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Everything posted by cwm9

  1. I don't think you should do the release slowly. I think you should do it Weird Al style -- release one every day, starting on game release day. When you start releasing episodes, the internet and blogosphere will be abuzz about it every day for three weeks, and you will (I hope) sell games by the truckload as people are forced to wait for their daily documentary fix. If you really want to start the marketing now, start releasing trailer clips from the documentary with "one episode release per day starting xxx" end slates. The internet has a short attention span. Releasing one or two episodes a week is a recipe for losing public interest quickly. Manditory Fun became a runaway success, partially due to the quality of the album, but also partially to the marketing strategy Weird Al employed. Once the videos are public, people will be watching them for months after, so you'll get plenty of residual benefit. It's just hard for me to imagine the blogosphere bothering to write about the documentary for nine weeks straight if you release two episodes per week, and even harder for me to imagine that 'this weeks episode' will attract new purchasers if there's no media stir about what you are doing. On the other hand, I can easily see the media dedicating words to your efforts for 3 weeks if you keep feeding the beast on a daily basis.
  2. Not only should you release it, but you should use it as a marketing tool and do it Weird Al style. You should release 1 episode per day, with the first episode released 2-3 days before the street date of the game. That should build up interest in the game for a few days before it releases, then keep people talking about the game by hitting them with episode after episode while the game is available for purchase.
  3. How about creating making use of the fan base to expand the localization to more languages? It seems like that would be a pretty way to expand the potential market base. Any chance Chinese/Japanese gamers could be enticed into the world of adventure games?
  4. I noticed there hasn't been any real activity in a long, long, time. I was thinking we were going to get updates and video right to the end of Act 2, but then I realized the money for Act 2 is coming from the sales of Act 1. Is this goodbye?
  5. It's also important to remember that the iOS/Android versions haven't even been released yet. There is a large audience that only plays games on the portable devices, and they haven't even been given the opportunity to buy yet. Not everyone has or wants Steam. If the PC version on steam is able to completely pay for development and even a little profit, everything sold on Google Play and the iTunes store is going to be 100% profit.
  6. I did notice that Broken Age was #20 on Steam's Top Seller list today. I don't know if that's meaningful or not, but I sure hope it is.
  7. I think if you ask different people you will get different opinions about the difficulty issue. I like to play adventure games, not because I'm looking for Rubik's cube to solve, but because I want to be a part of a story for a few hours. To me the enjoyable portion is the exploring, the story, the characters, and, as Tim puts it, to "feel smart," after solving a modestly difficult puzzle every now and then. I have plenty of real world puzzles that need to be solved, and I hate getting stuck while playing an adventure game. This game needed to appeal to the masses. For there to be more adventure games after this one, it is critically important that a portion of the current casual gaming population be converted into lovers of adventure games. That means smart phone and tablet support is critical. Past experience has shown that, while hard-core enthusiasts might love hard-core challenges, casual gamers just want to play. For them, getting to play for 3 hours is better than playing for 3 hours and being stuck for 10, and lovers of adventure games will generally still love the game. Double-fine has spent a non-negligible fraction of this budget developing a brand new game engine and related series of development tools. Had these already been in place, the game would almost certainly have been larger in scale than it ended up being. If the game is financially successful, which again depends on hooking modern casual gamers, the next adventure game produced by Double Fine will not require that development and we can expect a series of games with ever-increasing complexity. If the engine is released to the world, then the adventure game community has already won. Adventure games as big-budget affairs might be dead, but adventure games as a genre was never truly abandoned. A fresh new engine and tool set will allow smaller independent game writers a platform on which to shine.
  8. Maybe this is a bad question due to advertising considerations, but, as part of the "sausage," do we get to know how many copies are selling? I'd love to know if this has been a home run or a squeaker. Home run, right? Right?
  9. So, obviously, the the question is... what's the next Double Fine Adventure game Kickstarter going live? It's not like you have to write an engine now... Time to start writing content for that engine. Got to strike while the iron is hot...
  10. The music segment was fucking amazing. Watching the music getting created was inspiring. I am so glad that the game is headed the way that it is. I hope the rest of the world loves the game as much as I know I will.
  11. I think the idea is fine. If the backers had to wait until 2015 I think they'd survive. The question isn't really so much what the hard core backers think -- that money has been long spent, and you don't need to convince them to open their wallets. The real question is, how can you finish the game properly? It's important to remember that what backers bought into was the game development process -- watching sausage get made and all, remember? This decision is part of that sausage. Seeing the anguish that goes into deciding how to bring in more money to finish a game is a part of what we paid for. We all know what needs to happen for the game to be all it can be. More money has to be brought in. So bring it in. Bring in fresh blood. Get a new group of people interested via the Steam "Early Access" system. The backers shouldn't look at this like it's some sort of compromise -- this is the game getting made, right before your eyes. This is how you make ends meet when you run out of options.
  12. While I do get warm fuzzies for the title, "Worlds Apart," and while it is the current poll leader, I think it would be wise to consider the marketing implications of such a choice. If you Google "worlds apart" you come back with 5,060,000 hits, the third one down of which is worldsapart.com. For anyone looking to find a review, '"worlds apart" review' will nab them 10,600,000 results, mostly pointing them to the episode of Fringe by that name, an impossible search adversary. "The Divide" is pretty much on par with 6,510,000 hits due to the 2011 movie of the same name. It should not surprise you that tacking on the word 'review' only narrows this to 3,010,000. "Small Offerings" has just 47,400 hits while "Broken Age" fares best at 7,930. Sadly, neither of these titles gives me any warm fuzzies. "Broken Age" sounds too much like a dungeon crawl, and "Small Offerings" seems to girl-story-centric in addition to having other connotations that aren't related. But then, I doubt I could do better. All I could come up with was, "The Abrogates," referring to their mutual rejection, or abrogation, of their respective societal norms. So I guess "Broken Age" it is...
  13. I would agree with you if the game were held hostage to additional funding. But that's not what's going on, and I think your viewpoint is incorrect. As I said originally, we have the oportunity to define what it means to be crowd funded right now. A second kickstarter is not a failure, it's a vote. Originally, Double File said, "we want to make game 'x'." Then along came massive overfunding, and they said, "that's awsome! Instead of making game 'x', we're going to make you game 'y'." Halfway through game 'y' they said, "we're heading toward game 'z', but we know we can't afford it, so we're trimming back to game 'y'." Now, in the traditional sense, we could say, "we paid for game 'x', and now you are off on game 'z', get your act together!" But this is not traditional funding. If those giving the money prefer game 'z' over game 'y', why is it wrong to let them pay for it? This is not a case of holding game 'y' hostage over additional funding. This is a case of letting us choose: would we rather have the less expensive game 'y' and pay nothing more, or the more expensive game 'z' and pay some extra? I'd rather have game 'z'. Judging from the response of many posters, so would many other people. If you offer a kickstarter and say, "oops, we screwed up, give us more money," then of course there will be backlash. If you offer a kickstarter and say, "we're on course to deliver game 'y', but many of you have seen hints of game 'z' and are interested in seeing that happen -- here's your chance", then I fail to see where the negativity would come from.
  14. "We're the poster child." We, all of us, are that poster child, and we all get to define what crowd sourcing is. You hear the many voices saying they want to support you, right? Let us have our moment to choose! Make a second kickstarter with a $200,000 goal with NO new rewards and let the backers choose if that is an acceptable thing to do. Why is it your right to say that it's not "ok"? If they don't fund it, fine! Consider it a vote to cut until it fits. But let us vote. Give us the chance to make the game be what we want. Sure, I could slacker back again, but having another kickstarter makes it a team effort where we either do it together, or we don't do it. Please, it's not failure to ask for more money. Why can't it be, 'we see where this is headed and we like what we see so we're gonna double down?" Maybe this is how crowd funding *needs* to be. Maybe in the future we half fund projects until we like what we see and only then finish funding them. I'm telling you, I have cash in my pocket that is burning a hole there just waiting for you to ask for it. And how many times have I ever said that in my life about anything else? -repost
  15. "We're the poster child." We, all of us, are that poster child, and we all get to define what crowd sourcing is. You hear the many voices saying they want to support you, right? Let us have our moment to choose! Make a second kickstarter with a $200,000 goal with NO new rewards and let the backers choose if that is an acceptable thing to do. Why is it your right to say that it's not "ok"? If they don't fund it, fine! Consider it a vote to cut until it fits. But let us vote. Give us the chance to make the game be what we want. Sure, I could slacker back again, but having another kickstarter makes it a team effort where we either do it together, or we don't do it. Please, it's not failure to ask for more money. Why can't it be, 'we see where this is headed and we like what we see so we're gonna double down?" Maybe this is how crowd funding *needs* to be. Maybe in the future we half fund projects until we like what we see and only then finish funding them. I'm telling you, I have cash in my pocket that is burning a hole there just waiting for you to ask for it. And how many times have I ever said that in my life about anything else?
  16. Since they had a two sided story with girl and boy, maybe they should have split the artwork workload between bagel and chan, one doing the girl's story and the other the boy's. That way there'd be two artists to do the work instead of one. That's a pretty massive improvement, and could have fit really well into the story. Probably too late now...
  17. I think there are a large number of us who feel we've already gotten well beyond our money's worth already just in these documentary videos. The journey has been amazing so far, and it's only been five episodes. Consider, for a moment, how much would it have cost to purchase all this content if it had been episodes of a TV show for viewing on Amazon: At $1.99 an episode with 5 main episodes and 5 "side quests" so far, that's already $20 worth of video... and we don't even have the game yet. You could say, well, cwm9, why not just buy another copy if you want to contribute more? Well, I could. But I'd feel like I was dropping a penny in a well. On the other hand, if it's needed, if DF were to officially ask all of us to contribute more... well... I know I would, and my guess is plenty of others would too. Frankly, I'd be more than happy to double my investment. That's how wonderful this has been. If you had different accounts set up to support different aspects of the game, you could even have people putting money directly towards the parts of the game that are important to them. Like music? Fund the music account. Want Bagel to be able to draw more? Fund the Bagel account. And now on to something concerning. I have the greatest respect for Tim Schafer and his creative vision, but I saw something this episode that really worries me: His surprising reluctance to let go of the wonderful, but unfunded, idea of having Bagel do the bulk of the artistic work. I understand the artistic desire, but money is tight! I want Bagel to do all that wonderful work; yet, if the game is put in peril, it it worth forcing the issue? No! Of course, months have passed since this was filmed. Was a compromise reached? Is the timetable still in trouble? Tune in for the next exciting episode of... The mood of Ep. 5 took such an abrupt left turn from the happy-go-lucky excitement and vague apprehension of Episode 4. Suddenly everyone has this sort of, "oh my god what did we bite off," look. The project was funded above and beyond what anyone thought would be possible, but Tim seems to want to stretch the budget and his staff to the breaking point rather than accepting that what he has been handed and working well within those boundaries. Now I understand why publishers sometimes quash the artistic desires of their artists. If I were funding Tim -- not on a personal lark, but as a business venture -- I'd squash the idea of Bagel doing all that work in a heartbeat. It's a great idea, but absent some miracle process that hasn't yet been presented, it's also a quagmire that could bring down the entire project, and I don't want that to happen. I don't want Adventure to become a dismal failure. A half-Bagle game is infinitely better than a no-Bagel game... Tim's grip is too tight. He needs to relax it just a hair. It's unquestionably his game, his vision, but he trying to hold too much sand in his hands.
  18. I've always had a couple of crazy ideas tumbling around in my head, not for games exactly, but for ways of interacting with games. Anyone else have any crazy ideas? Here are my two fondest. It's hard to be original, there's probably a dozen games out there that already do these, but I don't know of them: 1) In an adventure game, have a constant companion that sort of "actively participates" in the game. This "other person" is basically a hint engine that you can turn off, if you want to. The companion talks all the time, but what he/she says becomes more helpful as time goes on. At first, he's like, "I dunno, Joe, a gum wrapper? You pick up the craziest shit." Your character should, of course, talk back. "Shut up, Mike." If you take too much time solving a puzzle, the conversation turns more helpful. "What the heck can you do with a gum wrapper, Joe? Nothing!" "It's the only thing in here, Mike, there's gotta be something we can do with it." The more time you spend wandering around trying the wrong thing, the more the "obvious" the hints become. "Maybe we can melt down the metal layer on the back of the wrapper and make a goddamn key out of it." Eventually, the companion would just *do* the required thing for you. "Joe, gimme the wrapper, I'm gonna try shorting out the electronic lock with it." This would allow really complicated puzzles to be incorporated in the game, and still let the game feel like it's flowing naturally. You can't get stuck, and it's much harder to get totally bored. Plus, most games are so darn *silent* all the time. No one says anything meaningful unless you click on them. This would let the game have same meaningful, and potentially really funny, chatter. Who says what they try always has to work? Funny sequences are often missed by a gamer... a companion could trip them for you if you miss them. (Who wouldn't want a companion helping them on a quest, anyway?) 2) Doesn't apply to adventure games, but I always wanted a MMORPG where you *didn't* really level up that much. Instead, the game relies on you learning, and improving upon, certain gestures you make with your hands (or pen on a sensitive surface). The more accurately and quickly you perform a motion, the more powerful the command is. Get it exactly right really fast, and that heal spell works wonders. Get it wrong, and nothing happens. For magical characters, more powerful spells require more complicated motions. If you make a mistake while performing the motion pattern to a powerful spell, bad things happen. Maybe you've learned how to cast Reanimate, but the tolerance for error is small and the complexity of that spell is high. Mess it up, and a demon appears before your party and devours everyone. If you're a warrior, an error in a complicated move might result in chopping off your own foot! The point would be, advancement would be made through skill and practice, and merely knowing how an advanced spell is performed isn't enough to actually perform it. Once you get good, you can log on with a new character and be good *right away*. Plus, no one, no single creature, unless they have a nuclear bomb or some other WMD, should be able to survive being attacked by 10,000 angry 1st level characters... Anyway, I imagine there are some other interesting "game mechanics" ideas out there. Anyone else have any?
  19. Can you point out which scenes you found the most lacking? Maybe it's something we can keep in mind moving forward. 32:12 to 31:58 was especially bad, and I was surprised to see it in the video when I watched it, but didn't think about saying anything. 32:20 was fine. I realize it may have been dark, but the focus plane was so narrow and the focus wandered so much. I was trying to look at the screen but the focus plane just kept moving all over the place.
  20. This guy's too young, that's wrong... I love that one... Those are freakin' me out... I think the most amazing thing about this whole project is that it shows how little (graphical) artistic talent one needs to have to make games -- and how little technical talent an artist has to have. It shows how people work as a team to get something accomplished, how not to be an army of one. Amazing.
  21. I was thinking about the meeting Tim held where he asked people what they liked and didn't like about gaming, and a common theme that pops up is that of pixel hunting. (edit: Ok, well, I guess different people have different definitions of this. I don't really mean the kind of pixel hunting where the item you need to click is litterally one or two pixels large, I just mean, there's a non-obvious object on the screen and you are hunting for it.) I actually don't like it when objects are highlighted or named in a game. I think it breaks the immersive quality I want from an adventure. If you are trying to solve a puzzle and you come across a screwdriver that highlights when you touch it, the thought process in my mind shifts from, "how do I solve this puzzle," to, "what puzzle needs this screwdriver, and what's going to happen when I use it?" Then there are the guys who did Sword & Sworcery saying you shouldn't have puzzles at all! I began to think about what it is about pixel hunting that people hate so much, and I came to the conclusion that it isn't actually pixel hunting that people hate. It's getting stuck. There's a wonderful satisfaction you get from solving a puzzle that requires a little thinking, and the more "effort" you put into solving that puzzle, the greater the satisfaction you get. That is, up to a point. Beyond that point, you just start to get angry and frustrated, especially if the solution to the puzzle involves wandering around the game for hours on end. Highlighting objects is a sort of visual cheat that lets us move from, "how do I solve this puzzle," to, "which of these objects can be combined with the other objects to make something happen." It feels like solving a puzzle, but often it just ends up being trial and error. Especially because often I find myself wanting to solve the problem in a way that is different from the way the puzzle designer wants you to solve the problem. "But I don't WANT to push the key out of the lock and catch it on the mat, I want to take out the door pins I can clearly see." So then it hit me that a possible solution to the whole "getting stuck" problem (as well as creating immense replay value), is to solve all of these problems at once by creating multiple solutions to each puzzle. Why not let the player solve the problem either by pushing the key out of the keyhole or by taking the door off its hinges? Maybe the player didn't see the mat, or doesn't realize it can be picked up, but maybe he sees the hammer and the punch. I would love to play an adventure game where there are at least 3 different non-obvious solutions to every puzzle in the game -- perhaps with different funny visual short consequences or dialog attached to each one. Want to get inside the a house? Throwing a rock through the window works. Look under the mat and find the key. Or you could just pretend to be the plumber. Throwing the rock through the window or using the key means if you are discovered by the butler he kicks you out, so you have to be stealthy. Pretending to be the plumber means the butler lets you in, but it also means he's watching you while you're trying to take the birdcage. Creating a game with several solutions means the chance of getting stuck anywhere in the game goes way down. Also, it preserves the victorious feeling reward that comes from pixel hunting. Finally, it creates huge replay value. "Ok, I know I can distract the guard by setting of the stink bomb in the bathroom, but how ELSE can I get him to move?" If I could play though a game fluidly without stopping, not only would I find that game more fun, but I'd be far more inclined to play the game again to find the other paths. Sometimes what is obvious to one player isn't obvious to another. If each team member came up with a different solution to each puzzle, the players would almost certain to make it though without getting stuck, and without feeling like they're playing a game for kindergardeners.
  22. "Uch. That's not a word, is it?" "No. We're done here." I rarely laugh out loud, but that really did it for me. God I hope the final game is as good as that clip.
  23. Quantum world. Things are in multiple states simultaneously until you interact with them, at which point they collapse into a single state. (Example: person is both happy and sad until you talk to them, at which point they become one or the other. Walking away for a little while causes them to go back to being both happy and sad.) White Blood Cell training school -- Be the best leukocyte you can be! Train with the reconnaissance antibodies as they learn to recognize the enemy.
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