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Default Obsidian Entertainment - MCA on Quest Time Limits

May 22nd, 2012, 00:05
Well, I'm more of a freeform exploration focused player, that likes to look at everything and go everywhere unfettered by time limits. So, I don't like them, usually. But if the game offers no exploration or much freedom anyway, then time limits are less irritating. In general, I don't like to rush through something just because of an artificial time limit.
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May 22nd, 2012, 07:15
In BG1 I remember that if you took too long with Minsc's quest to rescue Dynaheir from the gnolls, he'd swiftly turn hostile on the party. This actually caused me to have a somewhat ambivalent relationship with the big guy. Naturally by the time I got to BG2 and met up with him again, it resulted in the familiar quote:
"Hey, didn't I kill you before?"

Not a time limit as such, but more of a scripted time frame: I always disliked the fact that regardless of the time you leave to have the confrontation with Bodhi in her lair, it's always dark when you get there. I mean, it would kind of make sense to try to have some kind of advantage against a vampire by arriving when it's light, no? Every advantage possible and whatnot?

The Fallout time limit is a classic and a mechanic I quite liked; as I think as others have stated, it suited the game perfectly. I also enjoyed the unique dialogue time limit in Alpha Protocol and felt it was a good try to implement something different with a time element.

MCA asks the question : if I, as a game designer, want to introduce the same level of time pressure and instill the player with a sense of urgency, what can I do?

A couple of basic ideas:
- Write suitably urgent and focused dialogue for the event in question to carry the meaning to the player.
- Give some additional incentives for the player to tarry not! (Rewards?)
- Offer some insight into possible consequences for dallying; give player clues and cues by which to measure their play.
- Use audio stimuli to create suitable tension in moments/encounters to carry a sense of urgency.

Diddledy high,
Diddledy low,
Come brave blood sheep,
You've a goodly way to go.
- Brilhasti Ap Tarj
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May 22nd, 2012, 16:30
A few more examples from BG1-2, where the NPC will actually leave if you don't help them within a certain amount of time:
- Kagain wants you to find a lost caravan (BG1).
- Edwin wants to find a scroll (BG2).
- Korgan wants to find a book (BG2).

I admit it actually worked fairly well, though it sometimes forced me to do difficult quests before my party was ready for them, which annoyed me quite a bit at the time. These days it doesn't annoy me at all anymore, but that's because I know it's coming so I prepare accordingly.
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May 22nd, 2012, 20:52
Originally Posted by BillSeurer View Post
The timer on the "main" quest in Fallout 1 did not prevent you from exploring the whole game because once you had restored the water to the vault you could then take your sweet time and spend in-game years if your wanted poking around the wilderness. And 100 days was a very long limit given how short Fallout 1 was anyway. I never hit the limit on any time I played FO1 and while not a "must open every container" guy I do tend to look most everywhere.
The main quest after finding the waterchip had a timelimit, though it was invisible. My first playthrough I hit that limit and mutants overran the vault and I had to go back to an earlier save in order to make the timelimit.
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May 22nd, 2012, 21:16
Originally Posted by Foss View Post
The main quest after finding the waterchip had a timelimit, though it was invisible. My first playthrough I hit that limit and mutants overran the vault and I had to go back to an earlier save in order to make the timelimit.
I think that only happens if you tell the water merchants where the vault is at. Then "word gets out" and the vault is doomed.
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May 22nd, 2012, 21:30
Oh, I don't remember if I did that. But that would make sense.

I just remember being a bit frustrated because I had to go quite a bit back on my saves to make the timelimit.
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May 22nd, 2012, 21:40
Did you play Fallout prior to being patched? The reason I ask is because the time limit was greatly increased when they patched it to version 1.1
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May 22nd, 2012, 22:01
I do not recall.
I just remember that I
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