Article - Party vs. Designer

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AuthorTopic: Article - Party vs. Designer
...b10010b...
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quote:
Basically, your scenario consisted of 3 dungeons. One forked to the other two. Or didn't fork, because you had to do west/south before north. The question in my mind vis a vis this this article, then, is: would it really have hurt to allow the player to go either south or north once they got to the guardpost?
I hope I'm not stepping out of line by saying this, but in the original beta, this was indeed possible (well, the player still had to go south first, but not as far). Unfortunately, going north without knowing about the sidequest would cause the player to miss a good third of the scenario, and (as a result of not learning Ancient Bahssikavan) cause them to miss a lot of the plot after that as well. The beta-testers suggested to Kel that he ought to make sure the party is at least aware of what's to the south before deciding whether or not to finish the quest there.

quote:
perhaps a scout who went south/west (sneaking through magical routes like ithik and phaedra did up north) tells the players there's a demon threat to the south/west... so if they clear the north side first you can say "well, you could go on to the slith city, but there's demons coming up behind you unless you finish them off".
Interesting idea. I'll leave it to Kel to decide how well it would have worked.

[ Saturday, February 26, 2005 14:26: Message edited by: Thuryl ]

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The Empire Always Loses: This Time For Sure!
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Personally in a Scenario I don't like missing things since I rarely have time to play through twice. So I really don't think I would have liked the decision of going North or South from the Guard post. When I play a scenario I don't want anything left undone. The designer should always point the party in the correct direction to get the most from the plot. Perhaps not force but nudge the party a bit.

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The Knight Between Posts.
Posts: 2395 | Registered: Friday, November 2 2001 08:00
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Well, I didn't quite get as much BoA playing done as I wanted to. Some friends needed some t-shirt designs and flier art done for their band and I had to work on that stuff a bit.

I got to the final boss in Canopy, General Shroud, and beat his first two incarnations before losing interest and getting out of that scenario. I think I am going to star all over (again) with a completely different party and scenario continuity(this last party was Cave of No Return => Perfect Forest => A Small Rebellion => ZKR = DWtD => Canopy, without doing every sidequest I could find so by the time I got around to Canopy I was probably level 30-31 or so).

Some things I DEFINATELY disliked about Canopy had little to do with linearity. The removal of Cloud of Blades struck me as artificial. I do not even use the spell much normally but it seems to me that if a particular spell would have unbalanced your combats then there are other ways to deal with this as a designer(don't get me wrong. Canopy is easily better than anything I could have done.) but this is probably a minor quibble.
I was much more put off by the attempt at inserting new "spells" via wands like Natureshand and so on. I think we all would like to see Jeff take a different stance on allowing designers to create new spells but this is not the way to do it IMO. I realize most disagree with me on this but I can't stand it. Just create new items and give your baddies susceptibilities to those items, ala LoTR(which is basically what TM was doing with that Ubermensch - or whatever his name was - guy anyway) but don't try and pass the wands off as 'new spells' that take up an inventory slot and read as "wand" and don't show up in my list of spells when I go to cast.
Reminds of when certain BoE - kiddies try to create new PC races by suggesting we use a custom graphic and pretend our Nephils are "elves" or somesuch nonsense.

Get over it. The Avernum universe does not have other spells or races or skills beyond what is allowed in BoA and calling a wand you have created a "new spell" in your readme file does not make it so. THat's the sort of "r0L3Pl4y1nG" crap that can ruin a scenario for me.

Dammit...this belongs over as CSR I guess, Sorry.

Still Canopy was, overall a good scenario(not better than Jeff's scenarios IMO but good).

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Posts: 219 | Registered: Saturday, October 13 2001 07:00
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"The removal of Cloud of Blades struck me as artificial. I do not even use the spell much normally but it seems to me that if a particular spell would have unbalanced your combats then there are other ways to deal with this as a designer(don't get me wrong. Canopy is easily better than anything I could have done.) but this is probably a minor quibble."

I took away Cloud of Blades for a very good reason- it does damage depending on the creature's HP total. So a boss like Shroud would take tremendous amounts of HP damage from the spell, making it unbalanced. I'm quite sure that taking the spell away was a wise choice on my behalf for the tactics of the scenario.

"I was much more put off by the attempt at inserting new "spells" via wands like Natureshand and so on. I think we all would like to see Jeff take a different stance on allowing designers to create new spells but this is not the way to do it IMO. I realize most disagree with me on this but I can't stand it."
I want tactical situations that aren't hingent on Divine Aid, War Blessing, Fireblast, etc. This is the BEST way for me to create more interesting situations for the party that I can see- if you can make combat more interesting without resorting to something similar, you are a better man than I am.

"Just create new items and give your baddies susceptibilities to those items, ala LoTR. . . but don't try and pass the wands off as 'new spells' that take up an inventory slot and read as "wand" and don't show up in my list of spells when I go to cast."
Then tell me how to do it by any other means. Again, I do not do this because I cannot.

"Reminds of when certain BoE - kiddies try to create new PC races by suggesting we use a custom graphic and pretend our Nephils are "elves" or somesuch nonsense.

Get over it. The Avernum universe does not have other spells or races or skills beyond what is allowed in BoA and calling a wand you have created a "new spell" in your readme file does not make it so. THat's the sort of "r0L3Pl4y1nG" crap that can ruin a scenario for me."

But if you want elves, who's there to stop you? Seems to me as if you think that scenarios become better when they adhere to the Avernum engine and plot- which I, of course, think is utter bollocks. As a designer, I'm offended; as a player, I feel mocked. "Clearly, the amount of suffering you have suffered under while fighting monotonous Vogel combat isn't enough; so designers, please do make combat less interesting for the sake of gaming clichés."

So yeah- things are becoming less connected to Jeff's "pristine vision of BoA." So what? BoA, despite what you may think, is NOT A BoA FANFICTION. Even the designers that work in its universe will agree that your proposal is outrageous, and this has been reflected in BoX designing since 1997.

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Posts: 6936 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
...b10010b...
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quote:
Originally written by Solomon Strokes:

hingent
Best TMism ever.

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quote:
So a boss like Shroud would take tremendous amounts of HP damage from the spell, making it unbalanced.
That's not unbalanced, that's a natural result of the way the spell works. If you didn't like it then you should have designed the character differently.
Posts: 62 | Registered: Thursday, January 20 2005 08:00
...b10010b...
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Well, the trouble is that the only way to make a highly durable enemy without banning Cloud of Blades is to give it a ludicrous amount of melee resistance, which would mess with melee-based parties. The way I see it, removing CoB was the lesser of two evils. (It's literally possible for a priest-heavy party to kill off any single non-melee-resistant enemy within a round or two.)

Just because taking a percentage of HP is the way the spell works, by the way, doesn't mean it's not unbalanced. All it does is show that there are situations where the spell itself is unbalancing. The BoA engine has problems, and I think designers have every right to work around them.

EDIT: Wow. You just gave me a great idea on how to weaken CoB *without* banning CoB or breaking melee/mage balance. Raise *all* the enemy's melee and elemental resistances to some high level (70-90%), and adjust its HP down accordingly. Relative damage of all attacks except CoB remains constant even though absolute damage decreases, while CoB takes a double hit in power, from both the increase in resistance and the decrease in HP, thus bringing its power back to a reasonable level relative to other forms of attack. Thanks for the inspiration.

[ Monday, February 28, 2005 23:10: Message edited by: Thuryl ]

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The Empire Always Loses: This Time For Sure!
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quote:
Originally written by Solomon Strokes:



I took away Cloud of Blades for a very good reason- it does damage depending on the creature's HP total. So a boss like Shroud would take tremendous amounts of HP damage from the spell, making it unbalanced. I'm quite sure that taking the spell away was a wise choice on my behalf for the tactics of the scenario.

Again, this was a minor quibble and I am probably in the minority in being bothered by such artifice. As for thinking of a better way, that would be beyond my capabilities ATM but note Thuryl's inspired thinking below.

quote:
I want tactical situations that aren't hingent on Divine Aid, War Blessing, Fireblast, etc. This is the BEST way for me to create more interesting situations for the party that I can see- if you can make combat more interesting without resorting to something similar, you are a better man than I am.
No I am NOT a better man adn even if I one day find the time to make a concentrate effort at learning AvernumScript adn designing the types of tactical challenges I prefer, it will not make me a better designer than you. It will just mean that I have different preferences.

quote:
Then tell me how to do it by any other means. Again, I do not do this because I cannot.
You could not call the wands you invented "wands"?!? You were forced to refer to them as "new spells"? I KNOW that is not right! The engine does not allow you to create new spells but DOES allow for new items. That is my point. If you really desire to create your own worlds with your own races, spells etc. then use a construction kit that allows such(The open Source "Runesword II" for example even though that would require a lot of work) but if you want to create scenarios in BoA, which absolutely does NOT provide ANY means for such alterations, don't create a new item, which reads as an item(not a spell), behaves as an item(and not a spell), and does not show up in the spell menu. Just create the item and call it what it is. The effect is the same and you don't have the weirdness of refering to "items" as "spells"(or Nephilim as "elves" or a 'special item' as a 'new mage skill' or whatever).

quote:
But if you want elves, who's there to stop you?
Teh game engine for one. No matter what you try to do with BoA, no matter HOW gifted a designer you are, you have no way of removing or adding new races in BoA adn never will have. You can include a read me file that tries to convince players to pretend their Sliths are Dwarves and use a custom graphic that looks like Gimli but everytime you examine that PC in game it will stil be a slith or a nephil. It will have no "dwarvish" abilities or physical traits. It will read "Nephilim" or "Slithzerikai" or "Human" under "race" and when you take the PC into other scenarios it will be a slith or nephil, not a dwarf or elf.

quote:
[b] Seems to me as if you think that scenarios become better when they adhere to the Avernum engine and plot- which I, of course, think is utter bollocks.
[qb]

No. I would strongly prefer that Jeff had created a true RPG construction kit that allowed for "world files" and such and his excuse that this would be impossible for a small company is b*llsh*t. Adam West has been doing it(now working on RS III) for years.
My point is that you can either accept this and have fun creating scenarios within such restrictions(What I have chosen) or you can try and deny the restrictions exist and pretend you Nephilim are elves and your wands are new spells(which may or may not work for you but the rest of us still see the wands as wands because of the engine restrictions).

quote:
[qb] As a designer, I'm offended; as a player, I feel mocked. "Clearly, the amount of suffering you have suffered under while fighting monotonous Vogel combat isn't enough; so designers, please do make combat less interesting for the sake of gaming clichés."[/b]
Now that is just silly :rolleyes: . You are saying that designers either do the things you have done the way you have done them or else make cliche' and unintersting combat?!? I think there are other options.

quote:
So yeah- things are becoming less connected to Jeff's "pristine vision of BoA." So what? BoA, despite what you may think, is NOT A BoA FANFICTION.
Same team bro'. Let go of the ball. I am not one of those Avernum/Exile purists. I could give a rat's ass about continuity or setting scenarios within the established settings or history of Avernum.

Oh...and I DETEST "fanfiction"(including "play-by-post" crap).

quote:
Even the designers that work in its universe will agree that your proposal is outrageous, and this has been reflected in BoX designing since 1997.
Not my proposal. You misunderstood me guy and I don't care what those guys might think. All of the half-finished scenarios I did for BoE were set in non-Exile settings and featured monsters(and terrain) that did not exist in the Exile universe.

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"I am in a very peculiar business. I travel all over the world telling people what they should already know." - James Randi
Posts: 219 | Registered: Saturday, October 13 2001 07:00
...b10010b...
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quote:
You could not call the wands you invented "wands"?!? You were forced to refer to them as "new spells"? I KNOW that is not right! The engine does not allow you to create new spells but DOES allow for new items.
Well, the thing is, special spells differ from ordinary wands in that using them requires MP instead of draining charges from the wand.

I see potential for a compromise here, though. Make the special spell items spellbooks; using the item represents casting the spell from the spellbook (instead of from memory as with a normal spell). This would also explain why the special spells, unlike normal spells, can be transferred easily from one party member to another. The spellbooks will still technically be categorised as "wands" on the inventory screen, but I hope that's such a minor issue that ST won't be bothered too much by it.

If I ever design a scenario that includes special spells, this is how I'll probably deal with them.

quote:
That is my point. If you really desire to create your own worlds with your own races, spells etc. then use a construction kit that allows such(The open Source "Runesword II" for example even though that would require a lot of work)
All such programs that I've seen that were of any decent quality are Windows-only. Many of us here, including TM and me, are Mac users. BoE and BoA are pretty much the best tools available to us.

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The Empire Always Loses: This Time For Sure!
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I think it is better that he did not create a world construction kit. To put it mildly, Runesword II is garbage compared to Blades of Avernum. The Runesword world is nowhere as good as Blades of Avernum.

Putting some limits on the game makes it more focused... I do not want a million classes and races. That would be stupid.

Your player characters may not be dwarves, elves, faeries and other such nonsense, but you can certainly have a scenario built in a tolkienesque world.

The characters can travel to any world imaginable through the various portals in Avernum. There is no reason you cannot design power armor, etc... You would just call it "Golem armor", or guns-- wand of steel bolts.

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You could even work with different it_variety numbers -- I think a spellbook with it_variety = 21 would work pretty well.

The thing is, TM was the first one to do special spells in BoA. It's all very well for us to discuss this now, after the fact, but we're Monday morning quarterbacking here.

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Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
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quote:
Originally written by Toasted Marshmallows:

I think it is better that he did not create a world construction kit. To put it mildly, Runesword II is garbage compared to Blades of Avernum. The Runesword world is nowhere as good as Blades of Avernum.

Putting some limits on the game makes it more focused... I do not want a million classes and races. That would be stupid.

Your player characters may not be dwarves, elves, faeries and other such nonsense, but you can certainly have a scenario built in a tolkienesque world.

The characters can travel to any world imaginable through the various portals in Avernum. There is no reason you cannot design power armor, etc... You would just call it "Golem armor", or guns-- wand of steel bolts.

I agree with you almost %100. RS II is, for the most part, crap but this is due more to the dumbed down mechanics(character creation, spell-casting etc.) than the world/setting. My point is that, with enough work, it is possible to change anything and everything in RS II and allow for one to put their own creative stamp on everything from the settings to the systems used.

Edit: If your problems with RSII WERE simply that you disliked the setting, that is the whole point of having a "world construction" feature.

Say that BoA scenarios always included a file with the extention '.wrl'(i.e. Tolkien.wrl' or 'Avernum.wrl'. THis would be the "world file". Whenever a party was created or a scenario designed, the engine would first ask for what "world file" these were being created for. These "world files" would be selected/loaded BEFORE parties & saved games were loaded everytime BoA was started up and these world files would(probably) be selected before loading a scenario to edit in the editor.

So then people like yourself, who only want to play in Avernum, using only the three races and standard Avernum character creation can do so.
Someone who wants to create an orc shaman singleton and adventure in "SkeleTonyworld" would load up 'SkeleTony.wrl' and create that PC/party.

My only point of contention is with your assertion that having more races and such as options would somehow be "stupid". If Jeff had simply allowed for seperate "world files" ala RuneSword III(and to a lesser extent RS II) then this would not affect parties generated for the official Avernum world-setting. It would just allow for the hypothetical Tolkien copycat to design a middle-earth-esque world in which players would generate characters that were elves, orcs, dwarves and what have you. Not saying I would prefer such a world or not, just that having the option would be nice. I think "lizardmen" and "Cat-people"(regardless of what names you give them, re: "Sliths" and "Nephils") are the most annoyingly generic conventions of CRPGs aside from dwarves and elves but that is just me.

Edit: In response to Thuryl-

Good points. I hadn't even thought of the 'Mac compatible' situation. I like your ideas on ways to go about "special spells".

[ Tuesday, March 01, 2005 16:58: Message edited by: SkeleTony ]

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"I am in a very peculiar business. I travel all over the world telling people what they should already know." - James Randi
Posts: 219 | Registered: Saturday, October 13 2001 07:00
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Maybe a better way to say it is-- Jeff is one person. He needs to have a certain amount of focus to move from one game to the next. If he had made the character races open ended-- it would have turned into too great a variety to move from one game to the next and be manageable by one person.

Open endedness in world building works when you have a huge design team who can work out tons of little details, or an obsessive person who locks himself in a room for weeks at a time (but that is another story).

This was a major problem with Runesword.

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TM may be banned, but his advice is still valid.

*Bump*ed.

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