The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

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

Moderator: Bard Hall Bouncers

User avatar
phimseto
Developer
Posts: 297
Joined: April 18th, 2012, 7:01 am

The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by phimseto » May 1st, 2017, 1:52 pm

Hey Everyone,

Today, Lead Designer David Rogers takes you on a first-look tour of The Bard's Tale IV combat system in action, along with an update on the game's sound design!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/in ... ts/1873547

Image
Recently, we gave you our first look at exploration and combat, and your response and feedback were both incredible and very useful in helping us prioritize our efforts. We wanted to respond to much of the feedback we got in more detail while also talking a bit more about some of our gameplay ideas.
All that and more at the link above! Happy dungeon crawling, everyone!

- The inXile Team

demeisen
Acolyte
Posts: 99
Joined: July 11th, 2015, 9:59 am

Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by demeisen » May 1st, 2017, 2:27 pm

Thanks for the combat update! Some thoughts after watching it:
  • While it's always hard to get a feel for these things in a short video, I liked the end commentary which noted a "deep system with tons of room for tactical growth and complexity". Details and feel are hard to glean from a video, and a lot depends on the ability and spell design, but the spirit of that quote is exactly what I would hope for in a combat system. Here's a vote of confidence on where you're headed with it.
  • I may be OCD-ing this, but it looks very strange to me to have the characters with their backs to the direction of travel while walking around. Perhaps it's down to how integrated into the game world they are. E.g, a simple 2D icon of a player's face doesn't feel like it's facing the wrong way, because it's part of the GUI, not part of the world. There's more of a mixed vibe to the characters though, like they're not quite GUI elements, but also not quite 1st class world inhabitants either. I kept wanting them to look where they're going. Similar for combat: swinging an axe at something, for example, they ought to face it.
  • Along similar lines, in combat it's a little weird how the party's character graphics fade away towards their feet. They feel rather incorporeal.
  • Thumbs up for having non-combat spells/songs/abilities. I think it's an important part of building an immersive game world.
  • Editing to add: also thumbs up on wandering patrols and the like. It makes areas feel more alive and dynamic.

User avatar
Lucius
Master
Posts: 2228
Joined: March 9th, 2012, 6:43 pm

Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by Lucius » May 1st, 2017, 5:21 pm

demeisen wrote:
May 1st, 2017, 2:27 pm
[*] I may be OCD-ing this, but it looks very strange to me to have the characters with their backs to the direction of travel while walking around. Perhaps it's down to how integrated into the game world they are. E.g, a simple 2D icon of a player's face doesn't feel like it's facing the wrong way, because it's part of the GUI, not part of the world. There's more of a mixed vibe to the characters though, like they're not quite GUI elements, but also not quite 1st class world inhabitants either. I kept wanting them to look where they're going. Similar for combat: swinging an axe at something, for example, they ought to face it.
I've mentioned this before regarding combat. That really, really bothers me. Don't turn around in combat! Find another way to indicate which character is selected. As for walking around in the world, I see them more as UI elements in that case and that doesn't bother me at all.

As a side note, take your time releasing this game. My GPU is dying and I need a new card but that probably won't happen for another year. So do me a favor and don't release before then. Thanks!

_noblesse_oblige_
Explorer
Posts: 441
Joined: July 13th, 2015, 7:18 pm

Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » May 1st, 2017, 6:15 pm

Some initial reactions:
  • Good to hear grid-based movement again confirmed. Would've been nice to see it in action.
  • Is there going to be an option to turn off the intra-party chatter?
  • Good to see a return of Wayland's Watch.
  • Bards have to drink grog in combat now to get "spell points"? Why? What is the motivation behind this change?
  • So, you have different kinds of damage now. Do they all subtract from the same pool of hit points or have hit points been broken out into separate pools?
  • We saw damage ablation from armor. Is AC, to help determine whether an attack hits or misses, still a thing?
  • What's up with the focus mechanism for spell casting? What was wrong with the spell points mechanism from the original series?
  • There was mention that the party would have a small amount of time to retreat after being noticed or else combat would ensue. Does this mean that there are real-time elements to the game?
  • As another poster mentioned in the KS comments, how is the keyboard navigation going to work? Lots of clicking things in the demo video.
cmibl<enter>

User avatar
Zombra
Global Moderator
Posts: 5735
Joined: March 8th, 2012, 10:50 pm

Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by Zombra » May 1st, 2017, 6:18 pm

I'm happy with the party section at the bottom being abstracted. Maybe an effort should even be made to make it look less like they're in the game world if people think it looks like they're walking backwards. I don't want to be staring at their butts the whole game, I want to see their faces.
Image

_noblesse_oblige_
Explorer
Posts: 441
Joined: July 13th, 2015, 7:18 pm

Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » May 1st, 2017, 7:23 pm

Agreed. I wouldn't mind some cameo ovals framing torso-and-head portraits of each party member, facing the player.
cmibl<enter>

User avatar
thebruce
Forum Moderator
Posts: 898
Joined: February 17th, 2015, 8:46 am
Contact:

Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by thebruce » May 1st, 2017, 7:43 pm

Yes, having the character appear more interface-bound than somewhat-partially-so-so in the game world will help with the forward/backward oddness. If the layout is the same for literal combat grid as abstract exploration interface, then that oddness will be hard to avoid.
Visit BardsTaleOnline.com - your community Bard's Tale classic RPG resource!
Twitter: @BardsTaleOnline / Facebook: Bards.Tale.Online
@thebruce0

User avatar
thebruce
Forum Moderator
Posts: 898
Joined: February 17th, 2015, 8:46 am
Contact:

Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by thebruce » May 1st, 2017, 7:44 pm

Re-posting my comments from the KS page here as it's a little more relevant for discussion (that was me BTW, nobless ;))
---
Very nice update to combat; much more pleased the initial concept! A *little* closer to the classic feel :P

A few comments/questions:
1. This depicted combat is quite detailed and complex. It's mentioned that there will be quick combat encounters of 1-2 rounds, and that's good. But with the added potential complexity, is it "more" merely in the sense of what happens in combat, or is the input and functionality also that much more complex? Or in other words - will the combat rounds, especially the likes of the video, be easily accomplished by keyboard entry? There's a whole lot of mouse moving around to make use of the variety of features and abilities. Are keyboard users being kept in mind during this design process?
1b. "Room for tactical growth and complexity" - please don't overdo it! It's a dungeon crawler, many of us like the "grindy" nature of quick/short exploratory combat. Having room for more is great (really), but I think there's more impact and memorable moments when the big/special are more rare than the common/easy. In the classics, strategic combat virtually disappeared as the party grew in strength; it's good to bring strategic combat back in BT4 for higher levels, just don't bring everything (or most of it) up to that level :)

2. Turn-based and Opportunity - I like this, definitely a move towards the classics. Colour me pleased. :)

3. Coward's defense - Nice interpretation of "(D)efend". I presume party characters have a similar action they can take?

4. Mental focus to recharge SP - in the video they gained 1 SP... Will the scale of the game lead to development of characters to hundreds/thousands of HP/SP? Or is the game going to be one that throttles character development to small numbers and instead makes increasing difficulty based on other interactive factors? I liked the linear character advancement of statistics; I wouldn't prefer to see increased functional complexity at higher difficulties rather than increased numerical representation. (for a BT title at least)

5. The return of classic spells & songs - thank you for bringing back a few of the beloved names! It'll certainly be interesting seeing how they're interpreted in the context of BT4.

6. Will we have the ability to disable animations? I'm sure at first they'll be great to see and watch and take in, but in time, will we have the ability to disable them, or switch to a 'quick' mode at least so we can move along through combat at a comfortable pace?

7. Bard songs - Are some only/clearly usable as map puzzle solutions like the stone remembers, or will we for example get songs with passive buffs, as if that's their purpose, and not know that later on it may have effects usable as puzzle solutions later? eg, if we have a songbook of say the classic 10-11 songs, each with a known purpose, then at some point in the game, a challenge/obstacle is affected by one of the songs because of the song's effect - as opposed to "here's the song you'll need on your travels to open door XYZ".

8. I'm nitpicky about the term 'easter egg'. I wouldn't call rare personality dialogue an easter egg. I would call it an easter egg if it was very well hidden and requiring a certain task to be accomplished, which revealed a bit of dialogue between the developers about designing the creature's costume. An out-of-game reference that's informational/revealing/entertaining within the game. Not just a humorous entirely in-game tidbit. But hey, that's just me :)

Overall, I like the direction that combat is going. Keep the updates coming!
Visit BardsTaleOnline.com - your community Bard's Tale classic RPG resource!
Twitter: @BardsTaleOnline / Facebook: Bards.Tale.Online
@thebruce0

demeisen
Acolyte
Posts: 99
Joined: July 11th, 2015, 9:59 am

Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by demeisen » May 1st, 2017, 9:18 pm

Zombra wrote:
May 1st, 2017, 6:18 pm
Maybe an effort should even be made to make it look less like they're in the game world if people think it looks like they're walking backwards.
I think that could work. I'm OK with either extreme: clearly part of the environment, or clearly not. The middle ground feels awkward though. Seeing a character swing a sword while facing away from what he was smacking with it felt a bit jarring.

If the party was more pure GUI-element during exploration, there's the issue of how to handle combat. Possible idea: the monsters are apparently first class residents of the environment. Perhaps the player's party members could become so as well at the start of combat, while moving on the same combat grid they do now.

Anyway: quibbles aside, agreed with TheBruce's concluding line: I like how combat is shaping up. Lots of nice potential.

User avatar
Woolfe
Supreme Jerk
Posts: 5642
Joined: March 22nd, 2012, 6:42 pm

Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by Woolfe » May 1st, 2017, 10:23 pm

Agreed... I'd rather the more interface bound. So I am always looking at the faces of may characters, rather than the back of their heads...
It's not too late. Make it Eight!

User avatar
Drool
Forum Moderator
Posts: 8789
Joined: March 17th, 2012, 9:58 pm
Location: Under Tenebrosia, doing shots with Sceadu.

Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by Drool » May 1st, 2017, 11:00 pm

Excuse me while I go full grognard here...

I'm confused. Mangar's Mind Jab doesn't take any... initiative gems? I'd say that opens it for spamming, but apparently you've gimped mana.

Also, I can't say I'm a big fan of using cooldowns, especially since things seem to start on cooldown. I'm also not thrilled with how it appears that the mage starts with little or no mana. Basically, this looks a lot like the first couple rounds are either going to be worthless piddling while waiting to actually do something, or majorly consumable intensive.

I know you wanted to do more with combat, but did you have to so completely ignore the previous three games? Just calling it Mind Jab doesn't make it the same. I mean, it's a fight with three goblins and a... blob. I can only imagine your quick fights will be against the dreaded Dust Bunny. Or perhaps a Mildly Annoying Fly.

And... um... that's not what a redcap looks like. If you're going to shoehorn in Irish and Celtic mythology, at least do it right. That looks more like... I dunno... a Lhurgoyf.
Alwa nasci korliri das.

I neither work, nor speak, for inXile.

Not too late; make it eight!

User avatar
Zombra
Global Moderator
Posts: 5735
Joined: March 8th, 2012, 10:50 pm

Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by Zombra » May 1st, 2017, 11:24 pm

demeisen wrote:
May 1st, 2017, 9:18 pm
Possible idea: the monsters are apparently first class residents of the environment. Perhaps the player's party members could become so as well at the start of combat, while moving on the same combat grid they do now.
I did like the original concept with the party fully rendered:

Image

... but for one reason or another (budget?) they decided not to go in this direction. So, OK, make the party UI only, fine. Perhaps make the divide clearer.
Image

User avatar
Gizmo
Grandmaster
Posts: 2935
Joined: March 6th, 2012, 6:25 am

Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by Gizmo » May 2nd, 2017, 2:46 am

Zombra wrote:
May 1st, 2017, 11:24 pm
I did like the original concept with the party fully rendered:
Same here.
___
phimseto wrote:
May 1st, 2017, 1:52 pm
...
It's a beautiful game world!
I have questions and comments:

First... The camera. The party camera seems positioned at around knee height. It evokes the notion that they are all quite literally dungeon-crawling —on their hands & knees. Is the current camera height considered final?

Second... Grid-step mode. Is it merely cosmetic, included solely for ease of mapping; or is there anything to discover by using it(?) Some [potential] understanding or epiphany that comes from mapping the dungeon —that otherwise could go unnoticed? Where grid-step shines is in revealing to the player the way the layouts are oriented to the floors above and below; to be able to look at a map and realize that a hidden space could exist at a map location, or that a pit seems to lead down—but doesn't seem to lead up from below once the lower floor is mapped. In the case of spinners, this potentially allows the player to realize that a map cannot be as it appears... if (for instance) seeming to overlap locations already explored and mapped... A clue that something is strange, and needs back-tracking.

I think it's missing the forest for the trees [if] to just include grid-step on the assumption that it's mapping for sake of mapping alone. The video seemed to imply that it's for hardcore mappers who want to map.... I hope that's not all it's for. :?

Third... I have bad memories of Menzoberranzan... where the team did not test the game enough to detect that there were areas on the maps that were not traversable in grid-step mode [due to ground obstructions]... such that the only way to move through some areas was in free-move mode. I played half the game before realizing that certain areas were meant to be explored —but couldn't be reached using grid-step gameplay.

Fourth... I'd like to reiterate the same perturbed sense that others had when seeing the backwards party members (talking to an imaginary friend with their backs to the action). I see now that it was meant that they hop around in place, but when I first saw it, I thought that the party actually explored the world facing the player; such that their position was actually reversed when facing enemies; and it still seems like that.

Image

Fifth... Combat looks interesting, but kind of simple; perhaps this is to be expected [of a teaser video] with a system that opens up over time, to include additional layers. Based on what's in the video, I'm definitely looking forward to playing. 8-)

I very much liked the levitation spell, used to line up targets into an area of effect attack.
**It'd be interesting if that attack could toss them back [out of combat range, for a moment].

Sixth... Does BT4 have [combat] wall spells? (Like a wall of force, or flame, that can occupy all or part of the enemy's front row.)

Yokohamalama
Novice
Posts: 46
Joined: September 20th, 2015, 2:50 am

Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by Yokohamalama » May 2nd, 2017, 5:29 am

About the UI abstraction... it feels like there are only 2 ways to implement it nicely: either go for an abstracted oldschool UI with 2D portrait slots always facing the player (without backward/forward oddness) or full isometric/3d style. It feels like there's no clean solution in between.

However I must admit that the tactical positioning of the current UI is very WYSIWYG and better than the Wizardry 8 radar. And it also looks more elegant than Lords of Xulima, where the empty tactical slots looked like "empty holes". But maybe there's still some magic trick possible to get it done in a satisfactory hybrid way...

User avatar
Crosmando
Supreme Jerk
Posts: 5014
Joined: January 3rd, 2013, 8:48 am

Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by Crosmando » May 2nd, 2017, 5:42 am

Sounds good but the reference to combat as a "puzzle" made me cringe a bit. I hope that the game still has feats/perks or whatever which allow players to build a more traditional "tank and spank" party with super-armored HP sponges at the front and glass cannons at the rear, without having to engage in some of the stuff in that video (like characters swapping places during combat).

Also I hope those characters sprites are placeholder, compared to the 3D environment they look surprisingly low quality.
Last edited by Crosmando on May 2nd, 2017, 9:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
Matthias did nothing wrong!

User avatar
thebruce
Forum Moderator
Posts: 898
Joined: February 17th, 2015, 8:46 am
Contact:

Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by thebruce » May 2nd, 2017, 6:42 am

Echoing gizmo's comments on mapping and grid-based map design.
Echoing Crosmando's comments on sprite placeholders and design.

I can understand the party layout facing one way or the other from either perspective; either:
1) You are looking at the party from the 'front' during exploration, so that during combat the positions switch and characters face forward (the flip as gizmo depicted) because now "you" are viewing the party from behind so the combat takes place to the front.
2) You are always looking at the party from 'behind', as you explore and as you fight, and the portraits are placeholders so you know the spot they are always in, whether they're individually facing forward to backward.

I think the divide comes because the visual design has them placed partially as an element of the UI, so there's no clear 'correct' way to depict them that makes universal sense. Are they in the game world or are they not?
Personally I prefer not - that's the way BT has been, and again, an analogous representation of the adventuring party. I really don't want to see the camera pan back and out to have the characters 3D in the game world during combat. Please no. I'm growing to accept the new 2D combat 'field' grid rather than the 1D distance combat from the classic, but please keep it analagous, not literal (which comes back down again to keyboard use, and flexibility for speedy combat rather than slow/animated/complex, generally speaking).

This update was a step in the right direction; please don't take a step back ;)
Visit BardsTaleOnline.com - your community Bard's Tale classic RPG resource!
Twitter: @BardsTaleOnline / Facebook: Bards.Tale.Online
@thebruce0

User avatar
Crosmando
Supreme Jerk
Posts: 5014
Joined: January 3rd, 2013, 8:48 am

Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by Crosmando » May 2nd, 2017, 7:00 am

But if you could only see the backs of characters during combat, then you wouldn't be able to see their faces during combat when they make comments, or other stuff like how they look if poisoned (if those things do end up in the game that is)
Matthias did nothing wrong!

User avatar
thebruce
Forum Moderator
Posts: 898
Joined: February 17th, 2015, 8:46 am
Contact:

Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by thebruce » May 2nd, 2017, 7:16 am

Right and that's why I'd prefer non-gameworld character placeholders; avoid that issue altogether. You always see your character's portrait, and in such a way that it's not jarring when you enter combat because you're not thinking "But Cid's back is to the enemy!" We don't flip our cards in Hearthstone so the characters are "facing" the competitors, right? :lol:
Visit BardsTaleOnline.com - your community Bard's Tale classic RPG resource!
Twitter: @BardsTaleOnline / Facebook: Bards.Tale.Online
@thebruce0

User avatar
phimseto
Developer
Posts: 297
Joined: April 18th, 2012, 7:01 am

Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by phimseto » May 2nd, 2017, 7:25 am

By all means, Gizmo, TheBruce, et al., keep the comments coming. I'll be sure to get them in front of the devs. As always, the usual caveats - some things may be changed, many things may not, and some things you don't like may be exactly the way the devs want them to be. Still, feedback is always good food for thought, so please share and I will pass it along.

demeisen
Acolyte
Posts: 99
Joined: July 11th, 2015, 9:59 am

Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by demeisen » May 2nd, 2017, 7:31 am

Zombra wrote:
May 1st, 2017, 11:24 pm
I did like the original concept with the party fully rendered:
Oh, I'd never seen that. I like it.

Strange it was going to be expensive: I'd think that after making 3D models for all the creatures and the environment, a few character models would be a very small increment.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests