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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Thorvalla - Update #2, An Overview

Default Thorvalla - Update #2, An Overview

November 21st, 2012, 13:37
The second update for Thorvalla offers a detailed overview of the main systems. If you thought the launch was a little light on details, this update is worth a read:
Characters will also have the following, fairly standard set of attributes. I am not sure I am entirely happy with these yet, so I may tweak these a little as we go along.
  • Brawn/Strength
  • Dexterity
  • Agility
  • Wisdom
  • Soul
  • Charisma
Combat skills are calculated from these attributes and cover Attack, Damage, Defense and Armor. Note, that Armor is not an armor class rating but an actual point value. I’ve always found that much more intuitive and easier to read while playing games.
In addition, there will be calculated general magic skills, of course, such as Magic Attack and Magic Defense. On top of those come the elemental magic armors against Fire, Water, Ice, and so on, which are item, spell or effect driven during actual gameplay.
Then, to deepen characters, there will be the traits and skills. Look for things such as various weapon skills for Swords, Axes, Two-handed weapons, staffs, projectile weapons, etc. Unarmed fighting skills will also be included, particularly for the Monk class, which you will find have tremendous bonuses here because I like Martial Arts. :-)
Other, more general traits will include things such as Charming, Taunting, Temptation - which is important because there will be succubi in the game -, Dragon Taming, Lock-Picking, Stealth, Tracking, Languages, Cultures, Herbal Knowledge, Poison and pure Luck, to name a few. As we design the story and quests, etc. we will make sure to create proper challenges and plot branches that make the most of each of these attributes so that you will feel that they truly have purpose.
More information.
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November 21st, 2012, 13:37
Very detailed update.

So one char can be created, everything will be classic style, except for the combat, which will be innovative. If it doesn't work they'll go back to normal TB.

The comment sections contain even more infos.

(Gothic, Baldur's Gate, Diablo?)
"No, it is not going to be anything like those games. I do not consider these games real hardcore RPGs and they are certainly nothing I want to do. "

"Steam is only optional, because many players like to add game to their Steam Library for easier management. There will also be a downloadable version of the game available, however. DRM-free, of course."

"I think people who have played my games before know that I am not afraid to challenge the player. It's the reason why I said this game will be hard. You will save your game and you will save it often."
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November 21st, 2012, 14:12
(Gothic, Baldur's Gate, Diablo?)
"No, it is not going to be anything like those games. I do not consider these games real hardcore RPGs and they are certainly nothing I want to do. "
While I can respect his opinion about what constitutes a hardcore RPG, I'm not sure how many friends he's going to make with comments like that.
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November 21st, 2012, 14:25
Hm. I have pledged, but I was not thrilled to hear that they're thinking of using 'cards' in their TB combat. I just find it silly as a metaphor for powers/skills in a computer game. I hope they will change their mind about that aspect. "*snap* my power puff peekachu trumps your wall of thorns"…whatever.

I also don't like a game being 'hard' for the sake of it - the challenge and your chance of success must make sense. I always think that if you were the character, using the knowledge and skills you have acquired, you should have a good chance of surving an encounter if you are reasonably prepared (not optimally prepared, with a munchkinized character) . many games seem to take the approach of just throwing overpowered enemies at you and expecting you to die N times while you try to evolve a successful 'trick' (exploit?) to suvive that enemy. In real life you would not have the oppurtunity to die multiple times when solving a problem. Yet people seem to laud this approach. I think I will wait and see how this unfolds before deciding if it's really the game for me.
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November 21st, 2012, 14:33
Meanwhile, in the comments section:
Neal Hallford 31 minutes ago

Hey guys, as one of the people involved in MAKING this project, please know that this isn't a blood sport. Nobody gets extra points for bashing other backers whether they are for or against any of the ideas that we put out there. There are going to be disagreements, but don't get personal here. There's no call to be purposefully uncivil. The anonymity of the Internet makes things bad enough. We're adults here. Let's act like it.

Guido and I both understand that this can seem unnerving to the uninitiated. We both have been in the position of being the new guy who watched multi-million dollar projects get greenlighted by the management of big game companies, sometimes approved on nothing more than a two page summary and a crude sketch. The reality of it is that this isn't significantly different than the way some "real" game companies develop their titles. EVERY game starts off as a gamble, and with a million fiddly little details up in the air well into the development process. In 22 years of game development, I have never ended up with a game that exactly matched the design proposal I started off with. The big broad strokes are usually still the same, but the five bajillion little systems that I thought sounded AWESOME at the start ended up being unworkable or just not fun at the end of the day. So don't get worked up over the small details. Until this is officially in production and has been reality tested, this is all a best-guess. And at least be assured that the guys making the best guesses have hit the target more times than they've missed it. We'll get some things wrong along the way. Absolutely we will. But we'll also get a lot right. And you'll be giving us exactly the same flexibility that the people with the directors with the purse strings gave us when we made the hit games we both made in the past. I know it's hard to have faith, especially when this whole process is new to you, but as I said before, this is honestly the way it has often worked in the big shops. If you want to understand this process more thoroughly, go google the phrase "agile development" so you'll see how this works. Start with the small stuff, test, innovate, and iterate. Go from the vauge to the specific, but only once you've established you're on the right path.

We are both very honored that you've chosen to donate to this project, and thus your comments mean even more to us than those who remain out there in the world, complaining about something they haven't even really bothered to investigate. Presumably all of you have donated to this project because there's something here you believed in. Maybe it was what you read on the page. Maybe it was in the update. Maybe it was just because you loved a game that Guido or I made. Regardless of your reasons, your donations are paving the way to allowing us to get done. But we need something from you right now that's just as important as your donation. We need you to spread the good word. If you want this to happen, it's no good just debating about it here because this is the choir loft. Everyone in this list is here because they wanted to make this happen. We need you to amplify the signal. We need you to share with your friends, to tweet to your fellow gamers, to post in forums outside because those are all the people we haven't reached. People who arrive on Kickstarter through the personal recommendation of a friend are 70% more likely to donate than those who simply discover a campaign randomly. If you believe in this project, if you CARE about this project, then please reach out and make it a personal goal to bring in one, two, or three more friends who care about RPGs as you do. Do more than talk about it, be ACTIVE about it. Because we haven't spent a million dollars on an ad buy, the ONLY way we get this message out there and attract the donors who will get us to a fully funded project is if you pitch in and amplify the signal. And if you aren't prepared to reach out and do that, then don't complain about our "numbers" not being where you want them to be. We need your help. You HAVE influence. Do something positive and awesome with it.

Best wishes,
Neal Hallford
Thorvalla - Lead Writer
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November 21st, 2012, 15:35
We both have been in the position of being the new guy who watched multi-million dollar projects get greenlighted by the management of big game companies, sometimes approved on nothing more than a two page summary and a crude sketch. The reality of it is that this isn't significantly different than the way some "real" game companies develop their titles.
Uh, bullshit. I'm sure that happens occasionally. He doesn't follow up with any numbers on those wing-and-a-prayer project's success rates.
Anyway, however it's done in the AAA world, that's not the world he's pitching his project in.

So don't get worked up over the small details.
Now that sounds flat-out arrogant, coming from a guy with his hand out asking for money.

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November 21st, 2012, 16:22
I can't imagine this kickstarter succeeding. 1 million bucks for what? They don't have a team in place that should need anywhere near that. Make a smaller crpg to show your skill set.
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November 21st, 2012, 16:27
So how do they pay the 20-30 people full time, as intended?
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November 21st, 2012, 16:35
Why do people assume that making a full fledged RPG magically costs less just because you put it on Kickstarter? $1.000.000 / $50.000 av. salary, = 20 man years. Deduct office space, licensing cost, etc…
And why would Henkel and Hallford need to "show their skill set"?
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November 21st, 2012, 16:46
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
Why do people assume that making a full fledged RPG magically costs less just because you put it on Kickstarter? $1.000.000 / $50.000 av. salary, = 20 man years. Deduct office space, licensing cost, etc…
And why would Henkel and Hallford need to "show their skill set"?
^That!! +++

Also people assume that because there are 25 yr olds out there putting out projects nearing beta on kickstarter that it should be the norm. Or because guys like Cleve, Pierre or myself do stuff on our own dime that they should be doing the same. These are different worlds. I found it normal that a vague pitch led to Fargo's success based mostly on his name and credentials and can't understand why it isn't working for Neal and Guido. They have a resume and paid their dues 25 years ago.

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November 21st, 2012, 17:25
Originally Posted by Charles-cgr View Post
I found it normal that a vague pitch led to Fargo's success based mostly on his name and credentials and can't understand why it isn't working for Neal and Guido. They have a resume and paid their dues 25 years ago.
I think it is easy to understand. Double Fine and Wasteland were the first high profile developers and were filling a void and addressing the desires of (mainly) old-school gamers. Apart from that, they both had IMO excellent pitch videos that conveyed their message perfectly, which I think was key to their success.

Obviously, with so many Kickstarters now, this "void" is for a large part already filled and consequently these new projects need to try harder to convince the public. The Kickstarter novelty is gone and people react more "rational" now and are thus more critical hence the importance of a good pitch and presentation.
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November 21st, 2012, 17:30
But saying that the void is filled is a severe miscalculation imo. One dev means one game every three years (given they both succeed and continue, which they may not). There's room for a whole bunch more.

I think the problem is that from the press's point of view, the newsworthiness of such projects is gone.

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November 21st, 2012, 17:33
Originally Posted by Asdraguuhl View Post
The Kickstarter novelty is gone and people react more "rational" now and are thus more critical hence the importance of a good pitch and presentation.
*check wallet*

I don't think I'm acting more rational.
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November 21st, 2012, 17:38
Originally Posted by Charles-cgr View Post
There's room for a whole bunch more.
Yes, I agree. However, the Kickstarter model is still unproven and I doubt that people are willing to "risk" money on every new project that comes along.

Originally Posted by Charles-cgr View Post
I think the problem is that from the press's point of view, the newsworthiness of such projects is gone.
No doubt that the lack of news coverage has a significant influence but I still believe that that is not the only cause responsable for the extremely bad start of ThorValla.
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November 21st, 2012, 17:46
Originally Posted by azarhal View Post
*check wallet*

I don't think I'm acting more rational.
Well, I backed 16 projects by now, mostly RPGs and Adventures and I am actually a bit embarrased to admit that I have spent nearly 1.7k$. (Although the majority of that money is spent on 5 high profile projects)

So yeah, I also belong to the irrationally insane group . But how many of "us" are there?

There is already too much rationality in my life since I deal with mathematics, physics and engineering at work so Kickstarter is a good way to balance things out .
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November 21st, 2012, 18:17
I'm not sure what the answer is, to be honest. I know that for the most part, I ignore any kickstarter that requests $1,000,000 unless I've seen recent crpgs from them that I played and enjoyed. So far, only Obsidian matches that criteria. I just can't see investing in these used-to-be's who are jumping on the bandwagon with super vague concepts. So no to Wasteland 2, Shaker, Thorvalla, etc, at least for me. I'd rather attempt to get a Sui Generis instead and I invested in that one. Wasteland 2 had a very strong identity right from the beginning, so it stands out from all these other $1,000,000 projects.
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November 21st, 2012, 20:05
Another part of this comes down to age——publishers, same as most other businesses, want little to do with long time veterans when there are so many starry-eyed newcomers to fleece prior to their succumbing to the ridiculously high industry burn out rate. What KS and the like allows is for the, relatively few remaining due to either death or total burn out, to take another crack at things on moreso their own terms. These folks are not getting any younger, and since the industry has done a PISS POOR job of cultivating a sense of veneration of the classics along the lines of preservation and education wholesale across the younger generations——when they are no longer with us then a real risk is run of it being a lost artform on top of the current horrid trends in terms of patents and copyright lockups.

Sure there are various young folks with the benefit of being able to bedroom code out some spiffy RPGs and whatnot—-but that doesn't detract from the value of the old guard where literally there are no shortcuts to the many years of experience. Because the games industry is so young relative to many others, this hasn't quite set in as it needs to regardless—-as time waits for no one.

That said, if it has to be about jacking around numbers around his 1 million initial target, I'd vote 2D so he can make ample use of his Voodoo engine getting rounded out versus having to throw down for the full shebang of Unity and then get it up to speed——though it isn't like there aren't various 2D solutions for Unity, paid as they tend to be.
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November 21st, 2012, 22:35
Not really 100% on topic, but some of you might be interested in checking out this "summary" video of the Realms of Arkania games, just put together by a German Gaming site (and therefore it's German, sorry guys, but I guess we have a couple of German speakers here and some who don't bother )
http://vid.buffed.de/hdvideo/12176/R…rdlandtrilogie
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November 21st, 2012, 22:59
Originally Posted by Kordanor View Post
Not really 100% on topic, but some of you might be interested in checking out this "summary" video of the Realms of Arkania games, just put together by a German Gaming site (and therefore it's German, sorry guys, but I guess we have a couple of German speakers here and some who don't bother )
http://vid.buffed.de/hdvideo/12176/R…rdlandtrilogie
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November 21st, 2012, 23:03
A pity, that kickstarter page is not anywhere near what is needed to raise that much money IMHO, but that guy made brilliant games for sure.
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