Alpha?

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SK_1759
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Alpha?

Post by SK_1759 » December 28th, 2017, 10:21 pm

Any idea when the Alpha will be starting?
I understand about things running behind as original release was said to be Oct of 2017. But we are about to hit 2018 and no news for even the Alpha.

Lix
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Re: Alpha?

Post by Lix » December 31st, 2017, 12:11 pm

From the last Kickstarter update:
As you have seen in our previous updates featuring puzzle weapons, grid based movement, classes, etc., the Bard's Tale is hitting and passing a major critical milestone of all features and sub-features being completed and implemented into the game.

Now we are at the fun part of getting a feel for the game in its entirety, and most importantly in 2018 we are upping our QA efforts to minimize all blocker bugs, hangs, and crashes.
That sounds like the game is about to enter beta phase. I don't know what happened to the "EARLY ALPHA SYSTEMS TEST", but it will probably amount to getting a head start on the public beta (asuming that is still going to happen).

Frankly, I never thought that a public alpha/beta/EA was a very good idea for such a short game anyway. Fargo gave the projected length at about 10 hours, so even if the EA covered a third of the game it wouldn't amount to much. If it saves them money to push the game straight to release, I'm all for it.

And I didn't buy alpha access anyway :mrgreen:

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Gizmo
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Re: Alpha?

Post by Gizmo » December 31st, 2017, 1:10 pm

Lix wrote:
December 31st, 2017, 12:11 pm
Fargo gave the projected length at about 10 hours...
10? :? :( :x :evil:
How many hours were BT 2 & 3?

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Re: Alpha?

Post by Drool » December 31st, 2017, 1:28 pm

Lix wrote:
December 31st, 2017, 12:11 pm
As you have seen in our previous updates featuring puzzle weapons, grid based movement, classes, etc., the Bard's Tale is hitting and passing a major critical milestone of all features and sub-features being completed and implemented into the game.
That sounds like the game is about to enter beta phase. I don't know what happened to the "EARLY ALPHA SYSTEMS TEST", but it will probably amount to getting a head start on the public beta (asuming that is still going to happen).
I dunno. Sounds like they're just getting to feature completeness, which would be pre-alpha. Of course, the phases don't really have exact definitions and are really more just whatever the developer says they are.
Gizmo wrote:
December 31st, 2017, 1:10 pm
Lix wrote:
December 31st, 2017, 12:11 pm
Fargo gave the projected length at about 10 hours...
10?
How many hours were BT 2 & 3?
According to howlongtobeat.com

Bard's Tale 1: 24.5-30 hours
Bard's Tale 2: 35 hours
Bard's Tale 3: 60 hours
The Bard's Tale: 14-30.5 hours
Wasteland: 30-45 hours
Wasteland 2: 37.5-112 hours
Planescape: Torment: 33-63.5 hours
Torment: Tides of Numenera: 26-44.5 hours
Pool of Radiance: 30.5-36.5 hours
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon: 4.5-9 hours ( :P )


So, a little on the short side, but if that 10 hours is just burning through the main quest, as opposed to a completionist run, it might be okay. That said, developer estimates should be taken with a grain of salt.
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Re: Alpha?

Post by ZZGO » January 1st, 2018, 4:10 am

These numbers feel off. I played BT1 for weeks until I had a stable party that could move about Skara Brae without dying - and that was before I even started dungeoneering in earnest.

60 hours for BT3 seems about right, but I had imported my high-level veteran party and I also felt the puzzles and dungeons in part 3 were the easiest.

I played Ultima 4 quite intensely for four years before attaining Avatarhood, and beat Ultima V in six months of playing at least an hour or two everyday. These days, I don't think I could invest the time.

So a "playtime" for BT4 that's estimated at just short of half as much as BT1 sounds just about perfect.

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Re: Alpha?

Post by Jozape » January 1st, 2018, 8:33 am

ZZGO wrote:
January 1st, 2018, 4:10 am
These numbers feel off. I played BT1 for weeks until I had a stable party that could move about Skara Brae without dying - and that was before I even started dungeoneering in earnest.

60 hours for BT3 seems about right, but I had imported my high-level veteran party and I also felt the puzzles and dungeons in part 3 were the easiest.

I played Ultima 4 quite intensely for four years before attaining Avatarhood, and beat Ultima V in six months of playing at least an hour or two everyday. These days, I don't think I could invest the time.

So a "playtime" for BT4 that's estimated at just short of half as much as BT1 sounds just about perfect.
The howlongtobeat numbers for Bard's Tale are based on a few players so they are not reliable yet. Despite that from the sound of it you are an extremely slow player. I played U4 and U5 a few years ago and I beat each in less than a week each while taking excessive notes and making my own maps. Neither are particularly huge games. Can't speak for BT though.

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Gizmo
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Re: Alpha?

Post by Gizmo » January 1st, 2018, 8:40 am

I once read an posting by a player who claimed that it took them five years to beat 'Eye of the Beholder'.

I got to a point once, where I could beat the game in three hours—with no clue book; all the maps were internalized, and I knew things that weren't even in the clue book. But even my first attempt at the game didn't take more than a week. I could never understand it taking five years; even if playing just twenty minutes a day.

I would honestly feel let down by any major release that was less than fifteen hours duration; and annoyed if it was less than forty. Even 'Dark Forces' was a forty hour game (so said the developer), and they pushed that as a selling point—in 1995.

**Now what's interesting to me is the howlongtobeat site lists the average time to beat Dark Forces, as seventeen hours, and even the completionist playtime is given as just under thirty three hours. Perhaps the developers estimated wrongly; or the gamer culture has upped their pace in gaming.

It lists the average time to complete the Witcher as forty seven hours; with the completionist spending over one hundred and eight.
This makes it seem like BT4 will be a toy release; clocking in at just over one third the time of InXile's Torment; (less than one fourth of the completionist's time for it). Torment's times are comparable—but in each case less than the original Planescape's times.

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Re: Alpha?

Post by Drool » January 1st, 2018, 1:50 pm

Gizmo wrote:
January 1st, 2018, 8:40 am
I once read an posting by a player who claimed that it took them five years to beat 'Eye of the Beholder'.
Well, if we're gonna go that way, it took me close to 15 years to beat BT3.
Jozape wrote:
January 1st, 2018, 8:33 am
The howlongtobeat numbers for Bard's Tale are based on a few players so they are not reliable yet.
Actually, the original BT seemed to have the most data of the three. It offered times for all four categories, while 2 and 3 only had the one time.
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Gizmo
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Re: Alpha?

Post by Gizmo » January 1st, 2018, 10:19 pm

Drool wrote:
January 1st, 2018, 1:50 pm
Well, if we're gonna go that way, it took me close to 15 years to beat BT3.
I have only beaten BT2. I don't think that I've ever played the other two in earnest.

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Re: Alpha?

Post by lefty1117 » January 2nd, 2018, 6:45 pm

Are you sure it's not The Mage's Tale that was clocked at 10 hours? I seem to recall that

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Re: Alpha?

Post by Lix » January 3rd, 2018, 12:10 pm

They've spoken about BT4's shorter length a few times, but this Games TM quote is the only one I have handy right now (because I originally typed it out of the magazine ;) ):
How would you compare The Bard’s Tale IV to Wasteland 2 and what’s coming with Torment? Are they going to be of a similar size and scope?

Fargo: From a purely gameplay hours perspective? It is less ambitious, because with these games – with dungeon crawls – it doesn’t have the same reading component and the same slow motion component of those products. It’s still a solid role-playing game, hour wise, but it just isn’t going to be half what those games are. It is, however, visually more ambitious than those two, because of the nature of where the camera is at, I think, and we will see what other people have to say. But I think it is right up there with some of the triple-A visuals you see out there.
"hour wise, not half of what [Torment] is" seems like a clear statement that this will be a short game (or that Brian reads very slowly :P ). Combined with the focus on AAA graphics and unique battles, I think they're trying to sell BT4 as more of a highly-polished first person AAA game than a traditional 30+ hour crawler.

And from an economic perspective, the game raised less money and has better graphics than either of their previous games; it makes sense that it will have less content.

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thebruce
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Re: Alpha?

Post by thebruce » January 3rd, 2018, 12:48 pm

Honestly, AAA visually are nice and all, but I really want the AAA role playing that was the classics. I don't really want to require the latest greatest PC to play the game. If it plays on an average PC or less, great; if there are options to boost graphics for high end PCs, that's fine to me if it doesn't detract from developing that core story/plot/gameplay element moreso than the graphical element. But I know, better graphics make better sells, generally, on the surface.
This should be a long-lasting game, ideally. And if the game is trying to be 'best graphics' with its selling points, it'll fade as graphics tech improves. If the game tries to be a 'best game' regardless of graphics, it'll have a longer life (presuming it's a good game, obv).

Please don't skimp on story and play time for the sake of graphics, inXile.
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Gizmo
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Re: Alpha?

Post by Gizmo » January 3rd, 2018, 12:57 pm

I tend to make a distinction between Dungeoncrawlers, and RPGs. Dungeoncrawlers tend to be about the the world—in most cases the maps, and typically have light RPG mechanics; while RPGs tend to be about the character's influence upon the world and NPCs, irrespective of the maps; and heavy on the RPG mechanics. Both styles of games have story components, but in dungeoncrawlers these usually serve as linkages to new maps. RPGs (though of course they reveal new maps) do tend to re-use areas a lot, and focus rather on the changing state of quests. Dungeoncrawler quests are typically of the 'get to the end of the map' variety.

Character improvement in dungeoncrawlers facilitates longer stints between resting; while with RPGs it denotes improved interaction with NPCs. Dungeoncrawlers might not even have NPCs; or limited to recruitable ones, and "This is how I did it!" villain speeches.

The styles appear to be polar opposites in many respects. For while both have improvable characters, the story in crawlers is usually simple, inflexible, and justifies the maps; while in RPGs it is often the maps that follow the stories; and (ideally) the stories can bend to reflect the PC actions.

*I can think of exceptions of either style.

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thebruce
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Re: Alpha?

Post by thebruce » January 3rd, 2018, 8:25 pm

Yes. What you said. Even though technically it's still a role playing game, you tend to get the idea with an "RPG" that you are play *a* role, as opposed to a party, and all the rest of the differences as you described.
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ZiN
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Re: Alpha?

Post by ZiN » January 4th, 2018, 7:20 am

Lix wrote:
January 3rd, 2018, 12:10 pm
Combined with the focus on AAA graphics and unique battles, I think they're trying to sell BT4 as more of a highly-polished first person AAA game than a traditional 30+ hour crawler.
I really hope not! The campaign was all about reviving the "traditional 30+ hour crawler" and they've already came up with Mage's Tale, which may be that "highly-polished AAA game". BT4 better be a true classic dungeon-crawler, because if there is something I really despise, it's false advertising for profits, at the expense of true fans.

Gizmo and thebruce have made very good points. In short "awesome graphics" is one of the the least important thing in classic dungeon-crawlers.
What really matters is:
1. dungeon design
2. encounter design and combat mechanics
3. character/party-building and itemization

Graphics: In my experience most games, that claim to have "awesome AAA graphics" have ugly and cumbersome interfaces and 2D art, devoid of style, and besides that, even the 3D feels unnatural, plastic and floaty in some cases.
So i think 2D art is more important, than 3D, especially regarding portraits (BT is all about portraits) and inventory.

Story: The most important thing here is in my opinion, to acknowledge the prequel trilogy, and expand upon them. For example finding an ancient crystal ball somewhere and "looking into the past" (eg. BT3) in a cool cutscene would be indeed awesome. As Gizmo mentioned there should be background stories for dungeons/locations and such.
What I definitely don't want is inconsistent (that is, with the original trilogy) lore-dumps, (real world) political agenda pushing and weird, emotional NPCs pouring their life-problems on me, as "story elements".

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thebruce
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Re: Alpha?

Post by thebruce » January 4th, 2018, 1:24 pm

What ZiN said. :)
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Re: Alpha?

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » January 4th, 2018, 5:09 pm

Yeah. I'll join the "amen" chorus on that post.
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Drool
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Re: Alpha?

Post by Drool » January 5th, 2018, 4:26 pm

Of course, if we got some actual meat from these updates, we'd know what direction they were going...
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ZiN
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Re: Alpha?

Post by ZiN » January 5th, 2018, 10:23 pm

In the direction of $$$, first and foremost...

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