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Levering_2pp

Sidequest: “It's All Coming Back To Me”

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At 16:28, Tim is asked whether he's thinking about allowing the user to switch between the characters manually. He responds with:

"Well, we just have two playable characters in the first game."

Did I miss something and are there multiple games planned, or was it a simple mistake, or did he accidentally give away a little secret?

Totally missed that, but just checked he really does say that. Slip of the tongue or something weirder? Hmm...

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Yeah, one of the first video posts I believe Tim mentioned some game story ideas I think. Sounds pretty cool.

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Generally speaking, I think the Full Throttle/CMI-style pop-up is a good middle ground for the interface - there's also the Monkey Island 2 SE version, which collectively represents the entire verb bar, but only shows commands relevant to the selected object.

That said, it depends entirely on what works for the game in question - and simpler interfaces don't necessarily mean less complex games. And it's not like it's a new thing - the two first Broken Sword games had context sensitive left click, with right clicking to examine, and I wouldn't accuse them of being "overly simplified". You can argue that it technically limits the ways in which you interact with the game - but it's a matter of how you construct the puzzles around the given interface.

Again, I'm not anti-verbs (although I'm really not interested in having 1/3 of the screen filled by it - looking back, it's an astonishing amount of real estate to steal away from the actual game world), but I'd never insist on a full, early-SCUMM-style interface just because that's how we rolled in the '90s.

I absolutely love the original Broken Sword but the streamlined, cinematic feel to it was a big part of the game design. You didn't want George to goof around and make wisecracks about how turning on an armed thug was a silly idea, you wanted to see him do sensible things and progress the story. They also balanced it by adding a few things that you could interact with but didn't work -- trying to climb a gutter but breaking it instead etc. I think it worked great for that but I don't think that's what Double Fine are going for here. I could live with context-sensitive clicking but really I think they should have pick up, use and look verbs at the very least if they want to keep the fun, experimental tone.

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At 16:28, Tim is asked whether he's thinking about allowing the user to switch between the characters manually. He responds with:

"Well, we just have two playable characters in the first game."

Did I miss something and are there multiple games planned, or was it a simple mistake, or did he accidentally give away a little secret?

Totally missed that, but just checked he really does say that. Slip of the tongue or something weirder? Hmm...

The impression I got from that was that he was saying that in the original design of DOTT, players were overwhelmed being able to swap between THREE characters and wander around the entire mansion with them right off the bat. It was too much to take in all up front.

So here he mentions having just two playable characters, presumably suggesting that it wouldn't be quite as confusing as three playable characters, and then suggests he'd like it if you could choose which character to "start with".

Also note that "the first game" can easily mean "the aforementioned game".

Also note that "the new game" is a very general term. There are several *new games* going on in DF right now, including DFA, The Cave, and multiple unannounced/secret projects. So "first game" could just mean "not any of our other new games". It could just be that DFA is at the top of some kind of mental checklist of current projects.

Also note, taking development into consideration, that "the first game" can easily mean "the first iteration of the new DFA game".

I doubt it means that there are multiples DFAs planned.

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A great video on Tim's thoughts of one of his old games

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I think the verb menu is based around producing that English action sentence like Tim described. Select verb then select object (eg. "eat [the] cat").

Selecting the object first and then using a context menu to select the verb is equally valid (it reflects the normal sentence structure in languages like Japanese) and I think it's more efficient/logical/intuitive for this kind of interface. I do think you need a few gag options though!

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Really sausagey. I love the parts where Tim lambasts the minor art issues, but more importantly I like how he's frustrated by the clunky UI and interaction hacks of old. Because it ensures that Double Fine will really add something more and bring the genre forward.

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I absolutely love the original Broken Sword but the streamlined, cinematic feel to it was a big part of the game design. You didn't want George to goof around and make wisecracks about how turning on an armed thug was a silly idea, you wanted to see him do sensible things and progress the story. They also balanced it by adding a few things that you could interact with but didn't work -- trying to climb a gutter but breaking it instead etc. I think it worked great for that but I don't think that's what Double Fine are going for here. I could live with context-sensitive clicking but really I think they should have pick up, use and look verbs at the very least if they want to keep the fun, experimental tone.

Interface being a big part of the game design was exactly my point, and you illustrate quite well how it was integrated in Broken Sword. We really don't know much about this game yet - all we have is whatever expectations we brought into this, and our own interpretations of a couple of comments made in the documentary thus far.

And sometimes it seems that a not insignificant amount of people - and I'm not at all implying that you're one of them - have translated the phrase "Old school point'n'click adventure game by Tim Schafer" into "Lucasarts adventure game circa 1993".

All that aside, I do agree that - with basically nothing to go on yet - an interface with at least a basic amount of actions available seems the more interesting route. I'm just saying that, if they did make it a one- or two-click interface, I'd feel fairly confident they did it because it was what worked best with the style and feel of the story and game they're making.

This opportunity for feedback is cool - but in the end I want a Double Fine game, made exactly as they think it should be made.

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A bit of topic, but can someone tell me why I cant watch the videos under Firefox? (11 to 13)

If I use IE they work fine, also work fine on Vimeo website with apparently the same player. :P

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I miss the old general purpose "look" command that would describe the room you were in and any important objects in the room. More importantly, it solves the same problem on the iPad that text-only adventures did. Another poster mentioned switching between a "search" mode to locate hit areas and an "interact" mode. I think both of the options serve the same purpose which is to reveal to players what they can interact with in a way that isn't gratuitous. I feel that some sort of "look" that describes a room would add a new of interaction to the game. The game engine could add new text when a new object appears, disappears, or moves. It could make a hint more obvious after the user has clicked every quadrant of the screen. It could ask you why you're wasting your time in a room when you have everything you need.

Which leads me to why verbs are important. I don't think there's any way around having to make the items somewhat obvious to locate. Pixel hunting can be frustrating and there are other, more interesting ways to reveal where they are. Using object->verb is a great strategy but I think a lot of considerations could be made about how it would work. The game engine should only show verbs that have dialog written for them. This would be huge in play testing to help figure out where things need to be more flushed out. The verbs could be more focused on really hard interactions to direct the player in a certain direction. More verbs could be added to a second interaction that is just about being fun and silly.

Dialog trees fit well into these ideas. I just played through Jane Jensen's Gray Matter and enjoyed the dialog trees there quite a bit. I think it gives the developer an opportunity to find out if the player is on track or not. Players should be encouraged to pick a "best" answer in a dialog tree; I love the feeling of saying the right thing that causes a character to reveal something that makes me realize that character knows something about some other puzzle then seeing how another line of dialog will take you down that path even more. The dialog itself should feel like a puzzle even when it's not. I think game engine development has gotten to a point where designers should have tools that help them see how dialog trees relate to the larger game, what dependencies they have, and what puzzles they reference. Good game tools will make a lot of what I'm saying very obvious.

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Great side-quest, but I wish the 2PP would stop asking Tim questions. I'm more interested in seeing his reactions to a game I know so very well, then him having to stop every two minutes to answer questions like "Why so many verbs?". *sigh*

Maybe in part two they'll let him focus on the game.

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I was thinking the verbcoin could be like this.

b5jl92.jpg

Or if more verbs are needed, then perhaps something like a starshaped verbcoin with the same principles as above.

esj7fk.jpg

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At 16:28, Tim is asked whether he's thinking about allowing the user to switch between the characters manually. He responds with:

"Well, we just have two playable characters in the first game."

Did I miss something and are there multiple games planned, or was it a simple mistake, or did he accidentally give away a little secret?

Totally missed that, but just checked he really does say that. Slip of the tongue or something weirder? Hmm...

The impression I got from that was that he was saying that in the original design of DOTT, players were overwhelmed being able to swap between THREE characters and wander around the entire mansion with them right off the bat. It was too much to take in all up front.

So here he mentions having just two playable characters, presumably suggesting that it wouldn't be quite as confusing as three playable characters, and then suggests he'd like it if you could choose which character to "start with".

Also note that "the first game" can easily mean "the aforementioned game".

Also note that "the new game" is a very general term. There are several *new games* going on in DF right now, including DFA, The Cave, and multiple unannounced/secret projects. So "first game" could just mean "not any of our other new games". It could just be that DFA is at the top of some kind of mental checklist of current projects.

Also note, taking development into consideration, that "the first game" can easily mean "the first iteration of the new DFA game".

I doubt it means that there are multiples DFAs planned.

Well, you say that, but here's the entire exchange:

"Are you thinking about that for the new game?"

"Well, we just have two playable characters in the first game, so I would love to give the player the choice of which one to start with, to make the stories completely symmetrical, I think that's important."

We already know you get to choose the characters in the Cave (and that's Ron's game) so he's not talking about that. And there are 7 playable characters in that one. In that last bit he definitely seems to be talking about DFA - two playable characters, two symmetrical stories like he was talking about in the last episode.

It also doesn't really make sense for "first game" to mean "aforementioned game" in that context, because the aforementioned game was DOTT which had three playable characters, and one playable character at the start. And his use of the word 'just' as in 'we just have two' implies 'in comparison to the three that we had in DOTT' The only way I can make sense of that sentencein that context is if 'the first game' refers to DFA, which means the only plausible possibilities are either:

1) He has a vague idea there could be more than one game. It could be something he's toying with.

2) He meant 'first part of the game' - maybe there are more characters later, but I doubt that's what they're going for.

3) He just didn't mean to say 'first game', it was a slip of the tongue.

4) Some editing of the video made it so that his use of 'first game' doesn't make sense, but it did when he said it. For example, if the unedited version went something "Well, DFA and DOTT both use multiple characters, but we just have two playable characters in the first game" then it could, as you say, plausibly mean 'aformentioned game'.

So it's a pretty open question, I'd say.

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It's a good adventure game player skill to carefully listen to what people say for clues, but in this case I think this was over-analyzed.

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I was thinking the verbcoin could be like this.

b5jl92.jpg

Or if more verbs are needed, then perhaps something like a starshaped verbcoin with the same principles as above.

esj7fk.jpg

Nicely done, I'd want something like this to :D.

To go on a bit of a related tangent. I feel the difference for me now and when I used to play these older games is: Now, I'm no longer as willing to slog through large amounts of non-content to get to the actual content. I mean, I dread the thought of having to try 12 verbs on every object and getting 10 versions of "No/Nu-uh/That won't work" for the two actual context-sensitive responses.

This is why a verbcoin works for me, because it simply shows you the options that have content (even if that content is just funny failure line).

On dialogue trees, I've got to say I feel the same way. It's fine if the dialogue is like portal, and every line is a comedic or dramatic masterpiece. But I dread the thought of having to slog through walls of boring or half-funny text to get to the few gems buried underneath. I'm not sure if there's an easy answer there though.

You can't keep up 'portal-level' writing every second of gameplay, just like you can't have an action film where every second is violence or a comedy film where every line is a joke. Audiences need breaks, to catch their breath, to experience the atmosphere and enjoy what's going on. In a game like portal or bioware-rpg's they work because there's fighting/platforming/portal-puzzling in between. This lets the actual talking part be as intense or funny as they can make it.

In an adventure game dialogue/monologue is the primary way the game interacts with the player (I mean, it's just pictures and text right?). Which is why I'm not sure how you could solve this problem. I feel in the past, the solution was to just add lots of filler text. Not so much poorly written text, but just dialogue that wasn't particularly funny or did much more then inform you "this is a clock/this character is silly". But as I said, nowadays I don't feel as willing to go through large amounts of exposition to get to the few lines that make me laugh or think or cry.

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At 16:28, Tim is asked whether he's thinking about allowing the user to switch between the characters manually. He responds with:

"Well, we just have two playable characters in the first game."

Did I miss something and are there multiple games planned, or was it a simple mistake, or did he accidentally give away a little secret?

Totally missed that, but just checked he really does say that. Slip of the tongue or something weirder? Hmm...

The impression I got from that was that he was saying that in the original design of DOTT, players were overwhelmed being able to swap between THREE characters and wander around the entire mansion with them right off the bat. It was too much to take in all up front.

So here he mentions having just two playable characters, presumably suggesting that it wouldn't be quite as confusing as three playable characters, and then suggests he'd like it if you could choose which character to "start with".

Also note that "the first game" can easily mean "the aforementioned game".

Also note that "the new game" is a very general term. There are several *new games* going on in DF right now, including DFA, The Cave, and multiple unannounced/secret projects. So "first game" could just mean "not any of our other new games". It could just be that DFA is at the top of some kind of mental checklist of current projects.

Also note, taking development into consideration, that "the first game" can easily mean "the first iteration of the new DFA game".

I doubt it means that there are multiples DFAs planned.

i admit, that maniac mansion have overwhelmed me precisely, because of the ridiculous amount of options at the beginning. i think that gemini rue did it perfectly. first introduce the two characters separately and once player is familiar with them, give him the option of controlling whichever one they chose, especially if they get stuck with one of them.

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To go on a bit of a related tangent. I feel the difference for me now and when I used to play these older games is: Now, I'm no longer as willing to slog through large amounts of non-content to get to the actual content. I mean, I dread the thought of having to try 12 verbs on every object and getting 10 versions of "No/Nu-uh/That won't work" for the two actual context-sensitive responses.

This is why a verbcoin works for me, because it simply shows you the options that have content (even if that content is just funny failure line).

Context-sensitivity is a must. It either needs to be a logical verb for the object or a verb obviously meant as a pun in interaction with the object.

In order to make a broader appeal I think there should be two different modes for a verbcoin. One called "Classic" and one "Normal" or "Simple". The basic difference being that one requires a specific verb among many (context-sensitive ofc) to progress, while the other has unified verbs, like "Use" for those who prefer a faster pace and who don't like the additional challenge and reward of verbs.

On dialogue trees, I've got to say I feel the same way. It's fine if the dialogue is like portal, and every line is a comedic or dramatic masterpiece. But I dread the thought of having to slog through walls of boring or half-funny text to get to the few gems buried underneath. I'm not sure if there's an easy answer there though.

You can't keep up 'portal-level' writing every second of gameplay, just like you can't have an action film where every second is violence or a comedy film where every line is a joke. Audiences need breaks, to catch their breath, to experience the atmosphere and enjoy what's going on. In a game like portal or bioware-rpg's they work because there's fighting/platforming/portal-puzzling in between. This lets the actual talking part be as intense or funny as they can make it.

In an adventure game dialogue/monologue is the primary way the game interacts with the player (I mean, it's just pictures and text right?). Which is why I'm not sure how you could solve this problem. I feel in the past, the solution was to just add lots of filler text. Not so much poorly written text, but just dialogue that wasn't particularly funny or did much more then inform you "this is a clock/this character is silly". But as I said, nowadays I don't feel as willing to go through large amounts of exposition to get to the few lines that make me laugh or think or cry.

There could be an option for that though. Like one limiting the amount of lines to 3 perhaps. Since the filler-dialogue isn't an essential contributor to progress, there could easily be a choice in whether wanting a more trimmed down dialogue tree or the unhinged one.

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I'm sure this has already been said countless times before but I'll say it again anyway cause that's just how I am :)

Please try using ScummVM on Android/WebOS/iOS devices.

It really does give you some unique insights into how well/poorly some elements from Point and Click Adventure games translate from PC/Mac to touch based devices.

Things I've personally noticed:

1) The DIG on screen inventory icon is easier to use on these devices vs. the Full Throttle/Curse Right Click (which on touch devices is usually a gesture)

2) The Full Throttle/Curse verb coin is a nice way of interacting with objects BUT can be difficult to bring up at times.

3) Big Inventory screens are nice for navigation but you need an easy way to open/close them. Curse/Full Throttle on WebOS for example can be difficult to close the inventory without losing the item you had just selected.

I hope Tim and crew will give playing these games on touch based devices a try because honestly it really will have an affect.

Great video as always guys and gals!

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I'm sure this has already been said countless times before but I'll say it again anyway cause that's just how I am :)

Please try using ScummVM on Android/WebOS/iOS devices.

It really does give you some unique insights into how well/poorly some elements from Point and Click Adventure games translate from PC/Mac to touch based devices.

Things I've personally noticed:

1) The DIG on screen inventory icon is easier to use on these devices vs. the Full Throttle/Curse Right Click (which on touch devices is usually a gesture)

2) The Full Throttle/Curse verb coin is a nice way of interacting with objects BUT can be difficult to bring up at times.

3) Big Inventory screens are nice for navigation but you need an easy way to open/close them. Curse/Full Throttle on WebOS for example can be difficult to close the inventory without losing the item you had just selected.

I hope Tim and crew will give playing these games on touch based devices a try because honestly it really will have an affect.

Great video as always guys and gals!

DFA does not use SCUMM as its engine, thus it cant be run with SCUMMVM. neither it is going to use AGI or SCI, which are also supported by SCUMMVM.

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Sorry but I believe you have misunderstood; I am referring to playing older Point and Click adventure games (like say the DIG or Full Throttle) on a tablet device using ScummVM. This is fully supported via ScummVM for Android/WebOS/iOS and would give the developers a good idea of what might work/doesn't work for the UI on tablet devices .

One example of a UI that doesn't translate well to touch based devices is Sam & Max Hit the Road. If you try playing it on a touchpad you quickly find that the interface is cumbersome with a gesture based "right click". Contrast that with say the Full Throttle Verb Coin and you can quickly see why one works vs the other.

I'm sure this has already been said countless times before but I'll say it again anyway cause that's just how I am :)

Please try using ScummVM on Android/WebOS/iOS devices.

It really does give you some unique insights into how well/poorly some elements from Point and Click Adventure games translate from PC/Mac to touch based devices.

Things I've personally noticed:

1) The DIG on screen inventory icon is easier to use on these devices vs. the Full Throttle/Curse Right Click (which on touch devices is usually a gesture)

2) The Full Throttle/Curse verb coin is a nice way of interacting with objects BUT can be difficult to bring up at times.

3) Big Inventory screens are nice for navigation but you need an easy way to open/close them. Curse/Full Throttle on WebOS for example can be difficult to close the inventory without losing the item you had just selected.

I hope Tim and crew will give playing these games on touch based devices a try because honestly it really will have an affect.

Great video as always guys and gals!

DFA does not use SCUMM as its engine, thus it cant be run with SCUMMVM. neither it is going to use AGI or SCI, which are also supported by SCUMMVM.

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+1 to verb coins. Also in the iOS/Droid version if you make it so that when your finger passes over the object it lights up and you have to hold your finger on the object to make a verb coin appear would that be annoying? Because if it isn't that could be an answer to the problem. Most probably some better ones but that was my $ 0.02.

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If you enjoyed this, you should really check out the Two Guys From Andromeda's site. They've been doing similar commentaries on all 6 Space Quest games, and it's been really fascinating.

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It's a good adventure game player skill to carefully listen to what people say for clues, but in this case I think this was over-analyzed.
I'd say it was analysed exactly the right amount. Something was pointed out, and a few possibilities were discussed, with no particular weight being given to any particular possibility because of lack of data. Sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

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It's a good adventure game player skill to carefully listen to what people say for clues, but in this case I think this was over-analyzed.
I'd say it was analysed exactly the right amount. Something was pointed out, and a few possibilities were discussed, with no particular weight being given to any particular possibility because of lack of data. Sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

Lets combine our forces, and we'll over-under-justright-analyze things.

Fun pills and sleds to everyone. :)

Smiles

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It's a good adventure game player skill to carefully listen to what people say for clues, but in this case I think this was over-analyzed.
I'd say it was analysed exactly the right amount. Something was pointed out, and a few possibilities were discussed, with no particular weight being given to any particular possibility because of lack of data. Sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

Lets combine our forces, and we'll over-under-justright-analyze things.

Fun pills and sleds to everyone. :)

Smiles

Oooh, let's analyze how we analyze :)

Actually, it all fine, only difference of opinion. I just don't think Tim et al. should feel they now have to carefully choose every word they say. This is another one of those cases no one would change their mind, and it's minor, so i suggest we leave this side-discussion as-is.

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It's a good adventure game player skill to carefully listen to what people say for clues, but in this case I think this was over-analyzed.
I'd say it was analysed exactly the right amount. Something was pointed out, and a few possibilities were discussed, with no particular weight being given to any particular possibility because of lack of data. Sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

Lets combine our forces, and we'll over-under-justright-analyze things.

Fun pills and sleds to everyone. :)

Smiles

Oooh, let's analyze how we analyze :)

Actually, it all fine, only difference of opinion. I just don't think Tim et al. should feel they now have to carefully choose every word they say. This is another one of those cases no one would change their mind, and it's minor, so i suggest we leave this side-discussion as-is.

No that's fine. I'm not looking for an argument, I was just saying that I don't think anyone was getting unduly conspiratorial about it, we just pointed out 'huh, look at that, that's a weird thing to say, it could be something or nothing.' Sure, I drilled down into it a little bit, but I don't think any of us want to make a particular fuss about it :)

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