So K my topics are generally general topics anyways. I don't get upset when they swing in another game topic, it's when they turn into flames and fire by a few select ones here (see my signature ;) )that I might say something about. ;) Mainly we are talking about some great games with great mods or what could have made them great and what might make them greater in the long run. I agree with you though that RPG games are getting away from the traditional RPGlike ways many of us grew up with. But, I'm not one of those that really minds as I've never really stayed between the lines when it comes to gaming (or actual life hehe). I like action RPGs as much as I like traditional RPGS. But, I like good ones with good interface and not a lot you have to do to fight the enemy, but, just enough like Daggerfall and Oblivion.
Did you ever try an old commodore 64 game called WASTELAND Mic82? I think that game was the mother/father of the Fall Out series and I've always enjoyed playing that and replaying it. I didn't even mind the text based combat engine in that one, at least it happened then and not a month later in some monthly report page.
I personally miss the turn based RPG games myself. I enjoyed having time to think out the situation and then respond each turn. The Gold Box series of SSI are still some of my favorites and I'll always enjoy Ultima IV and V the best. Ultima II wasn't bad either. But, games like Diablo and Diablo 2, The TES series, I have thouroughly enjoyed. They have the perfect speed of combat and I don't get frustrated cause I only have ONE character I have to control. Unlike the Baldur's Gate series where every battle was like a mish mash trying to keep up and I'm just one of those that WILL NOT use PAUSE in a real time game. lol I guess that's just a pet peave of mine that if it's real time you are cheating yourself and the game and the AI using pause. That's just how I believe and I'll never change, I'm too old. ;)
I can only imagine what the next 20 years of gaming will bring. I hope I live long enough to see just one good game with all the great elements of games of the past in it. A great real time AI to fight the tactical battles from the strategic or operational map true to the Total War series of old. I'm a huge ancients fan and I want more than anything a better RTW game back to provinces instead of these silly 3D maps that the AI can't cope with. One game that is really pretty good at it is "Knights of Honor" but, of course it is set in the Medival times and well one thing I don't like about it is it restricts you to hardly any leaders to make armies out of. You can make armies, but, you can't use them in the field without a leader and you need too many of the leaders for government things. It was a good concept, but, they ruined it with restrictions. The combat AI is great in it I'll give it that, it's stomped me more than a couple of times already. ;) And because I'm not an historical accuracy nut I rather like "Imperial Glory" as well for a real time tactical with turn based strategic overlay in the Napoleonic times. I think it's good not to be a fanatic when it comes to historical accuracy. Not saying tanks should be in ancient egypt, but, as long as the UNITS are historical or even close I can be happy with how the rest of the game pans out even if not historical and just a risklike game to play conquer the world with. ;)
I've tried playing Wasteland on a previous computer with DosBox and it never would work right- I was probably 6 years old when it came out so missed out on that one ;) It really looked interesting though, just liked to freeze the computer too often to stick with.
I missed the Gold Box games as well, but used to play Ultima: Exodus on my Nintendo and now have it surprisingly up and running on this same computer. I fully intend to play Ultima 3-7 entirely before I die, so I've probably got a while to go with that goal. I hear you as well on the "Infinity Engine" games (Baldur's Gate and etc), I despise the combat so much in those games that it almost wrecks the fun! "Real Time with Pause!" just seemed to me like trying to cater to the twitch crowd while still allowing yourself to list "turn based combat" as a feature without mentioning the half-assery that it actually was. I never got much into BG, but Planescape: Torment is one of my favorite games, and well worth suffering through that combat engine for (it isn't as hack and slash oriented as BG either).
Now of course the beloved Fallout franchise has been "resurrected" under the same guy who I believe was quoted as saying something like "Role playing, to me, is about riding around on a horse and killing things". That would Mr. Todd "Soil Erosion!" Howard, of course. Most of the Fallout 3 official previews I've heard usually ramble on about the "Extreme ultra violence giving the game an adult feel!" (I think they missed the point there), of course the graphics, and the great new combat engine that allows either realtime first person shooter play, or the ability to pause and make it turn based- where have we heard that before? It seems as well like they've just raped the whole storyline/lore behind the game, changing it into the usual fantasy esque "Good guys and bad guys" tripe (Super Mutants = Bad, Brotherhood of Steel = Chivalrous Good Knights- pretty much a total 180 from the original games).
I liked Knights of Honor as well- I just didn't play through the campaign more than a couple of times due to all of the different kingdoms having a kind of generic feel. Playing as Leinster wasn't really any different than playing as the Byzantine Empire, except for a handful of special units being different. You're right on about the restriction on your own leaders (you can only have up to 7 IIRC) was a real problem once you controlled a big chunk of territory- that number really should have increased along with the size of your kingdom! Definitely a fun game but not really loaded with replay value for me.
If there were a "2D Map Mod" for my now favorite Deus lo Vult Medieval 2 mod, I'd jump all over it- the challenge of the game would increase dramatically! It'd be nice if they'd learn the lesson of the AI not using that map properly, but I have a feeling that the upcoming TW Empires game will probably be surrounded by hype like "You can zoom in on the 3D map and see soil erosion it's so detailed!" I predict the usual graphics rambling preceeding that one.