Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

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Re: Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

Post by Gizmo » December 6th, 2017, 10:47 am

Zombra wrote:
December 6th, 2017, 9:19 am
Giant spiky pauldrons, swords that look like they weigh 600 pounds, color schemes straight out of Candyland ... no matter how you justify it, stuff like this looks ugly and tasteless.
That is the point. Imagine instead (hypothetically) that the equipment hurt when worn; that the hat of 360° vision gave the wearer a nasty headache... They wouldn't casually wear it all of the time. The grand Halberd of lightning bolts—that constantly sapped hitpoints from electrical damage, would only be brought out for ceremony or dire emergency. In the case of harmless—but gaudy (or stupid looking) equipment, the PC could (perhaps should) get laughed at, or derided for it.

Which form for a magic item —that affords seeing the invisible— seems better to you(?)... A lapel pin, a monocle, or ornamented goggles the size of a VR helmet? There is no reason that it couldn't be any of them—except perhaps if the creators of it wanted it to be purely defensive and obvious to all; rather than secret, and able to be used criminally.

In the case of a weapon... Which is a more effective deterrent on the battle field: a nondescript +5 longsword, or a +5 longsword that looks like a titan's weapon—and on fire... Which would you rather your enemies see coming at them? If someone stole it... which would you rather be looking for?

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Re: Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

Post by lefty1117 » December 6th, 2017, 10:57 am

My comment on art style is to just be consistent with it. I think the fact that it's been so long between BT releases, they have more freedom in terms of how to stylize things than other series might have. We were looking at 8 bit graphics 30 years ago. I think there's some room for interpretation!

More than graphical callbacks I'd just like to see some lore references and consistency over what the original series established, especially in BT1 and 2 - BT3 being somewhat of an odd duck with all the dimension jumping (great game, just odd in terms of lore & continuity). References to towns, rhymes, song and spell names, monsters, characters. I'm a bit disappointed that we won't see elves anymore, I think that's a mistake, and although the ancient british isles theme being used in BT4 is good and largely appropriate imo, I just don't want to see the game constrained by it. There weren't elves in scottish lore? So what, this isn't a game about ancient scotland!

I chose Fighter for the first update, start with the mundane and then each update move towards the mystical!

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Re: Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

Post by Gizmo » December 6th, 2017, 11:11 am

lefty1117 wrote:
December 6th, 2017, 10:57 am
My comment on art style is to just be consistent with it. I think the fact that it's been so long between BT releases, they have more freedom in terms of how to stylize things than other series might have. We were looking at 8 bit graphics 30 years ago. I think there's some room for interpretation!
I like consistency too...
I was none too pleased with Bethesda's re-imagining of practically ALL historical items in Fallout 1 & 2, for their FO3 title... Not new items, items (and creatures) that were presented as the original artifacts; but that looked fundamentally different than previously... Such that they could not be the same items.

A technical artist can draw the same thing at different resolutions; and embellish it with additional detail at higher res—while still having it look like the same item—if it's supposed to be the same item. One needn't utterly re-imagine a thing into something entirely else, just for the hell of it; certainly not if it's supposed to fit in with an established series.
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Re: Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

Post by thebruce » December 6th, 2017, 11:29 am

Gizmo wrote:
December 6th, 2017, 10:47 am
In the case of a weapon... Which is a more effective deterrent on the battle field: a nondescript +5 longsword, or a +5 longsword that looks like a titan's weapon—and on fire... Which would you rather your enemies see coming at them? If someone stole it... which would you rather be looking for?
I think that would entirely depend on the fighter. Some might realize that flashiness and intimidation doesn't work, so why waste energy and time on what they deem as frivolous? Many a good fighter will take practicality over impression. A high quality straight forward sword that they've mastered may stand a much better chance at being effective over a greater swath of enemies than a flashy sword intended to strike fear in foes that would likely be more unwieldy to .. wield. :P
Or vice versa. If the option is there, the better.
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Re: Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

Post by thebruce » December 6th, 2017, 11:32 am

Gizmo wrote:
December 6th, 2017, 11:11 am
lefty1117 wrote:
December 6th, 2017, 10:57 am
My comment on art style is to just be consistent with it. I think the fact that it's been so long between BT releases, they have more freedom in terms of how to stylize things than other series might have. We were looking at 8 bit graphics 30 years ago. I think there's some room for interpretation!
I like consistency too...
I was none too pleased with Bethesda's re-imagining of practically ALL historical items in Fallout 1 & 2, for their FO3 title... Not new items, items (and creatures) that were presented as the original artifacts; but that looked fundamentally different than previously... Such that they could not be the same items.

A technical artist can draw the same thing at different resolutions; and embellish it with additional detail at higher res—while still having it look like the same item—if it's supposed to be the same item. One needn't utterly re-imagine a thing into something entirely else, just for the hell of it; certainly not if it's supposed to fit in with an established series.
Same issues crept up with the newer releases of Halo; though lore-wise they're explained away. The hard core fans will notice when differences in art style would actually have an effect on practical use of items, or when fundamental changes in the biological appearance of what are supposed to be the same creature can't be explained away by variation in a species or cultural differences.

As technology improves, it's a tough task to improve the graphical appearance of game assets while retaining the fundamental 'spirit', for lack of better term, of their origin.
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Re: Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

Post by Gizmo » December 6th, 2017, 11:33 am

thebruce wrote:
December 6th, 2017, 11:29 am
Gizmo wrote:
December 6th, 2017, 10:47 am
In the case of a weapon... Which is a more effective deterrent on the battle field: a nondescript +5 longsword, or a +5 longsword that looks like a titan's weapon—and on fire... Which would you rather your enemies see coming at them? If someone stole it... which would you rather be looking for?
I think that would entirely depend on the fighter. ...
Why? —did the fighter make the weapon? If it's an ancient artifact, then fighter can choose to use it or not—and even resent its flashy (or foppish; or even nondescript) appearance.

*But if the fighter did make (or commission) the weapon, then... being the designer of it... the item could indeed match their personal preference for its appearance.

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Re: Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

Post by Gizmo » December 6th, 2017, 11:43 am

thebruce wrote:
December 6th, 2017, 11:32 am
As technology improves, it's a tough task to improve the graphical appearance of game assets while retaining the fundamental 'spirit', for lack of better term, of their origin.
I've heard it, and it sounds plausible... but I still don't buy it. It's not so hard as that.
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Re: Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

Post by thebruce » December 6th, 2017, 11:44 am

You asked "which is a more effect deterrent" -- That would entirely depend on the fighter, for the reasons I gave.

Unless of course by "deterrent" you're already giving bias to impression, in which case yes, a fighter who didn't care for impression wouldn't use the weapon. But that's not the question I answered :P
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Re: Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

Post by thebruce » December 6th, 2017, 11:47 am

Gizmo wrote:
December 6th, 2017, 11:43 am
thebruce wrote:
December 6th, 2017, 11:32 am
As technology improves, it's a tough task to improve the graphical appearance of game assets while retaining the fundamental 'spirit', for lack of better term, of their origin.
I've heard it, and it sounds plausible... but I still don't buy it. It's not so hard as that.
Okay. I do. Because I've seen how hard it is, and how easy it is for developers to mess up, specifically because of commuity backlash.
Of course that doesn't mean that it's never easy, or that it's always hard.
But upconverting something from old to new with bucket loads of new tech to play with is a tightrope walk.
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Re: Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

Post by Gizmo » December 6th, 2017, 11:47 am

thebruce wrote:
December 6th, 2017, 11:44 am
You asked "which is a more effect deterrent" -- That would entirely depend on the fighter, for the reasons I gave.
This is true, but I did mean from a (magical artifact) designer's perspective.
thebruce wrote:
December 6th, 2017, 11:47 am
Okay. I do. Because I've seen how hard it is, and how easy it is for developers to mess up, specifically because of commuity backlash.
Of course that doesn't mean that it's never easy, or that it's always hard.
But upconverting something from old to new with bucket loads of new tech to play with is a tightrope walk.
It's not trivial...sure, but I think it's only hard when one's heart isn't in it.

In the case of FO3... they had designers that hadn't played any games of the series; and others who hadn't even heard of it.

**You are right about community backlash... but it depends on the community; I've seen it where the community wasn't the designer's target market; and no wonder the backlash.
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Re: Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

Post by thebruce » December 6th, 2017, 11:52 am

Gizmo wrote:
December 6th, 2017, 11:47 am
thebruce wrote:
December 6th, 2017, 11:44 am
You asked "which is a more effect deterrent" -- That would entirely depend on the fighter, for the reasons I gave.
This is true, but I did mean from a (magical artifact) designer's perspective.
Ah. Ok, so from that perspective, presuming the weapon being discussed IS imbued with magical power, would such a weapon be more effective with or without the added flare, for whoever would be using that weapon. I'd agree yes. But of course arguments could be made that combat context would be important (obviously). A weapon with such power intended for battlefield use with many eyes on it, to lead the way, even, would be better served with intense flare.

I suppose the question is - flare for the sake of flare? Or flare that actually serves a purpose? I think a lot of people look at artsy weapon design and don't necessairly see a practical reason for flare, writing off the artist's creativity as the fictional weapon creator's style/culture/pride/etc. At some point there's that line for suspension of disbelief. At what point does 'magical flare appearance' become a deterrent for the feasibility of an item in the game world?
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Re: Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

Post by Gizmo » December 6th, 2017, 11:57 am

thebruce wrote:
December 6th, 2017, 11:52 am
I suppose the question is - flare for the sake of flare? Or flare that actually serves a purpose?
I think that would depend on the designer's personality, naivety, vanity, and ego; (or that of their culture). The item was quite possibly intended for themselves (like the One Ring); though it could have been intended to *make* a hero (or villain; or pawn) of anyone handy.

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Re: Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

Post by Zombra » December 6th, 2017, 11:59 am

Gizmo wrote:
December 6th, 2017, 10:47 am
Zombra wrote:
December 6th, 2017, 9:19 am
Giant spiky pauldrons, swords that look like they weigh 600 pounds, color schemes straight out of Candyland ... no matter how you justify it, stuff like this looks ugly and tasteless.
That is the point.
No. You are missing the point. There is a difference between an item in the game world looking ugly and the game world itself looking ugly. Stupid, tasteless garbage does not belong in every game. The iconic Buster Sword looks fine in Final Fantasy 7 because it defines the look of the game, but it would look idiotic in Battle Brothers and does not belong there at all. Shiny red clown shoes would be stupid in STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl, and having them reduce rifle recoil by 25% would be beyond horrible. So the question for any given game is: does stupid, tasteless garbage belong in this game? (I'm not actually slamming what we've seen for BT4; it looks fine to me.) Players should not have to choose between decent stats and a well realized game world.

Your argument for dissonance and inconsistency is not a good one.
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Re: Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

Post by Gizmo » December 6th, 2017, 12:14 pm

Zombra wrote:
December 6th, 2017, 11:59 am
No. You are missing the point. There is a difference between an item in the game world looking ugly and the game world itself looking ugly.
That's a point rarely missed; if it's wide-spread. However... What world lacks the tasteless? Somebody always makes bad art—sometimes even out of solid gold. I hope you didn't take the impression that I mean that *every* magical item needs to be flashy and tasteless. I said that I am not particularly upset when they are.
Shiny red clown shoes would be ugly and out of place in STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl, because they would ruin STALKER's solid, grimy art style. That's just not what STALKER is about, nor should it be.
Didn't Stalker have people call the player Clown-shoes? Wouldn't there be funny clown-shoes in the region?—(famous for world-class clown performers). Wouldn't it be worse if the prop wasn't interactive; and wearable? Not to mention the contrast of those shoes in that landscape. ;)
Your argument for dissonance and inconsistency is not a good one.
I disagree*, but then you knew I would. Will you share some examples?

(*But it will have to be on principle; I wasn't aware that I had argued for dissonance and inconsistency.)

_________

Do you mean inconsistent art style; as in the difference between the style of Popeye and the Smurfs? Or as in Cup-Head and Tomb Raider? If so, then well of course I agree against that... except that Tomb Raider could have a Cup-head statue in it; (but not the reverse).

An example of what I think you mean, is the recruit-able Vault-Boy in FO:Tactics; unconscionably called PipBoy—though he wasn't.Image
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Re: Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

Post by Zombra » December 6th, 2017, 12:29 pm

Gizmo wrote:
December 6th, 2017, 12:14 pm
What world lacks the tasteless?
You're really not getting it. There is tasteless within the world and there is art inconsistent with that world. Every single world lacks stuff that cannot exist within its parameters. You argue ultimately that no world should ever have stylistic parameters. Every world is "anything goes". Alien should have rainbows and a hip-hop soundtrack. My Little Pony should have torture scenes. Nothing should have a style, nothing should have intention behind it. It's like I'm looking into a void here.
Gizmo wrote:
December 6th, 2017, 12:14 pm
Zombra wrote:
December 6th, 2017, 11:59 am
Your argument for dissonance and inconsistency is not a good one.
I disagree, but then you knew I would. Will you share some examples?
You asked for it. I'll give you one example: Fallout 3. Your argument is pro Fallout 3. Wear a silly hat and get +5 to your Science skill. That is pure, unadulterated Fallout 3. That is what you are arguing for - games to be more like Fallout 3. Now take a good look in the mirror and think about what you've done.
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Re: Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

Post by Gizmo » December 6th, 2017, 12:38 pm

Zombra wrote:
December 6th, 2017, 12:29 pm
You argue ultimately that no world should ever have stylistic parameters. Every world is "anything goes". Alien should have rainbows and a hip-hop soundtrack. My Little Pony should have torture scenes. Nothing should have a style, nothing should have intention behind it. It's like I'm looking into a void here.
You asked for it. I'll give you one example: Fallout 3. Your argument is pro Fallout 3. Wear a silly hat and get +5 to your Science skill. That is pure, unadulterated Fallout 3. That is what you are arguing for - games to be more like Fallout 3. Now take a good look in the mirror and think about what you've done.
You are inventing both of those arguments; and attributing them to me; falsely. It comes of reading into my posts what think I must mean. :?

*However... :twisted: While not in my original intent, you bring up FO3's controversial magic-pants. This was a very common contention on Bethsoft for a time. My opinion on it has always been—aside from 'Your work is as good as your tools' that the Fallout setting itself had a parody 50's~ish mentality about expertise and looking the part. In Fallout 1 & 2, you did get skill bonuses for using skill related items... like the wrench, lock picks, mirrored sunglasses, etc... And a part of Fallout's core premise is about belief affecting reality.

___

Let's switch back to BT.
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Re: Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

Post by Zombra » December 6th, 2017, 12:52 pm

Question for inXile: on the subject of cursed weapons: will there be any incentive at all to "let" weapons stay cursed? Or will it be "you screwed up the puzzle, press F11 to erase your mistake and try again"? Asking for a friend. You can't prevent "brute forcing" puzzles when there's a quicksave/quickload system, and players may not easily accept "you found this cool treasure but permanently ruined it".
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Re: Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

Post by Gizmo » December 6th, 2017, 12:58 pm

I like the idea of leaving cursed items for NPCs to pick up; or to steal outright, and try to use. You could do this with ticking Dynamite in FO2.

In BG1, one of my party found a cursed helm of alignment reversal—they gave it to Kagan the ill tempered evil dwarf in the party, and he wore it for the rest of the game.

Cursed weapons can be useful. In DeathKnights of Krynn, I had a knight who carried a cursed sword that greatly increased his combat ability—at the cost of his judgment; he'd attack anyone in sight... So he would only use it if separated, or when the entire party was dead or dying, and him needing a maniac's edge to survive.

Hopefully cursed items can repeat their effect; and do not become unequipable once identified.

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Re: Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » December 6th, 2017, 8:18 pm

ZiN wrote:
December 6th, 2017, 12:25 am
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
December 5th, 2017, 4:55 pm
One can imagine that if they have physical manipulation puzzles here, then they might have levers, pressure plates, buttons, chains, etc... in the dungeons.
Yes, those things are a vital part of actual dungeon-crawling gameplay, instead of being gimmicks.
I don't recall physical manipulation of dungeon features as being an element of the original BT series. One of the things I dislike in games, like Grimrock, for example, is the running around to pull levers in a certain sequence, where timing was sometimes important. I don't mind gathering puzzle clues from different places, but don't want to move all over the place to unlock a part of the game. Also, I liked the fact that I could solve all the puzzles from my keyboard. Was hoping for the same in BT IV. Depending on the degrees of physical manipulation in BT IV, keyboard control might not be feasible.
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Re: Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

Post by Lix » December 7th, 2017, 4:04 am

Zombra wrote:
December 6th, 2017, 12:52 pm
Question for inXile: on the subject of cursed weapons: will there be any incentive at all to "let" weapons stay cursed? Or will it be "you screwed up the puzzle, press F11 to erase your mistake and try again"? Asking for a friend. You can't prevent "brute forcing" puzzles when there's a quicksave/quickload system, and players may not easily accept "you found this cool treasure but permanently ruined it".
inXile addressed this in the Kickstarter comments:
Regarding Puzzle Weapons and peoples' concerns about their difficulty, it's the same with any other game and any other feature. If you want to look at a FAQ or "save scum" your way to the best Puzzle Weapon possible, go right ahead. Engage the game in a way that works for you. The challenge and possible consequences are there for those players who want it. It's as much a roleplaying feature as anything else - an imperfect puzzle weapon reflects a player's unique journey through the game.
You would want to let a weapon stay cursed for "roleplaying reasons": because it reflects who you are and where you screwed up. There's no mention of "beneficial curses", which seemed pretty unlikely to me anyway.

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