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Spiderweb Software founder defends reusing same engine and art for 10 years

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Needless to say, as graphics geek i do not agree. What he describes as a great reuse of art and engine, is what i describe as utter laziness. Because his engine is still far inferior to the Infinity engine. And that is the standard in RPG's. Maybe he never played these games? Reusing art is fine, not fixing your broken engine is not. And his engine is broken beyond repair - there is no item highlight, no intelligent pathfinding, no faux real-time battle system alá BG2 and company. His engine does NOTHING well. So his defense for not fixing it is what? That he is content with the current state of his engine? ;)

I completely agree with RPG Codex, he isn't selling 5 new games, he is selling 5 times the same game for full price. Heck these 5 games PLAY exactly the same, and games are not supposed to stagnate without improvement. Ergo, he is not making games, he is writing books and calls them games.

Well, I've not played any of his games, and so can't comment one way or the other.  If there are serious bugs in the engine, as you say, then it's rather surprising that he would not want to do anything about those, at least gradually over time.  I do believe very much in asset reuse, and think his admonishments to the larger industry are pretty well correct.  Valve seems to know this with their engines (which they upgrade over time, and build many games on, and reuse assets between).  And I think Valve has the right way of it with that sort of reuse.  They make a variety of different and interesting games, and constantly improve the engine that's under all of them, etc. 

Here, the AI War engine grew out of the base of the Alden Ridge engine, and the Tidalis engine grew out of the AI War engine.  I think that sort of reuse is really important, partly because it lets us focus on just making the engine better and fixing bugs across all our various games at once, rather than piecemeal.  Valve seems to do much the same thing.

I can't speak to what Vogel is doing directly, and I'm not interested in criticizing other indies in general.  I can only speak to what he has written, and I think that the advice he is giving out is pretty sound.

I think what's interesting is that his arguement is that he's selling the story, not the game. So he updates the older parts of the engine and adds/fixes anything he really needs to, then focuses on areas that he can compete with. Not having played his games, I can't say if that's correct or not, or if it really works, but since he's still in the black I'd say it does. Regardless, as long as the engine works and doesnt crash constantly or cause problems for him, there's nothing really wrong with what he's doing. And you'd be surprised how much refactoring code can do for a program in general. If changing the engine means relearning the tools, delaying releases, and costs more money than it brings in, then is it really worth it?

That said, nice graphics (even stylishly retro ones) are a good selling point.

Yes indeed it is sound to reuse art-assets (while updating them every now and then), but imagine you would be writing such a statement as he is, with AI War being graphically stuck in the pre 1.004 quality of graphics and effects while your forums are aflame with demands to finally fix/improve it for 10 years !

Just rubs me the wrong way i guess ^^

As for hes just adding what he needs. as having played Arcanum 5 and 6 i can assure you that not much about his stories changes or is even remotely as interesting or gripping as a single good book. In books you don't have to slug through a boring combat system with hidden values everywhere to boot.

Granted, that could be just me.

Well, I won't comment on his practices specifically, but you know that I'm all about the constant improvement of every aspect of our games.  I was pointing out Valve because I think that they kind of embody what Vogel was advocating, but in a AAA manner and without the reservations that you have about Vogel.  Again, I don't know anything about Vogel and so can't comment (and wouldn't anyway), but I think what he is saying is sound (as it seems you agree).  I guess your complaint is that he isn't really fully living up to what you expect in terms of bugfixes and general growth in areas other than story, and I can't speak to that part either way.


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