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About Tharaxis

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  1. While I certainly agree that MI's success is not solely to be placed upon the shoulders of Ron Gilbert and was definitely an effort made by the team which included Tim to no small degree I'm sure, Ron's contribution when it came to adventure gaming in general (pretty much defining the top tier of the genre) and MI in particular is in no way a small one and I think he should be rightfully credited for it. I don't really understand your reasoning and I think you're assuming far too literal a reading of what was meant by what was said. I read it as Ron saying that the only way he will re-enter the franchise is if he has the ability to have complete creative control. I would say this is largely reasoned by the reduced creative control that was being afforded him and the team as the 90's progressed which resulted in arguably less high quality adventure games. Obviously there's other value to be had with "owning the IP", but I don't see that as the primary motivation. Finally, if Ron was the sole (or one of a small set) of people who conceived of the entire idea of Monkey Island - which is very possible given the small team sizes those days - then technically it was very much his intellectual contribution. Just because it was LucasArts' property by right doesn't mean he can't say "I really wish I could have it/buy it back". I'm not quite sure what you're referring to here. If you're talking about SCUMM in the 90's it was very much so a critical component to the success of LucasArts' adventure games. I've not ever read or heard of people saying that SCUMM was garbage, and only ever saying that it allowed designers and artists and developers to rapidly iterate and allowed them to make better games. A big win if you ask me. Hell, even SIERRA had things like AGI and SCI, so it's obvious you had to do this. If you're talking about him "reinventing SCUMM" for something like Thimbleweed or whatever, then all I can say is that it's very likely that his prior experience and knowledge is a big contributor to his desire to build something similar. If it means he can use it as a basis for future adventure games (since he certainly seems to want to make more post-Thimbleweed), feels familiar and brings across all the strengths of SCUMM, and lets him iterate more rapidly than perhaps a more fully-featured language might, then I say let him if it lets him and designers/developers that work on his projects iterate more rapidly and produce better games. I would hazard a guess then and say you're probably in a minority when it comes to MI fans. I think there are a lot of fans who would love to see Ron's interpretation of the 3rd instalment. I remember back when 3 came out, a big deal was made that it was not the original vision, didn't seem to fit consistently with what happened in 2 and so on, so it mattered back then, and I would say for fans of the series it still would matter.
  2. Nice, a release right on my birthday. I expect a "Happy Birthday" for my money, Tim! I'm not kidding though.
  3. Let us start with Gambling according to Wikipedia I think Kickstarter fits that bill pretty well if I do say so myself, just because the odds are better than the Vegas strip doesn't mean it's anything other than gambling. The TOU you refer to was only added after Kickstarter began getting a lot of negative press surrounding projects not succeeding and therefore not getting fulfilled, and I would argue that the only reason that negative press even existed is because of the relative naïveté of those who were choosing to back projects and their lack of understanding as to what they were getting into by doing so. There is a *vast* difference between a project which is successfully backed and successfully completed which does not subsequently fulfill its obligations, and one that either never gets off the ground or falls apart mid-way - in which case it can be argued that obviously those obligations can never be fulfilled. Your analogy with regards to purchasing $1 of candy and then not getting the candy, thereby being upset, is flawed because on Kickstarter you are not making a purchase, you are - as I described - essentially making a bet that the individuals running said project will be able to follow it through to completion and that as a result you will get some form of reward. If they are unable to do so, you are straight out of luck and without recourse, regardless of what Kickstarter's TOU might state. This has very little to do with swindling and a lot more to do with the reality that some projects just don't reach completion due to the risk involved. If backers start demanding money back on failed projects due to lack of fulfillment, it's likely to have a pretty big chilling effect against high-risk endeavors for fear or potential litigation or damnation. That said, I fully agree that creators should not skirt their obligations should their project be taken to completion (not funded, but completed) - at that point the deal needs to be closed and backers need to get what they were promised (unless part of the promise involved progressive updates such as documentaries, which obviously need to then be provided over time). However, until the project reaches completion, there IS NO OBLIGATION and Kickstarter's TOU is in no way legally binding upon any of the entities in question and more-so just a way for Kickstarter to shift the responsibility for lack of fulfillment onto the project owners (where it naturally should lie).
  4. I find these two answers tend to cover the pretty large misunderstanding that some people who commit money to Kickstarter projects have. There seems to be a belief that when you are committing money to a Kickstarter, you are in some way "buying" a particular product, or are being "promised" a product, and therefore should the project not deliver they are owed some form of money back as a result. At face value this makes sense, a lot of the wording on Kickstarter and especially within projects themselves tend to skew more towards the "pay this and get this" end of the spectrum, which can sometimes be a bit misleading to those who don't understand how things work. At the end of the day however, you are not buying anything, and you are guaranteed nothing. You're essentially gambling, you're placing a bet on the people running project, and that project reaching completion (and being everything that it was said it would be). Additionally, just like a bet, more you put in, the greater the reward you can expect to get back in return - IF you win. You have no more recourse from losing your money than had you bet on a horse and had it lose. You lose, you're straight out of luck. EVERY Kickstarter project is a risk of loss, and that you might not get anything out at the end of the day. If you're going to donate to a project, then you need to understand that. As for the Peter Molyneux debacle, my personal opinion is that the RockPaperShotgun interview was a bit too much and went too far at times. It felt far too much that the interviewer was letting personal feelings subjectively affect his line of questioning and it got incredibly hostile for no real reason. Has PM made mistakes in the past? Of course he has, I remember all those wild promises that were made for the many years he was active as the public face of Lion Head (although I don't remember much about the Bullfrog days), some laughable, some that got you thinking about what games maybe could be. Do I hold any malice towards the man for doing so? Hell no! So most of the games he made never lived up to his or our expectations? So what! I still thoroughly enjoyed the majority of them. He and his studios have brought hours of enjoyment and in spite of his failings or tendency to rag on his previous games (although ask any artist whether they're ever really happy with anything they produce - most of us hate our own work), his passion and love for the industry always shines through and makes you happy that such a person is striving to make something truly memorable - no matter if that has lead to failure until now. That said, I truly believe PM has to step back a bit, breathe, and maybe try and look at tackling a simpler type of game - perhaps something he's done, and succeeded at, before, but making it something truly special. Less "will bring social change" and more "plays great, looks great, is great fun". He should just try do another Dungeon Keeper... I would pay for that.
  5. Ultimately I find myself having really enjoyed part 1. It started off a bit slow initially and I found myself feeling that you were really just moving from one room to the next. The "world" which Vela inhabits appears to be exceptionally small which is in stark contrast to earlier adventure games such as Grim Fandango, Full Throttle and Monkey Island which served to paint a far larger picture. Each "town" or "area" seems to consist of maybe 2-3 screens and there's only around 4 distinct actual areas. As far as scope/scale is concerned it seemed a bit claustrophobic. When it came to Shay's ship however, I felt it was a lot more interesting given the multiple rooms and the "sprawling" space that was laid out. Which is the kind of scale I would have preferred for *each* town, not just each half of Act 1. It also felt like there was a lot more to do on Shay's side with more use of inventory and just more to pick up and use. But overall most of the areas just seemed very stark with only a small amount of real interaction. It was unfortunate but I found it didn't detract from the overall experience in the end. I was saddened by the length (although maybe I played it longer than it felt, I'm not sure) and it felt like I breezed through the game, where the "puzzles" really just felt like something to block you from moving onwards to something else. There was no real challenge to a lot of them except for the riddle which had me stuck for a good while, and an ah-ha moment which I thoroughly enjoyed in one of the earlier puzzles. On the plus side however, I never felt that the puzzles were illogical or made no sense, and I felt they were reasonably well thought out, if just a bit *too* accessible. I would say generally I loved all the characters, I think the voice acting was great, with the characters and story easily being the strongest portion of the game, despite most of them actually just being a bunch of talking heads. We never really get to dive into Harm'ny or the rest of the cult's motivations, nor do we ever really solve anyone else's problems through the course of our actions. Sky girl remains glum, cult family remains cult family, with mother relegated to creating cloud shoes, scared lumberjack remains scared lumberjack, and nothing changes in their lives. It would have been great if Vela wasn't so one-dimensionally focused on Mog Chothra and instead cared about and tried to help others. It would serve to make her a bit more endearing and would let us feel that we actually have an impact on these people instead of them just being places we find out things. I had heard that you should play the game in a particular order (although I didn't know what that order was), so I played Vela first and then switched to Shay near the end of her story. I then played Shay, got to the end of his act, and then switched automatically back to Vela to finish off hers, and I never saw what came. As for the art style, overall I really enjoyed it and I thought there was a lot of creativity on display. There were some visual glitches (incorrect mouth animations/placement, sometimes sections of body showing in incorrect z-order, and so on), and I was a little disappointed that most of the scenes tended to be very static. I'm still not entirely sold on some of the scenery purely because we have situations where you're zoomed in on a scene and your characters are crisp and then the backdrops are very low resolution and look messy as a result - it makes the otherwise enjoyable art style seem a little... gross. It would have been far nicer if those selected areas that you know you're going to zoom on could display more detail as you actually zoomed in so that visually it remains on par with the surrounding characters. Finally the Act 1 ending is what really made the entire journey so far stick with me. The reveal was fantastic and completely unexpected. My response quite literally was for me to sit there saying "whaaaaat?". It suddenly put everything that we had been seeing in context with both characters and it's made me very excited for the second act, even though I have no idea where it's going to go. There are a lot of questions one can now ask and a lot of "so then what does that mean..." type conversations one can have with ones self. Overall it was a great first act, and I'm looking forward to Act 2. I would really hope the team is considering adding more meat to Act 2 than Act 1, and help us feel a bit more like what the characters are doing has an impact (whether good or bad) on the world around them instead of the characters in the world just being there *for* Vela/Shay. I found the mystery surrounding characters and there being something larger was far better realised with Shay than Vela. Long story short, great game, loved it, has some issues that I hope get addressed for Act 2, and really can't wait to get the rest of the story.
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