Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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Game News Age of Decadence September Update

Discussion in 'RPG Codex News & Content Comments' started by VentilatorOfDoom, Sep 7, 2011.

  1. VentilatorOfDoom RPG Codex Staff Patron

    VentilatorOfDoom
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    Tags: Age of Decadence; Iron Tower Studios; Vault Dweller

    <p>The good news is the full demo is in beta-testing for a few weeks already. And there has been a <a href="http://www.irontowerstudio.com/forum/index.php/topic,2234.0.html" target="_blank">lot of feedback already</a> from those priviliged individuals who are allowed to beta-test the game.</p>
    <p> </p>
    <p>A snippet from DoubleBear's Brian Mitsoda:</p>
    <blockquote>
    <p>Brian: "Just finished a first playthrough. My initial impressions are:<br /><br />The setting and story were very interesting and I wanted to hear more about the world and politics of the local region, but finding my way around town and locating critical NPCs and new quest givers was exceptionally difficult due to the way buildings are marked and critical NPCs are lit. There's a few things I would recommend to help draw new players to key areas:<br /><br />-The town has a lot of very similar buildings with similar colors chemes. For key areas or buildings with critical NPCS or quests, you want to make them stand out. A lighter color roof, flags, colorful plants, special lighting or sounds, signs, wall decals would help the player better distinguish where they were (landmarks) and whether the building had anything of interest inside.<br /><br />-Doors that don't open should look much different from doors that open to know if the building could be entered. I had to mouse over doors to figure out if I could enter the building. Windows should also be closed. Consider making generic buildings (that can't be entered) a different color.<br /><br />-Light NPCs differently than the world lighting so they don't blend in with the environment. You could also slightly tweak the saturation of their models to make them pop a bit more. I could not spot Feng immediately after entering his building (which took me a long time to find).<br /><br />-Try to make non-speaking generic guard/town NPCs use a similar model. Assign special colors/models to NPCs (shopkeepers, guards, quest givers) with dialogue - it creates a visual language that makes it easy to spot who has dialogue. For example, if a guard has dialogue, he has his helmet off, if on, he never has dialogue. This can be subverted in cases where the conversation auto-starts (the imperial guard conversation, for example).<br /><br />-Have no idea who the factions are, critical NPCs are, or where the quests are. Having minor NPCs or shopkeeps/bartenders gossip about the area would help a lot.<br /><br />-Dialogue is very reactive, which is nice, but I often have only one thing to say at any time and it feels very linear. Even putting in two different ways to say the same thing would help.<br /><br />- I'm running around looking for the next quest or part of the quest chain and frequently not finding anything. Is there anything I can do with the map quest past going to see Antidas? It's difficult to find NPCs and figure out if I can do anything with them at the moment. I have found several with portraits but have only been able to get as far as an audience with Antidas. More emphasis should be placed on specific areas and people the player needs to see - even with a journal, players need important info repeated, especially in a fantasy world where they are coming into the world without any prior knowledge of events, places, people. The story parts are very intriguing (really!) so I want to get to the next points of interest as quickly as possible.</p>
    </blockquote>
  2. DarkUnderlord Señor Raptor

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    A quest compass and giant exclamation marks over the heads of people who have something to say would also solve their problems. Also the option to ask "rumours". :smug:
  3. VentilatorOfDoom RPG Codex Staff Patron

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    After reading the thread over there I have to say that this covers a lot of the feedback actually. Plus that there are not enough BioWare personality-larping dialogue choices, i.e. 3 different ways to say "Yes".
  4. AlaCarcuss Arbiter

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    Damn DU, you stole my sarcastic one-liner. :salute:

    I don't think (at least I hope) Mitsoda is suggesting all those points be implemented - just throwing them out there for consideration?

    Must admit, "the two different ways to say the same thing" bit is a little too Bioware-ish for my tastes - better to leave it as it is than go that route.
  5. Krash Erudite

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    Interesting feedback, and interesting ensuing discussion. Keep on strawmanning codex, Brian is right.
  6. Phelot Arcane

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    I can see what he means by having to hunt for doors that you can open and trying to track important NPCs. Shit, if you recall your first time playing FO or FO2 you could get a headache trying to figure out which Melcar clone is the one you're suppose to talk to, for example when Becky asks you to find her money in The Den.

    For that matter, if the areas in FO were larger, it would be difficult to find your way except when there was a sign on a door. As it is, it doesn't take long to explore the whole area, but still...

    I don't think having fake dialogue that leads to the same thing is a good idea. I don't think it's necessary or even realistic to have a million choices in a conversation unless you are specifically being asked something or object strongly to a point.
  7. Carrion Arcane Patron

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    Yeah, that mostly sounds like valid criticism to me. Having to visit every house and talk to every NPC can become really tedious really fast and rarely adds anything to a game.
  8. Vault Dweller Ubersturmfuhrer

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    The criticism is definitely valid.

    Some general impressions feedback from a member of this fine site:

    - The vignettes and the way they converge around the same things is enjoyable and makes the game fun to replay.

    - All the text adventure stuff is a lot of fun to play, the numerous skill checks really helps enforcing the character I'm playing. The writing in these scenes is engaging and very rewarding when you pass the skill checks. Great job on stroking the player's ego. I think these "choose your own adventure" segments are the strongest parts of the game and, again, truly fun to play through.

    - Character creation is in-depth but at the same time there is not a whole lot of bullshit. You can roll up a character extremely fast and get into the game right away, this is great. Small suggestion would be to keep the sweet menu music for character creation as well though instead of the town music.

    - Lots of opportunities for very unusual skill checks and roleplaying opportunities compared to many other games, this is also great. An example that comes to mind right away is the Perception check with Dellar about the raider's camp. Also great that there appears to be opportunities to backstab people, for example turning the crossbow on your guildmate in one of the Assassain's Guild quests.

    - The town needs fleshing out. I know that ambient life is being worked on and that will help but I think the town will still feel quite empty with that many houses, and the general size, if there is not more "on the fly" stuff to do, or people to talk to in general, when exploring it. I think that will be a challenge to give meaningful interactions outside the quests because the quests and the way they can interact and affect things appear to have a lot of potential for enormous complexity. But even so, I think the game would feel a bit more "lively" if there were more things to do outside the guild quests and main quests.

    - The game would do well with some sort of intro that quickly explains the state of the game-world, or at least some lore or whatever that the player can read to "catch up" fairly early in the game.

    - The combat is too hard for my blood personally. Now, I consider myself a decent player and gladly made my way through the combat demo where the sole focus was combat. But I find some combat situations frustrating as hell even with characters where I've poured nearly all my skill points into combat skills. Again, I gladly did this when going through combat demo but for some reason, within the context of the entire game, I find my patience wearing extremely thin a lot faster regarding the combat situations. But it's also good to reward those looking for challenging combat with hard encounters I suppose.

    - The game looks really nice visually, and the way you use "screenshots" of actions when you play through text adventures is a neat touch I think.

    - The town music, while really nice, gets a bit repetitive.
  9. skyst Learned

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    Mitsoda has a decent RPG background but considering the feedback he gave... is he retarded? Different colored houses, really?
  10. sgc_meltdown Arcane

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    might I suggest minimising ambient buildings altogether or making their doors look particularly bland or painted-on or obviously not pathable to

    look at fallout and arcanum games for example
    no building textured lego blocks in those

    you certainly don't want AoD to be inspired by silent hill's legendary 'the lock's broken. I can't open it' immersive entrance feature set


    neither do you want to have Sacred 2 city-dungeon syndrome where 95% of the time a house is an uninhabited showcase wonderland of you perhaps looting one chest and a cupboard and looking at carefully placed decorations and furniture and food which might have been welcome in an engine that let you do more than have all that drop your framerate
  11. Mayday Scholar

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    That is completely irrelevant.

    You guys want to EXPLORE private houses- the flaw is on your part, not the game's. It is not the developer's job to reward the player for wandering around aimlessly.

    If you've got a job to do- fine- you'll know where to go and that house will be fleshed out (hopefully).
  12. villain of the story Unwanted

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    It's a learned behaviour, not players failing their roll against obsessive compulsive behaviour. Games have almost always had those opportunities so while they are optional, it still means more game-stuff to see and do so why miss it on purpose and miss potential hidden goodies? When I see a fully explorable town in a game, I immediately think "somewhere in this mess of houses, something awesome might be hidden by the developers to reward the players who look". It's a design flaw not rewarding players for being through but compelling them with conditioned behaviour.
  13. Excidium P. banal

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    Release the demo. :(
  14. Trojan_generic Scholar

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    You don't need to draw new players, the old ones will do just fine.
  15. Mayday Scholar

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    Now imagine you could enter every house in Assassin's Creed. What would you do?
  16. hoverdog dog that is hovering

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  17. Vault Dweller Ubersturmfuhrer

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    It's not ready yet, but we're working on it.
  18. sgc_meltdown Arcane

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    Just like fusion power!
  19. Kalin Arcane

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    If memory serves, Arcanum had nice little address plaques on most buildings in Tarant. They really made it a whole lot easier to find the locations and characters involved in various quests. Plaques and signs would most likely be the best way to help the player find his or her way around.
  20. sgc_meltdown Arcane

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    or a local map that gets labels as you go and from npcs

    or would that be too casual my fellow hardcore roleplayers
  21. villain of the story Unwanted

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    Come to think of it, Arcanum critically failed in big towns. From design standpoint, they had no reason not to add a fast-travel option for most districts once you explored there, with the exception of the gangs area (hostile zone). It was cool the first few times you had business running between places but it became a harrowing ordeal fast. And between long killing ramps and pedestrian simulation in towns, the game became something to endure now and then.

    I hope we won't get something like that here too.
  22. villain of the story Unwanted

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    That would actually have been awesome. Breaking or sneaking into homes to hide or to make it harder to be chased etc. and since there's a very limited selection of items in Assassin's Creed, ie. there's no unique loot in the game, it wouldn't be a problem, for me at least.
  23. Mayday Scholar

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    Of course I agree that it would be awesome if you could enter any house.
    In any case, I believe that from the designer's viewpoint it is the right choice to NOT place unique stuff in random city locations without providing any clues to their whereabouts. It almost feels like- "hey we put in a ton of work to build these hundreds of generic house interiors, so wander around them for hours and maybe you'll find a cool sword".
    Rewarding exploration IS of course a great element but I'm pretty sure a city is not the place to implement it.
  24. Blackadder Prestigious Gentleman Magister

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    There is really only one town in Arcanum that is large enough to warrant a fast travel system (Tarant), and it has already has one with the underground light rail system. Try clicking on the small kiosks at each 'stop'.

    If you need a fast travel for any other Arcanum towns, perhaps you should play some of the really old RPG games where towns are a numbered list of locations to visit.

    After reading through Midsoda's advice, the 'quest compass' immediately came to mind, and my lip began to curl on instinct. Still, I will say no more until I have seen it for myself.

    Really? Why isn't a city a good place to reward exploration? I would love to hear why you believe this to be the case.
  25. Crooked Bee Nyadmin

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    Codex 2014 MCA Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2
    I second Blackadder's question: why? Just play, e.g., Captive II: Liberation or 2400 A.D. Both games have good and rewarding city exploration, and I'm not sure what may be wrong with that.

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