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Spidweb

Geneforge 5 - May Update

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Spidweb   

It's been a long, exhausting run on Geneforge 5 lately. I have completed 13 zones, 2 major cities, 2 game-long plot threads, and all of the demo.

 

I am finally taking an overdue moment to say where I am at. I'm sorry it's taken so long, but Rock Band, Smash Brothers Brawl, and GTA4 don't play themselves.

 

It's tough work. It has been a real challenge to find a way to end the series in a plausible and satisfying way and to give the player a real role in it. It is really important to me for the game to reflect that this is a large world, full of a lot of powerful people. The player gets to have a small but pivotal role in ending the war. There are heroes and generals running around. You are the agent acting behind to scenes to help one faction be triumphant. I really like this aspect of it. It feels like the right balance between making the player significant and part of a larger world.

 

As I said before, there are five game-winning factions. You can play through much of the game, meeting people and finding out who the factions are, and then decide which one to join. Some are reasonable. Some are pretty crazy. All provide satisfying endings to the saga.

 

I have done a lot of work on the interface. Geneforge 5 now supports OpenGL and will tap some of the power of your graphics card.

 

In Geneforge 5, you can play the game on any size of monitor and you can play the game in a window. If you have a huge monitor, you can see a huge chunk of the terrain around you. It really makes a big difference.

 

There are a lot of new graphical frills that make things look quite a bit nicer. Of course, these can be turned off on older machines. I fully intend for old machines to be able to run Geneforge 5, though you might need to shrink the play area a bit.

 

There is now customization for the keyboard shortcuts. You can also customize the game area somewhat by moving around or minimizing the party roster and automap.

 

You will not be surprised to learn that many major characters from earlier in the series are returning for a final hurrah (or destruction). You will also get to meet and deal with the mysterious Shaper Council. The chaos of the previous years have caused the leaders of the Shapers to become ... erratic. Perhaps this can be exploited for your gain.

 

You can also learn a lot about the history and ways of the Shapers. Writing these parts are the most fun for me.

 

Still hope to have it out for Mac in November. Seems plausible.

 

- Jeff Vogel

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Acky   

Just listening to the update makes me want to jump off a building to break the tension that is turning my body into a battlefield between insanity and reason

 

I really have no requests to change the way the game has played cause nomader what you do it`s gonna make me play it again and again except 2 things: 1:You, with all your ganemaking power, make another tier of creations and two more spells.

 

I just really want a fresh superpowerful melee creature. The Rothgroth has served it'a time honurable as THE MOST POWERFUL melee creature and it's time to move on. SO PPPPPPLLLLLEEEEEAAAASSSSSEEEEE!!!!! laughlaughlaugh

If not, could you at least bring back the Rodizon smile

 

2: One last huge cool cool battle to decide it ALL. Perhaps Ghaldring vs The Shaper council

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Iffy   

The Great Programmer of Great Games makes yet again more updates.

 

The return of major characters sounds interesting. I wonder if Alwan or Greta will be in G5. So will this game assume that the trakovite ending happened?

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........... Jeff, you are so cruel. I am now going to live a tortured craving existence for the next several months. But its worth it.

Thank you.

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Zummi   

...why does Jeff torment us? Giving all these updates and whatnots. He's inhumane! frown

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Iffy   
Quote:
He's inhumane! frown
Or inhuman. You never know...

Edit - I wonder. Will there be an epic battle like in A2?

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At last, the Shaper Council! About time we got to meet them... before the ending. I just hope the anti-creation pro-self-shaping faction is as cool as the Barzites were. It will be great to once again have access to a faction that is more close to my personal beliefs. You do have an anti-creation, pro-self-shaping faction in there with the five, right?

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Acky   

I agree. It's pushing whatever pathetic strand of sanity i have left.

 

Here's an update of my battle for sanity

 

Most of my lower body has submitted to the control of insanity. Sanity has retreated to my thighs and an aking pain has erupted. I beilive that insanity has launched a suprise attack with rothgroths and wingbolts. sanity has quickly set up turrents and mines to hold them off but it dosen't look good

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So we finally get to do the Shaper Council Invitation quest that DV mentioned? I hope the paper quest is easier.

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The Ratt   

I look forward to seeing the improved graphics. Sounds interesting. Especially since the new iMac come with a minimum of 20' screen.

 

Also, a suggestion that I think many other people besides me would appreciate. Let the healing finish completely before damage is dealt. I don't know how many times, that I've healed myself for 200 hp, only to have it stop after fifty because I was poisoned and that had to deal 5 damage. Also in midbattle, you heal yourself for 200 hp, it gets to 100, then an enemy hits you for 159 and you never finish healing.

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All details so far really sound great. Multiple factions will be good, and a chance to play with the big boys — including the Shaper Council at last — without having them dwindle into insignificance.

 

An option to get truly geneforged up to world domination would still be cool! Perhaps it should somehow be very difficult.

 

I would also really love it if, while we're talking about how the player manages to play a decisive role in a world full of generals and heroes, somehow the reason for the PC's rapid ascent is finally given. Maybe the first prehistoric geneforge experiments, by the original proto-Shapers of Sucia, injected a rare gene into the Shaper line, which makes the odd Shaper apprentice gain power rapidly under stress. And then maybe the G4 geneforge induced the same effect.

 

It would also be nice to have the opportunity to bring moderate rebels and Shapers together in a way that explicitly invokes the memory of the Awakened. That would bring the series full circle.

 

I really like the notion that the Shaper Council is cracking under the strain. This plays perfectly into the suspicion, built up throughout the games, that the Shapers aren't nearly as strong in character as they like to make out.

 

Finally, the top tier battle creation really ought to be replaced. Demote War Tralls to missile-throwing battle gamma NPC monsters. Bring in a big, tough, fast, lethally poisonous arachnid with a slowing web attack. And crazy like a Gazer. The Giant Lunatic Unfriendly Talking Spider. Ya!

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Thralni   

Wow, all that I have read makes me happy. I think this will be a great improvement over GF4, which already was so good-looking. keep on trunkin' there, Jeff, it sounds great!

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Raji   

November for the Mac probably means January - February for the PC'ers *coughmecough*... it's a long way away, but I can wait... I think... *twitch*

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What's the point of pack animals? They were originally suggested to deal with encumbrance, but G4 stopped counting items in your pack against you. No point in pack animals anymore.

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Quote:
Sushi:
Anybody else considering buying a 24" imac just for the game?
Anybody else already have a 24" imac? Ahem. *polishes badge*

I feel like I'll be able to see whole zones at once with this thing.
Quote:
Silver Shadow:
Less having to dump stuff in some location.
Another idea rather than pack animals might be a something like a Diablo 2 style stash system. Each major city could have a stash just for you for storing items, and they would be linked to each other. I wouldn't want pack animals simply because I can just imagine them getting killed in a boss fight or something and there being tons of your loot lying around right in the middle of a hostile zone. No fun.

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VCH   

Finally no more black bars on the side of the game window.

 

"As I said before, there are five game-winning factions."

 

Does that imply that there are non-game winning factions?

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Ale193   

I would like a crap-load of new creations; I want to be able to shape all (within reason) the varieties that show up throughout the older games. stick another tier of creations on and ditch the war tralls. I just wonder how he'll surpass Gazers/Eyebeasts and Drakons. Personally for the battle creation I'd like would either be the spider concept or a golem type thing. (not just a golem, but a golem type thing; the golems look like they're mad of oatmeal. a new battle spell might be in order since the late game bosses resist fire, perhaps an aura of kill (like arcane blow in A3) laugh MWAHAHAHA!!!! laugh

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Reve   
Quote:
Originally written by Spidweb:

I have done a lot of work on the interface. Geneforge 5 now supports OpenGL and will tap some of the power of your graphics card.
Out of interest, what sorts of things are you doing with OpenGL in this engine?

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madrigan   

I know I'm the only one, but I really like the War Trall. Who doesn't want a giant ape with a bag full of rocks?

 

I would like it if flying creations gained some sort of benefit from their ability to fly, though.

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War Tralls are so wimpy, that any coolness they might have is badly undermined for me. Wingbolts eat War Tralls; Gazers inhale them. And even if Tralls were beefed up a lot, chucking rocks just seems lame to me. It's good that the top battle creations finally have a ranged attack, but the rocks don't even look big, or anything, in-game. If War Tralls could throw rocks but also swing giant axes in melee, for scarily huge damage, that might be cool.

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And in pure statistics, War Tralls are horrendous. That problem really lies in the fact that the entire Battle Shaping line has been CATEGORICALLY worse than Fire and Magic Shaping from G3 onward. This is not good. The War Trall is a good place to start, but the others need attention too.

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Zummi   

There's one thing tralls have that no other creations have, pouches to put their stones into!

 

I'm a believer of Battle Creations and frankly, as the other members stated, they are too underpowered. They have nothing unique against the other schools of shaping. Fyoras can bite as hard as thahds do, drakons do much more damage ranged and the same in melee as tralls do. Sure they have high HP, but that doesn't mean they be that good of an ally. Maybe if they have some kind of taunt skill, so it'll be sure that they'll take some heat off you, the munchkin PC.

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madrigan   

What I'd like out of my War Trall is for it to block incoming missile and magic attacks -- like it would know it can take a ton of damage and would automatically shield the other creations with its body. This could make a War Trall / Wingbolt combination very effective.

 

Just for coolness factor, it would be cooler if instead of hurling rocks, the Trall bowled them along the ground. Maybe the attack could have a greater chance to stun to stimulate the enemy being knocked off their feet.

 

Also, since it is very strong and already has a bag with apparently limitless volume, I'd like it to carry some of my gear.

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Spidweb   

I will tell you this about the factions. The game-winning factions are all designed with a focus on reaching an end to the war/story. They are defined by their goals, not their tactics.

 

And yes, there may well be a game-losing faction.

 

At this point, I am not planning to add any new player-made creations. I like the current mix. I will be focusing on rebalancing them to make them more useful. In particular, the melee creations will be getting some love. I'll probably start with giving them a bunch more health, to give them more of a "tanking" capacity.

 

I don't have plans to ever add pack animals. It's a lot of extra code for not much of a gain. And anyway, your mule would die the first time you encountered a monster with an AE attack.

 

- Jeff Vogel

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Jeff -- more health is fine, but the Battle Creations really need better attacks. Right now, their melee attacks are CONSISTENTLY weaker than breath attacks from corresponding Magic & Fire Creations, even though breath attacks have a host of advantages over melee attacks! What's even worse, their melee attacks are usually weaker than Magic & Fire melee attacks, and are never significantly stronger.

 

For example: a Glaahk and a Drayk will BOTH do more MELEE damage than a Battle Alpha! And yes, this does take into account the Battle Alpha Strength bonus. Given that the Glaahk slows and the Drayk also has a missile attack, Alphas are useless. Similarly, Vlish outdamage Clawbugs IN MELEE (and both poison). The Vlish also have a missile attack; Clawbugs are useless. On average, Gazers outdamage Rotghroths IN MELEE... do I need to go on?

 

And War Tralls... hah! Battle Alphas outdamage War Tralls in melee!

 

You probably don't want to see the math, but it's all available here if you do:

Board post here

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Ale193   

Rothgroth is the only battle creation that I'v ever used or found hard to kill when they're my enemies. their acidy-ness made them almost invulnerable to my oozing blade. Even they pale when you can get drakons and gazers. My late game gazer in G3 killed the things in one hit half the time. war tralls chucking rocks is an interesting idea, but it would be better if it chucked some huge boulders instead of ones the size of tennis balls. If they chucked big boulders that smashed stuff they'd actually be cool!

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Yes, I found the Rotghroth very useful in G3... never tried it in G4.

 

As for War Tralls: Isn't that the creature with that distressingly huge... tumor? I found that a little disturbing.

 

I agree with Slarty that the melee creations need some strengthening. I tend to prefer the magic and fire creations, whenever I use creations.

 

I tried that Kyschaak (sp?) for a while... I didn't keep it long. It didn't prove extraordinarily helpful. But as I've said before: The Wingbolts were brilliant. I picked one up as soon as I could and they're excellent creatures... when you're not on the wrong side of them.

 

And.. Jeff: More quick-key slots! More spells!

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Quote:
Originally written by Spidweb:
In particular, the melee creations will be getting some love. I'll probably start with giving them a bunch more health, to give them more of a "tanking" capacity.
- Jeff Vogel
Health isn't their problem except for pyroroamers. Their attacks aren't comparable to the other shaping types. Besides kyshakks have more than enough health if you want tanks.

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Micawber   

We also need to think of battle creations as adversaries as well as allies.

 

Battle creations function best as a swarm. One thahd or battle alpha is not dangerous, but be attacked by four at once as a low-level character, that's a problem. The classic clawbug patrol has them either travelling in packs, or calling for help the minute they are attacked.

 

As a PC this presents a problem, owing to the high essence cost of creations: unless you devote all your essence to battle creations and accept a lower level of creation, you won't be able to build up a swarm of an acceptable size. However reducing the essence cost of battle creations would perhaps create problems with game balance.

 

What I would most like to see would be "2 for the price of 1" on battle creations. But you'd have to link them so there wouldn't be the option to use the essence on anything else. Would be really cool if they shared health (like those twinned adversaries). This could replace the third tier charged variants...

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Two-for-one on Battle Alphas is a very interesting idea, but I think it would be too difficult to implement. If you don't go past the limit of 7 creations, it's the same as just dropping the essence cost for Alphas. If you do, then a swarm of 14 Battle Alphas would be cool, but really tedious to control directly in every battle. And if you left them with AI turned on, the results would probably be disastrous, unless Jeff put a huge amount of effort into AI for effective swarms.

 

I think Battle creations really only need a lot of beefing up. They should be very tough, very fast, and do huge melee damage.

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Quote:
Originally written by Student of Trinity:
Two-for-one on Battle Alphas is a very interesting idea, but I think it would be too difficult to implement. If you don't go past the limit of 7 creations, it's the same as just dropping the essence cost for Alphas. If you do, then a swarm of 14 Battle Alphas would be cool, but really tedious to control directly in every battle. And if you left them with AI turned on, the results would probably be disastrous, unless Jeff put a huge amount of effort into AI for effective swarms.

I think Battle creations really only need a lot of beefing up. They should be very tough, very fast, and do huge melee damage.
Perhaps an innate AP bonus to Melee creations might work.

That'd make people fear melee stuff more. Or make melee cost less AP. Actually, that might just throw everything in the favour of all melee.

I think the AP bonus might really work. After all, those things are strong and big, or like a War Thrall please make a BIGGER ROCK with a LOAD OF DAMAGE and hopefully some special damage like it having bonus damage which is proportional to the target's health.

Just some ideas......

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*i   

I would suggest the following:

 

* Lower essence costs for battle creations, up HP and defense from all damage types relative to non-battle creations.

* Make intelligence actually mean something to non-battle creations higher than Fryoas. A 2 intelligence Wingbolt might only get off two shots before being exhausted. This forces players to invest more here for non-battle creations.

* Quick action and stun for battle alphas, and poison effects for clawbugs, and perhaps a paralysis like effect for war tralls.

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Battle Creations: Plain old offensive damage is really what needs to be upgraded. Defense and HP are good, but not enough; just look at the degree to which the Wingbolt is preferred over the Kyshakk. Now picture a Kyshakk with no breath weapon, but even higher HP. Nobody would use it!

 

The lack of ranged attacks are a HUGE inherent disadvantage the Battle Creation line has. Ranged attacks provide flexibility, as you will never be unable to get at the enemy you want to hit, and you can always get two attacks in when hasted; plus you get access to different elements to attack with. The fact that they also -- all of them! -- do more damage is kind of ridiculous. (And, I suspect, it is an artifact of the fact that creation battle skills were not updated when all melee damage changed from 1-8 per level to 1-4 per level between G2 and G3.)

 

Being more survivable is a very poor substitute for a ranged attack. Quick Action is better, but it's inconsistent, which only compounds the disadvantages caused by reliance on a melee attack. Battle creations need to be better at battle -- not worse.

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Synergy   
Quote:
*i said "Fryoas"
Are these hot or cold?

-S-

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I do like the Quick Action idea. And that of adding more significance to creation intelligence.

 

Synergy:

Is that a trick question?

 

Hot or cold, indeed.

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Grimm   

Upgraded battle creations, like battle betas, should be able to use a battle discipline each or every 2nd turn. A war trall with divine rage would be pretty dangerous, and would hopefully be able to rival the top tier creations power wise.

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Istara   

I always like fire creations, they just seem more exciting somehow. My problem is that I can never bring myself to reabsorb older creations even though it would be more efficient to start a new higher level one.

 

I just can't euthanase my healthy little fyoras frown

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Quote:
I'm sorry it's taken so long, but Rock Band, Smash Brothers Brawl, and GTA4 don't play themselves.
You should pick up Okami and Mario Kart Wii.

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ShadowXZ   

Hopefully we will still be able to crate the drakons and drays and the ever original fyora ^^ I just finished genneforge 4 and it kept me wanting for more.

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The battle creation issue is much tougher to fix than you might think.

 

They are good... Swarming helps and they require a dedicated keeper to buff and heal them.

 

But fire and magic creations are better. So much so that the inherent strengths of the battle creations are out shined by their fire and magic counterparts. Fire and magic creations don't need a baby sitter. Battle creations are just fine... The fire and magic creations need to be balanced. Toned down. Nerfed.

 

As to something else that was said, battle alphas and battle betas are a better investment point for point than war tralls. Sure, they lose the missile attack, but cost less in essence. You summon a whole mob of them and then buff them, making them quite fierce. You can do more damage with 4 or 5 members of the Alphabet Gang than you can with a pair of war tralls.

 

I have played many games using nothing but battle creations. They need some help, but mostly, the other classes of creations need the nerf stick.

 

Edit.

 

I don't think creations should be able to survive a prolonged conflict with out a babysitter. Fire creations and magic creations (I'm looking at you beholder-kin) tend to out shine the shaper that created them. I feel this is wrong, making such powerful creations that they do not need the shaper. I hope this makes sense.

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