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Capn_Ascii last won the day on October 14 2014

Capn_Ascii had the most liked content!

About Capn_Ascii

  • Rank
    Trash Vaporizer
  • Birthday 12/11/81

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Eastern NC, USA
  • Interests
    Video games, cartoons, the Internet, Transformers, Space Quest, other adventure games
  1. Cascade Quest announcement

    Heeey, not bad! It's hard to make a proper judgement call without knowing more about the game's plot or writing, but at least from a technical standpoint, you seem to know what you're doing. Reminds me of Police Quest 2, at least in terms of character design. Maybe it's just that fine leather jacket talking, though. I hear there's a crate-full of those things someone found when they sold off LucasArts' assets; 'bout time someone put them to good use.
  2. Sierra may be coming back (New KQ Game)

    Inspired by? Hell, the entire final sequence (The Test of Wits) is a blatant homage to that movie. A certain voice actor, a certain setup involving wine glasses, drugs, and a shifty opponent...somebody on the design team knew exactly what they were doing. I hope Jeysie gets a chance to play it; she'll be laughing herself silly through the whole ordeal. But yeah, having had a chance to play the first part in full, I have to say I'm loving it overall. It's *very* similar to Telltale's adventure game series. Specifically, it's similar to their earlier ones (Sam and Max, Back to the Future, Tales of Monkey Island, etc) before they started focusing on more story-driven licenses that moved them away from adventure game mechanics and more towards the cinematic/QTE experiences Fronzel spoke of. While the game does have some QTE and action trappings, they're not the bulk of the experience; most of the game is good old-fashioned adventure game puzzles, either item-driven or environment-driven depending on the circumstances. The QTE stuff that is present is done well, and more importantly, helps to establish Graham as the man-of-occasional-action he is. A Corridor Cubbyhole Run while fleeing from an angry dragon, an impromptu rafting trip requiring you to shoot down barriers with your bow, an obstacle course based more on paying attention than reflexes...these things help sell the image of Graham as an emerging knight-hopeful, and none of them are so difficult as to hamper the arcade-squeamish. The writing is top-notch, if somewhat different from the old-school KQ games. The originals had an overall mood that was *mostly* serious, but with a sense of whimsy and levity that kept them feeling more like fairy tales than dramatic stories (which I'm sure was the original intent when 'Berta came up with the idea). The new one here is much the same, but throws in bits of the Lucasarts school of game design...distinctive characters with stylized designs and memorable personalities, occasional bits of silliness (I agree, Monty Python seems to be an inspiration here), funny dialogue options, and the like. The result is something that feels like a King's Quest with modern sensibilities, which I think is a good thing. I did notice a couple of design choices that I thought I should point out. Firstly, unlike a lot of modern adventure games, NewKQ eschews the Law of Conservation of Detail. Do you remember how the early KQ games tended to have a lot of rooms to explore, but only a fraction of them actually held anything important to the game's plot and puzzles? Most of them were there just for the sake of giving the player something to find and explore. This was a holdover from the days of interactive fiction (where the games were often basically mazes of rooms the player was *expected* to be mapping out) and also of the fact that KQ was the first graphical adventure game, which meant lots of extra rooms of advanced EGA graphics for players to see and marvel at. Modern adventure games tend to do the opposite...puzzles, NPCs, and such are condensed into a tighter, more coherent layout. Each room has a purpose, with generally no 'empty' rooms to be found. New KQ bucks this trend, intentionally creating a number of rooms who exist solely to A) connect important locations together, contain random puzzle-related items to be used elsewhere, and C) look gorgeous while doing these things. A more cynical player might see this as padding, but as I said, such things are as much a part of KQ as anything else. I'm fairly certain the devs did this deliberately, attempting to invoke those classic-KQ feelings of exploring not only the characters and puzzles of Daventry, but of the realm itself. The creator of the Legend of Zelda once said he made the NES original with the same philosophy in mind, and anyone who's ever gone on a nature hike will understand the appeal of walking through a fairy-tale forest just for the sake of seeing what there is to see. Granted, this does result in longer trips when backtracking between certain areas, but frankly, I think it's a worthy trade-off. There's one particularly stunning view on Graham's initial hike towards town that instantly reminded me of Alexander's scenic climb over the mountains in KQ3, and I was sold on this new series right then and there. The second major design choice is, as the devs have mentioned, is the idea of multiple-choice puzzle solutions, each with thematic differences. Graham is a hero, so he's always going to do the right thing, but at least in this first episode, there's a strong emphasis on *how* the right thing gets done. Thematically speaking, Graham typically has three ways to approach obstacles - the direct approach (valor), the clever approach (intelligence), and the heartfelt approach (compassion). Each of these gets the job done in their own way, and none of them are presented as being objectively better than the others (although certain NPCs have their own preferences, and will comment on your actions based on how well theirs align with yours). These come into play both for past Graham and for Gwendolyn, whose actions in the present directly reflect the 'moral of the story' that Graham's tales just finished imparting to her. It's a cute way of highlighting the interactions between Graham and his granddaughter. ...anywho, I think this post has meandered on long enough. TL;DR version: I like NewKQ a lot and will be very happy if future episodes are anything like this one.
  3. Fan creation ideas

    Yes, and yes.
  4. Is it worth playing...

    See, the thing is, they weren't. The reason KQ1 is designed that way is because its direct predecessors - interactive fiction games - were done the same way. Look at games like Zork...basically just glorified scavanger hunts (just like KQ1). Lots of places to explore right away, with the challenge being to figure out how to interact with those areas to accomplish your goals (just like KQ1). 'Enemy' NPCs that show up randomly and without warning to give a sense of danger (just like KQ1). KQ1 was practically a carbon copy of early IF games, but like that genre, Sierra's own game design evolved beyond that design philosophy before long. Treasure! Another element carried over from the early IF days. Sure it's pointless puzzle-wise, but it's the early adventure game's concept of 100-percent completion. Gotta find 'em all! ...and not lose them to that thieving dwarf. Bastard. It's pronounced "HAY-bah-dee-FAH-que".
  5. I hate them. The datacorder puzzle was stupid and I ****ing hate it. There, done. The bridge was their own demonic creation, but the bridle, snake, and sugar cube all actually made sense, in a way. IIRC, they were all taken from fairy tales and mythology, although ones that were *much* more obscure than some of the ones used in KQ1. The bridle and snake combo, for example, was a reference to Pegasus, I believe. Someone didn't read the manual. This was a factor of PQ1 being less 'adventure game' and more 'police simulator' than Sierra's other series. Police offers follow procedure EVERY TIME, even if that procedure is something as mindlessly simplistic as checking your car before going on patrol. Personally, I thought it was brilliant game design. Making the PQ games as 'real' as possible, instead of just abstracting police work like every other cop TV and video game ever. But, that's just me. Some people don't like that sort of thing, I guess.
  6. Back Seat Designers

    Short answer: yes. Why? Internet, mostly. There's no real point in trying to stump players with puzzles when they're less than 60 seconds away from hopping on GameFAQs.com and looking up the answer. In that sort of environment, it works better to design more accomodating puzzles that don't disrupt the game's pace. Also, there's the fact that the age of smartphones, social media, and the like has reduced the average IQ of the target audience by bringing an influx of intellectually lazy persons into the computer-using community. But that's a whole 'nother rant.
  7. 3D Realms relaunches, releases anthology

    I loved Bio Menace. I also liked some of their other games along those lines. There was one that had you playing a guy with a jetpack and a flamethrower for a default weapon...Alien something-or-other. And Duke 2 was quite fun as well. Did anyone ever play Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project? It was a 2.5D1 platformer starring Duke that was made back when Duke Nukem Forever wasn't *quite* a Development Hell running gag yet. It was pretty obviously made as a connection to Duke's 2D roots, and by extention the whole 2D Apogee platformer epoch. A pretty awesome game, as far as platformers go. Part of me misses those old-school games like that. Just good old-fashioned running, jumping, and shooting. Exploring to find hidden stuff, most of which does nothing but increase your score, which is itself mostly pointless (pun intended). No worries over 100% completion, just good old-fashioned run-jump-and-shoot arcade action. 1) That's old-school gamer code for 'two dimensional playing field with three-dimentional graphics'.
  8. Scariest scenes in Sierra games

    That was precisely why they went in the 'mostly comedy' direction. The fact that you can't die in most of their games makes it impossible to be entirely serious...instead, they went the other way with things, and started having fun with their games. Finding more and more increasingly hilarious reasons for you to *not* die when you logically should became something of a hallmark of theirs. "Silly me! I should have tied you to my bed!" They freaked me out too, although perhaps not for the same reasons...
  9. Sarien Encounter - orat puzzle variations

    This is a classic example of You Shouldn't Know This Already, one of my favorite tropes. Sometimes programmers like to do stuff like this...setting things up so that, even if you know what you're supposed to be doing ahead of time, you can't actually *do* it until it's time for it plot-wise. Logically speaking, Roger has no reason to kill the Orat before talking to the Keronians underground. Realistically, if he stumbled across the creature's cave while exploring, he'd GTFO and stay the hell away...wouldn't you? It isn't until you visit the underground hologram that you're given the 'quest' and have a reason to interact with the creature. It seems as though the programmers wanted to use this trope to maintain plot integrity. The change from the early version to the later one actually seems more like a gesture of convenience to the player. In the early version, the Orat doesn't appear at all until you get the quest; that means new players wouldn't have any idea where to look for him, since they'll likely have explored the cave earlier and found nothing there. The newer version sets it up so you still can't kill Orat early with the droid, but at least he shows up when you're first exploring, so you know where to find him later on. Personally, I believe in the preservation of narrative causality, so I have no problem with setups like this. By the same token, I hate Sequence Breaking with a passion...
  10. Collection Thread (Image Heavy)

    I don't have any pics, as such (for reasons that I'll get into shortly), but this does seem like a good time to share the chronicle of How Ascii Got His Space Quest Back Games. It's an epic tale, full of excitement, adventure, and software distribution practices of dubious legal nature: -Some of my earliest childhood memories are of my dad playing Space Quest 2 and Space Quest 3 on the family computer - a Tandy 1000. It was one of the first times I'd seen a game more complex than 'eat dots, avoid ghosts', both graphically and in terms of being able to walk around and interact with the game world. Sadly, this was back in Ye Good Olde Days of rampant software piracy letting your friends borrow your computer games, and I'm fairly certain those copies were themselves 'borrowed'. I am both proud and slightly ashamed to admit that those copies have survived all this time, across multiple replaced forms of storage medium, and are the very copies I still play to this day. The Space Quest 3 I have is apparantly a semi-rare version of some sort, as I remember Frans asking for a copy back when he was attempting to archive the games here on SQ.net. -There was also a copy of Space Quest 4 somewhere in those old 5.25" floppies, although obviously a Tandy wasn't capable of running that particular game (256 colors, and all that). I didn't understand why at the time, and I remember spending a good few years trying to figure out why it wouldn't run. It wasn't until the family computer got upgraded to a proper PC years later that I finally got the chance to play that one. -Next came Space Quest 1 VGA - a birthday present from my father, who knew how much I loved the games he'd already let me play. He specifically got the 16-color version so it would run on the Tandy, which was both good and bad; good in that I got to play it, bad in that I didn't realize there *was* a 256-color version until years later (Again, this was long before I had any degree of coputer knowledge). I didn't get to hear the awesome soundtrack until the aforementioned PC upgrade, and I didn't get my hands on the 256-color version until Frans' archival efforts. -Space Quest 5 came after that...I picked that one up at a library discard sale. I remember being a bit bewildered by the box, which had a library label claiming that the obviously-used product was missing its 'code reader'; by this point, I knew PCs better, yet I had no idea what it was talking about. I got it anyway, installed it, and played it through just fine. It wasn't until a while later that I realized that the label was actually referring to the manual being missing, which had the copy protection coordinates one needs to play the game. So...how did I play and beat it without said manual, you ask? Because along with SQ1 VGA, I'd gotten a Space Quest written strategy guide for my birthday as well. The Official Guide to Roger Wilco's Space Adventures, Second Edition (I think). It was written in a marginally-serious narrative form, and more importantly, the chapter on SQ5 (which had just recently been added, hence Second Edition) had all the coordinates in the dialog, presumably so that those reading along as they played would have the numbers handy and not have to go look them up. On a side note, I still have that book, although by now it's terribly yellowed, dog-eared, and the cover has long since fallen off. -At some point after this - I'm assuming around 1996 or so - I remember being in a Wal-Mart, browsing the software section (back when software was still something to have a proper section based around - shelf space and all!). I was looking over the selection, and HOLY CRAP there's a SPACE QUEST 6!? Brand new, in the box, just released. This was back in the pre-Internet days, so of course I'd had no sort of news to follow from my then-favorite company...just stumbling across a new release in my favorite series like that was quite a shock. I bought it, took it home, and proceeded to get stuck on the endodroid puzzle for over half a year (I couldn't find the hotspot on the pipe behind the bar). The Internet was *juuust* coming into its own around this time, and it finally occured to me to search for the answer on-line. I found this weird site called the Virtual Broomcloset and, using the info there, was finally able to progress in and beat SQ6. A belated thanks for that, Jess. That was actually my first encounter with the SQ fan community, although at the time I was too young to understand the concept; it wasn't until around 2001 or so that it occured to me that, hey, I've become something of a Space Quest-obsessed pseudo-expert, I could get *in* on that hot fan bickering action. I met a bunch of cool people, hung around for a while saying very little using an awful lot of words, then drifted away when the community started to run out of steam after years with no new releases. And then Hell froze over, the Two Guys joined forces to conquer the world once more, and here I am again. Sunrise, sunset. -Ahem. Anywho. Again, a lack of knowledge about different versions almost caused me to not realize that, hey, there was actually a talkie CD version of SQ4 somewhere out there that I never got to try. I eventually found it on sale one day in an Electronics Boutique (remember when they still existed? And they actually sold computer software and stuff?). It was a cheap copy, one of those straight-to-bargain-bin release versions that software companies would make after the product's original sales life was well over. Basically just a plaid red CD in a case, with no real documentation. Took me ages to get it working, especially because by now PCs were powerful enough that the dreaded Timer IssuesTM were starting to rear their ugly heads. I have to admit, after the (mostly) professional voice acting in SQ6, the poorer sound quality and voice acting skills of the SQ4 staff (yes, I know, there's a reason for that) were rather underwhelming. I also didn't care much for how dopey Roger sounded compared to his SQ6 self. On the other hand, Scott made for an excellent Vohaul...but, I digress. -And then, finally, *finally*, years later, after I was part of the SQ community proper, I found the one game I'd been missing the whole time - SQ1 EGA. Found it at another discard sale from the same library I'd originally gotten SQ5 from...hard to believe they used to rent software like that. Frustratingly, however, the disks themselves were corrupted. I wound up getting a working copy from Frans' archival project (which I'd been not using for moral reaons), justifying it by saying that, hey, I actually *did* pay for the game this time. I won't go into my opinions on the two versions of SQ1 here, as I've already done so in this other thread over here. -I should note that, by this point, I had a lot of original Space Quest discs and CDs that had been around god knows how many years, all just sort of taking up shoebox space in my room. I didn't realize just how dangerous this was until one day I went back to replay Space Quest 6, and the game kept crashing during the first Stellar-Roger cutscene on the Deepship 86. I thought it was a computer glitch, until it occured to me to try copying the CD to my hard drive to improve performance - only to get a read error. The disc was damaged. This sparked a monumental, panic-fueled event wherin I began burning back-up copies of *all* of my old game CDs (and burning disc games to CD) out of fear that they too would someday die a slow, gradual, scratch-filled death. I only still have a working copy of SQ6 thanks to, once again, Frans and his online SQ backup efforts (Gee, I hope I'm not going to get him into trouble by talking about that like this). ...and that's my story. At the moment, all of my SQ games are sitting on a trio of burned CDs, tucked safely into a box in a bedroom I use solely to store my myriad of random crap. I haven't actually played most of them in years, but that's only because I played through them so many times when I was younger that they're mostly burned into my brain. Even now, I can often casually quote text from them that most other folks have long since forgotten. Help me. Oh, yeah. Why don't I have pics? Because most of the software boxes I held onto, both SQ and otherwise, got destroyed when my house was flooded by Hurricane Floyd. At this point, the only ones still intact are SQ5, SQ1 EGA, and LSL1 EGA.
  11. Most frequently-replayed Space Quest title?

    Yeah, you have to do your best to look past the technical and business-political issues when it comes to SQ6. There's parts of it that really are very good - it just suffers from a pronounced lack of consistency because of its pedigree. I try not to be too hard on it myself, especially since it's the last official Space Quest game - I don't really like the idea of going around badmouthing the series' swansong for the rest of my life. Kind of taints the nostalgia factor.
  12. Political correctness and feminism

    ...suddenly, I feel very, very old.
  13. Plot holes and inconsistencies in fan games

    You really should, if only to marvel at how positively *ripped* Roger is in that game. For all his pedantic-ness, Vonster completely failed to provide an explaination for how Roger managed to work out while he was asleep, or where that bod went between TLC and SQ3. Also, it's a fine example of the 'classic Sierra' school of design. By which I mean, it's chock full of ridiculously unforseeable, unfair deaths1. Save early, save often. 1) First prize goes to the spike-top monster. You'll know that one when you get it.
  14. SQ Multiplayer. How'd it be?

    Ignoring the more suggestive aspects of this statement for the time being, this does remind me of something. I've been playing with/DMing for a tabletop RPG group (through IRC) for years, a group that started with members of this very community. Well, more accurately, with members of this community's former, pre-Spaceventure-revival incarnation: myself, BLusk, Jeysie, and SlowIdent. None of those folks are still with me playing anymore (something about 'real life' or some crap. Boo!), but back when they were, I actually ran a couple of Space Quest campaigns for them. I stole borrowed a number of d20 gameplay elements, including a bunch of stuff from the Star Wars KOTOR games, and adapted a bunch of SQ material to fit those rules. Things like a list of playable races, feats to replicate Roger's unusual anti-bell-curve luck factor, statistics for SQ technology and equipment, a galactic map (with original game locations laid out on it) for use as reference, etc. I think I still have most of that stuff lying around...
  15. Most frequently-replayed Space Quest title?

    It was, pretty much. That was right about the point that Sierra as a whole had jumped the shark, both in terms of game design and in terms of corporate politics, and almost all of their game series' suffered for it. SQ6 in particular had some serious development hell going on. Frankly, it's a wonder it got finished and kicked out the door at all.