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Avoid making a encyclopedia lore book about every single thing.

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When I first played Baldur's Gate 2 as a kid I read a lot of the books and thought I was finding hidden quests by doing so.  Then as time went on I realized there was no way for me to find any of the described areas in the books, simply because the writers didn't even add those areas to the game.  So disappointing :'(  I even exited every map area from every side/path to make sure they didn't lead to new places.


Still, considering the effort and resources involved creating gameplay, I don't think the creaters would want to spend it making super hard to find secret areas/missions.  Sadly :(

Edited by Boo's Brother Hoo
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Obviously, overwhelming majority do not like lore to be forced upon player and "disconnected" from gameplay experience. We tend to disagree upon just how much of lore is enough though.


So, first things first - I think that most important issue here (as in most cases from my point of view) is keeping it optional. If you have a player that is "tl;dr" type then let him be. Do not punish him for wanting something different. That example provided by Jarmo "what version do you want, long or short" is a great solution here. You can of course reward him for patience, but do not overdo that or he will feel forced to endure those reading chores. Just keep reward on the level of "not very necessary but quite nice in the long run". I'll address this later on.


I'm a type of guy who likes to "earn" his lore, therefore I would love to get additional info from in game activities like reading some very specialized tomes in local library (Arcanum), buying/stealing more general books in stores (BG), finding/stealing journals (Fallout, System Shock), speaking with non-omnipotent NPCs, overhearing others (floating text that I would have to acknowledge by either waiting for it to disappear, or clicking on it, or whatever), occasional chit-chat with your companions, some gossips appearing in textbox when I'm busy selling accumulated loot (what? don't you ever chat with your local grocer?), examining your surroundings with active (or passive) skill (Fallout), not to mention that some stories could be told even by environment itself without PC interaction (Bioshock) although that could be hard to translate into journal entry without immersion breaking. Anyway the list could go on.


All of it would be kept in your journal with separate bookmark, varied in form and aesthetics depending on the source of information and maybe your PC race/stats (dream on): from word-to-word excerpts of long forgotten incantation found carved in a stone pillar, through more detailed description of given lecture that was described in game as some short floating text (like Lephys suggested), to opinions* your PC made upon someone's drunken rant. It could be expanded as it was already suggested by Pipyui or change/vary given the differences of opinion thorough the game world. I would even propose rewarding activity of gathering lore with small amounts of xp (just enough to gain a level or two thorough the whole game) every time it will affect your journal. That way we could encourage for doing so even those, who normally do not read quest related text** without forcing them to read it (just click to get it into journal and you're ready to go). It could even lead to more rewards as already suggested. Like additional dialog choices in upcoming quests, getting some otherwise avoidable sidequest, minor in-fight bonuses (remember, do not punish those not interested), or even occasional treasure hunting (combine local legends about battle long time ago and gossips about blacksmith's son missing after his trek to the nearby marsh with dusting off some old maps in king's library maybe add some skill check on top of that and voila).


Don't get me wrong - I do not wish every single flavour text to lead somewhere. Quite opposite! I do too believe, that some things should not be extensively explained or accurate in that matter. IMO about half of the lore shouldn't be even explained more than vaguely. And the very few should be there only to tease our curiosity (like that environment told stories). Won't you agree that if it will be kept varied, then we'll be unsure of the outcome and therefore more immersed/invested in the story itself? We do like to be surprised here and there after all, don't we?


So that's pretty much sums up my point of view. Please do not get offended if I included some of your's opinions/ideas here. I tried to mention everyone that inspired me but it's getting late and...



And for gods sake no ham-fisted expositions! Especially when I'm supposed to be a character with established history! See Noah Antwiler's wonderful rant about Ultima IX if you have any doubts that it's pure evil ;)

BTW, in case you missed it, he will make an interview with Richard Garriott himself, which was a strech goal for "Shroud of the Avatar" kickstarter campaign. Knowing his passion for Ultima series I simply cannot wait <evil laughter>


* - do I remember correctly that low INT chars have accordingly stupid journal entries in Arcanum?

** - I honestly have a friend who did BG and BG:SoA plus both Fallouts that way. It was like 13 ears ago and I'm still amazed to this day that he pulled that off. Without walkthroughs and internet, only me giving him an occasional clues. Oh, and he played Fallouts in English, which he do not quite understand even today. <amazed>

Edited by milczyciel
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"There are no good reasons. Only legal ones." - Ross Scott

 It's not that I'm lazy. I just don't care.

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What if you could buy lore at cities from mages (or maybe librarians)? Or perform research? Pick a creature you've fought by picture and attempt to buy or research lore on it? Quirky and probably not worth the effort but an idea I had while reading this thread.

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Personaly ( and I know that it's pretty much impossible) I would love if codex work by way of updating, when I read something about event in book for example We have book about one war we read it and codex is update about this war, we read diffrent book about it and codex is update again with something new about it, and if thouse snipets would be tied to some skill I would be overwhelmed as in we get more in-depth description if we have two points in skill then if we have only one , for example if we have one point and get book about orc culture then we only learn that they are war like but if we have two points then we will get in codex more about this culture

I think this is a brilliant idea Cryticus.


My view:


As far as the look and feel of lore, I really liked the way it was handled in TES: Oblivion. Despite aforementioned problems in readability and accessibility, the delivery system for lore (books, that is) in oblivion had perceived value, at least to me. Maybe because they were worth in-game currency, maybe because they could be the possessions of NPCs (stealable), maybe because the stories were actually not half bad, I found myself collecting the books even though I was sure they did very little as far as gameplay was concerned because I had high hopes that they were in fact going to be useful. In case the books were actually useful and you are like "what the hell is this guy talking about", my 87 hour oblivion game got overwritten by my friend who started a new game on my computer while I was in the shower. The perils of using autosave as your main. I was never able to get back into the game.


As far as what I would like to see in PE, its an amalgam of what has already been stated in this thread and my personal preferences. In my opinion...


Lore should not be:

...shoved down your throat (via NPC babble and unavoidable dialogue options). 

...compilable into a full novel length-history of the land. (It's a computer game, not an ebook with combat)

...require the player to read exorbitant amounts of text. (Some people, like myself, enjoy reading very much, but are very slow readers and find it straining. Others are dyslexic and put enough energy into reading dialogue options that are not voice-acted let alone pages and pages and pages of text)


Lore should be:

...interesting (one poster mentioned lore that describes the position of the sun in an account--this is ridiculous, unless of course the position of the sun is relevant to something the PC may do)

...pertinent to the game world and the player's role in it (if I put in the effort to read lore [and please know that I'm not talking about 'just not being lazy'] I want my PC and or her companions to be able to act on that information, whether it be though dialogue options, hidden quests, and the like, at least most of the time)

...talented-ly voice acted! (I suppose I'll probably get flak for this whether because of the production cost or some sort of immersion-breaking aspect to voice acted lore. In anticipation of this, my response is that PE raised a hell of a lot more money than that said they required for the game, but I guess thats an empirical matter. With respect to immersion-breaking, voiced lore could simply be turned off.) 


I would be beyond thrilled...I would be ecstatic if PE communicated lore this way. An how great would it be if you could choose between a Patrick Stewart lore narrator and an Edward James Almos lore narrator. hahahah I know, that will never happen. And with Cryticus' idea of a codex or journal that is updated as a paraphrase of 'read' lore, the voice acting wouldn't be shoved down anyone's throat who doesn't want to listen to it. That's my 2 cents.

exactly lore needs to be presented in a dynamic fashion. Not though a e book codex like dragon age. There is nothing wrong games having lore as long as it is not presented poorly.

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I'm afraid I must strongly disagree with the OP.


I can understand the appeal in taking a more dynamic "show don't tell" approach when revealing the many intricacies of the setting and perhaps for the most part I'd actually advocate for games and most other visual mediums to take this approach. However, Project Eternity is a roleplaying game, and as a roleplaying game I must have sufficient knowledge of the ins and outs of the setting before I even begin to roleplay a character.


With a game codex I at the very least have a working knowledge of the setting/lore and thus am able to determine what influences my character and how it influences my character. With these two basic foundations I am able to slowly piece together a coherent roleplayable character that is an organic part of the setting.

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