The Bard's Tale IV Update #33: New Gameplay Video

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update #33: New Gameplay Video

Post by Gizmo » February 9th, 2017, 4:03 pm

Lucius wrote: It's an absolutely incredible game that has honest to God felt like an old school style game without feeling the least bit dated. I cannot praise that game enough. I'm certain many people at InXile has played it, but anyone reading this and hasn't played it.....go buy it and play it now.
It is said that John Wayne loved the script for Blazing Saddles ~when he was offered it... but that he just could not bring himself to take the part [if he ever seriously considered doing so], because it so clashed with his career image. I can imagine that there are game studios that can be wholly impressed with, and even love to play certain games, but cannot bring themselves to make one in similar style and mechanic [with lessons learned] ~for the very same reason.

Bethesda and FO3 comes first to mind; though I truly doubt they loved Fallout, or that more than two or three in the company had ever played (or even heard of) the series before working on a "sequel" for it.
Zombra wrote:You did way too much work to explain that, man :lol:
The sad part is, that until today, I wasn't able to see the whole video; (and see the PCs turn around).
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Having seen the video, I do think it looks very nice, but is it just me, or does the camera seem to be below hip height?

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update #33: New Gameplay Video

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » February 9th, 2017, 10:24 pm

Gizmo wrote:
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:Ah, that word modern again. What does it mean in the context of games? What makes a game modern?
**If Quake were done today: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1ZtBCpo0eU
Hilarious!
thebruce wrote:1) Regarding creature design - one other aspect to the static artiwork cards for creatures that hasn't been mentioned yet: while it gives more of fine-art creative option for the artists, as players it's not just about design of the creature, it's also the backdrop, the framing and composition - all of these little stylistic elements to the artwork add to the character and feel of the creature. When working with 3D renderings in a literal environment, you simply can't get that extra sense of, say, looking up towards the blue sky to see the towering giant over the canopies reaching down at you. That extra level of 'fantasy' is lost in a literal environment.
Very much agreed.

Also, there will be places in the 3D environment where the lighting is poor and does not show proper coloration or detail or where the backdrop may not mesh well with the visual presentation of the encounter. Having control of the backdrop and assuming isotropic lighting allows for idealized presentation.
thebruce wrote: 2) Sooooooo Scottish! Yes, I agree with recent comments about the over-Scottishizing of the game. And I'm part Scottish. I love Scotland.
I likewise have plenty of Scottish ancestry; I come from a prominent Scottish clan. But, I see this game as something that I do not want connected to my family heritage; I want it connected to its high fantasy heritage. As I've mentioned before, the use of the name Skara Brae in the originals does not imply that the game need to be somehow rooted in the history of our world. My ideal for fantasy is that it should be for escape from the real world, not as a reminder of it. (This statement holds not only for historical connections, but also for attempts at moralizing. Some may recall the "Church of the Sword Father" that inXile introduced into the story line and its possible parallels to the spread of Christian Catholicism and its destruction of the older ways.)
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update #33: New Gameplay Video

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » February 9th, 2017, 10:30 pm

ZZGO wrote:Classic BT had a lot of weird monsters, too. But to come across as special they need to be embedded in a larger range of familiar, classic fantasy opponents (orcs, wolves, thieves, giant spiders, brigands, you get the idea) that serve as establishing a background that makes the weirder things work. Without such a background canvas, as others have observed, it is those bizarre monsters that set the mood (to overall bizarre). InXile don't have to reinvent the wheel with the monsters. Just give us good game mechanics and good puzzles.
Yes, inXile already has a good menagerie to draw from the originals - no reinvention necessary.
I will also agree that things like the Soul Sucker, the Jabberwock, Bandersnatches, Gimps, etc... were fun additions to the fantasy staples and were contrasted well by them. However, if the originals had been composed entirely of such oddities, then they would have had a very different feel. What I am seeing with BT4 is mostly oddities rather than staples.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update #33: New Gameplay Video

Post by ZZGO » February 9th, 2017, 11:47 pm

:D Funny enough, all those examples you just mention feel like staple fantasy monsters to me.
I was more referring to Fred, Xorn, Mongo, or Kringle Brothers (well there was that spell).
Some more "out there" monsters were the Kinestian robots and the Nazis and whatnot in Tarmitia (though they worked well within their story context; it's just that you can't overload your game with such outliers).

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update #33: New Gameplay Video

Post by thebruce » February 10th, 2017, 6:53 am

Right, it's about the base impression with outliers - BT1-3 were serious with witty/funny outliers, whereas BT2004 and IV (so far) are or seem witty/funny from the get-go.

Plus, in 1-3, we didn't get text phrases appearing in the scroller from characters being chatty about random things while you explore just to help 'build character and charm'. I'd say that's the equivalent to the 'banter' we see at this point in BT4. Please, provide an option to turn off passive witty banter.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update #33: New Gameplay Video

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » February 10th, 2017, 5:34 pm

Freds and the Kringle Brothers, true - I would consider them to be on the list of outliers as well. But, I wouldn't consider the Jabberwock and the Bandersnatch to be fantasy staples; they are out of a Lewis Carroll poem, Jabberwocky, and usually not featured the typical D&D-like bestiary (Monster Manual, Monstrous Compendium, or what have you). Not sure that the Xorn is an example of an outlier; I've seen that in a number of other games. But, where you want to draw the line between fantasy staples and outliers is obviously a matter of opinion.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update #33: New Gameplay Video

Post by Drool » February 10th, 2017, 10:22 pm

Lord of Riva wrote:hrm okay, i never played any of the games in this series, i expected them to be akin to Wasteland which i found pretty "tongue-in-cheek"
Welllllll... sorta. Again, there were humorous things (Sir Robin's Tune letting you run (with this music no less) or an explosive called the "Holy Handgrenade"), the games couldn't be called comedy by any stretch of the imagination. And I wouldn't even go so far as to call them tongue-in-cheek, especially considering some of the heavy themes in 3.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update #33: New Gameplay Video

Post by Zombra » February 12th, 2017, 5:25 pm

Zombra wrote:
sear wrote:
Brian wrote:Part of our expanded CNPC system stretch goal for the game comes in the form of our party chatter system. As you explore the world, your characters will banter among themselves, offering personality-filled insights into the events you are seeing. You can also bet some of these will feed into side content, like hidden treasure or secret rooms and puzzles in the depths of our dungeons.
Shades of Wizardry 8! This doesn't work for every game, but OK, here I am into it.
PLEASE make sure you have a wide variety of voices to choose from, and give them some personality so it's not just "bland hero 1" and "bland hero 2". Wiz8 had 36 voices to choose from. Crowdsource the acting if you have to, I know at least 5 people who would do it and I know people at three different recording studios.
Oh ... one other thing I should say on the voices.
I assume that you will let us choose any voice for any character, but it's best not to assume, so ...
Please do not "attach" the voice packs to any particular portraits or character types.
If I want to use the "scary old man" voice for my elf thief, let me - even if you had a human sorcerer in mind when you recorded it. This is a great way I can "own" my characters a little more and make them more unique. It's OK if you gender lock them, that's it.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update #33: New Gameplay Video

Post by ssfsx17 » February 13th, 2017, 2:41 pm

Wizardry 8 style banter is not too bad, provided that:

- Any voice can be assigned to any portrait (what Zombra said)
- The banter is actually funny, and not overly cheesy
- There are extreme personality types, e.g. the Wizardry 8 voice who says "Some say that I can talk to animals, but it is they who speak to me" or the one who says "There will be many implements of destruction at my disposal, ya?"

I think Wizardry 8's banter worked because of SirTech's prior experience with the Jagged Alliance series. Hope that if this feature is core to BT4, then it would be the same or greater quality.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update #33: New Gameplay Video

Post by demeisen » February 15th, 2017, 3:43 pm

Here are some thoughts on the new gameplay video. Background: I played and finished BT1, but literally not since it came out in 198whatever, so my memory is a touch dim.

The good:
  • First, thanks for putting this out there for us to see. The internet can be... harsh... towards in-progress work. Takes guts to put early work out for feedback.
  • As far as I can determine from a youtube video, the environments and artwork is great. I liked how the initially inviting forest gradually turned foreboding as the group progressed. Looks promising WRT exploration, and the underground environments were cool. Made you want to explore more.
  • Spell effects, particle effects (smoke, etc), reflections, and lighting looks nice. Cool reassembly sequence on the floor.
  • It's hard to get a feel for how the combat system will play out in practice, but what I see in the video has a lot of potential. If you can make it interestingly tactical and challenging, akin to a MtG game or similar, that could really work out nicely. I'm looking forward to seeing how this develops, but I like what I see so far. I wasn't bothered by the different gameplay style from BT1.
The bad:
  • I didn't care for the voice work. I like Scottish accents and all, but something was just off about it. Too jovial, and it didn't fit the sense of tentativeness and dread you'd expect on exploring such an underground lair. It took me out of the mood being built up by the other elements of the game.
  • You touched on it, so I won't belabor the point, but I it looks pretty odd to have my own group facing backwards when traveling. I'd be fine with not having them visible at all, or perhaps making them feel a bit more like part of the world somehow.
Stuff I'd like to see:
  • Somehow I feel the combat grid is a touch claustrophobic, and would be better as 6x2 on on my side instead of 4x2. Maybe 6x3 or 6x4 for the monsters. That'd let interesting things happen with the geometries of spell effects.
  • BT1 was strong on long term resource management. Once you left the inn and journeyed underground, you were gradually ground down, and it was up to you to turn around at a point where you could survive the trip back out. I have fond memories of barely getting back with 1 character left alive who had naught but a few HP left. I hope BT4 will maintain a tactical sense that extends beyond a single fight with insta-regen afterwards. It really adds to the sense of being on a journey, rather than a trivial unconnected series of little fights.
  • I would like to see the ability to fight larger groups. Perhaps the 6xN grid idea would help, or perhaps stacking several enemies in each square. That'd also open up other tactical possibilities, e.g, strong single-target spells or weak multi-target spells that were strong when attacking squares with many creatures.
Thanks for making the game!

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update #33: New Gameplay Video

Post by Gizmo » February 15th, 2017, 4:21 pm

demeisen wrote:
  • BT1 was strong on long term resource management. Once you left the inn and journeyed underground, you were gradually ground down, and it was up to you to turn around at a point where you could survive the trip back out. I have fond memories of barely getting back with 1 character left alive who had naught but a few HP left.
I'll second that!

I remember trekking back while having few hit points, no spells, no songs, and no torches in BT2, and being several levels down ~below the no magic zones; (which means no lights). :lol:

**I thought the first seen in the Dark Domain was an excellent joke.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update #33: New Gameplay Video

Post by demeisen » February 15th, 2017, 6:03 pm

Gizmo wrote:
demeisen wrote:I remember trekking back while having few hit points, no spells, no songs, and no torches in BT2, and being several levels down ~below the no magic zones; (which means no lights). :lol:
Indeed... it could be tense, particularly since you couldn't save your game outside inns (well, if I recall right - I haven't played BT1 in 30+ years). You might have hours of play time riding on your ability to barely stagger alive into the inn after something turned unexpectedly sour. I doubt that'd go over well with modern gaming tastes, but it made for some truly memorable play.

I at least hope we get something other than console-style auto-regen, which I loathe, however well done the combat system might otherwise be. I want descending into an ominous unexplored cavern to be a legitimately dangerous thing over the long haul. Something you prepare for, and plan for how you're going to get back out again once you're down there.

And yeah... I also hope we get some of the BT1 deviousness you mention around darkness, teleporters, and so on. I also fondly remember those "Oh #*(!" moments when you were teleported to an unknown place you hadn't mapped, and had to figure out how to find your way home again alive - a complete unknown. Sometimes I made it... sometimes I didn't. I imagine it'll have to be greatly diluted to suit today's gaming sensibilities which can't tolerate "sometimes I didn't", but at least some faint echo of that dynamic would be nice to have.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update #33: New Gameplay Video

Post by Gizmo » February 15th, 2017, 6:49 pm

demeisen wrote:You might have hours of play time riding on your ability to barely stagger alive into the inn after something turned unexpectedly sour. I doubt that'd go over well with modern gaming tastes, but it made for some truly memorable play.
The Legend of Grimrock games do have an Ironman mode; and LoG2, had single save Healing crystals. It's not as hardcore as returning to the inn, but I played my first session of LoG2 with both options set, and it was the most intense game I've played in maybe a decade; it also took me more than a month. :lol:

I remember completing the cemetery at least four times, only to die just before the very end, and have to replay it all the next night. If they come out with an LoG3, I will do the same thing again, and play the first game with Ironman & single saves.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update #33: New Gameplay Video

Post by cparker94 » February 18th, 2017, 6:37 am

For years I have been looking for a game similar to Bard's 1-3. The closest thing I found was Devil Whiskey. When I heard that Bards Tale IV was going to be made, I contacted Brian to get his thoughts on whether an old schooler like me would enjoy this game and if it would have that "old school" feel to it. He assured me that it would so I backed the Kickstarter campaign which is the first time I have ever backed any game -- I just enjoyed the original Bard's Tale trilogy that much. However, after seeing the latest video, I do not feel any connection with it and the trilogy. Might as well not call Bard's Tale in my opinion. It is a completely different game. It looks like I will enjoy it but is it really like the Bard's Tale game I am looking for? Time will tell. I will say that for all you Bard's Tale purists like me out there, I did find a game that has the Bard's Tale feel to it. I played it for about six months straight and completed it. Not sure if it is on Android but I played it on my iPhone. It is called Silversword -- I highly recommend it!

Craig from Texas

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update #33: New Gameplay Video

Post by demeisen » February 18th, 2017, 12:31 pm

It is a completely different game
I get where you're coming from, but I'd argue that it can retain the "spiritual core" of BT1-3 while improving some of the things that wouldn't hold up well today. For example - and I say this as somebody who truly loved playing BT1 back in the 80's on an Amiga, and still considers it a groundbreaking and influential game - I'm not going to be disappointed by the lack of "AAADDD". What they're showing in the videos is different, true enough, but IMHO it has the potential to give us something more tactically interesting and fun, if it's well done. (Which of course implies they should let ME tune it, but that's a separate subject :lol: )

The way I'm looking at it is: a modern blobber with fun exploration, a different but still phase based combat system, retaining the deviousness of the originals around puzzles and tricks and general difficulty? Especially if they don't get all hand-holdy like many modern games do when they try to prevent you from ever backing yourself into a corner through poor resource management? I'm in... whatever they wanna call it. BT4 seems OK, if it's set in the same universe.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update #33: New Gameplay Video

Post by Gizmo » February 18th, 2017, 12:41 pm

cparker94 wrote:...Craig from Texas
That's the very thing; and was the same way with Fallout 1, Fallout 2, and FO3 & FO4. The follow-up games wore the series names & reputation like a tinsel disguise covering an essentially unrelated game that focused on entirely different activity. :cry:

Devil Whiskey at least looks the part of a Bard's Tale sequel. That's important; and generally seems cast aside these days, when planning a ~modern sequel. Too often the result has not been an evolution from the series, but a complete mutation or an entirely unrelated game that's cosmetically decorated with trappings of the IP. It's like with FO3 and the use of bottle caps. Bottle caps were a trade equalizer in the Fallout series ~you did not need them to barter; and many NPCs didn't have any. In FO3, you could not barter at all, and Bottle Caps were implemented as generic currency; despite being long discarded and joked about in the previous game. They were a local anomaly ~but Bethesda just HAD to shoehorn them in for their 'Me Too' series PR and brand identification. :evil:

A Bard's Tale 4 [to me] would extrapolate and build on the Bard's Tale 1, 2 & 3 systems, Including the UI; but take advantage [where appropriate!] of the modern desktop's resources. The strengths and hallmarks of a series should get better [by building up from the foundation] ~not get cast aside in favor of current fads and gameplay trends; those are the prerogatives of new IPs and IP spin-offs.

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Sequel gameplay can evolve, but should never jump ship and switch genres like FO3 did; and past players should not need to be told it's a sequel, or only able to tell by reading the title on the box/disc/ or store-page.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update #33: New Gameplay Video

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » February 18th, 2017, 2:09 pm

Somebody gets it.

Thanks, Gizmo, for taking the time to make that mockup to show what could be. Evolution, not revolution.
If there is to be a revolution, it should be against this notion that any new game has to be done in a particular way in order to be considered modern, whatever that word even means....
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update #33: New Gameplay Video

Post by demeisen » February 18th, 2017, 3:32 pm

Mostly I'm with y'all about not "fixing" things that aren't broken.

In my view, there's a way to look at this combat system as something not terribly distant from BT1-3. Bear with me a sec ;) . There were ranks of monsters in BT1, for a few distances, and potentially multiple monsters in each rank. Your party also had ranks, e.g, which melee could or could not effect. We get to see positions of things visually now, and the horizontal dimension now counts too, which I view as an enhancement to the concept rather than a fundamental change of genre like making it an FPS or RTS would be. I dunno... I can imagine the system seen in the video feeling like a BT1 successor, depending on how melee and spells end up working out in practice, except in that it's more visual now that you can see all the enemies you're fighting at once. (Or all the ones that aren't somehow invisible or hidden or otherwise obscured).

One thing I hope makes an appearance is some way to have a group of monsters in a single square, so spells can target a whole group similar to BT1 spells. Then abilities that have a smaller effect on many creatures at once can be powerful, and there's a balance between "effect this one creature A LOT" vs "effect these 22 creatures a little bit each, but for a significant cumulative effect". Ditto for utility spells, of which BT1 had quite a few, and CC.

Mostly, however it goes, I hope we don't end up with endless repetitions of AAADDD with occasional deviations for the stronger groups. In that way, I'm fine with them giving the combat system a tuneup with more tactical depth and complexity to it, and addressing some of the degeneracies the original system suffered from once past the low levels. And I also hope we end up with a BT1-ish feel when it comes to managing resources over time, so the unit of resource consideration is a whole outing, rather than a single fight at a time. Insta-regen would ruin it in my eyes.

I totally agree about the FO series becoming a FPS. That lost the whole spirit of the originals. But, there's WL2 to take that torch up.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update #33: New Gameplay Video

Post by Zombra » February 18th, 2017, 4:03 pm

demeisen wrote:One thing I hope makes an appearance is some way to have a group of monsters in a single square, so spells can target a whole group similar to BT1 spells.
Don't hold your breath on that. There has been zero evidence that the devs ever considered doing large group battles. I think 8v8 is the biggest we're going to get.
demeisen wrote:Mostly, however it goes, I hope we don't end up with endless repetitions of AAADDD with occasional deviations for the stronger groups. In that way, I'm fine with them giving the combat system a tuneup with more tactical depth and complexity to it, and addressing some of the degeneracies the original system suffered from once past the low levels.
There's a lot more to look forward to here. From day one Brian and inXile have talked up how engaging the combat system will be and how important that is to them. We have yet to get our hands on the proof, of course, but this has been a major development focus.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update #33: New Gameplay Video

Post by Gizmo » February 18th, 2017, 4:11 pm

demeisen wrote:I totally agree about the FO series becoming a FPS. That lost the whole spirit of the originals. But, there's WL2 to take that torch up.
It is. 8-) WL2 is the closest thing I've seen [released] resembling a Fallout sequel (like Bethesda should have made; and later asked Obsidian to make), but it does this as a official sequel to Wasteland... It's the same problem repeated. I'm glad I have WL2, but I didn't back it to play a Fallout sequel; although honestly it had crossed my mind; one takes what little bit of Fallout that they can get... Because it's never coming from Bethesda. That's asking for fondue from a stone.
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:Thanks, Gizmo
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