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Greg Rice

Episode 17: A Deadline for Tim

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It may be "belaboured," but as long as Greg continues making anti-traditional pro-noninteractivity comments on the newest episodes of the documentary, he will continue to spur debate about whether that is Good or Evil.

Hope I didn't upset anybody there with my violent use of four-letter words.

As you said, I don't think we're really arguing here and thanks Suejak for being pretty civil about everything all things told, well except for the name calling. I definitely don't mean to keep bringing it up and hope that we can let this conversation rest for a bit. Remember, we don't choose what makes it's way into the documentary. I do stand by what I said though and believe that for every person who thought the game's puzzles weren't challenging enough, there was someone who got stuck or thought it was just right. It's just a balance we have to strike and one to be very deliberate and careful with. And ultimately, Tim is the one responsible for all the writing and design and is making the choices he thinks are right.

You also gotta remember that what you see in the documentary is a half hour glimpse into over 4 months worth of work. The rest of the time is mostly filled with a lot of really difficult, challenging, and stressful work. We put every effort possible into thinking about these kinds of issues and planning and executing on making the best game we can. Conversations about what people seemed to like and not like were very prevalent during Act 2 pre-production, which as you saw in episode 16 can really get you down. But being critical is super important to making the game better!

That said, now we have a plan and are executing on that, and we think it's one that will hopefully please folks who liked Act 1 and address the concerns others had. You can rest assured that after 9 months of reading through criticism we've definitely heard your points, and may in fact have thought of a few others that you haven't brought up. It's definitely exhausting to still read after all this time though, so I hope you can give us the benefit of the doubt here and provide a bit of encouragement and support as we work. Things are definitely hard enough making games on their own without having to constantly respond to scrutiny, and every minute we spend doing so is a minute that could have gone into making the game better. I hope you'll forgive us for starting to lose patience when we're working on as many projects as we currently are, things are just pretty stressful and time is tight.

And I DEFINITELY don't want to imply that the forums haven't been supportive. There has been a lot of really great conversation and activity in here that has gone miles in inspiring the team and informing the game. But it does feel like recently a lot of the conversation has been heated with strong debates and super critical analysis. That was super helpful when designing Act 2, but I'd say the time for it has come and gone. It's easy to be negative and overly critical and much harder to be optimistic and inspired. But that's what is necessary to make a great game and something I hope and trust you'll give us the space to do.

Greg, thanks for this thoughtful response. I know you are all busy and we (I) are just gnats out here.

I understand where you're coming from about the criticism and the desire for support. I certainly think Broken Age had a lot of strengths (art, writing, music), and I think I trust Tim's talent and instincts to guide the game back into being something that I personally want.

I think it's rather idealistic to expect your customers to collectively provide only support. However, I do respect and understand your desire for support. Since I do like you guys, I'll try to put off arguments about well-trod topics until the game finally comes out.

Looking forward to Act 2!

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To me all of that is HEALTHY debate... It's a discussion... I am sorry if Greg or others see that as a personal attack..but to me it isn't , just people debating, questioning. The worst thing that could happen is having a forum like Hitlers bunker, with everyone saying everything is marvellous and wonderful everything is, all the while with the walls crumbling around its ears.

Actually Drisk, you're the one who made the comment I found most offensive, claiming that just because I said something in an interview doesn't mean it's what I felt in my heart. I take that to mean you're calling me a liar, which I'd say is a personal attack on my character. Everyone I work with here at Double Fine speaks from their heart more than most anyone I've ever met. We care about the work we do deeply and put a huge amount of effort into everything we do. You can see how it would be discouraging to have that questioned.

Sorry Greg that wasn't my intention. I wasn't saying that you personally was lying, but in general terms that you cant always take everything said as complete verbatim evidence that it is truth.. peoples viewpoints and opinions change over time, that is all I meant. Anyway I apologise if I caused offence through my clumsy use of language.

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Feeling sad that the doc is coming to an end, I know it sounds silly, but I feel like I have come to know you guys and want to support you as if I knew you in real life!

Played Broken Age again recently and it was the first adventure game where you can sit back and relax and enjoy the journey and not put my brain through obtuse for the sake of obtuse puzzles.

Can't wait for act 2, then hopefully the sequel!

One thing that was missing from the new episode of the doc was the sales figures at the end. Have you guys stopped doing that? If so, can you at least say if the game has sold over the 200k mark?

Also is there any chance of the game coming to consoles other than Ouya?

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The lack of sales was just an oversight. We'll make sure to gather them again for the next one! And we'd love to bring the game to other consoles, but no news as of now.

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The lack of sales was just an oversight. We'll make sure to gather them again for the next one! And we'd love to bring the game to other consoles, but no news as of now.

Thanks Greg. ?

Double Fine is so awesome, and watching these docs makes me want to work there until they take me to that special farm in the country....

Broken Age is such a breath of fresh air and I hope DF is able to make more games in a similar vein.

Please don't let comments in this forum get to you, I bet all of these people on this forum would give their right leg and front teeth to be in your position at DF.

Cheers.

Ps. It seems you, Greg is the only person who hasn't had a sidequest.

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Man, this board is never boring haha! Thanks so much for the support, criticism, insights, love, and holding us to a higher level.

I have been buried in work with this game and I love it, but sometimes the only thing that gets me through the exhaustion is you, The Backers.

We really, really want this to be a game you enjoy and you have really, REALLY helped us get through the process.

Thank you. :)

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Ps. It seems you, Greg is the only person who hasn't had a sidequest.

I second that. I would love to see Greg 'My beard can beat up your beard' Rice's SideQuest. I suspect it is on the way... :)

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Just popping in Ray style to say I love you guys. I love the work that you do, but I love you DF people as well. So many game companies out there, but so few of them have that strong aura of heart around them. Nintendo and Double Fine. Those are the two.

You make my world a better place. Keep being rad. Cheers.

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Just popping in Ray style to say I love you guys. I love the work that you do, but I love you DF people as well. So many game companies out there, but so few of them have that strong aura of heart around them. Nintendo and Double Fine. Those are the two.

You make my world a better place. Keep being rad. Cheers.

That's how I feel!

I believe Nintendo and Double Fine are the only two companies I would save from the sinking ship. Ubisoft, unfortunately now, Sega,

(I would have included them in the Dreamcast days) Electronic Arts, they've all gone banal and forgettable. But when Nintendo and DF release a game, I make the effort.

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Ps. It seems you, Greg is the only person who hasn't had a sidequest.

I second that. I would love to see Greg 'My beard can beat up your beard' Rice's SideQuest. I suspect it is on the way... :)

Haha, I sure do have an interesting backstory! Gotta find time to sit down and do that interview!

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awww man, I got super excited too and came here to ask the same haha. the art is from plague soundscapes and they're a very fast pace/aggressive punk/noise band

http://criticalmassesmedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/plague-soundscapes.jpg

- awesome update nonetheless. I've been dying for some new information for the past couple of months. also just got an ipad and rebought the ipad version which is fantastic ;)

Never heard of them before, but kind of reminds me of radiation 4.

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Ps. It seems you, Greg is the only person who hasn't had a sidequest.

I second that. I would love to see Greg 'My beard can beat up your beard' Rice's SideQuest. I suspect it is on the way... :)

Haha, I sure do have an interesting backstory! Gotta find time to sit down and do that interview!

It can't be more interesting than Lee Petty working for the same company that made Bubsy the Friggin' Bobcat!

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Thrilled to hear there will be more complex puzzles and less linear play. Can't wait for episode 2. Thank you for listening to the backers, and as far as the people at PAX worried about difficulty... I played all the old adventure games as a young kid. Smart puzzles are good for the brain! In any case, glad to hear that old school adventure gamers and backers are being listened to. I'm sure it will be the perfect balance between sensical and challenging. It's not an adventure game if you don't get at least a little stuck! The whole reward are those moments where you finally get unstuck.

It's like solving a zen koan... Takes a alittle time but the point is the in between. It's sort of a meditative experience and a bit of a lost art in our fast paced FPS culture. Thanks Tim and DF!

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Uhm, just in case someone got this wrong, my thoughts weren't meant as a personal insult.

They are based on what i'v seen in the docu and the product i've received so far, nothing more, nothing less. I've been told that the product is awesome but half of the product as well as the release wasn't. This rather bland consumer experience made me more cautious when it comes to certain statements.

Btw. as a matter of course, as a pro, you should be able to deal with reasonable amount of critiques/different point of views/reflect/... if you can't then ...

We'll see how things will turn out with act 2 when it will be released. Showing me devs sitting together and telling each other how much more awesome act 2 will be puzzle related sounds nice (btw. it's still about great, not illogical ones) but i don't want to get excited for almost nothing again. I also remember how Greg once told us how full of content act 1 was and there was Schafer sitting in some room, having concerns about the game's difficulty ...

Anyway i'm prepared for an awesome act 2 but i also don't take it guaranteed as some natural consequence.

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Btw. as a matter of course, as a pro, you should be able to deal with reasonable amount of critiques/different point of views/reflect/... if you can't then ...

I think the entire DF Team has shown they are able to deal with even more than a reasonable amount of "of critiques/different point of views/reflect/". :-)

Smiles

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For those having trouble with videos: Privacy Badger was the culprit in my case. vimeo.com and www .vimeo.com need to be allowed (yellow) and video.vimeo.com unrestricted (green). I don't know what livepassdl.conviva.com is, I haven't noticed any downsides to blocking it.

Incognito mode allows you to watch the video since all extensions are deactivated by default.

Thanks a lot, that was it!

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@Smiles

Hmm, let's say there also exist industries where differentiating customers between extremes like "haters" and "those who understand" also allows some shades in between.

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Btw. as a matter of course, as a pro, you should be able to deal with reasonable amount of critiques/different point of views/reflect/... if you can't then ...

You, sir, are no gentleman. :)

Really, though, I think it's pretty sweet of Greg, I mean they do conduct themselves in a consistently professional (which is to say, civil) manner, and if he strikes you as possibly being over-sensitive on this topic (which I wouldn't say is entirely fair in any case) it's merely as a bi-product of his/DF's generally open and heartfelt attitude. It's not often you see a company staffed with so many people you'd be happy to hang out with.

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I disagree, i am but i am not stupid, shy nor a kid either. Therefore i prefer not to be treated this way.

Anyway it's not about me, it's about the project.

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I don't think Greg is trying to tell anyone that they can't criticize Broken Age. But there is a difference between these two statements:

1. I was disappointed in the puzzles in Broken Age. They were waaaay too easy and required very little actual thought or problem-solving.

2. Greg said the puzzles in Broken Age would be really great, but they weren't, so I don't trust what he says now.

#1 sounds like a criticism of Broken Age. #2 sounds like an assumption about Greg as a person.

Maybe, as it is obviously the case that some people enjoy Broken Age more than others, that Greg really did enjoy the puzzles and content of act one, which put him at a disagreement with those who enjoyed it less. If someone is just criticizing the game, there is no reason to suggest that a person who helped in its production is being disingenuous about how much he likes it.

I like to play classical guitar, and sometimes I take on a really challenging piece, and I am actually really super happy and proud of myself when I manage to play it somewhat well. And it wouldn't bother me if someone listened to a song that I was playing and said to me, "Well, you accidentally muted the strings several times and you have a problem with fret rattle and buzzing, so it could be better." I wouldn't care about that. But if someone said, "You told me you could play The Claw, and I believed you, and then you sucked at it. And there you were that whole time talking about how you were gonna play the Claw for me, and I trust you. Guess I know not to believe you NEXT time you tell me you can play something."

There's a little bit of a difference.

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DF Greg with several nice posts
Hi Awesome Backers! Just saying Hi! Eat your greens! Drink your milk! Stay in school! I gotta go.
Man, this board is never boring haha! Thanks so much for the support, criticism, insights, love, and holding us to a higher level.

I have been buried in work with this game and I love it, but sometimes the only thing that gets me through the exhaustion is you, The Backers.

We really, really want this to be a game you enjoy and you have really, REALLY helped us get through the process.

Thank you. :)

Always good to hear from the fine folks at Double Fine; thanks for saying hi. Your work on many projects (not just Broken Age) is an inspiration to me. I loved Broken Age Part I, look forward to Part II, and figure everyone can use encouragement now and again, so just wanted to say thanks for your dedication and hard work.

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Great job Double Fine. I know opinions vary, but I'm so excited to hear that Act II will be longer and more difficult!

Word. Word word word. Stop it with the "consumerising". Give us the dark edge of madness unleashed in videogame puzzle form! And an oracle who will give you clues if you ask for them.

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I think I'm confused by the overall message of the video, but I think it's really just a matter of not a long enough period of time to properly convey. So, Tim Schafer explains in the video that the puzzle complexity may be cut because of deadlines in the writing, and that they shouldn't do that this time because of the simplicity of Act 1. Greg comes in and says that people were pretty happy with Act 1, which to me sounds like Greg is trying to reason with Tim as to not pressure Tim on his deadline (and not that Greg was trying to argue for simple puzzles). They then explain that they should have Tim go into isolation to finish writing all the puzzles and to begin testing these puzzles sooner, and more often.

There's obviously that one issue that later got resolved, but the puzzle complexity was not über clear. I'm assuming, by the progression of the video, that Act 2's puzzles were not cut.

Also, last note, I'm fine with the idea of a 2015 date. No rush you guys !

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Best videos YET ! Really enjoyed the explanation on dialog and audio middleware :) Has there been (or will there be) more videos like this for other areas of the game ? Such as Animation, programming the game engine etc etc etc

Cheers

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@AnAnemoneInAnonymity

Regarding the game, this sounds like a distinction without difference to me.

As for a person:

What do you generally expect from someone who tells you that something is awesome, full of content, that people love just the way it is, repeats himself in his (from your point of view) weird communication (you might blame the docu), etc. and you feel completely different about it? Beside of all the individualism there also exists something as objective truth, measuring the game in certain aspects and the way the funding was run, this leads to the conclusion that the game is underperforming by a large degree. Obviously from a certain point on this also has an influence on a person's reputation and how you value future statements, no personal attack, just business as usual.

As for the game:

Things couldn't be easier, at the end of the day i want a rock solid awesome adventure. The "awesome" is important due to the genre's mediocre output throughout many years, a factor which once made this project so attractive and rolled in lots of cash too. It's not convincing if we only (or too a large degree, i'm generally no fan of the concept) get some easy peasy game instead. Btw. regarding easy, also the kids here were aware of the strong and weak moments of the game, so, you might want to differ between easy and bland here as well. The lack of the game is concrete and if you're familiar with the genre you should be able to notice them.

You might want to develop a game for a broader audience but this also waters down the experience for the adventure audience and i doubt that it serves you well in the long run. What if you would kick Psychonauts 2? You would expect a game with characteristics which made Psychonauts great instead of designing 50% of the game being a rather lame casual endless railed runner collecting something but with the Psychonauts brand on it.

From a Schafer/DF adventure i expect some more too and i think this is a compliment to Schafer and DF.

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I mostly anticipate these videos because I like the people of Double Fine. Thanks to all for putting up with cameras in the workplace, I imagine it hasn't been that easy the past couple years.

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Oh man great videos! I especially enjoyed Anna's dialogue system talk, seeing some of the logic in how some features were implemented.

Did the team figure out a way of working out the puzzles where the information needed is on the other character's point of view?

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Did the team figure out a way of working out the puzzles where the information needed is on the other character's point of view?
Yes. Because it takes time to edit these videos, we are seeing back in time as far as development goes. This question was asked before and they solved it before the episode released.

Edit - Unrelated: Your avatar is adorable.

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