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So this totally needs to be a full game.

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There's only so much that the team can do in the prototype. But yeah, this is such a unique idea and a great vehicle for Penn's sense of weirdness and storytelling that it really needs to see a full game development to get the execution it deserves.

So anywhere, some stuff to consider about a full game:

-Over the course of the develpment, the real 'meat' of everything (aside from the main story arc) would be in basically Penn and the devs coming up with ideas for actions and reactions that the buds and player have.

-A full realization of whatever darker themes going on in the story. It's all a mystery in Penn's brain though from what he hinted at I can already anticipate some possibilities of trying to make sense of what's going on or how things might play out.

-Possibility of using the game as a means of experimenting with the Oculus Rift and head-tracking variants, as well as ways of possibly putting your hand (or some other device standing in for your hand) in the world to interact with the buds.

Dunno about you guys though, but whatever horrible puppetmastery thing that might be going on regarding the buds and why things are as they are for the player in this story, I would definitely like 'friendship wins out' if you pick and become good friends with a bud who is a genuinely good lil' fellow, or rather, if you try to build a genuinely good friendship with your picked bud. So no matter what horrible skinnerbox you were being basically manipulated into, your true friendship with the bud lets you override that. (And also, you can run into the danger of a false friendship where you and/or the bud wind up becoming victims of whatever horrible unspoken thing is *really* going on.)

I also can't help but wonder if there will be some kind of lord of the flies thing that happens - particularly if there's a ringleader bud who if you don't pick him will try to manipulate the other buds against you in an escalation of horrible action. Or if there might be say, a way of getting a 'good' outcome by picking to become buds with a bud that's an evil sociopath just so you can keep him under control to keep yourself and the other buds safe. The game can be a really interesting vehicle for exploring interesting story, character, and psychology like that.

Anyway, just wanted to share some thoughts. I'm going to go roll my katamari ball away for a little while now. ;)

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I would like a friendship ending too, but I don't know considering the pitch starts with a ski mask guy pulling you out of a trunk!

Everything they are doing sounds so complicated, and on top of that I get the sense this is the scenario video game writers talk about when they have to write hundreds and hundreds of lines but the average player sees a teeny percentage of it.

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A lot of what would happen with this game in a full thing is a mystery only Penn's brain can know - or rather, it's likely he has a general idea of where he wants to go with this and is trying to let it happen and experiment as he feels this out. That seems the best way IMO to work on something like this too, because it creates enough creative space for even the creator to be surprised with whatever comes out.

He did say that he has some specific things in mind that aren't getting revealed to us, and might not even be in the prototype - but would be in the full game. So this stuff will be shaping what we do so in the undertones of the prototype at least.

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I agree. I like that they aren't showing everything as they make it but will let the players find the secrets and the full games could have even more. Pen seems like a good fit with Double Fine.

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Yeah.

From what I see for this game, it might be like a bit of facade and a bit of Stanely Parable. As in, there is that interaction stuff going on like with facade, but there's also this fourth wall breaking awareness that things are somehow fake or that they might be some horrible skinnerbox you're trapped in. Friendship with a bud transcending those circumstances though can be what the game is ultimately about. I.E. So what if everything is fake? All that matters is that you care. :) (Easier said than done though!)

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(copying this from another thread I'm quite drunk):

I think that looking at chatbots was really the best way to go.

Seaman was awesome for it's time (in my top 5 dreamcast games behind shenmue I and II). But it's unrealistic. Seaman was a game designed to ask questions, really specific ones, with a sazzy character (and the amazing voice of seaman). Façade was a big BIG experiment on language in storytelling (I've played both long time ago).

Both had a linear principle:

-In case of seaman it was thought as a virtual pet, so you would only get questions after a couple of days (an interesting take on tamagochi).

-Façade from what I remember had like 3 or 4 predetermined scripts and they would also ask questions for the "finale".

It will be very difficult to do something in that scope in 2 weeks (crazy level stuff).

In seaman you had like 30 "sazzy" responses to pretty much anything (apart from some words like "sega" or sony). It can be done in this game.

The funny in façade is the same as doing bullshit in half life 2 "cutscenes". They get some words and even if the answers didn't match their facial expresion will just make things funny/awkward.

I think they should've focused on the "storydriven" mistery that was pitched instead of a "real language engine". The buds could just ask questions and kind of waiting for a response instead. There should be some fluff dialogue of course, but trying to make a game based on that is a little less crazy than Crawford's "people games" (and I love that guy, really he is/was just ahead), he was searching people on his reboot of siboot... etc.

This was the most "out of there" design, and I love that. But for the time being, I think they should focus on certain stuff, more question based (driving to the point of the narrative).

I think there is a threadline here that we will experience (in a narrative way, from Pen's pitch), so I think it will be OK.

TL;DR

The game should be a little more focused, doing fictionary chatbots with certain personality traits might not be as realisable:

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The story should be pretty low key and bubbling around in the background - the real meat should be the interaction between the player and the bud, obviously.

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Finally got to sit down with the prototype today. I definitely can see the possibilities based on the situation - if the game had facade-style interaction depth. I kept finding myself experimenting with responding to the buds with text lines and was surprised at how much I got into the spirit of the on-rails demo in doing so. I kept wanting to do things like invite the boom box guy along with us to play jams, or to tell off the buds when they were acting badly.

I was also happy to see the dark lord of the flies and svankmajer-ish surrealism that Penn's idea hinted at was on display. Penn is secretly a psychological horror genius.

For a full game, I'd love to be in a situation where you can work things out with the buds, and even build up a nice little bud-town together with them - but not without trouble from the more nasty buds.

The biggest feeling I got when playing this was like that I'd be transported inside of a claymation film. And one of 'those' claymation films that had a secretly dark and scary side to it. For example, the Will Vinton 'Adventures of Mark Twain' film that had several genuinely terrifying moments. Or several short films that start out whimsical but turn nightmare-inducing. It was a very scary territory to be in, because a lot of the rawness of witnessing those nightmarish moments in claymation as a kid came back, due to the vulnerability of being in a game.

So yeah, I hope Penn and DF team up to make a full version of this. I hope it's by turns scary and heartfelt.

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