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BG3 (or whatever it will be) suggestions/fantasizing

Just wanted to start a general discussion about BG3, or whatever the next game could be, because I am looking forward to whatever Beamdog does in the future.

***CONTAINS SPOILERS***

The following are suggestions directed to the development team, but are obviously open for discussion and criticism from anyone here.

1st suggestion
(Existing story)

Do not make another game that revolves around the current Charname or otherwise continues his story. He's done, his story is finished, he's retired, there is plenty of closure. Expansions to the series would be different, but that is not what this thread is about.
There is already a thread for that here:
https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/48248/would-you-be-interested-in-another-expansion-to-baldurs-gate-2-ee#latest


2nd suggestion
(Quality writing/immersion)

Present another, different, separate Charname driven by story and immersion over graphics (in the land of Faerun, obviously). BG was very successful for what it was much to the surprise, I believe, of small Bioware at the time. I believe that a small part of that success was in the ability to personalize a hero who affects Faerun in massive ways. He doesn't have to do godhood, or stop wars, or anything that is cookie cutter of the Baldur's Gate plot. But when playing BG1 & 2, it feels like I am Charname, whatever I decide for him to be. BG was produced before flashy 3D graphics, so the developers invested in writing and making Charname feel like a believably real person that you could immerse yourself into over graphics and heavy-handed flashy and expensive processing power. It was about playing a role that you chose to play, whether it be evil, good, or neutral, lawful, or choatic. The plot is good, but now generic because it's been repeated so often, and that plot is secondary to BG's greatest strength (imo): immersion.

For example, NWN1&2 two were fun games...but I never felt the immersion that I feel in Baldur's Gate. The plots were involved, the writing was good, even the NPCs were interesting, and combat was fun, but I felt that I was just walking a generic character around who didn't really have any choice as to what happened to him, like he was being led around by the nose. It is impossible to immerse yourself into that role because real life isn't like that. Sure, I could more easily changed what he looked like, his class, his general alignment. But he never felt like I was him...just like I was controlling his movements.



3rd suggestion
(Customization)

Make a relatively simple-to-use interface engine for people to customize/mod their games (even the interface engine should be modifiable, even if doing so is not simple). I just critiqued both NWNs, but their biggest strength, imo, is the ability for people to make their own games as DM, which is what D&D is all about after all. That community is still very active as a result, and young/new people who didn't hear about those games when they came out still buy them frequently.

This should be more than just the ability to make a separate, custom campaign. There should be the ability to introduce NPCs and even quests into the original campaign, and package them as zip files to share with others. Baldur's Gate is what it is now because of WeiDu (thanks Wesley!!!!!) and similar programs. WeiDu is a utility that makes it possible, although difficult for the uninitiated, to interface with the archaic code of BG. There would be no BGEE, BG2EE, or even IWDEE without the modders who kept these games alive by their own choice. Rather than taking the risk and relying on the initiative of the modding community to breathe undying popularity into these games, introduce and plan an efficient way to do that for all players, whether or not they are apart of the community.

This would be a much better long-term investment than flashy graphics. It would take some serious thinking outside the box, but it would play to the existing strengths of this wonderful series.

Suggestion for how this could be implemented

I have often thought how nice it would be to have a game that allowed you to easily write your own NPCs and stories into the game as a side option. For example, I could write out my NPCs greeting and dialogue and even have an in-game recorder option (that could be replaced by those who don't like it) to record sound effects and music and voiced dialogue to play automatically when that dialogue is triggered. There could be a list of suggested triggers for that dialogue to play, such as in response to insert NPC dialogue action here, or after this much in-game or real time has past, or at the start and/or completion of insert quest here. Additional existing triggers could be found online (shown also as a suggestion of "see more triggers"). Each dialogue could automatically have its own customizable trigger in a heading above the written conversation for later reference and use for other NPCs. For programmers or advanced players, additional triggers could even be created. These written personalities could be saved as some sort of out-of-game accessible file for ease of uploading to the community and for easy out-of-game writing.
There are already games like this out there, although not necessarily with NPCs. Startcraft comes to mind.


How cool would it be to have the ability to create a second, third, or even fourth NPC who could communicate with your PC, who has his own personality and dialogue that fits his background? I used to spend hours writing background for each of my npcs when I played IWD1&2. Then it was a little anti-climactic for me (although I still love those games) when I realized that they weren't actually alive during the quests. So I would start a new party and write new characters, only to have the same thing happen.

Restartitis, anyone?

Don't tell me I'm the only one with restartitis for a reason similar in spirit to this. I still spend hours planning out my Charnames, and it seems that a lot of people in this community do the same thing. There is even a separate section on these forums for role-playing. People are always posting their ideas for their Charnames which are more than just stats, class, race and party composition: "My current Charname is an evil *&^%*#* who won't take no for an answer and lives on the edge." "My current Charname is a quiet withdrawn wizard sucked into this whole saving the world thing against his own better judgement." "My Charname is blah blah blah, shut up, I don't care about your Charname, I only care about mine!" :)


Add the ability to create potential NPCs with backgrounds and dialogues. Baldur's Gate has that ability, but not by original design. It is a great asset, but not by original design. Take that original design and make it your own. This is a way to improve the game without necessarily changing any of your existing writing plans.

Gamers are always looking for the next new thing, right? This could provide a way for there to always be the next new thing, AND for them to make their own next new thing.


4th suggestion
(Referencing the originals)

Even though I don't think BG2 Charname should be the central focus of the game, I think it would be an awesome selling point if BG2 Charname was some sort of NPC in the game, or even referenced by another NPC in the game by the name/sex that the player gave him/her and by the race and class that the player gave him/her. Do NOT use Abdel Adrian, unless it is by default, although that is still questionable (yuck).

How this is implemented would obviously depend on the time that the game takes place in. If it took place during a time when BG2 Charname is old but alive, he could be an NPC (not ascended, obviously, because that is a mod).

This could be accomplished by having some sort of interface that could translate BG2 Charname's .cre file or even the entire save file into usable referenced data. This would be similar in concept to the way that you upload a saved game from BG1 to BG2. Charname was a Paladin? Create generic Paladin dialogue response here. Charname was a evil? Create generic evil retired villain response here. Charname romanced Aerie? Create generic Aerie placeholder NPC here with mundane Aerie dialogue. Charname romanced Viconia? Create generic reference to her here that is in keeping with however her history ended. Charname had Minsc in his/her party? Create generic placeholder NPC Minsc screaming about bootkicking for goodness to cure his aching back in his old age, with Boo squeaking somewhere nearby.

He could send the new Charname on a quest to fetch his boots because he's too old to go gallivanting across the realms (kitchen) now. He could be silly, old, and senile, and living with servants in his massive retirement home with tons of money just sitting in random barrels and chests scattered around his home.
OR
His responses could even be customizable using that nifty interface engine that I referenced in the 3rd suggestion. (This should be the most easy thing to use about the engine.) How freaking awesome would that be?


5th suggestion
(Graphics)

Don't use 3D!
Seriously, it's expensive and a huge time and resource consumer. There are plenty of 3D games (and even movies) out there that totally suck, suck, suck, suck, SUCK because the developers spent their time and money on graphics over making a good and well-written product. Spend those resources on writing and creating immersion for your players. Keep the top-down 2D perspective because it allows for resources to be spent elsewhere. Your players here are not looking for flashy graphics. You are not making money and producing sales here because the EE games are pleasing on the eye (although I think that they are). That is happening because these games are well-written and immersive. I may be wrong, but I am under the impression that Team Beamdog is a fairly small (but awesome) team. In order to compete with the big name companies that produce huge flashy graphics (star-wars EA), you need a lot of people and money. Don't waste time trying to compete with those jerks. Play to your strengths.


6th and finale suggestion
(Just shut up already! What does a bowl of mashedtaters know anyway?)

Don't be afraid! Just be careful and smart, which you already are.
You guys will always have critics. This is a beloved franchise, and there are purists who will hate you for "messing up" a good game no matter what you do. Although that is definitely possible (no pressure), don't let fear pressure you into keeping with the mainstream. A lot of mainstream games suck lately, especially all those crappy apps. Those people who are buying and selling that stuff will criticize you simply for the fact that you produce quality competition.
You guys are awesome. You seem to be able to take criticism and turn it into profit and money. Keep up the great work!
Thanks for reading!


Any thoughts on my ideas, negative or positive, are perfectly welcome. Take them or leave them, it's cool.

brusJuliusBorisovGozetalolien

Comments

  • brusbrus Member Posts: 944
    edited March 2016
    @mashedtaters ,you should be side project manager for "BGNext". :smile:
    I would like to add an idea to think over, under section "5th suggestion (Graphics)".
    I'm all for prerendered and hand drawn art style.

    Using 3d tech requires a lot of money and time. If WotC and fans could support Beamdog through buying the games or through kickstarter maybe they could pull it off making a game in 3d.
    Lately, Beamdog got some Bioware team who have worked on Mass effect in Unreal.
    The idea is maybe wicked but what if "BGNext" could be over the shoulder RPG as Mass Effect or
    something similar to Bard's tale 4, Lost Ark but of course, staying in the borders of true RPG, not an action one.
    (Please, don't post HERETIC after reading this idea.)
    Also using Unity3d could be an option and most probable one.
    That's just for the case if they would have enormouse amount of project money. Maybe $3,000,000 for start and more later.


    If the game will have compelling story, world and gameplay options, no matter which way Beamdog will sail, 2d or 3d, fans will be satisfied.

    Post edited by brus on
    mashedtatersJuliusBorisov
  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,243
    @brus
    Absolutely no doubt about your opinions. They are totally valid.
    You said it yourself. The issue is money. There is no doubt that the game would be better off with great 3D graphics. But at this point, there are so many beautiful but crappy 3D games out there: I don't think anyone wants BGNext to get lost amongst those production-over-quality, mediocre, imitators that you pay for once and forget about after ten minutes.

  • jinxed75jinxed75 Member Posts: 157
    I'd really like the next D&D game to move away from the Bhaalspawn saga entirely. A completely new campaign in a different setting and perhaps time.
    There are so many places in Faerun that haven't been featured in a cRPG yet, that we really don't need another Sword Coast adventure.
    Enginewise, I think Trent's idea of licensing the Pillars tech from Obsidian would be ideal. This way we do get a lot of modernizations without losing the vibe.
    What I'd really like to see from a standpoint of gameplay mechanics would be a proper introduction of factions, akin to the early Fallout games or Fallout:New Vegas.
    I want to make real friends, allies and enemies, or shaky makeshift alliances, with significant consequences to the choices I make.
    I also want the next game to be far more reactive to my character(s), depending on my choices, class and stats.
    I want the campaign to play out somewhat differently, depending on the choices I've made and the factions I've sided with.

    mashedtaterskanisatha
  • brusbrus Member Posts: 944
    edited March 2016
    jinxed75 said:


    Enginewise, I think Trent's idea of licensing the Pillars tech from Obsidian would be ideal. This way we do get a lot of modernizations without losing the vibe.

    This could be an option too. Altough, POE tech is based on old Unity 4.5. This means devs should rewrite and restructure all shader codes and updates to Unity 5.3# which also takes time.

    Post edited by brus on
    mashedtaters
  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,243
    @jinxed75
    I think they should get away from the Bhaalspawn saga as well. I just thought it would be nice to give him/her an honorable mention. Hence the boot quest.
    As far as in a different setting (if you're talking about not in Faerun), I doubt that would be ok with WoTC. They are pushing Faerun big time and still own the rights to D&D. As a matter of fact, the 5e P&P books are specifically set in Faerun, which hasn't been done by D&D before.
    If you're talking about a different setting as not around the sword coast, I think that wherever the setting and time is would be great. I think it would be cool if it was somewhere else, like Thay. It would still be fun though to revisit Candlekeep or Baldur's Gate within the new game as a side quest...maybe that's where Charname left his boots!
    The biggest problem in dealing with monumental consequences happening due to your character's choices is continuity within the Faerun Realms and communication with the other authors. It is safest. easiest, and cheapest for the writers of BG3, at the end of the game, to return the land of Faerun to a similar condition as it was at the beginning of the game. That is exactly what happens in BG1, BG2, NWN 1 and 2, IWD 1 & 2, PS:T, and every other D&D game I can think of. The civilizations generally stay intact, the world stays roughly the same. Wars come and go, but nothing really significant changes. Even the time of troubles had few major changes. The gods continued with few major differences (although some died, and some were replaced, things continued to progress as they had before), civilizations stayed basically intact. It has to stay relatively static, unfortunately, unless WoTC changes the way they do things.
    That is specifically the exact reason Pillars of Eternity created their own campaign setting: so that the Player could determine the fate of the setting without the writers having to coordinate with a higher authority, or side-step around legal rights. They own it, they do what they want with it.
    To your point, having a reactive world would be awesome, and I think it could be done, albeit carefully. I think that quality, reactive writing should be a priority investment over everything else.
    But who am I? I'm just a bowl of boiled taters smashed up and mixed with butter, milk, and salt.

    brusGozeta
  • jinxed75jinxed75 Member Posts: 157
    I wasn't talking *monumental*, earth-shattering consequences. I was talking consequences, i.e. my decisions as a player should have an impact in the game, not "my decisions shall change the realms forever".

    mashedtaters
  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,243
    jinxed75 said:

    I wasn't talking *monumental*, earth-shattering consequences. I was talking consequences, i.e. my decisions as a player should have an impact in the game, not "my decisions shall change the realms forever".

    Sorry that I misunderstood you.

  • PK2748PK2748 Member Posts: 381
    They just did all this work upgrading the infinity engine and interfaces, I'm very willing to spend more money on well written games that use the same technology they've already finished upgrading. I also really love 2nd edition dungeons and dragons. New characters and a new story are critical but new engines, graphics and rule sets are utterly unnecessary for me.

    mashedtatersMiridor
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