Author Topic: What is wrong with the adventure games genre?  (Read 6069 times)

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!