Joined: 03 Apr 2003
Location: Leiden, the Netherlands
|Posted: Sun Jul 30, 2006 23:45 Post subject: AoD setting interview
|Age of Decadence is a turn-based, isometric, post-apocalyptic independent cRPG. This is partially a follow-up interview, read the "first part" here.
Bradylama: So far we've seen a lot of Roman and Eastern influences that have factored into the game. The weapons concept art you posted awhile back for instance, features predominantly Eastern blades.
What I was wondering was whether or not "Barbaric" culture has made it's way into the game. Are there Great Halls, for instance? Great swords, woad, stuff like that?
Vince: Nope. No barbaric cultures. When I designed the game, I left the barbarians and the *other* kingdom out to be able to make a sequel later if I have to. There are references to barbarian tribes and their legends of the war, but that's about it.
Bradylama: Your antagonistic kingdom Q'antaar sounds near-easterny. Is it the remnants of that kingdom that manifests itself as the eastern influences in-game?
Vince: No. They are from the west. Aztec-ish.
Bradylama: Were they a barbaric society?
Vince: In some ways. They are not what one would call barbarians, however.
Bradylama: Am I asking too many questions?
Vince: No, ask away. Discussing various elements often leads to their improvements.
Bradylama: How many ethnic identities permeate throughout the game, and do predominantly Roman cultures remember themselves as being Imperials while predominantly Eastern cultures remember themselves as being Vassal peoples?
Vince: There isn't much left for any cultural rifts to develop.
Bradylama: I'm assuming since European "barbarians" are out of the picture that the gameworld is based more on the Eastern Roman Empire. Is this true?
Vince: Yep. Keep in mind that the game isn't based on, but only inspired by the Romans.
Bradylama: Also, what kind of religious organizations make appearances in-game.
Vince: None, unless you help Meru (see the NMA screens).
Bradylama: Is there a christianity-like sect that is gaining in popularity?
Bradylama: Knowing that there's other-worldly beings are there cults dedicated to the worship of certain Gods or Demons?
Vince: They were not worshipped during the war, and after the war things quickly changed. It's explained in the game. Yes and no.
Bradylama: What about the more metaphysical far-eastern relgions?
Vince: Nope. Religions didn't fit the setting and the story (other than the one that you can help build).
Bradylama: What other cultures do you think have had an impact on the Gameworld?
Vince: Roman, Persian, Egyptian.
Bradylama: Is it possible for the player character to develop an entourage?
Bradylama: You mentioned that there's a religion you can help build up. What about social movements, ala the orc labour union in Arcanum? Do real-world political philosophies factor in any to the social dichotomy?
Vince: No social movements. The society is in a too primitive state for such concepts.
Bradylama: Will the player character be able to establish a town, or help build up a town from a group of shacks? Would this be how House Darat develops assuming the player character furthers their ends?
Bradylama: As an aside, with all the talk of combat avoidance, will the end-game temple force the player character to engage in combat in order to beat the game?
Vince: Absolutely not. Out of the 7 endings, only one requires you to fight.
Bradylama: Alright, social and ethnic diversities are a non-issue, but how about class? Is there a palpable rift between the rich and poor? Or is everybody practically in the same sinking boat, so much that power gains more importance than wealth?
Vince: Yes, there is a rift. The rich are the ones with power, otherwise they won't stay rich for long.
Bradylama: Would it be possible for the player character to act as a Robin Hood type working outside of the 40 Thieves?
Vince: No. That angle doesn't fit very well.
Bradylama: And what about those endings? Will the endgame feature individual endings for factions and communities like Fallout and Arcanum, or will the main seven endings be pretty much it?
Vince: Yes. The endings are very detailed and include overviews for towns, factions and their goals, and some key NPCs that you helped or fucked.
Bradylama: Also bringing culture back into focus. How much does community culture factor into the game? If, for instance, I wore the traditional garb of a man from Town A, would that factor into convincing people in Town B that I'm from Town A via the Disguise skill?
Vince: Yes, it would. There are several hidden "clothing" stats: faction, dress_value, dress_type.
Bradylama: Another question, this time about Lore. Is there a type of artifact trade, and if so, would you say it's directly inspired by the Religious Relic industry of the Dark Ages?
Vince: No. The main reason is it didn't occur to me at all (I blame the education system and dumb video games), so I did something else. The rich surround themselves with objects of power and prestige (that vacuum tube was worn on a chain as a pendant, for example). That creates the demand, and peasants and explorers look for anything old, bring all that junk to loremasters, etc.
Bradylama: Well, if you really think about it, anybody that didn't have some form of protection from the local system would be able to keep an artifact of value without those in power coming along to seize it for the sake of "safekeeping."
Vince: Once the word gets out - absolutely. There are a few "artifacts liberating" quests.
Bradylama: The way you've gone about doing it probably will work out for the best.
This next question may seem a bit silly, but bear with me. The original Fallout had some sexual themes, but it didn't beat your head over them like Fallout 2, and sex wasn't really a tool to further the player character's ends.
Will sex factor any into the player character's choices? Will it be possible to seduce a gullible lad or lady into doing your bidding? If so, could the player character be a nasty whore, or have you gone a more tasteful route?
Vince: Sex as in sexual act? No.
Bradylama: Alternatively, does sex really factor much at all beyond gender differences?
Vince: You can play a seductive female assassin armed with a poison kiss; there are a few gender specific quests; sometimes a woman would have a harder/sometimes easier time. Male characters get a bonus to intimidating, female characters get a bonus to persuasion (we assume that you are pretty and NPCs might pay less attention to what you are saying and as long as it sorta makes sense...). The bonus isn't visible. You won't get a better line because you are a girl, but your "lower level" response might suddenly work.
The Merchants and the Guards favor men, the Thieves and the Assassins are woman-friendly "societies". I think that's it.
Bradylama: What styles of architecture are featured throughout the game?
Vince: From Roman (Triumphal Arch) to Sumerian (Bel Marduk's ziggurat).
Bradylama: You've mentioned before that the only creatures the player character encounters are intelligent and capable of speech. Does this mean, then, that there aren't any flavor animals like livestock or deer that could be fooled around with or killed for meat or ingredients?
Vince: Nope. Didn't want to waste animations on something meaningless.
Bradylama: Clothing is obviously diversified, but what about armor? Can we expect to see armor designs that aren't in the segmented plate-veign of Rome?
Vince: Yes. We have 8 armor sets. Only 4 sets are of Roman designs.
Bradylama: A pic posted before features four different types of swords, mostly Eastern. You've mentioned before that weapon types are highly diverse with different gameplay styles. Would you mind giving an example of the difference between using a Gladius and a two-handed sword?
Vince: Gladius is a fast sword - 4AP, 2H sword is slow - 6AP. Fast/slow concepts work very well in an AP-based system. Avg APs - 8-9 (Max 12, but that would require some serious sacrifices elsewhere). So, a heavy sword is usually a one-hit sword. Granted, with this sword it won't take more than 3-4 hits to kill most enemies, but hitting a fast opponent with a big-ass sword is not an easy task. High damage makes it an excellent choice against heavily armored opponents though. Now, gladius is a more versatile weapon. You can easily use a variety of fast (-1AP, less damage, to hit bonus) and power (+1AP, more damage, to hit penalty) attacks, attacking 2-3 times per turn. Works well against hard to hit, lightly armored opponents. What else? Gladius could be thrown. The two-hander has a longer reach and is a great "crowd control" weapon (whirlwind attack). Of course, you can't use it with shields, so that leaves you more vulnerable, especially against ranged attacks. Gladius is easier to use and it's a good blocking weapon. Two handed sword comes with a to hit penalty (it takes more skill to wield it efficiently) and it aint good at blocking. However, a 2H power attack can split a shield in half.
Bradylama: What about dialects? Do all NPCs have the same manner of speach, or are there noticeable differences from town to town? Different euphemisms, different insults perhaps? If there are certain words that are considered insults in certain towns, would a player character with a low Etiquette skill be more inclined to use them?
Vince: No. There are no such words. Dialects are the same. I'm afraid I lack the creative writing skills to pull it off in a believable manner. There are NPCs who speak foreign languages though. Only characters with decent Lore can understand the language and communicate.
Bradylama: How involved do you plan for the manual to be? Something as in-depth as say, Arcanum's or Ultima VII's may be beyond the scope of your means, but can we expect something more than a keymap and an overview of basic mechanics in your PDF?
Vince: You can expect something very in-depth. I love manuals and have a nice collections of them. Combined, these manuals contain pretty much all the wisdom in the universe and offer solutions to almost any problem. Naturally, I'd like to contribute.
Bradylama: It will be a PDF, right? I recall you mentioning that this would be digitally distributed before you consider retail.
Vince: Yep. PDF.
Bradylama: Stardock's Galciv 2 featured some in-depth video tutorials. Have you considered this a possibility?
Vince: For some reasons, unknown even to me, I hate tutorials.
Bradylama: About distribution, what mechanic will you use to get AoD out?
Vince: Every [digital] mechanic possible.
Bradylama: Would you sign on to Steam or Stardock Central? Have you planned this far ahead for that yet?
Vince: I would and I have.
Bradylama: Is there a legally binding reason you can't go into further depth on that? (about distribution)
Vince: No, nothing is legally binding. There was some interest from digital distribution companies, but it's pointless to discuss anything until the game is finished. When it's done, the level of sales and interest will determine the rest.
Bradylama: What about other post-production goodies? Will things like concept art and team commentaries be a part of the package? Would they be an unlockable part of Irontowerstudio.com for players that beat the game?
Vince: No. Concept art will be in the manuial. Team commentaries are a waste of everyone's time.
Bradylama: One last question. Will there be togas?
Vince: You betcha.