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Messages - Snarky

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General Discussion / Re: The Literary Thread
« on: Today at 13:08 »
Oh yeah? I'm a big Christie fan, so I might give that a go.

Most recently I read The Martian by Andy Weir. You may have heard of it, it's been getting a lot of hype and is supposed to be filmed next year by Ridley Scott and about half the cast of Interstellar. Basically, following an accident on a Mars mission, astronaut Mark Watney is believed dead and gets left behind. While the equipment on the base can recycle air and water, he has no means of communication and only enough food for a few months. The situation looks hopeless, but with ingenuity and a strong will to survive, he tries to hold on for as long as he can. It's been called "Robinson Crusoe on Mars," which is a pretty good description (or maybe Robinson Crusoe crossed with Apollo 13): it has a lot of that same appeal of seeing someone solve life-and-death problems by jury-rigging technology and working out how to produce basic necessities. And it's very much a "hard sci-fi" novel: it doesn't play too fast-and-loose with the science, which is important for the whole thing to be credible, even if some lucky breaks seem a bit too convenient. Overall, ridiculously good fun, and strongly recommended.

Yes. Simply write some code in repeatedly_execute() to scroll the clouds a bit each game cycle (something along the lines of cloud1.X = cloud1.X-1 to scroll from right to left), and when they've gone off-screen (cloud1.X + Game.SpriteWidth[cloud1.Graphic] < 0) move them over to the other edge.

I'm sure there's a module for it as well, but it's simple enough to do by yourself.

Ha :) Live to see the day? The issue there is that, as others have mentioned, there is no real "industry" there. Industry generates money, which is what the world apparently rotates on, so if it doesn't involve that it doesn't get so noticed. When the freeware community can offer something other than just free games or harness something truly industrial (in a world where industry = money) it would stand a bigger chance. As it is for now, it's just a nice thing.

I would almost turn that logic on its head: Anything that gets a lot of attention becomes an industry, because it offers an opportunity to make money, which most practitioners will choose to take (for various practical reasons, among them the fact that it allows them to devote themselves to the work full-time).

I mean, you see that even with AGS: almost every creator who's achieved significant success with freeware titles has eventually gone on to work on a commercial game.

The direction of the story has changed a bit. I spent a long time wrestling with how to end the story. I have finally, finally planned out the last puzzle in the game and I believe I have a satisfying conclusion to the whole game. Unfortunately, there's not really much horror happening anymore. It's become more of a mystery/thriller and I don't think there'll be much blood. I hope nobody minds. :(

Sounds great to me! I was always more excited about the mystery aspect of it (along with the school tale/friendship drama), so I'm glad to hear that will be more in the foreground.

The new portraits look even better than the old ones, though Shelly looks slightly cross-eyed.

Good luck with continued development, and hope you can keep up your enthusiasm for that long!

Edit: Oh, and I don't think I mentioned before, I think it's a really good title for a game like this. Very Daisy Pulls It Off!

It wouldn't necessarily have to be a software renderer. You can pretty easily emulate palette swapping in a pixel shader, and Allegro lets you write shaders. But I know the graphics rendering of AGS is a mess and uses an Allegro version that is old (and modified?), so I understand it could be difficult.

Are there any others?
Sure - educational reasons :) You can learn to keep your color-count low, while still producing great art.

If you're not using palette effects, you can simply create your graphics in 8-bit but import them and have the game run in 32-bit. You don't need AGS support for that.

A lot of real advantages. Palette effects are the most obvious examples.

Are there any others?

Also, I've found that (1) It's Hard to get 8-bit AGS games to render correctly on a modern system. So in the current state I wouldn't consider AGS a viable platform for making 8-bit games anyway. (The problem, I should think, is that DirectDraw and Direct3D rely on Windows and the graphics card to support 256-color mode correctly "out of the box", and that's just not the case in many modern systems. To work reliably, the graphics subsystem would need an emulator to render 8-bit palette effects in 32-bit color.) And (2) this is almost never a problem in practice, because aside from Scavenger, is anyone actually making 8-bit AGS games?

So I'm in favor of ditching 8-bit support completely.

they keep developing them because of their love and respect for this hobby
To claim that it goes to waste if it doesn't receive as much hype as some other games suggests you don't know what the word "hobby" means.

Moreover, I'm tired of reading articles claiming that he's 'reviving the genre'.
I checked out a bunch of articles about this project, and only The Escapist said anything remotely like that. In any case, it's nothing to do with Ron Gilbert. You always get these whenever there's a moderately high profile adventure game in the classic style. It's ridiculous, but I'm sure every AGSer with a commercial release have had some version of it applied to them.

There are so many indie devs who are FUCKING WASTING their lives and won't let this genre die.
Wow, what a great compliment.

But that's the point, isn't it? Most people who "could do this game" cheaper and quicker (which is pure guesswork without knowing more about how big the game will be, and of course ignores whatever special "Ron Gilbert & Gary Winnick flavor" they will instill) are doing it as a hobby or at well below the going rate for industry professionals (in some cases because they're just starting out and are trying to break into the industry).

For an experienced, professional game designer living in California, $60,000/year is a modest salary. And I don't think it's outrageous for them to say "We'd like to make this game, but we've got to have enough money to pay ourselves a decent wage." That's the whole point of Kickstarter, isn't it? To establish in advance whether there's enough interest in a project that it makes economic sense for the creators. They're not getting rich off this or exploiting anyone. If you don't think the game will be worth 20 bucks, or you don't like the concept enough to support it, then, well... don't. (I haven't, though I might.)

Saw this and was a little insulted by the amount of money he is requesting. Is this to cover publishers and promotion or something?

There's a budget breakdown on the Kickstarter page. 63% of the money, ca. $236,000, is to cover development costs (i.e. salaries). They're estimating two people (Ron & Gary) for 18 months and a third person for 12 months, so that's 4 person-years of work, and an average salary of about $60,000 per year (before taxes). And all their expenses come out of that: they'll probably have to work from home, buy individual medical insurance, there are hardware and software costs, electricity, etc.

Chicky, it seems to happen when they need to employ people over time, ie covering a 30,000 a year salary for two or three people adds up. I don't know if they're in the writers guild, if they were, there's a possibility they simply don't even write unless they get 50,000 off the bat. A fee is a fee I can understand that, but also feel it's just not 1999 anymore. You don't need 250,000 to release a point & click adventure game. You need some willing enthusiastic friends and maybe 10,000 at most :=

Sure, you can, if you're willing to work for free or very cheap, and you're asking others to do the same. But these are professionals, veterans, and Ron Gilbert is a moderately big name. They probably have families to support. I would guess that asking for a $60K salary is already a significant pay cut (it's about the average starting salary of someone with a computer science degree in the US, and about 10% below the average for California; it's also apparently somewhat below an entry-level game designer salary). Of course, they'll get more money from game sales at the back end, but who knows how much?

Whether it should take two veterans working full time (supported by another artist/programmer) a year and a half to make an adventure game in the style previewed here is another question.

Have they talked about what engine they're using? Because targeting Windows, Mac and Linux, this could quite possibly be an AGS title, right?

Ok, I got it.
There's a restriction in AGS (or rather lack of feature), it does not apply alpha blending if the drawing surface said to have no alpha channel, and room surface does not.

I think I fixed that recently in 3.4.0 (alpha) version (but it needs to be tested first).

Related to this:

I don't think I've ever tried reading from an external file, so I have no idea. Could be a "basepath" issue (which folder AGS assumes as the root/default), or some problem with access permissions. I assume you're running the game through the editor to test this? Might be worth trying it standalone as well, I think the folders work a little bit differently when you do. I seem to remember running into a problem like that with plugins.

In that case, are you sure File.Exists() returns true? That would be a straightforward reason why it does nothing.

Try replacing the body of the function with a simple dummy assignment to rule out the problem Monsieur OUXX suggests. If that works, you'll know for sure it's going wrong in reading from the file.

No trouble, it was a quick job. Your Swedish being better than mine, you're probably right about "fånigt."

All righty.

The Blackwell Legacy: The game series about the shy medium and her ghost buddy started a bit unevenly, but quickly developed into a number of heartwarming and successful adventures. Created with an eye for detail and a big measure of empathy. A series that began as a tribute to the classics, but which has proven worthy of standing side-by-side with its role models.

Gemini Rue: A science-fiction adventure in the spirit of Philip K Dick, which turns expectations on their head with clever plot twists. A psychological thriller about brainwashing and identity, and about what makes us who we are. Are we just a product of our memories and experiences, and if so, what happens if they disappear? Gemini Rue asks big questions but offers no simple answers.

The Samaritan Paradox:
"It's winter 1984. Outside a snow-slushy Gothenburg, a cold war is raging."
Caption: The dialogs are a bit stiff, but the puzzles are clever.

It's winter 1984. Outside a snow-slushy Gothenburg, a cold war is raging, but the cryptologist Ord Salomon has other things on his mind. He can't afford to pay rent for his dump of an apartment, and when an offer of work turns up, he accepts. Even a pixelly adventure game protagonist has to eat, after all.

The Samaritan Paradox is an old-fashioned point-and-click adventure by Petter Ljungqvist. That it takes place in Sweden obviously makes it extra charming for us Swedes, particularly those of us who live or have lived in Gothenburg. For example, we get to visit a spot-on depiction of Järntorget (Iron Square), complete with a bar called Glenn's, because Gothenburg.

The Samaritan Paradox is a low-key detective mystery about dark family secrets, exploitative religious sects and dodgy weapons deals with dictatorships. Ord (his name [Swedish for "word"] is very deliberately chosen, as much revolves around the written word) is tasked by the daughter of recently deceased author Jonathan Bergwall to find her father's last, lost manuscript.

Each time Ord finds one of the book's chapters, the game switches to a fantasy setting, and we get to play through Bergwall's fairy tale – which naturally reflects what's going on in the [rest of] the game, with obvious allegories to cold war, narrowmindedness and other things I can't reveal here without spoiling the unexpected twist towards the end.

The graphics consist of nicely low-resolution pixels which hide a surprising number of details in their simple, stripped-down backgrounds. The music is atmospheric, particularly the extremely 80s-sounding pseudo-saxophones which appear from time to time, but the voice acting is very uneven. Besides, it's weird to hear everyone speaking English and pronounce Swedish names wrong, like "Signe" without ng-sound and "Stig" with a short i ("Stigg"). It sounds pretty stupid.

The puzzles are tricky, but usually well designed. The game occasionally descends into typical crazy adventure game logic, but the overall feeling is of stark realism, not least because the game often refers to real-life events. Despite a somewhat abrupt ending, this is a Swedish mystery game well worth investigating.

The Rumpus Room / Re: *Guess the Movie Title*
« on: 13 Nov 2014, 20:37 »
Is it ever going back, or is it the wrong way on a one-way track? :~(

The Rumpus Room / Re: Happy Birthday Thread!
« on: 13 Nov 2014, 17:40 »
Thanks, guys and guyettes! Happy shared birthday, Hofmeier and anyone else born under this unlucky[reference needed] star!

The Rumpus Room / Re: *Guess the Movie Title*
« on: 11 Nov 2014, 21:59 »
Sure is! I always felt sorry for that conductor who'd been waiting for them to come back and finish the railroad, and then when they finally return it's just to take away the rails to use in  another, even more hare-brained scheme.

The connection is that Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski also recreated an old black-and-white vampire movie, in their version of Nosferatu.

The Rumpus Room / Re: *Guess the Movie Title*
« on: 11 Nov 2014, 19:46 »
Why I oughtta... !

OK, here's something very vaguely connected:

I'm excited about the setting! Looking forward to it.

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