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Game News Torment Kickstarter Update #44: Kevin on Production, Adam on Fettles, Colin on Lore

Discussion in 'RPG Codex News & Content Comments' started by Infinitron, Jun 23, 2015.

  1. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Tags: Adam Heine; Brother None; Colin McComb; InXile Entertainment; Kevin Saunders; Torment: Tides of Numenera

    The Torment: Tides of Numenera Kickstarter update for today sees a return to the classic Torment Triumvirate format. Kevin Saunders delivers a progress report on the game's development, including the status of the Alpha Systems Test (still no ETA), Adam Heine describes the game's status effects, which the team are calling "fettles", and Colin McComb offers another generous helping of lore, this time about a place known as the Valley of Dead Heroes. As per my habit, I'll quote Adam's section of the update:

    I want to talk to you about fettles.

    "What the hell is a fettle that's not even a word."

    Right. See, that's exactly what I said when Kevin suggested 'fettle' as our term for lingering conditions and effects. But yeah, it's totally a word, one perfectly suited to the linguistical atmosphere we're shooting for in Torment.

    Fettles are conditions that affect player characters in and out of combat. Some examples that will be immediately familiar to RPG players are things like Poisoned, Bleeding, Slowed, or Hasted. Any condition that has effects beyond the immediate probably qualifies as a fettle.

    Being set in the Ninth World, Torment has some stranger fettles as well. A character might be Energized (giving her extra damage and changing all his damage to a specific type, like heat, cold, or gravitic), she might be in Stasis (paralyzed), or even Phased (bonus to defense and protecting her from most physical damage types).

    But the beauty of the fettle system is that it's not just about buffs and debuffs. We can use status fettles to keep track of whether a character is Hidden, Knocked Down, in Low Light, or Hovering. We have a Distracted fettle for when a character has too much to keep track of in combat, like if he's flanked by too many enemies or someone successfully Taunts him. And a character that's completely mobbed would be worse than distracted, they'd be Overwhelmed.

    These status fettles last only as long as the situation demands, of course. If a character downs one of the enemies flanking him, he'll no longer be Distracted, or if he attacks someone from the shadows, he will no longer be Hidden.

    Most other fettles last for a specific duration. But Torment doesn't use a real time clock to keep track of durations, so we have to get more creative with how long fettles last. In combat, that's simple—fettles last for a number of rounds or until combat is over—but what about a Diseased fettle that lasts after the Crisis is over, or a character has been Dismayed by an ancient, mental booby trap? In these cases, we use the rest system.

    I talked about the rest system some on the forums, but in short each character gets a limited number of rests per day to recover some of their Stat Pool. They will also get a single Sleep that acts as a rest, restores all their other rests, and counts as a "day" for the purposes of time passing.

    For fettles outside of combat, then, we specify the duration as "until next rest" or "until next Sleep." In this way, the player controls how fast time passes—whether they want to spend some of their Stat Pool to heal right away, or else Sleep and risk things changing (or coming after you) by passing time. This is just one of the systems we're implementing to make combat (and non-combat) more tactical, and to put the power of choice into the player's hands.
    Read the entire thing, though. Those Memorialists from Colin's lore update sound very Planescapey.

    Update: There's also a new interview with Adam and Kevin over at Red Bull. It's basically a more detailed restatement of things we already know, but notable for the fact that it offers an up-to-date figure on the number of battles in the game. There'll be 12-15 full-blown Crises encounters, along with "several" optional tussles.
     
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  2. Jedi Master Radek Arcane

    Jedi Master Radek
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    In before Tides of Numenera: Tactics
     
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  3. Excidium II Self-Ejected

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    Can't believe someone is actually handling passage of time right in a CRPG :thumbsup:
     
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  4. tuluse Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    tuluse
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    Serpent in the Staglands Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    This is the same people who worked on MotB and soul hunger, second time's the charm I suppose.
     
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  5. Rean Codex Grammar Police Patron

    Rean
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    Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy
    Worked pretty well in the first one as a moron detector, although it was actually Eric Fenstermaker who was the main guy behind it and he is still at Obsidian.
     
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  6. <3sRichardSimmons Arcane

    <3sRichardSimmons
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    Yeah MotB was fine. I remember fucking up when I first started playing and having to use the xp-loss ability to unfuck my game state, but then immediately realized my mistake and ceased rest-spamming with the same fury is used in earlier NWN titles (and guess what? Despite that xp loss the game was still easy as shit).
    If anything about the Spirit-Eating mechanic deserves criticism its that the actual mechanic directly contradicts the game's story (I'm pointedly trying to refrain from using a certain pseudo-intellectual term beloved by RPS): namely that the game is WAAAAAY easier if you abstain from eating souls.
     
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  7. tuluse Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    tuluse
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    Serpent in the Staglands Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    There are a myriad of problems with spirit eater mechanics, it's just that "too punishing" wasn't one of them and that's what everyone complained about.
     
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  8. Roguey Arcane Sawyerite Sawyerist Sawyer's Bride No Fun Allowed

    Roguey
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    I didn't notice a difference either way. Going full craving compensates you with the ability to eat souls (and not just spirits) and the bonuses you get are a lot stronger (permanent displacement versus some minor bonus I can't even remember).
     
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  9. Love Arbiter

    Love
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    That's the spirit, guys! :salute:

    I'm assuming the gravesite will hold the usual joke gravestones with the developer's name on them... will Avellone be under an Obsidian tomb or will he be left in exile?
     
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  10. Jim the Dinosaur Arcane

    Jim the Dinosaur
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    The game sounds like it's based on heavily scripted events; not sure how that'll work out with every sleep "risk[ing] things changing (or coming after you) by passing time."
     
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  11. Excidium II Self-Ejected

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    Who knows. Probably just counting how many full rests you took after becoming "eligible" to some event and then changing states or triggering it sooner based on it

    Would be cool if took into account time spent on other activities besides resting but it's a start
     
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  12. Karellen Prestigious Gentleman Prophet

    Karellen
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    From what was described before, the idea seems to be that quest states will progress automatically with time regardless of your participation, which hopefully means that the quests will get more difficult or that ideal solutions are blocked off if you drag your feet too long. If so, the game would get pretty interesting - if done well, it would make attrition a meaningful element in quests, since you'd want to get as much done as possible in a single day and would have a reason to press on even if you're running out of juice and have negative modifiers and so on. Also, it would make it advantageous to prioritise quests that are important or relevant to your character, whereas in a lot of quest-based CRPGs it either doesn't matter or it's actually advantageous to do important quests last, so you'll have leveled up on junk subquests and have access to the best options in more involved ones. Being forced to make choices like that would be great from a roleplaying perspective, since it means that other than picking between options as part of quests, your character's... character is also shown by which quests you deem important and urgent.

    Of course, this is only really the case if passage of time is used consistently as an element in most quests and that passing off quests has actual negative consequences. This might be a difficult thing to balance, mainly since a lot of players really hate any and all negative consequences, so it's perhaps more likely that the changes only involve some quests and that the changes tend to be largely cosmetic. If so, it wouldn't have much impact on actual gameplay, but it's still nice that they're going to have some kind of urgency mechanic.
     
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  13. Excidium II Self-Ejected

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    Indeed
     
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  14. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    I could see this getting a bit metagamey after a while ("For the best outcome, do quests A and C on your first day in Sagus Cliffs, then B and D on your second day"), with people making flowcharts and stuff
     
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  15. Trip Learned

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    Not necessarily, if different timelines provide different challenges for different builds/companion make-up/etc. Also, it might be harder to judge the "best" outcome if the story/character development (Tides and such) are equally satisfying in each case.

    Also, it makes more sense to metagame that stuff if XP awards are of the standard kind, in other words thousands per solution, instead of here where you get a couple of XP if you're lucky (and if I'm not mistaken about the system).
     
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  16. Jim the Dinosaur Arcane

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    "want to spend some of their Stat Pool to heal right away, or else Sleep and risk things changing (or coming after you) by passing time." This does make it sound like sleeping/passing time is always going to be detrimental (maybe in the sense of either spend Stat points healing, or rest and get less Stat points as a reward for that quest you could have done earlier), so it might become a bit like AoD where you'd (i.e. I'd) try to handle everything at once no matter how hurt because you'd otherwise miss out on that sweet XP (and with devs saying "you shouldn't play that way, silly").
     
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  17. Trip Learned

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    Well, I hope it just means "You might reconsider your initial plans after Sleeping, but you won't really be losing out", nothing more. Forcing the player to make a choice by gating content (and offering nothing in return but some replenished Stat Pools) is always a terrible design idea.
     
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  18. Jim the Dinosaur Arcane

    Jim the Dinosaur
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    But if you don't lose out then why would you spend Stat points healing [​IMG]
     
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  19. Trip Learned

    Trip
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    Well, maybe you decided that quest A is more important than quest B (or you think it's cooler, or you finished some other quests in whose context A makes more sense than B), but you need some more Intellect for it, for example, because it involves deciphering some far-future thingamajig from the distant past or whatever. But sleeping would mean that time passes on quest B. Now, I'd prefer not be told "Aw, so sorry, guy, quest B is now closed, try again on replay." Instead, I'd like for the situation in quest B to develop somehow on its own and add unforeseen (hopefully interesting) complications either to quest A directly or to my current circumstances. So now my plan to replenish Intellect and breeze through quest A has a hitch in it and I have to readjust.

    This way, as a player, I could stop worrying what I'm missing out on and trying to game the system, and focus on developing a character through quest prioritization (among other things), just like Karellen said.
     
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  20. Karellen Prestigious Gentleman Prophet

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    Yeah. All of this could work rather well if the "best" path is situational and dependent on what type of character you're going for, which is precisely what the Tides would have to be for.

    Let's say that a dragon has captured a princess. You could go there right away on the first day, kill the dragon and save the princess, at which point the princess goes home to marry the prince and you get a prize and the satisfaction of defending young love. Or, on the first day you could go and inform the prince, who will ride away to the dragon's lair and promptly get eaten (if you don't volunteer to go along). Then, on Day 2, you can go to the lair yourself, where the princess remains alive, the dragon having been too full of delicious prince to eat the princess too on Day 1. So you kill the dragon, rescue the princess, bereaved by the death of the prince, so you "comfort" her with your fabulous CHA 18 and end up getting betrothed to the princess for your trouble, while you also collect a reward from the Secret Society of Anti-Royalist Bastards who had hired you to kill the prince on Day 1. And, well, if you leave the dragon for the third day, well... the princess is well and truly eaten, so that's it for the quest, except that it turns out the princess was a bit chewy, so you can sell the dragon the giant toothpick you found while you were messing around Day 2 for a huge hoard of gold and leave after high-fiving the dragon.

    Of course, all of this is still kind of meta-gamey, but I don't really mind, provided that the meta-game is interesting and fun and that it isn't radically in conflict with the narrative and mood of the game. In both aspects, this kind of system seems like it could be a step up from what we normally see, so I hope they do as much of this kind of stuff as possible.
     
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  21. Trip Learned

    Trip
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    I think this is key, yeah. I like fiddling with the game systems if they point inwards to the core of the game, whatever it is, and not to some "how can I finish the game with max XP/without losing a single hit-point" goal, which to me is on par with moronically LARP-ing it, only in the opposite direction. And I don't think it's meta-gamey, the way you describe it. What matters is which questions you ask yourself while playing.

    "I'll wait for the dragon to eat the prince, 'cause it takes care of the Anti-Royalists' task and keeps my hands clean" is a story-driven decision.
    ""I'll wait for the dragon to eat the prince, 'cause I know the XP award is bigger that way" is not.
     
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  22. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    The problems arise when you don't know ahead of time that the dragon will eat the prince, ie, when unpredictable things happen as the days pass by. That's what really drives the metagaming in these sorts of designs, people don't want to be blindsided
     
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  23. Trip Learned

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    Oh, sure, that's true, but I think it's important that the unpredictable stuff make sense. I wish I'm right in saying that people who actually like playing cRPGs will find such unpredictability more of a merit, at least most of the time. A dynamically changing playfield should be a good thing. (When the changes make sense and are interesting.) On the other hand, it's a matter of narrative design skills to hint at the player that the dragon eating the prince is at least possible, if not probable. So stuff should be unpredictable in the sense of "I'm not sure if this will happen, but it the game is hinting that it could. Now, do I risk it?"
    All good, as long as it engages me further in what's happening in the game.
     
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  24. ksaun Arcane Developer

    ksaun
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    Regarding the "timeline events:" We are taking a pretty light touch with these on TTON. It's experimental and adds complexity, plus we have enough other things going on. So Karellen is right in that it only involves some Quests. They don't involve earth-shattering reactivity (too risky for this), but the reactivity does usually go beyond purely cosmetic. (Though we're also trying to make the quests/events that aren't time-based not feel like they would be time-based.) Some of these things aren't directly (or even indirectly) about Quests. The idea is that the world isn't just sitting in stasis waiting for you to arrive.

    Doing X faster is not necessarily better than doing it slower. The difference is generally intended to be interesting and situation-appropriate. (Karellen's dragon/princess example is a pretty good example (in terms of our approach/implementation, not in terms of the narrative =) ).) The effects are typically narrative in nature; gameplay impact is minor. Usually, but not always, the results are intuitive and foreshadowed. (To take Karellen's dragon/princess example, you might expect the dragon will eat the princess eventually, but the game may not tell you whether it'll be on day 3 or day 4 or day 7.) Sometimes, the differences will likely go unnoticed except upon multiple playthroughs (or through reading about others' experiences).

    Depending upon what we learn through implementing these (and players' reception to them), it's something we might embrace more fully in a future game. But we didn't want to introduce too much risk to TTON by overreaching with this concept. (It's the kind of thing that would be easy to get carried away with, so we're erring on the side of conserving resources. We're trying to assess the full potential more than we are trying to realize that potential with this game.)
     
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