Sign in to follow this  
DF Chris Remo

Episode 8: "Adventure Games Are Not Dead"

Recommended Posts

Hey DF devs!

Just a quick idea for HOFs - have everyone record their session with Fraps - then players won't loose time trying to reproduce bugs, they could just start new record (2 button presses), reload and continue, and later maybe attach the file to a bugreport. Or even simply copy all videos in one folder at the end of HOF - if there's more than one file from user - then there were bugs at the end of extra files.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

By inviting the viewers into the Double Fine office you are putting a (friendly) face on the industry, and it's really nice to see! Still, it's a question of balancing the personal/private and the professional/game related, I think. I must agree with some of the other backers that some of the scenes in the documentary are wandering a bit of topic (the making af DFA).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I cant see why you wouldn wanna do another kickstarter someday.

At any rate i hope they choose either by kickstarter or other means to do more point n click because now they have the engine all made, it will make the next game in this genre easier, because now they have the basics in place and can improve on the engine and make the game.

But i do hope they consider some of those games that was made in amnesia fortnight, either kickstarter or something.

Many companies these days seems to have this idea that games has to be big, has to take 200 people or 600 and cost millions and millions of dollars.

But look at Minecraft. sure its very rarely like that, but a lot of my best game experiences ive had for the last couple of years are actually from small indie games, made by 1-5 people cost maybe 100-300.000$ dollars.

Just look how Portal started as a small game then it evolved to a big one, but it didn have to.

But yeah an ideal game for Double Fine would probably be something that could keep earning money with some updating with content.

Imagine if you had like editor / sandbox point n click where it was easy to important assets and make your own point n click, even with stuff like that and needed the basic game or tool would keep selling and earn them.

It reminds me actually of way way back, i think it was with my first big PC an IBM, there was this 2d drawing program included, i cannot remember what it was called, but it was included in the software / game packaged that also had Hyperman game.

But that drawing problem, you could like move figures around and make easy and hilarious films. Always kinda dreamed about something simple for making your own Point N Click.then you would even have as more people add assets like steam workshop then more and more people could create stuff the bigger the database with assets grow.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure what to make about some of these complaints that the documentary is not going into enough detail. I think this is the most transparent game development process that's ever happened in the history of games, so to say that we asked 2pp to "tone it down" is...well I just don't know how to respond to that. It's just not true. We've only ever asked 2pp to refrain from story or puzzle spoilers, or things that might get us sued or otherwise put the business in serious peril, and I stand by that decision. Other than that, we're discussing some pretty sensitive topics, like budget and schedule, on a project that's at a point where you would NEVER usually hear public and frank discussion about budget and schedule.

This episode showed each new team member and described what they were working on. I think that's a great snapshot of the production. Going into more detail than that is the kind of thing better left to our forum posts. I'll admit those fell off as we got swamped in the last couple months, but we will do better about regular posts from now on.

I know there was a a bunch of stuff in there in my house and about my car, but that wasn't at the expense of any detail--the episode was extra long to compensate for this. And a lot of people enjoyed it!

If there are some details you feel you are missing out on, please send those requests to Greg or Chris in case they can turn that info into a forum post, or 2pp could make a side quest about it.

2pp have chosen to tell the human side of game development. What the team goes through--their creative process, the tough decisions they have to make, and how it affects them. I think the documentary does that extremely well, and I'm glad that they are sticking with that path. I hope most of you are enjoying the episodes for what they are trying to do!

Thanks,

Tim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Not sure what to make about some of these complaints that the documentary is not going into enough detail. I think this is the most transparent game development process that's ever happened in the history of games, so to say that we asked 2pp to "tone it down" is...well I just don't know how to respond to that. It's just not true. We've only ever asked 2pp to refrain from story or puzzle spoilers, or things that might get us sued or otherwise put the business in serious peril, and I stand by that decision. Other than that, we're discussing some pretty sensitive topics, like budget and schedule, on a project that's at a point where you would NEVER usually hear public and frank discussion about budget and schedule.

This episode showed each new team member and described what they were working on. I think that's a great snapshot of the production. Going into more detail than that is the kind of thing better left to our forum posts. I'll admit those fell off as we got swamped in the last couple months, but we will do better about regular posts from now on.

I know there was a a bunch of stuff in there in my house and about my car, but that wasn't at the expense of any detail--the episode was extra long to compensate for this. And a lot of people enjoyed it!

If there are some details you feel you are missing out on, please send those requests to Greg or Chris in case they can turn that info into a forum post, or 2pp could make a side quest about it.

2pp have chosen to tell the human side of game development. What the team goes through--their creative process, the tough decisions they have to make, and how it affects them. I think the documentary does that extremely well, and I'm glad that they are sticking with that path. I hope most of you are enjoying the episodes for what they are trying to do!

Thanks,

Tim

Indeed we enjoy them Tim, very much. If only they were more frequent! I think that this is what has annoyed some of the backers.

And of course Perosnally and I think most of us do not want spoilers. So the level of detaill revealed until know is very good. Keep up the good work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am absolutely loving the episodes. In regards to the level of detail, backers could have gotten as much as they wanted from Amnesia Fortnight. The documentary doesn't need to cover "I worked on shading this area for three hours." Design decisions are fun to watch take form, but it would also spoil game elements.

I think it would be a great thing for Double Fine to sell (or otherwise make available to a wider audience) the documentary once the game is released. I think there's lots for others to enjoy and learn.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my opinion the latest episode wasn't the best one but nonetheless i enjoyed it a lot. I'm fine with the mix between showing the development process plus also getting some more personal insights about the people involved into the development. I mean i had to laugh when i was watching how Tim was driving with John Romero, i wouldn't have minded some more kilometers with cameras attached to the front shield and showing John grinning whilst Tim tries to be funny and staying alive. Sorry. ;O)

I also found it very generous that he was letting the camera into his house and showing some of his private sphere. I wouldn't want the internet to watch my house/family. At least it would take time to get used to it but i guess they had to go through a similar process.

Sometimes it would have been nice getting a closer insight on the dev process, like with Amnesia Fortnight, when you were able to watch someone working on a specific job. I don't know why this is fascinating, especially if you're developing on your own, but somehow it is.

The only thing i really miss is getting a second talk between Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert. I think the initial talk between them was one of the best videos. A little bit more Ron would be awesome, i don't mean that watching the rest of the team is boring at all, it's just very special for someone who adores point&click; adventure games since his youth.

Anyway i always thought that the documentation is an strong aspect about this production but it turned out to be even better than expected. So Kudos to 2PP and DF! :o)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only thing i really miss is getting a second talk between Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert. I think the initial talk between them was one of the best videos. A little bit more Ron would be awesome, i don't mean that watching the rest of the team is boring at all, it's just very special for someone who adores point&click; adventure games since his youth.

I think Ron left DF after finishing The Cave so unfortunately it's unlikely!

Agreed on all your points though. And with regards to following the dev process for specific tasks, I think some more sidequests on that could be good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I mostly agree with Mr. Schafers comment. I can't think of another example where a developer of a game lets you watch the making of a game.

But I don't think it's the best thing to show "too much" of the "human side" of development and I can tell you why. I saw "Indie Game - The Movie" and I had high expectations for that movie. But in the end, it was just a "reality episode" of all that stuff that's on TV and tries to be dramatic and is just scripted. I hate those things. I don't want to know what Person X ate at Day Y for lunch. I want to know what they're doing, what problems they encounter and what they do to achieve their goals. Indie Game the Movie did not do that and it is an example how not to do it, in my opinion.

The RED documentary, on the other hand, does it better. Much more information but sometimes it feels as if something is missing. Something like that typical problems you encounter during development. For example, a programmer telling about a function that didn't make sense or had the game break or something... I really like that in-deep look.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The documentary doesn't need to cover "I worked on shading this area for three hours."

Yeah, I think this is what those people would want to see more of. It was great in AF and would be fine in a Sidequest kinda thing, but really wouldn't fit the actual documentary and would take up large amounts of screentime. Not that there's any limit on how many minutes of video 2PP can publish... I guess they could just take a camera and film some (willing) dev doing dev things and just throw that video up with very little editing/post-production effort.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Slick Beef

Yep, i agree the side quests sound like the appropriate format.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For what it's worth: Now that the cloud colony is as fleshed out as it is, I'm hoping we can carve out some time during our upcoming visit(s) to put together a more technical sidequest about some of the programming problem solving that went into its development. To be clear, this is not a firm promise, just a statement of intent to let you know that we hear you on that issue and are thinking about it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think this is my fave episode so far. :) It was great to watch the bits with the team's feedback on the game, kinda wish it was longer, but I don't wanna be spoiled either. It was fun to see John Romero's and Tim's cars. Also, 'grats to Tim for losing the weight; I know how difficult that is!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
For what it's worth: Now that the cloud colony is as fleshed out as it is, I'm hoping we can carve out some time during our upcoming visit(s) to put together a more technical sidequest about some of the programming problem solving that went into its development. To be clear, this is not a firm promise, just a statement of intent to let you know that we hear you on that issue and are thinking about it.

That would be awesome.

I have loved every part of this documentary so far, but it does seem to me that it'd be lacking a little if we didn't get to hear a bit more about the programming side. It's probably a bit harder to make interesting than the art side of things but it is a game after all and the programming is a massive part.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The only thing i really miss is getting a second talk between Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert. I think the initial talk between them was one of the best videos. A little bit more Ron would be awesome, i don't mean that watching the rest of the team is boring at all, it's just very special for someone who adores point&click; adventure games since his youth.

This got me thinking that it would be an excellent way for the documentary to end, with a post-mortem of the game by Tim and Ron. I'd love to hear what Ron thinks of the game from a mostly outsider's view as well what Tim thinks of the end result of the whole project. I think it would be a nice bookend for the whole thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think one of the reasons why this episode remains somewhat unsatisfactory isn't 2PP's fault at all. They couldn't have done anything about it without pushing the release of the episode back for indefinitely longer. Because while the viewer gets to know about the various attempts by DF to get out of their money troubles with Reds, Episode 8 doesn't tell if these attempts paid off. And it couldn't, because there was no way to tell at that point in time. For example with Brütal Legend PC: the scene with the business guy was filmed before the port was released, so it still remained unclear how much it would help with the budget.

I think this is one reason why as part of the narrative Episode 8 is somewhat unsatisfying. Episode 7 gave us this big cliffhanger, and in Episode 8 we're still left hanging. The payoff is lacking. Maybe that's a problem with the process (releasing the episodes semi-monthly based on current events) or the very narrative-driven format, I dunno. Maybe issues like this could be rectified in a feature film cut after the story has run its course. Just an idea. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think one of the reasons why this episode remains somewhat unsatisfactory isn't 2PP's fault at all. They couldn't have done anything about it without pushing the release of the episode back for indefinitely longer. Because while the viewer gets to know about the various attempts by DF to get out of their money troubles with Reds, Episode 8 doesn't tell if these attempts paid off. And it couldn't, because there was no way to tell at that point in time. For example with Brütal Legend PC: the scene with the business guy was filmed before the port was released, so it still remained unclear how much it would help with the budget.

I think this is one reason why as part of the narrative Episode 8 is somewhat unsatisfying. Episode 7 gave us this big cliffhanger, and in Episode 8 we're still left hanging. The payoff is lacking. Maybe that's a problem with the process (releasing the episodes semi-monthly based on current events) or the very narrative-driven format, I dunno. Maybe issues like this could be rectified in a feature film cut after the story has run its course. Just an idea. :)

But many of the issues you're talking about just don't have clean cut moment where the problem is solved and we brush the dust off our hands and say, "Well, next problem!" Like the issue with Bagel and the art direction of the project. It's not like some singular moment happened where that all got fixed. We just tried some stuff and it got better, then we tried more stuff and it got better, then we tried some stuff and now it's pretty good. But it was a gradual process and not something you can wrap up in half an hour like on a scripted tv show.

Same with the money. There isn't just one solution there, but many different things we have to do. Each episode shows a snapshot of where the production is, but it's very realistic in showing that. It doesn't try to force tidy resolutions to problems that are, in reality, messy and complex.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure I disagree. I guess it's an issue of expectations, which are raised by the way the documentary is narratively constucted. Since the previous episode ended the way it did, the expectation I had towards the narrative was that we would get a neat resolution. Real life is often much more messy than it's portrayed in fiction, sure, and solutions are rarely as clear cut, but then the documentary is not just relaying information about what happened when and where, but is also ordering, filtering the filmed events in a way that fit a narrative, and therefore it has to be judged as a story as well, I feel.

Now, if the documentary would be edited after all the footage had been shot, after the game is out of the door, then I guess you could much easier edit the footage with a more smoother, less anti-climactic narrative flow. That's just my naive presumption, of course.

I hope I somewhat managed to get my point across. :)

I'm just trying to pinpoint why the latest episode let me down somewhat. I can't fault the quality of the work, because it's great as always. And I'm not sure how it would be lacking in depth, if it does.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I guess it's more an issue of expectations, which were raised by the way the documentary is narratively constucted. Since the previous episode ended the way it did, I guess the expectation I had towards the narrative was that we would get a neat resolution.

I really do think that it has more to do with a lack of recent forum posts, as Tim also mentioned a few posts back. In my opinion this episode addressed quite well how those money & schedule issues are being tackled. What people may be missing are the exact details of these solutions. Elaborating on that would make the documentary episode too long, but I'm guessing that it is also too sensitive for Double Fine to get into the details of those deals, as I got the impression that, for example, the "Korean licensing deal" had nothing to do with Reds. A discussion of how the scope of the game is being reduced would probably involve major spoilers. Justin, the Business Guy, wasn't even privy to that information. In addition, there weren't a lot of in-depth technical details about the development of the game. The documentary has never really focussed on that, but since there haven't been a lot of forum updates (& DF+2PP released a lot of interesting stuff during Amnesia Fortnight), I can understand why people feel this episode was lacking.

I really enjoyed this last episode, though. Very well edited! I really liked the mix of game development, human interest and the HOF at the end! I would love to see some more of the feedback that the rest of the team gave on Reds. I actually missed that part in the wrap-up video for Amnesia Fortnight. Oh, and Tim's daughter is really cute!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My $0.02 here:

It's somewhat baffling that some people talk about the "narrative" of this documentary, "cliffhangers" in episodes, etc.

People...I think you looking at it wrong. 2PP is documenting an actual development process which in itself is very messy, complex and basically "unfilmable" in a typical narrative-focused manner.

Every episode I've seen so far has been great because it shows things as they are, with no artificial "sweetening".

I hope what I wrote makes sense...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My $0.02 here:

It's somewhat baffling that some people talk about the "narrative" of this documentary, "cliffhangers" in episodes, etc.

People...I think you looking at it wrong. 2PP is documenting an actual development process which in itself is very messy, complex and basically "unfilmable" in a typical narrative-focused manner.

Every episode I've seen so far has been great because it shows things as they are, with no artificial "sweetening".

I hope what I wrote makes sense...

Oh there most certainly is a narrative but some people have it backwards. They assume 2PP have chosen a narrative and are looking to edit together footage that fits it. Which would indeed be a bad way of doing it and also more difficult. What is easier, better, and more likely is taking everything that has happened and figuring out the best way to tell a story about it. That's not dishonest, it's the craft turning quite a chaotic process into something that is easily digestible in chunks. And they're so good at their jobs that some people are assuming they have it all worked out in advance. I've seen the same criticism of good Improv, so it doesn't surprise me to see it here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SG pretty much said what I wanted to say about this. So why am I posting this comment? No idea.

Many documentaries will actually have a stronger and more in-your-face narrative than... well, narrative films. The good ones do this organically and honestly, just finding the narrative that innately exists in whatever the thing is they're filming. The bad ones start to slip into "reality show" territory. This one is pretty firmly in the former category. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing I would like to see are dates in each video of when it was reordered, that way we know for sure when each part was shot and how far behind we currently are on the production

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh and one sidequest also would be nice about 2PP themselfes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Not sure what to make about some of these complaints that the documentary

Complaints? are you kidding? This episode was KICK-ASS! Best episode!

For crying out loud it featured John Romero taking Tim for a hell ride!!!! ( for some reason i think he should have put a skull as his gear stick)

p.s. the little girl is super cute!

p.s. Why did you put Greg sitting squashed in the back of the car??! He is like 6'4 feet inch tall!! he doesn't seem to enjoy it!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think one of the reasons why this episode remains somewhat unsatisfactory isn't 2PP's fault at all. They couldn't have done anything about it without pushing the release of the episode back for indefinitely longer. Because while the viewer gets to know about the various attempts by DF to get out of their money troubles with Reds, Episode 8 doesn't tell if these attempts paid off. And it couldn't, because there was no way to tell at that point in time. For example with Brütal Legend PC: the scene with the business guy was filmed before the port was released, so it still remained unclear how much it would help with the budget.

I think this is one reason why as part of the narrative Episode 8 is somewhat unsatisfying. Episode 7 gave us this big cliffhanger, and in Episode 8 we're still left hanging. The payoff is lacking. Maybe that's a problem with the process (releasing the episodes semi-monthly based on current events) or the very narrative-driven format, I dunno. Maybe issues like this could be rectified in a feature film cut after the story has run its course. Just an idea. :)

But many of the issues you're talking about just don't have clean cut moment where the problem is solved and we brush the dust off our hands and say, "Well, next problem!" Like the issue with Bagel and the art direction of the project. It's not like some singular moment happened where that all got fixed. We just tried some stuff and it got better, then we tried more stuff and it got better, then we tried some stuff and now it's pretty good. But it was a gradual process and not something you can wrap up in half an hour like on a scripted tv show.

Same with the money. There isn't just one solution there, but many different things we have to do. Each episode shows a snapshot of where the production is, but it's very realistic in showing that. It doesn't try to force tidy resolutions to problems that are, in reality, messy and complex.

I agree. Please don't Hollywood this stuff up. I like my reality real.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a documentary film editor and I've worked on segments that are 20-30 minutes, as well as feature-length. I have to say that I'm constantly surprised that 2PP manages to shoot AND edit episodes that are 20, 30, even 40 minutes long in only a month or so. Not to mention sidequests. They're also a really small team, and have other projects going on. And these Reds episodes are not roughly thrown together in a day. They manage to craft a clear, engaging, thoughtful narrative, building on previous episodes, with many hilarious and inspiring moments, edited not only with interviews, but with cinema verité-style footage that is captured spontaneously in meetings, in the natural working environment, and during social moments. This is not only difficult to pull off, but it's extremely time-consuming because it involves filming hours of footage for potentially a few useable moments. They could have easily just done some update interviews and thrown some generic B-roll on top which they shot in a couple of days, and maybe staged a couple of scenes to fill in stuff they couldn't get for real. That's how a lot of TV "journalism" is done, and let's not go into "reality" TV.

Instead 2PP is truly taking the time to capture the real in-depth moments, and lovingly crafting them into a genuinely educational and exciting story, exclusively for us backers. Meanwhile everything is shot beautifully, with multiple cameras, great sound, creative editing, and a kickass soundtrack.

So to everyone saying you expect MORE out of this latest episode... I suggest you try making your own episodic documentary series first.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this