• Announcements

    • Spaff

      These Forums are closing!   10/04/2019

      After more than a decade of serving this community well, these forums have finally run their course and it's time to close them down. That doesn't mean we want to close the doors on our community, quite the opposite!
      Our discord server grows ever busier by the day, and we encourage all Double Fine fans to meet us over there www.discord.gg/doublefine In a short time these forums will become a read only archive and will remain that way until they become needed again.
      You never know, it might happen.  There is... a prophecy. Thank you all for being part of these forums, and remember that the fun is definitely not over - so please join us on Discord! Love ya, Spaff, Tim, Info Cow, and all of Double Fine.
Sign in to follow this  
SHODANFreeman

Underworld Ascendant: Looking Glass Studios reborn?

Recommended Posts

Paul Neurath, Warren Spector, Tim Stellmach, Steve Pearsall, Terri Brosius, Stephen Russell, and a few other Looking Glass staffers have formed a new studio, Other Side Entertainment. Their first game is a sequel to Ultima Underworld 1 and 2.

For those unaware, Looking Glass Studios was the developer responsible for Ultima Underworld (obviously), Thief, and System Shock, which went out of business 15 years ago.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/othersidegames/underworld-ascendant

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh no Garriott shows up in the video (can't he hide in some castle?) and Hickman shows up too. The "story" is somehow linked to another fiasco named Shroud of the Avatar. Please, no. I've come to the conclusion that Kickstarter game projects aren't good for me. Most of them suck. Either they suck right from the start or they end up in horrible ways. If i could go back in time, i would have only backed a handful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Oh no Garriott shows up in the video (can't he hide in some castle?) and Hickman shows up too. The "story" is somehow linked to another fiasco named Shroud of the Avatar. Please, no. I've come to the conclusion that Kickstarter game projects aren't good for me. Most of them suck. Either they suck right from the start or they end up in horrible ways. If i could go back in time, i would have only backed a handful.

It's an incredibly minor connection. The basic premise is that the dark elves came from a portal in the SotA world and there is no longer any real connection between the two worlds. Garriott isn't involved in the development, other than the fact that they're friendly with each other.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Enough connection for my taste. Their prototype scenes aren't convincing either.

I wasn't into these early dungeon crawlers were the "free" movement didn't add anything to the gameplay apart from bumping into walls, the need to redirect your orientation every few seconds, just making movement more complicated (often combined with rather boring level design). Looking Glass started getting serious with System Shock and Irrational later on delivered a masterpiece with System Shock 2 but until then i preferred Dungeon Master like designs and puzzles. Speaking of 1992, i was playing Indiana Jones anyway. :o)

The aspect which was interesting about Ultima Underworld was its music but i wouldn't be surprised if they destroy this mood by another orchestration. Oh, and the cover was inspiring, well, quite some old video game covers were cool.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most of the developers involved with this were lead designers and producers on the Thief games as well as Underworld. Underworld was one of the only real-time first person games on the market when it came out, so the fact that you're judging it for having slightly wonky controls is a bit unfair, as it was breaking completely new ground at the time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I judge games more by how much fun they are instead of how ground breaking they might be. The C64 offered 3D games (3 axis but not textured) already. Dungeon Master made sense because it was wisely designed and worked on a wide range of systems. Doom made sense because it was designed for pure action. Ultima Underworld was a weird thing in between and sadly not offering the best from both worlds (regarding the interface, steering, fighting, puzzles, ...). It felt just not thought through/executed good enough.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I judge games more by how much fun they are instead of how ground breaking they might be. The C64 offered 3D games (3 axis but not textured) already. Dungeon Master made sense because it was wisely designed and worked on a wide range of systems. Doom made sense because it was designed for pure action. Ultima Underworld was a weird thing in between and sadly not offering the best from both worlds (regarding the interface, steering, fighting, puzzles, ...). It felt just not thought through/executed good enough.

It wasn't that it "wasn't thought through," it was that there was literally nothing else doing what they were doing at the time. They had nothing to iterate on or improve upon because the concept was still incredibly new. Hindsight is 20/20. You can't just call a game bad because it hasn't aged as well as other far more simplistic games.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Take a look at the history of video games (3D, RPGS and Puzzles) and you'll see that they didn't bring up something radically new. It's about iteration not revolution. The first games with a similar feeling might be games based on the Freescape engine and there are many 3D games which aged a lot better than UU (and are still fun). So, there were references.

Generally speaking, with experience, awareness of aging issues or being just lucky, you can create more timeless games (due to the design, the art, the level of abstraction, if it's also your intention, ...). You might be tempted to (and timely eye candy often sells) but you shouldn't use a certain form of presentation/design if you can't make proper usage out of it and it drags down other aspects of your game. It might be too late for a certain project already but whilst you're working on a game, you evolve a feeling for what's going on and you should get aware of such issues and draw the right conclusions for the next time.

If their prototype scenes are representative, at least gfx related, their new game won't stand the test of time again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Take a look at the history of video games (3D, RPGS and Puzzles) and you'll see that they didn't bring up something radically new. It's about iteration not revolution. The first games with a similar feeling might be games based on the Freescape engine and there are many 3D games which aged a lot better than UU (and are still fun). So, there were references.

Generally speaking, with experience, awareness of aging issues or being just lucky, you can create more timeless games (due to the design, the art, the level of abstraction, if it's also your intention, ...). You might be tempted to (and timely eye candy often sells) but you shouldn't use a certain form of presentation/design if you can't make proper usage out of it and it drags down other aspects of your game. It might be too late for a certain project already but whilst you're working on a game, you evolve a feeling for what's going on and you should get aware of such issues and draw the right conclusions for the next time.

If their prototype scenes are representative, at least gfx related, their new game won't stand the test of time again.

The gameplay systems were pretty much on par for what RPG players of the time expected. If you compare it to its contemporaries, like Might and Magic, Ultima, Elder Scrolls, etc. it is an extremely advanced and satisfying gameplay experience.

Literally the only thing Ultima Underworld needed to become a million times more playable was mouselook. If they had added mouse look support, it would have aged incredibly well. Keep in mind that back then, mouselook was almost non-existent. It wasn't really until the mid-90s that mouselook was even widely used.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

DM1/2 had focus and were well designed, U7 had a world and content (but a horrible interface), The Bard's Tale had lots of opponents, ... UU on the other side, well, i wrote this already. So, nope, it did not deliver, also apart from its technical issues it's more part of the annoying history of games. Overall not well crafted, maybe focusing too much one aspect whilst not seeing the whole picture, ugly lonesome floor/walls/ceiling place, no adventure. Like many games on GOG it might sounds nice on a first view but i doubt that people won't skip the intro and exit the game after a few "steps" already.

A DM like experience is still enjoyable in dungeon crawlers (like in LOG). On the other side it works less in open, less limited, areas. There you want to steer free as well. Anyway the setting and/(in combination with) the interaction wasn't the only weak aspect of the game. But hey, feel free to enjoy it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DM1/2 had focus and were well designed, U7 had a world and content (but a horrible interface), The Bard's Tale had lots of opponents, ... UU on the other side, well, i wrote this already. So, nope, it did not deliver, also apart from its technical issues it's more part of the annoying history of games. Overall not well crafted, maybe focusing too much one aspect whilst not seeing the whole picture, ugly lonesome floor/walls/ceiling place, no adventure. Like many games on GOG it might sounds nice on a first view but i doubt that people won't skip the intro and exit the game after a few "steps" already.

A DM like experience is still enjoyable in dungeon crawlers (like in LOG). On the other side it works less in open, less limited, areas. There you want to steer free as well. Anyway the setting and/(in combination with) the interaction wasn't the only weak aspect of the game. But hey, feel free to enjoy it.

You're right, it's so bad that almost every major designer of every RPG that came after it credits it as being an incredible step forward for the genre, and a huge influence on their work. Seriously confused why you hold such bitter hatred for the game, as there is genuinely nothing wrong with it, and is generally considered a brilliantly crafted classic by most genre fans.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For the sake of better RPGs it would be nice if those designers drew the right conclusions from the game. There is a lot to learn from bad games. I'm not bitter about the game. It's not important to me. It's just one of those hyped but flawed mediocre games. Done, okay?!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just wanted to mention that this is ending in 33 hours. If anyone had any intentions of backing, now is the time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
For the sake of better RPGs it would be nice if those designers drew the right conclusions from the game. There is a lot to learn from bad games. I'm not bitter about the game. It's not important to me. It's just one of those hyped but flawed mediocre games. Done, okay?!

I don't know if I like you anymore, taumel. :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this