Eschalon: Book II Q&A

Here's where all things related to Book II are being discussed!

Eschalon: Book II Q&A

Postby BasiliskWrangler » Wed Jun 11, 2008 8:43 am

In this thread, I will answer one question regarding Book II when we can, hand picked from the Question Thread. In some cases I may combine 2 or more questions if they are related so that I can give you a more complete answer. I will keep this thread locked so we don't get flooded with comments that will make it hard to read. You can create a separate thread if you feel you need to discuss one of the answers.

Other articles that many have answers for you:

RPGWatch (7/7/08): http://www.rpgwatch.com//show/article?a ... f=0&id=328

RPGVault Peek #1 (1/13/09): http://rpgvault.ign.com/articles/944/944387p1.html

RPGVault Peek #2 (2/10/09): http://rpgvault.ign.com/articles/952/952707p1.html
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Re: Q&A Question of the Week

Postby BasiliskWrangler » Thu Jun 12, 2008 9:05 am

Okay, so I guess we'll make Thursday or Friday the day I answer a question, that way you have something to read for the weekend! :wink: So, here we go:

Question #1:
[VPeric] We all saw the thirst and hunger bars on the screenshots, could you elaborate on them? Features like these are usually tedious*, so how will you be implementing them?


Great question, actually. Well, as far back as I could remember, my "dream RPG" always had a food/water requirement (FWR). This definately comes from Ultima 2, the first RPG I ever played. I remember fondly how cool I thought it was to need to buy food before heading out into the wilderness. That really deepened the experience for me. Later on, games like Dungeon Master and Eye of the Beholder further showed me that a FWR could enhance the whole gameplay experience. How many people played Dungeon Master where as you played and your character began to starve or dehydrate, finding an apple or a water fountain was more exciting than finding a super new weapon! :D

So, for that reason alone, Eschalon was always supposed to have FWR as part of the gameplay. Some of you remember the poll that originally led us to remove it from Book I, but months after the decision was made, the poll actually swung back the other way! So, with Book II I really want to put it back in there not only for my preference but also because of the poll results.

As for how to keep FWR from being tedious, we'll just have to play with it a bit and see where to set the default "consumption rate". Not too fast, not too slow...

There are some conditions where food and water consumption would be affected: being in the desert would quicken your thirst bar; one of the diseases you can catch in Book II is "Tapeworms", which will cause your hunger bar to drop much more quickly. Starvation and Dehydration are both results of zero hunger and thirst bars, and while death isn't instant, both conditions will slowly tick away your HPs.

Above all, I completely agree with everyone's concerns: if I (or the beta testers) feel that it is an annoying feature, we'll gladly take it out before the game is released. It makes no sense to add a feature unless it enhances the role-playing experience, not take away from it.
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Re: Q&A Question of the Week

Postby BasiliskWrangler » Fri Jun 20, 2008 8:39 am

Question #2:
[RezoApio] One question about translation: will B2 be available in other languages ? or will you offer fans the possibility to translate? This also leads to the question of moding B2 btw.


There is definitely more thought being put into translatability this time around. For Book I, much of the game's text was stashed away in proprietary files which made it very hard to give to others for translations. For Book II, we are keeping nearly all of the text in common format files outside the the game where translation will be much easier to do. What we have to work on now is a way to substitute the game's default fonts if the translated text contains Cyrillic characters. I don't believe this will be much of an issue, but it is something that we'll need to experiment with as the framework reaches a more finalized stage.

To more specifically answer your question: Basilisk Games will not handle non-English versions ourselves, but I expect that alternate language packs would probably start appearing a few weeks after release.

As for modifications, Book II is being designed to handle add-on modules correctly (as many people know, Book I was supposed to have an add-on but we could never get it to work properly). As for how easy it may be for players to create their own modules, again it is a little too early to make promises. We realize the benefit that can be gained by having an active mod community, but there are a lot of issues that need to be addressed before we can just release our production tools to the community and let everyone do want they want. It has always been the plan that Book III would be the game that is fully modifiable. Book II's framework will get us closer to that goal and may even allow for minor modifications (such as language packs mentioned above) but I cannot promise that you will be able to design your own adventures (then again, ingenious fans may find a way on their own! :D)

[update]: Translations will begin after Book II is finished. Dialog and narration can change all the way up to the point where we are gold, so there's no use in translating until then.
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Re: Q&A Question of the Week

Postby BasiliskWrangler » Fri Jun 27, 2008 10:08 am

Question #3:
[Yeliu] Will we be able to ride horses to move faster and add a charge attack?


No. There will be no horses (or other mounts) in Book II. To be fair, we tried...we spent 3 weeks in February experimenting with adding horses to the engine and it just requires waaaaay too much modification. Things we had to consider: what to do with horses in towns and dungeons, horses in combat, how do traps/disease/poison effect horses, horses in regards to boats and portals, how player encumbrance effects horses (and a horse's carrying capacity in general), food/water requirements (if player needs to eat, shouldn't their horse as well?), not to mention tons of additional animation needed to put horses in the game. Seriously, horses and mounts need to be worked into an engine at the development stage for it to work properly- it's not something that can be easily tossed into an already developed engine.

I do promise that it will be considered for any future game we do outside the original Eschalon trilogy.
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Re: Q&A Question of the Week

Postby BasiliskWrangler » Sat Jul 12, 2008 4:10 pm

Question #4:
[Saxon1974] Do you have an estimated gameplay hours for this one? I think I heard it would be much larger than book I which I think was about 30 hours, so Im guessing it will be longer than that. Is the walking speed being changed at all? (I didn't have a problem with it but I know alot of people wanted to be able to walk faster).
[Unclever title] You mentioned three major regions for Book II, a temperate region, arctic region, and a volcanic region. About how large are these regions in comparison to the familiar Thaermore? In adddition, about how long can we expect this game to be? (ballpark estimate if necessary).


Book II will be longer than Book I in terms of more quests and areas to explore. But like Book I, Book II's length is largely going to be determined by how much extra stuff you do. It would be impossible to say how much time will be required since everyone plays at different speeds, but we would like to provide a 40-hour experience for the average player. In comparison, Book I was a 20-25 hour game for most people.

The walking speed has improved by about 20%, so your character does walk with a quicker pace than in Book I.

Each of the 3 regions in the game will roughly be the size of Thaermore (perhaps a bit smaller). But two of the areas (Arctic and Volcanic) are less populated than the temperate zone, so players can expect larger expanses of "wilderness" (i.e. areas that are explorable but not necessarily critical to the main storyline).
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Re: Q&A Question of the Week

Postby BasiliskWrangler » Fri Jul 18, 2008 11:43 am

Sorry for taking this easy question this week...it really is just a copy of an answer I've already given so I didn't have to spend much time on an elaborate answer. We've been swamped this week working on Book II and prepping Book I for a launch with a new distributor.

Question #5:
[dteowner] The lack of a time penalty for switching between ranged and melee weapons seemed a bit like an exploit. Will that change for Book 2?


This was a bit of an exploit in Book I. For Book II, the planned fix is that every time you place something on your character, 1 round will pass. So yes, swapping weapons would take one round.

The equipment presets that are mentioned will take one round per item swapped, so if Set #1 and Set #2 differ by 4 pieces of equipment, it will take 4 rounds to swap. If you are alone, the swap happens instantly (though 4 rounds would still pass) but if there are others nearby, the rounds would pass more traditionally because the system would run everyone elses rounds too.

As you can guess, it would be foolish to swap sets in combat if there are many item changes. However, if the difference between set #1 and set #2 is just your weapon, then it is handled just like a one-round weapon swap.
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Re: Q&A Question of the Week

Postby BasiliskWrangler » Fri Aug 01, 2008 7:32 am

Question #6:
[realmsmaster] Since there will be weather and climate effects, will the type of weather or climate have an effect on the character? Example, I am in a desert. I should roast in full plate armor. Will I have to switch my armor to something more appropriate?


As of now we have no plans of doing this type of statistic tracking (i.e. comfort level of character based on temperature or climate).

However, it has been mentioned that climate will affect your hunger and thirst bars, if you have the hunger/thirst rule turned on. Specifically, the desert region will make you consume water more quickly and the arctic regions will make you consume food more quickly.
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Re: Q&A Question of the Week

Postby BasiliskWrangler » Sun Aug 10, 2008 1:31 pm

Question #7:
[Jude] Will the Mac version still work on a Power Mac G4 running OS X 10.3.9?


As of right now, yes it will. We are at the mercy of the company who develops the compiler, meaning if they change their baseline requirements for the Mac then so must we, but right now a G4 running 10.3.9 is still the current low-end Mac requirement.
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Re: Q&A Question of the Week

Postby BasiliskWrangler » Fri Aug 29, 2008 9:18 pm

Sorry for the delays in getting answers out. Busy busy here in the studio!

Question #8
[confused1] Since we will be able to choose male or female characters, will stores stock different gender clothing? Or will it all be the same? And on a similar note, will gender help/hurt certain stats?


There is currently a decent debate on this subject going on here. As it stands, males get a +1 bonus to Strength and females get a +1 bonus to Dexterity. Rather than repeat myself here, the link provides much information regarding this decision. There will be no special clothes between genders. Women characters wear the same armor as men, not leather thongs and mithril brassieres.

[Dragonlady] Since we are going to be able to pick female avatar pics, will there be a few small quests for just females to do and vice versa of course to be fair. If not, that's okay too.

There will be no special quests for males/females, but on this note we will have at least 1 significant "Class Quest" for each of the 5 classes.
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Re: Q&A Question of the Week

Postby BasiliskWrangler » Sun Sep 07, 2008 12:58 pm

Question #9
[randomizer] In one of the screen shots it mentions in the text below that you pick up a powder keg. Will you now be able to place objects on the floor instead of just containers? If you can place objects on the floor this would make it possible to place a powder keg and retreat to a safe distance so you can detonate the powder keg as your enemies approach it (watch them die as it explodes). Also if you are hit with a powder keg in inventory, will it detonate?

No, we will still make most items disappear forever if dropped on to the floor; powder kegs are considered special items. At this point I don't know if we will have any other special items that can be dropped. You still detonate kegs the same as in Book I by shooting them or hitting them. I've never thought about getting hit while holding a powder keg, but it certainly would add to the danger of hauling one around! That's a pretty cool idea actually....

[Asgard The Elder] How about placing the powder keg next to a pesky treasure chest or door you can't open? will it help?

Of course! 2 or 3 kegs should be enough to blow nearly any door off it's hinges!
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Re: Q&A Question of the Week

Postby BasiliskWrangler » Sun Sep 14, 2008 7:43 pm

Question #10
[Rune_74] Any chance of getting armor sets in Book II? (question was summarized from a longer post)


We're doing some cool stuff with how weapons and armor pieces are generated in Book II. We're essentially generating items based on rarity levels, material composition, and bonuses which means there are literally thousands of combination of weapons and armor pieces available in the game. This was something we really wanted in Book I but just couldn't get it done in time. In this regard, there are already "armor sets" in the game as you may make it your personal quest to find every piece of chain mail armor that is crafted from Dwarven Steel that can possibly be generated.

Beyond that, I can tell you that there are several matching pieces of "specialty armor" that are being hidden in the game which would constitute as being an armor set, however I have no intention of revealing what they are or what they look like. :wink:
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Re: Q&A Question of the Week

Postby BasiliskWrangler » Sun Sep 21, 2008 11:42 pm

Question #11
[IJball] Will we visit Thaermore at all in Book II?

I know the "blurb" for Book II says "Thaermore has fallen." But I'm hoping we at least get to visit the area again (if not in Book II, then at least in Book III). I think I'll be sad if we never get to see Thaermore again... ;)


The storyline for Book II does not involve Thearmore so we are not planning on reproducing that entire destroyed region within Book II. However, we are planning on taking players back to one small area inside Thaermore...

Perhaps for Book III we will reproduce all of the previous areas of Eschalon from Book I and II even if the storyline doesn't require it...we'll just have to see what our budget is for the 3rd game.
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Re: Q&A Question of the Week

Postby BasiliskWrangler » Sat Jan 31, 2009 11:53 am

Stickied!

We're getting a lot of questions that are answered here in the FAQ. I will also update previous answers if anything has changed. New pub members: refer to the top post for a link to the Questions Thread. We'll start answering questions again...maybe not quite weekly, but we'll throw a new answer up when we can! For now, the new Peeks (links at the top of this thread) can answer a lot of your questions.
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Re: Q&A Question of the Week

Postby BasiliskWrangler » Tue Jun 16, 2009 8:59 am

Question #12:
[Xixao] Are you going to be using multiple distributors? If so will the steam version be available at the same time as the others? Will you be fixing torches and shields? The whole not being able to use one while wearing a shield seems very unrealistic. Also how to I view previous developer questions that may have answered my many questions?


- Yes, we will use multiple distributors, but for the first 3-4 weeks it will probably only be available on our site. As for Steam, we would love to have them distribute Book II, but it is up to them to offer to do so. Just because they took Book I (more than a year after we released it) doesn't mean they'll accept Book II onto their service.

- Fixing Torches and Shields? I didn't know it was broken. In Book II, shields will offer better protection and even "bashing" abilities at higher skill levels. I could see how it might be possible to hold a small buckler and a torch at the same time, but how is someone supposed to hold a large steel shield and a torch simultaneously? Don't worry- there will be an additional light-producing option in Book II that will specifically help people who want to use a shield and weapon together in the dark.

- Looking here, or through some of the links at the top of this thread are the best ways to see if your question may already have been answered.
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Re: Q&A Question of the Week

Postby BasiliskWrangler » Fri Sep 04, 2009 11:16 am

Question #13:
[MaximB] In Book 1 the quests were very liner and often had only one solution, will it change with Book 2? Are you going to make several solutions to each quest with consequences to your choices ?


Good question. It's hard to answer because the number of solutions to each quest depends on how you define those solutions. For example, one of the first side-quests you come across has you retrieving an item for someone as part of a debt settlement. Now then, you can go directly to that person and threaten them. You can can offer to buy this object from them, knowing you'll make a bit of profit when you get your reward. You can steal it from them, either through stealth or murder. Or, if you explore a bit more, you can find something to blackmail them with. By my count that is four separate ways of achieving the final goal. Others might say "well there is still only one way to successfully finish the quest and that is by retrieving the item and delivering it." Perhaps, but that's not being very creative- you could just keep the item and murder the person who gave you the quest.

Often, we try to find several ways for a player to get from point A to point B within the game, whether a quest is part of that journey or not. Like in Book 1, there were 3 unique ways into Crakamir, and players found the best way for themselves through their own individual play style. Book II will have a lot of this type of "multi-path" gameplay.

As for consequences to quests- yes, we are definitely going to put more examples of this into Book II than we had in Book I. But in keeping with old-school game mechanics, Book II will still have plenty of quests that are simply "do this and get a reward". Some RPGs are built entirely around the concept of choice and consequence. That is the gimmick the developers are going for, and it's great to have this kind of gameplay option for RPG enthusiast. Our gimmick is that we are old-school: Lots of exploration. Tons of character development options. Stat micromanagement. Crazy monsters and powerful spells. Traps and puzzles. And in the end, we have a huge gameworld that you can make your own adventure out of: follow the main quest or don't. That's your choice and consequence.
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