Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

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ZiN
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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by ZiN » July 12th, 2017, 1:52 am

PsychicMonk wrote:
July 10th, 2017, 12:38 pm
ZiN wrote:
July 10th, 2017, 8:06 am
Well, we will get to look at the grid-based movement in one of the upcoming updates, since Brian is excited to show it to us
I'm more interested in the map layouts. To me it boils down to whether the layouts are kind of grid based or not.
If the layouts are totally not grid based and the nodes are added after the maps are done to enable an "on rails"-movement then
to me the node based movement would be more of a hinderance. In that case I will probably stick to free movement and most certainly won't try to map the game on paper.
So far, they have only shown the "on rails" movement you mentioned. I'd like to see how switching between grid and free works in action, in addition to the automap.

We have discussed (lengthily), that if they do grid based movement improperly, it becomes useless and annoying and no one will use it, just because they say it's old-school. By the way, i don't give a damn about graph-paper, but i want an useful and good-looking automap.

(examples: Wizardry VII, or Realms of Arkania 2)

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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by Gizmo » July 12th, 2017, 2:59 am

A good automap is fine by me. One thing I am on the fence about though, is the map auto detecting secret doors. On one hand, I think they should be found out firsthand; but (on the flip-side) it's arguable that the PC should be able to find them, and mark them if they do.

Lands of Lore would see party members mention feeling a draft next to a secret door or an illusory wall. I don't know if this was random, a skill, or automatic. At the time I didn't much care for it though. Still... If you are playing a party with an astute elf, wouldn't they notice things like that?

IRRC Might and Magic took this one step further, and had items in the room that didn't appear unless the PC noticed them. I very much wanted the same thing to be done with traps in FO3; but the game doesn't support anything but 'stream of consciousness play'; which was disappointing.

IMO... The player qualifies as an average human, and so to an extent, their own observations could pass for the human PC's own; unless the game allows for unobservant characters (via stats). Legend of Grimrock relies on the player to find its secrets. It has big, medium, and small trigger buttons, for difficulty variance. Perhaps in a game like BT4, the PC stats could pad the difficulty a bit? With observant PCs having a chance to notice secrets? I am still uncomfortable with that—even though I think that should be ideal. Unobservant PCs could make the secrets slightly harder to find.

In Baldur's Gate, the player is at the mercy of their character's ability to detect traps; (which is as it should be). Oblivion takes the opposite tack, and just puts the trap out there to be found; always a little too obvious too. If the PC is (statistically) rash & unobservant, they should not be finding these traps... but the player still does, and the PC slides by on the player... Not good for an RPG.

In a dungeon crawler, almost anyone can see a pressure plate up ahead. In Eye of the Beholder, pits would sometimes open up in front of the party... brash advancement down a hall could plummet the party into a bad situation—with injuries.

In 'Champions of Krynn' (for instance), there are situations where recruited NPCs may previously know of traps, or perhaps notice them; sometimes disabling them for the party. Where without them, the party would have to notice these things for themselves. The mechanic for this in the Gold Box games is interesting. Whenever the party explores, the player can set the pace of it. Thorough searching reduces the party's travel speed to one tenth normal, but they find stuff they would otherwise miss at a faster pace. This affects monster encounters, because they are taking their time in the areas. One might recall that in Splinter Cell, the player can set the pace of Sam Fischer's gait, while he explores.

I think that a similar mechanic could work in BT4, if they don't have something better in place. Or perhaps be complimentary to it?

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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by PsychicMonk » July 12th, 2017, 10:39 am

ZiN wrote:
July 12th, 2017, 1:52 am

So far, they have only shown the "on rails" movement you mentioned. I'd like to see how switching between grid and free works in action, in addition to the automap.
We have discussed (lengthily), that if they do grid based movement improperly, it becomes useless and annoying and no one will use it, just because they say it's old-school. By the way, i don't give a damn about graph-paper, but i want an useful and good-looking automap.
I used "on rails" as a generalization of grid/node based movement where you move on rails between (grid)nodes.
As I said: As long as the map layout is somewhat grid-based I'm satisfied. With the grid-based layout you get some predictability and you can explore the map mapsquare by mapsquare regardless of how you actually move in the game.

I don't think we have to worry about a very nice and comfortable automapping feature. I'm pretty sure they know how important this will be for most of the players.

btw: If I remember it correctly I played Star Trail with grid based movement and never used the free movement feature. When I got Shadows over Riva later I was pretty upset that I had to use free movement.

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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by thebruce » July 12th, 2017, 10:49 am

Gizmo wrote:
July 12th, 2017, 2:59 am
One thing I am on the fence about though, is the map auto detecting secret doors. On one hand, I think they should be found out firsthand; but (on the flip-side) it's arguable that the PC should be able to find them, and mark them if they do.

Lands of Lore would see party members mention feeling a draft next to a secret door or an illusory wall. I don't know if this was random, a skill, or automatic. At the time I didn't much care for it though. Still... If you are playing a party with an astute elf, wouldn't they notice things like that?
That's another good point about the automap, which was never an issue with hand mapping. How is secret content handled? If it ever does get displayed in the game, then what's the trigger? In BT, secret content was always secret - in action, you had to know something was secret (as the player) to take advantage of it. The game would never indicate a secret. A wall was always a wall visually, until you knew you could walk through it. Secret doors remained completely unindicated (not slightly highlighted for you to maybe notice with a keen eye). Things like that. These days so many secrets and easter eggs have some kind of visual cue to their existence.

Please do not rely on this throughout the entire game!

I'm not against it existing at times, but real secrets are found purely by player curiosity and wit. Those are the most rewarding, imo.

Now, whether the game eventually displays them once the player has demonstrated knowledge of them - perhaps flipping a secret switch that opens a door, or physically traveling through an illusory wall... that, for me at least, would be fine. Doom did that with their maps. Secret rooms remained entirely masked until the player 'saw' into them, then the fake walls indicated their nature. To me, that's more like hand mapping. That wall you initially penned in as solid you now get to go back and re-indicate as an actual hidden entrance.

Please keep that mechanic!
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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » July 12th, 2017, 5:39 pm

There's also the whole issue of teleports and wraparound maps, both found in the original series. And spinner squares. (And sticky squares in the later games.)

Quite hard not give those away with an automap feature. Can be done, but at that point, it is no longer a matter of unmasking the underlying actual map, but actually generating the player-perceived map on-the-fly. Such map could not be constrained to a certain set of dimensions in the case of wraparounds. A player would have to wander down the same corridor a time or two before seeing the pattern perhaps and then there would have to be a mechanism for "folding" the map down to proper size once the player decided to set a boundary where the wrap occurred. Similarly, clever teleports, where the start point and end point look alike, would pose an issue where parts of the apparent map would be inconsistent as the party wandered and would have to be overwritten. And, then the player would have to have some way to mark where they thought the teleport start and end points were and the automapper would have to account for them as the party wandered.

So, the choice becomes to either implement a complicated automapper, if those dungeon features are being retained, or else get rid of those dungeon features for the sake of automapper sanity.
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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by thebruce » July 12th, 2017, 6:21 pm

Yes! Yes! Yes! and Yes! That was a bunch of other grid-mapping mechanics I'd completely forgotten about. The wraparounds, the overlaps, discovering the dungeon dimensions, all of that!
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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by Gizmo » July 12th, 2017, 9:13 pm

thebruce wrote:
July 12th, 2017, 6:21 pm
Yes! Yes! Yes! and Yes! That was a bunch of other grid-mapping mechanics I'd completely forgotten about. The wraparounds, the overlaps, discovering the dungeon dimensions, all of that!
We did these in Grimrock (the modder community). Grimrock 1 does not support wrap-arounds; it must be user scripted. I did this in a copy of the EoB Spider level that wraps.
Image

The map does show the player where they jumped to. Grimrock 2 allows greater control over the map, including drawing custom images directly on it, they get revealed as it gets explored.

It would be neat to work out a way for the map to not immediately give away the party's position, in times when they cannot know where they ended up. The automap itself could become a bit of a minigame, with tools to spot identical sections, and to merge parts of the map, if they are seen to be duplicated.

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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by Drool » July 12th, 2017, 9:54 pm

thebruce wrote:
July 12th, 2017, 10:49 am
That's another good point about the automap, which was never an issue with hand mapping. How is secret content handled? If it ever does get displayed in the game, then what's the trigger?
...finding the secret, naturally.

The automap doesn't show the secret room, but you can guess its location by examining "empty" areas in the wall. Just like you would with a hand drawn map.
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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by Gizmo » July 12th, 2017, 11:26 pm

In the Grimrock series the map looks like standard walls, until the secret is found.

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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » July 13th, 2017, 4:58 pm

Gizmo wrote:
July 12th, 2017, 9:13 pm
We did these in Grimrock (the modder community). Grimrock 1 does not support wrap-arounds; it must be user scripted. I did this in a copy of the EoB Spider level that wraps.
Gizmo, this misses the point. Having an automapper make you aware of the wraparound ruins the fun. With hand mapping, it is up to the player to detect the wraparound. To fake not knowing where a wraparound is would require a quite sophisticated automapper.
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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by Gizmo » July 13th, 2017, 6:26 pm

_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
July 13th, 2017, 4:58 pm
Gizmo, this misses the point. Having an automapper make you aware of the wraparound ruins the fun. With hand mapping, it is up to the player to detect the wraparound. To fake not knowing where a wraparound is would require a quite sophisticated automapper.
And how does that miss the point? In Grimrock 1 it is impossible to disable the map behavior. The point was to manage to have the wrap-around feature at all... The map giving it away is an unfortunate (, and unavoidable) side effect of the way the engine works.

**But did you read the last paragraph in my post? (that you've quoted above)
Grimrock 2 changed the mapping format (quite a bit). It now extends along an endless parchment, outward in all directions. I think it would be interesting if an auto mapper did this, but allowed the player to select areas of the map, and move them if they realized that there must be a teleporter somewhere, because of obvious layout duplication—and seeing the stuff they dropped on the ground appear in both locations. This would open up areas of the map (paper) as space to record what they find when they actually reach that area; and not mistaking themselves there because of a teleporter.

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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by thebruce » July 14th, 2017, 6:03 am

If an automapper can accurately recreate the 'hand mapping' experience, as one would by hand mapping, then sure, I'd not be against that. Go digital. Then it's just a preference beween using keys and a mouse or using your finger dexterity and a pen.

But I fear the automapping process will 'give away' a lot of stuff that hand mapping could possibly give away. Therein lies the joys of the mapping component of BT for many of us.
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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by Drool » July 14th, 2017, 8:52 pm

thebruce wrote:
July 14th, 2017, 6:03 am
But I fear the automapping process will 'give away' a lot of stuff that hand mapping could possibly give away. Therein lies the joys of the mapping component of BT for many of us.
Yes, but keep in mind that many of the things that bring you joy are excruciatingly painful for many of us.
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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » July 14th, 2017, 9:14 pm

Gizmo wrote:
July 13th, 2017, 6:26 pm
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
July 13th, 2017, 4:58 pm
Gizmo, this misses the point. Having an automapper make you aware of the wraparound ruins the fun. With hand mapping, it is up to the player to detect the wraparound. To fake not knowing where a wraparound is would require a quite sophisticated automapper.
And how does that miss the point? In Grimrock 1 it is impossible to disable the map behavior. The point was to manage to have the wrap-around feature at all... The map giving it away is an unfortunate (, and unavoidable) side effect of the way the engine works.
Which misses the point, because
(a) we were not talking about Grimrock (1 or 2),
(b) we were not talking about supporting wraparounds in a game (Grimrock, Bard's Tale, or otherwise).
What was under discussion was whether some of the old Bard's Tale map features could be sanely handled by an automapper in BT4 without automatically revealing them and how much complexity that would introduce into the automapper to do so.
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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by Gizmo » July 14th, 2017, 10:12 pm

You are quite mistaken then. My post was a quoting response to thebruce about wraparounds; as mentioned in what I quoted. I was not responding to your post or any of the points therein. ;)

(It wasn't even intended to address thebruce's reasons for his response to yours.) It cannot miss the point when it doesn't look for it; and isn't concerned with it. My previous posts were responses to earlier in the thread, when thebruce quoted me on automaps.
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
July 14th, 2017, 9:14 pm
What was under discussion was whether some of the old Bard's Tale map features could be sanely handled by an automapper in BT4 without automatically revealing them and how much complexity that would introduce into the automapper to do so.
What complexity? :?
  • It reveals the apparent layout for walls in proximity to the party.
  • It adds anything the that developers intend should be suddenly visible; (as spawned from a dialog or interaction).
  • It marks the map with found secrets when the party has stepped through a hidden passage;
    (bonus points if it doesn't do this in the dark for illusory walls).
  • It offers a pen tool, to let the player put their own marks on the map; as clickable notes.
What more does it need?
Stonekeep did all this in 1995. Both Grimrock 1 & 2 both do this.

In the case of wraps... There might not be any ;), but if there are... why not just blank the map? Start from the new location, with a new page. If it turns out that the maps are the same map, allow the player to merge the pages.

*It would help if all maps started center page, and branched outward; possibly re-centering as the edges become distinguishable.

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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » July 15th, 2017, 9:12 am

Gizmo wrote:
July 14th, 2017, 10:12 pm
You are quite mistaken then. My post was a quoting response to thebruce about wraparounds; as mentioned in what I quoted. I was not responding to your post or any of the points therein. ;)
Nope, you are wrong. You replied to thebruce's post by quoting it, which was in direct response to my post (quoted by him). The use of the quoting mechanism shows a clear thread of discussion. You were attempting to insert yourself into a conversation thread while ignoring the context of the actual discussion.

You missed the point of what was being discussed and instead expounded on an irrelevant side note about how you had implemented wraparounds in Grimrock 1.
Gizmo wrote:
July 14th, 2017, 10:12 pm
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
July 14th, 2017, 9:14 pm
What was under discussion was whether some of the old Bard's Tale map features could be sanely handled by an automapper in BT4 without automatically revealing them and how much complexity that would introduce into the automapper to do so.
What complexity? :?
Gizmo wrote:
July 14th, 2017, 10:12 pm
If it turns out that the maps are the same map, allow the player to merge the pages.

*It would help if all maps started center page, and branched outward; possibly re-centering as the edges become distinguishable.
What complexity, indeed. You just answered your own question.
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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by Gizmo » July 15th, 2017, 3:08 pm

_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
July 15th, 2017, 9:12 am
Nope, you are wrong. You replied to thebruce's post by quoting it, which was in direct response to my post (quoted by him). The use of the quoting mechanism shows a clear thread of discussion. You were attempting to insert yourself into a conversation thread while ignoring the context of the actual discussion.
...And you believe this, yes? Well go right ahead. Image It's a fantasy, but it's harmless.
You missed the point of what was being discussed and instead expounded on an irrelevant side note about how you had implemented wraparounds in Grimrock 1.
That wasn't missing the point. The point was to mention that I had implemented wraparounds in Grimrock 1, and that there needed to be the means not to give this away on the map. (Something discovered to be impossible in G1, afaik. Even the official campaign will reveal single squares on the map where the party teleported to, while on the way to somewhere else.)

_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
July 15th, 2017, 9:12 am
What complexity, indeed. You just answered your own question.
BoguS; that's not complexity. Complexity is analyzing the player's behavior around a secret, to decide if they missed it or not—despite having discovered it; as with pushing a button that toggles the state of a door... that they didn't see open or close, and not giving it away on the map. As when the party has been on both sides of an illusory wall, but never through it (or had passed through it in the dark); and so shouldn't see it on the map. As in automatically merging wrapped maps when it's determined that the player understands that it's the same areas wrapped.

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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » July 15th, 2017, 4:52 pm

Gizmo wrote:
July 15th, 2017, 3:08 pm
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
July 15th, 2017, 9:12 am
Nope, you are wrong. You replied to thebruce's post by quoting it, which was in direct response to my post (quoted by him). The use of the quoting mechanism shows a clear thread of discussion. You were attempting to insert yourself into a conversation thread while ignoring the context of the actual discussion.
...And you believe this, yes? Well go right ahead.
I believe it because it is the truth, witnessed by the written record in this thread. No matter how much you insist otherwise does not change what actually happened. It is sheer fantasy for you to imagine that inserting a lecture about how you implemented wraparounds in Grimrock 1 in the middle of a discussion about the relationship between wraparounds/teleports and automapper features would somehow be relevant, especially when no one was questioning how to implement wraparounds or teleports. The discussion was about how to not reveal such features via an automapper mechanism and whether it is worth the hassle, not about how to implement such features on a particular game engine's maps. Trying to talk about the latter when the former was under discussion is making a post which is beside the point and irrelevant.
Gizmo wrote:
July 15th, 2017, 3:08 pm
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
July 15th, 2017, 9:12 am
What complexity, indeed. You just answered your own question.
BoguS; that's not complexity. Complexity is
Gizmo wrote:
July 15th, 2017, 3:08 pm
automatically merging wrapped maps when it's determined that the player understands that it's the same areas wrapped.
You contradict yourself. 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.
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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by Gizmo » July 16th, 2017, 12:05 am

_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
July 15th, 2017, 4:52 pm
You contradict yourself. 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.
Post it.

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Re: Bard's Tale IV External News Thread

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » July 16th, 2017, 10:37 am

Gizmo wrote:
July 16th, 2017, 12:05 am
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
July 15th, 2017, 4:52 pm
You contradict yourself. 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.
Post it.
I already did (viewtopic.php?p=188932#p188824), hence my reference to it. Just read what others write in the forum - it's a great way to constructively participate in discussions rather than randomize them with irrelevant posts.
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