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#1113249 - 06/08/17 05:00 PM Re: Installation instructions for vintage "Rome: Caesar's Will" on Windows 8 [Re: RichAlexis]
Mad Offline
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Registered: 11/21/00
Posts: 27512
Loc: United Kingdom
Quote:

Unlike adventure games like Thimbleweed, historical games could benefit more from more realistic depictions that show more detail. We're talking about next-generation Cryo/Arxel/Wanadoo historical games, not next-generation LucasArts. The needs are different.


Yes, I acknowledge the general theme of this thread Jenny100, although it has wondered off track a little, but I deem it rather unlikely that a next-generation Cryo, Arxel or Wanadoo historical game project is on the cards, certainly not for the near future anyway, so I would repeat my note about graphics not being the most important thing in a game for me .... Because I would very happily play an interesting and historically accurate "edutainment" game with only rudimentary graphics IF the storyline was strong and IF the interface was player friendly.

My mention of Thimbleweed Park was only a nod to game that doesn't have fantastic "all singing all dancing" graphics but which is still an excellent play. I wasn't at all intending that LucasArts be compared with the likes of Cryo, Arxel or Wanadoo.
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#1113290 - 06/09/17 01:31 AM Re: Installation instructions for vintage "Rome: Caesar's Will" on Windows 8 [Re: Mad]
Jenny100 Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mad
I would very happily play an interesting and historically accurate "edutainment" game with only rudimentary graphics IF the storyline was strong and IF the interface was player friendly.

I think you'd be in a minority. What would a "historical game" that used pixel art have over the historical games that Cryo/Arxel/Wanadoo already produced? It's been done before -- in higher resolution than pixel art -- and it failed because it was too much like a picture book instead of a living world.

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#1113343 - 06/09/17 02:42 PM Re: Installation instructions for vintage "Rome: Caesar's Will" on Windows 8 [Re: Jenny100]
RichAlexis Offline
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Registered: 06/21/13
Posts: 192
Loc: The Netherlands
Originally Posted By: Jenny100
Well, we were mostly talking about historical adventure games in this thread. We're talking about next-generation Cryo/Arxel/Wanadoo historical games, not next-generation LucasArts. The needs are different.

Definitely, but is there really such a sharp division? Aren't there many hybrids?

For instance, fantasy based on Tolkien or Arthurian legends often mixes historical details of medieval societies (knights, castles, druids, monks, blacksmiths) with fictional characters like wizards, elves, fairies and dragons. Also, Cryo's Atlantis series used some rather realistic vignettes based on civilizations like the Inuit, Easter Island, Imperial China, early Christian Ireland, Mayan culture, Pharaonic Egypt etc. framed by the myth of Atlantis.

Which would imply both target audiences can overlap, and will share expectations of fluid animations, attention to detail, believable settings etc.

Best,

Rich

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#1113355 - 06/09/17 03:35 PM Re: Installation instructions for vintage "Rome: Caesar's Will" on Windows 8 [Re: RichAlexis]
Jenny100 Offline
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Originally Posted By: RichAlexis
For instance, fantasy based on Tolkien or Arthurian legends often mixes historical details of medieval societies (knight, castles, druids, monks, blacksmiths) with fictional characters like wizards, elves, fairies and dragons. Also, Cryo's Atlantis series used some rather realistic vignettes based on civilizations like the Inuit, Easter Island, Imperial China, early Christian Ireland, Mayan culture, Pharaonic Egypt etc. framed by the myth of Atlantis.

I don't know of any fantasies at all that don't borrow from real life (either the past or legends from the past). That includes both drawing from ancient mythologies and depiction of trades like blacksmithing.

But using references from the past in a fantasy is very different from inserting fantasy aspects into something you're claiming is an accurate depiction of life in another century. Are you going to claim people in medieval times actually rode dragons?

No one would claim the Atlantis games were accurate historical representations simply because there were aspects that echoed something from history or legend.

Originally Posted By: RichAlexis
but is there really such a sharp division?

The only case I can think of where there is not a sharp division is something like Egypt III, where places like the "World of Isis" were based on Egyptian mythology and weren't mixed with other mythologies or a complete invention by the writers. The World of Isis and the Egyptian gods were real to the Egyptian people of that time.

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#1113373 - 06/09/17 05:36 PM Re: Installation instructions for vintage "Rome: Caesar's Will" on Windows 8 [Re: RichAlexis]
RichAlexis Offline
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Registered: 06/21/13
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What I was trying to say, in support, was that precisely as historical (fact-based) fiction, and fantasy with historical elements often overlap (and as you point out, mythology is often perceived as very real by civilizations, like religious convictions even now), I don't see why game companies wouldn't invest in games that were a bit heavier on historical accuracy than on fairytale elements.

When developed and promoted well, with modern graphics and production values, these could still be successful. Even though, as I argued, the didactic element is rarely effective in a purely didactic (school) setting.

If National Geographic, the BBC, HBO and the History Channel can produce profitable dramatized documentaries, why can't IT companies invest in something like that in game format?

Unless it's only the sure-fire action blockbusters they want to go for?

Best,

Rich

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#1113436 - 06/10/17 12:34 PM Re: Installation instructions for vintage "Rome: Caesar's Will" on Windows 8 [Re: RichAlexis]
Jenny100 Offline
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Originally Posted By: RichAlexis
If National Geographic, the BBC, HBO and the History Channel can produce profitable dramatized documentaries, why can't IT companies invest in something like that in game format?

Those documentaries have a proven audience. They've sold well enough in the past, and nearly everyone has a TV or a computer they can watch on.

High system requirements are an impediment to sales of computer software. But even if a developer made historical edutainment software with requirements as low as Myst IV (2004), which most recent computers would meet, the audience isn't "proven" to exist.

It doesn't help that, in the days of boxed games, when Cryo/Arxel/etc were still making historical adventure games, online sales of games weren't counted. With one single exception, I had to buy all of my edutainment purchases online because local shops didn't stock them (I found "Physicus" in the kids' section of an EB). So the hundreds of dollars I spent on the Cryo/Index/Arxel games didn't count as "purchases." Well over half had to be imported from overseas because they weren't sold at any online shop in North America that I could find. The part of the country I lived in was an absolute desert when it came to regular adventure games, let alone historical adventures and edutainment.

Originally Posted By: RichAlexis
Unless it's only the sure-fire action blockbusters they want to go for?

I don't think the big game companies would be interested in investing in anything that hasn't sold well for them in the past. Very circular logic -- we'll never sell it because it's never sold for us before.

Considering that they've shown themselves to be completely ignorant about how to promote anything that isn't action-oriented, this isn't likely to change. It is beyond their comprehension that there is anyone who'd enjoy a slow-paced game or "visit" to a virtual world. That audience is completely ignored.

For example, I remember seeing an ad for Myst III where they tried to make it look like an action game -- banging, noisy "music," fast cutting that make it hard to look at, etc. If I hadn't already known what Myst III was about, and all I knew was from that ad, I wouldn't have been interested in it at all.

There is an ignored, untested audience for virtual tours, or visit modes, in software -- not necessarily the same as "games" because there are no puzzles or dexterity challenges -- just exploring a virtual environment.

Last month, YouTube uploader "LateBlt" uploaded a video describing his thoughts on adventure games, "walking simulators", and why he hadn't uploaded anything in several months:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2lT6kX7GFo
He talks about "Farming Simulator" and how he doesn't play it as intended, but just wanders around looking at things and enjoying the environment. He's done this with other games, and at the moment he prefers this over playing any sort of adventure game. He says he knows other people who use Farming Simulator (and other related Simulators) for this purpose. The lack of challenge or imposed goals and the ability to relax while looking around is a major part of the appeal.

Now if you consider which is closer to a documentary -- exploring a virtual environment with no obstacles, or playing a game that features a virtual environment but where there are some sort of obstacles (either puzzles or dexterity challenges), I think the pure exploration is absolutely closer to a documentary.

I don't know if the time to make such a thing is now. Maybe in a few years. System requirements would have to be low enough that almost any computer could run the software, yet it would have to be realistic enough that people used to the realism of filmed documentaries would accept it.

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#1113466 - 06/10/17 03:08 PM Re: Installation instructions for vintage "Rome: Caesar's Will" on Windows 8 [Re: Jenny100]
Mad Offline
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Registered: 11/21/00
Posts: 27512
Loc: United Kingdom
I absolutely agree with all the points you make, Jenny100 thumbsup thumbsup
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#1113479 - 06/10/17 04:21 PM Re: Installation instructions for vintage "Rome: Caesar's Will" on Windows 8 [Re: RichAlexis]
Jenny100 Offline
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Registered: 10/24/00
Posts: 38396
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Thanks, Mad.
Glad you're not mad at me.

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#1113487 - 06/10/17 05:49 PM Re: Installation instructions for vintage "Rome: Caesar's Will" on Windows 8 [Re: Jenny100]
RichAlexis Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 06/21/13
Posts: 192
Loc: The Netherlands
Hi Jenny,

Very good, well-reasoned points, Jenny! No, I'm not mad at anyone either! How could I? wink

I'm shocked to hear that, even in pre-download days, online sales didn't count! How unfair! At least in Holland and other European countries there were companies representing or distributing Cryo and the like, so that you could find Dutch or multilingual versions of these games in stores.

The Wikipedia page on adventure games suggests that at one point, there was an oversaturation of Myst-like exploration and puzzle games, which undermined the genre. The same may be true of the endless series of city-building and strategy games which centred on the Roman Empire. You know, Caesar this, Imperium that, Total War this, Grand Ages that. This may have killed historical interest.

Perhaps recent environmental exploration games like Dear Esther and The Stanley Parable can lead the way and open up historical possibilities? Only time will tell.

Best,

Rich

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#1113500 - 06/10/17 10:44 PM Re: Installation instructions for vintage "Rome: Caesar's Will" on Windows 8 [Re: Jenny100]
Mad Offline
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 11/21/00
Posts: 27512
Loc: United Kingdom
Originally Posted By: Jenny100
Thanks, Mad.
Glad you're not mad at me.


Heck, Jenny100 !! I wouldn't ever get mad at you !! wave2
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#1113503 - 06/10/17 11:44 PM Re: Installation instructions for vintage "Rome: Caesar's Will" on Windows 8 [Re: RichAlexis]
Jenny100 Offline
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Sonic Boomer

Registered: 10/24/00
Posts: 38396
Loc: southeast USA
Originally Posted By: RichAlexis
The Wikipedia page on adventure games suggests that at one point, there was an oversaturation of Myst-like exploration and puzzle games, which undermined the genre.

Wikipedia can be edited by anyone, and is not a good source of information for anything where there is disagreement.

That "undermined the genre" business is hogwash that's been repeated entirely too often by people who should know better.

The Wikipedia article also says
Quote:
Myst held the record for computer game sales for seven years—it sold over nine million copies on all platforms, a feat not surpassed until the release of The Sims in 2000.

If it sold that much, it clearly outsold any of the Sierra/LucasArts games. So are you going to blame the customers who bought Myst and not a Sierra or LucasArts game? Aren't they entitled to buy the game they want? Obviously Myst offered them something the Sierra and LucasArts did not. And considering 7th Guest was released on CD the year before Myst, and Myst outsold 7th Guest, you can't say that all Myst offered was the novelty of being on CD.

It's not like Sierra or LucasArts stopped making 3rd person games after Myst was published. Nor is it likely that any developer that produced a 1st person game would have produced a 3rd person game instead if Myst hadn't existed.

Myst was released in 1993.
Let's not forget that even more influential game that was released in 1993 -- Doom.

Originally Posted By: RichAlexis
The same may be true of the endless series of city-building and strategy games which centred on the Roman Empire. You know, Caesar this, Imperium that, Total War this, Grand Ages that. This may have killed historical interest.

Unless there was some issue with the games becoming too similar, I kind of doubt people who enjoy them would get tired of the historical aspects. But if these games have been "consolized" and designed to use gamepad instead of mouse/keyboard, not everyone will be happy with that.

Originally Posted By: Mad
Heck, Jenny100 !! I wouldn't ever get mad at you !!

Awwww! You're sweet.

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#1113510 - 06/11/17 02:35 AM Re: Installation instructions for vintage "Rome: Caesar's Will" on Windows 8 [Re: RichAlexis]
Iurii Offline
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Registered: 09/03/13
Posts: 457
Loc: Kiev, Ukraine
An interesting discussion. It is very sad and true, that no more historical adventure games are being produced - while both classical point-and-click LucasArts/Sierra-like adventures and 'Myst clones' come out quite often, either from big conpanies (like Daedalic) or from indie-developers.

Is it indeed a technique lost forever, that now forgotten 'French school' of edutainment? Or maybe the sponsors who paid for making those titles - like Canal+, France Telecom or Réunion des Musées Nationaux - are no longer interested in such products now that all edutaiment could be conducted online?

The last attempts I can think of are just casual games made in 2011 - 'Aspectus – Rinascimento Chronicles' and 'Marie-Antoinette and the Followers of Loki'. Even with that 'appeal for broader audience', both those companies seem to have gone bankrupt...

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#1113551 - 06/11/17 12:35 PM Re: Installation instructions for vintage "Rome: Caesar's Will" on Windows 8 [Re: Iurii]
Jenny100 Offline
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Registered: 10/24/00
Posts: 38396
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Originally Posted By: Iurii
An interesting discussion. It is very sad and true, that no more historical adventure games are being produced - while both classical point-and-click LucasArts/Sierra-like adventures and 'Myst clones' come out quite often, either from big conpanies (like Daedalic) or from indie-developers.

There haven't really been many "Myst-like" games either -- some games with solitary exploration, but not all have Myst-like puzzles. You're more apt to find puzzles in casual games, but the puzzles tend to be too easy in those. The bulk of new game announcements seem to be for humorous LucasArts/Sierra type games, horror games, and dystopic games.

I made this list of games I know of with solitary exploration, though I may be missing some. They don't all feature Myst-like puzzles. For example, Eyes of Ara was mainly finding inventory.

2016 Barrow Hill: The Dark Path
2016 Eyes of Ara
2016 Obduction
2016 Quern
2015 Prominence
2015 RoonSehv
2014 Talos Principle
2012 J.U.L.I.A. (re-released 2014)
2011 ASA: A Space Adventure
2010 RHEM 4

Dates are mostly from PAGODA.
And of course the Carol Reed and Nancy Drew games, which are 1st person but not usually solitary exploration. Unfortunately we saw the last Nancy Drew in 2015 and it doesn't look like there will be any more. But ten games isn't a whole lot when you're going back 7 years.

Originally Posted By: Iurii
Or maybe the sponsors who paid for making those titles - like Canal+, France Telecom or Réunion des Musées Nationaux - are no longer interested in such products now that all edutainment could be conducted online?

I haven't seen anything like the old games online. Certainly nothing close to the edutainment games from 15 or 20 years ago. http://www.rmn.fr/ is like a virtual pamphlet rather than a virtual tour. Apparently Canal+ and France Telecom aren't what they used to be. Canal+ is now owned by Vivendi and France Telecom is now called Orange S.A. and is not a company that's going to be interested in promoting cultural history either. There's some surprisingly bad stuff about Orange S.A. on Wikipedia -- high rate of employee suicides and such.

Originally Posted By: Iurii
The last attempts I can think of are just casual games made in 2011 - 'Aspectus – Rinascimento Chronicles' and 'Marie-Antoinette and the Followers of Loki'. Even with that 'appeal for broader audience', both those companies seem to have gone bankrupt...

Aspectus wasn't a historical game. It was a fantasy in a mostly historical setting. I expect the Marie Antoinette game was the same, since I doubt real life Marie Antoinette had much to do with the Norse god Loki or any group called "Followers of Loki." One of the problems with casual games is that the developers seem to have no concept of history and their games are rife with anachronisms. They'll have games that are supposed to take place in the 1950's or 1960's, and the hidden objects you're supposed to find are antique tools from over 100 years earlier -- museum pieces in the 1950's and earlier and certainly not common household implements in the 1950's.

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#1113555 - 06/11/17 01:25 PM Re: Installation instructions for vintage "Rome: Caesar's Will" on Windows 8 [Re: Jenny100]
RichAlexis Offline
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Registered: 06/21/13
Posts: 192
Loc: The Netherlands
Quote:
"One of the problems with casual games is that the developers seem to have no concept of history and their games are rife with anachronisms. They'll have games that are supposed to take place in the 1950's or 1960's, and the hidden objects you're supposed to find are antique tools from over 100 years earlier -- museum pieces in the 1950's and earlier and certainly not common household implements in the 1950's.

Thanks again for your research par excellence, to stay in the French vein! thumbsup

Indeed, casual HOG games appear to be infected by the random object virus ("Find the opossum and the binoculars at the greengrocer's"), regardless of historical context.

One factor must also be the financial crisis that's hit us so hard since 2008, preceded of course by the "New Economy" (Dot-com) bubble crash of 2000 that already ruined a lot of IT companies.

National and local governments are extremely reluctant now to subsidize established public institutions like libraries, archives, museums, zoos, research centres and arts councils (as a number of these were involved in creating these historical games), let alone innovative projects, while banks and other investors are also avoiding ventures that present any kind of risk. Impending bankruptcies for museums, concert halls and archives, that was something unheard of until recently.

The economy is finally picking up now, but there are still lots of uncertainties, financial, political, demographic, you name them. I think that's a worldwide phenomenon, alas.

Best,

Rich

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#1113606 - 06/11/17 11:52 PM Re: Installation instructions for vintage "Rome: Caesar's Will" on Windows 8 [Re: Jenny100]
Iurii Offline
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Registered: 09/03/13
Posts: 457
Loc: Kiev, Ukraine
Originally Posted By: Jenny100
There haven't really been many "Myst-like" games either

Well, I have not played 'Eyes of Ara', but both 'Obduction' and 'Quern' are recent Myst-like games with a lot of quite difficult puzzles smile

Originally Posted By: Jenny100

I haven't seen anything like the old games online. Certainly nothing close to the edutainment games from 15 or 20 years ago

I meant not games, but general online education. You can now read about everything in 'Wikipedia' and on other web-sites - not much need to make a separate Encyclopedia of some historical period, add a kind of supplementary adventure game to it, and publish it on CDs.

Originally Posted By: Jenny100
Aspectus wasn't a historical game. It was a fantasy in a mostly historical setting.

You are right of course - that's why I called them 'attempts', certainly not on par with the real historical games developed 15 or 20 years ago.
Still, all the titles from Nemopolis had a part of fantasy in them - we play as a little robot travelling throuh the ages of French history, but that does not hinder those ages to be portrayed quite accurately. In 'Marie Antoinette', they just re-used backgrounds from their earlier adventure games and added hidden objects to it. Strange sight indeed, as RichAlexis has already noted.

Oh, I forgot about Danish company Serious Games Interactive and their historical adventure games. Their latest one, 'Playing History: Vikings', came out in 2015. Still, they are probably too childish - with cartoony graphics instead of the realism of the older French games.

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