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Dushan
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« on: February 07, 2008, 01:29:35 am »

Just was told of this by a friend.  Sounds good, sounds....a bit far fetched though. Many games in the past have had claims to such things as this one and very few have i found where all your options actually mad more of a diffrence then just good/bad.  I hope it lives up to it. Sounds like it could be a great game.

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Fritharik
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« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2008, 02:08:31 am »

Well, it does benefit from being an indie title here. No deadlines to publishers, so VDweller and the gang are free to release whenever they feel the game meets their quality standards.

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Many games in the past have had claims to such things as this one and very few have i found where all your options actually mad more of a diffrence then just good/bad.
Yep, the gaming industry/media sure is chock full of lying douchebags and ignorant whores.
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Vince
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« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2008, 07:50:38 am »

Just was told of this by a friend.  Sounds good, sounds....a bit far fetched though. Many games in the past have had claims to such things as this one and very few have i found where all your options actually mad more of a diffrence then just good/bad.  I hope it lives up to it. Sounds like it could be a great game.
Claimed what? I'm asking purely out of curiosity as I don't think I made any unreasonable-to-expect "THIS GAEM GONNA BE AWSOME!" claims. The concept of dialogue trees and skill checks is neither new nor difficult to implement. If you're talking about the reactive world thing, again, what we offer isn't some kind of emergent gameplay, but simple scripting that could be found in decade old games.
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Julius
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« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2008, 03:14:39 pm »

Simple scripting, yes, but I don't think anyone said making a multi-branched game was simple. Either you're very methodical, your coder is a monster, or it's just the time that allowed you to make it that way, but most game studios would not consider making it (the "tree") as extensive as you claim it to be simple because it demands too much efforts. Not necessarly because they have to put efforts on the graphics or somesuch, but making a very reactive games seems like a good way to shot yourself in the foot - especially when the players don't play a game more than once. It's exactly why Bioware makes the game they do the way they do, because the effort's not worth it, right. So you have to wonder how extensive the "tree" will really be in the game, and how high we can get or hopes up. We know about the 7 endings and that you can do about 60% of the quests in one play-through. That leaves us with the question, how long is a play-through. Which is what I was getting at, I think. So, how long?
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Vince
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« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2008, 04:37:13 pm »

It's exactly why Bioware makes the game they do the way they do, because the effort's not worth it, right.
Quite possibly they are right.

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So you have to wonder how extensive the "tree" will really be in the game, and how high we can get or hopes up.
No idea. I described the dialogue trees as extensive. I've never made any other claims.

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That leaves us with the question, how long is a play-through. Which is what I was getting at, I think. So, how long?
Depends. It's a TB game, so if you start getting into every fight you can, the game will be much longer than if you avoid all combat. It's not a long game though. I'd compare it to Fallout 1.

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MaximB
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« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2008, 07:38:25 pm »

It's exactly why Bioware makes the game they do the way they do, because the effort's not worth it, right.
Quite possibly they are right.

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So you have to wonder how extensive the "tree" will really be in the game, and how high we can get or hopes up.
No idea. I described the dialogue trees as extensive. I've never made any other claims.

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That leaves us with the question, how long is a play-through. Which is what I was getting at, I think. So, how long?
Depends. It's a TB game, so if you start getting into every fight you can, the game will be much longer than if you avoid all combat. It's not a long game though. I'd compare it to Fallout 1.



Never played the first fallout, but I sure hope it's longer then Fable.
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Niektory
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« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2008, 07:13:46 am »

It's long enough considering its replayability. I prefer short, high quality games to long and watered down ones.
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Vince
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« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2008, 09:44:20 am »

Never played the first fallout, but I sure hope it's longer then Fable.
Then go play it.
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GhanBuriGhan
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« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2008, 09:54:39 am »

Its an interesting issue though. Do you have a "method" to keep the branching plotlines and all the conditions under control?
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Vince
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« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2008, 10:47:06 am »

I'd like to take a moment here and address the issue of expectations. There is nothing revolutionary or evolutionary about AoD. I hope it will be a good game, nothing else. I've never, ever claimed anything else and I was often criticized for "unenthusiastic" presentations of AoD in interviews and articles. When I explain features, I give numerous examples to avoid misunderstandings and false expectations and to show that no "magic" (read as emergent gameplay) is involved.

So, to answer your question, Ghan, what exactly do you mean by "branching plotlines"?
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GhanBuriGhan
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« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2008, 11:21:54 am »

Branching plotlines was a bad choice of words. What I mean is, how are you controling your choices and consequences, i.e. making sure that the consequences make sense in the light of what is, I assume, a wide variety of choices, that have more than just linear consequences (i.e. being limited to what happens in one quest without any repercussions in the wider world).
E.g. I have in mind what you said about how what you do affects the various factions in the game, and how they react differently, dependent on what you did before. There are differnet ways I could imagine to handle such things. E.g. you keep track of each individual event (e.g. by setting flags), and have individual reactions scripted based on all possible combinations of past events. The question then is, how do you keep track of all the flags, and how they depend on each other to make sure the consequences make sense. Another approach in that particular case may be to have a "faction standing" variable, and all choices just change that variable, and the reactions of the faction depend on that variable. Or a mixture of both. The question that comes from that is to what level the game is able to deal with "conflicting choices" - e.g. you did something that pissed the faction off, but you also did something that really should make you the darling of the guild leader - how does the game handle this?
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"Merely killing those being mean to me. It's not my fault it's everyone in the world of AoD". (Vahhabyte)
Vince
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« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2008, 02:00:55 pm »

...how are you controling your choices and consequences, i.e. making sure that the consequences make sense in the light of what is, I assume, a wide variety of choices, that have more than just linear consequences (i.e. being limited to what happens in one quest without any repercussions in the wider world).
Good question.

First, our quests always involve several factions and that makes things easier. If they were isolated, it would have been a tracking nightmare, but because everyone is involved, the number of outcomes is reduced. Instead of reacting to an outside event, these factions are in that event (if that makes sense to you).

Second, we have "themes" for each town. These themes are conflicts involving a lot of people and factions. Consequences of quests forming a theme are within that theme's frame.

For example (here is your chance to stop reading if you don't like spoilers):

Teron's theme is about the Imperial Guards' trying to take over. It's understandable that the Imperial Guards' Teron quests are dedicated to that noble goal, but other factions are involved as well. The assassins' quest to take out the Imperial Guards' commander is directly related to the theme, and if successful (i.e. if you won't double-cross the assassins), will deliver a huge blow to the Guards. The thieves are involved too (not their choice, but shit happens). So, in the end, we have several fixed outcomes:

- the Imperial Guards successfully take over the entire town
- the Imperial Guards take the gate and the towers
- the Imperial Guards fail - the status quo remains
- the Imperial Guards are completely eliminated (in Teron)

So, anything that you do that involves the IG will push toward one of those outcomes. These outcomes will, of course, affect something else, but the overall number of outcomes is more defined and less chaotic and "unpredictable" as one may imagine.

Instead of adding freestyle quests and trying to track all outcomes and effects, we start with the outcomes and consequences and work backwards. That's our "method".

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...and have individual reactions scripted based on all possible combinations of past events. The question then is, how do you keep track of all the flags, and how they depend on each other to make sure the consequences make sense.
Hopefully, what I posted above answers your question. If not, let me know and I'll clarify.

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The question that comes from that is to what level the game is able to deal with "conflicting choices" - e.g. you did something that pissed the faction off, but you also did something that really should make you the darling of the guild leader - how does the game handle this?
Reputation. Let's say your rep with guild A is 20. Then you go and do something that pisses the guild off. If it's a minor thing - let's say 5 points - then it's not a big deal. If it's something big - let's say 50 points - then you are a dead man.

Let's say - ANOTHER SPOILER - you work with lord Gaelius, agreeing with his views and agendas, and also stick with the Imperial Guards. Gaelius and the Guards don't see eye-to-eye, so neither side is too happy about your extracurricular activities. Then Gaelius makes a deal with the barbarian horde and you have to make a choice (if you are with the Guards, of course). You either help Gaelius to bring in the horde or you help the Guards to stop the horde. Needless to say whatever your choice is, one side will be very, very pissed. You may dislike the Guards and everything they want to bring back, but you may dislike the idea of Gaelius having a private army even more.

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MaximB
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« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2008, 02:13:24 pm »

Ok, so most chances is that you will in one stage or another piss at least one guild.
All the town's guards are after you, want to kill you... what can you do ?
I mean if you will be in sight of one guard the battle starts, and more guards come ...
Can you clear the whole town from guards by yourself ?
If no, how will "your" guild can help you (say the merchants) against the guards ?
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Vince
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« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2008, 02:30:39 pm »

Ok, so most chances is that you will in one stage or another piss at least one guild.
Chances? No. That's a guarantee.

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All the town's guards are after you, want to kill you... what can you do ?
The Imperial "The ends justify the means" Guards are not "town guards". They are what's left of the Imperial Army.

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I mean if you will be in sight of one guard the battle starts, and more guards come ...
Doesn't work like that.

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Can you clear the whole town from guards by yourself ?
No.

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If no, how will "your" guild can help you (say the merchants) against the guards ?
See above.
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GhanBuriGhan
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« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2008, 04:47:02 pm »

Thanks VD, I think I get what you are saying, although I tried to skim over the spoilers. Basically the themes are something akin to chapters that can have a number of outcomes. You evaluate the outcomes of the limited number of quests within the theme, and that determines the outcome of this chapter. Only that outcome impacts the wider world / story. Reputation overrules individual quest history, but it doesn't matter much because reputation mostly depends on the quest history, and since the themes are somewhat contained you can pretty well control what the player needs to do to really fall out with a faction.
If I understand you right though, the player can switch between themes by going from city to city at will - are there any cross effects of doing this before a theme is concluded or are you basically concluding each one on its own?
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"Merely killing those being mean to me. It's not my fault it's everyone in the world of AoD". (Vahhabyte)
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