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Dragon Age Official Forum Highlights & Comments For select forum posts by the game developers collected from the official Dragon Age forums, as well as comments on them. All the news items posted here also appear on the DA official forum news page of Sorcerer's Place.

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Old Sun, 11th Nov '07, 3:47pm   #1
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Default Dragon Age Forum News I (Nov. 11, 07)

Here are today's Dragon Age forum highlights, taken from the Dragon Age Official Forum. Please take into account that these are only single parts of various threads and should not be taken out of context. Bear in mind also that the posts presented here are copied as-is, and that any bad spelling and grammar does not get corrected on our end.

David Gaider, Lead Writer

Chances of finding an intelligent weapon

Zero.

I won't say it'll never happen, but a talking and intelligent weapon isn't really within the normal purview of DA's magic.

SEX in dragon age

I'm not about to get started on the supposed need for "equality" in romances again, but I will say that the chances of us included scenes with explicit sex are pretty unlikely. Personally I can say that, given the right circumstances, I wouldn't mind such a thing being included in a game -- but I doubt Dragon Age is going to be reaching for that sort of tone.

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The Witcher comes to mind -- as a game it seems to be striving for a rather stark and gritty tone where even the sex isn't pretty, though it is honest. If I were given a hero that, right from the get-go, I could expect to see sweaty, gassy and having sex all the time I'd be fine with that. Were I to be surprised by such things I might feel a bit differently about it. Sexuality needn't be juvenile, which I think is what titillation implies -- breasts can be present and appreciated in context, for instance, without solely being put there to make a 13 year old snicker because he saw a boobie.

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On the surface, it seems that the Witcher is going more whole hog for a purely Dark Fantasy tone -- whereas Dragon Age still has some High Fantasy elements in it, if not many. Dark is not the same as gritty, in my mind, though I understand that's a pretty subjective definition.

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Sex itself would not surprise me, no. Graphic depictions of sex in a game that otherwise did not seem to be going in that direction would surprise me, yes. All I'm saying is that if I'm going to be presented with overt sexuality I wouldn't mind having some indication of the possibility up front.

It'd be like suddenly getting a sex scene in the middle of a Harry Potter film. That would surprise me, and perhaps be unwelcome, even if I am okay with sex scenes in many other films I see.

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I didn't mean to draw such a comparison. One needn't have a story that is aimed at children to also have one where graphic sex would feel out of place, it was simply an extreme example to illustrate my point. Not sugarcoating mature themes, however, doesn't automatically mean you're going to end up with a rape simulator, either (as one alarmist poster previously concluded).

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If my RPG started up and I was greeting with a scene of my Conan-esque barbarian hero showing his rippling, muscled chest and hacking his way through fountains of gore while uttering epithets -- then, yes, I would also expect wenches to be appropriately swived without the use of a fade to black.

Just as a for instance.

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Mr. Gaider suggests it could fit, considering the tone I've seen in the rest of the game. I never got to an actual sex scene.

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Getting the right balance is not easy. There have, in fact, been sexual elements in DA that we have taken out ourselves simply because we felt that it didn't fit. It's not censorship, nor is the game prudish or puerile -- we just want it to feel consistent with the rest of the game, yet still provide the climax we need (hyuk hyuk).

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Well, it's not as if I got all the noblewomen put into respectable turtlenecks or anything... the neckline of their dress got bumped up about an inch or so. Still, better that than having cleavage that looked in serious need of two-sided tape.

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Until I actually see the cutscene, I promise nothing.

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Yes, that Mass Effect scene was staged (cinematically, I mean -- it was set in a particular stage) but there would have been every choice for the player to enter it. There is lots of staging going on in Dragon Age as well, out of necessity.

As for the person who said I could do the dialogue options better, keep in mind that Mass Effect uses a system where the intent of the option is written -- but those lines aren't what your character will actually end up saying (good thing, too). Dragon Age doesn't do that -- but only because your character has no voice-over. Selecting a line only to hear your character repeat the entire thing to you would be kind of a drag, in my opinion.

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For some, sure. For others, it would be hearing the exact same line parroted back at you that you just finished reading. Not to mention that even when we ask around the office, roughly half of us don't like the idea of having our character supplied with a specific voice (considering that we otherwise get to make that character ourselves). I just don't think it really fits with what Dragon Age is.

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Nothing in a video game occurs spontaneously. Why would you think that to be more or less spontaneous than anything else in the game?

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I'm not sure what's being argued for, here. There is going to be sex in the game -- my understanding was that there was an issue as to how graphic such sex could or should be depicted. The fact that you might have sex or that romantic sex could be dandy fun is not something I oppose by any means.

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Yes, it really is just a question of degrees. Like I've said before, discussions about romances tends to magnify its importance to the overall game -- if the romances were some major feature of the game, greater investments of time to have every part supply as much impact as possible would be more likely. As it is, they're still largely tertiary... so we do what we can with the time we have. Really, setting up enough animations to cover a simple kissing scene when you've got different possible races and thus height combinations is tough enough (at last count, kissing means 9? 10 different cutscenes alone?)... trying to get such interactions to also include some complex bedroom scene? A different level entirely.

And this is, of course, seperate from any discussions we might have over how much such a scene would fit in with the tone of the rest of the game.

Background, Race and Parents

I guess we have a sort of influence system -- at least, the game will track your relationship with any given party member. Should your relationship be good enough, more options to learn about them will open up, possibly including some kind of personal quest.

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Heh. I have a really weird picture in my head for that. There you have some poor party member strapped to the electric chair.

"Tell me about your parents!"
"No-ooo!"
ZZZZOOORRRCH!!
"Do you LIKE cheese?!"
"Ahh! I'm not telling you!"
ZZZZOOOORCH!!

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It depends on the character. Some of them you can fight with, and some of them may just leave (though if you are persuasive you might be able to get them to give you a second chance, if you try). If you're not on good terms with them, however, they're certainly not going to tell you their innermost secrets that's for sure.

Scott Meadows, Senior Programmer - Tools

A question.


Is there any chance whatsoever that DA will be released for XBox 360? 'cause my computer isn't that very good. It occasionly lags when I play Starcraft, of all things >_>

There is always a chance, depending on a ton of factors.
But, at this point the focus for Dragon Age is the PC.

Mary Kirby, Writer

How much actual background choice is there?

Mages are tightly controlled. No matter who their parents were, or what they were supposed to be in life, as soon as the first signs of magical ability are found in someone, they are taken... elsewhere.

Breaking the Rules in the DA

The sole place where this sort of thing occurs as of right now gives you a choice to either play as the main character, or choose a party member.

SEX in dragon age

I hate to bring up zots. But it's largely zots. There's a huge investment of time by the animators and cinematics guys to make any sort of physical interaction work in the game and look even halfway believable, and a sex scene is a lot of complex animations that would require a huge amount of fine-tuning considering that your player character could be one of a few different races with different heights and builds.

It would be probably months of work and we'd have to give up probably several other things that we want in order to get it, and for what? Thirty seconds of cutscene? Does that make the game significantly better than a fade-to-black and more content elsewhere?

Stanley Woo, QA Ninja

Level/Ability/Power choice revert

And what I meant was that you, the end-user, may and probably will find the game vastly different than us in QA. No matter how much we balance it, there will be a section of the gaming public that finds it really challenging and a section that finds it way too easy.

It's been that way since NWN (and maybe even BG, but I wasn't around back then), and I don't anticipate it changing for future releases.

Derek French, Technical Producer

Support for wide screen monitors?

The three official aspect ratios in the industry are 4:3, 16:9 and 16:10, but there are others such as 1280x1024/5:4 that get lumped in with 4:3.

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Wellllllll...

Ever tried playing NWN on a 30" widescreen monitor at 2560x1600? I have to say that the Store and Inventory GUI panels are quite far apart.

Georg Zoeller, Designer

The Nemesis of Bioware.

If anything the pathfinding on Baldur's gate was too good The node search depth was so deep that creatures would find a path to a point that would take them around the entire map if the more direct path was temporarily blocked

Saving in/before combat

These questions are still being discussed, so no answer on that one.

Baldur's gate didn't allow you to save in combat, NWN did - so we've done both and we know the benefits and drawbacks of each solution.

As for fights with cutscenes before them, currently cutscenes can be skipped at will - so at least that problem should be solved.

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Our buffs require upkeep and don't have a duration, so you end up with fewer of them.
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