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DF Chris Remo

Episode 2: A Promise of Infinite Possibility

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Great episode, and I like Tim's original idea. Looking forward to following this games creation.

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Great update! I see a lot of potential in the concept and can't wait to see it unfold.

Something that resonated with me is that feeling of "infinite possibilities", and the feeling of inhabiting a world rather than just progressing through puzzles. I'm absolutely for puzzles, and of course they should be integrated into the progression of the story rather than seeming completely arbitrary, but my feeling is that the way to maintain that sense of being in a world is to always have something the player can do. There often comes a point in many adventure games where, in spite of having a rich looking environment around you, there are literally no actions you can perform beyond solving the next puzzle (or repeating actions\conversations you've already tried), and that is the moment people get stuck and frustrated, because the game has simply stopped offering them anything until they figure out one specific thing. Suddenly the onus is on the player to make the game fun again.

I feel like depth of interactivity is really important. If there are always numerous things the player can do, including non-sensical things (that normally an adventure game character might just refuse to perform, with a generic "no can do" statement) and things which are completely unrelated to puzzle progression, not only will it help to keep that "infinite possibilities" feeling alive, but it also provides great opportunities for the consequences of those actions to nudge the player in the direction of the next important puzzle and solution. The experience of simply playing with the world can both immerse the player in the world, and simultaneously clue them in to what they need to do or explore to proceed through the story.

The "innovation for the sake of innovation is a bad thing" concern that some have expressed seems misguided to me. Do you honestly think they would make changes for the sake of it? That they would put QTEs in or take away what makes the adventure games good purely to seek mass-appeal? Nothing we have seen suggests that the team are thinking along those lines. It's pretty clear that they want to make a game that WE, fans of old-school adventures, will love MORE, not a game that people who don't like adventure games will love. I recommend watching that long discussion video between Tim and Ron.

I don't think there's any reason to worry about the 'no puzzles' discussion either. It's just food for thought, and it's that kind of re-evaluation that separates the great designers from the ones who are incapable of anything beyond repeating the work of others. We shouldn't be afraid that they've had these kinds of discussions, we should be relieved! When making a game with puzzles it can only help to explore and understand why, how and when they work or fail to work. To understand why and when some people love them or hate them. Without that kind of scrutiny, a designer is likely to not even realize when they are making poor choices and repeating past mistakes. Believe me, I want to scratch my 'classic LEC adventure' itch as well, but from my perspective all signs are pointing toward the game being in exactly the right hands.

:)

Edit: Oh, one more thing... I don't think it's just nostalgia that has kept me playing these kinds of games. I don't go back to them for familiarity or to take me back to my childhood. In fact, I often wait years between playthroughs and try to forget all about them just so they are fresher to me. When I forget something and have to figure it out again, or discover new dialog, that's when I'm really feeling the magic again, and every now and then I pick up an old adventure game that I never played back in the day and have (depending on the game, of course) as great a time with it as I did many years ago with other games. I feel like the adventure game format is a great platform for interactive storytelling, and when all the creative elements come together just right, they can truly tap into timelessness.

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Great episode!

Regarding the puzzles in P&C-Games. I always played those games with solutions. I am very into logical puzzles (Portal style) and was never able to grasp the way of thinking the game designers intended to solve the puzzles. Grim Fandango is still one of my favorite games because I just loved the story and the characters and I can remember so much of it to this day.

I would vote in favor of puzzles in the game but please keep in mind that what is left of the game without puzzles is the real hot sauce like in Grim Fandango.

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You know what ?

The coming-of-age story with a boy and a girl looks far more appealing than armadillo meets spider.

As always, it's the execution that matters. I also like the idea of dual worlds, kinda reminds me of Day of the Tentacle in that regard.

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I don't know why, but seeing a picture of PaRappa the Rapper in Tim's office makes me smile. I'm not even a PaRappa fan, I'm just saying.

If a title for the game wasn't already decided on, I was gonna suggest Parallax, but I'm not sure if it's such a great fit after looking up its meaning.

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I wish there was more of that meeting about what they didn't like and what they liked in adventure games. We got a mention about how awful Sierra games were (yeah, yeah) and that was it.

I also wish there was a discussion with the maker/s of a more traditional adventure game in recent times (Runaway/Yesterday; Jane Jensen's Gray Matter; the Blackwell series, Telltale.... I dunno, someone); rather than just all these genre-blending "innovators". (Portal/Machinarium- definitely more a puzzle game).

LOVED LOVED LOVED reading the Grim Fandango titles though. Freaking hilarious.

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Well anyway, to the people concerned about the sorts of designers Tim was talking to then don't be. It's a good thing to acknowledge that your way of doing things isn't the only one, and to try and look at things in different ways. Helps you figure out where your own work sits. Besides, if you had been there for the sort of exploratory conversations he was probably having for Full Throttle and Grim you probably would have had similar but different concerns - but you only usually get to see the sorts of things devs talk about when the game idea is pinned down fully. This is the part where lots of things are thrown at the wall and they're seeing what sticks. Restricting what you're allowed to throw is very counter-creative and that counts for mechanical stuff too, not just story. Doesn't mean you're going to end up with something crazy and radical... Just means he's not tied to a rock whilst trying to fly around that infinite possibility space ;)

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Awesome, a new episode. Too bad they're over so quickly.

Really liked this episode and I really like the basic idea for the game's story. Sounds very interesting and leaves a lot of room for being creative, IMO.

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I never imagined that the documentary aspect of this project would be nearly as satisfying as it is proving to be. Bravo .

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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!

I suppose I could be, but I do feel that telling two stories at the same time could definitely take away from immersion a bit.

It looks to me like it's still one story. The story just happens to take place between two different characters and their respective worlds/realities. So, really, the basic concept is not new. It's simply a different way to tell it.

I can already tell that these design updates are going to be my favorites.

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You know what ?

The coming-of-age story with a boy and a girl looks far more appealing than armadillo meets spider.

As always, it's the execution that matters. I also like the idea of dual worlds, kinda reminds me of Day of the Tentacle in that regard.

But what if the process of coming of age involves the boy coming to terms with his inner armadillo, and the girl realising that on a deep level she identifies as a spider?

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So the question is, what truly makes something old school? The systems around it, or the heart that drives it?

You could ask both Tim and Ron what the difference is between an "adventure game" and an "old school adventure game", preferably when they're not in he same room.

I'm curious what their answers will be.

[Edit: added the word "game" twice, to prevent misinterpretation.]

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These videos are just so uplifting. I've really been enjoying each one so far. And really, whatever the end result, I'm just glad to have been part of the experience.

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I love this idea for the story. I feel like the relationships in Psychonauts and Brutal Legend were some of the most inspired writing, and both felt "coming of age." I will always vividly remember Ophelia diving in to the water to the song Mr. Crowley. I think this could prove to be a really powerful story.

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Thank you soooooo much for justifying my belief in the creative processes of true artists. I loved this video, especially the vulnerable parts that explored the discovery process of creating a new work without knowing what it might become or what its real value might be. The beauty of creative work is that sometimes it does take 3 or more pages of notes to come up with a title like Grim Fandango, while other times it takes an instant to begin riffing on the major plot points of a major story. It was refreshing to see the truth of the work rather than the mystique that is often marketed as creativity.

I backed this project simply for the joy of knowing that I had helped a real artist make something new. I've never been a huge adventure game player. Still, I do think that the core of adventure games (story, discovery, character development, dramatic conflict resolution) tickles a specific pleasure center for those who enjoy exploring creative worlds. There is a remnant of this core in games like Mass Effect, Bioshock, Uncharted and Psychonauts that gives their branching story structures plausability.

It was exciting to hear that you are considering a game that centers around a boy and a girl in parallel. I'm hoping that you find a way to make both characters playable protagonists in their own rights, equally challenging and appropriately distinct. Though it is probably asking too much to expect gender roles to be central to the plotting of the game, it would be great to see some modern gender equality in an adventure game.

As to the puzzle question, I remember coming to a point while playing Riven at which I realized that I hated trying to figure out the combination to someone else's locker. I know that a lot of adventure game players loved those kinds of puzzles. I was just that guy who would rather take a pair of bolt cutters to the lock than spend hours finessing the dial or keyhole. The puzzle types that intrigued me more were of the deductive reasoning sort that were gestalts of clues that were littered throughout the game world. Logical word puzzles and riddles were also fun, with a bit of pattern matching sprinkled in for flavour.

The ultimate problem I had with most puzzle games was that once the puzzle had been solved there was no real reason to repeat it (no replay value) because there was only 1 possible solution. It would be great if DFA included puzzles that were kind of like a Rubik's cube: multiple ways to scramble and resolve the puzzle leading to fun and challenging replay for all but the most adept players. For all of its grandeur and fun Portal 2 is still a puzzle game that has a very narrow field of puzzle solutions, resulting in replay only for the sake of nostalgia. Shouldn't playing an adventure game be more like sitting down at a chess board with an unpredictable opponent than like reading a good book?

Anyway, I'll cut my loquacious drivel for now. Thanks again for the great video and best of luck going forward.

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I just love the idea of having the adventure in 2 really different places, you guys should stick to that.

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I think having less difficult pussles might make the game accessible to more people, but I also think the majority of the backers thinks a kit of pussles are essential for a good adventure game. And at the end of the day, you are making this game for the backers and the lovers of adventure games and not the general public.

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Great update. It gives me great confidence about the project that they look so closely at different adventure games, and goes beyond the usual "this looks good so it´s great and puzzles are just to hard" thinking that too many people have today.

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Seeing Tim reminiscing about Grim Fandango was worth 100 bucks alone!

Love the concept already. Totally would love to be a part of this. Hey Tim, please hire me!

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Great episode. I think the setup for the story is pretty interesting so far. I realize it could change at this point but I still like it. Just so long as it doesn't get too much like Spider-Man: Edge of Time, I think it could be an interesting hook.

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I feel like I have gotten my money's worth already, with the Backer Forum and just two update videos. Thanks, Double Fine guys. You have brought back the nostalgia in my life of playing those old point and click adventure games and still wanting more today. Just thanks!

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Thanks, wonderful video again.

About puzzles, it's a long time ago, but one of them that has become part of me is from a King's Quest game where you have to pass boiling hot water. SPOILER NEXT In the vicinity of it was a vegetable garden with weeping tomatoes and iceberg lettuce. I got stuck at this place for at least three weeks until I finally saw the solution. This learned me that thinking out of the box is someting that is very useful and entertaining.

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As far as puzzles go the best way to do them is to make them logical. Totally crazy sure, but logical.

Also there needs to be some incremental way to advance through a puzzle. So the player doesn't feels stuck.

For example. You are in a room with a locked door you can't reach and you need to get out. The key is hidden in the room among other keys.

Step 1 find the right key. Step 2 find a way to open the door with it. That way you are happy you make some progress when you solve step 1 and really happy when finish step 2. Of course there are ways to do this. I'll make example of the extremes.

1) If there is only one step and you don't have any ideas you are stuck, you make no progress, you get frustrated and you are not having any fun.

2) If there are to many steps:

- the key for that door is several hours in the game earlier or later

- the key has no visual reference to link it to the door

- the unreachable door is only reachable if you solve some other puzzle several "rooms"/"dimensions" away and there is no visual reference to help you "see" what you are doing

In the case of example 2 the game becomes a dice roll.

Grim Fandango has this type of puzzles. Do you remember when you had to use the Deck of Cards on the Paper Puncher to make holes in the cards. You would than use one card(which now had holes to let the air go through it) to momentarily stop a message going through a pressure tube so you can read it to get a good client for your job.

In this example above the paper puncher is on a floor and the message room is in the basement. The playing cards are in another room. There is no connection between the playing cards(they might have been tarot cards actually) and the paper puncher. So you have to randomly use the playing cards on a paper puncher and use them to read a message that is on another floor in the building to advance the game. THAT is the worst type of puzzle possible. If you are some king of adventure genius and totally saw through it good for you. Go win a Noble prize or something.

But for me, a reasonably intelligent guy it made no sense. I was stuck for so long that eventually i just did the absolute solution to any puzzle. Combine everything with everything. And that sucks big time. i don't want to do that in this adventure game.

Please Tim DO NOT do that. Pretty please. Seriously. Don't.

Also don't do example 1) either. Somewhere in the middle is perfect. At least thats what i think.

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Woah. This one was better than the first one.

And yeah, the approach I'm taking to this project is more of a "expect nothing in specific, just something awesome". And I feel I'm not the only one here. If it's a weird love story? that's great. If it's the tale of two brothers, that's awesome too. And if it ends up having nothing to do with what Tim talked about in this episode, that's still wonderful!

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I have to admit that I was a bit afraid to watch this video, because there was the possibility that I wouldn't agree with the direction the game was going. When I did watch it, I was really reassured by the things that people, especially Tim, were saying. Unsurprisingly, it felt like he really had a grasp on what I liked about adventure games.

Then we came to Tim's sketch of the girl and boy, and I was instantly blown away. I was suddenly excited for this project in a way that I haven't really been before now. I think that this seed of an idea is amazing, and I'm really looking forward to seeing it filled out into a game. The only thing is that I'm not completely sure whether I want to watch the rest of the videos as they come out. I sort of want to be surprised when the game finally comes out.

I probably won't be able to help myself, though.

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I'm excited about this project and i love the documentary videos, too =)

I'm an indy game developer myself mostly still working on client projects to pay the bills (i won´t rate what i think of some of em since they pay the bills =) ... oh, who am i kidding, they are all great!!! =) ), hope some day i get it together to work on an adventure game i´d be scared of working on being worried if anyone would finance or buy it despite that =)

Keep it up, you motivate and inspire me =)

Also: its kinda funny (though also stupid, but hey, funny =) ) that my username forces the layout to change, hm, maybe i should make it even longer..

=D

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I really like the idea of the duel stories taking place simultaneously. Especially if they're in two entirely different genre settings as we're hearing. When this whole project started, I meant to throw out the suggestion that Schaefer do a sci-fi setting game, since he had't done one yet. Looks like that idea must have been in the ether somewhere because that's at least partly happening.

Personally, I'd love to have the option to switch back and forth between the characters at will. It allows for more freedom to the player. Plus, it will remind them a bit of one of their most beloved LucasArts games, Day of the Tentacle. Whether the boy and the girl characters can trade between each other is another question. Given the entirely different settings, that might be a bit too tricky.

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