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Episode 11: Ship It

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- My play time on Monkey 1 and Monkey 2 etc. would have been much shorter if it wasn't for the high difficulty of some of the puzzles.

I was stuck on Monkey 2 for aaaages. The "monkey wrench" puzzle was tricky.

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Thanks for the response, Greg. I guess the difference here is that most games don't need to scrounge together 200% of their budget and release half the game early to (hopefully) make ends meet.

Well, you seem to conveniently forget the game grew exponentially from the initial idea and they decided to go with it thus straining the budget. They're not releasing half the initial game but half of the new extended game. They could've just said "screw it, let's cut out everything, make it small as we originally planned and ship it" but that wouldn't be fun for anyone, challenging for them or as interesting to us backers.

What makes you think I missed it?

Your post? I actually read it, compared to what you seem to do.

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- My play time on Monkey 1 and Monkey 2 etc. would have been much shorter if it wasn't for the high difficulty of some of the puzzles.

I was stuck on Monkey 2 for aaaages. The "monkey wrench" puzzle was tricky.

Agreed. It got to a point where I certainly wasn't enjoying playing any more. I don't want the same experience from Broken Age for the sake of game length. For me , TellTales TOMI got it just right.

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I still believe in the "too-short-adventure" phenomenon. And if people nowadays are saying that Full Throttle is not too short, they're crazy. I'm sorry, but I'm used to slaving over adventure games for a long time. But I do believe there can be a balance between what Tim and Greg were each trying to say.

So nice to get a look inside Peter's process of how he does things. Being a composer myself, some of the things he was doing were very enlightening. Especially getting away from the pressure and just going for a walk to clear your head and get inspiration. I need to start doing that.

Another great episode.

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The music sounds good but why on earth would you contract a composer just to write a set amount of music? Why not contract him to score the entire game? I've never heard of a film composer being hire just to write music for the first half of a movie.

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Thanks for the response, Greg. I guess the difference here is that most games don't need to scrounge together 200% of their budget and release half the game early to (hopefully) make ends meet.

But I support your cause, so try not to get too edgy about a little healthy negativity. You and the other managers aren't world-class, but you're trying and your hearts are in the right place.

That's because budget is dependent on the scope.

The game at <$400,000 and the game at $2,000,000 have completly different scopes. We're talking about everything from length, to quality of the art and enviornment, music, as well as the content of the documentary. They're not the same game beefed upwith a lot of money.

Heck, the concept of the game wasn't even set in stone, since the whole idea was getting to look at all sides of game development. You can't just budget all of that up-front and not expect to have to adjust to the unpredictability of a creative process.

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We're just not used to see this part of the process, since we as consumers usually are kept in dark during the pre-production time and most of the development time. Usually it'd be a matter of trying to ask their investors for more money for the increased scope, and if they don't get it, try to cut off everything non-essential to making it a game, but which also ends with a lot of content getting cut, as well as less work on the quality and variation of the game. However, DF seeing their relationship with us backers as something more personal than the relationship with investors care about the value we get as backers rather than the return of the project.

Them releasing half the game early is so they don't have to invest more in the project of their own money than they've already done, getting the rest of the game funded by its own revenues. At this point I believe the result will be Double Fine funding 50% of the budget of the game themselves.

That's how much they care about us and our experience with their game, of their own craftmanship, that they've basically said "we don't want to throw away all these cool ideas we have that could make the game even better, but we don't want to trouble our backers, oh well, *opens a wallet with money that they've made off of sales of their own games, as well as an "advance" on their revenue from selling the game* water and bread for the next half year".

So it's not a management issue in the company, it's an everpresent issue of management/projections that exists in unpredictable creative processes.

Heck, it's typical in research as well, especially in qualitative research where you never really can predict your data and constantly have to re-evaluate the project's scope. Like a sosialantropologist struggling finding a role within a tribe that will allow him to access more information and understand their culture.

It's always a matter of either investing more or limiting the scope of the project. We as backers care far more of the scope than returns since we don't see any returns on the project, other than what increased scope and quality gives us.

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aweomse episode guys!

really liked the music segment too. great stuff!

keep up all the good work and transparency :)

cant wait to dive into broken age next year its really shaping up.

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Pretty good episode!

Regarding game length, I personally think that a 6-8hr long game for a story/puzzle based game is pretty good. I'm sure lots of people would be happy with something around that long if it's polished neatly.

If it lasts longer it gets into the risky zone where things seem to be stretched out just to fill the time up, but with nothing notable going on.

On the other hand, any shorter and it might feel like something that could have been better.

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Thanks for the response, Greg. I guess the difference here is that most games don't need to scrounge together 200% of their budget and release half the game early to (hopefully) make ends meet.

But I support your cause, so try not to get too edgy about a little healthy negativity. You and the other managers aren't world-class, but you're trying and your hearts are in the right place.

Did you miss the African instruments and musical themes used in the girl's sections? He spent almost 5 minutes demonstrating them.

African/Scandinavian, yes. I supposed you missed that last influence. What does that have to do with the girl area anyway?

What makes you think I missed it? The Scandinavian part wasn't as funny, and the music ended up sounding quite tribal, which I believe was the intention. I think it's awesome!

Is this guy a real person?

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That's because budget is dependent on the scope.

The game at <$400,000 and the game at $2,000,000 have completly different scopes. We're talking about everything from length, to quality of the art and enviornment, music, as well as the content of the documentary. They're not the same game beefed upwith a lot of money.

Let me just stress this again with pure mathematics, because this seems to be beyond so many peoples grasp.

Let's talk about a expected "bump" in the road on a 400,000$ budget that would cause a 20% increase in needed funds would mean another 80,000$. They would have found that kind of money on the studio floor.

Now the financial scope has increased by a factor of 5.

Which means all the assets, planning, designing, number of people on the project - just for arguments sake - increase by a factor of five.

Naturally that means the chances for bumps (people disagreeing, being sick, inputs and ideas you never expected to even land on the table) increase by the same factor - i would actually dare to say even more, but again - just for arguments sake - let's say. We're looking at a "expected" bump of 100% now. Just the pre-heating phase where no work is done at all is so much longer.

There's no 2mil on the studio floor.

The world leading minds in management that some other post tried to conjur would have accounted for that of courese and presented us with a plan to make a 800.000$ budget game off a $3,336,371$ kickstarter.

I don't think the vocal bunch of whiners and nitpickers amongst the backers, that thought they could snatch a AAA game for 10$ early 2013 would have been happy then.

Let me just say I have re-watched every episode of this documentary at least twice, everytime with tears in my eyes just by the fact, that people as brilliant, fun and positive as the DF-Team even exist!

You guys are great and if i was Richy Rich (scratch that, Bruce Wayne.., or rather Tony Stark, Tony, I'll go with him!!), I'd be happy to just throw bags of money at you. <3

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Man, anything but blind cheerfulness back here gets you lynched, huh? I swear to God I get more responses than anybody else. Sorry, I love DoubleFine!! You guys are doing great and I can't wait for the game in January!!!! (I'll get to work on my Tim Schafer avatar.)

- My play time on Monkey 1 and Monkey 2 etc. would have been much shorter if it wasn't for the high difficulty of some of the puzzles.

I was stuck on Monkey 2 for aaaages. The "monkey wrench" puzzle was tricky.

Agreed. It got to a point where I certainly wasn't enjoying playing any more. I don't want the same experience from Broken Age for the sake of game length. For me , TellTales TOMI got it just right.

Good Christ, I can't believe people think this way.

I enjoyed Monkey 2 a lot. I don't think there's anything wrong with extending game length through tough puzzles, especially if there is interesting feedback for trying things that don't work (funny responses, animation but no progress, etc). As long as the puzzles aren't consistently of a "dream-logic" style, it can be really fun and satisfying to work through a tough puzzle chain.

Resonance and Wadjet Eye games, while very enjoyable, are good examples of games that stick too hard to straightforward, realworld logic-based puzzles. Virtually every solution tends to be pretty apparent, at least to seasoned adventure game players, and the result is a somewhat dull and very quick gameplay experience (although the innovations they make with short-term memory/long-term memory and similar design innovations are simply brilliant).

Spending a fair amount of time scratching your head over puzzles gives the game more time to just sink in. You become a part of the world. I remember spending a lot of time in the older adventure games, and that really let the atmosphere sink in. Full Throttle just whizzed by and I never really felt like I was inside of it. I have very faint memories of the game, compared to my Monkey, Sam & Max, and Sierra adventure game memories.

I also certainly don't mind cracking out a walkthrough every now and then. There's nothing about that that has simply cheapened my adventure game experience. Aside from Space Quest 2, which I played with the hint book open in front of me (and was left feeling empty), tough puzzles are definitely OK because walkthroughs are readily available on the Internet.

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I'd be happy to just throw bags of money at you. <3

Not trying to kill you with the bags, but to actually just GIVE you the money. That's what the little heart thing was for. I probably wouldn't be in the suit then. I hope that was clear.

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Man, anything but blind cheerfulness back here gets you lynched, huh?

Fun pills and sleds for everyone, and maybe especially suejak. ;-)

Thanks for the episode, 2PP. It was great to experience the sound work and see it in action. I think I have a greater appreciation for all the soundwork in games now...and most especially for Broken Age. I look forward to playing it, and listening close.

Smiles

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Oh and if you don't like math: "Creativity" just means that after spending half the budget you might not be happy with what you have and start from stratch.

That's mostly not true for the software tools created in the process, though and that's why they are of utmost importance. Thank you Oliver (go Germany!)

Look at the absolute awesomeness that Rayman Legends has become. They spent a LOT of time developing the tools, so that Levels could come together "with a few clicks", reducing the cost for just trying out stuff. If that game has 100 great levels, you should expect another 100 almost-great levels having been scratched in the process, amongst 1.000 not-so-great ones and maybe a few rubbish ones. You can't apply the same try-and-pick process to an adventure game.

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Fantastic episode! The music is sounding great. I want everyone at DF to know I appreciate their hard work very much. Think positive and keep up the good work. :-)

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Hmmm, doublefine needs a rockstar writer, I sent them an application a few weeks ago for a writer position. Point and Click Adventure gods, you know what to do.

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Great episode! I loved the music/composition segment.

I just want to put it out there that I would be perfectly ok if DF feels it necessary to hold off shipping until 12:01AM on Feb 1. I would humbly accept the first half of Broken Age as a birthday gift!

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I am outraged at the cultural appropriation!

He pronounced kantele wrong, it has no silent letters (think kan-te-leh, not kantel). Also, it's plucked or strummed, not hammered. Also, Finland is not technically Scandinavia. xD

...I kid, I kid. It sounds beautiful, and I love the glimpses, the perfect little teases (props for Leila Fletcher!). I do elicit some slight spoiler paranoia, but in Schafer I trust (in 2PP I trust? some combination of both).

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I don't quite agree with Greg and I'm more aligned with Tim here that with an adventure game there is a certain... puzzle-richness that demands a certain length, otherwise there's just not enough world to explore and get lost in.

However, I seem to be one of the people who has gotten over Full Throttle's length. I do remember it being quite short at the time, but I probably replay it every few years and nowadays I actually like the length of it. I think for the story it needs to tell, I don't think it would have been helped by being much longer (even though I am aware that it was considerably cut down due to budget stuff).

It does have a rather different feel from a lot of adventure games, because it's less exploring and more going on a journey with various stages. You're never in one location enough to really get to know it intimately like Rubacava in Grim Fandango, but that almost feels deliberate. Ben's a biker, he belongs on the road not in any one of these places. It'd be weird if he stuck around somewhere for a long time, and so I think the game being quite pacey in that way actually helps the tone, and it's not so short that the end is unwelcome when it comes.

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Grea stuff about the music, it sounds like BA is going to appease in that department.

I absolutely love the 2PP intro/outro tune, the one that plays at the end of this episode, and the start of most. It's has such a magical/curious/enticing feel to it, goes great with cocaine summer mornings, I'd imagine, it gives me chills. It'd be rad if it were present somewhere in the game itself.

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Thanks for the response, Greg. I guess the difference here is that most games don't need to scrounge together 200% of their budget and release half the game early to (hopefully) make ends meet.

But I support your cause, so try not to get too edgy about a little healthy negativity. You and the other managers aren't world-class, but you're trying and your hearts are in the right place.

Did you miss the African instruments and musical themes used in the girl's sections? He spent almost 5 minutes demonstrating them.

African/Scandinavian, yes. I supposed you missed that last influence. What does that have to do with the girl area anyway?

What makes you think I missed it? The Scandinavian part wasn't as funny, and the music ended up sounding quite tribal, which I believe was the intention. I think it's awesome!

Is this guy a real person?

Yes, he lives under a bridge somewhere.

I don't know many managers who managed to build a company to a success, launch multiple successful products (games in this case), establish brand loyalty and remain fun people.

And this is before taking into account the change they have done to the industry via Kickstarter.

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@oulfis

Maybe what made the statement a bit weird to me is the harder. If he would have said different or more interesting then i would agree as it's an interesting opportunity. As you say you're after certain kind of emotions and atmospheres and by altering/playing/arranging the sounds of more classic instruments or using a synth with character these emotions can be achieved in a foreign context too. I wonder what kind of scales he'll use.

Anyway what i would find weird is standing in a wide open field on a strange world and the music suggests that i'm in Scotland, India, entering the Oktoberfest or whatever. The DFA offers a great opportunity for making some unique music.

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I don't quite agree with Greg and I'm more aligned with Tim here that with an adventure game there is a certain... puzzle-richness that demands a certain length, otherwise there's just not enough world to explore and get lost in.

Having a certain length often plays better with the press and user buzz. Thankfully a lot of games have redefined that paradigm in recent years such as Journey, Gone Home, etc. to establish that a valuable experience doesn't have to be a long one. However, people will often reference length of the game when assigning their value/$$$ proposition, so it's certainly something to consider, especially when you compare the game to it's equivalent genre peers.

Thoroughly enjoyed this episode. Great to see everyone still hard at work, but mostly still having fun/in good spirits after the negative press that I'm sure was taxing.

The musical score is sounding amazing so far, I like Peter's first draft for the sacrifice girl, and fascinated to see how you solve the problem of not enough music, either with Brian and Camden extending the music Peter is composing or some other solution.

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I hope that the DFA will end up being a real point & click adventure, also regarding length, complexity with an obvious attention to detail and not just the average let down you can buy since the really great adventures more or less died. I wanna be challenged, entertained, get stuck (in an intelligent way) and i want it to last in a way which makes the game feel worth its playing time. Grim Fandango was nice in this respect, Full Throttle wasn't. A casual adventure would be disappointing considering all these years you had to wait for another Tim Schafer point & click adventure. This should be an adventure gamer's wish coming true, nothing less and i strongly hope that it's also puzzle driven to a satisfying degree. The game should need you and not just offering some content you could watch on YouTube without missing something as well.

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Great episode, certainly covered a lot of different aspects.

Hopefully next episode will have more music stuff (which was really interesting) and looking forward to seeing more VO stuff too.

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Would be really, really cool if we could get the DF employee voice recordings as an alternate soundtrack. Maybe something that can be unlocked once you finish the game?

(You know, the episodes where stuff goes wrong are exciting and extremely interesting, but this episode, where stuff actually goes right, and we get to see the game working, and music is being created, made me incredibly happy, and very anxious to play the game.)

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It's so weird to hear Chris Remo's voice outside of Idle Thumbs. It still sounds like he's in charge of the room whenever he speaks.

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