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"IT'S A NICELY DESIGNED GAME AS LONG AS YOU DON'T WANT ANY MEANING IN YOUR LIFE."-TIM

Poll

If you had known how the game is going to turn out, would you still have backed it in the KS?

Yes
- 19 (34.5%)
No
- 35 (63.6%)
Undecided
- 1 (1.8%)

Total Members Voted: 54


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Author Topic: Poll: Knowing what we know today, would you have backed UA?  (Read 2120 times)

Flug

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Re: Poll: Knowing what we know today, would you have backed UA?
« Reply #30 on: December 12, 2018, 11:33:03 AM »

So...immersiveness ....put simply; narrow and wide.

UA is immersive in the (n)arrow sense.

The originals were immersive in the wider sense...mostly because their ideas were much broader...over-arching narrative, individual stories (quests, if you like), NPCs etc etc. They had a sense of world that UA lacks...it's scope is very narrow in comparison. That's a fact, not a judgement. That way in which UA's world was finally conceived is side-scrapingly narrow.

Next to this lies the imaginative failure of the game. A count-down timer is an inerently limiting, narrowing thing. Fine for a portionof the stiry, or quest perhaps....but doesn't belong here. Like 'duh duh duuhhhh' in the old noir pot-boiler films, it's a simple, somewhat hackneyed way of ratcheting up the tension.

I would be much happier if, for instance, they had failed in terms of implementation across th eboard....provided the ambition and imaginative scope was kept intact....these holes could then, to some extent, be put right later. If we can see something worth waiting for, we will wait, cut sack, and all the rest.

For me, thre level of immersiveness (or not) is directly tied to the imaginative failure of the game. Story and narrative is often derided as some old 'go-to' that ties the hands of the player....but it's much missed here, in all its elements (NPC interactions, scrolls,  lizard language etc).

And this partly explains the fury. It's not just the ineptness in places, the obvious holes and lack of time....it's that even when patched-up, they will still exist in a largely barren world, that hardly hints at anything beyond. In the first games, you rarely lost that srense of a wider world.

This is what story and narrative are for. Write your own, sure, but they need to placed within a wider world. I find the lack of ambition and story to be more gut-wrenching than the failure of individual aspects of implementation. Holes in the level can be patched, a lack of wider world and story cannot, without fudamentally re-doing the game.

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MasterLobar

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Re: Poll: Knowing what we know today, would you have backed UA?
« Reply #31 on: December 12, 2018, 03:01:33 PM »

I find the lack of ambition and story to be more gut-wrenching than the failure of individual aspects of implementation. Holes in the level can be patched, a lack of wider world and story cannot, without fudamentally re-doing the game.

Agree 100%.
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Flug

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Re: Poll: Knowing what we know today, would you have backed UA?
« Reply #32 on: December 12, 2018, 03:04:44 PM »

....my old faithful laptop keyboard is gvng up th ghst (see above).

...cut sack is not a good thing in anyone's book.
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Sandro

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Re: Poll: Knowing what we know today, would you have backed UA?
« Reply #33 on: December 12, 2018, 04:02:00 PM »

Slack is my middle name.

/Sandro -out
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DawnrazorDCLXVI

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Re: Poll: Knowing what we know today, would you have backed UA?
« Reply #34 on: December 12, 2018, 05:40:14 PM »

I would, just to see the team together. Sorry about being quiet on the forums. I'm trying to avoid the skittlesstorm.
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Dewi Morgan

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Re: Poll: Knowing what we know today, would you have backed UA?
« Reply #35 on: December 22, 2018, 03:01:30 PM »

I would, just to see the team together. Sorry about being quiet on the forums. I'm trying to avoid the skittlesstorm.

Well put! Though it does mean that the negative voices are heard more, which can be dispiriting for the devs. If you see something cool, shout about it! :D

And yes, I'd back it, and regret and feel ashamed of not having done so. I kept putting it off, and then suddenly it was out! Sure, I doubt what I'd have backed would have helped much. But I'm an UW fan. An UW successor seems to be a Quixotic quest, doomed to fail every time anyone has tried, but I feel it's important to always support those efforts.
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DawnrazorDCLXVI

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Re: Poll: Knowing what we know today, would you have backed UA?
« Reply #36 on: December 22, 2018, 11:04:34 PM »

I am funding a purpose, not a game.
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JGteMolder

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Re: Poll: Knowing what we know today, would you have backed UA?
« Reply #37 on: December 31, 2018, 12:52:08 PM »

I am funding a purpose, not a game.

And they completely failed to live up to that purpose, if they ever said out to do so; that's the reason why I would not back know what I know now. In fact, if it is in any way possible, I want my money back.
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oneiromant

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Re: Poll: Knowing what we know today, would you have backed UA?
« Reply #38 on: January 06, 2019, 02:48:18 AM »

This is what story and narrative are for. Write your own, sure, but they need to placed within a wider world. I find the lack of ambition and story to be more gut-wrenching than the failure of individual aspects of implementation. Holes in the level can be patched, a lack of wider world and story cannot, without fudamentally re-doing the game.

So much this.  Hi again, Flug.  I signed up to test the game.  After my first attempt, I didn't even bother to test the subsequent builds, or fill in the survey.  Maybe Otherside can release the engine and the assets to the community... and we can make a UW game out of it...
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Dewi Morgan

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Re: Poll: Knowing what we know today, would you have backed UA?
« Reply #39 on: January 06, 2019, 08:34:54 PM »

The originals were immersive in the wider sense...mostly because their ideas were much broader...over-arching narrative, individual stories (quests, if you like), NPCs etc etc. They had a sense of world that UA lacks...it's scope is very narrow in comparison. That's a fact, not a judgement.

Part of the problem is that the Underworlds had the advantage of openly building on the existing Ultima world and lore, which Ascendant could not use.

But I think the bigger part is that people just aren't inspired to look into the lore, so believe it's just not there.

Consider the list of characters here: http://underwiki.com/wiki/Characters

The backstory that we can glean just from playing the game about characters like Pir Tama and Tybal is quite deep -- if we even know to look for it. You have to read between the lines, piece it together from what everyone tells you, and everything you read in the Abyss' graffiti and memora. I had to piece together Tybal's backstory synopsis on that page from over a dozen different places in the game. So, sure, the lore's not handed to you on a plate... but it's there for the finding.

The graffiti quests were, by their nature, obviously deeper than the single scrolls you'd find around the underworld describing someone's fate. The Draupnir and Dahlia chase is also obviously the most epic, with close to a hundred messages scattered around, but they weren't the only ones. With Hig Harkens, over the arc of his quest, we get to see character development, which was not possible in Underworld. And even Xelva's short, brave quest was good.

Is this lore as broad as either of the Ultima Underworld's? Personally, I don't feel so. But that's my personal judgement only, having scraped the barrel dry in Underworld's lore, and barely begun delving into Ascendant's: so I don't and can't claim it as "fact".
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DawnrazorDCLXVI

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Re: Poll: Knowing what we know today, would you have backed UA?
« Reply #40 on: January 08, 2019, 07:15:09 AM »

I am funding a purpose, not a game.

And they completely failed to live up to that purpose, if they ever said out to do so; that's the reason why I would not back know what I know now. In fact, if it is in any way possible, I want my money back.

Losing a battle does not mean the war is over.
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Flug

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Re: Poll: Knowing what we know today, would you have backed UA?
« Reply #41 on: January 08, 2019, 06:18:24 PM »

Not posted for a while, but time should be creeping back...

Dawn, as you know I have a lot of time for your posts but your last two posts strike me as platitudes...broad sweep, at the expense of detail. They can be made to mean almost anything.

Funding a purpose is so abstract as to be negligible, unless usefully defined. Immersive-sim (or near-enough) doesn't justify this dog's breakfast, for example. I'd like a decent Underworld game along with my 'pushing-the-envelope' soup.

As far 'war'..apt, but for a different reason. I actually bothered to write a 20 page how-we-got here about this whole treacly mess. And sadly it kinetically bounced from one dev discrepancy to another (and let's face it, I was on the tail of most of them in real-time, meeting with mixed and often belated responses/admissions). So, the detail does not bear out broad-brush reponses that give too much latitude. And I scrapped that post because I know that the people tasked with responding were not around when it happened, and when these things were inter alia. It would need Chris, Tim and others to do some real sifting, and I'm not convinced that's either do-able now, or useful. It might tee-off the resident hyenas but that will go on anyway.

Plus, unless there is some sort of collective acknowledgement-of-debacle among the older fans who were here - and not just the howlers - then we're not really giving a true impression to the devs, who might be tempted to think 'acually,it's not that bad'...we are not addressing reality, and unlikely to get any sanity in the future. or, less high falutin, we're letting them off the hook, and endlessly doling out residual goodwill. Whatever war feelings I have for the devs as a whole,and as individuals (and I have plenty) I still have that black parrot on my shoulder squawking that the game stinks as conceived, not just as played. It is not there, on either footing. I can apply any number of philosophies to that,and dilute with mother's milk, but it's not going to miraculously appear.

So, another objection to broad brush. But if we must have one: persistent, wholesale unreality...both at the process, during the process, and even now. The bubble of that (coccoon) has not burst.

This isn't some minor setback in some industry war of attrition with 'gamer intelligence', or genre-progression or any other possible wide-scale improvement/pretension....it's just a dull, local dissection of a shambolic failure, and a fairly (gasp-inducing) set of follow-up self-acquittals, with some fan blame thrown in for good measure. The devs are still not 'getting' why it was and is such a failure, or if they are, they're keeping it under wraps and favouring a chin-up approach. Both would be bad choices.

Dewi...i don't think lore is the issue, just as it wasn't in the first, given that *that* was also fenced-off to some extent. There's nothing that coud not have been overcome with a little imagination - if the will was there (which, incidentally, is where dialogue and narrative world-building comes in...it provides all those missing flavours and textures).

Hi oneiromant, long time no speak...releasing the assets, couldn't agree more...even if the current build is sorted out to general satisfaction, it only brings the lack of the Underworld into ever sharper focus. Plus, if the devs are not realy assessing why the game has flopped so badly (and it's only marginally to do with it's 'polished/unpolished' state) then there's scant hope that even with the will, they would have the requisite imaginative 'nous'. And that's quite sad. The whole process seems to have been pretending to have 'got it'...if you're cynical...or 'thinking they've got it but really haven't' if you're sympathetic. Either way, Underworld is still 'not got.' the upate of what made the originals good, never mind great, has been lost, or misplaced. Which would be an argument be for dropping everything (including SS3 perhaps, depending on the dev overlap).

The imaginative faculty seems to be the key missing ingredient, from the beginning to now. That's hard to wake up to, especially if you're a dev dealing with the daily mud, or a fundamentally sympathetic fan (which I believe most are).




« Last Edit: January 08, 2019, 06:32:13 PM by Flug »
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Dewi Morgan

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Re: Poll: Knowing what we know today, would you have backed UA?
« Reply #42 on: January 08, 2019, 09:31:37 PM »

Dewi...i don't think lore is the issue, just as it wasn't in the first, given that *that* was also fenced-off to some extent. There's nothing that coud not have been overcome with a little imagination - if the will was there (which, incidentally, is where dialogue and narrative world-building comes in...it provides all those missing flavours and textures).

I agree. Flug wrote there seems no "over-arching narrative, individual stories (quests, if you like), NPCs etc etc." Which was my impression too, and it took a lot of digging to get past that. Even so... it coulda been both far deeper and broader.

The tragedy is "Immersive sim". I hate the phrase because it means game designers are focusing on a game engine dev concern, and believe it makes a game. But since Half-Life, interactive physics objects are taken for granted in first-person games. Physics acceleration is as much a given as 3D acceleration, and handled by the same hardware. You can't make a game from crates any more.

And it's tragic, because there's a lot of good in the parts where the designers weren't engine-focused. The runes alone are fantastic. The magic they made with it was great. The lore is surprisingly good, even if it needs more meat.  Heck, even the code quality... I don't think I've seen a game with as few typos as this one. I found maybe a half dozen, including variable names, and that's pretty amazing for any codebase of this size.

Maybe if they hadn't "ditched conversation trees" (guh...).

Maybe if they'd had level ecology working, instead of resetting with cosmetic changes? Seems the plan was to have the level portals unlock (were the abyssal keys originally like UW2's blackrock gems for the portals?), and Aelita passing rumors about who'd invaded where each time you returned to her. But Ultima Online's doomed ecology showed how that'd fail: we'd raze a level to the ground, then be annoyed if monsters respawned, but also if the level remained empty and dead. Hard problem, but closer to UW2's linear and story-driven development of the worlds, while keeping with their procedural "emergent gameplay" approach!

There are plenty of "Maybe..."s, but sadly I see no clear and obvious set of them that would've saved it. I'm no game designer.
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Flug

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Re: Poll: Knowing what we know today, would you have backed UA?
« Reply #43 on: January 10, 2019, 07:19:42 PM »

Agree with all of that. In fact, given how steeped in commonsense much of it is, you'd think experienced hands would have that dna in their bones. Who needs a baby? In fact, who needs bathwater?

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7th-key

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Re: Poll: Knowing what we know today, would you have backed UA?
« Reply #44 on: January 12, 2019, 03:26:46 PM »

While I don't regret having backed a chance at an UW sequel, my answer to the poll is "no", because I'm not remotely interested in playing Ascendant.

I saw a couple of let's play and one immediate turn off is that the game has the tone of a reality game show. Like "The Abyss' next Ascendant", with Cabirus as the omnipresent host who is not supposed to help, the artificial drama of a big time clock, and petty challenges to impress three haughty judges to gain points to get to the final round.   

But ultimately, at the core of my disappointment is that, instead of interactive storytelling with memorable fonts of knowledge, all we get are basically three in-game developer test tools: universal quest giver, universal skill upgrader, universal trader.

Obviously somthing went very wrog, because all these and all the other immersion breaking game-y aspects were specifically what they repeatedly told they wanted to avoid.
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