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Messages - Ali

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Would the ratio of AGS Developers : Wadjet Eye be significantly different to Unity Devs : Commercially Successful Unity Devs, I wonder?

AGS gets character movement and animation right. Other engines I've used move a character at 60 FPS regardless of the speed of the animation. I think this is mostly due to laziness and lack of consideration at the point of design.

This is bang on, in my view. It's not perfect, but it captures the character movement from 90s adventure games - which (inexplicably) better than character movement in many contemporary 2D adventure games where sprites slide all over the place.

Scripting sequential events is also super-easy. You can write a script which works like a movie script where the game waits for each event to complete before moving on to the next. it sounds simple, but other game engines seem to be designed around things happening simultaneously, based on lots of different inputs. For artists and writers, the AGS way is incredibly helpful.

Thimbleweed Park is a bit of an anomaly. They haven't make enough money for Gilbert to deem it a success (though I think most of us would be happy with the sales figures!). But I really can't understand where it belongs in the story of adventure games dying (or not dying). Some people seem to think it's an innovative genre experiment, like Undertale, that subverts gaming conventions. Others seem to think it's just a classic comedy adventure game.

For me, it reminded me of the AGS games I played back in the early 2000s when there were relatively few actually playable games in the database. What it lacked in ergonomics and interaction it made up for in tiresome, repetitive self-referential humour. I really wanted to like it, but I found it as alienating as that Space Quest reboot.

I agree there's a problem with Point & Click. I find that I have less and less patience for P&C clunkiness these days. But since the video above isn't a P&C, I thought it was a fair point.

I was really annoyed to see Kotaku running a Point & Click is dead article about Syberia 3. S3 looks absolutely terrible, but isn't a P&C game as far as I know. The writer complained that it wasn't more like Sexy Brutale which you actually can play as a point and click. The article might as well have been called "Bad games: bad, good games: good".

Without wanting to criticise that video, adventure games are fine. Look at Firewatch, or Life is Strange.

That remake has nice graphics, and is a decent proof-of-concept. But it's misconceived in my view. Pointing and clicking is fast - walking very slowly from place to place to read big chunks of (unvoiced) text is not so much fun - and even less fun to watch. Where is the interactivity? The first thing the player does kills them. If you haven't played Space Quest, this would be incomprehensible. I'm sure you can find dozens of boring FPS shooter and minecraft clone tech demos on YouTube.

Making games and finding an audience is hard, and can be unfair. But I also think very few people succeed by trying to do what is popular.

General Discussion / Re: Trumpmageddon
« on: 09 Jan 2018, 15:36 »
It just shows how easily people are misinformed and will believe anything that supports their own preconceived notions.

It does also reflect on the absurdity of the man, that ludicrous satire is only a few degrees apart from reality.

General Discussion / I made a Folklore Podcast
« on: 04 Jan 2018, 13:51 »
I hope you don't mind a bit of shameless self promotion?

I recently started a podcast with another comedian, which I thought might appeal to other AGSers. It's called Loremen, and it's a funny podcast about "forgotten folklore and local legends". Basically, looking at weird stories that are very famous in one small place, and totally unheard of elsewhere. If you're interested, please give it a listen. There's a short teaser trailer, and we just uploaded the 3rd episode. As always, feedback is very welcome!


All the best - Alasdair.

General Discussion / Re: Moho Pro
« on: 30 Dec 2017, 10:24 »
I bought Anime Studio 11 when it was 50% off (which I think was the version before they renamed it Moho) and was really disappointed by how badly designed it was. I used it to do the simple character animation for this Kickstarter, and I probably wouldn't use it again, unless the task were very specific:

Importing from svg or ai files was totally messed up. All the colours change, and because the software can't do weighted bezier curves, the actual nodes shift around to an approximation of what you drew. But not actually what you drew. This is particularly annoying when you've created nodes that are going to be a joint, and those nodes disappear. There is also no integrated lipsynch, and the freeware app they've created doesn't consider "Thh" to be a phoneme.

Most infuriatingly, when I raised these issues on forums, the responses were all in defence of the software. "Oh, you just have to do all your drawing in Anime Studio from scratch." No! Its drawing tools are terrible and it claims to have .ai import. It should work!

Perhaps they've fixed these quite basic issues for version 12.

OpenToonz has some serious stability issues for me, but I'm very impressed with other aspects of it. And I've found english docs for everything I've needed to look up. The lack of an English user-base is a bigger issue.

Soma and Amnesia are both very scary survival horrors, on the first-person adventure end of the spectrum. Amnesia is more classic horror, but Soma is has better writing and characterisation.

Perhaps I've misunderstood, but I think setting "AdjustSpeedWithScaling" to true would have the desired effect.
(Though agree that the character is probably moving too slowly at 100%)

The trick of making seemingly different options lead to the same outcome (which I suspect most adventure games use in dialogue at least) is the only one I can think of that really qualifies as a trick - something the player remains unaware of. As Snarky said, a lot of the suggestions in this thread are good design tips, but not exactly tricks.

I guess the difficulty of identifying these kind of tricks in adventure games is due to the fact that adventure games are comparatively un-interactive. They don't have enemies, health bars, stats, timing or physics based challenges. There's less room for the game to secretly cheat, because a lot of the 'game' of an adventure game happens in the player's imagination.

The Iraq war was a pretty big deal, and fewer than 5,000 American soldiers died. Fewer than 200 British soldiers died, and over here it is widely viewed as having been a disaster. So in a more advanced world in which (we hope) war is less common, 80,000 deaths is enough. Surely?

I do think that the Klingon prosthetic are a problem, although I like the design. They should have ADRed all the Klingon dialogue. They seem to have solved the Buffy vampire teeth lisp, but nasal sounds come out weird. I love the idea of the Klingons speaking Klingon, but L'Rell seems to be the only one who gets near to it sounding natural. Most deliver dialogue as a series of meaningless barks.

Wow, I completely missed it :(

Too bad, there was no reminder here. Were the talks recorded?

Sorry you missed the livestream! Technical problems (that weren't our fault) meant that Dave Gilbert's opening talk wasn't streamed. But it was recorded by Adventure-Treff and should appear on their YouTube channel. All the other talks were recorded, with (hopefully) improved audio equipment. They're available on twitch for a while, and we'll clean up the picture and sound and put them on the AdventureX YouTube channel over the next weeks.

For anyone who missed the drama on the Saturday morning: even though we had tested it minutes earlier, the lectern in the auditorium stopped working just before the first talk. So we had to move the entire conference from the 120 seater into the larger auditorium next door, running 30 minutes behind schedule. This is something we didn't want to do, because we'd rather have a 120 seater absolutely packed out (with lots of people left outside playing games) than a 250+ seater looking half-full (with fewer people left to play games). None of this was ideal, but we had no alternative. I hope it didn't impact too negatively upon the exhibitors' experience. The room change is also why the videos from Saturday have piles of tables and whiteboards everywhere -  we weren't expecting anyone to see them!

In spite of this, I felt that the talks were some of the most inspiring and thought provoking we've had. The feedback I've heard has been very positive.

General Discussion / Re: Stranger Things 2
« on: 12 Nov 2017, 00:27 »
I liked it, and I'm glad you enjoyed my performance as a small girl.

I did feel like the dramatic tension was sort of spent by the final episode, though. It sort of felt like a neat wrapping up of threads, rather than the resolution of a perilous situation.

I'm with Radiant that the rock needs to be a flint for the puzzle to be fair. For me, it would depend on how naturalistic the artwork and tone are. In a cartoonish adventure - definitely, no problem. In anything more realistic than Broken Sword, it would be a stretch.

I tried the Expanse. Does it get better after the pilot? It seemed overly Canadian to me, like there's this vein of cheap sci-fi shot in Canada -- Travelers, Continuum, etc. -- that are built on a budget (few effects shots, mostly bottle episodes). It seemed very reminiscent of that, so much so that I switched it off about three quarters of the way through the pilot. Also, regarding Discovery's dialogue, I haven't had a problem with that, but if you're saying the Expanse does it better, I can't agree. The dialogue I witnessed seemed laboured and packed with clichés.

If you found the pilot a little dry and meandering, then I'd suggest you press on. However, if you just didn't like it, you made the right call.

Apart from Miller's trilby hat, I didn't find it to be heavy with cliché. As a series it's full of obvious choices that almost no sci-fi shows actually deal with. Gravity only works when you're moving. Moving really fast hurts. Forcefields don't exist - missiles punch holes in space ships and all the air gets sucked out. Belters talk like Afrikaner South Londoners.

Also, the Expanse's characters are given interesting things to do while they deliver expositional dialogue. They're at work, or in conflict. By contrast, the first two episodes of Discovery are heavy with characters standing across desks or in front of screens explaining things that they already know to each other. It's not as bad as the first episodes of Babylon 5... but not many things are.

But over all, hooray for sci-fi on TV!

I'm moderately enjoying Discovery, though I'd prefer if it had fewer lens flares and more ethical quandaries. The Expanse, on the other hand, is so good. Almost every dialogue scene in Discovery could use Chrisjen Avasarala saying "Get to the f****** point."

General Discussion / Re: Trumpmageddon
« on: 07 Oct 2017, 15:54 »
I'm not assuming he's done the thing he'll be impeached for YET.

General Discussion / Re: Trumpmageddon
« on: 07 Oct 2017, 12:18 »
Pence may be more predictably grim, but he's lacking entirely in charisma and media savvy. Trump's election was one in which symbolism outweighed facts. In terms of symbolism, if Trump doesn't face a Nixonian comeuppance, it will be a real tragedy.

General Discussion / Re: Trumpmageddon
« on: 07 Oct 2017, 10:03 »
You can't simply pluck a democratically elected leader away because you don't like them.

Unless you're the CIA...

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