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Verelor

Avernum 4 Complete Wish List

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Quote:
Originally written by Verelor:
Frankly, unless you are an experienced Spiderweb junkie, you will be hard-pressed to tell the difference between a screenshot of 3 different Avernum games which game is which.
Mostly that means that their engines are very similar. I do remember a fair number of individual dungeons in A1, A2, and A3, which is probably a better judge of their merit.

I could play with the same general interface and approximately the same engine for a long time — that's what Blades fans do, after all — but if all the towns and dungeons are completely faceless, I'd get pretty sick of it after a while.

A number of AT towns and dungeons really stood out — even in A3, the towns were really outstanding (Lorelei, Gale) — and in Nethergate, even more did.

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So it has been confirmed that A4 will use a different engine? Hopefuly the gameplay will resembe Geneforge a bit more. And will be a completely different experience.

 

The story should really be different from the 3 current games. If it were told far into the future (it would be exciting to be able to revisit the entire world and see how drastically everything has changed in perhaps 80 years) and from a far diferent angle if possible (I would guess the Empire point of view, since Vahnetai is far too much to hope for here) with at least a Geneforge amount of choice as to how the plot evolves.

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I believe people that are close to JV have confirmed a new engine. Though I've never seen an official mention of that.

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Quote:
Originally written by VCH:
I believe people that are close to JV have confirmed a new engine. Though I've never seen an official mention of that.
The first post of this thread has links that explain how we know what we know.

Quote:
Originally written by Verelor:
Hopefuly the gameplay will resembe Geneforge a bit more.
God, I hope not.

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And why the hell not? What is so wrong with being able to have nice animations and real-time out-of-combat exploration? It worked flawlessly in exactly 3 games I dont think I have to mention. You damn conservative. I didn't specifically say make it Geneforge but without the geneforge, I just said it would be an improvement if the gameplay resembled it a bit more.

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Because I don't like the gameplay in GF. Not everyone does.

 

EDIT: I failed to delete enough of that quote. It's not the "different" part that bothers me. It's the "Geneforge" part. Also you might want to calm down a bit.

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Let's hope for an engine perhaps surpassing Geneforge. A4 will likely spawn A5-A6 so the engine should be something great.

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Also, if he is going to release Avernum 4 (something he himself once said he'd never do), he'd better make sure he releases it as soon as possible, actually. The further and further he waits to release it after BoA, the more and more the entire Avernum story will clash with itself.

 

In my opinion a Nethergate 2 or a compeltely different game saga would be a perfect choice at this point.

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Not everyone like Geneforge's gameplay (which is still really similair at teh skeleton level to Avernum), but most do.

 

As for surpassing the Geneforge engine, that'd be splendid. Getting technically almost as good is what is important, however.

 

Rather than keeping Geneforge and Avernum's gameplay as seperate as possible intentionally, how bout just doing what makes the game most fun?

 

A4 spawning a whole new trilogy? Unless this works something like the 6 Star Wars movies, I want no part of it. All grand tales must know when to stop.

 

I personally also hope that simce A4 will not be an Exile remake like all the others, that will not ahrm it since everything that is designed will ahve to be built from the ground up rather than remaking and touching up concepts.

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Since Exile is for all intents and purposes the same setting as Avernum, and since BoE has been out for years and generated plenty of story, I think Jeff has already shot continuity in the head. We've discussed it before.

 

I also dislike Geneforge. I don't like real-time at all, I don't particularly care one way or the other about animation, and I just don't like the slightly different mechanics. No secret doors? No outdoors? No thanks.

 

—Alorael, who agrees to some extent with TM. Nothing in Exile/Avernum is innovative gameplay, and very little of Geneforge is. If you're playing for that, you're playing the wrong game. What they have is setting and world-building. Sure, it may not always be carried as far as it could, but it's there and worth seeing. (Incidentally, this is one reason why I like A1 more than A3. The caves are a different setting. The surface is a boring, generic setting, and all the repressiveness mentioned in A1 vanished.) Nethergate has the most atmosphere at all, and despite gameplay almost identical to Avernum's, it's considered a success. So there you have it: innovative environment, not innovative programming or game design.

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For one, I am not a fan of the real time movement in Geneforge. Turn-based is a good thing, and I would prefer that Avernum stay that way.

 

Maybe what Jeff means by 'a new engine' is a return to Exile ... wouldn't that be nice!

 

Alorael - playing A3 after A1 and A2 makes the surface a new setting.

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No, it doesn't. It's new to your characters ("This... is a tree!") but not to you as a player. The places are new, but it's back to completely unoriginal fantasy setting. The caves in Avernum 2 aren't new anymore, but what they lack in unknowns they make up for in seeing how things changed.

 

—Alorael, who missed Fort Avernum and also missed it being called Fort Exile. At least Tor made it out even if he decided not to hand out goodies anymore.

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The new engine being more like Exile? I would sure hope to God it isn't. No matter who you are, you ahve to agree that Exile is a large step back from Avernum in every way. This is supposed to be an evolution, not a degeneration. Exile is horribly dated now, looks a mess, and is simply not fit anymore for even fans of classic games like Ultima 2 and Wizardry. By new engine I am altogether placing my bets on something far from Geneforge but yet closer.

 

Also, in the surface being an extremely wondrous and alien world to the characters, it takes the player back and makes them think just how amazing their own lives truly are. Things we do not think about suddenly become interesting.

 

Jeff says screenshots and info will arrive in a couple or a few months, and they will tell everything. And well, if it does turn out to be a lot more like Exile than anything, well, I will be damned.

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Quote:
Originally written by Verelor:
Rather than keeping Geneforge and Avernum's gameplay as seperate as possible intentionally, how bout just doing what makes the game most fun?
For whom? In practical terms, fun cannot be measured absolutely. What's fun for you may not be fun for me, and vice-versa. I'm not against Geneforgizing Avernum because I want to keep them separate; I'm against it because I found Geneforge less fun than Avernum. And you'd be hard pressed to verify the statement that most people agree with you, not because you're wrong, but because you have no way of knowing that.

Quote:
Originally written by Verelor:
No matter who you are, you ahve to agree that Exile is a large step back from Avernum in every way. ... Exile is horribly dated now, looks a mess, and is simply not fit anymore for even fans of classic games like Ultima 2 and Wizardry.
A lot of people here don't agree with that, though. I like Avernum more than Exile, but a lot of people don't. And the Exiles still sell relatively well, according to Jeff.

EDIT: I do think that A4 will look a lot like GF. That's not to say that we have to like it.

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Regardless, if the new engine turns out to be a lot like Exile it will still be totally lame.

 

Seeing as how we are just irreversably off topic here I would request a forum admin or mod delete this topic or set it back on track or something. After a few replies everythign just got out of hand.

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Looking like Geneforge is a fine thing. I'll be the first to admit that Avernum's graphics were a step down from Exile's where characters and monsters are concerned. Geneforge is much prettier. Having animations that slow everything down would not be so nice.

 

Having a check-box for animations/no animations would be simply lovely, actually. It would come close to making everyone happy.

 

—Alorael, who just stumbled upon the remarkable resemblance beween Fallout and Geneforge in many respects. Real-time wandering and turn-based combat, dialogue fun based on stats-skills, (ostensibly) being able to win through wits rather than mass carnage, etc. Plagiarism is a time-honored game design trick, and at least he picked a good game.

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Quote:
Originally written by Verelor:
Seeing as how we are just irreversably off topic here I would request a forum admin or mod delete this topic or set it back on track or something. After a few replies everythign just got out of hand.
You might notice that you're speaking to forum admins and moderators. We're the ones who got it off track in the first place. :p

In all seriousness, don't try to control the flow of conversation. If you want to bring us back to the "wish list" concept, make a couple of new wish list requests, and you may manage to direct us back in that fashion.

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And a checkbox for music/no music and completely redone sounds taht dont sound so jerky and emerassing to show to your friends and I will be a happy camper.

 

No matter what, it had better be different. Also, if 2-d sprite animations slow down your computer when you play, it's not the game, it's YOU. Starcraft has had beautiful Geneforge-quality graphics for almost 10 years now since release and that worked nicely on my last computer before my last computer.

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It's not that the animations trouble my computer. It's that the animations take time, as animations must. In Avernum, you press a button and your characters have relocated almost instantly. It's a convenience issue, especially when you have a whole map to walk across.

 

Starcraft has animation and needs it because it's a real-time strategy game. Geneforge isn't, and the combat isn't real time. Nor would I like it to be. If it were, though, then real-time, animated walking would also be necessary.

 

Jeff has claimed that he avoids music also because it makes the downloads significantly larger and he doesn't want the games to be inaccessible to those still on dialup connections. He hasn't mentioned the cost, but hiring someone to make your music probably isn't high on his lost of priorities either. If you really want music, play your own. (On this, though, I agree. An optional and additional download of music wouldn't hurt. I can see why Jeff doesn't do it and I don't mind, but with the right music it could be nice.)

 

—Alorael, who would have to lock almost every single thread if going off-topic were so criminal. Conversational drift happens. Conversations would be pretty boring without it.

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4 new suggestions have been added to the list! Please leave a comment and if you have a soul left in you, make up a suggestion of your own.

 

So noone remembers Lords of Magic: Special Edition? Eh. Too bad, then. I do believe that LoM was one of the most perfect PC titles ever made. They just got everything right in that gem of a game title.

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27, which I missed before: Like being able to pick new traits every few levels? Sure, why not. Sounds like Fallout perks to me. Then again, I don't really see why either.

 

28. Not worth the effort if it doesn't effect the whole game. Unless it's going to be Nethergate on a larger scale, I can live quite happily without it.

 

29. A custom house? Sure. Rank? Already happened to some extent in the form of clearance. Political power, forts, and minions to command? This isn't an RTS game. An Avernum RTS could be neat (and it could be awful), but A4 isn't it and I've seen very few RPG-RTS mixes that were worth the effort.

 

30. Discrimination drives away customers. What do you really want here? I can't think of anything that gender would plausibly effect except skills, and that's a setup for angry customers. Some dialogue changes? Maybe, but Avernum's setting has established gender equality already. Cosmetic details would be okay, but again not worth the work.

 

31. If there were mounted fighting in A4, maybe. If your vehicle doesn't change your fighting ability, though, there's no need for much variety. Camels in the desert would be realistic but unnecessary.

 

—Alorael, who can barely keep track of his boats and horses anyway. He'd be sure to lose something if he had to remember where he left camels and elephants too.

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27. Eh, perhaps. This could be incorporated into the character abilities to make abilities useful.

 

28. (Not everyone agrees about multiple endings, btw.) Maybe. I can't see this happening in a way that I would like, but it's not inconceivable that it could.

 

29. Maybe do quests for some sort of organization, like the Scimitar in A1 or the Anama in A3. But actually earning ranks might be interesting, like gaining different levels of clearance in A2. Putting that all together might work. But I can't see actually building a fort or becoming some sort of military commander. That just seems un-Avernum.

 

30. Maybe, but I'm not sure how.

 

31. I'm with Alorael on this one.

Quote:
Originally written by Verelor:

Fine then. You can just keep saying no and no to all sh**.

Generally, wouldn't you expect someone to say no to sh**? :p

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Thanks for remaining open-minded btw. Ok amybe camels are out but horses, while they must be taken care of with food and other things like characters ahve to be and can die adn take hits as well, they would provide many speed and combat adventages. Elephants are very slow and can panic easily but expeially for ranging characters can provide a multitude of combat advantages. Ships would work jsut as they did in A2, except they would be large enough for many-man crews, and can be armed and encounter and battle sea enemies like large sea monsters and even pirates! A seperate battle system wouldn't be necessary, something like the current Avernum battle system would do ship vs. ship combat a fair amount of justice.

 

As for actually building your own fort, that's jsut not going to happen. Rather taking control of an already existing fort or town or a military unit for a while is still viable. smile

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Sea battles sound kind of cool. You could have an outdoor combat town — er, set_out_fight_town_loaded, in BoA terms — that had two ship floors on either side of the town with bridges in between. It wouldn't even require any engine modification, and it probably could be done in BoA.

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If a game has a combat engine designed to handle vehicles and mounts, well and good. If not, tacking them on is probably a bad idea. The concept is good, but if it's just thrown into A4 without proper attention, it would be a Bad Thing.

 

Still, trampling over the puny goblins with your elephants is a very, very good image.

 

I have no interest in management chores in RPGs. Jeff apparently doesn't either, judging by his Grumpy Gamer articles. Heck, he even grumbled about having to remember a torch while dungeon crawling (despite Exile/Avernum's heavy light requirements!). If a horse could starve to death, mine would, and I would get frustrated.

 

—Alorael, who would like to cordially remind you that the Code of Conduct forbids even masked profanity. Everyone at Spiderweb is expected to just say "No!" to ****.

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Hmm. Verelor, you may not be aware of this, but Alorael is a moderator, and so am I. He is quite right about the profanity, and swearing directly at him is not a very bright idea. Consider yourself warned that if you do this again you may be banned.

 

This has been an interesting topic. Let's not let it fall apart now.

 

You know, Vantanas sounds like an interesting setting for A4. Anyone want to toss out ideas about which continent it should be set on?

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Yes, Jeff does express a lot of hate. His column was (is?) called the Grumpy Gamer. What do you expect?

 

[Edit: Some of this comes from Jeff's interviews, too. Look around the main Spiderweb site in links and in the news.]

 

—Alorael, who would post a link if he could find a live one. Google still has a few cached, and you can find some links to individual articles if you look hard enough. Play around with "Grumpy Gamer" (not to be confused with the blog) and "Jeff Vogel."

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32. Item descriptions like in the Exile games, also different weapon classes such as stone bronze iron steel. I now there's iron and steel at present.

 

33. Outdoor cut scenes, perhaps an army overrunning a city whatever suits the situation.

 

34. Some method of lighting your way at night. I hat stumbling around in the dark.

 

35. Some new military equipment for the empire army. I'm sure they could come up with some form of a scorpion or trebuchet.

 

36.A new exciting race something like the Vahnatai were.

 

37. Massive battles your party plays a minor role in, such as defending a fort. Said battles may be impossible to win by having your group captured etc.

 

38. Street crime graffiti in the big cities mugging in the back alleys. More realistic to real cities.

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Seems like some good suggestions, though some of these I've already done. I will post the one about bringing back Exile's item descriptions and the street graffiti (as long as the game doesn't actively describe it to you, it's just there), as well as being able to equip your keep or fort or army, which would be a part of running one if the player so chooses.

 

When A4 comes out it will more than likely fall short of what these suggestions hope it will be, but we can dream.

 

Edit: I think I'm changing the part about weapon classes, VCH. Unless I'm insane, I remember bronze weapons. I think I remember stone ones from Avernum 2 (or was it Nethergate)? Rather, it'd be better if we got advanced weapon classes such as: Mithril, Adamantium, Vahnatai-craft, perhaps a rare and powerful metal from Avernum called Avernite that has innate magical properties of it's own (dark blue would be a cool color for that).

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I want one thing in all SW games forthcoming. The quests need to be pruned if/when they are broken. Kill a person that gives you a quest and the quest still shows up. That is annoying. Very annoying. Add a feature to remove quests from your list. Do it! Now!

 

*this message supported by the ibws local #435 (brick wall soundproofers rule!)*

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Yes, the quest system needs a little revamp. I think I will be adding the suggestion for a better quest system a little later on when I come up with the specifics.

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I would like a lot of spells of non-combat funtionality. You know, all teh cool, fun ones. Summon food, teleportation, passwall (ability to pass through non-magical walls and barriers), waterwalking, wall of force and wall of prismatics (certainly combat-appliable), as well as the traditional clerical ability to turn undead as a non-spell but a special ability.

 

All of this is real fun stuff that was missing in Geneforge and Avernum but some of it saw some actual presence in the Exile series.

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Quote:
Originally written by Verelor:
16.- Some very masked and criptic Geneforge series references thrown into the dialogue could give Spiderweb loyalists the reward they deserve.
Am I the only person who spent much time carrying around the Xian skull in Avernum 3? Cause that's already been done.

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Yes to the quest system revamp. There's nothing worse than having a quest that is impossible to complete. We should be able to delete any of them.

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If the fourth game will be well into the future perhaps imteresting technological innovations such as the very first firearms could come about.

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32. There are already item descriptions (just not in BoA, same as BoE) and materials. Mithril and adamantine show up (the latter only in Exile, I think). And jade and onyx. Vahnatai equipment, to the extent that they make equipment (exclusively cloaks, razordisks, and waveblades) exists.

 

33. If outdoors cutscenes are necessary, I'm sure Jeff will use them. I can't think of anywhere where they would have helped in Avernum.

 

34. Casting Light helps some. Waiting until the night ends helps more.

 

35. How often does the Empire engage in siege activities? It controls the surface already, and it only had a brief war with Avernum.

 

36. I disagree here. A new race is a good trick once. A new race again is repetitive.

 

37. Your party, by virtue of being strong enough to depopulate cities, never plays a small role in a battle. See Ornotha Ziggurat. But yes, battles could be fun if done right.

 

38. Spray paint doesn't exist in the world of Avernum and the Empire probably executes anyone it finds painting a tagline. More poor district awfulness would be a welcome touch though.

 

Spells: Creating food (Manna) exists in Exile. Teleportation exists in the form of Word of Recall, which returns you to the starting town in E3/BoE. Any more generic teleportation, passage through otherwise impassable barriers, or the like would make game design much more difficult. Being able to keep players out with a wall or make them wait to be able to fly to cross that river is not a bad means of keeping party wandering in check.

 

Wall of Force (both as a wall and as Magic Barrier) exists in Exile, and Prismatic wall is such a D&Dism that it doesn't belong. Same with turning undead. Besides, since classes don't exist as such in Avernum, there's no "cleric" to have unless you make it either an ability or a skill. The skill would be a waste and the ability would probably seldom see use.

 

[Added: The very first firearms and even much later firearms were inferior to bows and crossbows. Either they could be unrealistic, which is common in games, or it could be a cheaper skill to learn, which would be realistic but slightly weird. I doubt A4 will be in some distant future, though. And who would want to carry around powder when someone else could be carrying a wand that shoots fireballs?]

 

—Alorael, who is a proponent of keeping Avernum away from D&D. And classes. Classes are a form of oppression that should never be allowed to seep into Avernum. Even Geneforge comes perilously close.

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39. Tea totting mutant dragons selling drugs to the Empire. Operating fake road checks so as to steal the unsuspecting citizens transport. "Do you have alcohol sir?" "No". "Oh well we're still going to seize your horse".

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Quote:
Originally written by VCH:
Tea totting
I'm just guessing here, but it is possible that you mean "teetotalling" (that is, they do not consume alcohol) rather than "tea-toting" (that is, they wield tea as a weapon).

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38. You know, cities in the Roman Empire were covered with graffiti. I don't think medieval or Renaissance cities were as comletely written-on, but hey, the Empire's an empire, right? This would not be unrealistic. It might require a bit more graphical work than Jeff would like to put in, though.

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Na, having guns in it would make it sorta silly. Personally I'd like to see some cooler swords (not just in stats but also with better picures)

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Exile and other DOS-based games don't even work on my modern WInXP running computer anymore. If it exists in Exile and it was possible back then, it's certainly possible now.

 

I do think I remember Exile having the ability to turn undead (but it was a spell).

 

There has always been graffiti and always will be in the racier parts of large cities. Spray cans ahve nothing to do with it.

 

Avernum is story-based, so your cahracters don't necessarily ahve to be the ones holding the guns (although it would be nice as a very cheap skill to raise), they just exist.

 

If Jeff doesn't change the engine (which he will), it would be the ultimate way to express the lazingess factor, which must always be considered! laugh

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I've been playing the series since Exile 2 was new. A great series.

 

Avernum, to me, was a dumbed down version. The graphics got marginally better and the content was slashed and burned. Dozens of spells reduced to pratically three types of spells, hurt, heal, hurt a few people. Less party members. Horrible experience caps. Altogether so much less...

 

I still to this day occasionally run an old Exile game. 6 party members, REAL stats/skills and deep down it was a very sturdy RPG. I forgive the interface, graphics, and complete absence of music based on the fact that the RPG elements are so strong and enjoyable.

 

Please, please PLEASE change something about the game. Avernum is bland, it has no music, graphics, or content. Not every game can be amazing looking, or sound terrific, or have great gameplay. But a game should have at least ONE of those things.

 

I'm a huge fan of the classic RPGs (obviously since I love Exile) but you can retain the classic story and content AND have things that make the game pleasing to look at. There is absolutely no reason to not have better graphics in your games.

 

So I guess in summary, here are the MAJOR things that I'd love to see in the next game you make:

 

- Music. Oh sweet merciful Jesus, please just add some basic midis or something. Just a bit of effort will turn your deathly silent games into something more enjoyable.

 

- Content. Stop cutting everything that was great from Exile frown I want a larger party, I want more items/equipment, I NEVER want to see an experience cap again. I couldn't finish any of the Avernum games because I hit the level caps before I was 75% done the games. Talk about fun suicide for RPGs when you tell the user "hey, if you want to see the ending you have to do it without gaining levels or earning any gratification for spending your time playing this game". Also, money caps? Ack...

 

- Graphics. This isn't even remotely important, not as much as content is. A game with lots of content doesn't need graphics. Avernum hasn't had either though.

 

I'm a programmer too. In fact Jeff, many years ago I began making my own Exile style games after playing yours when I was only 12. Obviously Exile was a game so well done that it inspired me personally to make these games myself. Please just bring back what was good about Exile. There are graphic engines available online (free) that already have better capabilities than your avernum engine.

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You are right about that. Avernum series, especially Avernum 3, were awesome examples of game design. Unfortunately, they mostly only had graphics and ingterface advantages over Exile series in the long run (and total windows compatability). Even if Jeff finds that in his new game only 5 of these suggestions are realisitically programmable and implements them, the game would be vastly improved.

 

That's exactly what would make Avernum 4 the greatest crpg ever and what my examples sum up to: being playably more like Exile, and technologically more like Geneforge 9which includes a true choice in the outcome of game events, few things are more amazing than a game the player is compelled to replay 3 or even more times), and adding a lot of stuffing in between.

 

Maybe I should add a few suggestions for what A4 SHOULDN'T have in order to make it a great game as well.

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I would like to see the magic system get a complete overhaul. New spells, new types of spells, hell, maybe even a new class of magic besides priest and mage.

 

Not only did Exile have a greater range of spells, it also had a greater range of types of spells. I miss buffing spells like envenom, special effect spells like sleep cloud, mass paralyze, and wall of ice, and spells of mass destruction like firestorm.

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Quote:
Originally written by Ornk of Death:
I would like to see the magic system get a complete overhaul. New spells, new types of spells, hell, maybe even a new class of magic besides priest and mage.

Not only did Exile have a greater range of spells, it also had a greater range of types of spells. I miss buffing spells like envenom, special effect spells like sleep cloud, mass paralyze, and wall of ice, and spells of mass destruction like firestorm.
There were so many spells. It didn't matter that half were useless, it was great trying to learn them all and trying them all out. Everyone knew that icewall wasn't going to win over any battles, your turn and mana were always better spent with directly offensive spells, but it was plain fun putting an ice wall over a group of low level monsters.

There wasn't even an area affecting spell in all of avernum. Bring back the fireball already smile

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Exile has undead turning in the same way as Avernum: spells.

 

Avernum has a single area spell: Cloud of Blades. It's not a fireball. I agree that the endless spells of dubious utility were fun, and area spells actually made combat require a little bit of thought.

 

Since the XP cap vanished in A3/BoA, I doubt we'll see it again. But you never know.

 

—Alorael, who isn't sure about free graphics engines. If the graphics aren't free, they're still a cost. If they're large, it hurts Jeff's mission of making his games downloadable to everyone. If they're free, then he risks having his game look like it's made with free graphics, which is "less professional" or something. And if the engine is 3D, Jeff has to program around that. 3D isn't Exile/Avernum, either.

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