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Ed the Monkey
Vault Scion
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Joined: 20 Jun 2002
Posts: 202
Location: In a vault filled with typing monkeys...

PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2002 4:47 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

In the Aug 2002 edition of popular science there's an arcticle that proves what we already know, that the more open a game is to modification, the more profitable it is. Interplay seems to have completely ignored the incredible success of companies like Id, and have instead chosen to deny us the tools to effectively modify the Phoenix engine (although, honestly, if we acutally had all the tools I, for one, would miss red posting every few weeks a new version of his editor). The power of the Phoenix engine is obviously not even clear to those who programmed it, and were it made even more open, the power could be almost limitless. The Phoenix engine could be the Qake or Doom of the RPG world, however, Interplay feels it could make more money holding back it's sprite and tile editors because it feels that somehow this will be a profitable manover. Frankly, someone at Interplay needs to be let go. Anyone stupid enough to suggest that limiting the ability to modify a game will make it more profitable might be the WORST game designer ever, especially when faced with titles such as Quake 3, and Unreal that continue to succede and sell mainly BECAUSE of their modification ability.
Interplay brass has the ability to pull themselves out of the hole by producing a hit title with Tactics 2 (I know we arn't all in favor of tactics, but hear me out) if they give us the tools we want for Tactics, and provide more tools for Tactics 2. As I said before, Tactics could become the Doom or Quake 1 of RPGs. Why? With 3d graphics programs becoming more and more mainstream, the ability to create sprites is becoming more and more real for the adverage consumer. This means that joe who-ever-the-fuck could modify Tactics in a number of ways, from a full WW2 mod (including dough-boy sprites) to a civil war mod, or even so far as a midieval mod, where small guns is used for archery, and hth/mele become the primary skills of choice. This is with Tactics 1, a 3d graphics program, and the full developer's kit. Lets take this a step further and say Tactics 2 allowed a fully skinnable GUI, (SPECIAL remains) and seperates the text file that defines skills. Now we can build ANY rpg we want with ANY skills we want, ANY plot, ANY look... the isometric 2d version of Quake, built for role player OR tactical warriors. Now, here's an intersting concept for you: increase the res to 1280x1024 and build walking vehicles who's top halves are turrets. Isometic mechwarrior, or Mech commander (i know it's a half-assed way of doing it, but i'm making a point)! when one really looks at this engine's potential it's quite impressive, it could be quite popular among mod builders (look at any quake skinning/mod forum then compare it to this) if we only had the tools.

I hope I eithor gave someone an idea or an aneurysm, but more than that I hope I made my point and I hope Interplay will see this. I don't care what your opinion of your customers is, this will make them happy, and you rich. Look at the most popular titles in gaming EVER (ones that come down and DON'T fade away), Half-life, Quake, Unreal, and Doom. John Carmac is a marketing GENIUS who has created some of the most popular titles ever. He has been successful for one main reason: he realized that modifications were just as good for him as for his audiance. If Interplay really wants to come out of the hole, they should apply this concept to us now, and when giving us Tactics 2, they will be amazed at the rewards.
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Vault Hero
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Joined: 18 Apr 2002
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2002 5:40 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Well, I don't know it seems like comparing apples to...coconuts. I'd like to have the editors and possibly the source for Phoenix engine even(though I wouldn't be able to use it, possibly others would though), but I'm the user.

Perhaps they've decided that it is impossible to retain the rights to the editors-engine once they've released them. Think of their relactunce to do so for the original games, and it's been years since FO. The fact the thing is so limitless should say something about that.

For instance check the graphics on FoT. Now compare them to a game that was released roughly the same time:ST-Away Team. They're ages better! The flexibility of the game is so vast, that even with the limitations we had before any editors, one could in theory construct a passable strategy or RPG. That's already two genres!

Now, after Domin's Spray and Red's Viewer(and Tile constructor), also EDS(Endocore's Dialogue System, recently enhanced by JJ86) you can do practically anything already(well a Dialogue tree editor would also help, since EDS has some problems). Think about it. You believe it is impossible to make an arcade based game? Granted you can't jump and such, but have in mind that many guys prefer to download graphicless/crappy graphics Freeware games than give their dollars/Euros/quid for commercial games. Imagine if we could enhance the gameplay, too.

Remember "Unlimited Adventures" following. I believe to this date people still right adventures for it. Now have in mind that since I happen to like enormously Star Trek, I wanted to right a Campaign for it with FoT Editors.
Guess what: I found absolutelly no obstacles in my way to do so. I was also going to do it and release if I didn't got word from Paramount that possible lawsuits would be on my way. Still it is entirelly possible to create a fictional medieval campaign(essentially a new -more or less- game).

Also count in the FO purists who would dislike any such possibilities and would start bashing. I don't think IPLAY or BIS would like that since I don't think they believe in the "Any publicity blah, blah" saying. Moreover, if you could use one game with such good graphics and entered the gamers' talent in creating gameplay, I think you could expect losses in the long run.

Sure, a lot of people would buy it in the first place, but then the market could reach a stagnation point were less buyers from certain gamers categories would buy.(I can imagine Arcade,RPG,3rd Perspective Adventure,Squad Strategy. Actually if someone is talented why not Puzzle, though that is a stretch, but setting the entities in certain ways it is possible).

So seeing it by their own perspective I can see why they didn't release the editors, though i'm not saying I like that. I'm perfectly happy we have so talented people here to give us the tools they did. I don't know, perhaps my way of thinking is flawed, but I had the same arguments and came to these conclusions after thinking about it.
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Ed the Monkey
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Joined: 20 Jun 2002
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2002 3:24 am Reply with quoteBack to top

The graphics are years ahead because all the sprites were built in max instead of rendered on site. You say I'm comparing apples to coconuts, but you don't recognize that it's not because the same concepts don't apply, it's because the same concepts HAVN'T been applied. Once again, Quake is an action shooter, yes, but it didn't sell souly because of that, it sold partilally, AND CONTINUED TO SELL because of it's ability to be modified. Tactics isn't so diffrent that the same concept won't apply. People have built 1st person RPGs with the Quake engine, now give them the ability to build an RPG with the standard perspective, do you expect people to not jump on that? What I'm talking about isn't so much the Phoenix engine, I know what that can do, what I'm asking is for Interplay to open Tactics 2 up for more modification. They can not loose any market potential for this, and chances are that if they DO this, even if the game is originally as bad as Tactics, they have something to fall back on because mod-builders will change it into 100 new games that are better.
What I want is for Interplay to help mod builders by giving us a better dialog system, and more powerful scripting system that allows for more actions to be tied to more events... possibly a few other things.

I can't possibly comprehend how you are backing up your argument that an engine like that would loose money. If there are 100 games that are built on the Phoenix engine, and Interplay holds the rights to the engine, than to play all of those games someone has to buy Tactics (or Tactics 2 as I'm theorizing). That's 1 game and the key to 100 others that Interplay is selling, and that's selling to a HUGE market. I pointed out, and you, yourself reiderated that with a little work one could expand the Phoenix engine into almost ANY genre. Interplay would be the ONLY company with this engine, with such limitless possiblities they would be expanding their market to EVERYONE. Build Britsh/American commandos and Nazis with WW2 weapons and you have a better version of commandos, and the graphics can be as good as the Mod builder's machine allows. Build orcs and Humans with swords, axes, and crossbows and you have Warcract Tactics. An imaginative gamer could build almost anything, and he could build much more if the sprites were avaleble for him to work with. Interplay OWNS this engine, and to play any of these mods one would have to buy this engine. There is a huge market vaccume of open source or at least easily modifiable Isometiric games, and one with such potential cannot be ignored. This isn't comparing apples to coconuts but red apples to green ones, and realizing that no one is selling the red ones. People who don't have half-life, will still go out and buy half-life today in order to play it's mods. The ability to modify a game is all but a ward against market stagnation! Now, Explain to me, in the face of such mods as Team Fortress for Quake, how gamers fail to make good games? How if gamers were given more ability to make mods you could expect losses? Go through some Quake mods and look at how inventive gamers truely are. The Phoenix engine is as powerful as the Quake engine ever was, but in a diffrent way, and for a diffrent application.
Now, how many FO purists have been already hacking FO and FO2?? How many would complain if it was easier???
Now Interplay doesn't have to include half of the things I want in the game, but providing the options that would allow such a maluable engine would boost their revinue without endangering their product in any way.

They could sell Tactics 2, then sell the Mod builder's suite, then sell more copies of Tactics 2 just because of the mods that come out. Then think about how many companies have seen what the Quake engine could do because of it's mod building game community and think of how much money Interplay could make off of selling the rights to use the engine! Now, back to FO purists, they're already bashing Interplay for ever making Tactics 1, they could acutally redeem themselves by making Tactics 2 more maluable. How can they take losses? Think of the imagination of a Fallout gamer, think about him building games based on the Phoenix engine with the humor of Fallout that he's absorbed with his own twist. Think about MaxV and his missions, I personally think most of them are pretty damn good. Think about giving this entire community more ability to modify games as we like, taking away such bounderies such as "you can't knock someone out with a drug or the scripter." If the scripting and ent editors allowed one to make, say, a drug that could have ANY effects that are in the engine (maybe even the ability to change the sprite?? have mutie turn someone into a mutant... make the incredible hulk??) or a scriptor that could do the same, how much more inventive games could we come up with. The ideas that come out here every day and are shot down by the limitations of the engine, think about how good some of them really are, then take away all those limitaions and tell me that would be a bad thing. More than the tools for Tactics now, I want Tactics 2 to take away these limitation and allow us builders more power to use our imaginations at will. Even if Tactics 2 were to only stay in our community, think how rich our community would be? I know I wouldn't complain. Would you?
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Jimmyjay86
Hero of the Glowing Lands
Hero of the Glowing Lands


Joined: 18 Apr 2002
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2002 4:17 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I believe it's Microforte that owns the Phoenix engine. Besides there is the issue of whether Interplay will ever associate with them again for a FOT2. But I agree with your view that if they do open it up to more modding and expand it to allow dialogue options, even the core Fallout-heads will want to use it. Consider all of the people who hate FOT for, well for, um I'm not sure why - but maybe they would buy if it had the capability to create a version of FO3. Of course most of those folks are all talk and little action but there are a few capabable ones amongst their ranks.
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Section8
I Make Games!
I Make Games!


Joined: 18 Apr 2002
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2002 7:26 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Phoenix is indeed a Microforte engine. We're using it on one of our current projects, Hot Wheels: Bash Arena, an isometric destruction derby. It is fairly versatile, provided you have access to the whole code base. Unlike Quake or to a lesser extent, Unreal, it wasn't really designed to be modifiable, and a great deal of it was being built on the fly during Tactics development. What that means, is that we don't have a Gameplay API and a corresponding SDK for people to modify the gameplay (and only the gameplay) like Quake, we just have a whole lot of code that isn't as modular in design as it needs to be to be modded easily by third parties.

Also, there are quite a few things in the engine that are hardcoded, from racial stats, to ammo types. So even with the full editor suite, there are things that just can't be changed. So basically, no matter how much you edit, it's still going to be Fallout Tactics, utilising the SPECIAL system. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, as user made content always extends the life of a game, but it's never going to be in the same realm as Half-Life or Quake, where the modding potential is almost limitless.
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Jimmyjay86
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2002 8:27 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Cool Section8, Hot Wheels! So if we buy it we can take the car sprites and bring them into FOT custom missions???
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Section8
I Make Games!
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2002 10:59 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Heh. It would take a fair bit of effort and patience but it could probably be done. Provided you don't mind the fact that cars are about the size of prone human in FOT. icon_mrhappy
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Ed the Monkey
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2002 2:42 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

so that's why a ton of the tiles are douped, in the wrong dir, mislabled, misplaced, etc... man i'd hate to see what your code looks like.... but i'd love to see that code....
Anyway, if you guys acutally cleaned it up a bit you could reuse it for Tactics 2 and give us what we want (a modifiable engine)... that is if Interplay ever talks to you guys again.

anyway, as far as the hotwheels thing, it might be interesting to add a powerwheels whatever to a fallout game... i'm sure that'd spice it up a bit.... and hey, if it works one way, it would work the other. I'm sure the little kiddies would love the hummer or tank in their game....
So... it's probabbly futile to ask this, but could we get maybe a few of the Max models you used?
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Vault Hero
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2002 9:19 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Firstly I apologize for the grammatical errors in my above post. Most blatant ones are the right=write ones, but I hope one can roughly understand what I'm saying because of pronounciation.

No I'm not saying that the users don't make good gameplay based games. If you read again, that's exactly what I'm saying(that users will make games with gameplay).
Moreover, if you could use one game with such good graphics and entered the gamers' talent in creating gameplay, I think you could expect losses in the long run.
In fact it is the reason I present for many(but not all) gamers not to buy a new game and instead choose the Phoenix engine one. Section8 says that you cannot do what you and I, Ed, suggested and that is to use Phoenix on FoT to create new games.

If it was possible: If my numbers are corrrect the largest selling game ever worldwide was Myst(an adventure) with 5 milllion copies sold aprox.
Let's assume FoT(or FoT2) sold 2 million copies for its modifiability. let's say even 3 million. why would one have to buy another game for the next 10 years from the 4 categories I mentioned? He could make it himself! That's why I mentioned UA. Microforte/IPLAY/BIS would never let that happen I theorised since it would make them loose money in these 10 years(and even if it was less than 10 years). You're saying that one would have to buy the game to play the mods. That is included in my numbers.

Perhaps you'd buy another game if that was possible. I know a lot of people who wouldn't, possibly myself included. Think of it: you can by buying a single title have all the type of games you want and not the "almost what you want" type of game you can get of companies in the best of cases. Why bother checking commercial products then? This is one of the reasons I got Klick and play/The Games Factory/DIV games developer. Eventually I will use them to write simple games that I and others will enjoy.

Note that this is to demonstrate how people deciding thought. I'm not trying to make an argument against you. Carefull reading of the last part of my post will show you, I had the same thoughts(i name them arguments not because they're against you, but because they are arguments against the releasing of editors).

Of course this is all in theory since Section8 said it can't happen. But I bet he would say the same thing about Spray and Red!viewer a few months ago. You simply have to be a damn good programmer, and you'll be succesfull in these fields we're talking about.
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Red
Hero of the Glowing Lands
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Joined: 15 May 2002
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2002 6:26 am Reply with quoteBack to top

The reason not to realease the editors "because someone might build a game around it" is so lame. (Which was the "best" answer we could get as a reason not to release them back in the days...)

Worst case scenario: It happens, you sue them, and probably get all money out of that enterprise, alhtough the cost of doing all the would most probably be greater then the gain...

Most likely scenario: Someone licenses the engine - or has some kind of agreement to publish the mod with a % of profits going to MF. If it's some kind of expand, then it would require the buyer to get FO:T, if it's licensed, then it doesn't matter really.
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Section8
I Make Games!
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2002 8:16 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Red: Definitely agreed. I would've liked to see the whole editing suite released, but official line speaks differently. icon_sad
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Red
Hero of the Glowing Lands
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2002 8:41 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Well, on the bright side it gave me a lot of useless work to do...

Which beckons...

Does my viewer still work with your reworked engine smile
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