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Old 03-08-2001, 10:32 AM   #31
Memnoch
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Today's update gives you the lowdown on Wild Mages, courtesy of Kevin Martens, Lead Designer for BG2: Throne of Bhaal.

Wild mage information: Wild magic is a new type of magic that is characterized by powerful and dangerous surges or unpredictable magic. Generally considered to be an unfortunate byproduct of the Time of Troubles, wild magic has recently begun to attract the attention or many a curious or scholarly wizard.

A Wild Mage is a wizard or specializes in the study of wild magic and has access to spells to protect him/herself from Wild Magic as well as bend it to his/her will. Wild magic is extremely unpredictable and should be used with caution.

Wild surges and wild mage spells: We have approx 100 wild surges and several Wildmage spells like Chaos Shield and Reckless Dweomer. The wild surges are very similar to those in the wild surge tables. Naturally, some of them could not be properly implemented so we added a few.




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Old 03-08-2001, 11:44 PM   #32
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And some related info:

http://www.zdnet.com/gamespot/filter...470765,00.html

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Old 03-09-2001, 08:18 AM   #33
Memnoch
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Here's today's news on Throne of Bhaal. Plus some GOOD news for a change!!!!!

Dave Gaider (Senior Designer)
Ending the saga: We're not necessarily not doing any more BG games, we've said no such thing. The Bhaalspawn story is just coming to an end, is all. If we did more BG- or Forgotten Realms-related games, though, it's hard to say where we'd put it. The Dales area, though, is not one of my favorites. Nor are other places that have been detailed heavily in other sources...there wouldn't be much wiggle-room for us in such an area and so many players would have pre-conceived notions of what the area's about.

Me, personally, I love 3rd edition and I'm looking forward to NWN and the like. As for another fantasy game, I dunno...if I had my way, we'd do a really big, detailed city. I'd say Waterdeep, but it's so done. Maybe a revisit to Baldur's Gate? This is all conjecture, but I guess it's nice to think about.

A Mazzy romance: Now I'm not going to comment on the possibilities of new romances or expanded romances in ToB, but a more appropriate question might be: "If the decision had to be made between game length and a romance plot with Mazzy, how many game-hours would you be willing to give up to ensure its inclusion?" (not that it would equal thus, it's just an example)

It's just a thought. Personally, I rather relish pointing out these Mazzy posts to James and Kevin anyways.

If we decide to include a Mazzy romance, anyway, then there's nothing lost...it's included in our time schedule. If we don't, then we would have to sacrifice time from writing and scripting...which means less areas can be included. The really big grey area, though, relies on how complicated the romance is and how many bugs we get from it...bug-fixing time is probably the most aggravating thing you have to account for when making a schedule, but you have to include it or it isn't realistic.

It might not be much, it could be lots.



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Old 03-10-2001, 12:39 PM   #34
Memnoch
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Today's news. I know this stuff can get kind of long, but there is some interesting info here. I hope people are reading this (some of it anyway)

Today's info is about Imoen and Familiars.

Dave Gaider (Senior Designer)
Imoen’s background and Bhaalspawn’s dissolving death: Well, I'll say this much. Imoen's story goes into a lot more detail if you take her with you into the expansion. And your concern over #1 as well as many more unanswered questions will, indeed, be resolved.

As for the issue of Imoen not 'dissolving' upon her death, I only have one question. Where does it say that all Bhaalspawn dissolve physically when they die? Once you found out Imoen was a Bhaalspawn, did she start dissolving upon her death then? Who dissolved that you know of? The PC and Sarevok. Hmmm... the essence was very strong with both of them. It probably isn't so strong with Imoen, though. And if a physical body still exists, it makes sense that the soul could be called back to it. Exactly what happens to Bhaalspawn souls has not yet been fully divulged, after all.

And it was said even back in Bg1 that Bhaal's essence affects his children in many different ways. (something you may see for yourselves in more detail in the expansion)

Players would have asked themselves upon seeing the death screen in BG1 for the umpteenth time "Why do I dissolve?" Answer: You're a Bhaalspawn. Hard to escape that kind of thinking when nothing to the contrary has really been presented to the player, I suppose.

Spurious storytelling. Tsk. It'll be the downfall of mankind.

Familiar suggestions: Alright, here's a chance for you all who like familiars to suggest something.

If we were going to upgrade the existing familiars in some way for the expansion, what would you like to see done? Keep in mind that familiars can and should be useful...but not overly powerful. If you have any thoughts on abilities or something of the like, we'd be happy to hear your input.

Okay, some good suggestions. A few responses and/or clarifications:

1) Whatever is done to the familiars, it has to be done to the existing familiars. We are not going to be adding new ones...we are looking at making the existing familiars stronger in the expansion part of the story.

2) While familiars do have inventory slots like any creature, accessing and manipulating the equipment in those slots is problematic since there's no inventory screen for them. We can't tell a familiar to 'equip' an item. The most we can do is have them give the player what's in their inventory...which we already do for those familiars that pick pockets. Creatures can be instructed to use equipment in their inventory, but only through scripting...the player wouldn't have any control over it (which is not helpful for a familiar). Alternatively, we could have equipment that is meant solely for a familiar...in the way that when you 'give' them this piece of equipment, it gives them a new special ability or raises their HP, AC or something similar.

Another thing we can do as far as familiars go is simply 'give' them new abilities and/or powers upon the player, say, achieving a certain level or perhaps finding a special spell. What, exactly, those abilities or upgrades would be is the question.

3) New dialogue is certainly a possibility, although we can't go overboard. I like the idea of them 'piping' up occasionally like Lilarcor...although I'm thinking maybe it should be restricted to them making their normal sounds occasionally rather than actually speaking. Some people find that annoying. As for other things that could be added to the dialogue, what kinds of things do you think they should say? The slapping of the imps and petting of the dragons seemed popular...more interactions like that are certainly possible if you've any ideas.

Giving familiars more HPs as the PC levels up: Well, the problem with doing things repeatedly to the familiar lies in the way it will be implemented. A familiar taken out of inventory is a creature on the screen...very easy to cast a spell (an invisible spell of the kind we use to add abilities and such) on it then. Problem is...what if the familiar is still in inventory? When that's the case, it's an item...can't cast a spell on it, then.

We could mark the familiar as eligible for a spell upon level up, and then cast it on the familiar the next time it was taken out of the backpack...I can see that. I just wouldn't want to overdo it, as forcing Player 1 to cast a 0-speed invisible spell might interrupt something he's doing.

A script could be made that watches for when a player reaches a particular level and then puts an item in their inventory, yes. This is actually one way we were thinking of...'swap out' the old familiar when its in inventory for a new familiar item (which bonus abilities and such).

We could conceivably make the familiar into a container. I would not want to, however...like I responded before, a cat or a faerie dragon is hardly the equivalent of a packhorse.

More dialogue for the familiars: A shoe-in? Exactly what, then, would you be talking to your familiar about? It already talks about its health and offers pithy advice...I'm not about to re-write that dialogue just because. And if new dialogue is going to be added, some ideas would be helpful.

Well, the capability of a familiar (never mind a party member) to recognize when someone is doing something contrary to their alignment is pretty limited. I could foresee them commenting when their master is at low/high reputation, though.

Familiars randomly talking: That's something to consider. I don't know about the plausibility of getting dialogue actually recorded for familiars...and it would take a pretty extensive set of comments for people not to get tired of them piping up. But it's not impossible.

Random familiar talking being telepathic and able to be turned off via dialogue: That's true, come to think of it. Just add a line in the dialogue and a global would be set...no more comments. Like I said earlier, though, chances of getting recorded comments for familiars not overly likely.
But hmmm...maybe not actual recorded comments but colored telepathic comments over your head.

'(Your familiar is currently asleep and dreaming of a giant, succulent dinner...)'

'(Hey! Watch where you stick that thing! It's not like there's a lot of room in here!)'

'(HELL-OOO! Lonely familiar talkin' here!)'

'(I love you so! purrrrrr)'

Or I dunno. Maybe that would get lame real quick. Might also be more trouble than it's worth...I mean, the familiar hasn't talked all this time only to pipe up for the duration of the expansion? (And no, we would not add the ability into BG2 itself).

Giving the familiars limited spell casting abilities: This could be done. What spells would be appropriate, do you think?

Having a familiar holding inventory items: I do not foresee turning the familiar into a mule of any sort. These are small animals we're talking about...I'm sure the bag of holding, gem cases, scroll cases, key rings and what-not will more than suffice for equipment storage purposes.

Feeding the familiar to level them up: Good idea. The item that levels them up could be a magical food of some kind (hey, maybe those tree of life nuts from Suldanessalar, hey?). I could also add feeding the familiar into the regular dialogue...could be a way of healing them without having to both resting or casting spells on them (and just assume the character has 'food').

Assigning level up points to the familiar: Hmmmm. Without making it too complex, I could imagine the familiar initiating a dialogue with the player when it is ready to 'level up'...it could always ask its master what it should 'work on' and the player could be given a set of powers as choices. That way he could specify what direction the familiar takes.

I don't think that you could specifically control where their points went or anything, though. But in order for them to be useful at all, any gained abilities would have to be pretty high rank...but I'd say them gaining only one ability (like Find Traps or Detect Illusions...if those are possible) would be very feasible for thief stuff.

Familiars going wacky if petrified and then turned back to flesh: I'm pretty sure the programmers are working on this. Personally, if this was a problem I'd sooner just make the familiars immune to petrifaction.

Giving the familiar stoneskin spell: Stoneskin is a good idea. So, I'm thinking, would some kind of combination of invisibility/sanctuary. Giving the familiar the options of becoming more offensive, having more thief abilities or being a better scout...very, very possible.

Well, if we do upgrade the familiars, I've got some good stuff to go on, here. I've gotta go, but I'll be back in a little while to digest any more ideas people have.

Thanks, all!



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Old 03-10-2001, 11:19 PM   #35
Accord
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Old 03-11-2001, 12:14 AM   #36
Maestro_v69
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Well, this certainly looks to be a worthwhile expansion! It boggles the mind; all the interesting possibilities with encounters with other Children of Bhaal, and perhaps even Bhaal himself (here's hoping)! I also think the enhancing of familiars is interesting, as mine spent most of its time in my backpack. One thing I am not quite clear on is the "summoning" of NPCs that was mentioned. Summoning? what does this mean? I would appreciate anyone clarifying this. One final thought. If you are level 40, who says you will want or need a party? In BG1, you were very weak, and a party was essential to your survival. In BG2, my character was much more powerful, and could handle many encounters by himself. In TOB, who knows if a party may be necessary, except possibly for very difficult encounters? Something to ponder.

Thanks, and here's hoping it will not be too long of a wait!
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Old 03-11-2001, 06:18 AM   #37
Memnoch
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Quote:
Originally posted by Maestro_v69:
One thing I am not quite clear on is the "summoning" of NPCs that was mentioned. Summoning? what does this mean? I would appreciate anyone clarifying this. One final thought. If you are level 40, who says you will want or need a party? In BG1, you were very weak, and a party was essential to your survival. In BG2, my character was much more powerful, and could handle many encounters by himself. In TOB, who knows if a party may be necessary, except possibly for very difficult encounters? Something to ponder.

Thanks, and here's hoping it will not be too long of a wait!
Summoning NPCs is an ability that you get after defeating Irenicus. It allows you to get any NPC from BG2 to join your party (unsure if this includes NPCs who have died).

Sure, at level 40 you'll be very powerful. But think back to the toughest encounters you had in BG2 - most of them would be against groups of high-level adventurers or beings with disparate skills, such as the Twisted Rune, the guys in the Den of the Seven Vales, the adventurers in the sewer, the guys in the Slave Lord compound, and so on. You may think you're godlike at level 40. But how well will you do against a group of six Bhaalspawns, a mix of fighters, mages and clerics, who are also all at level 40? Think about it.



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Old 03-11-2001, 07:54 AM   #38
Epona
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This is great stuff - I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on the expansion - more missed meals & lack of sleep!!

Not too sure how a level 40 char. would work though - there would have to be some pretty tough enemies that required different strategies other than the 'hack it to bits in one blow' method of pest extermination! I suppose it's probably not intended that all PCs would get to level 40 though, more of a removed exp. cap.

Memnoch: I think the excerpts you are pasting into this thread are great - but please don't use that blue again, it hurts to read it!!!

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Old 03-11-2001, 08:18 AM   #39
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Level 40 doesn't make you a God. They will put foes in the game that'll challenge lvl 40 parties. Why else would they let you get that high?
 
Old 03-11-2001, 03:04 PM   #40
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