Torment: Tides of Numenera - All News
Thursday - June 25, 2015
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Interview @ Redbull
Interesting interview with project lead Kevin Saunders and design lead Adam Heine - some snippets:
Tides of Numenera and the tides of crowdfunding
We speak to the team behind the spiritual successor of 1999’s critical darling Planescape: Torment.
It's been well over two years since inXile Entertainment's ambitious RPG Torment: Tides of Numenera was successfully funded on Kickstarter, raising over $4.1million to help bring the game to life. While we've not heard too much from the team since the game was funded, inXile has been steadily plugging away to keep its vision alive.
Originally slated to land last December, the game's release has been moved back to this year, all so that the team can meet the ambitious stretch goals the community voted for with its wallets. The finish-line is definitely in sight though and ahead of the game's final release, we spoke with project lead Kevin Saunders and design lead Adam Heine on what to expect from the final game, updating gameplay for a new century, and the team's take on our world a billion years in the future.
Numenera is based in our world, but a billion years in the future. How is that different to it being a new world altogether and what are you preserving from the present that players will recognise in Numenera’s far future?
Adam Heine: The difference is that in knowing the Ninth World is (or once was) Earth, it forces one to imagine how and why. There is no magic, so if that man is capable of healing someone with just a touch and a few muttered words, how is he doing that? Is it some hereditary mutation, some change done to him by ancient technologies he stumbled upon in the wasteland, or is he drawing on unseen powers in the air? Do the words even matter (he certainly believes they do)? If there's a standing dome of water – held in by nothing but a few stone obelisks – then somebody in the past had the technology and desire to build it. Why? How does it work? And how powerful must that civilisation have been to have created such a thing?
These questions aren't raised in a typical fantasy setting. But for every weird thing in the Ninth World, one has to ask how it got there, why, and what it was originally for. The answers to these questions are rarely given in the Numenera setting, but that's not the point. The point is to ignite the imagination.
Nothing from the 21st Century will have survived a billion years from now, but what players will recognise in the Ninth World is humanity. Nobody knows why humanity emerged again on Earth some thousand years ago – barely changed from the way they are today – but they are obviously people, with all of our same flaws and struggles and loves and fears.
The Tides of the title are, according to a recent interview, ‘essentially a way to get around big fights’. We’re still a little unclear on how they work. Is their use in the game only to manipulate NPCs? Is it fair to characterise them a bit like karma, where characters or quests will only be open if you are a very just person? And if that’s all they are, why such prominence in the game’s title?
Heine: The Tides aren't a gate for fights, but rather an alignment system. They play two main parts in the story of TTON. First, they change based on the PC's choices, but unlike PS:T's alignment axes of good/evil and law/chaos, the Tides are focused on the type of legacy the PC is building. The player's Tides are determined by his words and actions – not by a set of morals or inscrutable motivations – and they have a subtle effect on many aspects of the game, including manipulating NPCs and conferring bonuses and item effects.
The Tides also are a natural force, akin to gravity or magnetism. This force has been harnessed by the PC's sire, allowing him to jump from body to body in his apparent quest for immortality, and it may be an unforeseen side effect of the Tides that creates the cast-offs. The Tides are an important, underlying facet of the game's story. (...)
Tuesday - June 23, 2015
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Process, Fettles & Lore
The Kickstarter page for Torment: Tides of Numenera has an update providing the same information as in the previous newsbit for the additional free stuf when you back The Bard's Tale IV kickstarter and provides information on the production process:
Kevin here, with a brief production update. Progress has been good, and we continue to gain momentum. Thus far, our writers have written, and our designers implemented, over 400K words across more than 200 NPCs and interactions. More than half of those conversations and scripted interactions have already been reviewed/revised at least twice.
Meanwhile, about 1/3 of the Crises are at least partially implemented. We’re now focusing on the first two of them in our efforts to polish the overall system. The various elements of our Crisis UI are undergoing their 2nd (or 3rd) iteration, and we’re to the point where testing out the fledgling Crises are more enjoyable than academic. All features are mostly functional and the variety across playthroughs helps keep it interesting.We’ve also been experimenting with, and developing, many AI types, and are happy with the smart variety we’re seeing emerge in different enemy types.
And information about Fettles:
I want to talk to you about fettles.
"What the hell is a fettle that's not even a word."
Right. See, that's exactly what I said when Kevin suggested 'fettle' as our term for lingering conditions and effects. But yeah, it's totally a word, one perfectly suited to the linguistical atmosphere we're shooting for in Torment.
Fettles are conditions that affect player characters in and out of combat. Some examples that will be immediately familiar to RPG players are things like Poisoned, Bleeding, Slowed, or Hasted. Any condition that has effects beyond the immediate probably qualifies as a fettle. (You may be familiar with the term "status effect." A fettle is the same thing.)
And finally a bit more on the lore:
About fifty kilometers to the northeast of Sagus Cliffs and its lurking parasite, the Bloom, a pair of mountain ranges marks the beginning of the strangeness of the Verxulian Waste. Between the two parallel chains of peaks lies a long, dry pass. The length of the pass from end to end is a mere 150 kilometers, but it represents millions of years in time to a sojourner who passes through.
Despite its antiquity, it remains frozen in time. Its sere ground and rocky walls are dry, utterly and perpetually devoid of native life. Rain-laden storms swerve away from the pass, spilling no moisture. Clouds part around it, as if breaking on an invisible barrier. Even the roaming nanite disaster called the Iron Wind gives the valley a wide berth. Nothing grows here, and the small streams that tumble down its steep mountainsides soon slow to a trickle and then perish utterly. No animal makes its home in this land, and none ever stay for longer than a few days should they mistakenly enter. Most humans, mutants, and visitants who travel through the valley make the best time they can, except for those who choose to prolong their stays, and some (notably a faction called the Memorialists) make this a permanent home – seemingly immune to the life-scouring effects of the Valley. A few alkaline fountains bubble water up from unknown aquifers under the valley floor, providing nourishment that is barely potable and occasionally hallucinogenic.
Wednesday - June 10, 2015
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Colin McComb Interview
Rock, Paper, Shotgun has interviewed Colin McComb about the adaptation of the Numenera pen-and-paper setting into the originally D&D-based Torment series.
RPS: What made you choose Numenera as the base for a new Torment game?
Colin McComb: It was mostly based on the world. [...] When we were developing the idea for Torment at the very beginning, Adam and I defined four pillars of what would be necessary to make a Torment game, and one of those was a world that’s unlike any other, and Numenera’s got that in spades. I don’t think there’s any game out there right now that does anything anywhere near it.
RPS: What’s your favourite thing about the setting?
McComb: Well, I’m a big Gene Wolfe nerd. The whole Book of the New Sun has been a huge literary influence. [...] I just love the idea of thinking about what it is that humans are going to become, what the world is going to become after we’re all dust. It ties in really well with our legacy question, too – what does one life matter?
A lot of the interview goes into detail about the unusual mechanics of the Numenera system and is a bit puzzling if you don't know the pnp game. But one interesting note is that the way skills progress will be tied in to a character's personal background.
RPS: Do you link character progression to backstory development in the same way as Numenera – that thing of, if you want to give yourself a particular skill, you come up with a backstory for your character to justify how you know it?
McComb: I think that’s currently the plan, yeah. We want to make sure that we have a good story reason for everything so it seems seamless, and interactive as opposed to just, ‘Woop, you hit a tier, and now you can cast a fireball!’.
Source: Rock, Paper, Shotgun
Tuesday - June 02, 2015
Torment: Tides of Numenera - even more literary than Planescape
PC Invasion are drawing out their content by releasing teaser lines from an interview with InXile that they'll later publish in full. Weird, but I'm eager for even snippets of info about Tides of Numenera, so here they are.
Project lead Kevin Saunders says that:
In terms of the gameplay, we’ve probably gone for even more of a literary approach than Planescape.
Creative lead Colin McComb describes Numenera's design intentions:
We want our players to be active participants in this game, and thinking about it, and figuring out what it is that they’re pulling away from the game, and building in little verbal puzzles as well.
Not puzzles in the sense of “you need to solve this” but in the sense of “there’s a greater mystery behind this” that someone who’s playing casually might miss, but someone who’s playing carefully will say, “hey wow! I figured that out.”
The main difference is that Planescape is built more around belief, and wisdom, and the exploration for answers regarding the soul; whereas Numenera is more around exploring the world around us as it is.
We don’t want to solely do the dark, grim, crushing experience that a lot of Planescape was, but at the same time we also want to convey the sense of incredible age.
The rest of the interview will be online in a few days.
Thursday - May 21, 2015
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Indigo Voice, Floors and a Video
In Kickstarter update #41 for Torment: Tides of Numenera, the pending Kickstarter for The Bards Tale IV is plugged and there is news that the second of their From the Depths novellas is released and the technique behind moving floors.
Nathan Fabian here. At my day job I make pretty pictures out of billions of finite elements for one of the Department of Energy labs. At night I dabble in game development, including some consulting through my company, Longshot Studios. I was a backer of Torment and have been working with the team part time for almost a year. Currently, I'm working mostly on our animation system, but I wanted to talk a bit about a recent Torment challenge I worked on. It gets a bit technical, but the final result is pretty cool.
Imagine you are handed a pylon. It is a very ordinary sort of pylon. In fact it’s only a computer model—a few tens of polygons, quite unremarkable for a pylon. But your mission isn’t just to hold this, it is to take it forth and multiply! 100 by 100 pylons to create a dynamic floor where each individual piece can move up and down independently, changing the shape of the floor on the fly. This single pylon must become a mega structure of 10,000.
“No problem,” you say, “I have the power. I have code!” You execute a loop, create 10,000 pillars, and your graphics card (GPU) catches on fire (not literally). This was not the incantation we were looking for.
Modern graphics cards are extraordinarily powerful and can render hundreds of millions of triangles per second. For someone who grew up reading Michael Abrash books and articles, it feels indistinguishable from magic. Back then, we were happy to get resolutions of 320x240 because “Look! Square pixels!”
Where did our incantation go wrong? Why was the devil box not appeased?
In another Kickstarter update we are presented with a new video.
Friday - May 01, 2015
Tides of Numenera - Developer Q&A Answers
InXile Entertainment's Tumblr page has a few more answers from the Developer.
Project Lead Kevin Saunders and Design Lead Adam Heine have posted thoughts and replies to various topics on our forums.
Thursday - April 23, 2015
Tides of Numenera - Mark Yohalem Hired
The Tumblr blog for Torment: Tides of Numenera has infomation about a new writer/developer called Mark Yohalem joining Inxile Entertainment.
A while ago, I mentioned I had two exciting things to announce. I can finally share the first of them: I have been given the wonderful opportunity to work as a writer on Torment: Tides of Numenera. As you guys probably know, the original Torment game (Planescape: Torment) was my principal inspiration for Primordia. The T:TON writing and design team is composed of people whose work I’ve long admired: Colin McComb, George Ziets, Kevin Saunders, Chris Avellone, Monte Cook – to name just a few. Numenera was one of the very first projects I backed on Kickstarter as part of my commitment to using Primordia’s revenue to support interesting projects; T:TON came not long after. To suddenly be on the same team as these guys is not a dream come true because, first of all, my dreams tend to be unpleasant and, second, even my subconscious would not be so audacious as to invent such a scenario. While I am optimistic that this is another step on my game-writing path and not the end destination, it does feel like a milestone as important as Primordia was.
Hopefully in the next week or two I will be able to talk about the other exciting topic, which is Wormwood Studios’ next project, Fallen Gods. I expect that, far from delaying Fallen Gods, T:TON will teach me tons and encourage me to be more efficient in time-management.
Monday - April 13, 2015
Tides of Numenera - Interview @ Eurogamer
Christian Donlan published a new article style interview with Torment: Tides of Numenera's DM Colin McComb after he gave his speech at EGX Rezzed last month.
Colin McComb has a soft-edged voice, which offers a nice contrast to the intense stare his face can't help but settle into. Bald and gaunt and wiry in that peculiarly American way, he is what my grandfather would have called a railway man. But McComb is not a railway man. On the day I meet him at Rezzed, he is a dungeon master: the same preoccupation with nuts and bolts as a guy who rides the rails, perhaps, but these nuts and bolts hold together story and far more exotic materials - and McComb's rails can take you anywhere.
Most of the time, McComb's job offers a strange contemporary twist on the DM role: he is the creative lead on the video game Torment: Tides of Numenera. This is the long-awaited spiritual successor to the beloved Infinity Engine game Planescape Torment - sufficiently long-awaited and beloved that its Kickstarter in 2013 broke records, eventually netting the developer inXile just over four million dollars. It is also more than that, though, and this brings us back to McComb's one-off DM gig at Rezzed. The new game is based on a pen and paper RPG called Numenera, itself a recent Kickstarter success. McComb is going to allow Eurogamer's Bertie Purchese and I to play Numenera with him. Not the video game, which is still in development, but the pen and paper one. We are going to attack things and grab loot. McComb is going to DM.
He is a perfect DM, and not just because he looks like Michael Keaton cast in the role of Professor Hugo Strange. McComb clearly loves Numenera and knows it inside out, but what really elevates him is his ability to describe and shape a story as if he, too, is witnessing it unfold for the first time. To a certain extent he is, of course: before we meet, he delivers a speaker session at Rezzed in which he says that Numenera is providing the basis for a video game that is as reactive to player choices as it is deep and filled with glorious incident. Beyond that, though, he simply has that rare ability to sweep people up in a narrative - and to appear swept up along with them.
Saturday - April 04, 2015
Tides of Numenera - Adam Heine & Unity 5
Once agian Adam Heine answered a question on his blog about Torment: Tides of Numenera and inXile Entertainment moving to the updated Unity 5 game engine.
Is Torment going to be / has Torment been developed with Unity 5 in mind?
It turns out this was a more complicated question than one would think. We’re planning to move to Unity 5, but we weren’t sure about that for a long time (and even now, there’s still a fair amount of work to do before the move is official).
Further details from our illustrious wizard/programmer, Steve Dobos:
"We started work on Torment before Unity 5’s full feature set was announced. By the time Unity 5 became a known quantity, we had already done much work on the engine for Unity 4. So the benefit of a move to Unity 5 will be limited for Torment. The primary justification for a move to Unity 5 is the new Mecanim system. We’ve put much effort in to the animation of our characters, and the Mecanim upgrades will help organize our complex animation trees.
Unfortunately, all of the cool Deferred Shading tech they released in Unity 5 doesn’t function with an orthographic camera, which Torment uses. So while we’re doing some interesting things graphically, largely thanks to the Pillars of Eternity technology, Torment won’t really benefit from Unity’s graphical enhancements. Sadness."
Friday - March 27, 2015
Tides of Numenera - Post-Funding Update #40
InXile entertainment released update #40 today for Torment: Tides of Numenera that has more information about Pillar of Eternity's launch , and talks about companion design.
Hi, I'm Nathan Long, lead writer on Wasteland 2 and one of the writers on Torment: Tides of Numenera. Kevin has asked me to talk a little bit about how we develop the companions that can come along with your journey through the Ninth World, so let's begin, shall we?
The goal for the companions is to give them each their own distinct personalities, voices, character arcs, and lots and lots of reactivity - which of course means lots and lots of writing. Lots.
Wednesday - March 25, 2015
Tides of Numenera - Small Interview Roundup
If you're interested in reading more information from inXile Entertainment about Torment: Tides of Numenera then read on as two new interviews were published this week.
The first inteview is from EGX Rezzed on Game Watcher.
With InXile having shipped Wasteland 2 at the end of 2014 and The Bard’s Tale IV still not even at the Kickstarter campaign stage they are now full speed ahead with Torment: Tides of Numenera, their spiritual successor to the classic Black Isle RPG Planescape: Torment. While we’ve only seen a few moments of gameplay footage, InXile have done many really cool Kickstarter updates that clearly show that the game is coming together well. We caught up with two key members of the team, writer and creative lead Colin McComb and associate producer Thomas Beekers, at the EGX Rezzed event to chat with them about how Torment is progressing.
The second interview is with Writer George Ziets on a site called Grimuar.
Few cRPGs are awaited with such high expectations as the upcoming spiritual successor of Planescape: Torment. Set in the Ninth World of Numenera, Torment: Tides of Numenera was backed by more than 80,000 fans worldwide. One of the designers who have taken upon themselves the task of reviving the legacy of Torment is George Ziets, the Creative Lead of Mask of the Betrayer.
In an extensive interview, George tells us about his sources of inspiration and his work on Torment: Tides of Numenera, Pillars of Eternity and Mask of the Betrayer. He also shares his opinion on various subjects related to narrative design.
Sunday - March 15, 2015
Tides of Numenera - EGX Rezzed 2015
InXile Entertainment was at EGX Rezzed, and gave a forty minute presentation about Torment: Tides of Numenera on Twitch.Tv. Fortunately I have a YouTube version.
Torment: Tides of Numenera is a game set in the world of Monte Cook’s new tabletop RPG setting, Numenera.Torment continues the thematic legacy of Planescape: Torment, the critically acclaimed role-playing game from 1999 that’s considered by many to be a hallmark for storytelling in computer RPGs.
With Torment, we’re creating a rich role-playing experience that explores similar deep, personal themes. Torment is currently scheduled for a late 2015 release. All proceeds from pledges go toward Torment's development budget, allowing us to enhance the quality of the game.
Tuesday - March 03, 2015
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Resting Q&A
Adam Heine answered a question on his blog about resting in Tides of Numenera.
Q:You've talked extensively about Effort in many occasions by now, but there's still a piece of the puzzle missing, at least to me. How do you intend to limit rest in the Torment?
I mean, managing Effort is an interesting gameplay mechanic. but only because Effort is a limited resource. If players are able to rest whenever they want, the whole thing explodes.
Now, I know that during Cryses time is a factor, so resting will be either limited or impossible, but what about the "normal gameplay"? Will Players be able to rest freely in exploration mode?
Background: I explained the Numenera concept of Effort, and how we're adapting it for Torment, in our latest update here. Short version: Effort is a limited resource used to make difficult tasks easier. This resource can be replenished with healing or rest.
Alessandro, you are absolutely right (as are others I've seen around the internets who have expressed a similar concern): if healing is freely and easily attainable -- as it would be with a "rest anywhere" mechanic -- then Effort becomes meaningless. You could just use it all up on a task, rest to replenish, then use it all again on the next task.
So obviously the player will not be able to rest anywhere they want for free. You'll have quick rests you can use anywhere, but those are limited and they won't restore all your Stat Pools. Eventually your party will need to sleep. To do that, you'll have to find a place that will let you sleep for a price you can afford. Every Zone will have such a place, of course, but you won't be able to rest wherever and whenever.
Can you just head back to the rest spot in between tasks? Sometimes, sure. Other times you won't be able to get back so easily. Sometimes you'll need to do a few tasks in a row to accomplish something. And sometimes sleeping (which makes time pass) will have other consequences as well.
So sleeping will usually come with a cost. That cost might be trivial or it might be quite high. It will depend on what you want to do, where you are in the game, and what's more important to you at the time.
Friday - February 27, 2015
Tides of Numenera - Post-Funding Update # 39
Line Producer Thomas Beekers posted the next post-funding update for Torment: Tides of Numenera this week. Since its another wall of text here is the short version.
Tuesday - February 24, 2015
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Tumblr Interview
Th Tumblr page for Torment: Tides of Numenera posted a new interview with Colin McComb about the games narrative. As usual here is a small sample of his answers.
So, first thing first, “What does one life matter?” is a fascinating question, which also matches perfectly with a CRPG heavily focused on choices & consequences. Was that connection a factor when you picked the main theme of ToN or it is just a coincidence, and how far you want to go down this road (I mean, with C&C)?
It was intentional from the start. We picked our theme of legacy first, but tied in with that was the knowledge that legacy is strongly tied to the choices one makes throughout life. We knew early on that we wanted intense and long-reaching reactivity in the game, and we’ve been building connections both large and small throughout. We’re planning on doing various passes through the game to make sure we’ve got plenty of responses to the player’s choices.
One issue with a purely story-related game is that we do have to maintain some control over the plot, so we have to limit some of the reactivity or risk watching the whole thing explode.
I’m under the impression that the Endless Battle is going to play a huge role in Torment’s story. Can you tell us a little more about this conflict? Additionally - given the fact that ToN is a game about legacies - is it safe to assume that the player will be able to influence the outcome of the war?
It’s funny that you should ask about that, because the Endless Battle came up in story meetings just recently. At the risk of handing out spoilers: It does play an important role in the game, both symbolically and narratively. Born out of an argument between the Changing God and the First Castoff, it has become essentially a feature of the landscape over the last several centuries. Much like the everlasting storm of Catatumbo, it’s almost a force of nature by this point. Think of the trenches and craters of World War I, and then add time distortions, gravity fields, sentient machines, and nightmare creatures released from other dimensions, and you’ll start to get an idea what it’s like.
At this point, the two sides are at a stalemate, but they push and prod for incremental advantage. Victory isn’t in sight for either side, but neither are they willing to admit defeat – they are fighting for ideological principles now, for their reputations, for some other reason – and so, despite the First being dead and the Changing God not involved in the fight, the Endless Battle continues.
Sunday - February 22, 2015
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Interview @ UGE
A small site by the name of Urban Gaming Elite had the chance to interview inXile Entertainment about their latest RPG game Torment: Tides of Numenera.
What are some of the challenges of adapting a tabletop RPG setting?
Adam Heine: The biggest challenge is that we don't have a GM. More than most RPGs, Numenera encourages players to come up with creative solutions and the GM to come up with creative responses to those solutions. TTON has to anticipate what players will want to try and handle it in interesting and satisfying ways.
It's a daunting task, but it is in many ways uniquely suited for a Torment game. When the player comes across a lock, it won't be just a lock you can pick, but maybe a riddle you must solve using clues gained through Lore: Civilizations, Visual Perception, or even items you've picked up in your travels.
Numenera's play style encourages us to create unique, scripted interactions like this, instead of dropping locks and traps everywhere that differ only in their difficulty level. It is most certainly a challenge, but it should make for a more interesting game across the board.
In a nutshell, how will the gameplay of Tides of Numenera differ from Planescape?
Adam: The most obvious difference will be combat—not only because TTON's combat will be turn-based, but because combat will almost never be just combat. Even the most battle-focused Crisis in Torment might have opportunities to talk to NPCs (e.g. to command allies, sway enemies to your side, to draw out secrets that can aid you in the Crisis, etc.) and to interact with the environment. Crises will be few in number, but that enables us to be more focused, making each one interesting and challenging in its own way.
As I alluded to before, exploration gameplay won't have all the locks, traps, and dungeon crawls of the Infinity Engine games. But there will still be plenty of corners to explore and secrets to find. And dialogue, of course, is taking everything from Planescape: Torment—all the depth and choices and riddles of the original. We're adding a couple of minor elements to the gameplay here and there (for example, Numenera's concept of Effort), but this is the part of the game will feel the most like TTON's predecessor
Friday - February 20, 2015
Tides of Numenera - Interview @ Eurogamer
Eurogamer has a new interview for Torment: Tides of Numenera where they they talk with creative lead Colin McComb who says the game might be released in 2015.
Another reason to be excited is inXile, the developer, which already delivered Wasteland 2 - a nostalgic Kickstarted game - to a very high standard. The bulk of that team now works on Torment, a force that numbers around 25-30. That's a hefty workforce for a game like this. The budget has grown too, from $4.1m as of the end of the Kickstarter campaign up to $4.8m now.
There have been a couple of delays to Torment: Tides of Numenera but the end is finally in sight. The good news is it will "definitely" - read: hopefully - be out this year, according to McComb, although it sounds like there's still an awful lot of work to do. The official date is Q4 2015, but that's "probably late 2015" in actuality. There don't appear to be any plans for an Early Access release, but those who backed the game at the appropriate level will get access to an alpha systems test ahead of the game's full launch.
Friday - February 13, 2015
Tides of Numenera - Gameplay System Answers
The Tumblr page for Torment: Tides of Numenera has another update from last week with some interesting replies from the developer about the gameplay systems.
Project Lead Kevin Saunders and Design Lead Adam Heine have answered some more questions on our official forums.
This is a followup to my last news-bits from the first week of February.
Tuesday - February 03, 2015
Tides of Numenera - Interesting Forum Posts
The Tumblr page for Torment: Tides of Numenera has a new update with some interesting replies from the developer about the games art, and writing.
A couple of new interesting forum posts from Torment: Tides of Numenera developers. First, environment artist Jon Gwyn on the current state of things.
And project lead Kevin Saunders on our writing processes and standards.
Thursday - January 29, 2015
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Art, Tools, & Tales
The 39th post-funding update for Torment: Tides of Numenera has information from project lead Kevin Saunders about some new art, game tools. and other new topics.
Here is the TLDR version.
TL;DR: Production continues; added visual effects artists to the team; a look at conversation editing tools; Bard's Tale IV announced as inXile’s next RPG after Torment; Paizo publishes Adam’s Pathfinder story, “The Patch Man”
Wednesday - December 31, 2014
Tides of Numenera - PnP Numenera & Torment
Graham Smith posted an article on RPS last week with his opinion on the PnP version of Numenera, and how it gives him hope for the PC game Torment: Tides of Numenera.
I’m looking forward to inXile’s Torment: Tides of Numenera, like nearly everyone else who works at RPS. The difference is that I never played Planescape: Torment, the game Tides aims to spiritually succeed. Instead my interest comes from the other end of its name, since I’ve been playing Numenera, the Monte Cook pen-and-paper RPG that gives this new game its setting and some of its mechanics.
I’m a recent visitor to the shores of pen-and-paper, and I’m currently playing two games that form an interesting contrast. The first is Dungeons & Dragons, which I’m playing with Jim and John. It is among the most obvious inspirations for all kinds of videogames, and it’s been interesting learning its systems this past year. We play 4th edition – I’ve no idea how it compares to the others – but it’s fast, combat-heavy, and has an awful lot of numbers.
Tuesday - December 09, 2014
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Post-Funding Update #37
In this update for Torment: Tides of Numenera Thomas Beekers, Kevin Saunders and Adan Heine provide an overview of what has happened since the last update, like new team members, the start of the alpha system tests, lore update and the search for more team members.
Early-ish next year, we intend to have the first alpha systems test (AST). These are not exactly a common part of current game development, so I wanted to explain them a bit. Each AST will be a very limited build (version of the game) that highlights particular elements and is released to our alpha systems testers for their feedback. For example, the first one will likely focus on the Conversation UI. It won’t include any actual game world or characters. What it will have is a reasonably complete implementation of the Conversation UI, along with a single conversation that will be fairly involved, but still only take a couple minutes to play through.
The ASTs will hopefully be interesting for the testers, but they are by no means game demos or beta tests. To be blunt, these ASTs are for the benefit of the game, not those who play it. Alpha systems testers should expect them to be be ugly (or, more accurately, bland), with clearly placeholder graphics for anything that’s not central to the AST. (For example, the Conversation UI AST will have candidate final art for that interface, since its aesthetics contribute to the overall conversation gameplay experience.) They may have some bugs, though in general we're looking more for the alpha systems testers to be providing feedback, not finding bugs.
Because of the development goals of the ASTs, we’re not planning to announce them in advance – while we have our own internal deadlines for these things, I don’t want the team to feel compelled to make compromises to meet publicly announced expectations or deadlines. I want the ASTs to be whatever they should be, whenever they should be, as will be best for Torment. Also, while we’ll be mentioning the ASTs a bit in these Kickstarter Updates, we will generally communicate more about them through Tumblr and directly to the eligible backers (i.e., those whose tier included AST access (Artifact Collector and higher Tiers), or who chose it as an add-on).
Wednesday - October 29, 2014
Torment: Tides of Numenera - The Bloom Grows
InXile entertainment posted the next post-funding update for Torment: Tides of Numenera with news the Gullet Stretch has been funded with a few hours to spare.
Thanks to hundreds of you and hundreds of new backers, we’ve reached our target for the Gullet! We’ve changed it from [C] to [A] priority and will be including it in the final game. The top contributors over the last week were our Anonymous donor ($999), Najiok ($827), Grond ($820), and Kaleb ($370). Thank you all for your support and for helping to get the word out about Torment.
While we aren’t announcing a new Stretch Goal at this time, Torment’s crowdfunding efforts do continue, with every pledge being invested in our development budget and allowing us to put more resources on the game. (We’re not making the game bigger at this point and new funds serve primarily to increase the level of polish we’ll be able to achieve.) We appreciate your continued efforts to spread the word about the RPG rennaissance that’s underway, and our small part in it.
Tuesday - October 28, 2014
Torment: Tides of Numenera - About the Gullet
George Ziets posted a Tumblr post with news about the Gullet stretch goal.
So here we are… four days remain on the Gullet stretch goal, with a little under $7000 left to raise. Before the stretch goal ends, I’d been meaning to say more about how the Gullet came to be, so if you’re interested in the realities of area design, read on!
Sunday - October 26, 2014
Colin McComb - Interview @ RPG Nuke
RPG Nuke interviewed Colin McComb about Torment: Tides of Numenera.
RPGNuke: Hi Colin! Let's start with some Tides of Numenera questions. A one and a half years passed since the end of kickstarter campaign. What is the status of the project now? Where there many changes to the initially planned? Did you have to cut anything out or did you manage to add anything new? As far as I know the pre-production phase now comes to its end and the prodution phase starts, how does this transition occur?
Colin: We are shifting from limited production to production. What limited production means is that we were creating content for the game, but not at the speed that we might expect during a full production period. Rather, it’s in ways that prove out our ideas and concepts, or that show where the weaknesses in our pipeline are, or that help build the best processes for the whole team.
As to whether we had to cut anything: We have! But that’s natural for any project as we assess scope and our desired impact. We’ve tightened up the story in some places, expanded it in others, and tried to make sure that we are focused exactly on delivering what we’ve promised to our backers. We’ve also managed to expand areas that were smaller in the original vision, and I’m happy with where we are as a result of our discussions.
The transition from Wasteland 2 to Torment is happening slowly and carefully under Kevin’s supervision. He wants to make sure that the newer members of the team are done with their responsibilities on Wasteland 2, or at least done enough that they can begin to devote serious attention to our project. They’ll start by getting familiar with our tools and our processes, and they can point out places where our processes and documentation need improvement. As more and more of them come over, and as people ramp up on the project, we’ll see a faster pace for production and creation of all our assets.
Saturday - October 18, 2014
Tides of Numenera - Post-Funding Update # 35
InXile entertainment's latest post-funding update for Torment: Tides of Numenera has news the Gullet Stretch Goal is now extended to October 31.
Hi, Thomas here. I'd like to start out today's update with a huge "thank you!" for the immense outpouring of support we received for our stretch goal to add the Gullet into the game. We received some incredibly generous pledges from many backers, including an anonymous donor ($1665), Pookie ($1271), Najiok ($900), Hiro Protagonist ($750) and even a pair of $750 pledges from our very own Colin McComb and Kevin Saunders.
Unfortunately, we fell somewhat short of our goal (about 15%, or $35,000) to see the Gullet added to the final game. However, we did not want to see this great effort of yours go for naught, and we also realized based on comments about this stretch goal as it closed that awareness had not spread widely enough. Some people suggested extending the deadline, in part to allow word to spread to where it didn't before.
So, we're moving the stretch goal deadline for the Gullet to the end of Friday, October 31. Just over $30,000 to go!
Coincidentally this is also when we will be closing a number of add-ons from our Kickstarter period. So while new backers are more than welcome you may also want to consider some of our add-on options! And to remind everyone: please specify your add-ons by Friday, October 31!
Sunday - October 12, 2014
Tides of Numenera - Post-Funding Update # 34
InXile entertainment's latest post-funduing update was posted two days ago, and it has information on the Gullet Stretch Goal, and about character advancement.
Updated our Journal (34): Only 5 days for the Gullet!
Kevin here. By now I hope you've all seen the recent Torment video, which revealed the first glimpses of the game.
We've made good progress on our The Gullet stretch goal. As Thomas mentioned in update 32, the Gullet is an area in the Bloom that is currently not planned to happen, but which we feel would add a lot to the flavor and pacing of the location.
You can read George's description of the area in update 32, but maybe it's good to explain a bit more what we feel it would add to the Bloom. As you would expect from a Torment area, the Bloom is heavily focused on dialog and narrative choices, as well as offering opportunities for exploration and discovery. The Gullet by comparison is closer to a puzzle in the sense that it offers a specific problem you have to overcome, with multiple solutions to success. Once in there's no way back and it's about using the tools at your disposal to get through. Exploring the location in more detail will allow you to find (the remains of) previous victims of the Bloom that were trapped in the Gullet, and scavenge for tools and knowledge that will aid in the challenges ahead. (The Gullet isn't a Crisis per se, but is relevant to one.)
Adam here. I'm going to talk about how character advancement will work in Tides of Numenera.
Before that, I should tell you how it works in Numenera tabletop, because it's not a strictly traditional advancement system. First, as we've often said, you get XP when you solve problems, complete quests, and make discoveries—not for individual kills. Second, XP is spent, not accumulated – like cyphers, XP are a resource not intended for hoarding. Most of the time, you'll have less than 4 XP, because that's how much most character advancement steps cost. Third, you can also spend XP on short-term benefits—on things other than character advancement.
That last one raises a couple of obvious questions. Why would you spend XP on short-term benefits when you can give your characters lasting benefits like new abilities (or flipped around: what happens if you spend all your XP on short-term benefits and get to the final confrontation with a 1st-Tier character)? Also, if the game has enough XP such that players can spend some on short-term benefits and max their Tier by the end, what's to stop them from spending all their XP on advancement up front, basically maxing out their Tier halfway through the game? How could we balance the game like that without scaling?
Our answer to these questions is what we are, in Torment, calling Discovery Points (DP). Throughout the game, you will gain both XP (per character) and DP (for the party).
Thursday - October 09, 2014
Tides of Numenera - $4.75M Stretch Goal
InXile entertainment has a new $4.75M Stretch Goal on the games website that will offer George Ziets' The Gullet. The clock is running out so take a look yourself.
Progress: Approximately 40% Complete!
All pledges are applied to improving Torment: Tides of Numenera, but with this Stretch Goal, one specific improvement we can commit to is restoring the Gullet to the Bloom, per George Ziets' original design. We had cut this area to control scope of the Bloom zone. Restoring it to the design would complete George's original vision for the Bloom and increase its scope by roughly 10%.
Without spoiling much, here is how George describes the Gullet:
Deep in the guts of the Bloom is a jumble of fleshy veins and cavities, known to natives as the Gullet. It surrounds a foul organic stew, containing the minds and memories of those devoured by the Bloom. The pulsing of a titanic heart reverberates from somewhere below… if you find yourself trapped here, the sound will drive you mad.
Few reach this place by intention. Most are eaten by a Maw and emerge in the Gullet, half-digested, to spend the final days of their lives in screaming agony. Transdimensional echoes of the Bloom's victims wander through the tunnels, lost and insane. Bizarre creatures, bred by the Bloom in its guts, burst from their wombs to hunt. Forgotten machines and artifacts lie half-submerged in Bloom-flesh, plucked from distant worlds of the past or future.
The only way out of the Gullet is down… to follow the sounds of the Bloom's beating heart and descend to a place where the Bloom's consciousness is at its most malignant and aware.
Thursday - September 18, 2014
Torment: Tides of Numenera - A New Look
InXile entertainment has more information in the latest kickstarter update about the new look for the Torment: Tides of Numenera website I posted about yesterday.
Updated our Journal (32): A New Look
TL;DR: website re-launched – please confirm your pledge and any add-ons, Endless Battle lore, ask Torment developers.
Thomas here! As Wasteland 2 is getting close to release and Torment: Tides of Numenera closer to full-scale production, we're excited to announce the official relaunch of the Torment website and backer system with an overhauled functionality. The new site is largely the work of Jason Dora, one of the Torment backers, who answered our call for a web developer in Update 29, and has since joined inXile full time.
Torment's New Website
The key functionality of the new site that will interest you is that you can now declare your add-ons. In fact, if you intended for Wasteland 2 to be among your add-ons, then just login and tell us when you're ready to get your Wasteland 2 key. Wasteland 2’s commercial launch is Friday, September 19. You can specify Wasteland 2 add-ons now by visiting the reward page and adding Wasteland 2 to your selected rewards. Keys will be made available before release.
More generally, the new backer system means you will now be able to manage your pledge in great detail. We have changed our system into one that tracks your contributions as inXile Points (XP or just Points). The more Points you have, the higher your Level within our system; the higher your Level, the more possible Rewards are available that you can buy with Points. As an existing backer, you will start with 100 Points for every $1 you donated, with your reward choice matched to the one closest to your total pledge. That is, each $.01 USD = 1 Point.
This may sound a little daunting at first but it does not impact the value or rewards of your pledge in any way. You will get the rewards that you pledged for during the Kickstarter campaign; the value of your pledge is unchanged.
Wednesday - September 17, 2014
Torment: Tides of Numenera - New Webpage
Well after my short nap as I barely sleep everyday I stumbled across a new redesigned website for Torment: Tides of Numenera. Seems inXile hated the old look.
Check out our brand-new, re-designed website through the link!
With the new website comes all-new backer functionality. Log into your backer account to manage your pledge and add-ons. We have converted pledges to a system of points where 1 cent = 1 point, but it functions exactly the same. We will have a more detailed update on this system and the website to follow. If you’re having any issues please contact us.
Note, depending on your Internet provider, you may not see the new site until some time has passed.
Friday - August 29, 2014
Tides of Numenera - George Ziets AMA
George Ziets answers a few questions for Torment: Tides of Numenera on the games official Tumblr page. Here is a sample of the questions, and answers.
George Ziets on joining inXile, Torment combat
These are some fairly old Formspring entries but better late than never, here’s lead level designer George Ziets answering some questions:
I am very happy with your direct participation in TToN…it gives me hope that the game will not be a disaster after the Turn Based combat decision. I am a little concerned that you will not be influencing the narrative though
The entire core team (Kevin, Colin, Adam, me, as well as Avellone, Tony Evans, and others) has had some influence on the narrative, and I’m sure that will continue as development progresses. Although Colin is the narrative lead, this project has taken a collaborative approach to most aspects of development, and Colin has been great about responding to feedback and incorporating cool ideas from others. I can also attest that Colin is a very creative and talented writer. :)
Monday - August 18, 2014
Torment: Tides of Numenera - AMA Answers
According to the Torment: Tides of Numenera Tumblr page Lead Design Adam Heine has answered more questions on his blog.
AstroBull has a question about the Numenera setting:
"I have a question about the TTON time scale. In a previous AMA response, you mention “the setting of Numenera and Torment is Earth one billion years in the future, known as the Ninth World. A billion years is as far removed from us as we are removed from being single-celled organisms.” This brings up questions regarding biological evolution. As far as I am aware, many/most characters in TTON will be recognizably human, though I’m sure with changes both genetic and technological in origin. Still, it would take quite the suspension of disbelief for me to believe that Homo sapiens as we know it would exist in this future, rather than some potentially un-recognizable descendent.Couldn’t the premise of ages of civilizations with vastly advanced tech followed by a dark age work for, say, 20 million years? Will there be some explanation as to why humans still exist in the unfathomable distant future?"
Adam Heine'S Answer:
You are absolutely right. In one billion years, humans and everything else will have evolved, the continents will have come back together and split apart again, and none of it will matter because the sun will have expanded to the point where life on Earth will be impossible.
Assuming nobody does anything about it.
That’s the thing, though. In those billion years, at least eight ultra-powerful civilizations have arisen (or arrived) and then disappeared, each one advanced to incredible power far (FAR FAR) beyond what we are currently capable of. And each one messed with the Earth in substantial ways.
At least one of them had mastered planetary engineering and stellar lifting. At least one could fiddle with the laws of physics the way we play with Legos. At least one explored parallel universes and alternate dimensions. And more than one wasn’t human.
So why are there humans at all, or anything even remotely close? The Ninth Worlders don’t know the answer to that. Their recorded history only goes back about 900 years, before which humans lived in barbaric tribes and isolated farming villages. No one knows how long it’s been since the previous civilization disappeared, nor where Ninth Worlders came from. They have a sense that Earth was once theirs, and then it wasn’t, and now it is again, but they have no idea how this could be.
Will there be some explanation for you, the player? Not in Torment, and maybe not inNumenera at all. It’s not critical to Torment's story, but more than that, it's part of the mystery of the setting. And mystery is critical to making this setting work.
As for why a billion, instead of some other large-but-sufficient number, Monte Cook has a better answer than I could give.
Friday - July 25, 2014
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Crisis System
Adam Heine answered a few questions from a fan on his personal blog about the Crisis System that will used in Torment: Tides of Numenera.
Two related questions from the AMA desk today.
Baudolino05 (aka Alessandro, from our wonderful fan-run Italian tumblr) asks:"What can you tell me about the quest design in T:ToN? I mean: only part of the quests will be handle through Crises, right? As for the remaining part, can we expect complex/interrelated quest-lines? Will they feature puzzle-solving/exploration elements like in the original Torment? No combat at all, right?"
"One additional question more about Crises themselves, since you mention their apparent duration as one reason why saving in TB would be possibly, or most likely, allowed.
Along similar lines, Surface Rfl says:
Im wondering about their general structure.
Does your answer mean that all of a Crises will be done in TB mode and so be all combat related? I thought there will be other things to do inside Crises. And usually, for things other then combat, we go back to normal real time gameplay in games like these."
Torment's Crisis system (which we introduced in ridiculous detail here) might best be thought of as our "more than combat" system. Or better yet, think of it as a tabletop encounter, where combat is certainly one way to handle things, but where players have many, many more options available to them as well.
Yes, Crises are all turn-based. But no, they are not necessarily all combat. We use the Crisis system whenever there's some kind of time-based pressure the player must deal with. For example, it would be a Crisis to sneak out of a prison or to try and rescue people from a rampaging horror. In the first case, the pressure comes from the guards who are patrolling or responding to alarms. In the second, of course, it's the horror itself that provides the pressure. In both cases, while combat is a possibility, it's not the ideal solution to the problem.
So the "other things" you can do depend on the individual Crises themselves. You might be repairing (or disabling) ancient devices, persuading people that you're on their side, creating distractions to temporarily stop the horror, etc. We wouldn't be able to do this kind of thing well in a massive dungeon crawl game, but since we're focusing on quality over quantity -- on a dozen or so handcrafted scenarios, woven tightly with the narrative and environment -- we can afford to make each one really interesting.
As for quests, certainly there will be some that result in a Crisis, but just like PST there will be many quests (maybe most quests) that you can solve with just conversation and exploration. We're excited about the Crisis system, but this is still a Torment game, after all, and that means that conversation and narrative are king.
Monday - July 21, 2014
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Adam Heine AMA
The Tumblr page for Torment: Tides of Numenera has news about Adam Heine answering a few questions on his blog from a fan.
Adams talks Numenera
From the AMA pile, Surface rfl says:"In a recent interview, among lots of superb stuff (great companions concepts! can we call the ball of goo… Ballte? Goolte? no? ..damn…), - ive noticed this line:
- “Magic” in Numenera is performed by tapping into the ubiquitous numenera around you—even in the air and the dirt—and using it to reshape the world. -
I know thats most likely a convenient background lore explanation explanation and i dont expect “magic” to be realistically explained, but im curious when it comes to the setting… what exactly does this “ubiquitous numenera” mean?
Did you refer to various technological remnants of previous epochs like cyphers, artifacts and other actual numenera that the player will find, or maybe some kind of more microscopic nano machines saturation… or is it something else?
Im asking because so far ive gotten use to thinking about numenera as small objects basically, and any still functioning or malfunctioning rogue nano machines as something exactly specified, like the Iron Wind, for example."
Yes to all of the above.
So a brief recap for those unfamiliar: the setting of Numenera and Torment is Earth one billion years in the future, known as the Ninth World. A billion years is as far removed from us as we are removed from being single-celled organisms. In those epochs, a number of great civilizations have risen and then disappeared into obscurity, each one orders of magnitude more advanced than all but the wackiest science fiction could even imagine.
The people of the Ninth World, however, are at approximately medieval technology levels, but they live among the debris and leftovers of a billion years of civilizations. Of course there are no books or other degradable things still lying around, but there are massive monuments made of metals nobody recognizes, giant crystals floating in the sky, mutated descendants of bioengineered creatures, automated military constructs following orders that don’t make sense anymore, and other weirder things that have withstood time.
The Ninth Worlders don’t understand how to make any of this stuff, but they know enough to cobble together useful artifacts from what they find.
To (finally) get to the question, “this stuff” is the numenera, but it doesn’t just mean sci-fi devices you find lying around (you actually don’t find sci-fi devices lying around much, but have to cobble your own). It also means the invisible forces still in the air. It means the datasphere that some civilization built around the planet — the one that can be accessed if you know what you’re doing (not that you’ll understand what you find) and beams the occasional strange vision (known as glimmers) into people’s heads at random. It means the creatures that look like they stepped out of a horror film. It means the dirt itself, which has been worked, refined, manufactured, or grown and then ground back into soil by time.
Although we do frequently use “numenera” to refer to the items and devices you will find in Torment, it really is ubiquitous and can be used by the clever or knowledgeable in infinite ways.
Sunday - July 20, 2014
Torment: Tides of Numenera - New Interview
A Polish site called Gry-Online shares part of a new interview in English with a few developers from inXile Entertainment about Torment: Tides of Numenera.
One of the most beloved features of Planescape: Torment was the incredible uniqueness amongst found equipment. Almost every single weapon looked differently and had its own story. Is your approach to items in Torment: Tides of Numenera any close to this one?
Kevin Saunders (Project Lead): Items are very important to the Numenera setting – in fact many items are numenera, which are remnants from past worlds. We do plan to give items unique descriptions and they will help you to understand some facets of the world. How unique they will appear visually is still an open question, though certainly the most significant items will stand out.
What about game difficulty? Are you planning to escalate it somehow? If so – what will change at „hard” in comparison to „normal”? And if not – how do you want to reconcile the expectations and needs of hardcore RPG gamers and casual ones?
Kevin Saunders: We do plan to have difficulty settings, but aren’t yet prepared to discuss the details of how we’ll approach this feature. In general, we aren’t targeting super casual players, but we are using best practices for UI design and game design to make the game accessible rather than arcane. The quests, storyline, etc. typically don’t take well to different difficulty levels and we aren’t planning much, if anything, there. Meanwhile, because the Crises are hand-crafted experiences, and fairly few in number, we hope we can be somewhat sophisticated in how we alter them based on difficulty.
Unfortunately, you were unable to acquire the copyrights for Planescape: Torment and the game will be set in a completely different universe. Can we at least expect some easter eggs and references to the Nameless One, Morte and others from the original?
Kevin Saunders: TTON fans will catch glimpses of PS:T but we don’t plan to have direct references.
Even though there is still a lot of work to do, the core of the story is probably already finished. How much time will it take to complete the game? Planescape: Torment provided from 40 to 50 hours of pure gameplay in addition to almost 800 000 words to read. Can we expect similar numbers in Torment: Tides of Numenera?
Kevin Saunders: Yes, the core of the story is finished (though elements of it will be iterated upon through to the end). We don’t want to make guesses as to what the final gameplay length will be, but I expect we’ll be somewhat shorter than PST, though no less dense. In part this is because we won’t have the dungeon crawling sections that PST did. We will definitely have a lot of words, be they dialogue or descriptions. (We’ve written/implemented over 50,000 dialogue words already and we’re not yet in full production.)
Friday - June 20, 2014
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Interview @ RPS
Rock, Paper, Shotgun has posted the second part of their interview for Torment: Tides of Numenera. As usual here is a short sample of the interview.
RPS: Have you come up against any design dilemmas where you decided to do something that – from the outside looking in – would appear to be in direct opposition to Planescape’s design? What other factors do you take into account in these situations? Beyond the obvious surface-level, “Well, PST did it this way or that way” stuff?
Heine: In most cases, we’re just taking what PST did and pushing it further. The Tides are a prime example of that. PST pretty much broke the rules of D&D’s alignment system to achieve its goals. Now that we’re not tied to any system, we thought, “What were those goals, and what’s an alignment system that could accomplish them even better?” The result is a more organic and nuanced system than what PST had.
When we do break from what PST did, we have to ask ourselves why PST did it that way, what they were trying to accomplish, and is our proposed solution better than that? For example, early on I had assumed that combat would be allowed anywhere – because that’s how PST did it, and because I, being a relatively old-school gamer, had never played a game where you couldn’t do that. Others had assumed the opposite.
The ensuing discussion forced us to ask important questions. Did PST allow combat anywhere because it was the right thing to do or because that’s how the Infinity Engine worked by default? Was it a critical part of PST? This is a tricky question, because for any given aspect, there will always be some people who believe that it was. Did it work and was it a good decision for PST?
We determined somewhat reluctantly that it wasn’t critical to PST and that it added a lot of work for the designers and scripters at the time. Then we had to decide: is our proposed solution better? What does it gain us? What do we lose by it? In removing the possibility of combat anywhere. We lost some perceived freedom, but we gained more focus on our core vision – no trash mobs, quality, handcrafted encounters that support the narrative, etc, and a heck of a lot of time that would otherwise be spent designing, implementing, and debugging reactivity to handle the case where any combination of NPCs might have died. Because that time would be spent improving quality and reactivity elsewhere in the game, where it would be more likely to be seen by more players, we decided to drop the “kill anyone” approach.
But then as dialogues and designs started coming in, we realized it was almost too restricting. I mean, sure, we don’t have to cater to the player who just wants to slaughter everyone to see what happens, but if an NPC is in your way and really pissing you off, shouldn’t you have the option to smack them down? The problem with this is that our Crisis concept demands a limited number of handcrafted situations, but we couldn’t go through the whole game handcrafting every possible scenario where the player might want to get into a brawl.
The solution was what we called mini-Crises, or Tussles. They’re basically shorter, non-handcrafted combats that are always entered into by player choice or occasionally by player failure, but usually the player will be aware that he’s trying something that could start a fight. In this way, we can give the player freedom to attack people that are reasonable to attack, while still maintaining control over which NPCs can die and when. It also gives players who want to focus on combat more opportunities to do what they’re good at.
Though, as with everything, we still need to prove out how well these will work, or how much extra effort will be necessary for them to work well, before we can commit to it. If Tussles as we currently imagine them prove too ambitious, we have some fallback ideas that would allow for this type of freedom in other, simpler ways.
Wednesday - June 18, 2014
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Interview @ RPS
Rock, Paper, Shotgun has posted the first part of a new interview for Torment: Tides of Numenera. As usual here is a short sample of the interview.
RPS: It’s been more than a year since Torment’s Kickstarter wrapped up. What’s the pre-production process been like? How do you sit down and design a game like this? What do you prioritize?
Saunders: It’s been a combination of defining the breadth of the game at increasing levels of detail, while also delving into the very specifics for the most critical or risky elements. One aspect we prioritized early was the conversations. Adam Heine and Colin McComb were writing dialogue for the game soon after the Kickstarter campaign ended. We wanted to establish how we’d tell the story and imbue our conversations with as much reactivity as possible without making them prohibitively time-consuming to design and write.
Establishing our conventions for conversation design, and having in-game examples of them, was especially important given our host of writing talent.
Last summer, one of the systems Adam was working on was crafting. At that time, most of our design documentation was at a fairly high level, but Adam had some specific inspiration and thoughts about how crafting might work. So he ran with it, diving into a much deeper level of detail than most of our design at that time. Crafting touches many other aspects of the design: items, character abilities, loot and advancement, etc. Determining the details of that one system helped inform parts of many other systems, providing obvious answers for other design decisions and propelling our understanding of the game forward.
Friday - June 13, 2014
Tides of Numenera - Delayed to Late 2015
Well this shouldn't come as a surprise inXile entertainment has more information in the latest kickstarter update that Torment: Tides of Numenera is being delayed further.
So, where are we on Torment then? During the last week of our Kickstarter, we had adjusted our target launch date to the first half of 2015. And last December, in Update 27, I mentioned that timeline was still feasible, but that Torment’s schedule remained in flux until all became clear with Wasteland 2. Wasteland 2’s success in Early Access allowed us to spend more time improving it, which also meant we had more time in preproduction on Torment. We’ve had more time to prototype, improve tools, iterate on our processes, etc. before entering full production. This has been a great thing for everything... except for our release date.
Now that we have a more certain roll-off plan for the production team from Wasteland to Torment, we’re better able to predict the shape of our schedule. And, as you may have guessed, the first half of 2015 isn't realistic anymore and we’re looking at the fourth quarter of 2015.
You may wonder how we can extend TTON’s development for a year longer than planned. By running a small core team during the preproduction phase, we have been extremely efficient in developing the foundation and the pipeline for the game – we make decisions more quickly, and we’ll have set a strong vision to help eliminate uncertainty. This will help us make fewer mistakes as the full team ramps up. One year following TTON’s Kickstarter, more than 80% of the development budget remained, so we have a lot of firepower for our production, beta, and finalization phases.
Monday - May 26, 2014
Torment - Interview @ Matt Chat
Chris Avellone did a new video interview on the Matt Chat show to once again talk about his current RPG kickstarter game Torment: Tides of Numenera.
Chris "MCA" Avellone returns to Matt Chat to talk about the upcoming Planescape: Torment spiritual successor, Torment: Tides of Numenera.
Friday - May 23, 2014
Torment - Interview @ RPG Codex
The RPG Codex conducted another good interview on their site this time with a few developers from InXile Entertainment to talk about Torment: Tides of Numenera.
Welcome, denizens of RPG Codex and the rest of the internet, to our interview with the designers of Torment: Tides of Numenera. For this interview, we turned our inquisitive mind-cannons towards inXile Entertainment, and with our magical questions, managed to hit:
Kevin Saunders, Project Lead.
Colin McComb, Creative Lead.
Adam Heine, Design Lead.
George Ziets, Lead Area Designer.
Jeremy Kopman, Crisis Designer.
The first part of this interview is all about catching up with George Ziets (currently Lead Area Designer on Torment: Tides of Numenera), with whom I conducted a more "generalist" kind of interview about a year ago. George Ziets is best known for his work as Creative Lead on Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer, and has since enjoyed the reputation of combining great creative writing with deep lore.
Friday - April 04, 2014
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Interview @ IGN
IGN had the chance to interview Project Lead Kevin Saunders, and Colin McComb to ask a few questions about Torment: Tides of Numenera.
Why did you choose an isometric perspective? Are the scenarios reactive to the player actions or are they pregenerated?
Adam Heine, design lead: The primary reason to go with an isometric perspective, of course, is because our thematic predecessor used the same perspective. It's what most of our backers expect, and we found no strong argument to do otherwise. Additionally, the isometric perspective allows us to create our environments as 2D backgrounds—a thing most of our backers wanted—which lends the more painterly style that fans of Planescape: Torment enjoyed. A third (unplanned) benefit to this is that Pillars of Eternity is using the same perspective and environment creation methods, so their technology gives us a natural advantage.
Like any story-focused RPG, our scenarios will be a mixture of reactive and prescripted, but we are leaning heavily towards the reactive side. As much as resources allow, we want every scenario to react to the player's choices, to include true, branching reactivity wherever possible.
From “What can change the nature of a man?” to “What does one life matter?”. What kind of adventure is Tides of Numenéra?
Colin McComb, creative lead: It’s a philosophical journey through life, a search to find meaning in a world that is immeasurably ancient, where a human life passes in the blink of an eye. It’s a personal story, and we hope that it’s also one that will make an indelible impression on our players.
That’s the high-level, thematic concept. Beyond all that, we’re putting you in the place of the Last Castoff. You’ll be playing the game as someone who was born inside a body that has already been used. Your sire is the Changing God, a man who has cheated death by growing bodies and transferring his mind into them, casting those bodies aside when he has achieved his goals. You’re the latest – and the last – in the string of bodies he’s created to house himself. Your consciousness born when his fled your body, you awaken in a world that is immeasurably strange, where technology is so advanced that it seems like magic, where you might learn to control some of the fundamental forces of the universe. You might take a sentient, shape-shifting ball of goo as a companion, or a knave who can change her face with the touch of a button, or a warrior whose weapons change form to match his personality. You’ll travel through forests that devour cities, explore inside the guts of vast predators, traverse impossible deserts, and confront enemies inside a caldera once used to refine ores for spacecraft. It’s fantasy crossed with science-fiction crossed with the far reaches of the mind.
Wednesday - April 02, 2014
Tides of Numenera - Post-Funding Update #30
In this update George Ziets informs us that he will be joining the team full-time as a Lead Area Designer and in the process provides some updates on area design as well.
So what convinced me to come back to an in-house job? After all, I’ve been a freelance designer for the past two years, and that’s not a bad gig, especially when my commute consisted of walking up the stairs to my (not at all creepy) attic.
First of all, I love the Infinity Engine games – they’re still my all-time favorites – and this is a chance to work on a thematic successor. While it’s satisfying to contribute to a game like Torment from afar, nothing beats the hands-on experience of designing areas on paper, blocking them out in the engine, working directly with artists to make them look great, and seeing the game world take shape before your eyes.
What’s especially great about Torment is that it combines the design sensibilities of the classic Infinity Engine games with a setting that’s weird and unpredictable. As designers, we’re not bound by the conventions of reality. The original Torment could have a giant anarchist golem, a brothel of intellectual lusts, and a pregnant alleyway. Buildings and levels could come in all shapes and sizes. Characters were never conventional archetypes, and inspiration could be drawn from almost anywhere. Numenera gives us the same kind of creative freedom, and that’s typically the sort of environment where I function best.
Another big incentive: we’re putting a part of the old Mask of the Betrayer team back together. That includes Kevin Saunders and me, of course, but also Jesse Farrell, who was a content designer (and our QA lead) on MotB. Notably, he was responsible for the awesome “soul contract” dialogue in the Chamber of Dreamers. At present, Jesse is blocking out levels and implementing basic quest mechanics for the first zone we’re fully implementing – the Bloom (the one I described in my Kickstarter video).
Oh, and the InXile studio is a block away from the beach, so there’s that too.
Friday - March 28, 2014
Tides of Numenera - Post-Funding Update #29
InXile Entertainment has posted a new post-funding update were they they talk about Cliff Lore, adapting tabletop rules for CRPG gameplay, and a web developer position.
Make sure to click link as the update is once again a huge wall of text.
Updated our Journal: Cliffs Notes
Thomas here. I hope that Spring is breaking on all of our Tormented backers, much as I hope it will break for Colin soon so he can finally be free of the Land Of Eternal Winter – as he likes to describe it. It's an exciting time for us; not only is the Torment pre-production making great progress, we have steadily expanded our ranks as well (more news for you on this very soon). On top of that, we will soon be meeting again at inXile's offices, with Adam flying in from Thailand, Colin from the Land That Knows No Sun this April and me coming in from the Netherlands. We have figured out how to work well together over the internet, and it has been a pretty seamless process all things considered, but it is always nice seeing each other and talking in person.
I recently opened up a spot on my blog for folks to ask me anything. I've gotten some interesting questions so far, but this one I thought might be of interest to our backers. Thomas said:
A lot of Numenera's rules seem to be designed around a push-pull between the players and the GM. Are you finding that difficult to adapt to a cRPG where the "GM" is static content that is predetermined?
I prefer the term "interesting." The folks who run the Italian Torment blog asked me some fairly in-depth questions along these very lines (you can read my answers here; scroll down for English), so I'll try not to repeat myself.
So while some tabletop RPGs are largely combat simulators—and therefore easier to adapt into a CRPG—Numenera is primarily a storytelling simulator. Combat and tactics are in there, along with rules to adjudicate every other situation, but if you're not collectively telling a story along with it, it could get boring fast
Tuesday - March 04, 2014
Tides of Numenera - Update & Interview
InXile entertainment has another interview on the games blog with Adam Heine. The interview is in both Italian, and English. So read on if your interested.
Numenera providers players with lots of unique options during character creation, but it also features a fairly linear character progression, probably because of its huge list of gears (Artifacts and Cyphers mostly) that work like Skills or Perks. Are you aiming for the same result in Torment? Or will leveling be a more open-ended affair? As a rule, what do you think about gear-centric advancement systems?
Well, first, we are implementing Artifacts and Cyphers as close to the spirit of the tabletop as we can. So Cyphers are planned to be unique (some may overlap in abilities, but each cypher will be different), some of them powerful, all of them one-shot, and all of them encouraged to be used (i.e. we are implementing the tabletop game’s limits on how many cyphers a character can safely carry). We’re even extending the concepts with our crafting design (which you may have read about), giving the player more options for item progression and customization.
As for character progression, we’re aiming for a little more customization than the tabletop provides. We’ll have more class abilities than in the Corebook, a defined set of Skills, and the PC will be able to switch his Focus on the fly. So there should be enough there to give the player a sense of progression and choice at each Tier (plus Numenera’s character upgrades and customizations between Tiers: increasing Stat Pools or Stat Edge, learning a new Skill, increasing maximum Effort Level, etc).
Regarding gear-centric advancement systems in general, what I like about them is they allow the player to adapt to new situations as he finds them. Come across a pack of armor-wearing gorillas immune to your poison attack? Switch out your poison weapons for something that will work against them.
Next they share a link to Venture Beat with an update on the games development.
GamesBeat checked in with 10 large Kickstarters on their current status, Torment included. Brian Fargo comments:
Update: Torment is still in heavy preproduction, inXile CEO Brian Fargo told GamesBeat. The team has generated about 800 pages of design documents and a prototype for one of the crisis areas. “We are working on some beautiful new screens, which we hope to show in the next 90 days or so,” he said. “We are thankful for the long design stage we were given thanks to crowdfunding.”
Wednesday - January 29, 2014
Torment - Post-Funding Update #28
InXile entertainment is back with a new post-funding update for Torment: Tides of Numenera about Licensing Pillars of Eternity technology, Inventory, and Loot.
Pillars of Eternity Technology
I’m happy to say that we’ve taken things a step further and recently reached an agreement to license Obsidian’s technology for Pillars of Eternity to use in Torment. (In case you haven’t seen it yet, a great Pillars of Eternity teaser came out last month – they are still accepting late pledges for any who missed their Kickstarter.) Torment’s code base will thus include the most relevant components of PE’s technology and Wasteland 2’s. We’re making enhancements to best suit Torment, and some systems will of course be completely new as Torment’s design is its own.
Your pack will be limited by encumbrance only—not by the number of items. The pack will look a lot like PST: a large number of slots where item icons will be displayed. The major difference is that when those slots are filled up, you’ll automatically get another "page" of inventory slots. You can even manually add pages to your party members’ inventory and use those new pages as an organizational tool, if you like. But you'll never be required to make pages—we want to make your inventory a useful tool, not a chore.
"But if quantity's not a limitation," you say, "that means my glaive can carry, like, a hundred ultra-light synthsteel breastplates?! That's ridiculous."
You're absolutely right, but note that inventory's limitation is not "weight" but "encumbrance," which we're using as a measure of unwieldiness. Encumbrance in Torment mostly means weight, but some items will have a higher or lower encumbrance measure because of their size (or, to be more precise, their density). For example, an ultra-light synthsteel breastplate might not weigh much, but it would have a significant encumbrance because it's so unwieldy. Conversely, a bar of gold weighs quite a lot, but because it's such a small object, its encumbrance would be less than a larger object of the same weight. In other words, encumbrance measures both the weight and the size (or unwieldiness) of items to determine the limit of what you can carry.
Inventory and Loot are interdependent, and one of our primary goals across both systems is to ensure that your decisions about what you will and will not carry are interesting ones. Specifically, the average player should be able to carry all the stuff she needs and still loot a single area without having to worry about her carry limit (though you might still run afoul of the cypher limit, which is a topic for another discussion).
The carry limit will matter when you need to decide what to sell and what to keep. It may also matter if you're hoarding things, but in Torment, you won't be carting 100 mundane short swords back and forth just to make a few extra shins (verisimilitude is important, but we're not sure it's that important). Loot should always be interesting and usable.
Tuesday - December 31, 2013
Torment - Interview @ Paste Magazine
Paste Magazine interviews Colin McComb about Torment: Tides of Numenera.
For Colin McComb, a 29-year-old writer who spent two years working on Torment and had helped write for the original pen-and-paper Planescape setting around which it was based, the game’s archetypal characters offered a broad field to explore conflicts more nuanced than the good versus evil quests of traditional fantasy—not to mention a good way to put a college degree in philosophy to good use.
“The various factions of Sigil were essentially real-world philosophies given flesh. And the outer planes actually made belief real, solid, tangible stuff,” McComb recalls. “Short of going into a postgrad program, I can’t imagine any better way to spend my time.”
But years pass, and priorities change. Fourteen years later, McComb finds himself looking at the world from a different perspective. Now 43 and a father, he’s less preoccupied with the great, abstract ideological struggles of the world, and is instead captivated by a personal question: What legacy will he leave behind for his children when his work is over?
Fortunately for fans of Planescape: Torment, the answer is coming in a form they can benefit from: a sequel to the original game. Slated to reach audiences in 2015, Torment: Tides of Numenera falls broadly into a new wave of Kickstarter-funded sequels and reboots of classic cult games that have used crowdsourcing to connect directly with a fanbase that would be too small to attract a traditional publisher’s attention.
Saturday - December 21, 2013
Tides of Numenera - Post-Funding Update #27
InXile entertainment has posted a new post-funding update for Torment: Tides of Numenera with information about skills, exploration, story revisions, and the benefits of a lengthy preproduction.
Updated our Journal: Extra Effort
Just a quick update to talk about where we’re currently at as we enter the holiday season.
As you may have heard, the Wasteland 2 Early Beta went out to eligible backers last week and is now available on Steam as an early access title. The Wasteland 2 Beta was not part of any of our Torment tiers, but if you selected access to the Wasteland 2 Beta as an add-on, hopefully you saw one of our early announcements about this, received your beta key through the Torment pledge management system (pretty much all digital rewards for Torment pledges will be distributed through that system), and are playing it already. (If not, please write our support team and we’ll get it taken care of.)
Congratulations to the entire Wasteland 2 team for reaching this point!
A Few Words on Preproduction
For a while now, some of you have been asking when we’d be transitioning from preproduction to production. With Wasteland 2’s recent early beta release, you may be aware that the inXile team will be spending more time on that game to get it done right—one of the fundamental benefits of Kickstarter is that we have the direction from our backers to emphasize quality over punctuality. This decision impacts Torment because most of the production team (e.g., programmers, artists, animators, etc.) will be moving onto Torment later than originally expected, which means we’ll be in preproduction for a longer period of time.
We’ll let you know if we ever determine that Torment’s release will be delayed beyond the first half of 2015. Thus far, our extended preproduction has been a very good thing and at this time I don’t anticipate it will push us out of that release date window.
Thursday - December 19, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Interview
InXile entertainmeny has another interview on the games blog with Chris Avellone and Kevin Saunders. The interview is in both Italian and English.
Hi Chris, you were the lead designer di Planescape: Torment and the guy who wrote a huge part of that game. Even if your role in T:ToN development is smaller, part of your job now consists in reviewing various design docs and giving advice to the other Torment developers. Is there any particular area of Tides of Numenera that has taken advantage of your feedbacks, something where players can clearly recognize your signature? And on the other hand, what’s the feature designed by another guy of the team that appealed you the most?
I’ve been part of intense story reviews with Colin McComb, Adam Heine, Kevin Saunders, and Nathan Long on Torment, and given hours of feedback on the story structure, plot direction, and questions about player agency – that said, the story is very much from Colin’s mind, he was open to a sounding board for a variety of concepts.
So what appealed to me at first glance? Oddly enough: the combat tie-in to the protagonist’s dilemma. And the reasons surrounding the player’s initial quandary, which I’d be happy to elaborate more on once the game is released and people have had a chance to play it. What I like about Colin is he really likes digging in deep with motivations for NPCs and then laying out the quest and backdrop permutations that result naturally from asking a lot of questions about how the NPC would handle the situation if he had years upon years to tackle it.
Is there any other major difference between the two games that impacts on your work? I mean, aside from the obvious ones like the setting.
It’s nice to switch gears. When doing story critiques between the two, it’s nice to take a break to jump to Torment and play around with some unconventional approaches that the Numenera world allows (and Monte Cook is to be commended for this – he set up the framework of the world – er, worlds).
Tides of Numenera will be an heavy-text game and Pillars of Eternity will have its share of dialogues, text-descriptions and even choose-your-own-adventure-encounters. How do you feel about that? Recently you experimented a lot with visual narratives and - if I recall correctly - you stated before that additional dungeons and combats (so less emphasis on text and dialogues) would have made Planescape: Torment a better game. Do you still feel the same way about that?
If the story can be accomplished visually or with audio, I prefer it. By audio, I don’t mean dialogue that’s voiced, or even spoken audio logs, but SFX in the environment. I feel BioShock and Halflife have it right in presenting a story to the player – and allow them to participate in piecing together the experience through the arrangement of props and visuals.
That said, Torment has some very experienced writers on staff, and if you’re in the mood to read, you won’t find the word choice lacking.
Friday - December 13, 2013
Torment - Editorial @ Matt Chat Blog
The Matt Chat Blog has an article about turn-based combat, and uses the recent vote for Torment: Tides of Numenera to say,"About Damn Time."
In short, I don’t think turn-based combat is boring or tedious at all. Rather, it’s just that Diablo was so successful that publishers (and many gamers who hadn’t experienced anything else) were suddenly convinced that it was a throwback. That prevented the natural development we’d expect to see in interface and AI design. We’re just now finally starting to see what a modern CRPG with turn-based combat might look like, thanks mostly to X-Com and Shadowrun. However, neither of these games comes anywhere close to the raw passion and craft we got in Baldur’s Gate.
If anyone is in a position to update turn-based combat and make it fun again, it’s Torment’s developers. Fortunately, we are finally back to a position where gamers can and have overridden the publishers to get a new turn-based game that won’t suffer from lower production values. I, for one, am excited to see what the team eventually comes up with.
Saturday - December 07, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Post-Funding Update #26
According to the new post-funding update for Torment: Tides of Numenera it seems turn based combat has won the vote. Techincally it was a tie, but inXile has decided they want turn based combat. Read the whole update for the reason behind the choice.
Updated our Journal: Decision
TL;DR: Combat vote results completed – statistically it was a tie! Torment: Tides of Numenera’s combat (and Crises) will be turn-based combat. We’ll address concerns expressed by Real-Time with Pause fans in our design.
Your participation in the combat discussion and vote has been terrific! Almost 20% voted and over 2000 comments were made on our forums alone. That’s twice the turnout I expected, and it’s great to see all of the passion our backers have for the project. I’d like to thank everyone who got involved.
It’s been an exciting vote! The leading system changed a couple times early on and the final tally is: 7,267 TB, 7,052 RTwP and 782 Indifferent. With the vote at 48% to 47%, and with those who voted “indifferent” being more than triple the difference between the TB and RTwP camps, it is essentially a draw.
As we explained in Update 24, we were leaning toward turn-based combat because we believe it’s better suited for the kind of tactical complexity we're looking for through our Crisis system. We believe it’s a stronger fit for bringing narrative elements, including dialogue with NPCs, into hand-crafted combat situations. We have considered the vote, but more important than the vote are the comments (not just in our forums, but on many of the community forums and articles on this topic). Your comments have helped us greatly in understanding why people have the preferences and concerns that they do.
We have decided to go with turn-based combat. Ultimately, there are no losers here. This is all part of the process of making an RPG we are all passionate about and we think you’ll like Torment’s combat even if you voted for RTwP. While we have not been looking forward to disappointing half of our backers, we were happy to find that many of the reasons people gave for disliking TB and preferring RTwP can be addressed through the details of our combat system and encounter design. I’d like to go over some of the more common comments we saw either for RTwP or against TB and explain how we will address them.
Friday - November 22, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Post-Funding Update #25
Torment: Tides of Numenera has a new post-funding update with information about a new combat vote. So make sure you vote to influence the games combat.
Updated our Journal (25): Combat Vote!
TL;DR: Weigh in on Turn-Based vs. Real-Time with Pause (or declare your indifference). Voting will close in December.
Over the last couple weeks, we’ve been reading all of your commentary and ideas regarding combat. Many good points and suggestions, and mostly civil discourse. Thanks to all who have engaged in the discussion so far!
And now... It is time! Only backers can place a vote. (If you haven’t already and you’d like your voice heard, please register with us to gain access to the backer-only UserVoice forum.) Feel free to also continue to submit comments and ideas to the combat discussion forum. Please remember that this vote is advisory only. Above all, please remember that our goal is to provide the best possible experience for the game, and if the final decision is not your preferred choice, we ask you trust our ability to deliver a solid game.
For more context about what this is about, please see Update 24, where we describe what Turn-Based and Real-Time with Pause might each mean for Torment. We’ll close the voting in December.
Friday - November 08, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Interview
The Tumblr page for Torment: Tides of Numener has a news of a new interview with Project Lead Kevin Saunders. It's avaiable in Italian and English.
Hello Kevin, my first question is about the exploration. In its latest update of Kickstarter , Montgomery Markland talked about the gameplay of the world-map of Wasteland 2. Can we expect something similar in Torment: Tides of Numenera or the focus of the game is too different? In general, do you think that the free-roaming is beneficial to the formula of RPG?
First of all, thanks for the well thought out questions! I think of the world-map as that of Wasteland 2 to be excellent gameplay elements, but also to influence the pace of the game and the kind of experience that this is going to create. In general terms, I believe that the free-roaming RPGs do well and that, in relation to the effort required, a world-map to add a lot of gameplay and depth to the game. Initially I dreamed of a world-map component in Torment, but over time I began to believe that it could not marry well with our vision of the game. We'll see.
I love the idea behind the Crises, but I'm curious to know how you intend to manage them. Mainly through the text book style game, or with the "normal" gameplay? Incorporate elements of puzzle-solving, instant deaths and challenges of another kind? What do you think are the pros and cons of Crises compared to a more "system-oriented" to the non-violent gameplay (eg stealth or hacking in Deus Ex / Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines)?
The Crises take place within the structure of the normal-gameplay, but separately from exploration and conversations, a bit 'as the exploration of real-time combat is separated from the classics in the GDR. We expect that the interface and change some options available to you during a Crisis (example: we could realize that certain options for the camera are better suited to the gameplay of Crises that the exploration of the world). There will be no sessions in style text adventure; there will be the text, but at the same way that there is in the rest of the game. You will be potentially engaged in conversations (limited duration) and you can examine objects of the scenario. I think it's accurate to say that the Crises include elements of puzzle-solving. We do not want to play dirty tricks to players with an "instant-death" impossible to predict, but if you are careless you will pay the consequences.
Thursday - November 07, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Post-Funding Update #24
Torment: Tides of Numenera has a new post-funding update with informaion on the Tides, Combat, Forums, and a new Q&A video. Just a heads up it's pretty lengthy.
Updated our Journal (24): Roll for Initiative
TL;DR:Tides, Q&A with Colin McComb, combat discussion begins!, and new Torment forums.
Hi Forgotten Ones,
We’re continuing through preproduction on Torment, designing various game systems and continuing to refine the story and character arcs. In a couple weeks, Adam Heine and Colin McComb will be coming out to inXile to meet more of our production team (still hard at work on Wasteland 2) and to discuss various aspects of Torment’s design. I’m looking forward to meeting Adam in person for the first time!
Thursday - September 26, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Post-Funding Update #22
In update number 22 for Torment: Tides of Numenera there is info about Numenera books and the Wasteland 2 Beta, the area design process, crafting system design and a design concept they are calling Crises.
About the Companions
We’re tweaking, nudging, and adjusting the companions even now. One of our initial companion ideas has been changed to a major NPC role, replaced with another concept that better serves the narrative and party dynamic. Also, Chris Avellone turned in a proposal for his companion, and as you might expect, the companion has so much excellent potential for the game that we’re thinking of... well, I don’t want to spoil anything. Let’s just say this particular companion is really cool and effortlessly overturns one of the tropes of RPG companions. Which is to say: it’s great, and fits nicely into our roster.
Speaking of which, I put together a starting relationship chart for our companions. You can have up to three in your party at a time and they’ll all make their appearances fairly early in the game. We’ve been thinking about how they’ll interact with the Last Castoff and each other and talking about ways to improve the party’s overall dynamic... and, of course, ways to make the companions’ relationships with one another more compelling. We want to keep the process organic, rather than systematic, so having this starting point on how the characters interact will help push creativity and drive some narrative decisions further down the road.
For instance, we don’t want to have the Cold Jack simply count the number of times you’ve disagreed with her in dialogue before she suddenly becomes a (bigger) jerk. We want to have her relationship with you evolve. Perhaps she and another companion have important matters that they need your help with right away—and if you pick his over hers, she’ll remember that... and that will impact your interactions with her later in your story. Regardless of your relationship with your companions, during combat you’ll have complete control over them. But whether they stay by your side throughout your journey may be a different matter.
Friday - August 16, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Tabletop Game Released
The Tumblr page for Torment: Tides of Numenera has news that the Tabletop RPG is ready for release.
Today brings the official release of the first pen and paper RPG books for Numenera! A hearty congratulations to Monte Cook and his team.
For our backers, this means you should be getting the books soon if you backed at a tier that includes them. Digital backers $75 and $125 and up should already have received their eBooks, if not then check this update. For physical backers $250 and up, Monte Cook Games has started shipping out the Corebook and Player’s Guide this week, and they’ll be arriving at the doorsteps of Numenera and Torment backers in the next couple of weeks.
Thursday - August 08, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Interview @ Rock, Paper, Shotgun
Rock, Paper, Shotgun has a new interview with Brian Fargo and Kevin Saunders talking about Torment: Tides of Numenera.
RPS: At what point in the pre-production process is the game right now?
Saunders: We just hired a programmer, who joins us in a couple of weeks. We’ve had a little bit of art. Some of our artists are working on figuring out how we’ll develop our environments. Mostly it’s been about the design. It’s been about the story, about our conventions for dialogue and how we’ll implement reactivity. The character design, who the companions will be, how they’ll interact with the player and with each other.
RPS: Having that mix of voices and people who had some experience with Planescape before, how has that all been meshing? How has it come together?
Saunders: It can be difficult. A lot of the people involved are spread out, so there’s a lot of e-mail communication. Adam, Colin, and I have conference calls twice a week where we discuss things. What we’ve done is, we’ve had e-mail threads where all of these people will chime in… There’s this understanding that we can ignore their comments. If we were compelled to respond to every single idea and thought, it’s just too much. So we steal the best ideas and incorporate them into the next thing we send out. Then, “Hey, what do you think of this?” That’s worked pretty well. Also, I know Chris and Colin talk fairly regularly just about developing the story. Colin bounces ideas off of him pretty often.
RPS: Do you think the gaming industry as a whole should place a higher value on writing? I mean, people like people, characters, personality. Are we scaring them away without the common human touchstone of, er, humanity?
Saunders: I think it’s a different approach, a different kind of experience. One of the things we’re doing in Torment is, in the dialogue, it won’t just be the NPCs lines that they say. We’ll also have scripted text. We might describe what they do. We’re letting our writers be free in terms of that. They can write what would happen. Not all of it is anything we’ll be able to show. With a triple-A game, you need to show everything that you want to have happen. You can’t describe a scene. It’s not a novel. The production expense of showing some things could be prohibitive, or showing everything. But we can take an approach where we can let the writers run free and not have to worry about then executing every crazy and great idea they have.
Wednesday - July 24, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Post-Funding Update #21
InXile entertainment has posted a new post- funding update for Torment: Tides of Numenera. The topics include the writers meet, screenshots, and dialogue design.
Last week marked a milestone event for Torment: Tides of Numenera, as we got many of the writers together in one room to discuss the game. This type of preparation is what preproduction is about – our schedule allows us to have these discussions and define the game before the production team rolls off of Wasteland and onto Torment.
Monte Cook gave an advanced rundown of Numenera for everyone (and has gathered some of his thoughts in this excellent blog post) and Colin McComb presented the current version of the story, and then the group brainstormed ideas, iterated on plot points, and discussed processes and design conventions.
Crafting a Screenshot
My name is Gavin Glenn-McDowell and I am an environment artist here at inXile Entertainment. Currently I am spearheading the environment art pre-production on Torment: Tides of Numenera. I would like to update you on our current progress, as well as some behind the scene peeks of how we plan to make some of the areas and environments for the game.
I think that we are all aware of how unique and well-crafted the Numenera setting is. I speak for the entire art team here at inXile when I say we are incredibly grateful and excited to work on this project. Creating this game will require an immense amount of creativity, which is a good thing. Even though the theme and aesthetic are extremely interesting, what is even more exciting is the methods and technology we plan on using to create our environments.
On Dialogue Design
Adam here. I was not able to join the team for the writer’s meet, which is a shame, but Colin’s writeup on it does give me the perfect opportunity to talk a bit about something I’ve been spending a lot of time on: working with the conversation editor we’re using for Torment (obtained through our arrangement with our friends at Obsidian Entertainment, with some of our own modifications planned). I've been using it to write example dialogues and establish our dialogue guidelines for the game.
Conversations in Tides of Numenera will be a lot like what you remember from Planescape: Torment. The NPC will tell you something (maybe a lot of something—we're thinking up to 300 characters per NPC node), and you'll have a list of responses to choose from. Some of those responses might include actions to perform, skills to use, or telling the truth vs. lying.
Monday - July 22, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Tumblr Updates #2
Well it's time for round numer two of Tumblr updates from inXile entertainment. Lets get started. Up first we have a photo of all the writers. Just look at all that talent in one room.
The Torment team were gathered earlier this week to discuss Colin’s story outline and brainstorm, which was “hugely productive, enormously creative" per Colin.
From left to right: Steve Dobos, George Ziets, Monte Cook, Kevin Saunders, Shanna Germain, Tony Evans, Matthew Findley, Colin McComb, Patrick Rothfuss, with Nathan Long in the front, with Chris Avellone present but not on the photo.
Next we have the Map of the Ninth World were Torment: Tides of Numenera takes place.
Ninth World Map, via Ninth World Hub. Torment: Tides of Numenera’s locations lie beyond the eastern edges of this map.
And finally George Ziets gives his opinion on the writers meet.
Just sitting in a single room with the concentrated mental power of Colin McComb, Monte Cook, Shanna Germain, Pat Rothfuss, Chris Avellone, Nathan Long, Tony Evans, Kevin Saunders, and the InXile guys was pretty amazing. Honestly, I wish I could have that group spend a few days brainstorming ideas and ferreting out the weak points for every game I develop.
I think an observation that Colin made was very telling. Nobody in the room was trying to prove themselves or compete with anyone else. It was very much a “yes, and…” discussion, with each of us building upon and getting excited about the others’ ideas. That may have been because we’re all over 30 years old and relative veterans in writing or design. But whatever the reason, it was one of the most fun and productive design discussions I’ve experienced.
Source: InXile Entertainment
Friday - July 19, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Tumblr Updates
The Tumblr page for Torment: Tides of Numenera has a few updates for the game. So as not to waste time lets get to it.
Monte Cook posts about the pen and paper books.
Monte Cook on the Numenera pen and paper books. This applies to our backers eligible for the books too, provided you filled in your address on our pledge management system.
Adam Heine posts on his blog about writing game dialogue.
A lot of you know I'm a multiclassed programmer/writer. Before I drafted four novels and got an agent, I had a Computer Science degree, scripted for Planescape: Torment, and completed a few dozen Project Euler problems (until they got too hard). Unfortunately, since I've been more focused on writing, my levels in programming have gone largely unused.
Until now. It turns out game dialogue is the perfect job for my class combination. It's nowhere near as complicated as writing a program to solve Sudoku, but it's got all the puzzle-solving aspects of programming that I love.
And it's not as hard as it sounds. Here, I'll show you.
Source: InXile Entertainment
Sunday - July 14, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Player’s Guide and Corebook
inXile has a small post on the Torment: Tides of Numenera tumblr page about the games player’s guide and Corebook.
Important notice! The Torment: Tides of Numenera backer tiers containing the Numenera Player’s Guide or Corebook (that is, $75 and $125+ digital, $250+ physical) will be closed off and unavailable indefinitely for new backers & upgrades after July 19th. The books will be coming out in August and we need to finalize who will receive books from this first release
We have finished importing Kickstarter data into our backers center and you can now register/login and input your address there. If your pledge rewards contain a physical copy of the Numenera books, please do so before July 19th. Functionality to input add-ons and manage tier choice is not yet in. We will tell you as soon as that’s ready.
Saturday - July 06, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Preview @ PCGamer
PCGamer has a new short preview for Torment: Tides of Numener.
In Numenera, you play a unique being who feels no pain but has the power to redistribute the suffering of others. This concept – ‘torment’, if you will – will be one of the major factors in linking the game’s combat with its dialogue system. Interestingly, inXile are letting tone and narrative lead game design. “The D&D licensed games were very much tabletop first, and the computer game’s job was to translate that experience,” says producer Kevin Saunders. “Here we’re able to have the computer experience come first.”
Pain might be a central theme, but inXile don’t want the experience to be punishing. It’s important to the developers that we feel ‘listened-to’ by the game, and rewarded for paying attention by the responsiveness of the world to our actions. Rather than negative endings, then, consequence is more about responding in a way the player feels is right.
“We want to make sure that every ending is thematically appropriate for the choices the player has made throughout the game,” McComb says. “We’re not going to be like ‘now it’s time for you to be stretched out on the rack! Here come the thumb-screws!’ It’s going to be about the choices you make. How much are you willing to take on, and what will you shove off onto other people. What kind of person does that make you?”
Talking to inXile, there’s an evident (and refreshing) respect for the intelligence of their audience. “They would be disappointed if we didn’t challenge them intellectually,” Saunders says. That’s not a sentiment you hear very often in gaming. In the case of Numenera, it’s backed up by a 4.2 million dollar mandate from the fans.
Wednesday - June 26, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Interview @ Gamestar.ru
Gamestar.ru has an interview with Torment: Tides of Numenera leads Colin McComb, Kevin Saunders and Adam Heine.
First we get more details on the story.
Tell us about the story and the world of Torment: Tides of Numenera in more detail? Who is the main character? Whom he will fight?
Colin: The Ninth World of Numenera is a far-future Earth — a billion years in the future. They call it the Ninth World because they say that eight great civilizations have come and gone on the earth: civilizations that onceacted as the hub of star-spanning empires, or that mastered the folding of time of space, or who had mastered the shaping of worlds, and more. They have left an indelible imprint on the face of the planet, and they share another feature: they have all vanished, leaving behind remnants of their knowledge and their tools. Now humanity rebuilds on the shattered ruins of these ancient civilizations, in a world filled with the unimaginable energies of forgotten races, and begins to discover its place in a universe that is very, very different from the one we know.
It’s against this backdrop that our story begins. A man decided he did not want to die — his reasons are lost to time — and discovered a way to grow a new body and transfer his mind into that new body. Over the course of thousands of years, he has lived countless lives in countless bodies… but what he doesn’t know — or perhaps doesn’t care to know — is that when he leaves those bodies, they don’t die. Instead, they begin their own lives in near-immortal shells, with no memory of the mind they housed before.
Something about the process has awoken an old enemy — the Angel of Entropy. It finds the Changing God and vows to eliminate his works, and now it hunts the PC.
You play the Last Castoff — a shell of the Changing God, on the run from the Angel of Entropy, in a desperate search for answers in a world where it seems nearly anything is possible.
Then came the gameplay questions. This is only three of them.
What about the gameplay? What can you say about the role-playing system of Tides of Numenera?
Adam: We're adapting the system for Monte Cook's tabletop RPG Numenera. Numenera has a ridiculously smooth tabletop system, with only three character statistics, broad skill definitions, and a strong emphasis on collaborative storytelling. But we won't be creating a computerized version of the tabletop game—that would be too simplistic for a CRPG. Instead, we're working closely with Monte to adapt and add to the tabletop rules in a way consistent with Monte's vision for the game, while still being complex and interesting enough for a CRPG.
We're still at work adapting it, but what we do know is there will still be three character stats. There will be a defined set of skills, including some skills not found in a typical RPG. And we're working on ways to adapt Numenera's unique GM intrusion and XP mechanics.
How much the player will be free in choosing what he will do? Will an open world be in Torment: Tides of Numenera?
Adam: It won't be a true open world in the sense that you can go wherever you want in search of the next story thread. But giving the player choices that matter is very important to us. So while the player might not be able to walk all over the world map until they meet certain story beats, they will have a variety of choices of how to reach those beats, each of which will have a significant impact on the story and the world. Additionally, though the story beats may determine which locations the player has access to, they will have significant freedom of movement within those locations.
How serious our choices and actions will affect the storyline? How many endings will be in the game?
Adam: Like I said, one of our primary goals is to give the player choices that matter. They won't be easy choices either. You might be asked to choose between sacrificing a companion or allowing a village to be destroyed—or you might find a third option which will have consequences of its own. The theme driving the story is "What does one life matter?" and throughout the game, you'll find that your choices and actions matter very much.
And I just had to include this. Maybe we can learn a thing are two from his answer. We always talk about this on the watch.
In recent years, the concept of role-playing games was blurred a bit. For example, we have The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim with hundreds of skills and spells and endless loot, and we have Mass Effect with pure action gameplay. Nevertheless, both mentioned games are RPGs, and each of them has the high scores from players and press. What is the role-playing game for you?
Kevin: Even in their earlier years, RPGs had quite a wide variety in terms of the gameplay. Wasteland had an open, reactive world and conversations with NPCs. Eternal Dagger had intricate tactical combat and extensive character customization, but no NPC interactions. Legend of Zelda had action gameplay and environment puzzles. I think some of the distinctions have become clearer over time because there have been more games — you can start to group several games together whereas initially each RPG was pretty much its own type of experience.
My introduction to RPGs came with D&D in 1980 and then games like The Bard’s Tale, Zork I (I know this may not be considered an RPG today), Treasure of Tarmin (for the Intellivision), Ultima III. For me it was indeed about the «role-playing» part. By this I mean that you were imagining yourself as this other person (or group of persons, or yourself in some cases) creating a story of how they responded to (and influenced) the world and its situations, how they achieved their goals.
I don’t worry about definitions very much anymore. I don’t mean that definitions aren’t important — having common terminology is critical to communicating with others. But what makes something an RPG, or not, doesn’t strike me as a very practical thing to consider. Each game is trying to create its own experience for the player and there are so many valid combinations of features and approaches.
That was one thing I love about (Torment). With just that one word, gamers have a pretty good sense of what kind of game we’re making. By describing our four pillars of gameplay (a deep, thematically satisfying story; a world unlike any other; a rich, personal narrative; reactivity, choice, and real consequence), we further cement what Torment is about. It provides a strong, clear vision — one that our backers have told us they want. We know what we are making; now we just have to craft it.
Friday - June 14, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Interview @ Iron Tower Studio
There's a new Torment: Tides of Numenera interview at the Iron Tower Studio forums with Project Director Kevin Saunders.
Making a proper Torment game is a very challenging task, mostly because what made the original so special is the writing (story, characters, interactions, etc). Thus, to make a worthy sequel, “all you have to do” is to write a great story with great characters and dialogues. How's InXile approaching it?
Kevin: We’ve talked about the basic structure of our writing organizational approach before, so I’ll just mention that part briefly here: we’re spending considerable effort in establishing our design and writing conventions and designing example areas and characters to serve as a foundation to help guide our many writers. And we’re writing the five From the Depths novellas upfront, which will acclimate several of our writers to the setting and provide us all with a deeper understanding of the Tides.
But I think this only partially touches upon what you’re asking. =) One key component is the strength of the creative vision. Developing and communicating this vision is one of Colin McComb’s primary responsibilities and my part is to help him succeed.
I don’t think it’s this simple, but I believe that, in general, design by dictatorship yields the best results. To that end, I’m helping Colin be a good dictator. Colin is great about soliciting and extracting value from the feedback of others, but I try to push him to make sure he doesn’t compromise his vision in doing so (including freely ignoring (most of) my feedback when he wishes =) ). Colin’s a sincere, thoughtful guy, and empathy for others can hinder one from being an effective dictator. I also try to identify and champion the aspects of Colin’s vision that I feel are the strongest. Brian Fargo has also been doing this at key points in preproduction – reviewing we’re where at and calling out both the areas of risk he wants us to focus on and the areas of greatest potential he feels we should emphasize.
Related to the creative vision, and Colin’s ownership of this aspect of Torment, is the other writers being empowered to own the vision for their sections of the game. The strong foundation, conventions, and examples that Colin, Adam, Tony Evans, and I are working on are all toward this end – if we provide the right guidelines to the writers, then they can exhibit full creative freedom from there, with a much greater chance that what they come up with will complement Colin’s vision. This means there’s less chance that Colin’s feedback to the other designers will require a lot of rework, so they’ll be able to build momentum and create content that accentuates their strengths. Not that we’ll perfectly achieve this, but it is how we are approaching the game’s development.
We have added safeguards simply through the creative talent we have involved in the process. Not only do I have a lot of faith in the team (in many cases stemming from first-hand experience working with them), but I’m hoping peer review further helps us refine the content. For example, Chris Avellone has been reading everything and giving feedback along the way aimed toward strengthening the story and characters and helping Colin flesh out and communicate his vision. Finally, we’re planning for a lengthy finalization period, which will give us time to iterate and improve anything that we feel doesn’t come together well enough initially.
I think if we were to concentrate on “this must be a worthy sequel!” then we’d hamstring ourselves a bit. We’re not explicitly attempting to ”compete” with Planescape: Torment in terms of its writing, characters, and storytelling. We are making a game that places focus on those elements, but we’ll allow Torment: Tides of Numenera to organically become its own game.
Thursday - May 30, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Post-funding Update #20
There's a new Torment: Tides of Numenera update on Kickstarter. The update talks about a new writer, a design update, some new details on the process of revision of the story outline, and news on the novellas.
As we mentioned in the last Update, the current team working on Torment is very small, focusing on the story and design while our production team (programmers, artists, etc.) is working on Wasteland 2. We will have some openings for Torment over the next few months, with the first being for an experienced programmer. If this may be you (or someone you know) and you want to move to southern CA and work on Torment, check out our job opening.
We’d also like to introduce another of our writers, Natalie Whipple. She was discovered by Adam, who writes:
“I know, I know. More writers, right? But every writer means more reactivity and more content for the production team when they move onto Torment. It's gotta start somewhere. I've been a fan of Natalie’s science-fiction and fantasy writing for a long time and have even been lucky enough to critique a few of her works. Her stories are hugely imaginative, and she has a unique voice that's memorable and intriguing. Her debut novel, Transparent, was released just last week and her second will be out next year. Transparent is a science-fiction novel for young adults that is something of a cross between the X-Men and the Godfather. It’s a story about an invisible girl who works for her father, Vegas's biggest crime lord – at least, she does until her father pushes her too far and she goes on the run.
Story Outline (Colin McComb)
Kevin asked me to write a few words about the process of fleshing out the game's story, so here goes: It's fun!
I suppose technically that was only "a couple" of words, so I'll put down a few more. Without giving away any spoilers, here's how the process works. First, I sat down with the outline and bare bones that Adam, Kevin, and I had assembled before the Kickstarter (with the input of a few others; thanks, Nathan Long!) and started to get it into a more cohesive shape. Our first goal was a story document we could show to Brian Fargo and Matt Findley for their input. I… I overwrote a little. What should have been a 4-5 page document turned into 25 pages; the initial document turned into a bit of a brain dump with a lot of area ideas with less of a uniting framework.
In order to create a better focus, I took that document and re-emphasized the story structure, breaking the game apart into modules for design and thematic consistency, with a rough guide for how much content we were aiming for in each section. I put our main cast of characters up front, along with a quick sketch of their motivations and defining characteristics, and defined a little more about how we're going to pursue some of our mechanics (Tides, Legacies, and Meres, among others).
Then I sent the revised document around for high-level review -- Fargo, Findley, Avellone -- and I've gotten some excellent feedback from them on a number of more technical issues. I've been spending some time integrating those comments; they do nothing but enhance the story.
Tuesday - May 21, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Community Q&A Video
Torment: Tides of Numenera has a new Q&A video. The video provides some insight into how the team is going to approach dialogue trees.
Though ultimately a variation of the previous method, Hub-and-Spokes Dialogue creates a very different conversation flow compared to basic Branching Dialogue. The player listens to the NPC's lines and then chooses their response from the main "hub" of the conversation.
After hearing the NPC's response, the player either returns to the main hub, from which they can ask the same question again or inquire about another topic, or enters a deeper hub with more options to choose from.
The player can typically always find their way back to any hub by navigating through their responses, and thus can explore the dialogue in any order they wish. In this manner, a player can exhaust a conversation by trying every possible option at their disposal (with no penalty), and the interaction only ends when the player chooses the "goodbye" option.
Most conversations in Mass Effect and other BioWare titles take this form, with occasional basic Branching Dialogue implemented when the player has to make an important decision that may affect quest outcomes or the NPC's disposition towards the player.
Hub-and-Spokes Dialogue gives the player more freedom and control over conversation and often allows them to interrogate NPCs to find out every last piece of information about them. However, this method of dialogue tends to create conversations strongly divorced from reality.
The NPC usually has infinite patience for the player's strange inquisitions, and every dialogue plays out like an interrogation as the player keeps pressing the NPC for info. Furthermore, the player hears a lot of the same lines over and over as he navigates between hubs, potentially breaking immersion.
Friday - May 17, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Colin McComb Interview
Gamefront interviewed Colin McComb on Torment: Tides of Numenera and the Kickstarter.
Given Torment: Tides of Numenera’s pedigree – it’s the spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment – it’s not difficult to understand just why so many luminaries want to have a hand in making it. Planescape: Torment was highly acclaimed for the quality of its writing, the development of its setting, and richly textured characters. Tides of Numenera represents a rare chance to revisit the past, but also to improve on it.
For example, combat: Planescape: Torment’s combat system is widley acknowledged as one of its weaker points. “At best,” McComb says, combat was “a slog in PST”. He says the team plans to address that by integrating combat more fully into the seam of the narrative. “Since we’re using a different base system in Numenera’s rules and have the liberty to craft something specifically designed for a cRPG, I anticipate that we’ll have a combat system that will be far more entertaining,” he promises.
Combat isn’t the only thing that’s getting overhauled in Torment. Character attributes will also be getting a change-up from the Dungeons & Dragons-based system of its predecessor. “We’ll be seeing them, though not in the familiar AD&D Strength, Dexterity, etc combination,” said McComb. “From the core systems of Numenera, we’re looking at three pools: Might, Speed, and Intellect. We also have a Type (a character class, with a choice between the warrior-like glaive, the jack, and the wizard-like nano), a Descriptor (smart, fast, cunning, tough, etc.), and the Focus – a special ability that elevates your PC above the run-of-the-mill citizenry of the world. In addition, we’ll have skills and other abilities under the hood (for instance, the Tides and Legacy system).”
Wednesday - May 01, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Social Round-up
GameBanshee has news on Torment: Tides of Numenera about information from various social networks.
As for the Heine's video update, personally, I'd like you to design the system optimized for this game without referencing the PnP rules since they are different creatures while respecting the setting.Who is responsible for the designing the core system?
We will be designing Torment’s core systems to be what’s best for the computer game, with the Numenera PnP rules as the starting point. I agree with you that a PnP game and a CRPG want some different things from their rules systems (and Torment will have its own wishes!). But there are similarities as well. We licensed Numenera not only for the setting, but also to use its systems as a foundation for Torment’s – one of the appeals of Numenera was that we felt its rules were well-suited for computer adaptation for Torment. This approach also saves time over creating a new system from scratch (as much fun as that can be =) ).
We’ll modify aspects of the rules as is best for Torment. (The skill system, for example, is too open-ended for a computer game.) We won’t be trying to provide a pure translation of the Numenera PnP experience, though many aspects of its essence (the focus on narrative and exploration, for example) are well aligned with our vision for Torment and we see value to creating a shared experience between the two games.
While the core system design will be very important, the story and reactivity elements are more pressing and it will be a while before we are really focused on this part. But from the initial discussions we’ve had, I would say that Torment’s systems will likely have more complexity than the PnP rules do.
Currently, I expect that Adam and I will be the most involved in designing the core system. Though it is possible that we might later bring on board a new systems designer to own this aspect of the game. Monte will be involved, too, of course, though his goal with Torment is also to create the best video game possible and he is very open to our modifying his system as deemed best..
One thing about the transition, though. Heines mentioned spending XPs on "rolls" but, in the context of save anytime, cannot such randomness be exploited outside of something like combat, can it? I'm asking this since decision-making must be important.
We haven't discussed this in detail yet, but assuming we do have random "rolls," something like saving the random number generator's random seed (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Random_seed) would at least discourage players from exploiting the randomness.
Creative Director Colin McComb had quite a few things to say also.
Since the kickstarter has reached so many reactivity/depth goals, will you dare to explore wholly new and complex ways to implement reactivity? Or will you stick to the trusted formula (1 or 2 levels of branching, merged at choke points) only more of it?
Both. Which is to say, we're going to be exploring some new options for feasibility and ease of implementation, but we're going to leverage the foundation on which our experience was built. We want to take that experience further, rather than relying exclusively on our previous knowledge.
Leveraging collective synergy to think outside the box and formulate key objectives into a win-win game plan with a quality-driven approach that focuses on empowering key players to drive-up their core competencies and increase expectations.
We do plan to circle around and reach out to relevant professionals who might bring the ability to develop a paradigm shift that will result in organic growth for this exciting B2C outgrowth model.
(I swear to god the original response didn't sound buzzwordy when I wrote it)
Dear Colin - if we manage the strongholds, then could we have a stronghold that reacts to your dominant tide? Mechanically the same but one changed appearance depending on your tide. Eg Knowledge might be a huge library (like the Library of Alexandria)
That would be pretty cool. I'll see what the others have to say about this on an implementation level.
How is the character generation/development going to handled from a implementation level? We've been told that characters will be described as a 'ADJECTIVE CLASS who DESCRIPTIVE ATTRIBUTES' Will we be provided with a list that matches mechanics or skills?
Probably too early to tell on this right now, but one of our goals is to let the player toggle the information that reveals the internal mechanics of the system, so that people who want to dive into the metagame can explore various options that way.
Or maybe I dreamed that...
Regardless, the Numenera app will shed some light on how all of those things are tied together, and the TToN team will be working with Monte to tie his mechanics to a a more complex CRPG engine.
Tuesday - April 30, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Stronghold Feature Becomes a Reality
InXile has an update on Torment: Tides of Numenera. The update gives news that the stronghold feature will be included in Torment: Tides of Numenera despite the fact that the $4.5 million stretch goal wasn't conventionally reached.
Hello Forgotten Ones,
We’ve been having a good run at the final stretch goal and saw some real spikes and increased activity far beyond what we’d normally expect from our PayPal pledges at this stage. Thanks to all of you for your effort in rallying to the cause! However, it’s looking really unlikely we’ll make the $4.5M stretch goal, with our current PayPal total being $239,438, which means our total money raised so far is $4,428,365, with only two days left to reach the stretch goal.
But! Our percentage of dropped pledges was way below our estimates, proving yet again that you guys rock! As you may recall, our Lead Tormenter Brian Fargo and superfan Steven Dengler matched pledges between $1M and $3M, adding a total of $200K. That money was set aside primarily against failed pledges, but because of your dedication, we can apply enough of it toward our budget – combined with the PayPal totals – so as to have reached $4.5 million.
Which means? We made it! Because you guys are so awesome (and because Fargo and Dengler are so awesome) we can implement every single one of our stretch goals, including not just the player “stronghold” but also our ideas for expanded reactivity, length and depth, pursuing some of our crazier ideas concerning choice and consequence. As we outlined in update 19, while the classic “stronghold” concept might not fit this game the potential is there to do some really interesting things to tie it into our theme of legacy and the unique weirdness of the Ninth World. Colin’s been hard at work hashing out the overall plot as well as resurrecting and moving forward with ideas we had for features such as the stronghold, and he’s come up with some pretty great ones.
Thanks to all of you, we can now make those ideas happen. Thank you!
Wednesday - April 24, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Update #19, Building foundations
In a lengthy update for Torment: Tides of Numenera we learn that including Kickstarter they are a mere $94K away from reaching their $4.5M stretch goal and stronghold.
There is also more information on what they are up to.
So what are we doing on Torment right now? Our emphasis for the next while is on planning the project and building a strong foundation for the writers before they begin their work. I'll talk more about the project planning in a future update - for now, I'll explain what types of design work we're focused on.
Colin, with support from Adam and me, is focused on better defining the story and its scope. As we talked about a few times during the campaign, we designed the story (and other aspects of the game) to be highly modular so that we could adapt it to best fit the funding we received. Now that we know our budget for development, we can solidify the scope of the game. We reached the Longer Story Stretch Goal and Colin is looking into how to best incorporate some of the story ideas that we had pruned prior to the Kickstarter. In parallel, we (with Adam leading the charge) are drilling down into the details of how we’ll implement all of the Tidal and other reactivity. We have talked about this reactivity at a high level, but we need to establish more concretely how we will be executing it.
Lead editor Shanna Germain talks about the Ninth world.
And in closing there is some administrative info explaining that they have not finalized the importing of the Kickstarter information for pledgers, The Q&A with Adam Heine and they are promoting the Kickstarters for Camelot Unchained and Divinity: Original Sin.
Monday - April 22, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Adam Heine on Level and Skill Progression
In a new episode of "Ask Torment" Adam Heine answers a question.
How does level and skill progression look like?
Character levels and skills seem quite unique for Numenera compared to other systems. According to Monte's blogs characters with level 1 are already quite strong and maximum level is 6. Skills and their usage seem very descriptive and their interpretation left to GM. Then there are also experience points that can be used to directly affect events in game.
How is the system going to be implemented? Obviously P&P game can have infinite skills with new ones made on the spot, but it's not possible in computer game. Is there a list of available skills, like for example in Fallout? If not, then how do we use a certain skill in certain situation, and how do we know our proficiency in each skill?
Does everything have a level in the game? Does it directly affect mechanics like in D&D games (skills requiring certain levels, spells affecting creatures of X dice)?
Will we feel character progressing and getting stronger? Or is it purposely made insignificant to get more realistic human learning and focus more on story?
The answer is here in the video.
Tuesday - April 09, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Update #18, Administrative Details
Update number 18 provides us with some administrative details on how things continue from here.
Hi Those Who Will Never Be Forgotten,
This update covers some important administrative matters. In general, we plan to make more use of our tumblr site and Facebook to share information on the project – we will use Kickstarter updates less frequently and to provide information we want to communicate to all backers. So if you want the most and latest Torment information, please follow our tumblr site. This allows you to opt-in if you want to hear more from us.
Managing Your Pledge and Add-Ons
Following Wasteland 2, we set up our own database system to manage backer pledges, add-ons, and such. We’ll be leveraging this system for Torment as well. If you haven’t already, please register with us at our website.
Over the next month or so, we’ll receive the information from Kickstarter regarding your pledges and this information will become available in our system. We will notify you when this transfer is complete – at that time you’ll be able to see information there regarding your pledge. From our experience with the end of Wasteland 2’s Kickstarter, we expect this process to take several weeks – we appreciate your patience.
Another month or two after that, we’ll ask you for information regarding add-ons you may have selected, get your address information for sending you any physical goods, and ask you any other questions related to your pledge. We don’t plan to do this through Kickstarter’s system, but through our own. This allows us greater flexibility and to consolidate all of the PayPal backers and Kickstarter backers in one location.
Sunday - April 07, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Update #17, Thanks
Kevin Saunders gives the first post funded update for Torment.
TL;DR: Thanks!, what's next, and the stronghold we didn't reach.
All of us made history yesterday, reaching a new record for the most funded video game on Kickstarter! Thank you so much for your support, both through your pledges and through your spreading the word to others.
We had 74,405 backers on Kickstarter, raising $4,188,927. As of midmorning yesterday, we had about 2K backers and $127K through PayPal. In the last day, we reached the two major Stretch Goals at $4M and $4.25M, and also the 12th Fathom, and we’re thrilled to be able to add these aspects to Torment!...
Stronghold and the $4.5M Stretch Goal
We don’t have the final PayPal numbers yet, but we expect to be far short of the $4.5M Stretch Goal. (While Torment’s budget will be bolstered by the generous $200K total in contributions from Brian Fargo and Steve Dengler (@dracogen), these aren’t included in the Stretch Goal calculations. The Stretch Goals were set with these contributions already considered – that is, the $200K sum didn’t apply to determining whether or not we reached any given Stretch Goal. But all of it will be applied to creating a better game and help counterbalance the impact of fees and dropped pledges.)
Many backers have asked about the “Stronghold” that was at the $4.5M Stretch Goal, however. At your request and suggestion, what we’ll do is allow all PayPal contributions through the end of April to count toward determining whether or not we reached this goal. On Monday, we’ll tell you exactly how far we have left to go and through the end of the month we’ll provide more frequent updates on tumblr and Facebook about progress toward that $4.5M goal.
If we do make it by the end of April 30th, we’ll declare that final Stretch Goal achieved! In this case we would include the Stronghold, designing it to fit the flavor of Numenera and to fully support Torment’s themes and narrative.
We cannot say enough how much we appreciate your support. We are very much looking forward to creating Torment: Tides of Numenera for you. You have made this game possible.
Friday - April 05, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Update #16, Final Hours
In the final hours of the Torment: Tides of Numenera Kickstarter Brian Fargo thanks the backers and invites us to the party.
And here we all stand setting history with the crowdfunding campaign for Torment: Tides of Numenera. We often speak of paradigm shifts and game changers in our industry but you are truly witnessing it in this groundbreaking new model of connecting creators with the players. You have all heard me speak to this new power, but truly it will shape the kinds of games you play and the policies of the developers and publishers. More than ever we are in sync with the simple goal of making games without ever losing the gamer’s interests. At Interplay our slogan was By Gamers, For Gamers and this attitude could not be truer today.
There is no way this game would have ever been funded without this new method of connection and without the passion of our backers who didn’t just donate but worked as a team to spread the word. You guys rock! The passion of the RPG gamer is like none other.
We are both humbled and excited that you have given us this opportunity. The team we have assembled is pretty unbelievable and I have full faith that together we will create a true classic. I never stopped working to get Chris Avellone aboard to make sure we had the band back together. But it only got better when we brought on guys like Pat Rothfuss and Kevin Saunders to take the game to new heights. The trick is always to surround ones self with brilliant people and to create an environment in which creativity can flourish.
I want to give a special shout-out to my wife Ashley for driving her insane by talking incessantly about Kickstarter, Wasteland 2 and Torment for 24 hours a day. I’d also like to thank super fan Steven Dengler who stepped up to match my dollar contribution. The world would be a better place with more Steven Denglers.
Our communication does not stop here. As you’ve seen, we do have our own creative vision for this game but it will be our regular contact with you that helps us hone in on the right aspects of it all. With this great crowdfunding success comes great responsibility and we could not take it more seriously. My confidence in delivering a classic you will love comes from this open dialogue.
As you may know we have a closing party today in which we will celebrate the success we’ve had with this campaign and countdown to the final minutes of closing. We are of course ecstatic at our current funding but we are a competitive bunch and would love to beat the total funding record that our dear friends at Obsidian currently hold. We thought it only natural to invite any backers of the game and at last count we had 100 of you RSVP that you are attending. I look forward to meeting you. And for those that cannot attend, you will be able to join us virtually at this link starting at 2:30 PDT:
And before I end my writing let me share one more incredible concept piece from Nils Hamm that showcases the male player of Torment: Tides of Numenera.
Once again I would like to thank you for making it possible for me and all my team at inXile to spend many more years creating the best RPGs we can.
Torment: Tides of Numenera - 1 Day Left! More Add-ons, Sagus Cliffs Set to Music
With one day to go InXile offer what seems to be their last major update including a tech presentation of the previous screenshot with animation & Mark Morgan music.
Hello Forgotten Ones,
28 hours left. We had a strong showing yesterday – over 2500 new backers (hi!) and $150K! Today is going even better – we’re well on track to eclipse yesterday’s totals. A special thanks to Obsidian Entertainment who, in a classy show of solidarity, formally pledged to Torment today, helping us to climb toward their own record. Can we reach $4M and become the most funded video game Kickstarter yet? RPG fans unite!
We'll be sending a brief update tomorrow morning, but with this one you've seen all we have to show. =) Onward to the finale!
Thursday - April 04, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Update #14, Chris Avellone & Screenshot
Chris Avellone joins the design team and a nice screenshot to boot.
Hi Forgotten Ones,
Yesterday was a fantastic day, with a surge of more than $100K and 1500 new backers (welcome!). We were thrilled at the positive response to both the Bloom screenshot and our in-engine technology test with it. We’ve posted a 1080 HD version of the video for you to check out.
In yesterday’s update, we announced our remaining Stretch Goals, which return to Torment many of our original ideas that we had evaluated to be too ambitious for our resources. But now they are within reach. We have just two days left to see how far we can get! We’ll be issuing a Call to Arms later today. Let’s show the world that the RPG renaissance continues to thrive!
Tuesday - April 02, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Update #13, New Strecth Goals, New Add-Ons and a Video
With just 3 more days to go new stretch goals and add-ons are announced for Torment: Tides of Numenera. Check out the link if you are interested.
In addition they mention that the game will take a bit longer to develop.
We purposely designed Torment to be modular so that, if we had additional funding, we could easily expand upon the game in ways that would make sense. Your support has exceeded our expectations. It is clear to us that to create as high quality a final product as we desire, and as you deserve, we’re going to want more time than we had in our original schedule.
Many of you have asked if the unexpected support we have received will require us to push back the release date. While we do not yet know what our final development budget will be, we do know that we’ll need a few months past the December 2014 launch date we first proposed at $900,000. (We’ll provide more details about our schedule after we have time to complete our planning following the Kickstarter.) We thank you greatly for providing us enough resources to increase Torment’s scope and quality bar. It’s our plan to use funds to keep the team on the project longer, allowing us to design, iterate, and polish more, to make a game that truly lives up to the Torment name.
And there is a video showing a 3D character in a 2D background, which you might already know from the screenshot.
Yesterday, we showed you a screenshot of an area in the Bloom. Here is a brief lighting and technology test that shows a 3D character on a 2D pre-rendered background. Obviously, this is a very quick test – we’ve only had the screenshot for a few days, after all. =) This was basically Koy's weekend (thanks, Koy!). But if this is what we can do in a couple days with pipelines we’re still developing and without programmer involvement, than you can imagine (we know you all have great imaginations!) what will be possible after we really delve into the project and after months of polishing final areas. We added Mark Morgan’s music separately, but otherwise this little scene is running in Unity.
Monday - April 01, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Update #12, Screenshot
My name is Koy vanOteghem, Lead Environment Artist here at inXile. I would like to take this opportunity to discuss a few items as we release our first image for Torment that is pre-production and game art oriented (as opposed to concept art). Ordinarily, we would expect to R&D these types of early-prototype scenes during the standard preproduction phase of the project development cycle. And certainly during our actual preproduction, this pipeline will see many changes and iterations based on evolving needs. But technicalities aside, because of our growing comfort level with the Unity Engine, along with our growing connection to our community of backers and fans, we thought it might be fun and informative to give a sneak peek of some of the ideas we have bouncing around the Art Dept. What we are presenting here, for the sake of conversation, is an example of a 2D pre-rendered environment within The Bloom.
Friday - March 29, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Update #11, Story & Graphics
With a week to go and close to $3.2 million the Torment: Tides of Numenera Kickstarter brings us another update. This time it is about Nathan Long telling a story through a video, the Five Fathoms Deep dungeon, Dust and Water concept by Andree Wallin, collaboration with Obsidian Entertainment and 2D pre-rendered graphics.
And about graphics:
I’ve advertised that we’d say more about graphics this week. The most popular Stretch Goal request from you, our backers, is for 2D pre-rendered graphics, which would mean that Torment would have a fixed, isometric camera with 2D backgrounds. A primary disadvantage is that this approach requires a longer, and therefore more expensive, pipeline for art assets, but its advantages are numerous:
- The same basic feel as classic RPGs (such as the Baldur’s Gate series and Planescape™: Torment) in terms of camera and environments
- Environments will have a more “painterly” look, allowing us to more closely represent our concept pieces
- By designing the art for a fixed camera view, every scene will look its best
- System requirements will be lower
Because we are using a 3D engine, characters, effects, and some environmental props would still be modeled in 3D. This allows them to be changed dynamically during play (a 3D box could be opened, for example) and enables us to still adapt our Wasteland 2 pipeline and underlying systems (such as for character animation).
A famous recent example of this approach in practice is the screenshot released by Obsidian for Project Eternity last fall. We agree that it would be the best style to realize our vision for Torment and have been investigating its feasibility throughout this Kickstarter campaign.
We’ve been carefully evaluating the costs and trade-offs, and it looks like a 2D pre-rendered graphics approach may be possible. Being able to achieve this quality bar is only an option because of your great support – we are thrilled at the possibility that Torment could be as strong in its aesthetics as it will be in its storytelling and choices and consequences.
Thursday - March 28, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Interview @ GameBanshee
GameBanshee interviewed designer/writer Colin McComb and project lead Kevin Saunders on Torment: Tides of Numenera.
GB: How will the Tides and Legacies factor into Torment? Will we see different societies and cultures that follow one Tide over another? What sorts of gameplay impact will they have? Will they be integrated into the character system, or are they mainly a plot device? Is a Legacy basically just a label (“chaotic evil”), or will it significantly alter gameplay?
Colin: We’re planning to have a variety of inputs and options based around the Tides and Legacies, but we don’t want to give away too much just yet. They’re not widely known, though certain groups have indeed risen that believe that they comprehend (whether dimly or more insightfully) the forces of the Tides, and some of them are consciously or not pursuing aims that accord well with the Tides. The Tides might just be a belief system for others, and unknown to far more. As for what impact they’ll have in gameplay... you’ll have to wait and see. We’re integrating them into both plot and character, and we’re looking to move well beyond 2nd Edition D&D’s alignment system for the effects the Tides have on gameplay. The more funding we receive for the game, the deeper we’ll be able to make this system, and we’re hoping for some incredible reactivity when the game is complete.
GB: The old dialogue tree system is a tried and true way of handling conversations, but some have remarked that it’s also showing its age and it can have some downsides (such as the reliance on huge volumes of text and binary if->then logic). Are you planning to experiment with the dialogue system in new ways for Tides of Numenera, or are you not going to mess with a good thing?
Colin: We do plan to experiment with it in some interesting ways (though many of our readers have demanded extensive text, in the tradition of PST), but we’re not going to overhaul the system entirely and scrap the good work that it produces. Instead, we’re planning to fine tune it.
Tuesday - March 26, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Podcast @ Transmissions from the Ninth World
A postcast for this game can be found at Transmissions from the Ninth World. They talk to Colin McComb on his contributions to the Planescape and Birthright settings, about his transition to Interplay/Black Isle Studios. They also talk to him about what his role is today - in developing the Torment: Tides of Numenera game. You can listen to hour-long podcast here.
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Update # 10 Companions, GOG download and more
The Kickstarter page for this game has seen its 10th update. Here's the short version of the update:
TL;DR: New physical add-on options! Mur Lafferty talks about companions (video). Fourth Fathom achieved and Cult Dendra O'hur added! GOG.com digital download option. Party with us next Friday!
Mur Lafferty's videos on companions can be seen here.
The game will also be distributed via GOG.com; the relevant quote on this:
We're happy to announce that we've talked with the GOG.com crew and they've let us know that they would love to distribute Torment! They will be one of your options to download your digital DRM-free copies. (They'll also be a place to get Wasteland 2 DRM-free.)
Friday - March 22, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Update #9, Chris Avellone
Chris Avellone will join the team if funding reaches 3.5m.
Of course, from the start, we hoped Chris could contribute to Torment as well. But as recently as a couple weeks ago (16 days to be precise), we didn’t know whether Torment would even fund. And besides, Chris’s commitment to Project Eternity made it unclear whether he’d have the time. Given his key role in Planescape™: Torment, and the respect he has earned from the game’s fans, we didn’t want to even hint that Chris might be involved unless we were certain it would be possible. Our unexpectedly strong start – because of you – made it an option we could explore. So explore we did. We’ve been able to work out the scheduling matters so that Chris can contribute to Torment without impacting Project Eternity.
At $3.5M, Chris will be joining our design team. He’ll have two primary roles. First, he will be reviewing and providing feedback on all creative elements of the game, including the story, characters, and areas. His input will be invaluable as a resource to Colin in further detailing the creative vision for the game. Second, he’ll be designing and writing an eighth companion for the game, working with Colin and Monte to craft a companion ideal for both Torment and the Ninth World of Numenera.
Thursday - March 21, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Update #8, A Book, A Video and Stuff
Update number 8 for Torment: Tides of Numenera talks about reaching the $2,75M stretch goal resulting in Brian Mitsoda being part of the writing team. Also a comic book is added to the $50 and $75 and up tiers (they certainly have plenty of books in this Kickstarter). With that stretch goal down, it is time for new stretch goals.
$2.85M Expansive Epilogue
This Stretch Goal idea had the most supporters (283) of any suggested (even beating out the 2D pre-rendered graphics Stretch Goal in number of supporters, though not in votes). With Torment’s emphasis on reactivity, we had always planned a satisfying conclusion to the game – the details of which would depend upon your legacy and some specific choices – including the fates of your companions as well (at least those you found). But with this Stretch Goal, we’ll take it even further and tie up loose ends throughout the game for many other aspects: regions, cults, factions, etc. The details of what is discussed – and what might not be – will depend upon what we determine is best for the game and narrative, but we will take it as far as we can. The epilogue will be presented through text, combined with 2D art for some elements. And, as with everything in Torment, its level of polish and detail will increase in general based on overall funding – for example, increasing to 11 Legacies at $3M will result in even more variety in the epilogue.
$3.1M Third Cult: Dendra O'hur
At $3.1M, one specific addition will be a third cult: Dendra O’hur. Followers of the Great Queen Sar'lavun, the Lady of Maggots, the Dendra O'hur are a nomadic cult of cannibals and devourers of the flesh. They draw power from their victims, the strength of the fallen meat passing to their limbs and the command of the numenera to their minds. Recognizable from their tattered and moth-holed cloaks and their sharp-but-rotting teeth, the Dendra O'hur have no friends... but they command fear, and this is enough for them.
$3.25M Pat Rothfuss
We are excited to announce that at the $3.25M Stretch Goal, Pat Rothfuss will join our writing team! Most of my fantasy and science fiction reading took place in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that until a couple months ago I was unfamiliar with Pat’s work. Colin is more literary than me and has been targeting Mr. Rothfuss since even before Torment emerged as a real possibility:
“If you haven't heard of Pat Rothfuss or read his Kingkiller Chronicles (The Name of the Wind, The Wise Man's Fear, and the upcoming third book), then what are you waiting for? Go on. Go read them and then come back and finish this Update. Granted, it might take a while, but you'll be glad you did. Actually, it might be a better use of your time to trust me and read the books at your leisure.
I heard about Pat's work years ago, but because the series wasn't complete and I hate being caught between releases, I held off on reading it. Finally, to stop some friends nagging me ('You'll love it, Colin!' 'Colin, have you read it?' 'Colin, I know it's 3:30 am but THIS IS A GREAT READ'), I read the first book and I was floored at the beauty, wit, skill, and sheer audacity of the narrative. I tore through the second book and then went back and re-read them both. So at GenCon in 2012, I heard Pat was there and went to introduce myself to him and thank him for writing such engrossing fiction. It was a tremendous surprise, then, to discover that he was a huge fan of PS:T, and it was a shock to have PAT F***ING ROTHFUSS praise my work instead.
With that in mind, once Torment started rolling I made it my mission to recruit him for T:ToN. Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to say: Mission accomplished. From a purely selfish perspective, I'm annoyed with myself for tearing him away from finishing book 3. From a development perspective, I am hard-pressed to imagine a better addition to our writing and story development team, and I am truly excited about the possibilities that have just opened up. This is going to be so cool.”
And in the following video George Ziets explains the importance of the setting on a game's narrative. Through the example of the Bloom, you'll see how the world of Numenera provides an excellent location for Torment.
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Music Track
Kotaku scored a music track for Torment: Tides of Numenera. The piece of music is called "The Bloom," which is an area in the game.
Colin McComb says this about it:
The Bloom is a vast, semi-sentient predator, a monstrous, organic creation that extends its tendrils through the folds of reality. Its pathways, nooks, and crannies conceal terrors and wonders alike, and for those daring or desperate souls who are forced to find refuge here, any step has the potential to send them to another world. It's a hub, a center of commerce for those who trade in the relics of other worlds.
Tuesday - March 19, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Interview @ Colony of Gamers
Here's their explanation on why they returned to the Torment universe - to make a game:
CoG - What was the impetus behind trying to get this project done next, instead of say more Wasteland 2? Why the return to Torment?
Kevin - Planescape: Torment was a game that Brian was very proud of from Interplay, in that it was a risky game for him to give the go ahead. Though it wasn't considered a fiscal success, it had a strong following. That's the market we're in with crowd funding. The market that's very passionate about their games. Here's a game we know that people really care about. As much as people talk about Planescape, there hasn't been a game that tied directly to it in terms of gameplay in all of these years....
Colin - That was certainly my hope. Chris Avellone and I had been talking about making our own Torment title. We didn't get very far. A few months later we found out that Brian had purchased the Torment IP. When he brought the idea up to me, I checked with Chris and asked him want he wanted to do. Chris said that he couldn't do it right now, but that he wanted to give it his blessing. This is a game I've been wanting to make for years. The time is right because there is a perspective of years that has changed the nature of the question we want to ask.
Source: RPG Codex
Monday - March 18, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Interview @ Penny Arcade
The Penny Arcade Report has an interview with the leads for this project, Kevin Saunders
and Colin Mccomb who took a great risk in their careers:
Saunders was a contractor whose job was to get the project off the ground. During that time he received another job offer, and brought it to Fargo to see if inXile could match it. He was told it was dependent on the success of the Kickstarter. The worst case scenario is that he could continue on through the month for health insurance. The best case scenario was that the Kickstarter was funded and he'd get the chance to work on the spiritual successor to one of the best-loved role-playing games of all time. He decided to stay on.
Colin McComb has this to say about the market for Torment: Tides of Numenera versus
the market for say the Dragon Age games.
We have a different audience. I don't want to make generalizations about the target metric and age for Dragon Age, but ours is hearkening back to a more philosophical, story-driven thing. All respect to the guys at Bioware, because I mean no disrespect, but I think that people are looking for a really reactive, really involved storyline that they have some control over, rather than just an interactive movie with player-controllable combat. "Our market, people who are passionate about this type of game, is smaller than is of interest to big publishers.
Source: RPG Codex
Saturday - March 16, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Update #7
Large update on Kickstarter on choice, consequences and the Tides, and includes another video and some concept art. Oh and a new $39 tier.
Thursday - March 14, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Update 6, Inhabiting the Bodies of Others
New update, new video, new stuff.
We’re generally planning for 2-3 updates per week. If you're interested in more frequent Torment news, follow us on our Facebook and tumblr pages (and @BrianFargo), which we'll update more frequently.
TL;DR: Colin talks about the Meres (video). George Ziets is on board. Some glimpses into post-death gameplay. New $2.75m Stretch Goal. New Stretch Goal idea forum.
Tuesday - March 12, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Update 5
A Monte Cook video, also more on factions, dialogue and companions in this update.
Monday - March 11, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Numenera Update
If you are intrested in the Numenera rules as used in Torment: Tides of Numenera, you might find it interesting that Monte Cook has updated his Kickstarter page on Numenera with information on the Corebook and Player's Guide.
The Numenera Corebook is the main rulebook. It’s a 416 page hardcover with color art, some of which we’ve previewed for you. This book gives you all the rules of the game as well as the Ninth World setting, GM advice, and even some adventures to get you started. We’re taking the lessons that I learned creating Ptolus and applying them here, so if you liked the way that book was presented and organized, you’re going to like this book.
These are the sections of the book:
Welcome to the Ninth World: This is a brief overview of the setting to give you a feel for things as we go forward.
An Introduction to Numenera: This is an overview of the rules. Basically, in just a few short pages, you’ll learn everything you need to play the game.
Creating Your Character: All the stuff you need to make a very memorable character, with an emphasis on story and getting to play exactly the character you want to play.
Playing the Game: This is the more complete and in-depth explanation of the rules. (Although it’s still pretty short as RPG rulesets go.) While “An Introduction to Numenera” teaches you to play, this is the chapter you’ll refer to when you want to remember how to use the rules to do something.
Optional Rules: I didn’t want to clutter the very simple and straightforward rules with a lot of options or complications, so they all go here. If you want a more complex, robust game, you might want to add in some or all of these optional rules. If you want to keep things simple, just skip this chapter.
Discovering the Ninth World: The longest section of the book, this provides a lot of information about the setting, with an emphasis on weird things to discover and exciting things to do.
Creatures and Characters: The Ninth World is filled with interesting creatures and NPCs. This chapter provides details on a number of them.
The Numenera: This section provides you with heaps of interesting items and weird technologies to include in the game.
Running the Game: Perhaps the most important of the book, this lengthy section provides GMs with all the advice and insight in running a Numenera game. This is very much the blueprint for “running an rpg the Monte Cook way,” so if that’s of interest to you, you might want to give this a read.
Adventures: There’s really no better way to learn a game than by playing, and these adventures will get you playing right away. Further, they provide insight for GMs into what kinds of adventures they might want to create on their own, and what can be done in a Numenera scenario.
And he also has an artists impression of the Ninth World City where much of the game is taking place.
Saturday - March 09, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Update 4
As we approach our $2.5M Stretch Goal, it’s time to explore what’s next. We're looking into how we might approach having some smaller, more frequent Stretch Goals, but in the meantime, we wanted to share our broader plans for if we reach $3M.
More Legacies, Deeper and Richer Reactivity
We’ve told you a little about the Tides and Legacies already – they are a key component of three of our four pillars, and at $3M we’ll be expanding their impact, especially with respect to our fourth pillar: “Reactivity, Choice, and Real Consequences.” In the upcoming days and weeks, we’ll be elaborating more on the design of the Tides and the Legacy System, but for now I’d like to explain a bit more about how these two concepts relate to each other.
Given that Legacy is the primary theme of Torment, you can imagine that its effects will run deep. Your Legacy depends upon which of the five Tides you favor – as demonstrated through your actions and decisions within the game. At our target funding, we envisioned six Legacies: one for each Tide, and then a sixth for those who have no dominant Tide. Your Legacy (and the Tides) has a variety of impacts on both gameplay and on interactions in dialogue. For example, certain items will provide different abilities depending upon your Legacy, and your Legacy also affects what focus you master. Your Legacy might draw others to you, or make them wary of you. As your actions affect the Tides, you can choose to adopt a new Legacy and embrace your decisions or you can resist their pull – for a while, at least. Some NPCs and creatures will notice and react to the Tidal impact on your Legacy, with some reacting favorably and others... not so much.
Friday - March 08, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Update 3
More details on stretch goals and the game itself.
Also, as a surprise addition to all (including our dear colleague Colin who is learning about this commitment right now as you are) after the Kickstarter ends, Colin’s going to be doing a play through of Planescape: Torment for you all, providing his developer commentary as he goes. Which areas and characters did he write? And what was he thinking when he wrote them? How fast of a reader is he? Does he have anything good to say about the combat? What is his answer to the question: “What can change the nature of a man?” Learn all of this and more!
Thursday - March 07, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Update #2, Stretch Goals and a Gift
With crossing their goal in 6 hours it is time for some stretch goals for Torment: Tides of Numenera and a gift.
The friendly relationship between inXile and Obsidian Entertainment is no secret. In collaboration with our colleagues at Obsidian, we are going to create a special pledge reward that will be given to all backers of both Torment and Obsidian’s Project Eternity – a Planescape: Torment Developer Retrospective (digitally distributed). This idea was suggested by community member Dema on our UserVoice forums and has been one of the most highly favored suggestions.
We’ve talked with many of the original developers of Planescape: Torment and they will generously contribute developer diaries/blogs in a compilation of their thoughts about the project. Learn about their experiences working on the game, behind-the-scenes stories, and how the game influenced their later work. This Retrospective will be made available before Torment launches next December.
Two stretch goals have been set for now. One that has already been met:
$1.5 Million: Richer Story - Writer Mur Lafferty and Designer Tony Evans join the Writing Team, plus a Bonus Novella)
Upon reaching $1.5M, we will expand the richness and reactivity of the story through adding two new writers to our team. We have designed the game's storyline to be highly scalable and modular, and this allows us to bring in additional writing talent to enhance Torment's story through deeper content and new areas and characters - both optional ones and on the critical path.
And one that they will sureley meet soon.
$2.0 Million: Monte Writes, Mark Composes, and Goo Oozes
We will continue to increase Torment's story depth and reactivity as Monte Cook also joins our writing team, contributing directly to in-game content. Monte is focused on Numenera, but we've been working directly with him already, seeking his guidance on how to best explore Numenera's Ninth World. Later in the project, we will also be collaborating with Monte on the adaptation of Numenera's tabletop rules to best suit a computer role-playing game. But at this Stretch Goal, Monte will become even more involved in Torment team and will add his writing talents as well. (Fortunately, Torment's schedule allows for his creative work to begin later so that it won't interfere with Numenera.)
Furthermore a PayPal option will be available in a day or so.
Wednesday - March 06, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Journal Update
The Torment Kickstarter has been funded in 6 hours and is currently already above a million and Brian Fargo writes this:
You’ve got to be freaking kidding me!! We just funded in six hours!?!?!
Our heads are still spinning at the incredible response we have had from today's support of our Kickstarter campaign. We had plans to roll out our stretch goals and to write our Kickstarter updates but never in our wildest dreams did we think we would fund this quickly!!! We are joyfully scrambling right now to get a longer update and some stretch goals in front of you as soon as we can. We should have more to say later today.
You are all unbelievably awesome and we could not be happier about receiving your trust in us. For many years we have wanted to get back to making this style of RPG but it appeared that the market was going everywhere but that direction. Almost every article and new game was focused on being an MMO, multi-player or micro-transition based. This wasn’t our style and we couldn’t generate interest in the classical narrative type of RPG that we all grew up making and playing. Thank you for backing our vision once again and we will not let you down. We will continue to communicate and and make sure we solicit input such that the game is hitting all the right notes.
Our goal is to make great RPGs for you all for the rest of our careers.
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Starting to Kick
You can throw your money at the Kickstarter for Torment: Tides of Numenera now. They are asking for $900K and have already collected a third of that.
Torment: Tides of Numenera is a game set in the world of Monte Cook’s new tabletop RPG setting, Numenera. Torment continues the thematic legacy of Planescape: Torment, a critically acclaimed role-playing game from 1999 that's considered by many to be a hallmark for storytelling in computer RPGs. With Torment, we're striving to create a rich role-playing experience that explores similar deep, personal themes. Here's the scoop:
- Torment is a single-player, isometric role-playing game.
- You will play a single, specific character, though you will encounter optional NPC companions you may choose to include in your party.
- The story-driven game will have a rich dialogue system and approach similar to that of Planescape: Torment.
- The game will be developed in the Unity engine for PC (Windows), Mac, and Linux platforms.
- The game will be available in English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Russian, Spanish.
- The game will be distributed DRM-free. (You’ll be able to get it from Steam, and other DRM-free download options will be made available.)
Tuesday - March 05, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Game Information and Kickstarter News
IGN has more information on Torment:Tides of Numenera based on interview with Colin McComb and Kevin Saunders and also share the information that its Kickstarter will start this Wednesday March 6th.
Kickstarter isn’t a magic bullet for niche developers though, and McComb knows that. “I don’t want to say what other people have done wrong, because honestly, a lot of times it feels like its a crapshoot as far as what works and what doesn’t. As far as mid-size developers go, I think it’s important to have a good pitch, with enough details and enough idea behind what you’re doing, in order to get it out there to people. If you don’t have that, I think you’re going to be in a lot more trouble than you would be otherwise."
Saunders agrees, saying, “Even so, it’s better to find that out early. With crowdfunding, you find out that nobody really wanted that game before you spend very much money on making it.
They both share a laugh as McComb gathers his closing thought. “Exactly. “God, I just spent $10 million dollars and nobody’s buying this. Well, it looks like we’re all fired.”
inXile's Kickstarter campaign for Torment: Tides of Numenera will go live Wednesday, March 6, 2013. The target release date will be revealed then. It is currently in pre-production on PC and Mac platforms.
Thursday - February 28, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Kickstarter Tiers Planned
based on user feedback the tiers for the upcoming Kickstarter for Torment: Tides of Numenera have been announced. It is not possible to vote on these tiers or submit ideas, but comments on the tiers can still be placed.
The tiers are ranging from $25 to $10000, with the lowest tier giving you the game as a digital download and the highest tier giving you everything they could think of, including a party with the InXile staff and every game they will publish for the next 10 years.
Wednesday - February 20, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Site Launched
A website for the spiritual Successor to Planescape:Torment, Torment: Tides of Numenera has been launched by InXile.
The site asks you to register so you can provide input on the reward tiers you would like to see in the upcoming crowdfunding campaign
Source: Rock, Paper, Shotgun
Monday - February 18, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Logo Graphics
Minor news on Torment: Tides of Numenera but Brian Fargo has posted a pic of the logo to twitter.
Wednesday - February 13, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Interview at Dagon's Lair
There's a short interview on InXile's sequel to PST at Dagon's Lair.
Colin McComb is the creative lead, with his experience in world-building and fiction writing as the cornerstone of the story and thematic elements. He worked on both developing the Planescape setting and as a designer on Planescape: Torment. Torment’s project director is Kevin Saunders, who was the lead designer and producer for Mask of the Betrayer, which some of the hardcore RPG fans feel was the game closest to PS:T yet. We have several great concept artists involved, including Nils Hamm, Andree Wallin, Chang Yuan, and Dana Knutson, who was the primary concept artist of the Planescape setting. Mark Morgan is creating the game’s soundtrack – he’s already created a piece for Torment and completely nailed it. A lot of great talent is involved.
Source: RPG Codex
Tuesday - January 29, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Mark Morgan for Music
InXile announced that Mark Morgan, who also made the score for Fallout and Fallout 2 will be responsible for the same in the new Torment game, which apparently is being named Torment: Tides of Numenera.
Source: No Mutants Allowed
Tuesday - January 15, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Fargo on the New Torment Game set in Numenera
Now Gamer has talked to Brian Fargo, CEO of InXile Entertainment, about the new Torment game. The interview at Now Gamer covers most of the original stuff in the RPS article, however the the first concept art for this game is shown. A quote on what the Torment setting is all about:
You've already spoken about how you're using Numenera as a setting, so if a Torment game isn't about PlaneScape, what is it about?
The concept of Torment is not specific to a single setting. It's about the philosophical journey of a single character searching for meaning in a deeply personal story of self-reflection and self-realization. It's about a symbolic path through one's legacy and one's future. The setting is a valuable tool for helping to define that pathway thematically, and Numenera is the right setting for the story we want to tell and the questions we want to ask this time around: what does one life matter?
Wednesday - January 09, 2013
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Torment successor set in Monte Cook's Numenera
If you recall, when the Torment mark expired InXile registered it and hired Colin McComb to lead the efforts on a spiritual successor. They have now decided to collaborate with Monte Cook, celebrated PnP designer and one of the original authors of Planescape along with Colin, for this spiritual successor.
First, a quick snip from the Numenera website:
Numenera is a science fantasy roleplaying game set in the far distant future. Humanity lives amid the remnants of eight great civilizations that have risen and fallen on Earth. These are the people of the Ninth World. This new world is filled with remnants of all the former worlds: bits of nanotechnology, the dataweb threaded among still-orbiting satellites, bio-engineered creatures, and myriad strange and wondrous devices. These remnants have become known as the numenera.
...and from the RPS interview:
RPS – What are the stand-out aspects of Numenera for you, in terms of suiting your dev plans? How much is about the setting and how much the roleplaying mechanics?
Fargo: A Torment game requires big ideas and a truly exotic setting in order to explore the underlying thematic elements. Colin described it best when he said “Torment’s themes are essentially metaphysical, getting to the heart of what it means to be alive and conscious, and it’s easier to ask those questions in a setting that is far removed from the familiar.” Numenera is such a setting, and it has tremendous potential to cultivate those ideas. We won’t have faeries or devils, but we’ll have diabolical creatures from far dimensions with schemes beyond human imagination. We won’t have gods, but we’ll have creatures who have lived for millennia with the powers of creation and destruction at their fingertips, with abilities honed over countless lifetimes. We won’t have other planes per se, but we’ll have pathways to hostile worlds and bizarre landscapes and ancient machines that catapult the players into places where the ordinary laws of nature no longer apply. In terms of role-playing mechanics, we won’t be attempting to literally translate the Numenera tabletop system into electronic form. However, its gameplay mechanics are very solid and include several components that will lend themselves to great (and innovative) cRPG gameplay. It’s great to have the Numenera rules as a starting point and to be working with Monte to adapt them for a cRPG.
Information aboutTorment: Tides of Numenera
Developer: InXile Entertainment
Play-time: 40-60 hours
Voice-acting: Partially voiced
Regions & platforms
· Platform: PC
· Expected at 2015-12-30
· Publisher: InXile Entertainment