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MASSIVE CHALICE Update #32 - Teamstream #11 This Friday

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Hey Everyone!

We’re getting excited for the holidays, but even more excited to show you more of the awesomeness that is MASSIVE CHALICE! There have been some amazing improvements in the engine and the Mangrove level has really come a long way. We can’t wait to show you the latest and answer some of your questions in this week’s Teamstream!

Teamstream #11 Tomorrow

Tune into Teamstream #11 this Friday, November 22nd at 4PM Pacific (00:00 GMT)! This time we’ll be checking out more updates from the team including: some early AI work, shader refinements as well as the latest playable! Tune in live at Double Fine's Twitch channel, and make sure you bring some questions for the Q&A at the end! :D!

Mangrove Level Concept

Awhile back Derek made a concept of a keep in the Mangrove region. We use this as reference for the Mangrove level we show in our Teamstreams. Check it out!

Biome_Mangroves03_closedKeep.jpg

Can’t Join Us Live?

In case you can’t make the live broadcast you can find all our Teamstreams on our YouTube channel. And, be sure to head over to the MASSIVE CHALICE BLOG where we post the latest news from the team!

If a topic discussed by the team or your fellow backers gets you excited, happy, upset or anything in-between then talk to us about it! The best way to do that is to start a discussion right here in the forums.

See you this Friday!

- Anthony

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Lookin' forward to this as always! The concept art always looks preeeeeetty sweeeeeeet.

Smiles

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Finally caught one live! It was super cool to see the tools and the Mangrove Keep! Specially cool to see the first MC team wipe!

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Thanks Ashhh. Whatcha playin?

Hopefully the reduced character classes is an indication of more enemy types. It's a bummer to've each teamstream go, "now x is cut" but ah suppose that's the way of good project management. Otherwise you can't complete the content you attempt let alone clean up the major bugs.

The caberjack doesn't look bigger than the alchemist. Ah thought one of the concepts for armor was to use it to change the visible build of a model to suggest one class's a larger guy than another though the underlying model's the same size. If the conern's ending up with pin-heads, helmets are a solution. You could think of the equipment as prosthetics going on a base model, Face/off style.

The class balance will put a lot of pressure on the caberjack as it's 2 ranged with 1 melee.

A problem with piecemeal armor as indication of class is the conflict between distinguishing the hybrid pieces from one another and making them complement the base armor.

To be fair though, ME only had 3 base classes and 3 hybrid classes, and games like The Witcher, Demonicon, Orcs&Humans;, have 2 classes with a 3-ability package getting called a prestige class in the latter's case.

"Streak protection" maybe that's why my snipers in X-com miss when they've 90% chance to hit.

One thing which gets annoying in X-com is when you've to search for that lone enemy, a surivivor from a previous battle, who's just waiting on overwatch every turn for his inevitable death. Likewise hunting an enemy group which spawns further off from their comrades. It'd be more fun if the enemeis are more aggressive, searching you out, falling back to get allies they know about, hearing fights on the other side of the wall and investigating, suicide-charging, etc.

Would a map include some health restoration place or way of using dead enemies to buff yourself? There were a few unfortunate level-generations in X-com spaceships where it'd be wave after wave of chyrssalids and once the rockets and grenades were used up there wasn't a means remaining to eat through them fast enough to survive. It wouldn't have to be straight-n00bed to make all abilities unlimited use or effectively restart the level with a heal-point but it would be good if there were some buff for killing a bunch of enemies to finish off the remainder and counter getting ground down or places on a map disposable items could be picked up (perhaps at risk of facing mroe enemies or environmental hazards). Ah really don't have a solid solution idea ah just know it was frustrating to feel, "I had the toolset at the start of this level to defeat these enemies but deprived of certain abilities I can't counter them".

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Awesome stream guys! I really liked the concept art for the classes and that prototype level is drop dead gorgeous. I can't even imagine how beautiful the final game is going to look. The Animal Crossing-style textures really work well.

One question: now that the majority of the base classes are focused on ranged attacks, do you think that's going to lead the game to be more focused on ranged combat rather than melee combat, which seemed to be the original intent? Are you going to be doing other things to encourage melee combat, or are you cool with focusing on ranged?

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Nice stream guys, but... gotta say, **seriously** disappointed that the Vanguard is now a cut feature. I was 100% onside with the concept of 2 melee, 2 ranged classes with differentiators for each -- seemed like a great balance for a game in which most of the fighting was up close and personal. Now things are just getting kinda weird in here.

Maybe I missed the justification, since I was about 10 mins late signing on to the stream but what was the rationale exactly? In my mind at least the Vanguard and the Caberjack were quite functionally different units - different at least as the nimble swordmaster is from the stumpy, tanky knight in Fire Emblem. You had your perfect square of leader/support, defender/tank, striker/dps and controller/debilitator and now you don't. So....

I know that the DF team is proud of defying genre conventions and being all quirky and eccentric and all that, but you know guys it is possible to take a certain thing so far. Your promo art had a family beating back the hordes with bows, swords, swords, axes and spells. Fairly definitive fantasy stuff, if slightly vanilla but easily understandible to Joe Backer. Now, as I understand it, we will be passing down to our ancestors uh... cabers, jai-halai scoops and bowzookas but NOT swords, axes, bows, spells and what have you.

I guess what I'm saying is that it's starting to feel a little cute for the sake of cute for my taste in here. I think the sword, just a straight up sword (even if it was also a tuning fork) helped bring the craziness down to earth and keep things grounded in the realm of a fantasy game. I'm having difficulty feeling the tone of the game at this point in time.

I hope there will still be time to reconsider some of the class choices and hopefully add that holy quadrangle back in there. I thought that an important point of MC was that it was taking the XCOM formula but putting a melee combat twist on a lot of the gameplay. Now, if every melee attacker in the game is some dude swinging a giant log then... I don't know. Something just doesn't feel right about that. If I were cutting classes I would have started with the alchemist.

That said, pretty heartened at the solid progress I'm seeing on the technical level. I trust you guys to right the ship and get things working well. Just part of the pitfall of the sausage making being there for everyone to see, I guess.

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I prefer generic to original

Then replay any of the many games which offer nothing new.

Disappointment in losing a class is the consensus, which I share with you, but you tried to use it to segway into, "stop creating original content" which's a separate issue entirely. Your complaints don't really have to do with this teamstream as they're regarding details (weapon selection) mentioned long ago which you never criticized at the time.

Feel free to try to persuade me but I don't see the virtue in regurgitating the same content which already exists. Ah prefer more distinct class designs like logdude, gloveguy, and heavy-bowman to swords all game every game.

This is a kickstarted game. If a developer can't experiment at this price range but has to make every game according to the same template than creativity's dead in the industry. If we as fans, demand the same safe blandness as a major publisher, allowing our expectations to be limited to past experiences, then what's the purpose of circumventing publishers?

Ah'm sure you understand the team didn't have the current classes designed beforehand, revealing them later as a bait-and-switch, but arrived at these designs through iteration. Ah can sympathize with your, "you tricked me" sensibility, given you presumed the weapon selection would be plain, based on kickstarter concept art -but ah'm surprised boring-ness is something you defend as so high a virtue.

A much more valid complaint was folks criticizing the previous relic system, which sounded like it nearly cut relics, one of the core concepts of the game, but it seems the team recognized the necessity of meeting that promise to whatever degree budget constraints allowed and re-revised their design accordingly.

You sound like one of those dudes who goes, "I hate all these RPGs with distinct settings, can't I just play an elf killing orcs in a dungeon-crawl for the Nth time?" to which I respond, "If you desire that content then why have you stopped playing the games which provide it? How can you be entertained by replaying the same game via remakes longer than by novel experiences?"

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Vanguard was cut for now likely because of scope, not unlike how MC Team had to trim back the demon's side of things. In any case with the amount of hero combos available (3 base plus 6 hybrids?), I'm still pretty excited to see how it all comes together.

Smiles

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Given that the game is still receiving backing, is it possible the Vanguard will make it into the release game, or at least as free DLC or will DLC be paid-for post-release?

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Given that the game is still receiving backing, is it possible the Vanguard will make it into the release game, or at least as free DLC or will DLC be paid-for post-release?

Yup, it is possible and I hope we get to make the Vanguard!

It was a super tough cut to make and wasn't done lightly, but it brings our estimates within range of our time, budget, and person power.

Also - the Alchemist will probably be getting back his more weaponized wolverine-claw-ish thrower as well as a light melee attack. You'll be able to spec an Alchemist (or hybrid) to be more melee focused if you want.

So think about the classes like this:

Caberjack = Heavy Melee & Zone Control

Hunter (Arbalist) = Direct ranged damage

Alchemist = Indirect ranged damage (that can go over walls and hit places the Hunter cannot) + Light Melee

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Given that the game is still receiving backing, is it possible the Vanguard will make it into the release game, or at least as free DLC or will DLC be paid-for post-release?

Yup, it is possible and I hope we get to make the Vanguard!

It was a super tough cut to make and wasn't done lightly, but it brings our estimates within range of our time, budget, and person power.

Also - the Alchemist will probably be getting back his more weaponized wolverine-claw-ish thrower as well as a light melee attack. You'll be able to spec an Alchemist (or hybrid) to be more melee focused if you want.

So think about the classes like this:

Caberjack = Heavy Melee & Zone Control

Hunter (Arbalist) = Direct ranged damage

Alchemist = Indirect ranged damage (that can go over walls and hit places the Hunter cannot) + Light Melee

That sort of break down makes sense I think. And with hybrids, it will be interesting to see how you can tweak those sort of base formulas. Look forward to it.

Smiles

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3. I really don't value nibbly aesthetics which don't affect combat mechanics.

I prefer generic to original

Feel free to try to persuade me but I don't see the virtue in regurgitating the same content which already exists. Ah prefer more distinct class designs like logdude, gloveguy, and heavy-bowman to swords all game every game.

You change your tone pretty fast.

I guess what I'm saying is that it's starting to feel a little cute for the sake of cute for my taste in here. I think the sword, just a straight up sword (even if it was also a tuning fork) helped bring the craziness down to earth and keep things grounded in the realm of a fantasy game. I'm having difficulty feeling the tone of the game at this point in time.

I hope there will still be time to reconsider some of the class choices and hopefully add that holy quadrangle back in there. I thought that an important point of MC was that it was taking the XCOM formula but putting a melee combat twist on a lot of the gameplay. Now, if every melee attacker in the game is some dude swinging a giant log then... I don't know. Something just doesn't feel right about that. If I were cutting classes I would have started with the alchemist.

It kind of makes you wonder how unfamiliar with warfare they are if these are the weapons they choose to use. I would always aim for believability over originality, since every unfamiliar trait would be something that requires exposition (although it can be extremely terse), before the world starts teetering to "lol, world, you so random." Which may very well be something they might aim for.

I would've started with the removal of the arbalist, though only based on what I've heard about them so far; Direct damage just isn't an interesting description.

Yup, it is possible and I hope we get to make the Vanguard!

It was a super tough cut to make and wasn't done lightly, but it brings our estimates within range of our time, budget, and person power.

Also - the Alchemist will probably be getting back his more weaponized wolverine-claw-ish thrower as well as a light melee attack. You'll be able to spec an Alchemist (or hybrid) to be more melee focused if you want.

So think about the classes like this:

Caberjack = Heavy Melee & Zone Control

Hunter (Arbalist) = Direct ranged damage

Alchemist = Indirect ranged damage (that can go over walls and hit places the Hunter cannot) + Light Melee

Damage seems to be a given as to what you would attempt to accomplish, you just give the player round about methods of achieving that. It just feels redundant when listed as such.

I feel like the classes should be described in a different way, though since you haven't revealed more about them, I don't know what they would be.

It feels like they should be described in terms of the pay off for their optimal situation (natural habitat), what the optimal situation is, and what hinders (obstacles) them achieving those situations. For example:

Caberjack.

Payoff: manipulation of enemy movement, Damage denial.

Natural habitat: Middle of mass of enemies.

Obstacles: mobility, single strong enemies.

Arbalist

Payoff: Heavy direct damage, personal safety.

Natural habitat: weakened enemies, Stealthed.

Obstacles: Swarms of melee enemies, untouched enemies.

Alchemist

Payoff: area damage, area debuffs.

Natural habitat: stationary enemies, single enemy to fend off.

Obstacles: Mobile enemies, Strong long range damage.

Example for supporting abilities:

Contingency: once a round: when attacked by a melee attack, automatically activates a chemical bomb that blinds an enemy, causing it to deal less damage on its attack. This also leaves a smokescreen where the enemy was, reducing chance to hit anything for targets inside the square. Lasts 2 turns.(checklist: area debuff, single enemy defense.)

Firebomb: attacks an area, leaving fire behind that deals additional damage if an enemy ends a turn in the fire, and less if they tries passing it. (checklist: area damage, area debuff, stationary enemies)

I don't mean to sound controlling, I just prefer if the circumstances in which their strengths occur is expressed, because it doesn't feel like it does the classes justice, if you don't.

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It kind of makes you wonder how unfamiliar with warfare they are if these are the weapons they choose to use.

Could you elaborate on this point? I am not sure I understand if you mean they haven't completely fleshed out in-game warfare, or warfare in the real real real world. Ha

Smiles

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http://www.metromodels.ch/new-site/wp-content/uploads/tumblr_mg670jlImt1s2x3kio1_500.jpg

3. I really don't value nibbly aesthetics which don't affect combat mechanics.

I prefer generic to original

Feel free to try to persuade me but I don't see the virtue in regurgitating the same content which already exists. Ah prefer more distinct class designs like logdude, gloveguy, and heavy-bowman to swords all game every game.

You change your tone pretty fast.

Let me help your reading comprehension.

The first quote is in reference to how many pieces of art should be included in the game to customize the heroes' appearance. I stated this feature doesn't matter much to me because combat mechanics are the highest priority and features which directly support combat (abilities, enemies) are more valuable than additional faces, hair styles...

The second quote is in response to the weapon selection of heroes. Heroes will have weapons and none of the proposals are significantly different in the time it takes to render them so what weapon heroes use is neutral in regards to the weight of aesthetics (how the weapons look). My own preference is that classes use more distinct weapons we can remember Massive Chalice for, rather than the team's own take on swords and axes we've seen many times before.

Along those lines it'd be cool if the Arbalist was a Janissary type firearm wielder since bows are so common. This would also explain why he's limited in rocket-style shots (/special/ gun-powder). Firearms were used in medieval combat but most people are mentally stuck with the schema hollywood, LotR, and DnD has given them that firearms didn't exist until the 1700s. The knights people typically imagine are closer to something from 750 than the middle ages.

http://img710.imageshack.us/img710/2018/isabel1.jpg

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Well, he did okay for a couple weeks, but he's back on the Ignore List. Oh well.

I have to agree that the Arbalist/Arbalest looked way more ready for the chopping block than the Vanguard did. On top of the archer having a narrower role, I worry that this is going to end up having a greater impact on the system as a whole. The class distribution now implicitly emphasizes ranged combat, but one of the big differentiators between MC combat and XCOM combat was supposed to be the fantasy genre's emphasis on melee interaction. It makes me a little worried that this is going to feel more like low-budget XCOM rather than FFT-with-attached-kingdom-sim. On top of that, I expect as a side effect that a lot more time will be spent fine-tuning ranged concepts like line of sight rather than addressing melee issues like positioning and movement. I get a little concerned that if the team does eventually have time to add the Vanguard, the mechanisms in place for melee combat will be underdeveloped and end up limiting how far the class can be pushed.

The *real* issue here is hybrid classes. From what I remember of the streams during the Kickstarter, the team leaned away from the whole "Cleric mom + Fighter dad = Paladin kid!" stuff specifically because of weird genetics cases (Rogue mom + Paladin dad = ???) and also because it makes additional classes cause exploding complexity. From what I've seen, we really haven't found a way to mitigate either of those complications, and the latter in particular is screwing up scope pretty badly while ALSO limiting future expansion. If we have to scrap something, I would much rather dump specially-designed hybrids in favor of having 5 base classes and a simple Primary/Secondary system a la FFT.

Changing gears for a bit, has anything been happening with the Strategy layer lately? I don't think we've heard much from a design side of things since you showed off the proof of concept for the random events system. Has there been any shape added to this, or is the plan still a purely-reactive event/combat/event/combat cycle until the game ends?

I think I just realized that we've reached the Pits of Despair phase. Good work everybody, we're making progress! :P

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Welp, just watched Teamstream 12. Digging the Salt Stacks, pleased to see that everything seems to be ticking along smoothly.

Glad to hear that the Vanguard may still have a chance of making it in the end. I'm hoping that once production gets rolling in earnest we may find that there's some available time to try to flesh ot on classes. Come on... one more corruption enemy. You can do it guys!

I'm not currently seeing in the roster any role analagous to the Squad Leader / Tactician type character -- a very rare archetype in tactical video games but always my favorite. You know, guy who doesn't do large amounts of damage in and of themselves but who brings the ineffable edge to the party, allowing them to fight better through sneaky abilities like messing around with initiative, inspiring others or conveying buffs (think holo-targeting in XCOM) healing teammates, allowing people to fight harder, better, stronger and synergize better as a group. I liked DF's idea (mentioned way back in the day) that all the units in the game used to have "day jobs" before the demons arrived, and that the Vanguards were the old military types. Taking charge, inspiring the laypeople, leading the assault. Think Captain America's role in the current imagining of the Avengers. Not the heavy hitter, but the guy everyone turns to when things are at their worst who has the morale boosting power and battlefield presence to turn the fight around.

In my mind, the Vanguard was similar to what D&D 4E was doing with their Leader role, especially the Warlord. Guy whose powers almost all served to improve the strength of teammates by doing things like granting extra attacks or bonuses to teammates when engaging foes, giving units "saving throws" at critical moments to shrug off status effects, locking down bosses mano-a-mano so the rest of the team could pile on. That kinda thing.

Once upon a day I wrote up a big post that detailed some rough brainstorming for conceptualizing the 12 different prime and hybrid classes and what made them all disntinctive. It's still around if anyone there at Doublefine is scratching their heads and wondering what might be the difference between an arbalist-caberjack and a caberjack-arbalist. That was back when the Hunter class had a falcon of course. Aah, la plus change.

Looking forward to the next teamstream. Massive Wee everywhere.

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