Author Topic: Sleeping Beauty  (Read 1034 times)

Sleeping Beauty
« on: 02 Apr 2018, 08:50 »
Before you start reading:

This presentation is a speech held before an imaginary audience, most likely formed of people like myself. It´s probably verbose and I may have been crossing, now and then, some of the socializing boundaries you are familiar with. I hope that getting over such inconveniences will not seem difficult... My intention was to make everyone feel comfortable. If there will be comments to answer to, I will try to adapt to the style chosen by each of you. Thank you.

_/ _

Welcome to Sleeping Beauty's Chat Lounge! On your way to finding a good seat, please take a copy of this presentation to use as a cushion. Either to make your playing experience more comfortable, or to start a pillow fight - there are, perhaps, enough good and less-so points to Sleeping Beauty to expect any mood :) - the presentation proposes to be faithfully stuffed with notes on all the game aspects that you may want remembered. It had to be small also (if it feels long, just fold it, okay?), since the Lounge is, first of all, a place where I hope to enjoy your conversation. So do let likes and dislikes be known, and, maybe, if it inspires you in any way :)

-_- -_- -_-
  -_- -_-

With a small game world, only 4 screens wide, Sleeping Beauty features both realistic and fantastical woods-related elements, which occasion a total of 20 challenges. It's up to you which of them you take the main character through, as you give shape to what might be called the development of the narrative.

Sleeping Beauty is the tale of a guy who takes his girlfriend to see a gorgeous mountain scenery that he remembers back from childhood. They traveled by night, as their plan was to be at the special place at sunrise. Their car was left at the base of a mountain trail and, as she was asleep, the main character decided to carry her in his arms to the destination. But his journey proved to be much longer than he expected, as the once familiar signs kept failing to lead him correctly. And the game starts from here. As in a dream, he encounters characters, and other local elements, which belong to the world of childhood fantasy and express the magical approach to life from back then. It is an ease of being he can't relate to anymore, and this is the cause of all the failures suffered throughout his wondering. That being said, you should know that you aren't supposed to succeed at the challenges :) I hope this won't be a cause for annoyance to anyone - in depth, the situation reflects the shortcomings of being human, at having to face the demands of life in the usual absence of (good) inspiration. In any case, you can look forward to the ending sweetening things a bit :) 

Some challenges take place at NPCs; I called them "static". The game is designed to end after you complete 5 of these; and there is only one ending, which can take place in any of the 4 playgrounds. I have chosen the encounter with the Old Man - the first character you meet in the game - for the first screenshots, meant to illustrate aspects of static challenges.






As you can see, the static challenges are based on (predefined) dialog, the course of which is, now and then, influenced by your choices; or that is attempted, in any case. You are offered each time 3 options, described through images; the options are, of course, based on what has been said until that point of the challenge, as well as on the main character's background and personality. You will find the main character's approach placing him into one of these situations: mentally detached, manipulative, unsuccessfully creative and playing along, while unprepared. Often, your character's words are accompanied by animations; at the Old Man, these depict smoke taking various shapes. One aspect you may have to get used to is seeing the character's speech and other pieces of text drawn right on the background.

Other challenges consist in passing through obstacles which you come across, as you follow the winding trail through the woods; I called these challenges "dynamic". They have no influence on the course (or, rather, the duration) of the game. I have chosen the encounter with the Stars' Rays for the next screenshots, meant to illustrate aspects of dynamic challenges; these may bring back some memories to those who witnessed the birth of Sleeping Beauty :) (It was the spring of 2015...)





The dynamic challenges represent action sequences where you are given, now and then, a short time to choose the foot your character will step with next (which sometimes gives his direction); as you try to avoid being touched/hit by the moving obstacles. After that short time, a choice is randomly made for you. As you can see, the interface here is described through an image of a mouse device - to the main buttons of which, the two feet of your character are associated. Collision may cause him to stop, or stumble and there is an echo in the lady's radiance.

You can tell which elements of the scenery you can interact with from the description you get when moving the cursor over them; your character has to be close enough to clearly see what you're pointing at, of course. The next screenshots illustrate this; again with reference to the Stars.




With a last screenshot, I take you back to the Old Man's to show the cursor having changed shape at [4] a point of exit from the screen/playfield. (The "hand" became "footprints".)



You shouldn't be looking for an inventory, because in Sleeping Beauty no items are used. Your character's arms are busy carrying his lady, throughout the game. There are no puzzles to speak of, either, not in the usual sense. One of the gameplay goals, from the beginning, was to make the player's involvement optional; the game as less demanding on the player as possible. And Sleeping Beauty grew in the direction of offering an experience of sitting with things, rather than of matching skills against. I often felt, while working at it, that I was building a music box, the melody of which was made of the different flavors of the interactions.

Throughout this presentation, as well as in the manual which comes with the game, I kept referring to the main character as to a he, separate from the lady carried in his arms. And they are separate, as far as the gameplay and the development of the narrative are concerned. But as mentioned in a reply to a compliment received back in the time of Sleeping Beauty's inception, they are, actually, one being; the human being, in general. I just threw this in as a hint for those who would like to reach for a deeper meaning to their experience with the game. And I will say no more on such lines at this time - not to sound mysterious, but because Sleeping Beauty was meant to be enjoyable (or acceptable) even without going into deep thinking :)

One thing about the main character everyone will probably have some difficulty with (I have to adapt to that each time...) is that he moves quite slowly; out-of-sync with the world around, often. This is one point where I was forced to put my priorities in order. And so I took my chances and let this bit of extra weight on the player's shoulders, so that the idea of the main character - and with it, his naturalness - would not get hurt; having him speed around just didn't seem to work... For more on this, please take some time to browse the game's short manual ("Stuff.txt"). You may also want to look in there for a few other references against which to check your impressions about the game :)

Here, at the end of the presentation, I call your attention to the audible side of the game. Other than one melody, played now and then, there is no other use of sound; and I believe the way text is used in the game will probably also make you think that (more) sound would have made following what goes on difficult :) ...Voices would have been nice though... About the melody: it was chosen to reflect the course of the main character's quest, and, with that, his inner state; it should make itself heard after the main character was idle for a while, outside of challenges.

I close by expressing the wish that you'll have a good time discovering Sleeping Beauty, and that it will succeed in becoming a pleasant memory.

st.
« Last Edit: 03 Apr 2018, 08:01 by st. »
springthoughts

Re: Sleeping Beauty
« Reply #1 on: 02 Apr 2018, 08:52 »
Quick note that didn´t fit anywhere else, inserted after having reviewed the requirements of this forum:

SB is probably not an adventure. I would be pleasantly surprised by anyone´s choice to see it as such, but I can´t expect that. Like most of my previous productions, SB approaches adventures in style, somewhat, but its spirit is more that of a work of art.
springthoughts

Cl...

  • Don't listen to me.
    • I can help with play testing
    •  
    • I can help with proof reading
    •  
    • I can help with translating
    •  
Re: Sleeping Beauty
« Reply #2 on: 02 Apr 2018, 09:17 »
The point is to post games made with AGS. There are racing games falling into that category. Just saying.

Re: Sleeping Beauty
« Reply #3 on: 02 Apr 2018, 09:39 »
You´re welcome, Cl...

The game is made with AGS. What made you think it isn´t? In any case, anyone can verify that it´s an AGS game by pressing v or the more usual Ctrl+v; while playing.

Racing game? You mean with cars or the like? XD I don´t think anyone playing SB could possibly get that characteristic speed feeling!

I guess it´s okay to call SB something in between adventure and other genres. I think this post, leaving the presentation style and length aside, fits here just fine. Of course, I can only bow to this site´s moderators´ decisions.

And to anyone else: I must apologize for not being able to respond quickly to your comments. I will try to take all into account and make time to return here. Thank you :)
« Last Edit: 02 Apr 2018, 09:49 by st. »
springthoughts

Cl...

  • Don't listen to me.
    • I can help with play testing
    •  
    • I can help with proof reading
    •  
    • I can help with translating
    •  
Re: Sleeping Beauty
« Reply #4 on: 02 Apr 2018, 10:09 »
The game is made with AGS. What made you think it isn´t?
Nothing. I was hinting at the game being in the right place.

As for racing games:
http://www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk/site/games/game/2216/

Re: Sleeping Beauty
« Reply #5 on: 03 Apr 2018, 21:07 »
The protagonist is moving so slothly and the characters he encounters have so much to say in so little time. What they say is unfathomable to me because their word vanishes before I could grasp it.

Re: Sleeping Beauty
« Reply #6 on: 04 Apr 2018, 08:40 »
Thank you for your opinion, blur

With regard to the protagonist´s movement: Yes, it is very slow for my usual taste as well. I don´t suppose any arguments as to why it is justified, theme- and settings-wise, can by themselves compensate for that feeling of being restrained in interacting with the game world. It must be that the game asks a price of patience from the player. Hopefully, other elements of the game will make that price seem reasonable.

It came as a surprise to hear that the speed of speech can prevent someone from reading everything... I thought I gave each speech line enough screen time. Hm... I did count on the speech being able to pull the player in strongly enough to make following all words easy... It appears that the price asked of the player may go up with involvement demands... What can I say to you and to those who share your opinion... Maybe, treat SB as something special? Give it time? Or return to it when you are in an unusually generous mood? Provided that you believe SB can offer you some compensation, of course; beside my gratitude :)

UPDATE: I decided to implement two switches - one for increasing the protagonist´s speed and one for decreasing the speed of conversations. The end result will probably look like a patch up job, but that hopefully will be enough for most people´s needs. It will take me a while to achieve this. Once ready, an alternative download link will be made available. Thank you, blur, for your assistance with beta-testing!
« Last Edit: 04 Apr 2018, 16:15 by st. »
springthoughts

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: Sleeping Beauty
« Reply #7 on: 04 Apr 2018, 15:37 »
It came as a surprise to hear that the speed of speech can prevent someone from reading everything... I thought I gave each speech line enough screen time. Hm... I did count on the speech being able to pull the player in strongly enough to make following all words easy...

Hello st. This may actually be an issue for those who do not have english as their native language. If you take advises, I may recommend to add game option for player to switch between timed-out speech and speech waiting for player's click. In AGS you can toggle speech skip mode using a single parameter (Speech.SkipStyle). It is also possible to customize timeout time (Game.TextReadingSpeed) e.g. using a slider.

Re: Sleeping Beauty
« Reply #8 on: 04 Apr 2018, 16:14 »
Hi Crimson Wizard! I am so glad someone with your skills and experience stepped in to lend a hand! It´s hard to think of everything by yourself... I will sure try to put your idea to good use; and I say try because the end result will probably not remind of your standards of quality.

Just for you and other programmers: I used Overlays combined with timer and timer limit variables. My quick solution is to greatly increase that timer limit. The player will then have to move the conversation to each next step manually. But still, it will take me some time to implement this. Apparently, to have conversation animations and speech share the timer limit variable was not such a great idea XD

I hope that my decision to call the game options ¨-blur- Settings¨ meets your approval. There will also be a change to the Stuff.txt file´s Credits section :)

Thank you for your advice, CW! I gratefully accept it.
springthoughts

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: Sleeping Beauty
« Reply #9 on: 04 Apr 2018, 16:50 »
Just for you and other programmers: I used Overlays combined with timer and timer limit variables. My quick solution is to greatly increase that timer limit. The player will then have to move the conversation to each next step manually. But still, it will take me some time to implement this.
Oh, you mean you have scripted custom speech there? Sorry, I haven't played the game myself yet. If that is not build-in AGS speech, then the properties I mention may be not directly applicable.

Re: Sleeping Beauty
« Reply #10 on: 05 Apr 2018, 07:35 »
:) Guess what! The first part of the intro uses Say(). Your tip about the Game.TextReadingSpeed variable was just what I needed for that piece of code. Thanks again! I learned something useful.
« Last Edit: 05 Apr 2018, 09:51 by st. »
springthoughts

Re: Sleeping Beauty
« Reply #11 on: 06 Apr 2018, 07:17 »
I made some changes. On the AGS Games download page, the Download button is linked to the new version´s archive. Please read under --- Latest Version --- on that page. You can find more information about the changes in the Update.log file. I hope SB will seem more approachable now.
springthoughts