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Everything posted by Arthur

  1. Hi folks, Sorry about disappearing - moving house ate up my time. I'm glad to see things went ahead anyway. One question - where is the thread for the Gemini Rue playthrough? I can't see it anywhere.
  2. Although the "problem" with Kickstarter is, once your project is funded, you don't really have anything to lose, right? The money's yours. This is a point which has yet to be legally tested. I've studied UK contract law, and though US contract law is the same the same general principles apply (thank you, shared imperial past). Under UK law, there most definitely exists a legal contract between Kickstarter backers and project owners, and I think it is almost certainly the case that one exists in US law: you, the project owner, have said that if you receive X amount of money you will accomplish Y project, and you will provide the backers with rewards according to the advertised tiers; that fulfils the classic three-pronged requirements of an offer from the project owner ("I'm gonna make this game and offer these rewards"), acceptance of that offer from backers ("Cool, here is our money") and a consideration on the part of both parties (backers provide the money, project owners provide the goods). It doesn't matter that there is no legally-witnessed piece of paper with "CONTRACT" written on the top: a contract comes into existence when those three things are involved, and in the case of Kickstarter the offer, acceptance, and promised consideration is all a matter of public record so it would be trivial to prove in a court of law that a contract exists. There is nothing in Kickstarter's terms of use to suggest that this wouldn't be the case; the use of the term "pledge" with regards to monies paid into a project might provide wriggle-room, but the Kickstarter terms of use specifically describe rewards as things offered by project owners in return for pledges (and those things almost always include at least some tiers where you get the final product of the project), so I think most courts would rule that there is clearly a contract situation here. Therefore, you could argue that failure to deliver the rewards would constitute a breach of contract between the backers and the project owners. Of course, this only matters if a backer or backers sue the project owners for breach of contract. Would someone who chipped in $15 to a project do so? Maybe, if they were rich enough and angry enough, but then again $15 is of a scale where many will just suck it up as money down the drain and just be more cautious about backing in future. Would someone who pitched in $10,000 do so? Much more likely - they clearly have the disposable income, but again it would hinge on them being angry enough to actually take the project leaders to court, and if you've paid $10K and have nothing to show for it then you're going to seriously want a refund. To be honest I don't think the switch of studio is going to bug people to such an extent that it would cause them to sue over breach of contract (particularly since there may be wriggle-room involved here: I don't think a commitment to use this studio was written into the actual descriptions of the reward tiers, for instance, and the project owners could credibly argue that they needed to make this minor change to the deal in order to avoid a much more major breach of the contract - failure to deliver). But the first time a major Kickstarter fails to deliver - particularly one which attracted high-paying donors who can afford to hire a lawyer (or who are lawyers themselves) - watch out. Either the whole "once they have your money that's it, nothing you can do about it" myth will be busted, or there will suddenly be very good reasons to be much more selective about who you back.
  3. So, Craig, do you have any particular comments about some of the specific issues which we mulled over in the thread? (I'm particularly to keen to hear your response to the arguments about the trigon fight - and in particular the way the shield works suddenly changing partway through the fight - and on the Moon thing.) Either way, I'm (genuinely, sincerely) glad to see you take our criticism in the right spirit and show a willingness to accept people just plain not enjoying the game because of its Marmitey love-it-or-hate it design. A much healthier attitude than certain more established, older and really-ought-to-be-wiser developers. (*cough*Bioware*cough*)
  4. OK, suggestion for how to proceed: - It's clear that Greg has endorsed a community-led approach so let's proceed on that basis. The next question: do we want to select particular officers who'll have regular responsibity for stuff or do we want to keep organising stuff by the seat of our pants based on who volunteers for what. - I think having an IRC chat about the future of the Game Club might work but I'm not sure tying it to one of the Superbrothers sessions is necessarily sensible. People currently playing S:S&S aren't necessarily going to want their discussion derailed by talk of the club's future. In fact, think there are good reasons why we should thrash this discussion out in this thread rather than in IRC: this way the discussion is available to everyone regardless of time zone/schedule and there's a record of what's been said. - In terms of game selection: voting is a fair way to do it, but people also want themed discussions concentrating on particular areas. How about a compromise then: we brainstorm a list of themes and randomly select, say, six or so (six games should cover us for a few months). Then for each theme whoever's in charge of the voting asks for nominations based on that theme, asking the community as a whole to suggest games which they consider notable for having interesting controls/graphics/music/puzzle design/whatever. - In terms of the immediate future: if we're having at least one more week under Greg's supervision that gives us time to get that theme poll set up and to choose who's going to be in charge of that and who's going to be gathering nominations for games once that poll wraps up. I wouldn't mind handling the polls myself - any objections?
  5. I think this probably the best approach. Whilst having DF or the designers of the games we are currently playing is obviously the ideal, we've got to be realistic: as Greg's said, they're going into high gear on DFA, which means that everyone else on the DFA team is going to be just as busy as he is - and with The Cave being unveiled I suspect a large proportion of the rest of the team is also going to be very busy. I think the best we can do is keep the DF guys posted on what's going on (maybe if our club leader PMs Greg once a week with an update on what's going on), and if someone swings by to talk that's great, but we need to accept that we can't count on that happening. Getting designers of games which weren't worked on by DF people in on the chat, equally, would be nice, though unless DF are willing to give them access to the backer forums they wouldn't be able to participate in the forum discussion of their games, which would be good. I guess there's no harm in the club leader trying to contact the relevant people, or maybe if a game comes up where Greg says "Hey, I/some other DFer know those guys, we'll send them a message seeing if they want to participate" that could work too.
  6. Further thoughts: clearly on my job list tasks 1 and 2 are the sweetest because they give you the power to essentially steer where the game club goes, whereas tasks 3/4/4.5 and tasks 5 are somewhat more thankless and somewhat more secondary: they can't happen unless job 1/2 has been dealt with. So, suggestion for a community-led structure: we have a club leader who is always responsible for task 1 and 2 and also has authority over the other tasks, and one or two deputies who can fill in on the streaming/chat management side of things on weeks the club leader can't do it. In the event that the club leader fails to clarify what game we're playing this week, whichever of the deputies happens to be available can make the call.
  7. BTW, so we don't run away with ourselves too quickly we should see what Greg has to say about the different options before we get too deep into planning schedules and so forth. Let's try to keep the conversation on the subject of how the division of labour could be allocated and the pros and cons of keeping Greg in a leadership role versus taking an entirely community-led approach to this for the time being, and then when Greg makes a call on how he wants to handle the power-sharing we can go from there.
  8. Let's look at the different jobs that Greg's been doing as club chief: 1: Selecting games to play. Though two of the four games we've played so far have been chosen by vote, it's still been Greg who chose the parameters of the vote and who made the final call. You really do want to have one person who has the final call on this front (whether that call involves them declaring "We're playing Limbo of the Lost because it's topical this week" or involves them saying "Limbo of the Lost won the most votes, so we'll run with that!"), because a final decision has to be made and if you have a committee deciding (or, god forbid, the whole community) you still have to give someone the casting vote to prevent deadlock. At the same time, you don't need to have a very consistent schedule to do this job, so long as you're able to make a call on what game we're playing in due course. 2: Deciding when to stop playing a particular game, as happened when the Gabriel Knight discussion petered out. Obviously this could be a controversial point. I suggest we have a rule that any particular game should be allowed to run for at least two scheduled sessions (or maybe three or four) before someone can propose we finish it, unless it's a particularly short game. Ultimately we do want to have a chance to play a decent mix of games over the lifespan of the club so we don't want to be bogged down in one game for months and months. Again, this is the sort of thing you want to have one person be the final arbiter on. 3: Reminding people that the communal session is happening. Preferably there ought to be a reminder a day before and a "we're live now!" post when the session actually begins. I guess you can have multiple people doing that but it seems pointless. 4: Curating the chat, acting as moderator and keeping the discussion of the game going in the chat. Again, multiple mods are possible on an IRC channel, but I don't think it's necessary in this case. EDIT: 4.5: Curating the discussion on the forum thread, though this job rather overlaps with 3 and 4. 5: Sometimes streaming stuff. As I've said before, I think this is the least essential job, and I also think it could fairly easily be crowd-sourced from community volunteers - after all, there's no reason we have to watch the same person's stream each week. Either way, you only want to have one club stream at a time rather than having multiple people streaming in the same session because you don't want to fragment the viewership. So, the above are a bunch of jobs which each individually could be perfectly well handled by one person, but at don't have to all be handled by the same person (though that said it'd make sense if job 1 and job 2 were handled by the same person, and combining jobs 3 and 4 (EDIT: and 4.5) would also be logical). At the same time, people have volatile schedules so it'd be good for someone to be able to say "not going to be able to do X this Saturday, will someone else please stand up to the bat?" So if we went for the community-led version I'd say we'd need to have 1-3 co-ordinators who take primary responsibility to make sure the above gets done, and a pool of volunteers who co-ordinators can tap to handle jobs when there's a shortfall. Alternately, if we want to keep Greg in charge then Greg can appoint (or we can elect) 1-3 deputies to perform the above functions, keeping Greg in the loop so that if he or other DF folk want to step in they can.
  9. Hey folks, Starting a new thread here so as not to derail the discussion about Superbrothers S&S in the "official" game club thread. Basically, I think it's time we talked about the organisation of the game club and how we're going to go forward with it. There's clearly an appetite for the thing and people would clearly like to keep it up as a regular thing. It's also clear that we're not going to be able to keep it up as a regular deal if there isn't someone to "curate" it. So far, Greg's stepped up to the plate, but there's been a very clear correlation between Greg being able to participate in the chat and the chat happening at all. Since all chatting together whilst we simultaneously play the game is a big draw of the club (I think streaming is nice but strictly a bonus - I never watch the stream because it'd be too distracting from my own playthrough), the collapse of the chat whenever Greg isn't there seems like a major problem to me. The problem has been most evident with the playthrough of Superbrothers: S&S. Putting my own personal thoughts about the game aside, it seems clear to me that the communal playthrough is in complete disarray and the plan to play one session a week has gone down the sink. For two weeks in a row, Greg hasn't been around to play on Saturday (or, it seems, on last Tuesday when the Saturday 16th session was rescheduled to) which effectively meant the communal playing sessions didn't happen. I want to stress that I'm not out to criticise Greg here: as I've said before, Game Club is something that DF have offered to us voluntarily, they didn't have to set it up in the first place, and if Greg is simply too busy with more important stuff then we ought to respect that. I'm raising this because I think it'd be good for all of us who've enjoyed the game club in weeks past and want to see it continue in a more regular fashion in future to actually talk about where this thing is going. Last minute edit: Greg just posted in the S:S&S thread to say he's actually willing to consider possibilities for keeping the club going now that DFA is approaching crunch time, which makes me feel much better about raising this subject now. Here's some potential solutions, as I see them: everyone should feel free to pitch in others. Greg, since the game club is your baby obviously some of the solutions I've proposed here can only work with your consent, so I'd really appreciate it if you could flag any solutions which would be flat-out unacceptable to you. Greg stays in charge of Game Club but deputises someone. Greg's deputy is in charge of as much as Greg is willing to delegate to them, but at the very least will commit to curating the game club communal chat on weeks when Greg isn't able to make it; if Greg is too busy to say "hey, we're doing this this week", the deputy will make sure to post in the relevant thread saying "Remember that we're going ahead this week - love to have you with us if you can make it, Greg". The deputy could also see about streaming gameplay (or at the very least find a volunteer to stream gameplay) on those weeks Greg can't do streaming. (This wouldn't necessarily involve having to share access to the streaming site account Greg's been using - there's no reason someone can't make a "DFGameclubdeputy" streaming account on some appropriate site to use on weeks Greg can't provide the official steam. Whoever is given charge of the thing should, however, be given moderator control over the chat channel in case of shenanigans during the play sessions.) Greg hands management of the Game Club over to the community. I suggest that to avoid things being decided by committee all the time that one person should have primary responsibility for the Game Club, whether they are chosen by election, popular acclaim, or Greg passing the crown on to them. That said, to avoid the same mess happening all over again I'd also suggest that whoever is the new Club Prez should also pick a deputy. Greg continues running the DF Game Club as currently, the community organises a parallel Alternative Game Club. The Alternative Club should of course be arranged so that it doesn't clash with the main deal; perhaps, in fact, it'd only run on those weeks when there isn't an official Game Club chat happening. This is probably the solution I like the least since it'd kind of fracture the community, even though having an alternate to the main game currently being played would be nice if the DF club happens to be playing through a game I don't personally like. Last minute edit: Given that Greg has already said he probably won't be able to commit much time to the club now that work on DFA is shifting into high gear, I suspect this is also his least favoured option. Of course, all the above solutions require community members being willing to do their bit. I'm happy to volunteer myself, but the more volunteers the better really - maybe we could have an election to select a "club president", maybe we could have Greg pick someone by Double Fine Decree, whatever, but the larger the pool of people saying "I'm willing to pitch in to help the club be a success" the larger the pool whoever gets picked has to help out with various tasks on weeks when they personally are too busy to handle everything. Thoughts, anyone?
  10. Funnily enough, Greg, I was actually writing a post to this effect when you made this post. I'll post to a new thread in the general discussion area so as not to derail the S:S&S conversation. EDIT: Thread posted: here.
  11. Same here. Log onto forum, go here, post two-line message about episode status. That'd take, what, five minutes tops? I can't believe the whole 2PP team is so completely inundated with work 24/7 that they can't spend five minutes a week to keep us posted.
  12. I am appreciative of the effort that Greg has put into the Game Club to this point, considering that it's a completely optional thing which he really didn't have to do at all. It's not like the GC's a Kickstarter reward or anything, it's just a little community-building exercise which has turned out to be awesome and kind of popular. I'd almost suggest switching to it being a community-organised thing with volunteers taking the lead - someone could sort out a schedule, people could volunteer to stream in a particular week so we're not constantly seeing the same steam, etc. Then again one of the main benefits of the GC has been having us play alongside Greg - not only has it been really good for community building, but I suspect observing our reactions to different stuff in adventure games has been more than a little useful to the DFA team. Handing the organisation over to the community would risk having the DF contribution to the game club atrophy. Hrm, it's a tough one.
  13. ^ That's definitely an issue. I'll be blunt here, I'm also not happy with the way Greg has handled that particular decision. Declaring that we're going to be playing according to the moon phases rather than using the means built into the game to get around that is kind of bad enough (can't we decide as a community how we're going to tackle that?), but making the declaration so soon before the game club event so as to present us with a fait accompli really rubs me up the wrong way. I'm kind of angry over here, to be honest. Not as angry as I'd have been if I'd been intending to keep playing the game, mind, but still - not thrilled.
  14. I'm definitely in favour of scheduling. We seemed to be informally scheduled on Saturday for a while but then people got all confused as to whether we'd still play on weeks when there wasn't any streaming, and then we've had this latest thing where it's been reschedule literally on the same day or thereabouts as when it was meant to go, which has clearly confused a bunch of people. (I'd also like to repeat my call from upthread for a poll on whether we want to keep going with Superbrothers at all - again, it sounds like a lot of people just plain don't like it, and I'd like to establish whether we're a vocal minority or an actual majority.)
  15. Because they had a different aesthetic vision for the game. Jumping on whatever visual bandwagon is in-fashion at the time is worth it only if you literally have no other visual concept you want to run with. Let's face it, when have Double Fine ever been associated with chasing after the latest fad or following the crowd?
  16. Yeah, since you have to go on the New Moon *and* the Full Moon then unless you want to drag this thing out for two weeks longer than planned then sticking to the moon cycle is a REALLY BAD IDEA (please God don't do it). (Also I thought last time the Megatome said "8 days to the dark moon" - so that'd make it on Sunday.)
  17. Well, that's precisely it. It's both a puzzler and a platformer. When I play a puzzle-based game I expect to be able to advance once I have worked out the solution to a puzzle. When I play a platformer I expect to be able to advance if I am good enough at the platforming. Maybe I'm just clumsy but I found a lot of the platforming in Braid ridiculously frustrating, even with rewinds. When you're both a puzzler and a platformer you're doubling the number of barriers to progress: rather than jump through one hoop, I must jump through two. And when I find I can do one hoop but can't do the second it makes me apocalyptically frustrated.
  18. Again, it depends what scene you were looking at. RPG Maker always seemed to get plenty of play. Languages like TADS and Inform and so forth made it very easy for people to produce text adventures provided they were willing to learn them. Both formats ended up with games which were small enough that you didn't need masses of bandwidth to distribute them in the first place, and had communities surrounding them producing really useful tools and sites for distributing and playing them. There's plenty of roguelikes and other niche game types that were produced in that time frame. I think there's plenty of hobbyists who had an outright great time in the timeframe you're talking about.
  19. I think you're overstating the case a little here. That spirit never vanished, but it did tend to be restricted to hobbyists who didn't actually expect to make games as their day job. (I remember the homebrew text adventure scene being pretty healthy in the 1990s and 2000s, for instance). I think what has changed is that people can much more viably make money producing indie games, partially because gamers are more likely to take a chance on them. This is partly because of technology hitting the point where it's more viable to make a game which looks and sounds nice on a limited budget, but also partly because at the other end of the scale AAA games are getting even more homogenised because when you're playing with a stack of money that big you rapidly cease wanting to take any risks with it at all. But broadly I agree - I'm glad the market is at the point where things like this can exist, I'm just not glad to play it myself.
  20. I think SS&S is part of a current fashion in indie gaming for a deliberately retro-aesthetic; I agree with Surplus that there are compelling reasons why a lot of indie games go for that option, but the super retro pixelly stuff we see in Superbrothers isn't the only option when it comes to picking a cheap but functional and reasonably pretty aesthetic (and the extent of the work they've done on the aesthetics makes it clear to me than it's more than just a fudge to keep the cost of the art down). As far as Jon Frisby's questions go: - Was the success of the game a one-off? Not really. There's plenty of artsy-fartsy indie games out there which have managed to get success despite courting very polarised reactions. I can't stand Braid because the platforming aspect of the game is overly finicky - all too often in it I can see the solution to a puzzle, and confirm it's the correct solution with a walkthrough, but I can't actually pull it off because I'm not quite good enough at platforming to do it - and because I thought the writing was shallow and dumb in the way only pseudo-deep pseudo-intellectual "look at how clever I am" writing can be; on the other hand, lots of people like it. In the same way, I find The Path and Dear Esther pretty damn pathetic both as games and as interactive stories but both have their supporters. There's definitely a niche in the market right now for arty games of the sort which prompt very strong reactions, whether or not those reactions are positive or negative. - Is it a novelty-piece? Yeah, kind of. Greg's pointed out the whole "playable music album" angle, which certainly comes across to me more as a novelty than anything particularly deep and substantive. - Do people buy it because of the retro graphics? I'm sure the aesthetic presentation is a selling point - they've done a nice job on it. - Is this a new angle to design around to make lots of money? I think it's an example of the sort of thing indie developers can do whilst big developers who financially speaking do not have the leeway to make a "loved by a few, hated by a few, ignored by most" game can't. Whether it's massively profitable I can't say, though of course what's an enormous financial success for a small indie developer may be chump change for a big-name developer, or even a medium-sized developer which has grown to the point Double Fine has. - Will people replay this in 10 years? I honestly have my doubts. It feels very "faddy" to me. In 10 years time there'll be entirely different fashions and trends in cutting-edge indie "games as art" stuff and I suspect most people will have moved on to that.
  21. Too many times I've been around that track and it ain't gonna go down like that, 'cause I ain't no money back girl. (I ain't no money back girl.)
  22. This is precisely what gets to me about suit-guy's stuff: having someone direct tell me "isn't this scary and mysterious!" or "you ought to take an exploratory approach to this" is possibly the laziest way a game can encourage me to feel a sense of fear and mystery or prompt me to get exploratory, and it's also the least effective. If the stuff in the game already scares and mystifies you and makes you want to explore, you don't need to be told that. If it doesn't do any of those things, being told what you should feel about what is happening on the screen is just obnoxious. @TheKeck: Huh, guess I just missed it. There's a lot going on on the screen in that fight of course so my eyes might have been drawn to the Trigon, since it flashes at more or less the same time.
  23. Is there? I honestly didn't notice. Maybe it wasn't there on the PC or something. Either way, I take the point about iPhone screen real estate, but on the PC you don't have that issue... but they don't address that either. One of my recurring frustrations with the game is how little Superbrothers did to adapt it to the different control setup and screen real estate of the PC; again, I honestly wish they'd either done a proper job of respeccing the thing to take into account the inherently different experience of playing it on the PC or, if they really didn't want the purity of their vision messed around like that, just stuck to their guns and not ported it at all. It makes sense when you say it like that, except in the context of the fight up to that point it doesn't make sense. Earlier in that fight you're swinging the sword to bat away a pong projectile, which doesn't seem to damage the Trigon at all. So the sword is sometimes used in a purely defensive manner, including in the very same fight we're talking about. The only coherent way to interpret what we have been shown and what we have been told and what we have done so far is that shield button = use shield, sword button = use sword. Shield = defend and sword = attack doesn't work because the sword is used purely defensively in this fight. Three fights, actually, and the use of the shield has still been consistent for 100% of the fights you've had so far. 3 and 1/3, if you count the earlier phase of the very same fight where clicking on the shield causes you to raise your shield rather than skip about. I mean, if we're going to quibble about the numbers by the time you fight the triangle boss you're more or less 50% of the way through the game. Which, particularly when it's accompanied by cutsey little lectures borrowing terminology from the LSD culture and immersion-jarring "quirky" humour and a shamelessly retro-pandering art style, comes across to me as irritating, pretentious and gimmicky. But equally, trying something different costs me nothing but time, and I might or might not enjoy that (whereas the odds are I'm not going to enjoy the rest of SBS&S). Or I could continue my playthrough of the Witcher, which I almost certainly will enjoy because I've loved it so far. Or I could do some chores and work on packing up my stuff for moving house, which I may not enjoy but is a job which needs to be done. Given that I only have 24 hours in the day and a heap of demands on them, persisting in spending time on the game would just be throwing good minutes after bad. Yes, it doesn't cost me anything other than time, but I'm at a space in my life where my free time is actually quite limited and therefore very precious to me, and spending it on stuff I don't enjoy would be a lousy investment.
  24. True, but another aspect of what makes games games is rules. I didn't mind the "hold up your shield to heal" mechanic because that adds a new spin on an existing rule. It doesn't contradict what you've already been told, it just gives you a deeper understanding of it, and I believe that is how learning and reassessing preconceived notions should work. What I dislike about the click-shield-to-dodge thing isn't that it taught me something new about the rules - it's that it broke the previously established rules. Suddenly, a control which previously had ABSOLUTELY AND CONSISTENTLY done one particular thing does something completely different. That's not adding a new layer of nuance to the mechanics, it's throwing the old mechanic out of the window and replacing it with a new one without telling the player - in other words, it's cheap, it's cheating, and it's sloppy. Worst of all, it breaks the trust between me and the game. How am I meant to reasonably interact with the game when I can't trust that the controls won't suddenly completely redefine themselves at the whim of the designers? (It's also completely illogical and counterintuitive. The shield is for blocking... so I click it to move? How does that even make the slightest bit of sense? If anything, there should be a "feets" button to allow attempts to dodge.) I've no problem with learning through experimentation, or even trial and error, but to me it seemed like blind trial and error, which is the real problem for me: if I don't get why a particular puzzle solution worked, then solving it isn't very satisfying for me. For the sheep puzzle and the tree puzzle I just couldn't understand why the correct solution is the correct solution, at which point solving a puzzle ceases to become an exercise in thinking it through and more an exercise in brute-forcing it by trying every combination until one works. What feedback the game offers is so slight as to be undetectable, at least so far as I found. (And in the case of the bird statues I found the feedback actually pointed me in the wrong direction.) Anyway, thanks for posting this, because the more opportunities I have to think through this stuff the more it helps me decide whether it's worth my time to continue. (Current assessment: it really isn't.)
  25. We should be OK since (SPOILER!) we'll be playing a day before the Dark Moon kicks in. Assuming I can bring myself to play at all, that is.
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