Kirill's Surprise, Character Stats, Sources of Inspiration, Dragon Commander footage, Fanday
In this video, Swen has a short interview with Kirill Pokrovsky, our composer. At the end, he even has a surprise for everybody! Mark the date - thursday, april 18th!
People have been asking about character customization. We will post information about equipment and skills later on. This update will focus on character stats only. Before you read on, please realize that these things tend to change a lot during the process of building the game. We tweak the formulas and the balancing constantly, and the way we programmed and organized this, allows us to make big changes. (Data driven and relative values are the keywords here.) So what follows is the current implementation.
But so yeah, stats. That’s actually a long story. Just so you know, we don’t come up with "a stat system" overnight. At first, we started out with something very, very similar to Divine Divinity. Without implementing it, we realized it wouldn’t work well in a turn-based combat game. We considered the Beyond Divinity stat system, because Beyond Divinity started out as a turn-based game (the publisher decided against that back in the day). Breaking that down, we again had to let go of that idea because it had been changed too much to reflect the real-time combat system Beyond Divinity ended up with.
So this quickly became the tale of how a programmer, a designer, a producer and a CEO set out to each make their own stat proposal. Hearing them one by one, you could feel where each of them was coming from: the mathematical background, the creative approach, the realistic/empirical method...
One of us actually wrote a four-page study about how "realistic fighting" actually works. Part of it looked like this:
When I try to hit someone:
- the more skilful I am with my weapon, the more chance I have to hit
- the more skilful I am with my weapon, the more damage I will do
- strength can determine the damage of some weapons (e.g. a crossbow does not benefit from strength, but a having a bigger draw weight has an effect on a normal bow)
- strength can determine the range of some weapons (e.g. the stronger you are, the higher the draw weight of your bow can be, which means that your arrow can go a greater distance)
- strength can determine the chance of a normal bow hitting the target because the bowman can draw longer and hold steady longer for better aim
- the better my motor skills, the more chance I have to hit and the more damage I can inflict (e.g. having a good aim is having efficient motor skills)
- if I am wearing a shield, I am often less free to do with my weapon what I want (even a simple one handed sword benefits from the freedom of not carrying a shield and having a second free hand)
And it went on like that, and we started to wonder what this guy does during the weekend... But it became clear that being too realistic would make it a very complex system. Not only to balance it, but also towards the player. And this proposal also only took into account that you were going to fight, and that’s a very limited stat system for a game where a lot more is going on than just fighting.
On the other hand, this breakdown wasn’t that bad of a read because we all agreed that a stat and combat system have to make sense, and be logical.
Sitting together and talking about all of our ideas, we learned where everyone was coming from. So, still on paper, the first stat system we came up with was called SPAM, which was an acronym for Strength, Presence, Accuracy and Mind. After trying it out (still not in game, we were actually building characters on paper, and rolling dice when fighting monsters, persuading characters, picking locks...), we noticed everyone was putting a lot of points in the Presence stat, because that stat was really carrying too much weight. And back to the drawing board we went. A couple of times.
Through trial and error, and discussion, we ended up with the following character stats, and we implemented them in such a way that it is easy to change the values, the rules and the formulas. We have already changed it often, and even added stats, simply by reading our forum (and other forums) and by playing the game.
We know there are nuts here (on Kickstarter, on internet, and at Larian Studios) that love stat discussions, so don’t hold back! (The names of these stats are programmer names, and may still change. Well, anything is open for discussion and balancing, really.)
Also take into account that skills play a big role as well. We’ll tell you more about those later. And hopefully we'll also make the 650K stretch goal, because then we'll be able to add talents and personal traits to the system, which will make it pretty cool.
The NPCs have the same stats and formulas as the player. One level makes a big difference: they have more hitpoints, do more damage, and are generally harder to hit. But it’s still doable if you know what you’re doing.
As the hero, you start the game with 5 points in every stat, and you get 5 statpoints for customizing your character. Per level-up, you currently get 1 statpoint. But 1 statpoint makes a difference.
Items that have an impact on stats, have their positive and negative effects, so there are trade-offs that help building a character. There are items that support different types of character builds. We'll talk about items in a future update.
Stats are also used for saving throws against different effects. For instance, a high dexterity lowers your chance of falling down when walking over ice, and strength gives you a saving throw against being caught in a wall of ice (you can break through).
It doesn't take a genius to see that this guy's speed stat will be low. And that his armor will absorb a lot of damage. And to wield such an axe, he must be very strong. Other than the lack of speed, what will his weak spots be?
- is a multiplier for your hitpoint bonus from constitution
- is a multiplier for your mana bonus from intelligence
- gives damage bonuses to attacks with melee weapons
- defines how much weight you can carry
- defines what items you can lift
- defines how far you can throw items, depending on their weight
- gives you a bonus to intimidation
- gives damage bonuses to attacks with ranged weapons
- gives you a higher chance of successfully picking locks and picking pockets
- affects the "ideal range" of ranged weapons
- lower chance of triggering traps, higher chance of disarming traps
- better at repairing
- determines your amount of mana
- gives bonuses to magic (depending on the spell: damage, range, width of a cone, duration, how easy or hard the saving throw is...)
- gives you a bonus to reasoning
- helps you figure out NPC stats and resistances
- helps you to identify unknown items
- gives bonuses to mind resistance
- determines your amount of hitpoints
- gives you higher resistance against poison
- gives you a bonus to charming
- determines the distance you can walk with one action point
- defines how good you are at dodging or evading attacks (defense rating)
- gives bonuses to initiative
- spend less action points when changing equipment or using items in combat
- determines how much chance you have of successfully hitting an enemy (offense rating)
- defines your sight and hearing which helps your enemy awareness (e.g. on the mini map)
- helps with discovering traps and finding treasures and secrets
This fire demon is a formidable foe. He has a very high resistance to fire. So high even, that fire damage actually heals him. He can create lava surfaces from a distance. Even though his speed stat is pretty low, he is known to sometimes fly over the battlefield. When he runs out of mana, he has to come close to drive his claws through his enemies, dealing piercing damage, or uses his tail to sweep multiple enemies in one attack, dealing crushing damage with a chance of knockdown.
Offense and defense
These are determined by your primary stat perception and speed. They can be boosted by magical equipment. When you attack someone, your offense rating is compared to your enemy’s defense rating. This determines how much chance you have of actually hitting him.
This stat is determined by your weapon or your spell, and gets a bonus from one of your primary stats. This can be boosted by well-made or magical equipment.
Critical chance and critical
These stats are determined by your weapon. They can be boosted by well-made or magical equipment.
When a hit is successful, armor absorbs part of the damage that was dealt. For instance, if you’re hit with 8 damage and you have armor 3, you only take 5 damage. If your armor rating is very high, it is possible to completely absorb all the damage that is dealt by a weak enemy. This stat is determined by your equipment and can be boosted with well-made or magical items.
This is determined by the shield you are wearing, if you are wearing a shield. When a hit is successful, the shield gives you a chance of actually fully blocking the attack. Different shields obviously have different blocking chances.
This stat is determined by your constitution stat, and can be boosted with magical items. Hitpoints do not regenerate automatically, and can only be regained by healing, eating or resting.
This stat is determined by your intelligence stat, and can be boosted with magical items. Magic spells cost mana. Mana does not automatically regenerate and can only be regained by drinking potions, eating certain types of food, or resting.
Sight and hearing
These secondary stats are determined by your perception stat. They can be boosted by special or magical equipment. They define how far you can see (we have a shroud, and fog of war system), and how well your hearing is (so you can hear and even identify an NPC without being able to see him).
This stat is determined by your speed stat, and can be boosted with special or magical items. It gives you bonuses when combat starts and initiative is rolled.
This is determined by equipment bonuses only. Persuasion gives you bonuses when trying to intimidate, charm or reason with your party members or NPCs.
This stat is determined by your speed stat, and can be boosted with special or magical items. It determines how far you can walk with one action point in turn-based combat.
This stat can only be boosted with magical items. It’s the X factor of the game...
Determined by your constitution stat. Poison resistance will absorb the damage poison would do every turn.
Fire, Water, Earth and Air
Determined by magical items you are wearing. These absorb elemental damage.
Determined by your intelligence stat, and magical items you are wearing. This helps against mind attacks (for instance fear).
Determined by the equipment you are wearing. These resistances absorb damage from physical attacks.
Which games influenced Divinity:Original Sin?
Our Russian friends at Gamebox.ru suggested that we post this video in one of our updates, because it clearly shows where we're getting some of our inspiration from. They asked Swen to give a rundown of his five most favourite games ever. There’s a couple of surprises in there. What's also surprising is how awake he looks in the video!
Dragon Commander livestream!
Today we did our first twitch.tv livestream ever together with the good folk at GOG.com and while we initially had some issues (you should skip the first 10 mins or so), it was a pretty cool experience because we could interact directly with the audience. If you pledged for the 65$ tier, you might want to check this out. If you didn't and are just thinking about it, definitely check it out, because Dragon Commander is the type of game that will take everybody by surprise.
Before you bombard us with messages, yes, we're going to be adding a Dragon Commander add-on option here. We wanted to do it today even but that didn't happen. Most likely it'll be the case tomorrow.
Fan day dated
In yesterday's update, we announced a new add-on which allows you to get a fan day ticket. We neglected to mention the date though ;) So the Fan day will be on August 9th 2013 in Gent, Belgium, and start at 10:00 am in the morning, lasting the entire day and evening for those who want.
If anybody wants to contribute to the stats, talents or personal traits discussion - go to our forums and drop us a message there. You are free to drop a note in the Kickstarter comments section, but there's a lot of traffic there and your suggestions might be lost.
You are btw only 300 likes away from having an extra Bellegar encounter in the game. See our previous update for more details, but for every 1000 likes above 1061 likes, we will add an extra Bellegar encounter to the game. We'll start preparing some rhymes ;)