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View Poll Results: Are you prejudiced towards games because of their engine?
I mainly play AGS games. 6 13.95%
I mainly play LASSIE games. 1 2.33%
I mainly play Wintermute games. 0 0%
I mainly play Game Maker games. 0 0%
I'll play any game, any engine, if it looks cool. 34 79.07%
Game Maker?!?! What the @#%# is that? 2 4.65%
Voters: 43. You may not vote on this poll

 
 
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Old 07-05-2007, 06:16 PM   #1
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Default So, are you prejudiced? (Free game engine popularity)

In a hypothetical scenario, we have four alternate universes.

Each one deals with a single amateur adventure game.

The screenshots and story look good. They look great. But it's not in *your* engine, so you won't bother with it.

Or will you?

I pose this question, of whether or not amateur adventure game lose publicity, because the developer chose an unpopular engine. Suppose we have one adventure game. In one universe, it's in AGS. You'll download it, because you like to keep up on all cool games in that engine. In the second Universe, it's in Wintermute, and you'll play it, because that's almost as good as AGS. In the third Universe, it's in LASSIE, so you'll avoid it. In our final Universe, the game is in Game Maker, and you aren't familiar with Game Maker, so you pass it up, even though it looks cool. Yes?
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Old 07-05-2007, 10:02 PM   #2
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As a user of several unpopular game engines, I find that so long as you make an attempt to advertise it on a wide variety of forums, if your game is any good, then people will play it and help spread the word in the form of reviews, etc. So yeah, I picked column 5.

That said, those damn AGS people can get pretty cliquey at times...
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Old 07-05-2007, 11:40 PM   #3
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I mainly play SCUMM games.
But seriously, I almost never even stop to consider what engine a professional game is made in, so why should I care more about this with amateur adventures? And how can not knowing the engine be a turnoff when so many popular (professional) adventure games have an engine of their own?
Maybe it's just because I'm not a designer myself, but this question seems pretty absurd.
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Old 07-06-2007, 03:03 AM   #4
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I agree with what King Bluetooth above me said, but I must admit, I do have some preconceived ideas about some engines... well, maybe one... While there are many good games created with AGS, I always assume that an AGS game will have really amateurish low res graphics... using a resolution that should have been retired more than 15 years ago. I do realise that this is not always true though.
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Old 07-06-2007, 04:51 AM   #5
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AGS is mailnly aimed at retro-adventuring, I think. At least, that's what seems to be its reputation. Higher resolution is possible, but not above 640x480, I think. I'm not really sure. But that's fine. Lots of people prefer the low res out of nostalgia, and honestly some of those games have been awesome. Just look at some of the Sierra game remakes (KQ1, KQ3).

I'll bet that there are engines out there that are more suited and more capable of doing modern adventure games, so the choice of engine does mean something. The next question is: how much does the average player know about the different engines, really?
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Old 07-06-2007, 05:26 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squinky
That said, those damn AGS people can get pretty cliquey at times...
...Which is the main reason why I created this thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jacog
I agree with what King Bluetooth above me said, but I must admit, I do have some preconceived ideas about some engines... well, maybe one... While there are many good games created with AGS, I always assume that an AGS game will have really amateurish low res graphics... using a resolution that should have been retired more than 15 years ago. I do realise that this is not always true though.
This is true most of the time, which really squeezes out CMI-style games. Whether developers are trying to channel the spirit of gaming past, or hide the flaws with their crappy graphics, I don't know.

This is quite a problem, too, as AGS inarguably is huge, and has a monopoly on all amateur adventure game creation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thaurin
The next question is: how much does the average player know about the different engines, really?
I would certainly imagine so. Amateur adventure gaming is a very small and isolated community, and the majority of players are, in fact, game creationists themselves.
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Old 07-06-2007, 06:30 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giligan
game creationists
As opposed to game evolutionists?
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Old 07-06-2007, 07:55 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Giligan View Post
The screenshots and story look good. They look great. But it's not in *your* engine, so you won't bother with it.

Or will you?
What kind of question is that? Do you really think anyone would choose not to play an adventure game because of the program it was made with? That makes about as much sense as only playing games where the graphics are made in Photoshop, refusing to play any that are drawn in Paint Shop Pro.

Look, I see a lot of anti-AGS prejudice in this thread, and I don't really get it. If you're a developer, use whatever engine is best for you. And if you're a player, the only thing that really matters is the quality of the game. Bias is only going to blind you to what's out there.

Of course, there are differences between the "typical" games made with each engine. AGS games are more likely to be in VGA resolution. SLUDGE games tend to have kooky hand-drawn graphics. Visionaire games are usually in German. Many Wintermute games have a polished, CGI look. Flash games often have poor user interfaces (probably because they can't use the right mouse button), and so on.

There are great games for all engines and there are crappy games for all of them. Even if your personal taste isn't for the typical example of a particular engine, there are still plenty of exceptions (particularly for AGS, just because of the sheer number of games). Just look at the Underground News item I posted yesterday. They were all made with the same engine, but are radically different both in graphics, gameplay and style.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Squinky View Post
That said, those damn AGS people can get pretty cliquey at times...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Giligan View Post
...Which is the main reason why I created this thread.
I think Squinky was mostly joking. I have never heard AGSers dismiss games made with other engines, or show anything at all like the thought process you describe in the original post. In fact, many of the most well-known AGS designers have worked with other engines as well.

AGS is a community as well as a game engine, with annual week-long meetups and other social aspects. So yeah, it's cliquey, because among other things it's a group of friends. And the AGS Forums are of course mainly focused on AGS. But as indie adventure game fans, the AGS crowd is perfectly happy to play non-AGS games, and I think that most of them are genuinely happy that there are alternatives to AGS.

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Originally Posted by Giligan View Post
This is quite a problem, too, as AGS inarguably is huge, and has a monopoly on all amateur adventure game creation.
But it doesn't, though! If there weren't other engines, we wouldn't even be having this thread.

The only "problem" I see is that players may never hear about non-AGS games. That's really the fault of the creators, though, for not announcing their games in places where players will see it. Flash games, especially, rarely get announced on adventure community sites (probably because many Flash developers aren't themselves part of the community). But when Pinhead Games made the Nick Bounty titles, they did a great job spreading the word about them (including on the AGS Forums), and you can see that they've become really popular.

If your game is good and you make sure people know about it, it doesn't matter what software you used to create it.

Quote:
I would certainly imagine so. Amateur adventure gaming is a very small and isolated community, and the majority of players are, in fact, game creationists themselves.
I very much doubt that. It's almost always the case that a small group creates (game creators), a larger group participates (forum regulars), and a much larger group just silently consumes (lurkers).
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Old 07-06-2007, 08:35 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacog View Post
While there are many good games created with AGS, I always assume that an AGS game will have really amateurish low res graphics... using a resolution that should have been retired more than 15 years ago. I do realise that this is not always true though.
There are many AGS games with crappy graphics, probably mainly because it's the most popular engine and many people find it the easiest to use. Some of the games that look bad are crappy, and others are actually really good despite the poor graphics.

You need to distinguish between amateurish art and low resolution, though. In fact, crappy art in high resolution is a typical newbie error.

What I think it more interesting is to look at the higher end of the curve. There are quite a few Underground and indie games in low-resolution 320x200 (or 320x240) whose graphics are essentially professional quality. That is to say, they look as good (or nearly as good) as commercial games of the same resolution. (Like The Infinity String, Knightsquire, the Apprentice series, Cedric and the Revolution, The Blackwell Legacy, No-Action Jackson, etc.) On the other hand, how many high resolution amateur adventures could be mistaken for a commercial, professional title? Not many. (Some that are under development, though, like Rise of the Hidden Sun and Kaptain Brawe. The higher resolution graphics are probably one of the reasons they're still under development.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thaurin View Post
AGS is mailnly aimed at retro-adventuring, I think. At least, that's what seems to be its reputation. Higher resolution is possible, but not above 640x480, I think. I'm not really sure. But that's fine. Lots of people prefer the low res out of nostalgia, and honestly some of those games have been awesome. Just look at some of the Sierra game remakes (KQ1, KQ3).
AGS supports resolutions up to 800x600. While there is certainly a major nostalgia component to many of the games, there are also a lot that are as modern as possible, or at least have moved away completely from the classic VGA look (for example, look at Earl Mansin: The Breakout, What Linus Bruckman Sees When His Eyes Are Closed and READY). And, as you say, many of the low-resolution games have been awesome, whether they are fan games (you missed KQ2, which I think is the best one) or completely original.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Giligan View Post
This is true most of the time, which really squeezes out CMI-style games. Whether developers are trying to channel the spirit of gaming past, or hide the flaws with their crappy graphics, I don't know.
AGS does not squeeze out "CMI-style" game.s The engine can easily handle CMI's resolution (only 640x480), with a higher color-depth to boot, not to mention effects like alpha-blending and antialiasing, and there are loads of people who would love nothing more than to play a game that looked like CMI. The reason why you don't see many "CMI-style" games is simply that most people aren't as talented as Bill Tiller.

While it's nice for artists to stretch their abilities, the results are usually better when they realize their limitations, and work within those restrictions. If you can't pull of a CMI-style background, it's probably best to go with something simpler. There's nothing wrong with that.
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Old 07-06-2007, 09:44 AM   #10
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I think Squinky was mostly joking.
Darling, it's my duty to slam AGS at every possible opportunity, considering that I'm a newly-inducted member of the Wintermute army and all. *insert winking smiley here*

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Originally Posted by After a brisk nap View Post
What I think it more interesting is to look at the higher end of the curve. There are quite a few Underground and indie games in low-resolution 320x200 (or 320x240) whose graphics are essentially professional quality. That is to say, they look as good (or nearly as good) as commercial games of the same resolution. (Like The Infinity String, Knightsquire, the Apprentice series, Cedric and the Revolution, The Blackwell Legacy, No-Action Jackson, etc.) On the other hand, how many high resolution amateur adventures could be mistaken for a commercial, professional title? Not many. (Some that are under development, though, like Rise of the Hidden Sun and Kaptain Brawe. The higher resolution graphics are probably one of the reasons they're still under development.)
But why do people even care about their games looking like commercial, professional titles? Is there some sort of ontological ideal that all game graphics must strive toward? Find your own styles, damnit! Stop trying to copy what's already out there!
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Old 07-06-2007, 10:43 AM   #11
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Myself, I use Point and Click Development Kit. I like it because it is drop and drag, easy to use and the script is easy for me. I would sooner poke myself in the eye with a fork than script, I hate it with a passion. It's the part of game making that turns me off the most. I've had friends not talk to me anymore and treat me like I didn't even exist because I use P&C DK. I have people who won't even come on my site because I display their banner.

Does it really make that much of a difference what engine the game is made in. I love freeware indie games because I know all the hard work, frustration and effort that goes into making these games. I never trash anyone's work. I think freeware indie developers are the best, my hats off to every one of them. I would play any free game, I find the best in them because you can see that the work comes right from the heart. We should praise these people who take the time to give us something for nothing. All they ask in return is that we enjoy their work. Sorry for sounding too preachy, that's just how I feel.
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Old 07-06-2007, 11:55 AM   #12
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What kind of question is that? Do you really think anyone would choose not to play an adventure game because of the program it was made with? That makes about as much sense as only playing games where the graphics are made in Photoshop, refusing to play any that are drawn in Paint Shop Pro.

Look, I see a lot of anti-AGS prejudice in this thread, and I don't really get it. If you're a developer, use whatever engine is best for you. And if you're a player, the only thing that really matters is the quality of the game. Bias is only going to blind you to what's out there.
I do, yes. Perhaps "prejudiced" was the wrong word, inclined would be more fitting. I suspect that amateur adventure game players are more inclined to play a game in an engine they're familiar with, yes.

Why I came to this conclusion, is very simple. I have seen a lot of polished, great games in other engines that never achieved large popularity. It could be because the develper didn't adventise the game enough, yes. Still, for example, take a look at this site. There are by far, more adventure games in AGS written about than games of other engines. I realize that the writers will deny this. Call it anti-AGS prejudice if you wish, but as a whole, games have an increased chance of fame and popularity if they're made with AGS. On a site, like, say Adventure Developers, where a good deal of staff here hang out, you will see a good many non-AGS games being promoted, but they just don't seem to reach popularity levels of AGS games.

Take, for example, two adventure games that came out in 2003. Out of Order and The Apprentice. Both were supposed to be excellent games. One was SLUDGE, one was AGS. Whereas, say, Out of Order isn't heard of anymore, you can't throw a dead cat without hitting an article praising The Apprentice, if you'll excuse the expression. I realise I'll invoke a lot of comments about how The Apprentice was much better than Out of Order and whatnot, and therefor worthy of more mention, but my point stands.

Quote:
Originally Posted by After a brisk nap View Post
What I think it more interesting is to look at the higher end of the curve. There are quite a few Underground and indie games in low-resolution 320x200 (or 320x240) whose graphics are essentially professional quality. That is to say, they look as good (or nearly as good) as commercial games of the same resolution. (Like The Infinity String, Knightsquire, the Apprentice series, Cedric and the Revolution, The Blackwell Legacy, No-Action Jackson, etc.) On the other hand, how many high resolution amateur adventures could be mistaken for a commercial, professional title? Not many. (Some that are under development, though, like Rise of the Hidden Sun and Kaptain Brawe. The higher resolution graphics are probably one of the reasons they're still under development.)
I understand what you're saying, yes. Professional games from the 90s, with lo-res graphics, had a realistic touch to every detail, despite the low resolution. Sadly, it's not a trait that is seen very often anymore.
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Old 07-06-2007, 11:55 AM   #13
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I mostly play AGS games, to be honest, but I don't really know why I haven't checked out more Wintermute stuff, etc.
Most other engines don't get the same exposure unfortunately, or you need to download a seperate program to play them (I'm too lazy).
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Old 07-06-2007, 12:12 PM   #14
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Darling, it's my duty to slam AGS at every possible opportunity, considering that I'm a newly-inducted member of the Wintermute army and all. *insert winking smiley here*
Oh, I thought you were a SLUDGE woman. (This is going to be another of those times when I'm expected to remember details of the Adventure Architect series, isn't it?)

Quote:
But why do people even care about their games looking like commercial, professional titles? Is there some sort of ontological ideal that all game graphics must strive toward? Find your own styles, damnit! Stop trying to copy what's already out there!
Well, I don't think "looking professional" necessarily means copying an existing style. It's more a level of artistic accomplishment. There's a term in film making about a technically perfect shot (i.e. in focus, framed, lighted, camera stable, no smudges on the lens). They say that it's "Hollywood". That's not because all films should look like Hollywood movies, just a recognition of the production quality and technical polish that millions of dollars can buy. By the same token, I think it's perfectly reasonable for amateur adventure artists to strive to create work that is so good that it could be mistaken for a professional game.
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Old 07-06-2007, 12:23 PM   #15
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I think I can sum up why you see more of AGS games than games using any other system in three words.

Big Blue Cup.

AGS has a website dedicated to promoting games made by people using the engine. They have regular competitions and other ideas to promote game creators. To put it bluntly, more people play AGS games because they know they can go to one place and hear about a load of new ones regularly (regardless of the quality)

Correct me if I'm wrong here but I've had a look and I can't find equivalent sites for either Wintermute or SLUDGE. I've also visited the Adventure Maker website today (thanks to a thread in this very forum) None of them have the promotional power of the Big Blue Cup website.

I'm speaking as someone whose name appears in the credits of one of the Wintermute engine's success stories. and who is a big fan of another one. I think, for the most part the prejudice you perceive is no more than people not wanting to look too hard for new free games and knowing they can find at least mediocre new games in one place.

Oh, and Out of Order is waaaay better than The Apprentice. The uninitiated can get it here.(Side point. A lot of sites came up in a search for this link. Maybe it isn't as obscure as you think it is)
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Old 07-06-2007, 12:27 PM   #16
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Oh, I thought you were a SLUDGE woman. (This is going to be another of those times when I'm expected to remember details of the Adventure Architect series, isn't it?)
I used to be at one time, yes. Now I'm a "whatever current engine can help me create my stories most effectively" woman.
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Old 07-06-2007, 01:27 PM   #17
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I do, yes. Perhaps "prejudiced" was the wrong word, inclined would be more fitting. I suspect that amateur adventure game players are more inclined to play a game in an engine they're familiar with, yes.

Why I came to this conclusion, is very simple. I have seen a lot of polished, great games in other engines that never achieved large popularity. It could be because the develper didn't adventise the game enough, yes. Still, for example, take a look at this site. There are by far, more adventure games in AGS written about than games of other engines. I realize that the writers will deny this. Call it anti-AGS prejudice if you wish, but as a whole, games have an increased chance of fame and popularity if they're made with AGS. On a site, like, say Adventure Developers, where a good deal of staff here hang out, you will see a good many non-AGS games being promoted, but they just don't seem to reach popularity levels of AGS games.
I'll grant you straight away that we write more often about AGS games than games made with other engines. Why is that? Because there are many times more AGS games to write about. Let's see... I just did a feature on six recent Underground games. All were made in AGS, and all were released between May 31 and now (not by any means all the AGS games released during that time, I hasten to add). How many games made with any of the other engines were released in the same time period? As far as I can tell: none. In fact, the most recent non-AGS Underground game I can find is What Makes You Tick, released back around May 6. And before that you have to go back to February. Given that reality, how are we not supposed to write more about AGS games?

Quote:
Take, for example, two adventure games that came out in 2003. Out of Order and The Apprentice. Both were supposed to be excellent games. One was SLUDGE, one was AGS. Whereas, say, Out of Order isn't heard of anymore, you can't throw a dead cat without hitting an article praising The Apprentice, if you'll excuse the expression. I realise I'll invoke a lot of comments about how The Apprentice was much better than Out of Order and whatnot, and therefor worthy of more mention, but my point stands.
I wouldn't say Out of Order has been forgotten (it was featured on the Underground SOTD thread a while back, for example), and you hear less about Apprentice these days than you did a couple of years ago. But even if you're right, it's almost meaningless to compare two games (that aren't even particularly similar), because there are so many confounding factors. The Herculean guys made a sequel and a deluxe version of Apprentice, and a third game is in the works, while there has been nothing new to report about OOO since its release. In addition, Ian and Greg Schlaepfer have worked on a number of other games since then, while Tim Furnish has more or less vanished. Or you might compare the Herculean Effort Productions website with the Hungry Software one; I know which one I find more pleasant and easy to navigate (not to mention which one is more regularly updated).
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Old 07-07-2007, 05:59 AM   #18
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AGS has been around for ages, it has a reputation of being easy to use, it has retro appeal and it has a huge active community. I think that's why it's so popular. Personally I'm quite suspicious of AGS and haven't used it much, and besides, I prefer to code things by hand anyway... On the other hand I haven't released any games either, although with The Curves of Danger we were kinda close.

I think games made in some other engine actually have slightly better chances at getting recognition, because the huge amount of AGS games released - if you release an AGS game it easily becomes just Yet Another AGS game.
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Old 07-07-2007, 06:05 AM   #19
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I'll grant you straight away that we write more often about AGS games than games made with other engines. Why is that? Because there are many times more AGS games to write about. Let's see... I just did a feature on six recent Underground games. All were made in AGS, and all were released between May 31 and now (not by any means all the AGS games released during that time, I hasten to add). How many games made with any of the other engines were released in the same time period? As far as I can tell: none. In fact, the most recent non-AGS Underground game I can find is What Makes You Tick, released back around May 6. And before that you have to go back to February. Given that reality, how are we not supposed to write more about AGS games?
I'm sure that's entirely correct.

Well, 19/22 votes for any game, any engine, is certainly good. Before we got into this lengthy exchange on the widespread use of AGS, we were discussing whether or not a player would be more inclined to play games on *his (or her) engine*. I'm glad to see overwhelming support for all games, despite being slightly disturbed at the monopoly of AGS as opposed to other adventure game making engines.

Hey! Someone voted for option 5! Wtf?
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Old 07-07-2007, 05:14 PM   #20
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Quote:
despite being slightly disturbed at the monopoly of AGS as opposed to other adventure game making engines.
I'm not sure you can complain about a monopoly on free games by a free game engine. Remember, when people make free games, everyone wins!

AGS isn't hurting the hobbyist adventure scene by being used by so many people. Rather, its ease of use is leading to it being used by so many people which leads to a stronger, more productive hobbyist adventure scene. And some of those users may decide to move on to another engine if they feel that the AGS engine's technical shortfalls are holding them back.

But the technical shortfalls like lower resolutions and lack of 3d support aren't an issue to most people who just want to make a game that entertains. Higher technical specs just mean a longer period of development and more work for someone who isn't getting any financial return for their time.

I've got to agree with pretty much everything Brisk Nap has said in this thread and thank him for mentioning my game, Linus, which is a good example of how AGS's robust scripting language can be used to create games that are far, far from the norm.
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