A Beta Tester's Observations

Ask questions, share hints or chat in general about Eschalon: Book I.

A Beta Tester's Observations

Postby Gallifrey » Thu Jun 14, 2007 10:46 am

As I am apparently representative of Basilisk's target audience and an active forum poster, I was fortunate enough to have been Wrangled into giving what will become the Eschalon demo a "look and feel" test. I've had the demo for about a week now, and I've been asked by the Wrangler to share some of my impressions here.

First off, the screenshots don't do the game true justice, it looks great. I'd say it's just slightly ahead of the game Arcanum in it's general graphic presentation, but with some really beautiful effects (eg from explosions, smoke, lighting).

Traveling through the game is quite lovely. The background music is the right balance of ambience and actual style and detail, which gives great character to one's travels. This added with very nice environmental effects light torchlight in the dark and fireflies floating about at night, just breathes life into the game. So this is not some half-realised project, it's very full and atmospheric. Setting up camp at night really feels like you're camping.

The music is superb, from the opening cinematic to the background music throughout the game, it's clear a lot of attention went into putting it together. The background music is nice balance of ambience and detail, so it's not just "noise" nor is it distractingly overwrought. Light fantasy classical would describe it, I'd think.

NPC dialogue is extremely well done and detailed. This is not the two or three line sort of dialogue you see in most games, there's a fair bit of exposition (but not quite to the degree of Planescape:Torment!). You're given a fair bit of setting detail in their dialogue and descriptive text, much like how a DM in a PnP game might deliver it all. Also nice is that there isn't one All Knowing NPC who tells you everything about your quests and such, you pick up pieces of history and clues from everyone you talk to and so you as the PC put it together yourself.

There's a nice sense of having to be equipped and prepared for your journeys. You'll want to be well stocked in things like potions and torches and yet you will still need to make judicious use of them and be clever in your questing in order to make your supplies last.

Character creation I think we've mostly read about. You roll your stats (complete with the sound of rolling dice!) and assign stat points to flesh out your character. Then you choose an Origin which each adds their own stat or skill bonuses, an Axiom (sort of like alignment but more practical) and a class. Depending on your class and axiom, you're given a title which changes as you level.

Inventory is easily managed, there's a "quick bag" set-up on the main screen where you can place immediate-use items like potions or a map. Torches have their own special inventory slot.

The demo is 4 maps, and my first character had about 3 hours of time played just in those 4 maps, so that gives a pretty good indication of the level of exploration present in the game. You are rewarded for taking the time to explore as there is treasure to be found.

I guess overall my intial response was the Eschalon felt like an old Ultima game with a really nice graphics component.

I'm not going to give *too* much more away, but am happy to answer any questions in as much as I am able!
There are worlds out there where the sky is burning. And the sea's asleep and the rivers dream … People made of smoke and cities made of song … Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice, somewhere else the tea's getting cold!
User avatar
Gallifrey
Officer [Bronze Rank]
Officer [Bronze Rank]
 
Posts: 281
Joined: Thu Aug 17, 2006 6:02 pm
Location: N-Space

Postby BasiliskWrangler » Thu Jun 14, 2007 11:00 am

I wanted to clarify that I personally invited Gallifrey to take a look at the demo because he has been an observant, active member of the forums since we went online almost a year ago. His experience with other RPGs made him a good candidate to examine where we are at with Eschalon and give a fresh perspective on our progress.

I gave him the go-ahead to post a few observations here since some of you have been eager to hear more about the game.
User avatar
BasiliskWrangler
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3605
Joined: Thu Jul 06, 2006 10:31 am
Location: The Basilisk's Lair

Postby Gothmog » Thu Jun 14, 2007 11:19 am

Wooohooooo....this are great news!!!!

I think Gallifrey is a experienced RPG-Gamer and what he says about the game looks like all our expectations are come true!!


O.K. Gallifrey...can you tell us a little bit about the combat-system? We heard allready a lot about it....but how does it "feel"? :D
"FUL IR"
User avatar
Gothmog
Marshall
 
Posts: 114
Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2006 3:01 pm
Location: Germany

Postby Gallifrey » Thu Jun 14, 2007 11:28 am

The combat system is as we know turn-based. As such it makes combat more manageable, particularly for a character that isn't all about brute force. Archery and other ranged attacking is much more viable, as well as giving you greater capacity to use items in combat, be it a potion or some sort of explosive. You can also keep good distance between yourself and the enemy if need be.

It feels very fluid and intuitive, and turns don't take very long at all, the pacing is quite quick and there's not a lot of complexity.

Combat is one area that I can't really comment a whole lot on, since the demo is only >< this much of the game, so obviously I didn't experience a wide array of monsters, weaponry or items.

What's nice is that you have the option of running away, and if you have a character that can Hide In Shadows and/or Move Silently, you can evade some critters. From what I saw, monsters don't chase you to the ends of the earth, you can shake them and carry on. There was one area in which I had to do this as the only way to survive.

Oh, you have an option to toggle a combat grid on and off, which can help you determine how far something is from you.
There are worlds out there where the sky is burning. And the sea's asleep and the rivers dream … People made of smoke and cities made of song … Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice, somewhere else the tea's getting cold!
User avatar
Gallifrey
Officer [Bronze Rank]
Officer [Bronze Rank]
 
Posts: 281
Joined: Thu Aug 17, 2006 6:02 pm
Location: N-Space

Postby Gothmog » Thu Jun 14, 2007 11:41 am

That sounds great! Thank you.
Just one more little question. Even if you saw just that ><part of the game....how do you comment the variety of items youve just explored so far?
"FUL IR"
User avatar
Gothmog
Marshall
 
Posts: 114
Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2006 3:01 pm
Location: Germany

Postby Gallifrey » Thu Jun 14, 2007 11:44 am

The variety of items was pretty impressive. Treasure is random, so each treasure drop location yielded different loot for each character.

Further to this: Eschalon is not like, say, Sacred, where you haul out some massive piece of weaponry or armour from a chest in a musty dungeon room. In the demo, there are a few magical rings and amulets, but weapons and armour are gauged more in general quality of materials than by some magical designation.
Alchemists who need reagents will find those as well.
Last edited by Gallifrey on Thu Jun 14, 2007 11:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
There are worlds out there where the sky is burning. And the sea's asleep and the rivers dream … People made of smoke and cities made of song … Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice, somewhere else the tea's getting cold!
User avatar
Gallifrey
Officer [Bronze Rank]
Officer [Bronze Rank]
 
Posts: 281
Joined: Thu Aug 17, 2006 6:02 pm
Location: N-Space

Postby GianMarco » Thu Jun 14, 2007 11:49 am

Haha now thats what im talking about! I knew you guys would pull through, more than we could hope for than a regular news update :wink:
"If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him." - Helios
User avatar
GianMarco
Fellowcraft Apprentice
 
Posts: 41
Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:21 am
Location: Perth, Australia

Postby Dragonlady » Thu Jun 14, 2007 11:59 am

Gallifrey paint me green with envy! This waiting is really beginning to get to me! :) I'm keeping my impatience under control by playing Nethergate: Resurrection. Sigh. :lol:
Sometimes the dragon wins...
Help save the earth. It's the only planet with CHOCOLATE!
User avatar
Dragonlady
Illustrious
Illustrious
 
Posts: 1466
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2006 2:38 pm
Location: CA, USA or Knumythia

Postby Gallifrey » Thu Jun 14, 2007 12:22 pm

Bah! :p

A couple of things I wanted to add.

In character creation, even though you do choose a class, there are no artificial limitations imposed on your character because of that. You are free to build your character exactly as you want, taking whichever skills you feel best suit the character in your head.

Likewise, you can use weapons and armour you are not proficient with. There is of course a penalty, but there's nothing that prevents you from picking up and using a weapon or piece of armour you are unskilled in. This really plays up a sense of resourcefulness, I found.
There are worlds out there where the sky is burning. And the sea's asleep and the rivers dream … People made of smoke and cities made of song … Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice, somewhere else the tea's getting cold!
User avatar
Gallifrey
Officer [Bronze Rank]
Officer [Bronze Rank]
 
Posts: 281
Joined: Thu Aug 17, 2006 6:02 pm
Location: N-Space

Postby txa1265 » Thu Jun 14, 2007 12:35 pm

Hey - thanks to Basilisk for allowing this and to Gallifrey for doing the work! I caught the link over at RPGWatch - a lurker posted it up as many of us there are quite interested as well!
User avatar
txa1265
Apprentice
 
Posts: 31
Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2007 11:08 am

Postby GianMarco » Thu Jun 14, 2007 12:38 pm

txa1265 wrote:Hey - thanks to Basilisk for allowing this and to Gallifrey for doing the work! I caught the link over at RPGWatch - a lurker posted it up as many of us there are quite interested as well!

Bahaha t'was my doing! :twisted:

Gall, tell us more about some of the quests you've completed. :)
"If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him." - Helios
User avatar
GianMarco
Fellowcraft Apprentice
 
Posts: 41
Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:21 am
Location: Perth, Australia

Postby Gallifrey » Thu Jun 14, 2007 12:40 pm

Quests? I'm not going to give details like that away!
There are worlds out there where the sky is burning. And the sea's asleep and the rivers dream … People made of smoke and cities made of song … Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice, somewhere else the tea's getting cold!
User avatar
Gallifrey
Officer [Bronze Rank]
Officer [Bronze Rank]
 
Posts: 281
Joined: Thu Aug 17, 2006 6:02 pm
Location: N-Space

Postby GianMarco » Thu Jun 14, 2007 12:54 pm

Gallifrey wrote:Quests? I'm not going to give details like that away!

Highlight it black then, so people who may be worried about spoilers (don't think thats many of us right now lol) don't have to see it if we don't want to.

But eh, its ur choice dude :roll:
"If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him." - Helios
User avatar
GianMarco
Fellowcraft Apprentice
 
Posts: 41
Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:21 am
Location: Perth, Australia

Postby BasiliskWrangler » Thu Jun 14, 2007 1:04 pm

Gallifrey is under a NDA to limit what he can talk about. Hired goons will be at his house to break his thumbs if he gives too much away. :wink: :lol:
User avatar
BasiliskWrangler
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3605
Joined: Thu Jul 06, 2006 10:31 am
Location: The Basilisk's Lair

Postby txa1265 » Thu Jun 14, 2007 1:41 pm

BasiliskWrangler wrote:Gallifrey is under a NDA to limit what he can talk about. Hired goons will be at his house to break his thumbs if he gives too much away. :wink: :lol:

Are any of those hired goons playable in game ;)
User avatar
txa1265
Apprentice
 
Posts: 31
Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2007 11:08 am

Next

Return to Eschalon: Book I

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest