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Everything posted by MReed

  1. Easy -- Ao is the only "true" god in the Forgotten Realms setting. The deities that the players (and the rest of the setting) interact with on a daily basis with "serve at his pleasure". No mortal can ascend to a divine position without his tacit approval, and no deity can maintain his/her position if Ao wishes otherwise. Simple enough, yes?
  2. The level cap is 12, and yes, you are near the end of the game (the end game plays out on the burial isle, and you'll need the help of the gods to access it).
  3. This pretty much has nothing to do with 2D or 3D. Even with 2D backgrounds, the environments had to be modelled in 3D in the first place, so you can't really cut any production costs that way. The decision to go 2D was for nostalgia reasons (to allow a paint-over layer), not for budget reasons. It's still much more expensive to do things in 3D, or at least to do them well. You may model a 2D environment in 3D, but it only has to be seen from one direction, and never in close-up, and it never has to stretch to the horizon. It cuts some corners, but it also creates new ones: 1) Rendering a giant image takes time... some backgrounds in the game are (mind you: compressed) several hundreds of megabytes large. I think in one of the backer updates, they said something along the lines of bringing the rendering time of the backgrounds down from several days to a couple of hours by some tech improvements. 2) Vertex collision information is lost in the process; pathing textures must be hand-drawn. 3) More restrictive in terms of lighting and shadows, as everything must be baked directly into the texture. This must be considered in the design process. 4) Level design and art asset design are stronger intertwined, which requires extra planning and overhead (Basicly, the entire background must exist before you can start placing interactables and 3D objects on top of it; in conventional 3D level design, you can arrange your level around the intended gameplay and make changes afterwards - if, for example, the level designer notices an area is too small to fight, there is no way to retroactively change that without having to re-build and re-render the entire background image) If I'm remembering correctly, Obsidian released an update reporting that the 3D -> 2D + paint-over was less expensive than simple 3D. They didn't say why, but I suspect that the reason is that an enormous amount of effort is spent going from the initial 3D area (made up of stock parts) to a high quality area map that is still capable of being rendered in real-time. Note that Obsidian did, in fact, "rough-out" areas using simple stock parts (that probably rendered to 2D in seconds) to allow area designs to be playtested before executing the final render & paint-over. You can see these areas in the background in many of the updates.
  4. You can open a PDF file in Kindle (well, at least the tablet version -- I doubt that the desktop / web version supports it). The easy, and cross platform, way to do this is via sending the PDF as an attachment to an e-mali to the Kindle specific e-mail address. However, this won't work for the guidebook, as it is too big. There is software that you can download on your PC that allows you to do the same thing, but it shares the same file size limitation. On an Apple product, the easiest way to handle this is to simply not use the Kindle E-Reader at all -- just download the PDF file via Safari (the built-in web browser) and it will ask you if you want to open the file in iBooks. Say yes, and it will be downloaded and added to your library. You need to be connected to the Internet to download it, but once it is downloaded it you can read it even if you are offline. It is possible, but tricky, to use iTunes on a PC to copy the PDF file to an Apple device so that you can read it in the Kindle e-reader -- but the process is fairly tricky, and I'm not going to write up detailed instructions unless you ask. On a new (Android based) Kindle, I suspect that if you download the file from the default browser it will (similar to the Apple product) offer to transfer the file to Kindle. If that doesn't work, then you'll need to connect the Kindle to a PC and transfer the file to the correct location. No clue how to do this, but given the open nature of the Android OS I suspect it is much easier than it is on an iOS product. If you have an old Kindle (non-Android), you'll definitely need to download the file on a PC and transfer it over. This should be really easy, though, as the only files visible in Windows will be the Kindle books you have already downloaded -- just put the PDF in the same place. Note that it will almost certainly be totally unreadable: the background graphics simply aren't going to render properly on a eInk display. If you have a Microsoft tablet, I have no clue, but trying to open the file from IE (on the tablet, of course) is likely to result in it being downloaded to some application that can read it offline.
  5. This would make sense if the game wasn't released to the public, but... It is. Surely, given a released product one can reasonably pass judgement on it -- understanding, of course, that others might disagree. If X has released products A, B, and C to widespread acclaim (and possibly to your own acclaim), and has now released product D that doesn't receive widespread acclaim (and/or your personal evaluation is that it is inferior), then it is flatly absurd to argue (as you seem to be arguing here) that "D must be as good as A, B, and C: the defect is in your perception of the product." I don't like the PoE mechanics for various reasons (far beyond "That's not the way it was in the Infinity Engine games"): those perceptions are valid regardless of whether or not Sawyer (or anyone else, for that matter) agrees with me. If enough people agree with me, then Sawyer will have to take these ideas into account or risk the financial success of his future products -- if more people agree with Sawyer than myself, then he will best receive success by ignoring my criticisms. "Past performance is not an indicator of future results", basically. You should rate a game on how good it is, agreed. I was reacting purely to the personal (ad hominum) attacks on Sawyer, to the effect that everything he does is crap, that several people in this thread have repeatedly made. Whenever I see basically anonymous internet people making personal attacks like that it just makes me discount whatever they're saying. It's the old lawyer joke: "When the facts are on your side, pound the facts. When they aren't, pound the table." I am interested in games with engaging environments, interesting character development, and game play challenges / puzzles that make me think. A game that captures those ingredients from the old IE games is a good one in my book, regardless of rule system. In general I'm a lot more interested in a new system (like PoE) than in a rehash of old systems, largely because there is so *&()) much baggage with the old games - people will flip out if you make the most trivial changes in the formula. It can actually be better to just hit "reset" on mechanics and focus on capturing the spirit of fun - which frequently has nothing to do with the particular things that veteran players obsess about. I assume you were refering to me, as I'm the first one that brought up Sawyer's name in this thread. What I posted is nothing but the objective truth: http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/39401-armor-abstractions-in-fallouts-special-game-system/?do=findComment&comment=526647 ("...I really disliked most of the CNPCs, I really disliked being forced to go find Imoen, I really disliked the style of dialogue, and I really disliked being flooded with a million quests by every shmoe on the streets of Athkatla. Basically, there wasn't a whole lot I did like about it.") Note that this predates the PoE Kickstarter by several years. http://new.spring.me/#!/JESawyer/q/449392305086952316 Saywer's response, posted when the first message was dug up ( after the Kickstarter). All I stated was the objective truth about Saywer's opinions on BG2 and pointed out that, as a result, having the project team play BG1EE / BG2EE probably wouldn't have made a significant difference in the development of PoE (in fact, I rather expect that they did play them, at least BG1 / BG2, along with the other Infinity Engine games -- it was just in the context of "OK, don't make this mistake in PoE", rather than "This is exactly how PoE should feel"). What's the ad hominum fallacy here?
  6. If you use the machine to enhance your own power, a talent is granted to your character (which, as others have stated, gives +1 Might, +1.05% (a 5% increase) in Endurance). You can actually find the new talent on the protagonists character sheet, and hovering over it will detail the bonus (you'll need to scroll down). I point this out because there are other places in the game where you are offered a chance to enhance your character (annoyingly enough, never with details) and they are handled the same way.
  7. I was only responding to Ohioastro's post (which seems to imply that, because Sawyer has built good games in the past, his current game must also be good). I actually largely agree with your post -- successful game development is an iterative process, and it is not unreasonable to assume that future iterations will improve matters. On the other hand, you have the progression from DAO -> DA2 -> DA3, where (IMO) each game feature (in my mind) worse mechanics than the previous, or (again, in my opinion) the progress from BG1 -> PoE, where I believe the benefits offered by positive innovations in PoE are outweighed by the negative innovations (although not by an enormous amount). Most of my mechanical objections revolve around either engagement (to the extant that it encourages the player not to move) and "balance is king" (to the extant that it tries to discourage "power builds"). Unless / until someone at Obsidian acknowledges that these are areas of concerns that need to be addressed, there is little reason for me to be hopeful for PoE 2.
  8. This would make sense if the game wasn't released to the public, but... It is. Surely, given a released product one can reasonably pass judgement on it -- understanding, of course, that others might disagree. If X has released products A, B, and C to widespread acclaim (and possibly to your own acclaim), and has now released product D that doesn't receive widespread acclaim (and/or your personal evaluation is that it is inferior), then it is flatly absurd to argue (as you seem to be arguing here) that "D must be as good as A, B, and C: the defect is in your perception of the product." I don't like the PoE mechanics for various reasons (far beyond "That's not the way it was in the Infinity Engine games"): those perceptions are valid regardless of whether or not Sawyer (or anyone else, for that matter) agrees with me. If enough people agree with me, then Sawyer will have to take these ideas into account or risk the financial success of his future products -- if more people agree with Sawyer than myself, then he will best receive success by ignoring my criticisms. "Past performance is not an indicator of future results", basically.
  9. Because: 1) A game with such limited multiplayer support would inevitably attract an audience that would expect far, far, more, due to the fact that the meaning of "supports multiplayer" has evolved over that past 15 years. Worse yet, Obsidian is well aware of this fact and would almost certainly design the game to match the current market expectations (to avoid the negative reviews that would occur if they did not). 2) Speaking for myself only, I believe that the Infinity Engine games would have been /much better/ had multiplayer been omitted from the design.
  10. Or, you could, you know.... Just not kill the monsters? No combat XP, after all. You'll miss out on some loot, obviously, but most monster's neither posses nor guard any significant loot (at least, loot that you can access without breaking stealth and starting combat). POE should have lots of encounters that can be bypassed this way -- but, due to either poor encounter designer or deliberate designer decisions, it is generally impossible to proceed in a dungeon without fighting most, if not all, of the monsters within the area. The only ones you can bypass are the ones that aren't on a direct path from the entrance to the exit. That's not to say you can't skip a lot (the vast majority of, actually) combat in this game, but the number of cases where you can bypass combat because of stealth is very low indeed.
  11. In other words, you want the combat from Dragon Age 2 in PoE? That's... that's just... Nope, I don't have the words. I never played any DA after the first.. And i don't see anything wrong with the suggestions. Also, I'd like to see more enemies using stealth or invisibility... For example a group of Leaden Key assassins which are all rogues and use Shadowing Beyond repeatedly. Or groups of casters. I'd strongly recommend picking up DA2 and playing it -- as the previous poster pointed out, DA2 implemented many of your suggestions, most particularly enemies that spam abilities (especially invisibility and / or teleport), enemies who attack in waves, and enemies which spawn to the party rear. For me personally, the introduction of these mechanics in DA2 represents at least 50% of the reason that I don't own DA3. In my book, the only problems with the encounters in PoE is terrible foe AI and engagement. I don't have any hope that engagement is going to change at this point, but it at least possible that the foe AI might be improved in the expansion / PoE 2.
  12. The prima guide has tons and tons of errors -- especially when talking about resolution paths for side quests. If you are planning to use it as a walkthrough, stay far away. If all you want is a handy list of loot locations (realizing that the details of the loot will be incorrect in a fairly large percentage of the cases), class summaries, and a high-level list of quests that you can perform, then it will probably work out fairly well for you. None of the above limitations are Prima's fault, of course -- the game didn't "go gold" until a week before the physical release, and I'm sure that Prima had to lock-in the content of their guide at least a month before that, if not several months. Thus, the authors were playing a game that was still very much a work in progress, and could only document the game as they saw it.
  13. I'm not sure that I understand the issue here: You do realize that the constellations (that tell you which gods are available at which pedestals) are not static features of the room, but are instead magical projections that can change over time, right? This is quite obvious in the game as when you initially enter the room there are no constellations visible (and, although I haven't tried it, I assume none of the pedestals are functional). You have to take a crystal out of a chest and place it in the pedestal in the center of the room to "turn everything on". The gods have clearly organized themselves into two coalitions (as shown by multiple constellations being in close proximity) and each coalition has elected a "spokesgod" (shown by the constellation that is closest to the pedestal) that you can interact with. The other two gods are present if you pray at the pedestal (& they are active in the resulting dialog), but they aren't the leaders that make decisions for the coalitions. Once you understand all of that, it should be obvious that: 1) If you had arrived at some other time, a different assortment of gods might be accessible. 2) All the gods are present except for Eothas, who (whether he is dead or not) is "unavailable for comment". There are sufficient pedestals (although one is clearly broken, which seems likely to be the one nominally assigned to Woedica or the one for Eothas, although the game is silent on why one is broken) for all 12 gods to speak independently -- they just choose not to in this particular case. Seems straightforward to me -- am I missing something?
  14. I dug through the relevant conversation file. Skaen remarks upon the following items in the introduction: Helping the Skaen priests in the Blood Legacy quest: His black eyes glitter. "I have observed you, Watcher. The way you handled that noble girl in Dyrford, delivering an idle Effigy to her uncle." He nods, his bald, scarred head shining. "A most careful scheme." nRymrgand_Coalition_State = 4: His black eyes glitter. "You know something of quiet servitude, Watcher. Groveling and simpering before the gods whose aid you need... so that when they finally raise you to a place of power, you can seize what you desire." Slave background: His black eyes glitter. "You know the bitterness of servitude, Watcher. The sting of the lash on your back and scalding rage in your chest as you watch your masters grow fat on your toils, oil and wine dribbling down their chins while blood runs from yours." Cruel > 2: His black eyes glitter. "I have observed you, Watcher. Admired your taste for blood and the ease with which you spill it." Deception > 2: His black eyes glitter. "I know your ways, Watcher. Scheming and plotting, an offer of friendship in one hand and a dagger in the other." It seems likely that you need to meet one of these 4 criteria in order for this dialog to fire. The actual script (which would have the conditional for starting the conversation, instead of merely what happens after it starts) isn't easily accessible, so there may be additional conditionals which result in the offer being made... At a minimum, though, if you meet one of the above criteria then you should get the Skaen dialog (otherwise, why include the lines in the conversation in the first place?) If you want to view the conversation for yourself, it can be found in "PillarsOfEternity_Data\data\conversations\14_burial_isle\14_cv_skaen_betrayal.conversation" (for the logic) and "PillarsOfEternity_Data\data\localized\en\text\conversations\14_burial_isle\14_cv_skaen_betrayal.stringtable". Both files are simple XML documents which can be viewed with any text reading program (e.g. Notepad).
  15. I neither sided with the Skaenites nor killed lord what's his name () and still got the offer from Skaen in the end, so that's not it. BTW: I was very irritated that if you let the lord go (after freeing his niece and telling her to run away from the Skaenites) you lose reputation in Defiance Day (+ gain reputation in Twin Elms). It really should be reputation neutral -- nobody suspects what he has done / attempted to do, and as long as you don't mention it yourself then...
  16. This is irrelevant -- the fundamental issue is that the Project Manager (Saywer) simply doesn't believe that the Baldur's Gate games (1 or 2) were very good, and believes that the IWD games are as good as they are despite being saddled with the AD&D ruleset (e.g. they would have been better had a different ruleset been followed). If this had been widely known during the Kickstarter, I suspect that it wouldn't have been as successful as it was.
  17. THAC0 evolved organically over time -- the original system (in 1st ed AD&D / D&D) was "Look up the AC of the opponent and the level of the character in a class specific chart: That's the number that you need to exceed on a d20 to hit that opponent". Players quickly discovered that the chart was generated via a simple mathematical formula, and started recording only the value required to hit hit AC 0 on the character sheet as a shortcut (eliminating the need to consult the for each and every attack). 2nd edition made this official, and that's what the Infinity Engine games used. Now you know.
  18. IE fans don't, in general, view the existence of dump stats, a complex character building system that lends itself to power gaming, exploitable mechanics, and limited inventory as negatives -- at least, not pure negatives. Obsidian does, and they designed POE to try to eliminate them. Thus, IE fans end up talking about them, largely in the context of "POE sacrificed standard, traditional, statistics in an attempt to eliminate dump stats, and they didn't even manage to achieve their goal" (example only, although a statement that I personally agree with). The argument that the IE fans are making is that POE sacrifices far too much to try (& fail) to eliminate something, and thus makes the game worse. Tastes obvious vary -- some people obviously do view a limited inventory as a pure negative thing with no redeeming value, for example -- but arguing that "Well, I don't see any value in limited inventory, therefore anyone who claims otherwise are looking for some 'dreamy ideal'". They, and I, simply have different ideas of what is important in game design, and the folks that "lost" (whose ideals are not expressed in POE) are, unsurprisingly, not happy with Obsidian implementation priorities.
  19. Ways DAO is like a MMO: * Taunting mechanics (e.g. abilities that serve no purpose other than to change the AI's targeting priorities) * 4 classes, clearly identifiable as corresponding to the 4 MMO character archtypes. Prestige classes mitigate this to some degree, but it is clear that the designers intent was to match up with archtypes from MMOs. * Cooldowns on abilities / the elimination of "resting" as a mechanic. All of these innovations were introduce in MMOs -- none of which existed in the IE games. Now, you may view these as positive changes, and that's fine -- but a large number of the backer's for this game don't (including myself). I consider all of the above to be clear deficiencies in DAOs design.
  20. Just to pile on -- this is also the first isometric (2d backgrounds with 3d objects on-top) that has been written for Unity, so obviously tons of tons of functionality had to be added on, and lots of "out of the box" functionality had to be ignored, discarded, or rewritten to make sense in this environment. It is also worth pointing out that Unity really shouldn't be called an "engine" in my book -- otherwise, you would have to label DirectX the same way, and since Unity uses DirectX (in Windows, anyway)... It certainly isn't an engine in the same sense that the "Infinity Engine" is an engine.
  21. It can put a constraint on the scope of the game though. BG2, for example, has the benefit of an engine, systems and assets made for it (through the production of BG1) that BG1 didn't. Therefore time that was eaten by working on the engine or working on assets isn't a factor for BG2 like it was for BG1, that development time can be spent elsewhere. PoE did have Obs working on a new engine and having to create all their assets and develop their systems. Now I'm not saying PoE and BG2 aren't a fair comparison (IMO its all fair game), all I'm saying is that I can buy an argument that if you want to look at what's potential with development time, a first game might make more sense compared to another first game. To be a bit more explicit -- BG2 benefited from (saved time) in comparison to BG1 in the following ways: * The engine and UI was already written * The developer team was very, very familiar with the engine, as they had written it (and, speaking as a developer, this makes a big difference) * They had the benefits of feedback from the consumer's on what parts of the interface needed to be tweaked, versus working in a void. * Many, many creatures / items / spell effects had already been built and could be reused (or tweaked, if they thought it was appropriate) * The pipelines for building resources (everything other than code, basically) had been tested under fire, and everyone was familiar with those processes (what needs to be delivered to whom in order to avoid bottlenecks, for example) And, ontop of all of the above, the success of BG1 meant that the budget for BG2 was significantly higher. So, they had less "behind the scenes" work (stuff that is absolutely critical to any program, but isn't going to be noticed by the end users unless it is missing) to do but more funds to do it with -- not surprisingly, the result was a much more robust game. To address the OP: There are two totally different questions being asked in this thread: "Should I buy the game?" -- this should be judged based on comparison to recent titles, such as DAO / DA2 / DAI / Witcher 2 and the like. If the infinity engine games enter this discussion at all it would be in the context of "You can buy BG1 for $10 vs $40 for this game, and in my opinion you would be better off..." "Did the game meet its Kickstarter objectives" -- since it was explicitly meant to be inspired by / recreate the Infinity Engine experience but with modern sensibilities, then comparing it with BG1 is the only fair comparison that can be made. Whether or not it is a "good game" / "worth the money" is irrelevant: the only thing that matters is "Does playing this feel like playing BG1, but better?"
  22. These things wouldn't be true -- humans could, for example, create new robots to fight / destroy the first. Or they could create weapons that are designed to disable / control / destroy robots. Or they could do something altogether different (migrate to another planet, for example) that renders the computers irrelevant. But the key factor in all of these scenarios is general agreement that the robots are mortal beings and therefore can be defeated -- and knowing that they are created beings (created by humans to boot) pretty much ends the discussion. I mean, come on, this has been the plot of numerous stories and movies -- just off hand, the Terminator and Matrix movies both have an apparently all powerful / all knowing antagonist that the protagonists must overthrow in one way or the other. In the case of the Matrix movies, the robots are omnipotent / omniscient (although only within the Matrix, not the real world). Now, whether or not humans are willing to pay the price for opposing the will of the gods is a separate question altogether, but it is clearly possible.
  23. Um, wouldn't be a whole lot easier to simply move to a cooldown based system? Any mechanic that is basically based around "Damage done by your default attack" isn't all that different from "Regenerate x points / second / level", as DPS with the default attack is mostly driven by level. Oh, yeah, cooldowns were what Obsidian originally proposed, and it was... Not popular... on the forums. For example, https://forums.obsidian.net/topic/60914-merged-cooldowns-20/, eventually resulting in http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/63207-update-39-non-core-classes-cooldowns-attack-resolution-damage-vs-armor-and-a-tileset/. Still, if that's what you are looking for, then be honest, and ask for cooldowns.
  24. I didn't try it, but I believe you can move quest items from the stash into your inventory, and you can move items from your inventory into a container, which opens up the option of putting the baby in a crate somewhere and just ignoring the quest. I suppose that would qualify as yet another way of solving this quest...
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