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SpaceVenture Update #82 (Split from Criticism thread)

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I didn't mean the demo, although that did cause some issues. I was glad the demo came out because it showed that something had been done, and clearly the bare bones of an adventure game engine (2GFAGI?) had been realised.

 

I was more talking about the prototypes during the Kickstarter (which were unlocked each time they raised $100k). The HTML5 ones that, according to some, were going to lead directly to the apocalypse...

 

Ah, yes. The HTML5 prototypes. I thought they were cute and showed that Scott and Mark still had that comedy charm, but so many cringed at it that it nearly broke the campaign.

 

And count me in as not-a-fan of crate puzzles. I nearly gave up on BS3 because of it.

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I don't know about that. IMHO, the best way to fine-tune swiping would be to get rid of it altogether, as all this valuable time wasted on an entirely superfluous feature would be more wisely spent in making other components of the game work. The only thing swipe controls did for me was giving me this creeping feeling that this game caters mostly to the tablet crowd. Not a nice feeling at all. And if I want to shove crates, I'll stick to Tomb Raider. Clicking-and-dragging would make sense in some ultra-annoying plunger-related minigame (Ace is a plumber, after all), but other than that, I really don't want to see any of it in the actual game. Even making it optional probably won't be enough, as the mechanic itself is likely to poison the overall puzzle design.

 

The funny thing is though, that most of the old point & click games I've played with my tablet through ScummVM or Dosbox feel very much at home on a touch screen device, I'd even argue that they fit far better on a touch screen than they ever did on computer. Playing with touching things just feels more fluent and natural to me on P&C games, even when the UI and functionality of the game hasn't been made a tablet device in mind.

 

These days I even look at newer games with the mind of if they'd be better on tablet.

For an example I just recently bought The Cave (Ron Gilbert / Double Fine) and I just couldn't help but to think how much nicer experience it would have been on my tablet device. It might be a mindset thing, but the game play on it felt a lot like it would be more at home on a tablet rather than PC.

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I used to think the same of my Nintendo Wii. It was the PERFECT system for playing adventure games. It hooked up to your tv and used a remote control device with two well-placed buttons. And what happens? We get shite like Broken Sword: Director's Cut and Secret Files: Tunguska ... as well as a couple of Telltale ports that, frankly, play as if the Wii is strapped to a torture rack and whines every time you perform an action.

 

Tablets and phones, I agree, are also perfect mediums for adventure games. But you have to be more careful with designing the UI, as you're technically down to using a single button: your finger. And if you've ever tried double-finger-tapping or long-pressing a small object, you know the kind of frustrations I'm talking about here. ;)

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Hovering over objects to get the hotspot label is also annoying. Especially when thr label is under your finger. I dislike ScummVM's the-screen-is-a-touchpad approach to controlling the cursor. I'd like to be able to press with my finger where I want and have the cursor move there instead of dragging across the screen to get it to where I want it. And right-click is a serious pain.

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Tablets and phones, I agree, are also perfect mediums for adventure games. But you have to be more careful with designing the UI, as you're technically down to using a single button: your finger. And if you've ever tried double-finger-tapping or long-pressing a small object, you know the kind of frustrations I'm talking about here. ;)

 

I actually haven't had that much of problems with that. Multitouch, double tap etc. has always felt pretty natural to me. I didn't even have issues with Beneath the Steel Skys pixel hunting bits and I own only a 7 inch tablet. And my fingers ain't that small either.

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Hovering over objects to get the hotspot label is also annoying. Especially when thr label is under your finger. I dislike ScummVM's the-screen-is-a-touchpad approach to controlling the cursor. I'd like to be able to press with my finger where I want and have the cursor move there instead of dragging across the screen to get it to where I want it. And right-click is a serious pain.

 

You can actually change that in ScummVM. To make the screen relative instead of touchpad you need to check in the adlib box in the settings. It's oddly hidden, but it works well.

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Fate of Atlantis had a crate-moving puzzle, though you didn't have to do it. Insteas you could go through an arcade fight instead.

 

That, or flatter your way past the bouncer. It's a nice little setup because it hints at the different paths you have to choose from later on.

 

I've personally gone for the wits approach in most playthroughs, though it's awfully tempting to have Indy say "Let me in, you Darwinian nightmare".

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Haha indeed! I forgot about the third option there. That does reflect well the future path choice.

 

Bit of SQ2 trivia. When we were making the remake we almost put together an entirely different experience for half the game. There was to be a fuel line detached from the space shuttle you have to clean at the beginning of the game. If you left it alone the game would proceed to Labion as normal with the crash in the jungle.

 

If you chose to interact with it Roger would attach the fuel line to the ship and you would still end up on Labion. However, instead of the hovercraft crashing in the jungle it would continue on straight to the mines where you were to be put to work. What followed would have been an adventure of escape from the mines culminating in exploring your way through an alternate route through the jungle ending back at the landing platform from the mouth of that ancient statue into the pool. You would have had all the same items by the end and the asteroid portion would have remained the same.

 

It wasn't going to be obvious or hinted at in any way. But for those who just love clicking and interacting with everything it would have been a nice surprise. :) There were a bunch of backgrounds made for the mines but not finalized, IIRC, but the whole idea was scrapped because it would have taken too long. It would have been awesome, though. It would have been a faithful remake with sort of SQ2+ thrown in at the same time!

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I'm not big on the crate-shoving, either -- I still have nightmares about Broken Sword 3. But I feel the mechanic could be used for something fun, even to poke fun at the mechanic itself.

 

I fully agree. So far it looks good, but some of those elements make it feel like a platformer (Mario pushing boxes for the sake of pushing them) versus it being necessary as part of well developed (adventure) story.

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Tablets and phones, I agree, are also perfect mediums for adventure games. But you have to be more careful with designing the UI, as you're technically down to using a single button: your finger. And if you've ever tried double-finger-tapping or long-pressing a small object, you know the kind of frustrations I'm talking about here. ;)

 

I don't know what anyone else thinks, but The iPad UI for the Broken Swords and the Monkey Island remakes (non Telltale) are my "gold standard." You can't tell when you're using a good UI. A bad one takes you out of the game. LSLR took me out of the game a lot. :(

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Bit of SQ2 trivia. When we were making the remake we almost put together an entirely different experience for half the game. There was to be a fuel line detached from the space shuttle you have to clean at the beginning of the game. If you left it alone the game would proceed to Labion as normal with the crash in the jungle.

 

If you chose to interact with it Roger would attach the fuel line to the ship and you would still end up on Labion. However, instead of the hovercraft crashing in the jungle it would continue on straight to the mines where you were to be put to work. What followed would have been an adventure of escape from the mines culminating in exploring your way through an alternate route through the jungle ending back at the landing platform from the mouth of that ancient statue into the pool. You would have had all the same items by the end and the asteroid portion would have remained the same.

 

It wasn't going to be obvious or hinted at in any way. But for those who just love clicking and interacting with everything it would have been a nice surprise. :) There were a bunch of backgrounds made for the mines but not finalized, IIRC, but the whole idea was scrapped because it would have taken too long. It would have been awesome, though. It would have been a faithful remake with sort of SQ2+ thrown in at the same time!

 

Damn, you should totally have done that! Part of me was a little bit disappointed back when I initially played SQ2VGA because I had been expecting SQ2+. Not a complete departure, but definitely more of a redux.

 

Of course, you made a really good faithful remake, so it's not as if the decision to go for that was bad at all. Which was also what I realised after spending some time with it. You more than accomplished that goal. But a whole new game path would've been really interesting. Especially considering what AGDI were able to do with the hollow shell that was KQ2. As far as fan remakes go, that one is still the benchmark, in my opinion.

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Being faithful was the prime goal. The majority of people at IA never really liked what AGDI did with KQ2+. They dislike the convolutions and grittiness of the sort of KQ6 and Gabriel Knight. :P And while we could have all slept at night by being faithful AND producing a new adventure in the experience, especially considering SQ2 didn't have very much to it to begin with, it really just came down to not having enough time.

 

Plus we already slipped in a complete remake of Troll's Tale, though that was a very small and easy game to make.

 

We did have a great time reimagining Vohaul's asteroid, though. That place really needed a facelift whichever way you slice it!

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It would have been awesome to see the alternate path. Too bad you guys didn't put it in. I do understand why, though. And I loved the addition of a Monolith Burger in the asteroid. I couldn't stop laughing seeing it there.

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Haha indeed! I forgot about the third option there. That does reflect well the future path choice.

 

Bit of SQ2 trivia. When we were making the remake we almost put together an entirely different experience for half the game. There was to be a fuel line detached from the space shuttle you have to clean at the beginning of the game. If you left it alone the game would proceed to Labion as normal with the crash in the jungle.

 

If you chose to interact with it Roger would attach the fuel line to the ship and you would still end up on Labion. However, instead of the hovercraft crashing in the jungle it would continue on straight to the mines where you were to be put to work. What followed would have been an adventure of escape from the mines culminating in exploring your way through an alternate route through the jungle ending back at the landing platform from the mouth of that ancient statue into the pool. You would have had all the same items by the end and the asteroid portion would have remained the same.

 

It wasn't going to be obvious or hinted at in any way. But for those who just love clicking and interacting with everything it would have been a nice surprise. :) There were a bunch of backgrounds made for the mines but not finalized, IIRC, but the whole idea was scrapped because it would have taken too long. It would have been awesome, though. It would have been a faithful remake with sort of SQ2+ thrown in at the same time!

 

Holy shit, that sounds fantastic! I would've LOVED to see that. I love it when you have a game that branches out and does different things, depending on how you interact with the game world. The Blade Runner game Westwood did is actually one of my favorites in that regard; there are just so many variables and options, depending both on your actions and also on just what the game feels like at the moment. Another is, of course, The Pandora Directive, where the outcome is determined by how much of a dick you were to people during the course of the game.

 

That "Thing" I was writing (open design doc for "The Thing: The Adventure Game", based on the John Carpenter movie) also has this sort of, uh, thing going where one member of the cast would get randomly chosen as "the Thing" from the start, and the 2nd and 3rd act of the game would then be wildly different depending on who was chosen in the beginning. You could also influence the game by making everyone distrust you and have it turn out that you were the Thing all along, at which point you can walk around the base and assimilate everyone into a gooey mess.

 

Sorry, I digress. Wow, I would've loved to see that. Maybe I can get Blackthorne to elucidate on the "lost alternate chapter" of SQ2VGA in a podcast episode. (Yes, everything is podcast fodder to me now.)

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To be honest, I feel nervous about this project because it seems like there is so much left to do. I believe I pledged just enough for the game, and I am not interested in complaining. I have no problem waiting patiently. Hoping for the best now.

 

Still have a few questions, though. Sorry if these have already been answered somewhere. Haven't been keeping up with things very thoroughly.

 

1) is there an estimated year of release? Are we talking maybe 2015?

 

2) are we still getting mobile versions?

 

3) will there be labeled hotspots? I hope so! I don't have much time to use a PC now, and I just saw the demo on YouTube. Labeled hotspots are a MUST MUST MUST for mobile versions. It looked like the hotspots were labeled, but hopefully the font won't be too small. It seemed very small in the demo.

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1) is there an estimated year of release? Are we talking maybe 2015?

The SpacePope did an interview recently where he said they were shooting for a 2014 release, but that he isn't comfortable committing to a firm release date until the programming department is sorted out.

 

2) are we still getting mobile versions?

The game will be out for desktop and mobile devices. Nothing's changed here.

 

3) will there be labeled hotspots? I hope so! I don't have much time to use a PC now, and I just saw the demo on YouTube. Labeled hotspots are a MUST MUST MUST for mobile versions. It looked like the hotspots were labeled, but hopefully the font won't be too small. It seemed very small in the demo.

 

The UI is still being worked on (the finished game might not even have the Sierra-style interface you saw in the demo), but I do believe labeled hotspots will be part of it. Not sure if they'll just show up when you hover the mouse over them, or if you have to "inspect" the object to find out what it is. That stuff is still being decided.

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Ok, thanks for the response.

 

This year I played several adventure games on my iPhone. Games like Monkey Island 1 & 2 and Fester Mudd were enjoyable and more or less easy-ish to play with the small screen... thanks to their labeled hotspots. I also played Larry Reloaded on my phone and found it almost unplayable since it doesn't have labels. It's unbelievably frustrating not being able to tap with your finger in exactly the right spot and having to make more than five attempts to do something as simple as sit down. Players need to be able to drag their finger across screen to see what they are selecting.

 

Anyway, I am fine with whenever the game comes out. Maybe I will have the iPhone 7 by then, and maybe that phone will have a bigger screen for me to play the game on.

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