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Old Sun, 4th Jun '06, 11:54pm   #1
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We at Sorcerer's Place have conducted an exclusive interview with Jason Compton from Planewalker Games, who's a long time Baldur's Gate 2 mod-maker and has recently started working together with Westley Weimer on a new game entitled The Broken Hourglass. We asked about the eleven things we deemed the most important, such as the authors' vision of the game, inspirations, character advancement, combat and magic system, strongholds and some others. Here's one of the questions with the answer:

2. SP: What has motivated you to start making The Broken Hourglass, and what is your final vision for it?

Jason Compton: It all comes down to the fact that it's been almost five years since the release of Throne of Bhaal, and nobody has done a game like Baldur's Gate 2 since then. TOEE is kinda-sorta like it, KOTOR is kinda-sorta like it, but it's clearly not enough since players keep saying "Why doesn't anybody do games like BG2 anymore?" We certainly got tired of waiting, and it seemed that with so many people actively clamoring for a similar style of game that there was a significant opportunity for people who understood that style of game.

It also helps tremendously that I have a business partner, Westley Weimer, who somehow let me talk him into designing a suitable CRPG ruleset and game engine to pursue the opportunity—without that, I would still be sitting here idly musing on the reasons nobody makes them like they used to. Really, the scenario is eerily similar to how both Wes and I started modding BG2 in the first place five years ago (and by extension, how our paths first crossed)—people lamented for months on end that there weren't enough mods for BG2 of the kind they wanted to play, so with nobody else doing it, we both ended up answering the call and doing something about it.

The final vision, then, is to produce a quality CRPG that delivers a gameplay experience people have been clamoring for, but not receiving from the mainstream studios and publishers, for going on half a decade. There are independent developers out there who do well for themselves preserving an aesthetic that's circa 1992 or so. We'd like to be able to do the same, moving the target forward the better part of a decade. The vision, of course, includes lots of people buying the game and convincing us that this was in fact a risk worth taking.


Special thanks go to Jason Compton for the interview, to Tal for editing and the people in #sorcerers for some of the question ideas. Hope you enjoy.

Read the whole thing at your one and only SP.
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Old Mon, 5th Jun '06, 12:13am   #2
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hum...sounds promising. I hope they pull through.
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Old Mon, 5th Jun '06, 4:21am   #3
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Are they working on this game full time?

It indeed sounds promising although some of the engines features sound simple, such as no reputation system and the mana supply. Curious whether they can pull of a game such as BG.
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Old Mon, 5th Jun '06, 12:26pm   #4
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Hmm, the mana system sounds pretty good to me. At the least - it sounds distinctly different from the types of mana systems I hate.
And if there's no global reputation system, that's not necessarily a bad thing. The IE game's system was way too simplified. OTOH, I don't think they gave us enough detail to judge this one...
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Old Mon, 5th Jun '06, 3:04pm   #5
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Fallout has regionalised reputation, sorted by cities. In all IE games, NWN and KotORs, some people sometimes reacted to your way of solving previous quests in some ways. The mana system reminds me of Arcanum, I guess.
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Old Tue, 6th Jun '06, 12:00am   #6
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Quote:
Are they working on this game full time?

It indeed sounds promising although some of the engines features sound simple, such as no reputation system and the mana supply.
No, we all, AFAIK, have other full-time jobs.

I wasn't involved in the design of the rule-set, but I rather liked the idea behind the mana system. In Baldur's Gate II you'd often sit your mage out so as to preseve your spells, or blow through them and be useless for the rest of the day.

I'd say the idea is to allow a mage to be relevant to every fight, while still requiring you to make tricky decisions about how to use a limited supply of mana.

Sounds like fun IMO

Note that I'm a contractor and my views don't reflect those of Planewalker Games, blah blah blah.

[ June 06, 2006, 00:55: Message edited by: Quitch ]
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Old Tue, 6th Jun '06, 5:44am   #7
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Sounds cool. It has been a while since a game the calibur of Baldur's Gate I & II came out, RPG-wise anyways. Frankly NWN was a huge bore for me. (How do you make a D&D game without a party?) Anyways, if you guys need any help, I'm a college student with nothing else to do. Going for my BFA in Graphics Design, but I wouldn't put myself up to working on such yet. I could, however, provide conceptual artwork. Any little project to throw in the portfolio. Besides, I have a new scanner I've just been itching to find a use for. Hope you haven't outgrown reading the SP forums.
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Old Wed, 7th Jun '06, 8:03pm   #8
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This sounds really good to me, and I've been jaded with the whole RPG scene since the BG and Fallout series. NWN lacked something, and the latest RPGs seem to have focused on hack-and-slash farmathons.
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Old Thu, 24th Apr '08, 2:04pm   #9
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I'm pleased to hear about this. As I wrote in another thread, I'm a former games journo (I wrote for PC Review and later PC Gaming World in the UK during the 90s, then did a bit of freelance for various things) and I wrote a column back on PCGW bemoaning the fact that the switch from 2D to 3D was killing off good RPGs. I loved Morrowind, but I really missed the party system you got with older games - developers really only seemed to care about graphics.

Re: Reputation/alignment, although I liked the D&D system, I preferred the system in games like Torment and Fallout where your actions affected your rep, rather than choosing your alignment to start with and trying to RP within those bounds. It's more organic and makes more sense. I also liked the Planescape system where you gained stats with each level, or the Fallout System where you picked up perks and skillpoints, rather than the old 2nd Ed D&D rules where all you got was a few more hit points and perhaps another star to stick in your weapons (or spells if you were a mage or cleric). The 3rd Ed rules in IWD2 were nice for this reason, as well.

I will be very interested to see how this shapes up. There is definitely a gaping hole in the market - I hope this goes some way to filling it.
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Old Thu, 24th Apr '08, 3:01pm   #10
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Still looking pretty cool. From what I can tell, I think that I will prefer reputation and spell-casting are handled in TBH.
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