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About Ralewyn

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    Redmond, WA
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  1. Brazen!

    I figure you guys want playtesting data on this prototype, so I'm gonna' write out a report. I played two rounds of the game, one as the Beerzerker and one as the Stalwart. Both single-player. Audience background I have never played any of the Monster Hunter series, and only know of Ray Harryhausen's work through brief clips on cartoon channels from my adolescence, and would not consider myself explicitly a 'fan' of his work or that era of film-making. I am however a fan of DoubleFine's games, sense of humor, and development process. Though I play a wide variety of games very avidly, I tend to prefer strategy games and RPGs by a slim margin. I tend to play games for social interaction, and tend to value games that let me solve problems in my personal, specific ways (eg Deus Ex, Civilization) above all else. First Impressions The opening cutscene set the tone for the experience very well, and I was eagerly awaiting the horrible death of the fourth-wheel. Though I have little experience with Harryhausen's work I immediately burst out laughing when Gorgoth appeared, and immediately fell in love with its jerky and and stiff animations and the intention was immediately obvious to me. The relative smoothness of the other characters' animations made Gorgoth's stop-motion more apparent, which made it even funnier. Though I got it immediately, I'm concerned as to whether or not the general gaming public would get the joke immediately, which would be a bummer. Playthrough 1: The Beerzerker Though I tend to prefer support classes, I particularly enjoyed the Drunken Master hero in Heroes of Newerth, so I immediately gravitated towards the Beerzerker. It only took one vomit for me to figure out how the drinking mechanics worked and I immediately set about chipping away at Gorgoth's health. Combat was simple and intuitive, but I didn't feel like I was making a whole lot of interesting strategic decisions while I was playing, which bothered me. I also came to the personal conclusion as a player that sprinting away from Gorgoth's attacks was very often more effective than dodging. I ultimately defeated Gorgoth after using all my potions, and decided perhaps the Beerzerker--as much as I loved his artistic character design--was not the class for me. Playthrough 2: The Stalwart Right off the bat the Stalwart proved far more viscerally satisfying to me than the Beerzerker. I believe this is due to the windup on his attack animations and in a greater part to the camera work and blur effects for whenever he blocked. Though I was more engaged as the Stalwart, I was having an objectively much harder time fighting Gorgoth. Though I had little trouble blocking and felt really fulfilled when I did, I would often be locked in an attack animation whenever Gorgoth struck. I tried for a while to figure out why none of my attacks were forming combos, not being able to tell whether the charge or the shield throw was the power attack. It wasn't until Gorgoth disengaged at the midway point that I could spend a while experimenting on the beach with my attacks, and figured out that the Stalwart was just really, really slow. As I experimented, though, I found all of the combos interesting and satisfying, and applied my newfound knowledge to the next stage. I found that, however, there was nearly never a case where I could land more than two attacks before Gorgoth attacked, but this was after I had skimmed the Stalwart class. I see now there are options for stunning Gorgoth that I didn't find at first glance, nor did I learn through play. I would ultimately not survive the battle, but primarily because the Gorgoth recovered all of its health while I was practicing on the beach. Final Thoughts I'm interested in playing this multiplayer when I get the time, and love the overall theme of the game. All of the classes seem simple and intuitive--though some moreso than others, but I'm concerned about how strategic depth would be accomplished in a more fleshed-out version of this game, since I see this combat with these characters becoming rather repetitive after a while. Though I expect I'd know the answer to this if I'd played Monster Hunter, since they seem to have been doing this for quite a long time now. As of now, I'd almost certainly buy this game, but that would mostly be due to the theme and the DoubleFine brand. Even still, I can see this game becoming very mechanically engaging with some tweaks to character controllers here and there and AI patterns.
  2. KAIJU PILEDRIVER Official Thread

    Good night, sweet prince. ; n;7
  3. I'm very interested to see this project, since I've been waiting for a while for somebody to make "Dwarf Fortress except without all of the glaring problems." Up until now it's sort of been "Dwarf Fortress with updated graphics and a mouse interface but all the clunky non-user-friendly systems still in place with a fraction of the actual content." Which brings me to my point--could you go into some detail on your plans for how the economy might work? I felt a big part of what made Dwarf Fortress so engaging was how 1:1 the economy was. That is to say, instead of sending a dwarf to chop wood and that would bring back an abstracted 'lumber' value, he literally ran out, chopped a log, brought it back, and you eventually built something out of it. Granted, how you interacted with this process and how the resources was managed was less-than-optimal, but it really gave your fortress that great 'ant farm' feeling that I've rarely seen replicated in games. Do you plan on there being very specific resources to manage like food, water, metal, electronics, power, what-have-you as per something like Dwarf Fortress or Tropico, or is there going to be some sort of unified credits resource that you do everything with like in say Kaloki X or Evil Genius? And slightly related: how much micromanagement do you forsee in the base building? Do we place furniture individually as per Dwarf Fortress or is it more like SimTower where you place rooms and they're just there?
  4. KAIJU PILEDRIVER Official Thread

    I'm aware that at this point it's all very mutable, but I'm curious to hear what your current vision for character progression is in this game, since that's what generally gets me into a roguelike. 1. Pace How often is the character actually getting more powerful? Is it like FTL or Dungeons of Dredmor where upgrades are sparse but very significant, or is it like Half-Minute Hero where you're constantly growing more powerful at a rate you can't even necessarily keep up with because everything's so hectic? Is it more like a flash game where there's a clear 'shop window' moment where you catch a break, pick a simple perk, and keep going? 2. Unlockables across playthroughs FTL kept you coming back trying to play through it with multiple unlockable ships, and that also gave you a motivation to work towards both for just playing through the game and actually trying to finish it instead of giving up on a doomed run. Do you have any plans for unlockables or other goodies that are persistent across multiple playthroughs? 3. Agency How much choice does the player have in their progression? Do you see a player having enough options that they could conceivably specialize their monster in some or most cases or do you think random generation will force them to adapt and think on their feet at all times? 4. Progression Range Just what do you see the player gaining over time from a mechanical perspective? Is it all stat boosts? What about new abilities? Is it all 100% combat-related or do you plan on there being some utility upgrades? If so, can you give some examples? Other than that I'm just curious about the overall pace of the game. How long do you see a player surviving before they die, and in a full version of the game would you consider some sort of endgame, like a big boss that eventually shows up if they survive long enough and wreck enough stuff or something?
  5. I feel like it was a mistake to mention the choices and NPC interaction in this topic. Really, the truth is what I want to see in DFA is an interface that does what The Walking Dead's does right. It's simple, non-intrusive, intuitive, and never requires the player to press more than two buttons to perform an action. Whether DFA is focused on puzzles or narrative, I think both can be delivered upon without requiring the player to wade through 1-2 sub-menus to do anything like the adventure games of yore. DFA has the potential to jump-start the adventure game genre. If it's successful, it's going to be a model a lot of projects--independent or otherwise--start following. It would be nice if for once an adventure game we look to as a pillar of the genre had an interface that drew players into the experience rather than turned them away.
  6. The trouble is that even if eventually the decision will come into play somewhere down the line in a significant way, the immediate, visceral reaction to this situation is that the player suddenly is not in control. While it is valid to make the player feel as though they do not have control over a scenario sometimes, I believe to do so in this game--especially early in this game, and multiple times, was a mistake. I feel like I'm taking control of an effort to make sure survivors keep surviving and that my choices matter. When I'm given a choice between someone dying or not and they die anyway I'd rather just not have that choice in the first place, rather than having to second-guess when the game will actually let me have control of the situation. In addition, if the player is thinking ahead for the implications of their choice in later episodes and making their decision based on that then they're completely removed from the situation, because most of the time this is happening in incredibly high-tension moments where the player is in the middle of an interest peak. To make them step back from that moment is to ruin the moment.
  7. Game Design Books

    Here's the trouble--we've only recently begun trying to formally teach game design as a discipline. The Art of Game Design is one of the two or three worthwhile textbooks you will find on the subject. It sounds like you're looking for the formula for how to fine-tune an experience and no book will really tell you. It's a process that you have to learn through experience. What you want to focus on is Playtesting. Good game design is treated as a science experiment. You construct an experiment--your game or mechanic or tidbit of gameplay in a way that you can put it in the hands of a player as quickly as possible, whether it's a board game or a quick prototype thrown together in an engine or something else. Then you give it to someone and you watch what they do. You take careful, meticulous notes about how they react to anything you put in and figure out which reactions you want to keep and which reactions you want to fix. If, for example, they're using a certain form of magic exclusively, maybe you don't want that. If they run out of grenades, maybe you don't want that either. Then you go back to development and implement the changes you think will change the player's reaction in the way you want it. Then you repeat the experiment until you have an experience that you're satisfied with the reaction from players. It's a long and arduous process, but it yields results and it's the driving design philosophy behind today's most successful games. The more experience you gain with it, the more you will learn about how to evoke what emotions and reactions from a player from your statistics, effects, everything. Hope this helps.
  8. So I recently played the first episode of Telltale's new project; The Walking Dead. I felt that it did a lot of things right as far as adventure games go and broke new ground for how you can structure the narrative and gameplay of adventure games that I want to make sure are brought to the attention of developers at large. Please note--The Walking Dead is a fairly linear gameplay experience: You solve puzzles, look around and talk to people here, then there, then there, then there. Whereas the traditional adventure game, such as the ones made by Lucasarts are more about exploration: In most cases, you can visit any place you've already been to and try to progress through the content using new items you've collected or new information you've gathered. This may mean that not all of the new and interesting advances in The Walking Dead can translate perfectly to a traditional adventure game, but even still I think these are advances that should be considered. 1. Simplistic Interface: One of the biggest things that shocked me about The Walking Dead was it was the first adventure game I had actually ever played since Humongous Entertainment games that was genuinely intuitive. Everything you ever need to do in the game can be done with one keystroke and mouse click at maximum, or one button at maximum if you're using a controller. This is because the game gives you a maximum of context-sensitive options for interacting with objects when you mouse over them. For instance, you wouldn't expect striking up a conversation with a TV to help you at all, so the option to talk to a TV isn't there. There is however an option to look at the TV. All of these options are selected by hitting 1-4 on the keyboard or just ABXY on the controller. There are two key points I want to stress here. First, there is no inventory interface in The Walking Dead. Any items you pick up are shown on the left in a little unobtrusive bar and you activate the items by just mousing over an object you can interact with and using the item as one of the context-sensitive options. This means that even with the most convoluted puzzle (which there is at least one in The Walking Dead) your player will never have to wander around the environment confusedly rubbing their entire inventory on every object they can find until one combination magically works. Second, as soon as you are taught which button accesses which context, the buttons vanish from the interface. At no point are you reminded that you are Looking At nor are you reminded to press the A button except unfortunately during quick-time-events. You just know you are Looking. Because the context menu just shows an eye. This is crucial because these vague and simple context clues make kinesthetic projection happen naturally. You feel as though you are the avatar in the game on an immersion level, something I have seen plenty of other genres accomplish but never seen accomplished in adventure games--one of the reasons adventure games aren't as popular a genre with the general market. Granted, the interface isn't perfect. It's highly specialized for The Walking Dead and it may not translate well to a traditional adventure title. You never have an inventory larger than 3 items, so context-action resolution for larger inventories could be a more daunting task. In addition, you lose the ability to do anything to anything in the game world. This could be a mixed blessing, as content doesn't have to be created for the clever line when the player tries to rub the rubber chicken on the grog barrel, but we also never get to hear that clever line. I personally think this is a small price to pay, I'm not sure everyone would agree with me. 2. Choices and Agency in narrative: The Walking Dead is full of choices you have to make, usually on a timer of some sort in a high-pressure situation. Some are better executed than others, and there are both lessons in right and wrong we can take from choices in The Walking Dead. The Right: Choices branch the narrative and how events of the game play out slightly--or at the very least they feel like they branch the narrative the first time you play through the game. In addition, even though much of the time it seems like it doesn't particularly come up later, the game notes when NPCs are internalizing what you choose to say to them in conversations. This has a dramatic impact on the player's sense of agency--it gives them a real feeling like they have a direct impact on the world they are playing the game in beyond just solving puzzles. The Wrong: There is a choice or two in the first episode of The Walking Dead that doesn't really matter at all. For example, you are given a choice to save one of two characters from a horde of zombies. However, no matter which one you pick, for narrative reasons, one of the characters will always be the one to die and the other the one to live regardless of who you chose. These choices drag the player out of the experience immediately and suddenly we're back to old traditional adventure games where there's a narrative playing out and you're just kind of along for the ride. The simple and obvious lesson in this is that you don't give a player a choice if it won't affect the outcome. Then you're just being a jerk. I highly recommend any designer--professional, independent, or learning (like myself), look into The Walking Dead and learn from it, whether you're patronizing the game or just looking up a walkthrough on youtube.