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Bard's Tale IV Kickstarter

posted Jun 13, 2015, 6:09 AM by Troy Cheek   [ updated Jun 13, 2015, 6:10 AM ]

Bard's Tale IV Q&A

From the creators of Wasteland 2 and Torment: Tides of Numenera comes The Bard’s Tale IV. Thirty years ago, The Bard’s Tale put Brian Fargo and Interplay on the map and launched a storied career crafting some of the most beloved cRPGs in gaming history.

Today, we return to Skara Brae for the long-awaited dungeon-crawling sequel to the Bard’s Tale trilogy -- the games that helped define the genre.

  • A single-player, party-based role-playing game, rich in exploration and combat

  • Dungeons filled not just with dangerous fights but with challenging puzzles and devious riddles
  • Dynamic phase-based combat, where the pace of battle is animated and fluid, but still gives you time to think and respond to your enemies
  • A game set to beautiful Gaelic music, where the Bard’s songs and melodies affect gameplay
  • Co-funded by fans and inXile: if this game hits its $1.25 million goal, inXile will put in at least $1.25 million of its own money to double the initial budget!
  • Built using Unreal Engine 4, for PC, Mac and Linux. Available from Steam, or DRM-Free from GOG.com or The Humble Store
  • Available in English, French, German, Russian, Spanish, and Polish
  • Built for and with the help of our fans.  Your feedback and input directly impact the design and features of the game during alpha and beta stages

Ybarra's Magical Moon Exploration Game?

posted Mar 17, 2013, 6:04 PM by Troy Cheek   [ updated Mar 17, 2013, 6:04 PM ]

Joe Ybarra has founded a new independent studio, Joe Got Game, and has turned to crowdfunding for a passion project called Shackleton Crater.  If the name sounds familiar, check out your spell list for the old Bard's Tale games.  Ybarra was one of the founding members of Electronic Arts which published Bard's Tale, M.U.L.E., and countless other classic games from my childhood.  This project will only be funded if at least $700,000 is pledged by Wednesday Apr 10, 9:02pm EDT.

Bard's Tale IV: Prototype Footage

posted Mar 17, 2013, 5:34 PM by Troy Cheek   [ updated Mar 17, 2013, 5:37 PM ]

Bard's Tale IV: Prototype Footage

Kenneth Kully of the Ultima Codex was recently granted permission to dig through the digital archives of EA subsidiary Mythic Entertainment. Two days ago, he informed me that he had found in it a very strange video.

We know that Mythic Entertainment are the caretakers of Ultima Online and the entire Ultima legacy at EA. As such, they have inherited materials that originally belonged to Origin before that company's final shutdown in 2004. We also know that back in 1998, Brian Fargo had not yet recovered the rights to Bard's Tale, which he eventually used to make his own modern take on the series, 2004's The Bard's Tale.

So, did Origin set out to create their own Bard's Tale sequel? Considering how busy they were in 1998 with the disaster that was Ultima IX, that doesn't seem likely. Luckily, the powers of Google supply an answer to our conundrum.

A forgotten interview from 2000 with original Bard's Tale trilogy developer "Burger" Bill Heineman at defunct fansite BardsTale.com reveals:

Scott: Well I sure hope that someday the saga will continue. If you were allowed to produce BT4, do you have any new ideas in the back of your mind on things you might do differently this time?

Bill: We have a whole game design document and even a prototype of the engine. We pitched the idea to EA about a month ago but they were not interested.

Scott: Oh, that is a shame!!! With your new engine, has the game been enhanced a lot, or does it still look basically the same?

Bill: Completely new game. It has more of an Everquest look to it but all the art and sounds have a Bard's Tale feel to it.

Scott: Do you have any story ideas for Bard's Tale 4 yet?

Bill: As I said before, we have a whole game design document. It takes place after Bard's Tale III and begins the tale again. We hope it's the first part of a three part saga.

Check out http://www.rpgcodex.net/forums/index.php?threads/footage-from-a-1998-bards-tale-iv-prototype-revealed-for-the-first-time.80896/ for more details and discussion.

Bt Builder - Bard's Tale Construction Set Remake

posted Oct 3, 2012, 9:10 AM by Troy Cheek   [ updated Oct 3, 2012, 9:11 AM ]

I've been working on a Bard's Tale Construction Set remake. It's entirely open source. There is no editor at the moment. It is still missing a handful of features of the old BTCS when playing a game and the sample game at the moment doesn't really have much to it. It is called Bt Builder. It can be found at:  http://identicalsoftware.com/btbuilder

Dennis Payne
dulsi@identicalsoftware.com

Bt Builder is an open source implementation of the Bard's Tale Construction Set. The eventual goal is to make a game builder that can implement the three main Bard's Tale games in addition to Construction Set games. Other possible extensions include Wasteland and Dragon Wars. The editor file formats and custom pictures have been deciphered. At current we do not intend to decipher all file formats instead a new free collection of graphics and sounds will be included with the game. No editor has been developed. The game interface fairly usable at the moment.

Matt Chat 154: Jennell on Coleco, Adam, and Bard's Tale IV

posted Jun 29, 2012, 2:07 PM by Troy Cheek   [ updated Jun 29, 2012, 2:08 PM ]

Matt Chat 154: Jennell Jaquays on Coleco and Bard's Tale IV

From: Matt Barton

I'm back this week with part 2 of my interview with Jennell Jaquays. This week, we turn to her time at Coleco during the early 80s, when she worked on a prototype that I'm sure Mr. Bill L. would love to get his hands on--an RPG that combined two "hot" techs of the time--bar codes and speech chips. It never materialized, but it sounds amazing. Jennell also describes why the ADAM was a failure from an engineering perspective. Next, we turn to Bard's Tale IV, and get a look behind-the-scenes of what would have been the most ambitious Bard's Tale game ever. I was interested to know that it offered three different perspectives.

Download the episode here. As always, if you like the show and want to see more episodes, donate today.

iOS Bard's Tale will include the Original Trilogy?

posted Mar 23, 2012, 1:16 PM by Troy Cheek   [ updated Mar 23, 2012, 1:16 PM ]

The Bard's Tale, the inXile Entertainment sequel in name only to the original trilogy, is currently selling for iOS.  Interviews with Brian Fargo stated that all three of the original games will be included in the iOS version, though the current itunes product listing only mentions the first.  According to Fargo, the other two games will be released in the coming months.

Bard's Tale 2 playthrough by girldrinkdrunk1

posted Jul 20, 2011, 9:45 AM by Troy Cheek   [ updated Jul 20, 2011, 9:50 AM ]

Bard's Tale 2 playthrough

girldrinkdrunk1 has posted another playthrough.  This one is the complete game of Bard's Tale 2: The Destiny Knight.

This is a complete playthough of a classic computer RPG. The party was imported from the previous game (see playlist 'Bard's Tale 1: Tales of the Unknown'). To import a party from a previous game using dosbox, mount the game directory of the previous game as a floppy drive. Example (assume dos games are in c:\dos) - mount c c:\dos; mount a c:\dos\bt1; This should enable you to access characters from the previous game in the disk options.


Bard's Tale 1 playthrough by girldrinkdrunk1

posted Jul 4, 2011, 5:04 AM by Troy Cheek   [ updated Jul 20, 2011, 9:47 AM ]

Bard's Tale 1 playthrough

Sorry that I haven't been updating this section of the website much.  I've been focusing on other things and haven't played Bard's Tale in a while.  However, I did come across this little tidbit that I thought I should share:  girldrinkdrunk1 has posted a complete playthrough of Bard's Tale 1 on YouTube.  To quote:

This is a complete playthrough of a classic computer RPG. Things could have been done more efficiently in retrospect, but it could've taken longer. With the benefit of hindsight, I would probably delay entry into Harkyn's castle until I have both spellcasters with mind blade (probably grinding for exp after getting tough enough to solo/duo the catacombs zombie fight). At this point, the party could probably get past Kylearan's tower and collectively level up off the ghoul fight in Mangar's Tower level 2. When the front line people are ~level 20 would be a good time to attempt to kill Mangar (although it is still a risky proposition at that point). Also, I would not sell the speedboots. I looked up what they did afterwards. ;_;


Matt Chat 86: Bard’s Tale IV and Wasteland II with Becky Burger

posted Jan 5, 2011, 2:47 PM by Troy Cheek   [ updated Jan 5, 2011, 2:55 PM ]

This is the final part of the Matt’s interview with Becky where we find out a lot of information about things that go on behind the scenes in bringing gamers the games.  Favorite platforms are discussed, indie gaming and more.

Becky Burger


Matt Chat is a weekly video show that covers games with in game graphics and video clips and when available, exclusive interviews with influential people that were involved in games.  Matt Barton’s digital home is Armchair Arcade where he is surrounded by many like minded people, author of many books and even helps host the Armchair Arcade Radio Show.  (Found via scenic7pr.com)

The Bard's Tale: Won (at last)!

posted Apr 14, 2010, 6:07 PM by Troy Cheek   [ updated Apr 14, 2010, 6:11 PM ]

From the CRPG blog...

Well, my roller-coaster journey through The Bard's Tale is over. I know my postings on this game have been a bit schizophrenic, sometimes seeming as if I liked the game and sometimes as if I hated it. If so, then the posts are accurate, because that is exactly how I felt.

The game is challenging from the very beginning, thrusting you into a Skara Brae full of monsters in which the difference between survival and death depends primarily on luck. Run into some kobolds and you'll make it; stumble into a house with six barbarians, and your level 1 party is history. The game became more stable once I started dungeon-crawling, and for four out of five dungeons, my characters rarely died. But once I hit Mangar's tower, the vagaries of chance returned with a vengeance. Turning a corner and blundering into a party of six demons, four master wizards, and three red dragons is relatively commonplace, and if you can't run from the battle, there's essentially no way to survive it. Demons, dragons, magic users, and several other creatures are capable of launching deadly attacks that do more than 100 HP damage to all your party members, against which you have essentially no defense (the anti-magic bard song seemed, in my experience, to do nothing). If my characters were 10 levels higher, they wouldn't survive such an encounter, and I don't think there was any realistic way to get them 10 levels higher. It would have taken millions of experience points (most battles, even at the end, were giving me 5,000-7,000 each on average).

So my winning was mostly luck. I made probably 20-25 forays onto Level 5 of Mangar's tower, dying each time, before I found the path that led me to Mangar himself. After that, I traced that path about 12 times before I finally got lucky and defeated Mangar. I would have recorded it, as I usually do for end games, but I never knew which time would be "the" time, and by the time I finally won, I had given up on recording.

Mangar is surrounded by two demon lords and three vampire lords. Vampire lords can stone you with a single touch and demon lords can belch fireballs. Mangar himself is no pushover, capable of some serious damage. Again, I just got lucky. The monsters decided to go after my summoned dragon, giving me enough time to kill a couple of them. The demon lords decided to cast spells instead of spewing fire. One lucky round is really all it took.

(Incidentally, the summon dragon spell is the most awesome spell in the game. The dragon almost always gets the first attack, and if you're lucky he'll breathe fire and wipe out an entire group of monsters.)

Winning gives you 300,000 experience points--like I really need those now, thanks--and returns you to the Adventurer's Guild, where I was happy to save and quit. I never finished mapping Level 5. As I allow myself to do once I've finished, I consulted a walkthrough and discovered I didn't really miss anything, although he found the final battle "disappointingly easy." Whatever. Apparently, I could then have gotten a cool magic item, but I don't see any reason to keep playing after I've won.

I'm going to do a quick posting with a final ranking for The Bard's Tale. After that, I have to regress to Wizardry II and Wizardry III (I ordered The Ultimate Wizardry Archives after my first attempts to play them didn't work) before moving on to Phantasie.

One final thing: most of the messages scrawled on the dungeon walls turned out to be clues to one thing or another. Even the message "Thor is the greatest son of Odin, "found in the first dungeon, turned out to be helpful in the fifth when answering that question gives you a little Thor figurine you can use to summon him. But one message I never did figure out, also from the first dungeon: IRKM DESMET DAEM. It doesn't seem to be an an anagram ("mirk Ed Mets made?") and it doesn't give enough letters to be a solvable cryptogram. Googling the phrase just turns up references to The Bard's Tale. Any ideas?

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