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First Impressions


NowAndAgain

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I must admit, I had my doubts. The screenshots looked weird and messy and I certainly didn't want to have another Geneforge instead of Avernum. But these fears were ungrounded.

 

Avernum IV is loads of fun.

 

It takes all of the annoyances out of the Avernum and Geneforge series and fuses them together in an awesome way. Here are the highlights for me:

 

1) First Aid is actually useful.

2) Area of effect spells a la Exile are back.

3) Blessing/hasting/shielding isn't enough to win battles.

4) Unlimited arrows.

5) Death is much easier to deal with, causing me to fight battles out till the bitter end instead of loading my saved game.

6) It looks nice, and runs smoother than the old games.

 

Nice work Jeff. I've been a Spiderweb fan since Exile: Escape From The Pit (I was seven at the time, and absoultely terrible, but I had fun playing it anyway) and this may be the finest creation yet. Bravo.

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Originally written by NowAndAgain:

1) First Aid is actually useful.
2) Area of effect spells a la Exile are back.
3) Blessing/hasting/shielding isn't enough to win battles.
4) Unlimited arrows.
5) Death is much easier to deal with, causing me to fight battles out till the bitter end instead of loading my saved game.
6) It looks nice, and runs smoother than the old games.
1)...
2)WOW i see that Jeff listened our wishes about that, but spells like curse all are not back aren't them?
3)that is good, well still is somewhat annoying, but makes the game more fair
4)That is a very good thing, but now the poor fletchers will starve to death! But maybe that means that the lights arrows are lost...
5)And how the death is easier to deal with? Anyway im already used to load and save everytime.
6)Well that would be obvious, but some people still don't like hte new graphics, me for example hate the idea of the flat world...
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Characters don't die, they just go unconscious. And then you magically transport them around with you until you get back to a town, at which point they revive.

I believe all that's lost are the XP they miss in any battles. wink

 

However, it can be irritating since you also lose access to their inventory while they're dead. frown

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Mixed feelings.

 

The moment I touched the arrow-keys and started moving around, a surge of relief rushed through me: Its turned based!!! However, What I didn't like was that the view didn't shift automatically with your party, but I think I saw a function to let it shift with the party somewhere?

 

However, i must say it still disturbs me that there are different graphics. i also thought Jeff said that the shaper and guardian graphics were just something that would be changed later, but I'm now definetely walkign around with a shaper and guardian in my party. Apart from that, i simply don't like the graphics. For me Avernum lost a piece of its charme, and I think that's a pity. I also find it strange that nobody can die, but is just unconscious. off all things I have seen, how more unrealistic can you get!?

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One of the prefs lets you turn on an autoscroll to move with your party.

As for characters not dying...well, it works better for me this way, anyway. It used to be that whenever one of my characters died I'd just reload; I don't do that any longer. It's more fun! wink

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Quote:
Originally written by Thralni, chicken god prophet:
Mixed feelings.

The moment I touched the arrow-keys and started moving around, a surge of relief rushed through me: Its turned based!!! However, What I didn't like was that the view didn't shift automatically with your party, but I think I saw a function to let it shift with the party somewhere?
The arrow key support seems tacked on. If you're using the arrow keys, the camera should scroll with you. (Doesn't make a difference for me though, I use the mouse.)

Quote:
Originally written by Thralni, chicken god prophet:

However, i must say it still disturbs me that there are different graphics. i also thought Jeff said that the shaper and guardian graphics were just something that would be changed later, but I'm now definetely walkign around with a shaper and guardian in my party. Apart from that, i simply don't like the graphics. For me Avernum lost a piece of its charme, and I think that's a pity.
I don't see why people care so much. If they don't want shapers in their party, they don't have to use them.

Quote:
Originally written by Thralni, chicken god prophet:
I also find it strange that nobody can die, but is just unconscious. off all things I have seen, how more unrealistic can you get!?
"Of all the things"...you don't see anything unrealistic about wizards, dragons, and shooting fire?

And anyway, its better than the old system. Why was it that your party could come back from the dead, but major villains couldn't?
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What I want to know is what happened to the funny cartoon drawings of the stats. I always liked them. One thing I love is not having to click examine then click on the box or something. Now opening boxes are just a click away!

 

Only two types of graphics of Nephil and Sliths? My party is only made up of them. The ginger Nephil drawing I like but the walking picture thing- A Cat Agent? Huh? confused

 

I like the Sliths ones though, there way better than the previous. But the Humans? The first red guy with a goatee looks like a big fat blue guy with a round helmet!

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------------------------------------------------------------------------

origninally writen by Deliciuos Vlish:

Well, what is wrong with it exactly?

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

The graphics. The appearance. they're SHAPERS and GUARDIANS not humans. i dont get ir, WHY did they use Geneforge appearance? i liked Avernum interfaces/characters/skins etc. alot better

And btw, i have Windows, and didn't played it yet. So there are outdoors or it's like in Geneforge with zones? If it its, true Avernum has been desecrated, defiled and destroyed frown

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I don't really miss the cartoons, but I think there are too many unedited Geneforge graphics (like Roamer as a "hellhound"!). It gives a kind of "recycled" feeling and hurts the atmosphere. I don't want to use shaper, guardian or agent graphics. More character graphics please!

 

In my opinion, Geneforge graphics are nicer than the old Avernum graphics, but there could have been more new graphics.

 

The autosave is sometimes useful but more often annoys me, because it slows the game. It would be nice to have an option to switch it off.

 

What I miss the most are secret doors.

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graphics have been recycled since exile. the only difference now is that jeff has two successful rpgs so we have people going "oh these are geneforge gfx tainting our beloved avernum." granted, if i personally were designing a game i wouldnt be so blantant, but the game is fun and the engine is awesome! so who can complain about graphics which have never ever been the selling point of spiderweb games.

 

after playing it for a bit last night it definately feels like avernum. i like how outdoors/town mode are one in the same, but i didnt at first. it makes the game much much more fun to explore all the outdoors as if it were a town.

 

i think dialogue has improved. in fact, steadily the NPCs have become more realistic.

 

[Edit: Spoiler removed due to implied regret.]

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Please don't post spoilers without warnings. In fact, a "First Impressions" thread isn't the place for spoilers at all.

 

—Alorael, who didn't mind the graphics at all. Geneforge is prettier, but he didn't play enough for the graphics to feel recycled. If you don't like the shaper and guardian graphics, choose different characters. The only real problem was the chitrachs, which aren't green anymore and don't resemble praying mantises.

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The graphics may have not received much praise, but I actually like Exile and Geneforge graphics, and in any case I think they are an important part of the game. Avernum and Geneforge are two different worlds, that's why seeing the poor roamer-hellhound makes me sad.

 

Fortunately, many of the graphics come from Avernum and very few are very disturbing cross-breeds.

 

But anyway, the graphics aren't the whole game. I like the story development so far (which isn't very far), and the new spells are interesting.

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I can't stand the new graphics either. My favorite part of the Avernum games was the art style, and I hated the Genforge games for their art. It trys so hard to look realalistic it looks just plain dumb. I'd rather replay Avernum 2,(for the 4th, or 5th time) actually, I think I will. madconfused

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My points of likes and dislikes are:

 

Like 1: infinite arrows

Like 2: no need of lockpick to pick locks

Like 3: area effect spells back to track

Like 4: characters switch places more freely

 

Dislike 1: Character graphics became fewer

Dislike 2: It doesn't run smoothly on my iBook

Dislike 3: Combat, end combat, and attack have no shortcut key

Dislike 4: Automatic start combat sometimes hazardous

Dislike 5: doesn't show how "Divinely touched" works

 

It might be easier to play, if I can pick up targets with abcd keys.

Also, I'd like those missing character graphics as well.

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Quote:
Originally written by midgetdeathtrain:
wow! my head was completely misplaced. sorry for posting that spoiler. i wasnt thinking.
MidgetDT...Why don't you edit that spoiler out? The longer you leave it there, the more people are going to see it whether they intend to or not. You don't want to be responsible for that kind of wrath directed at you, do you?
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Quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:
To start and stop combat, press F. Attacking has never had a shortcut key, has it? You just, um, walk into things or click on them.
There is a very good reason for this - attacking allies or neutral characters is very bad for your health. The attack button is used when you deliberately want to attack a neutral character. That you have to go through a slightly involved process is precisely the point.

I experienced the alternative with spells during beta testing - in a big fight (particularly with tall monsters) clicking on a particular monster can be tricky. If you accidentally attack allies you generally need to reload and start again. Hence, some extra steps to prevent you doing something inadvertent because you don't have pixel perfect control of your mouse are a Good Thing in my opinion.
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Why are the towns tiny? It says in the game that Fort Draco is the biggest battle town. It says Formello is the biggest trading/goods town. Yet there tiny. There's probaly like 12 people including guards in Fort Draco. Formello kind of has an exuse because of everyone dead from the shade thing. Where did Fort Ganrick go? it's not there!

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I like Avernum 4 so far; I expected a greater number of new sounds and graphics, but storylines have always been the defining aspect of Spiderweb games. As long as the yarn stays entertaining, I know I'll have purchased a fun RPG. I happen to like the Geneforge interface better than the Exile interface, so the visual change in A4 is welcome.

 

Avernum 4 is definitely not another Geneforge, at any rate.

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Copying over character graphics isn't going to work I don't think.

 

All of those character graphics were scaled for 800x600, and lack animation. You would have to animate them frame by frame for different movements, directions, holding different weapons, death animations, etc, etc, etc, and then scale them up for 1024x768 resolution, and all in all, I am betting it would be a lot of work.

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Quote:
Originally written by Nephil Archer:
Why are the towns tiny? It says in the game that Fort Draco is the biggest battle town. It says Formello is the biggest trading/goods town. Yet there tiny. There's probaly like 12 people including guards in Fort Draco. Formello kind of has an exuse because of everyone dead from the shade thing. Where did Fort Ganrick go? it's not there!
Well, you've got to take into account that the farms and mines which surround the cities. Formello in particular is pretty big when you count the farms and mines. I mean, they're pretty close to what they were in A2. At least, it kind of feels like it, particularly since most of them finally have an upstairs/downstairs.

And the citizens of Formello take insult at that remark about the shade.

And we don't know where Fort Ganrick went. Assume it was converted into a mining operation, 'cause that's what's there now.
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Since when have RPGs had towns of realistic size? No Spiderweb game has, and even most professional games tend to miniaturize or find convenient means of having only important areas.

 

—Alorael, who will reveal a small spoiler. Patrick's last act was a spell of some kind cast on Fort Ganrick. It was too much for his heart, though, and he died in the middle. The result of the half-cast spell picked up the fort and plopped it down far to the west, incidentally killing everyone inside. Avernum couldn't afford to waste a good fort but didn't want to have rumors of a cursed fort either, so they renamed the place and everyone was happy.

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I don't mind the graphics. And so far I like the rest of it too. Had to take a break pretty early on though, because my two archers are currently unable to travel, as they insisted to stop and build a shrine to Jeff, made entirely of arrows.

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Quote:
Originally written by Du tak:
Patrick's last act was a spell of some kind cast on Fort Ganrick. It was too much for his heart, though, and he died in the middle. The result of the half-cast spell picked up the fort and plopped it down far to the west
where it landed on the Wicked Slith and freed the goblins.
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Here's my first impressions: I sent this in email as feedback.

I wonder if I'm the only one who cares about the mouse-heavy nature ot it?

 

=====

A couple of comments on the game so far (only half an hour, so not plot points yet) -

 

* I love the inventory window, the quick use slots, the larger viewing area, the organised save slots.

 

* I really super hate the loss of the keyboard shortcuts. I rarely touched the mouse in Avernum 3 or Blades - and as I'm prone to tennis elbow, this is more than just a little idiosyncracy of mine. In fact, it's so bad that my glee at getting Avernum 4 has turned to a bitter disappointment. Right now I'm sorta wishing I hadn't trusted you and registered without even trying it. I'm serious. It is BAD. It causes me physical pain.

 

Please, please, *please* bring back the Avernum 3 keyboard options - 'l' command to look, 't' for talk, target selection for distance attacks by letter not mouseclick. Likewise spell selection. And please do it soon! Do it in a 1.1 version and I will update immediately and love you for ever. And while you're at it, please let the arrow keys be useful in selecting save slots, 'escape' key choices etc.

========

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I agree with you, though I found the game playable without any carpal-tunnel inducing keyboard shortcut deficits. Any good game or software these days should be designed so you can do just about anything possible through mouse control or keyboard shortcut. I get very annoyed at games which do not offer keyboard shortcuts for repetitive actions.

 

In the beta for A4, there was no keystroke for switching melee and missile weapons until I (and others I presume) asked for it, for instance. That one is very handy, and the lack of the option was very annoying until it was introduced. The target selection for spells is not bad, because there are area spells now, rather than "heat-seeking missle" selective spells. You get the circle of victims now, not the random target selector. Of course, target selection for spells which only strike individual targets would have been nice, and certainly so for missles.

 

Little things bug me—like the fact that to save a game now or create a PC's name you have to backspace all the way through whatever you are writing over instead of being able to select and delete the old and rename it. This is a step backwords in convenience and intuition, but it's a small gripe.

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Quote:
Originally written by Thuryl:
Wouldn't it have to land in the east to do that?
Think about it... goblins are everywhere. And if Fort Ganrick had landed further west, then it would've just killed some undead and cave worms.

Perhaps it was something ordered by the Triad, meant to test the method of flinging buildings at your enemies. I'd like to see some of the endgame villains try and survive having a fort fall on them.
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Originally written by Student of Trinity:
There are keyboard shortcuts for casting spells, just not for targeting them.
Yeah, and we want shortcuts for targeting. If we had to choose to cast a spell and then select it with the mouse....*shudder*
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