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KestrelPi

Something they may be able to do quite easily difficulty-wise while the game is still in beta

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How do you know? Have you asked all 87k backers about their age and gaming experience?

I think it's reasonable to think there are all kinds of people in this group of backers.

When you try to create something (I'm a designer, so I'm mostly in the creative side of things) you know how difficult it is to try to please a large audience. Specially a large audience as big as this one.

Yeah, some aspects of the game were not exactly what I expected, but this was not a tailor made game, aimed exactly at my taste and desires.

Overall, it was a great game, and one of the most satisfying experiences I've had with a game lately.

Come on. You are not seriously trying to say that a sufficiently large proportion of backers of an "old school adventure" were children (with credit cards) and people who have never played an adventure game?

When people try to create something the biggest mistake is trying to appeal to a large audience. Why does everyone underestimate the intellectual capacity of the public anyway? If people are dumb why is the wire so popular? Focus on the core ideas and make what you want to make - make the audience work a little and maybe you have made something genuinely rewarding.

Anyway, 87k people who want to see the old school adventure revived so much they were even willing to open their wallets on a promise - is the exact opposite of a large audience! And judging by the comments on this board a lot of people feel exactly the same.

anyway, i did enjoy it.

Actually I'd argue that yes, there would be a significant number of us who enjoy a more accessible adventure game in the backers and slacker-backers, and remember, this game needs to have broad commercial appeal if it's going to help revive the genre, and if Double Fine is to afford future adventure games, given that they channeled a lot of profits from previous games into making Broken Age.

Of course, that doesn't mean the hints need to come as hard and fast as they did though, I agree that delaying the hint dialogue would be another way to make the game harder, and it has the bonus of not really affecting the accessibility too badly (The hints are still there, you just might have to get through a dialogue tree for them instead, or they won't be yelled at you within 5 seconds of being in the right room)

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What are we trying to revive? Classic style challenging adventure games? Or the easy ones that we've had too many of in the past ten years? Trying to revive the genre for the masses by appealing to the lowest common denominator is partly why the games went under in the first place and is what we've mostly been sick of for the past ten years. We don't need more compromising, we need the classics. Who cares what the majority out there wants (who never backed the game).

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What are we trying to revive? Classic style challenging adventure games? Or the easy ones that we've had too many of in the past ten years? Trying to revive the genre for the masses by appealing to the lowest common denominator is partly why the games went under in the first place and is what we've mostly been sick of for the past ten years. We don't need more compromising, we need the classics. Who cares what the majority out there wants (who never backed the game).

Really? My opinion's always been the the genre has a big difficulty walking the line between being accessible and being frustrating with its puzzles, (which is just a side-effect of the whole "think outside the box" solutions to puzzles gameplay, tbh) and that this contributed a little to the genre being sidelined when other genres with more mass appeal came along.

It might frustrate hardcore adventure game fans, for sure, but you don't usually get a game that fails commercially by failing to cater enough to hardcore fans, you just get a much more successful game when you can bring hardcore fans and new players along at the same time- I'm just not entirely convinced that adventure games are capable of doing that using their current mechanics- the hardcore fans want to get stuck and be frustrated so that they enjoy the puzzle resolution more, but gamers from other genres don't have a tolerance for that, and think the game is poorly designed if it's too easy to get stuck.

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The 'we' are those who are saying that this Kickstarter was all about reviving the genre. We all backed this Kickstarter, so I guess I'm referring to all the backers from their perspective.

It might frustrate hardcore adventure game fans, for sure, but you don't usually get a game that fails commercially by failing to cater enough to hardcore fans, you just get a much more successful game when you can bring hardcore fans and new players along at the same time- I'm just not entirely convinced that adventure games are capable of doing that using their current mechanics- the hardcore fans want to get stuck and be frustrated so that they enjoy the puzzle resolution more, but gamers from other genres don't have a tolerance for that, and think the game is poorly designed if it's too easy to get stuck.

I agree with that.

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Of course, that doesn't mean the hints need to come as hard and fast as they did though, I agree that delaying the hint dialogue would be another way to make the game harder, and it has the bonus of not really affecting the accessibility too badly (The hints are still there, you just might have to get through a dialogue tree for them instead, or they won't be yelled at you within 5 seconds of being in the right room)
If Double Fine were to decide to tweak the difficulty more toward the difficult, I would hope this would be the way they would do it. Just make sure the hints don't get spoken before someone has a chance to think about the puzzles a bit, and especially not before someone even knows a puzzle exists.

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That's not enough. I didn't need anybody to tell me any hints (I honestly didn't notice as much as others did). I was solving the puzzles in my head long before people were talking to me enough for me to perceive them as hints.

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Because yes whilst this was also made with old adventure fans in mind, it's also made with the mindset of breathing new life into a genre that was dead and is now barely starting to walk again. And the way to do that is bring i new fans not just please the old ones. And as an old adventure fan I have to say I was pleased, it may not have been extremely difficult but I was thouroughly entertained throughout and wouldnt have traded it for another monkey island or full throttle.

Now you are moving the goal posts. "Old school adventure", not "old school adventure, simplified for new fans" that's telltales business and as I said, people who don't like old school adventures literally have an infinite realm of other things they can do.

So many things in this world are ruined by pandering to the lowest common denominator. I'm not even sure that people like simplified things as much as those in the media think, as anything with a bit of depth given a chance tends to do very well (the wire). Truly great things are made by people who say forget it, lets do it the way we want and if people put a bit of effort in they might get something meaningful out of it.

The Wire did well critically, but it's very highbrow and was not a huge commercial success. Every season was a fight by the creators to keep it going. True Blood panders to a wide audience, and, what do you know, it's the most successful HBO show so far.

Game of Thrones is a happy medium, with good writing but also an awful lot of pandering. I wouldn't have wanted to see Broken Age be The Wire, no way - but I would like to see act 2 pull more towards Game of Thrones.

Less nudity though ;)

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Nor me. While I would have liked a couple of trickier puzzles and few hints, I'm unconcerned because I think we'll get that in act 2, and I'm unconcerned also because in the grand scheme of things I love about adventure games, hard puzzles is pretty low on the list.

And I'm someone who loves puzzles in general - my friends will tell you that if I'm presented with a brainteaser it will often drive me to distraction - but for some reason it's just never been something that I think adventure games are generally very good at. Usually an adventure game has a handful of puzzle standouts mingled with puzzles that are obtuse or just mediocre. They can still be enjoyable to solve, though. Like in Broken Age I thought that actually carrying out the helmet puzzle was just a fun thing to do in the world, even though I figured out the puzzle almost straight away. And the spaceweaver stuff.

So the reason I started this post wasn't because hard puzzles are very very important to me in adventure games, so much as it seeming to me that there are simple ways that they could be improved, potentially.

Anyway, as to what the average backer wants, it's hard to say. Judging by my twitter feed for the search term 'Broken Age' over the past 2 days, the average backer is DELIGHTED. I've seen perhaps 2 extremely negative tweets, a few mixed, amid tons of VERY happy people. But here on the forum, there's more of a mixture, which you might expect, for various selection-bias reasons.

But one thing is for sure, it is presumptuous to say that every backer who loves adventure games wants the same things out of them, and I think there are a lot of backers who were drawn in by the documentary more than they were the game, and others still who wanted to back it because of the principle of supporting publisher-free releases.

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I've certainly seen few complaints about the difficulty from newcomers. They're generally just having a blast exploring around and all the things that seem obvious to us aren't immediately occuring to them. I think there is value in having this first half of the game easier, because it sort of trains newcomers on the sorts of things to expect, so that they are equipped with that knowledge for when it gets harder. It almost feels like a tutorial for 'how adventure puzzles work' but maybe a little TOO tutorial like for the comfort of us veterans. I think it'll make more sense when part 2 is out.

I've seen this sentiment a lot lately, but I don't agree to it. This game was very well funded by a kickstarter project with the mission statement to "make a classic point & click adventure". Therefore that is what backers should be expecting in terms of puzzle difficulty. If they want to "devote a significant portion of the game into easing in new players, thus growing the Adventure Game audience and community" they should have put that goal into the kickstarter page. I am not saying this isn't a worthwhile goal, but it also isn't what many investors asked for.

Whilst that's a fine sentiment, 3 million to spend on the game is nice and all, but I'd imagine they have some desire to make money off the game, so just pleasing the backers really wouldn't have much of an effect.

If they didn't want to please the backers they should have just funded the game themselves.

Asking the backers to fund an old time classic point and click adventure and then change their mind once they get said money to please the modern market is fraud.

I would never have backed this project to the extent I did if I thought this was how it would be.

I would have waited until the game was inevitably reduced at ridiculous cut price costs before I bought.

I was backing an old time classic and I have not received that.

This game is designed for 3 year olds and morons,

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I just think this game needs a difficult setting for people who want a challenge. Turn off the circle indicating objects you can interact with, don’t allow trial and error guessing like the riddle (maybe create a time out for it somehow to add more frustration), and turn off all audio hints or at least slow the rate that they are released.

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I know this is heretical for LucasArts fans, but I almost wish you could die in the game. There was never any sense of danger.

But no, that's perhaps going too far. I agree there were too many hints, especially because sometimes the puzzles themselves were pretty okay.

SPOILERS

An example of a puzzle done somewhat right was the puzzle for getting the perfume from the fishy maidens. You had a clear goal: getting the perfume so you could join the feast. They wouldn't give it to you. Hilarity ensues with a multi-part puzzle.

Another good example is solving the problem of the sandcastles falling down. You had to think of a way to make the sand stick together better. Now, the intermediary steps in this puzzle had wayyy too many hints spoiling them, but the overall arch was very fun.

Anyway, there was too little of this and too much "receive item you asked for and use the item directly to solve a major puzzle."

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Hey, I never said I'm a LucasArts fan ;)

My favourite classic adventures involve death.

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The Wire did well critically, but it's very highbrow and was not a huge commercial success. Every season was a fight by the creators to keep it going. True Blood panders to a wide audience, and, what do you know, it's the most successful HBO show so far.

Game of Thrones is a happy medium, with good writing but also an awful lot of pandering. I wouldn't have wanted to see Broken Age be The Wire, no way - but I would like to see act 2 pull more towards Game of Thrones.

Less nudity though ;)

The wire was a massive financial success through DVD sales and foreign sydication - after it found its audience through word of mouth. This would not have happened if the quality was comprised to 'widen' the audience.

It might frustrate hardcore adventure game fans, for sure, but you don't usually get a game that fails commercially by failing to cater enough to hardcore fans, you just get a much more successful game when you can bring hardcore fans and new players along at the same time- I'm just not entirely convinced that adventure games are capable of doing that using their current mechanics- the hardcore fans want to get stuck and be frustrated so that they enjoy the puzzle resolution more, but gamers from other genres don't have a tolerance for that, and think the game is poorly designed if it's too easy to get stuck.

Yes.

But I don't agree that the general public will be put off by difficulty. Why assume they are all idiots? Create an engaging experience with depth that everyone is saying pays off and you might be surprised by people.

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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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Well, in all the telltale adventure games, there allways came the same critic: (for example on sam and max) the puzzles are too easy! The only reason worth it, are the characters and the quite nice storytelling. Yhea. (the last point fits even more on broken age and it looks awesome ! ^^)

And if you are asking around, people who are still gamers, or people who have been gamers back than: They all only know monkey island and maybe day of the tentackle. But just very view know newer adventure games. And maybe this is because people want games that are harder to solve!

I guess the trick on making getting stucked even enjoyable are the random crazy characters around. And even that you gonne hear every single line in the dialog trees because you are stuck and have nothing better to do and somewhen you are starting chatting with everybody, walking through the djungel and watching every single objekt lying around ( i really missed that in brocken age so far!!!).

Why does everyone underestimate the intellectual capacity of the public anyway?

Oh, thank you so much for saying that!

People just love crosswords and Sudoku. I am a little confused with comparing it to "The Wire" or "Game of Thrones" - the stories of adventures allways was quite suiteable for a huge audience. (well okay, maybe sometimes a little too crazy) It are the puzzles that are challenging. But, yhea, people love good puzzles! And i am personally so bored of all those uncomplicated, but nice animated, easy to solve computer games that are everywhere! Especially since there are tablets.

I am allways like: Uhh, thats a great concept, i once had a game like that! And than … it is so super easy, that it is too easy for my taste and i get bored. But most people even don't know such games from back than, when all was a little trickier.

So yhea, i would like to have a real good made puzzle game like back in the days.

With more charakters, and more complex cities.

And i am shure people still like games in which they really need to use their brains!

But, and here comes the big BUT,

Tim told us from the beginning that he somewhat really felt inspired by machinarium. That game was also as nice and cute and perfect in its own way. But you also quite fast had played through.

AND from the beginning it should been a nice simple flash game. But then all the people, me too, just heard "Oldschool Adventure Game, Tim Schäfer" and boom, there was kinda too much money for his plan and a dream of the next day of the tentacle meets Grim Fandango ^^

Well, but, in fact, we pretty much have the absolute perfect version of what was promised. It is really a totally beautiful game!

And he invested the money perfectly in an absolutly awesome design and paid an awesome design team. And we even could watch them doing it! Awesome! (that did cost time and money as well ... )

And i am pretty shure there wasn't enough money and especially not enough time for making that much more envoirment, houses, places, characters, the game would have needed to be more complicated.

(spoilers ahead)

And beside there are here and there some puzzles, where there was big potential to be harder (like the plant outside the space ship … that, in my mind, should really have had one more use for the mission, than just handing over a present ) the puzzles was really nice done.

And they was fun, a little crazy, but very logical! A big plus for me.

And from the concept point of view, the puzzles was like back in the days. For example that ladder with the shoe thing. The puzzles itself made me smile. Also that thing with h'rm'nys ladder and the eggs. I even really somewhat liked that hint with that ladder! Or the whipping cream in space. Those puzzles are really well done!

But i guess the problem was the playtesting phase! I don't know … those playtesters couldn't have been the smartest adventure-game-knowing people out there. OR maybe they should have more like been left alone while testing and not with 100 people around watching every step ( i can imagine getting stuck could be than indeed be quite frustrating ^^ and you might get in a hurry while you wanne make a good impression about beeing smart) And maybe even just too much people thought it would be a good idea making everything faster and easier. (when you allready got more difficult puzzles! man! why? ^^)

I am still a big fan of that idea of an hard mode! You would still have the easy mode for the huge audience. But some more tricky puzzles for guys like me who are kinda desperate searching for some challenges! ^^ (and the first akt was not really challenging)

If there is a way, it would be totally awesome if you guys would make a hard mode, maybe even for the first part happen! :)

As the puzzles was kinda harder at first, maybe there are some easy ways to make them harder once more?

But, as the second part still needs to be done anyway, if you ever thinking about making puzzles easier, please, keep all options for a tricky version in hands! And somewhen come up with a hard mode!

And some hints was really way too much! I mean, the puzzles was kinda easy, but nice, but really bad have been those hints!

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This game is designed for 3 year olds and morons,

How about you and anyone else with this crappy attitude take it to some other thread? I started this one to talk about something that Double Fine might reasonably do to improve a game that so far I adored in almost every way. There are plenty of other threads you can visit to crap on the idea that someone might actually like this game, and I don't like that reasonable discussion is continually being trampled by people that can't accept that there are plenty of Adventure game fans who are largely satisfied.

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My biggest problem was that I didn't always know what the character was trying to achieve (like why Vella wanted to join the pageant at the beach), and so I'd accidentally stumble across solutions without even trying. There was none of the satisfaction from solving the puzzle -- as exploration tended to yield solutions without trying.

This. I'm not sure this is tweakable just by removing the hints.

Two moments really bugged me.

When Shay was on the falling train I discovered the solution to the puzzle by mere chance, first try! I simply re-clicked on the mountain's mouth right away and- bang! "Puzzle" solved. And I hadn't even tried all the rides yet! I was forced to restore a previous savegame to experience those BEFORE the plot of the game went on. Annoying.

Same goes with the grandpa-knife puzzle: I tried to give grandpa the cake (no real choice there: he was the only one willing to accept that) and I chose the "split option" just because I thought he was nice and I wanted to share the cake. And then - bang! Puzzle solved: here is the knife.

Another example: the shoes you need to avoid falling off the clouds. When the shoemaker gave me the wrong size, I began to think about a way to solve the problem. I kept exploring, I met the other maiden and -bang, she gave me the right size shoes. Just like that.

The game would need some triggers to keep players from stumbling on puzzle solutions.

Less hints could help, you're absolutely right, but these issues would still be there.

Tim can still improve the experience, though. We know he's working on upping the difficulty level for Act 2. If Act 2 is really challenging, Broken Age could become the perfect way to introduce newcomers to the magic of adventure games AND to please us old timers. :-) Otherwise, the game will be targeted to newcomers and Schafer/Double Fine-fans ONLY. That would be such a waste of a wonderful work (storywise, artwise and... soundwise! :-P ).

I think these hits on the right points. It's not so much the difficulty but that you can just accidentally accomplish them / hoover through without even following a chain of logic. It's sort of like some of those buggy quests in RPGs where you can finish them before they get assigned and it doesn't make sense.

I get the feeling that these problems could/should be solved no so much by making things more complex, but with better gating. Should I be able to convince Curtis to give me his abstract art piece before I even know why I might want it? (Like ThunderPeel I had a lot of mixed feelings about Shell Mound - it wasn't clear on why I wanted to enter their Maiden's Feast at all, or why I'd want the Marshal's bucket, why I'd want to go into the temple, etc etc. I get the feeling that it might be better if certain paths unlocked at least after where it started making sense.

I can understand not wanting users to get too stuck and I like that the idea of increasing amounts of in-game hints (maybe it that should only start happening/escalating in the situations where you start doing things wrong 3 or 4 times or for X number of minutes or something), maybe with the option of turning them off for veteran players, but forcing players to go through parts of the narrative before they could do stuff would be a good idea I think, especially for dialogue trees.

Sadly, I think for me, the puzzle design is the weakest part of Act I. I was just tickled pink by just about everything else - the great design, art, music, sound design, storytelling, voice acting, etc etc.

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a pit is a seed. Which is why I initially thought they wanted wood, or rather the sap. Cause the peach was so far back i had forgotten about it.

Also how did this thread turn into yet another "This games too easy and sucks" thread, are there really not enough of those?

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a pit is a seed. Which is why I initially thought they wanted wood, or rather the sap. Cause the peach was so far back i had forgotten about it.

Also how did this thread turn into yet another "This games too easy and sucks" thread, are there really not enough of those?

Because the thread was originally about making the game better by making it a bit more difficult?

:)

It definitely doesn't suck, it's great. But KestrelPi is right, there are too many hints.

You are both right. And pretty.

I find it annoying that everyone who is in the 'difficulty has ruined the game for me' camp take that as a cue to pile on in and talk about how bad the game is because it's easy.

Let's talk modest suggestions for improving the difficulty in what we have so far - I am looking forward to trickier puzzles in general in part 2 and don't see what can possibly be achieved by bellyaching over stuff that can't be changed now.

* So, yeah - I think the peach puzzle clues were a bit heavy handed. I liked the one the maidens gave, because it was vague. The most overt one I think was Curtis, with that 'fruity' pun - just seemed a little unnecessary.

* Definitely that death ray puzzle could have fewer hints.

* Didn't really need any hints about where to find Gus, he can just be found by exploration, but then that's not really a puzzle.

* I wonder if they had time to make a very slight change on the artwork of the arm controls to make it slightly less obvious that they're for Grabbin' Gary.

* No need for Shay to say something like 'if only I had some means of propulsion' or something, I would have got that eventually and it would have been a good puzzle! That line could easily just be taken out.

Anyone else think of some specific examples where some hints could be got rid of?

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a pit is a seed. Which is why I initially thought they wanted wood, or rather the sap. Cause the peach was so far back i had forgotten about it.

Also how did this thread turn into yet another "This games too easy and sucks" thread, are there really not enough of those?

Because the thread was originally about making the game better by making it a bit more difficult?

:)

It definitely doesn't suck, it's great. But KestrelPi is right, there are too many hints.

http://www.doublefine.com/forums/viewreply/319614/

I wrote up my thoughts on this long-form in the post I linked, but the short version with just a few tweaks many of the puzzles could be extended to be multi-step and require just a bit more thought and combination, as well as making a few of the puzzles more compelling. For example, for Gus, move the portal that solves the puzzle so it's not in the way and accidentally solved. But also put a board over it. You can remove the board after you have cloud shoes and a branch that you pickup near Gus. Boom, now you go talk to Gus, get branch, leave, get cloud shoes, go back, pry up board, stick breaks, fall through. The puzzle is just a little bit tougher, but again, it feels more satisfying for the user to put together themselves and have that a-ha! moment.

Vella's section was much better than Shay's. Though I enjoyed Shay's as well, it was not dense enough in puzzles given how small it was.

I have no problem with Act 1 having an easy version. Save this state of the puzzles as "Easy", seriously, and just tweak normal difficulty to be tougher than this. Everyone is happy.

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it's not quite the same thing but I remember Vella suggested a trade for something bubbly with the chicken thigh girl in sugar bunting before I talked to the other girl and saw that she did infact have something to drink, so to me that made me immidiatly understand that I was supposed to give her the bubbly when I got it.

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a pit is a seed. Which is why I initially thought they wanted wood, or rather the sap. Cause the peach was so far back i had forgotten about it.

Also how did this thread turn into yet another "This games too easy and sucks" thread, are there really not enough of those?

Because the thread was originally about making the game better by making it a bit more difficult?

:)

It definitely doesn't suck, it's great. But KestrelPi is right, there are too many hints.

http://www.doublefine.com/forums/viewreply/319614/

I wrote up my thoughts on this long-form in the post I linked, but the short version with just a few tweaks many of the puzzles could be extended to be multi-step and require just a bit more thought and combination, as well as making a few of the puzzles more compelling. For example, for Gus, move the portal that solves the puzzle so it's not in the way and accidentally solved. But also put a board over it. You can remove the board after you have cloud shoes and a branch that you pickup near Gus. Boom, now you go talk to Gus, get branch, leave, get cloud shoes, go back, pry up board, stick breaks, fall through. The puzzle is just a little bit tougher, but again, it feels more satisfying for the user to put together themselves and have that a-ha! moment.

Vella's section was much better than Shay's. Though I enjoyed Shay's as well, it was not dense enough in puzzles given how small it was.

I have no problem with Act 1 having an easy version. Save this state of the puzzles as "Easy", seriously, and just tweak normal difficulty to be tougher than this. Everyone is happy.

I agree some puzzle density would be cool, and your suggestions aren't unreasonable, but they probably won't be able to do very much in the way of actually changing puzzle logic and assets in the next 10 days. Which is why I'm really mainly talking about the more achievable aim of taking out some of the hinty-dialogue here and there. All that should take is commenting out some script here and there and maybe making some very minor logic changes to conversation structure. And if they do have alternate versions of lines recorded, then perhaps swapping them out.

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As far as the peach one I think Vella is the one that gives the biggest hint with how heavily she emphasizes the largeness of the pit if you eat the fruit. But I never talked to Curtis about it, only buckethead and the maidens.

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As far as the peach one I think Vella is the one that gives the biggest hint with how heavily she emphasizes the largeness of the pit if you eat the fruit. But I never talked to Curtis about it, only buckethead and the maidens.

I never returned to the tree after freeing Gus, so I had none of that. The fruit needs to have some kind of necessity to it so you get it before you leave Meriweather. I thought of one myself, but any one would be adequate to make sure the player carries it with them to the beach. This puzzle is even more frustrating if you are like me and it is literally the only item you don't have, and thus upon finding it, immediately know it has to be the solution to the riddle.

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