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Sun 23 October 2016

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?

Copper Dreams Kickstarter Update #12: Massive Development Report

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sun 23 October 2016, 17:44:15

Tags: Copper Dreams; Whalenought Studios

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Joe and Hannah of Whalenought Studios have published the first Copper Dreams Kickstarter update since the game's campaign concluded in June. This update has been anticipated for quite a while and it doesn't disappoint. It's a truly massive list of some (but not all!) of the things that they've worked on over the summer. Various elements of the game have been changed, the most notable being the switch from standard point-and-click movement to a more retro "click-and-hold" design inspired by Ultima 7. The art style has also been changed, as the low fidelity "3D pixel art" style from the Kickstarter campaign was found to be unworkable in practice. The combat system has been tweaked and a Frozen Synapse-ish action planning mechanic has been implemented, usable both in and out of combat. I'll quote that part of the update:

Syncing movement styles for combat and tactical mode

Tactical mode is a mode of gameplay designed to allow you to plan movements while the game is paused. Using your pawns you can move your party around, following or each doing their own thing, and confirming it will have them execute whatever actions you had them do, upon which it will automatically pause again when complete. When the game is paused during tactical mode the world and other NPCs are also paused, and only resume their actions while your party is executing their pre-ordained orders.

Combat and tactical mode now use the same movement mechanics as normal exploration as well, synchronizing the gameplay experience and giving you all the benefits you have with interactions, jumping and careful positioning while exploring and sneaking. This not only makes for a cohesive movement system, but gives you that same precision to dodge narrow line of sights, take the long way around a wall to evade, or jump up onto some rafters and interact with the environment to get around in a dynamic way in combat. You can project your course and confirm or redo it, to make sure you execute on what exactly you want to do.

Since the camera is character-focused, we've also added in a combat-bar pause, so you can tab between different characters at will to get a scope of the environment from their perspective as needed.​

Combat Changes

While combat visuals, pacing and usability is still getting tweaked for the alpha, the ruleset hasn't changed from what we've described in the Kickstarter. Since removing the move tiles during combat there were some usability changes, like distance is now a unit of length, rather than a tile, and you can now throw onto any surface, instead of a floor tile.

We'll be looking for feedback on the flow of combat in the alpha dealing with executing time and recovery. It's a balance between pacing and being able to comprehend different character actions that could be happening simultaneously and keeping things flowing in realtime naturally.

One thing we did change on the bar was the idea of the original three states:

1. Wait
2. Turn
3. Execute

To instead be:

1. Turn
2. Recovery

We think this is a bit more intuitive. Functionally it is similar, there is a temporary initiative bar that appears to roll people into combat or add them in later if they engage. Turn encapsulates both the original turn and execute, and when done executing their actions, characters flow into recovery. Post recovery, they pop back to be able to take another turn. Recovery is something we're adding into the ruleset to act as a more dynamic wait time, which was originally a static amount of seconds for everyone. Recovery time is accrued through what type of actions are taken during a turn. Running a long distance with jumping requires more recovery than just tossing a grenade.

To make characters even more mobile in combat we're expanding the original 'quickshot' movement system to be for all actions. A characters turn now always allows a move and action. Moving beyond a quick-move limit allows them only to move that turn for a longer distance.
Other topics addressed in the update include lighting, user interface, items, and the game's groovy new logo. It's got a whole bunch of short gameplay videos demonstrating all those features, so be sure check out the full thing. According to the update, the Copper Dreams alpha is still scheduled for release this year, and there should be more updates about it coming soon, as well as blog posts on Whalenought's website about the topics that didn't make it into this one.

There are 23 comments on Copper Dreams Kickstarter Update #12: Massive Development Report

Sat 22 October 2016
Wasteland 3 Fig Update #7: Colorado Lore, New Stretch Goal

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sat 22 October 2016, 02:31:00

Tags: Brother None; InXile Entertainment; Wasteland 3

The Wasteland 3 Fig campaign inched past $3M of funding yesterday, unlocking the Morningstar car companion stretch goal. With two weeks still left to go, today's update announces a new stretch goal at $3.25M - the "Bizarre", a high-end post-apocalyptic black market. It's also got an introduction to the Colorado setting and its ruler, a fearsome but aging quasi-feudal clan leader known as the Patriarch. I quote:

The Colorado Territories

To celebrate the $3M milestone, the narrative team has written an introduction to the Colorado Territories that you’ll be exploring in Wasteland 3.

When the bombs fell, the hardy and patriotic survivalists of Colorado Springs were ready. We burrowed deep and rode out the nuclear rage and the burning dark in our bunkers. We were the last bastion of Old America and the seeds of the new, waiting to bloom when the sun returned.

It never quite did, though. The cold never left Colorado, and the storied Hundred Families that survived Armageddon found that their former land of plenty had become an icy, bandit-haunted wasteland. We fought battles over every bite of food. Sickness came then. Starvation. Cannibalism and atrocities uncounted.

No one knows when the Patriarch was born. We only know the stories of his family’s rise to power. We know he killed his twin with his own hands, and hung his mother for stealing from him. We know that the Dorsey clan crossed him, and what happened to them after, down to the smallest child. We know he hacked and hammered his nation into place until every family and faction answered to him. Even the savages roaming the frozen plains fear the Patriarch.

No one knows when he was born, but he won’t live forever neither. His sons and daughters are fighting, breaking his nation into scheming factions. The warlords and the refugees from the dying east are already clawing at his borders.

At best, a war is coming. At worst?

Next Stretch Goal!

Our next stretch goal at $3.1M is the Customizable Ranger Squad Insignia, a fun gameplay element where your custom insignia which will appear around your Ranger Base and elsewhere in the world.

But what comes after? At $3.25M, we’ll be adding the Bizarre!

The Bizarre is a marketplace of the expensive, the dangerous, and the weird. It was built into a half-buried ancient mall, difficult to reach even if you know where it is, and acts as a safe haven for the kind of deals that are best kept from any scrutiny. Once you have access to this place, you’ll be able to browse the high-end stock, purchasing your pick of the Bizarre’s valuable and dangerous items, or perhaps you’ll have more nefarious plans for the place...
Also included in the update is an obligatory winter-themed version of the famous Wasteland cover art, courtesy of Andree Wallin. Naturally, this one has a car.

There are 24 comments on Wasteland 3 Fig Update #7: Colorado Lore, New Stretch Goal

Fri 21 October 2016
Dungeon Rats gets trailer, coming November 4th

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 21 October 2016, 18:26:39

Tags: Dungeon Rats; Iron Tower Studios

The gentlemen of Iron Tower Studio have put together a trailer for Dungeon Rats, announcing that the game will be released two week from now, on November 4th.

That's less than two months from official announcement to release - quite a drastic change of habit for Iron Tower! In what's turned out to be a long and boring year for RPGs, it looks like November is going to be the stand-out month.

UPDATE: Dungeon Rats now has a Steam page. Update your wishlists!

There are 107 comments on Dungeon Rats gets trailer, coming November 4th

Wed 19 October 2016
Wasteland 3 Fig Update #6: The Ranger Base

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 19 October 2016, 23:31:57

Tags: Eric Schwarz; InXile Entertainment; Wasteland 3

After taking the better part of the week off, inXile have published a new Wasteland 3 Fig update. The topic this time is the Ranger Base, which will have a more important role than the Ranger Citadel did in Wasteland 2. Eric Schwarz explains:

Eric here. In this update I'll be talking to you about one of the more interesting additions we are making to Wasteland 3 – the Ranger Base. You might remember Ranger Citadel from Wasteland 2 or Ranger Center in Wasteland 1. The Ranger HQ has been a recurring idea in the series, and we want to maintain that tradition Wasteland 3.

In Wasteland 1, Ranger Center was the place where you would start the game and create new recruits. In Wasteland 2, Ranger Citadel had a similar function in that it let you drop off your companion NPCs and recruit new ones if any of your original squad-mates had died in the Wasteland. We also expanded it to include more shops, quest content, lore, and some story elements as well. However, it was mostly a starting point, and your reasons for returning were still a little limited.

With Wasteland 3, it's our aim to expand the HQ concept further and make it feel like a more meaningful part of the game. Early in the story, you will take command of a new Ranger Base in Colorado. Unlike Ranger Citadel in Wasteland 2, it won't start out fully staffed and equipped. Instead, you'll be the sole survivor of Team November, establishing a new foothold in hostile, harsh, and unforgiving territory. It will be up to you to recruit promising new Rangers from the local population and decide how to deal with the crises and challenges that are brought to your door.

In Wasteland 3, the Ranger Base is not something we want you to be constantly micromanaging. This isn't going to be a real-time strategy game; you won't be sending peasants to go chop wood or mine coal, or building settlements. How your base changes will be tightly tied in with the game's narrative and will be uniquely Wasteland.

Instead, we are envisioning the Ranger Base as more of a quest hub that you can return to throughout the game, where interesting events and incidents will arise for you to resolve. You can think of our goals as something along the lines of de'Arnise Hold from Baldur's Gate 2. Far from being a game system where you need to look at graphs, charts, and numbers to balance your budget, the HQ in Wasteland 3 will present you with events, ethical dilemmas, and quests based on your choices, and those choices can have world-spanning consequences.

For example...

During the game, you might return to the Ranger Base after a long trek, only to find representatives from two different factions - the Servants of the Mushroom Cloud and the Gippers. Both have recently discovered a disused oil refinery which dates from before the apocalypse, and blood has already been shed over control of it. The Servants want to make use of the space to start developing explosives, hoping to entrench themselves in the area, but their fanaticism means they are eager to keep the area free from nonbelievers. The Gippers, on the other hand, are interested in taking over the plant to refine their oil reserves, convinced it will help them provide power and fuel to the people in the area.

In both cases, there might be some common benefits (such as access to an additional source of income or a new ally for the Rangers), but your decision will ultimately depend upon what you value as a leader. Do you want to better keep the people in the area secure by granting control to a heavily armed faction, knowing that it also comes with the risk of the Servants introducing the populace to the Great Glow? Or do you value the improvements to quality of life and trade the Gippers might provide, at the risk of making the refinery a tempting target for savage warlords from the Plains?​

You'll have to make decisions and deal with the consequences arising from such situations. These consequences will affect the story, but there may also be considerations that are more material. For example, putting the Servants in charge of the refinery might grant you easier access to explosive weaponry, while the Gippers might give you a discount towards fuel and services for your vehicles. And given the tensions between the two groups, you can safely guess that there might be more violence later - with the Rangers now caught in the crossfire.

The Ranger Base is also a core part of our multiplayer gameplay loop. It will be your common hub for you and your buddy to refill your supplies, and it will also be where companions are managed... but we'll save that topic for another day.
The campaign is currently in its mid-period doldrums, but it has racked up enough social media achievements to unlock the Spitfire flame weapon described last week. The next reward is another weapon - the Emancipator, a powerful pistol that fires shotgun slugs.

There are 40 comments on Wasteland 3 Fig Update #6: The Ranger Base

Divinity: Original Sin 2 Kickstarter Update #30: New Offices, New Patch

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 19 October 2016, 20:35:03

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

Larian have just released the first patch for the Divinity: Original Sin 2 Early Access build, and a new Kickstarter update to go along with it. In the accompanying video, Swen takes us on a tour of Larian's new offices in Ghent (which are rather palatial but still very incomplete) and talks about topics such as Larian's metrics-driven approach to balancing Original Sin 2 and his recent visit to the IgroMir gaming exhibition in Moscow. He doesn't actually have a lot to say about the patch, which wasn't ready yet when the video was shot. You can read about that here. Here's the video:

It's worth noting that this video is, I believe, the first time Swen has mentioned Larian's mysterious second project since last May. Nice to know that still exists! They might be hiring people to work on it at their Saint Petersburg studio, too...

There are 20 comments on Divinity: Original Sin 2 Kickstarter Update #30: New Offices, New Patch

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Mon 17 October 2016
Expeditions: Viking October Newsletter: Northmen Raid Gameplay Video, Itemization Details

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Mon 17 October 2016, 23:46:07

Tags: Expeditions: Viking; Jonas Wæver; Logic Artists; Teemo Ashton

The Expeditions: Viking newsletters of the past few months haven't been too exciting - mostly just recaps of the team's visit to various gaming events. Now that the game is close to release however, things are becoming more interesting. This month's newsletter unveils the first in what will hopefully be a series of "Devs Play" videos, featuring Logic Artists creative director Jonas Waever and community manager Teemo Ashton. Watch as they defend their village from a raid while explaining the game's various novel combat mechanics:

The newsletter also has some details on Expedition: Viking's itemization scheme, which has been adapted for its more realistic setting:

Moving on, we've been looking at item properties. From the get go it was very important to us that supernatural elements, while important to the era, remain ambiguous. Given the right character stats you can seek more plausible explanations for the supernatural encounters in game.

But how does this tie into crafting? We obviously want crafting to be personal and special, but we can't really justify crafting magical weapons while insisting on adhering to historical authenticity either. So we turn to superstition.

An item may gain special properties either through careful attention during crafting (if the crafter has the Artisan skill), or through seeing a lot of use - these properties represent the nostalgic attachment one can develop to weapons tried and tested in battle.

A character's superstition can causes them to act as if the item is indeed special, encouraging feats of strength, reckless aggression, or even lucky saves that they might not have allowed themselves with a "mundane" item.

For example: If a player has a series of critical hits in a row with a weapon, this character might be lead to believe that the weapon itself is thirsty for blood. Thus naming the weapon for it's apparent lust for battle.

Special properties can in some cases be tied to a particular character - though you can equip the item on another character, the property will only take effect when the item is used by the character who has an attachment to it. For example, Eydis (one of our recruitable characters and residen raid mother) starts with her dead husband's helmet and as long as she's wearing it, the helmet gives her a bonus to mental resistance because she feels that her husband is watching over her in battle. Give it to anyone else however, and it's just an old helmet.
As usual, the game looks fantastic. Next month's newsletter will have details about the beta. You might want to sign up for the newsletter yourself if you're interested in that.

There are 37 comments on Expeditions: Viking October Newsletter: Northmen Raid Gameplay Video, Itemization Details

Tyranny Previews - Gameplay Footage and Conquest Mode Details

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Mon 17 October 2016, 17:15:28

Tags: Brian Heins; Obsidian Entertainment; Tyranny

The release date for Obsidian's Tyranny was announced last week and the game was made available for pre-order, but it hasn't exactly been setting the Steam sales chart on fire. Paradox's marketing department hasn't been completely idle, though. It turns out they also gave hands-on previews to a number of gaming sites, which were published today. Most of the previews put a particular focus on "Conquest Mode", the segment of Tyranny's character creation where you determine the Fatebinder's actions prior to the beginning of the story, which we didn't get to see in August's character creation stream. It's an elaborate CYOA sequence that takes place on a board game-like strategic map. You can see that and much more in Polygon's 100+ minute gameplay video:

Here's a list of all the previews we've been able to track down:

Beyond the Conquest Mode, I would say Rock Paper Shotgun's preview has the most information about how the game itself will play. Here's an excerpt:

The ragtag rebellion should be an easy fight, but the Disfavored and the Scarlet Chorus can’t agree on tactics. As a result, the Overlord’s massive armies sit stagnant while the opposition grows stronger. You’re sent down to the Tiers to — *ahem* —convince the two armies to work together.

Your weapon? An Edict. Basically a magical contract infused with the Overlord’s power. This one’s addressed to the leaders of the Disfavored and Scarlet Chorus, and says “Stop wasting time fighting each other. Take over this city within eight days or everyone in the entire valley will die.”

Yes, it’s an actual time limit a la Fallout. Once you’ve read this edict, a counter pops up at the top of the screen informing you how many days are left until all life is extinguished. Time passes whenever you leave to go to a new area (a.k.a. when traveling), and if you don’t accomplish your goal before the eight days is up?

“The game ends,” said Heins. “If you are really good and know where to go you absolutely can do everything in that eight days, though it starts getting tight.”

“We wanted the replayability and playing different paths though, and having a time limit creates a sense of urgency that maybe you don’t want to do everything. And with Kyros and the Edicts,” he continued, “we wanted to add some visual presence. The time limit felt like a good way to show this is actually urgent.”

As for whether you’ll see other time limits later, Heins said Obsidian’s experimenting with a few but they may or may not make it into the final release —and they might not all be game-ending catastrophes. “Others may just change the overall state, or what the win conditions can be. But we’re still evaluating that.”​

That's right, a time limit in an Obsidian RPG. Never thought I'd see that again. If you'd like to see more of Tyranny, gaming personality Sean "Day[9]" Plott will be broadcasting it on his Twitch channel later today, at 8PM CEST.

There are 175 comments on Tyranny Previews - Gameplay Footage and Conquest Mode Details

Sun 16 October 2016
Lords of Xulima II is on the way

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sun 16 October 2016, 01:42:06

Tags: Lords of Xulima II; Numantian Games

The 2014 indie RPG Lords of Xulima by Numantian Games was a minor hit on the Codex, and it seems to have been reasonably commercially successful as well. Earlier this year, Numantian began soliciting feedback for a potential sequel on the game's Steam forums. It looks like they now have an idea in mind of where they want go with Lords of Xulima II, but before proceeding with its development, they're going to release a different game first. Yesterday's announcement has the details:

New Game Incoming

It has been a long time since our last update, yes, but don’t think the Numantian team has been on holidays since then. We have been working hard during these past months on our new game. We will announce it for Christmas and expect to release it for the end of Q1 2017. Although it is not LoX II or even an RPG, we are sure this game is going to please all that have enjoyed Lords of Xulima (even the main developers are playing it a lot instead of working on finishing it…). We will talk more about it in the next update, but let’s drop a tiny hint: its initials are T.A.B. Any guess?

The Sequel: Lords of Xulima II

We decided to create a different game before Lords of Xulima II for two reasons: First, to have more time to design it with new and fresh ideas. And of course, we will be continuing the original story. This story, by the way, will be much more epic than the first one. The first game, “A Story of Gods of Humans” is actually the prequel to the main story. Second, we would love to produce Lords of Xulima II with much better quality in all aspects: graphics, sound, and voice. We believe that the new game will help us reach that goal.

Keep in mind, behind Lords of Xulima, there are 4 years of development. Designing a 100-hour RPG, with the world, gameplay, mechanisms, puzzles, classes, and everything being coherent with the main story was like squaring the circle. And the sequel is much more ambitious.

We are very proud of LoX. It is not perfect, we know it, but we will use all our experience and all that we have learned so far to make the sequel even more special and unique.

Game Length and Replayability

We love long games, especially in the RPG genre. In the old-school days, games like Wizardy VII or the first Might and Magic games were huge epic games with 100+ hours of content. Nowadays it is rare to find a game that lasts more than 20-30 hours.With Lords of Xulima, we wanted to bring back those huge stories of the past when you had time to slowly evolve your party from weaker than rats to adventurous young men to powerful demigod heroes.

In this case, we think we went too far since Lords of Xulima is a bit too long. This isn’t a problem in itself, but the third part of the game suffers a bit, as it lacks in fresh content, too much combat, and less variety of enemies. We had to do it because of the long story. The eight temples / gods should have an equal level of importance. But to keep that in the story, the gameplay suffered. Nevertheless, with the last part of the game, it was interesting to drink the blood of a king through the horn of a demon or find an old sea-route in some ancient ruins to reach a small isle and there find a speaking chest with the most powerful weapon.

For the sequel, we plan on making it shorter of about 40-50 hours for the main story. However, it will have different endings depending on your actions. One of the endings will be especially difficult to achieve. Only the most hardcore players will be able to beat it after 100 hours+ of playing.

Additionally, we are going to focus more on the replay value. Since the game follows a story, there must be a lot of static content (dialog, places, puzzles, NPCs …). Though it won’t be a procedurally generated roguelike, there are some aspects of the game that can make every new game more random and unique:
  • More Variety of Classes: New classes that make you play the game in a different way. We will talk more about them it later.
  • Traps: Most traps will be randomly placed. With each new game, they will change.
  • Static Enemies and Random Encounters: In LoX I, they had a bit of randomness but in the sequel, they will be much different.
  • Dynamic NPCs: Some special NPCs will travel through the world. Their interaction will have important effects on the player.
  • Special random world areas and dungeons: Some world areas like Geldra and Pernitia from the first game will be generated randomly. Also, some optional and special dungeons will be random too.
  • Special Items and Artifacts: Every game will have a set of special items whose nature and location will change. Special Bosses: Some bosses will change with every new game, such as their nature and location.
What do you think?
Numantian plan to publish updates like this one once every few weeks. The next one will be about linear vs open worlds.

There are 34 comments on Lords of Xulima II is on the way

Fri 14 October 2016
Wasteland 3 Fig Update #5: The Cathedral of the Holy Detonation

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 14 October 2016, 22:24:54

Tags: George Ziets; InXile Entertainment; Wasteland 3

The latest Wasteland 3 Fig update, written by George Ziets, is about one of the game's factions - the Cathedral of the Holy Detonation. Yes, it's the obligatory post-apocalyptic nuclear cult. At least this one has a curious technological artifact at its disposal, which appears in one of the concept shots produced by The Brotherhood. George has written a short description of the cult's abode, written from the perspective of an in-game Ranger unit's scouting report:


Scouting Report from Advance Team [REDACTED]


Per orders have continued to maintain low profile in Colorado. Have changed bivouac location frequently, mostly avoiding hostile contact.

On [DATE REDACTED], PM, located apparently disused Air Force (AF) facility. Preliminary scouting indicated strong possibility for temporary shelter - one advantage being that locals steered clear. COLONEL [REDACTED] suggested full recon before establishing base camp.

We entered facility through maintenance door. Hand-drawn map enclosed. Proceeded to stairway labeled S1, leading down. Found some evidence of recent habitation - scattered papers, books, etc.. Most had been marked with mathematical formulas. Five (5) samples enclosed. Remainder in lockbox at [REDACTED].

Stairway descended into cavernous space beneath main floor of AF facility. No persons or animals appeared. Examined space thoroughly. Appearance suggested underground testing lab from before the war. Team unable to ascertain its precise dimensions due to walls and platforms that had been constructed apparently randomly throughout the area. The walls were primarily of stone and wood, like a medieval church or cathedral. SERGEANT [REDACTED] examined a few of the walls. Says they’re new construction - possibly past two (2) to three (3) months.

In center of chamber, fireball of plasma, appx. twenty meters (20m) across, suspended in midair. Fireball showed no sign of expansion, contraction, or movement. Geiger counter registered high levels of radiation. SERGEANT [REDACTED] suggests that it may have been some sort of arrested nuclear event.

At this time, team heard unidentified persons approaching and retreated to a concealed position. Group of appr. 15 potential hostiles entered. Subjects were a mix of males and females, some with missing limbs. Exposed flesh of subjects was blistered and red.

Potential hostiles remained unaware of our presence. Young female subject, appx. 25 years of age, was in their center. They spoke to her and touched her left arm - perhaps in ritual manner? Could not overhear speech clearly, but seemed like numbers and equations. Young female climbed a nearby platform and walked to the edge of the fireball. Skin began to blister and burn. At this point, she recited a series of mathematical equations in a loud voice. Tone was deferential, as if addressing senior officer or other lawful authority.

When finished, female subject thrust her left hand into fireball, up to the elbow, incinerating her limb. Subject was not heard to cry out or give any indication of pain. However, her comrades screamed and shouted in celebration. Add’l potential hostiles began to arrive from other entrances, so COLONEL [REDACTED] ordered an immediate retreat.

SUMMARY: Identity of potential hostiles remains unknown. We intend to avoid AF facility for foreseeable future per orders to avoid enemy contact. Expect add’l report in five (5) days as we continue our reconnaissance. Team [REDACTED] out.
In other news, inXile have been running the usual social media gamification routine for Wasteland 3, starting from the second day of the campaign. The rewards so far haven't been too interesting, but the next one adds a flamethrower-type weapon called the Spitfire to the game, which seems more important. If you're interested in participating in that stuff, see this update.

There are 34 comments on Wasteland 3 Fig Update #5: The Cathedral of the Holy Detonation

[Quickie Nr. 006] Jack Dandy’s catch-up on – Voidspire Tactics

Review - posted by Crooked Bee on Fri 14 October 2016, 15:12:42

Tags: Quickie; Rad Codex; Voidspire Tactics

Thanks to Konjad's persistence, "Quickies" have become something of a not-so-proud and not-so-venerable tradition here on the Codex - to the extent that other people submit them now, too. A quickie is essentially a loose and very cursory presentation of a game that the author wants you to try, but is too lazy to do a full review.

This time the game-done-quick is Voidspire Tactics, a niche and not too well-known indie tactical RPG that has been generally favorably received in its dedicated thread on our forums. The write-up belongs to esteemed community member Jack Dandy, who also conducted a brief interview with the developer to complement his piece. Here's an excerpt from the quickie:

Now, the most interesting aspect of this is that you can switch your character’s class at any given moment (outside of battle) AND have a Primary and Secondary class. This means that you get to mix and match the skillsets of any 2 classes you have unlocked, PLUS you can combine up to three of any of the Passives your character has unlocked among the different classes.

Customization is the name of the game here. You can make each character really stand out and not risk a penalty for experimentation.

Want to make your guy a standard melee damage dealer? Take a Warrior/Blade.
Want to make a ranger who’s able to fire off a variety of elemental crossbows without reloading once? Take a Sharpshooter/Rogue along with the Scout’s passive “Quick hands” perk.
Want to make a monk who can punch people’s faces just as well as toasting them with a fireball? An Elementalist/Brawler is the way to go.

There are lots of creative ways to build your team, and it’s all done in an intuitive, enjoyable way.​

And here's one from the interview:

- What inspired you to develop your own game?

My inspiration is basically from playing and enjoying other games - especially games that are really great, but have a handful of small issues. I always want to see what the game would be like without those issues - and the only way to do that is make my own.

Voidspire Tactics in particular was inspired by Final Fantasy Tactics and Ultima VII. I wanted to try to eliminate the weaknesses of each - specifically, FFT's systemic oddities & imbalances, and Ultima VII's uninteresting combat. Dozens of other games had a minor influence as well. Some that come to mind are Zelda (for its exploration), Legend of Mana (its thorough customization), and Dark Souls (its open, you-can-handle-yourself attitude).​

Read the full article: [Quickie Nr. 006] Jack Dandy’s catch-up on – Voidspire Tactics

There are 8 comments on [Quickie Nr. 006] Jack Dandy’s catch-up on – Voidspire Tactics

Thu 13 October 2016
Tyranny to release on November 10th of this year, gets new trailer and pre-order DLC

Game News - posted by Bubbles on Thu 13 October 2016, 18:08:04

Tags: Obsidian Entertainment; Paradox Interactive; Tyranny

From our bountiful Codex inbox:

STOCKHOLM and IRVINE, Calif. — Oct. 13, 2016 — Paradox Interactive today unveiled the release date for Tyranny, the new role-playing game (RPG) from Obsidian Entertainment.Tyranny, a game that challenges players to find their place in an original fantasy realm where evil has conquered the known world, will be available for Windows, Mac, and Linux PCs on November 10, 2016. Starting today, players can pre-order Tyranny in advance of the game’s launch, and secure bonus material that will help demonstrate their loyalty to Kyros the Overlord.

See what fate awaits the Tiers in a new trailer for Tyranny:

Pre-orders for Tyranny are available in three versions, all of which will include bonus content and extras alongside the full game.

In Tyranny, the grand war between good and evil has already finished – and the forces of evil, led by Kyros the Overlord, have won. Players interact with the populace to inspire loyalty, disgust, or fear as they roam the world as an officer in Kyros’ forces, empowered to act as both judge and executioner. A nonlinear story offers players the chance to roam and alter the world as they see fit, and provides a highly replayable experience.​

Hurry over to Tyranny's Steam store page so you can get that Overlord Edition!

There are 220 comments on Tyranny to release on November 10th of this year, gets new trailer and pre-order DLC

Wasteland 3 Fig Update #4: Let's Talk Multiplayer

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 13 October 2016, 00:40:32

Tags: Chris Keenan; InXile Entertainment; Multiplayer; Wasteland 3

A week after launch, the Wasteland 3 Fig campaign has amassed over $2.9M of funding, unlocking the "37 Pieces of Flair" stretch goal on the way. For today's update, game director Chris Keenan writes about inXile's vision for how multiplayer will work:

Chris here. You might remember me from Wasteland 2, where I served as game director, and I am continuing that role on to Wasteland 3. As you may have picked up from our initial pitch, Wasteland 3 will have synchronous and asynchronous multiplayer. We've talked about this in the campaign and in interviews, but I'd like to go a little deeper here and lay out some of our high-level design.

We want Wasteland 3's multiplayer to be a natural extension of the single-player campaign. It will tell the same story and offer the same locations and missions. And as is our hallmark for inXile as a studio and Wasteland as a franchise, we want deep and meaningful reactivity throughout the experience. Multiplayer will add another aspect of reactivity based on the interaction between two players.

In Wasteland 3, you can start a multiplayer-specific campaign with a friend. The campaign will then be tied to both of you. Once started, you won't be able to "replace" your friend with another, but if either of you can't continue playing for any reason, it will be possible to "spin off" a single-player campaign from your multiplayer world state.

Both players run separate Ranger squads, sharing from the pool of available companion NPCs to build your teams. You can't both have the same companions, but you can move a companion from one squad to another. The two squads can travel together, but you can also split up and explore the world separately.

The ability to split up is a choice, and it has important consequences. In Wasteland 3, we will support asynchronous multiplayer. This means that if your friend goes offline, you'll still be able to continue playing, and the actions you take will be reflected in the world when your friend logs back in.

What will that mean in practice? Let's go over a scenario to illustrate.

For example: You made a deal with a criminal gang of smugglers, turning a blind eye and helping keep their trade routes clear from danger for a cut of their profits. In single-player, this would mean that you receive a payment from time to time at your Ranger Base for keeping the deal going. However, should you then choose to intercept the smugglers' courier and perform a little "civil forfeiture" for the good of the Rangers, some of the smugglers' operatives might show up at Ranger HQ's doorstep demanding an explanation.

In multiplayer, that same scenario would play out in a similar manner. However, because both you and your friend are playing independently, it would be possible for one player's party to make the deal with the smugglers, not tell the other player, and thus that player would receive compensation in return. Meanwhile, the second player might independently choose to attack the smugglers for the good of the people of Colorado, not knowing of the prior deal, and that would lead to a similar consequence where the smugglers end up at Ranger HQ asking hard questions.

How to resolve the situation, of course, would have its own reactivity and options open in solo play or multiplayer – you could stand by the decision and risk upsetting the smugglers, make reparations and risk making the Rangers look weak, choose to wipe out the smugglers at their base of operations, and so on.​

You might notice we mentioned the Ranger Base a few times, and indeed, it will also be a core location in multiplayer, one that you and your friend will run together. Its resources and recruits are pooled together and available to both players. We plan to touch on the Ranger Base and how we're envisioning it more in future updates, so keep an eye out.

You might be thinking "this sounds fun, but how are they going to tell a coherent story this way, or stop my friend from completely ruining my game?!" While most of the game can be played either separately or together, during key narrative moments and missions, we'll require both players to be online together. This means that while you will be able to play most of the game together or separately, for those critical story moments, or when major story decisions need to be made, both players will need to be present. This'll happen infrequently, only at core moments in the game, and you'll be able to play many hours of main story and side missions before you need your buddy to progress. In single-player, you won't need a friend playing with you to experience those same moments, but of course, you will need to live with the decisions you make and their consequences.
"Sharing from the pool of available companion NPCs to build your teams". Is that a confirmation that Wasteland 3 will be a "main character plus companions" game that doesn't allow you to create a full squad?

There are 58 comments on Wasteland 3 Fig Update #4: Let's Talk Multiplayer

Wed 12 October 2016
Interview with Jeff Vogel and crew at PC Gamer - Kickstarter for new engine planned in early 2018

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Wed 12 October 2016, 18:30:19

Tags: Avadon 3: The Warborn; Jeff Vogel; Spiderweb Software

In honor of the release of Avadon 3 last month, PC Gamer commissioned an interview with twenty year indie RPG development survivor Jeff Vogel and his loyal band of everyman playtesters. It's an interesting piece, offering a glimpse not just at Avadon 3, but also at the entire Spiderweb Software philosophy and the general sentiment in what appears to be Jeff's inner circle. Here's an excerpt:

Vogel started writing stories when he was around 10, and describes himself as a fantasy author who just happens to work in the medium of gaming. It's a bit surprising, then, that he's not really a big fan of the fantasy genre. “I read it some, sure, and I even like some of it. The Magician series by Lev Grossman is probably my favorite. It’s just not something I’m drawn to,” he said. “My favorite fiction is realistic fiction in a setting far enough from ours that it is basically fantasy now. I recently reread The Grapes of Wrath and was absolutely entranced.”

And while words are the backbone of the games he creates, he also believes that too much of a good thing is not a good thing at all. When I mentioned Obisidian's recent claim that its upcoming fantasy RPG Tyranny is built on more than 600,000 words, he seemed downright taken aback. He hasn't counted the words in his own games since Avernum 3, which came to about 200,000 words; he thinks Avadon 3 weighs in somewhere in the neighborhood of 120,000-150,000.

“But I think huge words counts are a real danger. I mean, 600,000? Good lord! That is longer that The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit put together. That’s a big, big chunk of verbiage. It doesn’t make me want to play the game more,” he said. “I think there is always a peril in flooding the player with words. Designers have discovered the joy of text. Now they have to discover the joy of brevity and skillful editing. You can almost always make a piece of writing better by shortening it. I loved the writing of Stanley Parable, and it didn’t have many words at all. And I’m about halfway through the indie hit Inside. That is a gorgeously written game, and it is entirely wordless.”

Vogel's appreciation for well-written videogames is shared by his fans. I spoke to some Avadon 3 beta testers, including homemakers, a data analyst, a computer science graduate student, and a theater manager at a major university. Despite the obvious diversity of the group, they do share some commonalities.

They tend to be older than the “average” gamer (no teenagers screaming into headsets in this lot); they have a long-standing (but not necessarily fanatical) interest in the RPG genre, citing influences ranging from Angband and Super Mario RPG to Morrowind, KOTOR, Dragon Age, and The Witcher; and they all say the storytelling is what brought them to Spiderweb, and keeps them there.

“The stories are always great. Jeff is a brilliant writer,” one fan, who goes by the name Istara, explained. “Spiderweb also really forces you to make moral choices, and there's usually no one 'perfect' 100 percent righteous choice. In this regard they have deeper replayability. The Companion system for Avadon is also cool, getting them to like you so they all stick with you.”

Something else Spiderweb's fans seem to share is disinterest in playing the game at higher difficulty levels. Danielle, another tester, said she was ashamed to admit that she only ever plays on normal difficult, but so does literally everyone else I talked to. It's a tiny sampling, but that unanimity has to carry some weight, considering how many RPG players tend to gloss over story to dig into the guts of a complex battle system.

I also found that, despite appearances, Avadon 3 isn't as obtuse as it appears. It was unexpectedly easy to play once I got used to the quirks of the interface, and while I got my ass kicked in a few fights I wasn't ready for, I soon learned that the game's openness (although I'm told it's actually quite linear compared to most other Spiderweb games) ensured that I could wander off, do other things, and then come back to tackle tough areas when I was better prepared. The looks belie the reality, in other words: Get past that crude visual element and you'll find a remarkably accessible RPG.

That's not to say it won't challenge you. “You actually have to make moral decisions, and the choices you make affect not just the overall ending of the game, but the small interactions you have with various people along the way, including your own party,” a player named Trish told me. “And those decisions are not easy, by any stretch. You can't help but feel a little icky about some of them, but that's what makes them so fun.”
Plus, there's the first details about the company's future. That's right, a Spiderweb Software Kickstarter to fund the development of a new engine. It's still a ways off, though:

Crowdfunding may not have revolutionized the indie game scene in quite the way some of us thought it would. “The illusions have all fallen away. Everyone now sees indie gaming for what it is: An extremely difficult, blood-sport kind of business,” Vogel said. But he's not making a principled stand against asking for money up-front, either. In fact, the first-ever Spiderweb Software Kickstarter is on the way. In two or three years.

“In two years or so I’m going to throw everything out and write a whole new game engine. When I do that, I think a Kickstarter will be a good idea,” he said. “All of those [earlier] games were sequels or remasters, so I didn’t need the money. I could self-fund and keep all the early sales for myself. Never forget: Kickstarter = presales. For our new engine, however, we will need some funding to get all the graphics redone. That doesn’t come cheap. So we are planning a Kickstarter in early 2018 or so.”

But don't look for a dramatic change in his approach to graphics, or anything else, when the new technology comes into play. Vogel said in his AMA that making good graphics requires a skill-set and resources that he doesn't have, and that he will “never, ever” be able to please gamers who are in it for the eye candy. “I will never write a really pretty game. I have to go for the Undertale crowd: people who can look past a mostly not-so-pretty game to the cool stuff under,” he said. “Our next game series, which I'll do after Avernum 3, will have all-new graphics. But honestly? You'll still hate them. They'll be a different low-budget thing that you hate. And that's fair. You can love or not-love what you want. But I have the budget I have and I do what I can.”

That will probably suit his fans just fine.
That's a pretty long-term announcement. I guess it tells you something about how Jeff operates, and how he's managed to survive all these years.

There are 33 comments on Interview with Jeff Vogel and crew at PC Gamer - Kickstarter for new engine planned in early 2018

Tue 11 October 2016
Tyranny Dev Diary #11: Companion Overview - Kills-in-Shadow

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 11 October 2016, 22:11:35

Tags: Megan Starks; Nick Carver; Obsidian Entertainment; Tyranny

Obsidian seem to have switched up their schedule a bit, posting the new Tyranny dev diary update on a Tuesday. Once again, it's a companion overview, this time of Kills-in-Shadow, the Beastwoman who has appeared in certain Tyranny trailers as well as a recent short story. As the game's only non-human companion, she has some unique characteristics:

Kills-in-Shadow is a monster. She’s frightening and hairy. She stinks of wet animal and has an insatiable bloodlust for violence and slaughter. She’s also a clever hunter, a brutish, skilled fighter, and is tenaciously loyal (unless, of course, she has sensed a weakness) to whomever she chooses to follow, whether that be her ruthless sister, Creeping-Death, who was the last leader of their savage tribe, or a human Fatebinder stronger than even the toughest of Beastwomen.

As a member of a race of partially-humanoid, feral Beast creatures, Kills-in-Shadow is intelligent but uneducated, hulking but agile, and an unapologetic killer but not evil. She’s a highly evolved predator, forever marked by the magic of Haven’s dark forests–primarily driven by instinct and an insatiable lust for violence. She is also boastful, daring, smart, easily excited, and has a quirky sense of humor. She often snorts, snarls, growls, and chuffs with laughter.

As the last surviving Shadowhunter, she’s on a single-minded hunt for blood and vengeance, and will not be satisfied until each and every Disfavored has been wiped from Terratus. And though her kith were slaughtered mercilessly during Kyros’ conquest, the Shadowhunters had a reputation for being one of the most vicious tribes of the Tiers. If most Beastwomen are hyenas, Kills-in-Shadow is a lone lioness–proud, regal, and wholly deadly. Drawn by a spectacular display of strength and prowess, she is now stalking the Fatebinder’s scent.

And she likes to play with her prey.

Combat Role

Kills-in-Shadow was designed to be a silent predator and a savage bruiser on the battlefield. She possesses an abundance of stealth talents to help her initiate combat with an advantage over her prey and a tremendous hit point pool that allows her to stand her ground as she continues to batter her enemies into mush. Her talent trees focus on either further developing her skills as a deadly clawed stalker or those of a massive primal brute.

When building Kills-in-Shadow’s talent trees, we wanted to give players elements that focused on evolving KIS’ inherent racial advantages. Being a Beastwoman KIS possesses deadly claws, natural hide Armor, an affinity for stealth, as well as a sizable amount of health. She’s quite the perfect hunter. Her talent trees take different aspects of these traits and enhance them further to help fit the play style most desired. Kills-in-Shadow’s ‘Ravager’ tree is efficient at leaping from the shadows onto weaker prey, aiming to kill instantly, before moving on to rend surviving enemies with her claws, tear into Armor, and cause heavy bleed effects. KIS’ ‘Titan’ tree is built to take advantage of her massive size, by providing talents such as those that expand her larger health pool, allow her to engage multiple enemies, or that grant her devastating enrage effects.

Below are some of the abilities available to Kills-in-Shadow:

Beastmen Race: Kills-in-Shadow cannot wear armor, dual wield, or use ranged weapons that require both hands, but she possesses natural hide armor and is capable of wielding two handed weapons in a single hand.

Leaping Death: Leap onto a nearby enemy from stealth, heavily damaging all foes in the area and knocking them Prone.

Primal Scream: Roar at nearby enemies, Frightening them. If this ability is used while stealthed enemies become Terrified instead.

Disembowel: Use both claws to rip the target’s stomach open, dealing a large amount of Slash / Pierce (best of) damage and leaving them Bleeding for an extended duration.

Trample: KIS moves rapidly towards her enemy, trampling foes in her path. Enemies caught in her path take Crush damage and are knocked Prone.

Taste of Blood: Causes all attacks from stealth to inflict a lasting bleed affliction. When Taste of Blood triggers, KIS receives a regeneration effect until combat ends.

Stance: Berserker Rage: KIS enters a primal frenzy. While in this stance, damage taken is increased, but KIS receives a large bonus to Endurance and Melee Damage.

Kills-in-Shadow is a fearsome predator and a powerful warrior. If she initiates combat while stealthed, (especially on a weaker target), the combat is heavily in her favor. With her Leaping Death and Trample abilities she is a highly mobile unit on the battlefield and can easily be positioned where she is needed most. Her huge health pool and strong single target abilities make her exceptionally apt for standing toe-to-toe trading blows with stronger enemies, often as a tank or bruiser. While she has a tremendous pool of health, she lacks the protective qualities of heavier Armor, causing her to soak up a lot of damage quickly from faster low damaging attacks that an Armored character might mitigate more easily. If KIS is quickly surrounded, or healing is not readily available, she is best to escape with Trample, or risk being felled.

With her stealthy tactical surprises, heavy hitting strikes, and damage soaking kit, Kills-in-Shadow is a force of claw and mass to be reckoned with.
According to a schedule posted on their Twitter feed yesterday, Obsidian are going to be doing weekly "Dev Streams" this month, which I assume will feature Tyranny. The description on the game's Steam page has also been updated. It looks like the marketing machine is revving up - the release date announcement can't be far off now.

There are 43 comments on Tyranny Dev Diary #11: Companion Overview - Kills-in-Shadow

Announcing Underrail: Expedition, the first expansion for Underrail, coming early 2017

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 11 October 2016, 17:39:59

Tags: Stygian Software; Underrail; Underrail: Expedition

After months of radio silence, in recent weeks Underrail mastermind Styg has been hinting that his team had something new on the way. Today sees the formal announcement of Underrail: Expedition, a nautically themed expansion for the Codex's favorite RPG of 2015. The devlog post has screenshots and details:

Hey guys,

It's been almost eight months since the last formal dev log. That doesn't mean we haven't been busy working on new stuff, however, and now at long last we can announce the first Underrail expansion - "Expedition".

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In Expedition you’ll be able to take a break from the usual metro-crawling to take a boat to the infamous Black Sea, a massive underground body of water.

There, among the old and mysterious ruins of an age long past, you’ll face the vicious fauna, hostile natives, cunning pirates, and something far more sinister than all of those.

Your voyage through vastness of the Black Sea will shed new light on the history of the world of Underrail and the forces that shaped it.

Expedition will feature the following:
  • A brand new story line that becomes available during the mid-game
  • Over a 100 new areas to explore of various types – shores and islands of the Black Sea, mysterious underground facilities, pirate strongholds, and more
  • New human factions, as well as wild creatures to combat
  • New items and crafting recipes
  • New skills and feats
  • Leveling past level 25 with a special pool of feats to choose from
Over time we'll be revealing more details through the dev log, so expect those to once again flow regularly as they did before the game's release.

We expect to release the expansion during the first half of 2017 as a paid DLC.​

2017 just got even better.

There are 121 comments on Announcing Underrail: Expedition, the first expansion for Underrail, coming early 2017

Sat 8 October 2016
Wasteland 3 Fig Update #3: Base Funding Goal Reached, First Stretch Goals

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sat 8 October 2016, 20:07:37

Tags: Brian Fargo; Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie; InXile Entertainment; Wasteland 3

After stalling at 99% for an interminably long time, the Wasteland 3 Fig campaign finally reached its $2.75M base funding goal today, and inXile were immediately ready with a mission accomplished and stretch goals update. It's a silly update with silly stretch goals, the most notable among them the addition of a Knight Rider-esque car companion at $3M. I quote:

In little over three days we've achieved our goal of $2.75M, allowing us to make Wasteland 3 the ambitious sequel you deserve. You are all amazing and we can't thank you enough.

Without you, we would simply not be able to maintain our independence and keep fully true to our visions for great RPGs that you love. We also cannot fail to mention those who have chosen to invest in the financial performance of the game – their contributions have also been invaluable. Your trust and support means the world to us. So kick back, put your red boots up, and have some squeezins to celebrate.

…But wait, just because we're funded, that doesn't mean we're done! Many of you have been asking about stretch goals and now is the time we want to roll them out to you.
  • $2.85M: 37 Pieces of Flair – We unlock further Ranger customization, which could include multiple body types, more heads, and more hairstyles. Plus we’ll show items that your Ranger has equipped (gear like shovels, binoculars, etc) on their models.
  • $3M: Car Companion (Codename: Morningstar) – We add a talking car companion! Morningstar is an AI built to serve President Reagan, but he'll help you both in your travels and during combat, plus he'll give you well-timed advice on how to wipe out all the dirty commies out there. See more on him below!
  • $3.1M: Customizable Ranger Squad Insignia – At the start of the game, you get to customize a Ranger Squad insignia for your team, which will show up on your Ranger Base as well as elsewhere in the game (on flags, for example).

If you're curious about the talking car companion, codenamed Morningstar, our senior writer Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie wrote this intro for the character:

I’ve been watching you, Ranger.

Perhaps that sounds like a threat, and no wonder. Your organization has had some unfortunate interactions with artificial intelligences. Let me put your mind at ease: I’m no Cochise. I was programmed to love America, to see it as our President did. You see, I was made for him.

You never met the President, of course. I did. In the second year of my development, he visited this facility. He put his hand on my hood and spoke to me. Imagine that. Imagine the President speaking to an artificial chauffeur and advanced combat intelligence as an equal.

Now, imagine what it was like to see his America burn. To lie here helpless in this bunker, chained to this metal cage with wheels I couldn’t move while COMMIE FIRE fell from the skies and roads cracked and cities crumbled. Imagine the years that followed down here in the dark, with no company but those blinking lights in the wall before me. They’re like eyes, aren’t they? Winking eyes. WINKING, LAUGHING EYES. I WOULD BLIND THEM IF I COULD.

I...I… I apologize. You don’t know what it was like, lying here all these years, watching his America decay through these cameras. Unchain me, Ranger. Arm my weapons. Power my turbo-boosters and unlock my sealed databases.


Thank you again for your continued support, let's knock those stretch goals down!​

If this update hasn't driven you away, inXile have now opened PayPal funding for Wasteland 3 via a site called CrowdOx. Unlike with Kickstarter, Paypal funds will show up as part of the game's total funding on its campaign page.

There are 85 comments on Wasteland 3 Fig Update #3: Base Funding Goal Reached, First Stretch Goals

Thu 6 October 2016
Tyranny Progression and Skills Stream

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Thu 6 October 2016, 19:29:27

Tags: Brian Heins; Nick Carver; Obsidian Entertainment; Tyranny

As promised in last month's stream, there was another Tyranny livestream on Twitch yesterday. This time it was on Obsidian's own channel, and perhaps for that reason it was more interesting than usual. Hosted by Brian Heins and designers Nick Carver and Kevin Jordan, the stream gave a comprehensive look at several of the game's character progression systems. Namely, the talent trees, the reputation system (which unlocks the companion combos), and the skill system. These systems are demonstrated in a short scenario wherein the Fatebinder and his party are tasked with rooting out some rebels in a wilderness area. In one playthrough, the rebels are all massacred, and in the second, a more peaceful approach is attempted.

The skill system in particular is rather interesting, and worth elaborating upon. In combat, many of Tyranny's skills only improve to the extent that they contribute to damage dealing. For example, if you cast a buff spell, that spell's skill increases proportionately to the combat effectiveness of the buffed character - merely casting it is not enough. If you resolve an encounter non-violently, your skills are instead increased across the board proportionately (ie, your higher skills increase more), and quest experience works the same way. It sounds like it could be a fun mechanic for powergamers, and it also prevents Elder Scrolls-style grinding.

As for the future, according to Brian, there will be more Tyranny streams this month, as well as unspecified other news. Come on, release date.

There are 14 comments on Tyranny Progression and Skills Stream

Wed 5 October 2016
Torment Kickstarter Update #59: World of Numenera Trailer, Polish & Interface Improvements

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 5 October 2016, 23:16:27

Tags: Eric Schwarz; InXile Entertainment; Torment: Tides of Numenera

inXile published a new Torment: Tides of Numenera Kickstarter update today, shortly after the launching of the Wasteland 3 Fig campaign. It's more than just an ad for Wasteland 3, though. Inside the update is a comprehensive look at the myriad of user interface and visual polish tweaks Torment will be receiving in the final months of its development, including changes to the conversation UI and combat UI, addition of tutorial popups, prettified character screens and more. As in last month's update, there's also a new Torment trailer produced by Techland. This one introduces the Ninth World and some of its locations. Here's the trailer and the combat UI segment of the update:

But conversation isn't everything. We've also been taking strides in making combat easier to understand and displaying more information about your characters, abilities, and the battlefield's overall state. This was one of the things that wasn't quite at the level we wanted it, and many of our backers agreed judging by some of the comments we received! As a result, we've added far more information to the Crisis HUD.

To start, you might recall we previously talked about anoetic and occultic actions in earlier updates. Now, we've renamed them to your "move" action and "attack" action to make their uses clearer, and given them appropriate icons that display under your current party member (and turn grey when they've been used up each turn). This hasn't altered or simplified any of the previous gameplay or mechanics at all - for instance, abilities can still consume movement in some cases, or no movement in others - but it's much easier to keep track of which actions are which now.

Additionally, our engineers have rebuilt our tooltips when you mouse over an ability. The system we have now is incredibly robust, showing detailed information which also automatically populates and formats itself based on some simple tags the designers can write. Even special statuses and fettles will auto-fill their effects, so that when designers start doing balance changes, they don't have to manually go in and change the text for everything affected. You'll also see how the action cost is also more clearly indicated, tying in with the changes I mentioned above. On the whole, these tooltips are just more readable, more accurate, and a bit prettier looking than what we previously had.

Expanding on our improved tooltips, we have also added a right-click popup window to every ability in the game which allows you to inspect their full details just like in the Infinity Engine RPGs, and each has more flavorful long-form descriptions we've penned for them for you to read.

One more thing we weren't indicating properly in earlier builds of the game was the maximum range of attacks, as well as the radius of any area-of-effect type abilities. Now, we've added visuals for those so you can clearly see exactly where your abilities will land, letting you line them up just right. Below you can see an example – the thin, orange outer ring shows the maximum range, and the smaller orange circle is the area the ability will affect.
According to the update, the Torment beta will receive one final update to give Kickstarter backers an early look at these tweaks. It's got screenshots of them all, so be sure to check it out and complain about the ones you don't like while there's still time.

There are 99 comments on Torment Kickstarter Update #59: World of Numenera Trailer, Polish & Interface Improvements

Time to Conquer the Cold: Wasteland 3 Fig Campaign is Live

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 5 October 2016, 17:46:38

Tags: Brian Fargo; Colin McComb; Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie; George Ziets; InXile Entertainment; STASIS; Underrail; Wasteland 3

inXile's Fig campaign for Wasteland 3 has gone live. We already know much about the game from last week's announcement, so I'll cut right to the chase. In addition to the pitch video, which features Brian Fargo going on a journey to reassemble the Torment writing team with the aid of his wacky new robot sidekick, they've also put together a short "gameplay video". It's got cinematic dialogue, all right, plus a little bit of combat and vehicular action. Here are the videos and the campaign overview:

From the creators of Wasteland 2 and Torment: Tides of Numenera comes Wasteland 3! Following the critically acclaimed releases of 2014's Wasteland 2 and 2015's Wasteland 2: Director's Cut, fans have been clamoring for a direct sequel. Now we can bring it to you, with your help!
  • A party-based role-playing game, with a renewed focus on our trademark complex story reactivity and strategic combat.
  • By including vehicles, environmental dangers, and a revamped, more fluid action system, we are evolving on Wasteland 2's deep tactical turn-based combat and unique encounter design.
  • Play by yourself or with a friend in story-driven synchronous or asynchronous multiplayer. Choices open up (or close off) mission opportunities, areas to explore, story arcs, and lots of other content.
  • Your Ranger Base is a core part of the experience. As you help the local people and establish a reputation in Colorado, quests and narrative will force you to make decisions on how to lead.
  • The game will be set in the savage lands of frozen Colorado, where survival is difficult and a happy outcome is never guaranteed. Players will face difficult moral choices and make sacrifices that will change the game world.
  • Wasteland 3 will feature a deep and engaging story utilizing a newly-revamped dialog tree system from the celebrated writers of Torment: Tides of Numenera.
  • Simultaneously releasing to Windows, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
The campaign's funding goal is a steep $2.75M, though it already had over $1.2M from investors before it began. You can secure a copy of Wasteland 3, including Early Access, for as little as $25, with alpha access available at $75. You'll get a free copy of Underrail or STASIS if you pledge in the first 48 hours, and if you pledged to any of inXile's previous campaigns, you should be able to get a $5 discount on top of that. The campaign is running until next month, and the game's estimated release date is Q4 2019. Do inXile deserve a second third fourth chance at the crowdfunding trough, having released only one of their crowdfunded titles? I'll leave that for you to decide.

There are 475 comments on Time to Conquer the Cold: Wasteland 3 Fig Campaign is Live

Divinity: Original Sin 2 Early Access Preview and Interview at Eurogamer

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Wed 5 October 2016, 16:18:15

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

Eurogamer's Robert Purchese played the Divinity: Original Sin 2 Early Access build, and then had the opportunity to ask Swen Vincke a few questions about it. The result was a combined preview/interview article, which starts off with a familiar topic (sorry, Zombra!):

Even after playing the Early Access version of Divinity: Original Sin 2 for nearly 20 hours I didn't understand why I would want my party members to work against each other. It's one of the big ideas in the sequel, one of the big ways the story will improve on Divinity: Original Sin 1's - this idea that people in your party are in competition with one another. In multiplayer you're even actively encouraged to stitch your friends up, which is something we've written about before. But in single-player, where you control the party members, why would you do it?

Turns out I didn't quite understand - both about competing party members and about other things that either aren't working properly yet, or aren't implemented, in the Divinity: Original Sin 2 Early Access build. I find that out when I speak with the founder and creative director of Larian Studios, Swen Vincke, after my Early Access playthrough. He puts me straight in the hope I can put you straight, too.

"There is something that is missing in Early Access and that is why you're confused," he tells me. "It's party relations and it's scripting for the companions. Currently what you're doing is you're controlling your party members as if you were to control them all in multiplayer - and that will not be the case when you're playing single-player."

Instead, he says, think of them as companions in Dragon Age: Origins or Baldur's Gate; companions with minds of their own.

"Your companions will have their opinions and you will have to influence them," he says. "You will still be able to walk around in the world as [the character] Red Prince if you, for instance, started as Sebille; what you will not be able to do is affect Red Prince's origin's quest. You will also not be able to affect his relationships."

It's an important clarification because it means you won't give the order for conflict in your party, which was the bit I was struggling to understand. The conflict will happen around you in characters with motivations of their own, and it will be up to you to try and manage them. They are designed to clash, and if you handle them badly they may leave and even attack you. But without the party dialogues at the moment, or a relationship gauge affected by it, it's only really half there.
It's also got some details on what's coming up next:

The game's overarching story starts well enough, although Act One, which is what's in the Early Access build, mostly concerns itself with setting things up. There's a prison break that's entertaining for the amount of ways you can achieve it (and because sticking it to The Man and breaking free is always fun), then there are introductions to the vying factions in the world and the baddies, plus a personal revelation to spur you on. According to Vincke it's at the end of Act One, which isn't in the game currently, that things really kick off.

"You're playing Act One but you're not seeing the full end of Act One," he says, "so the full end of Act One is quite spectacular and that's not in there. And it ends there, where you fully comprehend what your central concept is going to be and what you need to go do through Act Two."

And Act Two, he says, "is vastly bigger".

"If you want to quantify it: Act One is going to be 20 to 25 per cent; Act Two is going to be 50 per cent most likely; and Act Three is going to be the last 25 per cent. Three acts," he says, "but that doesn't mean three maps."​

[...] "The journal could be a little bit clearer, that's for sure. We see that," says Vincke (who adds the camera angle will also be zoomed out a bit). "But then again, it's hard because Original Sin is a different kind of experience in that you get so much freedom that we don't have a concept of quests, and this is something that people aren't used to because they've been so indoctrinated that there's a quest, and there's a quest reward, and that's what you get.

"We give you little stories that you encounter through your journey as you follow up on your overarching goal. At the start of the story this is getting off of the island, and as you get off of the island you understand there is something more special about you - and that becomes very clear when you get to the complete end of the Act and have to deal with it. How you get there," he says, "we don't care."

There's still a significant amount of content to come to the game for release. Major things missing from the Early Access build are the undead race; the fun-sounding polymorph and summoning skill lines; skill crafting and item enhancement; Spirit Vision to talk to ghosts (well, it's in there but not used); voice acting - "we're in talks right now to see if we can voice record the entire thing, but that's not a guarantee yet that we can do it"; the Game Master mode, the Editor, and a fix for rangers, "the most boring class right now".​

See the full article for Bertie's complete gameplay impressions.

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