Updated Our Journal (59): Polish & Interface Improvements, Looking Forward

Announcements & media coverage for Torment: Tides of Numenera. Only moderators & inXile can make new threads on this forum.

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Re: Updated Our Journal (59): Polish & Interface Improvements, Looking Forward

Post by Jaklt » October 9th, 2016, 1:13 pm

Grotesque wrote:Image

It would be nice if the game supports selecting that attack damage bonus via keyboard shortcuts also (1 2 3 etc. keys or any other keys). Selecting it with mouse only becomes tedious after some time.
Keyboard shortcuts support for everything in fact.
It doesn't matter if we'll be able to rebind those keys or not but keyboard shortcuts is a must in my opinion.
Or '+' and '-' for increasing and decreasing the percentage. Would only make sense.
cadriese wrote:Considering how often and quickly the tidal affinity shifts over the course of just one conversation in the Beta (as indicated by the audio cues) I'd go as far that it's mandatory to have the option to turn the "light show" off. It's laudable that inXile thinks of the hearing- and the visually-impaired too, but at the cost of those fortunate, or in this case unfortunate to be in full possession of their visual perception? That's not cool.
An option for this, pretty please.
The audio cues do the job just as well, if not better because they happen unobtrusively and subtle in the background. And if I'm not mistaken, they even have each their own melody, so that with time you can tell by the audio cue alone, which one of the tidal affinites just increased.
That's a valid point for making the animated visual effects for the portraits optional, actually. From the couple hours I put into the Beta I do remember quite a few instances where the chimes indicating a change in the tides were played shortly after one another, sometimes even to the point where they were overlapping each other.
And as fancy and flashy as they are, but it would be only so long until those newly added visual effects firing off at the same rate as the tides change gets super annoying super fast.
cadriese wrote:For the level-up effect, which, from the screenshot alone, really does seem way over-the-top may I suggest something that's not as flashy and "Hey you, just in case you can't tell from the audio cue and the blinking Plus sign on the character portrait, but I leveled up, now get to it and spent some points":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JlhkQbzwRk&t=8m37s

Just dial the effect back quite a bit so that it doesn't completely engulf you in a 3 meter/120 inches pillar of flame (and that it matches with the level-up effect used in Pillars), and also make sure that the animation is as brief as possible, if that isn't the case already.
I agree, level-up effects of the newly added one's caliber are best left to ARPGs like Diablo 3 or MMOs/MOBAs. Such exaggerated visually gratifying spectacles just don't fit into an old-school CRPG like TTON.
If there's no intention to tone it down then it should be made an option at least.
cadriese wrote:Are inxile's UI/HUD designers aware of Pillars' "Expert Mode" (http://pillarsofeternity.gamepedia.com/Mode#Modes)?
Expert Mode - Enable more punitive and demanding game-play elements, in and out of combat, including disabling all the individual extra options in the section below. The mode is similar to Fallout: New Vegas' Hardcore Mode, Expert Mode. Because it disables all of the common ease-of-use "helper" information, it is regarded by some players as the most realistic way to play.

Combat options

*Area of Effect Highlighting: Provide a graphical display of the range of area-of-effect spells.
*Combat Tooltips: If this option is enabled, lightweight combat tooltips will be shown above all characters during combat.
Consolidate things like the "move" and "attack" icons (if they aren't already tied to the "Show selection circles" option), the visuals for range and AoE of abilities, the ("Choose a position") mouse button prompt, the "Current Objective" panel, etc into a mode similar to Pillars' "Expert Mode" or make them individual options like Pillars' "Extra Options" and everyone's a winner.
As someone who's played and still plays POE on Path of the Damned + Expert Mode exclusively I'd definitely welcome the inclusion of an Expert Mode-like equivalent in TTON. I'm absolutely all for being able to customize the HUD to be as sparse as possible and having to figure things out myself, even the hard way through trial and error.

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Re: Updated Our Journal (59): Polish & Interface Improvements, Looking Forward

Post by retroquark » October 20th, 2016, 1:34 pm

thesisko wrote:and maybe there's a bigger audience that appreciates that type of design, I guess I'm just sad that the one I'm part is no longer sufficient to support the dev team going forward.
*shrug* Most of the time, the "but people want this (supposedly), so if we put tits into a super-popular pokemon game for kids, with shooter elements, and let the game play by itself with no input - then it'll be the most popular game in the world"- argument. That argument actually isn't a marketing argument at all. Instead it's an admittance of your lack of creativity and skill at presenting something well. Or, more often, it's about the lack of confidence certain people in a studio will have in the design approach that was chosen.

So instead of saying: what we wish here is that we will make it obvious to the player that certain things can be operated inside and outside a crisis. We wish to have certain themes and narrative logic that suggests half-reasonable things to the player that would solve the scenario. We wish to put in extra alternative cues in these scenarios that tie in with the same theme, or follow a separate thread. So if these puzzles are not obvious, we need to add more context and scenario-transcendent/lore indirect clues and notes. Since overall our approach is to avoid all meta-gaming cues in order to make something immersive and flowing.

Instead of that, they're saying: just spoil everything and tell the player what to do. And add more hit-points so the game is easier to balance. And it's impossible to die, and leveling up will make you massively stronger, regardless of class and playing style.

The first one has certain pitfalls. It is very difficult to find out - unless you somehow have unlimited access to free beta-testers for some weird reason - whether someone will possibly run around in a circle because of mechanical or narrative problems. It's also possible to lure people towards mechanically difficult challenges that appear very normal, and testing this is not necessarily easy. Without those unlimited amounts of free beta-testers.

While the other approach will have no pitfalls in theory. Because you can document that the guy with the axe-head stuck in their left half of the brain could successfully complete the scenario without trying it twice. So the change you make will always have a positive impact. And everyone else who cares about a good game are too aloof to complain about shit like games anyway. So it's a huge success on reddit and gaf! Clearly no drawbacks with that approach, basically.

But to be completely honest - this was never a question about catering to stupid players. It's a question of catering to stupid designers, and the devs who believe that things will always be incrementally better over time when you fiddle with it enough. There's a point where that aquarel is going to be brown and black. At some point that cane is going to be chipped too short to use as a walking stick. Etc. Meanwhile, the belief that easy == simplistic is patently false. The biggest problem with interfaces in games is that you need to learn a ridiculous amount of new things before you can start using it effectively. Meanwhile, there's a limit to the amount of direct cues that can make any new player understand everything, including the main plot, after three seconds.

So at some point you're just going to have to say: we are going to have a learning curve. And our task is to make that learning curve have the appropriate slope, so that as many people as possible are able to climb it - preferably before they're bored to tears, and turn around and leave. We will however require some investment to learn the system, etc.

And skipping that is not an economical argument about appealing to a bigger audience, it's just a lazy design approach.

In the same way - in what world does adding rpgMMOmsORGOM elements into a single-player, narrative-driven role-playing game make sense? How does adding numbers popping up on the screen make sense in the Numenera world?

Again, this is like adding automatic fire to a spell description in order to appeal to COD-shooter fans. It makes no sense. If you wanted to appeal to that specific type of gamer who only plays that specific game in the first place - then you wouldn't have made this game to begin with. Meanwhile, bunch of people do in fact prefer different types of mechanics for different types of games. BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT IDIOTS WITHOUT BRAINS AND SPEND ALL THEIR DAMNED TIME ON GAF TALKING ABOUT WHAT GAMERS WANT INSTEAD OF PLAYING GAMES OR DOING SOMETHING WORTHWHILE!

..sorry.

Look. Just making the point that the whole "I guess people who want a well-made game are in the minority, then!" approach is so dumb. The game is then launched, and people say "Oh, I guess the genre is dead, then, because critics didn't like the lazy design and hated on it a lot". Or optionally, "Oh, I guess this proves that we need to make all rpg-games into Diablo 3 clones!".

This is so dumb and lazy it makes me retch. It's so weak. And this tendency in the video-games industry is so ridiculous and insanely strong that even when we give a developer money - specifically to make a game free from the pull of those narratives that drives this tendency - they still get around to deciding that yes, we need to respond to the first and best braindead complaint we get in order to "live up to expectations".

And to not make a too fine point of this - when I saw the way inXile dealt with feedback when the beta turned up, and introduced hit-points, etc. and all of that - that cost you directly a sale for the next project, and all of the next projects you might be making. And you're never going to make this up again, because you've proven that giving you money is going to have you parade your most prominent carrier of the Lazy Design philosophy in my face come the first complaint on your forum. And I'm not going to pay for that.

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Re: Updated Our Journal (59): Polish & Interface Improvements, Looking Forward

Post by ar_xiv » October 27th, 2016, 12:34 pm

Retroquark, as far as tweaking Numenera tabletop rules go, I don't think the motive here has much to do with a "lazy" design philosophy. It has much more to do with creating game mechanics that are a bit more intricate than the tabletop ruleset. The computer can handle many more simultaneous variables, so, why not let it? And as far as inXile trying to appeal to CoD/Diablo players or whatever, you're tripping man. That's not happening. As far as I can tell, every step of designing this game has been to make it the best version of *itself* it can be. In other words, a focus group of trend forecasters didn't decide to add hit points to the game, and it's a ridiculous notion.

The tabletop numenera game has a quite streamlined ruleset, designed for memorability and speed. The main incentive behind much of the tabletop numenera rules is in giving the DM extremely quick ways to gauge and deploy challenges to players. The idea is that the DM can describe very abstract challenges, and the ruleset will accommodate that with a small number of corresponding dice rolls and modifiers. This is to alleviate the slowness of, say, 3rd edition D&D's long skill list and Difficulty Class system for challenges. A CRPG is much freer to have complex systems behind the scenes informing the course of play.

I agree with you that fiddling with the UI ad infinitum might not be the best approach. A wholistic approach is always better. I think there's a bit of both going on here however. And to be extra real, and call it a copout, but I'm fully expecting this UI to be a bit overcomplicated, because I have never seen a CRPG that wasn't kind of a mess in this respect. As Noah Gervais succinctly put, old school CRPGs are Automated Dungeon Masters. They are *software first* and game second, in many respects. This is a bit of a jab, but I don't think it's controversial to admit that much of the pleasure of old school CRPGs is in fact in learning these ponderous pieces of software with all their buttons and modes.

I think the root of the issue you're talking about has to do with a learning curve, as you say. There's a rather unfortunately slandered method of solving this problem, and that is teaching the player in steps, over a long period of time. Memories of painful JRPG tutorial sequences that seem to last for days are probably the culprit here. I think this can be done well however. Even though the original Planescape Torment didn't have a stellar interface (though I think it was *aesthetically* extremely on point), one thing that the game did very well was only letting you at parts of it on a sort of drip feed. The thieving skills for instance, don't become available at all until Annah joins the group, hours into the game. Switching classes to thief or mage goes into a very memorable tutorial mode as well (though Dak'kon's is distinctly more unique).

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Re: Updated Our Journal (59): Polish & Interface Improvements, Looking Forward

Post by retroquark » November 2nd, 2016, 6:57 am

It has much more to do with creating game mechanics that are a bit more intricate than the tabletop ruleset. The computer can handle many more simultaneous variables, so, why not let it?
Instead of dumping any amount of linear and pointless variables on the player, while increasingly using static table lookups instead of various dynamic functions that actually require math - so that it's easier for playtesters to "balance", you mean? So that we don't mistake a simple user-interface that has reactivity and dynamic variables for a system that therefore also is simplistic from a coding or game-master perspective? Or vice-versa, that we start thinking that phasing out every code-variable into the user-interface, so every player action is extremely tedious and complicated - also makes the underlying system automatically more complex? I must say, that's an excellent point you're making there, and I am so grateful that another Tton backer emphasized this as being a very obvious area of the game-design discussion that all players grasp intuitively.

Which I'm absolutely /sure/ the Tton team will take to heart when they tweak the game to crap as per "user request" after the public beta. To follow up on Obsidian's nosedive number with Pillars of Eternity. When they cut out Josh Sawyer's ruleset draft system from the game. After one of their backers, because he had a youtube channel and several duplicate accounts on Obsidian's forums, started to complain that it wasn't "proper".

I'm also certain that a couple of developers from the Tton team who fall in love with reddit headlines and traffic statistics also will helpfully supply that unless something looks and more importantly plays like a clone of Diablo 3 or WoW, then it will not sell. So that the Tton team then strategically, and of course wisely, will decide that pissing off a small percentage of their backers is a small price to pay for making their game a streamlined super-hit that sells millions. Which, as we all know, Diablo 3 and Wow-clones, specially the ones with retconned in user-interfaces that look like something a 7-year old put together with glue and glitter-paper, always will. It's practically a law of the games-industry. Thousands of diablo clones make millions and millions of dollars every day, even though you have never heard of these clones and the studios go bankrupt. These games are HUGE.

Because that's just how enticing more variables exposed in the user-interface, while reducing the amount of variables in the actual rulesystem overall, while adding cool-down abilities on the side, is. The same goes for the ever-appealing "linear progression on the size of red numbers in popups". Which, as we all know, is a staple of every successful videogame. Everyone on reddit (by which I mean 2 people at the same time) says so. So it must be true.

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Re: Updated Our Journal (59): Polish & Interface Improvements, Looking Forward

Post by ar_xiv » November 4th, 2016, 5:43 am

I have no interest in picking that apart that sarcastic mess. Suffice to say, inxile isn't one of those companies you're so worked up about, and this game isn't taking cues from diablo clones. It's an obvious danger in crowdfunded titles to be the victim of too many concessions, but honestly from what I can tell they have a good head about such pitfalls.

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Re: Updated Our Journal (59): Polish & Interface Improvements, Looking Forward

Post by retroquark » November 13th, 2016, 4:59 am

Still is the case that after the beta was released, inXile went for a steady push towards creating linear systems to "balance" the game more easily from a technical perspective. If that meant changing the to the player very simple system that was initially intended, and that the game was sold on during the kickstarter, they still did that. And they have defended it here as a sound decision. That it makes the system both more complex from a player-perspective, as well as less dynamic (read: pointless and uninteresting) - is apparently a small price to pay for preventing certain specific types of people from overextending themselves, and dying from bad decisions.

This is identical to the process Obsidian had with Pillars of Eternity. They had a system, that Josh sold the game on during the kickstarter, that was easy to handle for the player. With few but meaningful variables that had narratively satisfying significance in gameplay. But since a certain specific type of person wanted a health-bar and cooldown abilities, they scrapped this system altogether. Naming balancing concerns as the main reason, like inXile here. But where the real problem of course was that they simply changed something uncritically based on "player feedback".

So when inXile does the same thing - the instant their beta goes live. While devs on the forum defend the changes, and dismiss criticism on how it's final and vetted with Monte, etc. Do you really think it's reasonable to say that the change in direction for the game is imaginary? You're going to get linear balancing of areas, you're going to get sprayflesh spam, you're going to get overpowered cooldown-abilities, and you're going to get 50 extra skill-points so you'll never run out.

Because whoever is deciding on the "balance" changes to the game has decided that an uninterrupted playing experience that never challenges you or requires you to think is what the player-base wants. And that's what they defend selling the kickstarter on at this point. It's not what I bought, of course. But InXile, like Obsidian, banks on that as long as the internet gerbils that speak in two-syllable imperatives when making demands are pleased, then the game will be received with massive acclaim in the games-media.

Which also turned out to be correct. In spite of PoE being a wanky mess, that was more Baldur's Gate than Baldur's Gate ever was in terms of mechanics and numbers dominating every minute spent with it - it received the type of "old-school rpg" acclaim in the media they apparently wanted.

And now inXile wants to push into the same niche. To so-called "old school" rpgers, who apparently play role-playing games to look at numbers growing so they'll feel strong and powerful. While of course saying that the writing is still the focus of the game, so people who want narrative will not be disappointed either.

Why not just write a book, then? Give me the script for the game, and save me time having to wait for the release? Would certainly be cheaper as well.

But what they're really doing is to remove the rpg-aspect from the game, and adding random skillchecks to the dialogue to maintain the appearance of meaning with the class, skill variables, etc. And mistaking that specific and visible part of the game-design as the only RPG-mechanics that matter.

I understand that it's not the easiest thing in the world to create a narratively and mechanically meaningful role-playing game ruleset. But here we're talking about actually having a ruleset that works, that whoever is desigining are not clever enough to actually implement in the game. Because this is simply an appeal to lazy game-designers, and not lazy gamers like it appears. InXile, like Obsidian, are looking for an excuse to make the game simpler and easier to make, and are throwing themselves at the first and best comment on the internet to prove their approach is the correct one.

That you have the gall to do this after I've helped fund a process - with no deadlines, no particular requirements, no milestones set, etc. Specifically to not have the developer cut corners or create a crowd-pleaser sell that you could just as well have gotten sponsored by a more mainstream publisher. That's disappointing, but it is not surprising any more. I understand that you're running a business here - but you don't have the limiting factors involved here that would justify cutting corners.

So good luck selling your games to me in the future. When you end up, like Obsidian has, with creating shorter and cheaper productions in greater mass to make up for the fact that your niche now is smaller than what was an unsustainable market when for example Black Isle existed.

If that's fine with you, and you're happy with creating simplistic games that will only appeal to your super-fans, then have fun with that. But you're not fooling anyone else - this is lazy, it's not what I helped sponsor, and it will affect your sales down the line when you demonstrate what sort of games you are actually making, and what type of shortcuts you are taking during the productions. And that you make these shortcuts even when you're not pressured in terms of development pace, or planning and use of resources. We make no demands of you that should justify an approach like this - and you still pick the easy path up the mountain, that takes a wide and boring turn far away from the peak on the top.

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Re: Updated Our Journal (59): Polish & Interface Improvements, Looking Forward

Post by anonymous6059 » November 13th, 2016, 1:52 pm

retroquark wrote: So when inXile does the same thing - the instant their beta goes live. While devs on the forum defend the changes, and dismiss criticism on how it's final and vetted with Monte, etc. Do you really think it's reasonable to say that the change in direction for the game is imaginary? You're going to get linear balancing of areas, you're going to get sprayflesh spam, you're going to get overpowered cooldown-abilities, and you're going to get 50 extra skill-points so you'll never run out.
Spamming Stimpacks, health potions, and sprayflesh is a sad reality in almost every CRPG I've ever played. That is why I always increase the difficulty of the game. I'll give that cooldown abilities or health shields do stem from developer laziness, but I don't recall cool downs being in TToN at all. What I want to know is what game would you suggest doesn't have the same form of "balancing" problems. I also would like to know if you'd be happy if Inxile included a hard difficulty for TToN. The same game, just with fewer sprayflesh cyphers for example. Would this satisfy you or is the problem deeper than that?
retroquark wrote: But what they're really doing is to remove the rpg-aspect from the game, and adding random skillchecks to the dialogue to maintain the appearance of meaning with the class, skill variables, etc. And mistaking that specific and visible part of the game-design as the only RPG-mechanics that matter.
I disagree. Those "random" skillchecks in dialogue were part of the original beta and a huge part of the game design as far as I understand it. They are the most significant contribution to how the PC's Legacy is made. Failing certain skillchecks has profound and meaningful consequences in the game. I just don't see how you think this is "random" or simply added to make it appear to be important. It is very important!!! I dunno, maybe I'm just not following you here or something.

Anyway, I agree that it sucks that hey couldn't stick to the cypher system rule set. It is an extremely simple system and its hard to believe that they needed to change it, but I think I finally understand why they did it. Players naturally want to always win in a fight. Almost no one wants to spend points from their pool to learn the secret legends of how the Laaks were bio-engineered and then lose a fight against a handful of abhumans. In the end players would skip out on lots of the games content just to make sure that they always won the upcoming fight. By separating the two aspects you can allow players to spend all their points on exploration. I think that is a good choice. Combat isn't that important in the game. I mean, I know that the outcome is important, but the game just isn't about fighting. By separating them they could make combat more interesting. You could come into a fight and use as much of your health pool as you want because it won't restrict your skill checks throughout the game. If anything this should allow them to make different levels of difficulty and make the combat more challenging overall. That is how I understand it at least, maybe I'm wrong... :?:

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Re: Updated Our Journal (59): Polish & Interface Improvements, Looking Forward

Post by retroquark » November 14th, 2016, 2:22 am

anonymous6059 wrote:I'll give that cooldown abilities or health shields do stem from developer laziness, but I don't recall cool downs being in TToN at all.
Oh, to stop dumb people from using up all their skill strength at once. Monte Cook approves, I'm sure.
anonymous6059 wrote: What I want to know is what game would you suggest doesn't have the same form of "balancing" problems. I also would like to know if you'd be happy if Inxile included a hard difficulty for TToN. The same game, just with fewer sprayflesh cyphers for example. Would this satisfy you or is the problem deeper than that?
A little bit, yes. What any gamemaster wants when gming a game will be two things: 1. that the rules help you organise the game, not obstruct it or sabotage you along the way - no one wants game-balance decided by something that makes mathematical sense, but not narrative sense. And 2. that the players worry about the role-playing, not the numbers.

And in the gaming "community" we get this idiocy push towards 1. not using complex game-rules with more complex formulas since the computer can do that accurately and quickly, because that's posh. And 2. an obsession with minute rote mechanical wank.

This isn't about "difficulty", this is about the intelligence and ability of the development team to think in any other terms than HIT POINTS MUST REDUCE HIT POINTS.

And before we get rid of that, talking about "difficulty" has no place here.

What's actually worse than that, though, is that in both Tton as well as Pillars of Eternity - there was a system in place that actually worked. And there really is no mechanical reason or game-development technical reason for replacing it with wank.

So I want to know which shit-stain on the team has wasted my money with their stupidity, and are now brandishing their ability to do so with "Monte Cook's approval" in my face. That's all there is to this. Make MMORPTTGHers if you want to, inXile, but I want to know which genius managed to arrive themselves at the decision to add HP to a functioning system, if you were smart enough to see how to structure the game properly towards other goals than HP drain, in order to "more easily balance" the game.
anonymous6059 wrote:I disagree. Those "random" skillchecks in dialogue were part of the original beta and a huge part of the game design as far as I understand it. They are the most significant contribution to how the PC's Legacy is made. Failing certain skillchecks has profound and meaningful consequences in the game. I just don't see how you think this is "random" or simply added to make it appear to be important. It is very important!!! I dunno, maybe I'm just not following you here or something.
Well, if you read these skillchecks now, in the game, on those tablets and so on that pops up in Pillars of Eternity. And then you compare the meaning of these skills you use in these cutscene-ish parts with what is typed down in the descriptions. Then you'll find that it basically makes no sense. There's hardly any correspondence between the narrative meaning of the stat, and the mechanical function of that stat in the game.

The reason for that is that the skillsystem and character makeup was completely different up until the public beta launched, and some moron figured out that "hey, an internet guy complains about this being too complicated/not similar enough to what I expected from playing 9000 hours of Baldur's Gate. And besides, he thinks Josh Sawyer is an idiot, too, which only strengthens his argument", or something. And they gutted the whole system to please an internet moron, and put in something that would have gotten them into trouble with the Wizards d&d licensing folks if anyone paid attention.

Josh is now pitching the same system for PoE 2, as if nothing happened. So what the fuck is going on? Why is InXile doing the same "but internet moron thinks the system is too complicated" tweaks, and changing the ruleset at a late stage - without even a design-excuse in terms of a larger production process to do it. There's no "we need to reduce the amount of variables" involved here, there's just some asshole who have gotten it into their head that rote stupidity is the most advanced activity that should take place in a video-game. And the challenge put to the player should be in form of a challenge to battle boredom while bearing the idiocy of others with grace.
anonymous6059 wrote: Anyway, I agree that it sucks that hey couldn't stick to the cypher system rule set. It is an extremely simple system and its hard to believe that they needed to change it, but I think I finally understand why they did it. Players naturally want to always win in a fight. Almost no one wants to spend points from their pool to learn the secret legends of how the Laaks were bio-engineered and then lose a fight against a handful of abhumans. In the end players would skip out on lots of the games content just to make sure that they always won the upcoming fight. By separating the two aspects you can allow players to spend all their points on exploration. I think that is a good choice. Combat isn't that important in the game. I mean, I know that the outcome is important, but the game just isn't about fighting. By separating them they could make combat more interesting. You could come into a fight and use as much of your health pool as you want because it won't restrict your skill checks throughout the game. If anything this should allow them to make different levels of difficulty and make the combat more challenging overall. That is how I understand it at least, maybe I'm wrong... :?:
Then turn the difficulty down, then, for fuck's sake!

See, the problem here isn't that people don't like losing. The problem is that the superiority complex wankers who are "seasoned CRPG players" and have written books - I'm not joking here - about the philosophy of crpg-gaming - they want to put the difficulty setting on maximum and win by making rulebook judgements of the kind that exploits a reach and view-distance quirk to beat overwhelming odds. They want to sit and calculate the amount of hit-points lost during an encounter, so they can predict how much potion-spam they need to plan for.

I frequently play as GM for assholes like that, and their problem is that it takes an hour to ween them off that bullshit and start having them imagine the actual game-world.

But left to their own devices, they will just crawl up their own bum and stay there. But I assure you, and I can guarantee inXile as well, that if you base your audience on wankers like that - you will go out of business! And the same would be the case for the Wizards - if they treated their customers like inXile and Obsidian does, by imagining that they are all unimaginative morons who like to count numbers. THEN THEY WOULD GO OUT OF BUSINESS!

Seriously - since when did a gamemaster start playing a game, and after three minutes say: "I agree, level 1 rogue, you should actually have an instant murder ability from the start of the game - let's disband the game for 6 months, and I will implement and balance in a system with a level 1 rogue murder everything in the shadows-ability and get back to you". When did GMs start to do that? Sear?

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Re: Updated Our Journal (59): Polish & Interface Improvements, Looking Forward

Post by Aramintai » November 15th, 2016, 6:17 am

When's the next early access update, devs?
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Re: Updated Our Journal (59): Polish & Interface Improvements, Looking Forward

Post by anonymous6059 » November 15th, 2016, 11:58 am

So, aren't we supposed to get a "updated our journal" every month? I guess the team is too busy with Wasteland 3 to tell us about the new console tweaks. :P

I really hope they don't release another beta update. The game is supposed to be shipping first quarter 2017. If that is true updating the beta is pointless. I'm wondering where all those rewards are that I purchased. I do believe that half the concept art is missing from the concept art reward (something that the developers still haven't answered), we have received no information on the 5 missing novellas either. I really hope this doesn't become one of those deals where the novellas arrive 2 years after the game has already released. The novellas are supposed to keep me hyped!!!! A beta update wouldn't do anything for Inxile, I mean unless they plan on postponing the game even longer (which btw is fine with me).

I want to know how much of the team is still even on the TToN project now. With Bard's tale and Wasteland 3 being developed and Wasteland 2 Director's cut coming out just last year I really don't feel like TToN was ever given its due. As much as I want to love Inxile, I just can't continue to back you guys until I've seen 8/10 of what you'd promised. I'm really starting to feel like TToN is the rush job that only existed to help fund other games. Was the entire team ever working on TToN or did half of the group play catch up after Wasteland 2 Director's cut? With so many others to feed I'm concerned my baby isn't getting the nutrition she deserves. :(

Anyway, please Update our Journal soon, pretty please.

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Re: Updated Our Journal (59): Polish & Interface Improvements, Looking Forward

Post by kaiman » November 16th, 2016, 1:09 am

retroquark wrote:Because whoever is deciding on the "balance" changes to the game has decided that an uninterrupted playing experience that never challenges you or requires you to think is what the player-base wants. And that's what they defend selling the kickstarter on at this point. It's not what I bought, of course. But InXile, like Obsidian, banks on that as long as the internet gerbils that speak in two-syllable imperatives when making demands are pleased, then the game will be received with massive acclaim in the games-media.
I'm all with you, but I fear it's a lost cause. Not sure if I would blame it on the users, though. Even if some of them will be quite vocal about their agenda, ultimately it is inXile's call to make those changes or not. And it's not as if they have to give much heed to what anyone says; they already have our money, after all.

Personally, for me it's a cop-out on the choice & consequences part. They want to make sure that we always have all the choices, but without really suffering any consequences. Maybe the narrative will diverge, but gameplay-wise they've taken away the challenge (and joy) that comes from having to allocate limited resources to the best possible effect.

Oh, and don't get me started about balancing in conjunction with single player games. That's what difficulty settings are for. Period.

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Re: Updated Our Journal (59): Polish & Interface Improvements, Looking Forward

Post by anonymous6059 » November 16th, 2016, 3:56 am

kaiman wrote: Personally, for me it's a cop-out on the choice & consequences part. They want to make sure that we always have all the choices, but without really suffering any consequences. Maybe the narrative will diverge, but gameplay-wise they've taken away the challenge (and joy) that comes from having to allocate limited resources to the best possible effect.
How exactly? The only consequences being altered revolve around combat. They can still make all exploration and narrative choices have dramatic consequences. You could still run out of points in your pool and not be able to make specific choices. The only difference is that combat doesn't come into play. You can fight all you want and still complete might pool specific quest. Your intellect and speed based skill checks shouldn't be affected. Even the might based choices shouldn't be affected too much. All they have to do is make sure that the amount of points in those pools stay relatively low.

Adding a health bar only gave Inxile the opportunity to increase the difficulty of the game. They now have the opportunity to make a easy, medium, and hard mode because combat is separate from exploration. The combat was one of the weakest parts of the beta and the health bar "should" give the developers more room to make improvements. Since the health bar and your might pool are no longer connected doesn't mean you somehow will have an unlimited amount of points to allocate. Some quest and choices will be limited (time sensitive so you can't just go rest and replenish your pools) based on how you spend your available points. You'll also be limited by the PCs tier and amount of effort the PC can use as well. That by itself will control the level of success that the PC has throughout the game.

Personally I think the Health bar makes sense and doesn't negatively affect choice & consequence in any way that I understand. The single biggest letdown for me is the simple fact that inxile had to change it and when they decided to do it. The Cypher system is pretty simple and it should of been pretty easy for them to of kept the core aspects of the system intact. I'm sure they'd of needed to make some minor adjustments in order to convert it into a videogame, but nothing as severe as the addition of a health bar. The time that they chose to do it also makes Inxile suspect. The fact that they built the game all the way to beta level before suddenly needing to make this change suggest a certain level of "dumbing down" for those who couldn't wrap their minds around pool based health.

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Re: Updated Our Journal (59): Polish & Interface Improvements, Looking Forward

Post by kaiman » November 16th, 2016, 12:27 pm

Ah, I didn't really want to reopen the discussion we already had ([1] [2]) in the health bar thread, just voice my support for retroquarks concerns (though I can't really endorse the tone of the posts).
anonymous6059 wrote:How exactly? The only consequences being altered revolve around combat. [...]. You can fight all you want and still complete might pool specific quest.
Exactly, you can fight all you want and suffer no consequences. And, of course, the opposite is true as well.

All the rest you wrote may very well come true, and fortunately it won't be long for us to see :-). But my gut feeling is that inXile has given away the opportunity to make a truly memorable and unique cRPG, if perhaps somewhat harder to digest. We'll never know ... but whatever we'll get, I'm pretty sure it'll still be greatly enjoyable at least.

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Re: Updated Our Journal (59): Polish & Interface Improvements, Looking Forward

Post by Drool » November 16th, 2016, 2:08 pm

My goodness. So much salt.
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Re: Updated Our Journal (59): Polish & Interface Improvements, Looking Forward

Post by kilobug » November 17th, 2016, 1:53 am

kaiman wrote:
anonymous6059 wrote:How exactly? The only consequences being altered revolve around combat. [...]. You can fight all you want and still complete might pool specific quest.
Exactly, you can fight all you want and suffer no consequences. And, of course, the opposite is true as well.
"Still be able to spend Effort in might pool challenges" doesn't at all mean "no consequences". Killing or leaving alive an NPC may have far reaching consequences later in the story. Handling a situation with diplomacy instead of fighting can grant you respect in some factions, but make other consider you weak. That's the kind of consequence and reactivity that's deep and interesting, not so much a "oh you took damage so now you can't force open that door".

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Re: Updated Our Journal (59): Polish & Interface Improvements, Looking Forward

Post by retroquark » November 20th, 2016, 12:44 pm

^oh, thank god, the false equivalences guy is here. Whatever would we do without some proper structured distraction to excuse or make seemingly irrelevant the lack of.. er.. brilliance in the chosen design-approach.
Drool wrote:My goodness. So much salt.
It's very simple: stop taking on board loudmouthed, rude, respectless moron-suggestions full of invectives off the internet like it was stated on stone tablets given to you in a flash of lightning on a mountaintop. And I will stop torturing you with what is apparently the only thing you guys listen to.

Note as always: a very, very, very, very, very - very - small amount of the people who helped kickstart this game post here, or on internet in general. And you taking on board certain "feedback" on their behalf is unfair to the massive majority - usually more than 99.9% of the backers don't post on forums like this - of the actual backers.

And what I'm asking you is that you should simply refrain from making a design born from what appears to be some unholy union of three lazy internet loudmouths and one amazingly lazy designer, into a replacement for mechanics that demonstrably worked, and are obviously possible to balance the game towards.

Instead of, as explained, that you change - an already completed design, in an identical fashion as what Obsidian did with PoE - into something that appears to be geared for players with single digit IQs. Which, that also happens to be identical to PoE, the writing from the first phrase in the game will not be similarly matched towards.

So I am genuinely wondering what you think this is accomplishing. Are you seriously suggesting that your audience will happily click past all the dialogue they don't understand, just so they can see numbers popping up when the characters fight? And that this is the mainstream audience of your kickstarter campaign?

What is the reasoning, Sear? Or anyone else who wants to comment on how wise this change of a design, that already was shown to work, and work well, is. Are you seriously going to suggest, for example, that you did this so your testers would have an easier time balancing their thoughtless min-maxed builds? You can tell me - because I assure you, I have heard significantly stupider excuses for design-changes like this before. I will understand if you keep it, of course - and then just never buy an inXile game ever again.

But you simply owe it to your kickstarters to tell us what you're doing here.

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Re: Updated Our Journal (59): Polish & Interface Improvements, Looking Forward

Post by Drool » November 20th, 2016, 1:03 pm

retroquark wrote:Note as always: a very, very, very, very, very - very - small amount of the people who helped kickstart this game post here, or on internet in general. And you taking on board certain "feedback" on their behalf is unfair to the massive majority - usually more than 99.9% of the backers don't post on forums like this - of the actual backers.
Mhmm. Convenient that this massive, overwhelming majority that never comments on anything happens to agree entirely with your opinion.
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Re: Updated Our Journal (59): Polish & Interface Improvements, Looking Forward

Post by Zombra » November 20th, 2016, 1:11 pm

retroquark wrote:So I am genuinely wondering what you think this is accomplishing. Are you seriously suggesting that your audience will happily click past all the dialogue they don't understand, just so they can see numbers popping up when the characters fight? And that this is the mainstream audience of your kickstarter campaign?

What is the reasoning, Sear? Or anyone else who wants to comment on how wise this change of a design, that already was shown to work, and work well, is. You simply owe it to your kickstarters to tell us what you're doing here.
... It looks like you're still talking about the health bar? sear did explain that, 6 months ago, and in the appropriate thread I might add.
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Re: Updated Our Journal (59): Polish & Interface Improvements, Looking Forward

Post by Woolfe » November 20th, 2016, 8:14 pm

Shrug.... This could be lazy devs, or it could be a bunch of systems in the background working (or not) together in ways that we can't see or appreciate without access to the source code.

As much as Sear and others try to explain stuff to us, the reality is we will never have as full an understanding as they do. Something that is obvious to them because they understand the reasons why it came to be, may look stupid to us. And the opposite is true as well. Hence the Beta and feedback from the beta.

I enjoyed WL2, and Monte Cooke is on board with the changes in TToN, so I am willing to give InXile the benefit of the doubt.
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Re: Updated Our Journal (59): Polish & Interface Improvements, Looking Forward

Post by Stuurminator » November 21st, 2016, 10:05 am

anonymous6059 wrote:The Cypher system is pretty simple and it should of been pretty easy for them to of kept the core aspects of the system intact.
I see this argument a lot, and I think it behooves me to say something: a (tabletop roleplaying) system being simple does not make it easier to convert to video game format. Quite the opposite, in fact; simple systems are designed as such to offload some arbitration to the GM's human mind.

Mechanically complex systems are easily to convert to CRPGs because computers don't mind working with a lot of rules and minutiae. Streamlined systems are much harder because they generally are built with the assumption that the rules will take a backseat to a human's subjective judgment, something computers don't do well at all.

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