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Elovia

The Bard's Tale

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Posted (edited)

Anyone here remember playing the original Bard's Tale trilogy?  I do and it came out before some of you were even born (provided you were born after 1985).  Punks!   Well, apparently the original series is getting remastered.  I'll be keeping my eye out for it over at GoG (Steam will have it available, too).

I suspect this is being remastered and released to go along with the upcoming release of The Bard's Tale IV: Barrows Deep.  I've been keeping an eye out for this one, too.

And to be sure, as confusing as all this is ... these are not the same as Bard's Tale, The that has been out for a number of years (since 2004).  I rather enjoyed this one because I do favor snark.

/discuss

Edited by Elovia

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Thanks! Heard of this but was before my time I guess (being 4 to 5 in 1985). As much as I am not a graphics whore, I do have some limits so glad to see they are remastering it so I can give it a real go.

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Posted (edited)

Yeah ... last weekend I installed the original Might and Magic through the magic of DOSBox to see how it has aged. Not good. I backed away after about a half hour because the graphics and gameplay were much too rough. I remember playing it for hundreds of hours back in the day on a monochrome screen CRT... from 5.25" floppy disks.

I guess I do have standards after all and have been spoiled a bit by the modern-day state of gaming.

On the other hand, I installed Might and Magic 2 and found it to be much more tolerable.  I played it for a few hours, and will return again soon. :D 

Edited by Elovia
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16 minutes ago, Elovia said:

 

I guess I do have standards after all and...

Steady on there fella!

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2 hours ago, Pasanda said:

Steady on there fella!

It's a rough pill to swallow for me.  I've been playing video games since their inception. I got into computers back before PC's were known as such; back then as far as assembling electronic circuit boards using resistors and capacitors, etc., bought at the brand new Radio Shack in town. I remember my first real personal computer (I had access to mainframes at the local university - but this was way different) was an Elf kit - no storage capability and programs were entered via hundreds of lines of hex key codes (note: don't mistype a line or you'd have to start over). The first program my friends and I used was a dice throw game (we'd call it an "app" nowdays) to augment our pen and paper games (e.g., dungeons and dragons).

Since the humble beginnings, I've always found merit and entertainment in almost all computer games. Simple games such as Might & Magic (not so simple back then) were worth hundreds of hours of entertainment for me and my friends as we hunkered around the one computer, each of us rolling and claiming (making game play decisions for) one of the party characters. One person would enter commands as called out by the others. One or two people were responsible for hand mapping the dungeons. Those running spell-casting characters had copies of the manual so they could reference their spells. And we'd play into the wee hours of early morning light fuelled by our imaginations and not a little soda. These new video games easily replaced our pen and paper gaming sessions and removed the tedium of being DM (the game assumed that role) while we slipped into our characters and revelled in roleplay and the underlying story.

Going back in reality doesn't match nostalgia in this case. I may not have been in the right frame of mind to appreciate the experience again.  But my fond memories playing way back then still override my more modern disappointment. I will likely try again because I still can. Who knows ... maybe I'll create new fond memories. I'm only limited by my imagination ... and I may need to dust it off a bit since modern games allow one to get lazy.

/soapbox off

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Posted (edited)

Adults lose the ability to fill in missing information with imagination.  Neither do we have the time or inclination to do so.  Life makes us realists.  Experience wakes us up and allows us to see what was not visible before.  You can never go back and recreate what was only perceived to begin with as we can not see as we once did.  Innocence does not re-spawn.  You can not relive the beginning, you only have control over the ending.

I have found that nostalgia is best experienced as a short moment of reflection and fond memories.  Reach any further than that or try and re-create the moment and you destroy it.  Also that trying to provide the same experience for our kids is just as often a failure.  They see the world differently than we did.  Make new moments, don't try and live your glory days through them.

Not saying you are, just a short philosophical rant.  Sorry to waste some the few precious moments you have left on this earth. :P

Edited by Jag
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Posted (edited)

51 minutes ago, Jag said:

Sorry to waste some the few precious moments you have left on this earth. :P

Okay ... Now I'm concerned.  What do you know about how much time I have left? 

:lol:

Edited by Elovia
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Posted (edited)

The game is being sold as a trilogy.  The first Bard's Tale game of the trilogy is being released now, with the promise that the second will come in the fall of 2018, and the third will come near the end of the year (also 2018).  The second and third will be free additions to the first.

So ... does purchasing it now mean you are pre-ordering for later?  And if you had a "no pre-orders" policy, would that make you a hypocrite?

... asking for a friend.

*nerdgasm*

Edited by Elovia
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6 hours ago, Elovia said:

The game is being sold as a trilogy.  The first Bard's Tale game of the trilogy is being released now, with the promise that the second will come in the fall of 2018, and the third will come near the end of the year (also 2018).  The second and third will be free additions to the first.

So ... does purchasing it now mean you are pre-ordering for later?  And if you had a "no pre-orders" policy, would that make you a hypocrite?

... asking for a friend.

*nerdgasm*

You will have to look deep within your own soul and answer that question for yourself. Then tell me what you think and whether worth a buy. :P

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Posted (edited)

Good news: the game is relatively inexpensive compared to other recent releases of remastered old games. They have no illusions that this is a $60 AAA title.

I bought it last night and quickly downloaded the install package from GoG. The download was small (~200+meg) and the install quick and painless. I don't remember whether the original game came on single side floppy discs or other type (double side or high density, etc.), but I find it remarkable in the file size growth over these past years.

Game play was much as I remembered it ... consider I barely remember what I ate for breakfast so take that for what it's worth.

You can start out either playing a pre-configured party of characters, or you can roll your own. The game does not feed you much information about the relative pros and cons for the choices you're about to make when creating characters. First choice: gender (male or female). Second choice: race (human, elf, dwarf, hobbit, half-elf, half-orc, gnome ... IIRC). Third choice: class (the list of available classes is restricted by your first two choices).

You can have up to seven characters+summons+mercenaries in your party. General strategy is to have a party of six characters and leave a slot open for one of your magic users to fill with disposable summons or to fill with wandering NPCs you meet in your adventures.

Rolling characters can be as tedious as pushing the same button hundreds of times until you get a reasonable mix of randomly rolled stats for the class you're creating. This may drive min/maxers nuts.

Once you have your party in order ... which reminds me ... the modern interface is incredibly much better than the legacy game interface. You can now perform commands and actions using your mouse and/or keyboard. For example, you can reorganize your party order by drag-and-dropping characters in the party roster. This is a nice touch.

You can create as many different characters as you want and can save combinations of them in individual party roster configurations.

The modern graphics capture the spirit of the old game while breathing new life in them. The new automapping is also greatly appreciated.

I spent a couple hours playing last night and reluctantly put it away so I could get in sleep before work today. In that time, I explored probably 15-20% of the town, saw enough combat to raise all seven of my characters to second rank, and to end with my hunter being dead (it's a temporary condition - at least until I decide not to pay for his ressurection at the temple).  All my characters are kitted out with basic gear (you start with none).

Is it fun? Yes, to us old farts who played the original. Younger players may get wound up over the arguably less refined gameplay and interface compared to modern games. So far from as much as I've seen of it, I think the level of modernization is appropriate and enjoyable.

Younger players also may be frustrated that there is no manual providing guidance along the way. As you adventure out in the world, you will find scraps of an old adventure guide with clues and helpful suggestions. Discovery is built into the mechanics ... so just try and see. (note: some things in the interface have very helpful roll-over descriptions and tooltips, but unfortunately not all).

Is it worth $15? I think so, considering you (eventually) get all three original titles representing many hundreds of hours of gameplay.

Edited by Elovia
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Game manualz?  Wee don't neeed no stinkeeng game manualz!

Oh wait, maybe we do.

Here's a link to the original Apple II manual (thanks to Google who knows all).

Now some of your character creation decisions can be made more knowledgeably.  Use this newfound knowledge for good, not evil.  *bahdum-tish*  I'll just show myself out ...

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Posted (edited)

Some of the information in the manual is obsolete and no longer correct with the remastered version.  For example, the first four characters in your party may melee attack, whereas the manual says that is only three.  The manual also claims only the first two rows of creatures can melee attack.  I've found that not to be true, and have encountered as many as three rows of creatures able to attack.  I'm still exploring the wine cellar and sewers, so haven't been pitted against more than three enemy rows at a time (yet).

Pro tip to save money:  have your bard play the healing song during a fight, and then kill all enemies except for the last weak creature; then keep fighting but have everyone defend.  All characters with damage to their hits will gain health each round, more than offsetting the occasional lucky hit by the enemy.  Don't waste spell points healing unless your characters are marginally low on health.  Yeah, this make take a while, but it'll save tons of gold that could better go towards buying the next level of spells.

Party update:  I've mapped almost the entire city of Skara Brae. except for those areas walled off by gates and guardian statues.  My characters are mostly level 4 (nearing level 5), with exception to a couple new ones I started late and have since began running them in the party.  My current roster includes the following classes (one each in the order listed): Warrior, Paladin, Bard, Monk, Rogue, Conjurer, Magician.  I also have a Hunter waiting in the Adventurer's Guild.  I may swap out the Warrior and bring in the Hunter later once the Monk gets up to speed (more on that in a bit).  My Rogue does decent ranged damage whereas the first four all are front line melee fighters.  The Monk was a late addition, but I expect it will catch up and become a decent front line asset (multiple strikes, low AC without the need for expensive armor). I want to further develop my Hunter because the higher level they are, the better chance for them to crit and one-shot kill.

Still fun.  :)

 

Edited by Elovia

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1.07 Patch notes.  Lots of really good stuff in there.  Some fixes that I didn't even know were broken.  I'll probably have to go back and re-roll my rogue 'cause she's dumb as a post and won't be able to ID anything.  But she sure is dexterous (= fast). :)

Spoiler

Hi all,

Version 1.07 of The Bard's Tale Trilogy is now ready to release with lots more QoL improvements and bug fixes. Thanks for everyone's input!

-----
CRASHES / SOFT LOCKS
* Fix catacombs bugs - exiting catacombs without a saved location would end up INSIDE the temple. That can lead to a situation where the saved location becomes 0,0 and the next exit will go to that location.

Audio
* Updated sounds for undead and Mangar.
* Fix for mis-linked Traveller's tune on some instruments playing Waylands.
* Added per-trap sound effects.
* Trimmed start of several attack, enemy and spell sounds so that they are a little more snappy

Achievements
* Fixed the A Song of Fire achievement.
* Fixed Pile of Gold achievement (was set to 1,000,000 instead of 100,000).
* Fixed A Mage's Tale achievement (was accidentally checking archmage spell levels as well; which obviously don't come in to play until BT2).

Gameplay
* Fix party monsters now cast ally buffs on the party instead of the enemies.
* Fix balance issue in spell saves (intelligence and luck are applied a little less).
* Stop Ybarra mystical armour and shield from stacking together because it makes the entire team nearly untouchable in combat.
* Fix bug where you could use arrows without a bow.
* Fix hit ratio for arrows - now relies heavily on dexterity to hit or dodge ranged attacks.
* Add combat option to equip/unequip an item to make ranged combat more accessible.
* Fix Dragon Wand not working correctly (now does a 20-80 damage group attack).
* Fix ConjurStaff not halving spell cost.
* Bows can now be equipped alongside melee weapons.
* Fixed entering guild was refreshing the UI stats.
* Quick Fix healing can now target specials.
* Sped up healing in the temples. Allow aborting both parts of the heal. Cut off the chant if you start a new chant.
* Fixed some journal screen spells always using the 1st magic caster's spell points.
* Spinners work more like the original. Guarantee to spin you (random can't == 0), spin on turn as well as Move
* Implement the thief dagger and Luck Shield hide in shadows bonuses
* Added Heal Entire Party option to the Temple.
* Added Recharge Entire Party option to Roscoes.
* Summoned monsters/NPCs no longer soak up combat XP
* Stop onyx keys from dropping in mangars tower
* Reworked the calculation for starting distances of random monsters
* Fixed monster spells that didn't have a range set
* Fixed problem with script reward items - were getting set to 255 instead of the -1 (which causes random 1..default). Fixes "unlimited" charge items being rather limited.
* Archery now uses the hunter crit.
* Heal Harp now lets you specify who gets healed
* Dragonshield now usable in combat
* Added aggro to target dummy so it always gets attacked first
* Remove map rotation disorientation at night in the city. Maps only get disoriented in dungeons.
* Increase identify trap chance of rogues
* Rogue identify skill now works of intellect rather than dexterity
* Weapon toHit bonus now correctly adds bonus to damage also
* Monster spells should never show up, no matter what level you are at...
* Enabled mithril arrows.
* Ring of Power no longer attacks own time (was broken post 1.0 release)
* Mage staff now regens magic each combat round
* WizWand, Death Dagger and Stoneblade now drop in game.
* Trapzap chests now half-cost with conjurstaff
* Enemy party-stuns are ignored if you advance
* SOSI no longer reports Darkness as something special
* Chests now drop from fixed encounters (ones marked on the journal) at 100% rate.
* Random encounters do not drop chests (just unprotected treasure)
* Monster portrait tints (like dragons) now work in your party status screen
* Fix the skara brae tower gates so you can exit without a key
* Madgod event allows you to get to kylearans after you've killed him
* Reworked monster AI so it selects attacks based on range
* Reworked random starting ranges for monsters - won't get so many small groups at range now
* Fix autorepeat on spacebar during combat (was broken post 1.0 release)
* Blur fire tooltip now tells you it detects doors
* Paladins now get their extra attacks several levels later than Warriors (as the manuals elude to - and because he overpowers warriors with his saving rolls)
* Fix Falkentyne's Fury bonus damage was getting applied even if you missed because of out of range

Journal
* Now records teleports onto the journal and the minimap.
* Walls are only discovered in darkness if you run into them
* Fix apport arcane bug where the wrong mage spellpoints was being used

Controls
* add combat delay to stop accidentally spamming through the combat fight/run/advance. Also gives a moment to see what you have left to fight.
* Added invert mouse option (inverts both axis) in the settings (Gameplay tab).
* Added option in the settings to disable pause on backgrounding the game (Gameplay tab).
* Disabled the controller joystick assignment, that shouldn't have been there at all.
* Added mouse friendly combat mode - the combat options don't move but just disable/enable instead. There is an option for this in the Gameplay tab of settings.
* Added ESDF movement support, with an option to enable this in the Gameplay tab of settings.
* Added autorepeat support on pressing forward - holding forward (W or E) down won't enter doors. Tapping forward or using the cursors for movement will still enter doors.
* Add automove latch system so we don't start moving instantly on exitting houses.
* Invert mouse now only inverts up/down
* Remove keypress delay between from mid-combat rounds.
* Fix automove on cursors (arrows) to work like AWSD automove
* Keyboard autorepeat now only kicks in when in a scrolling list or entering a name
* Keyboard autorepeat is now a shorter initial delay, since its not used for movement.
* Add New Party Order (N) key
* Allow KeypadEnter to work like Return key.

Graphics
* Added "large view mode" for 16:10 and wider aspect ratios. It was already available for 21:9 mode. This can be found in the Gameplay tab of the settings.
* Fix pixel artifact in 3d view frame.
* Added gamma brightness setting to the Graphics tab of settings, for those people who need to make things brighter.
* Fix night and day issue with shadows appearing on buildings from sun below ground.
* Fix spell icon positioning in large-view modes
* Change to 2 letter classes in large-view modes
* Fix some day/night shadow artifacts during day->night transition

UI
* Revelation light now appears as blue flame (instead of via the Eye icon)
* Spell ranges now appear in tooltips
* Add support for proper-noun enemies, like Mangar, so it won't say "A mangar, or The Manger, or 1 Mangar." it will just say "Mangar".
* Add support for "An / A" determination for monsters that start with vowels.
* Fix alpha fading on minimap mesh.
* Fix some text errors in spells for Word of Healing and Levitation.
* Fixed the Bard's Tale (ES) issue on Spanish language PCs.
* Fixed the scroll back button, in spell casting.
* Fixed the "can't cast" message to be more informative.
* Audio volumes now save on using ESC to exit the dialog.
* Added disorentation icon, to let you know that you don't know your direction (for when the minimap starts to not be North = up; in dungeons)
* Right click on message scroll now acts as a BACK BUTTON.
* Item comparison tooltip now includes unarmed combat - useful for Monks
* Show message when characters jump out of the way of traps.
* Item tooltip now shows arrow damage also
* Added some tool tips for races, in character creation
* Added some tool tips for class, in chracter creation

Misc
* Fix typo (Throught) in Longinous text
* Fixed some typos in spell descriptions for ARFI, AIAR, and SHSP
* Fixed missing period at the end of roscoe's energization message
* Fixed target dummy spell description (removed mention of Special Slot since it doesn't exist in remaster)
* Fix gender issues in "missed" message.
* Made some spell descriptions gender neutral since we don't know if the caster is a male or female.

 

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