I was just wondering if the main page had been changed. The links to the different Forums are no longer there. Or, is it just me...
Reposted from the general gaming thread:
Suddenly I remembered that I have a website. Not sure how that happened...
Anyway, I posted thoughts and feelings about a handful of games that seem to be on TTLG's collective radar in some sense. The idea here is that for the next week, all of you can post your wildly differing opinions on these games and any other games you want to the forum, and next weekend I'll do another version of that news post with what the actual TTLGers think, rather than just me. I'm going to be messing around with TTLG.com's general layout too, mostly in the vein of simplifying things and saying goodbye to the daughter sites.
Post your quips here: (the thread we're in now.)
Or in this thread. I'll find 'em either way.
(I'd also rather you kept things fairly brief, because I'd like to post as many comments from as many different people as possible.)
P.S. We've talked long and winded about a TTLG redux, with many compelling ideas thrown around, but at the end of the day the path of least resistance was always the one staring me in the face saying, "just do this, things don't have to be so complicated." The answer: Just start posting stuff.
Well I'll add some of my thumbnail thoughts to some of the games you posted.
Thi4f. I expect this to be in the same vein as TDS, but at least avoiding some of its foibles like the awkward movement, lack of swim-able water and rope arrows, and ghastly HUD, but I definitely suspect they're thinking about it as a step "forward" in the series and not "back". Biggest implications for TTLG is I don't think it will be moddable, so no FMs, which will practically shift momentum to Dark Mod for the FM scene.
Bioshock Infinite. The thing I'm interested in from what I've heard about this game (and building on BS1 & 2) is the increasing focus on AI and "active" NPCs as part of the gaming mechanics. They still have a way to go, but AFAIK this is the one game series really experimenting with this and pushing the envelope. The "puzzle" edge to its fighting mechanics can be fun, and the story-telling is at least a cut above nominal. Those are good things, but not what makes it that special.
Deus Ex HR. Yeah, take out the 3P cut-aways and I like what I've seen in the trailers. My general feeling is the same I had for Thi4f, on a similar track as DX:IW minus the foibles, more polished, better pacing. But it's still being thought of as a step "forward" not back.
Skyrim & Fallout NV. I haven't played Oblivion or Fallout 3 yet, so shouldn't venture an opinion, but I played Fallout 2 and Morrowind just in the last year, so at least I have a feel for what I like about these two series.
Dear Esther. I'm a big fan of Interactive Fiction developing in the firstperson genre, but I wasn't the biggest fan of DE being crowned the archetype just because there isn't near enough interactivity, gameplay, and experimentation as you see in really good IF. DE important for being the model or prototype of how IF can be done in FPS, like the thing you tell people so they know what you're talking about. But I'll be happy when some real groundbreaking FP-IF starts getting developed, taking the kinds of leaps traditional IF has taken, to show the real potential.
Ok, that's all the typing I can do for now...
It's kind of funny that I have far more faith in seeing a good game come from the smaller dev houses, like Frictional and Arkane, than I do from the heavy hitters like EM and 2K (Bethesda being the exception). Well, maybe not that strange seeing what's been released over the past couple of years. In any case, I'll list my opinions on a "willingness to purchase" priority list:
Release day purchase, no questions asked:
Thief 4 - While I have very little optimism that this title won't be completely linear, be way over simplified for consoles, and have have almost nothing in common gameplay wise with the original Thief games, I'm way too devoted to the series to not shell out my cash immediately and check it out for myself. Still, I have a bad feeling that T4 will make TDS look good.
Skyrim - It's the latest Elder Scrolls game, and it'll be amazing (or at least way better than anything else out there). Bethesda has never disappointed me.
Likely purchase, but might check out a review or two:
The Witcher 2 - Loved the first one, and since it was a success, I'm hoping they don't change anything too drastically. I actually didn't mind the combat in the first version. The only thing that worries me is that they seemed to have changed the appearance and voice of Geralt (maybe that's changed, I haven't read a preview in a while).
Stalker 2 - This would normally go in the first category, but after Clear Sky..? Even so, hard to believe this wouldn't be good enough to grab. The atmosphere in these games is the best there is.
Arkane's new game - Recently played thru Arx Fatalis for the first time, and was incredibly impressed. That game alone got me psyched for whatever their new project is. Just the fact that it's a first person RPG is enough for me anyway.
I won't be forking out any cash until I read some serious reviews on the web and at TTLG:
Bioshock Infinite - Like most, I was lukewarm at best on Bioshock, but I had some fun with it. Bioshock in the sky sounds somewhat interesting, but I don't imagine it's going to surprise me too much and be much different than the original. Why would it, they made a pile of cash the first time around.
Deus Ex 3 - I want to like it, I want to belive the hype that it's similar to the original, I want to believe all the previews that say there are choices and multiple paths, etc. But I don't.
Dead Space 2 - Enjoyed the original, and it was fun to play, but it didn't blow me away and turn me into a fanboy.
X-com - Never played any version of this game, don't know much about it.
EYE - Don't know anything about it.
Already own it, for better or worse:
Fallout New Vegas - Love it, just like Fallout 3, but need to finish it.
Amnesia - My kind of game, scary, first person, atmospheric, hard to go wrong here. I'll be excited by whatever Frictional does in the future based on this and the Penumbras.
I'm not really bothered about what you say about each game tbh. I think the front page needs a complete revamp though. It's so 1990s and just rejigging it, getting rid of the Thief, SS and Deus Ex side menu and revamping that and generally modernising it is all that's needed. The news section might as well go if it's not going to be updated frequently, which is a shame because I'm interested in a lot of those games and if we had news links to other sites (at least) that were updated on a regular basis then I might actually visit the front page.
Thanks guys. Keep it coming.
Sub, I plan on that. In fact I'd be doing it right now if I didn't feel like enjoying the rest of my relaxing weekend in a blissful, coma-like state. You can expect a very bare-bones redesign to come soon, with something more elaborate maybe once I get some people on board to take over the site from me.
I've a question, do we really need 2 threads for this?
Well, at least this move let me finally save "A Hacker's Guide to Sin" as PDF for future laughs - who knows how long this one will continue to be hosted.
Also, I hope you are considering at least RSS for the main page, or I might as well forget about it again, too .
I have only followed three of these, and will also add DNF and Grimoire:
Thief 4: We know almost nothing meaningful about this project, and as long as it remains that way, I will stay a pessimist. Game development today is not nearly as permissive an environment as it used to be, and Thief as we like it is too niche, too hard to be a genuine commercial success. If the creators can work with these limitations, I will take a more careful look, but until then, I have written it off.
Deus Ex HR: Seems to be a significant departure from the original Deus Ex, but so far, it looks appealing in its own right, even interesting as a Deus Ex game - not necessarily one set in the same continuity (something that does not bother me), but one that examines similar themes and has similar ambitions. This may actually be good, as long as you are okay with lemon lime instead of your usual orange.
Bioshock Infinite: If Bioshock was the failed utopia of immersive sim design, Infinite is shaping up to be the tried commercial recipe that makes people forget the series ever tried to be something genuinely great - beneath the creative world design and carefully constructed set-pieces, Infinite looks like another 'cinematic' experience with oodles of hand-holding, carefully limited interactivity, and maybe a few extra branches off the main railroad counting as 'non-linear design' and 'emergence'. Can't argue with success, but this leaves me cold.
Duke Nukem Forever: Duke was great because it had amazing, interactive map design and amazing, creative weapons, not because Duke was such a great guy or because there were tits. DNF, so far, shows too much of the latter and not enough of the former. I will be happy to be proven wrong.
Grimoire: Speaking of ages-old vapourvare, this self-described Wizardry-killer (from back when this meant anything to anyone) is apparently very close to release this time, a bit like in 1999, 2001, 2004 and 2006. Will noted fallout shelter owner Cleve Blakemore really finish it before the bombs begin to fall? Will it really be the ultimate mid-90s CRPG that unseats Crusaders of the Dark Savant from its throne? And will we still care now that most of us who still know about it are bitter, jaded old men? Stay tuned.
Thief 4. Embarrassing working title, a few disappointing rumours. The Deus Ex release will tell us exactly what EM are willing to sacrifice to the new target audience. It will also show what common gameplay elements from other games they are going to add without thinking it through. Third person cover, cool show-off moves and no qualm at taking the view from first person every now and then is a significant cue that Thief 4 may feature mostly third person gameplay, parkour and stealth kills. 4/20.
Arkane Studios. If their past and cancelled/on hold projects are anything to go by, they're clearly worth keeping an eye on. In absence of news, there is nothing hinting that they've lost their PC-centric attitude. Personally, I just hope that their next game won't feature a core multiplayer component like The Crossing was supposed to have. 15/20.
Bioshock Infinite. Fact: the first trailer was a horrible scriptfest. It doesn't mean that the game won't be an interesting linear FPS, but it will have to include more than gimmick telekinesis, different kinds of splicers and renaming the big daddy/little sister relationship. And I'm not trusting Levine to do anything interesting with the story. They could just get rid of all their literary pretenses for what it's worth. 6/20.
Deus Ex: HR. "Looks cool" pretty much defines it. Visual design is shamelessly pillaging Japanese cyberpunk and the rest from Blade Runner. Aesthetically and story-wise, it couldn't be any more remote from the original games. Gameplay-wise, some core concepts seem to be interesting if done right (multiple approach scenarios and stealth) but TTLG regulars will have to accept to play it as a mainstream, multiplatform game at its core. My biggest hope is that they keep hidden storyline elements for players who have a certain, uncommon approach (not killing bosses, finding certain readables, etc.) which change radically the way later encounters unfold. 9/20.
TES V: Skyrim. No surprises indeed. Looks dated due to it not being made for PC anymore. First interface shots/interview look horrible. The world itself looks tentatively interesting, but it can't be worse than Oblivion IMO. Quests and interaction with the world will tell. 8/20.
Fallout series. Not interested. Countless attempts of getting into FO3 and NV resulted in failure. 0/20.
STALKER series. The best addition to TTLG in the recent years. For the time being, I'm trusting GSC to stick with the core formula. Nothing much to say until we have more info on STALKER 2. Discussions about mods however make the dedicated forums here pretty valuable. 19/20.
Dear Esther. The remake of this one shot experience looks fantastic. It was built with a honest desire to make it the "reference art game" and I dig honesty. I hope they took the time to conquer the shortcomings of the writing and even if they didn't, it should be a beautiful and atmospheric semi-interactive experience. 17,5/20.
Dead Space. Both Dead Space games were fun and polished examples of modern console gaming working well on all platforms, although many elements of the game were terrible (notably writing and videogaming tropes). Visual design shows surprising consistency and good eye for aesthetics. 14/20.
The Witcher 2. I love The Witcher. It may be adolescent in its quality of writing and some kind of a half-mainstream beast when it comes to gameplay but it really clicked with me. I like such an universe giving us a somewhat raw take on fantasy kingdom, simplified and lovable characters (allowing to fake psychological depth quite easily), dark humour and unusual quests. CD Projekt nailed the 'humanity' needed for a RPG to work, and I'm looking forward to the sequel - QTEs and consolisation (yes!) aside. 16/20.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent. The best horror game in these recent years requires more than often the ability to roleplay the main character and suspend disbelief but gives back in spades when you do. I haven't been that tense playing a game since System Shock 2, and that is a great feeling. It's too bad the demo gave away those invisible monsters, they would have had an even greater impact if I hadn't known about them. I'm buying blindly Frictional's next game. 18/20.
XCOM. After the initial shock of their "take" on the X-Com of my youth, I'm prudently optimistic about this. After being hugely disappointed by Bioshock, I had great fun with Bioshock 2 which showed a lot more mastery in nailing the basic FPS principles. I'm trusting 2K Marin to make a fun FPS, I just hope it won't be a CoD clone set during the fifties. 12/20.
E.Y.E. A lot of things in E.Y.E look interesting: multiple branching paths, tight shooting, RPG stats, dystopian universe. I'm pretty worried about the writing and story however. I'm afraid it will be a fun game but not taking its own cohesiveness seriously enough for me to like it from start to finish. It's French. 10/20.
The Dark Mod. Very promising and already in a state where good missions can be made. Not enough people getting into it. Would love to know why. 15/20.
Last edited by Briareos H; 14th Feb 2011 at 06:35. Reason: added spoiler for amnesia
My four favorite games of all time are still, after all these years, in order: Thief: The Dark Project, Thief II: The Metal Age, Arx Fatalis, and System Shock 2. Sadly, none of the titles created as "spiritual successors" by the same and different developers have come close to meeting my standards set by those four. In all cases, I felt it was a near-total departure. I'm not at all interested in the new pretender to the Thief series, nor in the next Bioshock game. And I was greatly disappointed even by Arkane's Dark Messiah, so I'm not sure I'm interested in anything they're doing anymore, either. In short, I've been forced to reluctantly conclude that great games come about by chance, and that "lightning doesn't strike twice." And it doesn't seem to be striking anymore; that the newest of my four favorite games is ten years old. All of the new titles listed in this thread have something about them which puts me off.
For example, Amnesia doesn't appeal to me if only because of the "over-done-ness" of the player character's audible expressions. I don't need the character to loudly pant and moan whenever I'm supposed to be scared. I'm supposed to be the one who's feeling the fear; I don't need the character to do it for me. It's a "double-simulation," and that really bugs me. If I'm doing something, the virtual character doesn't need to also do it. That goes for functional things which affect gameplay, and it also goes for aesthetic things such as adrenaline-affected heartbeat and breathing. I don't need to hear my virtual heartbeat pounding in my head because I'm already hearing my real heartbeat pounding in my head.
Last edited by Sg3; 14th Feb 2011 at 12:37.
If that's all you've got to contribute, i.e. nothing that TTLG isn't infamous for already, then why post?
@Digi. So you've got this quasi-blog thing going now. Can you add some way for us to comment on the posts? It would contribute to it being a Community thing, I think. I don't mean a new thread for every single post, but maybe a space below the posts for comments, or a link to some kind of special space for them or something.
Yeah, but that brings back the question of whether it'll take away from the forum action. In situations where you don't have and wouldn't want to start a thread for a particular bit of news it would be of use, but otherwise won't it run the risk of turning people away from the forums for not wanting to post the same thing twice?
I think most if not all the posts are looking like this.
Digi's made like 5 posts already. The games they talk about I believe have threads about them already, but these posts are more like news bulletins and an opinion that don't really fit in them, and except for that first one, they don't deserve entire new threads just for them. But they do make points it would be good to see comments on. And I don't think it will take away from people posting in threads because the threads stand on their own. And people wouldn't be posting their general thoughts on the game here, but just responding to the particular post or opinion. I'm just imagining like 3 or 4 comments, basically like a blog, not a whole discussion.
Sadly I am still working with the decade-old content management system (cms) that was written way back when TTLG was just getting started, and so there's no support at all in it for any type of commenting system. At the moment I think we have someone who can work on updating or redoing the cms for us, but for the time being the only way people can comment on the news/blog posts is by starting a threat, or talking about them in existing threads.
Right now I feel like there's no point in posting something to the news/blog section unless I have an opinion about it, because our readers are just as likely to see the news elsewhere. If I don't have an opinion about it, it's not worth posting. Does that make sense?
I really do want to allow comments on posts.
Who are "our readers"?
With all due respect, I don't think anybody cares about the front page - whether it is made of opinion or not. I'm sure most people directly bookmark ttlg.com/forums/. I'm among those who think that the front page does not need hold any content, but merely act as a node towards the forums and sister sites (walkthroughs, FMs, patches, etc.).
A blog-like structure can be useful, but for hosting maintenance-related messages or general announcements concerning the TTLG network. If you really want to link to game opinions there, how about linking directly to dedicated threads in the forums?
EDIT: More regarding the "news" aspect of the site. There is no use in yet another videogaming news related aggregator. Many of us follow RPS, other forums and other blogs (even maybe things like Kotaku - bleh), so everything you can post there will be probably redundant and/or dated. If you start posting personal opinions and news about "hot" games, you're taking away the discussion from the forums and destroying a part of the community aspect. Plus, quite frankly, a personal blog is not what TTLG is about.
Last edited by Briareos H; 16th Feb 2011 at 13:23.
I think a selective news blog can be very useful thing even with personal preferences indicated (if done sporadically and if they are clearly indicated as such). And let's face it, anything is better than the wasteland that the front page had become.
Just tapping into the forum would be a mistake IMHO. The TTLG community is not uniform or structured enough to depend on some kind of member democracy to generate an interesting page. Also, a lot of new threads start out without any real information, some do but most are no front page material.
Having one or perhaps a couple of news moderators might result in a more balanced page. The news items can of course still refer to an interesting thread.
Personally I'd like to see a setup similar to RPGWatch: all the news items are basically the first posts of threads in a special news section of the forum. Each news item has a link to its full thread where any member can comment.
Like the TTLG forums, RPGWatch is vBulletin based as well. I don't know how much customization went into that but still..
At first glance the TTLG forums can seem a harsh place where personal preferences of some prolific members seem to rule (of course depending on which section of TTLG you're reading). Having a moderated/filtered frontpage that encourages people to comment on interesting TTLG subjects could be more inviting for potential new members and certain people.
Last edited by addink; 16th Feb 2011 at 20:28.
Despite the fact that I think Digi is trying to jazz up the front page for some newer visitors (maybe important ones), I'd say dash the front page altogether, and have ttlg.com resolve right to the forums. That's really why everyone comes here anyway, not for late breaking news.
I'm surprised TTLG's opinions are worth showing off proudly on the front page.
I always come to the main page first, out of habit if anything. It just feels good to see the TTLG home, and feel that comfortable feeling.
I say this is a good thing while it lasts, because... its fun.
Coincidentally, I've been going there quite often this year, due to the fact that I'm using university computers more than my laptop and there's no wi-fi at my current workplace, and so I just type the shorter URL; or come here through Google, since there's no bookmarking or retaining of History, etc. Pre-late-2006, I used to have a list of bookmarks in an email-to-self, but on these computers it takes several steps just to get into my email.
Goldmoon, at this time, my favorite part of the front page is the set of old links to documents from the turn of the century and earlier.
If the main page did have to include content, what I'd like to see is regular insightful "blog" posts from people in the legacy of LGS. For example a dev diary by Digital Nightfall, obscure Thief news (cosplays, long lost missions etc.) by clearing, Thief lore posts by jtr7, Dark Mod status updates by Springheel and so on - covering all core TTLG games.