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Episode 11: Ship It

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I enjoyed the honest discussion of the fallout of the announcement about splitting the game. I think Tim had it right when he said that the problem was really too much transparency.

I respect their commitment to this documentary and to having total transparency, but this sort of thing really illustrates why this isn't normally done, and how it is, in fact, bad PR. In the end, I'm not sure that transparency is good if it comes at the expense of the actual product or its ultimate success. Hell, even the continued viability of crowd-funding itself is somewhat jeopardized by this sort of bad publicity.

Weeell, it's sort of tricky, really. Because even given the few bad things that have happened as a result of transparency, I get the impression they feel the benefits outweigh any negatives. And the thing about the negatives is that they won't always be negatives. Eventually, if Double Fine and other studios adopt a more transparent approach not only will developers gain a better idea of how to develop openly, but also people will begin to see development for the messy thing it usually is, and it won't be a big shock whenever some big u-turn or change in direction is announced.

On top of this, Massive Chalice is entirely open, versus the exclusive forum for Broken Age. Double Fine wants to be open, and Broken Age suffered by keeping things exclusive. But only suffered until Broken Age actually releases, that is.

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I enjoyed the honest discussion of the fallout of the announcement about splitting the game. I think Tim had it right when he said that the problem was really too much transparency.

I respect their commitment to this documentary and to having total transparency, but this sort of thing really illustrates why this isn't normally done, and how it is, in fact, bad PR. In the end, I'm not sure that transparency is good if it comes at the expense of the actual product or its ultimate success. Hell, even the continued viability of crowd-funding itself is somewhat jeopardized by this sort of bad publicity.

Weeell, it's sort of tricky, really. Because even given the few bad things that have happened as a result of transparency, I get the impression they feel the benefits outweigh any negatives. And the thing about the negatives is that they won't always be negatives. Eventually, if Double Fine and other studios adopt a more transparent approach not only will developers gain a better idea of how to develop openly, but also people will begin to see development for the messy thing it usually is, and it won't be a big shock whenever some big u-turn or change in direction is announced.

On top of this, Massive Chalice is entirely open, versus the exclusive forum for Broken Age. Double Fine wants to be open, and Broken Age suffered by keeping things exclusive. But only suffered until Broken Age actually releases, that is.

Yeah, that's a pretty good point actually. It seems like with Massive Chalice they're moving towards MORE transparency, not less.

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Yeah as far as cultural appropriation goes it's kinda mild. I think Peter just picked those two ethnomusicological baselines because musically he thinks in "toolbox" terms, likes the tones associated with those cultures, and was looking for a pleasing instrument mix that hasn't been done already. The final product doesn't seem to scream any particular culture.

You could make a case for Grim Fandango, as beautifully multi-dimensionally executed as it is. These sort of things are typically analyses of a larger racial/cultural trend than they are condemnations of individual works.

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Hi! I haven't posted in the forums yet, but I just wanted to add my voice to the collective appreciation for these documentaries and the beautiful work you've created with this project. Although I wish there was no backlash from your previous announcement, it's great to be able to see the company's honest and open response to this adversity. I'm really looking forward to the next episode...more so than even the next episode of breaking bad...and I freakin love breaking bad.

Much appreciation for the quality product(s)!

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Was there something confusing about what I said?

I've talked about their obvious management problems in other posts; no need to rehash it here. They're obviously no good at budgeting and time-/team-management.

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

There is no evidence to suggest that you're capable of evaluating the subject which you speak on.

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Was there something confusing about what I said?

I've talked about their obvious management problems in other posts; no need to rehash it here. They're obviously no good at budgeting and time-/team-management.

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

There is no evidence to suggest that you're capable of evaluating the subject which you speak on.

Sorry, did you want me to email you some credentials?

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Tim is absolutely right, the game has to be long. Full Throttle was too short.

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I am impressed by the music. Wow, just, wow.

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I enjoyed the honest discussion of the fallout of the announcement about splitting the game. I think Tim had it right when he said that the problem was really too much transparency.

I respect their commitment to this documentary and to having total transparency, but this sort of thing really illustrates why this isn't normally done, and how it is, in fact, bad PR. In the end, I'm not sure that transparency is good if it comes at the expense of the actual product or its ultimate success. Hell, even the continued viability of crowd-funding itself is somewhat jeopardized by this sort of bad publicity.

Actually, he talked about it more in this interview and seems to think the problem is that they need more transparency, not less. http://kotaku.com/tim-schafers-great-video-game-experiment-1228121826
There's a sense that I get from you guys of that, like what you're saying: "Well, the backers have been in the loop on this whole thing, they know what's going on," but the public doesn't. It's almost like the backers are getting internal emails from you guys, like they're your publisher. And then when you send out something that feels newsy like this, you know, you're changing the way you're releasing the game, that of course gets posted on Reddit immediately, it winds up on a bunch of news sites. And people read it out of the context of being a backer. What are your thoughts on that, and handling that in the future—having a group of people know what's going on, but not everybody, and the actual press doesn't know, really. It's a weird line.

Schafer: I think this whole experience has shown the hazards of that. That message being us getting kind of comfortable with this relationship and with the transparency we have with our backers, because they know the whole story, and the context for every piece of news. Versus people getting the news without the context, there's a dissonance there.

And you can see that we're doing it differently now. I don't wanna say that we regret it, but with Massive Chalice you can see that everything is public on Massive Chalice. And I still like the idea of there being a place that backers can talk in a private forum, because there's a difference between people who are emotionally invested in the project, the backers, and they want to talk amongst themselves. And have some access to us that's different.

But I think, what we've seen since this whole thing started, is a one-way progress towards more, greater transparency the whole way. And our project's been, I think it's more transparent than any game ever made, if you're a backer. And I think that transparency is growing even with Massive Chalice. You can see it's moving more and more that way.

With Broken Age, are you guys locked into the promises you made to backers during the Kickstarter?

I feel like we made the promise to backers to have an exclusive backers' forum, and we can't go back on that.

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In more important news, I loved the episode. I like seeing how the guts of the process work and I really like the insight into scoring the game. I like that it's an evolutionary process, very fluid and changing so that the score matches the final product (and probably carries some of that evolutionary feel with it). Excellent.

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Nobody's outraged?

I love that you exemplify everything I dislike and despise about humanity. Thank you.

Whoa! His posts seem misinformed, arrogant, and needlessly confrontational, but isn't that a bit much? Let's keep it classy here, guys.

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There is no evidence to suggest that you're capable of evaluating the subject which you speak on.

Sorry, did you want me to email you some credentials?

It's probably be best if you posted your credentials openly here in the forum.

;)

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So is every other episode from now until the game ships going to be titled 'Ship It'?

Next episode will be titled 'ship it good'

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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.

The monkey wrench puzzle ruined that game for me. Afterwards, I didn't even want to guess what the answer was to subsequent puzzles. Could be because english is not my native language, and monkey wrench is such an odd word (IMHO), but the puzzle felt too obscure for me.

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I don't care how long it takes, or what it takes for them to do it, just make it well... I just won't play it until the entire game is ready, and I'm willing to wait :-)

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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.

The monkey wrench puzzle ruined that game for me. Afterwards, I didn't even want to guess what the answer was to subsequent puzzles. Could be because english is not my native language, and monkey wrench is such an odd word (IMHO), but the puzzle felt too obscure for me.

I'm not sure that ANYBODY figured that puzzle out on the pun alone. Hints, trial and error or accident.

Getting stuck on a puzzle in Monkey Island 2 isn't a good argument against a longer / more densely puzzled game. Ideally, the game would be long and dense without any inanely hard puzzles, so you'd never feel like you were breezing through the game, nor like you were hitting a wall. The majority of MI2's puzzles felt comfortable, like you were getting the most out of the game and there was always something to explore.

I'm all for going heavy on the puzzles. Take advantage of the locales, make the player wade and get immersed. Full Throttle has wonderful settings, but you don't get to spend a lot of time in them. Having rooms feel "spent" too soon creates kind of a lonely feeling.

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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.

The monkey wrench puzzle ruined that game for me. Afterwards, I didn't even want to guess what the answer was to subsequent puzzles. Could be because english is not my native language, and monkey wrench is such an odd word (IMHO), but the puzzle felt too obscure for me.

I'm not sure that ANYBODY figured that puzzle out on the pun alone. Hints, trial and error or accident.

Getting stuck on a puzzle in Monkey Island 2 isn't a good argument against a longer / more densely puzzled game. Ideally, the game would be long and dense without any inanely hard puzzles, so you'd never feel like you were breezing through the game, nor like you were hitting a wall. The majority of MI2's puzzles felt comfortable, like you were getting the most out of the game and there was always something to explore.

Even if there was only one puzzle like that and all the others are "normal", the problem (for me) was that afterwards, whenever I got stuck in a puzzle I began to wonder if the solution was something like that, somewhat illogical (again, for me) compared to the rest of the game, damaging my experience with it. I was no longer just applying the game/puzzle "mechanics" I learned before, now I was also questioning what was it that the game creators intended for me to do. I had a similar issue with an early puzzle in Braid, which Jonathan Blow talks a bit about in

In any event, I just posted this because the monkey wrench puzzle reference by the original commenter resonated with me, and should not necessarily be considered a comment on BA or having a longer gameplay based on difficulty. On that note, to me the best mix of length and difficulty was the original Portal.

Disclaimer: I somewhat recently got into adventure games, with MI when the HD versions came out, so my experience with them was very limited at the time, though I've really enjoyed all adventure games I've played since.

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I enjoyed the honest discussion of the fallout of the announcement about splitting the game. I think Tim had it right when he said that the problem was really too much transparency.

I respect their commitment to this documentary and to having total transparency, but this sort of thing really illustrates why this isn't normally done, and how it is, in fact, bad PR. In the end, I'm not sure that transparency is good if it comes at the expense of the actual product or its ultimate success. Hell, even the continued viability of crowd-funding itself is somewhat jeopardized by this sort of bad publicity.

Transparency wasn't the issue, the issue was how they worded it. They should have been more clear about some things. While I appreciate his ways of writing messages to the fans, he should have made it 100% sure that there were no room for misunderstandings. He should have just put the most important details at the start, in bold, without any excuses. And then he should have continued with his personal message.

The message as he wrote it now had some problems.

*It started of with an excuse, although jokefully, and it immediately gives an impression of a grim situation.

*Then he mentions a date of 2015, which still confuses me.

*And instead of talking about a wake upp call, he should have just told us what the documentary has told us, that when you start a project with new platforms, tools and in a genre you have worked in for so long, you need to actually get some parts done before you can do propers estimations on efficiency and scope. That you can't know these things from the beginning.

*And then it still takes some paragrafs before the actual release dates is presented.

As long as you accept that you will never satisfy everyone, transparency should not be a problem even when discussing sensitive aspects of a project like this. But how you communicate with transparency is something you need to be careful with.

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The music segment was fucking amazing. Watching the music getting created was inspiring. I am so glad that the game is headed the way that it is. I hope the rest of the world loves the game as much as I know I will.

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Did anyone else see the PS4 controller at 25:36... Is that an editing error or an announcement?

Is it the plastic rifle or the wooden stick? (Sony is taking up the fight with Nintendo for most "unique" controllers...) :-)

Either way they were "working" on a different project, so no announcement as far as BA is concerned.

There was supposedly an announcement by Double Fine at PAX about doing some DLC for 'The Playroom' on the PS4. I assume that's what it is. Source: http://au.ign.com/articles/2013/08/31/pax-double-fine-making-dlc-for-playstation-4s-the-playroom

If you look carefully at the monitor at 25:41, you can see what appear to be some cows levitating in augmented reality.

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Hey guys, great update.

Bummer to see everyone being a little on edge, at least that's the vibe I got a little.

Seems you are all super tired by working so hard, I hope you take time to enjoy the whole project as well.

We wanna see an awesome game of course, but not that it makes your lives miserable... or I don't know.

Keep up the great work, can't wait to see and play it!

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I enjoyed the honest discussion of the fallout of the announcement about splitting the game. I think Tim had it right when he said that the problem was really too much transparency.

I respect their commitment to this documentary and to having total transparency, but this sort of thing really illustrates why this isn't normally done, and how it is, in fact, bad PR. In the end, I'm not sure that transparency is good if it comes at the expense of the actual product or its ultimate success. Hell, even the continued viability of crowd-funding itself is somewhat jeopardized by this sort of bad publicity.

Transparency wasn't the issue, the issue was how they worded it. They should have been more clear about some things. While I appreciate his ways of writing messages to the fans, he should have made it 100% sure that there were no room for misunderstandings. He should have just put the most important details at the start, in bold, without any excuses. And then he should have continued with his personal message.

The message as he wrote it now had some problems.

*It started of with an excuse, although jokefully, and it immediately gives an impression of a grim situation.

*Then he mentions a date of 2015, which still confuses me.

*And instead of talking about a wake upp call, he should have just told us what the documentary has told us, that when you start a project with new platforms, tools and in a genre you have worked in for so long, you need to actually get some parts done before you can do propers estimations on efficiency and scope. That you can't know these things from the beginning.

*And then it still takes some paragrafs before the actual release dates is presented.

As long as you accept that you will never satisfy everyone, transparency should not be a problem even when discussing sensitive aspects of a project like this. But how you communicate with transparency is something you need to be careful with.

Very easy to say with hindsight though. I'm sure many of us have experienced saying something that we thought was fine or well explained and thought through, but then people react differently to how you expect or take it the wrong way or misunderstand. And later you can maybe see how the misunderstanding happened, but it's easy to miss at the time.

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Just caught the episode; I'll be very interested to compare the final "Vella's Fields" music to the version Peter McC played in the video. It's a pretty sweet track already, so it'll be fun to check out the final cut (since Peter suggested he'd make some changes before the crew was satisfied with the piece).

I enjoyed the rough blocking discussion; Elliott Roberts' enthusiasm was nice to watch after the somewhat on-edge talk about transparency and so on. I thought this episode's animation segments were pretty engaging, partly since the team overall seemed pleased to view the progress.

It was neat seeing that glimpse of sifting through all the audition material. Personally, I felt differently than Tim about the second Merrick voice--I liked the guy's slightly higher pitch since it felt more distinct, unusual and intriguing, but I didn't care for his delivery as much since it felt rather predictably melodramatic. But then again, I suppose the character is probably intended to speak in a melodramatic way.

Anyway, thanks for the episode!

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Hey guys, is there any post about internationalization? In which languages will the game be released (I mean subtitles, of course). Thanks!

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Hey guys, is there any post about internationalization? In which languages will the game be released (I mean subtitles, of course). Thanks!
They confirmed English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish localization very early on.

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