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r0ckarong

The Inventory System - Making or Breaking an Adventure

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Just don't screw interface/controls.

Last Telltale adventure games have terrible keyboard and ouse, and seriously I don't want to use a gamepad on an adventure game for God sake.

Pendulo games (Runaway series and The Next Big thing) have pretty neat and clean interfaces.

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Inventory management the game!

It'd be nice to have some realism in the inventory system, like you can only use/put away items in your hands, you can only access item in the top of your bag/pockets/utility belt, FILO, weight! there's more. Belted store items for rapid access.

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Since I said in another thread that we should have no impact on DF decisions, I'll allow myself to say that I've been playing adventure games since Indy 3 on my Amiga and I havn't found a better UI than the older SCUMM ones (verbs + visual inventory).

I really don't like these right-click wheels (or associated) and pop-up inventory. I really enjoyed the story of "The Longest journey" but I spent more time with the pop-up inventory window than enjoying the fine arts created by the artists. That's why I think that not using a old-SCUMM like interface for the impact it may have on the "graphics" part of the screen may not be an appropriate choice.

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No need for SCUMM or pop up interface, your character should be your inventory!

Wow, you must be right if your answer is both bolded and exclaimed.

It's counter-intuitive to have the on-screen character be the inventory and actions since it would require a usage tutorial. SCUMM made it easy by having the verbs as actual words on the screen, so there was no ambiguity about their usage. You also have to keep in mind that this will be a cross-platform development effort, so the input method has to be portable, which means that keyboard shortcuts are likely already out of the window.

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I liked the inventory of Curse. Though since they are making this for touch screen platforms as well, they'll have to make sure its intuitive and not tedious for them as well. I think that during the development, the inventory system will be one of the key areas where backers feedback is used to great effect.

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I liked the inventory of Curse. Though since they are making this for touch screen platforms as well, they'll have to make sure its intuitive and not tedious for them as well.

I think the Curse-style inventory (and the interface in general, really) would be perfect for touchscreen devices. One-finger tap for regular interactions, two-finger tap to open Inventory, long-press for verb-coin, etc. I always found the biggest issue inventory-wise with the SCUMM-style interface was that you could only see a few items at a time.

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How about a different approach entirely? I liked the "logic" interface in Ace Attorney Investigations. I'm not saying we should do that, but it's a fun example of how an adventure game doesn't have to have a kleptomaniac character grabbing, pushing, and pulling anything that looks suspicious.

- might want to watch this until the characters escape to see what I mean.

I realize Edgeworth talks too danged much about really obvious stuff, but I think it's a good way to encourage the player to use their brain and understand why they're doing things. It also discourages the "brute force" option of just using everything on everything else.

The simplest example:

th_keyandlock.png

Once again, not saying this should be what the game uses, but I just mean there are other ways of doing the same thing. Depending on what direction DFA ends up going, a similar clue-based system might be worth considering.

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How about a different approach entirely? I liked the "logic" interface in Ace Attorney Investigations. I'm not saying we should do that, but it's a fun example of how an adventure game doesn't have to have a kleptomaniac character grabbing, pushing, and pulling anything that looks suspicious.

- might want to watch this until the characters escape to see what I mean.

I realize Edgeworth talks too danged much about really obvious stuff, but I think it's a good way to encourage the player to use their brain and understand why they're doing things. It also discourages the "brute force" option of just using everything on everything else.

The simplest example:

th_keyandlock.png

Once again, not saying this should be what the game uses, but I just mean there are other ways of doing the same thing. Depending on what direction DFA ends up going, a similar clue-based system might be worth considering.

Great for Ipad and co bad for the computer.

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I'm not saying we should do that, but it's a fun example of how an adventure game doesn't have to have a kleptomaniac character grabbing, pushing, and pulling anything that looks suspicious.

Something similar I've also seen is carrying the idea of an item around with you, to signify that you "know where to look". Like in the real world when you see a screwdriver you don't put it in your pocket because it might come in handy, but you do remember where it was.

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I thought Grim had a fine inventory. It doesn't break immersion. And it really isn't much of a problem for the most part since you never have more than 5-6 items to scroll through. Except for year one... that balloon dude just floods your inventory lol. But I've always wanted a balloon in the shape of Robert Frost. And a cat. And a dingo. And a dead worm!

I would normally say the lack of being able to combine things would make puzzles easier due to less number of possibilities. However, I found Grim Fandango challenging (I replayed it a month ago) so it is more design that decides the difficulty of any puzzle, not the mechanics.

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Personally I love the classic monkey Island scumm interface, the drawback is that it makes the game so much slower. I would like a leaner version of the scumm interface, that combines options like Open + Close, Push + Pull etc. The biggest advantage is that it will appeal to a broader audience while keeping the "classic" interface alive.

Another option could be to give the game a classic (scumm) interface for the professionals and a "light" edition for the newbies and ipad users.

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Something similar I've also seen is carrying the idea of an item around with you, to signify that you "know where to look". Like in the real world when you see a screwdriver you don't put it in your pocket because it might come in handy, but you do remember where it was.

That's pretty much what I was getting at. In addition, that way abstract concepts could be put in your "inventory," like the fact that a character is allergic to cats or something. Open the logic menu, combine "Incredibly Realistic Stuffed Cat" with "Fred's Cat Allergy," watch as Fred runs sneezing from the room.

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I've played a ton of adventure games in my day and one of the most infuriating things for me was when games got the inventory system "wrong". They usually work within the boundaries of the game but if you compare them to other titles I would always find myself wanting a slightly different solution for the problem.

Some bad examples:

Machinarium/Broken Sword - "ribbon" type inventory at the top/bottom of the screen is not very convenient to look at or navigate with a lot of items

Grim Fandango - Navigating through your items one at a time is tedious

Tales of Monkey Island - Combining Items by having a "horadric cube" type of interface felt incredibly clunky

Good examples:

Monkey Island 3 - Large inventory with big icons, you could combine items freely and explore combinations by simply experimenting with short easy clicks

Monkey Island 1+2 Special Edition - Nice big icons, easy to navigate and combine items

Discworld 1+2 - Resizable inventory "window" that you could have open all the time on top of your game screen

My ideal inventory system would have a dedicated stylized "window" (Like Discworld 1+2) that I can overlay on the game screen that I can freely resize. Items should be free to move around so I can group them into quest/puzzle related stacks. It should be bound to a user specified key like "Tab" so I can pop in and out of the inventory quickly. Combining Items would be as easy as to click on an object to "pick it up" and then click on another item to try combining it. Don't make me place two object in a dedicated "combine" area because that just takes up soo much time to try a lot of different objects. There should be interactive object puzzles within the inventory screen like the melting grog cups from Monkey 1.

What do you guys think?

Totally agree with that.

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Apart from of course the classic Scumm Inventory I really like the Inventory they had in Deponia.

You use the scroll wheel on your mouse and it comes down. That's pretty nice to use ingame, compared to for Tales of Monkey Island for example where you always had to go to the right side of the screen...

Came here to mention Deponia too. Using the scroll wheel to access the inventory seemed very convenient to me.

I also agree with several users here that I don't like totally overburdened inventories. I don't mind several red herrings in the inventory at all, they belong to the genre, but it can get ridiculous (see Black Mirror 2/3).

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I also prefer the scumm interface, for the sole reason that it's better than what has been popping up since. That doesn't mean it could be modernized but it keeps getting "improved" by removing functionality.

An interface should not solve puzzles for the player, (Telltale is guilty of this), just give me a bunch of items and keep the verbs from scumm and I'd be happy.

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