Sunday, January 15, 2017

Fate: Quick Update, Long Session

Winwood is unreasonably excited over nothing.
    
This feels like the 20th time I've said this, but in another 12 hours of Fate explorations, all I've manage to accomplish is an improvement of my maps. Specifically, I finished mapping the ocean and all the islands, and I identified the boundaries of the inner "Forbidden Zone" in the northwest quadrant. Having found no more clues as to the final three Moonwand pieces during this process, I've capitulated and looked at the hints that Zardas provided. They're cryptic enough that I still have to do most of the work. That's a good thing.
     
Most of my current map, with the water portion complete. I softened the color of the mountains, too.
    
The process of using overhead maps to identify islands, sailing there, getting off the boat, mapping them, and getting back on the boat got so boring that I don't know why I put up with it. Perhaps the most annoying part of this process involved searching for treasure. The searching process involves stopping on each square, selecting a character, and choosing "Action" and then "Dig." If nothing comes up, you have to repeat it with "Action" and "Search," since some treasures are buried and others are just hidden (although, often, "hidden in the dirt," which makes me wonder what the game thinks "digging" is). With the attendant pauses, it's just long enough to be irksome. You don't want to do it on every square. Fortunately, the game puts treasures in obvious places sometimes, like the only square with a tree, or at the end of a passage leading into a mountain range.

For the others, you just have to search random squares. The accumulation of my experience leads me to the hypothesis that every island has one and only one hidden or buried treasure. When I took the time to search every square, I always found one, but I never found more than one.

Maybe a third of them were useful. I found a number of potions and wands that provide one-time upgrades to statistics, or an extra spell slot. It was rarer that I found weapons or armor better than what I already had. Some of the finds were a bit mystifying, frankly. Someone went out of his way to bury the "Xantashoes" below on an island in the middle of nowhere. They're no better than footwear you find in random combats, and certainly not better than what the characters are already wearing by this point in the game. I spent a lot of time immediately dropping things right after finding them.
     
     
The remainder of the 12 hours was spent feeling out the boundaries of the inner Forbidden Zone. I was hoping that the zone was in the middle of the northwest quadrant, which would have allowed me to finish my perimeter map. But alas, it actually creates a square jutting out of the final mountain pass.
     
The Forbidden Zone, jutting out at a 90-degree angle, prevents me from tying these last bits of mountain together.
      
The boundary is a bit insidious. There's no in-game warning that you've crossed it. Once you cross it, all the party members die with the next step that they take, even if you turn around and try to head back out. At one point, I accidentally saved the game right after I crossed it and had no choice but to reload a save from a couple hours earlier.
    
Crossing the boundary causes your party members to instantly die.
    
While I was marching around the area, I tried to use the city of Mernoc as a point of rest. Boy, was that a mistake. Fate is extremely bi-polar when it comes to combat difficulty. Out in the wilderness, I barely have to pay attention to combat, even when I'm attacked by dozens of things called "lich demons." I just spam my greater melee weapon attacks and they all eventually die. I haven't had a character die from an outdoor combat--or even get poisoned or diseased--since at least 80 hours ago.

Inside Mernoc, on the other hand, I found combat demoralizingly hard. The choked and narrow streets were crowded with creatures that I simply couldn't kill. Bane giants. Some insect-like things called "ingols," particularly the tougher "bog ingols." Like the dracs I fought in the dungeon of Valvice, they never seem to die from hit point loss, no matter how many rounds go by. You have to get them with a critical hit or something. I've taken to calling these creatures NUKEs, or "nigh-unkillable enemies," and a big part of my upcoming posting on spells is testing which ones do anything to NUKEs. In the case of the ingols, they seemed to resist almost every spell. I resorted to fleeing and "praying" away most of my fights (a strategy that works about 2/3 of the time now), but in the congested city, it was only one step before I encountered another one. For some reason, "Invisibility" didn't work to get me past them (and "Time Stop," I noted, didn't work in combat).
    
I thought I was doing well, but parties like this were undefeatable.
    
I eventually did find an inn, which operated like a regular inn. It amuses me that some of these cities manage to keep regular inns, taverns, and shops operating while thousands of immortal beasts maraud just outside the door. I eventually gave up and fled the city after mapping only a small part of it. I never found an open tavern. I had to cast "Rejuvenate" six times to deal with the hunger and thirst.

As I explored, I became curious about the game's method of assigning names to NPCs. I rarely bother to ask their names unless I'm looking for a specific NPC--otherwise, I just cut the chit-chat and bribe them--but for some reason I started to ask and log the results. It's clear that the game draws from a pool of valid names and doesn't just make them up with some kind of random generator. A lot of them are very simple normal names (e.g., George, Maria, Leonard, Gordon); some are odd to me but maybe not to German players (e.g., Ulrich, Alberich, Theoderich). A few hearken to famous historical or literary figures (e.g., Magellan, Excalibur, Melmoth). A final set won't come up with any listings if you Google them (except this page), but they seem hand-crafted (e.g., Otrewoody, Ozzakon).
    
Marian Barbarian. Isn't that a song?
     
I had logged about 40 names before I saw a repeat, but even then, repeats were rare until I passed 100. My best guess is there are around 300-400 names in the pool. The game divides them by sex but not by class; "George" came up as a fighter, conjurer, and wander priest for instance. 

I was also curious when the game assigns the name. I took save states just before asking the NPC's name and always got the same result, so it isn't randomized at the point of asking. (Before anyone offers that the game might use a pre-generated set of random seeds, it doesn't seem to do this for any other aspect of gameplay, so I doubt it does it for names.) I also tried asking one NPC his name, then reloading the save state, dismissing him, and asking the next NPC, and I didn't get the same name. This means that the game isn't pulling from a pre-ordered list. My best guess, then, is that the game generates the NPC's name when it adds him to the map in the first place. Since most sentient "monsters" can occasionally be engaged in dialogue, it must do this for every NPC or monster on the map, the majority of which you'll never meet. That's almost eerie.

Miscellaneous notes on Fate:

  • I keep forgetting where I've left my ships, so I keep going back to Valvice to buy new ones. I think I've bought five at this point. I hope all that money doesn't become important later. 
  • I haven't talked a lot about the interface since the first posting, but it remains the worst part of the game You either have to click accurately (and be careful not to accidentally double-click) on very small words, or you have to use the number keys to select the menu options in order, but they're un-numbered on the screen. You can memorize a few common combinations, but I otherwise spent a lot of time counting.
  • I've amassed a collection of around 50 Holy Scrolls. These artifacts completely destroy the enemy party without having to fight. Unless the game nerfs them in the final dungeons (the way it does witht he "Time Stop" and "Invisibility" spells in Mernoc), I might find I have an easy time.
  • At one point on an island, I found a hidden treasure and the game told me that it was a "glowing sphere." It didn't appear in my inventory, and I have no idea what it was or did.
  • I find a lot of potions of sobriety, which would be nice to have in real life. The funny thing about them is that drunkenness is a condition that you bring on yourself, by imbibing too much in the taverns. Since there are alternatives to liquor (every tavern has milk, juice, water, and soda), no advantages to being drunk, and significant disadvantages (e.g., characters refuse to act in combat), the whole drunkenness/sobriety mechanic, including the potions, is just silly.
  • I'm having occasional success with "Dupe" in combat. It basically works like an instantly-fatal backstab, and it takes out NUKEs when successful (maybe 1/5 of the time). Still not much luck with "Grope," though.
    
Aside from needing to find the other Moonwand pieces, I've also been neglecting character development. Winwood has something like 32 improvement slots. I need to sit down with my list of guilds and map out a strategy. I'm desperately hoping this will alleviate some of the issues I had in Mernoc. The visit to the city unnerved me a bit, frankly; I thought my party was getting absurdly over-leveled from all my random wanderigs. It turns out I can't even make it down a random city street.

Coming up: I guess I owe it to Arnaud to try to make something of Fer & Flamme before wrapping it up.

Time so far: 213 hours


64 comments:

  1. Perhaps they have 256 names each for male and female - each creature then just needs a byte assigned to it, which corresponds to a name on the appropriate list.

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  2. Its a shame the "grope" command isn't working. I'd like to have seen how the game changes after Winwood gets elected president.

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  3. "I hope all that money doesn't become important later."

    Nope, that 400k for the fairy was the last chunk, enjoy spending the rest on whatever you want.

    "I've amassed a collection of around 50 Holy Scrolls. These artifacts completely destroy the enemy party without having to fight. Unless the game nerfs them in the final dungeons (the way it does witht he "Time Stop" and "Invisibility" spells in Mernoc), I might find I have an easy time."

    No nerfs, they're always 100% reliable. 50 won't last long though, but praying helps with the rest.

    "At one point on an island, I found a hidden treasure and the game told me that it was a "glowing sphere." It didn't appear in my inventory, and I have no idea what it was or did."

    There are three of them, they add training points to the opener: +2 spells, +4 spells or +6 abilities. The spells are probably wasted if a fighter opens the chest.

    " the whole drunkenness/sobriety mechanic, including the potions, is just silly."

    I think mages can also inflict it on characters as a debuff, but it's extremely rare.

    "The visit to the city unnerved me a bit, frankly; I thought my party was getting absurdly over-leveled from all my random wanderigs."

    Then a group of Bog Ingrols destroyed the overconfident party before their turns even came up. :)

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  4. It's a little ironic that you keep losing your ships when the entire purpose of this run is to map the world ;)

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    1. It's too damned big. I make a mental note that I left the ship "somewhere near Cassida," and that's not good enough. I need to start actually marking it on the map.

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  5. The German sounding names you mentioned should indeed not seem too unusual to a German player, though only Ulrich is still used as a common name nowadays. Alberich is a mythological figure (a dwarf from the Nibelungenlied), and Theoderich was the name of a number of medieval kings and clerics, among others.

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    1. Though anyone named Ulrich is very likely older than 30.

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    2. I had a German colleague and his name was Ulrich and he was older than 30 indeed.

      Chet, keep up the good work, this post is really interesting and entertaining!

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    3. So it'd be closer to 'Eglebert' or some other Olde English name in its effect on a German?

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    4. Sure, Ulrich is pretty old-fashioned and very few children were probably given that name in the last few decades. What I meant is that it's still the name of many people alive today, whereas I doubt there have been any Theoderichs in the last 300 years or so, if not longer. Not sure about Eglebert, that one might be a bit more ancient than Ulrich.

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    5. Ulrik has become a somwhat popular boy's name in Norway. But it's also a very popular sheep name, since Ull-rik means "wool rich".

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    6. That's funny. I guess it's especially common for unusually hairy babies, then? :D
      In German, the ending syllable is likely related to either "Reich" (=realm, kingdom) or "reich" (=rich) as well. No idea about the "Ul" part.

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    7. Ulrich is a common German name, but is mostly abbreviated to Uli. There is a trend at the moment to give names which were out of fashion for a long time like Emil or Paul.

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  6. "I thought I was doing well, but parties like this were undefeatable."

    Among them are 4 Jocks. I bet you've never been beaten up by Jocks before.

    BTW, can you give an estimate of how large a percentage of the games so far you have genuinely enjoyed?

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    1. Chet's stated that his breakpoint for whether he'd recommend a game or not is about 35, but it depends on the particulars of the game and he'll sometimes mention it when games score above/below 35 but aren't/are worth playing.

      35 is pretty close to the mean score of games released since 1985, so a rough estimate is that he has at least a reasonably positive view of around half of the games he's played.

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    2. He likes RPGs, so I assume he's going to like most of the RPGs he plays to some degree.

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    3. 35 is when I consider it good enough to check out if you're really in to RPGs. It'll still have bad points. The game really has to top 50 before I start looking forward to my sessions with it. That's maybe 10% of the games I've covered so far.

      Fortunately, this blog lets me look forward to documenting a game even if I don't enjoy playing it. To that end, I'd perversely rather play a BAD game than one that's just blah. Give me a solid 18 and I'll enjoy ripping it apart. The ones I dread are in the 25-30 range. I had a whole spate of them in 1990, and every time I look at the rest of the 1991 list, I despair that at some point I'm going to have to confront MegaTraveller II.

      Fate is going to challenge the GIMLET. A very small part of the last category is devoted to the length of the game. I've routinely given games 0 or 1 point in that sub category (which also includes difficulty, linearity, and replayability) for being too long. But Fate is just so EPICALLY too long that a low score in one category doesn't seem like enough.

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    4. I can confirm, there are a good number of 20 - 30 range games left in 1991.

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    5. IMO 1991-96ish is this weird period in CRPGs. I think the games that came out then tended to be "products" as opposed to labors of love.

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    6. If it makes you feel any better, I remember enjoying Megatraveller II. Its a LOT better than the first one.

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    7. It's really great that the world is full of folks with very different preferences -- otherwise we'd all be fighting over just one toy!

      So, my personal preference was exactly the opposite: I really dug into Megatraveller I, but never got that excited about Megatraveller II. For my part, Megatraveller I really enhanced the Grognard experience by automating character creation for the pen and paper Traveller universe. That may be why I stuck with it and remember it more fondly than Megatraveller II, which just couldn't offer the novel breakthrough experience that Megatraveller I did.

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  7. "...drunkenness is a condition that you bring on yourself..."

    For me, it's not always an obvious choice. Do you ever enter a pub and choose one of your non-player characters to "Go around"?

    With the fighting classes, sometimes the chosen character comes back totally smashed.

    Then the doggone drunk turns every subsequent encounter into a fight, until they've sobered up.

    A few regrettable sins later, you're older and wiser.

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    1. That's interesting. Winwood is the one who always "goes around"--the women all refuse, among other things, and he has the best charisma--but he's never come back intoxicated.

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    2. "In my party," I should have said.

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    3. My last unintended drunk was a lady warrior. Although you can command any character to "Go around," mage and jester ladies often say, "Oh no, I won't examine this tavern alone! I'm afraid!" Banshees and Valkyries are staunch hearted and reliable. Although the fighting classes are not timid, they consistently tie one on, which rather limits their recruiting and information-gathering potential.

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  8. "Winwood is unreasonably excited over nothing."
    Maybe "a pair of gloves" have a double meaning in German?

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    1. Haha, not that I'm aware of. But Chet did mention that every single NPC sentence ends in an exclamation point, among other peculiarities. I guess this is just another one.

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  9. In addition to the several unique non-player characters, the game stores 120 explicit names: 60 male and 60 female.
    It seems to use these pre-stored names about 1/3 of the time, randomly generating names roughly 2/3 of the time.

    To better understand the game mechanics (so far without dissassembly), I collected a complete set of 350 random party members. Well, not quite random: Winwood was always a party member, and so was Marvin, an accommodating burgler who waits for Winwood just inside the front gates of Larvin. With two members in the party, it was time to take the recruiting effort into the pubs (using option 5: "Go around").

    Starting from scratch 14 times, I recruited 4 mostly full parties each time. This went pretty quickly because once you got a few recruits, you stationed a two-man team outside of each of two pubs. Under macro control, each party alternated a recruitment run. Human intervention was only required once each party filled up (this could have been automated as well, but didn't seem worthwhile). Within about 15 minutes, you could Shanghai the remaining quota of 24 additional bodies. It took about the same amount of time to preserve 28, 500 byte character descriptors of each recruit in the spreadsheet. This took about a day, and provided a pretty good database to begin to decode party member characteristics and abilities. So far, this has helped to puzzle out about 300 of the 500 bytes that describe each party member.

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    1. That's interesting. So you're saying I was wrong and there is some procedural generation going on. All of the "created" names seemed to work too well syllabically, but I guess the creators just programmed it well.

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    2. I haven't looked at the code, so I'm just guessing from the data. Because more than half of the 350 characters I recruited from the pubs aren't in the program's list of 120 names, I assumed the "missing" names were procedurally generated. I could easily be mistaken -- for example, I notice that at the start of every game, Marvin is always to the west of Larvin's entrance, yet I can't find his name in the data. I don't know what to make of that, yet, so the bottom line is, you now know as much as I do about the data.

      Another interesting point about names -- the game holds about 100 random encounters in memory at any given time, but they're unnamed. The program knows encounter composition by number and type, it updates their location as they move about the map, and it knows if any member of the encounter would even consider joining your party, but it generates more detail only once you actually, uh, encounter them. There is a spot in memory that will hold the name of the person who steps forward to talk to you. This name is never updated if you only fight, but if you select option 4:"Talk" then the current encounter memory becomes populated with a name.

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    3. Here's a little more research on random encounter names:

      WinUAE’s built in Debugger can be accessed by pressing shift-F12 from within WinUAE. It’s command line is across the bottom of the Debugger window. The normal debugging view is accessed by pressing F1 (this is the default view).

      The Debugger has located new encounter names at memory location $466A (e.g., when a new random encounter says his name is "Theoderich," then search for that name by typing [s "Theoderich"] on the Debugger command line, without the brackets, and followed by enter). Setting a short (10-byte) memory watchpoint at $466A (e.g. [w 1 466a 10]) and then stepping through the code (e.g. [t] or [g]) after the watchpoint triggers will reveal three different ways that names are generated.

      (1) Fate sometimes chooses a pre-made name from the table of 120 names located at $EC032 (e.g. [m ec032 5a]). This list starts with "Suzy" and ends with "Jeremias," and yes, includes "Theoderich." Interestingly, in my early version of Fate, "George" is repeated twice in this list, which you might think of as either an programming oversight or else somebody really likes to see "George" twice as frequently.

      (2) Fate sometimes randomly generates a name by scrambling up pieces from that same table of names located at $EC032.

      (3) Fate sometimes randomly generate a name from the table of syllables located at $E8966 (e.g. m e8966 72]).

      You don’t have to look at or even understand the computer instructions in order to just step through the name assignment code to notice which naming method is being used at any given time. Just watch the memory that holds the random encounter name to see if that name appears all at once (when drawn from the name list), or in pieces (when scrambled from the name list or the syllable table). If the name is showing up piecewise, watching the A registers at the top of the Debug window will reveal the source of the data each time that name extends another syllable. For example, if the name memory location shows "Th" and one of the A-registers points to "Theodorich," you know the "Th" originated from the name table, but instead, if an A-register points to "BrCrDrFlGrKrPlGrStTrThGhBrKr," you know the "Th" came from the syllables list. The program doesn’t seem to mix the methods – once started on a particular approach, it sticks with it until the name is complete.

      The three different approaches are a little bewildering: what is the benefit of three different name generation routines? However, I think Chet may have already provided the answer -- real-world names, and possibly even the names that are created from amalgamating portions of real names, credibly enhance the sense of realism, while randomly generated names extend the scope of the game and avoid repetition through hundreds or even thousands of encounters.

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  10. You should finish that map, print it out and mount it on a wall in your home office.

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    1. Even better, send it to a fabric printer and make a tapestry.

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    2. I was actually thinking about this - i want some decoration for my room, so i might print RPG maps (Ultima V, Eschalon, WoW, etc.) and this one would also look very nice. But i need Addict to finish it 100 %, so come on Chet ;)

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    3. Finishing it just for that purpose would be a poor use of time, though. When it looks like I'm done with the outer world, I'll assess how many empty squares I have remaining and make a decision then.

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    4. If you want it for a decoration, you might as well just use online resources to fill in any missing squares after you finish the game clean.

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  11. Maybe the developer originally wanted potions to be alcohol-based like The Witcher series?

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  12. How many names are there? Check this out for a great and entertaining read: http://www.askamathematician.com/2016/12/q-how-many-samples-do-you-need-to-take-to-know-how-big-a-set-is/

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  13. Come on, without googling. Theoderic the Great, ostrogothic King and ruler of Italy from 493-526. VIP in history. As Dietrich von Bern mythological Charakter connected to the Nibelungs, slays the raging Kriemhild in Attila's burning hall. Alberich is a Dwarf and also belongs to these tales.

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  14. I'm always playing f&f, but for moment i'm stuck in the adventure. By luck, i found a Facebook group with the author of the game and someone that have already finished the game. I asked my questions here, and i'm waiting now.

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  15. The business with names, treasures, Mernoc and the Forbidden Zone, not to mention the general size and obscurity of the game itself, provides a setup ripe for the beginning of a truly epic creepypasta.

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  16. Somewhere around "Fate: One Piece Found, and Close on Another One," this series of posts became one of my most anticipated favorites in the Bolingbroke canon. I realized, finally, that Rob Gordon's CRPG avatar was inhabiting a Teutonic incarnation of Alternate Reality's unrealized potential. Then I reread all of the posts over a series of weekend breakfasts, which redelivered immense satisfaction.

    And the maps! Fate-esque exclamations are in order! The one in the post above?!? Island oceans revealed like the tired eyes of a god waking up to creation! Each pixel lovingly rendered under obsessive duress like the censored areola of Marian the Barbarian! Well played, good sir!

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    1. Well, that's good to hear, although I suspect many readers feel the opposite. I myself am ready for the game to be over. I appreciate your enthusiasm, though.

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    2. Actually in a funny way at the beginning of the posts on Fate I was like, blah another not so interesting title and was reading in diagonal the posts. Then your coverage grew on me and around the same time Reba Manuel mentions I really started getting into it.

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    3. For what it is worth, I've been enjoying the Fate blog and found it an entertaining read, partially because I could never play this game, as I find this amount of mapping entimidating. The scale of the game, however, is very impressive and attractive.

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    4. Same here, Fate is becoming a trusted friend like a pair of well used sneakers. :)

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    5. Just like to add another vote of interest in the Fate posts. While I'd not want to play it, given its way-too-long flaw Chet has well documented, I think it's fascinating for having such an ambitious scope and actually *pulling off* that epic scope competently (if very flawed in game length).

      When so many other games of the era have clear signs of ambitious design docs that only got partially implemented once the crush of the actual project came to bear -- Fate's inspiration Alternate Reality being the most obvious example -- Fate seems to have pulled off the designers' ambitions...and in a tiny amount of disk space, to boot! As well as Winwood's journey, I like hearing about the nooks and crannies of how the software handles this vast world - like the naming system explored in this post, and Rangerous' comment about how that naming system interacts with the pool of random encounters, etc.

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  17. Why not take a break? There's plenty of other games to occupy yourself until Fate seems more interesting.

    Burnout is DEADLY.

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  18. Well, let me chime in as one of those who are a little fed up with Fate. Your coverage is excellent, but most of what you have to cover is the same old stuff the game did aince the first post.

    I'm reading your blog a lot (though I don't comment much), and I love learning about new games, new mechanics, new quirks of RPG history through your writing. Unfortunately, by now, the only interesting thing about Fate is it's sheer size.

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  19. Wow, you actually persevered in playing this game. Last time I checked here (I do not remember my nickname from back then) was summer and you were beginning to play this game and now you have 200 hours. I did not believe you would get this far and thought that you would give up. Beating this game is an accomplishment. I never did. Games of similar scope are World of Xeen, Wizardry 7 and Darklands. I finished only Wizardry 7 and consider it one of my best RPG experiences until today. (nostalgia?)

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    1. The idea that I have readers that only pop in every 6 months makes me uncomfortable for some reason.

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    2. If I were you I'd be much more uncomfortable knowing that there are guys like me, who check your blog every hour or so, even if it is because I regularly open few important links every hour or so, and I consider your blog to be one of them :)

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    3. My gaming habits are like waves. I can have a period of a couple of weeks or months that I do play games, but then other duties, work etc. come in and I am not gaming for a couple of months or half a year. I usually play games only in winter, when there is dark and not much else to do. When I play games, I follow your blog. When I don't, I do not follow any web sites about games. I am currently playing an awesome roguelike called Tales of Maj'Eyal and was interested what you wrote about Rogue and NetHack

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    4. While I only know Fate from this blog, I've completed both Xeen and Darklands and I wouldn't consider them anywhere near as vast, demanding or unfathomable as Fate seems to be.

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    5. You are correct. Fate's world map is about 20 times as large as both Xeen world maps taken together. The relation for the dungeons may not be as ridiculous, but still in favor of Fate.

      Seems excessive, doesn't it? I wonder what the creators set out to prove. In any case - Chester, what would your verdict be if the game was not about one absurdly titanic main quest, but split up into a bunch of primary quest lines instead, similar to Skyrim? The amount of content seems to be there.

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    6. I'd feel better about the size of the game world if it DID have more side-quests. It's far too large to support this shallow and repetitive of a main quest. A game this large could only be fun if it had a lot of special encounters, fixed NPCs, and special missions.

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    7. Darklands has a pretty big world but is structured so you don't have to visit a lot of it if you don't want to, and mapping is entirely superfluous as the in game world map is already filled in and tells you where everything is. Technically you could consider it similar in scope but it doesn't place the kinds of demands this game does. You never have to search the world map randomly to find a particular important island or town like this one requires of you.

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  20. This game amazes me with it's sheer size. The thought that someone actually went through and designed and detailed that large of a world is astounding.

    I remember when I first decided I wanted to write my own cRPG, and I was going to do something similar. I still have the maps I made. I stopped when I did some calculations and realized I would have to detail around 20,000 individual maps, and buy around a million (literally) portraits, tiles, and other graphics to finish it.

    The map is still in use, but I focused on one area now instead. I just can't imagine creating a world with an area that size for a single player game at this point.

    I'll chime in though at this point I'm a little surprised this hasn't been relegated to the back burner a bit, if not done for early. You could have another 200 hours before finishing. I'm looking forward to your coverage of some of my other favorites, like Might and Magic 3, Magic Candle 3, Wizardry 7, as well as some of the others I never saw back in the day. While I've enjoyed reading the Fate posts, it's gone on quite awhile.

    As a side note, there is a completed map available online. I won't link it, but it is rather stunning once finished.

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    1. I don't want this to linger much longer. I'll try to alternate posts, but I'm going to keep Fate at every other post until I win.

      The problem is that the world is large but not very deep. There isn't enough character, detail, special encounters, side-quests, or role-playing opportunities to support a world this big. That'll be a major theme of the final post.

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    2. I think some of the gimlet categories will need to reflect variety of content divided by total content.

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    3. One thing to keep in mind: few players would be so obsessive about the mapping. Hard to judge, but my impression is that probably a third of the gaming time could be cut out if you only do essential maps.

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    4. That assumes you can tell what an "essential map" is.

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    5. On the one hand, I'm mostly bored with Fate (though plenty seem to disagree with me). On the other hand, there would be a certain symmetrical beauty in coming to the "Fate: Won!" article in proper alphabetical order. So, if it doesn't wrap up quickly, I guess I'm hoping for precisely 7 more (including gimlet).

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