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Greg Rice

Episode 16: This Time it's Just for Love

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Working in the games industry myself, I love getting the behind the scenes look of an other (beit much bigger) studio, but everytime I look into this forum I'm heartbroken.

Double Fine is so amazingly open and transparent with this project. And as a backer I already got more than my money's worth considering Act 1 and the ongoing documentary.

And then there's all this negativity. Which I frankly don't get. Even if there was a way to make a good (or even decent) game by throwing all game design advances of the last 10 years out of the window and "just make the puzzles harder", I feel it could not compete with the nostalgia that the most vocal critics have for the "good old times".

Anyway I wanted to thank Tim and everyone at DF for what they accomplished so far with this project and cheer them on. You are an inspiring example for this industry with your openness, access and community management. Please don't forget that, even when times aren't very kichstarter-party-like right now.

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3. Wife loses knife. (This knife is never seen again).

This bugged me a lot, now that you mention it. My classic adventure game sense made me keep thinking the lost knife would later become important. It didn't.

Maybe in part 2! :D It could have landed ANYWHERE!

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And then there's all this negativity. Which I frankly don't get.

Maybe some people get their jollies from posting negativity, but personally I am trying to present constructive criticism, and I don't see what's not to get about that.

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I can't wait for ten years from now when the current ideas about "advances in game design" are laughed at with fond disapproval.

We're not talking about building a faster computer here. That's an advance.

We're talking about current trendy ideas about how to make the most profitable game and treating "fun design" like an engineering project.

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And then there's all this negativity. Which I frankly don't get.

Maybe some people get their jollies from posting negativity, but personally I am trying to present constructive criticism, and I don't see what's not to get about that.

I totally agree... this is an open forum and not just sycophant forum, pandering to Double Fine about how wonderful they are. I think Doublefine created a beautiful game full of care and love. But I also feel Act One was fundametely flawed through its hand holding single difficulty level and streamlined interactive objects. I am hopeful however that Double Fine has listened to that constructive criticisms raised on act one and will go a long way to remeding those issues with Act two.

As mentioned I also feel for future Double Fine adventure games I would much rather see less polish on the animation and voice talent because I suspect that was a major factor is such a streamlined game, because every item and action must be incredibly resource intensive to produce. Also I think this Act One sadly proves that there isnt the market to sustain such a team dedicated to this game, and instead a small team, less graphics and Tim at his comedic best is all that is needed to create a wonderful adventure game, and one that should hopefully one that would be much more profitable thanks to the smaller team.

One thing Act One did show me however, for creating wonderful characters, worlds and witty dialogue there is no one better that Tim Schaefer at producing such things.

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3. Wife loses knife. (This knife is never seen again).

This bugged me a lot, now that you mention it. My classic adventure game sense made me keep thinking the lost knife would later become important. It didn't.

Maybe in part 2! :D It could have landed ANYWHERE!

In both Shay's and Vella's act, a knife disappears.

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3. Wife loses knife. (This knife is never seen again).

This bugged me a lot, now that you mention it. My classic adventure game sense made me keep thinking the lost knife would later become important. It didn't.

Maybe in part 2! :D It could have landed ANYWHERE!

In both Shay's and Vella's act, a knife disappears.

I think it's safe to say it all leads up to the return of The Butcher as a final boss.

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3. Wife loses knife. (This knife is never seen again).

This bugged me a lot, now that you mention it. My classic adventure game sense made me keep thinking the lost knife would later become important. It didn't.

Maybe in part 2! :D It could have landed ANYWHERE!

In both Shay's and Vella's act, a knife disappears.

I think it's safe to say it all leads up to the return of The Butcher as a final boss.

If I were tim I'd have them both land in the same place, (the knife could have fallen out of the ship) and have the space knife be trying to initiate awkward conversation with the other.

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Gee, so, uh, getting back to the video itself... So I noticed 2PP starting mic-ing themselves better. Good job!

But on the subject of the audio, I don't know if someone mentioned this earlier, but didn't the timing seemed to be off? I've watched this on 2 different computers and after just a few minutes the voices no longer match the mouth movements.

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Working in the games industry myself, I love getting the behind the scenes look of an other (beit much bigger) studio, but everytime I look into this forum I'm heartbroken.

Double Fine is so amazingly open and transparent with this project. And as a backer I already got more than my money's worth considering Act 1 and the ongoing documentary.

And then there's all this negativity. Which I frankly don't get. Even if there was a way to make a good (or even decent) game by throwing all game design advances of the last 10 years out of the window and "just make the puzzles harder", I feel it could not compete with the nostalgia that the most vocal critics have for the "good old times".

Anyway I wanted to thank Tim and everyone at DF for what they accomplished so far with this project and cheer them on. You are an inspiring example for this industry with your openness, access and community management. Please don't forget that, even when times aren't very kichstarter-party-like right now.

+1

I fully agree - but you of all guys could make a little difference by talking more about it in your podcast ;)

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3. Wife loses knife. (This knife is never seen again).

This bugged me a lot, now that you mention it. My classic adventure game sense made me keep thinking the lost knife would later become important. It didn't.

Maybe in part 2! :D It could have landed ANYWHERE!

In both Shay's and Vella's act, a knife disappears.

I think it's safe to say it all leads up to the return of The Butcher as a final boss.

If I were tim I'd have them both land in the same place, (the knife could have fallen out of the ship) and have the space knife be trying to initiate awkward conversation with the other.

In Act 2 we discover that the knives are actually the protagonists. It is a story of forbidden love between two star-crossed blades, cruelly separated by misfortunes of birth!

I wrote a big paragraph about how young void cleaver could turn the head of ceremonial blade (with a BLOOD GROOVE), but then I remembered that it was actually the crappy shoe-knife that got dropped. Bah!

ps, it's not a blood groove

:)

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Gee, so, uh, getting back to the video itself... So I noticed 2PP starting mic-ing themselves better. Good job!

But on the subject of the audio, I don't know if someone mentioned this earlier, but didn't the timing seemed to be off? I've watched this on 2 different computers and after just a few minutes the voices no longer match the mouth movements.

Which version did you watch? I didn't notice any such issues with the Vimeo version, so possibly the other?

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Plus, at some point I think all of the backer videos should go public, they are a treasure on their own.

I agree 100%.

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Video won't play because of its privacy settings. Anyone else have this problem? I've never had trouble seeing these videos before...

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Video won't play because of its privacy settings. Anyone else have this problem? I've never had trouble seeing these videos before...

Did you try the link at the bottom of the video?

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Neither player is working for me in Chrome (Version 35.0.1916.153 m). Firefox is happy. I'm just kinda disappointed but "meh..."

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Plus, at some point I think all of the backer videos should go public, they are a treasure on their own.

I agree 100%.

They are the best thing in the history of forever. I backed AF2014 for $$$, just to send the signal that anything with 2PP documentary will get my money.

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Thanks for the episodes! I just purchased a Broken Age and Big Leg T-shirt. Yes.

Smiles

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Great video. I hope the iPad version sells more, though DF should bear in mind that there are some people in all platforms who are waiting for the full game before starting to play it. If I wasn't a backer I would do the same because I prefer to have the full product than waiting several months for the next part (especially after such a cliffhanger :) ).

I hope I misunderstood but I noticed some bitterness from the team due to some harsh reviews. Guys, the reason hardcore fans are called like this is because they are hardcore. If they like the product they will defend it to their last breath and if they don't like it they will curse it for the rest of their lives. After choosing to go multi-platform it was obvious that some things had to be simplified both due to the different technicalities of each platform and because different platforms have different audiences. I loved the game but it is not an old-school adventure game. Did you really not expect some hardcore fans to go berserk?

I am glad though because it seems that the team did listen to the backers and took the well intended criticism seriously.

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I dont know if anyone pointed this out already, but I think I know what is the problem(s) with the train puzzle:

1. There is a timing/reflex element to it, I know it isn't hard but the player is in a relaxed slow mode playing state and suddenly he/she has to come up with a timed response. I know adventure games had timed puzzles in the past, sometimes, but they were always subject to controversy since most think reflexes shouldn't be part of adventure games. Plus, some of those puzzles were cmopletely evident in their solution and the only obstacle was making it happen (e.g. fighting in Indiana Jones games).

2. There is an aditional degree of frustration when you have to do something all over again. It is not the same as being stuck at a given point. And when something starts all over again it is more difficult to focus. Some are ok with being stuck in time but are not ok with doing things all over again. Plus the situation is deliberately designed as frustrating because it is a repetitive cycle while being stuck at a given point might frustrate but it ain't something deliberately designed to frustrate. When stuck in time there is "infinite" time to contemplate and think while in this case you have to get it at a given moment or start all over again which is distracting.

3. Lastly, if you dont pay close attention to the line of dialog that says that the mountain can be told to lower the bridge or raise the bridge it is very, very hard to solve because of a simple fact: the mountain is sleeping and though yelling at someone to wake them up seems more than reasonable, yelling or saying a word that would render them back to sleep seems unreasonable/ counter intuitive to me. Had the mountain been awake and waiting for instrucctions to lower or raise the bridge while being awake it would have been a little bit more easy to solve. Had the mountain said something like "ready to lower or raise the bridge at your command" it would be clearer. And it also doesn't help that the solution means doing something contrary to human nature's intinct and gaming insting which is not saving the character from falling. We spent decades trying to avoid that in games.

For all this reasons this puzzle though quite easy might be difficult to see for many people and difficult to tolerate. Only when a puzzle is both intolerable and difficult is it bad for a game or a particular gamers experience. Conclusion: sometimes there is a problem with the design of a puzzle NOT with the difficulty level.

My two cents.

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I dont know if anyone pointed this out already, but I think I know what is the problem(s) with the train puzzle:

1. There is a timing/reflex element to it, I know it isn't hard but the player is in a relaxed slow mode playing state and suddenly he/she has to come up with a timed response. I know adventure games had timed puzzles in the past, sometimes, but they were always subject to controversy since most think reflexes shouldn't be part of adventure games. Plus, some of those puzzles were cmopletely evident in their solution and the only obstacle was making it happen (e.g. fighting in Indiana Jones games).

2. There is an aditional degree of frustration when you have to do something all over again. It is not the same as being stuck at a given point. And when something starts all over again it is more difficult to focus. Some are ok with being stuck in time but are not ok with doing things all over again. Plus the situation is deliberately designed as frustrating because it is a repetitive cycle while being stuck at a given point might frustrate but it ain't something deliberately designed to frustrate. When stuck in time there is "infinite" time to contemplate and think while in this case you have to get it at a given moment or start all over again which is distracting.

3. Lastly, if you dont pay close attention to the line of dialog that says that the mountain can be told to lower the bridge or raise the bridge it is very, very hard to solve because of a simple fact: the mountain is sleeping and though yelling at someone to wake them up seems more than reasonable, yelling or saying a word that would render them back to sleep seems unreasonable/ counter intuitive to me. Had the mountain been awake and waiting for instrucctions to lower or raise the bridge while being awake it would have been a little bit more easy to solve. Had the mountain said something like "ready to lower or raise the bridge at your command" it would be clearer. And it also doesn't help that the solution means doing something contrary to human nature's intinct and gaming insting which is not saving the character from falling. We spent decades trying to avoid that in games.

For all this reasons this puzzle though quite easy might be difficult to see for many people and difficult to tolerate. Only when a puzzle is both intolerable and difficult is it bad for a game or a particular gamers experience. Conclusion: sometimes there is a problem with the design of a puzzle NOT with the difficulty level.

My two cents.

With regard to 1 and 3, there's another clue that comes in to hint to the player that they're supposed to break the routine at that precise point: once you lower the bridge, one of the yarn pals sometimes says something like 'Okay, now DON'T DO ANYTHING ELSE'

With regard to 2, I think the game does a reasonably good job of cutting out a lot of frustration by a) removing missions when there's nothing left to do on them and b) making the loop of particularly the train mission shorter by cutting out the whole bit before you reach the drop.

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I did not remember those details, thanks.

I did not have much of a problem with it, so I reconstructed the puzzle with the bits I remembered... If it is as you say, people who got frustrated with it (one person was mentioned to quit because of that) are really not built for Adventure Games...

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I finally got around to watching this episode. Another great show. As downbeat as many seem to think it is, this one feels fairly positive to me - stuff is getting made and nobody's going bankrupt \o/

Did the figures at the end include Kickstarter Backers?

Also, go Bent! :D

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Not sure if this is where I should ask buuuuuuut...

Will there be more of a run down of DoubleFine's process what you used and why and when (First we find money, then we find an idea,then we make a game engine.. ,.. , .. ,profit ), I understand that the engine is made in-house and I can gather a lot of your process if I watch all the episodes and take notes of course but a more compact run down would be interesting unless someone feels that would be oversharing. (Or maybe I'm the only one who wants this.)

edit; Something concrete I was wondering, I see you use After Effects to animate, but does this mean that the game is full of videos or is it rendered in game using some metadata you can extract from a AfterEffects project file?

I've been programming a game in unity while listening to game soundtracks, heavy metal and various electronic genres for about a year but now I watch these to get in the right headspace. (.. its just a nameless casual game at the moment, sooo no competition here is what I'm trying to say.)

PS: If this was the wrong place to ask I really don't know where that leaves us.

Edit:

Hadn't watched the episode yet when I posted (had to start and finish the game first) so Finished the game right after and watched the episode just now.

Why does it have such a somber tone? Didn't the game sell really well for a Part one of two game? I think sales will go better with part 2 same reason why people binge watch seasons of TV shows now instead of the old one taste per week model.

I really like the trees yelling bloody murder and the hipster lumberjack they remind me the most of the games of old. (Monkey Island 3 being my favorite of all time.) Random trees around the world could be the Murry character berating and belittling you as you travel through the world.

People always talk about the point-and-click aspect and the puzzles but the humor and characters where the most important to me. Like in Day of the tentacle and Monkey Island 3 weirdos with something to prove and nothing to prove it with until they find stuff and do puzzles.

/Babbling

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jim, the game is flat 3D, with layers facing the camera. One of the older episodes showed this really well. Characters and such are assembled Photoshop pieces animated with bones.

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jim, the game is flat 3D, with layers facing the camera. One of the older episodes showed this really well. Characters and such are assembled Photoshop pieces animated with bones.

I remember that, I just wanted a kind of break down of their process and making animations in After Effects is a thing I didn't get. Kind of like South Park episodes are being animated in Maya(they have said its for shadow and texture effects but come on).

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We don't use After Effects for characters -- I used it briefly as a quick previz tool only.

There are several posts about our character process, as well as some technical posts by Oliver about why we went with a skeletal animation system vs. "rendered sprites".

Here are a few links to get your started:

http://www.doublefine.com/forums/viewthread/7542

http://www.doublefine.com/forums/viewthread/7775

http://www.doublefine.com/forums/viewthread/9172

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