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Fronzel Neekburm

Regarding the May 16th Update

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On the one hand, we‘re being told that SpaceVenture recording sessions may start as soon as June. On the other hand there‘s a lot of talk of the new narrative editor that enables the Two Guys to make on-the-fly changes to the game text. I hate to break it to you, but if you start recording the voice overs next month, that pretty much negates the whole prospect of making quick changes to your text.

I can only speak for myself, but I‘d prefer if they‘d wait with the voice recordings until they have a definite and finished script, or better yet, have already released a finished beta build that is only missing the voice work. Since there are apparently a bunch of fairly high-profile voice actors involved, I don‘t think that having them record their lines of dialogue over and over again will do the game‘s budget any good.

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On the one hand, we‘re being told that SpaceVenture recording sessions may start as soon as June. On the other hand there‘s a lot of talk of the new narrative editor that enables the Two Guys to make on-the-fly changes to the game text. I hate to break it to you, but if you start recording the voice overs next month, that pretty much negates the whole prospect of making quick changes to your text.

 

The point of the narrative editor is to be able to edit the text in one central database for all the places it needs to be called from (translations, in-game, etc) on-the-fly. This means that if the voice actors come up with a better line, ad lib a bit, or changes need to be made last minute, that Scott and Mark can do so without going through multiple locations, avoiding possibly missing particular changes. Indeed, one reason we needed to update the narrative editor is that the old version made it easier for duplicate copies of a line to exist.

 

It's not to edit text (that is being recorded; some text - like UI text - will not have voiceovers) after the voice actors get to it. The text likely won't be edited except for minor spelling/grammar fixes after VO is recorded.

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What PCJ said. We're working across states and continents here, and it's important to have our stuff in a central database so we don't end up with multiple iterations of the same script. Also, this way, we can very quickly go over each other's lines and give pointers directly within the Narrative Editor's comment field, instead of going the roundabout way of emailing it and hoping someone will notice.

 

Once the script is final, it's locked down - and, as PCJ says, it'll only be tweaked when the actors come up with stuff during recording.

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Gary Owens: "Well guys, that was a tough 72 hours straight of recording, but job done!"

 

Two guys: "Yep! Oh no, wait... it looks like pcj and Troels just made a ton of changes to the script

while you were in the recording booth. Well, back in you go Gary."

 

Gary Owens: " :( "

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Earlier I hadn't realized that some of the people posting here were actually working on the game.

 

Anyway, Chris Pope seems like a very warm and capable person. Awesome to have someone so accessible, like he is, as the project spokesperson. I applaud him for all he does. But maybe sometimes someone like Troels, who is a very clear writer on here and seems to be in-the-know and probably understands what backers and fans are wanting out of the updates, could read over and make suggestions to Pope's updates before he sends them out. I would tone down the conversational aspect and increase the professionalism and level of substance. That would also include fixing up (less important) things like basic grammar, etc. I don't have perfect grammar (far from it), but I can assure you that, if I were sending out periodic progress reports to thousands of backers, I would have someone else edit my work.

 

Some of the updates have been downright terrible. (See Apr 1 update, for example) Don't write updates like, "well, hey, buddies, it's time for me to write one of these again. Well, where to begin. There's a lot of exciting news coming up. I don't have anything much to share with you now, but maybe this little animation will hold you over for a while. Maybe I'll get permission next time to share more art. Oh, wait till you see it. I know you'll love it. Bye!" Those get old fast and they feel fake, like the writer is hiding what's going or doesn't even know himself or doesn't want to make the effort to write a decent summary.

 

People feel like they're being kept in the dark. Try to have a list in each update of where all the time was spent in the previous month and always say what is upcoming on the development schedule. Doesn't matter if it's dull. And don't worry about telling jokes all the time. And it's okay if you don't put a positive spin on everything. Please, no more updates that feel like this: "I had to send out something because it was that time of the month, so here it is. Have I gotten to 1000 words yet? Thanks so much for your patience. We are working like mad."

 

Have some consistency in the way you are doing the updates and be sure to show progress from update to update. Give us numbers, percentages, etc. When you keep people largely in the dark about a lot, they will start assuming the worst.

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@PurpleTentacle thanks for the feedback. The positive and negative comments are both appreciated. Trust me when I say, I know my grammar isn't the best. I do want you to know that what is posted on the updates are all items that are agreed upon before hand. I do not post anything that Mark and Scott aren't aware of. That is part of the reason why things are a bit vague, the three of us must come to terms with what is allowed to go public. I am the one doing the updates because I'm working pretty closely with almost everyone on the team, more so than anyone else. Part of my job is keeping track of what most people are doing. As much as I'd love to pawn the the updates off on Troels(huge stress relief) ;), the three of us agree it best that I handle them since I'm in touch with everyone on team.

 

I actually just had a 45 minute discussion with Mark(whom happened to be around at the time) on this topic tonight and we are both gonna talk to Scott on this as well. I really do want to give you guys all more input, and I think that is gonna happen. Keep an eye out for the next update. And thanks again for the feedback, I really mean that :)

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Actually, it seems that everyone posting here is directly involved in making the game. (Except for you and me, that is)

Nope. Best I can do is to get the writer's intern blitzed and hope he reveals something!

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The best software has always come from the companies that have pay attention  to user input, both negative and positive.

 

By Jove, I hope they do listen!

 

"And also the wipes aren't very intutive“ - tomimt

"Swipe controls are a pain“ - Uddasa

"Honestly, the swiping concept seems to be adding unneeded steps to solving puzzles that don't add anything to the experience.“ - Lakstoties

"Seems much more like a gimmick than something that seriously adds to gameplay. Very frustrating.“ - DevonB

"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.“ - Fronzel Neekburm

"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?" - alhazan

"The swipe is unintuitive for a mouse on a desktop PC" - shdon

"The swiping is realy awkward. [...] So I almost quit playing.“ - Thornado

"I also agree with the overall sentiment in this thread regarding the majority of the puzzles being simply object moving/sliding and hand swiping interactions. It's quite below the par of clever puzzles that have come before them in earlier space quest games, and I too hope that this is not the intended ratio of puzzle types (tablet-savvy finger swiping and object moving / clever intellectual designs) for the final product." - Johnathon

 

I know it sucks when you face the possibility of having to cut stuff that you put hours and hours of work into, but when the overwhelming majority of people (Forum users, mind you! A much more forgiving and forgetting bunch than the general public.) tell you that a particular feature in the game is shit, then you better toss that shit right out the window instead of wasting even more time on figuring out how to somehow make it work.

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"Listening" is a very different concept to "doing exactly as people want", though. If you have faith in something, you should be willing to put your balls on the line for it. Some pretty important people have been plain wrong on a number of things. :)

 

I'm not saying that's specifically the case with regard to swiping (I also didn't care for it), but developers have a much better overarching view of what the game does, what it's supposed to do, and where it's going. There were loads of bugs and problems with the original demo, the fixing of which might make swiping a pretty cool addition feature.

 

Then again, it might not. :P

 

The only experience I have with getting anywhere near close to game developers in the past concerned a soccer simulation in the UK. They were constantly bombarded with requests for certain features and to remove things from their forums. They listened, they refined, but ultimately they stuck with it. A number of years on, the game is much, much better than if they'd simply capitulated to the people who shouted the loudest. At the same time, it's also because they were very, very good at filtering out banal rambling from insightful, well-articulated critique.

 

As a counterpoint, therefore, I'd like to say that I appreciate the informal tone of the updates. I can see how they could come off as insincere, but given the podcasts and other interactions with fans, I don't think that's the case with Chris. (The Troels interview being a perfect example). Perhaps rein it in a little - and proof read! - but otherwise, I'd prefer any tone that's genuine than trying to fit into what you're "supposed" to sound like.

 

Also, I don't feel like being "in the dark", but I do feel like nothing ever gets said in the Kickstarter e-mails. I'm happy with that, knowing what I do through the forums and from reassuring morsels from Troels, PCJ et al. But I can imagine for others that lack of information is becoming worrisome.

 

But, one of the very refreshing things throughout has been the way that failures and problems have been owned up to. The PR failure of the prototypes for example. Cool little gimmicks, but clearly confusing for people who didn't spend their lives on the forums having it all explained. More of that would be welcome, especially as it's clear that development is well below what was originally planned. I'm afraid, PurpleTenticle, I don't see relentless positivity, but then if you were only getting your updates through the Kickstarter update e-mails, I can see where that perception might stem from.

 

So yeah, as Collector says, "pay attention", but don't sacrifice whatever your overarching image is for the sake of short-term PR wins. If you think it's a good idea, go ahead and do it. Just ask yourselves the same questions we ask you, and if you still come to the conclusion your pig-headed, terrible idea is a good one, go for it. ;)

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