My most important consideration for making this game work.

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Orlanth
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I am just an end user, and one persons opinion doesn't count for too much, and its best if I accept this from the outset. Its all too easy for people to quickly pass on glib comments on how to make a game better, without consideration about having to work in the suggestions, and we all like our own opinions more than we understand what it would take to make those dreams workable.
That being said I have two considerations I would encourage SureAI to look at if they can.


First, and just to get this out there, for me a bigger game is a better game. I really didn't like the Elder Scrolls postage stamp sized world maps, I much prefer if a world map is larger even if and indeed when it contains the same total content. Games like Skyrim and Oblivion could do to be in at least twice the world map, and I would prefer a world map four times the size (a literal doubling of map width), even if it contained the same number of settlements dungeons quests etc.
I know I am not alone in this but I will be realistic, making worlds bigger during development means changes in pathing and more work, it might not happen, but I will make the request anyway because its on my heart to see bigger games. Frankly a lot of players don't want to see the world jam full of content, especially when you end up with dangerous monsters living a mere hundred metres away from a peaceful village. The two might not interact, but it just doesnt seem right. Even another fifty metres of stretch makes a difference as gives a stronger illusion of space.
Also in fantasy the environment is much of the game, wider forests and lakes longer rivers, all add much to the game even if quests are more spread out and more travel is required. Besides with horses and fast travel (unless SureAI didn't import that feature) even those players who find exploration 'boring' or otherwise don't have time for exploration but want to just get on with the game plot are covered, so making the world bigger only ends up for the best. I do think overall SureAI has little to lose by making the world as big as it feasibly can. It certainly doesn't help that Enderal seems to be set on an even smaller continent than Nehrim from looking at the given material, I hope it is scaled differently.


Ok that done let me get onto my second consideration, and the one I actually came here to talk about: Jump puzzles.
Now a lot of sandbox games have jump puzzles and pits to leap over, its an important part of fantasy. The ones in Oblivion would kill you if you failed the jump, and Nehrim gleefully imported that feature.
However they went overboard with it, especially with the Flower and other quests.
SureAI would be wise to note that Bethesda didn't place jump puzzles in its own main quest in any of its Elder Scroll games since Daggerfall, and the only jumps you had to make were single jumps. I don't think this type of gameplay was overlooked, I think it was intentionally omitted, perhaps fro the reasons discussed here. Nehrim however had jump puzzles more akin to a console game than a traditional RPG title, while it is good that developers expand gaming boundaries some types of content suit a different type of player, and requires a different playstyle and player skillset.
To sum up, If I wanted jump puzzles I would be playing Super Mario or Prince of Persia, not Skyrim, or Enderal.

JUMP PUZZLES RUIN THE GAME.

I say ruin because Enderal is a role playing game, not a console game, and jump puzzles require reflexes not role playing strategy. Gamers have different gaming skills, and requiring a completely different skillset to that required for the game genre, especially if the requirement is revealed late in the content is too restrictive of the player.

SureAI, please make your game inclusive, jump puzzles suit a type of gamer who is quick with the mouse and keyboard, this is not a particular requirement for an RPG. To make matters worse a lot of players choose to play RPG's in hardcore or ironman mode, that is to say, if you die you begin again. Those who play this way are a minority, but its a minority SureAI would be encouraged to support, hardcore players believe as a rule that you can only get the most from a game is there is a real feeling of risk.
Jump puzzles destroy that. To some gamers having a jump puzzle where you have to take several goes and reloads to accomplish is a worthy challenge, and I can respect that, but to a player trying a hardcore play through the inclusion of this type of content is a game breaker. You invest 40+ hours into a character, choosing fights carefully exploiting carefully and savouring the game, only to die because you must climb six moving blocks in quick succession over a lava pit in order to find an item to take to someone to unlock the next part of a quest.
There could well be a satisfaction in playing hardcore and having to get the jump puzzles right first time, or die, but frankly I think that sets the bar a bit high. I even managed it with the jump puzzles met early on in Nehrim. Then I encountered the Flower....

Taking The Flower as an example, it was so hard that even many who liked jump puzzles found it excessive, but it would be forgivable for casual play where reloads are allowed and even for hardcore play if there was an alternate path. The player could have, should have been given a choice. Go through the Flower or pay a forfeit. The forfeit could be anything SureAI can fit in, and it need not be fair. A good example would be a tough boss fight, without an item drop at the end, another would be a tough logic puzzle. Logic puzzles restrict players as much as jump puzzles do, some players cant do them, however those who cannot can always Google the answer somewhere


So, what am I after. Their removal?
No, that would not be fair, and I will have to accept some players might like them, or even think they enrich the game. Though those players are likely to be a lot younger than me and with better reflexes.
I would not place all this here without giving the developers a way out, and a compromise that will make everyone happy.

1. Please do include jump puzzles if you intend Enderal to include the features that Nehrim players have come to expect. I am sure they have their fans.

2. However please make sure that:
a) Any lethal jump or pit is detectable if you play with care, so that hardcore players can play based on their skills not memories of previous run throughs. - So far Sure AI did not have that problem with Nehrim, all pits and jump puzzles were detectable by careful play, it was the players own fault if they stumbled into one.
b) Any jump puzzle consisting of a sequence of jumps that players must resolve be short, no more than three to five jumps between some form of rest opportunity. - This might sound too easy, but many CRPG players are of old age groups and do not have the reflexes for long sequences of jumps.
c) Any jump puzzle not made from single jumps be non lethal. So for example a sequence of jumps where if you fail you fall into water and climb out at the beginning of the jump puzzle. - This allows the challenge of the puzzle to be preserved but makes the puzzle content suitable for hardcore players. The puzzle might hold you back but it wont kill your character you spend dozens of hours carefully playing to get to that point.

3. You can however have exceptions to the above, even jump puzzles as long and as difficult as the Flower in Nehrim, and they could even be in the main quest so long as:
a) There is an alternate route through the same encounter.
b) The jump puzzle exists as part of a subquest for characters specialising in acrobatics.

Acrobat Guilds. An option to help suit all playstyles.
This last point deserves more of an explanation. One way you could make everyone happy is to keep to only simple or non-lethal jump puzzles in the main quest, throughout, with alternate challenges to cover every single exception. Then place all the rest of the jump puzzles in a subline of quests accessible only by joining a Guild of Acrobat-Thieves or similar.
Imagine this, a guild of thieves not concerned with stealth skills, but pure acrobatics, perhaps using a Circus as a front. This will be separate from your normal sneaky type rogues guild. Include a headquarters and a training area filled with jump puzzles, all non lethal. characters that can complete them all get given offers of quests to loot tombs, and lost dungeons that only they dare enter. It might be best if the keys to these locations are given only by this guild. You can fill these locations with as many jump puzzles as you like, as difficult as the Flower, or even harder, with suitable rewards.
You can logically include this type of guild in your game if you already want jump puzzles. Normal thieves based on stealth skills cant loot these tombs, so one enterprising group builds a training area fills it with reconstructions of those traps they could disarm and remove with the promise of training rogues to loot those places no others would dare go. Now all they need is a heroic rogue capable enough to master the traps and brave enough to enter the lost tombs... and along comes the player character.




My experience with Nehrim.
I play my games hardcore, that is to say, if I die I restart. Nehrim was a wonderful game, worthy of this type of playthrough. I died a few times at first, restating from the very beginning each time. When I can I play this way from the very start, playing build and hardcore. I got as far as twenty hours in in one playthrough before finding a spiked pit the hard way. Restarting from that was tough, but fair, it was my fault that I didn't see the pit.
On only three occasions had I leveled a character to the point where he could make a go of the fighting with more confidence. One as mentioned died to the spiked pit in the forests. One died to an ambush . The third made it all the way, getting through all three realms of Nehrim, getting stronger and stronger, and not dying, to anything, due to careful play.
All this ended at the Flower. When I saw the trap I told myself that jump puzzles don't break hardcore. I had to because the trap was so difficult and was obviously lethal from early on. I had to resort to cheating to get through it, autosaving every single successful step, until I got to the top. All that for a character which up to that point had not died, and was played on the understanding that the first death would mean a restart.
I completed the game post Flower without dying, except in the portion of the game where you have to die as part of the mainquest. I completed Nehrim, without being killed by any monster, or falling into any single pit. But since having to cheat the Flower and accomplishment was hollow, I fell off that damn trap so many times all feeling of hardcore play was stripped from me. It didn't help that it was also buggy and each jump had to be timed precisely. The Flower ruined the experience of Nehrim for me, it was a good game, but lacked the magic of an accomplishment of a game that was completable in a hardcore playrthrough.

This is why I am posting this, SureAI please do not ruin Enderal for me and other hardcore gamers. Please make each and every jump puzzle either non lethal or avoidable.
I hope you take my input into consideration. Thank you.
Nicolas Samuel
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Hi Orlanth,

Uph, that's quite a post. Thanks for your detailed feedback - It's always interesting to see how different people experience our game.

First of all: Rest assured, there are hardly any jumping puzzles in Enderal. We know that Oblivions clunky collision-mechanics didn't exactly make the puzzles enjoyable for everyone. There are some in the mainquest, but none of them are as hard as in Nehrim.

As for your second point: We don't quite agree with you there. Most players don't enjoy large walking distances with nothing to do, even if it makes the size of the landmass more believable. Our philosophy is: Have something to explore around every corner, be it a quest, a rare ingredient, a dungeon, anything. And, as you might have already noticed, our level design is a lot more detailed than Skyrim's. Making the landmass twice as big would mean twice as much work, even if the content, as you put it, is the same. I personally think that our perception of how "big" a world is has a lot to do with good leveldesign. A forest, for example, will always appear bigger than a tundra, simply because there are more twists and turns, and things that block your sight and thus require you to go around them. As will a massive chain of mountains in the background, which are only partially accessible.

This does not mean that we wouldn't want to make the world bigger, with more cities and village. We do. But with our current team size and in the near future - with our first commercial titles, if it all goes well - we simpy can't do that. Even the size of Skyrim is massive in terms of production cost.

Hopefully that doesn't disappoint you! As I said, the jumping puzzles won't kill you again in Enderal. :)

Thanks again,

Nicolas
Petzi
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I don't agree with the larger world, mainly because I feel that it's hard enough to explore the whole map. I love exploring, but I do get bored if I don't find anything interesting for a long time. I can bare it longer if the scenery is varied and beautiful enough. What really frustrates me is finding something that seems interesting but there's actually nothing there. This seems to be deeply embedded in the Elder Scrolls design philosophy: have a large map and fill it with 100 caves, 100 abandoned fortresses and 100 ancient ruins, all of them exactly the same. Don't get me wrong, I get a kick out of exploring Dwemer cities to find pieces of lore or discover interesting details or simply enjoy some of the more beautiful rooms, not to fight and loot the same enemies again and again. This is, in my opinion, what Fallout does way better than ES. An example of this kind of frustration is Nehrim was not discovering anything in the logbooks of those floating ships.

As for jumping, I agree. Jumping challenges in this kind of game are something taken straight from a 1990's FPS. I don't mind them that much, but they need to be well thought-out: non-frustrating to fail and rewarding to complete. I really enjoy climbing mountains in Oblivion and Skyrim, and getting to places I wasn't supposed to get in particular. I'd love to reach an alternate entrance to a dungeon by cleverly spamming the Jump key along the mountain. Or using special jump/dash abilities to get to places that you're not supposed to reach early. From what I understand, this was more common in the older games, where you could increase your jump height to completely break the world.
Nicolas Samuel
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Petzi hat geschrieben:
. Don't get me wrong, I get a kick out of exploring Dwemer cities to find pieces of lore or discover interesting details or simply enjoy some of the more beautiful rooms, not to fight and loot the same enemies again and again. This is, in my opinion, what Fallout does way better than ES. An example of this kind of frustration is Nehrim was not discovering anything in the logbooks of those floating ships.
This is exactly our viewpoint on the whole thing. We can't make any promises, but we want to avoid this repetitiveness, and make every dungeon and piece of land unique with a reward hidden it it, be it a beautiful sight, a treasure, or a piece of lore. Let's see hjow it works out! :)
Hazzmat
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I'm just curious about one thing: how big is the ingame overworld at this moment? Is it as big as Nehrim more or less?
Nicolas Samuel
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Approximately as big as Skyrim. :)
Hazzmat
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to be honest I think the people saying the ingame world should know it's just a game and it shouldn't be massive. Skyrim world size is more than perfect as long as the content is there. That way the world will FEEL bigger that it actually is. Just by increasing the size the only thing you'll get is emptiness not immersion. Not that the world should be small but something like Skyrim world size is big enough you don't need more space than that. btw whats the purpose of a big world when you're going to use fast travel anyway.
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I agree that a big map with no content feels empty. What matters is content density; there has to be enough content to support the size of the map.

Consider Nehrim. I liked Nehrim's map. I felt like maybe Cahbaet and Erothin (and the Northrealm <-> Southrealm thing) were too close to each other. Erothin was basically on the border, which felt a bit strange. These things would have benefited from a bigger map, and could have been quite a lot further apart. Bigger would have been better, but the map was designed very well, and the game made the most of the space, and so overall I still felt like the map was amazing (shoutout to the devs; they made super good use of the space, the game design made the map feel much bigger than it was).

Anyway, point is: Good Design > More Content > Bigger Map. While I prefer bigger maps, a well designed, average sized map, with plenty of hand crafted content, is definitely not to be under-estimated.
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I really liked the "thieves/acrobats guild with a circus as front" idea. then you could join them to unlock new dash and jump abilities. awesome.

I like big maps, but skyrim vanilla map is big enough I think. it might be x1.5 larger with the same content but more distance between each point, but not too much more. that would be a mistake.

I agree, fallout has more interesting exploring with better rewards than skyrim. playing tes5 and exploring caves is like doing the same thing over and over, and thats not the impression you have when you explore in fallout 3. you always encounter something interesting enough to feel that you are doing something different each time.
Orlanth
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Uph, that's quite a post. Thanks for your detailed feedback - It's always interesting to see how different people experience our game.
Youi are welcome. The feedback was detailed as it was intened to be read by developers.
First of all: Rest assured, there are hardly any jumping puzzles in Enderal. We know that Oblivions clunky collision-mechanics didn't exactly make the puzzles enjoyable for everyone. There are some in the mainquest, but none of them are as hard as in Nehrim.
That is a relief. Is the game as a whole suitable to hardcore/ironman play?

Much of the attention of the thread has been on what to me was the relatively minor issue of map size. Jump puzzles are my principle concern here.
As for your second point: We don't quite agree with you there.
Fair enough, and you reasoning for the size of Enderal was sound. But.
Most players don't enjoy large walking distances with nothing to do, even if it makes the size of the landmass more believable. Our philosophy is: Have something to explore around every corner, be it a quest, a rare ingredient, a dungeon, anything. And, as you might have already noticed, our level design is a lot more detailed than Skyrim's. Making the landmass twice as big would mean twice as much work, even if the content, as you put it, is the same.
If you remember Gothic 3 by Piranha Bytes, which I suspect you may have played. having content everywhere was solid for the reasons you gave, no empty spaces, always have something to do. However the game applied that to the desert, with ruins every hundred yards or so. In my opinion they should have made that desert ten times the size, had the content around the edges or along caravan routes and includes a genuine wide open space.

If Enderal has tundra you don't have to fill it, you can fill part of it and include some wide open spaces for imply dramatic effect. If it helps have few or no quests there, if you feel a wide map would slow the game then make the expanded wilderness a non mandatory part of the adventure. Allow players to explore the wide expanse if they like, or not if they choose otherwise. If would be nice for your wilderness areas to just be there, perhaps with a well concealed undocumented dungeon or two ready to be found by those who venture out far enough. Exploration is its own joy.

I have to accept that many players will want frequent content, however a side area of mostly empty wild land, which the main quest never forces you to travel, with a few random monster spawns and a few hidden areas would not add a lot of extra work and would offer everyone what they want.

If this helps the new space game Elite:Dangerous maps the entire Milky Way, needless to say beyond the fifty or so core systems the terrain is randomly seeded. However many many players have simply gone out into the wild expanse even knowing they will find no quests, because they can.
Also if you look at videos of RPG's, a lot of people just like to go out and explore big map games. Exploration is a fun aspect all on its own, yet as you say it doesn't fit everyones taste. However if you concentrate the quests in the area intended for high traffic this isnt an issue.
Nicolas Samuel hat geschrieben:
Approximately as big as Skyrim. :)
That is some good news, as a commercial project I think Skyrim could have been bigger, but it was in all honesty acceptably sized.


Thank you ?Danke Sier? for the replies though.
But with our current team size and in the near future - with our first commercial titles, if it all goes well
Nice to hear SureAI are doing commercial projects, frankly I have wondered why you havent already. If they are anything like the quality of Nehrim, I will buy your games.
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