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Episode 2: A Promise of Infinite Possibility

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The idea that immediately came to mind to me is that the game could be optionally co-op (with another player online), once the boy & the girl's stories intersect. I'd be really disappointed if the 2 characters don't end up teaming up for the final act, anyway (and never meet or just meet for 5 minutes at the end).

The interactions you have in one world also could impact the other and vice-versa.

I thought "Double Fine Adventure" was just a placeholder title, but that would actually fit as a name for this game as well.

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Man the game sounds awesome I am excited to see more and find out more about the adventure keep up the great work.

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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.

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@Tim Schafer

If you're making a game about a boy and a girl and you have an hour of free time , I'd recommend you give the free flash game One and One Story. It's 2D poetic (yes, POETIC) puzzle-platformer, and I think you might be inspired by giving it a playthrough.

It's available for free here: http://www.kongregate.com/games/MaTX222/one-and-one-story

Also, thank you very much for making this documentary, because it alone is worth much more than $15.

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Loving the early concept, cant wait for more, and getting to see those notebooks was cool, it would be so awesome to be able to read any of his notebooks.

It doesn't really need to have a romance element to it in my most humble opinion, but a romance between two characters that haven't met would be cool I think. I don't know how they could/would go about doing something like that, but then again I'm not the #$%@en genius.

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As for Machinarium, it's a different style of game. It may not be your cup of tea, but that doesn't make it a bad game.

Ok than lets say its a bad adventure game. I can see how people like these kind of puzzle games but for me this had nothing to do with an real adventure game.

But, what is a "real adventure game"? The genre's a lot more diverse than you think. The whole Myst series and the slew of games like it are adventure games, but of a different kind. So too is Machinarium.

You have an idea of what your adventure game preferences are, but to say that everything that doesn't conform to your preferences is "bad" makes no sense. You don't like that style? No problem! There are plenty of other games that probably do fit your tastes.

I dont think that games like Myst or even Machinarium can be called Adventure games but more puzzles games. Also we are talking here about a Point and Click Adventure game. And for me these are games like Monkey Island, Broken Sword, Yesterday Runaway and so on. Not games like Riven and co.

Well, what can I say except "you're wrong"? Peep this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adventure_game

Your definition of "adventure game" is too narrow. It's a diverse umbrella genre containing multiple sub-genres and you're only talking about one of them. You compared a more puzzle and environment-oriented adventure game with a streamlined story to a more character-driven adventure game and concluded that the former was "bad," but you may as well have compared apples to oranges.

Aaaanyway...

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What is an adventure game? To me it is a character driven game where you explore and a story unfolds...

Good Puzzles: they need to naturally fit the environment.... The player needs to be informed enough to understand the puzzle, usually by example (you have been shown or told an objects properties, the puzzle is applying this knowledge to the right situation). You can have bizarre puzzles as long as they make sense within the world.

I liked many of the puzzles in Full throttle that where grounded in some form of logic... the minefield, dealing with the bikers that navigated via the road markers... Then again I didn't like the fight parts that much...

Bad Puzzles:

- relies on finding a hidden object on screen by chance?

- heavy reflexes (this is an adventure not an action game)

- area to discover necessary items is too vast (no one likes wandering all over the place asking every NPC every dialog options again to figure out what they missed) IE avoid travel time, time sinks.

- bank on the user trying everything without a clear connection or where there is no logical connection

- shining objects (I also don't like it to be TOO easy), I liked how in Grim Fandango the character looked at things, it was a bit less direct.

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Oooh *Wince* I probably in the minority here, but Tim seems to have chosen the one style of adventure game I could never really deal with. I've played short adventure game where you played as an alien fast food worker in a space station burger joint in English at the top while also playing as a medieval samurai woman with a need to appease several spirits in order to save her village in Japanese on the bottom. Whatever you did on the top one corresponded directly to the bottom one and vice versa and it's a terrible way to break atmosphere and it was hard to get fully absorbed into either story, like trying to listen to two audio books of a different genera at the same time. Especially since you had to choose between action on the bottom and comedy on the top and I feel like having both happen at the same time each took away from the other.

However, if it’s Tim, he'll probably find a way to work around those pitfalls and still be able to make another classic humorous game out of it and change my mind about that kind of storytelling.

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I am bursting with excitement and inspiration. The only problem now is that I feel like both

a) going to write my film script b) re-playing Grim Fandango

maybe a little of column a, a little of column b.

Watching these little seeds germinate--this is fascinating. Beautifully put together video--thank you so much for creating such an interactive process for the fans of adventure.

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When they brought up the promise of infinite possibility that reminds me of a very specific point in my childhood. When I first played the game Banjo-Kazooie it was pretty much the greatest thing to happen to me at that point in my life. I was too young to really understand how videogames worked so it was all new and amazing! It was the first adventure (action/adventure, whatever) game that I had played so I didn't know what to expect and I would just lose entire days into that game not necessarily doing anything at all. It still gives me warm fuzzies just thinking about it. Now that I know how games work I can't quite go back to that mindset. It's disappointing but it had to happen eventually.

It's not that I can't enjoy games to that extent anymore, but now I just realize that I am indeed playing a game.

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Oooh *Wince* I probably in the minority here, but Tim seems to have chosen the one style of adventure game I could never really deal with. I've played short adventure game where you played as an alien fast food worker in a space station burger joint in English at the top while also playing as a medieval samurai woman with a need to appease several spirits in order to save her village in Japanese on the bottom. Whatever you did on the top one corresponded directly to the bottom one and vice versa and it's a terrible way to break atmosphere and it was hard to get fully absorbed into either story, like trying to listen to two audio books of a different genera at the same time. Especially since you had to choose between action on the bottom and comedy on the top and I feel like having both happen at the same time each took away from the other.

However, if it’s Tim, he'll probably find a way to work around those pitfalls and still be able to make another classic humorous game out of it and change my mind about that kind of storytelling.

I think you're assuming too much about the gameplay of this game based on the story setup!

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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.

Not looking to enter into any debates, but this is an interesting point to think about. When Ron and Tim originally made these games we look back on with such admiration, they set out to innovate and create new ways to tell a story. With each successive game they did try to revolutionize the genre. So the question is, what truly makes something old school? The systems around it, or the heart that drives it?

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Watching these updates has been the highlight of my month! I've haven't been more thoroughly entertained in a very long time, and I had a huge banana-grin on my face the whole time I watched. It's incredibly obvious how qualified everyone involved is to make a game that will impress the entire industry.

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I am bursting with excitement and inspiration. The only problem now is that I feel like both

a) going to write my film script b) re-playing Grim Fandango

maybe a little of column a, a little of column b.

I know right? not only are these videos kind of creatively motivational but they are inspiring me to go back and play all my favorite vintage games. i am also starting with grim fandango.

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Tim still has it! He is running a company and knows about all the little thing that may keep you busy as a leader.

I'm so excited to see the process of his creativity. He looks so very happy about doing what he does.

I can't even decide what will be more pleasure to me. Experience all the things about making the game, or playing it?

Thanks Tim and his team for giving me (us) such a wonderful and unique experience.

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Love the idea of dual realities. The first time I heard Tim tell the story in the video made me immediately think of the situation when the boy and girl finally meet.

One of them has been living in a futuristic world and the other in the past. You know castles and swords. (Day of The Tentacle vibes just rushed through me because of the time thing...) Anyway, both of their worlds are shaken by strange happenings and they have separate stories that take them through trials and tribulations, during which the independent growth of both characters takes place. There are more and more earthquakes and small black holes appear that suck anything inside. People start calling these "events". The boy and girl start seeing glimpses of each other during their adventures.

However, at one point or another when both worlds are experiencing the biggest events (think black holes appearing all over the place, castles getting sucked stone by stone into black nothingness, and in the future cars being pulled into these black holes) the boy and girl both, by chance, see each other through some strange hole in the world's fabric and all time around them seems to slow down as they reach out and touch hands.

From there on their story together begins. They work side by side helping each other out and eventually they start to feel the universe has a plan for them to be together.

There's so much kickass stuff to be done with that idea. Working together with the character lets you progress in the game, and so on.

---

What really drove me into adventure games back in the Lucasarts/Sierra glory days were the stories. The immersive worlds. The lighthearted but very well thought out environments. I'm very much an "explorer" type of gamer. I like to take my time and look around. I usually get owned at fast-paced player versus player games. Apart from the things I really like in adventure games (different characters to meet and talk to with interesting personalities, cool relationships between characters and beautiful backgrounds and vistas that you can look at for hours because it's like a painting) here are some of the things I dislike the most:

- Specific points in the game where you have to repeat some mechanic that's often very different to the core game. (This has been done in Lucasarts games as well. For example in Monkey Island 3 was it where Guybrush sails his ship shooting at other ships. Or in a few Monkey Island games where you do the insult swordfighting. Sure I remember the crazy insults and I still repeat those funny lines to friends but it felt a bit tedious because you HAD to do and couldn't progress otherwise. The game turned into THAT for an hour or so. Being a kid that wasn't great at english yet back then might have affected it though. As for the ship fights, and these are just examples, many games do this kind of stuff most likely to switch things up for a while which is a good thought, the problem is they just tend to be sub-par because not a lot of effort went into this new mechanic that is only used in this one scene. It's not as good as the "real shipfighting game I was just playing". I really like switching things up but maybe it's just about putting as much focus into it until you feel like "this is polished enough that we could ship it as a separate game". Obviously it requires more work...)

- Puzzles. (But this requires a bit of explaining. There are good puzzles and bad puzzles. Bad puzzles, for me, are the ones that clearly feel like something that's been done a million times before. For example the picture that's split into 8 pieces and you have a grid with 9 slots and you move around pieces 1 by 1 trying to rebuild the messed up picture. We've done that a million times and it feels lazy. Puzzles should immediately make it obvious what you're supposed to be doing but you have to figure out how to do it. For example Angry Birds or Cut The Rope on the iPhone/Android. Obviously the problem lies in that those are 2 full games and you'd have to create a unique "game" esentially for all puzzles... But what if you just stuck to physics? All puzzles are physics puzzles.)

- Finding pixels. (It's annoying when you have to move your mouse over the screen from top to bottom to see what lights up. It's also annoying when you have a button, such as ALT, that you can just press to highlight everything. So that's a tough pickle! Making interactive items stand out from the backgrounds sort of kills the mood as well, making it feel less immersive and more like a game. Subtle things like having the character's head look towards different objects in the environment could help but since it's 2D would be a bit tricky to make it clear enough. Possibly highlighting/animating the mouse cursor the closer it is to an interesting item. For example, the mouse cursor is a hand that tries to point towards and "grab" any interesting items).

- Long irrelevant dialogue in dialogue trees. (These usually just have so much unnecessary dialogue that isn't particularly funny and feels like filler. Do note that some games do this a lot better than others and for the most part Lucasarts adventures were quite exciting dialogue-wise.)

- Slowly spoken dialogue. (The thing is, if the character speaks slowly and you have subtitles on you'll probably read it in your mind quicker than it's said on screen. Without subtitles you probably don't have the problem unless the characters speak SO slowly you just want to turn them on anyway... Case in point, Deathspank. The main character himself speaks so slowly you just want to skip everything after reading it, even though his voice would be interesting enough to listen to otherwise. I really like the interesting voices of many adventure game characters but maybe it's a combination of often used irrelevant dialogue and the current age of ADHD "I want everything NOW", but characters should speak faster. This might only be me though!)

- Irrational item combining. (When you're left in a situation that you have to try and combine all the things in your inventory because nothing seems to make sense, the game gets tedious. What about leaving hints in the game world for those who like to explore more, such as a book on shelf that explains how a certain fluid combined with fire causes an explosion. That gives you a tip that the bottle in your inventory and some matches could clear up that pile of rubble that's blocking your path.)

I think all in all for me adventure games were never the games I played to get a sense of achievement in. As in when you find out "how to proceed" (like Portal or Cut The Rope, when you finally figure something out you feel like Einstein). I don't think adventure games are about that. At least for me. Instead I would like adventure games to proceed at a nice consistent pace (obviously this is in current games relative to how fast each individual person figures out the "puzzle" at hand) and for the world and story to take me to a very interesting and unique place. Machinarium was a great example of a game that only got a bit tedious near the end where it opened up a much larger area to explore opening lots of possibilities to combine new items and remember what you saw 5 screens ago (although it still did it very nicely in that what you needed was rarely too far off so you had an image in your head almost always as to what you want to try). I don't think adventure games should "get harder" the further you are in the game like many other genres.

One last point regarding pace though is that we are all different. There are no "difficulty levels" in the puzzles and happenings of an adventure game. You COULD create it a bit artificially by not highlighting the cursor on interesting objects on hard difficulty and then highlighting everything on easy as well as showing tips every 2 minutes of inactivity as some games do. However, that's not really the way to do it. The best way would simply be to have huge QA teams testing your game and implementing a tool to see how long it takes for them each to complete a certain section of the game. Luckily there's everyone here through Kickstarter (and soon pre-orders)!

That got a bit long but I'm passionate about adventure games and mainly the old Lucasarts games and their stories/characters (also in part because you couldn't DIE! That was another thing that totally put me off some other adventure games). Loom, Maniac Mansion, Day of The Tentacle, the Monkey Islands, Indiana Jones (some of the few actually good games based on movies!), Full Throttle, Grim Fandango,... I was just a kid in 2nd grade when we played Loom at my friend's house. I always wanted to go back there to continue it. We were just learning english but the world/feeling/mood/atmosphere just kept you so hooked.

Just polish the atmosphere and mood to be as awesome as possible and I'll love it.

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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.

Not looking to enter into any debates, but this is an interesting point to think about. When Ron and Tim originally made these games we look back on with such admiration, they set out to innovate and create new ways to tell a story. With each successive game they did try to revolutionize the genre. So the question is, what truly makes something old school? The systems around it, or the heart that drives it?

I'd like to see Tim address this one again, because he's previously had some really neat insights into what people say they want versus the thing that's really lurking behind what they say they want.

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Wait wait wait. This game is going to have a BOY IN IT? AND A GIRL?!?!?!? PSHHHHH. WHY DID I BACK THIS PROJECCCCCCCT ;)

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I love the ideas so far. There is still infinite possibility within your game, no worries =)

And I am loving the music in the videos! Can we get a soundtrack?

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I love the ideas so far. There is still infinite possibility within your game, no worries =)

And I am loving the music in the videos! Can we get a soundtrack?

You get the soundtrack if you pledged $30 or more to the project. If not, Terrance (the composer) has the rights to make it available after everything is finished.

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@Tim Schafer

If you're making a game about a boy and a girl and you have an hour of free time , I'd recommend you try the free flash game One and One Story. It's 2D poetic (yes, POETIC) puzzle-platformer, and I think you might be inspired by giving it a playthrough.

It's available for free here: http://www.kongregate.com/games/MaTX222/one-and-one-story

Also, thank you very much for making this documentary, because it alone is worth much more than $15.

Here's a 11 min 15 sec playthough of the game to save you some valuable time:

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Great video. Ron's shirt around 8.17 looks like a deck chair . . . not a bad thing, he does the look well :P

I like the idea of an interweaving storyline between boy and girl, it could work very well. I hope the warning of pixel hunting is headed well as I hate not being able to solve a puzzle because I couldn't find one object in an obscure room.

That question about if Tim's still got it for making an adventure game made me laugh. As if he's going to say "No! This projects doomed, DOOMED!"

Great vid, going to watch it again now I think

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Thanks for this, very cool to see the creative process. And for the love of ${diety}, please include puzzles! The harder, the better!

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Thinking about innovation, it's actually pretty interesting to go back and think about the old games in their historical context.

Maniac Mansion is obviously a landmark in that it set the template for how adventure games would be interacted with from then on.

The Secret of Monkey Island was another revolution but this time more in puzzle design. More than any of the previous adventure games it felt like it was inviting you into the story rather than trying to 'defeat' you, mostly thanks to Ron Gilbert's 'why adventure games suck' insights he was having around that time.

Monkey 2's progression was subtle, but still revolutionary in terms of scope, and ambition for the time, and it also in my mind was a landmark moment in video game writing.

DOTT was revolutionary in its visual design, no previous game coming as close to feeling like playing a 'real' cartoon, because of the amount of bespoke animation for all the situations in the game. The puzzles were somewhat innovative too, with the things you'd have to change across the three time periods. When I played DOTT I definitely remember feeling like there had been a massive jump in production values.

Full Throttle went even further with the production values, delivered a more streamlined interface which felt appropriate and had different kinds of puzzles which suited the character. Less successful were the action style sequences, but you can't say they weren't trying new things.

Grim Fandango decided to use 3D to create a visual style that was uniquely its own and an interface that they hoped would appeal to audiences that expected to directly control the character (with mixed results - on the plus side, it allowed for some really great visual moments by freeing up the camera, on the downside it often didn't respond well).

It'd do those games a great disservice to think that you can somehow bottle their magic while ignoring one of the key common threads - ambition.

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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.

Not looking to enter into any debates, but this is an interesting point to think about. When Ron and Tim originally made these games we look back on with such admiration, they set out to innovate and create new ways to tell a story. With each successive game they did try to revolutionize the genre. So the question is, what truly makes something old school? The systems around it, or the heart that drives it?

It is an interesting point to ponder. I loved Maniac Mansion because it was totally new and never seen before. I loved some of the later games because it was just like MM, but cooler, faster, better. In hindsight I think the later games were better, and If I replay some of them I would probably stay away from MM and go for Day of the Tentacle or some of the other later SCUMM games. Thats the caveat of innovation, it's needed sometimes but the first attempts are rarely as successful as the iterations that come later.

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Absolutely loved the update! These videos, as said a million times I'm sure, are totally worth the cost of admission.

Plus... freewriting.... I haven't tried that since 8th grade. Thanks for the re-inspiration, Tim.

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Really enjoyed the video and can't wait to see more :)

I'm glad Tim disagreed with that whole thing about not having so many Inventory Puzzles because a) personally I love them and b) I always found games that lacked the ability to combine items (like in a lot of TellTales games) to be less appealing because it felt like there was less for me to do in the game.

A couple good examples of Inventory/combination puzzles I can think of off hand:

1) Escape from Monkey Island - Combining all those prosthetic pieces and putting them together into the "abomination of nature" great fun even if it was completely pointless :D

2) Sam & Max Hit the Road - Combining Max with the cat out front

(Still love watching the reaction of friends when they solve that puzzle for the first time :) )

I'm sure there is more but those two sprang to mind.

As for the story concepts all I can say is that as long as it has a good sense humor and strong characters I'm sure it will be awesome. Keep up the great work guys and gals!

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