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Thursday, April 30, 2009
Spiderweb: Fear Of Change, Facebook Page
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Spiderweb Software's Jeff Vogel has updated his Bottom Feeder blog with a new discussion of change, specifically negative fan reaction to changes he has made to his games over the years. Spiderweb has also encouraged fans to visit the company's Facebook page, which will offer news about current and upcoming titles as well as updates to Vogel's blog.

Here are some hugely beneficial (and profitable) changes I made which earned me fury and lost customers.

Switch From A Flat View to a 3-D Isometric View - My first games were completely flat, as seen in the first illustration. I switched to a far, far nicer pseudo 3-D isometric view in 1998. It looks better, and it enables me to do more things with the game. (Like elevations.) But, over a decade later, I STILL get complaints about it. Lost souls, out in the wilderness, wanting me to return to a design I got completely fed up with in a previous century.
Switch From Hand-Drawn To Rendered Graphics - Oh, wow. There are a lot of people still angry about this change, made in Avernum 4 in 2005. My old graphics were hand-drawn instead of rendered, which made any sort of animation extremely painstaking and expensive. Using 3-D models to render creatures and terrain enables me to have a wider variety of much nicer icons without crushing my budget. But it changed the look of the games that people were used to, and a lot of customers never forgave me for it.
Removing the Need to Identify Magic Items - A smaller but highly instructive example. Once, when you got a magic item in one of my RPGs, you had to take it to a sage to get it identified. This was busy work, confused new players, diluted the excitement of collecting lewtz, and just wasn't fun. Dropping it was a total no-brainer. And yet people complained. Why? Oh, why?
Removed the Need to Carry Around Ammunition For Bows - This is a recent change, part of my desire to eliminate busywork. When you shoot a bow, you just shoot it. You don't need to shop for arrows. I can see why this would break immersion for people, but it seems a neutral change at worst. Not worth the angry complaints I've gotten.
Visit the links below to read the rest of the blog post and check out the Facebook page.

The Bottom Feeder: Why Nobody Should Ever Change Anything, Ever.
Facebook: Spiderweb Software
Spiderweb Software

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