseman: the recurrence relation does not affect the lives of everyone. Not all people will ever use them again after school.

            Said the wiseman to Wen Shu: But what of the half-life mod?

            Said Wen Shu to the wiseman: Mu.

            The wiseman smiled.
      • The hybryd FPS/RTS is new to a point.

        I think it was started by Tribe, then there is also Savage and that mod for Half-Life.

        Wario Ware is a new genre too I would think.
    • The gaming industry is NOT healthy. It's dishing out too many sports game and war-themed FPSs. Those are niche markets and industry wide profits are down.

      Just because the niche you happen to like is plentiful doesn't mean the industry is doing well. Many have been predicting a video game crash for a while now and more and more it's starting to look just that way.

      Oh, and you can add MMOs to the list of genres that are being focused on too much by the industry. I mean, I love WoW just like the next person
  • Make the games so that you can fight with some comrades online (like good ol' dungeoncrawlers), but there's no interaction with other players / guilds / etc. That'd really simplify things. Or make it in a way that the only interaction with "outsiders" is when you're not in a quest, and players cannot harm each other.
    • Yep, that kinda sounds like Diablo. Did that (twice even), made a lot of money, moved on to cover another genre.

    • Make the games so that you can fight with some comrades online (like good ol' dungeoncrawlers), but there's no interaction with other players / guilds / etc.
      You mean, like Guild Wars?
      That'd really simplify things.
      And that would be good ... why?
      • And that would be good...why?

        Two reasons:

        • Because it will help avoid The Internet Fuckwad Theory [penny-arcade.com]
        • Because really complex games are often not very much fun. I'd rather just play than have to spend days and days figuring out a game's playsystem.
        • really complex games are often not very much fun.

          That's right, even more so when you s/complex/complicated/. And there are online role playing games suited to smaller groups, with lots of players enjoying them, so it'll make sense to make more of them. But massively multiplayer games aren't inherently complicated, and they have interesting aspects unique to them. I don't think it's a good trade-off to lose those by severely cutting back player interactions in all of them. There surely are other ways to d

        • The ideal is not to have a simple or a complex game...The ideal is having a game that is simple to play and enjoy, but with depth and complexity to keep it from getting stale.

          Not to jump on the current "World of Warcraft rulez" bandwagon, but WoW did that very well. It's an MMORPG that is very simple, without the kind of ridiculous learning curve associated with EQ or AO, or any number of older MMO's, but has enough depth and complexity to keep people playing. I think a lot of people would prefer more depth and complexity (myself included), but I think that their model is clearly working out great for them, so I understand why they're not rushing to screw things up.
    • Make the games so that you can fight with some comrades online (like good ol' dungeoncrawlers), but there's no interaction with other players / guilds / etc.

      You mean like Diablo 2 or Neverwinter Nights or a hypothetical DS port of Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles?

    • Congratulations, you've just described a PvE server on World of Warcraft!
    • That's pretty much what Dungeons and Dragons Online is. MMO in the city, so you can meet up with others, trade, etc. But the dungeons are instanced classic dungeon crawls, you and your party alone against the dark. The game is SLTMMORPG (Somewhat-less-than Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game)
    • Your second suggestion is exactly what Guild Wars does. The whole game is instanced, except for towns and such.

      When you're in town between quests, you can interact with all other players, trading goods and joining guilds and all that stuff. As soon as you leave town, you enter your own instance of the outside world, and the only people in it are you and your party members. It's impossible for other players to steal your kills or otherwise screw up your adventuring, because they're not in the same instance.
    • 1. Sega's PSO Blue-Burst:

      A pretty nice Diablo with lightsabers and blasters, only in an over-the-shoulder view. In fact, I dare say that if you want to wear a stormtrooper outfit (without the helmet) and wield a lightsaber, or play a nasty droid with a blaster carbine/sniper-rifle/dual-pistols, PSO might even be as close to Star Wars as you can probably get without an official license from Lucas. (And a better game than the officially licensed SWG. Not that that says much, SWG being crap at the moment.) Or
    • You know, that's actually something I've been pining for for quite some time... My ideal multiplayer RPG would be something like Morrowind, with a cap of 10 or so real people able to be in the world at one time. If you feel like playing with other people, that's great, but it is by no means required.

      The whole concept of the 'main quest' is something that I always enjoyed about RPGs and being able to play through them with a couple of friends is really nice.
  • MP first, SP second (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jdduke (733610)
    Surely it makes sense to develop the multiplayer portion of a game first, and then get a bunch of people playing it to see what kind of strategies work well and should be implemented in the AI for the single player. I'm sure I rememeber Peter Molyneux saying that's how Populous was developed all those years ago, and that was about as good a 2-player game as there has ever been.
  • I would much rather have a game with great game play that does not require FPS graphics. Which one use to be able to rely on the Civ series for, not anymore apparently. I guess he should know if there are not any really good single player games, since the most recent version of Civ sucks due to the graphics engine they decided upon using.
    • True. I love the civ series, played civ2 for a very long time until switching to civ3. After looking at civ4 with the horrible graphics bugs and the unnecessary usage of 3D, I'm not in any hurry to pick it up, I'll stick with civ3.
      • Civ IV is better than Civ III in every way. It's worth dealing with the crappy framerate and the occasional CTD. Plus, they've released a couple patches that fixed a lot of the bugs and cleaned up some of the memory issues. I agree that the 3D engine is unnecessary, and a game like Civ should run better on a low-end box than it does. If there was an option to turn off 3D and use static sprites, I would use it in a heartbeat. However, the game underneath that needlessly shiny exterior is still the best
        • Maybe I'll consider checking it out then, thanks. I saw a long list of aquaduct graphics errors, with them leading off here and there all over and that really didn't look good. I am intrigued by new gameplay aspects, but wasn't sure it was really worth it.
        • Sure, the game is great. But it is too damn slow. They should have a patch soon, but until then, I'm not playing it. It is just too tedious to be fun, while waiting for the AI to take its turns.
    • the most recent version of Civ sucks due to the graphics engine they decided upon using.


      How do you figure that?
      • Eve-online works great on my computer that still has fog of war black tile problems in CIV4. If they would have went with a regular engine that is well used like Q2, Q3 they would have been able to incorporate all the 3d they wanted with out all of the chipset problems. The chipset I have falls under the initial minimum specs but none of the patches have corrected the problem. Really the basic game play has no need for the 3D enhancements they are just fluff to try and bring in some of the graphics Nazis
        • "A Civ game should not have more graphics requirements than Morrowind!!! WTF!!"

          WTF are you talking about? First, lets assume you meant Morrowind Oblivion. Per their site, the minimum requirements for Morrowind Oblivion are :

          Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows XP 64-bit
          512MB System RAM
          2 Ghz Intel Pentium 4 or equivalent processor
          128MB Direct3D compatible video card
          and DirectX 9.0 compatible driver;
          8x DVD-ROM drive
          4.6 GB free hard disk space
          DirectX 9.0c (included)
          DirectX 8.1 compatible sound card
          Keyboard, Mou
          • Uh, I meant Morrowind, if I was going to reference Oblivion I would have said so. I refer to the first iteration of Morrowind that came out several years ago. On the computer in question I have played Morrowind, NWN, Eve-Online, Guild Wars, Civ 3 and other games of the same and previous eras. Now the graphics and 3Dness in Civ 4 does not seem as it should be much more elobrate than any of the games above yet the are graphics problems even when tuning down the graphics to the bare minimum. Now I can pla
        • Eve-Online isn't exactly the most graphically intensive game out there. Using that as a basis for comparison is a bad idea.

          Not saying the game doesn't look great, it does. However it is very easy on the video card. An 8000 series Radeon can run it fine.
    • You have a point. I was using an Athlon 2800+, 512MB, GeForce3 (64 MB) setup and the game was too slow. Added 512 MB, upgraded to a GeForce 6200 with 128 MB (plain-Jane, no memory-sharing nonsense). But I still have to turn down the graphics features in the game and in the nVidia driver controls to make it playable (note: sure, there are faster video cards, but I need AGP and no extra Molex power connector because the SFF PC has a 275 Watt power supply).

      Civ3 never had any problems with the previous set

      • Really? I'd played Civ4 one an Athlon T-Bird 1.33 Ghz with a GF2. Worked fine, so long as you played smaller maps.

        The key with both of these is to upgrade one's NVidia's drivers. The performance difference is absolutely amazing, by a factor of 10 for me. Unfortunately, most people just try to play the game, see it not work, and then decide "Well, must be the developer's fault". Unlike a platform game, it's necessary on a PC to do things like disable AntiVirus and upgrade one's drivers. PC gaming is si
        • Yeah, smaller maps. Thanks. I'll just skip the way I like to play the game and go with the smaller maps.

          And new drivers - good hint. It's all over the readme's, and the Civ support site, and the independent Civ discussion forums, but - as I said earlier - I just replaced my video card and, seriously?, didn't update the drivers? Thanks for the insight.

          And PC games are not like console games - again, amazing! Thank you thank you thank you, a thousand times, thank you for sharing your wisdom.

          • Not a problem.

            Yeah, smaller maps. Thanks. I'll just skip the way I like to play the game and go with the smaller maps.
            I'm sorry it's not possible for you to enjoy playing the game on smaller maps. You may also want to think about not being able to enjoy the game without a mininum of a 1600x1200 resolution with bump mapping. Seriously, the game is exactly the same strategically regardless of map size, except that larger maps take much longer to complete a game in due to increased city-level micromanagement
  • I haven't yet played a MMORPG for a very simple reason: I have neither the time nor the money to dedicate to an ongoing game. I do still buy new games from time to time, particularly fantasy RPG or simulation (e.g. Civ IV). I am glad to hear someone mention that the single-player game market is being under-served. I for one find myself browsing through all the games and wishing that the MMORPGs had single-player versions that didn't require any sort of subscription. There may be some out there, but it c
    • Re:Time and Money (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Chimera512 (910750)
      I find myself with the same predicament.
      it might be nice to have something enjoyable to just hop into for a couple hours that doesn't have a steap learning curve or require the massive time commitment of a massive or require 9 years to load on my 1.7 ghz amd that's starting to feel more and more dated. Guess this is why I find myself tending toward playing older games whenever i find a few free hours to play games.
      • Indeed! I still love playing Alpha Centauri, Max Payne II, Age of Empires, and even a bunch of older ones. I have a 1.7 Pentium M laptop as my primary computer including for gaming. It's got a great screen (1920x1200), but the graphics processor is getting a little dated (ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 Pro). Hmm... I wonder if I can upgrade it?
    • I'm in the same boat- I've got a job, a wife and two young kids. I can't play a standard MMORPG- I can't play enough to make it worthwhile, it's tough to really be in a guild when you can't play a lot and have to stop in an instant when the baby wakes up, etc. For that matter, I can't play competitive online games of any kind- I'm going to get owned by the 15-year-olds who do nothing but play every non-school moment.

      I got quite a few hours of fun out of Guild Wars though. No subscription fees. You can

      • "For that matter, I can't play competitive online games of any kind- I'm going to get owned by the 15-year-olds who do nothing but play every non-school moment" It isn't that you can't play, you don't want to because you lose. Anyway, if you actually play those competitive games, you will quickly realize that the 15-year-olds, despite playing alot, generally suck. If you use your brains a bit, you can outwit them easily. They rely on their reflexes, not brains.
        • Re:Guild Wars (Score:5, Insightful)

          by edremy (36408) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @04:50PM (#14918963) Journal
          I don't mind losing. Losing a good game is fine. Back when I played board games I lost more than I won since I played with a smart group and still had a blast. When I play something like Unreal I crank the bots up to "Inhuman" and lose about 80% of the matches. I play Alpha Centauri at Transcend and win maybe one out of five.

          I *do* mind playing when the competition level isn't even remotely even. I can't practice ten hours a day, and someone who does is going to be vastly better than I am, even if I'm smarter. (Hardly a given- hard core players know every advantage, every strategy, etc) When the final score is 150-0 what's the point of even playing, especially when I know that I can't improve enough given my limited play time to eventually even things out? Perhaps if I devote all my spare time I might be able to make it 149-1. What's worse is that the guy on the other end isn't having any fun either- it's damn boring to win 150-0.

          So I play different sorts of games, most which rely less on twitch and more on strategy/skill. Back when I played Guild Wars I was a pretty good Monk- not top competition level, but enough to keep a team alive even at the highest PvE levels provided Leeeroy wasn't playing. I like Puzzle Pirates a lot- the games involve enough strategy that I can keep up with most folks. (Even if I can't seem to get a handle on Bilging.)

          Games should be fun. If it's not fun, why play?

    • I have been of similar opinion about MMORPGs and the three that I like only one of which has a monthly fee are as follows: Guild Wars, World of Pirates and Eve-Online. The last one is actually my new favorite because it has the functionally of being able to train and accomplish automated tasks while not being logged on to the server. This makes it great for those of us that do not have the High School or Early College 40+ hours of gaming time. With Eve I can log one once or twice a day to once every coup
  • by WidescreenFreak (830043) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @03:04PM (#14918102) Homepage Journal
    He echoed exactly what I've been completely frustrated with for YEARS. He is absolutely right that there are few, quality single-player games out there of recent release. Yes, I can always go "back" to games like NeverWinter Nights, the Splinter Cell or Thief series for first-player immersion, but there have not been a lot of games as of late that are single-player and provide the depth of games like the single-player games of the past.

    If I may somewhat add to his statements, however, I am particularly frustrated by the notion that somehow it has become impossible to allow human team vs. bots in multiplayer. I really was frustrated by this with Return to Castle Wolfenstein and more recently Battlefield 2. The notion that multiplayer in a LAN environment where it's just you and friends on a team versus a number of bots seems to be an anathema in gaming circles any more. Apparently, the rest of the gaming community wants deathmatch or team deathmatch against other humans, and that's all - or so the developers seem to think.

    It's ridiculous to me that a game like Battlefield 2 will allow me to go single player, which is made of me and my team bots vs. enemy bots; but God forbid that anyone would have thought to allow me and my human team against enemy bots in a BF2 LAN session*. No, no! No one ever does that any more! And don't tell me that programming the AI is an issue. Games have been allowing team LAN for over a decade. If the enemy AI can go after one person (me) and my team bots, I can't believe that it's so difficult to add another human target for the enemy to go after.

    * Actually, you can get limited LAN play in BF2 by starting a single-player game and having other LAN members connect directly to the "server" via the Connect to IP function. Works fairly well. That doesn't explain why such a feature was never officially supported by EA.

    So, he really hit two critical points with me: the lack of immersive, single-player games and half-thought-out multiplayer games that do not provide the full options that multipler games should have. It's so nice to hear a heavy-hitter in the industry say what I've been saying for years. Maybe that will give the issues some credibility with game designers.
    • Ghost Recon : AW (Score:5, Informative)

      by E-Rock (84950) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @03:45PM (#14918444) Homepage
      The new Ghost Recon has on-line co-op modes where it's the human players versus bots. That's one of the reasons I bought it. I'm tired of running around shooting my friends (we've been doing it since doom). I'd like to play with my friends instead of against them.
      • It's somewhat ironic that you say that because every Saturday (for the past two or three years) I've been playing "us vs. bots" Ghost Recon (the original version plus Desert Siege/Island Thunder and various mod packs) with my nephew and a friend of mine in North Carolina. Strategic team play vs. bots (plus respawn) is exactly why we keep going for GR, rather than try to find a BF2 server that can fit all three of us and hope beyond hopes that we all somehow end up on the same team. Screw that.

        Ghost Rec
        • Similar enough of a thought: A few friends and I get together on occasion and play Rainbow 6. We played through all of Ravenshield, plus the Athena Sword expansion, and played quite a few community made maps. We recently played R6:Lockdown, and I'm seriously considering going back to user made maps in RvS for the next LAN. That said, we are looking forward to the release of GR:AW, but we are somewhat concerned that, like R6:Lcokdown, it will be a consolified version of a tactical shooter (read as: it suc
    • People don't like to play against bots because they suck. The fun and challenge of Battlefield 2 is the coordination and teamplay required to be sucessful.
      • People don't like to play against bots because they suck.

        That's your opinion - not undisputed fact. If you don't like it, then don't use it! Just because you don't like it doesn't mean that it sucks nor does it mean that others who DO like it should be deprived of the ability to play it that way.

        The fun and challenge of Battlefield 2 is the coordination and teamplay required to be sucessful.

        R-i-i-i-i-ight. Because there is absolutely no need for coordination or team play in the single-player mod
        • Hey, too bad I'm at work and can't check this before posting, but I'll post back later when I've tried it.

          I have set up cooperative play against bots using the Battlefield 2 server. Not as convenient as doing it in-game, but it can be done.

          Just to repeat: I'll post the details here when I try it later today.

        • Jumping needs to be removed from FPS'es. Bunny-hopping is absolutely rediculous.
      • People don't like to play against bots because they suck

        This is solely a matter of the AI in use. Most modern computers have enough CPU to keep operational 5-10 bots that do not suck, more for some games.

        Granted, the industry has followed the steps of Doom having cretinous monsters that march with zombie steps left and right and no real AI behind them. This is the "industry standard" at the moment, but there is no need for it to be this way. At all.

    • The notion that multiplayer in a LAN environment where it's just you and friends on a team versus a number of bots seems to be an anathema in gaming circles any more. Apparently, the rest of the gaming community wants deathmatch or team deathmatch against other humans, and that's all - or so the developers seem to think.

      I, too, am frustrated at the complete dearth of cooperative multiplayer games on the market. For a while, most games were single-player with a deathmatch multiplayer mode tacked on; I think
    • In regards to the parent, If you think that Neverwinter Nights was a quality single-player experience, then I would be inclined to say that Sid's statement is indeed overtly correct, and the last few years have indeed been dismal. IMHO Neverwinter Nights probably represents the biggest failing in Bioware's great RPG career. The last truly great, epic single-player game i've played was Baldur's Gate (in reference to the entire series, not just the original). Then again, I must admit I was among those truly f
      • I've heard that from a lot of people, but I've never played Baldur's Gate, so I have no basis for comparison. I enjoyed NWN a great deal and spent many an hour going through that, trying to complete every subquest. YMMV, of course.
    • ....but there have not been a lot of games as of late that are single-player and provide the depth of games like the single-player games of the past.

      Pick up Shadow of the Colossus. Have fun.
    • Odd, I'm annoyed at all the games that are due out in the next month or two.
      • NWN2 - Single Player/Co-op. Sometime this spring
      • Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. Single Player. March 20th.
      • Guild Wars: Factions. MMO-lite. April 28th.
      • Dreamfall (Longest Journey 2). Single-player adventure. Spring.
      That being said, 3 of those are fantasy RPGs. Where are the good Sci-Fi RPGs? Where are some more Adventure games?
    • Just stumbled on this little gem in the rough and thought I might share it http://www.taleworlds.com/ [taleworlds.com]
  • Adventure Games (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@NosPAm.gmail.com> on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @03:11PM (#14918150) Homepage Journal
    As an aside, I think we're almost reaching a point where single-player games are getting under-served.

    Amen! What the world today really needs is more Guybrush Threepwood! Which is to say, more adventure games chock full of puzzles, humor, and living environments to explore. The recent fan game Stargate Adventure [the-underdogs.org] really reminded me of how much fun those old games were. Sure, they didn't have "Three-Dee", but that was okay. They had distinctively attractive artwork that gave a much more organic feel to the game than today's 3D-based games. They also provided the perfect viewpoint for playing out a television or movie in a game.

    In fact, many of the more serious adventure games were spinoffs of movies or television. Star Trek 25th anniversay is an example that comes to mind, as is Star Trek: A Final Unity. Another good example is Indiana Jones. The Dig even had a book version of the story!

    Today, all that creativity has been shunned in favor of more action and 3D graphics. (Not to mention "adult" themes.) Can we have back a few games that are actually games rather than "entertainment products?" Please?
    • Since Sierra On-Line stopped making the *Quest Games (King, Space, Police, Quest for Glory), things have gone down the tubes pretty hard.
      • Sheesh, I *still* play through the Quest for Glory series about every eight months or so, because they're just so damn fun.

        • I had to set up a bigass VMware system to mimic the correct environment to play 3,4, and 5, because they got so damn buggy on anything faster or more modern than the EXACT system they were designed for. 1 and 2, of course, play fine.
          • Try DosBox [sourceforge.net]. Works perfectly for the QFG series; I do have 4 crash out occasionally with a DOS error, but I suspect that's 4.

            I got that game when it first came out, on floppies, couldn't beat it. Found out a few years later, when I was on the Internet and was thinking about it, and decided to check for a FAQ, that the game shipped with a plot bug that wouldn't trigger a visit from Katrina at a certain time to propel you into the end game.

            • Yea, I ran afoul of that bug as well, the first time I played through. You get 4/5ths of the way through and then stuff stops progressing. Thanks for the emulator link...Running DOS in VMware is kinda overkill.
    • I agree with the AC above, check out Psychonauts [doublefine.com] if you love Tim Schaefer. I've gushed about it here on Slashdot before [slashdot.org].

  • ... but there is some light in the otherwise dark single player rpg experience. Morrowind and Fallout were the first and only RPGs I really played. I had never touched them before because of the complexity and incredibly boring combat modes. Fallout had an incredibly engaging story and Morrowind provided a huge and beautiful world to explore. Combat was also done in a way that was comfortable to a FPS person like myself.

    The new Elder Scrolls promises to be even better after watching the demo videos [elderscrolls.com]. So i
  • because there aren't really any good single-player RPGs out there to play!

    Apparently he hasn't heard of Morrowind or Oblivion [theelderscrolls.com]... At least I thought the elder scrolls series were pretty good RPGs.

  • No RPGs? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Conception (212279)
    Buy a PS2?

    Shadow Hearts Series
    The Nippon Ichi Games (Disgaea, Eternal Mana, Phantom Brave, etc etc)
    Dragon Quest Series
    Grandia Series
    Wild Arms Series
    Tales of Games
    Shining Tears/Force Neo
    Sukisomething or another
    The Shin Megumi Tensen games
    Elder Scrolls, Baldur's Gate Games...
    Final Fantasy 12 is coming out pretty soon...

    There are hundreds hundreds of hours of single, mind numbing, no girlfriend having gameplay out there to be had. Costs about 150 bucks + games to get started. To say there is a darth of single
    • Re:No RPGs? (Score:2, Insightful)

      Console/Japanese RPGs almost all have completely different gameplay and feel from PC RPGs. Soren Johnson must only like the PC kind, and there really aren't many good ones that have come out since Morrowind.
    • Re:No RPGs? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Y-Crate (540566)
      The console RPGs coming out of Japan at the moment tend to be incredibly linear and overloaded with cutscenes and really don't come close to the depth, freedom or gameplay style offered by domestic PC RPGs.
      • The console RPGs coming out of Japan at the moment tend to be incredibly linear and overloaded with cutscenes and really don't come close to the depth, freedom or gameplay style offered by domestic PC RPGs.

        At the moment? The gaming world was playing squaresoft final fantasy series and chrono trigger 13 years ago on the snes and you just described them pefectly. In hindsight I don't know what the hell I was thinking back in those days.

        • Re:No RPGs? (Score:3, Informative)

          by Y-Crate (540566)

          "At the moment? The gaming world was playing squaresoft final fantasy series and chrono trigger 13 years ago on the snes and you just described them pefectly. In hindsight I don't know what the hell I was thinking back in those days."

          I was trying to wrap the bitterness of truth with a little restraint to make it more palatable and thus avoid charges of trolling and/or racism.

          The PS2 and the PS3 simply do not interest me at all due to the fact that their respective game libraries are so heavily populat

  • Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale.
    That's what we need some more of.
    • Not necesseraly. Just because those games we're excellent (and yes, they still are) doesn't mean we should keep making them (that is, after all, the problem!). The way that the Temple of Elemental Evil took on the use of the AD&D engine really spruced things up a bit. Now, Baldurs Gate 3 using the same style of ToEE doesn't sound all that bad....

      Another reason why BG3 or IWD3 is improbable is because those games use a chronological storyline that keeps things going from the last game to the next (Thi
  • Well, most of the article ended up talking about it, so I might as well go along (I still think he has better ideas, but hey).

    1. Graphics. Overdone, didn't work on three seperate systems I tried.

    2. AI. I still think Civ 2 was their best in AI; Civ 3 was too big and slow, Civ 4 was (to me) the exact same AI.

    3. The mod system. Definately the biggest failure. XML and Python is great, but my big reason for staying with Java and PHP is simple, documentation. Javadocs for java.* and javax.*, and the PHP amnual ar
    • They might be online somewhere, but if it doesn't come with the package, it doesn't exist.

      So when the game gets patched.. it doesn't exist?
      • Nope. If they didn't build it right the first time, and don't have Auto Update features, I won't a)know about or b) install the patch. I spend my comp time programming, reading slashdot, and playing games. As a gamer, I just use windows, and as a geek, I leave auto update on, I've never been hit with a virus or spyware. If you can't release a perfect (in my experience) product that I'm paying >$50, I won't come back.
    • by rewinn (647614) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @05:07PM (#14919102) Homepage

      Does Civ IV include tech trees that the player can know before hand?

      That, for me, is one of the big flaws of Civ, AoE, and all that ilk.

      Much of the fun of research is that it's hard to predict what you're going to get. Knowing in advance that investing X resources will result in Y improvement turns too much of such games into bookkeeping exercises.

      At the least, it would be more fun to make tech advancement based on probability, so that investing X resources gives you a Y% chance of discovering gunpowder. Better would to make research into a topic have a % chance of leading to a variety of technologies, e.g. chem research could lead to the discovery of nylon, or it could lead to the discovery of LSD. It'd raise the amount of thinking and gaming to a new level.

      • At the least, it would be more fun to make tech advancement based on probability, so that investing X resources gives you a Y% chance of discovering gunpowder.

        Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri -- the game with the most appropriate abbreviation ever -- has basically this. You can prioritize the four major research categories however you want, but while you'll only get technologies you qualify for which one you'll actually get once you aquire enough research points is unknown. So you have to think in broader terms
    • 3. The mod system. Definately the biggest failure. XML and Python is great, but my big reason for staying with Java and PHP is simple, documentation.

      Do you want some cheese with that? It's their "biggest failure" because you don't like the language they chose? Well, I guess this is Slashdot.

      Since when are developers required to provide documentation for modders? As I recall, Total Annihilation had a whole whack of user-created units, and there was no documentation or support. They cracked the file

      • No, they advertised to gamers that it would be based on mods; I was expecting at least something as powerful as the CivIII world builder. They didn't provide what they hyped, and they lost my support over it. I don't care that they chose Python; in fact, I was looking forward to practicing Python with Civ IV, but when they don't give me somthing as simple as a reference card of functions, I can't do jack. It's one thing when a community wants to mod the game, it's something else the game wants the community
    • Um, I don't have the Python code from Civ4 immediately handy (I could check later tonight), but the language conventions in Python for triple-quoted strings and suchlike tend to result in code with good embedded documentation, much like what JavaDoc will give you.

      Call help(foo) for pretty much anything in Python and you will get good module or class documenation...
  • From TFA "You shouldn't think in terms of competition; the only bad thing for the industry is a bad game."

    I totally agree, if there are two great games released in a month I will buy two games that month, if all the games look rubbish I won't bother getting my money out. If only more of the entertainment industry would think like this everyone would be happier!
  • Imagine that (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pluvius (734915) <pluvius3@gmaiSTRAWl.com minus berry> on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @05:21PM (#14919207) Journal
    Someone complaining about the lack of single-player RPGs on the PC when he's contributing directly to the type of game that's responsible for that lack? Who'da thunk?

    Rob
  • TACK IT ON (Score:4, Interesting)

    by iridium_ionizer (790600) * on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @06:41PM (#14919936)
    Sid Meier and Johnson may have been mainly discussing PC games (though they do mention the console release of Pirates). To change the discussion flow a bit towards consoles, I would like to disagree with them. I want an offline multiplayer aspect on EVERY game I purchase (for the consoles) and I don't care if it is tacked on (as long as it is fun).

    Why are there only 5 million PS2/Xbox owners that play games online when the install base is some 100 million (numbers may not be entirely accurate)? The first reason is because not everyone has the opportunity hook their PS2/Xbox up to DSL or cable internet. Secondly, people are averse to technical hurdles (physically setting it up, lag, user interfaces). Lastly, people dislike the social hurdles (griefers, not being able to find friends, not being able to see their faces, etc.).

    As for myself, I actively look to purchase games with split screen multiplayer (preferable a customizable split screen). For the average user playing with or against a bunch of friends or relatives while sitting on the couch is much more enjoyable than playing online friends (and idiots) over the internet.

    I spend a very limited time playing on my PS2. When I do play the PS2 it is usually with relatives or friends, either taking turns, watching each other, or simultaneously playing.

    I give two examples: Super Monkey Ball Deluxe and Dog's Life. I bought both of these for the same reason so I could have something to play with my young nephews. I grant you that Dog's Life received mediocre to good reviews. I played only the beginning of the single player and despite the game world being well-crafted and fleshed out, I soon gave up due to the story-mode's annoyingly cutesy cutscenes and too many tedious gameplay aspects. I later eBayed it for $20 (USD).

    I have never played the single-player game of Super Monkey Ball Deluxe, even though reviews say it is quite good (I don't have the time). But I bought the game BECAUSE it had about 10 totally different offline multiplayer modes (that don't require any effort to unlock them). Individually some of these modes can get a little boring after a while, but when taken together they amount to a fairly fun set of party games.

    Back to Dog's Life, I would have kept the game if it had ANY fun multiplayer because the animations, controls, and levels were pretty good and most games don't let you control a dog (even Nintendogs only lets you own it not be it). They could have put in a dog barkoff match mode or a dog chases cat mode (they already had models for both), but they didn't so I got rid of it.

    Yes, I agree that developer's should focus on either the single-player experience or the multiplayer for the thrust of their efforts, but why not throw in a simple but fun multiplayer mode as long as your creating all of these digital assets. Think about it? What if Pac-Man had a two-player mode where one player is Pac-Man and the other is the only ghost on the board (both retaining same relative speeds etc.)? What if Shadow of the Colossus had a race mode where you can stand up on your running horse and shoot arrows at the player in the lead (but risk falling off/ slowing down)? What if it had a king of the mountain (aka Colossus) mode? Sure you would have to re-optimize the engine to handle split screen and more I/O data, but other than that those modes are practically there, and would have added to the long-term enjoyment of the game.
  • The reason why the game industry is showing such a preference to multiplayer games, and MMOs in particular, is simple: subscription fees. It's the ultimate response to piracy, and bypasses the need for nasty DRM schemes entirely. Sure, you could pirate the EQ or WoW clients - so what? You still need to be able to log in, and to do that, you need to pay your monthly fees with a credit card or buy game cards with cash. To play illegally, you'd have to resort to credit card fraud or cash theft, and that's

"The medium is the message." -- Marshall McLuhan

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