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Click on a character portrait in the roster to recenter on that character.

 

Using the Geneforge engine as a starting point cost us several nice features from Avernum 6 using the keyboard.

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First impression? Well, I've been in a state of near-glee about Avadon when not distracted by other things, like coursework and chores.

 

I actually don't mind the lack of keyboard movement. Although I'm on a laptop, which was never ideal for that kind of thing anyway.

 

The skill tree intrigues me. I guess I haven't had a lot of experience with them prior to this, so it looks interesting. I have had experience with achievements, though, and I suppose I'm surprised at how few Jeff built in. Always room for more, if it comes to that.

 

The big areas are pretty cool. What worries me is not being able to find people and places in all that shiny and open spaces. Having buildings be their own maps is an interesting touch, but again, I really hope I can find everyone. I'm buying the hint book in hopes that it'll help.

 

Like some, I am mildly disappointed in the lack of portrait options. I don't mind playing as a male fighter, but it does lessen immersion for awhile. I do love the graphics, though. So very pretty. Polished and clean. A pleasure to look at.

 

Enjoying the story so far. I haven't hit the end of the demo, but the NPC interaction is fun, and the politicking between the five nations strikes me as terribly realistic. Can't wait to see where this goes.

 

tl;dr-> yay, lots of good things, few downsides, I'm buying it.

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Originally Posted By: Kelandon
Is there some way to keep the screen centered on the character or at least have it move automatically in some way? I'm finding it really annoying to move the screen myself.
This has been a problem since G1. I don't know if it works in Avadon too, but I took to using the mouse for movement and simultaneously using the arrow keys to keep the screen on track.

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Originally Posted By: CRISIS on INFINITE SLARTIES
Originally Posted By: Kelandon
Is there some way to keep the screen centered on the character or at least have it move automatically in some way? I'm finding it really annoying to move the screen myself.
This has been a problem since G1. I don't know if it works in Avadon too, but I took to using the mouse for movement and simultaneously using the arrow keys to keep the screen on track.

If I'm moving over already-explored territory, I click on the map to view my destination, click on the ground and then wait for my party to show up. The ambidextrous method is pretty good for exploring.

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Originally Posted By: Jeff on his blog
The biggest complaint is that the game has no keyboard movement. Our other big series, Avernum, takes place on a fairly simple grid, so keyboard movement is easy to implement. Avadon takes place in a larger world with no simple grid for the characters to stand on, and keyboard movement just doesn't work as well as the mouse, especially for distances that aren't very short. But some people really want keyboard movement, and I can hardly tell them they are wrong. I just have to take the criticism and hope that the game is good enough.

I'm not sure that I totally get this. There's a grid in Avadon, right? I can see it in combat. Keyboard movement would work absolutely fine if there were an option to keep the screen centered on the lead character, to make the other characters automatically follow the lead character (in some way or other — the manner hardly matters), and to repeat a held key (so holding down "east" makes you continue to walk east until you release the key).

Is there something I'm missing, here?

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Don't get me wrong. It is programmable. It's just trickier and weirder. For example, suppose you approach a door in Avernum. The way its grid works, you can only approach a door head on so it's easier for the game to figure out when you're about to bonk into a door. But in Avadon you can approach a door so that you're half touching it and half not, which is a trickier thing to program.

 

It's a bigger time investment, and, for the vast majority of movement, the mouse is better (anything not really close). And, remember, one of the platforms I'm porting the game to doesn't have a keyboard at all. So I made the call and spent my development time on other things.

 

- Jeff Vogel

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I'm waiting for the Windows version, but I would like to underline the importance of the size of the text font in the game.

 

It was a real deal breaker for me, with the last Geneforge. It was just really uncomfortable to play the game in my 22" monitor (I guess it's the standard size, nowadays).

 

I hope Avadon will not have the same problem.

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I found the lack of initial character building mildly disappointing, but that's mostly just my expectations from Avernum being carried over. I generally prefer stat-building to skill trees, and a choice of character portraits would have been nice, and I miss those hidden extra skills that you could find in Avernum. I'm sure I'll adapt to the new system, and Jeff will probably find ways to improve upon it in the sequels, of which there is sure to be many.

 

I really like the idea of creating one starting character and selecting companions from a pool of NPCs. It gets the player into the game much faster, and it allows for party members to have distinct personalities, as well as giving opportunities for banter. That was my favorite thing about the Baldur's Gate series, and it's nice to see it here. I hope Jeff expands upon this in the next game. It would be nice to actually be able to initiate conversations with my party members whenever I want to.

 

All complaining aside, though, I like the game. The level of polish is evident everywhere and I'm really enjoying it so far.

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Well so far I actually enjoy the preconstructed characters, mostly for the great party talk. I don't mind the auto-heal now that combat is an actual challenge. On the other hand, my biggest peeve doesn't seem likely to go away: not being able to discover other regions until they're given to you by quest-givers. Seems like it cuts down on spontaneous exploration a lot.

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The lack of spontaneous exploration is a minor concern for me. I very much like the wide open spaces within regions. That, combined with the "buildings as black boxes" scheme, results in tasty gameplay. I'm experiencing a pleasant balance between linearity (go where I tell you to go) and E3/A3-style gallivanting.

 

One suggestion: I would like a better clue when I click on a neighboring region and can't go there yet. Right now, it's just confusing. I go to the map and there's no there there. Huh?! Perhaps a nice message suggesting that the player talk to more people nearby? Geneforge handled this with red and green zones. Surely, there must be a way to make this less confusing in Avadon? Right now, I see a bordering region and have no idea if I can go there or not.

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Things I like:

 

1) Graphics are great, much improved over G5 and A6.

 

2) Legal philosophy banter so early in the game.

 

3) "NPCs" are competent and advance with my character.

 

4) Some of the special abilities are cool.

 

5) Between auto-heal and return-to-town I lean 60% towards auto-heal. RTT feels more realistic; AH is much less annoying.

 

 

Things I don't like:

 

1) Less control over character building than in the Avernum games.

 

2) Geneforge-style zones instead of Avernum-style contiguous map. In RL if I want to go two towns over I have to pass through the intervening municipalities. I find the jumping around a bit jarring.

 

3) Background sounds seem incongruous in some locations.

 

 

Also, and this isn't really negative or positive: I like that I'm not really sure if I am a good guy or a bad guy within the context of the game world. I appreciate the moral ambiguity, which is Geneforgey. On the other hand, overall I like the more clearly heroic path provided by the Avernum games. So I am only a few zones in but I hope that there is at least one ending where I have stabbed Evil to death and am totally awesome.

 

And yeah, the text is small.

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Playing on my 13 inch Macbook, I have to say I'm finding the small size of some graphics to be a minor irritant. Having played Spiderweb games for many years now, I have a general sense of what to look for, but figuring out what and when items are the ground can be really frustrating. For example, in the first dungeon, there is a table with some kind of green skin (can't remember which kind it is) on it. The skin has value, so it should be picked up, but unless I look really closely it simply looks like a green dot on the table. I'm finding I'm hitting the G key whenever I see anything on the ground simply to make sure I haven't missed anything, as opposed to relying on my eyes to determine what various items are. I'm not trying to say I want multi-million dollar graphics. I'm simply pointing out that on my laptop, the graphics end up being almost too small in certain circumstances.

 

Otherwise, it is an amazing game - everything I have ever loved about previous games and then some.

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Originally Posted By: Niemand
That's a different option than the one to which I was referring. It, or something equivalent would help, though.

EDIT: It works! I'm free of the horrible Exposé key. This does essentially nothing to address my original complaint about Jeff's key assignments, though, since this still only means that F3, F5, and F6 are free on my system.
It's the option I was referring to, though... and I'm confused, why are the other function keys still not free?

Originally Posted By: Tyranicus
If you disable the printed features on the keys, only F9-F12 are mapped to anything by default.
...they are? What are they mapped too? They don't seem to be mapped to anything for me...

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Quote:
why are the other function keys still not free?

I have some but not all of the printed features on the keys disabled, using FunctionFlip. This way, I can use F1 and F2 to adjust screen brightness, but assign my own functions to the other keys using Quicksilver.
Click to reveal..
On the off chance that anyone cares, the uses to which I've put my keys are:
F4: Show Desktop (actually a function of Exposé, instead of show Dashboard)
F7: Mute (instead of previous iTunes track)
F8: Decrease Volume (instead of pause or un-pause iTunes)
F9: Increase Volume (instead of next iTunes track)
F10: Pause or un-pause Quicktime Player (instead of mute)
F11: Pause or un-pause iTunes (instead of decrease volume)
F12: Hide all applications except the Finder (instead of increase volume)

My point was that, while I use the function keys in fairly unusual ways, it seems likely that there are also a lot of users who use them for their printed-on functions, and don't necessarily want to disable this or switch to having to press an extra key.

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Originally Posted By: Spidweb
Don't get me wrong. It is programmable. It's just trickier and weirder.

Huh. I'm surprised that it's complicated enough to be, in practice, prohibitive, but I suppose that makes sense. Oh well. I'm making do with the mouse, and it's okay.

The general concerns about size are certainly ones that I share. I'm working on a 28" monitor that is set to 1920 x 1200 (so the monitor itself is big, and everything is incredibly gigantic on it, because 1920 x 1200 is more normally on a 24" monitor or even smaller). I'm used to sitting a good 5-6 feet back from the screen. I can't do that with Avadon. If I actually wanted to see what items were based on what they look like on the floor — which I could do easily in Avernum and to some extent in Geneforge — I have to get even closer than I'm sitting now.

And the weirdness of the area map is, well, weird. You can only enter an area from one spot, right? This seems like a step down from prior games' ability to enter from four different sides.

I have a few positive thoughts that I'll share later on, but these are just in agreement with some of the above.

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Originally Posted By: Celtic Minstrel
Originally Posted By: Tyranicus
If you disable the printed features on the keys, only F9-F12 are mapped to anything by default.
...they are? What are they mapped too? They don't seem to be mapped to anything for me...


By default F9-F10 are different Exposé functions, and F12 is Dashboard.

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Like I said before, why does Jeff give us the option of exiting zones from all four sides when most of them go nowhere? Wouldn't it be better to just block those exits with trees, etc?

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"Like I said before, why does Jeff give us the option of exiting zones from all four sides when most of them go nowhere? Wouldn't it be better to just block those exits with trees, etc?"

 

They don't go "nowhere". They go out of the zone. I provide multiple exits to minimize the amount you have to travel when you are done in an area and want to go elsewhere. This is a good thing.

 

- Jeff Vogel

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Originally Posted By: Spidweb
"Like I said before, why does Jeff give us the option of exiting zones from all four sides when most of them go nowhere? Wouldn't it be better to just block those exits with trees, etc?"

They don't go "nowhere". They go out of the zone. I provide multiple exits to minimize the amount you have to travel when you are done in an area and want to go elsewhere. This is a good thing.

- Jeff Vogel


But when a player is exploring an area for the first time they will try all the exits, and then often find that there are no new areas to explore. After this the player will click on the area they were trying to leave and be placed in many cases directly opposite to the side they left. I find that annoying.


I would prefer a way to choose the side of entry into a zone. Or just block the exits and make the player walk a bit more. It's not that difficult to click on one side of a zone and then wait for the characters to get there.

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I think it's fine to have zone exits on all sides of a zone. It expands it the feel of the world - conceptually the world expands out in all directions. It's okay if I can't travel in that direction - clearly there's nothing of relevance to a minion of Avadon in that direction. But it would be nice to control which side of the map I enter when I arrive in a zone.

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Originally Posted By: VCH

I would prefer a way to choose the side of entry into a zone.

Yes.
Quote:
Or just block the exits and make the player walk a bit more.

No.

Edit: ^ What Triumph said ^

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Seconded on this. I like the convenience of being able to exit from a variety of angles (and I'd surmised that this was their purpose), but as long as we're talking reduced walk time, multiple angles of entry as well as exit would be nice. Mostly the difference would be trivial, but there are a few zones (most notably the Beast's Woods, so far) where travel is sufficiently convoluted that allowing for other points of entry would make backtracking there later much simpler.

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Originally Posted By: The Amaster
Well so far I actually enjoy the preconstructed characters, mostly for the great party talk. I don't mind the auto-heal now that combat is an actual challenge. On the other hand, my biggest peeve doesn't seem likely to go away: not being able to discover other regions until they're given to you by quest-givers. Seems like it cuts down on spontaneous exploration a lot.


I agree. That really irritates me too. It's a feature of may older RPGs that I've always detested. I just don't understand why I can't just walk out of a region and into a new one to explore. It's like nothing else exists unless someone tells me it does, and then new regions are simply spontaneously generated. But then, I generally prefer sandbox-style RPGs like Morrowind over more rigidly structured ones.

In my opinion, if you have to limit the player's movement through the game, the way that Avernum 6 handled it is best; you know the area is there, but something (like a locked door or a guarded bridge) prevents you from getting there until you complete the right task. Still, total freeform is best, I think, but there are good compromises.

Also, think about how the first two Fallout games handled it. They both had a large map dotted with explorable regions. However, not only did your travels across the larger map get presented to you as an actual animation moving across it, you could enter any area that you could reach if you managed to stumble across it on your own. If someone tells you about an area, it shows up on your map, but you didn't need them to; you could still find areas on your own.

I don't yet know how this is going to affect my overall feeling about the game. I'll get back to you.

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"Quivers" Its out for you Mac people... But i have a Pc... Godspeed jeff, your Pc players are about to die of Anticipation. > . >

 

And all of You make it sound so ridiculously Fun.

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Originally Posted By: Spidweb
"Like I said before, why does Jeff give us the option of exiting zones from all four sides when most of them go nowhere? Wouldn't it be better to just block those exits with trees, etc?"

They don't go "nowhere". They go out of the zone. I provide multiple exits to minimize the amount you have to travel when you are done in an area and want to go elsewhere. This is a good thing.

- Jeff Vogel

I would describe it as confusing. Is that a good thing?

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"I would describe it as confusing. Is that a good thing?"

 

All changes, every single one, confuse some people when first encountered. This is neither avoidable nor a reason to avoid changing the system. I strongly suspect most people new to my games will not be confused by it and people who are familiar with past titles will get used to the new system very quickly.

 

For what its worth, the zone system in Avadon is very, very close to that of Dragon Age. That was a hugely popular game, and I know of no epidemics of perplexity when people traveled from area to area.

 

- Jeff Vogel

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Quote:
I'm having real trouble (in the sense of annoyance) with the inability to use the keyboard for the primary activities in playing the game, namely walking and attacking. I can appreciate that other people want to use the mouse for these but I don't, particularly when nearly everything more minor in the game seems to still be set up to be pretty keyboard friendly.


+5, or +legion, or some such. It's not just the movement for me, it's the targeting. I very very much want to type "a a a" to make a blademaster or shadowwalker execute action a on target a, in the same way one can use "a a 2" to make the shaman heal comrade #2.
(edited for accuracy... I'll get this sentence right eventually...)

Otherwise, well, I'm inclined to like a Spiderweb game, and most of what I like is still here. The thing I disliked the most at first was the weapons limitations -- really, my sorceress can't wield a dagger? -- which made me feel like I'd been thrown back in time to second edition d&d, before skills and powers. Those limitations are something one gets used to quickly enough, I suppose, but initially it feels like bumping into a wall repeatedly: ARGH, the blademaster can't use a javelin, ARGH, the shadowwalker can't use a bow.

The strict class limitations feel like a step backwards, but then planning character leveling is something I enjoy.

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This is nitpicky, but I wish combat was more fast-paced. It seems like the animations take just a little bit too long, especially when casting spells. In previous games, the spell animation would take place concurrently with the damage animation. I'm not sure why in Avadon the clouds of acid/lightning/etc. must evaporate fully before the targets do their "ouchie" animation.

 

I looked for an option to speed up animations a la the older Avernum games, but it was not to be found.

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I'm all in favor of changing things as needed, but it's loss of functionality that I find particularly noticeable, such as the loss of multiple entry points for regions, or the loss of keyboard movement (I'm still living in the first Avernum Trilogy, I guess).

 

In any case, positive comments. The overall look-and-feel is consistently nice, as people have been saying. The graphics are indeed consistent throughout, and I like the general appearance. The land is complex — very complex — and it's taking me a while to sort it all out. I guess that's because I'm still in the early stages (I think), and once I get through more of it, it will become clearer.

 

Redbeard is an interesting character, though rather inscrutable. He seems central to all of this, so it would be nice to be able to interact with him more — but I guess keeping him at a distance preserves his, uh, gravitas or something. I did the same thing with Legare in Bahssikava and Exodus (Legare only appeared in cutscenes).

 

And the "You're going to get a chance to betray/kill Redbeard later in the game" is pretty heavy-handed from the very beginning. I guess what points you lose for subtlety, you gain back for clarity on that one.

 

The idea of the skill system is neat. I feel as though it isn't being utilized to its full potential here, but I guess that's for Avadon 2. At any rate, the idea of pumping some of these skills all the way up to 7+ is rather mind-boggling (but awesome). In the meantime, it simplifies the tactical decisions.

 

Speaking of simplified tactical decisions, combats play really, really differently from combats in other Spidweb games. I haven't been up to speed on some of the most recent ones, but combat here is slowed down like A1-A2 combat (which I like a lot), while working sort of strangely (my spellcasters don't cast many spells and have just about as much hp as my fighter). This is taking some getting used to; still, I'm playing on hard, and only one combat has given me significant pause as yet (and I'm through the first significant quest, involving the dragon).

 

In general, the beginning seems engaging, fun, and different. Not sure where I rank it in Spidweb games overall. My mind is not blown, the way that it was for the beginning of A2, which was one of the greatest sections I've ever seen in any game I've ever played, but I'm not actively irritated by most of it, which was how I felt about A4. Maybe right around how I felt about GF1: it's new and strange and takes some getting used to, but I'm interested enough to take the time to get used to it.

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Originally Posted By: Spidweb
"I would describe it as confusing. Is that a good thing?"

All changes, every single one, confuse some people when first encountered. This is neither avoidable nor a reason to avoid changing the system. I strongly suspect most people new to my games will not be confused by it and people who are familiar with past titles will get used to the new system very quickly.

For what its worth, the zone system in Avadon is very, very close to that of Dragon Age. That was a hugely popular game, and I know of no epidemics of perplexity when people traveled from area to area.

- Jeff Vogel

Okay, maybe confusing is not the best description. Games, like films, require suspension of disbelief. In GF, I felt like I was walking from zone to zone. Even when I was passing through multiple green zones, it just felt like I was being fast forwarded through the tedious process of walking. In Av, I feel like I'm teleporting to any zone that I want to go to. Convenient, but not the right feel. The fact that there are also teleporters in the game just adds to the feeling of unease.

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Originally Posted By: madrigan
I like that I'm not really sure if I am a good guy or a bad guy within the context of the game world. I appreciate the moral ambiguity, which is Geneforgey. On the other hand, overall I like the more clearly heroic path provided by the Avernum games. So I am only a few zones in but I hope that there is at least one ending where I have stabbed Evil to death and am totally awesome.


I agree a 100 percent.

I haven't had time to continue much into the game since my post, but I already wonder if it will be possible to play a morally sound character here. Seems like I will have to get into trouble quite soon, if that's possible. But where will that put me? Will it limit my game options soon? This aspect really reminds me a lot of G5.
Avadon already seems to be even more "political" than the Geneforges, looking at all the different factions and their different mentalities, represented by the NPCs.

I am not at all concerned about the quick healing, as the new feature of vitality seems to be quite interesting and not at least less tricky than loosing your health. I suppose losing one's vitality will result in being a bit hampered and therefore being in great danger of loosing one's health very soon after having lost the first.

I get a bit confused by the potions at the moment, though. I hope I'll understand them as soon as it's more vital.

I'm delighted to hear that one will have the possibility of solving some of the quests by cunning.
That's something I really like about all the SW games. Although there is a good amount of hacking and slashing involved – without the fancy splatter (not considering the occasional blood stains on the floor to be able to qualify as such) – you really get to do some thinking, too. Seems like in Avadon one might be able to do some scheming too…

Most certainly one will gain quests from the companions,too? Really seems like it, if you look at their stories.

Now I've got to continue playing…

Wheeeeeee!!!!!

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