J.E. Sawyer keeps on talking

Discussion in 'NMA News and Information' started by Tagaziel, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. mobucks

    mobucks woof Orderite

    May 22, 2010
    Now im torn. Damn you BN!!
    I played Albert in my last Fallout playthrough. He actually isn't a bad build. 7ap, Skilled, Good Natured I think. One of the worst possible characters to go through the game with. But as I played, he did fine. Is that the kind of thing we're talking about here?
  2. WorstUsernameEver

    WorstUsernameEver But best title ever!

    May 28, 2010
    I don't remember Sawyer ever advocating about something like being unable to attack guards and to stop the player from making bad moment to moment choice. He's always being a proponent of a no-bad choice strategic design, where things you do much earlier in the game come back to haunt you in unexpected ways.

    As for me, I personally think separating combat and non-combat skills in games such as the IE games, where most of the gameplay *is* combat (except for Torment, though Torment always struggled with its ruleset) and weighing non-combat skills is okay. I'm not a huge fan of implementing skills half-heartedly though, so IMO a skill with a "very limited" use is kind of worthless and maybe should have been either merged with something else or got a few more instances where it could be used in the game.

    Your choice of words "gamey", etc. strongly implied that there's a less gamey alternative, which I assumed was pen and paper design. Besides, I don't think Fallout particularly resembled a normal pen and paper campaign, for a variety of reasons. It tried hard and sometimes succeeded, but my personal opinion is that, given that videogames aren't pen and paper, they should be trying to emulate it. Too many structural differences that make some design choices that are fine for tabletop kinda drab for playing on a PC/console. That said, I apologize for making an assumption on your argument.
  3. Tagaziel

    Tagaziel Panzerkatze Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Dec 10, 2003
    I'm closely following his Formspring, and he did elaborate on it quite a bit. Other elements come from P:E videos.

    Some responses on his design philosophy:



















    Some of them are less design-related than others, but I hope that provides some more info for you.

    A matter of preference, I guess. Cutting out skills that don't have meaningful applications and for whom one cannot be conceived strikes me as logical. I was fine with dropping Big Guns and merging them into other classes, or with the merger of First Aid and Doctor.

    What do you mean by gutting? Removing traps (deceptive, yet useless skills) from the system feels more like pruning, than gutting. Again, the Fallout/Fallout 2 example. There's one, optimal build in the game, surrounded by several useless skills, traits and a ton of bad or really bad perks. Stripping it of the traps and pitfalls improves functionality.

    This discussion is a bit academic, though. JES has his first opportunity to make a system entirely his own, without pre-existing constraints.

    They might don't feel gypped, because the utility of a skill is limited by the imagination of the player and the GM's tolerance for it.

    The lack of utility for skills is mitigated by the open ended nature of PnP systems. There's no such thing in computer games, making Sawyer's pragmatism that much better, at least to me.
  4. Sobboth

    Sobboth It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Aug 29, 2010
    I liked his work on establishing F:NV skills.
    All the skills were useful and you had a dozen of them which is way more than in Fallout 1/2. A good point.
    Now what i disliked is that all the skills were almost perfectly balanced in the same way.
    Choosing gun instead of energy weapon almost didn't matter for example.
    And what i really disliked is that you had systematically too many ways to resolve each problem making everything boring.
    The game was not rewarding you by thinking yey i max out this skill otherwise i should not have being able to do this quest.
    Even if it's a good design to allow multiple solutions to quest, not everything should have 3/5 "boring"solutions, it is a big dumping down.
    Moreover this feeling was strengthen by the fact you had too many skills points (nothing worse to see that you can succeed a dialogue check 4 diffrents way because you have skills/stats high enough).
  5. UniversalWolf

    UniversalWolf eaten by a grue.

    Aug 28, 2005
    The George Lucas Syndrome.
  6. gumbarrel

    gumbarrel It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Oct 18, 2010
    When will this phrase "dumbing down" die already? It has lost any little meaning it ever had at this point.

    You don't give players enough options, it's dumbed down. You give them too many options, it's dumbing down. If you ever strike a balance, it's still dumbing it down, because now there's even more disparity in opinions.
  7. Akratus

    Akratus Bleep bloop.

    May 14, 2011
    U wot m8?

    Personally, I agree with Tagaziel. Even if Brother None is correct. . . what's the difference? He might cut options too soon? Is that your argument? Doesn't really stand out against Sawyer's successes, and positive changes in his rpg's.