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Greg Rice

Episode 16: This Time it's Just for Love

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I didn't think that episode was so sad. It made its numbers, which is the most one can expect, even if it's not the most one could hope for.

And everything about act 2 production sounds like it's going great, I got the impression they're taking the task of improving the puzzles in episode 2 seriously, and it's all made me excited to play act 2 hopefully at the end of the year. Good stuff.

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It was completely disheartening to watch the subdued atmosphere taking centre stage as the anticlimactic aftermath of ACT 1's dust settled.

We all want people to love the game and see you love making it.

Hugs to you all. Hugs and cookies and good times. And puppies.

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Honestly speaking, Broken Age was one of the first adventure games I really truly liked. I came in contact with a couple in my childhood, but none really left any impressions. Thanks to Broken Age I started being really interested in the genre. Since I've played Telltale games (just finished The Wolf Among Us!), Machinarium, Botanicula, Kentucky Route 0, and many many more to come for sure.

So yes, much much love for Double Fine and everyone on Team Red for opening the flood gate. As sobering as the sales might seem, the product itself is truly magical, and I hope you're well aware of that at the very least :D

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aww, you guys seem a bit down, i think once it is finished a lot of people that didn't buy before will want the finished product, plus it will be the better time for the real sales push

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What a GREAT episode. Sad as everyone is saying, yes, but then again no story is without it's sad moments. I love the game, I really wish you all could get more sales out of this fantastic thing, but I'm really hopeful that a lot of buzz around Act 2 (and NOT doing an early backer release....darn reviewers) mixed in with solid reviews (because then reviewers will have to write new reviews for the full 8-10 hour game that includes increased difficulty, so it'll be a more balanced play experience) will definitely shoot some sales up.

ALSO, as a bunch of others are saying, you should ABSOLUTELY mobilize us, your fan base! We backed you, meaning we believe in you, so when Act 2 comes out you should not focus on selling *us* the game, but instead focus on getting us to spread the word! Maybe even do a contest for most creative ways of getting the game out, I dunno. Make a spectacle of Act 2 coming out, let this release be the perfect smooth release that Act 1 definitely didn't get

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Really depressing episode. *sigh*

I hope the Reds team won't run out of creative steam and/or will to finish this properly (read: AMAZINGLY).

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The series seems to be following 2PP standard of alternating unreasonable optimism episodes with doom episodes. So next episode we will get a happy story. Right? Riiiigggghhhht? Guys?

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I didn't think that episode was so sad. It made its numbers, which is the most one can expect, even if it's not the most one could hope for.

And everything about act 2 production sounds like it's going great, I got the impression they're taking the task of improving the puzzles in episode 2 seriously, and it's all made me excited to play act 2 hopefully at the end of the year. Good stuff.

Yeah, I didn't get the depressing feeling everyone else seems to be getting from this at all. I feel like I watched a completely different video than everyone else seems to have.

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Seeing Tim using the knit plushies to act out complaining customers brought this scene to mind:

LMxTFqPET5I

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things i heard:

a) oh is it out?

b) what game? (oh THAT game!)

c) i will buy it after act 2

so. massive campaign it has to be.

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I didn't think that episode was so sad. It made its numbers, which is the most one can expect, even if it's not the most one could hope for.

And everything about act 2 production sounds like it's going great, I got the impression they're taking the task of improving the puzzles in episode 2 seriously, and it's all made me excited to play act 2 hopefully at the end of the year. Good stuff.

Yeah, I didn't get the depressing feeling everyone else seems to be getting from this at all. I feel like I watched a completely different video than everyone else seems to have.

Interesting to hear that some people have such different responses. This episode actually made me a little sad as well. I think it has to do with the high hopes on both the PC and iPad release, that were crushed one by one, although sales still met their more conservative estimates. In addition to that, the team appeared to be a little down because of that as well, but maybe that also was a result of the stark contrast of this episode with the excitement and buzz in some of the previous ones.

Regarding marketing, I've said it before, but I feel they still haven't capitalised on the public release of the documentary. With its honest depiction of the development of the game, I think it has the potential to become a bit of a marketing machine for Broken Age as well. My impression is that almost nobody seems to know that it is for sale, even among us backers. They didn't issue a press release and - probably as a result of that - there weren't any announcements and reviews of it in the press either. Maybe 2PP wants to wait until all the episodes have been released, but I really do think the documentary deserves a wider audience.

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While discussing difficulty, Tim mentioned that people were frustrated during playtesting when they couldn't get out of the train. I understand why playtesting is immensely helpful when designing games, but I think it's important to consider the possibility that adventure games might be a bit of a special case, where you don't want to remove all of the frustrating aspects. When I think back to the adventure games I've played, the best memories involve puzzles that:

- Seemed incredibly frustrating and confusing at first

- But eventually had a solution that seemed logical in hindsight

Those were the ones that made me feel super smart and good about myself. The fact that the puzzles seemed frustrating and confusing communicated to me that I was working on a difficult puzzle. The fact that they had a logical solution that I could eventually figure out communicated to me that I was smart, because I had been able to solve a difficult puzzle by applying logical thinking.

In other words, the best moments I've had playing adventure games involved being frustrated at first. Playtesting the games and removing all of these frustrating moments deprives the gamer of this experience.

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While discussing difficulty, Tim mentioned that people were frustrated during playtesting when they couldn't get out of the train. I understand why playtesting is immensely helpful when designing games, but I think it's important to consider the possibility that adventure games might be a bit of a special case, where you don't want to remove all of the frustrating aspects. When I think back to the adventure games I've played, the best memories involve puzzles that:

- Seemed incredibly frustrating and confusing at first

- But eventually had a solution that seemed logical in hindsight

Those were the ones that made me feel super smart and good about myself. The fact that the puzzles seemed frustrating and confusing communicated to me that I was working on a difficult puzzle. The fact that they had a logical solution that I could eventually figure out communicated to me that I was smart, because I had been able to solve a difficult puzzle by applying logical thinking.

In other words, the best moments I've had playing adventure games involved being frustrated at first. Playtesting the games and removing all of these frustrating moments deprives the gamer of this experience.

I think the issue is more that it's just really difficult to balance for difficulty in adventure games. I think there was another episode earlier on where Tim was talking about that exact part, and he says something like that he didn't want to remove frustration from that section because that was sort of the point, but he also didn't want it to become a bad sort of frustration.

And that is a problem with all adventure game puzzles. They're not difficult in the same way as, say a platform game, where you're trying to complete a tricky sequence of jumps and you're failing but each time you're getting a little better at the controls until finally you overcome the challenge. The difficulty curve of a puzzle isn't really a curve, but more of an intuitive leap 'Ah! I see what I have to do.'

The problem with intuitive leaps is that they're notoriously hard to predict when they will happen from one person to the next. So while sometimes there are those notorious puzzles that EVERYone seems to get stuck on, but largely speaking everyone gets stuck in different places. A puzzle that takes me 30 minutes to work out, the next person might see the solution for instantly. So that makes it really difficult to figure out whether puzzles are too easy, too hard or what.

So the approach in Broken Age was to do quite a lot of testing because they wanted to remove the MOST frustrating layer of puzzles from this game, the one that nobody gets because it's just a plain poorly-thought-out puzzle. I don't think there's anything wrong with trying for that, but I think what happened as a result is that they overcompensated a bit - you can tell they overcompensated because, for example, there are a lot of dialogue hints in the game, for example, that often gave a puzzle away before we even knew it was a puzzle.

It's understandable that they overcompensated because usually the thing with making games is that you completely underestimate the difficulty. Beccause you're an expert in your own game, what seems like a simple thing to you could feel really crushingly hard to someone that didn't make it, so that's another way that it's hard to get right. So the tendency is to be a bit cautious with difficulty.

The important thing is that they seem to realise that they overcompensated and seem to be taking seriously their options to improve this. The tricky part will be to improve the difficulty in the next part without it just being a really jarring upswing. I'd like the first puzzle to be more difficult than anything in Act 1, but just a little and then the next one to be a bit trickier than that, and so on. Otherwise I don't think the game will flow well for a newcomer, from start to finish.

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Yeeee, updates and video-goodies! Great to get a sneak peek again of what's going on at DF-HQ. :)

You guys are awesome! Keep up the good work, and don't work too hard!

This. For various reasons I think it would be good if part 2 makes its release at the end of this year, but I'm also kind of concerned the pressure will be too high. Don't lose the fun! There's still gotta be some fun in working on part 2, right?

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Yeeee, updates and video-goodies! Great to get a sneak peek again of what's going on at DF-HQ. :)
You guys are awesome! Keep up the good work, and don't work too hard!

This. For various reasons I think it would be good if part 2 makes its release at the end of this year, but I'm also kind of concerned the pressure will be too high. Don't lose the fun! There's still gotta be some fun in working on part 2, right?

I think progress must be going quite well from the sound of the text update. They're almost done with fully playable Shay's Act 2, which means work will get passed onto animators, which takes a while, obviously, but while that's happening they can be workin gon Vella's bit. If that takes them about the same amount of time them they will probably get into the polishing-up phase of the game by october, and that feels like a comfortable amount of time to aim for a December release, still.

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Really liked Justin's story! Could totally relate to his childhood method of obtaining games, and the part about "growing up" and dumping his prized game collection was soul-crushing!

As an aside, it seems a requirement that everyone at Double Fine wear really trendy slacker clothes - typically with a sweater. I live in Toronto and haven't seen as many sweaters - is San Francisco that cold or does Tim just like to crank the A/C? :)

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this episode makes me really sad, because you all sound disappointed about the sales :/

I remember a thing that Joss Whedon once said: "I prefer to do great stuff, that some people REALLY love and care about to mediocre stuff, that many people consume but never think of it again".. rest assured, that there are a bunch (many ;) ) people who really love what you do! :)

+1

thanks for the nice words!

I am really thankful for stuff like broken age and grim fandango! It makes the world and ur culture so much more richer. <3

It inspires people.

And you got really great stuff going on in your studio! You really can be proud of yourself and with your products.

And even as i didn't backed massive challice so far, i defenetly gonne buy it - when i comes out or when i got the time for it! I am allready watching every Teamstream available as i even love wachting someone else playing it. Just for the eyecandy. Before the Cave i didn't even know about double fine. After the Cave i wasn't especially a fanboy of double fine. But since Broken Age and all your creativity that is so pretty much visible now on the net + projects like massive challice and stuff, you guys are the studio i love most coming back to your front page and see whats going on!

So now you got a fanboy more ^^

And there is not even a question if i gonne buy grim fandango, i am gonne be the first in line ^^

And act one is getting better and better the more often i play it ^^ what's quite funny cause i thought it was much too short ... but now i realice it's a awesome game to play two or three or more times. And i guess it's going to be a game you would love playing after a while all over again. Maybe even two times again. ^^

Like in 10 years i am going to be super exited cause i had the idea playing broken age again like i am now totally exited about grim - again. ^^

Awesome stuff ^^

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Here's the problem with your game. There aren't nearly enough exploding squirrels. In fact, there are possibly none exploding squirrels. For a moment, I felt like there might have been a squirrel exploded off camera, but I can't be sure. I'm giving you guys the benefit of the doubt, and assuming that this is the case.

Fix it.

Unacceptable.

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The joy you feel when an episode is uploaded!

...then the dread of what will probably be a 2 month wait...

Anyways I hope Broken Age builds up sales over the long term via word of mouth.

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Split Act 2 into 2 parts!!

Act 2 part 1

and

Act 2 part 2

Woo!

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It's a tricky project, and lot's of different things just didn't click for it saleswise, but it's still a beautiful and entertaining game that the team should feel very proud of. I'm a $100 backer, and I'm very very satisfied so far.

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Broken Age is a fantastic game (no tenses here) and although I can understand how some, of my generation of Goblins, Monkey Island or even further still with Police Quest might find the puzzles too easy it is a brilliant entry to get a new generation of young adults into adventure games. In a world where gaming has become more about instant gratification, the chance to get lost in a puzzle and have it haunt you until you solve it is but a memory, kept for the purposes of nostalgia.

Saying that however, I do believe Act 2 needs to be harder. Most games have a feeling of progression, the further you get in, the harder the challenges are to over come, which makes the completion of the game that more rewarding. So, I feel, if there ever was any reservation about increasing the complexity of the games difficulty it would be that Act 2 allows those new-comers to feel the bliss of success when overcoming mental obstacles.

Yes, alas, the internet does ruin puzzle games now with thousands of people all coming together to share information they have gathered, but it is for that reason it is good. It creates a community, people dedicated and when people learn about this community trying to solve these puzzles it makes others want to get involved too.

Just my two cents on the matter. I'm glad for its success, but I would of liked it to be more so, just to secure a bright adventure game future.

Now... as for Grim Fandango, (the game that I was perhaps more intimate with than my girlfriend at the time) I think a remaster is Grim Fantastic. It is something I have always wanted and I am happy that Disney were amicable about you having the rights to do it. Personally, I'm a little pissed off for you guys though considering it was your 'baby'. Its almost like you were an young single parent who had your child put into care, then when the foster family broke apart you as the biological parent (who now, 15 years later are a well respected adult) doesn't get to fight for custody, instead the child goes to another foster family and now you get visitor rights.

Ah, perhaps I'm thinking about this all too deeply. Regardless, I am happy and hopefully Grim Fandango bring in your clutches, no matter the method will rekindle all those feelings felt at its conception.

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Split Act 2 into 2 parts!!

Act 2 part 1

and

Act 2 part 2

Woo!

Just like Twilight!!!

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Tim, I have a solution to make act 2 financially more successful AND please the hardcore fans: In-game puzzle purchases! if someone wants a higher difficulty he can buy additional harder puzzles!

THIS! :cheese:

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Wow, that was quite the episode. I'm so glad that we get to see this stuff, the documentary is awesome. Thanks guys. That said, it was a sad episode too. Everyone that's worked on Broken Age, thank you. I loved the game and I've loved being a part of it's creation. Broken Age blew me away with it's story and art; it was everything I wanted when I pledged my money. I can't wait for part 2, I know it's going to blow me away.

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Regarding marketing, I've said it before, but I feel they still haven't capitalised on the public release of the documentary. With its honest depiction of the development of the game, I think it has the potential to become a bit of a marketing machine for Broken Age as well.

Agreed. I love the documentary, but how much edited footage do they have now -- 12 hours? Something like that maybe? Would be so hard to edit it down further for a feature-length film like Indie Game Movie (imagine all the cool stuff they're going to have to cut), but they really should. I'd buy it, despite already watching every episode that's posted.

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I'm getting a "because of its privacy settings, this video cannot be played here" message.

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The entire game, as in its whole raft of rooms, needs to be heavily utilised by the puzzle structure. Get the player backtracking. We don't mind, honest. If I have to go back to Shay's bedroom to solve a puzzle in Vella's house, so be it.

I agree on backtracking: it makes the game a lot more difficult but that increases how brilliant you feel afterwards for figuring it out. Day of the Tentacle was backtracking on top of backtracking with a little meta-backtracking thrown in for fun.

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