Bard's Tale Remastered COMING SOON!!

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cparker94
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Bard's Tale Remastered COMING SOON!!

Post by cparker94 » September 13th, 2015, 9:31 am

Leave it to Becky for teasing us with this!

As far as the enhanced port of Bard's Tale, I saw a twitter post from Becky with an incredible screenshot with the one word comment.... "soon."

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Don't know what soon means but I am ready to play the Bard's Tale all over again for the first time in 25 years or so! Will all three be ready soon? What does soon really mean? She hasn't said anything since this recent announcement but I am so ready to play this over again!

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Re: Bard's Tale Remastered COMING SOON!!

Post by Drool » September 13th, 2015, 11:51 am

It looks like she's well on her way to finishing things up. Assuming that's not just a mock-up, it looks like she's potentially on the QA phase for at least the first game.

Her choice of font seems a little... out of place, though. It look like a placeholder and doesn't really fit with the rest.
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Re: Bard's Tale Remastered COMING SOON!!

Post by thebruce » September 13th, 2015, 3:46 pm

I think the font size could be dropped a point or two - seems far too packed, and the scroll needs more inner padding (this was mentioned on twitter after the first shared image too). BB basically said it was still being adjusted.
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Re: Bard's Tale Remastered COMING SOON!!

Post by cparker94 » September 13th, 2015, 4:38 pm

I did remember reading that she wasn't finished with the font size and spacing. However, this preliminary screenshot looks very promising. Of course I don't expect it to be perfect for 2015, but to play the series all over again with a few enhancements, well, I just can not wait for that. I plan on replaying BTI, II, and III, then playing Dragon Wars for my first time. I want to take my time playing these games and then maybe sometime in 2016 or 2017 gear up for BT4!

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Re: Bard's Tale Remastered COMING SOON!!

Post by Crosmando » September 13th, 2015, 9:56 pm

While the new higher-res UI is great, I hope it's optional. I would personally like to play with the old UI as well.
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Re: Bard's Tale Remastered COMING SOON!!

Post by burgerbecky » September 14th, 2015, 2:13 am

That was not a mock up, that's what the game actually looks like. There have been a few graphic iterations and improvements. I'm just debugging it now. (The screen shot is from Bard's Tale I, running on my PC in Window 10, the others look very similar).

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Re: Bard's Tale Remastered COMING SOON!!

Post by Crosmando » September 14th, 2015, 3:10 am

burgerbecky wrote:That was not a mock up, that's what the game actually looks like. There have been a few graphic iterations and improvements. I'm just debugging it now. (The screen shot is from Bard's Tale I, running on my PC in Window 10, the others look very similar).
A couple of questions
- In the port is it possible to switch the UI to the old version?
- Do you plan on implementing rebind-able controls?
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Re: Bard's Tale Remastered COMING SOON!!

Post by thebruce » September 14th, 2015, 6:48 am

Crosmando wrote:A couple of questions
- In the port is it possible to switch the UI to the old version?
So, are you looking to play the Apple IIgs versions? :P Or that version merely with any and all bugs fixed? I'm not sure there's much value in providing the classic UI, which essentially makes the game 99.9% classic game. Which you can already play :)

What I think WOULD be cool, is if the game graphics were actually themselves boosted in max resolution with the ability for someone to provide a new graphic set... like, the wall graphic may be appear to be the standard 100 pixels wide (random # btw), but it's actually 500 pixels (but blocky); then someone could stick a new graphic in at the full resolution.

In short, I'm guessing the portal is actually rendered at the original pixel dimensions and zoomed to fit the window size at the increased resolution - as opposed to using graphics that can be much higher resolution if the image repository took advantage of the extra size.
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Re: Bard's Tale Remastered COMING SOON!!

Post by Crosmando » September 14th, 2015, 7:38 am

Stop posting emoticons please.
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Re: Bard's Tale Remastered COMING SOON!!

Post by thebruce » September 14th, 2015, 8:48 am

Uh, off topic, but no; it's a habit and it's part of the forum. You can change your settings if you hate seeing images (I find images can be annoying as well), and turn of the display of emoticons. I've just discovered the setting myself and have done the same, both for posting and for viewing. But it won't change my habits ;)
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Re: Bard's Tale Remastered COMING SOON!!

Post by cparker94 » September 14th, 2015, 9:34 am

BurgerBecky,

Thank you for chiming in! We all appreciate your efforts to bring us back to our childhoods. I can't wait to play this game all over again and take on the 396 Berserkers. Will be following you on Twitter for the latest updates to your progress!

Thanks again!

Craig from Texas

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Re: Bard's Tale Remastered COMING SOON!!

Post by ZiN » September 14th, 2015, 10:54 am

burgerbecky wrote:That was not a mock up, that's what the game actually looks like. There have been a few graphic iterations and improvements. I'm just debugging it now. (The screen shot is from Bard's Tale I, running on my PC in Window 10, the others look very similar).
Are the spell icons actually animated as well, with a few frames, or just static images?
The world display looks like it's using bilinear interpolation, is that right? I think it's actually one of the worse ways of resampling pixel art, as you can see it looks quite blurry, even in a moderate 800x600 resolution and as you go up it gets even worse. In my opinion even simple nearest-neighbor interpolation looks better in 800x600. And if resources permit, perhaps it would be worth looking at algorithms specialized for pixel art, such as SaI and the like.
Also, as others have noted, the fonts seem a bit off.

Finally i'd like to ask a question: Which art assets are you using for BT3, the C64, or the Amiga one? (C64 is better in my opinion.)

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Re: Bard's Tale Remastered COMING SOON!!

Post by Drool » September 14th, 2015, 12:25 pm

thebruce wrote:So, are you looking to play the Apple IIgs versions? :P Or that version merely with any and all bugs fixed? I'm not sure there's much value in providing the classic UI, which essentially makes the game 99.9% classic game. Which you can already play
I dunno. Worked pretty well for Wasteland. Had a nice little option to switch between uprezed and original images.

I've enjoyed the two teaser images Becky's posted on Twitter, and I can't wait to give these remasters a try. I'm not sure what it is about the font that bugs me, though. Part of it's the size, but also... it just doesn't seem to fit. Like, aesthetically. I can't quite articulate the specific issue I have. It's... it's like it's in the uncanny valley of fonts.
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Re: Bard's Tale Remastered COMING SOON!!

Post by thebruce » September 14th, 2015, 12:47 pm

Drool wrote:
thebruce wrote:So, are you looking to play the Apple IIgs versions? :P Or that version merely with any and all bugs fixed? I'm not sure there's much value in providing the classic UI, which essentially makes the game 99.9% classic game. Which you can already play
I dunno. Worked pretty well for Wasteland. Had a nice little option to switch between uprezed and original images.
Right, but when using the old images, was the game otherwise exactly the same as the original? Or were others aspects to the game/engine updated and still in effect?
Here, I gather that if you were jump back to the original UI graphics, you'd really just be getting the Apple IIgs version.
I don't see why it shouldn't be possible, but it just feels unnecessary. *shrug*
I've enjoyed the two teaser images Becky's posted on Twitter, and I can't wait to give these remasters a try. I'm not sure what it is about the font that bugs me, though. Part of it's the size, but also... it just doesn't seem to fit. Like, aesthetically. I can't quite articulate the specific issue I have. It's... it's like it's in the uncanny valley of fonts.
Yep, IMO it's the line size with very little spacing. The characters' line thickness sizing also seems pretty thin in relation to its dimension. Hard to find the right words to describe; just feels like they're ..stretched too far to cover more space than needed? I think if the kerning and line spacing were increased a touch and the character size itself reduced a couple of pixels, it could really help feel a little more comfortable.
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Re: Bard's Tale Remastered COMING SOON!!

Post by Crosmando » September 14th, 2015, 9:43 pm

thebruce wrote:
Crosmando wrote:A couple of questions
- In the port is it possible to switch the UI to the old version?
So, are you looking to play the Apple IIgs versions? :P Or that version merely with any and all bugs fixed? I'm not sure there's much value in providing the classic UI, which essentially makes the game 99.9% classic game. Which you can already play :)
Of course there would be, for one they would be running natively in Windows and not through an emulator, so the gameplay would be more smooth. Secondly these ports are going to have automap for BT 1-2, plus whatever bug fixes are done. In addition, BT3 never got a Apple 2gs version, so the Apple 2 version included with Bard's Tale 04' looks much much worse graphically than 1-3. Becky has said that an Apple 2gs version of 3 exists (but was never released) and she still has all the old artwork. The re-release port of 3 will be the unreleased apple2gs version.

Having an option to play with the original interface is essential because this re-release is also about preserving the history of these games. It should be possible to play the games with the improvements (automap, bug fixes, apple2gs artwork for bt3) but while retaining the old interface.

You know, for someone who apparently runs the BardsTaleOnline website, you sound very careless and disrespectful to these great games.
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Re: Bard's Tale Remastered COMING SOON!!

Post by Capt_Kangaroo » September 15th, 2015, 6:07 am

YAY..., font us oldies can read without squinting. :)
Looking forward to playing.

Cheers

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Re: Bard's Tale Remastered COMING SOON!!

Post by thebruce » September 15th, 2015, 7:18 am

Crosmando wrote:
thebruce wrote:
Crosmando wrote:A couple of questions
- In the port is it possible to switch the UI to the old version?
So, are you looking to play the Apple IIgs versions? :P Or that version merely with any and all bugs fixed? I'm not sure there's much value in providing the classic UI, which essentially makes the game 99.9% classic game. Which you can already play :)
Of course there would be, for one they would be running natively in Windows and not through an emulator, so the gameplay would be more smooth.
How old is your computer? :P Every version I tested in an emulator is smooth as butter.
Or maybe you mean speedy, in which case sure but it would depend on the emulator and if it has a setting to emulate the processor speed (or to turn that off / boost it). The problem is many classic games were coded assuming and in lock step with the cpu speed. In one I boosted the cpu and even the typing there had no 'pause' time between letters so it ended up looking lllllliiiiiiiiikkkkkkkkkeeeee tttttttthhhhhhiiiiiiiiisssssss :P BT had to be played at the emulated cpu speed, and making use of BT's own internal speed management.

So in that case, sure, a benefit would be the added feature of improved cpu timing and clock cycle management and whatnot (which as I said would make the rerelease more than merely improved UI and bug fixes; but maybe now I'm being finnicky about my original wording :)
Secondly these ports are going to have automap for BT 1-2, plus whatever bug fixes are done.
Sure, as I said that's more than just providing a switch to the old graphics. That means the game had much more work redone.

Let me rephrase the intent of what I was saying from another perspective:
* If BB is recreating the old game to mimick the same gameplay experience but with a couple of improved UI graphics and with native code having any little bugs fixed, then - (and this was the impression I got about its development)
a) flipping to the classic ui makes it essentially 99% the classic game, which you can already play
b) I'm not sure there's much value in providing that (1- "I'm not sure", 2- "much value", 3- some may like that, but is there enough value to warrant providing it? 4- it's just my subjective opinion)
* If BB is recreating the old game to improve the gameplay experience by updating a couple of UI graphics, writing in native code, fixing any little bugs, and properly ensuring the game plays smoothly and comfortably on today's machines, then -
a) flipping to the classic ui graphics shouldn't alter the improved BT experience and could have more value as a nostalgic feature
b) the improved BT experience may not play the same as the classics (I point as another example to drama with the Halo Anniversary editions, having certain bugs and glitches fixed/removed - people wanted them in because to them it defined their Halo experience, and removing them meant the game was not merely 'updated' graphically but provided a very different experience)
- so for example the BT experience formed by CPU timing; any content that's based on time by cpu cycles would need to be rewritten, modernized. Of course it can be done, the question is, is it? AFAIK it is, so I'd say we're getting the latter improved experience, and we'd better hope that BB does such a great job of coding that it doesn't stray much from classic experience ;)
Having an option to play with the original interface is essential because this re-release is also about preserving the history of these games. It should be possible to play the games with the improvements (automap, bug fixes, apple2gs artwork for bt3) but while retaining the old interface.

You know, for someone who apparently runs the BardsTaleOnline website, you sound very careless and disrespectful to these great games.
Ouch dude. Nope, I'm just trying to be objective and look at the details and what defines a nostalgic experience vs a new one. And I'm very finnicky about grammar (my own bads). :P

Here's my thing: I want to retain as much of the classic nostalgic game feel as possible. I personally thought the graphics in becky's update would be an all or nothing improvement - higher res everything, or classic everything. Additions such as automap I'm torn on, because I don't know how that would affect the BT1/2 experience (and yes of course we have the choice not to use it). But it ultimately doesn't affect the entire game. So I'm fine with it being put in.
But man, if things like timings are off because native code had to be written to accomodate a very different fundamental game programming technique, it could dramatically alter the experience unless becky gets that 'feel' right.

The challenge becky faces (as I'm sure is known) is porting the code to a new OS environment and unknown hardware and making it work, and additionally doing all the necessary down-tweaks to emulate the experience of the classic BT on systems many more generations advanced. Emulating existing code relies on the emulator to put the compiled code in a framework giving it a universal environment already mimicking the 'old' system. Remaking it in native code means that you have to rewrite and 'emulate' whatever is necessary to retain the functionality of the 'old' system that may have affected the gameplay. That's where my concern lies. And that's not a slight on becky, that's a huge props and cheer and encouragement for taking on that monumental task.

No sir, I'm not 'disrespectful' to these great games (I'm not even sure that word describes what I inferred you meant by that).
I love them very, very much! I'm super excited that becky is providing native versions for windows. And I have faith that the games will be as faithful to the classics as possible. And I cannot wait to get my grubby keyboard fingers on them. I just love discussing nuances and complex technical details ;)


Actually to bring it back to the one point I think you were referring to about being "disrespectful" to the classics - it's not that I don't want to see the old UI graphics. It's that if the game is intended to provide the same experience, yet give us the bonus of an updated graphic UI and sans emulation, then "I" don't see too much value in the switch back to the low res UI graphic. If ALL the graphics were up-rezzed, I could see there being more value in switching the entire graphic sytem back to the classic visuals.
But, if the game is being written to mimick as closely as possible the very same experience from the classic BT, and since the rest of the graphics are still low-res (even with the added BT3 A2GS graphics), if providing the low-res UI graphics would 'seal the deal', as it were, then sure, I could see more value there as well.
If the intent is merely to "preserve the history of these games", well, sorry to say, no native-coded re-release will ever be able to fully and completely do that ;). That's why we have a few fan sites still around providing copies of those original games, for anyone wanting that true 'classic' experience. Even if an emulator is the only way to do that.

And so my sentiment summed up is: Bring on Bard's Tale Remastered! ;)
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Re: Bard's Tale Remastered COMING SOON!!

Post by Drool » September 15th, 2015, 12:32 pm

thebruce wrote:Right, but when using the old images, was the game otherwise exactly the same as the original? Or were others aspects to the game/engine updated and still in effect?
Well, the prompts to read paragraphs would still be underlined for the integrated paragraphs, you'd still have the inXile splash screen and the Wasteland splash screen. And you'd still have the launch screen with save files, (semi-)integrated reset tool, and the ability to turn background music on and off.
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Re: Bard's Tale Remastered COMING SOON!!

Post by sear » September 15th, 2015, 2:37 pm

One reason we are going to be providing the emulated versions is so that you can still have the classic games if you want. There's nothing stopping you from playing those if you prefer to play it "as it was back in the day".

Emulating a C64, DOS, Apple II etc. is such a trivial task for a modern computer that "better performance" isn't really a consideration. The benefit of native ports has always been the potential for enhancements.

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Re: Bard's Tale Remastered COMING SOON!!

Post by waltc » September 15th, 2015, 6:22 pm

burgerbecky wrote:That was not a mock up, that's what the game actually looks like. There have been a few graphic iterations and improvements. I'm just debugging it now. (The screen shot is from Bard's Tale I, running on my PC in Window 10, the others look very similar).
Looks very nice...don't mind the fonts at all...a bit larger will come in very handy should the enhanced ports allow for higher resolution selections...

When I think of these games I think of them not so much in how they looked originally, but how much better they could look today even with a minimum of effort expended...

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