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Wasteland 2 Beta Near; Wasteland Re-release Nearer

The Kickstarter update #38 for Wasteland 2 has promising news for backers of by inXile entertainment's upcoming RPG sequel. While they say the early beta of the game "is not quite ready yet," they add they are "almost there," though they are not going to rush this (thanks Pope Viper). Meanwhile, they also announce their re-release version of the original Wasteland is ready to roll, and has been submitted to Steam and GOG.com for release as soon as tomorrow. This will be initially only be available to backers of the project, who will have a choice of their preference between a Steam of GOG key. They also add a little more detail about what's been done to rework the original for modern systems:

To briefly elaborate on our last update’s notes on this re-release, we got a ton of feedback based on what we showed you about our Wasteland 1 tweaks. We spent some time implementing a number of the changes our community suggested; a toggle to turn smoothing off, implementing swappable portraits, tweaking portrait art options, in-game manual text on abilities, stats and skills and ensuring it works on Mac and Linux.

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22. Re: Wasteland 2 Beta Near; Wasteland Re-release Nearer Nov 7, 2013, 20:08 Sho
 
NewMaxx wrote on Nov 7, 2013, 19:45:
Maybe it "looks like ass," but if it is reminiscent of the original style (with some HD touches) and is portable to other platforms, your argument for AAA visuals just doesn't hold water for the relatively small funding.

My argument/feeling is actually a little more complicated than that, though.

First of, we need to differentiate between aesthetics and graphics. Let's define graphics as the tech features used to render a game, and aesthetics as the creative choices made in how to render. They're separate things: A game can have primitive graphics but stellar aesthetics (you can make an aesthetically sound, appealing game with primitive technology), and a game can have stellar graphics but poor aesthetics (see various bland AAA titles, Killzone or whatever).

The two do go hand-in-hand to a degree in that what aesthetics are considered appealing is a function of cultural considerations, and culture is partly affected by fashions, i.e. it can be hard to be considered aesthetically appealing without conforming to certain renditional trends defined by technology. But you can also intentionally defy those trends for example as deliberate anachronism, etc.

Yet you also have to be careful not to equate aesthetics with taste -- individual taste can of course vary widely, but you can totally generalize / average out some objective statements about what makes good design, partially because many of them are rooted in physical parameters defining human perception, such as the workings of human color vision, the optics of our eyes, evolution-lent characteristics of how we perceive and process visual stimuli changing over time, and so on and so on.

Aaanyhow ... my disappointment is more about the aesthetics than the graphics. I think Wasteland 2 is putting badly fashioned aesthetics on display in much of the material released (strangely, especially in newer releases -- that "First Look" video was quite decent). The relative noise/detail level of the assets used in the composite images often doesn't match up well for example, some elements are simply rendered poorly, the color grading misses out on opportunities to create depth in scenes, things like that.

Now, I do think graphics factor into that in the sense that it's far, far harder to *implement* quality aesthetics when doing realtime 3D than when doing pre-rendered 2D. In a sense, the theoretically more sophisticated technology ends up working against you because of the requirements it makes of the specialized tech skills of your artists, the size (and ability) of your graphics programming staff, and your asset pipeline in general. In 2D, there's more direct artist control in that there's more freedom to do painting-like approaches (this is different from having a hand-painted style, I'm more referring to workflow) rather than having to do simulation.

So it's entirely possible inXile has good artists, but they just can't execute here. Time will tell. But I have this nagging worry that they *should* be doing better here somehow. And maybe they will, of course; they're not done yet.

Shadowrun Returns - not made by inXile btw. - is actually a good example, though - it has quite strong aesthetics (even at 1080p on 24"), done on a similar shoestring budget, with primitive graphics (if you're talking the program running on the gamer's box, I mean - the offline rendering tools that were used to create the assets aren't technologically primitive, of course, but then the same is true for realtime 3D assets), in 2D. Let's hope Torment will benefit from that choice too.

As for your mobile point, the small screen size would help hide some things, but not others.

Note though: I don't regret backing it, and I still look forward to getting my hands on it. I'm just critical, not angry or mocking or so.

This comment was edited on Nov 7, 2013, 20:37.
 
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21. Re: Wasteland 2 Beta Near; Wasteland Re-release Nearer Nov 7, 2013, 19:45 NewMaxx
 
Sho wrote on Nov 7, 2013, 10:56:
I know it's shallow, and I'm still quite excited for the game overall, and I really like how the team has been handling the community, but ... I can't entirely get over the fact that the graphics, well, look a little like ass.

My first exposure to Shadowrun Returns was on my Android tablet. I play the game while working out on my exercise bike. On that platform and in that usage, it excels. Now obviously that was not the primary platform, but one must recall that inXile has done a lot of mobile games during the last decade. My point being, of course, is that it might be quite suitable to iOS/Android, which to me is perfect if its depth is anywhere near Shadowrun Returns (which is to say, not very deep). Unfortunately most indie games, even funded ones, tend to go simple.

Yes, I know people want PC first...or a separate PC version even...but the reality is that remakes and indie titles these days almost always take the mobile platform into consideration, at release or later. Numerous examples exist...from BGEE to Frozen Synapse. This makes a lot of sense because - let's be honest - the original games had very little to work with graphically in most cases. In fact, most of the original fans would prefer it stick to that style. So as a developer you're killing two birds with one stone.

Maybe it "looks like ass," but if it is reminiscent of the original style (with some HD touches) and is portable to other platforms, your argument for AAA visuals just doesn't hold water for the relatively small funding.
 
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20. Re: Wasteland 2 Beta Near; Wasteland Re-release Nearer Nov 7, 2013, 19:26 Julio
 
Looking forward to Wasteland 2!  
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19. Re: Wasteland 2 Beta Near; Wasteland Re-release Nearer Nov 7, 2013, 18:02 Taskeen
 
Sho wrote on Nov 7, 2013, 17:58:
I meant I don't get the whole "Watching Let's Play" videos thing.

I just watch them if its some game I've never heard of, see if it looks interesting. Then I play it myself, on my own.
 
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18. Re: Wasteland 2 Beta Near; Wasteland Re-release Nearer Nov 7, 2013, 17:58 Cutter
 
El Pit wrote on Nov 7, 2013, 14:20:
Creston wrote on Nov 7, 2013, 12:55:
Hey, the C64 was fucking ICE CUBES cool back then!

Exactly! My cousin only had a VC20, so my C64 made me the BOSS!

And did you play it...like a BOSS?

 
Avatar 25394
 
"The South will boogie again!" - Disco Stu
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17. Re: Wasteland 2 Beta Near; Wasteland Re-release Nearer Nov 7, 2013, 17:58 Sho
 
Taskeen wrote on Nov 7, 2013, 17:54:
Yeah, I grew up playing on crappy computers. Plus I had never heard of it at the time. In 1999, I was playing the first Doom, trying to get Half-Life 1 to run on my shit computer for the 1,000th time, and mostly playing on my consoles with Mario Kart on Nintendo 1 and FF7 on Playstation.

Ah no, that's not what I meant :). I meant I don't get the whole "Watching Let's Play" videos thing. I do find them useful occassionally to look up a line of dialog I missed or so, but not watching them continuously for entertainment. Yet for a lot of (especially younger) gamers they've clearly become a normal/big part of gamer culture. I'm not shitting on it, it's fine - it's just alien to me.
 
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16. Re: Wasteland 2 Beta Near; Wasteland Re-release Nearer Nov 7, 2013, 17:54 Taskeen
 
Sho wrote on Nov 7, 2013, 17:51:
You watched a playthrough of PS:T on YouTube instead of playing it yourself?

Oh boy. I feel old.

Yeah, I grew up playing on crappy computers. Plus I had never heard of it at the time. In 1999, I was playing the first Doom, trying to get Half-Life 1 to run on my shit computer for the 1,000th time, and mostly playing on my consoles with Mario Kart on Nintendo 1 and FF7 on Playstation.

Hell, I never even played Starcraft 1 until 2008 and Diablo 1 in 2012, even though my other friends were able to WAY before I ever did.

This comment was edited on Nov 7, 2013, 18:00.
 
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15. Re: Wasteland 2 Beta Near; Wasteland Re-release Nearer Nov 7, 2013, 17:51 Sho
 
You watched a playthrough of PS:T on YouTube instead of playing it yourself?

Oh boy. I feel old.

But yeah, that's the game I mentioned in the earlier comment. Backed the hell out of it.
 
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14. Re: Wasteland 2 Beta Near; Wasteland Re-release Nearer Nov 7, 2013, 17:48 Taskeen
 
Holy crap, I just saw that InExile kickstarted a new Torment game as well, and it met its funding.

And I had no idea what that game was until I watched a playthrough on the Youtube. Awesome.

Can't wait for Wasteland 2/FallOut 3 and Torment!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4NkADMQwzg

I love that they make fun of CEO's at EA and what not.
 
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13. Re: Wasteland 2 Beta Near; Wasteland Re-release Nearer Nov 7, 2013, 17:34 Mad Max RW
 
I'm really glad they're making the "upgraded" portraits optional because they look like shit. Smoothing out or tracing 30 year old pixel art is lazy as hell and something is always lost in translation.  
Avatar 15920
 
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12. Re: Wasteland 2 Beta Near; Wasteland Re-release Nearer Nov 7, 2013, 15:19 Axis
 
Hell ya it was cool to US, but to the other 98% we were a bunch of 'insert random homophobic insult here in plural'.

Now of course, they are too! Gotta love foresight...

 
Avatar 57462
 
Yours truly,

Axis
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11. Re: Wasteland 2 Beta Near; Wasteland Re-release Nearer Nov 7, 2013, 15:11 dj LiTh
 
Personally i dont care about the graphics aslong as the gameplay is deep. Deeper the game, less the graphics matter. Shallower the game, well that shit better look superior to reality (hense why i dont play fps)  
Avatar 46370
 
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10. Re: Wasteland 2 Beta Near; Wasteland Re-release Nearer Nov 7, 2013, 14:20 El Pit
 
Creston wrote on Nov 7, 2013, 12:55:
Hey, the C64 was fucking ICE CUBES cool back then!

Exactly! My cousin only had a VC20, so my C64 made me the BOSS!
 
Consoles? I owned two: a Pong clone and an Atari 2600. And that's it.
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9. Re: Wasteland 2 Beta Near; Wasteland Re-release Nearer Nov 7, 2013, 13:11 John
 
JoeNapalm wrote on Nov 7, 2013, 12:24:
Axis wrote on Nov 7, 2013, 12:07:
One I've been watching, played the crap outta the original on my C64.

Still have my c64. And my ti994a and amiga, datasette, notch puncher, and a whole lotta other things I knew would be cool someday, sure wasn't cool then...


I hate to break it to you, but...uhm...they're still really...not...uh...


You know, just...nevermind.
Some of it may not be cool anymore, but could bring some cash on eBay!
 
This space is available for rent
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8. Re: Wasteland 2 Beta Near; Wasteland Re-release Nearer Nov 7, 2013, 12:55 Creston
 
Hey, the C64 was fucking ICE CUBES cool back then!  
Avatar 15604
 
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7. Re: Wasteland 2 Beta Near; Wasteland Re-release Nearer Nov 7, 2013, 12:24 JoeNapalm
 
Axis wrote on Nov 7, 2013, 12:07:
One I've been watching, played the crap outta the original on my C64.

Still have my c64. And my ti994a and amiga, datasette, notch puncher, and a whole lotta other things I knew would be cool someday, sure wasn't cool then...


I hate to break it to you, but...uhm...they're still really...not...uh...


You know, just...nevermind.



(Psst, guys! He thinks his Commodore64 is cool now! )



-Jn-
Ifriti Sophist
 
Avatar 54497
 
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6. Re: Wasteland 2 Beta Near; Wasteland Re-release Nearer Nov 7, 2013, 12:22 Creston
 
It'll be fun to play wasteland 1 again.  
Avatar 15604
 
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5. Re: Wasteland 2 Beta Near; Wasteland Re-release Nearer Nov 7, 2013, 12:07 Axis
 
One I've been watching, played the crap outta the original on my C64.

Still have my c64. And my ti994a and amiga, datasette, notch puncher, and a whole lotta other things I knew would be cool someday, sure wasn't cool then...
 
Avatar 57462
 
Yours truly,

Axis
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4. Re: Wasteland 2 Beta Near; Wasteland Re-release Nearer Nov 7, 2013, 11:46 JoeNapalm
 

Man. The original Wasteland.

This and the first Wizardy will always hold an immense amount nostalgia for me.

But really...wasn't Fallout really "Wasteland 2"?

I wish them great success, though. If they can bring me back to that gaming experience from all those decades ago...more power to them.


-Jn-
Ifriti Sophist
 
Avatar 54497
 
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3. Re: Wasteland 2 Beta Near; Wasteland Re-release Nearer Nov 7, 2013, 10:56 Sho
 
I know it's shallow, and I'm still quite excited for the game overall, and I really like how the team has been handling the community, but ... I can't entirely get over the fact that the graphics, well, look a little like ass. And not a fine ass either. It actually looked better back when they dumped that first 20m gameplay video; screens and videos of newer areas some how look less polished.

I guess it's entirely possible they're going to do another polish pass over the graphics, and if so I don't want to punish them for being open through development, so I feel a bit bad for complaining. OTOH, if they don't do that polish pass, well ... it just won't be a very good-looking game. And I don't mean the bells and whistles of the engine, but aesthetics and craftsmanship. It might still be a great game anyway, of course (I care more about writing than graphics).

It gets trickier for me when I think about Torment, though. On that one, I'm *really really* invested emotionally, and I just love the stuff that team has been releasing about their gameplay design ideas (the Crisis design example, say) and their RPG system (the Tides stuff is so cool). I just want the looks of that game to live up to the design vision and be just as rich. I think Torment will benefit from technology sharing with Obsidian's Project Eternity in a way Wasteland 2 hasn't, as well as from doing pre-rendered backgrounds instead of realtime 3D in general (I think it's easier to pull off great graphics with that sort of pipeline on their budget level), but ... I'm concerned about the raw ability of their production art crew. I hope they push themselves.

This comment was edited on Nov 7, 2013, 11:03.
 
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