Iron Tower Studio Forums

RPG => The Age of Decadence => Topic started by: Vince on December 28, 2007, 12:06:46 pm



Title: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on December 28, 2007, 12:06:46 pm
Let's have some fun here, folks. I believe you know the rules: the majority decides what to do, "DM" posts screens reflecting aforementioned decisions. We'll limit this game to the first town and its satellites (if your adventures take you there). Posting screens for every little thing you do could be too much, so I'll go with a mix of screens and text. If you die, the game is over.

Don't worry about spoiling as there is a lot of mutually-exclusive things you can do in Teron, so we are talking about 1 out of 4-5 different paths. It will help us test the game a bit and get some reactions/suggestions.

So, the background:

1. Assassin
2. Grifter
3. Knight
4. Loremaster
5. Mercenary
6. Merchant
7. Thief
8. None

Backgrounds are not classes and they don't restrict your character's development in any way. They define your character's relationship with different factions. A thief starts as a member of the Thieves Guild and gets reputation bonuses with its allies and reputation penalties with its enemies. A knight starts the game serving one of the Noble Houses, with all the advantages and disadvantages, and so on.



You can read the whole Let's Play in the following RPG Watch articles:

Part One (http://www.rpgwatch.com/show/article?articleid=79)
Part Two (http://www.rpgwatch.com/show/article?articleid=82)
Part Three (http://www.rpgwatch.com/show/article?articleid=90)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Hümmelgümpf der Bruzzelzwerg on December 28, 2007, 12:28:20 pm
Knight. I'm in the mood for some Harmonium-style badassness.

EDIT:
Quote
8. None
I don't think this "background" has been mentioned before. How does the game start if you choose it?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on December 28, 2007, 12:31:28 pm
You are a stranger. Nobody knows you.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: puppyonastik on December 28, 2007, 12:44:17 pm
I vote for 8. I figure that with having no predefined "friends" or "enemies" it'll be a more interesting route when we jump in and try to survive the AOD world.

Good idea, Vince. I can't wait to see more of the dialogue.  :D


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: star on December 28, 2007, 01:20:02 pm
8. None.


I love lets plays! And i demand at least 50% screens in all of your posts!





Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Mehler on December 28, 2007, 01:40:01 pm
8. None.

Great idea!  :D


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Isegrim on December 28, 2007, 01:55:39 pm
Eh, no-background seems a little boring. Go knight!


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: John Yossarian on December 28, 2007, 02:29:38 pm
Eh, no-background seems a little boring. Go knight!
Maybe, but it's probably the least supported "class" and most likely to show problems, so in the spirit of helping detect them, I'm going with no-background too.

So I take it Teron is completely finished then (except for any problems that might turn up in this thread)?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on December 28, 2007, 02:49:53 pm
Maybe, but it's probably the least supported "class" and most likely to show problems...
It's not a class, so simply think of it as a background with the maximum amount of open options.

Quote
So I take it Teron is completely finished then (except for any problems that might turn up in this thread)?
Yes.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: callehe on December 28, 2007, 03:04:54 pm
i'm gonna play grifter for my first playthrough so for the let's play i vote knight, a profession as far away from grifter as possible.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Tuomas on December 28, 2007, 03:10:56 pm
i'm gonna play grifter for my first playthrough so for the let's play i vote knight, a profession as far away from grifter as possible.
Agreed. Also, "no background" is kinda boring.

Excellent idea for a thread, by the way. :)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Sleet on December 28, 2007, 03:25:58 pm
Grifter will be my 1st choice and what I try when this game is installed.
For the first go, Knight is good. I want to see some of the relationships in action. :)
Great idea indeed!


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Elwro on December 28, 2007, 04:04:41 pm
I vote 4:Loremaster. Maybe we'll learn more about the game's lore this way? :wink:


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Starwars on December 28, 2007, 04:26:39 pm
Knight sounds good to me as well.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on December 28, 2007, 04:33:08 pm
Ok, knight it is then.

Next step - stats. The stats will determine your starting skills' values and extra skill points.

Str, Dex, Con, Per, Int, Cha. Min 4, max 10, 40 points in total.

Other then affecting all kinda skills, numerous dialogue checks, offering special traits for heroic (10) values, and being used in "text adventure" situations:

Str modifies damage (-2 to 4).
Dex determines your AP (Dex+2, which gives you 6-12 range)
Con determines your HP (25-50; HPs are static, so don't count on increasing them later) and poison resistance.
Per modifies to hit chance (-10 to 20)
Int determines your starting skill points and skill point bonuses (0-4 for every 10 points gained)
Cha affects NPCs' reaction (-2 to 3)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Pastel on December 28, 2007, 05:05:18 pm
Str: 8
Dex: 6
Con: 4
Per: 5
Int: 8
Cha: 9


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: puppyonastik on December 28, 2007, 05:17:42 pm
Str 10
Dex 6
Con 8
Per 8
Int 4
Cha 4

That sounds like good stats for a knightly bruiser. I'd like to see the impact heroic Str has.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Special_Can on December 28, 2007, 05:44:43 pm
Str: 10
Dex: 6
Con: 8
Per: 6
Int: 6
Cha: 4

 I love the idea. I always thought AOD would be the perfect game for A Let's Play, and this is a perfect way to preview the game. I'm sure after the game is released, Let's Play AOD will become a common occurrence around here.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Clad on December 28, 2007, 06:34:12 pm
Str 10
Dex 6
Con 8
Per 8
Int 4
Cha 4

That sounds like good stats for a knightly bruiser. I'd like to see the impact heroic Str has.

seconded, for the same reason, plus I don't want to get spoiled too much, lowest possible int is probably the best way not to know too much.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Isegrim on December 28, 2007, 07:03:11 pm
Str 10
Dex 6
Con 8
Per 8
Int 4
Cha 4

That sounds like good stats for a knightly bruiser. I'd like to see the impact heroic Str has.
Thirded.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: star on December 28, 2007, 08:02:54 pm
Str 10
Dex 6
Con 8
Per 8
Int 4
Cha 4

That sounds like good stats for a knightly bruiser. I'd like to see the impact heroic Str has.

Yeah that one.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Oscar on December 28, 2007, 08:10:51 pm
Charisma and Intelligence, the dump stats. :D


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: puppyonastik on December 28, 2007, 08:12:21 pm
I'm popular today.  :P


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: star on December 28, 2007, 08:22:16 pm
Charisma and Intelligence, the dump stats. :D


Well duh, it's a knight. I hate intellectual knights, too much citing poetry and charming ladies.. a dumb bruiser is just right here.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on December 28, 2007, 10:39:10 pm
Dumb bruiser may not be the most interesting option since all you can do is fight, and considering that you've already seen the combat video... I mean, these are the skills, which means that your conversation skills, lore, crafting, alchemy suck. You can hit people really hard with a hammer though.

Dagger   24
Sword   32
Axe   36
Hammer   40
Spear   28
Bow   28
Crossbow   30
Throwing   26
   
   
Dodge   24
Block   22
Critical Strike   14
Sneak   24
Disquise   28
Steal   24
Disarm Traps   20
Lockpick   20
Persuasion   16
Etiquette   16
Streetwise   24
Lore   16
Crafting   16
Trading   16
Alchemy   16

We can continue or you can change your stats/background.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Sleet on December 28, 2007, 10:53:45 pm
My suggestion:

Str 7
Dex 6
Con 5
Per 5
Int 8
Cha 9

It will be good to see more interaction and conversation now that we have seen the combat videos.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Oscar on December 28, 2007, 11:00:43 pm
What about this? A jedi-knight, with mind-trick powers.

Str 6
Dex 6
Con 5
Per 6
Int 7
Cha 10


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Mehler on December 28, 2007, 11:24:01 pm
Knight is too vanilla. How about assassin or imperial guard/merc at least?

Assassin:

Str 6
Dex 9
Con 6
Per 7
Int 7
Cha 5


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: puppyonastik on December 28, 2007, 11:27:24 pm
Str 7
Dex 7
Con 7
Per 7
Int 6
Cha 6

How about the middle ground? :P I think we'll be able to get the most out of well rounded character.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on December 28, 2007, 11:29:49 pm
It all depends on what you want to see. Assassin is probably one of more interesting options for "let's play..." games.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Oscar on December 28, 2007, 11:33:51 pm
For assassin I would go:

Str 5
Dex 8
Con 5
Per 10
Int 6
Cha 6


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Mehler on December 28, 2007, 11:38:26 pm
Can assassin join a noble house and become a "knight"?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Special_Can on December 28, 2007, 11:42:56 pm
What about this? A jedi-knight, with mind-trick powers.

Str 6
Dex 6
Con 5
Per 6
Int 7
Cha 10

 This might be good, but we don't want to die right away. I'll go ahead and agree with this...


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on December 28, 2007, 11:47:07 pm
@ Mehler: Yes, but you'll have to give up your assassins career.

Anyway, I'm off to bed as it's almost midnight here. Hopefully we'll be able to pick a trade and some stats in the morning and get this show started. I don't mind to go with whatever you guys pick but remember that we can play it only once (to prevent excessive spoiling), so pick something interesting with a lot options and potential.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Special_Can on December 29, 2007, 12:00:00 am
 Vince: I think this question is too open ended to come to a concise. If nothing comes of it by the next time you log on, just choose yourself. Plus, you have the best idea of what might be the most interesting way to go.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Sleet on December 29, 2007, 12:29:19 am
On that subtle hint I vote..
Assassin!


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Pastel on December 29, 2007, 03:36:17 am
I have no idea why everyone wants a dumb fighter... in AoD.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Hümmelgümpf der Bruzzelzwerg on December 29, 2007, 03:42:33 am
Knight:

STR 9
DEX 5
CON 6
PER 5
INT 7
CHA 8

And role-play a sarcastic bastard if it's possible.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Clad on December 29, 2007, 04:14:57 am
I have no idea why everyone wants a dumb fighter... in AoD.

Mostly because we don't want to get spoiled of the cleverer ways.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Palmer Eldritch on December 29, 2007, 10:54:15 am
just go with an all-round knight with a slight combat bias, but not stupid.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Mephisto on December 29, 2007, 11:04:04 am
Hello! :D Nice game you have!

I want to vote for asassin, its more interesting than knight. I red some of the quests and they where very interesting, with nice rol playing options.

PS: Sorry for my grammar, I am from Spain. :)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on December 29, 2007, 11:43:53 am
My vote:
Assassin
STR 4
DEX 7
CON 4
PER 10
INT 8
CHA 7

Presuming that untimely death is avoidable with those stats, I'd guess they should give good options. Hopefully the Int should give some decent skills, and the Cha shouldn't be too restrictive.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: jeansberg on December 29, 2007, 11:50:34 am
Assassin

STR 4
DEX 10
CON 4
PER 7
INT 8
CHA 7


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on December 29, 2007, 06:01:51 pm
Ok, sorry for the delay. You know, holidays and all. Btw, I deleted a bunch of unrelated posts to clean up the thread.

My vote:
Assassin
STR 4
DEX 7
CON 4
PER 10
INT 8
CHA 7

Presuming that untimely death is avoidable with those stats, I'd guess they should give good options. Hopefully the Int should give some decent skills, and the Cha shouldn't be too restrictive.
Considering occupational hazards, Con 4 isn't the best choice. Per 10 would be wasted as Per kicks in a lot during explorations and we won't have those in this playthrough (as we are limiting it to Teron and two satellites). Str 4 will give you -2 damage, so let's go with 6.

So, how about:

Strength   6 (no bonuses, no penalties)
Dexterity   8 (to increase dodge and light weapons skills)
Constitution   6 (wouldn't go lower) 
Perception   8 (mostly for the to hit bonus and a few other things)
Intelligence   7 (not too bright, not too dumb)
Charisma   5 (no points left for Cha, well, maybe next time)

Edit: You know what? To save some time (otherwise we'd never get to the first screen), I'll just go with this character. I was going to ask you to pick a name, but that would add another 2 pages of debates so let's name our assassin Titus to honor the unspeakable awesomeness of Titus Pullo. Of course, now I'm thinking that we should have gone with a badass merc and joined the Imperial Guards, but nobody voted for mercs, so assassin it is.

Edit #2: You have 14 points (Int x 2) to distribute before we start our adventure. Also, as you can see, you get some reputations modifiers. All noble houses look at you fondly because they use your services often, but not as often as the merchants. The guards think that you are a scum and if you were a real man you would have been a soldier.




[attachment deleted to save space]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Starwars on December 29, 2007, 06:10:32 pm
Sounds good to me, let's start this biotch up. Is there a character creation screen, or does it look basically the same as the character sheet?

On a small sidenote VD, how is the games status at the moment? I know you guys are polishing up a lot of things, but is the thing playable from beginning to end, with all the content in place?

EDIT: Nevermind, you pwnd me with that edit.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on December 29, 2007, 06:15:51 pm
Sounds good to me, let's start this biotch up. Is there a character creation screen, or does it look basically the same as the character sheet?
Yes, there is. That's where you pick stats, name, gender, and trade. It's boring.

Quote
On a small sidenote VD, how is the games status at the moment? I know you guys are polishing up a lot of things, but is the thing playable from beginning to end, with all the content in place?
Pretty much. You do know that we are replacing all town maps?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Mehler on December 29, 2007, 06:22:12 pm
My suggestions:

8 points to Crossbow
4 points to Critical Strike
2 points to Dodge


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Starwars on December 29, 2007, 06:37:42 pm
6 to Crossbow
4 to Dodge
4 to Sneak

Quote
Pretty much. You do know that we are replacing all town maps

Yep, and I think it's an extremely good move. I feel area design can be quite important in RPGs, if they really want to rise from being "merely" good to being great. The facelifts to the game that's been shown so far is exactly the vitamin injection it needed I think.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on December 29, 2007, 06:45:08 pm
4 to Streetwise (I want to see what this does.)
2 to Sneak (We're an assassin after all.)
2 to Throwing (Throwing knives are the shit for assassins!)
2 to Traps (Again, want to see what this does, since it's so often a useless dump skill, and it seems awfully appropriate for an assassin.)
4 to Critical Strike (Seems like an important assassin skill and ours is too low.)

By the way, let's not make this a vote. Let's just go with mine, because I rock.

EDIT: Unless Vince wants to show off some sweet poisoning action, in which case swap the 4 to Critical Strike to Alchemy instead. I can't wait to play this damn game.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: callehe on December 29, 2007, 06:46:51 pm
dagger 5
critical strike 5
alchemy 4

for a sneaky poisoning backstabber


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Special_Can on December 29, 2007, 07:01:23 pm
4 to Streetwise (I want to see what this does.)
2 to Sneak (We're an assassin after all.)
2 to Throwing (Throwing knives are the shit for assassins!)
2 to Traps (Again, want to see what this does, since it's so often a useless dump skill, and it seems awfully appropriate for an assassin.)
4 to Critical Strike (Seems like an important assassin skill and ours is too low.)

By the way, let's not make this a vote. Let's just go with mine, because I rock.

EDIT: Unless Vince wants to show off some sweet poisoning action, in which case swap the 4 to Critical Strike to Alchemy instead. I can't wait to play this damn game.

 This, but take out traps and critical strike and add those to Alchemy...

 6 to Alchemy
 4 to Streetwise
 2 to Sneak
 2 to Throwing


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: star on December 29, 2007, 07:12:48 pm
This is way too complicated to reach a consens.. just pick something reasonable and start with the real action already!

Daggers, streetwise, alchemy sounds good for an assasin.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Claw on December 29, 2007, 08:23:06 pm
Crossbow, Dodge, Critical Strike and Sneak.


We don't want to die too early, so we ought to mind our combat skills.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Cassidy on December 29, 2007, 08:30:22 pm
I hope I'm not too late

2: Grifter

Stats(I'm definitively not going to use him for combat in most situations, except when shooting crossbow bolts from a 150 meters distance while some dumb fighters keep the enemies at bay)

STR 4
DEX 4
CON 4
PER 8
INT 10
CHA 10

Skills: Persuasion, Etiquette, Disguise, Streetwise, Crossbow


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Oscar on December 29, 2007, 08:53:18 pm
Well, we already chose the assassin, but that sounds like an interesting non-combat build.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on December 29, 2007, 09:07:24 pm
Indeed.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on December 29, 2007, 09:30:09 pm
Well, we already chose the assassin, but that sounds like an interesting non-combat build.
Right enough - but I'm not sure the Int 10 Cha 10, makes much sense for such a demonstration. I'd rather be left knowing that there's more to discover in many dialogue situations. I think it makes more sense to go with a character with moderate Int/Cha and leave the rarer options for players to discover themselves.

Since we've gone with semi-decent strength, the crossbow fan-club might consider the merits of going with a more strength-using alternative. [[Thinking about it, there was discussion a long time ago about whether crossbow attacks got strength damage bonuses/penalties. IIRC they did - which seemed daft, and still seems daft. I can't see it being a huge balance issue (??), and it remains a good-sense issue.]]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Special_Can on December 29, 2007, 10:30:38 pm
 Hey, I think I asked this before, Vince but can we get a list that tells us exactly how each stat effects your starting skills. You gave an example of the Sword skills formula(STRx2+DEXx2) and I've been curious how all the formula's go. Plus, I do love to pre-plan characters...


 


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on December 29, 2007, 10:44:23 pm
Too long to post all, but here is a few:

Dagger requires nothing but dexterity: Dex*4
Sword requires both strength and dexterity equally: Str *2+Dex*2
Axe needs more strength than dexterity: Str*3+Dex
Hammer needs rough strength to wield: Str*4
Spear needs more dexterity than strength: Str+Dex*3

So, if you go with Str 9, Dex 6 fighter, it will create:

Dagger   24
Sword   30
Axe   33
Hammer   36
Spear   27

If you go with a Str 5, Dex 10 ninja:

Dagger   40
Sword   30
Axe   25
Hammer   20
Spear   35

See the difference?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on December 29, 2007, 10:49:15 pm
Ok, so looks like you guys are crazy about Crossbow, Dodge, Streetwise, and Criticals.

Good enough?

[attachment deleted to save space]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Special_Can on December 29, 2007, 10:57:14 pm
 Thanks for the info, and that looks good. Let's get this started! :D


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: puppyonastik on December 30, 2007, 01:55:25 am
Good enough for me. Start 'er up.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Priapist on December 30, 2007, 02:44:46 am
I like the name. You kill two birds with one stone, and satisfy the furry demographic as well as anyone who watched Rome.

(http://www.artdujeu.com/phpbuns/jeu/upload/6420.jpg)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Hümmelgümpf der Bruzzelzwerg on December 30, 2007, 04:19:35 am
Could you use throwing weapons instead of crossbows?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Mephisto on December 30, 2007, 09:47:10 am
Alchemy is good too, to make poison, not only for weapon but for quest too.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Sleet on December 30, 2007, 11:44:33 am
Regarding trap skill:
    *Can one set traps for enemies?
    *Are there supplies to build or do you buy them pre-made? (or both?)
    *Can you re-use a trap you disarm?
    *Can one disarm and recover a trap one sets?
    *are there different types of traps? Strengths?

Looks like a good build. Lock and Load!


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: TheLostOne on December 31, 2007, 09:05:06 am
I'd also prefer Throwing weapons over Xbow.  They're usually poorly implemented and curious how effective they are.  Also, more silent than a crossbow.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: grisse on December 31, 2007, 09:48:12 am
I'd rather see Thrown Weapons as well. I can't recall a single game in which they were more than curiosities.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Paranoid Jack on December 31, 2007, 10:02:32 am
Sneak +5
Throwing +5
Alchemy +4


Thrown weapons with poison on them.   :P   

Because I'm very curious as to how the stealth options will play out.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on December 31, 2007, 11:39:37 am
Thanks for the info, and that looks good. Let's get this started! :D
Almost ready. Oscar tweaked a few items, upgrading them from "ok" to "amazing". I changed some weight values, introducing decimals, which fucked up the items database and several other things; Nick had to fix all that, compile, recompile, and then compile some more, just to be sure.

Regarding trap skill:

*Can one set traps for enemies?
One can.

Quote
*Are there supplies to build or do you buy them pre-made? (or both?)
Use existing items: bolts, acid, liquid fire, etc.

Quote
*Can you re-use a trap you disarm?
You can only get some parts. I mean, we don't have bear traps that you can step over, pick up, and reuse.

Quote
*Can one disarm and recover a trap one sets?
Yes. The parts, not the actual trap.

Quote
...are there different types of traps? Strengths?
Yes, different kinds. Strength depends on your skill.

I'd rather see Thrown Weapons as well. I can't recall a single game in which they were more than curiosities.
They work. In most games the weapon system is simple. Weapons with more damage are better and that's all there is to it. In DnD you get you extra attacks no matter what weapon you are wielding. Then you add the HP growth, creating 200-300 HP behemoths and making throwing weapons practically useless.

In AoD they are very effective due to weapons speed, different attack types, and low HPs. If you have 12 APs that means 6 fast attacks with throwing weapons. With high Critical Strike skills people will be dropping like flies.



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: grisse on January 01, 2008, 10:16:14 am
Thank you for the info. Sounds very good, as per usual.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Sleet on January 01, 2008, 11:21:01 am
Thanks for all the info about traps and all Vince. Too cool.  8)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Claw on January 01, 2008, 04:59:53 pm
They work. In most games the weapon system is simple. Weapons with more damage are better and that's all there is to it. In DnD you get you extra attacks no matter what weapon you are wielding. Then you add the HP growth, creating 200-300 HP behemoths and making throwing weapons practically useless.
The Fall actually had an implementation I found very enjoyable. Throwing weapons were based on the assumption that someone skilled with them would take the time to aim for a vulnerable spot and have a good chance at hitting it, too. So throwing weapons weren't particularly quick, but had a really good chance at instantly killing the victim at short range.
So, rather than being quick (as you suggest they'd be in AoD) or flimsy, they are only useful at short range - a significant limitation for a game revolving around gunfights rather than melee - but very deadly in skilled hands.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 01, 2008, 08:17:22 pm
Anyway, let's continue our slow tale:

Right now you get a profession-based selection of items: assassins get this nifty-looking leather jacket, not so nifty looking (Oscar, can you pretty it up a bit?) hood thingy, a standard crossbow, 10 regular bolts, 5 armor-piercing, heat-seeking bolts, 5 barbed ass-shredding bolts, and some rope to climb things and make dramatic entrances. And the traditional 100 bucks, of course.

I've just noticed that the bolts are supposed to be bronze, but they aren't and the description mentions nothing about it. Something to fix then.

I also think that we should assign items to skills, and generate items based on the top 5 skills. So, high sword, block, throwing, crafting, trade, for example, would give you a gladius, shield, 10 throwing knives, iron ore, and extra money. What do you think?
 

[attachment deleted to save space]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: puppyonastik on January 01, 2008, 08:28:36 pm
I also think that we should assign items to skills, and generate items based on the top 5 skills. So, high sword, block, throwing, crafting, trade, for example, would give you a gladius, shield, 10 throwing knives, iron ore, and extra money. What do you think?

I think that's a great idea, very choices and consequences-y.  :D


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Claw on January 01, 2008, 08:34:07 pm
I also think that we should assign items to skills, and generate items based on the top 5 skills. So, high sword, block, throwing, crafting, trade, for example, would give you a gladius, shield, 10 throwing knives, iron ore, and extra money. What do you think?
I think that's a great idea. I wish Eschalon had done that. I can't quite get over the fact that a Healer starts with a spell that brutally kills living things rather than a healing spell.

Also, it can be annoying if your equpiment doesn't support your choice of skills. I'm not sure how well that'll work though, since the starting skills are largely based on the attributes. Is there some kind of profession bonus like Merchants get +10 trade skill? A combination of profession-based and skill-based items may work best.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Oscar on January 01, 2008, 08:44:55 pm
Quote
not so nifty looking (Oscar, can you pretty it up a bit?) hood thingy

Don´t be such a graphics whore ;)

I´ll make it smaller, though. It´s too big compared to the armor.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 01, 2008, 09:05:39 pm
I also think that we should assign items to skills, and generate items based on the top 5 skills. So, high sword, block, throwing, crafting, trade, for example, would give you a gladius, shield, 10 throwing knives, iron ore, and extra money. What do you think?

Yep, great idea. I love a good complex character creation process, so having to think about what items your initial skill choices will give you is a positive thing in my book.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 01, 2008, 09:07:52 pm
Quote
not so nifty looking (Oscar, can you pretty it up a bit?) hood thingy

Don´t be such a graphics whore ;)

I´ll make it smaller, though. It´s too big compared to the armor.

I think if you just changed the texture to be the same as the black sleeves of the vest it would be a big improvement.

Also, there's a typo in the description of those bolts -- one of the vs's has a period after it, and the other doesn't.

EDIT: Also, I was just looking at that inventory screen shot. What is a "belt bag" and what purpose does it serve considering that your inventory is abstracted and floats nebulously around you anyway?

And what do cloaks look like on characters? Are they animated (billowing, rippling, etc.)?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Oscar on January 01, 2008, 09:14:30 pm
Quote
I think if you just changed the texture to be the same as the black sleeves of the vest it would be a big improvement.

Without going into details, it´s not as easy as that. :)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 01, 2008, 09:31:32 pm
Heh, fair enough. Still, couldn't you just strongly desaturate the texture, leaving it mostly black/gray with a bit of a brown tinge? Forgive me if I'm speaking nonsense; all my graphics experience comes from 2-D web design. All I'm saying is, I think it would look better in black.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Oscar on January 01, 2008, 09:39:42 pm
Well, there are two types of hoods: Black and brown. And four color combinations of leather armor :)

EDIT: I´ve made the hood smaller. What do you think?

[attachment deleted to save space]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 01, 2008, 09:42:12 pm
Ignore everything I've just said then.  :P Nice armors.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Special_Can on January 01, 2008, 10:43:07 pm

I also think that we should assign items to skills, and generate items based on the top 5 skills. So, high sword, block, throwing, crafting, trade, for example, would give you a gladius, shield, 10 throwing knives, iron ore, and extra money. What do you think?
 

 I like the idea(and figured something of the kind was already in the game) but I think it should be top 3, choosing ties alphabetically. So, Titus top 3 would be: Dodge, Crossbow, and Bow(Since out of all the 32's, this one comes first alphabetically). The reason I like 3 more then 5 is because you want to make the game as hard as you possibly can without making it impossible. I think 5 is too much, and might give the player too much edge in the early game. You want to leave something to use that 100 up early on...


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Priapist on January 01, 2008, 11:01:57 pm
Well, you could always have varying degrees, so the top 3 get a "primary" item, and the top 4-5 get something less. Or if it was worth the effort, you could have 5 different degrees for each skill.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 01, 2008, 11:15:06 pm
EDIT: Also, I was just looking at that inventory screen shot. What is a "belt bag" and what purpose does it serve considering that your inventory is abstracted and floats nebulously around you anyway?
Easy access to handy things: rope, lockpicks, medkit, etc.

Quote
And what do cloaks look like on characters? Are they animated (billowing, rippling, etc.)?
They aren't shown. They are for role-playing purposes (disguise, showing everyone who you are with and getting proper reaction, etc).


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Claw on January 01, 2008, 11:21:36 pm
Well, there are two types of hoods: Black and brown. And four color combinations of leather armor :)

EDIT: I´ve made the hood smaller. What do you think?

I can't view your stupid png attachments.  >:(


Wait, are you telling me those thumbnail-sized images are all there is? You gotta be kidding.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Priapist on January 02, 2008, 03:52:00 am
Well, there are two types of hoods: Black and brown. And four color combinations of leather armor :)

EDIT: I´ve made the hood smaller. What do you think?

I can't view your stupid png attachments.  >:(


Wait, are you telling me those thumbnail-sized images are all there is? You gotta be kidding.

I'd hazard a guess that those are actual gear icons from the game, hence the smallness.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Hümmelgümpf der Bruzzelzwerg on January 02, 2008, 04:02:35 am
I'm looking at the Claw's avatar at the moment and a question is rising. Judging by that image, you can dual wield two hand crossbows in AoD, right? Is it possible to dual wield a dagger and a crossbow, like Assassins in HoMM V do? Being able to shoot stuff while maintaining some edge at melee would be an excellent combat option for finesse-oriented characters.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: jeansberg on January 02, 2008, 04:37:06 am
I get that a char with high sword skill gets a sword as a starting point, but what about the more passive skills like dodge?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Priapist on January 02, 2008, 05:22:12 am
Dodgeballs. ;)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: jeansberg on January 02, 2008, 05:23:50 am
 :P

Does a high disguise skill grant you a set of clothes or a ring or something?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Rhett Butler on January 02, 2008, 08:33:06 am
MAKE WITH THE PLAYING BEFORE I BURST A VEIN IN MY PENIS!


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Hümmelgümpf der Bruzzelzwerg on January 02, 2008, 08:37:03 am
Your aphatmc~ fu is weak, Rhett.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: TheLostOne on January 02, 2008, 08:58:39 am
Where/how is ammo equipped?  I didn't see a slot for it.

Is there a quiver visible on the character model when you have ammo equipped?

Also, the piercing arrow looks great.  The regular and barbed look a bit too similar IMO, and the head seems much too large for the shaft.  It took me a second look to notice that the icons were just close ups of the head of the ammo and on first glance they appear to be hideously large bolts, and even on second inspection when I noticed the fade out, the mental after image of the goofy looking bolts I'd seen at first remained.

I'd suggest showing the whole shaft, but since ammo is universal they would either appear to be oversized bolts or dwarfed arrows.  Maybe you can think of a way to define the fade more to make it more visually apparant that they are partial images.

Either way, I still believe the barbed and normal heads should be slightly more narrow considering the width of the shaft.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Rhett Butler on January 02, 2008, 09:05:54 am
Quote from: Lestat
Your aphatmc~ fu is weak, Rhett.

It's unfair of you to hold me to the same standard as grandmaster aphatmc~. However, the comparison alone is flattering.

Quote
Warning - while you were typing a new reply has been posted. You may wish to review your post.

Really snazzy feature! I'll leave now until I have something slightly useful to say.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 02, 2008, 09:32:45 am
Where/how is ammo equipped?  I didn't see a slot for it.
You don't equip it. Same mechanics as with Fallout ammo. You shoot, then you click reload (you have options for different ammo type), then you shoot again, then you reload, etc. Bows are slow to shoot, fast to reload. Crossbows are fast to shoot, slow to reload.

Quote
Is there a quiver visible on the character model when you have ammo equipped?
Nope.

Quote
Either way, I still believe the barbed and normal heads should be slightly more narrow considering the width of the shaft.
We'll consider it.

Oh, and Lestat, thanks for fighting that epic battle at ag.ru against the "they are standing still while I attack them! what kinda nonsense is that?!" hordes.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 02, 2008, 09:37:30 am
I get that a char with high sword skill gets a sword as a starting point, but what about the more passive skills like dodge?
No clue. What would you suggest?

How about a scroll on dodging techniques you already know initiating a small quest to trade it for a scroll on dodging techniques you don't know (+5 to dodge?)? You can also sell it for 100 coins.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Oscar on January 02, 2008, 10:29:08 am
I'm looking at the Claw's avatar at the moment and a question is rising. Judging by that image, you can dual wield two hand crossbows in AoD, right? Is it possible to dual wield a dagger and a crossbow, like Assassins in HoMM V do? Being able to shoot stuff while maintaining some edge at melee would be an excellent combat option for finesse-oriented characters.

Sure, you can equip a dagger in one slot and an one-handed crossbow in another, and switch between them with no AP cost.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: TheLostOne on January 02, 2008, 10:58:59 am
Quote
How about a scroll on dodging techniques you already know initiating a small quest to trade it for a scroll on dodging techniques you don't know (+5 to dodge?)? You can also sell it for 100 coins.

Ooh like the Buddha's Palm from Heaven technique manual from Kung Fu Hustle.

Seriously though, would there really be scrolls on dodging?  Maybe, but it sounds a bit silly to me.

You don't need items for every skill, just stuff to make sure your skills are functional.  Dodge is functional without any items.  Sword skill is not.  Alchemy is not.  Critical strike is.

If you want something for any top combination of skills anyway here are some suggestions:

Weapon skills are obvious.  Block gets a shield.  Critical strike could get a modified basic weapon (with a keen type attribute or maybe just high accuracy lower damage).  

Disguise could start with a beggars rags in their inventory or something simpler like dye for the hair.  Further tools could be purchaced/found.  I like the idea of a signet ring like someone mentioned.

Lore doesn't need much since it's just knowledge, but maybe start with a history book or a book about the starting city.  Edit:  Writing utensils/parchment or more starting map info also possible

Alchemy, traps, crafting get basic components and maybe a basic level creation (weak poison/trap or something).

Sneaking, maybe a dark cloak which gives a bonus to sneaking (would suggest at night only, but not sure if day/night is in game)

Etiquette could get a fancy ring or amulet that increases reaction with noble houses and merchants?  Dunno probably better ideas out there.

Trading could get a list of merchants in the area or a note to a specific one for a discount or something.

Streetwise similarly could start with a list of locations for hard to find yet useful npcs or maybe a shady dealer type.

Persuasion... um... something quest related, or some bonus reaction eq?  Not sure about this one.

Dodge eludes me(lulz), but maybe some armor that's exceptionally light?

Stealing should start with some extra gold and/or misc pinched valuables (silver candle holders or a necklace or something) and maybe a known location for a fence.









Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 02, 2008, 11:06:59 am
Seriously though, would there really be scrolls on dodging?  Maybe, but it sounds a bit silly to me.
Why? Are there no good books on martial arts?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: TheLostOne on January 02, 2008, 11:14:19 am
Yes, but how many techniques for dodging can there be?  How different can Volume 1 of beginners dodging be from Volume 6?  If you have books for technique they'd need to boost more than one skill, maybe a good boost to dodge, a small one to critical strike and 1 point bumps for all the melee weapon skills?  If it describes things like focus, or controlled breathing, or exercise techniques to increase reflexes then it would have an effect on all of your physical skills.  I just can't imagine a book or scroll just to improve dodging though.  "Don't be where your oponent is swinging"?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on January 02, 2008, 11:29:37 am
"Don't be where your oponent is swinging"?
That's the goal - not the technique to achieve it. You might as well say that there can only be one short book on attacking: "Hit your opponent".
Even without any specific knowledge on dodging, it's clear that it'd involve prediction+anticipation, weight-distribution & balance, disguise+misdirection. Prediction and anticipation in particular would rely on a wide knowledge of potential+likely opponent strategies - something it'd be possible to write many books about.

Quote from: Vince
initiating a small quest to trade it for a scroll on dodging techniques you don't know
Sounds good - but it'd be nice to have more than a simple fed-ex quest (or have it be very quick). Time a player spends on this quest is time he'll be spending away from other quests. If it's significantly less interesting, that might not be a good thing.

I like the items-for-high-skills approach in general. It'd be good to see as much variety as possible, but you could always fall back on extra gold if you're short of time/ideas (not ideal, but reasonable). The rationale being that highly skilled people still don't get stuff for free - they've bought it over time because it was useful to them. Those who have skills without such items would have saved the money.
Again, this would be a backup to avoid thinking "We can't have items for all skills, so let's scrap the items-for-skills idea.". Go for as much interesting variety as possible - with small quests thrown in where they can be made short+sweet. Gold (or similar) is a perfectly viable backup though.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 02, 2008, 11:43:35 am
Yes, but how many techniques for dodging can there be?  How different can Volume 1 of beginners dodging be from Volume 6? ...  I just can't imagine a book or scroll just to improve dodging though.  "Don't be where your oponent is swinging"?

http://maintlfed.org/resources/movement.html - courtesy of Google

A detailed description of each technique is as follows:

1. STEP DODGE - KAISHIN

a. A Step Dodge is a movement technique in which the Ju-Jitsuka avoids an attack by moving one foot in order to avoid the attackers assault. The technique may be executed in two methods:
b. Method #1, Move one foot in a circular manner to the rear so as to turn the upper body to the side and avoid the initial attack.
c. Method #2, Step forward diagonally to the side with one foot and turn the body towards the attacker.

2. SIDE DODGE - YOKO FURIMI

A Side Dodge is a technique which moves only the upper body to the side without moving the feet. This movement technique is designed to avoid the attacker's punch, kick or strike toward the head. The hands must continue to provide center-line coverage to allow for blocking and quick counterattack.

3. BACKWARD DODGE - SORIMI

A Backward Dodge is a movement technique of shifting the body weight to the rear leg and leaning the upper body backward, without moving the feet to avoid the attacker's punch, kick or strike to the upper body.

Ju-Jitsuka's balance must be maintained to facilitate kick counterattacks.

4. PULL-IN DODGE - HIKIMI

A Pull-In Dodge is a movement technique shifting the weight to the rear, however only the middle part of the body is retracted, not the entire body in order to avoid the attacker's kick and/or punch to the stomach. The hands must continue to provide center-line coverage to allow for blocking and quick counterattack.

5. CIRCULAR DODGE - RYUSUI

A Circular Dodge is a movement technique in which the feet do not move, however the body drops and moves to the side in a circular manner to avoid the attacker's punch, kick or strike to the upper body. The arms are positioned to block any kicks by the attacker.

6. JUMPING RETREAT - TOBI SAGARI

A Jumping Retreat is a movement technique in which the Ju-Jitsuka must exercise extreme alertness to the potential attack. At the moment that the attacker begins his forward motion assault, the Ju-Jitsuka executes a jump to the rear to avoid the initial attack. Upon landing from the jump, the Ju-Jitsuka must maintain body weight balance in order to execute a counterattack.

7. SLIDING RETREAT - HIRAKI SAGARI

A Sliding Retreat is a movement technique similar to the jumping retreat except that the feet slide along the ground. Timing, proper distance and the ability to execute a counterattack are equally important when using this technique.

8. FULL-TURN DODGE - ZEN TENKAN

A Full-Turn Dodge is a movement technique used when in close quarters with the attacker. The Ju-Jitsuka quickly moves one foot in a circular manner (180 degrees) while pivoting on the other foot as the attacker grasps or thrusts toward the upper body. This movement technique can be used as a set-up for a throw (Nage Waza) or to avoid a choke or grab by the attacker.

9. HALF-TURN DODGE - HON TENKAN

A Half-Turn Dodge is a movement technique used to protect the "Vital Points" of the body. One foot moves in a circular manner (90 degrees) while pivoting on the other foot as the attacker punches kicks or grabs. A blocking technique should be executed during the dodge. After the Half-Turn Dodge is executed, the Ju-Jitsuka is in good position to counterattack.
...

Point made?
   


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Rhett Butler on January 02, 2008, 11:47:04 am
I agree with TLW, a scroll on dodging seems a little silly. A good solution is  to not have the scroll be about dodging rather a work of fiction or history. The PC reads this scroll and gains some insight that makes them a better dodger. Merging the skill books with the lore worked great in Morrowind IMO.

EDIT: Okay so what Vince is suggesting doesn't sound silly, but Morrowind's skill books are fabulous, and it's still a good idea.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: TheLostOne on January 02, 2008, 11:53:45 am
Okay so they exits.  I'm not a martial arts expert so I'm just going off of impressions.

Also, are there eastern style martial arts like that in this gameworld?  Seems slightly out of place.  Do you even have an unarmed combat skill?  Dodging would most likely be learned while training in whatever weapon you're learning.  Putting points into it seems to me more like focusing on a defensive state of mind in combat rather than learning arcane dodging techniques.  Sort of like a counter puncher in boxing.  If you're looking at it as some kind of Aikido thing then that's a different story.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 02, 2008, 11:55:14 am
Quote from: Vince
initiating a small quest to trade it for a scroll on dodging techniques you don't know
Sounds good - but it'd be nice to have more than a simple fed-ex quest (or have it be very quick). Time a player spends on this quest is time he'll be spending away from other quests. If it's significantly less interesting, that might not be a good thing.
Here is what I was thinking:

You start with a scroll, and when you go to the loremaster, you get an extra dialogue option:

What can I get for this scroll?
The Circular Dodge technique? (going with the names from the link above here) I don't believe I have this one. I can pay you 100 imperials or I can give you a copy of the Sliding Retreat technique. What do you say?
...
Simple as that.
 


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 02, 2008, 12:09:41 pm
Also, are there eastern style martial arts like that in this gameworld?  Seems slightly out of place. 
That's just an example. We can go with Pankration - an ancient Greco-Roman form of unarmed hand to hand combat resembling the mixed martial arts of today.

Quote
Dodging would most likely be learned while training in whatever weapon you're learning.
True, but instead of going with one MORTAL COMBAT skill, for role-playing/character development  reasons it's more fun to split combat into several different skills.

Quote
Putting points into it seems to me more like focusing on a defensive state of mind in combat rather than learning arcane dodging techniques.
Considering that we have dodge and block, dodge would be the art of evading attacks completely and would have to be based on something (which could be unarmed fighting techniques), while block would have more in common with defensive weapon fighting.



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: TheLostOne on January 02, 2008, 12:22:26 pm
Quote
True, but instead of going with one MORTAL COMBAT skill, for role-playing/character development  reasons it's more fun to split combat into several different skills.

I agree.  That is why I think of dodge/block/parry as being incorporated in with your weapons skill for a cohesive fighting style.  They are merely representative of the characters strengths in fighting.  Whether you want to play a quick nimble fencer type swordfighter or a powerful, overwhelming claymore type, or even an all arounder the skills give you the option.

That greco-roman style of unarmed combat sounds interesting.  Are you considering implementing it as a skill or just bringing it up to point to a period martial art?

The way you described it a dodge scroll could work well, just sat with me wrong the first time I considered the concept.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Frost on January 02, 2008, 12:45:44 pm
HEy... wheres the unarmed fighting skill ?  There arent any ? Is there an unarmed fighting after all ?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 02, 2008, 01:03:42 pm
No.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Frost on January 02, 2008, 01:30:03 pm
A pity then... It could be sweet to have some wrestling moves for example... throws and such... huge potential


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 02, 2008, 01:43:24 pm
Where/how is ammo equipped?  I didn't see a slot for it.
You don't equip it. Same mechanics as with Fallout ammo. You shoot, then you click reload (you have options for different ammo type), then you shoot again, then you reload, etc. Bows are slow to shoot, fast to reload. Crossbows are fast to shoot, slow to reload.

This sounds annoying to me. It was fine for Fallout, where most weapons could hold at least 6 rounds, but for a bow or crossbow that can only hold one arrow? I don't know.

Please at least consider having the option to auto-reload your bow/crossbow -- of course, this should still use the requisite number of action points, but I think it's always good to spare the player from repeatedly performing an action that is neither fun nor challenging.

A bunch of good suggestions for skill items

Nice job, these all sound quite reasonable. I prefer Vince's idea to the dodge armor, I think, since a suit of armor seems too valuable. For trading, I prefer the idea of a voucher for a discount, or maybe some trinkets and a mini-quest to deliver them to a given merchant. For lore, I prefer your idea of writing utensils/parchment (especially given the passive skill bonus of forging documents). For etiquette and streetwise, rather than items boosting reaction I would prefer simply a starting numerical increase to reaction for the appropriate factions -- etiquette boosting the noble houses by +5, maybe, and streetwise boosting the shadier organizations. I think the idea of items with attached reputation/reaction boosts is a little problematic. Possibly do something similar for persuasion, but I'm not sure that makes sense. Something quest-related as you suggested would probably be better.

You start with a scroll, and when you go to the loremaster, you get an extra dialogue option:

What can I get for this scroll?
The Circular Dodge technique? (going with the names from the link above here) I don't believe I have this one. I can pay you 100 imperials or I can give you a copy of the Sliding Retreat technique. What do you say?
...
Simple as that.

Sounds good to me. Not cheesy at all.

Quote from: The Thread Topic
Let's Play AoD!

Yes, let's!

EDIT:

A pity then... It could be sweet to have some wrestling moves for example... throws and such... huge potential

That requires a huge amount of animation work that's very tricky and can't be reused for other skills. I can't imagine it being worth it.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: puppyonastik on January 02, 2008, 01:47:52 pm
A pity then... It could be sweet to have some wrestling moves for example... throws and such... huge potential

I agree, I think you should consider an unarmed fighting skill, Vince. More choices for the player. Besides, unarmed in PtD was pretty neat (I liked making kung-fu doctors as party members). Unfortunately you have the disarm trait on another weapon and I can't think up a good original trait for unarmed at the moment.

Edit:
Quote

That requires a huge amount of animation work that's very tricky and can't be reused for other skills. I can't imagine it being worth it.


Well if it's that difficult then nvm, i guess. :( For the next game then!


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 02, 2008, 02:03:31 pm
This sounds annoying to me. It was fine for Fallout, where most weapons could hold at least 6 rounds, but for a bow or crossbow that can only hold one arrow? I don't know.
We'll consider it. We split using bows/xbows into shooting and reloading to reflect the difference between two weapon types. This way you can carry a loaded xbow, quickly pull the trigger and switch to another weapon without reloading the xbow.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Oscar on January 02, 2008, 02:32:05 pm
Maybe bind the letter "R" change between manual and automatic reload.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: axedice on January 02, 2008, 02:36:07 pm
You don't need to give starter items for all skills. If you're a swordsman, you have a sword and a hundred gold. If you're a smart-talker, you have your wits and a hundred gold. Same goes for dodge, sneak, etiquette etc.

So we're an assassin with Crossbow, Dodge, Streetwise, and Criticals. What happens next?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Priapist on January 02, 2008, 03:17:00 pm
Quote
Merging the skill books with the lore worked great in Morrowind IMO.

Not really, because for players like me who don't play games to read metafiction, you're instead just going through libraries and "grinding" for bonuses.

Quote
Unarmed

I think it's better left alone. Grappling alone becomes a far from trivial aspect to work into a system, and is an animators nightmare. You could probably make a whole game out of MMA style fighting.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: zhirzzh on January 02, 2008, 04:38:03 pm
Quote
Merging the skill books with the lore worked great in Morrowind IMO.

Not really, because for players like me who don't play games to read metafiction, you're instead just going through libraries and "grinding" for bonuses.

I agree. I love in-game books if they're well done (Arcanum), but giving stat bonuses for reading them penalizes people who don't like them and shows a lack of confidence in their quality.

As to unarmed, there's no reason to bother if it's Fallout style punches and kicks, and too much trouble if it's more complex.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Rhett Butler on January 02, 2008, 07:01:28 pm
Quote
Merging the skill books with the lore worked great in Morrowind IMO.

Not really, because for players like me who don't play games to read metafiction, you're instead just going through libraries and "grinding" for bonuses.

That is a problem, but hardly an unsolvable one. Skill books could be tagged in the item description "You have heard of this book, apparently it contains some useful insights into the art of dodging." Or maybe just a slightly different coloured icon if that seems a little... ghey. Or an even better solution would be to have the skill books and lore books (or scrolls as the case may be) separate, but to allow skill bonuses/techniques to be gained from certain texts by one who has a high enough Int (or lore skill, but I think Int makes more sense). It would be a decent perk for playing a Loremaster.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on January 02, 2008, 11:20:51 pm
That is a problem, but hardly an unsolvable one.
Sure, but where's the motivation to create the problem in the first place? There's nothing elegant about tying skill bonuses "into the lore" by having a "You clicked on a special lore book! - congratulations, have a skill point!" mechanic. You've put no gameplay incentive in reading/understanding the lore - only in clicking on a few books.

If you're advocating making player knowledge and understanding of the lore relevant to gameplay / skill utility, I'm right behind you. That'd be the ideal course - tying aesthetics and pragmatism together within the same activity. Having the pragmatic incentive on the clicking, and the aesthetic incentive on reading+understanding, does not do this.
The Morrowind method is therefore a bit crap: it works fine for lore fanatics (for whom the occasional skill bonus is just a nice extra) and fine for those obsessive powergamers who've become utterly divorced from sane entertainment (for whom any skill-point-hunt activity will do). I.e. it works for those players who had almost no need for a lore&gameplay-bonus tie-in in the first place. For all the players who are neither gripped by pure lore, nor by pure gameplay bonuses, it achieves little: there's no pragmatic incentive to actually read the lore, and no aesthetic value in the skill-point hunt.
If it's aiming for an elegant tie-in, it's missing it.

I'd guess+hope that AoD is mostly doing things better already: the history/lore/background the player reads ought often to be interesting in itself (aesthetic points), and useful information on which to base significant decisions (pragmatism points). With this kind of combination, everything is tied into the same process - not just to vaguely connected processes.


Quote from: Vince
You start with a scroll, and when you go to the loremaster, you get an extra dialogue option:...
Sounds good - a bit of flavour without needless time-wasting.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: roshan on January 02, 2008, 11:34:25 pm
This sounds annoying to me. It was fine for Fallout, where most weapons could hold at least 6 rounds, but for a bow or crossbow that can only hold one arrow? I don't know.
We'll consider it. We split using bows/xbows into shooting and reloading to reflect the difference between two weapon types. This way you can carry a loaded xbow, quickly pull the trigger and switch to another weapon without reloading the xbow.


Couldnt you implement a "reload and fire" option, just to make things a bit easier for the player? The "reload and fire" option could use whatever ammo the player selected last. Of course, players will still need to reload manually outside of combat (for crossbows), if they want to use up leftover action points at the end of the round, or if they want to switch to a different type of ammo.

BTW, isnt carrying around a loaded crossbow a bit dangerous?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: jeansberg on January 03, 2008, 04:26:09 am

BTW, isnt carrying around a loaded crossbow a bit dangerous?
Critical failure, anyone? :)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: TheLostOne on January 03, 2008, 08:58:25 am
About the book issue:

Can't remember if it was Divine Divinity or Sacred, but in one of those games there's a room with candles around a pentagram that you can light in a certain combination for a reward or quest (can't remember).

There was a book you find in that dungeon that when you opened it had a rough illustration of the pattern you needed to activate the symbol.

I think I opened all the books I came across in that game.  Some just had some cool artwork, some had fiction blurbs, and some had useful content for quests or hidden treasures.  That was a really cool way to have the player actually think about the books he opens.  None of them were 5 page long stories a la TES, so it wasn't too tedious to read them all.

Giving books a functional purpose based on content instead of just a bonus for opening them makes more sense to me.  If you can keep them interesting and consice you can introduce a lot of good lore and flavour into the game and still give the player an incentive to read them.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on January 03, 2008, 09:58:13 am
BTW, isnt carrying around a loaded crossbow a bit dangerous?
It's pretty much as carrying a loaded shotgun or sniper. You don't carry it around like that, but you will when in battle.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Sleet on January 03, 2008, 01:48:04 pm
So what nefarious deeds is our assassin up to?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: jeansberg on January 05, 2008, 04:55:42 am
Bump, dammit!


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Kingston on January 05, 2008, 07:04:08 am
I think he's gonna update on Thursday.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Paranoid Jack on January 06, 2008, 12:38:11 am
I think he's gonna update on Thursday.

No that is when the game is due to be released.   :P

But I am curious as to why he hasn't started. Something about compiling numerous days back but not sure what is the hold up at the moment. Either way for those of you who are new(er)...   patience is one of the best virtues.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Palmer Eldritch on January 06, 2008, 08:18:46 am
I think it would be a good idea to just keep up the discussion like this while the LP progresses, and then compile it for easy reading when it's done


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 07, 2008, 08:34:02 am
But I am curious as to why he hasn't started.
Well, I made a deal with Nick (an honest programmer vs a PR whore) that we'll do the let's play thread but we'll be going over everything, cleaning things up, fixing whatever needs to be fixed and finishing things up, and thus posting screens from the final (don't read too much into it) Teron "build".

So, we had to go through the entire items list, tweak and redo some icons. Then we had several discussions about bolts and arrows: universal ammo or bolts/arrows, individual icons for poison, flame, hardened edge, etc or mini-icons on the existing icons or nothing, new "full shaft" icons or not, etc. These are minor things but they take time.

Then bows vs xbows mechanics. After several private and open forums discussions, we agreed on no reloads for bows (shooting includes loading), separate shoot/reload actions for xbows. Some tweaks are, obviously, necessary now. Etc.

So, when we suddenly stop posting in this thread, it's not because we lost interest or forgot about it, but because some unfinished stuff (that won't be even noticed by most of you) is in the way. And because Nick is way too fucking thorough. The guy should have been an accountant.

We shall continue today.   


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Paranoid Jack on January 07, 2008, 09:15:39 am
And because Nick is way too fucking thorough. The guy should have been an accountant.

Is that the kettle calling the pot black?    lol

Either way no rush. Most of us have been lurking long enough to know better. I'm always left marveling at the persistence required to complete such a project. My hat is off to you and the team. And seeing the changes made over the last year (or two) have been reassuring. AoD will be done soon enough. If it plays as well as it looks and sounds it will be well worth the wait.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: VonVentrue on January 07, 2008, 12:13:18 pm
Quote from: Vince
Then bows vs xbows mechanics. After several private and open forums discussions, we agreed on no reloads for bows (shooting includes loading), separate shoot/reload actions for xbows. Some tweaks are, obviously, necessary now. Etc.

Fair enough, I like the idea.

HEy... wheres the unarmed fighting skill ?  There arent any ? Is there an unarmed fighting after all ?
Quote from: Vince
No.

I apologize for raising this subject again, but I'd hereby like to emphasize the importance of unarmed fighting to the player's alter ego once disarmed in combat. Am I to  understand that once devoid of a weapon, the character becomes utterly defenseless?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 07, 2008, 12:18:02 pm
I apologize for raising this subject again, but I'd hereby like to emphasize the importance of unarmed fighting to the player's alter ego once disarmed in combat. Am I to  understand that once devoid of a weapon, the character becomes utterly defenseless?
Without a weapon? Yes. Your character won't stand like an idiot though (like in the video), but to defend himself he/she will have to either pick another weapon from the inventory or from the ground.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 07, 2008, 02:14:54 pm
Then bows vs xbows mechanics. After several private and open forums discussions, we agreed on no reloads for bows (shooting includes loading), separate shoot/reload actions for xbows. Some tweaks are, obviously, necessary now. Etc.

Great, this sounds like a good change that still maintains the desired gameplay differences between bows and crossbows while removing a lot of the annoyance. I like the idea that this Let's Play will act kind of like an early beta test, allowing you to fine-tune the game as it is played. I'm looking forward to more updates, but this kind of thing is definitely worth the hiatus. (And during the wait, we have Jaesun's excellent Ultima IX Let's Play on the Codex to keep us entertained.  :D)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 07, 2008, 06:40:03 pm
So, after a long waiting period our brave hero has finally met his guildmaster. Instead of saying "halo brave adaventurer! plz taek some itamz from my chest and equip them!", the guildmaster pretended that you and him are old pals and jumped straight to business. Looks like you have to bust a cap in someone's ass, assuming, of course, that you are a straight up nigga.

So, what will you do now?!

PS. That face on the interface bugs the hell out of me for some reasons. I know it's very Roman, but can we replace it with something, Oscar?



[attachment deleted to save space]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Special_Can on January 07, 2008, 06:45:13 pm
 Number 2.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 07, 2008, 06:50:32 pm
Mallrats: "Suitor number two sounds like a bathroom code, you know."

Anyway, staying true to the traditions established by the RPG pioneer Bioware, this option leads to:

"It's not the best contract, but considering that the merchant isn't guarded, it's a good deal. Take it. Think of it as a good exercise."

1. I'll be back for the balance in a few hours.
2. He's just arrived and someone wants him dead already?
3. Why does someone want him dead?



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Oscar on January 07, 2008, 06:50:51 pm
Quote
PS. That face on the interface bugs the hell out of me for some reasons. I know it's very Roman, but can we replace it something, Oscar?

What do you think guys? I like the face.

PS: Sorry for derailing. If it turns into a debate, we´ll move it to it´s own thread. :)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 07, 2008, 06:54:19 pm
The face is ok, that hairy outline is kinda dorky looking. So instead of:
http://www.wayoflife.org/fbns/in-thefootsteps-bibletrans/Graphics%204/mouthoftruth.jpg

let's go with something like:

http://www.italiangardenornaments.com/ornaments/ART.MS-13.JPG


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Special_Can on January 07, 2008, 07:22:57 pm
 I'm fine with it and without it. I really don't care.


 Number 2.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: puppyonastik on January 07, 2008, 07:56:26 pm
#3. A little more info always helps.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 07, 2008, 08:44:05 pm
Why does someone want him dead?

Does a bartender ask why his client wants wine? Teron is a small town, and it's very hard for an assassin guild to stay in business here. We appreciate every contract that comes our way, so let's leave it at that.

1. I'll be back for the balance in a few hours.
2. 200? Doesn't sound like a lot.
3. He's just arrived and someone wants him dead already?



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on January 07, 2008, 09:00:05 pm
3

(Do you get "2. 200? Doesn't sound like a lot." even after having asked it once? Wouldn't it be better to have that as a one-time-only question? Is there a way to review conversations? Presuming that there is, such redundant repetitions would probably be better eliminated - if it's easy to do.)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Special_Can on January 07, 2008, 09:20:16 pm
 Number 3.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Rhett Butler on January 07, 2008, 09:56:38 pm
Number three then number 1.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 07, 2008, 11:20:18 pm
The line
Quote from: Neleos
Commercium requested us to tell Gracius "The merchants guild wishes to remind you that you're *still* not welcome in this town" before you kill him
looks pretty awkward to me, for two reasons. First, "requested us to tell Gracius" is simply incorrect grammar -- "us" is the first person plural pronoun used as an object, and can't be used as the subject of the verb "tell." Second, I don't like using *'s for emphasis. It looks like netspeak or forum talk, and seems out of place for a game. Does your engine not support italics? I would like this line much better if it read

Quote from: cardtrick's idealized Neleos #1
Before you kill Gracius, the Commercium requests that you tell him, "The merchants guild wishes to remind you that you're still not welcome in this town."
or
Quote from: cardtrick's idealized Neleos #2
The Commercium has a special request for you. Before you kill him, remind him that the merchants guild says he's still not welcome in this town.

Oh, and let's go for option 1. Our assassin is a no-nonsense badass, and all he needs to know is that he's getting paid.

EDIT: To clarify, I know that *'s have been used in games before. I'm just saying I don't like them. And I don't care one way or another about the face, by the way.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: pnutz on January 07, 2008, 11:36:30 pm
#1. I'm an assassin dammit. I don't need any extrapolation about my mark that doesn't involve how to kill him more easily. On to the slaughter.

And I like the face better than a bust, but if you're going to have a graphic right there on every conversation, it would be nice to rotate it through several different pix (face, bust, wolf, eagle, phallus, etc.)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on January 08, 2008, 12:08:32 am
First, "requested us to tell Gracius" is simply incorrect grammar -- "us" is...
First, correct or not, it's something people say. It's not jarring, and it's not out of place (if this were a loremaster's dialogue it might be, but it isn't).
Second, is it incorrect? It's *not* being used as the subject of "to tell", since "to tell" is an infinitive here. Your argument would work against "requested us tell Gracius", not against "requested us to tell Gracius", surely.
"...requested that we tell Gracius" would work too, but it's more of a loremaster's/diplomat's phrasing than an assassin's.

Quote from: cardtrick's idealized Neleos #1
Before you kill Gracius, the Commercium requests that you tell him, "The merchants guild wishes to remind you that you're still not welcome in this town."
Since we're being picky, this is just factually incorrect: did the Commercium specifically request that the PC tell him? No.

Quote from: cardtrick's idealized Neleos #2
The Commercium has a special request for you. Before you kill him, remind him that the merchants guild says he's still not welcome in this town.
Again - they don't. The Commercium commissioned the guild, not the PC.

Quote
EDIT: To clarify, I know that *'s have been used...
But do you *know* it?
EDIT: I think I agree here though. The *'s worked well for Dak'kon's *know*s in PS:T, since they marked them out as something unique. I think I'd prefer *'s used in this type of situation - where you're supposed to take particular, conscious notice of the emphasis. When it's just everyday emphasis for effect, I'd probably rather see italics.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Sleet on January 08, 2008, 12:22:36 am
#1 - we can always ask the target questions before we off him.
Regarding the face, perhaps combine the bust into the background would be good.

Glad to see our neophyte assassin finally out and about. :)
 


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 08, 2008, 12:44:03 am
First, "requested us to tell Gracius" is simply incorrect grammar -- "us" is...
First, correct or not, it's something people say. It's not jarring, and it's not out of place (if this were a loremaster's dialogue it might be, but it isn't).
Second, is it incorrect? It's *not* being used as the subject of "to tell", since "to tell" is an infinitive here. Your argument would work against "requested us tell Gracius", not against "requested us to tell Gracius", surely.
"...requested that we tell Gracius" would work too, but it's more of a loremaster's/diplomat's phrasing than an assassin's.

I don't think I've ever heard someone say "requested us to [do something]" -- it just sounds wrong to me. Try saying it out loud. You're right of course about the infinitive. You may also be write that it's technically correct. I just think it sounds bad, and that object/subject thing was my attempt to justify my instinct. I don't believe that this is something people say, and it absolutely was jarring to me. I'm perfectly fine with introducing deliberate colloquialisms and grammatical errors into someone's dialog to reflect an uneducated character, but this doesn't seem deliberate and I find it very awkward. I'm not a grammar Nazi, and I have enough posts that I don't feel the need to chime in on every little thing -- I wouldn't have commented on this if it didn't bother me. Changing to "that we" would be a fine alternative.

Quote from: Galsiah
Quote from: cardtrick's idealized Neleos #1
Before you kill Gracius, the Commercium requests that you tell him, "The merchants guild wishes to remind you that you're still not welcome in this town."
Since we're being picky, this is just factually incorrect: did the Commercium specifically request that the PC tell him? No.

Quote from: cardtrick's idealized Neleos #2
The Commercium has a special request for you. Before you kill him, remind him that the merchants guild says he's still not welcome in this town.
Again - they don't. The Commercium commissioned the guild, not the PC.

You call me picky, and you pick on this? Of course the Commercium didn't ask specifically for the PC, but by the same token they obviously didn't intend for literally the entire guild to say that line -- they clearly must have meant for someone (not specified) to say it, and since Neleos has given you this task, that request was effectively made of you. This kind of thing actually is "something people say."

Quote from: Galsiah
Quote
EDIT: To clarify, I know that *'s have been used...
But do you *know* it?
:D


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Priapist on January 08, 2008, 12:45:48 am
Quote
Oh, and let's go for option 1. Our assassin is a no-nonsense badass, and all he needs to know is that he's getting paid.

Yep, that's the one. The other questions are obviously for chumps who don't know their place.

Quote
Commercium requested us to tell Gracius "The merchants guild wishes to remind you that you're *still* not welcome in this town" before you kill him.

If we're going to nitpick, I'd go with "Commercium requested we tell Gracius..." but honestly, I'd leave it as is. If anything, it needs to be *less* like formal speech and more like the jailhouse slang the thieves use:

Quote from:  "Hillbilly Latin Neleos"
'Mercium quist us eddo Gracius "The merchants guild wishes to remind you that you're *still* not welcome in this town" praefore you nect that spur.

...but that's probably overdoing it.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: zhirzzh on January 08, 2008, 02:42:17 am
Go with 3. I'm a data miner.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Palmer Eldritch on January 08, 2008, 02:50:04 am
agree, number 3 please


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Hümmelgümpf der Bruzzelzwerg on January 08, 2008, 06:32:22 am
Number 3 is the way to go. *Knowing* your prey can't hurt.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Helian on January 08, 2008, 08:00:49 am
Go for #1.
Question #3 seems somewhat silly to me, why shouldn't his arrival in town be enough of an annoyance for the guild to have the merchant executed? (esp. as he was warned before, obviously)
I also strongly support having #2 as a one-time question, being able to ask the same question over and over is a real immersion-breaker (unless there are different answers each time).


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Ander Vinz on January 08, 2008, 08:14:47 am
Vince, can you attach a poll to each situation so we can skip twenty posts of  "go with 3 please"?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Oscar on January 08, 2008, 08:17:37 am
I believe this situation it's not important enough for a poll. But there will be times when the fate of our fearless assassin will depend on an important choice, and then a poll might be necessary.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Ander Vinz on January 08, 2008, 08:46:27 am
there will be times when the fate of our fearless assassin will depend on an important choice, and then a poll might be necessary.
like, to kill the ancient evil and get a good ending or side with him and get a bad one.
oh, sorry for spoilers.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 08, 2008, 09:12:43 am
First, "requested us to tell Gracius" is simply incorrect grammar -- "us" is...
First, correct or not, it's something people say. It's not jarring, and it's not out of place...
Definitely. "what do you want me to tell him?", "he wants me to pick him up", etc are rather common and don't strike me as odd.

Quote
"...requested that we tell Gracius" would work too, but it's more of a loremaster's/diplomat's phrasing than an assassin's.
It does sound better, but like you said it's a more polished way of speaking. So, should I leave it as is or replace it with "requested that..."?

Anyway, here is the last dialogue option, explaining the setting to you. When you click option #1 you are automatically taken to the inn.

[attachment deleted to save space]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 08, 2008, 09:15:32 am
Vince, can you attach a poll to each situation so we can skip twenty posts of  "go with 3 please"?
I wasn't waiting for a poll results here, I was simply too busy. There were no decisions to make there, just to learn a bit about the setting.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Gareth on January 08, 2008, 09:28:38 am
That face is pretty hideous. Nuke it please.





Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on January 08, 2008, 10:10:56 am
I don't think I've ever heard someone say "requested us to [do something]" -- it just sounds wrong to me.
I've certainly heard "...asked us to [do something]..." a lot. Perhaps what you find odd is the combination of a word like "requested" with a formation like "us to X" - something of a clash of styles. Maybe it is a little odd, but it doesn't really bother me. If it would bother many players, it should be changed. That seems unlikely though.
Whatever the case, things like this should be changed on the basis of what flows and feels right, rather than on grammatical exactitude.

I do think it makes sense to keep some form of "us"/"we" in there, rather than a "you". Of course "you" isn't technically wrong - it just gives the wrong emphasis. I think Neleos would want to put the guild at the centre of things, rather than the PC and his mission. Speaking of the Commercium, and what they've requested that "you" do, includes the guild only by silent implication.

Quote from: Helian
Question #3 seems somewhat silly to me, why shouldn't his arrival in town be enough of an annoyance for the guild to have the merchant executed?
Sure - that's a possibility, but assumption is the mother of all fuckups. More information can't hurt.
I'd say it comes down to whether the PC trusts the guild to have presented all the useful information they have to him. It might be that this is standard practice for the Commercium, or equally that it's much faster/harsher than their usual approach. If it's unusual, that's a warning-sign, and an invitation to be more careful - unknown motives probably exist, which might involve other powerful factions.

If it's me I'd usually ask the question - unless I thought it'd be seen as insubordination / unprofessionalism / lack of trust....

From the design point of view, it'd be nice if asking more questions weren't always the percentage play - even in safe situations. If the aim is to encourage a more natural, only-asking-what-the-PC'd-ask approach, asking more questions needs to be able to create problems as well as solve them. On the other hand, if the aim is to get the player to find out everything possible about a compelling setting, perhaps encouraging some data-mining isn't a bad thing.
I guess my ideal would be for there to be both positive and negative consequences. For example, in this case, option 3 could contribute towards a reputation for thoroughness, but also towards a reputation for having little trust in other guild members. It'd be nice to see the decisions of guild leaders influenced by these different approaches - perhaps giving missions requiring more investigation / unquestioning-loyalty as appropriate. [naturally this is probably impractical overkill]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Claw on January 08, 2008, 10:11:33 am
PS. That face on the interface bugs the hell out of me for some reasons. I know it's very Roman, but can we replace it with something, Oscar?
I agree. At the very least, I think this image or any replacement should be more faded. When you look at the corresponding picture you posted, it stands out from the stone much less than the image on the screenshot. It should be more watermark-like, especially if it's just deco.


Oh, and #1.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 08, 2008, 10:59:55 am
I don't think I've ever heard someone say "requested us to [do something]" -- it just sounds wrong to me.
I've certainly heard "...asked us to [do something]..." a lot. Perhaps what you find odd is the combination of a word like "requested" with a formation like "us to X" - something of a clash of styles.
Google says that people say "...requested us to..." it quite a lot - 80k matches

...where you have requested us to make a reservation...
...requested us to create a soft look for your...
...projects in the state of NSW have requested us to source people...
...have actually formalized an invitation and have requested us to do...
...information you have requested us to remove...



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 08, 2008, 11:06:20 am
Ha, okay, you win. It just struck me as wrong, but it seems I was mistaken. Sorry to have wasted your time.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 08, 2008, 11:13:10 am
Not a big deal and your concern is really appreciated. As you know I'm not a native English speaker and it's my third language. However, I talk for a living so that provides me with endless examples, personality types, speech patterns, and phrases. The downside is that the way people talk isn't always correct, but at least I can write realistic dialogues.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Helian on January 08, 2008, 05:20:44 pm
*snip*
You are right, of course. Anyway, it's not like I don't want the option to be there, I just thought a low-ranking guild member would be better advised to obey orders immediately, rather than being nosy - but that's an assumption, too, if a reasonable one...Not that I'd care too much at that point, better get the quest going!


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Sleet on January 08, 2008, 07:08:46 pm
*snip*
You are right, of course. Anyway, it's not like I don't want the option to be there, I just thought a low-ranking guild member would be better advised to obey orders immediately, rather than being nosy - but that's an assumption, too, if a reasonable one...Not that I'd care too much at that point, better get the quest going!

Perhaps behind the scenes, asking these questions (or not asking the questions) raises or lowers your rep with that group. Being nosey and asking why the target needs to be wasted may have just lowered our rep in the Assassin's guild..


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Sleet on January 08, 2008, 07:21:59 pm
On a separate note, I like the picture of our intrepid character and how he shoulders the crossbow when in discussion rather than it disappearing into a bag of holding.
Are there similar graphics for when the character carries other types of weapons?
Thanks. :)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Nick on January 08, 2008, 07:28:13 pm
Are there similar graphics for when the character carries other types of weapons?
Yep, chars are using shoulders to carry two-handed weapons, when not in combat.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 08, 2008, 07:28:55 pm
Nope. Nothing that fancy. The questions answer the player's own questions about the setting and events his character is participating in. Throwing a generic NPC that must be killed is less interesting than providing some reasons and explanations, no matter how brief.

I tried to keep it believable, building this exchange not as an interrogation/interview but as a casual shit-shooting conversation. The answers aren't direct and specific, spelling everything out and breaking your immersion. They do give you enough information though:

1. First and foremost, they tell you as Section8 once said "The fact that the whole mini-story revolves around the killing of a man posing a minor economic threat is a great way to illustrate that this isn't fantasy where knights and paladins ponce about on the side of good."

2. Explain that the merchants guild controls all trade, killing independent traders.

3. Mention that the assassins guild is an "honest business" which also tells you something about the setting.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: zhirzzh on January 08, 2008, 08:43:39 pm
As others have said, have you thought about removing data mining options after they've been asked?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: TheLostOne on January 09, 2008, 11:17:08 am
I agree about nuking the face.  What about the face used on the seal of the AoD logo?  Just don't reuse the actual logo.  I hate seeing the name of the game in interfaces and such.  Immersion barrier.

Need something there though or you've got too much empty space.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Yellow on January 09, 2008, 01:43:58 pm
RELEASE THE DAMN GAME


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Sleet on January 09, 2008, 01:45:57 pm
Thanks for the replies Nick and Vince and good to know our hero is in the honest business! :)
How honest we keep him will soon (I hope) be seen.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 09, 2008, 01:56:02 pm
RELEASE THE DAMN GAME
We are slowly getting there.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Claw on January 09, 2008, 08:04:37 pm
What about the face used on the seal of the AoD logo?
Hey, that's a great idea. Isn't the logo based on a coin? Maybe that'd work there, add some colour too.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 09, 2008, 09:48:50 pm
So, what was I supposed to do again? Let's check the journal!

[attachment deleted to save space]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 09, 2008, 09:52:53 pm
While we are looking at the journal, let's see what else is there... A map!

[attachment deleted to save space]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 09, 2008, 09:54:53 pm
And the items list! I may have to sell some items but I'll always keep my memories.

[attachment deleted to save space]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Paranoid Jack on January 09, 2008, 10:26:48 pm
Very nice. Only thing that was off to me was the face in the dialog screen... other than that I like everything I've seen... very well done.

So we are off to make the hit? Or shall we see a local vendor or two first and see if they have anything worth purchasing? Anything that may help us out in case we are discovered during or just after the deed. 


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Sleet on January 09, 2008, 10:31:15 pm
Great screens!
Question can one zoom the map? Scroll? With arrow keys or mouse or..?
Good descriptions on the items. Glad to see the stats. :)

Let's go find our target!


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Claw on January 09, 2008, 10:50:07 pm
I suggest changing "ammo" into "heads" there. I dunno, ammo looks out of place to me.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on January 09, 2008, 11:46:52 pm
Agreed - "ammo" seems like a generic design term, rather than a specific game-world item description.

Also, in the quest description, you want "...Gracius has arrived in Teron", not "...Gracius has arrived to Teron".


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 10, 2008, 12:12:48 am
Really cool. The map looks great in the interface -- even better than in its dedicated thread.

I'm not totally sure I understand the "Items" screen you just showed. That's not the inventory, right? It doesn't list numbers or anything. Is it a list in the journal of all items you have come across in the game, with properties and descriptions, updated as new items are found? If so, that's ridiculously awesome, and I love you. The journal seems extremely functional.

EDIT: Just noticed your "always have the memories" line -- so I guess that really is what the Items page is. Sweet. I love a good comprehensive journal.

My only concerns with the journal are on the first screen, showing active quests. First, a minor stylistic thing -- I think it would look better and be easier to read if the quest description was indented and the quest title was in bold or underlined. Second, I'm a little concerned about the actual description of that quest. It's got flavor, which is good, but it's kind of useless in terms of telling you what you need to know if you're coming back to the game after a while away (which is the whole point of a journal as far as I see it). It obviously doesn't matter much for this quest, since it's the vignette and you can't possibly have been distracted by other events. However, I think it would have been nice if the quest description said where the merchant is (the inn), what the reward is (150 upon completion), and who to report back to (Neleos).

Also, in the quest description, you want "...Gracius has arrived in Teron", not "...Gracius has arrived to Teron".
Indeed.

EDIT 2: Oh, and I support the ammo --> heads suggestion.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Priapist on January 10, 2008, 12:22:42 am
Aside from the few nitpicks people have already jumped on, that's looking really well polished and altogether professional. Not that the various media you've shown previously haven't, but it's great to see it all tied together with the UI. Now go and make Gracius wish he'd never decided to peddle his wares in Teron.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 10, 2008, 12:27:30 am
Oh, and there shouldn't be a comma after the 50% in the stats of the armor piercing ammo/head.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 10, 2008, 09:22:51 am
Very nice. Only thing that was off to me was the face in the dialog screen... other than that I like everything I've seen... very well done.
The face is gone.

Quote
So we are off to make the hit? Or shall we see a local vendor or two first and see if they have anything worth purchasing? Anything that may help us out in case we are discovered during or just after the deed. 
You are automatically taken to the inn (since I dislike walking back and forth). We are waiting for Nick to add some scripts to the dialogue engine. You kill the merchant in the dialogue mode, so the "pull the trigger" line should have several scripts attached to it: replacing the mechant's "alive and kicking" model with a dead body, giving you some skill points, adding comments to the journal, etc.  We are also discussing whether or not the skill points should be paid when you do what you were asked to do or when you report to the questgivers.

Currently the merchant drops dead when you are done talking, but it's a bit weird killing him and then focusing your attention on the bodyguard (so much for "he isn't guarded", eh?), while the dead merchant keeps standing and pretending that he's very much alive.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 10, 2008, 09:30:51 am
We are also discussing whether or not the skill points should be paid when you do what you were asked to do or when you report to the questgivers.

I vote for "when you do what you were asked to do." (Didn't know this was a democracy, did you?) It seems to make more sense, and avoids any weird issues such as when you get the skill points if you double-cross your original questgiver.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Claw on January 10, 2008, 09:33:25 am
Skill points right after the action, definitely. Getting skill points after reporting to the quest giver is gamey. Your character should want to report to the quest giver for ingame reasons, and if he doesn't want to, you shouldn't want to for game mechanics reasons.

It's that simple.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 10, 2008, 09:36:37 am
Question can one zoom the map? Scroll? With arrow keys or mouse or..?
Currently you click on the name (to the left) and see the region where your target is located.

I suggest changing "ammo" into "heads" there. I dunno, ammo looks out of place to me.
Heads could be confusing too, i.e. can I use them or should I get some shafts first? Also, shooting ammo, as strange as that sounds, sounds better then shooting heads.

Agreed - "ammo" seems like a generic design term, rather than a specific game-world item description.
What would you suggest, considering that we use the same "ammo" for both bows and crossbows?

Quote
Also, in the quest description, you want "...Gracius has arrived in Teron", not "...Gracius has arrived to Teron".
Many thanks.

Really cool. The map looks great in the interface -- even better than in its dedicated thread.
Thanks.

Quote
I'm not totally sure I understand the "Items" screen you just showed. That's not the inventory, right? It doesn't list numbers or anything. Is it a list in the journal of all items you have come across in the game, with properties and descriptions, updated as new items are found? If so, that's ridiculously awesome, and I love you. The journal seems extremely functional.
I loved Stonekeep's journal.

Quote
My only concerns with the journal are on the first screen, showing active quests. First, a minor stylistic thing -- I think it would look better and be easier to read if the quest description was indented and the quest title was in bold or underlined.
Good suggestions. We'll do something.

Quote
Second, I'm a little concerned about the actual description of that quest. It's got flavor, which is good, but it's kind of useless in terms of telling you what you need to know if you're coming back to the game after a while away (which is the whole point of a journal as far as I see it). It obviously doesn't matter much for this quest, since it's the vignette and you can't possibly have been distracted by other events. However, I think it would have been nice if the quest description said where the merchant is (the inn), what the reward is (150 upon completion), and who to report back to (Neleos).
Handholding? Anyway, here is an old screen with more descriptions.


[attachment deleted to save space]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 10, 2008, 09:55:29 am
Oh, and there shouldn't be a comma after the 50% in the stats of the armor piercing ammo/head.
No, there should be. AP "ammo" reduces all damage ranges by 50% (i.e. if your crossbow's power does 3-12 points of damage, loading AP bolts reduces it to 2-6, but we add 5 points of damage that will be subtracted from your opponent's armor DR to reduce it.

It may sound confusing but what that means is your AP ammo won't do a lot of damage against unarmored opponents, but it will go through armor like a knife through butter. Basically, we added extra damage that will only be used against armor to reduce DR.

You can craft your ammo, using better metal and special techniques.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 10, 2008, 10:54:02 am
Quote
Second, I'm a little concerned about the actual description of that quest. It's got flavor, which is good, but it's kind of useless in terms of telling you what you need to know if you're coming back to the game after a while away (which is the whole point of a journal as far as I see it). It obviously doesn't matter much for this quest, since it's the vignette and you can't possibly have been distracted by other events. However, I think it would have been nice if the quest description said where the merchant is (the inn), what the reward is (150 upon completion), and who to report back to (Neleos).
Handholding? Anyway, here is an old screen with more descriptions.

Handholding is when the journal tells you how to do something, or gives you waypoints along the route that your character shouldn't know about. Merely writing down what your character has been told by the quest giver is certainly not handholding -- it's what a journal is for.

The old screenshot with other quest entries looks much better on this front. Perfectly acceptable, in fact, although I'd still prefer a mention of the reward you've been offered. I guess the first one is just vague because it's the vignette and there's no possibility for confusion. I really love the item list -- looks like I should try Stonekeep at some point. The Witcher's journal was quite excellent overall, but it didn't have an item list except for alchemical components; of course, there really weren't many objects in the game but alchemical components, so it wouldn't have been very necessary.

Oh, and there shouldn't be a comma after the 50% in the stats of the armor piercing ammo/head.
No, there should be. AP "ammo" reduces all damage ranges by 50% (i.e. if your crossbow's power does 3-12 points of damage, loading AP bolts reduces it to 2-6, but we add 5 points of damage that will be subtracted from your opponent's armor DR to reduce it.

It may sound confusing but what that means is your AP ammo won't do a lot of damage against unarmored opponents, but it will go through armor like a knife through butter. Basically, we added extra damage that will only be used against armor to reduce DR.

Okay. I now see what you mean, but that wasn't obvious at all. The concept isn't at all confusing, but the way it's written in-game certainly is. This is particularly true since right above that entry is one saying "Damage modifier: 2-5 vs DR 2 or less; -5 vs DR>2." (By the way, I would either use a less than or equals sign in the first clause or change from a greater than sign to the words "greater than" in the second.) In this entry (for barbed ammo) you're using the "vs DR" to make a comparison. In the entry for AP ammo, you use the same language and construction ("vs DR") to indicate a change in the opponent's DR. When I was looking at the screenshot, I read that line to mean "Damage modifier: -50% vs DR>5", which made sense when looking at the one above. Now that you explained, I realize that the "+" should have been a clue that something was different, but I simply didn't notice it, especially since the term "5+" can mean ">5", so that associating a + with > wasn't much of a stretch.

I would change the line to read "Damage modifier: -50%; opponent DR modifier: -5", which I think is much more clear and has the meaning you're going for. I used a semicolon there rather than a comma because that's what you did in the barbed ammo entry and I think it's important to be consistent. You could just as easily use commas in both cases.



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: TheLostOne on January 10, 2008, 12:02:08 pm
At the very least use ammunition or projectiles instead of ammo.  Ammo sounds modern and generic.  You could even use shaft since that term is occaisionally used to describe the entire missile.  Ammo just doesn't fit.

I also agree with Cardtrick in that the piercing description needs clarification, and the barbed needs consistency before and after the semicolon.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 10, 2008, 12:07:33 pm
Everyone's happy with shafts?

Regular shafts, Barbed shafts, Armor-piercing shafts, Poisoned barbed shafts, Hardened armor-piercing shafts...


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: luckyb0y on January 10, 2008, 12:39:30 pm
Just to second cardtrick's suggestion about quest entries. He's right that you should be able to know all the information that you received getting the quest from reading the journal entry. I rarely have the time to play games and sometimes get beck to playing them after few weeks (or even months) break and it's really frustrating if I can't remember what the hell I was supposed to be doing anymore. I wouldn't call that handholding. Can you review the conversations that you had in game - that would be enough.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Tuomas on January 10, 2008, 12:53:31 pm
I'm in love with the item list in the journal. Have I mentioned that the rope icon is the best rope icon I've ever seen? :D

(Speaking of journal entries, I was reading the Gothic 3 manual the other day and came across a section I really liked. It was a timeline of the major events that happened in the history of the world and in the previous Gothic games. I thought something like that could be a good addition to the AoD manual. I don't mean the events before the Fall but after it; how the power relations between the factions developed and how the world recovered from the apocalypse.)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: puppyonastik on January 10, 2008, 02:20:34 pm
Everyone's happy with shafts?

Your shaft looks fine to me, Vince. Ignore what the other men/women may say.

In all seriousness, I didn't pay much attention to the arrows past the heads, since that's all that matters. I guess you can darken up the shafts a bit to match the grittiness of the rest of the game. They look a bit too clean to me, but I like it dirty.  lol



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Oscar on January 10, 2008, 02:52:43 pm
Those icons will be changed. :)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Isegrim on January 10, 2008, 04:05:08 pm
No one else reacted to the spelling of "accesories" in the item list? It's missing an 's'.

About the old quest log screen: The the end of the description of the Imperial Guard quest "Not exactly what you've had in mind when you signed up, but it's a start". Ignoring the grammar the problem is that thoughts are put into the PC's mind without the player having any say, which robs the player of authorship. Maybe the player's PC just signed up for an opportunity to bash some skulls - who is the developer to say that that simply isn't the case?

Anyway. Looking good.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Claw on January 10, 2008, 04:08:31 pm
Shafts sounds like a good substitute for ammo. Maybe you could call the arrows slash bolts "shafts with barbed heads" etc. or would that be too long? Just because my mind revolts slightly at the thought of "barbed shafts". In any case shaft is a much better term than ammo.

Also, I agree the comma doesn't really convey any useful information. My suggestion: "50%; DR-5" That should be clear enough for most players.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: grisse on January 10, 2008, 06:51:03 pm
About the old quest log screen: The the end of the description of the Imperial Guard quest "Not exactly what you've had in mind when you signed up, but it's a start". Ignoring the grammar the problem is that thoughts are put into the PC's mind without the player having any say, which robs the player of authorship. Maybe the player's PC just signed up for an opportunity to bash some skulls - who is the developer to say that that simply isn't the case?
I think "not exactly what you had in mind" is open enough to allow some authorship. Bashing some skulls isn't the same as dressing up, then bashing some innocent (as in they didn't strike first) skulls. A simple mercenary might not like political games and deceit, even brawlers have their code of honour.
And since the Imperial Guard's ultimate goal is restoration of the Empire to it's former glory, a raw recruit might believe that the way there will be glorious as well.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Isegrim on January 10, 2008, 07:16:50 pm
The fact remains though, that the text tells the player what his/her character thinks in a game where (unless I'm gravely mistaken) the player should be free to form his own character.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: grisse on January 10, 2008, 07:49:26 pm
The fact remains though, that the text tells the player what his/her character thinks in a game where (unless I'm gravely mistaken) the player should be free to form his own character.
I agree with you, the journal should be a collection of facts rather than a diary. That bit just seems rather minor and fitting (for most fresh mercenaries) to me.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on January 10, 2008, 07:55:02 pm
Perhaps the sentiment could be rephrased as fact - e.g. what you were told; what you were led to believe; that there was no mention of this sort of thing in the brochure....


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Oscar on January 10, 2008, 07:55:13 pm
Mayhap change it to "Perhaps it's not exactly what you've had in mind when you signed up, but it's a start".

Keeps the flavor, but leaves the space for the possibility that it was exactly what you had in mind.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 10, 2008, 07:59:57 pm
I agree that a game should never tell you what you think, feel, and want. Had it said "you're disappointed...", you would be 100% correct. "Not exactly what you had in mind" is a vague phrase that doesn't state what exactly you had in mind and how you feel at the moment. It could be anything from "Oh, noes, I'm killing innocent people!" to "Awesome! I get to pillage and plunder on my first day!"


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Argence on January 11, 2008, 02:25:30 am
Regular shafts, Barbed shafts, Armor-piercing shafts, Poisoned barbed shafts, Hardened armor-piercing shafts...

My god, it sounds like a Terry Goodkind novel...


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Scott on January 11, 2008, 09:54:48 am
It may sound confusing but what that means is your AP ammo won't do a lot of damage against unarmored opponents, but it will go through armor like a knife through butter. Basically, we added extra damage that will only be used against armor to reduce DR.
This doesn't make sense to me.  If I understand what you're saying, the purpose of armor-piercing bolts is to destroy armor?

I think that's what a javelin would do:  it would stick in a shield and make it unwieldy or tear through chainmail.  But a narrow headed bolt would presumably just stick like a pin in a pincushion and not be much of an inconvenience.  The physics of it suggest to me that bypassing the armor and dealing damage would be the point of a bolt.  This is why arrows are so devastating against heavily armored opponents after all.

Also the rope looks like a spaghetti noodle, at least at the resolution I'm seeing.  The shape is right, but it doesn't have any texture or hairiness.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 11, 2008, 10:36:36 am
As I understand it, they don't destroy armor -- they just ignore 5 points of the opponent's damage resistance, despite doing 50% less damage overall. This means it will be superior against heavy armor, but much less effective against light or medium armor.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 11, 2008, 10:37:03 am
It may sound confusing but what that means is your AP ammo won't do a lot of damage against unarmored opponents, but it will go through armor like a knife through butter. Basically, we added extra damage that will only be used against armor to reduce DR.
This doesn't make sense to me.  If I understand what you're saying, the purpose of armor-piercing bolts is to destroy armor?
No.

Let's say you wear armor with DR8. It means that the armor will absorb 8 points of damage per attack. Now AP increases the penetration, which means that the armor absorbs less and more damage is getting through. So, instead of using all 8 DR points, we use a temporary DR modifier (-5) to calculate the AP damage. In the descriptions, we use + x points vs DR, which means that there is an extra value to be added to your damage roll that will be applied only to your opponent's armor DR (i.e. if your opponent isn't wearing any armor, and you are using AP ammo for whatever reason, the extra AP value won't be applied.)

Acids do reduce armor DR permanently (x points per x turns; depends on your alchemy or if you bought/found it, on whoever's made it skills).
 
Quote
The physics of it suggest to me that bypassing the armor and dealing damage would be the point of a bolt.  This is why arrows are so devastating against heavily armored opponents after all.
That's pretty much what we have.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Priapist on January 11, 2008, 10:44:41 am
So the formula would be Actual Damage = (Raw Damage * AP multiplier) - (DR - AP modifier) with some conditional bits to handle barbed heads?

Right now it seems a bit underpowered - as soon as you start dealing more than 10 damage in a hit, then AP becomes redundant. For instance, a standard head doing 15 damage vs DR 10 does 5 damage, while 15 raw damage with an AP head only ends up doing 2.5 damage. Or an extreme example - 40 standard vs DR 20 does 20 damage / 40 AP vs DR 20 does 5 damage.

Or are you calculating the 50% after the calculation against DR? ie, Actual Damage = AP multiplier * (Raw Damage - (DR - AP modifier)) You'd get slightly higher results that way, but standard ammo still remains superior if you're dealing heavy blows against heavy armour. It may be that you just don't have that sort of situation in AoD, in which case, nevermind, but something irks me about the current formula.



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 11, 2008, 10:46:23 am
So the formula would be Actual Damage = (Raw Damage / AP multiplier) - (DR - AP modifier) with some conditional bits to handle barbed heads?

Right now it seems a bit underpowered - as soon as you start dealing more than 10 damage in a hit, then AP becomes redundant. For instance, a standard head doing 15 damage vs DR 10 does 5 damage, while 15 raw damage with an AP head only ends up doing 2.5 damage. Or an extreme example - 40 standard vs DR 20 does 20 damage / 40 AP vs DR 20 does 5 damage.



Yeah, but in a game where characters have on the order of 20-40 HPs, 10 damage on a hit is a hell of a lot. I did think the same thing when I first saw the items list, though. Presumably if it's really unbalanced it will be tweaked during testing. After all, that's an easy fix.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: jeansberg on January 11, 2008, 11:21:38 am
It may sound confusing but what that means is your AP ammo won't do a lot of damage against unarmored opponents, but it will go through armor like a knife through butter. Basically, we added extra damage that will only be used against armor to reduce DR.
This doesn't make sense to me.  If I understand what you're saying, the purpose of armor-piercing bolts is to destroy armor?
No.

Let's say you wear armor with DR8. It means that the armor will absorb 8 points of damage per attack. Now AP increases the penetration, which means that the armor absorbs less and more damage is getting through. So, instead of using all 8 DR points, we use a temporary DR modifier (-5) to calculate the AP damage. In the descriptions, we use + x points vs DR, which means that there is an extra value to be added to your damage roll that will be applied only to your opponent's armor DR (i.e. if your opponent isn't wearing any armor, and you are using AP ammo for whatever reason, the extra AP value won't be applied.)

Acids do reduce armor DR permanently (x points per x turns; depends on your alchemy or if you bought/found it, on whoever's made it skills).
 
Quote
The physics of it suggest to me that bypassing the armor and dealing damage would be the point of a bolt.  This is why arrows are so devastating against heavily armored opponents after all.
That's pretty much what we have.
Does this mean that certain enemies can permanently destroy your armor? That would be pretty cool. In a fight with them you would have to choose between wearing a good suit of armor for safety or a cheaper suit...


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 11, 2008, 11:46:52 am
Right now it seems a bit underpowered...
You have a point there and we'll play with the numbers.

Quote
Or an extreme example - 40 standard vs DR 20 does 20 damage / 40 AP vs DR 20 does 5 damage.
Our numbers don't go that high.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 11, 2008, 11:51:17 am
Does this mean that certain enemies can permanently destroy your armor? That would be pretty cool. In a fight with them you would have to choose between wearing a good suit of armor for safety or a cheaper suit...
Well, we don't have acid-spitting enemies. Overall, acid is rare, but when it's used it's very effective. As for you, you'll have a choice: try to defeat your tough opponent without damaging his shiny armor or use acid if you have some and say goodbye to his armor.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Mephisto on January 11, 2008, 11:58:17 am
And if its used on you? You end with a damaged armor you cant repair?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 11, 2008, 01:44:50 pm
Yep. It won't happen often though.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Mephisto on January 11, 2008, 01:54:55 pm
Well, that kinda sucks. Is there a way to fix it? Maybe recraft the armor if you have the skill?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 11, 2008, 02:04:17 pm
Well, that kinda sucks.
Being killed also sucks, no?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Mephisto on January 11, 2008, 02:12:31 pm
If Im killed, I reload. So if my armor gets damaged beyond repair should I reload too?

But you didn´t answer my question: Can I recraft the armor if I have the skill?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on January 11, 2008, 03:23:58 pm
Well, that kinda sucks.
Why? Seriously - why should a setback make your experience of the game less entertaining? In fact in many ways it's worse if you can easily regain similar armour - since it means the event becomes nothing more than a time-sink. It's preferable if you're forced to step back, reassess, and take some action more meaningful than to spend-ten-minutes-getting-back-to-exactly-the-same-situation.
All that's important is that such setbacks change gameplay dynamics in interesting ways. If you can easily get everything back to how it was without consequence, that's not a good thing - it's a missed opportunity.


Quote from: Vince
You have a point there and we'll play with the numbers.
Good to know - but let me appeal again for as much of the mechanics as is simply/conveniently possible to be driven from text files or similar (ideally formulae as well as variables, but perhaps that's unlikely). Hopefully you'll get things well balanced, but you can't hope to test to the same level/breadth as thousands of users.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Mephisto on January 11, 2008, 03:41:00 pm
Quote
Why? Seriously - why should a setback make your experience of the game less entertaining? In fact in many ways it's worse if you can easily regain similar armour - since it means the event becomes nothing more than a time-sink. It's preferable if you're forced to step back, reassess, and take some action more meaningful than to spend-ten-minutes-getting-back-to-exactly-the-same-situation.
All that's important is that such setbacks change gameplay dynamics in interesting ways. If you can easily get everything back to how it was without consequence, that's not a good thing - it's a missed opportunity.

I completely agree with that. How can it be made a interesting consequence? All I can think is when that happens is that you will spend 20 minutes looking for a merchant that sells the same armor and spend some money to get back to the same situation you where before, which was optimal. Or if you are a crafter you melt it, use some spare ore and forge it back. Unless you are a masochist and want to go around with a sub-par armor with no reason whatsoever to do so.

I agree with you that its not interesting to do that, that is a time sink, but what is the other choice? To go around with a destroyed armor? That surely changes gameplay, but it is not interesting. How can it be made interesting? Besides, going with the broken armor is a "fake consequence" since you will have merchant and crafting at your disposal to revert the situation.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on January 11, 2008, 04:16:43 pm
To go around with a destroyed armor? That surely changes gameplay, but it is not interesting. How can it be made interesting?
It can certainly be interesting, since it can have huge consequences for gameplay. As an extreme example, consider armour that acts as an effective God-mode. Does losing that make the game more interesting? Yes. Why? Because it introduces new risks, changes reasonable strategies.... Losing less extreme armour can do the same - both in and out of combat.
If losing armour simply means that the player follows the same strategies, but is slightly less efficient, the system is lacking.

Quote
Besides, going with the broken armor is a "fake consequence" since you will have merchant and crafting at your disposal to revert the situation.
Sure, but I never suggested this. I'm suggesting design with consequences - which forces the player to make tough choices, based on negative consequences of regaining the armour (or equivalent). [expecting that the player should take idiotic actions just to keep things interesting, would indeed be daft.]
For example, time lost can have significant implications for almost any game element. Money lost can be very significant, so long as money is limited, and time spent to regain it (if that's possible) would have negative consequences elsewhere. Going to certain locations can have negative implications - if you're wanted for crimes in an area; if enemies are tracking you; if you haven't paid your debts; if your presence there tips off enemies that you weren't killed, or that agents of faction X are operating in the area. Travel can be dangerous in itself....

The trouble is that players are so used to wandering around wasting time and making money without any meaningful consequence - so any setback is instantly presumed to be nothing more than a tiresome delay. The fault isn't with the player who spends ten minutes getting back to the same situation - it's with design that incentivizes this playstyle. (or arguably with both - but the design clearly isn't optimal)

A recent counter-example (in some cases) would be MotB - where time was a constant life-and-death issue for some character types. While it's arguable that this wasn't ideally handled, I think it's the type of mechanic that should be applauded - precisely for the above reasoning. Perhaps more wide-ranging, less in-your-face mechanisms would be preferable, but the MotB system was much better than nothing.
Another would be Fallout on a first playthrough, if you're taking the possibility of time-limit-based failure seriously. The initial presence of a known time-limit, combined with an unknown water-chip location provides a sense of urgency - clear reasons not to spend too much time messing around re-equipping. Then the presence of an unknown time-limit (how long until they find the vault?) combined with somewhat clearer objectives, functions similarly. Combined with the implications of late arrival in places like Necropolis, this works fairly well as a more hands-off incentive [though only works well until the player knows the time-limits and locations more clearly].


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Scott on January 11, 2008, 05:03:07 pm
I agree that the Fallout time-quest model was very well done, and there was plenty of time to get the water chip anyway, even the first time I played.  But like not being able to save whenever you want, player time restraints are almost universally loathed and generally the idea generates a HUGE hue and cry if you bring it up.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on January 11, 2008, 05:32:51 pm
...player time restraints are almost universally loathed and generally the idea generates a HUGE hue and cry if you bring it up.
Being loathed on a knee-jerk basis by unthinking muppets who don't look further than their first daft presumption is not a reason to dismiss design ideas. Neither is "hue and cry".

Most people have many ill-thought-through notions of features they think they like/hate - often based on anecdotal pleasant/unpleasant associations with one, or a few, specific implementations. Treating these notions as though they are thoroughly considered, well-researched and reasoned conclusions on the fundamental ideas, is just daft. I'm not even excluding myself here - a load of my initial assumptions don't stand up to scrutiny. This is why design has to be about thinking things through extensively - not polling for cretinous assumption, hue and cry.

In particular, anyone who is against "time constraints" in a general sense is clearly talking rubbish - they're present throughout almost every game. Being against Fallout-style explicit hard limits makes more sense - but ought to be supported by reasoned argument, nonetheless.

EDIT: further discussion on this probably belongs elsewhere though.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Claw on January 11, 2008, 08:07:08 pm
You have a point there and we'll play with the numbers.
Does he? I do recall you posting a table of numbers showing that AP is terribly overpowered. Edit: Oh, I guess you changed it.
Maybe you could do what many other games do: Halve the damage after damage reduction.
Then, 15 damage against DR10 would result in 5 damager either way.

PS: OIC


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 14, 2008, 08:09:19 pm
Ok. Here is our development progress report: the scripts are in and working; we had a weird problem with shadows that took 2 days to fix, and now we have a new issue. In dialogue and other non-combat situations, characters' put weapons down or on their shoulders (two handed weapons). When you ready your weapon, you enter combat and leave the dialogue mode. As a result this conversation (see the screens attached) looks like a friendly chat.

It will probably take another day or two to fix it, so we might as well give you something to look at and consider while we are trying to figure out how to handle it.
...
So, our brave assassin has accepted the mission and was magically transported to the inn where the doomed merchant was staying.

So, option 1 or option 2?


[attachment deleted to save space]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Tuomas on January 14, 2008, 08:37:40 pm
1. Let Titus try his intimidation skills on the guard.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Paranoid Jack on January 14, 2008, 09:36:38 pm
2. Attack

We don't want to leave any witness alive. But I must admit I am curious what his response may be to number 1.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: TheLostOne on January 14, 2008, 09:40:14 pm
Attack!  My secret identity cannot be revealed!


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: namad on January 14, 2008, 09:43:55 pm
option 1!

it's great and witty....

and less boring than attacking which we can always just do next anyways


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Mehler on January 14, 2008, 09:52:17 pm
#1! Titus doesn't work for free!


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 14, 2008, 09:55:11 pm
More votes? I'm dying to know what happens next.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on January 14, 2008, 10:06:05 pm
More votes? I'm dying to know what happens next.
I say the first line. Nice joke :P

Anyway, I hope the game will have more dialog options on those occasions. What if I say I'll do the job but the reach the target only to find I don't really want to do it. Won't the game allow me to choose, always? I ask this because I sometimes choose something thinking beforehand I won't do it, but then, when the time comes where I should... "betray" my employer, there's no choice for me to do... I don't like that. How ill AoD handle it?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: roshan on January 14, 2008, 10:19:58 pm
I vote for the first line too, something different from the norm.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: puppyonastik on January 14, 2008, 10:21:01 pm
Option 1 please.

I still don't like the idea of making the player to use a crossbow if they happen to choose an assassin. I can understand the importance of it in certain situations such as in one of the past screens showing a mission where you need to fire through holes. However it strikes me as unneeded limiting of a player's choice to force it on them and then back it up in the dialog in situations where other options could be used. Besides, In the first quest a knife/short sword would be more than suitable also. I'd completely prefer if items given at start up were given based on skill choices as was suggested a while ago.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 14, 2008, 10:26:47 pm
Anyway, I hope the game will have more dialog options on those occasions. What if I say I'll do the job but the reach the target only to find I don't really want to do it. Won't the game allow me to choose, always? I ask this because I sometimes choose something thinking beforehand I won't do it, but then, when the time comes where I should... "betray" my employer, there's no choice for me to do... I don't like that. How ill AoD handle it?
Plenty of double-crossing options, but the vignettes are linear as you must end up with the map.

Anyway, so we go with option #1. It's an intimidation check and these are always based on your weapon skills. Alternatively: "The guard studies you, evaluating his chances. Finally he makes his decision and charges at you."

So, now we have no choice but to click on the "leaving quietly" option and go back.  Not fighting the guard prevented us from looting the corpse and a chest nearby, but the guard we haven't even seen yet - some tweaks are required, we must move the camera higher for better view - won't die here and we might run into him later on in another town. I bet he'll remember this encounter.


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Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 14, 2008, 10:38:08 pm
This Let's Play is finally getting juicy. Cool stuff. I'm fine with limiting the choices prior to killing the merchant -- as you said, this is a vignette, so you must get the map.

But I don't like that after intimidating the guard you have no choice but to leave quietly. You've now just seen that he's scared of you, so I think it's a little weird that your only choice is to turn and run, especially since this means sacrificing lewt. I think that there are a few reasonable options here --

1) leave quietly, as it stands
2) split the contents of the chest with the guard
3) demand that the guard give you his weapon and leave (requires another, higher intimidate check, or else he rethinks his earlier choice and attacks), allowing you to loot the body and chest

The dialog screen definitely looks better without the face.

EDIT: Also, I love the intimidate line as it's written. Actually, I just like your dialog in general . . . so much of it seems to have an excellent understated cynicism.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Mephisto on January 14, 2008, 10:39:30 pm
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It's an intimidation check and these are always based on your weapon skills.

It would be nice if your reputation its also included. Now you dont have any, but it would be nice if it counted your body count and combat reputation.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 14, 2008, 10:50:36 pm
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It's an intimidation check and these are always based on your weapon skills.

It would be nice if your reputation its also included. Now you dont have any, but it would be nice if it counted your body count and combat reputation.

Excellent idea!


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 14, 2008, 10:51:38 pm
This Let's Play is finally getting juicy. Cool stuff. I'm fine with limiting the choices prior to killing the merchant -- as you said, this is a vignette, so you must get the map.

But I don't like that after intimidating the guard you have no choice but to leave quietly. You've now just seen that he's scared of you, so I think it's a little weird that your only choice is to turn and run, especially since this means sacrificing lewt.
Well, the way I see it, the guard is unsure, not afraid. The merchant is already dead, after all. While he won't attack you now, if you start looting the chest and feeling at home, he might take this opportunity. I thought of adding this option - you either leave or stay and loot, and when you open the chest, the guard attacks, scoring a nice hit, but then you are as good as dead because the guard is a tough opponent, and considering the penalty... Without a penalty, your choice becomes pointless as 99 out of 100 players will loot the chest.   


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: TheLostOne on January 14, 2008, 10:57:18 pm
How about a harder intimidation option to keep him from talking.  Well... I guess this guy probably doesn't have many supporters in the city anyway, but maybe for future contracts to keep from getting identified by enemy factions.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Claw on January 14, 2008, 11:15:22 pm
More votes? I'm dying to know what happens next.
I was too, but after two days without updates I stopped checking every hour. Well, since all decisions have been made, get on with it!

Also, personally I would say I favor pointless options over no options. It adds to the flavor if you can do dumb things. Maybe you should even be able to attack the guard after managing to avoid the fight.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Special_Can on January 14, 2008, 11:32:47 pm
 I don't agree with that Claw. If the option is there, I expect it to lead me down a different path. Flavor choices have been apart of rpg's for way too long and once you start adding them where do you stop? You could end up hiding the real choices leading to certain people believing there is no real choices and consequences. I know you aren't saying to add these things all over the place, but as you ask why not I ask why?

 Anyways, I like the quest. Good to know if the guard lives, he gets involved later on.
 


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Claw on January 14, 2008, 11:44:30 pm
So being killed because you chose to ignore an armed guy while looting the room is no real consequence?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Priapist on January 15, 2008, 12:14:41 am
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Well, the way I see it, the guard is unsure, not afraid.

Maybe you could better illustrate this:

"The guard studies you, evaluating his chances. Finally he nods and lowers his sword."

-becomes-

"The guard studies you, evaluating his chances. From behind narrowed eyelids, he considers your crossbow at great length. Finally he nods and lowers his sword, but shows no intention of backing away."

Quote
The merchant is already dead, after all. While he won't attack you now, if you start looting the chest and feeling at home, he might take this opportunity.

Would it be unreasonable/unfeasible for him to be standing next to or near the chest? That way you have to forgo the advantage of getting a bolt away if you want to try and loot. That might be enough for him to chance his arm. Likewise, he might take offense at you trying to get your hands on the only thing that's going to compensate him for losing his bodyguard's fee. You could potentially integrate either or both into further exposition/dialogue, that way you have those further options, but you make the high risk clear to the player.

If you were to extend it you could easily add another (harder) intimidation check, a persuasion check/bribe - offer to pay his bodyguard's fee and leave, as a gamble for what might be in the chest, a surprise attack, maybe even some kind of warning shot as a slight variation on intimidation, or simply a dumb "walk over to the merchant's chest and hope the guard doesn't mind" option. I think it would be good to have options beyond getting out in a hurry, but failing that, give the player impetus to leave. Maybe the guard lowers his sword, but takes a step toward you and raises an eyebrow. Would that show he's not going to stay non-hostile for long? I think it would work, at the very least it gives you another option of "Right, you asked for it!" in addition to "get the map and GTFO"



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: namad on January 15, 2008, 02:19:35 am
just because you try to bully someone doesn't mean you won't:
     bully them, get what you want, then break your promise and kill them anyways....




there's no reason to not let the person change their mind after seeing the guard's reaction... maybe you just like making cocky jokes before combat, instead of not taunting your opponent


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: puppyonastik on January 15, 2008, 06:04:56 am
I like Priapist's ideas. Much more flavor.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Hümmelgümpf der Bruzzelzwerg on January 15, 2008, 06:06:53 am
MOAR!


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on January 15, 2008, 08:36:12 am
The way I see it, we've got to look at this from the player's perspective. May players, including me, often create a "dialog strategy" at the beginning of most dialogs, even before those dialogs. When the game limits that strategy, it becomes kind of... a deception? I don't know, it sounds right all the arguing and all, but I think I'm not paid for taking out two guys but I'm paid for looting the scene? There's no way of making my PC want to only kill one guy AND loot the scene (or at least the corpse). I think the option should ALWAYS (not only in this case) be included, even with deadly drawbacks. What about that? As long as you have a choice, the game is good. And if the choices are realistic, even better.

So, in the end, I say go for a deadly consequence. It's WAY better that the player has to reload because... hum... "ups, I'm a dead man" rather than a "shit, that's not what I wanted to say". Don't you agree? Because NOW, what *I* wanted to do is quickload and attack the guard... And that's what I would... will do in the real game.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 15, 2008, 10:25:20 am
I don't have a lot of time right now (and I'll definitely reply to and discuss all points you've made), but here is an interesting question:

Many people want meaningful (i.e. not fake, leading to the same outcome) choices *with* consequences. I gave you a very simple choice here: kill the guard or intimidate him. Turns out that the successful intimidation option avoids the fight and, what's even worse, limits your looting experience.

I think that "and less boring than attacking which we can always just do next anyways" comment summarizes what most people expected and explains the disappointments. Intimidating the guard, and then attacking and looting the place sounds lame to me. You want the loot? You must go through the guard. You want to handle things peacefully? Forget about the loot, try not to think about the sweet, sweet loot that the guard must be loaded with, and leave. Sound simple and logical to me, but for some reasons we aren't seeing eye-to-eye here.

Suggested "loot and face teh consequences" scenario is a reload fest that isn't about role-playing but about getting all the loot you can carry. Chris Avellone's cartoon comes to mind here. It sounds that people are curious about peaceful options, but in the end, they still prefer and expect some good ol' fashioned violence. Any comments?

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Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 15, 2008, 10:31:22 am
Quote
It's an intimidation check and these are always based on your weapon skills.

It would be nice if your reputation its also included. Now you dont have any, but it would be nice if it counted your body count and combat reputation.
It does. When you play a merc (the bodyguard in the vignette), if you manage to kill the assassin, you'll see the difference right away.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Bluebottle on January 15, 2008, 10:51:53 am
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Suggested "loot and face teh consequences" scenario is a reload fest that isn't about role-playing but about getting all the loot you can carry.

Agreed. In such a situation (bearing in mind that combat in AoD sounds like it always poses a realistically significant threat of death), opting to risk enraging the guard after he's been pacified with dialogue just seems unnecessarily suicidal. The question then becomes "should AoD present choices which pose such a risk that they are unlikely to be chosen by any sane person?" I'd tend towards the no side here, as (like you say) it just seems to promote a reload mentality.
Then again I am a coward and do tend to play games with an Ironman mentality, even when I'm saving and reloading.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Hümmelgümpf der Bruzzelzwerg on January 15, 2008, 10:59:33 am
I don't think there is anything wrong about missing the opportunity to get some phat lewt if you choose the peaceful scenario. Don't forget that smooth talkers have less expenses, since they don't depend on pricey equipment as much as more combat-oriented characters do.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Priapist on January 15, 2008, 11:11:14 am
Quote
Suggested "loot and face teh consequences" scenario is a reload fest that isn't about role-playing but about getting all the loot you can carry. Chris Avellone's cartoon comes to mind here. It sounds that people are curious about peaceful options, but in the end, they still prefer and expect some good ol' fashioned violence. Any comments?

I can't really deny the fact that people will still want to "game" the dialogue, and you shouldn't necessarily pander to that, but... I don't think that's the whole issue here. The problem is more with what seems like an artificial limitation, and possibly confusion of motive.

The way I see it, most players are going to opt for the intimidation option - as an assassin, your whole modus operandi is fighting on your own terms, with a guaranteed advantage. If you can't achieve that through stealth, then you improvise. So I see that "intimidation" option as stalling while you better assess the situation, to the player's eyes, there's nothing to lose. If they fail they're in combat, which is as good as option #2, and at this point there's no way of telling what sort of advantage either party gets from initiating combat, so it's hard to reason in favour of attacking first.

If they succeed at the intimidation, the least you'd expect is to buy some time. There might even be the expectation that he's going to lay down his arms and trouble you no further. The problem is, the only resolution for success is that you grab the map and scarper, which doesn't seem intuitive from any perspective, and there's nothing to suggest that not fighting the guy will deny you the liberty to either rethink your decision, or take any further action in the situation. That's what I'd expect if I'd failed to intimidate the guard, in that moment after he bares his teeth and charges at you, our quick thinking assassin decide's it's time to go.

I think you can still keep the same overall choice vs consequence - there's no way to get to that chest through non-violent means - but you need to pad out the various options to be less black and white:

    [1]Give the guy who chooses to silently attack the guard some kind of advantage for acting quickly and decisively
    [2]Give the guy who intimidates/stalls a few opportunities to test the water, and progressively stack the odds against him the longer he chooses to push his luck
    [3]Add a third option to grab the map and bolt without attempting to fight or intimidate. Check it against a stat or a skill so it's not an instant escape - the character is making a conscious choice to use agility rather than brains or brawn.

...and so forth. I realise it's a considerable amount of extra scripting, but I think it's well worth it to avoid frustrating players with misleading choices in the short term. For instance - consider The Witcher, where you may provide for a faction only to find that a week down the track they've used those provisions to accomplish something you really didn't want to happen. You suck it up, and think harder about the next decision you have to make.

If that same choice provided the consequence a matter of seconds later, then I'd think a good portion of players would be frustrated and reload in order to game each of the choices and decide which suits them best. It's even worse mere minutes into the game, since unless it autosaves, you might potentially have a player who is pissed enough to abandon their character almost from the outset.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 15, 2008, 11:19:10 am
It's fine if the choice is between leaving peacefully or risking your life for the sake of extra reward -- in fact, that's great. However, it's not clear that that is the choice being made from the dialog.

It is very reasonable for the player to choose "I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down" and expect to have a few options upon success (attacking once the guard's lowered his sword for a bonus, splitting the loot with the guard, bribing him, intimidating him further into leaving, etc.).

I understand that you can't have all of those options. You've made some arguments for why they don't necessarily make sense, and moreover there's the bigger issue of developer time constricting choices. That's fine. But when a reasonable choice is not going to be available, it would be better to make that clear to the player. Otherwise all you're doing is encouraging reload syndrome. If I was playing this, I would want to make the guard back down and then attack him while he's unarmed. (Who wants to leave witnesses?) I would expect that choosing option 1 would lead me to further choices. If I chose option 1, and then saw that I had no option but to leave, I'd be a little annoyed and would probably reload to choose option 2. I don't reload when I make a choice and am not thrilled with the consequences; but I do reload when the game makes a choice for me or doesn't seem to interpret my choice in a reasonable way.

If you can't add the options I want, that's fine. I understand. But please do try to make it clear when such options aren't going to be available. Changing the line to "I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down. I'll just slip out quietly" would at least make it clear that there won't be options to split the loot with the guard, bribe him, or intimidate him further. You could make things clearer still, and really make sure that the player understands his choices, by instead using "I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down. I'll just slip out quietly. [truth]," as Obsidian did to good effect in MOTB. That would be my preference, but you may consider it too metagame-y.

(By the way, someone has posted a response while I was typing this, but I don't have time to read it right now. Here's hoping it doesn't make what I said redundant.)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 15, 2008, 11:44:31 am
The way I see it, most players are going to opt for the intimidation option - as an assassin, your whole modus operandi is fighting on your own terms, with a guaranteed advantage. If you can't achieve that through stealth, then you improvise.
That's a great point.

Quote
If they succeed at the intimidation, the least you'd expect is to buy some time. There might even be the expectation that he's going to lay down his arms and trouble you no further.
Doesn't sound very reasonable though.

Quote
...and there's nothing to suggest that not fighting the guy will deny you the liberty to either rethink your decision, or take any further action in the situation.
Rethinking your decisions sounds awfully close to meaningless options or XP farming.

Quote
That's what I'd expect if I'd failed to intimidate the guard, in that moment after he bares his teeth and charges at you, our quick thinking assassin decide's it's time to go.
You are near the window and the guard is a few steps away (I'll post the overview shot when I get home), blocking the door. When the guard charges you, it's too late to try to climb out the window.

Quote
[1]Give the guy who chooses to silently attack the guard some kind of advantage for acting quickly and decisively
[2]Give the guy who intimidates/stalls a few opportunities to test the water, and progressively stack the odds against him the longer he chooses to push his luck
[3]Add a third option to grab the map and bolt without attempting to fight or intimidate. Check it against a stat or a skill so it's not an instant escape - the character is making a conscious choice to use agility rather than brains or brawn.
I'll consider it. Thanks.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 15, 2008, 11:53:42 am
If you can't add the options I want, that's fine. I understand. But please do try to make it clear when such options aren't going to be available. Changing the line to "I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down. I'll just slip out quietly" would at least make it clear that there won't be options to split the loot with the guard, bribe him, or intimidate him further. You could make things clearer still, and really make sure that the player understands his choices, by instead using "I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down. I'll just slip out quietly. [truth]," as Obsidian did to good effect in MOTB. That would be my preference, but you may consider it too metagame-y.
We'll consider that as well. *scratches head.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Priapist on January 15, 2008, 12:07:16 pm
Quote
Rethinking your decisions sounds awfully close to meaningless options or XP farming.

Okay, rethinking was probably a bad word. I wasn't thinking in terms of a "do over", more along the lines of giving the player reasonable opportunity (or information) when they're choosing what essentially amounts to a course of action to remove them from a once-off situation, never to return.

Quote
I'll just slip out quietly.

I'd be happy enough with that. It makes it clear that you're almost bargaining your way out of a potentially hostile situation, rather than defusing it.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on January 15, 2008, 12:23:04 pm
Any comments?
That's why I expect the game to reward me for going for a peaceful solution, with experience and possibly loot. I don't wanna kill the guy (I just said so in the dialog!), I just might wanna loot the place...

But that's ok if you don't think it's coherent and consistent.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 15, 2008, 12:29:37 pm
Any comments?
That's why I expect the game to reward me for going for a peaceful solution, with experience and possibly loot.
It does, but not every time and not everywhere.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: TheLostOne on January 15, 2008, 12:30:25 pm
I agree that it needs to be more clear.  Playing an assassin I'd want to take as few risks as possible. 

Attacking an armed bodyguard who is completely prepared for a fight: Risky. 

Convincing him not to fight and leaving: less risky. 

Convincing him not to fight and then attacking him while he's off guard to ensure there are no witnesses: least risky in the long term. 

That's my train of thought.  Now this isn't PnP and you can't put everyone's favorite option in the game, but in a game like this with many choices that tries to emulate PnP choice heavy gameplay it's important to clarify when a choice just doesn't exist.

As far as the Witcher example goes, the main difference is that in one example you're being suprised by what an NPC chooses to do, but in the other you're being suprised by what the character you're playing chooses to do.  That should never happen unless you're playing a predefined character like TNO or Geralt.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 15, 2008, 03:12:32 pm
Okay, rethinking was probably a bad word. I wasn't thinking in terms of a "do over", more along the lines of giving the player reasonable opportunity (or information) when they're choosing what essentially amounts to a course of action to remove them from a once-off situation, never to return.
So, what would you suggest then?

PC says: I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down.

The guard studies you, evaluating his chances. From behind narrowed eyelids, he considers your crossbow at great length. Finally he nods and lowers his sword, but shows no intention of backing away.

Then what?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Sleet on January 15, 2008, 03:20:30 pm
Agree with cardtrick. Should be an option to do more.
Good dialogue, some options:

As he lowers his sword,
  • You nod to the chest. "Tell ya what, let's split what's in there." (Influence roll: success you split the swag and go your separate ways. Fail: battle!)
  • "Drop the blade then my friend, and leave now." (intimidate roll - successful he leaves you can loot room. Fails: battle!)
  • "I think you need a new boss. Want to work for the TRUE power in this town?" Discuss with guard your guild and its many benefits! (influence roll - success he joins guild and you gain rep. Fails: battle - cannot leave him now with him knowing your guild! You get all the swag of course in chest either way)

Our assassin is now a vet!  ;)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 15, 2008, 03:42:41 pm
... would at least make it clear that there won't be options to split the loot with the guard, bribe him, or intimidate him further.
Well, let's see: bribing doesn't make sense because the guard isn't a threat and you don't need anything from him; same goes for intimidating him further - how much further and why?; as for the loot splitting option, first, you don't know how much loot is there, so making deals sounds bit "munchkinish" to me. It's one thing if you can tell "The merchant brought ten large diamonds with him. Keep your mouth shut and you can keep four.", it's quite another saying "If you let me loot the room, I'll give you half of whatever junk I find!" Besides, here is what you get from the dead merchant and the chest:

200 imperials:
robe
the map
curved dagger
several gem stones

How would you split it with the guard?




Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 15, 2008, 03:47:35 pm
You nod to the chest. "Tell ya what, let's split what's in there." (Influence roll: success you split the swag and go your separate ways. Fail: battle!)
That can work.

Quote
"Drop the blade then my friend, and leave now." (intimidate roll - successful he leaves you can loot room. Fails: battle!)
You would want the guard to leave the room and alert the inn crowd that there is an assassin in the room?

Quote
"I think you need a new boss. Want to work for the TRUE power in this town?" Discuss with guard your guild and its many benefits! (influence roll - success he joins guild and you gain rep. Fails: battle - cannot leave him now with him knowing your guild! You get all the swag of course in chest either way)
Your guild is well known. It's a "legitimate" dispute-solving business.



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Special_Can on January 15, 2008, 03:47:56 pm
So being killed because you chose to ignore an armed guy while looting the room is no real consequence?

 Like other people already pointed out, and my point was that if you start to add dialogue choices for every idiot or mistake out there, you have an infinite number of things you can add. It's fun, especially with a game that thrives in that sort of thing and such an open developer. Vince has to draw a line, and I think he drew it.  ;)

 Vince: Can't you just attack him anyways after the conversation?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: TheLostOne on January 15, 2008, 03:48:01 pm
I'm fine with just making it clear that the intimidate option is the end of the scene, but since you asked for suggestions:

* Attack him now that his guard is lowered. (give some kind of ap or initiative bonus or penalty to the guard)

*Slip out silently through the window.

*"You look pretty green, and I doubt you were getting paid much for this job.   The merchant's guild has laid claim to your former employer's belongings so you won't get to keep those either.  How about we come to an arrangement?" Then convince him that you can make it look like the guard was knocked out and the room was looted afterwards maybe even plant evidence that the thieves guild did it if you've got the skills (forgery? streetsmarts?).  You could introduce faction tension there.   You could also choose to betray the guard and not give him his cut afterwards, but that could lead to a bad encounter with him and some buddies later.

As far as how to split it, you'd fence the goods, get a certain coin amount for them and split it or just keep them for yourself and face the consequences.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Sleet on January 15, 2008, 03:52:40 pm
Give him 1/2 the imperials, 1-3 gems and his life.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 15, 2008, 03:55:16 pm
So being killed because you chose to ignore an armed guy while looting the room is no real consequence?
Not really. In-game consequences are something you deal with and live with. Anything that forces you to reload and thus ignore isn't a good example.

Vince: Can't you just attack him anyways after the conversation?
Nope. I've done it this way on purpose to make the first option "meaningful". You want to fight, fight. You want to avoid fighting, then avoid fighting and leave without making a scene.

However, valid points have been raised, so let's review and see what could be done.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: namad on January 15, 2008, 05:46:36 pm
this is how i see the problem.
the outcomes ARE PERFECT.
the second dialogue is misleading... the option of attacking isn't fun or clear at all...


1. say some stuff then something reasonable happens
2. enter combat


this should be changed to
1. say some stuff then something reasonable happens
2. say some stuff then something reasonable happens



so change 2. to something indicating you plan to rob him... something threatening.... a taunt about how he failed to do his job...etc... something cool to say!


people are going to shy away from any option that just sounds less cool because roleplaying involves saying something witty... not choosing your outcome directly without dialogue



also the threat you speak in option two could hint at the fact option two is combat+more reward: whereas option one clearly hints at less combat (less reward) the less reward part is fairly straightforward in it's implication if only part 2 has some dialogue


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: TheLostOne on January 15, 2008, 06:17:09 pm
dunno.  Would a true assassin sit and chat?  Depended on how you want to play him.  I'll probably play a down to business cold motherfucker as my assassin, at least on the first playthrough.

These are only the opening vignettes sure so it's not necessarily indicative of the amount of choices later in the game.  On the other hand, it's the opening vignette and you know what they say about first impressions and all.

I would add a few more choices personally (see suggestions in my earlier post), but it's your vision VD so if it fits better this way then so be it.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Priapist on January 15, 2008, 08:18:44 pm
Okay, rethinking was probably a bad word. I wasn't thinking in terms of a "do over", more along the lines of giving the player reasonable opportunity (or information) when they're choosing what essentially amounts to a course of action to remove them from a once-off situation, never to return.
So, what would you suggest then?

PC says: I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down.

The guard studies you, evaluating his chances. From behind narrowed eyelids, he considers your crossbow at great length. Finally he nods and lowers his sword, but shows no intention of backing away.

Then what?

Okay then, let's see what we can come up with, from the top:



The mercenary looks at you, then the dead body on the floor. He's still trying to decide what to do.

[1] Attack him before he puts his defenses up.
[2] Grab the scrap of paper (?) from the merchant's hand and make a hasty exit through the window.
[3] "I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down."

-----[3a] "I don't work for free either, and you just killed my employer. I'll extract my compensation from your hide!"
-----[3b] The guard studies you, evaluating his chances. From behind narrowed eyelids, he considers your crossbow at great length. Finally he nods and lowers his sword, but then takes a step toward you and raises his eyebrow.

----------[3b1] Attack, and hope it isn't already too late.
----------[3b2] "Don't push your luck! Take a step back and I'll slip out quietly."
----------[3b3] Try to get out the window before he closes the remaining distance.

---------------[3b3a] Not wanting to leave empty handed, you snatch whatever the merchant was clutching and deftly hop through the open window, barely evading the clumsy swing of the mercenary guard.
---------------[3b3b] The mercenary reacts almost instantly. You barely have a chance to get so much as a single limb through the open window before he's upon you.

[4] "Don't think you've failed in your duty. An army of bodyguards wouldn't have been able to protect this fool from himself. Now, I'll gladly pay the fee he promised you if you agree to walk away silently."

The mercenary edges a little closer with every word. By the time you finish your pitch, he's completely negated any tactical advantage you might have had.

-----[4a] "I only agree to walk away victorious!"
-----[4b] "<merc pay x2> pieces, or I run you through and take all you've got.
-----[4c] "<merc pay> pieces. Toss it over and I vanish.



Better? I've left out the specifics of dialogue checks, but I think they're fairly self explanatory.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 15, 2008, 08:52:31 pm
this is how i see the problem.
the outcomes ARE PERFECT.
the second dialogue is misleading... the option of attacking isn't fun or clear at all...
The "attack" option isn't clear? Or fun?

Anyway...

The merchant makes no attempt to escape his fate. The bolt finds his heart and his no longer alive body hits the floor. The mercenary looks at you, then at the dead body on the floor. He's still trying to decide what to do.

1. I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down.
2. Attack

If 1:

The guard studies you, evaluating his chances. Finally he makes his decision and charges at you.

or

The guard studies you, evaluating his chances. From behind narrowed eyelids, he considers your crossbow at great length. Finally he nods and lowers his sword, but shows no intention of backing away.

1. Take what the merchant clutches in his hand and leave quietly.
2. Nod to the chest. Fifty-fifty?

If 2:

The guard relaxes visibly and nods slowly. He opens the chest, smiles, and starts sorting out coins.

1. Wait for him to finish.
2. Break his neck

If 1:

The guard counts the coins and gems twice, and divides them into two equal piles.

1. Take you share and the scroll the merchant clutches in his hand and leave quietly.

If 2:

The guard goes down without a sound. His wide open eyes look at you with indifference.
...

What do you think?

Edit: Just noticed your post, Priapist. Cool stuff.



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: namad on January 15, 2008, 09:35:06 pm
hrmm...

to me "attack" isn't a roleplay action it's a technical action...


even changing attack to something like
"attack immediately" or "attack before the bodyguard can" or even something describing your actions as you notice the bodyguard and choose to turn on him in a cold fashion.... etc... even if you think speech is out of place then perhaps just descriptive emotes for the benefit of the player only

I mean sure it is fine either way... but attack isn't even really a sentence... it feels out of place compared to the heavy flavor and reading of every other screenshot i've seen


what makes me feel attack is out of place is because other people felt confused... i was trying to distill the source of the problem... i felt that the option with the least to say was likely the most mysterious one even if a persons gut reaction says different..

basically attack is fine... but given the interesting writing in everything else I wish attack had some too :-D



on another note i've realized this forum tends to nitpick and argue just to argue... to be honest i am sure both options are insanely satisfying and cool and your "harsh choices" theory really sounds revolutionarily cool

let's do more let's playing! pick choices and continue with em?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: star on January 16, 2008, 09:37:13 am
I think namad is right. If i have two options, one with a cool and witty line and the other one just a standard one-word "attack" as seen a hundred times before, people will tend to pick the one with more flavor, because the writing makes them believe that this is the "more fun" option. It's not a logical issue, just a psychological one.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: JuJu on January 16, 2008, 10:12:12 am
What would be risks of splitting the loot fifty-fifty, Vince? Right now it looks like no-risk option, that hardly anyone would miss.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Astromarine on January 16, 2008, 10:14:08 am
this is how i see the problem.
the outcomes ARE PERFECT.
the second dialogue is misleading... the option of attacking isn't fun or clear at all...
The "attack" option isn't clear? Or fun?

Anyway...

The merchant makes no attempt to escape his fate. The bolt finds his heart and his no longer alive body hits the floor. The mercenary looks at you, then at the dead body on the floor. He's still trying to decide what to do.

1. I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down.
2. (You quickly notice the guard's indecision and decide to make his choice for him, charging forward. The world has no room for dimwitted bodyguards anyway. You're sure his potential future clients would thank you.)

If 1:

The guard studies you, evaluating his chances. Finally he makes his decision and charges at you.

or

The guard studies you, evaluating his chances. From behind narrowed eyelids, he considers your crossbow at great length. Finally he nods and lowers his sword, but shows no intention of backing away.

1. Take what the merchant clutches in his hand and leave quietly.
2. Nod to the chest. Fifty-fifty?

If 2:

The guard relaxes visibly and nods slowly. He opens the chest, smiles, and starts sorting out coins.

1. Wait for him to finish.
2. Break his neck

If 1:

The guard counts the coins and gems twice, and divides them into two equal piles.

1. Take you share and the scroll the merchant clutches in his hand and leave quietly.

If 2:

The guard goes down without a sound. His wide open eyes look at you with indifference.
...

What do you think?

Edit: Just noticed your post, Priapist. Cool stuff.



proposed fix taking namad's opinion to heart.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 16, 2008, 10:34:53 am
What would be risks of splitting the loot fifty-fifty, Vince? Right now it looks like no-risk option, that hardly anyone would miss.
No risks.

Hey, Astro. Glad to see you here.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Astromarine on January 16, 2008, 10:47:37 am
thanks. :D

I guess there's at least a skill check to get the split? otherwise there's really no reason why anyone'd leave empty handed, is there?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Scott on January 16, 2008, 10:48:11 am
I've been reading the copious number of opinions on how to resolve this one situation, and just to put my $0.02 in, I think it worked better the way it was without inserting the 50/50 split option.  It seems cheesy.

The original dialog was concise and made sense.  It didn't offer every conceivable resolution to the situation; no dialog ever will.  It was minimal, but IMO it worked fine for that particular situation, which is an opening vignette after all, not the final boss showdown.

There is such a thing as putting too much thought into a tiny piece of a game.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Mephisto on January 16, 2008, 10:59:45 am
thanks. :D

I guess there's at least a skill check to get the split? otherwise there's really no reason why anyone'd leave empty handed, is there?

I think there should be a persuasion check, which failed makes you leave empty handed.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 16, 2008, 11:02:27 am
I guess there's at least a skill check to get the split?
Yes. That was just a rough draft written in 5 min.

I've been reading the copious number of opinions on how to resolve this one situation, and just to put my $0.02 in, I think it worked better the way it was without inserting the 50/50 split option.  It seems cheesy.
It kinda is, I agree.

Quote
The original dialog was concise and made sense.
I prefer short and to the point dialogues. They increase replayability (imo) as you don't need to swim through tons of screens to resolve a *simple* situation. However, I prefer exploring different opinions instead of dismissing them outright.

Anyway, what about Section8/Priapist's excellent writing? No comments?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Tuomas on January 16, 2008, 12:31:48 pm
I like how it was originally. One of the great things about text adventure gameplay is that you can force the player to accept the consequences of his decisions. He can't have the cake and eat it too. I'm replaying King of Dragon Pass at the moment and loving every tough decision I must make. 


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: mhv3 on January 16, 2008, 01:37:26 pm
I like the original as well.  I do like the adding something to clarify that you immediately leave if you choose to intimidate. ("the I'll just slip out quietly")

It seems a bit unlikely that the guard would turn his back on you to sort through the chest.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: John Yossarian on January 16, 2008, 01:56:43 pm
The conclusions where the guard lets you walk away, whether you bribed him or not, seem a bit fake to me. Everyone in his guild is gonna know the merchant got killed on his watch, so he probably won't get any more jobs from them, and maybe noone else. And all for a few coins and some loot?
That said, I don't mind "intermediate" options, where the PC is trying to defuse the situation, and the merc acts like it's working. Then, depending on skill checks, the merc or the PC gets an upper hand in combat if the PC chooses that route, or it makes getting away through the window easier/harder.
So, I'd be fine with Priapist's suggestion if you take out branch #4 (since without 4b,4c it would be the same as branch #3), and put another level of dialogue chess after 3b2, with pretty much the same results as 3b1 and 3b3, but with different chances depending on whatever skill check you use in 3b2. I'd suggest persuasion for 3, streetwise for 3b2 (because the guard is trying to trick you).  And reuse Priapist's 3b3a and 3b3b because they are great. Alternatively, just axe 3b2 as well.

Also, I'd take any of the suggestions over "attack" if you keep the original. Maybe Vince can give it a try, his writing is always top notch, don't know why he would hold back this time.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 16, 2008, 02:03:31 pm
Also, I'd take any of the suggestions over "attack" if you keep the original. Maybe Vince can give it a try, his writing is always top notch, don't know why he would hold back this time.
It's short and to the point, focusing on the action. Same with run. When you blow your cover in one of the MG quests, simple "Run!" is loaded with a lot more "holy shit! they are about to nail your dumb ass, so you better run, bitch!" goodness than a 3-line sentence.

Personal preference.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on January 16, 2008, 02:25:08 pm
Agreed on the clarity issue - an "I'll slip out quietly" seems reasonable if the consequences are left the same.

I'm not sure about adding the extra options. The current two options seem pretty important, and fitting for the situation. Haggling over possible "loot" in a chest doesn't seem to fit. It also puts almost as much player focus on haggling over trivialities as on the substance of the mission.

I'd prefer that extra choices were focused on the larger issues - e.g. distracting the guard, either for escape or to get some advantage in combat; keeping the guard non-hostile; finding out what he knows; establishing his intentions; demonstrating that you're a mean sonofabitch who's not to be trifled with....
If getting the loot / not getting it / getting half of it... turns out to be a side consequence of some of those aims, that's fine.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: John Yossarian on January 16, 2008, 02:30:25 pm
Short is fine, but as has been said, attack seems more like an interface button than an action. How about just taking Astromarine's first sentence? Or Priapist's 1 for god's sake?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Special_Can on January 16, 2008, 04:00:15 pm
I've been reading the copious number of opinions on how to resolve this one situation, and just to put my $0.02 in, I think it worked better the way it was without inserting the 50/50 split option.  It seems cheesy.

The original dialog was concise and made sense.  It didn't offer every conceivable resolution to the situation; no dialog ever will.  It was minimal, but IMO it worked fine for that particular situation, which is an opening vignette after all, not the final boss showdown.

There is such a thing as putting too much thought into a tiny piece of a game.

 My point exactly, just stated more eloquently.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: namad on January 16, 2008, 04:36:01 pm
even though i've been one of the ones blabbing on and on. I concur with the above post

I agree that even people who dislike the way it original was only dislike it 2% and they are only discussing it because they are pleasently surprised at how much vince listens.  Maybe if we could play through a dozen such conversations though that might be better to do before stalling out the 'play' of let's play AoD.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Claw on January 16, 2008, 04:48:47 pm
Yes. That was just a rough draft written in 5 min.
Thank deity. The guard shouldn't be too willing to share with you.

Quote
Anyway, what about Section8/Priapist's excellent writing? No comments?
I like it alot. I can't see a resolution to the 3b2, but something like "He stops, but shows no intention of backing away." maybe followed by your Fifty-Fifty dialogue would fit. I like how it leads to the option of breaking someone's neck.

Astromarine's suggestion to replace the simple "Attack" choice is also good, but a little bit rambling for my taste. Without the middle sentence it would be just right imo.

Whatever you choose to do, try to avoid dialogue screens with a single option. Which is self-contradictory anyway, since a single option isn't an option. I guess I could live with a completely unambiguous "Calm the guard and leave" choice, but personally I'd like to have some more options.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 16, 2008, 04:52:26 pm
Having just the Attack! option is fine. Actually, I quite like it. It says all it has to say.

On the other hand, I really liked Priapist's suggestions. Good stuff. I'd be happy if that was implemented.

But if that's not implemented, then I just want to emphasize again that my real concern is with the way that the first option is misleading. Choosing it seems to allow your character several options, but then the game forces your character to take a certain course of action. I really don't like that and would reload. This can be fixed by adding "I'll just slip out quietly," preferably with "[truth]" appended to make it very clear that choosing that option means leaving the room.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on January 16, 2008, 06:39:50 pm
even though i've been one of the ones blabbing on and on. I concur with the above post...I agree that even people who dislike the way it original was only dislike it 2%...
I don't think the clarity is a "2%" issue - that's quite important.
As to the rest, perhaps it's not vital, but we're really not just discussing this piece of interaction here: we're discussing general points/issues/approaches/likes/dislikes that can be applied/considered more generally. Of course the amount of focus on this one issue is overkill for its own sake, but the real issue isn't what Vince decides in this one case - it's what he learns from the discussion, and is able to apply to all other cases (where necessary).


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: namad on January 16, 2008, 08:11:09 pm
you didn't get my point.. i mentioned it would be best to let him play a bit more and get a dozen dialog screenshots to argue about instead of one...

we'd have a lot more to base the discussion around and it would be more productive to use vince's time/ears on that argument than this more narrow one


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 16, 2008, 08:14:20 pm
Vince has already said that when he's not posting updates, it's not because he's waiting for us. Instead, something is going on on his end (bug fixing, tweaking, etc.). So why not take the time between updates to debate what we've just seen and make suggestions where we feel that's appropriate? If he wants us to stop, he'll tell us.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 16, 2008, 09:55:12 pm
I like the original as well.  I do like the adding something to clarify that you immediately leave if you choose to intimidate. ("the I'll just slip out quietly")
"I'll just slip out quietly" doesn't sound very intimidating. It kinda ruins the line. It turns "I don't kill if I don't have to" into "if you let me live I'll leave quietly". The main function of that extra line is to communicate something to the player and that makes it a bad decision by default.

Quote
It seems a bit unlikely that the guard would turn his back on you to sort through the chest.
Agree. Well, popular opinions demanded a situation where you can distract the guard and kill him when he isn't looking. I figured that gold is the only thing that would distract the guy and tried to work from there, but I didn't like the outcome. So, I'll try to play with the Priapist's suggestions and if that doesn't work, continue with what we had originally.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: zhirzzh on January 17, 2008, 01:11:53 am
I like the original as well.  I do like the adding something to clarify that you immediately leave if you choose to intimidate. ("the I'll just slip out quietly")
"I'll just slip out quietly" doesn't sound very intimidating. It kinda ruins the line. It turns "I don't kill if I don't have to" into "if you let me live I'll leave quietly". The main function of that extra line is to communicate something to the player and that makes it a bad decision by default.

Quote
It seems a bit unlikely that the guard would turn his back on you to sort through the chest.
Agree. Well, popular opinions demanded a situation where you can distract the guard and kill him when he isn't looking. I figured that gold is the only thing that would distract the guy and tried to work from there, but I didn't like the outcome. So, I'll try to play with the Priapist's suggestions and if that doesn't work, continue with what we had originally.

Just go with the original. I'm not one to shy away from large dialog trees, but this is the vignette. It should be short, interesting, and to the point. Allowing more choices is risky, because it encourages the belief that the role playing has already begun, and will lead to complaints about not being able to spare the merchant and the like.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Pastel on January 17, 2008, 07:54:40 am
"I don't kill who I don't need to. [Grab the map and jump out the window]" should be fine?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 17, 2008, 08:13:40 am
It eliminates the intimidation skill check.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on January 17, 2008, 08:55:50 am
It eliminates the intimidation skill check.
But it's a nice point. What if eliminates the intimidation check BUT the guard will call for assistance and such? Could be a third option...


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: TheLostOne on January 17, 2008, 09:27:47 am
Blarg.

This is not worth this amount of argument.  Yes there are a million cool things you can do, but I don't want this to break down into nitpicky disputes over preference that last 4 days every time a screen gets posted.  Major descrepencies, sure, but this hardly qualifies.

There are valid points on both sides in terms of wanting clarification and the problem with that clarification undermining the intent of the exchange.  I think the more options argument is the weakest as "wouldn't it be neat" discussions shouldn't be in this thread for the sake of tidiness and focus.

The original exchange isn't bad so can we just roll with it unless you've already decided on a different option, VD? 

It's your show and it must go on, as they say.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Oscar on January 17, 2008, 09:52:07 am
What about...

"I was paid to kill one, and since I don´t work for free, you can relax and put your sword down. You will walk away with your life, and my bussiness here will be done."

It still sounds threatening enough, and it makes clear that if the check succeds you will be gone out of the scene.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Nerv on January 17, 2008, 11:12:53 am
What about...

"I was paid to kill one, and since I don´t work for free, you can relax and put your sword down. You will walk away with your life, and my bussiness here will be done."

It still sounds threatening enough, and it makes clear that if the check succeds you will be gone out of the scene.

I like it. No one can claim that it's misleading now.

I also agree that it's far to much discusion for a single dialog tree.... I for one am hopeing to see the game released this year.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 17, 2008, 11:16:47 am
The way I see it most people were bitching about not being able to loot the place, not about leaving unexpectedly.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: TheLostOne on January 17, 2008, 11:28:14 am
I disagree.  At least the initial argument was that choosing the intimidate choice left people expecting to have more options.  Everything else sort of stemmed from that.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 17, 2008, 11:33:22 am
TheLostOne is right. The deeper issue is that the game seems to be making a choice for your character, when the average player can expect reasonable alternatives to be available. One solution would be implementing those alternatives, and that's what a lot of people have been discussing, but it would be just as good to simply make clear that they won't be available by making the player's choice more explicit.

EDIT: Oscar's suggestion was good. Alternatively, "I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down. I'll slip out quietly, and you'll keep on breathing. [truth]" This, to me, makes the fact that this choice eliminates options to kill the guard or loot the room quite clear, and also makes it obvious that you're making an intimidation check. I think the [truth] is important because it makes clear that you won't have the option to double-cross the guard, but I could live without it if you don't like it.

EDIT 2: Also, I'm intending for the word Truth to be capitalized, but for some reason putting a word in a bracket seems to prevent it's capitalization, and I don't feel like looking up the escape character for an open bracket.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Sleet on January 17, 2008, 11:49:04 am
Screw it. Load a shaft and shoot the guard. Hopefully you get a critical - if you don't...  :huh:

[/JK]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 17, 2008, 12:21:56 pm
I disagree.  At least the initial argument was that choosing the intimidate choice left people expecting to have more options.
Why? You intimidate to avoid an unnecessary fight. You either succeed - and then your business is concluded, or fail and have to fight. That was the original idea. The only problem with this setup is you missing out on the looting action.

The deeper issue is that the game seems to be making a choice for your character, when the average player can expect reasonable alternatives to be available.
My turn to disagree. If you character wants the loot, he fights; if he wants to leave, he has an option to leave. As for the reasonable alternatives, the way I see it, the guard either lives and then you can't go through the chest or he's dead and then you do whatever the hell you want. The game supports these two choices.

What you suggest is to add another layer of dialogues leading to the same thing: kill the guard and loot or leave. The original line presents these choices clearly. The only confusion, imo, is from playing too many Bio games where all choices lead to the same thing.

I'm not saying that you are wrong and my original design is awesome. I've been considering what's been said for several days and playing with different concepts, but so far I'm 80/20 in favor of the original design. Mind you, we aren't just talking about this particular design here, but about the overall design of the game, so if someone feels strongly about it, more arguments please. Try to be clear and precise - what you want, why you want it, problems with the original design, and your expectations (and why) when you clicked on the intimidate line.

PS. Keep in mind that your crossbow needs to be reloaded and that's your only weapon, so a guard shaking with fear and dropping his weapons isn't an reasonable option. Same goes for a sneak attack with an unloaded crossbow. We can give our assassin throwing knives, of course, but I'm not sure about that yet.

I liked the idea about killing the guy quietly as you are a deadly assassin of doom, but I really don't see a believable way to pull it off. I doubt that the guard will stop watching you after you kill his master.




Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Sleet on January 17, 2008, 01:35:03 pm
See your points Vince.

My take on it is:
Options
  • You attack and if you win gain all the loot - greedy bugger.
  • Intimidate. You leave advising the guard to keep quiet if he values his life.(No extra loot for you!)
  • Influence: ask guard to split loot with you. If no, you leave or fight (can this be based on how bad you failed an influence roll? Ie. if you fail miserably, the guard laughs at you, attacking as all you have is an unloaded Xbow; you just fail and he lets you leave. You succeed, and he gets 1/2 the imperials and a gem you get the rest)
Only reason I like the option #3 as it uses a different skill. If not to your liking go with first 2 options.
In my opinion. :)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Nerv on January 17, 2008, 02:27:02 pm
I disagree.  At least the initial argument was that choosing the intimidate choice left people expecting to have more options.
Why? You intimidate to avoid an unnecessary fight. You either succeed - and then your business is concluded, or fail and have to fight. That was the original idea. The only problem with this setup is you missing out on the looting action.

The deeper issue is that the game seems to be making a choice for your character, when the average player can expect reasonable alternatives to be available.
My turn to disagree. If you character wants the loot, he fights; if he wants to leave, he has an option to leave. As for the reasonable alternatives, the way I see it, the guard either lives and then you can't go through the chest or he's dead and then you do whatever the hell you want. The game supports these two choices.

The choices are alright. The problem is that (to me and a few others at least) the choices weren't all that clear. I would not have expected the intimidation dialoge to lead to my char just taking the map and leaving without searching for loot.
The slightly modified dialoge (as sugested by oscar) corrects this problem.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 17, 2008, 02:27:57 pm
I would not have expected the intimidation dialoge to lead to my char just taking the map and leaving without searching for loot.
What have you expected?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: jeansberg on January 17, 2008, 03:15:07 pm
Can't we just solve all this by appending a few words to the intimidate dialog option indicating the PC will leave?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 17, 2008, 04:25:04 pm
The deeper issue is that the game seems to be making a choice for your character, when the average player can expect reasonable alternatives to be available.
My turn to disagree. If you character wants the loot, he fights; if he wants to leave, he has an option to leave. As for the reasonable alternatives, the way I see it, the guard either lives and then you can't go through the chest or he's dead and then you do whatever the hell you want. The game supports these two choices.

What you suggest is to add another layer of dialogues leading to the same thing: kill the guard and loot or leave. The original line presents these choices clearly. The only confusion, imo, is from playing too many Bio games where all choices lead to the same thing.

I'm not saying that you are wrong and my original design is awesome. I've been considering what's been said for several days and playing with different concepts, but so far I'm 80/20 in favor of the original design. Mind you, we aren't just talking about this particular design here, but about the overall design of the game, so if someone feels strongly about it, more arguments please.

I am in no way suggesting an extra layer of dialog. I'm suggesting adding a few words to the line you already have. I'm fine with only having the 2 choices you originally implemented. You're right that the two most meaningful choices are leave or kill the guard and loot.

Try to be clear and precise - what you want, why you want it, problems with the original design, and your expectations (and why) when you clicked on the intimidate line.

What I want: Add something equivalent to "I'll just slip out quietly, and you can keep on breathing. [truth.]" to the end of dialog option 1, so that it reads "I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down. I'll slip out quietly, and you'll keep on breathing. [truth.]"

Why I want it: To make clear that after selecting the first option, your character will have no more choices to make and will simply leave.

Problems with the original design: In the line as written, it is fairly clear that you are trying to intimidate the guard. It is  not at all clear that once you do so your character will immediately flee out the window without you telling him to. To me, this means that the game is making unexpected choices on behalf of my character, rather than simply limiting my choices. It's nice for enemies, dialog, plot, etc. to surprise you in a game -- but it's not nice at all for the actions of your own character to surprise you.

My expectations (and why) when I clicked on the intimidation line: I didn't know what to expect, exactly, but I certainly expected to have some choice (unless I failed the intimidation check). I certainly expected leaving peacefully to be one option. I also expected to have the chance to sneak attack the guard -- making him stand down with the intimidation line (which, after all, says to put his sword down) and then getting some bonus, which might have meant having time to load another bolt before combat began, or might have been a simple numerical increase to damage or accuracy in the first round or two of combat. I further expected there to be some kind of peaceful resolution, probably involving another skill check, which would lead to some reward, though less than what I would have earned by killing the guard.

The more useful question is what didn't I expect, and the answer is an end to the scene. Nothing about that line implies to me that I would immediately leave if successful. Nothing implies that that's the last thing I'm going to say to the guard. Further, nothing implies that I'm going to grab the map! No one told me to get that map, and I have no way of knowing that it's valuable, so if you're saying that with the guard there I wouldn't have the chance to loot anything, then it seems a little weird that I would feel safe enough to run up to the merchant and grab a random piece of paper from his hands.

Other comments

The more I think about it, the more I think that the [truth] is essential in the line I'm suggesting. You expect an assassin to be a scoundrel, to double-cross, to lie, to manipulate others to his advantage. Honestly, my first thought on reading the intimidation line was that I could say it, lying, and get the upper hand when I then killed the guard. Having the [truth] makes it clear that selecting that option will rule out attacking the guard, which otherwise isn't obvious at all.

This is an important point in general, not just in this one instance. When selecting a dialog option is going to rule out reasonable choices, that needs to be as clear as possible. Otherwise the character isn't really your own and you don't feel that you're in control of  his actions.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Nerv on January 17, 2008, 04:53:24 pm
I would not have expected the intimidation dialoge to lead to my char just taking the map and leaving without searching for loot.
What have you expected?
What cardtrick said ;-)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: xenocide on January 17, 2008, 05:03:46 pm
Lurker, first post.

I admit to being a little torn here.  After having read this entire thread and knowing exactly the reasons behind the dialog, I think the original is the best.  I do see the confusion however.  If I had just sat down and played the game, I would choose option one expecting to be able to attack latter.  After having my character jump out of the window I would be suprised, then I would reload and do option 2.  Now, I may be to used to games that allow this, but that is what I would have done.

One thing I would consider is this; are there more choices latter in the game similar to this one?  If there are I would leave it as the original just to get people prepared for and used to having to make difficult decisions that have immediate consequences.

So, leaving it as the original would be fine with me.  If things needed to be clarified a little, I agree saying "I'll just slip out quietly" to the guard sounds week.  Maybe instead of saying it out loud, you could have something like:

"I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down."  (Take the paper in the merchant's hand and slip out the window.)

The only problem I see here is it kind of assumes you can just do it and it might seem weird if you fail the check and the guard attacks.

Or if you want the character to say something maybe you could add one line to the guildmaster's speach like "Report back to me as soon as the job is done, don't waste time messing around."

Then have the character say to the guard something like "I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down.  I am going to leave to tell my superiors this scum is dead, but if you insist I can hang around one more minute and kill you to."  I think that is a little more clear.  

All the other discussions about more dialog choices are ok, but for this I like the simple two.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: xenocide on January 17, 2008, 06:57:20 pm
Priapist's post in the "ToughLove" thread gave me another idea.  He said the gameworld should dictate not the designer. In this vein, what if after choosing option 1:

fail: guard is not intimidated and he attacks

pass:  guard backs down but yells "Murder!... The inn guards should be here any second." or somesuch over his shoulder. Leaving the PC with "knowing you would have no chance at living through a 3 on 1 fight you qucikly grab the paper in the merchants hand and jump out the window. 

or

pass: the guard lowers his sword, just as you take a better look at your suroundings, the guard grabs a loaded hand crossbow of a shelf you had not noticed behind him.  Now that he has the drop on you, you know you don't have time to reload so you qucikly grab the paper in the merchants hand and jump out the window.

or someting in that vein.  This way there is a good reason to just leave quickly and you maintain the simple two choice dialog.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on January 17, 2008, 07:59:09 pm
I'm with cardtrick on this. The loot is an unimportant side-issue. The problem lies in the game assuming that the PC is being truthful without asking the player. An "I'll just slip out [truth]" does exactly what's required - it makes player motives and intentions clear, and therefore makes it reasonable for the game mechanics to act on them.

Obviously you'd want more options in an ideal world - possibly including an "I'll just slip out [lie]". The [truth] does its job with or without an equivalent [lie] though - it simply underlines that there could be a lying option, and that this isn't it.


Quote from: xenocide
If there are I would leave it as the original just to get people prepared for and used to having to make difficult decisions that have immediate consequences.
The point isn't about the predictability/scale/immediacy of the consequences. Hard decisions with huge, sometimes unpredictable implications are great. The point is that if an implication is large scale PC action (i.e. leaving in this case), then the player must have signalled a clear intention to make that action. Choosing a dialogue option where lying is a valid possibility doesn't signal that intent. [of course the argument about PC vices and loss-of-control under fear/addiction... can arguably be a reasonable exception to this - but it's not the case here.]

I view this as an interface error: the game is drawing conclusions about player intentions based on dodgy assumptions (i.e. that the PC couldn't be lying or trying to get the guard to drop his guard). Adding "I'll just slip out now. [truth]" deals with it on an interface level.

Your next post gives a reasonable alternative of course - making the player's intentions irrelevant with game-world constraints.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: GhanBuriGhan on January 18, 2008, 04:02:24 am
I add my support to Cardtricks post. It is important that the player knows what the choice he picks means. There is no mistaking "Attack!", but the other option is ambiguous. Therefore either clarifying that line, or accounting for the ambiguity by clearing it up with an additional layer of choices are both viable. Personally I don't like the use of  [truth], because it seems unelegant, and the same format is used to indicate skill checks. Ideally wether it is truth or lie should be clear from the context, and / or the required skill check. But even though It is not my personal preference, using this tag would at least be unambiguous, so I can live with it.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: caster on January 18, 2008, 09:56:50 am
As far as truth -lie answers are concerned i think it would be cool if you would first choose between those two by selecting one and then choose a few different answers from each category.

truth:

answer 1

answer 2

answer 3


Lie:
Answer 1

Answer 2

answer 3

For example. And each would  have a different chance to succeed. Truths are not what people like to hear most of the time and there is a way to say a truth in a few ways (compasionate, brusque, careless, stright to the gut etc)
And lies too, naturally.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on January 18, 2008, 06:28:15 pm
Ideally wether it is truth or lie should be clear from the context, and / or the required skill check.
Maybe that's ideal, but how is it possible in this kind of situation? Naturally the line must seem to fit as the truth in the context, since it needs to appear true to the NPC.
If the player knows it's factually true/false, then it'll be clear, of course. If not, then the player can only guess at the truth of the line based on what he perceives as credible options. The more he feels that the game is open, nuanced, and full of varied options, the more he's going to see both the truth and the lie as credible. To the extent that it's always clear, the game must be predictably railroaded (in this respect).

I'm not sure how often a skill check ID would help. Bluffing, intimidation and persuasion can all be done with the truth as well. Unless you have something like a [tell dastardly lies convincingly] check, I don't see how you'd be able to tell in most situations.

I do share your feeling that [truth] / [lie] identifiers are rather inelegant, but I don't see the alternative. That the player sees the game world as full of possibility is a good thing. Give me an inelegant interface over an inelegant world any day.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 18, 2008, 08:40:34 pm
What I want: Add something equivalent to "I'll just slip out quietly, and you can keep on breathing. [truth.]" to the end of dialog option 1, so that it reads "I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down. I'll slip out quietly, and you'll keep on breathing. [truth.]"
[truth] should come with [lie], otherwise what's the point? [lie] comes with that extra dialogue layer I mentioned. If your xbow was loaded or had the double shot action, then you could quickly shoot the guard when he puts his sword down. So, the question is what are you going to do when you pick the [lie] response? Tell him that his shoes are untied?

Quote
Problems with the original design: In the line as written, it is fairly clear that you are trying to intimidate the guard. It is  not at all clear that once you do so your character will immediately flee out the window without you telling him to.
Ok. So let's say you didn't expect to leave so soon. What did you expect? You have a situation where for whatever reason you decided not to attack the guard, at least not right away. You intimidated him. Then what? My point is that this situation can really lead to two things and my design simply eliminated the boring parts and jumped straight to the point. No?

Quote
To me, this means that the game is making unexpected choices on behalf of my character, rather than simply limiting my choices.
...
I certainly expected leaving peacefully to be one option. I also expected to have the chance to sneak attack the guard -- making him stand down with the intimidation line (which, after all, says to put his sword down) and then getting some bonus, which might have meant having time to load another bolt before combat began, or might have been a simple numerical increase to damage or accuracy in the first round or two of combat. I further expected there to be some kind of peaceful resolution, probably involving another skill check, which would lead to some reward, though less than what I would have earned by killing the guard.
Is the sneak attacking option really realistic? Would you expect the guard to stop watching you even for a second? Especially if you start loading a new bolt? As for the peaceful resolution, what and why? The guard isn't attacking you, you are free to leave. How much more peaceful did you expect the situation to get? Just trying to understand your position better, cardtrick.

If I had just sat down and played the game, I would choose option one expecting to be able to attack latter.
You're given two options: attack and intimidate. Why choose intimidate expecting to be able to attack later, if you have an attack option right there? It sounds to me like an attempt to try all things, like joining all guilds in Oblivion: I have two options, I know what attack means, so I'll try the intimidation option and *then* attack the guard; this way I won't miss anything.

Quote
Priapist's post in the "ToughLove" thread gave me another idea.  He said the gameworld should dictate not the designer. In this vein, what if after choosing option 1:

fail: guard is not intimidated and he attacks

pass:  guard backs down but yells "Murder!... The inn guards should be here any second." or somesuch over his shoulder. Leaving the PC with "knowing you would have no chance at living through a 3 on 1 fight you qucikly grab the paper in the merchants hand and jump out the window.
That's actually a good idea.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on January 18, 2008, 09:08:44 pm
[truth] should come with [lie], otherwise what's the point?
Clarity. With [truth] it'd be clear. Without it, it isn't. Adding a [lie] option is a separate issue.

Quote
You have a situation where for whatever reason you decided not to attack the guard, at least not right away. You intimidated him. Then what? My point is that this situation can really lead to two things and my design simply eliminated the boring parts and jumped straight to the point. No?
No - you might well intimidate him to play for time, to catch him off guard and hope for a combat advantage, to get further conversational options to gain information - possibly attacking afterwards.

Intimidating a weaker opponent into providing useful information, then killing them anyway, is a very common situation in narratives. As a designer, you might know that there's no information for the player to get out of the NPC, but the player doesn't know that. For a player who is definitely decided on killing the guy, but wants to find out what he can first, it's perfectly reasonable to intimidate first.

The whole idea of having to attack earlier because you have that option and "Choices have consequences", is entirely based on gaming the decision tree - not on the reality of the game world. The player should be able to attack when it makes sense in the game world - not when a designer arbitrarily decides he can. If you want to restrict the option to attack after intimidating, that's fine - but you must make that clear upfront if it's the PC who decides to leave.
If it's game world circumstances that conspire to force the PC to leave, that's fine too - but it's probably not something you'd want to do all the time, or it'll seem contrived.

Quote
You're given two options: attack and intimidate. Why choose intimidate expecting to be able to attack later, if you have an attack option right there? It sounds to me like an attempt to try all things, like joining all guilds in Oblivion:
But there's nothing wrong with the player deciding to join all the guilds in Oblivion; there's something wrong with the design which makes this a reasonable possibility.
Restricting things is great - but it should be done using game world tools or explicit player decisions. If you're having the PC leave a significant situation, you either need to make that a clear player decision, or something which is forced by the game world. Arbitrarily forcing it by design is just tacky.

Quote
I have two options, I know what attack means, so I'll try the intimidation option and *then* attack the guard; this way I won't miss anything.
This is a perfectly reasonable mindset for a thorough PC - it's what makes it reasonable to choose to intimidate before attacking: Why shouldn't I play a character who is thorough and wishes to learn all he can before making potentially dangerous decisions?

What you'd call munchkinism is half the player's fault, and half the designer's. Since you're a designer, it's your job to fix the design half - i.e. the game features that allow and encourage munchkinism. You can fix those through arbitrary restrictions that make little sense in the game world, or you can fix them by imposing natural restrictions using the game world as a tool.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 18, 2008, 09:18:54 pm
Intimidating a weaker opponent into providing useful information, then killing them anyway, is a very common situation in narratives.
If you were infiltrating a dungeon, sure. You kill one guard, intimidate the other into telling you something important to the mission and your progress, and then either kill him or tell him to fuck off - makes sense. In this situation, your mission is over and you don't need anything from the guard.

Quote
For a player who is definitely decided on killing the guy, but wants to find out what he can first, it's perfectly reasonable to intimidate first.
Find out what?

Overall, I agree with the criticism. You guys are saying all the right words and making all the right points. However, the question is what happens when you intimidate the guard. What do you do next? What is the reason for staying?

Btw, we updated the update page.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 18, 2008, 09:26:08 pm
What I want: Add something equivalent to "I'll just slip out quietly, and you can keep on breathing. [truth.]" to the end of dialog option 1, so that it reads "I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down. I'll slip out quietly, and you'll keep on breathing. [truth.]"
[truth] should come with [lie], otherwise what's the point? [lie] comes with that extra dialogue layer I mentioned. If your xbow was loaded or had the double shot action, then you could quickly shoot the guard when he puts his sword down. So, the question is what are you going to do when you pick the [lie] response? Tell him that his shoes are untied?

Why does a [truth] have to come with a [lie]? The point of it is to make it clear that you are going to follow through on what you're saying, which the game forces upon you anyway. If the game is going to force your character to take an action, then it should be clear that your choice implies that action. Anyway, we're playing an assassin -- practically any line we say can reasonably be assumed to be a lie or at least an attempt to manipulate the situation to our advantage. The [truth] indicates that in this instance you will have no option but to honor your word if you select that dialog option, so that you won't be surprised when the character you had intended to bargain further with the guard, or attack him when his guard is lowered, instead jumps suddenly out the window.

The player should never be surprised by what his character does.

Quote
Problems with the original design: In the line as written, it is fairly clear that you are trying to intimidate the guard. It is  not at all clear that once you do so your character will immediately flee out the window without you telling him to.

Ok. So let's say you didn't expect to leave so soon. What did you expect? You have a situation where for whatever reason you decided not to attack the guard, at least not right away. You intimidated him. Then what? My point is that this situation can really lead to two things and my design simply eliminated the boring parts and jumped straight to the point. No?

You have argued fairly persuasively that the two best choices might be to attack or to leave, but it should be clear from this thread that those certainly aren't the only choices that seem reasonable to most players. Do you see me arguing to add more choices? No. I'm just saying you need to make it clear to the player exactly what choice he is making. Not the consequences of the choice -- as discussed in the ToughLove thread, having surprising consequences is good. But the choice itself -- that is, what your character does after you click the dialog option -- should be crystal clear. As it stands now, it's absolutely not, since many/most people believe that choosing the first option leads to more conversation and choices, when in fact it leads to grabbing a random piece of paper and jumping out a window.

Quote
To me, this means that the game is making unexpected choices on behalf of my character, rather than simply limiting my choices.
...
I certainly expected leaving peacefully to be one option. I also expected to have the chance to sneak attack the guard -- making him stand down with the intimidation line (which, after all, says to put his sword down) and then getting some bonus, which might have meant having time to load another bolt before combat began, or might have been a simple numerical increase to damage or accuracy in the first round or two of combat. I further expected there to be some kind of peaceful resolution, probably involving another skill check, which would lead to some reward, though less than what I would have earned by killing the guard.
Is the sneak attacking option really realistic? Would you expect the guard to stop watching you even for a second? Especially if you start loading a new bolt? As for the peaceful resolution, what and why? The guard isn't attacking you, you are free to leave. How much more peaceful did you expect the situation to get? Just trying to understand your position better, cardtrick.

Vince, I hope you understand that I'm not saying I want you to implement those options, or that I necessarily think they're the smartest choices for the character. I'm not going to answer your specific questions here, because they're irrelevant.

You're thinking like a designer, I'm thinking like a player. It doesn't matter how exactly these options could be consistent and balanced in the gameworld. All that matters is that I, and others, saw the dialog option and immediately expected it to be followed by other choices. Both in my first consideration of the choices, and after more thought, it seemed to me that there were options worth pursuing. Given that the player thinks he has options, and that the dialog line you wrote does nothing to rule those options out, it is wrong for the game to make the character do something contradictory to those options without the player's input.

If selecting a dialog line is going to make my character break off a conversation, that needs to be clear. (If it makes the NPC offended enough to break off the conversation, then that's totally fine. Unexpected consequences are fine, unexpected actions by my character are not. Unless my character is under some kind of spell.)

If selecting a dialog line is going to make my character attack an NPC, then that needs to be clear.

If selecting a dialog line is going to make my character leave a room, especially one that he can't get back to, then that needs to be especially clear.

If selecting a dialog line is going to make my character give an object or money to an NPC, then that needs to be clear.

I could keep going, but I'll stop. My character should never act unless I tell him to. Grabbing a map and jumping out a window when all I told him to do was say something to a guard is not acceptable.



Vince, it seems like you and I are having a fundamental disconnect on what I think is a pretty important issue. The game actively making choices for your character, rather than merely limiting options, seems quite wrong to me. I'm not sure how to explain my position any better. Galsiah seems to be on the same page as me, and he has a way with words -- any chance you could weigh in here, Galsiah, if you're reading this?

Two more posts have been made while I was typing this, so I'll check them in a minute and edit this if need be.

EDIT: Well, a lot of what I said was made a bit redundant by Galsiah, and I'm realizing that the tone of this post came off strangely angry, which was unintentional. Obviously I'm just trying to make helpful suggestions, and I think you're doing a hell of a job, Vince.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 18, 2008, 10:08:17 pm
Intimidating a weaker opponent into providing useful information, then killing them anyway, is a very common situation in narratives.
If you were infiltrating a dungeon, sure. You kill one guard, intimidate the other into telling you something important to the mission and your progress, and then either kill him or tell him to fuck off - makes sense. In this situation, your mission is over and you don't need anything from the guard.

You're an assassin -- by definition, someone who kills for money. Therefore, it stands to reason that money is pretty important to you. What about intimidating the guard to tell you where the merchant keeps his valuables, before killing him and taking them?

I'm not saying that I want that choice to be implemented, although it would be nice I guess, but it does seem reasonable to me.

Quote
Overall, I agree with the criticism. You guys are saying all the right words and making all the right points. However, the question is what happens when you intimidate the guard. What do you do next? What is the reason for staying?

I'd be quite satisfied with leaving the situation how it is -- you intimidate the guard, and if successful you jump out the window. Just add the words "I'll just slip out quietly. [truth]" so that the player makes his choice knowing that it will mean him leaving.

If you definitely want to add options, I think one possibility is something like this:

[After successful intimidation check.]

(A) Guard: "Alright, you bastard. You've already killed my patron, so there's no point in getting my sword dirty."
                  A1: "What's that in the merchant's hand?" -->(B)
                  A2: "If you want to live, drop your sword. Now." [Requires hard intimidation check. If failed -->(C), if successful -->(D).]
                  A3: "I'm a . . . reasonable [man/woman]. With Moneybags over there now a corpse, I know you must be a bit worried for your, ah, financial future. What do you say you and I split what's on his body and in that chest?" [Requires persuasion check. If failed --> (E), if successful --> (F).]
                  A4: "I'll just grab what your boss was holding, and slip out quietly. [truth]" -->(G)

(B) Guard: "What the hell do you care? It's just some bloody map he liked to look at." -->(A)

(C) Guard: "I don't think so, you sneaking coward. You'll find I won't die quite as easily!." --> FIGHT!

(D) The guard looks unhappy but obeys. He backs up two paces and drops his sword, spreading his empty hands wide.
                  D1: "Get out of here -- and leave the sword." --> CONVERSATION ENDS, GUARD LEAVES. PLAYER FREE TO LOOT.
                  D2: Attack while the guard is unarmed! --> FIGHT! GUARD BEGINS UNARMED.

(E) Guard: "What do you say I run you through like the pig you are, you corpse-robbing scum!" --> FIGHT!

(F) Guard: "Well, it's not like I loved the old bastard. And you're right, I'm going to have a hell of a time getting work after this. Keep your damn distance, and I'll give you your share. You can even have my ex-employer's precious map, seeing as I'm a generous man." [Player must press enter or something.] The guard keeps a wary eye on you, and leaves half the merchant's belongings and a crumpled piece of parchment in a pile in the center of the room. Still watching you, he backs to the door and leaves without saying another word.
                  F1: Take the spoils and leave through the window. --> JUST WHAT IT SAYS!

Quote from: Vince
Btw, we updated the update page.

Looks awesome. Love the commentary, as usual.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on January 18, 2008, 10:11:13 pm
In this situation, your mission is over and you don't need anything from the guard.
Yes - you know this, because you designed the game. The player doesn't.
How is the player to know that it's an entirely straight-forward situation? Couldn't the guard be an important source of significant information? Maybe he has another story to tell, and the assassins' guild has being lying to the PC. Maybe he has powerful friends who'd find and kill his murderer. Maybe he has business propositions of his own....

You know that there's nothing more to the situation, but the player doesn't. It's perfectly reasonable for him to make an attempt to learn what there is to be learned before taking serious action - even if he plans to kill the guy.

Quote
However, the question is what happens when you intimidate the guard. What do you do next? What is the reason for staying?
There doesn't necessarily have to be any next: all that's absolutely necessary is that this is clear to the player before he makes the decision. If you make it perfectly clear that he can either attack or leave, then he both knows there's nothing more to learn, and is clear on the direct consequences of his options.

Of course you could add more options after the intimidation - but that's not necessary. All that's necessary is to realize that it's reasonable for the player to think that there might be such options - and that his choice is being made on that basis. Once you clearly communicate that those options don't exist, he's making the decision on the basis you describe - i.e. to attack or avoid attacking.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: namad on January 19, 2008, 03:18:07 am
how about the guard replies to intimidation by saying "I don't work for free either, and a dead merchant can pay as well as a live one" or " I don't kill for free either, and maybe I didn't see anything here because I blinked and you were gone"...


etc....  give the character no choice but to leave because even the successful intimidate response goes poorly?
or rewrite the option so it's clear the intimidation check is only to buy you escape time... not to make the mercenary shit himself


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: xenocide on January 19, 2008, 04:28:01 am
Quote
You have argued fairly persuasively that the two best choices might be to attack or to leave, but it should be clear from this thread that those certainly aren't the only choices that seem reasonable to most players. Do you see me arguing to add more choices? No. I'm just saying you need to make it clear to the player exactly what choice he is making. Not the consequences of the choice -- as discussed in the ToughLove thread, having surprising consequences is good. But the choice itself -- that is, what your character does after you click the dialog option -- should be crystal clear. As it stands now, it's absolutely not, since many/most people believe that choosing the first option leads to more conversation and choices, when in fact it leads to grabbing a random piece of paper and jumping out a window.


Quote
You're thinking like a designer, I'm thinking like a player. It doesn't matter how exactly these options could be consistent and balanced in the gameworld. All that matters is that I, and others, saw the dialog option and immediately expected it to be followed by other choices. Both in my first consideration of the choices, and after more thought, it seemed to me that there were options worth pursuing. Given that the player thinks he has options, and that the dialog line you wrote does nothing to rule those options out, it is wrong for the game to make the character do something contradictory to those options without the player's input.


Quote
Quote from: Vince on Yesterday at 09:18:54 PM
In this situation, your mission is over and you don't need anything from the guard.
Yes - you know this, because you designed the game. The player doesn't.
How is the player to know that it's an entirely straight-forward situation? Couldn't the guard be an important source of significant information? Maybe he has another story to tell, and the assassins' guild has being lying to the PC. Maybe he has powerful friends who'd find and kill his murderer. Maybe he has business propositions of his own....

You know that there's nothing more to the situation, but the player doesn't. It's perfectly reasonable for him to make an attempt to learn what there is to be learned before taking serious action - even if he plans to kill the guy.


These three paragraphs really make the point well.  Vince, I actually agree with you that the 2 choices you have now are the best way to handle things.  But like the others have said it is not that clear.  I said earlier that I expected to be able to attack after the intimidation.  Maybe attack was wrong, but I definitely expected to be able to do something. I was suprised that my character just left. 

I don't want to put words in your mouth, but I wonder if you are thinking a little too much along the lines of "get the player the map, this is the point of the vignette."  Now, this is correct, that is the point of the vignette, but like galsiah said, you know this but the player does not.  What if the main quest was started by you killing the wrong man?  In this situation you would probably have to talk to the guard.  I know that is not the situation, but the PC does not know that.  I think it is perfectly reasonable for a player to expect  a little more after the intimidate option.  All problems would be solved  (at least in this situation between galsiah, cardtrick and myself) by a simple edit of the dialog words of the PC, or a game world consequence that makes the PC leave. Personally I am a little biased towards the gameworld forcing you to leave, perhaps in a way a little like mine own suggestion earlier ;)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: xenocide on January 19, 2008, 04:43:41 am
One other little thing that may seem a bit nitpicky.  It seems somewhat random that the PC takes the map after the intimidation success.  Obviously if you loot the whole room you would take it, but I think a small notice of the map would make it seem a bit more important.  Something small like "The bolt hits his chest and Gracius slowly goes down.  His last action before he dies is to tightly grip a piece of parchment.  The mercenary looks at you ........"  Subtle and small, but gives just a hint that the parchment is important.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: GhanBuriGhan on January 19, 2008, 05:47:33 am
@galsiah

about [lie] and [truth]
Yeah, I am aware that it is often entirely not clear from context, I have run into that in plenty of games. The only option is to make all replies truths, except if it is clear they aren't (e.g. saying you have done something, or have an item that you clearly haven't). Maybe  a dedicated lying skill isn't such a horrible idea, actually. Straigh faced lying IS a skill only few people master. Of it could be part of a larger acting skill or subsumed under disguise? (I think [acting] or [disguise] would be a pretty clear indicator you are saying something untruthful. But I concede it is not an issue really, just something I personally dislike, style wise.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 19, 2008, 10:43:37 am
Why does a [truth] have to come with a [lie]?
Because forcing your character, who might be a lying bastard, to tell the truth is as bad, if not worse, than the design crimes we're reviewing now.

Quote
The player should never be surprised by what his character does.
I agree with you here and acknowledge the design flaw. The question is how to fix it and which option out of many suggestions that were made fits the situation better.

Quote
But the choice itself -- that is, what your character does after you click the dialog option -- should be crystal clear. As it stands now, it's absolutely not, since many/most people believe that choosing the first option leads to more conversation and choices, when in fact it leads to grabbing a random piece of paper and jumping out a window.
No arguing here.

Quote
Vince, I hope you understand that I'm not saying I want you to implement those options, or that I necessarily think they're the smartest choices for the character.
No, of course not. You're a smart guy and I'm interested in your opinion. I think you have good points there, and I'm testing your position by trying to punch some holes in it and see if it can handle it. It's an ancient, almost forgotten Codex technique of friendly arguing, so don't take it personally. My intentions are honorable. lol

Quote
If selecting a dialog line is going to make my character attack an NPC, then that needs to be clear.

If selecting a dialog line is going to make my character leave a room, especially one that he can't get back to, then that needs to be especially clear.

If selecting a dialog line is going to make my character give an object or money to an NPC, then that needs to be clear.

I could keep going, but I'll stop. My character should never act unless I tell him to. Grabbing a map and jumping out a window when all I told him to do was say something to a guard is not acceptable.
Well said. So, what's your way of fixing it then other than using the [truth] indicator?

Edit: Just saw your next post. We'll consider your suggestion, thanks.





Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 19, 2008, 10:55:51 am
In this situation, your mission is over and you don't need anything from the guard.
Yes - you know this, because you designed the game. The player doesn't.
How is the player to know that it's an entirely straight-forward situation? Couldn't the guard be an important source of significant information? Maybe he has another story to tell, and the assassins' guild has being lying to the PC. Maybe he has powerful friends who'd find and kill his murderer. Maybe he has business propositions of his own....

You know that there's nothing more to the situation, but the player doesn't. It's perfectly reasonable for him to make an attempt to learn what there is to be learned before taking serious action - even if he plans to kill the guy.
So, what would you ask him? "I've just killed your master. How does that make you feel?" or "Any comments?"


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Fosse on January 19, 2008, 11:51:27 am
Quote
For a player who is definitely decided on killing the guy, but wants to find out what he can first, it's perfectly reasonable to intimidate first.
Find out what?
Maybe there is nothing to find out , and it'd be silly for the character to think that there is.  But it's entirely reasonable for the player to believe there is a second layer of dialogue underneath the option as it stands.

Quote
Overall, I agree with the criticism. You guys are saying all the right words and making all the right points. However, the question is what happens when you intimidate the guard. What do you do next? What is the reason for staying?
Maybe you want to evaluate your chances to best the guard in a fight.  You evaluate his response to intimidation.
Maybe you want to kill him, but like to play with your food.
Maybe you want to pursue the intimidation line further, talking him into backing slowly out of the room.
Maybe you want to tie him up to make an escape with no chance of pursuit.
Maybe you want him to give you his weapon
Maybe you want to learn why the merchant came back into town, and hope the guard knows.
Maybe you want to know how much it costs to hire a mercenary guard, and here's one, why not ask?
Maybe you haven't thought of anything, but know from years of game playing that if there is something interesting to do it's behind the first option and not the second.

If only result of the options are to attack or run away, and there will not be a second layer to the dialogue tree, then the choices given to the player should be:

1. Attack
2. Flee


edit:  Stupid quotes....


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: xenocide on January 19, 2008, 12:50:05 pm

So, what's your way of fixing it then other than using the [truth] indicator?





--  Change what the PC say to make it more clear what will happen: "I am going to tell my superiors this scum is dead, but if you insist I can hang around another minute and kill you too."

--  Add an action description after the spoken text: "blah blah"  (Attempt to leave without antagonizing the guard further)

--  Have an in game thing happen that forces the PC to leave:  Guard yells for help, PC knows he can't win and leaves

--  Make it 100% clear that this is a vignette/introduction.  In this case I don't mind having the develper force some things on the PC.  I don't know what kind of intro you have planned (moive, stills w/ text, etc), but if some cutsceens were spliced into the vignette it would be obvious the "true" game has not started yet.  You make your character...a movie plays....you meet your guildmaster and take the quest....a fade into some stills with credits overlayed "developed by Vince"  "special input by xenocide" lol.....the action with the merchant plays out....fade to a short movie......you discover something about the map....a black screen with the AoD logo in the middle (cool music plays)......the "real" game starts.  Maybe even start at the screen where the "real" game starts, say "As you wait for the merchant cart to pass you breifly look back on how you got here...." fade into vignette.  If it is 100% clear this is a vignette/Intro maybe even a flashback, it makes sense to limit the choices the PC has.




I am not saying my specific examples are the best, but I think one of those four things is about all you can do if you don't want to leave it as is or add more dialog trees.




Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 19, 2008, 02:07:23 pm
Why does a [truth] have to come with a [lie]?
Because forcing your character, who might be a lying bastard, to tell the truth is as bad, if not worse, than the design crimes we're reviewing now.

No. Your original design already forces the character to tell the truth. Having the [truth] just makes that clear to the player so he knows what decision he is making. In a perfect world, it would be nice to have all possible options represented. In this poor, flawed reality we live in, I'll settle for having the options that are implemented be clear and sensible.


Quote from: Vince
My intentions are honorable.

:honorblade:

Quote from: Vince
Well said. So, what's your way of fixing it then other than using the [truth] indicator?

Edit: Just saw your next post. We'll consider your suggestion, thanks.

For the record, I still like the [truth] indicator a lot. Same for the [lie] indicator, if you have other quests in the game where the player might think he will follow through on what his character says but really has no option but to double-cross or deceive. It's a simple, one-word, extremely clear solution that maybe looks bad when we're typing it in a forum but is quite non intrusive in a game. I think it's by far the easiest fix, and that it's quite broadly applicable to other problem dialogs elsewhere in the game.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on January 19, 2008, 03:26:45 pm
Agreed - the only problems with the [truth] are arguable inelegance and psychological effect on the player.
Inelegance in that clarity using context alone would be ideal - though not achievable in general I think.

The psychological effect on the player is to raise the "But where's the [lie]?" question. Adding [truth] does nothing to restrict or reduce options - it only affects clarity. What it might do is highlight the restrictions that are already present. This, however, is certainly not a greater evil - rather than cheating the player of the option to lie, you're being upfront and clear that he has no such option.

If it really bothers you that a character will be forced into being truthful, then you either need more options (including lies), or you need to use game world conditions to force the PC's hand after choosing an option which could be the truth or a lie (e.g. something like xenocide's suggestions). Letting the player think he can lie until after the decision, then forcing his character into actions he didn't choose, is worse than being clear about the inability to lie in the first place.

Quote
So, what would you ask him? "I've just killed your master. How does that make you feel?" or "Any comments?"
Rumours?
Almost anything really. At this point the player knows very little about the world, so might well have little specific idea. Nonetheless, he might see intimidation as the path to whatever talking options there might be.

If you really don't think there are any reasonable, fitting options, that's fine - just don't expect a player with five minutes experience with your game to be sure of this. If there aren't interesting ways to continue conversation, make this clear to the player, or have world events (rather than unchosen PC action) conspire to make such continuation impossible.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: JuJu on January 20, 2008, 02:30:49 pm
Two things:
I HATE [truth]/[lies]/[skillcheck] indicators, because they kill any immersion you might have and scream in your face that you are just playing a game. Skillchecks should be clear from the context, as well as truth or lies.

Most people doesn't seem to get it that assassination is as honorable business, so it's unlikely that an assassin would steal, even from their victims. It should be frowned upon, because it makes the assassin unreliable, even indicates of his greed, which means that he probably could be bribed and thus fail his job. Imo, Vince, you should make it more clear, that the assassins are professionals, not lowlifes - that they do everything to get the job done, but doesn't do anything dishonorable with no or small gain. Maybe add a few lines to the guildmaster's dialogue about their code of honor or something like that (I'm out of ideas right now). Good reputation for assassin should be much more important than for even holiest of knights.
I hope that I got the right impression of the assassins guild.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 20, 2008, 02:53:08 pm
You are entitled to your opinion, but your opinion is wrong.

First, what makes you think assassins are honorable? I'll grant you that's the way it is in the Discworld books, but that's about the only justification I can think of -- and given that the books are light comedic fantasy intended as satire, they don't do much to advance your cause. Remember, you're talking about people who sneakily kill for money, no questions asked. Maybe there's some kind of brotherhood or loyalty within the group, but if you think someone who will sneak into an inn and shoot an unarmed stranger in the back for a paycheck is somehow morally above lying, then you are daft.

Second, we've already seen in various screenshots that [skillcheck] indicators are in the game. Given that, it's not much of a stretch to add [truth] and [lie], is it? Those indicators serve a valuable purpose, as has already been discussed.

Anyway, how can an indicator like that possibly "kill any immersion"? For the record, I hate the word immersion. If something like that breaks your immersion, then wouldn't seeing numbers in front of the dialog options break it too? Well, we'd better get rid of those! The player can just click on the option he prefers, forget keyboard shortcuts. Oh, but to click you have to use a cursor, and cursors aren't real. Immersion killer! Back with you! No cursors allowed.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Priapist on January 20, 2008, 02:54:19 pm
Weighing in quickly on the idea of meta tags in dialogue, I'm not really a fan. It's okay to have them as underlying systems, but I think dialogue actually benefits from being a bit hazy. Not "Mass Effect-style that's not what I wanted to say!" hazy, but I don't think [truth], [lie], [intimidate], [etc] are really beneficial in the scheme of things. The more metagame mechanics you introduce, the more likely the player will end up gaming the dialogue. Of course it depends on your goal, but I think having something that seems like a natural conversation (with ties to the character system under the hood) is better than having a couple of binary pass/fail checks dressed up as conversation.

As an aside, I think a situation where you jump through a window, put a crossbow bolt into a guy's neck and then turn to his bodyguard and simply say "Any comments?" would be fucking awesome.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 20, 2008, 03:04:11 pm
The more metagame mechanics you introduce, the more likely the player will end up gaming the dialogue. Of course it depends on your goal, but I think having something that seems like a natural conversation (with ties to the character system under the hood) is better than having a couple of binary pass/fail checks dressed up as conversation.

I see what you're saying here, and I agree it's a concern worth thinking about. However, given that one of Iron Tower's goals with Age of Decadence is to "roleplay your character's skillset, not his personality," I think it makes more sense to explicitly indicate when skills are going to be used. Same for [truth]/[lie], for reasons already discussed earlier in this thread.

Quote from: Priapist
As an aside, I think a situation where you jump through a window, put a crossbow bolt into a guy's neck and then turn to his bodyguard and simply say "Any comments?" would be fucking awesome.

QFT.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 20, 2008, 03:41:19 pm
As an aside, I think a situation where you jump through a window, put a crossbow bolt into a guy's neck and then turn to his bodyguard and simply say "Any comments?" would be fucking awesome.
"Any comments?" it is then. Brilliant stuff, Priapist. Simple, yet so elegant.



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Paranoid Jack on January 20, 2008, 03:47:56 pm
I like the two options given and don't feel it necessary to expand the options...  dialog or otherwise since we all know it's the vignette. But I also understand the position taken by the others. I think just adding a little more info (dialog) at one or more points would best suit the average player and get us past this debate.

I know because I follow the game here (and previously on the Codex) that the player needs the map to start the game off. So maybe Vince should just add a little more to Neleos' description of the contract? ( page ten of this thread  http://www.irontowerstudio.com/forum/index.php?topic=149.135 ) Like in the vignette for the lore-master (I think it was)... he was advised about the map and told he could keep it at some point. But the assassin wasn't given any information concerning the map the game revolves around. A situation easily fixed.

Anyway if Neleos drops a few hints or mentions a rumor concerning the map/document the PC then has some idea it may be important and he should get his filthy little hands on it if possible. During the encounter with Gracius the PC could notice the merchant clutching the document then after offing his mark (the merchant) he could be given an option to snatch it and just leave. Or attack the Merc. Either way the game has covered the angles. And given the PC an option at killing the Merc and obtaining more loot from his corpse and the nearby chest.

I have to side with Vince. The options are to the point and cover the two possible choice your PC has. Adding more filler dialog would be great if the Merc has any further use or info but that is something only Vince knows. So if he has no info or further use beyond the options given there will be no other course of action beyond the two choices given. It would be great if every NPC encountered had numerous branching dialogs that could lead to half a dozen different directions. But since this one doesn't we can assume his little part either ends here with a fight to the death or...  well, Vince already revealed the possibility of encountering the Merc at some point later in the story if your choice was to leave without a fight. I think at this point the options suffice.

Also I am opposed to the flags (truth or lie) because I have never been a big fan of dialog flags. They distract from the game-play. That said I admit they are needed at times but should be used sparingly. And don't feel this instance requires anything more than a bit of a dialog tweaking. Just my two cents. Either way I think Vince has gained more useful info even if some of it doesn't apply to this situation. And I loved some of the ideas given to expand the dialog options. I would have like to see some of them used but I don't feel it is needed or necessary at this point since this is just our prologue or vignette to get our PC started off in the correct manner.



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on January 20, 2008, 04:47:20 pm
Quote from: Paranoid Jack
I like the two options given and don't feel it necessary to expand the options...
Fine, but please tell me that you realize this isn't the main issue.
The issue isn't with the mechanics of the options and results themselves - it's with the clarity of information presented to the player. Having just two options is fine (though arguably more might help). It's simply that if you have these options, with these outcomes, the presentation needs to be clarified so that the player can act on reasonable information and get reasonable results.

Quote
Also I am opposed to the flags (truth or lie) because I have never been a big fan of dialog flags... And don't feel this instance requires anything more than a bit of a dialog tweaking.
Ok, but what do you do exactly?
Take Oscar's earlier example:
"I was paid to kill one, and since I don´t work for free, you can relax and put your sword down. You will walk away with your life, and my business here will be done."

This makes it abundantly clear that the PC is saying that he's going to leave, but does nothing to imply that this isn't a bare-faced lie. You can have the PC making elaborate speeches detailing all the various justifications for his veracity, and it can still all be lies. Anything you have the PC say could just be more lies to convince the NPC.

The only way I can see to avoid explicit [truth]/[lie] tags would be to add PC thoughts/observations to dialogue lines, e.g.:
1: I was paid to kill one, and since I don´t work for free, you can relax and put your sword down. You will walk away with your life, and my business here will be done. he looks to be a seasoned fighter - a quick exit might be wise

2: I was paid to kill one, and since I don´t work for free, you can relax and put your sword down. You will walk away with your life, and my business here will be done. a bit of sweet talk and you'll have the drop on this sucker

3: Attack

Maybe that's not a bad idea? [clearly don't judge it by my writing "skills"]


Quote from: cardtrick
...I think it makes more sense to explicitly indicate when skills are going to be used...
I'm not sure about that - certainly I'd like some relatively strong hints, but if something a little more colourful and slightly vague can work, I'd probably prefer that (though I'm not totally sure on this). That's on condition that it works though - sometimes [truth] or similar might be the only clear indicator.


Quote from: Vince
"Any comments?" it is then. Brilliant stuff, Priapist. Simple, yet so elegant.
If you're seriously including post-intimidation options, then there ought at least to be some benefit in attacking directly over failing the intimidate check. Passing the intimidate check would put the PC in a clearly better position if he can still attack / ask questions etc. later. So if failing is no worse than attacking directly, there's no downside in making the attempt.
Presumably it wouldn't be hard to have combat penalties after the failed intimidation, e.g. reduced AP for first turn, reduced distance to guard as he closes the distance while you talk....


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 20, 2008, 05:03:38 pm
I know because I follow the game here (and previously on the Codex) that the player needs the map to start the game off. So maybe Vince should just add a little more to Neleos' description of the contract? ( page ten of this thread  [url]http://www.irontowerstudio.com/forum/index.php?topic=149.135[/url] ) Like in the vignette for the lore-master (I think it was)... he was advised about the map and told he could keep it at some point. But the assassin wasn't given any information concerning the map the game revolves around. A situation easily fixed.

Nobody knows about the map. I didn't want to draw attention to it and turn it into a "mysterious map that everyone wants". The map's role is to lead you to those who will direct you further. Kinda like the ring in Arcanum. There are other copies of the map and there were other people who tried to find the temple.



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 20, 2008, 05:06:12 pm
The only way I can see to avoid explicit [truth]/[lie] tags would be to add PC thoughts/observations to dialogue lines, e.g.:
1: I was paid to kill one, and since I don´t work for free, you can relax and put your sword down. You will walk away with your life, and my business here will be done. he looks to be a seasoned fighter - a quick exit might be wise

2: I was paid to kill one, and since I don´t work for free, you can relax and put your sword down. You will walk away with your life, and my business here will be done. a bit of sweet talk and you'll have the drop on this sucker

3: Attack

Maybe that's not a bad idea? [clearly don't judge it by my writing "skills"]

This is very interesting. It definitely has more flavor than [truth]/[lie], and can actually do more to indicate what your choice really is. I guess the counter-argument is that it's putting thoughts in our character's head, but I don't see that as a problem -- since, after all, we get to choose which of those thoughts he thinks.

On the other hand, to not be jarring it would probably have to be done quite frequently, which means a lot of extra work for Vince.

It's well worth considering. This is the first thing I've seen suggested that strikes me as a valid alternative to [truth]/[lie], and it's something I haven't really seen done before. It would invest our character with more personality, which is nice -- one of the great things about PS:T is that, unlike in most RPGs, the player character is actually interesting. This could have the same effect, but with a different approach. If Vince thinks this is worth his time, I definitely support this idea.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Paranoid Jack on January 20, 2008, 08:04:16 pm
galsiah, I like your ideas...  adding PC thoughts in italics. I like it best of all the options listed so far. For me it works much better than the flags. And I'm not saying some clarification of the dialogs direction wouldn't be a good thing. I just found it easier to deal with than most when the PC decided to just leave with no notice.

Don't get me wrong I would love every single NPC dialog tree to have more options than I care to read through... so that I can play my character as I see fit...  without saving and reloading to try all the different approaches. If that is part of the Iron Tower design doc for AoD than I will be extremely happy. I just figured there was a task given, you got it done, and your PC then had an option to fight or flight. The majority chose not to fight which would have left you either dead or the only living soul in the room... at which point you could do as you see fit.

Anyway when VD's scripted "let's get the hell out of Dodge" kicked in I also thought that was quick. In and out with little word play. And I also wish(ed) there was more of an indication the PC was going to bolt. But I enjoy things out of the ordinary. It wasn't too major and our PC got his task accomplished. He was ready to move on... it's just that some of you weren't ready to move on.

I'm very interested in how VD will respond to this little speed bump. And how it will effect AoD's development.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: GhanBuriGhan on January 21, 2008, 03:12:28 am
Quote from: Paranoid Jack
I like the two options given and don't feel it necessary to expand the options...
Fine, but please tell me that you realize this isn't the main issue.
The issue isn't with the mechanics of the options and results themselves - it's with the clarity of information presented to the player. Having just two options is fine (though arguably more might help). It's simply that if you have these options, with these outcomes, the presentation needs to be clarified so that the player can act on reasonable information and get reasonable results.


The only way I can see to avoid explicit [truth]/[lie] tags would be to add PC thoughts/observations to dialogue lines, e.g.:
1: I was paid to kill one, and since I don´t work for free, you can relax and put your sword down. You will walk away with your life, and my business here will be done. he looks to be a seasoned fighter - a quick exit might be wise

2: I was paid to kill one, and since I don´t work for free, you can relax and put your sword down. You will walk away with your life, and my business here will be done. a bit of sweet talk and you'll have the drop on this sucker

3: Attack

Maybe that's not a bad idea? [clearly don't judge it by my writing "skills"]

Brilliant, I think!


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Nerv on January 21, 2008, 03:50:02 am

Quote
Also I am opposed to the flags (truth or lie) because I have never been a big fan of dialog flags... And don't feel this instance requires anything more than a bit of a dialog tweaking.
Ok, but what do you do exactly?
Take Oscar's earlier example:
"I was paid to kill one, and since I don´t work for free, you can relax and put your sword down. You will walk away with your life, and my business here will be done."

This makes it abundantly clear that the PC is saying that he's going to leave, but does nothing to imply that this isn't a bare-faced lie. You can have the PC making elaborate speeches detailing all the various justifications for his veracity, and it can still all be lies. Anything you have the PC say could just be more lies to convince the NPC.

The only way I can see to avoid explicit [truth]/[lie] tags would be to add PC thoughts/observations to dialogue lines, e.g.:
1: I was paid to kill one, and since I don´t work for free, you can relax and put your sword down. You will walk away with your life, and my business here will be done. he looks to be a seasoned fighter - a quick exit might be wise

2: I was paid to kill one, and since I don´t work for free, you can relax and put your sword down. You will walk away with your life, and my business here will be done. a bit of sweet talk and you'll have the drop on this sucker

3: Attack

Maybe that's not a bad idea? [clearly don't judge it by my writing "skills"]

Love that Idea!


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 21, 2008, 10:32:52 am
I just figured there was a task given, you got it done, and your PC then had an option to fight or flight.
That was the idea.

Quote
Anyway when VD's scripted "let's get the hell out of Dodge" kicked in I also thought that was quick. In and out with little word play.
I designed the game with replayability in mind. Boring sequences tend to reduce or ruin replayability for me, so I tried to eliminate those. Since the situation was really about whether or not you have to fight the guard, I didn't want to overcomplicate it with unnecessary dialogue layers. However, people expected more and the customer is always right.

Quote
I'm very interested in how VD will respond to this little speed bump. And how it will effect AoD's development.
We always consider constructive criticism and I'll go through all quests and tweak all  "let's get the hell out of Dodge" scenarios.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 21, 2008, 11:00:05 am
2: I was paid to kill one, and since I don´t work for free, you can relax and put your sword down. You will walk away with your life, and my business here will be done. a bit of sweet talk and you'll have the drop on this sucker
Then what?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Sleet on January 21, 2008, 11:06:19 am
I also like the inner thinking galsiah suggests as a way to give some extra information to the player.

Great idea - better than the [ Truth/Lie ] options.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Sleet on January 21, 2008, 11:10:03 am
2: I was paid to kill one, and since I don´t work for free, you can relax and put your sword down. You will walk away with your life, and my business here will be done. a bit of sweet talk and you'll have the drop on this sucker
Then what?
I say stick with the two options. Flight or attack. Just a little more detail in the text.
Unless the guard is a total idiot there is no way he will lower his sword or let you get the drop on him with an unloaded XBow. His boss was just taken out by you, why would he believe you?
Let's not get into the quagmire again.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on January 21, 2008, 03:11:37 pm
2: I was paid to kill one, and since I don´t work for free, you can relax and put your sword down. You will walk away with your life, and my business here will be done. a bit of sweet talk and you'll have the drop on this sucker
Then what?
First, let me point out that I only included the two statements to illustrate the possible [truth]/[lie] comparison. Personally I'd have been fine with a [truth] without a lie. Similarly I'd also be fine with a [he looks to be a seasoned fighter - a quick exit might be wise] without a [a bit of sweet talk and you'll have the drop on this sucker].
Again, my main problem has always been the lack of clarity of the option that's there - not the fact that a second one is missing.

However, if you want to include multiple options I think that things could be reasonably continued. Bear in mind that the "...you'll have the drop on this sucker" is only one example of a motive the PC might have to lie or to stick around. Again, it was simply an illustration of the concept.

Quote from: Sleet
Unless the guard is a total idiot there is no way he will lower his sword or let you get the drop on him with an unloaded XBow.
1) He might be - clearly his security precautions were less than perfect.
2) Your next two statements work against one-another: Since he knows your crossbow is unloaded, he has every reason to think that you won't be able to attack quickly, and therefore might think he can lower his sword with little risk.
3) If attacking (with an initially unloaded crossbow) is a reasonable option, then gaining a little time/initiative before attacking must be more reasonable. It might still not be an easy fight, but every little helps.
4) Who says it has to be an entirely sensible option?


As for attacking options that make sense, I'm not quite sure. Subtly reloading the crossbow while keeping him talking / turning to leave, doesn't make a great deal of sense (but then nor does reloading a crossbow while someone's swinging a sword at you). I guess the assassin would need some backup means of attacking - e.g. throwing knives - for this to work. After the guard backs down, the PC could lower the crossbow, turn(?) to leave, and attempt to put a knife between the guard's eyes.
Of course the situation could be changed slightly to provide alternative means of attack - perhaps using environmental objects.

If this isn't desired, or doesn't make sense, you could either not have the second option, or change the line. For instance, you could go with something like "2: I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and lower your sword. Answer my questions, and you'll be free to go. [comment implying that this is true(??)]". Maybe that's crap, but the point is that it'd be an option leading to information, rather than death.

Probably any such second option should require harder checks than the first automatic-egress option. Whether it's a chance to discover information, pull a knife, club the guy with a candlestick or strangle him with a wall hanging, success with that choice is putting you into a preferable situation. If it involves lying, there could be a persuasion check as well as an intimidation check (since he first needs to believe what you're saying, and second to care that you're saying it). If it involves asking questions, rather than an offer to leave, it could make the intimidation check harder. [[of course this means that burly types might learn more than diplomatic types in this situation - but why not for a change?]]

Naturally you could still have the "Any comments?" left in there - maybe with a charisma check to determine the outcome?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Special_Can on January 21, 2008, 03:43:45 pm
I HATE [truth]/[lies]/[skillcheck] indicators, because they kill any immersion you might have and scream in your face that you are just playing a game. Skillchecks should be clear from the context, as well as truth or lies.

 I'm always aware that I'm playing a game. I don't understand how anyone can get so immersed that they don't realize they are playing a game. And yes, skillchecks should be clear from the context but they won't. You can't reasonably expect that everyone will have the same reaction to a line(like what's being argued about here) and having [truth][Attack][Intelligence] or whatever next to the line clears that confusion up the easiest way. It doesn't affect my "immersion" and I don't understand why it should affect anyone elses.
 


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: GhanBuriGhan on January 21, 2008, 04:38:26 pm
Can we get on with the story please? Whatever the exact wording, I opt for the "quick getaway option"


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on January 21, 2008, 04:48:46 pm
Good plan. Maybe it'd be wise to keep this thread a bit more focused, and spawn other threads as contentious issues crop up. Having a Let's Play thread in the news section is a good idea to get people familiar with the kind of play to expect. While ten pages of to and fro on this issue isn't necessarily overkill, it does turn the Let's Play into false advertising.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Special_Can on January 21, 2008, 05:02:57 pm
 Or we could do this the easiest way and make a topic later on with all the relevant posts and sticky it.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Sleet on January 21, 2008, 05:43:22 pm
Quote
Quote from: Sleet
Unless the guard is a total idiot there is no way he will lower his sword or let you get the drop on him with an unloaded XBow.
1) He might be - clearly his security precautions were less than perfect.
2) Your next two statements work against one-another: Since he knows your crossbow is unloaded, he has every reason to think that you won't be able to attack quickly, and therefore might think he can lower his sword with little risk.
3) If attacking (with an initially unloaded crossbow) is a reasonable option, then gaining a little time/initiative before attacking must be more reasonable. It might still not be an easy fight, but every little helps.
4) Who says it has to be an entirely sensible option?

#1: very true, will have to let Vince decide that one as he has the stats on the characters.
#2: I disagree. He saw you kill the man with one shot and knows you work for the assassin's guild. If he is NOT the idiot (as possible from #1) he would never lower his blade to an assassin that just killed his meal ticket. If he once again is an idiot, then sure lower the sword - and get killed.
#3: sure. I am trying to stick with two options but having a third is fine.
#4: well if you want to go down this route then we could add quite a list.  :P


My main point is I think Vince has seen quite a lot of feedback on this. Let's let our assassin do his job! :)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on January 21, 2008, 05:52:50 pm
I'm for the hard way. Unless Vince is making necessary alterations, we might as well continue with the Let's Play here, while we discuss related issues in suitably linked threads. The Let's Play will be simpler to follow, and more coherent if it isn't interrupted at every turn with five pages of debate.
This would also allow discussions on multiple Let's Play-related issues to go on at once. I'm sure there are readers who don't care about the issue we're discussing now, or have little to add, but might both care and have good points to make on other issues.

Where the Playing is held up by alterations, that's fine, but I don't think it should be held up for long by discussion.


By the way Vince, I hope you're not making too many changes as direct responses to this kind of feedback. It'd probably make sense to get more opinions on more issues before doing anything radical. Where there are easy tweaks with no sacrifices, or discussion has you utterly convinced, that's one thing, but trickier trade-offs shouldn't be decided on incomplete feedback.
I also hope the "customer is always right" line is at least partially a joke. Even those of us who've spent quite a while thinking about these issues have nothing like the knowledge of the specific context that you do. In some respects having a relatively fresh perspective is useful, but it'll make us unaware of the many non-obvious/non-local benefits of the current setup. Using prospective customers to identify potential problems is a good idea; following their "solutions" is a much dodgier prospect.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on January 21, 2008, 06:04:10 pm
#1: very true, will have to let Vince decide that one as he has the stats on the characters.
It's not character stats that are important here: the question isn't "Is the guard stupid?", but rather "Might the PC think the guard is stupid".

Quote
If he is NOT the idiot (as possible from #1) he would never lower his blade to an assassin that just killed his meal ticket.
You could argue that it's the best way not to provoke a fight - which he may well not want to do if the PC is an intimidating sort. Given the unloaded crossbow, lowering a sword might seem a relatively safe gesture of goodwill - so as not to give the assassin reason to think he'll try anything funny, and therefore a good reason to kill him.
The intimidation success amounts to an "I'd rather not risk fighting this guy." decision. Relatively safe actions which make a fight less likely seem pretty reasonable to me.

Quote
#4: well if you want to go down this route then we could add quite a list.
Sure - but that's not always a bad idea. Vince has given several text adventure examples where certain options are extremely unwise (some lead to death, I believe). That's probably a bit much for an opening vignette, but that's not to say that there can't be relatively unwise (if not fatal) options.

Quote
My main point is I think Vince has seen quite a lot of feedback on this. Let's let our assassin do his job! :)
Good point.
I just thought that since I'd argued against further discussion here in my previous two posts, it was only fitting that I continue to discuss an essentially redundant point. :)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 21, 2008, 06:11:04 pm
By the way Vince, I hope you're not making too many changes as direct responses to this kind of feedback. It'd probably make sense to get more opinions on more issues before doing anything radical.
I'm thinking. Literally.

I don't want to proceed (and potentially run into more problems) before this situation is solved. Like I said, I didn't see it coming and had my reasons for doing things this way, but you guys have raised a lot of good points and made several good, very different suggestions. Hence the delay.

I like your suggestion, Galsiah; I like Priapist's original suggestions, but they can't be used once, so I have to consider tweaking all dialogues (not every line, of course, but where applicable) and estimate time and effort. Several other suggestions (cardtrick's, xenocide's) are excellent as well; I wrote a few test dialogues, but haven't decided what to do yet. Give me another day.

Quote
I also hope the "customer is always right" line is at least partially a joke.
Yes and no. Obviously I'm not trying to please everyone and I'm not eager to start changing things to get a few approvals, but we can say that there was a consensus that more options should have been there. I agree with that too.

Someone has to listen to you fuckers.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 21, 2008, 06:24:21 pm
#1: very true, will have to let Vince decide that one as he has the stats on the characters.
It's not character stats that are important here: the question isn't "Is the guard stupid?", but rather "Might the PC think the guard is stupid".
And what are the benefits of such an inquiry? The guard isn't stupid, so the option leads nowhere but adds several screens and clicks between you and the window. I see where you are going with it, but testing static values will always result in one outcome.

Quote
Sure - but that's not always a bad idea. Vince has given several text adventure examples where certain options are extremely unwise (some lead to death, I believe).
Not sure what exactly you're referring to (some examples would be nice), but I think that all "unwise potentially fatal options" are skill-checks, i.e. your death is a result of attempting something without sufficient skills and not a result of clicking on a wrong option.



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on January 21, 2008, 06:45:01 pm
Sure - you're right on both counts (though in the first, I don't think the guard needs to be stupid to think lowering his sword might be a good idea - but that's not the point).
The fatal options I was "remembering" must have been skill-check failures, as you say.

Saying that, I don't think that unwise, non-fatal-but-interesting, options are a bad thing. That amounts to the "tough love" we're talking about in the other thread. Highly significant tough love doesn't belong in a vignette, but it's never too early for a bit which is interesting and doesn't lead to any huge handicap.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: zhirzzh on January 21, 2008, 07:14:48 pm
2: I was paid to kill one, and since I don´t work for free, you can relax and put your sword down. You will walk away with your life, and my business here will be done. a bit of sweet talk and you'll have the drop on this sucker
Then what?

+10 to hit for first attack because he's not on his guard?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Special_Can on January 21, 2008, 07:45:28 pm
2: I was paid to kill one, and since I don´t work for free, you can relax and put your sword down. You will walk away with your life, and my business here will be done. a bit of sweet talk and you'll have the drop on this sucker
Then what?

+10 to hit for first attack because he's not on his guard?

 And your crossbow isn't loaded...


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 21, 2008, 07:48:34 pm
+10 to hit for first attack because he's not on his guard?
With what? Unloaded crossbow?

Sure - you're right on both counts (though in the first, I don't think the guard needs to be stupid to think lowering his sword might be a good idea - but that's not the point).
Also to keep in mind, whatever you expect the guard to do should be viable options when you're playing the guard. If the guard calls for help, you'll be given an option to call for help in the mercenary vignette, etc.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on January 21, 2008, 08:12:40 pm
Also to keep in mind, whatever you expect the guard to do should be viable options when you're playing the guard. If the guard calls for help, you'll be given an option to call for help in the mercenary vignette, etc.
Good point...

...but more importantly - I'd completely forgotten that the same scenario would be seen from different perspectives for different character types. Of course I knew that in theory, but I hadn't thought about it at all while considering this episode (see: the consumer is a cretin who remembers nothing :)).


In view of this, I'm changing my position from clarity-and-maybe-more-options to the firmly-in-favour-of-more-options camp. Of course it'll take somewhat longer, since everything needs to work from all sides - but I've always thought that starting things off with the same scenario from different perspectives is a wonderful idea. This isn't just another quest, so I think you ought to be making the most of it.


Quote
If the guard calls for help, you'll be given an option to call for help in the mercenary vignette, etc.
Where do you stand on the converse? I.e. if you have option X as the mercenary, does the guard also have option X? I'd love this if you could get it to work, but it I guess it might be tricky in some cases. Clearly you'd need some means to decide which option the NPC took in parallel situations, but that could reasonably depend on stat/skill checks (as in the option for the guard to attack/back down based on PC intimidate check).... but this has probably been obvious for some time to those with a memory.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 21, 2008, 09:38:01 pm
Where do you stand on the converse? I.e. if you have option X as the mercenary, does the guard also have option X?
Yes. What do you have in mind?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: zhirzzh on January 21, 2008, 10:35:03 pm
+10 to hit for first attack because he's not on his guard?
With what? Unloaded crossbow?

Knife in your cloak?  Chance of one hit kill with it?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: TheLostOne on January 22, 2008, 08:58:14 am
Okay, just wrote up an alternate suggestion since you're looking for resolution on this.


After merchant is killed:

Guard: Well, great.  First day on the job and now this.   The bastard hadn't even paid me yet.


1. Attack
2. You should research your clients more throroughly.  This one was dead the moment he walked back into town.
3. My job is done, so unless you're interested in following your master to try to settle that debt I suggest you lower your weapon and move back.

If 2:

Guard: Hey, things are pretty desperate out there and not many people are hiring outsiders.  I've got to take what I can get.

1a. Well you're luck's not getting any better tonight.  Attack.
2a. Tomorrow is another day, as they say.  You do want to see tomorrow right?  If so I'd suggest lowering your weapon and moving back.
3a. Nod at the chest against the wall.   You know, there's no reason either of us should have to walk out of here empty handed.

If 3 or 2a succeeds:

The guard eyes you consideringly for a moment as if sizing you up, then lowers his weapon and takes a few steps back towards the door.

1b. Grab what's in the merchant's hand and slip out through the window.
2b. Actually, I've thought better of it.  No one cowed so easily would put up much of a fight.  Attack.

If 3 or 2a fails:

Guard:  You'll be dead before you can reload that thing. 

He attacks.

If 3a succeeds:

The guard stares at the chest for a few seconds before nodding slowly, "He certainly won't miss it.  If the merchant's guild comes asking, though, I'm telling them you took it all.  I'm not interested in seeing another ferryman any time soon."

1c. Fair enough.  You two divy up the contents of the chest and you grab what's clutched in the merchant's hand on the way out the window.
2c. Now why would I let you do that, when I can just kill you dispose of the body and make it look like you made off with everything?

If 3a fails:
The guard stares at the chest for a few seconds before turning back with a greedy smile, "You're right about that, but I think you won't be walking out of here at all.  Sharing's never been a virtue that I particularly care for."  He attacks.

If 2c succeeds:

The guard swallows nervously and nods, "Fine I'll leave town quietly.  I'd have a hard time getting hired after tonight anyway."  You two divy up the contents of the chest and you grab what's clutched in the merchant's hand on the way out the window.

If 2c fails:

The guard scowls and shakes his head, "If I've got to leave town anyway, it's going to be with a full purse.  I think I'll just take the goods and leave you for the rats."  He attacks.

If you kill the guard:

1d. Strip both bodies of valuables, grab the goods from the chest and the item the merchant has clutched in his hand before slipping through the window.
2d. Grab what's clutched in the dead merchant's hand and leave quietly.
3d.  (hidden unless you have a high Int or disguise maybe) Dispose of the guards body before returning to the room and stripping it of it's valuables.


I'd suggest that when you get this quest the guildmaster mention that the merchants guild intends to lay claim to this guys goods any looting option other than succeeding with 2c or 3d you take a big faction hit with the merchants for stealing the goods.  Your guildmaster could chide you for being greedy when you get back but if you covered your tracks or conviced the guard to leave you could put the blame on the guard and spare yourself the faction hit.



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: TrustNo1 on January 22, 2008, 12:53:53 pm
I kinda like the conciseness of the original dialogue. It is a fast and threathening comment that don`t leave a lot of time for the guard to think the situation through.  What about adding a "(slip quietly out the window)" note behind the sentence, to make thing clearer? Just a variation of the "(Truth)" note.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 22, 2008, 01:35:44 pm
I kinda like the conciseness of the original dialogue. It is a fast and threathening comment that don`t leave a lot of time for the guard to think the situation through.  What about adding a "(slip quietly out the window)" note behind the sentence, to make thing clearer? Just a variation of the "(Truth)" note.

That's been discussed, and it would definitely be a good choice if you were guaranteed to succeed at the intimidation. But if you fail, then you have to fight, and it doesn't make a lot of sense. You could fix this by adding "(If successful, slip quietly out the window.)", but I think that's clunky and much more game-y than a simple [truth].


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: xenocide on January 22, 2008, 01:41:00 pm
Nobody knows about the map. I didn't want to draw attention to it and turn it into a "mysterious map that everyone wants". The map's role is to lead you to those who will direct you further. Kinda like the ring in Arcanum. There are other copies of the map and there were other people who tried to find the temple.


Thats fine, I like keeping it simple.  In Arcanum though, eveyone, no matter what character you play, talks to the dying man who gives a cryptic end of life speach and then the PC gets the ring.  I am not saying that the guild master should talk about it, then on the way to the merchant you see a big neon sign that says "MAP! MAP! HOLY SHIT A COOL MAP IN HERE!!!!"  And with the attack option everything is fine because you search the room after and it is natural to take the map.  But, with the intimidate option, I still think it needs a little something.  It seems weird to me that you intimidate the guard in order to jump out the window but then out of the blue grab the map out of the merchant's hand.  I think a small "As he takes his last breath he clutches something in his right hand." No more than that (don't go by my mad writing skills).  Not a huge deal, but I think it would be better with a subtle something or other.

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1: I was paid to kill one, and since I don´t work for free, you can relax and put your sword down. You will walk away with your life, and my business here will be done. he looks to be a seasoned fighter - a quick exit might be wise

Love it.  It not only makes things 100% clear, but it adds flavor to the game.  As mentioned though, it would need to be in the game more than once so I don't know what level of work this would add.

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Anyway when VD's scripted "let's get the hell out of Dodge" kicked in I also thought that was quick. In and out with little word play.
I designed the game with replayability in mind. Boring sequences tend to reduce or ruin replayability for me, so I tried to eliminate those. Since the situation was really about whether or not you have to fight the guard, I didn't want to overcomplicate it with unnecessary dialogue layers. However, people expected more and the customer is always right.

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Then what?

Then nothing IMO, stick with only two options, flee or attack.  I may have changed my mind a little here but the more I hear Vince's arguments the more I agree with his original approach.  But, I do also agree with cardtrick that the original dialog as is may be somewhat unclear as to what happens next.  I know lots of ideas have been thrown around about what the PC should do next, how he can get the drop on the guard, how he can interrogate the guard, etc but this argument ultimatly started because some people were suprised by the action of the PC.  As long as people are clear on what the dialog options intend, I think most people seem to be happy with only the two choices, and IMO that is the best route to take.


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As an aside, I think a situation where you jump through a window, put a crossbow bolt into a guy's neck and then turn to his bodyguard and simply say "Any comments?" would be fucking awesome.

Disagree.


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Quote from: Sleet
Unless the guard is a total idiot there is no way he will lower his sword or let you get the drop on him with an unloaded XBow.
1) He might be - clearly his security precautions were less than perfect.

followed by arguments of what the guard would do.

As I said above, I am not in favor of more options, but that being said, there is a differecne between "lowering' a sword and putting the sword away and completly relaxing.  Now you might be able to talk the guard down from an "arm poised ready to strike" possition, but I do not think you would be able to talk even an idiot into completly letting his guard down.  Even if he lowers his sword he is still going to remain alert and keep his eye on you.  Vince argues it best but I think this ilustrates why there should only be two options.  I can see where people are comming from when arguing for more, but in the end I think the 2 options are best.

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Obviously I'm not trying to please everyone and I'm not eager to start changing things to get a few approvals, but we can say that there was a consensus that more options should have been there.

Not to belabor the point, but I think the major consensus was that as it is it may be a bit unclear, more so than more options being needed.  Obviously you could add options till the cows come home but as you say, what do you really gain?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 22, 2008, 04:11:48 pm
That's been discussed, and it would definitely be a good choice if you were guaranteed to succeed at the intimidation. But if you fail, then you have to fight, and it doesn't make a lot of sense.
Why? It's more reasonable to expect that a guard would attack you, no matter what you say, than to expect that he would do nothing. No?




Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on January 22, 2008, 04:24:41 pm
He means that the line "slip quietly out the window" doesn't make sense with the current situation, since it doesn't happen when the intimidation fails. The situation makes sense, but the line doesn't really fit.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 22, 2008, 04:34:46 pm
He means that the line "slip quietly out the window" doesn't make sense with the current situation, since it doesn't happen when the intimidation fails. The situation makes sense, but the line doesn't really fit.

Exactly. The situation makes perfect sense.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: xenocide on January 22, 2008, 04:49:09 pm
He means that the line "slip quietly out the window" doesn't make sense with the current situation, since it doesn't happen when the intimidation fails. The situation makes sense, but the line doesn't really fit.

Actually, I don't have a problem with "slip quietly out the window", as long as after a fail the game alerts the player:

"The guard is not interested in what you have to say and with a grin on his face attacks, thwarting your attempt at a quick exit."

Not everything you try to do is going to be met with success.  If fact, if you fail the intimidation check, the PC should be penalized in the first round of combat for not attacking right away.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 22, 2008, 05:21:30 pm
Not everything you try to do is going to be met with success.

Of course not, and in fact what you just wrote supports my argument. The phrase "slip quietly out the window" is written precisely as though the intimidation check was always going to be met with success. But the point is that you're not even going to attempt slipping out the window unless you succeed at the intimidation check, so if you fail that line doesn't make any sense.

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If fact, if you fail the intimidation check, the PC should be penalized in the first round of combat for not attacking right away.

Agreed.



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: xenocide on January 22, 2008, 05:41:04 pm
You know, we have all be so focused on how we can manipulate the guard with the intimidation option: interrogate him, get the drop on him, talk him into kneeling down holding his head back and thanking us as we slit his throat.  Think about it.  We just killed a man right in front of his bodygaurd.  The default situation here is being immedatly attacked by the guard.  You take a risk in attempting to talk to the guard; instead of attacking, the PC is going to tryto intimidate the guard. We've been neglecting the attack aption.

You want to get a drop on the guard? Fucking attack him!  

Attack:
"As the guard looks down at his dead meal ticket, you immedatly attack him, catching him off guard" -- guard's actions points are cut by 2/3 for one round.

Risk trying to intimidate:
Fail:  PC looses action points
succeed:  PC leaves unscathed (I think this should give the PC the most experience)

that is a good RPG choice, risk vs. reward


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: xenocide on January 22, 2008, 05:49:53 pm
Not everything you try to do is going to be met with success.

Of course not, and in fact what you just wrote supports my argument. The phrase "slip quietly out the window" is written precisely as though the intimidation check was always going to be met with success. But the point is that you're not even going to attempt slipping out the window unless you succeed at the intimidation check, so if you fail that line doesn't make any sense.



I disagree.  Everything you choose is an attempt.  If the option was "disarm trap", would you be mad if you failed because it did not say "attempt to disarm trap"?

What if you are talking to a merchant and you click:

"500 gold pieces?!! That is outrageous!  This piece of crap is not worth even 100 gold pieces!!"

then this happens:

"500 gold pieces?!! That is outrageous!  This piece ....." 
Suddenly an arrow streaks past your shoulder and strikes the merchant in the neck.  Those assasins must have found you at last!  Fourtunatly you were so outraged at the price, you were jumping from foot to foot and the arrow missed.


Who knows what is going to happen in the game world.  All you can do is try things and see if they work.  Should in my example above it say "Attempt to say....", of course not.  Everything you do in a RPG is an attempt, sometimes it works and sometimes not.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on January 22, 2008, 05:59:42 pm
The point is that there are two actions here: "intimidate", and "leave through window".
There's no opportunity even to make the attempt to "leave through window" unless intimidation has already succeeded. The situation isn't the same as saying one half of a sentence, then the other - the actions are clearly distinct.

If you walk into a room with a huge chasm in the middle and a chest on the far side, would you expect an option to:
Jump chasm (open the chest).??

If so, I think you're in the minority. It might save a click or two, but it has entirely the wrong feel.


EDIT: Though in general I don't think it makes sense to get too hung up on the fine details when there's still the chance major options can change. The fine detail can always be changed to fit with the desired options. E.g. perhaps it'll turn out that things work best if the assassin initially has a clear path to the window, in which case this particular discussion becomes academic.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: xenocide on January 22, 2008, 06:16:33 pm
The point is that there are two actions here: "intimidate", and "leave through window".
There's no opportunity even to make the attempt to "leave through window" unless intimidation has already succeeded. The situation isn't the same as saying one half of a sentence, then the other - the actions are clearly distinct.

If you walk into a room with a huge chasm in the middle and a chest on the far side, would you expect an option to:
Jump chasm (open the chest).??

If so, I think you're in the minority. It might save a click or two, but it has entirely the wrong feel.

Well, I guess I don't see the 2 actions quite as separate as you do.  I don't have a problem with me clicking an option, then things happening in the gamewolrd to prevent them.  Of course you could just change "quietly slip out the window" to "If he backs down, attempt to slip out the window".  For me, I see more of an implied attempt in every option than you seem to.

If you walk into a room with a huge chasm in the middle and a chest on the far side, would you expect an option to:
Jump chasm (open the chest).??

If so, I think you're in the minority. It might save a click or two, but it has entirely the wrong feel.


No, but I would exect to see:

Jump chasm

as on option, and if my jump skill was not high enough I would expect to fall in the chasm.  I would not ecpect to see:

Attempt to run up to the chasm trying not to trip.  When you reach the edge, attempt to jump over the chasm. Attempt to flail arms wildly.

I know I am exaggerating, but it shows what I am trying to say.  The attempt, to me at least, is always implied.


I just saw your edit as I was typing this, and I agree.  A lot of what we are talking about becomes pointless depending on what Vince decides to do.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 22, 2008, 09:00:29 pm
Let's look at the situation from a different angle. You are the guard. The guy you've been assigned to protect is killed. The assassin is still in the room. It looks like he isn't eager to fight you for whatever reasons. What are the options?

The way I see it:

1. You can attack him. The merchant is dead, but killing the assassin will improve your reputation a bit.
2. You can let the assassin go. The merchant is dead and your job at the inn is over anyway, so why risk your own neck for nothing. Besides, if the assassin leaves, you can loot the chest.
3. Call for help - your insurance. If the assassin is leaving, he won't care. If he is thinking about jumping you, he has just run out of time. Of course, then you can forget about the chest, but you will keep your life and that's always a gain.

So, working backwards from these options, in the assassin's vignette the options are:

1. Attack
2. Intimidate and leave
3. Intimidate and attack

The actual dialogue would be something like that:

The merchant makes no attempt to escape his fate. The bolt finds his heart and his no longer alive body hits the floor. The mercenary looks at you, then at the dead body on the floor. He's still trying to decide what to do.

1. Attack
2. I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down.


The guard studies you, evaluating his chances. Finally he makes his decision and charges at you.
or
The guard studies you, evaluating his chances. Finally he nods and lowers his sword, but shows no intention of backing away.

1. Attack
2. Take a step toward the chest.
3. Take what the merchant clutches in his hand and leave.

If 2. The guard smiles, showing rotten teeth, and suddenly yells "Assassin!". 

1. Attack
2. Take what the merchant clutches in his hand and leave.

If 1. after the end of your first turn, 3 more guards join the party. You die and reload, learning a valuable lesson.

Thoughts? Feel free to pretty it up, btw.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: zhirzzh on January 22, 2008, 09:53:23 pm
Perfect. A sneak attack wouldn't work as a guard, so that's all you can do.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Mehler on January 22, 2008, 09:59:12 pm
Much better!


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Priapist on January 22, 2008, 10:04:51 pm
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You die and reload, learning a valuable lesson.

Just make sure the game autosaves at an appropriate time prior to the Inn. There's nothing worse than getting trounced very early in the game and realising you haven't actually got around to saving yet.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 22, 2008, 10:06:07 pm
I like that a lot, Vince. It definitely takes care of my concerns about forcing our character into an action, while retaining much of the elegance and flavor of the original.

One thought that strikes me is that if you attack after the guard calls for help, having only one turn before the other guards arrive seems a little strange. I'm thinking of one turn as being a matter of only a few seconds (enough to run a few yards or stab a couple of times), and that response time then seems extremely fast.

My suggestion would be to change that from 1 turn to 3 turns, and if you manage to kill the guard before those 3 turns are finished then you can bar the door to prevent the other guards from entering immediately, allowing you to loot the room and the guard before you escape. (In my mind, this should be quite difficult to do. If this kind of combat with a brand new character would actually be easily resolved within 3 turns, one way or another, then my idea may not make any sense.)

I'm rethinking this idea now and realizing it doesn't really add much. Still, I'm going to post it anyway, because why the hell not?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on January 22, 2008, 10:16:50 pm
Not bad.
A few questions/observations:
1) What's the advantage for the assassin in intimidating-then-attacking? Does he get some combat advantage over attacking straight away?

2) It seems like the "Take a step towards the chest" option for the assassin is a universally bad idea, regardless of the PC's stats/skills - right? There's no chance that the guard doesn't yell based on some check? [not a criticism - just wanting to see it clearly]

3) When you're the guard, you'd presumably have the option to "wait for him to leave" first, then call for help if he starts going for the chest??

4) On that note, might the assassin decide to go for the chest or attack when you're playing the mercenary - or does he automatically leave if you let him? If there's a decision, how would he make it - e.g. what stat checks? Or would he only start taking this action as a response to some specific mercenary action (perhaps failed action)?

5) Since the assassin has the option to delay an attack until it suits him, how about letting the mercenary do the same - i.e. launching an offensive as the assassin is starting to climb out of the window (presuming it's not a ground floor window, he'd be pretty vulnerable then)??
I think this is a reasonable idea for a few reasons:
First, having things go [PC allows assassin to leave] [Assassin leaves] [End], is rather brief compared to any of the other paths. The player could come away thinking that the vignette has only one choice. Of course he might be pleased to discover that there can be more to it on a future playthrough, but why not make sure he knows first time?
Second, it makes sense - why attack an assassin in a fair fight when you can take him on while he's scrambling for purchase on a window-ledge?
Third it offers the possibility of more diverse outcomes - e.g. assassin falls + lives/dies; merc falls lives/dies; one or other gets stabbed..., then, depending on their final positions, noise caused by falling bodies etc., they might be in a position to loot the chest, and/or the other's body.

Anyway, just a thought.

Quote from: cardtrick
why the hell not?
My sentiments exactly :).


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Priapist on January 23, 2008, 12:14:56 am
See this is what I love about roleplaying games. A small and rather innocuous affair such as breaking into someone's room and killing them really has no end of permutations when structured as a narrative, even with such a small set of actors and props. I mean, we haven't even considered what might happen if someone from the Thieves guild should turn up on the tip that the merchant's worldly possessions make easy pickings. ;)

Just don't get too carried away. Seeing AoD sometime this year would be nice.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: xenocide on January 23, 2008, 12:41:39 am
I like it.  After just arguing for a couple of pages for only 2 options, I won't say it is my favorite, but it is definitely better than the original.


That being said, I think it is important to make choosing to attack right away a viable option.  As mentioned by someone (Vince I believe) a long time ago, if choosing the intimitade leads to:

1. attack
2. get attacked
3. leave

and all attacks are the same as if you had simply chosen attack at the start, ie. normal combat begins, why even have an option to attack right away?  I still say talking to the guard is a risk and should carry a penalty if the check is failed.  I also think a reward for attacking right away would be nice.  I see it something like this:

1. Attack
2. I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down.


If 1 & Dex 7 or above: Your attack is so quick the guard is caught off balance: PC small combat bonus
If 1 & Dex=10: PC big combat bonus - maybe even instant death for the guard, you did say ability scores of 10 would get some pimp options
If 1 & Dex 6 or less: normal combat begins
If 2 with a failed check:  The guard takes advantage of you running your mouth: PC combat penalty

If 2 with a passed check:

1. Attack
2. Take a step toward the chest.
3. Take what the merchant clutches in his hand and leave.


If 1: You fooled the guard: PC combat bonus
If 2: You are dumb, extra guards called
If 3: Leave


I know it seems to add some things, but they are all skill checks that still leave the same number of choices for the PC.  However, this way a quick PC gets an advantage for using his quickness and taking the attack to the guard right away, therefore making the choice of attacking right away a more viable option.  Like I said before , why else even have it?  Every PC should try to intimidate because there is no reason not to.  Plus, I still think you are taking a chance trying to talk to the guard and if you fail you should get a penalty.



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Helian on January 23, 2008, 04:34:05 am
Just don't get too carried away. Seeing AoD sometime this year would be nice.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 23, 2008, 09:46:45 am
I mean, we haven't even considered what might happen if someone from the Thieves guild should turn up on the tip that the merchant's worldly possessions make easy pickings. ;)
That's the thief's vignette. A thief shows up before the assassin. That's why the merchant is already up.

1) What's the advantage for the assassin in intimidating-then-attacking? Does he get some combat advantage over attacking straight away?
None. Since the conversation takes several screens now, all reasonable options must be there.

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2) It seems like the "Take a step towards the chest" option for the assassin is a universally bad idea, regardless of the PC's stats/skills - right? There's no chance that the guard doesn't yell based on some check? [not a criticism - just wanting to see it clearly]
Correct.

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3) When you're the guard, you'd presumably have the option to "wait for him to leave" first, then call for help if he starts going for the chest??

4) On that note, might the assassin decide to go for the chest or attack when you're playing the mercenary - or does he automatically leave if you let him? If there's a decision, how would he make it - e.g. what stat checks? Or would he only start taking this action as a response to some specific mercenary action (perhaps failed action)?
The assassin goes for the chest. Then you either attack him or call for help or wait for him to finish and leave.

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5) Since the assassin has the option to delay an attack until it suits him, how about letting the mercenary do the same - i.e. launching an offensive as the assassin is starting to climb out of the window (presuming it's not a ground floor window, he'd be pretty vulnerable then)??
We'll consider it.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: xenocide on January 23, 2008, 12:26:49 pm
1) What's the advantage for the assassin in intimidating-then-attacking? Does he get some combat advantage over attacking straight away?
None. Since the conversation takes several screens now, all reasonable options must be there.


If this means all attack options here are the same, then I retrack my earlier statement.  Now I don't like it.

Vince, here is a post by you from page 17:


Many people want meaningful (i.e. not fake, leading to the same outcome) choices *with* consequences. I gave you a very simple choice here: kill the guard or intimidate him. Turns out that the successful intimidation option avoids the fight and, what's even worse, limits your looting experience.

I think that "and less boring than attacking which we can always just do next anyways" comment summarizes what most people expected and explains the disappointments. Intimidating the guard, and then attacking and looting the place sounds lame to me. You want the loot? You must go through the guard. You want to handle things peacefully? Forget about the loot, try not to think about the sweet, sweet loot that the guard must be loaded with, and leave. Sound simple and logical to me, but for some reasons we aren't seeing eye-to-eye here.

Suggested "loot and face teh consequences" scenario is a reload fest that isn't about role-playing but about getting all the loot you can carry. Chris Avellone's cartoon comes to mind here. It sounds that people are curious about peaceful options, but in the end, they still prefer and expect some good ol' fashioned violence. Any comments?

If all attacks are the same, you have just turned this situation into exactly what you were arguing against.
Here are the choices we have now:

Take a step towards the chest.  It is cool that this leads to PC death, but ultimatly what this means is the palyer will have to reload and redo the dialog and take another choice.  So, the person who would take this choice still has to take one of the other choices.  For the person taking this choice, it is your second time through the dialog.


1. Attack
2. I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down.



If 1 Attack
If 2 fail Attack
If 2 pass Attack
If 2 pas leave.

the same as:

1. attack
2. leave

right from the begining!

You have just taken a situation that could have set your game apart from mainstream games and turned it into just what we complain about in Bioware games, meaningless choices that all lead to the same outcome.

I am getting a feeling that you do not want to edit the original dioalog to make it more clear what the PC intends.  If that is the case and the choice is the original and the new way, I vote for an unchanged original.  I would rather have a slightly unclear meaningful choice than 3 clear meaningless ones.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 23, 2008, 01:43:21 pm
If this means all attack options here are the same, then I retrack my earlier statement.  Now I don't like it.
The attack options can't be different because of your unloaded crossbow. No matter how fast or sneaky your character is, when he/she starts reloading a crossbow, any chance of surprising the guard is gone.

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Vince, here is a post by you from page 17:
That's my position (and the explanation of the original design). I can argue and make good points all day, but the truth is, most people found the original design too short and abrupt. Obviously, I can't argue with everyone who plays the game, adding a "wtf?" question and inserting what you quoted as the answer.

So, since the original design had to be fixed and extended, I had no choice but to add attack options too. Anyway, I posted that for discussions, so discuss and argue.

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If 1 Attack
If 2 fail Attack
If 2 pass Attack
If 2 pas leave.

the same as:

1. attack
2. leave

right from the begining!
I know. Unfortunately, most people haven't been satisfied with the original. The first reactions were negative. Here is what you said:

"I said earlier that I expected to be able to attack after the intimidation.  Maybe attack was wrong, but I definitely expected to be able to do something. I was suprised that my character just left. "

Sure, after reading several pages of arguments, you understood and agreed with my design, but people who are playing the game, won't stop, go to our forums, and argue until they see my point. They will be disappointed and will start forming negative impressions, and I'd rather avoid that. Mind you, we aren't talking about pleasing everyone. We are talking about pleasing people like you, like cardtrick, galsiah, priapist, etc. People who like and support this kind of games.

If they say that something is wrong then something is definitely wrong.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: John Yossarian on January 23, 2008, 02:46:03 pm
Maybe you can make the attack following the intimidation success carry penalties too then. And don't no one bitch about that not being a success, since being able to leave without fighting is forgiving enough. In any case, I'm OK with this version.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: xenocide on January 23, 2008, 03:55:13 pm
That's my position (and the explanation of the original design). I can argue and make good points all day, but the truth is, most people found the original design too short and abrupt. Obviously, I can't argue with everyone who plays the game, adding a "wtf?" question and inserting what you quoted as the answer.

So, since the original design had to be fixed and extended, I had no choice but to add attack options too. Anyway, I posted that for discussions, so discuss and argue.

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If 1 Attack
If 2 fail Attack
If 2 pass Attack
If 2 pas leave.

the same as:

1. attack
2. leave

right from the begining!
I know. Unfortunately, most people haven't been satisfied with the original. The first reactions were negative. Here is what you said:

"I said earlier that I expected to be able to attack after the intimidation.  Maybe attack was wrong, but I definitely expected to be able to do something. I was suprised that my character just left. "

Sure, after reading several pages of arguments, you understood and agreed with my design, but people who are playing the game, won't stop, go to our forums, and argue until they see my point. They will be disappointed and will start forming negative impressions, and I'd rather avoid that. Mind you, we aren't talking about pleasing everyone. We are talking about pleasing people like you, like cardtrick, galsiah, priapist, etc. People who like and support this kind of games.

If they say that something is wrong then something is definitely wrong.



Your right I did say that, and I said it because I was suprised that more options were not avaliable after the dialog.  The dialog is the key though.


2. I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down.


I do like this dialog.  However, I do not think it gives the proper impreson if it leads to jumping right out the window.  I did not expect more options for options sake, but because the dialog lead me to believe that more options were forthcomming.  It is a subtle difference perhaps, but an important one I think.  I do not think most people would be upset with only 2 options as long as they know what two options they  are choosing between. 

The [truth\lie] indicators have been liked by some but have not went over all that well.  Adding PC thougts after the dialog seemed popular, but as others have said and I agree, if they are put in they should probably be in the game more often and that means a lot of reworking the game.

If this new dialog is the best comprimse that is ok with me, as I said it is not my favorite, but something did need to be done based on player's (including mine) reactions.  I don't want to lead to 10 more pages of people throwing out ideas, including me, but I do have one more idea, and then I'll try to leave this particular issue alone as I think I have made my thoughts on it fairly clear.

This is what we have now:

1. Attack
2. I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down.


A choice between an action and a dialog.  What if it was changed to the choice between 2 actions? Something like:

1. Attack
2. We did what we came for, and this guard looks like a seasoned fighter.  It may be best to slip out quietly.  Try to buy some time to jump out the window.


Then, if 2 the PC says "I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down." and you are left with:

The guard studies you, evaluating his chances. Finally he makes his decision and charges at you.
or
The guard studies you, evaluating his chances. Finally he nods and lowers his sword, but shows no intention of backing away.


This way your original dialog is maintianed.  All players know exactly what they are choosing.  You do not have to rework any of the other parts of the game to add something new.  You are simply choosing between two different actions.  And, you do not have a layer of meaningless choices. 

Also, this works well from the guard's point of view as well.  As a guard it could go something like:

1. Attack
2. The assasin has clearly done what he came for.  Since your meal ticket is already dead there is no use risking our neck any longer, it may be best to let him slip away.  Ready yourself but let him make the next move.


Guard makes an indimidation check
If pass: The assasin says "I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down."  Keeping his eye on you the assasin slips out the window.
If fail:  The assasin clearly doesn't think much of you.  With a grin on his face he attacks.

So as the guard if you choose to you can try to scare the assasin away.
 


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 23, 2008, 04:15:08 pm
More opinions? Come on, people, don't be shy.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Special_Can on January 23, 2008, 04:24:28 pm
 The problem with adding another attack choice to the first option is that it might lead to everyone choosing that intimidate check, and now there is no consequences to choosing it. My super strong assassin with no talking skills will try the first option just in case. If we are talking about replayability, this helps to ruin it. This is the type of stuff I thought Vince was trying to get away from.

 Just add a [truth] and be done with it. Y/N?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 23, 2008, 04:35:28 pm
If we are talking about replayability, this helps to ruin it. This is the type of stuff I thought Vince was trying to get away from.
Is it fair to say that most people didn't like the original and expected MOAR?

Quote
Just add a [truth] and be done with it. Y/N?
I don't like truth/lie indicators, besides, as I already explained you can't use one without the other, otherwise I'm forcing you to tell the truth. And if we have the lie option, then what? Then we'll end up with something that resembles what I posted yesterday.

I'm open to different suggestions though. Maybe a persuasion line?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Special_Can on January 23, 2008, 05:00:35 pm
 I understand the disappointment one might feel when they see the [truth] and not the [lie] but as it stands, that's all there is. They are just finding out one step earlier. I'd rather that trade off then any other.

 This is obviously just my opinion, which you asked for.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on January 23, 2008, 05:08:49 pm
More opinions? Come on, people, don't be shy.
I think you ought to throw in some differences between the attack options, even if they're not greatly significant. Perhaps the main reason for including attack options at various times was to achieve clarity, and not force anything on the player. However, once you've got them it just seems a waste to have each be the same.

Clearly reloading the crossbow before combat isn't an option, but there are other ways to throw in some differences. For a start, I think it's pretty mad for an assassin to go out without other weapons - precisely because he could easily get into this situation. Crossbows can't be reloaded quickly, so it's daft for a solo professional killer to rely on a crossbow as the only weapon.
I'd suggest giving the assassin at least a dagger or throwing knives - possibly both (they could be relatively low quality, of course).

Once you've done that, there's quite a bit of potential: in some scenarios the assassin could have the opportunity to draw a knife/dagger before combat starts; he could get a free throwing knife attack in; he could get to attempt a critical strike type attack (after passing suitably difficult checks). Alternatively, most of those things could go wrong - the merc could see him going for the knife and yell for help (guards arrive one turn later than if the yell happens before the assassin decides to attack); see him going for the knife and attack before he's prepared (initial dodge penalty?); dodge the throwing knife and get in closer before combat starts; evade the knife, charge, and attempt to barge the assassin through the window (same situation as charging as the assassin attempts to leave)....

Since it makes sense for the assassin to come with more than one weapon, and it allows you a lot more latitude in coming up with reasonable, different options, I think it'd be a good idea.

Obviously there's no need to go crazy, but I don't see the downside in mixing up the combat conditions at least a little. The implications don't need to be major - mainly it'd just provide a bit of flavour.


Quote from: Vince
I don't like truth/lie indicators...
Fair enough - I'm not crazy about them.
Quote
...besides, as I already explained you can't use one without the other...
I still disagree here. The point is to add clarity. You could quite reasonably use one of the "inner voice" follow-ups alone, without another - since the point is to make the option clear, rather than to mark it out from alternatives. Similarly, using [truth] without a [lie] is fine from a functional point of view: it does exactly what is intended - i.e. provides clarity for that option.

Granted there's a psychological issue, since seeing "[truth]" will make many players think "Where's the [lie]??". However, all that's doing is highlighting the omission of an extra option. There are already countless options you haven't included, so there's no particular reason to think that a corresponding [lie] must be. The only problem is that more players will tend to think "Strange, there's no lie option" than think "Strange, there's no [unrelated-nonexistent-but-appropriate-option].

As for the "then what?" I think that giving the assassin more weapons gives you many more options - both opportunities for the assassin, and responses for the merc.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: zhirzzh on January 23, 2008, 05:14:52 pm

*snip*

A choice between an action and a dialog.  What if it was changed to the choice between 2 actions? Something like:

1. Attack
2. We did what we came for, and this guard looks like a seasoned fighter.  It may be best to slip out quietly.  Try to buy some time to jump out the window.


Then, if 2 the PC says "I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down."

I don't like this. I think of dialog as a game unto itself. I much prefer going Arcanum style, and providing options to say different things, over pure skill checks (there should of course be some skill checks). This makes it more of a valid alternative to combat, verbal combat if you will, and is better than a non combat player simply raising his skills at the right time and choosing a "persuade him" option. I know this is off topic, but I want to get others thoughts on this.

Edit: I agree with everything Galsiah just said.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: xenocide on January 23, 2008, 05:31:46 pm

*snip*

A choice between an action and a dialog.  What if it was changed to the choice between 2 actions? Something like:

1. Attack
2. We did what we came for, and this guard looks like a seasoned fighter.  It may be best to slip out quietly.  Try to buy some time to jump out the window.


Then, if 2 the PC says "I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down."

I don't like this. I think of dialog as a game unto itself. I much prefer going Arcanum style, and providing options to say different things, over pure skill checks (there should of course be some skill checks). This makes it more of a valid alternative to combat, verbal combat if you will, and is better than a non combat player simply raising his skills at the right time and choosing a "persuade him" option. I know this is off topic, but I want to get others thoughts on this.

Edit: I agree with everything Galsiah just said.

I don't disagree in general.  But we are talking about one specific case where there is only one choice of dialog anyway.  Unless we totally change things to include a dialog option for indimidate, persuade, lie, bribe, etc, I don't see the problem.  I am sure there are plenty of points in the game where you get to choose between lots of dialogs.  But in this case there is only one choice: "I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down." You attack or say that, no other choices.  The problem is, that dialog on its own does not convey that it lead to jumping out the window.  So I think it is fine to have a choice between attack or leave, and you then say the dialog.  If this is the only place in the game it happens so what?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: pnutz on January 23, 2008, 06:22:22 pm
I'm trying to imagine the guard's motivation. He may face serious consequences for allowing his master to be killed. He may feel personally dishonored that you killed this person (or anyone he was charged with protecting). He may be startled and terrified to see you there, not being able to size you up in the dark. He may just sigh and hope you go quickly, immediately pondering this black mark on his reputation as a bodyguard. The PC's observation of this could be based on a Streetwise check.

Your reaction might be
1. a seething threat "You're next if you don't run. I don't mind killing for free."
2. an abrupt false start "You scream and stomp at the guard, hoping to startle him."
3. a harsh rationalization "I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down."
4. a taunt (to throw him into a rage and hopefully make him slip up)

These are much more interesting if you have more than a crossbow, like galsiah said. If you read the guard correctly (via that Streetwise check), then you should be able to pick an appropriate response. Respond wrongly and you risk prompting him to immediately attack in anger or, more tactically, call for help and try to cut off your escape. So the response from the guard would be something like:
1. "Your threat only hardens his resolve. He shouts for help and then runs towards you to cut off your escape."
2. "The scream from the shadows startles him and he stumbles backwards out of the room. He will most likely return shortly with company, as you hear shouts of alarm from below."
3. "He pauses and looks pained. 'Sorry, friend. I can't do that.' But he does not approach."
4. "Your taunt doesn't seem to upset him. 'Do you think I'm a woman? Who'd put off by trash like you?' He steps steadily towards you, sword at the ready."

You are still dealing with fight or flight for the most part. Maybe you could try to play toward his dislike of his boss and split what's in the chest (what's in that chest again?) if he'll keep quiet.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 23, 2008, 07:01:47 pm
Tough crowd. *sigh*

Ok, how about:

The merchant makes no attempt to escape his fate. The bolt finds his heart and his no longer alive body hits the floor. The mercenary looks at you, then at the dead body on the floor. He's still trying to decide what to do.

1. Attack
2. I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down.

The guard studies you, evaluating his chances. Finally he makes his decision and charges at you.
or
The guard studies you, evaluating his chances. Finally he nods and lowers his sword, but shows no intention of backing away.

1. Take what the merchant clutches in his hand and leave.
2. [Dexterity] "Catch!" Throw the guard your crossbow. As his attention switches to the crossbow, grab a bolt, holding it as a short dagger, and jump the guard aiming for the throat.

(I'll be grateful for any attempts to pretty up that cumbersome sentence)

2a. The bolt head enters the guard's unprotected throat, severing the windpipe. His eyes roll up and he falls down without a sound.

or

2b. The guard swiftly moves to the side and hits you with the pommel of his sword. He smiles unpleasantly, showing rotten teeth, and charges at you.

(you equip a bolt and fight using it as a melee weapon. It's a long shot, but it may work).

Opinions?



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: zhirzzh on January 23, 2008, 07:18:26 pm
That's great Vince. Stick with that.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on January 23, 2008, 07:42:21 pm
I like the notion of an improvised bolt-in-the-throat as a surprise, but I'm not sure that standard combat with a bolt-as-melee-weapon makes a great deal of sense. Once the guard knows that the assassin needs to hit him in the face or neck to do any damage, he'd be at a huge advantage. I'd prefer a significant-disadvantage situation to an almost-certain-death one.
How about having the assassin grab something else to use as a weapon? (a heavy candlestick, a chair, the merchant's cane/staff...) - or giving him another slim chance to dive for the window when there's an opportunity?? [though I guess that this could leave you without the map, which is clearly a problem...]


I'm not sure about this as a description "...severing the windpipe. His eyes roll up and he falls down without a sound.".
I'm fairly sure that severing the windpipe alone does almost nothing. It probably makes breathing noisy and annoying, but it's certainly not going to kill anyone. To kill someone fast by severing something in the neck you'd want to hit either the right or left carotid artery, which are either side of the windpipe - shoving a bolt directly through the windpipe would probably miss them both, leaving an annoyed, hoarse guard.
Then of course you'd probably want a different description, with some throat clutching and blood spurting.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 23, 2008, 07:52:31 pm
I like the notion of an improvised bolt-in-the-throat as a surprise, but I'm not sure that standard combat with a bolt-as-melee-weapon makes a great deal of sense. Once the guard knows that the assassin needs to hit him in the face or neck to do any damage, he'd be at a huge advantage.
Well... it doesn't have to be face or neck. Our brave assassin has AP bolts in his arsenal of destruction and we can give them basic 1-3 damage range plus a few points vs DR and a good chance to bypass armor completely (a daggers' trait). With a little bit of luck and a lot of dodging...

Quote
How about having the assassin grab something else to use as a weapon? (a heavy candlestick, a chair, the merchant's cane/staff...)...
What's the difference? If anything, several bolts are a better weapon than a chair, don't you think?

Quote
I'm not sure about this as a description "...severing the windpipe. His eyes roll up and he falls down without a sound.".
I'm fairly sure that severing the windpipe alone does almost nothing. It probably makes breathing noisy and annoying, but it's certainly not going to kill anyone. To kill someone fast by severing something in the neck you'd want to hit either the right or left carotid artery, which are either side of the windpipe - shoving a bolt directly through the windpipe would probably miss them both, leaving an annoyed, hoarse guard.
Then of course you'd probably want a different description, with some throat clutching and blood spurting.
I'm ashamed to admit, but I lied to you guys. I'm not a professional ninja-assassin, and I have no idea how to kill people in a fast and efficient manner. So, we'll go with what Galsiah said.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Special_Can on January 23, 2008, 08:16:04 pm
 That's actually good. It leaves the consequences with a much harder combat. Make the Dexterity check a 10, very few people will be able to succeed.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: star on January 23, 2008, 08:22:46 pm
I'm fairly sure that severing the windpipe alone does almost nothing. It probably makes breathing noisy and annoying, but it's certainly not going to kill anyone.


Well, the windpipe is very narrow, so sticking a bolt in it may stop your breathing altogether, especially if you consider all the blood thats now running down it and into your lungs... going for the arterys will be pretty deadly too, but it won't kill one instantly either, you'll have at least several more minutes before you loose enough blood to go unconscious.


So i say sticking a bolt in one's windpipe has probably the most immediate consequences..


Also, i like vince latest piece of art, leave it this way.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: namad on January 23, 2008, 08:49:35 pm
so what if fighting with a bad weapon is bad?

to get there you have to fail skill checks AND make a daring choice!
you could always attack first, or simply not attack and take what the merchant was holding which are both the more sane issues...


the crazy attack is the fun option which people will save and reload to see it doesn't matter if it kills them because it's so fun!


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: zhirzzh on January 23, 2008, 09:02:22 pm
I'm not sure about this as a description "...severing the windpipe. His eyes roll up and he falls down without a sound.".
I'm fairly sure that severing the windpipe alone does almost nothing. It probably makes breathing noisy and annoying, but it's certainly not going to kill anyone. To kill someone fast by severing something in the neck you'd want to hit either the right or left carotid artery, which are either side of the windpipe - shoving a bolt directly through the windpipe would probably miss them both, leaving an annoyed, hoarse guard.
Then of course you'd probably want a different description, with some throat clutching and blood spurting.

That's right, breaking his windpipe would kill him, but severing it wouldn't. However, if you left the bolt in his windpipe, it would kill him. Once he was dead, you would remove the bolt, so you wouldn't need to take a bolt out of the player's inventory.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on January 23, 2008, 09:05:34 pm
What's the difference? If anything, several bolts are a better weapon than a chair, don't you think?
Maybe so - it just seems a little unlikely to me. Let's see how other people react.

Quote
Make the Dexterity check a 10
I guess it ought to be high - since only assassins are going to need to pass it, a low or moderate check would mean success for almost everyone. I think 10 is too harsh though. 8 or 9 gets my vote.
Or alternatively, have three outcomes:
Failure: you get pommelled, and need to fight with bolts.
Moderate success: you get the bolt in his throat, miss the real target, and sever the windpipe - guard charges, coughing blood (EDIT: a little, that is :)), with the bolt still protruding from his throat (guard fights with stat penalties, but you're left fighting with bolts).
Complete success:you hit the right point, and he's down instantly, clutching at his throat, gushing blood etc. (only put more eloquently)

You could have it all based on dexterity, or maybe a combination of dex and critical strike??
E.g. (and I know this is needlessly complex :D):
Dex 1 to 7 = failure
Dex 8 = hit with penalty on critical strike check
Dex 9 = hit
Dex 10 = hit with bonus on critical strike check

Critical strike success ---> Moderate success outcome
Critical strike failure ---> Complete success outcome


Quote from: star
Well, the windpipe is very narrow, so sticking a bolt in it...
As narrow as a crossbow bolt???
Quote
...especially if you consider all the blood thats now running down it and into your lungs...
Where is all this blood coming from exactly? You've missed the arteries, and probably the major veins too, since (I'm pretty sure) they're not central either. Perhaps it's possible to do some serious damage by sticking something into the windpipe, but it's certainly not reliable. It's not what an assassin would be aiming for.

Quote
going for the arterys will be pretty deadly too, but it won't kill one instantly either, you'll have at least several more minutes before you loose enough blood to go unconscious.
A couple of points here:
First, though it wouldn't kill instantly, you try fighting on while blood is spurting in jets from your throat. The shock would be extreme, and the almost automatic reaction to clutch at the throat with both hands to stop the bleeding.
Second, I'd guess that "at least several more minutes" is pretty optimistic. One or two minutes perhaps.

If you cut both sides, it'd be a matter of seconds, but I guess that's unlikely with a crossbow bolt (if you're stabbing it in, rather than slashing).


Quote from: namad
the crazy attack is the fun option which people will save and reload to see it doesn't matter if it kills them because it's so fun!
Sure they'll have fun - but they'll have more if they're left with a fighting chance than if they're left with a vanishingly small one. Expecting a save-reload isn't terrible - it's just not ideal.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Mephisto on January 23, 2008, 09:11:08 pm
No, I think its too much. Besides, wouldnt it require additional work to make bolts a melee weapon? I think its too much for just a vignette where you need to get the map. Perhaps just replace that hollywood ninja scene with "Reload the crossbow and attack", as he lowered his guard a little and gives you enough time to do it. Perhaps you can do it while speaking. So, if you pass the intimidation check, you get a small bonus when attacking, which is a loaded crossbow instead of a unloaded one, so its not the same as the first attack option.

I think its simple and it gives different options:

1- Intimidate.
2- Attack with unloaded crossbow.
3- Attach with loaded crossbow (must pass intimidation).


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on January 23, 2008, 09:16:26 pm
Unless it's got a peculiarly fancy loading mechanism, that's just not going to happen. Most crossbows take quite a while to load, and the idea of loading one subtly a few feet from an attentive guard with a sword is just absurd - much more far-fetched than stabbing a guy in the neck with a bolt.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 23, 2008, 09:24:04 pm
Or alternatively, have three outcomes:
Failure: you get pommelled, and need to fight with bolts.
Moderate success: you get the bolt in his throat, miss the real target, and sever the windpipe - guard charges, coughing blood (EDIT: a little, that is :)), with the bolt still protruding from his throat (guard fights with stat penalties, but you're left fighting with bolts).
Complete success:you hit the right point, and he's down instantly, clutching at his throat, gushing blood etc. (only put more eloquently)
I like that a lot. Thanks.

Quote
Quote from: star
Well, the windpipe is very narrow, so sticking a bolt in it...
As narrow as a crossbow bolt???
It could be the barbed one to make sure that you won't miss anything important.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 23, 2008, 09:26:17 pm
No, I think its too much. Besides, wouldnt it require additional work to make bolts a melee weapon?
Not much. We can use the dagger animation and replace daggers with a bolt.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: zhirzzh on January 23, 2008, 11:22:07 pm
It's fine. Let's just move the LP forward.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Paranoid Jack on January 24, 2008, 12:46:52 am
Tough crowd. *sigh*

Ok, how about:

The merchant makes no attempt to escape his fate. The bolt finds his heart and his no longer alive body hits the floor. The mercenary looks at you, then at the dead body on the floor. He's still trying to decide what to do.

1. Attack
2. I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down.

The guard studies you, evaluating his chances. Finally he makes his decision and charges at you.
or
The guard studies you, evaluating his chances. Finally he nods and lowers his sword, but shows no intention of backing away.

1. Take what the merchant clutches in his hand and leave.
2. [Dexterity] "Catch!" Throw the guard your crossbow. As his attention switches to the crossbow, grab a bolt, holding it as a short dagger, and jump the guard aiming for the throat.

(I'll be grateful for any attempts to pretty up that cumbersome sentence)

2a. The bolt head enters the guard's unprotected throat, severing the windpipe. His eyes roll up and he falls down without a sound.

or

2b. The guard swiftly moves to the side and hits you with the pommel of his sword. He smiles unpleasantly, showing rotten teeth, and charges at you.

(you equip a bolt and fight using it as a melee weapon. It's a long shot, but it may work).

Opinions?



I think the option of throwing the crossbow to distract the Merc and then attacking with a bolt is great. But if that option is given...  I think a negative consequence of it also taking damage should be considered.

I know there are no repairs of degrading weapons but such a daring move should at least have possible dire consequences...  besides your possible death. Not sure how best to determine if the crossbow takes damage but a forty percent chance at permanent range reduction or a permanent -1 damage modifier could be used. Maybe several possible damages made available and one chosen at random if you survive the fight with the Merc.

1) No damage, you get really lucky.
2) The trigger takes damage +1 AP to fire damaged crossbow.
3) The bow takes damage -1 to damage inflicted from this point on.
4) The bow takes damage -1 to hit using damaged crossbow.
5) The bow takes damage -1 to distance/range of damaged crossbow.

Of course this could add a bit more work for Vince and the team since I'm not familiar with how easily items are tagged with attributes or modifiers.

Either way just my 2 cents.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: zhirzzh on January 24, 2008, 02:01:15 am
Can't the player just buy a new basic crossbow?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Priapist on January 24, 2008, 02:42:47 am
I'm going to try and be the voice of reason here, because this is getting out of hand. It's all very reasonable discussion, and I think you'd all be great compadres for a P&P adventure, but that's almost what this is becoming - we're all suggesting clever improvisations and interesting consequences, but Vince can't simply get you to roll some dice and run with it.

Don't get me wrong, I love having as many options as possible available to me, but surely a lot of this can be with the existing systems, assuming they're robust enough.

Does there really need to be a distinction between just attacking vs intimidating and then attacking? Sure, it is better if there is some distinction, but I don't think there's a need to drastically alter the circumstances every step of the way to "artificially" induce a dynamically different situation. You can't say the intimidation is a non-choice - it's a gamble that might allow you to avoid combat, or it might lead you to be attacked at a disadvantage. If you decide to attack after intimidating, then you've broken even with the gamble - it may be functionally the same as before, but you've taken a step to get to that point, and the choice itself its different.

Even if they achieve the same end, choosing to attack when you could gamble on intimidation vs. choosing to attack when you could freely escape, or try to smooth talk represent two very different circumstances. The second set of choices makes the choice to attack calculated and cold-blooded, while the first could simply be defending against a perceived threat.

To sum up, you have fundamental functional differences between the two because they exist in different finite sets of choices, and because the second requires you to gamble and succeed. In a narrative sense, they're also different because you have a reactive choice vs a pre-meditated or at least opportunistic choice. It could stand in its own merits.

I can't fault the intent, but I think we're maybe overthinking it all and trying to force more vastly different choices than are necessary, and there's a snowball effect to it. When all of these choices rely on branching/interconnected scripts, the script workload blows out for each situation and if you aim for consistency, ripple throughout every encounter in the game. I think more robust solutions are required.

For instance, the crossbow. Why can't I attempt that move with the initial attack option? You could argue that since the guard has his sword at the ready, he'll simply bat it away - but that's reason why the choice would likely fail, not why it couldn't be attempted. And what about combat (n, n+1, n+2, ...) etc? Are you going to script similar circumstances into every significant stand off?

I don't think it's reasonable - but it does lead my mind to wander. I think it would be safe to assume that such a situation would arise often enough (counting multiple choices to attack within a single tree) that you could integrate it into the game mechanics, rather than explicit scripts - in essence an extended action to stagger or bewilder an opponent that hasn't yet become hostile. You're building a more robust system of choices and consequences with a global set of rules, rather than an arbitrary script.

Throwing an item (read: not an attacking throw) is a pretty good example. It comes at a (temporary?) cost of the item and forces you to improvise. The chance of success depends largely on the enemies state, but may have other factors:

* Unarmed or At Ease - Easy to stagger
* Weapon in hand, not hostile - Moderate difficult
* Weapon at the ready waiting to charge at you - Difficult.

...but I'd like to see that built upon and possibly turn some conventions on their ear - against a character with high dexterity and high perception (but maybe low intelligence) you stand a better chance, since they'd be wired to reactively catch, while a clumsy character would probably get hit in the chest.

You can also have variable results. Maybe it fazes them and they lose a whole turn. Maybe they just waste a few points dropping it. Maybe they use up a quick attack worth of points batting it away. There's plenty of scope for options there, and best of all, it can be applied anywhere. You could potentially even use the same actions to toss a weapon to an ally mid-battle, if you wanted. The only real cost is a bit more work into the combat system, and an animation or two.

Same goes for stabbing someone in the throat - couldn't that be integrated as a bonus to-hit/to-critical on called shots against a non-hostile opponent? Likewise, using a bolt as an improvised weapon is good, but can't that be left to the player who has just thrown their crossbow, has no melee weapon and can be pleasantly surprised that a logical improvisation on their part is recognised by the game?

There are plenty of good suggestions coming through in this thread, but if you're going to implement an extended set of actions, I think you're better off doing it as a standard game mechanic rather than dialogue scripts. I think we're getting too hung up on whether you're attacking or not, and forgetting that there's a whole system dedicated to making combat an interesting scattering of tactical choices and die rolls.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on January 24, 2008, 03:53:40 am
That's reasonable thinking, but I'd make a few points:
[Disclaimer: I'm very tired, so might be suffering from impaired thinking/typing/phrasing...]

1) Options which lead to similar/identical outcomes are always gambles from the player's point of view - that doesn't necessarily mean he'll be too satisfied if the choice/order turns out to make no difference. I don't think players tend to value apparent gambles which turn out not to have mattered at all. I agree that the intimidation option is significant, and serves a purpose, regardless. I'm just not sure it'd be well received.

2) AoD is generally a more scripted/static affair than your or my 'ideal' RPG. I'm all for generic systems, rather than once-only scripts, but there is some advantage to content that feels unique to each situation. Since quests, dialogue skill checks, text adventures... in AoD are generally (all?) hand-written and scripted, hand-crafting this situation seems quite fitting.

3) I don't think there's a need for "consistency", in terms of putting this effort into scripted options for every encounter. The vignette is a special case, and occurs before the player has much idea about the world, or his PC's motivations. He doesn't have medium/long-term goals and strategies to consider. All he has to draw him in are the particulars of the immediate situation. In later quests that won't be the case - there'll be less need for the particulars to be involving, since the background and context should be.
Of course some of the other vignettes might be much simpler in any case, which can't be helped. I do think it's reasonable to put a somewhat disproportionate effort into the vignettes though - since they have very little "backup", and will shape the player's early impression of the game.

4) Once you have something as a generic system, it needs to be well balanced to work in any context - which greatly restricts its application in the individual case. With a one-time-only option, it's fine to give any bonuses/penalties which make things interesting - without regard for overall balance.


To be fair, I suppose you could argue that the advantage of hand-crafted dialogue/descriptions... is that you can accurately portray your vision for the situation - and that if this "vision" is being constructed by artificially working backwards from the gameplay, you're not really using that advantage.
I'm not sure I agree with that though - unless your vision of the situation covers all the fine detail, I don't see much wrong with "artificiallly" adapting that detail to fit the gameplay situations you're after.


That said, if there are general action options that would work in many/any combat situation, and would add to gameplay variety, I'm all for including them. Balance is very important for such options though - if they're to be used at least occasionally, and not to the exclusion of other varied options. A wider variety of options will only lead to a wider variety of gameplay if the balance is good.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Claw on January 24, 2008, 06:34:26 am
2. [Dexterity] "Catch!" Throw the guard your crossbow. As his attention switches to the crossbow, grab a bolt, holding it as a short dagger, and jump the guard aiming for the throat.

(I'll be grateful for any attempts to pretty up that cumbersome sentence)
I'd say "Throw the guard your crossbow and try to skewer his throat with a bolt while he's distracted."

I'd be fine with three outcomes as galsiah suggested. Instant win, and two combat scenarios, one where you scored a hit and another where the guard scored a hit beforehand.

I also suggest not mentioning the windpipe or any specific injury at all, as to avoid the player's analysis of whether or not the result is realistic. The guard either goes down fatally injured or it doesn't.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Gareth on January 24, 2008, 06:59:05 am
Geez like, how many pages of discussion on this 1 dialogue option now?

Heh, just teasing, carry on.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: GhanBuriGhan on January 24, 2008, 11:57:20 am
One caveat of this bolt thing is that it raises the expectation in the player that he can do that kind of thing again - so are you prepared to make bolts melee weapons in general and to provide other surprise bolt-kills? It can't be a one-time thing, e.g. using the bolt would have to be an option if you choose to attack right in the beginning too, right? So it would not have to particularly stated. And anyway, isn't this a bit too Legolas?

How about:

1. Attack before he regains his composure
2. I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down.

(1: Attack with player initiative)

if 2:
The guard studies you, evaluating his chances. Finally he makes his decision and charges at you.
or
The guard studies you, evaluating his chances. Finally he nods and lowers his sword, but shows no intention of backing away.

1. Take what the merchant clutches in his hand and leave.
2. [Dexterity] "Catch!" You throw the crossbow at the guard to distract him, grab a bolt, and jump the guard aiming for the throat.
3. [persuasion] Nod towards the chest. "Your former master has no need of his worldly posession anymore. Fifty-fifty?"

2a. The bolt head enters the guard's unprotected throat, severing the windpipe. His eyes roll up and he falls down without a sound.

or

2b. The guard swiftly moves to the side and hits you with the pommel of his sword. He smiles unpleasantly, showing rotten teeth, and charges at you.
(- 2 HP, guard's initiative)

3a (success):
The guard thinks for a moment, picking his nose. The he nods. He throws a bag with the merchants posession at your feet, keeping a bigger one and a purse for himself. He turns to you, hand on the hilt of his sword, and waits for you to leave.

4a Attack
(regular initiative)

4b You grab the bag, and the paper the merchant clutches in his hands, an leap for the window.

3b (fail):
"You should have left while you could". He charges at you.
(guards initiative)

You'd have three different combat results advantage player,  advantage guard and neutral, and three different loot results - none, half, all


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 24, 2008, 11:58:45 am
Good post, Priapist, as usual.

So, what would you suggest? Go with the original setup? Move the "throw the crossbow" option before the intimidation to maintain the consistency of choices? Something else?

I would really like to deal with this situation already and move on, but since we've spent so much time already, we might as well do it right.




Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 24, 2008, 12:02:32 pm
One caveat of this bolt thing is that it raises the expectation in the player that he can do that kind of thing again - so are you prepared to make bolts melee weapons in general and to provide other surprise bolt-kills?
Sure. You can throw swords and axes, you can use throwing weapons in close combat, so why not being able to use bolts as weapons?

Quote
And anyway, isn't this a bit too Legolas?
A valid concern.

Quote
How about:
...
You'd have three different combat results advantage player,  advantage guard and neutral, and three different loot results - none, half, all
I'm ok with it. Nothing wrong with a persuasion option, of course.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: xenocide on January 24, 2008, 01:19:25 pm
I agree with Priapist that things are starting to get out of hand.  The original concern was not necessarily a lack of options but that the dialog was unlcear in intent.  This is why I like my idead of changing the choice of the dialog to

2. You did what you came for, and this guard looks like a seasoned fighter.  It may be best to slip out quietly.  Try to buy some time to jump out the window.

and if this option is taken then the PC says the dialog.  Maybe I am the only one that likes that though, but IMO as long as it is well written I think it is just as fun and interesting option to take as picking specific dialog.  Things are simple, attack or try to leave.

If no one likes that and we go with Vince's new scenario, I think we should still keep things more simple than a lot of the sugestions so far.


Does there really need to be a distinction between just attacking vs intimidating and then attacking? Sure, it is better if there is some distinction, but I don't think there's a need to drastically alter the circumstances every step of the way to "artificially" induce a dynamically different situation. You can't say the intimidation is a non-choice - it's a gamble that might allow you to avoid combat, or it might lead you to be attacked at a disadvantage.

But it has not been established that there is a penalty to trying to intimidate and failing, AFAIK right now there is not one, all attacks are the same.  In the intrests of staying simlple:

1. Attack
2. Intimidate

If 1: no initiative, PC goes first
If 2 fail: no initiative, guard goes first
If 2 Pass attack: no initiative, PC goes first
If 2 Pass leave:  you leave

Simple and direct with a penalty for trying to intimidate and failing.  And if the combat is a close fight, going first could be huge.  If you want to put in the Dex check, I like that as well but that should stay simple as well.  You only get to use it with an intimidate pass:

Dex 6 or less:  Guard blocks but is off balance, PC goes first in combat.
Dex 7,8,or 9: Partial hit, guard looses 1/4 of hit points and has small stat penalty
Dex 10: Instant death for guard, IMO this is a big bonus and very hard to do and should only be for dex of 10


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 24, 2008, 01:57:06 pm
The merchant makes no attempt to escape his fate. The bolt finds his heart and his no longer alive body hits the floor. The mercenary looks at you, then at the dead body on the floor. He's still trying to decide what to do.

1. Reload and attack
2. [Dexterity] "Catch!" Throw the guard your crossbow. As his attention switches to the crossbow, grab a bolt, holding it as a short dagger, and jump the guard aiming for the throat.
3. I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down.

If 2.

2a. The bolt head pierces the guard's unprotected throat, cutting the arteries and flooding the windpipe with blood. His eyes roll up and he falls down without a sound.
-
2b. The guard moves to the side and the bolt head tears a wound in his neck, missing the vitals. Blood gushes out and the suddenly pale guard charges at you. (loses 5HP per turn, penalty to hit 20%)
-
2c. The guard swiftly moves to the side and hits you with the pommel of his sword. He smiles unpleasantly, showing rotten teeth, and charges at you.

If 3.

The guard studies you, evaluating his chances. Finally he makes his decision and charges at you.
-
The guard studies you, evaluating his chances. Finally he nods and lowers his sword, but shows no intention of backing away.

1. Take what the merchant clutches in his hand and leave.
2. [Persuasion] I think it's fair to say that you and I were the only friends Gracius had in Teron. I helped him find some inner peace, but I couldn't have done that without you standing there with your mouth open. I think that Gracius would want us to have this, don't you think? *nod toward the open chest.

2a. You better leave now before I call for help. *the guard looks like he's about to attack.
      Take what the merchant clutches in his hand and leave.
2b. Might as well split it *the guard turns the chest over, spilling the content, and then draws a line dividing the humble spoils.
      Take your share and what the merchant clutches in his hand and leave.



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Special_Can on January 24, 2008, 02:27:26 pm
 That's good.

 1. Just regular combat
 2. A chance for an Instant kill, but no chance of a disadvantage? I think there needs to be more of a consequence here if you have low dexterity.
 3. Intimidate check, if you fail, combat. If you win, a chance to Pursuade and only get half of the loot. This choice kinda leads to a non-choice but that's fine.

 I like it, especially since originally I didn't want any change. I don't think anyone can complain about this.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: JuJu on January 24, 2008, 02:42:03 pm
In the last dialogue there seems to be no risks in choosing splitting the loot . Maybe add three levels of consequences to it:
1. if you fail, the guard attacks you
2. if you succeed, you get away
3. if you have 10 CHA or similar, you talk him into splitting the loot

Also the guard doesn't seem to gain anything from letting you take half of HIS loot.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 24, 2008, 02:45:48 pm
2. A chance for an Instant kill, but no chance of a disadvantage? I think there needs to be more of a consequence here if you have low dexterity.
You fight him with a toothpick (i.e. you use a bolt as a melee weapon, since that's all you've got now). I'd say that's a disadvantage. No?

Quote from: JuJu
In the last dialogue there seems to be no risks in choosing splitting the loot . Maybe add three levels of consequences to it:
Should there always be some risks? You are about to leave. Your options are to leave with some loot (as a reward to putting a few points into persuasion) or without. There is no need to overcomplicate it with yet another combat check.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: xenocide on January 24, 2008, 02:55:07 pm
2. A chance for an Instant kill, but no chance of a disadvantage? I think there needs to be more of a consequence here if you have low dexterity.
You fight him with a toothpick (i.e. you use a bolt as a melee weapon, since that's all you've got now). I'd say that's a disadvantage. No?

Quote from: JuJu
In the last dialogue there seems to be no risks in choosing splitting the loot . Maybe add three levels of consequences to it:
Should there always be some risks? You are about to leave. Your options are to leave with some loot (as a reward to putting a few points into persuasion) or without. There is no need to overcomplicate it with yet another combat check.

I agree.  I like the new sequence.  I assume from the above post that the only way to reload an get off another shot with the crossbow is to choose "reload and attack"?  That is the way it should be.  It is a nice incentive to attack right away. 


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Special_Can on January 24, 2008, 03:21:53 pm
2. A chance for an Instant kill, but no chance of a disadvantage? I think there needs to be more of a consequence here if you have low dexterity.
You fight him with a toothpick (i.e. you use a bolt as a melee weapon, since that's all you've got now). I'd say that's a disadvantage. No?

 I forgot. oops.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: zhirzzh on January 24, 2008, 03:43:25 pm
This is very good, but the last option was fine too, and retained your desire to stop a non-combat from getting the loot. It does keep getting better, but we've now doubled the amount of dialog, and this is just the opening vignette. I think that it is quite possible to make something like the opening overwhelming. You haven't really spent any time doing other things yet, so you aren't overly prepared for stat checks, and most players will want to move on the the game itself.

I DO think that this is better, but I wouldn't make it more complex than it is now.

Edit: I don't see any harm in leaving the option to fight in when he threatens to call for help, it was in the last draft and I just assumed it was in this one. He calls for help, you die and learn a valuable lesson about picking options in dialog that seem like VERY bad ideas.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: xenocide on January 24, 2008, 03:51:46 pm
One last thing.  If the highest dex can instakill the guard, I think it would be cool if the lowest dex instakilled the PC.  I believe I read somewhere that you said 4 is the lowest ability score one can take?  If a PC with Dex of 4 trys the Dex check he should be instakilled.  It makes sense if you want to spend that few points in Dex.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: zhirzzh on January 24, 2008, 03:54:05 pm
Having to fight an uninjured guard with a bolt, isn't far off from being instakilled.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on January 24, 2008, 04:10:38 pm
If a PC with Dex of 4 trys the Dex check he should be instakilled.  It makes sense if you want to spend that few points in Dex.
Perhaps, but putting this in would be largely a waste of effort - or at least only not a waste for a player who's not taking things at all seriously, and intentionally trying to get killed in humorous fashion.

First it's not a PC with Dex 4: it's a PC with assassin background with Dex 4. Likely?
Then it's a player who's either utterly daft, or has a death-wish, since he's trying checks on a stat of 4.

Throwing in interesting death descriptions for such blatantly absurd cases might be a plus, but it has to be a very low priority. Since there are already cries of over-complication, I think it makes sense to prioritize reasonable possibilities over absurd death-wish options.


Quote from: zhirzzh
...and this is just the opening vignette. I think that it is quite possible to make something like the opening overwhelming. You haven't really spent any time doing other things yet, so you aren't overly prepared for stat checks, and most players will want to move on the the game itself.
I don't follow this.
For a start, I think saying that "this is just the vignette" is comparable to saying of a book "this is just the first page". You make it good so that people keep playing (bear in mind this is part of the demo - no-one's paid their money yet). If you just want the first page of a book to be over with, you probably stop reading.
Second, how is it that the player isn't prepared for "stat checks", yet wants to get on with the game itself - which is full of stat checks?? The vignette is part of the game itself. If it's of a quality that has players thinking "Let's get this over with so I can start the game already.", it shouldn't be included at all.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 24, 2008, 04:59:58 pm
Latest dialog

I like this a lot. I think it's a very significant improvement over the original, and I like it better than the [truth]/[lie] thing. I have several nitpicks in a different vein, which hopefully don't prompt another 10 pages of argument, but I just want to make it clear before I talk about them that I think the dialog as it currently stands is excellent.

The bolt finds his heart and his no longer alive body hits the floor.

I think "lifeless" flows better than "no longer alive."

1. Reload and attack

I may be crazy, but my first thought on reading this was "reload" as in "load a saved game." Anyone else think this is an actual issue? I guess it could be changed to "Reload your crossbow and attack." Thoughts?

(Incidentally, what happens if the assassin is skilled in throwing or bow rather than crossbows?)

2. [Dexterity] "Catch!" Throw the guard your crossbow. As his attention switches to the crossbow, grab a bolt, holding it as a short dagger, and jump the guard aiming for the throat.

I like this line and especially like picturing my character doing it. It's pretty damn badass. Possibly shorten the end of it to "lunge at the guard's throat", which I think sounds more active, but that's obviously a tiny issue.

I do have a more general concern which this line helps illustrate. It's clear now that dialogs are sometimes going to have a mix of spoken lines and actions. In this line, you used quotation marks to set off the words that your character says, which I think works well. In other lines, like
2a. You better leave now before I call for help. *the guard looks like he's about to attack.
you use a * to indicate action and don't put quotation marks around spoken words. And in lines that have only an action or only a spoken line, you use neither *'s nor quotation marks.

I think all of this is potentially confusing and certainly unprofessional looking. You should choose a style and stick with it. My personal preference would be always putting quotation marks around spoken lines, and having phrases or lines without quotes be actions or descriptions, as in a novel. If you don't like that, I would prefer italics to *'s. However, I'm fine with any other alternative as long as you're consistent.

3. I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down.

I'm not necessarily complaining, but I don't understand why you have [Dexterity] and [Persuasion] for the appropriate lines, but not [Intimidation] for this. Is there a good reason?

2a. The bolt head pierces the guard's unprotected throat, cutting the arteries and flooding the windpipe with blood. His eyes roll up and he falls down without a sound.

I like this a lot. No complaints. However, I might prefer a slightly more brutal phrasing, like "The bolt head pierces the guard's unprotected throat, severing arteries and flooding the windpipe with blood. The guard's eyes widen and follow yours as he collapses to the floor with a bubbling gasp." But hey, maybe I'm just bloodthirsty.


2. [Persuasion] I think it's fair to say that you and I were the only friends Gracius had in Teron. I helped him find some inner peace, but I couldn't have done that without you standing there with your mouth open. I think that Gracius would want us to have this, don't you think? *nod toward the open chest.

Fantastic line! (Although again, I don't like the * thing.) You have a real gift for dialog.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: xenocide on January 24, 2008, 05:03:00 pm
Throwing in interesting death descriptions for such blatantly absurd cases might be a plus, but it has to be a very low priority.

I agree it should be a low priority, in fact I almost did not post it just to move on from this issue.  The Dex check is already in though, so it should not be a ton of work to add the dex of 4 part.  It may be dumb for a PC with a dex of 4 to try a dex check, but that is more of a reason to have a negative outcome not less.  But like you said it would not affect that many players so it should be a low priority, but I still think it would be cool to have in.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: xenocide on January 24, 2008, 05:06:39 pm
3. I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down.

I'm not necessarily complaining, but I don't understand why you have [Dexterity] and [Persuasion] for the appropriate lines, but not [Intimidation] for this. Is there a good reason?


I have actually been wondering about this as well.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 24, 2008, 05:13:40 pm
Someone -- I think it was galsiah, but I'm not totally sure and I couldn't find it with a quick look back -- made an important comment earlier that I just want to reiterate. The game really needs to autosave before the inn, since it's very possible to die there. This is especially important because you apparently start the game with a dialog with your guildmaster, and then go straight to the inn from that dialog, and I doubt you can save while in dialog. No one wants to have to go through character creation again because they made a dumb choice in the second dialog or weren't quite prepared for the difficulty of AoD's combat.

For a start, I think saying that "this is just the vignette" is comparable to saying of a book "this is just the first page". You make it good so that people keep playing (bear in mind this is part of the demo - no-one's paid their money yet). If you just want the first page of a book to be over with, you probably stop reading.

This was a great point that made me feel better about all the time we've spent on this one dialog and finally post that last post I made. Definitely the vignettes should be among the best parts of the game, if at all possible.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on January 24, 2008, 05:22:08 pm
I guess it's because intimidation isn't a skill or stat. Putting [intimidation] doesn't make it clear to the player what's being tested, any more than leaving it out (it's intuitively clear that something must be, of course).

Quote
...autosave before the inn...I think it was galsiah
It was Priapist [I had it in my reply, then deleted it because he beat me to the punch :)]. Certainly important - though I presume an early save would be automatic. I don't think that the earliest should be in an "autosave" slot though - preferably the character setup would be saved in a file which is kept, so that starting with the same/similar character is simple. Autosaving directly before the inn is probably a good idea too.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 24, 2008, 05:39:53 pm
The game really needs to autosave before the inn, since it's very possible to die there.
We'll add an auto save script to the dialogue engine and I'll attach it to certain lines on-click.

Quote
I think "lifeless" flows better than "no longer alive."
...
I guess it could be changed to "Reload your crossbow and attack." Thoughts?
...
Possibly shorten the end of it to "lunge at the guard's throat"...
...
However, I might prefer a slightly more brutal phrasing, like "The bolt head pierces the guard's unprotected throat, severing arteries and flooding the windpipe with blood. The guard's eyes widen and follow yours as he collapses to the floor with a bubbling gasp."
Sure. Any more suggestions? (applies to everyone)

Quote
You should choose a style and stick with it. My personal preference would be always putting quotation marks around spoken lines, and having phrases or lines without quotes be actions or descriptions, as in a novel.
Sure.

Quote
Fantastic line! (Although again, I don't like the * thing.) You have a real gift for dialog.
Thanks.

For a start, I think saying that "this is just the vignette" is comparable to saying of a book "this is just the first page". You make it good so that people keep playing (bear in mind this is part of the demo - no-one's paid their money yet). If you just want the first page of a book to be over with, you probably stop reading.
An excellent point indeed.

Quote
I guess it's because intimidation isn't a skill or stat.
Correct.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: zhirzzh on January 24, 2008, 05:44:36 pm

Quote from: zhirzzh
...and this is just the opening vignette. I think that it is quite possible to make something like the opening overwhelming. You haven't really spent any time doing other things yet, so you aren't overly prepared for stat checks, and most players will want to move on the the game itself.
I don't follow this.
For a start, I think saying that "this is just the vignette" is comparable to saying of a book "this is just the first page". You make it good so that people keep playing (bear in mind this is part of the demo - no-one's paid their money yet). If you just want the first page of a book to be over with, you probably stop reading.
Second, how is it that the player isn't prepared for "stat checks", yet wants to get on with the game itself - which is full of stat checks?? The vignette is part of the game itself. If it's of a quality that has players thinking "Let's get this over with so I can start the game already.", it shouldn't be included at all.

I'm saying that

1. It's possible to make the start of the game too complex. Most people would rather the game start somewhat slowly.

2. A lot of people typically rush through character creation to get into the game itself (not me, I can spend hours messing around with creation in Arcanum, and to a lesser extent PtD) and put much more thought into stat increases when they level. Having stat checks before someone levels may throw off the character progression they're going for on their first playthrough.

As an example, it took me quite a while to figure out which stats and attributes were used in checks in Arcanum. After I figured it out I leveled more in that direction, but if there had been a lot of persuasion checks before I had realized that a high Int and CH don't make up for a lack of pursuasion, I would have been screwed. So, while I have no problem with stat checks early in the game, I would hesitate to throw checks of different stats into the same dialog path if the player that has yet to level up.

I like tweaking creation so it won't bother me, but I think I'm in the minority there.



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on January 24, 2008, 06:23:22 pm
1. It's possible to make the start of the game too complex.
In that you can bewilder the player with huge amounts of options, sure - but this is doing almost the opposite. The player is spending the first period of the game without needing to choose where to go, what quest to do, what to aim for, what equipment to get, how to prepare... he's thrown into a hugely more limited situation where he might get perhaps four options at a time.
Compared to the complexity of choosing an action in an open world with many NPCs, locations, potentially conflicting goals..., the complexity of picking from a few options in a tight situation is minimal.

Bear in mind that this also looks much more complex from the design side than from the playing side. The designer sees the whole tree, where the player takes only a single path.

Quote
A lot of people typically rush through character creation to get into the game itself....and put much more thought into stat increases when they level.
I seriously doubt it. Perhaps some rush creation for a quick test character before restarting - but then they're just trying a quick experiment anyway. I don't think AoD's audience is going to extend far beyond those who enjoy spending a bit of time thinking through character generation.
In any case, there's little wrong in failing a stat check here or there, so long as the outcome is interesting.

Quote
As an example, it took me quite a while to figure out which stats and attributes were used in checks in Arcanum. After I figured it out I leveled more in that direction, but if there had been a lot of persuasion checks before I had realized that a high Int and CH don't make up for a lack of pursuasion, I would have been screwed. So, while I have no problem with stat checks early in the game, I would hesitate to throw checks of different stats into the same dialog path if the player that has yet to level up.
What?
You're saying that the problem was that it took you a long time to realize how stat checks work, right? So how do you conclude that they should be delayed? The time it takes you to realize how things work will depend on how early they're used clearly - delaying them will simply delay your understanding further, and make the problem worse.
What needs changing is the time it takes you to understand the way things work - i.e. stat checks need to be clearly used early. You're not going to be "screwed" by misunderstanding the early stat checks, since there won't be harsh long-term implications. If you die, the implications are serious for the PC, but not for the player.

In any case, PC failure (even through lack of player understanding) doesn't mean that the player is "screwed". So long as failing stat checks has interesting implications, the player is fine. [this probably isn't as true of Arcanum as would be ideal]

Quote
I like tweaking creation so it won't bother me, but I think I'm in the minority there.
Of the AoD audience? I can't be sure, but I doubt it.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 24, 2008, 06:51:12 pm
Sure. Any more suggestions? (applies to everyone)

Not from me. Those were mostly minor suggestions, and I really like the dialog as it is.

Quote
You should choose a style and stick with it. My personal preference would be always putting quotation marks around spoken lines, and having phrases or lines without quotes be actions or descriptions, as in a novel.
Sure.

Cool, I think that will look great.

Quote
I guess it's because intimidation isn't a skill or stat.
Correct.

Okay, but you've previously said that an intimidation check is always dependent on weapon skills. Shouldn't there then be a [Crossbow] or [Weapon Skills] notation on that line?

(Personally, I would still put [Intimidation] because I think it sounds better, and the manual could explain that your chance to intimidate is based on your weapon skills. Someone a while back suggested that intimidation should also depend on your reputation, which I think is a good idea that could also be explained in the manual.)

Before anyone says the obvious -- yes, I agree that when looking at that line in isolation it is pretty intuitive that it requires some kind of intimidation check. However, it's different when a player looks at it in context. Then, you have the line appearing directly beneath a line which is marked by [Dexterity], clearly indicating a stat check. It would be reasonable for a player to assume that, since that line was marked and this one isn't, then even though it seems like some kind of intimidation is must not require a skill check.

Again, I think consistency is important.

Quote
A lot of people typically rush through character creation to get into the game itself....and put much more thought into stat increases when they level.
I seriously doubt it.

Ye gods, I love character creation. I think my favorite all-time gaming experience is creating a party in Darklands.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: zhirzzh on January 24, 2008, 07:22:35 pm
1. It's possible to make the start of the game too complex.
In that you can bewilder the player with huge amounts of options, sure - but this is doing almost the opposite. The player is spending the first period of the game without needing to choose where to go, what quest to do, what to aim for, what equipment to get, how to prepare... he's thrown into a hugely more limited situation where he might get perhaps four options at a time.
Compared to the complexity of choosing an action in an open world with many NPCs, locations, potentially conflicting goals..., the complexity of picking from a few options in a tight situation is minimal.

Yes. What I'm saying is that it's now about twice as complex as it was before, and it should stop here.

Quote
Bear in mind that this also looks much more complex from the design side than from the playing side. The designer sees the whole tree, where the player takes only a single path.

I see your point.
Quote
A lot of people typically rush through character creation to get into the game itself....and put much more thought into stat increases when they level.

Quote
I seriously doubt it.

I don't. Those pre-created characters in Fallout and Arcanum are there for a reason. If AoD will also have those, I withdraw my objection. I haven't seen any mention of it before, but that may be because the forum, which represents the most hardcore element of the potential audience, isn't likely to use them or care about them.

Quote
As an example, it took me quite a while to figure out which stats and attributes were used in checks in Arcanum. After I figured it out I leveled more in that direction, but if there had been a lot of persuasion checks before I had realized that a high Int and CH don't make up for a lack of pursuasion, I would have been screwed. So, while I have no problem with stat checks early in the game, I would hesitate to throw checks of different stats into the same dialog path if the player that has yet to level up.

Quote
What?
You're saying that the problem was that it took you a long time to realize how stat checks work, right? So how do you conclude that they should be delayed? The time it takes you to realize how things work will depend on how early they're used clearly - delaying them will simply delay your understanding further, and make the problem worse.
What needs changing is the time it takes you to understand the way things work - i.e. stat checks need to be clearly used early. You're not going to be "screwed" by misunderstanding the early stat checks, since there won't be harsh long-term implications. If you die, the implications are serious for the PC, but not for the player.

In any case, PC failure (even through lack of player understanding) doesn't mean that the player is "screwed". So long as failing stat checks has interesting implications, the player is fine. [this probably isn't as true of Arcanum as would be ideal]

I think we're taking different paths here. I want the consequences of failing a stat check that doesn't involve doing something stupid, to be minor, and not get up to "your charismatic charecter isn't intimidating, so he has to fight" levels until later in the game, so the player can level out of it and doesn't have to restart. You want him to be forced to restart quickly; to minimize time lost.

Quote
I like tweaking creation so it won't bother me, but I think I'm in the minority there.

Quote
Of the AoD audience? I can't be sure, but I doubt it.

Point. Remember though, that the games potential audience is larger than the codex.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 24, 2008, 08:23:23 pm
2. A lot of people typically rush through character creation to get into the game itself
As far as I know most RPG geeks LOVE character creation process. In fact, I suspect that one can make a game consisting of nothing but insanely detailed character creation and it will sell like hot cakes.

I can easily spend an hour or two creating parties in games like Wizardry, Darklands, ToEE, IWD, etc.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: puppyonastik on January 24, 2008, 08:56:51 pm
Same here.
That's why Arcanum has such a draw for me, the sheer amount of options one has at their disposal to define their character is outstanding for a CRPG. Frankly, (even though it might be a stretch) I hope you consider offering the same or more options for character design in your next game, Vince. It would REALLY be appreciated.

Edit: Besides, I don't think it would be to hard to come up with that many or more skills, attributes, etc. especially since you have all these fans here that would be more than happy to brain storm for you.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on January 25, 2008, 07:05:02 am
2. A lot of people typically rush through character creation to get into the game itself
As far as I know most RPG geeks LOVE character creation process. In fact, I suspect that one can make a game consisting of nothing but insanely detailed character creation and it will sell like hot cakes.
I'll drink to that. I love creating characters...


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Priapist on January 25, 2008, 07:16:58 am
Pretty much every time my P&P group decides to start a new game, we entertain notions of giving a fairly shonky TMNT RPG a run - you get to roll animal type and so forth, but we never really get any further than character creation. The game just isn't much fun, no matter what the GM does. But it's great fun to waste a day alternately rolling then pissing and moaning that you're an anthropomorphic seagull or possum.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Scott on January 25, 2008, 09:02:37 am

You should choose a style and stick with it. My personal preference would be always putting quotation marks around spoken lines, and having phrases or lines without quotes be actions or descriptions, as in a novel.

IMO, since the vast majority of dialog text will be just that, it should be plain and the exception, actions, should be square bracketed[] or italicized or something.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 25, 2008, 11:57:13 am

You should choose a style and stick with it. My personal preference would be always putting quotation marks around spoken lines, and having phrases or lines without quotes be actions or descriptions, as in a novel.

IMO, since the vast majority of dialog text will be just that, it should be plain and the exception, actions, should be square bracketed[] or italicized or something.


That's very reasonable. I care most about consistency. I would, personally, prefer the quotations marks, just because I find them far less distracting than italics, []'s, {}'s, or *'s, but that may just be me. One way or another, as long as it's consistent it will quickly fade into the background and no one will notice it while playing.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Helian on January 25, 2008, 03:58:42 pm
I hoped for a general consensus about five pages ago, but since I prefer waiting for eternal peace, I'll  add my fuel to the fire:
(Disclaimer: I've tried to follow the discussion attentively, but as I wasn't involved, I haven't analyzed every single post, so it's quite possible that I missed something; also, my English is far from perfect, so don't be surprised if some of the following sentences are a bit clumsy and/or unclear)
-First of all, let's go back to the initial situation: The PC has arrived, killed the merchant and now there's just him, the dazzled bodyguard and the loot. In a real life situation, the possible outcomes would be infinite, and the meaningful would still be a great deal too many, so the first design decision is to limit the complexity/number of the options (I agree that a well and intricately designed first quest is a good thing, but it also sets a standard for similar quests and might therefore stand out a bit if it receives so much exclusive treatment [which has already gone far beyond issues of general importance]). In my opinion, Vince's latest suggestion offers more than enough for such a small quest and anything more (in number of options/possible outcomes) would be overkill.
-On the "truth-lie"-issue: If I were the player, I'd expect some kind of indication when my character is going to lie - but not when he's going to tell the truth, because that's what I'd expect, and I do assume most players would. As to the indicator, I'd certainly prefer subtext like galsiah's to a simple [lie] tag.
-On nitpicking (@Vince): Of course you can tear apart every single sentence, restructure, reword, reword again...but in the end, it's far too time consuming to do that over the forums. Assuming you don't want to hire an editor, you could assign some of the enthusiastic guys (native speakers) here with that task: You send a portion of the written dialogue to each of them, they correct obvious errors/typos and give you feedback. That way, you keep tiny issues from getting out of hand (and piling up in threads like this one).
-Let's Play!


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 25, 2008, 04:09:09 pm
On nitpicking (@Vince): Of course you can tear apart every single sentence, restructure, reword, reword again...but in the end, it's far too time consuming to do that over the forums. Assuming you don't want to hire an editor, you could assign some of the enthusiastic guys (native speakers) here with that task: You send a portion of the written dialogue to each of them, they correct obvious errors/typos and give you feedback.

Yeah, I'd do that. Not for the whole game, because I don't have much time and I want to remain somewhat unspoiled, but I'd happily do sections if Vince broke it up and sent chunks to each of us.

-Let's Play!

Indeed.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: zhirzzh on January 25, 2008, 04:18:31 pm
On nitpicking (@Vince): Of course you can tear apart every single sentence, restructure, reword, reword again...but in the end, it's far too time consuming to do that over the forums. Assuming you don't want to hire an editor, you could assign some of the enthusiastic guys (native speakers) here with that task: You send a portion of the written dialogue to each of them, they correct obvious errors/typos and give you feedback.

Yeah, I'd do that. Not for the whole game, because I don't have much time and I want to remain somewhat unspoiled, but I'd happily do sections if Vince broke it up and sent chunks to each of us.

I'd be willing do that too. I have mild OCD, so no typos are getting past me :) .


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Spion on January 27, 2008, 02:49:28 pm
more screenshots plz:D


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 27, 2008, 03:11:13 pm
A-coming.

Edit: I'm working on some stuff, but I'll try to post something today.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 27, 2008, 09:42:00 pm
Alright, Nick has added more scripts supporting all that PnP craziness, so let's have some fun...

[attachment deleted to save space]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 27, 2008, 09:43:46 pm
More...

[attachment deleted to save space]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 27, 2008, 10:08:42 pm
Awesome!

I'll post more later, but it's really damn cool to finally see this in action. Cool though it was to read the script, it's far better to see it in the engine. Great work.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Special_Can on January 27, 2008, 10:38:42 pm
 Very nice. I love it, and the room looks awesome. The magic of Oscar...and Nick...and Vince...and the other people...

 Thanks for doing this. Hopefully the game can be released this year.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: zhirzzh on January 27, 2008, 10:43:33 pm
Great!

This looks really nice, my only nitpick, is that your crossbow is inside the merchant while threatening him. Maybe you should move him back a half step.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Priapist on January 27, 2008, 11:11:29 pm
Very cool. What zhirzzh said is about my only criticism. On with the show!


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Euchrid on January 28, 2008, 12:11:35 am
Ditto with the last two posts. A good degree of choices and skill checks, with none seeming forced.  The rooms looks great by the way, and the dialogue is witty and lively.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 28, 2008, 02:36:35 am
Okay. I've expressed some of my excitement . . . now onto the constructive criticism.

First, zhirzzh is definitely right about the crossbow. Of the things I'm going to talk about, that's the only one that really leapt out at me. The others I had to dig for. :)

Also, if the player chose the intimidation option, then in the persuasion option you have him referring to and nodding towards an open chest. I think this would make more sense if you could see the chest in the dialog window. Can it be moved to be against the wall in the top right corner, next to that plant?

I still don't like that in AoD 11.jpg, the first two options are formatted the same way with no visual indication that the first is an action and the second is a spoken line. I know it will typically be clear from context, but if you're consistent about it then there's no possible ambiguity, and more importantly the consistency will mean the player will never have to think about it or notice it at all and can simply consider his options. I still vote for putting quotation marks around the second line, but it's your call. (Actually, speaking of ambiguity, I just noticed that in AoD 12.jpg, because of this inconsistency it's unclear whether "That was close . . ." was your character speaking aloud, or just the narration/internal monologue.)

Finally, I'm not thrilled with the transfer items screen. It's probably too late or just not worth the effort to change it now, but I was staring at it for a little while trying to figure out what was going on. I was confused by the gold and weight displays in the center of the screen, because with the glowing lines between the two inventories, which intersect the gold and weight displays, it seems intuitively that they must be measuring the gold value and weight of what you're transferring. So I was looking at the screen and thinking that the highlighted gladius must be worth 100 coins and weigh 11.5. I thought it was weird that your character could just know the value of the object (although this isn't too different from Fallout's barter screen, which may be why I interpreted this screen the way I did).

Anyway, looking more closely at the earlier screens, I saw that our character has 100 gold, so that display in the transfer screen must simply be showing our character's gold and the total weight of the objects in his inventory. Right? If so, I really don't understand why they're between those two glowing lines, which immediately draw all the attention to them and make them seem like the most important part of the screen.

This has been a lot of text, so here's my suggestion to deal with the inventory screen, if you and Oscar think it's worth it and others here agree. It's simple -- just switch the "Transfer" and "Take All" buttons with the gold and weight indicators. Then the screen would make perfect sense. The Transfer and Take All, which are the most important parts of this screen, would be highlighted in importance by the glowing lines. Moreover, the lines would suggest, graphically, that the Transfer and Take All will be working between the two inventories that the lines lead to (which is obvious, of course, but it's good when an interface is obvious). This also puts the gold and weight indicators closer to the description box, which makes sense functionally since they are all displays of information rather than interactive buttons. I think it's a simple change that makes a lot of sense. Thoughts?



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Ander Vinz on January 28, 2008, 03:27:55 am
Is there a personal magnetism option if I choose "I was paid to kill one..." like "run away while you can" with looting option without fighting with the guard?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: GhanBuriGhan on January 28, 2008, 04:16:51 am
Looks great. The "catch" line still reads a little akward to me. How about:

[Dexterity] "Catch!". Toss the crossbow at the guard to distract him. Use a crossbow bolt as an improvised dagger and lunge for the guards throat.

And Cardtrick may have a point with regards to the interface, his solution seems sensible. Also I think headers over the inventories would be helpful. E.g. on the left "Guard" on the right "Your inventory"


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Special_Can on January 28, 2008, 05:34:42 am

This has been a lot of text, so here's my suggestion to deal with the inventory screen, if you and Oscar think it's worth it and others here agree. It's simple -- just switch the "Transfer" and "Take All" buttons with the gold and weight indicators. Then the screen would make perfect sense. The Transfer and Take All, which are the most important parts of this screen, would be highlighted in importance by the glowing lines. Moreover, the lines would suggest, graphically, that the Transfer and Take All will be working between the two inventories that the lines lead to (which is obvious, of course, but it's good when an interface is obvious). This also puts the gold and weight indicators closer to the description box, which makes sense functionally since they are all displays of information rather than interactive buttons. I think it's a simple change that makes a lot of sense. Thoughts?



 Yes.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on January 28, 2008, 06:35:06 am
Looks great. The "catch" line still reads a little akward to me. How about:

[Dexterity] "Catch!". Toss the crossbow at the guard to distract him. Use a crossbow bolt as an improvised dagger and lunge for the guards throat.

And Cardtrick may have a point with regards to the interface, his solution seems sensible. Also I think headers over the inventories would be helpful. E.g. on the left "Guard" on the right "Your inventory"
Yeah, it could have been [Dexterity] Catch! *Toss the crossbow at the guard to distract him. Use a crossbow bolt as an improvised dagger and lunge for the guards throat*


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Oscar on January 28, 2008, 07:22:09 am
Quote
Anyway, looking more closely at the earlier screens, I saw that our character has 100 gold, so that display in the transfer screen must simply be showing our character's gold and the total weight of the objects in his inventory. Right?

Character's gold, weight shows the result of: The weight of items in your inventory - the weight of items selected to remove from your inventory + the weight of items to be added to your inventory.

Any other thoughts on how it should look? The moment to change it is now :)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Euchrid on January 28, 2008, 07:30:51 am
I think the original's fine, just slightly cumbersome, partly due to the double use of crossbow. Maybe condensing it to one sentence, reducing he use of guard and crossbow flows better?

Quote from: original
Catch! Throw the guard your crossbow. As his attention switches to the crossbow, grab a bolt, holding it as a short dagger, and lunge at the guard’s throat.

“Catch!” Toss your crossbow at the guard; while he's distracted, grab a bolt, holding it as a short dagger and lunge for his throat.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Oscar on January 28, 2008, 07:46:50 am
I think the original's fine, just slightly cumbersome, partly due to the double use of crossbow. Maybe condensing it to one sentence, reducing he use of guard and crossbow flows better?

Quote from: original
Catch! Throw the guard your crossbow. As his attention switches to the crossbow, grab a bolt, holding it as a short dagger, and lunge at the guard’s throat.

“Catch!” Toss your crossbow at the guard; while he's distracted, grab a bolt, holding it as a short dagger, and lunge for his throat.

Or...

"Catch! Throw the guard your crossbow. As his attention switches to it, grab a bolt, holding it as a short dagger, and lunge at the guard’s throat."


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 28, 2008, 07:50:11 am
Ghan's suggestion is the best. Will comment on the rest later.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 28, 2008, 09:20:20 am
Also, if the player chose the intimidation option, then in the persuasion option you have him referring to and nodding towards an open chest. I think this would make more sense if you could see the chest in the dialog window. Can it be moved to be against the wall in the top right corner, next to that plant?
For you? Anything.

Quote
I still don't like that in AoD 11.jpg, the first two options are formatted the same way with no visual indication that the first is an action and the second is a spoken line.
I was going to fix that but something distracted me and I forgot.

Quote
...I just noticed that in AoD 12.jpg, because of this inconsistency it's unclear whether "That was close . . ." was your character speaking aloud, or just the narration/internal monologue
It's whatever you want it to be, sugar. Did you forget that it's teh role-playing gaem? Duh!

Quote
Finally, I'm not thrilled with the transfer items screen. ... It's simple -- just switch the "Transfer" and "Take All" buttons with the gold and weight indicators. Then the screen would make perfect sense.
That's actually a very good suggestion. At first I was going to laugh at it by furiously typing "U KNOW NOTHING! NOTHING!!!!", but unfortunately it makes a lot of sense, so I'll postpone my devastating attack until the next time.

So, while we are discussing the looting screen, is there anything else you guys want? Redoing 16 screens (different resolutions and buttons) is a lot of fun, so let's make sure we change things only once.

Edit: Anyway, let's talk about what's really important here. Is the blue gem awesome or what? And the coins?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Oscar on January 28, 2008, 09:22:36 am
Quote
Also, if the player chose the intimidation option, then in the persuasion option you have him referring to and nodding towards an open chest. I think this would make more sense if you could see the chest in the dialog window. Can it be moved to be against the wall in the top right corner, next to that plant?
For you? Anything.

Don't make promises you cannot keep ;)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: star on January 28, 2008, 10:42:09 am
Edit: Anyway, let's talk about what's really important here. Is the blue gem awesome or what? And the coins?


Indeed, good work on those. Oscar just keeps getting better everytime you use him on something.  ;)


Usual minor nitpick: The numbers say it's 212 coins (or something), but you see only 3 of them.. I hope you decide to create some more coin images for the higher numbers. If i own 10.000 gold in late game it would be pretty lame to see that big stack of money depicted as the same 3 coins from the games beginning.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: GhanBuriGhan on January 28, 2008, 10:51:58 am
Quote
Finally, I'm not thrilled with the transfer items screen. ... It's simple -- just switch the "Transfer" and "Take All" buttons with the gold and weight indicators. Then the screen would make perfect sense.
That's actually a very good suggestion. At first I was going to laugh at it by furiously typing "U KNOW NOTHING! NOTHING!!!!", but unfortunately it makes a lot of sense, so I'll postpone my devastating attack until the next time.

So, while we are discussing the looting screen, is there anything else you guys want? Redoing 16 screens (different resolutions and buttons) is a lot of fun, so let's make sure we change things only once.

Edit: Anyway, let's talk about what's really important here. Is the blue gem awesome or what? And the coins?

Yes Vince, nice gem, nice coins. Good boy!

Suggestions:
- See above: captions for the two lists
- A *drop* button - so I can make room in my inventory if necessary, without leaving the screen.
- Maybe give the highlighted lines a direction (an arrowhead, or animated texture) to indicate that transfer goes (in this case) left to right?
- have one info box in central location showing the weight /gold of selected items, and an info to the right showing total weight in inventory after transfer of selected itmes. Include suitable headings or tooltips.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 28, 2008, 11:00:05 am
Yes Vince, nice gem, nice coins. Good boy!
Thank you. Was it that difficult?



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Oscar on January 28, 2008, 11:03:57 am
Quote
- A *drop* button - so I can make room in my inventory if necessary, without leaving the screen.
- Maybe give the highlighted lines a direction (an arrowhead, or animated texture) to indicate that transfer goes (in this case) left to right?

By transfer it means both way transfer. You select stuff from your inventory and it gets dropped. :)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on January 28, 2008, 11:49:42 am
When I look at it, I want to drag stuff around. Can I? I didn't get the "transfer" thing right away, but if I can drag stuff, I don't think that'd be a problem... Now I know how it works, but I'm not the only player :P

Otherwise, it's a great screen, like everything else. The tone of the HUD is awesome, as has been for some time since the last (?) HUD update. I still don't like the rope very much, but it's ok, it's not that it looks anything else. The coins are awesome, but the gems are a bit... huh... generic... I don't know, I'm no artist, but they look so generic... I mean, there probably isn't much left to do, but they somehow remind me of Lionheart... And Baldur's Gate... Gemmy games... I prefer the style of Divine Divinity gems, those were some nice charismatic gems. Very cool. But those are nice too.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 28, 2008, 11:58:24 am
Pictures?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on January 28, 2008, 12:57:40 pm
Pictures?
Yeah, sure. I'll try to find the game, or maybe some screenshots on the internet. I'll be back.

:EDIT:
No luck :( I seem not to have the game anymore, and I can't find any screen with gems on the net... Well, to the hell with it, the gems are fine as they are.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 28, 2008, 01:29:55 pm
I remembered one other thing I wanted to mention. Why does the dialog screen show you gaining 2 sps followed by gaining 1sp? Was there a bonus skillpoint for making the dexterity check?

If there are often situations when you will be gaining skillpoints a couple of times in quick succession, I think it would be nice to have text like:

You gain 2 skillpoints for assassinating Gracius.
You gain 1 skillpoint for completely misusing a crossbow.

And hey, this would give you the chance to insert your trademark humor. You know as well as I do that AoD needs its own equivalent to MOTB's "XP granted for becoming the jarl of a clan of frost giants and immediately kicking everyone out of the clan."


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: jeansberg on January 28, 2008, 01:40:16 pm
Great idea, Cardtrick!


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Ander Vinz on January 28, 2008, 02:28:43 pm
Quote from: Morbus
No luck :( I seem not to have the game anymore, and I can't find any screen with gems on the net... Well, to the hell with it, the gems are fine as they are.

(http://img528.imageshack.us/img528/5302/08rhx1.jpg) (http://imageshack.us)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Special_Can on January 28, 2008, 03:39:26 pm

Quote
I still don't like that in AoD 11.jpg, the first two options are formatted the same way with no visual indication that the first is an action and the second is a spoken line.
I was going to fix that but something distracted me and I forgot.


 I can imagine. Vince's internal monologue: "Now just one more thing, I gotta make this...is that a fly? Why is a fly in my house? You know what else is fly? That super cool hat I recently bought...". Your an embarrassment Vince.


Edit: Anyway, let's talk about what's really important here. Is the blue gem awesome or what? And the coins?

 It's nice.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on January 28, 2008, 05:33:07 pm
Quote from: Morbus
No luck :( I seem not to have the game anymore, and I can't find any screen with gems on the net... Well, to the hell with it, the gems are fine as they are.

([url]http://img528.imageshack.us/img528/5302/08rhx1.jpg[/url]) ([url]http://imageshack.us[/url])

You are my angel. Will you marry me? <3


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Jaime Lannister on January 28, 2008, 05:34:37 pm
"Catch! Throw the guard your crossbow. As his attention switches to it, grab a bolt, holding it as a short dagger, and lunge at the guard’s throat."

Your verbs don't agree. Use:

"Catch! *Throw the guard your crossbow. As his attention turns to it, grab a bolt, hold it as a short dagger, and lunge at the guard’s throat.*"

Also "turns" would be a better verb than "switches" here.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 28, 2008, 05:53:58 pm
"Catch! Throw the guard your crossbow. As his attention switches to it, grab a bolt, holding it as a short dagger, and lunge at the guard’s throat."

Your verbs don't agree. Use:

"Catch! *Throw the guard your crossbow. As his attention turns to it, grab a bolt, hold it as a short dagger, and lunge at the guard’s throat.*"

Also "turns" would be a better verb than "switches" here.


Huh? That's not a verb agreement issue. The phrase "holding it as a short dagger" is being used as a clause modifying "bolt," just as an adjective would. I do think your version sounds better, but Oscar's was fine. Anyway, didn't Vince already say he was going with Ghan's?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: xenocide on January 28, 2008, 05:59:54 pm


Usual minor nitpick: The numbers say it's 212 coins (or something), but you see only 3 of them.. I hope you decide to create some more coin images for the higher numbers. If i own 10.000 gold in late game it would be pretty lame to see that big stack of money depicted as the same 3 coins from the games beginning.

I am going to have to disagree here.  IMO the coin graphic they have is one of the best graphics I have seen, I love it.  If you add in more and more coins, you loose all the detail and that is what makes it so good.

Quote
By transfer it means both way transfer. You select stuff from your inventory and it gets dropped.

If I remember correctly, all loot avaliable is picked up via a "loot" button correct?  So, you are not clicking on an individual body.  With that in mind (and it will be while playing the game) the "transfer" button as is will be obviously a drop button as well.

Quote
When I look at it, I want to drag stuff around. Can I?

I also hope you can drag and drop.


The gems look good to me as is.



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 28, 2008, 06:25:50 pm
I am going to have to disagree here.  IMO the coin graphic they have is one of the best graphics I have seen, I love it.
Agreed.
Quote
With that in mind (and it will be while playing the game) the "transfer" button as is will be obviously a drop button as well.
Indifferent/not enough information.
Quote
I also hope you can drag and drop.


The gems look good to me as is.
Agreed, and agreed.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: zhirzzh on January 28, 2008, 07:22:48 pm
The coins are great as they are. You can even make out the faces on them.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: GhanBuriGhan on January 29, 2008, 02:21:47 am
Lets not make these good people redesign gems and coins! I want this to come out this year.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Ander Vinz on January 29, 2008, 02:40:29 am
Lets not make these good people redesign gems and coins! I want this to come out this year.
Don't be so egoistic. We're aiming at perfect rpg here.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: star on January 29, 2008, 05:51:01 am
Yeah, i agree with you guys, the coins look fantastic as they are and the devs can go on to more important issues. I just wanted to point out that maybe after playing for 30 hours and collecting riches everywhere you maybe want to see them in your inventory too, gives you more of a reward feeling. And i'm sure Oscar can make a big stack of money look just as good as these three coins. I always loved it to have piles of money with me (think of monkey island 2's beginning for example, that was a game start! Would not have worked with a 3 coin image..).


Anyway, it's not a big deal but also not a lot of work copy-pasting some more coins into the image. I'm just trying to help.



edit: for clarity, i don't want them to remove the 3 coin image, but to make more after it. For example, if my balance is 1-50 gold the 3 coin image is shown, 51-500 gold some more coins are added to the image, 500-xxxx gold: big stacks almost collapsing under their own weight.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on January 29, 2008, 06:02:13 am
Coins are fine. Awesome, in fact. They are just a symbolic icon, not a photography of the actual icon. Otherwise you'd have to have multiple items for each item that stacks, say, shafts, gems maybe? No, let the number be there: it's there for a reason.

:EDIT:
Oh, wait, I just thought of it: there's no reason why any item wouldn't stock, it's not like their size matters, so, yeah, if you want different icons for different numbers of coins, you should also want different icons for different numbers of armor and stuff like that. Not needed, and numbers work better.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: star on January 29, 2008, 06:07:32 am
Coins are fine. Awesome, in fact. They are just a symbolic icon, not a photography of the actual icon. Otherwise you'd have to have multiple items for each item that stacks, say, shafts, gems maybe? No, let the number be there: it's there for a reason.

:EDIT:
Oh, wait, I just thought of it: there's no reason why any item wouldn't stock, it's not like their size matters, so, yeah, if you want different icons for different numbers of coins, you should also want different icons for different numbers of armor and stuff like that. Not needed, and numbers work better.


Come on now, be fair. The game encourages you to collect coins, as a kind of reward for your deeds. If the game would revolve around collecting big stacks of armor as reward, then yes, it would be wise to show your collected armors in a visually rewarding manner.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on January 29, 2008, 06:19:52 am
Come on now, be fair. The game encourages you to collect coins, as a kind of reward for your deeds.
Does it? Because I don't want to collect coins. I want to use them. It doesn't matter though, what I said has nothing to do with collections and stuff.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: star on January 29, 2008, 06:35:57 am
It doesn't matter though, what I said has nothing to do with collections and stuff.


Yeah of course, you said just show some numbers, 'cause they're simple yet effective, right?.. Why make an actual image of 3 enemies coming for my ass, just write "You're under attack by 3 legionnaires, getting hit for 13 hp". If we do it this way the game can be out next week, man you're brilliant, thanks for this great suggestion!


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: zhirzzh on January 29, 2008, 06:42:13 am
It doesn't matter though, what I said has nothing to do with collections and stuff.


Yeah of course, you said just show some numbers, 'cause they're simple yet effective, right?.. Why make an actual image of 3 enemies coming for my ass, just write "You're under attack by 3 legionnaires, getting hit for 13 hp". If we do it this way the game can be out next week, man you're brilliant, thanks for this great suggestion!

That's a fine suggestion. Most of us wouldn't mind. Sure it'd decrease the mass appeal, but come on. Take us one step further than ASCII Vince  lol .


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on January 29, 2008, 07:53:41 am
Yeah of course, you said just show some numbers, 'cause they're simple yet effective, right?..
Yup, that was my point.

Why make an actual image of 3 enemies coming for my ass, just write "You're under attack by 3 legionnaires, getting hit for 13 hp". If we do it this way the game can be out next week, man you're brilliant, thanks for this great suggestion!
I wouldn't mind that. But you are just using a straw-man argument, now. Wanna see me doing it? Ok, here it is: if you don't wanna use numbers, why do we have that skill thing and stuff? We should instead have the PC's muscles grow and stuff, and show their brain tissue to know their intelligence and charisma, you know? That way the game would be perfect.

And why turn based? Real time is much more realistic.

NOT!


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Scott on January 29, 2008, 09:41:26 am
Yes, the gemstones are fantastic!  But I don't like the stab-the-guard scenario at all.

This so-called "guard" is a mercenary hired to guard (there it is again) some merchant.  Guarding someone implies some sort of alertness.  True, he completely failed in this one task in his miserable life, but lets put that aside for the moment.  He just witnessed an assassin first threaten the merchant, then kill him in cold blood.  Now they're both in a very intimate space together and they're both armed.  At this point I'd think anyone's great-grandmother, much less a hardened mercenary, would tense up for what comes next.

Instead, he's standing there like an idiot observing said assassin, wheels slowly, rustily turning in his vast empty skull...

Then you say "Catch!" and distract him and throw something at him and BAM!  You've killed him!

What?  What is this, Remo Willams: The Adventure Begins?  It sounds like 10-year-old PnP hour.  More plausible:  you make a move to throw a burning lamp in his face, he lunges at you with his sword, who's faster?  That, at least I could see happening. If the crossbow was loaded, you make a desperate move to fire it point blank...  It's not loaded.  I never thought the option to kill the guard was necessary anyway, but the way it's written makes no sense at all.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: star on January 29, 2008, 09:43:13 am
Alright, this is my last reply to you, because you're just arguing for the sake of arguing. You spend too much time on the codex or something? I have no idea why you're doing this..



you are just using a straw-man argument, now. Wanna see me doing it?

Funny, because you started it with this shit by saying: "let's make graphics of gems and armor stacks, too." I just replied in the same manner to you and now you suddenly start complaining?



if you don't wanna use numbers, why do we have that skill thing and stuff?

I don't wanna use numbers? I love them, my friend. In fact, i'm studying mathematics. All i'm saying is that in a graphical game you need graphical representations of numbers. Of course you have to draw the line somewhere, but copy-pasting some more coins is miles away from creating a "realistic" body with all attributes visible.



And why turn based? Real time is much more realistic.

NOT!


Now you're really overdoing it.




Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 29, 2008, 09:55:39 am
Yes, the gemstones are fantastic!  But I don't like the stab-the-guard scenario at all.
Did you read the last 10 pages by any chance?

Quote
This so-called "guard" is a mercenary hired to guard (there it is again) some merchant.  Guarding someone implies some sort of alertness.
That's one of the inn's rent-a-guards for folks who are too cheap to hire real guards. From the merc's vignette:

Innkeeper: Hail to you, master merchant! How may we serve you today?
Gracius: Give me your best room, send for a good loremaster, and have one of your goons to make sure I'm not disturbed. *He throws the innkeeper a coin.
Innkeeper: Consider it done, oh generous one.

Innkeeper: Hey, [charname], finally we have a job for you. Our guest requires the pleasure of your company, so go clean yourself and your armor, and see him when you are done. Move, don't stare at me all day!
...

PC: Master, I'm one of the inn's guards. Your stay will be safe and comfortable, I'll see to that.
Merchant: *sighs* I should have brought one of my own guards. If only it didn't cost me too damn much. . . Anyway, I guess you will have to do then.
...

Quote
Then you say "Catch!" and distract him and throw something at him and BAM!  You've killed him!
Only if you are very, very fast.

If 2.

2a. The bolt head pierces the guard's unprotected throat, cutting the arteries and flooding the windpipe with blood. His eyes roll up and he falls down without a sound.
-
2b. The guard moves to the side and the bolt head tears a wound in his neck, missing the vitals. Blood gushes out and the suddenly pale guard charges at you. (loses 5HP per turn, penalty to hit 20%)
-
2c. The guard swiftly moves to the side and hits you with the pommel of his sword. He smiles unpleasantly, showing rotten teeth, and charges at you.



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Sleet on January 29, 2008, 11:07:08 am
Will have to get a dental plan if I am playing the merc. :)

Looking great Vince.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on January 29, 2008, 11:16:46 am
Alright, this is my last reply to you, because you're just arguing for the sake of arguing. You spend too much time on the codex or something? I have no idea why you're doing this..
Because I'm me?

you are just using a straw-man argument, now. Wanna see me doing it?
Funny, because you started it with this shit by saying: "let's make graphics of gems and armor stacks, too." I just replied in the same manner to you and now you suddenly start complaining?
Why do you lie? I didn't use that as an argument. It has nothing to do with icons changing according to stack size.

if you don't wanna use numbers, why do we have that skill thing and stuff?
I don't wanna use numbers?
That was not a serious argument as you should be able to gather when I said "But you are just using a straw-man argument, now. Wanna see me doing it? Ok, here it is: (...)"

I love them, my friend. In fact, i'm studying mathematics. All i'm saying is that in a graphical game you need graphical representations of numbers. Of course you have to draw the line somewhere, but copy-pasting some more coins is miles away from creating a "realistic" body with all attributes visible.
It is miles away, yes, but it's the same principle. There's no need in changing the coin icon. That's what the number is there for. If you feel the need to change it, you should also change the other items... Where did I loose you?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Niektory on January 29, 2008, 06:27:38 pm
So we're discussing gems now?  ::)
While we're at it, HoMM2 had some sexy ones.
(http://img179.imageshack.us/img179/4194/gemsyy2.png)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 29, 2008, 07:00:01 pm
I see your HoMM gems and raise you D2 gems:

(http://www.battle.net/images/battle/diablo2exp/images/gems/flawlesstopaz.gif) (http://www.battle.net/images/battle/diablo2exp/images/gems/ruby.gif) (http://www.battle.net/images/battle/diablo2exp/images/gems/flawedsaphire.gif)

They made such a wonderful sound when dropped.

Edit: My heart belongs to Dungeon Master items. How I loved them...

(http://dmweb.free.fr/files/DMII-Item-BlueGem.png)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Oscar on January 29, 2008, 07:05:19 pm
I see your HoMM gems and raise you D2 gems:

([url]http://www.battle.net/images/battle/diablo2exp/images/gems/flawlesstopaz.gif[/url]) ([url]http://www.battle.net/images/battle/diablo2exp/images/gems/ruby.gif[/url]) ([url]http://www.battle.net/images/battle/diablo2exp/images/gems/flawedsaphire.gif[/url])

They made such a wonderful sound when dropped.


That's true... :)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Paranoid Jack on January 30, 2008, 01:05:24 am
If I make a comment about the guards sword needs to take damage (or at least it's pommel) when he beans the PC with it... will that get the thread back on track?     lol


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 30, 2008, 01:38:52 am
If I make a comment about the guards sword needs to take damage (or at least it's pommel) when he beans the PC with it... will that get the thread back on track?     lol

No. Weapon degradation isn't implemented in the game, and thank God for that. But how about if I take this opportunity to quote myself?

I remembered one other thing I wanted to mention. Why does the dialog screen show you gaining 2 sps followed by gaining 1sp? Was there a bonus skillpoint for making the dexterity check?

If there are often situations when you will be gaining skillpoints a couple of times in quick succession, I think it would be nice to have text like:

You gain 2 skillpoints for assassinating Gracius.
You gain 1 skillpoint for completely misusing a crossbow.

And hey, this would give you the chance to insert your trademark humor. You know as well as I do that AoD needs its own equivalent to MOTB's "XP granted for becoming the jarl of a clan of frost giants and immediately kicking everyone out of the clan."


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on January 30, 2008, 10:17:33 am
I see your HoMM gems and raise you D2 gems:

([url]http://www.battle.net/images/battle/diablo2exp/images/gems/flawlesstopaz.gif[/url]) ([url]http://www.battle.net/images/battle/diablo2exp/images/gems/ruby.gif[/url]) ([url]http://www.battle.net/images/battle/diablo2exp/images/gems/flawedsaphire.gif[/url])

They made such a wonderful sound when dropped.

Gems, potions and pretty much everything else. Diablo 2 is one of the most charismatic sounding games ever. :) Blizzard has a gift for that.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: zhirzzh on January 30, 2008, 06:44:44 pm
There hasn't been enough comment on Star's idea. What do you all say about AoD becoming Darklands 2?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: TheLostOne on January 30, 2008, 06:55:09 pm
I like it.  I remember loving when I suddenly had a huge stack of coins in my inv in MI once I got shot out of the cannon.

Won't care much if it's not in though.  It's a flavour thing.  Could be a nice touch but won't change the game much for better or worse.  On the other hand, nice touches can add up...


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 30, 2008, 07:51:20 pm
There hasn't been enough comment on Star's idea. What do you all say about AoD becoming Darklands 2?

The reason for the lack of comments is that most of us couldn't care less about either the coin graphic or this bickering. Still, here goes.

I felt that star's original complaint about only showing three coins to represent hundreds of gold was too strongly worded (I would hardly call it "lame"), but I saw where he was coming from at least. You, Xenocide, Ghan, and I all said that we liked the coin graphic as it is -- so far, so good.

At this point, star completely inoffensively clarified his point, noting that he just wanted a few different coin icons to represent different ranges of money as a sort of reward for the player to visually show his increasing wealth. Moreover, he suggested that it wouldn't be too hard (since the coins are evidently already modeled) to make larger stacks, and pointed out that he was just trying to help. Fine, and at this point I was definitely more sympathetic to his point but felt that for me, personally, it wouldn't be worth the effort.

For some reason, you and Morbus found this quite upsetting apparently. I don't really get it. Anyway, Morbus came up with some strawman arguments about the icons not being photography of exact items, and having to display multiple items for everything that stacked. This would only have made sense if star were proposing to show exactly the number of coins the player had, which of course he was not. He was merely proposing having several different icons.

Star defended himself by claiming that the game encourages you to collect coins. I don't really agree with this in a literal sense, but once more I see where he's coming from. It's hard to deny that there's a fundamental, qualitative difference between money and armor, or gems, or any other item. Money is used to buy things, is frequently given as reward, takes up no weight, etc. If you were going to pick exactly one item to treat differently, money would be it.

Anyway, at this point it descended into a minor and still reasonably civil flamewar between Morbus and star, both of them exaggerating the other's point to try and make it ridiculous. I can't be bothered to give the play by play (and honestly I'm not sure why I did bother for the last few paragraphs) but you can read it yourself presumably.

Based on:

It doesn't matter though, what I said has nothing to do with collections and stuff.


Yeah of course, you said just show some numbers, 'cause they're simple yet effective, right?.. Why make an actual image of 3 enemies coming for my ass, just write "You're under attack by 3 legionnaires, getting hit for 13 hp". If we do it this way the game can be out next week, man you're brilliant, thanks for this great suggestion!

That's a fine suggestion. Most of us wouldn't mind. Sure it'd decrease the mass appeal, but come on. Take us one step further than ASCII Vince  lol .

I have to assume that when you're talking about "Star's suggestion" and "Darklands 2" you're referring to this sarcastic rhetoric. Why you would want to extend this stupid argument any further is, frankly, beyond me. I assume you're bored.

Anyway, I think that in TheLostOne's last post, he was clearly referring to Star's original suggestion of having several different coin icons representing different degrees of wealth. Like TheLostOne, I'm now going to ignore the "text-based game" joke suggestion, and talk about the original idea.

I agree that it's a nice flavor thing, and in an ideal world I would like to see it implemented. I still don't really feel like it's worth the time, unless it would take less than, say, 2 man-hours. Before Morbus and/or zhirzzh chime in again, let me just point out that it's not like this is some radical new and totally illogical suggestion. It's been done before, although I'm having trouble remembering the games in which I have seen it used, and it's hard to find lots of screenshots of inventory screens with different amounts of gold (go figure, right?). At the very least, I know it was used in Vampire: Bloodlines, although rather than a pile of coins it was a wallet that was empty when you only had a few bucks, showed some twenty's poking up when you had a few hundred, and towards the end of the game when you were rich was filled to bursting with crisp bills. I definitely like this when it is used. Part of the appeal of RPGs for me is in character development and progression, and it does feel nice to get visual indicators of my increasing standing in the world, like fancier armor or larger stacks of coins.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Special_Can on January 30, 2008, 08:07:18 pm
There hasn't been enough comment on Star's idea. What do you all say about AoD becoming Darklands 2?

 There hasn't been enough comments becuase it doesn't matter to most people. If it was implemented, I'm guessing the only one that would care would be Star. This just show's me that it's probably not worth the effort.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: zhirzzh on January 30, 2008, 09:41:22 pm
Perhaps keep the same number of coins, but create different denominations? I think that this would be a fun flavor addition, and better than showing that your character has more gold than he should be able to carry.

I do think it would be an interesting idea to create a simple text version to be released on the forum. It could come out much sooner while he's working on the rest of the game. Yes, I am very bored. I'm playing Darklands now, but can't get it to run well in DOS box, so I have to wait till I can get my 98 out. I also wrote that at 3 AM, a bad habit.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: GhanBuriGhan on January 31, 2008, 07:39:17 am
Can we move on?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: zhirzzh on January 31, 2008, 01:44:45 pm
Vince, do you still plan on playing the whole Town?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on January 31, 2008, 02:03:45 pm
If I have time, sure. Unfortunately, between my work (the company keeps expanding, which increases my workload - more sales reps, coordinators, managers to hire, train, and deal with), AoD work, mutiny (Nick feels that the let's play thread generates more work than we are ready to handle at the moment, like the bolt fighting thing and various scripts), and some articles/interviews, I don't have a lot of time to dedicate to the let's play thread.



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: GhanBuriGhan on January 31, 2008, 03:34:44 pm
Nick feels that the let's play thread generates more work than we are ready to handle at the moment, like the bolt fighting thing and various scripts

The man quite obviously has a point. :\
You are much too nice over here - mayb leaving the codex behind has made you soft  ;)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 31, 2008, 04:07:00 pm
If I have time, sure. Unfortunately, between my work (the company keeps expanding, which increases my workload - more sales reps, coordinators, managers to hire, train, and deal with), AoD work, mutiny (Nick feels that the let's play thread generates more work than we are ready to handle at the moment, like the bolt fighting thing and various scripts), and some articles/interviews, I don't have a lot of time to dedicate to the let's play thread.

All of this is reasonable, and I think we've all come to a better understanding of why the "Release it now damnit!" people are wrong, except that I don't really agree with Nick's mutiny. After all, you're going to have to deal with that work at some point no matter what, and there's no reason the Let's Play has to go at a normal Let's Play rate. I think it's totally fine if the Let's Play turns up an issue that needs to be worked on and then doesn't resume for 2 weeks or so until there's a chance to fix things. In fact, I think the Let's Play serves a really useful purpose in bringing to light things that are going to need to be implemented in the game that might not otherwise have been considered until too late. Hopefully having this thread will expose many issues earlier than they would otherwise be seen, and thereby shorten the inevitable alpha and beta testing periods before release.

People keep getting sick of the discussion and debate that's been going on this thread, and some seem to be under the impression that the discussion is what's holding up the Let's Play. I think that's pretty clearly not the case. If we don't debate things and point out our concerns, what possible purpose does this exercise serve?

I think we all need to resign ourselves to the fact that this Let's Play is going to go very slowly. Moreover, there's nothing wrong with discussing things in this thread. Vince and crew will read what we write, and whatever input we can give is valuable. (I do think it would be nice, though, to have an index edited into the first post with links to each new update, so that new viewers don't need to sift through all the discussion to get to the "good stuff.") If I'm wrong, I'm sure Vince will correct me.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on January 31, 2008, 04:34:00 pm
Moreover, there's nothing wrong with discussing things in this thread.
Nothing wrong exactly, but I question its efficiency as the best way to organize discussion of issues. Having everything discussed in this thread either means dealing with everything as it comes up (which Nick seems to think is impractical), or ending up with a load of jumbled discussion that needs to be patiently sifted through, and can't easily be added to.

If the Let's Play thread continued at its own pace (whether slow or fast), and specific discussion were delegated to other threads - perhaps entitled "Let's Play Issue: ..." - things would be much simpler. In that way discussion could continue naturally on each issue, and be addressed/updated cleanly at any time. You could easily have links to the other threads from here, as well as an index of issues at the start.

I don't see any benefit to the current organization. Discussion should be facilitating development prioritization, not dictating it. I don't particularly care how fast the Let's Play progresses, but I do care about its usefulness for design/development.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on January 31, 2008, 04:52:29 pm
Yeah, that's quite a good call. Obviously discussion will have to start in this thread, but I think you're right that once an issue gets a few posts (and especially if it goes on for a few pages) that Vince or another mod should split those posts off into a separate thread. I think it's a good idea to have them titled "Let's Play Issue: <blank>", and moreover the Let's Play should be edited to have a link to that new thread at whichever point the discussion cropped up.

On the other hand, that seems like quite a bit of work. Alternately, we could keep the thread like it is now, with the exception of having an index on the first post for new viewers, and one of us normal forum goers could start a stickied "Let's Play Discussion Summary" thread in which we post summaries of discussions and conclusions but no new discussion, so that when it comes time for the developers to revisit the issues they just have one clean thread with summaries, quotes, and links to look at.

The first way is probably ideal, but it relies on Vince (are there other moderators?) to deal with it, which may not be worth his time. The forum is hardly busy enough to have one of the members made into a moderator, but that could be another solution -- although pretty much the moderator's only task would be to prune the Let's Play thread.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: GhanBuriGhan on January 31, 2008, 05:09:17 pm
Don't get me wrong, discussion is good, and I think we have seen some good results too. I am sure its part of why VD is doing this, too. However, we are the people that can debate RPG design for a year and find no end. We got maybe 3 minutes into the game. I mean no offense and I am sure there were valid arguments, but we have been debating gemstone and gold icons lately, just because Vince made a humourous comment about them. I mean - gemstone icons. This game is not going to improve in any measurable way because of the way gemstone icons are handled. Some discussion may simply not be useful and hold up discussion of more important issues. Outsourcing discussion is a good idea, and of course VD and co. should feel free to just ignore what doesn't interest them.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Helian on February 01, 2008, 11:14:50 am
Nothing wrong exactly, but I question its efficiency as the best way to organize discussion of issues. Having everything discussed in this thread either means dealing with everything as it comes up (which Nick seems to think is impractical), or ending up with a load of jumbled discussion that needs to be patiently sifted through, and can't easily be added to.
Exactly. As I pointed out earlier, discussion of things like rewording should be restricted to a very small group of able people, rather than getting them torn apart by ten fanatics, each of them convinced that his version is the best. It doesn't do any good and also turns the thread into a mess.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on February 06, 2008, 06:41:22 pm
So our brave Titus has managed to kill Gracius the merchant and, after long debates, killed the guard and thoroughly looted the place, instantly feeling better about his future prospects.

After that he returned to the assassins guild to report and get paid...



[attachment deleted to save space]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on February 06, 2008, 06:48:01 pm
A new quest! How exciting! Let's ask a few questions and then decide what to do next. When you ask about the map you took from the merchant, Neleos suggests to talk to Feng, a local loremaster. So, what would you like to do next:

1. Deal with the spies
2. Talk to Feng about the map
3. Visit the marketplace
4. Something else (specify)

[attachment deleted to save space]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Mephisto on February 06, 2008, 08:51:52 pm
I say we should visit the loremaster. I want to know what this map is all about.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Priapist on February 06, 2008, 08:52:55 pm
I'd be hitting the markets to spend some of those Imperials. A (short) blade of some kind would be handy, and so would a few more crossbow bolts. With that taken care of, on to the spies. The map can wait.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: puppyonastik on February 06, 2008, 08:53:51 pm
Beautiful work!

3. Let's visit the market place and get some supplies with our shiny new imperials before heading out on our mission or talking to Feng. That way we're prepared for what may come our way.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Paranoid Jack on February 06, 2008, 09:11:57 pm
I would ask about the map and then take the quest to kill the spies. Or vice versa.

The Ready for more work? paragraph threw me off a bit but after re-reading it I realized he was doling out orders to three of us.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on February 06, 2008, 09:59:20 pm
Sounds great. No issues (amazing, yeah?) with any of the dialog. It's short, to the point, and yet full of character. I like Neleos' no-nonsense demeanor.

Well, I guess I may as well repeat the standard complaint I'm probably going to be bringing up every time: please don't use asterisks to denote actions. If you must use asterisks, at least put one at the end of the action too, but it would be much better to use either italics or (better still) put dialog in quotes and actions not in quotes. At first I was a little hesitant about this suggestion, but the more screens you've shown, the more right it has seemed. It looks as though a very significant number of dialog lines have actions embedded within them (which is something that I like a great deal), so I think the "novel-style" quotes/nonquotes method of distinguishing dialog and actions makes a lot of sense.

So, as for our plan -- markets first. We've got to be prepared. After that, let's go deal with the spies. From what Neleos said, it sounded pretty urgent, and we're still new so we'd better get in his good graces. Plus, money! (Anyway, who cares about some ratty old map? :))


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Frosty on February 07, 2008, 12:08:09 am
Ok he paid me 200 to kill an unguarded helpless merchant. I wonder if he knew and hid the fact about the guard from me.
Now he wants me to kill two spies for 50 each, Spies by there nature are very alert and make difficult targets.

I think I better get my self well stoked maybe con some sucker in to buying this treasure map. And have a look around the mark’s house first to see if it’s a trap.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Special_Can on February 07, 2008, 12:21:15 am
 Looking really nice. As for the choice, I choose market. We need a dagger...


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: zhirzzh on February 07, 2008, 12:55:23 am
2. If we go to the market first and Feng wants money to look over the map, we have to wait until after the mission. I would like to find out about the map before the mission, to get as much content as possible before the next debate about assassin tactics and willingness to leave rooms starts.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: star on February 07, 2008, 02:01:54 am
Market place, let's see more of the city and people before doing another mission.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on February 07, 2008, 05:08:29 am
Question:

About those railroaded dialogs with only one option. Does the dialog option change according to our stats? I mean, different characters would say different things, even if without an option from the player...


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on February 07, 2008, 08:18:46 am
Of course not. What would be the point? Options should be meaningful. Using stat checks to say "where is my money?" in seven different ways would be silly.

We have a lot of "railroaded" one-response "flavor" dialogues to show believable conversations between characters and give you something amusing to read. Let me illustrate:

Let's say you decide to visit lord Antidas and discuss politics and matters of fashion with him. Dellar, his chief enforcer, major domo, and a man of many questionable talents stops you:

I'm here to see lord Antidas.
Of course, master. Lord Antidas is expecting you.
He is?
No. Do you really think that our lord has never seen a peasant and wants to meet one? Get lost.
I'm not a peasant.
Well, you certainly don't look like a lord. So, what's your business with the lord, peasant?         
         
1. [persuasion] I *am* a lord. Call me a peasant one more time and I'll cut your insolent tongue off!
2. Step aside before I lose my patience.
3. My name is….
Nobody. That's who you are, peasant. Now answer my question.
                                                      
Master Feng, the loremaster, sent me to see lord Antidas.
He did, didn't he? Well, let me tell you how things work here. I’m the one who decides who gets to see the master. Call it a perk of my position. So far you've failed to convince me that you really need to see lord Antidas. Am I making myself clear?
Master Feng assured me that this parchment is valuable and that Lord Antidas will want to see it.
That's Master Feng's job to assure people that their junk is valuable, and it's my job to get proper tributes from those who seek an audience. Am I getting through here?
How much do you want?
You don't have that much, peasant, which doesn't mean that you are completely useless. I'll give you a choice. I have two problems. Help me with one and I’ll let you in and maybe even put in a good word for you.
Don't you have your own people for that?
Good question. You see, my people are valuable, while you, to put it bluntly, are not. Don't worry, I'm a good judge of talents, and since I don't see any, your tasks will be relatively simple.
First problem. House Aurelian is digging into some old ruins not far from Teron. Before we decide on an appropriate response to this provocation, we need to know what exactly they are doing there. Any questions?
How would I do that?
I don't know. Kill them all - that would certainly solve our problem: "a mentally unstable peasant has slaughtered our noble brethren in cold blood".  That would be a good headline, don’t you think? However, since the odds of that are small, we’ll have to settle on something more realistic. There are many people involved. Talk to them, pay them, beg them to tell you. You are good at begging, aren’t you?
What was the other problem?
Well, if you didn't like the first problem, you are definitely not going to like the second one. It involves raiders who captured a noble from our House. We need somebody to investigate that, see if the noble is still alive, and find out what they want.
Didn't they tell you what they want?   
They did send a messenger, but we killed him too quickly – too much enthusiasm can be a bad thing, so I wouldn't want to send one of my own men there. Go and take a look.      
 


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Scott on February 07, 2008, 11:18:24 am

The Ready for more work? paragraph threw me off a bit but after re-reading it I realized he was doling out orders to three of us.

Starting a new line every time a new person is addressed would help to make it clearer.

How about square brackets around actions?  Quotes are even uglier than asterisks, and I have to repeat that since spoken dialog is the default content of dialog windows, the actions should be tagged, not the dialog, because actions are the exception.

Love that chat with Dellar, all except the word "headline".  It's an anachronism since it directly references newspapers.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: xenocide on February 07, 2008, 12:49:28 pm
I agree with Cardtrick, not a big fan of the asterisks and I like the idea of quotes.

I also had to look at AoD16.jpeg a couple of times to see exactly what was going on.  I assume that after you ask about the map you are totally ignored?  I have to admit I double checked to see if I missed a screen somewhere.  If this seems like too much hand holding to most people, you could certainly leave it as is.  However, I think some acnolegment of the question would be better, even if it is not verbal.  ie [As you hold out the map Neleos looks you in the eye and moves on to other matters as if you had not spoken] or "Do I look like a damn loremaster to you?!"  Perhaps even a small "Neleos ignores your question" in the lower left screen below "you gain 150 imperials"  Just my opinion.

As for what next I say buy a freakn' dagger and on to the spies.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on February 07, 2008, 12:55:07 pm
I also had to look at AoD16.jpeg a couple of times to see exactly what was going on.  I assume that after you ask about the map you are totally ignored?
I was too lazy and skipped a screen. For the record, Neleos says: "I'm not good at these things. Ask Feng, the loremaster. He should know."



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: xenocide on February 07, 2008, 12:57:18 pm
I also had to look at AoD16.jpeg a couple of times to see exactly what was going on.  I assume that after you ask about the map you are totally ignored?
I was too lazy and skipped a screen. For the record, Neleos says: "I'm not good at these things. Ask Feng, the loremaster. He should know."



Cool beans.  Ignore the middle of my post an move on!


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: zhirzzh on February 07, 2008, 01:28:54 pm
Love that chat with Dellar, all except the word "headline".  It's an anachronism since it directly references newspapers.

Don't use the word anachronism. The game is roman influenced not based. It's possible that Vince had newspapers reach the level of development where people could first refer to headlines long before it happened in the real world.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on February 07, 2008, 01:31:16 pm

How about square brackets around actions?

Square brackets are already being used for stat/skill checks. Since these checks frequently occur in the same line as actions, you would run into situations like:

1. Alright, fine, I was just leaving. [Leave out the open door.]
2. [Dexterity] [Leap over the guard's head, grabbing his helmet as you do.]

It's not awful, but I think that dialog option 2 looks kind of dumb. I'd certainly prefer square brackets to asterisks, but I prefer quotes.
 
Quotes are even uglier than asterisks

What? Do you read books? Quotes are used absolutely everywhere, in respectable printed literature, in movies, in games, in advertisements, everywhere. Asterisks are used for LARPing on web forums, chat rooms, and instant messengers.

and I have to repeat that since spoken dialog is the default content of dialog windows, the actions should be tagged, not the dialog, because actions are the exception.

You would have a point, except that:

1) In the dialogs we've seen so far, actions are frequent enough not to be considered an exception. No, they're not the majority, but they're a very sizable minority.

and

2) It's standard English to put quotes around spoken dialog and nothing around actions or descriptions. We're all used to it, it would be completely unnoticable and intuitive, and it looks good.

Love that chat with Dellar, all except the word "headline".  It's an anachronism since it directly references newspapers.

Good call.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: TheLostOne on February 07, 2008, 02:18:54 pm
Quote from: Neleos
I'm not good at these things. Ask Feng, the loremaster. He should know.

I'm not good at these things?  What things? Maps?  Conversations?  The guy sounds like an idiot if that's the real line. 

How about: "What do I look like, a scholar?  Go bother the loremaster if you want a geography lesson."  or something similar.

Edit: Or "What do I look like, a loremaster?  Go bother Feng if you want a geography lesson." if you want to get Feng's name out there.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on February 07, 2008, 02:38:51 pm
Edit: Or "What do I look like, a loremaster?  Go bother Feng if you want a geography lesson." if you want to get Feng's name out there.

Huge improvement -- great call.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: GhanBuriGhan on February 07, 2008, 03:02:12 pm
I too was confused by the dialogue with the several guild members. I thought Dias! was just an exclamation, like "Jesus!" How about starting it with something like a mini introduction: "Titus, Dias, Coltan - Listen up! Ready for more work?"

I want to know more about the map. Talk to Feng.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on February 07, 2008, 04:10:24 pm
Quote from: Neleos
I'm not good at these things. Ask Feng, the loremaster. He should know.

I'm not good at these things?  What things? Maps?  Conversations?  The guy sounds like an idiot if that's the real line. 
You show him an antique scroll. He looks at it and says that he isn't good at these things. "These things" is a reference to antique documents. You may not like the line and prefer another, but "I'm not good at these things" is a perfectly normal response that I've heard quite a few times in regard to software, taxes, gardening, etc. Googling it (I was surprised at your reaction and googled it out of curiosity) gives you 71,000 matches.

Quote
How about: "What do I look like, a scholar?  Go bother the loremaster if you want a geography lesson."  or something similar.

Edit: Or "What do I look like, a loremaster?  Go bother Feng if you want a geography lesson." if you want to get Feng's name out there.
It's a simple question that doesn't call for a "fuck off" response.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on February 07, 2008, 04:18:32 pm
I too was confused by the dialogue with the several guild members. I thought Dias! was just an exclamation, like "Jesus!" How about starting it with something like a mini introduction: "Titus, Dias, Coltan - Listen up! Ready for more work?"
Would you address your employees this way? "Jack, Sarah, Thomas - listen up!" A more realistic way is to call names and assign tasks. Originally, it was Dias, an Aurelian envoy..., but when it was shown at the Codex, people complained that coma implies that Dias is an Aurelian envoy.

The way I see it we have two options: write realistic conversations and always risk losing players a bit or write messages to the player disguised as conversations. 


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: xenocide on February 07, 2008, 04:55:45 pm
I too was confused by the dialogue with the several guild members. I thought Dias! was just an exclamation, like "Jesus!" How about starting it with something like a mini introduction: "Titus, Dias, Coltan - Listen up! Ready for more work?"
Would you address your employees this way? "Jack, Sarah, Thomas - listen up!" A more realistic way is to call names and assign tasks. Originally, it was Dias, an Aurelian envoy..., but when it was shown at the Codex, people complained that coma implies that Dias is an Aurelian envoy.

The way I see it we have two options: write realistic conversations and always risk losing players a bit or write messages to the player disguised as conversations. 

I agree.  I think the way it written now is fine.  A new paragraph for each char would be ok as well. 

Dias!  blah blah

Coltan, blah blah

Titus, blah blah

the same wording just hit enter between the Dias and Coltan instructions.




Quote from: Neleos
I'm not good at these things. Ask Feng, the loremaster. He should know.

I'm not good at these things?  What things? Maps?  Conversations?  The guy sounds like an idiot if that's the real line. 
You show him an antique scroll. He looks at it and says that he isn't good at these things. "These things" is a reference to antique documents. You may not like the line and prefer another, but "I'm not good at these things" is a perfectly normal response that I've heard quite a few times in regard to software, taxes, gardening, etc. Googling it (I was surprised at your reaction and googled it out of curiosity) gives you 71,000 matches.

Quote
How about: "What do I look like, a scholar?  Go bother the loremaster if you want a geography lesson."  or something similar.

Edit: Or "What do I look like, a loremaster?  Go bother Feng if you want a geography lesson." if you want to get Feng's name out there.
It's a simple question that doesn't call for a "fuck off" response.

I think we may be starting to get nitpicky here again.  I only mentioned what I did because I did not think Neleos said anything about the map.  "these things" made perfect sense to me.  Although I don't think the other examples are as "fuck offish" as Vince does.  "I'm no scholar.  Ask Feng, the loremaster. He should know." sounds good too. 


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Euchrid on February 08, 2008, 06:17:28 am
Agree with CardTrick, I think square brackets for skills, quotes for dialogue and italics for actions looks best.

1. "Are you sure that they are spies?"
2. Open the window.
3. [Dexterity] "Catch!" Throw the guard your crossbow. While he’s distracted, use a crossbow bolt as an improvised dagger, and lunge for his throat.

Or, if the italics are distinct enough (or using different colours), it is possible to do without the quotes for dialogue:

1. Are you sure that they are spies?
2. Open the window.
3. [Dexterity] Catch! Throw the guard your crossbow. While he’s distracted, use a crossbow bolt as an improvised dagger, and lunge for his throat.

The rainbow option:  ;)

1. Are you sure that they are spies?
2. Open the window.
3. [Dexterity] Catch! Throw the guard your crossbow. While he’s distracted, use a crossbow bolt as an improvised dagger, and lunge for his throat.

Anything consistent which clearly enough separates the three types of text is fine, just thought I'd post my preference.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: puppyonastik on February 08, 2008, 07:00:03 am
The colors idea would be a great touch. everything stands out well.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on February 08, 2008, 07:41:11 am
The colors idea would be a great touch. everything stands out well.
No it doesn't it's a mess!

Go with the quotes thing, or put some *s in the actions...


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Scott on February 08, 2008, 09:36:45 am
1. "Are you sure that they are spies?"
2. Open the window.
3. [Dexterity] "Catch!" Throw the guard your crossbow. While he’s distracted, use a crossbow bolt as an improvised dagger, and lunge for his throat.

This is easy on the eyes and easy to understand, but (again), the quotes aren't necessary since you've already done a fine job of distinguishing the other two types.

"Why do I hate quotes?" you ask?  Was I abused by quotes as a child?  No.  They're useful in a book because the unquoted text (usually) makes up the majority of the content.  Descriptive text isn't put in italics in a novel, is it?  It doesn't have to be, so it's not.  If they're not necessary, which in the above scheme they're not, there's no reason to use them.  If there's no use for something in a design, don't use it.

The rainbow look is awful.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: puppyonastik on February 08, 2008, 10:18:13 am
haha, well you don't necessarily have to use those same colors. Different shades of grey could work too.

1. "Are you sure that they are spies?"
2. Open the window.
3. [Dexterity] "Catch!" Throw the guard your crossbow. While he’s distracted, use a crossbow bolt as an improvised dagger, and lunge for his throat.

Using this format and some color or shades would be preferred, to me at least. Though according to Morbus' reaction, I'm probably on crack. Maybe make it an option to make it so that people can choose from different styles?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on February 08, 2008, 01:11:26 pm
1. "Are you sure that they are spies?"
2. Open the window.
3. [Dexterity] "Catch!" Throw the guard your crossbow. While he’s distracted, use a crossbow bolt as an improvised dagger, and lunge for his throat.

I don't think I suggested italics for actions. Not that I mind it (almost anything is preferable to *'s). Still, I don't see what's wrong with:

1. "Are you sure that they are spies?"
2. Open the window.
3. [Dexterity] "Catch!" Throw the guard your crossbow. While he’s distracted, use a crossbow bolt as an improvised dagger, and lunge for his throat.

That's certainly my preference.

I'm not sure how I feel about the colors. They look good on the forum. I'd have to see them in a few in-game screenshots before I made up my mind. I liked having colored text in MUDs when I used to play those; it was very easy to tell at a glance what kind of information I was seeing. On the other hand, that was important in MUDs because they have nothing but text, and in a graphically rich game like AoD I suspect the colors might be distracting, garish, and out of place.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on February 08, 2008, 01:20:18 pm
No color, and no italics. We can't use brackets because we use them for stat/skill tags. So, we are down to " and *.

I prefer *, simply because they are less intrusive and using quotes everywhere will clutter the text.

My 2 cents.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on February 08, 2008, 01:24:55 pm
No color, and no italics. We can't use brackets because we use them for stat/skill tags. So, we are down to " and *.

I prefer *, simply because they are less intrusive and using quotes everywhere will clutter the text.

My 2 cents.
My thoughts exactly. Go for it.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: John Yossarian on February 08, 2008, 01:29:55 pm
Euchrid's first version is my fav., but if italics are out, I'd take cardtrick's version. As he said, anything but *.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: xenocide on February 08, 2008, 02:06:31 pm
No color, and no italics. We can't use brackets because we use them for stat/skill tags.


good


I prefer *, simply because they are less intrusive and using quotes everywhere will clutter the text.


As long as it is consistent either one would be fine IMO.  But to be honest I don't agree with the above statement.  Look at Cardtrick's example, I do not think the quotes are intrusive at all, I think they work great.  I would be fine with either quotes or *, but I do like quotes better.  You see quotes used every day to denote spoken words, I never see * when reading text so to me the * is more intrusive then the quotes.


"Nice to meet you." Shake his hand

Nice to meet you. *shake his hand



You really see the * above as less intrusive?  Actually the more I look at it the more I like quotes, the * just stick out to me.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on February 08, 2008, 02:19:03 pm
Actually, I get the idea that it's
Quote
Nice to meet you *shake his hand*
... Makes more sense to me.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on February 08, 2008, 02:23:06 pm
Yep. Easier to read too.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: GhanBuriGhan on February 08, 2008, 02:45:25 pm
I too was confused by the dialogue with the several guild members. I thought Dias! was just an exclamation, like "Jesus!" How about starting it with something like a mini introduction: "Titus, Dias, Coltan - Listen up! Ready for more work?"
Would you address your employees this way? "Jack, Sarah, Thomas - listen up!" A more realistic way is to call names and assign tasks. Originally, it was Dias, an Aurelian envoy..., but when it was shown at the Codex, people complained that coma implies that Dias is an Aurelian envoy.

The way I see it we have two options: write realistic conversations and always risk losing players a bit or write messages to the player disguised as conversations. 
I politely diagree. I do not see these at all as mutually exclusive.
 Written dialogue is not "realistic" first and foremost. It is in fact a message to the reader. Therefore you need to keep both goals in mind, keeping it flowing nicely, lively, and believable (which I prefer to saying realistic), and making sure it is understood by the player. Realistic dialogue is in most cases absolutely unreadable, as you can easily see from verbatim transcripts of actual live interviews or conversations. From what I have seen of the Vignette so far the player doesn't know these characters, he doesnt even know that Dias and Coltan are names - since they are Fantasy names and not Jack or Sarah, they could as well be curses, gods, pieces of furniture, or the excreta of Uglybirds. If you don't like my intro sentence, I am sure you can find some other change, that makes it clear these are names, and maybe even introduce the characters to you a tiny little bit (if they appear more than this once).

As to the question - well, if I am calling a business meeting I certainly address the people attending in some way before getting down to business. Of course I have no experience with the asassination business, so my experience may not apply  8)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: xenocide on February 08, 2008, 02:56:41 pm
Actually, I get the idea that it's
Quote
Nice to meet you *shake his hand*
... Makes more sense to me.

Yep. Easier to read too.

Wow.  I guess I don't know what to say after reading that.


Nice to meet you *shake his hand*


makes more sense and is easier to read than this:


"Nice to meet you" shake his hand


what do you guys do when you read a book?  As I said it is more of a minor issue to me and I can live with either, but to see * the way you guys do I just do not get.

What if you needed to speak magic words to open a door:

Flugal Falng Klopp Zhg *step back*

makes more sense than:

"Flugal Falng Klopp Zhg" step back

Sure, you can figure everything out via the context, but quotes instantly tell you what is happening regardless of the context.

To each his own I guess.




Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Fritharik on February 08, 2008, 03:11:38 pm
Sure, you can figure everything out via the context, but quotes instantly tell you what is happening regardless of the context.
In a game, dialogue is usually instantly indefinable as such by context. Written dialogue appears in a visual manner (such as dialogue screens, floaters, or subtitles) in-game, and most of the time is completely unambiguous. Books have a different mechanism because they have to work within their medium, which makes the clear separation of dialogue from the rest of the text more important.

Separating actions in the list case is the more important task, which the humble asterix does admirably. Besides the fact that it is a common enough usage that I doubt it will through all that many people for a loop.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: TheLostOne on February 08, 2008, 03:13:34 pm
Astericks are too informal and "forumy" in my opinion.  I see astericks around actions and I think dumbfucks in forums typing "Shut up! *slaps poster*"


As for the dialogue, I wasn't going for "Fuck off" in the response and I did actually know what the guy was referring to, it just sounded awkward to me.  You're asking about a single object and he's talking about "these things". 

Maybe "I don't know anything about that." would work better, although that sounds damned generic.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on February 08, 2008, 03:49:41 pm
Astericks are too informal and "forumy" in my opinion.  I see astericks around actions and I think dumbfucks in forums typing "Shut up! *slaps poster*"
I think Vince gets what you mean. I sure do. However, what he is trying to say, and what I think you are not quite getting is that having inverted comas in pretty much every dialog choice can be quite intrusive (that's what he called it), because, well, you know, most of the dialog choices don't involve actions. So while the asterisks would be the exception, you know, actions, the quotes would be the rule should they be put on every spoken sentence. Asterisks do look forumy, but well, Fallout had them too and I never minded them, really. If you look at it, it's just nitpicking, and what do you care about more: nitpicking or not having all dialog choices have inverted comas?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: TheLostOne on February 08, 2008, 04:10:43 pm
Yes, it is nitpicky I agree.  I won't be pissed if astericks are in the game, I'd just prefer quotes. 

For the Fallout example, I felt like all the text in that game was MEANT to look typed.  Your displays could have been lifted off an old IBM green monotone monitor.

AoD should look more organic and bookish IMO.  Fits the theme better.

Yet again this is nitpicking.  The Codexer in me can't stop trying to convince everyone why my opinion is RIGHT!  ;)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on February 08, 2008, 04:18:52 pm
Warning -- I'm typing this line after typing the rest of this post, and what's below may make me sound like a bit of a crazy person. It's entirely possible I overstate my case. Anyway, read on at your own discretion.

Astericks are too informal and "forumy" in my opinion.  I see astericks around actions and I think dumbfucks in forums typing "Shut up! *slaps poster*"

Ye gods, me too. That and chat room/MUD larpers typing shit like *gazes contemplatively out the window as the day's dying light throws shadows on his face*.

I no longer have any interest in trying to sound reasonable. I absolutely hate the asterisks and I think they look unprofessional. They do not live up to the quality of the rest of this game. They are to the dialog as the old interface screen (before Oscars's improvements) was to the new 3D graphics -- not only do they make the rest of the dialog look worse, but the fact that the dialog is so good makes the disconnect even more jarring.

If I were a game reviewer, I would point them out in the review. If I liked the game, it would be one sentence, and I would laugh it off (much as I did with not being able to save games or put things back into containers in The Witcher). But if I was a "professional" gaming journalist looking for any excuse to crucify the game because Iron Tower wasn't bribing me, I'd make sure to post a couple of screenshots of the asterisks and then write a dismissive paragraph about the unprofessionalism of indie devs, criticizing AoD's production values, and comparing Iron Tower to the basement dwellers who post on web forums all day *looks away, embarrassed, realizing he just insulted himself* </irony>.

If you look at it, it's just nitpicking, and what do you care about more: nitpicking or not having all dialog choices have inverted comas?

I have absolutely no idea what this question means, and I certainly don't want either option. They also seem neither comparable (apples and orange juice) nor mutually exclusive. Moreover, nitpicking shouldn't be a dirty word in a forum for a game made by only a few people, with no editor, with a designer who has repeatedly insisted that he's interested in input from fans.

This will most likely be my last post on this subject. I think I've made my point clear, but I just wanted to emphasize how strongly I feel about this. I think this is the kind of thing that the developers may not see as important, but many players (and reviewers) will -- exactly like the lack of sounds and the inability to see items on the ground that aroused so many complaints earlier.

Obviously I'll still buy the game if it has asterisks, and obviously I'll still love it. I'll get past them and be able to ignore them. But I desperately want this game to be a genuine success, so that Iron Tower can make more games and maybe more indie devs will be inspired, and I feel that this is the sort of presentational issue that belies the depth and quality of the game, making it appear less than it is.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: GhanBuriGhan on February 08, 2008, 04:20:38 pm

Nice to meet you *shake his hand*


makes more sense and is easier to read than this:


"Nice to meet you" shake his hand


what do you guys do when you read a book? 

Well, it IS more clear. The thing is that "Nice to meet you" shake his hand Looks like a regular sentence in a book, but it makes no sense. In a book you would read >>I said"Nice to meet you", and shook his hand.
Therefore the above form is just confusing. * clearly is a meta tag, and that works just fine. Consistency is key here.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: TheLostOne on February 08, 2008, 04:38:33 pm
The format would be: "Nice to meet you." You shake his hand.

That's pretty clear to me.  "'Nice to meet you.' shake his hand" is shitty english.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Fritharik on February 08, 2008, 04:42:36 pm
You *know* asterisks can work.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on February 08, 2008, 04:50:02 pm
Anyway, my point is that we have to look at what the exception is. And in this case, the exception is actions, so we have to find a way of make actions look like exceptions, not like plain text.

What if we get two options, and both of them are actions with no text? There'd be no sign whatsoever and it'd look weird. I mean:

Quote
Shut up you fucker!!!!!!zorz!1

1 - Hit his face.
2 - Run away.
When you get a situation like this, in a game where the majority of the dialog options are spoken, you kinda get the impression that you are actually about to say "hit his face"... It would be better to have something like:

Quote
Your mom's on some calkalkjna!!! Run!!! Go get the calkalkjna!!!

1 - [Fart]
2 - [Hit his face]
3 - [Go ahead and get the calkalkjna]
Now, I know square parenthesis are already being used, but I mean if we have to "modify" something in the text, we should modify that which is actually the exception. We shouldn't modify the spoken sentences themselves.

I say we go for :'s. Two dots: :. If you know what I mean... Like emoticons! Yay!

EDIT:

:Fart:

See? Much better C:


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on February 08, 2008, 06:28:22 pm
Cardtrick, I'm overwhelmed by your passion. We'll do it your way.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on February 08, 2008, 06:38:48 pm
Well, of course you had no choice . . . we've all seen my signature. (But really, I do think it's best. Thank you! :))


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Fritharik on February 08, 2008, 07:06:02 pm
And I still think it's misguided. But, it did work that way in Planescape: Torment.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Priapist on February 08, 2008, 09:28:58 pm
I don't think quotes and asterisks are the only option.

Quote
Then DIE! :fuck him in the ear with a buttery corn cob:
Then DIE! <fuck him in the ear with a buttery corn cob>
Then DIE! -fuck him in the ear with a buttery corn cob-
Then DIE! =fuck him in the ear with a buttery corn cob=
Then DIE! ¤fuck him in the ear with a buttery corn cob¤
Then DIE! ¦fuck him in the ear with a buttery corn cob¦
Then DIE! Ξfuck him in the ear with a buttery corn cobΞ
Then DIE! ϶fuck him in the ear with a buttery corn cobϵ
Then DIE! ϵfuck him in the ear with a buttery corn cob϶
Then DIE! ▫▪fuck him in the ear with a buttery corn cob▪▫

Etc.

I also want to weigh in on the side of not misusing quotation marks:

Quote
"Then DIE!" Fuck him in the ear with a buttery corn cob.

...is just horrible. Misusing a known convention is far worse to me than defining you own convention. It would be like making land mines in a first person shooter look like white boxes with red crosses on them, or arbitrarily making a road green and grass grey in a driving game - you'd get a better response from players if the road was purple and the grass pink, because that's just a different "reality", not a corruption of one they know.

Text in general and particularly dialogue is completely different beast in computer games compared with its literary counterparts. You have to use different rules and conventions:

Quote
"Then die!" you yell, your voice rising to a quavering, frenzied scream as you leap toward Chris, buttery corn cob in hand.

But you're hypothesising future events, so present tense is out of place:

Quote
"I'm going to leap at Chris with a buttery corn cob and try to fuck him in the ear while shouting 'then die'," you think to yourself.

Truly awful. The main reason why that isn't going to work is because dialogue selections describe future events without using future tense. Off hand, I can't think of a traditional literary method that works this way to illustrate emerging thoughts, let alone a small set of potential futures, simply because traditional literature has no need for multiple outcomes or end user authorship. Even stream of consciousness techniques which break many literary traditions don't really have an equivalent to dialogue/action choices in a game.

So to me, the only solution is to say "fuck tradition!" and go with whatever works well. In this case, you just need something to denote actions and distinguish them from speech.



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Euchrid on February 08, 2008, 09:50:50 pm
Using italics, without quotation marks (my preference):

1. Are you sure that they are spies?
2. Open the window.
3. [Dexterity] Catch! Throw the guard your crossbow. While he’s distracted, use a crossbow bolt as an improvised dagger, and lunge for his throat.

Rainbow option (it was not a serious suggestion) replaced by asterisk option:

1. Are you sure that they are spies?
2. *Open the window.*
3. [Dexterity] Catch! *Throw the guard your crossbow. While he’s distracted, use a crossbow bolt as an improvised dagger, and lunge for his throat.*

CardTrick's no italics option:

1. "Are you sure that they are spies?"
2. Open the window.
3. [Dexterity] "Catch!" Throw the guard your crossbow. While he’s distracted, use a crossbow bolt as an improvised dagger, and lunge for his throat.


For me, the CardTrick option is fine, though, given all of this text is in dialogue, I don't think it makes sense to treat spoken text as the exception by using quotes. For instance, quotation marks are not used in screenplays or plays, which I think are more analagous to the situation than novels.

I'm not a big fan of asterisks, but they do work. It has the advantage of clearly delineating the actions as something different, and keeping the spoken word as default.

My preference (changed from previously), is normal text for spoken words, italics for actions, square brackets for skill checks. It makes most sense to me, grammatically and conceptually, as well as being most pleasing to the eye. Spoken words are the default of dialogue, so they are unmodified, actions are something different, but still part of the game world and are somewhat similar to conveying the character's thoughts (often shown in italics in literature), or possibly even closer to stage directions in a play (usually in italics and square brackets). Skill checks are part of the game's mechanics, so are treated differently by being enclosed in square brackets.

This prompts another question, will the character's thoughts ever be presented?

I certainly don't have the passion that CardTrick does, I'm happy with anything consistent, whether asterisks, quotes or colours. Of the options above, the asterisk option would be my next choice, if italics are completely out of the question.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on February 08, 2008, 10:36:37 pm
Er . . . it seems I may be the odd man out here. I'm starting to feel bad about evidently having had so much influence on this -- honestly, arrogant though it may sound, I assumed I was providing the impassioned voice of the silent majority. :) Also, I want to be very clear about one thing -- all of my passion was against asterisks, not for quotes. The asterisks are just so reminiscent of forums and chat rooms that they look awfully out of place. I prefer the quotes to all the other non-asterisk options that have been brought up, but it's a slight preference, and Priapist raised a valid objection.

I also want to weigh in on the side of not misusing quotation marks:

Quote
"Then DIE!" Fuck him in the ear with a buttery corn cob.

...is just horrible. Misusing a known convention is far worse to me than defining you own convention. It would be like making land mines in a first person shooter look like white boxes with red crosses on them, or arbitrarily making a road green and grass grey in a driving game - you'd get a better response from players if the road was purple and the grass pink, because that's just a different "reality", not a corruption of one they know.

I don't really understand this exactly. Honestly, I don't think the quoted example is bad at all. Later, you talk about future actions and things, which leads me to believe that much of your complaint is about the voice/tense of the actions compared to that of the dialog. The issue is that despite being in the present tense, more importantly the actions are in the imperative mood. (All of my words for grammar come from Latin classes, but I assume words like tense/voice/mood have the same meanings in English.) They are constructed as orders or directions -- when you select the option "Fuck him in the ear," you are ordering your character to fuck him in the ear. The same holds true for dialog lines, which is why it's misleading when you write:

Quote
"Then die!" you yell, your voice rising to a quavering, frenzied scream as you leap toward Chris, buttery corn cob in hand.

or

Quote
"I'm going to leap at Chris with a buttery corn cob and try to fuck him in the ear while shouting 'then die'," you think to yourself.


Instead, if you want to be totally explicit like this, you just need to stay in the imperative mood. So you would have, simply,

Quote
Say "Then die!" and fuck him in the ear with a buttery corn cob.

Here, you are explicitly ordering your character to say "Then die!" and then skullfuck the dude with the corn. However, surely you've noticed that in a novel or other written work the author will frequently drop the he said/she said attributions when they are not required for clarity, like, for example:

Quote
     "Have you ever been fucked in the ear with a candy cane?" asked Bob.
     "No," Cindy replied, "but I was once ear-fucked by a buttery corn cob."
     "Really? That must have been incredibly painful!"
     "Well, yeah, it was at first -- but as you know, I'm smokin' hot, so it wasn't long before the kernels popped, showering me with delicious, gooey, white . . . popcorn. After that, the cob was smaller so it felt a lot better."
     Bob grinned appreciatively at his much younger cousin. "Wow, great story! Gotta run!" With that, he turned and leapt off the roof.

It becomes tedious to see lots of Bob said, Cindy said. So the author (Shakespeare) drops them after a while for brevity and elegance. Similarly, in the game, when it's clear that your character will be the one speaking the words, it's acceptable to drop the "Say" from that line and end with your original example, which looks fine and makes perfect sense according to normal English conventions:

Quote
"Then die!" Fuck him in the ear with a buttery corn cob.

EDIT: Corrected "excellent" above to read "elegance" as it should have.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: star on February 08, 2008, 11:49:15 pm
Cardtrick is right, astericks really suck and italics are out anyway due to engine limitations, so his suggestion is the only viable one. Stop discussing this already. Please.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Priapist on February 09, 2008, 01:55:46 am
Okay, those are all pretty valid criticisms, but... Imperative mood cannot be part of flowing prose, it has to be somehow voiced. That's almost okay, because in this context, you're giving orders to yourself -"Go put the garbage out"; "Tidy your room"; "Ask for directions"; etc. But technically, those quotation marks are always present, even if you don't explicitly state them. So now we're dealing with quotes within quotes. I'm going somewhere with this. Promise.

"Approach the man and say 'I got your corn right here, buddy!'" - works. It's unambiguous, the spoken part is cleanly incorporated into the action of approaching the guy.

"Approach the man. Say 'I got your corn right here, buddy!'" - still works, but doesn't flow as well and implies consecutive rather than concurrent actions. Also, it doesn't imply the indirect object ("the man") as strongly in the second clause as it does in the previous example when both clauses form the same sentence.

"Approach the man. 'I got your corn right here, buddy!'" - completely derails to me. What about the corn? Whose buddy? Who is speaking? Within context it's clear, but if you're going to strive to have something that resembles natural prose, then it can't look like bad prose. It's squarely in the literary "uncanny valley" for me.

To visit your example of dropping descriptions from natural, flowing conversation, I don't think this is comparable. A writer will drop "he said/she said" if the conversation is continuing as before, without significant change in the character's delivery, and without concurrent actions:

"Hey Cindy, you're back!" said Bob, with a hint of surprise.
"Yep," replied Cindy, "and I brought corn!"
Drops his pants. "You sassy little minx!"
"No, not there. In your ear." Fucks Bob with corn.

You could argue that it's still perfectly clear who is doing what, but that's some fuck ugly prose. And I think that's where we're both coming from. The intent of the speech and actions is clear in either case, but the respective dressings are somewhat offensive to us - you don't want to see asterisks since they evoke a forum/chatroom association, and I don't want to see pseudo-prose because it looks too much like butchered prose. It's an aesthetic issue more than a functional one.

I think the only compromise is to use asterisks... in quotes: "*"Puts the discussion to rest."*"  >:D

[edit] I'm not sure if my original point is the one I ended up with, but it's hard to define something that offends on a subconscious level.

[edit2] Hey Vince, what's the story behind the italics limitation? Is it something that could be worked around (read: would be worth working around) with a second font that is just an italicised version of the main one?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on February 09, 2008, 02:41:05 am
I think the only compromise is to use asterisks... in quotes: "*"Puts the discussion to rest."*"  >:D

Agreed. This demonstrates the power of synergy: 1 + 1 = 11!

On a sidenote, we took this in a strangely corn-sexual direction.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Pastel on February 09, 2008, 03:48:09 am
How about brackets, like in MotB? They worked pretty well.

As for quotes, using them for the player dialogue is fine, as long as it is as such:
Code:
"I will kill you with death!" [attack the motherfucker with your crossbow]
rather than:
Code:
"I will kill you with death!" Attack the motherfucker with your crossbow

Code:
"I will kill you with death!" you scream, attacking the motherfucker with your crossbow.
would be quite nice as well, but it might make the dialogue harder to read.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: namad on February 09, 2008, 04:20:27 am
i can't believe anyone at all is in favor of the quotes option...

keep in mind like vince said 90-95% of all of it won't have actions so no matter how ugly the device is you won't see it much....

let's say quotes are 10% ugly and asterisks are 70% ugly on the ugliness meter well.... if we have to use one... let's measure which will uglify the game more 10%*70%=7% 10%x90% is ~9%

which number is worse 9% more ugly or 7% more ugly? hrmm...

it's basically the argument of green road and gray grass being worse than pink/purple... combined with what vince said about how actions are far rarer...


i'm not totally in favor or asterisks i'm just in favor of some symbol .. and with [] taken not much is left... except maybe {} ? but quotes... quotes already mean something so you can't really go around using them in anyway except the exact proper usage (the argument about bad prose being worse than some new imaginary rule)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Euchrid on February 09, 2008, 04:46:37 am
Some other poster pointed out that Planescape used quotes for spoken dialogue. I checked, and he is correct, which has shown me just how little I notice these things, as I had no idea. It also uses asterisks for emphasis, though I did recall this, mostly because of Dakkon's *know*. Hence, I'm mostly ambivalent overall, time for me to stop posting on this topic and leave Vince to his decision (possibly already made).

(http://img211.imageshack.us/img211/8711/nottheblivzo8aq6ns8.th.jpg) (http://img211.imageshack.us/my.php?image=nottheblivzo8aq6ns8.jpg) (http://img108.imageshack.us/img108/4117/pstdialoguezm5.th.jpg) (http://img108.imageshack.us/my.php?image=pstdialoguezm5.jpg)




Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: RobRendell on February 09, 2008, 05:01:16 am
Hi, all.  Given that it's not going to be possible to please everyone, one way to deal with this is to have a preference option that people can set.  Someone has already suggested this, I believe, but how's this for a specific implementation:

If all option text contained both quotes around spoken text and and asterisks around actions, then it shouldn't be too hard to have the display code hide the quotes, hide the stars, or leave them both there, depending on a preference setting.

(Context on me: I've been dropping in to the Codex (and now this site) for a year or so now, keeping tabs on this game.  I think I only posted on the Codex once or twice, and this is my first post here.  I'm very keen to play AoD when it's finished, and intend to spam my friends with links to this site the moment it is available.)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Ander Vinz on February 09, 2008, 05:16:47 am
i'm not totally in favor or asterisks i'm just in favor of some symbol .. and with [] taken not much is left... except maybe {} ?
What about classic braсkets without quotes?
Like,

What a deep discussion it is! (eating buttery corn cob).

versus

What a deep discussion it is! *eating buttery corn cob*.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on February 09, 2008, 06:25:14 am
CardTrick's no italics option:

1. "Are you sure that they are spies?"
2. Open the window.
3. [Dexterity] "Catch!" Throw the guard your crossbow. While he’s distracted, use a crossbow bolt as an improvised dagger, and lunge for his throat.


For me, the CardTrick option is fine, though, given all of this text is in dialogue, I don't think it makes sense to treat spoken text as the exception by using quotes.

That's what I said!

Anyway, the point Priapist brought is very good. What if it's something like:

Quote
3. [Dexterity] "Catch!" - Throw the guard your crossbow. While he’s distracted, use a crossbow bolt as an improvised dagger, and lunge for his throat.


It'd look better.

And another thing. We're not talking only about dialog options, right? The way it works for dialog options it has to work for NPCs' lines too. NPCs have actions too, their spoken words have to be quoted too if the player's are...

Some other poster pointed out that Planescape used quotes for spoken dialogue. I checked, and he is correct, which has shown me just how little I notice these things, as I had no idea. It also uses asterisks for emphasis, though I did recall this, mostly because of Dakkon's *know*. Hence, I'm mostly ambivalent overall, time for me to stop posting on this topic and leave Vince to his decision (possibly already made).

([url]http://img211.imageshack.us/img211/8711/nottheblivzo8aq6ns8.th.jpg[/url]) ([url]http://img211.imageshack.us/my.php?image=nottheblivzo8aq6ns8.jpg[/url]) ([url]http://img108.imageshack.us/img108/4117/pstdialoguezm5.th.jpg[/url]) ([url]http://img108.imageshack.us/my.php?image=pstdialoguezm5.jpg[/url])

Yeah, and the writing is great, as usual. See? Look at the verb tense.

What about classic braсkets without quotes?
Like,

What a deep discussion it is! (eating buttery corn cob).

versus

What a deep discussion it is! *eating buttery corn cob*.

Can't work out. Classic brackets are most likely already used in spoken lines. Besides, they are meaningful punctuation marks. Unlike asterisks or square brackets. Quotes are but they have substitutes.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: xenocide on February 09, 2008, 10:32:25 am
It does seem somewhat weird to me that this issue is so divisive. I will admit that I never did well in gramer class - go math! (god if you guys knew how many words I have to spellcheck for every single post I type so I do not look like more of an idoit than I already do you would be amazed) That being said:


Quote
1. "Are you sure that they are spies?"
2. Open the window.
3. [Dexterity] "Catch!" Throw the guard your crossbow. While he’s distracted, use a crossbow bolt as an improvised dagger, and lunge for his throat.


I admit this looks so good to me.  I am sure guys like Priapist (this may sound somewhat insulting but man you are a gramer freak) are 100% correct in the usage of quotes according to gramer rules.  To me what are quotes?  They denote spoken text!  If you see quotes that means the text is spoken.  When I see a qoute it means spoken text, when I see an asterisk I do not automatically know what it means, I have to figure it out via the context.  Even if it is insanely easy to figure out, it still needs to be figured out.  I do not see asterisks as automatically denoting action.  It would seem cardtrick is correct and that he and I are in the minority.  I guess if I did know what Priapist and company were talking about maybe then I could understand their dislike of quotes.  I have said before I can live with asterisks.  I still think the example above looks the best though. 


As a late addition:
If asterisks are used, are there situations where no spoken text is an option?  If so will the asterisks still be in?  ie:


1. *Attack!*
2. *Retreat*


that is part of why I do not like asterisks.  The above looks ridiculus to me.  You could just leave them out when no spoken text is available, but then you loose consistency.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on February 09, 2008, 11:40:29 am
I'm not keen on asterisks - except perhaps for use as rare emphasis (e.g. *know*) -, and I agree with the consensus that quotes/asterisks/brackets... should definitely be used in pairs if at all. Other than that I'm not too bothered on the specifics.

I don't think it makes sense to rule out colour coding on the basis of one debatably garish example. It's used throughout PS:T without many objections - you'd just need to make sure that any colour scheme fit with the style you're going for. You wouldn't necessarily need bright, hugely contrasting colours to make things clear.

So long as anything not spoken is an action, I don't see too much wrong with the quotes-for-spoken-stuff approach. If there's sometimes clarifying descriptions too, it might make sense to make the distinction between action and description explicit.
[[To take a horribly contrived, but ambiguous, example: "We probably ought to get down from this cart and run for it." Alight before the guard's arrival, the fire is sure to divert attention elsewhere.]]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: mhv3 on February 09, 2008, 01:33:26 pm
I think cardtrick is right.  I thought you represented the silent majority too.   But,  as long as it is consistent I'll be ok however it is done.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on February 09, 2008, 02:35:35 pm
*"I agree"*.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: One Wolf on February 12, 2008, 07:37:55 pm
I vote for asterisks.

-W


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: zhirzzh on February 12, 2008, 08:10:44 pm
If we're voting, then Cardtrick is right. ""s are the only way to do it. Did it really bother you guys all that much in PS:T? I would have chimed in sooner if I'd thought this could possibly go against ""s.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: One Wolf on February 12, 2008, 08:22:50 pm
The quotes in PS:T didn't bother me at all, and if I wasn't reminded by posters in this thread which games use quotes or asterisks, I wouldn't even remember.  All I really want is a delineation between action and dialog.  As long as the delineations are consistent, I'm fine either way.

Most of these kinds of elements are of little concern to me, and my preference is very slight.

I should actually change my vote to "whatever way is easier to implement at this stage of development".

I am dying to play this.

-W


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on February 13, 2008, 04:58:05 am
I should actually change my vote to "whatever way is easier to implement at this stage of development".

I dying to play this.
Same here.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Ander Vinz on February 13, 2008, 06:07:37 am
I should actually change my vote to "whatever way is easier to implement at this stage of development".

I dying to play this.
Same here.
Lazy buggers.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Paranoid Jack on February 13, 2008, 09:54:52 am
41 Pages in were just finished with the first quest.    :hahano:

Just my two cents...  but I too prefer the proper "quotations" over the *asterisk*. Though I'll admit either way shouldn't be a huge problem for anyone...  anyone reasonable that is.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Puu on February 13, 2008, 10:57:48 am
I'll throw my coin for "'s.  As some people already noted, *'s are too forumy and *slappy*.
The Best way to use quotes? Behold!

1. Shake his hand  "Nice to meet you."

or

2. Kick the bastard in the face "Fuck off and die!"

edit: Bit crappy and offtopicish example actually because actions like shaking hands should be included in that great and mighty npc talk box thingy (i.e.  Fat merchant greets you with a bear hug  "Greetings blahblah")


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: GhanBuriGhan on February 13, 2008, 11:12:51 am

1. Shake his hand.  "Nice to meet you."

or

2. Kick the bastard in the face. "Fuck off and die!"



fixed :)

My vote is still for *'s, simply assuming that it is way easier to add them to the few places where actions are designated, in contrast to adding "" to every single line of dialogue, where its superfluous in most cases. But VD should speak a word of power now. Unless he already did a while back and was ignored  :P


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Ander Vinz on February 13, 2008, 11:25:50 am
Quote
*'s are too forumy
Like it's an argument or will ruin a game for anyone.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: One Wolf on February 13, 2008, 02:19:06 pm
VD, back in this post (http://www.irontowerstudio.com/forum/index.php?topic=149.msg5172#msg5172), shouldn't the [Persuation] check be a [Etiquette] check?

Also, and this is so nitpicky and unimportant that I hesitate to even mention it, wouldn't a Lord be more likely to say "I'll have your tongue cut out" as opposed to "I'll cut your tongue out"?  For some reason it is hard for me to picture a Lord doing the cutting.  Maybe the PC is "that" kind of Lord, for all I know.

-W


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: zhirzzh on February 13, 2008, 03:34:08 pm
Quote
*'s are too forumy
Like it's an argument or will ruin a game for anyone.

Oh, And quotes will? What about books? Every thing said by anyone has ""s and no one even notices.

Edit: Vitriol and post length both halved.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on February 13, 2008, 03:38:28 pm
Good points, Wolf. It's an old text and the check had already been changed to Etiquette in the database.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Ander Vinz on February 13, 2008, 04:11:09 pm
Oh, And quotes will?
No way. Especially if half of the text will be descriptional.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Mephisto on February 13, 2008, 04:46:16 pm
I think it should be disguise, as you are trying to pose as a noble, not directing to one.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on February 13, 2008, 05:05:48 pm
I think it should be disguise, as you are trying to pose as a noble, not directing to one.
Sorry, crazy day. That's what I was trying to say. First check is Disguise, second is Lore.

[disguise] I *am* a lord. Call me a peasant one more time and I'll cut your insolent tongue off!
My apologies, lord….?
Taliades. I'm sure you've heard that name before.
It's an honor, your lordship. I was always impressed by the battle your House won at Nicaea.

1. Yes, it was a great battle, wasn't it? Nice of you to remember.
2. [lore] My House had fought for the Emperor at Trudoth, East Beck, and Stanias. Since you don't know what you're talking about, stop wasting my time and open that door!


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: One Wolf on February 13, 2008, 06:14:18 pm
I think it should be disguise, as you are trying to pose as a noble, not directing to one.

Hah, that's what I meant to write.  I even got confused for a second not realizing that I had written "Etiquette".



[disguise] I *am* a lord. Call me a peasant one more time and I'll cut your insolent tongue off!
My apologies, lord….?
Taliades. I'm sure you've heard that name before.
It's an honor, your lordship. I was always impressed by the battle your House won at Nicaea.

1. Yes, it was a great battle, wasn't it? Nice of you to remember.
2. [lore] My House had fought for the Emperor at Trudoth, East Beck, and Stanias. Since you don't know what you're talking about, stop wasting my time and open that door!



This is too neat.  The guard is trying to throw you off by using false historical data.  I'm guessing if you answer 1. (yes, it was a great battle....), the guard knows you're full of shit.  Totally plausible.  Every time I see new dialog I get a little blood-rush. 

-W


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Pastel on February 14, 2008, 08:48:48 am
Wouldn't Streetwise work as well?
[streetwise] You notice that he is lying. "Are you trying to test my knowledge, peasant? My house fought no battle at Niceea."


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Fosse on February 14, 2008, 02:23:52 pm
The guildmaster asks that the spies be dead by the time the day is out.  Is this actually timed?  Or is it a typical RPG quest where you are told that something is urgent and then everyone waits for you in stasis to come along at your own pace and move the ball along?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on February 14, 2008, 03:44:41 pm
That's the typical shitty RPG quest, yes. I'm guessing that since he said it should be before the day was out, it *should* be before the day was out.

And since AoD looks good to me, I'm guessing I'm correct.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: jeansberg on February 14, 2008, 03:52:23 pm
I think it basically means you fail the quest if you leave the region.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on February 14, 2008, 04:31:52 pm
AoD doesn't have time or a day/night cycle . . . so I suspect it's either one of those suspend-your-disbelief, finish-it-anytime quests (which I don't actually mind at all unless it's a huge plot point or just really stupid, like in BG2), or that jeansberg is right.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on February 14, 2008, 04:42:29 pm
We don't have day/night cycle, but we do have night maps for certain quests. We don't have time limits, so your active *local* quests are open as long as you in the location. When you leave it (and you'll be warned that travel will take many days, so if you need to take care about some urgent shit, you better do it first), all your local quests will be auto completed and default outcomes will be chosen.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Fosse on February 14, 2008, 04:48:14 pm
I forgot about the no day/night cycle.  Vince, that sounds great, striking a good balance between believable questing and reasonable gameplay. 


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on February 14, 2008, 05:00:57 pm
That was the idea. Timed quests usually just add pressure, but that pressure isn't fun. It's like being almost late for an appointment and looking at your watch all the time.

Quests that could be completed any time are silly. "Uh, hi there, good sir, you may not remember me, but you asked me to help you find your little boy a few years ago. I passed those caves yesterday and found this skull. It's been cracked open and gnawed on, so it's hard to be sure, but I think that's your son Johnny. You did mention a reward, didn't you?"



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on February 14, 2008, 06:32:49 pm
We don't have day/night cycle
Ah, that's another story :P

all your local quests will be auto completed and default outcomes will be chosen.
How exactly will that auto complete work?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Euchrid on February 14, 2008, 08:02:59 pm
Default meaning always the same predefined outcomes?
Or is their some randomness or relation to options you've already taken?

I like the sound of this, it gives the game world a greater sense of life.

On return, will you have the option of asking about the quest? Would be nice for the NPC to recount some details of its completion, or at least its outcome.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on February 14, 2008, 08:54:42 pm
How exactly will that auto complete work?
Very simple, actually. Let's say you were asked to assassinate the Imperial Guards' commander (see the RPG Vault article), but you felt the urge to explore the great outdoors and left without saying good-bye to the commander.

Now, here how this quest goes. You can either kill the commander or double-cross the assassins and bet your future on the Imperial Guards. If you kill the commander, the guards hit back. With you the assassins have a chance to defend and counter-attack, which may even result in the Imperial Guards losing Teron for good. The back-up assassin still kills the commander, but since you weren't around, your assassins buddies were overrun and killed and the guild was burned down. That's what you see and are told when you come back. If only they had more men that night.... If only...

Default meaning always the same predefined outcomes?
Yes.

Quote
I like the sound of this, it gives the game world a greater sense of life.
Definitely. It shows that life goes on and if you can't do it, someone else will, but the outcome might be different.

Quote
On return, will you have the option of asking about the quest? Would be nice for the NPC to recount some details of its completion, or at least its outcome.
Yes.



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Priapist on February 14, 2008, 10:50:50 pm
Quote
That was the idea. Timed quests usually just add pressure, but that pressure isn't fun. It's like being almost late for an appointment and looking at your watch all the time.

I'm not sure that's an unequivocal truth. Dead Rising was all about time, and a major part of what made it more interesting than a straight up zombie killfest was working in and around those time pressures. I'd agree that it wouldn't be much fun in AoD's context but I don't think it can be blanketed as "time pressure = no fun".



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on February 14, 2008, 11:44:52 pm
Quote
That was the idea. Timed quests usually just add pressure, but that pressure isn't fun. It's like being almost late for an appointment and looking at your watch all the time.

I'm not sure that's an unequivocal truth. Dead Rising was all about time, and a major part of what made it more interesting than a straight up zombie killfest was working in and around those time pressures. I'd agree that it wouldn't be much fun in AoD's context but I don't think it can be blanketed as "time pressure = no fun".

Yeah . . . I would say that time pressure is usually annoying, but by no means always. If the time crunch forces the player to make interesting decisions, then it is worth having, but this requires a conscious choice in the initial design of the game. I would say that having one or two timed side quests in a game that is otherwise time-independent is almost always a bad idea, but having time be important for every quest could be worthwhile. I liked Fallout's main quest time limit, especially on my first playthrough when I had no real idea how long it might take to find the water chip -- it added a lot of tension and atmosphere, and brought focus to the game. I sometimes neglected trivial sidequests in the interest of saving the vault before time ran out, which helped with the feeling of playing a real character. On the other hand, Fallout 2's occasional timed quests (in particular, having to travel back to the Den to find the farmer scared off by the ghouls before the month ran out and the Modoc-ians attacked the ghoul farm) were just annoying. That quest forces the player to backtrack, which is especially annoying on subsequent playthroughs when I would rather do things in an efficient order to minimize the boring parts of the game and get to my favorite moments. It feels like a chore, which is not a good thing.

On further reflection, this should probably have been in the RPG Design forum, since it has no bearing on AoD. I think AoD's system sounds great and makes a lot of sense -- in fact, now I'm wondering why it's not the standard solution to the timing problem. Having all local quests expire when you leave the area just makes sense.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Fosse on February 14, 2008, 11:55:19 pm
I don't think having time limits is bad design, and can often enhance the pressure in a fun way and increase the feeling of authenticity to a game world.  A sense of urgency is never a bad thing when we're dealing with important matters, and the quests -- main and otherwise -- that the player takes on should be important. 

But having quests pretend to be time sensitive while actually flagrantly holding still and waiting for the player (Oblivion's Main Quest) is not fun, not realistic, and not entertaining at all.  The AoD approach sounds like a good one. 

And I vote we go to the market.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on February 15, 2008, 03:30:15 am
For me, time limits are good because they add consistency. But when games are stupid and make time run faster than in real life, it's very bad. Most RPGs do that, and it's just stupid as hell, just a way of showing the player the prettiness of day/night cycle. It's stupid, and the stupidest thing is that the game is designed according to that. If I want time to go faster, I sleep or wait, that's what I do. I don't want to feel pressure because the sun has just rose and in two hours it will be night again and I'm in a hurry. That's retard.

Since AoD has none of that, it's good for me.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: caster on February 15, 2008, 04:37:43 am
I like a little presure sometimes. For me the most important thing is the backstory or rasoning behind a quest or a mission.

If some kid got lost in some caves and i have a mission of finding him then i expect to find his little skull if i dont do anything for ten days. (he could have found a little water pool and stayed barely alive so long).

If i have a mission of killing (silently or unobtrusively) some NPC before that legion comes to town and he gives them some info my employer wouldnt like to be known i fully expect to have some time barrier to run against.

But not a short one like 2 days or something like that. In each of these examples time for completion of these missions can be prolonged by factors of coincidence outside our or "screenplay" control. And serve as excuses of having a longer time to do it.
If you save the kid right away there would be no mention of water and if you come late he would be "barely alive" and possibly come down with some sickness later on which would lead you on another little mission if you want (going back to the caves to find samples of those nasty fungi that made little boy sick and then discovering something interesting and...etc)

The Legion could be sidetracked by number of things, from bad weather to some bandit atacks (you aranged for?) or some badly thought out rebelion in some villages along the way (because you destroyed winter supplies or sent missinformation or just planted a few murders as if they were done by men from the other village).

This is the way i like timed quests to work. With a little interactivity in the whole process.

But anyway i prefer even a few set in stone - short of time type of these quests because they increase the sense im moving inside the world here time waits for no man.

But only if the story itself requires such logic to those quests.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: One Wolf on February 15, 2008, 05:34:24 pm
Wouldn't Streetwise work as well?
[streetwise] You notice that he is lying. "Are you trying to test my knowledge, peasant? My house fought no battle at Niceea."

Streetwise used there is a little bit more of a stretch than Lore, but that does make me ponder this question:  VD, there might be a danger in multiple skillchecks in the same dialog if each check is unaccompanied by another.  What I mean is that the more checks in a given dialog, the more specific a character build will have to be in order to accomplish a favorable outcome (assuming that there is only one outcome that is desirous, i.e. getting in to see Lord Antidas). 

Using a made-up scenario:

NPC:  Huh?
PC:  Gimme X.
NPC:  Neg.
PC: [Disguise]
NPC:  Almost.
PC: [Lore]
NPC:  Well, ok then.

In the above scenario, only a character with high Lore and Disguise gets X.  That's a pretty specific build.  As opposed to:

NPC:  Huh?
PC:  Gimme X.
NPC:  Neg.
PC: [Disguise]
NPC:  Almost.
PC: [Lore] OR [Streetwise]
NPC:  Well, ok then.

Now the options encompass a character build with high Disguise and high Lore or high Streetwise, which is more likely than the first example.

I understand completely that you want to make options somewhat narrow so as to provide different experiences for different characters, but with all the possible builds one could create in AoD, perhaps using more than one check in at least some circumstances would improve a players options without it becoming a "complete every quest with a single char" scenario.  Naturally, there are some situations which will require a very specific build, because they are obstacles intended to be surmounted only with difficulty.  This also reduces some strain on you (the devs), because you no longer need to make quests that are available to every possible character build combination.

How would you say the majority of dialog trees laid out so far?

-W


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on February 15, 2008, 06:33:14 pm
Fallout 2 had those kinds of checks. They were nice, even if they all ran under the hood, and were very few. I remember two that checked your intelligence or your charisma, although charisma would have to be higher if the intelligence check failed. In this specific situation, I think the streewise check would need to be higher...


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: sqeecoo on February 16, 2008, 10:52:08 am
Hi!

I'd like to give some general feedback on recent events :)

First of all, I think this "let's play" thing is great; it gives a lot of insight into the game, helps you get some feedback, and shows just how willing you are to take that feedback seriously and make improvements. Congratulations.

I think two important points were made in this thread. First, there has to be a clear difference between actions, spoken text and gameplay information in the game. I have nothing to add to the excellent suggestions made for achieving this.

Second, the consequences of a choice should not be surprising unless that is intended. The second  option in the dialogue with the guard should make clear that you will be leaving and abandoning the loot in the chest. However, I don't think adding more options is needed. An infinite amount of options in unfeasible and can obstruct the game-flow. I prefer fewer interesting and well-developed options. Other than in crucial dialogues, there is no need for more than 2-3 options.

And now a comment on the combat video, and the graphics and interface in general. It's absolutely brilliant! Those graphics are some of the best I have ever seen, on par with FO and PST. Mind you, I don't judge graphics by detail, polygon count, and level of bloom, but by how well they are suited to the game, by art direction, and by how much they add to the atmosphere. In fact, the graphics are almost too good - the guy who covered his face when hit in the head was very impressive, and that level of detail was almost out of place in a game of this type. Great overall, and I think no further improvements are needed in what you have shown so far.

However, you desperately need some combat sounds. Any sounds what so ever. Please.

All in all, congratulations to the team, keep up the good work, and don't hurry - as much as I'd like to play this game NOW, take your time to polish it - polish is what makes a product (of any kind) great, the original creation almost always needs improvement, even if it's great to start with.

Cheers!



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: erbgor on February 16, 2008, 12:15:31 pm
And now a comment on the combat video, and the graphics and interface in general. It's absolutely brilliant! Those graphics are some of the best I have ever seen, on par with FO and PST. Mind you, I don't judge graphics by detail, polygon count, and level of bloom, but by how well they are suited to the game, by art direction, and by how much they add to the atmosphere.


That's how I think about "good" graphics too. The game looks and "feels" great.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on February 16, 2008, 12:36:56 pm
First of all, I think this "let's play" thing is great; it gives a lot of insight into the game, helps you get some feedback, and shows just how willing you are to take that feedback seriously and make improvements. Congratulations.
Thanks.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on February 20, 2008, 09:35:40 pm
Sorry, guys. I'm overloaded at work, so I didn't have any time to spend here.

Anyway, I'm afraid I have some bad news. While we were waiting, inflation wiped out Titus' savings, reducing his hard earned 462 imperials bucks to 46. All store prices were adjusted and that's what triggered the inflation. Oh well...

So we hit the merchants guild, sold some junk and bought a dagger. The merchant tried to talk Titus into buying some really awesome weapons of ultimate asskicking, but I don't think Titis can afford designers' "made in Italy" merchandise yet.

Next step - the loremaster dude!

[attachment deleted to save space]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on February 20, 2008, 09:36:55 pm
More.

Edit: Here is a full shot of the guild. I don't think I posted that before.

[attachment deleted to save space]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Mehler on February 20, 2008, 10:32:18 pm
I like the little details like the merchant putting hands together (AoD 24). The guild looks awesome, by the way.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on February 20, 2008, 11:00:25 pm
Very cool. Why were the store prices adjusted? I really like the shots of the merchant's guild (and the merchant). Why does the merchant know our name, by the way? Did you skip a couple of dialog screens in which you introduced us to him? Oh, and I'm pretty sure that "only a fool will consider buying such a sword" should be "only a fool would consider buying such a sword", but it would be good to get a third opinion.

(Love the quotation marks. :))


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Gareth on February 21, 2008, 02:59:19 am
Really, REALLY dig those guild shots, your intereriors are looking fantastic. Great job guys!


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on February 21, 2008, 07:39:00 am
Very cool. Why were the store prices adjusted?
I prefer smaller numbers.

Quote
Why does the merchant know our name, by the way?
It's a small town. We didn't want to go with the "hi there, I'm a stranger!" routine. That's one of the reasons why we have the backgrounds.

Quote
Oh, and I'm pretty sure that "only a fool will consider buying such a sword" should be "only a fool would consider buying such a sword", but it would be good to get a third opinion.
I'm pretty sure you're right.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: GhanBuriGhan on February 21, 2008, 03:03:14 pm
Looks all good to me, except one thing. Is it possible to give the NPC's a slighlty more "default relaxed posture? They seem unnaturally stiff. Weight shifted a tiny bit to one foot, arms less straigth, etc.? The merchant looks much better in the last shot where he shows the hand gesture.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: sqeecoo on February 21, 2008, 06:17:56 pm
Very cool. Why were the store prices adjusted?
I prefer smaller numbers.

Great! Me too.
Quote
Why does the merchant know our name, by the way?
It's a small town. We didn't want to go with the "hi there, I'm a stranger!" routine. That's one of the reasons why we have the backgrounds.


Wow! This is new! And I like it! Nice touch. What if you pick the "stranger" background?

EDIT: GhanBuriGhan is not wrong about the stiffness, but I think the issue is very, very minor. I'd prefer you work on weeding out grammatical errors like the will/would thing instead.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: TheLostOne on February 21, 2008, 07:25:45 pm
How small a town?  In a town where people recognize most others by face and name it would seem a bit odd to have an assassin's guild don't you think? 

Unless it's not really THAT small and you're a regular at this shop.  Is it dependant on your background what different people know your name?  If that's what you're implying then cool!


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: inhuman on February 21, 2008, 07:25:59 pm
Do you have a looping "standing still" animation? Here's a little suggestion: keep loop animation on during dialogue. Might also help with the stiff looks.

edit: I believe VD has mentioned that the assassins' guild is a legitimate business, so that might be your answer.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Frosty on February 21, 2008, 07:46:47 pm
I grew up in a towen of about 2000. The busnus oweners the township console the cop and the fire deparment all knew each outher. But nobody knew the names of the folks who just work on the frams or in the packing plants


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on February 21, 2008, 08:29:42 pm
I grew up in a towen of about 2000.

Yeah, same here. I definitely don't know the names of more than a hundred people or so though (except for those I went to school with). On the other hand, this isn't something I care much about . . .  it just looked odd, so I thought I would ask. Is this done in other games? I don't recall ever noticing it before.

Also, does that mean people will no longer know your name once you go to a different city? Or if you have no background?

Finally, how does this make sense for the grifter background? If everyone in town knows you well enough that they know your face and name, how can a grifter possibly accomplish anything?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: star on February 21, 2008, 09:19:41 pm
guys, you overcomplicate things again. the shopkeeper knows your name and thats perfectly fine. i want this game to be out this year, ok please?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on February 21, 2008, 09:30:43 pm
guys, you overcomplicate things again. the shopkeeper knows your name and thats perfectly fine. i want this game to be out this year, ok please?

For the last time, man, this kind of thing occupies our time, but doesn't slow down development of AoD. Vince has already said that he's only going to be posting updates once a week; us discussing this will not hinder that in any way. Even if Vince himself gets into the conversation -- how long does it take to write a forum post, two minutes? In any case, there's a good deal of modeling and texturing work left to do, which is totally unaffected even in theory by this kind of suggestion, so I really don't understand what you're complaining about. What would be the point of any of this if we weren't posting thoughts and suggestions?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: star on February 21, 2008, 09:55:18 pm
Uhm, i don't know, maybe post some more relevant thoughts? I mean they certainly arn't going to implement a system that keeps track of which NPC's know your name and changes the dialogue accordingly. An easy and clean solution like the one they did (backgrounds and people know you) is enough here, because pretty much no one will care or even notice that the shopkeeper just mentioned your name. And even if some will, there's already a perfectly good explanation for all this. So what the hell is so important about this topic that you propose discussing it for another 2 or 3 pages, my dear friend?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on February 21, 2008, 10:25:53 pm
Uhm, i don't know, maybe post some more relevant thoughts?

Indeed. I should have known I was posting something irrelevant . . . if only I had posted a complaint about other posters on the forum, rather than a comment on dialogue from one of the screens Vince just posted. Sometimes I just don't think.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: TheLostOne on February 22, 2008, 08:59:55 am
Uhm, i don't know, maybe post some more relevant thoughts? I mean they certainly arn't going to implement a system that keeps track of which NPC's know your name and changes the dialogue accordingly. An easy and clean solution like the one they did (backgrounds and people know you) is enough here, because pretty much no one will care or even notice that the shopkeeper just mentioned your name. And even if some will, there's already a perfectly good explanation for all this. So what the hell is so important about this topic that you propose discussing it for another 2 or 3 pages, my dear friend?

You're right.  Because no game ever changes a character's dialogue script from the first time you talk to the second.  The amount of work required to do that would BOGGLE THE MIND.

Edit: and what Cardtrick said.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on February 22, 2008, 10:06:47 am
How small a town?  In a town where people recognize most others by face and name it would seem a bit odd to have an assassin's guild don't you think? 
Well, take Hells Angels, for example. They operate openly. They even opened a clubhouse in my area. Everyone knows that they up to no good (from drug trafficking to killing (a bunch of Bandidos' bikers ended up dead, which was called the biggest mass slaying in modern Canadian history)), yet there they are.

Assassins handle disputes and conflicts. Many would agree that assassinating a military leader and stopping a war is a much better option that fighting that war and losing thousands of lives on both sides.

Quote
Unless it's not really THAT small and you're a regular at this shop....
It's a role-playing game. OF COURSE you are a regular at that shop. lol

Quote
Is it dependant on your background what different people know your name?  If that's what you're implying then cool!
Yes.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on February 22, 2008, 10:26:41 am
Also, does that mean people will no longer know your name once you go to a different city?

Yep. Except for your guild.

Quote
Or if you have no background?

No background = nobody knows you. You are a stranger. In different cities

Quote
Finally, how does this make sense for the grifter background? If everyone in town knows you well enough that they know your face and name, how can a grifter possibly accomplish anything?

Not everyone. A few people.

Joseph "Yellow Kid" Weil, one of the most famous grifters, operated in Chicago and died when he was 100. He was well known. Here is a good article:
http://kennethsuskin.blogspot.com/2007/12/interesting-people-yellow-kid-weil.html

"The most gullible of all were bankers and lawyers," Weil reminisced, because "they felt so secure in their knowledge that they didn't think anyone would dare sell them a bill of goods."


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Scott on February 22, 2008, 10:31:09 am
I like the images, except for the stripes on the pillars.  If they're supposed to be striped, they're fine, but if the stripes are supposed to represent shadows they need to be lightened up a bit.

One thing that that terrible mess of a game Lionheart did right was having NPC's gesture when they talk.  They did it quite convincingly too.  Having 10 or 12 different generic gestures [ie. arms crossed, pointing, nodding, shaking fist] and tagging dialogues lines with said gestures might look good.  Not every line would need to have a gesture of course, or it would look like you were dealing with a junkie.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Sleet on February 22, 2008, 10:32:40 am
Where else do you get all those bolts for your crossbow? The merchant has all those cool weapons you like to drool over too. Course you want to get friendly with him - he may give you a deal.
 ;)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: star on February 22, 2008, 11:58:13 am
Indeed. I should have known I was posting something irrelevant . . . if only I had posted a complaint about other posters on the forum, rather than a comment on dialogue from one of the screens Vince just posted. Sometimes I just don't think.


Yeah, well, after reading your post where you raised so many points, like what happens if you go to another town, will the people there know my name? What happens if i choose no background, will no one know me? What happens if i choose the grifter background, isn't that illogical, how can i be a grifter if everyone knows my name? I live in a small town, but no one there knows my name, etc etc.. After reading that i just felt the urgent need to tell you that maybe you're getting stuck into irrelevant details. Sorry if that was too offensive for you or you felt like i was just complaining, because i generally like your posts and ideas very much.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Helian on February 22, 2008, 04:21:36 pm
I'd like to have "makes an emphasis on" changed to "places an emphasis on", but that's just personal preference, I guess.
(I know that goes against my own, earlier stated policy of no-nitpicking, but considering the recent change-of-pace in this thread, I changed my mind as well)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on February 29, 2008, 07:09:58 pm
So, we've finally reached Feng, the local loremaster. You can see all lines now, but I doubt that you'll see that many in the actual game. Anyway, you can pick one option.



[attachment deleted to save space]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Mephisto on February 29, 2008, 10:26:58 pm
We have 20 in trading, 22 in persuasion and 30 in streetwise. Lets choose that streetwise as it is our highest skill.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: zhirzzh on March 01, 2008, 12:26:44 am
Streetwise. If we ever need to deal with Feng again the persuade option will screw us over, and we can still try to haggle after he gives us a reasonable price.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Pastel on March 01, 2008, 02:01:38 am
Streetwise, obviously. Persuasion would mean pissing him off, and trading or paying 50, sucking his dick. We want to do neither.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Special_Can on March 01, 2008, 02:16:46 am
We have 20 in trading, 22 in persuasion and 30 in streetwise. Lets choose that streetwise as it is our highest skill.

 Agreed.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on March 01, 2008, 05:26:37 am
Why wouldn' we see that many lines in the game? :(


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: jeansberg on March 01, 2008, 06:02:21 am
Because we might not have that many points in streetwise, persuasion and trading? :)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on March 01, 2008, 06:44:57 am
Because we might not have that many points in streetwise, persuasion and trading? :)
Oh, yeah, sure. For a moment there I was like "why!?!?!" :P ehhe, sorry.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Pastel on March 01, 2008, 07:53:21 am
Because we might not have that many points in streetwise, persuasion and trading? :)
Titus doesn't have mindblowing values in those either. Likely, they just dumbed down the skill checks for the LP, or haven't raised them properly yet.
By the way, VD, how is starting Streetwise calculated? IMO it should depend on PER and INT, but currently it seems to be either 3*INT+CHA or 2*PER+2*CHA. Why would streetwise depend on Charisma at all?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 01, 2008, 09:27:40 am
Why wouldn' we see that many lines in the game? :(
Min requirements (to see the lines) are 25. If you are playing a "fighter", you'll have only two options: pay or "find another way". You'll also be under the impression that the scroll is a "valuable artefact".

We dropped the requirements for the LP thread to show our game design.

By the way, VD, how is starting Streetwise calculated? IMO it should depend on PER and INT, but currently it seems to be either 3*INT+CHA or 2*PER+2*CHA. Why would streetwise depend on Charisma at all?
Now that you mentioned it, I'm surprised myself. We'll change it.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Mehler on March 01, 2008, 10:23:16 am
Streetwise is the most interesting option, imo. I was disapointed when I read the valuable artifact line as it's a typical cliche, but if Feng lied to get more money and you can call his bullshit, that's just awesome. That's something you don't see a lot in games.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Dr.Strangelove on March 01, 2008, 12:39:32 pm
Streetwise. It's the best skill and seems to leave more options open.

About Loremaster's outfit: imo, it doesn't seem appropriate neither for a scholar nor for an explorer, which Loremasters are supposed to be. It's not practical and lacks sobriety. It looks like the outfit of Fulliautomatix, the blacksmith, only much kinkier.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recurring_characters_in_Asterix#Fulliautomatix (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recurring_characters_in_Asterix#Fulliautomatix)
Are you sure you want to keep it as is?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 01, 2008, 01:33:33 pm
No. It was a good idea (concept art) that simply didn't work in the end. We are considering different options here, but if anyone has any ideas, now is the time to share them.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Pastel on March 01, 2008, 02:04:23 pm
I've always imagined them looking like that guy in my avatar, perhaps with less fancy clothes.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Brother None on March 01, 2008, 02:28:37 pm
No. It was a good idea (concept art) that simply didn't work in the end. We are considering different options here, but if anyone has any ideas, now is the time to share them.


D&D (http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/EPIC_Gallery/Gallery1/44210_C1_loremaster.jpg)!


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 01, 2008, 02:40:57 pm
Oy...


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on March 01, 2008, 07:37:45 pm
Awesome dialogue. Obviously streetwise is the way to go. I'm with the "it's so freaking awesome that your skills allow you to call out people trying to scam you, never mind how cool it is that people are trying to scam you in the first place" crowd, by the way.






And hey, guess what? I have a concern!

In the second screenshot, you're using the past tense in your description of Feng -- "Feng's exact age was undeterminable", etc. This strikes me as awkward. I've seen this particular description before, in a screenshot of the journal, and it looks good having it in the past tense there, where it's a record of your impressions of him when you met him in the past. But now, when you're meeting him for the first time, it looks very strange to me for it to be in the past tense.

This is even worse because it's the first time you've used the past tense. Everything else in the descriptions has been presented in the present tense. For example, check out the screens in the post where you show us climbing into Gracius' window (http://www.irontowerstudio.com/forum/index.php?topic=149.msg4080#msg4080). You've got to be consistent, or it's jarring. It's like when you read bad amateur fiction (by a middle school kid or a fan fiction author or something) and you have them switching from first to third person and past to present  to future tense all the damn time -- it's awful, and virtually unreadable. This isn't as offensive because there's gameplay in between dialogues so you simply don't notice the switch as much, but it's the same in principle.

I really think you need to stick with either past tense or present tense in all dialog descriptions. Of the two, I think present works much better in a game. If it's not too much extra work, then what would be even better is for the dialog descriptions to be in present tense, but the transcripts in your journal to be in the past tense -- that makes the most sense.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 02, 2008, 11:48:04 am
Awesome dialogue.
Many thanks.

Quote
I'm with the "it's so freaking awesome that your skills allow you to call out people trying to scam you, never mind how cool it is that people are trying to scam you in the first place" crowd, by the way.
It's more realistic and interesting than friendly people going out of their way to help you.

Playing the game with different characters will often show something you experienced from a different angle. In the loremaster's vignette:

Feng:
"Did you finish translating that scroll? Nevermind, I have a better job for you. Someone at the inn has a trinket they want me to look at. As my apprentice, why don't you handle it? I'm sure it's something worthless anyway. Just remember what I taught you: take a good look, show some excitement - as if your rich uncle just died - then say "It's a very valuable artifact that's worth a lot to the right collector. You were wise to bring it to us to learn its true value." Wait for the words to sink in and then ask for fifty coins to research it further."

Quote
I have a concern! ... In the second screenshot, you're using the past tense in your description .... I really think you need to stick with either past tense or present tense in all dialog descriptions. Of the two, I think present works much better in a game.
Ok.



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Fritharik on March 02, 2008, 08:00:46 pm
Quote
"...never mind how cool it is that people are trying to scam you in the first place" crowd, by the way.
I don't agree with that, it pops up often enough in RPGs, but usually it isn't handled nearly this well for a number of reasons. It is plausible for one, not something blindingly obvious as is so often the case in games. I can see players being fooled on this one, even though there is enough subtext surrounding the conversation that it isn't unfair. Calling him out on it, with the right stats, is the really nice feature; often games relegate players to a very specific fate, such as forcing them to go along with an obvious scam. But that is something you apparently always strive to avoid with AoD, Vince.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Dr.Strangelove on March 02, 2008, 09:40:11 pm
Quote
I'm with the "it's so freaking awesome that your skills allow you to call out people trying to scam you, never mind how cool it is that people are trying to scam you in the first place" crowd, by the way.

It's more realistic and interesting than friendly people going out of their way to help you.

Playing the game with different characters will often show something you experienced from a different angle. In the loremaster's vignette:

Feng:
"Did you finish translating that scroll? Nevermind, I have a better job for you. Someone at the inn has a trinket they want me to look at. As my apprentice, why don't you handle it? I'm sure it's something worthless anyway. Just remember what I taught you: take a good look, show some excitement - as if your rich uncle just died - then say "It's a very valuable artifact that's worth a lot to the right collector. You were wise to bring it to us to learn its true value." Wait for the words to sink in and then ask for fifty coins to research it further."

These are reasons to love this game. I already do. Different people with different perspectives thrown by circumstances in a contest where their actions may have significant impact in the world around them(no chosen-one bullshit). A world where deceit and manipulation have their proper role of advancing one's interests, where demons don't have horns and fools don't have bells hanging from their heads. As realistic as you can get! Anybody missing rag-doll physics?

About Loremaster's outfit: Since they are explores and the game world is a desert, the most fitting clothes should be(or inspired by) those worn by desert people. Bedouin and Tuareg come to my mind. I mean large comfortable pants, shirts, maybe robes, various belts even the headpieces as long as they are not too ethnic or folkloric. It may be tough to design, though. Some pics:
http://www.photographersdirect.com/buyers/stockphoto.asp?imageid=1068625
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/images/0238713-Bedouin-Posing.JPG
http://www.maduncan.com/images/Early-Morning-Hunt.jpg
http://www.maduncan.com/images/Bedouin-and-his-dog.jpg
http://www.ethnicdenim.com/fashion-blog/wp-content/uploads/2006/05/bedouin2.jpg headpiece
http://photos.igougo.com/images/p243501-Petra-Bedouin_Live_Music.jpg the man on the left for his accessories
http://www.lifeintheholyland.com/images/hv/186_A_bedouin_of_the_Hauran.jpg
http://www.arabian-horses-legacy.com/image-files/bedouins1.jpg

None of these is satisfying as is, but they might help as a source of inspiration.

The outfit in Brother None's pic seems fitting and functional but it can convince any annoying kid to eat his soup by its sheer ugliness!

     


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 02, 2008, 09:47:57 pm
Good idea. We'll give it a try. Thanks.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on March 02, 2008, 10:00:47 pm
I'm not sure I like the full-on dishdasha/thobe look for the loremaster. I do think I like the headpiece. What about some bastard child of British khaki desert uniforms and traditional dishdasha headgear. That is, an outfit sort of like in the first picture below but with headgear like in the second one (and yes, that is Michael Jackson), and with more pouches and scroll cases. Because nothing says loremaster to me like pouches.

EDIT: To be more explicit, here are the things I like about the British uniform: the goofy long shorts, the oversized belt, the khaki coloring, the baggy shirt, the rolled sleeves. I don't think the collar, socks, or boots make sense for AoD for obvious reasons. I like the dishdasha headpiece a lot, but I would prefer it to be colored khaki to match the rest of the outfit. I think this makes more sensethan a full-on white dishdasha, given that loremasters will presumably be traveling by foot, requiring lots of mobility, and hiding in the desert, requiring desert coloration -- much like the British footsoldiers and unlike the Arab nomads.

[attachment deleted to save space]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Fritharik on March 03, 2008, 01:56:10 am
I was flipping through Osprey's series on Roman military clothing on this point, and I came up with a few things. Basically, I came from the same angle as Strangelove, explorers and clothing fit for heavy traveling. The most obvious aspect of this look, at least in concern to the Roman military, is the cloak. But a simple cover-all is relatively boring, so I went through and picked out interesting cloak designs and clothing that looks traveling appropriate, for possible inspiration for your guys Vince.

For the "Policing the Greek East" set, I am primarily thinking of the Marine, 1; which you can also see is based on a tombstone design in the next image. A pretty rough design, though visually cut out for heavy traveling.

In the "Horsemen of Luxor" set, I am thinking of the Officer, 1; similar to the Great Hunt mosaic image below it. This is a more well-to-do design, based on how you want to present the Loremaster.

And in the "Outposts of the Empire" set, I am putting forward the Auxiliary Caesarea, 1, and the Auxiliary Centurion, 3. Interestingly, we are getting close to Strangelove's idea here, with clothing for a hot climate, though this is a less native approach. I particularly like the Auxiliary Centurian's costume, which I think is very interesting visually with its different elements.

The last image is simply of a relief of a legionary wearing a cloak.

[attachment deleted to save space]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on March 03, 2008, 03:23:42 am
Quote
"...never mind how cool it is that people are trying to scam you in the first place" crowd, by the way.
I don't agree with that, it pops up often enough in RPGs, but usually it isn't handled nearly this well for a number of reasons. It is plausible for one, not something blindingly obvious as is so often the case in games. I can see players being fooled on this one, even though there is enough subtext surrounding the conversation that it isn't unfair. Calling him out on it, with the right stats, is the really nice feature; often games relegate players to a very specific fate, such as forcing them to go along with an obvious scam. But that is something you apparently always strive to avoid with AoD, Vince.
I for one fell for it... Only before I read the reply line, of course :P


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on March 03, 2008, 04:29:29 am
Great contribution, Fritharik. My preference is for costume 3 from the "Outposts" set, but with the coloring of costume 1 from the same set. I also really like the last relief image of the legionary with cloak.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Ander Vinz on March 03, 2008, 05:21:02 am
This is what loremaster should look like:

[attachment deleted to save space]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Aequitas on March 04, 2008, 02:27:12 am
First off, I really appreciate this "Let's play..." post.  It was quite informative, amusing in parts (I will have a hard time trying to eat corn on the cob with a straight face for a while yet), but most of all, it was refreshing to see a developer not only interacting with the community, but actively asking and acting upon advice from the community.  The only thing even vaguely close to this interaction that I've come across is with Stardock.

I'll revert to my normal stalking now, but I really just wanted to thank you "Vince" and the rest of the Iron Tower team for what you guys are doing, and the effort you're putting into this.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on March 04, 2008, 02:43:00 am
my normal stalking

Whoah . . . that's so much more hardcore than the simple lurking we're used to.  :D


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Dr.Strangelove on March 04, 2008, 10:47:28 am
Fritharik's idea is great, the cloak is appropriate and important.I especially like outfits 1, 3 of both greekeast and outpost pics, the marine too. These are very traveler-like and have and have less cultural connotations than my idea, which is good. I still think that a Berber influenced look might be good to add variety to Loremasters but might be more appropriate for caravans and traders traveling through the desert.
Imo, white thawbs and black agar(cord of the Arab headdress) should be avoided, because they are very reminiscent of modern Arabs. Various keffiyeh, cloaks and pants(as in my pics) would be ok because of their desert traveler feel.
I think shorts and Indy are too modern for the game's setting.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Aequitas on March 04, 2008, 11:01:00 am
my normal stalking

Whoah . . . that's so much more hardcore than the simple lurking we're used to.  :D

 >:D  If it softens it at all, I posted that at ~2:40AM after having read all 46 pages straight through.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 07, 2008, 08:15:08 pm
Let's continue:

Successfully passing the streetwise check takes you backstage and introduces a very interesting - in my opinion, of course - design element. It successfully alters your character's perception of what's going on. In one playthrough you are led to believe that you have a great artefact. Later on you take it to lord Antidas where master Feng will explain the awesomeness of the artefact and will suggest that perhaps you've been chosen by fate. If you didn't have the chat (attached below) you'll believe that and play the game without realizing that you are being manipulated. If you did, you will understand what's going on and why.

We use that a lot in AoD. Anyway...

[attachment deleted to save space]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 07, 2008, 08:18:02 pm
The last one.

[attachment deleted to save space]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: axedice on March 07, 2008, 08:46:20 pm
Quote
Don't think too hard. You'll get a headache.

I especially liked the way he changed our mind by mocking us :) A little but nice detail.
This might come as a shock, but I say we go see this Lord Antidas now.

Oh and should't it be "Lord Antidas" in the text rather than "lord Antidas" ?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 07, 2008, 08:51:18 pm
Quite possibly.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on March 08, 2008, 12:38:34 am
Loved it; awesome dialogs. Moar! I love the way the dialog looks with the quotes, too; this game is reminding me a lot more of PS:T than I expected it to. Honestly, I was expecting great choices/consequences and fun Fallout-esque gameplay, but I'm continually impressed by the quality of the writing, which I think seems to surpass Fallout's.

Minor nitpick: you spelled "artifact" as "artefact." A spellchecker probably wouldn't have picked that up, and it's not technically wrong, but it is a British spelling. I wouldn't use it unless you're going all-British with your spelling (civilisation rather than civilization, etc.).


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Tuomas on March 08, 2008, 03:36:17 am
Honestly, I was expecting great choices/consequences and fun Fallout-esque gameplay, but I'm continually impressed by the quality of the writing, which I think seems to surpass Fallout's.
Agreed. You're doing a GREAT job, Vince. :)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Starwars on March 08, 2008, 04:21:34 am
Really nice Vince. Just that short snippet on that noone truly know what happened made me want to see more.

Great stuff, can't wait to play this.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 08, 2008, 08:08:56 am
Loved it; awesome dialogs. Moar! I love the way the dialog looks with the quotes, too...
Yep. Definitely looks better than before. You were right.

Quote
...this game is reminding me a lot more of PS:T than I expected it to. Honestly, I was expecting great choices/consequences and fun Fallout-esque gameplay, but I'm continually impressed by the quality of the writing, which I think seems to surpass Fallout's.
Thanks.

Quote
Minor nitpick: you spelled "artifact" as "artefact." A spellchecker probably wouldn't have picked that up, and it's not technically wrong, but it is a British spelling. I wouldn't use it unless you're going all-British with your spelling (civilisation rather than civilization, etc.).
The dictionary assured me that both are correct and that artefact is the original word, but that's probably because it is British. I'll fix it, thanks.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 08, 2008, 08:53:26 am
A question for everyone. If you choose the "let's find another way" option (link (http://www.irontowerstudio.com/forum/index.php?topic=149.msg6502#msg6502)), you can either intimidate Feng (he'll respond by calling in a guard who sits outside) or work something out. The latter will result in a quest to kill a rival loremaster (Cassius) invited by Antidas who's beginning to suspect that Feng is full of shit. Double-crossing Feng and taking Cassius to Lord Antidas will allow you to bypass Dellar's (Antidas' main enforcer and "gate" keeper) quests, will make Cassius a new loremaster and force Feng to flee (and eventually surface in Ganezzar).

So as you can see, while the quest is simple, its effects aren't. The quest is hidden in one of the dialogue branches and won't be offered unless you explore a very specific branch, which doesn't have tags and thus would probably be skipped by most people.

Is this a good idea or not? Should this quest be offered to all or remain as is? What are your thoughts on quests that aren't offered, but must be found in dialogue branches?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on March 08, 2008, 09:25:20 am
It's an awesome idea and it should remain exactly the way it is. Quests that must be found in dialog branches are great, especially if they make sense the way this seems to. I'm surprised you even felt the need to ask . . . in fact, I suspect this is a little bit of "fishing for compliments" under-handed bragging. ;) But hey, you're entitled.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 08, 2008, 09:46:24 am
Not really. Wasn't fishing for compliments. In fact I was even embarrassed to ask because the question smells of "God forbid the player will miss something because it wasn't shoved in his face" *philosophy*. However, it *is* very, very easy to miss this quest. If it was a minor "cute way to get something for free" quest, I wouldn't have even asked, obviously, but this quest affects a lot of things and gives you a solution to another quest, and as a designer I want to be sure that the quest has a fighting chance to be seen.

Edit: I'm just being honest here.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on March 08, 2008, 10:03:09 am
Yeah, I was pretty much kidding. Still, in a game with such an emphasis on replayability, I think quests that are a little tricky to find are ideal.

But if it's as important a quest as all that, then it may be best to have a second shot at picking it up or at least strong hints that it exists before turning it down the first time. Maybe upon ending your conversation with Feng the "normal" way, there's a stat/skill check. If your character looks like a good fighter, then just as you're turning to leave Feng will tell you to wait and then say that he has a job for someone as tough as you, if you're interested.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: star on March 08, 2008, 10:07:06 am
Well, maybe you should use the cassius quest or parts of it at a later point again, if the player skips the first chance to get it (it's really well hidden..). You obviously put a lot of work in that questline, so offering another chance to the player (where it makes sense) would be the best solution imho. This way you can add even more choices in dialogue without having to add more quests. ;)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 08, 2008, 11:13:11 am
Maybe upon ending your conversation with Feng the "normal" way, there's a stat/skill check. If your character looks like a good fighter, then just as you're turning to leave Feng will tell you to wait and then say that he has a job for someone as tough as you, if you're interested.
That makes sense.



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Pastel on March 08, 2008, 11:20:26 am
If Feng wants Cassius killed, why doesn't he simply use the assassin's guild? Asking the player to kill someone, without any assurance that the player won't double-cross him, would be out of character for the shrewd guy that Feng is supposed to be, right?
At least, he should try to figure out whether the player is a cold-blooded killer or not.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 08, 2008, 11:38:12 am
If Feng wants Cassius killed, why doesn't he simply use the assassin's guild?
It's cheaper and he's a greedy fuck. In other words, for the same reasons some people take their cars to shitty, little garage shops and not to dealerships or big repair chains.

Quote
Asking the player to kill someone, without any assurance that the player won't double-cross him, would be out of character for the shrewd guy that Feng is supposed to be, right?
What are his options? The assassins guild can double-cross him as easily since it's Antidas' town and acting against his interests isn't wise for the local guild.

Anyway, I'll tweak the text and post the screens when I have a chance.



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Dr.Strangelove on March 08, 2008, 11:44:57 am
Maybe this: After Feng asks for 25 gold, leave the two options as they are already. Only If the players chooses to think, and Feng gives the headache line, you might add again the "let's find another way" option (maybe with the player hinting in some way at his skills or affiliation). Thus, we give another chance the player (and Feng to skill-check the player) to see this possibility which is very fitting for assassins. Hey, we even get to role-play "thinking" this way!   


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on March 08, 2008, 12:53:55 pm
A question for everyone. If you choose the "let's find another way" option (link ([url]http://www.irontowerstudio.com/forum/index.php?topic=149.msg6502#msg6502[/url])), you can either intimidate Feng (he'll respond by calling in a guard who sits outside) or work something out. The latter will result in a quest to kill a rival loremaster (Cassius) invited by Antidas who's beginning to suspect that Feng is full of shit. Double-crossing Feng and taking Cassius to Lord Antidas will allow you to bypass Dellar's (Antidas' main enforcer and "gate" keeper) quests, will make Cassius a new loremaster and force Feng to flee (and eventually surface in Ganezzar).

So as you can see, while the quest is simple, its effects aren't. The quest is hidden in one of the dialogue branches and won't be offered unless you explore a very specific branch, which doesn't have tags and thus would probably be skipped by most people.

Is this a good idea or not? Should this quest be offered to all or remain as is? What are your thoughts on quests that aren't offered, but must be found in dialogue branches?

I think the less powerplay the better. The way I see it, the more role-play the player is tempted to make, even though if he's less likely to get rewards, the better. For example, at first glance, I don't think my typical character would want to sell the map, I'd rather keep it and see if it's of any use to me, so I'd choose to "think about it". Would that lead me anywhere? Would I be rewarded to follow my character's will? Because if not, then it breaks role-play, and I'd start choosing whatever is "best". Of course, I highly doubt it wouldn't lead me anywhere, and giving the player an all new questline by choosing an exquisite dialog thread is AWESOME to encourage him to follow his character's will. Then again, the whole game has to be designed according to that philosophy, but from what I've seen, I think that won't be a problem here.

Not really. Wasn't fishing for compliments. In fact I was even embarrassed to ask because the question smells of "God forbid the player will miss something because it wasn't shoved in his face" *philosophy*. However, it *is* very, very easy to miss this quest. If it was a minor "cute way to get something for free" quest, I wouldn't have even asked, obviously, but this quest affects a lot of things and gives you a solution to another quest, and as a designer I want to be sure that the quest has a fighting chance to be seen.

Edit: I'm just being honest here.

Well, it shouldn't be a problem at all if not doing that quest doesn't break the game for you. Because what happens most of the times with hidden quests is that finding them is the quest itself, and if we don't find them, then we can't finish the game, or a certain major questline. If the hidden quest is just a bonus, an extra, a sidequest, something that isn't needed in order to do other things, then it's no big problem, but if it is, then, well, I think you should make it obvious to the player that there's something to be accomplished, and that s/he must find the way how to.

If you know what I mean.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 08, 2008, 01:07:02 pm
For example, at first glance, I don't think my typical character would want to sell the map, I'd rather keep it and see if it's of any use to me, so I'd choose to "think about it". Would that lead me anywhere?
Well, you can finish the game without talking to any Noble House, but it will be difficult as you'll have no guidance whatsoever. Anyway, going to see Antidas doesn't force you to sell the map. You can talk to him, learn what you can and leave if that's what you desire.

Quote
Well, it shouldn't be a problem at all if not doing that quest doesn't break the game for you.
It doesn't.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Dr.Strangelove on March 08, 2008, 02:07:37 pm
What happens if you say "Tell me more." in pic AoD 32? Just more background information?
Also, I'm sorry to insist but what do you think about the idea on my last post(#704 (http://www.irontowerstudio.com/forum/index.php?topic=149.msg6759#msg6759), maybe you missed it)?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 08, 2008, 02:15:49 pm
What happens if you say "Tell me more." in pic AoD 32? Just more background information?

More detailed info if you are interested in what Feng knows and thinks. You have several topics to choose from (the war, the Qantari, the High Lords, and Thor-Agoth). Obviously, different people will tell you very different things.

Quote
Also, I'm sorry to insist but what do you think about the idea on my last post(#704 ([url]http://www.irontowerstudio.com/forum/index.php?topic=149.msg6759#msg6759[/url]), maybe you missed it)?

Same concern. After passing the skill check players will most likely proceed forward, so I doubt that the "I'll think about it" option will see a lot of action. So, instead of burying this quest in one rarely visited branch, we'll bury it in two rarely visited branches. See my point?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Dr.Strangelove on March 08, 2008, 02:57:30 pm
Thank you. What about adding the "let's find another way" option when he asks for the 25 gold AND after thinking? Adds 2 chances (3 chances total and almost in a raw), it's more visitable that way and people may chose it as to avoid giving any money to the old weasel. I think the option is not buried this way but neither shoved on the player's face. Or, to add to Cardtrick's thought, Feng, having more information than an ordinary NPC, might already know the player is an assassin( a fighter,a grifter,etc...) so he might take initiative based on the player's backround. 


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on March 08, 2008, 03:07:58 pm
I think it's a good idea in a game that's aimed at replayability. A second way to get it seems reasonable, if it's as interesting and substantial as it sounds. It probably makes most sense to have each way to access the path be different - that way different types of players/characters will have independent chances to pick it up, and things have a more varied feel.

cardtrick's suggestion seems fine.
I agree that Dr.Strangelove's isn't great, but I don't think it's necessarily bad to have two options both in rarely used dialogue branches: the problem here is that those branches are likely to be picked by the same players (being very similar), so having two chances isn't likely to raise the odds of finding the path significantly. If you hid such an option behind a rarely used hard-nosed-pragmatism line, and a similar option behind a rarely used whimsical-jocularity line, I wouldn't see it as a problem. So long as those lines would rarely be used by the same character/player type, you're still increasing the odds of finding the path.
I suppose there's little downside in leaving the "another way" line in there for longer though. It's reasonable that the PC might want to find another way even after a price reduction, and there's zero development cost in including the same option again. It doesn't fully address the main issue, and isn't that interesting - but it makes sense, and can only increase the odds of taking that path (if slightly).


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Dr.Strangelove on March 08, 2008, 04:26:05 pm
I just realised, reading galsiah's post, that my idea of repeating the "let's find another way" line thrice, works as an advertisement (or propaganda): repeat something enough and people will notice, buy or "buy" it. It's rather inelegant and cheesy but it increases the odds. I now think that skill-check or PC reputation may be better ways to handle this, having replayability in mind.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: GhanBuriGhan on March 09, 2008, 08:22:08 am
Since replayability is an important selling point for you, I think it is absolutely fine to have a lot of hidden things like that. It is what people (hopefully) will be excahngen on the messageboards, what will keep interest up. Overall you need a balance of easy to find and hard to find material, but I would make sure there are some things in the game that are so hard to find / activate / complete (and maybe even hard to reproduce, relying on multiple condidiotns) that they have a chance to become the subject of actual internet "treasure hunts", people trying to find those cool things too. Should be good for word of mouth.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 09, 2008, 11:23:59 am
... Should be good for word of mouth.
I've thought of that.

Anyway, I've followed cardtrick's suggestion and here is what it looks like. When you click one "ok, I'll go see Antidas now, etc" line, the dialogue mode doesn't end:

[attachment deleted to save space]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 09, 2008, 11:31:09 am
I don't think that would work though. Before it was hard to find, now it's in your face. We'd probably need to come up with something else (suggestions are welcome), but for now let's proceed. So, now you have 3 main options:

- do the first assassins guild's quest: kill the spies
- talk to Lord Antidas
- do Feng's quest: get rid of Cassius

Not to mention exploring and checking other guilds. So, what would Jesus do?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: jeansberg on March 09, 2008, 11:55:29 am
Get rid of Cassius. I love how being in a guild adds dialog options like that. :)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Pastel on March 09, 2008, 11:58:03 am
I don't think that would work though. Before it was hard to find, now it's in your face. We'd probably need to come up with something else (suggestions are welcome)
I think the best, and kinda obvious solution, is not to hit the player in the face with the "Another way" option, but rather give him a very good reason to pick it in the first place.
Raise the Streetwise option a bit. Raise the Persuasion option a lot (skill requirements I mean). Make the pre-negociation, and the post-negociation both prohibitive for a starting character.
So, unless you have Street, Pers, or a large amount of money (possibly by delaying visiting Feng until later), you will be faced with two options: "I'll come back later with the money", or "Maybe we could find another way?". Now, which option will 90% of players pick?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Nye on March 09, 2008, 12:05:09 pm
How is the '[Assassin]' check handled? Does it depend on your reputation with the guild or is it always an instant-success (of course only if you are a member)?

And is the first guild's quest the one you've already described elsewhere? If so, I suggest going for Cassius.

Anyway, so far so good :)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Jedi_Learner on March 09, 2008, 12:11:36 pm
You've gone into detail (http://www.irontowerstudio.com/forum/index.php?topic=55.msg1002#msg1002) before about what happens with the spies, so I'd properly like to see what happens with Cassius.

Neleos tells you that Gracius is "staying at the inn", Feng tells you that Cassius is "properly at the inn". I'm guessing that in Teron there is only one inn? Gracius and his guard died last night by your hands, and now you're off to do another murder in the same building? Would you really want to take your chances at this inn? lol


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 09, 2008, 12:28:02 pm
So, unless you have Street, Pers, or a large amount of money (possibly by delaying visiting Feng until later), you will be faced with two options: "I'll come back later with the money", or "Maybe we could find another way?". Now, which option will 90% of players pick?
Good point.

How is the '[Assassin]' check handled? Does it depend on your reputation with the guild or is it always an instant-success (of course only if you are a member)?
Your reputation with the guild. The difficulty depends on what you're trying to accomplish. In this particular example you only show your familiarity with the guild's price list, so it's a pretty much an instant-success dealio.  In some other cases you may have to go with a "fuck with me and you are fucking with the entire guild, asshole" angle, in which case you'd have to be a notable member to pull that off.

Neleos tells you that Gracius is "staying at the inn", Feng tells you that Cassius is "properly at the inn". I'm guessing that in Teron there is only one inn?
Yep. And if I'm not mistaken it says probably not properly.

Quote
Gracius and his guard died last night by your hands, and now you're off to do another murder in the same building? Would you really want to take your chances at this inn? lol
Well, death and murders won't shock anyone there. Not in a town with an assassins guild's branch. Anyway, let's wait and see what happens.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on March 09, 2008, 01:48:50 pm
I think it looks fine with my suggestion implemented, as above. However, my first thought (and first response) was to leave the quest as is, and I still think that's probably best. I like anything that adds replay value to the game.

On the other hand, if all you want to do is fine-tune this to make it less likely that almost everyone is going to see the alternate quest, then you could add a "bodycount" check. (That's what that reputation is called, right?) So Feng will only make his offer if the player has high combat skills and has killed at least 2 people up to this point. I think that even makes more sense, since if the player has been killing people we can assume he's starting to get a bit of a reputation, which may explain why Feng would approach this stranger.

I chose the number 2 because it rules out anyone who just kills the merchant or just kills the assassin during the vignette. This means the player will either have to have been so eager to start killing that he's gone and done some other bloody quest before seeking out Feng, or he'll have had to choose to kill the guard during the assassin quest, which will likely be fairly rare and difficult. If you think it's better, you could go with 3 or some other number.

Pastel's suggestion was sensible too, but I don't really like the idea of boosting the skillchecks so high that many players won't even see them and will have very few options. This is an early encounter, and I think it's good if many of the early encounters have lots of options and skillchecks to give players a good idea of what the game will be like and a chance to define their character early.

Quote from: Vince
How is the '[Assassin]' check handled? Does it depend on your reputation with the guild or is it always an instant-success (of course only if you are a member)?
Your reputation with the guild. The difficulty depends on what you're trying to accomplish. In this particular example you only show your familiarity with the guild's price list, so it's a pretty much an instant-success dealio.  In some other cases you may have to go with a "fuck with me and you are fucking with the entire guild, asshole" angle, in which case you'd have to be a notable member to pull that off.

I like this a lot.

Oh, and my vote is to talk to Lord Antidas. It's time for our character to meet some of the real powerbrokers in town, and we have no particular reason to like Feng -- after all, we already caught him trying to manipulate us once, and who knows whether he's trying that again with this Cassius job. So let's wait a bit on that, and talk to Antidas first; we may discover it's more to our benefit to work for the big man, instead.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 09, 2008, 02:00:44 pm
...then you could add a "bodycount" check.
Makes sense too.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: callehe on March 09, 2008, 02:23:05 pm
Agree with Cardtrick. Feng seems like a shifty fellow, no honor in working with him. Talk to Antidas.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on March 09, 2008, 03:20:13 pm
Your reputation with the guild. The difficulty depends on what you're trying to accomplish. In this particular example you only show your familiarity with the guild's price list, so it's a pretty much an instant-success dealio.  In some other cases you may have to go with a "fuck with me and you are fucking with the entire guild, asshole" angle, in which case you'd have to be a notable member to pull that off.
Would you? What about intimidation and bluff checks? Or something of the sorts... Will that be in?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Fosse on March 09, 2008, 03:42:01 pm
Does anyone think players might be more inclined to select the "Let's try another way" option if it doesn't start out by telling Feng we don't have any gold? 

I've considered it and I feel I might be more inclined to investigate that path if the player said something like, "I think any amount of money for this scrap is a little absurd, but you've piqued my interest.  Any other way we might pursue this?" 

I think the difference to me, subtle as it would be, is that I DO have enough cash and don't automatically see a reason to lie about it.  I've already proven my character doesn't get swindled so there's no reason Feng needs to think I'm broke.  Very subtle.  Maybe only 1% more players will find the quest path this way, but given the tone of the question and the replayability issue maybe that 1% is all you're looking for?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 09, 2008, 03:49:50 pm
Would you? What about intimidation and bluff checks? Or something of the sorts... Will that be in?
Intimidation is in, of course, but there is a difference between intimidating "some guy" and intimidating a powerful leader of a faction.

I've considered it and I feel I might be more inclined to investigate that path if the player said something like, "I think any amount of money for this scrap is a little absurd, but you've piqued my interest.  Any other way we might pursue this?" 
I like this.



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Pastel on March 09, 2008, 05:42:44 pm
Quote
Gracius and his guard died last night by your hands, and now you're off to do another murder in the same building? Would you really want to take your chances at this inn? lol
Well, death and murders won't shock anyone there. Not in a town with an assassins guild's branch. Anyway, let's wait and see what happens.
If it continues this way, hiring better guards will become more cost-effective than paying the cleaning bills.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Claw on March 09, 2008, 07:46:42 pm
But if it's as important a quest as all that, then it may be best to have a second shot at picking it up or at least strong hints that it exists before turning it down the first time.
What does "important" mean? I don't see it as necessary or even desireable to point something out to the player unless the designer wants the player to follow that path.

Maybe this: After Feng asks for 25 gold, leave the two options as they are already. Only If the players chooses to think, and Feng gives the headache line, you might add again the "let's find another way" option (maybe with the player hinting in some way at his skills or affiliation). Thus, we give another chance the player (and Feng to skill-check the player) to see this possibility which is very fitting for assassins. Hey, we even get to role-play "thinking" this way!
That's by far the best suggestion.

However, it *is* very, very easy to miss this quest.
Really? Because all the other options look like obvious "get on with it" ways to proceed. "Let's find another way" basically shouts "sidequest" at me. Besides, players would see less options anyway (see also my reply to Pastel), so the sidequest should be prominent enough to have a good chance at being spotted.


Same concern. After passing the skill check players will most likely proceed forward, so I doubt that the "I'll think about it" option will see a lot of action. So, instead of burying this quest in one rarely visited branch, we'll bury it in two rarely visited branches. See my point?
It still increases the potential exposure and thus chance of players visiting it without being in-your-face. Or as I am prone to saying: "What galsiah said."


So, unless you have Street, Pers, or a large amount of money (possibly by delaying visiting Feng until later), you will be faced with two options: "I'll come back later with the money", or "Maybe we could find another way?". Now, which option will 90% of players pick?
That sounds very much like railroading the player. The game is supposed to be about choices; reducing the player's options strikes me as counter-productive.
Besides, VD already stated that you only see all three options here because he decided to forgo the skill requirements for the purposes of this thread. Heck, according to the skill values someone posted recently, we'd only see the [streetwise] option besides giving Feng nearly all out money (subpar), saying "Later" (yeah, great choice), or choosing the coveted "Let's find another way" option. And since seeing the streetwise option doesn't guarantee success and it sounds a little offensive, to me "Let's find another way" almost looks like a no-brainer already.
Another character build might even be reduced to the two options you mention already, so I see no point in reducing the chance for making any option viable. I'd rather have some options as a rule, not as exception to the rule.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Lainestin on March 09, 2008, 08:00:39 pm
I like the idea of Feng asking you to take care of Cassius when you try to end dialog, but it only makes sense if you're an assassin, a mercenary, or have the reputation of a killer. Other backgrounds should have to take the "let's find another way" dialogue. I don't think the quest should be open to a knight at all, because it seems like an unneccessary risk for Feng to take. Why would he ask someone that might be loyal to Lord Antidas when he could just hire the Assassin's guild to take care of it? 


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Dr.Strangelove on March 09, 2008, 09:04:40 pm
I think Claw put things in the right perspective. Not many people would give money so easily to double-crossing liar Feng, without first trying other options.
I like the idea of Feng asking you to take care of Cassius when you try to end dialog, but it only makes sense if you're an assassin, a mercenary, or have the reputation of a killer... 
Taking care of doesn't automatically mean murder. The only casualty actually needed is Cassius's credibility. This is what people with other talents may achieve. I'm sure Vince has options ready for other backgrounds.
As for continuing the game, I vote for seeing Lord Antidas. It's the most logical option for understanding what's going around from the player's point of view. He is the most important person in town and may give information about Feng and Cassius. A player will decide many things according to what Antidas has to say.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 09, 2008, 09:08:17 pm
@ Lainestin:

Knight doesn't have to go through Feng at all. His vignette's goal is to bash some heads, remind everyone who runs the town, and recover the map. Then he takes it to Antidas.

@ Dr.Strangelove:

Yes, you don't have to kill Cassius to get rid of him.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Lainestin on March 09, 2008, 09:57:28 pm
Quote
Taking care of doesn't automatically mean murder. The only casualty actually needed is Cassius's credibility. This is what people with other talents may achieve. I'm sure Vince has options ready for other backgrounds.

True, but I still don't think it makes much sense for Feng to stop the player from leaving just to offer this job if the player's background is that of a merchant, a grifter, or a thief. He might be willing to let a person, with one of those backgrounds, get rid of Cassius in lieu of cash as payment for his help, but I don't think he would try and hire them otherwise.

Quote
Knight doesn't have to go through Feng at all. His vignette's goal is to bash some heads, remind everyone who runs the town, and recover the map. Then he takes it to Antidas.

Understood.

As for the game, I vote for seeing Lord Antidas.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Dr.Strangelove on March 10, 2008, 06:19:55 am
True, but I still don't think it makes much sense for Feng to stop the player from leaving just to offer this job if the player's background is that of a merchant, a grifter, or a thief. He might be willing to let a person, with one of those backgrounds, get rid of Cassius in lieu of cash as payment for his help, but I don't think he would try and hire them otherwise.
I don't like Feng stopping the player at the last moment before leaving, too, because he seems like treating a matter his career depends on as a petty errand he almost forgot about.
But, he's a cunning fellow, he surely knows ways to ruin a loremaster's reputation and he might hire anyone who could help him dealing with Cassius in any way he might think of. He has too fine a mind to think only of the obvious choice of murder. Being an intellectual he might find brutality and violence ham-fisted and sloppy, to be used as ultima ratio when more elegant ways are not feasible. He would be a suspect in the case of murder, after all.
Why wouldn't he hire a thief, who may steal or plant something as to ruin Cassius presentation to Antidas, a con-artist or a merchant, who might bribe someone of Cassius entourage? As a note, I think a grifter who takes Cassius place to ridicule him would be a lot of fun.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: MaximB on March 10, 2008, 07:04:20 am
First of all let me say that this thread is great ! I read most of the bible here and I think it was a good idea to make this thread and review some quests (although it is full of spoilers).

Reading the first quest and 20+ pages that follow I understand that it will be very hard to fix all the quests in this way or another as some "bugs" in that quests (forcing the player to do what he didn't intend to do, like running out of the scene when he got no indication of doing so with his choice) could very much be in many other quests as well.

I might have missed something but will any character you choose will have to recover the map first or is it only for the assassin ?
If you play a Merc, will your first quest be defending Gracius against the assassin ?
Are the quests given by your background or in some other way ?
I mean, a PC with no background will have less quests ?

P.S
I hope that when your company will grow bigger (by the huge success of AoD :D) you won't lose the connection with the community.
One thing that I favor is when the developers talk and listen to the community.
Sadly it only happens with indie developers or small companies.
 


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Scott on March 10, 2008, 09:38:32 am
I don't like Feng stopping the player at the last moment before leaving, too, because he seems like treating a matter his career depends on as a petty errand he almost forgot about.

I disagree on this point.  Bringing up a life-and-death matter as if it's of little consequence could be an oratorical strategy.  If you're about to negotiate a price for an assassination, the last thing you want to do is start weeping about how your life would be ruined by the competition and how you'll do absolutely anything to off this guy.  In addition, maybe Feng knows 10 different ways to deal with the new guy and just thought he'd toss one out while you were conveniently nearby.

I had another off-the-cuff thought:  why not drop the [skill check] from the dialogue lines altogether?  If the PC is offered the chance to threaten somebody, it's evident you'll be checking Intimidation, right?  What does it add to dialogue spelling out the different stat/profession checks?  Maybe this is something that's just included out of habit because every other RPG does it...


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Jedi_Learner on March 10, 2008, 10:13:37 am
Quote from: screeg
What does it add to dialogue spelling out the different stat/profession checks?

It looks pretty. :D


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Claw on March 10, 2008, 05:07:40 pm
What does it add to dialogue spelling out the different stat/profession checks?
It makes it perfectly clear what that option means.

Quote
Maybe this is something that's just included out of habit because every other RPG does it...
Are you kidding? Nothing done "just because" in this game. I wasn't aware that "every other RPG" does this, either.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on March 10, 2008, 05:13:14 pm
I like visible skillchecks.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Scott on March 10, 2008, 05:34:55 pm
I'm shocked that a crowd like this which is so dead against "handholding" wants to hang on to these signifiers.  I mean, if the dialogue is well written (which so far it obviously is), the little [] are unnecessary.  I think they're an unwelcome distraction.

A good question to ask of any feature is "What does it add?"  I don't think they add anything, except to remind everyone of the skills mechanic behind the scenes and make what you're doing less like a conversation and more like a series of die rolls.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on March 10, 2008, 05:54:07 pm
Quote
Maybe this is something that's just included out of habit because every other RPG does it...
Are you kidding? Nothing done "just because" in this game. I wasn't aware that "every other RPG" does this, either.
Actually, he may be right. It's something I thought about at one point and was going to ask here, but now that he talks about it, it really makes sense. Invisible skill checks are good to improve player interaction in dialogs, lift them to the point where combat stands, and its player interaction. Vince has talked about this, I don't know where. When people have a successful skill check, they tend to choose that option and not the other ones. By hiding the skill bound you give them the choice, and make them guess if you did pass the skill check and stuff...

Vince, is this something you'd consider? Hiding the skill checks?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Fosse on March 10, 2008, 07:56:29 pm
Does the appearance of [Intimidate] at the top of a line indicate that this skill will be checked for failure or success upon selection of this option, that a check of this skill was already successfully made, or an either/or combination of those two options?

I have given this some consideration and would like to see skill tags removed from dialogue, and instead see some text after a successful or failed attempt that makes it clear which skill was checked and, if possible, the degree to which I blew it or succeeded.

So:

1. "Some flowery text that obviously appeals to the NPC's vanity."
2. "Some thing tough sounding," while brandishing some weapon, "and a casual mention of friends."

instead of:

1. [Persuade] "Why bother reading this?"
2. [Intimidate] "You get the gist."

The moment the second screen pops up my brain will see the tags and bias me towards a decision based on what I know my skills to be.  In Fallout I would sometimes choose something that sounded like a skill check, even if I might fail it, because the dialogue was written so well that it's what I wanted my character to say, or avoid a skillcheck that I'd probably make because the text didn't jive with my character.  So I like the first option better.  I don't see why the dialogue choices shouldn't be clear enough to avoid tags.

But to provide the nice meta-game feedback, it'd be great after choosing a line with an (unmarked) intimidate check to see some text indicating that I not only passed my skill check, but was so awesome at it that I could have skated by with half the score.

to wit:

He's clearly taken aback by your words, and suddenly can't take his eyes off of the dagger tucked into your belt.  You get the impression a small girl shouting "boo" would have sent this coward into full retreat.  "Perhaps we can cut a deal," he stammers.

or:

Clearly, she's flattered by your words, but after a moment's hesitation seems to regain her composure.  "Very kind... but you still have to pay me.  I'm sorry, I'd change the rules if I could."

In the first case I get the same gameplay reward of making a critical strike to one hit kill somebody.  In the second I get the feedback that I'm charming, but I need to concentrate there a little more on this skill if I want to get by with it.

With simple [tags] there isn't feedback on whether you're skill was overkill or you would have no chance three levels from now.  Obviously, that feedback could be added after tags, but it can also be added without them and as they are themselves distracting and a touch handholding I'd just as soon see them go.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on March 10, 2008, 08:07:40 pm
There are clearly arguments on both sides. I think the best approach depends on context, and of course how well it's all handled.
As to the idea that Vince hasn't thought about it, the evidence suggests otherwise (http://www.rpgcodex.net/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=5904).


One quick point on this: many of the pro-removal arguments hinge on the idea that it will somehow be obvious which stats are being checked. In some cases this will be so, but in general it clearly isn't. In this thread and others there have been borderline cases where different stat checks are arguable for the same line. I'm not sure it's worth the loss in clarity to eliminate the indicators - since the checks used will frequently be somewhat contentious.
[[If the system used a continuous range of checks based on each situation, so that one case might involve a check of e.g. 0.3 * streetwise + 0.4 * persuasion + 0.2 * intelligence + 0.1 * etiquette, I'd be in favour of eliminating the indicators: in this case the player would be certain that relevant stats would always be at least somewhat useful. As it stands, this isn't the case, and it's usually (always??) a one-stat all-or-nothing check. This is neither entirely clear, intuitive, or realistic - so the stat indicators should stay.
If the system is to be entirely in the background, it needs to make intuitive sense in all cases - and will therefore need to involve combinations of many stats. If it's to remain clear-cut and simple, it needs to stay in the player's face]]

EDIT: I'd probably prefer the weighted-many-stat-checks without the indicators, but this would mean reworking every check in the game. Of course it wouldn't need to be a linear combination of stats - any reasonable function of multiple stats could be used, potentially taking into account complementary/redundant/counter-productive effects.
However, getting such a system to work reasonably, be balanced, and feel consistent, would be non-trivial.

That said, I don't think it's an absurd thing to consider (stat checks are a pretty isolated feature, so a system could be reworked without unwanted knock-on effects) - particularly given Vince's less-than-impressed attitude of 2004.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Fosse on March 10, 2008, 08:28:38 pm
Quote
EDIT: I'd probably prefer the weighted-many-stat-checks without the indicators

Me too.  That several skill checks could more elegantly be made without "moron tags," as Vince put it, was a point I originally thought of and then cleverly left out of my post.  But the idea you have for having such checks essentially be behind any dialogue choice that would call for a check is great.  Some choices would obviously be much more about streetwise than about persuasion, but if you're extremely gifted at the latter then you might get by anyhow.  It lets us craft our character's personality a bit more finely and gives us more routes to similar solutions. 


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Lainestin on March 10, 2008, 09:17:08 pm
If the dialogue is well written and makes sense, the tags are unnecessary. I'd prefer that the dialogue options didn't have the tags, but I don't mind it either way. Having the tags saves you from having to read what you're saying.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on March 10, 2008, 09:48:45 pm
If the dialogue is well written and makes sense, the tags are unnecessary.

That's a gross oversimplification. Dialog can be well written but still depend on context for meaning. In fact, good dialog will often be a little ambiguous, since people rarely explain all of their intentions and meanings out loud when a simple contextual clue or facial expression would do.

Consider the line "Let's find another way." In the dialog Vince posted, this was meant literally, as a request to find another way. However, consider these alternatives:

[Intimidate] "Let's find another way."  <-- In this case it's assumed that your body language is projecting a threat; you're trying to intimidate Feng.

[Persuasion] "Let's find another way." <-- Here you're wheedling, even begging, trying to play on his sympathies (remember you just told you don't have any money).

[Attack] "Let's find another way." <-- And here it's just flavor text, your witty quip as you launch your attack.

There are countless other examples in which it wouldn't make sense to add more to the dialog line, yet the meaning is ambiguous without something like a bracketed descriptor. Anyway, it's not like they're unrealistic or immersion-breaking or whatever -- just think of them as intentions. When you say something, you always know what you mean and how you're saying it; similarly, the player should know what his character means, how he's delivering his lines, and what skills he's trying to use.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Dr.Strangelove on March 10, 2008, 10:33:35 pm
I don't like Feng stopping the player at the last moment before leaving, too, because he seems like treating a matter his career depends on as a petty errand he almost forgot about.

I disagree on this point.  Bringing up a life-and-death matter as if it's of little consequence could be an oratorical strategy.  If you're about to negotiate a price for an assassination, the last thing you want to do is start weeping about how your life would be ruined by the competition and how you'll do absolutely anything to off this guy.  In addition, maybe Feng knows 10 different ways to deal with the new guy and just thought he'd toss one out while you were conveniently nearby.
That oratorical strategy would be naive and counter-productive. The effort of the employee is more often than not proportional to expectations of the employer. Trivializing an important issue leads to inadequate solutions. Anyway, Feng's dissimulation is not credible as what is in stake for him is obvious to the PC by the nature and object of the task assigned. He should be smarter. 
Quote
I had another off-the-cuff thought:  why not drop the [skill check] from the dialogue lines altogether?  If the PC is offered the chance to threaten somebody, it's evident you'll be checking Intimidation, right?  What does it add to dialogue spelling out the different stat/profession checks?  Maybe this is something that's just included out of habit because every other RPG does it...
I think Cardtrick has a point on this matter. Dropping the tags may lead to less clarity and convoluted dialog: too much descriptive gibberish might be needed in lieu of the tagged "intentions"(as Cardtrick elegantly defined them). I'm not saying to keep tags at all costs, but sometimes "better" is the enemy of "good".


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on March 10, 2008, 10:48:21 pm
I made a new thread on this issue (http://www.irontowerstudio.com/forum/index.php?topic=245.msg6862#msg6862). Please take it outside :).

[[[quick note here:
@cardtrick - agreed in general, but I think there are ways to illustrate intention more elegantly where it's not clear; e.g. the inner-voice descriptions I proposed for the [truth]/[lie] indicators earlier. Bear in mind that clarity is only one issue here - the other is the encouragement to metagame based on the reasonable assumption that skill-check lines are often superior. This isn't an issue with the [truth]/[lie] indicators, so I'd say that it's a more reasonable goal to want to eliminate a [Persuasion] than to eliminate a [truth]. [Persuasion]-as-indication-of-PC-intention is fine; [Persuasion]-as-indication-that-the-only-skill-to-be-used-now-is-Persuasion sucks (to an extent).]]]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Jedi_Learner on March 11, 2008, 09:42:12 am
The game sure has changed (http://img15.imageshack.us/img15/193/screenshot024000015hg.jpg). lol


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Oscar on March 11, 2008, 09:59:49 am
You call THAT a change (http://www.rpgcodex.net/screenshot.php?file=ageofdec/aod_dialogue.jpg)? ;)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Jedi_Learner on March 11, 2008, 10:53:02 am
I would of raised you a 2D screenshot Oscar, but Imageshack seem to be deleting old images from their database. :(


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Claw on March 11, 2008, 06:30:58 pm
Invisible skill checks are good to improve player interaction in dialogs, lift them to the point where combat stands, and its player interaction.
You want to bring dialogue to "the point where combat stands" by masking skill checks? Are you sure you don't see the glaringly obvious error? Heck, in combat I'm even told my chances. Why don't we get rid of that?
Besides that apparent contradiction, I don't even begin to see where you're coming from or how invisible skill checks are supposed to accomplish this.

Quote
When people have a successful skill check, they tend to choose that option and not the other ones.
The smart thing would be to have the skill checks afterwards. That's how I understood it works in AoD. You only get to see a line if your skill is above a certain value, but it's no guaranteed success.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on March 12, 2008, 02:33:16 am
You want to bring dialogue to "the point where combat stands" by masking skill checks? Are you sure you don't see the glaringly obvious error? Heck, in combat I'm even told my chances. Why don't we get rid of that?
Besides that apparent contradiction, I don't even begin to see where you're coming from or how invisible skill checks are supposed to accomplish this.
Lol, did you really expect me to think things through in a two line forum post? That's what budeehs are for: to point out our mistakes ;) I don't know, I'd have to think more about it, which I don't have time for.

The smart thing would be to have the skill checks afterwards. That's how I understood it works in AoD. You only get to see a line if your skill is above a certain value, but it's no guaranteed success.
I said what I said mainly based on the preassumption that skillchecks were made before.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Priapist on March 13, 2008, 09:58:22 am
Quote
Heck, in combat I'm even told my chances. Why don't we get rid of that?

Since this thread is all about derailment, a quick question - Am I the only one who gets really irritated when I miss at 95% accuracy? Or miss 3 or 4 times at 50% accuracy? Sure, it's gambler's fallacy and logically, I know better... but do we really need accuracy to be so transparent? I'd prefer a more abstract expression of the same chance-to-hit. Or even an expression of affecting factors (darkness, occlusion, etc.) without a final result.

Would anyone really miss (pun intended) explicit to-hit values?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Scott on March 13, 2008, 10:22:44 am
I like them.  I don't think a text-based system would be any more satisfying.  I'd still call 95% a "sure shot", and I'd still be disappointed to miss.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 13, 2008, 10:37:26 am
Quote
Heck, in combat I'm even told my chances. Why don't we get rid of that?

Since this thread is all about derailment, a quick question - Am I the only one who gets really irritated when I miss at 95% accuracy? Or miss 3 or 4 times at 50% accuracy? Sure, it's gambler's fallacy and logically, I know better... but do we really need accuracy to be so transparent? I'd prefer a more abstract expression of the same chance-to-hit. Or even an expression of affecting factors (darkness, occlusion, etc.) without a final result.

Would anyone really miss (pun intended) explicit to-hit values?
Good point. I've never really thought about it before. On one hand, the difference between 42% and 47% is meaningless, on the other hand, the slowly increasing to-hit number is an instant reward for raising a skill.

So, what would you replace the numbers with?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on March 13, 2008, 10:56:24 am
So, what would you replace the numbers with?


Colors. Or changing music tonality. Oh no wait, that's another game (http://www.rpgcodex.net/phpBB/viewforum.php?f=36). :)

Anyway, personally I wouldn't miss them if they were gone. (More accurately, I don't miss them in the games that don't have them, like Wizardry 8.) On the other hand, I don't see any real need to eliminate them. I am ambivalent, and this has been a pretty useless post.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Priapist on March 13, 2008, 12:02:16 pm
Quote
Good point. I've never really thought about it before. On one hand, the difference between 42% and 47% is meaningless, on the other hand, the slowly increasing to-hit number is an instant reward for raising a skill.

So, what would you replace the numbers with?

There's not too many games I can think of where the to-hit number actually increases slowly. Fallout had me dumping (Int x 4) worth of points into skills at level up. Arcanum had 25% jumps with a single skill point. D&D strikes me as an example of slow advancement, though most games don't really telegraph Base Attack Bonus during combat. Would it be more gratifying if they did?

I think colours would work pretty well as an alternative:

Varied spread:
Kobold
Monkey
Dwarf
Multiheaded Dick
MC Hammer

Slow progression:
Kobold
Monkey
Dwarf
Multiheaded Dick
MC Hammer

I think it conveys the information fairly effectively, without getting hung up on trivial discrepancies. Of course, you're fucked if you're colour blind.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Oscar on March 13, 2008, 12:09:05 pm
Well, in AoD you have variations inside combat, when choosing a fast or a power attack. Would a numberless system show those variations?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 13, 2008, 12:42:34 pm
I was thinking about text descriptions actually:

Broad side of a barn
The other side of a barn
Old grandpa
Old grandpa on a rocking chair
Average human
Pirate
Ninja
Ninja-pirate
Fast and furious
2Fast, 2Furious


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 13, 2008, 01:01:05 pm
Bringing up a life-and-death matter as if it's of little consequence could be an oratorical strategy.  If you're about to negotiate a price for an assassination, the last thing you want to do is start weeping about how your life would be ruined by the competition and how you'll do absolutely anything to off this guy.
Exactly. It's a sales thing. You can never show how important something is to you when you negotiate. If someone smells a strong interest, you'll pay through the nose (which is what the trading line is for - it shows that you understand what is at stake, and it gets you the most money).

That oratorical strategy would be naive and counter-productive. The effort of the employee is more often than not proportional to expectations of the employer.
It's not an employee-employer relationship. It's a buyer-seller relationship, which has very different rules.

Quote
Trivializing an important issue leads to inadequate solutions. Anyway, Feng's dissimulation is not credible as what is in stake for him is obvious to the PC by the nature and object of the task assigned. He should be smarter.
In what way?



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on March 13, 2008, 02:19:29 pm
Well, in AoD you have variations inside combat, when choosing a fast or a power attack. Would a numberless system show those variations?
So long as you still have discretely numbered AP, we're not going to be talking about an entirely numberless system - fast/power/... attacks would still show their AP cost clearly.

[[[If you had a continuous AP bar with decimal values allowed you could start to think about more vaguely represented action timings. You'd probably have to allow each action to be performed with a range of timings though (e.g. sword attack takes anywhere from 3 to 6 AP, with the player picking the desired duration and getting appropriate consequences). This would avoid the issue of the player ending with 3.95AP when he thought he'd have 4 for one more attack.
Of course you'd also need to have each action's effectiveness tail off dramatically at the low end - so that e.g. there'd be no way a player would want to try a sword attack with 3AP in the above example, since its effectiveness would be minimal. This way no player is aiming to leave 3AP remaining, so no player is annoyed at having 2.95 when he imagined he'd have 3. The worst case is that he gets to perform the action he wanted at significantly reduced effectiveness.]]]

Anyway, there's no need to go into this just because there's consideration of representing to-hit via another means - it's not necessary to take an everywhere-or-nowhere approach to numbers. Personally I'd like to get away from the precise to-hit values - so long as a good alternative can be found. Colours and text descriptions could both work, perhaps even in conjunction.

A connected idea I've advocated before would be to spread the randomness around a bit more, where possible, rather than having most of it concentrated in the final to-hit roll. For a start I think this is more interesting, since it tends to give more variety. I also think it'd reduce the annoyance of repeated misses a little, since it often wouldn't be the same thing happening again and again.

Mainly I think this would be a good idea whenever there's currently an entirely non-random decision-point, e.g. something of the following form will provide no variety with static inputs:
If ( X > Y ) { do something }
Else { do something else}


Whereas the following would mix things up a bit more:
If ( [X+RandomValue()] > [Y+RandomValue()] ) { do something }
Else { do something else }


E.g. where there's a decision of whether to block or dodge based on a comparison of the two skills (perhaps adjusted by an attack modifier). Adding a random factor to the blockability/dodgeability of each attack would give things more variety.
Of course you could also randomize elements that are simply fixed at the moment (e.g. DR), but I think that's less important since you aren't losing much there. For non-randomized decision-points with generally static inputs (for a given combat), you have an interesting feature you've spent time to develop down each path (e.g. blocking/dodging animations/sounds/consequences), but only one path that'll get used.

I think you're already on to a good thing in having some attacks which are harder to block (/dodge) than to dodge (/block) - since this sort of thing allows the player to influence the entire process. So long as there is significant variety and player agency throughout, knowing a precise final to-hit roll is either much less important (if it doesn't factor everything in - since it's only one of many significant factors), or an undesirable simplification (if it does factor everything in - since it removes the gameplay in weighing things up).

Ideally I'd like a lot of vagueness/variety within the mechanics themselves, rather than just a precise final to-hit-roll hidden behind a vague representation.


How open to changes are you on the combat system at this stage? Are you happy with it already? Any chance of a combat-only-demo/beta at some point?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 13, 2008, 02:33:13 pm
How open to changes are you on the combat system at this stage?
Very open. Not because we don't like what we have - it's quite the opposite actually - but there is always room for improvement.

Quote
Are you happy with it already?
Happier.

Quote
Any chance of a combat-only-demo/beta at some point?
Very likely, but no promises.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: aVENGER on March 14, 2008, 02:39:15 am
How open to changes are you on the combat system at this stage?
Very open. Not because we don't like what we have - it's quite the opposite actually - but there is always room for improvement.

Any chance of replacing squares with hexes, or would that qualify as a major gameplay change?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on March 14, 2008, 02:55:09 am
I don't think hexes are the right solution. Maybe they could do something like Silent Storm? Silent Storm has squares, but the AP usage is doubled so that there's enough room to make this: walking in a straight line costs 2 per square, walking in a diagonal line costs 3 per square. It's much better and realistic, the only trade-off is the high AP values everyewhere. But that should be a problem in AoD, and it's a relatively easy change to make.

Right know AFAIK we have 1 AP per straight square, 2 AP per diagonal square, which is better that 1 AP per straight AND diagonal square but is not as realistic.

:EDIT:
And one more thing. I can't remember for sure but I don't think that happens: can we see the walking range of the enemy when in our turn? Like in HoMM. I like that in strategy games, but not in RPGs...


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Scott on March 14, 2008, 08:20:00 am
How open to changes are you on the combat system at this stage?
Very open. Not because we don't like what we have - it's quite the opposite actually - but there is always room for improvement.

Have you drawn a line yet under what you intend to implement for the engine?  What I mean is: do you know yet what the total scope of core development, like rules and interface changes, is, or is development still completely open-ended?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Oscar on March 14, 2008, 09:22:11 am
I can't speak for the rest of the game, but the interface is pretty much done, esthetically speaking. We are pretty happy with its functionality, but if there is an idea that it's much better than what we have we are open to implement it.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Mehler on March 14, 2008, 10:17:46 am
I don't think that would work though. Before it was hard to find, now it's in your face. We'd probably need to come up with something else (suggestions are welcome), but for now let's proceed. So, now you have 3 main options:

- do the first assassins guild's quest: kill the spies
- talk to Lord Antidas
- do Feng's quest: get rid of Cassius

Not to mention exploring and checking other guilds. So, what would Jesus do?
Get rid of Cassius.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 14, 2008, 10:29:19 am
Any chance of replacing squares with hexes?
No.

And one more thing. I can't remember for sure but I don't think that happens: can we see the walking range of the enemy when in our turn? Like in HoMM. I like that in strategy games, but not in RPGs...
We had it in one of the versions (when we used circles as attack/movement range indicators), but I don't recall seeing it in the current build.

Have you drawn a line yet under what you intend to implement for the engine?
Of course. A long time ago.

Quote
What I mean is: do you know yet what the total scope of core development, like rules and interface changes, is, or is development still completely open-ended?
It's not open-ended, but if we see or come up with a good idea that's relatively easy to implement, why not?

Get rid of Cassius.
So, what's the score? Looks like 4 votes for Antidas and 4 for Cassius or did I miss something?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Helian on March 14, 2008, 10:59:00 am
My vote goes to talking to Lord Antidas. Reasons were already mentioned.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Mephisto on March 14, 2008, 11:17:42 am
Lets "get rid" of Cassius. Maybe we can reach a better agreement with him.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 14, 2008, 11:49:41 am
5/5 now. We need a decisive vote.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: jeansberg on March 14, 2008, 11:57:07 am
I vote for veto.  :P


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on March 14, 2008, 12:47:06 pm
I say we talk to lord Antidas...

:EDIT:

With, we talk with lord Antidas.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Jedi_Learner on March 14, 2008, 12:57:33 pm
I change my mind to Lord Antidas. :-[


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on March 14, 2008, 01:40:51 pm
...straight line costs 2 per square...diagonal line costs 2 per square.
I guess anyone interested will realize what you mean, but editing it to 3 for diagonals would help get the point across to those who think you simply have a passion for doubling numbers.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on March 14, 2008, 02:41:45 pm
...straight line costs 2 per square...diagonal line costs 2 per square.
I guess anyone interested will realize what you mean, but editing it to 3 for diagonals would help get the point across to those who think you simply have a passion for doubling numbers.

:)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: ninjelephant on March 14, 2008, 03:37:20 pm
Why go to Antidas first?
If I am not mistaken u guys will probably double-cross Feng so lets go to Cassius first..
Than, again if I remember correctly, we end up at Antidas place.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Claw on March 14, 2008, 06:46:17 pm
Let's go see Antidas.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on March 14, 2008, 06:54:30 pm
Why go to Antidas first?

Oh, and my vote is to talk to Lord Antidas. It's time for our character to meet some of the real powerbrokers in town, and we have no particular reason to like Feng -- after all, we already caught him trying to manipulate us once, and who knows whether he's trying that again with this Cassius job. So let's wait a bit on that, and talk to Antidas first; we may discover it's more to our benefit to work for the big man, instead.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: ninjelephant on March 14, 2008, 07:07:12 pm
Why go to Antidas first?

Oh, and my vote is to talk to Lord Antidas. It's time for our character to meet some of the real powerbrokers in town, and we have no particular reason to like Feng -- after all, we already caught him trying to manipulate us once, and who knows whether he's trying that again with this Cassius job. So let's wait a bit on that, and talk to Antidas first; we may discover it's more to our benefit to work for the big man, instead.

Well this is kinda considered cheating but we were told that we will be able to double-cross Feng.. Since we dont like him
why not do it right away..
And we could get some extra benefits from Antidas if we reveal to him that Feng is just a greedy old fraud who wanted to
kill Cassius that Antidas himself brought to town..

Ounce again, it is kinda cheating but since i'm an evil bastrd I say we go for it  >:D


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Lainestin on March 14, 2008, 07:19:44 pm
Why don't we just go do the Assassin's guild quest? Isn't that what our profession is (or has been up to this point)? This map thing is just a curiosity.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: ninjelephant on March 14, 2008, 07:28:46 pm
Why don't we just go do the Assassin's guild quest? Isn't that what our profession is (or has been up to this point)? This map thing is just a curiosity.

From FAQ:
"The game starts trivially in a small town. Purely by chance, you acquire an ancient map bearing a long forgotten seal."


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Lainestin on March 14, 2008, 08:00:15 pm
Why don't we just go do the Assassin's guild quest? Isn't that what our profession is (or has been up to this point)? This map thing is just a curiosity.

From FAQ:
"The game starts trivially in a small town. Purely by chance, you acquire an ancient map bearing a long forgotten seal."

I'm aware of that. I just don't see why our character would make this map his #1 priority at this point.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 14, 2008, 08:06:08 pm
Quick and easy money. Or so it seems.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: jeansberg on March 15, 2008, 04:48:38 am
Everybody loves sekrit anshunt maps.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: star on March 15, 2008, 06:20:17 am
and seals!


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Azael on March 15, 2008, 06:31:46 am
Go to Lord Antidas. Feng isn't our friend at the moment and we have no real reason to do his bidding without at least surveying the field first. Besides, getting a audience with the local power is a good thing, who knows what opportunities for debauchery and devious deeds this might lead to?

Otherwise, just go with the assassin quest, we are professionals after all.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 15, 2008, 11:16:12 am
Before we go, we have 5 skill points to distribute. Would you like to improve your skills now? To remind you where we were, here is the last character screen:



[attachment deleted to save space]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on March 15, 2008, 11:29:08 am
I vote for putting them into a social skill, but I'm torn between etiquette and streetwise; both seem appropriate for an assassin. I always like to get my social skills to a decent level fairly early in an RPG, before I meet too many people.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Dr.Strangelove on March 15, 2008, 11:31:55 am
Bringing up a life-and-death matter as if it's of little consequence could be an oratorical strategy.  If you're about to negotiate a price for an assassination, the last thing you want to do is start weeping about how your life would be ruined by the competition and how you'll do absolutely anything to off this guy.
Exactly. It's a sales thing. You can never show how important something is to you when you negotiate. If someone smells a strong interest, you'll pay through the nose (which is what the trading line is for - it shows that you understand what is at stake, and it gets you the most money).

That oratorical strategy would be naive and counter-productive. The effort of the employee is more often than not proportional to expectations of the employer.
It's not an employee-employer relationship. It's a buyer-seller relationship, which has very different rules.

Quote
Trivializing an important issue leads to inadequate solutions. Anyway, Feng's dissimulation is not credible as what is in stake for him is obvious to the PC by the nature and object of the task assigned. He should be smarter.
In what way?
It's more outsourcing a project to the PC than buying-selling. The project (getting rid of Cassius) is a process and has a cost-benefit issue. In in this case the benefit for Feng is his career, so his main focus should be the success of the project and secondarily the cost. The PC is told than another Loremaster is summoned by Feng's employer. This means that there's increased workload for Loremasters, or that the employer is dissatisfied with Feng. Since Feng wants Cassius to disappear, the PC understands that Feng is to be fired and won't "buy" his "small matter" attitude thrown at the end of the conversation.
About cost: Feng is a greedy and informed bastard and knows what the Assassin's Guild standard fee is. But this,by no means, is a standard murder as the subject is under Lord Antidas protection. Cassius's death would piss him off and an investigation would be guaranteed. Antidas has the power to press the Assasin's Guild or to bribe an insider to reveal the commissioner.
What would be in Feng's mind, if he's smart, is not the price but the implications: He must not be linked to the assasination. There are some solutions: Getting rid of Cassius in another way, having the assassination look like an accident and hirind a capable assassin independently of the Assassin's Guild for more secrecy. These issues should be addressed before price and be reflected on Feng's conduct. His primary concern should be that the PC does a clean job. He must investigate the PC's capabilities and be interested on how the problem will be dealt.
What can be done:
To be a true dissimulator, Feng should not show his cards right away. He must determine the player's his line of business first and then have him gather information on Cassius or/and establishing a contact with him or his environment. This would be a test of player capabilities and attitude. Afterwards, based on the player's performance and secrecy, he may decide whether to hire him for the task that really matters to him. As for the price, his oratorical strategy would be better if he did not downplay the task's importance( not credible) but to point out to the player he has other alternatives(another assassin, a grifter, etc) for the task and will decide on cost-effectiveness.
The player can accept and then double-cross or not Feng, but what happens if he refuses? If the player does not accept AFTER knowing Feng's real intentions he should be on Feng's "good riddance asap" list and  have to protect himself from Feng. In this case, finding a way to help Cassius, before Feng gets to him(remember alternatives), may be linked to saving his own skin.
What do you think?

About the skill points: Let's add 2 or 3 to Streetwise, might be handy when confronting a probably manipulative power-broker. For the rest I would decide later .  About etiquette: It won't help our assassin climb any walls or shooting bolts at his target, but may help not having to do these things on some circumstances. Investing points on etiquette should be decided early: a serious investment throughout the game or nothing: You are too rude to be invited so go climb walls and break through windows.   


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: jeansberg on March 15, 2008, 12:01:46 pm
One vote for streetwise.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Lainestin on March 15, 2008, 03:30:50 pm
I vote for placing 3 points in Streetwise and 2 in Critical Strike.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: namad on March 16, 2008, 02:37:17 am
looks to me like vince already spent the points in that screenshot on crossbow streetwise dodge and crit strike which sounds reasonable enough.. i think if we plan to do the assassin quest first we should focus on crossbow/dodge and if we plan to stay in town looking for more quests perhaps straight up all into streetwise


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 16, 2008, 10:05:05 am
It's more outsourcing a project to the PC than buying-selling. The project (getting rid of Cassius) is a process and has a cost-benefit issue. In in this case the benefit for Feng is his career, so his main focus should be the success of the project and secondarily the cost.
Have you ever dealt with greedy people before? Or anyone with strong vices/flaws? Most of the time these flaws would override the "clear thinking" department and be responsible for dumb mistakes.

Anyway, here is how I see the situation. Antidas invites another loremaster. Feng has a very few options available to him. Using the assassins guild is risky as that's the first place Antidas will send his enforcers to if the loremaster turns up dead. So, it has to be a freelancer. Risky? Yes, but what does he have to lose? If he does nothing, he will definitely lose everything. If he tries something, he might lose everything or might actually win.

Quote
There are some solutions: Getting rid of Cassius in another way, having the assassination look like an accident and hirind a capable assassin independently of the Assassin's Guild for more secrecy. These issues should be addressed before price and be reflected on Feng's conduct. His primary concern should be that the PC does a clean job. He must investigate the PC's capabilities and be interested on how the problem will be dealt.
Sometimes you can afford to be picky, when you have plenty of options to choose from. Sometimes, when you have no or one option, you play the cards you've got.

Besides, he doesn't ask you to kill him. If that's how you understood it, that's your problem, not Feng's. He can confess in being insecure and wishing for Cassius to go away, but he never asked to kill nobody. No siree Bob.



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: MaximB on March 16, 2008, 10:26:11 am
I would actually suggest to get rid of Feng in some way, or double cross him or kill him via some quest, or tell Antidas about his intentions.
I mean Feng is a greedy bastard, if there is now a choice to go to someone else for our problems, why do we need him ?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on March 16, 2008, 10:55:21 am
Who's to say Antidas is not a jerk aswell? I say we kill the both...


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: MaximB on March 16, 2008, 10:58:34 am
Who's to say Antidas is not a jerk aswell? I say we kill the both...

Ok then, lets go talk to Antidas and see how things turn out ;)
Increase etiquette and streetwise prior to going as speaking is more interesting IMO then fighting.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Dr.Strangelove on March 16, 2008, 12:13:24 pm
Have you ever dealt with greedy people before? Or anyone with strong vices/flaws? Most of the time these flaws would override the "clear thinking" department and be responsible for dumb mistakes.
I've dealt with greedy intelligent people and greedy idiots. Feng falls in the second category if he does this kind of "dump" mistake.

Anyway, here is how I see the situation. Antidas invites another loremaster. Feng has a very few options available to him. Using the assassins guild is risky as that's the first place Antidas will send his enforcers to if the loremaster turns up dead. So, it has to be a freelancer. Risky? Yes, but what does he have to lose? If he does nothing, he will definitely lose everything. If he tries something, he might lose everything or might actually win.
Never said anything different and I'm aware that if he did nothing we wouldn't have a quest.

Quote
There are some solutions: Getting rid of Cassius in another way, having the assassination look like an accident and hirind a capable assassin independently of the Assassin's Guild for more secrecy. These issues should be addressed before price and be reflected on Feng's conduct. His primary concern should be that the PC does a clean job. He must investigate the PC's capabilities and be interested on how the problem will be dealt.
Sometimes you can afford to be picky, when you have plenty of options to choose from. Sometimes, when you have no or one option, you play the cards you've got.
Feng has more to lose than his job in the case he's implicated in a sloppy failed attempt on Cassius life OR credibility. It's not about being picky but careful, unless he falls in the second category above, of course. About his options, you know obviously better. I thought of other PC vignettes as possible options, but my argument still stands. When you have only one course of action you are concentrated on its execution, proceeding with attention and care. You have to play the cards you got the right way.
Even without options, he could bluff he has as to get a better price for the player's services more credibly than with the "small matter" attitude. My main point is he has to show more care about the task, assign it to the player for his potential for success and haggle in a convincing manner about the price.

Besides, he doesn't ask you to kill him. If that's how you understood it, that's your problem, not Feng's. He can confess in being insecure and wishing for Cassius to go away, but he never asked to kill nobody. No siree Bob.
By clean job I did not mean necessarily murder. But in a sloppy attempt he would be a suspect, anyway.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Dr.Strangelove on March 16, 2008, 12:36:08 pm
Who's to say Antidas is not a jerk aswell? I say we kill the both...
Die, both, DIE! (sorry, couldn't resist :) )


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: MaximB on March 16, 2008, 12:39:20 pm
I can understand Feng's motives as Vince said, he got much to lose and I understand that he can lose his head if you double cross him.
So I suggest making a few quests of "trust".
Feng will give you a few "harmless to him" quests to earn your trust and then after you "became" buddies and he will lower his prices for you, then he will give you that risky quest.
 


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Dr.Strangelove on March 16, 2008, 01:56:16 pm
You don't need to befriend Feng, he needs a professional not a buddy. A quest or two for him to be convinced you have some chance to do the job would suffice. Becoming friends is a long and different process. For example, your doctor isn't necessarily your friend but you want him to be a good doctor and you choose him (when you can) accordingly. But, unless you were an egregious sucker, you wouldn't go to  a "touch therapist" or some other quack to be cured. You'd pick a doctor. Feng doesn't have time and has to gamble, but he needs someone, at least presumably, capable of helping him, not a quack.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on March 16, 2008, 02:03:16 pm
Who's to say Antidas is not a jerk aswell? I say we kill the both...
Die, both, DIE! (sorry, couldn't resist :) )
Seriously, when a game gives me the power, I simply LOVE to bring mighty justice to jerks like these. It's like I'm the man, well, because games are stupid and let me actually BE the man and kill everyone I don't like... But then again, I love exploiting design flaws. Don't know why, though. Must be some kind of way for me to get back at the stupid developers or something. I'm sure AoD won't let me be the man so I probably won't be able to do much else after I kill a few important people, and I love that even more :)

Then again, nothing prevents us from going and seeing what he's up to. Let us make a... an informed decision, shall we say? :) As that old and wise man once said (I forget his name), "he who knows his friends knows his enemies"... Or something...


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: MaximB on March 16, 2008, 02:20:08 pm
You don't need to befriend Feng, he needs a professional not a buddy. A quest or two for him to be convinced you have some chance to do the job would suffice. Becoming friends is a long and different process. For example, your doctor isn't necessarily your friend but you want him to be a good doctor and you choose him (when you can) accordingly. But, unless you were an egregious sucker, you wouldn't go to  a "touch therapist" or some other quack to be cured. You'd pick a doctor. Feng doesn't have time and has to gamble, but he needs someone, at least presumably, capable of helping him, not a quack.

Well what I meant was not real buddies, but he have to trust you enough because his life if in your hands.
But as I've said I can also understand and keep it like this.
If we going to make 10 pages on each quest this game will take longer to develop the Duke4 , and we don't want that ;)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Claw on March 16, 2008, 09:30:31 pm
I say we pump Etiquette. I just hope 25 Etiquette is worth something.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Jedi_Learner on March 17, 2008, 06:56:25 am
New article up at RPGWatch (http://www.rpgwatch.com/show/article?articleid=79&ref=0&id=2) detailing this thread. If only I had known... lol


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Azael on March 17, 2008, 12:27:56 pm
Before we go, we have 5 skill points to distribute. Would you like to improve your skills now? To remind you where we were, here is the last character screen:



This isn't the current character screen is it? We should have a body count of two now, right?

Anyway, my vote is: 1 Crossbow, 2 CS, 1 Dodge, 1 Streetwise


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 17, 2008, 12:52:11 pm
No, that was AoD 2 (i.e. the second screen I posted). So, what do we have?

Split between Etiquette and Streetwise
3 Streetwise, maybe Etiquette
5 Streetwise
3 Streetwise, 2 Critical Strike
Crossbow, Dodge, Streetwise
5 Etiquette
1 Crossbow, 2 CS, 1 Dodge, 1 Streetwise

So, we have 15 votes for Streetwise, 9 for Etiquette, 4 for CS, 2 for Crossbow and 2 for Dodge. So, I'll give 3 points to Streetwise and 2 to Etiquette.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: MaximB on March 17, 2008, 01:08:40 pm
No, that was AoD 2 (i.e. the second screen I posted). So, what do we have?

Split between Etiquette and Streetwise
3 Streetwise, maybe Etiquette
5 Streetwise
3 Streetwise, 2 Critical Strike
Crossbow, Dodge, Streetwise
5 Etiquette
1 Crossbow, 2 CS, 1 Dodge, 1 Streetwise

So, we have 15 votes for Streetwise, 9 for Etiquette, 4 for CS, 2 for Crossbow and 2 for Dodge. So, I'll give 3 points to Streetwise and 2 to Etiquette.

OK, let's speak  with Antidas now, let's see if he is a better person then that greedy bastard.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 17, 2008, 07:11:14 pm
Armed with Streetwise and Etiquette, our hero decided to pay a social visit to Lord Antidas. After all, important people should spend time together, should they not? Titus combed his hair, put on a fresh shirt, and looking like a perfect gentleman, ringed a door bell.

[attachment deleted to save space]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 17, 2008, 07:13:26 pm
Turned out Lord Antidas have heard about you and was even expecting you to drop by. Splendid!

[attachment deleted to save space]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 17, 2008, 07:15:29 pm
How dare he! I'm a gentleman! Well, sorta. At least I can easily pretend to be one.

[attachment deleted to save space]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 17, 2008, 07:17:44 pm
I can't believe it! My flawless disguise has failed! Hmm, maybe I shouldn't have wasted my all points on Streetwise and Etiquette...

[attachment deleted to save space]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Dr.Strangelove on March 17, 2008, 07:25:48 pm
Great sarcastic lines. Continue, don't tease the AoD hungry masses! :)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Lainestin on March 17, 2008, 07:26:21 pm
I say we go with the "How much do you want?" option.  ;)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Yellow on March 17, 2008, 07:28:11 pm
Hmmm, I've only read the first few pages, but here's my opinion:

Start combat with the whole ****ing town!


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 17, 2008, 07:33:08 pm
Great sarcastic lines. Continue, don't tease the AoD hungry masses! :)

We'll be back after the following messages:

(http://artfiles.art.com/images/-/Coca-Cola-Poster-C10054866.jpeg)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Dr.Strangelove on March 17, 2008, 07:35:40 pm
If you weren't the developer, you'd be on my hit-list! :D


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on March 17, 2008, 07:40:42 pm
Nice dialog. As always, you're a master of sarcasm. (I actually can't believe it took me this long to figure out that the reason for the pseudonym is so we don't realize you're Sheek's grandfather!)

Is there more coming? It seems like it would be nice to always end the Let's Play segments with a choice.

Also, a couple of quick issues:

In AoD 41.jpg, Dellar's first line should be "He did, did he?" if you want it to be doubtful/sarcastic/dismissive. "He did, didn't he?" implies that Dellar is realizing and acknowledging that you're right and he had previously been mistaken, which doesn't make as much sense in context.

In AoD 42.jpg, Dellar's first line is grammatically incorrect. If you want it to sound basically the same, but not look wrong, it could be changed to:
"That's Master Feng's job -- to assure people that their junk is valuable. And it's my job to get proper tributes from those who seek an audience."

If you want it actually to be grammatically correct, you could go with:
"It's Master Feng's job to assure people that their junk is valuable, and it's my job to get proper tributes from those who seek an audience."

Keep up the great work!

EDIT: Why does it look the Coca Cola girl is wearing creepy yellow rubber serial killer gloves?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Dr.Strangelove on March 17, 2008, 07:46:44 pm
!EDIT: Why does it look the Coca Cola girl is wearing creepy yellow rubber serial killer gloves?
Because they match the headpiece!


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 17, 2008, 07:51:42 pm
Is there more coming? It seems like it would be nice to always end the Let's Play segments with a choice.
Yes. Just give me a few minutes. I had to help my daughter with a school project.

Quote
In AoD 41.jpg, Dellar's first line should be "He did, did he?" if you want it to be doubtful/sarcastic/dismissive. "He did, didn't he?" implies that Dellar is realizing and acknowledging that you're right and he had previously been mistaken, which doesn't make as much sense in context.

In AoD 42.jpg, Dellar's first line is grammatically incorrect. If you want it to sound basically the same, but not look wrong, it could be changed to:
"That's Master Feng's job -- to assure people that their junk is valuable. And it's my job to get proper tributes from those who seek an audience."

If you want it actually to be grammatically correct, you could go with:
"It's Master Feng's job to assure people that their junk is valuable, and it's my job to get proper tributes from those who seek an audience."
Thanks. I really appreciate your help.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 17, 2008, 08:00:57 pm
Like every stereotypical RPG denizen Dellar has problems.

[attachment deleted to save space]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 17, 2008, 08:04:20 pm
Too much enthusiasm?! You've gotta be kidding me.

[attachment deleted to save space]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Dr.Strangelove on March 17, 2008, 08:36:22 pm
How about adding to Titus response on AoD 45 this:
"Yes...as you are charming. What was the other problem?"
Just to respond to his provocation. Not really important but may suit the tone of the conversation.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Lainestin on March 17, 2008, 09:04:13 pm
On AOD 46, shouldn't it be "have managed to capture" and not "had managed to capture"?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on March 17, 2008, 09:27:56 pm
On AOD 46, shouldn't it be "have managed to capture" and not "had managed to capture"?

Yes.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Claw on March 17, 2008, 09:29:28 pm
I want to know more about those ruins.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Priapist on March 17, 2008, 11:33:37 pm
"Tell me about the fucking golf shoes!"

Heh, anyway, just before I head off to work, I have to say that I love Dellar. I've read that "never seen a peasant before" bit before, and it still caught me by surprise. :D It's a fantastic way of subtly lampooning the genre without breaking the fourth wall. More after work...


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Lainestin on March 18, 2008, 01:14:34 am
Let's ask more about the ruins.



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: GhanBuriGhan on March 18, 2008, 03:52:30 am
Let's ask more about the ruins.


Bah, let's just go there straight away! I want no more abuse from this hired goon.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Tuomas on March 18, 2008, 04:09:45 am
The conversation with Dellar is very skillfully written. And I agree with Priaprist; the dialogue works well even if you've read it before. I had forgotten what a bastard the D man is  :o

I say we go see the raiders. Vince has often used the raider quest as an example of quest design, so most of us are familiar with it. Therefore it wouldn't spoil as much as the ruins quest.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on March 18, 2008, 04:27:10 am
Armed with Streetwise and Etiquette, our hero decided to pay a social visit to Lord Antidas. After all, important people should spend time together, should they not? Titus combed his hair, put on a fresh shirt, and looking like a perfect gentleman, ringed a door bell.
How the hell do we know so many things about him already? Or, put another way, how can we have that show on the dialog screen with just a few words?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: star on March 18, 2008, 06:47:29 am
I agree, it's very good written, as always. You have a great style and i wonder why you ever thought of letting someone else rewrite everything (you never did that, right?). Anyway, let's head to the ruins. Sounds like there may be some ancient loot for us. :)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 18, 2008, 07:40:06 am
Armed with Streetwise and Etiquette, our hero decided to pay a social visit to Lord Antidas. After all, important people should spend time together, should they not? Titus combed his hair, put on a fresh shirt, and looking like a perfect gentleman, ringed a door bell.
How the hell do we know so many things about him already? Or, put another way, how can we have that show on the dialog screen with just a few words?
You live there. Well, your character does. Key people (guildmasters, lords, generals, etc) are well known.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Jedi_Learner on March 18, 2008, 09:33:09 am
I'd rather tell Dellar to go fuck himself and find another entrance into the building to talk with Lord Antidas. Perhaps the roof? (http://mediaviewer.ign.com/ignMediaPage.jsp?media_id=3702638&article_id=714762&channel_id=227&page_title=The+Age+of+Decadence+Interview+-+Part+1&adtag=network%3Dign%26size%3D468x60%26channel%3Drpgvault%26site%3Drpgvault_hub%26channel%3Dfeatures%26type%3Dpartner)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 18, 2008, 09:40:55 am
There are six different ways to get in. While it seems that doing Dellar's work for him is the only way in (other than successfully pretending to be a noble (requires both the skill and better clothes)), we never force you to do B to get to C.

Some ways will change Dellar's attitude completely, btw.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Jedi_Learner on March 18, 2008, 09:53:38 am
Oh, and on AOD 47 the response "Tell me more about the raiders" is missing a full stop. :P


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on March 18, 2008, 10:19:56 am
I say we go see the raiders. Vince has often used the raider quest as an example of quest design, so most of us are familiar with it. Therefore it wouldn't spoil as much as the ruins quest.

Agreed.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: GhanBuriGhan on March 18, 2008, 10:57:21 am
I say we go see the raiders. Vince has often used the raider quest as an example of quest design, so most of us are familiar with it. Therefore it wouldn't spoil as much as the ruins quest.

Agreed.
Good point. I retract my former vote. Let's raid the raiders.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Dr.Strangelove on March 18, 2008, 11:09:13 am
Is it possible to do both quests, or choosing one precludes the other?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 18, 2008, 11:15:06 am
It's possible.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Decay on March 18, 2008, 12:02:48 pm
I say we find another way to Adidas, so at least the PC's efforts (completing those quest) won't just transform themselves into a few "good words"; imperials and better face-to-face relationship with the "man" of the town would be much better. Meaning try to get the quests from the mighty lord, if possible, for more reward. Oh, and a vote to flog Dellar as soon as possible when there are only some negligible consequances to it (for example losing a few HPs).


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Scott on March 18, 2008, 12:43:40 pm
Re response option:  "Didn't they tell you what they want?"

I generally dislike dialogue options where your only choice is to ask for more info. Maybe I don't actually care to explore the issue further, maybe I'm a "let's get to the action" kind of guy, or more likely, I've been through this dialogue twice already so I just want to cut to the chase without the exposition.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: inhuman on March 18, 2008, 02:12:11 pm
In the screen that gives Dellar's background, there may be a problem. The text reads as "...and started raiding the same caravans he guarded yesterday". As far as I know, yesterday is a very specific word only used within the present time's context, so you can't use it in past speech. So I guess "yesterday" could be replaced with "the previous day", "days before", "a day before".

Quote from: cardtrick
In AoD 41.jpg, Dellar's first line should be "He did, did he?" if you want it to be doubtful/sarcastic/dismissive. "He did, didn't he?" implies that Dellar is realizing and acknowledging that you're right and he had previously been mistaken, which doesn't make as much sense in context.

In AoD 42.jpg, Dellar's first line is grammatically incorrect. If you want it to sound basically the same, but not look wrong, it could be changed to:
"That's Master Feng's job -- to assure people that their junk is valuable. And it's my job to get proper tributes from those who seek an audience."

If you want it actually to be grammatically correct, you could go with:
"It's Master Feng's job to assure people that their junk is valuable, and it's my job to get proper tributes from those who seek an audience."

I disagree with both. I'll not discuss the first one as I can't put my finger on the exact spot as to why, but in the second one, I think you missed something. There is a difference between making a one-piece fluent sentence and interrupting your own sentence with what you think as additional explanation. Perhaps a comma instead of lines and merging the two sentences would work better, since a sentence isn't supposed to start with "and" either.

Ie. where the character intends to say "It's Master Fen's job and it's my job to get proper tributes from those who seek an audience", he reconsiders mid-sentence and adds an explanation: "It's Master Fen's job, to assure people that their junk is valuable, and it's my job to get proper tributes from those who seek an audience". You can perfectly recognize the difference between the original sentence and cardtrick's suggestion in daily speech; there is this momentary hesitation, a self-interruption, whereas cardtrick's sentence flows without interrupts.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: jeansberg on March 18, 2008, 02:23:36 pm
I think it's ok that characters use less than perfect grammar sometimes. It's more realistic, anyway.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: MaximB on March 18, 2008, 02:35:39 pm
I think it's ok that characters use less than perfect grammar sometimes. It's more realistic, anyway.

Yeah.
I remember it was very funny in NWN (I think) when your intelligence was too low and your character couldn't speak properly.
I hope that something like that will be in AoD as well. (will it Vince ?).


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on March 18, 2008, 02:45:49 pm
I strongly think that you guys are wrong, but I don't feel up to debating it.

I write dialog the same way I write forum posts and emails (although a more carefully, and with fewer typos). You may have noticed that I tend to use lots of italics, double dashes, parenthetical asides, semicolons, and ellipses in my posts. I also frequently use fragments of sentences, but unless I'm sarcastically employing an Internet meme I always capitalize properly and use punctuation.

This is all because I try to mimic the natural flow of speech -- complete with digressions, interjections, pauses, and short thoughts -- but I nevertheless employ a variety of punctuation and other tricks to conform as closely as possible to the accepted rules of style and grammar, and thereby avoid appearing like a borderline-illiterate, 14 year old Gamespot poster. My last thoughts on the subject: my preference is for the first of my two suggestions, since I like for characters to use poor grammar when appropriate, but I don't like it when it just seems like the writer made a mistake, as in Vince's original example.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: MaximB on March 18, 2008, 05:14:11 pm
My last thoughts on the subject: my preference is for the first of my two suggestions, since I like for characters to use poor grammar when appropriate, but I don't like it when it just seems like the writer made a mistake, as in Vince's original example.

Yep I agree with you here.
But Vince is a NOT native English speakers (like some of us) so we can all understand his mistakes, it's much harder then it looks.
As a non native English speaker I didn't notice some of Vince's grammar mistakes, but for this we got you guys ;)

 


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Tuomas on March 18, 2008, 05:42:17 pm
Finding another way in would be cool. Titus has a rope and he just climbed up and down the wall of the inn. A palace couldn't be that much harder! Maybe he could explore the surroundings a little bit and talk to people?

On the other hand, Vince would perhaps like to show us some of the quests that he wrote with so much love... they make for good article material anyway.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 18, 2008, 06:40:24 pm
Finding another way in would be cool. Titus has a rope and he just climbed up and down the wall of the inn. A palace couldn't be that much harder!
It is harder and something tells me that you don't have enough Dex to climb it quickly without being noticed and caught by guards (it's a palace after all, it's not for a playground for climbing enthusiasts), so let's avoid the embarrassment.

Anyway, let's finish the conversation and decide what to do.

[attachment deleted to save space]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Lainestin on March 18, 2008, 06:45:44 pm
Good stuff.

I vote that we go check out the ruins.

Will going to the ruins effect other quests that we already have? I know that some quests will auto-complete themselves if you leave the area, but what is considered leaving the area? Will going to the places that are just satellites of Teron cause any Teron quests to complete themselves?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 18, 2008, 06:52:33 pm
No. Satellites don't count. Anyway, you have now 3 *known* (and I won't spoil the rest) options to get in:

1. Investigate the ruins
2. Deal with the raiders
3. Double-cross Feng

Votes please. Also, here is how the map works. I accepted both quests just to add the locations to the map. Compare the screens and note the side-roads.

[attachment deleted to save space]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: MaximB on March 18, 2008, 06:55:02 pm
Alright , I think we should take the riders quest (as some of it was mentioned before so less spoiling here).
Double crossing Feng seems the fastest and easiest solution (although I didn't see the dialog option for doing so).


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Tuomas on March 18, 2008, 07:05:44 pm
Raiders. The whole setup of the quest is funny, so I want to know how it would play out for our Titus :)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: inhuman on March 18, 2008, 07:17:54 pm
I don't remember but if a substantial amount of spoilers has been given out before for the Raiders quest, then I vote for that as well. If not, then I vote for investigating the ruins.

I'd first go have a talk with Cassius to see whether I'd make a decision to do something about him or sell Feng out to him, or neither, but that would be kind of suspicious I guess, and a little more work for VD.

Quote
Double crossing Feng seems the fastest and easiest solution (although I didn't see the dialog option for doing so).

Cassius' location is given for that. You probably go see Cassius whether you intend to "get rid of him", or sell Feng out to Cassius, so it's natural that we don't see it on a screen, I guess.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on March 18, 2008, 07:39:05 pm
. . . something tells me that you don't have enough Dex to climb it quickly without being noticed and caught by guards

Just one of those funny feelings, huh?

Great dialogs -- especially the raiders explanation, and the followup. Dellar's a fun character. And here's another vote for the raiders. (Or possibly I already voted for the raiders?)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Oscar on March 18, 2008, 07:50:25 pm
I say we find another way to Adidas

lol


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: ninjelephant on March 18, 2008, 08:08:26 pm
I'm in for raiders.. Seems far more interesting than some old ruins  ;)
It would also be fun to see if we can deal with raiders without any fighting


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Claw on March 18, 2008, 08:15:48 pm
Anyway, let's finish the conversation and decide what to do.
I believe you meant to say "Something we don't know about it" in the first shot.

I'm torn, but let's have a look at those raiders. Maybe we should visit that arms dealer again and stock up on bolts before we leave the town.


It would also be fun to see if we can deal with raiders without any fighting
Yeah, more chances to use our Etiquette skill. Not.

I wouldn't entirely mind kicking some raider ass, I'm just not sure how well that'd work.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Lainestin on March 18, 2008, 08:45:33 pm
I'd hate for us to get into combat. Each round would take days with pages and pages of debate about which attack to use and who to target. The Let's Play thread for AOD2 would probably finish before this one did.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Decay on March 18, 2008, 09:44:31 pm
I say we find another way to Adidas

lol
You found it!  ;)

I'd hate for us to get into combat. Each round would take days with pages and pages of debate about which attack to use and who to target. The Let's Play thread for AOD2 would probably finish before this one did.
But shouldn't we nickpick on something besides dialogues now, like, TB combat?
You don't want dialogues to have ALL the good things now, do you?  ::)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Dr.Strangelove on March 18, 2008, 11:29:48 pm
EDIT:
I might be able to forgive you if you also deleted your impertinent post.  ;)
I deleted my highly impertinent post which pointed at the same mistake on AoD 48 as Claw's earlier post:
I believe you meant to say "Something we don't know about it" in the first shot.
EDIT end

The line: "It's a sacrifice I'm willing to make." on AoD 50 is another brilliant piece of sarcasm. Vince could easily write dialog for the Blackadder series which I bet he is familiar with. Chapeau!

I vote for the raiders camp, since it seems a task tailored for a stealthy character like our Titus. I suspect that these bandits aren't very professional. My second choice would be to double-cross greedy-lying-old-bastard Feng, but I'd prefer to do that later. Going for the ruins would be the first choice for a loremaster.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: GhanBuriGhan on March 19, 2008, 02:44:17 am
I am sticking with the raiders quest.
Love the "It's a sacrifice i am willing to make" line!



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: MaximB on March 19, 2008, 04:10:11 am
I am sticking with the raiders quest.
Love the "It's a sacrifice i am willing to make line"!

I loved the "You are good at begging, aren't you ?" line.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: inhuman on March 19, 2008, 07:23:18 am
That line is almost kinky. Upon reading it, it goes on like this in my mind: "You are good at begging, aren't you? Come on, beg, you piece of filth, and turn around! Oh yes.."


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Jedi_Learner on March 19, 2008, 08:02:58 am
Throughout this "Let's Play" thread, I have noticed the distinct lack of women. They exist in Age of Decadence, yes?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: MaximB on March 19, 2008, 08:34:43 am
Throughout this "Let's Play" thread, I have noticed the distinct lack of women. They exist in Age of Decadence, yes?

I sure hope so.
It's not fallout-like if you can't bang some women ;)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Mehler on March 19, 2008, 09:30:15 am
"the writing is pretty close to awful, scary, and embarrassing (http://www.rpgcodex.net/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=497885#497885)" says rpgcodex


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: MaximB on March 19, 2008, 09:41:59 am
"the writing is pretty close to awful, scary, and embarrassing ([url]http://www.rpgcodex.net/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=497885#497885[/url])" says rpgcodex


They think it's an early draft, but I got the feeling that AoD is closer to the finish now (I assume that 90%+ is done).


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Jedi_Learner on March 19, 2008, 09:42:55 am
Funny, I can't seem to find that exact quote Mehler.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Mehler on March 19, 2008, 09:48:23 am
It's not the exact quote, but the words are there.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: jeansberg on March 19, 2008, 09:51:09 am
What do you expect? It's the codex. :)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Jedi_Learner on March 19, 2008, 09:53:23 am
Quote from: Mehler
It's not the exact quote, but the words are there.

And you think that because three people don't like the writing, that constitutes the overall opinion of RPG Codex? Interesting.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Mephisto on March 19, 2008, 10:00:33 am
Funny thing when someone complains about the writing and doesn't use capital letters or even commas.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Pastel on March 19, 2008, 10:41:25 am
Fuck those codex guys. They hate every game that's not 2d isometric and made before 1993.  Just a bunch of fucking trolls gathered on a website.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: star on March 19, 2008, 11:20:32 am
Yeah, the 2 guys complaining about the writing didn't even use proper capitalization, grammar or line of argument, so let's just ignore them. There are just too many idiots in this world to care about each of their meaningless opinions. Your writing is great VD, love it.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on March 19, 2008, 11:25:55 am
Fuck those codex guys. They hate every game that's not 2d isometric and made before 1993.  Just a bunch of fucking trolls gathered on a website.

Heh. I was momentarily tempted to respond to this seriously before remembering that you're Lumpy.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Mehler on March 19, 2008, 12:16:41 pm
For the lulz:

"Andhaira: I guess may VD and his team should have wasted less time on forums and more time typing and/or getting someone who knows how to write well to do the writing."


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: sqeecoo on March 19, 2008, 12:21:07 pm
There are six different ways to get in. While it seems that doing Dellar's work for him is the only way in (other than successfully pretending to be a noble (requires both the skill and better clothes)), we never force you to do B to get to C.

Some ways will change Dellar's attitude completely, btw.

Wow. Just wow. (as in THIS IS GREAT!!!!!!)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 19, 2008, 12:21:36 pm
?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Brother None on March 19, 2008, 02:11:22 pm
I think he's saying he's impressed by the freedom of options, Vince.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: MaximB on March 19, 2008, 02:40:37 pm
Anyways... we are going to meet the raiders...


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: One Wolf on March 19, 2008, 05:44:53 pm
A couple of quick dialog tweaks (feel free to ignore the following):

In AoD 37:  "...he guarded yesterday." to "...he guarded the day before".

In AoD 38:  Should be "Master", with a capital M.

In AoD 39: Should be "Loremaster" (capital L), I believe.  I suppose it depends on the prestige of the postion. 

"Noble-born" might work better as "nobleman", but I can't recall whether or not you can play as a female character.

Antidas is a Lord, no?  If so, he is more likely to have someone else rip your tongue out rather than do it himself "Antidas will have your tongue ripped out for that."  Also, it would read better as "Antidas will have your tongue ripped out for this." 

In AoD 40:  "Loremaster" again.

In AoD 41:  "He did, didn't he?" should be "He did, did he?".  "master" to "Master" again, definitely in this situation.

"That's Master Feng's job to assure people...." might work better as "Master Feng's job is to assure people...", considering the context. 

In AoD 44:  "talents" might work better as just "talent" in that context.  Also, one line could stand to be split into two  i.e. "Don't worry, I'm a good judge of talent.  And since I don't see any, your tasks will be relatively simple." 

In AoD 46:  "...had managed..." should be "...have managed...", as the situation is still current/unresolved.

In AoD 47:  "Tell me more about the raiders" is missing a period.

In AoD 48:  "Not much to tell you." works slightly better as "Not much to tell."

"...don't have enough money and people..."  seems like it should be "...don't have enough money or people...", but I don't know why I feel that way. 

"...something we don't know about it..."  should be "...something we don't know about...".




There is always more work that could be done, but I'm trying not to descend into abject nit-pickery.

That being said, the dialog looks truly fantastic.  I can't wait to play.

-W


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: One Wolf on March 19, 2008, 05:49:14 pm
I vote for the Ruins, primarily because at a glance it seems to be a less dangerous endeavor, and I worry about our fledgling assassin getting himself into serious physical danger.  Then again, our Streetwise might be better employed vs. the Raiders...


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 19, 2008, 06:05:49 pm
Thanks for the suggestions, One Wolf. As for the raiders,  Streetwise will be useless there. It's a counter-persuasion skill. There are many very, very different ways (as usual) to handle this quest though, so you won't be disappointed. Anyway, give me a few days and I'll post some screens.




Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: One Wolf on March 19, 2008, 06:19:34 pm
As for the raiders,  Streetwise will be useless there. It's a counter-persuasion skill.

Ah yes, I'd mistaken its function again.


There are many very, very different ways (as usual) to handle this quest though, so you won't be disappointed.

I have no doubt :D


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Claw on March 19, 2008, 08:25:14 pm
Well, since this has become such a popular topic, I'll chime in as well.

In AoD 38:  Should be "Master", with a capital M.
Really? I didn't think the English were so fond of capitalisation.

Quote
In AoD 39: Should be "Loremaster" (capital L), I believe.  I suppose it depends on the prestige of the postion.
It should? Damn, I am so helpful today I can't believe I haven't been given a medal yet.

I am baffled, though. I was under the impression titles are only capitzalised when they are part of a name - "Loremaster Feng" - but not when used independently: "Feng, the loremaster."

Quote
"Noble-born" might work better as "nobleman", but I can't recall whether or not you can play as a female character.
I believe "noble" would suffice as well. Or if that sounds too mundane, he could say "someone of noble blood" which also has the advantage of sounding suitably pretentious.

Quote
Antidas is a Lord, no?  If so, he is more likely to have someone else rip your tongue out rather than do it himself "Antidas will have your tongue ripped out for that."  Also, it would read better as "Antidas will have your tongue ripped out for this."
That's true.

Quote
In AoD 41:  "He did, didn't he?" should be "He did, did he?"
I agree with that. The first sounds reaffirming, the second sarcastic.

Quote
"That's Master Feng's job to assure people...." might work better as "Master Feng's job is to assure people...", considering the context.
Nah, that doesn't sound right. Where the heck is cardtrick's suggestion? This thread contains too many posts.
Anyway, it should be: "That's Master Feng's job - to assure people...."

Quote
In AoD 44:  "talents" might work better as just "talent" in that context.  Also, one line could stand to be split into two  i.e. "Don't worry, I'm a good judge of talent.  And since I don't see any, your tasks will be relatively simple."
That's a very good suggestion.

Quote
In AoD 48:  "Not much to tell you." works slightly better as "Not much to tell."
I'm not terribly fond of either, to be honest, but that may be mostly a matter of taste. I'd prefer a more "complete" sentence: "I don't have much to tell you."

Quote
"...don't have enough money and people..."  seems like it should be "...don't have enough money or people...", but I don't know why I feel that way.
Because he means they have neither enough money nor enough people. It's not the summation that's lacking but both money and people independently.

Quote
"...something we don't know about it..."  should be "...something we don't know about...".
Three times a charm.  ;)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Dr.Strangelove on March 19, 2008, 08:54:57 pm
"...something we don't know about it..."  should be "...something we don't know about...".
Three times a charm.  ;)
[/quote]
Sorry about that, I didn't notice you had already pointed that out(I am the second who posted).


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Claw on March 19, 2008, 10:04:56 pm
I might be able to forgive you if you also deleted your impertinent post.  ;)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Dr.Strangelove on March 19, 2008, 11:53:15 pm
It's done (http://www.irontowerstudio.com/forum/index.php?topic=149.msg7148#msg7148) and, thus, the Cosmic Order has been restored... :)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Helian on March 20, 2008, 06:12:42 am
Quote
In AoD 48:  "Not much to tell you." works slightly better as "Not much to tell."
I'm not terribly fond of either, to be honest, but that may be mostly a matter of taste. I'd prefer a more "complete" sentence: "I don't have much to tell you."

...Or maybe "There's not much to tell you."? I think Vince aimed at keeping it impersonal.

And I think "could be found at the local inn" in Aod52 should be "can be found at the local inn"; at least if the player is sure of Cassius' location (yeah, I was too lazy to dig through the last 10+ pages to find out).


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: MaximB on March 20, 2008, 06:24:40 am
Guys, I am aware of your good intentions, but it will take forever to "correct" every little "mistake" Vince might have made.
If it's not something very important I suggest to just leave it.
Or on the other hand, just join the AoD team ;)
 


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Palmer Eldritch on March 20, 2008, 06:30:31 am
yeah, although it is a bit weird to me that the text to be used in the game wasn't initially proofread, i think typos and errors could be pointed out by beta-testers or addressed in a subsequent patch.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Helian on March 20, 2008, 10:50:40 am
Guys, I am aware of your good intentions, but it will take forever to "correct" every little "mistake" Vince might have made.
If it's not something very important I suggest to just leave it.
Or on the other hand, just join the AoD team ;)
 

Why not get an editor? Or an editing team? As I already pointed out some time ago, there are some very enthusiastic people here on the board who would be willing to do that for free in their spare time. Assuming that AoD's release won't be any earlier than autumn 2008, which is a more than reasonable guess, that leaves enough time for correcting a good portion of the text (just errors, no fancy stuff like subtle changes of meaning and/or tone). I'd be interested in Vince's opinion...


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: MaximB on March 20, 2008, 11:35:00 am
Guys, I am aware of your good intentions, but it will take forever to "correct" every little "mistake" Vince might have made.
If it's not something very important I suggest to just leave it.
Or on the other hand, just join the AoD team ;)
 

Why not get an editor? Or an editing team? As I already pointed out some time ago, there are some very enthusiastic people here on the board who would be willing to do that for free in their spare time. Assuming that AoD's release won't be any earlier than autumn 2008, which is a more than reasonable guess, that leaves enough time for correcting a good portion of the text (just errors, no fancy stuff like subtle changes of meaning and/or tone). I'd be interested in Vince's opinion...

It sounds like a good idea IF you don't mind the spoilers.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 20, 2008, 01:55:56 pm
Why not get an editor? ... I'd be interested in Vince's opinion...
I've tried working with several great editors, but discussing hundreds of text files and suggestions is a very time-consuming process. I mean, look at this thread. We've gone through less than two quests and it's a 50-page thread already. So, if you want an editor, add another year. AoD has a LOT of text. The raiders quest alone is an 8-page document. It would take a long time to go through everything.

So, you have to decide whether or not my writing is good enough. I can promise you that the dialogues will have occasional typos, some grammar issues, and even some awkward phrases. If that's completely unacceptable, we'll get an editor. Otherwise, we'll go with what we have.



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on March 20, 2008, 02:16:31 pm
What about 10 or 20 volunteer editors? Divide up the dialog into, say, 10 parcels. Then distribute one parcel to each volunteer, who will go ahead and make edits. Then have the volunteers switch off, so that each volunteer is now editing a parcel that's already been edited once. They then make their own edits, and if there are any disagreements with the previous edits, they work it out with the previous editor. If unable to settle it between them, Vince comes in as a final arbiter.

Then you get each dialog checked twice by external editors, who don't have to be paid. Each editor only has to do 1/5 of the whole job, so the game won't be spoiled for them (I'd volunteer to do that, but there's no way I'd want to ruin the game for myself by editing the whole thing).

There would be some refinements -- you'd want to be careful not to include any endings or essential scenes, and it would be best if you could make the parcels noncontinuous, so that any dialog gets broken up between all 10 parcels. That way no one could make much sense of what they're reading, which would both avoid spoilers and make sure that the editors are just editing the copy rather than the story.

I bet Nick could whip up a script to automatically generate those parcels and parse them into a readable format from the dialog files, and then reassemble them into the correct dialog files after edits have been made. (I have thoughts on how to do that if it's not obvious.)

Thoughts? I don't want to criticize your writing, because as I've said a number of times -- I think it's really good. But everyone needs an editor, and non-native speakers need one more than most. So yeah, if you want the game to have a professional level of quality, you do need some kind of editing scheme.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: callehe on March 20, 2008, 02:24:41 pm
Outsource the editing to India I say. It's cheap, they're good in English and they probably don't mind the spoilers. :D


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 20, 2008, 02:32:13 pm
What about 10 or 20 volunteer editors?
It's not about the editors. It's about me not having enough time to deal with one editor, not to mention 10 or 20.

Quote
Thoughts? I don't want to criticize your writing, because as I've said a number of times -- I think it's really good. But everyone needs an editor, and non-native speakers need one more than most. So yeah, if you want the game to have a professional level of quality, you do need some kind of editing scheme.
I'm not saying that my writing is great and awesome. I'm well aware that English isn't my first or even the second language. Unfortunately.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: MaximB on March 20, 2008, 02:46:44 pm
As a non native English speaker I don't mind the grammar, I just don't see most of it and I can accept it as it is now.
It is understandable and let's face it, if we are to "repair" the dialogs the game won't be released this year, I don't think that Iron Tower can afford waiting another year.
 


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on March 20, 2008, 02:48:00 pm
That's the point of having the editors swap off after doing their first parcel -- that way they correct each other and you only have to get involved if there's a dispute. I assume you would probably do random spot checks to make sure that the editors were doing a decent job, but you wouldn't have to deal with each of them individually all the time. Like I said, I'm pretty sure Nick could whip something up to export your dialogs as randomized parcels. Probably the coding would involve breaking the dialog into sections and assigning a unique 20 digit number to each section which would be outputted before and after the corresponding block of text in the reader-friendly version. Then the volunteer editors make their changes inside that block, and Nick's program scans through all the files and inserts the edited text back into the proper sections using the unique ID numbers.

Probably a day of work for him, and a while longer for you identifying those sections that you definitely don't want to have edited and getting and organizing a crew of editors that you trust. Then just let them (us?) go to it, and the editing should be able to proceed more or less autonomously. Maybe have a weekly meeting by instant messenger or just a group email list to keep track of progress and make sure none of the editors are getting too far behind, but otherwise I don't think this would take too much of your time.

On the other hand, if you don't get an editor I'll still play (and almost certainly love) the game. It probably won't have much impact on anyone's enjoyment, and you could make sure to tell your beta testers to keep an eye out for any particularly egregious errors to get the worst of it taken care of (probably want to implement saving a log to a file  with a single keypress during the beta test anyway, so the testers can just do that if they see anything bad).

If you don't go with the parcel thing or some other scheme to get all the text edited, I do still think you should get an editor or two to at least look over all the vignettes and the first several quests -- maybe even the whole first town. It's a little like cheating, I guess, but that way people get a chance to fall in love with the game before getting turned off by some awkward sentences or typos. And that way the professional game reviewers simply never see anything bad!


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: GhanBuriGhan on March 20, 2008, 03:27:53 pm
I understand that you don't have time to discuss with an editor. What you should still do is to have copy editing. Strictly for spelling, word repetition and obvious grammar. I think if you can find someone you trust on those, there is no need to discuss much. You send it out, it gets corrected, you load it back up, done. Will avoid a lot on unecessary ridicule at release.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 20, 2008, 04:48:26 pm
That's the point of having the editors swap off after doing their first parcel -- that way they correct each other and you only have to get involved if there's a dispute.
Doesn't work like that. Typos are easy to fix. "Awkward phrases" would require a lot of discussions. Unfortunately, it's hard to say what's awkward and what isn't, what's good writing and what's bad writing, what's too excessive and what too brief and "childish". Those two threads at the Codex illustrate my point perfectly.

Trust me, it's a long project. Maybe it's worth doing and maybe it isn't, but it's not a quick and easy thing.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: MaximB on March 20, 2008, 05:24:52 pm
That's the point of having the editors swap off after doing their first parcel -- that way they correct each other and you only have to get involved if there's a dispute.
Doesn't work like that. Typos are easy to fix. "Awkward phrases" would require a lot of discussions. Unfortunately, it's hard to say what's awkward and what isn't, what's good writing and what's bad writing, what's too excessive and what too brief and "childish". Those two threads at the Codex illustrate my point perfectly.

Trust me, it's a long project. Maybe it's worth doing and maybe it isn't, but it's not a quick and easy thing.

We have to trust Vince on that.
If it's not spelling or wrong lines (ordering, grammar) there is no much we or anyone else can do in a reasonable time.
If Vince write the quests only he can know what he meant the NPC's to "feel" while saying what they say.
And so far I have no major complaints to Vince. (except the minor grammar problems).
If we are to try to correct it, it will take forever.
It won't work as everyone sees the "lines" a little bit different then others.

Maximum those grammar problems will make you LOL and make the game even funnier ;)
 


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Dr.Strangelove on March 20, 2008, 05:36:21 pm
Imagine the LOLz of the Codex trolls or, worse, of the game reviewers.
I agree with GhanBuriGhan that objective matters as spelling, grammar and syntax should be addressed to avoid embarrassment. The rest is not worth the trouble as Vince's writing is good, better than that of many English native speakers.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: MaximB on March 20, 2008, 05:59:12 pm
Imagine the LOLz of the Codex trolls or, worse, of the game reviewers.
I agree with GhanBuriGhan that objective matters as spelling, grammar and syntax should be addressed to avoid embarrassment. The rest is not worth the trouble as Vince's writing is good, better than that of many English native speakers.

Yep, basically what I've said :)
Agreed.
so watch for those red lines under the words Vince ;)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: galsiah on March 20, 2008, 06:10:14 pm
Sure - however a spell checker isn't a copy editor:
Their our shore too bees lips witch wont shoe us ass er ors.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: MaximB on March 20, 2008, 06:14:09 pm
Sure - however a spell checker isn't a copy editor:
Their our shore too bees lips witch wont shoe us ass er ors.

yeah well I imagine that a brief reading/scrolling will do here.
 


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on March 20, 2008, 07:55:23 pm
That's what I've been saying. Copy editing still takes a hell of a lot of time and involves spoiling the entire game for yourself; unless you want to shell out $20 an hour for a professional, you're going to need volunteers, which is where my randomized automated parcels and "buddy system" of double checking comes in.

I wasn't proposing that the editors go through changing phrases all willy nilly, although I think that they should have limited scope to correct extremely awkward phrases and only if the two buddies both agree to the change without question. All along, I've been using the term "copy editing" rather than "editing", because that's what I'm referring to: spelling, grammar, and simply wrong phrases; but no style or tone changes, and no subjective changes to story, setting, or characters.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Zeron on March 21, 2008, 02:20:45 am
Hi!  English is my second language, so I don't really found problems with the dialogs. :)
Solution - target non-english markets :)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Palmer Eldritch on March 21, 2008, 03:09:06 am
I'm actually fine with it as it is, since the dialogs presented thus far seem informative and entertaining enough, but I should add that I'm not a native speaker (seems to be quite a few of those in the potential fan-base). Just wanted to say that it's not a deal-breaker for me, if there are some errors. That said, I'd be glad to compile a list of suggested changes while I play the game.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Claw on March 21, 2008, 01:25:17 pm
I wasn't proposing that the editors go through changing phrases all willy nilly, although I think that they should have limited scope to correct extremely awkward phrases and only if the two buddies both agree to the change without question. All along, I've been using the term "copy editing" rather than "editing", because that's what I'm referring to: spelling, grammar, and simply wrong phrases; but no style or tone changes, and no subjective changes to story, setting, or characters.

I think that's a good idea. Maybe changes that go beyond correcting obvious errors should be proposed on the side, and the editors could discuss them among each other, especially in respect to the double-editing you suggested. So editor #2 would get back at #1 after he's gone through the text and discuss the merit of these "extended changes" and then the agreed upon changes are presented to Vince who'd just have to approve of deny them.
Also, I think editor #2 should also have access to the original text. That way he's also checking if editor #1 restrained himself from editing more than he was supposed to, and he may be able to better judge if changes are appropriate. Also, if the two of them can't come to an agreement, they might first ask the other editors to look at some phrase - including the necessary context - before bothering Vince.

It seems to me that Vince isn't comfortable with letting other people work on the text unsupervised. Who knows what they'll really do with the text? I do however believe this isn't an entirely rational fear: He doesn't have to trust anyone. All he has to do is read the reassembled texts in the end, maybe with the original at hand. That shouldn't take too long. I mean, it does take time, but it shouldn't be close to adding another year as he suggested. He wouldn't have to actually discuss all the changes. He'd just quickly read through the text to make sure there are no glaring mis-corrections. Obviously, he'd have to trust his editors to some degree and not ask them to justify every small change in grammar.
I don't even think weekly meetings are necessary.

Last not least, I don't believe the two threads Vince referred to as evidence that editing causes an undue amount of debate don't make his point. For one, arguing on a public forum is cheap. Any idiot can do it and there is very little restraint. See also -> John Gabriel's Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory (http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/19)
However, I thought that many changes were quickly accepted and debate mostly occurred concerning details, such as which slightly different variant is better.* This doesn't need to concern Vince; two reasonable people working as editors should be able to settle for one definite choice. Also, to repeat myself: Vince wouldn't have to debate changes with the editors. If they propose a different phrase and he doesn't like it, he rejects it and doesn't have to justify himself or even tell the editos. Even if the editors feel his choice was wrong once they find out - the result of such an approach would still be superior to rejecting editing altogether.
It wouldn't be no work, but it shouldn't be too much work if Vince can just delegate and stay out of the editing process.

*This didn't seem to fit into the flow of my argument, but the other case is of course anonymous trolls and dumbfucks - not labeled so by accident - which can be safely ignored.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: namad on March 22, 2008, 05:30:11 am
how about you just do a patch like a few months after release and fix whatever errors get pointed out really popularly via some sorta form on the website...

theres really no way i can see you managing to supervise any form of editing without taking too much of your real time


either hire a professional you trust and lose money/(some time) or lose LOTS of time making sure you agree with all the changes some sorta volunteer work comes up with... but hell if this is your pet project are you gonna let a professional get away with anything either? probably not... unless you have a cousin brother or wife who is an editor/english professor i think there might be no easy solution.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Jedi_Learner on March 22, 2008, 08:36:51 am
So, you have to decide whether or not my writing is good enough. I can promise you that the dialogues will have occasional typos, some grammar issues, and even some awkward phrases. If that's completely unacceptable, we'll get an editor. Otherwise, we'll go with what we have.

I think your writing is good enough. I hope the game doesn't get delayed by another year, just because a few people don't like how a particular sentence is phrased. I can live with the occasional spelling or grammar mistake. I know some of you are trying to help, but for fuck sake, some of you will complain just about anything. :neutral:


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: star on March 22, 2008, 11:38:06 am
I say go without an editor. It's neither worth the money nor the time. The best thing you could do (imho) would be an extensive beta-test (of the full game, not just the first town or something) by a few choosen people. This way the most obvious mistakes (in design/quests as well as in grammar) should emerge quickly and you can fix them.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Helian on March 22, 2008, 02:26:26 pm
I say go without an editor. It's neither worth the money nor the time. The best thing you could do (imho) would be an extensive beta-test (of the full game, not just the first town or something) by a few choosen people. This way the most obvious mistakes (in design/quests as well as in grammar) should emerge quickly and you can fix them.

That's actually a great idea (assuming that there are some native speakers among the beta-testers). This way there won't be any additional expenses at all, regarding time as well as finances.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on March 22, 2008, 02:38:19 pm
Of course it's a great idea. But if Vince thinks dealing with an editor will take too long, surely dealing with beta testers is completely out of the question? If dealing with one editor would delay the release by an additional year, as he said, it seems that dealing with a team of beta testers could take anywhere from three years to a decade. (Obviously hyperbole on both Vince's and my parts, but the point stands.)

Personally, I think a beta test is worthwhile even if it extends the release, but then again I have some hope that I might be one of the testers, so I might be biased . . .


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on March 22, 2008, 03:20:34 pm
They are testing the game anyway, internally, as they make it. I think they should test it internally for a week or something, full steam, and then released it. It's an indie, bugs are expected and understandable.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on March 22, 2008, 03:37:27 pm
I think they should test it internally for a week or something, full steam, and then released it. It's an indie, bugs are expected and understandable.

That's an awful attitude.

AoD has a shot at being the first indie RPG to be successful. Why spoil that by adopting the very flaws that prevent reviewers and customers from taking indie releases seriously?

People can understand that indie games don't have the budget for the engines and graphics of AAA releases. No one's expecting AoD to compete with Crysis. But there's no excuse for misspellings, bad grammar, and untested bugs; indies and commercial games have a more equal playing field here than in just about any other area.

If AoD is released and the first few reviews from customers and pro/semi-pro reviewers complain at length about poor editing, bugginess, and constant crashes then we already know exactly what is going to happen: AoD will go the way of PtD. And if that happens because only a week was allocated to testing, then Vince & Co. will deserve it.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: callehe on March 22, 2008, 03:47:03 pm
I'm inclined to agree with Cardtrick about the idea of multiple editors. You could try it out Vince on a small scale. If it works and you are satisfied with the initial results you could let larger bodies of text be edited this way. Otherwise you could just use your old text. Nothing lost for you. All you need to do read alot of edits and choose what you would like to keep.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Lainestin on March 22, 2008, 03:56:27 pm
They are testing the game anyway, internally, as they make it. I think they should test it internally for a week or something, full steam, and then released it. It's an indie, bugs are expected and understandable.

I think that is the wrong attitude to take if you want to see anymore Iron Tower games after AOD. If they treat their game like it is an indie then the market will to. I don't think ITS have hidden behind the Indie label or have ever used it as an excuse for problems with the game. Considering that AOD needs to succeed for them to make anymore games, VD should take as much time as he wants, even if that means another year or two.

Has Titus made it to the Raiders camp yet?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on March 22, 2008, 04:17:57 pm
I said a week like I could have said a mouth. The point is they should test it internally, full steam, after everything else.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: ninjelephant on March 22, 2008, 08:36:13 pm
I think they should test it internally for a week or something, full steam, and then released it. It's an indie, bugs are expected and understandable.

That's an awful attitude.

AoD has a shot at being the first indie RPG to be successful. Why spoil that by adopting the very flaws that prevent reviewers and customers from taking indie releases seriously?

People can understand that indie games don't have the budget for the engines and graphics of AAA releases. No one's expecting AoD to compete with Crysis. But there's no excuse for misspellings, bad grammar, and untested bugs; indies and commercial games have a more equal playing field here than in just about any other area.

If AoD is released and the first few reviews from customers and pro/semi-pro reviewers complain at length about poor editing, bugginess, and constant crashes then we already know exactly what is going to happen: AoD will go the way of PtD. And if that happens because only a week was allocated to testing, then Vince & Co. will deserve it.

First I have to agree that it IS a bad attitude.
On the second, about the crashes and bugs and really poor editing.. how about this:
If AoD doesnt have a full game beta testing then at least you could give a demo to only some members on this forum first,
and if some really bad crushes or bugs or poor editing are found than I would suggest reconsidering a delay of game and full game beta testing..
Just a thought..


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: cardtrick on March 22, 2008, 09:33:30 pm
That's not a real solution, though. Among other things, it doesn't take into account game breaking bugs that occur past the demo area; it wouldn't have caught either of VTMB's game breakers, for example. And if you're suggesting that the demo include the entire game . . . then how is that different from a beta test?

In any case, Vince has stated repeatedly that the demo won't be available before the full game.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: ninjelephant on March 23, 2008, 06:21:12 am
In any case, Vince has stated repeatedly that the demo won't be available before the full game.
didnt know that :/


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Pastel on March 23, 2008, 07:39:51 am
Putting in a console, like in MW or NWN2 would be a very good idea in my opinion, even if took another month of work by the coder. That would pretty much eliminate the possibility of game-breaking bugs, since you could patch up your own game without having to restart.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 23, 2008, 09:05:03 am
Has Titus made it to the Raiders camp yet?
My apologies. I'm very busy at work, will try to take the screens tomorrow.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Lainestin on March 23, 2008, 07:59:46 pm
Has Titus made it to the Raiders camp yet?
My apologies. I'm very busy at work, will try to take the screens tomorrow.

Oh, I didn't mean to sound impatient. I just didn't want the thread to get too derailed.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 28, 2008, 08:03:36 pm
Sorry, guys. Too much work lately. Anyway, decision time.

[attachment deleted to save space]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Pastel on March 28, 2008, 08:34:50 pm
Look gallows. Then, Go west.

Go with the sneak attack. If Titus kills the boss, he might have a good chance against the others.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Jedi_Learner on March 28, 2008, 09:06:43 pm
Demanding the prisoner might be seen as a sign of confidence and strength to the leader. Or that your suicidal. Hmmmm. The sneak attack could fail, and that would leave Titus in a dangerous situation. Even if he kills the leader, he has to contend with several raiders at once. The raiders could already know that House Daratan killed one of their own, and not knowing the full story they could make an example of you if you tell them that House Daratan sent you. I don't know which choice to make!

I'm not over evaluating the situation, am I? lol


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Fosse on March 28, 2008, 09:23:03 pm
Let's go with the truth.  Throw some bravado at this guy and see if our casual tone in this situation doesn't pay off.  I could see the leader being more intimidated by that than the first line, but it lets him also act casually in front of his men. 

We can't bully the prisoner free (option 1) because the leader wants to look tough for his men, and we should think twice about getting into a risky combat against so many armed opponents. 

Plus, we might learn a different side of the story.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: wex on March 28, 2008, 09:36:06 pm
I vote for an attempt towards diplomatic solution. Several is more than one, and although Titus has a dagger now, I am not convinced he can defeat 4+ alert enemies. And if he doesn't, the LP is over. :(

They might know that Daratans killed their messenger, but they wish to get something for the captive, and they will not if they kill whoever is sent to negotiate. Disclosing Titus' allegiance probably isn't that risky. Especially considering that he hardly signed anything.

Which one of the raiders is the leader, the middle one? Holding a hand on a pommel implies that the weapon is sheathed, and they are all armed. What is that in his hand anyway?
By the way, can you say "holding his hand on the sword's pommel" if the sword is never mentioned before?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 28, 2008, 10:34:54 pm
Alright, let's brain storm. Option 1 is a suicide mission. A tough basher can pull it off, maybe even become a new leader of the gang, forcing the raiders into submission, but that's a job for the real Titus Pullo, not some wannabe. Option 3 is lame because it doesn't have the magic tags. So, option 2 it is!

Hmm, looks like Titus should have spent more time practicing strikes at vital organs instead of eating donuts and reading Etiquette for Dummies.
HAY! WHERE IS MAH GOLD?!

[attachment deleted to save space]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 28, 2008, 10:36:53 pm
Ok, let's pretend that never happened. Option 3!

[attachment deleted to save space]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 28, 2008, 10:45:25 pm
Haggling...

[attachment deleted to save space]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Fosse on March 28, 2008, 11:28:11 pm
Does your trading skill impact what the agreed upon price will finally be? 

Also, it's kind of obnoxious to have to click through every little step of the "negotiation."  "1000," "200," "900," "300," etc, etc... it reads like a Bugs Bunny script more than anything else.  Why not skip right to it?

"Please, the big guy wouldn't even be looking for this brat if it weren't such a slow week.  For half that much he could just send a few mercenary companies."

"Fine, 500."

I'm not getting a sense of freedom in this quest.  It feels like our options are to fight or deliver a message to the Lord (with the option of haggling the price).  I realize that in these text adventures we don't always see all possible choices if our skills are too low, but it seems we're pretty limited here.  With skills increased a bit would it be possible to sneak in under cover of night and try to break the hostage out, or persuade them to let him go right now?  Can we use our faction standing to talk up how Daratan loves to hire our fellow Assassins and just intimidate the hostage free? 


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: GhanBuriGhan on March 29, 2008, 04:17:01 am
I for one enjoy the haggling bit. It is linear, but full of flavor. A keeper if you ask me. I also disagree with Fosse on the options, I think they are very reasonable, and as we saw in the first option, may not always turn out as we initially thought.

The usual nitpick: It should be "That depends on the kin..." not a kin, am I right?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on March 29, 2008, 04:21:18 am
Ok, let's pretend that never happened. Option 3!
I don't understand why people didn't like that at first. Option 3 would be a go-always for me :\ Always know your enemy.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Pastel on March 29, 2008, 06:16:20 am
Alright, let's brain storm. Option 1 is a suicide mission. A tough basher can pull it off, maybe even become a new leader of the gang, forcing the raiders into submission, but that's a job for the real Titus Pullo, not some wannabe. Option 3 is lame because it doesn't have the magic tags. So, option 2 it is!

Hmm, looks like Titus should have spent more time practicing strikes at vital organs instead of eating donuts and reading Etiquette for Dummies.
HAY! WHERE IS MAH GOLD?!
Hey, it's not my fault our assassin is a fucking pussy who can't even handle the tailor-made-for-assassins option. And shouldn't being beaten to a pulp be followed by a big crossbow shootout with the raiders?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Pastel on March 29, 2008, 06:20:02 am
I'm not getting a sense of freedom in this quest.  It feels like our options are to fight or deliver a message to the Lord (with the option of haggling the price).  I realize that in these text adventures we don't always see all possible choices if our skills are too low, but it seems we're pretty limited here.  With skills increased a bit would it be possible to sneak in under cover of night and try to break the hostage out, or persuade them to let him go right now?  Can we use our faction standing to talk up how Daratan loves to hire our fellow Assassins and just intimidate the hostage free? 

In an older pic, it was shown that if you had high-enough perception, you could notice something about the camp. Can't remember what that was exactly, but it probably led to an alternate solution.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: MaximB on March 29, 2008, 06:29:39 am
Alright, let's brain storm. Option 1 is a suicide mission. A tough basher can pull it off, maybe even become a new leader of the gang, forcing the raiders into submission, but that's a job for the real Titus Pullo, not some wannabe. Option 3 is lame because it doesn't have the magic tags. So, option 2 it is!

Hmm, looks like Titus should have spent more time practicing strikes at vital organs instead of eating donuts and reading Etiquette for Dummies.
HAY! WHERE IS MAH GOLD?!
Hey, it's not my fault our assassin is a fucking pussy who can't even handle the tailor-made-for-assassins option. And shouldn't being beaten to a pulp be followed by a big crossbow shootout with the raiders?

Well, we decided to invest in speech skills instead of fighting/assassin skills.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: callehe on March 29, 2008, 06:42:39 am
Question: why is Titus using critical strike skill here instead of dexterity? The throatstab using the bolt used dexterity if I recall correctly. This is about the same situation here in my opinion.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on March 29, 2008, 07:30:38 am
Question: why is Titus using critical strike skill here instead of dexterity? The throatstab using the bolt used dexterity if I recall correctly. This is about the same situation here in my opinion.
That's one of the reasons why I think they should hid the skill checks...


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 29, 2008, 07:51:03 am
Does your trading skill impact what the agreed upon price will finally be?
No. Once you pass the check, you get the "flavor" conversation that you dislike so much.

Quote
Also, it's kind of obnoxious to have to click through every little step of the "negotiation."  "1000," "200," "900," "300," etc, etc... it reads like a Bugs Bunny script more than anything else.  Why not skip right to it?
That's what negotiations often look like. Cutting it down to one line, in my opinion, will reduce a conversation to "uh, can you give me a discount?", which would be kinda lame.

Quote
I'm not getting a sense of freedom in this quest.  It feels like our options are to fight or deliver a message to the Lord (with the option of haggling the price).  I realize that in these text adventures we don't always see all possible choices if our skills are too low, but it seems we're pretty limited here.  With skills increased a bit would it be possible to sneak in under cover of night and try to break the hostage out, or persuade them to let him go right now?  Can we use our faction standing to talk up how Daratan loves to hire our fellow Assassins and just intimidate the hostage free? 
Here are the options:

1. Kill 'em all
2. Kill the leader, intimidate the rest (either to leave or to accept you as a new leader)
3. Negotiate the ransom. IF you convince H. Daratan to pay the ransom, you can pocket the difference.
4. Provide tactical information to Dellar. His enforcers will attack and the results will depend on the quality of the info, which tied to your Perception.
5. Convince/pay the thieves to deal with the raiders (here are some old screens)
6. Make a deal with the Imperial Guards.

Still not enough freedom? You can't convince the raiders to let the noble go (that would be silly, imo), but you can convince other people to deal with the situation, which is more interesting and interactive than picking an option you like the most from a list (see my article about diplomatic paths).[/quote]

[attachment deleted to save space]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 29, 2008, 07:55:54 am
Hey, it's not my fault our assassin is a fucking pussy who can't even handle the tailor-made-for-assassins option. And shouldn't being beaten to a pulp be followed by a big crossbow shootout with the raiders?
a) check your hit points
b) you don't have your crossbow anymore. In fact, you don't have anything in your inventory anymore (other than what you're wearing). On the plus side, you've learned something and now have 5 brand new Dodge points.

In an older pic, it was shown that if you had high-enough perception, you could notice something about the camp. Can't remember what that was exactly, but it probably led to an alternate solution.
Now you have to click the eye icon for that.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 29, 2008, 08:07:30 am
Question: why is Titus using critical strike skill here instead of dexterity? The throatstab using the bolt used dexterity if I recall correctly. This is about the same situation here in my opinion.
Well, yes and no. In the first case any outcome was fine. You could have failed completely and still ended up fighting the guard and maybe even killing him. You don't have the same option here. Your only option is to kill the leader with one strike. If you start fighting him the other raiders will join the fight and then it's all over for you.

The other reason is that here we are talking about a simple strike, while in the guard's case, it was more "cinematic", with throwing and lunging.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Jedi_Learner on March 29, 2008, 10:43:43 am
Throughout this "Let's Play" thread, I have noticed the distinct lack of women. They exist in Age of Decadence, yes?

Where are the hawt, sexy women? :(


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: xenocide on March 29, 2008, 11:15:11 am
a) check your hit points
b) you don't have your crossbow anymore. In fact, you don't have anything in your inventory anymore (other than what you're wearing). On the plus side, you've learned something and now have 5 brand new Dodge points.

Excellent.  I was actually wondering if the raiders stole your stuff, as they clearly should in that situation.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 29, 2008, 11:18:28 am
Throughout this "Let's Play" thread, I have noticed the distinct lack of women. They exist in Age of Decadence, yes?

Where are the hawt, sexy women? :(
You haven't met them yet.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Special_Can on March 29, 2008, 06:31:26 pm
Here are the options:

1. Kill 'em all
2. Kill the leader, intimidate the rest (either to leave or to accept you as a new leader)
3. Negotiate the ransom. IF you convince H. Daratan to pay the ransom, you can pocket the difference.
4. Provide tactical information to Dellar. His enforcers will attack and the results will depend on the quality of the info, which tied to your Perception.
5. Convince/pay the thieves to deal with the raiders (here are some old screens)
6. Make a deal with the Imperial Guards.

Still not enough freedom? You can't convince the raiders to let the noble go (that would be silly, imo), but you can convince other people to deal with the situation, which is more interesting and interactive than picking an option you like the most from a list (see my article about diplomatic paths).

 Yummy.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Fosse on March 30, 2008, 07:30:37 pm
The choices look great.  I was only concerned that the ones we saw were all that were available (since you tweaked the earlier screenshot to show all the choices possible when we only "earned" a few of them.) and while I like the ones I listed, of course, I can't find fault with the ones present.  In a game like this there will always be something anyone can think of that just can't be followed, that's just life. 

As for the "flavor" text..... it just feels extreme.  If I'm dealing with somebody and they offer me 20% of my asking price then I can see immediately that we're not going to reach a deal.  Low balling your offer is one thing, but insulting the person you're buying from is another.  If the player initially countered with 600 and they wound up reaching a deal of around 750 then I wouldn't think twice about the end result, and the minor annoyance of clicking half a dozen times for a succession of screens with one line of dialogue wouldn't be quite so grating. 


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 30, 2008, 08:54:47 pm
The choices look great.  I was only concerned that the ones we saw were all that were available...
I dislike "one stop shopping" designs, so you'll never get all options at the same place.

Quote
As for the "flavor" text..... it just feels extreme.  If I'm dealing with somebody and they offer me 20% of my asking price then I can see immediately that we're not going to reach a deal.  Low balling your offer is one thing, but insulting the person you're buying from is another.  If the player initially countered with 600 and they wound up reaching a deal of around 750 then I wouldn't think twice about the end result, and the minor annoyance of clicking half a dozen times for a succession of screens with one line of dialogue wouldn't be quite so grating. 
You are mistaken here.

First, your position is based on the assumption that the asking price is fair and thus a low offer is ridiculous and offensive. Asking price isn't always fair. In this particular case, what is a fair price? A thousand? Two? A few hundred? A painful death?

Second, there are many cultures where negotiations follow different rules and are a ritual that's very important to both parties. I've been told that this sequence captured the spirit of middle-eastern trading very well.

Lastly, I've been in sales for the last 12 years, and I can assure that low balling is a viable tactic and it happens quite a lot.




Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: namad on March 30, 2008, 10:20:49 pm
if anything you didn't haggle aggressively enough..

i know someone who haggles all the time even in America in stores that don't accept haggling and it actually often works if you can talk to the manager they'll always cut you a deal... if you know what their profit margins are you know they'll make money even giving you a discount and so they'll do it...

in Manhattan they sell counterfeit clothing and bags for like half normal price when in fact if you aren't a tourist you know that one tenth the price is still a massive profit to the criminals etc etc



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: MaximB on March 31, 2008, 02:40:56 am
I think I know why some members here disliked that kind of "barging", you said there is always a choice and yes you are right there are many choices, but in this kind of dialog all you do is click "next" "next" "next" until the barging is resolved, this appear to some members as you don't really have a choice (once you picked the "barging" dialog option) but to click "next".
I think that if you put that same barging dialog in one window (with the NPC and the players names to know who say what) that would give the player in the next window that would appear a real choices.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on March 31, 2008, 03:17:38 am
That kind of "next-next" is present in Planescape. And since it has been said to be an influence, people shouldn't be surprised...


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Tuomas on March 31, 2008, 06:40:19 am
I think the haggling sequence is awesome. :)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Helian on March 31, 2008, 07:01:50 am
I think the haggling sequence is awesome. :)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 31, 2008, 07:38:28 am
That kind of "next-next" is present in Planescape. And since it has been said to be an influence, people shouldn't be surprised...
There is no other way to create believable conversations and thus believable characters.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: MaximB on March 31, 2008, 08:04:30 am
That kind of "next-next" is present in Planescape. And since it has been said to be an influence, people shouldn't be surprised...
There is no other way to create believable conversations and thus believable characters.

Actually there is...
Make more dialog options (about barging) that won't influence the outcome as the "skill check" already been made, it would create the false feeling that you actually do have a choice.

Or make more dialog options that will involve other skill checks (speech skills) that will influence the price (like he will be more favorable to you thus lower the prices).

But it is still good as it is now.
 


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: inhuman on March 31, 2008, 08:12:27 am
Maybe, if VD gave a dialogue option to opt out at every step (except for the final one) of haggling and return to the initial choices, then the problem might be solved?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: grisse on March 31, 2008, 09:07:41 am
I think the haggling sequence is awesome. :)
Agreed.

I'd say it makes sense as it is now. 1000 coins sounds like the outrageous demand made so they don't get peanuts and if you decide to bargain with the raider's chieftain, you can hardly say "Actually, nevermind, I think I'll just go now." in the middle of your little parley. Just doesn't seem like a smart thing to do when you're outnumbered and outgunned.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on March 31, 2008, 11:15:29 am
That kind of "next-next" is present in Planescape. And since it has been said to be an influence, people shouldn't be surprised...
There is no other way to create believable conversations and thus believable characters.
I'm sorry, I don't understand what you mean... :\ I think that is the way to create believable conversations if that's what you meant.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: jeansberg on March 31, 2008, 11:23:25 am
Quote
Actually there is...
Make more dialog options (about barging) that won't influence the outcome as the "skill check" already been made, it would create the false feeling that you actually do have a choice.
That's exactly what we don't want.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Scott on March 31, 2008, 11:31:08 am
By the way, can you say "holding his hand on the sword's pommel" if the sword is never mentioned before?
Even better, just drop "holding": ...his hand on his sword's pommel.

Also, it should be "Who can put a price on the life of kin?", not "a kin", nor "the kin".  Off the top of my head, kin in its typcial meaning should never have an article in front of it.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: MaximB on March 31, 2008, 11:34:49 am
Quote
Actually there is...
Make more dialog options (about barging) that won't influence the outcome as the "skill check" already been made, it would create the false feeling that you actually do have a choice.
That's exactly what we don't want.

Then go with the other way "make more dialog options that will involve other skill checks (speech skills or toughness skills ) that will influence the price (like he will be more favorable to you or be scared of you thus lower the prices)."


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: star on March 31, 2008, 11:37:18 am
...will you guys ever stop complaining about every single sentence and word you don't like?




(No, I don't want an answer)


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Scott on March 31, 2008, 11:39:49 am
I'm not complaining, I'm talking about basic English grammar and hoping that a few corrections of the few sentences I do see will percolate throughout the game and raise the level of the English (not the content, which is great) a little.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: star on March 31, 2008, 11:42:55 am
Thats the point, changing a word here and there (in an extremly text-heavy game, like Vince said about 8 pages of text for an average quest), will not raise the level of english in a notable way.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: MaximB on March 31, 2008, 11:50:17 am
Thats the point, changing a word here and there (in an extremly text-heavy game, like Vince said about 8 pages of text for an average quest), will not raise the level of english in a notable way.

Sadly you might be right here...
Ok Vince, STOP LISTENING TO OUR COMPLAINS AND RELEASE THE GAME ALREADY !!! :D


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: star on March 31, 2008, 11:57:10 am
I'm not against polishing every aspect of the game until it really shines, I'm just saying do it in an effective way.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 31, 2008, 12:00:09 pm
That kind of "next-next" is present in Planescape. And since it has been said to be an influence, people shouldn't be surprised...
There is no other way to create believable conversations and thus believable characters.
I'm sorry, I don't understand what you mean... :\ I think that is the way to create believable conversations if that's what you meant.
I meant that uninterrupted [by other options] dialogue sequences are the only way to create believable conversations and thus believable characters.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 31, 2008, 12:00:35 pm
By the way, can you say "holding his hand on the sword's pommel" if the sword is never mentioned before?
Even better, just drop "holding": ...his hand on his sword's pommel.

Also, it should be "Who can put a price on the life of kin?", not "a kin", nor "the kin".  Off the top of my head, kin in its typcial meaning should never have an article in front of it.
Thanks.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on March 31, 2008, 12:04:00 pm
That kind of "next-next" is present in Planescape. And since it has been said to be an influence, people shouldn't be surprised...
There is no other way to create believable conversations and thus believable characters.
I'm sorry, I don't understand what you mean... :\ I think that is the way to create believable conversations if that's what you meant.
I meant that uninterrupted [by other options] dialogue sequences are the only way to create believable conversations and thus believable characters.
Sure, right. Sorry for the confusion :blush:


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Claw on March 31, 2008, 08:17:52 pm
I like the haggling sequence, although I would find it cool if depending on your trade skill, the conversation could break off at different points, yielding different prices.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on March 31, 2008, 08:23:21 pm
I thought about it, but that would/might break the dialogue flow. Still, it won't be hard to implement.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Claw on March 31, 2008, 08:30:20 pm
What do you mean by "break the flow"? That it wouldn't present the same level of witty banter leading to the ultimate price like it does now?
That was kind of the idea. Full success would be the conversation you showed us, failure at some point means your character stumbles. I wouldn't half mind if the player immediately gets the impression that the conversation didn't go as well as it could have.

I don't think it'd be inherently wrong if part of the reward for success in dialogue situations were getting better quality dialogue.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: namad on April 02, 2008, 07:05:31 pm
is the UI going to support easy dialog manipulation?

one thing that was so great about planescape torment was the keys 1through9and0 were hotkeys for the dialog

this allowed you to repeat conversations you'd already read at breakneck pace....


basically clicking next next next next is going to be VERY VERY annoying the 2nd time UNLESS you have a good system for speeding through it with a few keystrokes


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Scott on April 03, 2008, 09:04:26 am
I think everyone is missing that this is a one off conversation (isn't it?) where humour is introduced in the bartering process.  I like the writing so I don't mind clicking through here.  It's like a joke that's fun once or twice.  If you had to click through this kind of thing daily, I agree it would get irritating.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on April 06, 2008, 07:31:38 pm
Since I don't have enough time, we'll put Titus' adventures on hold for now. Here is the final set of screens, showing an interesting mechanic. If you recall, Dellar offered you two quests. These screens show how you can use one quest to solve another quest.

Btw, there are several ways to gain Dellar's respect in this quest. Either by being smart enough to come up with that scheme or by killing all the raiders. Dellar's a fighting man, so he'll definitely like that.

Last, but not the least, it's possible to take the money (that's a lot of money) and run. I've mentioned not-so-random random encounters triggered by certain actions. Well, that would be one of them. The roads *are* watched, so you'll have to fight your way out if you want to keep the money.


[attachment deleted to save space]


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: ninjelephant on April 06, 2008, 08:03:06 pm
If we decide to take the money and run away are we always going to have a not-so-random encounter?
Is there any skill check to see if we can slip undetected?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: star on April 07, 2008, 12:16:36 am
Since I don't have enough time, we'll put Titus' adventures on hold for now.


What is it? Job, Family, AoD? All three?


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Paranoid Jack on April 07, 2008, 01:36:30 am
We appreciate your time and your patience, Vince. Whatever it is, we can wait.

Love what I am seeing here. Is there any chance of buying a "special edition" of AoD? Maybe with the old 2D version included? I assume it was mostly done. I would love to play around with it after playing the "shiny" version first of course.    ;)



Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Priapist on April 07, 2008, 03:23:32 am
That's super cool. I like the way you turn the fairly cheesy ransom demand on its ear, but I'm almost to the point where I don't want to watch this thread anymore and ruin the surprise.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on April 07, 2008, 08:04:02 am
That's super cool. I like the way you turn the fairly cheesy ransom demand on its ear, but I'm almost to the point where I don't want to watch this thread anymore and ruin the surprise.
That's one of the reasons I've decided to stop. We've shown you a lot already: quests, mechanics, options, strong sides, weak sides, etc. To keep posting screens would be counter productive.

Thanks for the great feedback. Special thanks to Cardtrick for his endless bitching about the quotation marks. 

We appreciate your time and your patience, Vince. Whatever it is, we can wait.

Love what I am seeing here. Is there any chance of buying a "special edition" of AoD? Maybe with the old 2D version included? I assume it was mostly done. I would love to play around with it after playing the "shiny" version first of course.    ;)
Don't think so. We may offer it as a free download later on.

Since I don't have enough time, we'll put Titus' adventures on hold for now.
What is it? Job, Family, AoD? All three?
All three.

If we decide to take the money and run away are we always going to have a not-so-random encounter?
Yes.

Quote
Is there any skill check to see if we can slip undetected?
Sneak skill in a text adventure mode.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Ander Vinz on April 07, 2008, 08:32:05 am
Is there any chance of buying a "special edition" of AoD? Maybe with the old 2D version included? I assume it was mostly done. I would love to play around with it after playing the "shiny" version first of course.    ;)

Don't think so. We may offer it as a free download later on.

What about ultra-deluxe edition for die-hard fans 300 bucks each?
Like this: http://ghosts.nin.com/images/popup_product_ultradeluxe.jpg


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Morbus on April 07, 2008, 12:58:46 pm
Ahah, that would be nice, but the normal edition is pretty good already. I wouldn't pay 300 bucks for this game, sorry, I'm just not that rich. I'd sooner join the team or something...

But that think you posted looks sweet, very sweet.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Scott on April 07, 2008, 02:27:46 pm
What about ultra-deluxe edition for die-hard fans 300 bucks each?

No no no... wait.  The problem here is you're not thinking big enough.

How about $50,000 to be adopted into Vince's family, to live in his house and everything, and to get hired by his RL company just until Iron Tower takes off, at which point you'd be made VICE PRESIDENT FOR LIFE!


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Jedi_Learner on April 08, 2008, 09:00:31 am
I've seen enough to know that I'll definitely be buying Age of Decadence. I just hope we don't get another Prelude to Crashness, but I have faith in you! Roll on 2015! lol


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: GhanBuriGhan on April 08, 2008, 01:42:07 pm
Well, it was fun! Thanks for this peek of AoD and listening to our incessant nitpicking. Hope you find enough time to finish the game!


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Starwars on April 08, 2008, 02:31:23 pm
Yep, an excellent teaser and a nice look into some of what we may expect from the game. I'm glad you're stopping because I don't want to get to spoiled, and I know I couldn't stop myself from looking. Heh.

Hope to see it released before the year ends!


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Claw on April 08, 2008, 07:42:40 pm
Aww, now I want to play the game now.



Smartass.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: flaminghat on April 08, 2008, 08:18:48 pm
Aww, now I want to play the game.

what, and you didn't before?


Guilty!


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: TheLostOne on April 09, 2008, 02:39:33 pm
Thanks very much for your time and patience, Vince. 

I do have one concern I'd like to mention. 

Most of the alternate solutions to quests require skill checks.  There seems to be a good variety and making sure that no skill or stat really gets left behind.  Have you made sure to include enough alternate dialogue paths that don't require a skill check though?

Most of the choices I've seen follow this pattern:

1. Vanilla option.
2. Clever option. [intelligence]
3. Schmoosing option [etiquette]
4. Ninja option [sneak]


This gives an array of possibilies, but on a playthrough as a blacksmith craftsman all you see is:

1. Vanilla option.

Even if you have one of the applicable stats you're still only getting 2 options.

I hope there's a fair amount of diversity in dialogue flavor to allow for greater roleplaying possibilities.  Something like:

1. Vanilla
2. Vanilla with smartass tone
3. Vanilla with obsiquious tone
4. 5. 6. [int][eti][snk]

I know you're not a fan of "fake" choices, but I think it's important to let people have a little freedom to say things how they want to say it even if the consequences are negligible.  IMO "padding" the dialogue is only bad if there's nothing of substance besides flavor options.  You don't have that problem so more flavor text can only help.

I know we've only seen some examples here, and you very well may not have this problem in the game right now, but I think it's worth mentioning.


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Vince on April 10, 2008, 11:04:03 am
Most of the alternate solutions to quests require skill checks.  There seems to be a good variety and making sure that no skill or stat really gets left behind.  Have you made sure to include enough alternate dialogue paths that don't require a skill check though?
What would be the point? Don't you think that would make skills meaningless or less important?

Quote
Most of the choices I've seen follow this pattern:

1. Vanilla option.
2. Clever option. [intelligence]
3. Schmoosing option [etiquette]
4. Ninja option [sneak]
"Vanilla" options usually lead to some skill checks. So far we've shown 3 conversations: Feng, Dellar, Raiders' leader. The "vanilla" options lead to paying the asking price, telling Dellar about the camps defenses (Perception-based), and negotiating the ransom (trading skill check).

Quote
This gives an array of possibilies, but on a playthrough as a blacksmith craftsman all you see is:
If you dump all your points into crafting (and combat, I assume), then yes, you'll only get the simplest options, but that's the idea, isn't it? The game mechanics don't support pure craftsmen, which is why we don't have blacksmith or alchemist "backgrounds", even though we have complex crafting/alchemy systems.

Quote
I hope there's a fair amount of diversity in dialogue flavor to allow for greater roleplaying possibilities.  Something like:

1. Vanilla
2. Vanilla with smartass tone
3. Vanilla with obsiquious tone
What's the point? To role-playing personalities Bio style? I know that many people want this feature, but we are more interested in providing options for different skills, stats, and abilities. Call it a personal preference.

Quote
I know you're not a fan of "fake" choices, but I think it's important to let people have a little freedom to say things how they want to say it even if the consequences are negligible.
Maybe, but it doesn't fit into our "design philosophy".


Title: Re: Let's play AoD!
Post by: Scott on April 10, 2008, 11:43:17 am
I endorse that design philosophy.  Instead of pepping up conversations with a bunch of pointless feelgood chaff, spend the effort creating dialogue that has an impact and actually means something.