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Found 8 results

  1. This is weird. I feel like I'm violating some unspoken taboo here, so seldom do we see anyone--in the community, in the media, in the industry--talk about western RPGs and their Japanese cousins in the same breath. Anyway, I'm excited for Deadfire, and I'd like to discuss some very special JRPGs that I think could provide interesting and valuable examples for the overall design of Obsidian's impending epic. I hope you'll indulge me on this journey. First, a quick refresher on Deadfire's premise: In Deadfire, we'll be captaining a ship and exploring the Deadfire archipelago. There will be an active world map (similar to that of Fallout 1/2, or more recently Wasteland 2) for us to explore, discovering and visiting the islands we find in whichever order we want. Presumably this will allow for some nonlinear storytelling, as the narrative beats we encounter will depend on the order we visit each island. To use Lord of the Rings as an example, something like saving Theoden from Saruman's curse might be accomplished *before* meeting Elrond in Rivendell. That kind of thing. So, on to the JRPGs. Dragon Quest VII follows a similar premise--the story begins with you discovering a sailing ship and exploring a world that consists of many islands of varying sizes that have been isolated from one another for centuries. The over-arching story is pretty simple: long ago, the Almighty fought a pitched battle with the Demon King and was defeated. Your task is to travel to each island and save them from the Demon King's minions (there's also a big time travel element, where you go between past and future states of the world, but it's not relevant here) and eventually find and defeat the Demon King himself. But that's just at the macro level--each individual island has its own story that is very self-contained. These stories are never about the demon king, but rather the specific demons plaguing each islands, and the often tragic fates of the people living there. This makes the game feel more like a collection of loosely-related short stories than a novel. Each island offers a new, self-contained story with a new cast of characters. When you land on an island, you get a *new* story, and when you leave the island, that story is *resolved.* And this is an approach I hope Deadfire takes as well. I'm not saying we should *never* end up having quests that send us from island to island, but rather that I hope those quests are not the norm. Baldur's Gate II took a similar approach, making each region feel like a self-contained D&D module. Romancing SaGa is the other game I want to look at. To date, it remains the *best* example I have ever seen of non-linear storytelling (multiple protagonists, multiple story routes for each protagonist, and a persistent world where big events will happen even if the player isn't there to affect them). There's a whole heckuva lot I could say about it, but for now I'd like to focus on just one aspect: location. in Romancing Saga, there is a "world story" that plays out--various events happen in each of the major cities and nations at various times. If the player is present--at the right place, at the right time--he or she can participate. For example, City A could be attacked by pirates. If the player arrives in time, he or she could fight off the pirate attack, save the city, and be rewarded by the king; but if the player arrives too late, he or she could arrive to find the king missing and the city destroyed by fire. No, I'm not suggesting Deadfire try to make a persistent world narrative to the same degree--that's be waaaaaay too much work--but wouldn't it be interesting if the player's starting position were--at least to a degree--randomized? So that, for example, the first two or three islands the player discovers once he or she starts exploring the world aren't always the same two or three islands? Like, there could be a starting island to serve as the tutorial area to introduce to players to the setting, and have the initial narrative beats (where you acquire your own ship) and then once you leave, you could encounter a "storm" that deposits you to a random or semi-random part of the world-map (depending on how combat leveling/scaling works, I suppose). This starting island doesn't even have to be in the Deadfire--it could be a port city in the Dyrwood, as you make your hasty escape. Alright, one last game I want to point at: Total War Shogun 2. Also known as the last great Total War game (sigh). Don't worry, I'm almost done here. Specifically, I want to point out Shogun 2's world map: https://steamuserimages-a.akamaihd.net/ugc/896638219564697346/E49088D8C1C92ADC60ADCFAD370F1185EF660F9A/ That's the "fog of war." Rather than a simple black background indicating the "unexplored" regions of the map, they have a hand-drawn map. It's a really cool effect, no? And I'd love to see Deadfire go in a similar direction. Medieval and Renaissance maps are, well, really cool looking. Especially sea maps! It would be really cool to see something similar in Deadfire--an imaginative, hand-drawn map of the "world" that fades away to the "real" world map as you explore it. And, well, yeah. That's it. Those are three games I hope Obsidian takes some inspiration from. What about you? Have any games (aside from other, similar CRPGs) that you think could be valuable to look at going into a game like Deadfire? Before I leave, though, have some awesome old sea maps: http://public.media.smithsonianmag.com/legacy_blog/Whales-Olaus-38.3.jpg http://images.faena.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2015/07/hic-sunt-dracons-interior-2.jpg http://www.cvltnation.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/SeaMonsterCvanDuzer017.jpg http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-s04GCvW4O80/Ugf0g5w3zGI/AAAAAAAAI1g/sQpIwDR-LI0/s640/Sea+Monsters+(C+van+Duzer)+016.jpg https://img.purch.com/h/1000/aHR0cDovL3d3dy5saXZlc2NpZW5jZS5jb20vaW1hZ2VzL2kvMDAwLzA1Ni82MTAvb3JpZ2luYWwvc2VhLXNlcnBlbnQtYXR0YWNrcy1zaGlwLmpwZw==
  2. In POE the “resting system”mostly just for recharge the spells ... But it could be more fun and have more functions : 1.When team set up a camp fire we could have an option to progress a conversation with your teammates or skip it to rest , most random talking could happen in here this way we don‘t miss any of them by accident ,also can make the team interact with each other more often ,so we don't need to talk to them individually 2.when you do like the party-talking ,then you or teammates will gain some benefits e.g.: If you know what's their favorite food is ,you can let them eat that and they'll get more benefits form that kind of foods etc. 3.Inns should have more “darts game” elements . you can choose a table and order some foods and drinks then your teammates will say some funny things,if they don't like the foods that you dished then they definitely will let you know,just for fun,also can make the inn more alive(and Useable) 4. this all can be done by something like “”pic-dialogues“” which is how you interact with the world in POE Just some ideas and what 's you guys think on this ? ( as always ,sorry for my poor English )
  3. Good day all, new kid on the block, huge fan of CRPGs even though havent played that in retrospect. Really looking forward to this game My question, has probably been answered before, but I was wondering how much depth would in game party companions would have ie. personnality, romance, random opinions, hate talk, etc. This part was one of my favourites from BG2, I'd love how Minsc, Edwin or Viconia would just randomly spew hilarious stuff (especially Minsc). Thx!
  4. There doesn't seem to be much discussion on the elements that, in my opinion, are the most important in a role-playing game. The elements that gave the Infinity Engine games the quality that they are renowned for: Narrative, Setting, Depth, Immersion and Choice and Consequence. Here are the topics analyzed by a youtube personality called MrBtongue in a insightful, articulate and entertaining way: Narrative: TUN: The Shandification of Fallout Setting and Immersion: TUN: The Elder Scrolls VI - Youtubia Depth: Creepy, Obsessive Nerdlove: Planescape: Torment: Colons Choice and Consequence: TUN: Choice and Consequence What is your opinion on these topics? Do you agree with MrBtongue on all of them? How important are these elements to you?
  5. Update by Chris Avellone This week? Companions. I have been designing companions. I lucked out, because I got to do companion design work for BOTH Eternity and Torment, so two birds, one stone. Or three companions, one lodestone? I don’t know. Eternal Companion Facts Some facts from our Eternity design documents that I wanted to say up front before going any further: thanks to backer support, Eternity supports 8, yes 8, pre-made companions and 8 hired adventurers (16 total). You can have up to 5 in the party at any point in time (the 6th/1st role is your player character, who, well, sort of has to be there, you know, because it’s your game). It’s a lot of writing. We want to allow you to encounter all companions before the mid-point of the story. One issue we’ve found with introducing companions too late is that it doesn’t give players enough time to bond with them, and/or the player may have already formed a strong attachment to their other allies so much so there’s no physical or emotional room for more party members in their lives. Each companion also has their own mini-arc and quest woven into the game as well, so be prepared - they have agendas of their own. You know, like real people. Lastly in the fact train, we don’t force you to take anyone in your party. If you want them, take them. If you want to go to the Adventurer’s Hall and make your own, do it. Go solo. We don’t own you. We’re not trying to control you. Play how you want. Narrative Update... So a narrative update related to companions... Eric Fenstermaker (designer, Fallout: New Vegas, also responsible for Boone and Veronica and worked on NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer and... and... oh, just Google him) has been hard at work on the narrative, and it’s reached the point with the arc and themes that now seemed like a good time to introduce the companion supporting pillars to the process to take the story higher (...not necessarily in a “Can you Take Me Higher” Creed sort of way, since it’s not really a question, it’s more like, “yes, we will take you higher.”) Over the past few months, I’ve been scrutinizing the systems and story documents for Eternity (and Torment), the themes, and also checking out the other companion briefs from the other designers. Aside from the companion designs I wrote, feedback has been wildly traded in the interests of making companions even better than their core concepts. It was my goal to read EVERYTHING about the narrative I could, even brainstorming - and in Torment’s case, novellas as well. Now it was time to work on the structure of the individual companions. ...and now on to Companion Design We discussed companion design (http://forums.obsidian.net/blog/1/entry-168-project-eternity-and-characterization/) way back at the start of Eternity, so some points in this update will callback to this. There shouldn’t be a need for a refresher read unless you want to. The process for Eternity (and Torment) has followed these bulletpoints, and we’re holding true to our goals as well as expanding the design methodology as we go ahead. The first and best place to start with companion design is the game systems. For companions, this means considering race, class, and their role in the conflict mechanics of the game. Knowing what class of character you’re making is key to building their history and personality. For example, in the case of Gann in NX1: Mask of the Betrayer, knowing his class before writing was a big help, and I can use that class’s list of abilities, class focus, and the abilities the class specializes in and weave it in with the backstory. The Eternity designers have been good about indicating the spread of classes and races for the companions and rationing those out during the process. For Eternity, since combat is the primary challenge mechanic, one major goal is to make sure the companion is combat effective. Why would you take them in your party? How are they useful? In other instances of conflict mechanics (for example, dialogue or Tide reactivity in Torment), we also examine how the character is useful in terms of these challenges as well. A Note About Challenge Mechanics Really quick, I want to clarify what I meant about “challenge mechanics.” That doesn’t always mean combat – it’s whatever the primary challenge in the game is. If we were doing a Thief-style RPG, then stealth and avoiding detection becomes the primary challenge mechanic, not combat. Depending on the RPG and its range of challenges, a character can still be fairly weak in combat, but if that’s the case, we try to think of how they’re helpful with regards to the game’s other challenges (giving an edge in dialogue, healing, fast travel). For all the characters I’ve seen or designed for games that don’t cater to at least one of the game’s primary challenge mechanics, those guys are often unpopular or unused because they’re not helping out with the systematic gameplay, regardless of how cool they might seem. And the more actively these characters can participate in the mechanics (vs. passive), the stronger their appeal. Also at the same time, I try to be careful that the companion's skill set doesn’t overlap with the challenge roles of the other characters. We try to indicate in the companion briefs how each companion's challenge role is intended – one thing I learned as a pen-and-paper Gamemaster is you want to be careful about two players sharing the same role (Tank, Mage, Priest, etc.) – if one is clearly stronger than another, then the second one needs something else to make them stand out and be “special” in the party and fulfill an equally cool role in the party dynamic, otherwise one ends up getting upstaged by the other. And feelings get hurt. Which isn’t something you want in a game designed to entertain. For Eternity, we’re setting it up so even if players choose the same classes as some companions, the companions are designed to assist those character types and make them more special (ciphers, for example, can chain, and even priests with the same religion can discuss theology and combo attacks). In addition, we wanted to be careful about personality overlaps as well. I wanted to make sure any companion design didn't overlap with ideas or “concepts" of the other characters (or across projects – so for example, while I’m doing a Glaive for Torment, I’m not doing any fighters for Eternity) ...and that extends to personalities as well. As an example, I told Colin for Torment it might be a good idea if I didn't do a female rogue with a ruthless hidden agenda who can shape-shift according to your personality and have her/it be redundant with the Toy or the Cold, Calculating Jack in Torment. So knowing the general class-focus, role, and personality for each, as well as ones that would be useful, we try to include in the character briefs and get that info to people as quickly as possible so everyone can get a sense for what direction to take their characters. As for me, after much begging for the class itself and begging for the specific companion, I asked for the cipher. The cipher is near and dear to my heart, it felt like the first brand new class we were introducing that was tied into the soul mechanics of the Eternity world, and the freedom to explore it is a great opportunity. Character Freedom Both the Eternity and Torment leads have been strong advocates about letting designers channel their characters. If you are excited about an idea, they are willing to work with you to help realize that idea and help it fit into the world, without giving barriers to entry. In my opinion, the best GMs do this – rather than give you character sheets, they help you make a character you care about. In essence, companion design is a designer’s chance to design their very own player character that fits in with the world and the theme. On Eternity, Eric has a strong theme for the story already. While not the original theme, Josh was accommodating and we all recognized that if another theme came to the forefront naturally through the writing process, it’s fine to alter it to make a stronger design. Having this theme clearly identified and supported in the narrative is good, but we’re taking care to make sure the companions can provide direct examples of the theme at work (or present counters or alternate viewpoints to it) - and the more, the better. The companions cover a good range of culture and religion and factions in the game, which we hope to showcase more of in the future... the machinations of the world and the politics are prominent in the story (along with the magic system), and the characters showcase these elements very well. Companion Iteration There’s still plenty of work to do – like all design, iteration is key, and we have been doing passes of the characters to make them stronger. While the companions exist as individual entities, we also feel it’s important to do a pass of the companions to show how they relate to each other, which we feel is an important part of making the game Infinity Engine-esque, and it was a big part of the dynamics in Baldur’s Gate and Torment – describing how companions relate, fight, argue, or even act as sounding boards for both your character and each other’s viewpoints is an important part of creating a living world – and your party is very much the living world that follows you around. The work doesn’t stop there. A pass of the companions asking “why the players should care” is also something we like to make sure we have an answer to for each companion. While the answer of “good fighter” is an answer (and one that’s worked well for a number of companions in the past), we prefer to add more layers showcasing how they’re specifically adding to the player experience. Companion Nuts and Bolts There are other finishing touches we like to add. The companions have unique signature items (very Torment and Baldur’s Gate) in addition to their personalities and strong visual signatures as well. One comment we’ve always tried to include in these visual hooks is that because of the camera angles in the game, we want to make sure these visual hooks are easy for the players to see in the environment as well. Also we’re doing what we can to get the area designers involved with not just the story, but companions as well. A good chunk of the game is dungeon exploration, and we felt that what the designers had done in NX1: Mask of the Betrayer in making sure that each companion had a significant interaction in a specific area was important for the story – and having areas that revolved around companions as well gave them and the dungeon design more strength. Right now, the companions already have strong internal conflicts (and religious and faction, if not inter-party), now tying those more to NPCs and dungeon explorations is one of our next targets. With the companion design, we also tried to include narrative samples of analogies to that character that we’ve seen in other media or fiction that we feel help capture the character’s essence. Also, as we’re designing the characters, we include sample lines of dialogue when we can as another layer in the process so audio and other designers can get a sense of how the character sounds (both spoken and text-wise). That’s all I can share about companions for the moment, and we’re looking forward to elaborating further as the game progresses. If you have any thoughts or ideas on companion design, specific or general, feel free to post in our forums, we look forward to hearing from you! Arcanum Last but not least, we have the first of two blocks of Arcanum playthroughs in Shrouded Hills for you... from bank robberies, to mine plundering, to death, to dealing with telepathic bridge bandits. We’re releasing one with this update, and then (cross your fingers) the second will be part of the next update. It’s all recorded, production just wants to put some touches on the audio. Possibly to strip out my voice. And my breathing. And screams. Also, I may end blogging critiques of the game as well, just to distill the game critique information. It’s a little hard to get the design critiques during the playthrough – if that’s something you’d like to see in addition to the videos, I’ll try and make time for it. Check out the first video at: http://youtu.be/MNOJ5DRO7uQ. Kickin' it Forward: WARMACHINE: Tactics Do you like turn-based strategy? Do you like giant steam-powered robots? Then our friends at WhiteMoon Dreams and Privateer Press Interactive have the game for you - WARMACHINE: Tactics. Go support their Kickstarter and help bring the award-winning WARMACHINE miniatures game from the tabletop to your desktop PC or Mac. Click here for more info.
  6. Just musing over a point that I've noticed while playing PST recently. I've played a lot of IE games and installed various mods as well. Different writers use a different style to accomodate describing actions / other narrative as part of the dialogue. Some use (parentheses), some use *asterisks*, some use traditional "speech in quotes". Just wondering how you prefer it to be handled. Examples: You'll have to pay for that! (her eyes dart between your party members, trying to keep you all in sight) 1. Ok, we'll pay 2. (Attack her) 3. (Run away) You'll have to pay for that! *her eyes dart between your party members, trying to keep you all in sight* 1. Ok, we'll pay 2. *Attack her* 3. *Run away* "You'll have to pay for that!" her eyes dart between your party members, trying to keep you all in sight. 1. "Ok, we'll pay" 2. Attack her 3. Run away You'll have to pay for that! her eyes dart between your party members, trying to keep you all in sight 1. Ok, we'll pay 2. Attack her 3. Run away Or is there a better way?
  7. While I nonetheless expect this to be somewhat controversial, I want to start this off by saying that I appreciate Infinity Engine games for what they are, and this thread is not about what Project Eternity should be. Rather, I ask what Project Eternity is, which is very related to what Infinity Engine games are, or even more broadly DnD-based cRPGs. The reason is that I have noticed an increasing overlap in the past several years between the "action/adventure" and "RPG" or "role-playing game" genres, and it got me thinking about what the difference between them actually is. The obvious realization is that most players don't actual roleplay in any significant capacity when they play so-called RPGs, so where does that leave the genre? Certainly some of this apparent contradiction might have to do with the fact that different players define role-playing differently, but there are certain a substantial proportion of player who can hardly be said to roleplay at all. In some ways I think action/adventure games and role-playing games might exist along a spectrum, with the ideals of one genre at either end, and most games inhabiting the continuum in between. Where do Infinity Engine games, or Project Eternity, fall on this spectrum? I for one feel that the amount of combat focus (which perhaps just comes with any DnD-based game) is somewhat action/adventure-oriented, and at times the games feel more linear than some others that feature more open worlds. Additionally, certain aspects of characters are de-emphasized and the interactivity of the world is quite limited (ability buy property and so on). This leads me to believe that the majority of games marketed as RPGs are in fact action/adventure games glorified in certain manners, rather than games designed with holistic roleplay in mind. Please leave your thoughts on these questions and vote in the poll as I am sure the results will be quite informative to me.
  8. I've been thinking during construction of the game the project could also create a series of short stories to: help to introduce us (and future buyers) to the world; help shape our understanding of the world, its lore, the main characters and events; and keep us all interested as the project unfolds. What do you think? If you think it would be a good idea what sort of stories would you like to see?
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