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RPG General News - Iron Tower Studio - Vince Weller Community QandA

Discussion in 'Game/SP News & Comments' started by RPGWatch, May 28, 2023.

  1. RPGWatch

    RPGWatch Watching... ★ SPS Account Holder

    Jul 28, 2010
    Likes Received:
    [​IMG]Core-RPG.net interviewed Vince D. Weller from Iron Tower Studio about many RPG topics:


    [Iron Tower Studio] Vince Weller Community Q&A

    The Interactivist: Since you are RPG enthusiast, please, tell us - what do you think about replacing standard persuade-streetwise-impersonate skills with "choose your rhetorical style in the beginning of the game (and there is also some sophisticated quest to get second style)" mechanic as can be found in Expeditions: Rome? Ethos for aristocratic characters and NPCs. Logos for rationalists and people of letters, who can be persuaded by arguments. Pathos for manipulators and their victims. There must be obvious restrictions for sure: a character with a plebeian background can't just pick ethos and so on. Don't you think this approach is better and more elegant than the classical one?

    Vince: Can't say I like it. There were many aristocrats who were skilled and well-educated 'rationalists' and philosophers, as well as good manipulators. Or low- /middle-class men who successfully did all three. Thomas Cromwell would be the best example.

    We prefer a skill-based approach and if we stay in business long enough, we'll try to evolve it to make it more tactical and less 'pick the line that corresponds to your highest speech skill'.

    The Interactivist: Can you recommend any books (like Dungeons and Desktops by Matt Barton and Shane Stacks or The CRPG Book Project) or blogs/sources (like Iron Tower Studio depository) to aspiring devs, RPG enthusiasts, connoisseurs or true video game journalists (who actually try to do their job properly and do want to learn history of gaming and game genres, game design concepts, role-playing game systems and other features)?

    Vince: The only way to learn more about game design is by playing games and (if you're an aspiring developer) by trying to make your own.

    The Interactivist: John Priestley long ago wrote a brilliant allegory: a conversation between a mage from XII century and a designer from XXI century. The mage explained how it took nine centuries for all mages to disappear: there was a great fear of uncontrolled power growth in students. So each master-wizard was teaching only small parts of their arcane legacy/spellbook. What could go wrong?

    Well, everything. Mages got wiped out by nested intervals, according to Cantor's intersection theorem. Inherited "parts" of knowledge were getting smaller and smaller. And one day - puff, nobody is competent anymore.

    In the context of game design: this is exactly what is happening with many RPG developers right now. Even the greatest studios/companies are losing their arcane design powers, being unable to reproduce "the magic" of their own past games.

    Vince: It's a cute theory but it's not applicable to game design. Because they're not trying to reproduce that 'magic'. They're trying to sell more units, which is a very different game.

    Do you think the former Interplay developers forgot how to make games like Fallout and Planescape? Fallout sold 400k units, Baldur's Gate sold over 2.5 mil (counting the sequel and expansions). That's where the magic went. That's why when Obsidian got a shot at making their own game, they went with BG (Pillars), rather than Fallout or PST.

    Plus, what do you need a game design book for? Play Fallout (or your favourite 'old magic' RPG) and analyze it to death. No hidden design secrets there.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 28, 2023
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