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The Bard's Tale IV Update 44: The Bard Takes Some Questions

Posted: May 17th, 2018, 8:05 am
by phimseto
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In this latest Bard's Tale IV backer update, the team answers some fan questions and we share some BT4 news, including some exciting info on the state of the Bard's Tale Trilogy remasters!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/in ... ts/2188974
Q: What is the maximum party size?

A: Six is the max party size. We also leave open two slots for summoning creatures if you have a full group. It can be 6+2, 4+4, 5+3... whatever party configuration works best with your play style.
All that and more in the link above! Enjoy!

- The inXile Team

Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 44: The Bard Takes Some Questions

Posted: May 17th, 2018, 8:26 am
by thebruce
Good update, great news about the BT remaster that should hopefully excite fan really looking forward to it :)

Waiting patiently for the next combat system update... :P

I'm glad that we're able to start with our own custom character. Starting with a pre-rolled single character is the same strategy as starting with the A-Team, so I'm not concerned about that.

It will take getting used to:
* starting with 1 character, and working the way up to being able to have up to 6+2 (glad that all spots up to 8 can be filled with summons though, theoretically even 1+7?)
* the existence of human 'cultures' if treated the same as races (assuming "Race" will still be used in the game, since Trow, eg, are indeed a different race than Human)
* luck stones as 'checkpoints' that also heal
* the leveling up system, choosing between attributes OR skills

This made me curious: "HP does not regenerate over time like the originals. HP doesn’t regenerate over time automatically but can through the use of items and abilities." - HP never regenerated over time in the originals, without the use of an external force/tool; not like SP in daylight. Or was that intended to refer to SP regenerating in daylight? Seemed kind of an odd wording to the response...

A number of points are also good news in this update though.
Hoping to see some big changes and lots of new stuff in the next alpha/demo release!

Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 44: The Bard Takes Some Questions

Posted: May 17th, 2018, 9:29 am
by kidnova
That is fantastic news on the remasters of the originals. I can't wait to wade back into the sewers of Skara Brae.

Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 44: The Bard Takes Some Questions

Posted: May 17th, 2018, 9:38 am
by lefty1117
Great news on the remasters. I must confess I'd rather be able to create my own party of 6 from the beginning of the game, but this is not a major concern for me and I'm looking forward to see how the current plans unfold.

Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 44: The Bard Takes Some Questions

Posted: May 17th, 2018, 9:39 am
by kidnova
thebruce wrote:
May 17th, 2018, 8:26 am

This made me curious: "HP does not regenerate over time like the originals. HP doesn’t regenerate over time automatically but can through the use of items and abilities." - HP never regenerated over time in the originals, without the use of an external force/tool; not like SP in daylight. Or was that intended to refer to SP regenerating in daylight? Seemed kind of an odd wording to the response...
I think what they intended to convey is "like the originals, HP does not regenerate over time." The wording does make it a bit ambiguous though.

Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 44: The Bard Takes Some Questions

Posted: May 17th, 2018, 9:56 am
by thebruce
kidnova wrote:
May 17th, 2018, 9:39 am
I think what they intended to convey is "like the originals, HP does not regenerate over time." The wording does make it a bit ambiguous though.
Ah, that would make more sense. Yes the question kind of lumped HP and SP together. Maybe an example of HP regen would have cleared it up too - HP regen squares (heal over time) for example, I wouldn't expect that to be expunged from BT4, but that's not a 'natural' automatic heal over time.
Anyway, I'd hope to see various mechanisms for regaining health (spells of course, healing potions, food/items, etc, as well as special effects like healing zones) and not merely the luck stones. I wouldn't expect that to be it anyway :)

But yeah, "...[just] like the originals" wouldn't have prompted my confusion, hehe

Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 44: The Bard Takes Some Questions

Posted: May 17th, 2018, 10:29 am
by demeisen
thebruce wrote:
May 17th, 2018, 9:56 am
kidnova wrote:
May 17th, 2018, 9:39 am
I think what they intended to convey is "like the originals, HP does not regenerate over time." The wording does make it a bit ambiguous though.
Ah, that would make more sense. Yes the question kind of lumped HP and SP together. Maybe an example of HP regen would have cleared it up too - HP regen squares (heal over time) for example, I wouldn't expect that to be expunged from BT4, but that's not a 'natural' automatic heal over time.
Anyway, I'd hope to see various mechanisms for regaining health (spells of course, healing potions, food/items, etc, as well as special effects like healing zones) and not merely the luck stones. I wouldn't expect that to be it anyway :)
Yeah, I was guessing the same way as kidnova. It was probably just some awkward / ambiguous phrasing.

Agreed about lumping HP and SP together in the answer. I'm definitely happy we're getting long term HP. It seems trendy these days to have post-fight instant health restoration (ahem - I'm looking at you, Deadfire :evil: ...), so BT4's approach is better. I share thebruce's hope about restore mechanisms. I still believe it'd be entirely possible to also have long term SP within the BT4 framework as well, but since that wasn't in the alpha, and it'd require development effort, which is another way of saying budget, who knows if it''ll happen. At least 1 out of 2 beats 0 out of 2.

While I'd prefer to start with a full party, it's not a deal breaker to me, as long as the PC I start with can be fully customized (it sounds like it can be), and I can get to the 6+2 well before the end of the game. It'd be annoying if you get that 6th PC an hour of play time before finishing.

"Luck stones"... we'll have to see. Again not a deal breaker for me, but I'd prefer something more... what's the right word? In-world? Perhaps a combination of inns and designated "safe" places to pitch a camp. "Luck stones" sounds a bit MMO-ish, even if the core mechanic is OK. Merely calling them "camp sites" instead, with a different graphic to match, would help IMO.

Overall a pretty decent update.

The remaster graphics update is interesting. I might have to mess around with that some just to see what it's like.

Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 44: The Bard Takes Some Questions

Posted: May 17th, 2018, 12:53 pm
by ZiN
What a pleasant surprise and indeed an odd turn of events about the remasters. It looks superb, like a proper remaster. It also looks like a game from 1995, so I really hope that Krome Studios won't go out of business, due to nostalgia being unreliable to sell, in fact I'm hoping they will finish remastering all of the classic trilogy. Especially looking forward to BT3!
Great job so far Krome Studios, keep up the good work and the best of Lucklaran to you!
Q: What races will be playable in BT4? The Trow have been mentioned as a new race, but what others are confirmed?
A: Dwarves, Elves, and Trow, and there are different variety of Human cultures (Baedish, Fichti, Einarr, and Outlander).
Huh, I would have preferred a bit more diversity and could have sworn I saw a blue half-orc in the demo. Going Scottish, instead of featuring more exotic races, might cost quite a bit of sales for InXile, especially in Japan.
Q: How many of BT4's monsters are from the originals or are directly based on the portraits from the originals?
A: For rank and file enemies, many of them were built to fit the current culture and story of this Bard's Tale. About a third of the monsters are from the original games, and the remaining are new, with most inspired by Scottish folklore and mythology (we covered some of them in a previous update).
I really don't like the sound of "to fit the current culture and story". I'm not sure what that means, but somehow I don't like the sound of it.
On the other hand, one-third sounds great, as long as they are unique BT monsters and not generic ones, like skeletons, berserkers, or giant spiders.
A couple of fan favorites like Herb and the 99 Berserkers make a return!
99 berserkers aren't an unique entity to be honest, they were only interesting due to their numbers, other than that, it is as generic as you can get. Herb wouldn't be that special either, if not for the fact they had a ~75% chance of summoning another Herb each round, leading to an endless fight if you didn't have the firepower. If you had the firepower though, they too could be abused for 65k XP, since each summoned monster was worth full XP, although, looking for illusionists who summoned illusionary dragons, then disbelieving them was more convenient.
Q: How many of BT4's bard songs are from the originals or are directly based on the songs from the originals?
A: The vast majority are songs from the original games... They even sound like the old bard songs.
Glad to hear that. Humming Traveller's Tune already. ; ) But surely, they don't sound 8-bit anymore, I hope your artists whipped out the flutes, mandolins and of course the bagpipes.
Q: Will there be references to the other cities outside of Skara Brae (such as those you visit in The Bard's Tale II)?
A: Yes, there will be references to the other cities outside Skara Brae. You may even get to visit one.
Tangramayne, Ciena Brannia, Celeria Bree, or Black Scar Towne, I wonder which one it is? (I guess the historical ones are out of question.)
Q: Will it be possible to permanently recruit monsters from random encounters?
A: While you will not be able to dominate enemies and have them join your ranks, you will be able to summon and keep a variety of monsters in your party.
Ouch! Farewell Baylor's Spellbinding, my favourite Wizard spell, it's been fun... That means no random recruiting either, yes?
Q: The AP system shown in the alpha seems to be favor smaller parties. Is it still worth bringing more party members?
A: More characters is generally always better (except in a few rare circumstances), as it provides more HP on the battlefield to soak attacks, more abilities to chose from, and more people in the right place at the right time to perform key plays in combat.
Right, but at the same time, this should be compensated by the fact, that having less characters means more XP and loot for each of them.
demeisen wrote:
May 17th, 2018, 10:29 am
I share thebruce's hope about restore mechanisms. I still believe it'd be entirely possible to also have long term SP within the BT4 framework as well..
Likewise. The thing is, without long-term spell point management, the cool BT spells either become stupidly owerpowered, or nerfed into MMO-like spell-abilities. BT had a very unique and robust magic-system, which I really don't want to see messed around with and changed too much. And, as we have seen on the backer poll, I'm not alone with that: 4 of the top 5 issues are related to spells and the magic-system itself.
demeisen wrote:
May 17th, 2018, 10:29 am
"Luck stones"... we'll have to see. Again not a deal breaker for me, but I'd prefer something more... what's the right word? In-world? Perhaps a combination of inns and designated "safe" places to pitch a camp. "Luck stones" sounds a bit MMO-ish, even if the core mechanic is OK. Merely calling them "camp sites" instead, with a different graphic to match, would help IMO.
Yeah, well, I don't mind a luck stone, or two, but they could vary it up, by adding magical fountains (a'la Wizardry and M&M), faerie rings, shrines (where they sing "Dona Eis Requiem"), and so on. Some things restore HP, some restore SP and yet others do more exotic, or nasty things to you!


Overall, a great, meaty update, the best one so far, plus the awesome remasters progress restored some of my hopes! Good job!

Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 44: The Bard Takes Some Questions

Posted: May 17th, 2018, 1:55 pm
by thebruce
Regarding spells, I saw this ad again and it struck me - along with the other features of the game, the spell system seemed to be announced with pride. The number of spells, classes, distinct advancement levels... These aren't branches of systems, these were all, given enough time and advancement, available to be cast as from one single spell book. You get to learn 85 spells, and therefore form your strategies with all of that knowledge. (as opposed to today's culture that tends to favour defined knowledge paths and a much smaller selection of relevant abilities)
As we heard from Michael, the spell system was something paramount to the BT game world. I really hope they take the queue in the next major combat update, and somehow, to some degree, shy away from the direction they're facing with it currently... =/

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(also, lol @ lastability :))

Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 44: The Bard Takes Some Questions

Posted: May 17th, 2018, 4:52 pm
by Drool
ZiN wrote:
May 17th, 2018, 12:53 pm
Ciena Brannia, Celeria Bree, or Black Scar Towne
Weren't all of these in 3 and thus in difference dimensions?

Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 44: The Bard Takes Some Questions

Posted: May 17th, 2018, 5:05 pm
by _noblesse_oblige_
Just read the comments on the KS page as well as a number here. The roar was almost deafening... "Remasters!"
A few comments here and there about the rest of the BT IV update, but "Remasters", "Remasters", "Remasters", over and over again.

inXile, take note about what backers are actually craving for (and maybe what many of them actually backed the BT IV project for). You might discover that BT IV wasn't backed as much for your vision of a new game as it was for the remasters.

That said, I agree with Zin. This is the meatiest update we've seen thus far. However, really disappointed by the confirmation of a single starting character. Also agree with thebruce, the magic system needs special attention.

Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 44: The Bard Takes Some Questions

Posted: May 17th, 2018, 5:07 pm
by _noblesse_oblige_
One more thing: posing with folks involved in the original series does not imply their endorsement of this new game.

Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 44: The Bard Takes Some Questions

Posted: May 17th, 2018, 5:22 pm
by demeisen
ZiN wrote:
May 17th, 2018, 12:53 pm
The thing is, without long-term spell point management, the cool BT spells either become stupidly owerpowered, or nerfed into MMO-like spell-abilities. BT had a very unique and robust magic-system, which I really don't want to see messed around with and changed too much.
Agreed. I had a longer thought about that, but it gets off topic for the update, so I posted it over in the related "long vs short term resources for BT4" thread.

Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 44: The Bard Takes Some Questions

Posted: May 17th, 2018, 6:05 pm
by phimseto
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
May 17th, 2018, 5:07 pm
One more thing: posing with folks involved in the original series does not imply their endorsement of this new game.
Really, Noblesse?!? Come on, man, you're better than that. But just to restate:

"A highlight was when Michael Cranford swung by to get his first look at the game in a while. He had a great time checking out the demo, and when I spoke with him later that day, he was absolutely thrilled with how the game was coming along and had developed since his last check-in with it. That kind of affirmation was really awesome, especially coming on Day One of the expo."

I didn't speak with Kurt, but according to Jeff, Kurt is a fan of what we're doing with the game.

Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 44: The Bard Takes Some Questions

Posted: May 17th, 2018, 6:51 pm
by _noblesse_oblige_
Well, at his GDC talk, Michael also said that he was experiencing your product the same as the audience members. I took that to mean that he had only seen it from a distance. I think a more ringing endorsement would've been to hear him actually say what he liked about it and why he thought it was a good direction.

Sorry, Paul, I know it sounds negative, but I really don't think trotting out a couple of faces from the past changes things. I heard some encouraging things from Michael in his talk. (And, he did, in fact, endorse your Mage's Tale product.) But, I would like to know how closely he has looked at the BT IV game and whether he really cares what happens to the franchise at this point. Brian seems to be trodding upon the George Lucas path with this series. Morbid (?) curiosity wants to know whether the same is true of Michael.

Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 44: The Bard Takes Some Questions

Posted: May 18th, 2018, 7:41 am
by demeisen
A few other thoughts from the update:
Yes, you can access the entire world by walking, or you can utilize our fast travel system to warp to previously explored areas. For those old school types, you are never required to use the fast travel system – it's just there for convenience.
Sometimes even if "fast travel" is a thing, also having the ability to walk from one location to another is a nice way to make the world feel like a coherent whole, rather than isolated little areas. That may be especially true given the kind of vibrant outdoor environments UE4 can do. The approach above of having optional fast travel to areas you've already discovered (and presumably, not to areas you haven't) seems like a good design choice.
Q: Will it be possible to create your full party?
A: Yes, though not all at once. ...
That's a touch ambiguous, but it sounds to me like we'll get full control over the stats of the subsequent PCs (as opposed to having to accept some predetermined set of stats). My speculation (purely a guess): they might actually come with canned stats for those who don't want to mess with it, but also allow optional full customization when they join.
Add some quality of life improvements, such as the automap
A BTclassic remaster with an automap? Sounds interesting :). While I probably still have my original graph paper maps, I'd just as soon use the automap...

Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 44: The Bard Takes Some Questions

Posted: May 18th, 2018, 9:27 am
by thebruce
demeisen wrote:
May 18th, 2018, 7:41 am
Yes, you can access the entire world by walking, or you can utilize our fast travel system to warp to previously explored areas. For those old school types, you are never required to use the fast travel system – it's just there for convenience.
Sometimes even if "fast travel" is a thing, also having the ability to walk from one location to another is a nice way to make the world feel like a coherent whole, rather than isolated little areas. That may be especially true given the kind of vibrant outdoor environments UE4 can do. The approach above of having optional fast travel to areas you've already discovered (and presumably, not to areas you haven't) seems like a good design choice.
BT1 got around it because the distance from location to location was minimal. Didn't require endless walking. The city was essentially a hub point to access all the levels.
BT2 got around it in a similar fashion, but a slightly larger scale (Wilderness being the new 'hub' rather than Skara Brae)
BT3 got around it by a much more linear (or branching?) 'once completed no reason to return' fasion, with the wilderness again as a hub.

Other games have such a vast, enormous world that getting from one point in the 'hub' to another takes forever in real time so quick travel is beneficial. In those games you often want to get from one distant 'limb' in the world to another. Not really so in BT1-3, everything you need was effectively within the branch you were progressing through, or back at the hub.

So it was partly game design, and building content within the world in a way that didn't prompt you to have the need or desire to have to get somewhere very distant in a short amount of time.

So keep that in mind inXile - just because you can explore the whole world doesn't mean you need to have quick travel, if you design the game progression in a way that keep all relevant content within reasonable reach :)

Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 44: The Bard Takes Some Questions

Posted: May 18th, 2018, 12:42 pm
by Gizmo
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
May 17th, 2018, 5:05 pm
Just read the comments on the KS page as well as a number here. The roar was almost deafening... "Remasters!"
A few comments here and there about the rest of the BT IV update, but "Remasters", "Remasters", "Remasters", over and over again.

inXile, take note about what backers are actually craving for (and maybe what many of them actually backed the BT IV project for). You might discover that BT IV wasn't backed as much for your vision of a new game as it was for the remasters.
It IS the case that I bought the previous InXile Bard's Tale (2004) game sight unseen, because it had installers for the original games.
It could turn out to be the case that I've done so again for the Remastered edition; though this time that wasn't my intention.

So long as Krome Studios hasn't injected any well intentioned (trending) convenience gameplay elements, then I think it could be a great re-master. I would ask that they verify the dialog in the game, to ensure that it conforms to that of the original game. Olde Skuul has shown a penchant for re-writing to personally suit them; even at the expense of the game's intent. The bartender response dialog was rewritten.

Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 44: The Bard Takes Some Questions

Posted: May 18th, 2018, 12:53 pm
by ZiN
Drool wrote:
May 17th, 2018, 4:52 pm
ZiN wrote:
May 17th, 2018, 12:53 pm
Ciena Brannia, Celeria Bree, or Black Scar Towne
Weren't all of these in 3 and thus in difference dimensions?
Of course they were, you of all people must know that! And I'd definitely like to visit some of these dimensions, including Gelidia, Kinestia, Arboria and perhaps even a simplified Malefia.
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
May 17th, 2018, 6:51 pm
Brian seems to be trodding upon the George Lucas path with this series.
Aha! Now I know, why I didn't like the sound of "built to fit the current culture and story of this Bard's Tale". Current Star Wars (which isn't Star Wars for me) seems to be built to fit the current culture and story of this Star Wars. Damn, I can now actually think up very scary parallels between BT4 and SW8. My hopes for BT4 are quickly plummeting again.
demeisen wrote:
May 18th, 2018, 7:41 am
Sometimes even if "fast travel" is a thing, also having the ability to walk from one location to another is a nice way to make the world feel like a coherent whole, rather than isolated little areas.
In the classics' 20x20 maps I could "fast travel" by utilizing PHDO, APAR and my quick fingers, once I was familiar with the layout. And the fact that old-school maps warped around themselves also helped.
But if they are removing Apport Arcane, plus the map for BT4 will look something like this, the fast travel option will surely come in handy.
demeisen wrote:
May 18th, 2018, 7:41 am
Q: Will it be possible to create your full party?
A: Yes, though not all at once. ...
That's a touch ambiguous, but it sounds to me like we'll get full control over the stats of the subsequent PCs (as opposed to having to accept some predetermined set of stats). My speculation (purely a guess): they might actually come with canned stats for those who don't want to mess with it, but also allow optional full customization when they join.
"For those who don't want to mess with it..." Classic BT was quite simple and elegant to begin with. Overcomplicating it, then compensating with this is quite awkward in my opinion. But yeah, they need to sell this "revival of the classic dungeon-crawler RPG" to everyone, including those who don't like RPGs.
Ah, how much the world has changed, since I sat down in front of a C64, as a 10 year old kid, barely knowing a word or two in English and loaded up BT... It was magic.
demeisen wrote:
May 18th, 2018, 7:41 am
Add some quality of life improvements, such as the automap
A BTclassic remaster with an automap? Sounds interesting :). While I probably still have my original graph paper maps, I'd just as soon use the automap...
I hope they will do the world maps similar to this:
Image


ps. Removing gnomes and halflings might haven't been the best idea:
ImageImage
One night, these guys might just decide to pay a visit to InXile, while they're asleep! ; )

Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 44: The Bard Takes Some Questions

Posted: May 19th, 2018, 2:31 am
by Crosmando
Q: Will it be possible to create your full party?

A: Yes, though not all at once. You start off with one character, and you'll be able to swap that one out during the introduction if you wish. Over the course of the game, you'll be able to grow your party up to six.
Not impressed with this, but otherwise sounds pretty good. Regarding the new remaster I can't say I'm surprised, I mean I'm not saying Olde Skull were scamming InXile or anything but... Anyway would it be possible for the new studio to include the original Amiga/Apple2gs graphics as an option? Will the new remaster be exactly 1:1 to the original in terms of everything (excluding bugs)?