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*sigh* If only I was good at english (which isn't my native language)... I could create tales for the game.

 

One more idea ! (sorry to bother you :) ) events that would let you retry them if you succeed some skill check of cartography for instance. There was a user created event (where youa re totally lost) and I was thinking toi myself "Why can't I try to find that place if I have a high enough confidence ?" Some events call for a follow up.

 

One more (really sorry) ! Why can't we chose a schedule for our familiar while we are in class ? "Do this/that while I study" And your familiar would obey based on your familiar kinship. They could be used to help relationship, or prepare an adventure (that would let you get a chance to "sacrifice" a clue)

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Vieux Chat;

 

I don't think we'll make any changes to Event system which would allow retries (apart from Investigations, which do allow retries), but if you have specific Events in mind that you believe could use another kind of Exit, we'll certainly review it.

 

Your Familiars are too independent, lazy or otherwise untrained to allow you to create a schedule for them, but...several Academagians have requested the feature, so we are going to expand on what they are doing during the Day in Year 2. :)

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Instead of a real retry, if you fail at some events, you could get some new "adventure" that would let you try after being defeated. And if you succeed/fail you can have access to two new adventure (depending on what you've done)

 

For instance : the lost event. You fail. You now have the adventure "Find the lost room" available. You try it. If you succeed you gain access to the "behind the lost room", else you earn access to "Enemies unleashed from the lost gate".

 

And why not events that would change the whole schedule of a day ? For instance an attack of goblins and the whole academagia is on war, everyone try to help repel those nasty beasts.

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By the way, i see files Academagia.UI.dll and GameLogic.dll in the game folder. That suggests me that you have UI and game logic in separate files. Why don't let us mod it? Civilization 4 developers allowed to mod both game logic (famous CvGameCoreDLL.dll) and UI, and it gave us many good mods. Game logic of many FPS games may be modded too. It's not like we'll steal something, because i'm sure you spent the most of the time adding content, not creating the game logic, and without copyrighthed content game logic is useless anyway. And your UI, to tell the truth, is not worth stealing no matter how you look at it :) (besides the fact that standalone it's even more useless than game logic). So, if you'll open Academagia.UI.dll and GameLogic.dll for modding, mods will still require your game to run.

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Ellestar;

 

Interestingly, we are looking at breaking the UI, but I'm not sure we'll make any changes here- it would require a clean version break for patches.

 

That said, there is some UI customization you can do in the Mod Tools (for the Colleges).

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Well, just finished my 2nd game, and really enjoyed it, though there's several things that would be nice if they were changed.

 

1) All adventures in the late stage turned into me just casting Revision of skills on a skill that I could boost quickly (move silently or any negation skill) then boosting it up to 20. Even skills I had a natural 17 in were a red / black (only some negation skills because of the Vuviallame reward). I mean, if you're max capped in a skill, it comes as a shock to suddenly see all these purples pop up. I see that alot of people have been talking about this so I wont go on any further, but I would have teared my hair out chain casting easy spells with the pheme of the appropriate skill 5 times in a row without revision of skills.

 

2) I really wanted to punch all of the portraits in the face, because even though they're 13 years old they all seemed so smug. The 2 full games Ive played were Godina because that had the only (IMO) good male portrait in the game. Would it be possible to just have a single pool of portraits instead of 2 for each gender and house?

 

3) More magical solutions to problems? I know this would put even further emphasis on magic, but it is a school about a magical academy. I mean yeah using spells to boost the skill you need is a magical solution but something more along the lines of just blasting someone with an incantation spell instead of using the bully skill would be even better.

 

4) The writing in this game was incredibly solid and top notch, and it blows many current commercial rpgs out of the water. Given how well the game is written however, there were alot of opportunities to further the RPG portion of the game. Many of the choices in the game revolve around which skills to use in solving a given problem; there are only a few times when you are actually given a moral choice (Right now off the top of my head I remember the abandoned wand bit where you can either pocket it or return it to the girl and the event where you can choose whether or not to hand in the guy pocketing fruit.) Even then, these things were tied to skills, although it was really nice that I got an appropriate boost to ethics or dedication for choosing some options.

 

If you were instead to make these kind of decisions pop out even more and to go even even further, instead of being the binary good and evil style, but more nuanced choices, you would have a first rate RPG on your hands, and with completely different outcomes. Like forcing the well to give you some skillups too in Katja's adventure.

 

5) This is related to 4. It always felt weird studying ethics, dedication, character, ethics, temperance, or any skill of that sort in the library. If instead these could be increased by your actions, these skills could serve as a barometer of sorts for the kind of character your student is developing into.

 

Forgive me if I seem presumptuous in my suggestions, I'll probably get year 2 regardless of what happens because this game was a blast to play.

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Anou;

 

1) All adventures in the late stage turned into me just casting Revision of skills on a skill that I could boost quickly (move silently or any negation skill) then boosting it up to 20. Even skills I had a natural 17 in were a red / black (only some negation skills because of the Vuviallame reward). I mean, if you're max capped in a skill, it comes as a shock to suddenly see all these purples pop up. I see that alot of people have been talking about this so I wont go on any further, but I would have teared my hair out chain casting easy spells with the pheme of the appropriate skill 5 times in a row without revision of skills.

 

This is a good point, but it's also based on choices that you've made. There are harder and easier ways to do things in Year 1...but there will also be harder and easier ways to do things in Year 2. :)

 

2) I really wanted to punch all of the portraits in the face, because even though they're 13 years old they all seemed so smug. The 2 full games Ive played were Godina because that had the only (IMO) good male portrait in the game. Would it be possible to just have a single pool of portraits instead of 2 for each gender and house?

 

Hahaha! I will pass that on to the artist. We are working on ways to expand that pool. In the mean time, if you look in the modder's section, an enterprising Academagian put up some recolored/reuniformed Portraits that you might want to use.

 

3) More magical solutions to problems? I know this would put even further emphasis on magic, but it is a school about a magical academy. I mean yeah using spells to boost the skill you need is a magical solution but something more along the lines of just blasting someone with an incantation spell instead of using the bully skill would be even better.

 

I believe you will definitely like Stories in Year 2. ;)

 

4) The writing in this game was incredibly solid and top notch, and it blows many current commercial rpgs out of the water. Given how well the game is written however, there were alot of opportunities to further the RPG portion of the game. Many of the choices in the game revolve around which skills to use in solving a given problem; there are only a few times when you are actually given a moral choice (Right now off the top of my head I remember the abandoned wand bit where you can either pocket it or return it to the girl and the event where you can choose whether or not to hand in the guy pocketing fruit.) Even then, these things were tied to skills, although it was really nice that I got an appropriate boost to ethics or dedication for choosing some options.

 

If you were instead to make these kind of decisions pop out even more and to go even even further, instead of being the binary good and evil style, but more nuanced choices, you would have a first rate RPG on your hands, and with completely different outcomes. Like forcing the well to give you some skillups too in Katja's adventure.

 

We really want to do complex decisions, but we also want them to be meaningful- that is, carried forward. This is especially difficult to do in relation to Morality, although we have discussed a few options about that. It's a very good suggestion, though.

 

5) This is related to 4. It always felt weird studying ethics, dedication, character, ethics, temperance, or any skill of that sort in the library. If instead these could be increased by your actions, these skills could serve as a barometer of sorts for the kind of character your student is developing into.

 

This does occur, depending on the various Abilities you have available to you, but without them...consider that you are reading about true paragons of ethics and dedication, and being inspired by their example. :)

 

Please, keep the suggestions coming!

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Here is a moderate-sized suggestion, concerning random events and adventures: I enjoy picking choices that give me more information and options for dealing with an situation, but I sometimes find that an action would actually end an scenario. For example, I found a wounded Centaur, decided to find out what was causing him trouble, which revealed some details. However, there was an choice among the options that said that you could make him feel better by using Glamour, so I figured that I would do this before Revising his chain. Unfortunately, after succeeding with calming him, the scenario ended because the centaur was late. The problem with this to me, was that I wouldn't have used the Glamour on him if I knew it would detract from my character's ability to resolve the episode without outside help. (Professors)

 

In a nut shell: Can choices have an icon to indicate if they grant Information, Advance the Plot, or End the event? Respectively, to prefix each action like the example below:

 

Tasty Pies: Wandering down the street, a wonderful smell tickles your senses, and you are severely tempted to buy one for your Clique.

(A) - Enter the shop and talk to the clerk (Advance)

(I) - Inspect the window display. (Inform)

(E) - You certainly don't have the pims or the time to indulge yourself. Walk away. (End)

 

 

However, I would understand if the lack of indicators was intentional: A prefix system like this would remove some of the challenge from picking choices, since the player would be able to have an better idea of what would happen. I personally prefer having more information so that I could follow my character concept, but the counter-argument remains.

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If Hall Sesions are a must to join they realy should put automatic in the time table because if you still have all you actions aviable I dont think any on search on saturday all his posible actions through just because of the posibility that he/she have to join hall sessions.

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One more idea !

About music : why not having music that depend on your emotions : Feeling golden ? You're hearing Ride of the Valkyries. Feeling sad ? Gymmnopedies from Erik Satie.

Or music that switch by seasons. In summer ? Summer from Four Seasons of Vivaldi. (or some kind of music that would fit)

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Perhaps for the moods and seasons a specific piece is played for the first time that they are encountered, and then placed into random rotation in the regular playlist (for moods) and seasonal playlist (for specific seasons, plus generic music).

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VC and SS;

 

I really like these ideas, being musically minded myself. You can actually already do *some* of this in the mod tools, just not the 'unlock'.

 

Schwarzbart;

 

That will be closed when we fix the reporting with normal Detention as well. We agree: Detention has to made visible, regardless of what the Player has set there.

 

Thanks!

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the problem with the hall sesions is that the complet satureday is still display rest so even if one is carefull and plan only the active day one will miss them.

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Hallo everyone.

First things first:

kudos to the development team for a really unique game!

The game has soul, has potential, is very enticing and fun to play.

Thank you.

 

I did not (yet) read the whole thread, so please excuse me if i repeat something already stated.

 

All my remarks are for last version on Impulse, 1.05 Everything said is strictly my opinion but i will try to be objecive.

 

Now in more detail:

positive things:

1) The game lives. The experience does feel like being in a real magic school.

2) Excellent writing.

3) A LOT of things to do.

4) Students and teachers have real personalities.

5) Vastly different playthroughs.

6) The game is intensely worked on

7) year 2 :)

 

things that in my opinion need work:

 

I) User interface.

 

In this kind of games, especially with so much skills, stats, phemes, spells, items, friends, locations, active and passive abilities and so on it is crucial

to have a clean interface in order to not lose overview. I am aware that changing interface is a very hard thing to do, but i will still talk about it especially considering year 2.

 

Now my impressions screen by screen.

 

1) Character Creation

 

First screen:

Nearly perfect. Inviting. Really like it, my only remark is that version number of the game should be visible here.

DLC choice: clean definite, very good. Button inscriptions are hard to read. (19 inch 1280x1024).

Choose your name - good.

Stats: there should be some tooltips/ descriptions about what they do. For example it is impossible to know that fitness determines your vitality and maximal stress. It is also not easy to notice that you do not have to allocate the whole 5 points.

The next screen is the first problematic one: On the screen there are a lot of big decorative static elements, while information is shown in a relatively small part of the screen with small font. Not good.

Now comes a lot of screens with only 5 points to distribute. That does not feel good. For once it is unclear how many screens are still out there - invest the points or hold them back? A page number (for ex. screen 5 of 11) would greatly help here. It would also be better to avoid scrolling by scaling up the useable part of the screen and maybe by adding more separate screens if necessary.

 

Now a bit about balance: A lot of things to choose should cost 0 points in my opinion. Everybody was born at some time (astrology). Everybody has a family (family history and upbringing). Nearly every young magician has a familiar (says the fluff). It would feel more complete if it was possible to choose at least one point in each category. Only special things that really matter should cost/bring points. "Black sheep" - brings a point, "family: sports" or "secret Heritage" cost a point, but enough backgrounds should just add small bonuses for free just to enhance fluff and allow a well rounded character.

(further examples: no familiar brings a point, exotic one costs a point, but dog/cat/rat are standard for 0 points, some small bonuses to skills for 0 points etc. just to make the player think in which direction he wants to develop his character).

In this way it is possible to define a complete history of a character and to better identify with him.

 

Next comes choice of colleges. There are even the descriptions of how courses are graded. Pure Genius. But i would like to see which stat is important for which course.

 

Choice of character picture: art is very nice. I would like to have couple more pictures though.

 

Next screen is the main screen of the game. Most of the time will be spent here.

The screen does not scale well. Broad border areas are not used in my resolution. The clock is really well done but far too big, another part of the screen left unused. I really like the art design with starry heaven though.

 

2) Clock step by step.

 

2.1) Familiar

Beautiful art.

Well-arranged.

But since all skills are in a non collapsable list it can become cluttered later in the game.

Familiars are a big topic i want to speak about in more detail later.

 

2.2) Cliques

works, but since characters have much more abilities it is cluttered from the beginning.

 

2.3) Relationships

works, the possibility to sort alphabetically/ciollege/affection levels is very useful. Still cluttered.

 

2.4) Lore and locations

Very cluttered

 

2.5) Menu

good. clear and concise.

 

3) Calendar

works but could be better. Highlighting the actual day would help, maybe reducing the default calendar in size, making just the current day selectable by default and an option to open the week calendar in an extra window. Action, location etc. selection: good in the beginning becomes cluttered later.

 

4) Control

did not experiment with mastery enough to say something about it. (but i am already curious about it)

 

5) Inventory

not so good.

Just after reading the letter from Gera i already have 6 items in my inventory represented by little green undiscernable bags. Icons to discern between books/letters/shields etc would be very nice. Also having just one icon for the letter with an extra menu to choose which part to read would help.

Also a couple more containers would help: not only wardrobe, but also bookcase, weapon and wand stand, potion box would help in sorting.

Paperdoll- good, each game needs one.

 

6) Attributes

good, but more information about sources and maxima would be helpful

example:

Fitness 5 Tooltip 2 base +1 Clique Ability +2 Spell remaining duration 4 days

 

Stress 0/6

Vitality 6/6

Encumbrance 0/4

Concealment 0/4

 

7) Abilities/Emotions/Actions.

Cluttered.

to make passive ability appear gray out is a good solution to separate them from active ones, but it would be better to have passive abilities as separate item.

 

8) Skills/Research

oh boy.

extremely cluttered. Why build a kitchensink if you could build 2 for double the cost.

I must admit... I love it. Even though some skills are somewhat redundant. BUT: it is essential to be able to find a skill/subskill fast and beeing able to separate them in groups you are interested in. Or not. At the moment it is very, very difficult. If a subskill in game is gained it is necessary to look through the whole list of parent skills to locate it. Not good.

 

9) 10) Magic/Items:

cluttered later in game.

 

 

OK so if you read the wall of text my main complaint about the menus is: quite a lot of them are cluttered.

Now to possible means of solving the problem.

 

We need tabs. Lots of tabs. And filters. And search masks.

 

Let us take a look at skills, but the method i am describing could an in my opinion should be applied to any cluttered menu in the game.

Basically in the beginning one tab is created. It shows all available skills uncollapsed and is undeletable but can be minimized.

The user can define another tabs by opening a menu in skills choosing new tab, naming the tab (for example "magic") then choosing all skills he wants to see in this tab. (for example: revision, negation, gates, gmastery glamour...). Then the user chooses to create another tab: courses. All courses in there. But it is not necessary to choose al courses by hand, because the user can use a filter and just click "show chosen courses" and save the tab as "courses". And so on.

If a new parent skill is gained the user gets an option: "at the moment you have following skill tabs: Magic skills, Skills to learn asap, skills to ignore this playthrough,... to which tabs should the skill "mastery" be added. If a specific (sub-)skill need to be found a search mask comes to help. I think this system would go a long way to prevent confusion and is flexible and powerful enough for any further add-ons.

 

Please do not misunderstand me, the game is great and i like it a lot.

I just want and hope to be able to help make it better.

I also have some things to say about balance/content (especially familiars) but this will come in part two of my post.

 

In the meantime:

thanks again for a great game.

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Tenchifew;

 

Thanks for the time and effort you spent writing this! We really appreciate it. Almost all of the points you have made have been requested by other Academagians, and are being considered for Year 1, if not Year 2.

 

I do want to respond to a two suggestions and thoughts you raise up, however:

 

Background Cost. There has been a lively debate about this on the forum, as well as internally during design. Ultimately, we decided to make all Backgrounds have a cost in order to have you, the player, make the choices most important to you, on whatever basis you use to choose. Well-roundedness comes from the experience of the game, how/if you role-play, and your character's goals. That said, it's a fair point. :)

 

Tabs/Filters/Search Masks. It's clear that there needs to be more organization (preferably player-customized) for the various entities in the game. Some of that we will be able to provide with tabs or other devices, but true searching and customization is likely only to come in Year 2.

 

I look forward to part 2 of your suggestions, and please keep the suggestions coming! :P

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Ellestar;

 

Interestingly, we are looking at breaking the UI, but I'm not sure we'll make any changes here- it would require a clean version break for patches.

 

That said, there is some UI customization you can do in the Mod Tools (for the Colleges).

I don't really understand what do you mean by "breaking the UI". I was talking about publishing C++ (or whatever you use) source code for Academagia.UI.dll and GameLogic.dll only, so it will be available to modders.

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I second Tenchifew about the start of the game : there should be some message that says "You'll be able to use those points for heritage, exploits, astrology, etc.."

But seriously : every character is born under a sign, has a family (or is a blacksheep) and has been doing things in their childhood.

Give less points, but only omens, exploits, familiar, starting items should cost something

I was able to select two astrological signs. Is it intended ?

 

About cluttering. What I'd like to see is something like the "prefered spells" from King's bounty armored princess : there's a special page with only 10 slots, and each time you use a spell, it chose which spells have been used the most. It helps to speed things up. So when I click Actions or spells, why not displaying the 10 most used spells/Action/ and then the rest ? Or allow player to "pin" action/spell/etc... in a special frame on the screen border.

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If you're passing along ideas to the artist, I request redheads. Actually, it would be nice to have a black, brown, blonde and red-headed choice for each gender in each house. Also, I'm vain enough that I wish our player choices were at least as nice looking as some of the NPCs. :)

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RE Theft 7 realy need a Animal Husbandry option as well because if someone can help with a high Animal Husbandry why cant the Char do it by him self if he is good in Animal Husbandry.

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