Empyrean, Beta, Stats, etc

What’s the problem with this? As the game goes on, you’d expect to be facing tougher challenges, thus higher stat checks. And even if you don’t want higher checks, you could just do what a lot of other games do and drastically decrease the amount of options that will raise your stats at some point in the game. In my opinion lowering stats should be used very sparingly if at all, it really doesn’t make sense that to be good at one skill you have to be bad at another (this is the problem with using opposed pairs outside of personality traits too).


The problem has to do with how the Trouble contributes to the 4PT.

If you’ve been using Combat the whole game, and you’ve increased Combat to (say) 60, and you’ve been neglecting your other stats, then you decide that being Stealthy is the better bet for this choice. But because the author wants there to be a “challenge,” the difficulty at this point in the game is something like a 55, meaning…you’ve had to specialize in a skill in order to be high enough to pass the test at this point. The player learns to just pick their best skill (the 4PT), and that’s the Trouble.

There are a variety of ways to mitigate the Trouble, and you can just not indulge it by spacing out the stat increases and not setting the difficulty too high and a variety of other ways. But it’s an problem inherent to unidirectional FairMath (in particular) variables.


Wouldn’t lowering stats that you don’t use just reinforce this problem though?

Also, if the player gets themselves into that situation, it’s their problem IMO. As long as you give them ample opportunities to train their other stats, that’s not something you can criticise the game for.


here if you rise A you lower B. Or you choose only A choices or only B. If you try play a character who have sense you can’t because A and B start to fluctuate and you Are brute in a paragraph then too delicate and more and more non sense continuity errors. That make game a nightmare. Within logic, I passed in a Scene in a gallery from an art expert to a brute couldn’t difference any style or noble… From being a expert door opener to have zero idea

One mitigation technique that I’m employing in the new game is to create the opportunity for a non-statistic/Fairmath variable to allow access to a “success” route that would otherwise be locked.

For example, there’s a scene where the PC has the option to talk an antagonist out of the antagonist’s self-destructive plan. A high charm will allow them to do so, but if the PC was able to learn about about the antagonist’s motivations (through non-charm tested choices earlier in the game), then the PC will be able to succeed at talking the antagonist down, even if the PC has low charm.

It’s more work (and likely a reason for my ballooning word count) but it also provides for a lot of fun narrative possibilities.


I like to mix up options with varied results. If Combat is super high, maybe you succeed in the stat check (shoot your foe) but your foe is now unable to tell you how to diffuse the bomb.

And to keep this on topic I enjoyed Empyrean’s world building.


Right. @FSketchy Pretty sure Empyrean won’t be in the Steam Winter Sale due to some newer rules about how games are discounted there going forward.

The “Trouble” is a fallacy - You are talking about having balanced mechanics that have both drains and faucets. This is where I have issues with the CoG “vision” because a faucet that adds does not need to be immediately countered by a drain in the same basin of the decision at hand.

The positives and negatives consequences of a choice should be balanced but by no means does that mean an increase means an immediate decrease.

Now, if my work which will be balanced and not be all “opposites” is going to get dinged just because I don’t adhere to some rote equation then perhaps I should not move forward with my project.

This is a good example of balancing higher levels of stat attainment with consequences - especially consequences of specializing too much…

As a developer (my opinion) it is important to both reward those who chose to specialize as well as show them there are boundaries where specialization limits them as well. Just as the inverse is correct for those Generalsts - show them there are boundaries that limit success but rewards that enable their success.

Empyrean has all the positives of a novel or comic - awesome AAA writing combined with great world building and first rate character building.

On the other hand

_Empyrean’_s weakness inherently is the mechanical plumbing in its gaming structure. The faucets and drains are such that when you turn one on, the other drains anything gained elsewhere.

Every playthrough I have done with this work I have between 45-55 in every stat and they all started feeling like a clone play-through with minor fluff variants.

That and in my opinion, this work shows signs of being rushed. Several major continuity errors and logic break downs that with more time could have been eliminated pushing this work into the same level that Choice of Robots is at.


If you have continuity errors to report, take screenshots and send them in.

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How long do steam updates usually take to come out? I think someone told me before but I’ve forgotten. The portal destroying bug for saga of the north wind hasn’t been fixed for my steam version and I reported it a couple of weeks ago.

@Mara I very much appreciate you giving us a five-star review on the storefront. That means a lot that you do that for all of our games.

That said, our games are only as good as our beta testers. If people don’t beta test, then we don’t have the data to draw upon. And yes, while @cascat07 did flag the opposed skills issue, one or two people mentioning something isn’t going to compel us to make sweeping changes to a game.

If you want to see our games be better, then, join more betas. Right now, we have “Runt of the Litter” up; I’ve had exactly two people sign up for it.

@Eiwynn Unfortunately, when you say “your work will get dinged,” I don’t know what you’re referring to. Are you talking about a game that you’re currently under contract to write? Are you talking about an HG? Are you talking about a game you’re going to write for the contest?

If you’re talking about a potential contest submission, then that’s exactly the time for you to go against the grain of our vision. That’s the opportunity for you to prove us wrong and for us to learn something new.

More importantly, though, as Mary pointed out, it does no one any good to say “there were continuity errors.” As I’ve been saying for six years: if you find errors, send us an error report.

@Zakkarian I’ll look into it. I thought that had been pushed. EDIT: You know, Tom fixed the other bugs, and said that he fixed that one, but it looks like maybe he didn’t. I’ve written to him, and hopefully he’ll have time to get to it in the next few days.


I had planned to sit down and try to find everything “soon” - It will take a block of dedicated time to do a proper job so I have not done this yet, I still thought that I should mention there were things I found on my two normal sessions.


@jasonstevanhill I got to say I really don’t like the off fourm closed betas. You don’t have any interaction with the other testers and no feedback on your feedback. I understand that most authors don’t have the time or inclination to herd a fourm thread for feedback, but I don’t think I’ll be volunteering for any more off forum closed betas. After providing feedback and seeing zero changes result in the draft with out any input as to why, even from other testers is just too frustrating for me.

The way @Cataphrak, @Havenstone, and @JimD for example run their betas is much more rewarding to participate in.


I haven’t helped closed beta for a while, but from what I remember, I agree with this. In an open beta, you get people being like “hey, I don’t like/don’t get this thing” and the author can then explain themselves and other people, who might not have otherwise considered that aspect of gameplay, might realize–“looking at it more closely, I also don’t like/don’t understand this thing”, so I think it’d be more effective to at least have some sort of closed thread so the testers can interact with each other and the author.

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I know that the forums have that lounge thing (is that supposed to be a secret? I honestly don’t know)…I think a closed thread visible only to people involved with testing should be doable, unless the forum client doesn’t work in that way.

I can’t speak for @jasonstevanhill but I suspect that one of many reasons we have closed betas for Choice of Games titles is because it’s helpful for an author to have Jason collate that feedback, along with the feedback editorial staff is giving.

I appreciate that the process can be frustrating, but also: beta feedback is not an opportunity for beta testers to get a game customized to their desires. When I make editorial notes on a draft the author is not always going to take my feedback. We’re going to talk about the beta process, and we’ll see what if anything changes going forward.


What I am about to say maybe get me banned, but my heart has always made me say what I really think even if that would harm my position. I believe in sincerity in all situations, even if hurts and make people think of me like a troll.

I would certainly love joining more beta closed, but your actually rules avoid me to be more beta than once. And like the communication between Cog staff or writer is ZERO. I don’t even know if the beta has been closed for the game I summit so until I am certain I can’t present to another.

@JimD had considered me as a beta tester extraordinary badge and propose me to obtain the title you only can give or deny. You deny mine no long ago. So I have great doubts my feedback would be well valued, when I was denied of it and with it any opportunity of beta testing more games same time.

But appart my personal situation, as Cog fan I could say you that beta testing system as it is, nule interaction with author or publisher or maybe editor is crippling games. I personally don’t post 99% of my real feedback because I never had reply back about anything. If I send my 3 emails and never get a we received it from anyone. I just shut up for respect you or the author. My feedback is not being useful I think I will stop sending.

I beta testing for many author in private and I could say I have good experiences with it feedback should be reciprocal. Info like I will want you focus in continuity errors, or I just wrote a new path for this stats could you test it?

That could alone have erased the most common bugs Official cogs are having lately with new launched games.

You have a web and a forum with a lounges and closed access parts. It could be easy to implement a zone for closed betas and even a thread author post in what he wants people focused. That would in my opinion increase the amount and quality of the feedback send from most of beta testers.

Anyway, just my sincere as always opinion. Being sincere here, only have given me problems, with the staff and with many people. But, I am proud of being loyal to myself and what I believe.


Absolutely! That is not at all what I’m saying. If I write up a couple pages of feedback, but get nothing in response and see no changes in the game I assume my feedback has been blown off. Also of import to me is discussing the game with other testers. I have participated in a few closed betas where the lounge feature was used and that was a much better experience.


This is a really useful conversation for me. When I did the closed beta process, I was a stranger to these forums, and I had no idea who these people were who were posting feedback, nor did I know how to contact them. You can bet that next year when I do a closed beta again, I will be talking to my testers, at the very least to say thank you and ask for clarification about certain things, or to tell them that some of their concerns have been heard.


I get the communication issue, I’ve sent in emails for bugs but I’m not sure if they are always seen. Although maybe I’m just being nitpicky. I sent in a minor issue also a couple of weeks ago, where a continuity error shows up for one option during the fight with dunestrider in Deathless: The City’s Thirst, and that hasn’t been fixed, although it might be just too minor for people to worry about, since it doesn’t impact gameplay.

Speaking of bugs, I emailed about the reprogrammed killbot bug in Empyrean, did anyone else run into it?

In chapter 9, if you reprogram a killbot, and later have him retrieve something for you when you are in your father’s workshop, when he gives it to you afterwards the text says he does, but the game doesn’t register it. I think only 2 outcomes actually gives you the items. Its most noticeable if you ask the killbot to retrieve the radio codes, because later the option to use them to shut down the rest of the killbots never shows up, unlike if you manage to grab them yourself.

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