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Messages - Ali

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General Discussion / Re: the blender 3D thread
« on: 23 Sep 2018, 01:28 »
I think some of the tension in this thread derives from two meanings of the word "hack". A hack is a bad writer, or a bad artist (from hackneyed). That's what KyriakosCH seems to have understood.

Cassiebsg used "hack" in the programming sense of "an effective but inelegant solution", which is not usually intended to be insulting.

Completed Game Announcements / Re: Lamplight City
« on: 16 Sep 2018, 20:06 »
Congratulations on the release! I got a chance to play a beta version and even though the voices weren't all there it was obviously an extremely polished, well plotted detective game. As a big fan of whodunnits, it was refreshing not to be investigating the murder of a 16 year old blonde girl for once.

I'm posting because I want to disagree with Kyriakos...

Add spoiler tag for Hidden:
I don't agree that the game is "PC". I saw a comment elsewhere from someone who "doesn't like politics" in their games. Which is a silly thing to say, because any game that depicts societal structures is going to have politics in it. "Keep politics out of games" just means "keep the kind of politics I'm uncomfortable with out of games."

Rather than being unsubtle, my only criticism is that the game is too subtle, almost coy, when dealing with racism. I can imagine why Francisco avoided using racial slurs. But I think having the characters deal with race through euphemism and allusion doesn't reflect the way people thought or spoke in the 19th century. Of course, this is steampunk, so it gets a pass.

Amazingly, we've already sold out apart from a few Sunday tickets. Sorry you can't make it cat, hopefully we'll see you on the livestream!

It's written in ink, so I think it's more interactive fiction than visual novel. I don't know if there's a clear distinction, but I get the impression it's a lit less linear than "novel" implies.

Quadruple bump. (Do let me know if you want me to stop bumping, but in the past people have complained that AdventureX info was late to arrive on the AGS forums.)

If you missed the Kickstarter, but still want a ticket, tomorrow is the big day. The remaining tickets go on sale from the British Library on Monday:

If the Kickstarter is anything to go by, there's a decent chance the tickets will sell-out. The full schedule will be announced soon, but Ragnar Tornquist (of The Longest Journey) and Dave Gilbert (of this parish) will both be sharing their wisdom. That seems like a good enough endorsement to me.

I suppose, but Gloucester and Carlisle are both in England, so it seems like a lot of effort.

That's very close. I think it could be Arcventure: The Romans. However, the only screenshots I can find are from the PC remake and are too modern. Also, the game takes place in Gloucester, and I specifically remember my game taking place in Carlisle...

I know we don't do abandonware around here, but I'd love a tip off of anyone knows where roms and emulators for this era of game can be found.

Hello! I've been searching for a game I probably played on the Acorn Archimedes, or possibly BBC microcomputer.

All I can remember is that it was an archaeology based game where you drove around Carlisle (North West England) digging up Roman settlements. It was probably educationally, and I remember digging trenches and choosing where to travel on a map.

Does this ring a bell with anyone?

Adventure Related Talk & Chat / Re: Picking up objects..
« on: 20 Jul 2018, 11:23 »
My view is that nothing that is easy or boring in real life should be a puzzle in an adventure game. Not walking off the edges of cliffs is easy, so it shouldn't be something the players have to avoid. Finding your keys before you leave the house is boring, so you shouldn't make a player do it (Unforeseen Incidents, what I worked on, does do that, of course!). I don't see why players shouldn't be able to pick up random, useless objects. But if they can pick them up, they should also be able to drop them - like in an RPG. This could massively complicate puzzle design, without necessarily adding much. And even RPGs cheat by giving you Quest Items, which can't be dropped.

In an ideal world, the player wouldn't pick up an item unless it was either generally or specifically useful. But that's not the way we play. The worst crime in adventure games is having a hotspot which doesn't become active until the object is deemed useful by the game. So the player has forgotten all about it by the time they need it.

So the solution must be mostly "A, Pick up all objects whether you need them or not." But I'm aware of a handful of tricks for giving the player the right item at the wrong time:

1) The item seems generally useful.
e.g. Why wouldn't you pick up today's newspaper?

2) One item contains another.
e.g. The item the player wants is wrapped in foil. They unwrap the foil, and it stays in the inventory for when they need foil later.

3) Prevent the player from taking the item, but make it obviously desirable so they remember it later.
Not very satisfying but sometimes necessary.

4) Have the PC explain their reasoning and/or make a joke.
e.g. In Unforeseen Incidents one click on a dumpster reveals your elderly neighbour's pantyhose, which you probably don't need yet. If you click again, Harper says with disgust, "I'm not going to take the pantyhose... am I?" Then he takes the pantyhose. Not a hugely elegant solution, but since Harper is a dumpster-diving hoarder it's not out of character.

5) Another character gives the item.
Helpful, because the other character can be aware of things the player and PC aren't.

For background speech you would have to do this anyway, since playing a speech clip is always blocking. So I'm not quite sure I follow what Ali is doing.

I can't believe I hadn't noticed that SayBackground doesn't allow audio! In that case there's all the more reason to want to call a particular speech clip from script. I only have a handful though, so I'll just workaround.

Just bumping this, because I want to know the same thing - for background speech using a speech bubble module.

In the era of touch screens, I don't know if you can assume that someone would eventually right click. Making the thing the player wants to do (interact) harder to do seems like a poor choice. (I say that as an enthusiastic Blender user.)

I'm not sure I understand what you mean about buttons being infinitely wide in SCUMM / Sierra interfaces? Surely distance is a factor too? In those interfaces the mouse has to sweep all the way across the screen, whereas the verb-coin puts the buttons right next to the thing you wanted to interact with.

EDIT: Thanks for explaining!

I think examples of people quitting games because they don't know how to use verb-coins are probably proof? Some people hate single-click games, but no one has ever stopped playing one because they were confused.
Can we please stop ignoring that there is a difference between those hold-down-to-show and single-click verbcoins?

I acknowledged that you were right about that earlier in the thread. Nonetheless "verb-coin" as a category includes "traditional/bad verb-coin". I suspect that - as Cassiebsg says - the click-and-hold verb-coin was designed with hotspot-heavy rooms in mind.

Unless someone is going to disagree with the reasons Snarky listed, in which case, where is this proof of verbcoins causing people to dislike your game?

I think examples of people quitting games because they don't know how to use verb-coins are probably proof? Some people hate single-click games, but no one has ever stopped playing one because they were confused.

That's why when I wrote "That Damn Dog" I added a timer and if the player does not right click after some time has passed I show a message box with "Did you know? You can right click on stuff". No idea if that worked, though.

In the Fowl Fleet, you have to right click to solve the tutorial puzzle at the start. Players do it, and then never right click again, I'm sure of it. I wrote SO MANY lines that I'm sure at least 1 reviewer (who found the puzzles incomprehensible) never heard.

Click somewhere where no hotspot is? Just the same as with a single click interface. Click on a hotspot -> a verbcoin is opened/an action is performed directly vs. click somewhere else -> walk there. I don't see any difference here.

Good point!

For the record, eri0o and I moved to DMs, and then he modified the module himself to serve his needs. I didn't abandon him!

To create edges, rather than modify the module, I would have a dummy character pinned to the X and Y of the player as long as they are within the prescribed limits. If they leave the prescribed limits, the dummy stops following and the target character switches to the dummy. Maybe?

Edit: In fact, the target character could always be the dummy, no need to switch.

The Verbcoins in CMI and Full Throttle all required you to hold down the left mouse button for a period of time. If the coin appears instantly, how does left clicking to walk work?

So the “Windows” way of a verbcoin would be: A (fast) right-click opens the verb coin, which stays visible until the player either left-clicks on an option or moves the mouse off the verb-coin.

If this is the handling that a Windows user ”expects”, then long-left-clicking instead of right-clicking and dragging the mouse to the option instead of fast-left-clicking the option is quite counter-intuitive.

Maybe this is off-topic, but I think it's interesting. You're right, *except* lots of people probably never right click in Windows, or use a touch screen. I am resigned to thinking that single-click is the only option. The dev of Unforeseen Incidents insisted on single-click and I disagreed, but they were right. In the end we wrote two+ responses for every object, so if you do left and right click, you get the same experience.

People don't even understand a two-click interface any more. I swear some people played through The Fowl Fleet without right clicking on anything (even though it tells you how to do it), and then complained that the puzzles didn't make sense.

Kids today!

This is also, tragically, a good reason not to use the verbcoin. I've seen the exact same thing with Spoonbeaks Ahoy, even though there's a help button that tells you exactly what to do. I've taken the verb coin out for the HD remaster.

I remember enjoying this game, I hope you get another review!

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