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The general consensus that I've seen from the Codex, Youtube and here seems to be that the Spell FX for PE are a little too reminiscent of the NWN2 style of spell FX, where were a little bit forgetful.

 

I have to say I agree, and I have taken a couple of screencaps from the effects to show what happens at various stages of the effect, to demonstrate how they could be improved, and be made "more IE like".

 

I will use the red circle "Dire Blessing" spell as my example:

 

1prhmjM.jpg

 

Here is a screencap from fairly shortly after the spell has been cast, we have a lot of use of the new "lighting" effects that spells in PE have and the devs are proud of. There is also a visual above the characters (that doesn't really stand out).

 

bAUfKeF.jpg

 

Shortly after the lighting effects start to fade, at this stage of the spell we can start to discern a glow radiating from the upper body of the affected characters, easier to make out on the male characters, as there is a light still shining on Cadegund. The above character visual is now gone.

 

YIMcGpl.jpg

 

The spell effect keeps dissolving away, we can see a faint red glow around the characters, accentuated by the pattern still present in the middle of the circle of the spell

 

9Xl6fPN.jpg

 

This stage of the effect is where I think the problem is clear. In the IE games there was often very clear visual feedback that a character had been effected by a spell. This is however not specifically an IE games feature, most 2D games of this time employed similar styled opaque 2D spell effects on units affected by a spell. 

 

It's obvious that any character in the circle would be affected by the spell, but I think if you want spell FX to stand out a bit more, and feel a bit more IE then you have to have a bit more visual feedback for units affected by spells. 

 

uzhFQcD.jpg

 

Here is a cap from shortly after all the effects have dissipated

 

SUGGESTIONS

(I have absolutely no artistic talent whatsoever, so these look absolutely atrocious.)

 

#1 - Give the effected characters a bolder and longer lingering red glow, that persists for a bit longer after the spell effect dissipates (an extra .05-1 sec would be fine)

 

CTy1Jrb.jpg

 

PEoYayb.jpg

 

#2 - Put a bold 2D visual graphic above the character evocative of the spell icon that persists for an extra 0.5-1 sec longer than the current 'red' effect

 

rVI7JyY.jpg

 

#3 - COMBINE THEM

 

JxOCdi9.jpg

 

In Summary

 

I think spell effects need to linger a bit longer than they do currently and effects on characters need to be bolder, more unique, and perhaps in some cases accenuated by a 2D icon above their avatar. These things will help give off more of an IE feel.

 

EDIT: Regarding the visual effect above the characters - there are a few lines above their heads that move upwards and dissipate. You could make the lines bolder have them linger above the characters a bit longer or something.

 

For Circle of Protection I would simply suggest that the affected characters be outlined in the same white glow of the spell, but not as boldly as the circle itself.

Edited by Sensuki
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After thinking about it a bit I'd also probably suggest to tone down the brightness of effects, because with lots of them going on you won't be able to see a thing on the battlefield - much like NWN2.

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I agree for the most part when it comes to spell effects in NWN2 turning chars into über-bright X-mas-trees. I even used a mod to have most of those effects removed. I'd suggest that any shining lights and patterns that come with the effect are toned down in spades. Looking at the sober and rather realistic art style, it would be more fitting with subtler spell effects.

 

I'd also like to comment on the words spoken when the spells are cast: One part of me like that touch, since it's nostalgic and all. However, another one has gone mad from hearing those words being repeated over and over. Obsidian should realy consider to give us a toggle in options, where you get to switch between neat, simple, but distinctly different sound effects when each spell is cast and having words portray the casting of the spell.

 

And speaking of toggles, Sensuki's suggestion of signs floating above the head as markers of which people are affected by which kind of spell, I think it's a nice idea, but it should be toggable.

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*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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#1 seems reasonable but I wouldn't mind the effects as they are now.

 

A graphic hovering above character's head doesn't convince me and never did.

Edited by Messier-31
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It would be of small avail to talk of magic in the air...

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As long as the effects fade away pretty soon I'm all happy.

Just hoping there's an effect indicator in the portrait (with a mouseover explanation, please).

 

What was that one common NWN2 buff that surrounded you in blue bubble and went DingDingDingDingDingDingDingDingDingDingDing for the duration.

Had to make do without it because it was so darn annoying.

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And speaking of toggles, Sensuki's suggestion of signs floating above the head as markers of which people are affected by which kind of spell, I think it's a nice idea, but it should be toggable.

No that wasn't my suggestion. I was suggesting that an icon or above head animation be part of the spell FX - take a look at Death Ward in BG2 for example. The spell animation was a Skull of some sort floating above the affected character's head, with a 2D blue FX or something over the character. It lasted for a second or so, before disappearing - and the buff was applied to the character's portrait. Dire Blessing already has an above-head animation it's just not very distinct/doesn't linger long enough, I thought that perhaps tying it to the spell icon would help make it more recognizable (whatever the icon is).

 

When you start going with these flashy, lighty effects that aren't really that distinct they tend to be a bit forgettable / blend into one another.

 

With Dire Blessing, the glow on the character AND/OR the animation above the character's head needs to be very distinct and unique in my opinion. Same goes for all other spells.

Edited by Sensuki
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The visual graphic over the character's heads is a pretty bad idea, imo.

 

Worked pretty well in the last HOMM game, if I remember correctly. C'mon, it's just a short animation that fades quickly, then the symbol gets applied to the character portrait. It could be pretty cool.

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I think that is largely because it's a really awful mspaint drawing.

Baldur's Gate 2 used them to very good effect.
 

wSJl3.png

 

The IE games had very distinct effect animations. So far no new RPG has been able to match them. I think they may have been inspired by graphical FX from RTS games as well.

 

Whereas PE currently seems to be taking cues from 3D non-isometric RPG games for it's effects, which really isn't a good idea IMO.

 

compare this (excuse lame BG2EE)

 

Baldurs-Gate-II-Enhanced-Edition-for-iOS

 

NWN_showdown.jpg

 

Sh1t all over the screen is just far too distracting in isometric.

Edited by Sensuki
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Sensuki: I knew the icon wasn't permanent. Perhaps the icon could look similar to the icon displayed by the portrait, and there it can indeed be lasting until the spell disappates, like in all IE games. :)

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*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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ss013.jpg

 

Here's another good example of spell effects from an isometric view

 

You can clearly see the aura effect on the Orc units.
You can clearly see the heal effect on the Red Peon, Night Elf Archer and the Red Orc Spirit Shaman

You can see the stun effect on the Spirit Shaman in Spirit Form on the left side of the Fortress

The Blizzard and Blood Mage Fire spell aren't like woah lights everywhere all over the screen

 

Granted these examples are from a previous generation of games, and the trend today is flashy effects with lighting, but my point still stands.

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I agree that glowy lights all over the screen got OTT in NWN2 - every battle was a nuke-fest and it was often distracting.

BG style got it right IMO.

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couple of notes:

 

1. I believe that the PE buff in the Open Post, works exactly as planed, showing who is within its area of effect.

2. Setting aside the nostalgia googles, (Ignoring the semi-transparent and summoned models, fire shield and use item animation - all of which are pretty common\easy) the spell effects you see here are not that great ...

 

Baldurs-Gate-II-Enhanced-Edition-for-iOS

 

3. don't forget that we should have tooltips above the head. though it might not interfere with anything you want to put there.

4. I believe we have more status effects than in previous IE games, and considering the new rogue mechanics having some kind of visual cue when the creatures are impaired would be very important (but can also be done with model animation)

 

EDIT:

5. since every class will have abilities(spells/auras/etc), expect far more uhm.. visual stimulation on the screen.

Edited by Mor
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The BG2EE photo was more to demonstrate how much cleaner a more "RTS style" take on spell animations is, not the fidelity of the spell animations themselves.

 

Here is an example of a modern game, with a modern spell animation that is more distinctive than what we have in PE at the moment

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-uJ5eLVOTc#t=129

 

There is no other AoE spell with that color, it has a distinctive pattern around the outside (the pattern inside the Dire Blessing circle could be more prominent as well, bolder patterning) and it creates an icon above the unit (although the icon stays). Best of all it's not blindingly bright, like the PE spell.

 

It's also simpler than the PE example which has dynamic lighting and a red glow on the characters among other things.

Edited by Sensuki
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I like the symbols that appear for a short duration over their heads and agree that they should stand out more.  I personally can't stand when my character stays lit up like a Christmas tree though, and think they should use the afterglow effects as little as possible.

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Here is an example of a modern game, with a modern spell animation that is more distinctive than what we have in PE at the moment

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-uJ5eLVOTc#t=129

I agree, dota 2 does a marvelous job with its effect it is pretty, but also distinctive and clean looking even in the thick of the battle. In comparison some Diablo3 battles seemed to turn into a huge kaleidoscope (although i have only limited youtube experience with later)

 

Still I think you was little too harsh with our buff effect :/ and das sound effect  :p

Edited by Mor
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I don't think the idea is bad per say, but my personal preference is kind of minimalistic in this sense.

I think this is nasty:
Baldr006_zpsf9335eec.png

This might sound a bit odd but Hearthstone (yeah) has some fantastic particle effects around the cards when you buff or debuff them and it is very minimalistic too.

Here's an example (14:55):



When he places the Dust Devil it has like all this "wind" going around it, and then it settles and it's only like 1 wind string going around~ the concept is that it shouldn't be obvious obvious extremely obvious like an icon or a massive Diablo 2: LoD Aura that sparkles and blinks like a late-night red light district sign.

My personal preference is to have more subtle, light-weight FX.

This is nasty FX as well, that thing around his hands:
nunu_w.jpg

Nasty = Please avoid at all costs.
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You can almost see some sort of patterns circling in the Dire charm effect. I'd like those to be less glowy and sharper (almost a 2d effect basically). You don't even need to have it animated. For the after effect on the characters maybe a miniature version around their feet with the selection circles going over for visibility?
 
While we're at it, are you visually defining all of the area of effects of spells? Looking at the BG2 picture the firestorm and storm of vengeance you can just "sort of" tell where the danger area is. While it's providing less information it also doesn't clutter the screen as much as it could. I can't remember what was decided about spell targeters, but I guess both of these decisions should be similar?
 
I'm not really sure about the icons over head either. If I remember right that was also used in the IWD series to make spells more distinct? From the top of my head I remember the rose from horrid wilting, a dungeon keeper hand for something (finger of death?) and a bluish cloak for something else. It seems a bit weird in the context of the ingame world (It would be really weird to see in first person a random object appearing over the enemy head) but it would really help to make stuff clear and distinctive.

 

Btw, so I don't get too ahead of myself, is this effect style used for everything or is it just a coincidence that you've shown two similar effects that look like NWN2? In the gameplay teaser, the effects seemed pretty diverse. While there was a shiny buff one (where the characters are like walking in grass made of light) the projectiles had a shape, the lightning was thin and the globe bufff didn't shine at all. And the web thing looked very sharp and great I think.

 

Also, what about various passive and toggle auras and such, are they visible all the time? Thinking of the chanter here particularly, since it's made to stack buffs and could get out of hand if every chant has their own effect. On the other hand a buildup could show when an invocation is ready to be used.

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I didn't even notice the glow around the characters from the Dire Blessing. It also seems to have a pattern drawn in the circle, but it's not distinctive enough to make out.

 

I too am partial to the Infinity-Engine style method of spell animations (which looked very 2d/hand-drawn), but it seems to be a bit of a lost art.

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I think it's important that the area the spell affects is crystal-clear, which wasn't true at all in the BG games, so in that sense, I prefer the circles, especially for AoE spells.

 

At the same time, I obviously think the BG spells had more personality, and I'd like to see that here. The important thing is not to get so caught up in personality that it's hard to tell what's happening. I think the BG2EE pic is indicative of that problem. It's clear that many things are happening, but it isn't so clear where the effects are coming from and how they relate to one another.

 

In addition, the "*quaffed a potion*" bit points out an obvious problem with BG's potion buffs, which is that they almost all had more or less the same animation (swirly lights around a single character, and maybe a colored glow afterward) despite doing vastly different things. When compared to, say, Chant or Armor Of Faith, the feedback is annoyingly indistinct.

Edited by Ffordesoon
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The (after)glow on the characters is a good idea, if not for any other reason than to at least explicitly show which characters have been affected.

 

I don't think these two very very similar spell effects are really a representative sample of what's in the works. Judging by the initial gameplay teaser (below) the effects will vary and I do find them more memorable and much easier to recognize than NWN2's.

NWN2's spell effects are unfortunately a really good example of forgettable and visually obstructing effects, but to me it doesn't seem that the prevailing problem is flashiness. Majority of effects produced some flashy circle pattern on the ground which in turn could not result in anything but blending glows everywhere.

 

In contrast to this, so far the spell effects look quite distinguishable, but I have yet to see some maniacal mass buffing (which Sawyer is luckily against anyway).

Retrospectively though, for me the most memorable thing about spell casting from IE games has always been the spell school dependent chanting, waving and casting effects, and not the spell effects themselves. They seem to have the chanting spot on, but I do miss the casting effects.

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To be honest that fireball really isn't practical. It looks way too much like a Nuke effect from C&C Generals or something. I would have preferred a simple circle of flame like the IE games, with a burn animation on all of the effected characters.

 

I'm not as adverse to having visual AoEs on the actual spell effects because the AoE will be shown while you're targeting the spell. To have a visual AoE after the spell is cast for something like a buff is superfluous IMO. And even still, I will probably be turning spell AoEs off/playing on Expert mode anyway (in which they are auto off).

 

I'm ALL for simple but practical and effective spell effects in an RTS style.

 

Each effect needs to be different and distinctive, the animations do not need to be flashy at all.

Each effect needs to have a short lingering effect on affected units, to visually represent who was affected for a short time afterwards (which would be overridden by spells cast after it if multiple buffs were landed in quick succession)

 

For instance, Dire Blessing could be done so much simpler.

 

Circle shoot out from the middle, pseudo-bright thickish outline with a static or slightly animated rune or pattern in the circle. Affected units gain a short lingering red blob style glow temporarily, and if the red circle rune and red hue were not distinctive from any other spells, some sort of overhead animation.

 

The FX artist has kind of already gone a bit overboard from what is necessary for this style of game, maybe that is the intended direction of spell FX, to be more "modern" and "appealing". But anyway we'll see what the devs say on the matter.

Edited by Sensuki
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While I am invested and sensitive to the spell casting elements of PoE, I do feel that this thread might be somewhat overly critical. From what I have seen both within this recent update and the game-play teaser trailer, the nature of the spell effects are consistent with the IE feel, visually satisfying, and differentiable.

 

The over-head status effect symbols were well done in BG, and it would feel natural to have them reintroduced here. For player controlled characters though, portrait icons should suffice for ultimately determining what is active. My best suggestion, would be that there be some sort of "Spellcraft" type ability where my spell caster can attempt to identify all of the effects/spells active on a target creature.

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