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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, 4:10pm   #1
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Default Dragon Age Forum News II (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

The bosses drop a DA hint...


While it might be kinda cool, the BioWarans have said in the past that they're not too keen to do this again. They might have changed their mind in the mean time, but I remain doubtful.

I was the only one who ever had the urge to do this before, and I regretted it (and still do). I have no plans to ever do this sort of thing again, though I can't speak for the other designers.

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I do know what a cameo is, thanks -- what was being talked about specifically was cameos made by forum members. While you say that not that many were in BG1, I'm not aware of any at all. Perhaps you could enlighten me?

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Except that what he said was "Not that many (cameos) were really based on forum regulars however" -- which means that some must have been. "Not that many" does not equal "none". As far as I know, BG2 and ToB were the first and only times we had forum members cameo as characters in a game.

Naturally there are other types of cameos, from characters out of pop culture to fictional characters to what have you -- I would see no reason not to continue to have these, so long as they were otherwise appropriate to the game in question.

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I had to think about that one. There was a halfling named Torias, I believe, which was also the name of a forum poster. It wasn't really meant as a tribute, however, and regardless I'm not sure it's something we would be doing again... regardless of how "deserving" someone might be.

Degrees of graphic sex in DA

Except that we do want to have different races. That adds a lot more to the game than any sex scene could, in my opinion. We can throw in our opinions all we want about what it would or would not add on an aesthetic level, but at the end of the day it's going to come down to how well it fits into the rest of the game we're making and how much time it would take to implement as measured against that added value. Let's not kid ourselves, the relative merits of the novelty notwithstanding this isn't all that much.

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We tend to avoid interactive animations if we can, as they are not routine, but we will do them if we think they are called for. I know there's a few on our list. You'll find that, in most circumstances, it's just as easy to do something that doesn't involve touching.

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Incessant movement? I'm not aware of such a movement. My perception is that the vast majority of the RPG's out there lean pretty solidly in the direction of the optimistic and heroic sort (if not outright saccharine High Fantasy). There's "the Witcher" and... what else?

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I don't like that idea. I suggest a more sane plan that involves buying the games that appeal to you and not buying games that don't. And if that doesn't work because it turns out that there's more of a market for RPG's you don't personally like than you thought, then I at least hope you don't tie my ropes too tightly.

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Perhaps this relates to the earlier argument about how "dark" DA might be, with everyone using a different definition of it. I know it is a tendency on the forums for people to immediately leap to the conclusion that if we say one thing is not so, the complete opposite must therefore be -- and it makes for a somewhat frustrating conversation, let me tell you.

Obviously you will never get a handle on exactly what we're talking about until we actually show you, and that will come, but let me try and explain what *I* mean when I say "dark".

Dark Fantasy as a genre isn't what I would call well-explored territory. "Warhammer" is a good example, to me... it's a place where evil permeates every facet of the world and a hero can never really do anything to actually improve matters even if he wins the day. And that's if he wins the day -- it's not uncommon in Dark Fantasy for victories to be pyrrhic and for defeatism to be rampant.

In contrast, in High Fantasy things are generally good -- and once the evil is conquered, things go back to being good. Good and evil can also be expressed in absolute terms -- good is very good and noble and beautiful, while evil is very evil and sinister and without reason. Evil is a force unto itself, and sometimes things are evil without necessarily being responsible for that evil -- they just are (the Sith come to mind, as they fall to the Dark Side almost as if it is a force outside of themselves as opposed to a consequence for their actions).

Now, Dragon Age still has some High Fantasy elements -- typically the more heroic ones. In other ways we are moving away from some of the more common High Fantasy tropes... and while I see what you are saying when you bring up a number of other games that are taking similar steps, I don't think the step is as far nor as widespread as is being suggested. Just because we are not pure High Fantasy does not mean we (or these other games) have plummeted into a pit of blood and ashes where nothing will ever come clean. When you fret about the possibility that you will not be able to be heroic enough, in my mind all I can picture is that you must be yearning for some kind of Errol Flynn-like adventure... the kind of light-hearted romp where nothing bad truly happens to anyone. I doubt that's so, necessarily, but from my perspective there's still plenty of room to play the hero in DA and most other games. You aren't forced to be the anti-hero, and I don't see many games that would do that -- indeed, for people who like the anti-hero role, they'd probably say it doesn't go far enough. There may indeed be a trend for some recent games to move towards more mature elements and lands where things are not all sweetness and light as a rule -- but I don't see that as a bad thing, nor as some kind of jaded rejection of all things High Fantasy.

On second thought, maybe it is simply that you prefer your adventures to be more of the light-hearted romp. Have you considered that? The nervous clenching as soon as the notion of "dark" is associated with a game gives me pause -- to me, it's indicative of a game world that takes itself more seriously, but maybe you see it as something quite different from that

Realistic numbers (or: foes vs toughness) and the Tardis effect

That's the definition of a rental title, to me. "Heavenly Sword" is one such example -- though I'm certain that at least some people who played it really appreciated having all of that long, flowing hair in exchange.

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For some people. There are, by my understanding, generally three motivations for players -- those who are there for the story, those who are there for the progression (as in level-ups and items) and those who are there for the exploration. There is plenty of people who get something out of more than one category, but to simply write off all progression-oriented players sounds like a good way to get your game categorized as niche. Which is exactly the kind of view fans of the genre seem to want, sometimes... or so it seems. But that's an entirely seperate discussion.

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Easily, considering it was made 10 years ago. Unless you have trouble recognizing that the industry has changed in the last decade... in which case reconciling such a change might indeed prove troublesome.

Will there be Celebrities in DA?

As has been pointed out, the "celebrity" is a pretty modern invention. Dragon Age will have people who are well-known for one reason or another as well as its share of legends and heroes (some of which you will read about in-game, if you care to).

I don't think we have any legendary figures showing up in the course of this story, but perhaps in the future once a sort of Dragon Age "canon" has been established that might be a cool thing to consider.

Brent Knowles, Designer

Concerned about quality of actual gameplay (particularly combat)

You will find Dragon Age combat very satisfying. There has been a lot of focus on making DA's combat more tactically engaging than the Baldur's Gate series. It is quite fun to know you have to [deleted] against the [deleted] in combat all the while the [deleted] does [deleted]. And then when you combine [deleted] with [deleted]... wow.

You'll enjoy it.

Stanley Woo, QA Ninja

The bosses drop a DA hint...

From a design and story perspective, the prototyping allowed us design-side testers to offer feedback on a whole bunch of plot points, characters, as well as the overall story. If player actions and decisions affected other plots, we got to see how. If there were plot twists that made us cry, they were all spoiled for us. If someone turned out to be a KotOR character in disguise, we found that out too. If all 16 romances--I mean, however many romances there happened to be--were playable, we would have supplied feedback for them. If Dave Gaider somehow included select community members in the game as characters, you can bet we discovered them. If Mary put zombie kittens in the Elves' Graveyard, or if Sheryl wrote bawdy My Little Pony haiku for the poetry minigame, we would have seen it. If Jennifer got Nathan Fillion to do temporary VO for us, we heard it. If there be dragons, we turned into them--I mean, saw them. If there was a Towers of Hanoi puzzle, we would have solved it easily. And if Georg made tactical combat options toggle-able, we would have tried them many different ways.

But who knows which of the above is actually in the game? That's a lot of "ifs." Oh, wait, I know, but I ain't telling because I'm a big meanie. Also, because I love torturing LadyShayna like this.

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One problem with doing that sort of thing is that usually, forum names don't translate well to a game setting. While something like Lady Shayna would translate well, aries1001 or fluffyamoeba or AH1K wouldn't do so well.

Georg Zoeller, Designer

Coordinate Spell Casting?

Let's just say that sometimes directing the eyes on the center helps getting focus

Hint: It's not that much of a fundamental difference to previous puzzles, I just started partially eliminating some of the weaknesses you used to attack previous ciphers

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Actually, I don't think it's comparable to level drain and I don't think it feels like padding gameplay hours. There'll be a quite a few other reasons to go back to the camp, I doubt this will be the major one.

A single injury is likely to affect only a subset of a character's stats (e.g. a perforated lung could decrease a character's available stamina, a broken hand the ability to hit an enemy and a head injury could affect his mental capacities).

Granted, if you want to press ahead with a completely beaten up party where each character suffers from multiple, grave wounds, at some point you will probably reach a point where your people will rather fall to the monsters than work another hour for your slave-whipping PC.

Level drain was annoying for many reasons (most notably it's effect on memorized spells and the fact that it was almost always the result of a single failed saving throw)
and in many cases people would end up reloading savegames instead of going through the hassle of getting restoration.

This system is a bit more gradual and forgiving - one or two injuries, while probably noticeable in combat difficulty, won't make most people think of reloading. Besides that, it's easy to avoid - fight responsibly instead of just charging in

People will have to decide for themselves how far they can push their party without tending to their injuries ... but if you insist on whipping your party members from battle to battle, well, they might just end up not liking you very much

Baldur's Gate was quite a bit more hardcore (insta gibbed / petrified henchman anyone?) and you rarely hear complaints about this particular aspect. (though even we think that BG is too hard core in that regard and that the KotOR model is more user friendly).

Finally - there's alway easy difficulty.

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You can heal party members during a fight. If they go down, mortally wounded, they are out of the battle until it ends, one way or another.

Degrees of graphic sex in DA

There is not going to be ' graphic sex ', we're making games, not pr0n or games teaching the principles of reproduction.

There are romances and there might be scenes related to romances similar to what books or movies do to further romance plots, but there's not gonna be 'graphic sex'.

Why would graphics have sex with each other anyways?

movement speeds - a request

I can guarantee you that all party members will move at the same speed. It might sound realistic or interesting to use a different system, but it would not make for fun gameplay.

As for other creatures - there will be some variance in movement rate, it's necessary anyway from an animation point of view, and frankly, it makes for some interesting tactical combat if you know you can't outrun a creature
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