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Default Baldur's Gate: EE impressions

December 7th, 2012, 13:28
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
http://forum.baldursgate.com/discuss…lved-game-ever

Here's a good example of what makes me doubt how fantastic this EE is. Obviously, I don't know how much of that is fabrication or ignorance - but if even half those issues are real - that's a pretty bad sign.

I guess all these people on the forums having issues are blind whiners, or?
Just about every one of his list is a pretty minor 'bug'. It almost seems like he's specifically TRYING to find bugs. For instance:

5. If you have your party highlighted and you hold down 1 on your keypad and then try to select your team, it bugs out so you can't select all team members, also causes it so you have to click them to remove selecting them. (That's not in the Original, doesn't seem to be an intentional programming either.)
Why would you even do that?

His main complaint is that they incorporated a bug of the changes made by mods. Ok, I would expect them to do that. In fact, if they didn't, I'd be upset.

The main enhancements of BGEE (besides including a bunch of improvements you'd otherwise need mods for) are:
1) Better adaptation than WS mod for higher resolutions (not all agree, but to me it is pretty obvious)
2) New content/npc's that are professionally done
3) Zoom feature
4) Better compatibility with newer systems via optimized code. For instance, there used to be a decent lag between areas loading or reloading a saved game. It's now just about instantaneous.

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December 7th, 2012, 13:30
Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
We're you playing BGT or BGTuTu? I've heard some people say that might be the reason for the increased encounters (something about the spawn rate just being higher in the BG2 engine). I'm actually now getting a bit annoyed at the lack of spawning after all! My whole party has leveled up and has some decent weapons/armor, so just being attacked by one creature is a bit ho-hum. But if that's the way it was originally, so be it.
TuTu does have more spawns than standard BG, but BGEE apparently has even less than the original. Not a huge deal now since the devs have identified the problem and are correcting it in the next patch. Hopefully we won't have to wait very long.
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December 7th, 2012, 13:32
1) Better adaptation than WS mod for higher resolutions (not all agree, but to me it is pretty obvious)
I concede that it can be better if you're running an awkward res or have an usually sized monitor. Personally, I don't think there's any real difference in my case of having a 1920x1080 native res - which AFAIK is one of the most common native res'es these days.

2) New content/npc's that are professionally done
I'm waiting for feedback before I'll go along with "professionally done" - but it still seems rather minimal.

3) Zoom feature
Absolutely worthless to me, but I guess some people have very poor eyesight and don't mind stretching their low-res images

4) Better compatibility with newer systems via optimized code. For instance, there used to be a decent lag between areas loading or reloading a saved game. It's now just about instantaneous.
Now, this COULD be significant. Is it instantaneous for all area switches? Are they loading everything into memory or what?

How about saving/loading games?
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December 7th, 2012, 13:40
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I'm talking about the aspect ratio - as you mentioned yourself. That is retained. Obviously, a higher resolution will have a "zoomed out" look - because we're talking about low-res 2D objects being displayed in high resolution..
Yeah, my bad. I should have used the term "scaling ratio" or something like that. Point is, BGEE is high-res without the change in size as a side effect.
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December 7th, 2012, 13:41
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
Yeah, my bad. I should have used the term "scaling ratio" or something like that. Point is, BGEE is high-res without the change in size as a side effect.
It's not "as" high res - but higher res. Exactly like you would get with a compromise resolution like the one I'm talking about. There's no difference.

I know this, because I know what's technically possible without re-creating assets. Trust me on this
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December 7th, 2012, 13:46
I guess the tradeoff is pure resolution vs better visuals+proper scale then. I mean better visuals than the original of course, not necessarily better than TuTu. Given the choice, I'll take the latter every time.
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December 7th, 2012, 13:48
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
I guess the tradeoff is pure resolution vs better visuals+proper scale then. I mean better visuals than the original of course, not necessarily better than TuTu. Given the choice, I'll take the latter every time.
It's identical to what you can get with TuTu - except for the UI scaling (though I'm not sure if that's possible with mods or not).

But yeah, EE is clearly better than vanilla BG in terms of the visuals - I wouldn't contest that.
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December 7th, 2012, 13:50
I see it's out on the iPad… Maybe I'll cave if the response is very positive - as the price is 10$. I have no interest in the extra content.

But they're saying that exits on maps aren't highlighted - and there's no way to actually know where to go to exit the map - except to try. Which is pretty awful, if true.
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December 7th, 2012, 13:50
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
It's identical to what you can get with TuTu - except for the UI scaling.
And the fact that everything gets zoomed out and smaller with TuTu.

Regarding the exits on maps- most of the maps can be exited anywhere along their edge. You don't have to search for a specific spot.
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December 7th, 2012, 13:52
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
And the fact that everything gets zoomed out and smaller with TuTu.
I'll repeat. TuTu != any set resolution. You CHOOSE your resolution with the WS mod.

So, with TuTu + WS - you can get EXACTLY the same resolution that EE uses - and get exactly the same "zoom level" as you call it.

Again, it's my guess that it's ~1280x720 - depending on your native res. They probably detect your ratio based on desktop resolution and go with the corresponding compromise and scale the UI so it fills the screen entirely.
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December 7th, 2012, 13:52
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I concede that it can be better if you're running an awkward res or have an usually sized monitor. Personally, I don't think there's any real difference in my case of having a 1920x1080 native res - which AFAIK is one of the most common native res'es these days.
My desktop runs at 1280 x 1024 (still running old school non-widescreen monitors). I replayed BGTuTu and BG2 about 3 years ago, and while I still loved it, it just didn't seem 'natural' at that resolution. IE it looked like it was being forced to fit rather than designed for that resolution (which of course it was not). BGEE fits to me. I don't feel like I'm playing some hack job of the game, I feel like I'm playing the game as intended.

I'm waiting for feedback before I'll go along with "professionally done" - but it still seems rather minimal.
So far I only have the wild mage in my group (I temporarily grabbed the monk to see his dialogue, but returned to a previous save game). The dialogue from them is pretty good. I've added a lot of fan made NPC's to games over the years and while I greatly appreciate the efforts of the mod community (BG would be dead without it IMO), the fact is most of these people just don't have the skills to write dialogue or story. I don't either! As such the only time I remember getting new NPC's that seemed almost professionally done was the IWD2 joinable party mod. Those NPC's were done extremely well.

So I'm enjoying the new NPC's and their dialogue. Haven't made it to the new areas yet, but I'm looking forward to it. I like to explore and again, though I appreciate the efforts of the mod community, every 'new' area in mods is just recylced from one of the IE games. I've already seen it. I want to see something new.

Absolutely worthless to me, but I guess some people have very poor eyesight and don't mind stretching their low-res images
The resolution looks fine from all the way out to mid. Zoomed all the way in, it starts looking a little stretched. I generally play at mid, and then zoom out if I want to click farther away to get my characters somewhere or if I'm looking for a specific building or something. Obviously could use the overhead map, but I find the zoom quicker and less intrusive. I've only done the zoom all the way in a few times.

Now, this COULD be significant. Is it instantaneous for all area switches? Are they loading everything into memory or what?
It's pretty instant on every area I have moved into so far (I'm about to enter the mines). No idea how they are accomplishing it, though I guess it would make sense to just load all the surrounding areas into memory. Most PC's have more memory than the entire size of the game!

How about saving/loading games?
The quick save is instant. I seem to recall when you quicksaved before that a save screen popped up, but I may be incorrect on that. If so, that is gone. You just get the "Quick Save Completed" text in the console on the bottom. The quick load (pushing L) is instant as well. Press L and literally about half a second later, your game is loaded.

Obviously if you are doing a non quick save or load, you have to go to the menu, but once you select the action, its instant.

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December 7th, 2012, 13:56
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I'll repeat. TuTu != any set resolution. You CHOOSE your resolution with the WS mod.

So, with TuTu + WS - you can get EXACTLY the same resolution that EE uses - and get exactly the same "zoom level" as you call it.

Again, it's my guess that it's ~1280x720 - depending on your native res. They probably detect your ratio based on desktop resolution and go with the corresponding compromise and scale the UI so it fills the screen entirely.

Do you really want to do this again?

How many examples do I need to show that proves what you're saying is wrong?
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December 7th, 2012, 13:59
Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
My desktop runs at 1280 x 1024 (still running old school non-widescreen monitors). I replayed BGTuTu and BG2 about 3 years ago, and while I still loved it, it just didn't seem 'natural' at that resolution. IE it looked like it was being forced to fit rather than designed for that resolution (which of course it was not). BGEE fits to me. I don't feel like I'm playing some hack job of the game, I feel like I'm playing the game as intended.
Well, all I can say is that I played BGTuTu or whatever corresponding mod around 6 months ago - and with 1280x720 it was pretty much perfect. I didn't feel like it was a hack job at all - but that's subjective, I guess.

The resolution looks fine from all the way out to mid. Zoomed all the way in, it starts looking a little stretched. I generally play at mid, and then zoom out if I want to click farther away to get my characters somewhere or if I'm looking for a specific building or something. Obviously could use the overhead map, but I find the zoom quicker and less intrusive. I've only done the zoom all the way in a few times.
Yeah, I recognise that some people find it useful. I've never felt that desire myself - but I guess we're just different here.

It's pretty instant on every area I have moved into so far (I'm about to enter the mines). No idea how they are accomplishing it, though I guess it would make sense to just load all the surrounding areas into memory. Most PC's have more memory than the entire size of the game!
Yeah, they're probably loading based on adjacency. That is significant - actually. I didn't know that, as it wasn't advertised. Sounds good.

The quick save is instant. I seem to recall when you quicksaved before that a save screen popped up, but I may be incorrect on that. If so, that is gone. You just get the "Quick Save Completed" text in the console on the bottom. The quick load (pushing L) is instant as well. Press L and literally about half a second later, your game is loaded.
Yes, you got that circular BG2 screen if you used TuTu while saving. It was pretty quick on my rig - but "instant" would be better. Another actually useful improvement.

That's interesting, and definitely a real positive.
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December 7th, 2012, 14:01
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
Do you really want to do this again?

How many examples do I need to show that proves what you're saying is wrong?
Honestly, I don't think you understand what I'm saying - but is it really worth it?

I know what I'm saying is true with absolute certainty because I've coded this kind of thing myself and I understand what working with 2D assets is like - but I don't think it's important enough to go through a huge exchange about it.

The only thing I can't know with certainty is the exact resolution (or corresponding resolution their scaling is) amounts to. It's just a guess that it's around 1280x720. But what I DO know - is that if it's not "zoomed out" - it's because they're scaling it to your resolution and that's visually identical to using a lower resolution. As in, 100% identical and not 99.9% identical.

But but, let's just agree to disagree
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December 7th, 2012, 14:09
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
It's identical to what you can get with TuTu - except for the UI scaling (though I'm not sure if that's possible with mods or not).
One thing that I have noticed that is different is the way the resolution is obtained (if that's the best way to put it).

Essentially in the original game (as well as TuTu), you set the resolution in the settings and when it loads up the game, it changes the resolution of your monitor to what you've selected. If you alt-tab out, you'll see the resolution switch back and get all the screen flashing associated with that. I have dual monitors, so I often have on the second screen the manual up or a web page with some info I looked up related to the game. With the original game, if I'm not running at 100% of my normal resolution, then the second monitor gets resized as well and what ever I had on there is not as usable.

In BGEE, the scaling is all done within the game, so the game is running at whatever resolution you have your monitor at. If you alt tab, there is not flickering and resizing of the screen. Whatever you put on the second monitor looks the same.

To me, that greatly enhances my gameplay.

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December 7th, 2012, 14:12
Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
One thing that I have noticed that is different is the way the resolution is obtained (if that's the best way to put it).

Essentially in the original game (as well as TuTu), you set the resolution in the settings and when it loads up the game, it changes the resolution of your monitor to what you've selected. If you alt-tab out, you'll see the resolution switch back and get all the screen flashing associated with that. I have dual monitors, so I often have on the second screen the manual up or a web page with some info I looked up related to the game. With the original game, if I'm not running at 100% of my normal resolution, then the second monitor gets resized as well and what ever I had on there is not as usable.

In BGEE, the scaling is all done within the game, so the game is running at whatever resolution you have your monitor at. If you alt tab, there is not flickering and resizing of the screen. Whatever you put on the second monitor looks the same.

To me, that greatly enhances my gameplay.
Yes, they're obviously scaling the images to correspond to the "compromise resolution" I'm talking about.

It's exactly what I'm doing in my own game - to compensate for the variety of native res monitors.

That means that instead of setting the resolution through settings, they're scaling images to correspond to whatever resolution they've decided is the best compromise between visual appeal and "zoomed out" feel.

Visually, it's identical to picking the same resolution in the WS mod - but you don't get the switch when tabbing - because it's scaling.

I usually avoid alt-tabbing when playing full screen games - but I can see how it would be a minor convenience to not have the annoying res switch for people who alt-tab.
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December 7th, 2012, 14:15
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Yes, they're obviously scaling the images to correspond to the "compromise resolution" I'm talking about.

It's exactly what I'm doing in my own game - to compensate for the variety of native res monitors.

That means that instead of setting the resolution through settings, they're scaling images to correspond to whatever resolution they've decided is the best compromise between visual appeal and "zoomed out" feel.

Visually, it's identical to picking the same resolution in the WS mod - but you don't get the switch when tabbing - because it's scaling.

I usually avoid alt-tabbing when playing full screen games - but I can see how it would be a minor convenience to not have the annoying res switch for people who alt-tab.
The sad fact is that I pretty much suck at rpg games (though I do love them), so I am constantly going online and looking at hints in the middle of games!

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December 7th, 2012, 14:19
Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
The sad fact is that I pretty much suck at rpg games (though I do love them), so I am constantly going online and looking at hints in the middle of games!
Hehe, yeah - but I find that I lose immersion when I alt-tab. I try to stay in the game - but if I have to find a hint somewhere, I usually have a laptop (or now, my iPad Mini) to surf on the side. Not that it's more immersive - but odd things tend to happen when you alt-tab in games - especially old games. If they've fixed technical bugs related to that in EE (it's not just about res switching) - then that's another positive.
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December 7th, 2012, 14:26
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Hehe, yeah - but I find that I lose immersion when I alt-tab. I try to stay in the game - but if I have to find a hint somewhere, I usually have a laptop (or now, my iPad Mini) to surf on the side. Not that it's more immersive - but odd things tend to happen when you alt-tab in games - especially old games. If they've fixed technical bugs related to that in EE (it's not just about res switching) - then that's another positive.
Yeah, Arcanum has given me fits with the alt-tab. If (hopefully when) I get a tablet next year, I may go to your method. I've also thought about just taking an old PC and hooking it up on the second input on my monitor and then getting a keyboard/mouse switch. Though I'm pretty sure my wife has limited me to having no more than 4 computers at any one point, so that might through a hitch in things!

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December 7th, 2012, 14:27
Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
Yeah, Arcanum has given me fits with the alt-tab. If (hopefully when) I get a tablet next year, I may go to your method. I've also thought about just taking an old PC and hooking it up on the second input on my monitor and then getting a keyboard/mouse switch. Though I'm pretty sure my wife has limited me to having no more than 4 computers at any one point, so that might through a hitch in things!
Well, it IS a bit of a luxury to have that option
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