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liorean

Things I would like to see in the full game

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Just a little list of stuff I'd like to see in this if you made it a full game:

- Trampling mechanics - collisions throwing (some, based on size and maybe ragdoll physics?) enemies to the ground, stomping on grounded enemies etc.

- Character customisation for the protagonist with mane and tail styling, fur pattern and colouring, different breeds and builds. Would also be hilarious if you get choices of animal species like stag, donkey, llama, hippopotamus, rhino, elephant etc.

- Obviously several more types of enemies, and enemy variety in the form of weapon, armour, clothing variety.

- The bumbling heroes that were mentioned earlier, obviously.

- Lost of animation to give the horse emoting and idling alternatives. Also nice to have things like the /dance command in WoW.

- Grazing!

- Grass physics - in tall grass, the grass should bend to the sides out of the way of the horse, and maybe leave a slightly trampled look.

- Animation and ground quality synched sounds, so that gravel sounds different to wood sounds different to packed dirt roads, and synching the hoofbeats, scratching etc. to the animation.

- Lots of horse sounds - whinnying, grunts, snorts, chewing grass etc.

- More diverse set of interactions with the rider, so that you can for example take actions to make sure your rider do or don't fall out of the saddle when lanced by an enemy knight etc.

- Horse armour DLC!

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Seconded on the bumbling heroes. Maybe a bit open-worldy with them as side quest and job fodder, but I think they're important. If it's JUST the main story of the kid and the horse fighting bad guys, what separates it from any other action brawler other than doing it as a horse?

What sold me on the original pitch was the "crazy taxi with horses" idea, that you have a variety of heroes to deliver to their quests, and each would have a different utility. (bucking the fighter off your back into a group of enemies, getting the mage to cast a fireball, etc.) Especially if they were uncooperative / drunk / etc.

Oh, and grazing would be a nice way to implement regenerating health outside of combat. :)

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Keeping the focus on Bell rather than the riders may be accomplished if the hero riders are so dumb they can't sit squarely on the saddle.

One could get on but as soon as you move he slides off directly away from the side you turned. Think like cowboy shootouts where they use their moving horses for cover. One hand on the horn of the saddle and the other flailing. They could have their sword out and it would make in world sense that Bell would have to buck them to get a slash out of them.

Another hero could only get as far on the saddle to have his belly across it. Another would sit squarely on it but backwards. That would allow a lot of facial expressions from the hero too.

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Seconded on the bumbling heroes. Maybe a bit open-worldy with them as side quest and job fodder, but I think they're important. If it's JUST the main story of the kid and the horse fighting bad guys, what separates it from any other action brawler other than doing it as a horse?

What sold me on the original pitch was the "crazy taxi with horses" idea, that you have a variety of heroes to deliver to their quests, and each would have a different utility. (bucking the fighter off your back into a group of enemies, getting the mage to cast a fireball, etc.) Especially if they were uncooperative / drunk / etc.

Oh, and grazing would be a nice way to implement regenerating health outside of combat. :)

Thirded on the bumbling heroes. For me this was the only interesting part of the pitch, so it was unfortunate to see the prototype wind up with so little new stuff to bring to the table.

I was really imagining a cool open world with rather little heavyhanded narrative direction. It seems from the docu that John envisions Steed as a "narrative game," which I guess could still work if it were GTA-style. Although I'd prefer less of that and more, you know, game.

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As I've been playing quite a few open-world games these days, i have to say that narrative and open-world doesn't exclude each other.

Twig and the bumbling heroes would both be points of interest on the map, if you go to the heroes, you'd do a quick side quest,

which would vary on the hero, their location, etc etc, and if you'd go to Twig, you'd get the next story quest, so to speak.

Twig's location would move along with the story of course, first he'd be in and around Homestead, but if the story takes

Belle and Twig away from there, he'd of course be at a different place as quest giver... And so on.

And personally, I think it needs both, the story to get to know our main characters, and the other stuff, to be able to take a break in the story...

And coincidentally, that's pretty much how every open world game does it.

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Like I said, it's fine if it's GTA-style (or Rockstar-style, really), but that's not really what I thought about interesting about the game. It's very derivative.

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I want horse fights...

when Horses fight it's one of the most amazing things ever!

While developing Horse AI for fair and balanced fights with Belle that make you wonder... "why is Belle tougher, especially being a female horse?" that could be built on through both story and RPG elements.

To show why horse fights are awesome... I direct you this article, where there is a photo of a one horse clotheslining another horse (like a wrestling clothesline) and it's not a painting!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1371706/When-horses-attack-The-battle-stallion-boxers-fighting-mating-rights.html

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I want horse fights...

when Horses fight it's one of the most amazing things ever!

While developing Horse AI for fair and balanced fights with Belle that make you wonder... "why is Belle tougher, especially being a female horse?" that could be built on through both story and RPG elements.

To show why horse fights are awesome... I direct you this article, where there is a photo of a one horse clotheslining another horse (like a wrestling clothesline) and it's not a painting!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1371706/When-horses-attack-The-battle-stallion-boxers-fighting-mating-rights.html

That's terrifying. I don't want to see this, for a couple of reasons, one of which is shallow but still my personal opinion.

1) You're Bellefire, and you're supposed to be helping the hero. If it's horse v horse, then it takes that out of the equation. The horse is the focus, but the human should be present.

2) It's the traumatic Lion King thing all over. I hate seeing animals being hurt, and if they were to dev this game as a 'family friendly' one, then I think some of the kids would have nightmares at seeing the horses doing that.

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+1 to that, mudd1. Or probably Chief Officer Michael Crow or something like that to avoid outright copyright infringement.

And I really think it deserves an open world where exploration is a part of it. A good horse game requires you to actually ride around a lot!

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Question for John, if he's still reading:

In the wrap-up of the Double Fine playthrough you offhandedly mentioned introducing sandbox elements for a hypothetical full game. Was this just referencing the "open world" model, or are you kicking around the idea of introducing player tools and world customization elements? I'm deathly curious as to how this would be philosophically integrated into the gaming experience we got a taste of by watching (and soon playing) the prototypes.

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Question for John, if he's still reading:

In the wrap-up of the Double Fine playthrough you offhandedly mentioned introducing sandbox elements for a hypothetical full game. Was this just referencing the "open world" model, or are you kicking around the idea of introducing player tools and world customization elements? I'm deathly curious as to how this would be philosophically integrated into the gaming experience we got a taste of by watching (and soon playing) the prototypes.

Good question! And the answer is "I'm not sure yet."

While I don't see this being a 50 player multiplayer game, nor do I think it's a "player shapes the physical world" game, I think there is a lot to learn from games like Day Z and Minecraft - both feature large expanses of world, lots to explore and discover, and no scripted content.

It's unlikely that we could make Steed as a big $10 million+ game, so we might need to re-think how we'd approach the open-world genre. We have a lot of tools to support the genre, but we wouldn't have the resources to make a ton of highly-linear, cutscene-heavy content. So thinking about what procedural, mechanics-driven gameplay could bring to the table is really interesting.

I could see random mission generation for the bumbling heroes and maybe even instanced "dungeons." I also really loved Burnout Paradise and think that Steed could potentially work as a multiplayer game that way - with lots of group challenges and activities, but a single player story progression ala Dark Souls.

Who knows? Have any thoughts on how Steed could build a big world with lots to do without requiring a 60(0)+ person dev team? :)

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Difficult questions like these are why they pay you the big bucks. :) I will say that in fantasy as a whole, you don't see very many "dungeons" built to accommodate a full-size adult horse, so there's a certain genre dissonance with that; also, while dungeons contain Bad Guys To Kill (something that Belle succeeds at as well as the average adventurer) it also contains Buttons to Push, Objects to Manipulate, Traps to Disable and other hands-heavy actions, at which point Belle either struggles (unsatisfying) or succeeds at an eyebrow-raisingly high level (a bit ridiculous).

So, right. Scope. Yes, while everyone would drool over a huge "Elder Scrolls"-y world, there are practical and financial challenges there. My first gut instinct would be to approach the concept of "scope" by way of "density." One of the things that impressed me about the original Crazy Taxi when it first came out eight and a half million nerd years ago was the joy of pathfinding when delivering your fare. Yes, you could succeed while taking entirely conventional routes, but your level of success was much greater when you started thinking outside the box (what if I jumped off the top of this parking structure instead?) A possible approach would be to have a number of comparatively dense "employment zones" that were each individually full of lots of (random?) characters that need transporting to (random?) locations in the zone, with each zone individually full of routes and exploration opportunities as you figure out the best way to get your charges safely to their goals. By varying the zones themselves in terms of art and music and feel, I think you would begin to convey the size and scope of the world without actually, you know, building the whole thing. For instance, one zone could be a section of high open plains as we see in the demo; another, a crowded county fairgrounds; another, the streets of a bustling medieval metropolis; another, an eerie enchanted forest, home of a slowly-vanishing faerie civilization; another, the manicured lawns and pathways of an ivy-walled Wizard's College / Wizard's Collective institution with lots of crazy teleportation / glimpses through portals into alternate universes stuff going on. Each "day" you select where you're going to try and go to work. I would like to see these zones be repeatable to give the player the sense that, first and foremost, Belle is a career mare, out to earn a gold piece, and we are seeing her at work in the places where she knows that opportunities are good (these repeating zones could also change over time in response to events in your larger narrative).

Twig serves as the gateway between these zones, as he's there to give you your cooldown walk after each hectic day. Here the overplot (and your relationship with Twig) can develop; while out cooling you down, you and Twig may happen across secrets and Things You Were Not Meant To See relating to the grim specter of war or a high-fantasy Shadow is Rising scenario, or both. Eventually this unlocks more mission zones in further-distant lands as Twig (apparently a nascent scholar or wizard in his own right?) tries to research the evil that is rising in exotic Alexandria-like libraries (and leaving you a chance to earn some money on foreign soil while he does so). Non-repeatable zones could include experiencing individual battles of a war that engulfs the land in a "War Horse"-ish fashion, that sort of thing.

Anyway, I'm no game theorist, but it might be a possible approach.

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