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Old 05-25-2006, 11:10 AM   #1
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Default Episodes: fresh idea, but needs MUCH more there.

I remeber asking around to the HL2 groupie friends of mine if they had played the seccond Sin yet the day it came out. Usualy I am on the front lines in obtaining any high-polish PC exclusive or catered that comes out the day it comes out if I can but since I had just previously learned that EA had picked up it's distribution. I figured it was easily worth the wait, after all owning a game on Steam just takes something out it for me. Any how like most retailers the only games they actualy get in when they ship on the PC are the giants if that so I had about 2 weeks to sit on it.

Just want to throw in a disclaimer here, I do have a substance to my post I just kind of want to paint out my frame of mind so you guys can at least if you dont agree with me, can see where I'm coming from.

What kind of got to me is that no one of my diehard HL groupie friends (hell even the ones who like steam) were realy all that interested in buying it. What bugged me more is that they all had the same answer, which is that same as what I had rolling in my head since the day I first heard of it in PCG. That answer is, why the hell should I buy a fourth or fith of a game?

It's not the fact that when you break down the hours in each episode versus the twenty bucks per you practicaly double the cost of what is the content of one... well that is cause I am taking the high road and will assume thats not ritual's driving factor, I could be wrong please let me know if I am.

As a mater of fact, I dont care what I pay as long as I get what I paid for. I dont see any reason why any other gamer wouldent think the same, and that brings me to whats kind of my main point here... Episodes can work but put twenty bucks of game into each one. And it's not just sheer dollar value when I say that because if devs thought that way... oh yhea I forgot about consoles. Ok if PC devs thought that way there would be no reason to game any more, or make games for that matter.***

I think that you could make a great game out of this episodic release thing. I personaly dont like to think of it as buying a fith of a game, but rather a small but worthwile game that on its own can stand up with any individual release game on the shelves next to it. But if things arent that way, thinking so would be quite a moot point, kind of like how AOL users think they get high speed internet. Granted there is a differecne, AOL comes out and says that have highspeed internet, and they say it as if they had it like all the other broadband companies. This gives those poor souls the benifit of the doubt, plus they never find out cause if you use AOL, chances are you dont know how to do, um... anything at all... probably with a computer as a whole for that matter.

I dont get that bennifit of the doubt because it keeps echoing in my head what valve plans to do, and the fact that he can say it with a straight face just blows my goddamned mind. Let me elaborate, I swear I am wraping this up in just a few more, I do have a rational point. ok. As most of you know valve has been um, "swooned" by ritual's idea. One or two months after Aftermath's intended target date valve anounces that they are going to drop the expansions episodicaly. This means that two years after they completed taking out all the cool guns and monsters and releaseing a "lighter" version of what was promised, they were going to instead of actualy droping the expansion as a whole on us which I am guessing had a good amount of completeness at this time, they were going to make us wait longer, then sell it to us for the equivilent mark up of what could be considered cheery picked video game produce, just, you didnt actualy pick it out... valve did.

This would be not so bad, after all, ritual promised up 8 hours; what a crappy console port usualy has, and this was no console port. They also hinted to a long-as-hell but could have been worse gap between each episode of three or four months. But valve actualy said as if this were a good thing, that they would drop a tiny four or six hour episode every SIX TO EIGHT F*CKING MONTHS. In this I hope ritual still has some sort of understanding of the human gamer and isnt going to follow suit, I dont see why they would since this was their thing and valve was just following suit.

I dont want to turn this into a (x*) vrs. HL2 fight, after all I want feedback, not flames, so in the terms of releasing a game in "fragments" here is what might take those who are boycotting episodic gaming. It's simple... make it worth people's while. This is why I am bringing this up on Ritual's site not on any of valve's... ritual came up with the idea and designed the game around it, valve probably will have to bend to the will of the original play out, of what they had and work it in accordingly, plus they talk of it as if it were a vending machine in concept and you know they wont ever make an ending that you will like, combine them together and you have not a sectioned story but a shatterd story, and though valve has allways been good with story, they honestly have no clue what they are doing, hell they even said so once or twice themselves.

Sin seems to be a game with a setting made for this kind of gaming, or at least if there were a kind of game for this kind of delivery Sin's world is packed enough to at least keep each episode diverse. I like that reference to 24 in the latest blog cause when you think about it 24 is made to work as not only a tv show but one that never disapoints, it raises tension and delivers brutality without remorse to all in it. Sin due to Half-Life's concept of the in game cutscene makes Sin capable of non-stopidness and because Sin is a game that lets you know what the world is around you for the most part, Half-Life tells its plot through its enviroments it is allmost a silent picture film.

Half-Life 2 is similer but more emerssive. By stretching it out so far and thin as they did I think they are going to kick them selves into positions that you cant use because the flow and format wouldent fit right and any reasonable casual or fanboy user of Half-Life2. Basicaly what I'm saying is that Half-Life was made to be a real-time experiance... Its story is told as a modifier to the experiance and you are that which drives it. You just cant get that same experiance if you play five hours of game every half a year.

Again this is such a large step that is happening that it covers a lot of ground and I apologise for the longwindedness of this but each new factor brings out a new factor. I kind of want to get back to what I was talking about in substance. First off I am thrilled to read that ritual is a fanbase oriented developer. That alone is one of the great strengths that this form of distribution would have. If I am going to buy part of something, part of a game that I just bought... I want new game in it. It sounds like ritual is adament about that and though Sin has a basic modern shooter set up, there is so much more that can be added. It sounds like you are allready deep into that so I dont think new gameplay or repetitive stuff is going to be a problem.

Next and formost, you need to keep your gamers occupied. Replay value must be very high on it being so short, all that means is lots and lots of varried gameplay (unlike halo where a level was you entering the same room with guys ten times). That goes without saying. Multiplayer is also an essential, but again more diverse the better, as long as it works, sometimes not everything goes together on the menu, but a close fan base as you seem to be making would make this much much smoother. The biggest thing you can do to get results is to extend the episodes. Lets face it, four to eight hours is one or two sitings. Three or four months is a long space of time. Valve's six to eight is beyond what anyone should be ok with, expecialy since we know they arnt adding any new gameplay or weapons, which beyond some painkiller like fun with the physics, there was no diversity to the combat, hell far less than the first. That being said, I dont think Gabe listens to his fan base anymore. I havent even brought up the fact that valve has never released something on time to us, or compleate to us, or ready to us, with the one exeption being that game that they said, hey what if we put all this into a shooter, instead of just this or that.

Gabe's test of episodic gaming should be based of the one without strings attacked to it. But unfortunetly Sin: Emergence, even with its only three guns and 5 brief hours, (which will be hell for those who dont play sin first, btw... please put a disclaimer or previously on thing next time you start a sequil 7 years post, withn two minutes apart from eachother. Although I kind of felt druged, so that could have worked, I also didnt know I was Jack Carver's lost black brother, or that I was techinicaly to big to fit through doorways. Basicaly what I'm saying is thanks for droping Sin1 on us cause as far as worth my twenty bucks, Sin: Emergence truly was. It's just the future I am worried about, expecialy when you didnt even notice the massive negative feedback that I see everywhere twoard episodic gaming.

These things in mind, realise that faster is allways better, the more you spin out, the more the critics wil not nail it for bing part of a missing bigger whole, which is rightfully so I'm afraid. But it dosent have to be for long if you feel the crowd and then spit several out tweaking based on it but without major changes, then you have a block done so you can release them, modded to player reaction of the month before, yet no long tedious wait for your player base to not care about you any more.

I hope to god the new hl2 expansios bomb, Its not right in any way to test an experimental method of deployment on a game which people are obligated to buy based on the fact that its half-life. I just hope some how Sin: Episodes gets what it deserves, cause no matter how much better you do it, a fan boy can irrationaly tell you differently till your bleeding from the ears and asshole. Though I think if anything hot chicks with guns is as good a sales ploy as any, that is if you even notice the gun.

Good luck Ritual and sorry for the rant but you guys can pick it apart and possibly conside wether I'm full of shit or if Gabe needs a swift kick in the balls. Please kick him any how in addition to the fact that par developing time and product released they are the lazyest f*cks in the PC developer circle.

***NOT RELEVENT! To Sin any how.
Just kind of wanted to get that out of the way since people tend to point fingers in the name of greed far to quickly when concerning the game developer or artist* (take Jello Biafra brutal beating by punk rockers who thought that since his label Alternative Tenticles bounced back from a frivolus lawsuit in the mid 80's over the sale a DKs album in which its internal cover art was taken as "pornographic" materal which they sold to an eleven year old girl who bought it from the store on her own. They had it dismised or something but the cost of it forced AT into bankruptcy and caused a fight wich broke up the DKs not long after. Any how instead of being happy for his involvement and work on the punk and political scene which put deserving talant on the map (which pre-smash days, punk was never even near it), any how instead of supporting him and his doing what they were allways bitching was never done, and worse the fact that he made enough money to break even, barely any how, he was deemed a sell out and was brutaly beaten by a mob, and back then most punks wore chains and spikes for a reason)
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Old 05-25-2006, 12:37 PM   #2
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Default Re: Episodes: fresh idea, but needs MUCH more there.

so, i guess your not buying halflife2 episode 1 either huh?
sorry if you already mentioned that, but i dont feel like reading a book.


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Old 05-26-2006, 12:03 AM   #3
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Default Re: Episodes: fresh idea, but needs MUCH more there.

faaaack, I got to learn how to consolodate what I say. Damn I dont think I have ever gone on for that long before, Think Ill publish this and make negative money selling it to homeless people.
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Old 05-26-2006, 12:55 AM   #4
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Default Re: Episodes: fresh idea, but needs MUCH more ther

I skimmed your post an I really apologize but to be totally honest with you I didn't understand what you were getting at. This Episodic thing is an experiment, I think it's a great idea, many don't. Are you afraid you will be forced into it by Valve? If so, I don't think that's a real concern.

If you read the developer blogs from Ritual I think you'll find answers to most of the things you're worried about / interested in. As for the buzz about "1/5th of a game," I think that's just a result of bad marketing on Ritual's part-- I just beat HL2 for the first time, and there's no WAY it took me more than twice as long as my first play through of SE1, including about hours of sometimes entertaining non-combat sequences. (That said, HL2 is easily my favorite full-length FPS I've played in a few years.) As for extra content, we get a new add-on with each Episode, Arena now, DM soon, infinite mods of an obsessed community, and so on.

This innovative way to release games could provide us gamers far more content for our buck. Or not. In a year we'll know how well it works!
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Old 05-26-2006, 04:30 AM   #5
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Default Re: Episodes: fresh idea, but needs MUCH more ther

i read half of it, but i gotta go out so ill just make one point.

im not sure what your getting at when you mention that Aftermath was going to be released in episodes. i was just a bit fizzy on what you meant actually, so instead im going to say this.

VALVe has said that Episode 1 is the same as Aftermath, same game. the only difference is that they changed the name of the game. they did not make aftermath then cut it up into episodes.

now im sorry if you knew that, but i wasnt able to understand.
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Old 05-26-2006, 02:49 PM   #6
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Default Re: Episodes: fresh idea, but needs MUCH more ther

Yhea but either way they are still taking 3 years to make an expansion and releasing it over the next two and a half at most. Jesus man, I leave home in a year for four years. It shouldent take that goddamned long to work through twenty hours of the same run-n-gun crap HL2 was. They allready admited to not adding anything new other than tweaks to the engine itself. Menwhile games like Crysis, of which FarCry was a better shooter over all than hl2 on many levels, are coming into a seccond wind of porportions that blow HL2 away. Jesus christ man, MONOLITH droped out FEAR, and came out with Condemned, a complete other game with a completely re-vamped gameplay style we havent seen since riddick, and they did it ALL in about six months. I might add FEAR's expansion hits 3rd quarter this year.


You too Ritual, I'm watching you. You talk of having so much to do, yet your willing to waste time porting this to the godamned consoles? Even if you did, which considering how retarded 3 months is anyhow, why? All thats going to lead to is more and more limited controls for the PC. Just when I had hope that you were actualy going to add content.

Also I just got through SiN, and the biggest thing that held me for that game was just how damned baddass it was to blow holes in and allover people. Today, most good games have stuff like that (fear/Riddick/FarCry)... even hl2 had a very buggy form of it, still essential to making the game less restricting than it allready was. But SiN was from 98, I mean, DAMN, even with the holes being predesdend area textues, it looked even more so graphic with the specified art like blood tricking out the hole on the skull. How come Emergance had bullet holes in bodies AWOL, is there a way I can fix this tragedy?
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Old 05-26-2006, 02:55 PM   #7
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Default Re: Episodes: fresh idea, but needs MUCH more ther

Originally posted by wse_jack:
is there a way I can fix this tragedy?
Looks like you may want to start your own Game development company.

Virginia Woolf said it best:
On the outskirts of every agony sits some observant fellow who points.
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