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Default Wasteland 2 - Interview @ NMA

February 24th, 2012, 23:16
NMA has interviewed Brian Fargo on their Wasteland Kickstarter project. It's an interesting piece and Fargo confirms the planned use of a lot of material from Jason Anderson (Fallout) who spent a year developing Wasteland concepts for inXile some time back, a top-down view and turn-based combat.
Screeg writes in and asks me to emphasise the turn-based part. TURN-BASED. Got that? Here's a snip:
It's been years since the old Wasteland so no one is expecting a carbon copy. What would you say are elements in design or setting from the original that absolutely must make it back in, and what elements would you say are most likely to change?

Party and turn based combat is an absolute critical requirement for me. I like finding the right mix of Desert Rangers combined with NPC's and I enjoy the tactics that come from that dynamic. Players will spend more time doing combat than most anything in an RPG so it needs to be deep and rewarding. The skill based system is another must have to me as it opens up the world to be explored in ways that the player wants to do. You can have someone picklock the door, use demolitions on it, sneak over the back wall or try and let a rocket loose to blow the door off. A good RPG always offers many options for the player to move forward and with some of their choices may open or close off entire areas. I think the 3rd element is the way NPC's had a mind of their own within combat or game mechanics. The best storytelling often comes from the moments that happen from within the system. Almost everyone remembers when Angela Deth would empty an entire Uzi clip into a rat and completely waste hard earned ammo.

Things that will have big changes will be the use of audio and how you communicate and receive missions from the Desert Rangers HQ. I won't go into detail yet but we have some innovative ideas that will make that whole aspect of the game become more entertaining and meaningful. We also plan to dial up the things that NPC's can do or cause affect the party. We will have some NPC's that you will love in combat but be looking forward to snuffing out once you get the chance. We will also have a more cohesive story thanks to all the efforts that Jason and Mike have already put in. We have learned a lot more about storytelling than we did back in the day.
More information.
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February 24th, 2012, 23:16
Party-based, turn-based, top-down, many of the original team involved - sounds good to me!

I'm still curious if top-down means isometric Fallout-style or if they are going even more old-school with a tile-based approach. Either way would be fine by me - tile based would allow for a lot more content as the art would be quicker to make, but of course isometric 3D would be more visually appealing.
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February 25th, 2012, 00:00
That all sounds really good. He said all the right things, as far as I'm concerned.

I hope all we folks who have been skeptical about what this company might do to Wasteland, due to their mishandling on A Bard's Tale, can be proven wrong upon this game's release, so we can all stand back and point the finger of blame at publishers. But there's a lot of time between then and now, I'm sure.
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February 25th, 2012, 01:16
I'm also pleased they're going to go with an existing game engine and save their budget/mental health for content and mechanics. So far it sounds as if they're doing everything right.

Would be a bummer if their Kickstarter appeal was a complete flop.

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February 25th, 2012, 01:33
I wish they would ask them more specifically about W2 vs. Fallout. I mean.. is this going to draw from Fallout at all, or is this going to be based entirely on Wasteland? I feel like Fallout is lurking around the edges of this entire debate. It's like the elephant in the room. It gets brought up in these interviews, but the big questions are neither asked nor answered.
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February 25th, 2012, 02:24
Party-based and turn-based sound great, but I'm not sure if I'd really want the top-down view.

It would be great if they could use an engine similar to Dragon Age: Origins, where you can manipulate the camera angle in 3D but still switch to an isometric view whenever you wanted. Of course I realize that's highly improbably for a crowd funded project.
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February 25th, 2012, 03:51
Originally Posted by killias2 View Post
I wish they would ask them more specifically about W2 vs. Fallout. I mean.. is this going to draw from Fallout at all, or is this going to be based entirely on Wasteland? I feel like Fallout is lurking around the edges of this entire debate. It's like the elephant in the room. It gets brought up in these interviews, but the big questions are neither asked nor answered.
I'm not sure why you feel it's the elephant in the room? I don't see any need to draw on Fallout - it's the other way around. Obviously, Fallout is more modern and made a number of advances, if that's what you mean.

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February 25th, 2012, 09:20
I hope they go with a 2D engine and isometric view, that would probably be the fastest (and probably cheapest) way to develop it in terms of level design and artwork.. It would also be pretty unique for a modern game.
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February 25th, 2012, 20:54
Originally Posted by vurt View Post
I hope they go with a 2D engine and isometric view, that would probably be the fastest (and probably cheapest) way to develop it in terms of level design and artwork.. It would also be pretty unique for a modern game.
No Sir, you are wrong. Animating characters and doing this in 4 or 6 angles (FO vs. FOT) is a hell lot of work. Doing animations on polygon chars is a piece of cake compared to that.

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February 25th, 2012, 21:19
Why would they do it in 4 or 6 angles, the angle would obviously be fixed for a 2D game so just 1 angle would do. Rigging 3D animations is probably the most time consuming thing there is when making 3D. They could cheat a lot with the artwork since it would be fixed into one position, they dont need to care about polycount either. Level design is hell of a lot easier too..
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February 26th, 2012, 02:58
A fixed 2D perspective doesn't result in one angle. Fallout characters had 8: front, back, side left, side right, and four diagonal sides. Each of them has to be made and animated, though a lot can be done by mirroring, but that too limits what you can do art-wise, or messes up the look (like with Arcanum).

3D seems more likely. I dunno if it's necessarily cheaper, but it's certainly easier if only due to everyone working with it now.
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February 26th, 2012, 04:42
Obviously all sides of the characters would have to be animated. Not a big problem at all since characters are usually made in a 3D program, any serious artist knows how to accomplish this.

3D is more likely, but i'm still hoping they'll go completely old-school (except for resolution), just like Double Fine seems to have decided..
Last edited by vurt; February 26th, 2012 at 05:20.
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February 26th, 2012, 08:29
I've done some pre-rendered isometric character work before - what we did was animate them in 3D Studio Max and then have a script that auto-rotates the character during the render process to get all the angles. So the actual animating wouldn't be more time-consuming than realtime 3D.

The problem would be that the old pre-render technique is not easy to scale to different resolutions. Like now if we play Fallout or Baldur's Gate at modern resolutions we see stuff either smaller on the screen than intended (using a widescreen hack) or they have to be pixelated and sized up. I suppose they could render really huge artwork to work with a wide range of resolutions but that might be impractical.

What I think they'll do, if they go isometric, is use a realtime 3D engine with a fixed camera angle (with maybe just rotation). To keep within a smaller budget they could avoid letting the camera get too close to characters - so they can make the models low-poly. They would still need to do great texture work to make it look good of course.
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February 26th, 2012, 10:45
The artwork would need to have a higher resolution yes, it's really no different than textures nowadays needs to have a higher resolution.

Maybe it's just me, but i'd love to see a modern game with hi-res 2D isometric artwork, where polygons doesnt hinder the artwork in any way. This would also mean it would be playable on most computers, and probably a lot easier to convert to more platforms since 3D is more demanding and sometimes very difficult to troubleshoot. 2D games usually just *works*, that's one of the big advantages compared to 3D where you sometimes have to go through different drivers or even wait for new graphics drivers before it works properly.
Last edited by vurt; February 26th, 2012 at 10:56.
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February 26th, 2012, 23:53
Originally Posted by vurt View Post
Maybe it's just me, but i'd love to see a modern game with hi-res 2D isometric artwork, where polygons doesnt hinder the artwork in any way. This would also mean it would be playable on most computers, and probably a lot easier to convert to more platforms since 3D is more demanding and sometimes very difficult to troubleshoot. 2D games usually just *works*, that's one of the big advantages compared to 3D where you sometimes have to go through different drivers or even wait for new graphics drivers before it works properly.
Actually I'm with you on that one - it would be awesome to see a game that pushes that pre-rendered 2D technique using modern memory capacities and modeling techniques, rendered in high-def resolutions. Having no polygon limit they could go to beautiful extremes with the details. They could have a huge master render of each art asset and adjust it down depending on each resolution / platform they target.

I just wonder, since it is probably going to be a mid-range budget game, if they can handle creating that level of detail in the artwork. To create the detailed backgrounds and characters might take more resources than the crowdfunding can supply. Another hurdle might be that most industry artists now aren't familiar with that technique. I really don't know though. It would be very cool if they did do that!
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February 27th, 2012, 03:59
Originally Posted by Myrkrel View Post
I just wonder, since it is probably going to be a mid-range budget game, if they can handle creating that level of detail in the artwork. To create the detailed backgrounds and characters might take more resources than the crowdfunding can supply.
The static models would only need to look good from one angle, that should save some time. When modelling there's usually a lot of planning involved (polygon wise), while here you could just go at it. A dream scenario for most modellers
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February 27th, 2012, 06:15
Originally Posted by vurt View Post
The static models would only need to look good from one angle, that should save some time. When modelling there's usually a lot of planning involved (polygon wise), while here you could just go at it. A dream scenario for most modellers
That is true - I remember modeling that way and it was creatively liberating. Tossing in all kinds of primitives, bits and pieces, intricate detail, lighting and textures until it looked "just right". Not having to worry about poly count would make the process faster. Maybe it would be more feasible than I'm thinking.
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