Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Announcements & media coverage pertaining to Bard's Tale IV. Only moderators & inXile can make new threads on this forum.

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Gizmo
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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by Gizmo » July 16th, 2017, 2:50 pm

That is not posting anything but a link to your post. "Post it" means, "You accused me of self contradiction about complexity"—somewhere. You said, "I literally mentioned this case as being a source of complexity a few posts back and you dismissed it as not being complex. Now you are saying that it is complex."

I haven't replied to the post you've linked. I replied to thebruce; about wraparounds.

If you want to continue this, make another thread, or choose PMs; but there is no future in it.

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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » July 16th, 2017, 7:58 pm

Exude as much false indignation as you want. The "make another thread" attempt at gaining moral high ground won't work on me. If a moderator asks for us to take it somewhere else, I will. The only reason that there is no future in this is because you refuse to honor the conventions of interpersonal communication, such as replying to quoted material with a reply which is actually relevant to the quoted material.

Unless you somehow manage to troll me into further discussion, I can't see myself wasting any more time on you.
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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by Zombra » July 16th, 2017, 8:41 pm

Welllllll .... this is a good time to say that this whole back and forth about "how to forum" isn't germane to the subject of BT4 external news in any way. It's fine to dislike someone's posting style, but please either PM them, report them, or live with it. I don't see this line of conversation being valuable to anyone but you two.

So please, back to the game.
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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by Gizmo » July 16th, 2017, 8:42 pm

_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
July 16th, 2017, 7:58 pm
Exude as much false indignation as you want. The "make another thread" attempt at gaining moral high ground won't work on me. If a moderator asks for us to take it somewhere else, I will. The only reason that there is no future in this is because you refuse to honor the conventions of interpersonal communication, such as replying to quoted material with a reply which is actually relevant to the quoted material.

Unless you somehow manage to troll me into further discussion, I can't see myself wasting any more time on you.
The point of another thread is to stop posting in this one—but keep it publicly accessible; (not that any would want to read it). PMs would only be read by us, and would disappear unresolved. This is it... I don't put people on ignore, and I've no qualms with discussing future topics from you, but this tangent it at its end, at least from me.

__

Of wraparounds in the new BT game... while I think they can be fun to discover, I think it mostly makes sense on smaller maps, and it was honestly a limitation of engines. Eye of the Beholder had a single wrapping hall IRRC, and it had two walls that would disappear, depending on which way you went through the wrap. It may have just been a tricky use of the engine to extend the map past the bounds of a level. It did this with the 'death' section, it represented partial half floors by teleporting the party to isolated parts of the map. EoB had no automap, so it didn't matter where they put it. Players couldn't find out in the game.

I don't know that BT4 needs wraps, except purely as the worst form of nostalgia; wraps for the sake of having them, because BT did. I do remember back then that the wrapping overland felt jarringly cheap. Wraps in a dungeon should be part of a trap, or in very rare cases a magical phenomena that makes sense in some explained way—even if the reason is inexplicable magic. It shouldn't just seem done to copy the limits from Bard's Tale.
Last edited by Gizmo on July 17th, 2017, 11:35 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by thebruce » July 17th, 2017, 5:19 am

Gizmo wrote:
July 16th, 2017, 8:42 pm
Of wraparounds in the new BT game... while I think they can be fun to discover, I think it mostly makes sense on smaller maps, and it was honestly a limitation of engines.
Even if it was a limitation of the engine, it was a well defined game mechanic. It provided a challenge for anyone who set to map the levels (rather than memorize the entire game), intentional or not. And many of us really enjoyed that extra challenge. So, if there's an automapper, the hope would be that that same level of uncertainty would somehow be encapsulated in the mapping mechanic.

Essentially, it would have to happen with any teleport. Any spinner.

Perhaps the spinner can be resolved by having a 'dizzy' type effect. The automap only maps if your direction is known; or at least, in the direction of your last known orientation (which implies you should be able to rotate the diagram as well).

For example:
* You're in a map, facing north, and you hit a teleport. Not a spinner destination, so you end up still facing north, but your location is unknown. Automap = blank 'canvas'. You move a square, and the map begins, but then you cast APAR and know where your location is now, so you can move that new segment to your previous mapping.
* You're in a map, facing west, and you hit a spinner. Automap now shows you with an unknown orientation in your same location. If it continues mapping, there are a few options. It could do an onionskin type overlay for what it sees. It could start a new 'layer'. What then? What if you move forward and hit another spinner? Let's say you move forward and it's not a spinner - if you MACO running then your orientation would be known, the layer could be auto rotated and snap back into the map you had, or you could do it manually. This was all something that was much more organic a problem to solve, and easier on paper, imo.

In short, if your orientation is unknown, the automap would work only by last known orientation, and effectively indicate whether the walls are of known orientation or not. It could start a new map segment for both teleporting and being 'spun' (essentially what we'd do were we hand-mapping until certainty was achieved). The only thing the automapper should do is make an extended record of what has been effectively observed and/or visited (when I mapped I did the same, mark squares I'd visited rather than walls merely observed). But nothing more. That applies for secrets as well, as mentioned earlier.

And I just realized all this is better located within a map-discussion thread rather than this external news thread. :P
Who wants to start it? (or revive an old one ;))
Eye of the Behlolder had a single wrapping hall IRRC, and it had two walls that would disappear, depending on which way you went through the wrap. It may have just been a tricky use of the engine to extend the map past the bounds of a level. It did this with the 'death' section
Please no invisible death zones if only to indicate map-edge or whatever. That's the lazy "out of bounds" meta mechanic for when devs couldn't figure out how to make reasonable in-world boundaries.

I don't know that BT4 needs wraps, except purely as the worst for of nostalgia; wraps for the sake of having them, because BT did. I do remember back then that the wrapping overland felt jarringly cheap. Wraps in a dungeon should be part of a trap, ir in very rare cases a magical phenomena that makes sense in some explained way—even if the reason is inexplicable magic. It shouldn't just seem done to copy the limits from Bard's Tale.
I don't disagree with this. I don't think there was ever an explanation for why underground dungeons (and towers) had this weird effect where you could end up where you were just by walking forward... although that 'magical' effect could be tied into Sinister street's strangeness.

To come full circle (strange how that wraparoudn works!) I'm not adamant about having wraparound maps in BT4. But, if there is, then the automapper should take that mechanic into account especially for those who like to hand-map. Retain the mystery and uncertainty of map location and/or orientation.
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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by Gizmo » July 17th, 2017, 11:52 am

I think that starting a blank map when orientation is (suddenly) unknown—due to spinners, would be problematic; and could easily give away the position of the spinner. EoB had a couple spinners. One was in a pair of identical hallways. At first, the player wouldn't know they had turned around, but they might see that something was odd with the doors closing behind them or in front of them, and catch on eventually. Another was in a four way intersection on level two. Three of the hallways looked identical; one of those three had a sling on the ground. They intentionally added obvious visual cues, such that you only missed it for not paying any attention.
thebruce wrote:
July 17th, 2017, 5:19 am
Please no invisible death zones if only to indicate map-edge or whatever. That's the lazy "out of bounds" meta mechanic for when devs couldn't figure out how to make reasonable in-world boundaries.
The 'Death Section' was named location on level two; (filled with caged zombies). It was accessible only through an elevator. The devs could put it anywhere on the map, because the player could never see the real layout of the level. The Death section was a partial floor between level two and level three. There were pits on level two that the party could jump down, and land on the other side of the map... but this was transparent to the player. It was simply that there was room on the other side of the map for the self contained area at the bottom of the pits. A ladder in the area would let them climb up—and be back in the room with the pits.

I think the wrapped hallway on level four (spiders), was just a way to make a non-square map out of what had to be a square map. I don't recall offhand if it was possible to walk through the wrap twice, from (from South to North, and then South to North again), the way you can in Bard's Tale.

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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by thebruce » July 17th, 2017, 12:17 pm

Gizmo wrote:
July 17th, 2017, 11:52 am
I think that starting a blank map when orientation is (suddenly) unknown—due to spinners, would be problematic; and could easily give away the position of the spinner. EoB had a couple spinners. One was in a pair of identical hallways. At first, the player wouldn't know they had turned around, but they might see that something was odd with the doors closing behind them or in front of them, and catch on eventually. Another was in a four way intersection on level two. Three of the hallways looked identical; one of those three had a sling on the ground. They intentionally added obvious visual cues, such that you only missed it for not paying any attention.
I'm not comparing to another game, just comparing mapping methods with what could be done with the automapper.
Since a spinner changes your orientation, ideally so you don't know which direction you're facing, yet you can see in 'front' of you, the automapper would have to accomodate for that somehow. The only known variables are your last known orientation, and what you see ahead. So, if you spin, you're effectively "dizzy", yet the automap has to record what's in front. Logically, since the direction 'drawn' in the map may not be the direction you think you're facing, you'd need the ability to rotate the new 'map' and/or move it, once you're confident where it should be.

The problem compounds though when say it's very tricky, and you end up exploring a new area that looks identical to the place you came, but you eventually find out you continued on after the spinner in the wrong direction because there wasn't yet a conflict. By hand, you could easily make changes; copy out the stuff and erase the mistakes. To mimick that the automap would need a 'slicer' type tool to block which content you want to pick out and continue in its own section until you're sure of where it should go.

And all this reinforces my opinion that I don't want an automapper to take the place of hand mapping. Great puzzles and dungeon design make (should make) hand mapping challenging but also fun. And I still think automapping too much can take away from that experience.


So inXile: Please don't design levels around whatever your automapper is capable (or incapable) of -- build in spinners and teleports and wrap arounds and all that classic jazz, which an automapper may have difficulty with (if retaining the inherent mysteries), but makes hand happing that much more challenging and rewarding!
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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by Gizmo » July 17th, 2017, 12:32 pm

It is a catch-22 conundrum. One wants the ability to be mistaken, and expects that they can be with their own drawn map, but one doesn't expect the game-generated automap to be inaccurate... or necessarily want it to be.

What seems feasible to me, is to either ask what map mode to use (manual / auto), or make the automap a spell—that is never inaccurate, but not always available, and perhaps not cheap. Manual map mode could simply be a map panel with drawing tools that let the player mark off the halls as they see them; erasing at need. EoB always had a compass on screen; Lands of Lore and Grimrock both have an optional compass. BT4 could have the same, and that would eliminate unknown orientation. If on-screen, spinners would spin the compass every time (as they did in those other three).

I think (though don't like it), that a potentially false automap that needs proofing, and undoing... is more hassle than it's worth, and would be a source of frustration and annoyance to most of the player-base.

Grimrock 1 & 2 made the automap optional. You can start the game in Old-School mode, and have no map at all. They give you an official LoG graph-paper PDF, to print and use for a map.

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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by thebruce » July 17th, 2017, 7:36 pm

You can start the game in Old-School mode, and have no map at all. They give you an official LoG graph-paper PDF, to print and use for a map.
I would prefer this, if the automap has to be included in the game. If they must, then maybe have the option award some achievement for old-school if you complete the game without the automap, since you know, in-game achievements are all the rage these days. If automapping is incorporated in some form of skill, spell or magic capability, then turning it off could just be explained as some form of magical dampening field making orientation skills near impossible. Harder game. Every map spell 'fizzles' if you play on that mode. I'd be up for seeing any of that.
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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by Gizmo » July 17th, 2017, 8:03 pm

In this case I wasn't suggesting old-school graph paper (though I have nothing against it, and do use it), but I meant actually having the map menu either be auto-filling, or manually drawn (in-app), by the player, with a supplied cursor/pen tool... similar to Stonekeep's quill pen, and Grimrock's map editor. There could be automation tools that speed up drawing, without actually revealing the map. There are mapping softwares for RPGs that do this already.
**I would use this myself, if it were in the game, but I honestly don't expect a manual—anything from a modern game. :( I don't see them making a cartography mini-app, because I assume that not enough players would appreciate it; and that a significant number of them would (shamefully) return the game because of it, rather than bother giving it a chance.

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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by thebruce » July 17th, 2017, 8:14 pm

I wouldn't use a digital mapping tool in-game, just to do what I'd otherwise effectively do (and much more flexibly) on paper.
As I said, if they have an automapper in-game, of whatever caliber, if they provide an option to play without it, I would use that option, especially if turning it off rewarded with something else (either in-game benefits or an achievement, or what have you)
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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » July 17th, 2017, 8:36 pm

thebruce wrote:
July 17th, 2017, 5:19 am

And I just realized all this is better located within a map-discussion thread rather than this external news thread. :P
Who wants to start it? (or revive an old one ;))
Done: viewtopic.php?f=43&t=18400

Probably should have been done about a page ago.
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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by Crosmando » July 23rd, 2017, 6:15 am

Hope we get another update soon.
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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by phimseto » July 24th, 2017, 9:38 pm

We're waiting for the backer portal to go live again before our next update, so soon after it is, the next update will be out.

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