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  • Re: NPC starting XP adjustments

    Just a quiet note (the discussion is a good one) - Each of the games in the series used to handle NPC scaling differently:

    Baldur's Gate:
    - Each NPC has a series of cre files that are used based on the player's level
    - Each cre file has its own level, stats, and equipment

    Shadows of Amn:
    - Each NPC has a series of cre files that are used based on the player's level
    - Each cre file has the same stats and equipment, but a different level

    Throne of Bhaal:
    - Each NPC has a single cre file that is then granted additional XP based on the player's level

    In other words, the way it worked in Baldur's Gate was unique to Baldur's Gate. Starting in Baldur's Gate II, NPC equipment was static. Starting in Throne of Bhaal, all NPCs use a single cre file that is just scaled to the player's XP.

    This change adapts the Throne of Bhaal method to Shadows of Amn and Baldur's Gate.
  • Re: Getting sick of the Beamdog bashing in the wake of PST:EE

    I'm just going to say this: the folks who lost their jobs last summer were great people and talented developers. If no one else is going to stick up for them, I will: the "shuffle" had nothing to do with people's performance, and everything to do with budget.

    I say that on behalf of the other people who suddenly and painfully found themselves without work after pouring their hearts into these beloved franchises. Stop making these people into scapegoats for whatever frustrations you may be feeling. It's not their fault.
  • Re: New Blog: Farthing Road

    Here's the link to today's blog post: Manual Writers: Heroes of the Video Game Industry?

    (I may be biased. But give it a read.)
  • Re: Orc Paper dolls "Again"

    I can offer a bit of insight here.

    The sprites were created (in the late 90s) from 3D models. Those models were then lost.

    The reason this is significant is that Beamdog lacks not only the models but also the rigging for those models and their animation sequences. Which means creating new models, creating new rigging, creating new animations, and making sure those animations line up with the weapons and helmets that are in the game (weapons and helmets animate separately from their owners). If you don't get those things exactly perfect, the animation ends up looking like an ugly mess. And all of that to create a new animation for an existing character race with four different class types, each with four different levels of armor.

    2 genders
    x4 class types
    x4 armor levels
    32 separate creatures, all needing animations for the various weapon attacks and orientations, with appropriate consideration for helmet placement as well. Just for the half-orc.

    And once that's done, you can be sure that people will start requesting animations for half-elves. And female dwarves and gnomes. And at that point it's reasonable to assume that people will want new animations for humans and elves as well, since the new animations are likely smoother and more closely resemble their respective paper dolls. And once the player races are can see where this is going.

    There's a reason the neothelid is the only new animation in SoD. It's expensive, and time-consuming.
  • Re: I've tried and tried but I'm just not all that into Pillars of Eternity

    People rightly compare Pillars to Baldur's Gate because it's a Pausable Real-Time CRPG where you create a protagonist character, where the spells and abilities are designed to feel similar to spells from AD&D, and where the game world is isometric.

    It's going to draw criticisms for not being exactly like Baldur's Gate, but a lot of what's being said in this thread isn't about how it's not exactly like Baldur's Gate; it's about failing where Baldur's Gate succeeded.

    The question of urgency and personal investment is an important critique. For a lot of players, it's what keeps them from continuing the game past the first few areas.

    No, Pillars doesn't need to make the player an adopted orphan who witnesses their foster father's murder, who's pursued for their heritage, who's the child of a dead god. That would be Baldur's Gate, and would likely draw a lot of unfair comparisons.

    Where Pillars of Eternity fails, what I and a number of other people have argued, is that the starting premise for the game doesn't give the player motivation to keep going.

    It starts really strong! You're with a caravan, you have time to explore, and then suddenly there's bandits! You defeat them, and suddenly there's a Biawic! You escape into a temple, fight your way out, and suddenly there's a scary ritual thing and your friends die!

    But then what? The ritual people didn't see you, they're not looking for you, you don't know where they might have gone. You're left only with the premise the game gave you: you're heading to a nearby town for reasons that are your own.

    This is a problem for a couple of reasons. First, it's not that your past is unknown; it's that it's undefined. Your character has reasons for being on the journey they're on, but you don't know what those reasons are (beyond a set of dialogue options early on), and because of that, the game can't give you any inspiration as to how to proceed.

    Second, the game gives you just barely too little information about what's going on to give you any idea of how you should proceed. All you can do is move forward on the path that's given to you. You end up in a town, still not knowing what's going on or who your character is or why you should do anything specific.

    The people who are posting here saying that they've tried to get into Pillars of Eternity and couldn't? It's not because they're expecting Baldur's Gate. It's because they're expecting some kind of motivation for their character, something in the story to drive them forward.

    Icewind Dale had that. Planescape: Torment had that. And yes, Baldur's Gate (and Baldur's Gate II) had it too. But Pillars of Eternity doesn't have that. It has a whole lot going for it, but it falls short in the one area that is a sticking point for a lot of players.

    It's okay if you can get past that; great even, because it means you get to really enjoy a game you were looking forward to.

    (Incidentally, Baldur's Gate has a similar problem, at a couple of points in its story. Those are usually the points where we think "I wonder what it would be like if I made a Thief...")