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Updated our Journal (27): Extra Effort

Posted: December 20th, 2013, 4:55 pm
by Brother None
Update 27 talks about skills, effort, exploration, story revisions, and Adam's promotion.
I wanted to speak a bit about how Torment is progressing. The last round of major story revisions has been completed (more on that below) and we’ve resumed fleshing out and designing specific areas. Artist Aaron Meyers (who was also an artist on Planescape: Torment) has been making great progress on an environment prototype, proving out our art pipelines and helping us assess how the density of our design content will feel in the game. We don’t have any new art to share yet, but expect us to have something for you to see before winter’s end.

For a while now, some of you have been asking when we’d be transitioning from preproduction to production. With Wasteland 2’s recent early beta release, you may be aware that the inXile team will be spending more time on that game to get it done right—one of the fundamental benefits of Kickstarter is that we have the direction from our backers to emphasize quality over punctuality. This decision impacts Torment because most of the production team (e.g., programmers, artists, animators, etc.) will be moving onto Torment later than originally expected, which means we’ll be in preproduction for a longer period of time.

Believe it or not, this is the best situation from the perspective of Torment. When you’re in production with a large team, trying to incorporate any new idea can result in a lot of wasted work and confusion. (An “idea” in this sense could be many different things: an improvement to how conversation data is authored that enables a new type of dialogue reactivity, a new technique for handling shadow-casting lights in environments, a major change to an existing companion that improves the overall party dynamics, etc.) So when considering the new idea, you either accept this negative impact or discard the idea.

With a small preproduction team, the negative impacts have a smaller effect and the values of the ideas are more about the benefits they provide. Fewer people also means fewer miscommunications and greater flexibility both to experiment and to iterate. The closer you can get to your final design and technology before you are creating content at a rapid pace, the better the final result will be. So extra preproduction time is very beneficial, as long as you that time includes prototyping in-engine and iterating on the design instead of expanding the game’s scope.

We approached our preproduction aware that we might begin production later. On a traditionally funded project, you can ultimately be forced to make some decisions that you know are bad for the overall project to meet a specific schedule, but because we are free from external milestones, we can flexibly adapt, keeping our focus on the overall quality of the final game. It can be challenging to think that far ahead, but it’s even more challenging if you have rigid short-term goals binding you.

It’s true that if you just extend preproduction without any making any other changes to your plans, you’ll go over budget and over schedule. But the productivity improvements you gain through a longer preproduction period make up for the added cost of having a small team in preproduction for longer. (This is one reason, for example, that expansion packs are much cheaper to make than full titles – the development cycle for the original title is effectively part of the expansion’s preproduction.)

We’ll let you know if we ever determine that Torment’s release will be delayed beyond the first half of 2015. Thus far, our extended preproduction has been a very good thing and at this time I don’t anticipate it will push us out of that release date window.

Re: Updated our Journal (27): Extra Effort

Posted: December 20th, 2013, 5:57 pm
by meganothing
Interesting update. The RPG system really looks like a good fit.

Re: Updated our Journal (27): Extra Effort

Posted: December 26th, 2013, 11:37 am
by dorkboy
levitation?
yes, please. :)

Re: Updated our Journal (27): Extra Effort

Posted: January 2nd, 2014, 8:35 pm
by veryalien
Image

Re: Updated our Journal (27): Extra Effort

Posted: January 2nd, 2014, 10:40 pm
by Crosmando
Lol, arguing with a bot.

Numenera PnP is pretty unorthodox I would say, I haven't played it but I have read the rules. If they can implement them well and without too much alteration, Torment has the chance of being really unique. Especially how there's only 6 character levels, which means the game itself will I guess be quite short, or they might draw out the intervals of when and how much xp you get. Things seem to change radically from level-to-level though, for example level 6 Nano can move mountains I think.

But I think a game which is short, but with many different choices, so if you play the game again as a different type of character and make different choices, it's almost completely different than before, that suits a Torment game perfectly.

I also love how the game has "spells" in the form of Cyphers which are one-use devices that do many different things.

Re: Updated our Journal (27): Extra Effort

Posted: January 3rd, 2014, 2:24 am
by ffordesoon
Well, there aren't really six character levels, per se. There are character tiers, and you advance up the tiers as you accumulate XP, each one of which you can put into stats, abilities, or what-have-you.

I suspect they'll make gaining a single experience point the equivalent of leveling up in other games, and make tier advancement very occasional.

That said, I've been hoping for a short but highly replayable cRPG for a while now. The need to stretch narrative games out to a marketable length often damages the integrity of the work. That's certainly true of PST, and while I'd like to see ToN have the same amount of content or more, it would be nice if the majority of that content widened the possibilities inherent within the game rather than stretching the story out.

Re: Updated our Journal (27): Extra Effort

Posted: January 3rd, 2014, 2:35 am
by Crosmando
Yes, tiers are what I meant by levels. Though I believe you only get access to new class-based abilities per level, not just with xp.

Have you played the demo/beta for Age of Decadence? It's the only game I've played in recent times which seems to have done this "very short but heaps of choices and reactivity", in fact it probably does it better than PST.

Re: Updated our Journal (27): Extra Effort

Posted: January 3rd, 2014, 3:06 am
by Nanoman
Don't forget also, Adam did said in this video update (qouting Kevin at 1:45) that they might go past tier 6.

Re: Updated our Journal (27): Extra Effort

Posted: January 3rd, 2014, 1:28 pm
by under_dog
The rules and the settings are really unique indeed, i can't wait to get my hand on the crpg version as i can't seem to find enough players with enough understanding of the english language to play the PnP :cry:

Re: Updated our Journal (27): Extra Effort

Posted: January 4th, 2014, 10:36 pm
by veryalien
Am I the only nerd who thought MCA was being a little too try-hard with the kitten tweet? IT'S A 4CHAN BOT MAN.

Re: Updated our Journal (27): Extra Effort

Posted: January 5th, 2014, 5:33 am
by paradox-fi
Crosmando wrote:Things seem to change radically from level-to-level though, for example level 6 Nano can move mountains I think.
Nanoman wrote:Don't forget also, Adam did said in this video update (qouting Kevin at 1:45) that they might go past tier 6.
If these are both true, it makes me a little worried. I can't recall a single game in which playing an insanely powerful character worked well. Either the gameplay (action) becomes boring, or the later parts of the game need to be designed in a very restrictive manner, so that the player can't actually use the powers to break the game/quests.

On the other hand, if there is a setting where extreme powers might work, Numenera is it. Also, there is no reason to put a low level cap in TToN, because there won't be TToN 2.

Re: Updated our Journal (27): Extra Effort

Posted: January 5th, 2014, 6:10 am
by Crosmando
Move Mountains (9 Intellect points): You exert a
tremendous amount of physical force within 250 feet
(76 m) of you. You can push up to 10 tons (9.1 t) of
material up to 50 feet (15 m). This force can collapse
buildings, redirect small rivers, or perform other
dramatic effects. Action.
According to the Player's Guide/Corebook. Not as overpowered as the name sounds really, especially if they restricted it somewhat, like as a way to create environmental blockages or a way to cross a river to escape an enemy, scripted stuff, instead of making it a combat ability you can use anytime.

EDIT: Is it against forum rules to copypaste stuff from Numenera rulebooks?

Re: Updated our Journal (27): Extra Effort

Posted: January 5th, 2014, 12:55 pm
by under_dog
a cost of 9 intellect points is quite a limiter in itself though

Re: Updated our Journal (27): Extra Effort

Posted: January 6th, 2014, 7:27 pm
by veryalien
paradox-fi wrote: If these are both true, it makes me a little worried. I can't recall a single game in which playing an insanely powerful character worked well.
In KOTOR 1 and KOTOR 2 you became a GOD by the end. It was also explained by the narrative. Especially in KOTOR 2 where the Exile is essentially the end of the Force.

Re: Updated our Journal (27): Extra Effort

Posted: January 7th, 2014, 9:42 pm
by Adam Heine
Some information to address what you guys are talking about:
  • Numenera does have 6 Tiers, which correspond mostly to typical RPG levels. However, to progress to the next tier, you need to make four partial progressions first: add'l skills, add'l Edge, add'l Stat Pools, and add'l Effort (there are other things you can improve instead of one of these as well). The moment you improve the fourth partial progression, you go up a tier and gain whatever abilities your Focus and Type (read: class) give you for that Tier. My impression is that character progression is more gradual, more customizable, and occurs more often (so more fun :)).
  • I did say we might go over Tier 6. We're trying not to though. (Our general design philosophy so far has been "Use Numenera core rules except where they don't make sense in a CRPG.")
  • Torment won't be SHORT short, but it won't be an 80-hour Baldur's Gate-fest either. Our other design philosophy is "Do fewer things but do them AWESOME." (So yeah, we're aiming at shortish but with a lot of reactivity, depth, and (hopefully) replayability.)
  • You won't be a god by the end, but you'll be pretty cool :)

Re: Updated our Journal (27): Extra Effort

Posted: January 7th, 2014, 9:45 pm
by ffordesoon
Adam Heine wrote:Some information to address what you guys are talking about:
  • Numenera does have 6 Tiers, which correspond mostly to typical RPG levels. However, to progress to the next tier, you need to make four partial progressions first: add'l skills, add'l Edge, add'l Stat Pools, and add'l Effort (there are other things you can improve instead of one of these as well). The moment you improve the fourth partial progression, you go up a tier and gain whatever abilities your Focus and Type (read: class) give you for that Tier. My impression is that character progression is more gradual, more customizable, and occurs more often (so more fun :)).
  • I did say we might go over Tier 6. We're trying not to though. (Our general design philosophy so far has been "Use Numenera core rules except where they don't make sense in a CRPG.")
  • Torment won't be SHORT short, but it won't be an 80-hour Baldur's Gate-fest either. Our other design philosophy is "Do fewer things but do them AWESOME." (So yeah, we're aiming at shortish but with a lot of reactivity, depth, and (hopefully) replayability.)
  • You won't be a god by the end, but you'll be pretty cool :)
Thanks, Adam, that's really nice to hear. :)

Someone turn this man's name red!

Re: Updated our Journal (27): Extra Effort

Posted: January 7th, 2014, 11:37 pm
by Godfather101
WOW, don't look behind you adam, theres sitting someone. :mrgreen:

Thanks for the response, hope you're doing well and everythings fine with work.

And yes, adam needs a red name. ^^

Re: Updated our Journal (27): Extra Effort

Posted: January 8th, 2014, 10:15 am
by paradox-fi
Thanks Adam for the details, it's appreciated :)
Godfather101 wrote:WOW, don't look behind you adam, theres sitting someone. :mrgreen:
This comment doesn't make much sense for those who didn't see Adam's original avatar image :)

Re: Updated our Journal (27): Extra Effort

Posted: January 8th, 2014, 10:17 am
by Godfather101
hrhr, yap, now he got the man who was behind everything. :mrgreen:
AND he is red now. ^^

Re: Updated our Journal (27): Extra Effort

Posted: January 8th, 2014, 4:22 pm
by Adam Heine
Avatar fixed :)