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Taken from: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2071423/deep-dive-with-pillars-of-eternity-project-lead-josh-sawyer-the-full-interview.html?page=3

Okay, great. So how does the quest system work?

JS: The way the quest system works—and I know from that slide it’s difficult to parse that stuff out sometimes.

So in the good ol’ days, if you got a quest entry or a journal entry for a quest, it wouldn’t have an explicit quest objective. It would typically have a timestamp, and you’d have to read the text to figure out—not in the sense of a puzzle, but you’d have to read the entry and be like “Oh okay, that’s what that guy wants me to do.”

project_eternity-2233206-100159478-large

By default, we also have explicit quest objectives. You have the journal text that says, “I talked to Captain Stupidface and he said maybe I should look into what’s going on down by the docks. There’s been some murders and blah blah blah.” And the objective says, “Go talk to this guy about the thing,” and it’s a very specific, “Yo, do this.” You can turn that off, so it’s just a timestamp and it’s like the old games where you read the whole thing and figure out, “Oh I guess I should go down there and talk to this guy.”

In that way it makes a person actually look at the entry and think about what they’re reading and it will engross them a bit more. I think people will like that.

 

Is it going to be Morrowind-style where it says “Go past this house and take a left at the fork”? How are you going to direct people to where they need to go?

JS: People say where you’re supposed to go, generally speaking. We don’t try to be ambiguous about it, but we also don’t give turn-by-turn directions. “This dude, his house is on the west side of Brackenbury.”

Exploration is one of the things we wanted to reinforce for this game, and part of that means look aroundWalk aroundFigure it out. We don’t want to be vague, but talk to people. Use your eyes and brain.

Is it harder to make a game like that now? Obviously you were backed by people who want that sort of game, but is it a tough sell to people who have grown accustomed to the big “Follow” sign?

JS: I do think it might cause some dismay, but I think it will be initial dismay and I think people will get used to it. I feel like if we write dialogue and journal entries that people are interested in reading, then when they get used to the fact that that’s how the game is played I don’t think people will have a big problem with it.

And I think if a person really couldn’t stand it and always wanted a quest objective, a lot of the stuff we’re doing in this game they wouldn’t like anyway. Like, writing dialogues that branch in a lot of ways and are very reactive—those are probably the same people who are, not to generalize, but the same people who are not going to be interested in those. So it’s okay for them to not like it, but we’re not really making it for people that don’t.

It’s like a suite of things we think our players are going to enjoy.

I am soooooo relieved that you can have the good old timestamp journals.

Playing skyrim recently made me feel like an idiot. "Go find the hidden secret bandit camp -> Questmarker"

The Questsystem modern games are using make NPC interactions completely pointless. I dont need to talk to an NPC just to get a an Objective that tells me to do something. If you just skip the dialoge, you miss nothing - boring.

 

The Baldurs Gate System (AKA the Pillars of Eternity system) brings back the need to communicate and makes you feel like you are really interacting with your surroundings :) (and for you lazy 12y-olds, you can keep the no reading required version :-P )

 

What do you thin about this design choice?

Edited by Co0n
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lol @ World of Warcraft for instituting the tyranny of quest markers :)

 

I am relieved to have a return to the "ye olde" way of doing things.

 

What I am wary of:

- What would happen if you <accidentally> complete a quest, before officially receiving the quest?

   Or will the initiation of a quest via the primary interaction spawn the rest of the quest actors?

 

1) Having characters on site prior to quest spawn leads to a more populated and "realistic" world

2) Spawning in relevant actors following quest initialisation leads to a structured quest resolution by precluding some of the scripting difficulties and premature quest failure

Edited by Azmodan
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I just hope there will be enough journal entries for unrelated but noteworthy things, so you don't automatically know that anything in your journal is part of a quest.

 

"The captain of the guard saw something strange last night" usually means you go question for what ever he saw. Would be nice if you couldn't automatically assume that there was anything interesting he saw. Maybe it's just a red herring. That'd be nice.

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+1 in favour of red herrings and other flavour-adding materials in games.

 

One of the things I liked about BGs were the books and letters. Not every letter was tied to a quest and just about all books were there to add flavour.

Expanding and building on this in the form of journal entries resulting from NPC interactions would add a greater feeling of immersion. Otherwise there is a dubious "psychic" element to how your PC has uncanny insight into "relevant" information.

 

Although absolutely core, story-critical quests, should have some structure / clarity / objectives.

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Mmm... pointless red herrings are annoying. They need to be there for a reason, whether it be to lead the party into an ambush or distract them long enough to accomplish an illicit task. In the latter case, the party should have the opportunity to ferret out the reason before-hand through a thoughtful investigation.

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Rjshae, I get that, as long as I can't use meta-game thinking with my journal I'm OK, I'm sure there are many flavourful and useful things you can add to your journal that aren't quest involved.

 

Like descriptions of places. "I saw the hanging gardens of Babylon today, it's a large stepped building from which water flows down all the way from the top across intricate and elaborate terraces each with beautiful and carefully maintained gardens. It was truly a paradise oasis"

 

That's something I'd certainly want to put in my journal if I came across it, and it wouldn't have to be linked to a quest.

 

I just want to prevent the immersion breaking meta-game thinking of "Oh, there's a journal entry about this, so I guess I have to check it out" knowing full well that there *HAS* to be something to it, or else it wouldn't be in my journal.

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It's okay to red herring a player, as long as the player gets something out of it. The guard flavor scenario would work in a tabletop game, because the GM would say, "you go and ask the captain (who's a large bearded etc) about it and he has no clue what you're talking about." That takes a minute at most (maybe two if players rolled to see if he was bluffing), but having to trudge back and forth between contacts for nothing is much longer in a video game and definitely more boring.

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@ Azmodon; I assume they would take that into account and if you return to the questgiver while already completed the quest have the option of saying so.

@ The Rest; I object to having to reward players for everything they do, and that every little thing should have some worth to the player. What happened to 'more conversations is it's own reward'?

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^

 

 

I agree that that is such a stupid idiotic pathetic garbage hateful retarded scumbag evil satanic nazi like term ever created. At least top 5.

 

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lol @ World of Warcraft for instituting the tyranny of quest markers :)

"Thank" the players, actually. It only got added officially because it was the most commonly used addon for years. Was one of the few people who didn't use the addons- I enjoyed questing a bit up until they added the markers. Sadly, you couldn't even ignore it afterwards because many future quests didn't even get direction hints in the dialogue- and simply wandering around aimlessly just isn't fun in that game.

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I only have one input into this thread:

I want to document Quests myself in a blank non-auto-updating journal. I want to immerse myself into the role of the "journalist" (figure of speech), or perhaps the "scholar". Though, to be honest, this is not a way I will always play when I play Eternity, but it'd be a way I'd definitely play at least once or twice if the "feature" (if it can be called as such) is made for Eternity.

The idea: No auto-updates in the Journal. When you talk to someone who has a Quest you don't get a message or a blinking icon signifying "You have a new entry!" but instead the Player gets to write all of this him or herself. So if I'd talk to a guardsman and he talks about "Ye, tharr be some piratess about yarr, said to be in' disguise them be" or whatever, I'd have to analyze the situation myself and then jot down my own thoughts into the Journal instead of having the game give me a pre-written text which will always give me more information and intelligence and thus make it easier for me.

Additionally, some Quest givers could even tell you the first time you talk to them "Ye just go that-a way" and if I forget to write it down and talk to him again "So where was it now again?" he might answer "Fool! I told you already, now be on your way". So I pay the consequence for not paying attention as well (And might miss some quests due to it if I'm not paying attention).

For a bit more ease, however, the Journal could be something that you could open during talking with someone or when you're in a dialogue screen~ making it easier to write stuff down.

This is an idea which tributes towards the old ways of gaming, where there were no walkthroughs and you had to bring out your pen and paper to figure a lot of things out. Many adventure games, and some in particular (such as Myst and Riven) require this more of this focus. It's also a great way to get engaged further into the game and to further touch that "roleplay" element and even allow some Player narration.

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I wouldn't be opposed if that's an option, though personally I'd take it a step higher than that.

 

i.e. I get the BG entries "Talked to Captain Stupidface, he told me about Gale, the former captain of the guard who went crazy and killed his family.  Asked me to bring Gale to justice"

 

Asking around town, I find out that Gale ran off to the southeast (this doesn't go in the journal). However, I (as the player) can add it.  

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Mmm... pointless red herrings are annoying. They need to be there for a reason, whether it be to lead the party into an ambush or distract them long enough to accomplish an illicit task. In the latter case, the party should have the opportunity to ferret out the reason before-hand through a thoughtful investigation.

 

[...] I just want to prevent the immersion breaking meta-game thinking of "Oh, there's a journal entry about this, so I guess I have to check it out" knowing full well that there *HAS* to be something to it, or else it wouldn't be in my journal.

 

I'm with rjshae on this one, and would input that I prefer the reverse method of red herrings.  I don't want my journal to be filled with every conversation I have or overhear that may or may not have something to it, leaving me to wade through to find what is valid and what is not.  As rjshae says, the red herrings themselves are sort of annoying, but moreso to me is having a journal filled with gobs of truely useless banter.

 

Instead of filling my journal with every "quest" explicit and implicit, I think it better to just leave the latter out.  When I talk to a farmer and he asks me to retrieve his stolen wheelbarrow an entry can go into my journal; there is no question that this is a task.  If I overhear a couple of guards relating the inordinate rat problem in the sewers, no journal entry - it's my prerogative to determine if the information is worthy of attention or not.  If I deem it is, I can make custom note in my journal.  Likewise, if I read a book of lore and determine that there may be some secret hidden within its pages, I absolutely do not want a journal entry telling me about it, red herring or not.  That alone defeats the non-metagamey purpose.  If there is information there for me to find, trust that I can find it - I don't need nor want to be told explicitly what vagueties might lead to quests.

Edited by Pipyui
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I like quest markers. I also like being explicitly told how to get somewhere. My gaming time is too short and too precious to waste large chunks of it wandering around, increasingly frustrated with not getting to the good parts. (Yeah, I'm a fairly story/character development/dialogue-oriented player.)

 

So, unless there is a specific feature to ask generic NPCs for directions, I'd prefer if they'd at least have a BG2-style map, with the important locations pre-labelled.

"Lulz is not the highest aspiration of art and mankind, no matter what the Encyclopedia Dramatica says."

 

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Off Topic: Osvir - did you get about 5-7 notifications that I 'liked' your previous post, then 'unliked' it, then 'liked' it again, etc, all in quick succession?

I only ask because of stupid-unreliable computers and the stupid-unreliable internet connection at my job.  (2 separate instances of stupid and unreliable combining for double the 'fun') (also, I'm curious about the notification system).

 

Back On Topic:

I agree that having the option to turn off the auto-journal and just make our own notes would be great (as you say, probably not for every run-through, but I'd love it especially for a first - before I learn what I should be writing down - could really add some flavour to the playthrough).

In which case, this:

For a bit more ease, however, the Journal could be something that you could open during talking with someone or when you're in a dialogue screen~ making it easier to write stuff down.

 

would be essential.

 

Being able to edit existing entries from the auto-journal would be great too - we could already do that in BG2 for example, by clicking on an entry and going to an edit page.

 

As for quest markers - I've no objection to an NPC giving you explicit directions when they give you a quest (even "I'll mark it on your map") if they know where something is.  But pre-marking areas a la BG2 could lead you to miss some exploration.  And marking "here's the secret bandit camp" is also a bit silly before you arrive there.

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I'm with rjshae on this one, and would input that I prefer the reverse method of red herrings.  I don't want my journal to be filled with every conversation I have or overhear that may or may not have something to it, leaving me to wade through to find what is valid and what is not.  As rjshae says, the red herrings themselves are sort of annoying, but moreso to me is having a journal filled with gobs of truely useless banter.

 

Instead of filling my journal with every "quest" explicit and implicit, I think it better to just leave the latter out.  When I talk to a farmer and he asks me to retrieve his stolen wheelbarrow an entry can go into my journal; there is no question that this is a task.  If I overhear a couple of guards relating the inordinate rat problem in the sewers, no journal entry - it's my prerogative to determine if the information is worthy of attention or not.  If I deem it is, I can make custom note in my journal.  Likewise, if I read a book of lore and determine that there may be some secret hidden within its pages, I absolutely do not want a journal entry telling me about it, red herring or not.  That alone defeats the non-metagamey purpose.  If there is information there for me to find, trust that I can find it - I don't need nor want to be told explicitly what vagueties might lead to quests.

Well, what if your journal automatically recorded the "tidbits" we'll call them, but they were separate from the "obviously specifically related directly to a significant quest" stuff? So, whenever you were working on a quest (say, trying to find out what happened to some guy), you could flip over to your "random stuff I've overheard and whatnot" section, and flag/highlight/mark bits that you felt were potential leads for your current quest. Like "Suzy has been hearing strange noises in the barn at night, but her pa's been out to check it out, only to find nothing out of the ordinary."

 

If that has any significance to anything in the game, I'd like to have it "automatically" recorded (assumed that my characters at least noted it somewhere) by the game's UI (journal). BUT, I just don't want the game sticking it under some quest title. "You have no idea what these sounds could be, but this UI's telling you that investigating them is DEFINITELY related to finding out what happened to this missing person." That's all a bit silly.

 

That and it would be nice to not have to scroll through pages and pages and pages of miscellaneous stuff whenever I go "wait... didn't someone say something about sounds in a barn a while back?" to find out specifically what info I had acquired. It'd be nice if, whenever I thought that might be something I'd want to investigate at the time, I could bookmark it or something, so that, functionally, I could go straight to a sorting of "important" tidbits, rather than just looking through all of them in their chronological sorting to find the one I wanted. *shrug*

 

Just me thoughts...

 

I personally don't feel that shirking all the responsibility of simply recording information onto the player is the answer. I just think it needs to be left up to us to actually discern the significance of that info, and we need tools to be able to sort it, rather than just having a big amalgamation of tidbits that we're powerless to organize. Oooh! Maybe once it's discovered that such-and-such info is definitely related to such-and-such quest (like, you go check out the barn, at a certain time of day and/or using a "see invisible" spell or something, and you find out it's the missing person, or someone you interrogate who is affiliated with the missing person), that little miscellaneous tidbit gets moved to the "Find this Missing Person" quest log/section. So that, once you've completed that quest, it gets checked off/marked as complete, so that "sounds from the barn" bit isn't still just floating around in your miscellaneous section.

 

*Shrug*

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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I like quest markers. I also like being explicitly told how to get somewhere. My gaming time is too short and too precious to waste large chunks of it wandering around, increasingly frustrated with not getting to the good parts. (Yeah, I'm a fairly story/character development/dialogue-oriented player.)

 

So, unless there is a specific feature to ask generic NPCs for directions, I'd prefer if they'd at least have a BG2-style map, with the important locations pre-labelled.

The big problem is, modern games, like Skyrim and MMO's, don't even give a desciption where to go. No "go North", No "at Damian's house", No "20 steps from the big tree". Nope, it's "will you do this for me", magic quest marker. So you can't even turn them off since then you have no location to go to, since the questgivers never give them. Also full VO is to blame for that of course (not giving descriptions is shorter and cheaper. Yay for VO, eh? :().

 

So, no,I really don't want that, that the questgiver gives no details at all, and you magically know all. The desciption in the OP saying that the journal should know more than what you just heard is really odd and really bad to me. The journal should never include more information than the conversation you just had. It should give exactly the same amount the conversation itself would have gotten. It's supposed to give you a little memorybank to look back if you forgot stuff, not a walkthrough, dammit.

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^

 

 

I agree that that is such a stupid idiotic pathetic garbage hateful retarded scumbag evil satanic nazi like term ever created. At least top 5.

 

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[...]

Well, what if your journal automatically recorded the "tidbits" we'll call them, but they were separate from the "obviously specifically related directly to a significant quest" stuff? So, whenever you were working on a quest (say, trying to find out what happened to some guy), you could flip over to your "random stuff I've overheard and whatnot" section, and flag/highlight/mark bits that you felt were potential leads for your current quest. Like "Suzy has been hearing strange noises in the barn at night, but her pa's been out to check it out, only to find nothing out of the ordinary."

 

If that has any significance to anything in the game, I'd like to have it "automatically" recorded (assumed that my characters at least noted it somewhere) by the game's UI (journal). BUT, I just don't want the game sticking it under some quest title. "You have no idea what these sounds could be, but this UI's telling you that investigating them is DEFINITELY related to finding out what happened to this missing person." That's all a bit silly.

 

Something like the chat log in Divinity 2?  It was just a log that kept record of every single conversation you've had.  All of it.  It didn't have any ... psuedo-heuristics ... though to organize information (except by character).

 

I don't know, speaking purely of personal preference, even a self-organizing journal of banter sounds ugly to me.  I see what you're saying though; my idea of leaving implicit "quests" and vagueries to the player to record assumes that there will not be so much of it as to overwhelm the player, having them write whole essays in their journal.

 

I still like that vagueries are left entirely to the player for measure of worth, but what if the chat UI implemented a "log" flag checkbox, such that you could flag any conversation you wish to recall later, and have it recorded in a tab of your journal?  And if you overhear something worthy of note, you could just click the text above whomever's head to record it.  This could be particularly useful for keeping track of, well, particulars - like geographic directions or step-by-step instructions from an NPC.

Simple, intuitive, and doesn't bog your journal down with garbage (unless you do so yourself).

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I haven't played Divinity 2, so I'm not sure. I was kinda thinking directly of the BG journal. Not that it was bad, mind you, but, sometimes, I had to keep checking it to get a specific description, etc. But it was all just chronologically kept in there, so my only complaint was that I sometimes had to go back through a few pages of miscellaneous stuff just to find the description I wanted.

 

I think we're sort of after the same thing here, though. I mean, what I'm thinking of is basically your system, but with a "just in case" area. Because, if you JUST record what the player decides to record, and the rest is just non-existent, then I have a feeling you're going to run into two huge groups of players who either:

 

1)Never record anything because they just don't think that sort of "side quest" content is worth the trouble, or

2)Record everything because of the distractions of real life in between play sessions and imperfect human memory.

 

Basically, WHEN you hear something/find something out, in your system, you'd either make an entry, or it would just go poof (unless you just remember it in your head). All I'm proposing is that it gets an entry no matter what, but that you still get to decide whether or not to "mark" it or flag it or what-have-you, so that it goes into your "here's an uncluttered list of things I think are actually important," instead of your "this list is all the things I actively decided I wasn't really worried about, but are here just in case I change my mind about their importance." So, basically, your journal isn't going to be cluttered in the sense that those entries won't be "in your way." Nothing's going to force you to look at that section, as you always get the opportunity to "flag" them and have them go into a different section that you actively worry with.

 

In other words, the only "this is in my way" situation would be "I'm actively trying to look at this section of my journal that only contains all these things I didn't deem important, but all these things I didn't deem important are getting in my way and cluttering it up!" :)

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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You should! Divinity 2 is a very good game. It's expansion pack, which did away with the pseudo-open world in favour for a bit more controlled storydriven city gameplay was even better. Especially that expansion should not be missed by any RPG fan.

 

I don't recall using the system mentioned. There's a similar system in Expedition Conquisitor, but aside from mentioning bugs in the beta, it got pretty much unused in the game too. There's no real point to re-read the entire conversation if your questsystem is just functional.

 

I like(d) reading the journal in the BG's. In modern games it's usually just a checklist. And completed quests don't even get their description changed (if you can still look them up in the first place).

^

 

 

I agree that that is such a stupid idiotic pathetic garbage hateful retarded scumbag evil satanic nazi like term ever created. At least top 5.

 

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I'll hafta check it out (Divinity 2, and, I suppose, the original... unless it just sucks or something) sometime. :)

 

As for the journal in BG, I also enjoyed reading it. It's just that, it makes sense that you've got 2 different types of entries:

 

1) Entries you know are pertaining to some particular quest/event/mystery/topic

 and

2) Entries you don't really know the significance of.

 

I think without the second type, the game lacks a bit, since it makes sense you'd sometimes find things out, but not know about a specific connection to something else.

 

So, I just have an interest in organizing the 2nd type, is all, as the first is already organized. It's not as if it was unbearable in BG, just having them all in their little miscellaneous category. But, as games and interfaces go, I think it would be quite prudent to allow for player-controlled organization of such things.

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Off Topic: Osvir - did you get about 5-7 notifications that I 'liked' your previous post, then 'unliked' it, then 'liked' it again, etc, all in quick succession?

I only ask because of stupid-unreliable computers and the stupid-unreliable internet connection at my job.  (2 separate instances of stupid and unreliable combining for double the 'fun') (also, I'm curious about the notification system).

I got two notifications, I think it's timed. So if you do like, unlike, in quick succession, it'll just pop up once, but if you do a like, then unlike after 3 minutes (maybe) then you get a second notification I guess. Glad you liked it ^^

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Yes Mr Co0n (which reminds me of Koon from Tower of God for some reason, korean Manwha~Korean equivalent of Manga I guess).

The difference is that we live in a modern enough society today that digital (in my opinion) is the way to go, as it'd just add more immersion. You don't need pen & paper when you can write and do the exact same thing in-game. Which would be pretty cool. Furthermore, I think it is an "Easily Implemented Idea" that wouldn't take too much time of Obsidian. It's pretty much an On-Off [switch] (coding~) on an "Auto-Update Journal?"-Option. Or maybe even simpler than that, a "Show Auto-Updates?"-Option.

Three different variants, depending on what's easiest for Obsidian and what takes least amount of time:
1 - "Turn off Auto-Updates"
2 - "Show Auto-Updates"
3 - "Auto-Updates Visible/Invisible"

What's the difference? Not much really.

1 would turn them off entirely. Pre-Game Setup~Options Menu. Can't "Switch" it during gameplay (this is what I am suggesting). The two below are just, I dunno, brainstorming in a way but also "Are they easier methods to implement and thus take less time off of Obsidians chest?".

2 would turn them off until turned on again (and pick up from there), have them turned off in the entire Act 1, and then turn it on in Act 2, and it would pick up from there.

3 would always have them "active" and you could flick them on and off as you see fit, they'd be like a background process that you can "minimize" and "maximize" in a sense. If you'd turn them off in Act 1, then turn it on in Act 2 you'd get the entire Act 1 "log".

Again, like I said, this is a very minor thing and if you are able to Edit the Journal (like in the IE games), then I think it's something that could take like... 5 minutes to implement if you know your way around the code.

Let's not forget what a great great bug-reporting tool it could be as well during Early Access! "Encountered a bug!? Jot it down instantly and continue playing the game!". It's also, I believe, a great community tool "Share your stories!" and stuff like that.

Edited by Osvir
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I dont think turning them off entirely ist the way to go. Even not allowing to change that via options is something, that only a very small playerbase would enjoy.

 

My suggestion would be:

 

1) At Gamestart you are asked how you like your Journal

a) Detailed (the no-brainer version)

b) Normal (the BG-like version with the option to add your own hints)

c) self-written (no automatic journal entries, just what you write down)

 

2) You can always change the Journal in the options menu, with the option to:

a) affect / add previous entries

b) only affect future entries

 

IMHO, this is not too much of a deal to implement since its pretty much only 1 variable on each journal entry.

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Yarr. I also got reminded by another thing:

Using pen & paper out of the game (away from the game-screen) takes the Player out of the "game". It's a second task having to be performed outside of the game-space, bordering into reality. Having a digital pen & paper method, such as an Non-Auto-Updating Journal, keeps the Player on the screen, and it becomes a "game feature" rather than extra energy spent on A) Finding paper B) Finding pen C) Periodically pause game and write in out-of-game Journal.

I think it's easier to get immersed if that ABC is implemented into the game.

Comparatively: Computer = A) Don't need to find paper, use in-game Journal B) Don't need to find pen, use Keyboard (Faster to write on a Keyboard too) C) Periodically update in-game Journal, in-game, during Dialogue/Quest/Campfire/Whenever.

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