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Demo issues, bugs and what not.

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I think press can be forgiving towards the bugs of the demo, especially because it's an alpha demo and if they get hands on time with it it'll be in a controlled environment, where the help is near to guide them. What this demo does well is that is shows what kind of a style you can expect from the final game, not necessarily how it will function and I do believe game press is used of seeing demos and prototypes with lot of bugs in them, so they can adjust their expectations towards the gameplay if they give it a spin.

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I think the implication that The Pope or the team have, either intentionally or unintentionally, misled or withheld information from backers regarding the state of the alpha is a bit harsh. Maybe some of the wording of the KS updates about what constitutes "polish" has been too ambiguous; I don't think it has, but that's a live-and-learn process. Don't get me wrong; I completely understand what's being said about that this backer alpha shouldn't go into heavy public rotation -- again, maybe that's just me, but I thought that was obvious, given the amount of bug reporting going on in this very forum. What would that bug reporting be used for, if it wasn't to polish up the alpha for a proper public demo release? I must reiterate, the one true mistake was calling this a "demo" -- it should've been "pre-demo" or "backer alpha" or some such. But that's just my opinion. (I'm supposed to have a degree in Communications, after all.)

 

I think MusicallyInspired and Frede have said what needs to be said on that matter, really, so I should just pipe down now. Reading back what I just wrote, I realize it may come off as a bit defensive -- trust me, I'm in no way bitter. :)

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I suppose we'll just have to wait and see how tough the SDCC crowd is. I think they're going to be more forgiving when it's not shown off at something like E3 where a tiny little crash or bug can make gamers rant for months on end. But I can see why Chris wants something to show off. Mission accomplished; they have that now.

 

Is it perfect? No. But again, there is very much a niche market-thing going on here. The people that know the Two Guys from Andromeda in advance are the ones most likely to come see this in action, and they're likely going to be very forgiving. C'mon, there hasn't been a "Space Quest"-game since 1995. Or 1991, if you want to adhere to the dogma that both of the Guys need to be involved. What would you rather want to see as a fan? This or nothing? Well, I was present in quite a few of the years where we gradually came to realise it was probably only ever going to be the latter, and that wasn't exactly a barrel of laughs. Some of us are honestly grateful for anything new at this point.

 

That's the thing, though.

 

If the Two Guys and their backers want this to be something sustainable that can support sequels and new IPs (and possibly a return of a certain beloved IP), it HAS to grow.

 

There will always be the Sierra faithful that are ready to put up money and do whatever else is necessary to see the return of favorite creators and cherished franchises they have fond memories of. That core can be counted on for support regardless of almost anything that may happen or any setbacks or upsets.

 

Then there's the wider "general gamer" group that may have no idea who Sierra was or what made their games special. Like it or not, SpaceVenture and the others have to pull in this group to succeed with anything beyond a nostalgia-laden encore, of sorts. That doesn't mean pandering to "hardcore gamers" or "adapting to modern gameplay elements", but it does mean showing them that, "Hey, here's something special and totally worthy of your time and money." A demo is usually a good option for doing just that.

 

I'm not at SDCC, obviously, so I don't know if the demo was actually shown off or not. If it was, the good news appears to be that no one's written anything so far. Now, I say that because it's possible I have the benefit of looking at it from a few different perspectives.

 

I'm a lifelong Sierra fan, but I also spent more than a decade working as a reporter for various outlets. I've since been pushed to the "dark side", working in Communications/Media Relations for a Fortune 500.

 

So...It's hard for me not to look at this and think 'if I'm doing a write-up, what am I calling out...'

I think the implication that The Pope or the team have, either intentionally or unintentionally, misled or withheld information from backers regarding the state of the alpha is a bit harsh. Maybe some of the wording of the KS updates about what constitutes "polish" has been too ambiguous; I don't think it has, but that's a live-and-learn process. Don't get me wrong; I completely understand what's being said about that this backer alpha shouldn't go into heavy public rotation -- again, maybe that's just me, but I thought that was obvious, given the amount of bug reporting going on in this very forum. What would that bug reporting be used for, if it wasn't to polish up the alpha for a proper public demo release? I must reiterate, the one true mistake was calling this a "demo" -- it should've been "pre-demo" or "backer alpha" or some such. But that's just my opinion. (I'm supposed to have a degree in Communications, after all.)

 

Hey, don't worry about me thinking you're bitter, Troels. And don't worry about giving offense. In my professional life, if you don't develop a thick skin you're not going to have a very good time.

 

Now, I don't know what your concentration was in (Communications is a very wide field), but I'm sure at some point you were introduced to an old axiom along the lines of "Perception is reality." If your coursework included at least a course or two in marketing or PR, you're also probably familiar with the concept of managing expectations.

 

I mention that because, to me, there's a dropped ball when there are explicit expectations set on June 16th (given as "facts", no less) with mention of just "polish" remaining and what's released on July 16 with caveats essentially being a list of 'that stuff we told you to expect? Forget all that, here's what's missing'.

 

If I were a reporter who happened to be covering SDCC for whatever reason and happened to have been following SpaceVenture as well (or a writer from a gaming publication/site), my first question would have been, "So what happened in the last month to change the delivered demo?"

 

I also feel that perhaps there's a bit of misunderstanding with the "heavy public rotation" comment. I understand you're viewing it a backer demo for the purposes of getting a polished demo ready to go out. The point I think you're missing is for all intents and purposes, whatever is being shown off in the SDCC booth IS the public demo. It's the first any member of the public or media has actually seen of the SpaceVenture project and for it to have been introduced in the state it is does SpaceVenture a disservice.

 

I'll be honest, I'm still not entirely sure how I managed to get those crates to move around other than furious clicking that apparently finally hit the right 'hot spot' on the crate, and that's just one example.

 

I really don't mean to come across as just attacking the whole thing. There was a lot to like with the art, and that narrative that did make it into the demo. And of course, the scoring was phenomenal, right there with music from the Sierra days. It's just that all of the things it does right can quickly be offset and overshadowed by the rough state it's in and the handling from the PR perspective.

 

But, like I said....Just dropping in my couple cents based on my experience and perspective, so...Don't read too much into it.

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If the Two Guys and their backers want this to be something sustainable that can support sequels and new IPs (and possibly a return of a certain beloved IP), it HAS to grow.

I don't know the ins and outs of what they're doing with the money, but I don't think it would have to grow...

if they are able to pay themselves wages of some sort out of the kickstarter money they got, enough to live on, then

they're fine... pay bills and make computer games that you own all the rights to for a living and do

them how you want them, sounds pretty good as it is.

 

If the backers like the first SpaceVenture, then just kickstart a sequel every couple of years and get another

half mill each time.

 

Of course if SpaceVenture could go nuts and get a load more fans, obviously that would be awesome and the

Two Guys could live like kings, but I don't think they're in a position where they HAVE to make that happen.

 

I think as well, with the demo... sure, I don't think people expected it to be super-buggy and some were expecting

a complete demo pretty much, but it's understood that the bugs get fixed before the actual product comes out.

They didn't release the demo outside of the backers and even if people see it at a convention, they're right there

with them and can just say, oh, it's still in development, so there are some bugs, just check out the graphics and

everything.

 

I think if you're running some huge corporation and the eyes of the world are watching your every move, then yeah,

PR is a delicate business, but in this case they already did the tough part (getting the money) and the actual game

release looks to still be far enough away that all they'd be looking for right now is a little bit of extra exposure if they can get it.

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I don't know the ins and outs of what they're doing with the money, but I don't think it would have to grow...

if they are able to pay themselves wages of some sort out of the kickstarter money they got, enough to live on, then

they're fine... pay bills and make computer games that you own all the rights to for a living and do

them how you want them, sounds pretty good as it is.

 

If the backers like the first SpaceVenture, then just kickstart a sequel every couple of years and get another

half mill each time.

 

<snip>

 

I think if you're running some huge corporation and the eyes of the world are watching your every move, then yeah,

PR is a delicate business, but in this case they already did the tough part (getting the money) and the actual game

release looks to still be far enough away that all they'd be looking for right now is a little bit of extra exposure if they can get it.

 

I absolutely agree that if they were able to sit back, pay the bills and make the games they wanted, that's not a bad situation at all.

 

I just don't know how sustainable it is. We've already seen cases where the Kickstarter well has started to run dry. So I'm not sure planning on funding future games/sequels through new Kickstarters is something that could be counted on long term. I mean, I suspect some percentage of people backed expecting a copy of Space Quest, or in hopes of the support leading to another Space Quest. Some percentage of those are likely to say "The new game's alright, but I don't know that I would've given as much in retrospect" regardless of how good the game turns out to be. There'll also be those that experience the game, decide it's nice to see the Two Guys doing games again, but the style /humor isn't what they remembered, or just isn't to their taste any more.

 

As for gaining extra exposure....Particularly for a small/flegling company, good PR's crucial. Sure, there's a bit of latitude afforded that wouldn't be with large corporations, but initial impressions are very hard to overcome and the media has a very long memory when it thinks it's been mislead or taken advantage of in some way. Means future coverage can be hard as hell to get, so...Some of the early missteps they've had with the gaming press aren't helping in that regard.

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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
Game glitches:
  • 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 ..

I think the implication that The Pope or the team have, either intentionally or unintentionally, misled or withheld information from backers regarding the state of the alpha is a bit harsh. Maybe some of the wording of the KS updates about what constitutes "polish" has been too ambiguous; I don't think it has, but that's a live-and-learn process. Don't get me wrong; I completely understand what's being said about that this backer alpha shouldn't go into heavy public rotation -- again, maybe that's just me, but I thought that was obvious, given the amount of bug reporting going on in this very forum. What would that bug reporting be used for, if it wasn't to polish up the alpha for a proper public demo release? I must reiterate, the one true mistake was calling this a "demo" -- it should've been "pre-demo" or "backer alpha" or some such. But that's just my opinion. (I'm supposed to have a degree in Communications, after all.)

+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.....

 

I absolutely agree that if they were able to sit back, pay the bills and make the games they wanted, that's not a bad situation at all.

 

I just don't know how sustainable it is. We've already seen cases where the Kickstarter well has started to run dry. So I'm not sure planning on funding future games/sequels through new Kickstarters is something that could be counted on long term.

+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

 

..dane

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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...

I guess you could see it like that, but I don't think it's much like venture capital, or going

back to investors...

 

If it were the equivalent of venture capital, you'd give them $30 (or however much),

and then get a share of the profits, so if they sold enough games, you might make

$60 and double your money... and there would be the risk of losing your initial $30 if

they didn't make a profit.

 

This scenario is different, it's a lot more just like pre-ordering something that hasn't been made yet...

you give them the $30 and that's the price of the game you'll get, plus a few

other rewards... it's not venture capital, it's just buying the game and the rewards early.

They don't have to make any profit off the game, they just have to fulfill the orders they

now have by making the game and giving out the rewards.

 

Instead of the usual set-up where people make a game and then find people to buy it,

this way they find people to buy the game then they make it (with a few extras thrown in if you pay a bit more).

 

So let's say SpaceVenture comes out and is really awesome and they say, "we're doing SpaceVenture 2! Everyone put down

$30 and we'll have enough to make the second one!"

I don't think people are gonna be like, "damn, I already paid $30 for the first one, no way am I paying another

$30 for a sequel..."

Because you'd pay it anyway for the game, it's just you're paying it in advance, like a pre-order.

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I don't know the ins and outs of what they're doing with the money, but I don't think it would have to grow...

if they are able to pay themselves wages of some sort out of the kickstarter money they got, enough to live on, then

they're fine... pay bills and make computer games that you own all the rights to for a living and do

them how you want them, sounds pretty good as it is.

I'm the Lead Engineer and this is my second job ;) By far the one I put the most hourage into (probably 60 hours or more a week.) We're not sitting on yachts (yet), lol. I've become intimately familiar with 5 sq. ft. of my home over the last few months and will surely know all its secrets after a few more months.

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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?

 

I suspect we'll be wrapping up a load of bug fixes for the demo very soon and updating the demo with those fixes.

 

  • 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

1.) We don't currently have a baseline for performance. The requirement for profiling and hardware testing and simulation is quickly approaching, however, and we can give a better indicator of minimums then.

 

2.) Resolution has been an on-going battle and we're looking into solutions for that (not just for PC/Mac/Linux, but also mobile)

 

3.) Suggestions noted! Thanks!

 

Game glitches:

  • 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..

Thanks for the thorough list! As for the save, I think it was "Shift-S" instead of "Ctrl-S"? Try that, but it's not likely to work any better even if it appears to be. I've had to completely overhaul the game's state management in the last few days due to a phantom lack of persistence (the entire point of state management.) The new solution is not only reliable, it's also compatible with mobile platforms ... something we didn't have with this release.

 

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 ..

All awesome suggestions! Noted and thanks!

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Whew.. finally finished the demo! It took digging out the docking station for my laptop to use the DVI interface, digging out a DVI to HDMI cable from the garage, getting Windows to properly recognize the TV as an HD desktop, and running it there.

 

(That said, it looks pretty sweet in 1080p on my 50" Panasonic Plasma!)

 

Took me multiple tries.. And I also finally figured out save and load. For some reason, I kept reading CTRL-S and L .. I finanally figured that SHIFT-S and L worked.. Going back through the thread, I realize this was being written all along! Du-OH. Loading has issues too though. Several loads just sit in an endless wait-loop. Several loads forget to restore Rooter. Seems several people have already mentioned these issues though.

 

Having finally completed the demo, I'm very much looking forward to more. I hope the feedback (bugs and suggestions) here is useful and that it has a positive influence on the game development.

 

@Jimmy$2, I suppose I can see your point at the $30 price point, where KS is just a single-game fundraiser. And I guess a lot of people pledged at that level. I'm hopful that they're able to do well enough however that they don't need another KS campaign; that they can make enough to push right into the followup or more SV swag when the game is out. (And of course be able to support it with additional bug fixes-- wait, there won't be any in the final game, right? ;) )

 

In spite of all the bugs, I loved the alpha. I definately think early-game clues are in order to teach the various interface options (swiping and turning) .. the vice I never could actually figure out. Lots of clicking and moving my mouse around and eventually it did something..

 

Very much looking forward to more now! Thank you SV team for giving us a little preview!

 

cheers,

..dane

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I suspect we'll be wrapping up a load of bug fixes for the demo very soon and updating the demo with those fixes.

 

Awesome.. I was hoping you'd say that, but completely understand the reasoning if you hadn't.

 

1.) We don't currently have a baseline for performance. The requirement for profiling and hardware testing and simulation is quickly approaching, however, and we can give a better indicator of minimums then.

 

2.) Resolution has been an on-going battle and we're looking into solutions for that (not just for PC/Mac/Linux, but also mobile)

 

3.) Suggestions noted! Thanks!

 

I can't imagine what it takes to do what you need to do for such cross platform support. I am sure the engine promises much, but it likely still takes a lot to ensure the game itself can support what the engine offers. I'm glad you're already thinking about profiling. And I hope my retired work laptop (that is now our primary family laptop) is up to the task when all is done.

 

Thanks for the thorough list! As for the save, I think it was "Shift-S" instead of "Ctrl-S"? Try that, but it's not likely to work any better even if it appears to be. I've had to completely overhaul the game's state management in the last few days due to a phantom lack of persistence (the entire point of state management.) The new solution is not only reliable, it's also compatible with mobile platforms ... something we didn't have with this release.

Believe me I know about state machines! I'm an FPGA designer -- a hardware programmer -- and many of my days are managing state machines. A different beast than software, I am well aware, but similar enough to enjoy a few drinks over..

 

All awesome suggestions! Noted and thanks!

 

Oh good. I was really hoping I was being useful and not worse. :(

 

Waaaaaaant :D

 

Let me know when you're in the area and I'll hook it up for you.. :)

 

Unfortunately I'm running on a limited power supply (the docking power supply got left at work, I realized), so I had to run on the 'fastest' setting. Not sure the different between it and 'insanely beautiful' but it did look insanely sweet! I tried that setting first, and just moving the mouse became an excercise in snail racing.

 

cheers,

..dane

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(snippy-snippy)

 

I mention that because, to me, there's a dropped ball when there are explicit expectations set on June 16th (given as "facts", no less) with mention of just "polish" remaining and what's released on July 16 with caveats essentially being a list of 'that stuff we told you to expect? Forget all that, here's what's missing'.

 

If I were a reporter who happened to be covering SDCC for whatever reason and happened to have been following SpaceVenture as well (or a writer from a gaming publication/site), my first question would have been, "So what happened in the last month to change the delivered demo?"

 

I also feel that perhaps there's a bit of misunderstanding with the "heavy public rotation" comment. I understand you're viewing it a backer demo for the purposes of getting a polished demo ready to go out. The point I think you're missing is for all intents and purposes, whatever is being shown off in the SDCC booth IS the public demo. It's the first any member of the public or media has actually seen of the SpaceVenture project and for it to have been introduced in the state it is does SpaceVenture a disservice.

And here, I think, is where our misunderstanding was born. The backer alpha is not out for the general public. You can't download it unless you pledged $15 during the KS. The demo was being shown around on an iPad at SDCC; it wasn't handed out to anyone at the convention, either. It's not "the public demo." Yet. :)

 

You are right, though -- having the backer alpha out there for everyone to download, roaming around, pretending to be the first playable "DEMO-demo" of SpaceVenture "the full game" would be misleading. That's just not the case, though, because it isn't. And there's good reason for that. I mean, just looking at this thread, there are a ton of things that need fixing before the "fickle mainstream public" you refer to would give this the time of day. I'm pretty sure the team knew this before they put the build up on svrewards.com, though. (I'm just the intern; they don't tell me everything.)

 

And, again, we can go back and forth on how well-crafted Pope's KS updates about the contents of the demo have been, but hey, if there was anything that needed clarification, the dude's only an e-mail or a tweet away. Not to jump up and give the guy's butt a tongue bath, but if there's one thing he's all for, it's transparency. So if there ever was a question or something unclear, all anyone had to do was ask.

 

I see what you're saying and I agree to some extent. But we can both agree that whatever the general gaming public gets to play has to be more than this. And I think the part of the puzzle that was missing from the communication was just that the backers got to see a prelude to the demo before everyone else, leaving everyone to assume the backer alpha was the demo.

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@Jimmy$2, I suppose I can see your point at the $30 price point, where KS is just a single-game fundraiser. And I guess a lot of people pledged at that level. I'm hopful that they're able to do well enough however that they don't need another KS campaign; that they can make enough to push right into the followup or more SV swag when the game is out.

Yeah, I guess it depends how much a sequel would cost... this one cost half a mill, but maybe some of that

money is on stuff they won't need to pay for again, so that would make the sequel less to make...

And yes, if there is any profit it can be used to buy yachts plug into the sequel.

I suspect they'd still need some kickstarter money though to make up the difference,

probably not as much as this time round though...

 

(Amazing shortening of my name at the beginning btw, :lol: )

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And, again, we can go back and forth on how well-crafted Pope's KS updates about the contents of the demo have been, but hey, if there was anything that needed clarification, the dude's only an e-mail or a tweet away.

I expect a lot has been learned about even "simple" updates to the KS with this alpha release. I don't think it should squelch the amount of information flow, but I do think future releases will better manage expectations. At the same time, you never know how hundreds of people are going to interact with something until you release it the first time. How many ways can you solve a puzzle, how many divergent steps can you take from the author's intended gameplay? It sounds like the first days of the alpha have provided *TONS* of input both to the PR team and the code team. And that's the goal of an alpha, right?

 

At the same time, I expect a lot of backers have even less time to come to a forum to learn about the alpha, spend time reading through bugs and workarounds, and trudge through. So I can understand both sides of the fence very easily. As Plutarch (1st Century AD) once said, "To find fault is easy, to do better may be difficult." As true now as it was then.

 

I suspect they'd still need some kickstarter money though to make up the difference,

probably not as much as this time round though...

 

(Amazing shortening of my name at the beginning btw, :lol: )

 

Not sure if you intended dollars, or deer. :)

 

And yes, hopefully the engine and gameplay style will be very re-usable on a sequal causing its development costs to be FAR lower, hopefully not even needing a KS..

 

..dane

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I don't know if it's been said already, but I find it odd that "eye"ing something, for instance, while walking around, that the resulting description that pops up follows Ace around. Is it just me or should pop-up dialog be fixed on the screen? I also think it can be difficult to read at times. I like pop up dialog though, can't quiet identify why. Throwback to traditional adventure styles? Can't decide whether or not the game should pause while the dialog is displayed.. That would be TRUE throwback to nostalgia. At the same time, we used to use that fact to help figure out time-sensitive puzzles. :)

 

I also think the dialog shouldn't naturally time-out so quickly. I have to click something more than once to read it out loud to my kids.. Force-close on dialog issues come up then too, though. Leave it up too long and people get frustrated, if there's no way to "click again" to close the dialog. Not sure a good solution there.. :(

 

..dane

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I don't know if it's been said already, but I find it odd that "eye"ing something, for instance, while walking around, that the resulting description that pops up follows Ace around. Is it just me or should pop-up dialog be fixed on the screen?

 

A lot of the narrative is spoken by Ace (or the relevant character), so the narrative appears over his head. In the case of a narrator (or lack of any characters), it is center-screen fixed. This is something we're still feeling out in terms of design.

 

I also think the dialog shouldn't naturally time-out so quickly. I have to click something more than once to read it out loud to my kids.. Force-close on dialog issues come up then too, though. Leave it up too long and people get frustrated, if there's no way to "click again" to close the dialog. Not sure a good solution there.. :(

 

We have a settings for message timeouts ... that has been woefully neglected during interactions setup, unfortunately. I think this will become automated in the future to ensure we get around the human factor of laziness ;)

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A lot of the narrative is spoken by Ace (or the relevant character), so the narrative appears over his head. In the case of a narrator (or lack of any characters), it is center-screen fixed. This is something we're still feeling out in terms of design.

 

Ahhhh, well that makes a lot more sense now, thank you. Will the final game have both spoken and text options? I expect conversation between two characters in text modes will be difficult to manage without overlapping texts.. ? I can't imagine all the tiny details that crop up that you have to deal with..

 

..dane

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This scenario is different, it's a lot more just like pre-ordering something that hasn't been made yet...

you give them the $30 and that's the price of the game you'll get, plus a few

other rewards... it's not venture capital, it's just buying the game and the rewards early.

They don't have to make any profit off the game, they just have to fulfill the orders they

now have by making the game and giving out the rewards.

 

Instead of the usual set-up where people make a game and then find people to buy it,

this way they find people to buy the game then they make it (with a few extras thrown in if you pay a bit more).

 

So let's say SpaceVenture comes out and is really awesome and they say, "we're doing SpaceVenture 2! Everyone put down

$30 and we'll have enough to make the second one!"

I don't think people are gonna be like, "damn, I already paid $30 for the first one, no way am I paying another

$30 for a sequel..."

Because you'd pay it anyway for the game, it's just you're paying it in advance, like a pre-order.

 

Exactly -- I don't understand this idea that a crowdfunded project was only truly successful if sales of the finished game are so high that the company can fund all future projects out-of-pocket from all that profit. (It wasn't expressed so strongly here, but I have seen comments elsewhere that take it to that extreme). People don't generally tell a game development team that their last game was a dud because they need to get another publishing deal with development funds for the sequel, do they??

 

For my part, I'd like to see projects I funded successful enough to turn a nice profit, without being at all disappointed to see the team come back for crowdfunding on a sequel. Maybe the next campaign will have a lower goal, or maybe it will be a similar funding goal but the sequel is even more ambitious, either possibility could be good.

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Yeah, I guess it depends how much a sequel would cost... this one cost half a mill, but maybe some of that

money is on stuff they won't need to pay for again, so that would make the sequel less to make...

(Snip)

I suspect they'd still need some kickstarter money though to make up the difference,

probably not as much as this time round though...

 

The Pope has said there are no plans to use Kickstarter again after the first SpaceVenture has set the galaxy ablaze.

 

And, yes, some of that KS dough went into groundwork, like engine building and whatnot, that'll come easier the second time round. Of course, by then, The Two Guys will have become mad and drunk on power -- I mean, the SV story document already looks a little daunting. ;) (That is, it's huge and broad in scope. Just like my, er, submarine periscope.)

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I have to admit, I got a little misty eyed when I saw what was in the janitors closet. Here's hoping someday that is back where it belongs.

 

I want to say that I am truly excited to play this game. I know how hard you are all working to make sure that this even remotely comes close to meeting our expectations, and I believe in you. Short of taking my money and running to Andromeda, i don't think it will be possible for you guys to disappoint me, and I am going to do my damndest to make sure that this gets the support it deserves :)

 

As for the alpha itself, something I would like to suggest. (this is keeping in mind that this is basically little more than a prototype, not really a demo. I've done trouble shooting, play testing, and even a little game design before so I know how much work it took just to make this and how much there is left to do.)

 

For any objects that slide, maybe have the hand icon change to a hand icon with an arrow when you hover over them. This gives the player a clearer indication that the object is to be dragged, not just clicked on. Or have Ace or Gary say that as much as they would like to pick up said object, it really looks more like the sliding type of thing.

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Btw, anyone in the know -- how does building a game in general work in terms of the order that things get done?

 

Like, would they build one whole level and fix it up and fix it up and get just that one level done perfectly almost,

and then go on to build the next level and go over and over that until that level is finished and then start working

on the third level, etc.

 

Or do they build the whole game in an alpha state first and then kind of correct the entire

game by going back over the whole thing numerous times?

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For any objects that slide, maybe have the hand icon change to a hand icon with an arrow when you hover over them. This gives the player a clearer indication that the object is to be dragged, not just clicked on. Or have Ace or Gary say that as much as they would like to pick up said object, it really looks more like the sliding type of thing.

 

Yeah, we will definitely be giving more feedback for swiping/dragging in the final game.

 

Btw, anyone in the know -- how does building a game in general work in terms of the order that things get done?

 

Like, would they build one whole level and fix it up and fix it up and get just that one level done perfectly almost,

and then go on to build the next level and go over and over that until that level is finished and then start working

on the third level, etc.

 

Or do they build the whole game in an alpha state first and then kind of correct the entire

game by going back over the whole thing numerous times?

 

Having worked on several adventure games now, I can say that in my experience that generally, each room is iterated through several times as assets (sprites, sfx, character animations, etc.) become available. So we'll start with a basic room background with its walkable area and begin adding interactions, puzzles, sfx and animations, and do a few bug-fix updates after everything is in.

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Btw, anyone in the know -- how does building a game in general work in terms of the order that things get done?

 

I've never designed a game, but I did stay at a holiday inn express last night -- so my thoughts are that there are probably some elements that are global, some regional, and some specific. In other words, there will be some refinements that permiate through the entire game (like how a character picks something up), some that may be more regional (such as how a particular item is interacted with), and some specific (such as how a particular puzzle is interacted with, clickable regions, order-of-operations, etc). Therefore it is likely that some fixes and improvements are made as the game is written, some as sections are completed, and still others after the game is completed. In addition, some situations may arise that cannot be anticipated until after a "fresh set of eyes" are on it. The developer may only envision three or seven ways to solve a puzzle; toss it out to the tester community and fifteen more solvable approaches are generated, some of which uncover bugs because those ways were never considered during original game development. Then decisions must be made whether the new approaches are acceptable and new approach bugs fixed, or if the new approaches are considered "not the proper way to solve the puzzle" and bugs left alone (due to time, budget, or software constraints). Sometimes fixing one bug may break something else, too, which is a major headache.

 

But those are just guesses..

..dane

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