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About RonJeno

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    Dr. Action Poster, Esq.


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    Nashville, TN
  • Occupation
    Writer, Director and Video Production Manager
  • Biography
    I'm a filmmaker
  1. The writing so far, what's there, has been great. Once act 2 comes out, I'm sure a lot of the things we're talking about will be further explored. My qualms may stem from me preferring a lot of environment density often communicated through character dialogue. I'm working on The Next Big Thing and there's a ridiculous amount of dialogue/descriptions in that game. But I also love Machinarium which is completely visual. It could be expectations, like you said, but I don't think it's unfair to compare what Broken Age has done differently from other adventure games, at least their first halves. In the end, I think Broken Age will hold up pretty well, even when compared to what many see as the best in the genre. Except grandpa, who once knew an alternative way of life, but he's too old and crazy now to be taken seriously.
  2. That's a great comparison and I think some, if not all, of these questions will be clarified in act 2. I went through Vella's opening again and more thoroughly exhausted the environments. The parents are clearly conflicted by the ritual, it's fairly subtle but it's there, especially through the animations. The thing that still bothers me is near the end of that sequence; Vella asks why they don't fight back and everyone (except grandpa) laughs it off. Even if it's a norm in their society, it didn't ring true for me. It was Vella's way of saying "I don't want to die" and her mom literally says she'll miss her sense of humor. Maybe the laughter was because the idea of killing a giant monster like Mog Chothra was plain silly or maybe I'm taking it way too seriously. Or maybe I'm hungry. That's it. This might seem like overthinking it, but look at Tim's other writings. He knows how to craft a story. He has done an incredible job multiple times with very different worlds. I think he has done way more with Broken Age than what we're seeing, but because so much had to be cut due to limited budget/time, some important pieces fell between the cracks. I will say that playing the opening again makes me further appreciate everything that is there. The game is clearly a labor of love from everyone involved and it was a challenge for them to get this out the door when they did. I just think that, of all of Tim's stories and DF's games, this one feels most personal and I just want to see everyone's vision for the game realized to its fullest potential (and then sell like hotcakes so they make more haha).
  3. Some of it is definitely anger towards the monster that has been tormenting the village for so long -- she says something like, "You'll pay for eating all these girls" before she escapes. They weren't all that happy -- "Don't make it harder than it already is." The only one who was ecstatic was Levina Filch, the woman who organised the feast. Overall, it seems she has a pretty good relationship with her parents and sister. Shay yearns for adventure and excitement, but it probably also has something to do with his upbringing -- the computer always has him going on "important missions" and in these games he's always the hero. I get all your points and don't disagree, but it just doesn't feel like there was enough there to make me care, at least for Vella. What are specific things Vella shares with her family that we can identify with other than "they're her family, so therefore you should care"? Her family talks nice and acts nice, but in the end they all felt a little too proud and excited their daughter was chosen to die. Maybe that's just me. I know it's supposed to be an honor to be eaten by Mog Chothra, but most of these sacrifice stories have a much stronger undercurrent of despair with the families involved and I didn't feel that with Vella's family (though I did enjoy the giddy willingness of the other sacrifice girls to be eaten by what is essentially this story's King Kong). "The Lottery" is one of the most commonly referenced sacrifice stories and in that story, while people justified the killing of one of their own as a duty, it was still something they all hated to do. Same thing for Hunger Games and to a similar extent in Dark Tower: Wolves of the Calla but that's getting into horror territory so not the most fair comparison. I do think Shay's character is better realized, but again, I just wanted more. Maybe that'll be in act 2 and the last moments of act 1 were some of the best, so I have hope. I imagine it'll be a fun experience as a whole, I just think they have a really great universe here that could be more thoroughly explored in ways we've experienced in games like Grim Fandango and The Longest Journey (and many, many others).
  4. ***Minor spoilers related to opening act of each character*** I would happily take much longer and for them to flesh out everything so it feels like a fully realized story, including what's in Act 1 (which I believe they said they won't touch now. That's too bad). I love the world, the art, the music, the voice work, the overall style, but the characters, the puzzles, and how they interact within the world feels half baked. Why does Vella want to kill Mog Chothra? To save her village? Well, her family seemed pretty ecstatic to be sending her off to her death with no remorse whatsoever. Why would she want to save them? They were happy and ready to let her die! If I was Vella, I would've just kept running; who needs a family like that. She's a young, spunky girl, doesn't she want to have a life of her own more than being killed while trying to save a village that wanted her dead in the first place? Yes, her grandfather planted the idea in her head to fight back and that could've been her motivation (to save her grandfather, the only one who wanted to save her out of her whole community), but that relationship was so rushed, I could never make the connection between Vella, her grandfather and what made them different from everyone else in their family (and the village, which we never got to explore). Shay fared a little better in the character department; he's bored and edging towards severe depression, but again, I wanted more about him. What motivates him to break the cycle? Just the thrill of adventure? Hopeful suicide? Or does he want something more personal? Does he miss his parents, wonder what they looked like, where they are now, etc? I thought I would've heard this line at some point, "I wonder what it'd be like to have a real friend," but it never happened (or I can't remember it). The focus on Shay's world was the insanity of what his robot family was trying to do to make his life fulfilling, but I recall very little, if anything, about why this was making him not want to live, other than being bored/trapped. If he wasn't held prisoner, what would he try to do with his life? What are his values? I have no idea because that side of him was never shown to us. For both of these stories, maybe these issues are addressed in act 2, but it feels like I should know the characters way more than I do at the moment. Puzzles are too easy, but that seems to be the general consensus. Tim and the team know what a good puzzle is, so they just need time to develop them. I did like the teleporter puzzle and the other puzzles weren't bad in act 1, but there could be a lot more of them and made a lot harder. I went back to Machinarium and, aside from some of the straight up puzzles like that checker-type puzzle halfway through, the environmental puzzles were amazingly well done, and done with zero dialogue at that. Going back to Grim Fandango and how that entire game felt fully realized, that's what's missing with Broken Age. I don't think it was a lack of ability as much as a lack of time/money. I've been replaying The Longest Journey in preparation for Dreamfall Chapters and, holy crap, it's still my favorite adventure game even on the 5th play through (and the game is crazy long). That world makes complete sense to me and April + the other characters in that game feel like real people. Broken Age's world is outstanding, it just needs more life within it. I have a feeling it's all down on paper, but lots of it just didn't make it into the game itself.
  5. I think "The Longest Journey" perfected the interface. The pointer was still context sensitive, so if the action is just "Look" all you have to do is click and you get April's comment about what she's looking at. But, if the object had other actions, like speak or use, it would present an icon that you right click, immediately revealing an eye (look), a mouth (speak), and a hand (use). This same interface was used to interact with items as well and using the right action on the right item could be part of the puzzle.
  6. Congrats guys. Does this mean most of the development team has already moved on to act 2? Will we start seeing episodes/getting updates more about act 2 just as the act 1 beta is released? I'm asking because my original plan was to wait for act 2, but if the documentary/updates will reveal things about act 1, I may go ahead and play it so nothing's spoiled with the new backer content concerning act 2's development.
  7. I can't believe it's gone on this long, it's now basically a full season of a TV show + additional content and now it's like we're on to season 2 (or 3, even?). I've encouraged all my game developer friends to watch it and learn from it (as well as be entertained). I also like the longer episodes because it gives 2PP time to craft more thematic episodes with a cohesive story than just straight documentation. I would also like to see (at least) one more episode after the game's release and how everything about the Double Fine Adventure Kickstarter affected Double Fine as a company, their future games, and other developers' approach to crowdsourced development (and development in general), i.e. Mighty No. 9 and others
  8. 'The Free Go Yonder' - something about how gaining freedom necessitates a journey into the unknown
  9. I've had zero problems, I think the quality has been great for privately distributed episodes over Vimeo. I'm scratching my head as to why anyone would complain unless their Internet is just slow. Even then, it was pretty clear in the Kickstarter rewards that 2PP will provide everything in full as downloads once everything's finished. Since development has been delayed, so have the episodes. 2PP and Double Fine have done an outstanding job, we are getting to witness something that could not have been done in earlier times, even a few years earlier from now. To find fault in it is astonishing to me. "Everything is amazing right now and nobody's happy." - Louis C.K.
  10. I know exactly what Bagel is going through in this episode and I'm glad he spoke up about it. I really want his weird crazy logic in the design of the game. Also, the Reds team are all brilliant. That is all.
  11. I love that game, but where is the music in that clip??? I definitely see the influence in the junkyard sequence with the dog. Also sad to say, but I've never played Full Throttle. I must correct this soon, everything I've seen looks awesome.
  12. Time is money. Literally. And we don't have more money. Yes, this exactly. Oftentimes a movie studio (or in this case, a game publisher) is referred to as "the bank". It's a place where a game studio can financially fall back on. But here with this project, we're the bank. Double Fine can only work as long as they have the money given to them by us. Which is awesome and kinda frightening.
  13. I sort of agree, but is it more important to make the best game possible even if it takes (some) publisher support or more important to retain crowdsourcing credibility? The Kickstarter campaign already proved crowdsourcing worked here because the game went from a simple graphic adventure game to a full scale production. But, the larger a project becomes, the harder it is to gauge the budget and I don't want to see DF sacrifice really great ideas because they don't have someone other than backers to pump more money into the project (if needed). This is all assuming they're sacrificing great ideas to begin with, they've been doing this a long time and know way more about how this works than me (I can only relate from a filmmaking perspective, and we deal with investors and production companies as well as crowdfunding, which is why I even brought it up because I'm curious as to their thoughts considering their unique situation). Another crazy idea, what if a publisher or even another game production company decided to become a slacker backer and support the project the exact same way as the rest of us? I don't see why they couldn't other than it doesn't make much business sense. Again, all this might just be asinine to even consider, but not long ago DF never believed they would be working on a classic adventure game supported by fans. I'm behind whatever it is they do. Pretty big reason, there. Publisher support comes with conditions. Most will try to get IP. All will want a big cut of the profits. The vast majority will want to be heavily involved in marketing, and will want regular reports on progress and some say in certain aspects. Even Dracogen who is awesome has a certain amount of money to invest, and expects a decent return on that. I expect that Steven Dengler's personal Kickstarter contribution was quite substantial, but if he was acting as a publisher of the project, he'd need to get a good deal. Right, I said it's another crazy idea. It makes no business sense because it leaves a publisher nothing monetary to gain, but sometimes it's not about that. It can be about maintaining a good relationship with DF. Film studios sometimes fund a film they would ordinarily pass on simply because a star or director the studio would like to keep working with wants to do it. Does this happen in the game publishing world? Probably rarely if ever, but that's why it was just an idea. Maybe Double Fine has received contributions like this, maybe they've heard of other game companies receiving similar, but I don't know, which is why I asked.
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