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Bard's Tale IV Kickstarter Update #33: Combat System Video

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Bard's Tale IV Kickstarter Update #33: Combat System Video

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Wed 8 February 2017, 02:08:28

Tags: Brian Fargo; inXile Entertainment; The Bard's Tale IV: Barrows Deep

The long-awaited Bard's Tale IV combat system video is finally here, in early February rather than late January, but close enough. It actually starts out with some exploration, as a party of three adventurers infiltrate a goblin-infested dungeon, chattering and solving a couple of rudimentary puzzles on the way, before getting into a fight with a group of the goblins and their Fachan minion. Other than the out of place-looking 2D adventurer cutouts, the game looks very pretty indeed, although I suspect that UI will not be popular with everybody. But of course it's all still a work in progress. The new Kickstarter update explains:

Combat is the core of a dungeon crawler and our goal has always been to make sure that it is tactical, deep and pays off visually. We also knew to stay with our roots with combat being party based and phased based, yet we’ve come up with a unique way to present this style of gameplay. You’ll note that we still support six characters for the player to command along with two empty slots for summoned creatures.

Obviously, this is still in development and there are things we’re not in love with yet. Namely, the characters on the HUD are still at a first pass. We will be updating their visual look and likely not have them bouncing around as they speak. And the visuals will only continue to improve as we layer on more VFX for world atmosphere, spells and combat effects, add additional post processing, upgrade the materials for the character models and greatly dial up the ambient life in scenes. Already you can see small touches in our use of planar reflections in the puddles of water, and what you can’t see is our system for dynamically corrupting the forest based on the actions of the player. We want you to feel the effects you have on the world constantly.

Additionally, though the camera movement allows for and shows off free movement, we have laid the maps out such that you can snap into grid movement as well.

Getting personality and character into games is paramount to me, and you get a small glimpse of one of the moments when the party runs across the goblins. Expect more of these small scenes that show the world operating outside of what the player chooses to do.
And some additional details about the combat:

This is what many of you have been waiting to see. We talked about some of our high level ideas in previous updates, specifically with respect to our grid-based system. Now you are seeing it in action. On the game HUD, you can see your party occupying 2 rows of 4 spaces each. Enemies will line up on the opposite grid with the same number of slots. The exact positioning of enemies, as well as your own party, will determine which attacks can land, and which will swing wild past their mark.

Another system you are seeing in place is opportunity. The blue and yellow gems on the HUD represent your party's and your enemy's opportunity. Opportunity is a shared resource that each side has, and it is granted each turn in combat. Unlike some other games where you will be forced to use action points for each character (or skip their turn), opportunity is a bit like a shared action point pool. The flexibility of this system means that party members can set up multi-hit combos, reposition for multiple attacks, or evade danger more effectively.

One thing that is harder to see in the video is our input queuing system. When you take an action in combat, you can begin ordering another party member before the action has played out. Although we intentionally slowed things down for the video to keep it a bit easier to follow, in practice this keeps the flow of combat moving along faster than a traditional turn-based system.

There's a lot more to talk about here, from the way elements like health, mana, and armor interact with each other, how channeling abilities and focus work, the way that temporary status boons can affect a character's functionality, or how positional tactics can let you set up more devastating damage. These open up a lot of subtle possibilities, but we'll save more of those details for future updates.
What do you think, Codex? It's definitely no Grimrock clone.

There are 52 comments on Bard's Tale IV Kickstarter Update #33: Combat System Video

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