BT4 update has potentially bad harbinger IMO

For all Bard's Tale IV discussion that does not fit elsewhere, suggestions, feedback, etc. No spoilers allowed.

Moderator: Bard Hall Bouncers

Post Reply
User avatar
Gizmo
Grandmaster
Posts: 3385
Joined: March 6th, 2012, 6:25 am

BT4 update has potentially bad harbinger IMO

Post by Gizmo » February 7th, 2017, 5:45 pm

Additionally, though the camera movement allows for and shows off free movement, we have laid the maps out such that you can snap into grid movement as well.
When I read this I had a sinking feeling from it. This suggests to me that the feature is entirely optional; a cosmetic "let's please everyone" concession ~(to let them play that way if they want to). This is potentially bad. The problem with this (if this is how it is) is that it suggests that the map designs are likely indifferent to the chosen exploration mode, with no regard or use for the deductive aspect afforded by a fixed grid map. Players used to be able to use the grid to count off steps [precise distances] and compare what they've previously explored to find suspicious areas of the maps. This could then suggest likely places to carefully scrutinize for illusions, teleporters, triggers or secret passages. Most especially the ones needed to find hidden areas on different maps!

For instance one might see evidence of a hidden room or passage (or a fenced in room) with no obvious exit; this is where the player would start examining their maps, but also the maps above and below the room in question. This is practical when the maps themselves are not arbitrary, and do follow the grid. This allows the player a reasonable boundary inside which to puzzle things out; but this doesn't exist when the maps are laid out any-which way, and where one cannot be sure ~of where a thing should be, or cannot be. When the choice is "could be anywhere at all", nobody looks; or looks hard enough; and it's disheartening to know that there is possibly nothing there to be found by puzzling it out.

This is not a lament of free movement [per se], but is the assumption of the maps being just beautiful corridors [of forest or stone blocks]; where the path is direct, and everything is laid out, and on display. That would be quite a disappointment IMO. I've seen the video of the rocks reforming into a threshold; and that's what I mean by on display. If the map designers did not care in which mode the players explore, then it seems unlikely that they would devise aspects that would only become clear from careful observation and deduction with respect to the nature of grid based maps.
___

Something else comes to mind (and perhaps to consider)... When DreamForge released Menzoberranzan, the game had free movement and/or step based grid movement. However those responsible for testing the game did not spot (or did not fix) many places that unintentionally REQUIRED free movement to be traversable; most notably caves with stalagmites. These actually blocked passage to the player using grid-step; and for a novice player who wouldn't know better ~yet, these passages were indistinguishable from any other blocked passage, and so were not explored; later maps would prove impossible to complete until one realized that the game was messed up, and that you had to use free movement to get around stalagmites. So I do hope it's a certainty that the BT4 maps can be fully explored using either option; and I hope that [being a dungeoncrawler?] the BT4 maps are a challenge in and of themselves, outside of any monsters chosen to populate them.

User avatar
Lord of Riva
Adventurer
Posts: 914
Joined: October 14th, 2014, 10:18 am

Re: BT4 update has potentially bad harbinger IMO

Post by Lord of Riva » February 7th, 2017, 10:50 pm

I understand what you are saying and i prefer grid-based as well but i would assume that the free movement is build upon the grid not the other way around.

I mean as you state you have made different experiences there, in the end i would say: if one of these modes is just a pointless afterthought its not worth doing *shrug*

Im not too worried about this at this point

User avatar
Gizmo
Grandmaster
Posts: 3385
Joined: March 6th, 2012, 6:25 am

Re: BT4 update has potentially bad harbinger IMO

Post by Gizmo » February 7th, 2017, 11:07 pm

For dungeoncrawlers(?) sure I prefer grid, but the post is mainly about the maps. Grid-step in and of itself ~is not the concern, and done for its own sake, is not an incentive.

...And (as you mention) that one or the other modes is probably tacked on as an afterthought. It was like this in other games that I have played that offered free movement as well as grid movement... Presumably because the designers assumed that it was just preference rather than an important aspect of the design. :(

*Same mistake that Bethesda made, when gutted the turn based mechanics from their Fallout follow-ups.

ZZGO
Acolyte
Posts: 85
Joined: October 4th, 2016, 1:33 am

Re: BT4 update has potentially bad harbinger IMO

Post by ZZGO » February 7th, 2017, 11:35 pm

I would very much expect (and prefer) grid-based movement in a Bard's Tale game, and I believe the "free movement" was just a visual layer to it, in the same sense as the houses of Skara Brae scrolled along in some versions of Tales of the Unknown while the Commodore version just hopped from grid to grid.
There seems to be a three-dimensional aspect to it now, what with the bickering creatures in the place below the bridge that was rebuilt.

User avatar
thebruce
Forum Moderator
Posts: 1362
Joined: February 17th, 2015, 8:46 am
Contact:

Re: BT4 update has potentially bad harbinger IMO

Post by thebruce » February 8th, 2017, 6:07 am

Here's a design point to consider: With those creatures bantering in the room, was their positioning, their placement and composition, designed with free look in mind, or grid? If you walked up to them in grid, would they have their best presentation in the frame positioning? Or would they be off center, or down below and hidden because you can't look down? If you were one square away, would they see you? If you walked around the square the square they were in, would they react to you? This is the difference between abstract space and literal space... and I think it's a legit design concern.

The game is very very pretty. No faulting that. But by focusing so much on the literal, it does very much alter the gameplay and its layout and mechanics design. So was it designed grid first, with free roam as a bonus feature, or was it designed free roam first (though mapped out in grid spaces), with grid-locking as a bonus feature?
Visit BardsTaleOnline.com - your community Bard's Tale classic RPG resource!
Twitter: @BardsTaleOnline / Facebook: Bards.Tale.Online
@thebruce0

User avatar
Gizmo
Grandmaster
Posts: 3385
Joined: March 6th, 2012, 6:25 am

Re: BT4 update has potentially bad harbinger IMO

Post by Gizmo » February 15th, 2017, 5:19 pm

thebruce wrote:So was it designed grid first, with free roam as a bonus feature, or was it designed free roam first (though mapped out in grid spaces), with grid-locking as a bonus feature?
I hope it's the former, but I believe it's the latter.

User avatar
ZiN
Adventurer
Posts: 502
Joined: January 27th, 2015, 7:57 am

Re: BT4 update has potentially bad harbinger IMO

Post by ZiN » February 16th, 2017, 10:21 am

Gizmo wrote:
thebruce wrote:So was it designed grid first, with free roam as a bonus feature, or was it designed free roam first (though mapped out in grid spaces), with grid-locking as a bonus feature?
I hope it's the former, but I believe it's the latter.
I am not sure if it is designed at all, yet, the demo was put together for demonstration of combat mechanics. Otherwise they could've just shown the automap for example.
I really hope they will listen to this and design it in the former way, otherwise it's quite an useless "bonus feature", made only so they can put the checkmark next to "old-school".

User avatar
Gizmo
Grandmaster
Posts: 3385
Joined: March 6th, 2012, 6:25 am

Re: BT4 update has potentially bad harbinger IMO

Post by Gizmo » February 16th, 2017, 10:36 am

ZiN wrote:I am not sure if it is designed at all, yet, the demo was put together for demonstration of combat mechanics. Otherwise they could've just shown the automap for example.
This is a good observation; it brings some hope with it.
...otherwise it's quite an useless "bonus feature", made only so they can put the checkmark next to "old-school".
Yep.

User avatar
Lucius
Master
Posts: 2252
Joined: March 9th, 2012, 6:43 pm

Re: BT4 update has potentially bad harbinger IMO

Post by Lucius » February 16th, 2017, 7:54 pm

I'm probably going to get burned alive for this, but the original post reminds me of Doom (2016). There are hidden areas, "classic maps", in each level, often times discovered by examining the map...."there is a closed off room there with no way in, THAT's the location of the classic map. Now to find the way in!" The comparison is not equal but I believe the concept, generally speaking, fits. At any rate, of course Doom is a free movement game with non-grid level design and the OP descriptions of BT maps and hidden rooms reminded me of my behavior while playing Doom.

User avatar
Gizmo
Grandmaster
Posts: 3385
Joined: March 6th, 2012, 6:25 am

Re: BT4 update has potentially bad harbinger IMO

Post by Gizmo » February 16th, 2017, 9:39 pm

Shadow Warrior 2013 had similar; classic mini-maps with the original (or decent replica) textures.

In the case of hidden rooms, I was [specifically] thinking about rooms with off level entrances (upstairs or downstairs), or secret buttons to open them, or activate teleporters; and the use of the fixed layout to hint at their existence and locations. Like seeing five pits upstairs, and only four downstairs. When position on the map is irregular/arbitrary, patterns don't stand out, and can seem irrelevant, or stand out way too much. It's like with secret buttons...

They don't make them totally hidden and indistinguishable, because they are meant to stand out if you look for them. Usually they are always in the same place on the wall, rather than arbitrary bricks or stones [it's the same principle]. It's counter intuitive, but if they were freely placed and very well hidden, instead of rigidly placed to be there ~if you look, then it would quickly become a headache/chore to look for them when they could be anywhere (at all) in the dungeon.

Also [grid] for puzzles that require step movement. Timed pits in sequence, or hinted [strict pattern] paths across a room to avoid a trap, progress, or escape.

Imagine trying this in free movement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJeklrLwR5c

User avatar
Drool
Forum Moderator
Posts: 9209
Joined: March 17th, 2012, 9:58 pm
Location: Under Tenebrosia, doing shots with Sceadu.

Re: BT4 update has potentially bad harbinger IMO

Post by Drool » February 16th, 2017, 10:03 pm

Lucius wrote:I'm probably going to get burned alive for this, but the original post reminds me of Doom (2016).
I dunno... I quite liked Doom 2016.
Alwa nasci korliri das.

User avatar
Roger Wilco
Scholar
Posts: 231
Joined: March 12th, 2012, 4:04 pm

Re: BT4 update has potentially bad harbinger IMO

Post by Roger Wilco » February 18th, 2017, 8:54 pm

More than one, I'm afraid. I've been away from these boards for quite awhile, but I've got a bad case of buyers remorse over BT4. I'm just not seeing anything that is much of "Bard's Tale" in any of it.

Zadkiel
Scholar
Posts: 103
Joined: November 23rd, 2015, 5:53 pm

Re: BT4 update has potentially bad harbinger IMO

Post by Zadkiel » February 20th, 2017, 4:22 pm

Roger Wilco wrote:More than one, I'm afraid. I've been away from these boards for quite awhile, but I've got a bad case of buyers remorse over BT4. I'm just not seeing anything that is much of "Bard's Tale" in any of it.
It's got the Bard's tale name! I mean, anything with the name must be goo... Never mind.

User avatar
KorganBloodAxe
Initiate
Posts: 24
Joined: October 30th, 2014, 3:32 am

Re: BT4 update has potentially bad harbinger IMO

Post by KorganBloodAxe » March 6th, 2017, 10:18 pm

I think this would be like Realms of Arkania 2&3. Sounds perfect for Bards Tale and it can work very well.

User avatar
Gizmo
Grandmaster
Posts: 3385
Joined: March 6th, 2012, 6:25 am

Re: BT4 update has potentially bad harbinger IMO

Post by Gizmo » March 7th, 2017, 1:47 am

@KorganBloodAxe
I think RoA is the next best series to base BT4 upon ~after the previous BT games.
___
Back in ~probably 2001, I called BlackIlse tech support asking why the newest NPC in my [BG2] party had adopted my character's last name. It was my first PC; first time playing, and by random chance I had named him Kraven BloodAxe (using a Duke Nukem custom voice set, and a Frazetta painting as the portrait). My newest NPC was Korgan BloodAxe. :lol:

Image Image

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest