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kringel

Missing the ' look at ' verb so much that it actually hurts (a bit) Why?

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Because I want to know what my character thinks. For example, I want to "look at" Vella's parents and I want to hear what she thinks about them. What her thoughts and feelings are. Not always direct interaction. This is not some nostalgia about the interface. It's really about character's depth (ok, which it achieved otherwise in Broken Age, but could have been so much more).

The "look at" verb had been the source of tons of tons dialogue/monologue lines. A "look at" verb is hard work. I hope it hadn't been ditched because there wasn't enough time left.

Also I want to get stuck in adventure games. When I got stuck I had a good time with the "look at" verb examining the world and getting little hints and getting to know my character better. It always felt like really diving into a world. Frustration was little, because there was always something new to discover. Thanks to the "look at" verb. It was a strategy of: "Don't rush. You're doing it wrong. Why not REALLY discover this fantastic world and your character a bit more?"

However I appreciate that Broken Age is not as difficult as e.g. "Grim Fandango", because back in the days I was too quick looking for online solutions and walkthroughs. I still hate myself because I did that. So let's say I want to get stuck in adventure games _sometimes_. By the way this is where the "nostalgia" came from. It's not about the game itself that much, it's about that we remember the times, when we were sitting at school and thinking about how to solve this damn puzzle. That is why we related to the old school adventure games so much.

Congratulations to this great game from a slacker backer! This has been a presentation of costructive criticism and feedback.

PS: Hey, how about implementing the "look at" verb afterwards? There's still time. (Now I really hope that Elijah Wood also misses this verb.) A compromise just for tablets, compromising the main platforms as Windows, Mac and Linux, this thought really makes me sad a little bit. Tablet user could easily tab a verb grid (like an even simplified versions of the verbs in "Full Throttle") and then they could easily click on one of the 1-2 or 3 verbs. Agan, this is not about verbs, it's about I want to get to know my character much *more*!

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I hope my English is ok enough. Otherwise you can read something about this here:

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2014/01/16/wot-i-think-broken-age/

A single-click interface strips out so, so many options for imaginative ideas. It’s a game designed to be tapped on by a finger, not clicked on with a two-buttoned mouse, and with that goes an enormous amount of potential. And most problematic is the loss of “look at”. Taking this away, and replacing it with a single cursor that might pick something up, use something, talk to it, or perhaps look at it, is very detaching. It takes away a big part of what point and click adventures are about, and it’s a loss I felt heavily as I played.

And a very well done review in German. Let me translate the best line:

But to be honest: F*** interaction/interface! F*** too easy puzzle design! If a games feels and looks SO good as Broken Age does!
http://superlevel.de/spiele/broken-age/

However:

Nicht jeder Abschied von Genre-Konventionen ist im ersten Akt von Broken Age so gut gelungen. Der Cursor etwa kennt für Interaktionen nur einen Zustand, eine „Betrachten“-Funktion gibt es nicht. Das verkürzt nicht nur die Spielzeit, es sorgt auch schnell für Enttäuschung. Schließlich gibt es hier so viel zu entdecken und zu bestaunen, über das ich gerne mehr wüsste. Außerdem bleibt mir so die Gedankenwelt von Shay und Vella weitgehend verschlossen. Zum Beispiel wüsste ich gerne, was Vella über ihre Mutter oder ihren Vater denkt. Immerhin wollen die beiden ihre eigene Tochter in den Tod schicken. Doch das Anklicken von Personen führt sofort zum Dialog statt zur Reflexion aus der Distanz. Über Shays und Vellas Haltung und Motivation kann ich deshalb oft nur spekulieren, trotz schöner Dialoge und einer liebevollen Charaktergestaltung bleiben beide ein bisschen seelenlos.

It says: "Not all good-byes to the old school conventions of the genre work out that well. The cursor only recognizes one single option for interaction, there is no "look at" option. This not only reduces playtime, it also leads to some disappointment. Because ultimately there is so much to discover, so much to be amazed at, to marvel by, ... about all of which I would like to know so much more [but can't]. As well this prevents me as a player (to a large degree) from really entering Shay's and Vella's world of thoughts. As an example I really would like to know about what Vella is thinking about her Mom or her Dad, after all they want to sent her own daughter to her death. BUT the clicking with the cursor on characters leads ultimately to dialogue only, instead of an option of hearing my character's reflection and thoughts out of a certain distance. [where the "look at" option did so well] That's why often I can only speculate about Vella's and Shay's motives and attitude. And despite of all the beautiful and nicely done dialogue and the really fondly/lovingly character design, both characters sadly remain *somewhat* soulless because of that."

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Since I wouldn't imagine a situation where you'll choose first the "Use" verb over the "Look" verb in a 2-verb interface, you could narrow-down the verb to the bare "Interact" verb IF it had the following behaviour:

click

if use_verb available in hotspot

then

look hotspot then execute use_verb function automatically and on any subsequent clicks.

But right now, I too feel that the interaction with the environment is minimal... on par with the Syberia 1/Still Life 1 games (and that's not a good thing) so with just a single verb you get a feeble feeling of interactivity.

Just my opinion.

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I do miss the look button. I don't really care about the other verbs, I always thought they were overrated, but look is a nice one to have.

2 thoughts...

1) I do think there are more custom dialogue responses for using items on things than I remember from the old game. Every item at least had a generic response of its own (no 'I can't use those two things together' and a whole lot of the time trying something would result in a joke or a bit of dialogue that would otherwise be hidden, much more frequently than I remember from the old games. I'm getting a lot of mileage out of just doing that in the game.

2) I wonder if it's not too late to add 'look'. I know it's something that so many people want, and it seems to me it could be easily achievable in the interface, perhaps by having a look icon in the inventory screen, and optionally the ability to bind it to a mouse button or key. Obviously new dialogue would need to be written, but they'll be recording more anyway (and lots of items and things in the environment already have look responses), so I really think that it's a change that would be achievable as part of the Act 2 update. It might be too much to ask, but it just seems like something that is a relatively small change that could make a big improvement.

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I'm sure if you a) really want to and b) invest some research (a few days) you can come up with a kick ass interface which gives you both complexity and comfort. Obviously you need to feed it with enough content as well.

But i also wouldn't have minded an old skool interface at all.

http://img5.fotos-hochladen.net/uploads/ix2vft1ejo9.png

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I mentioned this earlier but perhaps some kind of `Looking like` item would help explain world better. Think of Bound Heart from Dishonored. It had a good function of highlighting runes and giving explanations. Though to be honest, playing Broken age and clicking everything gave me a lot of the feedback like going through a menu in Monkey Island... In fact it was easier.

Maybe getting some kind of permanent item that serves to highlight stuff AND give explanations of how you feel about certain people/stuff.

Optionally you could just make long presses or something count as look at.

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I think "The Longest Journey" perfected the interface. The pointer was still context sensitive, so if the action is just "Look" all you have to do is click and you get April's comment about what she's looking at. But, if the object had other actions, like speak or use, it would present an icon that you right click, immediately revealing an eye (look), a mouth (speak), and a hand (use). This same interface was used to interact with items as well and using the right action on the right item could be part of the puzzle.

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Missing the 'look at-option' as well, for all the reasons mentioned by Kringel. I'm afraid though it will be too much work to change that.

And yes, trying different items on each other and on people bring a lot of hidden jokes to light. I examined the inhibitor-thing while I was still standing next to Marek, and to my surprise got a funny little dialogue (probably it also works when you're somewhere else since Marek can hear what Shay says).

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Missing the 'look at-option' as well, for all the reasons mentioned by Kringel. I'm afraid though it will be too much work to change that.

And yes, trying different items on each other and on people bring a lot of hidden jokes to light. I examined the inhibitor-thing while I was still standing next to Marek, and to my surprise got a funny little dialogue (probably it also works when you're somewhere else since Marek can hear what Shay says).

I really think it would be surprisingly little work for a couple of reasons that I mentioned before but will elaborate on here.

1) There already essentially is a look at verb for in-inventory items, which is made clearer by the new interface icon.

2) For a lot of the stuff in the world, look dialogue is already recorded - pretty much anything that you can click on in the game that you don't pick up, use or talk to has a 'look' type response when you click on it.

So with 1 and 2 in mind, the only extra dialogue they'd have to write and record is 'look' responses for

a) Characters

b) Stuff in the world where the click response is to 'use' (e.g. doorways, ladders, other such junk - most of it actually isn't that interesting to look at but a few jokes could be inserted) or stuff like the controls in Marek's room where you'd want to differentiate between looking at and ATTEMPTING to use.

Since they'll be recording more dialogue anyway, it might not be too bad to add that to the list and re-insert it into Act I, and write all the look dialogue for Act 2.

As for the interface, I think there is an easy potential solution - just have the look icon as an icon in the inventory popup, next to the character portrait, and have it work like any other inventory item. Maybe also make it able to bind to a key or mouse button, for those who want ready access to it. Maybe also have the cursor change to the 'look' icon by default if the interaction is going to be a look response, so the player doesn't waste time.

It's not a trivial amount of work, but I suspect it might be a good value for money change.

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Yep. It's actually my one major gripe with the game, much more than the puzzles, which I've since softened on. "Looking at" things has provided me with some of my favourite comedic moments in adventure games, a recent one that comes to mind is Wilbur in the Book of Unwritten Tales where you keep "looking at" a chair many times over and he keeps telling you "it's a chair", "it's still a chair" et al, until finally he gets fed up and tells you "alright, it's not a chair. It's an elephant. A great, big white elephant." (Wilbur also has one of the most adorable accents ever, if people are still wondering why I liked that bit so much)

Moments like that I like, and there were some in this game too, with objects that you could ONLY look at, but there could have been SO MUCH more with the characters, and the interactable objects, and even some of the more interesting background items that are useless but would be great to just get a comment about.

I dunno...Many have complained that the simple puzzles have ruined the whole "old-school adventure game" factor for them, but I think having a "look at" button would have gone a long way to the game feeling MORE like an old-school game, even with the simpler puzzles.

That said, it's the perfect interface for anyone who has never- or hasn't in a long while- played an adventure game outside of Telltale. So I guess Double Fine made their choice in that regard.

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Exploring a room and being able to look a stuff is part of the point & click adventure DNA.

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As I mentioned above, I do agree that it'd be nice to have a 'look' (and potentially easier to add-in than it sounds)

However, I do think it's important not to exaggerate the problem.

I would say most items in the game you can already look at. Everything you can pick up, everything in the environment that is scenery or not directly usable, and even a lot of non-scenery objects (like the blow up doll after you put it into the bed). Windows, stuff on walls, loads of scenery and unusable objects, signs, inventory items, all of these things have 'look' style descriptions.

What's left are: Characters (who you'll talk to), objects that you want to use/pick up but are being prevented from for some reason (the sap on the ground, the perfume bottle, the computers in Marek's command room, the art piece on Curtis' wall and so on), and doors/ladders/exits to other areas.

It would be really lovely to have look descriptions for those too, and I'd kind of like an on-screen indicator or when you are 'looking' rather than interacting, when you hover over something. But there's less missing here than it initially appears.

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As soon as you know what you would like to support, such as general purpose use and look at (with this comment character where you explicitly need to select an object to get some further personal insight) functionality, it's not a big deal coming up with a great interface for it as well. And the more items you have, the more variety and natural feeling this can add to the game, you shouldn't flood the player with items though, just a little bit more carefully selected ones.

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I too miss the look at out. For PC it could be left click use / right click look at.

For tablet there could be a button in bottom right for "look at" - and of course as it is now, the whole game could be played without NEEDING that button. But totally agree that it's part of the experience.

Also wish there were more objects to look at. I was surprised even from the opening that I couldn't look at pictures on the wall in Vella's house, etc.

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For tablet there could be a button in bottom right for "look at" - and of course as it is now, the whole game could be played without NEEDING that button. But totally agree that it's part of the experience.

Kaptain Brawe works with a 1-click interface, where if you click an object, you can select "use" or "look at" with a 2nd click. Similar to the verb coin, but instead of hold->release it's click->click, which should work quite well on touchscreens.

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Syberia also has a 1 click interfac where click 1 is look/select and click 2 is interact.

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The game DESPERATELY needs at least a Look verb.

I'm pretty sure they decided on one-click autointeraction in order to make the game palatable to tablet users. I can think of other solutions, so I don't know why they decided on the shallow route.

It barely feels like an adventure game if the entirety of your interaction is CLICK->GAME TELLS YOU WHAT YOU DO.

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