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Spidweb

Geneforge 5 - March Update

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Spidweb   

Now that I've spent two months working reasonably hard on Geneforge 5, I can start posting some monthly updates about it.As time goes on, I'm talk about the interface upgrades (considerable), the game system and spell system upgrades, and all the little things that will go into finishing this series.

 

This will indeed be the last game in the Geneforge saga. At last, you can bring the war to an end. Coming up with a plausible way for one lone person to help end this enormous conflict has been very difficult. The complexity of the game and the storyline is making me a bit dizzy. Still, I think I have it under control.

 

The storyline and game structure will be much closer to Geneforge 1 and 2. You will wander around and interact with five (FIVE!) different factions. Eventually, you can choose one to fight for. There are all of the options you probably predicted from the previous games, and others that might take you by surprise.

 

You will start, as usual, as a lone Shaper/lifecrafter. You will be able to choose to be either a Shaper character (the old three choices) or as one of the six different rebel classes. Yes, I am putting in the "missing" sixth character class from the rebel side.

 

The spell system will be mostly the same, but I am completely reworking how buffs work to make them more interesting and player friendly. I'll go into this more in later months. Suffice it to say for now that the "OK, this fight is tough, I'll put 12 buffs on every character. Zzzz." system had to go.

 

The big design question for me now is how to handle the "evolved" versions of the creations. Geneforge 4 had stronger versions of creations that started dying immediately so you had to use them quickly. They appear to not have been at all popular. I want to find a better way to approach this. (Note: Making creations during combat is not an option.)

 

I hope to release the game for the Mac in November. Since I've been making good progress, this seems doable.

 

- Jeff Vogel

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Azarr   

You're telling us this just to torture us aren't you? laugh

 

Sounds so cool...... eek but it is so far away... frown

 

Simply can't wait! smile

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Starcraft II, Fallout 3 and Geneforge 5 all coming out at the same time? I am so going to flunk out of school.

 

Geneforge 2 was my favorite mostly because of the variety of factions. I have high hopes.

 

Edit: This kind of reminds me of my favorite Mortal Kombat game, Mortal Kombat: Trilogy, where they just included every fighter, move, and arena from every previous game. It was awesome. Geneforge 5 looks awesome for the same reasons.

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So, from what I can gather, you can play as a Shaper or Rebel from the start, then convert? And five different factions? Of course, there are multiple endings for each... the sheer replaying possibilities brings a tear to my eye.

 

Now, disregard this section, Jeff. I'm going to go on a whim and say the five factions are Awakened, (the Human Rebellion) Shapers, Takers, (Hardcore Rebels, Drakons) Trakovites, and maybe a loose conglomeration of Barzite/Tullegolite* like characters. (A faction of Monarchs!)

 

*Actually naming them the Tullegolites would be very interesting...

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Xelgion   
Quote:
Now that I've spent two months working reasonably hard on Geneforge 5, I can start posting some monthly updates about it.As time goes on, I'm talk about the interface upgrades (considerable), the game system and spell system upgrades, and all the little things that will go into finishing this series.

This will indeed be the last game in the Geneforge saga. At last, you can bring the war to an end. Coming up with a plausible way for one lone person to help end this enormous conflict has been very difficult. The complexity of the game and the storyline is making me a bit dizzy. Still, I think I have it under control.

The storyline and game structure will be much closer to Geneforge 1 and 2. You will wander around and interact with five (FIVE!) different factions. Eventually, you can choose one to fight for. There are all of the options you probably predicted from the previous games, and others that might take you by surprise.

You will start, as usual, as a lone Shaper/lifecrafter. You will be able to choose to be either a Shaper character (the old three choices) or as one of the six different rebel classes. Yes, I am putting in the "missing" sixth character class from the rebel side.

The spell system will be mostly the same, but I am completely reworking how buffs work to make them more interesting and player friendly. I'll go into this more in later months. Suffice it to say for now that the "OK, this fight is tough, I'll put 12 buffs on every character. Zzzz." system had to go.

The big design question for me now is how to handle the "evolved" versions of the creations. Geneforge 4 had stronger versions of creations that started dying immediately so you had to use them quickly. They appear to not have been at all popular. I want to find a better way to approach this. (Note: Making creations during combat is not an option.)

I hope to release the game for the Mac in November. Since I've been making good progress, this seems doable.

- Jeff Vogel
YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!

When is it gonna come out for PC?
I is gonna flunk school too, SC2 will destroy my live, G5 is gonna be the painkiller. YES!!!!!!!!!!!

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Azarr   

We are truly doomed. laugh We will die of thirst and hunger. But at least it will be with a smile on our pale faces. laugh:p

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Dikiyoba   
Quote:
You will wander around and interact with five (FIVE!) different factions.
Woo!

Quote:
I am completely reworking how buffs work to make them more interesting and player friendly.
Hoo!

Dikiyoba.

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Powergamers rejoice as we now have more people to milk for their rewards. This will quickly create an major debate about the best class since lifecrafter versions have more creation abilities versus the original 3 shapers.

 

I don't think we needed the missing 6th class, but it will end that complaint.

 

Best news will be a less linear world if we get to wander around to deal with the factions.

 

Who needs a life outside of the game?

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Taliesin   

So I can play an Awakened Servile? I hope so!

 

And my brother will, I'm sure, be a Tullegolite Agent :p

 

This is going to be epic. laugh

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The Ratt   

I'm predicting that the sixth class will be the playable drakon. Which, if magic holds its same strengths, will completely own anything in the hands of an expert.

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Great I'm starting Grad School in the fall. Luckily I should have a hundred or so sick hours by then. "Hey, boss I don't think I'll be in for the next week, I think I caught Geneforge 5".

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Cool! The G1/2 style storyline sounds particularly neat. Does that mean the game will also feature the somewhat open-ended exploration of G1/2?

 

The "missing" 6th class has the potential to be the strongest class of them all, the Agent Plus.

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wxxqut   

It would be cool if perheaps war tralls be accesible only to shaper charachters and drakes and dragons only to rebell charachters.

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Ending the series with a stylish boom. Props to His Jeffness if he can pull off all of the abovelisted features.

 

As much as I'd love to start as a Drakon, I don't think it's going to happen... too overpowered from the start. Although, no canisters, presumably. Hm...... Either way, the missing 6th character is probably a reference to the one combo of strength and weakness in magic, melee, and shaping that was left out last time.

 

I personally beg for pack-Ornks. Realistically, if the Shapers can make modified drayks for boats, they can also make faster Ornks suitable for carrying heavy loads.

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dareva   

I almost wish I hadn't read this, since now I'm going to go loony waiting for the game. Luckily I don't have far to go.

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nikki.   
Quote:
Originally written by Spidweb:
You will be able to choose to be either a Shaper character (the old three choices) or as one of the six different rebel classes.
I like that very much. Walking around as a lifecrafter wasn't quite the same as being a rebellious Shaper.

Of course, everything sounds promising. I really can't wait to end the war.

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Ha -- a ton of factions, and being able to start from either side. That ought to let everybody find the ending they like to the series. And it brings the entire ideological cast out onstage for the final big number. Lots of replay value too. I just hope it isn't too much to design five good nonlinear plots, without just reverting to the G2-style passive world.

 

For the sheer heck of it, I think it should be possible to use a G1-style 'real' geneforge, get über, and toast lots of stuff. Fitting that possibility into a satisfying resolution of the serious Geneforge themes, that might be difficult. 'Power is great because it lets you blast stuff' is hardly a final note that does the series justice. If there were a way to combine 'Cordelia increases everything by 10' with a substantial final verdict on unringing a bell, though ... it would be one heck of a game.

 

Overhauling buffing sounds like a great idea.

 

The upgraded creation versions have always been kind of hit and miss. The problem is that each upgraded creation type has many direct competitors, and the game cannot require too extreme an optimization. The 5 tiers and 3 creation types already pack the optimality space tightly enough, that the very slight advantage of another creation balanced somewhere between them isn't worth the player's trouble to consider. So unless an upraded type is actually too good, it can't really be popular just on general bang for buck grounds.

 

It needs to have some kind of specialized edge, that makes it worth taking for a certain kind of character, or a certain situation. The G4 idea of short-lived high-intensity creations seemed brilliant to me, but I didn't use them as a player. They seemed like a good idea, but not like good creations.

 

Maybe some specialized resistances and attacks can get spread around. Or maybe the skill levels needed to make higher tier creations can be pumped much higher, so that they become too expensive for Guardians, who end up making uprades of lower tiers instead. Or maybe an upgraded creation that's actually defective from the point of view of a Shaper-type, because it has huge health but does negligible damage, but that can save the bacon of a glass cannon Agent by being a really effective meatshield.

 

Or there's the exact opposite option, of making the upgrades primarily attractive to Shaper-types with lots of essence and creations of all levels. The upgraded forms could be enhancers of other creations, in various ways. Not much use if you're only bringing a few creations, but really effective to have one or two in a squad of 7.

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Lyric   

what is the sixth class? is it a high magic and medium shaping unit? If so, could you make it as an unlockable character that can be available to both shapers and rebel after the game is beaten? In the current setting is seems to me that rebels have too much units(5 or 6) opposed to the shapers that have only three.

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Jeff -

 

Does starting as Shaper or Rebel mean a Nethergate style game? Or is it you pick one of 9 classes, but start at the same point with being a Shaper recruit that joins the Rebels or Rebel recruit starting with the Shapers?

 

I can almost hear the anguished cry of the lone indy game designer scripting dialog for unaligned and 5 factions with each zone. Not to mention balancing for all the character types.

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Quote:
In the current setting is seems to me that rebels have too much units(5 or 6) opposed to the shapers that have only three.
This is simply because the Shapers are much more efficient.

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I Can Honestly Say that I began to drool after reading this.

The complexity of it all will be amazing! I can now start of as a loyalist rebel, respecting creation rights, only to turn around and become a loyal Barzite, destroying all those pathetic useless mindless thing's that do not follow me! Oh, I'm already relishing the cruelty in it, town's shall come to fear the name Barzite Bane!

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Spidweb   

"Also hoping for a built-in editor. The A5 one is beautiful!"

 

It is extremely likely that this will happen.

 

- Jeff Vogel

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Dikiyoba   

Will we be seeing boats and/or elevation?

 

Also, since this game looks like it will get a lot of replay, how about the ability to turn tutorial messages off? No need to ruin the exciting escape from the giant intelligent friendly talking clawbugs (or whatever :p ) by being told how to equip a dagger for the fifth time.

 

Dikiyoba.

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Quote:
Originally written by Spidweb:
"Also hoping for a built-in editor. The A5 one is beautiful!"

It is extremely likely that this will happen.

- Jeff Vogel
YES! laugh

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Quote:
Originally written by Spidweb:
"Also hoping for a built-in editor. The A5 one is beautiful!"

It is extremely likely that this will happen.

- Jeff Vogel
I... I'm Just so happy right now "sniff" sorry, I'm just go.. go over there to.. yea. "sniff"

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Spidweb   

"Will we be seeing boats and/or elevation? Also, since this game looks like it will get a lot of replay, how about the ability to turn tutorial messages off?"

 

Nope, nope, very unlikely.

 

- Jeff Vogel

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Istara   

This is just wonderful news.

 

The only sad thing is that it is the last game. For some reason I had thought that there would be six Geneforge games. I would be happier with sixty or six hundred more, but I guess you have to end it somewhere.

 

So long as you never retire, I am happy wink

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Zummi   

If I count right..the sixth will be the Strong Magic/Medium Shaping?

 

The only bad thing about this is that Windows users will be tortured a lot longer than those Mac-kies..@_@

 

Why did I just notice this now? @_@

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So... Jeff, mate. I know you're planning on working on Something New™ after you finish Avernum 6, but you're eventually going to revamp the old Geneforge games, right? Like you did with the old Exile games? Just need a little reassurance, I just went rifling through G2 again and the interface seemed so... bulky after the more refined Geneforge IV.

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Spidweb   

"So... Jeff, mate. I know you're planning on working on Something New™ after you finish Avernum 6, but you're eventually going to revamp the old Geneforge games, right?"

 

Yes. The question is when.

 

Right now, the next in line for the rewrite treatment is Avernum 1-3, which are getting very creaky in their old age and will look and play great when I adapt the Avernum 6 engine to them.

 

On the other hand, Geneforge 1-3, while a little old and musty, still run fine. So I will definitely polish and rerelease the old games, but it'll be a few years. I don't plan to let my quality work fade away while I'm still living.

 

- Jeff Vogel

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I would love to see the revamped Avernum Trilogy!

My wonder is will some of the old spells from Exile ever come back, like Mindduel (especially) and the area of effect spells, flight and the create barrier spells (oh yeah!).

 

Incidentally, do you think owners of the original trilogy will get a nethergate-like discount when getting the remakes whenever they come?

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I dont think i should have read that post, because now im going to be in an itch to play.

 

But i would like to mention that i really think you should put in a feature where you have the option to turn on or off the tutorial messages because that is extremely annoying all the "ok's" i have to hit to get throught the tutorial.I would also like to mention the fact that the missing sixth class im putting my money on it being a strong magic, average shaper but i still cant figure out what they will be.Doubt a drakon though because it would it seem they have better melee combat skills. confused

 

I hope everyone isnt as itchy as i am and everybody at spiderweb to keep making good games, and one heck of a good one to replace geneforge. smile

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Xelgion   
Quote:
Originally written by Drakoninvader1:
I don't think I should have read that post, because now I'm going to be in an itch to play.

But I would like to mention that I really think you should put in a feature where you have the option to turn on or off the tutorial messages because that is extremely annoying all the "ok's" I have to hit to get throughout the tutorial.I would also like to mention the fact that the missing sixth class I'm putting my money on it being a strong magic, average shaper but I still cant figure out what they will be. Doubt a drakon though because it would it seem they have better melee combat skills. confused

I hope everyone isn't as itchy as I am and everybody at spiderweb to keep making good games, and one heck of a good one to replace Geneforge. smile
Replace?!!! Never. As for the last class: Arch Sage, I am glad that you can be shaper classes, the agent looks cooler than the infiltrator, the buff system sounds great, hopefully the agent/infiltrator won't be so rigged, I'm sure everyone saw Synergy\'s Play through, so I'm thankful Jeff.

Oh, but Jeff one question, when you said there will be a built in editor, will it be a blade type of thing, or is it a cheat?

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Spidweb   

The editor will be a character editor, not a scenario editor.

 

I have completely redone the tutorial system. I think experienced players will be very happy with it now.

 

The missing character type is not a drakon. It's a strong magic-medium shaping (or is it the other way around?) human.

 

- Jeff Vogel

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The Duke   

Unlockable Drakon class (and accordingly changed script) would be a very, very cool thing. After all, Drakon is strong melee, strong magic, strong shaping. Pluss Drakons are awsome!! Probably not going to happen, but hopefully... wink

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Jeff,

 

I have no recommendations, requests, advice, or demands. Just make your game.

 

Given how good G4 was, I'm sure this will be the best game ever. I await it's release in excited anticipation.

 

I dearly love your video-game-making skills. Keep on keepin' on, dude.

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Oh lord... the idea of playing as a Drakon... I have to say, I would absolutely love it :p

 

Not quite sure how that would work out, because as was said earlier, it would be rather overpowered, but still, it would be one hell of a joy ride.

 

I definitely like increase in the number of factions, providing at the very least 5 different endings.

 

Definitely very, very excited for this.

 

Oh, and hurray for a in game editor :p The constant typing of "iamweak" and "iampoor" almost gave me carpal tunnel laugh

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The Ratt   

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.

 

Edit: typo

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Zummi   
Quote:
Originally written by Spidweb:

I have completely redone the tutorial system. I think experienced players will be very happy with it now.

- Jeff Vogel
Glee! No more forced tutorials for the veterans!

Quote:
Originally written by Spidweb:

The missing character type is not a drakon. It's a strong magic-medium shaping (or is it the other way around?) human.

- Jeff Vogel
Double glee!

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First off, yay!

 

Second, I'm hoping that the buff overhaul will include not making most of the things expire so quickly. I hated having to spend my time in a zone constantly in combat mode to prevent bless, shield, and haste from fading. It was less of a pain than to constantly recast the things, but still a pain.

 

Something like having each buff take up a chunk of spell energy the same way creations lock down essence or limiting how many buffs you could cast on a target based on intelligence or some other stat while making them last for the whole zone would have been much nicer. The game play should be about which buffs you choose to use, not whether you refreshed your buff for the 5th time before combat starts again.

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Raji   

This thread alone was enough to bring me back from the very brink of ending my cold, miserable existence

 

(I exaggerate, of course, but not by much...)

 

Of course, the sheer anticipation of waiting for G5, along with the certainty that it's going to be the end of the series I love so much, is likely to destroy the last few shreds of sanity I've managed to hold on to, but eh, that's the breaks

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Locmaar   
Quote:
Originally written by Azuma:
Quote:
Originally written by Spidweb:

I have completely redone the tutorial system. I think experienced players will be very happy with it now.

- Jeff Vogel
Glee! No more forced tutorials for the veterans!
I hope this it what Jeff meant, considering he called this 'very unlikely' that in his March 8th letter. But I keep my fingers crossed that this wasn't premature glee-ing.

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I like most of what I am seeing here. If I wasn't so damn busy with school and so many other projects, I'd say more.

 

Revamping old Geneforge games? Interesting. Potentially bad though.

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Lyric   

Maybe the sixth(missing class), should be added to the shapers and not the rebels, i mean the rebels have already got to many classes, and in times of war even the most conservatory of factions change their old habits .

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Ale193   

The character editor makes me very happy!!! now I can become ridiculously uber powerful without having to resort to canisters and ending up as a power mad light-bulb! YAY!!!!!! laughlaughlaughlaughlaugh

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My questions are several.

 

1. If this is a Geneforge game, will we finally be able to use the Geneforge [at the end of the game] and become über without ending the game or dissolving to a helpless lump? This is all I would really desire.

 

2. Now that Geneforge 5 will come out and Avernum 6 is due (which will wrap up both series), what's next? What will be the next Great Creation of Jeff Vogel?

 

3. Once Avernum 6 comes out, will Avernum be offered in boxed-set form (i.e. ALL 6 GAMES, registered, with hintbooks, for the low, low price of, say... $150 or $175)? I would buy it (if I could afford it at the time).

 

4. (I've been meaning to ask this ever since I went poking around in the innards of Geneforge 2, approximately 4 years ago) Jeff, exactly what scripting language are you using? Also, did you make the game engine yourself, and if not, where can I find a copy?

 

And if you DID create it all yourself, how much (out of idle curiosity) would it cost to license the engine?

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Quote:
Originally written by SoItBegins:
My questions are several.

1. If this is a Geneforge game, will we finally be able to use the Geneforge [at the end of the game] and become über without ending the game or dissolving to a helpless lump? This is all I would really desire.
No idea since Jeff hasn't revealed any plot details except this game will be larger than usual in order to avoid Geneforge 6.

Quote:
2. Now that Geneforge 5 will come out and Avernum 6 is due (which will wrap up both series), what's next? What will be the next Great Creation of Jeff Vogel?
Jeff says he wants to do a new world. Also that he will update the older Avernum and Geneforge games to the newer game engines so they will run on more recent computers.

Quote:
3. Once Avernum 6 comes out, will Avernum be offered in boxed-set form (i.e. ALL 6 GAMES, registered, with hintbooks, for the low, low price of, say... $150 or $175)? I would buy it (if I could afford it at the time).[/QB]
I think Jeff will group Avernum 4 through 6 as a trilogy with the Darkside Loyalist theme. No idea when he will discount them.

Quote:
4. (I've been meaning to ask this ever since I went poking around in the innards of Geneforge 2, approximately 4 years ago) Jeff, exactly what scripting language are you using? Also, did you make the game engine yourself, and if not, where can I find a copy?

And if you DID create it all yourself, how much (out of idle curiosity) would it cost to license the engine?
The games are written in C++ and he did the game engine.

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