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The coming Avernum rewrites


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The latest post in the announcements forum says the following

 

Quote:
* What Else Is Coming?

 

We are also slowly starting work on a ground-up rewrite of Avernum,

which is itself a rewrite of our first title, Exile: Escape From the

Pit. After a decade, Avernum is showing its age and very much in need

of freshening up, with a new engine and graphics.

 

 

What changes are you hoping Jeff will make in the remakes?

 

Personally I would like to see him bring alchemy created poison back to the game.

 

I would like to see more skills affect ranged weapons this time too, as damage increasing skills like assassination never seemed to work on ranged weapons, making them inferior.

 

I would like to see him get rid of the damage cap, which I really disliked, where you could waste skill points on skills which you expected to increase your damage, just to find you had hit a damage cap.

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I expect the baseline will be a Geneforge/A4-A6 style engine and not the A1-A3 engine. So damage caps will be gone, but ranged attacks probably, based on A6, will still be inferior.

 

To answer the original question, from a mechanical point of view, I'd be very happy to see most A6 features applied to the first trilogy. E.g. battle disciplines, arcane cloak. However, I can't see how the seamless world map would work for A3, it's just too big.

 

One thing I worry about a bit with the remakes is the possibility of design fatigue. Didn't Jeff say once he got half way through G3 and thought something like "I can't believe I'm writing the exact same game again!" (Link) It can't be all that interesting to keep rewriting the same world and same dialogue. Also Exile and A1-3 relied a lot on volume of monsters and less tactical challenges, which must also be less interesting to code. From a business point of view however I do believe it makes sense to do the rewrite.

 

Maybe some of the rewriting could retcon in a bit of the moral ambiguity of later games? But then that risks alienating the audience, not all of whom like the Geneforge style writing.

 

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In terms of mechanics, it could well be more like Avadon, or some kind of Avadon/Avernum hybrid.

 

Jeff didn't say that about G3, he said it about E3: "if I have to design the Tower of Magi one more time..." That was also when he said there would never be an Exile 4. And technically there never was, but Avernum 4-6 happened.

 

Presumably Jeff is keeping the same dialogue system, so there would be little if anything to recode there.

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1. Make the numpad enter key work as if it was the normal enter key

2. Make the center on PC mechanism work all the time and not only some of the time.

3. Make spell level selectable when casting so we won't have to waste the mana on a fire-ball when we only need a fire-bolt (targeting a single target).

4. Make teleporter destination selectable by keyboard as well as by mouse.

5. Add a "No particle effects" option in settings.

6. Improve offensive wands attack dice and increase their hit chance for warriors or at least hint that warriors don't know how to use wands.

7. Make wall bumping activate hidden switches.

8. Have towers justify their name & have more than 3 floors (or at least have flavor text telling of the grueling climb to the tower top).

 

And a few other GUI gripes that don't currently come to mind.

 

Pros:

1. Keep the dropped items can be found where they were left.

2. Keep the "drop backpack before combat" mechanism

 

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Quote:
2. Make the center on PC mechanism work all the time and not only some of the time.

this. i got so used to that in a1-3, that in 4-6 it felt really awkward that the camera didn't center on the player character until he went off screen.

it worked fine in geneforge since you just used the mouse, but in avernum i always use the keypad to move, so i like having my character in the center all the time.


i'd also like for the ability to fight in town mode to be back. being forced into battle mode every time some small fry shows up on screen slowed the gameplay down too much.
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That is not exactly what I meant.

Sometimes I want to be able to look away from my party and then I get lost or traverse a great distance with the camera and want to quickly center on the party. There is a mechanism that does that by pressing numpad-5 or clicking on the char portrait, however it doesn't work consistently and has become a source of grief for me and others.

 

What you said should be a menu option in settings (and I think it was at some point either in A4 or A5).

 

Oh and

9. Increase the auto-travel max number of steps.

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Well, seems I may have some hope for my wish. Met up with Kaja Foglio at Sakuracon and expressed my desire for Phil's art to return, getting into a brief discussion about the series (She's actually the one who brought up the rewrite after I mentioned liking the art they did for the series). Apparently they're good friends of Jeff Vogel, fancy that.

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Originally Posted By: Urthdigger
Well, seems I may have some hope for my wish. Met up with Kaja Foglio at Sakuracon and expressed my desire for Phil's art to return, getting into a brief discussion about the series (She's actually the one who brought up the rewrite after I mentioned liking the art they did for the series). Apparently they're good friends of Jeff Vogel, fancy that.

Personally I like the more realistic art that the more recent games have featured, but I do remember Mr. Foglio's work very fondly from my days as a subscriber to Dragon magazine.
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As far as I know, Phil as only responsible for the line art in the skills/training menu, which is what I was talking about. With the change to the geneforge style system, these were completely removed. As far as the more realistic art the series has had lately, that's good for the sprites and backgrounds and splat screens and such... just saying I loved those little images while I was working on my skills.

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Originally Posted By: Urthdigger
As far as I know, Phil as only responsible for the line art in the skills/training menu, which is what I was talking about. With the change to the geneforge style system, these were completely removed. As far as the more realistic art the series has had lately, that's good for the sprites and backgrounds and splat screens and such... just saying I loved those little images while I was working on my skills.

That is what I thought you meant, but I like the more realistic transition screens also. I like realism in my RPG art I guess. At the same time, if Jeff could get Rich Burlew to do any of the art that would be awesome.
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If they remake the first 3 Avernums using a Modified Avodon/Avernum 6 engine then lets hope they keep the dual scale for outside areas and entering towns. In Avadon they had the insides of buildings separate from the outside of the towns/zones so I'm hoping that they have one seamless outdoor map and then switch to another map for each of the towns/enterable areas. Just having one single scale, seamless map for all of the caverns of Avernum may result in unfortunate loss of content. The later Avernums felt smaller than the earlier ones in terms of explorable area.

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New Avernum 3 is going to be the third time I play through that most excellent of games.

 

I'm still hoping for the reintroduction of a six player party though, that was really useful for those puzzles - and more fun in combat!

 

 

I know, I know. Empty wishing. I'd take a party of one plus five scripted NPCs too.

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Originally Posted By: Randomizer
Nethergate: Resurrection is a good indication of how Jeff will recycle almost all the dialog from the current Avernum. This way he will mostly write for new areas.


That's too bad. I think that Jeff's games have grown considerably since then, and I'd be really interesting to see a retelling of the story at the level of his more recent games.
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  • 3 weeks later...

That's probably a computer speed effect. Initially enemies did, in fact, move space by space during their turns. In any case, we can't know what exactly the new engine will be like until games are made with it, but it seems likely that movement will be similar to Avernum 6.

 

—Alorael, who doesn't think the quality of Jeff's writing has improved immensely. It was good all the way back in Exile 1, actually. He has gotten bolder in presenting complicated situations, but then they wouldn't be remakes of the simple good-guys-save-Avernum/Exile stories of the original trilogy.

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Quote:
Avernum is showing its age and very much in need
of freshening up, with a new engine and graphics.


Sigh... imo what the Avernum rewrites need most are not better graphics but to pick up some of the complexity that got dropped from the Exile games the first time they were re-made. Poison, Duel-Wielding, Blunt Weapons, Axes, richer spell lists, scrying spells that cost expensive gems (and scry monster! collecting monster info was so much fun in Exile smile ), monster respawning, more randomness in drops etc.

Its a total pipedream I know, particularly if Jeff is using an Avadon-ish engine but the Avernum series was always a bit disappointing in that regard for me. No one likes to see a re-make with less options than the original game surely. A lot of stuff got better, don't get me wrong, and i'm nostalgia plays a role in my discontent... But nevertheless, i'd love to see some of this picked up in the remakes... though i guess the engine may be unfriendly in that regard. frown sigh back to dreaming i guess
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I didn't say it's slow, I said it doesn't run. On Mac, for example, Exile doesn't run in OS 10, and it definitely isn't made for the Intel chipsets that all computers from recent years use. The operating system can't open the program.

 

—Alorael, who is curious about what your computer is that can't run Avadon. Even the best and brightest from Spiderweb isn't exactly high in requirements.

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Originally Posted By: Dikiyoba
Nicodemus is almost exactly like X, but more annoying and without the anvil spell. Also, he is the dude who lets the wolves attack you in the very beginning of the game.

Dikiyoba.

Well he does point out that the Hands always help him with the testing. smile
You will notice that the guards are exempt from that duty unlike the apprentices.
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Originally Posted By: Arch-Mage Solberg
Originally Posted By: Randomizer
Craftmaster Nicodemus is an NPC in Avadon:The Black Fortress who makes mostly useless items for the player.

So in theory, he is almost like the X of Avernum in making useless items?

Post #519 cool


What are you talking about? the Xian items aren't all usless. There are the Xian coins, that will give you free coins every few minutes for those none cheaters. There is the Xian skull for those who are lonely when playing the game or who just want a laugh at the comments, and there is the xian tome, good for some light reading!
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I have a question. Is there any specific thing that is being worked on at the moment. Jeff states on the main page he is working on getting avadon to ipad, and the rewrite for Avernum 1, and....maybe he is also working on avadon 2's basics...but maybe not.

 

I would gather that he is only working on getting avadon to ipad because avadon needs to be available to all users. I dont know, im losing it in anticipation for avernum. Is jeff looking for any ideas for this one, or does he already got the game plan?

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I would expect to see a new engine and a few extra dungeons. Hopefully he considers reimplementing some of the stuff dropped between the exile->avernum remake.

 

I guess he would be using the A6 engine but he did say outdoors was staying in the trilogy remake so whatever he is using he would be modifying it to add that.

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Originally Posted By: loyal servile of sasuke uchiha
Another question I should add on. What is jeff rewriting? I mean the movment in avernum 1 was pretty awful, I like the ^>v< keys movment for exile three. It was pretty annoying to have to move with either the mouse or 7 9 1 3 on the keypad


That's weird, I only use the numeric keypad for movement of the characters. Very simplistic.

Post #523 cool
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I concur that the numeric keypad is the simplest and most efficient mode of movement while exploring. This mode keeps the view screen in sync with your movements. It also affords the greatest amount of control.

 

I did find that the long distance movement across known territory where there are no unknown dangers is pretty handy. It makes it easier to navigate around obstacles like trees and water.

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Originally Posted By: Arch-Mage Solberg

That's weird, I only use the numeric keypad for movement of the characters. Very simplistic.

Post #523 cool

I think he meant that the use of 2 4 6 8 as primary movement directions (up, down, left, right) is easier to use in contrast to the primary movement directions of 7 9 1 3 (still up, down, left, right).
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exactly. I mean it doesn't even make any sense!

 

789 7 9

456

123 moving in Avernum 1: 1 3

 

 

moving in Avernum 3-6: 8

4 6

2

 

I like the second one better, as it is actually up down left and right instead of diagonal for up left down right

 

EDIT: dont look at my failed number pads... I really just failed badly.

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Originally Posted By: loyal servile of sasuke uchiha
exactly. I mean it doesn't even make any sense!

789 7 9
456
123 moving in Avernum 1: 1 3


moving in Avernum 3-6: 8
4 6
2

I like the second one better, as it is actually up down left and right instead of diagonal for up left down right

EDIT: dont look at my failed number pads... I really just failed badly.


This is only an issue on the PC version. It actually works the way you would think it should work on the Mac.
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