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Thread: Interview with Paul Neurath

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2005
    Location: Spain

    Interview with Paul Neurath

    At Grupo97:
    http://grupo97.org/index.php?option=...egos&Itemid=86
    I hope you find it interesting.

    Regards
    Last edited by Slamelov; 3rd Sep 2010 at 13:54.

  2. #2
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2003
    Location: The Plateaux Of Mirror
    Careful, 75% of the people who post here are still in denial about Thief being a major hit.

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: Near Brisbane, Australia
    I thought Paul gave a really good interview.

    The interviewer annoyed me a little bit though. He often seemed more interested in airing his own opinions then chasing Paul's.

    For instance,
    Quote Originally Posted by TFA
    Interviewer
    We can find several ex-components of Looking Glass in Floodgate. Any plans to develop a new license for PC?

    Paul
    Floodgate is focused on casual and social games. As such, we’re not looking to do the high-end, harder-core PC games that LookingGlass was known for. But we do still push for innovation in our games, and look to do immersion where appropriate.

    ...


    Interviewer
    Would Floodgate be interested in it [Deep Cover] now?

  4. #4
    Taking a break
    Registered: Dec 2002
    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Moyer View Post
    Careful, 75% of the people who post here are still in denial about Thief being a major hit.
    500.000 copies doesn't seem like much. But hey, whatever lets you sleep at night bro.

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2006
    Location: On the tip of your tongue.
    Half a mill isn't much... today. For the late 90s it's a good return on your investment. You'd see that if you read the interview.

    Thief ended up being a solid hit for us. Had we done more games at the sales level of Thief LookingGlass would be thriving today.

  6. #6
    jtr7
    Guest
    It wasn't intended to be a MAJOR hit, and it did not sell as a MAJOR hit, and sold as well as they expected, especially with the competition they had. The hit it was for LGS meant their budget and business model were on target and made with those sales figures in mind. Half-Life came out the same year and was all around a MAJOR hit. Looking Glass was a 70-employee studio (roughly) and had one too many failures. If TDP had sold as well as Half-Life, they also would not have shut down or needed to be bailed out (assuming they wouldn't have tried other games). It wasn't a major hit, even for 1998. It was a hit for a small studio making a game that sold minimally as well as they hoped it would. Thief is hardly mentioned, hardly known, and doesn't have any public markers of a hit like games that sold millions of units. The magnitude of the hit Thief was is not relative to games of that year, but relative to LGS's business model. The magnitude of innovation, however, is definitely more noteworthy.


    Last week I tried to find a list showing Thief's relative position for number of units sold for video games, and it's not even on the top 200, but games that came out long before, during, and since fill up the lists, never dropping below 2.5 million units sold.
    Last edited by jtr7; 1st Sep 2010 at 03:41.

  7. #7
    Taking a break
    Registered: Dec 2002
    Quote Originally Posted by nicked View Post
    Half a mill isn't much... today. For the late 90s it's a good return on your investment.
    I knew you'd say that, so I checked out some other game sales in that period. Q2 sold over a million, for example.

    You'd see that if you read the interview.
    "for us"

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2001
    Location: cesspool
    Quote Originally Posted by Koki View Post
    I knew you'd say that, so I checked out some other game sales in that period. Q2 sold over a million, for example.
    Doesn't that mean he's right?

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2001
    Location: Moscow
    Floodgate is focused on casual and social games. As such, we’re not looking to do the high-end, harder-core PC games that LookingGlass was known for.
    This is a shame. I think, Tim Willits of mighty id answers this appropriately: "It's a very sad state of affairs when more people are playing FarmVille than Call of Duty, alright. It's hurtful... [If id decides to make casual games,] John [Carmack] would definitely put himself in a rocket and shoot himself into space. The last thing you'd see from John is this [rude gesture] as he goes into space".

    Thief is hardly mentioned, hardly known, and doesn't have any public markers of a hit like games that sold millions of units.
    Well, it survived two sequels and currently is struggling through the third one. Games that are 'hardly known' don't become a 4-piece series with AAA-potential.

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2005
    Location: Spain
    d'Spair, if iD were closed, like Looking Glass was, Tim Willit wouldn't say that

  11. #11
    Classical Master 2008
    Registered: Jun 2002
    Location: Civitas Quinque Ecclesiae HU
    I bet a lot more people in 1998 played Solitaire and Minesweeper than Quake2, Half Life or anything else. They just weren't as talked about as Farmville is now.

  12. #12
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2005
    Location: Spain
    And Farmville is a more complex game than Call of Duty

  13. #13
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    I'm not sure I buy this whole "Casual games are killing real gaming", although I'm willing to be swayed by hard evidence.

    On the whole, would people who play casual games to the exclusion of other games play these other games if there weren't the casual fare? In addition, I know a couple of people for whom casual games were a sort of 'gateway drug' and now they may not be big-time players, but they do play the occasional Half-Life. Finally, I'm sure I'm not the only hardcore, look-at-my-e-balls-and-despair gamer who still likes the occasional round of this or that casual game.

    That Tim Willits quote strikes me as childish and silly... even though I like the image of John Carmack flying off on a rocket, giving Earth the finger.

  14. #14
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2006
    Location: On the tip of your tongue.
    Quote Originally Posted by Koki View Post
    I knew you'd say that, so I checked out some other game sales in that period. Q2 sold over a million, for example.



    "for us"
    What jtr said.

    And yeah, "Casual gaming is killing hardcore gaming" is as fundamentally flawed a statement as "PC gaming is dead." My wife may be addicted to Peggle, but that doesn't mean she'd be joining me for a few rounds of Unreal Tournament if she wasn't.

  15. #15
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2001
    Location: Moscow
    It's the enlightning interview overall.

    Over the years people usually realize and accept both errors and successes committed in the past. Looking Glass main successes are evident, but what about errors?

    We surely made many errors over the 10 years we were in business. All companies do; more so if they do anything interesting. We did try to learn from our errors.
    Some of the errors we made…
    - We should have dialed back somewhat the level of depth and complexity we put in some of our games, and put more emphasis on accessibility. We did learn from this, and Thief was the result.
    - We did not put sufficient emphasis on pure visual pizzazz for many of our games. Fight Unlimited was an exception; but for our other titles the level visual eye candy, and providing fast and smooth frame rates, was not on par with the blockbusters of the time. This hurt our sales.
    - We spread ourselves too thin in terms of genres. Nearly every blockbuster studio of that time had a tight focus, such as only doing PC first-person shooters, as often as not just a single franchise. We did 3D fantasy games, 3D science fiction games, flight simulators, sports games, and others genres. In hindsight, we were slightly crazed to try to tackle such a wide palette as a small company, and it meant that we could not build the level of expertise in any single genre as we otherwise could.
    - We were undercapitalized for what we were trying to do. As an small but ambitious studio we tried to push ourselves and do a lot; but often with not quite enough capital. It was a risky strategy that ultimately contributed to our demise.
    I could go on, but that’s probably enough to mention for now.
    I mean, thanks God history can't be undone. If LG did things differently in order to avoid 'mistakes', we would never have their phenomenal games as we know them now. I'm quite sure about this because the man who is speaking is currently working on social games for Facebook.

    Time ago, Warren Spector defined both 'Thief' and 'Deus Ex' as 'immersion simulators'. Would you suggest us where to find them today?
    At Looking Glass we called this approach “immersive reality”, but Warren’s term is equally apt. It came out of some of us having worked on flight simulators in the 1980’s, and then applying some of what we learned about this genre to Ultima Underworld and System Shock. In flight simulators you bend backwards to give the player as much freedom and control as you can in the simulation, creating a sort of game play “sandbox”. To some degree games such as the Sims and GTA took a similar approach.

    ...

    Anyway, to answer your question I believe that elements of “immersion simulators” can still be found today in a variety of games, but games that have the all-out focus on this approach are few and far between. This is in part because of the belief, perhaps correct, that full-out expressions of this game play style are suited only for harder core gamers, and again, it is hard to justify modern game budgets for just this audience. On a related note, there are notably fewer flight simulators and racing simulators today than ten years ago for much the same reason.
    This is the highlight. I could never know that when Warren Spector invented the 'immersive simulatior' term, he meant it as literally as it now seems. I could not imagine that immersive sim games are so closely tied to the traditional simulation games.

    We believe games can be not only entertainment but a fantastic way for storytelling, offering many possibilities for singular artistic expression. Looking Glass showed that, but there's still a long way to go in terms of both comparison with the quality of movie scripts, and respect as a truly artistic medium at the same level. What does it take to change this?

    Absolutely agree that games have a long way to go to match the level storytelling and character development that a good film can deliver. Part of it is an inherent limitation of the interactive media. It is far easier to tell an story and communicate character in a liner media such as a film or a book. Once you go interactive and non-liner, you introduce all sorts of hurdles, and game designers have not yet found a way to level to fully compensate.
    Well, this is another proof of my strong belief that if video games are going to continue to strive for being interactive films, they will degrade to the format of fat-free sitcom replacements with no ambition to gain a special spot in the modern art. Ebert will be happy. But that's what we see now: modern hardcore games are becoming less and less Games in the traditional mechanical meaning, and more and more movies with occasional option to press a button at a given moment. This is a creative catastrophy for the medium.

  16. #16
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2001
    Location: Moscow
    Quote Originally Posted by nicked View Post
    And yeah, "Casual gaming is killing hardcore gaming" is as fundamentally flawed a statement as "PC gaming is dead." My wife may be addicted to Peggle, but that doesn't mean she'd be joining me for a few rounds of Unreal Tournament if she wasn't.
    It IS killing. In Russia, almost every single studio that was working on hardcore SP games 10 years ago is now working with casual audience or online games. I think this trend is happening all around the world. The 'hardcore/mainstream' relation has changed during the last few years. 10 years ago, Thief was hardcore and Doom was mainstream. Now, Call of Duty is hardcore and FarmVille is mainstream.

    PC gaming IS dead in its traditional state. PC gaming has been known for ages as the platform for game design innovation, immersive games and rich single-player experience. Looking Glass was a PCgames studio. Bethesda was formed as a PC games studio. Current immersive games that are being enjoyed all around TTLG (Stalker, BioShock - well, almost all around TTLG in case with this one, - Dark Messiah) are either PC only or multiplatform, but originated from PC games design concepts.

    PC gaming now is MMO games like WOW and casual/social games now. Hardcore SP games are console games these days.
    Last edited by d'Spair; 1st Sep 2010 at 09:55.

  17. #17
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2005
    Location: Spain
    Quote Originally Posted by d'Spair View Post
    It's the enlightning interview overall.





    This is the highlight. I could never know that when Warren Spector invented the 'immersive simulatior' term, he meant it as literally as it now seems. I could not imagine that immersive sim games are so closely tied to the traditional simulation games.


    .
    Warren Spector did not invented the "inmersive simulations", he only defined it, as the interview says.

  18. #18
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    Quote Originally Posted by Melan View Post
    I bet a lot more people in 1998 played Solitaire and Minesweeper than Quake2, Half Life or anything else. They just weren't as talked about as Farmville is now.
    Those games weren't making money hand over fist like Farmville, et al, are though. Casual gaming has always been around; but adding the microtransactions element to it has really skyrocketed it to a whole new and terrifying level.

  19. #19
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2001
    Location: Moscow
    Quote Originally Posted by Slamelov View Post
    Warren Spector did not invented the "inmersive simulations", he only defined it, as the interview says.
    You'd better read once again what you were quoting.

  20. #20
    Taking a break
    Registered: Dec 2002
    Quote Originally Posted by 242 View Post
    Doesn't that mean he's right?
    Uh, no? If Thief was a "major hit" with 500k copies, what would Quake 2 with one million be? And people didn't even care about Q2 all that much, really. As soon as new online FPS was done they dropped it, it never had the staying power that, say, Tribes did.

    And what d'Spair said.

  21. #21
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2005
    Location: Spain
    Quote Originally Posted by d'Spair View Post
    You'd better read once again what you were quoting.
    Yes, you are right, sorry for the misunderstood.
    Last edited by Slamelov; 1st Sep 2010 at 14:35.

  22. #22
    Southquarter.com/fms
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    Great article/interview, but it's a bit deflating to learn that the person who founded LGS and is at least partially responsible for all the memorable games which fuel this site - is now working on cell phone games.

    And his attempts to convince us that the same innovation and creativity he showed earlier in his career can be applied to what he's doing now, quite frankly, ring hollow.

  23. #23
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2005
    Location: Spain
    I would like Floodgate colaborate with Arkane again, and Irrational Games.

  24. #24
    New Member
    Registered: Sep 2010
    Location: E1M8
    Real creativity happens not without constraints but within them, to quote one Spector.
    Who just happens to be making a heavily franchised Wii game, yeah!
    ^_^

  25. #25
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2001
    Location: Moscow
    Quote Originally Posted by Satrapper View Post
    Real creativity happens not without constraints but within them, to quote one Spector.
    Who just happens to be making a heavily franchised Wii game, yeah!
    ^_^
    I think I know you.

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