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You're in a desert, walking along in the sand, when all of a sudden you look down and see a tortoise. It's crawling toward you. You reach down and you flip the tortoise over on its back. The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over, but it can't. Not without your help. But you're not helping. Why is that? Why are you not helping?

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RPG Codex Report: Gamescom 2015: The Dwarves, Daniel Vavra, inXile, Sword Coast Legends and HoMM 7

Editorial - posted by Crooked Bee on Tue 1 September 2015, 20:27:25

Tags: Dwarves; Gamescom; Heroes of Might and Magic 7; InXile Entertainment; Kingdom Come: Deliverance; Limbic Entertainment; Might & Magic X; Sword Coast Legends; Ubisoft

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Temporarily distracted by his fancy visit to Larian Studios, esteemed community reporter Bubbles returns to Gamescom 2015 coverage with a whopping 14,000-something word report on a bunch of (mostly) RPGs at once. Again, he's joined by the intrepid JarlFrank, who this time even ventures on his own for a bit.

Coming first in the report is The Dwarves, which just launched its Kickstarter today, developed by King Art aka the makers of the Book of Unwritten Tales and Battle Worlds: Kronos. It's physics-based, it's story-focused, it promises "epic real-time battles," and our dedicated thread in General RPG Discussion calls it "a horde combat action RPG." In the interview, The Banner Saga comparisons abound. Sounds like it should be right up the Codex's alley.

Bubbles: So you'll present a lot of the game through text?

KA: Yeah, you'll see more examples of that later. Since we're also an adventure developer, we really find this pretty cool, and we know how to deal with a lot of text. If you only care about the RPG, you may go through this much faster than an adventure gamer who cares about exploring the locations and clicks on everything. Content wise, this is a 50-50 split [between text-based "exploration" and combat], but we want to let players adjust that relation according to their preferences. Exploration players can just try to get through the combat ASAP and focus on the stuff that interests them more; for combat players we plan on offering a few interesting options for replaying battles.

[...] If you're from the RPG faction, I'm sure you'll be interested in this [very sweet and considerate guy, this one]: we don't roll dice when you make an attack, it's all physics based. If I swing my hammer, we check what the head bone – eh, the bone in my skeleton where the hammer head is – is doing, it's moving through the scene, and there you see shockwaves which level off based on the calculations of the simulation [technical bullocks imho] – and then something happens! Bodies move into bodies, into some sort of obstacles, and I calculate the force of these movements. If they're forceful enough, you'll be damaged, and if the forces are deadly, things fall over and die, and sometimes they just fall over and stand up again. Of course this is a model, not a realistic simulation, but it helps us avoid the typical problems you get when you're only faking this kind of stuff; pathfinding issues, models stuck in the scenery, that sort of thing.​

After that, it's our second reporter JarlFrank's turn to shine, as he interviews none other than Daniel Vávra​, a man who will change his life forever.

When I entered, Vávra was talking to some guys in Czech. I waited for a minute before I introduced myself as "Frank, the guy from the Codex", and Vávra responded with a grin: "Ah, yeah, you have an appointment. You're the guys who hate everything, right?"

Right. Vávra knew who I was, and he was pretty chill about it, and it stayed like that for the duration of the interview. And, frankly, his attitude was rather Codexian. He participated in Codex discussions about his game and he knows what our tastes are, but he never tried to shape his answers to fit our tastes. He has his own vision of what he wants the game to be, and he never tried to use any PR-speak. He was just plain honest with me, and that's something we see too little in developers. Now, that doesn't mean all his answers were the absolute truth and everything he promised will be in the game just the way he promised it. He just had an attitude of "This is the game I make, and maybe you guys don't like some of my decisions, but then that just means it's not your type of game" rather than trying to play the "EVERYONE will like it, promise!" angle.​

In the meantime, Bubbles was interviewing an inXile PR guy called Brother None. Incidentally, Brother None was the only person we interviewed at Gamescom (screw that, the only person we've interviewed ever) who asked us to run the interview by him before we publish it. Naturally, brows were raised.

Brother None, a consummate PR man at heart, chose this precise moment to make his entrance. We greeted each other cordially with the secret Codex handshake, then I immediately started complaining about how horrible the console controls were. My dear friend asserted that they were really quite good, that they would grow on me, and that inXile was very happy with what they had achieved. However, he also conceded that the controller might possibly not represent the absolutely perfect interface for literally every theoretically existant gamer in all the known and unknown reaches of the world. Brother None later sent us the following quote to characterize his stance: "as a PC gamer, I couldn't honestly say I wouldn't still prefer the PC controls myself."

[The draft version of the previous section read: "that they would grow on me, that inXile was very happy with what they had achieved, but also – crucially – that he couldn't honestly say that the console controls were as good as the PC controls. That's what a Codex Connection gets you: a little bit of straight talk to go with all the hair raising lies." Brother None objected to this representation of his words and supplied us with the above quote to use in its stead.]​

The upcoming totally faithful, I swear, computer adaptation of playing and DMing 5th ed. D&D in P&P Sword Coast Legends is also something Bubbles saw presented during the Gamescom. Naturally, he didn't miss his chance to have some fun, despite the rather fearsome, no-fun-allowed circumstances.

Our gracious hosts positioned themselves in the middle of the room, gave us a hearty welcome, and announced that we had a special guest: n-Space's CEO Dan O'Leary himself had taken the time to observe our presentation! In response, we heard a grunt coming from the entrance door. O'Leary was a large man with a big bushy beard, and he was in a foul mood. The man's breathing was slow and laboured, and his belt was at least two sizes too tight. His beard was an unkempt mess of brown and grey, with a few dark red strands twirling around his mouth. I studied his savage features; his gaze met mine. In that instant, I knew that Dan O'Leary hated me, that he hated Jarl (that part didn't shock me so much), that he hated the Codex, and that he knew about everything that we had done and all that we were about to do.

[...] Currently, the DM seat was occupied by a female journo, who had grown more and more worried as the presentation had progressed. Now, she was sweating bullets. “I… don't think I can do this.” she muttered. Worried, the presenters asked for a volunteer to take her seat. I had done my fair share of DMing back in the late 90s (using the vastly superior Dark Eye system), but normally I wasn't eager to waste my time trying to improvise a session for a bunch of Dorito munching nobodies. Now, however, I had a possibly very dangerous man hovering behind my back whom I was quite eager to get away from. I raised my hand and said “I'll be DM!” The poor woman sighed in misguided relief and switched seats with me.

What followed now was genuinely the most exhilarating half hour of my time at Gamescom. With the two presenters standing by my side, I embarked on a journey of on-the-fly dungeon redesign (mind you, the room layout itself is still not changeable by the player), laying down traps, hiding doors behind fake walls, promoting trash mobs to elite monsters in the middle of battle, and generally having a hell of a time. [...] After the run was over, the presenters were all smiles and praise for my exceptional DM performance, and slipped me their business cards the same way a middle-aged banker would slip his room number to a high class escort at the Sheraton bar. Even O'Leary appeared to be vaguely pleased with the goings on, his beard seeming more vibrant and less spiky than just minutes before. His power over me had vanished completely. Of course, I was not in the least bit swayed by all the adulation: I already had over four thousand brofists on the Codex, and I knew my worth very well.​

(JarlFrank too had his impressions of SCL, separate from Bubbles, also found in this report.)

Finally -- last but not least -- Bubbles and JarlFrank had a Heroes of Might and Magic 7 presentation with Ubisoft/Limbic folks to attend. Knowing how anticipated Heroes of Might and Magic 7 is on the Codex, and given how exclusive this presentation was, I will leave you to read this part in its entirety without luring you in with bastardized snippets.

Except, perhaps, this one:

I feel a great privilege to be writing these words, knowing that our HoMM 7 interview is not only one of our most anticipated reports in history, but also a fully Codex-exclusive piece of journalism. Mind you, it hadn't actually been planned to be Codex-exclusive in any way; that was just how it shook out in the end. Our appointment was scheduled for 6 PM on Wednesday as part of a large public developer Q&A in the Uplay Lounge; we had contacted Ubisoft in advance to make sure that we could still get a seat. Early in the day, we had visited the hands-on stands for Ubisoft's two biggest strategy games, and we had noticed something odd: while HoMM 7 had a measly four rather bored looking people waiting in line (including myself and Jarl), the neighbouring Anno 2205 booths had attracted at least 50 eager fans.​

It also has the latest official word on Might and Magic X's sale numbers, so be sure to read it in full!

Read the full article: RPG Codex Report: Gamescom 2015: The Dwarves, Daniel Vavra, inXile, Sword Coast Legends and HoMM 7

There are 71 comments on RPG Codex Report: Gamescom 2015: The Dwarves, Daniel Vavra, inXile, Sword Coast Legends and HoMM 7

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Score up to $500 by designing RPG Codex' Corporate Branding (Logo & Business Cards) Competition

Competition - posted by DarkUnderlord on Mon 17 August 2015, 06:55:30

Tags: rpgcodex

As we continue to send our representatives to various game conferences, we find more and more that people expect such a prestigious gaming magazine as the Codex to have formal things, like business cards. Also they want letters from us on "our letterhead" to prove our credentials before they'll let even us in the door.

lol

To date, we have made do with a motley collection of hastily-assembled bits and pieces that, coupled with a few referrals from a game developer or three, have usually gotten us in.

However, life on the Codex is about to change. Previously we have lol'd at such requests but it is actually something we need as we continue to send our representatives to such official functions and events. Also it would look cool.

To that end, we are holding a competition. The goal is simple, design the RPG Codex "Corporate" Logo and Branding (I say "corporate" because that's the function we'll be using these in, the website will pretty much remain the same). Officially, we need the following:
  1. Business Cards
  2. Letterhead
  3. Logo and Banner image for Twitter
  4. Logo and Banner image for Facebook
You can have a shot at designing one element or the whole lot.

Business Card and Letterhead Details

The following details need to be on the card:

RPG Codex > doesn't scale to your level
rpgcodex.net
Some kind of "fine print" line like "RPG Codex is owned and operated by Greg Martin Enterprises Pty. Ltd." (or words to that effect).
ABN 59 115 337 534 (ABN = Australian Business Number)
Post: PO Box 308, Kent Town SA 5071, Australia
Email: something@rpgcodex.net
Twitter: @rpgcodex
Facebook: /rpgcodex

We may go for personalised cards for some staff which also means:
Name and job title: Infinitron, Beg Auditor
Possible room for phone number

Cards should be CMYK with a 3-5 mm bleed (for printing)
Letterhead should be sized for international standard A4 paper.​

Competition will remain open until such time as we get something awesome. Multiple entries are desired. And in the event someone comes up with something cool, but it's someone else who takes that idea and really nails it, we will split and / or award additional prizes as required to maintain fairness.

All entries submitted are on the basis they are original works and full rights to use the winning images as we see fit are granted to the RPG Codex. /legalese

We're putting aside $500 USD for prizes, split roughly as $125 in each category. But as we said, how that ends up being paid out will depend. If one person manages to cook up something awesome for the lot, they will be richly rewarded with the whole stash.

So let's see what you can come up with so that the RPG Codex can continue to maintain it's position as a prestigious gaming magazine.

There are 428 comments on Score up to $500 by designing RPG Codex' Corporate Branding (Logo & Business Cards) Competition

Thu 3 September 2015
Swen Vincke talks about returning to Kickstarter at Eurogamer

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Thu 3 September 2015, 23:47:11

Tags: Divinity: Original Sin; Divinity: Original Sin 2; Larian Studios; Swen Vincke

It doesn't look like there are going to be any Divinity: Original Sin 2 Kickstarter updates today. What we do have is this new interview with Swen Vincke over at Eurogamer, courtesy of the indefatigable Richard Cobbett. The topic of the interview is the reasons behind Larian's decision to return to Kickstarter, despite Swen's initial reluctance to do so. Many of you will not be surprised to learn that none other than Brian Fargo was directly responsible for changing his mind. Swen also has a bit to say about the upcoming Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition. Here's an excerpt:

"We have Original Sin 2. It's funded," Vincke states. "There's no doubt about that. Original Sin was a success, and we're putting everything from that into Original Sin 2. We don't need publishers, we don't need investors. But, what defines a great RPG is freedom of choice - and choice means options, and options mean features and features obviously translate into budget. So, what are the options that Kickstarter let us increase? We can increase the number of origin stories. Every one is going to be a lot of work, with a lot of choices to make. We can have more races, each with custom armour models and animations and voice, and since there's no point if characters aren't reacting to that choice, that's a whole lot more writing to be done. Then we have skills. We already have a lot in there, but there's a lot of skill trees people would like to see and we just can't do all of them. Same goes for systems. There's a lot of systems we could add... If people give us the room to do all this extra stuff, then we'll happily do all that, because we like our RPGs! We're also offering people the game at a lower price, and with Kickstarter, if you back it, you know that your money is going into the game rather than just into someone's coffers. We're not doing this to grab money. It's all going into the game."

Despite this, Larian wasn't always going to return to Kickstarter. Last year, Vincke's opinion was that while it had worked well, and the company wanted to harness its community again in future games, Kickstarter specifically was a one-time thing. "Yeah. For a long time, it was a much debated issue. Originally I wasn't a big fan of the idea, but then I had a big argument with Brian Fargo, of all people, who convinced me. My argument was that Kickstarter is there to start something, not to continue something. He said that wasn't true. He pointed out that big Kickstarters are necessary in the current ecosystem, and he's right." As just one example of that, "When we do an update on Kickstarter, people see that immediately and then they get involved." Also, "A large project on Kickstarter is not necessarily a negative for the others on there."

It's not going to be an ongoing Kickstarter though, as some companies run. "I think that the Kickstarter will have its own specific rewards, and after that we'll go to Early Access. Part of the success of Original Sin was the early feedback and how systems like combat and crafting worked - that wasn't the case originally! There was a shitload of feedback on skills and traits and balance. At some points we were changing things every week and seeing who was right, and we gained a much better system out of that. The amount of little things where we saw people weren't getting something... that cost a lot of effort, but we got so much positive feedback. It really motivated the developers seeing that the players were into it, and knowing we had to do it for them."

Enhanced Edition is a free update for Divinity: Original Sin owners, coming later this year. Along with the new features, much of it has been about improving the flow and narrative of the game and letting Larian see where it went wrong. "We had two Western Gates in the first town," Vincke points out, sighing. "So when we said to players, 'go out of the Western Gate...'"

Suffice to say, the results could be pretty painful for a new player. The changes here aren't about dumbing down the game though, with Larian still not providing quest objective markers and the like, but it does promise to be a lot easier to get into. "We have a character called Ahu, who is now present more to tell you the things you need to know - the cat shapeshifter. In the past, he'd just have one word or one phrase. Now he gets a whole paragraph to explain. At other times, it'll be something like moving a door a little so that you see it... just matters of lack of time, not enough iteration, not enough QA people to see things. We're fixing those. But we're not handholding, and we can't handhold. We don't have quests, we just have things you can do, and there's so many ways you can do them that we just can't put them into a quest log like other games do. You can smash a door, lockpick a door, find the key for the door... if you start writing out all these permutations then it's just impossible. We'll never be able to handhold like that. But also, it's not something we believe in doing. I hate it like hell, having my exploration just taken away."
See the full interview for details on Larian's ambitions, their situation before Original Sin's success, and more. If you'd like more Swen, you can also check out this PAX Prime interview with him over at New Gamer Nation.

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Age of Decadence August Update

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 3 September 2015, 12:05:49

Tags: Age of Decadence; Iron Tower Studios; Vault Dweller

Iron Tower Studio's The Age of Decadence received its second bi-weekly update on August 19th. The following update was supposed to come at the end of the month and introduce the game's final area. However, in a new development update posted on the ITS forums last week, Vault Dweller announced that the update had (surprise) been delayed, although it's not because of the area, which is already complete:

We're working on the temple (the final location) and the combat AI update, which will allow your enemies to use a wider range of attacks and respond more appropriately. It was a big chunk of work that took months and was completed only a few days ago. I must admit that I had reservations about including it in the upcoming update (last thing we need is breaking pretty much everything related to combat less than 2 months before the release), but it seems to be working quite well, so in it goes.

However, there are some issues (naturally) that we’re still working on. Two weeks should be enough, so we’ll push the next update from the end of the month to Sep 10. The temple will also benefit from extra love and attention.

[​IMG]
^ work in progress, the final level; avert your eyes if you don't want to see any spoilers

The dialogues and text are done, all that's left to do on the writing side are the endings. We have 12 endings requiring unique text (13 with the already released god ending), although if you break it down to fundamentally different decisions there are 5 main endings. Hope you'll find them to your liking.

I won't be around next week, so if you have any questions, ask them now.
So does that mean the game is going to be late now? According to a Vault Dweller post on RPGWatch, the answer is no. It's still scheduled for an October release, with the exact date to be announced when the update comes out, a week from now.

There are 22 comments on Age of Decadence August Update

Javelin - 3.5 OGL based Rogue-Like cRPG Released

Game News - posted by VentilatorOfDoom on Thu 3 September 2015, 09:44:52

Tags: Javelin

It came to my knowledge that an OGL based indie cRPG named Javelin has been released. It's a rogue-like.
Greetings weary traveler! Javelin is a free open-source single-player role-playing game written in Java that uses d20 as the rule system – more widely known as Dungeons and Dragons (versions 3.0 and 3.5). It draws heavy inspiration from many other video games, from Jagged Alliance and Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup to Pokémon and the Dragon Quest series.

Javelin is dedicated to all gamers and RPG players out there, we hope you enjoy it!
Here you'll find some screenshots. While using the DnD 3.5 OGL rules mostly the developers did change a few things, for instance, they're using action points instead of initiative+traditional turns. New versions adding to the features are already planned.
Javelin 1.0 is released as a finished, stand-alone game but newer versions are already planned. 2.0 will modernize the user interface to overcome it’s current limitations and also to add mouse and possibly gamepad support. The highlight of 3.0 will be multiplayer modes over the Internet. Besides these major goals you can also expect more content (monsters, abilities, spells, items…) to be added along the way.
Game Homepage
Download

There are 8 comments on Javelin - 3.5 OGL based Rogue-Like cRPG Released


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Wed 2 September 2015
Divinity: Original Sin 2 Kickstarter Update #4: Meet the Lizards

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 2 September 2015, 20:57:21

Tags: Divinity: Original Sin 2; Larian Studios

The Larian crew is back home in Belgium, which means Divinity: Original Sin 2 Kickstarter updates will be coming at a steadier pace now. Today's update is the first in a series of updates describing the racial skills from the one million dollar stretch goal that was achieved over the weekend. Specifically, it's about the skills and lore of Rivellon's Lizard folk. Here's an excerpt:

Thanks to your unlocking of the Racial Skills stretch goals, all playable species will now get unique skills. Today we're talking about the Lizards, so what unique skills could they have? If you have a good idea, do share it with us in the comments section! Nothing is set in stone yet on the Racial Skills and we'd love to hear from you.

Here's a couple of ideas to get you going. But don't hold back on us now!

Health Regeneration (Passive)
Bask in the sun and recharge those battle-damaged batteries.

Resist Poison (Passive)
Not only a lizard's speech is riddled with acid, its blood is too. Good luck trying to knock one out with something as crude as cyanide.

10% chance to fall asleep when chilled (Passive)
Cold-bloods get sleepy in low temperatures. We see it happen at Larian all the time...

Automatically hastened when warm/hot (Passive)
Hand them a cup of coffee on the other hand...

+1 Intelligence Bonus (Passive)
No Larian tie-in here, but them lizards though! They're *real* smart!

Poor Dark Vision (Passive)
Lizards are children of the sun. Take them into subterranean locales and they'll walk from stalagmite into stalactite. Don't laugh out loud though, or the cave dwellers will hear you coming!

Produce Poison (Active)
As in: the ability to fill an empty flask with poison.

Tip for the rest of the party: look away. It's only courteous.

Dragon Breath (Source Power)
It's not only a popular lizard dish, it's a skill too. The result? Instant barbecue! So still a dish.

Dragon Wings (Source Power)
Gives you ethereal dragon wings for 5 turns. With these wings you can levitate above surfaces, you're resistant to fire, you receive a massive speed boost, and you can move over small obstacles.

The only downside? We have to write smitten bird romances.

I Am Dragon (Source Power)
Grow in size and take on a dragon-like appearance for 3 turns. You are massively more powerful. As for the rest, they had better just run.

Carrion Eater (Er... Body Power?)
Because why should maggots always get dibs?
More like "I Want To Be A Dragon", amirite? See the full update for the lore part, which is also pretty cool.

There are 39 comments on Divinity: Original Sin 2 Kickstarter Update #4: Meet the Lizards

Mon 31 August 2015
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided coming February 23rd (unless you preorder!)

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Mon 31 August 2015, 16:18:02

Tags: Deus Ex: Mankind Divided; Eidos Montreal; Square Enix

Square Enix announced today that Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, the sequel to 2011's Deus Ex: Human Revolution, is scheduled for release on February 23, 2016. Like its predecessor, Mankind Divided comes with irksome pre-order exclusives including an extra mission and equipment packs. Actually, it's even more complex than that this time. Behold the "Augment Your Pre-Order" campaign:


I guess it's evidence of Kickstarter's cultural impact that its mechanics are being copied so transparently. The more people pre-order, the more exclusives they can pre-order! And if there are enough pre-orders, the game will actually come out four days earlier! It's all very silly, and the commenters on YouTube seem to be reacting accordingly.

But yeah, that's the release date. There haven't been any new Deus Ex: Mankind Divided gameplay trailers since E3, but the Eidos Montreal devs have released some Q&A featurettes and other stuff, which you can watch over at the game's YouTube channel. From what I can tell, it seems like it's going to improve on some of Human Revolution's shortcomings, with more tools to use and better level design, but I'm afraid we're stuck with some of the new series' modern-styled signature elements, such as takedowns and ubiquitous experience point rewards (the latter of which they're now attempting to rebalance to make combat a more attractive option).

There are 50 comments on Deus Ex: Mankind Divided coming February 23rd (unless you preorder!)

Sun 30 August 2015
Divinity: Original Sin 2 Kickstarter Update #3: One million dollars! Racial skills are in

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sun 30 August 2015, 19:48:51

Tags: Divinity: Original Sin 2; Larian Studios; Swen Vincke

The Divinity: Original Sin 2 Kickstarter campaign reached one million dollars of funding a short while ago, prompting Swen Vincke to publish a celebratory update direct from the Larian booth at PAX Prime:



By the Seven! It’s crazy enough that we blasted through our original goal of $500,000 in just 12 hours, but now we’ve hit $1,000,000 on just Day 5? Unbelievable! The support we’ve received from you all has just been amazing. Thank you so much to each and every one of our backers: you’re helping this dream become a reality, and we’re very, very excited to work with you over the coming months to make this game something truly special.

Introducing: Racial Skills

Crossing the seven figure mark means that we will now be introducing Racial Skills to each Origin! Choosing a lizard over a dwarf will no longer be an aesthetic choice: now it will come with a range of skills, talents, and abilities that will reflect each race’s background, strengths, and place in the world. The history of your race will now directly affect how you fight, converse, and move through Rivellon. It’ll change how you deal with NPCs and friends alike, and will add a brand new layer of complexity and tactics to combat and your experience, letting you shape and mould your characters into the people (or lizards) that you want them to be.

Next stop: Undead Origins!
Those poor cosplayers.

There are 29 comments on Divinity: Original Sin 2 Kickstarter Update #3: One million dollars! Racial skills are in

Pillars of Eternity Retrospective Panel at PAX Prime 2015

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Sun 30 August 2015, 15:41:32

Tags: Adam Brennecke; Brandon Adler; J.E. Sawyer; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity; Pillars of Eternity: The White March

Josh Sawyer, Adam Brennecke and Brandon Adler were at PAX Prime yesterday, where they spoke about the development of Pillars of Eternity in a one hour panel discussion. In between sharing various anecdotes, they also answered questions from Twitter and the audience, and most interestingly, revealed some of their plans for future Pillars of Eternity games.

Here are the more interesting takeaways:
  • There are no plans to port Pillars of Eternity to consoles, though Obsidian may investigate other platforms for future projects.
  • Load times will be improved in the next patch, but according to Adam, it will take major refactoring to get them down to as low as he'd like, which can probably only happen in a sequel.
  • Josh wanted to make the game's first area after the prologue harder, but it had to be toned down due to playtester complaints. They did let him keep the bear cave.
  • Adam's original idea for pre-order items (or should I say "original") was a space hamster and a floating skull. The former was changed to a pig because Obsidian had a pig model handy, and the latter was nixed by Eric Fenstermaker for lore reasons, although it's apparently coming back for The White March Part 2.
  • There will be no more expansion packs after The White March Part 2. After that it's sequel time.
  • Brandon thinks releasing the game for Linux was not worthwhile, and in retrospect would have chosen not to support it. Only 1.5% of the player base uses Linux. Later on, it's explained that the problems with Linux support were more logistical than technical in nature. It's unclear if Obsidian will keep Linux compatibility for future projects now that they've already done the hard work, but you probably shouldn't bet on it.
  • At one point during the panel, some concept art for future Pillars of Eternity projects (including The White March Part 2) is shown. This includes an area featuring a huge skull reminiscent of Myrkul from Mask of the Betrayer, which we also get to see an initial level blockout of.
  • Plans for Pillars of Eternity 2 include:
    • Baldur's Gate 2-style strongholds. That is, multiple strongholds, with a focus on content rather than systems (Josh explicitly uses those terms).
    • Full multiclassing.
    • Support for "sub-areas", eg, the ability to enter a house in a town without having to load an entirely new area and without having to take your entire party.
    • Expanded AI systems and more customizable party AI.
    • Improved modding support for modifying systems, adding items, etc. Adam says that they've already got plans in place for how they're going to do this.
  • Josh says he's considering reducing the amount of abilities available for use at higher levels for the sequel, specifically mentioning classes such as the Priest which have all of their spells available at once.
  • The success of Pillars of Eternity has changed Obsidian's company culture, and they are now more open to producing smaller games. The Pathfinder tablet game is being developed by ten people.
  • When asked about cut quests, Josh mentions an entire cut area in Twin Elms that would have featured some sort of trial called the "Wield of Fates" (or something like that). However, Josh and Adam seem to consider most of the game's cut content to have been bad and worthy of cutting.
  • A Dark Souls-inspired "New Game Plus" mode is being considered for the sequel.
All in all, the panel seems to imply that a Pillars of Eternity sequel is pretty much a sure thing, with the original game described as "very successful". Which isn't quite the impression you might get from reading certain Josh Sawyer forum posts, where he seems more reserved. I guess we'll see.

There are 90 comments on Pillars of Eternity Retrospective Panel at PAX Prime 2015

Fri 28 August 2015
Divinity: Original Sin 2 Kickstarter Update #2: Stretch Goals

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 28 August 2015, 16:48:31

Tags: Divinity: Original Sin 2; Larian Studios; Swen Vincke

It's the third day of the Divinity: Original Sin 2 Kickstarter campaign, which has now gathered almost $850,000 of funding. After taking a day off to establish the Larian booth at PAX Prime, a very energetic Swen Vincke is back with a new Kickstarter update to introduce the campaign's stretch goals, one of which has already been met. Here's a summary:



$700,000 Stretch Goal: Strategist Mode

Akin to Divinity: Original Sin- Enhanced Edition's Tactician Mode, Original Sin 2 will feature a brand new difficulty called Strategist Mode. Rest assured this difficulty tier will consist of much more than a simple numbers game. Yes, your enemies will hit harder, but that is far from all! Each and every fight in the game will be redesigned for Strategist Mode so that enemies are smarter, often come in greater numbers and use a host of skills and tactics they won't use in lower difficulty modes. If we reach this stretch goal, the fights in Original Sin 2 will receive this epic treatment from the get-go.

$850,000 Stretch Goal: Pick a Skill Tree, I

Divinity: Original Sin is rife with spectacular skills, and besides the many new ones we've already planned for Original Sin 2, we want to add even more unique skills to the repertoire. We have quite a list and will let our the backers pick a brand new skill tree, featuring at least 16 skills each, from among a host of new proposals when the campaign ends.

$1,000,000 Stretch Goal: Racial Skills

In Divinity: Original Sin 2, your unique origins will radically change the way you experience the world around you. Of course, since combat is one of the central ways in which you’ll engage with this world, it’s only sensible that your origins and your skillset should intertwine.

When we reach the $1M mark, we’ll develop a set of race-specific skills, abilities, and talents reflective of each race’s background and strengths.

Imagine: a Wood Elf able to summon an army of shambling trees; a Lizard recalling the devastating powers of his draconic ancestors; a Dwarf with the authority of the Empress; a human so good at pickpocketing, he can even catch his own party mates unawares...

$1,200,000 Stretch Goal: Undead Origins

In Original Sin 2, no longer will you have to be human all too human alone. You can be a dwarf too, an elf, yes even a proud lizard! But if we reach this stretchgoal, you'll be able to tell the tales of the dead with undead origins! That's right: at this point we will add the undead as a playable race, complete with origin stories.

$1,350,000 Stretch Goal: Pick a Skill Tree, II

With all the fantastic skills we've dreamt up, we'll need plenty of manpower to implement them. At this mark, we'll again open up a vote to let the backers decide which other of the skill trees listed at the $700,000 tier you would like to see in the game. Voting will be done by backers after the campaign ends.

$1,500,000 Stretch Goal; The Hall of Echoes

Some Rivellonians live in fear of it; some write songs of it; others still are sent there far before their time. When we reach $1,500,000, we'll send you to the Hall of Echoes, land of the dead.

You, unique among the living, will be able to travel to and from this spirit world, where you'll uncover mysteries never before discovered by mortal eyes. You'll gain access to occult wonders, and you'll come face to face with those you've lost-- and those you've dispatched.

The best part - you'll be able to make this your home base!
Of note is the $850k stretch goal, where backers get to vote on which skill tree they want to add to the game (read the full update to see the list). Swen really really wants people to vote for Polymorph, which makes me wonder why it has be up for a vote in the first place! In addition to the stretch goals, Larian are also expanding some of their tiers and offering some additional bonuses. And for those of you who can't get enough Swen, here's a bonus video offering a behind-the-scenes look at his adventures over the past few days.

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Thu 27 August 2015
Divinity: Original Sin 2 Kickstarter Update #1: Funded in less than 12 hours!

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 27 August 2015, 09:12:41

Tags: Divinity: Original Sin 2; Larian Studios; Swen Vincke

To the surprise of nobody, Divinity: Original Sin 2 reached its funding goal of $500k rapidly after launching yesterday, crossing the line in less than 12 hours. Nobody, that is, except Larian, who have been caught flat-footed without stretch goals like Obsidian back in 2012. Swen is in Seattle now, preparing Larian's booth for this year's PAX Prime, but he found the time to release a Kickstarter update about it:



You are all amazing!

Who would’ve predicted that a pitch built around adding extra dialog options & origin stories to a complex RPG would be capable of mobilizing so many people so fast? For RPG developers like us it's like a dream come true. You are allowing us to create deep complex RPG experiences that we love to make and we're so very grateful to all of you!

Where Divinity: Original Sin took 12 days to reach its funding goal, Divinity: Original Sin 2 was funded in less than 12 hours. Nobody at Larian, except Eric that is, could imagine that we would meet our goal so fast and now that we’ve reached this point, we’re incredibly motivated to take D:OS 2 as far as we can.

Thank you!!!

Since things went a lot faster than we anticipated, we’ll need a little bit more time to prepare our first big update, but rest assured, it’s coming.

We’re currently in Seattle, prepping for showing the D:OS 2 prototype at PAX Prime (Booth #6011, Level 6), and our best case scenario was actually that we’d be talking about what’s next near the end of the show ;)

But you’ve caught us of guard and showed us there was an even better scenario. We’re very happy that you did!

As a little teaser for PAX, rumour has it that we found a cosplayer who'll be doing the rounds as a wood elf. We haven't spotted him yet but once he pops up, we'll be sure to share a picture with you.
So yeah, stretch goals tomorrow. Unless due to time zone shenanigans "tomorrow" actually means "today". We'll see, I guess. Hopefully Larian will manage to harness PAX Prime to help their Kickstarter campaign, instead of letting it overshadow them like what happened to Bard's Tale IV at E3.

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Wed 26 August 2015
Wasteland 2 Kickstarter Update #68: New Screenshots, Companion Voices

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 26 August 2015, 22:12:39

Tags: Chris Keenan; InXile Entertainment; Wasteland 2

inXile released a new Wasteland 2 Kickstarter update today, recapping what they've been up to for the past month. Included are three new screenshots of the upcoming Director's Cut and some samples of its new voice acting. Here's an excerpt:

We come to you now with what may be one of our last couple of updates before the release of Wasteland 2 Director's Cut on PC and consoles! Over the last few weeks, we’ve hit some great milestones on the way to the Director’s cut release, including passing certification for both Microsoft and Sony. This gives our retail distribution partner, Deep Silver, enough time to manufacture and ship copies of the game all over the globe, prior to our release date (October 13th in North America and October 16th for the rest of the world).

The certification process with console manufacturers is required before either Microsoft or Sony will feel comfortable that the software follows a series of standards. While not glamourous, they are meant to ensure that games will uniformly handle a large list of issues that players might encounter while enjoying games on their consoles. This process is quite stressful (as attention to detail is imperative), but always feel like a nice accomplishment when you get the approval email. High fives were most definitely in order on approval day.

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The PC, Mac, and Linux versions of the Director’s Cut will all be available for you to download and play on October 13th, no matter where you live in the world. If you have the game on Steam or GOG, it will be automatically unlocked for you to enjoy on that date.

The final month and a half of remaining time before release will be spent on some final touches as well as integrating full controller support on PC for those of you who would like to play it that way. We will continue to refine the interface, quirks, perks, precision strikes and combat scenarios until they pry our hands off the code.
You'll have to read the update for the voice samples because I can't embed them here. I wonder if Quarex is voiced by the actual guy? Anyway, not really much new here, but it is a good opportunity for inXile to throw out a ton of shoutouts to all the games and crowdfunding campaigns that have launched recently. So that's something.

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Bethesda comes to GOG: Classic Elder Scrolls games released, Fallout trilogy returns

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 26 August 2015, 17:28:56

Tags: An Elder Scrolls Legend: Battlespire; Bethesda Softworks; Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall; Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind; Elder Scrolls: Arena; Fallout; Fallout 2; Fallout Tactics; The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard

You may recall that at the end of 2013, following the expiration of Interplay's license to sell them, the original Fallout games were removed from sale on GOG, due to the site's lack of a partnership with Fallout IP owners Bethesda Softworks. Those classics, formerly among the site's top-selling games, have been gone since then. Recently, however, existing owners of the Fallouts noticed that their copies had been renamed to "Fallout Classic", "Fallout 2 Classic", and "Fallout Tactics Classic", respectively.

So it was not a huge surprise today when GOG announced their new partnership with Bethesda Softworks, not only bringing back the Fallouts but also releasing the classic Elder Scrolls titles as well. Yes, including Battlespire and Redguard! They've released classic id Software shooters Doom and Quake as well. Here's the announcement:

Welcome, Bethesda, to our pantheon of all-time classics!

Today, we're happy to start a blooming new partnership with Bethesda Softworks, one that brings an impressive lineup of their unforgettable games to our DRM-free platform, and plenty of guts and nuclear smiles to our faces.

We're teaming up to release some of the greatest hits from the Bethesda vault, some DRM-free for the first time ever. Eleven new arrivals include The Elder Scrolls and two digital-distribution premieres, totally retro id Software shooters, plus the long-awaited return of the Fallout franchise! To make the day even sweeter, The Elder Scrolls: Arena and The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall will be added to your game shelf entirely for free when you buy any Bethesda game.

The Elder Scrolls, perched high up among the most famous video-game worlds ever created, are now DRM-free and updated for your modern computer - you can purchase all three to receive a 33% discount:

--The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind - Game of the Year Edition.
--The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard - digital distribution premiere.
--The Elder Scrolls: Battlespire - digital distribution premiere.
--The Elder Scrolls: Arena - FREE with any Bethesda purchase.
--The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall - FREE with any Bethesda purchase, too.

Megahit id Software first-person shooters join the fray - also 33% off if you grab all three:

--Quake including Mission Pack 1 and Mission Pack 2
--The Ultimate DOOM
--DOOM II + Master Levels for Doom II + Final DOOM

And last we find that goodbyes are not forever (and that war never changes). Fallout, the premiere post nuclear role playing game franchise is finally back on GOG.com! Save 66% if you complete your collection in one purchase.

--Fallout
--Fallout 2
--Fallout Tactics

The bundle promos end on Wednesday, September 2, 12:59 PM GMT.
Battlespire and Redguard will cost you $6 a piece, while Morrowind is a steep $20, and the Fallouts are $10 each. Note that these are new versions of the Fallout games, and the old Interplay versions have not been upgraded seamlessly like what happened on Steam. Apparently, Interplay's Classic editions include more goodies, so hopefully you all got them for free back in 2013.

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Divinity: Original Sin 2 Kickstarter is Live

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 26 August 2015, 16:15:30

Tags: Divinity: Original Sin 2; Larian Studios; Swen Vincke

In case our new article didn't make that clear, Larian's Divinity: Original Sin 2 Kickstarter campaign is now live. You can read the Kickstarter page and our article for the details, but in brief, the focus of Original Sin 2 appears to be choice and consequence based on the "origins" of your party members. Your party members will actually be able to compete with one another, working at cross purposes in the game's quests, a feature obviously built with co-op in mind. In addition, Larian are expanding the combat system even more and making an effort to improve their writing.

Although the game will be mostly self-funded, Larian are seeking $500,000 of crowdfunding to add additional features, which I assume will be revealed later on as stretch goals. An hour in, they already have over $100,000, so that probably won't be a long time from now. Here's the pitch video, which features an extended gameplay demonstration narrated by Swen Vincke:


You can secure a copy of Divinity: Original Sin 2 for $25 ($30 after the Early Bird tier runs out), although you may wish to wait for our prestigious Codex fundraiser. According to the Kickstarter page, the game is scheduled to be released on December 2016.

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RPG Codex Report: Divinity: Original Sin 2, or, A Visit to Larian Studios

Editorial - posted by Crooked Bee on Wed 26 August 2015, 15:03:15

Tags: Divinity: Original Sin 2; Larian Studios; Swen Vincke

You may have been wondering why Part 2 of our Gamescom report has been delayed for so long. That is because, in the meantime, we sent sold esteemed community member and our Gamescom reporter Bubbles off to Larian Studios for a closed, all expenses paid hands-on presentation and interview for Divinity: Original Sin 2, where he mingled with Real Game Journalists from European websites like Eurogamer. (All thanks to Bubbles' charming personality having won Swen over at Gamescom, of course.) Now that the D:OS 2 Kickstarter campaign has gone live and the preview embargo has been lifted, you can read all the juicy details Bubbles managed to collect.

These include, but are not limited to, what it's like being bribed by a games developer, what Swen thinks of the Codex, as well as a shocking Roguey-related scoop. Also, an interview with the writing team, including the person who wrote the Codex-Watch questline in D:OS.

A few weeks ago, Larian's PR department sent out a call to European gaming journalists: “come to Ghent on the 20th of August and see Original Sin 2 in action for the first time!” Or at least that's how I imagine it went for the other invitees. For me, contacting Larian involved cornering Swen Vincke in a darkened Gamescom doorway while he was under massive time pressure, and pestering him with convoluted questions until he asked me for a Codex staff contact to organize “an event in two weeks.” Swen first suggested contacting “the man in Australia”, but I already anticipated that Dark Underlord would be too busy with his numerous law suits (and possible jail time) to take care of such petty things. Instead, I suggested that Swen talk to Crooked Bee, who then promptly handed the entire matter off to me. Thus, I was off to the magical metropolis of Ghent on an all-expenses-paid three day trip, from the 19th to the 21th of August. Indeed, I will forever remember Ghent for its abundance of highly aromatic public pissoirs, a startling lack of traffic lights, and the tens of thousands of dead eyed tourists staggering through its crumbling streets. To be fair, the city also had lots of very nice restaurants, where I thankfully got to fill my tummy free of charge. Speaking of which…

Hey Bubbles, what's it like being bribed by a game developer?

Feels pretty good, I'd say. Of course, free transport and accommodation are perfectly normal when you've been invited to a press event, so it was quite sensible that Larian should cover these costs. In my case, they amounted to €228 for first class train tickets and €248 for two nights in a lower-middle-class hotel, plus the cost of a couple of taxi rides. Then, there was the cost of the free food and drink I received on Thursday. However, Larian had to accommodate a dozen journalists as well as a respectable amount of their own staff at these outings, so they couldn't afford to offer quite as top-tier a menu as one might have expected for such an occasion. Between a two-hour lunch, a four-hour dinner, and a four-and-a-half-hour pub crawl, I estimate that I did not consume more than 160 Euros in solid and liquid merchandise, which is really an utterly small amount for the circles that I was moving in. Still, I eventually became aware of the fact that my enthusiastic approach to fine dining was, to a certain degree, open to misinterpretation. My precise moment of epiphany came around 11 PM, when Swen, fresh off his fifth refill of a 2010 Château de Lussac (a pleasant, but rather ordinary vintage), whipped out his cellphone, snarked “Looks like the Codex got corrupted!” and photographed me while I was munching on a delicious cherry-ginger chocolate ice cream cake confection. I mention this incident here both to head off the inevitable tweeted exposé of my indulgence, and to forcefully assure the good Codex community – my friends, my comrades, one and all – that I maintained a clear and critical eye throughout my entire visit at the studio. In fact, I bring you many exclusive scoops, one of them Roguey-related, directly from Swen's mouth. You don't believe me? Then read on, brave readers, and soothe your troubled minds with some twelve thousand words of undiluted, fully objective information.​

Read the full article: RPG Codex Report: Divinity: Original Sin II, or, A Visit to Larian Studios

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Statement regarding the recent doxxing of an RPG Codex user by the Administration

Community - posted by DarkUnderlord on Wed 26 August 2015, 11:34:52

Tags: rpgcodex

As many of you know, we have fairly lax moderation practices here at the Codex. We also try to adhere to a philosophy of "freedom of speech", perhaps best summed up by a user who once said: "You know, this is what I love about the Codex. Most people ban the trolls. Here we give them enough rope to hang themselves with and then poke them with sticks."

The combination of those two principles has lead to the Codex developing a certain user base over the thirteen years since it was founded in 2002. As a reader, you either love us or hate us for it. You love it because it means this is the one site where the latest AAA release is probably going to be called a steaming pile of a turd, and then generate a flurry of debate where users pick camps and argue the pros or cons of a given feature or game. But you also hate it because it means some of the things people say on here are down-right offensive, in some cases deliberately so. And they're not necessarily talking about RPGs.

When we were a small site that cost all of $50 a month to keep online, it was pretty easy. But adhering to these principles as time has gone by has not been without its challenges. Particularly in a global environment where some countries are making it a criminal offense to post offensive things on the internet. Coupled with the realities of raising tens of thousands of dollars for various KickStarters, which created a whole bunch of issues just to even setup the PayPal account to handle all of that.

But we've tried. I've always taken the attitude that as long as I'm around, I'll try and do the best I can to keep the Codex an eclectic mix of free speech, oddball community nature, and open discussion about topics by users that would probably make plenty of people elsewhere shudder. And as much as there have been times when I've wanted to delete half the user-base, I've tried my best to resist.

Because at some point, you have a right to your opinion. Even if your opinion is stupid and wrong, and you suck for sharing it. Also you're a horrible human being and I hope you die from cancer. Cancerous Aids. In your testicles.

But as I have said, it's not been without its problems. From time to time, we get some users who push things too far. We also have some users who post far too much information about themselves than is probably healthy in an online environment with a bunch of people you don't really know. Not to mention we also have some users who have mental health issues.

Genuine ones.

All of that leads me to the events of the last couple of days. To keep a long story short, a user was posting information about a personal situation he was going through, in one of our forums that is deliberately not public (all our forums used to be public, but when we found that attracted more problem users than users who were here to discuss RPGs, we restricted them to certain membership requirements only).

That thread ultimately resulted in Management Action™ being taken, after it was realised said user had revealed a little bit too much and people were finding, and linking, photos from his Facebook page. The thread was moved to our "Dumb shit goes here to get buried and forgotten about" forum in the hopes that we could all move on and not make this any more serious than it already was.

Some users didn't though, and so another thread was created. Now I'm happy to discuss issues that arise on the Codex. I may not always be entirely serious, but I'm happy to discuss it. If you have a complaint, by all means, have a whine about it. Just understand I'll probably have a whine back.

That thread resulted in me warning some specific users, again that this stuff was just simply not on. I know full well that once something is out, it's out, and some of you here can have all sorts of fun with that - but the message was clear: Don't.

One user, in his response to that warning, gave me the distinct impression that the message had not gotten through. Specifically, he said that all that information was public anyway, and then he mentioned my first name. Now my first name isn't a huge secret (anyone with a bit of googling can find it) but that action made it clear to me that said user had not gotten the message that dropping people's personal details and Facebook accounts is not the right thing to do. Even if that shit is all over the internet and really easy to find.

Now this particular user has a long history on the Codex, as someone who has been raised as a problem user by the staff several times, on several different occassions, for several different issues. One of which included jokes / threats to doxx everyone on the Codex who's details he'd managed to locate. To date, we had not taken any direct action against that user. But it was clear to me that it was time to draw the line.

So in reply, and in order to make a point, I mentioned his first name.

My intent was simple. It's not nice, don't do it. Forget about it and move on because I don't want to have ban you.

Now as an Administrator of the Codex, I'm obviously privy to information that very few of you have. I know IP addresses, email addresses and I have no shortage of individuals who are happy to tell me everything they know about another user, usually in some attempt to stir up trouble.

I also have access to information in the PayPal account. It's necessary. You're effectively making a financial transaction with me, there are certain details we need in order to prevent fraud, and supply whatever it is you may have ordered and / or won depending on what it is we're raising money for.

At the time, I posted his first name purely from memory, not as a result of looking up any specific information. My problem is, I don't recall where I got this user's first name from. As he was a known trouble-maker who had been reported several times, it could have been from anywhere, as I routinely run a range of checks on users who are deemed more problematic. I had believed he had previously revealed information about himself which had allowed him to be tracked down publicly, which I thought is where it came from.

But I can't be sure.

Regardless of where it came from though, what I did was wrong.

While it had the outcome I wanted (he got the message and finally understood that shit's not ok), the ends do not justify the means. I also accept that the manner in which I posted his first name may have looked like a threat that more information would be revealed if he didn't STFU. That was not my intent. But I accept it could be viewed that way.

Effectively doxxing someone (potentially with privileged information that I was entrusted with) even if that person has doxxed and has threatened to doxx other users, is not on.

Shortly after dropping the user's first name, it was removed. And after discussion with the user in question, his account was deleted at his request.

However, there are now a number of other issues that have been raised as a result, including:
  • "Copyright" of content posted on the Codex, particularly with respect to requests to delete information.
  • Issues around deleting information that may be subject to a Police investigation.
  • Your legal rights as users.
The Codex has always been seen as a hobby to me. I don't think I could ever seriously view it as a business, it'll never make that much money. And we spend most of what we raise on server upgrades and sending people to GamesCon. This is also despite looking into actually making the Codex a formal part of my business (when we did it, it was because it made dealing with PayPal and tax issues easier) - which itself raises a number of issues.

As a result of all of this though, I am speaking with lawyers to clarify the legalities. At this stage, it looks like that will at least result in an updated Terms and Conditions / Terms of Service. But the idea is to resolve these issues with a clear legal sounding, so that they don't become problems again. And so that everyone is clear on where yourselves as users, and the Codex as an entity, stand.

For now, I'm sorry for dropping the user's first name. It was the wrong thing to do, regardless of the legalities or otherwise. I have always tried to treat the information I have access to with the utmost respect because I know damn well, it's all fun and games on the internet until someone contacts the FBI (Yes, believe it or not, someone did that once. And no, it wasn't funny).

If there are any users who feel that as a result of this, they no longer wish to have an account on the Codex, all they need to do is PM me and it will be deleted. Note that at this stage, we will not be deleting or wiping any posts until the legal issues around those have been clarified. All an account deletion will do is remove your email address from our server and free up the username.

If you have donated to the Codex in the past, your financial information (real name, address) is stored on PayPal where I have no ability to remove or delete it. The information kept on the Codex is the amount you donated, what fundraiser you donated to, and an invoice number so we can look up the payment in PayPal if there are any issues. We are legally required to keep that information for our own financial records.

And if any of you would like to discuss this further, that's what we're here for.

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Tue 25 August 2015
Pillars of Eternity: The White March Part 1 Released

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 25 August 2015, 17:42:31

Tags: Adam Brennecke; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity; Pillars of Eternity: The White March

The first part of the Pillars of Eternity: The White March expansion was released a short while ago, along with the game's Patch 2.0. Here's the expansion's release trailer and the description from its Steam page:



Pillars of Eternity: The White March - Part I is a large sprawling expansion pack with hours of gameplay integrated into the main adventure. Along with the new quests and area content, the team at Obsidian continues to support and make improvements to the entire game, including the additions of Player Party AI and Enhanced Enemy AI. Even if you haven't played Pillars of Eternity, now is a great time to jump in and experience the hardcore classic RPG with The White March - Part I.
  • Raised level cap: Your party of six adventurers can now progress beyond level 12 to 14. The additional levels add powerful new spells, abilities and talents for all 11 classes.
  • New areas to explore: Largely focused on the snowy environments inspired by Icewind Dale, the expansion will feature a new quest hub, and many additional quests and dungeons.
  • Soulbound weapons: The expansion features mighty artifacts that grow stronger over time. These weapons gain different powers and attributes depending on the character class that binds to it.
  • New companions: Part 1 of the expansion introduces two new companions you will be able to use throughout all of your adventures. The Devil of Caroc, a rogue, and Zahua, a monk, will be available to join you on your quest in The White March and will travel back with you into the base game.
  • Multi-class talents: Classes will now have additional options to diversify and take on some of the abilities of other classes.
  • Party AI: Now you will have the option to set AI scripts for your party, allowing you to focus on controlling the characters you care about most.
  • Enhanced Enemy AI: Enemies and monsters are now smarter than ever. The new AI makes the entire game more of a challenge, and spell casters will use a wider variety of their spells in more devastating ways.
  • Respec: At any inn or tavern the player can re-level their party members. It gives flexibility for the player to experiment with the RPG systems and try out builds with the newly added multi-class talents. If you aren't completely satisfied with your character, you can now do a rebuild and start over fresh.
The Patch 2.0 changelog is available here. Obsidian have also released a video about the soulbound weapons mechanic. It's worth noting that in addition to the above, The White March and Patch 2.0 apparently include BG2-esque features such as damage type immunities and weapons with a chance to apply a magical effect on hit, including even instant death effects. Combine that with the hints of a possible mage duel and we might be looking at something interesting here.

Pillars of Eternity: The White March - Part 1 is now available on Steam and GOG for the price of $15. You can also grab it together with a pre-order for the second part for $25, which I assume comes out cheaper. Those of you who pre-ordered the expansion during the Kickstarter campaign can get their keys at Obsidian's portal.

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Sat 22 August 2015
Mitch Gitelman and Mike McCain talk about BattleTech at Sarna.net

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Sat 22 August 2015, 15:21:20

Tags: BattleTech; Harebrained Schemes; Mike McCain; Mitch Gitelman

The guys at Harebrained Schemes seem to be uninterested in attending videogaming events such as E3, Gamescom and PAX, but they expressed loyalty to their tabletop gaming roots by attending Gen Con this year. Interviews from Gen Con about Shadowrun: Hong Kong, Golem Arcana, and BattleTech are still being released even now. The Shadowrun interviews aren't too interesting now that the game is out, but we can never have enough information about BattleTech. This interview about it at Sarna.net is the most detailed I've seen yet. Here's a small excerpt:

Nic: BattleTech has been in many forms since its inception obviously. From tabletop to PC to Virtual World to MechWarrior to MechCommander. What style game is this? How will the players be interacting? With a MechWarrior or a ‘Mech? Or both?

Mike: Both! We’re making a turn-based, tactical squad combat game. You’re going to command a lance of 4 ‘Mechs on the battlefield. It’s going to be a single-player mercenary-style campaign. MechWarrior 2 is a good reference for that. You’re going to choose which missions you want to take. You’re going to hire new MechWarriors, upgrade your ‘Mechs, get salvage. All that good stuff, from mission to mission.

Mitch: And develop your MechWarriors too.

Mike: Yes! MechWarriors will grow. We’re careful not to guarantee specific features here, but we’re looking at MechWarriors with different quirks, personalities, strengths and weaknesses that might manifest over time.

Nic: Single-player or multi-player?

Mike: The initial game we’re taking to Kickstarter is a single-player, open-ended campaign. We are hoping we’ll do well in Kickstarter, so we are talking about multi-player as a stretch-goal. We’ll have more details about that as we get closer to Kickstarter, in the next couple of months.

Nic: What are some of your goals with the Kickstarter? You did a lot of stretch goals with Shadowrun Returns. I’m assuming you’ll be offering interesting things for people that want to back BATTLETECH?

Mike: Our first goal for Kickstarter is to co-fund the development project with backers, not unlike a traditional publisher would with us. We’ll be putting some money in. We’ll be asking backers to help fund the rest of the budget for the base game. And then we’re looking at a variety of stretch goals. We’re looking at PvP, multiplayer, on the planet of Solaris 7, a lot of other cool stuff. We’ve talked about the possibility of more company-command level things (in stretch-goal land). This is my first GenCon, and I’ve been talking to BattleTech fans all day, and the passion for the project is tremendous.

Nic: Without giving us any commitments, Shadowrun took about a year from funding to release. Are you guys hoping for a 2016 or 2017 release?

Mike: 2017. We’d like to think we learn a little bit from project to project. Shadowrun Returns was a blast and we’re really proud of it. We also want to make sure we have enough time. We’ve done this with Shadowrun and Golem Arcana several times now. We have a pretty good idea, on BATTLETECH we want to start with a new fully 3D engine so we’re going to make sure we do it right. We’re looking at early 2017.

Mitch: It also depends on what funding level we get! So the more game they want us to make, the longer it’s probably going to take.
In addition to that, two podcast interviews, with Mike and Mitch respectively, were published during the past couple of weeks. I haven't listened to them in their entirety, but both of them mention that "while the Shadowrun games are RPGs with turn-based tactical combat, BattleTech is a turn-based tactical combat game with RPG elements". I think we can keep on covering it here, though.

There are 57 comments on Mitch Gitelman and Mike McCain talk about BattleTech at Sarna.net

Fri 21 August 2015
Swords and Sorcery: Underworld Definitive Edition Revealed

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 21 August 2015, 20:47:01

Tags: OlderBytes; Swords and Sorcery: Underworld

First there was 2010's Swords and Sorcery: Underworld. Then there was 2012's Swords and Sorcery: Underworld Gold. The latest incarnation of Codexer Charles Clerc's Might & Magic-inspired blobber will be called Swords and Sorcery: Underworld Definitive Edition, and will use the new engine he developed for its upcoming sequel, Swords and Sorcery: Sovereign. Charles' plan to update the game again was first announced way back in May 2014, but its official name and first gameplay footage are revealed for the first time today:


You can read the linked post for a detailed list of the major changes introduced in this version. Hopefully the long-awaited release of the game on Steam, where it was Greenlit back in December 2014, is not far off.

There are 22 comments on Swords and Sorcery: Underworld Definitive Edition Revealed

Pillars of Eternity: The White March Companion Videos

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Fri 21 August 2015, 17:47:52

Tags: Carrie Patel; Eric Fenstermaker; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity; Pillars of Eternity: The White March

With Pillars of Eternity: The White March due to release next Tuesday, Obsidian have released promotional videos for the game's two new companions, Zahua and the Devil of Caroc. The videos are narrated by the companions' respective writers, Eric Fenstermaker and Carrie Patel, and also include gameplay snippets and some nice music:


Zahua comes from an order of monks who "make themselves disgusting and engage in anti-social practices". A new contender for the title of most Codexian companion? We shall see.

Update: Here's another video, narrated by Bobby Null, which showcases the expansion's new areas - the village of Stalwart, Durgan's Battery and Cragholdt Bluffs:


According to the video, Cragholdt is home to "one of the great archmagi of Eora". BG2-style mage battle confirmed?

There are 46 comments on Pillars of Eternity: The White March Companion Videos

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