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Monday, January 14, 2002
 

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Shadowbane Party Postmortem
9:10 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Last month we reported on a Shadowbane party going down January 12, last Saturday. It was held in Wolfpack Studios' home town of Austin, Texas, and gave some excited fans of the game a first look. One such fan, Tony Belding, was able to write up his experiences at the event. It seems that while it was massively overcrowded, getting to see Shadowbane in person did clear up a number of his reservations with the game as well as make the trip worthwhile. Here are two excerpts from his write-up:

WP's design team had to strike a balance between keeping the game simple and giving the players a lot of control over their cities. They decided to come down on the side of more control rather than simplicity. For example... When you hire guards, you can set them at sentry positions in the city, or you can even specify patrol routes: from point A to point B to point C and so forth. That is detailed control! I approve of this philosophy. After all, we are talking about the advanced part of the game here—the part you won't even reach until you've been playing for months, so of course it should be deep and involving. This will indeed be fun for the same kind of people who enjoy Civilization. I'm not sure that L33T D3WDZ will have the patience for it. (OK, let's say I hope they won't.)

Once the character was created and got into the game, I got a look at the user interface. To me, this was the most interesting part of the demonstration. In fact, it works pretty similar to Summoner—an RPG that I already have on my Mac. For example, moving the mouse pointer to the edges of the screen causes the viewpoint to rotate around your character, so you can view him from different directions. But SB is more flexible than Summoner: you can also change the camera's altitude, not just its azimuth, and you can zoom out further than in Summoner. What about first-person view? There isn't any right now. WP has had a ton of requests for it, and they might add it. I'm one who's been hoping for first-person view because I think it creates a more immersive you-are-there feeling, but after seeing the demo I changed my mind. I loved the wide view that SB gives with the current camera system, I think it will be a lot more practical than first-person.

Check out the rest of Belding's story for the rest of his impressions with Shadowbane so far. Though Wolfpack is excruciatingly tight with information, we expect to see another beta round in the near future as the game progresses towards completion later this year.

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