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Interview Our Drakensang interview

Discussion in 'News & Content Feedback' started by Vault Dweller, Nov 8, 2006.

  1. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

    Vault Dweller
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    Tags: Drakensang

    I ran into Jan Lechner and Bernd Beyreuther the other day, and asked them <a href=http://www.rpgcodex.com/content.php?id=136>a few questions</a> about <a href=http://www.drakensang.com/>Drakensang</a>:
    <br>
    <br>
    <blockquote><b>2. In several interviews you've described Drakensang as "something like Baldur's Gate in 3D". I'm curious, why Baldur's Gate? Why not "another DSA game!" or "something like the well loved and influental Realms of Arkania games"?</b>
    <br>
    <br>
    Bernd Beyreuther: When we arrived at the description “Baldur’s Gate in 3D”, this was at the end of a long and intensive game design process. At no time, did we think “we’re gonna make a clone of this or that game”. In fact, we spent several months, collecting and reviewing the game design aspects for – what we consider – a *proper* role-playing game. We asked fans and gamers for their opinions and played many different RPGs.
    <br>
    <br>
    We found a number of features that were – and still are – very important to us: a party, dynamic combat with a round-based ruleset, a certain complexity in skills, strong and memorable characters, dynamic dialogues and a whole bunch more.
    <br>
    <br>
    The old RoA games were not homogeneous in terms of the gameplay, which was a consequence of the technical restrictions of the time: We moved through 3D-cities that were bereft of people. Everything was displayed from the first-person perspective, but you never got to see your party. For combat, it switched over to a rigid isometric perspective etc.
    <br>
    <br>
    Therefore our objective can hardly be described as “Realms of Arkania in 3D”. Our project is just better described as a “Baldur’s Gate in 3D”. But this does not mean, that we took more inspiration from one than the other. </blockquote><a href=http://www.rpgcodex.com/content.php?id=136>Click here to read the rest</a>
    <br>
     
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  2. Zomg Arbiter

    Zomg
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    The question is, will the immersion be visceral enough? Will the dynamic viscera be immersed?

    Anyway, good interview, not hopeless. The travel really is on another level from everything else in the RoA games, so it's good that they grasp that. The Codex red meat on the last question was fun.
     
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  3. sheek Arbiter

    sheek
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    Sounds like he isn't an Arkania fan. It's a blatant lie that towns were empty. Yes, you didn't see NPCs on your screen as you moved around but there was interaction. You could be stopped by a beggar, get pickpocketed by a child thief and sometimes barge into an identical looking building and find a unique NPC triggerinug a new quest.

    I don't really care about seeing the party or random NPCs walking around which you will never talk to. I can imagine that and when an important encounter does come up it will be properly done because you haven't spent half your budget on FaceGen and Radiant AI.

    As for rigid isometric combat... the major problem for me wasn't the isometry but that you could only walk/shoot in straight lines (not diagonally). TOEE was isometric and the best TB RPG combat I've experienced. Every RT RPG I've played has had shitty TB combat.

    Bullshit again. If that is the case how can he say the major feature of Arkania he wants to replicate is the atmosphere? Obviously because the atmosphere was not due to 'cinematic' high-tech grafixes. What the fuck does 'emotional aspects' stated in opposition to game mechanics mean anyway? What is so emotional about BG/Morrowind? This guy is talking out of his ass.

    This guy sounds like he has a bit more of a clue.

    So Mr Jan is Project Lead. Guess that is better than the other way around. But Bernd as Creative Director?
     
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  4. Anonytroll Novice

    Anonytroll
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    If I recall correctly, you could shoot diagonally from part 2 onward.
     
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  5. sheek Arbiter

    sheek
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  6. Sir_Brennus Scholar

    Sir_Brennus
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    @sheek

    Are you retarded or what? All the so-called NPC-Interaction was purly random and had no effect on the game whatsover. Most of the encounters where just for laughs (the guy who said "eat more cheese sandwiches" and then passed out, the child that dreamed about the sword and ran back to mommy before it could tell you where it lies.). The only real encounters that mattered werethe merchant who travelled the coast and the sailor. The sailor followed a strict route and could be found on certain days in certain towns - BUT always at the same spot at the habour. The merchant worked the same way AFAIR.

    The buildings are a complete different thing, because those encounters where fixed, but limited to the to the buildings - not anywhere else in town.

    Great! Next thing you say will be that DRAKENSANG will feature soil-erosion. No, a living town should feature "commoners". There is no reason to have 3D grafics today, if you don't display the NPCs. BARD'S TALE et al. didn't do that, because it was technically impossible to manage so many AI in 3D. ULTIMA IV did it, but in 2D and those NPCs made towns alive.

    Check your facts pal! It was only in Blade of Destiny where you couldn't use diagonal lines. There is a slight chance that they implemented it even there with the CD-Rom version, which I never played (completed it on Amiga and PC only on floppy)

    That statement made no sense in any way. Please clarify!

    Man, you cannot be helped.

    @all
    I stated that here

    http://www.rpgcodex.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=13535&highlight=drakensang

    but noone believed me.

    Well, that is the codex way of life, I presume.
     
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  7. sheek Arbiter

    sheek
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    So what is your point? I never said they were meaningful. Most of the interactions had no real effect but I was answering his statement that the towns were empty. That means he wants to add Oblivion style shit and I am saying it's a waste of time and energy that won't add a thing to 'atmosphere'.

    Yeah and why do you need 3D graphics? If there are 3D graphics ten thousand NPCs but these generic_cloned_commoners are Obliviously detached from anything going on, then I do not want them. I don't want to talk to them and I don't want to fucking see them.

    OK if you say so. I can tell you Blade of Destiny CD had no diagonal movement. Anyway it's got nothing to do with Bernd's point which seems is "rigid isometric is bad for combat".

    The sense of my statement was a question: How does Bernd's statement makes any sense?

    Your turn...
     
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  8. Sir_Brennus Scholar

    Sir_Brennus
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    The towns in RoA were in fact empty and the random encounters felt like a waste of time and energy to me. In a game where common NPCs are displayed (probably with a day-night cycle) the world looks and feels alive. Like you, I don't like talking to every generic prick - so I don't in the ESF games. I merely use them as guides (and that was their only use in MORROWIND), but I like to hear common NPCs discussing things like they did in SACRED. The OBLIVION "radiant AI" thingy didn't improve on that, I concede, but I understood that the disigners are going the SACRED way and adding NPC cycles like in ULTIMA or GOTHIC. Btw: Did you hate those simple NPCs in U4 and U5 too? If you do, you shouldn't come close to a violent ULTIMA fanboy.

    Ok. You don't want to see them. I want to see them. We have a problem.
    Well, take a look at KOTOR 1. You may or may not like it, but you must concede, that a Tusken Raider Camp would look stupid without any "generic" Tusken Raiders walking inside, don't you? They are instantly recognizable as generic - yeah I know. So don't talk to them, but walk up to the chieftain. They don't do any harm, do they? And BEING Tusken Raiders make them attached to the camp in some way or the other.

    Well, I finished NIGHTWATCH some weeks ago. It's TB and SILENT STORM engine based. I actually could move the camera around, so I could plan lines of sight in advance. I couldn't do so in METALHEART, or in hindsight in JAGGED ALLIANCE. So RIGID isometric is worse than non-rigid isometric, at least from my point of view. (pun intended!)

    Okay, let's see. I think BALDURS GATE 2 was a very emotional game to play. It gave me goosbumps playing a LG Paladin who is a Bhaal spawn and offered the throne of Bhaal by Cyric - it is in fact a conflict of "epic" propotions, because it is ultimatly the choice Jesus makes in the desert when offered the earthly kingdom by Satan. Also I liked the romances (I know: everybody else hates them) and that my Paladin decided to go with the wingless fairy in the end. Besides: even in TALES OF THE SWORD COAST there was Durlag's Tower - a dungeon that told the sad story of Durlag in text. Everybody who wasn't gripped by that emotionally is quite cold at heart.

    So atmosphere is in story and characters and the world. Not in numbers.

    EDIT:

    mmh, maybe I didn't understand your question. could you respell it?
     
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  9. Brother None inXile Entertainment Developer

    Brother None
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    Good interview, makes me slightly more hopeful about this project.


    's funny that the DSA ruleset is really well-adapted to this roleplaying element, which is indeed a nice thing to include. It's easy enough to do, if they stick to the basic DSA rules.

    The former is very very true. I have a lot of prblems with the later. Real-time combat isn't a development of the 90's, it's pretty old. He might be right that strictly speaking TB is older than RT, but it's not like one is an out-dated 20 year old system and the other a fresh 10-year old one.

    I really don't like the answer to question 7. It sounds incomplete and not adressing the point, kind of a dodge.

    You'll have to admit the generic identic building thing got a bit annoying, though. But I'll agree that his criticism of RoA seems a bit inane, and too much "it wasn't shiny enough!"

    From his RPGVault RPGRoundtable bit:
    "Today, when developing a CRPG, we have much greater capabilities. And we have to realize this. But this has also moved the focus. A lot of CRPGs currently in development are trying to take as much as advantage of technology as they can - but obviously, the developers forget that RPGs are extremely influenced by non-visible aspects like storytelling and characters, and also the implementation of the player himself as well as his own imagination. Of course you can't trivialize - there have always been good and not so good games, and there always will be. And maybe, it's just the high number of releases today makes players feel like there was more quality in the earlier years of the industry."

    He's not a bad guy, certainly.

    Heh, you'll have to point out a valid reason to want dialogue written by professional writers chopped up into small bits before convincing us of anything.

    I'm not saying short dialogue is inherently bad, I'm saying thinking long dialogue is inherently bad or "not dynamic" is stupid.

    Whoa there, sheek, that might be a bit too much of a leap of an assumption there. Saying towns are empty in DoA would be true if you compare it to Fallout, PS:T, Baldur's Gate or most of the big 90's cRPGs, it doesn't mean that you want stupid Radianters bumping heads.

    It's got something to do with it, in that Brennus is proving Bernd wrong. Heh.
     
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  10. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

    Vault Dweller
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    Well, if you think that we believe everything that Jan told us, you are mistaken again. Besides, what *did* he tell us about the dialogues?

    "Since a part of the question goes back to something I said that was easily misunderstood, I want to go into detail about the amount of dialogue in the game.

    We want to create a structure that gives players access to important information without requiring them to read large amounts of text. We do however want to fill all dialogues with lots of additional information about the world, its inhabitants and their relation to each other. In addition, there will be a multitude of optional dialogues and information in the form of books and scrolls which open additional quests and additional paths to the more “diligent” gamer. "

    - important information without reading large amounts of text
    - info about the world
    - books and scrolls

    So, uh, where are the fucking dialogues?
     
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  11. Elwro Arcane

    Elwro
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    Divinity: Original Sin Wasteland 2
    Yup.
     
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  12. Sir_Brennus Scholar

    Sir_Brennus
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    Death on Arrival? :?:
     
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  13. Brother None inXile Entertainment Developer

    Brother None
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    RoA. The keys are, like, right there, together

    Nice reply, stumpy.
     
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  14. Vidder Liturgist

    Vidder
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    I dont get it how "turn based combat" is totally breaking the immersion because it interrupts the "flow" while a "Pause"-Button does not!

    tb: time flows by. you act when your phase starts. the world is continuously alive presented by breathing and rattling participants, etc. (time to think, but no immersion breaking)
    pause: time stops. halt. deus ex machina. (immersion = zero)
     
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  15. Sir_Brennus Scholar

    Sir_Brennus
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    I tend to agree, but that would also mean that phased-base combat (eg. FF 8) is as good at least immersion wise.

    I don't know if I am willing to agree to that...
     
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  16. FrancoTAU Cipher

    FrancoTAU
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    I still don't understand how the mentality of TB doesn't sell came about. What was the AAA TurnBased RPG game that bombed? I must've missed that one.

    It sounds more like pussy devs who don't want to break the mold they were handed down from Diablo and Balder's Gate. Seriously, who the hell prefers RTwP party combat over Turn based party combat? With a single party member game than I get the appeal of pure real time.

    Anyways, I'm still on the fence on Drakensang. They were certainly dodging the questions about how combat would be more interesting (visceral 3D graphics! OMGZ!) and how dialogue would work.
     
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  17. EEVIAC Erudite

    EEVIAC
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    ToEE was actually one of Atari's top three games the year it was released. It didn't sell GTA numbers but it didn't cost a lot to make either.
     
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  18. Deacdo Liturgist

    Deacdo
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    It sold remarkably well considering it was bug-ridden, unfinished and reviewed poorly.

    That said, it was also a D&D game where the rules were implemented well. That's money in the bank.

    This interview gives me a little faith...but companies tend to say what their audience likes to hear. All the other previews and interviews give a *much* different impression. Besides, have these guys even made a quality game in the last 5 or so years?
     
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  19. Brother None inXile Entertainment Developer

    Brother None
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    Silent Storm maybe. If you can consider any Russian game an AAA title.
     
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  20. denizsi Arcane

    denizsi
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    He was addressing the idiocy the developer made by suggesting that TB and "atmospheric, emotional experience" don't fit in the same shoes.

    For your example, it would be something like the developer saying Baldur's Gate series wouldn't have "emotional" moments at all if they were TB.
     
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  21. Sir_Brennus Scholar

    Sir_Brennus
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    Did he (the dev) really mean that? :shock:

    It is actually quite a stupid thing to say. I tend to say that TEMPLE OF ELEMENTAL EVIL wasn't an emotional game, but that was because of the writing and the story (better: the lack of it) and the nonexistend character interaction. It is very much like POOL OF RAIDIANCE - RUINS OF MYTH DRANNOR. A lot of challenging TB battles but no emotional core to it.

    BUT: A game can have heavily TB battles and be very emotional - BETRAYAL AT KRONDOR or ODIUM come to mind. Heck - even NIGHTWATCH had an emotional core to it - even if the story was quite bland.
     
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  22. sheek Arbiter

    sheek
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    That's how I interpret it. It's things like that which make me jump to conclusions about other aspects of the game and think they want to dumb down.
     
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  23. Mr.Rocco Novice

    Mr.Rocco
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    I've read your post and unless you're involved in the game development, it's a wishful thinking.
    Repeat of Obivion fanboy fanaticism, perhaps?

    You're still avoiding VD's question regarding dialogues. Where're the fucking dialogues?
     
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  24. Sir_Brennus Scholar

    Sir_Brennus
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    I don't avoid a friggin thing. I thought that Vault Dwellers question was a rhethoric one. All I have to say is stated in the old thread.

    Btw: I am not involved in the development but a cautious optimist who dared to point to the fact that statements can be read on more ways than with the typical codex cynicism.

    I daresay that comparing me to the ESF crowd is an insult of my intelligence and proves that you haven't read the old thread.
     
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  25. FrancoTAU Cipher

    FrancoTAU
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    I don't think Nival qualifies as a big developer unless they have a big license and publisher for something like Heroes of Might & Magic. Either way, I think Silent Storm did pretty well since they ended up having an expansion and spin off with Hammer & Sickle. I guess H&S bombed, but it was due more to bugginess and having no big publisher marketing it. Kind of the same problem with Troika and even than Trokia games made a profit.
     
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