Here we go!

Today is an important milestone in the development of Divinity: Original Sin. Until now, even if we were already heavily into bugfixing mode, we were still incorporating new ideas, systems, and features into the game.

We just released this Kickstarter update which announces that as of next week that period will be over. We will now shift all of our development effort towards reading incredibly sexy reports that start with phrases like “We’re only 3240 bugs away from release – here’s what needs to be done”.

The exception to this will be the end of the game. That part still has some room for us to indulge our creative selves in. Other than that, it’ll be a whole lot of “he and she did this and that and that and then this happened and that’s not how it’s supposed to be.

We’ve been working hard these last few weeks to integrate the last of the features we really wanted. Looking at the net result, I’m pretty proud of what my team has accomplished. We’ve amplified limited means into a lot of gameplay– a testament to the creativity of my team.

You will be able to check out our work as early as next week (most likely on april 3rd 2014) when we upload the beta version of Divinity:Original Sin to Steam Early Access. Or you can watch our twitch tv session, next monday at 18:00 CET where we’ll be showing off the new stuff.

We’re a bit over budget and over time, but I have no regrets whatsoever about that. The game’s quality is a lot higher than any of us originally expected, so we’re very happy about that. Obviously I now hope that this extra push for quality will transform itself into extra sales, because in the end it’s going to be those sales that will shape what opportunities we’ll have for our future RPGs, but even if that doesn’t happen, I’m sure that somewhere along the line we’ll reap the benefits of all the effort we poured into Divinity:Original Sin.

The job isn’t done of course – we still need to actually resolve all those bugs, but I think we’ve created sufficient development room to do that, so I have high hopes that will manage in a reasonable amount of time.

My main regret for D:OS is that we didn’t manage to do the day/night cycles. Killing your darlings never is fun, but it is an inevitable part of production. I guess we always figured that, if anything, this would be the one we’d cut. Up until not-so-long ago however, I did have some hope that we were still going to be able to make it happen.

Some have always considered overestimation driven by a good dose of optimism to be Larian’s biggest “problem,” but to be quite honest, I’ve never agreed. Instead, I’ve always thought of it as one of our best qualities.

“Who dares, wins,” “Optimism is a moral duty,” “No sweat no glory” – these are all part of the ideas at the core of Larian’s credo. We tend to feel that something that looks almost impossible deserves its fair chance at being realized. As long as we can put an adverb like “almost” in front of the “impossible”. ;)

The thing that forced our hand in the end is the size of our buglist. Despite having made quite a few RPGs already, I’m still impressed by what’s being reported.

It’s not the quantity that’s scary per se (we’re used to large numbers like this, and we are making an RPG, after all) – but the types of bugs we’re seeing are in a category of their own.

The freedom we give players, coupled with the fact that we are introducing a unique type of cooperative multiplayer, makes for a very complicated quality assurance experience. You just have to look at a few of the “Let’s Play” videos to see that the level of imagination of players apply to abusing our game is boundless. ;)

If you’ve been following my blog a bit, you’ll know I wouldn’t want to have it any other way. Being able to not only handle but encourage this abuse is what makes Divinity: Original Sin unique.

But sometimes, when I’m really tired,  I silently wonder…

Maybe we should’ve gone for linear storytelling through fixed cut scenes with nice, easily manageable bottlenecks.

And oh yeah, maybe we shouldn’t have allowed the player to kill everybody.

Or steal quest items.

Or do everything in whatever sequence they want to…

Life would be so much easier.

But then I watch another one of those “Let’s Play” videos, and I know it’s worth every bit of effort. You may think I’m joking, but that’s really how it goes– I’m quite obsessed  with this game but I constantly question what we’re doing so I often need to re-convince myself.

That’s why it took a lot for me to commit to dropping the day/night schedules and stick with the NPC routines we have now.

The money we received from Kickstarter and Steam Early Access has gone a very long way to improve the overall game experience and we could never have made a game with such a deep and involved RPG experience if it wouldn’t have been for our backers.

It makes it all the more difficult to disappoint those who were looking forward to NPC schedules reacting to day/night.  But the realization that we need all of our energy to polish the game is strong.

We do not want to release a game that has as many bugs as Divinity II: Ego Draconis had upon release; that would lead to an even bigger disappointment. When people install the release version of Divinity: Original Sin, we want them to have fun right away and not have to worry about technical issues. Entertaining people is why we’re in this industry.

As I’m writing this, I don’t know how backers will react to our dropping day/night cycles. It unsettles me very much to possibly disappoint our backers because they made the extended development on Divinity: Original Sin possible. But there are limits to what time and budget permit and sometimes it’s necessary to make a choice when you discover something is more work than you anticipated. In this case we chose to go for stability, balancing and polish.

One alternative would’ve been to put in a day/night cycle without a lot of reactivity from the npcs, just for the sake of being able to say that we’ve done it, but that’s something we didn’t want to do. The vision driving Divinity:Original Sin has been that every feature which is in there has real gameplay value and isn’t a gimmick.

Perhaps those who are disappointed may take comfort from the engine & toolkit supporting pretty much everything that’s necessary for schedules, up to having NPCs sleep in their beds, so it’s not impossible that somewhere down the line a mod or a derivative game is released that uses these features.

Yesterday, we filmed the Kickstarter update in which I try to explain our reasoning for this decision.

The video contains a tour through the office during which I discuss everything that’s been done by the team these last weeks and what players can expect in the beta. It’s a very long video because it’s a very long and cool list. I think a lot of what has been done addresses the majority of what our players have been asking for.

In my mind, that’s the most important part of the video, but I’m of course aware there may be quite some attention for the day/night cycles not making it.

Still, the big news is that we’re going beta. An RPG unlike any you’ve played in a very long time is now on its final course to release.

In some form or other, almost everything we promised in our Kickstarter campaign is in, and as a result the game is a lot of fun and packed with content that will keep players entertained for quite some time.

I’m also very happy that it matured into the RPG development platform I was hoping for back in 2010, because the time we’ve taken now will allow us to do great things in the coming years.

First things first, however.

D: OS is on its way. I count Larian (and our players) blessed that I have a team that’s very dedicated to getting this one out of the door in the best possible shape, and I count us double blessed because we have so many amazing fans helping us out.

Be sure to check it out if you have any interest in cool RPGs that reward exploration, that have turn-based combat and that encourage experimentation with the game systems. Oh, and that have a cooperative multiplayer in which each player can completely change the story line.

  • Rismos

    As a backer (who didn’t play so far), I’m glad you went this way. Even though a day/night cycle with schedules and all that allows for so many cool things like thiefs breaking into peoples houses, I rather have a game with few bugs. Especially when this game allows me to realistically do anything I want, like killing any NPC as you said. Unlike skyrim for example, where that is just not possible with some invincible NPCS. It should create some funny moments, like in this really funny movie:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mnvuoLs2wY

    So I am not disappointed and I am sure I will have a great time with D:OS once it is out. :)

  • Jack Jones

    Even if we’re not getting day night cycles I don’t regres backing D:OS. Infact I wish I gave you a bit more money now, I’d never heard of the series when I first backed it, but after all your updates and everything this is the game I’m most excited about that I backed on Kickstarter. Can’t wait for it to be released, and I’m sure there’ll be enough content/ways to do things that I’ll never miss not having day/night cycles.

  • Baudolino05

    Sorry Swen, but I’m utterly disappointed by this news. I played extensively the alpha and I know for sure that D: OS is a REALLY unique RPG for today standards. I also know that a day/night circle wouldn’t add much in terms of gameplay.
    That being said, the day/night circle is part (a BIG part, to be honest) of the Ultima VII-vibe your are striving to recreate, leaving alone that fact that promising something on Kickstarter, and than not keeping that promise, is simply unfair.
    I would gladly have waited few more months to play D:OS with a day/night circle, and I’m pretty sure many other backers think the same.

    • Baudolino05

      *do not keeping

    • khaight

      I suspect the problem is that working a few more months involves paying the developers for a few more months, and money is a finite resource. Swen already noted that they’re over budget. You can only do so much with the money you have, and if Larian is at the point where something has to give I would much prefer it be the day/night cycle than stability/polish.

    • Fox

      I hit on this in my proper response to the blog post, but I’ll mention it here, too.

      It is problematic to view stretch goals as “promises.” The construction of additional game content requires an investment of both time and money. Stretch goals only factor the money involved. This means that a project with zero stretch goals will be expected to be released within the same timeframe as if it had met one hundred stretch goals.

      And that’s utterly unreasonable.

      The only “proper” way to view stretch goals is NOT as a promise, but as the developers saying, “If we end up getting X/Y/Z amount of money donated over the bare minimum we require to produce the product we envision, we will try to add X/Y/Z additional content.”

      As a consumer, you should be aware that participating in a crowdfunding project does not entitle you to anything. You’re donating money based on a promise. Likewise, be aware that a stretch goal is even more tenuous a thing–being a promise heaped on top of another promise.

      …..

      In other words, when you say “that’s unfair,” I’m saying the exact same thing, but from the opposite angle.

      • Baudolino05

        I understand there are financial issues behind this decision, and I believe Swen is telling the truth when he says that this was an hard call for the team. Still I think there is big a problem of trust here. But, honestly, I don’t care that much. As I’ve already wrote, I’m disappointed, but I haven’t change my mind about the game: Original Sin is still my most anticipated RPG in decades.

        • Fox

          A big problem of trust? I really don’t see it that way. Or even close. I hate to bring up the word “entitlement,” but, really, if you view something like this as a major trust problem, I can only imagine it’s because you have an extremely warped view of what participation in a crowdfunding venture entitles you to.

          • Robcat

            I think you raise an important issue regarding Kickstarter Fox; how stretch goals are considered by both developers and backers seems vital to the continued success of Kickstarter-funded gaming. Although it seems I have a rather different perspective of stretch goals.

            As I see it, crowd-funding for videogames isn’t a charity, a form of investment or a pre-order system but a hybrid of all these, with corresponding responsibilities and obligations. I’m not sure what would happen if the legal entitlements of backers were tested, however I would argue that companies do at least have an ethical obligation to fulfil their Kickstarter promises. Moreover I would argue that stretch goals should be seen as promises; in short, because viewing stretch goals as merely intentions undermines accountability, obfuscates information backers need to make informed decisions, and impedes the ability of backers to trust developers.

            I definitely agree that the key issue here is communication. The Kickstarters I am aware of have all expressed their stretch goals in terms of promises, and so backers have formed the not unreasonable expectation that these will be met.

            I think this is precisely an issue of trust in the sense that backers make judgements about whether a developer is worth ‘investing’ in, how likely they are to achieve their stated goals and how much money to ‘donate’ to a particular project. Bigger companies like Larian or Obsidian are able to garner greater funds than small, unheard of Indies largely because backers have greater ‘trust’ in their capacity to deliver. I would also suggest that backers have a greater ‘trust/faith/belief’ in these companies ability to plan and manage a project. If a development studio fails to ‘achieve their intentions/fulfil their promises’ this will harm the trust people have in said studios capacity to plan and deliver, regardless of semantics.

            This is as it should be. Developers are businesses, not charities, and should be accountable for their promises and the quality of their games. Their reputations should correspond to their performance and backers should likewise be discerning in how they allocate their money. And backers need information to make sound decisions about which projects to support.

            As things stand, Kickstarter lacks transparency and is terribly unaccountable. Backers are not privy to the budget analysis and project planning & management that an investor/publisher would want to see, and must make decisions based largely on faith. To view Kickstarter games or stretch goals as less than promises made in good faith requires an even greater leap of trust and reduces certainty about what you’re actually backing. If a developer states they cannot promise to fulfil their stretch goals I will want to know how probable it is that they will, before I decide whether to pledge and how much to pledge. I will want greater reassurance of their planning. Without the ‘honorary assurance of the Kickstarter promise’ I would personally be less likely to pledge to projects, and I suggest that funding would decrease for kickstartered games in general.

            Furthermore, if a company is not certain about their ability to fulfil their stretch goals (whether perceived as intentions or promises) they had better make that crystal clear to potential backers. Otherwise, knowing how passionate backers can become about a game – how they will spend their free time campaigning and will up-pledge to achieve stretch goals – if developers are not sure they can achieve these stated mission objectives yet do not disclose this… well I can think of a few choice words to describe such behaviour.

            To be clear, I do not think this is the case with Larian at all. It seems that they simply miscalculated the cost to implement the day-night schedules and eventually had to make the cut after trying their best to work them in. They have been admirably honest and forthright about it. Indeed, Larian has been so excellent in openly and regularly sharing information with their backers that there has not been much backlash to speak of (especially compared to other projects making cuts). People’s trust in Larian has not been greatly affected as they have a relationship of good communication. People can see that Larian has been packing the game full of additional features & awesome things and generally using their money effectively, so they have been more understanding.

            ———————-

            Regarding the question of whether stretch goals affect development efficiency – money and time are not discrete variables concerning game development. Money enables companies to pay for the time development takes, in the form of wages, software licenses and the general costs (eg electricity) of running a development studio. If a company is granted an increase in funding to enhance a game, whether they hire more staff or pay existing staff to work for a longer period will vary according to the company’s needs and what they deem to be the most effective use of their resources. As such it is the developer’s responsibility in planning any Kickstarter stretch goals to account for the increase in scope according to the total cost of development in terms of resources (including both time and money). So some kickstarters have had to revise their plans not because of a lack of time, but due to either miscalculation, mismanagement, unforeseen issues or a combination of these.

            However it should be mentioned that game development is really not an exact science, it is a notoriously difficult endeavour to plan for and the best laid plans won’t always ensure that things go smoothly. Yet this surely doesn’t excuse a developer from all responsibility to their backers. So how are backers to regard stretch goals then? How should developers? How should the failure to implement them affect how one views a developer? It would seem that the gaming community/industry would benefit from a conversation about stretch goals – for both developers and gamers, in planning and backing them, if Kickstarter is to flourish long-term.

            ———————

            In Larian’s case, what I hope they take away from people’s expressions of disappointment and the like is to seriously look at how they miscalculated the resources required to implement NPC schedules and just learn from it, so that for any future projects or kickstarters they will be in a better position to plan effectively. If they could somehow communicate that in a future Kickstarter then my trust/confidence in their capacity to deliver and willingness to pledge would actually be increased.

            p.s. You rock Larian!

          • TheLameNessofSmaug

            Always some dick like you to turn polite conversation into being an asshole accusing other people of negative qualities. Here I’ll return the favour. Piss off.

        • TheLameNessofSmaug

          You are correct. It is a broken promise. Anybody who says that goals that revolve around pledging more money isn’t a promise are just braindead, brownnosing fanbois like Fox.

  • Niklas

    Well, I have played the Alpha and I didn’t miss the Day/Night Cycle, because it wasn’t in the game. So no big loss and me and my best friend have still fun. Im sure, gameplaywise OS will be great, the only thing I’m stil unsure about is the story and I hope she is good, so OS can become my new favorite game of all time, because Arcanum got a bit to arrogant over the years :-D .

    But I’m positive and wish you as much luck as before, while I’m waiting for the Beta.

  • Raider

    I doubt anyone can say they aren’t a little bummed or disappointed with news like this. Day/Night cycles would have been an awesome addition but in the end they aren’t what will make the game great. D:OS has gone beyond my expectations and I look forward to beta and release. You did what you had to do and you were honest about it (Thank you for that by the way). In the end I think you made the right call for the game to be amazing upon release. I still am beyond excited for this game and can’t wait to spend hours in the world you and your team have created.

  • Liquid_Wolf

    Am I disappointed? Yes.
    Will it affect my enjoyment of the game? Probably not.
    Honestly… the only reason I’m disappointed is because you told me you were not going to include it. I applaud that approach, as I like honesty. So thank you for that.
    I’ve played games with Day/Night Cycles and though they are cool, I have never found them critical to the game. Most of the time they have been annoying needing to sleep/wait for the NPCs to hit that correct time.
    A cool feature… but ultimately something I skip/break/ignore to play the game my way.

  • Rune

    I don’t care too much about day/night cycles, I want Controller support. It’s been way too long since anyone even talked about it, and it’s the reason I backed this game, a great RPG I can kick back and enjoy away from my mouse (most of the time).

    What happened to all the great controller support feedback ,Swen?

    • Fox

      Is that really an issue?

      The game is never going to feel natural to a gamepad because the user interface is built around mouse and keypboard input. It would have to be completely redesigned to feel natrual with a gamepad. Whereas the minority of players who would want to play it with a gamepad can easily set up a middleware application to set kb/m controls to gamepad input.

  • CountBuffon

    This wasn’t a selling point for me. If anything, when the Kickstarter was going on, I though, “wow, if they hit all these goals, they’re going to have so much on their plate that it will never be released.” Also, I wasn’t really looking forward to having to force shops to re-open, and I wasn’t sure how much it would have otherwise added to the game.

    But still, I hope it’s something that you keep in mind as a possibility for post-release if sales are good enough. It would set a better precedent.

  • 4verse

    to be honest i would prefer “a day/night cycle without a lot of reactivity from the npcs” to no cycle at all. might not be as much fun, but still a day/night cycle (wich i find very immersive even without “proper npc reaktion”). couldn’t you implement it as an optional feature (turn/off day/night cycle)? but i guess that would be another “feature” with a lot of “bug-potential” :-)

  • Ailantan

    Day/Night cycle wasn’t that important to me. One thing that sold me is companions and player banters between each other, something that it’s very new in Larian games.

  • The Old Farmer

    Given a choice between day night and bug free I have to say the less bugs the better, I haven’t missed a day night cycle in the alpha and while the concept is cool in theory it can be a pain in the butt at times getting in the way I want to play my game.
    Thanks for the candor and keep the good work.

  • http://tarasis.net/ Robert McGovern

    I applaud the candor the Swen and it’s one of the reasons I’m gladly supporting your KS. I’d have liked to have Day / Night cycles in the game but equally it’s not a disappointment that it didn’t make the cut.

    Maybe down the line someone else will mod it in or you guys will add it as part of a future expansion.

  • Stabbey

    Compared to some of the other things like AI personalities, a day/night cycle isn’t that big a deal for me. Still though, I am slightly disappointed it won’t be in. I wouldn’t have minded at all if it was in, and I wouldn’t have minded if it was just cosmetic. I had been seeing signs that the game wasn’t actually built for full schedules – namely with the large numbers of named NPC’s who apparently had no homes inside the safe walls of Cyseal.

    I already had been hearing rumours that it wouldn’t be in on first release and might have to be pushed out to a patch, so the news that it was outright cancelled wasn’t a huge shock. If they’re not even going to say that it will have to be patched in later, I imagine that it ended up being so much trouble that it wasn’t going to be worth working on even to patch in.

    Even though Larian may have had good reason for cancelling this feature, it is not a great precedent to set, and I hope that this serves as a reminder to Larian to reign in their ambition for future projects to what they can reasonably do.

  • twincast

    Well, companions were the stretch goal I really cared about, and I get the reasoning, but I’d be lying if I were to say that I wasn’t disappointed. *sad bah*

  • HmmEor

    I don’t think even you understand what’s at stake here, Swen. I’ve been playing the alpha non-stop, what you’ve achieved is simply unique and remarkable. This game is the closest thing to Ultima 7 I’ve ever played (with a fantastic combat system, which U7 lacked). It really feels like a living, breathing world teeming with possibilities. Day/night cycles combined with NPC schedules NEED TO happen, sooner or later – simply to do this game’s justice. I so hope you’ll be able to make these features a reality, via a patch, expansion pack – or your fans manage to mod all of this in.

    • Fox

      I think it could work well in a small expansion. Like a single town or village with a smaller number of NPCs. Especially if the day/night cycles are important to the core thematic/narrative elements. Basically, I think Majora’s Mask is the game to look at for inspiration.

      And it absolutely should be something to consider for a future expansion.

  • Berend Vervelde

    So instead of ‘Divine Divinity: original sin’ it’ll be ‘Divine Divinity: the longest day’ ;-)

    I applaud your decision to choose between two bad choices.

    • Fox

      A lack of a day/night cycle does not mean the same thing as perpetual daylight.

      Time can transition based on other triggers (i.e. quest completion) or vary depending on area. For example, if we go to a Lizard Town (please, God, let there be a Lizard Town in D:OS) hot-afternoon lighting would work great. But an undead city? Perpetual twilight would work better.

      • Fox

        Just spent some time with the Beta and noticed that the lighting effects are SUPER BEAUTIFUL. Cyseal Beach starts out tinged in reddish dawny lighting, and by the time you reach the town it’s midday. Absolutely gorgeous.

  • Bree

    About the excision: Well reasoned, well explained, and you’ve made the right decision. Would love to see this added in a patch or DLC, though.

  • Fox

    I have a number of thoughts that I’m (unfortunately) in no state to adequately articulate in a single cohesive span of text. So: text partitions!

    __________

    I honestly don’t think I care one way or another about day/night cycles or NPC schedules. In truth, I don’t really think that kind of thing “works” in a game as expansive as D:OS. It works better in smaller, more focused titles–with a smaller number of NPCs to deal with. In fact, I can only think of one instance where I felt day/night cycles were executed well in a game–even though I’ve seen ‘em in dozens–and that was The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, which only had a little over a dozen or so NPCs to deal with.

    __________

    Thinking about the responses my fellow Kickstarters may have to this feature being “cut” makes me realize what is, I think, a major problem found in, well, every big Kickstarter project I can think of. First, I imagine at least some of my peers will be absolutely unreasonable. Safe in the anonymity of the Internet and buoyed by the strange sense of entitlement crowdfunding gives some people, I imagine some will deem the expulsion of day/night cycles as a “betrayal.”

    And why is that? It’s because of that “major problem” I mentioned.

    That problem is the stretch goals.

    When you initiate a Kickstarter project, you are essentially making a promise to consumers: “Donate X amount of money, and we’ll try to make Game Y in Z amount of time.” Three variables: Y+Z=X. But stretch goals change the variables. The promise becomes: “Donate X+A amount of money, and we’ll make Game Y+B in Z amount of time.” (B standing in for the additional features. At first glance, this doesn’t seem like too big of an issue–more money yields more features and content, right? But the problem is that the TIME variable doesn’t change. Stretch goals can exponentially expand the scope of a project, and money is only HALF of what’s needed.

    In other words, the problem with stretch goals is that they ignore the necessary investment of TIME.

    This is why, I think, all of the big Kickstarter games I’m familiar with have had to make major concessions. They had the money to meet their stretch goals, but not the time.

    Shadowrun Returns: one game split into two titles to avoid a lengthy delay.

    Broken Age: one game split into two acts to avoid a lengthy delay.

    Banner Saga: one game split into two parts (multiplayer and singleplayer).

    …And, as I said before, stretch goals are communicated to consumers as “promises.” Therefore, when those goals are not met, there’s an inevitable reaction (from a portion of the consumers at least) to think of the developers as having “broken” their promises. And that’s not a good thing.

    It’s all about presentation, I think. The solution is simple enough: simply make it clear in Kickstarter proposals that stretch goals represent content that you will TRY to incorporate in the game, but may not be able to. Make it clear that it’s much less a promise than an attempt.

    __________

    I’m writing too much, aren’t I? I’m sorry. Two more quick things and I’m out.

    I’ve heard a lot “horror stories” about developers working on content and being forced to shelve it indefinitely. Whole games, sometimes. If you fine people at Larian have put much work into the day/night cycles, I dearly hope you find a way to use it. Perhaps a small expansion-pack could focus on an island community with day/night cycles and NPC schedules? To go back to Zelda, something like a “Majora’s Mask” to D:OS’ “Ocarina of Time.”

    In other words, consider using day/night cycles in a single area (a microcosm of the game). They don’t necessarily have to be implemented everywhere.

    __________

    From an aesthetic standpoint, time of day is HUGELY important.

    I won’t say that day/night cycles specifically need to be incorporated, but I do think it would benefit the game immensely for the time of day to change. Perhaps it could be triggered by certain points in the story? Taking an environment and recasting it in a different light–from mid-day to sunset, for example, or twilight–can grant a whole new life to a familiar landscape. It can also work well to accentuate story beats, or to demonstrate the passage of time.

    For example, say the players return to Cyseal after progressing to X point in the main quest. And let’s also say that X point in the main quest closed off some Cyseal sidequests and opened up some new ones. Now, if Cyseal is rendered in the same lighting as in the beginning of the game, well, it’s just “more of the same.” But what if the lighting is different? Perhaps it’s dawn, and the whole area is bathed in warm orange and red hues? This would make the whole area feel “new.” It would reinforce the players sense of progression through the world. It would create the illusion of a dynamic, changing world without all of the necessary mechanical depth of a systemitized day/night cycle with varied NPC scheduled.

    __________

    Okay, okay, okay. One last thought. I promise.

    Well, not a thought. A suggestion.

    Watching the latest Kickstarter update on Youtube made me think that I’d really, really like to hear an update from you and the rest of your team AFTER the game is released. As gamers, we see a lot of content in the media about the “crunch” time of development. Those winding weeks before release. The stress, the strain, the lack of sleep. But it strikes me that most developers tend to, well, go silent after they release a game. I, for one, would be interested in seeing what you all have to do in the aftermath of a big launch–the party, the post-release bugfixing and patching process, and the transition to a new project.

    Well, maybe I’m asking for too much. Really, I just want to hear that awesome Kickstarter update music again.

    God damn, I love that music.

  • Texoru

    This is very sad news I was very hyped for the DayNight NPC schedules to implanted later in the beta stage or after release. I have been in many early access games but never gave support or feedback but this game is so different in many ways it made me the tester to finally support a truly great developer “Larian Studios”.

    Though thank’s for telling us and I agree that polishing is very important in this game especially introducing players with the features in the game. I would really like someone who will be in their twitch event to ask these questions to Swen, I will be very appreciated, or Swen can you please answer these questions on twitch or on this post: (I can’t be on Twitch as it will be around 3:00 am for me as I live in Australia)

    I also heard that in the video there will no more features or suggestion to be added on beta, just polishing and fixing bugs, so I would like these question answered on twitch.

    - Will their be indications of items you have recently picked up? (3 to 6 seconds on the player profile bar, we don’t want the indication to annoy the player)

    - A different warning colour indication showing you have picked up an quest item or a very important item for a quest?

    - Will there be an indication of journals, notes or books you haven’t read on your inventory. Once they are read they will have different icon picture. For example: Book opened icon (showing you have read it), A folded note and icon changed to flip (showing you have read it) and so on. This will encourage the player to open them and have a read.

    - Will the items be highlighted in the inventory screen of what the player has picked up? It will be removed when they hover it on the item or when they close the inventory screen.

    - Will the items stay as small one square size icons? It will be better to show the size of the items instead of seeing small different icons to look for a specific item. The small icons isn’t user friendly and I see that you’re still living in some of the old routes from Divinity 2 inventory system. So if you have picked up an armour or a weapon you will know the size of the item and can see it on your inventory screen straight away, you will also know the “real” image of the item. There are to many items have the same icon with different description, you need to make the items models more unique.

    - I heard that the crafting system will be changed on the latest video, is that correct? If so please make an tool option for crafting instead of dragging items to one another from the inventory screen. Make it more user friendly for the player to use frequently. Also an indication of what ingredients you have recently picked up for the player with the crafting ability to open their crafting tool.

    - The combat is very good though it will be nice to make the combat more excitement and feel you are in battlefield. There should be a camera showing the players face with their movement of starting the spell or showing a close up view of the elemental that the players summon, skills, melee attacks, final blow attacks (must be a short animation, players don’t like to see a long animation) from back stab or final kill ect, I can think of allot but these are the things that will make the combat more into the zone and will also get allot of players excited and forget this is a turned based game. The camera view also must be real-time, example from X-Com.

    - Repairing and Identifying must have a shortcut key and a placement on the inventory for the player to actually use easily.

    - The characters using fists (unarmed) should be within the players bubble space or close to it. For instance one handed swords uses one space to hit a character, the two handed swords uses two spaces to hit the character from that distance. So it would make sense for the unarmed characters to be in range with the player bubble space.

    - Are the animations for the crossbow and bows (arrows) are final? I played Divinity 2 and it seems your engine can’t manage to find a away for the characters to hold an arrow or will there be a Quiver behind characters to actually make it more sense than seeing an arrow come out of your back?

    - I see that NPC’s have some different unique bows? while the character has a limited same model bow only with different descriptions. Will items be more unique for example from Divinity 2 with great looking items? Now I know we don’t want the items to be OP and use no “skills” but items should be unique models such as an electrifying sword, you will see your sword does actually look like it.

    - Will there be animations or actions of characters using healing potions or other items that they consume?

    -

    I’m so sorry with all these questions but these questions will help and improve the game mechanics and to introduce the players of the features on this game. I have played allot of games back in the days and study the ways how the game mechanics should work like for the player to enjoy and use regularly. Like I said this is my first time to help a developer out with feedback and support as I know this game will be a huge success, though still disappointed about the daynight cycle but once the game is properly introduced to the player the game will be success and the whole world will probably buy this game and hopefully that money will help for the missing feature!

    Thank’s again Swen, I’ve been active on the forums and it did take allot of time to report bugs and giae great suggestions to you, so thanks for encouraging me and giving me enthusiasm to support a well deserve developer “Larian Studios”, take care with your team and family and will see you on Beta!

    So please anyone who will be in twitch and please provide them these questions, I will thank you allot.

    P.S – The forums of the website is down and can’t remember what other suggestions I have written up.

    - Tex

  • Arne

    Why such guilt? It appears you’re offering other things in return that you’ve never mentioned in KS campaigns. The ability to kill & steal from each and every character, for example. And that’s far more impressive than day/night cycles. You ought to make that clear to your backers.

  • Sergei Tokarev

    Well, I guess by this time we all knew that some corners will have to be cut. I realize that it must’ve been a tough decision for Swen, knowing how much he loves his creations. The fact that it was a stretch-goal, a promise sure doubles the pain. However, I guess we are at a binary choice – Cut corners and concentrate on finishing the game with as much ready content as possible – or take indefinite resources and time to finish it as a dream project, last two games that followed the latter were Aliens: Colonial Marines (That’s the only reason I can find for it to spend that much time in development Limbo) and DNF (which is even worse than Daikatana). Day and Night cycles are a great idea and help immersion, but I’d rather Larian concentrate on polishing of what they already have instead of trying to reach for the stars and ending with the disaster the Beyond Divinity was at launch. I guess this feature could be added latter as a patch or a DLC or a mod.

  • nobody72

    duplicate

  • nobody72

    As a backer; I’m quite please with the dropping of day/night. I think
    perhaps you should not even try to add it later (as a patch). Rather it
    is much easier to add in your next game at the start of the game. If you
    have time and inclination to add stuff as a patch I much rather see
    more areas – richer story and such (not claiming the story isn’t rich
    but one can always add more details) but please no silly fetch quests :)
    -
    Also perhaps a bit more richness in the single player experience (I know
    you plan to add auto-co-op response in single player mode (player can
    be given a characterstic so they auto respond in dialogue but it isn’t
    in the alpha yet so I haven’t seen how well it works and if the
    characterstics allow for the character to ‘grow’ based on arguments won
    and lost over time).

  • Gavin

    I like the honesty and transparency of this decision more than I am disappointed about the cut. When I look at how games like Diablo III and SimCity were released to the public, I can’t help but think that some common sense and a bit of honesty would have gone a long way towards ameliorating the paying fans, or even avoiding the situation altogether. The fact that you came out and said this before hitting beta on Steam really says a lot about where Larian’s priorities lie: with the people who buy & play your games. It is such a simple concept and yet one that a lot of big-name publishers have stopped doing simply because they are big. It was inevitable then that I would be drawn to Kickstarter in all its gaming luster.

    I have not had a single disappointment with any game I have pledged on Kickstarter, and this news does not change that fact. I avoided the games that I felt were not quite worth my time or not able to deliver, and my instincts have been spot-on. I still count D:OS among the “first wave” of Kickstarter games because the campaign started months before Broken Age’s ultimate reveal and release, and so I still count D:OS as being an early-adopter and ground-maker. I knew those pie-in-the-sky expectations would probably fall a bit short, as they have for all the other first wave games. But you know, I am fine with that, because Larian could have cut out the last 3 stretch goals and D:OS would still (IMHO) be a far better game more worthy of my money than any Diablo III or SimCity crap.

    I am getting the types of games that I want out of Kickstarter, regardless of a lack of day/night cycles. All it takes is honestly making a game that I want to play. (That and taking out things like DRM that give me a headache while simultaneously NOT stopping piracy, and avoiding things like making me sign into Facebook in the game so that my game experienced can be “enhanced” in ways that I don’t want it to be.)

  • Stabbey

    “One alternative would’ve been to put in a day/night cycle without a lot
    of reactivity from the npcs, just for the sake of being able to say that
    we’ve done it, but that’s something we didn’t want to do. The vision
    driving Divinity:Original Sin has been that every feature which is in
    there has real gameplay value and isn’t a gimmick.”

    While I understand the reasoning here, and I understand not wanting to work on that at this point – I can’t really agree with that reasoning. Even a cosmetic-only day/night
    cycle can still add to immersion. Just because it has no gameplay value
    doesn’t mean that it has no value at all.

    There’s no gameplay value in being able to sit on benches or lie down on beds, but it certainly adds to immersion. (I know that features was surprise-added by the animators/modelers, but that doesn’t change my point.)

    • Gavin

      In general, I agree with you. But… (you knew it was coming ;)

      In this particular case, the day/night stretch goal was specific about NPC schedules and other game reactivity and not simply about the time of day changing in a cosmetic fashion. I think the vitriol surrounding this issue would have been worse had Larian decided to “cosmetify” the day/night cycles. Taking the stretch goal into consideration, and given that something had to be cut, I think this decision was the correct one.

      In hindsight, which is always 20/20 or better, perhaps Larian should have taken the official stance of TRYING for that last stretch goal, in which case a cosmetic day/night cycle would have been the more appealing choice at this juncture. Live and learn…

  • Iconoclaster

    Greatly disappointed by the decision to not include day/night cycles.
    One unhappy early backer.

  • Tomas

    Still, I hope there will be some locations that you can visit by day and also at night. Real day/night cycle is a hassle and actually limits your freedom when you want to do something immediately without having to wait. But a town that you can visit first by day and later at night would really improve the game’s atmosphere.

  • Tasty Potty

    Butt penis.

  • Mazi

    I think u made the wrong decision: daynight cycle is really crucial to the atmosphere of the game, even if only cosmethic. If you have not time or budget to add that feature you should just add the cosmethic part without the npc routines.

  • Hornpipe

    Sorry but I’m really disappointed. This is not really a matter of broken promise. It’s just that the game would be greatly improved by this kind of functionality. Time and money, you said ? I personally hope that sales will allow to patch the game with NPC Shedules and Night and Day. I can’t bring myself to believe that you will leave this painting unfinished… Everyone expected the alter-ego of Ultima 7. Don’t stop so close of it, for heaven’s sake !

  • waltc4

    Well, the game is great, even without D/N cycling. Honestly, I think putting in 16-hour days with 8-hour nights–with no additional changes to the game at all–would work splendidly and would not be considered a “gimmick” by anyone playing the game. The game is a masterpiece as it stands; doing this would simply polish the jewel to a slightly brighter glow…;) Heck, you could even make it a user-configurable option: “All Day, All the Time” or “8 hours of night” and just let the players decide which mode works best for them. This would not require any serious revamping of the game itself (you know, certain things *have to happen* at night, etc.–not so), and would amount to basically a graphics option change. Great game!