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Dark Immolation
 
PostPosted: Sat, Apr 01 2017, 7:12 AM 

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It would be great to have an option to turn on alternative visuals for the spells that cover your entire PC. I'm not trying to get into a debate of what spells "should" completely obscure a PC, but I at least would enjoy the option to, perhaps as a widget or via the rest menu, give those certain spells more... transparent?.... VFX's.

Before it's said:

Nope, this is not about getting rid of visuals for all spells or spells you don't think should have a visual.
Nope, this is not about getting alternative visuals for X spell, just because(as neat as I think it would be to have that option, it's way too manhour intense for no real change).

Neither of those suggestions are tied to this or have a place here.

What I am specifically talking about are four spell spells: Greater Stoneskin/Stoneskin, Shadow Shield, and Barkskin. And having a switch that would do something like this.

Image -----> Image

Image -----> Image

Image -----> Image

First, it's just nice aesthetically to be able to still see your character model sometimes. Secondly, gets us around the whole "you couldn't actually see my PC under these spells" thing. For people that want to RP things like Shadowshield totally obscuring their PC's features, keep on keepin' on. But for those, like me, that don't see our PCs walking around looking like bipedal trash bags, relief is but a click away. The visuals are still obvious as to what spell you have active, but they don't completely dominate your appearance the way they usually do.

This comes with my usual disclaimer of not a rush, yes I know we'z already doin' stuff, but if I don't write it down, I won't remember. And also, it's impossible to see if anyone else would want something like this too, unless it gets suggested.

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Commie
 
PostPosted: Sat, Apr 01 2017, 7:21 AM 

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I'm strongly supportive of this, specifically barkskin.

Because barkskin looks fuckin terrible. Even worse on dragon-shape.

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Kudark
 
PostPosted: Sat, Apr 01 2017, 9:48 AM 

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Commie wrote:
I'm strongly supportive of this, specifically barkskin.

Because barkskin looks fuckin terrible. Even worse on dragon-shape.

Agreed, but, I don't like the green that DI suggests for Barkskin, and I have no suggestion because I don't know the available options. I think the original Shadow Shield looks kinda cool though, admittedly, but Barkskin makes me cringe.

I like your idea, DI, for all the spells you listed. Would this be a scripting thing?

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Commie
 
PostPosted: Sat, Apr 01 2017, 10:08 AM 

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Brought this up before;

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=86488&hilit=barkskin&start=100

Commie wrote:
some examples of better effects to use

VFX_DUR_AURA_YELLOW_DARK 564 or VFX_DUR_AURA_GREEN_LIGHT 559

You softly glow dark-yellow or green. This doesn't actually give off light but just shows some minor magic is at work (which barkskin is, minor magic).

VFX_DUR_MIND_AFFECTING_DISABLED 208

Small, unobtrusive, and looks like magic. A little white smear above your head.

There's also that hak effect (think it's a hak effect) of occasional falling leaves that would work perfectly but I can't find the name/id.

help us msheeler. you're our only hope.


Sheeler shot it down I think.

msheeler wrote:
Naivatkal wrote:
Honestly those all look like awful representations of a spell that turns your skin into bark. Swirling orbs don't make any sense and neither does a glowing aura. I'd rather wait for a better barkskin VFX, personally.


Yep, even though it doesn't say you literally turn to bark, it also doesn't say you glow all yellow.


msheeler wrote:
Have to agree to disagree there, I think the skin is way better than giant floating boulder that makes absolutely zero sense for being there. I'm mean really, what's a giant rock doing whirling around you like that anyways?


But there's still hope

msheeler wrote:
That being said those are really simple to change (one line adjustments) and wouldn't mind changing them, but it is up to the group as a whole to decide weather or no to change them.


It was really one of the things that kills dragon shape and druids as a whole for me. There's all these cool models you can be, tons of reskin options

and then you look like an animated shit golem and if you don't look like that you're just down 5 ac. :roll:

Also undeaths eternal foe is 5 natural ac + a bunch of extras and shield of faith is 5 ac as well, so don't argue that it needs to be displayed for 'balance' as that's not the case as none of those have character obscuring visual indicators.

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Dark Immolation
 
PostPosted: Sun, Apr 09 2017, 10:17 AM 

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Some alternatives for Barkskin

Image

Image

The old ioun VFX's aren't used for anything any more. The pixie dust VFX could be RP'd as tiny leaves being shed from your skin every few seconds.

As far as floating boulders not making sense for stoneskin, I think it works fine. You have these rocks swirling around you that intercept and dampen strikes before they hit you. This would likely be one of the 500 weird alternative spells that you could find in some splatbook, but it would ultimately work the same was as Stoneskin in practice. I really don't put much stock in that argument. All we have in NWN is a spell name, a visual effect, and a mechanical description. There's not much lore per each spell telling you how the spell works, that's almost always left up to the PC.

What does it matter that some people cast Barkskin as something that actually turns your skin to bark, and others cast it as something that makes you constantly shed leaves that take glancing blows for you, or glow with an earthy protective radiance? All that matters from a game perspective is that it is the same mechanical spell, is easily recognized as that spell by others, and can be explained through some method relating to its spells school(in this case, Transmutation). In the context of allowing alternative visuals, it's not really something everyone has to agree on, because it would only be changed for the people who want it to be.

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TormakSaber
 
PostPosted: Sun, Apr 09 2017, 10:56 AM 

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Quote:
it's not really something everyone has to agree on, because it would only be changed for the people who want it to be.


No, spell visuals, regardless of what they are, need to be 100% universal, from a game design standpoint.

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RaveN
 
PostPosted: Sun, Apr 09 2017, 15:32 PM 

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I agree with tormak. Amia is wysiwyg so having people's visual experience change person to person is something I don't even think makes sense to consider.

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Kudark
 
PostPosted: Sun, Apr 09 2017, 18:41 PM 

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If there absolutely 'has' to be a visual for Barkskin and Stoneskin, I'm all for using the old Ioun VFXs. I forgot about them, good call DI. I'm just glad that Barkskin doesn't make your character bark with every step it takes! I agree that whatever is decided, it should be universal for everyone.

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Dark Immolation
 
PostPosted: Sun, Apr 09 2017, 20:29 PM 

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RaveN wrote:
I agree with tormak. Amia is wysiwyg so having people's visual experience change person to person is something I don't even think makes sense to consider.


TormakSaber wrote:
Quote:
it's not really something everyone has to agree on, because it would only be changed for the people who want it to be.


No, spell visuals, regardless of what they are, need to be 100% universal, from a game design standpoint.


Those are some pretty dramatic statements there. We have spells that confer bonuses without showing a visual. In the case of these appearance covering spells, you can only see one at a time . That's right folks, remember, if you cast barkskin then stoneskin, or stoneskin then shadowskin, you can't even see the first spell cast under the first. Whatever game perspective requirement you're saying needs to be there, it can't really matter too much when you can effectively remove the visuals for these spells by covering it with another one. If anything, having these alternate visuals allows for people to go "oh, they have stoneskin And barkskin on, I better plan accordingly."

The idea that everyone is somehow casting the same exact spell with the same exact, uncontrollable visual appearance is a Vancian Magic wet dream. Were custom scripting still open, nothing would stop someone requesting Barkskin and having it with a different visual. Were barkskin not an appearance dominating VFX, and invisible like say Magic Armor, nothing would stop someone requesting a vfx widget to represent it as something else that you can see. We can change the VFX for everyone if that's what is decided on. But I would really like to understand the explanation of how them all needing to be that same visual is at all pertinent to the game, where effectively, these spells have a 50/50 chance of being seen anyway because they are invisibile and covered by some other spell.

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TormakSaber
 
PostPosted: Mon, Apr 10 2017, 10:45 AM 

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Kudark wrote:
If there absolutely 'has' to be a visual for Barkskin and Stoneskin, I'm all for using the old Ioun VFXs. I forgot about them, good call DI. I'm just glad that Barkskin doesn't make your character bark with every step it takes! I agree that whatever is decided, it should be universal for everyone.


They clash with GS and Haven and will remove and in turn be removed by those effects.

Quote:
are some pretty dramatic statements there. We have spells that confer bonuses without showing a visual. In the case of these appearance covering spells, you can only see one at a time . That's right folks, remember, if you cast barkskin then stoneskin, or stoneskin then shadowskin, you can't even see the first spell cast under the first. Whatever game perspective requirement you're saying needs to be there, it can't really matter too much when you can effectively remove the visuals for these spells by covering it with another one. If anything, having these alternate visuals allows for people to go "oh, they have stoneskin And barkskin on, I better plan accordingly."


I didn't make this argument. Don't put words in my mouth. I said spells need to look the same, regardless of who casts them or what that visual look is. You should not be able to select person by person what VFX is what.

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robbi320
 
PostPosted: Mon, Apr 10 2017, 12:08 PM 



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Personally, I'm in the camp of either finding something else or removing it. There are a lot of spells with 5 AC and no VFX. So, I'd just say dump the old one. In general, I don't like the VFXs that cover up your armour, as they would, in theory and practise, allow me to cover up my cloak having a symbol of Bane on it. And that just seems weird. And if I have it in my bio, I can just say 'but you can't see it, so I'm allowed inside Cordor'.


 
      
Commie
 
PostPosted: Mon, Apr 10 2017, 18:13 PM 

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robbi320 wrote:
Personally, I'm in the camp of either finding something else or removing it. There are a lot of spells with 5 AC and no VFX. So, I'd just say dump the old one. In general, I don't like the VFXs that cover up your armour, as they would, in theory and practise, allow me to cover up my cloak having a symbol of Bane on it. And that just seems weird. And if I have it in my bio, I can just say 'but you can't see it, so I'm allowed inside Cordor'.


+1 on this as well.

Would be different if the barkskin texture didn't look like actual donkey poo, but it does, and I hate it.

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Dark Immolation
 
PostPosted: Mon, Apr 10 2017, 18:22 PM 

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TormakSaber wrote:
I didn't make this argument. Don't put words in my mouth. I said spells need to look the same, regardless of who casts them or what that visual look is. You should not be able to select person by person what VFX is what.


Alright, but you've missed the meat of what I was saying.

You're saying "You should not be able to select person by person what VFX is what." You've given no rationale as to why you should not be able to. Explain the scenario, not some slippery slope 3 years from now, where someone's stoneskin looking one way and someone else's another matters.

Whatever the answer I have pointed out that, for these spells, the appearance already changes from person to person. You can cover any of these spells (stoneskin, barkskin, shadowshield) with another and it effectively has a different visual. From person to person, one person with Barkskin will have the barkskin VFX on them, another will not because they cast Stoneskin second and you can't see Barkskin at all under it. If people having the same appearance per spell is needed, it needs to be a thing, this particular situation defies that already, entirely, and with little detriment to any game perspective it would seem.

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RaveN
 
PostPosted: Mon, Apr 10 2017, 19:43 PM 

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I will answer you again :mrgreen:

Amia is/has been/probably always will be WYSIWYG for ease of RP.

If someone goes out of their way to confuse the game engine to have a different priority of VFX's and look different by casting spells in random orders, then that's on them, and it's something we deal with as an unfortunate side-effect. Sorry, but I don't think because there's a bug in the VFX priority stack (or lack thereof) in the game engine, that we should make that bug into a game feature.

If people are unhappy with how a VFX looks, that VFX should be modified for everyone. The argument against this sounds a lot like "I want to wear a helmet, but I don't want the graphic to appear on my head." To this, my gut opinion is "Too bad, this isn't WoW. Your appearance serves a greater purpose than making you smile, it is an instrument in RP."

What I will say is that I am not against 'lightening' up the VFX's, so that such 'stacking' VFX's no longer conflict as you pointed out. Particularly looking at barkskin, stoneskin, and shadowshield. I'm in the camp of "less VFX is good" and I'm not particularly convinced that these spells even need one, but I am not set on any opinions, nor responsible for what gets decided, merely adding my input.

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Commie
 
PostPosted: Mon, Apr 10 2017, 21:37 PM 

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Shadow shield at least doesn't have its functionality on a different spell with no vfx, unlike barkskin.

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Dark Immolation
 
PostPosted: Mon, Apr 10 2017, 21:40 PM 

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@Raven I appreciate the attempt to answer, but maybe Im not clear, or maybe I'm completely dumb on this. It's possible. But I'll posit the scenario and you tell me where the problem comes in.

Amia is WYSIWYG. Cool. I follow.

PC 1 Casts Stoneskin. It looks like this.

Image

PC 2 Casts Stoneskin. They choose to make it look like this.

Image

It's possible, from an IC standpoint to see that both 1 and 2 have stoneskin spell on. It's possible to reason the caster is able to make it look one of two ways. In fact, if the model is large enough, stoneskin already takes a swirling rock VFX instead of the skin covering one, and people still recognize the Dragon summon has stoneskin.

It's not exaxtly the same as your helm example. It's very easy to reason that a spell can take a different appearance. More over, it's not like saying you want not helm to show up while wearing one, all you want is a different appearance for the helm you're wearing because you don't like the visual. Which is completely reasonable.

In terms of ease of RP and WYSIWYG, nothing has changed as far as I can see. Any PC looking at 1 or 2 can clearly tell what the situation is, so can any player or DM. Anyone confused by the spell looking like skin in one instance and looking like rocks in another is already confused because the spell already has two visuals in vanilla nwn.

I'm not trying to be combative, and forgive me if it comes across as that or I am completely missing what you're trying to convey. But I don't think having different VFXs is an integral to the game as you are implying. If everyone agrees to change the visual cool, I have already said I'm not fond of the originals. But I don't see how, to continue the helm example, me and a few people wanting to change the appearance of a helm requires everyone else to need to change the appearance of theirs too

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TormakSaber
 
PostPosted: Mon, Apr 10 2017, 23:33 PM 

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that they have different appearances is the problem. pick one. apply to all instances of a spell. done.

your argument re: small/large creature skin stoneskin is irrelevant because it's not something we have control over in the game engine. in this we do. we should not purposefully obscure and make complex visual effects that must stand out and be universally identifiable as a game mechanic.

massive amounts of time and dedication are put into concepts like making things readily identifiable at a glance such as character silhouettes, color palettes, and shapes, so purposefully messing with this is counterintuitive.

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Suhjet
 
PostPosted: Tue, Apr 11 2017, 0:16 AM 

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TormakSaber wrote:
that they have different appearances is the problem. pick one. apply to all instances of a spell. done.

I support the notion to replace shit VFX with better VFX.

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Commie
 
PostPosted: Tue, Apr 11 2017, 0:46 AM 

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Suhjet wrote:
TormakSaber wrote:
that they have different appearances is the problem. pick one. apply to all instances of a spell. done.

I support the notion to replace shit VFX with better VFX.


same.

and just remove barkskins vfx. UEF doesn't have one.

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Polris
 
PostPosted: Sun, Apr 16 2017, 13:26 PM 

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I think your Spellcraft skill should determine whether you recognize the spell or not. Using VFX to make your character know what kind of magic someone is using is just pure metagaming, no matter how many times you've seen the spell.

This change wouldn't effect anything as people who should know what spell is being cast will still be able to tell through their Spellcraft skill (and in a week or two everyone will be able to tell even without that skill).

TormakSaber wrote:
massive amounts of time and dedication are put into concepts like making things readily identifiable at a glance such as character silhouettes, color palettes, and shapes, so purposefully messing with this is counterintuitive.


What are you talking about here? What massive amounts of time are being put into silhouettes and shapes? The 3D model is what gives the shape and the silhouette and you pretty much have the same models since the game came out. Maybe you meant that massive amounts of time and dedication WERE put into these things by the people who made the game but I wouldn't agree with that either. At least not the massive part.

Another thing I'd like to point out is that even if massive amounts of time and dedication were put into creating the silhouettes and shapes and choosing color palettes it doesn't mean that it's the only right way to do these things. It's not like Dark Immolation just picked some random VFX to replace the old ones. I'm sure he put massive amounts of time and dedication into choosing the replacement VFX and as far as I understood it, he's not even asking they be the ones he chose.

I'm sorry if this looks like and attack on you Tormak but this just screamed at me from the screen. I know you mean well and you want what's best for the server but I've been playing here long enough to know that Dark Immolation wants the same. It's not just this topic but many others that I see where he and other people, come up with good arguments and are being shot down and ignored like they're nothing and with bullshit counter-arguments at that. It doesn't make me mad as much as it makes me sad.


 
      
RaveN
 
PostPosted: Sun, Apr 16 2017, 16:55 PM 

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I mean, that's all well and good and stuff... but VFX is a serverside effect object that lives on the character object. When your character object sees the other object, it is not able to draw that object differently based on stuff like spellcraft. The objects should be consistent (effects included) across the game. At best, it could remove that VFX, then apply a different one, but then everyone would see that one instead.

To implement that would be some serious changes to the engine/client. It's fine to have cool suggestions but we also have to focus on what's realistically possible too.

I kinda like the VFX replacement option Dark Immolation chose.

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Commie
 
PostPosted: Sun, Apr 16 2017, 17:04 PM 

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make the soft vfx standard cause the shit-pickle looking barkskin has got to go

if someone wants to use the old graphics then snag a vfx widget for it.

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TormakSaber
 
PostPosted: Sun, Apr 16 2017, 23:26 PM 

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Quote:
I think your Spellcraft skill should determine whether you recognize the spell or not. Using VFX to make your character know what kind of magic someone is using is just pure metagaming, no matter how many times you've seen the spell.


At some point your PC is going to know that a particular visdual effetc means stone skin after the 10th time you use it, and the floaty eyes means people can see better. We're playing adventurers, and characters. They learn.

Quote:
What are you talking about here? What massive amounts of time are being put into silhouettes and shapes? The 3D model is what gives the shape and the silhouette and you pretty much have the same models since the game came out. Maybe you meant that massive amounts of time and dedication WERE put into these things by the people who made the game but I wouldn't agree with that either. At least not the massive part.

Another thing I'd like to point out is that even if massive amounts of time and dedication were put into creating the silhouettes and shapes and choosing color palettes it doesn't mean that it's the only right way to do these things. It's not like Dark Immolation just picked some random VFX to replace the old ones. I'm sure he put massive amounts of time and dedication into choosing the replacement VFX and as far as I understood it, he's not even asking they be the ones he chose.


Intuition and cultivating "game sense" are part of game design theory, and a lot of work goes into it to make things look and feel "Natural" - especially in action games and FPS games where a lot of disparate effects and things are going on at the same time, and milliseconds of reaction time and recognition separates things. NWN is not on the extreme end of these situations, but it's still something to take in mind. Green dots are not barkskin and do not look like barkskin and actually clash visually with other effects like Haven and Greater Sanctuary. It should be avoided. Massive amounts of buffs may cloud the chyaracter and make them unrecognizeable,but even zoomed out when you look at that character you can pick out individual buffs and effects on the character - you can see the mindblank halo, the premonition cloud, the stoneskin, the barksin, the True Sight eyes, the Prot/align sparkles, the Holy Aura halo, the Flame Weapons, so on, so forth. These are important from a game design angle. You don't want your players trying to puzzle out what's going on on the screen when you're playing a game that requires rapid reactions.

Quote:
Another thing I'd like to point out is that even if massive amounts of time and dedication were put into creating the silhouettes and shapes and choosing color palettes it doesn't mean that it's the only right way to do these thing


Um... it is... actually, unless you suggest that unthematic, unintuitive, non-matching spell VFX and thematics are the right way to do something, inn which case you'd just be wrong. The practical theories behind game design and logic are not "bullshit counter-arguments", they're principles of design that make things work properly and "feel right". Be mad or sad as you like.

My entire point in the topic isnt that I care if the VFX is changed (I don't.) it's that individuals shouldn't be able to hand select VFXs forcing people to memorize 5 different effects that may or may not be overwriten on an individual basis for spells. You're adding needless layers of complexity to a game, and that is counter to good game design.

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Kudark
 
PostPosted: Mon, Apr 17 2017, 0:10 AM 

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Not sure if it was mentioned, but there are two visual effects for Stoneskin, currently in use. I noticed Animal Companions get the rotating rock, and Summons (animal/ widget) get the statuesque skin, this was from a wand.

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TormakSaber
 
PostPosted: Mon, Apr 17 2017, 0:34 AM 

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Quote:
It's possible, from an IC standpoint to see that both 1 and 2 have stoneskin spell on. It's possible to reason the caster is able to make it look one of two ways. In fact, if the model is large enough, stoneskin already takes a swirling rock VFX instead of the skin covering one, and people still recognize the Dragon summon has stoneskin.


Quote:
your argument re: small/large creature skin stoneskin is irrelevant because it's not something we have control over in the game engine. in this we do. we should not purposefully obscure and make complex visual effects that must stand out and be universally identifiable as a game mechanic.


please read the topic

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Polris
 
PostPosted: Mon, Apr 17 2017, 0:58 AM 

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RaveN wrote:
I mean, that's all well and good and stuff... but VFX is a serverside effect object that lives on the character object. When your character object sees the other object, it is not able to draw that object differently based on stuff like spellcraft. The objects should be consistent (effects included) across the game. At best, it could remove that VFX, then apply a different one, but then everyone would see that one instead.

To implement that would be some serious changes to the engine/client. It's fine to have cool suggestions but we also have to focus on what's realistically possible too.

I kinda like the VFX replacement option Dark Immolation chose.


I should have realized this sooner or maybe it should have been said sooner in the thread or more directly. If it is a server side change that affects everyone and can't be implemented on an individual basis then I have to agree it's pretty much impossible to do. Possible solutions would be for everyone to agree on a new VFX and change it for everyone or for players to change it in their own versions of the game so it would be only visible to them. The player side change should be fairly easy to do with some renamed file copies I think.

@Tormak
I'll agree on the Spellcraft cause I didn't really think it through. That skill helps you recognize what is being cast during the actual casting and not after it's been cast. It still seems somehow wrong to me though... How would you discern between someone who is petrified(Flesh to Stone) and someone who has Stoneskin and is Held? If you hit one with a hammer he'll break and die and if you hit the other he'll soak it up. Maybe it's just me but it seems wrong that everyone should just know what spell effect someone is under. Especially with the amount of people who play characters with negative Wisdom and Intelligence scores.

I think you misunderstood me on the 'not the only way to do it' thing. I meant there's more than one way to represent something and still have it maintain a theme. Use a different bark texture for example or how VFX for the same spells look in Baldur's Gate compared to NwN. Anyway, this is getting off topic.


 
      
TormakSaber
 
PostPosted: Mon, Apr 17 2017, 3:21 AM 

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Quote:
How would you discern between someone who is petrified(Flesh to Stone) and someone who has Stoneskin and is Held? If you hit one with a hammer he'll break and die and if you hit the other he'll soak it up. Maybe it's just me but it seems wrong that everyone should just know what spell effect someone is under. Especially with the amount of people who play characters with negative Wisdom and Intelligence scores.


One's alive and one's not. I'm going to guess this is along the same lines as "well, how do you tell if someone is alive or dead? Their skin is the same color no matter what!"

Well......

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Dark Immolation
 
PostPosted: Tue, Apr 25 2017, 8:49 AM 

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Disagreements about how much thought Bioware's dudes put into visuals and Tormie's historically pleasant demeanor aside:

As a middle ground, changing the VFX for these three base spells seems possible, if the majority of players are fine with them changing. I would make the topic a poll, but it doesn't look like you can in IA.

The VFX ID's to save devs time, should they choose to switch them

Stoneskin -> 1044 VFX_DUR_STONE4
Shadowskin -> 682 VFX_DUR_DEATH_WARD

Doesn't seem to be a consensus, but these were suggested for Barkskin

321 VFX_DUR_PIXIEDUST
549 VFX_DUR_AURA_GREEN
502 VFX_DUR_IOUNSTONE_GREEN

The only time I recall the old Ioun VFX's interfering with EMA was with the Blue Ioun because their VFXs were very similar(if not the same) and seemed to merge into one after a transition or two. Could probably do some tests on EMA and old Green Ioun VFX very easily.

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Ulir
 
PostPosted: Sat, Jul 22 2017, 11:15 AM 

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+1.

The only vfx bothering me amongst the mentioned ones is Barkskin. It's absolutely abysmal looking. Anything would be better.

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