Wizardry 8 License to Thrill

There are two happenings about this incredible game (so far) today, that deserve mention. One is RPGVault's 3rd Wizardry 8 Design Log from 2D interface cut & paster, Alex Parlour. Since it's fairly short I'll give a proportionate slice here:

All of this depth and variety made developing the 2D interface very challenging. We needed ways to display all of this information while at the same time not overwhelm players. We had to make all of the characters' actions available and lay out the controls in such a way that commands could be entered quickly, especially for those who want to play in Continuous Combat. We also wanted an interface that was intuitive so that players could jump in without reading much of the manual.

Secondly, all I have to say is "those wacky Canadians and their pride." Reminds me of how the USA was when it broke from England... oh wait, I wasn't there to remember that. You'll know what I'm talking about when you begin reading a very informative Q & A with Lead QA Tester, Terry Brose, with BetaBites. There are 3 new screenshots scattered within and they all show the characters at low maximum hitpoints so I'm going to assume they are beginning-type areas. Anyway, here's some leakage:

BetaBites: Another really nice feature with Wizardry 8 is the nonlinear gameplay. We are talking a massive amount coding information in this game. I would think bugs would be never-ending in a nonlinear game. What problems do you face with gameplay and/or AI?

Terry: The nonlinear nature of the game is perhaps our greatest source of consternation in testing the game. There are so many permutations that it is almost impossible to cover them all. The team has done its best in covering as many of these as we could think of, and we've thought of lots of weird stuff.

Some of the quests in the game actually encompass traversing several areas to complete. However, you may encounter other NPC or RPC characters, and decide to undertake their quests while on your journey to complete the first. Some of these may be of a conflicting nature, and since we do not control where you go when in the game, we have no way to predict in what order you may encounter or choose to undertake these.

The AI problems we encountered during development were more of a result of the implementation of the 3D world, and of our high standards in what we wanted the creatures to do. If we were content to just let them stand around until you came into view, it would have been easy. ; ) But our goals went further. Creatures actually live and breathe in the world, and getting them to react accordingly in all the possible situations was a difficult task.

And then, too, is finding and recognizing the glitches that could be exploited to make for unfair battles. For instance, at one point in the development, you could lead creatures to certain types of terrain where they would stand there stupidly and allow themselves to be slaughtered. We had to determine what situations would set up this "turkey shoot" and make sure the creatures were smart enough to do something about it. We had to give them enough brains to let them react to certain conditions you could inflict on them. We are happy to report that creatures can and will retreat, flee, use appropriate type attacks, split up to surround you if possible, and, upon occasion, may even call others to their aid. ;)

The whole interview is very enriching like that.