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News from the front #355773
29/08/08 01:44 PM
29/08/08 01:44 PM
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Lar_q Offline OP

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Lar_q  Offline OP

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Hello all Ė Iím going to try to maintain a bit of a diary online to keep you posted on how development is going and what exactly is going on at Larian with regards to . It wonít be that regular as time typically is my enemy, but Iíll try to give you these updates whenever thereís a hole in my schedule.

Itís been cool presenting the game at Leipzig and seeing all the reactions. Ever since the announcement Iíve seen the developers over here continuously check out what people are thinking about the material weíve released so far, and itís been fun seeing all the smiles when something good was said or occasionally hear the shouts of sheer frustration when someone posted something they didnít agree with. Itís also nice to see the forum kick back alive regarding the work weíve been doing and itís an enormous relief that we can finally talk about the game weíve been working on for so long.

The interface thread regarding the wasd controls has already sparked many a debate internally and especially the fears weíve seen online of it being too action oriented triggered something over here. As a result weíve launched a track to reinstall the pause feature of Divinity 1, and we should be able to try it out next week to see how it affects gameplay. It looks actually quite promising and a side effect is that weíve now got a nice way of making screenshots (think bullet time).

Weíre now in the stage of development that I prefer the most. Itís the stage where you have this huge beast with all kinds of features that you can tweak and realign fairly easily. Weíll soon be starting our playtests and itís going to be fun to see the game grow week after week when we tune it to the feedback we get from the players. Well, I hope itís going to be fun and that we didnít too make too many bad decisions ;\)

As more details about the game will be released, Iím also very curious what you all will have to say about it. This forum has always been a big source of inspiration to the point that when making the design for it was: ok letís see what they really liked and letís see what they really disliked. Since you lot donít always agree that was often an interesting exercise. And of course, we also have our opinion about certain things ;\)

Because the above paragraph might sound cheesy, I want to stress the point about how important this community has been to our past development by citing one example: the two skeletons in Divine Divinity having their philosophic argument is a scene which has often been cited as one of the most memorable moments of the game. But the scene wasnít completely our idea as it came about as the result of the interaction between a forum member visiting our office and Bronthion who designed the GIQís in . I think it was Alrik but Iím not 100% sure anymore.

Another example would be the moral dilemmas thread. The feedback we got there was important in making the crazy decision to try to have lot of immediately tangible consequences in the subquests and it even lead to the mindread feature, in some weird twisted way which involves a shower 
And I donít even want to talk about all the help we got for the QA on Beyond Divinity from the members of this forum.

Anyway, I was going to give you a bit of an update on what we were doing rather than starting to think about why this forum is so important to Larian (and yes, I know, our years of silence havenít helped a lot). The most notable things since Leipzig over here have been reviews of where we stand with the user interface, something cool called pre light-pass rendering and the art and animation teams entering their final bursts of production.

The user interface visible in the youtube video by Xanlosch is obviously a work in progress version and our art director has recently started deciding on the visual look of it. We went through all of the user interfaces the game offers (which is really quite a lot since we have different UIís on the Xbox360 and the PC) and at first sight, it looks like the usability of those things is working out well. New to me was the character customization screen and the quest rewards screen which I had only seen on paper so far. Regarding the customization screen there is a neat feature which allows you to recustomize your character once you are already walking around in the game. And the quest rewards screen is different to what Iíve see so far in other RPGs (of course I didnít play them all so maybe it exists somewhere). Weíll have to see how the play tests go, but my thoughts upon seeing the UI was that I think you shouldnít find getting the game to do what you want it to do a big hassle.

The pre light-pass rendering is something we had to do to solve a problem on the Xbox360 and wasnít really planned, but it came with a lot of benefits (also for PC) so Iím quite happy we did it. I think that once our artists will be able to use the full power of the thing, you should see something really nice appear in the next bunch of screenshots. I wonít tell you what yet ;\)

And as far as the art and animation teams entering the final production phases goes, that doesnít mean theyíre finished yet because theyíll soon enter a long period of QA, but it means that most of the assets of the game are actually there and that most parts of the gameworld are ready, at least from a visual point of view. Our designers still have to fill up certain chunks of the game with all kinds of quests and boosters.

Our menu for the coming weeks is filled with the last remaining gameplay features being implemented, a whole bunch of quests being added and reviewing a lot of the artwork and animations that were made. That and of course seeing how the playtests go.

Right, back to some very boring task involving numbers and a lot of legal lines...or maybe I'll pretend I forgot and start my weekend

Cheers

Lar

Re: News from the front [Re: Lar_q] #355774
29/08/08 01:59 PM
29/08/08 01:59 PM
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Lar_q Offline OP

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Lar_q  Offline OP

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Oh yeah, when I say assets are ready visually, I mean they are there - that doesn't mean they won't be polished anymore. Just in case somebody misinterpreted my words ;\)

Re: News from the front [Re: Lar_q] #355779
29/08/08 02:34 PM
29/08/08 02:34 PM
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Raze Offline

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The interface thread regarding the wasd controls has already sparked many a debate internally and especially the fears we've seen online of it being too action oriented triggered something over here.

Now will you stop calling it an action-RPG on the Divinity2 website? \:-p

A few screenshots or gameplay videos at a high camera angle wouldn't hurt either, since isometric is more associated with traditional RPGs.


As a result we've launched a track to reinstall the pause feature of Divinity 1



Re: News from the front [Re: Lar_q] #355780
29/08/08 02:37 PM
29/08/08 02:37 PM
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Ragon_der_Magier Offline
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Ahhh!

"Lar finally Speaks Out"

one could tag this here, a loosely regular editorial i see coming from it. ;\)


Great relief to see your presence here re-established (and hopefully increased) here again.

And great satisfaction that the Community is put back into business again - where it belongs to.
Its rightful place, definitely.


Just keep it coming, man.


Btw, may i suggests something?

As much as the discussions surely to spark from it are welcome, iīd say you should close this thread every time you have dropped a new bit here and only reopen again briefly every time you have s.th. to post, the way it is already done with a few pinned (announcement) threads across the forums.

Thus the stream of conscience you create here wonīt be frayed out through intermittent postings from others.

The attached discussions should rather take place in separate threads for every aspect the community might wanna cover.


Cheers and keep the going up,
Ragon

Re: News from the front [Re: Ragon_der_Magier] #355781
29/08/08 03:38 PM
29/08/08 03:38 PM
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Morbo Offline

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Or just rename it 'News from the front:part 1'

The pause button would be great!!! Maybe you can add in some effect of time slowing down till it is still and let some heartbeats blast through the speakers. (By use of adrenaline the dragon knight can asses dangerous situations skill ;\) (well you can get some plot device to explain it)).


Not in the mood for cheese?
That excuse has more holes than a slice this fine Gorgombert!
Re: News from the front [Re: Lar_q] #355788
29/08/08 04:19 PM
29/08/08 04:19 PM
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A
AlrikFassbauer Offline
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Nice speech. \:\)

 Originally Posted By: Lar_q
But the scene wasnít completely our idea as it came about as the result of the interaction between a forum member visiting our office and Bronthion who designed the GIQís in . I think it was Alrik but Iím not 100% sure anymore.


I was sadly never at Oudenaarde - But Bronthion was indeed there.

What we two did was messing around with the German-language books in the shelves of the Larian Easter egg Area in . Plus, I think it was with his help that my "Windwhispers" or "Wind Voices" text came into the game. ;\)





When you find a big kettle of crazy, it's best not to stir it.
--Dilbert cartoon

"Interplay.some zombiefied unlife thing going on there" - skavenhorde at RPGWatch
Re: News from the front [Re: Morbo] #355789
29/08/08 04:24 PM
29/08/08 04:24 PM
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DrunkenTofu Offline

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Phew... it's awesome that you folks listen to the fans so much but yet know when and how to draw the line. :P And what a post! :P

Yes and I really liked the pause function as all you needed to do was hit the "space bar" and things just stopped.

Erm... " pre light-pass rendering "? Sorry... can't recall what that is. \:\)

Re: News from the front [Re: DrunkenTofu] #355791
29/08/08 04:41 PM
29/08/08 04:41 PM
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NeroJB Offline
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Thanks Lar,

Good update.

Re: News from the front [Re: NeroJB] #355799
29/08/08 05:40 PM
29/08/08 05:40 PM
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Elliot_Kane Offline
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Never use pause in a single character game, so that one doesn't bother me. Seems too much like cheating \:D

What I DO care about is key re-mapping. If WASD is the movement standard, can you make sure we can also use the arrow keys, or at least re-map the keys, please?

While I can use the mouse with either hand, I tend to greatly favour my left. Any genuine southpaw out there will be stuffed if forced to use WASD.


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Re: News from the front [Re: Elliot_Kane] #355803
29/08/08 07:47 PM
29/08/08 07:47 PM
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LewsTherinKinslayer13 Offline
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I like pause when I go to get some food...



Re: News from the front [Re: LewsTherinKinslayer13] #355805
29/08/08 07:49 PM
29/08/08 07:49 PM
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juanpablo87 Offline
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But is it unhelpful to introduce the tactical pause in an action/rpg......!?
..
..
..
but I like the idea!...

Re: News from the front [Re: juanpablo87] #355806
29/08/08 09:17 PM
29/08/08 09:17 PM
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Raze Offline

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 Originally Posted By: Elliot_Kane
What I DO care about is key re-mapping. If WASD is the movement standard, can you make sure we can also use the arrow keys, or at least re-map the keys, please?

Lar said in the games convention topic that you would be able to re-map keys. One of the Larians specifically said (somewhere) that you can use the arrow keys, but (at least with right handed mouse use) the WASD movement and mouse controlled camera worked best (for them) in their tests.



 Originally Posted By: juanpablo87
But is it unhelpful to introduce the tactical pause in an action/rpg

It is not an action RPG, though.

Speaking of pausing, I suppose we wouldn't necessarily want to be able to drink 15 potions while paused, but that is also an issue with potion design (instant, full effect vs a delay and/or gradual effect). Skill selection, equipment swapping, target selection (if possible), etc are probably fine.

Re: News from the front [Re: Raze] #355808
29/08/08 09:28 PM
29/08/08 09:28 PM
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juanpablo87 Offline
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 Quote:
It is not an action RPG, though.

LOL
Why not?

Re: News from the front [Re: juanpablo87] #355809
29/08/08 09:44 PM
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Draghermosran Offline

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 Originally Posted By: juanpablo87
 Quote:
It is not an action RPG, though.

LOL
Why not?


It is, partially, but we don't like to refer to ED as an ActionRPG. Its much more, and other games with the action rpg label are nothing compared ED's depth.


It's one of these days...
Re: News from the front [Re: juanpablo87] #355810
29/08/08 09:50 PM
29/08/08 09:50 PM
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Raze Offline

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The term 'action RPG' is generally used for Diablo style hack and slash games, with no real plot and shallow, linear quests that boil down to either going to kill something, or finding / delivering something (which involves killing monsters that are in the way), and is an immediate turn off for me. Unless I've seen a game recommended by a trusted source or there is something unique about it, if I check out a game's home page and see the term 'action RPG' I might dismiss it without even finishing the sentence.

Wikipedia link: Action RPG.

D2:ED may be an RPG with an action style combat system, but it is not an action RPG (by the common definition of that term).

Re: News from the front [Re: Raze] #355814
29/08/08 10:12 PM
29/08/08 10:12 PM
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Equisilus Offline
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Too, an action-RPG doesn't automatically mean that you shouldn't be able to pause the game at any time. For my part, the ability to stop the game and resume is almost a must for me and I don't recall playing any games in recent years that disallowed that. If there's no pause, I would call up the game main menu and that would usually pause the game. Since I don't play multiplayer, it's never an issue.

Great update, btw. It's always impressive to see a developer react swiftly to what they get in terms of feedback during development. Hopefully, we fans here aren't skewing your greater audience, though. ;\)

Re: News from the front [Re: Equisilus] #355817
29/08/08 10:17 PM
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Draghermosran Offline

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Pausing using the menu function is a bit different from the use that was in DD, BD and is planned for ED.

It allows you to pause, select your target, choose your skill, unpause, pause, select target, select skill, unpause, etc ...

Giving you great tactical advantage, time to think over the situatation. Hence taking the away a bit the need for fast reAction. But not ED not beeing an Action RPG is for other reasons than merely the pause button.


It's one of these days...
Re: News from the front [Re: Draghermosran] #355823
29/08/08 10:59 PM
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Elliot_Kane Offline
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Thanks, Raze \:\)

***

'Action-RPG' usually describes a game with zero actual role playing (And is thus an oxymoron). It's not a good term to use if you want to imply any kind of characterisation, story depth or the existence of meaningful choice beyond "Do I use a big axe or a bigger axe?"

From what we know so far, ED has all these things; ergo it is not an 'Action-RPG'.


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Re: News from the front [Re: Elliot_Kane] #355826
29/08/08 11:47 PM
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Sorry: D2:ED is an action/RPG because the combat is not like dragon age, is not like fallout1-2, is not like AoD...(for example);
but is based also on our abilities with keyboard-mouse/gamepad(x360)...

the fact that you or other persons out of this forum thing that "action" is sinonimus of "no role-playing game" and "bad RPG because there are no choises-conseguence,dilemmas,dialogues" is another thing...is your problem and a bad interpretation of the term...(no offense eh... ;\) )

The term "action" indicates only the combat style...nothing more...

Re: News from the front [Re: juanpablo87] #355828
30/08/08 12:22 AM
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Elliot_Kane Offline
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Bad interpretation of the term? How so? I'm honestly curious...

Unless you're talking about the people who first decided that an RPG should contain zero role playing, in which case I will completely agree with you...


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