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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » RPGWatch Feature: Eschalon - Book II Interview

Default RPGWatch Feature: Eschalon - Book II Interview

July 7th, 2008, 14:28
We were lucky enough to grab Thomas Riegsecker from Basilisk Games for the first interview on Eschalon: Book II. Here's a sample:

RPGWatch: One of the bullet-points in the announcement that caught my eye was the “cause and effect outcomes” you mention for many quests. What exactly does this mean and does it differ from how you approached Book I? I'm hoping this means more opportunities to make choices in how to resolve quests or how the result changes the direction of events – am I reading this right?

Thomas Riegsecker: You are correct. In Book II we’ll have more quests that branch based on player choices, and the effects of these choices will be more apparent. For example, helping one person may affect your standing with someone else, or completing certain quests may impact the game world in unforeseen ways. Overall, we just want to give the player a greater sense that their actions have real consequences.
Read it all here.
More information.
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July 7th, 2008, 14:28
Sounds good all round.

In my opinion this is one of the more favourable aspects of Eschalon- different character builds favour different play styles. No two players or character builds will get the exact same experience.
Very true and one of the more interesting aspects of Eschalon especially in contrast to some recent RPGs where the difference in character builds is often merely cosmetic.

But rather than impose new rules on players who enjoyed Book I as it was, we have decided to make food and water an optional gameplay element which you can disable if you want.
Yeah! Book II is back on my "must buy" list. I'm not denigrating Basilisk Games design ability but I can't recall a single game where food 'n' water requirements was a fun feature.
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July 7th, 2008, 15:10
I didn't really like the idea of making several balance-changing options available for the player, like turning food requirements off or choice between reload abuse or some option. Being an indie means being limited in manpower for testing and balancing, and adding each choice like this might increase the effort required up to double. This cheap way of pleasing every part of the crowd is not really that cheap after all.
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July 7th, 2008, 16:57
Lots of information. This really looks like that rarity, a developer with a clear game vision but the ability to listen to the players. To me it just makes sense to reasonably accommodate different expectations over controversial options like food and water, especially when the game is designed with several difficulty tiers to begin with. Obviously you can't cater to every player's whim, but there was a lot of negative reaction to the food thing. This way he can give that experience to those who want a more old school approach and find it fun, and those who think it's tedious don't have a reason not to buy the game.
I like the idea of starting with a level one character also, especially since there are new skillsets to explore. And this is probably my favorite line:
Yes, we are working on deeper, longer dungeons for Book II. In classic RPGs (including D&D), dungeons had sense of infamy about them. Some were almost legendary, intimidating players who stood at their entrances and peered into the dark. We are working to capture this feeling that each dungeon is essentially a game unto itself and will be a challenge in different ways to different players.

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July 7th, 2008, 17:00
Although I'm no real fan of "dungeon crawls", I acknowledge that they want to bring the feeling back that I - for example - encountered myself when beginning the first Eye of the Beholder games.

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July 7th, 2008, 17:17
Great interview as usual Dhruin. Thanks Tom, this sounds like a sure buy for me. I loved Book 1 and Book 2 will be a welcome addition to my collection. Now, when is it scheduled for release!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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July 7th, 2008, 18:36
Yes! Gameplay configuration options! One of the things that has baffled me about vid games for the longest time is the sparcity of gameplay configuration options. Give the people choice, I say! Thank you, Thom!
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July 7th, 2008, 20:32
<quote>I can't recall a single game where food 'n' water requirements was a fun feature.</quote>
I remember starving in Dungeon Master the first time I played it! Taught me a thing or two about resource management and was great fun. It was a great moment when I found my third waterskin. Much more precious than yet another weapon. I still remember that weird 'gulp' sound when you swallowed.

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July 7th, 2008, 20:38
I like the idea of scores awarded according to various difficulty settings, especially if they would go beyond numerical and, ideally, would also be reflected in the game ending in some sort of (minor) way.
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July 7th, 2008, 20:44
I bought book 1 and loved it! I will definetely buy book 2 as well, no question about it.

In reply to the difficulty tweaking making the game much more complicated. It does not have to be. For example food, just make the game with food in mind, and if the player turns this option off, two extra code words is all that is needed

IF( foodRequirement )
code to make player affected by hunger or eating food
else
keep on running other rules

As far as random goes, I always thought the best way is to make a set of seeds in the beggining of the game. This way reloading will not affect any loot but each game will be different. I also think each chest / trap / door etc should have the possiblity to add an option modifier. For example a class 5 chest would get a higher chance of having good loot, than a normal chest.

Bigger dungeons, and a big city, more NPC interaction, and more choices in quest all sounds fantastic! Cannot wait for the game.

Will there be such a fantastic place as the vault again???! It was such a great experiance to discover and explore that place very exciting!!! So exciting that some players hacked the game just to get into all the locked places to see if there would be anything there LOL. Great work on that.

I am also woundering if there were any changes made to the AI to make the characters, and enemies smarter? and will there be more enemies with many different kinds of attacks, or magic user enemies with many spells? etc etc etc?
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July 7th, 2008, 23:22
I'm sure it's far more critical for the indie developers, but I'm seriously impressed over and over with the way Basilisk (and others like Age of Decadence) keeps the wishes of the gamers in front of them. Sure, creative integrity is going to force a few decisions, but these guys are asking what the gamers think and then coding that into the game. It's a nice counterpoint to most of the bigger developers and publishers that couldn't pick a gamer out of lineup with a rock and hula hoop, let alone listen to one.

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July 7th, 2008, 23:51
I dont usually play indie games at all but Eschalon is an exception (and AoD too it seems). I bought the first game instantly after playing the demo only few minutes. The game looks and plays great and rekindles memories from old rpgs. I think the biggest bonus is the turn-based gameplay. It wouldnt be even half as fun if it were realtime. In a way eschalon reminds me of modern ultima if the series had kept its TB gameplay.

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July 8th, 2008, 01:14
Sounds very interesting, like the sound of big infamous dungeon(s!) to tackle.

Being able to turn off an option or two I don't think will hurt their development cycle that much. Food & Drink are just statistical elements after all.
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July 8th, 2008, 01:58
Originally Posted by drum View Post
I didn't really like the idea of making several balance-changing options available for the player, like turning food requirements off or choice between reload abuse or some option. Being an indie means being limited in manpower for testing and balancing, and adding each choice like this might increase the effort required up to double. This cheap way of pleasing every part of the crowd is not really that cheap after all.
It all depends - if the game is well designed, then it is a matter of putting exposed variables in a dialog … if it is like DL or G3 it means 6 months of work and a 1GB patch

I really appreciate the effort and can't wait to play it on Mac & PC like the last one!

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July 8th, 2008, 11:21
Originally Posted by drum View Post
I didn't really like the idea of making several balance-changing options available for the player, like turning food requirements off or choice between reload abuse or some option. Being an indie means being limited in manpower for testing and balancing, and adding each choice like this might increase the effort required up to double. This cheap way of pleasing every part of the crowd is not really that cheap after all.
Your argument is that gameplay options are a "bad thing" because they make development/QA more difficult. Development issues are irrelevant to the end user; it's the features provided that matter. As a business it's Basilisks Games' job to please as wide a crowd as feasibly possible. If anything a small indie developer with a very discerning niche market needs to be even more accommodating to its customers than a mainstream developer.
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July 8th, 2008, 13:30
There are surely many easy ways to turn off food. If nothing else they could just put a "cheat" into the game which keeps food at max level at all times (and hides the food-meter). You could still hunt etc but you dont need to eat the food get from it.

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July 9th, 2008, 13:15
Just bought and started playing Book I - my first time with an indie game (lights a cigarette) So far it's quite fun - I can think of a few nice features they could add for turn based combat - especially an indication of how far you/enemy can move in a turn (a la AoD) - shading of battle grid squares (simple to do in OpenGL). Perhaps this will make its way into Book 2? I must say that the purchase and download were remarkably painless - one of the things I always fretted about when considering doing this before - and at 100MB it was a nice size to for those of us with paltry caps.
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July 10th, 2008, 16:34
Do someone know if the developers are happy with there sellings of the game?
It surprised me, that they dont have any publisher or sell the game @ steam.
Perhaps they are new examples for other small developers.
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July 10th, 2008, 17:02
Originally Posted by BlackKnight View Post
Do someone know if the developers are happy with there sellings of the game?
It surprised me, that they dont have any publisher or sell the game @ steam.
Perhaps they are new examples for other small developers.
Yes and no, apparently. Actually that was in the answer to the first question Dhruin asked:
RPGWatch:…I'd like to ask about the success of Book 1. It won our Indie of the Year award and gathered a community of fans – and obviously it was successful enough for you to pursue Book II. Did it meet your pre-release expectations? How do you see the results?


Thomas Riegsecker: Thank you, Brian.

Yes, we’ve been fairly happy with the sales of Book I so far and have successfully met our minimal sales goal needed to move on to the next game. Unfortunately if we were to put this into perspective, we are nowhere near “successful” as the term applies to a mainstream title. Still, I am extremely pleased with the way the community has embraced Book I and if we can keep expanding our fan base as we have been doing for the past seven months, then Basilisk Games should be around for many years making games.

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July 10th, 2008, 18:07
Originally Posted by booboo View Post
I can think of a few nice features they could add for turn based combat - especially an indication of how far you/enemy can move in a turn (a la AoD) - shading of battle grid squares (simple to do in OpenGL).
I believe the moverate is the same for everyone, one square per turn. You escape from critters by virtue of them not following you on that particular turn (plus there's a bug, so if you just hold the mouse, you'll get away sooner or later).

You can see the grid by pressing tab (IIRC), I assume that's what you want?
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