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Everything posted by nsbane

  1. DoubleFine started the trend of adventure games being funded on Kickstarter. After their success, the makers of the Tex Murphy games used Kickstarter to fund Tesla Effect, the latest in the Tex Murphy series. It. Is. So. Fun! I highly recommend you guys pick it up. It is a Full Motion Video (FMV) game, with actors taping footage to play out the detective story. As Tex Murphy, you explore a 3D environment, looking for clues, solving puzzles, and interviewing witnesses. It's funny, it makes you think, and you get your money's worth. I've played 20 hours, and I'm probably 1/2 of the way through? Right now it's $19.95 on Steam and GOG.com. Awesome awesome awesome game. And I recommend all of the previous Tex Murphy FMV games on GOG.com: Under a Killing Moon; Pandora Directive; and Overseer. Pandora Directive really is the kicker - one of the best Adventure games I've ever played. I spent $100 on Broken Age, and $100 on Tex Murphy: Tesla Effect. Tesla Effect raised $500K on Kickstarter, less than half of what Broken Age made, and I am so much more pleased with this game. And Dreamfall Chapters, the 3rd installment of the Longest Journey saga, comes out this Fall -- can't wait to see what they put together.
  2. This. This steam review captures everything that I think went wrong with the game: http://steamcommunity.com//profiles/76561197998782877/recommended/232790/
  3. Hey, I get paid to speak foreign languages well and I'd kill for someone to tell me when I made a mistake. Suejak, I get paid to Moisenberger well, so I'd kill for someone to Laffenbleim me if I Mackeloffed!
  4. Concrete Duck, You only misused "well" once, in your original post, where you wrote "quite well" referring to a review. Because there is no verb to modify, "quite good" is grammatically correct. I am very impressed with what you have written - I've studied German for 3 years, Mandarin Chinese for 3 years, and Spanish for 7. I would kill to be able to write as well as you do in a foreign language. If only some other members in this forum were as thoughtful and well-mannered as you.
  5. I've been thinking a lot about Broken Age lately, and a common metric that people use to evaluate the game: hours played. Many people have cited it's 3-4 hours of gameplay as appropriate for its price point, but every time I read this, I feel it's an incomplete statement. I'd like to compare Adventure Games to a specific kind of amusement park ride: dark rides (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_ride). These are amusement park rides where ride-goers sit in vehicles that travel through different scenes. They can be of varying duration. I'll list five different durations from Disneyland dark rides: 1) 12-15 minutes 2) 15:30 minutes 3) 4:30 minutes 4) 3:25 minutes 5) 2 minutes Now, if I were to recommend a ride to you, probably the last thing I would ever think to mention would be its duration. This is because time is relative, and our experience of time changes as we fluctuate between boredom and engagement. The only time I would mention length is if I feel the ride was extraordinarily long, or extraordinarily short. If I am describing to a friend about a dark ride, I will primarily talk about my engagement. Was I ever scared? Did the ride build suspense? Did the ride tell a story? If we were to evaluate rides on duration alone, then #1 and #2 would be clearly superior to #3, #4, and #5. #1 is It's a Small World; #2 is Pirates of the Caribbean. These are two very different rides, with different target audiences. I'd guess on It's a Small World, the 7 and under crowd are engaged in the ride for the longest. Their parents, on the other hand, suffer through 15 minutes of eternity, because they are completely on the other end of the spectrum in boredom. Now #3 is the Haunted Mansion, which I find to be mildly entertaining, with a few scares from mannequins popping out of nowhere. It is much shorter than It's a Small World, but I'd much rather be on this ride than It's a Small World. #4 is the most interesting ride of all, and yet it is almost the shortest ride. It is the Indiana Jones Adventure. It puts you in a jeep, and has scenes straight from the movies -- perilously close to being crushed by a rolling boulder; traveling along a crumbling bridge over a bottomless gorge. And it's only 3:25 minutes. I would much rather ride Indiana Jones five times over and over again, than ride on It's a Small World even once. This is because there is so much attention to detail, the designers told so much story, and there is so much excitement in such a short ride, that I am 100% engaged during those 3:25 minutes. I included #5 for sentimental reasons. It is Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. I love this ride; I have vague memories from riding it as a child. I'm almost 31 years old now, but if I was in Disneyland today, I wouldn't leave the park unless I rode it once. It can be quite frightening as a child, because the passengers in the car are sent to "hell." It actually has mature themes, but I think it's in line with older children's stories like Grimm's Fairy Tales, that included an element of pain and fear. But would I still love this ride as much today, if I had never ridden it as a child? I'd like to think so, but I acknowledge that I could be attached to it now only for sentimentality. It's hard to know. Now, I have my own ideas about Broken Age, as far as how well it balanced "Engagement" and "Boredom" in the game. Standards for engagement and boredom will differ for each genre, especially in Adventure Games, where the player is meant to be stuck, to think, to solve problems. It's almost a visual game of Sudoku or a crossword puzzle, where the player will derive the most pleasure from solving a puzzle that left him stuck the longest amount of time. This makes the engagement/boredom puzzle difficult for adventure game designers, but in fact every genre has unique problems with achieving this balance.
  6. I suggested reducing the art budget to increase the writing / story / puzzle design quality. You don't think this is feasible? Re: pixel art more expensive than digital painting found in Broken Age. This is absolutely not true. I don't want to follow this line too far, because without hard budget numbers we are both speculating. But one of their interns from Germany made a classic-Lucas pixel adventure game as a job application - did you get a chance to play it? There used to be a cheap, classic-Lucas pixeled adventure game on Double Fine's website, which consisted of helping Tim get ready to deliver a speech. Can't find it now. But I guarantee you the art budget for that free project doesn't even approach the art budget for even one scene in Broken Age. The graphics look visually stunning in Broken Age for a reason: the team spent time and effort to make a beautifully looking game. And as for midi music. If you think hiring an orchestra is cheaper than hiring a guy to make midi music, I think you are arguing to be contrarian. After playing Broken Age, I felt the game looked and sounded beautiful, with great voice acting. But the story was thin and the puzzles were non-existent. I still stand by my intuition that, when the game was being project managed, money allocated toward art and the other atmospherics could have been spent on story & puzzle design. I also want to emphasize that I'm not harping on this to be negative about this project. I love that the whole project was open for the documentary. I've been involved in several large projects, and I like to think critically about processes that make project management more successful. Which is probably of little interest to most people, but there it is. EDIT: Found the game with Tim. Cheap graphics, midi sound. http://www.doublefine.com/games/host_master Frankly I would have been happier with this look of a game, with an engaging story and harder puzzles. EDIT 2: Found the intern game. http://rickrocket.de/df/ Better graphics than the Tim game above. And still, no way the time spent on the art for these scenes is comparable to what was done with Broken Age.
  7. Bets intro movie in an adventure game: The Dig. So cinematic.
  8. Is this a question or statement? (Not actually sure, given the threads context.) Grammar Police! 'Are' not connected, and yes. Yes they are. Play until the end. Lots of the people here speak English as a second language. Imagine trying to participate in a web forum in Chinese, and someone pointing out the mistakes you made every time you made one.
  9. I just finished Shay's story. Wow, that was so short, and those weren't interesting puzzles. The only time I felt this game had a great premise was at the final sequence. It's as if I was playing a prelude to the game, and it's about to start. Or this is Act I in a 3 part game (not 2 part). Is there a budget breakdown of how much each department got? I'd be curious to know what was spent on the art, the voice acting, and the music, vs. what was spent on the writing and story development. I would have cut out the fancy-shmancy art and brand name celebrity voice actors (unless they performed for voice acting market rates), even the orchestra, and spent more on developing the story and complexity of the puzzles. My impression from watching a few episodes was that Bagel started out as a consultant, and then said he wanted a bigger role, and the art seemed to take up a lot of project management resources. If they settled on midi sound files and Monkey Island graphics, you think they could have done a bit more with over $2 million dollars? ($2.2 mil was their ultimate budget after fees & rewards). What I like about this Kickstarter is it opened up the creative process with the documentary. I never watched all the episodes, but I got the impression that Shafer was doing all the story creation. For a post-mortem, I wonder if other games were created this way. Very rarely in modern media does one person create a complete story -- TV, movies, and games all have at least a small team of people providing input, with a leader making most of the creative choices. This is a lot of speculation; I don't know why this game turned out different than my expectations (classic point & click Adventure reminiscent of the greats that Shafer has worked on) but I respect the opinion some have voiced that my expectations were unrealistic. Based on the pitch, and what was delivered, I don't think I would contribute to another DoubleFine Adventure game Kickstarter, or certainly not the $100 I gave. I do have a lot of respect for the team and the work they do. Not going to hammer much more on what I think are the negatives, but still hoping Act 2 delivers something more.
  10. Welp, I wouldn't compare Broken Age to Sierra games, as Tim Shafer wasn't a part of those. He was involved in Grim Fandango, Full Throttle, Maniac Mansion 2, and Ron Gilbert was involved in Monkey Island. Those are the games I mentioned above. I think of Shafer as a director. If the Coen brothers went on Kickstarter to make a movie, I'd expect a Coen brother movie, not a Michael Bay movie because Coen movies don't sell. And I thought the premise of the whole Kickstarter was to reach out to Adventure game fans to make a classic game form that publishers won't fund ... not make a neutered game that would be more commercial. So I don't really buy the premise of your argument. If you were to compare Broken Age to the games I did mention, how do you think it would stand up?
  11. Actually you weren't alone. I posted a separate thread about my disappointment so far. In any Adventure game, you will have groups of people who think it's too hard, and others who think it's too easy. It's hard to hit that sweet spot of just right, so you've satisfied the most and disappointed the least. But this was the first Kickstarted computer game, based on reviving an Adventure game for those who loved the classics. I would have thought Double Fine would have taken the opportunity to make a game reminiscent of the classics, rather than make a visually stunning game with a thin story and super obvious puzzles. If this had come out in the 90s in the Adventure game heydays, pretty sure no one would remember it. Here's hoping Act 2 kicks it up a few notches.
  12. SirComeStandChill, I take your point that what I'm expressing is an opinion and reasonable minds will differ. However, I think there is a measurable difference in the quality of story and puzzle creativity with this game, and Monkey Island, Maniac Mansion, Grim Fandango, and Full Throttle. Have you played any of those? I was hoping for a game as difficult, and a story as layered, as those games had. Do you think Broken Age Act 1 is comparable to them? I'd be interested to hear what you think. I stand by my intuition that more money (as a %) was spent on art, music, and voice talent in Broken Age than in those other games, and I think the story and puzzles suffered as a result. I will caveat this with the acknowledgement I haven't played Shay's level yet. I'll update the thread when I've finished the game tomorrow.
  13. 2 1/2 hours to get thru Vella's level. I spent more time walking from point to point and talking to characters than I did actually thinking about what I needed to do. The visuals are amazing. Bagel's art and style is so unique, that the game leaps off the screen. But that should be icing on the cake. Without any real puzzles in the game, Double Fine left out the cake, and there's just a bunch of icing. I would have much rather had an 8-bit pixelated game with a compelling story and interesting, hard puzzles. Seems like the majority of the budget, time, and effort went to the art department. Pretty disappointing. I don't regret donating, and I'm glad to be a part of the Adventure game renaissance. Because of Double Fine, a new Tex Murphy adventure game was funded, as well as another Longest Journey game. But after playing the first half of this game, I hope those other games I donated to don't spend so much on art, and instead make games that make me think.
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