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McTrinsic

Posted Mon Feb 25, 2019 6:08 am

To switch between the Ultimas and the GoldBox series is a good idea. You’ll start to appreciate both approaches with their different strengths weaknesses.

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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
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Posted Wed Mar 06, 2019 4:46 pm

Under the weather today, so I'm able to sit (for a few mins at a time) and plug away at this insanely large labyrinthian maze. Current status (Secret of the Silver Blades):
sotss.jpg
There is quite an abundance in red dragons of all ages in this place, by the way.

I'm earning gaudy amounts of magical items, money and experience from each battle. I'm not complaining, as there are a lot of foes here that can kill you pretty easily simply by looking in your direction. It's early days, but so far it's either crush or be crushed. And get handsomely rewarded.

Thankfully there is a Vault concept in this game - a place to store not only giant stacks of platinum, gold, gems and jewelry, but even armor and weapons (to sell at a later date, or presumably to give to future NPCs that join my party).

Kind of interesting. But I literally have to go make deposits after each and every battle I'm being given so much stuff!

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Shot97
Detroit, MI, USA
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Posted Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:46 pm

I never used the vault. Awful economy, as they all are. This is the only one of the massive (non 16x16 grids) RPGs I ever hand mapped. Very worth it to gain thorough insight on its placement in the genre.

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McTrinsic

Posted Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:39 pm

Actually, the grids are square, I just don’t remember their size AFAIR.
The trick is that if you leave the square e.g. on the right you come back on the left. This creates the illusion of a much bigger dungeon. If you know that you can find spots better on the map as it’s easier to find ‘gaps‘.

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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
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Posted Thu Mar 07, 2019 11:26 am

Actually McTrinsic in Silver Blades the "Ruins" map isn't a square. It's this somewhat strange looking labyrinth with several "arms". The Well is a perfect square, and I think the Black Circle's area is a square - as is town. But the Ruins, where I'm at right now is more rectangular - again, with large gaps of nothing and weird areas.

In my experience I don't recall another Gold Box game quite like it map-wise. And it's extremely easy to get lost. If I were to guess, it's more like 75w X 50h or something crazy like that. And again a lot of that space isn't actually used, so it's hard to know if you've gone everywhere.

Something I've learned along the way:
If you find hill giants you get a butt load of experience points. Just an insane amount. And incredibly I'm able to cast Hold Monsters - which allows me to hit 4 at a time - including on dragons! Some of the mega battles I win really quickly. Meanwhile, when I go back to town and rest I'll get ambushed by Fire Knives (I remember seeing them in an previous game). And they'll kill you with a poison blade with a single hit. It's crazy times. :D

Dragon! Oh, it's just an ancient red dragon. (yawn)

Honey, someone's at the door.
It's six meekly Fire Knife assassins. Oh CRAP!

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Shot97
Detroit, MI, USA
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Posted Thu Mar 07, 2019 1:47 pm

You can never get lost if you're mapping it out yourself. But the whole twisting and turning of some paths to nothing is why I recommend mapping it yourself. Otherwise it's easily looked at as dead space, or one area is easily ignored when you're tempted to get to the point. But touching every spot, racking up those experience points, being rewarded when you do find something, and never being in danger of losing your place, fantastic feeling. -I'll convince you people one of these days, and you'll never look back...

Pool of Radiance is the most similar to this games "world" map. In that it's expansive and takes way more th an one sheet of paper to graph. I prefer Pool of Radiance's world map to any of the gold box games, because it's the most beautiful and gives you the feeling of traveling the world. The grand chunk of Gold Box games use a single map screen overview, which is made up of many squares but is super zoomed out and disconnecting to me. Silver Blades is the only one to not have any map system for the world, leaving you in 1st person for the entire game, giving it a bit of Might and Magic feel to me.

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BloodyCactus
Lexington VA
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Posted Thu Mar 07, 2019 3:40 pm

maps in all ssi goldbox games are 16x16.. now they may have odd wrap/connections/teleports (ie: sewers in curse was a single 16x16 laid out in 3 columns end to end. the ruins in blades is just a multiple 16x16 map, you can tell when you hit the load points. It maps like a large sprawing thing, but it all fits into itself like a jigsaw puzzle. This was an engine limit that was present through the entirety of the gold box games, even the last ones on the PC (dark queen of krynn).

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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
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Posted Thu Mar 07, 2019 3:47 pm

@bloody that might be technically true. I do notice oddly placed archways when I'm traveling the ruins, and now I wonder if that's where some things are stitched together. As a player, the map is by no means 16x16. But I could see how one might be put together on the backend that way.

To your point about teleports, though - this is the first game I've played in the Gold Box world where the environment does not always match the combat areas.

For example, I could be in a hallway and see a door at the other end, then suddenly enter combat. Typically you'd see the same walls and entryways in the battle view that you just saw in the 3D view. In Silver Blades, however, sometimes I'll be walking around a room and suddenly enter a combat area that doesn't match what its supposed to match at all. It's very weird. I've wondered if because there are teleporters in Silver Blades if maybe some combat teleported you to new "rooms" but its not in any of the documentation that I've seen. Once the battle is over and you grab your loot you're right back where you were before.

Sometimes it matches, but a lot of times it doesn't. Never seen that in any GB game before.

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BloodyCactus
Lexington VA
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Posted Thu Mar 07, 2019 4:52 pm

yeah its multiple 16x16 grids put together like a puzzle. imo the most useless map I ever hand mapped in all the gold box games lol!

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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
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Posted Tue Apr 02, 2019 8:36 am

Been playing Secret of Silver Blades for a while now. At least, it feels like I've been playing for a while now!

I finally got all the way through the ice caverns to the castle door - only to discover I'm apparently missing 1 single piece of Oswulf's staff! All this time I thought I had it and was ready to go. I mean, it's on my screen and is simply gigantic. But there must be a piece at the very end of it that I missed.

Talk about soul crushing! Back to the mines? Makes me almost want to quit. But I won't.

I've got to slog my way out of the eastern ice caves to a teleporter and head back to the Well and pour gems in it to hopefully figure out which level I missed something. Ugh!! What a drag.

The good news is the mazes aren't complex. The bad news is they are gigantic, and the battles are becoming repetitive (not hard, just time consuming). I think my main beef with this game thus far has been very little progression in the characters at all. With the previous two, I felt like the characters were pretty low-level and the leaps from level to level were dramatic. You could feel them improve. In this game, you start off really high level, and quickly go even higher. But they're already so powerful the character development feels oddly static.

OMG I can't believe I'm missing a piece of the staff!
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Look at that thing. Doesn't that look done to you?






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