Planescape from Final Fantasy (long)

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Kenny Smith

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Feb 12, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/12/00
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A lot of people probably don't realize just how much influence Final
Fantasy has had on the design of Planescape:Torment. In particular, I'm
talking about the closed-minded people who easily dismiss the Final
Fantasy series because of its console roots, all the while singing
praises of a great CRPG like Torment.

At first I thought I was imagining things while playing Torment ---
drawing parallels between an AD&D game and Final Fantasy games. But
after having read a few articles from the Torment designers openly
praising Final Fantasy, I'm more convinced than ever. Some of Final
Fantasy's influence include:

--strong focus on personal story & inter-PC relationships, where the
"epic save-the-world" cliche becomes a mere background. Most RPGs put
the "epic" in the foreground, and the "personal" becomes an
afterthought. Hell, off the top of my head, I can't even think of any
other computer RPG that has ever done this.

--Weapons systems. In Planescape, like in the Final Fantasies, ALL the
weapons & their upgrades are designed specifically for each PC. Morte
can only have Teeth Weapons (and vise versa). Dak'kon his Karach
blade. Axe for Vhailor, arrows for Nordom, and so forth. The only
exception is that NMO can use some of Annah's gloves. When you find/buy
a weapon, 99% of the time it can only be used by one specific
character. This system is most prominent in Final Fantasy games. For
computer RPGs, it's unheard of.

--Spell Implementation. The first time I saw a mid level offensive
spell in Planescape, I immediately thought about FF7 & FF8. It's a
system where *everything* pauses while the screen pans and centers
around the target to maximize dramatic effect. Then a graphic will show
up (toxic cloud, call lightning, lighning chain, etc) while everything
else is frozen. Most other CRPGs do their spell FX in real time.
Further, high-level Planescape spells actually go as far as showing cut
scenes (or movies), such panning the screen to a scene in space for
Meteorite summons, or any of Planescape FMV summon sequences. I
could've sworn I was playing a Final Fantasy game. The system employed
by Planescape is *exactly* the same as the one used for spells/summons
in FF7 & FF8. The designer Kenneth Lee openly credited Final Fantasy
for his inspiration for this system.

--Storyline. (possible minor spoilers). In both FF7 & Planescape, we
have heroes that slowly discover their past through mysterious
flashbacks. There's even a scene in both games where the hero meets 3
versions of himself, each representing a different side to his psyche.
Then there's the possible merging of the 3 parts to create a whole.
There's also the romantic aspect of the story. In both FF7 &
Planescape, the player controls the hero's romantic involvement with
either the brash, spunky girl (Annah, Tifa) or the pristine, lady-like
woman (FF-Grace, Aeris). Then there's also the part in FF8 & Planescape
where the hero (NMO, Squall) slowly discover that most of the companions
he picked up have a forgotten history/relationship with him.

--The Player Characters (PCs) in Planescape are designed in a very Final
Fantasyish way. Armor for Planescape women are bought at tailors, which
reminded me of the cheesy "dresses" for Final Fantasy women's armor. I
already mentioned the PC-specific weaponry, and the PC's forgotten
history with the main hero. They also created unique music for each PC,
which is a trademark of Final Fantasy games since FF2. Off the top of
my head, I can't think of any other Computer RPG that has ever done this
for every player-character. There's also the heavy focus on optional
background storyline for every PC you pick up. Most CRPGs give you the
PC's background story *when* you meet them, but it's forgotten/neglected
soon afterwards. Occasionally you'll have one or two PCs with optional
storyline that appears in mid-game (ie Coran's lover in BG, Iolo's wife
in UltimaV). In Planescape & FF games, this is true for nearly *all*
members of your party. Additionally, the background storyline for every
PC is stretched out & developed over the course of the game. In fact,
I'd say that the backbone of the Planescape story is in the character
development of your party members. The "epic" part of the story becomes
background to that.

--Those Lim-lims remind me of those Moogles from FFIII (usa). Cute
little creatures with the potential to be lethal, and can only quip
"Pi-Yo!". Moogles served the exact same purpose in FFIII, except they
quipped "Ku-Po!"

--Hero development. In FF7 & FF8, the heroes (Cloud, Squall) usually
have twice as much experience points as their party members. This
effectively makes the hero the strongest character due to his high level
& experience (as opposed to special powers). NMO is the same way
relative to his companions.

Now, let me *emphasize* that any one of the reasons I mentioned above
could be a simple coincidence. However, taken as a whole, I think it
clearly shows the influence Final Fantasy had on Planescape. Add to
that the open admiration of Planescape designers for Final Fantasy (read
the "Thank You" section of the Planescape manual). I hope people
remember this the next time somebody foolishly dismisses Final Fantasy
as just another juvenile "console" game.


Patrick Mcginley

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Feb 12, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/12/00
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I seem to recall Firearm babbling somthing about:
: I am so glad I am not the only one thinking that.

You are forgetting some other parallels! They are:

1. They are both GAMES! For computer like gadgets!
2. Both employ representations of human ALTER EGOS!
3. Nerds made both of them! Only from different parts of the world!
4. Hit Points! Need I say more?
5. Spells! Oh, yeah, someone mentioned this before...
6. From what I hear, both involve devil worship in some way!
7. They both ripped off every RPG to come before them - and both openly
praise other RPG's! Coincidence? My ass!
8. Neither has horribly ugly women you can add to your party - what, do
the developers for both meet together in a secret meeting once a month and
plan strategy or something? What happened to our anti-monopoly laws!
Someone call Janet Reno and her flame throwing tank, or her Japanese
equivalent!

I was thinking they were *really different* until some guy mentioned the
secondary save-the-world aspect. Two teams of genius freethinkers to come
up with the same damn brilliant inovative idea at the same time? You have
me convinced - they were both created by the same people. What's their
angle? I haven't the foggiest, but by God, MAN - You are on to something
bigger than the both of us!

If I don't post again, they have gotten to me! Save yourself!!!
--
transport. motorways & tramlines. starting then stopping. taking off &
landing. the emptiest of feelings. disappointed people. clinging onto
bottles. when it comes it's so, so disappointing. let down and hanging
around. crushed like a bug in the ground. i7yci7cyi** Radiohead

Shawn Gumbleton

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Feb 12, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/12/00
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I hate to be a bitch, but didja have to include the *entire* posting
along with your three-line follow-up?

-Shawn

> The Final Fantasy *series* is good. Final Fantasy VII, and from all
> reports VIII, however, are straight-line adventure game crap. They
> aren't RPGs.
>
> To respond by email, remove "blort" from the front of my email
> address.
> blort...@ou.edu
> Jason McCullough
>
> ".....to identify Flavor Flav as a clown with a clock is to lose sight
> of Public Enemy's goal to inspire, entertain and educate."
> (from www.public-enemy.com)

Jason McCullough

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Feb 13, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/13/00
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The Final Fantasy *series* is good. Final Fantasy VII, and from all

Silke (Snowball)

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Feb 13, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/13/00
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You have got to be kidding! The plot may be linear, but there are dozens of
side quests, which have been given much thought, especially in 7. In fact, I
would consider there is much more freedom in FF7 than PST, however, they are
both two of my favorite RPGs of all time.

Firearm

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Feb 13, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/13/00
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I am so glad I am not the only one thinking that.

There are also other points:

1. Annah's a melee fighter using her fists; so is Tifa in FF7.
2. FFG's a healer; so is Aerith in FF7 (her limit break)
3. Dakkon's character is very similar to that of a Japanese Samurai in
fedural Japan. (no, this has nothing to do with the FFs...)


On Sat, 12 Feb 2000 18:31:56 -0600, Kenny Smith <ksm...@nospam.com>
wrotf:

William

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Feb 13, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/13/00
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In article <38A5FB7B...@nospam.com>,
Kenny Smith <ksm...@nospam.com> wrote:

(snip list of similarities)

Those are some good points, but Torment was superior in one way: the
ending. The FF games all end with a typical fight Foozle ending. In
Torment, there was a choice as to how the game could end. I liked that a
lot.

But yes, they are quite similar in some ways. And, when I first saw
Celestial Host, I thought "That's Torment's answer to Knights of the
Round..."

Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.

Zyan

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Feb 13, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/13/00
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Yep. The real reason why I enjoyed PST so much is the depth of the
characterisation and plot. And I really like to thank BIS for being
"influenced" by the ground-breaking FF series so that after all these years,
I can finally play a RPG that has such a great story and character
interaction.

RPG developers, please make more of such RPGs. There are enough action RPGs
and hack/slash RPGs out there now to fulfil the killer instincts of mine. I
need something intelligent and emotional too.


Firearm <fs...@hotnospamail.com> wrote in message
news:38a618bf...@news.hknet.com...

Zyan

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Feb 13, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/13/00
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Yeah, and also the "hidden" characters. Nordom in PST (Vhaillor is not
really that well hidden). Vincent in FF7 (Yuki is still OK).


Firearm <fs...@hotnospamail.com> wrote in message
news:38a618bf...@news.hknet.com...

Miles Osborne

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Feb 13, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/13/00
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In article <38A5FB7B...@nospam.com>, Kenny Smith
<ksm...@nospam.com> writes

>Now, let me *emphasize* that any one of the reasons I mentioned above
>could be a simple coincidence. However, taken as a whole, I think it
>clearly shows the influence Final Fantasy had on Planescape. Add to
>that the open admiration of Planescape designers for Final Fantasy (read
>the "Thank You" section of the Planescape manual). I hope people

I don't have a Thank you section in my Planescape manual (UK) is this
another example of where the UK operation has cut back. In BG they
missed out the Cloth Map that the US version had.

Does anyone else no what else has been missed by the UK.

If anyone has the time I wouldn't mind knowing what the Thank you
section said.

Miles
--
Miles Osborne mailto:m...@mados.demon.co.uk
Southampton
UK UIN: 29637931

John Ford.

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Feb 13, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/13/00
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On Sun, 13 Feb 2000 01:14:28 GMT, Jason McCullough
<blort...@ou.edu> wrote:

>The Final Fantasy *series* is good. Final Fantasy VII, and from all
>reports VIII, however, are straight-line adventure game crap. They
>aren't RPGs.

Yeah, you're right. All that 40-hours of combat I struggled through
plus another dozen or so hours of item collecting to beat those Weapon
guys was actually an elaborate hallucination. My friends tell me I was
actually just clicking the circle button to read signposts for several
days.

John Ford.

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Feb 13, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/13/00
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On 12 Feb 2000 22:45:45 -0600, pat...@earth.execpc.com (Patrick
Mcginley) wrote:

>I seem to recall Firearm babbling somthing about:
>: I am so glad I am not the only one thinking that.
>
>You are forgetting some other parallels! They are:
>
>1. They are both GAMES! For computer like gadgets!
>2. Both employ representations of human ALTER EGOS!
>3. Nerds made both of them! Only from different parts of the world!
>4. Hit Points! Need I say more?
>5. Spells! Oh, yeah, someone mentioned this before...
>6. From what I hear, both involve devil worship in some way!
>7. They both ripped off every RPG to come before them - and both openly
>praise other RPG's! Coincidence? My ass!
>8. Neither has horribly ugly women you can add to your party - what, do
>the developers for both meet together in a secret meeting once a month and
>plan strategy or something? What happened to our anti-monopoly laws!
>Someone call Janet Reno and her flame throwing tank, or her Japanese
>equivalent!
>
>I was thinking they were *really different* until some guy mentioned the
>secondary save-the-world aspect. Two teams of genius freethinkers to come
>up with the same damn brilliant inovative idea at the same time? You have
>me convinced - they were both created by the same people. What's their
>angle? I haven't the foggiest, but by God, MAN - You are on to something
>bigger than the both of us!
>
>If I don't post again, they have gotten to me! Save yourself!!!

Your sarcasm does not dilute the validity of the original post, nor
does it erase the heavy thanks to FF7 & 8 as influences in Torment's
manual.

John Ford.

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Feb 13, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/13/00
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On Sat, 12 Feb 2000 18:31:56 -0600, Kenny Smith <ksm...@nospam.com>
wrote:

>A lot of people probably don't realize just how much influence Final
>Fantasy has had on the design of Planescape:Torment. In particular, I'm
>talking about the closed-minded people who easily dismiss the Final
>Fantasy series because of its console roots, all the while singing
>praises of a great CRPG like Torment.

[SNIP]

Personally, I'm happy to finally have a computer RPG where character
development involves more than "You gained +1 DEX!"

Until Torment, I played console RPG's to feel attached to the
characters, and computer RPG's to explore a world. Hopefully Torment
will hasten the development of more games that allow me to do both.

John Ford.

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Feb 13, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/13/00
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On Sun, 13 Feb 2000 09:39:03 +0000, Miles Osborne
<new...@mados.demon.co.uk> wrote:


>Does anyone else no what else has been missed by the UK.
>
>If anyone has the time I wouldn't mind knowing what the Thank you
>section said.

The designers had a "Thanks to" section. One of them read simply,
"Final Fantasy 7 and 8, for inspiration."

TitanMage

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Feb 13, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/13/00
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Well, yes there are some similarities, but be thankful that some other FF
(specifically FF7, the only one I played) conventions did not make their way
into PS:T.

1) Dialogue that is weakly translated from another language and very kiddie-ish
2) Not being able to see enemies before combat
3) Non-visual inventory system
4) Save points
5) Different look for world map vs. locales
6) Not being able to customize and advance your character to your style/liking
(role playing)
7) Very very poor graphics except for combat sequences
8) No mouse control
9) No spoken dialogue
10) Very few side-quests, very linear
11) Very repetitive combat limited to your three characters against only up to
five enemies in the same formations over and over
12) No multiple solutions to waypoints (triggers that advance the plot)
13) Personally, I don't care for anime (flying pumpkins, penguins, tarzan
swinging from a vine??)

The features that made it into PS:T are the good ones. IMHO, these other bad
features above, definitely outweigh the good. Give credit where credit is due,
but PS:T is a masterpiece, whereas FF7 is really a sub-par game with a couple
of nice features.

FS

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Feb 13, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/13/00
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*snipped good stuff*

>>I was thinking they were *really different* until some guy mentioned the
>>secondary save-the-world aspect. Two teams of genius freethinkers to come
>>up with the same damn brilliant inovative idea at the same time? You have
>>me convinced - they were both created by the same people. What's their
>>angle? I haven't the foggiest, but by God, MAN - You are on to something
>>bigger than the both of us!
>>
>>If I don't post again, they have gotten to me! Save yourself!!!
>
>Your sarcasm does not dilute the validity of the original post, nor
>does it erase the heavy thanks to FF7 & 8 as influences in Torment's
>manual.

Nopes, but it's hilarious as hell. :)

L.J. Wischik

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Feb 13, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/13/00
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Patrick Mcginley <pat...@earth.execpc.com> wrote:
>[snip]

>If I don't post again, they have gotten to me! Save yourself!!!

Very funny!

--
Lucian Wischik, Queens' College, Cambridge CB3 9ET. www.wischik.com/lu

Kenny Smith

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Feb 13, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/13/00
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Let me guess... you've never played a single Final Fantasy game in its
entirety, have you? Maybe read a few things about it, or played a couple of
hours? Your post feels like a typical response from somebody like that.

Your sarcasm is humorous, but severely misguided. There's very little actual
content in your otherwise long post. Don't criticize anything you know very
little about (my post, or the Final Fantasy series) unless you can support it
with solid arguments.

The Final Fantasy games are great games, but not *great* rpgs by the standard
definition of rpgs. In fact, it's probably closer to an Adventure game
running an RPG engine. I seem to recall Planescape:Torment being described by
many reviewers in a very similar (though more favorable) way.


Kenny Smith

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Feb 13, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/13/00
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TitanMage wrote:

> Well, yes there are some similarities, but be thankful that some other FF
> (specifically FF7, the only one I played) conventions did not make their way
> into PS:T.
>

Well, you have to look both games under different lights. FF games are console
games, generally designed for a younger audience *and* for an obsolete system with
limited resources. I don't agree with your assessment that FF7 was a sub-par
game. It was a sub-par RPG, but a great game.

>
> 1) Dialogue that is weakly translated from another language and very kiddie-ish

You have to take into account two things: The Japanese version loses a lot in the
translation to English. Some of the cheesy sentences in English doesn't
necessarily sound as weird in the original, colloquial Japanese dialogue. The
second (and most important) thing to remember are the characters. The characters
you play in FF7 & FF8 typically are 15-17 year old kids. Hearing NMO say "cool!
kickass! suck!" is out of character. Hearing a 15-year old Yuffie say the same
things is not.


>
> 2) Not being able to see enemies before combat
> 3) Non-visual inventory system
> 4) Save points
> 5) Different look for world map vs. locales
> 6) Not being able to customize and advance your character to your style/liking
> (role playing)
> 7) Very very poor graphics except for combat sequences
> 8) No mouse control
> 9) No spoken dialogue

All of the above are limitations of an obsolete system that's probably the
equivalent of a Pentium 120 Mhz. I mean, you can't store a lot of information in
those little memory cards for the playstation, hence the lack of customization.
It's amazing what Squaresoft was able to do with an old system like the
Playstation. Comparing FF games to PC games is like saying the Nebraska
Cornhuskers (a good college team) suck because they're not as talented as the
Cincinatti Bengals (a horrible NFL team).


>
> 10) Very few side-quests, very linear

This was true for FF8. FF7 had a *lot* of sidequests, optional characters, quests
for optional materia & weapons & limit breaks, a *lot* of optional scenes triggered
by optional characters. FF7 was linear up until you get the airship, and from
there it's open ended. Besides, PST is *very* linear too. The sections starting
from Ragpicker's Square -> Burried village -> Catacombs -> Drowned Nations -> Tomb
is practically a straight line. Same goes for the ending sequence of Upper Curst
-> Lower Curst -> Underground -> Prison -> Baatazu -> Curst Gone. Whereas FF7's
open-ended section occurs in the end (with the airship), in PST this occurs in the
early-mid game with the Hive & Upper Wards. Same thing, different arrangement.


> The features that made it into PS:T are the good ones. IMHO, these other bad
> features above, definitely outweigh the good. Give credit where credit is due,
> but PS:T is a masterpiece, whereas FF7 is really a sub-par game with a couple
> of nice features.

Like I said, FF7 is a subpar RPG, but a great game. I think PST is a combination
of BG's body and FF's soul. Best of both worlds. And like you said, give credit
where credit is due. Most people don't do this enough.

Elric10041

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Feb 13, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/13/00
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I totally agree with you.

I'm ravenously enjoying Planescape: Torment at the moment, and it's due in no
small part to what you are saying. I'm a veteran of Sega and Nintendo classics
like Shining Force, and Final Fantasy, and to see a modern CRPG take
inspiration friom those games in amazing.

Those "kiddie-console" RPGS made me care more about the characters and stories,
and kept me playing FAR longer than any CRPG on the PC (I gave up on both
Betrayal at Krondor and RoA: Star Trail)...until Torment, that is.

Way to go, Interplay and Black Isle!

Kenny Smith

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Feb 13, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/13/00
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Firearm wrote:

> I am so glad I am not the only one thinking that.
>
> There are also other points:
>
> 1. Annah's a melee fighter using her fists; so is Tifa in FF7.
> 2. FFG's a healer; so is Aerith in FF7 (her limit break)

Of course, to people not familiar with FF7 (ie Patrick Mcginley's response to
Firearm's thread), Tifa using fists and Aeris being a healer may not sound
like much of a comparison to PST.

Until they consider that Annah/Tifa is the spunky-romantic-interest
of-the-hero and-uses-fists as-a-primary-weapon type-of-girl, and serves as a
contrast to FFGrace/Aeris character who's the pristine-lady-like
alternate-love-interest for-the-hero and-serves-as-the party-healer type of
girl.

I'm sure we see this kind of relationship between the party leader & two
party members all the time in all CRPGs! Either it's one big coincidence, or
a sign of FF7's influence on PST.


Firearm

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Feb 13, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/13/00
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The FF series are a lot different from the mainstream CRPGs. They are
so different that I think they should be considered to be in another
gerne altogether.

It's not something everyone can swallow, and it's fine. US/Europe RPGs
aren't that popular in Japan for the same reason: different people,
different taste. It's not like we should start a war just because we
tend to like different RPGs.

Btw, There are people who think Torment's graphics suck too (What is
this ugly guy? I want a teenage cute boy!) That's why we have
different markets.

Me? I enjoy both. Why are we so keen on flaming each other just
because we have different tastes?

Oh, and maybe UT is inspired by the Quake series also... =)

Firearm

On 13 Feb 2000 11:28:01 GMT, tita...@aol.comNOSPAM (TitanMage)
wrotf:

>Well, yes there are some similarities, but be thankful that some other FF
>(specifically FF7, the only one I played) conventions did not make their way
>into PS:T.
>

>1) Dialogue that is weakly translated from another language and very kiddie-ish

>2) Not being able to see enemies before combat
>3) Non-visual inventory system
>4) Save points
>5) Different look for world map vs. locales
>6) Not being able to customize and advance your character to your style/liking
>(role playing)
>7) Very very poor graphics except for combat sequences
>8) No mouse control
>9) No spoken dialogue

>10) Very few side-quests, very linear

>11) Very repetitive combat limited to your three characters against only up to
>five enemies in the same formations over and over
>12) No multiple solutions to waypoints (triggers that advance the plot)
>13) Personally, I don't care for anime (flying pumpkins, penguins, tarzan
>swinging from a vine??)
>

(re)flex

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Feb 13, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/13/00
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Kenny Smith wrote in message <38A6D091...@nospam.com>...

>
>All of the above are limitations of an obsolete system that's probably the
>equivalent of a Pentium 120 Mhz. I mean, you can't store a lot of
information in
>those little memory cards for the playstation, hence the lack of
customization.
>It's amazing what Squaresoft was able to do with an old system like the
>Playstation. Comparing FF games to PC games is like saying the Nebraska
>Cornhuskers (a good college team) suck because they're not as talented as
the
>Cincinatti Bengals (a horrible NFL team).


A Pentium 120? There isn't even that much parity- PSX has what, a 33mHz
processor and 1MB of RAM? It's only real advantages are A)it has a 3D
accelerator (which presumeably a vanilla P120 wouldn't), and B)when coding
for it, one needn't account for innumerable hardware configurations. I think
these days, most PSX games are coded down to the metal (I know GT was).

Jazar

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Feb 13, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/13/00
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Kenny Smith <ksm...@nospam.com> wrote in message
news:38A5FB7B...@nospam.com...
> snip

Kenny, can you email me? A friend of mine would like to discuss this with
you but he can't get on a news server.

Thanks!

Jazar
ja...@allgaming.com

John Ford.

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Feb 13, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/13/00
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On 13 Feb 2000 11:28:01 GMT, tita...@aol.comNOSPAM (TitanMage)
wrote:

>1) Dialogue that is weakly translated from another language and very kiddie-ish

This is the series' biggest flaw. Plot twists that are meant to be
astounding and revelatory elicit "Huh?"s most of the time.

>2) Not being able to see enemies before combat
>3) Non-visual inventory system
>4) Save points
>5) Different look for world map vs. locales
>6) Not being able to customize and advance your character to your style/liking
>(role playing)

These are just staples of the console RPG industry, which is derived
from the same D&D legacy PC RPG's have been. I don't feel they are
innate flaws so much as they are just trademarks of a different style.
Computer RPG's have plenty of inexplicable little quirks as well.

>7) Very very poor graphics except for combat sequences
>8) No mouse control
>9) No spoken dialogue
>10) Very few side-quests, very linear
>11) Very repetitive combat limited to your three characters against only up to
>five enemies in the same formations over and over
>12) No multiple solutions to waypoints (triggers that advance the plot)
>13) Personally, I don't care for anime (flying pumpkins, penguins, tarzan
>swinging from a vine??)

For the most part, yes.

>The features that made it into PS:T are the good ones. IMHO, these other bad
>features above, definitely outweigh the good. Give credit where credit is due,
>but PS:T is a masterpiece, whereas FF7 is really a sub-par game with a couple
>of nice features.

I would definitely choose PS:T over any one Final Fantasy game, as far
as the "complete great RPG experience." But you also have to realize
that PS:T is the first computer RPG to do this as well. Until now FF
games have been the only RPG's where plot and atmosphere and emotional
impact are considered as much or more than the gameplay.

Trent

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Feb 13, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/13/00
to
I hate to be a bitch, but didja have to include the *entire* posting
along with your three-line follow-up?

---> Trent, who did feel he had to include the entire post.

Steve Kostoff

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Feb 13, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/13/00
to

Kenny Smith <ksm...@nospam.com> wrote in message
news:38A5FB7B...@nospam.com...
<snip>

This is like the CRPG version of the Kevin Bacon game...

Don't worry, everything that is exists at the universal Point of
Correspondance, so everything is related to everything else, and everything
influences everything else. Pretty cool, eh?

Steve Kostoff

Shawn Gumbleton

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Feb 13, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/13/00
to
Lol. Well, is my face red. :)

--Shawn, who very occasionally remembers to practice what he preaches.

Trent wrote:
>
> I hate to be a bitch, but didja have to include the *entire* posting
> along with your three-line follow-up?
>
> ---> Trent, who did feel he had to include the entire post.
>
> Shawn Gumbleton wrote:
> >
> > I hate to be a bitch, but didja have to include the *entire* posting
> > along with your three-line follow-up?
> >
> > -Shawn
> >
> > Jason McCullough wrote:

<snip>

Brian H.

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Feb 14, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/14/00
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(*snip*)

>
> I hope people
> remember this the next time somebody foolishly dismisses Final Fantasy
> as just another juvenile "console" game.
>
>

Fortunately, Black Isle only adopted the good points of Final Fantasy,
and ditched the bad points from it, precisely:

1. Random & tiresome & relentless & unpredictable monster bashing
jumping from nowhere.

2. You can only save in a certain point.

3. Your main character is always a teen speaking childish dialogues
which add "depth" to the adolescent feel.

4. Exaggerated boss fighting with extremely long period of spell
animations clashing on the screen for nearly an hour.

If PS:T adopted either one of such game designs from FF, I'd happily
pass it over as if what I did for the FF.

--
Brian.

Human beings can send to bh1234...@nospam.please.ctimail.com.
Spammers can send to bh1...@my-deja.com because I never use it.

Bob Byrne

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Feb 14, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/14/00
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"Shawn Gumbleton" <gu...@ak.net> wrote:

> I hate to be a bitch, but didja have to include the *entire* posting
> along with your three-line follow-up?
>
> -Shawn

And guess who did the same bloody thing!!!!

--
Bob

Led Mirage

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Feb 14, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/14/00
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On Sun, 13 Feb 2000 10:32:28 -0600, Kenny Smith <KSm...@nospam.com>
wrote:


>I'm sure we see this kind of relationship between the party leader & two
>party members all the time in all CRPGs! Either it's one big coincidence, or
>a sign of FF7's influence on PST.

How many Japanese RPGs have you played? And how many anime have you
watched? It's a very typical Japanese formula (not to say that it's
bad or anything), but it's certainly very common in Japanese culture,
and not limited to a certain game series.

William

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Feb 14, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/14/00
to
In article <38a88b77...@news.netvigator.com>,

For that matter, the Japanese didn't invent love triangles either. It's
a real stretch to say that this aspect of Torment was inspired by the
FF series. There are other points that are much better examples.

Jarno Kaarinen

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Feb 14, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/14/00
to
Kenny Smith <ksm...@nospam.com> wrote:

>--strong focus on personal story & inter-PC relationships, where the
>"epic save-the-world" cliche becomes a mere background. Most RPGs put
>the "epic" in the foreground, and the "personal" becomes an
>afterthought. Hell, off the top of my head, I can't even think of any
>other computer RPG that has ever done this.

Betrayal at Krondor, Ultima 7 and Serpent Isle. Aeris dies in FF7?
Duh, so does Dupre in Serpent Isle.

>--Weapons systems. In Planescape, like in the Final Fantasies, ALL the
>weapons & their upgrades are designed specifically for each PC. Morte
>can only have Teeth Weapons (and vise versa). Dak'kon his Karach
>blade. Axe for Vhailor, arrows for Nordom, and so forth. The only
>exception is that NMO can use some of Annah's gloves. When you find/buy
>a weapon, 99% of the time it can only be used by one specific
>character. This system is most prominent in Final Fantasy games. For
>computer RPGs, it's unheard of.
>
>--Spell Implementation. The first time I saw a mid level offensive
>spell in Planescape, I immediately thought about FF7 & FF8. It's a
>system where *everything* pauses while the screen pans and centers
>around the target to maximize dramatic effect. Then a graphic will show
>up (toxic cloud, call lightning, lighning chain, etc) while everything
>else is frozen. Most other CRPGs do their spell FX in real time.

Huh? No they don't. In CRPGs it is also usually taken in turns.

>Now, let me *emphasize* that any one of the reasons I mentioned above
>could be a simple coincidence. However, taken as a whole, I think it
>clearly shows the influence Final Fantasy had on Planescape. Add to
>that the open admiration of Planescape designers for Final Fantasy (read

>the "Thank You" section of the Planescape manual). I hope people


>remember this the next time somebody foolishly dismisses Final Fantasy
>as just another juvenile "console" game.

What makes them juvenile is that they are too easy. Try Xenogears or
FF8, there's no challenge to be found anywhere. Planescape, on the
other hand, has lots of challenge.

That said, it is quite obvious that Planescape was influences by some
later FF games, FF7 and FF8 particularly. LUCKILY they still avoided
to make the game as easy and rigid as those games. And also you should
remember that Japanese console RPGs owe it to western RPGs anyway,
because Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest were heavily influenced (read:
carbon copies) of early Ultima titles.


Jarno Kaarinen

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Feb 14, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/14/00
to
fs...@hotnospamail.com (Firearm) wrote:

>I am so glad I am not the only one thinking that.
>
>There are also other points:
>
>1. Annah's a melee fighter using her fists; so is Tifa in FF7.

Not to mention Werg in Wizardy Gold, eh? :-)

>2. FFG's a healer; so is Aerith in FF7 (her limit break)

My priest in Wiz Gold was also a healer. :-)


Zyan

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Feb 14, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/14/00
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> That said, it is quite obvious that Planescape was influences by some
> later FF games, FF7 and FF8 particularly. LUCKILY they still avoided
> to make the game as easy and rigid as those games. And also you should
> remember that Japanese console RPGs owe it to western RPGs anyway,
> because Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest were heavily influenced (read:
> carbon copies) of early Ultima titles.
>

If the influences are for the better, just acknowledged it and move on.

PST is a good game as it combines the better elements from FF7 and BG.
These make it the ultimate game it is today. True that FF7 has it flaws
(never played FF8) such as save points and repetitive combat (but compared
to MM6, it is really nothing). But hey, at least it does some good. Such
as influencing some designers who are intelligent enough not to copy
everything but just the good stuff. So what do we get? Great story, great
depth and great entertainment. Everybody except the trigger happy folks
(maybe they should play Quake 3 instead?) are happy.

And FF and DQ are NOT carbon copies of Ultima series. They are influenced,
most probably, not sure about that. The DQ series is very much influenced
by PnP AD&D. Not sure about FF. But the interaction, the characters and
details etc, are very much different from Ultima. Guess it has something to
do with culture. Thus they are influenced maybe but definitely not carbon
copies.

BTW, if you asked me, I prefer FF7 over MM6 or MM7 anytime. AND I prefer
PST over FF7 anytime too.

Zyan

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Feb 14, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/14/00
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Jarno Kaarinen <ja...@remotel.com> wrote in message
news:C7ynOJxXXGbduSBnie=QY0Y...@131.228.6.99...

Huh? What are you implying? Our friend (Firearm) here is trying to compare
the similarities of the love interests of the main protagonist in both
games. I don' t remember Wiz Gold having any love interests in the party.
The whole party was generated by me.

Er, you do understand what Firearm mean, do you?

Jarno Kaarinen

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Feb 14, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/14/00
to
Kenny Smith <KSm...@nospam.com> wrote:

>> 2) Not being able to see enemies before combat
>> 3) Non-visual inventory system
>> 4) Save points
>> 5) Different look for world map vs. locales
>> 6) Not being able to customize and advance your character to your style/liking
>> (role playing)

>> 7) Very very poor graphics except for combat sequences
>> 8) No mouse control
>> 9) No spoken dialogue
>

>All of the above are limitations of an obsolete system that's probably the
>equivalent of a Pentium 120 Mhz. I mean, you can't store a lot of information in

I don't agree at all on points 2, 3, 5 and 6 (9 is irrelevant, because
Planescape doesn't seem to have that much of SPOKEN dialogue either,
due to CD-ROM capacity restrictions + amount of dialogue, something
that is a problem both in PSX and PC CD-ROM RPGs).

Ultima 7/Serpent Isle kind of game should run fine on PSX, and it
already offers many of those points. I think they are in Japanese RPGs
mainly because that is how Japanese RPG developers are accustomed to
doing RPGs. It is a similar reason why so many PC RPGs is set to
medieval world: most PC RPG makers seem to think that is the essence
of RPGs, when it clearly doesn't have to be.

>those little memory cards for the playstation, hence the lack of customization.

I think the memory cards have plenty of room for letting you decide
yourself what kind of party you have.

>It's amazing what Squaresoft was able to do with an old system like the
>Playstation.

Yes, yes, you have a point there. Then again, I wouldn't concentrate
on the graphical issues anyway, because it isn't like the best and
biggest PC RPGs like Fallout 1,2, Baldur's Gate, MM6-7 and Planescape
use any revolutionary graphics system either. Fallout's graphics
system doesn't look that different from years old 2D games like
Diablo, Crusader: No Remorse or Little Big Adventure.

>Comparing FF games to PC games is like saying the Nebraska
>Cornhuskers (a good college team) suck because they're not as talented as the
>Cincinatti Bengals (a horrible NFL team).

I would actually reverse that, if you count how much more MONEY they
poured into making FF8 (or FF7) compared to that measly amount of
money used in making Fallout or Planescape. Just shows that you don't
always have to use millions upon millions of dollars to make one
kickass RPG.


Jarno Kaarinen

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Feb 14, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/14/00
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"(re)flex" <ref...@mindspring.com> wrote:

>A Pentium 120? There isn't even that much parity- PSX has what, a 33mHz
>processor and 1MB of RAM? It's only real advantages are A)it has a 3D

It has much more than 1MB, more like 3 or so. And it doesn't have to
load Windows nor hardware drivers into memory either.

And comparing MHz of two different processor families is futile, they
can't be compared just like that. Especially (like you said) the other
one also has co-processors that do other tasks. I assume that P120
example didn't include any SB Live and GeForce 256 cards. :-)


Jarno Kaarinen

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Feb 14, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/14/00
to
John Ford. <sain...@hot.mail.com> wrote:

>>2) Not being able to see enemies before combat
>>3) Non-visual inventory system
>>4) Save points
>>5) Different look for world map vs. locales
>>6) Not being able to customize and advance your character to your style/liking
>>(role playing)
>

>These are just staples of the console RPG industry, which is derived
>from the same D&D legacy PC RPG's have been. I don't feel they are
>innate flaws so much as they are just trademarks of a different style.

I agree. Many of them are simply how Japanese RPG developers are
accustomed to doing these games.

>Computer RPG's have plenty of inexplicable little quirks as well.

For example over-usage of medieval settings.


Jarno Kaarinen

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Feb 14, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/14/00
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(sheesh, now I am starting to side with FF-people, but anyway I'd
comment:)

Brian H. <bh1...@my-deja.com> wrote:

>Fortunately, Black Isle only adopted the good points of Final Fantasy,
>and ditched the bad points from it, precisely:
>
>1. Random & tiresome & relentless & unpredictable monster bashing
>jumping from nowhere.

You must remember though that this is how many PC RPGs in the past
handleded it. Games like Wasteland and Dragon Wars (I think), Wizardy
7, Bard's Tale, Phantasie etc. I think console RPGs as a whole adopted
this way.

There are also many PC RPGs which let you see enemies before the
encounter, and I think they mostly owe this feature to Ultima series.

I can recall some console RPGs where you could see enemies beforehand
(Secret of Mana/Evermore? Not quite sure), but they were usually
action-RPGs with action combat.

>4. Exaggerated boss fighting with extremely long period of spell
>animations clashing on the screen for nearly an hour.

I think this is the case mostly with FF7 and FF8, not that much other
console RPGs. Xenogears also has some "spell" animations, but they
weren't that long as I recall. I agree Square went way overboard with
that sh*t in FF7 and FF8. Maybe it is some kind of Japanese inside
joke to make simple things excessively long and spectacular. Similar
to all cars in Hollywood movies blowing up upon crashes like
fireballs, or tires always screeching.


Kenny Smith

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Feb 14, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/14/00
to

Jarno Kaarinen wrote:

>
> Betrayal at Krondor, Ultima 7 and Serpent Isle. Aeris dies in FF7?
> Duh, so does Dupre in Serpent Isle.
>

Did we play the same games? U7 had a great storyline, but it was *far* from
being a personal story among your party members. The Avatar maybe, but not
the others. All the other party members had great background story when they
joined you, but never developed much after that point. A lot of cRPGs are
like that (BG, Fallout, etc) Serpent Isle had a few exceptions though, but
far from being in the same league as PST. That said, the ultima games have
great stories. It's just that they're usually very focused on the superhero
saving the world from evils... at least on the ones that I've played (U1 to
U8).

Betrayal of Krondor, though I've never played it, would probably have a good
story. It was written by famed Fantasy novelist Raymond E. Feist... not
exactly a typical occurence in CRPG industry.


>
> Huh? No they don't. In CRPGs it is also usually taken in turns.
>

You missed the point entirely. It wasn't about the spell system... but just
the graphics *effects* in FF games. Typical CRPGs don't spend 30-45 seconds
to focus & dramatize a single spell with cutscenes. If you still don't
believe me, read the "interview part I" with the PST designers and they
explain how they got that technique from Final Fantasy. There's a link from
www.planescape-torment.net's news section. Kenneth Lee said he wanted to
make spells in Planescape "more of a major event" like in FF7&8, not the
mundane spell systems found in all other CRPGs.

>
> What makes them juvenile is that they are too easy. Try Xenogears or
> FF8, there's no challenge to be found anywhere. Planescape, on the
> other hand, has lots of challenge.

What's your point? I never claimed FF games were superior to Planescape or
Ultimas or any other CRPGs. I said FF games were great games (but not great
RPGs). The difficulty has nothing to do with a game's quality (ever played
The Last Express by John Mechner?). I judge games by their enjoyment factor,
and the FF games were damn fun to play. Playing an FF game, to me, is more
like playing an adventure game with novice RPG overtones. FF games are
played for their intricate storyline & tongue-in-cheek humor, *not* for the
rolls you get from yet another 4D6 dice...


>
> to make the game as easy and rigid as those games. And also you should
> remember that Japanese console RPGs owe it to western RPGs anyway,
> because Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest were heavily influenced (read:
> carbon copies) of early Ultima titles.

So because Japanese RPGs were inspired by Western AD&D games in the '80s, it
makes it OK to summarily dismiss these console RPGs as badly-made moronic
child's play, & simultaneously taking inspiration from their creative
design? Makes perfect sense. Very fair. That's kinda like an ungrateful
dog biting the hand that feeds it.

Kenny Smith

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Feb 14, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/14/00
to

Jarno Kaarinen wrote:

>
> >those little memory cards for the playstation, hence the lack of customization.
>
> I think the memory cards have plenty of room for letting you decide
> yourself what kind of party you have.
>

What are you talking about?? You *can* customize your party in FF games. Who you're
with, what they're equipped with, and so forth. Have you played FF7 or FF8 at all?
Hell, the materia & junction systems for FF7 & FF8 are so convoluted that some critics
actually consider them as too complicated for the general public. As a veteran of
cRPGs from the '80s, I was still using FF8's Junction tutorial after some 20-hours of
gameplay. I'd say that the materia & junction system bring more customization to
arming single FF party than both Ultima7 and PS:T parties combined. In FF7&8, you
don't pick up magic weapons. You *customize* your weapons to give them magical
properties. There are literally thousands of combinations.

The problem with memory cards is the inability to customize the gameworld. Take a
look at how much memory a PST, U7, U9, or Fallout game takes up. Not even a fraction
of one saved game into a memory card, much less multiple saved games in one card.
Console games had to cut corners, so there's very little customization that happens
outside the party.

>
> I would actually reverse that, if you count how much more MONEY they
> poured into making FF8 (or FF7) compared to that measly amount of
> money used in making Fallout or Planescape. Just shows that you don't
> always have to use millions upon millions of dollars to make one
> kickass RPG.

You can spend $1 trillion dollars on developing a PSX game, but it still wouldn't
compare to a Pentium II 450mhz system with a 3D card. But I digress... the point is,
you've got no business comparing graphics & sound from a $99 console system designed
in 1994, to a $1500 computer system from 1997-2000.

Eric Ashcroft aka The Ancient One

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Feb 14, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/14/00
to
On Sat, 12 Feb 2000 18:31:56 -0600, Kenny Smith <ksm...@nospam.com>
wrote:

excellent post. that愀 why i liked PS:T so much :-)

.. no really... i didn愒 realize the many similarities... and i like
PS:T as well as the FF games.. no wonder :)

Eric Ashcroft aka The Ancient One
The Ancient One愀 Wallpaper Site
http://rover.wiesbaden.netsurf.de/~ancient/
--------
Iron walls and chains surround us
Yet we are proud and free
Nothing kills the ties that bind us
I惻l meet you at the Gate Of Kings...
- David DeFeis


Eric Ashcroft aka The Ancient One

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Feb 14, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/14/00
to
On Sun, 13 Feb 2000 01:14:28 GMT, Jason McCullough
<blort...@ou.edu> wrote:


please don“t start another "DIABLO is no RPG", "FF8 is no RPG" thread.
this has been discussed 100 times.

Eric Ashcroft aka The Ancient One

The Ancient One“s Wallpaper Site


http://rover.wiesbaden.netsurf.de/~ancient/
--------
Iron walls and chains surround us
Yet we are proud and free
Nothing kills the ties that bind us

I“ll meet you at the Gate Of Kings...
- David DeFeis


Eric Ashcroft aka The Ancient One

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Feb 14, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/14/00
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LOL

Eric

Jarno Kaarinen

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Feb 14, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/14/00
to
Kenny Smith <KSm...@nospam.com> wrote:

>Jarno Kaarinen wrote:
>
>> Betrayal at Krondor, Ultima 7 and Serpent Isle. Aeris dies in FF7?
>> Duh, so does Dupre in Serpent Isle.
>
>Did we play the same games? U7 had a great storyline, but it was *far* from
>being a personal story among your party members. The Avatar maybe, but not
>the others. All the other party members had great background story when they
>joined you, but never developed much after that point. A lot of cRPGs are

Then we apparently didn't play the same games. I recall for example
this certain ghost in Serpent Isle which was the wife of one of the
party members.

>> What makes them juvenile is that they are too easy. Try Xenogears or
>> FF8, there's no challenge to be found anywhere. Planescape, on the
>> other hand, has lots of challenge.
>
>What's your point?

Explaining why some may still find FF games juvenile but not PST.


Jochen Heistermann

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Feb 14, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/14/00
to

Silke (Snowball) schrieb in Nachricht
<38a60f0a$0$23...@motown.iinet.net.au>...
>You have got to be kidding! The plot may be linear, but there are dozens of
>side quests, which have been given much thought, especially in 7. In fact,
I
>would consider there is much more freedom in FF7 than PST, however, they
are
>both two of my favorite RPGs of all time.
>
Both games have a linear plot with LOTS of side quests. Nevertheless FF7
felt
more free for me, I just walked around and had fun for some time.

The main difference is that I played FF7 with my 6 year old daughter and she
is
afraid of the PT figures (ghosts, zombies) - she likes things that are
"beautiful".

Jochen

Steve Kostoff

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Feb 14, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/14/00
to

Kenny Smith wrote in message <38A6CA82...@nospam.com>...
>Let me guess... you've never played a single Final Fantasy game in its
>entirety, have you? Maybe read a few things about it, or played a couple
of
>hours? Your post feels like a typical response from somebody like that.
>
>Your sarcasm is humorous, but severely misguided. There's very little
actual
>content in your otherwise long post. Don't criticize anything you know very
>little about (my post, or the Final Fantasy series) unless you can support
it
>with solid arguments.


Misguided sarcasm? I think his point was to lampoon your originial post,
which he achieved.

> The Final Fantasy games are great games, but not *great* rpgs by the
standard
>definition of rpgs. In fact, it's probably closer to an Adventure game
>running an RPG engine. I seem to recall Planescape:Torment being described
by
>many reviewers in a very similar (though more favorable) way.


Actually, that was one reviewer, and he's a weenie.

Steve Kostoff

(re)flex

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Feb 14, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/14/00
to

Jarno Kaarinen wrote in message ...

>It has much more than 1MB, more like 3 or so. And it doesn't have to
>load Windows nor hardware drivers into memory either.


True on the latter point (It is listed as having 256K of OS ROM). However,
I'm pretty certain that it only has 1MB of RAM, because I remember when it
and the Saturn came out and the two were compared, the Saturn had slightly
more RAM (but a lower clock speed on its CPU-26mHz, although it had two CPUs
running in parallel). However, I'm not counting the additional RAM on the
Sound card and on the Graphics card.


Kenny Smith

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Feb 14, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/14/00
to

William wrote:

>
> For that matter, the Japanese didn't invent love triangles either. It's
> a real stretch to say that this aspect of Torment was inspired by the
> FF series. There are other points that are much better examples.
>
>

True, but how many times do you see a love triangle (anime or not anime)
that involves a semi-amnesiac hero, a spunky fist-fighting party member,
and a lady-like party healer? Once every 693,000 love triangles? Oh wait,
it's Twice every 693,000 love triangles, because there's Torment & FF7.
Quite a coincidence, huh?

Kenny Smith

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Feb 14, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/14/00
to

Steve Kostoff wrote:

>
> Misguided sarcasm? I think his point was to lampoon your originial post,
> which he achieved.
>
>

Patrick Mcginley's sarcastic post was a reply to firebird's message, not mine.
He was lampooning the fact that firebird said "Annah & Tifa are both
fist-fighters", and that "Aeris & FFGrace are both healers". To somebody who
never played FF7 (such as yourself, perhaps?), these comparisons seem like quite
a stretch.

If you've played FF7, then you notice that the hero Cloud tries to recover his
past through flashbacks & a merging to 3 versions of himself, all the while
having the option of choosing a romantic interest between a fist-fighting spunky
girl Tifa or the lady-like healer Aeris. Now, subsitute the names PST, NMO,
Annah, and Grace for the names FF7, Cloud, Tifa, Aeris and this entire paragraph
would still be 100% true. How often do you see an amnesiac hero with a choice
of romantic interests between the lady-like party healer & a fist fighting
spunky party member? Twice for every 821 RPGs? This was the "coincidence" that
Patrick Mcginley was lampooning in his post because he didn't know all the
facts. I'd call that misguided.

Frankly, I don't see why *you* refuse to see FF7 & FF8's influences on PST.
Denial, perhaps? Not willing to admit a great AD&D game actually borrows a few
ideas from a console game? The PST designers already give credit where it's due
(both in interviews & in the PST manual)... what more would it take?
Admittedly, a few of the similarities are quite a stretch, but too many
"coincidences" (along with PST designers' statements) make up a pattern. I'd
say the similarities are a sign of FF's influence.

Steve Kostoff

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Feb 14, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/14/00
to

Kenny Smith <KSm...@nospam.com> wrote in message
news:38A8B300...@nospam.com...
> Most of the people that found the original post interesting have played
through
> both FF7 and Planescape:Torment (an inference based on the factual content
of
> their responses). On the other hand, I find it amusing that most the
people
> that mocked my post never played through FF7. Valid negative criticisms
of my
> post (& there was one), I would welcome. Uninformed criticisms like
yours, I
> would not.
>
> You see, when a person has actually played through both games before
comparing
> them, they make better & unbiased comparisons! Whoa, a shocking
revelation,
> indeed. A very novel and intriguing concept, huh? You can learn this
useful
> concept, and many others like it, by reading a helpful book called "Common
> Sense" at your local public library.

So... where did you read that I never played FF7? Eh?

Steve Kostoff

Jonathan K. Lee

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Feb 14, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/14/00
to

I would like to point out that all the similarities (whether they are
coincidences or not), are trivial. They hardly make a game or break a game.
To say because Lim-Lims are similar to moogles is like saying "I like toast."
-- So what? and who cares?

> >--Storyline. (possible minor spoilers). In both FF7 & Planescape, we
> >have heroes that slowly discover their past through mysterious
> >flashbacks. There's even a scene in both games where the hero meets 3
> >versions of himself, each representing a different side to his psyche.
> >Then there's the possible merging of the 3 parts to create a whole.
> >There's also the romantic aspect of the story. In both FF7 &
> >Planescape, the player controls the hero's romantic involvement with
> >either the brash, spunky girl (Annah, Tifa) or the pristine, lady-like
> >woman (FF-Grace, Aeris). Then there's also the part in FF8 & Planescape
> >where the hero (NMO, Squall) slowly discover that most of the companions
> >he picked up have a forgotten history/relationship with him.

The planescape amesia story does not come from FF7. Here is a quote from RPG
Vault Planescape: Torment Special Report, Part 1:

“On the Nameless One and his whole series of problems, there are two
influences that made him who he was,” says Chris Avellone when asked how the
character came to be. “The biggest one was Roger Zelazny, who is the king of
amnesiac characters coming into their own in a strange new world, which I’ve
thought is one of the best ways to introduce a game or a book - the player
and the character start on the same page. The second influence was this space
campaign I was working on in college and never got around to running, though
I did a lot of preparation work for it. All the characters started out in a
derelict space ship, waking up from their bunks with no idea who they were or
what they were doing there - and over the course of the campaign - it was
only going to be three to five nights - they would have to research
themselves on the ship’s computers, their medical records, and basically try
to puzzle out who they are, what they’re doing there, and why they are the
only survivors in the vessel.”

As for the coincidence with the resurfacing memories? Here's another thing
from the same article:

“To stay true to the genre, we also had to show the actual physical and
political nature of Planescape itself,” states Avellone, “including the
geography of the planes and the factions and power struggles between the
various philosophies. The greatest challenge became communicating this huge
amount of information to the player; unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to
convey the full scope of Planescape to a new player - and to assume he’s
supposed to start the game knowing everything about Planescape is too much to
expect.”

“We kicked around some ideas, and finally came to the conclusion that it
would make the game experience stronger if the player and the player
character explored the world *together* - the player and his character would
be starting on the same page, and both of them would slowly learn about the
strange new world they’d found themselves in,” he declares. “To reinforce the
bond, we gave the player character no memories at all, and no knowledge of
the Planescape setting.”

> I hope people
> >remember this the next time somebody foolishly dismisses Final Fantasy
> >as just another juvenile "console" game.

Just because two games have some similarities, or common background doesn't
equate to a good game. For example, the writing in FF8 was not very good.
The transition from disc 2 - disc 3 did not work at all. All of a sudden,
Squall loves Rinoa? You could act like the asshole the entire tiime, but all
of a sudden, you can't be w/o her? How about time compression? What? Why?
When? Who? How? I don't think the game seriously answers those questions.
What about the orphanage? That was a killer. Where did they pull that one
out of?

Now, I don't think the FF titles are bad games. They certainly aren't what
some people equate them to be.


Brian H.

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Feb 15, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/15/00
to
(*snip*)

>
> You must remember though that this is how many PC RPGs in the past
> handleded it. Games like Wasteland and Dragon Wars (I think), Wizardy
> 7, Bard's Tale, Phantasie etc. I think console RPGs as a whole adopted
> this way.
>
> There are also many PC RPGs which let you see enemies before the
> encounter, and I think they mostly owe this feature to Ultima series.
>
> I can recall some console RPGs where you could see enemies beforehand
> (Secret of Mana/Evermore? Not quite sure), but they were usually
> action-RPGs with action combat.
>

Hey, I mentioned only FF in my post. Why did you bring up all these old
stuff? And somehow your points only show that what a cliche of the FF
series is. There are almost no western contemporary CRPGs utilize such
combat scheme anymore. However, those Japanese CRPGs still stick with
such combat scheme. And to me, they are disgusting.

>
> I think this is the case mostly with FF7 and FF8, not that much other
> console RPGs. Xenogears also has some "spell" animations, but they
> weren't that long as I recall. I agree Square went way overboard with
> that sh*t in FF7 and FF8. Maybe it is some kind of Japanese inside
> joke to make simple things excessively long and spectacular. Similar
> to all cars in Hollywood movies blowing up upon crashes like
> fireballs, or tires always screeching.
>
>

I wouldn't care about FF. I wouldn't care about any of those Jap
CRPGs. I would try them if I feel good at them but so far I find none
of them appeal to me. I care only the design teams behind PS:T. I'm
afraid that they will bring up those nasty designs from FF in the
future versions of the RPGs they create. PS:T adopted good points from
FF and it's good. And better still, they ditched the worst things from
FF and didn't bring them to PS:T. I hope they'll keep doing this.

--
Brian.

Human beings can send to bh1234...@nospam.please.ctimail.com.
Spammers can send to bh1...@my-deja.com because I never use it.

L.J. Wischik

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Feb 15, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/15/00
to
Kenny Smith <KSm...@nospam.com> wrote:
>True, but how many times do you see a love triangle (anime or not anime)
>that involves a semi-amnesiac hero, a spunky fist-fighting party member,
>and a lady-like party healer? Once every 693,000 love triangles? Oh wait,
>it's Twice every 693,000 love triangles, because there's Torment & FF7.

Once you've gone down the semi-amnesiac route (a common one, despite what
you suggest), and once you've set it within a D&D setting, then I'd say
once every 10.

--
Lucian Wischik, Queens' College, Cambridge CB3 9ET. www.wischik.com/lu

K. Laisathit

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Feb 15, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/15/00
to
In article <38A5FB7B...@nospam.com>,
Kenny Smith <ksm...@nospam.com> wrote:
>A lot of people probably don't realize just how much influence Final
>Fantasy has had on the design of Planescape:Torment.
[snip]
>the "Thank You" section of the Planescape manual). I hope people

>remember this the next time somebody foolishly dismisses Final Fantasy
>as just another juvenile "console" game.

So, you're saying that because PST is such a great game and
it does trace certain part of its origin to FF, FF is
automatically a great game?

I'm not arguing that there is no similarity between PST and
FF. Heck, I'm not blind. I read the manual and I know that
one of the designers credits FF for the inspiration. But that
doesn't make FF a better game in my eyes.

The biggest sore point of FF has nothing to do with linearity,
but an utter lack of volition. You go through the mindless
motion of killing mobs on the way to the next boss and the next.
Until you reach the end. You don't even need to think. Yeah,
writing and presentation can be evocative. But the point is
that there is only one way to play the game.

Squall (or whatizhisname) in the latest FF8 is supposed to
be a self-centered hardass bastard. But what do I do if I
don't want to be that bastard? What PST did was giving me
a game where I can be what I choose my avatar to be. True,
there isn't much causality and choices when it comes to
story line. But along the way, I can choose to do a great
many things. Most important of all, I get to choose how I
treat my companion. Just think about the decision you have
to make at the Pillar of Skull.

Do I thrust Morte despite his protest back into the pillar
to get what I want? Do I sacrifice myself to achieve the
same objective? Do I betray Fjull after all his help, even
if his help is coerced out of him instead of given freely?
Just about everyone stops and stares at all the unpalatable
choices and arrives at a decision. Granted, somehow or rather,
you'll get through PoS. But what matters more is how not what.

In the console type game, you don't get to choose how and
that's what bugs me. If you want to tell a good story, you
can't really avoid linearity. It's hard enough to write
a single good story, let alone a good story that has many
branching paths. We accept it, but that doesn't mean we
have to be deprived of all volition when we play the game.
Without volition, I might as well be watching a rent movie.

Later...

Peter Seebach

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Feb 15, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/15/00
to
In article <38A6CA82...@nospam.com>,

Kenny Smith <KSm...@nospam.com> wrote:
>Let me guess... you've never played a single Final Fantasy game in its
>entirety, have you? Maybe read a few things about it, or played a couple of
>hours? Your post feels like a typical response from somebody like that.

I've never been able to stand them long enough. I made it a fair ways through
one of the SNES ones. FF7, I got out of the city and was too tired to
continue.

-s
--
Copyright 2000, All rights reserved. Peter Seebach / se...@plethora.net
C/Unix wizard, Pro-commerce radical, Spam fighter. Boycott Spamazon!
Consulting & Computers: http://www.plethora.net/
Get paid to surf! No spam. http://www.alladvantage.com/go.asp?refid=GZX636

Peter Seebach

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Feb 15, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/15/00
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In article <9o0dasgsij03d8npk...@4ax.com>,

John Ford. <sain...@hot.mail.com> wrote:
>On Sun, 13 Feb 2000 01:14:28 GMT, Jason McCullough
><blort...@ou.edu> wrote:
>
>>The Final Fantasy *series* is good. Final Fantasy VII, and from all
>>reports VIII, however, are straight-line adventure game crap. They
>>aren't RPGs.
>
>Yeah, you're right. All that 40-hours of combat I struggled through
>plus another dozen or so hours of item collecting to beat those Weapon
>guys was actually an elaborate hallucination. My friends tell me I was
>actually just clicking the circle button to read signposts for several
>days.

Did it affect the plot?

Not really.

William

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Feb 15, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/15/00
to
In article <88adap$4j2$1...@nntp6.u.washington.edu>,

kir...@u.washington.edu (K. Laisathit) wrote:
> In article <38A5FB7B...@nospam.com>,
> Kenny Smith <ksm...@nospam.com> wrote:

(snip)

> In the console type game, you don't get to choose how and
> that's what bugs me. If you want to tell a good story, you
> can't really avoid linearity. It's hard enough to write
> a single good story, let alone a good story that has many
> branching paths. We accept it, but that doesn't mean we
> have to be deprived of all volition when we play the game.
> Without volition, I might as well be watching a rent movie.

That's a very good point, and IMO the biggest flaw of the FF series. I
recall reading a review of the PC version of FF8 and it said
(paraphrased) "You can't help but get the feeling that this game would
be a lot better if you could just watch it instead of playing it." When
I played FF7&8, I had the distinct feeling that I was just watching and
not playing. The only thing I really seemed to have any control over
was the battles.

But, I think that a lot of PC CRPGs have the same problem, it just
isn't as obvious because there isn't as much character development. The
FF games have tons of character development, it's just that the player
doesn't have any control over any of it. Many PC games have little or
no character development, such as the Wizardry series, the M&M series,
or BG (BG was a bit better in that department than Wizardry or M&M, but
it still had very little character development). PS:T is really a first
for a PC game in the characterization department.

So far the choice has been between PC games, with no character
development at all, and console games, with character development the
player doesn't control. Hopefully we'll see more games like Torment so
that these won't be the only choices out there anymore.

John Ford.

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Feb 15, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/15/00
to
On Mon, 14 Feb 2000 22:32:20 -0800, "Jonathan K. Lee"
<jk...@uclink4.berkeley.edu> wrote:


>The planescape amesia story does not come from FF7. Here is a quote from RPG
>Vault Planescape: Torment Special Report, Part 1:

[SNIP]

Very insightful, but surely you realize that an author's stated
motivations for something are very often not the only motivations.
Granted, amnesia is a VERY common plot gimmick in videogames (perhaps
too common) but the fact that Chris Avellone explains his primary
reasoning behind the script does not eliminate the possibility he was
influenced by something else. Sometimes influences show up in a work
almost without the artists' awareness.

The similarities between The Nameless One and Cloud from FF7 are not
insignificant. Nobody wants to detract from Planescape: Torment or
insinuate that it's some kind of talentless knock-off. I personally
believe it handled the plot twists it shared with FF7 better than FF7
did.

Perhaps Chris himself could elaborate on this...?

>All of a sudden,
>Squall loves Rinoa? You could act like the asshole the entire tiime, but all
>of a sudden, you can't be w/o her? How about time compression? What? Why?
>When? Who? How? I don't think the game seriously answers those questions.
>What about the orphanage? That was a killer. Where did they pull that one
>out of?

I could go on at length about this, but I'll settle for a general
statement. Every plot element in FF8 is developed before it occurs,
and most of the time it is foreshadowed in multiple places. There is a
lot of background information that you will not understand by simply
running through the game on automatic pilot. You have to dig a bit
deeper to find out everything.

Whether this is a good technique or not I cannot decide.

>Now, I don't think the FF titles are bad games. They certainly aren't what
>some people equate them to be.

Until Torment, they are the best examples of a scripted, linear
plotline in a role-playing game.

Led Mirage

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Feb 15, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/15/00
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On Mon, 14 Feb 2000 19:59:28 -0600, Kenny Smith <KSm...@nospam.com>
wrote:

>Most of the people that found the original post interesting have played through
>both FF7 and Planescape:Torment (an inference based on the factual content of
>their responses). On the other hand, I find it amusing that most the people
>that mocked my post never played through FF7. Valid negative criticisms of my
>post (& there was one), I would welcome. Uninformed criticisms like yours, I
>would not.
>
>You see, when a person has actually played through both games before comparing
>them, they make better & unbiased comparisons! Whoa, a shocking revelation,
>indeed. A very novel and intriguing concept, huh? You can learn this useful
>concept, and many others like it, by reading a helpful book called "Common
>Sense" at your local public library.

I think what Steve was trying to say is that this kind of thing
happens all the time. *It's no big deal*. Akira Kurusugawa made films
based on Shakespeare's plays. Hollywood filmmakers in turn made movies
based on Kurusugawa's movies. It's not such a big deal, really. And no
need to get defensive about it, either.