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Old 08-24-2008, 08:20 AM   #81
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Oh, those features are commonplace on games, all right. I just said Mass Effect twice (and many other times throughout this thread) because to be honest, a lot of the game so far looks incredibly like Bioware's latest hit.
And Mass Effect in turn looks incredibly like a bunch of older games. Game development seems to be mostly evolutionary, where they take (hopefully) good elements from older games with minor tweaks and put them together into new games. There isn't a lot of innovation within computer games (except on the graphics side) as of late.

In my opinion it's unfair to accuse one game of ripping off another, when the presumed ripped off game in turn would be an equally big rip off of older games when viewed from the same perspective.


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Old 08-24-2008, 03:54 PM   #82
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In my opinion it's unfair to accuse one game of ripping off another, when the presumed ripped off game in turn would be an equally big rip off of older games when viewed from the same perspective.
Yes, but it's equally unfair to take those fairly old elements and brag that they're revolutionary.


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Old 08-24-2008, 04:07 PM   #83
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Yes, but it's equally unfair to take those fairly old elements and brag that they're revolutionary.
Typical marketing buzzword. Seems like most press releases are required to contain that word (and a series of others in the same vein) nowadays. You'll find plenty of proclamations of new and revolutionary features in the Mass Effect press releases as well, for example.

I'll reserve judgment until the game is done just how revolutionary it is. Or maybe not. The (revolutionary?) dialog system in Alpha Protocol, as it has been described, is rather discouraging to me.


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Old 10-19-2008, 11:36 AM   #84
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Obsidian have released their first trailer for Alpha Protocol which can be found here.


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Old 10-19-2008, 01:17 PM   #85
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Incredibly short trailer, but fairly good. I'd love to see how mature it's final content will be.


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Old 10-19-2008, 03:34 PM   #86
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Were those animations horrible or is it just me?
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Old 10-19-2008, 04:15 PM   #87
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I kind of see what you mean, but I didn't think they were too bad. Too short to really make a fair judgment to me.


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Old 11-22-2008, 12:00 PM   #88
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Video developer diary with gameplay footage
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Old 03-14-2009, 03:17 PM   #89
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New Info Video @ GTTV

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A massive segment focusing almost entirely on Alpha Protocol on GameTrailers.

It's looking very, very nice so far. I just hope that Sega markets the hell out of it.

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Old 03-19-2009, 04:35 PM   #90
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^ It does look very nice, although I'm still suspicious of their "revolutionary" talk system.

Also, for the lulz, anyone noticed at 2:00, when the interviewer asks "And the action is gonna be good?", Feargus kinda stutters before answering "Er, absolutely".


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Old 03-19-2009, 06:52 PM   #91
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It does look very nice, although I'm still suspicious of their "revolutionary" talk system.
True, although almost every feature that BioWare has called "revolutionary" has often been sub-par, so it's not like anything new is afoot.
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Old 04-05-2009, 07:34 PM   #92
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Developer Diary #2

Lookin' great, I just hope that it really is as expansive as they say. Yet, then again, I always have high confidence in Avellone.
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Old 05-20-2009, 08:14 PM   #93
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Developer Diary #3 - Dialog

Judging from what their dialog system is being developed, I think this might really provide more options for purely social and conversational dialogs that aren't always 100% related to the task at hand. I.E., presentation and tone of voice could be a greater factor than what you really say.

If this true, AP might come close to my personal übermensch of dialog and conversations: A true, natural replication of real-world conversations. Well, at least it might happen if Sega doesn't rush them towards a deadline.
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Old 05-20-2009, 08:25 PM   #94
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I'd love to see what they do with the dialog--exploring the different dialog trees is one of the more fun parts of playing any RPG for me.


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Old 05-21-2009, 02:27 PM   #95
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Still pretty skeptical over here. It's Mass Effect all over again.


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Old 05-21-2009, 05:15 PM   #96
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Still pretty skeptical over here. It's Mass Effect all over again.
Okay, but I can say the same exact thing for Mass Effect 2, as well as BioWare's preceding games which ME borrowed from heavily.

To the point, nothing is truly original. AP might have gameplay similar to ME, but considering that Obsidian is going into murky territory by having an RPG set in the present day instead of a redundant high-fantasy or deep space atmosphere, I'd have to give them some credit for adapting a gameplay formula and massively editing it to include some innovation. They did the same thing with Star Wars; They warped, changed, and put in things that would be unheard of in Star Wars, but yet, it still felt like Star Wars, and I loved it.
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Old 05-21-2009, 06:49 PM   #97
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There's nothing wrong with using elements that work, game-play-wise, and re--using those if they are popular features or help enhance the experience. We expect certain HUD organization and controls in FPS games' and some people get bent out of shape if it's changed. Taking a working system and making enhancements to it is perfectly acceptable in my book. Why re-invent the wheel if people like how it''s already working and want more of the same, or at least substantially similar?


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Old 05-21-2009, 09:25 PM   #98
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Agree with the above.

The only thing I'm still worried about is the time bar during the dialog. I don't like being forced into a choice in a certain time frame, I like to ponder my choices. Except for a better flow in the conversations, it also seems to have no use.

A remark I've seen somewhere else that's worth mentioning, is that the choices in the dialog itself, going by what we've seen in the videos, aren't very varied. I can see clicking on professional getting boring after a few times. So I hope the choices are going to be varied.


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Old 05-21-2009, 10:05 PM   #99
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Still pretty skeptical over here. It's Mass Effect all over again.
From a gameplay point of view, it will be similar. But I'm positive it's story will be far superior to that in Mass Effect. Besides, as PastramiX said nothing is trully original, but when it comes to the RPG genre, a modern-day espionage role-play adventure is an actually freash idea, definitely more than a space opera. I'm really excited for this game. This may be the it title for Obsidian if they are able to polish it on time.


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Old 05-23-2009, 10:53 AM   #100
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Okay, but I can say the same exact thing for Mass Effect 2, as well as BioWare's preceding games which ME borrowed from heavily.
A sequel, which, understandably, won't stretch the original formula much.

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To the point, nothing is truly original. AP might have gameplay similar to ME, but considering that Obsidian is going into murky territory by having an RPG set in the present day instead of a redundant high-fantasy or deep space atmosphere, I'd have to give them some credit for adapting a gameplay formula and massively editing it to include some innovation. They did the same thing with Star Wars; They warped, changed, and put in things that would be unheard of in Star Wars, but yet, it still felt like Star Wars, and I loved it.
When you take an entire new game and shape it after another it's fine'; we call it inspiration. When you copy most of it's aspect changing setting, story and another characteristics that may very well be branded gimmicks on this case, we have a problem.

At any rate, I was referring more to the dialog, which was the clear focus of the last video. I already had this same conversation with the thoughtful Stoffe and I think we reached a conclusion to wait and see for ourselves. Still, those dev diaries present us with the great (dis?)service of further exploring their dialog system, and one can't help but voice his preliminary impressions about it.

To paraphrase, if I'm not mistaken, Pavlos, while the system looks undeniably like the Mass Effect conversation wheel, it also looks worse, since the choices have been reduced to voice tones, instead of short phrases, interjections and [actions].

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There's nothing wrong with using elements that work, game-play-wise, and re--using those if they are popular features or help enhance the experience. We expect certain HUD organization and controls in FPS games' and some people get bent out of shape if it's changed. Taking a working system and making enhancements to it is perfectly acceptable in my book. Why re-invent the wheel if people like how it''s already working and want more of the same, or at least substantially similar?
No problems there, if they were improving it. Issue is, the way they're marketing this, things seem worse, not better, or even the same.

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From a gameplay point of view, it will be similar. But I'm positive it's story will be far superior to that in Mass Effect. Besides, as PastramiX said nothing is trully original, but when it comes to the RPG genre, a modern-day espionage role-play adventure is an actually freash idea, definitely more than a space opera. I'm really excited for this game. This may be the it title for Obsidian if they are able to polish it on time.
The premise is one thing, and also something I'm excited about. But if all I cared was that, I'd keep reading literature classics on my free time instead.


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Old 05-23-2009, 12:23 PM   #101
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To paraphrase, if I'm not mistaken, Pavlos, while the system looks undeniably like the Mass Effect conversation wheel, it also looks worse, since the choices have been reduced to voice tones, instead of short phrases, interjections and [actions].
I don't remember saying that but I do have a memory like a sieve. Anyway, Brian Mitsoda -- former creative director, of Bloodlines fame -- actually designed the dialogue stance system before Mass Effect was announced. 'Cause I'm a creepy stalker I'll reference that with a link to his MySpace page:

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Over the last few weeks I’ve gotten some emails/rumors concerning my work on certain projects, so I thought I’d clarify. Firstly, to those who were wondering – I wasn’t affected by anything related to layoffs at Obsidian, chiefly because I haven’t been at Obsidian for a very long time now. In relation to this, for good or ill, I have nothing to do with Alpha Protocol as it is being developed currently. I was working on the creative direction, story, and dialogue for previous iterations of the game, but outside of a dialogue system I created (before Mass Effect was announced) for an earlier version of the game, my (and Annie Carlson’s) original dialogue and plot – again, for good or ill – are not being used for the game. Any characters I’m attributed with creating bear only a superficial resemblance to the ones in my original story.
Besides, the two systems are quite different. One reworks the old wordy responses of ye olden days RPGs into a short "idea" and the other does away with the concept of specific choices and places an emphasis on personality-driven responses; so rather than making the specific choices you decide on what mood you wish to take. The idea is to make conversation branches more organic and less obvious.

The success or failure of that can only be judged when the game comes out.

Edit: I don't particularly like the idea of either of them; though I might have been enthusiastic at some point. They both seem rather... vague at times. I cannot speak for Alpha Protocol but Mass Effect's changes were mostly cosmetic and they did very little to enhance the richness (there's a nice vague word for you) of the dialogue. By that I mean: encounters were still pretty much the same as we'd seen from BioWare before (with the exception of that choice you have to make on Virmire). To nick a method of arguing from Gerard Manley Hopkins: if you were a BioWare developer you could imagine writing Mass Effect. If you were Shakespeare you couldn't possibly imagine writing Hamlet.

Which is not to say that I don't find Mass Effect fun; I just don't think it's worthy of all the gushing praise it receives. I'm not sure if I'm making sense... I'm quite tired.


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Old 05-23-2009, 12:55 PM   #102
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When you take an entire new game and shape it after another it's fine'; we call it inspiration. When you copy most of it's aspect changing setting, story and another characteristics that may very well be branded gimmicks on this case, we have a problem.
Seeing as Obsidian's writing is always better than anything that BioWare can come up with, I'm pretty sure that AP will have much more expansive plot than ME.

Other than that, I don't really see the problem. Mass Effect was nowhere close to being innovative, no matter what everyone else says. BioWare took two things and put them together, and called it a new. I'd say that it would be more of a gimmick to simply shorten dialogue options into simple phrases, rather in AP's case, it's more or less introducing more physical choices, i.e. actions.
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Old 05-23-2009, 02:43 PM   #103
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Like someone earlier said, I really don't like the timed dialogue thing. Hopefully they give you the choice of putting a timer on it, and the choice of not putting one; for I love to explore my options and to really think of them before I click on an option.
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Old 05-23-2009, 04:47 PM   #104
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They don't want you to think, they want you to instantly react. Supposedly selecting from a limited pool of predetermined vague "moods" is akin to a real conversation. Personally I think both systems (AP's and ME's) are rubbish. It's just one more concession to the action crowd that continually water down the RPG genre.
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Old 05-23-2009, 05:50 PM   #105
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Personally I think both systems (AP's and ME's) are rubbish. It's just one more concession to the action crowd that continually water down the RPG genre.
I disagree on Mass Effect's. At its core, it's really just having the player's dialogue options spoken aloud.

Apart from making the atmosphere more cinematic, I think it also forced BioWare to give the player larger amounts of dialogue (if indirectly). Most of the time in RPGs (Obsidian's included, though to a lesser extent) the player selects responses that are several sentences long and listens to an NPC ramble for paragraphs.

Although giving the player a closer amount of dialogue to what NPCs got and spoken lines isn't a novel concept, no developers did it until Mass Effect. For that, at least, I think BioWare deserves credit.

I agree with you on AP's dialogue system, though. I don't think all possible responses the player could have to a situation can be boiled down to single emotions, even if that does make selectable responses less confusing than Mass Effect's (though I think that could be remedied with clearer writing).

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Seeing as Obsidian's writing is always better than anything that BioWare can come up with
I know that it's now cool to bash BioWare at every turn, but seriously, play some more of both their games (is more than 2 a good number?) before making such blanket statements. Irenicus' writing in BG2, for instance, puts most of the dialogue in NWN2's OC to shame. There's a number of other instances in which Obsidian's writing has been less than stellar. AJ's dialogue in MotB was terrible, and that was in the midst of an otherwise amazing game.
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Old 05-23-2009, 05:57 PM   #106
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They don't want you to think, they want you to instantly react. Supposedly selecting from a limited pool of predetermined vague "moods" is akin to a real conversation. Personally I think both systems (AP's and ME's) are rubbish. It's just one more concession to the action crowd that continually water down the RPG genre.
All of this to serve a better cinematic experience. I'm not following BioWare's (and with this title, Obsidian's) reasoning. I want a gaming experience. If I wanted a cinematic experience, I'd watch a movie.

One of the issues I had with Mass Effect was that in their dialog system (which isn't any different from other branched dialog systems), the option you'd choose would sometimes surprise you when your PC would execute it. The keywords that replaced the full sentences were vague, and I think Alpha Protocol's take on it is an improvement, where you choose your attitude towards a character, and you're far more likely to get the result you want. Still, both systems start from the idea that it should give gamers a cinematic experience, and as a result, neglect the gaming experience, or rather, the RPG experience.


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Old 05-23-2009, 06:13 PM   #107
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I disagree on Mass Effect's. At its core, it's really just having the player's dialogue options spoken aloud.
Spoken dialog does make your character come more alive than when it is mute, even though it leaves less to the imagination. Generally I like it. The biggest problem I has with the Mass Effect dialog choices were that some of them were very hard to figure out in advance what type of actual conversation they would result in.

I remain highly skeptical of the dialog system in Alpha Protocol as it has been described, since it would clash strongly with my preferred playing style.

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Although giving the player a closer amount of dialogue to what NPCs got and spoken lines isn't a novel concept, no developers did it until Mass Effect. For that, at least, I think BioWare deserves credit.
Deus Ex and Invisible War did, all of Denton's dialog was spoken there. Though it had a lot more limited choices compared to more recent RPGs.

(Have you played Deus Ex yet? )


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Old 05-23-2009, 06:22 PM   #108
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Still, both systems start from the idea that it should give gamers a cinematic experience, and as a result, neglect the gaming experience, or rather, the RPG experience.
The RPG experience = seeing your character's lines in text over audio format?

@the stoffe: eventually. I finished Bloodlines, so you know that doesn't mean 'never'!
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Old 05-23-2009, 06:40 PM   #109
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Spoken dialog does make your character come more alive than when it is mute, even though it leaves less to the imagination. Generally I like it. The biggest problem I has with the Mass Effect dialog choices were that some of them were very hard to figure out in advance what type of actual conversation they would result in.

I sort of liked having the PC speak for a change (after the KOTOR games anyway). The one good thing about that wheel was that the vo didn't match verbatim the dialogue, but mostly the attitude behind it. Frankly, as long as the vo does a reasonable job, it's not so bad. Does limit things a bit (sort of hard to pic Shephard's vo coming out of some of the nonwhite faces--male and female--that I used), but not a deal breaker.


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Old 05-23-2009, 07:03 PM   #110
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The RPG experience = seeing your character's lines in text over audio format?
Getting yourself into a role, and as a player making choices that fit that role. While choosing an attitude may improve the cinematic experience (and indeed gives your player a voice, which, if you don't like it, you'll have to put up with for the rest of the game), choosing an attitude can result in many different situations, and (like in Mass Effect, though, as I mentioned, perhaps to a lesser degree) your character may do something you didn't actually want him to do. If, for example, you choose the option "Aggressive", this could mean taking a charged approach in the conversation, or it could mean your character takes his conversation partner by the throat and smashes him against the floor. An RPG is about what you want to do, but your freedom is taken away here, and the only thing left to do is choose how you'll behave during a conversation, and those choices are open for interpretation.

Full lines, while restrictive itself, are clear in what they will make the player say.


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Old 05-23-2009, 07:15 PM   #111
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The ME system is just a cheat to hide lines of dialogue recycled multiple times under different tags on the wheel. There is very little difference for the most part between renegade and paragon dialogue. Most of it is reused for both paths, it's just labelled differently. The reason is of course because VO work is expensive, so they sacrificed more diverse dialogue choices in the name of the "cinematic" experience. Bleh. Personally I'd prefer text if it meant more dialogue and more options.
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Old 05-23-2009, 09:52 PM   #112
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Originally Posted by Emperor Devon View Post
I know that it's now cool to bash BioWare at every turn, but seriously, play some more of both their games (is more than 2 a good number?) before making such blanket statements. Irenicus' writing in BG2, for instance, puts most of the dialogue in NWN2's OC to shame. There's a number of other instances in which Obsidian's writing has been less than stellar. AJ's dialogue in MotB was terrible, and that was in the midst of an otherwise amazing game.
No, I definitely agree that BioWare has showed some great writing in the past. They've also been increasingly improving their writing talents, and you'll definitely notice the evolving improvement if you play KotOR, Jade Empire, and Mass Effect in order. Now, each game may not be leaps and bounds better than its predecessor, but it's the subtle differences that can stand out.

As far as audio over text, I'd definitely prefer text over audio for the PC, for several reasons. Since ME used only one voice actor for each gender, that limited diversity, and in turn, didn't really let me, IMO, identify with the PC. That, and there's also narrowing down your last name, which also puts hindrance on immersion, no matter if you're named Shepard or Thornton.

Last edited by jrrtoken; 05-23-2009 at 10:29 PM.
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Old 05-23-2009, 10:27 PM   #113
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About the wheel system discussion that seems to have spawned on the recent topic, I have pretty much mixed feelings.

Was it an improvement from the traditional, rarely voiced and showing it's entire content before you click on it method? I can't answer that, mostly because I believe it's a parallel system, which has a different proposal to deal with the same situation. I can say it's not quite there yet. It's far from perfect - which was expected, since it was unprecedented - but the direction Alpha Protocol is taking it, we can hardly say it's an improvement of any kind, or that it contains enough discrepancies to be considered an entire new category.

While the cinematic feel could be given using the traditional convo system that they always used (not saying it would be effective, but it would work), the part of the Wheel that really stands out is the fact it's an honest way to progess on the dialogs. So what if the bad boy answers are always on the down side of the wheel or if conversation ending choices are normally lined on it's right side? The point is that you focus on the dialog it's subjects, not on the options positioning. And why call it honest? Why, didn't the older convos did just that? Didn't you knew which options would probably trigger an agressive or gracious response?


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Old 05-24-2009, 02:42 AM   #114
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I wouldn't call the ME/AP systems parallel to the traditional system. Under the hood they are all the same system - branching dialogue. It's just the window dressing that is different. Now if Obsidian continue development for the new system they were building for the Onyx engine and the scuttled Aliens RPG, perhaps we will have a true parallel system. Something that operates differently in a mechanical sense to achieve the same end goal. Possibly a version of it could show up in New Vegas, but I'm not holding my breath.
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Old 05-24-2009, 07:31 AM   #115
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ctrl Alt Del View Post
Was it an improvement from the traditional, rarely voiced and showing it's entire content before you click on it method? I can't answer that, mostly because I believe it's a parallel system, which has a different proposal to deal with the same situation. I can say it's not quite there yet. It's far from perfect - which was expected, since it was unprecedented - but the direction Alpha Protocol is taking it, we can hardly say it's an improvement of any kind, or that it contains enough discrepancies to be considered an entire new category.
Calling the system in AP something new would indeed be wrong. Whether it's an improvement on what Mass Effect brought, however, is something else. We will have to wait and play the game for that. In any case, it's a system I'm not particularly fond of, and while the 'traditional system' has its flaws as well, I prefer it. But I do encourage trying out new things, so there's a thumbs up for that. On the other hand, as DarthParametric said, they're basically all just one and the same system - branched dialog. I'd love to see developers break away from that system, how hard that may be.


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Old 05-29-2009, 09:15 PM   #116
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E3 Trailer #1

Probably the best trailer of AP I've seen yet. Whether or not Obsidian will be able to include that many options in every quest is yet to be seen, but it is promising and titillating.

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Old 06-12-2009, 02:32 PM   #117
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1UP interview/gameplay footage video

Not bad.
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Old 07-15-2009, 03:30 AM   #118
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Pre-order bonus stuffs were announced this week.

Assault Pack if you pre-order from GameStop.
Stealth Pack if you pre-order from GameCrazy.
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Old 07-15-2009, 08:01 AM   #119
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Pre-order bonuses? How annoying.

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Old 07-15-2009, 12:25 PM   #120
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Pre-order bonuses? How annoying.
Exactly. It's essentially cheating, but in a friendlier way. Obsidian probably didn't have much control over it to begin with, IMO.

Either way, at least this does confirm ammo variations.
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