Hi, folks. This week I look at another of my favorite CRPGs, Bioware's Knights of the Old Republic.
Hello, all. I thought you might like to know that my book Dungeons and Desktops has been nominated for the prestigious Game Developer Front Line Award. It's up against some very steep competition, but I'm honored just to be nominated! Please keep your fingers (and pointy tails!) crossed for me.
The book has continued to sell reasonably well and was recently featured in a review by Matthew S. S. Johnson for the Journal of Gaming & Virtual Worlds. Dr. Johnson really liked the book and said some very nice things about it. If you get a chance, check out the journal and the review.
Hail, brave adventurer! That's right--it's time for me to start drafting the chapter on Ultima for Vintage Gaming, the forthcoming book by your very own Bill Loguidice and Matt Barton. Thankfully, I've already done much of the necessary research for this title for Dungeons & Desktops, but I'd still like to hear your stories about the Ultima series. What is the best Ultima? What is the worst? What do you consider the most important innovations introduced by the series? I can think of several right off the top, such as the focus on ethical decisions and the more personality-driven character creation system of later games. The series is also known for introducing really memorable characters and stories, years ahead of the more character and plot-driven JRPGs. Other factors worth considering are the heavy attention given to the interactive world in Black Gate, and the radical changes made to the engine from game to game.
Gamasutra has just published an extract from my book, specifically the Silver Age chapter that covers the early home CRPGs (Ultima, Wizardry, etc.) If you don't have the book, by all means head over there, but even if you do, you might like seeing the screenshots in all their full-color glory. I'm very proud of this book and hope you are, too! Without the support of my fellow gaming nerds this project wouldn't be possible.
Link via Gamasutra Industry News.
I have great news for everyone who enjoys CRPGs (computer role-playing games): Dungeons & Desktops is now available for pre-order on Amazon.com, and, as a bonus, if you pre-order now you'll get 5% off the $34.95 price tag. As you all know, I've worked very hard on this project and think the end result is truly worth your attention. I know of no other book (or website, for that matter) that has attempted to cover the subject in this level of detail and accuracy--much less in a form that's fun to read and thought provoking. Although we've talked about the book a lot here at AA, I'll recap some of the main features so you'll know what you're getting:
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Chuck "Chuckles" Bueche, a CRPG pioneer who worked closely with Richard Garriott (aka Lord British) on many of the Ultima titles, as well as design his own games 2400 A.D. and Autoduel. Bueche turned out to be an exceptionally articulate fellow, and I think you'll agree that he gave me a fantastic response.
As you've probably noticed by now, I've been doing a heck of a lot of interviewing lately trying to get some good material for "Dungeons and Desktops," my book on the history of the computer role-playing game. Anyway, it took some doing, but I finally managed to get a few questions through to Chris Taylor, the game designer responsible for Dungeon Siege and Total Annihilation. I had a great time with Dungeon Siege, and am looking forward to the chance to play the sequel. At any rate, I think you'll enjoy reading Mr. Taylor's thoughts on CRPGs.
I recently had the great pleasure of interviewing Daniel Lawrence, a pioneer in the CRPG industry who started off writing CRPGs for mainframes. Perhaps his most famous CRPG is Telengard, which was one of the earliest (if not the earliest) game of its type for early platforms such as the Commodore PET, Atari 800, and TRS-80. It features "procedurally generated dungeons" so that no two games are exactly alike, and is set in real-time. Indeed, in many ways it's an early Diablo! In the interview below, I talk to Daniel about these early games and more general questions about what a good CRPG should be. The interview really helped me straighten out some important details about this historic game's development. Enjoy!
GamaSutra has just published the second installment of my in-depth history of CRPGs: The Golden Age of CRPGs. GamaSutra did a fantastic job with the layout, and I'm sure you're going to enjoy this article. I daresay, it's the most detailed and ambitious survey of CRPGs yet attempted, and I hope it will inspire others to start writing up histories of other genres! Check it out, and be sure to send the link to all the CRPG fans you know!