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Stalvos



Joined: 14 Jan 2009
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 6:49 pm    Post subject: New Player Reply with quote
Hello. I was in the mood for a new game so I went to game tunnel because they specialize in spotlighting indie games. TSE2 won RPG of the year so I downloaded the demo. After playing the game for less than an hour, I quit the demo and purchased the full game. This game is a testament to the fact that you don't need a huge staff or a huge budget to make a wonderful rpg that is both fun to play and has a compelling storyline. I'm already hooked into the story and I'm not even out of the second town yet. I was surprised at the depth of the script. Normally in a "cheap" rpg you just spam the button to get past all the blabbering. Here I was actually enjoying the interaction between the characters and all the blabbering!

My only question so far would be this:

Why can't we have freedom to choose any of the characters to start the game with?

For instance if I want the knight as my third character I cannot choose the priest in that same column as that knight. I'd rather have a "priest slot" an "archer" slot and a "knight" slot so I can mix and match any of the characters. I'm sure they all have their own personality and history. Is the choice limited because of the script interaction between the three? Right now if I wanted to have all three characters from the top row as my party the game won't let me. Is that a design choice?

Anyway keep up the good work. I'll be enjoying the game and I think my mmorpg accounts are in danger of gathering dust for a while!
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ROD
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Joined: 18 Nov 2006
Posts: 103
Location: Black Forest, Germany

PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 7:52 pm    Post subject: Re: New Player Reply with quote
Stalvos wrote:


My only question so far would be this:

Why can't we have freedom to choose any of the characters to start the game with?



You need 3 roles for the story, but the single roles are different, so a good candidate for role #1 wouldnīt work for role #2.
All "candidates" from one row are kind of "relatives" and able to fulfill the same task in the story (hey, that sounds strange, maybe someone else can explain that nicer..)

This affects not only the story but also the battling (through the story..) remember e.g. in World Two: one character (always the one from the first group) gets sick before crossing the plain thus affecting certain skills in battle.
These things keep on happening, which is great because it makes the game even deeper A LOT (if you like to play it more than 1 time)

also, itīs nice to play it with only two or one different types...
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ADmiral-tse
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Joined: 08 May 2007
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
As far as I know, you are right. The choice is limited because the script is limited. Wink

I thought it was pretty obvious at first; after all, you can choose between 27 possible parties now, whereas that number would be 84 with free character choice.

However, if we look at it another way, there probably isn't that much more work in free character choice:
1) First we have the basic script, which is the same for all parties. This kind of writing makes up most of the dialog in any one playthrough, but probably not in the whole game.
2) Then we have individual scripts for each character which are independent of the other party members.
3) Some parts of the script are written for certain pairs of characters.
4) And finally, maybe there exists dialogue written for specific 3-character-combinations.

Now here's how many times the writing effort of a single party each of these options take:

Current system:
1) Once
2) 9
3) We have 27 pairs
4) As well as 27 parties

Free choice:
1) 1
2) 9
3) 36 pairs
4) 84 parties

Obviously, noone would want to write/play 84 different versions of any story event. Or 84 unique story events.
I suspect (but I'm not quite sure) that Mark didn't write anything for just a single possible party. If he did, I'd have to play through the game 27 times. Very Happy So perhaps all the great party-specific occurrences we all love are in fact pair script. The impression that the script is tailored to your party comes from the 3 different pairs that are in it, each of which have their own unique dialogue.

Since 36/27 isn't such an outrageous increase in writing as 84/27, I'd guess the limit in choices is just TSE tradition.

Or maybe for balancing Smile It's harder to pick a combination that will get you stuck somewhere. Though it's still pretty easy as it is (choose 3 of the same type).

Btw., to see all the pair script, you have to finish the game 9 times Very Happy
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Mark Pay
Site Admin


Joined: 09 Aug 2006
Posts: 624
Location: Margate, UK

PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Hi Stalvos! Thanks for posting. It's great to hear that you're enjoying the game. Very Happy

As you speculated, the character restrictions are caused by the requirements of script interactions. As ROD says, each character 'slot' fills a specific role in any dialogue.

Character 1 has a grumpy, pessimistic, antisocial, aggressive and selfish personality.
Character 2 has a cheerful, optimistic, impulsive and empathic personality.
Character 3 has an older, wiser, more reasoned personality.

With these common traits, any dialogue interaction can be scripted to follow a single set path, with usually at most 3 parallel variations. In many cases, characters in a slot can all speak the exact same lines.

Without this there are too many possible dialogue interactions to handle - a common branching problem in game design.

First, the number of personality combinations at each dialogue would increase, from 1 to 27. Total character combinations would increase from 27 to 504. ( this is assuming a completely free choice of character )
Second, a different personality combination ought logically to handle story events with different outcomes. A group comprised of all three 'Character 1' personalities would never even finish Chapter 1.

The implications of this are mind-boggling from a design and production perspective! Quality non-linear story-telling remains a mythical holy grail for developers. For the sake of actually making and finishing games, it is necessary resort to such compromises.

PS - A good explanation from ADmiral too Very Happy There are a couple of lines of dialogue that are dependent on all 3 characters, but they're not worth replaying the game 27 times for. XD
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Stalvos



Joined: 14 Jan 2009
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I figured that was the case. You took time to customize the script to match the character choices. It was either what we have now or two other options:

1. write a script that took into account all possibilities, taking you five years to do so before you actually started to program the game.

2. write a generic script that was plain vanilla and did not allow for anything specific, ruining the replay value and overall playing experience.

You took the correct path by making a balanced approach.
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