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tomimt

Demo issues, bugs and what not.

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The biggest issue I have so far is the lack of feedback with the UI. It would be helpful to have the cursor icons change to context to indicate that your are actually doing something.

 

Examples:

Walk cursor would animate to show a room change point.

Click and hold swipes show the center point and a direction vector arrow.

Use cursors woulld animate when something can be used.

Look cursor would change (maybe a squint) for something of interest.

 

 

Just those little details would help figure out things, and what is and isn't feasible. On a touch interface, you could have a cursor show up when pressed to show the context.

 

 

Honestly, the swiping concept seems to be adding unneeded steps to solving puzzles that don't add anything to the experience. If there's only one way to swipe that works and the rest do nothing, does it really add to the player experience? Instead of a swipe, I like something like a click and drag (with vector indicator) to be used on puzzles and situations that have consequences if you choose wrong. If I'm disarming an illegally modified Plunger Buster ™ sewage line clearance bomb that Rooter dredged out in an effort to save the day... I could see a very cool abstracted game of Mastermind where you have to carefully switch a few 4-way toggle switches in a particular few sequences or face destruction when you guess too much from ignoring too many clues. But, when there's no consequence and it's just another idle action... it becomes the same as those annoying quick time events that serve nothing other than to waste time and add annoying faux game interaction.

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But, when there's no consequence and it's just another idle action... it becomes the same as those annoying quick time events that serve nothing other than to waste time and add annoying faux game interaction.

Absolutely true. I'd remove all these pointless moving around things puzzles and replace them with real puzzles. The demo has already 3 and I haven't finished it yet. Looks like the intention is to make these a big part of the game.

Maybe instead of moving the magazine, for example, there could be a real puzzle for how to get that socket. Like using something on the drill. You know, like an adventure game.

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Would be good when right-clicking anywhere it rotate to the next cursor.

 

I'd really like to see the scroll wheel on the mouse rotate through all the options as well like other adventure games.

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The controls for SV feel very clunky and cumbersome. Feel like I'm playing one of those free Android 100 Room games that are horribly non-responsive to be quite blunt. The red hall is buggy; click on the left hand side of the screen and he walks right. Trying to get him to walk into the red hall at the top left is also difficult from the hallway full of boxes. The swipe puzzle on the hatch was also clunky and non-responsive. Seems much more like a gimmick than something that seriously adds to gameplay. Very frustrating.

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I agree about the swipe puzzles. Thet don't really add anything to the puzzles themselves, so I'd leave them out from the PC version of the game. I can see them working better on tablet devices, but with mouse they just aren't a good idea.

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Can't say I particularly care for the swipe controls myself. It feels like a cheap tacked-on gimmick that was thrown in to appeal to the tablet crowd. Since I have no intention whatsoever to play this on a tablet, I do hope that this swiping nonsense is made optional in the final (PC version of the) game.

 

Opening the game with some nondescript crate-shoving puzzle doesn't exactly get me excited either.

 

Too bad, since the graphics look nice and Ken Allen seriously outdid himself with this score. But lackluster gameplay, overall buggyness and the nonresponsive controls (again, kind of sad, since the icon interface itself looks and feels so much better than, say, LSL Reloaded) have kept me from playing the demo for more than a few minutes.

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The crate shifting reminds me of Sokoban. LOL.

Also noticed that after turning off the steam and moving to the corridor near the lab, then walking back again, steam appears and Ace will walk past it with no issue. Rooter doesn't seem to want to past this point regardless of whether steam is there or not.

Not sure whether this is in the works, but would also be good if all the icons had something to indicate to confirm that the cursor is in the right spot to click somewhere (like how the red spots were on the cursors of later Sierra games, but doesn't have to be that of course :)). I find it an issue when trying to do click on moving Rooter.

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Not sure whether this is in the works, but would also be good if all the icons had something to indicate to confirm that the cursor is in the right spot to click somewhere (like how the red spots were on the cursors of later Sierra games, but doesn't have to be that of course :)). I find it an issue when trying to do click on moving Rooter.

 

On many of the hotspots (we haven't added them to all yet) there should be a LucasArts-like prompt in the upper left of the screen that tells you what action will be performed.

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If there were more feedback during the swiping action (real-time graphic updating, for instance the airlock's first sequences rotating as you drag until it's in the right position) would that be any better for play-feedback and gameplay in general? Or would you prefer having something less on rails, like the airlock's dials having two different "security" settings and you have a little clue (maybe a vague drawing uploaded to you on Ace's PDA) for how to open it? I don't represent an agent of change, but I'm just curious.

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would that be any better for play-feedback and gameplay in general?

In my opinion, no. Swiping things, and particularly the puzzles that result from it (magazine, toilet paper etc) are mobile/tablet stuff. They've got nothing to do with a classic adventure game and they add nothing. You can't really make them good. At most they should be relegated to 1 or 2 in the whole game. At most. Not at every step like it is now, esentially replacing classic puzzles or just wasting the player's time.

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I don't mind swiping as such, if it feels natural to the puzzle itself. For an example moving the magazine aside from the top object feels natural, but on the other hand the Tetri-like puzzle for finding the keycard under the toilet paper rolls was just waste of time, as personally I would just toss the paper rolls away, not slide them in the tray.

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If there were more feedback during the swiping action (real-time graphic updating, for instance the airlock's first sequences rotating as you drag until it's in the right position) would that be any better for play-feedback and gameplay in general? Or would you prefer having something less on rails, like the airlock's dials having two different "security" settings and you have a little clue (maybe a vague drawing uploaded to you on Ace's PDA) for how to open it? I don't represent an agent of change, but I'm just curious.

 

Between the two, I'd side with real-time graphical updates. That's the more straightforward way to indicate to the player that something is happening because of what they are doing.

 

 

I will state again, that the sliding mechanic seems to present more opportunities for misuse rather than good use at this point.

 

Unless there are consequences for not doing something right, don't needlessly complicate them. For example, if the airlock could be jammed or the wrong sequence could eject you out into space, then could make sense to have some kind of sliding puzzle... as long as the sliders weren't simple binary switches. If the slider is a simple ON or OFF/ 1 or 0 switch... That's unnecessary and annoying. Now, if the slider has 3, 4, 5+ positions, now you've got something to work with.

 

Simply, if it's superfluous busywork adding a timesink between important steps, I don't want to deal with it.

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Here are some bugs, suggestions and tutorial. This post contains spoiler information for the Alpha demo. Thanks for the awesome demo and I look forward to future revisions!

 

Bugs (Some of these have been documented or obvious):

 

  • Rooter Heads Populating in Inventory (you can get rid of them by placing them back on Rooter)
  • Graphical glitch when pushing second crate to the left
  • When returning to workbench, it has restored to initial state
  • After closing the glued box, reopening it freezes the game.
  • If leaving the closet with Rooter, he will turn around instantly
  • You can bypass the steam puzzle with Rooter by clicking the move action past it repetitively
  • After Rooter turns off the Steam and you return the view to Ace, Scooter is missing
  • If returning to Ace after turning off Steam, Rooter will turn around instantly
  • Restoring from Hallway after turning off steam, shows steam turn on and can safely walk through.
  • Looking at the Lab Door reveals Message Not Found
  • Can walk straight through Lab Door without using ID Card
  • Can walk through North door before Lab
  • Cannot leave Lab once entered
  • Any action clicking on lab screen produces no result

 

 

Suggestions:

  • Ability to set down Scooter
  • Ability to call Scooter if sleeping behind somewhere you can't see.
  • Enable all interactive items to be hovered over
Tutorial (or as far as I've gotten):

 

  • Turn door handles counter clockwise by moving mouse 360 around them
  • Look at janitor cart to find ID card (easy puzzle)
  • Drag mouse on far right crate to push it forward, drag across upper middle crate to push to the left, drag middle crate to push it forward, drag crate in front of door.
  • Pick up Rooter
  • Use ID Card on Door
  • Place Rooter onto Shelf in Janitor Closet
  • Talk to Rooter to activate
  • Switch control to Rooter and walk towards other side (top right menu item)
  • Use Rooter's second action (head) to activate the lift
  • Move rooter to exposed area, Switch to Ace
  • Talk to Rooter to deactivate (this will avoid Rooter sleeping behind a random crate)
  • Look at the Roger's Workbench
  • Eat the hamburger, (there will be french fries in inventory)
  • Move the magazine away, collect socket and adapter
  • Collect glue remover
  • Use glue remover on accessory box, open box (do not close or you cannot reopen), collect 3 more sockets
  • Move cloth away from vice grips
  • Use socket adapter on vice grips, collect socket (important for next puzzle)
  • Pick up rooter or turn on Rooter and have him follow you.
  • Push janitor cart to reveal panel
  • Look at panel to see needed socket type
  • Put last collected or matching socket in Rooters head (You should have plenty of Rooter heads, if not click hand action to take one)
  • Use Rooter Head with Socket to open Panel
  • Change control to Rooter and walk through panel
  • Use Rooter head action to turn off Steam
  • Walk with Rooter to next screen, Ace will follow
  • Use ID Card on Lab Door or just walk through it (You cannot return if you walk through)
  • At this point there doesn't seem to be anymore to do, other than walk around.

 

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I didn't really think the swiping was particularly tablet-friendly seeming, but more of a way to expand the old point & click mechanics - so I didn't really mind that stuff after awhile, besides the hotspots being too precise. I definitely wouldn't like to see it decay into piles of sliding-tile puzzles, or drag-and-connect-the-wires type stuff, but wouldn't mind having to qualify my hand icon usage with a direction.

 

Not a big fan of the hotspot labels (or would like to turn them off - for that old school difficulty), but like the "animated cursors if there's something to do / a response of any kind" idea.... that at least requires some forethought. Active pixel indicators on icons/inventory-items would be nice, or maybe just make that stuff much more forgiving.

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I agree with points made about

 

* Swiping controls too finicky and not very interesting.

-- In the current state the challenge seems to be figuring out how to tell the game what you want to do instead of solving an interesting puzzle. --

* Hovering over an object that can be looked at or interacted with should have some sort of feedback to indicate this is an option (animated icons for example)

* Text needs a shaded background for readability

(it might also help to have text persist until dismissed)

* Option to scroll through available icons

 

It took me forever to figure out that I had to move the cursor to the bottom of the screen to access my inventory, I don't see why it shouldn't be available in the standard GUI.

 

I will be very sad if it turns out there is no way to combine objects in your inventory or is this something that happens at workbenches?

 

Early in the KS campaign the developers discussed having a hybrid [icon / text parser] interface. Has this idea been nixed?

 

I hope I don't sound too negative, the game shows promise and I'm really looking forward to see how it turns out.

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Ok, played through the demo. Here are my thoughts. I wrote them down while playing. I realize this is just an alpha and you're looking for bugs more than anything, but I gave feedback on everything anyway. Maybe you already have solutions to some issues that are not implemented yet, maybe not. Anyway, here it is:

  • Title music is great. the main theme is perfectly epic and whimsical at the same time. Very uplifting and catchy.
  • Opening screen. Love the humour right off the bat ("Cluster F-K"). The purple nebula in the background seems to be a direct reference to the first screen from Space Quest IV's intro.
  • The closeup of the van-shuttle docking with the station brought me right back to Space Quest II's art direction. Reminds meof the escape pods from Vohaul's Asteroid and the sweeping deck from the beginning of SQ2.
  • The opening gameplay segment piece reminds me of the themes from Star Wars when R2 is alone on Tatooine. Perfect atmosphere. (Nice job again, Ken! No complaints in your department!)
  • The visual effects are very effective. A lot of the assets I recognized as 2D art and not 3D art only afterwards. It's very convincing and not interferring with the gameplay experience. It stands up to modern games in my honest opinion. I also love the steam effects from the hallways and the movements of things (ships, etc). Unity looks great on this game. The lighting and shading effects compliment the artwork well. Everything looks like it belongs and doesn't stick out like a sore thumb; the models and the 2D obejcts.
  • The sound effects, while decent, seem kind of lacking and not full. Mostly where the machinery and space ships are concerned. The sounds used for when the van-shuttle docks seem a little lackluster. They don't make the obejcts look or feel real enough. A minor qualm.
  • At first glance I love the swiping control idea, but as others have said it's not very intuitive. Takes a couple tries before those latches on the airlock door actually turn. And then I didn't know what to do. I finally realized that they were now toggles that could be pulled down and up. Really didn't look like that with a straight-on 2D view. (I noticed afterwards that there's an indicator label on the top left of the screen which shows what you're hovering over. I never noticed this for a while. Could be a little more obvious. UI probably isn't finished anyway, though.
  • I feel that this first part where you first enter the airlock could probably be the perfect spot for a controls tutorial for the swiping. Not giving anything away, but letting you know that you can, in fact, swipe something here. Like a message quickly introducing the new control and telling you to swipe the controls for the airlock, but not tell you exactly how.
  • When the airlock door opened I immediately thought SQ1 Arcada hallways with the red and blue theme. Nice! Also, the whole design is fantastic with the straight-edge/octagonal and hexagonal shapes. Especially like the reflections in the metal paneling. Nice touch.
  • First scene in the hallway reminds me of the Eureka corridors from SQ5
  • Ace's movements and animations are perfect. They seem perfectly life-like. Or at least with enough life for a cartoon to not feel like I'm controlling an on-screen puppet. No facial animations, but I didn't expect any. If that could be added that would be a nice touch. Not a biggie for me, though.
  • The red-lit hallway in the back totally reminds me of the tube from SQ3 in the garbage freighter.
  • While I like the right-click icon bar function, I would also like the ability to scroll up and down with the mouse-wheel for the different interactions as well. Perhaps everything minus the PAD icon.
  • Bug? I walked into the steam and it blew Ace across the hallway. He fell down and never came up. And the loading icon spun and spun without anything further happening besides the steam continuing to spew and the music continuing to play in the background. I had to force-quit. Also, the spinning icon seems to jiggle arround a bit as if each frame of animation is not perfectly centered.
  • Ace's body appeared to go through the crates when walking close to them. It looked like I was on the other side of the crates after moving one, but I really wasn't. Simple priority glitch or something there I surmise.
  • The crate moving puzzle wasn't too annoying for me. My only complaint is that it wasn't always responsive. Perhaps some kind of visual cue to let you know that you can move the crates when you hover the cursor over them? Or maybe that's too much and gives it away. Maybe at least a visual cue to let you know if you can move an object in a certain direction or not. Like, perhaps a red icon appearing after you attempt to swipe an object in a certain direction. Maybe an arrow in the direction of your swipe with a red bar over it. Maybe the object glows white or something for a second when you swipe in the correct direction. I just feel like visual cues would go a long way here. It feels empty. I do like that when you click on a movable object, a sound effect dings and a message pops up saying "I might be on to something here." At least there's a vague clue that you can interact with the object further. Thats' nice. I just noticed that now. That might actually be ok, if the on-screen text were a little more prominent and noticeable, which is another issue.
  • Many times when I would click to where I wanted to walk Ace would walk in a completely different direction than what I thought would be natural. Many more times still Ace would not move until after several clicks. The are where he can walk seems to be very restricted. Feels like it should be more intelligent and forgiving. A quirk of the point and click interface in a 3d realm which would probably just needs to be refined.
  • I happened upon the close-up view of the janitor's cart completely by accident just now when I clicked back on the game window from typing this in notepad. I just happened to be on the eye icon and clicked exactly on the cart. I probably would have done it eventually but I wasn't anywhere near guessing that there would be a close-up there. But that's fine. I should be clicking and experimenting on everything I
  • see. And I love that the game supports the feeling of numerous interactions and possiblities anywhere and not just specific areas/objects. Makes it feel like a larger game world.
  • The janitor cart puzzle seemed to me a bit like those picture puzzles where you have to move each piece around until you form the picture. Kind of neat....at first I wasn't sure if I found it annoying or charming. I decided that I liked it. We'll see how the rest of the demo goes. I started to think that there might start to be too much swiping stuff in the game...then I remembered that this is going to be on tablet devices. Such interactions on a tablet are nice to have and I understand the use. That will go over huge with the casual gaming market with pad and palm devices.
  • I forget, is this coming to Android as well as iPad? I'd love to play this on my Galaxy S3. Especially, for some reason, with the advent of swipe controls. And I'm not sure why. I usually shy away from gimmicky stuff like that. But for some reason I love the idea for SpaceVenture on the go. We'll see if it's not entirely tiring with a mouse on a desktop/laptop.
  • Around this time I noticed that I'm not able to save or load a game. Others talked of saving and loading as if it were possible, but it does nothing for me. While I'm on the subject, To-do, Settings, Txt Msgs, and iMOM also seem to do nothing as well (aside from iMOM popping up on the screen and doing nothing else).
  • I notice when I click the hand icon on Ace's toolbox (Rooter) the box starts running around on its own. Not sure why?
  • I was disappointed when I discovered that I could not interact with myself (eg.- look at Ace).
  • Perfect Space Quest reference in the closet. :)
  • I was somewhat confused as to how to actually use Rooter. At first it seemed like I could only use him in certain situations and wouldn't let me control him otherwise. Then in the closet I happened to talk to the doorway and then Ace whistled and Rooter transformed. I had no idea. It should just be as easy as clicking his icon on the icon bar (if he's in the same room as you, I guess). Unless there's a reason for this otherwise.
  • Upon opening up Rooter's interface, I found it very intriguing that there are "missing plugins". Like you can add different interfaces to him to do different things. I love the idea of an upgradeable Rooter! This has far-reaching opportunities for beyond the main quest. Modifying Rooter to do things that aren't necessarily necessary to finish the game is a very appealing idea to a lot of people. Think of the hats in Team Fortress 2. Couldn't use the flashlight, though. When I clicked on Defib, a new icon came up for me to interact with but flashlight did nothing.
  • The random messages are very funny. Scott at work here! I love it. Especially the responses for Rooter interactions.
  • I may have found a bug. I can pass the steam on the red hallway if I use Rooter. Ace follows, unharmed. At first it looked like Rooter was trying to avoid passing the steam, but persistence paid off. Crossing the steam while controlling Ace leads to death and that strange hanging bug where nothing happens after he dies.
  • Ahhh. If Rooter is in the same room as Ace when he dies he can defibrilate Ace! That must be what happened before. I left Rooter in the main hallway when I entered the red-lit hallway. So when Ace died it just sat there and loaded forever and couldn't do anything because Rooter wasn't in the same room. That's a brilliant design idea, by the way. Being able to continue after death via defibrilation.
  • I tried to grab Rooter while in the closet while he was walking around and his head disappeared. Other than that nothing happened.
  • I was in the closet, I whistled, Rooter turned into a box and then began walking around. I exited the closet, and the closet door was shut again and all the crates were reset back to their starting positions. I appeared on the other side of the creates next to the wall away from the door. I also have about a dozen Rooters in my inventory by now lol.

I stopped playing the demo about here because I couldn't figure out what to do after getting into the closet. I couldn't interact with anything or get further passed the crates towards the workbench. Maybe I wasn't supposed to lol. I'll play more later and figure it out. Played it on full quality with no hiccups, tears, pauses, crashes, or choppiness. Ran like a dream. My computer specs:

 

Windows 7 Pro 64-bit

Intel i7 Quad-core 2600k OC to about 4.0GHz (I think)

4GB RAM

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460

1920x1080 resolution

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I will be very sad if it turns out there is no way to combine objects in your inventory or is this something that happens at workbenches?

 

Thanks for the feedback, Matthew! I can confirm that inventory combination is a capability right now and an intended portion of the demo. It can happen during any scene where you can access your inventory. So don't be sad!

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I'm ok with the swipe controls so long as there's good visual feedback of what I can interact with and how, and it updates in realtime where appropriate (eg dragging airlock handles in circles).

 

It'd be nice if it was somewhat logical though - why shuffle stuff around in the cart when you could just dump it all on the ground, or shove it aside? Why play sokoban with crates that you could just climb over?

 

I was pretty unimpressed by the bench vice though, I mean come on - searching for the bit to wind open the vice jaws so you see what was behind them, when you could have just leant sideways a bit? I really hope that's not representative of what's going to be in the final game.

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Amusing bug:

in the first room with the crates, used the talk action to turn Rooter back into toolbox, picked it up with the hand icon, and then Ace starts spinning around like a top! If I walked inside the room, he would stop spinning for a bit, but then continue after reaching the new location. The spinning stopped after moving to a new room.

 

This does not happen every time he picks up the toolbox, but it does happen frequently, at least in this room.

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Two bugs:

If you take Rooters head and walk into another room Rooter's head will magically be reattatched to his body again. The original you took will stay in your inventory. I'd place some sort of global variable there in order to monitor this.

 

The crates and the cleaning cart reset to their original positions from time to time. I'm not really sure what triggers this, but after I managed to move the crate in the closet and returned to the hallway the crates were back in their original position and Ace came to the screen on the other side of the boxes, not through closet door.

 

And as people have said, there's a lot of clipping issues with the movable objects. Ace's hands go through the crates etc. I'd take in consideration to create the sliding objects as 3D elements, just like Ace and other characters are. That might be a way to prevent such visible clipping issues and I think those 3D elements would even blend in pretty well within the pre-rendered bakcgrounds.

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