The BEAMBLOG

Friday, May 19, 2017

Planescape Scramble: The Hidden Easter Eggs of Sigil


PST:EE references the works of Franz Kafka, William Shakespeare, Li Shangyin, and more.
Planescape: Torment is a special game that goes deeper than meets the eye. One should not only look for doors to other planes, hidden dialogue lines, and secret spells that can only be taught by NPCs, but also references to the real world. Let’s have a look at a few of the easy-to-miss Easter eggs players can stumble across as the Nameless One.


Warning, Planes dwellers! These barrels are radioactive!
During your travels in Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition you may discover barrels with radioactive warning stickers on them. The images above show a couple of those barrels in the Wrecked Home and the Tenement of Thugs. These are a nod to Fallout, a game many of the original Planescape: Torment team members worked on.

There’s another Fallout Easter egg in PST:EE that wasteland wandering fans may notice - picking up or dropping the Pet Lim-Lim in the inventory screen is the same sound as in Fallout's inventory screen.

The Lord of Murder shall perish…
This one should stand out to all Baldur’s Gate players. A symbol of Bhaal marks one of the gravestones from the Coffin Maker’s Shop in the Lower Ward of Sigil.

Zombie #1041 in the Mortuary recites a poem by Li Shangyin.
Li Shangyin was a Chinese poet of the late Tang Dynasty, "rediscovered" in the 20th century and famous for his tantalizing "no title" poems. If the Nameless One talks to Zombie #1041 on the ground floor of the Mortuary and uses the Stories-Bones-Tell skill, we’re treated to part of a Li Shangyin’s poem which can be translated as:

It is difficult to meet as it is difficult to part,
The north wind has weakened; hundreds of flowers fade way,
When the Spring worms die, the silk shall never come again,
When the candle wax becomes ash, tears shall stop.

According to David Maldonado, a member of the original Planescape: Torment team, this “translation was a little soddy”. This is what David said once: “Apologies; the game deserved better. Still, it's not as bad as our "Slating" flub. Whoops! I still can't explain/understand that how that managed to happen - much like the Nameless One's true name, it's a Big Fancy Mystery".

This item in Planescape: Torment removes the basic human need for food and drink.
A Theory of Human Motivation by Abraham Maslow was released in 1943. Maslow's hierarchy of needs is often portrayed in the shape of a pyramid with physiological needs as the largest, most fundamental needs at the bottom and the need for self-actualization and self-transcendence at the top.


A “conqueror on a distant prime material world” is Alexander the Great. Earth is D&D. It’s Planescape canon!
The Gordian Knot, a legend associated with Alexander the Great, is often used as a metaphor for an intractable problem solved easily by "thinking outside the box".


The Sensory Stone reflects upon the experience of a insect which has awoken as a human once.
The story told by the Sensory Stone is a reversal of the plot in Franz Kafka's "Metamorphosis". This novella, often called one of the seminal works of fiction of the 20th century, centers on a story of a traveling salesman, Gregor Samsa, waking to find himself transformed (metamorphosed) into a large, monstrous insect-like creature.


Inspiration for Annah-of-the-Shadows and Fall-From-Grace?
The original team on Planescape: Torment liked many books, comics, and games. According to Chris Avellone, Annah and Fall-From-Grace were inspired by Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge from Archie comics. In the comics Veronica enjoys a very posh lifestyle but chooses to hang out with her less affluent friends. Her best friend (and sometimes arch-rival) is Betty Cooper, and the two enjoy countless activities and interests. However, they are also at constant competition for the love interest.

It’s also interesting that Annah is derived from the Hebrew name Hannah, which in turn means "Grace." Since the Nameless One can meet Fall-From-Grace during his travels, the party can include two female members literally named "Grace" and "Fall-From-Grace”.


There is no sadder story on the Planes… than that of Montague and Juliette.
There are at least two references to works by William Shakespeare in Planescape: Torment. If Dak'kon dies, Morte will utter the words: "Alas, poor Dak'kon, I knew him well”. It’s a nod to the Act V of "Hamlet" (and funnily enough, the same statement could apply to Morte himself, considering Hamlet speaks his famous words looking at the the jester Yorick's skull).

The second reference is an alternative version of Shakespeare's play "Romeo and Juliet". Juliette is one of the many students of Fall-from-Grace working in the Brothel for Slaking Intellectual Lusts and the Nameless One can help in her relationship with Montague.

There are many more secrets and Easter eggs in Planescape: Torment. Which have you found? Let us know in the comments!

New to the planes? Find out more about Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition at planescape.com.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Beamdog Client Update: Physical Enhanced Edition Support



Exciting news! Patch 3.1 for Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition is coming soon! To prepare, the Beamdog team has just updated the Beamdog Client with a few new, exciting features. Watch out for a patch beta available announcement on Facebook, Twitter, and the Beamdog forums!

The Beamdog Client now includes a much-requested feature for owners of the physical editions of Beamdog titles. If you own a copy of Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition, Baldur’s Gate II: Enhanced Edition, or Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition on disk, you can now get the latest updates using the Beamdog Client!

With the latest update, owners of the physical Enhanced Edition disks can now use this new feature to add games to their Beamdog account. To do so, log onto the Beamdog Client and use the new “Redeem Physical Copy” button on the game page to get started. Once done, games added to your Beamdog account in this way can be downloaded and updated through the Beamdog Client on any supported platform.

Redeem your copy in three easy steps!
Please note, the Beamdog Client does not support Windows XP. Users of that operating system will have update their OS to add physical products to their account.



To celebrate this new feature, we’re giving away a few copies to some lucky fans! Check out the Beamdog Twitter, Facebook, and forum for details on how to win!

Read the full list of the Beamdog Client patch notes below:


  • Added the ability to redeem physical copies of games through the Client
  • Provided the ability to set a download speed limit
  • Included an option to retry signing in while in offline mode
  • Accounts now auto login to Beamdog game and soundtrack store pages when opening them through the Client
  • Minor bug fixes
Writer

Friday, May 5, 2017

Developing Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition - Found Artifacts and Oddities


The original Planescape: Torment is filled with hidden gems.
During the development of Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition the Beamdog team dug deeply into the code of original Planescape: Torment and uncovered a treasure trove of secrets hidden within. Here are a few of the oddities we stumbled across while working with the original Planescape: Torment source code.


Not your ordinary test NPC.
Meet the infamous test character, Testocles. Like many cRPGs of its time Planescape: Torment was filled with text, however the conversation  mechanics of PST take speech option outcomes to the next level. In Planescape: Torment, the Nameless One can not only gain XP during conversation, but also be granted extra stat points, new abilities, or have his class change between fighter, thief, and mage.


Updated journal to “check shops with Robert Holloway."
Testocles’ dialog text tree is full of choices ranging from the aforementioned ability to make the Nameless One change class to a simple demand that the test character fidget. Here, Testocles fields a demand to view merchant stores for Robert Holloway, a programmer on the original game.

All hail Holloway! Merchant king!

These stakes are real! A successful test cancels plans for world destruction.
A secret message uncovered 18 years later.
As you can see in the above image, Technical Designer and Voice-over Coordinator on the original Planescape: Torment, David Hendee, left his mark on Curst’s Automap Screen. In the original Planescape: Torment this message was hidden and we found it only by adding the zoomed out map and uncovering the walkable path for the area. Learn about this discovery in the Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition launch livestream.

Run away from me, if you can. Like you’re scared. “RunAwayFrom ((PC), 2000)"
If we didn’t eat cheesy poofs, we’d be lame!
A sign of the times. The C language programmers on Planescape: Torment encrypted the data type void as a reference to the brand new hit show, South Park.

Japanese popular culture not only influenced Planescape: Torment, but also some of the test dialog.
Here, we’re introduced to Dak’kon in a test dialogue with some Hive thugs. According to the original team (watch our livestream with Chris Avellone!), the Planescape: Torment developers played a lot of Final Fantasy VII which may have influenced many of the higher level spells and the preference of each of the Nameless One’s companions to favor a single type of weapon based on their personality.

The original team had some fun with test text.
During our journey back in time, we found this bit of early UI and discovered the two most popular spells in development.
Creating Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition has been an unforgettable experience for the whole Beamdog team. Watch out for more on the making of PST:EE in the weeks ahead!

New to the planes? Find out more about Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition at planescape.com.

Friday, April 28, 2017

What's Next for Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition



The launch of Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition went better than the team here at Beamdog could have ever hoped. 

From our oh-so subtle “Plan Escape” teaser to launch day, we saw only a few hiccups and many, many Planescape fans excited to experience the story of the Nameless One again. We’re continuing to see an incredible number of players saying they’re exploring the world of Planescape for the first time, and we couldn’t be more pleased to hear it. 

Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition has become our most successfully reviewed game yet. We’re seeing 9/10 from reviewers for the desktop version, and even better scores for PST:EE on tablets. Unscored reviews from sites like Rock Paper Shotgun, PC Gamer, and Kotaku have all said that PST:EE is absolutely the way to visit Sigil. 

So what’s next for Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition?

Mobile players may have noticed a 3.04 release shortly after launch which fixed a crashing issue affecting French, German, and Polish versions of the game. 

The team is already hard at work on a 3.1 patch for PST:EE which will include a number of bug fixes, feature requests, and polish items. We expect it will take a few weeks to finish and test the patch and a full list of patch notes will be available here on the Beamblog when we release. In the meantime, our community and QA teams will continue to gather feedback and bug reports.

We’ve heard many fans asking for Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition to be localized into Russian, Chinese, Italian, Spanish, and other languages. The team is looking into options, however we currently don’t have anything to share on that front. 

In other studio news, our longtime Project Lead, Alex Tomovic, has decided to step away from the gaming industry to take a lofty, high-profile position in corporate IT management. Alex’s leadership on Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition, Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear, and Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition will be missed, however we wish him the best and hope to see him as a fan of Beamdog’s future projects. Congratulations on the new job Alex! 

Watch for more news on what’s next with Beamdog, the upcoming Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition 3.1 patch, and a future blog series on the making of PST:EE in the weeks ahead. We’ve got a lot to share about what's ahead and we’re excited to have all of our fans along for the ride. 
Writer

Thursday, April 20, 2017

PST:EE Steam Achievements and Trading Cards


Unlock achievements, obtain and craft Steam trading cards to move from clueless to cutter.
As the team returns from the Easter holidays, we’re happy to show off a few Steam achievements and trading cards available in Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition! Let’s take a look at both.

Steam achievements

Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition holds a total of 50 achievements, all written by PST & PST:EE Lead Designer Chris Avellone. The achievements are a mix of short and long term challenges, designed to reward natural progression. Achievements unlock for reaching a certain level in different classes for the Nameless One, your end-game choices, and for joining different factions of Sigil. Not all of them can be unlocked during one playthrough though. You’ll have to experience the amazing story of PST:EE more than once to get them all!

Here're a few examples of different achievements you are able to unlock in Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition:

Advance any attribute score of the Nameless One to 25.
Train the Nameless One to become a Mage.
Maintain a True Neutral Alignment until the end of the game.
Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition offers 39 hidden achievements. (Spoilers!) Find them by exploring all of Sigil, joining every faction, and crossing paths with an enigmatic Power.

Many Steam players already have discovered few Steam achievements for Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition and ways to get them, while some of you have already managed to unlock all available achievements for this game. That’s the spirit!

Trading cards

We've also added Steam trading cards for Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition. Each trading card displays one of the Nameless One's companions: Morte, Dak’kon, Ignus, Annah, Fall-from-Grace, Nordom, Vhailor, - and the main character himself. The full-sized trading cards come in the wallpaper format, and look spectacular in high definition 4k!

New to Steam trading cards? Here's how they work: Steam Trading Cards are virtual cards earned by playing games on Steam, and sets of cards can be turned into game badges and tradable Steam community items. You’ll only get a few cards by playing though. To collect a full set, trade with others or get cards from the Steam Community Market.

Grow strong and collect them all!
When you're done collecting an entire set of cards you can craft them into a badge. Crafting badges unlocks special profile backgrounds and emoticons for Steam.

Each of our profile backgrounds were created based on the original Planescape: Torment art by Tim Donley and Eric Campanella. They make for iconic wallpapers that any Planescape: Torment fan would enjoy! Steam forum users will enjoy adding Morte, the Nameless One, and the Lady of Pain to their emoticon repertoire.

Your friends on Steam will envy the Nameless One on your background!
New to the planes? Find out more about Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition at planescape.com.

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and the Beamdog Forums to get the latest PST:EE news and reviews. Have feedback? Reach out to us there or send a note to support@beamdog.com.


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Highlights from the Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition Official Soundtrack


Can music change the nature of a man?
Planescape: Torment is a cult classic for many, many reasons. The bizarre city of Sigil is a joy to explore and you’ll encounter some of the oddest characters ever found in the Dungeons & Dragons universe, engaging in conversations with demons, devas, and everything in between. Throughout it all, the Planescape experience is buoyed by this amazing soundtrack which adds depth to the setting.

In Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition The Nameless One wakes to find himself in central hub of the universe, a place where every turn leads to something amazing and dangerous. Step through portals if you dare. Will it lead to a mechanized plane or to a demons' domain? Like the game, the Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition Official Soundtrack transports the listener to the very heart of Planescape. Each track leads to a new discovery and sensation.



Composed by Mark Morgan, an American score composer for video games, television and films, the music in the Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition Official Soundtrack is critically acclaimed and considered by fans among the best soundtracks for computer games.

The music of Planescape: Torment is not only substantially dark and eerie, but emotional as well. Mark Morgan combined ethnic and industrial sound to create 37 tracks fitting the unique Planescape setting. Each track tells a story about the multiverse and those who live within it, mixing wonder and horror in equal measure. The main theme alone is enough to send chills down your spine.

The Mortuary theme is full of muffled ticking undertones, with occasional scrapings and whispers to reflect on the nature of that building. In the Sigil theme, one can almost hear the dangers lurking around every corner. Fortress of Regrets is a grandiose and doleful melody which ties in perfectly with the story told in the final area of the game.

The Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition Official Soundtrack is not only about ambient environmental music, companions themes are what makes this soundtrack truly outstanding. Profoundly sad and beautiful, Deionarrra's Theme is often named the best track composed in a game. The mechanical beats in Nordom's Theme makes it fitting for this character. Although never used in-game, Morte's theme is the most humorous track and not without good reason, this floating skull's personality is conveyed in his theme perfectly. Morte’s theme underlines that, for all its dark tones, Planescape: Torment retains a lot of humour, and the game's soundtrack follows this mix. 

The Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition Official Soundtrack can be purchased along with PST:EE from Beamdog, GOG, and Steam.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Tips On Character Creation in Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition


You don’t roll abilities in Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition, you forge your own destiny.
Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition is very different from other Infinity Engine games and the distinctions start right at the character creation screen. Let’s take a quick tour of some of the character creation differences you’ll see between PST:EE and other IE titles.

Warning: This article contains minor spoilers for Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition.

Character class
Your adventures in Planescape are influenced less by preset abilities and more by your actions and in-game choices. The Nameless One wakes as a fighter and later acquires the ability to become a mage or thief further in the story. After unlocking each class, you’ll be able to switch between roles by speaking with trainers or party members who are skilled fighters, mages, or rogues.

Alignment
The Nameless One begins his journey as True Neutral and your alignment towards Good, Evil, Law, or Chaos will change depending on your behavior, speech options, and quest decisions. Perform kind and unselfish deeds and your character will become Good. Lie to everyone you meet and use force to take that which is not freely given, and your character may end up as Evil. Your actions also influence whether the Nameless One is Lawful, Neutral or Chaotic. For example, if you go through PST:EE fulfilling promises, you’ll likely acquire a Lawful alignment.

Attributes

Attributes in Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition will be familiar to all Dungeons & Dragons players: strength, dexterity, constitution, intelligence, wisdom and charisma. However there’s no ability-rolling in Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition and at the start you distribute a limited amount of character points (21) between your stats. No attribute can become higher than 18 points at the character creation, but as you play the game it will become possible to increase attribute scores further. During your travels, you’ll discover items, tattoos, and spells that can modify the Nameless One’s  stats. As well, attributes in PST:EE can be gained through levelling, exploration, and self discovery.

Pump up Strength to successfully bash chests and locks.
Strength

Traditionally, this is a priority attribute for a Fighter. Strength determines how successfully your character hits opponents (THAC0) and the damage you inflict. Strength also determines the ability to break locked objects. If your character gains Strength 15+, you will see new lines in dialogues, which mostly serve to intimidate others. It can be a good choice to increase Strength if you’re going to become an Evil or Chaotic character.

There're plenty of items to steal in Sigil and a high Dexterity can help with that.
Dexterity

Dexterity is a priority attribute for a Thief. It affects a character’s ability to avoid enemy strikes and aids all thieving skills. A high Dexterity (14+) can provide several unique opportunities, such as catching pickpockets trying to rob you or allowing the Nameless One to snap the neck of a nosy Dustman. Thieves and thugs are all over the place in Sigil, and increasing Dexterity is a benefit to any who wishes to travel the planes as a Warrior, Thief, or Chaotic character.

A high Constitution increases your regeneration rate.
Constitution

Constitution is the attribute responsible for a character’s Hit Points (including how many of them you get at level-ups) and regeneration speed. The regeneration rate in Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition is higher than in Baldur’s Gate. At 9 Constitution, you can regenerate 1 HP every 60 seconds. Considering there’s very little access to healing in Planescape, Constitution is an important attribute for any character.

Intelligence makes possible to understand other creatures.
Intelligence

Intelligence is the most important attribute for Mages. In Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition, an Intelligence of 15+ can influence available dialogue choices with inhabitants of Sigil. Also, a high Intelligence allows Mages a more successful chance to learn a spell, as well as increases the amount of spells they can memorize. In addition, Intelligence increases Lore, allowing for the free identification of magical items.

According to PST & PST:EE Lead Designer Chris Avellone, a high Wisdom can reveal what can change the nature of a man.
Wisdom

Wisdom is arguably the most important attribute for the Nameless One in PST:EE. It uncovers new lines in conversations, offers unique opportunities for solving various problems, unlocks new ways to persuade other characters, and helps the Nameless One discover memories of the past. It also substantially increases the speed of gaining experience and new levels. Wisdom should definitely be a focus for any player wanting to explore the depth of Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition.

Make friends of Sigil merchants and Outland enemies with Charisma.
Charisma

The Nameless One’s face and body is covered with scars and the consequences of lifetimes of hardship. However, Charisma is not only physical beauty, it also encompasses a character’s force of personality. By increasing your Charisma, you can greatly improve your interactions with Sigil’s dwellers and other creatures you meet. This attribute also affects the attitude of merchants and prices in stores.

In the end, don’t be afraid to create a character you gravitate towards the most. The rich story of Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition will give you countless opportunities to roleplay and improve your character.

New to the planes? Find out more about Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition at planescape.com!