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14 minutes ago, honeymaker said:

Yeah, in that case this example definitely goes against Ron's own rules. I haven't checked it, but I think it would be a bit tricky to solve. Scripting the game to not make a reference about throwing the rock before the player has learned about it, would also mean preventing the player from throwing the rock (and solving the puzzle). You'd really need to gate the player, encourage him to read the notebook or provide that information in a cutscene. I'm not sure if that would necessarily make things better.

I'm not sure it's all that complicated - although it obviously requires a bit more care around dialogue scripting. I agree that you can't really do anything about a player accidentally solving a puzzle to a problem they didn't know was a problem. After all, we've all had that experience when stuck and trying to use everything with everything else where you end up accidentally doing something that wasn't even to do with the puzzle you were stuck on. So there's always a chance a player will encounter a solution before the problem.

So I think it's more about 2 things: thinking about how the player navigates the game - making it so that the earliest places a player is likely to visit will set up puzzles which need a solution, for example (you can't control a player's action completely without removing agency, but you can influence it, and there's lots of good study around theme park design for instance that goes into how designers draw the eye and so on.) incidentally, I don't think the rock example violates this. It sounds like the room with the rock in is discovered after the room with the puzzle. 

The second bit is hinting - the game shouldn't throw out hints to puzzles unless it's clear that the player is clear that there is a puzzle that needs solving. 

So, classic fictional example. I have a locked door, and the key is in the other side of the keyhole, so I need a piece of paper and something to poke the key out the hole, so that it'll drop onto the paper and I can pull it back through the door. So in the next room I find a toothpick.

Let's say as a designer I want to provide a hint to the player, because in testing nobody is getting what I want to do. So when I look at the toothpick maybe now it says, 'Hey, maybe I can use this to get that key out!'. This is a decent (if obvious) hint, but it would also be a weird one to give if I haven't already inspected the keyhole and noticed there's a key in the other side. So until I have done that, it shouldn't give me that hint. 

But even so, I wouldn't go as far as stopping the player from using the toothpick on the keyhole before he's looked at the keyhole. But if I wanted it to feel really polished, I might precede it with an additional line, something like 'Hey, good idea. If there's a key in this lock I should be able to get it out' so that the character doesn't just randomly do it and then the player isn't sure what happened. This might sound like a lot of work, but I've seen dialogue scripting like this in adventure games before. 

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1 hour ago, KestrelPi said:

It sounds like the room with the rock in is discovered after the room with the puzzle.

If I'm not mistaken the rock and the puzzle are both in the same room. It's more a case of the scene not being set properly. I guess you're right in that it could be easily solved through dialogue and scripting, with the player character for instance explaining why he went to the place where the game starts. It's similar with the puzzle that I put in spoiler tags, so I guess Ron could improve on that front. It's probably no coincidence that Broken Age Act II (like many adventure games) starts with a long list of things that the player must accomplish. But then you can still have parts of puzzles being solved out of order. Creating all these flow charts must be a hell of a lot of fun ;-)

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I don't mind backwards puzzles so much. I do mind being prevented from picking up something that will be used in a puzzle later, which is sometimes the designer's solution to backwards puzzles. That, IMO, makes a game way harder than it needs to be because if you've already been prevented from interacting with something, you aren't inclined to think of it as a potential solution.

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Finally finished Horizon Zero Dawn.

I would have got platinum on it, too, if it weren't for that stupid trophy tasking you with destroying every training dummy in the Nora territory. Who would do that? Who WANTS to do that? NO ONE. Why are some achievements so random and dumb?

Anyway, it was good! Great game! Spoiler-free final thought: I was sort of afraid for a while there that I was going to wind up being kinda unimpressed with the ending, but it actually turned out pretty good, and they did a couple of things that pleasantly surprised me. The final scene actually almost made me tear up a bit for a second. BUT IT DIDN'T. SO NICE TRY, HORIZON ZERO DAWN.

So now I'm gonna start Persona 5, but if you want Japanese voices you have to download them separately instead of them just being an option in the game already FOR SOME INCONCEIVABLE FRIGGIN' REASON. So I'm downloading those now. Womp womp.

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That just sounds lazy with trophies like that. Too many developers do things like that, adding trophies that are more likely to get the player annoyed at the game, rather then being a fun challenge. 

I with more trophies/achievements were like these two in Brütal Legend: 

Coolest Thing Ever

Jumped over a Hextadon in the Deuce

Boar Bather

Rode a Razorfire Boar into the Sea of Black Tears and live to tell the tale.
 

Those were/are fun extra challenges in the game, that actually adds to the enjoyment of the game. 

(that said, BL also had some by the number trophies). 

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@cecil Yes, exactly.

Time for a Persona 5 impressions from the first hour of the game... bear with me.... I love Persona, but this intro is giving me some MIGHTY MIXED FEELINGS.

**THESE IMPRESSIONS CONTAIN NO SPOILERS**

1) Okay, yes, I suppose I do agree with the complaints a lot of people are posting. The beginning does spend WAY too much dicking around before getting to the damn point. I didn't expect to care about this, since the Persona games always have a bit of dicking around at the beginning before getting to the point, but Persona 5 really does ten times more dicking around at the beginning than previous games in the series. No, seriously. You will be surprised at how long it goes before it actually becomes something like a game. There are several times where you think it's about to become a game, and then it continues to not be a game for some reason. Hm.

 

2) But I don't think the painful length of the beginning is so noticeable just because it is LONG. I think it has more to with the fact that... I'm sorry... I love Persona.... but... the intro and the story so far are actually pretty BAD. Especially compared to P3 and P4. A couple non-spoilery reasons I say that:

a) The entire premise for why you are staying at Sakura's place for the school year is complete nonsense. We are talking about one weak-ass premise right out of the gate, which makes it hard to buy-in to this tale right away, but instead of fixing it, the game doubles down on the weak premise, as if its enthusiasm for the premise will be enough to sell you, which just makes it feel worse.

b) It spends so much time flashing forward, flashing back, flashing sideways, bombarding the player with a bunch of people and events that aren't connected to anything the player knows or understands, that it's just an incoherent slideshow of random unrelated ideas. So many video games do this and it's bad EVERY TIME. What they are going for is "intrigue" thinking the player will be all like "ooh, who's that?!" and "what's going on there?!" and "ooh, I wonder what THAT's about...!" but instead it ends up being more like this.  Even now that I'm over an hour in and am actually getting into the game proper (FINALLY) and am getting a better grasp of the story, I still don't understand why they needed to do all that flashing back, forward, and sideways at the start. It did nothing to help my understanding or increase my interest. It was just incoherent noise that, imo, they really should have just cut out.

c) The whole idea of "the game" is not nearly established enough. It's not clear from the start whether "this game" means some kind of game in the context of the story or whether "this game" means Persona 5 (let me help you: it's the first one), the game that you, the player, are playing. Looking back on it, I can see how the story tried to broadcast what was going on with this idea, but it just doesn't land. At least not in the beginning where it really could have helped. But even then, it still doesn't feel as intriguing a concept as past persona games. It still feels like "aaaand here ya go, video games, you're welcome".

 

I'm not ready to call it quits by any means. The game got some good reviews, and I'm expecting the game to actually be fun ONCE THE TWO-HOUR INCOHERENT SLIDE SHOW OF RANDOM IDEAS IS OVER.

But yeah, if we're just talking about first impressions and a review of the game's intro and skill at getting the player hooked and intrigued, then P5 so far is really failing miserably compared to P3 and P4. This intro is just so cluttered and disorienting. I really hope the game proper does better.

But god damn is this game still flashy as hell. The menus and interfaces are really living up to that trademark Persona awesomness. Every other game's menus are garbage compared to Persona frankly. They really craft the hell out of these things. Persona 5 actually does some really incredible things with screen wipes and short loading screens as well.

TLDR: Persona 5 writers are not bringing their A game so far. Not bringing their A game at all. Persona 5 art team is the best they have ever been. Sometimes I press triangle to bring up the menu just so I can look at it and nod in approval that, yes, it is still as cool as the last time I looked it.

 

 

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Okay, I'm now a couple more hours in and am FINALLY past all the intro rigamarole, and I gotta say, despite how much I disliked the cluttered mess of an intro...

THIS IS A REALLY F****ING GOOD PERSONA GAME.

Just in terms of all the improvements and new twists they put on the classic mechanics and the new dungeon exploration systems. Just really 10/10. Possibly the most fun Persona game yet. This is one delicious morsel.

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And despite how much I hated hated hated this guy:

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I actually really love Morgana so far. xD

latest?cb=20160505181742

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Played some more of Thimbleweed Park

Characters, story and music still doesn't do all that it should for me, but damn, this game have some really great moments, that really picks of the best of the genres. I'm truly enjoying this now. 

And as it turns out, I seem to have contributed to the game, despite missing out on the phone book messages. 

qDkttfM.jpg

And yes, I deliberately spelled Qthulu with a Q. :)

 

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I'd struggle to call anything in the Thimbleweed Park prologue a real puzzle. It's more of an interactive cutscene that gives you a light introduction to the interface without holding you back if you get anything "wrong". I guess that could have been handled a bit better given some of the points being made here, but it's a very short scene, and the following scene already does all the heavy lifting teaching the interface in a concise and fun way, so I can see why it wasn't a huge priority.

The main issue I had with the prologue was that it features easily the worst voice acting in the game, which caused me to reflexively go text only. Luckily I gave voice another shot a few hours in as it's mostly really good imo.

Edited by Ryan N
Typo

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Honestly, I have to do that in a lot of games.

The Blackwell Legacy games are some of the best writing in games, but I seriously had to turn the VO off and go text only because I found the VO so unbearably bad.

Some people apparently find it good? I don't understand those people, but ya, this happens to me often.

Same thing in JRPGs. I always do Japanese with english subtitles because the dubs are usually terrible and doing jap/subbed is more palatable. You don't notice bad VO so much in a language you don't speak.

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I've gotten used to the VO in Thimbleweed now, but I feel a bit that it's the same as that I've gotten used to the laugh track in sitcoms like The Big Bang Theory. 

Ransome's VO is pretty good though. 

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Ransome's dialogue ONLY works with VO, IMO. Seeing the quotes and screencaps leading up to release it just seemed irritating and unfunny to me. But once I played the game and heard it out loud, it clicked. The actor's rhythms and comic timing are great.

Edited by EMarley

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The intro of Persona 5 worked for me - didn't seem to me that it took any longer to get into the action than other games. If anything shorter. With Persona 4 you had a mini dungeon and boss fight before you even got anything close to a real dungeon. In P5 it drops you into the 1st dungeon pretty early on, and then that turns into a proper dungeon exploration thing, and it feels like the usual ramp up into exploring those systems.

I'm having a great time with it over all, too.

Thimbleweed Park, I have watched a few videos of  the start of that game to see if I want to play it next and hrrrm. I am not sure about these jokes. None of them are really hitting for me, and they seem to be going for pure parody, which feels a bit forced. You know how Monkey Island was really atmospheric, even though it was often really goofy and 4th wall breaking? I feel like that's because the humour they employed didn't hurt and sometimes even enhanced the sense of mystery and adventure those first games had. Here they seem happy to tread on important story moments just for a goof. But I haven't seen much so far, will reserve full judgement for when I'm actually playing.

 

 

 

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Voice acting seems to be an extreme hit or miss for different people. For instance, I loved the voice acting in the new Breath of the Wild, yet some people can't stop cringing. Personally, I think at least some of that disconnect is from Japanese to English translation. But I often run into this with tv shows, movies, etc where I really enjoy the acting/voice acting and other people who comment can't get over how "bad" it is. I don't remember any of the voice acting in the bits of Blackwell that I played, but I don't remember cringing. But it has been a while.

I just don't understand how someone could turn off the voice acting in a game, though. The game was obviously meant to be played with it. I could never turn it off, even if it is bad. That's my own personal feeling, though.

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33 minutes ago, MusicallyInspired said:

 The game was obviously meant to be played with it.

My understanding is that the blackwell games originally did not have VO, but it was added later. So "meant to be played with it" is questionable.

Also, sometimes what a person or creator INTENDS is well-intended but still bad. Tommy Wiseau intended a lot of things for The Room, but just because he created The Room with the intention that it would be appreciated as art does not obligate me to think it's great. =P

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Re: Persona 5

 

I'm having an absolute blast with it. Can't put it down. Don't wanna stop. It's really superb.

People keep kinda misinterpreting my gripes with the intro. The TLDR version of my gripe with the intro is mostly that it feels very hasty and cluttered. Like it's trying to juggle too many balls at once. Compare to the Persona 3 intro, which I personally think is the best one. You arrive, you check in to your new place, some people greet you as you do so, later that night, some weird shit happens and now there are personas. It's brisk, but it's simple and easy to follow. Persona 5's intro is just such a mess in comparison. They really made that intro more fat and cluttered than it should have been. If you tell me you think the P5 intro was good, then I tell you that I think it could have been even better.

But I'm pretty much over it. I wasn't kidding when I said I think this is the best, most addicting Persona they have ever made. It is very very good.

If I have any complaints about the actual gameplay so far, it's that I don't think P5 gives you enough free time or freedom to dictate your own schedule compared to previous games. It tells you all these things you can do with your time, but then it never lets you do any of them. It is constantly railroading you along from one thing to the next, and half the time when you try to explore or make use of your time, Morgana tells you "no, you're too tired right now".

OH. AM I?

I really felt this the most when I checked out a DVD and had to return it by the following weekend, but the game kept railroading my schedule so that my day was occupied and I was "too tired" to leave in the evening, so I wasn't able to return it (read: I wasn't *ALLOWED* to return it) until 2 days after the deadline. When I did return it, I was charged a late fee and Morgana lectured me about how I MESSED UP.

That just made me feel like oh f**k you guys.

Like, at that point, you're basically playing "stop hitting yourself" with me.

That is probably the only thing making me the slightest bit peevish, to be honest. I wish the game would stop that and I hope it stops pushing me around so much later on, but if so, that can't come fast enough.

But seriously, everything else is delicious. I avoided a lot of info about the game before picking it up, so I had no idea that P5 has both P4 style dungeons and a P3 style dungeon. Amazing!

And adding unlockable skills to social links in addition to the usual XP bonuses?! Heaven.

And those in-dungeon stealth moves and lootables? Nice!

omg, and so many comforts added to Persona managment. So. Many. Comforts. I have wanted these for so long. FeelsGoodMan.

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Oh man, I've got too many games vying for my attention right now.   Bunch of VR stuff,  plus Fallout 4 (which I'm playing with hacked VR support), plus I just got gifted a copy of Night in the Woods, pluuuuus Yooka Laylee just came out.   Too many games!

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Bayonetta isn't really my genre, but since it's a japanese port that's released without Denuvo, I kinda want to buy it just to support. 

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It's Easter! Finally time to play Thimbleweed Park. When I'm done with that, I'll buy Yooka Laylee.

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FYI Cosmic Star Heroine is out today

WHEN WILL THE PARADE OF MUCH-ANTICIPATED GAMES END

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Just wait until it gets to the boring, outdated stealth gameplay. :happytim:

*shots fired*

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Played Thimbleweed Park all evening. Enjoying it a lot, and the difficulty is about right for me. I was stuck on a puzzle for almost three hours, but that was the only one. Following the development process was great, and the game itself turned out to be really good in the end. I'm very happy,

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Also playing Thimbleweed, and yikes, I'm not that good at this. It is taking a lot of effort to move forward in it. :)

But it's fun. A bit weird on how characters interact with each other without not really knowing each other, but whatever. 

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I got stuck on the nickel and on the blood swab. Took me too long to figure them out! But my progress is otherwise good. Made it to part four yesterday before going to bed.

I also think the unprovoked interaction between the characters is a bit strange, but they haven't talked to each other so far (except Ray and Reyes, of course), just given items to each other. Some puzzles are built on the fact that you are an "allmighty god" that knows things that they don't know individually, and it's ok for me.

The game itself just keeps getting better, and I'm really looking forward to a chance to play it again.

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Managed to solve the nickel puzzle quite fast, but still haven't figured out the blood swab puzzle. :(

11 hours ago, fargetv said:

I also think the unprovoked interaction between the characters is a bit strange, but they haven't talked to each other so far (except Ray and Reyes, of course), just given items to each other. Some puzzles are built on the fact that you are an "allmighty god" that knows things that they don't know individually, and it's ok for me.

It's interesting that Broken Age got so much criticism for that "almighty god" aspect for just a few puzzles, but for Thimbleweed, reviewers and players in general just seem to go "whatever" about it. 

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2 hours ago, CecilRousso said:

Managed to solve the nickel puzzle quite fast, but still haven't figured out the blood swab puzzle. :(

It's interesting that Broken Age got so much criticism for that "almighty god" aspect for just a few puzzles, but for Thimbleweed, reviewers and players in general just seem to go "whatever" about it. 

Hint: I struggled with the blood swab puzzle because I was overthinking it.

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17 minutes ago, fargetv said:

Hint: I struggled with the blood swab puzzle because I was overthinking it.

Good hint, I solved it. :D

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