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ApexMods

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  1. Well, seeing that nobody else seems to be interested in this feature, I just post a little overview for today's stats (2008/12/29) right here, just for myself. ;)

    GR4: 25 Topics - 349 Replies

    GRAW2: 3,545 Topics - 37,784 Replies

    GRAW1: 6,654 Topics - 74,982 Replies

    GR2: 953 Topics - 13,721 Replies

    Ghost Recon: 14,212 Topics - 133,805 Replies

    Other Gaming: 3.763 Topics - 34,617 Replies

    Yes I know, Ghost Recon is the longest running category here, but still it is quite impressive that there is more total activity on the board for this one game alone than there is for its "sequels" and all other games combined.

  2. Yes, CR6, I was aware of that Wired article and the EuroGamer interview, and I have to admit that pretty much everything said during the live chat looks very grin... err... grim, indeed. But I also think the assertions made by Phil Terien are no de facto representation of Ubisoft's corporate strategy, let alone a spot-on forecast of its future decisions. Mr. Terien is first and foremost a game designer and his statements on subjects beyond his area of expertise or interest should probably be taken with a grain of salt, as he points out himself during the interview.

    Moderator: [...] Phil [...] has worked in the film industry on special effects and props, and has experience in game development ranging from architecture designer to level designer and game designer. He's worked on the likes of Uru Ages Beyond Myst, The Matrix Online, Naruto Rise of a Ninja and Rainbow Sixes Black Arrow, Lockdown, Vegas and of course Vegas 2. So Phil, what specifically do you do on Vegas 2?

    Phil Therien: My job title is Game Designer. It means that I handle concepts, game mechanics, scenarios, characters, weapons and I followup on all these things while we are in production. [...]

    crestedzulu asks: What's your view on EA's aggressive strategy towards the take-over of Take-Two? How healthy can it be for the industry, and it's long term future, if a publisher with a portfolio as strong as theirs remains vunerable to acquisition?

    Phil Therien: I am more focused on making games. The business moves I keep an eye on, but really it doesn't affect the quality of games. On a personal note, whoever signs their paycheck I doubt that these guys will forget how to make kickass games. EA is a big house and they are seeking to expand, Ubisoft is putting out more and more good games, it's the nature of the industry, everyone wants to be on top.

    Additionally, Mr. Terien's reasoning contradicts itself on several occasions:

    [...] We really wanted to make the game more accessible to newcomers so we created a new casual difficulty mode that adapts to your skill. Someone who is very new to shooters can enjoy the game and finish it. At the same time we also revamped our hardcore realistic mode which is really for veterans. [...]

    I doubt we will ever go back to really hardcore only shooters. The market was too narrow for it to be a viable business choice. We would like to be able to please both sides but compromises have to be made. [...]

    It's extremely hard to balance choices with an experience that is controlled for emotions. We want to offer the best game possible while maintaining choice. It's something that takes us a lot of time to get to a point where we're happy. In the future we want to push this even further! [...]

    <would the team behind the multiplayer ever consider a slower style of play with more tactical gadgets?> Absolutely. Actually, try out Team Leader in Vegas 2. This mode has a much slower pace and takes some serious tactics! [...]

    We try to stay in our own direction with the game.

    On the one hand, Therien explains that it is no problem to cater to an audience from newcomers to veterans through the use of adaptable or adjustable difficulty (which is not really an invention of 2008!), on the other hand he tells us it is impossible to cater to a "hardcore" audience, because compromises have to be made. Then he goes on to describe the importance of choice in a game, and emphasizes on future plans to expand on this.

    These are just some examples I picked pretty much randomly from the interview. I don't want to disrespect Phil Therien in any way (after all, this interview was just a casual community chat) - but again - his stance on several issues should not be interpreted as carved-in-stone either.

    Please allow me to throw another source into the mix. This comes from a feature at IGN Insider written by Nate Ahearn on June 14, 2007 (a highly recommended read, found through another post here):

    How to Kill a Franchise

    We point the finger at franchises that have gone seriously wrong.

    US, June 14, 2007 - Seeing a beloved franchise crumble into a defunct mishmash of horrid ideas and misconstrued concepts seems to happen all too often in this day and age of money grabbing bottom-liners. A great game is relatively easy to create in comparison to what it takes to sustain that greatness throughout an entire series. Some franchises are great at keeping a high level of quality, whereas others take a swan dive into the shallow end of the pool. It might not be so bad when a company makes a one-hit-wonder that then flops, but when a series has been in our hearts for generations of systems and then takes a downturn in quality, that's when we have to turn our gaze to the publishers responsible.

    We're usually not in the business of calling people out for shoddy development jobs, but in some cases, an exception must be made. In this article we'll detail some of our most beloved series that have taken a grave turn for the worse, and then tell you how future installments can right the ship. And yes, not even Electronic Arts will be spared this time around. [...]

    Far Cry - Ubisoft

    This is one of the saddest cases on our list. Far Cry began on the PC in 2004 and started a fire under the gaming community with its no-holds-barred AI tactics that made the game both frustrating, and totally rewarding when things actually went your way. After selling over 730,000 copies in a four-month span, the series basically began its downward spiral into oblivion [...]

    Doctor's Orders: For the love of all that is good and holy, quit releasing "expansion" (that do no actual expanding on the series) games that are both stale and meaningless. It's obvious that the sales department at Ubisoft saw a fruitful series, then plucked it dry. Please, please just release a true sequel to the original Far Cry. Update the graphics to something that would make Crysis proud, and articulate a well-crafted story to support the awesome action. A foundation was set for the series to really take off from, but that has eroded away to nearly nothing over time. It's now or never to revamp the series and release a bona fide Far Cry 2. Either that, or just let the damn thing die. [...]

    Splinter Cell - Ubisoft

    When Sam Fisher first graced the Xbox not too long ago I really thought that Microsoft had found their answer to Metal Gear Solid. Snake was cool and all, but how you can go against any character that has Michael Ironside's voice? The stealth action was oh-so-cool, and those lighting effects were unlike anything I had ever seen before. Nowadays though, people are buying fewer and fewer of Sam Fisher's adventures each time out. With Ubisoft juggling the game between their Montreal and Shanghai studios, it's no wonder that the series has lost any form of continuity. Not so much in the story, but in the actual gameplay mechanics.

    Doctor's Orders: Stop releasing Splinter Cell games every year. This should not be on a yearly release cycle; it's too good of a franchise to rush it out the door. While it is true that tossing the game back and forth between two studios gives each more time to work on their game, the feel of the game changes too much between each iteration. It looks as though Ubisoft is trying to revamp the series altogether with Conviction, but chances are that game will get lost in the holiday shuffle. Splinter Cell was a special series at one time, even a system seller, it's time for Ubisoft to treat it like one, before it's too late.

    IGN's Nate Ahearn is certainly not the only person who has put the finger right in the wound of Ubisoft's dismal game sequel policy, and the voices chiming in on this seem to get louder by the minute. If anyone is still awake at the helm of Ubi corporate (and I am sure that there is), a change of direction becomes more and more unavoidable, because a formerly great franchise can only be milked for so long, and once all the fresh kiddy console customers (no disrespect!) realize that many of the old-school hardcore gamers would not touch their new titles with a ten foot pole, respect and appreciation for the brand quickly begins to wear off.

    [...] There are no other realistic shooters on the market right now [...] None. Narrow market? BS. Ubi could have the market all to themselves. [...]

    If you know me at all, you are probably aware that I rarely resort to an expression like this, but Parabellum is absolutely right: In my book, the narrow market argument is complete and utter BULLSHlT (sorry, Rocky!), too. :yes:

  3. I won't buy another Ubi product until the Ghost Recon series becomes ... Ghost Recon again. Enough of this GRAW garbage. [...] The entire franchise was dumbed down, both in terms of gameplay and design, to facilitate consoles. If I want a console game, I'll go play Wii Sports. [...] No one at Ubi though (apologies, kleaneasy) seems to understand the correlation between horrible games, and horrible sales. Make a horrible game, and it will sell horribly. Imagine that. [...]

    [...] Bottom line: When Ubisoft starts making games for adults again, then maybe adults will start paying for their games. Until then, UbiSoft can go bankrupt for all I care. The games suck. Period. If UbiSoft made decent PC games, then PC gamers would buy them.

    I am sorry if this offends anyone, but I have to agree one hundred percent! Eloquently put, Parabellum! :thumbsup:

    [...] now we need to do our part and make sure there is constructive postings so that there can be no reason for the dev team to say further down the line "we had no idea this is what they wanted".

    They read these forums, it's our chance to make sure what they read is of value and not nonsense. That's why I started the series of "wish list" posts in the GR4 forum (which I need to revisit and tidy up now).

    Along with a small band of old timers I'm getting fairly optimistic about GR4, and I'm asking all the regs here to try and set aside their past (justifiable) distaste for all things Ubi-fied, and try and think positively

    True, Rocky - but after years and years of total neglect, isn't it time for UbiSoft to officially reach out to us, for a change?

    [...] Ghost Recon players provided massive amounts of feedback through the development of Ghost Recon 2. The fact that most of it was negative isn't the fault of players. Rather, that negative feedback should have been an indicator to obviously inept developers that their product wasn't acceptable. As a community, we've been providing consistent feedback for years. Ubi has literally thousands and thousands of posts providing ideas, insight, feedback, criticism, begging, pleading, and complaining. The company has yet to listen. [...]

    [...] "Start listening." It's that simple. Ubi had that chance out of the gate with Ghost Recon 2. Instead of listening to us though, what did they do? Ubi decided that it was easier to simply not publish GR2 for the PC. The company alienated the PC fanbase right then and there. Ubi needs to stop making promises, and stop telling us "We plan this" or "We plan that". They need to simply hush, listen, and do. If they do that, then the sales will come. If not, then Ubi will continue to be hated, and justifiably so. [...]

    [...] The people at Ubi soft have had the nerve to act surprised, or worse, blame the lack of sales of their products on a dwindling PC market. My friends, simply allotting more time for development between games will not improve titles that are flawed from the concept on! If Ubi makes a product that's outstanding, and that is true to Ghost Recon's roots, then I'll buy it. I don't care if it's six months or two years between titles. If the concept for the game is flawed, then it won't matter how often Ubi releases titles. They'll all suck. That is the fundamental failure on Ubi's part.

    Again, I have to agree with Parabellum, and I want to point out that the harsh criticism towards Ubisoft's past found in these forums is nearly always accompanied by a common statement for the future: If they finally start to listen and bring back Ghost Recon we will let bygones be bygones and buy their games again.

    Earlier in this thread I tried to defend kleaneasy for her courage to speak up here, amidst all the victims of Ubisoft's abandonment, but it is equally important to acknowledge the patience of Ghost Recon fans to even communicate with UbiSoft, anymore - especially since communication seems to have evolved into a one-way street.

    Previously, I have expressed my optimism towards Ubi's future agenda in view of several of their recent decisions, but I also want to articulate my distaste for their arrogant behavior towards a fan base that is trying absolutely everything within its power to help the company.

    Parabellum said "They need to simply hush, listen, and do." and that is the one thing I disagree with him on. Yes, UbiSoft needs to listen very closely - but I think now would be the time for them to make that trip down from the ivory tower and show their face. Come into these forums and say "We are listening! Everything will be alright!" - and better mean it this time!

    Because even the most devoted patience comes to an end some day. And now look at the combined energy of all the people in here, all still trying to believe, to hope - if this energy is finally forced to flip from clinging hope to total despair, from remaining sympathy to growing hostility, there would be no "image campaign" powerful enough to save UbiSoft from total contempt among its former supporters, and that has been the irreversible death sentence for other empires in history.

    For my part, I will stay optimistic to the end - and it is UbiSoft's call when that end will be reached. I would consider another (GR)AWful game from them as a declaration of war, and I am a Ghost Recon player - I know how to fight! ;)

  4. OK, I admit it: I lured you here with a sensationalist headline (although the topic description should be a dead giveaway), and - as far as I know - there are no such plans in Ubisoft's top drawer. But let's just for fun pretend that there were! Let's imagine they surprise us all with a nice farewell to the founder of this franchise before they move on to write the next chapter in the Ghost Recon saga.

    Imagine they fix all the little bugs that remained after the last update, do some code optimization and improve compatibility and performance on the latest hardware and operating systems, modernize IGOR just a tad, and maybe even polish the user interface a bit.

    Imagine they offer a new and final expansion pack on top of this, complete with a full mission campaign, with a new story in a new environment, new characters, maps, weapons and equipment - the works. Not necessarily larger than Desert Siege or Island Thunder - about the same amount of content.

    I don't think I even have to ask you for your opinion on this - you are right here at GhostRecon.net reading this post, so I guess it's safe to assume that you, at the very least, have some interest in this, but still, I want to know: How would you feel about this? Would you welcome such an offer?

    Of course, one can ask: Now why would Ubisoft do such a thing? Why should they release an update patch and - even more ridiculous - an expansion pack for a game that was published six years ago and pretty much abandoned shortly after? Even if there are still a couple of die-hard fans of the original around, that alone surely would not justify such a move now, would it?

    It may be matter of perspective, but I think there might be some incentives for Ubisoft to do just that: To completely and utterly surprise us, and with us the rest of their potential future customers, and on top of that to shock everyone else in the gaming industry, from their direct competitors to the pundits and writers. With one swift strike they could shake up the way they are perceived by many and give themselves a new image.

    All of this could happen before or even together with a game release every GR fan is impatiently awaiting, maybe as a "Collectors Edition" or "Anniversary" bundle? That way the investment in the old game could be seen as "advertising cost" for the new one.

    But as the topic description says: This may all just be my wishful thinking...

  5. Just a little reminder, people: At this point in time, kleaneasy is the only person wearing Ubi's colors who makes an effort in showing up here and facing all this criticism. In my book it takes a lot of courage to do what she does, and the girl is nowhere near responsible for any of the things that are being criticized here. We should all appreciate her efforts and continue to communicate in a civilized manner. Even if you hold a valid grudge against Ubi, let's keep the tarring and feathering of innocent bystanders at bay, please.

    :flowers:

  6. I'm sorry to hear that Co-Op participation was lacking so far, rossiski, but as mentioned in above post by Gache, it requires quite a bit of time to download the almost 1GB of Heroes Unleashed, especially on average internet connections.

    Many people will also give the mod a try in single-player first, to orientate themselves before jumping into a multiplayer game. Personal experience: A friend of mine contacted me via instant messenger suggesting a 2 player co-op online game (he had just finished downloading Heroes Unleashed). I agreed, prepped for battle (unplugged the phone, got myself some water etc.), set up a server at GameRanger, and waited... and waited... and waited...

    I couldn't reach my friend by IM anymore, he did not answer his phone (see above), so I had no way to contact him. Nine(!!!) hours later he calls me up, apologizing for the slight delay with these words: "Man, I'm so sorry! I just wanted to have a little look at the mod!" :rolleyes:

    Conclusion: Please keep in mind that there is a lot of content in Heroes Unleashed for people to play around with. ;)

    Oh, and another thing. I registered at the +SD forums to join the server (which is still running apparently), but the listed prerequisites include TeamSpeak 2, which I cannot offer as I am using a Mac (for Mac there is only a TS1 client available). From almost 1000 downloads (all mirrors combined) of Heroes Unleashed so far, about half have been for Mac, so I guess I am not the only one with that problem.

  7. you're right. Trying to innovate and be creative is silly, we should all still be playing pong.

    If it was not for trying something new we would never have had rainbow six, why is it a sin when ubisoft tried to find a new market for new players?

    advancement is good guys.

    Sup, you are of course right - advancement is good, and I think we have discussed and confirmed this point at length before (e.g. see here, here, and here).

    Before we start running around in circles on the subject of innovation, I would like to suggest another approach:

    Have you played Pong, Sup? Are you aware of the reasons that made this name pop into your mind when you thought of an example for a really old computer game? Let me help you right there: You, and half the people on this planet have at the very least heard of this game because it is the common ancestor of an entire species, a relic that survived through the ages - an icon of computer games.

    Play Pong, and you will know why, even today! And it won't matter if you play it in its original form or if you choose one of its many clones - even the most contemporary ones, released just recently. That's right - recently! This game you chose as an image of old technology, as an example for a past better to be forgotten and overcome by innovation - this game is still produced and played today!

    There are innovations in modern Pong clones, sure - new graphics, sound effects, and whatnot put this game in modern clothes and change the game experience substantially. But one thing is better left untouched for a new clone to be accepted by the hordes of its worshippers: The original concept of the game!

    This concept I mean is more than a name, more than a logo, and more than a rough resemblance of appearance. It is the essence of the game, the thing that defines it - its spirit. If you tried to create a successor sharing the original's name and logo, resembling the original in appearance, and offering a myriad of new and innovative features - but lacking the original's spirit, you would miss your goal - it would simply not be a successor.

    If you want to design something completely new and innovative that is only remotely based upon a former original, that is of course fine, and with a lot of luck and talent you might even end up with a new species, a new future relic, a new icon. Hats off to anyone who succeeds with this. But that would have nothing to do with succession - that would be branching off into a new family line.

    What I and many other people here look for is a true successor to one particular game. We (and I just take the liberty of speaking for others, here) want the spirit of Ghost Recon to be revived.

    In these forums you can find discussions about the shortcomings of other, more modern games, about the reasons why - although these games have so many new and improved features - there is such a discrepancy between the attention they received and the almost cult-like following of Ghost Recon. People here have listed many details as forensic evidence to what might have gone wrong, and to read those lists and comparisons may indeed reveal several issues that can be pinpointed, but the discussion of single details leaves the big picture still blurry and incomprehensible.

    A games' spirit is not revealed by listing all of its features, neither can it be attributed to a single aspect of the game. Ghost Recon is more than squad-based, more than tactical, more than a shooter, and it can not be fully described by just combining these terms. You actually have to play it, experience it, feel it - to have a chance of grasping its essence. And there is no guarantee for that either, as some people simply don't feel it.

    For some, it is just another "shooter with some realism", and I don't mean this in any disrespectful way. People are different, with different interests, different tastes, different demands towards a game, and Ghost Recon is - admittedly - catering to an apparently quite different crowd. But a crowd it is, still, and this group of people simply hungers for more of that Ghost Recon spirit.

    Now it is one thing to grasp the spirit/concept, but then it is another story altogether to actually implement this concept in something new, to transport it into future developments - because as described above, it is very difficult to actually put your finger on what it is, exactly. Just as the definition can not be done by simply listing features, creating a successor is more complex than transporting features one by one to the new design. Only when the sum of all parts is joined with the actual game experience and the player can feel the presence of the original concept in the new game, the "holy grail" of the true game sequel has been found.

    I may be going out on a limb here, but sometimes I think that it is not unwillingness on the side of the developer that has left us wanting for a worthy Ghost Recon successor, but rather unawareness of the true essence of what defines the unique character of the original.

    If Rocky is right (and he usually is ;) ) in his belief in an open ear that listens to our discussions here, and my daring hypothesis holds even partially true, I strongly suggest that everyone post away like crazy on this subject, so eventually the right words are found to regain that fundamental understanding of what Ghost Recon should be all about.

  8. [...] thinking of everything.

    Well, it's not that I miraculously think of everything - it's just that I am bothered by the same things as other people. :)

    Originally, I had even more weapons integrated in the mod, but I took them back out because the selection was just too overwhelming. That is why I had this issue on my (seemingly endless!) to-do list. ;)

  9. [...] Nice to see someone properly renamed the "A-91" to 9A-91. :thumbsup: [...] Man allot of great weapons. [...] the reticules and model textures are fantastic. [...] The AI backup is allot more help then stock GR. [...] Thanks again for the huge upgrade to the stock game.

    Thanks a lot for your positive feedback, wombat50! It's great to see someone noticing the smaller details, too! :thumbsup:

    Man allot of great weapons. The only complaint is it takes forever to scroll through all of them in SP :lol: which I suppose is the only option as there are no kit restrictions for SP as you have supplied for MP?

    One little cool feature request: an executable similar to what WOI loader does... A little batch file that reads the kit restriction files and copies the kit files specified in a chosen kit restriction file... Would be a cool little upgrade.

    To provide an elegant solution with complete feature equality and full cross-platform compatibility for several operating systems and their generations (Mac OS 9/Mac OS X, Windows 9X/ME/2000/XP/Vista), I would like this to be a bit more than a batch file. I have not made up my mind about this yet, but I am working on a solution for the full release. ;)

  10. Yep, stupid me! Totally forgot the rating! OK, 8/10 for the "old" one - that's because I simply cannot bring myself to rate anything even remotely AW higher than that! :devil:

    The new one takes some getting used to, as mentioned before - but it has real-life GR right there, so that would be a 9/10 from me. :D

    If you want my 10/10, I think you need to improve readability a bit and maybe do something to focus attention on the soldier (foreground) rather than the wall (background). Some lens blur, maybe? And I actually liked the interlace effect you were using before.

    BTW, my sig is a work in progress, so please bear with me - visual improvements coming soon (if time allows).

  11. Even tho a lot of people don't post their appreciation after viewing, many love to read this thread.

    Guilty as charged! :ph34r:

    Thank you for the absolutely brilliant photographs you share with us here, Saint! It is very much appreciated, indeed, and my only (feeble) excuse is that I might be just too immersed when looking at them to remember posting afterwards. :rolleyes:

  12. it took me thru the 4th mission to realized you've added more weapons... ;) ....so much for reading the ReadMe file...thanks for this awesome mod :thumbsup:

    Thank you, Corporal! And may I suggest you give the ReadMe a chance, after all? If you missed out on the weapons, I am sure there is more for you to discover! :thumbsup:

    btw, its been awhile...it is safe to delete anything with IKE in my GR folder? this way I can tell if there are new IKE reported?

    thanks

    Both the IKE.LOG and IKECRASH.LOG are safe to delete, although it is unnecessary, as they are recreated from scratch every time they are used by the application - IKE.LOG on every launch of GR and IKECRASH.LOG only when the application exits abnormally (crashes).

    But do not(!) delete the IKE.SDF file! That is a scripting definitions file required by IGOR (read by ScriptEd.dll).

    I am grabbing this right now. Can't wait to try it out and maybe play with you guys sometime next week.

    Welcome to the party, WhiteKnight77! :thumbsup:

  13. I wish you all a merry Christmas! May your holidays be filled with love and joyfulness, and may we always remember - especially in this community of war gamers - that in real life peace and compassion for our fellow man should be among our highest goods, no matter which religion we have.

    Let us not forget the wars that are still fought every day - for whatever reasons - and the people who suffer on both sides of every conflict, while most of us will be able to enjoy Christmas in our peaceful homes. And let us not forget the people who go hungry and without shelter through the holidays, while most of us will never even make remote acquaintance with that experience. Let us not forget that we are all human - no matter which faith, nationality, politics, or color of our skin.

    Whether you call this time Christmas, Hanukkah, Holidays, or see it just as some time off from work - it is an occasion to make oneself aware of what our existence in this world should be all about, and to reaffirm our appreciation of all the things we so often take for granted.

    I thank you all for being part of this community, and I am very grateful for your congenial company. My best wishes are with you all.

    Respectfully,

    Apex :santa:

  14. I wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year! May your holidays be filled with love and joyfulness, and may we always remember - especially in this community of war gamers - that in real life peace and compassion for our fellow man should be among our highest goods, no matter which religion we have.

    Let us not forget the wars that are still fought every day - for whatever reasons - and the people who suffer on both sides of every conflict, while most of us will be able to enjoy Christmas in our peaceful homes. And let us not forget the people who go hungry and without shelter through the holidays, while most of us will never even make remote acquaintance with that experience. Let us not forget that we are all human - no matter which faith, nationality, politics, or color of our skin.

    Whether you call this time Christmas, Hanukkah, Holidays, or see it just as some time off from work - it is an occasion to make oneself aware of what our existence in this world should be all about, and to reaffirm our appreciation of all the things we so often take for granted.

    I thank you all for being part of this community, and I am very grateful for your congenial company. My best wishes are with you all.

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