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Ainamacar

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About Ainamacar

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  1. Either Sawyer can't talk about it in-depth because they're still experimenting with different weapon effects and nothing's set in stone yet, or he just enjoys being a tease. Probably a bit of both. Sawyer a tease? Never.
  2. I look at it this way: We've had our soul stolen, are (presumably) doomed if we don't get one back, and are going after a reborn god to get it. PoE2 is BG2 inverted: this time we're Irenicus. I can freaking live with that. Plus, the average Dyrwoodan won't think the Watcher is a chump for being level 1. No, what they see is a person (or group) who recently rose from nothing to greatness who has had their soul sucked by a god and, perhaps uniquely in a trail of desolation, survived. Now the Lord of Caed Nua is alive, angry, and armed. Sane people won't mock the Watcher, they'll get out of the way. That is leaving a mark, no matter what the XP box on the character sheet says. Finally, I think Obsidian has the opportunity to do something interesting with the original companions. Namely, while some are present at the beginning (thus set back to level 1) others may be encountered later in the campaign in their high-level forms. Even if they were just NPCs or temporary companions that reinforces the continuity with the original story, and to me would strengthen the sense that the level reset is a vital part of the story rather than just a mechanical contrivance.
  3. I cannot even concieve of how an RPG like PoE (or Torment or BG2) could be "too verbose." I wonderingly pondered the prodigious length of paradigmatic RPG classics like PoE, Torment, and BG2, but within this honored scope found nary a jot, word, or phrase the paring of which could yield (however faintly!) an overall improvement -- and it is truly beyond my ken to imagine such a thing. The problem with verbose writing isn't necessarily length as such, but a lack of economy. I'm not mocking you, because even though I disagree with your statement you expressed it concisely and sufficiently. The travesty I wrote, on the other hand, desperately needs an editor. Pillars wasn't nearly as bad as that, but in my opinion an editing pass with an eye for unnecessary things would have definitely improved it.
  4. Take a look at the spreadsheet, the 50% from graze is taken into account. I'm very much OK, in the context of offense, with Dex granting less marginal dps than Might if there is an interesting tradeoff with status effects. As I understand it, most status effects are applied (or activate the separate attack to see if they apply) as long as an attack doesn't miss. Thus, reduced average damage for increased chance of applying a status effect. That is a classic tradeoff, and one that has to be managed carefully since in some games lockdowns make dps ultimately trivial. So, for me the question is whether the damage vs. status effect trade off is, on average, both significant and interesting. There is no objective "correct" balance for damage vs. effects, and in practice it can depend on play style. For example, some characters might go for all dps all the time, while others try to apply status effects much more frequently. One could play around with how grazes impact effect duration, for example. (I'm unclear on whether it does at the moment.) Someone might reasonably give up nontrivial dps if they can, on average, expect to apply debuffs more reliably.
  5. When at the level up screen it does not appear one can cancel it and return to the game (no cancel button, Esc does nothing, etc.). I presume this is a matter of interface design, not a bug. Being able to cancel is very useful for when wants to see what is available at the next level without committing to leveling immediately.
  6. Both I and a friend had the font problem with several recent Unity engine games (among them Wasteland 2, Hearthstone, Shadowrun Returns: Dragonfall, and Forced) before managing to find a solution. In my case the offending font was UNCL.TTF, but when I went to the Windows font directory it wasn't even listed, and some of the font management programs I tried were also unable to detect/delete it. The trick, it turns out, is to mark the directory as writable first. 1. Open a command prompt. 2. Run "attrib -r -s c:/Windows/Fonts" (or use your equivalent fonts directory) 3. Delete the offending font or move it to another directory. If it's not UNCL.TTF for you, look in the log and dump files for clues. 4. Run "attrib +r +s c:/Windows/Fonts" to return the directory to its original settings.
  7. I don't think the point is making kiting invalid, it is making sure it has some tradeoffs. Remember, in the IE games if your hasted archer isn't completely blocked off he can waltz past 10 melee attackers while flipping them individually off in the face, and be fine. In other words, kiting was often *so good* you could succeed without actually being good at kiting.
  8. Think this is a great way to approach one of the qualitative aspects of melee combat, or at least fantasy melee combat. I dabbled with a similarly stateful mechanic in a PNP setting, but the maintenance required at the table ended up outweighing its benefits. After all, given {k, m} combatants partitioned into two teams and assuming engagement is directed (i.e. engagement is not necessarily mutual for any pair of combatants), there are 2*k*m individual engagement states to track. Even though most of them would be trivially non-engaged, that is still a lot to worry about. Perfect for a computer, however, and as long as there is clear feedback from the interface the user should have no trouble seeing when engagement is a consideration. One could probably leverage such a system to build a lot of depth. Some possibilities might be: 1) Special engagement zones. Perhaps reach weapons engage at range but not right up close, while dagger wielders need to be glued to the target. Thus, different combinations of weapons will tend toward different equilibria in terms of effectiveness. A character dual-wielding a one-handed spear and a dagger might have a wide range of engagement at expense of a particularly deadly point, while someone with two longswords might want to stick carefully to a moderate distance. Depending on what the enemy is wielding this might lead to quite different considerations, and it would mean that a primary consideration for a weapon system is not just the target's armor but also the weapons they wield, which has the potential for more interesting tradeoffs. One could tell characters to focus on maximizing damage by engaging at their optimal distance, focus on minimizing damage by attacking from where the enemy's weapons aren't so effective, or any balance in between. This needn't be an exercise of position micromanagement, just let the computer calculate or move toward an equilibrium based on what the targets have and how they are told to attack, but give the player high-level control of what they would like optimized. Or possibly not in the case of raging barbarians, taunted/bluffed/intimidated characters, and so on. 2) Various melee abilities when creatures are mutually engaged, which is the essence of dueling. 3) Various abilities when only one creature in a pair is considered to be engaged. The notion of the sneak attack is often that the attacker has engaged the defender, but the defender cannot defend effectively. Ganging up on somebody would be ideal for the rogue, but a fighter or other character that learns to engage many creatures would eventually be less easy to harass in that way. 4) Smart ways of "passing" engagement between allies, or abilities that depend on allies both engaging the same target. 5) Other notions of engagement that rely on the same basic idea. For example, when can a rogue hide? Coming from D&D roots, usually the answer is when no one is watching them. That is a sense of visual engagement, which could potentially be leveraged for skills, spells, etc. 6) A primary utility of some summoned creatures might be as a means to create engagement, rather than to simply do damage. Since balancing summons is always difficult anyway, it might be nice if at least some were less about doing or soaking damage and more about creating opportunities for those things. 7) Elaborate traps could "engage" characters in a similar fashion, which prevents, limits, or locks-in the means the creature has for escaping the trap. If engagement is passed around creatively the party as a whole may have to adapt their escape strategy. (No idea whether this would actually work.) Anyway, I look forward to seeing where this mechanic is going.
  9. Very informative update, thank you! I think the three-tiered inventory sounds wonderful, and I like that it permits gear strategy at both the intra-encounter and inter-encounter detail without needless micromanagement, while also permitting people to pick up everything if they want. Sounds very slick, although I hope there is some reason why items effectively "teleport" back to camp. I'm not totally sold on some of the special class abilities ("escape" in particular, since I have difficulty buying blanket immunities without a pretty strong in-world justification), but the overall philosophy of flexible class progression with variable complexity buy-in sounds great. And the wizard's familiar sounds quite wonderful, although finding the sweet spot between too weak and too powerful for "extra" agents like familiars and summons has always been challenging. Finally, I think the weapon system sounds pretty solid as long as switching to the "optimal" weapon type doesn't become a tiresome chore. That can be done by making the difference between weapon effectiveness not that strong, of course, but that obviates the purpose for the distinction in the first place. And if the difference in effectiveness is very noticeable, it may become uninteresting and rote. The inventory system allows some strategy in this regard, but pretty much every fighter worth their salt will have one of each type if possible, so I think switching weapons in combat to the "best" type should not always be optimal. For example, if switching weapons takes time one must weigh the possibility of delaying the initial attack or suffering from momentarily lowered defenses. Thanks again, my favorite update thus far!
  10. Thanks. I'm thinking that I may take some time at Christmas/New Year's to make something like that. Ideally, a version with character abilities, rules for determining item properties, and expansions on the existing mechanics wrapped up in a nicer package. We'll see. And I'm not really a fan of item lotteries in this sort of game, although the details matter a lot. If the outcome depends on very few "rolls", and especially if they take place in a short span of time, then the power of crafting may depend more on the player's attitude toward reloading than to the crafting system itself. (I don't hate that reload-heavy playstyle as such, I dislike systems that have wildly divergent outcomes depending on playstyle.) The degree to which the random outcomes depend on character skill is also important. Too much and only specialists will be able to use it effectively, too little and crafting is just a weird store. Finally, there is the issue of consequences. I enjoyed the wizard stronghold crafting quests in BG2, which were chance-based, because they presented the character with meaningful tradeoffs to consider. In the end, of course, I'd gladly accept a crafting system not in my preferred style if it is executed with some inspiration. If crafting is just busywork, even if it's ignorable busywork, I'd rather it be cut or reduced to the simplest form of input->output. Thanks for your thoughtful comment!
  11. No worries, I didn't take that meaning. I actually laughed when I read your first sentence. Yeah, the more I think of it the more I tend to agree with you on this point. It depends on the fiction of the game world, of course, but usually magic and the natural have sharp conceptual difference. If so, having the same crafting representation for both doesn't do a good job of supporting that distinction.
  12. The interface isn't pretty, but it is functional. Like I said, I wrote it as an experiment for myself. The interface allows 3 actions. 1) Select a source (Click on a hexagon with a hollow circle in it. The hollow circle of the currently selected source is white.) 2) Add a component to a source. (Click a component from the list on the right-hand side. That component is associated with the currently selected source. This can be changed as often as one likes until a path is added from that source, at which time the component of that source cannot be changed.) 3) Add a path (Click on a hexagon with a solid white circle in the center. What paths are possible to add depends on the selected source and its associated component.) That's it. I grant, I should have stated this explicitly in the first post. A failure of documentation, at the very least. Ehh, it's a board game serving as an abstract representation of the underlying magical reality of crafting, not about the physical tasks needed to do the same. It is no more right or wrong than using a dice roll to determine if a sword hits instead of using the mouse to control the sword directly. Each gives a different sort of experience -- each can be designed well or poorly, and each can implemented well or poorly. I don't mind if this particular abstraction isn't your cup of tea, but there are many ways for a thing to make "logical sense in relation to the activity." In this case the "activity" could be shaping unruly magic forces to a particular magical purpose rather than shaping steel. Yes it does. "Enchanting" may have been a better description given the specific elements I described. Nevertheless, one could define the "elements" to refer to non-magical concepts if desired. As for going for a rune-based design, that's a perfectly reasonable way to approach the problem. I had toyed with a similar idea, by assigning elements to components themselves and then defining more elaborate interactions between specific elements that occur when sources of different colors are joined. I went in a different direction, but I'd like to see a mock up of what you mean. (And since schematics define source geometry, there is a "rune-like" aspect to them, but that's neither here nor there.) The main thing I want is a way to join compelling strategic management with the tactical aspects of the minigame. If your runes conception would work better, I'm all for it! If no one finds a minigame that does these well, I'd cut the whole idea.
  13. Well, that crafting has a clear goal (i.e. a predetermined resulting item) and requirement list (a predetermined list of exactly what is needed to make a given item) is an assumption, not a necessity. For example, in my idea item schematics might determine an item's fundamental properties and the geometry of the sources, but additional effects might depend on precisely what components are used in which source. Suppose the screenshot showed the process of building a +2 bow or something. Whether that bow does extra fire damage, increased accuracy, can shoot through cover, etc. might be determined by the components used. So if you try to craft a bow +2 you always get a bow +2 (as long as you connect the sources), but designing a bow +2 that fires insubstantial flaming arrows and doesn't require ammunition might depend on whether the components you have that would add those properties are sufficient to actually connect the sources. With greater character skill one would have greater freedom to create both more powerful items, but also to manipulate the board so you are more likely to be able to create the specific item (i.e basic item properties plus special properties) you want and/or using less powerful components to do it. My opinion is that whether a mini game is fluff or not depends on the consequences on the larger game. For example, a lockpicking minigame generally has no outcomes other than "door unlocked" and "door remains locked", possibly in some combination with "alarm sounded" or not. Anything that results in one of those 2-4 outcomes behaves more-or-less identically regardless of what has happened before or what will happen later. Minigames that aren't fluff offer an opportunity to interact with the game world in unique ways. For example, the X-Com games have both the tactical game and the strategic base-building game, and each impacts the other. Even if one is emphasized more than the other, the other one hardly counts as "fluffy" if the consequences are there. I think a crafting minigame has the potential for rich strategic impact, and if it doesn't then it should be cut as a minigame, going instead for the simplest thing that achieves those outcomes. A crafting minigame with collecting fixed components to make fixed items doesn't really achieve that, no matter what busy work is done in between. I'm going for something where the connection between the input components and the output item isn't fixed, and the minigame mediates the details of what can be built with what components, and gives the player a meaningful decision about how to spend them. Not saying that I succeeded, but I hardly think the basic idea is necessarily fluffy.
  14. Not the most immersive interface...that's putting it gently. And thank you, I enjoyed thinking about potential game mechanics and coding them up. The code is released under an MIT license, so anyone who wants to can play around with it.
  15. I've been pondering how to make a fun crafting minigame with strong strategic and tactical elements, that rewards players for crafting without making it necessary to super-specialize, and that puts less stress on the in-game economy. Well, I decided to try out an idea and ended up programming a prototype. You can get it here. It's implemented in Python and requires the matplotlib and numpy libraries to run. (Installation details are in the zip file. I wasn't originally intending to share, or else I probably would have written it in something a bit more convenient.) Here is a screenshot and a summary of the idea, which is basically a glorified Euro-style version of connect-the-dots. The basic goal is to connect all the magical sources (represented by circles) within the larger grid by building paths between adjacent spaces. The path is represented by white lines between spaces that emanate from the sources, and valid moves are shown by white circles within spaces. The sources themselves are powered by crafting components, so the game is an abstraction for "connecting the power" among the various components to create a new magical item or effect. The grid spaces are colored, representing different magical "elements" which affect affect how paths may be grown. Currently these generic elements are: "air" - light blue "earth" - brown "fire" - red "soul" - yellow "water" - blue In addition, there are magical "walls", represented by black, to which paths may not be added. These magical walls represent unforeseen difficulties, and are only displayed once a path is adjacent to it. Crafting components are listed on the right-hand side of the screen. To add a component to a source simply click on a source (the circle will turn white) and then click on any of the components. The properties of the crafting components place additional restrictions on how paths may be placed. In this prototype every component has 3 properties: 1) A strength, which determines how many times a path may be added from this source. Every time a path is added using the selected source, the remaining strength decreases by 1. The current/maximum strength of the selected component is displayed in the center of each source, and the maximum strength is displayed in the upper left hand corner of each component. Once current strength reaches 0, no more paths may be added using this source as the active source. 2) A list of elemental sympathies. Sympathetic elements mean that, when adding paths, the player is forced to choose a space containing one of these elements if possible. If no such move is possible the sympathy has no effect. Spaces containing an element sympathetic to the selected source/component show a "+" in the center, and these are also summarized in the list of components. 3) A list of elemental antipathies. When using this source/component, these elements are impassable, and show a "-" in the center, and also summarized in the list of components. The wide variety of crafting components reflects a desire that most items shouldn't have a specific recipe of required components. Rather, any set of components the player can use to connect the sources is sufficient. One may change the active source at any time by clicking on a different one, and the properties of its component applies to all possible moves from a path connected to that source. Even as multiple sources become connected, only the component properties of the currently selected source are used to determine what moves are possible. The game ends once all the sources are connected (a crafting success) or when no more moves are possible (crafting failure). (Note: the software currently only detects crafting failures if the strength of all sources is 0. Other failure conditions are not tested for.) One may swap which components are associated with which sources freely until at least one path has been added using that source as the selected one, at which point the choice of component is fixed for that source. This program serves as a prototype and proof-of-concept. The intent is that a fuller game would include many more special events triggered by reaching specific spaces as well as special character abilities used to help connect the nodes. Examples of special events might include one that reveals all other special events within 3 spaces, or which adds an additional source (with a special effect for the crafted item) to the board. Examples of character abilities might include destroying walls, temporarily changing component properties, changing the element of a space, increasing a component's strength, or adding an additional source somewhere on the board. Finally, it is expected that item properties will be determined from a combination of considerations: those fixed by source, those fixed by component, and those determined by special events. This basic format is also, in principle, compatible with implementing item upgrades and disenchanting. ------- A few brief things I didn't cover above: 1) My intent is that "schematics" largely define source geometry and the basic effects for items. These could be found, purchased as character skills upgrades, and occasionally discovered spontaneously in "breakthrough" events while crafting. 2) The rules are determinstic, possibly aside from initial state of the board. Even then, I think it is in the spirit of the minigame to only determine that setup once per crafted object. 3) Most items would not rely on unique or specific components, mitigating the frustration of not being able to make an item because some specific thing wasn't found. (Or, even worse, was found and sold.) Items useful for crafting can be identified as such because they are largely generic. 4) Every playthrough would be a bit different, with the exact kinds of components found shaping the types of items that are most efficient to make, but usually not making any specific item impossible. How, if at all, does this idea move toward the goals I outlined at the start? 1) A character with a high crafting skill will be able to craft an object using relatively less powerful components, but a character with low crafting skill will, in principle, still be able to craft some good things if they are willing to invest their best components into it. Therefore, characters that do not hyperspecialize may still have the opportunity to make some very good equipment, and it gives the player a meaningful strategic choice about how to expend components. 2) The game has some interesting tactical properties, in my opinion. The specific path taken in early moves has a large impact on what moves are available later. In particular, sympathetic elements are very interesting because they are very predictable at the start, but as the path grows longer it becomes more difficult to reign in. As events and character abilities are added this depth should increase. 3) The difference between an optimized path and a sufficient non-optimized path should be relatively small, because the geometry of sources puts some firm lower limits in place. (Interesting fact, the shortest path between sources is the Steiner tree problem for graphs, which is NP-complete.) Thus players who choose to optimize and those who settle for a more brute-force approach should not, I hope, be vastly separated. 4) In the game economy, novice crafters probably take a loss when making common items, for the benefit of making items that are not available at all. As one improves one can get away with using less valuable components to make a given item, eventually enabling a gain. It is also much easier to rationalize a non-fiat economic equilibrium in a system that alllows for both gains and losses. Alright, I've said more than enough. Do try the program if it looks interesting to you. Thanks for reading, I hope you'll be able to draw some inspiration even if this isn't your cup of tea. Comments are welcome.
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