Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by Zombra » June 17th, 2018, 3:32 pm

_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
June 17th, 2018, 3:00 pm
So you're saying that BT4 is intended to be a W1 sequel? :lol:
Exactly!
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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by Gizmo » June 17th, 2018, 6:49 pm

Drool wrote:
June 17th, 2018, 2:18 pm
So, "plenty" appears to mean the Temple of Elemental Evil.
Temple isn't forced. FO2 is forced, because (as I understand it) they were actually pressured to include the tutorial. I am not sure why it wasn't just an option in the menu, or why they they did not do it the way they later did BG2's tutorial; it would have been better that way IMO.

Temple assigns the Fighter PC if you choose the tutorial from the main menu.

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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by ZiN » June 18th, 2018, 8:16 am

FYI, according to InXile "party creation is most definitely in the game." Or at least it was on April 30th.
For what's it worth, it wouldn't surprise me at all, if by "party creation" they meant recruiting their stupid NPCs and suffering through them, until we can later delete them and make our own characters. It would be just another of their many strange ideas of what Bard's Tale should be.
Drool wrote:
June 17th, 2018, 2:18 pm
Crosmando wrote:
June 17th, 2018, 2:08 am
Might and Magic: World of Xeen starts you with a premade party, Dragon Wars does it too.
Neither forces you to use that party.
Also, let's not forget about this little thing in Dragon Wars:
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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by Drool » June 18th, 2018, 4:28 pm

Zombra wrote:
June 17th, 2018, 2:43 pm
Honestly this strikes me as a very petty thing to be up in arms about. And remember that I care about created PC agency as much as (or more than) anyone here.
I wouldn't say up in arms. I was more confused by the concept since it was so unusual. Then everything spiraled into stupidity. C'est l'Internet.
Gizmo wrote:
June 17th, 2018, 6:49 pm
Temple isn't forced. FO2 is forced
Gizmo wrote:
June 16th, 2018, 8:33 pm
I just tried them again, and with Temple they assign you a Fighter PC named Valkor (Unless it's random).
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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by Gizmo » June 18th, 2018, 8:03 pm

But (as mentioned), with ToEE, you have to elect to play the tutorial level; is it optional, and the player could simply start the game instead. In Fallout 2, they begin the game in a non-optional tutorial level with no other (functional) exit other than to enter the tutorial Temple map.

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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by Drool » June 19th, 2018, 2:31 pm

Gizmo wrote:
June 18th, 2018, 8:03 pm
But (as mentioned), with ToEE, you have to elect to play the tutorial level; is it optional, and the player could simply start the game instead. In Fallout 2, they begin the game in a non-optional tutorial level with no other (functional) exit other than to enter the tutorial Temple map.
I wasn't talking about tutorials, but okay.
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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by thebruce » June 25th, 2018, 7:51 am

Old School Gamer Mag interview with Brian
Combat is the most important aspect of these kinds of games and it’s important to be tactically deep, visually satisfying and to move quickly when the player wants.
That's a broad brush to work with, but I can't disagree :P (except in that combat is "the most important aspect")
The key things for RPGs in general, was the combat system, character progression and a compelling story. For Bard’s Tale fans they wanted a turn-based, party-based game that allowed them to re-live the glory of dungeon and city exploration. Our goal is to address the older fan tenets but not lose sight of modern-day changes to UI and visuals that are expected.
1. "in general", I suppose that's true
2. For BT fans, yep
3. "older fan tenets", ick. "Modern-day changes to UI/visuals" that are "expected", ick.
Visual appearance and functionality are two different things... :(
What makes this version so different from the previous games in the series?
- It’s hard to know where to begin but perhaps first and foremost are the visuals and sound. The early games were rudimentary in that regard, now the dungeons look and feel atmospheric with the help of ambient sound and music.
I can grok that.
Also, the early games were text-based as it related to combat, we could merely say there were 400 Berserkers in a single square and people would accept that. These days you must visually represent what the player is facing in combat.
Must you? Must you? Heartily disagree! And did the originals not visually represent? Or just not 'sufficiently'?
Our fans have been requesting this classic kind of game for years and now… Here it comes!
What kind of classic game? Sounds like a "modern day game with changes to UI and visuals as expected" while "addressing older tenets". Doesn't sound like a classic game that's been requested for years... but it does sound like a modern followup TO a classic game that many fans of the classics are finding hard to latch on to.
I’m hoping that Bard’s Tale IV will be a reminder of how some of that classic gameplay is so rewarding and intrinsically interesting. Perhaps it will reignite the entire category.
In a BT4 style, not in a classic BT1-3 style, sure perhaps.


Disclaimer: I need to keep adding - I'm not against BT4. I want it to succeed, and I greatly look forward to playing it. But once again, while I really really want to get giddy with loads of nodding and applause for interviews like this, the constant implication of classic BT gameplay being outdated just not sitting well with me, because really BT4 is sort of becoming its own thing with very little in relation to the classic games other than lore and some content tie-ins, and a little bit of 'old school' (implied as out-dated) gameplay mechanics tweaked (necessarily) to be palatable to a "modern" gaming culture. Which itself seems to contradict the stated intent of reviving "classic" gameplay.

So as usual, I feel I have to add the sentiment - "It's not Bard's Tale" (yet?) :( Despite me still loving how the game itself is coming along.
Fun dungeon crawler? Excited. Direct Bard's Tale sequel? Not so excited.
Excite me all around please!
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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by ZiN » June 25th, 2018, 10:51 am

thebruce wrote:
June 25th, 2018, 7:51 am
Combat is the most important aspect of these kinds of games and it’s important to be tactically deep, visually satisfying and to move quickly when the player wants.
That's a broad brush to work with, but I can't disagree :P (except in that combat is "the most important aspect")
Yup, I don't remember combat being too tactically deep and visually satisfying in games like Dungeon Master, Bard's Tale, Might & Magic, Eye of the Beholder and Legend of Grimrock, just to name a few of the great dungeon-crawlers I have played.
That doesn't mean that I don't like great tactical combat, especially if it is backed by good encounter design and solid character building and itemization. I hope it works out, but i'm a bit afraid, after playing InXile's WL2, with its "tactically deep and visually satisfying" combat.

That said, I disagree with Brian and maintain that level design is still the most important aspect. How about you guys?
thebruce wrote:
June 25th, 2018, 7:51 am
Also, the early games were text-based as it related to combat, we could merely say there were 400 Berserkers in a single square and people would accept that. These days you must visually represent what the player is facing in combat.
Must you? Must you? Heartily disagree! And did the originals not visually represent?
Of course they did, one of the most memorable things about classic BT were the cool portraits. Both quality and quantity were remarkable back then and the artists and programmers who did them were highly talented individuals.
Old School Gamer Magazine: How do you want it to cater to both new and older fans of the series?

Fargo: We’ve been in constant communication with the fanbase since the Kickstarter campaign and there has been consistent feedback for what they like to see in an RPG and which elements of Bard’s Tale that they appreciated the most. The key things for RPGs in general, was the combat system, character progression and a compelling story. For Bard’s Tale fans they wanted a turn-based, party-based game that allowed them to re-live the glory of dungeon and city exploration. Our goal is to address the older fan tenets but not lose sight of modern-day changes to UI and visuals that are expected.
Now that's a either downright lie, or Fargo is completely disconnected from reality, living in a bubble, where Twitter followers, gaming journalists and convention-goers are the fanbase. Communication was zero and they are pretty much doing the opposite, what the old-school fans were requesting on the forums.

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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by Gizmo » June 25th, 2018, 11:11 am

ZiN wrote:
June 25th, 2018, 10:51 am
I disagree with Brian and maintain that level design is still the most important aspect. How about you guys?
Level design is paramount for any DungeonCrawler. The map should stand on its own even without monsters in it. The monsters are but an impediment while traversing the map.

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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by thebruce » June 25th, 2018, 5:54 pm

Another new article, focused on music, from Venturebeat.

Some minor points...
InXile raised $1,519,680 from 33,741 backers for The Bard’s Tale IV, which brings the old turn-based RPG mechanics of the 1980s classic series and builds upon them with voiced characters, more classes and subclasses, and improved presentation.
You can hear the improvements for yourself on the title screen:
=/ again making it sound like previous games are inferior. Sure, technically they are, but a sequel doesn't trod on the prior games, they add to them. I don't want to "hear improvements", I want to "hear more" in the series, where of course subsequent games will in many areas be technially improved. It's a minor quibble, but it's like the followup isn't saying "and now for more" letting it speak for itself, but saying "I'm better than those other other ones, so you'll enjoy me more". That sentiment still bugs me...

On a positive note, I'm certainly excited to hear to hear the music and original scores, plus some inspired themes! Quality work there, imo.
Voice actors perform all of the lines for each of the characters you encounter (you can still make your own party, if you want a more traditional Bard’s Tale experience), and in addition to the narrative dialogue, they chime in from time to time, similar to how characters add flavor in other RPGs by commenting on their locations, their feelings, etc.
Goodgood, cuz I'm going to be using my own party, especially if that means I don't get random banter and 'witty' dialogue. (not a jab at the actors there to be clear, which I'm sure are doing an amazing job with what they're given)
As as fan-supported project, The Bard’s Tale IV has plenty of references to the old games. You’ve got spells like Warstrike and songs such as Falkentyne’s Fury and Wayland’s Watch.
So the question we have is - references in name only? Because the spell effects we've seen (not referring to musical similarity) seem fairly different than the originals. ("because the combat engine and mechanic is different", you say? Well... yep! Exactly)
Sound design is just as important to The Bard’s Tale IV as its music. One spell shrinks your enemies, and when they curse at you while tiny, it’s in a high-pitched voice.
Yeah, I'm turning off curses and taunts intended to "lighten the mood" even if realistically designed. And you can't say that hearing a squeaky taunt is not intended to try to make the player chuckle.
Spinner traps, like music, are a mainstay of the older Bard Tales games. These are squares that would spin your party around, and they were frequent hazards in the grid-based RPG designs of the 1980s. But these are not coming back — they just don’t work when your dungeons or mazes just don’t look like the same square every time you move.

“Spinners worked really well in the old Bard’s Tale because it was so tile-based. When you spun, you might not know you’ve spun because the tile you’re looking at might look like the one you were looking previously at. But with our visual fidelity and amount of landmarks we have, if we spin you around, you know immediately, and you reorient yourself, and you’re on your way,” Rogers said.
Not. Good.
This really bugs me, as that was one of the very first elements of the originals discussed here in the forums that people hoped to see in IV, with numerous ideas for how to implement similar effects and challenges in a game where the visual aspect of the dungeons is far more fleshed out and graphically dynamic.
Very, very disappointed if spinners will not be a gameplay mechanic in Bard's Tale 4.
And, the above paragraphs make me even more saddened, and not completely unexpectedly, that grid/tile-based dungeon exploration is being pushed WAY farther down on the priority list of gameplay dynamics.

Really not getting encouraged with these media releases that we're watching a Bard's Tale 4 being developed the closer we get to release, and feeling that my fairly significant support for the kickstarter is really going to find its most value in the nostalgic elements of the tier (especially the remasters). And that BT4 is a bonus game to come out of it (which, again, I'm sure I'll enjoy on its own merit, rather than for being a Bard's Tale sequel).

And I really hate (honestly) being a downer.
:(
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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by Drool » June 25th, 2018, 6:03 pm

thebruce wrote:
June 25th, 2018, 5:54 pm
This really bugs me, as that was one of the very first elements of the originals discussed here in the forums that people hoped to see in IV, with numerous ideas for how to implement similar effects and challenges in a game where the visual aspect of the dungeons is far more fleshed out and graphically dynamic.
Very, very disappointed if spinners will not be a gameplay mechanic in Bard's Tale 4.
Yeahbut. Honestly, I don't think spinners would really work with the engine they're using. You're just not going to have every square of a dungeon look exactly like every other square of the dungeon.

And, well, while spinners were certainly a memorable part of the originals, I wouldn't say you couldn't have a Bard's Tale game without them. Or, if you prefer, they've already changed so much of the game, what's one dungeon trap more?
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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » June 25th, 2018, 6:23 pm

VentureBeat wrote: “We took the old MIDI tracks and we brought them forward and orchestrated them, had our sound designers pour their love into it,” Rogers said. He went on to note that the games (they were on Apple II, Apple II GS, MS-DOS, Amiga, Commodore 64, and other formats) had different MIDI tracks, so the best depended on what platform you played on.
Pretty sure the 8-bit platforms weren't doing MIDI. The IIgs could support it and the Mac version used MIDI instruments. Not sure about the others. (And, it is a shame that they didn't mention the Mac version - it had some of the best song tracks.)

Have to agree with thebruce about the spinners. Yeah, they're hard to accommodate in the game that inXile has built, but if they had designed it to accommodate them from the beginning, then this would not have been an issue. Furthermore, I doubt teleports are going to be that interesting as a disorientation device, because of how the game has been designed.
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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by thebruce » June 25th, 2018, 7:15 pm

Drool wrote:
June 25th, 2018, 6:03 pm
thebruce wrote:
June 25th, 2018, 5:54 pm
This really bugs me, as that was one of the very first elements of the originals discussed here in the forums that people hoped to see in IV, with numerous ideas for how to implement similar effects and challenges in a game where the visual aspect of the dungeons is far more fleshed out and graphically dynamic.
Very, very disappointed if spinners will not be a gameplay mechanic in Bard's Tale 4.
Yeahbut. Honestly, I don't think spinners would really work with the engine they're using. You're just not going to have every square of a dungeon look exactly like every other square of the dungeon.

And, well, while spinners were certainly a memorable part of the originals, I wouldn't say you couldn't have a Bard's Tale game without them. Or, if you prefer, they've already changed so much of the game, what's one dungeon trap more?
Yeah, exactly though; it's another loss chalked up to the dramatically different game engine. We can't do it because we did something else extremely differently. But if you go back to those old chats, that was recognized. We discussed a number of strategies to employ spinner-like traps and elements in levels designed the way we'd seed them designed at that time.
I'm not saying a BT game requires spinners, of course, but I am saying I'm extremely disappointed that they're right out, and grouped in with design losses based on the grander fundamental change in game structure.
And like noblesse said, same for teleports. Unexpected teleports will be fine, but for the same reason we'll be losing much if not all of the blink-and-you-miss-it covert teleports that throw you around the map unexpectedly. More exploratory/navigational strategy lost. =/
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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by ZZGO » June 26th, 2018, 1:53 am

The first thing that comes to my mind about spinners is that I hate them. Where's my Nospen Ring? Can't really play the game without one.
Yes spinners were kinda neat once in a while to pull the players' leg. But especially in BT 2 where there were extensive dark areas full of randomly placed spinners the fun vs. tedium pendulum really swung away from "fun" for me.

So if the new game engine doesn't allow for spinners then I can really live with that.

What's more important to me is if there will be any new type of puzzle or game mechanic to take their place? Don't tell me what the engine can't do, tell (show) me what it can do.

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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by ZiN » June 26th, 2018, 3:07 am

thebruce wrote:
June 25th, 2018, 5:54 pm
=/ again making it sound like previous games are inferior. Sure, technically they are, but a sequel doesn't trod on the prior games, they add to them. I don't want to "hear improvements", I want to "hear more" in the series, where of course subsequent games will in many areas be technially improved. It's a minor quibble, but it's like the followup isn't saying "and now for more" letting it speak for itself, but saying "I'm better than those other other ones, so you'll enjoy me more". That sentiment still bugs me...
Yeah it definitely comes off as somewhat disparaging to the classics and their makers. If we take into account the resources the old-school developers had to work with, the classics are technically much more impressive than modern games:
They featured 20+ dungeons, close to 100 portraits, 6-8 tunes, all this under 1 MB, running on a 1 MHz computer (C64). From a technical perspective, I am actually more impressed by these, than todays' 40 GB monsters that require NASA computers to run properly.
InXile abandoned the traditional publisher model for making games for crowdfunding years ago with a pair of role-playing projects that lit up Kickstarter: Wasteland 2 and Torment: Tides of Numenera. Both games show that studios with strong visions and communication with fans could make crowdfunding work.
A mediocre fallout-clone, that does lip-service to classic Wasteland, and a boring, overwritten game with awful mechanics, that tried to cash in on PS:T's success as a cult-classic, but flopped hard.
InXile's vision is very false, they advertise themselves as true old-school and classic, but they cash in on nostalgia and butcher classics just as any big company would. Meaningful communication, with the real fans is also minimal, as evidenced by this very discussion.
Drool wrote:
June 25th, 2018, 6:03 pm
And, well, while spinners were certainly a memorable part of the originals, I wouldn't say you couldn't have a Bard's Tale game without them. Or, if you prefer, they've already changed so much of the game, what's one dungeon trap more?
You sound a bit resigned. Still looking forward for your beta coverage though.
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
June 25th, 2018, 6:23 pm
I doubt teleports are going to be that interesting as a disorientation device, because of how the game has been designed.
As a disorentation device, not so much, but at least, visually they could look interesting. I liked the portal representations in the Warcraft movie for example.
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
June 25th, 2018, 6:23 pm
VentureBeat wrote: “We took the old MIDI tracks and we brought them forward and orchestrated them, had our sound designers pour their love into it,” Rogers said. He went on to note that the games (they were on Apple II, Apple II GS, MS-DOS, Amiga, Commodore 64, and other formats) had different MIDI tracks, so the best depended on what platform you played on.
Pretty sure the 8-bit platforms weren't doing MIDI. The IIgs could support it and the Mac version used MIDI instruments. Not sure about the others. (And, it is a shame that they didn't mention the Mac version - it had some of the best song tracks.)
Yes, they just (incorrectly) say MIDI for short, meaning that the old games used the computer's built-in synthesizer chip to generate sound, as opposed to the modern game, for which they use digital recordings of real instruments/voices.

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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by Gizmo » June 26th, 2018, 4:04 am

ZiN wrote:
June 26th, 2018, 3:07 am
Yeah it definitely comes off somewhat disparaging of the classics and their makers. If we take into account the resources the old-school developers had to work with, the classics are technically much more impressive than modern games:
They featured 20+ dungeons, close to 100 portraits, 6-8 tunes, all this under 1 MB, running on a 1 MHz computer (C64). From a technical perspective, I am actually more impressed by these, than todays' 40 GB monsters that require NASA computers to run properly.
I get this feeling a lot these days; but it has been very hard to impart to the notion that a game that requires 100 times the resources, but delivers nowhere near 10 times the caliber of game, is not as impressive an effort by any stretch.

Fallout fit in 16MB of RAM, shared with the Windows OS—on a Pentium 90MHz CPU. FO3 is not as impressive as Fallout IMO, not when the scales are equaled. What we have here is like parents comparing their kid's refrigerator art, but where one was given colored pencils and newsprint to work with, and the other was given a Tablet with Stylus, and ArtRage:Pro, and their work printed on laser brochure paper; and made use of image stamps. As such, if both kids produced the exact same image... which would be more impressive?

Image

Let alone with work like this:
Image

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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by thebruce » June 26th, 2018, 6:01 am

ZZGO wrote:
June 26th, 2018, 1:53 am
The first thing that comes to my mind about spinners is that I hate them. Where's my Nospen Ring? Can't really play the game without one.
Yes spinners were kinda neat once in a while to pull the players' leg. But especially in BT 2 where there were extensive dark areas full of randomly placed spinners the fun vs. tedium pendulum really swung away from "fun" for me.
And I'd respond by saying there are things I hated too; and some of things you hate, or I hate, others love. If an element of a game is hated by some alone isn't a good reason not to include it. But afawk that's not the reason anyway. But sure, those who hate them will welcome their absense; those who feel they were a unique and significant element to the BT game world will mourn or even despise their passing.

I don't want to see BT4 become a game that only includes most people loved, without recognizing that sometimes you have to hate something to add value to the win condition, then you realize what you hated did just that.
So if the new game engine doesn't allow for spinners then I can really live with that.
Oh I can live with it. I just won't be happy about it :P
What's more important to me is if there will be any new type of puzzle or game mechanic to take their place? Don't tell me what the engine can't do, tell (show) me what it can do.
Yes, definitely this.
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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » June 27th, 2018, 10:01 pm

https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_p ... athan-long

Has an interview with the lead BT IV writer. Mentions that the game is 100% his writing, along with some of the songs. Given the novel exercepts and Caith ethnography we saw a year or two back, I don't find this encouraging news. But, I guess we'll see. He may have grown as a writer since then.
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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by ZiN » June 28th, 2018, 3:09 am

Well, I hope he came up with some interesting ideas about the exodus of half-elves, half-orcs, gnomes and hobbits (halflings).
Also looking forward to reading more verses, from the "Gospel of the New Gods".
Then, we have Chronomancy, time and dimension travelling, Urmech's sentient mechanical people, the post-apocalyptic world of Gelidia and many other great fundaments to build upon. That is, if he did his classic Bard's Tale homework and not taking BT2004's "funny-Scottish" material as the source.

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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by PsychicMonk » June 28th, 2018, 6:11 am

The things he said about his novels don't sound encouraging:
"...and into which I poured all the things I like in fiction – high adventure, low humor, slapstick, snappy banter, and way way way too many metaphors"

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