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DF Chris Remo

Episode 2: A Promise of Infinite Possibility

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You should have seen people’s reaction when Brian Fargo mentioned the word ‘social’ during his Kickstarter campaign and a subsequent drop of pledges for a short time after that.

There are certain things some of us ‘core’ gamers are very sensitive to, so a mere mention of them gets our gears running.

Personally I never doubted the inclusion of puzzles since Tim himself says so on the video, but I still felt like mentioning the rhetoric of it all, if you remove the puzzles is not an adventure game anymore.

I hope in the future Tim talks to more, relevant people, because honestly besides Ron I didn’t really care what the others had to say, particularly the Superbrothers developers, you can try having a chat with the other Kickstarter veterans like Jane Jensen and Al Lowe, that would be illuminating.

You know just for fun, try mentioning ‘multiplayer’ in a coming episode, I wanna see what happens!

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Loved all the ideas. Two different visual art styles would be great, though it will require a lot of work. Just thinking about the two styles merging would be great. WAIT! Due to a series of unforeseen events, right about halfway through the game, their worlds are bound to collapse one into the other, making things from one universe appear into the other. All of this made by an evil-doer, the main antagonist. The concept of coming of age can be dealt with by each character having to fix the other's mistakes, thus learning about the consequences of their own decisions: what was done and thought right by one of them is seen as actually a mistake by the other, and fixed. ooook... I've just had a braingasm...

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I like adventure games, and to me, of course they will have a nostalgic touch. It's been years since I don't play a point and click adventure game.

After watching this, I already feel the money I put on the project is paying off. Just watching and learning from the creative process is amazing.

I'd love to have puzzles in the game, and knowing that the game will focus on two characters, from two different worlds; would be awesome if they could interact and help each other from their different worlds.

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I'm not sure how all this talk about puzzles not being in the game came about. There will be puzzles.

It came from a part in the documentary where it was discussed how important puzzles are in a game, and if they're even necessary. In particular the little talk with the Superbrothers Craig Adams and the co-writer Erik Wolpaw around 11:30, where one of them basically doesn't like puzzles at all and the other said he wouldn't miss puzzles in an adventure game.

Adams was however talking about the specific mechanic of classic inventory puzzles, and as I've mentioned in another post, Loom for example didn't have inventory and was still a great game with great puzzles.

Of course the game will have puzzles in it, it's just the thought of an adventure game even being possible without puzzles got some people, me included, worried for a second, because good and well designed challenging puzzles are what I missed most in recent adventure games, so I was in particular looking forward to those in DFA.

At 12:34 Tim says leaving puzzles out wouldn't make sense for the game they are making, and later when he talks to Wolpaw he's told to just make one in his old "bad" style. Just trying to figure out if we made some mistake in the editing process that made it unclear.

Wolpaw also seems to be mostly joking around. He is a comedic writer after all, and he worked on Portal 2, which is a puzzle game. He may or may not not be a big fan of puzzles in adventure games, but you can tell with the tone he's using that he's not being completely serious.

Superbrothers guy, however, sounded pretty serious when he was vocalizing his distaste for puzzles, particularly inventory/item puzzles.

Either way, Tim made it pretty clear that he still felt that puzzles were an important part of the genre, and that DFA would certainly have puzzles in it.

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Awesome video update!

A wonderful sneek peak into the process. I think we should give Tim as much room and time as he needs for him and his team to flesh out a vision for this game. I'm glad that he sounds like he doesn't feel that creative pressure from the fanbase. In fact, I thought it was a very touching (and real) moment at about 19:50, talking about how the real pressure is to keep his company afloat everyday and keep his staff employed, even amidst the ups and downs of the company's financial situation.

Great stuff, keep it coming!

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I was never really worried about puzzles being removed from the game.

But the conversation about puzzles in the video boosted my interest and made me want to contribute to the discussion. Isn't that the entire point of this forum?

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I love the Grim Fandango stuff being in the background allot :P

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I want to second the complaint that the gameplay footage of Machinarium looks terrible the way you showed it stretched. Doesn't do the game justice, really.

I lauded you for everything else earlier. ;)

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Awesome video, as always. You're doing a magnificient job, 2PP!!

Some notes from what I've seen:

-Really cool poster of Parappa the rapper! =)

-I really love the initial idea for the game. When Tim first mentions it on the video, I thought it was more of a movie plot than a game one, so that's fantastic: that the theme of the game is not so common in games. I can't wait to see how it's executed.

Loved all the ideas. Two different visual art styles would be great, though it will require a lot of work. Just thinking about the two styles merging would be great. WAIT! Due to a series of unforeseen events, right about halfway through the game, their worlds are bound to collapse one into the other, making things from one universe appear into the other. All of this made by an evil-doer, the main antagonist. The concept of coming of age can be dealt with by each character having to fix the other's mistakes, thus learning about the consequences of their own decisions: what was done and thought right by one of them is seen as actually a mistake by the other, and fixed. ooook... I've just had a braingasm...

I don't know if this will make it into the final game, but it should. I has a kind of Braid thing that I really like.

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Oh, man. That just sent me on an emotional journey. I was getting worried when they started talking about not having puzzles in adventure games.

I feel TellTale have gone down this path with their games, and I personally find it kind of boring. If there's no sense of accomplishment from playing the game then I'd rather skip the interactivity and just watch the story as an animated movie.

Also, thank you for blurring the pages and not spoiling the story. I've been unsure about whether or not I wanted to watch these videos during development or just wait until I've played the game so that everything is new and exciting. There's nothing worse than feeling like you've seen everything a game/movie has to offer because you've watched the trailers/behind the scenes features.

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I wish they didn't blur the notebook pages. I wanted to see how the sausage gets made, warts and all.

They left out the warts.

I hope we get to see it some day

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Puzzles are the main thing about the genre, for me getting stuck because of a puzzle is one of the main things about adventure games. You need to think. You need to get into Tim Shafer mind. This is where the joy came from. But what i think a modern adventure game should try is to give another options to the stuck player. Like, you are stuck, but you could go somewhere else and try to learn more about the puzzle. The game should give you more and more material to solve the puzzle, but not like a hint book but, maybe doing some research in the game, spending some more time in a conversation. Something like that. This will keep the flow to the stuck guys.

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Puzzles are the main thing about the genre, for me getting stuck because of a puzzle is one of the main things about adventure games. You need to think. You need to get into Tim Shafer mind. This is where the joy came from. But what i think a modern adventure game should try is to give another options to the stuck player. Like, you are stuck, but you could go somewhere else and try to learn more about the puzzle. The game should give you more and more material to solve the puzzle, but not like a hint book but, maybe doing some research in the game, spending some more time in a conversation. Something like that. This will keep the flow to the stuck guys.

I think the main thing that should be avoided is the need for someone who's hopelessly stuck is the need to tab out of a game to look up the solution. I'm someone who does genuinely enjoy finally reaching that "Ah-ha" moment, yet if something is set up merely to impede progress rather than contribute to the story and pacing of a game, I can easily get frustrated and look it up, and if I have to look up solutions more than a couple of times I just stop playing because that's no way to enjoy a game.

I like the solutions you bring up, and I also start thinking about the older Silent Hill titles and their puzzle difficulties. On the Beginner setting, the clues were much more plainly worded so it was easy to sort out a puzzle, whereas on the harder one's they require careful re-reading of notes and much more trial and error to figure things out. I use this puzzle in particular as an example: http://silenthill.wikia.com/wiki/Coin_Puzzle.

tl;dr In summation, maybe there should be different difficulties so everyone's happy, such as noobs like me and adventure game vets.

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Thanks for the update.

I don't think a can be disappointed by the game as long as you put your heart into it - and that's how it looks like from the updates so far :)

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Loved all the ideas. Two different visual art styles would be great, though it will require a lot of work. Just thinking about the two styles merging would be great. WAIT! Due to a series of unforeseen events, right about halfway through the game, their worlds are bound to collapse one into the other, making things from one universe appear into the other. All of this made by an evil-doer, the main antagonist. The concept of coming of age can be dealt with by each character having to fix the other's mistakes, thus learning about the consequences of their own decisions: what was done and thought right by one of them is seen as actually a mistake by the other, and fixed. ooook... I've just had a braingasm...

I don't know if this will make it into the final game, but it should. I has a kind of Braid thing that I really like.

Just my idea. Thanks. I also liked Braid. I suppose it's the unexpected which also makes a game thrive, as people are a bit sick of foreseeable plot lines.

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I'm not sure how all this talk about puzzles not being in the game came about. There will be puzzles.

It came from a part in the documentary where it was discussed how important puzzles are in a game, and if they're even necessary. In particular the little talk with the Superbrothers Craig Adams and the co-writer Erik Wolpaw around 11:30, where one of them basically doesn't like puzzles at all and the other said he wouldn't miss puzzles in an adventure game.

Adams was however talking about the specific mechanic of classic inventory puzzles, and as I've mentioned in another post, Loom for example didn't have inventory and was still a great game with great puzzles.

Of course the game will have puzzles in it, it's just the thought of an adventure game even being possible without puzzles got some people, me included, worried for a second, because good and well designed challenging puzzles are what I missed most in recent adventure games, so I was in particular looking forward to those in DFA.

At 12:34 Tim says leaving puzzles out wouldn't make sense for the game they are making, and later when he talks to Wolpaw he's told to just make one in his old "bad" style. Just trying to figure out if we made some mistake in the editing process that made it unclear.

I thought it was very clear, though maybe people were just reacting to the possibility of no puzzles, and were too distraught to listen to the next minute of the video or so.

Or something else.......it does seem a little weird that so many people missed the part where Tim said that puzzles would make sense for DF adventure.

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I think some people are taking the replies about puzzles too seriously.

Sure, some did seem to think there was the possibility that Tim was considering a puzzle-less game, but I know I only brought it up to share in the discussion of puzzles in general, which I assume others were doing.

In other words, it was probably just a neutral discussion of puzzle for a lot of people.

If devs in the video got to discuss what they did and didn't like about adventure games, I see no reason that can't extend out here in the forums.

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Puzzles are the main thing about the genre, for me getting stuck because of a puzzle is one of the main things about adventure games. You need to think. You need to get into Tim Shafer mind. This is where the joy came from. But what i think a modern adventure game should try is to give another options to the stuck player. Like, you are stuck, but you could go somewhere else and try to learn more about the puzzle. The game should give you more and more material to solve the puzzle, but not like a hint book but, maybe doing some research in the game, spending some more time in a conversation. Something like that. This will keep the flow to the stuck guys.

I think the main thing that should be avoided is the need for someone who's hopelessly stuck is the need to tab out of a game to look up the solution. I'm someone who does genuinely enjoy finally reaching that "Ah-ha" moment, yet if something is set up merely to impede progress rather than contribute to the story and pacing of a game, I can easily get frustrated and look it up, and if I have to look up solutions more than a couple of times I just stop playing because that's no way to enjoy a game.

I like the solutions you bring up, and I also start thinking about the older Silent Hill titles and their puzzle difficulties. On the Beginner setting, the clues were much more plainly worded so it was easy to sort out a puzzle, whereas on the harder one's they require careful re-reading of notes and much more trial and error to figure things out. I use this puzzle in particular as an example: http://silenthill.wikia.com/wiki/Coin_Puzzle.

tl;dr In summation, maybe there should be different difficulties so everyone's happy, such as noobs like me and adventure game vets.

One thing that Jane Jensen did in Gray Matter i thought that worked great, is to have a Outline on the places you could go on the main map of the game, The color of the outline, shows if there was something to be done in that place or if you are done there. For me worked really well. I always knew where to focus next, making more easy to solve the puzzles

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This documentary is fantastic. Seeing how Tim's mind works, especially with all this pressure, is so inspiring to someone who wants to be a game designer. Thanks for the motivation and inspiration guys!

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Pretty nice work, things are building up very well. My brother thought your idea on the two stories going along side with the boy and girl was sounding like a very good idea. I think if you worked on it a bit more that could be a good game itself.

Good luck on future updates and looking forward to seeing more.

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That video was a very neat window into the creative process that takes place. Very cool!

The game needs puzzles, but they must be varied and come in a variety of forms, not just combine "item a" with "item b" (but it needs some of that too).

I'm confident that the final product will be great. Humorous characters and interesting locations tangled together with a good story will be the most important part of the game in my opinion.

And those Lil and Laarg stickers on the notebook made me buy Escape Plan while watching. :-)

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You guys are awesome! Keep up the amazing work! This video just makes me want to create and write. Thanks for the inspiration and the passion! :D *Gets out the paper*

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Another great episode! I'm really enjoying the documentary so far. I think it was a good idea to focus the 'slacker backer'-video (which is

as well, by the way) on the documentary. It really does deserve some more attention.

Overall I think this episode was very well-edited. On the first viewing you lost me a little-bit on the 'Tim talking with other designers'-portion, however. I had never heard of the Superbrothers before, so didn't really catch what there game was about. Erik Wolpaw maybe could have been introduced a little better as well. Probably this also has to do with the fact that English is not my native language, but as you guys appear to aim for a much wider target audience than us backers with this documentary, I thought it would be a good idea to share this nitpicking comment.

Regarding the reveal of the (very early) game concept, I'm kind of surprised that Tim actually starts off by choosing a theme and that he doesn't say anything about the world and setting. I always thought that deciding on a setting would be his starting point. Was Grim Fandango first conceived only as a film noir or love story as well?

Or did you edit out all brainstorming segments on potential settings, because you would like to reveal that later? I did hear Tim saying something about a castle and a spaceship, so maybe you didn't' want to share these interesting details with us just yet?

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This and the previous episode were amazing. Also, totally forgot to use these forums as actual forums! Here I am! Gonna read and post and participate!

Why doesn't anyone ever mention MYST when they talk about puzzle adventure games anymore in these things?

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Awesome video! The whole free-writing thing really grabbed my attention because I've always suffered from the terrifying "blank page". The whole notebook thing puts everything on paper were you can see it, which is very appealing to me.

Anyway, it sounds like you could do a lot with the whole double reality thing. what if your actions in one reality effected the other? There could be a puzzle or something that can only be solved by doing something in one world that changes the environment in the other. or has that been done before?

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Actually I think the Portal guy poses a really good question. At the risk of being impaled by the hardcore adventure community, I admit I like easy puzzles and to keep the story going. It is more the immersion experience that helps me over the tougher puzzles than the intellectual orgasm after solving them. Especially Monkey Island and Grim Fandango had a discovery feel about them with a new universe with totally different laws and ethics combined with a good dose of humor.

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I'm not reading all 16 pages before I post this, so I reckon it's quite probable some of it has already been said.

The premise as described in the video reminded me of the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman. The setting seems equally appropriate for a Sci-Fi as a fantasy setting, though. I've played a few Sci-Fi adventure games like The Dig and Beneath a Steel Sky, so I think I'd actually like to see this be fantasy for variation.

As a teenager, I'll like to play the teenage protagonists. Looking forward to the next update!

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@Sexy Robot:

Why does this game have to offer something new or must be remarkable? The whole process in Kickstarter funding and the video documentation are more than enough for that. Games can be good or even great even without offering new ways or innovative features. For all this he budget is way too small in my Opinion. I rather want a great old school Adventure game than a try to revolutionize or innovate the genre.

And that's what I'm saying. If they'd gone into making those old games with that attitude, they wouldn't have been the fantastic games you and I remember.

QUOTED FOR TRUTH! Creativity is not very creative if it stagnates..

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