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Dan Fury

I hope the documentary will explain some negative things in the future

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After playing through Broken Age part 1 I am kinda torn inside.

On one hand I finally got to play another Tim Schafer adventure with great writing and loveable characters (the talking tree was my favorite). There were some very good things in this, for example the great soundtrack.

But there are some negative things I just don't get, especially when you compare Broken Age/DF with other companies that do adventure games.

Let's take Daedelic and the Deponia series as an example. I was absolutely stunned when I played the first Deponia, because I expected a mediocre adventure. But that game is just gorgeous with just as many memorable characters, has also great writing (not Tim Schafer great, but still very good), great art and at least double the playtime that Broken Age has. According to an old facebook post from the CEO all 3 Deponia games + 8 more 10 hour adventures together had a budget under 3 million.

The budgeting is one of the negative aspects I would like more info about, because I doubt that the orchestra/voice acting or hiring Bagel were so expensive. Was it tweaking the Moai engine? Was it too much prototyping? Or is it because Doublefine is used to AAA budgets and can't scale down to create more value on a tighter budget? It surely was a mix of many small things, but I would love to see a in-depth analysis.

I would also like to know more about the development of the Shay part, because I think when you compare it to the Vella part of the game it was a huge letdown. There were many screens that you just walked through without any meaningful interaction and imho it was very lackluster. I would guess it was rushed, because it didn't have any of the treats the Vella part had. The only interesting character was Marek (dat voice! Loved it from the first second when it was shown in the documentary), the rest of the ship was imho just annoying. I get that some parts were meant to be annoying, like the mission loop, but also the item descriptions or the dialogues with the crew after you break the circle were just not that fun.

Even though this sounds very negative I am not disappointed in Broken Age in general and have high hopes that part 2 will be better. I just hoped it would be so much more, a solid foundation for future Double Fine adventures. But as it stands now, I am not so sure if there won't be a huge backlash from critics and if that could impact my dream of a Day of the Tentacle follow-up by Doublefine/Tim.

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Let's take Daedalic and the Deponia series as an example. I was absolutely stunned when I played the first Deponia, because I expected a mediocre adventure. But that game is just gorgeous with just as many memorable characters, has also great writing (not Tim Schafer great, but still very good), great art and at least double the playtime that Broken Age has. According to an old facebook post from the CEO all 3 Deponia games + 8 more 10 hour adventures together had a budget under 3 million.

Daedalic: some great games, I agree, especially the Deponia series. But with regards to the budget: that's comparing apples and oranges, they're using a lot of interns, just search on Google for "Daedalic Praktikum" or look on their "jobs", eh, internship page, http://www.daedalic.de/de/Jobs

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Yes, I heard they use a lot of interns, but Doublefine also has interns, remember Marius Fietzek?

I think this comparison is more than fair, 1 episode of Deponia against 2 parts of Broken Age.

If BA was split in half, then we are looking at a 7-8 hour adventure, Deponia is just as long.

Both have great art, full voice acting, great soundtrack and smart writing.

If we assume that Deponia had double the budget than any other Daedelic game (which it probably didn't), they could still crank out 5-6 games on par or surpassing Broken Age on the same budget and financing a company with salaries in Germany is just as expensive than a company in the U.S.

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I respect Daedalic for how much they have achieved as an European indie studio but Deponia is only interesting for their animations. Episodes aren't funny, haven't good English VA and puzzles are cringe worthy, often serving as fluff for prolonging gameplay. I take 8 hours of Double Fine's work over full season of the Daedalic series any time.

(It is my opinion, not an attack of your post.)

EDIT: I don't think it is entirely fair to compare German company with US in terms of budget. Cost of living differs. And I have heard bits here and there that Daedalic likes to costs down by using unpaid interns a lot. If it is a truth, I don't think that competing with a company that wants to pay as low as possible for a work is a good suggestion.

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In regards to the budget, I'm curious how much of the money was lost to physical perks and hiring 2 Player (I don't remember seeing this outlined necessarily anywhere) since it's one thing to say they raised $3.3 million, but how much was actually usable on the game? I continue to suspect that Shay's section is the way it is for thematic reasons as much as anything, though through the documentary at least it sure seemed like a lot of time was spent working on Meriloft.

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In regards to the budget, I'm curious how much of the money was lost to physical perks and hiring 2 Player (I don't remember seeing this outlined necessarily anywhere) since it's one thing to say they raised $3.3 million, but how much was actually usable on the game? I continue to suspect that Shay's section is the way it is for thematic reasons as much as anything, though through the documentary at least it sure seemed like a lot of time was spent working on Meriloft.

I don't think 2PP were hired. They were listed as partners to DF in the Kickstarter.

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Deponia is terrible, imho. For many reasons.

Other Daedalic adventures are pretty good tho (really liked Night of the Rabbit).

I generally prefer Wadjet's adventures to theirs.

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If we assume that Deponia had double the budget than any other Daedelic game (which it probably didn't), they could still crank out 5-6 games on par or surpassing Broken Age on the same budget and financing a company with salaries in Germany is just as expensive than a company in the U.S.

Even assuming you could start trying to metric "playtime per dollar" or some such silliness, you simply can't assume that $1 in Hamburg gets you the same as $1 in San Francisco.

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A better comparison is Wadjet games, who have a fraction of the budget/resources of DF and with Gemini Rue, Resonance and Primordia have created far better classic point and click adventure games than DF claimed they were going to do and claimed they were resurrecting.

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A better comparison is Wadjet games, who have a fraction of the budget/resources of DF and with Gemini Rue, Resonance and Primordia have created far better classic point and click adventure games than DF claimed they were going to do and claimed they were resurrecting.
Do they already have full voice acting sorry but for some reason I cannot play adventure games anymore that dont have reasonable voice acting. It is just a really important part for me for an adventure game.

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Do they already have full voice acting sorry but for some reason I cannot play adventure games anymore that dont have reasonable voice acting. It is just a really important part for me for an adventure game.

Yes, they do. At least Resonance, Blackwell series and remastered The Shivah (I have played them).

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A better comparison is Wadjet games, who have a fraction of the budget/resources of DF and with Gemini Rue, Resonance and Primordia have created far better classic point and click adventure games than DF claimed they were going to do and claimed they were resurrecting.

B-b-but adventure games were never dead!

Just wanted to chime in and say I freaking LOVED Primordia! The art was fantastic. The story was cliche, but still good and serviceable and had genuinely intriguing moments. It would pleasure me greatly to work with Victor Pflug sometime in the future.

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I also can only recommend the Wadjet Eye Games. Just finished the latest Blackwell game in December. Was really happy when I learned that he's making another one.

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A better comparison is Wadjet games, who have a fraction of the budget/resources of DF and with Gemini Rue, Resonance and Primordia have created far better classic point and click adventure games than DF claimed they were going to do and claimed they were resurrecting.

Primordia was made by Wormwood Studios. Resonance was made by XII Games. Gemini Rue was made by Joshua Nuernberger.

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I'd also like to chime in and bring up Emerald City Confidential since it is often overlooked when talking about Wadjet Eye Games, it is their only game made in Cooperation with a Publisher (PlayFirst) and rather charming, it was certainly a surprise since I went into it thinking I wouldn't end up liking it and enjoyed it quite a bit.

It looks somewhat like a "Casual game" (and was probably intended as one given the publisher, but ironically ended up being less so than Broken Age) and that was what I expected. It doesn't use multiple verbs and only one interaction, but the puzzles were at least somewhat challenging still and you got a bunch of items and later even spells that you could use to interact with your environment.

It plays in the world of "The Wizard of Oz" and was pretty good when it came to the characterization of the persons you meet, as well as convincing in its world building. You play as a sarcastic private detective that is working some cases and stumbles into something bigger, somewhat of a Mix between Discworld and Discworld Noir even if it didn't quite reach that level.

emerald28eqyl.jpg

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Emerald City Confidential is TRASH. Talk about a game with terrible puzzles. It holds your hand so tight you have to hack it off just to quit the game.

For the OP, I don't know what's with this contingent of people who assume that Shay's part is somehow less liked. I liked Shay's part about 10x more than Vella's. Vella's part was fun, but ultimately too sprawling and ho-hum for me. Shay's was bitingly ironic and very funny. My favourite characters (the knife, Marek, the yarn robots) were all from Shay's world.

I can't even think of a character from Vella's world I loved -- they were all merely amusing, none especially memorable individually. The "shtick" of each town was fun and the art beautiful, but... I think maybe the tree and the lumberjack were the only individual characters from Vella's world that I really really liked.

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Shay's was bitingly ironic and very funny. My favourite characters (the knife, Marek, the yarn robots) were all from Shay's world.

Absolutely, all that stuff was great!

In Vella's world I liked those blind girls the most, in front of the "pyramid". :)

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I have to say that I also feel torn in terms of response to this game. It's a beautiful game, I generally like the dialog and characters and the voices and music are amazing. The story seems interesting but there is so little of it it's hard to say where it's going. And this is the main issue with the game - it is a very short and very easy game. Shay's section of the game is crazy short. I agree his personality falls a bit flat but given how underdeveloped his story is, and little time he gets onscreen, it's hard for him to do much more.

Vella's section was better, I felt like I was playing an actual adventure game, briefly, but again there's not a lot to it.

I get this was half a game, a decision I was rather ambivalent about, but having finished it in 5-6 hours at most (I didn't time it but I played it most of yesterday evening and about half an hour today) even doubled this seems a lot shorter than I was expecting. Maybe the second half will have quite a bit more story in it and some harder puzzles, that would help a lot. If of course they manage to sell enough copies of Act 1 to finance Act 2 - something I have real doubts about particularly when the game seems to be collecting mediocre reviews.

Having said all that when you throw in the documentary I'm not unhappy to have spent my money on this. Having said that I wouldn't have wanted to spend much more on it either.

It would be interesting to see where the money went, I'm guess art & animation plus game development infrastructure eat up the bulk. Double Fine should be in a good position after this to churn out some more adventure games, again if that's an outcome of how they spent our money then I'm personally pretty happy about it though the ethics of spending backer money on reusable infrastructure is certainly debatable.

I just hope there is an Act 2,

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The budgeting is one of the negative aspects I would like more info about, because I doubt that the orchestra/voice acting or hiring Bagel were so expensive. Was it tweaking the Moai engine? Was it too much prototyping? Or is it because Doublefine is used to AAA budgets and can't scale down to create more value on a tighter budget? It surely was a mix of many small things, but I would love to see a in-depth analysis.

YES. Please DF, release some kind of breakdown about the costs of creating this game. I'm so sick of people going "Oh, so THAT'S what they spent their spare 3 million on". :facepalm:

It would be so good to have some info to point people to instead of just trying to guess costs as I try to explain that employing a team for two years costs a lot of money.

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For the OP, I don't know what's with this contingent of people who assume that Shay's part is somehow less liked. I liked Shay's part about 10x more than Vella's.

Shay's part is the one that I felt was most spoiled by having watched the documentaries. I'd have liked to have known less about it before playing. (But I don't regret having watch it - it's been worth it.)

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I watched every snippet of documentary and the only thing I remember was the bit about the ground reflections in the ship.

The trailer on the other hand spoiled the breaking the loop riddle for me, because I wanted to jump with the train like in the trailer.

I heard a lot of people liked "knife" as a character, but it's just an item with maybe 5 lines in the game, even though I admit they were good.

The other seemingly popular character are the yarn pals. I didn't like them because they were just not that interesting, but I guess that's a matter of taste.

The Vella part took me roughly 2-3 hours and the Shay part roughly 1. I did click on everything everywhere, but I broke the loop very fast, solved the headshrink puzzle by accident and every other puzzle without even trying.

Maybe it has something to do in which order you play them. I started with Vella and was very nostalgic in the beginning. Maybe I would've liked the ship more if I started with it, but Vellas part with all the different characters and their dialogue tree would still be my favorite.

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I watched every snippet of documentary and the only thing I remember was the bit about the ground reflections in the ship.

The trailer on the other hand spoiled the breaking the loop riddle for me, because I wanted to jump with the train like in the trailer.

I heard a lot of people liked "knife" as a character, but it's just an item with maybe 5 lines in the game, even though I admit they were good.

The other seemingly popular character are the yarn pals. I didn't like them because they were just not that interesting, but I guess that's a matter of taste.

The Vella part took me roughly 2-3 hours and the Shay part roughly 1. I did click on everything everywhere, but I broke the loop very fast, solved the headshrink puzzle by accident and every other puzzle without even trying.

Maybe it has something to do in which order you play them. I started with Vella and was very nostalgic in the beginning. Maybe I would've liked the ship more if I started with it, but Vellas part with all the different characters and their dialogue tree would still be my favorite.

Sounds like someone needs... A HUG!

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The other seemingly popular character are the yarn pals. I didn't like them because they were just not that interesting, but I guess that's a matter of taste.

I've been wondering about the yarn. So much of Shay's environment is yarn...

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The other seemingly popular character are the yarn pals. I didn't like them because they were just not that interesting, but I guess that's a matter of taste.

I've been wondering about the yarn. So much of Shay's environment is yarn...

They sure know how to spin a good yarn!

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I've been wondering the whole morning after completing the first act on how to express how i felt about it and i have to say: i fully agree with the topic starter.

Yes it's good, but something is out of sync. Maybe my expectations were unreasonably high (i backed for 170€ so i might have overdone it for a bit on the expectations front). But again: did i really expect too much? The budget seemed so astronomical at the time. Especially after the humble bundle etc. Compared to other games, the budget still seems very high compared to what's been delivered.

I agree for 100%: i want to see how it was spent. I think this is as interesting for the developers as it is for the backers, as i'm starting to think maybe DF has some efficiency issues in general?

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Deponia I haven't played myself but I've seen quite a bit of the series, and from what I've seen I think it's horrid, but that's by the by.

I don't see how Marius getting an internship based on his hard work and determination is in any way comparable to Daedelic routinely getting unpaid internships to create the bulk of their in-game assets, and then boasting about how big their game is for so little money. Especially because Tim has essentially said that Marius basically has a job at Double Fine, when he's ready to take it.

I wouldn't support Daedelic games on principle, since apparently they think it's okay to routinely not pay artists (artists who are likely just desperate to get shipped games on their portfolio) and then dare to criticize the practices of companies who DO think they are worth paying.

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The other seemingly popular character are the yarn pals. I didn't like them because they were just not that interesting, but I guess that's a matter of taste.

I've been wondering about the yarn. So much of Shay's environment is yarn...

I think "Mom" comes from a weaver city.

As does Marek.

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Deponia I haven't played myself but I've seen quite a bit of the series, and from what I've seen I think it's horrid, but that's by the by.

I don't see how Marius getting an internship based on his hard work and determination is in any way comparable to Daedelic routinely getting unpaid internships to create the bulk of their in-game assets, and then boasting about how big their game is for so little money. Especially because Tim has essentially said that Marius basically has a job at Double Fine, when he's ready to take it.

I wouldn't support Daedelic games on principle, since apparently they think it's okay to routinely not pay artists (artists who are likely just desperate to get shipped games on their portfolio) and then dare to criticize the practices of companies who DO think they are worth paying.

As I said I think Deponia is great and the closest thing to a "modern Monkey Island" as it gets without involvement from Tim Schafer or Ron Gilbert. Great art, great music, great characters and lots of humor.

I don't want to speculate too much about Daedelic, because I don't know anyone that works there. Just because someone once said that they have a lot of interns is not enough reason to boycott them. All I wanted to say is that Doublefine (and any other game/movie/music company) also has interns and Marius is probably not the only one, but the one with the highest profile.

Not supporting Daedelic on principle is just wrong, especially if you say you like adventures. They make great adventure games and will continue to do them if they can make a profit. They didn't criticize Doublefine openly, the quote about 11 games for 3 million was from the private facebook page and the post is long gone. I just saw it on the Telltale forum and it is a good reference on how much "game" 3 million can buy in the adventure space.

I just mentioned them as an example, there are many game companies that do great adventure games with a way smaller budget and I just want to know how DF roughly used their budget. Did they in fact lay the foundation for further adventures or was the money spent just on producing the assets for Broken Age? How much did they actually tweak the Moai engine? Or did they have to spend a huge chunk on outsourcing animations to deliver the final product or was it just a little bit to finish on time? These are intersting questions to me and it would be great if they would be adressed in a future episode of the documentary. I don't need to know their business plan or exact sums on contract work, but I wonder why the game was so expensive compared to adventure games from other companies.

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The thing that bites me most is the super-ugly low res zoomed in backgrounds. Da fuk??? Really DF, it's such a beautiful looking game... don't waste all that gorgeous artwork by creating ugly blurred-jpg-artifacted backgrounds! Did Bagel cost that much to create some high-res stuff or let him draw close-ups? It looks so incredibly unpolished and cheap... such a shame.

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