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Avernum 5, July Update


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Phew. The world is over half done. I plan to start the beta-testing very soon. It is still looking possible for my desired November release.

 

The Archmage Solberg (and familiar) are in the game. Solberg has a much larger role this time around (though I was already planning this when I put Solberg into Avernum 4), and writing him was very time-consuming and tiring.

 

Though not near as bad as writing Anama. Doing an Anama town is basically doing two towns at once (in the faith and outside the faith versions).

 

I am currently working on an area that contains lots of chitrachs. I am handling this monster much differently than in Avernum 4. The basic model doesn't poison. They are in fewer sections. And I wanted to bring in a Starship Troopers feel to them. If you fight one, you're fighting a lot more, probably coming through the walls. Area-effect damage is good.

 

Though, as in Avernum 4 (and, for that matter, 2 and 3), most of the chitrach stuff is completely optional.

 

That's it for now. Back to the bugs.

 

- Jeff Vogel

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Originally written by Spidweb:
The Archmage Solberg (and familiar) are in the game.
Cheeseball's back? He always was my favorite character.

I also enjoyed the chitrach area in A4. Mainly because I merely blasted them out of the way without so much as a second thought, yet still gained enough experience to make the next area absolutely easy.
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Originally written by Nioca:
I also enjoyed the 234,423 chitrach areas in A4.
FYT.

In all seriousness, chitrachs are good in moderation. A4 is continuing to sound good. I wonder what Cheeseball was doing during A4?
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Originally written by Yama:
A4 is continuing to sound good.
I think we're on A5 now, Slarty. I assume that was what Salmon was attempting to communicate, but I have no idea what LYT means. Liked your typo?
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I'm not afraid to admit I rather liked Starship Troopers. Sci-Fi with style and a sense of humor. Too much sci-fi is so hard-core serious about itself.

 

I'm excited to see A5. I can't believe it's already nearing the beta phase. I must be getting old or having too much fun...time is going by fast.

 

-S-

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A4 already had a Starship Troopers feel with all the damnable bugs.

 

I can live with the bugs, but ONLY if you make a special bug slaying spear or blade or bow or something.

 

Avernum has Smite, Wyrmslayer, Ghoulbane, all these weapons for killing certain known foes of Avernum, we NEED Bugsbane.

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Originally written by Delicious Vlish:
Avernum has Smite, Wyrmslayer, Ghoulbane, all these weapons for killing certain known foes of Avernum, we NEED Bugsbane.
Potion of Raid that can be hurled at chitrachs. Similar to the frost grenade in Lazarus' BoA scenario Frostbite. Makes an aerosol hissing noise.
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Starship troopers was one of the best movies ever made, aside from The Fifth element lol, I guess I go for corney movies, A5 sound awesome already, I'm ready to get back to the surface (hopefully cause the anama was only on the surface in a3). I miss the slimes.

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Of everything I've read about A5 so far, I think I might be able to forgive Jeff the new graphics and buy it.

Though I don't find a Bugslayer-kinda weapon necessary, I'm looking forward to not stumbling over chitrachs every five steps or so. The only thing I found worse than them were the demons in A1-2 (haven't really played A4), who seemed to really enjoy standing about a screen away from each other, so you had to keep starting and ending combat mode a thousand times, being shot at from everywhere by foes you couldn't see.

That sucked. And yes, that was meant to suggest: please don't let them do it in A5.

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I think that it wouldn't be a bad idea to incorporate some kind of new or experimental anti-chitrach weapon.

 

There'd be nothing like showing some good-old human (and possibly slith--Pathass did make a contribution in 3) ingenuity and giving those insectoid sons-of-queens some magical whuffor.

 

As was said, the humans have special anti-demon, anti-giant, anti-undead (a couple of those, I think), anti-lizard, and anti-Crystal Soul weapons, not to mention the super-powerful but non-specific jobs like the Jade and Black Halberds. The sliths have an anti-human spear, which, one must admit, is a smart strategic choice. The Vahnatai have . . . what? Some magic rocks and a sword that drips poison? So what! The humans can do that without magic (or could, in Exile). No wonder the Vahnatai can't control the chitrach population; they are too wedded to their traditional style of wielding bent swords and talking rocks to come up with any kind of original thought regarding the matter.

 

Making Bugsbane (nice name, by the way) would provide an interesting opportunity for some clever thievery, or some kind of quest--new and powerful magic must be tested, after all--and would be a demonstration of Avernum's power, that it could make magical weapons which rival the legendary artifacts of old.

 

I'd be all for it, plot- and gameplay-wise.

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Quote:
Originally written by Rent-an-Ihrno:
What happened to riddles, mysteries and the general necessity of having a brain?
Perhaps your model just went obsolete. :p

But seriously, I found a lot of the A4 fights to be big challenges, strategy-wise. Heck, the pylons were an excellent example of a 'fight' where you're better off using your brain to completely avoid the 'fight'.
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Avernum 5 will have a wide variety of tactical situations and I will do my best to make sure that you have to think to develop different strategies to deal with them. That is the thinking part. If you don't enjoy that, you should probably find a different game's forums. I hear Fallout 3 is in development. It might be good.

 

I will not be putting riddles in any of my future games. I have come to hate riddles in rpgs for a variety of good reasons.

 

As for graphics, I'm sorry that some people who don't like them. But I have been saying that for the 13 years I've been making these games. We're a small company with a low budget, and I come up with the best graphics I can given the limitations.

 

I think Avernum 4 looks nice. Avernum 5 will have the same style of graphics. If this is a deal-breaker, perhaps there might be another forum somewhere that is more to your liking.

 

- Jeff Vogel

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That's a shame. I always liked the riddles in your previous games. They added a more intellectual aspect to the hack&slash action. Some of them were extremely clever, in my opinion, and I reminisce fondly about those in Exile 3.

 

I personally think Spiderweb's graphics have come a long, long way from back in the Escape from the Pit days. With the inclusion of area of effect spells, the ability to cast buffs on NPCs, weather effects, scripts, missile weapons actually worth having, and everything else, tiny gripes about graphics seem picayune and trivial to me.

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Any chance that the pregenerated characters will be Empire types: archer, blademaster, mage, priest, war priest, and wizard? Or is it too late in the game making process.

 

Since we are starting as Empire rather than lousy Rebel worms, we would have somewhat different skill sets.

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"Any chance that the pregenerated characters will be Empire types: archer, blademaster, mage, priest, war priest, and wizard?"

 

Probably not. I am very happy with the archetypal setup for the default characters. It is so important to give the rpg neophyte player (and you wouldn't believe how many people who will be stumbling upon Avernum 5 have never tried an RPG) a party that will survive for a while with minimal training.

 

- Jeff Vogel

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I said it before, and I'll say it again. I'm really looking forward to A5. To put things in perspective, A4 was a good game with some room for improvement. I got a lot of mileage out of it, even though I sorely missed elevation in particular. So much was new and reworked with the new engine and graphics for A4. A lot was improved. It had room to grow, and Jeff is very good at being attentive to the praise and criciticisms of his fans. A5 sounds highly intriguing and promising, and I really am amped to explore it. Jeff is really on a roll, as I think G4 well indicates. A5 should be, well, fantastic. It's great to have a designer you respect who continually improves his craft.

 

I think it's important to remember than anyone thrives on appreciation, and there's a lot of whining that goes on here, and precious little appreciation by comparison, if you ask me. I don't know how Jeff endures it as well as he does. I am so glad there is one game designer who is accessible, tireless, responsive, and interactive with his fans. You actually have a good chance of helping shape or change the next game by being involved here.

 

As I am fond of stating, it's not what you say, it's how you say it. I personally am ecstatic that elevations will be returned to the A5 engine. I am extremely grateful that requests like this are heard and accommodated. As is clear, much of what Jeff does is what it is possible and feasible at the present time. Complaining about graphics is pointless and unuseful, because we can trust Jeff will always employ the best he is able to afford and utilize as the tiny company of effectively three he heads. I personally am amazed how much he achieves and how consistently he produces new games.

 

I want to say, thank you Jeff for being a responsive, creative human being in the process, rather than a faceless, cold corporation who has little interest in the ideas and concerns of his fans. Thank you for making so many great games from which I have derived countless hours of pleasure. Thanks for sticking with it all this time, despite so many of the thankless factors and gruelling challenges.

 

May the games of Jeff continue to delight us for a long time to come.

 

Cheers.

 

-S-

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I don't mind the world being flat, I just want a special weapon to deal with all the damn bugs. And I don't want to find it at the end of the game either when it does me no good.

 

A returning razordisk might be nice too... Or hey, a bug slaying returning razordisk might be nice as well.

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Thank you, I appreciate the kind words.

 

"I think it's important to remember than anyone thrives on appreciation, and there's a lot of whining that goes on here, and precious little appreciation by comparison, if you ask me. I don't know how Jeff endures it as well as he does."

 

Developers have a very complicated relationship with their boards. In most large companies these days, professionals are emplyoed specifically to deal with boards and filter through useful feedback.

 

Otherwise, the developers need to expose themselves to negativity on a daily basis, which has a nasty way of getting into your head and causing harmful bouts of second-guessing about every little thing.

 

I welcome and frequently use constructive criticism. Adding elevations involved a considerable amount of work and new art, but I did it almost solely because the demand for it on these boards is so great. On the other hand, cheap shots, especially about graphics, are not helpful and agitate me.

 

But so far, the boards are more a plus than a minus, and I do enjoy sharing bits of information with the fans, so they remain.

 

- Jeff Vogel

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I appreciate a new plot even with a returning villan since he got away last time. If it stays as fresh as it sounds it will be a welcome change after Avernum 4. Just removing the Vahnatai would have made it better since the engine was a big improvement.

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I just appreciate the series in its entirety. (BoA FTW!)

 

A4 was different. Fun in a somewhat different way from the previous Avernums, but it was still highly enjoyable. I'm really glad to see elevation returning, though.

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Originally written by Delicious Vlish:
A returning razordisk might be nice too... Or hey, a bug slaying returning razordisk might be nice as well.
A boomerdisk..oh, geez..an anti-bug boomerdisk..

I do hope for future Avernum games..that they have weapon enchantment..you know..

"Aerosol Spray"
Enchanment: +50 more damage to insectoids..

I too share the hatred for insects..
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I think the thing I missed most with Avernum 4 was the loss of a sense of scale of Avernum. I played Exile 1-3 and the demo of Blades of Exile, and I played BoA and A4 (I never replayed E1-3 as A1-3, though playing A1 to see the new bit added about the Lost Bahssikava is something I've pondered).

 

While I did like the increased detail of the integrated world, the issue I had was that the sense of scale died out compared to previous games, where you really felt you were in a gigantic sprawling neverending maze. The descriptiveness of the earlier Exile games really made up for the lack of graphics for me. I think that if A4 had been in a subsection of Avernum (e.g. almost entirely set in the honeycomb, but at the same scale), it would have worked much better.

 

I think that seeing as A5 is set in new caves, this sounds like the issue of loss of scale of the existing world will not be a problem, which I am looking forward to. I just hope that it's not like ZKR in that it doesn't link anywhere to the known world wink

 

With regards to super-weapons, I think that generally they ought to be optional but with much more complex sub-quests to get them. They were a bit easy to get in A4. More like the Black Halberd or original E1/A1 Demonslayer quest.

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I said it before, and I'll say it again. I'm really looking forward to A5. To put things in perspective, A4 was a good game with some room for improvement. I got a lot of mileage out of it, even though I sorely missed elevation in particular. So much was new and reworked with the new engine and graphics for A4. A lot was improved. It had room to grow, and Jeff is very good at being attentive to the praise and criciticisms of his fans. A5 sounds highly intriguing and promising, and I really am amped to explore it. Jeff is really on a roll, as I think G4 well indicates. A5 should be, well, fantastic. It's great to have a designer you respect who continually improves his craft.

I think it's important to remember than anyone thrives on appreciation, and there's a lot of whining that goes on here, and precious little appreciation by comparison, if you ask me. I don't know how Jeff endures it as well as he does. I am so glad there is one game designer who is accessible, tireless, responsive, and interactive with his fans. You actually have a good chance of helping shape or change the next game by being involved here.

As I am fond of stating, it's not what you say, it's how you say it. I personally am ecstatic that elevations will be returned to the A5 engine. I am extremely grateful that requests like this are heard and accommodated. As is clear, much of what Jeff does is what it is possible and feasible at the present time. Complaining about graphics is pointless and unuseful, because we can trust Jeff will always employ the best he is able to afford and utilize as the tiny company of effectively three he heads. I personally am amazed how much he achieves and how consistently he produces new games.

I want to say, thank you Jeff for being a responsive, creative human being in the process, rather than a faceless, cold corporation who has little interest in the ideas and concerns of his fans. Thank you for making so many great games from which I have derived countless hours of pleasure. Thanks for sticking with it all this time, despite so many of the thankless factors and gruelling challenges.

May the games of Jeff continue to delight us for a long time to come.

Cheers.

-S-
Not my words...but I think the same thing.

Also, the return of cheeseball is interesting.
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"Also, the return of cheeseball is interesting."

 

It interests me that everyone assumes that Solberg's new familiar is Cheeseball. Cheeseball, sadly, expired. (Which is why it wasn't in Avernum 4.)

 

Solberg has a new familiar now, Cheeseball Two, who is more in line with his current mood. Then, of course, there are the others ...

 

- Jeff Vogel

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Farewell, Cheeseball. You shall always be remembered in the hearts of all who visit Avernum. R.I.P

 

I bet Cheeseball Two loves his name, though. "Solberg couldn't just name me after a previous familiar, he had to affix a number to my name too!"

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Originally written by Spidweb:
"Also, the return of cheeseball is interesting."

It interests me that everyone assumes that Solberg's new familiar is Cheeseball. Cheeseball, sadly, expired. (Which is why it wasn't in Avernum 4.)

Solberg has a new familiar now, Cheeseball Two, who is more in line with his current mood. Then, of course, there are the others ...

- Jeff Vogel
This isn't going to be like The Simpsons episode with Snowballs I through V?
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C'mon, people, it's a bloody cat. Were people this upset when, say, Patrick or Micah died? Cheeseball was fine, but in the end he was a very minor NPC with smart alec comments that can be provided by any standard issue imp.

 

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

"I've decided to start up a line of contraceptives: Inconceivables."

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Will A5 keep the save slots? It might be a bit much to ask, but they annoy people. I think the easiest incarnation of the saving system is the N:R one, where they automatically direct themselves to an auto-made folder. Very easy and fast. I know that it is probably a trouble to script this, but it is just a little something I wanted back, along with a few others in a recent topic.

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Originally written by Dintiradan:
C'mon, people, it's a bloody cat. Were people this upset when, say, Patrick or Micah died?
I was this upset when Erika died. :p

But meh. My only complaint is that Cheeseball Two is so horrendously cheesy (pun fully intended). It practically reeks unoriginality.

Solberg is one awesome wizard. He's like Rincewind, only actually magically competent. I would really expect him to give his familiars better names.
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