Author Topic: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?  (Read 6084 times)

What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« on: 10 Jan 2018, 12:03 »
I can't figure out how this:

is not very popular yet.

For 2 years - only 7K views. I don't want to compare the stats with something similar from another game genre but the difference will be huge.

I know that this topic is old, but these days I'm feeling very low about the whole situation with the games, AGS, AGS engine and everything related.
I tried to make some retouchings of my old games with the new AGS. I went very bad. I can't even compile the games.

I moved from AGS to browser based (HTML, CSS, JS), because I thought that people are not playing .exe games anymore but I was wrong.
I made an online browser based adventure game demo (several rooms) - https://www.cq-game.com/cq5/demo.html
To be honest - the interest is low. Maybe my game is the problem.

So I really wanna know... How can we spend so much time and efforts... It takes years of creating something that will be played by 10-20-30 people?
For me, it was the magic of moving a character over something that you draw... to create a worlds. But it was.

Over the years I made 4 games. With every new game release the interest was lower and lower.
I know things are changing, new genres, new people, new visions.

Is everyhting that bad?
   



« Last Edit: 10 Jan 2018, 12:49 by Iliya »

Too much clicking

  • Not a bear. Un-bear-able, if you will.
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #1 on: 10 Jan 2018, 13:05 »
If you want to make something that's used by millions of people, look for the lowest common denominator. You won't like what you have to do one bit, though.

Ali

  • What will become of the baron?
    • Ali worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
      Ali worked on a game that won an AGS Award!
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #2 on: 10 Jan 2018, 13:57 »
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.

m0ds

  • Guest
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #3 on: 10 Jan 2018, 14:11 »
I hear ya. Point & clicks are outright clunk that only a handful of people are willing to put up with. Just try something a bit more casual. If you're sticking with point and click then reel in the interface and use a simpler method ie two click so that casual audiences can play it without getting pissed off at multiple verbs and inventory use laden gameplay. You want to tell a good story, then people will pass this on, pick it up, play it. Don't block a good story behind a 9 verb interface, tell that story as freely as you can. Be intuitive sure, but don't block people behind tough or nonsensical puzzles, make sure they know where they're heading and how to get there. I feel the mechanics of point and click games can effectively become nichés within a niché. I won't play anything with a 9 verb interface anymore, that particular method, design choice, is a niché within the niché. And I'm just not that nichéy ...

The larger audience do need a bit of "hand holding". Whether that's through simpler mechanics and interfaces or hints & tips during a game... That's just how it is today. The game > walkthrough factor is higher than it ever was, back in the day we had to go to actual shops to find the game guides, today you just Alt+Tab to Google. But you don't want your audience to leave your game. EA and other massive publishers have horrible systems in place to reduce that, for folks like you and me it's just about making the game engaging and not too difficult. If you can tier your difficulty, easy, normal, hard etc then that's probably even better. Younger audiences want more rewards, on-screen "juice" I think it was referred to around here recently, and you can ignore that or you can get used to it and start including it, or at least a little more of it, in your games.

I'd say the point n click genre is really showing its age now. But it's not the games fault. It's just the more the world becomes streamlined the less appealing the not very streamlined point n click experience stands out. Being a bit more casual, maybe a bit more linear, is how you reach larger audiences. if that doesn't work for you then don't do it, but don't moan when you have only 20 players of your clunky point & click. I know some people like walls of text (as seen in that Space Quest video) but MOST people don't. So if you're going to cater for the "some" people and not the "most" people, again that's no-ones fault but your own.

Quote
Firewatch, or Life is Strange.

You couldn't get much further from a clunky point & click than with these 2 games... But they are great examples of providing a good story in a fluid manner. Alongside Ali's point, I'd agree, "ADVENTURE" games are not really experiencing any issues, rather, specifically point & clicks are. Because you can paint them up with all new things and make them great but they're a point & click which is an ancient form of telling a story :P You'd be better off getting a chisel and hammering your story onto a cave wall. Get on the casual adventure train and you'll likely fair better than the point n click train, regardless of commercial or freeware venture. People will reach the core of your game easier, your story will stand out more and not be bogged down in interface and puzzle frustration.

Quote
two games that are on the verge of not being adventures at all: Firewatch and The Witness. One has no real puzzles, the other has no real story ...and I didn’t mind! Both knew exactly what kind of games they were trying to be and delivered.

(from Adventure Gamers site)

Of course, some p&c's are successful. About 2 or 3 a year if we're lucky :P

Specifically the video: It doesn't look bad at all. But that doesn't mean it looks appealing either. Someone like myself, well, I'd need to play SQ 1 and 2 before I could get to 3. And that's never gonna happen. So I'm not gonna invest much into Space Quest 3. That particular franchise and "remaking" old point n clicks is fair enough, but the assumption that they're suddenly going to have a huge new audience, well, SQ was bollocks to me originally and it still is, 3D version or no :P Point being, that particular video/franchise is perhaps not the best example and has it's own reasons for being not very popular that may not apply to other adventure games. It's a reboot, just a 3D enhancement, etc etc. Outside of the point & click fan base the words "Space Quest" means nothing. They could totally reboot that into a way that's appealing to a mass new audience, big spectacle, but even they are sticking with the pretty clunky point & click mechanics and design of yesteryear. Well... the gameplay looks streamlined but goddamn those walls of text. Engagement killer right there...! Even the person playing in that vid can't be f***** to read them lol so if those walls of text contain story, some of the best story, then players like that are never gonna experience it. And it's not their fault that the story is delivered in a non-engaging way, that's the devs fault.
« Last Edit: 10 Jan 2018, 14:38 by MJL »

Ali

  • What will become of the baron?
    • Ali worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
      Ali worked on a game that won an AGS Award!
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #4 on: 10 Jan 2018, 15:57 »
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".

« Last Edit: 10 Jan 2018, 16:00 by Ali »

m0ds

  • Guest
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #5 on: 10 Jan 2018, 16:08 »
True, the game in the video looks terrible regardless of what genre/type it is! Like you say, bad games: bad. Definitely another way to assure yourself a small audience. The Space Quest 3 remake way: Intro? Nah, let's just jump straight to the back end of a space bus. First thing player will do? Let's have them read a wall of text. Death sequence animation? Nah, let's just rotate the character 90 degrees in a split second, that works. Was it worth the 3D remake, when you think how amazing the originals were (if that applies to you)? I don't like SQ but even I can appreciate the original Sierra death sequences over....whatever THAT is. Couldn't stomach watching much more of the poor design beyond that myself := As I say that particular video portrays a pretty piss poor game. It needn't be that way for all point & clicks nor adventure games (and it most certainly isn't, thankfully). Our good games penetrate the casual audience and our not so good games have an audience of about 10 people. I don't think it's going to be much different for anyone else, tbh. Even if you have a facebook page, twitter account and whatever else specificially to market your game, don't think that by doing such things you made your game any less shit :P That doesn't mean it's wrong to make or play point & clicks. And in their own way, they do still do well here and there. But they don't have mass market appeal and they only did at the time because at that time it was the height of technology. So many new and more engaging ways of telling stories - providing escapism - have come about since then. I guess that's what makes point & click a niché inside the larger "adventure" genre (which even GTA V and zombie FPS games sit in on Steam and probably other places).

Right now, for AGSers or p&c makers, I think it's worth keeping an eye on how Silver Spook fares out of it. Because he is in the process of establishing a point and click set of games into the wider world. Dave, Grundislav, Joel Andail and Rem are past that point. It's less tough for them to sell a point and click (and by sell I mean the creative side as much as anything financial) to people even the more casual audience. Silver Spook is in the "proving himself" phase which is why I say it's just an interesting point in someone's development to keep an eye on. I think he's on the right track because he's not doing what I would call a "hit & run", to release a single game and never be seen of again, so he's already got audience engagement on the table by simply providing more than 1 game ever. He's going to have a more expansive audience, be it niché or casual or both, because of it.
« Last Edit: 10 Jan 2018, 16:30 by MJL »

Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #6 on: 10 Jan 2018, 16:29 »
One other note people didn't mention: it's not only adventure games that are hard to create fan base, the are many indie games out there that are struggling to be noticed. On steam there are tons of games without much users/review/players/unnoticed. Now days is much easier to makes games, you have a lot of easy engines out there and many games coming out every day. If your game don't have a real difference, it's just more of the same.
Now add on top of that the point and click genre which seems less popular than visual novels these days, even though they have some similarity.

KyriakosCH

  • Alien spiral maker
    • I can help with backgrounds
    •  
    • I can help with story design
    •  
    • I can help with translating
    •  
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #7 on: 10 Jan 2018, 16:32 »
It depends on what kind of adventure game we are talking about. If you mean something like the 90s stuff, yes, chances are it won't have mass appeal (but one has to keep in mind that adventure games didn't have mass appeal in the 90s either; moreover, it helped the genre that for a time those games were the only thing the PCs had going for them, while losing to Amiga in every other game genre).

Another thing is that indie games tend to be a success when they are brief, and more lively. Eg that 5 nights at Freddie's. While some adventure indie games did eventually achieve some degree of fame, they are still not really viable as franchises, as proven by the huge amount of time it takes for their next chapter to be out (afaik the third chapter of Downfall isn't yet released, despite its success as well as the success of The Cat Lady).
Join the Neo-Byzantine Society; partake in high culture; click this hotspot!

Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #8 on: 10 Jan 2018, 16:35 »
I'd definitively say that the biggest problem with the video was that the protagonist walked so slowly, and it wasn't a particularly good walking animation either. If a game has large level areas to cover, the player character should either be able to run or have a fast default walking pace, because just sitting and waiting for them to reach their destination would bore most players. Plus, as MJL pointed out, the lack of any real intro made the game feel really cheap and poorly made.

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".
I've played Syberia 3 for a bit, but it was after they installed a patch letting you control Kate Walker with the mouse. With that said, both control systems are slow and buggy, but by far the biggest problem with the game was the constant shifts in camera angle, which made it nigh impossible to get a good sense of where you were and which direction you were going. Syberia 3 gleefully took the 180-degree rule and fired it into orbit.

m0ds

  • Guest
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #9 on: 10 Jan 2018, 16:47 »
Quote
as proven by the huge amount of time it takes for their next chapter to be out (afaik the third chapter of Downfall isn't yet released, despite its success as well as the success of The Cat Lady).

Hmm, well 6 months for the dev to recover, then 1.5-2 years development on the new game, that's pretty standard for any indie. It looks to be the rough timescale for Dave, for Rem, for Joel and Francisco. But you can take franchises like Halo, certainly between its major releases we've got a similar time-frame. Same for GTA and no doubt countless other good series' of games. Certainly, no-one is doing it under a year and if they are they probably come out like Space Quest 3 3D or are relatively short/episodic games. Rome wasn't built in a day, etc. I'm currently aiming on a new game every 12-16 months. But I didn't say anything about "quality" game ;) So kind of thank god people do spend longer to make better things lol
« Last Edit: 10 Jan 2018, 16:54 by MJL »

Creamy

    • I can help with animation
    •  
    • I can help with characters
    •  
    • I can help with story design
    •  
    • I can help with translating
    •  
    • Creamy worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
      Creamy worked on a game that won an AGS Award!
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #10 on: 10 Jan 2018, 18:52 »
Quote
I'm feeling very low about the whole situation with the games, AGS, AGS engine and everything related.
Quality does make a difference. Yet, AGS games aren’t downloaded as much as they used to generally speaking. Any game from 2003 was downloaded thousands of times.

Quote
I find that I have less and less patience for P&C clunkiness these days.
Like everyone. More and more games are produced and can be downloaded instantly. People have higher standards in terms of ergonomics too. More often than not, coming back to a 9 verb interface feels uncomfortable since we've known adaptative icons. Even Thimbleweed Park doesn't play it straight.

« Last Edit: 11 Jan 2018, 02:04 by MJL »
 

Ali

  • What will become of the baron?
    • Ali worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
      Ali worked on a game that won an AGS Award!
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #11 on: 10 Jan 2018, 22:23 »
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.
« Last Edit: 10 Jan 2018, 22:26 by Ali »

Dave Gilbert

  • Mittens Vassal
  • AGS Baker
  • Hi. Our names are FRIGGING ADORABLE.
    • Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
    •  
    • Dave Gilbert worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
      Dave Gilbert worked on a game that won an AGS Award!
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #12 on: 10 Jan 2018, 23:13 »
You said that browser game was not popular. A game can only be played if people know about it. What sort of marketing/promotion did you do for that demo? Did you even tweet about it? I did a google search for "cosmos quest v demo", and the only results that came up were from this forum.

Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #13 on: 11 Jan 2018, 04:01 »

Right now, for AGSers or p&c makers, I think it's worth keeping an eye on how Silver Spook fares out of it. Because he is in the process of establishing a point and click set of games into the wider world. Dave, Grundislav, Joel Andail and Rem are past that point. It's less tough for them to sell a point and click (and by sell I mean the creative side as much as anything financial) to people even the more casual audience. Silver Spook is in the "proving himself" phase which is why I say it's just an interesting point in someone's development to keep an eye on. I think he's on the right track because he's not doing what I would call a "hit & run", to release a single game and never be seen of again, so he's already got audience engagement on the table by simply providing more than 1 game ever. He's going to have a more expansive audience, be it niché or casual or both, because of it.

Mark is correct in that having your game anywhere on the internet in 2018, even if it *is* the most groundbreaking, mindblowing, revolutionary experience on the planet, is not enough to get anyone to play it, let alone buy it. And that includes Steam.

That is a major take-away for me, having released a pretty large (12-15 hours give or take) game in the Year Of The (Steam) Flood, 2017. I literally had 3 big adventure games, games bigger than mine -- not just some hack's shovelware -- come out on THE SAME DAY as Neofeud. Tacoma was one of them. I can't even remember the other two. Journey Down Chapter 3 came out the very next day as Neofeud. This is a pretty darn well-established series that started in AGS, with much bigger team, higher production-values than Neofeud, great social media marketing game, and they got... I think around 2,000 sales at launch, which Mark Yohalem (Primordia) pointed out, is not enough to sustain a team with several people.

As Dave Gilbert recently said in a podcast I did with him yesterday, "No one knows what to do exactly," to make it in the indie game industry. It is rapidly and constantly changing and evolving. However, from what I've discovered, those folks who have had any sort of success, have been those who have been actively promoting it, putting it out there, in a variety of ways. Just getting a social media account is necessary. Being active on forums, entering your game in competitions, talking to influencers, streamers, Youtubers, journalists. I spent eight hours a day emailing literally THOUSANDS of sites and journalists before the release of Neofeud. The biggest splash of press I had was when a Rooster Teeth Youtube channel called Funhaus with 1.3 million subscribers decided to do a play with Neofeud, that got 200,000 views in a few days. I could definitely see that surge in the sales/views graph. Getting in the Top 100 Indies Of 2017 (top 3 point-and-clicks) also helped, which is apparently how Funhaus discovered the video, along with the Gamejolt folks, who also featured Neofeud for a week. Ultimately, a lot of this is simply luck, a visibility wheel-of-fortune. There was no skill, talent, 4-year-Full-Sail-degree, marketing-masterplan, one-weird-trick, or anything else I could have had that got Neofeud those particular lottery-wins, but the more you put yourself and your game out there, the more lottery tickets you have.

I am an introvert by nature and despite whatever chutzpah charade I put on in the streams and podcasts, etc., I actually have a really hard time with it. I would much rather curl up in a poorly-lit dad-cave somewhere and binge Red Dwarf episodes. But I know that if I did that, no one but the inner-cloister of my game's "AGS Games In Production" *acolytes, all of 10 AGSers, will have ever played Neofeud.

(*You know who you are, and thank you for your camaraderie and being an involuntary suicide-hotline during the grueling twenty-hour background-painting guantlets. Your comments kept me alive. :) )

Ultimately you have to ask yourself: "What do I really want from this game dev thing?" What are your goals? Do you want 1,000 people to play your game? 10,000, 100,000 people? Do you want to make $10,000? $100,0000? Do you just want to get some great and in-depth feedback from serious gamers and/or critics that tell you that you did a good job? Do you want 1000 "likes"? Do you want a bunch of people clapping for you? Do you need to beat PUBG for most simultaneous players? Do you want to go to white-glove events and have Gabe Newell grovel at your feet at next years multi-trillion-dollar stadium-busting AAAA game event, with an endorsement from Oprah, and an Oscar for best original Game-To-Movie adaptation in one hand and a Nobel Prize in the other? Do you just want people to like you? Do you want to make games while maintaining great and loving relationships with your friends and family? Do you just want enough to pay the rent? To pay the food and rent? To pay for a townhouse in a San Fran exurb and kid's private school? Do you want to retire to Hawaii with a G5 and a supermodel and have a timeshare in every offshore tropical taxhaven? If you want that last one, stop making adventure games. Just make really horrible games and have Artificial Intelligence-generated addictiveness algorithms convert your shitware into digital heroin, turn lots of young children and people with addicitive personalities into junkies, then stuff your garbageware full of lootboxes and microtransactions making you rich and them homeless, take half the profits, dump it into a plagiarized cryptocurrency shitcoin, use the other half to bribe select scruple-free crypto-"gurus" to ponzi-hype it for you, store ill-gotten gains you fleeced from pension funds in a major city's propped-up real estate market making more people homeless, wash rinse repeat.   (Just kidding, don't retire here, please! I already had enough of the homeless to deal with around here in my last jobs.)

But seriously, what do you really, really want? Because if you just want a few cool folks to play your game and give you some feedback, you may be able to just make it and release it on AGS. It's a great, smart, friendly, and very active community here. But you may have to ask for a bit more critique, enter it into a competition, etc.

Personally, I just want to make games that I can be proud of, that have some artistic merit, that are relevant, and to make enough to support myself and my family at a reasonable standard. So far it is working out ok, although of course it could be better.

TL:DR point is that if you really want a number of people in excess of two digits to discover and play your game, making the game and putting it somewhere is, in the immortal words of GI Joe, "Half The Battle." The other half is getting it out there.


« Last Edit: 11 Jan 2018, 17:52 by SilverSpook »

KyriakosCH

  • Alien spiral maker
    • I can help with backgrounds
    •  
    • I can help with story design
    •  
    • I can help with translating
    •  
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #14 on: 11 Jan 2018, 09:50 »
Marketing a game is tedious, and chaotic as well, by now. Not that i ever had to try (but i am not a team, nor that serious about game-making in the first place :) ). In the old days it was enough to have your game reported upon by the relatively few computer magazines out there. Now... those are dead, and replaced by various web-pages. And having a game reported by a web-page doesn't mean much, unless one is a hipster :=
Join the Neo-Byzantine Society; partake in high culture; click this hotspot!

Grim

  • *Dreamer Of The Day*
    • Grim worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #15 on: 11 Jan 2018, 12:38 »
the third chapter of Downfall isn't yet released, despite its success as well as the success of The Cat Lady

It's coming along very nicely! 70% complete!!! ;) (I realize it brings nothing to the discussion though ;) )

But to actually bring something to this discussion, I'd say that I think it's time to move on and explore mixing genres. Lorelai is probably the last "adventure game" that I make. Not for financial reasons, cos I seem to have found my fanbase that enjoy it, but... tastes change over time. Games these days should offer that THRILL that's often missing in real life. Where's the thrill in pointing and clicking? Well, I suppose you can find it, if you really engage yourself in a p&c game, but that takes a lot of time and effort. And certainly a lot of people will be lost before that happens...

Even Dave, the hardcore p&c veteran is moving towards shifting genres, adding RPG elements to his new game, which I think is a great move.

The thing is, we all came here out of love for our Monkey Islands and Space Quests and so on, and we've tried to recreate them the way they've remained in our memories. But what's the point, really? It's like trying to wear a medieval armour and pretending the trends in fashion have not changed. Sure, you will feel the sense of pride and achievement, but after a while you'll realize you're not very comfortable at all... and that people are sorta avoiding you ;)


Danvzare

  • The Man with No Name
    • I can help with AGS tutoring
    •  
    • I can help with proof reading
    •  
    • I can help with scripting
    •  
    • I can help with voice acting
    •  
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #16 on: 11 Jan 2018, 12:43 »
Firstly, adventure games aren't dead. People have been saying that for years, and back then they had a good reason to. But as of right now, several great point and click adventure games get released every year, and each of which do successful enough to allow the company to make another one. So the genre is alive and well.

As for popularity, adventure games are a niche market. That's never going to change. The cinematic type of adventure game that Telltale Games is popular for, is increasingly becoming popular, but that's different enough to be considered a different genre to the point and click adventure games of old.
You'll never get mass appeal with adventure games. But that's ok, because there are plenty of genres out there that don't have mass appeal. Usually though, they have more appeal in certain countries, with adventure games seeming to be more popular in Europe.

As for why you've never gotten any type of popularity. Well first, your video looks pretty, but it's just an art project. You don't appear to be showing anything that might signify a full remake. Not only that, but you probably haven't spread the word very far. Popularity can largely be influenced by advertising, and while word of mouth can be a brilliant form of advertising, it's also quite unreliable.
And secondly, it's only really interesting to those who are fans of the original Space Quest 3, most of which would probably prefer the original Space Quest 3 out of nostalgia. And for those that don't, well they've already got a fan-made remake.
No one is going to be gushing over a small little fan project that will never see completion. Well, unless it's related to one of those insane fandoms that get excited over anything (MLP, Sonic, you know the type).

The thing about making a successful adventure game though, as far as I can tell, is that firstly you need a great story. Story is the most important element in an adventure game, much more important than any other type of game. Next, since it'll be an indie game, it'll need something unique, something special, a hook to bring in those let's players. After that, it'll be about marketing the game, pay for advertisements on websites, get news sites to run a story on your game, give out free keys to let's players and reviewers. And if your game is good, then there will be interest. But you'll never EVER get the amount of interest that something like Call of Duty does. Simply because the majority of people (the people that most games are marketed towards (ie, those who need the constant hand holding prevalent in games, play sports games, buys lootboxes and dlc, and always have a Pikachu in their Pokemon party)) don't like puzzles. And adventure games are in their rawest form, just a story with little puzzles to break up that story. Which is why those cinematic adventure games are somewhat popular, they're just the story (with no puzzles).

« Last Edit: 11 Jan 2018, 12:45 by Danvzare »

Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #17 on: 11 Jan 2018, 13:12 »
Here's my thoughts on the matter.

Let's look at this objectively:

  • The gaming industry is 100x larger than it was in the 80s/90s. This is considering the industry as a whole, including those casual gamers playing titles on mobile devices.
  • A very small percentage of that number are those who 'grew up' with point and click adventures.
  • A larger industry means more potential for sales, also more potential to get lost in the crowd of new releases.
  • We live in a society where attention spans are very low.
  • The core gameplay (or player interaction) of a point and click is driven by puzzles, something that requires a lot of patience and commitment from the player.
  • The majority of popular mobile and AAA games require little to zero effort from the player in regards to understanding narrative, let alone puzzles.
  • Media has become increasingly gratifying with the introduction of affordable CGI and improved *dramatic* narratives in television, a large majority are not prepared to invest in slow burning narrative (see above)
  • As time passes, less people are logging onto a PC when they get home. Average families favour sitting back on the sofa and playing mobile/console games, often with television running in the background.
  • Due to the lack of responsive gameplay, most point and click titles can be equally enjoyed by watching Let's Play videos.
  • We are in an age where most people are now used to googling problems they encounter in life, why would this be any different for puzzles in a video game?
  • A great deal of Point and Click games released are 'low-res' and the work involved in creating a higher resolution game requires a large team of very talented artists.
  • Low-res games are often overlooked by the larger majority of gamers and higher resolution point and click games are generally not financially viable for indie developers.
  • Most popular low-res games will have a unique gameplay mechanic not seen in AAA titles, often skill-driven gameplay.
  • The indie game market is over saturated but very healthy (and a viable option) in comparison to 10 years ago.
  • There is still a very strong and dedicated community of fans of this genre, let us not forget that.
  • People buy adventure games for the story, first and foremost - something that is very hard to convey in marketing media.
  • Quality visuals can go a long way when promoting a game on social media, try to tie this into the story.
  • People still buy adventure games.

This is coming from someone who is making a 'classic' LucasArts style point and click whilst trying to be mindful of recent trends in both indie and AAA gaming. I think we should be respectful of the merits of the genre and try to adapt this to a modern market.

Maybe a more constructive discussion would be 'What is right with the adventure games genre?'
« Last Edit: 11 Jan 2018, 14:06 by Chicky »

KyriakosCH

  • Alien spiral maker
    • I can help with backgrounds
    •  
    • I can help with story design
    •  
    • I can help with translating
    •  
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #18 on: 11 Jan 2018, 13:16 »
the third chapter of Downfall isn't yet released, despite its success as well as the success of The Cat Lady

It's coming along very nicely! 70% complete!!! ;) (I realize it brings nothing to the discussion though ;) )

But to actually bring something to this discussion, I'd say that I think it's time to move on and explore mixing genres. Lorelai is probably the last "adventure game" that I make. Not for financial reasons, cos I seem to have found my fanbase that enjoy it, but... tastes change over time. Games these days should offer that THRILL that's often missing in real life. Where's the thrill in pointing and clicking? Well, I suppose you can find it, if you really engage yourself in a p&c game, but that takes a lot of time and effort. And certainly a lot of people will be lost before that happens...

Even Dave, the hardcore p&c veteran is moving towards shifting genres, adding RPG elements to his new game, which I think is a great move.

The thing is, we all came here out of love for our Monkey Islands and Space Quests and so on, and we've tried to recreate them the way they've remained in our memories. But what's the point, really? It's like trying to wear a medieval armour and pretending the trends in fashion have not changed. Sure, you will feel the sense of pride and achievement, but after a while you'll realize you're not very comfortable at all... and that people are sorta avoiding you ;)

At any rate, i am happy to meet you :)
Both Downfall and The cat lady were very cool games 8-)

Though i personally preferred the story in the original Downfall, to the remake :=
Join the Neo-Byzantine Society; partake in high culture; click this hotspot!

Mandle

  • NO PIXEL LEFT BEHIND!!!
    • Mandle worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #19 on: 11 Jan 2018, 15:12 »
Here's my thoughts on the matter.

Let's look at this objectively:

+1

Just scroll back up and read Chicky's list of points to see why I plus-oned...Spot on!

Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #20 on: 11 Jan 2018, 18:16 »
The biggest problem that I see with adventure gaming is that it is virtual.
It has nothing to do with the real existing world and it's true perceptions.
That might be the wrong thing about gaming in general.

I reached about 200.000 people with my games.
But I never really saw any player in reality.
Objectively these persons do not exist in my life and they never existed.

I can reach real persons and adventures in my daily life as a practicing architect.
I saw people dying on constructions sites, cheating for money,
workers going into jail because they tried to beat each other up,
corrupt politicians, great successes, big failures and so on...

That's the real adventure after all...
And it is not a game...
Virtual worlds seem to kill reality and want to make us dull.
They create wrong dopamine paths and are often a vortex of no return for the users.

Ron Gilbert was the first developer to warn about this development in the outro of Monkey Island 2,
when he gave the players an instruction about what they could do else instead of playing a computer game.
Later he told Tim Schaefer on YouTube that Monkey Island 2 "is just a stupid computer game".



Crimson Wizard

  • AGS Project Tracker Admins
    • Best Innovation Award Winner 2013, for spearheading the AGS 3.3.0 project
    •  
    • Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
    •  
    • Crimson Wizard worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
      Crimson Wizard worked on a game that won an AGS Award!
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #21 on: 12 Jan 2018, 00:44 »
The biggest problem that I see with adventure gaming is that it is virtual.
It has nothing to do with the real existing world and it's true perceptions.
That might be the wrong thing about gaming in general.

Hey, but I can tell the same about books. They let you live through someone elses stories instead of doing your own. Is not it?
I guess, escapism did not start with videogames.



Trying to speak more in topic, I can only do so from player's perspective, and it came to me recently that except common lack of replayability, there is another thing that makes adventure games special, sometimes in negative way.

I do not know what term to use here, thus I will describe it.
In most games, whether they be action games, puzzles or strategies, you learn game elements and mechanics, which let you to later recognize patterns and rationally find a solution to solve more and more complicated tasks.

In adventure games, however, there is rarely such thing, and when there is - it stands out so much that may became a trademark of a game series*. Aside from most elementary actions (move mouse here, click, move there, click) there is not often something that repeats itself, preparing players for more difficult situations.

For example, in many action games the common pattern is finding weak spot of the "boss". Once you got it first few times you already know what to look for in the future encounters.
In adventures, instead of learning useful patterns, players learn a lot of boring and uninteresting ones: click through every dialog option, use every item on every other item, and so on.
Often this is a result of the lack of consistency and rationale in the game script. Game authors may be not far-thinking enough, or too lazy to create a gameplay system. Game becomes trial and error, where players, instead of thinking of reasonable ways to solve a puzzle, are trying to guess what was in the authors mind when they created the game**. Sometimes they may do so instinctively, because they learnt to not trust author's rationale.

* On example I can think about is MI's swordfights. Also, in the same MI series there was a feature of "reproducing previously met puzzle, but this time using substitute items".
** Of course, I am not talking about every single adventure game out there, but this is the general feeling I have about the genre.
« Last Edit: 12 Jan 2018, 00:55 by Crimson Wizard »

KyriakosCH

  • Alien spiral maker
    • I can help with backgrounds
    •  
    • I can help with story design
    •  
    • I can help with translating
    •  
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #22 on: 12 Jan 2018, 01:12 »
^And a book/story is far less directly allowing for the player/reader to do anything. I had issues with adapting my own storywork as an adventure game. Eg the one i ended finishing (the Chrysalis) is quite different than my story it was adapted from, although the main story is the same.
The difference is due to needing to have something to 'play', which is actually a burden in the story, cause you don't want to have emptyness or allow for needless movement by the reader, while in the game you have to include the ability to just wander around while trying to figure what you can do.

I did try to not make my own first game be too much like a story set progression, although it is still a balance :)
Join the Neo-Byzantine Society; partake in high culture; click this hotspot!

Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #23 on: 12 Jan 2018, 09:21 »
Hey, but I can tell the same about books. They let you live through someone elses stories instead of doing your own. Is not it?
I guess, escapism did not start with videogames.

I think it is more a theme about haptics.
Certain media try do eliminate a complex usage of the hand.
But the human brain developed through the usage of the hand.
This was the first step of human evolution.

If one eliminates the usage of the hand, he eliminates the productive sites of the brain.
The adventure game genre has eliminated the haptic question for sure from the beginning.
Point&Click is a reduction to keyboard and mouse.
Most working places have developed into this type of situation.

The most complex way to train your haptic abilities is to play an instrument and make music.
Another example given: Why should one read or write a book about Kung-Fu or make a game about it.
The next Kung-Fu school is probably right around the corner.

The only reason why adventure gaming would make sense nowadays is in order to warn and remind players,
of what is going on in real world and motivate them to become more active.
So if the adventure game confronts the player with what he really is or became,
it basically does the job.

The problem is that most adventure games are drifting into a feel-good direction.
And those who do not usually drift into pseudo-intellectual manierism or are simply just remakes.
There is a similar developement in movie industry.
« Last Edit: 12 Jan 2018, 14:29 by Le Woltaire »



Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #24 on: 12 Jan 2018, 15:00 »
I agree that in today's insane market your point and click should have at least one extra hook other than being the genre itself. Good examples: I find Dave Gilbert's approach of trying to dissociate his games from the idea of "oldschool" a viable direction. One that I'm not personally following - heck, a lot of our kickstarter success was based on selling it as a loveletter to Lucas Arts 90s games, which it really is - but, again, viable approach - sell what is essentially point and click as a modern experience. And that's just the thing, put a spin on it. The way your frame your pitch to the world is very, very important.

If you're in it to earn your daily bread, you HAVE to be creative about it. Here's one idea (that I'm desperately hoping will work for our game): tie your creation into something that already exists; something bigger and maybe a bit more popular than what a couple of niche forums on the internet are all about.

I know we're all in it for the love and not the super-widespread appeal, but it really, really helps if there's a connection between your game and any kind of cultural phenomenon that has mainstream appeal. Obviously, it shouldn't be forced. When creating art, none of us are really starting from scratch, but rather smashing things that we love together and then sifting them through our personal filter. In my case, it was stuff like Lucas Arts games, cats, and the Cthulhu mythos. The latter is a pretty darn' popular phenomenon to be connected to - maybe too popular sometimes, to the point of people going "Cthulhu AGAIN?" - But if it's coming from a place of honesty and passion, yeah, why the hell not? And that's just one example. I'm not saying rip off well-known media or ride a trend for the sake of it; just find something you and a heck of a lot more people have in common and enjoy, and try building in that direction.

Yes, we're all making what is ultimately antiquated (mechanically, at least) games, but sticking your fingers in your ears and pretending it's not 2018 and just trying to remake (not literally) Monkey Island or Kings's Quest - unless you're their original creator - is not going to cut it. You ignore the zeitgeist at your own risk, and you're risking enough by making an adventure game already. Working in a vacuum is a bad, bad, bad idea. You should be up to date with where indie games in general are constantly.

And, last but not least, echoing the sentiment about keeping in touch with your audience and constantly reminding them that you exist. Yes, trying to make a game and at the same time remembering to tweet, post to facebook, stream on twitch daily and talk to your (future/potential) fans on discord can be super time consuming, but 100% worth it, especially if it's your first game and not a lot of people know who you are. You simply can't just put your game up on the internet, even on Steam, and expect anyone to discover it or care, regardless of the effort you've put into the product itself.

And that's my 2 Eurocents Captain Obvious rant. Fingers crossed for everyone in this thread and their games.

Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #25 on: 12 Jan 2018, 15:31 »
My conclusion is that the problem is not the adventure game genre.
It is the mouse and input device driven game play and the morphology that does not allow
the full perception of the games possiblilities.

The real future of adventure gaming can be found in the holodeck.
As soon as a holodeck is possible where people can life their adventure truly,
any computer based game will not make sense anymore.

So we theorically should focus on the developement and usage of a holodeck engine.
That's the one and only way into future.



Danvzare

  • The Man with No Name
    • I can help with AGS tutoring
    •  
    • I can help with proof reading
    •  
    • I can help with scripting
    •  
    • I can help with voice acting
    •  
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #26 on: 14 Jan 2018, 15:41 »
  • We live in a society where attention spans are very low.
I hate it when people say this. Attention spans were much lower when I was a kid than they are now.

Back when I was a kid, you would play a game for about fifteen minutes, maybe an hour at most, then switch to another game. Usually going through about ten games in a day if not more, and eventually returning to those games the next day. Nowadays though, people play the same game (and no other) for months, even years. Plenty of people are still playing Breath of the Wild, and that game came out a year ago.
Games are now starting to be marketed more as services than products, with a constant stream of updates and DLC, to keep you invested and playing. If attention spans were lower than ever, then that business strategy wouldn't be working.
I mean, just look at Minecraft! That game came out years ago, and it's still very relevant with loads of people still playing it!

Attention spans are very VERY high nowadays. Much higher than they were when I was a kid. But all anyone ever does is talk like an old man saying things like "Back in my day kids used to talk to each other!" Not realizing that people probably do that much more now than they had ever done before (after all, what do you think they're doing on those phones of theirs).
« Last Edit: 14 Jan 2018, 15:45 by Danvzare »

Crimson Wizard

  • AGS Project Tracker Admins
    • Best Innovation Award Winner 2013, for spearheading the AGS 3.3.0 project
    •  
    • Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
    •  
    • Crimson Wizard worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
      Crimson Wizard worked on a game that won an AGS Award!
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #27 on: 14 Jan 2018, 16:01 »
My conclusion is that the problem is not the adventure game genre.
It is the mouse and input device driven game play and the morphology that does not allow
the full perception of the games possiblilities.

The real future of adventure gaming can be found in the holodeck.
As soon as a holodeck is possible where people can life their adventure truly,
any computer based game will not make sense anymore.

Okay, but simply having a device won't automatically make games interesting. Someone still needs to program it, therefore same game design issues will be met.

BTW, I do not know if other countries have this, in Russia a new entertainment industry appeared in last several years, which gives you a "real life" adventure in a limited enviroment, with something similar to "escape the room" tasks.
EDIT: Probably like this: http://www.upout.com/blog/san-francisco-3/4-real-life-adventure-games-to-play-in-the-bay-area
« Last Edit: 14 Jan 2018, 16:11 by Crimson Wizard »

Dave Gilbert

  • Mittens Vassal
  • AGS Baker
  • Hi. Our names are FRIGGING ADORABLE.
    • Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
    •  
    • Dave Gilbert worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
      Dave Gilbert worked on a game that won an AGS Award!
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #28 on: 14 Jan 2018, 16:03 »
For what it's worth, I've been supporting my family off of making/publishing/selling adventure games for 12 years. I am well aware there was a LOT of luck at play in getting us to where we are, but if the genre was truly "dead", we'd have been on the street a long time ago. Or, heaven forbid, I'd have had to get a real job.

Snarky

  • Global Moderator
  • Mittens Earl
  • Private Insultant
    • I can help with proof reading
    •  
    • I can help with translating
    •  
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #29 on: 14 Jan 2018, 16:03 »
OK, everyone who went straight to look up Danvzare's age and then smiled a little raise your hand. :-*

Le Woltaire! Good to see you around!

Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #30 on: 14 Jan 2018, 16:50 »
  • We live in a society where attention spans are very low.
I hate it when people say this. Attention spans were much lower when I was a kid than they are now.

Back when I was a kid, you would play a game for about fifteen minutes, maybe an hour at most, then switch to another game. Usually going through about ten games in a day if not more, and eventually returning to those games the next day. Nowadays though, people play the same game (and no other) for months, even years. Plenty of people are still playing Breath of the Wild, and that game came out a year ago.
Games are now starting to be marketed more as services than products, with a constant stream of updates and DLC, to keep you invested and playing. If attention spans were lower than ever, then that business strategy wouldn't be working.
I mean, just look at Minecraft! That game came out years ago, and it's still very relevant with loads of people still playing it!

Attention spans are very VERY high nowadays. Much higher than they were when I was a kid. But all anyone ever does is talk like an old man saying things like "Back in my day kids used to talk to each other!" Not realizing that people probably do that much more now than they had ever done before (after all, what do you think they're doing on those phones of theirs).

An open world RPG with platforming elements is just about as far away as you can get from a point and click, my comments were in relation to the topic.

Sure people play BotW for a long time, any time the player is stuck (having trouble completing the shrine puzzles or mini-bosses) they can just walk away and do a plethora of other tasks. That's exactly the reason it's so popular, there are so many choices of where to go and what to do - hence the buzzword 'open world'.

Adventure games (in the traditional PnC sense) are very linear and have little opportunity for doing other things when the player is presented with a block in progression, they require persistence from the player that is often missing from modern titles.

Maybe we come from different backgrounds, when I was a kid we did not have 10 games available to us in one day!

m0ds

  • Guest
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #31 on: 15 Jan 2018, 05:00 »
Quote
For what it's worth, I've been supporting my family off of making/publishing/selling adventure games for 12 years. I am well aware there was a LOT of luck at play in getting us to where we are, but if the genre was truly "dead", we'd have been on the street a long time ago. Or, heaven forbid, I'd have had to get a real job.

I am glad for you, but I do often feel there's a little nativity with this comment every time it comes up. The gods perhaps smiled down on you Dave, because you are about the only person this applies to, and it cannot be applied anywhere else. You are part of an exclusive minority. The only other point and click's that have probably matched that are Fran Bow and Thimbleweed Park, and we're talking the last DECADE there. People's who had strong reputations like the Shadow Tor guy and Augusta Cordes seem to have diminished exponentially. And what about Ragnar Tournquist, wasn't he/isn't he still a big name for the p&c genre? Luckily, you've found one of the largest waves out there and you're still riding it, to the point it might trigger a national alarm in Hawaii... But these waves are far and few between.

Let's say you left AGS. There would not be any other Dave Gilbert here. No-one even close in terms of reputation and market share (see below). Francisco may be the next best thing and then who, slasher? AnasAbdin and his popular but unreleased game? Maybe one of the runaway non-p&c's like Cart Life, or at a push a growing p&c developer like JSH. Basically whilst the equation certainly and undeniably applies to you it just doesn't seem to apply anywhere else, from p&c's in this engine and p&c's across the wider spectrum. In the last 5 years the only p&c makers to both cover family costs AND improve their standing (ie an office or multiple employees) at least in an audible manner are you and Fran Bow  (you know a lot more devs, maybe you know better on this point). We could include Skygoblin but that seems to be through sheer determination and not profits. Other folks scraping success are only doing so cos they're reaching their 2nd or 3rd creation. Similar for yourself, if you had left it at 1 game I'm sure your tune would be very different. Folks going for the "one hit wonder" point and click are doomed from the outset. You damn well best have a game plan beyond one p&c game to even stand a chance (at paying your own bills let alone the rest of your families lol).

WEG in a way, and I don't mean any disrespect, is a bit of a point & click black hole. All the media outlets and fans get sucked into the WEG point and click event horizon and don't really find their way out. Look at any comment here, 90% of them come with "Dave Gilbert" written alongside it. Sure they seem to dip in and out of other games but they don't seem to hold up anyone elses luck, reputation or stature in the P&C genre. But in a way, it's almost like sucking up a very finite universe. It's hard to describe but I guess the best mundane way would be "market share". You have a very high market share, and there is only so much point & click market to go around, so everyone else only gets a very tiny piece, if any. We've reached a point where some p&c folk won't play games other than WEG games, or where they will compare every other p&c to WEG titles. Like I say, black hole (it's not your fault tho lol, it was sort of inevitable because someone needed to fill the missing sierra/lucasarts gap that was present). But now we know, once that gap is filled there isn't much room for anything more/else in this genre. Not to say that leads to failure for everyone else or anything, we all know this is a niche, we all know the hole has never been very big regardless.

This is no-one's fault. Certainly, you built up your reputation and no-one can take that away from you or anyone else in a similar position (ie Ron Gilbert's). It just means the rest of us have to work extra hard for even that little bit of market share. To have a similar market share as you not even "extra hard" cuts it. I honestly think you'd need to start from the bottom again to understand this and how difficult the market has become, regardless of being dead or alive, because your 12 years experience have had a different path & outcome to most other modern p&c developers. You're the only (indie) p&c dev that RPS and PC Gamer will cover for example, and that has a direct effect on market share, and as we all know, that was down to who you knew moreso than what you knew. And that's sort of the sad truth for p&c devs, if you don't have friends in high places then you can sort of get fucked having any of the already small market share. All that said though I do go back to my original point of making good games with good stories and that market share will open up to you, and that must be why you Dave have found a big portion of it. The strength of the design and story is going to herald the longevity of a popular title, not the marketing strategy. But here we are in 2018, and not even you want to do a straight point n click anymore lol (laugh)

ps. Good points Chicky! 'Fraid I'd tend to agree about attention spans. They aren't what they used to be. Maybe attention span isn't the right word, maybe it's more along the lines of "throwaway culture". Everything is disposable now. That game you bought for 50p on Steam? well who cares if you never get round to it, it was a disposable 50p. Spend 29.99 and you're gonna play that son' bitch. My "tell" for attention spans are mobile phones. The people that constantly need to check their phone have a low attention span. People who own a phone but never get it out to "check", and I mean literally just "check" if anything about it has changed (on their screen) they probably have a higher attention span. I'm pretty sure if you had 2 people, one of whom checks their phone every 5 minutes and the other who checks it every 2 hours, and then you had them undertake a task like build a model kit that requires patience & typically takes 4 hours or so, the former would flounder early and the latter would be more likely to see it through.
« Last Edit: 15 Jan 2018, 09:33 by MJL »

Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #32 on: 15 Jan 2018, 10:08 »
Okay, but simply having a device won't automatically make games interesting. Someone still needs to program it, therefore same game design issues will be met.

BTW, I do not know if other countries have this, in Russia a new entertainment industry appeared in last several years, which gives you a "real life" adventure in a limited enviroment, with something similar to "escape the room" tasks.
EDIT: Probably like this: http://www.upout.com/blog/san-francisco-3/4-real-life-adventure-games-to-play-in-the-bay-area

Definitely. But the design issues will be contemporary at least.
Or if they would be done today they would be the work of a pioneer.
And they will include much more dimensions.

The AGS Design issues are very conservative.
Take a engine like Unity for example which is basically free.
The possiblities are contemporary and not totally retro.

My position always was, as long as AGS does not understand basic contemporary formats
it is and remains an uncomplete conservative thing that will be forgotten sooner or later and therefore a time waster.

- I proposed the support of vector based file formats. (2D at least)
- I proposed a deep understanding of 3d max and maja files and characters with animation support.
- I proposed subpixel rendering for scaled sprite movements.

None of these important steps has been realized in the past 10 years...
That's not a real developement after all...
There is no progression.

After all tradition is based on progression.
it comes from the latin word "Tradere" and means "develope, trade, progress"...



Crimson Wizard

  • AGS Project Tracker Admins
    • Best Innovation Award Winner 2013, for spearheading the AGS 3.3.0 project
    •  
    • Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
    •  
    • Crimson Wizard worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
      Crimson Wizard worked on a game that won an AGS Award!
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #33 on: 15 Jan 2018, 12:16 »
EDIT:
Sorry, I spent about an hour composing an answer to Le Woltaire, and editing this post, but then decided to completely abandon it. I do not really see how all that is relevant to the topic author's question.
I have nothing else to submit here at the moment.



- I proposed the support of vector based file formats. (2D at least)
- I proposed a deep understanding of 3d max and maja files and characters with animation support.
- I proposed subpixel rendering for scaled sprite movements.

None of these important steps has been realized in the past 10 years...
That's not a real developement after all...
There is no progression.

No wonder there was no progression. Everyone was proposing, but who was to do all the actual work???!!!
« Last Edit: 15 Jan 2018, 22:35 by Crimson Wizard »

Monsieur OUXX

  • Cavefish
  • Mittens Vassal
  • Mittens Half Initiate
    • I can help with proof reading
    •  
    • I can help with translating
    •  
    • I can help with voice acting
    •  
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #34 on: 15 Jan 2018, 12:56 »
Here's my thoughts on the matter.

Let's look at this objectively:

  • The gaming industry is 100x larger than it was in the 80s/90s. This is considering the industry as a whole, including those casual gamers playing titles on mobile devices.
  • A very small percentage of that number are those who 'grew up' with point and click adventures.
  • A larger industry means more potential for sales, also more potential to get lost in the crowd of new releases.
  • We live in a society where attention spans are very low.
  • The core gameplay (or player interaction) of a point and click is driven by puzzles, something that requires a lot of patience and commitment from the player.
  • The majority of popular mobile and AAA games require little to zero effort from the player in regards to understanding narrative, let alone puzzles.
  • Media has become increasingly gratifying with the introduction of affordable CGI and improved *dramatic* narratives in television, a large majority are not prepared to invest in slow burning narrative (see above)
  • As time passes, less people are logging onto a PC when they get home. Average families favour sitting back on the sofa and playing mobile/console games, often with television running in the background.
  • Due to the lack of responsive gameplay, most point and click titles can be equally enjoyed by watching Let's Play videos.
  • We are in an age where most people are now used to googling problems they encounter in life, why would this be any different for puzzles in a video game?
  • A great deal of Point and Click games released are 'low-res' and the work involved in creating a higher resolution game requires a large team of very talented artists.
  • Low-res games are often overlooked by the larger majority of gamers and higher resolution point and click games are generally not financially viable for indie developers.
  • Most popular low-res games will have a unique gameplay mechanic not seen in AAA titles, often skill-driven gameplay.
  • The indie game market is over saturated but very healthy (and a viable option) in comparison to 10 years ago.
  • There is still a very strong and dedicated community of fans of this genre, let us not forget that.
  • People buy adventure games for the story, first and foremost - something that is very hard to convey in marketing media.
  • Quality visuals can go a long way when promoting a game on social media, try to tie this into the story.
  • People still buy adventure games.

THANK. YOU.
I was being too lazy to post this. This sums it up entirely.
Asking "what is wrong with the adventure games genre?" is like asking "what is wrong with books?" -- i.e. "why don't people read books in 2017?". Well, they do. Just not the same people, not the same books, not as many.
 

Ali

  • What will become of the baron?
    • Ali worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
      Ali worked on a game that won an AGS Award!
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #35 on: 15 Jan 2018, 13:18 »
Would the ratio of AGS Developers : Wadjet Eye be significantly different to Unity Devs : Commercially Successful Unity Devs, I wonder?

Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #36 on: 15 Jan 2018, 14:14 »
I just wanted to point out, as some have commented that it's the point and click mechanics themselves that keeps the genre from having mainstream appeal, that games like The Sims, Diablo, Age of Empires, Starcraft and most other strategy games also are controlled mostly by pointing and clicking with the mouse, but that haven't stopped those type of games from reaching a wide audience.

Mandle

  • NO PIXEL LEFT BEHIND!!!
    • Mandle worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #37 on: 15 Jan 2018, 14:49 »
I'll just add a small opinion here:

I think that one of the reasons we love adventure games is that feeling of having figured something out that was not immediately obvious.

That rush you got when you realized shining the flashlight on the bats in The Dig would panic them (God, I was stuck for soooo long before I suddenly remembered that Brink hates bats and that I had a way to wake them up)... Those moments are golden!

But I've watched many experienced gamers on YouTube calling adventure games the "What the fuck do I do now?" genre of games.

When the first Zelda game was pitched nobody at Nintendo understood what it was even supposed to be. It was a character standing on a screen where nothing was going on.

They asked "What happens next?" and Shigeru Miyamoto said "Nothing, until the player moves around and makes something happen."

This was unheard of! At this point games were all about the player reacting to what was happening on the screen. There was no such thing as a game where the player acts and the game reacts to that.

And now I think we have regressed a bit where a lot of the more popular games are, at their core, more player reaction than player action.

Even "open world" games often have their "quest pointers" showing you exactly where to go and a notebook system to tell you exactly what to do when you get there.

People play these "lead me by the nose" games and feel like they are on some grand adventure but really, for me at least, this is not a game. It's a movie where you have to click now and then to get it out of pause mode.

It seems more and more gamers want to be hypnotized into a zen-like state of click for the easy payoff rush as a replacement for the actual magical feeling of having figured something out for themselves. Or they are happy to watch a movie where sometimes they have to click the triangle button before the timer runs out before the next scene starts.

That all being said: An adventure game has to be really, really well designed to avoid the "figure out what the author was thinking" syndrome that others have mentioned above and only about 1 in 100 do this.

But still, I really hate the kind of games that just provide the easy fix of false achievement.

Maybe I'm just getting old and grouchy.
« Last Edit: 15 Jan 2018, 14:52 by Mandle »

Too much clicking

  • Not a bear. Un-bear-able, if you will.
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #38 on: 15 Jan 2018, 18:16 »
Looks like we reached the "my taste is superior to your taste" stage.

But to actually add something to the discussion:
There is nothing wrong. Things getting unpopular over time is natural. Most people playing adventures now already did so when they were at their biggest, or they got into contact with them through such a person.

Crying about the unfairness of not having the audience of Call of Duty, for example, will only make you look bad.
« Last Edit: 15 Jan 2018, 18:22 by Cl... »

m0ds

  • Guest
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #39 on: 16 Jan 2018, 06:36 »
Ali: I see your point and sure there is truth in that side of the argument but feel it's some other metric at play that isn't anyones real fault outside the natural balance of the gaming universe. Like, Point & Click Adventures released : People who can tolerate playing point & click adventures. You can only fill a bottle so full until it overpours. But then there's some other metric where by its like developer acclaim : casual users who'll take a chance on that. A lot of people will take a chance on a Ron Gilbert, Dave Gilbert, anyone Gilbert game in the p&c world. Less so than with something by an unheard of Something Studio-tainment. unless of course, they hit it out of the park. then they're back to the first metric of how full the bottle is to accommodate their great game, when the bottle is brimming with WEG-ola ;) Maybe I'm not seeing the bigger picture. What I see is WEG and Daedalic as the like big 2 at the moment and everyone else is sort of doing one-offs and the more persistent devs who are releasing more often than not are not really breaking through exposure wise, possibly due to full bottle theory, possibly due to other things (making games like Space Quest 3 remake). Maybe knowing or not knowing John Walker's (see Rem, I went there again!) and stuff like that. The variables aligned for Dave and for most others they just don't, lol. I hope to be proven wrong! But where should I be looking for that proof? Point n clicks being released every day just about, yet any noise about them outside of point n click communities comes once in a blue moon.

But you could say I had a blackwell epiphany. We have all kinds of great storytellers. These games potentially limit designers and their great stories. So you've got to link, connect with, the best device for your story. Dave stories, when told through the point and click medium, show that connection. It's the case for a lot of other developers too, but not all of them. For me, I need cameras to tell my stories, which is why Unity is far more me and my storytelling connected. When that connection isn't there, it's not subtle, it's hugely obvious. Because then you just have a spreadsheet with pictures, basically. One of the boxes in the spreadsheet describes the back end of a space-ship :P Space Quest 3 remake in the thread as an example, didn't marry that storytelling with its perfect device. It DID back in the 80's or whenever, but the remake didn't work quite in the same way (for slightly different reasons though, as it didn't come from the actual original writer, I assume). Some p&c's are the perfect way for that story to be told. Some have stories in them but it wasn't the right way to tell/deliver that story for it to be very memorable one etc. So if the original question is "why doesn't this get attention" my personal answer is "was it the right choice in the first place" lol.

edit: actually, I've just had a blackwell convergence. You need to know someone with AAA journalism output or you need to know YouTubers with AAA subscriber numbers. Then you're sorted. That's where I have and can find/see proof, from our own catalogue. If you have an in with any of those, then your popularity/success whatever, is going to be increased. The problem is, getting either of those to play a point & click is somewhat hard. Maybe they are the problem (laugh) With all that said, NOT having mass appeal might actually spare some people their sanity. If your game sold like wildfire, then that means your customer support is going to be battered like wild fire, pressure and demand will be there. A bit like a screenwriter wouldn't exactly want the entire film's problems dumped on them, a decent point and click storyteller might respect having a tamed audience. Lots of variables, each of them interesting in their own way, some good, some bad. Some of them that favour telling stories over making money, some vice versa I suppose. Never a dull moment..!
« Last Edit: 16 Jan 2018, 09:29 by MJL »

Danvzare

  • The Man with No Name
    • I can help with AGS tutoring
    •  
    • I can help with proof reading
    •  
    • I can help with scripting
    •  
    • I can help with voice acting
    •  
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #40 on: 16 Jan 2018, 12:27 »
What I see is WEG and Daedalic as the like big 2 at the moment and everyone else is sort of doing one-offs and the more persistent devs who are releasing more often than not are not really breaking through exposure wise, possibly due to full bottle theory, possibly due to other things (making games like Space Quest 3 remake).
And what you've just described is the Adventure gaming scene back in the 90s as well, where the big 2 ones were Sierra and LucasArts, and almost everyone else were simply doing one-offs, with exposure for all of those games not really breaking through (after all it seems to me as though the only games people ever mention nowadays are either Monkey Island or Day of the Tentacle).

But I agree with almost everything you said in your post. I just wanted to point that out.

Dave Gilbert

  • Mittens Vassal
  • AGS Baker
  • Hi. Our names are FRIGGING ADORABLE.
    • Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
    •  
    • Dave Gilbert worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
      Dave Gilbert worked on a game that won an AGS Award!
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #41 on: 16 Jan 2018, 15:23 »
Nothing really to add, except to say that WEG is nowhere NEAR Daedalic's level. Daedalic is a company that employs over 100 people, with full PR teams and marketing departments. WEG is basically just me and Ben and a handful of rotating freelancers. It's like comparing a kid with a camcorder to Spielberg.

Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #42 on: 16 Jan 2018, 20:02 »
It is kind of relative. While Wadjet Eye has done well *for an Adventure Game Studio based business*, we have to remember that they are using AGS, which is... I mean it's great and a cozy community and all, but in the multi-hundred-billion-dollar games industry, AGS is a drop of water in the vast ocean.

Even in the adventure game space, along with Daedalic you've got Dontnod (Life is Strange), Telltale, Double Fine, and many others that are all technically "little guys" relative to the big fish of the game industry (CD Projekt, Blizzard, etc.).

I do think that Mark has a point about having a huge influencer pick you up, whether that's a Youtuber, Streamer, someone at a big game news/journalism site, in the industry, etc. makes a huge difference.

KyriakosCH

  • Alien spiral maker
    • I can help with backgrounds
    •  
    • I can help with story design
    •  
    • I can help with translating
    •  
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #43 on: 17 Jan 2018, 19:13 »
I think that a main issue is the freelancer-based nature of indie creators. It is analogous to what i deal with as a freelance lit translator. You get a contract, get paid, then have to find a new contract and so on. But you have no secure job unless you end up as signed part of the team of a large publishing house.

The positive is also analogous: as a freelance translator, up to now i can just translate Kafka, Poe and other writers i like. But if i end up in a large house, i'd have to translate whatever they want.
« Last Edit: 17 Jan 2018, 19:14 by KyriakosCH »
Join the Neo-Byzantine Society; partake in high culture; click this hotspot!

Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #44 on: 17 Jan 2018, 20:47 »
Exactly. As I mentioned in the podcast, (the one with Dave I think) I was technically making more money and 'being a professional game developer' at a larger company but mostly I was just 'updating the King of Clubs' to look better in some Texas Hold'em card game, or making a Fifa soccer ball kick animation 'more kickier'. Stuff I totally didn't give a crap about, really, with barely any creative input. I think Mark Yohalem (Primordia) has mentioned this as well, having worked on larger projects like Torment: Tides of Numenera, that your input can kind of get lost on these larger projects, or just disregarded and left out altogether.

But as an indie developer, I can make absolutely and exactly the game I always wanted to make (Neofeud), that I'm most passionate about, that I eat, sleep, and breathe, and don't feel bad about working time-and-a-half on (though I try not to for balance reasons) and can't think of anything else I'd rather work on.

But I do make less money, and it changes month to month. This is why I say you really need to ask yourself what precisely you want not just out of game development, but your life. You are not going to get a chance, at age 60, to turn around, with your millions of dollars you made slaving away trying to ladder climb at that corporate law firm or whatever, and redo your twenties thirties and fourties. You don't get to 'reset the console' and get another chance to see your children grow up, or expend the creative energy that you have (peak mental ability is according to studies somewhere in your thirties) on something that you care about, rather than just do one of the bullshit jobs that most people do, that consists of sitting in an office sending emails to people you don't really like, going to meetings you fall asleep in and write reports no one will read. (I should add, I don't think ALL office jobs are bullshit, and the marketing and business stuff is necessary and half of the story in running a sustainable indie dev company. A lesson I had to learn later than I would've liked. But if you don't know exactly what value your work is contributing to your life and others, then chances are it is meaningless. I speak from experience having done one of these.)

I've manage to crack this thing by basically going way-the-hell-off grid and living in a place where rentier capitalism, and thus pyramid scheme housing prices fear to tread. We have to collect our own water from the sky (no city grid, but then again 37 US cities have arsenic, lead and radon poison for drinking water). We have to dry clothes outside, next to the garden of jabuticaba (grape trees) lilikoi vines and coconuts. The road is gravel, full of potholes big enough to swallow a tractor tire, and is often swarming with chickens, goats and stray dogs. The house we live in was falling apart, surrounded by 150 foot trees leaning into it that I've had to climb in order to cut down (in pieces) and have basically had to take care of repairs ourselves. Property theft is high, (very few police) and it is kinda Wild West where you have to take responsibility for your own security. Speaking of security, 10,000 degree molten lava can come through and incinerate our entire area code at any time. Which is fine, because we have chosen not to have a house with a mortgage. (Another one of those life-choice thingies)

The closest bit of 'civilization' is a town where Woodstock Never Died with half nekkid people high on ahahuasca who trade sex and sacred gemstones for tarot readings and orange bellbottoms, which they wear unironically, right down the street. There are people literally building an Ark (yes, a thousand foot wooden boat) who believe their Brazilian ex-con leader is the second coming of Christ and that they will be spared the flood, living down the other street. When we go to the one Burger King in the area there's always a Vietnam vet who looks like Jerry Garcia with a missing leg listening to Hendrix and reciting Buddhist koans to calm another Iraq War vet who is raving about the 911 and the Illuminatis and incorporating the Ballistic Missile Alert into a conspiracy theory involving the Pope, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Mesopotamian Aliens.

It is kind of weird, but we are also kinda weird, and the area suits us. Although, I think sitting around in an office wasting your life for thirty years so you can have a giant stupid house you never spend time in and 1.5 kids you never see like much of my family have done is far weirder, and sadder to me, personally.

Ultimately I'm not saying you have to choose pyroclasm, bell bottoms and indiedev or TPS reports, lawn mowing and Starbucks, as the last three paragraphs were basically stream of consciousness and personal to my situation. There are all sorts of arrangements and middle-grounds and stuff one might arrive at. But I think the point is, unless you're just dabbling a little here and there, doing indie dev at any scale is likely going to require some lifestyle changes if you come from a stable-job, supporting yourself sort of situation.

I think that's the point, but I may have just accidentally inhaled some of the neighbor's peyote. It's hard to know one's consensus reality sometimes.
« Last Edit: 17 Jan 2018, 21:48 by SilverSpook »

m0ds

  • Guest
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #45 on: 17 Jan 2018, 21:02 »
Quote
It's hard to know one's consensus reality sometimes.

Are you in a testing phase? Reality seems to slip away as scenes repeat themselves over and over... (laugh)

Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #46 on: 17 Jan 2018, 21:11 »
Realness is a lie; you've got to open up your third eye, man! I've sailed solar flares on the surface of the sun! Watched attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion! :D
« Last Edit: 17 Jan 2018, 21:18 by SilverSpook »

m0ds

  • Guest
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #47 on: 17 Jan 2018, 21:26 »
I've mostly just played asset flips on Steam, so I suppose I'm a bit more jaded than you... haha (roll)

I just noticed that smiley should be attached to a thomas tank engine. ok sorry, enough OT from me lol
     ~  ~   ___
   ||  ___|     |
((roll))______|
 o       o       o
« Last Edit: 17 Jan 2018, 21:28 by MJL »

Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #48 on: 17 Jan 2018, 21:38 »
Nothing wrong with being a jaded realist! Also I tend to go off on the business-end of the industry, but I think the aspects of promoting a game, trying to figure out ways to monetize it to keep the game makers with lights on and food on the table, handling the accounting and distribution details that can be a real nightmare for creative-types, all that stuff you do, Mark, is all vital stuff. All stuff I wish I learned earlier, like before the initial Neofeud release. I'd've had a million bucks by now and could've retired to Kingston upon Hull! :D 

Mandle

  • NO PIXEL LEFT BEHIND!!!
    • Mandle worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #49 on: 17 Jan 2018, 21:55 »
Wow, SilverSpook, your life sounds like "The Mosquito Coast" of game devs. Amazing read!

Andail

  • Global Moderator
  • Mittens Viscount
  • Cultured man of mystery
    • I can help with backgrounds
    •  
    • Andail worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #50 on: 21 Mar 2018, 15:15 »
I don't see the problem. Compared to any other creative outlet, creating indie adventure games seems pretty lucrative to me.

Me and Joel are paid by a producer to develop WOAM. That wouldn't happen if this genre was completely dead. Even TSP sold more than I'd ever get from trying to publish my own novel or selling music, let alone selling art at galleries or writing poetry (all of which I considered pursuing earlier in my life). Living off of being creative is hard as f*ck.

No, the kind of adventure games we played in the early 90s probably wouldn't sell today, but neither would a first person shooter from then. Of course our games today need to be better - sleeker, better written, with topics and themes that are relevant. Some things are outdated and need to be avoided; far-fetched, overly contrived puzzles, self-referential jokes, clunky interface (verbs or whatever). If you make a game like that it probably won't sell. Players today have less patience with stuff that doesn't make sense. They want gripping stories, preferably with cool existential twists or moral dilemmas, and they don't want to be interrupted too much.

We're a niche genre, and while fewer people play our games than, say, platformers, we also get less competition, and our fans are loyal. Getting noticed with another side-scroller probably isn't a walk in the park.

If your game doesn't sell it's simply not good enough, or you've failed at marketing it.

KyriakosCH

  • Alien spiral maker
    • I can help with backgrounds
    •  
    • I can help with story design
    •  
    • I can help with translating
    •  
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #51 on: 21 Mar 2018, 23:29 »
A problem is that most people who are into art aren't really good at making a whole game by themselves. Computer game companies (even small ones) don't use the same person to script as the one to make gfx, or the storyline (with very few exceptions, eg the legendary Another World, by Delphine). I had to make my first game all alone, apart from music (which another created). I would have been more comfortable providing the script, cause writing is my actual creative work in the first place (gfx creating is something i am decent at, but i would never call myself talented in that department). And then there are various game-only mechanics, which, ok, in theory can be done by all, but in reality need a special devotion to gaming as an art form. Most people who are into art, once again, are in some specific field (writing, gfx, music, etc) :)
Join the Neo-Byzantine Society; partake in high culture; click this hotspot!

MiteWiseacreLives!

  • Hold onto your Fossils!
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #52 on: 24 Mar 2018, 08:23 »
I think Mandle was the only one to mention puzzles. Adventure P&C games offer a unique type of puzzle that other games do not, IMO.
A good story paired with good puzzles, not merely a story that you click through as some suggest, is where these games can shine. Not too easy not too hard but give you that sense of AHA! "That's so hard to get right, though, Mite!", yes of course it is.. that's the point, that's why every game isn't a hit and Miyamoto seems to know something no one else can quite get.
I've gotten into the Star Citizen community the last couple years, this is relevant I swear, 2 million accounts and all PC gamers (mostly from yester-year, think Wing Commander) and the amounts of references people make to Roger Wilco and Guybrush are impressive... I think everything just has to align for the next great adventure game and it will sell ok.

elentgirl

  • You are only as old as your Avatar!
    • elentgirl worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #53 on: 30 Mar 2018, 17:20 »
I think that one of the reasons we love adventure games is that feeling of having figured something out that was not immediately obvious.

That rush you got when you realized shining the flashlight on the bats in The Dig would panic them (God, I was stuck for soooo long before I suddenly remembered that Brink hates bats and that I had a way to wake them up)... Those moments are golden!

There has been a lot of erudite analysis of Point & Click Adventure games on this thread, but I think Mandle has made the most relevant point about the genre.  I play Adventure games because I enjoy exploring an interesting environment and working our how to solve the various puzzles that allow me to progress.  Although an Adventure game needs  some sort of story (or mystery to solve) to make it more than just a random collection of puzzles, a good story without puzzles is NOT an Adventure game in my book.  I also make Point & Click Adventure games, and I try to make them as interesting and challenging for the player as I can.  AGS is a God send in that it allows me to do this - all on my own - without the need of an expensive team to assist me.  I make the games because I enjoy making them, and my only objective beyond that is to make games that people like me will enjoy playing.

I also think Point & Click is unfairly criticised.  Some versions are rather clunky, but at its best it is a quick and simple way to navigate a game that does not require the player to run, jump or climb all over the place.  A dynamic cursor can make using the interface very easy.  In my opinion, only something like Virtual Reality - where you can look around and use your hand to manipulate things - will fully replace Point & Click for puzzle Adventure games.  That's for the future, as far as I'm concerned. I hate having to fumble with a keyboard to get aroung a game, all I need is a computer screen and a mouse.  Then I'm in the world of the game, trying to solve its nysteries!

Wiggy

  • From the tropical north Queensland
    • I can help with play testing
    •  
    • I can help with proof reading
    •  
    • I can help with translating
    •  
    • I can help with voice acting
    •  
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #54 on: 20 Apr 2018, 16:03 »
One may as well ask "Is the novel dead?",

I own a library of classic novels, from the ancients to the relatively modern, and I read them many times over. It stimulates my mind and I become wrapped in the "temps perdu" of Melville and Voltaire and Orwell, Johnathan Swift and Shakespeare: These stories will never die, at least not on my watch.

I have played many of the games here in AGS, and I salute all the contributors - most of you have more talent in your toenails than I will ever possess. If you want to make a squintillion dollars, then I suppose this is not for you. But if you want to be adored and remembered for being a creative participant in entertaining the souls of your audience, then Bravo! You are all brilliant, and never lose sight of that acheivement.

One of the saddest things I ever read was an interview with a late cricketer who lamented "I went to school with boys who became cardiologists, neurosurgeons, and the like, saving peoples' lives daily. How can I justify spending 41 years at first slip??" Well, he entertained millions of people from all nations around the world for decades, me included, and I salute that contribution.  All of you are (like him) in the entertainment industry. You get to choose the game, and you are not limited by anything but your own minds.

This genre isn't dead - it can never be killed off as long as people have inquiring minds. The commercial market dropped out in the '90s due to CEOs of that time pursuing an aggressive "Acquire, strip assets, sell the remainder!" strategy. If Sierra had never been acquired, it would still be making games.

Never lose faith in yourselves - you are the greatest novellists the world has right now. Please...



Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #55 on: 29 Apr 2018, 14:22 »
Games offer alternative means of experiencing life. What each of us really seeks is the complete satisfaction of being. Games can be focused on allowing us to express and experience more and more of ourselves. That is not the commercial way, but you should be able to make both money and a difference.

´The more´ in players would be brought out by ´the more´ in developers; or the need for it. The means of storytelling and interaction make that possible, but cannot alone achieve it. As far as expectations from form can go, what matters is how much the whole of game elements matches ´the more´. Therefore, I think that the (polished) old can be as good as the new for occasioning a truly profound experience.

Traditional p&c adventures proved that they can unite beauty and logic, and that makes them very suitable for the purpose I mentioned. It also makes the genre strong enough to undergo surface changes without losing identity. Most of these would probably be aimed at better getting and keeping the player engaged. But to bring out ´the more´, perhaps only a change in the approach to using known game elements would be necessary.
springthoughts

Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #56 on: 01 May 2018, 23:09 »
I recently played through Broken Age, and I think that the game is a good example of what's "wrong" with the genre.
I really liked the first half of the game, it was easy enough to progress and in general you could always solve a puzzle
in a short amount of time if you just remembered to pick up every item and talk to every character, and most of the focus
was on the story and atmosphere as well as exploring the game world rather than solving hard puzzles for the sake of it.

The second half of the game... not so much. I felt like there were too many puzzles that broke the games own rules, like one
scene where you had to hold still and wait for a minute despite there being no indication you should do that and no previous puzzle
using that mechanic. Then there was several randomized puzzles where you had to either memorize or write down a series of abstract symbols
and use them as clues for another puzzle in the other end of the game world, which felt more as a test of patience than a test of logic.
And what I disliked the most was the timed puzzles, where you had to navigate across a huge area and then backtrack and redo the whole thing if you failed.
That isn't funny, that's frustrating. At least most action games feature a game over screen which lets you see the hero die in an exciting way before
you start over, but making the player walk back and reset the puzzle by hand is just boring.

I played the first half by myself, but gave up and resorted to a walkthrough pretty quickly in the second half.

Basically, I think Adventure games should let the player explore the game world and interact with its characters and environments in a way that makes sense in the story,
and adventure games shouldn't pad out the gameplay with forced backtracking and puzzles lifted straight out of a kid's activity book, and it's point and click adventure games
being so closely associated with the latter that has kept the genre from reaching a more mainstream appeal.

And no more sliding tile puzzles. They're not funny, they're not original and there's hardly any story scenario where they don't feel like a tacked on afterthought.

Too much clicking

  • Not a bear. Un-bear-able, if you will.
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #57 on: 02 May 2018, 01:10 »
adventure games shouldn't pad out the gameplay with forced backtracking
The first "Runaway" had a puzzle (more like chore) where you had to fill a water tank with a bucket. And not like "let's make the player figure it out and then cut to half an hour later". No, you had to literally go back and forth through five or six screens to fill the bucket and empty it into the tank. A dozen times.

That's where I gave up. And to think Pendulo Studios are praised for their games...

Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #58 on: 02 May 2018, 02:10 »
Am I remembering correctly that Broken Age had a puzzle in which one character had the information needed to solve a certain puzzle, but the other character was the one who had to physically solve it? But there was never a point when the first character passed on the information to the other character?

Haven't played this one in quite some time, but I remember liking it for the most part.

Edit:
I found a related comment on Steam from 2015:

"Furthermore it's completely unfeasable for I, the player to expect the in-game protagonists to require and utilise knowledge that they would have no way at all of possessing; The whole wiring mechanics and puzzles from the end of Shay's act through to the finale is ridiculous since it calls upon player knowledge of the alternate character's surroundings and actions. Same with the musical note star-map earlier, even though I worked it out pretty easily it's another example of this cross-character puzzle not at all making sense within the game and thus causing players to not connect the dots if they are thinking from the mindset of the actual characters they are controlling.

I guess I just don't like the fact that thinking Meta and outside the 4th wall is the straight up required method to many puzzles in this. Day of the Tentacle's Character swapping didn't do it this bad or at all as far as I can remember, generally you were mostly doing tasks or actions that led to consequences happening in the present/future for the other characters as a result, rather than literally drawing upon knowledge to perform something by someone else.

Eh, that's my gripe that brought Broken Age down for me since it was pretty good up until that last portion."
« Last Edit: 02 May 2018, 02:19 by Durq »

KyriakosCH

  • Alien spiral maker
    • I can help with backgrounds
    •  
    • I can help with story design
    •  
    • I can help with translating
    •  
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #59 on: 02 May 2018, 12:29 »
Imo the actual puzzle-solving part of adventure games is an issue due to it being at the same time what defines the game as an adventure (and not an interactive novel) AND makes it far less story-reliant. The latter is very negative, for me, cause i write stories, and that is what i want to present in a game setting as well.
In a story, it makes no sense (unless you come up with good reason, and you have to be inventive and not do the same thing twice) to include actions like puzzle-solving, for most of the story. Furthermore, the particular dynamic in an adventure game rests on the player feeling they don't know what the next move is, while in a story you only have to read the next passage to find that out.

My own first attempt was an adaptation of one of my published short stories. Puzzle-wise it is very basic; moreover the 'puzzles' are tied to progression of the character's mood in the house of his friend, so make sense. Still, i think that an adventure game needs to rely on a balance, although i personally don't like puzzle-solving (of the tedious or known type) either, despite identifying it with classic adventure games :)

Then again, if one would insert some difficult and rare puzzle, would people really try much? For an indie game this may be enough to ensure people give up.
Join the Neo-Byzantine Society; partake in high culture; click this hotspot!

Mandle

  • NO PIXEL LEFT BEHIND!!!
    • Mandle worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #60 on: 03 May 2018, 02:33 »
In a story, it makes no sense (unless you come up with good reason, and you have to be inventive and not do the same thing twice) to include actions like puzzle-solving, for most of the story.

There was this little book that sold a few copies though: The DaVinci Code :P

Danvzare

  • The Man with No Name
    • I can help with AGS tutoring
    •  
    • I can help with proof reading
    •  
    • I can help with scripting
    •  
    • I can help with voice acting
    •  
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #61 on: 03 May 2018, 12:16 »
I recently watched a review comparing all of the versions of Ocarina of Time, and in it the reviewer said something which I think is very relevant to adventure games.
He said, and I quote "The purpose of story in gaming is to contextualize gameplay, so it doesn't come off as a laundry list of arbitrary tasks."

And I've come across several reviews and complaints about adventure games (even on this forum), where they have said that the game is about giving a bit of story, and then blocking you with a puzzle, which you then solve, and then get a bit more story before being blocked again, making the two exclusive to each other.
But that quote pretty much sums up my thoughts, which is that story and gameplay should NOT be mutually exclusive in an adventure game (or any game for that matter), but should instead work together. And the problem is, most people who make adventure games don't realize that, and as such they make them exclusive to each other. This isn't a problem with the genre itself, but rather with the attitudes of the creators.

I'd love to discuss this a bit more in-depth, and get other people's thoughts on the matter.

KyriakosCH

  • Alien spiral maker
    • I can help with backgrounds
    •  
    • I can help with story design
    •  
    • I can help with translating
    •  
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #62 on: 03 May 2018, 12:35 »
@Mandle: yes, but imagine that happening book after book; it will be a gimmick, no? ^_^

I recently watched a review comparing all of the versions of Ocarina of Time, and in it the reviewer said something which I think is very relevant to adventure games.
He said, and I quote "The purpose of story in gaming is to contextualize gameplay, so it doesn't come off as a laundry list of arbitrary tasks."

And I've come across several reviews and complaints about adventure games (even on this forum), where they have said that the game is about giving a bit of story, and then blocking you with a puzzle, which you then solve, and then get a bit more story before being blocked again, making the two exclusive to each other.
But that quote pretty much sums up my thoughts, which is that story and gameplay should NOT be mutually exclusive in an adventure game (or any game for that matter), but should instead work together. And the problem is, most people who make adventure games don't realize that, and as such they make them exclusive to each other. This isn't a problem with the genre itself, but rather with the attitudes of the creators.

I'd love to discuss this a bit more in-depth, and get other people's thoughts on the matter.

I agree. There is a way to make the game flow with the story, or at least the easy way is to make the puzzles basic, so that they merely follow a story and do not require creativity to solve, thus allowing the story to be the absolute focus. Yet it is a game, not pages one reads, so the dynamic isn't entirely the same. In a game a part of the atmosphere rests on the somewhat chaotic and invididual manner in which each player experiences not the story, but the time spent moving around or thinking, not knowing what to do exactly, or just experiencing the locations. In a story this isn't freely done in the same manner; the reader can imagine, reflect, recall, but there is only one way forward: to read the next page.

I think that indie games did bring some new elements to adventure games, namely a bleaker environment, more serious themes, and some new puzzles at times, but it is true that we also see huge repetition of some specific story lines. To name one which exists in a very large number of indie adventures: amnesiac character, character who did some crime and then is unaware, and/or multiple personality.

It is not easy for one person to be good at all things in gaming. An indie game still has distinct fields of creation, music, gfx and storyline/plot, and it is true that virtually no artist is great in all. You see this in manga, as well, where an artist tends to be either very good at drawing, or at storyline. In games it is the same, and we (indie creators) usually (not always) have to be a one or at most two-person team :)
Join the Neo-Byzantine Society; partake in high culture; click this hotspot!

Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #63 on: 03 May 2018, 14:38 »
I recently watched a review comparing all of the versions of Ocarina of Time, and in it the reviewer said something which I think is very relevant to adventure games.
He said, and I quote "The purpose of story in gaming is to contextualize gameplay, so it doesn't come off as a laundry list of arbitrary tasks."

And I've come across several reviews and complaints about adventure games (even on this forum), where they have said that the game is about giving a bit of story, and then blocking you with a puzzle, which you then solve, and then get a bit more story before being blocked again, making the two exclusive to each other.
But that quote pretty much sums up my thoughts, which is that story and gameplay should NOT be mutually exclusive in an adventure game (or any game for that matter), but should instead work together. And the problem is, most people who make adventure games don't realize that, and as such they make them exclusive to each other. This isn't a problem with the genre itself, but rather with the attitudes of the creators.

I'd love to discuss this a bit more in-depth, and get other people's thoughts on the matter.
I agree that this is a problem in bad adventure games, one infamous example is the cookie baking puzzle from Still Life, which is a game about a policewoman investigating a series of brutal murders inspired by Jack the Ripper. The game contains gruesome imagery and violence, yet at one point the plot grinds to a screeching halt because the protagonist's dad asks her to bake some gingerbread men, and what then follows is a long puzzle trying to decipher the encrypted recipe in her grandmothers cookbook. Even if you look aside the fact that no sane person would encrypt the recipe for freaking gingerbread, the plot so far has been about the hunt for a serial killer, and by having the protagonist stop to make cookies just removes a great deal of the sense of urgency and danger.

Gameplay should vary depending on the character you play as, and playing a crime detective on a case shouldn't be the same and contain the same puzzles as a baker or jobless slacker, and that means that the puzzles should be different as well.
I think that indie games did bring some new elements to adventure games, namely a bleaker environment, more serious themes, and some new puzzles at times, but it is true that we also see huge repetition of some specific story lines. To name one which exists in a very large number of indie adventures: amnesiac character, character who did some crime and then is unaware, and/or multiple personality.
I definitely think there are some very overused tropes in adventure games, such as the amnesiac character you mentioned. It's almost always a white man with short dark hair in his 30s who's wearing generic standard clothes (often jeans and T-shirt without logo, occasionally a leather jacket)and 9 times out of 10 the "big plot twist" is that he either was the killer all along, or that he was framed for a murder and the real killer made him forget what happened.

But there is a second character archetype I'm also getting a tad tired of seeing in adventure games, let's call it the Unlovable Rogue, for when the developers clearly tried to make the protagonist come across as a lovable rouge in the vein of Indiana Jones or Inigo Montoya but ended up making them a smug jerk instead. If the character is male, he'll be a messy slacker with a gross and untidy home and work space and of course he's lost vital items and equipment in there and forces the player to dig through it all, plus he has a tendency to tell mean spirited and bigoted jokes at other characters expense that aren't jokes as much as they're just random mean comments bordering on bullying. If the character is female, they usually face and body of a Barbie doll but compensate for it by being rude and sassy in a lame attempt to be a "strong female character". All of these characters also often have a tendency to have a detached "Why should I care" attitude towards things, but if the player character can't be arsed to care about the plot, why should the player?

Compare that to April Ryan, who starts off as kind of a snarky slacker, but as soon as she realizes strange things are afoot she does take the whole thing seriously and towards the end of the game she's overcome most of her personal flaws.
Or Look at Guybrush Threepwood, while he comes across as messy and silly, he does have a friendly attitude and feel some actual enthusiasm for what he's doing.

And there's also the stupid idea that nonsensical puzzles are perfectly fine if the protagonist crack a joke about how nonsensical the puzzle is,
but in reality it's just the game design equivalent of somebody putting their foot in their mouth  and immedatly going "lol, just kidding!" afterwards.

KyriakosCH

  • Alien spiral maker
    • I can help with backgrounds
    •  
    • I can help with story design
    •  
    • I can help with translating
    •  
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #64 on: 03 May 2018, 15:08 »
but if the player character can't be arsed to care about the plot, why should the player?

Indeed (laugh)
Join the Neo-Byzantine Society; partake in high culture; click this hotspot!

Danvzare

  • The Man with No Name
    • I can help with AGS tutoring
    •  
    • I can help with proof reading
    •  
    • I can help with scripting
    •  
    • I can help with voice acting
    •  
Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #65 on: 04 May 2018, 12:49 »
But there is a second character archetype I'm also getting a tad tired of seeing in adventure games, let's call it the Unlovable Rogue, for when the developers clearly tried to make the protagonist come across as a lovable rouge in the vein of Indiana Jones or Inigo Montoya but ended up making them a smug jerk instead.
I hate those characters, especially when they're done wrong. A smug jerk character can actually be quite fun to play as, if they constantly run into karma for their reckless deeds, and actually show enthusiasm for what they do. Because sometimes, it's just fun being an asshole.

But the unlovable disinterested rogue though... oh my goodness. That is just such an annoying character archetype. Firstly, never have the character constantly insult the player! Secondly, make the character actually have some sort of interest in what he's doing!
Like you said, if the character can't be arsed, why should we?

Re: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?
« Reply #66 on: 16 Nov 2018, 01:32 »
It seems to be a narrative pacing issue, and not a context/hardware issue.
Because [the room] (game) nicely does adventure-game like 2d shifting puzzles, with a mobile-hardware UI (touchscreen and accellerometer).

it may be a narrative issue, except that people do read a lot of novels and comics while commuting, that may as well be an interactive narrative.

The adventure game nearly committed suicide, mostly by insisting to switch from 2d to 3d, which just ends up obscuring/occluding puzzle assets or p
paths/portals to locales or story elements.
Minor other issues are bad contexts, too many degrees of seperation, or dragging on for too long (Toonstruck and BrokenAge just get worse over time)

That is really all there seems to be left to it, just keep it in 2d, to not occlude or obfuscate or distract from a clear story. and you may end up like Daedalic, reviving a genre that ridiculed itself into its "hidden object game" evil-twin-genre, after murdering its 3d-adgenture-game-child.

Games tend to be faster paced , or at least be more easily split into 20 minute sessions
- you can nicely see how [UnAvowed] can be split into <30 minute segments (pseudo chapters), that swap locales and puzzle-contexts in that interval
, so you can take short breaks every 30 minutes, and theoretically play the game on a mobile device while commuting in daily public transport.

Some adventure games may benefit from faster pacing, more rapid cuts like a music video, more like a warioware puzzle game, and less like a 3 hour epic movie.