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MeisterKaio

tim video interview on rock paper shotgun

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That got a little uncomfortable around the time the dude said something about unrealized main characters. He also had this funny way of reacting to answers "Huh!" like he was surprised every time. As to his point about characters though, I felt Shay's clinical depression was very tangible in his facial expression alone.

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You can just watch it again now.

Re: The characters. I do know what the interviewer meant. I'm sure the characters are fully formed in Tim's mind, but their characterisation was subtle. Maybe it's because we've spent more time with Guybrush, Ben and Manny, though, so have been able to see them react to a wider range of situations.

As much as I love Act I (and I'm definitely in the camp who is super happy with what's been made), there are problems. And surprisingly it's all with the writing. The idea is great, the dialogue and characters are good too, but the execution is a little... lacking. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I think it's the storytelling and characterisation. Shay and Vella feel a quite simplistic -- Shay is depressed and frustrated, Vella is plucky and proactive (with a healthy dose of common sense). That's about as much as I can say about their personalities. Am I wrong? Is it my fault for not seeing more? Could I actually write much more about Manny or Ben? Or am I romanticising the past? Maybe I didn't find them quite as likable, and that's what's bugging me? Hmm.

Additionally, as beautifully crafted as the world is, with wonderful artwork, voice acting and spectacular music, the storytelling probably feels like the weakest part of the game. Vella is thrown to the monster almost immediately, and then spends the rest of her time... Doing what? Maybe I missed the dialogue, but her goals weren't immediately clear to me. Again, this could be my fault. Maybe she did explain her motivation at Meriloft, and I wasn't paying attention. (I got it in the end: Find out what happened to her town/destroy the monster if she can't do the first -- but wouldn't the monster attack her town immediately? So why even try and attack it? I digress.)

I can't help but feel an extended opening, with Vella forced to collect items in preparation for the feast, while sharing her doubts and fears with her town, would have done two important things: Let us learn more about Vella, how she feels, what's expected of her, in a more subtle and organic way. And make the player emotionally invested in the outcome of Sugarbunting.

But what do I know.

The expectations for this game are WAY higher than any previous Schafer game. Poor Tim is being forced to complete with our MEMORIES of games we played with little to no expectations. I never liked THE DIG or LOOM, but I never took to message boards to complain about them. If I stumbled across BROKEN AGE completely unawares, I'd probably only see the best in it.

And that's ultimately how anything exists in history anyway -- people will discover it, try it with little or no expectations, and fall in love with it. Just like I did with Monkey Island, 20 odd years ago.

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How can you not enjoy The Dig or Loom as an adventure gamer?

I don't think that making a game for everyone works out so well in practice in this genre. You might strike a golden balance most people somehow feel comfortable with but to make it even better you either need to offer a game to a more focused audience, offer different difficulty levels or make the game to automatically adjust to the behaviour of the gamer. (if wanted, the last options mean additional work). Otherwise it always will be too hard/easy for some players but i rather would make an adventure slightly too hard than too easy.

Anyway good news on the interface in the video, thanks.

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I am glad someone said what many backers are saying in an interview...Reading IGN and the frankly ridiculous 95% it was as if Tim had created the best adventure game of all time.. Whilst I loved the game (prob up in my Top 20 adventure games) it is far from perfect... The main gripe as constantly given by backers is the difficulty of the game was too easy and so consewuently the game seemed short. I am glad with what Tim has been saying on this interview that Act 2 will be more difficult. From my point of view I am happy to wait for Double Fine to get Act Two perfect... However maybe for the non backers ..javing too long a gap between acts would be detrimental to Double Fine.

For me I would like to see in Act Two...

1. After completing the game stick in reasons to replay it.. maybe have it where there is a scavenger hunt to find hidden objects. You could have lots of fun with this and probably quite easy to code... have an object hidden and you are on a clock to find it.. You could then beat your scores in finding an object.

2. Have more descriptions on background items. I wanted to click on things like pictures in Vellas house etc to get a real backstory to the beautiful world I found myself in. instead all the areas was just pretty eye candy.

3. Option to switch off extra hints. I get some people like those hints telling me what to do on the train, or what to do to get the cupcake. But it would be awesome to have an option to switch that off... As often I felt cheated out of a puzzle because the dialogue was practically screaming it to me.

4. I would love to be able to find letters, diary entries, newspapers or whatever that give me more backstory to this beautiful world Tim has created. I know Tim said he wants it like you are peeping through the fence of a baseball game...glimpsing the game..but I felt the lack of background items to click on (see point 2) meant I didn't engage with the world as much as I do with some of the best adventure games.

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...

As much as I love Act I (and I'm definitely in the camp who is super happy with what's been made), there are problems. And surprisingly it's all with the writing. The idea is great, the dialogue and characters are good too, but the execution is a little... lacking. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I think it's the storytelling and characterisation. Shay and Vella feel a quite simplistic -- Shay is depressed and frustrated, Vella is plucky and proactive (with a healthy dose of common sense). That's about as much as I can say about their personalities. Am I wrong? Is it my fault for not seeing more? Could I actually write much more about Manny or Ben? Or am I romanticising the past? Maybe I didn't find them quite as likable, and that's what's bugging me? Hmm.

Additionally, as beautifully crafted as the world is, with wonderful artwork, voice acting and spectacular music, the storytelling probably feels like the weakest part of the game. Vella is thrown to the monster almost immediately, and then spends the rest of her time... Doing what? Maybe I missed the dialogue, but her goals weren't immediately clear to me. Again, this could be my fault. Maybe she did explain her motivation at Meriloft, and I wasn't paying attention. (I got it in the end: Find out what happened to her town/destroy the monster if she can't do the first -- but wouldn't the monster attack her town immediately? So why even try and attack it? I digress.)

...

i think as the "missing" intro, most of this is on purpose. that would be why tim said you can't say to much about the story as you only know the first half (in the rps interview)...we're sure going to meet most of the characters in the second part again, so "playing them out" would make them less interesting

so in a way, i also think its because you know more about manny and ben - because you know their full story, not only the first half...its just too soon to judge the story..at this moment anything may or may not be part of the narrative technique

hm...she decided to fight instead of being killed quite at the beginning...but as she just wanted to escape the claws, she accidentally got trapped in meriloft. when she finally gets back to the ground it's to late to get home, as the mog thing is already expected to be there she is right now, thus she decides to fight it there?

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hm...she decided to fight instead of being killed quite at the beginning...but as she just wanted to escape the claws, she accidentally got trapped in meriloft. when she finally gets back to the ground it's to late to get home, as the mog thing is already expected to be there she is right now, thus she decides to fight it there?

Yeah, that makes sense... but WHY is she fighting it? I know it's a monster, and I know it eats maidens, but why has SHE decided to fight it? What are HER personal motivations? That's what I don't quite get.

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hm...she decided to fight instead of being killed quite at the beginning...but as she just wanted to escape the claws, she accidentally got trapped in meriloft. when she finally gets back to the ground it's to late to get home, as the mog thing is already expected to be there she is right now, thus she decides to fight it there?

Yeah, that makes sense... but WHY is she fighting it? I know it's a monster, and I know it eats maidens, but why has SHE decided to fight it? What are HER personal motivations? That's what I don't quite get.

I do see what you mean with Vella. With Shay I sort of felt I knew where things stood with him. It was pretty easy to see why he would be like he is at that point in is life, and I think the performance adds a lot to it to - it's not a bratty, spoiled type of frustration, but more like someone who means well but has been worn down over time.

But with Vella I remember the first time I played that sequence being a little surprised that there wasn't much context to her process of deciding to fight the monster. I'd have liked to have seen a more gradual change in her resolve, but I think it's something that could be addressed in part 2.

But honestly that was the only problem I had with the writing (except some of the more heavy handed hinting).

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^Vella wants to kill Mog Chothra because she's afraid it will destroy her village, because she escaped.

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^Vella wants to kill Mog Chothra because she's afraid it will destroy her village, because she escaped.

No, no, we mean in the first place. What's the context for her wanting to fight/escape the monster in the first place. I know it makes sense to us, but everyone else we meet treats the idea as unthinkable, even funny, except for Grandpa. So I think the point is that it would have been nice to see why she arrived at this mindset of wanting to fight and escape.

It would have been enough, I think to establish the relationship between her and Grandpa a bit more strongly.

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I never liked THE DIG or LOOM, but I never took to message boards to complain about them.

Message boards, back in early 90s? You couldn't even if you wanted to!!! :-)

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^Vella wants to kill Mog Chothra because she's afraid it will destroy her village, because she escaped.

now it seems the question is more about why she didn't get herself sacrificed like a good girl - what were her motivations to risk the life of her family and everyone in the town? that really doesn't seem to be addressed in the story, at least not so far..

what i find a little confusing, too: should't she expect her village to be destroyed by now, especially as mob chothra appeared late in the next town?

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Or rather, I guess that we just don't see enough of Vella in her routine, to understand why she is dissatisfied with it. It's mentioned by her sister that she's not afraid of anything, but we don't really see any evidence of that up front, and the old woman doesn't understand why Vella was selected for the Maiden's Feast, and the family mention her sense of humour, so clearly she's supposed to be 'different' but it's a little bit vaguely drawn.

With Manny we got to see him frustrated by 2 reapings before he decides to break out of his routine fully, so we understand his predicament much better.

With Raz, he gives that speech at the beginning which sets up the family issues that come much more into play later, so we understand why he's rebelling in his way.

With Shay, we get to see him bored by his regular activities, and the repetitive, childish nature of his existence, so we understand why he has to bust out of that.

With Vella, we know she doesn't want to be eaten by a monster, which seems sensible but since this is a really weird thing to think in her world, we never understand where that's coming from.

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I never liked THE DIG or LOOM, but I never took to message boards to complain about them.

Message boards, back in early 90s? You couldn't even if you wanted to!!! :-)

The Dig was 1995 - I was a regular on IRC and various forums by that time, and definitely remember talking about it. I really like The Dig for the most part, though.

As for Loom, a lot of people didn't play it when it came out - I know my first adventure games was Monkey Island and I only went back to the older ones later. Pretty sure I was an internet user by the time I got around to Loom. Incidentally I'm not that keen on Loom ever. The puzzle mechanic is cool and all, but it just doesn't sustain a whole game for me. Even a pretty short one like Loom. Once you get it, it just becomes a bit of a chore.

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Or rather, I guess that we just don't see enough of Vella in her routine, to understand why she is dissatisfied with it.

I was thinking it might also have to do with the fact that in Vella's world you primarily spend time talking to characters she doesn't have an existing relationship with. A little bit more time with her family would have helped, I think.

Maybe Grim Fandango is quite unique in the sense that you already have a history with many of the characters. This allows for interesting background information to be shared, such as what happened at the Christmas party? In year 2 you're already in Rubacava for a while, so talking with Lupe for instance also reveals more about Manny's character.

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^Vella wants to kill Mog Chothra because she's afraid it will destroy her village, because she escaped.

Yes, you're right -- but surely it would be too late by then? I just wish she'd voice this change in heart.

No, no, we mean in the first place. What's the context for her wanting to fight/escape the monster in the first place.

I can live with it at the moment, to be honest. I get why she wanted to fight it -- she didn't want to get eaten by a monster, and the only viable alternative would be to tell the monster no (i.e. fight it). So I'm not interested in learning how she came the idea, myself -- but I agree that it might have been nice to see that she got it from her grandpa.

Message boards, back in early 90s? You couldn't even if you wanted to!!! :-)

Kids today! Message boards have been around longer than the internet you know :) Some of us used BBSs!

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But what do I know.

You know what you know. :) There was something you couldn't put your finger on, and that's fair enough.

For me, I couldn't disagree more. I thought the storytelling in Broken Age was second-to-none...as in, I can't think of another adventure game that told as much of a story and drew as interesting characters in so short a space of time. And to build to such an exciting and tantalizing reveal...masterful.

I've been wondering if I would have felt the same way had the puzzle density and depth been more akin to Grim or Monkey. I certainly think that with long, complex adventure games, I put my head into a mode where it makes allowances for repetition, frustration, and other such factors before judging the story. In BA, for better or worse, I didn't have to.

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Yes, you're right. The initial draw is incredibly strong, and the ending was masterful, too :)

As much as people talk about missing the frustration of puzzles, I think Tim is right that they're only remembering the relief when the pain stopped. For example; The only part I got remotely stuck in BROKEN AGE was shooting the monster. And it wasn't fun in the slightest.

The difficulty is creating puzzles that are tricky, but which take no longer than a few minutes to solve. The only modern game I know to do this perfectly was PORTAL 2. Every time I found a solution, I felt like a genius, and I was never stuck for very long. I'm sure Valve tested the all mighty mother of crap out of that thing, though. Ensuring that the puzzles were absolutely perfect before shipping.

Unfortunately DF doesn't have tens of millions available to bring in teams of people to craft each puzzle to perfection.

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I would like to say that despite that minor point, I really enjoyed all of the storytelling in the game. I think it'll only improve, too. It's pretty clear that we'll get to meet a lot of those characters again in act 2, and I'm sure that a lot of the points raised will be further fleshed out at that time. It's why I wasn't all that bothered that there wasn't THAT much dialogue for each character - because I think it'll be much more interesting going back to meet them in act 2.

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Or rather, I guess that we just don't see enough of Vella in her routine, to understand why she is dissatisfied with it.
That was my biggest complaint among all the characters/story... I felt the need for more backstory. Also, when she did escape it didn't seem to really affect her emotionally, she just merrily walked around saying "Let's kill mothchathra!" to people. There is no real immediacy or concern in her voice. For all she knows, her village could've been destroyed at that point, right? Again, just kinda flat. Is she in shock? Does she just not really care? Or, is she really some kinda blood thirsty killer? I sorta felt the latter from her... I guess I could be right, but I doubt it...

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Also, when she did escape it didn't seem to really affect her emotionally, she just merrily walked around saying "Let's kill mothchathra!" to people. There is no real immediacy or concern in her voice. For all she knows, her village could've been destroyed at that point, right? Again, just kinda flat. Is she in shock? Does she just not really care? Or, is she really some kinda blood thirsty killer? I sorta felt the latter from her... I guess I could be right, but I doubt it...

Right! And she quickly goes to shellmound without bothering to check if her family / village is doing fine or not.

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Right! And she quickly goes to shellmound without bothering to check if her family / village is doing fine or not.

Only because she can't find a way back to Sugarbunting, but this is definitely the bit that bothers me the most -- the change from, "I need to get back home!" to "I need to kill Mog Chothra!". (I just took it as read, from Vella's POV, that Mog Chothra would have done all the damage he wanted to the moment she escaped -- so is she just after vengeance?)

This is something I wanted to know, not just for the story, but also because I didn't know that she was interested in taking part in another pageant (or why).

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Killing the monster is kind of time sensitive, since she will not get another chance for 14 years.

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Maybe it's all those carbs... I know it tends to make people less sensitive and more "glossed-over" feeling :P

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With Vella, we know she doesn't want to be eaten by a monster, which seems sensible but since this is a really weird thing to think in her world, we never understand where that's coming from.

I think there's a simple answer for that - grandpa Beastender. He's pretty vocal about the bunch of sissies his town has become, and I have the feeling he might have had some stories to tell that probably impacted Vella greatly. And it's not unusual for children to question their parents but find their grandparents cool...

I do feel that there could've been a couple more lines of dialogue to reflect this. But badassery seems to run in the family, even though it maybe skipped a generation, and I bet grandpa has always encouraged Vella to channel her inner badassery ever since she was a child.

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