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Sensuki's Suggestions #025: Backer Beta Version Review v301 bb

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Here is my Backer Beta Version Review for v301. This time I have produced four shorter videos instead of one long one, which unfortunately takes a lot longer for me to produce due to my slow upload speed.
 
The first video is a review of the v301 patch. I start off with the negative things first, so don't be alarmed, as I highlight the good things about the patch after that. 
 



The second video begins my long list of detailed critiques and suggested improvements for upcoming patches and focuses on Character Creation, User Interface, Inventory and Controls.
 
The third and fourth videos can be found in my post below, since I can only embed two videos per post.
 
If you do not want to watch the videos but just want the general points, here they are below in the spoiler tags:
 
Version Review


301 bb is NOT an improvement over 278, anyone who says otherwise obviously did not do very thorough testing. I’ve put 25-30 hours of in-game testing into 301 and it’s broken

Bad things about v301
 
Multiple Engagement bugs – most found by Cubiq
AI bugs
Balance Issues – too easy
Chainmail proportions look worse in the game world
Stash bug
Shaking tiles
Weapon damage removed from UI
 
Not much point giving feedback on Class Abilities because changes were not documented and there are bugs with the display. For instance Monk Turning Wheel appears to be active all the time now, which I assume is a change aimed at making Monks better when not being targeted by enemies, however if it wasn't – how am I supposed to know because the tooltip was not updated and no documentation was provided with the patch – In future I would prefer a list of ability changes even if it means pushing the patch out a day later or something.
 
Controversial features introduced in v301
 
Actor and object selection highlighting
Engagement arrows
Backer NPC icon
Attribute system
Many godlike heads look bad with hair (particularly Moon and Fire godlike)
"New" Pathfinding is worse
Wireframe character outline in interiors
Duration nerf combined with "10 is 0" and split of Intellect was overkill
Changes to female chain mail proportions
 
Main Improvements
 
Health system
Stealth system
Fixed gaps in portrait HUD
Improved Footstep sounds
Removed darkening of unselected portraits
Improved Female Breastplate proportions
Corpses as lootable objects
16 slot inventory
Combat log / Dialogue colored names
Combat log text size
Damage being properly calculated in log
Can exit out of character creation and level up
Long weapons no longer overlap the inventory UI
Game options have better persistence
Characters now blend properly into attack animations
Gibs, Hit effects – still need work
Characters go into proper stance on pause


Video 2


Character Creation

  • Change order of elements in character creation to be more sensible
  • Cultural Gear Selection
  • Cultural Attribute bonuses – no Culture with Constitution (White that Wends), unevenness
  • Show derived stats in character creation
  • More colors in cloth tint color picker
  • Fix Godlike Heads – the hair looks bad
  • More hair colors per subrace
  • Pick Talent at 1st level – possibly coming with new advancement system
  • Separate Male/Female character portraits
  • Floating UI Boxes could be improved, such as adjoined to the side of screen – Obsidian obsessed with floating elements? :p

User Interface

  • Targeting reticles (coming next patch), hopefully temporary movement indicator has been replaced with targeting reticle, and that they are shown only when character is moused over or selected, including allies, enemies and NPCs and that the two sides move into the middle at different speeds
  • Different colored selection circles for NPCs when color blind mode is disabled, they should be blue
  • The default unselected blue should be a lighter color like the IE games, rather than the richer/modern blue color used which more resembles ToEE
  • In the IE games character offscreen pointers are only shown when the character portrait is moused over rather than all the time. I find all the time distracting, but I would like to see them when moused over (which was useful in the IE games for finding a character when they’re lagging behind the party) – should be a slider maybe, with all 3 options
  • In-game movement cursor should be changed to be the same size as the targeting reticle at it’s closest point, currently it’s too small, gauntlet cursor is also too small
  • “Stash Can Now Be Accessed” text should be shown in the combat log, not on the game screen
  • Selection circle feedback slider
  • Seperate tooltip delay for UI and Combat HUD
  • Health bar instead of health pips, Combat HUD tooltip slider
  • Combat log filter
  • Combat log lag – addressed by QA, as per my bug report
  • Engagement UI – change to be static
  • Shader highlight an option, reduce alpha value so less jarring
  • Remove NPC backer icon or make it an option, change the yellow texture of their tooltip to be a less aggressive color, such as a ligher shade of brown
  • Fix Health display in portrait HUD
  • Add border to make padding in combat HUD with new text size not look weird
  • Buttons in general need some optimization – like what Roby Atadero did to the area map (good job there btw)
  • Downscaling of icons/portraits looks pretty bad, use different algorithm ?
  • Combat log text size doesn't scale with resolution, huge text at 720p for instance
  • UI elements (such as tooltips)i don’t scale with resolution

Inventory

  • Tab the stash interface, rather than page
  • Fix delay on selecting / placing inventory items
  • Improve Derived Stat display – as per Hormalakh’s design (Interrupt, Concentration etc)
  • Look at Hormalakh’s design in general – Kaz has seen it
  • Character portraits should be on far right IMO, as per IE games
  • Base weapon speed in seconds/milliseconds should be shown instead of Speed:Average
  • Let us be able to change colors in inventory screen
  • Popup boxes for DT vs.

Controls

  • Split “show all tooltips” from the TAB key
  • Make RMB move a cancel + move, or make binding cancel not break the formation rotate
  • Change TAB function in inventory screen to remove item tooltip delay
  • Make holding TAB on the UI have no effect on the gameworld
  • TAB key needs to work on the looting UI

 

Video 3


Art

  • Male playable race models are too square, particularly in the shoulders (cartoon character)
  • Female body proportions don’t stand out enough in the axonometric and isometric perspectives
  • Female characters have a strange idle stance compared to males, makes them lean to the side
  • Ranger Bear companion needs to be changed back to original size and selection circle size when area transition code is improved (looks like a bear cub)
  • Beetles and Spiders are too big, size could be reduced – creates issues with pathing
  • Pure whites in character eyes looks weird
  • There is a severe lack of unique weapon models/texturing
  • Chainmail reflects light oddly in CC/Level up/inventory screen – issue with light ?
  • Character faces are noticeably darker this version, and their face skin tone doesn’t match their body
  • Lots of character art bugs
  • Some icons/2D art don’t scale very well with resolution

Graphics

  • Character Occlusion & sorting in exteriors needs serious improvement
  • Wireframe occlusion in interiors doesn’t look great, should be more like IE version
  • Sharpness filter looks bad in area map, when zoomed out and looks very strange with chain mail
  • Character colors still look washed out compared to the environment
  • Shadow map is still inaccurate, will this be looked at?
  • Characters still blend into the environment and each other, need a mechanism of making them stand out better, IE games used darker colors on the edge pixels on the avatars, ToEE used shadows/shaders or something on the textures
  • Lack of 4:3 support

Areas

  • Allow us to talk to shopkeepers the normal way, as well as over the counter
  • PC should always initiate dialogue rather than the closest NPC
  • Multiple Area transitions, is this possible? Would be nice to get official word on this
  • Frame rate issues in areas
  • Severe lack of ranged enemies, why not give wood beetles a poison spit or something?
  • Encounters - Dyrford Crossing exterior encounters could be improved a bit, Spider Queen fight is a laugh, Stormwall Gorge exterior is pretty banal

General Mechanics

  • Per character stealth – devs aware of this though
  • Search should work when standing still and not in stealth mode, and when standing still or moving in stealth mode
  • Need to be able to drop items
  • All units need a random 0-10 frame delay when issued a move command
  • No Trap and Lock XP in the next version please
  • Remove innkeeper gold
  • Unarmed needs to be part of a weapon group
  • Ruffian weapon group has no bow/crossbow – only group lacking one
  • Starting attributes need to have more of an impact on the game
  • Lore skill needs to have more of an impact on combat
  • Fog of War needs to be line of sight – Adam Brennecke knows that already though

 

 
Video 4


Character Advancement

  • Ability choice pool for each non-caster class
  • Gain talents more often at level up
  • Gain extra attribute point at every 5th or 6th level

Animation & FX

  • Different stance for recovery time and combat idle – BG style pulsing? [#1 Wish for next patch after this one]
  • Characters breathe too quickly in idle mode
  • More than one attack animation per melee weapon
  • Improved bow reload animation
  • Fix Gun, Arbalest and Crossbow interaction with recovery time
  • Add different colored Wizard cast FX for different types of spells
  • Gib FX needs improvement
  • Reduce the flashiness of spell FX and remove or really reduce AoE FX from buffs/debuffs, and use more prominent per-character FX
  • Make blood splatter from hits more prominent
  • Weapon swapping needs to be an animation, rather than instant
  • Weapons clip into character bodies – such as bow strings and offhand weapons
  • Attacks clip through units

Sound

  • VO Options – Always, Seldom, Never
  • Fix the really annoying v278 tinny click sound on some UI elements (such as close/X)
  • Reveal character sounds/footsteps in explored fog of war

Combat

  • Infinity Engine auto attack clauses
  • Remove recovery time pause while moving
  • Re-think per-hit damage in conjunction with attack resolution system
  • Have a look at combat speed and recovery time rules
  • Reduce combat movement speed, particularly of enemies
  • Rogues need to be able to escape over trees/rocks with no navmesh
  • AoE abilities need to be targetable on rocks/tables/chairs etc like in the IE games
  • Two Weapon Fighting currently has issues with attack order
  • Rogues are now superman – damage multiplier stacking omgwtfbbq

 


 
Previous Suggestions:
Recovery time should not pause while moving
Revamped Character Creation
Show Derived Stats during CC
Talents and Feats
Inventory Mockup v2
Desynchronized Character Movement
Version Review v278 bb
Cultural Gear Selection
Navmesh for AoE Targeting
Animations & Model Collision
Inventory Mockup
Dyrford Crossing Area Design
Main HUD Mockup
Beta Version Review v257 bb
Fog of War
Inventory & Item Tooltips
Combat Feedback Comparison 
Re-wrote CC Class Ability Descriptions
Item Descriptions and Contextual UI Rant
Area Map Functions 
Main UI Tooltip Stuff 
Selection Circles and Targeting

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Part 3: Art, Graphics, Areas & General Mechanics

 

 

Part 4: Advancement, Animations & FX, Sound and Combat

 

Edited by Sensuki
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Apologies in advance about the amount of "um and ah" in the videos, I think I do that more often when I'm tired.

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Spell damage (at least from classes) is a bit underwhelming anyway, compared to some of the weapon damage (from firearm type weapons etc). You can find and upgrade weapons throughout the game, but your spells never get any better as well, whereas in the IE games they scale with level.

Edited by Sensuki
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Suggestion for these reviews (which are very illuminating)... that first video could do with some actual video, so you didn't have to try to describe why things didn't look good or weren't working, but could actually show them.

 

Regardless, I always look forward to these, since I don't have beta access. Thanks!

 

Edit: I see at least some of the visual details made it into the followup videos, so this may be less of a valid point. :) Just 22 minutes of video review with no actual video was odd. :)

Edited by xsikal

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Was thinking today that it would be of benefit to play these videos at the Obsidian headquarters.At my job we have a motivational LCD that plays 24 hours a day and situated right next to the time clock.When people pool up waiting for their punch in time it really fills you in with relevant stuff and has actually caused me to get better benefits that I would of missed otherwise.Now while I have only watched the first video so far I instantly feel that it would fit perfectly in an elevator at Obsidian HQ due to the "elevator" type music.Even though I feel that the time clock is the perfect place for a motivational instructive video it does interfere with a large company being able to punch in on time.Many people still complain of the video and hence the crowding actually causing them to punch in later than scheduled.

 

Wide screen LCD to loop it on would be perfect and should not be too big.This one from Bestbuy is perfect with great reviews and decent price to allow a few to be purchased.

 

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/samsung-19-class-18-1-2-diag--led-720p-60hz-hdtv/7844042.p?id=1218861115647&skuId=7844042&ref=06&loc=01&ci_src=14110944&ci_sku=7844042&extensionType=pla:g&s_kwcid=PTC!pla!!!78893789591!g!!49373347271&kpid=7844042&k_clickid=51cd58a6-0ddd-95e9-237e-0000322b23ff&kpid=7844042&gclid=CK7QtZmjtMECFeRj7AoduzIA_g

 

I will watch the rest and give you my ideas for which videos to go where if you like.We only need a few LCD's to place so one for the breakroom,bathroom and maybe Sawyer's office.

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Great points and videos and I tend to agree with literally all of that so we seem to have very similar opinions.

 

One thing that is awkward to  me is that you see butterflies, leaves falling, and those  dandelion things floating around but the grass and trees don't move/don't have animation....something that seemed to bother me a bit while watching. Wonder if the animations were causing too much performance issues.

 

 

I guess BG did have that eagle that would fly around the screen and let out a startling screech every once in a while....seriously that **** was deafening.

Edited by GreyFox
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I think the leveling up sound in PE is more deafening :p

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NO i never though it was better. And sound seems to be 99% broken on 301, well just have to wait for the next build. ;(:banghead:

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I liked the new build better. For me it was an improvement. I liked godlike hair and some of the changes. The game was more fun to play. Still some good points there. 

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I liked the new build better. For me it was an improvement. I liked godlike hair and some of the changes. The game was more fun to play. Still some good points there.

How is it more fun when you kill most things without even trying ? Did you even notice the AI bugs?

 

@lordkim, I've brought up more obscure/insignificant things than that - such as a pixel missing from the marquee selection box. I am trying to look for anything and everything that could use with some improvement, I don't consider a "good enough" attitude to be constructive here.

Edited by Sensuki
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Im not judging you, but when youre saying you need more colors, then you point out that 6 more colors would be enough.. Isnt that nitpicking ?

 

 

like your videos though ;)

 

 

Your certanly in to the stuff ill give you that :)
You should get a work at a studio or something dude :)

Edited by lordkim

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I did point out specific colors that were lacking in shades compared to others - such as purple.

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Apologies in advance about the amount of "um and ah" in the videos, I think I do that more often when I'm tired.

You should hear me when I start getting into playing dark souls.  I start humming along to Ina Gada Divida.

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Yes I noticed AI bugs. I probably only played about 12 hours, but I found many things improved compared to my previous experience.

Combat was less confusing for me, and it had a better flow. Some battles were easier, and a few were harder as you also concluded. I didn't however, try to break the build, I tried to see if I hit bugs, playing how I would normally play. As I said, you made alot of valid points, and I think we all appriciate your dedication and hard work. I just found it more fun to play. 

 

I don't agree with everything you said, like the hair, but it's hard to have a constructive argument about aesthetics. 

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Yes I noticed AI bugs. I probably only played about 12 hours, but I found many things improved compared to my previous experience.

 

Combat was less confusing for me, and it had a better flow. Some battles were easier, and a few were harder as you also concluded.

Yeah cool, just wanted to get some more info. I agree that the 'flow' of combat is indeed better in some places. Partially due to the changes to the Health system, although I think most creatures have become a little too easy now.

 

They did also improve the Combat HUD UI to show unit actions properly in v301.

 

I find the AI/Engagement bugs really frustrating though, which kind of forces me to use majority ranged characters rather than just one or two. If you roll through the game with a bunch of crossbow/arbalest users it's a walk in the park.

 

I think the Godlike hair looks mostly off on the Fire Godlike models. Nature godlike w/ hair looks fine and some of the Moon Godlike ones are passable. But the Fire Godlike ones all look real strange IMO. It would be cool if one of the heads looked like that awesome portrait with just fire hair.

Edited by Sensuki
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1 weapon atk animation ? Seriously ? Even 1998's BG had 3..

 

Trees/grass MUST move, there were in the very 1st video of the game we were presented.


Matilda is a Natlan woman born and raised in Old Vailia. She managed to earn status as a mercenary for being a professional who gets the job done, more so when the job involves putting her excellent fighting abilities to good use.

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I don't think the moving trees/grass looked very good in that video though, what they were basically doing is moving sections of the flat image left and right. I think they cut the feature because they couldn't get it to look right.

 

They could have made tall grass a 3D object or something like water, but I'm not sure if they've experimented with that before. I think the tall grass and the character sorting in it doesn't look that great tbh, rather just have flat grass like in the IE games, YMMV.

Edited by Sensuki
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1 weapon atk animation ? Seriously ? Even 1998's BG had 3..

 

Trees/grass MUST move, there were in the very 1st video of the game we were presented.

 

Is that the video you're referring to?

 

 

Have all the animations been removed then? 

 

 

EDIT: also, just watched this again

 

 

 

 

Is it me or all the character models in that video look much sharper (less transparent/fuzzy) than in the current BB version?

Edited by Quantics

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Yeah they do, I think Obsidian has gone overboard with blending characters into the background.

It's probably a combination of a few things - the ambient system, lighting, filters etc
 

Wouldn't be surprised if they are also applying post-processing effects as well ... for some reason developers seem to love those. I always disable them in every game.

 

pe-ambient-off.jpg

pe-ambient-on.jpg

Edited by Sensuki

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I just want to say I cannot thank you enough Sensuki for all your hard work on this game. 

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