Hi all. I'm glad I thought to come here. Just did by chance. I like all the conversation going on here about the alpha release. It's helped me through a few bugs already.. I'll try to add only useful information.
First most basic question; are we going to see refinements to the demo as things progress, or is the demo a "completely different build" and as effort is made on the primary game, the demo will remain the release we see today?
Also, FWIW, I have a laptop trying to run the demo and have some issues.. It's by no means a "gamer" laptop, but I don't think by any means that it's outdated either. Inte T2300 (Core Duo) @ 1.66GHz, 2GB RAM.. Anyway, I just started playing the alpha last night, and have some questions and some thoughts..
Fundamental (some might say "engine") thoughts..
What are the minimum requirements and recommended settings? I'm not a massive computer gamer anymore.. I went from PC gaming back into console gaming about ten years ago beacuse no matter what, buy a console game and it will work, period. No driver issues, no upgrading necessary. So, for players like me, it would be nice if the startup window (or future game welcome screen, or something) had some opportunity to run a quick "test my system for optimum play" button. If there are going to be parts of the game where gameplay may suffer if the engine is too busy trying to do the best graphics rendering -- because the user didn't know any better -- it would be nice if the game could provide some defaults..
My laptop only supports up to 1024 x 768. It's an old business laptop.. I have plans to upgrade it, but as life and family happens, that's just not the top of the list. I have tried running other resolutions as well (they're offered, after all!), but every one crops the startup screen. And from what I read, the rest of the game too? It seems odd to me that the game can't be overall scaled. That would seem a Unity problem, rather than a SV problem, right? Scaling might force a lower graphics quality to keep up with the scaling needs, and I can understand that. I suppose my first question is.. can the game be fully played at 1024x768 or even 800x600, or am I wasting my time trying?
I agree that right-clicking should cycle through the options rather than just bringing up a menu; or maybe make it a game setting (assignable right-click action), because I can see different people wishing it did different things
I think a lot of them have been covered so far.. A few I'll point out though.
In the janitor closet, clicking on the shelf "empty-handed," Ace goes through some odd movement, like he's trying to push a non-existant crate. I realized after-the-fact what was happening, but not until reading the forum here. :) Ace shouldn't go through a movement if he doesn't have "what it takes" at the moment for that movement to happen.
Save/Load doesnt' work for me.. period. CTRL-S doesnt' do anything, clicking in the 'TEL window (which is of course chopped off; all I see is "TARI TEL") on save/load doesn't do anything either. It clicks when I click it, but nothing else happens. It's frustrating because when I encounter a bug (like closing the box on the workbench) where I have to exit the whole game, I'm having to start over from scratch..
Walking Ace through the hot steam with Rooter out, if I then select rooter and just keep going (who needs an owner, anyway??), when I enter the next screen left of the red corridoor, Ace is there again with Rooter (reincarnation by neglect?), but Ace is not selectable/playable.
Likewise, after Ace is steamed, if Roter goes and turns off the steam, he can't get back to Ace. Something keeps drawing him back to where he was..
In the initial hallway (just after the airlocks), if you never pick up Rooter and head for the toliet paper, Rooter's missing when you return to the hallway. Whistle and you can hear him transform, go back to the red corridoor and he's there following you..
Not sure if it was mentioned or not, but somehow Ace is really strong; he can push crates while holding the toolbox! ;)
Also might have already been mentinoed, sometimes picking up the toolbox sends Ace into a continual spin..
Leaving the closet as Rooter, with Ace following, causes an endless loop; Rooter leaves the closet but when he appears in the hallway, Ace is behind him, the game things Ace is going back into the closet, so Rooter turns around and follows him.. loop repeats..
Game specific theory:
I really like the earlier suggestion for the first screen or two to offer "gameplay tips" in the dialog. Don't force it or make the user go through required movements just to start the game (some Nintendo Wii games do this) -- that just makes it less fun when going through replays of the game later. Rather, incorporate in the early actions part of the response dialogs hints on what types of movements are possible in the game. Some ideas would be,"Hmm, it seems that this is some sort of knob. You know, the kind that you can click and drag, or swipe in the direction you want it to go! Hmmm, I wonder if we have to pay a royalty to Pear Computers-- didn't they patent that too?"
"This amazing red box is Rooter, your personal companion through the amazingly, umm, unique, sludge that aliens from across the galaxy seem to enevitably leave in the pipes you so often have to clean out. Just give a little whistle and he pops out like a little cricket ready to help, or turns back into a box that you can pickup, or leave right were he is."
"Hey, you've found some toilet paper! you could have really used that a couple hours ago. Now all you need is a washing machine and a few quarters. I wonder if I can move them around like a big super absorbant puzzle?"
I also like the idea of Rooter in toolbox form as a selectable inventory item to "do something with."
Something my brother and I mentioned to Scott Murphy during lunch one day last summer, just in case it didn't make its way to the rest of the team- one really EASY way to give the game varying "difficulty" levels is to put different things in certain places. For instance, when rummaging through the toilet paper, a "difficult" setting may only give you part of what you need (like access to another room to rummage through), where an "easy" setting would give you the tool you need. Yes, an easier game mode may therefore entirely miss certain screens (and that's okay), but it gives an opportunity for easier gameplay for younger kids, and a more rich experience or more difficult gameplay for others. You could also incorporate family friendliness on that scale too- Some settings give you items that cause certain dialog responses. Other settings give you different items that are naturally programmed for different dialog responses. .. just an idea ..
+1, I think "pre-demo backer Alpha" would be a better title. I was honestly not expecting it to be as buggy as it was. I'm not regularly following this forum, I'm extremely busy at work and other responsibilities, but that does not minimize my excitement about SV. I just read the KS updates as they are released (because they're auto delivered to my inbox), and saw that a demo was available.. Only because I experienced problems, and because I knew spacequest.net had some earlier KS campaign forum threads going, I thought to come here. Low and behold, there's an entire area devoted to the demo! This I did not know.....
+1 here too. Nostalgia got them kickstarted; that's what the name implies. It brought people out of the woodwork who understood who the two guys were, and wanted to help them "get another shot." I would *NOT* recommend they use KS again for another game from the same company. That's not the point. KS is like crowdsourced venture capital. You can't keep going back to your VC investors for more and more money. You have to get enough up-front to both make the initial widget as well as run a business. The sales of the first widget funds the second widget. Sales from the second width and continued sales of the first give rise to the third. Throw in there extras like shirts, mousepads, statuettes, and other widget-related fan items (and you better price them to be profitable!), and that helps too. Sierra found out early on how much money was to be made from Hint Books. :) Not sure what today is akin to the hintbook of then, but once they figure that out, it will help too.
Long winded way to say, I hope they are astute enough businessmen to realize that KS wasn't just for SV, but for their whole new effort. And I'm not just saying that to be critical. I eBay'd several nice items to give my support to the KS campaign. I want the new company to take off with a steady, measured, manageable pace. (Growth TOO fast is unmanageble and dangerous.)
Here's hoping that SV is just the first widget! :D