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About ari54x

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    Jr. Action Poster
  1. The wires puzzles are by and large very clear due to the symbol clues, they provided excellent redundancy for colourblindess, everything except that one clue was perfect, and you'd probably need to have achromatopsia to have too much trouble telling the wires apart, and I'm not sure people with that type of colourblindess would be able to play a 2d adventure game at all given they essentially see in shades of grey. Thanks for your hard work!
  2. Trying to be non-specific here so I can avoid spoiler tags... Just a small request- it took me a long time to work out the finale independent of the puzzle, because I worked out Vella's side, but had difficulty reading the final wiring pattern needed for Shay's side of that puzzle, as it's presented differently, and it took me several times staring at the image to work out that there was a flash of washed out blue colour in one area. (After I noticed that, I could then see the red and green, but my colourblindness to those two made them very difficult to distinguish from the background until I knew they should be there, when it would probably have been reasonably obvious to someone with typical colour vision) Would it be possible if there's a patch at some point to provide a symbol pattern somewhere as well for the final solution for the wiring puzzle as a backup? It needn't be as easy to find as the actual way the pattern is currently presented now, but it would be a nice usability thing, as the symbol patterns don't have any colourblindness issues due to being ordered top to bottom as well. Pairing the colour with a symbol or an ordering makes it workable for those of us who confuse things. On the general feedback front, I really enjoyed Act 2 once I refreshed my memory on how the teleporters worked, it was worth the wait, thanks! I found a couple of solutions accidentally, but once I got the ball rolling things started to fall into place a lot more. I totally kicked myself when I realised I had been staring at a hint to one of Shay's puzzles in Vella's part of the act without realising it, really good stuff!
  3. ari54x

    Iron Mode

    A couple teamstreams ago brad was considering a neutral way to say "ironman mode". Can I suggest "Iron mode"? Sounds sufficiently badass without any awkward -person suffixes.
  4. I'm going to disagree with your core point, actually. In general I really like the tension between retiring heroes versus having them available for battles. It adds an interesting layer to the strategy where there's a tension between your strategic gameplay (you want to retire the best heroes as soon as you can, maybe delaying if they're close to levelling, so that you can maximise their odds for having large numbers of children) and the tactical gameplay, where you want to hold on to your best heroes till they die. While some game mechanics should be easy and intuitive, having a certain degree of tension between choices makes for a good game. Also, it will allow clever players to notice whether they are better at the tactical or strategic game, and make choices about retiring heroes that help shore up the weaknesses in their game. That said, watching the teamstreams thus far, there are definitely issues with the system as-is. (ie. older heroes should begin losing combat stats a bit more before they become infertile, so there's a "sweet spot" where you retire them as they're about to start sucking but they still have some chance of having kids) It looks waaay too easy to run out of a certain gender, class, or even just heroes altogether at the moment. This should be easy enough to tweak, but it also presents the opportunity for some cool random events, such as: * One of your heroes wants to marry a commoner. They will leave your service, but they may have children who can serve you later. * We have found a (refill item) for the Massive Chalice- this will allow a commoner to drink from the Chalice and found an immortal bloodline", etc... (perhaps the ability to refill the Chalice is one of the reasons the cadence attack, to try and deprive you of heroes?) * One of your regents is left an abandoned baby- you're given a choice between adopting it or not, and there's a chance it's actually part of an existing bloodline without an established keep, or maybe it just distracts your regent from having their own children with no benefit... * If you have a lot of heroes from the same house, maybe a scion of an established house cuts ties with their existing family and they are adopted into a different one, or start a new bloodline.
  5. Yeah I'd actually argue that Machinarium ended up in exactly the opposite part of the "adventure genre speace" to Broken Age- puzzle-heavy, easy to get stumped, and charitably speaking, very light on the story.
  6. Cheers Tim! If only we lived in a world where you could have broken your funding goals even more I suppose the upside of a constrained budget is that you can kill your darlings a bit more easily... That's... not entirely accurate. He would have designed a smaller scoped game to begin with, and probably still had to end up cutting things. Do you seriously not see the difference between "cutting things" and "hacking into the design and cutting a lot [50%] out of it"? If you cut things a few things from a modest design or a lot of things from a grander design, how do you not end up in about the same place? I'm really not sure how you spin this into being upsetting. Keep in mind as well that not everything that was cut would necessarily have worked out perfectly, and some of it might have needed to be cut because it might fundamentally not work.
  7. Ah, I know what was bothering me about the Myst example. Yes, Myst is difficult, but it's difficulty is somewhat different to those more classic adventure games. It doesn't really have the same "esoteric solutions to puzzles" thing going on to the same extent. In Myst you're grounded in a world that feels very real, and the solutions to puzzles largely involve fixing things in slightly more practical ways, so even though it can be quite difficult, it still feels like you're playing by the rules. I think a lot of the esoteric puzzle solutions that make adventure fans laugh can sometimes feel a bit of a slap in the face to more casual players, who can feel a bit like "How on earth was I supposed to guess that?", usually because there's no introduction to making the really out-of-the-box solutions. It's almost like having a friendly character walk people through a dummy puzzle would actually be a really good way to bring in people in a tutorial mode. There's a lot of things going on to why games are sucessful or not beyond just difficulty obviously, but I still feel like the familiarity of hardcore fans with very difficult puzzles and how unforgiving most adventure games are is part of what keeps the audience limited to what it is. It's a nice genre, IF you can get into it, and IF you can deal with its frustrations. But I think there has to be some better ways of removing those IFs while still making an accessible and satisfyingly challenging game- although that might perhaps involve making something that's not quite an adventure game in the way they're currently thought of. edit: No, I haven't (yet) played Stacking, and I'd need to to properly respond to your post, sorry!
  8. Hardcore gamers are always a minority of gamers, look at any game with leaderboards, those who understand how to high-score in scoring game are only a sliver of the audience- so if the games were designed primarily for that slice of the game, it would have a very limited audience. What usually happens is that things are made sufficiently enjoyable for the hardcore fans when you're designing the stuff that's appealing to more casual genre fans. But you spend a lot more time on making the game elegant and accessible to the widest audience, which is usually the most casual part of the audience, who may not really bother with what a genre is, or who crossover occasionally into the one you're developing. Some difficult games are successful, but I can't really think of any others on the level of the Myst series, but you're right, that's probably a very good example of quite a successful, difficult game, although in many ways it's quite different from other adventure games, and it didn't have some of the other issues going on with it that contributed to less adventure games being made, so that also has something to do with it, and of course, there are probably a lot of more casual adventure gamers who play things a bit more hardcore than they like because not enough adventure games are made in general. I can see why you'd think that it was supposed to be a hardcore game, but I think if you listen to those materials again, the core of what they're talking about is how awesome adventure games are and how kickstarter is an excellent opportunity to get more of them made- I never read it as "this is a game that will only try to appeal to people who are already adventure game fans", more "oh, we loved these classic point and click adventure games and want to make one". Unfortunately that word 'classic' has huge nostalgia connotations for people and in genres where classic games were largely hardcore, people are immediately gonna think hardcore... so whoops? Hopefully people at least enjoy the fact that this game has an amazing story and really deserves to be treated as Art as well, so you're getting a great game, even if it wasn't exactly what you thought. And yes, hardcore audiences SHOULD have games, because niche markets are still worth serving... (hell, I'm usually up there with the hardcore audience in most genres I play) but not every game is going to be one of those, especially not when you're trying to re-mainstream a whole genre! You don't get there without doing broad appeal games first That said, I'm sure there are ways to do hardcore adventure games that have some of the accessibility approaches that I like about games like Broken Age or the Dreamfall series- (including the determination that all items will be used for something, so no items that are purely red herrings) and whenever the two can be married they should be, although I think that's harder for adventure games. What I'm trying to get at though, is that even if you didn't like how easy Part 1 is, we need easier adventure games to expand the market for harder ones. How do you grow a donut hole? You make a bigger donut, which means you get more hardcore games by making casual games to educate people about and feed the excitement around the genre, then people who like complex games start graduating to other titles. Hardcore adventure fans should support easier titles too and help market them ideally, so that the market expands.
  9. Doesn't it? I thought it did for all products that didn't opt in to Steam's (minimal) DRM.
  10. Which part of it? That very difficult puzzles will only appeal to a minority of gamers? That's basic donut hole game design. If you want a game with broad appeal you're going to have to focus it at the medium market, with material that appeals both to hardcore gamers and to casual gamers. (ie. you leave a hole in your game where the really super hardcore stuff could have gone, because the time it takes to develop that is usually not worthwhile. You might lose a small potential audience but you gain a much larger one) Designing a fiendishly difficult game can be a success, (For instance, Faster Than Light or Super Meat Boy were great examples of more difficult games being commercial successes) but it limits the appeal of your game. Broken age part 1 may be a little too easy by normal standards, but it's probably hoping to pick up a bunch of gamers who have little to no experience with adventure games. From a commercial point of view I wouldn't change the difficulty very much from here if I were designing the game, but I think it could be tweaked a bit harder for fans and backers, and it could definitely stop hitting us over the head with hints quite so fast But if adventure games keep having lots of really difficult puzzles and unnecessary red herrings, and don't have good flow mechanisms that make the game easier when you're stuck, or help you avoid missing items, then they're going to stay too difficult for part of the market. I can think of some exceptions, but the vast majority of adventures I've played aren't using the donut hole model, they're just going for the hardcore market. That's a fine thing for occassional titles to do, but I'd say it's unhealthy when it happens to an entire genre, because you don't get new fans. I'm also not saying the majority of people who backed Broken Age wouldn't like a game that's designed to plug the donut hole, (in fact that would probably be more popular with backers, I agree) but I am saying I wouldn't, and I think a lot of other people who are needed to re-invigorate the genre wouldn't be huge fans. Generally if I feel like I need to go to a walkthrough for specifics, it's already to the point that I probably don't really want to play any more.
  11. I wasn't saying it's straight-up wrong to find the game too easy for you, I was saying that it's wrong to say that all the puzzles were too easy. There were some ones that could stump people in there, and some ones that required you to think outside of the box. What they weren't is the fiendishly hard puzzles of some classic adventure games sprinkled with useless red-herring items, which is probably a very good thing, and I really hope the genre doesn't go back to that, because it's only fun for a few people. I am aware of the general consensus, and think it's in a bit of a hardcore bubble. The game may be a little bit easy but it's not unforgiveably so, and doesn't need any drastic changes, especially as it's the easier part of the two. This could reasonably be the final difficulty for Part 1 and I don't think that would be a bad thing. And no, I had no difficulty with the Riddle of Yorn, but I can see it stumping people, especially if you hadn't picked up the item for it yet, you'd probably have no idea where to grab it from. I honestly solved the puzzle by accident just checking through items in my inventory, but as there's no requirement to retrieve the item in question before you leave the area where you get it, I can see it being very easily missed. I only really got stuck in Shay's part, and that was because I got bored with repeating things in the on-rails section, and thought when I went back to double-check things I had got all the rooms to their final states, when I hadn't.
  12. Yes, puzzles are the core gameplay mechanic of an adventure game. No, this does not mean it's necessarily a good thing if they're fiendishly difficult. I've shelved adventure games and never come back to them when the puzzles have simply had too many red herrings. Yes, some hint mechanics are a good thing. Broken age may actually go too far in that you get the hints really fast a lot of the time- I like that they're there, but it couldn't hurt to have them a bit slower, especially later on in the game. But to say that the puzzles in Broken age are all really easy is straight-up wrong. They simply don't have any artificial red herrings- if you get stuck it's either because you missed an item, or because the item combination you need was a bit too out there for you to figure out straight away. This is good and natural difficulty for an adventure game. Some of the puzzles actually were pretty obscure. (Riddle of Yorn, anyone?) But that shouldn't be every puzzle, like boss fights in other genres, the obscure puzzles should be paced. I think there are ways Broken Age could be more difficult without scaring away those of us who aren't hardcore adventure gamers, and those should be used- Vella's part felt about right to me, but it wouldn't have hurt it being a little more difficult. I imagine they absolutely will be turning that notch up a bit for part 2. But I don't want to be constantly stumped, to feel like I need a walkthrough to play a game. At that point, it's not a game any more for at least some of us, and it'll end up shelved.
  13. Nah I figured I'd come back if I found any likely items, it seemed like it was the same thing as the locked door in the ship, lol. I was more referring to red-herring items to be honest.
  14. It's not difficulty that puts off people who generally don't play adventure games. It's the experience of getting stuck- it's viewed as a design failure if you get stuck too early in the game, or just an admission that the game isn't for general consumption. In adventure games it essentially means you're doing it right- it's almost as if it's a whole genre dedicated to the hardcore gamer. The issue is that the way most adventure games are designed, the difficulty IS in getting stuck, then exploring to figure out why- either exploring your inventory for quirkier solutions, or exploring your environment to find missed items. They don't "flow", (unless you got every item and brute force your way through) they stop and start, which feels very frustrating and not at all like a game to those of us who didn't grow up playing that way. There may be a way to square the circle and come up with a better flow for adventure gaming, but I suspect it's not possible without either some really well-designed internal hint systems, or essentially doing away with the puzzles and coming up with a different mechanic- after which you've essentially got a different genre anyway.
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