Balance/Gameplay Mod: Professor Bowtie's Arcanum Complete

Discussion in 'Module Discussion' started by Spanky McGuire, Jun 24, 2021.

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  1. Spanky McGuire

    Spanky McGuire New Member

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    Hi, all. I’m sorry for this very long post, but I’d like to introduce a new mod for this old game, one that I feel provides significant improvements and refinement that should have appeared in the initial release. This is “Professor Bowtie’s Arcanum Complete,” and I’d love your feedback. The mod is in development, but it works fine now, with several playtesters saying it adds balance and challenge to the game. I'm looking for more playtesters to help me make this the best version of Arcanum. I welcome constructive criticism.


    Here is the download link and two videos introducing the mod, with the same information below. Please ignore the "Update" folder unless you've already installed this mod:

    https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/15UGHHIhIT8_NnTucKejG24unUyFyC57h?usp=sharing







    About the Mod—
    This mod builds on the work of modders like Drog and others by contributing a close examination the original game design that, admittedly, was quite haphazard. In other words, I’ve spent several hundred hours tinkering with the game’s mes and proto files, manipulating the game’s logic to address the vast majority of the game’s issues. My desire has been to honor and embolden the spirit of the game by avoiding drastic changes while also realizing that there are many elements that simply must be reworked from as close to the ground up as one can get without Hex editing the game’s programming. I’ve included a long description of all changes below. You’ll find installation instructions at the end of the post.

    About Me
    I’m an English professor currently working in China. I’ve been reinstalling and replaying Arcanum for 20+ years, and I know the game front to back, so this mod has been a long time coming. This mod is dedicated to my sister, another longtime Arcanum fan. If you like the mod, I encourage you to make a donation to my favorite charity, Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women https://www.csvanw.org/donate.



    Professor Bowtie’s Arcanum Complete Version 1.0


    Features at a Glance—
    · Combat is slower, more interesting, and longer, making real time viable and fun.
    · All weapons have been updated to create balance, with tech getting a big boost.
    · The PC, followers, and all NPCs have higher health and fatigue but lower speed. More fatigue means many more spells being cast by NPCs, as they were not casting spells before because fatigue was too low.
    · STR is capped at 19 to eliminate the crazy STR damage bonus that broke melee. Speed should be capped at 25.
    · Bows no longer fire like machine guns.
    · Many new spells! Spells have been rearranged, edited, or replaced to create variety and balance.
    · All merchants have been modified to create specialization and limit purchasing high-end equipment.
    · All monsters and encounters have had their stats and equipment tweaked and spells added to make combat more interesting and difficult.
    · Magick is much weaker at first but dominates later, if the player invests in Stress (Fatigue) and a variety of spells.
    · Melee weapons are still good but should not(?) dominate without aid from spells or schematics.
    · Alignment rewards have been changed a little to make goodness a little more difficult to maintain.
    · Mages can now ride trains/metro via the Dampen Magick spell.
    · The game should not be too difficult, but it now requires care and planning otherwise irrequisite to the original game. Difficulty level matters, and all stats are important—except Beauty!



    More about Combat Fixes—
    · Real time combat is now (mostly) comfortable due to reduced speed! You can enjoy the entire game in real time.
    · Encumbrance is very meaningful now because speed is capped and reduced.
    · Guns are much stronger and dominate early but should(?) taper later.
    · Minimum STR requirements have been reconsidered to prohibit powerful equipment.
    · Armor has been edited in such a way that the game will be difficult if a player is not mindful to wear good gloves, boots, and a helmet.
    · Damage Resistance is very important and requires coordination of equipment.
    · Molochean Hand and Bounty Hunter encounters have much better equipment and may use spells/grenades. Be careful.
    · Bows should(?) behave normally in real time instead of firing like machine guns.
    · Poison is more of a bastard.

    More about Weapon Changes—
    · All equipment has been edited to balance combat, with tech receiving a large bonus.
    · In general, weapons no longer receive huge Magick bonuses to damage. This is to neuter the overpowered melee-mage combo.
    · Most weapons no longer do stress (fatigue) damage, unless hexed.
    · The changes to damage values are enormous but too exhaustive to list here.
    · Weapon speed has been edited as follows:

    Fastest (18-24 Speed) - Daggers
    Faster (15-23 Speed) - Pistols, Longswords
    Medium (12-14 Speed) - Spells, Great Swords, Axes, Maces, Bows, Thrown
    Slow (9-11 Speed) - Unarmed, Slow Axes, Slow Maces, Big Guns


    More about Spellcasting—
    · More than a dozen spells have been added to replace useless spells!
    · Mana costs, art, and effects have been adjusted.
    · Some spells (new and old) have very high cost, making them unusable before a higher level.
    · All spells have their Willpower requirement increased to limit early power gaming.
    · Monsters and NPCs should make more spell saves now.
    · Fatigue is now called “Stress,” which is a measure of your general mental well-being. Weapons no longer do stress (fatigue) damage. This does not apply to Hexed weapons. Undead and demons do “Stress” damage.
    · Fatigue potions are less common and effective; it is important to plan your spells carefully and rest occasionally!
    · Powerful undead and demons deal stress (fatigue) damage on account of their traumatic natures.
    · Raising one’s stress threshold (putting points in fatigue) and Heal Rate (Constitution) is now extremely important for mages.
    · Solo mages may not be viable until later in the game.


    More about Commerce—
    · Most weapons, armor, rings, necklaces, and scrolls have had their monetary values reduced to make it harder to gather wealth.
    · All merchants have had their inventories adjusted so that each kind of merchant is somewhat specialized.
    · High-end Magick items are generally unavailable for purchase and must be found instead.
    · The Elven Trader in Ashbury, however, now sells rare and powerful items.
    · Fatigue potions are typically only sold at Magick shops.
    · Dark Magick shops sell more evil stuff, particularly scrolls.
    · Magick shops do not sell jewelry or scrolls outside of White Necromancy.
    · Gypsies sell scrolls, jewelry, and stat-boosting potions, but nothing else.



    Some Remaining Bugs and Quirks—

    Like I said, the mod is still in Beta. In other words, there are probably many bugs that I need your help identifying and fixing! Please let me know if you think the mod is too hard, imbalanced, etc. I have play-tested a mage until mid-game, but I did not dive into tech or late game. Here are a few issues worth mentioning—


    · This mod should work with all version of the game, but I have only tested in with the GOG version! The installation process may be different with other versions.

    · Changes to merchant inventory do not take effect the first time you shop at each store. Each shop must be refreshed (by sleeping one day outside) in order for the changes to take effect.

    · There are many “unique” items for which there are no protos to edit, such as Torian Kel’s sword, most cursed items, etc. I cannot change these items, so they will appear somewhat anomalous to the rest of the game’s equipment.

    · I have not edited the monetary values of consumables, gems, etc, but I can, if necessary.

    · Scrolls may act strangely, and some spells may cause a crash in certain environments. Please let me know if this is the case.

    · Spell Resistances should work, but some enemies don’t seem to apply their spell resistance checks in some cases. Undead will not save against Holy Fire, for example. I don’t know why.

    · Some monsters may be too tough now. Please let me know.

    · The master quests for each spell college may be impossible now because many spells are missing. I can probably fix this by adding specific scrolls into the game. I haven’t bothered with this yet.

    · Unarmed striking still does a little stress (fatigue) damage because this cannot be changed without hex editing. This is a pain in the ass.

    · Backstab is still broken. This cannot be fixed without hex editing or capping Backstab, making the master quest for it impossible. This is also a pain in the ass.

    · Due to my having raised the base HP for NPCs, there was an awesome bug where all of the dead people at the crash site were still dead but nonetheless standing up! Very creepy and funny. I fixed this but, but an issue persists with at least one crash victim and the corpse in Schuyler’s basement! I’m too tired to fix this now.

    · Disperse Magick has a hilarious side effect now that it can remove Polymorph. Cast it on the PC or an NPC to see what I mean.

    · In the future, I would like to edit the stats of unique monsters like the Temporal Crusher. This involves using the World Editor, and that isn’t fun. Please let me know what else you would like to see.
     
  2. Barabbah

    Barabbah Member

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    I'm quite impressed! How did you managed to slow down the archers? And loved your spells :)
     
  3. Spanky McGuire

    Spanky McGuire New Member

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    Thanks so much. Bows started acting normal through a combination of slowing down all characters and reducing the weapon speed.
     
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