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Realms Beyond => News & Announcements => Topic started by: HobGoblin42 on January 17, 2018, Wednesday, 04:08 pm

Title: Source of Inspiration #4: The Bard’s Tale
Post by: HobGoblin42 on January 17, 2018, Wednesday, 04:08 pm
The Bard's TaleWhen The Bard's Tale by Michael Cranford was first released, it foreshadowed a feature that would become standard in games today—an intro. In the case of The Bard's Tale, it was an animated title screen that was reminiscent of a cartoon, showing a bard playing a song. Bard's Tale Intro Screen
Naturally, the lyrics of the song appeared as text only on the screen but this was pretty impressive stuff in 1987 on the C64! The bard would stop playing to take a sip from his mug once in a while. One of the listeners sitting next to him would imagine the adventurous scenes portrayed in his odes, appearing and disappearing in graphics bubbles above his head.

One of the interesting and often overlooked things about The Bard’s Tale is that its character system was actually pretty similar to that of D&D. So in many ways, it probably served as an inspiration for the SSI Gold Box games, considering that the games play similarly.

The innovation that Pool of Radiance added, though, was the combat screen. The Bard’s Tale still had its combat still fought out in a text form, via a list of the monsters versus a list of your party members. The individual combat events as characters and monsters took stabs at each other were displayed as a log-style scrolling text in a window on the screen. There was no moving around, no graphics—just an exchange text blows.

Mangar's Tower, Level 2 from Bard's Tale: Tales of the Unknown (by Klohan)

The Bard's Tale also had no map screen, so, like in the Wizardry games, you had to make your own maps if you didn’t want to get lost—or persuade someone else at school to let you copy his. A funny note: More than 30 years later, Brian Fargo's inXile entertainment is creating the fourth part of The Bard's Tale and the question of automapping pops up again.

 

What made the game stand out in our memory was the actual bard class in the game—the bard’s songs were essential to solving some of the puzzles in the game. And playing any song would actually play a little tune in the game. Most of the songs represented what we call buffs today, such as the one song that would reduce the armor class, and so forth. A small icon appeared next to the image of the person or the affected enemy as an indicator of the respective effect. It was pretty cool.

In addition to these songs, The Bard’s Tale also had an intriguing magic system that actually involved the player directly. Unlike in modern games where you simply select a spell without any actual intellectual input from the player, in The Bard's Tale you had to enter a four-letter code combination to cast a spell. This meant you had to memorize the actual spell codes, such as D-E-S-T for the Death Strike. This was cool. It required the player to think and to get involved. Imagine playing easy-peasy Skyrim and you'd actually have to memorize and enter the shouts… I am telling you, once you had all the spells in the game safely stowed in your brain, you actually began to feel like a real wizard! Expecto Patronum! Take that, Harry Potter!

So which part of all of this served as an inspiration for us? We wanted to make sure Realms Beyond would contain a character class or a particular skill set that is actually necessary to solve a puzzle… or two… or even more. Not only do we think it is a nice game feature, but it will also help to have a wider spread of characters in your party, and ensure that players put together their character parties not entirely with combat in mind.

Skara BraeWe sometimes forget, but The Bard’s Tale contained quite a few interesting puzzles that you had to figure out in order to advance. It wasn't your typical run-of-the-mill stuff all the time. Any kind of information you uncovered could be important. As a result, players were also heavy note-takers, and not a word was lost on the player.

The game featured five dungeons and they sort of built upon each other. In order to succeed and advance through a dungeon, you had to have finished the previous one because you needed information or a specific item that was found there. It also contained something that has been entirely eradicated from modern games—dead ends. That's right. The game featured areas were you simply had to accept the fact that you would not be able to defeat this nasty Soul Sucker and that you'd better back off. And in case you didn’t back up your character disc, you'd better remember not to mess with him the next time you came around. Unfortunately for the Soul Sucker, however, backtracking is also a key feature in the game, and getting back to that SOB was a really satisfying memory…
Goto Blog Post (https://www.realms-beyond.com/source-inspiration-bards-tale/)
Title: Source of Inspiration #4: The Bard’s Tale
Post by: The Old Farmer on January 17, 2018, Wednesday, 07:39 pm
Is there not a skill for that - Knowledge Dungeoneering ?
The skill check results in an accurate auto map.  Kind of like in the Eschalon game series where your auto map filled in based on how high your skill was at mapping.

The down side of drawing the map by hand is you would like to know what your borders are and how they will fit on your sheet of graph paper.  This worked fine in the bards tale but would be unusable in a modern 3d setting.

Just my input, I too remember playing the Bards Tale on the C-64 so many years ago, and yes you needed to map it out or you were soooo lost it was not even funny.
Title: Source of Inspiration #4: The Bard’s Tale
Post by: Dragon on January 17, 2018, Wednesday, 08:13 pm
I generally like the idea of a skill-based automap, though it does contain one general problem. As you go through the game and gain experience at dungeoneering, your maps become more detailed. By the same token, this means that the first dungeons you enter will have really spotty automaps, inevitably.
Actually, now that I think of it, it's kind of a blessing, too.  In the beginning, you sort of have to hand-map because you don't have the required skills yet and as you progress through the world, it becomes less and less necessary because you can acquire the necessary skills and let the game do it for you.

That's a pretty good idea that gives players the best of both worlds without being too hardcore and potentially off-putting in the long run.
Title: Source of Inspiration #4: The Bard’s Tale
Post by: HobGoblin42 on January 17, 2018, Wednesday, 09:18 pm
Is there not a skill for that - Knowledge Dungeoneering ?
The skill check results in an accurate auto map.  Kind of like in the Eschalon game series where your auto map filled in based on how high your skill was at mapping.

Technically, according to the SRD, Dungeoneering as discipline of the Knowledge Skill (http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/SRD:Knowledge_Skill) is not directly related to creating maps but to recognize stuff in dungeons/caverns/tunnels.

But our game will use maps in more than one way. For example, outdoor locations, once explored, will be presented this way:
Sorry but you are not allowed to view spoiler contents.

Beside this miniaturized level view, you can also find or purchase ingame maps as item.  Those can help you to locate relevant spots in dungeons or elsewhere, e.g. traps, hidden doors and treasures:
Sorry but you are not allowed to view spoiler contents.


We haven't yet decided  how to handle automapping in dungeons and what skill is required to record the explored areas.

But in general, I personally love cartography and would really like to see more use of it in RPGs. Back then, the game Pirates! did a great job by spreading map pieces randomly all around the Caribbean sea. Once you've collected all of them, it led you to a hidden treasure on some lone island. What a great idea!
Title: Source of Inspiration #4: The Bard’s Tale
Post by: The Old Farmer on January 18, 2018, Thursday, 07:24 pm
I guess how mapping will be used depends a lot on how you build the game.  In a game where the overland map is one continuous area with dungeons as separate areas then use of a cartography type skill makes sense.  If you the overland map is like say Fallout 1-2 with towns and encounter areas as separate playing areas then limited skill based mapping may not be as useful a skill.

Hobgoblin you are correct Dungeoneering skill is more about figuring out what is in the dungeon then mapping it, but a lot of skills get modified from the P&P versions to the digital versions and I can't think of an appropriate skill that might actually apply to the auto mapping of a dungeon.

The hand drawn style map you can find or purchase for a dungeon looks like a great idea, not super detailed but gets the idea across as to what is where.  The Pirates! style of treasure map that makes you learn the look of the real map to find what is on the treasure map can be a lot of fun as I can still remember finding a treasure once with only 1 fragment of a map because I recognized the coastline due to sailing by the area so many times.

In your out door map areas like Cormac will you be able to label the icons yourself or will it popup a tooltip if you hover over the area?  Though I suspect one will figure out the map references as you play the game.

Thanks for the reply.
Title: Source of Inspiration #4: The Bard’s Tale
Post by: Chris_Wilson on January 19, 2018, Friday, 09:22 pm
Sonthing I like in Mapping in general are treasure you are looking for based on a drawing.

here was a great quest in Red Dead Redemption giving you a hand drawing represent a place in the world and if you were able to recognise it and go ther you would find a treasure.

Title: Source of Inspiration #4: The Bard’s Tale
Post by: Dragon on January 20, 2018, Saturday, 02:53 am
Dragon Age: Inquisition had a lot of that, too. It was like a bonus treasure hunt and some of them were actually pretty hard to find, I thought.