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Technology of Dragon Age II

The Technology of Dragon Age II Ė Part 2 on the BioWare Blog offers an illustrated look at advancements in the role-playing sequel. Here's an overview of their goals:

One of the major goals of the team was to make the game look great on all platforms. Having accomplished that, we started researching what additional features we can offer to our users that have invested on higher end PC hardware. The latest PC GPUs that have been recently released on the market are very powerful. DirectX 11 technology is a great way for us to target this advanced GPU hardware, as DirectX 11 is fully backwards compatible with DirectX 10. So if you have a video card that supports DirectX 10, DirectX 10.1 or DirectX 11, and Windows Vista SP2 or Windows 7, youíll be able to benefit from additional technology features as described in this post.

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50. Re: Technology of Dragon Age II Mar 7, 2011, 09:09 Verno
 
I'm not sure this was even worthy of a press release, the game itself is completely unremarkable in terms of graphical features.  
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Playing: Infamous Second Son
Watching: Midsomer Murders, Dominion, The Knick
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49. Re: Technology of Dragon Age II Mar 7, 2011, 03:43 Jerykk
 
Dead State looks great as well. Unfortunately, it probably won't be released until 2013. AoD has been in development for years and has yet to announce a release date. I'm hoping it'll come out this year but it's hard to say.  
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48. Re: Technology of Dragon Age II Mar 7, 2011, 03:38 Kajetan
 
Wowbagger_TIP wrote on Mar 7, 2011, 00:51:
I wonder if any other developer will step up and create the next worthy Baldur's Gate successor.
"Age of Decadence" seems to be promising. Multiple ways to solve a quest, choices and (!) consequences.

http://www.irontowerstudio.com/index.htm
 
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47. Re: Technology of Dragon Age II Mar 7, 2011, 00:51 Wowbagger_TIP
 
Somehow I doubt we'll see those sorts of choices and consequences in DA2. It's sad. I wonder if any other developer will step up and create the next worthy Baldur's Gate successor.  
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"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell (I think...)
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46. Re: Technology of Dragon Age II Mar 6, 2011, 22:32 Wetworks
 
*** EVEN MORE SPOILERS ***

I especially liked that you could strike a bargain with the demon. It's been a while but I believe the demon would teach you Blood Magic or give you a tome for talent points. Either way you could spare the demon's life for her services, in exchange she would leave the boy but come back and reposses him years later when he grew up.
 
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45. Re: Technology of Dragon Age II Mar 6, 2011, 22:19 Drayth
 
---SAME SPOILER AS BELOW----------




You could save everyone if you let the bloodmage live AND go to the circle of mages (minus Evil Henchman 1, 2, 3, etc)

..and yes, the choices lead me to standing awkwardly silent for long periods of time, as I don't like to reload and backtrack in the middle of a game. I took the choices seriously.

DA:2 BETTER have choices along those lines in it...
 
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44. Re: Technology of Dragon Age II Mar 6, 2011, 20:49 Jerykk
 
The "consequences" were either tame (a little snippet in the epilogue), obvious, or both.

--SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVEN'T DONE REDCLIFFE YET--

What? There was plenty of meaningful consequence and ambiguity in DAO's choices. Take Redcliffe, for example. When you first enter the castle, you find a Bloodmage locked up in a cell. You can choose to free him, leave him locked up or kill him. At this point of the game, you don't know what's happening in the castle so you can't really trust the Bloodmage, making this choice a difficult one. Later, you find out that Arl Eamon's son has been possessed by a demon. You can choose to get rid of the demon directly but sacrifice the son in the process, run to the Circle of Mages but risk further destruction to Redcliffe or, if you let the Bloodmage live, sacrifice the mom in order to purge the demon from her son. The final choice would not have been available if you had killed the Bloodmage earlier and the Circle of Mages option won't work if you purged the Tower earlier. So, depending on the choices you've made up until that point, you can have from one to three different ways to deal with the situation. That seems like pretty meaningful choice and consequence to me.

There was also a bit of adventure game logic going on in the dialogue trees, so having that cleared up a little doesn't bother me so much.

Could you clarify "adventure game logic"? I thought the dialogue trees were perfectly logical. If you say or do something that conflicts with a companion's principles or beliefs, you lose influence with them. If you say or do something that they approve of, you gain influence. Seems pretty intuitive to me. It's true that you had to actually think a bit before making your choices. It was important to consider the context of the conversation and who you were talking to. This is a good thing, as it keeps dialogue interesting.
 
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43. Re: Technology of Dragon Age II Mar 6, 2011, 20:25 Suddenly_Dead
 
The dialogue in DAO seemed pretty contrived most of the time, so I definitely can't support that complaint. It wasn't that deep; maybe compared with most other games these days, but that's about all. I groaned out loud at several points in the game.

The "consequences" were either tame (a little snippet in the epilogue), obvious, or both. There was also a bit of adventure game logic going on in the dialogue trees, so having that cleared up a little doesn't bother me so much. The strict "idealogue vs. dick" dichotomy that Mass Effect has is too much though; can't really tell how far DA2 is going from the demo, but I hope it's a bit more nuanced.
 
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42. Re: Technology of Dragon Age II Mar 6, 2011, 19:27 Jerykk
 
Actually thought losing those skills was a good thing. I never really used them or paid attention to them and it seemed like a pointless extra step. Once my rogue had lockpicking and my mage had herbalism I just sort of sat there wondering what the fuck to put points into and why I was bothering.

I made heavy use of lockpicking, pickpocketing, persuasion and poison-making so the removal of the skill system is a pretty significant change to me. I especially dislike the removal of the persuasion skill.

As for the Hooked Gamers article, I mostly agree with their complaints but I think they're a bit premature in claiming that your dialogue choices have no consequences. The demo offers a very brief excerpt of the game and can't really be used to judge long-term choice and consequence. That said, I was disappointed that I had no choice but to help the warrior lady and her Templar husband, as well as the pirate lady. In DAO, I don't really recall needing to help anyone. Hell, you could kill Zevran and Wynn upon first meeting them. I'm pretty sure DA2 won't be as open-ended.

This comment was edited on Mar 6, 2011, 19:39.
 
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41. Re: Technology of Dragon Age II Mar 6, 2011, 16:18 Suddenly_Dead
 
briktal wrote on Mar 5, 2011, 23:54:
Prez wrote on Mar 5, 2011, 23:48:
Technology so advanced, we had to remove the tactical view!

What a bad decision.

Did people actually use that, or did they just get mad that they zoomed out one mousewheel click too far?

All the time. I guess if you didn't play on Nightmare you could get away with not using it.
 
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40. Re: Technology of Dragon Age II Mar 6, 2011, 15:42 space captain
 
When you get into the game you will notice that player conversations have become much less significant as well. As far as the dialogue scenes are concerned, this is not role playing; this is interactive playing. The dialogue is so simple that it could be replaced by a choice that you make at the beginning of the game: "Do you want to be a compassionate, humorous, or obnoxious character?" After that choice, you would only have to watch the dialogue scenes play through with no player-input at all.

What we see in Dragon Age 2 is a distinct loss of the necessity to plan attacks, you really can play it as an action-RPG. The demo made this immediately evident when we tried to adopt the pause-play style Ė it was just not practical. The reason for this is because combat is paced much faster and the only really viable way to play the game is to button mash. Any tactics like using the right spell at the right time are made obsolete due to the lack of friendly fire (apart from Nightmare mode) and spells that recharge almost in the blink of an eye. Donít get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with button mashing, I actually enjoy it, but this is simply not what I want from Dragon Age!

Worse still, there are signs that the game has been rushed out to meet publisher demands. The graphics are not going to mesmerise anyone, in fact they donít look any better compared to Origins, environments are fairly dull looking but worst of all is weak level design. The review in PC Games has said that the majority of Dragon Age 2 plays out very much like the demo, meaning a lot of copy-pasted and narrow paths - ugly. Narrow paths in an RPG is actually an oxymoron as the genre requires freedom and an open world and should not be bottle-necking its players. What this effect does however, is focus the game more towards combat as is the nature of an action-RPG. Itís quite understandable that all of these shortcomings have occurred as BioWare are making an effort to bring out all three of their big RPGs in one year. Given that Dragon Age 2 has only had a maximum of two years in development, many of us suspected that the game would fall short in some areas. This lack of an open world, combined with the simple combat means that the game slides even further from its origins.

link
 
Go forth, and kill!
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39. Re: Technology of Dragon Age II Mar 6, 2011, 13:48 StingingVelvet
 
Jerykk wrote on Mar 6, 2011, 05:29:
A bit premature to judge the quality of DA2 on PC. The demo was underwhelming to most people here. I do agree that Bioware has put more effort into the PC port than other developers typically do, but that doesn't have any bearing on the quality of the game itself.

I was speaking of the technical port to PC, not game mechanics, as should have been obvious. The quality of the game itself is subjective, and believe me I know most PC gamers are pissed at it.

On a side note, GameInformer recently wrote an article about some of the major changes in DA2, based on a complete playthrough of the game. First, the skill system is gone. You can no longer craft (NPCs craft for you) or set traps. Persuasion is completely gone and pickpocketing is probably gone as well. Lockpicking still exists, though it's a passive skill that relies solely on your Cunning level.

I actually thought losing those skills was a good thing. I never really used them or paid attention to them and it seemed like a pointless extra step. Once my rogue had lockpicking and my mage had herbalism I just sort of sat there wondering what the fuck to put points into and why I was bothering. There are things I am sad about losing, despite liking the game overall, but that is not one of them.

I'm mostly pissed at the removal of companion armor equipping and the ability for companions to leave you, for the record. Those annoyances are made up for (to my tastes) by the much better combat pace and presentation however, and the more unique and vibrant art design.
 
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38. Re: Technology of Dragon Age II Mar 6, 2011, 12:48 Dades
 
Overon wrote on Mar 6, 2011, 09:43:
These streamlining changes, which some of us would call dumbing down and the extra download required to get the high resolution textures (consoles don't need the high res textures cause they can't handle them) are all a clear sign of what the intended platform is for this game. The only reason the first game was PC friendly was because it started on PC and took so long to release. If they could they would have gone back and tailored it for consoles in the first one.

Dragon Age II is not a PC game.

Indeed, this game is a turd. The demo was embarrassingly mediocre for what is supposed to be a AAA production. The technology of Dragon Age II is probably an inside joke, the game looked like typical console garbage.
 
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37. Re: Technology of Dragon Age II Mar 6, 2011, 09:51 Slashman
 
Overon wrote on Mar 6, 2011, 09:43:
These streamlining changes, which some of us would call dumbing down and the extra download required to get the high resolution textures (consoles don't need the high res textures cause they can't handle them) are all a clear sign of what the intended platform is for this game. The only reason the first game was PC friendly was because it started on PC and took so long to release. If they could they would have gone back and tailored it for consoles in the first one.

Dragon Age II is not a PC game.

Yeah I tried to suspend judgment for as long as I could despite hearing about the changes.

Unfortunately, this is apparently what Bioware has been reduced to.

I honestly did not mind the direction they took with ME 2. But to do it for a game like Dragon Age which was supposed to be a spiritual successor to Baldur's Gate is downright insulting.
 
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36. Re: Technology of Dragon Age II Mar 6, 2011, 09:43 Overon
 
These streamlining changes, which some of us would call dumbing down and the extra download required to get the high resolution textures (consoles don't need the high res textures cause they can't handle them) are all a clear sign of what the intended platform is for this game. The only reason the first game was PC friendly was because it started on PC and took so long to release. If they could they would have gone back and tailored it for consoles in the first one.

Dragon Age II is not a PC game.
 
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35. Re: Technology of Dragon Age II Mar 6, 2011, 08:34 Slashman
 
Slashman wrote on Mar 6, 2011, 08:33:
Jerykk wrote on Mar 6, 2011, 05:29:
A bit premature to judge the quality of DA2 on PC. The demo was underwhelming to most people here. I do agree that Bioware has put more effort into the PC port than other developers typically do, but that doesn't have any bearing on the quality of the game itself.

On a side note, GameInformer recently wrote an article about some of the major changes in DA2, based on a complete playthrough of the game. First, the skill system is gone. You can no longer craft (NPCs craft for you) or set traps. Persuasion is completely gone and pickpocketing is probably gone as well. Lockpicking still exists, though it's a passive skill that relies solely on your Cunning level. The article also mentions that you can now do companion quests regardless of your relationship with them. That seems pretty dumbed down to me. Your relationships are completely meaningless now. Your companions will still get stat bonuses regardless of how they feel about you and you no longer have to make tough choices about who you try to influence.

It's quite amazing, really. I don't think there's ever been a sequel where every single change has pissed me off. Not even Deus Ex 2 and Gothic 3 managed to pull that off, though they came pretty close.

I did say that I was sure this was the case. No trap setting. No persuasion and 'passive' lock picking are all retarded.

No need to play through more than once to see new relationship choices for your companions because you get all their bonuses regardless of how you treat them. Nice work Bioware.
 
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34. Re: Technology of Dragon Age II Mar 6, 2011, 08:33 Slashman
 
Jerykk wrote on Mar 6, 2011, 05:29:
A bit premature to judge the quality of DA2 on PC. The demo was underwhelming to most people here. I do agree that Bioware has put more effort into the PC port than other developers typically do, but that doesn't have any bearing on the quality of the game itself.

On a side note, GameInformer recently wrote an article about some of the major changes in DA2, based on a complete playthrough of the game. First, the skill system is gone. You can no longer craft (NPCs craft for you) or set traps. Persuasion is completely gone and pickpocketing is probably gone as well. Lockpicking still exists, though it's a passive skill that relies solely on your Cunning level. The article also mentions that you can now do companion quests regardless of your relationship with them. That seems pretty dumbed down to me. Your relationships are completely meaningless now. Your companions will still get stat bonuses regardless of how they feel about you and you no longer have to make tough choices about who you try to influence.

It's quite amazing, really. I don't think there's ever been a sequel where every single change has pissed me off. Not even Deus Ex 2 and Gothic 3 managed to pull that off, though they came pretty close.

I did say that I was sure this was the case. No trap setting. No persuasion and 'passive' lock picking are all retarded.

No need to play through more than once to see new relationship choices for your companions because you get all their bonuses regardless of how you treat them. Nice work Bioware.

P.S. Sorry for the double post below...I hit the quote button instead of the edit button. Suggwink
 
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33. Re: Technology of Dragon Age II Mar 6, 2011, 07:56 MoreLuckThanSkill
 
Jerykk wrote on Mar 6, 2011, 05:29:
A bit premature to judge the quality of DA2 on PC. The demo was underwhelming to most people here. I do agree that Bioware has put more effort into the PC port than other developers typically do, but that doesn't have any bearing on the quality of the game itself.

On a side note, GameInformer recently wrote an article about some of the major changes in DA2, based on a complete playthrough of the game. First, the skill system is gone. You can no longer craft (NPCs craft for you) or set traps. Persuasion is completely gone and pickpocketing is probably gone as well. Lockpicking still exists, though it's a passive skill that relies solely on your Cunning level. The article also mentions that you can now do companion quests regardless of your relationship with them. That seems pretty dumbed down to me. Your relationships are completely meaningless now. Your companions will still get stat bonuses regardless of how they feel about you and you no longer have to make tough choices about who you try to influence.

It's quite amazing, really. I don't think there's ever been a sequel where every single change has pissed me off. Not even Deus Ex 2 and Gothic 3 managed to pull that off, though they came pretty close.

Wow, that's horrible... I was already going to skip this game, but I had hoped that Bioware hadn't been destroyed by EA quite so quickly. R.I.P. Bioware

Oh well, Drakensang: River of Time is out in the US finally, $19.99 on Steam and other digital stores, for the base price! Should be half that pretty soon for you penny-pinchers / fence-sitters.

 
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32. Re: Technology of Dragon Age II Mar 6, 2011, 07:45 Kajetan
 
StingingVelvet wrote on Mar 6, 2011, 05:05:
My point was that your post ...
Not mine

As a multiplatform game it is very good on the PC though with a custom UI, control scheme, auto-attack and other tweaks plus high-res textures and DX11 effects. Frankly it's still a better PC version than 95% of other developers would do now-a-days.
Sorry, but that is all but sugarcoating. Only because Biowares PC versions are slightly better than the ordinary multiplattform PC version doesnt it make somewhat ok. Its still a lazy port, where i have to download additional data, spend time and bandwidth and therefore money for something which should be ON the disc from the start, because highres textures were advertised as in "comes with the game" and not "you may download them later".

Do you really think this is ok?
 
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31. Re: Technology of Dragon Age II Mar 6, 2011, 05:29 Jerykk
 
A bit premature to judge the quality of DA2 on PC. The demo was underwhelming to most people here. I do agree that Bioware has put more effort into the PC port than other developers typically do, but that doesn't have any bearing on the quality of the game itself.

On a side note, GameInformer recently wrote an article about some of the major changes in DA2, based on a complete playthrough of the game. First, the skill system is gone. You can no longer craft (NPCs craft for you) or set traps. Persuasion is completely gone and pickpocketing is probably gone as well. Lockpicking still exists, though it's a passive skill that relies solely on your Cunning level. The article also mentions that you can now do companion quests regardless of your relationship with them. That seems pretty dumbed down to me. Your relationships are completely meaningless now. Your companions will still get stat bonuses regardless of how they feel about you and you no longer have to make tough choices about who you try to influence.

It's quite amazing, really. I don't think there's ever been a sequel where every single change has pissed me off. Not even Deus Ex 2 and Gothic 3 managed to pull that off, though they came pretty close.

This comment was edited on Mar 6, 2011, 05:54.
 
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