world of Arcanum is a Tolkienesque fantasy world that has
recently experienced an industrial revolution. We have tried
to give it the feel and look of the late 1800's Europe, mixed
with the remnants of the "Old (fantasy) World".
Technology and magic have reached an unstable equilibrium,
with technology being on the rise in the last 70 years, and
magic being in decline from its once penultimate position in
the world. Being a true fantasy world, Arcanum is populated
with elves, orcs, humans, dwarves, ogres, gnomes and halflings.
However, with the advent of technology, the races' roles in
society have radically changed, bringing additional tension to
story finds the player on vacation when he is thrust into the
position of being responsible for the fate of the world (of
course). Our story, like the world of Arcanum, hinges on the
uneasy dichotomy of magic and technology.
extends a big thanks to CodeGuy, denizen of the boards at
IGN's RPGVault. To help us write this FAQ, CodeGuy collected
posts we'd made there into one organized document. This made
it much easier to choose questions, and provided good material
to start with for answers.
How do magic and technology work in
Magic and technology are opposites. Magic bends physical law
to the will of the mage. Technology depends on physical law.
And, in the fantasy world of Arcanum the use of technology
reinforces physical law, countering the effect of magic.
spell Stone Missile works by summoning a small rock out of
thin air (physically impossible!), and then accelerating the
rock to high speed along a finely controlled trajectory,
merely by force of will (also physically impossible). In
contrast, a gun takes advantage of several physical laws to
achieve the same ends.
Arcanum each use of magic weakens physical law, and each use
of technology reinforces it. This dichotomy is directly built
into the gameplay. To model this in a fun, and not overly
complex manner, the state of physical law is tied to the
people who change it. A practiced mage weakens the law, and
that weakness of physical law becomes a part of the mage,
following him wherever he goes. A studied technologist
reinforces the law, and that strength of physical law becomes
a part of the technologist, traveling with him.
game examines a character's skills and derives from them a
quantitative aptitude towards magic or technology. A character
who knows several spells but only one technological skill will
have a significant magical aptitude. A character who has
mastered several technological skills but only one spell will
have a high technological aptitude.
stat is used to modify the effectiveness of every spell and
every technological skill as they are used by that character.
A character with an aptitude for magic receives a bonus when
casting spells, and a penalty when using a technological
skill. As you can guess by now, the reverse is true for
is also possible for a character to study equal amounts of
magic and technology. That character's magical and
technological aptitude will hover near zero. Spells and
technological skills will both work normally for the balanced
character, without penalties or bonuses.
How does a character's magical or
technological aptitude affect skills used on that character?
If you shoot a gun at a skilled mage, the bullet will have
difficulty maintaining a steady trajectory, and may miss on
account of this. The mage weakens the physical laws that the
bullet uses to stay on target, such as the stabilization
imparted by spin. The spell Stone Missile will have a similar
problem when used against a master technologist. The
technologist reinforces physical law, making it harder for the
Stone Missile to stay on target, or to impact with the usual
one character uses a skill on another character, both
characters' aptitudes are taken into account. The acting
character may receive a bonus or penalty from his own
aptitude. The aptitude of the target can contribute a penalty,
but not a bonus.
a spell is cast, the technological aptitude of the target is
subtracted from the magical aptitude of the caster. If the
result is positive, a corresponding bonus is applied to the
spell, representing the superior magical aptitude of the
caster. If the result is zero, the match is even, and the
spell activates normally, without a bonus or penalty. If the
result is negative, a penalty is applied to the spell,
representing the superior technological aptitude of the
the caster might have a technological aptitude instead of a
magical aptitude -- perhaps this character is an engineer who
has learned just one or two spells for when they're handy. In
this case the technological aptitude of the caster will be
treated as a negative magical aptitude to begin with. If the
target also has a technological aptitude, this will be
subtracted from the initial negative number to make for an
even larger penalty.
same pattern holds for the use of technological skills, just
with a switch of aptitudes. This rule also affects the use of
beneficial skills, such as healing.
What makes and item
An item that is complex enough to be out of place in a
traditional, pre-gunpowder fantasy setting is considered
technological. A bow would be a good example of one of the
more complex items that would not count as technological and
would not interfere with magic.
are a few elements of traditional fantasy that we are
considering technological. One example is the chemical mixings
of the alchemist. Locks are also considered slightly
How many spells are there?
There are 80 spells that players can learn, though no single
character will learn them all. They fall into 16 colleges each
with 5 spells, and these spells are of varying difficulty (1
is the easiest, whereas 5 is the most difficult to learn).
There are other spells that players cannot learn, either
because they must be bound into items, or because the
knowledge of their casting has been lost to nearly all
16 spell colleges are: Conveyance, Divination, Elemental Air,
Elemental Earth, Elemental Fire, Elemental Water, Force,
Mental, Meta, Morph, Nature, Necromantic (Evil), Necromantic
(Good), Phantasm, Summoning, Temporal.
How does spell casting work in Arcanum?
Magic in Arcanum does not require rituals, nor is it mana-based.
When you use magic in the world of Arcanum, it costs you
Fatigue. In other words, casting spells tires you out. You can
regain Fatigue through the use of potions, but you also regain
Fatigue by simply resting.
are also magical talismans, staves, etc. that contain mana. If
you are in possession of one of these artifacts, your magic
will draw upon the item's mana before draining your own. The
item will then recharge through lack of use, in the same way
that you do.
of these items will also contain innate spells, which are cast
either Passively (the item casts the spell when you wear it,
wield it, etc.) or Actively (you pick the spell to cast from
an interface showing which spells it has bound to it). These
spells are cast using a separate internal mana store in the
item, and as such you will be unable to use your own Fatigue
to cast them once the item is drained. (As a side note, you
will be unable to utilize an item's Active spells until you
have Identified the item, though the Passive ones will still
is not the only thing that will affect your Fatigue. If you
are hit with a blunt object (a club, for instance), it causes
a small amount of physical damage and a larger amount of
Fatigue damage. Fatigue is also affected by running and by
being heavily encumbered. There are no constraints on items
wearable based on your Magic or Tech bias, however Mages will
likely be wearing lighter armor (or even robes) in order to
lessen their Fatigue costs.
What can a technologist make?
Here's a list of just a few of the items you will be able to
create after studying technological disciplines:
the Discipline of Chemistry, one of the items you can make is
Hallucinite. Use a vial of this on your enemy and watch him
flee in panic as he sees monsters that aren't really there.
the Discipline of Electrical, you can learn how to combine a
watch and various electrical parts to create a magic detector.
This device detects magical items and beings. (One good use
for the magic detector is to make sure there aren't any spells
on chests before you try and open them.)
the Discipline of Explosives, one of the item you can create
is a Stun Grenade. This weapon does fatigue, not physical
damage. (A great weapon to use against mages!)
the Discipline of Gun Smithy, one degree that you earn will
enable you to build an elephant gun. The elephant gun is a
big, high powered weapon, one of the most powerful guns in the
just a small sampling of the items you can build through the
knowledge gained in the technological disciplines. The
different disciplines will allow you to build lots of
different types of items, from Therapeutics, which let you
enhance your characters basic abilities (with elixirs) to
Smithy, which will allow you to forge refined weapons, better
than those found elsewhere in the game.
are going to be more than 56 items that you can create. In
addition to the 7 that you can create in each discipline,
there will be several cross disciplinary things that can be
built. As an example, if you have a smattering of knowledge in
Anatomical, and are well versed in Chemistry, you will be able
to find a schematic that will teach you how to animate the
Will there be healing potions or
Yes, there are magical healing potions. We also have their
technological counterparts, called therapeutics.
What magical items are in Arcanum?
Almost any item that you can pick up in the game can be
magical (as in, it can contain spells, have enhanced
attributes, etc.). The only exception to this is technological
items. Players cannot enchant items themselves, but may
encounter people in the world that have the knowledge to craft
specific items, will be able to find them by adventuring, and
can buy some of them from merchants.
are different types of enchantments an item can have. Weapons
can have enhanced bonuses to-hit, damage (different types of
damage too, such as physical, fire, electrical, etc.), speed
(how quickly you can attack with the weapon), how far a ranged
weapon can fire, critical modifiers, minimum strength
adjustments (so the 90 pound halfling can wield the Huge
Hammer Of so-and-so, for instance), and more.
adjustments can modify your various resistances, etc.
items can have weight adjustments, and they can have innate
stores of mana to help you cast spells (the item is drained
before you are, and it will recharge the same way you do).
Also, any item can hold multiple spells (and they can have a
separate store of mana charges that are dedicated to these
spells), and these spells could be the same ones that you can
learn yourself (from any of the 16 colleges), or even
"lost" spells that are unique to the item. Normal
spells would be ones that you specifically activate (say, a
staff that shoots fireballs on command), or ones that activate
based on various triggers. Some examples would be: a ring that
gives you regeneration while you are wearing it, a sword that
drains some of the life out of your opponent and gives it to
you when you hit successfully, an amulet that brings you back
to life -- once -- if you die, a magic rock that explodes as a
fireball when it hits the ground -- a kind of magic grenade if
you will, a dagger that lights up like a torch and does extra
damage against undead, etc. These are examples of fairly
obvious, traditional items that you might expect (and may or
may not see), to show some of what we can do without really
giving anything away, but we plan on having many interesting
items in the game, some you will expect for sure, but many
will be unique and cool. Magic Items aren't so common that
everyone you run across will have a +1 sword (for example), as
then they would be so common as to be meaningless, but we
think that you will be pleased with the flavor of them in our
you, this is what they can *theoretically* do. For balance
reasons, you will never find an item that does *all* of these
things, or that does even a handful of them super-powerfully.
Some items even have trade-offs. For instance, you may have a
weapon that is enchanted to do massive damage, but due to a
flaw in the enchantment it is difficult to move quickly. So
you would have a weapon that could deal out some pretty hefty
damage, but you wouldn't attack as frequently with it.
*are* artifact-level magic items, but they are extremely rare
and always have trade-offs of one sort or another.
to the schism between magic and technology, you won't find
magic guns or other Tech items. However, you could certainly
have magic swords (as described above), bows, etc.
Technologists with the appropriate skill, items, and
schematics can enhance Tech-based items, so you will find
technological items that balance out the magically enchanted
ones, but frequently in different ways.
Are there character classes in Arcanum?
The development of character abilities in Arcanum is heavily
skill based. In common with the traditional D&D approach,
we also have stats, but classes, per se, are completely
your character gains experience you will have the option of
increasing primary stats, secondary stats, basic skills,
technological skills, and magical skills. All of these
categories will be available to you regardless of how you set
up your character at the start or how you have already applied
your experience. Previous decisions will impact how far you
can advance particular skills and stats -- you can't achieve
the degree of Engineer in any tech discipline without first
becoming a Technician in that discipline.
there are no mutually exclusive skills. You are perfectly free
to build a character who is skilled in both necromancy and
healing, or to study both tech and magic -- though in the
latter example you can't be as good at either as a specialist.
And of course, every one these stats and skills has been
carefully crafted to have a direct effect on gameplay.
What stats influence fatigue? How
important are those stats to a mage?
The stats that form the basis of your Fatigue score are
Constitution and Willpower. You can also spend points directly
into Fatigue, which is cheaper than raising a stat.
Fatigue is what powers most spells, both stats are fairly
important, though you can raise Fatigue directly to save
points as stated above. Wisdom also helps a character resist
detrimental spell effects, and Constitution determines how
quickly you regain Fatigue and Hit Points, as well as your
poison resistance and some other factors.
Arcanum is not a "Class-Based" system, anyone can
buy these stats up, and in fact they have benefits for non
spell-casters as well. For instance, Warriors want to have a
good Fatigue as well, so that they can fight longer (though
for Warriors, other stats, such as Strength and Dexterity are
even more important). Mages would likely want to raise
Intelligence, Constitution and Wisdom.
Characters, Followers, and Dialog
Can you get dead party members back?
There are several options for recovering dead party members,
but none of them are easy. If your character has learned the
appropriate college of magic, then you will have access to a
spell that can Resurrect creatures.
characters have something similar available to them, however
it may have a somewhat different effect, as this is still
diplomat PC might be able to attract a Mage follower who can
cast this spell, or a Tech follower who has a similar ability.
The added benefit of having a follower, such as a Mage, for
example, is that if YOU die and the follower isn't under
attack, they can Resurrect you!
may also be able to Resurrect people at some churches and
certain other locations.
How does dialog work?
Dialog lines for NPCs appear near them, the engine tries to
place them over the head of the NPC in question, unless there
is a nearby text line that would overlap (in which case it
shifts it over a little to a clear area). They can still
overlap in some cases, but different text colors can fix this.
dialog options are shown in a see-through window below you.
You won't see your own dialog choice appear over you (so *it*
won't interfere with your view), though in multiplayer games
other players will see what you say.
in normal dialog, the dialog "text-bubbles" don't
disappear until you make your next choice, so you don't have
to worry about losing track of what they just said before you
make your decision.
feel that this method helps the player feel like they are
still in the game, instead of switching to a different
interface, which can be somewhat disorienting.
What can scripts test against in
Here's a list of what we can test against on any line of
smart is the PC?
How much money does the PC have?
What is the PC's alignment?
How charismatic is the PC?
Does the PC have a particular NPC follower?
What is the value of a particular game state variable?
How skilled is the PC at haggling?
Does the PC have an item with a particular internal name?
Does this NPC have an item with a particular internal name?
What level is the PC?
What is the PC's Magical/Technical aptitude?
Has this NPC met the PC before?
How perceptive is the PC?
How persuasive is the PC?
What is the state of a particular quest in the game?
What race is the PC?
How well does this NPC like the PC?
Has a particular rumor been quelled?
Is a particular rumor already recorded in the PC's logbook?
What is the PC's rank in a particular skill?
What is the PC's level of training in a particular skill?
What is the current state of the main story arc?
tests are used to select paths through dialog for both the NPC
and the PC. On any given dialog line we only use a few of
these tests, but having the full range available allows for
fairly complex quests and substories.
Will NPCs get in your way?
Most NPCs have places to be during the day and at night,
whether it's a guard walking his post or a merchant at her
shop, and these places generally won't be in locations that
would block you, unless they are *meant* to be there (a guard
preventing you from entering a building, for example). If for
some reason an NPC is not at their expected location (if they
were fighting, running an errand, etc.), they will soon return
to that location.
followers can also be given commands to tell them to move.
They can be told directly to move out of your way, and they
can also be told to keep their distance or to stay close to
you (useful for fighting).
mode in Arcanum is almost identical to the single-player mode.
However, a few game features change when the game is played
with more than one player. For example, turn-based combat is
not available in multi-player mode. Conversely, another aspect
of the game, party formation, is only available in
multi-player mode. This list of questions should serve to
illustrate the multi-player experience in Arcanum.
How can a story-based game have good
multi-player? Is the multi-player a minor part of the
It is *very* difficult to create a game that plays really well
in both single-player and multi-player modes. In many ways
these are completely different breeds of games. It is
difficult to balance a game such that it plays well in both
modes, in regards to the story, quests, combats, scripted
events, etc. You would basically end up creating two games or
a game that has weak components because you have to design
each quest/event knowing that multiple people could be trying
to complete it. Making a game play well in both dilutes the
experiences of both.
of this, we consider them to be completely different games.
Our normal single-player game is where we are creating the
long-spanning, in-depth story crafted out of events that
surround one player, whereas our multi-player games will be
separate, smaller games that work well for groups of PCs.
Multi-player games will have their own maps, quests, stories,
NPCs, etc., and you will be able to "grow" your
characters by taking them along with you from game to game. We
view them as "modules" that can be played, and some
of them may have "continuing" stories.
multi-player game works in a client/server fashion, so one
person sets up the server, picks the game to play, sets game
options, etc., and anyone who wants to can then join the game
and play, provided that they meet any restrictions on joining
that the server operator has set. The server machine can
either run as a dedicated server, or can be used to also play
the game with the other players.
play is the same in both single-player and multi-player games,
with the exception that turn-based combat is disabled in
multi-player and there will be multi-player-specific menus and
options. Just as in the single-player game, in multi-player a
PC can have followers, but PCs can also join together to
could theoretically have multiple parties on a server, and how
they interact is up to the players as well as the server
operator. They could all compete to complete a quest, they
could work together, or they could even fight each other. The
server operator controls whether players can hurt other
players, whether a particular player can join, the module
being played (which could potentially be designed primarily
for co-op, deathmatch, etc.), and various other options.
will be able to export/import characters, so that you could
take them with you to other servers, but you can also leave
them and have them be "saved" in the multi-player
session on that server.
want both the single-player and multi-player games to be fun
and worthwhile, so we are putting effort into both. We don't
want to cheapen or weaken either one.
Can you set up a dedicated server?
Can you play turn-based in
No, multi-player only allows for real-time combat.
How many people can play at once in
This hasn't been decided yet at this time. It will largely be
determined by how many players the engine can handle without
losing playability, but also by how large the multi-player
maps can be. We haven't started "stress-testing"
this part of multi-player yet to see what works best for LAN
and for Internet games. Currently we are concentrating on
making sure that multi-player is working primarily bug-free,
and when we are done with that we will start gauging how many
people we can support.
maps may work better with certain numbers of players, and if
so we will likely specify the suggested number of players in
the module description. You could of course create a module
that required a certain number of players to complete certain
quests, but that would be up to the module designer, and would
have to be handled carefully in case someone died (though you
could Resurrect them, if you had that ability :) ).
we expect to support around 4-8 players, but that is a
ballpark figure. It might be possible to support more,
especially on a LAN, but we will have to wait and see.
Can you join a game in progress?
Yes, if the server has room and the server operator has not
"locked" the game, which would prevent new players
What happens when I die in
There are several settings (set by the server operator) that
determine what happens when you die. Depending on these
settings, you could "respawn" at a set starting
point, or you could have to wait for someone to resurrect you
(permanent death, though you could quit and create a new
character), or even have both -- you respawn after 10 seconds
if no one resurrects you. It depends on what the server
operator wants. You will be able to see settings like this
when joining a game, so that you won't be surprised.
Can players form parties?
In multi-player mode, any player can create a party by using a
special command and supplying the party's name. The action
automatically makes that player's character a member of that
party. Any player can have his or her character join a party
by convincing someone already in the party to add him, again
using a special command. A character can only be a member of
one party at any time and can quit that party if he or she
party member at the location where experience points are
awarded to a member of the same party shares in those points.
For example, if a party member is awarded 1000 experience
points and three other members of that party are standing
nearby, then all four party members get 250 experience points
each. However, any party members outside the immediate
vicinity gain nothing.
on a server option, party members may or may not be able to
harm each other. In fact, it will be possible to set a server
so that no player can harm another player, whether they are
grouped or not.
Do players have to stay together in one
No. Because our world is continuous and does not require
zoning, the players can split up and go anywhere in the world
they like. They do not have to stay together unless they want
to share experience (if grouped) or fight each other.
Can you bring characters from game to
game in multi-player?
Yes, you can import and export characters, either to take them
to new games, or to new servers. A character's abilities
(stats, skills, experience, level, etc.) will grow with them
from game to game.
Will all my items come into the game
with me when I join a game?
Currently, it doesn't look like multi-player characters will
be able to bring objects from one game to another. There are
problematic issues that mainly involve quest items, but also
the inevitable "munchkinism" problem with creating a
map that has nothing on it but artifact-level items. For
instance, say you need a special key to open a door and to get
that key you have to fight/steal from/talk-it-out-of a
powerful orc to get it (which sets various quest-states and
flags), what do you do if Joe the Orc Smasher comes in with a
saved character with the same key? Our quest system handles
having multiple players competing for the same quest at once,
but only one person or party can actually complete a quest. In
this example the game would end up in a bad state.
idea we are currently throwing around is to give PCs a set
amount of gold (dictated in part by the server operator/game
module, but perhaps also including a factor based on the PCs
level) when they join a game, that they can probably only use
to buy starting equipment, and a smaller amount to have during
How complex is setting up a server?
Starting a server is very easy. It's as easy as clicking
Multiplayer->LAN->Server->Start, and if you want any
special settings you make them in the multi-player options
How do I join a game?
This is as easy as setting up a server. If you specify a LAN
game, you will see any local servers that are available, and
can pick from them. If you wish to play over the Internet, you
will be able to see games available on WON (our matching
service) inside the game, or, if you desire, you can specify
an IP-Address directly, though then you won't know if the game
is available, or even what options it supports, until you
How do I get new multi-player modules?
Multi-player modules will be available on Flipside
through their WONSwap mechanism, which allows you to grab a
module "package" and install it. You would just
browse the web to their site, surf for any modules you want,
download them, and then use the WONSwap installer to install
them. Then, just run the game, and all modules will be
available for you through the multi-player menu.
course, if your friends want to play a new module they have,
they could just send you that module file directly. WONSwap is
just used so that people can share their modules in one easy
to find location.
Can you pick up arrows that miss?
Yes, arrows are simply items, and in fact they will stack, so
if a group of them falls in the same tile you can pick up the
whole stack at once.
Can anyone use any weapon?
Since there are no "classes" in Arcanum, anyone can
use any items, provided they have the stats to support the
item. For instance, a weak character would have trouble
wielding a weapon that is really heavy, and Mages would likely
want to shy away from heavy armor that would cost them Fatigue
to wear (though if they have put enough points into Strength,
they could certainly wear it without penalties).
that are biased towards Magic or Tech will be more powerful
when wielded by a character that is similarly biased. For
instance, a powerful magic sword wouldn't be much more useful
than a regular sword in the hands of someone that was heavily
Tech-biased. However, in the hands of someone that was
strongly Magic-biased the same sword may be more powerful than
in the hands of someone of average bias (this depends upon the
How will turn-based and real-time
Both real-time and turn-based combat are based on your
character's Speed. Speed is determined by your dexterity, how
encumbered you are (which depends on your Strength and your
equipment weight) and how fast your attack (weapon, spell,
real-time, your Speed determines your attack animation speed.
Faster characters literally swing their swords faster than
turn-based, your Speed determines how many Action Points you
have to spend on your turn. Actions such as attacking, moving,
or spell-casting cost points to perform.
system is nice because it is fairly balanced and neither mode
has a distinct advantage over the other than personal
preference. Some people will probably prefer one mode or the
other, whereas others will switch modes based on the
particular situation they are in. For instance, when fighting
a group of weak monsters, such as rats in a sewer, you would
probably switch to real-time and mow through them. When
fighting a tougher battle, such as when stumbling into the
lair of a vampire, you might want to switch to turn-based
mode, in order to take time to plan your actions, though you
certainly wouldn't have to.
has another option, which defines whether your character will
continue attacking your current opponent until it dies or you
switch targets (similar to Baldur's Gate), or whether you need
to click again each time (similar to Diablo). The reason for
the two settings is that some people like the responsiveness
of having constant control over their characters, whereas some
prefer the freedom of being able to think about what they want
to do next while their characters finish their current action
(and some like to save their wrists! :) ).
When the game is set to turn-based
mode, will enemies trigger turn-based mode?
Yes, when combat is triggered, whether by a hostile creature
or by yourself, the game will activate turn-based mode if you
have it turned on. When outside of combat, you will walk
around in real-time, however.
What types of attacks do weapons have?
Weapons can do Fatigue damage, physical damage
(crushing/cutting/etc.), poison damage, electrical damage, and
fire damage. Beating on someone with a weapon that does lots
of Fatigue damage will wear them down, and can even knock them
out instead of killing them. Weapons like this are nice
against spell-casters, as they hamper their ability to cast
spells (since spells cost Fatigue to cast).
are also critical hit charts, which are based on several
factors: weapon type (bladed, bludgeon, etc.), the target's
armor, and which location on the target is being attacked
(torso, head, etc.).
for specific body locations is accomplished through the use of
hot-keys. While harder to hit certain locations, the benefit
to hitting them is that any critical hits will be more
effective. For instance, targeting a creature's head is likely
to cause more Fatigue damage than normal, so you could knock
someone out more easily this way.
Can you cut off body parts of enemies?
You cannot lop off limbs and such, but you can target specific
hit locations via called shots in order to get bonuses to
criticals. You will see a visual confirmation that you hit
(blood splotches, etc.), and if the creature dies then it will
display one of its death animations (which one is based on how
Can you chase down enemies that run
Enemies may flee in combat, based on their AI settings
(skeletons would never flee, but a wimpy orc would probably
flee earlier than an average creature), and you can chase them
down. However, during combat, running costs fatigue, and when
you get too low on Fatigue you cannot run anymore, you will
instead walk. What this means is, for example, if you wear
yourself down fighting a group of orcs and one runs off, you
may not be able to catch him (he may escape). If you have been
beating on a creature and it turns to flee, however, it may
not have the Fatigue left to outrun you, and it will quickly
slow to a walk allowing you to catch up to it. This also means
that Mages aren't likely to be running around a lot during
combat, because they would run the risk of passing out due to
Will the death sequences be as gory as
There won't be as many gruesome variations as in Fallout, but
there are still quite a few graphic deaths. While we would
have liked to have even more, disk space and
animation/modeling time would have been prohibitive. In
Arcanum you can play any of the 8 different races, and on top
of this most of them can be either male or female, wear a
variety of different armors, wield various weapons, use
shields, etc. We think you will be pleased with the death
animations that we do have, though.
that don't wish to see the gory deaths can turn on a
violence-filter in the options menu.
When will Arcanum be available for
What kind of vehicles/etc. are in
There are trains and boats in the game.
trains, you buy a ticket and the train takes you to its
destination. It's about as fast as worldmap travel, but with
no chance of random encounters. And of course, all Mages must
sit in the back of the caboose so that they don't screw up the
will be boats that work similarly to trains, that go between
we add zeppelin travel, it will act like train travel.
However, in our world, zeppelin travel is expensive and mostly
used for intercontinental travel (like the QE2 used to be), so
you will still probably be using the train system.
that are well-versed in the College of Conveyance also have
the ability to Teleport to a set point that they have marked
can of course walk directly to nearly all locations, either in
the isometric view or by using the WorldMap. The WorldMap
allows you to walk large distances in very little real time by
compressing game-time. However, you may miss the details of
regions that way (you wouldn't see the splendor of a city, or
notice a nearby cave). Walking, whether via the WorldMap or in
the isometric view, also runs the risk of random encounters.
What kinds of creatures inhabit
We have a wide variety of creatures, some of which will be
familiar to players, and some of which are unique. Some are
more "mythical" in flavor than others, and some have
a bit of a Tolkienesque feel (or at least will be familiar to
anyone who has played any of the many games similar to
Tolkien's work, such as D&D, etc.), but the ideas come
from many different sources. There are natural
"forest" creatures, fantastical creatures, undead
creatures, etc. We don't have any dragons, but you may find a
creature with similar qualities.
How many different objects are there
that you can place in the game?
Currently there are 773 scenery objects that you can place in
the game. Scenery objects are like trees and flowers and
chairs and chests. There are also 310 items you can have or
place in the game. Items are like swords, grenades, iron ore
and such. Both of these lists are growing as well. I am
projecting about 1000 scenery objects and 500 items will be
available when the game ships.
Describe the different categories of
objects. For example, are there different
characters/monsters/building types/chests that you can choose
Everything in our game is broken up into categories that are
easy to grasp. Laying down objects is as simple as grabbing
from pre-designed categories called prototypes. Ex: If you are
looking for a bucket or a lantern, you would find those in the
"small metal objects" category. If you want a chair
or a table, you would find them in "medium wooden
objects." Full-grown oak and pine trees are found in the
"large tree" category.
far as monsters and people, there is a large bank of them to
choose from. Each comes with built in abilities. Ex: If you
lay down a shopkeeper, he will automatically talk and act like
a shopkeeper. If I were to lay down an elven noble and talk to
him with an orc, he would say something like: "Disgusting
creature, stay away from me or I'll call animal control."
So behaviors and such are built in to the characters. Monsters
have a predetermined demeanor and already have their powers
built in. Ex: A fire rat will automatically burn you when he
attacks and it will play the small fire damage when he strikes
have lots of buildings and chests and such that you can choose
from as well. Everything is drag and drop and point and click.
So if I put a sword on the ground and I want it to be in the
chest, I click and drag it over the chest and let go. It's now
in there. The same is true for equipping characters.
What kinds of properties can you
specify for an object? For example, how can you specify that a
door is locked but the windows are open?
Every object in our game can be modified and edited. All of
them are done the same way. If I want a door locked, I just
right click on the door, hit edit, and check the box marked
"locked." If I want a window unlocked I right click
on it and uncheck the box marked "locked." I can
even check boxes like "locked at night". That way if
you want to make a store keeper that shuts down at night, his
doors and windows can automatically lock when the sun sets.
Can you assign behaviors to characters
and monsters? What kinds?
Assigning behaviors to monsters is also very easy. You have
lots of options as to how you want your character to interact
with the world around it. The three main ways to affect
character behavior are: Waypoints, AI, and Factions.
are where a character walks and in what order. You just right
click on a character and select "waypoints."
Everywhere you left-click will now become a point where this
character will walk to. Once you are done clicking down the
waypoints, right-click to go back into normal editing mode.
is the default combat behavior of a creature. We will provide
the gamer with a number different behaviors that he can assign
to his character. What you do is right click on a character
and select edit. You will see a box in the lower left hand
corner that lets you enter a number. The numbers coincide with
different behaviors. The numbers will be listed in the manual.
Ex: I have a huge ogre that I want to attack and never let up.
Regardless of the odds or how mismatched the fight, he will
keep on swinging. I would give him an AI number of two. Two
happens to be our extremely aggressive monster AI. I would
give an AI number of one to a wimpy little creature such as a
rat. He will attack you but run away if you start doing any
last way is by Faction. Faction is way of assigning a sense of
family to your creatures or townspeople. If I right click on a
creature and click edit, I can see in the lower right hand
corner the pull down menu called "Faction." Let's
say I lay down 10 townspeople. I would edit them all and
select the faction of "Edmond Villagers." Now they
are all part of the same gang. If I attack one of them, they
all will jump me instantly. So in a dungeon you could set all
your monsters to "dungeon monsters 1." They will
kill everything but each other now.
How can you affect the environment when
You can affect the environment in all sorts of ways when
creating a map. One of the most important and visually
impacting way to affect an environment is lighting.
is done in two parts, ambient lighting and placed lights.
Ambient lighting controls the lighting of the entire scene.
Ambient lighting is the "sunlight" you see in our
game. You can control the ambient light levels for interior
and exterior separately. So if you want it to be bright and
sunny outside and slightly darker inside buildings you can do
that. Ambient lighting cycles with time of day. I have set the
colors to what I think looks good for morning, noon, and night
colors, but you can change them to anything you want. If you
want the world to turn a bright red at midnight because a
meteor flies by or something you can do that.
other types of lights are placed lights. Placed lights are
like lamp or torch lights or any other light you want to
affect a specific area. The game ships with many different
shapes and sizes of lights to choose from. As far as colors
are concerned, you can choose any color you want.
have also included prototypes of glows that have lights built
in to them. So what you can do is drop down a streetlight and
then drop on top of it one of our glow prototypes on top of
it. You now have a really cool looking street lamp. The cool
thing is when you place one of our glow prototypes down it has
some knowledge already built in to it. So the lights will turn
off or on depending on the time of day. Basically it allows
street lights to come on as the sun is setting and to turn off
as the sun rises. Also, if you destroy a light in a town, it
will respawn over the course of a 24-48 period, because the
assumption is that someone would have come by and replaced the
light within that timeframe.
What kinds of environments are there to
create maps with?
We have included large pieces of terrain that are already
generated for you. If you wish to make a desert island with a
swamp in the middle you can use our terrain editor. This will
allow you to paint down massive areas of land like swamps and
mountain ranges. Also we have pieces of scenery calls Facades.
These Facades are large pieces of pre-rendered art you can lay
down like a huge castle or expansive bridge.
Are these the same tools you are using
to create the game?
The tools we are providing the player are the exact same tools
we are using to create the game.
Did you design the editor with
consumers in mind? For example, have you built documentation
into the scripts, help buttons, etc?
The editor is created to be as simple as possible. We have
developed these tools so that anyone who purchases our game
can create a game themselves. As far as help with creating
maps and such, we will have several tutorials available to the
How long will it take a typical level
designer to create a relatively simple hack-n-slash dungeon?
I would say to create a dungeon with monsters and chests and
gold and weapons, it would take about half-hour to make.
What about a more complex module with a
few side quests?
The amount of time to make maps can vary greatly. Maps can be
any size and contain as many buildings and scenery and people
that you want. So I would say for a really small RPG with side
quests and such, it might take a full day. Now if the quests
are complex then it could take much longer. Ex: A simple quest
to do would be a "FedEx" quest, like: "I'll
give 100 gold if you bring me the golden ring." So you go
in a dungeon and kill stuff and find the ring and return it. A
difficult quest would be like: "You must convince the
guards at the dungeon to give you the key to the inner
chamber. Once there you must talk with the oracle and he will
give the gold ring if you are deemed worthy. You must return
the ring to me by this evening or I will start lowering your
prize money 10 gold for every hour you are late."
Can users design their own graphics?
We are considering shipping our art implementation tools as
well, but we're not sure. Implementing your own art would be
very difficult and time consuming. If we do ship these tools
we probably won't be able to offer much help. They will mostly
be for people with good digital art experience and a technical
What portion of the Arcanum fan base do
you expect to use the editor?
I would guess 50% might make general dungeon-like maps. I
would also guess that about 5% will really get into creating
maps and be cranking out cool in depth small RPGs for everyone
Can you edit the maps that ship with
You will not be able to edit the maps that we ship with the
How will Troika and Sierra support
module designers? Will there be an outreach to foster the
We are always very present on our message boards. If anyone
has any questions they can post and we will promptly get back
to them with an answer.
How big are completed maps, in bytes?
Very small. If I were to upload all the Arcanum maps start to
finish, it would be about 20 megs. A typical map you download
from someone will probably be about 300k.
Can users edit other things, like
sounds, texts, quests, etc.?
Everything is editable in our game. If you wish to attach an
electric sound to a leather boot, you could do it. If you want
to create a book that tells about a strange wizard that lives
in a nearby tower, you can do that as well.