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Dragon Age Forum News (May. 24, 09)

Discussion in 'Game/SP News & Comments' started by Ancalagon, May 25, 2009.

  1. Ancalagon

    Ancalagon The First Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    Here are today's Dragon Age Forum Highlights, imported by permission from Dragon Age Central. Please take into account that these are only single parts of various threads and should not be taken out of context. Bear in mind also that the posts presented here are copied as-is, and that any bad spelling and grammar does not get corrected on our end.

    Georg Zoeller, Senior Technical Designer

    Companions?

    Quote: Posted 05/24/09 23:12 (GMT) by Dark Specie

    Quote: Posted 05/24/09 23:06 (GMT) by David Gaider

    Quote: Posted 05/24/09 23:00 (GMT) by Nighteye2
    "seen in party" could be a temp character, too - who only joins for a short time, or a specific quest.
    Indeed. That complicates things, as there are probably equal numbers of characters that join the party only temporarily as there are characters that are with you until the end of the game. I don't know that we're interested in saying definitively who is who -- "this guy is temporary" and "this guy is a FULL companion!" or what have you. It will become obvious as you play the game.

    :eek: . Now, that's a surpise. If we assume that there's around 10-12 characters that joins permantently, and just as many that can join temporarily, then... I can already see the slow, painful proccess of players trying to find out who is which in-game... :ignore:

    Though of course, the Origins companions would seem to be temporaily as a matter of fact, without exception.
    Temp characters' don't earn XP. There :)

    forced party members
    Friend and Area targeted spells can be cast any time. single target spells that require a hostile, well, require a hostile to be cast (but technically not combat, as you could lob the spell from outside perception range - the impact would then result in combat starting).

    One GUI request
    Yea, we got a similar buyback system in DA.

    when do we get new screens?

    Quote: Posted 05/24/09 22:21 (GMT) by lucy_glitter

    Quote: Posted 05/24/09 20:57 (GMT) by Georg Zoeller
    sigh

    I don't think posting a sigh will stop fans asking for new information. Consider it a compliment... an irritating, nagging compliment.

    Well, thank you then. :)

    One GUI request
    I guess that discrepancy just speaks to the size of the game... :p

    The one thing that bugs me about party based rpgs.
    There is many factors that play into such a decision. Here's some examples:

    --- Cost: Pathfinding, AI, character updates, etc. are expensive. So are models. We're not talking about a bunch of 2d sprites here like in BG, our character models include complex facial structures for dialog, lip synch, high poly models, etc. Player party members are the most costly objects on screen most of the time, since their AI has to update almost instantly and we can't use level of detail on them as the player can switch between then any time. All this needs to run on a the minspec targeted machine.

    Let's be clear here: In the 2d 'golden days', adding another creature to the screen was basically the cost of a bunch of sprites - roughly the same for each creature. Today, in 3D, adding a creature involves loading a custom 3D model and animation rig in many cases (e.g. dog) along with unique textures, facial structure, weapons, etc. There's a limited number of such unique appearances you can display before you run out of resources. An additional permanent party member could have meant we would have to sacrifice variation in enemies - something we thought was not worth it.

    --- Non-permanent followers. If point each party member could summon another controllable follower, at which point do you cross from RPG into RTS. What if these temporary followers had abilities they can use on their own?

    ---- Dialog interjections and staging. Our conversation system follows Mass Effect's high quality cinematic approach. Your followers will interject themselves often in conversations and they often respond to comments made by other followers. Too many, and the complexity and amount of writing needed spirals out of control.
    Additionally, you need to be able to fit the party into many cutscenes and conversation stages - you can chose to not show temporary followers - but that isn't true for real followers.


    ---- Combat complexity. Party members in DA have a lot more abilities available to them than the BG series. We don't have spell memorization, so you can cast any spell you have in your spell list at any time if you have the resources. In BG, memorization limited the amount of unique options in battle and therefore battle complexity. Also, Warriors and Rogues had less active abilities available to them in BG than in DA. Ultimately, we found 4 major party members the best number that supported the combat experience we wanted create.


    All these factors together, the perfect number for DA is 4+(0-4) controllable characters

    when do we get new screens?
    sigh

    One GUI request

    Quote: Posted 05/24/09 07:50 (GMT) by MarloMan

    Quote: Posted 05/23/09 14:20 (GMT) by Chris Priestly

    Sorry, no. The notion of what "junk" is changes, so targetting things as "junk" makes no sense. For example, you have some low price gems that you will be selling at the next store you visit (something I suspect you may call junk). But as you are adventuring, you meet someone who offers you a quest to retrieve certain numbers of gems thereby changing the nature of the "junk" into a quest item.

    Oh no, does that mean we should hang on to all of our gems just in case a quest giver wants them?

    Not really. Chris chose a bad example.

    It's not like there is a lot of these 'fetch' quests anyway. Very few indeed, and they make sense in the context they are presented.

    Generally, our quest designers try to avoid putting you into a situation where you are selling items that might turn out useful later. Sometimes it can't be avoided due to the non linar nature of parts of the story - but in general those items would be apparent to the seasoned RPG player (e.g. no, there isn't someone who buys those rusty darkspawn gloves for recycling purposes.')

    Mage Spells!

    Quote: Posted 05/24/09 18:10 (GMT) by Alodar

    Quote: Posted 05/24/09 17:09 (GMT) by Chris Priestly

    Quote: Posted 05/24/09 15:16 (GMT) by Mansse

    Quote: Posted 05/24/09 15:07 (GMT) by Alodar

    The spell lists at the Wiki were from a build that is at least 2 years old that was shown at the NYCC(New York Comic Con).


    I did not realize it was that old. I shouldn't quote that then.

    Me either, and I took it to NYCC. It was, at the time, about 2 weeks old, but hardly 2 years.
    :evil:

    When talking about the spell descriptions Georg had referred to the info at the NYCC demo as a year and half old build. It's been about 4 months since then so I just added and rounded up.


    Alodar :)

    Actually, I think I said 'from last year' - The comment was made this year. :)

    However, even at the time of the demo, the descriptions were several months old - we don't update them continuously. There's description passes to sync the descriptions against what the spells do - and since spell effects kept changing until pretty much a few weeks ago. Radically changing :)

    David Gaider, Lead Writer

    Companions?

    Quote: Posted 05/24/09 23:00 (GMT) by Nighteye2
    "seen in party" could be a temp character, too - who only joins for a short time, or a specific quest.
    Indeed. That complicates things, as there are probably equal numbers of characters that join the party only temporarily as there are characters that are with you until the end of the game. I don't know that we're interested in saying definitively who is who -- "this guy is temporary" and "this guy is a FULL companion!" or what have you. It will become obvious as you play the game.

    Dalish marriages

    Quote: Posted 05/24/09 07:00 (GMT) by Saltamontes
    And how about the Dalish? Do they match within their own clan or do they seek partners in other clans? I presume the former due to the fact that dalish clans rarely encounter each other. In that case each clan should be a large extended family. Or maybe I'm getting it all wrong?
    The Dalish provide matches within their clans, yes, and such matches are always approved by the Keeper -- probably because, as you surmise, you end up with a group that's very much an extended family. There is occasionally an infusion of new blood, if a city elf arrives from the outside and integrates, but that's not always possible. Fortunately individual clans tend to be pretty large.

    Even so, that's suddenly raising this whole Ozarks image in my head which I find incredibly amusing. I'm totally going to have to write in a remote, hillbilly Dalish clan at some point. :)

    Jactancy Romance
    I find it an intriguing question only because there is, I feel, a difference between the kind of character that most people would feel made an ideal romantic partner and the sort of character that would make for an interesting romance.

    Possibly it's because the ideal never actually exists, or because the entire premise of adventuring and having a romantic relationship under such extreme conditions is not ideal in and of itself -- but really if a romantic character was as nice and well-adjusted and as willing to commit as we'd like to think we want, would that actually make for an interesting story in a game?

    I can think of ways that it might work, but I'm not sure how much of that is me thinking that it should be possible in theory and how much is me actually knowing a way to make such a dynamic actually compelling. It doesn't have to be boring, after all, but I tend to come from a school that says dramatic romance -- as opposed to the romance we aim for in our real lives, which stems from compatibility -- stems first and foremost from conflict.

    But then I think of someone like Anomen. He was pretty arrogant, and did that romance "work" from a story perspective? Naturally you're not going to appeal to everyone in such a subjective format as romance -- some things are just never going to tweak someone just right, no matter what you do, and Anomen's probably more polarizing than most -- but on the whole I'd still say his story was more effective than a potential romance character where you got along just fine, talked a lot and had sex and then moved on to discussions of marriage and babies. Again it doesn't have to be only that, but if you don't have some kind of conflict inherent in the relationship what else is it going to be?

    Mary Kirby, Writer

    How do you pronounce "Dalish?"

    Quote: Posted 05/24/09 22:55 (GMT) by Dalish-Elf

    Is it:
    "Day-lish"

    "Dal-ish"
    or
    "Daw-lish?"

    So far I've been saying it "Day-lish." Can anyone clarify? The technicalities are driving me crazy lol.

    The first one is correct. The Dalish get their name from the Dales, the last homeland of the elves.

    Chris Priestly, Community Coordinator

    Companions?

    Quote: Posted 05/24/09 22:41 (GMT) by lucy_glitter

    Quote: Posted 05/24/09 22:34 (GMT) by Chris Priestly

    Don't base too much on that list. It is a fine starting point, but much is incorrect.

    :( Look, even I figured out that a lot of those "companions" are wrong, but please don't write it off like that. We try really hard over there.

    And you do a pretty good job. The problem is you (and I don't mean you Lucy, I mean many people) direct others there and they do not know that it is not 100% correct. For example, I don't see a disclaimer on that page saying something like "this is our best guess so far" or "these entries are not 100% proven yet".

    Part of my job is to stop the spread of misinformation about the game (as much as I can anyways). The DA Wiki you (and the rest) have put together is top notch, but it is not 100% correct. I'm not "writing off" your efforts, just making sure that people understand that it is not accurate, just the best work of fans such as yourselves given the information we have given you so far.

    Companions?
    Don't base too much on that list. It is a fine starting point, but much is incorrect.

    Official FAQ has again been UPDATED. Keep asking your questions here.
    I see any more bumping, and I'll close this down. We'll give answers when we are ready and not sur to mindless bumping from impatient people.

    One GUI request
    No not really. Georg shouldn't put words in my mouth that don't belong there.

    There are "little" quests like these sprinkled through the game as optional activites for those that want to pursue them. I'm not sure how recently Georg played the game, but I think there are a fair number of these quests. Sure, not all of them are "fetch X item" but those are in there too.

    My point is, there really isn't 'junk" in the game. There are different elements/items in the game that will mean mroe to some players than others. If you are into crafting, then the crafting items are valuable. If you aren't, then they are "junk".

    Value is in the eye of the person who makes use of the item and how.

    Mage Spells!
    That must be the confusion. There is a differnce (to us) between a "build" and the content of the build. We get new builds of the game all the time. Sometimes a new build can be created just to fix one bug. Sometimes a build can represnt a huge change to something (maybe new text, new effects, whatever). The build that went to NYCC was very recent (for the time), but the content of the build was old.

    Hopefully that clears things a bit.

    when do we get new screens?
    We release new screens quite regularly. We've released screens each week for the last month or so and I see that trend continuing for quite a while. In fact, with the upcoming E3 conference, I would expect to see quite a bit soon.

    As for "top down, BG type screenshots", you likely won't see much of them. Why? well, honestly, they don't sell the game much. While the tactical "zoomed-out" look is really useful (I play with it a lot myself, especially in some of the larger battles), the more common "over the shoulder" look best illustrates the graphics and overall visual look of the game.

    That doesn't mean we won't release any top down shots, just that most will be the sort you are already seeing. :)

    Mage Spells!

    Quote: Posted 05/24/09 15:16 (GMT) by Mansse

    Quote: Posted 05/24/09 15:07 (GMT) by Alodar

    The spell lists at the Wiki were from a build that is at least 2 years old that was shown at the NYCC(New York Comic Con).


    I did not realize it was that old. I shouldn't quote that then.

    Me either, and I took it to NYCC. It was, at the time, about 2 weeks old, but hardly 2 years.

    We haven't revealed all of the spells or effect yet (and I doubt we'll reveal all of them before launch). However, magic plays an important part in DAO. It is powerful and can be combined in cool ways to create even more powerful effects.

    While we won't reveal everything, we will be revealing more soon. So stay tuned. :)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 16, 2018
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