Story Q&A with Lars & Ryan

IT BEGINS

18:20:33 <RyanASpan> Yeeees. Our promised live alpha stream! Not to be missed.
18:20:37 <RyanASpan> I shall put it into the topic.
18:22:16 <Railboy> In hindsight this might not have been the best time to overhaul the inventory system…
18:22:57 <Railboy> Or the clouds, lol. They’re looking atomic at night all of a sudden.
18:23:07 * RyanASpan has changed the topic to: The official channel for Frontiers! http://explore-frontiers.com — Story Q&A time! And, just for this occasion, live streaming video of the Frontiers alpha: http://www.twitch.tv/AADProductions
18:23:09 <Railboy> 7 minutes? Sure I can fix this…
18:23:26 <antihuman09> Definitely the best time.
18:23:28 <RyanASpan> Code, compile, drink!
18:23:45 <DWPotato> Oooo, we should’ve created a drinking game for this.
18:24:44 <RyanASpan> DWPotato: We DID create a drinking game for this.
18:24:55 <RyanASpan> Every time the alpha glitches or crashes, you take a drink.
18:25:06 <DWPotato> lol
18:25:07 <RyanASpan> If it crashes to desktop, you have to finish whatever you’re drinking.
18:25:08 <DWPotato> I’m in!
18:25:23 <RyanASpan> Or bluescreens, rather.
18:25:50 <Faw1> sounds like a recipe for never seeing the beta alive
18:25:54 <DWPotato> lol
18:25:58 <DWPotato> I’m liking this.
LATER

18:32:31 <Railboy> Compile, damn you! Compile! Alright, once this is compiled we’lll see what happens. :)
THE ACTUAL Q&A

18:43:23 <RyanASpan> Alright, I think multivac has one for us first off.
18:43:36 <RyanASpan> Go ahead!
18:44:00 <multivac> Is there a hard deadline for the submission of first drafts of in-game books?
18:44:53 <RyanASpan> That’ll be one for Lars, I think.
18:45:09 <Railboy_> Yes there is, but it’s fluctuating. The bottom line is this:
18:46:00 <Railboy_> You have until about a month before the game ships to turn in a final version of your book.As long as you let me know if you’re doing last minute-revisions, it’s not hard to drop stuff in late in the game. So you have months before you *absolutely must* get your book in.
18:46:47 <Railboy_> I want to make sure people have access to as many resources as possible. Maps, lore, locations, etc.
18:47:03 <RyanASpan> Yes. And I’m sure the beta will inspire lots more.
18:47:40 <multivac> Plenty of time for those writers also participating in NaNoWriMo, then. Thanks guys!
18:47:50 <Railboy_> Exactly. Originally I wanted to drop all the books in really early, and the backers calendar still reflects this optimism, but lots of people have been asking me for little bits of info – where’s this city? What kinds of animals live here? etc. And that info doesn’t exist yet.
18:47:57 <Railboy_> NEXT!
18:48:05 <Railboy_> This is a piece of cake.
18:48:14 <RyanASpan> Anyone else? In the meantime, here’s one from earlier…
18:49:14 <RyanASpan> VanHuek asked us two things: 1. Is the game’s combat hack and slash or turn based?
18:49:28 <RyanASpan> That one’s for Lars.
18:50:13 <Railboy_> 1 – It’s hack and slash, not turn based. Though ‘hack and slash’ sounds more intense than anything you’ll find in the game.
18:50:26 <RyanASpan> Question 2. How are are you into the storyline and are you writing the lore too?
18:50:36 <RyanASpan> How far, that is. Fail on my part, not his. ;)
18:50:44 <Railboy_> That’s a Ryan question
18:51:17 <RyanASpan> Certainly is, and I shall answer it!
18:52:15 <Railboy_> GIVEN! Jeez. Floating rocks everywhere…
18:52:36 <RyanASpan> The storyline is actually finished. Prologue is finished, Acts 1 and 2 are in final editing, Act 3 is in second draft. So we have all the basics down already — that’s part of the reason why we called this, because we can actually answer questions with relative certainty.
18:53:16 <Railboy_> Though probably not as many as everyone would like, because we have to be wary of spoilers. There’s a LOT that people don’t know, tease tease.
18:53:30 <RyanASpan> Of course, of course. We promised no spoilers. ;)
18:53:59 <RyanASpan> As for the lore, I did not in fact write that. That whole job was Ben and Harrison, who are credited on the website’s team page.
18:54:35 <RyanASpan> I’ve had some input, obviously, and put my own spin on things.
18:54:55 <RyanASpan> Alright alright, let’s have a live question!
18:54:59 <Railboy_> Those two are amazing. I found them in a hardcore online world-building community. The speed at which they were able to work was astounding.
18:55:09 <jenncgf1> oo ooo!
18:55:16 <Railboy_> Yeah, give us some questions! I can’t just play with plates all day :)
18:55:48 <RyanASpan> I’ll keep ‘em coming a little bit quicker then. ;) Like I said, I can’t type quite as fast. My hand got bashed with a longsword earlier.
18:55:57 <jenncgf1> Okay, a couple of questions. :) First, what can you tell us about the storyline? 2nd, Ryan, how did you integrate the lore you were presented with into your story and vice versa? (I come from a fanfic background, so am wondering if this is similar)
18:56:37 <Railboy_> I can tackle part 1 Ryan, at least to start
18:56:40 <jenncgf1> And how did the game mechanics fit your story? are they officially part of the lore? I’m thinking pathing, for example, as one mechanic we’ve seen
18:56:41 <Railboy_> And the I’m curious about part 2 myself
18:56:57 <RyanASpan> We’ll do the lot, with our own interpretations.
18:57:22 <RyanASpan> We can talk about the storyline in general terms. It is very much grown from Lars’s core ideas, like in the pre-alpha video from Kickstarter.
18:57:57 <Railboy_> Part three of your question is really relevant, because the bones / core of the world are all built on the mechanics
18:58:10 <jenncgf1> (yay relevant questions!)
18:59:06 <Railboy_> Every major decision about the world came from a gameplay problem. The world is a single island-continent because I wanted to make every square inch explorable. The oceans are swamped with Leviathans because I knew we couldn’t afford to depicts sea travel, and because sea travel would make the story awkward… etc.
18:59:32 <jenncgf1> :)
18:59:41 <RyanASpan> ‘Integrating the lore’ is actually the wrong way of thinking about it. You don’t try to mash two individual bits together like poorly-made LEGO bricks. They each inform the other, growing and changing whenever there is a conflict until the best idea wins out.
19:00:05 <RyanASpan> Think of it as survival of the fittest development.
19:00:06 <jenncgf1> okay, so more like the putting your own spin/interpreting what you had that you mentioned?
19:00:40 <Railboy_> Not just his own spin, it’s more like an adaptation
19:01:06 <jenncgf1> Taking the idea, running with it and fleshing it out?
19:01:38 <Railboy_> Ryan showed up at just the right time – we’d created the first draft of our lore, we (meaning me, Ben, Harrison and a handful of other contributors) knew every nook and cranny. And then Ryan had to be brought up to speed – which meant he hadn’t drunk the kool-aid yet.
19:01:45 <RyanASpan> What Lars said. Also, you’d be surprised at how little of that background information actually comes to play in the actual plot. Ben and Harrison have written about things thousands of years back, but we’re not doing that kind of story where the world has been static and without advancement since the dawn of time.
19:01:56 <Railboy_> So he asked a lot of hard questions and pushed for clarity on a lot of important points. Made the lore much stronger.
19:02:36 <RyanASpan> The world as it is now was left largely open for me to hash out on my own.
19:02:55 <jenncgf1> That sounds good! And depth of lore makes a current storyline more solid, even if you’re not using it. Did bringing Ryan up to speed help you and the code team in development on your side too, Lars?
19:03:27 <RyanASpan> It’s not so much that we’re not using it. It’s that ancient history is the backdrop, not the plot. ;)
19:03:38 <jenncgf1> gotcha. :)
19:03:40 <Railboy_> Not really, not on the code end of things, since the mechanics were already driving everything else. But storywise it was invaluable.
19:03:51 <RyanASpan> Unlike in too many other games where they want to mash it all together with dark lords and secret powers that somehow nobody thought to dig up before.
19:04:16 <RyanASpan> Let’s give somebody else a chance!
19:04:19 <jenncgf1> Yeah, I’ve seen that. “SURPRISE! The world’s biggest enemy just dropped inf rom outer space!”
19:04:24 <jenncgf1> Thank you :)
19:04:45 <Railboy_> And just to be clear, the lore is used a LOT, it’s just not apparent. It’s a deliberate disconnect. Steve dealt with the same thing with the music. He asked if I wanted him to write music for the regions that reflect the history and the strangeness of what took place in the distant past, and I told him no, it should reflect what it feels like in the present day. Ryan’s approaching it in the same way.
19:05:28 <RyanASpan> To everyone, don’t mind if I’m not responding to your messages! I am receiving every single one and you will have your chance.
19:05:51 <RyanASpan> I believe Wally’s up next.
19:06:00 <RyanASpan> Take it away!
19:06:15 <Railboy_> (This is one of my favorite little hidey-holes. I’ve put them everywhere.)
19:06:18 <WallyW> :)
19:06:25 <Railboy_> Hey WallyW
19:07:12 <WallyW> How vital is the main storyline to the enjoyment of the game? Will the game actually end once it’s completed?
19:07:24 <RyanASpan> Ahh, good one.
19:07:57 <RyanASpan> You can ignore the main storyline for as long as you want, except during times when you really need to be getting on with something and it wouldn’t make sense just to leave it hanging.
19:08:06 <WallyW> Also, how much of an impact will playing through the story have on the enviornment or culture in the game?
19:09:11 <RyanASpan> But honestly, you should play the main story, because it’s fun. At least _I_ think it’s fun.
19:09:12 <Railboy_> It’s both vital and not vital. You can ignore the main quest without feeling like you’re ‘skipping’ the game, so it’s not vital in that respect. But the purpose of the main quest wasn’t just to give you something to do – it was created to guide us in what to create. Locations and characters and whatnot are largely driven by the writing. So even if you never actually play the quest, you’ll still be benefiting from the writing.
19:09:32 <RyanASpan> Yes, Lars makes a good point there.
19:09:55 <RyanASpan> In my thinking, the game is about three things: 1. Exploration, 2. Story, and 3. Roleplaying.
19:10:21 <Railboy_> And the game can end, but it’s a choice. You can choose to continue playing indefinitely, and the world doesn’t empty out like the show’s over.
19:11:11 <Railboy_> 1. Exploration, 2. Story, 3. Roleplaying, 4. Kleptomania
19:11:34 <RyanASpan> As for the impact… We’re doing a very personal story that’s not going to invite sweeping changes across the face of the world when you finish. You do get to make some major decisions, but you will not be triggering world wars or such.
19:11:57 <RyanASpan> Unless, like Lars said, you choose certain… specific… endings.
19:12:10 <WallyW> Very nice. Thank you!
19:12:24 <Railboy_> Yeah, you’re in the center of some big things, but you’re not THE center. Your actions can affect your own life, but you aren’t a ‘chosen one.’ You’re just a guy.
19:12:43 <Railboy_> No prob!
19:12:51 <RyanASpan> There is one thing which we’ve yet to decide re: the endings, mind.
19:13:07 <WallyW> Hehe… Chosen one.
19:13:33 <RyanASpan> What I have in mind is a Fallout-style ending where you get to hear how the stories of your actions played out. So, anything you do post-ending won’t really be considered canon.
19:14:11 <RyanASpan> I suppose any unfinished side quests will still be open, but you’ll have already gotten the ‘quest unfinished’ ending for that one.
19:14:41 <RyanASpan> Next question!
19:15:05 <Kyosho> Hi
19:15:34 <Railboy_> Oh hey, Given’s here. While we’re rounding up th enext question – let’s give him a round of applause for his terrain work. *thumbsup*
19:15:39 <Railboy_> Hi Kyosho
19:15:44 <Kyosho> I know the combat isn’t the main focus, but if you had to compare your combat to any other game (morrowind where you just wack at each other, oblivion/skyrim where oyu have to move, etc) what would you compare it to?
19:15:48 <RyanASpan> Lars: He already quit. :P
19:16:11 <Railboy_> Aw. Well I’ll clap for him anyway. As for combat:
19:16:12 <Kyosho> *you
19:16:23 <RyanASpan> Given does indeed deserve claps.
19:17:22 <Railboy_> I’d compare it to Minecraft. Okay, it’s a tad more developed than Minecraft. But the business of killing things is very much a ‘whack the thing’ or ‘shoot the thing from afar’ deal. There’s not a lot of strategy involved in raw combat.
19:17:48 <Kyosho> Tell me there aren’t creepers.
19:17:53 <jenncgf1> lol
19:17:54 <Kyosho> :P
19:18:14 <Railboy_> Magic makes things a bit more interesting, because you have to be careful in how you use it. I’m not sure what I’d compare that to, but I’m sure there’s a game out there where using magic can be as deadly as not using it.
19:18:34 <Railboy_> No creepers. :) It’s a *relaxing* game, not an anxiety generator.
19:18:41 <Kyosho> Haha. Alright, sounds good.
19:19:04 <RyanASpan> Heh. Yeah, we don’t want you clutching your mouse and whimpering through the darkness.
19:19:21 <Railboy_> Maybe once or twice. But we’ll let you know it’s coming, and you can always opt out.
19:19:27 <RyanASpan> I do believe it is now Dogar’s turn.
19:19:32 <Railboy_> Boy it’s a good thing I’m playing on ‘just looking,’ I’m starving here.
19:19:36 <Dogar> Thanks! Here’s my question. In a rough ratio, how much perilous exploration is there compared to peaceful exploration? Are there any traps or other perils, whether man made or environmental? Are the beautiful, serene forests merely hiding spots for brutal aztec warriors who are just waiting to use the player as part of a ritual human sacrifice, etc?
19:19:54 <Dogar> I guess you partially answered it with the last comment, but a bit more elaboration would be nice
19:20:23 <Railboy_> Well that’s topical. Perilous / dangerous exploration is mostly broken up into above ground / below ground.
19:20:25 <RyanASpan> It all depends on the area, really.
19:20:57 <Dogar> ah cool, so you can pretty much breathe easy above ground?
19:21:19 <Railboy_> The way I see it, if you make the choice to delve into a cave or dungeon or temple, you want to experience a bit of danger. So things can get pretty knarly underground. But while you’re walking above ground, we try to broadcast danger so you can at least avoid it.
19:21:31 <RyanASpan> Unless it’s night-time.
19:21:51 <Railboy_> Exactly. You’re not going to be ambushed by wolves, unless you deliberately walk into a forest where you hear wolves howling and spot animal dens everywhere.
19:22:04 <Dogar> ah, nice, yea, thats what I always hated about the ES series, always sents little critters after you that do nothing but change the music and give you mood whiplash
19:22:06 <Railboy_> Yes, that’s the exception. Night isn’t your friend.
19:22:15 <RyanASpan> NO CLIFF RACERS
19:22:17 <Dogar> cool, thats what I wanted to hear, thanks!
19:22:26 <Railboy_> No, I hate that, haha
19:22:55 <RyanASpan> Up next is SyntaxBlitz.
19:23:07 <SyntaxBlitz> Cools.
19:23:12 <SyntaxBlitz> To what extent, if any, will the player’s actions/reputation (like magic usage or thievery, which are supposedly frowned upon) affect the dynamics of the storytelling?
19:23:42 <SyntaxBlitz> Will some NPCs act harsher or direct the player differently?
19:23:54 <SyntaxBlitz> (derp, forgot to copy that second half of the question at first)
19:24:09 <Railboy_> A moderate extent. We can’t get too wild with the social repercussions, just because it’s really complex, but there are a couple of things that affect your general social standing, and that affects how NPCs react to you.
19:24:20 <RyanASpan> That’s a tricky one. Some NPCs do indeed treat you differently based on your reputation with them, but it’s more about how you’ve affected them and people they know, rather than just something you do.
19:24:40 <RyanASpan> You don’t usually have a general air of disreputability hanging over you.
19:25:02 <SyntaxBlitz> That’s cool. I was never a huge fan of a global ‘popularity’ number hanging around your character.
19:25:19 <RyanASpan> Yeah, exactly. That’s something I want to avoid because it makes no damn sense.
19:25:19 <Railboy_> I’m still working out how thievery affects you. Because let’s be honest games like this are basically thievery simulators, and I don’t want to punish you for that. On the other hand… you are supposed to be a real life person, and people who walk into everyone’s house and take all their stuff aren’t generally respected.
19:25:54 <Railboy_> We’ll see how it shakes out. Whatever we come up with, it won’t be annoying. How’s that. :)
19:26:04 <RyanASpan> I expect being known as a thief might make most shopkeepers tell you to get the hell out. ;)
19:26:07 <SyntaxBlitz> City-specific bounties like in the Elder Scrolls games are a step in the right direction, and I think it’s cool to see stuff like that. Thanks!
19:26:55 <RyanASpan> But we always try to balance what makes sense in the game logic with not making really bloody annoying design decisions.
19:27:30 <RyanASpan> That is not the best sentence I have ever constructed, but you get the idea. I hope.
19:27:40 <SyntaxBlitz> I sure do.
19:27:41 <Railboy_> Yeah. Logical and fun aren’t always synonymous. I sometimes complain that something in a game isn’t realistic, when the truth is that if they made it realistic I’d hate it far more.
19:27:48 <Railboy_> And you’re supposed to be a writer…
19:28:11 <RyanASpan> You’re supposed to be a coder, and yet your alpha is full of bugs!
19:28:16 <RyanASpan> EXPLAIN THAT SMART GUY
19:28:16 <SyntaxBlitz> ouch.
19:28:31 <jenncgf1> pffthehe
19:28:32 * RyanASpan grins.
19:29:03 <Railboy_> You’re fired! NEXT
19:29:08 <Dogar> speaking of dungeons, are there any on show for us on the video feed?
19:29:40 <Railboy_> I just went through an unfinished mineshaft, but there are no dungeons, I wasn’t able to complete the assets in time for the Benneton alpha
19:29:41 <RyanASpan> Okay okay, let’s take the questions we got on Kickstarter. Then we can give jenncgf1 another turn. If you have anything you want to ask, let me know!
19:29:54 <Railboy_> BUT I can show you where a dungeon WILL be. That’s just as exciting, right?
19:30:12 <Dogar> *faints*
19:30:13 <RyanASpan> Oh yeah, that’s totally as good.
19:30:31 <RyanASpan> On KS, HD asked us: There seems to be a main story; will the player experience that story as the backdrop to the world s/he explores or will he be the “main character” in that story?
19:30:37 <Railboy_> (Ta daa!)
19:31:13 <Dogar> well it does have storm clouds! That’s moderately exciting!
19:31:19 <Railboy_> I think we’ve pretty much covered that one – you’ll be the main character of your own personal story, and you’ll play a smaller part of the greater story.
19:31:25 <RyanASpan> I think I know what he’s getting at. Truth is, I’d say both.
19:32:01 <Railboy_> Yeah, it’ll be a nice combo, I think
19:32:03 <Railboy_> (I hope)
19:32:16 <RyanASpan> The story takes you all over the world, and you interact with people from all kinds of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. But you are the main character in this story and what you do matters.
19:32:53 <RyanASpan> In fact — I don’t think it will be a spoiler to say this — your actions can actually change history. Like, literal history. Stuff that’s already past.
19:33:08 <Dogar> nice view
19:33:39 <RyanASpan> Not in a magical sense, mind. There’s no time travel. The story simply adapts to your actions, turning those actions into a reflection of past events.
19:33:56 <Railboy_> Yes, that’s true. I’m downplaying the ‘chosen one’ aspect, but in truth you are a mover and a shaker.
19:34:20 <Railboy_> You’re just not Rand Al’Thor. You’re more like… Loial.
19:34:22 <SyntaxBlitz> That’s… really cool.
19:34:39 <RyanASpan> Why thank you. Totally my idea, actually. ;)
19:35:04 <RyanASpan> Another question from HD: Which game would you say is the most alike in terms of how you will be telling the story of Frontiers, and in what way does that game differ in that respect from Frontiers?
19:35:31 <RyanASpan> Whoo, that’s a tough one.
19:36:05 <Railboy_> Yikes, well my temptation is to compare it to Fallout or Fallout 2, but that’s inviting unfavorable comparisons, probably. They did such a fantastic job.
19:36:36 <RyanASpan> My ambition will always be to make a game like my #1 favourite RPG ever, Planescape: Torment. Fallout 1 and 2 are also great examples. But that is, like Lars said, setting the bar damned high.
19:36:50 <Railboy_> But I liked how the main quest wasn’t constantly pulling at your sleeve, and the side quests covered a lot of different tones and subject matters.
19:37:09 <RyanASpan> If I have to pick one game, I’d probably choose Bastion.
19:37:17 <jenncgf1> OOO OOO
19:37:28 <Railboy_> I know. We should be hedging here and setting the bar really low. Daikatana?
19:37:31 <RyanASpan> Fantastic game in every respect, and I would be honoured for Frontiers to be considered an equal to Bastion in storytelling.
19:37:44 <RyanASpan> …I think that’s insulting to the entire team.
19:37:49 <RyanASpan> Shame on you, Lars.
19:37:53 <Railboy_> :D
19:38:13 <Kyosho> The GBC Daikatana was a good game.
19:38:40 <RyanASpan> Heh, what you just did in the alpha is upsetting my beagle.
19:38:52 <RyanASpan> She does not like that noise.
19:39:00 <jenncgf1> leviathan?
19:39:04 <Railboy_> I’ve made a huge mistake…
19:39:09 <Kyosho> :D
19:39:34 <RyanASpan> One more question from HD, I think…
19:39:41 <Railboy_> Whew there we go. For anyone curious, that’s the only insta-kill in the game.
19:39:54 <RyanASpan> Oh wait. I forgot one part of HD’s last one.
19:40:38 <RyanASpan> Since I’m going with Bastion, how do we differ from Bastion? Well… I wish we could have that guy narrating everything in Frontiers.
19:40:47 <jenncgf1> :D
19:41:15 <Railboy_> Ah yes, voiceover talent is not in our budget, that’s probably one of the most common questions I get.
19:41:30 <Railboy_> It’s sad. Next game.
19:41:37 <Dogar> yea, he could tell you that you got eaten by a leviathan 5 seconds before it happens, just to screw with your head
19:41:41 <RyanASpan> In that respect it’s going to resemble those old first-person dungeoneering games more than Bastion.
19:41:42 <SyntaxBlitz> sequel hype
19:42:03 <RyanASpan> Oooh, I just thought of a good one.
19:42:09 <RyanASpan> Lands of Lore 2.
19:42:19 <RyanASpan> It’s going to bear a passing resemblance to that too.
19:42:28 * RyanASpan is a huge Lands of Lore fan. Except for 3.
19:42:34 <Railboy_> I have not played Lands of Lore 2! I’ll have to check out a Let’s Play.
19:42:58 <RyanASpan> Lands of Lore 1 is one of my top 5 favourite games ever. Or at least top 10.
19:43:11 <Dogar> what about gothic? That’s the first thing I thought of when I saw the alpha trailer
19:43:28 <Kyosho> same
19:43:45 <Dogar> yea, damned good series, really underrated
19:43:56 <RyanASpan> Okay, I wish you hadn’t asked that, because I’m going to disappoint everyone. :P
19:44:10 <RyanASpan> Gothic, all of them, are in my top 10 list of games I hate most on this green Earth.
19:44:14 <Railboy_> I’ve heard that a lot as well! There are some similarities, but overall Gothic is a little more sophisticated and combat driven, gamplay wise.
19:44:29 <Dogar> holy shit! really?
19:44:38 <Railboy_> Hahaha, oh Ryan. You sure know how to play to the crowd.
19:44:44 <jenncgf1> :P
19:44:52 <Railboy_> I’m curious to hear this because I haven’t played it long enough to get a sense of the story
19:44:58 <Dogar> well granted, the interface was shite, and the story, but I thought the world design was the best there was at that time
19:45:01 <RyanASpan> I could spend a long time talking about why, but I won’t. Maybe on the forum afterwards where popular opinion has suddenly turned against me. ;)
19:45:23 <Dogar> lol
19:45:39 <Railboy_> No way, they want straight talk!
19:45:39 <Kyosho> I barely played the first one, myself. It’s just the environmental interaction that reminds me of it.
19:45:53 <Dogar> yea, same
19:46:54 <RyanASpan> World design is all well and good, but you need more than that for a satisfying experience. And the really basic ‘you have to choose a faction to join’ stuff…
19:47:10 <Railboy_> Yeah that makes sense. Plus for whatever reason, FRONTIERS and Gothic seem to share the same visual flavor.
19:47:15 <SyntaxBlitz> Ryan is just trying to keep his job secure with Frontiers’s awesome world
19:47:16 <RyanASpan> I was tired of it in the first one, and they just kept it exactly the same, through all the Gothics and even into Risen.
19:48:11 <RyanASpan> And that’s all the bitching we have time for today. ;)
19:48:15 <Railboy_> Well there you have it folks. FRONTIERS will definitely NOT be like that game you like :D
19:48:23 <jenncgf1> hah!
19:48:33 <Dogar> \o/
19:48:41 <Railboy_> Yeah I’ve got to scram, but this was fun, good questions.
19:48:44 <WallyW> :)
19:48:50 <Kyosho> It won’t be like Gabriel Knight? Shame.
19:48:51 <jenncgf1> Thank you :)
19:48:56 <RyanASpan> Actually, Frontiers will be like the parts of that game which you did like, and not like the parts you didn’t. ;)
19:48:59 <Railboy_> I hope you got a kick out of the stop-and-start gameplay. If only I had 4 hands! (Or an assistant)
19:49:15 <jenncgf1> Love seeing hte environments
19:49:17 <jenncgf1> they’re beautiful
19:49:37 <RyanASpan> Thanks for coming, Lars! I’ll try to finish up with the remaining questions.
19:50:03 <RyanASpan> I’ll save HD’s last question and say: jenncgf1, you’re up!
19:50:09 <jenncgf1> okay, thanks!
19:50:28 <Railboy_> Thanks – catch you guys later / see you on the forums. And Ryan, try not to start a PR nightmare while I’m gone, kthx. XD
19:50:31 <jenncgf1> This is actually kind of for both of you so I totally understand if it can’t be answered. But speaking of sequal talk… :)
19:50:40 <RyanASpan> Bah humbug!
19:50:49 <SyntaxBlitz> no! If you stop streaming I can’t listen to this beautiful music anymore D:
19:51:07 <jenncgf1> I was wondering if, since you’re getting near the end of the storyboard process with this game, are you thinking along hte lines of player choice, history, and then moving into dlc or a new game or something along the lines later?
19:51:10 * RyanASpan can start flamewars if he wants to…
19:51:38 <jenncgf1> I know i’m getting ahead of things but it seems a logical progression, especially with the lore built up and this story having a firm foothold in that (even if we don’t directly see it)
19:52:23 <jenncgf1> I’m thinking primarily from a story perspective, but obviously there’d be code/design stuff that’d have to go with it.
19:52:31 <RyanASpan> As I recall, Lars is totally not into DLC. But if everyone badgers him enough I’m sure he’ll cave to public demand. ;)
19:52:58 <jenncgf1> hah! :) and that’s fine. Just seems like there’s potential for new story or something with all this great infrastructure
19:53:07 <RyanASpan> What exactly do you mean by ‘thinking along the lines of player choice/history’?
19:53:26 <jenncgf1> well, there was some talk about player choices and how it can modify history in-game
19:53:44 <jenncgf1> so, thinking ahead, have you already come up with ideas for how story can move forward based on that?
19:54:38 <RyanASpan> Ah, I see. Yes yes indeed, we’ve had some thoughts for a sequel, though it’s probably some ways off. I can almost guarantee that it won’t resemble anything you’d expect.
19:54:49 <jenncgf1> fair enough. :) thanks!
19:55:42 <RyanASpan> Up next is Kyosho!
19:56:10 <Kyosho> Well, one is something you might know the answer to, but might not as well.
19:56:17 <Kyosho> Is there, or will there be, a stealth system? If so, what does that include? Line of site detection, sound detection.. Is there a sound-based system where if you’re loud you’ll be heard, etc? Can you hide in shadows? All that stuff.
19:56:19 <RyanASpan> Might as well try!
19:57:21 <RyanASpan> Ohh. I’m afraid you’re totally out of luck there, I don’t know what Lars has planned for stealth.
19:57:30 <Kyosho> alright, second bit is for you
19:57:33 <Kyosho> RyanASpan, this is not an official question exactly.. But, what are some games which you really like the game specifically for the story? Torment and Fallout have been mentioned. Anything else? Anything more recent or from different genres? Just to get a feel for your taste in these things.
19:58:49 <Railboy_> (Ninja answer before I step out the door – there will be stealth. You can hide yourself with magic. Bye for real.)
19:59:04 <Kyosho> Haha! Awesome, thanks!
19:59:10 <RyanASpan> That one will need a bit of thought! I mentioned Bastion, which deserves to be mentioned twice…
19:59:28 <RyanASpan> There’s another little indie game which I really like, called Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP.
20:00:00 <Kyosho> Huh. I own both those games on Steam but haven’t gotten around to them. I will have to do that.
20:00:16 <RyanASpan> For AAA stuff, I’m fond of Mass Effect, and I quite like Dragon Age 1 even though some of my friends vehemently hate it.
20:00:30 <jenncgf1> *gasp!* hate DAO?
20:00:32 <jenncgf1> :P
20:00:38 <Kyosho> Ooh, okay you just scored points with me. I love DAO
20:00:43 <jenncgf1> totally
20:00:55 <RyanASpan> Going a little bit further back, even though Neverwinter Nights 2 was absolute rubbish, the Mask of the Betrayer expansion impressed me.
20:01:35 <WallyW> It might be worth mentioning that Ryan does do a podcast where the theme is, usually, games. You can get a good feel for his opinions and preferences by listening to those.
20:01:45 <Kyosho> Ugh, i tried to play NWN2 and couldn’t get into it. heard Mask of the Betrayer was made by Torment guys. Got it on GOG… Need to play that too.
20:02:05 <RyanASpan> Wally: Don’t mention the podcast! They might listen to it!
20:02:10 <jenncgf1> hah!
20:02:13 <jenncgf1> where and when?
20:02:23 <RyanASpan> Damn, cat’s out of the bag.
20:02:38 <WallyW> Hehe
20:03:01 <RyanASpan> I co-host the official weekly podcast for Malevolence: The Sword of Ahkranox, with its creator Alex Norton.
20:03:08 <jenncgf1> thanks
20:03:20 <RyanASpan> Note: Rude language and bad things are rife.
20:04:13 <Kyosho> RyanASpan, speaking of which.. You’re a writer on that game, but it’s sort of a roguelike, yes? How is story worked into that game? (Er.. you can feel free to ignore this until later since we’re technically supposed to be talking about Frontiers, but I meant to ask you.)
20:04:16 <WallyW> It adds to the entertainment value. ;)
20:04:23 <RyanASpan> Although we occasionally do a redeeming episodes where we have a cool guest on. Notabl John Passfield, creator of Halloween Harry/Alien Carnage and Flight of the Amazon Queen, and Sami Maaranen, creator of The UnReal World.
20:05:09 <RyanASpan> Kyosho: It’s still relevant to game writing, so I’ll get to that one after all the Frontiers questions are done.
20:05:19 <Kyosho> alrighty
20:05:28 <RyanASpan> Faw1, are you there?
20:05:35 <Faw1> yes :)
20:05:42 <RyanASpan> Give us your question!
20:05:45 <Faw1> So, earlier you talked about how you have a big and intricate world and history behind the story of Frontiers, and how little of that actually comes to play in the plot. Will you release that background material in some fashion at some point, if you can? I imagine it might be very helpful for modders and fanfictioneers alike :)
20:05:57 <jenncgf1> :)
20:06:49 <RyanASpan> The limited lore kit should already be available to all the KS backers who are writing a book for the game. We have an open wiki with most of the lore on it.
20:07:12 <SyntaxBlitz> the lore wiki is located here for reference http://atomicagedog.com/frontiers/lore/index.php?title=Main_Page
20:07:21 <RyanASpan> Minus some developmental info which you’re not supposed to know until the later stages of the game.
20:07:33 <Faw1> ah I see, didn’t know about that wiki
20:08:01 <Kyosho> Translation: It was all a dream.
20:08:06 <RyanASpan> SyntaxBlitz: As I recall, Lars has moved the wiki and that one is no longer actively used. I shall follow it up for you once we’re done and post links with the transcript.
20:08:16 <Faw1> thanks :)
20:08:16 <SyntaxBlitz> oh. okay then
20:08:20 <jenncgf1> thanks!
20:08:47 <RyanASpan> If I’m supposed to, that is, and Lars doesn’t want to keep lots of secrets. ;)
20:09:26 <RyanASpan> Do we have anyone else wanting a go? I’ll go for HD’s final question in the meantime.
20:09:44 <RyanASpan> HD asked: Which is the single most annoying/infuriating thing for you in terms of story telling in games today, and how would you do it differently?
20:09:58 <Kyosho> Ooh good question.
20:10:03 <jenncgf1> nodnod it is
20:10:25 <RyanASpan> Wellllll… Well. Well well. How many more people can I offend today?
20:10:44 <jenncgf1> hah!
20:10:46 <jenncgf1> INFINITE
20:10:48 <Kyosho> I don’t imagine you’ll offend Q
20:11:10 <RyanASpan> Alright, I’ll stay nice and general. No naming names. ;)
20:11:52 <Kyosho> Oh, come on, everyone likes controversy.
20:11:56 <jenncgf1> heh
20:12:00 <jenncgf1> except for those who don’t!
20:12:01 <RyanASpan> What I hate… What absolutely drives me nuts… Is similar to what I mentioned in my KS guest update, when they write characters and expect you to care about them. Especially when those characters are/act like completely unlikeable twats.
20:12:25 <Kyosho> Yes.
20:12:29 <RyanASpan> I know that anti-heroes are a thing. They are a thing that, when done well, is totally cool and I am on board with it.
20:12:55 <SyntaxBlitz> I don’t like when the characters DON’T act like unlikeable twats, and just because of that (and because everyone else is easy to hate), you’re supposed to care about them
20:13:03 <RyanASpan> However, when you follow the story of what is essentially a second villain and then pretend like we should feel sad when his dog dies…
20:13:52 <Kyosho> I’m on board with all this.
20:14:00 <RyanASpan> It’s especially bad when he (because it’s always a guy) is oh-so-angsty and can’t muster up the strength to rise above his gravelly monotone.
20:14:12 <jenncgf1> :) Yeah, that’s pretty maddening
20:14:24 <RyanASpan> *cough*HUMAN REVOLUTION*cough*
20:14:58 <Kyosho> (Another game I have but haven’t played. I’m a bag gamer.)
20:15:03 <Kyosho> *bad
20:15:53 <RyanASpan> You’re not missing much in my opinion. Decent gameplay, looks nice, utter arse in every other respect. A pale imitation of Deus Ex without understanding what the original was about, or at least lacking the fortitude to go all the way with it.
20:16:33 <RyanASpan> Forced boss combat regardless of your skill set. That by itself is a capital crime in a video game.
20:17:00 <RyanASpan> I believe multivac has another question?
20:17:36 <multivac> Are there any intelligent creatures besides humans in the game that we will meet?
20:19:08 <RyanASpan> That’s a big no. No elves, no orcs, none of that.
20:19:14 <RyanASpan> There might be a kind-of somewhat exception, but that’s as far as I’ll go on account of spoilers.
20:20:13 <RyanASpan> Alright, since we’re reaching the end of the Q&A, I’m going to answer Kyosho’s last question, and then go ahead and remove speaking limitations.
20:20:46 <RyanASpan> For anyone asking me about the live stream: It was live. I’m afraid you missed.
20:22:23 <RyanASpan> Kyosho asked me about Malevolence and writing for a roguelike. Truth is, especially given that Malevolence is an infinite roguelike with no ending, it doesn’t really have a story.
20:22:58 <Kyosho> Kinda figured. What do you write then?
20:23:27 <RyanASpan> I write books, as you might find in an Elder Scrolls game, only without some of the silliness.
20:24:04 * RyanASpan remembers in particular the book in Morrowind about the chappie who was somehow better at bedding his wife while wearing armour. How fabulously f’ing stupid.
20:24:39 <Kyosho> Do you also write like… situations you might come upon? Like, a room that had items in a certain way? Environmental storytelling? Valve-like?
20:25:11 <Kyosho> On that note, will there be environmental storytelling in Frontiers?
20:26:13 <RyanASpan> Given that the environments are all procedurally generated, that too is not really possible. I have written about certain things you can find in the game, such as different biomes. The stories mainly serve to enrich the setting.
20:27:31 <RyanASpan> Practically _everything_ except the books is generated. You need some way to make the player feel that this is more than simply a sandbox with endlessly repeating blank-faced people, fighting the same monsters over and over again.
20:28:13 <Kyosho> We’re talking Malevolence, here?
20:28:35 <RyanASpan> Don’t get me wrong, Malevolence is a lot of fun on its own, but it has such a unique setting that it would feel wrong to leave it totally unexplored.
20:28:42 <RyanASpan> Yes, haven’t gotten to your other question yet. ;)
20:28:55 <Kyosho> Okay cool.
20:29:28 <RyanASpan> In Frontiers there’s going to be a little bit of environmental storytelling, in that you get lines of internal monologue displayed on the screen when you run into certain things.
20:30:13 <Kyosho> Right, okay.
20:30:24 <RyanASpan> Some of them can serve as little hints (and I mean hints as in actual hints, not spelling everything out for you hints), others are just little nuggets of flavour.
20:31:22 <Kyosho> No handholding, good.
20:31:40 <RyanASpan> (Oh, and in case anyone got the wrong impression from earlier, I do really like Morrowind.)
20:32:09 >q< chanmode #frontiers -m
20:32:19 <RyanASpan> There we go, that should release the shackles!
20:32:39 <Eli_> So…
20:32:49 <jenncgf1> Thank you so much for holding this Q&A :)
20:32:53 <Faw1> indeed :)
20:33:07 <RyanASpan> Thank you guys for coming. I really enjoyed it.
20:33:13 <Eli_> I agree with jenncgf1
20:33:13 <jenncgf1> same here!
20:33:22 <Kyosho> ditto

FIN