Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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Preview RPG Codex Preview: No Truce With The Furies

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Infinitron, Mar 3, 2017.

  1. Make America Great Again Kem0sabegender: ⚧ Arcane

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  2. Moinkgender: ⚧ Savant

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    Filthy communists not withstanding, It looks pretty gud
     
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  3. Prime Juntagender: ⚧ Arcane

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    Thanks everyone for the comments/criticisms/suggestions about my writing style. This place has high standards, and I am trying to live up to them.

    That said, I'm super happy many of you who didn't like how I wrote it, liked what I wrote about. These guys have something special brewing and the one thing I was worried about was fucking it up for them. That didn't happen, which is the main thing.

    /end drunkposting
     
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  4. Astral Raggender: ⚧ Arcane

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  5. Prime Juntagender: ⚧ Arcane

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    okay, maybe I'll have just one more
     
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  6. Cadmusgender: ⚧ Arcane

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    U let prime bore Cunta write something again? Fuck me sideways, i was interested in the game but i dont wanna fall asleep while reading the preview
     
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  7. ssergender: ⚧ Arcane Cuck

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    This game looks interesting, but the preview reads like PJ went into a cult and drank the kool-aid.
     
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  8. ntonystinsongender: ⚧ Novice

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    Officially gone from skeptic to believer
     
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  10. Fenixgender: ⚧ Arbiter

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  11. AwesomeButtongender: ⚧ Cut a deal with the authorities Patron

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    Lol, this thread has 3 pages of tryhard reviews of the preview instead of discussion of the game.

    I am encouraged about the game's quality by what I read in the preview. The fact that the team are close friends, and especially that they have played D&D together before going to make an RPG is a big plus. The creative side looks strong and talented, that's the impression I get from the preview as a whole.

    However, I still have some reservations, in line with what Lurker King said about hyping new or experimental dialogue-related mechanics.

    I think the innovations listed by Prime Junta are not so much of something unseen - you could have skill checks and any kind of checks during dialogues in any RPG (let's just mention Fallout, AoD, Arcanum). The question is if enough use is being made of these mechanics while the player is solving quests and engaging in dialogue. Are they really an integral part of the gameplay? How are designers making sure they make them relevant? Because if you have these inventive new mechanics but your game doesn't use them in quests, or makes just token use of them, you'll still end up disappointing players.

    Another, I think, major challenge - are you spreading those checks, and opportunities for the player to shift his stats in one direction or another, equally and evenly throughout the game's content? If you can have 15 dispositions, each with a varying strength, but the first 1/3 of the game only allows opportunities to change 5-6 of them, that will affect roleplaying opportunities and game balance.

    I'm not sure how many different characteristics of a player character the game is tracking, but I know that the more of them there are, the more reactivity you would have to provide for them. How does the amount of reactivity look like in your game? Those are some questions I would have asked in an interview. Kasparov could you lift the curtain on any of those? :)

    "You're a damn good cop, Bernie, but just the same you're all wet. In one way cops are all the same. They all blame the wrong things. If a guy loses his pay check at a crap table, stop gambling. If he gets drunk, stop liquor. If he kills somebody in a car crash, stop making automobiles. If he gets pinched with a girl in a hotel room, stop sexual intercourse. If he falls downstairs, stop building houses."

    "Aw shut up!"

    "Sure, shut me up. I'm just a private citizen. Get off it, Bernie. We don't have mobs and crime syndicates and goon squads because we have crooked politicians and their stooges in the City Hall and the legislatures. Crime isn't a disease, it's a symptom. Cops are like a doctor that gives you aspirin for a brain tumor, except that the cop would rather cure it with a blackjack. We're a big rough rich wild people and crime is the price we pay for it, and organized crime is the price we pay for organization. We'll have it with us a long time. Organized crime is just the dirty side of the sharp dollar."
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2017
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  12. Marat Sargender: ⚧ ZA/UM Developer

    Marat Sar
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    Hey. Finally a question I can answer. The way we currently track "reputation" and "alignment" to use some broad, known terms, is twofold.

    On the "reputation" side, there are tons of individual flags to check: did a stupid thing here, said this strange thing to this guy and now his friend knows, said liberal platitudes to this woman etc. That's the outside world. There are almost no integers here, each cause has a discrete effect. We're not counting how good / bad you are, just individual story tickets you take by making small (or large), outwardly visible decisions.

    This guarantees that the world acts in a logical and interesting manner toward you.

    The "original" stuff happens on the "alignment" side. We have hidden counters called "copotypes." Fascist_cop, art_cop, radical_feminist_cop, apocalypse_cop, communist_cop. Etc. There are four political, four aesthetic, and a ton of special ones. When you've hit the counter (usually 2 or 3 is enough) in a dialogue, and are walking away, you get an afterthought. (http://zaumstudio.com/2016/08/08/afterthoughts/). Afterthought are small dialogues that pop into your head after talking to someone. Think of them as footer notes for the main talk. One of your skills comment on what you just said. Eg Rhetoric: "man, this racism thing is really taking root" or Physical Instrument: "punching inanimate objects feels satisfying!". This dialogue, should you decide to accept it (sometimes there is no choice), gives you a thought.

    Advanced Race Theory (for racism) or Enemy of Matter (for punching inanimate things). These thoughts are now in your Thought Cabinet. The game knows you're into some pretty *racy* stuff -- or that you don't like doors and mail collection boxes.

    Special dialogue options start popping up when you talk to people, or punch them. You *might* not stumble upon these options if you're unlucky, but if you do -- you unlock little nuggets of info by getting nice on comfy talking to the racist lorryman. Or communicate with walls and mailboxes by beating them up. I stress this -- repeat playthroughs will yield these secrets. Do not expect to see every thought giving you interesting personalized content. We're aiming for "most of them". Most of them should become role playing tools, giving you satisfying solutions, letting you act out your character in some pretty minute ways. (The reason we're not cramming in 20 dialogue options for each Thought is quality of writing.)

    In addition to this -- let's say -- "internal reputation tracking" or "reputation of the soul", the thoughts are also items. They give you bonuses if you drag and drop them into slots in your Thought Cabinet. They will even start evolving. Most turn out to be traits, rather than perks. I don't want to get too deep into the Thought Cabinet now. Lets just say you don't have to even equip the thought, just having it checks you for dialogue options. And you can't destroy or drop thoughts -- you're stuck with them. (We're looking into a possible thought destroyer character, but no promises)

    The political thoughts are just four major ones we're working on, good for demonstrating the system. In total we want there to be around 40 thoughts. It's in the mixing and matching that interesting things happen. Apocalyptic disco cop! Boring Cop / Hobocop. (never says anything interesting, only looks for tare). Even the unholy union of liberal and communist is possible.

    Not all of us, we have a lot of different writers. In addition to three rabid Stalinist tankies, ZA/UM has two useless liberals -- foaming at the mouth every time Beyonce releases a new "visual album". We even have a social conservative. On top of this, three of our writers identify as Christian (a rare thing for Estonia, the world's least religious nation). The game certainly has a political point, but it's not a statement, it's an argument. The way you role play it is completely up to you. If you want fascist to mean a "good thing", it will. No Truce With The Furies is more liberal than Bioware, more communist than Dzherzinski and more fascist than Geralt of Rivia's fashion sense. Doesn't mean fashism is "a good thing" for me personally -- but as a writer I empathize with *everyone*.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2017
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  13. Moinkgender: ⚧ Savant

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    Suddenly a lot more interested, I both hate brown people and mailboxes so this is ticking all the right things, I wish you good luck filthy communist man.
     
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  14. ntonystinsongender: ⚧ Novice

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    Hey Marat Sar few questions
    1. Is there character creation?
    2. The game is billed as a "procedural" police Rpg so do we get to solve procedurally generated crimes or are there fixed side quests.
    3. Are we plain cloth cops or do we have to always wear a uniform. Do cloths perform any function besides aesthetics for the player
    4. Do we get to carry a gun
    5. I feel voice acting limits a lot of actions and dialogues that happen in an Rpg, what do you guys think?
     
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  15. AwesomeButtongender: ⚧ Cut a deal with the authorities Patron

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    So, the goal is for player behavior to be actively shaping the player character's properties (in place of the usual concept of XP and levelling up), and thus to affect what the player character is able to do or say. This feeds back to the player, because this way you can narrow or widen the player's set of possible actions during dialogue or during interaction with an object. Interaction, mechanically, works the same way as dialogue, I guess.

    That's nice, I've always liked the idea of the player not seeing that his character has failed a check and can't see the marks on the floor to suggest to him that furniture has been moved for example. This is a PnP vs videogames thing I guess - in PnP such "perception" checks usually happen silently, while the videogame would either "signal" a success or failure to you, or you would find out in a subsequent playthrough that there was this option here, that your character missed the previous time.

    Thoughts as items - mechanically though, this amounts to "conversations giving you items" plus the ability to use items during conversations to affect the outcome of the conversation. I still love the implementation of this idea. Any RPG or quest game in history could have done it, but why didn't they? The fact you are making it a core feature makes me interested.

    I'm a bit cautious about the reception of the concept of unexpected consequences and inconsistent responses from the game to player actions. I mean things such as - roll dice to see if you will get a certain dialogue response, or thoughts evolving in ways surprising to the player. I feel like these are some of those concepts which sound cool in a PnP environment, but in a computer game where the player can save/load, it may cause frustration for people -- "I had to reload 5 times to get the right answer, wtf!". You are also bound to get comments from players like "My character got this afterthought X after a conversation with Y which was complete bullshit. I totally wasn't thinking about that. This is railroaded, shoehorned by developers. I can't roleplay my character. Shit game."

    I know very little about the game right now, but it seems to me the addition of these mechanics touches on the question "How to best emulate the interaction with a human DM in a computer game?" I think it's a great recommendation for a game developer to be trying to find a solution to this. From battering my own head with this issue, I've arrived at the conclusion that I have to go with a complex system that tracks player behavior and has to be increasingly more complex as the volume of game content and player freedom within this content increases. So, I guess this is also the way you took.

    My experience was that the more I track player behavior and try to come up with reactivity to each flag/as many combinations of flags as possible, the more work I had to do. The more reactivity and the more possible actions, the more branches in the tree of possible outcomes. So I had to resort to narrowing down the volume of the game content - make the environment smaller and more confined. I see you've went that way too - the game will bet on quality and reactivity, not on long playthrough time.

    But even then, with a short game in a small environment, when you add player stats to the equation, and the reactivity you have to provide for different character builds - i.e. "making ability scores matter" - the amount of work you have to do still gets crazy. (doesn't have to be ability scores, insert any player character's properties' name here) So, I'm curious - which one of these options is it:
    - The world is really small, smaller than AoD?
    - The reactivity will turn out to be less than what you advertise?
    - The team have been working non stop for two years? In which case how on earth did you manage your expenses? :D

    But who doesn't like black leather:
    Show Spoiler
    [​IMG]


    P.S. I didn't think I'd meet another person who would know and use the "L’Esprit D’Escalier" expression ;)
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2017
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  16. EShgender: ⚧ Prophet

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    I don't want to be a joykill and disturb this unique moment of bliss, but I have to say that I am far from being sold on dice rolls in dialogue.

    I skimmed through the Furry thread to see if this had already been discussed, but there had been a derailment and people were just yelling about savescumming, which is far from the core problem with dialogue rolls and in my opinion barely relevant at all.

    The actual issue with implementing skill checks as dice rolls rather than thresholds, is that outcomes will occur that aren't representative of your character's actual attributes, e.g. being able to push a heavy boulder out of the way despite being a 5 STR skeleton. Choices made in character creation should result in rightful consequences, but adding dice rolls adds the risk of completely diminishing said consequences - regardless whether they work in favor for the player or not.
    While the case can be made that the underlying calculations themself are representative of your character's attributes, it would be irrelevant if the outcomes aren't; imagine schooling Dak'kon on his own philosphy with merely 9 Wisdom, or with 20 Charisma being unable to ask "Have you forgotten the face of your father, Trias?"
    With No Truce, and this is just me theorizing, it might be even worse. With each of the skills being so uniquely characteristic, almost like personality traits, it would be like the core identity of the protagonist is compromised by unrepresentative outcomes.

    It seems like the developers' main reasoning behind this design decision, correct me if I'm wrong, is that it encourages players to try low-chance skill checks just in case they get lucky, which in turn lets them experience some interesting outcomes designed by the philosophy "Failure is Fun!"
    I disagree with this reasoning. Luring the player to pick options by the prospect of success is contradictory to your catchphrase; you are outright enticing them with "Winning is Fun!"
    A design choice more faithful to the game's philosophy, would be to merely convey to the player that failing is the opposite of bad and that they should pick whatever dialogue option they want, regardless if it seems like they won't pass a threshold.
    And only when the there are no chances of clearing a check and the player still picks it, has the game truly conveyed that Failure is Fun. Thresholds achieve this.

    But regardless of all this, the project looks extremely promising. ZA/UM, you have my best wishes :salute:
     
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  17. AwesomeButtongender: ⚧ Cut a deal with the authorities Patron

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    Hey, I also mentioned it here! ;)
     
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  18. EShgender: ⚧ Prophet

    ESh
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    Ops, was in the middle of writing and missed the posts.
     
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  19. Kasparovgender: ⚧ ZA/UM Developer

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    1. Think Planescape: Torment
    2. Look up "police procedural". It is a genre of fiction (usually aired on the telly). Crimes are all handcrafted. ZA/UM is more like a respected tailor's workshop rather than an aseembly line type of affair.
    3. You're a plain clothes detective.
    4. Why, of course.
    5. On the one hand, sure. Prose is the most democratic in that sense, because everything is inside the reader's head, but you can have more control with voice acting. And believe me, Marat Sar is all about control. If done right - it'll be very good.

    Now, imagine watching a film with the dialogues muted and simply captions running in the bottom of the screen...
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2017
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  20. Lurker Kinggender: ⚧ Self-Ejected The Real Fanboy

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    Yeah, but this is double-edged sword, because players can easily assume that there is nothing hidden because the developer is not signaling this failure to them. After decades of handholding and superficial design, players just assume that there is nothing underneath. If they go down this route, they need to educate and explain to players that there is hidden checks and diminish the backlash.
     
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  21. Lurker Kinggender: ⚧ Self-Ejected The Real Fanboy

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    But what failure means in this case? Some wrong choice that causes your death or makes you fight? What is the point of having a test if a failure is a success? Does that even make any sense? I saw Kasparov in another thread saying that AoD has bad design because it makes players suffer from failures in skill checks. So I expect the checks to be as easy as the ones you have in ToN, which is a problem.
     
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  22. Make America Great Again Darth Roxorgender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman Wielder of the Huegpenis, Hater of Eternity

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    also i would just like to say that the codex really isnt a learning animal to fap over a no-gaemplay rpg like this right after the release of its cousin tworment
     
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  23. Lurker Kinggender: ⚧ Self-Ejected The Real Fanboy

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    Just because the game doesn't emphasize combat, doesn’t mean that it has no gameplay. PS:T had nice gameplay mainly due to narrative reasons. This games has some interesting concepts that seem tied to the gameplay. The question is whether they are going to do this right or not. The emphasis on new mechanics in dialogues has nothing to do with it.
     
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  24. Make America Great Again Darth Roxorgender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman Wielder of the Huegpenis, Hater of Eternity

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    same old song
     
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  25. Lurker Kinggender: ⚧ Self-Ejected The Real Fanboy

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    Don't jynx it, please. I want to believe!

    [​IMG]
     
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