Zychon's page

Organized Play Member. 13 posts. 1 review. No lists. 2 wishlists. 2 Organized Play characters. 1 alias.


Laithoron wrote:

Just got my copy today and the idea of breaking the dungeon up along the folds is a good one. As for the actual folding process that was used in the production of this month's Flip-Mat, it really mauls the map.

Whereas previous maps have been fan-fold along each axis (i.e. each third is folded in a different direction), this time all of the folds were done in the same direction like if you were folding a flag. This simply puts too much strain on the map and the result is that it ends up horribly dented and crushed in spots.

I really hope that subsequent maps will return to the prior folding methods as this really lowers the presentation value. :(

EDIT: I also want to add that this is not a case of the product being damaged during shipping — the slip cover that encloses the flip mat is pristine with no dents or warping of any kind.

I wouldn't call it warping. At least in my case. Pretty nasty deep creases where the pane has pretty much folded back onto itself. Hopefully CS is on it.

I'd also like to add that the colors are not nearly as "bad" on the physical product as they look on the preview images. You can see the underlying map, and also the intended effects of mist, smoke, energy. etc much better. In the preview image, you can't see all the detail and it sort of looks like a child was let loose with a pastel on a map.

On the subject of minute detail that you can't see in the preview, the mosaic tile texture on the floor looks flippin' awesome!

Congrats! ...Mundo Fantasma. Now that is a proper game store name! Best of luck to you.

While "blanks" don't really pique my interest (because I have a few, and a few is more than enough; not because they are bad), I'm definitely interested here because the terrain is on them, and I agree that snow ones and a few other terrain types would be worth doing.

Good call by the way on the non-subscription thing. Still I would send out some sort of announcement to maps subscribers repeating what you said here about the preorder. Not everyone combs the messageboards and product pages.

The concept is actually a pretty good one! Personally, I think I have enough flip mats and map packs to pick from and overlay. Plus, I use a piece of black silk fabric (well, fake silk) as a fog of war. With those I can keep the players pretty much in the dark as to the layout, but this is a great idea!

I think the colors/patterns are what kills it for me, and it seems a lot of others. First, the color choice. Just-no. I think everybody had the same reaction when the page loaded:

"In the name of all that is holy what in the @#$! is that, a dance floor!?"

Second, why put any color at all? You can write on these with wet/rdy erase right? You could just "code" it yourself. If you mean to hide it from the players, you can jot the "linking" down somewhere. Without the coloring, it wouldn't necessarily have to be an arcane dungeon, it could serve as a mundane one as well and they could just be doorways, etc.

I really appreciate that you joined the discussion too, Stephen. See what happens when you listen to the customer? Web 2.0 for the win! Only kidding. I would definitely not give up on the modular fold-based thing. That is killer.

As for the colors-I think Ral Partha made a John Travolta figure.

Or was it grenadier?

Squares and colors, Man. There's only one vision that invokes.

I believe the most recent update to D20Pro now has an updated fog of war system. Instead of manually painting and erasing FoW, you can create preset zones using simple shapes. Simple shapes can be linked together into more complex areas. You then activate and deactivate these FoW zones. It's not perfect, but still much faster than painting manually.

Sorry to come late to this thread, but I was just about to start a related one of my own.

I was considering getting a new tablet to replace my aging iPad 1st gen. I was really looking for something with a larger screen size, specifically to read "letter" page-sized pdfs. I just hate the pinching and panning while reading, especially when also turning pages, so I was really looking for something that I can easily read a full page at a time on.

I whipped up a little spreadsheet that takes the horizontal screen size and the resolution and gets the actual H x W screen dimensions. Then, it considers the fit of a standard letter sized page, and which dimension will cap out first, to get the overall percent of the print page the full page view will be. Most applications can crop either the pdf file itself or the displayed image to cut away the margins (if you don't use this feature, you really should try it), so I added a calculation factoring that in too (based on Paizo's typical margin size).

Surprise, surprise! It seems the iPad stacks up pretty good to the competition. First place was a tie between the Motion 12.1 and the ASUS Eee Slate, which when using the crop feature can represent a page 98.7% of it's print size. Both of these tablets are pricey and harder to find.

Second place? The iPads at 87.4%, tied with the 11.6" widescreens (samsung, ASUS, Acer, etc). These wide tablets are essentially the same effective size as the iPad, but would leave you with a little extra room above or below the page for something else.

The rest of the pack was primarily 10.1" wide displays, which due to the letterboxing actually shrink the page down to about 76% of print size (58% when no cropping is used). Then, theres the iPAd mini at 71%(55%).

Of course this can't take into account things like tool and title bars, which are going to be app/OS dependent, plus other considerations like price and processor power, but it's still pretty illuminating.

An iPad with a retina display might be the way to go. It has a decent percent of print size, plus the increased resolution should help with the smaller print. Other than that, the Kings of the hill are still the Eee Slate and the Motion 12.1" ($2,480.99!).

You might also consider a Tablet PC (a.k.a. swiveling laptop), just be sure it has a touch screen or some kind of arrow key button to turn pages when it is folded back as a tablet.

Oh well, I can’t make you believe me. As I mentioned before, I was merely a small player on the periphery for a number of years -probably one of hundreds, in hind sight.

Everyone has roughly the same idea when it comes to spontaneous content. The press release for PFOL sounds like the beginning of meetings I have attended from 2005 to 2008. Anyone can walk into a room and say "I have an idea that takes modular sections of terrain and assembles them based on a set of essential variables to spontaneously generate ‘unique’ terrain". It's not even converting that into code that is the big obstacle most of the time, It's making it marketable to a broad enough audience –or at least some poor slob with enough cheddar to pony up for all of the art.

Then, there's that mere trifle of creating every other element that makes up the finished product.

WoW was initially conceived as a hybrid RTS and MMORPG. Guild Wars initially promised a drastic break from the established mindset. Rifts was another one that pitched RvR as a core concept. Black Prophecy?! –Don’t get me started on that one. Sooner or later, the idea gets compromised out or is diluted down to minigame status. What came close? Pirates of the Burning Sea? Mortal Online? Not really commercial heavy hitters. The idea just hasn’t had enough momentum to reach escape velocity.

What I hadn’t read until very recently are Ryan Dancey’s posts here. I’m not a big fan of some of it, but he seems pretty committed to a few core ideas that I think are vital to pulling the general concept off, and that is promising enough to make me regret the tone of my OP, yes. -My apologies for the hasty pessimism.

I disagree with your take on PnP glue and stitching, though. Just because they aren’t cut-copy-pasting OGL does not mean nontraditional RPG mechanics.

“Characters in Pathfinder Online don't have levels in the classic sense. They develop skills over time, and as their skills develop, and as they meet various prerequisites, they unlock new abilities similar to class features or feats from the tabletop game.”

-That can mean a lot of things, from complete skill-based advancement to functionally “levels without numbers”.

Likewise, “No classes, but archetypes” can mean everything from a skill buy system with a point cap to something which is indistinguishable from what Rifts did. Even in a restrictionless point buy system is no sure thing. If only a handful of the possible paths translate into a huge advantage on the battlefield or in the markets, then those are essentially classes.

I’d like to see something that uses the Pathfinder IP, but which otherwise has little similarity. I would rather see rock solid mechanics than see my pet feats included.

Time will tell. I have changed my mind enough to happily admit to a bit of foot-in-mouth. Even then, some of the responses to Ryan’s comments are disheartening. Not because those people are wrong, but because there doesn’t seem to be a lot of support for the idea. Everyone has their own idea of fun, I suppose. For me, PvP and sandbox are the keystones to actually having something that merits the label “Role-Playing Game”. Not because they are ends in themselves, but because they seem to be inescapable prerequisites. I simply cannot see the point of all the effort sunk into “virtual paper doll dress up”. That is what, regardless of the initial hope or hype, most MMOs devolve into.

Fifty million Elvis fans can't be wrong, I suppose.

Explorer: 93%, Killer: 60%, Socializer: 27%, Achiever: 20%

Ack! And I always wondered why MMOs lack depth! :D

Count Buggula wrote:
FoxBat_ wrote:

So just curious. Has the OP read anything at all about this specific MMO? Because while there is plenty to rant about, it's not any of the OP's points. I'll sum it up for those that can't bother to read the official FAQ:

1) No OGL. This game has zero basis in the PnP mechanics. There aren't even classes and levels FFS.

2) Themepark dungeons/raids aka WoW endgame are a sideshow in this game. The "real" content comes from players building up and competing as groups across various methods, such as economic, political, and yes combat. Conflict and content are thus generated by players, with the computer's role merely to provide systems that promote interesting player conflict. (rather than generating random content)

3) Since the game is directly or indirectly about PvP, there's definitely going to be challenge somewhere. You don't win unless someone else is getting ground into the dirt.

This above isn't what you would assume from a game labeled "Pathfinder Online" and not knowing anything else, and plenty of people (including me) have gone off on that point. They however have decided it was a good idea to do a small amount of research before posting an ill-informed wall of text.

Agreed. I'm getting tired of seeing the same arguments over and over by people who obviously haven't read any of the FAQ yet or done any research to see if their gripes have already been addressed.

So... did ya read the thread or just hit reply?

Yeah, I understand the pitch, I've given it. How many here have sunk real time and money into trying to kick one of these projects off instead of just posting about it? -can't be just me. If you did, then you've heard this same pitch over and over again, and you've probably also given it yourself. I've read your "research" a thousand times. When it's time to sit down and talk real money (Realtime Worlds ring a bell?), these ideas rarely survive the second or third cut, and this game isn't even close to that point. When it does survive, something else usually sinks the project. And yet we have the same arguments over and over:

"It will require a revolution in game design!"

No, it won't. That was true five years ago, it isn't now. It's everywhere. The problem is no one has managed to forge it into something profitable. -at least not with the kinds of yields Blizzard is getting, which are the kind of yields a venture capitalist that is about to cough up tens of millions of dollars wants.

"This idea is different ...and this time we mean it".

Nope. Same idea. No levels. Sometimes no classes. No static faction system. No static zones. Dynamic, non-consensual PvP playspace ...maybe twitch based. Some combination of the above. I love it! I live for it! It just doesn't ever pan out.

"They're just laying the groundwork. The dynamic content is coming. Heck, they're just getting started!"

Meet Dave. He has money. Dave and all the guys at TDP Asset Group are simply going ga-ga over this "morp-herger game thing". Dave has a buddy named Tucker. He's just another M.B.A. who works for an insurance company, but back in college Dave watched Tucker beat dozens upon dozens of games on his X-Box360. I mean, his gamerscore was off the charts!

Tucker is your new best friend. Dave just hired him to "keep an eye on the money", and since he's also a gamer, this qualifies him to make calls on game design and content. You know ..."Just to make sure it's what the kids really want", and all.

"Hey dave, we just finished the concept art for the core characters."

-"What does Tucker think?"

-He ...uh likes it! Yeah, he really does!"

-"Okay, sounds great!" -Click.

That doesn't sound like the situation here, but it's a big reason "dynamic sandbox persistent game world thing" has been sloshing around at the bottom of the barrel for quite a few years now, gasping for breath.

I want to see this happen. I really do! I once told a fellow conspirator "I don't want shares. I don't want a position in the company. Now, I just want to see someone pull this off". A little while later, I cashed in my chips. That was in 2008. I'm not holding my breath.

God speed, though!

A Man In Black wrote:
Zychon wrote:
If you can endure the design process, it comes out to a lot less work in the long run.
Sure, if you can somehow completely revolutionize emergent game design, it'll make less work for scenario developers. You're going to need a more specific plan than "endure the design process" and "make the game deeper", though.

"Completely revolutionize emergent game design" is more than a bit of a stretch there, Bud. Most of the pieces are there, just not in place. Some projects are just waiting for funding to finish. If by that you mean "do something that no one else is doing, because they're all busy telling their backers how they're going to make them the next World of Warcraft" then you'd be closer to the truth. ...and that is a very real and serious factor.

That aside, you seem to use the phrase as if it wasn't not too long ago the norm to do so. It's true that this business is more of a big boy's game nowadays. The risk is higher, but so is the yield. As far as a specific plan, one of the hurdles was getting servers to dynamically handle and exchange traffic. Even that has been hammered out by one developer, which sadly rode that pony right into the grave, so we may never know.

I'd love to elaborate, but -snowballs chance in hell that they have, I respect my friends, and their NDAs.

I didn't mean to rouse you, though. Sorry about suggesting that it might be a good idea to break the status quo. Go back to reading Gamasutra, and enjoy the microwaved bento box happy meal games that, thanks to that type of attitude, will surely dominate the industry for the next fifteen years.

A Man In Black wrote:


Hehe... Okay, I got a bit liberal with the facts there. I've been peripherally involved in some design, and know just a smidge of programing. Still enough to know it's harder than it appears to pull that off.

But conceptually, getting that to work would increase the depth of a game exponentially compared to bootstrapping yet another statically scripted expansion to the end of a title. If you can endure the design process, it comes out to a lot less work in the long run.

There's still plenty of room for scripted-in content, but that stuff could be reserved for the broad over arching story that the entire player population can participate in.

Ah damnit, y'all went and got me all optimistic again! Okay back to my hole!

DeaconX wrote:

I hear you Zychon, but I'll just say this -- it's possible for them to make an outstanding MMORPG, if they can muster the right resources and have the right creative talent designing it intelligently.

Personally, I'm much more afraid of the former than the latter being a problem at this point.

Yeah, it's not so much the idea as it is the team, right? Honestly, I read the press release and it's music to my ears. It's just that envisioning a concept and getting the little 1s and 0s to line up to make that concept a reality are two different things. After 12+ years of being promised "layered RPG and RTS elements" and "dynamic environments" and getting summonable vanity pets and additional talent spec slots instead, I'm not holding my breath.

On a positive note, the PFRPG is a testament to the fact that this company can find the good in a less than imperfect idea and work with it when "others" walk away.

Hey, I love being proven wrong! If you happen to meet me in game, feel free to throw rotten fruit at me and drive me out of your settlement.

Okay. In advance …I absolutely hate the idea that my first ever post on this board is going to be a huge and boring rant. Still worse, it’s a post that doesn’t really contribute anything to the conversation (except flame fodder), but here goes…

I hope that Paizo doesn’t sink too much energy into this. Well, let me clarify: I hope that this doesn’t become a distraction from what Paizo has been doing very well so far, which is –for the first time in a long time- making D20 not suck.

More than a decade of high hopes is all I’m willing to give any concept. No -I do not have high expectations for PFOL. I don’t have high expectations for any MMO. Here’s why:

1) PnP mechanics do not work in the MMO environment.

PnP game mechanics work with PnP, because PnP games are abstract, and because there is a neutral arbiter (the GM) to guide gameplay. It is hard enough even in PnP to develop game mechanics that do not implode upon themselves at some point in the character development arc. Taking them into the electronic arena is like trying to build a house out of hammers and saws using lumber for tools. The thing quickly becomes something that is unrecognizable to the original concept, and all you can try to do is keep it balanced. Eventually, even that becomes impossible.

Even if you were to cede the idea that the rules are there to mimic “reality” (gravity makes the rogue go “splat”) and take them for what they are (shuffling numbers around on a spreadsheet to make a* x < y/61), the little holes in the fabric of the game make it impossible to balance. Try to balance an overpowered class for raiding castrates that class for PvP. Removing a class’ PvP exploit makes it play like a sack of wet garbage in PvE. Why does this happen in every MMO? -Because the mechanics that were imported as the building blocks of that MMO are inherently “broken”. To exacerbate the situation, designers put more levels in. They like to think it adds a finer graduation to the mix. What it really does is exaggerate all of the flaws. Every class gets to hold the “awesome button” for a patch or two until they give it to someone else, and the cycle never ends.

Which brings me to levels. Here is a concept that is, if not perfect, then at least perfectly tolerable in PnP RPGs. Move it into the electronic format and it devolves into nothing more than a tool to ration out content. And hey, why not? This is a massively multiplayer game, after all. What would a massively multiplayer game be without a universal mechanic designed to prevent people from playing with one another?!

2) MMOs are excruciatingly and mind-numbingly boring.

Static mobs, static NPCs, static quests. …The whole damn way. It’s a 17 of 100 orc knuckles collected so far snooze-fest from beginning to end. Once the exploration and initial immersion wears off, it’s doing laps on the hamster wheel. Moving the grindstone one more revolution. Gotta get that next set of gear! Why? Well, to grind out the next set of gear, of course!

Why is it that every company goes to great pains to hand script every NPC, spawn point, tree, and rock into the game -every quest text with every cute little obscure pop culture reference, only to have the players carve a ravine straight through the path of least resistance. Why do the players do this? Because the only manipulable element to the whole damn experience is your toon is why!

Is it that hard to make a game that can spontaneously and conditionally generate persistent content or -God forbid -get the hell out of the way and let the players generate their own content? Instead of hand coding the thing one brick at a time? Seriously?

Which is easier in the long run: hand making ten million nails, or building a machine that makes nails? How about building a machine that builds nail-making machin- …Okay, you get the point.

“Hey, how about a dynamic and fluid faction system that interconnects players, guilds, and NPCs?”

“ Hey, how about a quest system that gives out tasks according to demand in the economy or based on the current threat?”

“Hey, how about an AI system that can, depending on how bad a players reputation is with a faction, send mobs to track the player’s toon across zones …maybe give quests to opposing players to hunt the player down?”

-“No, we can’t do that! We’re all so terribly busy picking up every pebble in the river and painting it -one at a time!”

3) MMOs have little to no challenge.

Just about every game out there relies too much on gear and level to determine success and too little on your actions or decisions in the moment. What’s worse is –should you actually fall asleep and manage to pass out on the wrong macro and get killed, you can sleep like a baby. There is usually no penalty for failure at all. Get the right stats …autopilot. Stare into your monitor for long enough and a piece of raid gear pops out.

And here comes the brainwashed cookie-cutter response… Ready!?


Endgame is where it’s at! You don’t really learn your class until you hit cap! You don’t really start playing the game ‘till ya hit sixty… I mean seventy… erm …eighty ...five! After spending quite a bit of the last ten years at “Endgame” …wherever that is, all I can say is poppycock!

True, it is somewhat challenging –but it’s the ten year-old trying to do the hokey pokey on rollerblades kind of challenging…

Ya put yer deeps in!
Ya get yer healz out!
Ya stop ta wipe yer aggro and ya shake it all about!
Ya do the hokey pokey and more pointless crap drops …again!
…That’s what it’s all a-bout! …ZZzzzZZzz

Okay. I’m exaggerating . It wasn’t that bad. Still, are we all sold on the idea of paying $50 +fees on a game which is kinda-sorta okay and might turn into something at cap –at least until the next expansion?

I remember a conversation I had with a random guy in Everquest, both of us plying our wares at 6 A.M. one Sunday morning. We were talking about the untapped potential of online RPGs and he said “Yeah, as a social playspace, EQ is kinda cool. As a game, it kinda sucks.”

Hey, at least EQ had the decency to be a little bit challenging. At least it respected you enough to grief you a little when you did something really dumb.

…And look how far we’ve come since then! We’ve rolled up our sleeves, dove right in there and dumbed MMOs down so much that we’ve created an entire culture of loyal lobotom- I mean "customers" who will gladly pay every month to stare into their monitors until shiny stuff appears –groaning and griping when it isn’t handed to them on a silver platter.

Alright, I’ll have to confess. In their current state, MMOs are just not my thing. I’ve tried a ton of ‘em. I hope I didn’t offend anyone. I have lots of friends that still play, I just don’t see what they get from it. I sincerely hope you all get something that you enjoy.

I wish Paizo and Goblinworks the best too! Heck, Blizzard made that colossal abortion that they dare to call an RPG, but it made them a ton of cash. Maybe I’m just being pessimistic and PFOL will be a real genre changer. I have to admit, when I saw “sandbox” slipped into the tag line, I felt a little glimmer of optimism. It lasted about as long as it took to read the top few posts, though.

Okay, how about meet me halfway. Have a permadeath server as an option (and game mechanics that can accommodate such a thing), and I’ll give it a shot! Just don't let it distract you from doing what you are doing right now. ;)

Oh ...and sorry for the rotten punctuation! :D