Poll: item and weapon icons

Here's the place to talk about the features you would like to see in a sequel to KotC.

How important is it for you that every item and weapon be represented by a graphic icon in a CRPG?

Essential: It's so important, I won't buy a game that hasn't got icons.
0
No votes
Important: It makes the game a lot more interesting.
8
40%
Not Important: It's nice to have, but not necessary.
9
45%
Wasteful: It's better to use plain text and focus resources on other things like backgrounds and monsters.
3
15%
 
Total votes : 20

Re: Poll: item and weapon icons

Postby Marinx » Wed Aug 21, 2013 5:49 pm

I've been playing Neverwinter Nights Hordes of the Underdark recently and all magic weapons share the same icon. I think that's worse than not having any icon.

I think you are overcomplicating things that really doesn't matter.
Look at diablo 1, 2, all diablo like games, like you said neverwinter and many other very succesful RPGs (many AAA titles). Just one icon per weapon type and thats' it. When you hover mouse over the icon, text shows up and you know what is the item. Or right click on item and description window appears like in BG. I didn't see (or heard of) anyone complaining about this approach :)
I think that for player is enough to know that item is magical. I remember my first BG playthrough. I was very excited when I found "blue" item in loot and could hardly wait till I identify it. That had some special charm about it. For me anyway :)
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Re: Poll: item and weapon icons

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Re: Poll: item and weapon icons

Postby BlueSalamander » Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:07 pm

You may be right. That would simplify things.
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Re: Poll: item and weapon icons

Postby Marinx » Fri Aug 23, 2013 5:45 pm

Here's couple of thoughts. Maybe you have predicted too many weapons. For example broadsword, recurve, great and warbow, arbalest, waraxe and so on. Althought it's tempting to have many weapons I don't see much point putting them in the game. For example lets look again at BG 1: Battle Axe, Dagger, Club, Flail, Mace, Throwing Axe, Morning Star, Halberd, Quarter Staff, Bastard Sword, Longsword, Shortsword, Scimitar, War Hammer, Spear, Two Handed Sword, Composite Long Bow, Long Bow, Short Bow, Sling, Dart, Heavy X-bow, Light X-bow. That's 23 weapons and game was master piece. Just for comparison you have 46. For me and probably for most of guys/girls who love this type of games, number of weapons and spells really doesn't matter. All that matter is gameplay.

Another thought how can you probably make yourself a life easier. As I understand it there is no crafting in game which is in my opinion good move. So instead of making all type of weapon to be from adamntine, silver and so on, do instead few named weapons. So you don't have to have a adamantine longsword +1, +2, +3, +4, +5 but maybe two special weapons which have another bonuses instead just being adamantine longsword +x. In this way you lower number of items (combinations) and you have a nice weapons which every player will appreciate. I hope you will understand what I mean. English is not my native language so I have a problem expressing my thoughs :)
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Re: Poll: item and weapon icons

Postby Tiavals » Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:19 pm

One of the more exciting things about KOTC 2 is that there's a vast amount of spells and weapons. This is because variety creates gameplay. I don't care much about what the graphics(icons and such) the weapons have(might as well use the same graphic for all swords(broadsword, bastard sword, scimitar, short swords,e tc), so long as the mechanical effects are different. The more different spells and weapons are in the game, the better the game is(provided they all are balanced and have a point). I hate games that just have generic weapons and spells. Weapons like Ranseur and Spiked Gauntlets are the reason why I'm so excited about KOTC2, as are spells like Solid Fog, Mass Suppress Sword, Heat and Freeze Armor and Gust of Wind. If all the spells were like the Cleric spells, I would be extremely disappointed, and if the weapon choices were simple and few(like in KOTC1), I would be disappointed. The ability to customize my characters and plans, and execute them with a massive variety of feats and spells that come from a thousand different party configurations, is the true reason why KOTC2 will triumph one day. Sure, KOTC1 was nice, but it was more of a proof of concept that games like it still hold the hearts of some people. KOTC2 should be the same idea, but expanded in every possible way(which is the plan from what I have seen). The ability to craft your own items was an important part of the process, but it had it's downsides so I understand why it will be cut out.
The difference with BG and Diablo is that everything in their weapons is purely damage related. In KOTC2, you can disarm, sunder, trip, grapple, have reach, set against charge, etc. So many different ways to do things, not just hitting them on the head with a club. With enchantments, this becomes even more complex. I don't think anything has been said about KOTC2 enchantments, so I'll assume they're just the same as in KOTC1. So no Bane, Dancing, Defending, Ghost Touch or Spell Storing.
But there's still Brilliant Energy, Disruption, Wounding and alignment and elemental damage, as well stuff like Blinding. Thus, the applicability of a Ranseur that's Blinding and Brilliant Energy is vastly different from a Greatsword that's Holy and Flaming. In BG, the only difference is the damage. Here, there are huge tactical considerations. A more apt comparison would be with Temple of Elemental Evil.

If you must have icons, you could do them like so: Icon(like sword) means the general broad style, then a letter or two(such as G for greatsword, S for shortsword, etc), and the background of the icon denoting the material(silver for mithril, purple for adamantium, etc). Saves the effort for pointless icons, yet makes it instantly obvious what weapon you're dealing with.

That said, I'd prefer just text. Makes it instantly obvious what you're dealing with, and the only purpose of weapons is the mechanical customization as you fiddle around your characters to try to make the sort of party you want. If the weapons were visible on the characters like most high budget games, it'd be different of course, but since the characters are just icons(or at least that is my recollection of how it'll be done?), it's just a waste to have the weapons have graphics when text is enough. This is especially true since the weapons themselves are customizable, you can tell from a single glance that a weapon is Silver Greatword of Holy Destruction +3 if it's done with text, if it's an icon it'll be impossible to deduce. And if you have several greatswords in your inventory, it'll be crazy, multiplied by several party members. Of course, if there are only static items without player forging, the problem with multiple weapons of the same type will probably not exist, as the player will just use the best weapon they have found instead of fiddling with several specifically built weapons. In games like Diablo or BG, you only ever use one weapon at a time, because the differences they have are purely power-related(which lets you deal the most damage?). For a tactical game like KOTC, you may have a need for a Blinding weapon, or a Holy weapon, or Flaming, or Wounding weapon, or a simple big enchantment weapon. Each tool for a specific situation(low fort save enemy that hits hard to blind, evil undead with huge DR, trolls or webs, high HD foes or low CON foes, etc) and in a case like that, you'd have all of them in your inventory, waiting for the right situation. In a case like this, you must have the ability to quickly and efficiently determine which is which, or you'll grow frustrated with switching weapons each battle. But again, if there's no forging, you might ever just have one weapon which is obviously better than the rest which you'd have sold as useless.

The same applies for spells as well, although fiddling around with a spellbook that is icon based is more efficient for the player, since spells can be discerned from each other much more easily with icons than names, and the icon itself will give a hint of what the spell did if you have forgotten. Not to mention you'll fiddle around the spellbook much more than the inventory, so the spellbook has a bigger priority in being pleasant to the eye. Plus with icons of the same size and shape, the arrangement and organization of the spellbook itself will be much more logical, than if they were just text blocks of varying sizes.

With the change of the graphics from the nostalgic style to the efficient style, you might as well ditch the weapon graphics. KOTC2 will never win any prizes for it's graphics anyway, so you should focus on what matters.

PS: BG would have been a masterpiece even if the only weapon in the game was a club and nothing else. The combat system is not what made it good, it was enough that it was serviceable. For KOTC2, the combat system is what can make it into a masterpiece.
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Re: Poll: item and weapon icons

Postby BlueSalamander » Sat Aug 24, 2013 10:41 pm

Thanks for your thoughts Tiavals.

I think more weapons and more spells is a good thing, as long as they're useful. Having lots of weapons is not a big problem, except when they have a very special function like Reach. Same thing with spells, for example implementing Dispel will be a lot harder than implementing Fireball.

I will probably have one icon per weapon type and I'll use the background glow or colour to further differentiate between them.

Spells will definitely not have icons in KotC 2 because there are too many of them. Not a problem, ToEE did not have them for example.

Ghost Touch might be added as a weapon enchantment to bypass the 50% concealment of ghosts.
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Re: Poll: item and weapon icons

Postby Tiavals » Sun Aug 25, 2013 6:04 pm

Well, the more different the function of one thing is, the more likely it is to have it's own use. If you have two weapons or spells that are very similar, it's almost certain that one will be just worse than the other, and if something is objectively worse, it might as well not be in the game. In baseline OGL, this isn't really a problem, but in regular D&D with accessory books that supply more spells, it's instantly obvious that some are far superior to the original ones to the extent that no one would ever take the originals if given a choice in the matter, efficiency wise. I'm not worried though, since you seem to have a pretty good grasp of basic efficiency, and you've already listened to suggestions and changed the spells(well, the plan anyway, final implementation can always be quite different from what you've planned :D ) when there was a thread about it a few years ago.

So long as spells are organized logically, it's okay that they're just text. Not sure what a good way to do it is, though. TOEE didn't have nearly the same amount of spells as KOTC2 will(at least if we go by the lists you've set under the classes). I would guess it might be a problem for players unfamiliar with OGL or D&D, but who knows.
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Re: Poll: item and weapon icons

Postby Waterd103 » Sun Aug 25, 2013 6:13 pm

First, I strongly disagree with more weapons and more spells the better. If we could have 1000 spells and weapons, that would be terrible. The optimal thing is to have the max number of components that still add something significant to the game.

Second, I find it a fallacy to claim since TOEE did X, then it's fine. KOTC imo is better game than TOEE. And one of the main advantages is the UI. KOTC is more pleasant to play, and in part is because yes it has icons for spells, and doesn't have that ugly radial menu.
I think icons for spells is something nice. I do not know what the game is sacrificing to get those, but that would help to make a more accurate assesment.
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Re: Poll: item and weapon icons

Postby BlueSalamander » Sun Aug 25, 2013 7:01 pm

There won't be a radial menu, just plain lists. When I refer to ToEE I mean the way the spellbook was represented, not the radial menu. It was pretty easy to find a spell in the spellbook. Gold box games also used plain lists.
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Re: Poll: item and weapon icons

Postby Waterd103 » Sun Aug 25, 2013 7:06 pm

Yes, I know you weren't talking about specifically the radial menu. My point is that is a fallacy to claim since "X game did this, then it's ok"
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Re: Poll: item and weapon icons

Postby BlueSalamander » Mon Aug 26, 2013 11:54 am

disagree with more weapons and more spells the better. If we could have 1000 spells and weapons, that would be terrible
I guess we don't have the same opinion, I remember that one of the reasons I loved Bard's Tale 2 was the number of spells and caster classes. To me, the fact that most spells were damage spells didn't matter. Concerning the interface, I don't think it's a problem to just scroll down the list of spells. There will be a shortcut to display only those spells of a particular level and probably shortcuts for the spells you've used recently, as in KotC.

I find it a fallacy to claim since TOEE did X, then it's fine. KOTC imo is better game than TOEE.
ToEE is still a good reference IMO. But the reason for no spell icons is that it would bring very little to the game.
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