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Stonekeep
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Aldeb
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2014 10:04 am     Post subject: Stonekeep Reply with quote

I'd like people to talk about Stonekeep (1996), a dungeon crawler game. What do you think, like and dislike about it?

I started the game for the first time about a week ago. The interface is tolerable, but damn difficult to master. You can get over some things with hotkeys (eg: page up/down to quickly scroll through your inventory, TAB to display the auto-map). Some of the things I really don't enjoy is the fact that there aren't any real ingame stats, so you can't know which weapon does what damage. You don't know which weapon weighs more or has more reach, thereby not allowing you to calculate stat building very well (stats are raised according to weapon usage). The game also uses rigid Myst-like movement controls. It's not half bad, but the levels are incredibly unremarkable (same looking). there are not enough landmarks, and you find yourself checking the map much too often

I found the game darn difficult the first time I played. It's really brutal with the limited weapons you get. I found it very strange that they've placed a super secret weapon in the first ten seconds of gameplay (where you can find a very strong dagger, making the game substantially easier for the first three or so levels).

I eventually went and bought the strategy guide for the game. The maps and walkthroughs are great, and the monster/weapon stats are extremely useful. either way, tell me what YOU think about the game



Last edited by Aldeb on Mon Dec 01, 2014 4:11 pm; edited 3 times in total
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tienkhoanguyen
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2014 11:42 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

I am curious, is this game Stonekeep for real? The graphics looks too good for DOS? I've never seen DOS to be that lifelike before personally.

I can see DOS being pixelated however this is pretty good graphics if it is indeed on DOS!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Aldeb
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2014 12:06 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, it's Dos. The graphics are OK-ish. The game uses 2D sprites, making the game look better in 2D shots.

I believe many of the monsters/characters were filmed in a studio, like the dwarf seen above. the game uses FMV
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MrFlibble
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2014 12:20 pm     Post subject: Re: Stonekeep Reply with quote

I never played it, but Interplay released a large interactive demo, which can be found on some magazine cover CDs. Maybe I should check it out if I find it.

Aldeb wrote:
I found it very strange that they've placed a super secret weapon in the first ten seconds of gameplay (where you can find a very strong dagger, making the game substantially easier for the first three or so levels).

Well, in Daggerfall you can also get a powerful dagger right during character creation, and it also helps a lot in the initial stages of play.
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Aldeb
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2014 2:08 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

Indeed. Once you get past the quirky interface and learn some of the hotkeys and get into the story, the game actually becomes fun. The b-movie FMVs are sort of funny. The sound/music are both fantastic!

I found the dagger thing strange because... on one hand it makes the game initially easy, which is perfect for amateur players. On the other hand, it's a sort of secret that amateurs will almost certainly overlook
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MrFlibble
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2014 2:27 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

Is it an Offscreen Start Bonus type of secret?
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tienkhoanguyen
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2014 2:29 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

There was once this game I am not sure what the name of it is. However there were two daggers. In the beginning you had to use them since the stranger is identified as an enemy. However towards the end of the game you win since you found out the by not using the dagger you realize much later in the end that the strange is an ally! I thought the game is hard however I never got to complete it. I do not know the name of the game.
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tienkhoanguyen
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2014 2:37 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

MrFlibble wrote:
Is it an Offscreen Start Bonus type of secret?


The funny thing is in Pac-TRON, I made the game skip the entire first game all together ONLY IF you have the SONY PSone gamepad with the USB adapter. If you push the right button it skips to a remake of Space-Invaders.

Of course, it should also work with the "cheap" Sabrent button. However, it is not tested on the Sabrent so you might have to experiment!
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Quadko
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2014 3:29 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

I loved Stonekeep back in the day, and pulled it out and "finished" it with walkthrough help in the middle past. I've fiddled with it from Gog.com, but nothing too serious since.

The game was in development so long that it has some interesting characteristics of being klunky old-school with some nicely polished parts. And the digitized actors are often great, if somewhat mixed quality graphically.

My understanding on the "good" dagger is: the first time through "you'll never find it", but later playthroughs (and testing) it helps blow by the starter levels with little trouble. Funny thing is I never found it, even with walkthrough help. IIRC, if you do something "wrong" on the first level it hides itself so it is harder to blunder into the first game you play when you're just exploring. YMMV.

They were aiming for a super high quality Might & Magic / Wizardry game with "real digitized actors" and interesting additions like "wall sliding" and "a real plot" to reduce the purely stats based gameplay of earlier games. They did a pretty good job, but got delayed so badly that it wasn't as shiny and new when it got released. And possibly (if I recall the timing) actual 3D dungeon crawlers like Ultima Underworld & Arena & Daggerfall were released and stepping all over their "new snazzy technology".

But no game has done better than the fairy players level. That's worth the whole game right there.
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Aldeb
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2014 4:09 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

MrFlibble wrote:
Is it an Offscreen Start Bonus type of secret?


Hmm, sort of, yes. On an overhead map, the secret is to the right of where the player is facing when he starts the game.
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Aldeb
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2014 1:55 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe someone here could enlighten me.

Is this game 3D / 2.5D at all? I originally thought the game world used a 2.5D engine, but... the world looks sort of pre-rendered, using 3D clips to shift from one screen to another

it's an oddly convincing illusion. what's this visual technique even called? thanks
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2014 2:19 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

Aldeb wrote:
Maybe someone here could enlighten me.

Is this game 3D / 2.5D at all? I originally thought the game world used a 2.5D engine, but... the world looks sort of pre-rendered, using 3D clips to shift from one screen to another

it's an oddly convincing illusion. what's this visual technique even called? thanks


There are a few "secret tricks of the trade" haha

Well, I am a brand new developer however shifting between screens...
..... you can:

Use saved images and toggle the new screen when needed.
Many games "probably" use something like what Quake does.
I read Quake uses a pre-rendered screen to make the sky look scrolling.
However, please do not quote me since I do not know their techniques.

I can tell you that I use a pre-determined graphics set.

Once it reaches the end it will "wrap around" and start all over again.

So if you are moving in a 3D screen and panning right.

The screen keeps moving and when you turn 360 you are back to one..
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MrFlibble
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2014 3:21 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

Aldeb wrote:
Is this game 3D / 2.5D at all? I originally thought the game world used a 2.5D engine, but... the world looks sort of pre-rendered, using 3D clips to shift from one screen to another

I've checked a gameplay video, and it seems to use the RPG standard grid-based movement, but with animated transitions between screens. Something like the recent Legend of Grimrock does (but it renders the movement animation in real time of course).
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Quadko
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2014 5:34 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

Completely prerendered, no 3d at all, just really good tricks(tm). Same stuff as old might and magic or wizardry games with more polish and fake-3d tech, and with animation frames and integrated FMV. Grid based tile movement as MrFlibble says, and no ability to look around.

But I agree, the FMV, digitized art, and other tricks do give it somewhat of a 2.5D doom-like sprite look.

And modern Legend of Grimrock shows the same gameplay and interface style but in a real modern 3D rendering engine.

The three "best" oldtech RPG of this style are Stonekeep, Might & Magic Xeen, and probably Wizardry Dark Savant. After these this type of game all converted to Doom/Quake 3D engine variants, building on the success of Ultima Underworld and The Elder Scrolls. (I might be forgetting a good one or two in there.)

"And the blight of bad 3D descended upon all the land, and there was but sorrow and woe."

Until 3D engines finally have gotten good enough to support "pretty" art again, and we get everthing from retro Grimrock to the latest Elder Scrolls. But things were grim there for years, and that's why the best RPGs from these in-between years are "tabletop" isometric style games like Baulder's Gate. I think it was really Oblivion that got first person style RPGs back on track; the 3D engine polycount just wasn't good enough to compete with isometric art engines until then.
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Aldeb
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2014 7:35 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent! Thanks for all the great info.
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DOS Wolf
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 1:55 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

Quadko wrote:


"And the blight of bad 3D descended upon all the land, and there was but sorrow and woe."

Until 3D engines finally have gotten good enough to support "pretty" art again, and we get everthing from retro Grimrock to the latest Elder Scrolls. But things were grim there for years, and that's why the best RPGs from these in-between years are "tabletop" isometric style games like Baulder's Gate. I think it was really Oblivion that got first person style RPGs back on track; the 3D engine polycount just wasn't good enough to compete with isometric art engines until then.


"Sorrow and woe" was hilarious. I remember when live action (I forget the actual term, FMV perhaps...) of people either in the video games themselves or at least in the intros were all the rage. The original Warhawk, Crazy Ivan, Night Trap and the famous Resident Evil 1 come to mind. However when done right and not so cheesy, the Wing Commander series was awesome. The game play sucked in my opinion, but the live action/actors scenes were great.

But when you said Oblivion, did you mean from The Elder Scrolls series or a different game? I thought Morrowind was decent. Sadly (I think... Confuzzled ) I never got to play Stonekeep.
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Quadko
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 3:26 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, TES: Oblivion. I liked Morrowind, too, but I'd say it's on the cusp of looking really great comparing the range of, say, the original Quake to something modern. Oblivion was still very "wow", but now Skyrim and Uncharted and lots of other games are just "yes, practically photorealistic, so what? All games are like that." Morrowind, great game, but still obviously polycount restrained, I think. If I recall correctly! Happy

I really liked the Command & Conquer 3 "with real actors(tm)!" intro, was a fun retro nod:

http://www.mobygames.com/game/windows/command-conquer-red-alert-3-premier-edition/screenshots/gameShotId,337026/
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DOS Wolf
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 11:02 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

Command & Conquer has some hot women on them. Laughing

I remember one of the most beautiful events in my gaming was Far Cry on the original XBOX. It was when you were on top of a high point, a mountain or a waterfall, something like that. You handglided all the way to the bottom passing through gullies, waterfalls and forests with the sun shining as I recall. It has been a while and I know for a fact a gaming PC would have looked even better, but in all honesty it was still great visuals.

And every part of Shenmue on SEGA Dreamcast was good in my opinion. Not only the graphics, but how the game world and people responded to you and the weather, the changing of seasons, etc.
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Quadko
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2014 11:31 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

That's awesome. I came to FarCry late with 3, but it's fantastic. I want to play 1 & 2 sometime; they are pushed onto the stack of shame, so it's only about time.

I forgot about Shenmue. I played a friend's copy a bit; it was very impressive. Cool! I wonder if it stands up?

Naughty Dog really impressed me with the whole Uncharted series, and I want to try The Last of Us just on their reputation and good reviews. Of course, their old Jak and Daxter series was fun. Time, time, time. All about the time. And energy. Happy
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Aldeb
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2014 12:27 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

Far Cry 1 and 2 were quite terrible... well, maybe not terrible, but i'd doubt you'd enjoy any for more than 3-4 days.

The 1st was essentially a glorified tech demo with some great looking visuals and a terrific open ended tropical island environment (it doesn't support quick saving btw, even on the PC, and uses checkpoints in linear levels). The second one was more open ended but had this stupid system where enemies would respawn all over the map at specific checkpoints. To get to mission A or B you would need to constantly battle through these points = pointless busy work to prolong shallow gameplay
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