The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Announcements & media coverage pertaining to Bard's Tale IV. Only moderators & inXile can make new threads on this forum.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by paultakeda » May 5th, 2017, 1:27 pm

demeisen wrote:
May 3rd, 2017, 9:03 am
Even with that nostalgia though, I am not pining for an exact return to its combat system, which I don't think has aged well.
Actually, it's more like phase-based horde combat was easy to implement in text and abstract space whereas 3D rendering of such combat is, with today's consumer technology, very, very difficult.

I would have preferred phase-based in BTIV, especially given what I've seen so far indicating that it is very possible now that combat is a much smaller scale. You queue up the actions, you hit go, and all antagonists roll initiative and act. And if that means you waste your actions on a foe that died on the alpha strike, that's phase-based combat.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by waltc » May 5th, 2017, 2:10 pm

I love the fully rendered 3d world--very nice--tons of potential! But I have to tell you the cartoony, 2d GUI incorporating the game's main characters absolutely ruins it for me--talk about breaking immersion, I could scarcely believe what I was seeing! It's like you took and old monster movie and genlocked a garish, 2d character interface right on top of it--it's cheesy and contrived. It simply doesn't fit--it doesn't work, guys. It even looks amateurish and homemade.

I cannot believe you cannot do a fully rendered game, including the main characters. Bring them to life--don't consign them to a paper-doll world that is a decade or more out of date when the environs are state of the art 3d renders. Honestly, the effect when their little heads pop up and the camera is moving forward while they are facing *away* from the monsters ahead of them looks significantly worse than Might & Magic X...;) What a let down that was. Looks like you are snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. That cartoony GUI is flat, unconvincing and highly detracting from the lovely 3d world you've built. Ugh! Like I said earlier--the main character GUI simply doesn't fit. Very distracting. Wish I could say something more flattering--but I am frankly surprised you guys could talk yourselves into liking that enough to actually demonstrate it to the public.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by Gizmo » May 5th, 2017, 4:03 pm

Cappy wrote:
May 5th, 2017, 9:33 am
Halo and Halo Wars are fundamentally different types of games, and Fallout went from being isometric turn-based CRPGs to a first-person shooters with RPG elements. BT 1-3 are turn-based first-person dungeon crawlers, and BT 4 is also a turn-based first-person dungeon crawler.
That is attacking a parallel example meant to shed light on a concept; as if disproving it would disprove the concept. FO3 gutted the Fallout IP to use its pelt ; Buffalo Bill style. The other examples were hypothetical, just to illuminate the point.

Mousetrap and Monopoly as 3D games would both likely be ISO/3D and turn based —and both start with M. :mrgreen:, but that doesn't mean...
[what you'd expect me to write here]; and of course it doesn't disprove your point about BT, but I would say that no true sco— I mean sequel, should have to teach veterans of the series how to play it. There is nothing wrong with vast improvements upon the earlier games, but the result should still be recognizably part of that series; and not a thing wholly unfamiliar, but with the famous name stamped on it.

That's how it would be if an RTS game shipped as the official Halo 6; and likewise if a Gears of War or Hard Reset project was re-skinned and shipped as Halo 6.
demeisen wrote:
May 5th, 2017, 11:51 am
[BT4 is] still phase based combat
It's not actually. If it were phase based, then the player would choose all of their intentions for the round, and then see how it plays out; with some intentions becoming moot or invalid if—when a target (or PC) gets killed or incapacitated before their action takes place (or would if they could at the time).
waltc wrote:
May 5th, 2017, 2:10 pm
...don't consign them to a paper-doll world that is a decade or more out of date when the environs are state of the art 3d renders.
Decade out of fashion you mean; the 2D/3D options are equally valid, and for that matter they could be fully rendered in 3D to look exactly as the do in the demo video.

While it's not what I'd prefer, I don't have any other issues against it. It does what they intend, and seemed to do it reasonably well. There is potential in the combat shown, and the hud/character UI is essentially the list from the earlier games. Now I can easily envision of any BT4, the option to reorder the list during combat. Especially a hypothetical early 90's BT4, where the added combat option for 'Swap' alongside 'Attack', 'Defend', and Cast' could have allowed the PC to change positions when it was their time to act... and thus possibly take the incoming damage meant for the PC they swapped with (or avoid damage meant for them).
Last edited by Gizmo on May 5th, 2017, 4:52 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by Lucius » May 5th, 2017, 4:34 pm

Gizmo wrote:
May 5th, 2017, 4:03 pm
There is nothing wrong with vast improvements upon the earlier games, but the result should still be recognizably part of that series; and not a thing wholly unfamiliar, but with the famous name stamped on it.
Depending on what specific features or mechanics you are talking about here, I'd say BTIV could qualify. It definitely looks generally like a BT sequel simply because it's a first person party based dungeon crawler. Depending on how rigid you are with your above statement, the end result could be something very dated in appearance and/or mechanics. It's always been clear that they would be modernizing the franchise, not making a retro title. Dropping the IV and calling it a reboot would have done wonders I think. Everyone who backed it, mostly would still have backed it. Putting the number IV on it implies you need to have played 1-3, which I'm sure made some people less interested in it. All in all, BTIV is certainly not "wholly unfamiliar" unless speaking very specifically to certain aspects. Broadly, that term couldn't be used, and in many cases can't be used specifically either, because the fact it's a 1st person dungeon crawler means the majority of things would not be "wholly" different from the original.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by Gizmo » May 5th, 2017, 4:45 pm

Lucius wrote:
May 5th, 2017, 4:34 pm
It definitely looks generally like a BT sequel simply because it's a first person party based dungeon crawler.
But so does Grimrock. That alone isn't enough IMO. If Westwood Studios had made Grimrock [vast aesthetic differences and D&D license aside], it could have passed for an Eye of the Beholder 4, but not a Land's of Lore 4.
Dropping the IV and calling it a reboot would have done wonders I think.
Everyone who backed it, mostly would still have backed it. Putting the number IV on it implies you need to have played 1-3, which I'm sure made some people less interested in it.
Agreed, and agreed. I think so too. They could have just cropped the name to "The Bard".
All in all, BTIV is certainly not "wholly unfamiliar" unless speaking very specifically to certain aspects.
Really? It's suddenly Irish~ish, and if I hadn't seen the mouth on the wall, it wouldn't have screamed "Bard's Tale Sequel" to me. It looks fantastic regardless... but it doesn't look familiar.

Trivial fun-fact: When I saw this [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewN2qBXQKXY ] it SCREAMED Fallout sequel —but it wasn't leaked Bethesda video from an in-dev Fallout 3. :cry:

And when I saw this [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzYmQyHl2bc ], from Troika no less, it SCREAMED Fallout sequel —if given the license and two weeks to make necessary changes. :roll:

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by Crosmando » May 5th, 2017, 4:57 pm

It's way too early to make any of those predications, for all we know BT4 could end up feeling and playing very much like a "BT game".
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » May 5th, 2017, 5:39 pm

maxheadroom wrote:
May 5th, 2017, 9:11 am
I know BT 2004 has its fans, and that's fine, each to their own, but I don't imagine there's much overlap between fans of the classic trilligy and that. So they may just end up alienating everyone
In the subforum dedicated to the classic games, the backdrop image is from that BT 2004 game. Not a good sign.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » May 5th, 2017, 5:59 pm

Gizmo wrote:
May 5th, 2017, 4:03 pm
but I would say that no true sco— I mean sequel, should have to teach veterans of the series how to play it. There is nothing wrong with vast improvements upon the earlier games, but the result should still be recognizably part of that series; and not a thing wholly unfamiliar, but with the famous name stamped on it.
Yes. A point well made.
Gizmo wrote:
Lucius wrote:
May 5th, 2017, 4:34 pm
Dropping the IV and calling it a reboot would have done wonders I think.
I think so too. They could have just cropped the name to "The Bard".
I would have preferred if they had dropped the "The Bard's Tale" part of the name.
Lucius wrote:It's always been clear that they would be modernizing the franchise, not making a retro title.
What does modernizing the franchise mean?
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by Gizmo » May 5th, 2017, 6:08 pm

_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
May 5th, 2017, 5:59 pm
What does modernizing the franchise mean?
I think it means conforming it to the mainstream consumer; [ie making it more palatable for them to buy].
(But that can be at the expense of quality, or the very qualities that made the original.)

I believe it is certainly at that expense if the intention is ever to hit more than one target with the same shot.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by Lucius » May 5th, 2017, 7:05 pm

_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
May 5th, 2017, 5:59 pm
What does modernizing the franchise mean?
You know that is nearly impossible to define. Simply saying "modernizing" is very broad. I used that term because during the Kickstarter what was stated in regards to how BTIV would be changed and brought into the 21st Century was vague, and....very broad. What does it mean in terms of this game?

If I have to make a list, you obviously aren't paying attention. Each update makes it more and more clear on how inXile will be altering the franchise to make it something other than a retro title.

Before you ask what a "retro title" is, see Grimrock (which I recommend, it's a good game overall.) To the Moon may be another example (amazing game.)

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » May 5th, 2017, 7:36 pm

Gizmo wrote:
May 5th, 2017, 6:08 pm
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
May 5th, 2017, 5:59 pm
What does modernizing the franchise mean?
I think it means conforming it to the mainstream consumer; [ie making it more palatable for them to buy].
Then why not just say "appealing to the mass market" rather than use some code words for it?
Lucius wrote:
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
May 5th, 2017, 5:59 pm
What does modernizing the franchise mean?
You know that is nearly impossible to define. Simply saying "modernizing" is very broad.
If it is nearly impossible to define, then it would seem to lack the semantic precision to convey anything meaningful. It's interesting how often people make the argument that the game can't stay true to its roots because it needs to be modernized, like that is somehow a given necessity. But, when pressed on what modernized actually means, a meaningful answer doesn't emerge.
Lucius wrote: Before you ask what a "retro title" is, see Grimrock (which I recommend, it's a good game overall.)
Yeah, thanks. I played Grimrock all the way through, a few months after it first came out, in spite of its real-time elements and somewhat unwieldy spell-casting interface. Even wrote up an extensive character development guide for it afterwards, which I posted in the game forum.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by Zombra » May 5th, 2017, 10:01 pm

Gizmo wrote:
May 5th, 2017, 4:03 pm
[what you'd expect me to write here]
Borrowing this next time someone brings up save scumming. Hopefully both sides can adopt it and save everyone involved a lot of time and energy.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by Drool » May 5th, 2017, 10:30 pm

Crosmando wrote:
May 5th, 2017, 4:57 pm
It's way too early to make any of those predications, for all we know BT4 could end up feeling and playing very much like a "BT game".
I'm trying to stay positive, but what we've seen doesn't seem like it. The combat video shows that combat has been dramatically changed. The lore updates show that the setting has been drastically reworked and logical timelines have been thrown out the window.

I mean, seriously. In 50 years everyone forgets the apocalypse? And that's not even getting into the minefield of their new religious/political order being turned into a ridiculously hamfisted "message".
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by Crosmando » May 5th, 2017, 10:46 pm

Drool wrote:
May 5th, 2017, 10:30 pm
Crosmando wrote:
May 5th, 2017, 4:57 pm
It's way too early to make any of those predications, for all we know BT4 could end up feeling and playing very much like a "BT game".
I'm trying to stay positive, but what we've seen doesn't seem like it. The combat video shows that combat has been dramatically changed. The lore updates show that the setting has been drastically reworked and logical timelines have been thrown out the window.
I wouldn't say "dramatically", it seems like a natural evolution of what BT combat would have become if the series had continued on into the 90's. The first two Might & Magic games were blobbers with abstract presentation very similar to BT, while the third actually showed enemies inside the world. It's no greater leap than what WL1 to 2 was.
I mean, seriously. In 50 years everyone forgets the apocalypse? And that's not even getting into the minefield of their new religious/political order being turned into a ridiculously hamfisted "message".
Unfortunately I've yet to finish BT3 so I can't really sympathize. I was going to wait for the "remaster" but who knows if that will ever happen now...

I know it sounds bad but I'm grateful we're just getting a first-person, turn-based blobber with a reasonable budget, considering that the blobber genre is almost dead. I mean we have people around this forum and elsewhere who literally wanted BT4 to be a top-down tactical RPG... so I will take victories where I can get them.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by Gizmo » May 6th, 2017, 3:10 am

_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
May 5th, 2017, 7:36 pm
Then why not just say "appealing to the mass market" rather than use some code words for it?
Because that would be telling. ;)

[Them allowing it to be known that its strictly a commercial choice, and not about making the best game; "modernizing it" doesn't have that sour connotation to it... unless you know and recognize it for what it is.]
Zombra wrote:
May 5th, 2017, 10:01 pm
Gizmo wrote:
May 5th, 2017, 4:03 pm
[what you'd expect me to write here]
Borrowing this next time someone brings up save scumming. Hopefully both sides can adopt it and save everyone involved a lot of time and energy.
In that particular case, the expectation would have been to write that it didn't make them sequels of one another... but it seemed like the trite thing to do at the time.
Crosmando wrote:
May 5th, 2017, 10:46 pm
I mean we have people around this forum and elsewhere who literally wanted BT4 to be a top-down tactical RPG... so I will take victories where I can get them.
Sad but true.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by paultakeda » May 6th, 2017, 8:37 am

Crosmando wrote:
May 5th, 2017, 10:46 pm
I mean we have people around this forum and elsewhere who literally wanted BT4 to be a top-down tactical RPG... [.]
Seriously? I know we had that for WL2 but for BT4? BT4 was always first-person perspective on the map and portraits + text for combat. It was never, ever, top down.

I honestly don't mind the new interface. I just want it to be phase-based. Because what I see could totally work as phase-based combat. In fact, if those clamoring for 3D rendering get their wish, it would be rather fun to watch a battle take place with all opponents attacking.

Here's where I'd "enhance" the original phase-based combat in BT: instead of rolling initiative to determine turns, what if you instead rolled initiative to reduce delays in action? Then combat takes place all at once but with some acting faster than others?

Let's say your party rolled initiative and the delays stacked to:
Bard: singing Falkentyne's Fury, delay 1 second, time to song effect, 4 seconds
Fighter: attacking Orc, delay 2 seconds
Monk: attacking Orc, delay 0 seconds
Conjurer: Arc Fire on Goblin, delay 3 seconds
Orc: attacking Fighter, delay 4 seconds
Goblin, attacking Fighter, delay 0 seconds
Balrog: casting Insanity on Monk, delay 1 second

The battle turn then becomes:
At 0 seconds, the Monk hits the Orc kills it, the Goblin misses the Fighter.
At 1 second, the Bard starts to sing, the Balrog casts Insanity on the Monk and succeeds.
At 2 seconds, the Fighter swings the air because the Orc is already dropping to the ground, dead.
At 3 seconds, the Conjurer hits the Goblin for damage.
At 4 seconds, a dead Orc stays dead.
At 5 seconds, the Bard's song takes effect to increase damage in the next round.

That'd be a fun thing to watch with all characters rendered in 3D.

But if it stays turn-based, it's easy enough just keeping them abstracted; it won't really do much to have them in the world as BT was a first-person perspective.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by Gizmo » May 6th, 2017, 9:31 am

That doesn't make any sense. I mean it's valid mechanics (and it could be fun to watch —and play), but Initiative is pointless if it permanently doesn't matter. It represents who has the quickest awareness, and ability to act on it. A combatant [let's say a wolf] might have very good initiative and reflexes, but be in a bear trap from last round... That could depict the initiative stack [as above, in your post], but with an inability to timely react (being temporarily restrained); or alternatively... the wolf is blinded by a spell, or even just pushed back a space... something representing the delay.

But these have to be exceptions to the rule. If there is a variable delay in every round for every combatant, then there is no point to initiative rolling, as the delay mechanic has replaced it.

I agree that it could be fun (and apropos to BT) to see a phase based melee play out every round; based on player intent. That could be very in-keeping with Bard's Tale —despite never being seen in the series. This is certainly like what I mean wherever I've said, "improvement on the mechanics of the originals", (but based on them).

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by demeisen » May 6th, 2017, 1:43 pm

Gizmo wrote:
May 5th, 2017, 4:03 pm
It's not actually. If it were phase based, then the player would choose all of their intentions for the round, and then see how it plays out;
Ah, OK - thanks for the correction. I hadn't followed it closely enough I guess.

I actually don't have a strong sense yet of how it'll play. I think a lot of it will be down to the design of spells and abilities, too, which I don't even remember well from the classic ones, let alone have any idea what they're thinking about for 4.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » May 6th, 2017, 3:06 pm

Gizmo wrote:
May 6th, 2017, 3:10 am
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
May 5th, 2017, 7:36 pm
Then why not just say "appealing to the mass market" rather than use some code words for it?
Because that would be telling. ;)
Tell me more. ;)

What's the thesis here? Is it that phrases, such as mass appeal, are seen as pejoratives, among some segments of their audience, and therefore must be disguised. Or is there a marketing aspect to this, where the word modern, indefinite though it is, has personal meaning to each person who sees it and they think that they are getting the game they want?

We've had other people, besides inXile, use this word in this forum and act as though it necessitated throwing away much of the original series. Unless these people are in the pay of inXile, what would be their reason for using the word? Surely they would have no qualms about saying mass appeal, if they meant mass appeal.

Of course, the follow on question is what does mass appeal in a game mean? :D
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by Lucius » May 6th, 2017, 6:09 pm

_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
May 5th, 2017, 7:36 pm
Then why not just say "appealing to the mass market" rather than use some code words for it?
Because they are not necessarily synonymous.

See XCOM:Enemy Unknown. It is a Turn based strategy/tactical combat game that came out in, what, 2014? Turn based, not real time. When it came out, there wasn't a single turn based combat game that would be considered mainstream, mass market appeal. There was NOTHING on the market that compared to this game that anyone would consider mainstream.

Jake Solomon stated in numerous interviews that he fully expected it to be nothing but a niche product. Publishers didn't step in and say "no you can't make this turn based!" Nobody predicted at that time this would become a hit game that spawned DLC and a sequel. It was a series that was modernized but wasn't designed in a way that publishers would have thought would appeal to a larger market. The fact it did is irrelevant, because that did not occur until after the fact.

I'm an originist. I use words the way they are meant, not by what you, or anyone else, thinks they should mean.

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