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Torment Kickstarter Update #46: Kevin on Sagus Cliffs and UI, Adam on Character Generation

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Torment Kickstarter Update #46: Kevin on Sagus Cliffs and UI, Adam on Character Generation

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 13 August 2015, 23:01:16

Tags: Adam Heine; InXile Entertainment; Kevin Saunders; Torment: Tides of Numenera

It's been quite some time since we had a substantial Torment: Tides of Numenera Kickstarter update. Today's update, featuring Torment Triumviri Kevin Saunders and Adam Heine, and isn't the largest we've had, but what it contains is quite interesting. From Kevin, we learn that development on the city of Sagus Cliffs (which George Zeits told us much about during the Bard's Tale IV wrap party) is in an advanced stage, with work on the environment art finishing up and writing halfway done. Kevin also offers an interesting report on the state of the game's UI, which has been overhauled with new Unity 5 technology, with development efforts now shifting towards polish and user-friendliness. Adam's portion of the update is all about Torment's character generation system. I'll quote that part in its entirety:

In the first Torment, character generation was unusual for a CRPG at the time, especially one in the Dungeons & Dragons lineage. When you hit New Game, you were given 9 points in each stat plus 21 additional points to distribute as you desired. That was it. You didn't do anything else before jumping into the game – no class, feats, talents, or alignment. Everything else was either predetermined (name, gender, appearance) or determined through gameplay (class, skills, and alignment).

In Tides of Numenera, we are taking that even further, handling as much character generation through gameplay as we reasonably can. The results so far are pretty cool, but it's a challenging for a couple of reasons.

First, TTON has a lot more to teach than PST. This is a challenge because it's hard to teach rules and systems through conversation, especially without breaking the fourth wall (which we are loathe to do). And while many players knew at least the basics of AD&D before playing Planescape: Torment, we have to assume that a larger portion of players won't know Numenera's rules.

Second, TTON has more starting choices to make than PST. Although both Torments have three classes, Tides of Numenera offers many additional choices in the form of your Descriptor and your Focus (more on these later).

Instead of walking you through a standard, step-by-step character generation process, we wanted to get you into the story as fast as possible. For TTON’s themes, we felt it was appropriate to have character creation occur in-game, but we didn’t want to compromise the narrative to do this.

At the start of the game, the only immediate choice you'll make is what gender you want to play. Like PST, your name and appearance are predetermined, and you’ll start with 9 in all three Stat Pools (Might, Speed, and Intellect).* With that, you'll be dropped immediately into the world.

Early in the narrative, you explore several memories and, in doing so, allocate 6 additional Stat Pool points while also showing a leaning toward what Descriptor best applies to you. The way you will do this is entirely in-world and part of the story. Your Descriptor gives you a few first Skills and some Stat adjustments, defining a flavor for everything you do. TTON has seventeen different Descriptors for the PC to choose from. That's too many to sift through in an RPG conversation. Instead, the opening of the game will pay attention to the choices you make and how you decide to handle the situations you come across. As you interact with the environment (through scripted interactions), you'll be given a subset of TTON’s 17 Descriptors based on those choices.

You'll have a chance to review your choice after the fact, and even choose a Descriptor outside the subset—so you can still face the full fury of 17 Descriptors if you want to. Our method of having gameplay decisions guide character creation does not mean you will be locked into the options the narrative provides for you. You can freely pick between all options if you wish.

Choosing your Type (i.e. class) and Focus will be similar, though simpler. Unlike PST, you can't change your Type whenever you want. Instead, all three are presented at once in a unique part of your mind created (presumably) by your sire. The Numenera Types—Jack, Nano, and Glaive—are pretty straightforward, so handling them in the narrative is relatively simple (before this choice, your Type is "Castoff"). As with the Descriptor you will have opportunity to review your choice and study the details of each Type if you want to do that.

Last is your Focus—the abilities that make your character unique. You will be able to change your Focus throughout the game (for a cost of course, though the first one's free), and you can discover and unlock additional Foci later. You'll unlock the first set in the opening quarter of the game and choose your initial Focus there. Learning about the Foci and choosing your first one will be wrapped in the narrative like Descriptor and Type.

The goal of all this is to combine learning the system with playing through the story. In the same way that your Tides (being your alignment, so to speak) are determined organically by your actions, your mechanical choices will also be a natural extension of how you choose to play the game.
The best news from this update, however, is that the first Alpha Systems Test is coming "very, very soon". It will consist of the game's first scene, including the beginnings of the aforementioned character generation process. Backers who pledged for alpha access will be contacted with information on how to participate. It's about time!

There are 43 comments on Torment Kickstarter Update #46: Kevin on Sagus Cliffs and UI, Adam on Character Generation

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