The Bard's Tale IV Update 29: Glorious Combat

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 29: Glorious Combat

Post by paultakeda » May 4th, 2016, 2:31 pm

sear wrote: That said, there will be fights with more than 8 enemies at once, and we're basically obligated by fate to include some kind of 99 Berserker fight. :P
99 Berserkers, 99 Berserkers, 99 Berserkers, and 1 Dragon.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 29: Glorious Combat

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » May 4th, 2016, 5:38 pm

dblade wrote:Although, I am a fan of both concepts, I hoped maybe you would come back and solve the dilemma of exactly what you wrote -- "graphically represent large fights while maintaining the spatial and temporal abstraction of the fights in the original series". Additionally it would be so awesome that it was incorporated and I would forget about the grid combat entirely.
Zombra spent some time trying to show how it could be done in another thread. I wasn't really sold but admire his attempt (and MS Paint skillz). ;)
I personally have not spent much time thinking about this issue because it is not a dilemma to me. To me, the solution is simple. I don't need a graphical representation of the BT4 combat space - the original games from three decades ago provided a solution that works for me. YMMV.
dblade wrote: However, with the combat mockup we've seen I'm not sure what trick they have up their sleeve when it comes to larger numbers. Could they stack up by using one model and then write a number off to the side as the count for that unit, then when the unit attacks (visually) the combat log reflects the count of identical attacks?
Yeah, this possibility was discussed in another thread. I would probably be fine with this. It is actually reminiscent of other classic games of yore, like the original King's Bounty.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 29: Glorious Combat

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » May 4th, 2016, 6:10 pm

To clarify about DoT: I'm not against it, especially if it comes from effects that are delivered in addition to regular damage. But, if the combat system is being tailored to emphasize tactics which require it, then it would seem that combat with individual foes may be lengthened beyond a few rounds. The "bleed and bash" tactic, illustrated in the KS update, demonstrates three warriors (out of a party of 4? 5?) engaged with the same opponent for multiple rounds. Unless the bleeding enemy was stunned by the bludgeons to the point of no longer posing a threat, I would probably not want to tie up two of my precious fighters on that opponent, especially when there is a "glass cannon" behind it or other active combatants which could harm my PCs. Use one bludgeon to knock the melee opponent aside and then attack the now-exposed mage with another fighter, eliminating the potentially more dangerous threat first....

But, really, all of this is more involved than I would prefer in a BT game. inXile may have some neat ideas for a dungeon crawler, but I would rather not see them experiment too much with this one, which is supposed to be a sequel to the originals. There is quite a bit that can be done to streamline the classic combat system and make it more interesting without throwing it out.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 29: Glorious Combat

Post by thebruce » May 4th, 2016, 7:47 pm

Agreed with the above.
Personally, I don't mind if they provide "bleed and bash" mechanics, as long as "bash and dash" is also a viable mechanic.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 29: Glorious Combat

Post by Zadkiel » May 5th, 2016, 6:50 am

Thanks for the update, some interesting stuff in there.

I've been a defender of the proposed switch to a grid-based system, in my mind this created a large battlefield with strategic options. In my head was an 8x8 or 10x10 field with my melee characters using abilities to move enemies into places where my casters could then use AOEs, with different spells having wildly different AOE patterns (starflare being a star, dragonbreath being a cone, others being a row, or column, etc). As such I was slightly disappointed to see you've gone for such a small 4x4 grid that doesn't really allow for that level of strategic combat.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 29: Glorious Combat

Post by balinor » May 6th, 2016, 2:58 am

Honestly I think I would prefer Bard's Tale 3 with essentially updated crisp and shiny graphics. I love the old style and still play the games every so often now. My biggest worry is that they are going to move so far away from the old Bard's Tale games that it is not going to have the same feel to the play.

At that point it becomes Bard's Tale in name only and I possibly have wasted my money. I'm hopeful that they are going to be able to walk that fine line between updating a beloved classic for the modern age and fixing what isn't broken. I felt burnt with Wasteland 2 and I decided that this was going to be the last chance for them to get it right. Fingers crossed.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 29: Glorious Combat

Post by Drool » May 6th, 2016, 1:16 pm

_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:But, really, all of this is more involved than I would prefer in a BT game. inXile may have some neat ideas for a dungeon crawler, but I would rather not see them experiment too much with this one, which is supposed to be a sequel to the originals. There is quite a bit that can be done to streamline the classic combat system and make it more interesting without throwing it out.
This should be printed out as a giant, 30' banner and hung on every wall in every room in inXile's offices.

I'm not allergic to innovation. I don't have a problem with updating decades old properties. But too much and you stop being a sequel and just start being either a reboot or, well, a ripoff (even if it's your own property). This game's already going in a weird direction with the story (seriously guys, that timeline's way too compressed, make it 500 years). Again, the visuals look great and look like a lot of fun, but during every combat into a monster-juggling debuff carnival seems like it'd grow pretty old, pretty quick.

Because, you know, one expects a lot of combat in their dungeon crawler. That's kind of a core feature.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 29: Glorious Combat

Post by Lucius » May 7th, 2016, 8:30 pm

I'm totally fine with what they are doing here with the BT combat, but I understand some of the grumblings. Creating a sequel to a 30 year game skips so many years of iterations, that changes become too drastic. If a project isn't clear, it's hard to guess where a sequel will land regarding innovations. Some backers will expect something more gradual; very similar to the original in mechanics. Others may expect a bigger jump but not fully modernized either and still others will expect a completely modern experience.

Wasteland 2 seemed to land somewhere in the middle. Something of a 90s era game, which while was overall fun, but speaking mechanically, felt really uninspired and lacking originality. That's because I've been gaming for the past 20 some years and it was just a rehash of some of the same old mechanics with most not being improved in anyway. It was the type of game my older brother would have loved. Someone who stopped seriously gaming 15, 20 years ago. It was definitely meant as a nostalgia project aimed at the 90's Fallout fans who never moved beyond that decade.

So far, it seems Bard's Tales changes might be more drastic. it looks like much more story depth, for better or worse. Much more combat depth, likewise. I'm hoping next update we hear about some more familiar things, like exploration, traps, and puzzles. These are things that are timeless and are very core to the experience. I would guess these elements aren't going to be drastically changed from the original games, at least not to where it will change the feel of the game. Just make sure you keep grid movement on!

With all that said, inXile needs to move away from these sequels to older titles. They either need to start framing these as reboots, move to original ip's or make sequels to their modern sequels (please don't ever make a sequel to WL2 inXile. Just let it die now.)

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 29: Glorious Combat

Post by kilobug » May 8th, 2016, 12:52 am

Lucius wrote:With all that said, inXile needs to move away from these sequels to older titles.
Well, they more or less are doing it with TTON. It's a "spiritual successor" from Torment, but with clearly lots of changes in novel directions, and with a completely different and innovation settings, Numénera.
Lucius wrote:please don't ever make a sequel to WL2 inXile. Just let it die now.
I definitely hope there will be a WL3, and with less time between WL2 and WL3 than between WL1 and WL2. Perhaps next project (after BT4) should be something other, and then WL3 (which would give about 5-6 years between WL2 and WL3, that's reasonable).

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 29: Glorious Combat

Post by dblade » May 8th, 2016, 8:29 am

The grid based combat and move to 3D space naturally leads to a great departure from the originals. The option then is to creativity bolt back in the familiar, perhaps signature, aspects that make it recognizable. The balance of that is what is going to make or break the game.

I'm expecting to exercise quite a bit of lenience on expectations as compared to the originals.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 29: Glorious Combat

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » May 8th, 2016, 10:50 am

Lucius wrote:I'm totally fine with what they are doing here with the BT combat, but I understand some of the grumblings. Creating a sequel to a 30 year game skips so many years of iterations, that changes become too drastic. If a project isn't clear, it's hard to guess where a sequel will land regarding innovations. Some backers will expect something more gradual; very similar to the original in mechanics. Others may expect a bigger jump but not fully modernized either and still others will expect a completely modern experience.
I would argue that just because a particular genre of games seems to have evolved along a particular path does not mean that a particular game must evolve along that same path or even match the current state of the genre. In the strictest sense, evolution is mutation, not necessarily improvement. Changes in style and presentation are not synonymous with innovation. What does it mean to be "fully modernized"? What are the hallmark innovations of modernization? And, why should they be applied to a BT sequel?
Lucius wrote: With all that said, inXile needs to move away from these sequels to older titles. They either need to start framing these as reboots, move to original ip's
Indeed - this I agree with, especially the part about original properties. If BT4 had been framed as reboot, I would still be disappointed at the current state of things, but perhaps a bit more accepting. If they were creating some non-BT-branded original property with the characteristics that they've unveiled thus far, I would have very little cause for complaint.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 29: Glorious Combat

Post by Crosmando » May 9th, 2016, 3:36 pm

What is with the obsession with ~original ips~ anyway, there's nothing that can't be done with a sequel or game in the same universe. Plus InXile still needs to make a Meantime game.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 29: Glorious Combat

Post by Drool » May 10th, 2016, 12:22 pm

Original IPs don't have any baggage. A random "high fantasy dungeon crawl game" has far fewer hurdles to get over than "the fourth game in the Bard's Tale series of high fantasy dungeon crawl games". A Bard's Tale game without bardic magic or multiple spell classes isn't right. A generic fantasy dungeon crawler without them is... a generic fantasy dungeon crawler.

Tapping into nostalgia is great for getting donations, but it also puts certain expectations on the project. And when it's a 20-30 year old property, it just gets more complicated.

That said, for what it's worth, Meantime wouldn't have a lot of these problems because it was never released or finished. We have broad strokes, and as long as inXile stuck to those, they'd be fine. There isn't the level of obsessive attention to minutia there like there is for Bard's Tale or Wasteland.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 29: Glorious Combat

Post by Lucius » May 10th, 2016, 4:30 pm

Drool said it well, it comes down to expectations. Original IP, there wouldn't be any, beyond what is spelled out in the kickstarter campaign, marketing, or what have you.

If WL2 wasn't called Wasteland, and instead "Generic Post Apocalyptic RPG" I'd think it was a decent game opposed to utter shit that is a disgrace to the franchise.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 29: Glorious Combat

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » May 10th, 2016, 6:05 pm

Drool wrote: Tapping into nostalgia is great for getting donations, but it also puts certain expectations on the project.
Well put.

And taking such a project, claiming that you're making a sequel, and then tossing aside essential characteristics of the original property is a recipe that is bound to create tension with those expectations.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 29: Glorious Combat

Post by Gizmo » May 10th, 2016, 11:47 pm

Drool wrote:I'm not allergic to innovation. I don't have a problem with updating decades old properties. But too much and you stop being a sequel and just start being either a reboot or, well, a ripoff (even if it's your own property).
Like what happened with Fallout [3 & 4]. :evil:

As for combat being a puzzle [or a hundred puzzles], I am not really against that... but I do wonder if that won't soon get old with repetition, because how many puzzles can one create in an 4x4 grid without recycling past fights?

**Quick question: All of the party members (in the mock-up) are facing the player.
Image

If that is seen in the finished game, as it's seen here, are there three in front row, and two in the back, or is it the other way around?

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 29: Glorious Combat

Post by Crosmando » May 11th, 2016, 2:51 am

Lucius wrote:Drool said it well, it comes down to expectations. Original IP, there wouldn't be any, beyond what is spelled out in the kickstarter campaign, marketing, or what have you.

If WL2 wasn't called Wasteland, and instead "Generic Post Apocalyptic RPG" I'd think it was a decent game opposed to utter shit that is a disgrace to the franchise.
I see it differently. To be honest I don't really trust any developer/publisher, they all could fall victim to the lure of bigger profits by expanding product appeal to "broader audiences" and we all know where that leads, InXile included. If a developer does a Kickstarter for a an actual or spiritual successor to an old classic, then they have already straitjacketed themselves into making a certain type of game, which is good news for fans of that type of game. That is an "old-school CRPG", a pretty broad definition but you can still be pretty confident that they won't go full Bioware/Bethesda on an old/classic franchise if they have to answer to people who actually funded the game out of their own pockets. With an original ip, there is less assurance of them making a traditional-style CRPG.

Sure, WL2 was quite different than WL1, but it was still the type of RPG I like and I enjoyed it thoroughly so it's all good in my book. BT4 might be considerably different than BT trilogy but I'm confident it will still be a traditional CRPG.

That said, there are a few things which are very important for me in BT4, that is: Being fully first-person, having a day-night cycle, having turn or phased based combat, and having random encounters. And to a lesser extent not having an annoying storyline which is overbearing to the main gameplay.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 29: Glorious Combat

Post by kilobug » May 11th, 2016, 8:58 am

Drool wrote:Tapping into nostalgia is great for getting donations, but it also puts certain expectations on the project. And when it's a 20-30 year old property, it just gets more complicated.
That is true, but it also provides additional depth. That's partly what I like in Baldur's Gate or PST : the fact they are part of a large universe, and you can feel it. And that was true with Wasteland 2 - even if I din't play WL1, the references to Cochise and Vargas and Bobby and AG center and ... from WL1 did make the game richer and feel more "alive", in a way that would have been harder to do if they made a completly new settings.

The settings can be an existing pen&paper settings (D&D settings, Shadowrun, Numénera, ...), it can be a book/movies settings (Star Wars, the Witcher, Lord of the Rings, ...) or it can be a sequel to another video game (WL2, FO2, ...) but having a pre-existing settings, not a brand new one created just for the game usually means deeper, richer world, characters and better overall RPG experience. Making a new settings from scratch and having it feel as alive is a very hard thing.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 29: Glorious Combat

Post by Lucius » May 11th, 2016, 4:42 pm

I think having a game feel alive, while rich lore certainly adds to that, but having the game world make sense makes a bigger difference. Things like, having your actions have a noticeable effect on the world with major actions having far reaching consequences. Another example would be characters acting consistently and in a way that seems reasonable for the character.

What doesn't make a world feel alive and real? Highpool/Ag Center choice with tons of people at HQ wandering around pointlessly. It doesn't make sense there are 20 guys guarding a base but only 2 (?) field squads, one of which is made up of fresh recruited rookies. If the world doesn't make sense, the game won't feel real or alive.

Anyway, my point is, good writing will make a world feel deep and rich, whether a sequel or a new ip. Source material will certainly add depth, but there are more important things, like good writing and good world design that will far outweigh any preexisting setting.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 29: Glorious Combat

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » May 11th, 2016, 6:37 pm

Give a fantasy setting too much depth and it loses much of its mystery and perceived richness. At times, paucity of information can add more enchantment than can plenitude.

Also, suspension of disbelief is a fairly essential element of magical fantasy. If almost everything is explained, then suspension of disbelief is harder to achieve and people will find logical inconsistencies in the setting to pick apart.
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