The Bard's Tale IV Update 41: Hard Drinking, Rabble Rousing Bards

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 41: Hard Drinking, Rabble Rousing Bards

Post by Zombra » February 24th, 2018, 9:16 am

Tactical positioning is definitely relevant and meaningful, and there are maneuvers to change formation and affect enemy formation during combat, and I wouldn't want it any other way. But I don't want to see the animations for these movements involve spinning, or throbbing, or wiggling. I would rather have it look like I was picking up a playing card off the table and changing its position. When I'm at a card table I don't make paper airplanes out of the cards, or flap them through the air and pretend they're dragons while making hilarious sound effects. Playing the game itself is already fun.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 41: Hard Drinking, Rabble Rousing Bards

Post by thebruce » February 24th, 2018, 9:37 am

Gizmo wrote:
February 23rd, 2018, 8:07 pm
thebruce wrote:
February 23rd, 2018, 7:11 pm
the PC's have to be able to move in combat.
Do they?
I consider that entirely pretty graphics. They don't need to, but some devs really want them to.
Perhaps I am mistaken, but I thought that the party members could change slot locations during the fight. If so, then they would need to move in combat, and the options would be to either have it take place instantaneously, to bounce the portraits to the new locations, or to animate the figure's movement from one slot to the next.
Yes, I thought you were only referring to animated motion, not the ability to switch slots. They don't need to animate. Switching positions was assumed as that's a classic mechanic as well. I don't mind them jumping to the new slot without animation in the slightest.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 41: Hard Drinking, Rabble Rousing Bards

Post by Gizmo » February 24th, 2018, 12:10 pm

demeisen wrote:
February 24th, 2018, 8:47 am
I think it'd be tolerable though to just slide the UI elements around accordingly, or instantly move them, or something. Some games let you grab character portraits in the UI with the mouse and move them around to change the party configuration, so I figure it'd end up kind of like that.
Like Legend of Grimrock. That is close to what I meant about the portraits (bouncing) from slot to slot.
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@thebruce I did not meant that they should have an 'excuse me' shuffle animation, or that they would hop over the blue divider lines... I meant it more like a Microsoft Agent character sliding from spot to spot; but I did mean symbolic attack, spell, and defense animations.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 41: Hard Drinking, Rabble Rousing Bards

Post by Zombra » February 24th, 2018, 12:43 pm

Gizmo wrote:
February 24th, 2018, 12:10 pm
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Yeah. That's all that's necessary and (for me) desirable.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 41: Hard Drinking, Rabble Rousing Bards

Post by demeisen » February 24th, 2018, 1:41 pm

Amazingly, it seems like this topic has pretty much unanimous agreement among forum posters. Not sure I've ever seen that happen before about a game topic. I'm still on the internet, right? :lol:

Anyway, aside from grumbling about the weird portraits, I liked this blurb from the update:
Overindulging limits how many songs your bard can sing in a fight before going out of commission, but can also be used strategically to get yourself out of a jam
Obviously I don't know exactly how it'll feel or play out in-game, but I like that kind of mechanic in an abstract sense. Seems like potentially a good idea. Generally the classes seem to be shaping up with some decent ideas to them.

Then again, I played Bard's Tale 1 without a Bard, so maybe I shouldn't offer too many opinions about the Bard class.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 41: Hard Drinking, Rabble Rousing Bards

Post by Crosmando » February 25th, 2018, 5:16 am

When are we gonna get a proper full-length gameplay video. Seems insane that they mention the alpha systems test in the update yet we have yet to get gameplay longer than 10 mins.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 41: Hard Drinking, Rabble Rousing Bards

Post by Grotesque » February 25th, 2018, 3:40 pm

I clearly remember that the devs said that the 2D characters and the jittering will be replaced with something more suited. What happened? Will it still happen?

I like the fact that they face the enemy (and not the player) but when they face the player and start to jitter I have a feeling I watch a Monty Python cartoon sketch which is jarring even if the game wants to have a comical vibe to it. The discrepancy is way too large on many visual and conceptual levels!

What would be ideal from my point of view would be 3D modeled player characters that would face the enemy and that would make eye contact with the player over their shoulder when on their turn (like waiting for player orders) and when they try to convey something/talk to the player (never turning fully their back to the enemy because this is never a good idea combat wise! :) )


They can turn and face the player when out of combat.
And of course when the characters make an attack, they would do their thing and the player would see their 3D attack animation from behind.

I understand that would be more expensive but the 3D models could be the same throughout the game and only modelled from the waist up! (no equipped gear 3D representation required or any other fancy stuff).

Even some medium quality 3D models would be welcomed instead the present 2D ones.
If anyone has some experience in 3D modelling, how time consuming would be for this to become a reality?

As a last resort, Endless Space 2 has wonderfully animated 2D heroes portraits. Maybe that technology could be applied in the game?
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Last edited by Grotesque on February 25th, 2018, 4:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 41: Hard Drinking, Rabble Rousing Bards

Post by Gizmo » February 25th, 2018, 4:36 pm

Grotesque wrote:
February 25th, 2018, 3:40 pm
If anyone has some experience in 3D modelling, how time consuming would be for this to become a reality?
It might become onerous if they were expected to reflect wearing their arbitrary equipment (different capes, weapons, shirts, and hats), but if it was just a single characters with a few animations each, it's not so hard.

However... it might actually not be worth making the 3D model if the PCs are few, and their animations are sparse... It could be easier to animate them by hand drawing the frames; or even hand-retouching animations made with Poser or Daz3D stock figures.

Seeing the NPC work already in WL3 and BT4, I doubt it's a problem for them to animate the BT4 character UI.
Last edited by Gizmo on February 25th, 2018, 4:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 41: Hard Drinking, Rabble Rousing Bards

Post by demeisen » February 25th, 2018, 4:40 pm

Grotesque wrote:
February 25th, 2018, 3:40 pm
What would be ideal from my point of view would be 3D modeled player characters that would face the enemy and that would make eye contact with the player over their shoulder when on their turn

I understand that would be more expensive but the 3D models could be the same throughout the game and only modelled from the waist up!
I hope I'm not thinking of the wrong game here, but my recollection is they originally planned on having the party be part of the 3D environment, but it turned out not to fit in the game's budget. I like the 3D idea best too, but the trouble is, it's not just the 3D models they have to consider. There are cascading impacts on other systems such as spell visual effects, maybe weapon and movement animations, possibly mo-cap, and who knows what else. (It's easy to say "just don't do any mo-cap", but then you get people ripping the game to shreds in reviews and on game forums over things like that, because they'll compare it to AAA games with a hundred times the budget to splash around). I doubt it's a simple matter of plopping down 3D models, even in a somewhat constrained implementation. I can imagine in-env party adding significantly to the budget.

But some of these kinds of things are why I'm hoping we'll see a BT5, down the road. If BT4 ends up in the black, then (I hope) they might be able to flesh out various systems, since they can start with a bunch of other stuff from BT4, like inventory systems, movement systems, enemy AI, etc.

(Speaking of which, do we know anything about inventory systems? I can't recall seeing anything yet).

We'll have to see how it unfolds I guess.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 41: Hard Drinking, Rabble Rousing Bards

Post by Gizmo » February 25th, 2018, 4:42 pm

Personally, I am not keen on having the PCs react to the player, or beg for orders over the 4th wall.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 41: Hard Drinking, Rabble Rousing Bards

Post by demeisen » February 25th, 2018, 5:04 pm

Gizmo wrote:
February 25th, 2018, 4:42 pm
Personally, I am not keen on having the PCs react to the player, or beg for orders over the 4th wall.
Oh - I guess I was ambiguous. Agreed with you on that. To clarify, I didn't so much mean that stuff when I mentioned I like 3D party. More just the aspect of putting the party in the 3D environment so, for example, spells emanate from their in-world location, or what have you.

Pure 2D's OK too though.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 41: Hard Drinking, Rabble Rousing Bards

Post by Gizmo » February 25th, 2018, 5:08 pm

My comment about that was specific to the PC turning to look at the player, and/or ask for orders, as mentioned in Grotesque's post. ;)

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 41: Hard Drinking, Rabble Rousing Bards

Post by thebruce » February 26th, 2018, 10:26 am

Yes. Less 4th wall breaking please. No meta stuff. And imo, it should either be all 3D, or distinctly separate world and UI. And as it's Bard's Tale, I would prefer distinctly separate world and UI. That's about as clear as I can put my preferences on this matter :)
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 41: Hard Drinking, Rabble Rousing Bards

Post by Drool » February 26th, 2018, 2:40 pm

Grotesque wrote:
February 25th, 2018, 3:40 pm
I clearly remember that the devs said that the 2D characters and the jittering will be replaced with something more suited. What happened? Will it still happen?
Part of me is still amused by that. I wouldn't object to it being an option. That said...
thebruce wrote:
February 26th, 2018, 10:26 am
Yes. Less 4th wall breaking please. No meta stuff.
Agreed. The originals may have had pop culture references (like the Holy Hand Grenade item or the youth spell being OLAY), but they did not break the fourth wall. That was all BT2004. It fit in BT04, be it really doesn't belong here. At all. In fact, I would say absolutely no 4th wall breaking or meta jokes anywhere; not even in backer-created objects.

There may have been a couple jokes and amusing things in the games, but they were serious games. Even moreso than Wasteland was. Remember, the most recent game in the canon had a man driven to psychosis by watching his lover slowly tortured to death. When it wasn't dealing with race wars and genocide.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 41: Hard Drinking, Rabble Rousing Bards

Post by Gizmo » February 26th, 2018, 3:10 pm

I don't have a problem with the art being 2D or 3D; good art is good art. If they are considered UI icons, rather than as physical objects on the map, then that's fine by me. (But if that's the case, then I think the UI could stand to be half the current size or even smaller. If it's symbolic of the party state, then it can be like a tick-tac-toe board on the side, with shuffle-able portrait pieces... same as Grimrock.)

Something else—unrelated that I would like clarified though, is about the grid-step behavior that BT4 will have. I'd like to know if it behaves like a classic dungeoncrawler, or like Myst/Riven/Exile? The difference being a question of movement, and does the choice to move... advance the party a cell on the grid, or an arbitrary distance to the next stop-point.

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Before finalizing the BT4 grid behavior, I have to recommend playing Grimrock, and really examining how their party movement behaves; how it behaves with a tap of the WASD keys, how it behaves when the party bumps into a wall or obstruction, how climbing and falling are treated, how turning about face is treated; how it is affected by overloaded or severely injured party members.

All this—even though their map & movement systems might be unlike the ones in BT4... IMO Grimrock is the yardstick example of what to strive for in a blobber.

**As a side note: Even though the animated example is of the overland... the concern is mostly about the underground. Still, Grimrock 2 has overland forest, swamp, and even underwater environments, and in all, it manages to keep to a grid even with height-mapped terrain.

*** If it isn't clear, I am hoping that BT4's grid-step doesn't too closely match the second one while above ground, and very closely matches the first one when underground.

@Crosmando: Yes I do mean in FPP, but for the example's sake, FPP doesn't clearly illustrate the problem like isometric can. ;)
Last edited by Gizmo on February 26th, 2018, 6:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 41: Hard Drinking, Rabble Rousing Bards

Post by thebruce » February 26th, 2018, 6:11 pm

The maps are grid-based and mappable, the motion should be grid based, not non-grid node-based. At worst, perhaps a cut corner or two, not nearly as organic and sparse as that 2nd depiction. That doesn't lend itself to grid-mapping in the slightest. Remember the grid based map isn't necessarily a literal grid environment either; the map depiction is all abstract too. I didn't for once imagine that Skara Brae's streets and buildings were actually perfectly linear and perpendicular. Or that throne rooms were as bare and bland as dungeons rooms. So mapping on a grid was not attempting to realistically depict what the environment actually looks like. (I did that myself occasionally for fun with Dragon Wars maps - tried re-drawing what levels might actually look like from overhead based on the grid map)

Point being, the more organically node-based the motion is, the more literal an existence within the world map the party is being given. No, if we're being locked to grid, and mapping by grid, then there should not be organic node-based movement. Consistency. (and yes, that means once again that I'm not a huge fan of the more literal level graphic depictions, but I can live with the prettied up environment for a modern sequel)
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 41: Hard Drinking, Rabble Rousing Bards

Post by Serjo » February 27th, 2018, 11:42 am

The bard in those gifs always has a harp in her hand, even when she's doing physical attacks. The other characters don't seem to be holding anything. Is it planned that weapons show up on the character models? If not, will we be able to get bard portraits where the character isn't holding anything, or where you can't see their arms? I find it annoying to equip a sword and then run around holding a harp.

And a nitpick - when the bard is on the left side of the party roster, she holds the harp in her left hand, when she's on the right side, she holds it in her right hand. What's the purpose of flipping the character model?

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 41: Hard Drinking, Rabble Rousing Bards

Post by Gizmo » February 27th, 2018, 2:12 pm

Serjo wrote:
February 27th, 2018, 11:42 am
And a nitpick - when the bard is on the left side of the party roster, she holds the harp in her left hand, when she's on the right side, she holds it in her right hand. What's the purpose of flipping the character model?
Almost surely it's just a matter of using placeholder art in the demonstration, and flipping it for the opposite side.

**But now that you mention it, I do hope that flipping the art has never become the intended plan. The mirror image suggests that the character art assets are 2D renders, at least at present.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 41: Hard Drinking, Rabble Rousing Bards

Post by Serjo » February 28th, 2018, 3:25 am

Gizmo wrote:
February 27th, 2018, 2:12 pm
**But now that you mention it, I do hope that flipping the art has never become the intended plan.
I think I've figured out why the portraits are flipped.

If you look at the gifs, you'll see that all the player characters are turned toward the center of the screen while they have their backs turned to you. This is because of the 3D perspective of the engine - the characters are oriented toward the vanishing point:

Image

So a character on the left side looks forward and to the right, and a character on the right looks forward and to the left. If you have a full 3D model, that's no problem, but if you have a 2D model, it gets complicated. Every character either needs two separate 2D "backside models" depending on whether you put him on the left side or the right side of the party*, or the models have to be flipped. It's natural that they would choose to flip the models to save work. And as a result, the frontal view of the characters needs to be flipped as well.

(*Technically you need eight different versions of each model to properly align it to the vanishing point from a position at left-front-wide, left-back-center, etc., but I understand why they didn't bother with that. The models they chose seem to be aligned for placement on the outside slots of the front row, so characters in other positions are "overshooting" by looking too far left or too far right.)

What bothers me is that it makes characters switch between being left handed and right handed, having a scar on the left side of their face or on the right side, etc.

It also leads to some visual oddness with the position of indivudual UI elements for PCs and enemies, which are also flipped along the central vertical axis. That kind of strong symmetry can feel a bit uncanny.
Last edited by Serjo on February 28th, 2018, 3:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 41: Hard Drinking, Rabble Rousing Bards

Post by Serjo » February 28th, 2018, 6:11 am

Gizmo wrote:
February 27th, 2018, 2:12 pm
Almost surely it's just a matter of using placeholder art in the demonstration, and flipping it for the opposite side.
I'll double post because it's a separate issue, but I think this current footage is close to what they currently intend to be the final version.

I say this is because I noticed that they've changed the character alignment from the first combat video:

Image

The characters there were looking almost straight ahead at about an 80 degree angle, while the characters in the new shots have turned to about a 45 degree angle. If they're redrawing a whole batch of models to adjust the angle, then the models are not meant to be simple placeholder art - they're part of an iterative process that's moving towards the final product. I don't believe we're going to see 3D portraits unless the developers change their minds.

I think I like the older style more. 80 or 75 degrees looks about right for me. If inXile have one more iteration left in them, I would vote for moving back to the old alignment.
Last edited by Serjo on February 28th, 2018, 7:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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